gadfly

diary September 19, 2020

Gadfly: What a pity

An emotional nation has been moved by Schmo Morrison’s humanity as he fights for the freedom of citizens to cross state borders to attend funerals. Funerals and their role in salving grief over the loss of a loved one is something dear to the Coalition. Government Finance Minister and Turnbull quisling Mathias Cormann announced gutturally that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is “so cold-hearted and so harsh and so nasty”.

diary September 12, 2020

Gadfly: A law unto himself

Gadfly had the temerity to turn his back for a fortnight and on reporting back for duty discovers everything has turned to mush. It’s starkly apparent that language and ideas no longer have the same meaning and value they once did. Take the “rule of law”, for instance – a well-worn notion, beloved of lawyers, meaning judges and courts as the third arm of government are independent of the other two arms. The idea is that judges, right or wrong, have authority to make binding decisions according to law.

diary September 5, 2020

Gadfly: Moving on to greener onions

Tony Abbott, the former prime minister who ate through Australia’s crops like an aphid, is likely to be appointed as an adviser to the British Board of Trade. While we were initially thrilled at the possibility of being able to trade Abbott for someone else – David Attenborough, perhaps? – it appears we misunderstood the nature of the arrangement.

diary August 29, 2020

Gadfly: House of pixelated representatives

While Covid-19 may have halted proceedings at the true home of Australian democracy, The Masked Singer, it has failed to stop parliament, which resumed this week after a nine-week hiatus. The break has been devastating for the ABC, which has been battered in the coveted 2pm time slot since losing its flagship Question Time program to tide viewers over to their afternoon nap. It was relatively smooth sailing for the “virtual parliament”, although Oculus Rift is not yet sold on the concept as a game for consumers. There was brief alarm when a Twitter troll appeared to hijack proceedings; however, it was soon explained that Senator Malcolm Roberts was, in fact, entitled to be there.

diary August 22, 2020

Gadfly: Driving a hard bargain

With the speed of a sputtering meteor we’ve seen gilded careers disintegrate. So it has been with that magisterial expert on promissory estoppel Dyson Heydon as doors slammed in his face following the High Court’s findings of his inappropriate sexual harassment of young employees. Then, early this month, Melbourne silk Norman O’Bryan, a chap with plenty of smarts and entrepreneurial flair, hit the ropes.

diary August 15, 2020

Gadfly: Recurring pipe dreams

The ghost of Rex (The Strangler) Connor lives and breathes. Gough Whitlam’s hulking Minerals and Energy minister, who slept by the telex machine waiting for news of Tirath Khemlani’s $4 billion loan, has been reborn as a modern-day inspiration. The Strangler’s plan more than 45 years ago was for a nation crisscrossed with gas pipelines. It was believed his vision went further, and that he saw a future for a massive pipeline between Australia and Japan.

diary August 8, 2020

Gadfly: Peas in a podcast

It was quite something to tune in to the first episode of Bunter and Georgina Downer’s geopolitical podcast, where they discussed the recent AUSMIN meeting, the upcoming United States presidential election and the future of war. Father and daughter get along famously as they take us on a wide sweep through the trickiest global thickets, with memos about Condoleezza Rice’s determination to play golf, China’s dominance in the rare earth market, Joe Biden’s “flaky” interviews, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, fishing quotas in British waters and Russia’s anti-satellite rocket program.

diary August 1, 2020

Gadfly: Kiwis flying high

As went to bed on Friday, 649 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed in Australia in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total for the past seven days to 3513. The majority of those were in Victoria, with new hotspots in some restaurants and gyms in Sydney’s Potts Pointless, which looks like the Nile Delta in terms of population density. The total confirmed cases in the Wide Brown Land stood at 16,904, and the death toll at 196. Over the way in New Zealand, the numbers look miles better. On Friday the number of active cases fell by four, to 20, with the total at 1560 and 22 deaths.

diary July 25, 2020

Gadfly: Knock on Woodside

The deep state’s spidery fingers are here, there and everywhere. Bernard Collaery would be all too familiar with their reach. As part of his defence in the secret prosecution that the Commonwealth has brought against him for allegedly revealing the bugging of Timor-Leste’s ministerial offices, his lawyers subpoenaed documents from Woodside, the oil and gas producer with a hefty stake in the Timor Sea’s Greater Sunrise gas field.

diary July 18, 2020

Gadfly: Carry on up the Charteris

The buttery emollients that gushed back and forth between Jolly John Kerr and senior palace flunkey Sir Martin Charteris will be a treat for Australia’s gimcrack royalists and accompanying style mavens. In the “palace letters” there were heaps of exchanges about when to wear morning dress with decorations, what tunes to play by way of royal salutes, the extent to which subjects should curtsy, damage to official photos of Betty Battenberg and Phil the Greek after Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin, and the odd Latin bon mot.

diary July 11, 2020

Gadfly: Just squawk away, Renee

The Australian Federal Police has sent to the prosecutors its brief of evidence about the ABC’s reporting on the Afghan Files, the big story about alleged killings of unarmed civilians by Australian soldiers. It looks as though reporter Dan Oakes could be in the frame for bringing us the news, but not so his colleague Sam Clark. Anyway, it was the first big AFP announcement, following its raid on the ABC’s HQ, since former Bowen Hills Bugle political reporter Renee Viellaris took over as the federal plod’s director of strategic communications.