Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Recollection

When Adolf graduated from Lincoln as a valuer and farm consultant he went off to Australia and, by accident, fell into commerce where he remained for forty or so years.  Many of my colleagues had come over and introduced Canterbury farming techniques.  Some did very well, others not so well

I well remember a crusty old West Australian wheat cocky remarking that 'those bastards charged us a fee for telling us when we would go broke.' 

After a while I realized that Kiwi farmers could afford to be innovative because if they buggered it up, a forgiving climate would dig them out of their mistakes whereas Aussie cockies had learned, to their cost, that if they stuck their heads up over the parapet, the climate would come long and kick their heads in.  The Kiwi advisers did not comprehend that it was possible to have five bad seasons in a row.

And so it was that distrust of NZ agricultural advisers was born.  They did not understand the reasons for the Aussies' conservatism and many of them did indeed charge a fee for telling their clients when they would go broke.

The first stark difference I noticed was that while NZ sheep farmers selected for high twinning rates, their Australian counterparts culled ewes which had twins.   Why?  There was only enough feed for ewes to produce sufficient milk to raise one lamb.  Of course, this was in the days when wool prices were strong, so they wanted to carry as many ewes as possible.

DID MALLARD GIVE FURTHER PROOF OF UNFITNESS


Even the old dope himself admits he ballsed it up.

To put every worker and MP under suspicion was stupid to the Nth squared.

Sexual assault needed to be handed to police without comment, but for a man who has demonstrated stupid to be his best chance of a Doctorate he just could not let the chance go by

Just take retirement and keep the last shreds of your dignity. Then again is there any of that left in the locker.

A sandwich short of a picnic seems about the level demonstrated.

Ollie said it rather well:
"You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately ... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"

CAN MONEY BUY POLITICAL POWER?



Watching the Federal Election unfold over recent weeks and Clive Palmers efforts the answer is a resounding NO.

Clive is reputed to have spent over sixty million Aussie dollars for no measurable result.

Many an Australian voter could not have the poll ended soon enough as Palmer saturated TV Radio and static sites with his promotion.
At times filling  whole ad breaks with his messages.

One analyst has each wasted vote cast for Clive costing A$159.

Contrast to Pauline Hansen who spent bugger all and suffered the massive distraction of two of her senior operatives being scammed by Al Jazeera TV trying to garner funding from the National Rifle Association in the US using covert cameras.

Net result Palmer 3% across the Nation while Hansen garnered a credible and measurable results around 8% primary votes plus over three million $ in funding.

Get Up is said to have spent over three million nation wide in sometimes vile activities for only the one scalp,  that of  Tony Abbott in Warringah a seat he had held  for a quarter of a century.

PARTY FUNDING IN AUSTRALIA

I was aware that political parties in Australia are publicly funded,   The formula is a relatively simple one.   Any candidate or party that receives over 4% of first preference votes is funded to the tune of $2.756 per eligible vote.

That can equate to a huge amount of dosh.   Based on the AEC's current vote count  (admittedly incomplete) the coalition can expect to receive $13.79m and Labor $11.22m.   That is in addition to what they can raise from corporates, unions, special interest groups and Joe public.

In respect of the latter and I wasn't aware that, for individuals, donations up to $1,500 may be claimed as a tax deduction.   Political parties ain't charities and that seems to me to be a rort against all other taxpayers.   Still, when in Rome .....
.

NOW THAT SAYS HOW BADLY SHORTEN REALLY PERFORMED.



Single transferable vote was my choice  sans the compulsory bit if NZ decided to move away from FPP.

Last night Peta Credlin Chief of Staff to Tony Abbott as PM,  now a host at Sky News Australia put the demolition of Shorten by Morrison in a different light by removing the distribution factor currently in use.  On that scenario  Morrison and his National allies would have won by a Massive 89 seats to fifty something for Labor.

Au Labor have become a party of the leafy burbs of Melbourne and Sydney with two seats in downtown Adelaide , Zip zero nada in Brisbane and Perth with two seats covering the northern Territory.  The rest of the Lucky Country is Liberal, National and the now combined LNP in Queensland

Labor have totally departed from their original base of "blue collar, small business, wealth creators to now represent academia and comfortable home makers with more than enough money and time on their hands clearly dreaming that Climate Change is the main chance.  Explaining why success came briefly to Phelps in Wentworth and this time for Stiggall in Warringah,  both shooting stars in truth.

Labor under Hawke and Keating really mopped up the centre votes to succeed,  Rudd came from nowhere with a catchy slogan "Kevin for 07" and Gillard followed by exploiting disunity amongst the Liberals all ended abruptly when Abbott concentrated on the disaster that unfolded when Labor opened the border to unscrupulous people smugglers.
Now Scomo has it all before him as my colleague Adolf so succinctly stated ,  all the rabble who white anted the Liberals  ran from what they decided was a sinking ship.

I hope The NZ Nats were watching but who is there in waiting. Bridges seems lacking in the face of media obsession with Baby, engagement, possible wedding and a collective failing to actually scrutinise the appalling performance now half way to the next election of the CoL
Collins with her joining the wailing and gnashing   over the kneejerk off attack on law abiding  arms owners and then going to bat for GG after Seymour struck a homer out of the diamond has gone backwards.
Is Chris Penk the "man"?

Australians are said to have desires on  Ardern as PM so can NZ do a deal and we will have Morrison?

La belle France


I am constantly amazed how seriously the French in this area take democracy and the voting process and I can’t help thinking back to 1966 when the P+T where I used to work gave all the crews half day holiday on voting day.

With a hiss and a roar and the squeal of drum brakes about twenty trucks  drew up into the large car park of the Racecourse hotel, it was the original wooden building in those days I think. Drink was taken, and more drink was taken and very little voting went on, the polling both was across the road at the racecourse, and there was no discussion about politics or who would form the next government. The old second world war rules were in place, no discussing of politics or religion while drinking. It was interesting to  note that the immigrants  amongst us noticeably the Dutch and the British were first off the blocks to vote.

