gadfly

diary February 27, 2021

Gadfly: Kelly rocks the boat then jumps ship

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has a complicated relationship with boats. We all know he loves stopping them. He even has a trophy on his desk shaped like a boat with “I stopped these” written on it, lest he ever forgets how much he loves stopping boats. But he also likes making boats go faster, it seems. Once the boat is moving, if he hasn’t stopped it already, he hates things that slow down the boat. Or at least that’s the impression hydroxychloroquine spokesperson Craig Kelly got, as evidenced in his resignation letter handed to the PM this week, which read, “Some of my conduct over recent months has not helped the boat go faster.”

 

diary February 20, 2021

Gadfly: Jenny will save us all

Being a politician means learning to carefully deliver sentences that have been crafted by experts who know that everything you say will be parsed and dissected. This is why prime ministers employ speechwriters – people adept at reading the warp and weft of social discourse and threading a path for their boss that will offend few and please many. Prime Minister Scott Morrison really should think of hiring such a person.

diary February 13, 2021

Gadfly: Kick in the Ed for systemic racism

Stunning everyone and overturning centuries of tradition, Eddie McGuire has now become the first white Australian ever forced from his job due to a prolonged commitment to racism. This has confused a country accustomed to the established method of dealing with racism in Australia, wherein the victim is pushed out of their job, hounded in the press and media, labelled a “sook” because our discourse is just barely above “I’m rubber and you’re glue, and what bounces off me sticks to you”, before it’s claimed that racism is a thing that happens only in America.

diary February 6, 2021

Gadfly: Hosing down reckless Kelly

In the good old days, conspiracy theories were mostly limited to when your uncle had too much to drink at family dinners and would whisper unbelievable things with undue confidence such as: “The world is flat.” Or, “The moon landing was faked, and I don’t care how many people Buzz Aldrin punches."

diary January 30, 2021

Gadfly: A long line of thieves

In August 1786, William Roberts of Cornwall was arrested for stealing a little more than two kilograms of yarn. No one knows what he wanted with that much yarn. Whatever the case, the justice system was taking no risks with this yarn aficionado, and sent him to Sydney – a fitting punishment for anyone, even to this day. A few years later, Roberts married Kezia Brown, originally from Gloucester, who had been convicted of stealing clothing. Perhaps the two bonded over their love of fabrics.

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.