Well, Arthur Sinodinos turned out to be a damp squib, as I predicted. It was bad enough to denigrate the post of Ambassador to the US by flipping such a mediocrity into Washington to make room for one of Morrison’s lackies in the Cabinet. He has now had his first test: to stop Trump releasing the murderer of three Australian soldiers as part of a peace deal he hopes can be done with the Taleban. And let there be no misunderstanding: this was a deal forced on the Afghan government by the US. Our defence and foreign affairs ministers also had a chance to reverse this decision in face-to-face talks in Washington. They failed. Morrison has pathetically written a letter to Trump and not even telephoned him. He has virtually said ‘Go ahead.’ It is an appalling decision bereft of any morality. It should tell us a lot about these wars that the US keeps dragging us into. It is all ‘brothers together in a grand alliance’ at the start. But after a few demonstrations and a critical article in the New York Times, they get cold feet and just give up as they did in Vietnam. Now, they add ‘Forget about the Australian dead and their grieving widows. Let the murderers go free.’ The smirking murderer, Hekmatullah, should be kept in prison or, better still, executed. But we are so backboneless we do not support capital punishment even for monsters who kill our soldiers.
I was shocked when I saw that the Federal government and the Liberal state governments are supporting the so-called ‘reform’ of the defamation law. I was shocked but I was not surprised, because the Liberal party is now at the forefront of those destroying the rights of the individual and pushing for big government and lots of government controls. The changes to the defamation law will crush one more aspect of individual rights, namely the right to protect your reputation. The changes will put a ceiling on damages to restrict how much a jury of your peers thinks the smearer should pay for destroying your character. They will introduce a ‘serious harm threshold’ to stop you from suing at all if the lawyers say your complaint is ‘trivial.’ And they will create some fancy defences to protect the media, like a so-called public interest defence which will result in cases getting bogged down in appeals. It is all being done to protect the media companies. You should stop them and fight to keep the law as it is, so that you can protect the greatest asset you have – your good name.
But I have some good news for you. Long-term readers would know that I have been engaged on a search for the ideal job to occupy me during my declining years. The problem, of course, has been that I have only worked in politics and the law and, accordingly, am not really qualified for anything. The search has been long and hard. I must say, however, that I have never thought that I was asking for too much, as my ideal job really has only three pre-requisites. The first is that it must pay a lot of money, as I will have to supplement that small token of appreciation of a grateful nation, otherwise known as my parliamentary pension. The second is that it will not require anything like hard work. The third is that it will have to carry the sort of social cachet that will get me invited onto Q&A and those other ABC programs where people give their opinions on issues like whether the government should pay everyone’s wages, whether we should give foreign aid to kleptomaniacal rulers in Africa and Asia and whether men should be allowed to marry giraffes. So, I have looked at a lot of occupations in the hope that one of them might fill the bill and, take my word for it, there are some weird and wonderful jobs around these days and I do not have the faintest idea what some of them mean. I seriously considered becoming a conscious business consultant (as opposed to an unconscious one), a strategic health policy analyst, culture change director, forecaster and strategist, activist, arts festival director or, like the young Barack Obama, a community organiser. But nothing has really clicked. Then, miraculously, there it was. James Murdoch had resigned from the board of News Corp because he and his wife could no longer stand the conservative bias forced on the company by his father Rupert and his brother Lachlan. Why, James and his wife had given a couple of million to the Obama campaign last time, are warriors against climate change and hate Donald Trump, so they should resign. But the best thing about resigning from the board of News Corp is YOU KEEP THE MONEY: your shares, dividends and all the rest. So there was my ideal job. I would become a James Murdoch, go all trendy and lovey-dovey on everything from saving the polar bear to anti-coal and anti-slavery, but keep the assets built up over the years with Murdoch money and the inheritance from Dad that must be around the corner. I have just been down to Centrelink to see if they have any vacancies for James Murdochs, because I am one! They promised to let me know if one comes up.
Talking of rats moving on, a plague of them has taken over deserted Melbourne restaurants, having a feast on left-overs from haute cuisine takeaways and sleeping it off in abandoned pilates studios. Some are said to be so discerning they move upmarket from one establishment to another, no doubt armed with the Age Good Food Guide.
I believe it, because I had an encounter with an enormous fox just the other night. He was racing from the very posh Tivoli Road Bakery in South Yarra and heading for the even posher environs of Toorak.
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