Episode 220 – Smug Morrison, Riverfire and Support Clowns

Scott Morrison has realized he can get away with it. Riverfire should not be cancelled. And we offer an interesting option to consider should you face a tough meeting at work.

3:05 Jacinta Price

Scott, Paul and Craig went to see her at a public event.

10:00 Gladys Liu

The ABC reported on Gladys Liu in August.

Key points:

  • Liberal MP Gladys Liu has been tied to an organisation linked to China’s United Front
  • United Front forms part of Beijing’s over-arching strategy for influencing foreign governments and expatriate Chinese
  • Ms Liu said she only joined the organisation to help promote trade and resigned in 2016

Andrew Bolt interview: she dodged and ducked, not very well.

The Liberal Party is leaking against her.

Audio: Morrison plays the race card, Wong responds and then Morrison denies saying Shanghai Sam

On Sky News, Bolt asked the PM whether ASIO was also “racist” for warning Mr Turnbull off the meeting last year, or if Labor was racist for asking why Ms Liu “falsely denied on this show to having served on two Chinese organisations that are now part of China’s official propaganda arm”.

Plus, she and Frydenberg face High Court problems.

The High Court of Australia, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns which hears challenges regarding the validity of federal elections, will hear directions on Wednesday 18/9/19 for the challenge against the elections of Gladys Liu and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Both are being challenged for electoral fraud.

The ABC reported:

The challenges centre on Chinese-language Liberal Party posters that appeared at voting booths on election day, which they said were designed to deceive voters.

The posters, which featured the AEC’s distinctive purple and white colouring and were written in Chinese, instructed voters at polling stations that the “correct way to vote” was to place a “1” next to the name of the Liberal candidate on the ballot paper.

Scott Morrison and the coalition only hold power with a 2 seat majority and if Gladys Liu is forced to resign or the High Court order a by-election the chance is good that Labor will win Liu’s seat of Chisholm given Liu only won it by 1000 votes in 2019 and that is what Morrison is most worried about.

From Jack Waterford in the John Menadue Blog

The case of Ms Liu, on the basis of what we know, differs significantly from that of the disgraced Sam Dastyari. Senator Dastyari gave every appearance of being bought, or rented, by the Chinese government. He was getting bills paid. There seems a close relationship with money and his willingness to adopt and promote policies about China at odds with official party policy. He had certainly swallowed the small hook, as ASIO puts it, and looked as if he was now being gaffed.

Ms Liu, by contrast, was active in the Chinese community. She is perfectly entitled, as is any Australian citizen, of Chinese extraction or otherwise, to join organisations promoting trade or intercourse with China, pushing China’s interpretation of its rights and interests. The fact that such organisations have some sort of official Chinese status or recognition might suggest caution, at least while being a member of parliament, but it is not illegal, immoral, or perhaps even wrong.


24:50 Morrison is so smug because he knows he can get away with anything

She should’ve declared it and no-one would care. Even now, No-one except political junkies cares. Morrison played the race card and lied about his Shanghai Sam insults. No-one cares. The Murdoch papers, Nine and Sky would be livid if it was a Labor politician but they are biased and (except for Andrew Bolt) remain relatively silent. No-one cares. And let’s not kid ourselves. Labor would be just as bad. We don’t care, Morrison knows that and we are getting what we deserve. In 2 years and 9 months most Australians will think about politics for the first time in 3 years and they will swallow Morrisons daggy dad persona unless the economy has nose-dived in which case they will still vote for Morrison because they will be scared into thinking Labors high taxes will make it worse.

Here’s what you need to know. Scott Morrison is an asshole. Just remember that. He will spend the next 3 years smirking. With the help of Murdoch he will throw shit at Labor and none of it will stick to him. He will appear on 7:30 report and smirk his way through the timid questioning of Leigh Sales knowing he can bullshit at will because no-one cares. No-one will stop him. He will impose his morality of demonising sinful welfare recipients while favouring religious nutters. He will suck up to Trump and send us into another war. He will encourage climate change deniers and repell any moves to rein in carbon emissions. He will rob future generations to favour the current one. He will gut government services and cut tax for the top end. He will strangle the economy by thinking that a budget deficit is proof of a strong government. He will favour Baby Boomers and screw Millennials. He will con the working class into accepting neo liberal trickle down bullshit. He will protect corruption if it emanates from his own ranks. Threats to national security will be used for tyrannical laws unless of course the threat is from one of his own members. He will bully our parliament and shut down democracy if it suits him.

