Diary

Gadfly
Cormann the barbarian

Citizens have been kicking up a dreadful fuss about Mathias Cormann spinning around Europe in an RAAF jet while lobbying to land his well-padded backside on the top chair at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in not-so-gay Paree.

The Belgian Waffle (hat tip, Mike Carlton) has been clocking up $4300 an hour for taxpayers as part of this global pocket-moistening tour. The Europeans have been warned that Cormann may not be all he seems – despite what passes for an Australian charm exercise.

As Finance minister, Cormann lined up to repeal the carbon price, to defund renewable energy agencies and to plug the ludicrous “gas-led recovery”. Actually, before long, gas will prove as big a flop as the minister promoting it, Grassgate Gassy Taylor.

After a career of fossil-fuelled devotion, suddenly our man Cormann embraces warmism. To get the Paris gig may involve him washing his mouth out with Solvol and supporting net zero emissions by 2050.

Nothing is impossible – after all, this is the politician who behaved like a treacherous eel in the hope that Benito Dutton would be prime minister.

The OECD job comes with residence at Harry Seidler’s Australian embassy, 4 rue Jean Rey, with a ready supply of steaming moules-frites from the kitchen.

Give the man a cigar.

Lines on credit

What is puzzling about this no-expense-spared global mission is where it leaves Schmo Morrison’s fatwa against international organisations.

Remember the PM’s puzzling speech to the Lowy Institute in October last year, where he railed against the global world order and the need to protect our sovereignty against “negative globalism” and “an unaccountable internationalist bureaucracy”?

It was right up the Trumpist–Brexit alley, although some had difficulty understanding what he was talking about. International affairs expert Allan Gyngell wrote: “As a speech – that is, the persuasive articulation of an argument – it lacked structure or, indeed, much of an argument.”

Alongside the Flem-speaking Cormann, Schmo is also slip-sliding about with his thinking. The PM told the Business Council of Australia and the virtual G20 summit last weekend that he hoped he doesn’t have to use “carryover credits” from the Kyoto Protocol to meet Australia’s nationally determined contribution to emission reduction under the Paris agreement.

Actually, nobody told him he had to use these credits, which more properly should be called Ansett Frequent Flyer points. It is just part of Schmo’s snake-oil marketing schtick – that somehow we were required to use credits from elsewhere to scramble home on reducing emissions 26 per cent by 2030.

That is a very lame aim, as the world has moved on. John Kerry, Joe Biden’s United States climate emissary, says the Paris agreement is not enough. More rigorous targets are required to save the planet.

Soon Kerry will be knocking at Schmo’s door and the expectation is that the former travel agent will be dragged kicking and screaming to zero net emissions by 2050.

Hugo to our head

As something of a jaw-dropping acknowledgement of Schmo’s painful barbed-wire straddle on the world stage, Alexander (The Knee) Downer’s London “think tank”, the Policy Exchange, has awarded the PM its inaugural Grotius Prize, “in recognition of his work in support of the international rules-based order” – the very order that only a year ago was a threat to our “sovereignty”.

The award is named after the Dutch 16th- and 17th-century thinker, jurist and playwright Hugo Grotius, also known as Huig de Groot – surely a distant relative of our own thinker and stager Andreas de Blot.

Grotius is credited with laying the foundation of international law, so it seemed natural for the Policy Exchange to grope around and come up with Schmo as the recipient, the man who shredded our commitment to the international order on the treatment of refugees.

Will Burston rue Pauline?

And well may we wonder what Pauline Hanson is up to. From the blood-soaked vomitorium inhabited by One Notion, readers may have missed the current round of knifing that is under way between Hanson and her one-time senate party whip, Brian Burston.

Former senator Burston is suing Hanson in the Federal Court, claiming she accused him of sexually harassing his staff. The case is trundling though the court’s process.

Pauline has responded by commencing an action against Burston under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act, claiming
she has been victimised by her former colleague within the meaning of the Sex Discrimination Act.

Pauline says Burston’s defamation action is a detriment to her as a consequence of the sexual harassment allegations she made against him, presumably in the public interest.

