Union Dirty Work: Labor Now Risks Democratic Fabric

NOT CONTENT with its complicity in a challenge to a Royal Commissioner — made purely to protect criminal thuggery — the ALP is so beholden to lawless, violent unions as to now undertake an enterprise that risks democracy itself; its plan to seek vice-regal intervention to remove Dyson Heydon is inappropriate, breaches convention, and imperils democratic institutions. Tellingly, it couldn’t care less for the potential consequences.

I wanted to post a follow-up to my article yesterday, in which I hailed the decision by Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon to dismiss the application to have him recuse himself from further proceedings at the inquiry into the union movement as a victory for decency; it was every inch such a triumph, for the alternative amounted to little more than capitulation to institutionalised lawlessness in the face of a sustained campaign of abuse, intimidation, and a bellicose blanket of noise channelled through sympathetic — but irresponsible — organs of the press.

And two weeks ago — when news of Labor’s “back-up” plan first aired — I took aim at the ALP and at Senator Penny Wong in particular, who appears the designated parliamentary vandal in driving its next planned outrage; the Governor-General is not a party political figure, and does not hold office to do the handiwork of whatever grimy political agenda happens to lob onto his desk from unscrupulous political hacks (and whilst I am happy to argue that what happened in November 1975 is utterly consistent with that statement until the cows come home, to do so today would be a diversion: just the sort of diversion ALP types are likely to wish to encourage to detract from the reality that what they now propose represents an attempt to brutalise the entire system of parliamentary democracy).

There is a lot of press around today dealing with both the fallout from yesterday’s decision by Heydon and the next course of action Labor, acting in cahoots with and on behalf of the thugs and bastards in the union movement who control them, appears determined to pursue.

The article I wish to share with readers today comes from Paul Kelly at The Australian — a sober voice of good sense if ever there was one — and whilst I might be accused of partisanship, sinking the boot into Labor and the unions with reckless abandon, Kelly isn’t exactly the sort of journalist anyone can credibly accuse of “bias:” although Labor will, whenever he isn’t blindly concurring with its nonsense, and on account of the ridiculous truism that in ALP eyes anyone who doesn’t unquestioningly comply with its bullshit is “biased” against it.

(I might also note in my own defence that I have been a persistent critic of the Abbott government and my own party — with good reason — and that there is nothing unfair or unjustified in anything I have had to say either way; this, of course, isn’t good enough for the Left, which takes criticism of conservatives as a given but again, so much as a syllable uttered against itself these days is “bias.” There is no reasoning with stupidity, which pretty much characterises Labor these days).

Even so, Kelly writes that “in a squalid stunt, Labor has debased any claims to principle” in its pending demands that Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove “act improperly, trash the principles of responsible government, and violate the principles of his office” — and so eloquent is this scathing summary of the course of action the ALP is quite openly pursuing that I don’t see much need to add to it.

There is something very wrong in Australian politics at present, and it isn’t confined to the fact that the Liberal Party (and by extension, the Abbott government) is utterly incapable of articulating a message, proactively carrying popular sentiment with it, or decisively responding to the kind of outrages we have seen too often from the ALP and/or the union movement in recent years, of which this mad, bad plan to compromise the Governor-General is merely the latest.

Rather, I think we are nearing a point at which it’s almost passively accepted that anyone in public life (read: the Left) who is able to make a lot of belligerent noise, hurl abuse around and relentlessly pursue their agenda — however improper or even unlawful — stands at least a 50-50 prospect of getting what they want.

It is the reason Labor and the unions have gone after Heydon on no worthier pretext than an accidental RSVP to a Liberal Party function that was withdrawn the instant he became aware of the circumstances in which it had been organised.

It is the reason Labor, on behalf of the unions, now demand the Head of State, no less, to interfere in their unscrupulous plot to excuse criminality, safeguard union thugs from prosecution, and to take sides in a dispute that has nothing whatsoever to do with the office of Governor-General at all.

And the thing that makes this undesirable state of affairs exponentially worse is the fact that a solid chunk of the press, politically sympathetic to the Left — Fairfax, the ABC, and Private Media chief among them — largely turns a blind eye to the unethical and/or illegal objectives being bandied about or (in the case of the ABC in particular) simply ignore them altogether.

