Dice keeps rolling on

Dicey Heydon has been relatively quiet since the triumphs of his “Get Shorten” royal commission. There was the momentary distraction when the unions asked him to disqualify himself because he accepted an invitation to speak at a fundraiser associated with the Liberal Party, but generally it must be said that we’ve missed his public pronouncements.

So it’s heartening to know the former High Court judge is still at full strength, delivering a lecture last week to a sect within the Australian Catholic University in Adelaide. His theme was the frightful “elites”, even though some in the audience may have been forgiven for thinking you couldn’t get much more elite than Dicey. It turns out his target is the “modern elites” who want to exclude any role for religion in public or private affairs. This thesis was supported by pointing to pieces of graffiti such as “Burn churches, not gays”. He also drew on the “thinking”, among others, of Dutch historian J. H. Huizinga; Lord Acton; right-wing Anglican Reverend Peter Kurti; the 8th Duke of Devonshire; Sir Larry Siedentop; the Girondin leader Vergniaud; and Galatians 3:28.

Heydon told the Catholic assembly that the elites “are embracing a fanatical anti-clericalism. Some want to destroy faith itself.” We have not seen anything like it in the West since “the worst excesses of the French Revolution, or at least the vengeful premierships of Émile Combes in the early 20th century”. He added that this hostility is mainly directed at Catholics and not so much at Muslims, “despite the threat and actuality of terrorist outrages, perhaps because the Muslim vote is the key to winning and losing parliamentary seats”.

Pauline, where are you when you’re needed?

Praising the look of Mormon

Following with much the same theme we find former Age journalist Kerry Wakefield in The Spectator on a trip with her husband to Salt Lake City.

She was mightily impressed with the young “happy, healthy, relaxed” Mormons who dutifully came up to greet her and hubby. “No angst, no weird fashions, no attitude, no awkward silences, just poised, straightforward and clear-eyed youngsters,” she wrote.

Her Salt Lake guide explained that these kids knew where they belonged and knew where they were going – presumably because they belonged to a weirdo Christian sect founded on the promises of unseen gold plates and magic underwear.

Step by careful step Kerry took us to the marginalisation of religious values, the de-Christianisation of society and the horrid “progressive” opinions of the left. “Will heterosexual marriage … come to look like Amish bonnets and horses and carts to curious onlookers from the future?” Kerry asks.

So many questions but no answer as to why Christian churches think they have the God-given right to tell non-believers how to live.

One further matter not mentioned by Ms Wakefield. She is the spouse of Nasty Party bovver-boy Nick Minchin, who has just wrapped up his stint as Australia’s consul-general in New York. It must be assumed this inspiring expedition to Mormonville with Nick was not on the taxpayers’ dime.

Ben who?

Millions of people might not know it, but a gentleman named Ray Williams is the NSW Minister for Multiculturalism.

Ray says he likes to “talk up the great role that people play each and every day, the hardworking people of our communities…” But Gadfly sometimes wonders just how hard Ray is working. Last month he told an estimates committee the New South Wales racial discrimination laws are “good” but he was not aware there had never been a prosecution for serious racial vilification involving a threat of violence or inciting others to threaten violence. Not a single prosecution in 28 years since the Anti-Discrimination Act took effect.

Last week Ray tried to redeem himself when he answered a Dorothy Dixer in which, once more, he boosted his multicultural credentials, saying he had had lunch with the high commissioner for South Africa, Beryl Rose Sisulu.

He added she is “none other than the daughter of Ben Sisulu, who was a member of the African National Congress together with Nelson Mandela. Ben Sisulu went to jail for 26 years with Nelson Mandela and was released in 1989.”

It’s nice that, in a departure from the traditions of the Nasty Party, Williams is talking up the ANC. But who the hell is Ben Sisulu? Parliamentarians raced for their Wikipedias and could find no mention of this great man.