I expect things have changed now but I can’t help comparing the two scenarios. Macron has been on a marathon talk fest around the country. There are 37,000 mayors in France and Macron has met and talked to the lot,  600 at a time after the Mayors had meetings with their communes. Le Grand Debat was well attended around the country and an exercise in democracy that would not happen in any other country. He was well briefed, knew his France and spoke without notes.

There was one occasion when a mayor from a small town in the Pyrenees  complaining about the release of the Pyrenean mountain bears in his valley and what it meant for farmers . Macron gently chided him and pointed out it wasn’t in his valley but the one 10k away....no notes and no aides whispering in his ear....standing ovation for that.
France is one of the founding members of the European Union and plays a crucial role in European policymaking. In some of its regions, however, there is clear discontent regarding the direction of EU policy, mainly when it comes to immigration and the refugee crisis, something that is seized upon by the right and spun to be far worse than it is.

I take as my guide the French attitude to the EU as to whether it is working as planned, they are in the middle of it and know far more than me the good bits and the bad bits and bearing in mind it is still work in progress they seem satisfied but will be the first to kick off if unnecessary power is being transferred to Brussels. The alt right is desperately trying to stoke division between groups but unfortunately for them they can’t bandy around the term “lefty” as  an insult....that is most of France.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

IS IT REALLY NECESSARY?


Terror charges to be added to those Tarrant will face for murder from his massacre at the two mosques on March 15th.

Surely 51 murder charges even if some fail on technicals should give even the most limp wristed Judge  all that is needed to ensure Tarrant never sees freedom again until death ends his time becoming increasingly insane in safe custody

Adding  terror charges brings to mind the western legend of the Sheriff coming to the deputy standing over a bullet ridden outlaw and laconically asking "did you have to shoot him so dead?".

Would I be correct in thinking concurrent sentences are not verboten, if that is correct,  it would  only be Angry's desire to catch and release meme to be overcome.

Acerbic Comment of the Day

From Dennis Shanahan at The Australian - talking about the bullshit which is 'gender balance.'

"Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg are a couple of white middle class,balding males who seemed to have mightily survived the absence of long-term Liberal deputy Julie Bishop."

Post Oz Election

Half an hour ago PM Morrison got his clear majority with the winning of Chisholm.   Can anyone imagine what the result would have been had Turnbull not been booted?

The Libs need to move to expel Turnbull from the party.   They don't need a vindictive flailed leader around the place at the next election.

In my view, astronomically high electricity prices are the most important issue which must be quickly resolved.  From cheaper electricity flows employment and economic growth and another win in 2022.

Happy days!


THE ARROGANCE OF SHANE JONES KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES

The unguided missile that is Shane Jones continues to defy convention.    A man who is so consumed with his own importance that he's prepared to run roughshod over the cabinet manual and the law in the full and certain knowledge that he's bullet proof ... St Jacinda dare not discipline him while WRP can't least he goes feral.

His latest indiscretion.    Lobbying the Minister of Immigration to grant accredited employer status to his cousin Stan Semenoff to bring in migrant labour from overseas to drive his trucks at the expense of Kiwi workers ... and all this from a member of a Party that railed against the use of migrant labour promising to cut the number of people allowed into the country.   Some might call that hypocrisy of the first order.   Others will see it as Jones being Jones.   Arrogance personified.

Word around the traps from up here in Northland.   NZF is lobbying Labour for Kelvin Davis, their Deputy Leader and 'star performer' to stand aside from his Te Tai Tokerau seat and go 'List only' with Willow Jean Prime being parachuted from her List position into that seat.   Labour then stands a no-name nobody as their candidate giving Jones a clear run in Northland against National's Matt King.

Just one problem with that.   I am aware of polling that shows NZF support in the Northland electorate has collapsed down to to single figures from the 34% achieved at the election.    Clearly voters here, while happy to take what they can get from the PGF, cannot be bought.   The canning of our 'economic highway' from Wellsford to Whangarei by the CoL figures large while the proposed Zero Carbon Bill which, if passed, would see farmers having to cull their herds as gone down in the farming community like a cup of warm sick.   The 'Champion of the Provinces' meme is replaced by 'Dr Death for Rural Communities'.

For Shane ... you see what happen s when you cohabitate with climate change Nazis ... and squealing like a stuck pig that its not your fault just doesn't cut the mustard.

Die MSM, Die - Australian version

Over on the Now That's Dirty Politics thread, one of No Ministers favourite Lefties, "Judge Holden" (aka "Sludgy"), had this to say about Rightie blog commentators behaviour in defeat:
... you weren’t paying attention if you didn’t notice the wailing and gnashing of teeth that greeted the Nats descent into opposition
.... Of course, it manifested as anger and vicious hatred as is typical with the right. It’s a beautiful thing 
....Good God tories scorned are a hideous bunch
And so forth. All good, bog-standard stuff from Sludgy.

But of course, that's just a bunch of blog commentators. What about the professional MSM class? How do they handle defeat, at least in regard to the recent Australian election:

Cathy Wilcox, a newspaper cartoonist:
“It seems unfair that the morons outnumber the thinking people at election time.”
Broadcaster Meshel Laurie:
“Australians are dumb, mean-spirited, and greedy. Accept it.”
“It’s the country that’s rotten.”
And then people wonder why the MSM continues to decline in influence.

Monday, May 20, 2019

WAS THAT ARROGANCE OR WHAT



Aus Media have revealed a letter written last February by now defeated and booked for the knacker as soon as Labor select  the next Clanging Cymbal (symbol) Bill Shorten to Scott Morrison hoping for an anticipated smooth transfer of power in Canberra after he wins the May Election.

Many a slip between cup and lip maybe.