It is why, for example, the ABC isn’t interested in the wrongdoing and misconduct being uncovered at the Royal Commission into the unions: as part of the partisan cheer squad, it resents the fact there is a Royal Commission in progress and refuses to pay more than scant attention to its findings — which, insidiously, are weaving a tapestry of corruption, fraud, extortion and violence that has absolutely no place in modern Australia or, indeed, in a civilised democratic society at all.

The Senate — still as good as controlled by Labor and the Communist Party Greens once the votes of crossbenchers like Jacqui Lambie who typically vote against the government are factored in — has already been abused during this term of Parliament, and this latest stunt, entrusted to Wong to ensure it is abused yet again, will do little to elevate the standing of Parliament, politicians, or a Senate already rigged by Labor’s 1984 reforms and shanghaied by the crossbench that would be empty if its inhabitants needed to secure a reasonable stipend of support to win a seat (the independent Nick Xenophon aside).

Already, Labor and the Greens acquiesced to the crack-brained agenda of Clive Palmer to set up a Senate inquiry into the former LNP state government in Queensland, explicitly breaching both convention and the Constitution by violating the rule that one level of government must not launch parliamentary inquiries into another.

And why? For Palmer it was about revenge, as part of his crusade to destroy Campbell Newman, the Coalition, the Abbott government and the Queensland LNP. For Labor and the Greens, it was for no better reason than to score cheap, petty political points to help expedite their return to power.

And happily, the Pineapple Inquiry led precisely nowhere — not that that’s any justification for its existence in the first place.

I contend the Senate has been abused, again with Labor the central engineer and the Greens and the Palmer crowd the enthusiastic accomplices, in trying to render the country ungovernable whilst the Liberal Party remains in office; there is nothing illegal or unconstitutional in this, mind, but ethical or moral considerations don’t even enter into the mix.

More to the point, it speaks to a pattern of behaviour — and that pattern of institutional abuse and anti-democratic conduct (in this case, obstructing the ability of an elected government to govern and operate as it sees fit) is about to be perpetuated in a deeply disturbing and thoroughly reprehensible fashion.

I wrote, in my article two weeks ago, that what Wong and Labor propose in having the Senate “address” Cosgrove is probably ghost-writing a fair slice of a slam-dunk “no” case for next time a referendum on a transition to a republican model of governance is put to voters, for if what they are attempting to have Cosgrove do in a robust system of constitutional monarchy comes to pass, the prospect an elected (and by nature, partisan) President could simply end up being an activist rubber stamp of the government of the day and for literally anything is being graphically played out in advance as we speak.

From co-opting a Head of State to doing the dirty (and criminal) work of Labor’s union mates and mindful of what I said about Labor’s entrenched abuse of the Senate — directly and indirectly — it’s only a short step from there to the outright substitution of the rule of the mob for the rule of law, and (as Margaret Thatcher similarly observed about militant unions 30 years ago) it must not succeed.

If the ALP were to succeed in persuading (or bullying) General Cosgrove into dismissing Heydon and/or shutting down his Royal Commission it would be a black, black day for Australia; the fundamental independence of the office of Governor-General would have been irreparably destroyed, and with it a check on the power of Parliament that is intrinsic to the operation of the Constitution and elected government in this country.

Irrespective of whether you agree or not — and irrespective of whether you think the Heydon inquiry is a “witch hunt” or not (and I don’t: the evidence of criminality emerging from it easily shoots that complaint down) — the Abbott government is perfectly entitled to conduct a Royal Commission; the one underway into the union movement is legitimate, was instituted on reasonable suspicion (and considerable evidence of) widespread irregularities and wrongdoing at a number of individual unions, and it must be permitted to run its course.

If people disapprove of the government’s actions in convening the inquiry — or are displeased with its findings, and the subsequent actions (i.e. prosecutions) that stem from them — they are free to express their displeasure at the ballot box, an opportunity for which may arise at any time within the next year.

