Monday, May 30, 2022

The least conservative Liberal (and National) government in Australia’s history lost last weekend

There was no enthusiastic move to Labor. In fact, both major parties scored woefully low first preference counts. In any country with a first-past-the-post voting system both big parties would be reeling. There’s a reason why only Australia and one small South Pacific nation uses preferential voting; it’s because it works as a protection racket for the two big parties.

The only way to show your displeasure with your own side of politics – because you can’t even stay home when there’s also compulsory voting – is to preference the other side. I did that this past Saturday, practising what I preached.

Clearly, more than a few others did too.

Now, you will not see this on the ABC or hear it from any of the Liberal ‘moderates’, but it was a very good thing having all those Teals take out the inner core of the lefty-Lib gang – Zimmerman ‘I forgot about freedom once I was elected’ Wilson, Sharma, Falinski, and yes, even Josh Frydenberg (who I’m guessing was the driving force behind pushing Scott Morrison to sign up to Net Zero and to pay the ABC all that money just before the election).

These seats were always going to leave the column for any remotely conservative party. Many may not like that fact, but it’s already happened in Canada, Britain, and America. Our voting system merely slowed it down here. The truth is that the well-off rich (and I generalise of course) now vote solidly Left – maybe because they can afford to and like to virtue-signal? They vote more like Canberra public servants than anything else.

So in a losing election, it was good to lose these seats. Frankly, I don’t see them coming back for a long time.

Here’s an irony. If Morrison had refused to sign up to Net Zero and made rising energy prices and inflation an election issue, together with mining jobs, I think he would have won the election – this being the formula of Liberal wins since Tony Abbott took over as Opposition Leader. Instead, the Liberal Prime Minister, who seemingly had no core convictions and no strong commitment to freedom or to the presumption of innocence, let himself be pushed by the party wets into reneging on a promise made to Coalition voters at the last election in 2019.

By signing up to Net Zero, Morrison was snookered.

What happens when you purport to believe that there is an earth-endangering climate crisis (and former Obama Energy Department Undersecretary, Professor Steven Koonin, takes this apart in his new book Unsettled) and that Australia’s emissions make any difference at all, when the truth is that we could go back to the Stone Age tomorrow and China would pump out our emissions in a little over a fortnight? If you go down that road it’s not surprising that voters will vote for the real thing (in the shape of the Greens and Teals) rather than a half-hearted bunch of Liberal ‘moderates’. So the irony is that even for the so-called ‘moderates’, they would have had a better chance to win if the Liberals had stood up against the ABC worldview and not signed up to Net Zero. The appeasement strategy was never going to work, especially for them.

That said, I’m glad the Matt Kean-type faction of the Liberal Party has been decimated. Their one redeeming feature was supposed to be their commitment to freedom concerns (as the self-professed inheritors of the John Stuart Mill tradition), but the pandemic showed that to be a hollow lie. These moderates were at least as pro-lockdown and ‘we defer to the public health caste’ as the Liberal Party room’s conservatives. Make that more pro-despotism. And more big spending, big taxing, ‘let’s succumb to Modern Monetary Theory idiocies’. So good riddance to them all.

Yet the renewal of the Liberal Party was always a two-stage game.

First off, all of us conservatives were forced into needing our side to lose because it had accomplished basically nothing since Tony Abbott stopped the boats – nothing other than drifting ever further left every year. But there is a second stage. We now need to see the Liberal Party rediscover at least some of its conservative roots.

This is no sure thing.

If you look at the state level the Liberal Party is a mess. In Western Australia, in Victoria, in Queensland, even in New South Wales it has opted to become the ‘we’ll be Labor but just a bit slower’ party, even to the point of embracing woke orthodoxies. Victoria’s incarnation is particularly risible. If you can’t beat the heavy-handed, despotic Dan Andrews – or barely manage even to criticise him on any freedom-related grounds – you are pathetic. And the Victorian Liberals are.

So this ‘let’s move left to try to win’ option is clearly one that is possible and that the ABC/Fairfax/‘moderate wing’ will be pushing. But it would be an awful mistake.

