Scott Morrison and intelligence – contradictions in terms abound

Scott Morrison, Minister for Immigration – or intimidation?
Scott Morrison, Minister for Immigration – or intimidation?

 

25 November 2013

Senior correspondent with Independent AustraliaBarry Everingham has been leaked translations of several telephone conversations recently intercepted by Australian intelligence agencies.

Everingham’s column – The Everingham files: The Indonesian interceptions – contains translations of phone calls made by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to the Indonesian Ambassador in Canberra, following revelations that exposed the activities of Australian intelligence in tracking phone conversations made by president and his wife,  Ani Yudhoyono.

Referring to Scott Morrison, Australian Minister for Immigration, SBY is reported to have said: “I caught that idiot Morrison on Sky News holding a media conference but refusing to answer any questions from the media pack. I was hoping one of them might ask him what day it is and hear him say, “I don’t have that information in my folder”.”

Column in full with video covering protests in Indonesia against Australia.

PS: Should this Keogh Cartoons post have been dated 1st April?

As a background, here is how the ABC covered the initial revelations of spying:

Indonesia has recalled its ambassador and is reviewing all cooperation with the Australian government, over revelations Australia attempted to listen in to president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s phone calls.

Documents obtained by the ABC and Guardian Australia show that Australian intelligence attempted to listen in to Mr Yudhoyono’s telephone conversations on at least one occasion, and also targeted the phones of his wife, Ani Yudhoyono, and his inner circle.

Spies also tracked activity on Mr Yudhoyono’s mobile phone for 15 days in August 2009, the material – leaked by the US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden – reveals…….

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The spectre of a cunning, disappearing Prime Minister

“Avoid loud and aggressive persons” – it’s the new Tony
Going placidly amidst the noise and haste – it’s the new Tony up there in the ether

 

4 November 2013

The intriguing case of the vanishing Prime Minister

Noise and haste was Tony Abbott’s trademark in opposition. Now as a faceless PM, he goes placidly as if a mere ghost of his former self. Why? To deaden the contrived fear, panic and crisis-driven rhetorical frenzy that cleverly got him into the top job. Now he has to deal with the reality of government and the truth could be politically dangerous. Breathtakingly cynical towards the Australian public, but he knows his God will bless them with a good dose of amnesia

This a man who hypocritically espouses Christian values. In contrast, the true universal values beautifully penned in Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, beg a take on what Abbott’s version might be in his new persona:

Desiderafter 7 September 2013

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what deception there may be in silence,
[after the clamour I created before the election]
As far as possible, without surrender,
Be as invisible as possible to all persons in the media.

Speak your message quietly and clearly, and pretend listen to others,
Especially the dull and the ignorant electorate; they believe my story.

Avoid loud and aggressive door-stops; they are vexatious
the spiritless. If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter, for always
there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
[But in my case, there will rarely be greater persons than myself]

Enjoy your achievements as well as your scams.
Keep obsessed with your own power, whatever it takes;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of politics.

Exercise contempt in your political affairs, for the world is full of apathy.
But let this not blind you to what virtue is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of moral crusaders.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection to women.
Neither be cynical about ego, power and manipulation, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment;
it is as perennial as the grassy political landscape.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
surrendering the things of youth.
[Which I strongly deny]

Nurture withdrawal from public life to shield you in sudden misfortune of media scrutiny.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of being exposed as a backtracker.

Beyond a wholesome journalistic discipline, be gentle with yourself when you can’t find me or get answers.
You journos are children of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here, as long as you don’t challenge me.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe – my government – is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
[But I can assure you he is a Catholic Liberal Prime Minister in budgie smugglers]

And whatever your Labor aspirations
in the noisy confusion of defeat, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it – the ALP – is still a beautiful mess. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy in opposition.

FOR THE RECORD, HERE IS THE ORIGINAL POEM:

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious
to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter, for
always ?there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment;
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labours and aspirations
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

 

John Kerry – United States Secretary of State

KerryWingsFixKEOGH1000x667

 

John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is an American politician who is the 68th and current United States Secretary of State. He served as a United States Senator from Massachusetts from 1985 to 2013, and was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election but lost to incumbent George W. Bush … Full Wikipedia profile

How do you define a woman of calibre, Mr Abbott?