Of course, were a change of government to occur prior to the Royal Commission reporting, it is incontestable that Labor would shut it down: even if the union stooge who “leads” the ALP is replaced ahead of an election, Labor is to “servant” what unions are to “master,” and it defies belief to think Trades Hall would stand for the Commission remaining operational beyond 9.01am on the Monday morning after a federal election if Labor won.

In that case, anyone who cared about the rule of law and rigorous standards of probity in public life would be powerless to do anything; it would in no way legitimise the virtual indemnity Labor conferred on its crooked buddies by doing so, but it would at least have won a mandate to govern in those circumstances.

As things stand, it has no mandate to govern at all; it commands a third of the seats in the Senate, which isn’t a mandate to control the upper house; it has no legal basis to junk the Royal Commissioner investigating its filthy union mates; it has neither the grounds nor the authority to shut the Commission down.

Instead, it has the choice between decency and complete anarchy, utterly devoid of any morals or a sense of what is right.

Sadly but predictably it seems, Labor has chosen the latter: and already refusing to accept the will of the people when it loses an election and hellbent on excusing the lawless mates from the consequences of their actions, Labor now seeks to trash the whole system in order to get its way despite having no legitimate grounds to pursue that objective in the first place.

In short, the ALP is prepared to risk — and rent asunder — the entire fabric of Australia’s democratic institutions if it has to, and all in the name of preventing thugs and criminals being forced to face justice.

To be clear, the Governor-General is under no obligation whatsoever to either listen to an “address” presented by Wong or to act on its demands, and one hopes Cosgrove will bluntly tell “the Senate” — when Wong’s motion is passed — to fuck off.

Because if he doesn’t — and the Governor-General does the unions’ dirty work at Labor’s behest — the integrity of democratic government in this country will be dead.

Those who care about such things have been warned. The fact Labor will try this, irrespective of the outcome, is bad enough.

But the fact the ALP appears not to care less about the damage it might do to Australian democracy ought to frighten even the most rabid socialist to their senses, if only for a moment.

There is nothing that justifies such a reckless gamble with the whole system. The fact Labor is prepared to go to these lengths in the name of violent lawbreakers is inexcusable. But as night follows day, it is determined to try.

If these realities don’t force voters to abandon both the unions and the ALP in droves, then heaven help Australia.

 

Abortion And “Wimmin’s Rage”: Is Julia Gillard Even Fit To Sit In Parliament?

DIVISIVE Prime Minister Julia Gillard has quickly responded to renewed leadership rumblings by trying to provoke gender tensions over abortion; her “outrage” over an LNP dinner showcases her utter hypocrisy and contempt for principle. Is she, simply, not a fit person to sit in Parliament?

The Prime Minister appears determined to plumb new depths of indecency today, with her leadership under attack and a few extra months of her Prime Ministerial salary under threat — to say nothing of the difference to the taxpayer-funded, post-Parliamentary pension she’ll collect that an involuntary demotion would make.

I stand by the assessment published in this column yesterday, in which I advocated — for a raft of reasons — Gillard being permitted to lead the ALP into this year’s election.

Even so, Gillard is doing herself no favours.

The extraordinary outburst from the Prime Minister yesterday, suggesting that women in politics would be “marginalised” by “the Coalition’s men in blue ties” if Tony Abbott wins the September election is not just offensive in its own right, but it symbolises everything wrong with Gillard as a leader and as a parliamentary figure.

Women, according to Gillard, would be “banished from the centre of Australia’s political life” under a government led by Tony Abbott.

Abortion, she claimed, would be a “political plaything” under an Abbott government, which is probably news to the state governments under whose responsibility the issue falls.

And — in a jab at the Coalition leadership, ignoring the patently obvious fact that deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop is a woman — Gillard stated that “…a Prime Minister, a man with a blue tie… goes on holiday to be replaced by a man in a blue tie, a Treasurer who delivers a budget wearing a blue tie.”

Gillard was speaking at the launch of Labor’s Women for Gillard campaign in Sydney, but even with an audience hostile to the Liberals and opposed to Tony Abbott, someone in her position — aware the remarks would be reported — should have been more circumspect.