What we need now is for the Liberals to move a good ways to the right and to do so openly. Recant on the Climate Change genuflecting, admitting it was a mistake while pointing out the huge energy cost rises coming. Go back to arguing for sane budgets with surpluses (which will mean disavowing the Frydenberg uber-Keynesian, defer-to-Treasury approach). Openly commit to some sort of belief in freedom, one that will involve walking-the-walk not just talking-the-talk until you get elected into Parliament. And be tough against Woke shibboleths a la Mark Latham.

Down that path – and it will be labelled as Right-Wing Populism or as ‘the Trump Party’ by lefty journalists – lies victory.

We know this from seeing Boris Johnson’s voting coalition in 2019 and from seeing the 2016 and 2020 US Presidential elections. (And check out who won the married women’s votes in all three of those elections so you are armed against the bogus cry that ‘women won’t vote for this’.) Sure, the ABC will be brutal to the Peter Dutton-led Liberal Opposition. So will Fairfax. Who cares? We know you can win elections with virtually all the press against you. (See above re Boris and The Don.) You just have to believe in something and articulate it to the voters. The rich end of town now votes Left remember, as does the journalistic caste. (Hilary Clinton won the 100 wealthiest counties by-the-by, and Boris gets pummelled in upmarket London boroughs.) Ignore them.

The Libs are going to have to stay committed for a year or so as the Jacinda Ardern type honeymoon kicks in. But it won’t last long. Massive inflation and hard Left populist policies will see to that. It’s not going to be pretty. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a renewed conservative Liberal party win in 2025. That’s assuming, of course, that they opt to go down the conservative renewal path and not the ‘let’s be Labor and the Greens but just a bit slower’ one. Losing all those lefty moderates last Saturday makes my hope a lot more likely. ?


Lawless corruption watchdog

In Perrottet-land “upholding integrity” must mean protecting a rogue agency that engaged in conduct that had no basis in law and inflicted damage on innocent people without lawful cause. That is what this government has decided to do in relation to its Independent Commission Against Corruption.

In the real world integrity does not mean protecting powerful wrongdoers from the law. It means nobody is above the law — a principle that is particularly important for agencies that are supposed to fight wrongdoing.

The parliamentary committee that oversees the commission unanimously recommended in November that its corruption declarations against four men should be assessed in court without the benefit of retrospective legislation that was rushed through parliament in 2015 to “validate” actions by the commission that would otherwise have been unlawful.

Just before that legislation was enacted, ICAC had agreed in the Court of Appeal that it had no basis in law for declaring those four men corrupt. A draft declaration confirming ICAC’s defeat had been prepared and circulated by Margaret Beazley, who was then president of the Court of ­Appeal.

But before the court could officially strike down ICAC’s unlawful findings, the government, then led by Mike Baird, was lobbied by ICAC, which was then led by Megan Latham. What followed is a one of the worst examples of the misuse of the legislative process.

The first problem is that parliament was never told that its Validation Act would have the effect of changing the outcome of legal proceedings in which ICAC had already admitted liability to the four men. Parliament, acting in ignorance, interfered with the judicial process.

The second problem is just as serious. The Validation Act retrospectively stripped those four men of legal rights. It retrospectively imposed a detriment.

The injustice of this affair was not lost on all members of the parliamentary committee that oversees ICAC – including three cabinet ministers and three parliamentary secretaries.

These members of the government – the principled six – have expressed a view that is now at odds with government policy. They have strongly backed the need to provide a remedy — not for everyone affected by the Validation Act, just the four who had extracted admissions in court from ICAC.

They should take heart. They are on the right side of history.

With the honourable exception of the principled six, Perrottet’s government seems intent on alienating those who expect it to be the guardian of the rule of law, not its enemy.

Its official response to wrongdoing by ICAC amounts to this: cover it up, change the law, pretend it never happened. But reality has a way of making its presence felt.

The men who were denied their legal rights know that ICAC conceded in 2015 that they had been wrongly declared to be corrupt because the commission had exceeded its jurisdiction. They also know that those findings would have been struck down by the Court of Appeal but for the Validation Act.

ICAC fell into error by misreading the limits on its jurisdiction. Its mistake was pointed out by the NSW Court of Appeal and the High Court.

This injustice has been dragging on for so long that one of the four, mining entrepreneur Travers Duncan, died recently while waiting for this government to restore his legal rights. The remaining three deserve a remedy and the oversight committee agrees. Some would argue that the entire Validation Act should be repealed. But the oversight committee does not go that far.

