Cheeseburger Gothic

The new defence minister

Posted September 21, 2015 into Politics by John Birmingham

First of some occasional pieces for SBS. I'll probably go thinky, for the most part.

The Australian military has been in the field for a long time now, the quiet decline of the post-Vietnam years nearly two generations removed from the RAAFs interdiction in Iraq and Syria, highly politicised naval contributions to border control, more conventional maritime operations in the Middle East and intense and continual special forces deployments across the globe.

Nonetheless, descriptions of new minister Marise Payne taking control of the Defence while the country is at war are breathy and overblown. Australia is not at war and has not mobilised its enormous national resources to make war on any foreign state. But tens of thousands of its war fighters and their machines have been routinely engaged in combat operations since the 9/11 attacks. Thousands more were deployed to East Timor a couple of years before that. Supporting them will indeed constitute a significant part of the responsibility Marise Payne now takes up, but it is by no means the greatest challenge awaiting her.

It's all here.

8 Responses to ‘The new defence minister’

Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted September 21, 2015
It seems to me that if Vietnam and the Philippines can agree that they need to stand together against China's push into their maritime territories, then Australia should surely join in with that coalition. If I were going to increase training quantity and quality with anyone it would be with those two nations, going so far as to establish basing rights in both.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted September 21, 2015
A guest on RN Breakfast made positive comments about Minister Payne's experience in the dept. delivering pensions & benefits, one of the largest & most complex administrative departments.


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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted September 22, 2015
I just hope that Payne has the depth of character and strength of spirit to accomplish what all of her predecessors have failed to achieve - the annexation of New Zealand.

Lulu would have you know...

Posted September 22, 2015
Therbs, I assume you're hoping that happens before the end of the rugby world cup, so that we can claim the near-inevitable All Blacks win as our own.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted September 22, 2015
Surely it's all about the sheep.

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted September 22, 2015
I await havoc's learned, balanced nuanced discourse on this issue

Murphy_of_Missouri has opinions thus...

Posted September 22, 2015
FUCKIN' CAP DA MUTHAFUCKAHS!!!!

You know, I just can't sustain it.

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The Member for Phwoarr

Posted September 17, 2015 into Politics by John Birmingham

10 Responses to ‘The Member for Phwoarr’

dweeze swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 17, 2015
Malcolm in the Middle's answer to 2/3 Tony's Underpants.
I'm scared.

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Halwes puts forth...

Posted September 18, 2015
The other grub that I hope sinks without trace is Ian McDonald. Surely an industry minister that presides over the amount of jobs and industries lost to this country during his tenure can't possibly survive

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted September 18, 2015

That's not helping.

I was started by the amount of vitriol that Malcom Turnbull's coup generated from some LNP members in the comments sections on news items. Some seemed quite miffed.

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Stuart ducks in to say...

Posted September 18, 2015
Wally Aly has an interesting take on this: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/malcolm-turnbull-needs-to-ditch-the-neocons-and-connect-to-middle-australia-20150916-gjojxk.html

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Rob ducks in to say...

Posted September 20, 2015
If everyone could pop over to my blog and click the Viagra ads and the game of heroes link. That would be great. So far I've earned $1.18 from google.

Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted September 20, 2015
well that comment should be in the story above this one. But for some reason also kinda fits the man and his couch.

Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted September 21, 2015
It would make more sense if you changed your handle so it reads 'Malcolm reminds us'.

Rob mumbles...

Posted September 21, 2015
The problem with 'Malcolm reminds us' as a handle of any sort, it may be out of date by the time internet popularity beckons.( I give him 22 months until another spill) I have totally stuffed my YouTube channel by using my current choice of rubbish name. Doh.

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AKM. is gonna tell you...

Posted October 10, 2015
I was reading with glee that Brian Griffin (sorry....Loughnane....) was resigning.... I read the article while watching Serenity for the millionth time.....and it struck me that the resignation was identical to the scene in which The Operative assists the Alliance doctor to fall on a sword.
Especially the dialogue by the Alliance doctor about River Tam......could imagine the good Brian uttering similar words about how much Credlin knows..........
Well worth watching that section again....easily found on the YouTube....

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AuntyLou reckons...

