Guest Notes

Thespian notes

24 June 2017

9:00 AM

24 June 2017

9:00 AM

Vacancy for a leader, not a comedian

Malcolm Turnbull is the latest Australian politician to risk relations with our most important ally by gratuitously insulting their leader in a way they’d never dare insult the Chinese communist leaders. Minister Pyne described Donald Trump’s rise as ‘terrifying’. Declaring his strong preference for Hillary Clinton, he said she would not only win but ‘win easily’. Opposition leader Shorten declared Trump ‘barking mad’. Minister Frydenberg dismissed him on national TV with a grossly insulting term. Earlier, PM Rudd had created a diplomatic incident through his media plan to make President Bush seem ridiculous. Mark Latham denounced Bush as ‘the most incompetent and dangerous president in living memory’.

Why do they do this? Turnbull was quite prepared to risk damaging US relations merely to gain the momentary and frankly worthless approbation of the press gallery. That he actually believed this would remain secret reflects on his judgement. Such naïveté, curious for a backstabber, was again on display with the decision which just does not pass the pub test, to pay illegal immigrants $70m and their lawyers $20m. A government with backbone could effectively reverse this welcome back message to people smugglers.

Rather than treading the boards as a comedian of indifferent quality, Turnbull should be cleaning up the succession of disasters under his watch. He must acknowlege with deeds and not words that we are in a state of war with Islamists and must respond with the full panoply of defence powers the founders endowed us with.

Other government disasters include the shocking overruns in the NBN and the NDIS where, we have just learned, 40 per cent of children enrolled suffer no discernible disability. The politicians’ vote-buying welfare system is still retraining generations into a soul-destroying dependency, even attracting welfare immigration. It’s not enough to tinker around the edges. And having alienated self-funded retirees, present and potential, on top of farmers, Turnbull is now alienating the Catholic vote, which Menzies long ago brought to the Coalition, by imposing a $4.6 billion hit on their schools. He might as well now target anybody who has ever voted for the Coalition. He has even significantly exceeded Labor’s disgraceful raid on the defence budget, violating Canberra’s first duty of government to use taxes to defend the Commonwealth from the enemy and not for the illicit and immoral purpose of shoring up their party’s seats.

But above all, both sides refuse to admit that they have been wrong in their choice of solution to overcome their blind global warmism. They now know they were misled by IPCC alarmism and exaggerated projections about the impact of man-made CO2 emissions. Presenting the Finkel report, Turnbull conceded that what was needed was cheap and reliable power which was ‘technologically agnostic’. In plain English, that must mean it doesn’t matter whether electricity comes from coal, gas, wind, sun or indeed, uranium. Like most in the political class, he should come clean and say ‘We were wrong. We’ll let the nation go back to enjoying the lowest cost energy in the world.’ Like Trump, our leaders should put their country first, not last.

But they won’t. They know that imposing emission reductions will make no discernible change to the temperature. Yet they insist on this foolish requirement, something which will turn us into, if not the Venezuela, the Argentina of the South Seas. Labor and Finkel would, unbelievably, increase the damage.

In the meantime, what of the target of Turnbull’s thespianism? Alone among Western leaders, Trump has had the courage to denounce the Paris Accord.

Meanwhile, just as the media were becoming hysterical about the sacked FBI director James Comey’s coming Senate committee evidence, the one-time US Director of National Intelligence, now ANU visiting professor, James Clapper, made headlines. Suggesting a successful impeachment, he claimed Watergate ‘pales’ in comparison with Trump’s problems. He clearly overlooked Obama’s and Clinton’s cover-up of the Benghazi outrage. No one died at Watergate, but four Americans were brutally murdered at Benghazi .

The only evidence of a crime which emerged from Comey’s testimony was not one by President Trump. It was Comey’s admission he’d arranged for his memos to be leaked to the NY Times to force the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate alleged Russian collusion. It is a criminal offence to ‘steal, sell or convey’ such records and Comey could end up the one who is prosecuted. Fox News suggests this was not a once-off breach, pointing to a series of suspiciously similar FBI leaks to the NYT.

In the meantime, it has emerged that Mueller, a donor to the Clinton campaign, is so close professionally and on a friendly basis to his star witness, Comey, that their families had even holidayed together.

As the investigation extends to alleged obstruction of justice, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller but who also recommended Comey’s dismissal, is said to be considering following Attorney General Sessions and recusing himself apparently, because he may have to appear as a witness. But so might Mueller, already compromised by the revelation he is far too close to Comey. Some of the 13 attorneys he has employed have now been revealed to be Democrat donors, lending support to the conclusion that the investigation is nothing more than a fishing expedition to find something, anything, which can be used to impeach Trump for some as yet to be revealed ‘high crime or misdemeanour’, especially if the Democrats obtain a majority in the House in the mid-term elections.

What is really telling in this tsunami of leaks is that there has not been even a scintilla of alleged evidence of Trump’s collusion with the Russians. If they had anything on Trump, you can be sure it would have made headlines in the NYT, Washington Post or on CNN. But there has been nothing. Is this because, as is likely, they have absolutely nothing?

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