But worst of all, he will bring out the worst in us. He will encourage short term, shallow, selfish, materialism with a heavy dose of prosperity gospel moralising. He will teach us to love Billionaires and despise welfare recipients. He will talk about supporting community but with the exception of religious communities he will strip out all funding and government support.

Just like Boris Johnson in the UK, we have a PM who is prepared to do what others would not. An alpha gangster is in charge.

From episode 177

Besides bedroom issues, the two parties are the same.

Remember the quote from Chris Hedges? Well, of course, there’s a difference. It’s how you want corporate fascism delivered to you. Do you want it delivered by a Princeton educated, Goldman Sachs criminal or do you want it delivered by racist, nativist, Christian fascist? If only the Labor Party had Princeton educated Goldman Sachs criminals! The Liberals offer us the racist, nativist, Christian fascist but the Labor Party offers mere Labor Party hacks. Call me elitist, but when I ‘m screwed over, I like to be screwed over in style.

26:29 Christian Porter

Oh, keep an eye on Christian Porter

Even in this matter, Porter showed he was able to go on the attack without stepping in the bear traps all over the place. When Porter had to shut down a Labor move to debate the Liu matter, he used Liberal Party history for protection and ammunition.

“Earlier this week we had a condolence [motion] for the last living member of the Menzies Government (Jim Forbes), who helped unravel the White Australia Policy, and all these years later this is where we are,” Porter said.

“The fundamental proposition that [Labor] are putting is that a Chinese Australian, with a wonderful heritage, who overcame domestic violence, who came to this country, who came to this country and has natural associations with Chinese organisations, by virtue of those associations is not a fit and proper person to be here.”

Porter’s colleagues are watching him closely and like what they see. “Christian is everything we look for in a future leader while Josh (Frydenberg), while hardworking, is seen as too close to the boss [Morrison],” said one Liberal MP.

But he stuffed it in WA

From Crikey

Ian Farquhar writes: I watched Porter’s performance defending Liu streamed live from Parliament House, as it happened. I didn’t notice anything displaying “genuine humour”, nor anything which was agile or intellectual. What I saw was a disgraceful rant from someone angry that his side was being questioned, furiously throwing mud and allegations of racism.

Joe Boswell writes: Dennis Atkins’s enthusiastic encomium of Christian Porter — unmatched political colossus, intellect, wit and heart-throb — was an inspiring read, but perhaps one or two details were omitted for lack of space. Readers in Western Australia, in particular, will recall Porter’s stint as the state treasurer and his 2011-12 budget speech. He made a wild assumption that the GST formula would be revised imminently in WA’s favour. His budget bravely anticipated GST windfalls of several billion dollars for the state in the coming years when the wholly predictable reality was WA’s share kept falling fast. Consequently he wrecked the state’s finances, trashed the Liberal government’s reputation and arguably did more than anyone to put Labor back in power here. If, as Atkins predicts, Porter ascends to the party leadership, it will be fascinating to see if he can work the same devastating magic on the federal Liberals and the country.


28:50 Should Brisbane Cancel Riverfire?

BRISBANE’S annual Riverfire fireworks spectacular is under threat, with a social media campaign calling for it to be cancelled and funding diverted to fire victims and farmers.

The fireworks display, which is the centrepiece of the Brisbane Festival, is scheduled for September 28 and sees hundreds of thousands line the banks of the Brisbane River.

But the Riverfire Facebook page is the target of a major backlash from keyboard warriors and a change.org petition has been set up calling on Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner to axe the show.

Petition creator Lauren Darwin said: “With the kick Mother Nature has dished out to regional and rural Queensland since the beginning of the year, I believe there is greater need in the state than a night of extravagant fireworks.

“It really serves no purpose apart from entertaining city-dwellers. Given the very real struggles communities are having, such as the floods earlier this year in the north, Clifton with no fuel in town, whole towns like Stanthorpe and Warwick almost without water, and the most horrific bushfire season this state has ever seen, there are more worthy causes than an evening of fireworks.”

The Fist: If you agree then what is the general principle you are applying and does it stand up to alternative scenarios?

Normally you have a series of elements and then a series of exemptions.

If A, B and C exist then this rule applies (you are guilty of a certain offence, you must pay this tax, you need this licence) unless exemptions D, E or F exist (it was self-defence, you are under 18, you are indigenous)

Can you come up with a general rule that treats people with similar circumstances equally without unfair results? Exemptions will often be necessary but the more exemptions, the more you should be suspicious you should be. Do the exemptions make sense or do they grant arbitrary privileges or arbitrary disadvantage?

If you can construct a general rule with limited but obvious exemptions, then you might have a theory worth pursuing.

