Diary

Gadfly
Barefaced Lyle

His being attacked by Father Lyle Shelton of the Australian “Christian” Lobby is enough to make you warm to Poodles Pyne

Yes, the letterboxes in poor Poodles’ electorate of Sturt are being stuffed with flyers authorised by L. Shelton featuring grabs of lurid newspaper headlines and gruesome critiques of the MP’s support for dreadful ideas such as Safe Schools and marriage equality. 

What could be more ungodly than trying to stop toddlers and teens being bullied at school or same-sex couples having their human rights recognised? The good burghers of Sturt must be scared out of their wits. 

Onward Christian soldiers.

Off the psychopath

Order your copies now of David Gillespie’s forthcoming book Taming Toxic People: The science of identifying and dealing with psychopaths at work and at home

Gillespie is well known as the author of the Sweet Poison books, Free Schools and Toxic Oil

Now we have toxic people, with an intriguing promotional comment on the cover from the beloved Kim Williams, “media executive, broadcaster and writer”. 

Kimbo says: “This compelling study and guidebook is a must-have for anyone who has a pathologically difficult individual in their life.” 

Who could Kim have in mind as pathologically difficult? Could it be his former master Lord Moloch, his lordship’s adorable and faithful servant Chris Mitchell, or maybe the former Mrs Williams, Kathy Lette

A cornucopia of choice. 

Gang blusters

Last year, citizens of New South Wales were blitzed with the news that henceforth they will be safer in their beds and on the streets because the government had come up with a new law to empower plod to get orders restricting the movement and activities of criminals – and even non-criminals. 

This all came about with the Crimes (Serious Crime Prevention Orders) Act. The legislation was accompanied by excitable endorsements from Police Minister Troy-Boy Grant: “We are serious about crippling the organised crime economy ... We make no apologies for improving community safety ... Crime gangs will be hit where it hurts.” The police commissioner at the time, Andrew Scipione, was also enthusiastic, declaring that the wallopers will now have more power to prevent and disrupt serious criminals. 

There were a few problems with the act, such as the use of hearsay and the fact that orders could be procured against people without convictions for a serious crime. 

Now more than a year after the law received the governor’s assent, the state shadow attorney-general, Paul Lynch, asked the minister: “How many serious crime prevention orders have been made since the enactment of the relevant legislation?” 

It took a month for the minister to come up with his reply: “No serious crime prevention orders have yet been made.” 

Lynch remarked on the side that it’s a shame that the overblown boosterism of ministers wasn’t criminalised instead. 

Smoking goon

Freedom Boy, Freedom Boy, wherefore art thou? The old days at the Institute for Paid Advocacy seem so far, yet so close. 

The cancer stick manufacturer Philip Morris has been ordered to pay the Australian government millions of dollars in legal costs following the loss in Singapore of the tobacco plain packaging proceedings under an investor-state dispute settlement process, part of a little-known Hong Kong–Australia investment treaty. 

The exact figure is not clear, but with the ranks of silks and witnesses all being ferried to the city state at taxpayer expense, the costs are close to $50 million. The tobacco company had moved its Australian and Asian HQ to Honkers specifically to try to take advantage of this treaty. It wanted damages of $US4.2 billion plus compound interest dating back to the introduction of the plain packaging law in Australia by the Gillard government in 2011.  

In a 186-page judgement in May 2016, the tribunal considered the company’s case an “abuse of rights” and threw it out. 

And where was Freedom Boy Timbo Wilson at the time the legislation first appeared on the horizon? He was peddling the grubby wares of the IPA and its tobacco sponsors. Hence in a column for The Catholic Boys Daily he made fearless predictions about the “legal risks” involved in this legislative folly. 

He claimed that “expropriating” the trademarks of the cigarette companies could give rise to damages of $3 billion a year. For good measure he added that studies have not shown that plain packaging has reduced the number of young people smoking. 

