Friday, February 24, 2017

Today by Elle Hardy

Stumbling and bumbling
The self-own has become the most devastating force in Australian politics


In the parlance of the internet, the highest form of idiocy is the self-own – not a philosophical concept of autonomy, but an act of supreme stupidity akin to throwing the pin while holding on to the grenade. Mining new depths of competence, this week has demonstrated that the self-own is the most devastating force in Australian politics.

Yesterday’s Fair Work Commission ruling to reduce penalty rates sent Labor politicians into a flurry of purpose, but it was soon revealed that the young man they paraded as the face of devastated workers won’t actually be affected by the changes at all [possible paywall].

Bill Shorten’s Potemkin authenticity will be severely tested. Not only did he legislate for regular FWC reviews of penalty rates when he was workplace relations minister, but this review was led by a Labor appointee. A classic case of Politics 101, where a review is only called when the result is already guaranteed. With former union boss and Labor elder Martin Ferguson telling the party to accept the decision, what seems like a gift to the Opposition may well turn out to be another round of banishing ghosts from the Labor machine.

As Shorten prepares to fight a class war, the WA Liberals have offered a handy illustration of how the boundaries of class have been redrawn along cultural, educational and generational lines. In a high-pitched values whistle, the Liberal Party is preferencing One Nation despite the fact that One Nation’s key election policy is express opposition to the Liberal Party’s key election policy of power privatisation. Premier Colin Barnett may become the author of his own punishment: four years beholden to the rabble of Pauline Hanson’s western flank.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Turnbull – who castrated himself in order to obtain power without authority – was last night blindsided in a media blitz by Tony Abbott, who continues to harbour popularity delusions and leadership ambitions.

Abbott lost the top job for fixating on fringe issues as he drifted towards defeat. Speaking on The Bolt Report, he delivered a fresh manifesto, fixating on fringe issues in a salvo to a government drifting towards defeat. Chief among his “winning ideas” is rejecting the Renewable Energy Target – the very target that he legislated as prime minister.

With internal rumblings in the government unlikely to go away, sources say that, in the event of a coup, the charmless, ineffective, bumbling former Queensland cop Peter Dutton is the man with the numbers, and has even firmed as favourite with bookmakers to be the party’s next leader. The Liberal Party may be headed for the greatest self-own of all.


Today’s links

  • The incomparable La Tingle has delivered an excoriating verdict on Abbott’s attempted resurgence.
  • In another notable speech last night, former Treasury head Ken Henry weighed in with a scathing assessment of Australia’s political leadership.
  • Sydney doctor Nasrin Haque and her family are facing deportation after her application for permanent residency was rejected because her daughter is autistic and considered a “burden” on Australia. Bangladeshi-born Dr Haque, who has practised in western Sydney for eight years, has only one chance to remain: the intervention of immigration minister Peter Dutton.
  • One hundred and fifty years after the rest of the world, disgraced former minister Bronwyn Bishop has discovered socialism – and she doesn’t like it.
  • The Trump administration is preparing to take on the growing number of states that have legalised marijuana for recreational use, another thorny legal issue that will no doubt wind up in court.
  • Australian opener Matt Renshaw has actually had to defend himself for leaving the field when Delhi belly struck during his innings in the test match against India.


Elle Hardy

Elle Hardy is an Australian journalist based in the United States. She can be found at



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