The Politics    Thursday, June 25, 2015

Things that really happened today

By Sean Kelly

Politics gets ridiculous

Sometimes, politics reaches heights (or depths) of absurdity. Luckily for us, when sorrows come (for governments) they come not single spies, but in battalions.

The evidence:

 

Exhibit A

It was revealed that the Victorian Liberal party had sent an email to supporters carrying an accusation: “Labor and the left are playing politics with our national security.”

The same email sought donations to help re-elect the Coalition to ensure a “SAFER Australia”.

 

Exhibit B

Tony Abbott today said an ABC review of the Q&A incident this week would not be sufficiently independent.

Therefore, his communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has asked the Department of Communications, which answers to Malcolm Turnbull, who answers to Tony Abbott, who also today said “heads should roll” over the incident, to conduct an inquiry.

 

Exhibit C

At a photo opportunity yesterday with ASIO, the PM inspected a number of maps, showing Australian hotspots where radicalisation is likely to occur, laid out by an ASIO official. When the ABC requested electronic copies of the maps, it was told they were for “official use only”. They were also asked not to publish the maps.

When the government came under attack for having exposed the maps to cameras, and therefore to the public, the PM responded: “The suggestion coming again and again from members opposite that somehow the director-general of ASIO, that senior officers of ASIO would have permitted classified material to be photographed is just ludicrous.”

 

Today’s links

  • Shorten news I: Labor Party reforms put forward by Bill Shorten last year appear to have been sent to the back of the queue ahead of the ALP’s national conference.
  • Shorten news II: Shorten has conceded he lied to radio host Neil Mitchell about his role in the Gillard–Rudd leadership machinations back in 2013. He said, “I am kicking myself in hindsight,” a bizarre phrase bringing to mind contortions taking place over different phases of both time and space. Labor senator David Feeney said it was “typical” of MPs to lie about leadership manoeuvring at the time, which is the type of defence nobody really needs.  
  • Shorten news III: Shorten is searching for a new chief of staff.
  • The PM schedules a photo session that sets off rumours of an early election. The PM then (almost) rules out an early election.
  • Barack Obama shuts down a heckler.
  • A Labor in Power parody that some might say is actually a Killing Season parody decades ahead of its time.
  • The Liberal Party will not boycott Q&A after all. Kevin Andrews, however, has said he will not appear on the show. If a tree falls in a forest etc etc.
  • Debate over Uber and Airbnb in NSW. 

Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly is a columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and was an adviser to Labor prime ministers Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd.

@mrseankelly

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