Diary

Gadfly
Gus tries to block the leaks

Gadfly always had a strong feeling The Beetrooter and Gussy Taylor would rescue a dismal election campaign from complete boredom.

Citizens are now focusing on the brilliance of making $79 million from taxpayers by selling rainwater and sending the loot to the Cayman Islands where it is safely tucked up out of reach from the grasping maw of the taxman.

Of course, the energy minister has explained everything to everyone’s complete satisfaction, telling fact-hungry press reptiles, “I’ve already dealt with this”, a re-tweaked version of “let’s move on”.

He went to the trouble of getting O’Brien Defamation Shop to send threatening letters to hacks who tweeted or retweeted unfriendly comments about #watergate. All that did, however, was intensify people’s interest and discussion.

Nobel laureate Professor Peter Doherty tweeted to his 16,000-plus followers and beyond: “We have a water-starved internal river system, yet some bunch of bottom feeders makes a business of ‘retaining’ flood water, then selling it on to the Australian taxpayer. Totally unacceptable: the people who set this up should be permanently excluded from public life.”

Gus was one of the founders of the vendor company but has nothing to do with it. He’s not made a red cent out of God’s rain, so mind your own business. Barnaby, who signed off on the tender-free #watergate sale, knows even less and, whatever, it’s all Queensland’s and Labor’s fault.

You can be sure that as we speak more perfectly reasonable explanations are being planned by swivel-eyed operatives.

At least the energy minister’s energy has been momentarily diverted from tweeting headlines from The Smellograph about the ruinous price of everything under a Shorten junta.

Into the breach has arrived other helpful contributions. Former NSW MP Pru Goward, who lives in Taylor country, explained that it’s the river’s fault: “Let’s face it, it’s a terrible river, between three states with all these competing interests.”

Right on, Pruzels.

Carbon copies

So what is the Venezuelan nightmare of a Shorten government planning on the carbon reduction front? One version says it’s a modest improvement on the do-nothing “policy” of the Nasties, while Gus Taylor and a chorus of Moloch reptiles say it will catapult the nation back to the cave.

As far as Gadfly can distil, Labor has come up with a potpourri of the Howard–Rudd-era emission trading scheme, cap and trade for heavy industries, plus a more meaningful version of the Mad Monk’s Direct Action policy – not too hard – which means paying cockies to plant rather than chop down trees, mandating renewable targets for the energy sector and having more electric vehicles ruining the weekend.

In a curious coupling, the Greens have joined forces with the Business Council of Australia in wanting total carbon emissions from all sources to be capped, with those who exceed the cap to pay a hefty market price to buy carbon credits.

However, the Greens differ from Labor and the BCA to the extent they don’t want heavy emitters to offset excess emissions by buying credits overseas.

Adam Bandt thinks Labor will outsource its abatement requirement by allowing credits to be purchased from Ukrainian pig farmers, who somehow have worked out a way for their porkers to emit less. Schmo Morrison is with the Greenies on this. You’ll remember his screamingly amusing impersonation of Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev, telling parliament that Labor’s carbon permits are “very nice; very nice”.

The main thing is that Labor has avoided the use of the word “tax” in relation to its policy. We know where that ends up – no one likes taxes, particularly on the profits from rainwater.

God help us. There could even be, in a rush back to the future, a Coalition and Greens alliance to block Labor’s policy on offshore purchases of carbon credits.

Brexit strategy

Field agents in the Old Dart report a deepening national trauma over the Brexit quagmire. Bankers in London are worried about losing their Polish nannies while the Leavers are upset that “wogs” will consume the entire supply of chip butties.

One of our agents was visiting the Cotswolds where he came upon a farmer who wanted out of Europe as quickly as possible: “Aarh, we won the war, d’intwe? But still they’re trying to order us around.”

A famed economist told Gadfly the other day that after a swift and hard Brexit, Little Britain will discover that it isn’t needed by the rest of the world.