It was the calibre word that brought him undone with women – again!
It was the ‘calibre’ word that brought him undone with many women – again!

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Illustration:
Molly Pitcher (1754-1832) a nickname given to a woman said to have fought in the American Battle of Monmouth, who is generally believed to have been Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley.
Looks like a feisty lady whose modern-day contemporary would gladly give Tony Abbott a ramrod between the eyes.

21 August 2013

“We do not educate women to higher degree level to deny them a career. If we want women of that calibre to have families, and we should, well we have to give them a fair dinkum chance to do so. That is what this scheme of paid parental leave is all about.” So uttered Tony Abbott back in May. It was the ‘calibre’ word that made him look like the random offering of a loose cannon. Great balls of fire?

Once again, Tony got himself into hot water with women’s groups and got the inevitable spray from his female Labor opponents.

womensagenda.com.au posted a piece entitled Tony Abbott: How do you define a woman of calibre? targeting his poor choice of words.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek asked how exactly a ‘woman of calibre’ is defined. “Who exactly does Mr Abbott think are women of calibre? What does he think about women who are child care workers, nurses and community sector workers?” she asked. “Are they of lower calibre than women who are law firm partners?”

This week, Tony Abbott unveiled his proposed paid parental leave scheme, interestingly in the well-to-do Melbourne suburb of Malvern which forms part of the ultra-safe Liberal seat of Higgins.

On Tuesday, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald simultaneously ran an editorial piece, Coalition’s mating call to ‘women of calibre’ rubbing in the ‘c’ word and questioning how much should be paid and by whom. It declared that the scheme is far too generous particularly for high income earners, and concluded by saying, “for the Coalition to introduce this scheme now, when it rages about the government’s budgetary position being in a ‘national emergency’, is bizarre.”

In today’s Fairfax press, an article headed Hostility rising: Abbott could be left holding the baby, points out that the paid parental leave scheme is regarded as poisonous amongst economists, business, country people and – yes – members of the Coalition: “Nationals MPs are quietly furious, viewing the scheme as unnecessarily generous to city women and particularly to those who need it least …… One federal Liberal said it was the worst bit of public policy since the carbon tax. It seems many of Mr Abbott’s own frontbench are biting their lips, aware their leader has committed himself fully.”

Abbott’s rare zeal for gender equality, albeit amongst his beloved ‘women of calibre’, may even prompt our balls-of-fire man to dedicate this Jerry Lee Lewis anthem to professional women everywhere ~
Great balls of fire on YouTube

Sophie Mirabella – Member for Indi in dire straits

“Sophie Mirabella, may be fast heading for the history books”
“Sophie Mirabella, may be fast heading for the history books”

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20 August 2013

Independent Australia reports that Liberal front bencher, Sophie Mirabella is facing an uphill battle to stave off the popular Independent Cathy McGowan in her quest to retain the federal seat of Indi in north east Victoria:

Mirabella’s shaky hold on Indi

One of the most volatile Liberal seats in Australia is up for grabs — and it’s current holder, Sophie Mirabella, may be fast heading for the history books, writes senior correspondent Barry Everingham, who has spent a few days in the electorate.

YOUR CORRESPONDENT spent the last few days in Mansfield – a large town in Sophie Mirabella’s large electorate of Indi – and, it seems, she doesn’t rate very highly at all among the Mansfieldians who, in the main, are decent high intellect voters.

Let me share some of the adjectives used when the Member’s name was mentioned: arrogant, rude, patronising and condescending, intolerant, racist, intolerant of those she considers her inferiors — the list is long and it’s really horrible.

Mirabella surprised the voters from day one of her quest for the seat when she narrowly got pre-selection prior to the 2001 election by using former Liberal power broker, Noel Crichton-Browne as her campaign manager.

Now anyone with an ounce of political nous would be aware that no self respecting Liberal would be seen dead with the disgraced and disgraceful former senator — that is except our Sophie.

She was Miss Panopolous in those days, fresh out of a secret long term relationship with the highly respected and revered Professor Colin Howard, a man many years her senior.

But more on that later.

Way back in 2001, your correspondent asked Sophie what her mother would think if her daughter was running around with the likes of the former senator, who only that week had publicly told a female reporter from the Australian Financial Review he would “like to screw her tits off”!

