Diary

Gadfly
Oscar ceremony mistake

This week there was a lovely afternoon tea at the Human Rights Commission HQ to welcome onboard June Oscar, the new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner. 

Dozens were in attendance, juggling cups, saucers and delicate little edibles. Among the welcoming party was another Indigenous leader, Jackie Huggins, who is co-chairman of the National Congress of Australia’s First People. 

Amid the celebratory excitement it is perhaps understandable that Professor Ros Croucher, the excellent president of the Australian Law Reform Commission, swooped down on Jackie with a generous congratulations on her appointment to the commission. 

The gathering froze, while Jackie looked unimpressed. It’s so easy to get muddled after too much tea.

Mal nourished

The latest edition of the political board game “Question Time” is racing off the shelves after its relaunch at Gleebooks in Sydney. Fresh new questions include brainteasers, such as: 

“Which prime minister was alleged to have ‘thrown a wobbly’ when a hair dryer could not be immediately found for a photo opportunity in Afghanistan? 

(a) Julia Gillard

(b) Kevin Rudd

(c) Julia Gillard 

(d) Kevin Rudd” 

Retired senator John Faulkner presided over the relaunch before a full room of gamesters. He told a few stories about Bronwyn Bishop, including one where he claimed she announced after her appointment as minister for defence industry, science and personnel that she was very proud to be the first woman to go down on a submarine. 

He also recalled the time he was sitting next to the oversized Labor Party rat, Senator Mal Colston, on a plane trip from Canberra to Adelaide. 

The meals were served, and Mal scoffed his pretty quickly. Before you could say “traitor”, he reached over and snaffled Faulkner’s dessert and bread roll. 

“You don’t want those, do you?” Colston snorted.

Electoral cycle

The annual Tony Abbott-led Pollie Pedal is under way and as we speak they’re cycling from Goulburn to Mittagong, through Bungonia, Marulan, Wingello and Bundanoon. Abbo, as he was known at university, is joined by his pedalling altar boys including Angus Taylor (the rural-based assistant minister for cities) and Kevin Andrews (with a knapsack full of Grecian 2000). 

Sussan Ley battled along on day one as they rode out of Albury, but was soon seen walking her two-wheeler up the first hill. Perhaps she spotted a new property for sale. Tastie Andrew Hastie was also there somewhere in the first-day crush of 40 riders, but not subsequently sighted. 

Donations this year will go to Soldier On, appropriately a charity for “wounded warriors”. Again the peace-loving Plymouth Brethren’s “Rapid Relief Team” is providing the breakfasts and lunches with their specialist vans and generators. 

Among the sponsors we find some old favourites, including the Pratt Foundation, Blackmores, the Australian Hotels Association NSW and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

The last leg of the ride is from Camden to North Head via Watsons Bay, in PM Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate, and then a ferry across to Manly, to the safety of Abbott’s seat. 

Mal administration

Making sense of the tiny but perfectly formed Senator Mal Roberts requires special powers of concentration. 

Malcolm tells his Twitter followers that “representing the people of Queensland as a senator keeps me too busy to work as a consultant nowadays”. 

Yet schlep across to his LinkedIn page and you find he says from 1994 to the present he is “co-founder and principal” of Conscious Pty Ltd, trading as Catalyst for Corporate Performance, where he works “under contract internationally”. 

From 2008 onwards and currently, he is “speaking and consulting globally on human freedom” etc. He is also listed as the project leader of the climate nutters’ club, the Galileo Movement. 

Conscious Pty Ltd says it specialises in “management and leadership” services and its clients include Iluka’s mineral sands business, Goldfields, Xstrata, MIM, South Blackwater Coal, Shell Australia, Cumnock mine. The company says that Mal is “chairman, non-executive director, executive general manager and consultant”.

Maybe, the Conscious website is comatose.