It simply wants an amendment that would allow the remaining three to hold ICAC to account under the normal law – without the distortion of any retrospective validation of ICAC’s unlawful conduct.

In the seven years since the Validation Act came into force, the real justice system has had plenty of time to examine their conduct. The result: they have been convicted of nothing.

One of them, businessman John McGuigan, says the government’s decision ignores what is right and can only be explained by political expediency.

“For the Attorney-General to state that the ability of NSW citizens to rely on the law, as determined by the High Court, constitutes reliance on a ‘loophole’ is both disgraceful and legally incorrect.

“The NSW government’s ‘do what it takes’ attitude to expropriate both assets and rights and thereby preclude its citizens from an ability to rely on their legal rights is contrary to the fundamental principles of the rule of law.

“Essentially it constitutes a parallel system of justice devoid of legal principle based simply on achieving political objectives,” McGuigan says.

All wrongdoers need to be held to account. But this is particularly important when the wrongdoing takes place in an agency that is supposed to be the enemy of misconduct.


Bec Judd says she feels ‘unsafe’ in mansion in spray over crime in Melbourne

Bec Judd has revealed she feels “unsafe” in her own home after a spate of “rapes, bashings and home invasions” in the Bayside area of Melbourne.

The businesswoman and mum of four took to social media to accuse the Victorian state government of not caring about residents.

“So sick of the rapes, bashings and home invasions at the hands of gangs in Bayside,’’ she wrote in an Instagram story on Thursday.

“The state government don’t seem to care. We feel unsafe.

“I personally know 2 women who have experienced home invasions in Brighton in the last few weeks while they were at home.”

In response to a 7News story about the escalating situation, Judd also commented on the Instagram page of Liberal state MP James Newbury.

“Have these teens been charged yet or just another slap on the wrist?” she wrote.

Judd and her AFL star husband Chris Judd bought their mansion in Brighton for $7.3m four years ago and documented its Spanish-style renovation on social media, the Herald Sun reports.

Mr Newbury said residents and particularly women were increasingly scared and some are even starting to take matters into their own hands.

“I can tell you absolutely (Judd’s) sentiment is the same sentiment that I am getting from women across the electorate today,’’ he said.

“I am getting inundated with people who are living in streets where these crimes have occurred. “They’re coming across these gangs and being forced to barricade themselves in their bedrooms.

“I am now aware of a number of people who are hiring private security.

“I also know of people now leaving keys next to the front door so that if they are home invaded they’re not fought.”

Mr Newbury said closing the Brighton police station several years ago had also instilled fear. “We’ve got basically a front desk in Sandringham and if there’s a crime they have to come from Moorabbin,’’ he said.

“I went to a street where a recently widowed woman who just lost her husband had been home invaded. “Can you imagine how that would feel and how scarred people are?

“The scary thing is Labor is only ever doing something when it’s on TV. “It’s never proper fixes.”


The huge headwinds set to stop Labor’s honeymoon

There are mighty headwinds, economic and political, heading the world’s way and Australia cannot expect to go untouched. A global food shortage driven by a terrible confluence of events: the collapse of supply routes arising in the pandemic, crop failures driven by extreme weather events and conflict in Ukraine upsetting one of the world’s largest food bowls is upon us.

The crisis is exacerbated by a chronic scarcity of nitrogenous and phosphorus fertilisers. The source of much of the world’s supply lies in Russia and Ukraine.

The global wheat price has surged to record levels due to crop failures in 2021 in Russia and Ukraine prior to the invasion, the number one and four global exporters respectively.

This week Ukraine reported that 80 per cent of its agricultural land was under cultivation, a remarkable achievement given the state of Russian aggression within its borders but a clear sign of diminished output. Crop yields can expect to be at all time lows.

There is already talk of Russia weaponising its food exports. For now, we can merely conclude that Putin’s Russia has stopped exports of wheat driven by strong demand and reduced output.

Rice futures were trading above the $USD17-per-hundredweight mark, a level not seen since the world was plunged into the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic in mid-2020. The shortage of chemical fertilisers has already reduced rice yields by as much as ten per cent throughout south Asia.

If there is one thing that keeps Xi Jinping and the leadership of the CCP awake at night, it is the prospect of famine.

