Previous comments Updated 19/07/20
It is all about cabs off the rank!
Once upon a time it was “The Halal” rort, but that was swept under the carpet by Turdball who was pushing global warming, or was it climate change.
Then there was the virus and lock down “For your own good – Don’t you understand?”
Meanwhile The colour of your skin became critical “You White Supremacist” when are you going to make reparations?
But after bowling over a few statues burning down cathedrals is the new order. Not sufficient to burn down Notre Dame eh?
Bwana, nothing to be seen here. Blind Freddie (or should that Francois?) – can see in a single glance (eh?) that the cause of the three fires was the simultaneous failure of three ageing 15th Century electrical junction boxes in that cathedral.
(Sadly, the vast majority of today’s ‘woke generation’ would find nothing remarkable about an assertion that there were electrical junction boxes in use in the 15th Century.)
In 1904, in France, the french government took over admin of all churches. Repairs had to go through the french government. I am sure the Catholic Church would have been outraged that moozies were allowed as workers in Notre Dame cathedral. And the french workers there stated that the moozies were allowed free roaming privileges through the church, while the other groups of traders were not allowed to do so. And one can conclude that the french government actively collaborated with the moozies to set the ND alight. 800 year old timber is more flammable than petrol. And amazing that even before the fire was out the french quislings stated arson was not the cause of the fire.
Jacinta Price has a better handle on things compared to Ginge & amp; Cringe. (Preach & Leech is probably more appropriate for those two grifters)
……and how does Yoko Markle tackle her own “unconscious bias”?
Oh, not I.
Autopsy result from the coroner on George Floyd.
Doesn’t appear to be much evidence for strangulation in that lot. Just as predicted, another hoax.
And the only certainty is that the luvvies of the left and the perpetually outraged will utterly ignore it or declare it to be falsified – because it doesn’t fit their narrative.
Any question of the LMSM (lefty-mainstream media – but I repeat myself) being completely unfit for purpose is the spectacle of Aljazeera reporter Kimberley Halkett calling the White House Press Secretary “a lying bitch” – and then (in true form) lying on twitter about what she said. Reported about 10 minutes or so ago on news.com.au.
Sounds like the usual childish emotionalism dressed up as moral righteousness.
Professor Ridd’s battles are clearly not yet over with JCU having the decision in favour of Professor Ridd overturned. This is a battle which cannot be lost, so PP trusts the good Professor is able to ensure this matter is heard by the High Court of Australia.
When I talk about “Justice” not only Cardinal Pell, but also Peter Ridd. He has been treated most unfairly by the Global Warming Stasi at JCU.
For the sake of science – truthful science (not PC Science) Prof Ridd needs to win this.
The GBR authority received $144 million of taxpayer money for a Turnbull derived lie concerning the Reef. And JCU are s–t scared that money could be in jeopardy if Peter Ridd wins.
Ackto – I thought that the figure was $441,000. ie. close to half a billion
The real culprit in the destruction of our economy, the closure of small businesses, the loss of jobs, etc is not Covid but the hysteria of our useless political and bureaucratic peons.
You will like this:-
I was at uni in the UK when the Seekers came to town. I think all of us young men fellin love with Judith Durham.
What a great singer – what a babe!
The speech below is attributed to Billy Graham’s son Franklin. I checked Snopes and Snopes says it is “misattributed”, (i.e., that it was not said by Billy Graham’s son in Ohio in 2015, [as Snopes attributes it], whereas this version has him making the speech in Jacksonville Florida). Whether Franklin Graham said it or someone else did, it is still (as someone before me has said ) ‘an interesting perspective’.
An interesting perspective on modern USA – shades of the Roman Empire of long-ago! The Pity is that the rampant profligacy of the capitalistic system has led to the fuelling of envy, etc.!
SON IS TELLING THE SAD TRUTH – NEVER SAID BETTER
Time is like a river. You cannot touch the water twice, because the
flow that has passed will never pass again. Franklin Graham was
speaking at the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville , Florida , when he
said America will not come back. He wrote:
“The American dream ended on November 6th, 2012. The second term of
Barack Obama has been the final nail in the coffin for the legacy of
the white Christian males who discovered, explored, pioneered, settled
and developed the greatest republic in the history of mankind.A coalition of blacks, Latinos, feminists, gays, government workers,
union members, environmental extremists, the media, Hollywood ,
uninformed young people, the “forever needy,” the chronically
unemployed, illegal aliens and other “fellow travelers” have ended
Norman Rockwell’s America .You will never again out-vote these people. It will take individual acts of defiance and massive displays of civil disobedience to get back the rights we have allowed them to take away. It will take zealots, not moderates and shy, not reach-across-the-aisle RINOs
(Republicans In Name Only) to right this ship and restore our beloved
country to its former status.
People like me are completely politically irrelevant, and I will probably never again be able to legally comment on or concern myself with the aforementioned coalition which has surrendered our culture, our heritage and our traditions without a shot being fired.
The Cocker spaniel is off the front porch, the pit bull is in the back yard, the American Constitution has been replaced with Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” and the likes of Chicago shyster David Axelrod along with international socialist George Soros have been pulling the strings on their beige puppet and have brought us Act 2 of the New World Order.
