#AusPol ~ Q1 2020

We all know what happened in December. Bushfires and smoke.

The PM, startled by the intrusion of Australia at his Hawaiian resort, stumbled in front of the media bus and copped a glancing blow from its unforgiving bull bar.

Come January, as “Where the bloody hell are you?” rippled across the headlines and throughout Twitter, he emerged somewhat bemused to take charge of the the firestorm.

As if pre-empting contagion to come, people were reluctant to shake his hand.

They’re a bit upset (nothing personal) they’ve just lost their homes.

Firefighters were equally recalcitrant, verbally so in one particular case.

Now February, and the Shire Clapper sent a runner out for more cricket bats to fend off the mullygrubbers – and not only those coming down the pitch, either, but from all directions as the crowd joined in.

We looked on in admiration at ScoMo’s astounding skill at claiming a boundary off every ball, despite being head to toe with red marks and bruises..

Café Black Blue Mountain

Parliamentary ink slingers have upped their typing speeds following a $420,000 upgrade to the gallery’s coffee kiosk. The extra 15,000 cafés they must consume to pay for it might, however, decrease that keystroke rate due to the additional time required for consumption.

Only in the polished corridors of Sheep Station Central would government operated infrastructure be congratulated for 1) earning revenue for the Commonwealth; 2) being certifiably cheaper than an estimate; 3) get a seal of approval from a member of the Neoliberal  Outsourcing and Privatisation Committee ~ aka your Coalition government.

Liberal senator Paul Scarr congratulated the department on an “extraordinarily good result, on any objective basis.”

Treasury is tickled pink too, because its coffers picked up $30,000 in GST on the deal. Confused?

Throsby understands that of the four coffee outlets in The House, three are run by the Department of Parliamentary Services and only one is privately operated. Where’s the IPA when the nation needs them?

Committee of One

Too many committees are never enough, but too many members can slow them down.

The Cabinet Office Policy Committee “considers major policy issues, specialist advice on nationally significant issues, and rapidly evolving situations.”

But how many people attend these meetups? When The Cormanator confirmed that #ScottyFromMarketing was the only “permanent” member, the opposition posited that this was an “abuse of cabinet in confidence” because its considerations thereby get the benefit of cabinet confidentiality.

Albo leapt to his feet in question time on Monday (2 March) to ask a somewhat philosophical question of our metaphysically-inclined leader.

Can the prime minister advise in relation to this one-man cabinet committee do the committee’s discussions take long?

Is there a lot of disagreement in this committee and are the meeting of this committee held in the prime minister’s head?

The PM headed that one into the net, but due the extensive marketing content of his reply our eyes can’t report which net due to their being glazed over.

Left Right Out

Discomposure has spread through the nation’s neo-fascists, white nationalists, ethnonationalists, patriot sovereign citizens, and white power skinheads in general, after a liberal senator suggested they were actually left-wingers.

Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells buttonholed ASIO’s Mike Burgess for prefixing “right wing” to “extremists” when he described concerns of a “probable” terror attack – brought into “sharp terrible focus” by the 2019 Christchurch massacre.

But the good senator was concerned not with such trifles. She was far more troubled by neoliberalism and the law of natural selection as applied to human society being besmirched by such loose talk.

I think that you do understand that your comments, particularly when you refer to them solely as ‘right-wing’, has the potential to offend a lot of Australians,” she said.

Suitably admonished, Mr. Burgess retrieved his dropped jaw from the table and replied that he “totally (got) it” and agreed how unfortunate it was that we must refer to right-wing extremism as right-wing extremism.

Throsby anticipates the World Council of Nazism announcing an emergency rebranding of themselves as “non-left-wing extremists” – if only to protect the sensibilities of our conservative compatriots.

The Great Toilet Paper Crisis

When the threat of Coronavirus fired the imagination of Australians, they did the unimaginable and began hoarding – for some odd reason instead of food – toilet paper.

The irony was palpable, if irony can be. As that biological virus wreaked its roguish havoc upon the great meat supply that is us, a mind virus directed all Australians to do the patriotic thing and buy toilet paper, as if it government wartime bonds were printed on it.

To fuel a particular kind of group-think consumer behaviour, all you need is a rumour. All you need to do is whisper something is going to be scarce,” Dr Callaghan said.

And scarce it became. A self-fulfilling prophesy.

Never underestimate the base intelligence of flock behaviour. The world’s worst pandemics were reliably signalled by a sudden scarcity of bog rolls.

War on Cash

Not what you’re thinking. Not the Minister for Employment, Michaelia “Barina” Cash. No, talking about real money. Folding stuff.

Bob “Mad Katter” is Australia’s most colourful politician whose trajectory cuts through consensus opinion like an emu in traffic.

Decried as yet another bizarre stunt, on 5th March he made a show in parliament house, Canberra, of buying some gold bullion worth $19,000 using real old-fashioned bank notes.

He objects strongly – like any citizen should – to legislation that is supported by both LNP and Labor to limit cash transactions to $10,000. You know, to stop the criminals and money launderers. Suddenly that’s a big problem in 2020 but hasn’t particularly troubled all previous governments since federation.

However there was – is – a serious message in Bobby’s much derided stunt. None of the young journos forced to cover (probably only AAP, as usual) or mention the event saw the concept with any sympathy. In their busy lives they’ve not yet felt the seepage of freedoms, liberties that oldsters have seen evaporate over the past half-century from laws increasingly bereft of everyday common sense.

Those who toy with conspiracy theories consider one of the more plausible scenarios is a cashless world where banks control all finance – all your savings. A significant pillar of this conspiracy (that has already happened in some countries) is during the next possibly inevitable financial crisis, your savings will not be guaranteed by the government, they will be used instead to bail out the banks.

Also known as a “bail-in” from your point of view, where you become a forced creditor of your failing bank.

You may chew on that and take it with as much salt as your diet allows.

The world is changing all too quickly, and we are but boiling frogs.