Posted October 10, 2015
Yeah... AKM, I apologise but I got sidetracked by the blooper reels. I am sure you were making a very salient point - but I just can't pass up Mal saying "kid taking a dirt nap with the baby Jesus" or doing a little dance. Maybe when the LNP puts out a blooper reel. Sorry...

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"In Iraq, I raided insurgents. In Virginia, the police raided me."

Posted July 28, 2015 into Politics by John Birmingham

Great essay by a former serviceman, Alex Hortonis, who knows a little bit about kicking down doors and sticking guns into people's faces. Enough that when it happened to him he knew what to do when it happened to him. And after.

I got home from the bar and fell into bed soon after Saturday night bled into Sunday morning. I didn’t wake up until three police officers barged into my apartment, barking their presence at my door. They sped down the hallway to my bedroom, their service pistols drawn and leveled at me.

It was just past 9 a.m., and I was still under the covers. The only visible target was my head.

In the shouting and commotion, I felt an instant familiarity. I’d been here before. This was a raid.

...

Hortonis argues that militirising police work creates a militarised, high threat environment that is more dangerous to operate in:

...law enforcement officers need the cooperation of the communities they patrol in order to do their jobs effectively. In the early stages of the war, the U.S. military overlooked that reality as well. Leaders defined success as increasing military hold on geographic terrain, while the human terrain was the real battle. For example, when our platoon entered Iraq’s volatile Diyala province in early 2007, children at a school plugged their ears just before an IED exploded beneath one of our vehicles. The kids knew what was coming, but they saw no reason to warn us. Instead, they watched us drive right into the ambush. One of our men died, and in the subsequent crossfire, several insurgents and children were killed. We saw Iraqis cheering and dancing at the blast crater as we left the area hours later.

The way he went about piecing together the circumstances and context of his own raid experience is very impressive citizen journalism. Better than a lot of pro journalists could manage, actually.

It's all here.

17 Responses to ‘"In Iraq, I raided insurgents. In Virginia, the police raided me."’

Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted July 28, 2015
Always better to try and use reason before force, even in a defensive situation.
A fair number of folks, and not just cops, don't get that.

dweeze mutters...

Posted July 28, 2015
SOP - shoot first, ask questions later. For some folks, it's easier to squeeze a trigger than talk nicely.

damian mutters...

Posted July 28, 2015
It shouldn't be possible for such people to become cops. It says that it must be really, really hard to recruit good cops. Or there's no interest in paying for them.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon ducks in to say...

Posted July 28, 2015
I passed this one on to a mate - response was "To Protect and Serve" . . . . . . ourselves.I'd seen something similar to this a few months back but it was about Aussies in Afghanistan (and the red rat). Also an interesting read but can't for the life of me find it anywhere

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NBlob asserts...

Posted July 28, 2015
I daily intercept & inspect people who'd rather I didn't. I wonder how my approach would differ in different contexts. In Noosa I risk upsetting a clients Labradoodle or spilling their Pinot Grigio. I don't routinely risk being shot in the fkn head.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted July 28, 2015
It's a different world, isn't it. If it's hard to recruit good cops in some places, it'd be even harder to stop them turning into manic cagerats with itchy teeth. I guess the way to do that is actually to change the conditions in which they operate, but that's a next level up challenge and many large interest groups like it the way it is.

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GhostSwirv ducks in to say...

Posted July 28, 2015

Seems to me a key element in how this scenario played out is race ... if Alex Horton was black and found sleeping in an apartment the police believed was illegally occupied he most likely would not have survived the encounter.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted July 28, 2015
Yep.

Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2015
Ghost, the key element in this scenario is that he knew what was going on and stayed calm. He didn't spaz out, or panic, nor did he try to go after one of them.

I have found, even with the first rate dickheads that are in law enforcement, that the best thing to do is just stay calm and be very, very, painfully polite to them.

Umm, the other side of that is that I NEVER go to them with a problem. If I have a problem, I handle it myself.

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2015
One of those situations where Right & Fair don't matter. It should be the professional's responsibility to manage the situation, Not the punter. But that isn't the reality. If Right & Fair were the dominant forces I wouldn't be up @ 0500, instead I'd be snuggled up between 2 bikini models sleeping off a coke binge. Instead I'm off to work.

