I was absolutely thrilled to read that Senator Arthur Sinodinos will not be prosecuted by the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and that he has been returned to the bosom of his family without a stain on his character. Young Arthur got himself into hot water because he was both the deputy chairman of Australian Water Holdings and the Treasurer of the Liberal Party at the time when the former gave some highly exotic donations to the latter. Arthur’s problem, and a subject of great curiosity at ICAC, was how he could occupy both jobs and not be aware of the money coming or going. In fact, he created what must surely be a commendable world record for a witness when he said 56 times in his evidence: ‘I cannot recall’. Nevertheless, ICAC has now decided not to prosecute him. So I am thrilled that he is now a free man, and not only because his release presumably brings some comfort to his wife and children, and I naturally take that sentiment into account.
I am celebrating this liberating event for two other reasons. First, I have long wondered why we pay out such vast sums of money to people on social security who obviously do not deserve it and why we finance such grandiose schemes as the NBN, the NDIS and so on. Not knowing where money comes from and where it goes to has long seemed to me the only plausible explanation for the extravagance of governments in wasting so much of other peoples’ money for so little good. So Senator Sinodinos reflects the zeitgeist of the era in that regard. But he has really elevated his explanation to a respectable economic theory which will be seized on by all good bureaucrats. From now on, it will be acceptable for a government to say that it simply cannot remember how much money it had and how it spent it, and that on balance it might be best if both were forgotten. Especially so, since ICAC has given the Sinodinos Expedient the stamp of approval for the otherwise inexplicable.
I am also thrilled at the second powerful effect of the Sinodinos Expedient, namely as a major legal reform, and you know how keen I am on law reform. For centuries, the law has revolved around a sort of cascading denial of responsibility. If you were charged with robbing a bank in Collins Street, your lawyer would advise you to plead: there is no bank in Collins Street; if there is, it has not been robbed; if it has, I did not do it; if I did, it was an accident; and if it was not an accident, I am a member of an oppressed minority. Naturally, that approach cannot guarantee success. But the Sinodinos Expedient is, to coin a phrase, watertight, and from now on, fortified by the ICAC precedent, my advice to clients is: ‘Just say “I cannot recall”, preferably 56 times, and you can’t fail.’ No wonder the Melbourne University Press is publishing a collection of Arthur’s speeches entitled The Forgetful People.
What do four year parliamentary terms, eligibility for election, aboriginals and the republic all have in common? They all require a referendum and changes to the constitution, they all involve weakening our institutions and they have all been dropped on us as a job lot. They also come with the warning that if you do not agree with them you are a useless reactionary, out of touch with what your betters have already decreed. Now, what do all of the above have to do with same sex marriage? They all have a lot to do with whether the people are allowed to have a vote on fundamental changes to their society; with a referendum it is compulsory, but with same sex marriage, we are told by our betters that we should be denied a vote because they know best. It should be clear now that the progressive Left are on a concerted campaign to weaken our institutions and to persist with it until they get their own way. And not just on the current way in which each proposal is expressed; such changes never stop with the first proposal, but are merely the first in a series of incremental steps to the new Nirvana. Accordingly, we should play the Left at its own game, agree that the proposed referenda should indeed be held and insist on holding them all on the same day: Super Saturday. The saving in costs would be immense; five votes for the price of one. This saving destroys the argument that a same sex plebiscite would be too expensive. It is also a convenient way of voting ‘No’ on all of the proposals and getting rid of them at the one time. Of course I am overlooking one thing. My suggestion needs the federal government to take a positive stand on these issues; but we know from the latest focus groups that the public think the government incapable of taking a positive stand on anything. A non-socialist government should be implacably opposed to same sex marriage; to destroying the supremacy of parliament by four year terms; to setting up a rival parliament for one race and to ending our tried and tested constitutional monarchy.
The transcript of the telephone call between Malcolm Turnbull and Donald Trump is amazing. It shows Turnbull as shifty and devious, as he invites Trump not to take any refugees from Manus and Nauru, but to lie and say ‘We vetted them all and rejected them all.’ Trump is agile and honest, as he says he will support the deal, not with Turnbull’s sophistry, but because Obama locked him into it. It is also clear that The Spectator Australia was right in agreeing with Trump that this was a dumb deal. Dumb then and dumber now.
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Subscribe – Try a month free