The curtain will come down but the damage has been done, the story has
been told. Those who come after us will once again have to risk their lives,
their fortunes and their sacred honor to bring back the Republic that
this generation has timidly frittered away due to white guilt and
Get armed, the zombie apocalypse is coming to a neighbourhood near you.
The Demonazis and their fans and enablers will ONLY be overcome by the use of force.
Eventually Crooked Hilary’s ‘deplorables’, and the ‘clingers’ (Comrade Osambo’s term for people who have guns and bibles) will prevail but the cost will be horrendous.
And sadly what happens in the US usually appears here a few months later.
O that Scomo could be even half the man Trump is!
Senator Jim Molan
My View on the Future Submarine Project
I have often been asked if twelve submarines was the right number to buy. The answer is simple: It depends on what you want to do with them, and that is about strategy.
The recently announced 2020 Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan assists in answering many of the questions about the Attack class submarines: do we need them; why so big; how many; why conventional not nuclear; why not buy cheaper from overseas; are they vulnerable; when will we get them; what about the Collins class; and why so expensive?
To summarise my stance, Australia needs submarines as well as surface ships and aircraft. We need something in the order of 12 large conventional submarines, built to our own specifications, because no off-the-shelf submarine meets the need. Nuclear is simply not an option as it is illegal in Australia at present. The Attack class submarines will be redesigned from a basic French model, as was done with the Collins class. I would rather they be available sooner than the mid 2030’s to 2050’s, however we place a premium on quality defence infrastructure and thus design and construction will take years. However we do have an effective force in the Collins class submarines that must be kept operationally effective.
“The French Submarine”, as its detractors call it, has now become political and some of the comments are shrill. However, as this is the people’s money and future security, we are all entitled to an opinion and I respect that. It is important that we see frequent engagement by political and military leaders to give the Australian people a more open explanation of what is happening with the project.
Following the change in Australia’s defence strategy, Australia now has a forward leaning defence policy designed to shape the environment before conflict breaks out, to deter direct attacks on Australia, and if deterrence fails, to respond forcefully. To implement this new defence strategy, the government has allocated $270b over the next 10 years. The submarines must be seen in this context.
Australia must have submarines big enough to cover the enormous distances in our region or to loiter stealthily for a long time. Don’t forget the distance from our east to west coast is the same as that from London to Istanbul, regardless of whether we might want to deploy submarines even further afield than that. The submarines must also be large enough to carry a range of weapons or even special forces.
Strategically, the role of submarines is to deter conflict by contributing to the operational and tactical defeat of an enemy force. Deterrence has the best chance of being achieved if a significant number of boats with a range of weapons can be deployed at any one time. A potential aggressor is never sure of their number or their location.
The US can offer little support to Australia in the way of leasing submarines as they have commenced the most expensive submarine building program since WW2 that is stretching their industrial capacity. We are on our own.
The number of submarines needed to achieve deterrence for Australia will be at least 9, but 12 would be very good. In the meantime, we have the six Collins class, intended to keep two operationally at sea and the remainder for training or undergoing maintenance. We are doing better than that at present. Given the time frame of the Attack class, the Collins class will continue to operate for a long time to come and will be updated.
Everything in war is vulnerable and there are a wide range of views on the vulnerability and future of submarines and surface ships. Advice is that research “does not suggest to me that the relative difficulty of detecting submarines underwater by comparison with units which have to operate in the atmosphere (ships and planes) is going to diminish. There is a big difference between getting an indication of a boat in an area and then localising it – and a further difference between localising and achieving tracking quality sufficient to achieve a firing solution”. This indicates that whilst submarines might be detected in a general area, destroying them is not as easy. I also support the need for land based anti-shipping missiles to complement other sea and air defences.
Overly simplified criticism of the Attack class is that we are simply taking the nuclear reactor out of the French boat and replacing it with a diesel. This is untrue as this boat is being designed now as a new vessel, and there are no grounds to say at this stage that it will not be an effective submarine.
I will not enter the argument of whether the costs have increased or we are getting value for money, as that is the responsibility of ministers and officials. I would just say that everything in defence is expensive and we have tried fighting wars with the cheapest option and it does not go well.
