It was feeding time at the media zoo on Wednesday. Hot on the heels of the PISA report showing that 26% of Victorian 15-year-olds’ educational proficiency was too low “to enable them to participate effectively and productively in life,” the long-awaited Ombudsman’s report into the Victorian public service under Emeritus Chairman Dan Andrews was fed to the salivating media mouths.
There was more than enough for indigestion. Victoria’s public service, the Ombudsman’s massive report said, is “ruled at the highest level by a culture of fear.” No subtlety there.
It’s been a busy week at the Members’ Entrance to the pearly gates to heaven.
On Tuesday Charlie Munger arrived in a limmo longer than a bus. Charlie was Warren Buffett’s conservative investment alter ego. He arrived and immediately began arguing with St Peter about heaven’s recent investments (remembering that time doesn’t matter in heaven): “That St Peter’s Basilica property development in Rome was a waste of money.”
Political opinion polls published on Monday screamed gloom for Albo. His preferred PM rating had fallen to 40% from 47%.
In response, Albo gave the Alfred E Neuman comment. Well, he actually didn’t say it. He didn’t need to: the same poll showed the Coalition’s primary support falling to 30%. Albo will be soundly sleeping; albeit in the pointy end of a Qantas A380.
The news last week that former PM Keating had lost it completely with a recurrence of RDS was only a modest surprise. The bad news this week is that RDS is spreading.
Readers will recall that former PM Scott Morrison hailed his 2019 election victory as a miracle, for which he himself was entirely responsible. Clearly hoping to repeat the miracle in the epicentre of miracles, Morrison flew into Israel over the weekend.
Some weeks ago, Wry & Dry suggested that the incoming head of the Productivity Commission Ms. Michelle Wood might get the DCM before starting her job. Her then sin was proposing an inheritance tax.
Wry & Dry mused then that perhaps she suffered from RDS. Proposing an inheritance tax certainly got the headlines.
But then on Wednesday, she again put her head above the parapet.
Saturday: Florida. Played golf with some champion golfers. An Irish fella called McIlroy, a chick from South Korea, Jin Young Ko and a bloke named Tiger something. I WON!
Sunday: New Hampshire. Spoke at a rally. Told them “I don’t mind being Nelson Mandela.” I am willing to GO TO JAIL to defend democracy. Mandela was a patriot, like me. India should be proud of him.
The Voice debacle gave rise to claims and counter claims that would make a lawyer richer than Croesus. The most risible was from journalists, newspaper-letter-writers and deniers who blamed the loss on Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.
Really? Dutton would be pleased to claim he single-handedly defeated a campaign backed by the full forces of the government, the ACTU, an overwhelming casket of cash, the major churches, large companies, universities, the major sporting codes, major industry superannuation funds and… Alan Joyce. SuperDutton? Yeah. Nuh.
In a DCM-move that surprised many, Chairman Dan gave himself the DCM on Tuesday. This is a disaster of great magnitude.
Cartoonists all over Australia have lost a subject that yielded the Everest of political satire and ridicule. They feasted on the opportunity provided by arguably the most hated politician since Julius Caesar, whose DCM, unlike Chairman Dan’s, was not self-inflicted and caused by 27 knife wounds from six grumpy conspirators.
Emboldened by his own outstanding oratory and aided by an Opposition as weak as the Wallabies and as divided as post-war Germany, a fawning media and an upper house cross bench that were easily bought, he bestrode the political world like a colossus.
When the Indians are circling your wagon, the lessons of Politics 101 are clear. Divert attention away from the Indians until the cavalry arrives. What better diversion than a big, ‘nation building’ policy.
Former PM Bob Hawke was a master at this. Readers will remember either of “no Australian child will live in poverty” and/or “we will plant one billion trees.”
Who did the CBA’s CEO think he was fooling when he said that the bank’s massive profit will “fortify the balance sheet to support struggling borrowers” Good grief, does anyone think that the CBA is going to forgive the debt of a defaulting borrower?
What proud citizen of the USA would not want a president who admitted to a business relationship with a porn start? Really, it’s about free speech. And free trade.
Or one whose high intellect and sense of history meant that building a personal library of really historic documents was really understandable.
And now, conspiracy. Really? What’s the fuss? Who in politics hasn’t conspired before, during or after office?
Albo earned more frequent flyer points this week, from a trip across the Tasman. He met with the NZ PM to discuss “simplified border checks”.
Wry & Dry is not sure why a mundane matter such as border checks needed a meeting between two prime ministers. But, it is what it is: Albo needed the FF points to keep his Platinum status within reach.
Anthropologists believe there may be tribes living in the farthest reaches of New Guinea who have yet to hear that Chairman Dan has cancelled the state of Victoria holding the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
It must be tough being a US president. So many things to remember. And all of those names and faces. And this on top of the shocking ailment that affects some 50% of the people on the planet: being male.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a batsman who is unhappy with the method of his dismissal will cry that it wasn’t “in the spirit of the game.”
And so it came to pass that in a recent cricket Test match, English batsman Bairstow was silly enough to leave his crease when the ball was still in play. He was correctly dismissed (“stumped”).
An outburst of outrage not seen at Lord’s since the Great Pimm’s Shortfall Crisis of 1926 then arose.