THE FALLOUT FROM THE OZ ELECTION CONTINUES

I see the AEC are now projecting a possible 77 seats for the Coalition (76 previously) vs 68 for the ALP (69 previously).   They have just called the Wentworth seat for the Liberals having been wrested back from the Independent who took it in the bi-election when Malcolm Turnbull quit in a fit of pique, 

Meanwhile, in a move I find fascinating, Julia Gillard has reentered the 'game' by throwing her weight behind Tanya Plibesek in her bid to become ALP leader.    Her only rival at this stage is Anthony Albenese.   Both are from the NSW 'left' faction.    As I understand it votes are split 50/50 between the rank and file membership and the caucus.   Albanese lost to Shorten last time round despite being the 'peoples' choice.  Appears he has some problems with his caucus colleagues and the intervention by Gillard seems, to me, designed to ensure the caucus picks Plibesek.   I do enjoy blood sports.

The part the climate change debate played out in the election has, I think, implications for us in New Zealand.   For the true believer in climate change there can be no compromise.   It's my way or the highway.   Clearly the affluent have the ability to indulge in absolutes.   The blue-collar worker doesn't.    They can figure it out for themselves that its the moral argument vs the economic argument and when push comes to shove the economic argument (jobs) wins hands down.   The trick is to balance the two arguments and certainly neither the ALP there, nor the CoL here, have come anywhere near to figuring out the middle ground.    In New Zealand the proposed carbon emissions legislation will have a substantial impact of the farming sector and certainly result in job loses while e the  decision to end oil and gas exploration, big on virtue signalling, may well led to an increase in our carbon emissions signature.

A number of Oz commentators called it the climate change election and the loser of the argument stayed on the Opposition benches.        

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel: TV Review


The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (streaming on Amazon Prime), is a TV series set in New York in the late 1950's that focuses on the decision of one Miriam Maisel - "Midge" to her friends - to become a stand-up comedian.

It is not what she planned. In the pilot episode, Midge, played by Rachel Brosnahan, is living a great life as a young, Jewish housewife and mother. The highlight of her day is buying more fabulous new clothes, setting up kids birthday parties and getting the Rabbi for Yom Kippur. Happily married with well-off middle class parents and living in a spacious Upper West Side apartment, her husband, Joel, is the one who wants to do standup and escape his well-paid corporate gig, and Midge supports him, often bribing the crew of The Gaslight club with food if they'll put him on stage. 

But he has no talent, and after one particularly awful show, a destroyed Joel goes home to tell Midge he's been having an affair and is leaving her. In an instant, her world comes crashing down. Her parents tell her she needs a husband and that Joel needs to be made to return. Reeling from all this, and drunk, she staggers to The Gaslight and on to the stage to try and understand what Joel had been seeking there, only to find herself unloading to the audience about her situation in a biting display of anger, self-pity, tears and laughter.
Midge - Did I tell you he left me for his secretary? That's right. She's 21 and dumb as a Brillo pad. And I'm not naive. I know that men like stupid girls, right? (gesturing to a guy in the audience with his girlfriend)
Guy - "Uuuhhh".
Midge - But I thought Joel wanted more than stupid. I thought he wanted spontaneity - and wit. I thought he wanted to be challenged, you know what I mean? (gesturing to the girlfriend)
Girlfriend - "Uuuhhh".
Midge - You two are going to be together forever.
She finishes by baring her breasts, just as the cops come and arrest her for public indecency and performing without a licence (Midge - "You need a licence to do that?"). She's chucked in the back of a police car along with Lenny Bruce, who has been arrested at another club for obscenity, as usual. 

One of the Gaslight staff, Susie Myerson, played by Alex Borstein, sees Midge's drunken ramble and determines that she has a gift. She bails Midge out and tries to persuade her to pursue standup comedy as a career, with Susie as her manager, while Midge dismisses the whole thing as an embarrassing one-off. But later, after yet another domestic crisis and another drunken ramble at The Gaslight, Midge begins to realise that this might be for her. And as things develop in the series she begins to see she could be great, and moreover, realises that she wants to be. She starts to learn the trade by watching and listening to other standups, and suffering a couple of terrible stage failures. She also decides to keep this all secret from everybody she knows and gets a day job: naturally it's in the makeup department of a rich store, and naturally she's great at it. Thus does Season One roll for eight episodes.

Brosnahan is just stunning in the role of Midge. I first saw her several years ago in her breakout role as a drugged, down-and-out prostitute in the US version of House of Cards. She took a movie stereotype and made her vivid, but it's the mark of a great actress when she can create another one that makes you forget the first. Her Midge is attractive, smart, sassy, knowing, yet also strangely innocent in some ways. Even being arrested by the cops causes her outrage, not fear: such is her privilege. There is no question that the show revolves around her, but so does the fictional world she lives in: "Can’t you stop talking about yourself for one moment?", Susie asks at one point. No! She can't, but that's the reason she can do stand-up in the first place.

All great comedies need a straight-man, and in this case it's Susie, who is almost everything Midge is not: short, dumpy, frumpy (pants, braces and cap every day), cynical, aggressive, and foul-mouthed. And poor; she eats straight from a pot on her swing-down bed in her tiny, rented bedsit. But she's smart, verbal, knows the business, and knows talent when she sees it. 

The whole series flies forward on whirling, whizzing repartee in almost every scene. It's a throwback to the great 1940's Screwball comedies like His Girl Friday. This is a "talky" series that demands you pay attention. Borstein and Brosnahan have great chemistry: you sometimes want to strangle Midge - and you want Susie to be the one to do it.

But all the characters are developed steadily and you begin to like every one, even with their infuriating faults. Joel, the cheating husband, is not left as simple cypher of betrayal: you actually begin to gain respect for him as he faces up to the godawful mistake he's made, realises Midge has the gift he so badly wanted, reconciles at least a little with her, and quits his corporate job to run his parent's business.