GhostSwirv mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2015

I haven't had any personal dealings with police of late, (if I don't count family functions as my youngest sister is now a zealous Police Prosecutor), but by all accounts the Thin Blue/Black Line has solidified into a very scared, very aggressive and very well-armed agency of govt.

A model of behaviour our current Federal govt. wants to ape for our Border Farce of a Customs and Immigration system.

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HAVOCK21 asserts...

Posted July 28, 2015
Just saying is all.
https://www.odmp.org/search/year?year=2014
10 x vehicles and 47 by gun fire.
Imagine the fkn uproar here!..worksafe would go fkn EPIC on their arses.Just remember...the line of work AINT THE FKN SAFEST!......

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w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2015
The most concerning thing was the seeming lack of any minimal enquiry before bursting into a person's bedroom in full swat team mode.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2015
Exactly, a swat team for a break in was the thing that made me say WTF? Maybe they've had past history of squatters taking residence and defending their newly found home with a full arsenal of grenade launchers and really bad language.

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Halwes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 29, 2015
This reminds me of the circumstances here since the intervention. A big bunch of bored coppers will always find something to do except bust the child sex offenders which seems to be all too hard for them. Instead they sit on the track and empty peoples possessions onto the road searching for that single gramme of pot that might justify their cushy existence.
If you do run into an NT copper I would suggest, from painful experience, that you be very polite and agree with everything he says. You might as well because you are going to be verballed no matter what you do. If you run into a man hating female NT cop then you have got no hope.

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted July 29, 2015
Given the militarization of Police is it possible the old adage applies "if all you have is an hammer, every problem looks like a nail"?

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Trevor Pyle has opinions thus...

Posted August 25, 2015
When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
This is a real and growing problem here in the states, but it won't (safe to assume) be really addressed until a bunch of white folks continue to have bad, highly visible experiences like this one.

Remember how people said that there wouldn't be an Ebola treatment "breakthrough" until whites became infected...

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Get to da choppaaa

Posted July 25, 2015 into Politics by John Birmingham

When I realised it was my turn to write the Saturday News Review column for SMH and Bronnie was still Speaker of Parilament, I was so excited I could hardly finish my foie gras. There were two challenges for this column.

First was coming up with something, anything, that hadn't already been written, blogged, tweeted or meme generated about her grotesque appetite for living large on the public tit. Second, was cramming it all into one column. Once you look into her expense claim history it's hard to know where to start. The helicopter rides are a crowd fave, but far from the most most lucrative the many operators of Australia's booming luxury transport business.

Booming because of the efforts of one, very naughty Madame Speaker.

3 Responses to ‘Get to da choppaaa’

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted July 25, 2015
The quote. How hard did you look? First page of Google.

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Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted July 26, 2015
Good god, Man, did you actually attribute the quote "Get to the choppa" to Commando?
For shame. For shame. Dutch will not save you now.

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Lulu would have you know...

Posted July 27, 2015
I think that's the most frightening piece of photoshop ever.

Ever.

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Patriotic Texans Resist Teaser Pony Grab

Posted July 16, 2015 into Politics by John Birmingham

Dateline: Beaver's Lick. TX.

Fearful of a Federal Gubbermint intent on grabbing their teaser ponies and precious freedoms, residents of the Lonestar State are burying their ponies before Ayatollah Obama's forces can sweep in under the cover of the Jade Helm 15 military exercise and take them all.

State Governator McKinney McKinney has ordered the National Guard to monitor the exercise and check all US Army horse floats entering and leaving the Lone Star state.

Local man Randall Biceps declared that all three residents of Beaver's Lick are ready to resist any move on their teaser ponies, but resistence forces appeared to split this morning when neighouring Beaver's Licker, Miss Missy Flagstaff claimed Mr Biceps would likely be too drunk to wake up during the two week duration of the exercise.

27 Responses to ‘Patriotic Texans Resist Teaser Pony Grab’

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 16, 2015
How the fuck did those yobbos figure out that the exercise is a cover for a federal military take over of Texas?

GhostSwirv would have you know...

Posted July 16, 2015

Wait a minute - I thought the U.S. of A's finest were doin' War Games in the Deep North of Oz at the moment?

Is this Lone Star Lickin' just some kind of diversionary mission?

dweeze swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 16, 2015
PNB - I reckon that their tin foil hats homed in on the secret signals from Barry's bunker in Washington. Time for you to lock and load and prepare for martial law.