Of course, no one should be surprised that this turned out to be the usual heap of flatulence from the Boy. The “legal risks” were all Philip Morris’s and numerous reviews since the packaging laws took effect have shown significant drops in cigarette consumption among all groups, including Indigenous Australians and secondary school students.

Bruce high way

Last week’s profile in Fairfax’s Good Weekend magazine of Channel Seven’s lawyer “Bruiser” Bruce McWilliam paid special attention to his network of top-rank contacts. 

Justice John Sackar, who has been hearing the Channel Seven v Amber Harrison case, is a long-term friend of Bruiser, and Mrs McWilliam, according to the article, has “done academic research” with the judge. 

Even higher up the food chain, at the time the Australian Federal Police was raiding Seven’s offices, looking for clues for possible payments in connection with the Schapelle Corby interview, McWilliam rang his Point Piper pal, the then communications minister Malcolm Turnbull. Turnbull followed up with calls to the attorney-general, Bookshelves Brandis, and justice minister, Michael Keenan. Turnbull denies there was anything untoward, but when a News Corp reporter rang McWilliam about this, he hung up in her ear. Later he told Macquarie wireless listeners that, “The amount of money ... is so small they [the police] don’t believe it.” 

The raid took place in February 2014, and following action by Seven to quash the search warrant the chief AFP copper, Tony Negus, issued a massive grovel to Seven chairman Kerry Stokes, for “unnecessary reputational damage”. 

Nice work if you can get it.

Ming ding

Bob Menzies is having a hell of a time as different wings of the Nasty Party claim him as their patron saint. 

The right-wing faction, in the bosom of former prime minister Tony Abbott, wants to change the way candidates in NSW are preselected. The aim is to capture control of the state branch from the moderates and deliver it to the latter-day Uglies, where in due course local branches can be stacked by religious conservatives and assorted wing nuts. 

The NSW state Liberal convention is being held on July 23. The reform movement sent out an email to members, replete with YouTube entreaties from Abbott ally Walter Villatora, Angus Taylor, former military wallah Jim Molan and various starry-eyed Young Libs – all pleading for “democratic” reform. 

The email hitches itself to Pig Iron’s legacy: “The Liberal Party of Menzies Needs You Now.”  

Over in London Malcolm Trumble was delivering his Disraeli lecture and claiming the “sensible centre” is the place to be and this was where Menzies wanted to “anchor” the Liberals. 

Ming didn’t want to call the Nasties a conservative party, “he wanted to stand apart from the big money, business establishment politics of traditional conservative parties”, Mal told his incredulous audience. 

So Pig Iron is being torn limb from limb as factions squabble over his body parts. Of course, as a sensible centrist Menzies spent his time doing the bidding of Collins Street, trying to ban the Communist Party, pandering to the monarchy, invading Vietnam and supporting British and French gunboat diplomacy in the Suez crisis.

Trumpette #30

Gadfly hopes Lord Moloch’s comforting daily phone calls to the Pussy Grabber are not going to be interrupted. 

How’s the wizened mogul going to handle the publication by his book publishing arm HarperCollins of a thriller called To Kill the President? It’s written by Guardian journalist Jonathan Freedland, under the name Sam Bourne, and is the story of a “volatile demagogue” in the White House who orders a nuclear attack on North Korea. There’s also a creepy chief strategist and various underlings who thwart the nuclear attack. 

Whether the work should be categorised as fiction is a moot point.

Private Eye magazine reminds us that about 20 years ago the Dirty Digger ordered HarperCollins not to go ahead with the publication of the memoirs of Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong. 

The Digger was concerned Patten would be critical of the Chinese communists, with whom he was snuggling up to secure his Star TV network. 

Might not Moloch pull the plug on To Kill the President in order to continue delivering his dark entreaties to the Pussy fiend?

 

Tips and tattle: [email protected]

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jul 15, 2017 as "Gadfly: Barefaced Lyle". Subscribe here.

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

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