Similarly, Midge's mother, Rose, comes off as haughty, snobby and cold - but then begins to show how much she is Midge's mother; sexy and smart, though hemmed in by the rules of an earlier Jewish generation. Midge's dad, Abe (wonderfully underplayed by Tony Shalhoub), is a genius mathematician teaching at Columbia, and is self-involved and distracted to the nth degree: shades of Midge again. Joel's parents are working class Jews who've fought their way up to owning a clothing factory, and their constant clash with Midge's academic parents is best shown when Abe, desperate to put Midge and Joel back together, visits the factory, where he's appalled:
He brought them here and stuck them in his factory! Is he paying these poor people? Are their toilets for them? I’ve seen their faces! I can’t be sure of this, but one of them has a look like, 'I should’ve taken my chances back in Germany!'
The sets are lush and gorgeous, perfect derivations from a 1959 edition of Better Homes. In the same manner as LA Confidential, the background is determined to have every aspect set in that time, even if the average viewer will never notice: the apartments, the bars and delis, the slightly worn seats in the diner. The show is in 4K, which means that in a way you'd expect of a CGI SF movie, all this visual detail is relentless.

"We got the Rabbi"

The clothes even more so, in their case modified from the pages of 1950's Vogue. Most women I know have drooled over Midge's wardrobe and I have to admit that it's attention getting. The wardrobe designers must be in 7th heaven as they put together these fanciful creations with the colours popping out at you: the swing coats, cinched-waists and capri-pants pulling your gaze away from the perfectly coiffed hair, makeup and hats.

There are visual tricks worthy of the movies. Scenes that you realise are choreographed shoutouts to musicals. At one point Rose runs away to Paris to recapture her art-loving youth ("I was unhappy. I didn't want to be unhappy anymore"), and when Abe and Midge follow, there is a transition from the New York to Paris skylines that echoes Lawrence of Arabia blowing out the match or the man-ape throwing the bone into the air.

Then there's the music. The episodes are packed with jazzy pieces, obscure British music hall ditties, Broadway showtunes, torch songs and lilting ballads from the mid 20th century. But they're selected with the same care and attention to detail as everything else: when Susie and Midge are hotly debating money in a diner, the quiet background tune is the Andrews Sisters singing  Rum and Coca Cola, with it's drawn-out refrain of "Working for the Yankee Dollar". 

But in one of the great quirks of the series, the songs that play over the end credits are from the 70's and 80's. So when Midge realises she can't make money via standup yet and must get a job, we close with the great XTC's Dear Madam Barnum. When Susie attacks a famous woman comic, which could see Midge blacklisted in NYC, the ending is Siouxsie And The Banshees Cities in Dust. When she finally tells her parents what she's doing in Season 2: cue Romeo Void's Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing)

At this rate it's quite possible they'll play NWA's Express Yourself, Talking Heads Once In A Lifetime, Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart, and The Art of Noise remix of Suzzane Vega's Tom's Diner.

It's true that between the sets, the clothes, the dialog and the music, Mrs Maisel is a fairy tale. We rarely see her children, who stay with her parents every night (with their maid, naturally) while she goes out to work gritty clubs (her parents have no idea in the first season and think she’s dating). Her brassy magical touch dissolves glass ceilings and there's no systemic discrimination standing between her and her dream that can't be knocked down with the right one-liner.

But it may become more than escapist, laugh-out-loud fluff, and I'm not sure I want it to. Season 2 was not as tightly focused, but showed that this dreamy perfection was a thick facade. Joel is called in to get money out of a scumbag club owner, which involves the punch in the nose even Susie apparently can't deliver! We get a glimpse of the potentially selfish destruction in Midge when she excitedly accepts an offer as an opener for a Nat King Cole-like crooner on a six month tour of the USA and Europe - remembering only at the end of the day that her handsome surgeon boyfriend, Benjamin, has proposed to her (and she's still married to Joel). And the kids? Lenny Bruce, who has befriended her, invites her to see his first performance on The Steve Allen Show (again, perfectly rendered from the actual 1960 series), where he riffs on a husband looking back on an abandoned marriage but a great career that left him, "All Alone, All Alone".

And of course when Midge transgresses the mild rules of the era in her first TV appearence by using hypnotising hand motions and murmuring "Vote For Kennedy,... Vote For Kennedy", it's a marker that the 60's are fast approaching, when the demons will be unleashed, and the feminism that Midge almost, but not quite encapsulates, bursts forth. Will she move forward or fall backwards, into that? 

We'll see what happens in Season 3 later this year, and while the creator of the show, Amy Sherman-Palladino, is not known for dark stuff, it's hard to see how this airy confectionary world can continue much longer. We still laugh, Midge is fearless, and Lenny Bruce is not afraid, but we know that terrible things are drawing near.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Ho Ho Ho




















































Straight From The Hillary Clinton Playbook


Shorten/Clinton lost unloseable elections because both candidates were dogs and both campaigns were strategically flawed.

Labor spent hundreds of thousands on getting rid of Tony Abbott and in doing so left insufficient funding to effectively campaign in the other half dozen marginal seats they needed to win.  They won the battle but lost the war.

Further, they elevated climate change as their number one issue when exit polls showed voters ranked climate change at number five.

Australians showed they don't want as PM a nasty little bastard who shafted the very workers he  was paid to represent.

Australians showed they don't want as PM a nasty little bastard who fakes Christianity and then publicly denigrates the genuine Christian faith of his opponent.

Australians showed they don't want as PM a nasty little bastard who is credibly accused of rape.

Australians showed they don't want as PM a nasty little bastard who tried to shove the climate change hoax down their throats.

And now, less than a day after their humiliation, Labor people are blaming the Murdoch press for their defeat.

If Labor had replaced Shorten six months ago with Albanese, right now Albanese would be PM.

And by the way, why would anyone ever again pay good money for opinion polls?