Today, there isn’t a person in the world who is not familiar with Russia’s highway M4. And that it starts on Rostov-on-Don (more-or-less) and finishes in Moscow, some 1,100 kilometres away to the north.
It was along this stretch of mostly wide and smooth asphalt that Yevgeny Prigozhin’s private army (Wagner Group) commenced its threat to Tsar Vlad’s restful night’s sleep. It left the difficult terrain and unfriendly people of Ukraine for the ease of a paved road and reasonable cafes.
A Senate report accused PwC of “obfuscation, intimidation and unwillingness to give full and frank explanations.”
Of course, Senators never obfuscate, never intimidate and are never unwilling to give full and frank explanations. Of course.
The Trumpster has pleaded not guilty to each of the 37 criminal charges relating to him coveting his neighbour’s ox. The ox being highly classified documents. His neighbour being They-The-American-People.
Make no mistake, some individuals at PwC should end up either in the slammer or fiscally eviscerated. For either or both the original crime and then the cover up. Those bean-counters clearly didn’t spend their formative years studying history. How could they not have known that former US president Richard Nixon was shredded for the Watergate cover-up, not the crime?
Sleepy Joe has decided to cancel his trip to have gumnut tea and a lamington with Albo. His acolytes speak of the need to negotiate the raising of America’s ‘debt ceiling’. Nuh.
The real reason is the worry that Sleepy Joe might fall victim of the food on the Jetstar flight to Sydney. And return to the US in a more horizontal position than is usually found on Jetstar. Then Armageddon: Kamala Harris would get the gig in the White House, at which she has already been measuring up curtains.
In an announcement that surprised nobody, Sleepy Joe announced that he will spend his retirement years pretending to be President. Like an ageing Soviet Politburo member, he will be fortified by Swisse vitamin pills, a nearby ventriloquist and an unseeable whole-of-body Zimmer frame.
Y’see, all this talk about nuclear powered submarines to defend Readers against that nasty Emperor Xi is a giant hoax. The real aim is to plug Australia’s electricity grid into these nuclear-powered subs.
Three and a half weeks ago, Apprentice Jim Chalmers presented to the world his pleasant sounding but really vague ‘objectives of superannuation’ paper. But as each new subsequent morning dawned, he found that he had become the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. It started as a theoretical ‘shoot-the-breeze’ exercise that would lead to a rational way to increase taxes on some superannuation investors. It soon turned into a media circus, the RPM of which was daily increasing.
Twelve months ago today, Tsar Vlad told his lads to park their tanks on a neighbour’s lawn.
The problem was that the neighbour got grumpy; showed spirit; had some powerful friends; and Tsar Vlad’s well-oiled military machine was found to be, well, an embarrassment.
A 56-kilometre single file of Russian tanks and trucks stuck in a traffic jam on the road to Kyiv would have comical if not for its deadly purpose.
The epitaph for former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi will not be of his time pulling the levers of corruption in government to enrich both himself and his mates. It will be for introducing a term into the global lexicon: the ‘bunga-bunga party’.
That quiet, courteous, well-spoken Greens Senator, Lidia Thorpe has turned her coat. And left the Greens to become an ‘independent’.
She now has a job until 2028, without needing to be part of the Greens, that party that gave her the number one spot on its Senate ticket last May. That’s gratitude for you. Her voice will now be louder than any other voice.
Wry & Dry has read Dr Chalmers’ opus. And has lost three hours of his life in so doing, three hours that might have been devoted to more productive enterprises, such as sorting out Wry & Dry’s sock drawer.
As Readers count the sleeps to the 2022 Football World Cup Final on Sunday, more than a few questions are still being asked why Qatar was awarded the gig. Netflix subscribers might find more answers and truth in its documentary “FIFA Uncovered” than they did in “Harry and Meghan.”
The current “something must be done” panic by Albo over energy prices shows that Albo is ill-prepared to manage ‘events’ over which he has little control.
His thought-bubble of energy price caps is now floating to the clouds, untroubled by process or clear thinking. Y’see, he has walked into a trap of his own making.
FIFA, the body that runs world football, has, since 1978, been the global benchmark for giving lessons in corruption in sport.
And in 2022, FIFA has set a new global benchmark, providing a host city outcome not previously considered for a global sporting world cup: a lesson in geography.
Over the years, there have been many federal ministers who had no idea about their portfolio. Whether Liberal (Scott Morrison, Prime Minister), Labor (Jim Cairns, Treasurer) or National (Barnaby Joyce, any portfolio), the list is long.
But in these modern times, Readers would expect deeper talent, especially in matters fiscal. Err, no.
The “election steal” cry will re-emerge from the rabbit hole of internet conspiracy theories. The candidates who campaigned on a platform of ‘electoral integrity’ will, if they lose, ape the Trumpster’s mantra. And bleat “we wuz robbed.”
Imagine that you are the Chairman of a struggling inner-suburban football club. The club concerned has a proud history. Sadly, in recent times it has fallen on ‘ardship, which a previous administration had attempted to overcome by injecting its players with cocktails not heard of in the best bar at the Ritz Carlton.
It wasn’t a successful trip. Emperor Xi’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Wang Yi, had booked an all-expenses paid tour of eight sunny, friendly Pacific Islands. The factor 50 sunscreen and Emperor Xi-emblazoned budgie smugglers had been packed, and the Out of Office message switched to ‘on’.