Bunyip ducks in to say...

Posted July 17, 2015
PNB, it is obviously Greybeard's fault.

NBlob mutters...

Posted July 18, 2015
+1

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted July 16, 2015
Personally I thought this conspiracy had all the hall marks of a Prof Boylan exercise in winding up the locals. <h3 style="-webkit-transition: all 0.1s ease; transition: all 0.1s ease; font-size: 18px; margin: -4px 0px 0px 40px; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">
</h3>

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Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted July 17, 2015
On a serious note, I can't even wrap my head around the notion that Jade Helm could be considered a covert, take over Texas, exercise.
Of course, it is the same state which claims that Moses is a Founding Father.

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Rhino reckons...

Posted July 17, 2015
Seems reasonable to me.
Was at a cigar shop the other night, not my normal cigar digs, minding my own business when some guys around me pulled me into a discussion, as happens in cigar shops, about the situation in Greece.
That turned to a discussion of the eventual breakdown of American society and what would happen. I advised them that I was already eyeballing Warlord status and that they would do well by swearing fealty now before the rush.
One guy asked me why I thought that I would survive.
My reply, "Already having a plan, my sociopathic ruthlessness coupled with a sense of fairness, charisma and a bunker stocked with weapons, ammo and food/water.
Reasonable on all levels.

insomniac reckons...

Posted July 17, 2015
and a spectacular hat ... don't forget the hat.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 17, 2015
After informing your conversation partner about your plan, did he try to buy in? I most certainly would have. I have an agreement in my pocket at all times should I ever need to buy into an End of The World survival plan.

And please, from the rest of you: no lawyer jokes. You would do this, too, if you had the sense, the education, and the cash.

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Cintamani reckons...

Posted July 17, 2015
What i dont understand is why they would invade their own country in the first place.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 19, 2015
Because they hate freedom.

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Halwes asserts...

Posted July 17, 2015

Is there really a place called Beaver Lick.? I want to live there.

Dave W mumbles...

Posted July 17, 2015
And wtf is a teaser pony?

insomniac mumbles...

Posted July 17, 2015
Dave W
It's the little horse who gets the mare all excited and then gets lead away with a superboner while the stallion strolls in and does his bit.

yankeedog swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 17, 2015
Halwes-there is indeed a place called Beaver Lick. Actually, two-one in Missouri, one in Kentucky. There's also a Big Bone Lick (also in Kentucky) for those so inclined.

Wisconsin boasts Bong State Recreational Area (named for famous WWII ace and pioneer jet pilot Richard Bong and resident of Wisconsin-not named after the smoking device). If there'd been a just God in the universe, Bong would have been a resident of Weed, California.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 18, 2015
I think Bong is a western suburb of Weed, California. I distinctly remember seeing a big sign reading "Welcome to Bong" and under that in smaller letters "The Gateway to Weed.)

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 18, 2015
There's a town called Woodenbong in northern NSW, near the Queensland border. It's more or less between Mount Warning and Mount Mistake.

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Therbs mutters...

Posted July 17, 2015
This is very Boylan.

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Governor McKinney McKinney reckons...

Posted July 18, 2015
The situation is in hand and for a bit of real world fun with words, there IS a liquor store in Beaver Colorado named Beaver Liquors. Not kidding.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted July 18, 2015
How far is that from Houston?

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted July 18, 2015
Ive done a little reading about Jade Helm after hearing about it on the rather excellent 'Stuff they don't want you to know podcast.' I'm astounded, completely amazed that anyone could buy into this. Ok, so you are sure you got some extra- terrestrial Hopoate action, convinced 911 was an inside job & believe there is a cartel of bankers who control the world, but really? Seriously, I'm intrigued. Has it reached a point where if the federal government says X, then axiomatically Y is true? Someone cleverer than I (shut up Wrinkly) once said 'when the governed lose faith in the governing, revolution is imminent.' What happens when a (small & vocal) % of the population becomes convinced that Everything the Government spokes-suits say is a lie?

