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John Passant

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December 2012



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



A Brough summary for a simple Abbott

‘I am doing very important things for the people of Australia, here in this country right now.’

That is the reason the Opposition leader and the next Prime Minister of Australia proffered for not reading the decision by Justice Rares to throw out James Ashby’s case against Peter Slipper for sexual harassment as an abuse of process.

The Liberal Party was up to its eyeballs in this case. There was contact by Ashby with various Federal Opposition and Queensland Liberal National Party (LNP) figures.

The most important was Ashby’s contact with and the advice he received from Mal Brough, former Howard Government minister and the man the LNP has endorsed to stand against, you guessed it, Peter Slipper at the next election.

The next Prime Minister doesn’t have time to read a judgment damning of someone he supports, a pre-selected candidate. But despite not having read the case, he has complete confidence in Mal Brough. Abbott is reported as saying:

“Mal is a friend of mine. Mal was a colleague of mine (and) I look forward to having Mal as a colleague of mine again,” Mr Abbott told reporters in London.

“He’s been preselected by the Liberal National Party. I look forward to campaigning with him. I look forward to winning the seat.”

Mr Abbott says he has not read the court judgment, but he is “confident that (Mr Brough) has acted rightly at all times”.

Well Tony Abbott, there is a summary by the judge of the case at its start. It is only a few pages long. Maybe on the trip back from London, in that 16 hours or so you are awake, you might like to read that few pages. Here is a link to that summary, and to the case itself Mr Abbott.

Of course Mal Brough has acted rightly at all times. Here is what Justice Rares says in the summary – the first few pages Tony – throwing out the Ashby case as an abuse of process:

‘…the evidence established that Mr Ashby acted in combination with Ms Doane and Mr Brough when commencing the proceedings in order to advance the interests of the LNP and Mr Brough.’

At paragraphs 131 onwards in the judgement itself Mr Justice Rares deals with Mr Ashby’s role (along with another person.) Let me direct you to paragraph 138 Mr Abbott, because I know all that reading must be difficult for you so to save you the trouble and bother of reading the whole case, here is what Mr Justice Rares says about your good friend, the man who has acted rightly at all times:

I am also satisfied that Mr Ashby and Ms Doane by about 29 March 2012 were in a combination with Mr Brough to cause Mr Slipper as much political and public damage as they could inflict on him.

Or this at paragraph 141:

Mr Brough was unlikely to have been offering to assist Ms Doane and Mr Ashby in seeing Mr Russell QC for advice or looking for new careers out of pure altruism. Realistically, his preparedness to act for them was created and fed by their willingness to act against Mr Slipper’s interests and assisting Mr Brough’s and the LNP’s interests in destabilising Mr Slipper’s position as Speaker and damaging him in the eyes of his electorate. Mr Ashby wrote that he totally agreed with Ms Doane’s observation in texts on 30 March 2012 that what they were doing, seeking to bring the sexual harassment case would “tip the govt to Mal’s and the LNP’s advantage”.

What about this at paragraph 148 Mr Abbott?:

Mr Ashby had begun collaborating with Ms Doane and Mr Brough shortly after Mr Slipper left for overseas on 24 March 2012.

And finally there is the conclusion the judge reaches at paragraph 199:

Even though I have not found that the combination was as wide as Mr Slipper alleged in his points of claim, the evidence established that there was a combination involving Mr Ashby, Ms Doane and Mr Brough of that kind. Mr Ashby acted in combination with Ms Doane and Mr Brough when commencing the proceedings in order to advance the interests of the LNP and Mr Brough. Mr Ashby and Ms Doane set out to use the proceedings as part of their means to enhance or promote their prospects of advancement or preferment by the LNP, including by using Mr Brough to assist them in doing so. And the evidence also established that the proceedings were an abuse of the process of the Court for the reasons I have given. Accordingly, I am satisfied that the exceptional situation that enlivens the Court’s power to dismiss (or stay) proceedings as an abuse has been proved to the heavy standard required: Williams 174 CLR at 529. The duty and power of the Court to protect its own processes require that I give effect to the findings I have made by dismissing the proceedings under r 26.01.

Now that wasn’t so hard was it Tony? For emphasis let me just repeat part of that finding.

…the evidence established that there was a combination involving Mr Ashby, Ms Doane and Mr Brough of that kind. Mr Ashby acted in combination with Ms Doane and Mr Brough when commencing the proceedings in order to advance the interests of the LNP and Mr Brough.

And the proceedings were therefore an abuse of process and thrown out.

Now I believe you when you say you haven’t read the judgement, Mr Abbott. I am reminded of Stuart MacGill’s comment when Shane Warne published his first book. Words to the effect: ‘The man who has never read a book has written one.’ That somehow seems apt today.