Her assertion that “the Labor Party is the party of the many not the few, that means we’re the party of women” flies in the face of electoral reality, given there is ample evidence to show the Coalition traditionally polls far better among women than does the ALP.

Yet even if her point was correct, Gillard herself is probably doing more to set the cause of women in this country back than any male could.

She is a major embarrassment to women across the country with her anti-male crusade.

And she is a joke to many people, men and women, who are no longer prepared to take anything she says at face value, let alone be prepared to listen to her at all.

It’s probably no shock that Kevin Rudd appeared on the hustings today, decked out in a blue tie; Gillard can expect to see a sea of blue ties around the necks of opposition MPs when Parliament resumes next week, too.

And in a measure of just how much ridicule Gillard is exposing herself to, Sydney radio host Ben Fordham was giving 20 blue ties away on his program this afternoon — in conjunction with a sponsor, TiesNCuffs, who are running a special of “25% off Blue Ties.”

But Gillard is blissfully ignorant of — or couldn’t care about —  the joke she has made of herself.

As things stand, there is no driving issue surrounding abortion in the wider community (or in state politics in any jurisdiction, where the issue properly sits) to mandate or justify putting abortion forward as an election issue.

Thus, it’s simply another instance of this divisive, confrontational Prime Minister seeking to stoke tensions and fears around socially explosive issues to detract from her own political problems.

It’s pretty low, but then this is not a Prime Minister who will be remembered for any decency or refined sense when it comes to her dealings with people generally.

It comes as an outrage erupted today over a menu used at an LNP fundraiser in March for Liberal candidate Mal Brough, which featured an inappropriate description of Gillard.

The menu — which was produced and published without awareness or sanction from Brough — is clearly tasteless, offensive, and on one level Gillard is entitled to be insulted.

The Fairfax press is reporting this evening that the owner of the restaurant that hosted the function has claimed responsibility and stated — emphatically — that the menu was not distributed to guests on the night. It doesn’t make it right, of course, but it shows Gillard in an equally ridiculous light as her “Blue Ties” and abortion comments have done.

Even so, it seems odd the menu has only surfaced today: three months after the event.

A cynic might note, too, that at the time of the function, Gillard was busily fawning all over Sydney shock jock Kyle Sandilands: hardly a propitious time to let rip with a noisy protest about sexism or misogyny.

One wonders how long the PM’s office has been holding onto the thing waiting to use it, despite Gillard’s protestations she only became aware of it today.

But calls by Gillard for Brough to be disendorsed are hysterical, disproportionate, and unwarranted.

And they raise another inconvenient, uncomfortable truth about Gillard and her behaviour.

Not only was her “misogyny” speech a defence of former Speaker and general grub Peter Slipper — ironically, whose Liberal endorsement Brough has taken — but it failed to enunciate a syllable of criticism of Slipper’s sexist, misogynistic utterances.

(For those who were in hiding at the time, check this out).

Gillard is clearly unperturbed at descriptions of female genitalia as “salty c***s in brine” when the circumstances suit her own political self-interest, but when a description such as “small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box” is used — and there isn’t a butt to cover or a point to be scored (or a “misogyny” stunt to be sprung) — well, that’s simply an outrage.

It’s not even the fact that one personally describes Gillard, and the other was a general statement; like her slavering, fawning appearances alongside Sandilands, the simple fact is that Gillard is no defender of the very standards she viciously purports to uphold.

When it suits her to, that is.

And did anyone ever hear Julia Gillard utter a syllable of complaint over this at the time?

What an absolute hypocrite. Is it any wonder nobody cares what she has to say.

Former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally got it right this evening; she has said on Twitter “Blue ties, menus…here’s the real scandal in today’s news…” before going on to post a link to an article about childhood poverty and the effects of reduced welfare payments — legislated by Gillard’s government — to single mothers.

All of this raises the question: is Julia Gillard even a fit and proper person to sit in federal Parliament?

The Prime Minister appears oblivious to the fact that she is not the head of a student political front, or that she does not preside over some juvenile game of “do unto others before they do unto you:” she is the Prime Minister of Australia, and she is in charge of the government of the country, not an adolescent debating society.