In times of natural disasters it is inappropriate to hold festivals? But there is nearly always a drought somewhere in Australia. Applying that rule, you would never have a festival. You would never have a festival in Cyclone season.

But, maybe tough times are exactly when you need a festival to lift spirits.

Is it just the city folk who can’t have festivals when times are tough in the country? Does it apply the other way around? Should Chinchilla cancel its melon festival when Brisbane is in flood?

Why limit disasters to natural disasters? If unemployment is 20% in Hervey Bay or if the stock market or property prices plunge 20% would that qualify?

There are retail businesses in Brisbane who are doing it tough and a fireworks night is a way of redistributing money towards them. Cancelling fireworks would be a financial blow to some struggling retailers and casual staff who need the extra income.

But it’s OK, the Toowoomba Mayor is praying for rain.

Mayors in regional Queensland are uniting for a day of prayer for rain this Sunday September 15, with Christians around the country urged to take part.

Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio has called for the event, saying the current drought is one of the worst he has ever seen, with Stanthorpe potentially set to run out of water by Christmas time.

He says the rain shortage is having a major impact on mental health in the affected communities, and that these people need to know that we’re on their side amid what he’s called a long and tough journey.

Cr Antonio is urging people to pray for those on the land and in rural businesses, as well as the people looking after those most impacted by the drought.

Photo by Luke Chapman https://www.flickr.com/photos/s13_eisbaer/4963510224

41:23 The Catholic Church thinks it is above the law … and it probably is

The Catholic Church says it will not follow new Tasmanian laws that require priests to break the seal of confession to report suspicion of child sex abuse.

The laws also require any Tasmanian with knowledge of child sex abuse to report the crime to police — or face up to 21 years’ imprisonment or fines of up to $3,360.

But Tasmania’s most senior Catholic said the laws would make paedophiles less likely to come forward.

In a statement, Archbishop Julian Porteous said priests were “unable” to follow secular law that required them to break the seal of confession.

“I believe the Tasmanian bill will not strengthen protections for children and vulnerable people, but it will have the opposite effect — as offenders will be less likely to come forward to confess serious sins for fear of being reported,” Archbishop Porteous said.

“This will deny priests the opportunity to encourage offenders to report themselves to police.”

42:32 Cam’s Bible Quiz

Here is the link

50:01 Unemployment benefits should be seen as a payment that requires effort in return

The Courier Mail editorial 13 September 2019

Unemployment benefits should not be seen as an entitlement but as a payment that requires something in return.

That’s the whole concept of mutual obligation that is entrenched in our welfare system.

But is it?

Are there jobs? I just want beggars off the streets.

A Philosophical Approach to the Drug Testing Argument

From Alison Ritter a professor and specialist in Drug policy UNSW in an article in The Conversation:

While proponents of drug testing welfare recipients argue from the moral positions of contractualism, paternalism and communitarianism, critics come from a different philosophical standpoint.

Their arguments are largely focused on using evidence to argue the potential harms to testing outweigh the benefits. Philosophically speaking, this would be a consequentialist, utilitarian moral position.

Let’s look at contractualism, paternalism and communitarianism.

Contractualism says the relationship between citizens and the state should be based on reciprocal agreement, with mutual obligations. In other words, people who receive income support should be subject to conditions.

Paternalism enables those conditions to be ones where someone is protected from the consequences of their own poor decision-making (such as taking an illicit drug).

And this is morally justifiable in the communitarian sense of the importance of community solidarity and social cohesion. In other words, the collective good — however this may be defined but in this particular case the integrity of the social security system — is greater than any individual freedoms or rights to privacy, such as drug-taking. This communitarianism position does seem at odds with the government’s approach to individualism and freedoms in other areas.

Critics of the proposals have outlined their concerns about drug testing .

Concerns have included the lack of evidence supporting a relationship between drug use and employment, not enough drug treatment programs, the costs associated with the proposal, and the view that it is punitive and discriminatory.

The proponents and the opponents effectively slide past each other given these fundamentally different moral positions. For example, no matter how much empirical data shows the harms outweigh the benefits (utilitarianism), the contractualism view does not see this as relevant.

This may mean the critics need to mount effective arguments against paternalism, contractualism and communitarianism.

For example, for paternalism to be ethical, we need to show it can be justified and can actually help someone. This is highly questionable with the drug testing proposal.

We can also argue whether the conditions for contractualism are met. Contractualism is built on the premise of fair reciprocity by both parties (both parties are entering into the “mutual obligation” contract as equals). Given the structural inequality experienced by people with drug problems (such as unequal access to education or health services) the conditions for fair reciprocity may not be met.