Hanson’s engagement with human rights law is an exciting breakthrough for someone who has made a career out of stomping on the rights of Indigenous Australians, immigrants, refugees and anyone who doesn’t fit the constituency of knuckle-draggers from the boonies.

Dog man walks

In other important legal developments, the Supreme Court of Tasmania has clarified aspects of the law of bestiality. This decision comes as special importance to the Otto Abetz faction in Tasmania, which was worried that same-sex marriage would step by step lead to people wanting to marry their pets, or even wild beasts.

Justice Stephen Estcourt, in a troubling case involving a man and his dog, the details of which should not be published in a family newspaper mainly read over breakfast, had to grapple with what qualifies as bestiality.

His Honour discharged the accused, Ammar Elnami, because the authorities showed that penile penetration was the essence of the offence, and this had not occurred. Before allowing everyone to go home, however, the judge took the opportunity to track the history of the crime, which dates to Henry VIII and An Acte for punysshement of the vice of Buggerie.

One of the judge’s citations was from a paper that would surely make a popular Tasmanian book: “Is a Duck an Animal? An Exploration of Bestiality as a Crime”.

At this point it might be best if we left the discussion.

Les talk about News Corp

Nice to see Uncle Rupe’s lapdog Les Hinton on the ramparts defending the old muckraker – rubbishing the notion of a royal commission into Moloch’s stranglehold on the media and pointing out that Kevin From Heaven was a constant courtier of News Corp hacks and editors.

Hinton, in tune with the company hymn book, chimed that Murdoch and News don’t wield so much power anymore so wot’s all the fuss about?

Why Les feels the need to keep licking Rupe’s boots is a mystery, apart from the fact that after 52 years as the wizened brute’s footman it must be ingrained in his DNA.

Les started out serving Murdoch his sandwiches in Adelaide and went on to run vast swaths of the newspaper empire, which turned out to be not very different from the job with the sandwiches.

Les, the Bootle Boy, was chairman of Moloch’s London rags at the time of the phone-hacking scandal. Of course, he knew nothing about what was going on, although others were not quite so sure.

Peter Burden, who wrote a book about the saga at the News of the Screws, claimed: “The person that I think is most of a problem for Murdoch is Les Hinton. He was definitely around when it was going on ... and for him to be seen to be mixed up in that whole tacky situation would be very, very damaging indeed.”

Les was out the door – nominated as the fall guy for the “journalistic ethics” of his old chums in Britain, even though it was James Murdoch who was signing the cheques to pay off and silence hacking victims.

The house of commons “culture” committee said Hinton had given misleading evidence and was complicit in a cover-up.

Les was so incensed that he used the European Convention on Human Rights, a first for anyone associated with Moloch, to fight for years to unstitch the culture committee’s findings.

Flight of Ramsey

Former PM Little Winston Howard made a tribute through gritted teeth to the departed political journalist Alan Ramsey. His “columns and reporting were always direct, often controversial, and highly critical of political figures”, Winston said by way of an encomium.

Maybe he was still smarting about Ramsey’s column published on November 24, 2007, the day Howard was defeated at the “Poles”. He mentioned the rows of recycling bins that had been lined up, just before election day, in the basement of Parliament House’s ministerial wing:

“The bins seemed a more apt commentary than all the desperate, last-minute Coalition windbaggery going on around the nation on what is about to descend on the Prime Minister after 33 years in public life and almost 12 years remaking Australia in his own miserable, disfigured image.”

Requiescat in pace, Alan Ramsey.

From garden to galaxy

Last week, Gadfly was ungenerous enough to refer to the bearded Kevin Rudd as looking like a garden gnome.

Readers now might like to know that a gnome, not unlike Kevin, has been launched into space – from New Zealand.

The American company Rocket Lab, which has a launchpad on NZ’s east coast, is behind this extraterrestrial adventure.

It did a test launch last week with the payload of a small titanium red-hatted garden creature named Gnome Chompski. Unfortunately, the little fellow will burn up on re-entry. 

Tips and tattle: [email protected]

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 28, 2020 as "Gadfly: Cormann the barbarian".

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Richard Ackland is The Saturday Paper’s legal affairs editor.