Japan, Korea, China and India are now the main manufacturing hubs. Australia, Canada, Brazil, South Africa and Russia provide the resources. And the finance sector is leaving London for Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin.

Britain’s competitive advantage will be tourism centred on the monarchy and other crumbling edifices.

What is comforting is that the Kid from Kadina, “Sir” Lynton Crosby, is the dark artist behind a pro-Brexit Facebook campaign, or at least it was the work of his company – CTF Partners.

The company created a bunch of organisations with names such as Mainstream Network and Britain’s Future, giving the bogus impression there was a grassroots movement for a hard Brexit on March 29.

A new Commons committee dealing with “online disinformation” is to look into what Sir Lynton is up to.

The Guardian says the campaign appears to fit Facebook’s definition of “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” and speculates that “Sir” Lynton’s company is positioning to benefit from having root rat Boris Johnson at No. 10.

CTF’s mission was to destabilise and undermine Theresa May’s attempts to kick the exit down the road until a better deal is hatched. It wasn’t so long ago, 2017 to be exact, when Crosby was May’s friendly campaign adviser, coming up with her memorable slogan: “Strong and Stable Leadership”.

Talk about co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour.

Homework hacks

Commercial wireless bloviator Alan Jones doesn’t like the ALP’s policies on electric cars, cancer treatment, negative gearing, superannuation, energy or climate change. And that’s just the start.

He gave readers of The Catholic Boys Daily this news in a special bulletin accompanied by his beaming picture.

What was so striking was his insistence that Shorten has forgotten “a golden rule of life and politics and sport. If you don’t do the homework, you have no hope of passing the exam.”

Yes, Alan, homework is vital. That’s why you failed your exam on the Grantham floods with the result of your radio network being ordered to pay damages of $3.7 million, plus interest, to the Wagner family over 32 misinformed broadcasts in which they were accused of being responsible for the deaths of 12 people and having corrupt relationships with various politicians and governments.

Justice Peter Flanagan was scathing, finding that Jones had a “wilful blindness to the truth…”

It gets worse. At the time of the broadcasts, Jones had five people on his staff but none were journalists or researchers. Instead, the broadcaster said he got tips from his listeners, most of whom it is believed are dementia patients in nursing homes. In evidence, he stated: “I have always argued that my listeners are my best researchers.”

In other words, he went to air with a whole pile of research-free hunches. Why anyone tunes in to this hyperventilating hypocrite is a puzzle.

Rudy awakenings

Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, deserves a Purple Heart for multiple Sunday appearances on TV political talk shows. As the morning progresses his performances become more incomprehensible and unhinged.

Take last Sunday, when he turned up on CNN’s State of the Union show with Jake Tapper; Mueller’s report the topic du jour.

Rudy was appalled that the probe was kicked off as a result of Fishnets Downer passing on information from George Papadopoulos, one of Trump’s campaign team who subsequently did time in the clink.

Papadopoulos told Fishnets in a London wine house that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Australia’s high commissioner to Britain passed this on to authorities in Canberra who in turn passed it on to the FBI, which was one of the sparks for the Mueller investigation.

Rudy’s characterisation of these events last Sunday on CNN was fascinating. He said Papadopoulos was given one piece of information by a Maltese counterintelligence agent and he “repeats it to an Australian guy with a very shady background [who is] a big contributor to Hillary Clinton even though he’s an Australian”.

Tapper asks how can he contribute when he’s not an American? Rudy then concludes that Fishnets must be a United States citizen so his donations wouldn’t be illegal. “He raised money for [her] … for the [Clinton] Foundation.”

Surely, there needs to be another inquiry with a special counsel to investigate these fresh allegations about our man in London. 

Tips and tattle: [email protected]

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Apr 27, 2019 as "Gus tries to block the leaks". Subscribe here.

Richard Ackland
is the publisher of Justinian. He is The Saturday Paper’s diarist-at-large and legal affairs editor.