NOW THAT IS DIRTY POLITICS NO IFFS NO BUTS

Another coalition won big in last nights Australian Federal election. The coalition of Abbott haters, Aus Labor, The Turnbull Rump and their collected enablers in the Media

Tony Abbott was possibly the most attacked politician standing for any of the 151 seats at stake in the Lower house in the Canberra Parliament, and all done in the northern Sydney Division of Warringah.

Aus politics has a dark arts outfit that spends considerable monies on advertising and resourcing foot soldiers that all flies below the Radar and thereby beyond much of the funding law, almost exclusively campaigning against key Liberal Party figures.

Financed by Unions spending members money with no acknowledgement as to the wishes of the members forced to hand over that money, plus other big spenders who largely remain anonymous,  "Get Up" went after some of the main Liberal players. Peter Dutton, Greg Hunt, Christian Porter, Josh Freydenberg and Kevin Andrews, all became targets of 'Get Up' but all survived, sadly however they scored one success in ending the political career of Tony Abbott.

A onetime Australian representative skier Zali Steggall chosen to lead the assault on Abbott as an "Independent", had some name recognition and being a poor little rich girl fitted admirably the fraud that she was nominally a Liberal. Then followed a get-down-and-dirty campaign employing actions and tactics unimaginable here in NZ. Feces in mail boxes, "brown shirts", this time dressed in an orange t-shirt uniform, behaving as street thugs, blatantly false posters erected, parallel media advertising against Abbott, and yesterday an assault by a sixty-something on a 30 yo Liberal campaign worker putting up posters, where  a corkscrew was used to stab the Lib.

It became so toxic that Tony's wife NZ born Margie felt unable to partake in the practice of handing out "how to vote cards" because the family decided she may well be physically attacked.

The NZ polling booth is devoid of all party activity. All signage across an electorate must be removed by midnight on the day before polling, with the only exception being "scrutineers": a person from each party contesting, who can access the Identity of a voter and record that fact on a Party copy of the roll.

It's a whole lot different in Aus where the Lower House seats are all up for contest in a general election using  FPP with a single transferrable vote where votes for the worst losers are redistributed until a candidate gets over 50%.

The Senate is a whole different system, essentially proportional with Parties ranking their offerings and redistribution in play. Hence someone with a first preference well down in single figures can become a senator after preferences are distributed. Another barrier to the will of the people is the sometimes unfathomable ranking in smoke-filled back rooms by party executive committees, that this year saw sitting Liberal Senator Jim Moulin - an ex-army general who commanded troops in Iraq, long regarded as very independent and acting for whatever reason - being placed too low by his NSW party to get back to his Senate seat.

The Senate ballot offers two options where 'above the line' party rankings prevail and the voter only ranks parties. 'Below the line' gives an alternative  to voters in that they can circumvent the "party dictates" and rank the candidates by name. Each state has 12 senators, with six up for the vote every six years unless a "double Dissolution" is called when all 12 face the electorate: six for a full term and three to face the voters after three years.

In summary a "How to vote card " is  a necessity for most and results in pretty active election strategy around polling stations.

Disclaimer This is how I understand things and it is easy to see why nearly a century ago Federal Australia decreed compulsory voting, still enforced. A voter is free to make an invalid vote but all must front up and get marked off the roll and receive a ballot. Failure to do so leads to a fine for non compliance.

Back to Warringa and the ending of Tony Abbott's political career by Zali Stiggal. Abbott's concession was dignified, honest and conciliatory. The beautiful person declared the winner otoh not so; totally ignoring the remarkable concentrated campaign by the coalition of Abbott "haters", she began by saying she would maintain her "Climate Change Crusade".  Bet a dollar to a knob of goat poo she still loads up the V8 seven seater and heads off to the Snowy Mountains for some skiing, totally ignoring the damage her fellow Climate change aficionados claim such errant behaviour does to threaten the future for all Aussies.

Yes, after 25 years of dedicated public service Tony Abbott had a growing number easily persuaded by slick marketing that he was yesterdays man. Bollox to that in spades; a Minister in the Howard Government, leader of the opposition who defeated a sitting Labor government, two years as Prime Minister, then after a scurrilous Ides-Of-March effort from a bunch of colleagues, avoided the bi-elections dangers and remained an MP for his electorate from the back bench. All the while maintaining an active presence and commitment to local northern beaches as a life guard and also maintaining an active role in his local fire service. Not for photo ops, oh no that was not Tony Abbott. He was to be found on front lines in times of need. Bush fire fighting in Australia is not for the faint hearted. Abbott was possibly one of the fittest physically, politically and intellectually in the out-going Parliament.

Can I see poor little rich girl Steggall committing to that level of public service inside and outside politics, it will be interesting to watch this space.

Well done Scott Morrison your voters put Australia first. I am afraid to admit my gut feelings came to pass but in fear of hexing  the Coalition I held my tongue.

Pity you missed one of the more momentous times in Australian Federal Politics Bob but RIP anyway. Btw I wonder if Hawke voted I suppose being deceased would qualify for an early vote.

MORRISON DID A TRUMAN

and won the election the pundits said he couldn't possibly win.   

Shorten did a Hewson and lost he election he couldn't possibly lose and has now walked away from the ALP leadership.

and Australia dodged a bullet.

There are lessons to be learned from the election not the least being that if you over-egg the climate change debate you run the risk of losing electoral support.     Certainly the ALP paid a big price for doing that, particularly in Queensland.   But I suspect that's a message the climate change Nazis will turn a deaf ear to.  

In the meantime spare a thought for David ... nah, on second thought, don't bother.

Crazy people

For heavens sake what is wrong with people, surely they can't be that racist. A poll taken shows that 56% percent of those asked, mainly "right" thinking upright citizens, thought that Arabic numerals should not be taught in their local school.

How short sighted and xenophobic.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

IT WILL BE A SAD DAY SHOULD THEY SUCCEED.


Today Australia completes the General Election, it has been voting for some weeks, including the head to head between Labor's  Bill Shorten and the Liberal leader of the current governing coalition Scott Morrison, for Prime Minister.