If critics are willing to tackle the moral underpinnings of the recent proposals, we may be able to speak to policy makers in a language (and philosophy) they understand. This is essential if we are to block this unjust and discriminatory policy.


1:00:58 Look Out – The Venezuelans are a Nuclear threat

U.S. Propaganda Doesn’t Get More Shameless Than ‘Jack Ryan’

Central to the plot is the idea that Venezuela, once armed with nuclear weapons, would bomb the U.S.—a country with enough firepower to use a fraction of its weapons to flatten the Latin American country.

“A nuclear Venezuela you will not hear about in the news,” Krasinski says at one point in the trailer, “’cause we’ll already be dead.”

Adam Johnson, co-host of the podcast “Citations Needed,” mocked the series’ premise and pointed out that the propagandization of the show was the kind of media that U.S. news networks regularly accuse authoritarian regimes of forcing on their people.

“A nuclear Venezuela!” Johnson said in a tongue-in-cheek tweet. “Man I’m so glad we don’t have state media propagandizing us in this country.

1:02:47 Child Care Subsidies

From Dr Fiona Mueller from the Centre for Independent Studies (a libertarian think tank) in The Courier Mail

But despite this massive investment, at least half the parents eligible for the new Child Care Subsidy see the system as inflexible and unaffordable, according to Centre for Independent Studies research released this week.

The Child Care Subsidy is only available to families using formal, centre-based care such as long day and out-of-school-hours care. These facilities are often hard to access, with too few places for infants and little flexibility for parents to change the frequency and timing.

Rather than formal care, 50 per cent of the mothers said they would prefer informal arrangements. They wanted the option to have a grandparent or other relative, a friend or a nanny providing care, with 66 per cent even saying they would accept a lower subsidy if this meant more flexibility and affordability.

The Iron Fist: This is the private school BS argument. “I don’t want the public option, just give me my share of the money and I’ll use it towards my own private system”

We need a list of think tanks.

1:07:57 Scott’s email

Good afternoon Mr Vasta

I wish to register my deep concern over the direction that the government has taken with respect to the issue of Religious Discrimination.

I refer you to the following article from The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/religious-discrimination-bill-is-a-mess-that-risks-privileging-people-of-faith-above-all-others-122631

In particular I point out the following two paragraphs from the article:

“Most would agree it’s wrong to discriminate against someone for the reason that they are of a certain faith – or, indeed, of no faith.

But this bill goes much further than other discrimination laws and weakens existing protections for LGBTIQ+ people, women, people with disabilities, and those from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.”

Now Mr Vasta I did not spend several hours at demonstrations and on the phone trying to get marriage equality passed in this country for all of that work to be undone with the stroke of the attorney general’s pen.

I ask that you very, very, very carefully consider this before you support it.

Thank you

Scott Clark

1:09:26 Flirty the mini service horse

Great pictures

Support Animals

From The Guardian

To promote your pet to the status of an “emotional support animal”, or ESA, all you need is a therapist’s letter asserting the animal contributes to your psychological wellbeing. If you don’t have a therapist, there are for-profit websites, known among some psychologists as “ESA mills”, that will facilitate a quick, dubious disability appraisal by a clinician over the phone or via a web survey, then sell you miscellaneous swag like vests and tags (none of which are legally required for assistance animal owners to have) to make you pet look more official.

In 2014, the New Yorker’s Patricia Marx gallivanted freely around the city with five successive fake ESA creatures, including a snake, an alpaca, and a pig named Daphne, demonstrating how easy it is to trick bewildered staff into letting random animals into their shops, museums, and restaurants.

While no governing body keeps track of the figure, a study from the University of California at Davis determined the number of ESAs registered by animal control facilities in the state increased 1,000% between 2002 and 2012. By 2015, the National Service Animal Registry, one of several sites that sell ESA certificates, had registered more than 65,000 assistance animals. In the four years since, that number increased 200%.

While not all spurious ESAs wreak havoc, some do – with serious consequences. In 2018, Delta Air reported an 84% surge in animal incidentssince 2016, including urination, defecation and biting. Recent media reports of emotional support peacocks causing pandemonium in airports, comfort hamsters getting flushed in a frenzy, and dogs storming the stage during Catshave further contributed to the sense that ESAs are an epidemic, part of a zoo where entitlement, biti7\456+9*\ng, pooping, and pretty much anything else goes.

1:11:23 Sad face: New Zealander takes clown to redundancy meeting

If you think emotional support animals have got out of control, prepare yourself for news of an emotional support clown.

An Auckland advertising copywriter brought a clown to his redundancy meeting, as first reported in the New Zealand Herald on Friday.

