gadfly

diary December 22, 2018

Gadfly: St Brutes yearbook

It’s the annual speech day at St Brutes, the very private non-selective school and training ground for future Nasty Party boiler room operatives and their underlings in Cockies Corner at the other end of the dorm. The headmaster, Mr Morrison, was hoping for a speech day built around the theme of “fair dinkum” – to reflect the authenticity of Australia and its values. A cat was set among the pigeons, though, when it came to light that “fair dinkum” was actually an authentic Chinese expression from the goldfields of the 1890s.

diary December 15, 2018

Gadfly: Stricken in the Fox house

What a pleasure it is that HBO’s Succession is being streamed by Fox Drama, even if you do have to creep past the After Dark Monsters from the Sky News lagoon to get there. This is a blistering satire of a media mogul family, so closely reminiscent of the Molochs as to be entirely recognisable. The ancient, desiccated media tsar, Logan Roy, played by Brian Cox, is surrounded by offspring squabbling over the trust and who will take the reins of his junk-laden empire.

diary December 1, 2018

Gadfly: Otto asphyxiation

The theme for this week is “Fear”. Let’s start on Monday night when Tasmanian senator Otto Abetz appeared in the lounge rooms of the nation on the ABC’s Q&A show. Otto invariably looks and sounds as if he’s eaten a live animal and there he was crunching on a mouthful of bones as he addressed the terrifying issues of the day: Muslims, terrorism, Safe Schools, Peter Dutton and Liberal Party leadership spillages.

diary December 8, 2018

Gadfly: Saltbush silly limits

The long arm of the mining industry is everywhere, sticking its shadowy fingers into as many pork pies as it can find. The Saltbush Club is the latest conspiracy-theory entrant into the climate wars. Among its directors are legacy mining men Hugh Morgan of Western Mining and Jerry Ellis, previously on mahogany row at BHP and a former grand fromage at the Minerals Council of Australia. Old favourite Ian Plimer is also a member of the club, which recently received a rousing endorsement in the Pied Piper outlets of similarly aged media gnome Lord Moloch.

diary November 24, 2018

Gadfly: Nine circles of Herald

Will the newspapers from Nine Entertainment Co (NEC) become more entertaining or are they going to continually drown us in scoops about Chinese infiltrators, corrupt local government councillors and crowded railway platforms? Can we look forward to a bit more of Tracy Grimshaw’s comments on the ozone layer or Eddie McGuire, from Millionaire Hot Seat, on the Productivity Commission’s horizontal fiscal equalisation inquiry? Inevitably there will be a happy blend of entertaining news and views.

diary August 25, 2018

Gadfly: All fail the Duttard

It was not to be for Benito, then. Gadfly speaks for many when he says that for a long time he has been longing for a saviour of the calibre of Peter Dutton. What he lacks in charm, charisma and intellect, Benito makes up for in negatively geared property accumulation, government-subsidised childcare enterprises and the wafting allure of visas for mystery au pairs. But ScoMo’s inside run got him the gong.

diary August 18, 2018

Gadfly: Enid blight on

Next Tuesday, Menzies “Research” Centre executive director and Queensland floods expert Nick “Goosebumps” Cater is hosting a massive spread at Old Parliament House in honour of the memory of Dame Enid Lyons, the first openly female member of the House of Representatives. The exciting part is that the Tasmanian Liberal Senate Team is hitching a ride on the event and at $2200 a head you could have the pleasure of Otto Abetz at your table or, better still, have him waiting on your table.

diary August 11, 2018

Gadfly: Legends lost

We’re surrounded by death and the passing of great totems of our time. The death of Fairfax’s independence coincided with the death of one of the era’s standout journalists, Evan Whitton. Then we had news of the death of Clive Evatt, the great Sydney defamation barrister, turf man, art collector and frequent visitor to Wagner at Bayreuth. Whitton and Evatt were polar opposites – one liked to expose wrongdoing while the other liked to sue the backside off newspapers on behalf of punters who were exposed.

diary August 4, 2018

Gadfly: Homilies of scale

The new new thing is “scale”. We’ve been missing the importance of “scale” for so long, particularly when it relates to such things as the takeover of Fairfax Media by Nine Entertainment, two more culturally antithetical outfits being hard to imagine. Percy Marks jewellery progeny and Nine boss Hugh Marks said “bigger scale” is good because it produces more revenue. Greg Plywood at Fairfax thinks that the fused company’s scale is the way to confront giants such as Google and Facebook. No wonder he’s sold his Maserati if he thinks like that.

diary July 28, 2018

Gadfly: An abhorrent affair

We now see the shining brilliance of the Liberal–One Nation media reform agenda: the absorption of Fairfax newspapers into Nine Entertainment’s culture of chequebook journalism, hidden cameras, patsy interviews and Eddie McGuire game shows. All under the chairmanship of Peter Costello, one of the smuggest Nasty Party politicians in living memory. The quid pro quo for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation’s support of the “reform” legislation was to do over the ABC. Bingo, two “reforms” in one hit.

diary July 21, 2018

Gadfly: Watch this face

Bookshelves Brandis signed off on his stellar ministerial career with the observation that he was particularly proud of his espionage, secrecy and foreign interference legislation. Never mind that his original clunky version was significantly reworked and substantially different laws recently passed through the parliament. So what’s next for a country already weighed down with more overwrought security legislation than comparable Western democracies?