Morrison came to power by the Liberals led by Peter Dutton finally ending the lurch to the left by Malcolm Turnbull. Turnbull once tried to become an MP for Labor but failed because a rich prick has great difficulty overcoming the need to be a true Labor person with heavy handed controls under the Union faction, a faction even more dominating than in the NZLP.

The NZ Labour Party suffered from that,  delivering the succession of losers culminating in Little. Cunliffe, who is said to have only secured three votes (one his own) from his caucus when the unions installed him: a caucus that has only a third of the votes in normal leadership contests with the Members and the Union masters (acting on behalf of members) exercising the other two thirds.

Ardern avoided that crap when Little threw in the towel after the 90 day pre-election rule became operative making selection of Labour leader a matter for caucus alone.

Turnbull having failed to become tribal Labor then successfully poisoned a Liberal member in the seat of Wentworth after a series of false starts that might have deterred most and began his climb to the top of his new party vehicle to become Prime Minister.

He became leader of the Opposition in 2007 by knifing Dr Brendon Nelson a year after Nelson  had replaced Prime Minister John Howard who had lost his seat in the Rudd ascendancy. Nelson, a minister in the Howard government had defeated Turnbull  in the tumult of Johnnie being defeated in the election, but Turnbull soon climbed over him in a spill 15 months later.

After another  year it was clear Turnbull had no stomach or any ability to make Rudd's majority beatable so the Liberals turned to Tony Abbott who then failed narrowly to defeat Gillard two years later. Julia Gillard became  PM in a minority administration surviving with the assistance of ex-Liberals Oakshot, Windsor and another tosser, one Peter Slipper who sold his Liberal team down the river to be made Speaker.

Three years on and in a last throw of the dice an already well beaten Labor party in denial made a move in damage limitation, returning to Kevin Rudd in the months leading to Federal polling 2013. But it failed spectacularly with Abbott and his ally the National Country party winning 60% of the lower house to Labor's 37%.

Immediately after Abbott being sworn in as PM some of the Libs with Malcolm Turnbull and Abbotts' Liberal Deputy Julie Bishop as prime players, decided Tony Abbott, although very successful as Opposition leader, had some perceived  problems as Prime Minister. So a mere two years after becoming Prime Minister Emperor Malcolm moved again, wielding his knife in ending the Abbott prime ministership. Another year later he saw the safe majority won by Abbott whittled to a one seat majority and a heart attack away from defeat in the Federal election of 2016.

Two years into that term and the Liberals finally bit the bullet and replaced the treacherous Turnbull with Scott Morrison, after Peter Dutton had done the initial sod-turning on creating the new landscape.

Turnbull again refused to retire from the battle field he had barely survived with his political life but  with his legend in tatters he gave his now ex-colleagues another knife attack,  resigning and placing the Morrison Governments one seat majority beyond reach by supporting "independent" Kerryn Phelps over the Liberal-endorsed Dave Sharma,  in his seat of Wentworth, the wealthiest in Sydney, in a by-election that could have been avoided. Phelps after public endorsement support from The Turnbull family and Labor machinations around preferences became a winner while the Morrison administration became lame duck and almost paralysed.

Malcolm Turnbull is a traitor to the Liberal Party that delivered everything he lusted after, His missus and son Alex have joined the white anting with gusto. Clearly revenge runs strong in the Turnbull family along with the sore loser syndrome.

Bill Shorten is widely predicted to become the 31st Federal Prime minister this weekend and possibly the best equipped and performing prime minister since John Howard was buried by a foul mouthed dreamer in 200, when The Milky Bar kid lookalike defeated Howards government and ended Howards hold on the division of Bennelong held since 1974. Scott Morrison becoming just another body in a count of five, including one who got Lazarused only to be knifed a second time by the nice Mr Shorten, this time fatally. Bill Shorten and Malcolm T are both crafty unconscionable manipulators of political executions, sort of whatever-it-takes types.

Since Johnie's defeat 12 years ago Federal Australia has had as Prime Minister: K Rudd, J Gillard,  Rudd again, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison. An average of two years each in office, and should Shorten make it tonight that trend may well continue as he has a record in preferred Prime Minister polls well behind Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison.

But the Aussie Voter is once more disgusted at the Musical Chairs in Canberra and Bob Hawkes sacrifice two days out from the polls closing may well have tipped the Balance of Power to Saint Bobs old Party, that in itself would be sad as Bob will never know.

Then there is the albatross my colleague The Veteran posted on recently of an alleged rape, unanswered so far, but that should keep Mr bully boy Shorten short on sleep.

Meanwhile Australian Taxpayers will be asked to pay bigly for the defeat of Morrison who has run a terrific campaign, putting an increasingly rattled Bill Shorten very close to losing the unlosable election.

Labor is promising higher taxes for the wealthy, increased CGT rates, reduced currently in operation tax relief for investment properties and an as yet undivulged cost assumed by some to be of multibillion dollars, of carbon tax. Shorten has consistently refused to even estimate such impost and his sycophantic MSM have allowed this major departure from past practice on costing such bribery to be hidden from voters, while Shorten has relied on his "what is the cost of doing nothing" response.

Then there are the still palpable factors that played overly in the demise of the Rudd / Gillard cluster exploited so thoroughly by Tony Abbott. The explosion of refugees euphemistically labeled "boat people" when they were in truth queue jumpers being preyed upon by scurrilous people traders while Labor fiddled. That ploy alone should have all voters in a state of hight dudgeon.

The Australian voters will be able to relax and watch whatever they deliver unfold, but if it is Shorten it will be very expensive for all, including many deluded Labor voters.

Then the next question if Shorten wins, is how long can a much disliked ex-union thug with personality traits more inclined to a Tom Cat than a nice pussy, survive, as knifing Prime Ministers has become a blood sport in the land of people descended from criminals.