With a heightened sense of foreboding, Egypt, no stranger to bread riots, now seeks to control the country’s supply of wheat. It is now a criminal offence in Egypt to buy or sell wheat without the permission of the government. In Iran, a country driven to the brink by economic sanctions, the Raisi government cut subsidies on the price of wheat leading to civil unrest which will only get worse.

If we needed a portent of what is coming it lies in Sri Lanka where riots are reported as everyday affairs, the genesis of which lies largely unreported by Australian media. Sri Lanka’s problems are directly attributable to political ineptitude and a ban on the import of chemical fertilisers, reducing the country’s ability to feed itself within the space of six months. Sri Lanka has less than a million dollars in foreign cash reserves. Two tankers lie in the harbour of Columbo, full of fuel but the government can’t pay for it. The island nation is bankrupt and every day more of its 22 million people lurch into poverty. The cause of the riots isn’t political partisanship. Hungry people are angry people.

In the developing world, governments will fall, people will become displaced. Refugees will surge into relative safe havens like Australia.

In the western world, the immediate impact will be on the price of staples. In Australia, we are already battling the forces of extreme weather events. In Queensland’s Lockyer Valley, one of the nation’s food bowls especially in fresh vegetables, farmers planted one crop and saw it destroyed by flood. They planted again only to have that one smashed by the second deluge.

In the coming months it is not so much a matter of how much a head of lettuce or a bunch of broccoli will cost. They will simply be unavailable. The price of staples like bread, pasta and rice already high and with supply constrained by the effects of the receding pandemic, will skyrocket.

People in poverty in Australia will feel the pinch hardest, as they always do. The Albanese government must find a way to keep these two million or more heads above water.

Inflation will surge and with it the prospect of global stagflation – a counterintuitive economic condition where growth slows, demand falters and unemployment rises while inflation continues ever skyward. The world experienced it in the late 1970s and early 1980s and the effects of it accounted for more than a fair share of elected governments being consigned to the dustbin.

This is just one foreseeable crisis facing the newly elected Albanese government but the scale of it is almost unfathomable. It will test Labor’s untried management abilities amid a commonwealth budget deficit that is burgeoning out of control, leaving it with a diminished fiscal response.

Welcome to the big league, Albo. The party’s over.


A high school has come under fire for showing students a video that discussed pornography in such graphic detail that some students walked out

Wadalba Community School on the Central Coast in NSW was conducting the monthly year 10 assembly on Monday when without warning, students were shown a TEDx Talk on video by sexual health expert Ran Gavrieli entitled 'Why I stopped watching porn'.

The video sees Gavrieli discuss different types of online pornography online to try and understand the question, 'What would porn deem as sexual?'

In the talk Mr Gavrieli claimed it was 'whatever men find arousing'.

'If men find it arousing to choke a woman, to have brutal sex without one touch, hug, kiss, tender caress? Well, then it is sexual,' Mr Gavrieli said in the video.

'It arouses men to see a woman or a child cry? It is sexual. It arouses men to rape a woman? Well, then it is sexual.'

In attempting to explain the aim of cameras in pornography, Mr Gavrieli added 'porn cameras have no interest in capturing any normal sensual activities such as petting, caressing, making out, touching, hugging, kissing – no, what porn cameras are into is the penetration.'

This video - reportedly shown without warning or context - caught a number of students aged between 14 and 15 off guard and even left some students in tears as a result, reported the Daily Telegraph.

One 14-year-old student claimed that she had been a victim of rape at a party earlier this year and that the graphic detailed descriptions of porn, in particular rape, had been were 'triggering'.

'I went to the bathroom straight after because I was throwing up,' she said. 'They could have at least separated the girls and boys or given a trigger warning especially while talking about rape.'

Another eight girls are understood to have walked out.

The school's principal Melinda Brown has subsequently written to parents to 'unreservedly apologise' for the incident and admitted the lesson breached Department of Education guidelines.

'I apologise unreservedly for this lesson going ahead without first informing you and providing you with the option to remove your child from this lesson,' Ms Brown wrote.

'I want to assure you the incident does not reflect the high standards and care of students that Wadalba Community School upholds at all other times.

A spokesperson for the department stated that 'the school did not follow Department policy and the incident does not reflect the high standards required by the Department.'

'The matter has been referred to the Department's Professional and Ethical Standards Directorate for investigation.'

'The Department apologises unreservedly for any distress caused and counselling is being offered to the students involved.'




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