Diary

Gadfly
Onan the vulgarian

What was the tipping point for the Queensland election? In Gadfly’s opinion it was One Nation’s dildo, strap-on and “maarsterbate” moment. 

The now defunct banana-bending One Nation leader Steve Dickson, with Pauline Hanson alongside, said at a pre-election BBQ that “little kids in grade 4 at school, young girls being taught by teachers how to masturbate, how to strap on dildos, how to do this sort of stuff – that is the real problem in this country”. 

Apparently, not a big enough problem to make a difference in the final poll. Pauline tried her hardest to give this hitherto unknown scandal a leg-up but in the process developed an exciting new dimension to onanism she described as “maarsterbation”.

Fool to the brim

Similarly the key moment in the New England byelection is Barnaby’s claim that he is being stalked by someone who wants to talk about his private life. What’s so wrong with that, you ask, since everyone else wants to talk about it. 

The former New Zealander was so incensed that he flicked the stalker’s hat off. This may have as many electoral consequences as eight-year-olds strapping on dildos. 

By the way, Barnaby’s looking slimmer and a lot sleeker. What’s got into him?

Hedging Abetz

Don’t you just love the way fossils like Otto Abetz are all of a sudden in love with international law and human rights? 

In his last desperate, yet pathetic, rallying cry on behalf of the Old Testament, Otto croaked that the same-sex marriage legislation compromised the right of parents “to guide the moral education of their children”. He went on to say this is a “fundamental human right – the international law on that is clear”. 

Could this be the same Otto who has expressed opposition to international law on racial discrimination and voted against motions in support of things such as the refugee convention?

Windsor not

Talking of Christians, five of them have been found guilty in the Northern Territory Supreme Court of entering Pine Gap. Obviously not Otto’s sort of Christians. 

Without Pine Gap, the court was told, the slaughter from drone strikes on Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen would be less extensive. This evidence came from Professor Richard Tanter, an authority on international relations and defence facilities. 

This failed to sway the jury, as did the word of one of those found guilty, who said he went into the facility to sing and pray for the local Arrernte people. Others said they went to sing a lament for those killed by drone strikes with help from those gigantic golf balls near Alice Springs.

Pine Gap may not be the only place out of bounds to Australians in Australia. America’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has a room tucked away in South Australia that is designated US-only territory, for it contains a GPS monitoring station, one of 11 around the world controlled by the United States Defence Department. Thomas Jones discloses this in the London Review of Books, where he is blog editor. 

Reviewing a history of the global positioning system, he writes divertingly of a sword-wielding character in London who wanted to carve up Windsor Castle, but his GPS took him to a pub of that name, so he had a go at Buckingham Palace instead, where he was grabbed by police for preparing a terrorist act. 

GPS systems have now been fooled into steering a yacht hundreds of metres off-course, opening a new world of opportunities for hijackers, providing fresh worries for those who fly, and delivering Gadfly to the National Portrait Gallery instead of a glamorous reception at Yarralumla.

Back of Burke

The airwaves and the tissues have been rent with news about the disturbing activities of gardening hero Don Burke

Among other revelations was Burke’s role as chair of the Australian Environment Foundation, an anti-environment astroturfing organisation set up by the Institute of Paid Advocacy. 

The inaugural chair was the director of the IPA’s “environment division”, Jennifer Marohasy, and among its board members is Professor Peter Ridd, one of The Catholic Boys Daily’s special climate and Barrier Reef gurus. 

The foundation urges withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, getting things like old-growth forests off world heritage lists, and opposing subsidies for renewables. 

No prizes for guessing the tune to which the foundation is dancing. It was timely then to see Old Gollum Henderson putting on a show this week at the Henderson Institute for Burke’s AEF colleagues Marohasy and Ridd, where they were slated to discuss the “disputed facts” on climate science. 

Marohasy is now described as a biologist, columnist and blogger, while Ridd is said simultaneously to face “disciplinary action from James Cook University” while also suing the institution.

Even Alan Jones is cited with enthusiasm in the institute’s flyer. Apparently, Ridd was on The Parrot’s wireless show – which is the background sound in dementia wards – criticising the money that has gone into mitigating the effects of climate change on the reef. He has also questioned whether increases
in sea temperature will result in the reef’s death. 

Sadly, the funding arrangements for Gollum’s institute are a state secret.

May we?

At least the Frogs had the sense to invite a couple of good reporters on the French-government-sponsored junket to Paris. 

Laura Tingle from the Financial Review and Nick Miller, Fairfax’s European correspondent for The SMH and The Age, did stories about Emmanuel Macron, the dynamo, and how France is schmoozing its way into the centre of European affairs. 

No doubt a few snifters of Château d’Yquem helped the thought processes. 

In June, Laura did an interesting lunch-profile with the then ambassador to Australia, Christophe Lecourtier, and she now reports that safely back in France he is the new chief executive of the country’s body promoting exports and foreign investment. 

Gadfly’s invitation to discuss with Bernard-Henri Lévy what sort of culottes should be worn by matelots on French submarines must be lost in the poste. 

Terror firmer

The Terrorism (High-Risk Offenders) Bill has been whipped through the New South Wales parliament at Mach 1 speed. It extends to terror offenders the regime of continued detention orders and extended supervision orders after the expiry of prison sentences that currently apply to cases of high-risk sex offenders and high-risk violent offenders.

In October, government ministers made various scary, chest-beating pronouncements about the terrifying toughness of these terror laws.

Like so many of these swaggering measures, it’s more about the appearance than the reality. For instance, it would be possible for most high-risk terror offences to be caught under the existing provisions relating to high-risk violent offenders. Further, Peter Severin, the Corrective Services Commissioner, couldn’t identify any current offenders in prison who would be subject to the new regime.

Premier Gladys told everyone in October that this was so amazingly tough that the detention and supervision orders for these terrorism people could go for up to five years. In fact, the legislation says the maximum is three years. Details, details.

The first mention of the need for these measures was at COAG two years ago – so it has been a fair time to get to grips with something so blisteringly important.

Trumpette #50

Clearly, psychiatric issues are mounting for Barking Dog Trump and any time soon the White House will be in carpet-chewing, white-coat territory.

First, The New York Times reports that in recent days the president has persisted with the idea that it’s not him on the sleazy Access Hollywood tape. He has reportedly told a senator, “We don’t think that was my voice.” Who the “we” might be is not clear. He claims these are words that he wouldn’t use – words like “grab” and “pussy”. This is despite the fact that just before the second presidential debate with Hillary Clinton he said of the tape, “It’s me.”

The Pussy Grabber also persists with the idea that he had never grabbed anyone in such a place, even though at least 16 women have come forward with stories of Trump’s sexual harassment or assault.

If that’s not enough revisionism, we’re also back in birther country. Trump has revived his doubt that president Barack Obama was born in America and keeps banging on about it. A member of congress has said the dotard is having a “hard time letting go” of that one. Then, of course, it was because of “voter fraud” that he lost the popular vote at the election.

Fake tapes, birther conspiracy obsession, voter fraud, Time magazine covers, inauguration crowds – this is one sick alt-truth pussy running the “free” world.

 

Tips and tattle: [email protected]

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Dec 2, 2017 as "Gadfly: Onan the vulgarian". 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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