Aussie Nostalgia

In my first piece at No Minister I indicated that one of the areas I would not be writing about would be Australian politics, for the very simple reason that I did not follow it, and basically never have.

At any given time I may be aware of the name of the Australian PM and which party is in government.

But that's about it. Other Ministers, MP's, policies, the daily dregs of the Australian Parliament - though admittedly they're often brilliantly funny, no more so than when Keating was there, tearing the Liberals another asshole on a regular basis.

Aside from that? I know I should be interested, but.... Meh.

However, in honour of the fact that there's a lot of old (oldish :) ) farts here at No Minister, and that an Australian election is happening across the ditch, allow me to drop you all into some nostalgia.

The following is a 15 minute clip of a press conference on March 2, 1983, just before that Federal election, where Bob Hawke gets questioned by the Aussie press.


Brilliant!. It's all there: intelligence both in terms of knowing his stuff and being quick on his feet, and wit, and the humanity that was always so genuine about him and that was not faked. And Aussies knew it.

I don't know much about current Labour leader, Bill Shorten, but gathering from all the Facebook shit I see from Australians about how much they wish Jacinda Adern was in the mix, I gather they're not impressed by their leadership choices.

I suspect they'd be even less impressed when they look at this performance from 36 years ago. Grab a glass of red, sit back, and watch a master class in retail politics. Had I been living in Australia at the time I'd have voted for this guy every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

How the right almost hijacked democracy.....

There seems to be some confusion on this blog about the supremacy of parliament and the courts and the rule of law although some add to the confusion by deliberately misreading events.

Parliament make the laws, the judges enact the law…simple. Well not quite, the judges must also remind parliament of the laws they passed and hold them to account.
An example………..

After the Brexit referendum with a willing Tory Government it all looked so simple and no one, not even the really clever clogs, understood or could imagine the the difficulties of splitting after a forty year romance. For a year the Government pratted around telling he word that this was easy peasy and the UK was just going to walk out holding all he cards.

Then along came Gina or Ms Millar as I will refer to her. Ms Millar is a British Guyanain lawyer  cunningly disguised as a really attractive woman. No, she said, it was an act of parliament that took the UK into the EU and you need an act of Parliament to leave otherwise you are breaking your own law.

Then the brown stuff hit the whirling blades. Rubbish cried the Government, we can enact this without reference to parliament.  The hate mail and death threats started with most of them more concerned with Ms Millars colour as is standard with the hard rights storm troopers, apparently it is unpatriotic to be anything but white. It was taken so seriously that she was under 24hr police protection and moved accommodation several times. So a very shaken and very brave Ms Millar took the Tory Government to court.

In the court case which cost the British taxpayer a shed load of money the Judges agreed with Ms Millar and took the Government to task for trying to steamroller this through without an act of parliament.  Governments can be taken to court but parliament can not. What is apparent is that democracy and the rule of law can be suspended if it suits the ruling party in this case the Tories. They bullied, threatened and lied and continued to spend the tax payers money on a lost cause that their own legal advisors advised not to pursue.           And that is why we are in the present situation.



ON THE OZ ELECTION

I suspect the only thing preventing a Labor victory tonight is Labor itself.    If Abbott and Turnbull were disagreeable characters then I'm not sure how you can characterize Shorten.

I will be watching the result in Abbott's seat with of Warringah with some interest.  After-all, it's not too often you see the son of an (admittedly deposed) Liberal Prime Minister making robo calls to an electorate calling on voters to dump the Liberal candidate.    Perhaps, just perhaps, Abbott's time is up.   Even were he to be returned one suspects he will remain on the outer of the parliamentary Liberal Party throwing arrows.

One thing for sure.   The voting public are sick and tired of revolving door Prime Ministers.   The last twelve years haven't been good ones for Australian democracy. 

Facebook: Why Adern & Macron may get their wish

Jenna Ellis Rives is a constitutional lawyer and author, but she was part of the Trump campaign, which is likely why this sharing of Matt Walsh's mockery resulted in the breaching of Facebook's "hate speech standards".

Similarly on Wednesday, Twitter suspended the account of Greg Scott, director of media at the incredibly evil Heritage Foundation. Scott tweeted out the same article I referred to here on No Minister a couple of weeks ago, about a guy who identifies as a woman and was booted from competing in women's weightlifting.

Wonder how long Julia Beck and Miriam Ben-Shalom, as just two feminist examples, will last on FB and Twitter?

My bet is that after 24-48 hours or so Facebook will lift the block and "apologise", but that's geological ages in social media world: nice way to bury opposing arguments in the heat of debate.

Maybe blogs will make a come back?

Either way these companies should not look to the GOP or any right-wingers with our usual support for free enterprise, when the Democrats and EU come hunting for scalps at Google, Facebook and the others. Let them burn in their own fire.

Friday, May 17, 2019

HAPPY TO ADMIT I WUZ WRONG

Not too long ago I opined that cheques would be consigned to the dustbin of history within five years.    And now the news that Kiwibank will stop accepting cheques from 28 February next year.    I expect all the other banks will follow suit toot sweet.

I suspect most businesses will rejoice at the demise of  'the cheques in the mail'.


NOT NECESSARILY SO SUPERMARKET CARPARK PUDDLE DWELLERS.



Current polling suggests that an election next week would see Labour and the Greens  Melons able to govern as a far left government with  Winston First returned to the Wilderness and the centre right left right out.

This morning the shallow MSM are rabbiting on about ex 'tradie', turned christian pastor . subsequently a  National Party Cabinet member, forming a lifeline option  as a potential ally under a christian banner if gifted Botany in a deal with National holding off,  as being a last chance for National to move  back across the house. That is rubbish and blatantly untrue.
It  is entirely possible though as Ngaro is widely accepted as a good man and Botany has a high number of Christian PIs plus conservative Ex Saffas could assist National by creating a Christian Party sitting in the Parliament who might support them but it is not the only answer.