After a while — when the time to dismiss things as mistakes and errors of judgement has passed — it becomes necessary to look at the Prime Minister’s words, the issues that underpin them, and her conduct in office, and to ask that simple question.

Is she fit to hold a seat in Parliament? Is she a fit and proper person to be Prime Minister?

The answer — if her utterances merit the judgement — suggests not.

It is the answer of voters at the ballot box, however, that will be most telling.

Tax-Free Threshold To Be Abolished: ALP

TWO SENIOR MINISTERS in Julia Gillard’s government dropped a bombshell today, with revelations the tax-free threshold on personal income is to be dumped; there is some dispute as to whether the measure is to be trimmed or abolished altogether, but the messages were in clear unison.

Here’s the good news: in case I have given any reader palpitations with this news, I apologise; the “revelations” to which I refer are nothing more than the latest insidious smear emanating from Labor circles in a desperate attempt to whip up fear over a change of government at this year’s election.

Shadow Finance minister Penny Wong issued a tweet on her official Twitter account this afternoon, stating that an Abbott government would “remove” the threshold, insinuating a rise in income tax for anyone earning less than $80,000 per year (and by extension, implying the poorest Australians would be, deliberately, hit the hardest).

In case anyone doesn’t believe it, here’s a screen shot I took of the offending tweet — I couldn’t believe it either. If the offending tweet disappears in coming hours, it’ll be pretty obvious why.

Wong Screendump

It was clearly the day’s strategy for the Labor Party, because shortly beforehand, pious self-important bubble and Treasurer Wayne Swan claimed on ABC radio that a Liberal government would scrap changes made to the threshold, which was tripled to $18,000 as part of the changes involved in the imposition of the carbon tax.

“Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey must come out immediately and rule out their devious tax increase for hard-working families,” Mr Swan said.

Hockey, very promptly, obliged.

I raise the issue of this latest instalment in the daily political grind because it offers up solid evidence, backed in writing and from the ministers in question, of the depths of dishonesty to which this government is apparently determined to stoop in the pursuit of the retention of government.

(The anti-misogynists in the ALP can have no objection to the matter being raised, either).

I’m not going to launch into a novel-length diatribe; I simply have to shake my head.

The Labor Party also has spent much the past week trying to score hits off two partially developed Coalition policies: the plan to build up to 100 dams around Australia, to floodproof  and droughtproof different parts of the country, and to create a new national foodbowl; and the idea to provide taxation and other incentives to increase population levels in the country’s (sparsely populated) north and west.

I would point out that the two policies — as the ALP well knows — are not complete, not costed, and have been released to the public in their present form only by virtue of leaks.

I’d also point out that the accompanying Labor Party howls about lack of costings deserve to fall on deaf ears; not only are the Coalition’s costings not finalised, they are not required to be finished for several months.

And as I opined of the latter of the two leaked policies many months ago, when it was a draft discussion paper written by shadow Finance minister Andrew Robb, the Coalition is to be lauded for at least coming up with positive policy ideas.

It would be refreshing to see the ALP come up with a policy initiative that doesn’t involve more and/or new taxes — not least given the embarrassing debacle over its mining tax, set to reap nearly 90% less than the government’s own projections forecast.

And it would be refreshing to see the ALP come up with spending initiatives that are funded by savings made elsewhere in the budget rather than requiring heavy offshore borrowing, such as the combined $18 billion bill for its National Disability Insurance Program and the so-called Gonski reforms in education.

As an aside, I would note that an unfunded commitment of $18 billion in spending — weighed against Labor’s own bleatings about Coalition costings — is little more than a classic case of a pot calling a kettle black.

To return to where I started, though — and nothing surprises or shocks me in politics after almost three decades’ detailed immersion in it — it does beggar belief that the present government is so desperate, or power-crazed, that it must resort to dishonesty of the most brazen kind, as has been evidenced today.

Readers know where I stand, but I’d like to think voters generally would find this sort of thing too odious to contemplate.

Politics and politicians have a terrible (and at times deserved) reputation and are held in the lowest of esteem at the best of times, but — to borrow a phrase from former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd — a government that must wilfully and systematically lie its way to an election (and back into office, if successful) is a bridge too far.