But I am sure you have been briefed on the case, and I am sure the bits about the combination between Ashby, Doane and Brough have been bought to your attention. If not, then your staff are pretty incompetent and you should hire some new ones.

I am also sure that in far away London you are doing very important things for Australia. Talking to Boris Johnson, the right wing mayor of London about transport, small business and immigration is obviously very important. So too no doubt was meeting with Foreign Secretary William Hague. And obviously the chin wag with the lame duck head of the Bank of England about the ongoing recession in Europe gave you lots of hints about how to implement austerity and depression in Australia.

Yes, it is obviously very important work talking to Boris, William and Mervyn in London instead of reading the damning indictment of one of your mates.

Is this how your government will operate Mr Abbott? Mates can do no wrong? Ignore the findings of judges when they impugn your mates? Is that it?

There is something else in all of this, something like: ‘I am not going to read documents I know I will disagree with or that might present problems for me.’ That is a great way to run government.

You once said ‘climate change is crap’. So why would you when in Government bother reading any reports from your own scientists about it? Maybe Lord Monckton could write a report for you to counterbalance all that crap from the scientists?

But you can’t do that with Justice Rares’ decision can you? So ignore it and hope there is an appeal and that it is successful in overturning Justice Rares decision. That at least will put the substance of the case away from public view until well after the 2013 election and the question of any ‘combination’ Mr Brough may have entered into. But it will then give the whole case new legs to use against the Labor Opposition if the appeal is successful and the case is reinstated in the list and heard. If not, just ignore the Full Court decision. Ignoring court decisions is working a treat so far.

Ignore the truth; ignore the politically inconvenient; ignore the politically damning.

That should be a great path for success in government Mr Abbott.

The more this fool of an Opposition leader disgraces himself and his party of the 1%, the more I wonder how the Australian ruling class could even contemplate this idiot as Prime Minister. Perhaps it is the case that they understand he will undertake a vicious attack on public services, public servants, unions and workers’ living standards. His austerity to recession program many not hit big business profits but it will cut wages and jobs – both costs to big business.

So maybe the ruling class think the man will be able to do that. But at the back of my mind I wonder whether the incompetence of such a leader and many of the buffoons he has on his front bench won’t detract from their ability to do that.

The one thing this motley crew have in their favour is a thoroughly discredited neoliberal Labor Party and a completely supine union movement except for pockets of resistance in places like the ports, building sites and among some nurses and teachers.

That I think is the answer to a vicious and possibly incompetent right wing Government – generalising strikes and other industrial action across the workforce. The current union leadership are a barrier to that and rank and file organisation needs to be rebuilt to prepare for the coming fight instead of, as the ACTU will no doubt do, surrendering in the face of an Abbott electoral victory.

That rebuilding is going to be a painstaking and difficult task, but it will have to be done to rebuff a Government likely to be even more vicious that John Howard’s and more incompetent than Billy McMahon’s.

Readers might also like to look at an earlier post of mine punningly called Putting the rare slipper in: the Liberal Party brand is b…rough; ash by another name

To have your say or see what others are saying hit the comments button under the heading. Comments close after 7 days.



Comment from Chek
Time December 20, 2012 at 8:21 am

Can’t be true, John. Nothing in The Australian about this the last few days!

There is however a lengthy Newspoll article today on the results of a survey on how people responded to questions on the performance of the minority government.

Looks like Abbott’s campaign on the illegitimacy and the incompetence of the government has taken root.

Shortly after the Tampa elections, a Lynton Crosby survey was published in The Australian telling us that the people had voted on economic issues, nothing to do with the border security ruse.

Just wondering if a survey instrument is being crafted now to get a similar result after an Abbott victory.

Good on you, John.


Comment from John
Time December 20, 2012 at 11:42 am

Yes Chek, I read the Australian for the bosses’ truth and there was nothing at all about reader Abbott. I understand a 3AW poll may show Labor in the lead. I wonder if it is true, what the survey scope is etc?

Comment from Lorikeet
Time December 21, 2012 at 10:17 am

After Mal Brough lost his seat at the 2010 federal election, I was asked if I would support his admission as a member of the DLP, to which I quickly replied “NO!”

I don’t like the sight or the sound of this man, and I also don’t like his attitude towards indigenous people.

I would like to see someone other than Brough or Slipper win that lower house seat. This should not be too difficult under the circumstances.

I am also hoping that someone else will win Wayne Swan’s seat. I was really hoping Clive Palmer would run against him in Lilley, as it would almost be a shoe-in for somebody else.

Hopefully the voting public will pay careful attention to the Form Guide prior to the next election.

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