The Thing About Kevin & The Shitsville Express

The last few months have been a hellish roller coaster ride, writes Assistant Managing Editor Timothy W. Humphries

Funnily enough, I remember during the 1980s a particularly colourful roller coaster ride at Dreamworld. Its gone now. However It used to slide in and out of view as our family barreled down the Pacific Highway to visit relatives on the Gold Coast.

I would argue we have entered a Dreamworld type era of twists and turns in Australian politics. Both sides of politics are setting themselves up as the answer in a political climate best described as 'disillusioned'. 

While I cannot vote Labor, I struggle to find justification to vote Liberal. Even against my own loyalty and trust, Tony Abbott agrees with Climate Alarmism and wants a direct action plan that will plunder the taxpayer "a bit less" then the other mob. This "a bit less then the other mob" paradigm has dominated every policy response.

Meanwhile Kevin Rudd in his newly incarnated form wants to punch forward with a dubious NBN, Health Reforms and a band-aid Asylum Seeker policy that doesn't account for long term requirements.  

In a politically unstable environment, there is no clarion call to achievable freedom and small government. It remains incredible to me that a man derided and replaced by a marxist radical can be reinstalled and yet still find favour with the Australian electorate.

If the narrative is correct and Kevin Rudd's leaking against Julia Gillard is the primary reason for his return to the leadership, there is something seriously wrong with how political narrative is communicated in this country.

The obsession seems to extend to the occasional nattering of the media class about whether or not Malcolm Turnbull would be an appropriate replacement for the Leader of the Opposition, in the obvious unfortunate circumstance that he loses the next election.This media dynamic is crazy!

Malcolm Turnbull, if the media's dreams are realised essentially sits in the same position that Kevin Rudd sits regarding climate change and many other issues. The sort of differentiation that is equal to naught.

One only has to mention the words "market mechanism" and somehow sliding from a disagreeable Carbon Tax to a disagreeable Emissions Trading Scam Scheme is bipartisan.

So here we are again. Lurching from one perceptual crisis to another, all the while assaulted by the visage of litugical charlatanism.

In such a parlous state the mind wanders to the future and who might be around the corner on Australia's political landscape.  

Whilst there are a mixture of views on Joe Hilderbrand and his brand of "journalism", his recent ABC program the "Shitsville Express" is a remarkably informative take on the supposed leaders of tommorow.

I do have allot of respect for what Mr Hilderbrand is trying to achieve with this program. Clearly the premise points to the future of the country through Gen Y and Millenial eyes. I liked this element.

However what our "future leaders" fail to realise is the nuance and guile required to achieve real reform. The sort of March of the Patriots reform that has been lacking in the polity since the end of the Hawke-Keating, Howard-Costello era. 

We have entered a Dreamworld scenario, where revolving door leadership and zany 24 hour news cycle explosions have replaced the considered creation and management of political narrative, that is comprehensible to those of us outside the beltway.

I remember being asked to jump on the old Dreamworld roller coaster by someone who had pumped themselves up on hot dogs, lemonade and fairy floss. After successfully declining, I watched their demeanour change after the ride ended.

Unfortunately Australian Politics and the Shitsville Express appear to be mirroring each other in that they reflect a process whereby politics itself is turning into a metaphorical disembarkation and search for a brown paper bag.

Timothy W Humphries is Assistant Managing Editor of Menzies House



The Hon Dr Peter Phelps MLC on the "research" gravy-train: 

I woke to the news this morning that the ANU now has a bright and shiny supercomputer called "Raijin".
That's nice, I thought.
The academic concerned further related that half the cost had come from the Federal Government.
Well, that's to be expected, I thought.
He said that the remainder of the funding had come from a consortium.
Excellent, get the private sector involved in capital costs, I thought.
The professor said that the other partners consisted of the ANU itself, the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian Research Council.
What?!  So almost 100% of this is being paid for by the Federal Government.  It is just going through the façade of routing taxpayers'' money through a number of agencies, I thought.
The scientist said that the computer's main use would be for modelling weather patterns, and was part of the government's research priority for climate change.
Of course it is. Of course it is, I thought.
What is interesting about this story?

1. The disconnect between what is "government money";
2. The bandwagon effect between government agencies;
3. The need to 'hit' a specific nerve in your application to get substantial government funding for research; and 
4. The myth that government-funded research is in any way "more independent" than private research.
It would be fascinating to know whether the funding for the supercomputer scheme had been knocked back previously, or had been put on hold because of a lack of available funds, prior to it being badged as being for "climate modelling".
Moreover, I am sure that the computer will provide many other valuable services for the non-bogus areas of science into the future.
But let us be clear about this: under Labor, if you want a research grant, you have to toe the "global warming" line if you want to see the dough – and that is not "independent' research, it is advocacy.

Peter Phelps is the Government Whip in the New South Wales Legislative Council, and is a former long-term staffer in the Howard Government. He has a PhD in Australian History. 

Immigration in the hands of a right Burke

THE big Labor border protection scam will be given an airing today when the first group of illegal boat arrivals is flown to Papua New Guinea since Prime Minister 
Rudd back-flipped on the Pacific Solution and announced his copy-cat policy just over a week ago.

Since the announcement, Rudd’s policy has come under fire from informed PNG citizens and Manus Island locals where the illegal arrivals will be camped.

Read more: Via Piers Akerman Blog

Nauruan MP warns against tents

A former Nauruan foreign minister has warned the Coalition's ''tent city'' plan for asylum seekers would expose people to ''harsh'' heat and must not be a long-term answer.

But the opposition MP, Mathew Batsiua, also said his country would be ''comfortable'' with a larger role in offshore processing after the Coalition announced tough new plans to quickly send 2000 asylum seekers to the island nation.

Read more: Via SMH

A gauge to heeded

The road to prosperity gets harder from here

We boast in the national anthem of golden soil, but the caveat is that wealth demands toil. As mineral prices soften and growth in China dips below 8 per cent, the mining industry will have to work harder and smarter. In the spirit of hoping for the best while planning for the worst, miners must adjust to an era of lower yields and tougher international competition.

Read more: Via The Australian