Such a government deserves to be thrown from office.

Oh, and here’s the bad news: in his radio interview with the ABC this morning, the bubble Treasurer was asked no fewer than four times whether he would raise income tax in the coming May budget; four times he dodged, and evaded, and obfuscated.

It was only during Question Time this afternoon — safely ensconced back in the House of Representatives, and under parliamentary privilege — that Swan finally, and belatedly, ruled a hike in income taxes out.

What he didn’t rule out, however, were rises in other taxes; and those, too, he failed to rule out increasing in his ABC interview this morning.

The Gillard government’s last budget may very well be its nastiest. Stay tuned.

 

 

Another One Bites The Dust: ALP Senate Leader To Quit Ministry, Politics

Labor Senate leader and cabinet minister Chris Evans will tomorrow announce he is quitting his leadership post and the ministry, with his exit from Parliament to follow; the development swells the ranks of a growing exodus of Labor MPs ahead of the looming federal election.

For the second time in four days, the ALP is faced with the loss of a long-term key player from the past two decades of its history, with former cabinet minister Robert McClelland –a key backer of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in the Labor Party leadership stakes — having also called it quits this week.

The departure brings the tally of serving Labor MPs either jumping ship before the election or being pushed close to double figures, with several others opting not to contest again this year (the most notable of these being former Speaker Harry Jenkins) or being pushed in the wake of disendorsements (think the recently-shafted NT Senator Trish Crossin) or scandals (such as the ubiquitous Craig Thomson in Dobell).

It is interesting to note that once again, it’s a Rudd supporter leaving; and it is especially interesting to note that of those Labor MPs already announced as leaving Parliament for one reason or another, the overwhelming majority of them are known supporters of the former PM.

The group is also a little heavy on the number of people whose ministerial careers have been terminated during Gillard’s tenure as Labor leader.

It comes as little surprise, therefore, that the two names most widely being discussed as likely successors to Evans’ leadership position in the Senate — Finance minister Penny Wong and Communications minister Stephen Conroy — are both died-in-the-wool Gillard loyalists.

One Labor source, quoted in the Fairfax press, said that Evans had decided to get out of politics and that the timing was appropriate. “He’d just had enough,” the source said.

Senator Evans will relinquish the Labor Senate leadership and his portfolio of Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research immediately; the exact timing of his departure from Parliament altogether seems unclear tonight, although it is generally expected he will remain in the Senate for somewhere between two months and the date of the coming election, purportedly to be held in September.

I would like to correct one mistake that seems to be common to the mainstream media outlets’ coverage: contrary to reports indicating otherwise, Evans’ Senate term does not expire on 30 June next year; as a Senator elected in 2010 at a half-Senate election from WA, his term will expire on 30 June 2017.

This means that in addition to the vacancies in the leadership group and the ministry, there will also be a casual Senate vacancy via which the ALP can parachute somebody into Parliament.

(If I were Crossin, I’d be a bit angry tonight; Nova could have had the Evans vacancy).

I sincerely wish Senator Evans well in his retirement, and having spent decades around Australian politics, I understand of course that parties need to regenerate and renew.

Even so, the list of departing pollies on the Labor side is growing, and is beginning to look suspiciously like a mass exodus ahead of the expected slaughter.

Whilst it’s not yet in the proportions of the 21 retirements (from a total party room of 70) that NSW Labor posted prior to its belting in 2011 — by my count, it’s 8 out of 103 so far — it’s certainly a tally that, with seven months left to go, could become just as much as an embarrassment for the ALP in its own right.

For a second-term government still relatively young in electoral terms, it’s hardly a vote of confidence in the future or in the prospects of the Labor Party by those leaving.

But it’s an opportunity for Gillard to continue to stack her ministry with adherents, and to recruit into the vacant seats of the departed fresh candidates who will back her over Kevin Rudd or — God forbid — someone newer and with a bit of spark, like Bill Shorten.

So here we are…again…calling time on a third Labor MP in the space of less than a fortnight.

Something tells me there will be many more such announcements in the next few months.

But once again, this column wishes the departing Senator Evans well in his life beyond the Houses on the hill.