New Zealand legally requires employers to allow workers the option of bringing a support person to serious disciplinary meetings, usually relating to an employee’s prospective dismissal.

After FCB New Zealand lost a significant client and began layoffs, Josh Thompson, who had reportedly been with the company for five months, received an ominous email from his bosses that read: “Bad news. We’re having a meeting to discuss your role.”

Faced with the task of securing an appropriate support person for the potentially tense meeting, Thompson, a comedian who performs under the name Joshua Jack, said: “I thought it’s best to bring in a professional, and so I paid $200 and hired a clown.”

The clown, who Thompson refers to as “Joe”, crafted balloon animals throughout the meeting, including a poodle. His antics were squeaky, and Thompson’s bosses had to request he quieten down several times.

“It’s further understood,” reported the Herald, “that the clown mimed crying when the redundancy paperwork was handed over.”

picture of the meeting, taken through a boardroom’s glass doors by an unknown spectator, is of compromised quality, though one can detect that Joe, the clown, is wearing a colorful hat and a yellow bib, and that Thompson, leaning back in his chair, indeed looks relaxed for someone in the process of getting laid off.

Thompson told Magic Talk radio: “I mean, I did get fired, but apart from that it was all smooth running.”

Fortunately, Thompson will not be out of work for long. The Australian ad agency DDB confirmed Thompson will start a new role in its office next week.


1:14:10 Man Uses Chainsaw to Cut Phallus off Māori Carving in Order to Please God

Self-described devoted Christian Milton Wainwright says he was doing God’s work when he used a chainsaw to lop off the phallus of a Māori carving on New Zealand’s Manawatū Gorge Reserve walking track.

Wainwright, a local museum owner, had been a volunteer caretaker on the paths for many years. He claims that he decided to deface the statue after he complained that its depiction of the penis was obscene and immoral. He had seen children playing near the statue, even touching the phallus, and he has explained that he believed the frank depiction of genitalia promoted sex for pleasure.

The carving was created by local artist Craig Kawana.

Kawana says he deliberately minimized the appearance of the phallus as a concession to the sensibilities of non-Māori visitors, making it smaller and less prominent than is traditional. The original Māori carvings, which were frequently defaced by Christian missionaries, featured prominent depictions of both phalluses and vulvas.

1:16:37 Bereijklian scraps lockout laws

Victims should not decide policy.

This morning, Gladys Bereijklian attempted to stuff the genie back in the bottle, announcing a relaxation of the hated lock-out laws. The Premier said it was “time to enhance Sydney’s night-life,” but stopped short of releasing Kings Cross from the grip of bureaucracy. In conversation with the ABC, Oxford Art Factory owner Mark Gerber noted that ” like living in East Berlin under Stassi control, not in sunny old Sydney town.”

The laws were introduced in 2014, after a pair of alcohol-related deaths in Kings Cross. However, a new study into the Queensland lockout laws has found that they have offered virtually no benefit in reducing violence or curbing dangerous alcohol consumption.

Researchers from the University of Queensland, Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology studied the effect of the laws from 2014 to 2017. This included looking at blood alcohol readings outside affected areas, interviewing bar patrons and collecting crime data.


The researchers found that after lockout laws were introduced, people were more likely to attend licensed establishments at later times, were consuming the same amount as before the laws whilst inside and were accordingly more intoxicated when they left.

The laws were found to have contributed to patrons drinking more alcohol at home before leaving for licensed premises, and that they generally left the establishments with blood alcohol concentrations that were higher than before the laws.

“Study results were consistent with our predictions that following the introduction of the legislation, patrons increased their alcohol preloading and entered NEDs (night-time entertainment districts) later,” Griffith University Associate Professor Grant Devilly stated.

“People were substantially more inebriated as they entered the NEDs after the legislative change.”

Significantly, the study found no reduction in overall violent assaults.

Impact on violent crime

A report by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), released in April 2015, showed a 26% reduction in assaults in the lockout areas, and a 32% reduction in assaults in Kings Cross.

This account, therefore, reported that assaults in lockout areas decreased significantly, but it made clear that “the extent to which this is due to a change in alcohol consumption or a change in the number of people visiting the Kings Cross and Sydney Entertainment Precincts remains unknown.”

A March 2017 report, however, revealed a 12% increase in assaults in areas adjacent to lockout precincts, and a 17% increase in “easy-to-reach” areas such as Ultimo, Surry Hills, Bondi Beach, Coogee and Newtown.

The report showed a 13% decline in the Sydney CBD and 49% in Kings Cross, but commentators note that this corresponded with falls in foot traffic of up to 80% at night.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Regular per episode donations

One off donations

IFVG Index