Also in the mix is his involvement with Montessori schools in Brisbane and Melbourne, where he did amazing work improving the lot of kiddies, and hopefully alerting them to the upward manipulation by NASA and others of surface temperatures and the global warming propaganda coming from the UN’s “anti-human” socialist new world order fostered by bankers and other sinister forces.

Marred record

The David Marr caravan rolls on, with this week’s White Queen performance deep in the heart of Pauline Hanson country – the Institute of Architects auditorium in Potts Point. Next stop, Ipswich. 

One of the weaknesses in Marr’s Quarterly Essay on Hanson is his failure to reconcile her Muslim baiting with the fact that she keeps Arabian mares on her rural property. 

Gadfly was on hand to interrogate Marr for the performance, and left the audience amazed and gasping as the great biographer was relentlessly probed. To wit, who wrote this in 1997: “Pauline Hanson is a woman seen to have had the guts to stand up to the big parties and tell the truth in the face of ‘political correctness’. Men respect her for showing courage they know they lack. It’s sexy and so is she.”? 

After a pause that seemed to last for ages, Marr coughed up and admitted, yes, it was he.

Press ganged

Put-upon hacks at the House of Fairfax were spluttering in disbelief at Wednesday’s announcements. Chris Janz, the managing director of the company’s metro publishing business, announced that another $30 million was to be chopped out of the big city mastheads. 

This means more pink slips to journalists, but everyone can relax because Janz, who came from The Huffington Post and something called Allure Media before managing a proper news outfit, said the new round of slash and burn will see the completion of “the major structural editorial changes required to secure our metropolitan mastheads”. 

As if that PR blather was insufficient to smother everyone, the Fairfax editorial boffins, led by Sean Aylmer, issued another mouthful of flannel. “Never have journalists been more important,” they said, while failing to mention that Janz was deracinating the editorial floor. 

Sean and his colleagues even released a “mission statement”, which declared that “our journalism must be responsive, relevant and accessible”. 

Meanwhile CEO Hywood & Co has readied the ship for the swooping vulture funds.

Trumpette #16

Thumbing through an old Golf Digest Gadfly finds some useful tips from President Pussy-Grabber. “I think of golf as a very natural game,” he said. “I never really wanted to know a lot about my technique. I really trust instinct a lot, in golf and a lot of things.”

Jaime Diaz, golf writer and editor-in-chief of Golf World, says he’s played a few rounds with the Grabber and observes that the leader of the free world “unleashes the kind of aggressive opening of the left hip that is rarely seen in older amateurs, clearing the way for the club to release from an inside path”.

Trump said: “For me, it’s all about the hips. Just get them out of the way as fast and as hard as I can and let the arms really swing through. I read about the hips a long time ago ... and it became my simple key, and I’ve stayed with it.” 

It seems like good advice, not just for golf, but for life in general – get the hip out of the way so you have a clear inside path. 

Meanwhile, there’s been trouble on some of Trump’s famed golf courses. NBC is reporting that vandals dug holes on the 13th fairway of the National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia. What looks like bleach was poured onto the grass and the word “RESIST” was spray-painted on the fairway along with “symbols associated with anarchists”. Investigations are under way. 

This is nothing compared with the desecration at the Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire, where a 62-year-old grandmother, Carol Beyts, has been charged with urinating on one of the pussy fiend’s sand dunes. 

Apparently she was filmed by some of Trump’s flunkies while having an emergency wee. The whole experience has left Carol “slightly paranoid” about relieving herself outdoors on “multi-day camping trips”. 

Needless to say, Ms Beyts is an opponent of the Aberdeenshire course and sought damages, claiming Trump’s people breached data protection laws by filming her. After a wee hearing, she lost her case.

 

Tips and tattle: [email protected]

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Apr 8, 2017 as "Gadfly: Oscar ceremony mistake". Subscribe here.

Richard Ackland
is the publisher of Justinian. He is The Saturday Paper’s diarist-at-large and legal affairs editor.