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 18, 2015
By way of trying to find some sort of meta-index of scholarly articles and research in the growing field of "liberals and conservatives are different in surprising ways", I recently came across and read a book called "The Republican Brain" (which provided such an index). It may be an interesting read in the context of the question you just asked. It's far from solid, sometimes degenerates into schoolboyish sniggering, but it does pull together a number of real current streams of activity based around trying to understand what and why these things happen.

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damian puts forth...

Posted July 18, 2015
Okay I'm having trouble not reading that as "taser pony".

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Rhino is gonna tell you...

Posted July 19, 2015
I grew up in Beaver County.
The county seat is the town of Beaver. Famous for appearing in the 1986 Michael Keaton movie Gung Ho.
The Japanese in the movie swam in the Beaver River (empties into the mighty Ohio). My favorite bar, The Riverside Saloon, also sits on the Beaver River. I have drunkenly skinny dipped in that river on several occasions. Because, hot chicks. Beaver in the Beaver we used to call it.


John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted July 19, 2015
Livin' the dream.

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Who is distracting whom?

Posted July 7, 2015 into Politics by John Birmingham

"For a government that is so very, very keen not to be distracted by same sex marriage, the Abbott government is doing a hell of a job distracting itself with increasingly bugshit arguments against same sex marriage...."

More at Blunty.

11 Responses to ‘Who is distracting whom?’

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 7, 2015
It would be a great pleasure if Tony Abbott was forever known as the Gay Marriage Prime Minister.

GhostSwirv mumbles...

Posted July 7, 2015
I agree Sleepless, but you haven't given Tony Abbott enough due credit.

Proto-coal demands he be known as the ...

Gay Death Cult Terror Marriage With Coal Q&A Is Evil Prime Minister

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Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted July 7, 2015
Is now a bad time to gloat about the United States of America taking the lead on a piece of social policy ahead of Australia?

Also, when will they switch to the drachma? I'm looking forward to traveling to Athens for some tax deductible research on the cheap.

damian has opinions thus...

Posted July 7, 2015
I for one thing it's a perfect time to gloat about exactly that, and by the way well done you guys.

Dave W asserts...

Posted July 7, 2015
Mrs W and I are travelling to Greece in a few weeks. I'm a little scared, to be honest. We're either going to be seen as walking ATMs or targets. Either we're going to be welcome, I'm sure.

w from brisbane asserts...

Posted July 7, 2015
I hadn't realised that gay marriage was already legal in 36 of the 50 states. Australia can be proud that, at the federal level, we do not have politicians corruptly accumulting high personal wealth via their positions. On the flipside, we have some weird zealots in there.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon has opinions thus...

Posted July 7, 2015
I'm pretty sure by last count nearly everyone is taking a lead ahead of Australia on one social policy or another.

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yankeedog would have you know...

Posted July 7, 2015
Of course, everyone realizes that if the 'gay marriage' issue is taken care of in Australia (through judicial action or policy change or plebiscite or however), and the politicians can't spend endless hours arguing about it, it forces them To Take Action On Something Else. Something, well, possibly important. That may or may not be a good thing. We're running an awful risk of them screwing something up really badly...:)

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Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted July 7, 2015
Abbott has the calculus down - he knows that while a majority may agree with the proposition, it won't change many votes come election time. He's quite happy to let progressives expend a lot of energy on the issue *because* if the energy is being spent there, it isn't being spent on something that might change votes come election time.


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dweeze is gonna tell you...

Posted July 7, 2015
You mention a 'mature polity', 'grown ups' and Abbot government in the one article. These things would seem exclusive of one another. Clowns - oh for sure, but the only work that they show any great zeal for or competence at would be that of distraction from their many failings.

Quokka reckons...

Posted July 8, 2015
What Dweeze said. So long as these clowns can keep everyone distracted with the 'look over there' issues that keep social media in a frenzy, nobody is going to notice the very real damage from their cuts to funding for homelessness, drug & alcohol rehab, mental health & DV shelters.I drop my OH at the train at south bank at dawn every day for the morning commute, & this winter we've both noticed a big increase in the number of people sleeping rough and kids riding the trains at night trying to stay warm and get some sleep because it's the safest place they can find.Thanks to the cuts to other areas, finding a place in a DV shelter for the night is now like winning the lottery, because they are picking up the slack from cuts to other areas. But as long as the LNP pout and sulk about Q&A, that story will stay on the back pages of the ABC website where it belongs, eh.

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