Typical of Sophie she descended to the bottom of the barrel and told me “the former senator is a friend” and just before she slammed down the telephone invited me “to go fuck myself!”.

Mirabella has all the charm of the barnyard.

Her appearances on ABC’s Q&A have many Liberals squirming — as does her behaviour in Question Time in the House of Representatives, where here arrogance is given full poison vent.

Many of the more moderate Liberals were shocked when, on one memorable occasion, Mirabella called out as the beautiful Kate Ellis moved towards the Table to answer a question “here’s the weather girl”!

Her racism came to the fore when she absented herself from the House when Kevin Rudd made his famous apology to Indigenous Australians.

Her absence didn’t go unnoticed to the many well-respected Koori members of her electorate.

As The Age has reported, in one year – 2007 – over 36 Parliamentary sitting days, she was ejected from Parliament five times — the second worst record of all MPs in the House.

This is the woman Tony Abbott admires; it can only be assumed he sees her thuggish take no prisoners attitude in line with his own persona. It is little wonder she refuses to take part in one-on-one debates or forums where her main opposition – Independent candidate Cathy McGowan – is present.

Mc Gowan, dignified and articulate, without being arrogant, is a well-regarded and typical country woman, who grew up on a farm and has established a rural consulting business.

She has 13 siblings, including a doctor, a lawyer and two scientists.

Independent Australia‘s own research on McGowan hasn’t found any of the baggage Mirabella carts around.

Any profile of Mirabella would be incomplete without a mention of her (until recently) de facto relationship with Professor Colin Howard — a man 40 years her senior,

Howard was her professor of law and she the executor of his will.

Howard’s children are not seeking details of the house Howard settled on Mirabella, or the return of large sums he advanced to her in her original fight for Indi, but they are wondering what kind of care she and her now husband Greg Mirabella provided her for her ex lover, who, in his final years, was a confused man.

The Mirabella’s moved Professor Howard to Wangaratta, where he subsequently died.

I twice called Mirabella’s office to seek details of the Supreme Court action. At the of writing, the calls have not been returned.

 

Hockey: Abbott says I’m a sexy guy just like George Clooney

Hey Joe, by George there is a certain similarity. But don’t give up your day job!
Hey Joe, by George there is a certain similarity. But don’t give up your day job and please take that smug smirk of your face!

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14 August 2013

On Tuesday, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey laughed off Tony Abbott’s comments, praising the sex appeal Lindsay candidate Fiona Scott, noting that the Opposition Leader had previously compared him with movie star George Clooney.

“Tony says it to me often that I’m a sexy guy. We’ve got a special kind of love going,” he told Channel 10’s The Project.

“In front of my colleagues he said that I look like the parliamentary George Clooney.”

Mr Hockey added that: “As long as it’s not offensive, I think we shouldn’t be afraid to say what we think.”

When a presenter noted it was up to women to decide if the comments were offensive, Mr Hockey replied: “And they will.”

Full coverage from The Age

Young, feisty, sex appeal – great credentials according to ‘exuberant’ Tony

Damned if you, damned if you don’t – poor Tony!
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t – poor Tony!

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14 August 2013 – from The Sydney Morning Herald:

‘Young, feisty and with sex appeal’: Abbott talks up candidate

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has described one of his female candidates as “young, feisty” and having “sex appeal”.

While campaigning in Sydney’s west on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Abbott was asked what Lindsay candidate Fiona Scott had in common with former Coalition MP for Lindsay, Jackie Kelly.

The comments come as the Coalition has worked hard to combat perceptions that Mr Abbott has a “woman problem”. On Tuesday afternoon, the hashtag “sex appeal” was trending on Twitter.

Questions about Mr Abbott’s appeal to women have died down significantly since former prime minister Julia Gillard lost office in July.

Labor frontbencher David Bradbury currently holds the seat on a margin of just 1.1 per cent.

Mr Abbott was at Penrith Stadium with Ms Scott and his daughter Frances on Tuesday to announce $12 million in funding for a community sports centre.

Asked later on Tuesday night whether he regretted the comments, he said ”I was a bit exuberant today”.

SMH article in full with video