Imho National is not as desperate as some would proclaim for support to form a Coalition of the right/ centre right. I have no available evidence but knowing some Winston  First supporters it is not a given that his bunch of ever being renewed MPs would  never go with National, of course they could never publicly state such disloyalty to the ultimate Personality Political Party Head Honcho as to do so would consign them immediately to the rubbish tip.  Winston First  party has a long list of "shooting Stars" in a growing discard pile.

Just as the Melons seem able to hoover up a tranche of conservatives in their  ability to fool some of the people all of the time in an errant belief they are saving the Planet, Winston First has enjoyed similar misrepresentation in luring National voters temporarily disenchanted with how that party seems to find its founding principles rather flexible in the Marxist  traditions, make that Groucho not Karl.
Yes Tracy Martin and Shane 'big spender  could be considered left leaning but there are other current and previous NZF candidates drawn from a list of failed and subsequently  disgruntled Nat electorate foot soldiers, Mark Patterson losing to Todd Barclay in Clutha Southland sent his ego on a search for better grazing and Edwin Perry a one time Wairarapa National supporter,  come to mind.

Excise the anti National cloak  being worn ever since he walked, two and a half decades ago,  apart from the brief skirmish  that lasted until the Maori seat  warmers returned the favour in spades. Peter Charlatan reveals every three years it has nothing to do with policy, loyalty or even what his followers have come to believe, it is all and only what is best for the old man himself.

Any rational analysis reveals that many supporters of The Melons and Winston First,  given a chance would repudiate much of what has transpired in this latest foray into garnishing  the Lily for Peters, as that is what the last eighteen months  have revealed to any mind retaining an ability to consider  the evidence.

THE BILL SHORTEN RAPE ALLEGATION

One of our Australian readers has sent me a file detailing an allegation of rape against Bill Shorten, Prime Minister in waiting.     It contains a statement by Peter Harris QC, former head of the National Crime Authority, who is acting for Kathy Sherriff, the complainant.

Sherriff alleges that Shorten raped her in 1986 when she was 16.   She had joined the ALP and that year she went to a Young Labor camp at Geelong where, at 4.00 am, Shorten came into her room and raped her.    At a later point the matter was reported to the Victorian Police.   In August 2014 and after an extensive investigation the Police declined to bring charges because the Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions had advised there was no reasonable change of conviction.   That the Police had been unable to locate the witnesses that Sherriff claimed would support her allegation and that it boiled down to her word against his.   The Police advised that should new evidence be presented they would be prepared to reopen the case.      Since then she has been working night and day to obtain that evidence.

Sherriff claims that her whole life has been impacted by the events of that weekend and that until the matter has been dealt with by the courts she cannot move past it. 

From Peter Harris .... "In my view the Police should reopen the investigation into this matter and the Office of Public Prosecutions should prosecute Shorten.   This is a serious complaint of rape and Kathy is entitled to her day in court as is Shorten.   The case is similar in circumstances to the Pell case where the victim was the only eye-witness.   As you know a conviction was obtained on that evidence.     Kathy is entitled to be heard in a criminal trail and to have a jury decide guilt or innocence."

I think we are entitled to question the timing of of this story.    That said, the allegations are serious and Peter Harris makes a valid point.   Below is a photograph taken around the time of Shorten's alleged offending.   He is the young man with the raised fist in the centre of the photograph.



Rugby World Cup - Helping Shag with his squad.

This will be the first of six or seven posts as I work through the team positions.

Readers should be aware that what follows in this and other posts are solely my thoughts and observations and I have no inside information whatsoever. It is also pertinent that I do not watch any Super Rugby before the 1 April as until then it is the season for summer sports in New Zealand.

Lets look at the back 3 for starters and from what I understand they will take five players to cover fullback and wing. Injuries to Damien Mackenzie and Ben Smith complicate things a little but I think we can still pretty much ink in the 5 who will go unless Smiths injury turns out to be more serious than they are presently saying.

FULLBACKS:
Ben Smith and Jordie Barrett and in the lead up tests.

I would not be surprised to see Beauden Barrett start a test there, especially if Richie Mo'unga continues his outstanding form at first five. If Smith doesn't recover from his injury David Havili should be next in line.

WINGS:
Reiko Ioane, Waisake Naholo and George Bridge.

There are of course a number of others putting their hands up and being touted in the press. Among them are Sevu Reece and Brayton Ennor from the Crusaders, Ben Lamb from the Hurricanes and as a long shot Sean Wainui from the Chiefs - he has a high work rate, is reliable under the high ball and has been in the NZ Maori set up for the last few years. Bear in mind that both Ben Smith and Jordie Barrett can cover wing as well and George Bridge is a very capable fullback.

Friday's Fulminations

There is mild moderation.  Normal rules of blogger etiquette and courtesy to blog hosts will apply.with serious transgressors being thrown out.

Unfortunately our system does not allow your comments to show up in the blog post itself.  Just in the comments section.

Visitors might consider the wisdom of using moderate language.

Regards

Adolf

Thursday, May 16, 2019

An Electoral Shambles

Some of our readers will be aware a federal election takes place in Australia on Saturday.

They might not be aware this time around, the period during which early voting is allowed has been extended to three weeks.  As a result of this relaxation it appears there will be around five million early votes.   Early voting is supposed to be allowed only where there is a genuine reason to do so.   'I don't like waiting in line on election day' is not deemed to be a genuine reason and the Commission acknowledges this requirement is not policed.

Potentially this has the capacity to turn election night commentary into a bit of a shambles because a large proportion of these early votes are not counted until the Monday after the election.

From what I can see, the Electoral Commission tries to count all early votes cast in a voter's electorate on the night but it is expected the volume of these is such that there may be insufficient staff to complete the task on Saturday.  Absentee votes and postal votes have always been counted on the Monday.

Apparently parliament is to review the current early voting arrangements.  My guess is the period will be pulled back to one week.