Maybe Ben is otherwise known to those not so steeped in multicultural affairs as Walter Sisulu, who, so far as Gadfly can discover, has never been called Ben, even by his mother.

Standard practice

The sum of $US32 million is probably never enough compo for being groped and harassed by Fox News shill Bill O’Reilly.

The allegations against O’Reilly by a Fox legal affairs analyst, Lis Wiehl, included repeated harassment, a non-consensual sexual relationship and sending her gay pornography.

As we learnt from The New York Times this week, Moloch & Sons knew about this massive settlement, yet a month after it was paid the company went into negotiations to renew the contract of this inveterate bully and liar – extending him for another four years, at $US25 million a year.

Two months later they decided O’Reilly had to go because by then some of the settlements had become public, advertisers were slipping away, and they had to pretend to have clean hands while 21st Century Fox was trying to buy the balance of the Sky shares in Britain.

Nothing too expedient; just business as usual. Britain’s Labour deputy leader, Tom Watson, has asked the competition regulator to investigate further.

Then we find in a current instalment of Private Eye a report of an interview with News Corp honcho Will Lewis, who ran Rupe’s “management and standards committee [MSC]”, hurriedly set up in the wake of the hacking scandal and the closure of News of the Screws.

Will was asked about “the period of his career he spent grassing up journalists and their sources to the police” and he replied that he did his “bit to help with the legal process”.

That isn’t the way Detective Super Mark Kandiah, one of the coppers running the investigation, saw it. He said Lewis and the MSC only co-operated for so long as the company thought it could hold off corporate prosecution.

Meantime, piles of incriminating emails were being shredded, detailing payments to public officials authorised by Rebekah Brooks. As one lawyer put it, the exercise was a “wholesale cover-up for more senior people at the company at the expense of the more junior”.

You can’t get any more fit and proper than that.

Tassie devilment

Distressing news from Van Diemen’s Land where two members of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang were escorted off a Qantas flight in Hobart. It seems they had been attending a Rebels rally in the Apple Isle. The pilot alerted the wallopers that the bikies were causing “fear and apprehension” on the plane, which also had onboard Senator Otto Abetz.

It’s likely a number of passengers would have felt just as much fear and apprehension at the presence of Otto in the cabin. Despite this, no one was charged with anything.

In other developments from the island state, the famous “cunt-nutter”, Astro Labe, who allegedly headbutted Ten Flags Tony on the streets of Hobart, has had the charges against him upgraded.

The common assault charge has been notched up to “causing harm to a Commonwealth public official”. It’s a federal offence but on this occasion it will be heard in the Magistrates Court rather than the Supreme Court.

Ten Flags tried for mileage out of the attack by linking it to the vile, vile, vile marriage equality campaign, but Mr Labe insisted the incident “had nothing whatsoever to do with marriage equality”.

“All it was is I saw Tony Abbott and I’d had half a skinful and I wanted to nut the cunt.”

His defence may run on the lines that causing harm to a Commonwealth public official is nothing when compared with the harm that public official has caused to the entire Commonwealth.

Trumpette #45

We have further and better proof that Barking Dog Trump is sorely self-conscious about his tiny hands.

Already we know that he chose a small-sized Bible for his swearing in, so when resting his hand on the sacred tome it wouldn’t look so pathetic.

Lauren Beldi, a quality-pen expert, tells Gadfly that for most of his presidency Barack Obama used a Cross Townsend pen for signing decrees and ukases. The Townsend is the largest and most prestigious in the Cross range and Dubya and Clinton also used one. For nigh on 24 years presidents managed to grasp on most occasions the full weight of this writing implement.

Trump, by contrast, uses a Cross Century II pen with a felt-tip refill. It’s much smaller, lighter and has considerably less heft than the Townsend. When holding the implement, the dotard’s minuscule paws look comparatively enormous. More fakery.


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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Oct 28, 2017 as "Gadfly: Dice keeps rolling on ". 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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