One day China will ‘wake up to the fact’ it cannot take us all on
Liberal Senator Jim Molan says Australia and America both have “grounds to be concerned” by the threat of China. In a joint statement, Australia and the US agreed to ramp up their deterrence strategies against China after condemning Beijing’s treatment of Uighur Muslims and new sweeping security legislation in Hong Kong. “The PM came out only two weeks ago and announced that he is so concerned with the deterioration or the uncertainty within the strategic environment that he’s put $270 billion over the next 10 years into the Australian Defence Force and areas that directly support it,” Mr Molan told Sky News. “(The announcement demonstrated) a really seismic change in the way that we consider ourselves and our ability to use force, that is we are willing and able to use force in our own interests against malign actors in our region.” Mr Molan said it was good to see Australia becoming increasingly self-reliant, not just the defence force, but also in manufacturing and cyber-warfare. Mr Molan added China’s general attitude of ‘picking a fight’ with its neighbours had turned many neighbouring countries into a de-facto alliance. “(China’s) picked a fight with India, it’s always had a fight with Taiwan and at the moment it’s conducting an amphibious exercise within the close proximity of Taiwan,” he said. “It’s turning so many of the neighbours, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, many of the south-east Asian nations, the alliance nations that we have, the Japanese, the Americans, the quad nations as they call them, US, Japan, America and India, they’re turning that into a de-facto alliance. “I think that is going to be the long-term answer to our problem. “One day, China will wake up to the fact that it can’t take us all on.” Image: AP
For 2020, Australia is ranked 19 of 138 out of the countries considered for the annual GFP review. It holds a PwrIndx* rating of 0.3225 (0.0000 considered ‘perfect’).
*Each nation is assessed on individual and collective values processed through an in-house formula to generate a ‘PwrIndx’ score. Some values are estimated when official numbers are not available. View Notes.
Senator Molan has explained that acknowledging the superiority in design and capabilities of US designed nuclear submarines there is not even one now available for sale or lease, even if nuclear was approved here, and the USN submarine procurement programme has absorbed the production capacity for new nuclear submarines.
He disagrees with people who complain about the French submarine contract for supply to the RAN pointing out that like the proved to be after initial commissioning technological issues, and remain excellent submarine assets Collins Class, the twelve Short Fin Barracuda French submarines based on RAN requirements will be too.
In between times the six Collins Class conventional diesel-electric powered submarines will remain in service.
[note that the RAN has mentioned the future possibility of the later delivery submarines being nuclear powered]
China will not wake up that it cant take on the world. For thousands of years dictators come along and try to conquer the world. None have succeeded, but they have left massive destructions behind their attempts. China will start ww3 and it will start soon. But right now, between the monsoons, swarms of locusts, small earthquakes, failing dams, flooded farmlands and the pollution and lack of food due to the floods the chinks have big problems. May the rain keep falling for another 70 days.
Jim now is ‘inside the tent’, and that comes at a price if you want to stay inside the tent. Part of that price is to spruik the company line.
Still, we should be glad there’s one level head inside that tent.
Former Labor Cabinet Minister Graham Richardson commented on Sky about the French Submarine Contract a while ago, his point was that Cabinet rarely has even one member qualified to assess a proposal as complicated as new RAN assets. He said therefore that Ministers rely entirely on advice from the experts, government based and other consultants.
I believe that the Mansion-Pyne led decision is flawed financially and possibly in other ways relating to cost of construction in Adelaide rather than in France, as did Collins Class Submarine construction in Adelaide.
But Senator Molan is in a better position to know.
You may have read that as from this morning we in the far reaches of the regional shires of Victoria are not allowed to visit someone’s house. In addition as from Sunday we must wear masks permanently when out of the house. I have Emphysema which means that I am unable to breath in sufficient oxygen when wearing a mask for an extended period. That means that unless I can get a written exemption from my doctor I am unable to leave the house.
Now for the utter stupidity of that moron Dangerous Dan Andrews. He has locked down the regional shires bordering on Ballarat. My shire is the Golden Plains Shire with a council that is equally as useless as the Andrews gaggle. The shire covers 2,700 square kilometres and has a population of approximately 23,000. That means that there is an average of just 8.5 people per square kilometre with only 8 know cases since the start of the pandemic. However, they refuse to tell us just where in the shire the 8
cases are located, so they can be avoided, or if they are active or otherwise.
Now for the really stupid part. Andrews gave a report that whilst we can’t visit each others houses we can however still go to restaurants, cafe’s, pubs, gyms, shopping centres and sporting events because they are safer than visiting someone’s house (???). That is because, according to Andrews, peoples houses are where most of the cases come from. That, of course, dismisses the fact that most of the cases in Victoria are the result of his and his government’s bungling of the hotel quarantine in Melbourne (not in the regional centres), the complete disaster in nursing homes and the fact that a high number of restaurants and pubs have been closed down because of virus infection spread by their customers.
Then just a couple of minutes later he says that most of the cases originated in businesses such as regional meat works, building sites, etc. That is another load of horse droppings and a complete contradiction of fact and his claim, just minutes earlier, that homes were the culprit.
What a costly mess that ignorant, arrogant socialist/communist has created.
Hydroxychloroquine, marketed as plaquenil, has proven effective against COVID-19 in low doses, as a prophylaxis and therapeutic.
It is safe. Doctors in Australia are being negligent by not prescribing this for COVID-19. A class action should be brought against the AMA by every person by the relatives of every person who has died from COVID-19 on behalf of their loved ones.
studies on hydrocychloroqine
Doctors talking about the success of Hydroxycloroquine
Powerful discussion between Alan Dershowitz and Robert Kennedy
Brighteon is the site to see what YT and the fakestream press are censoring. YT is a pro commie organisation that is also controlled by big pharma. Fox News gets 70% of its revenue from big pharma.
August the first so:-
Happy birthday Jacinda Ardern.
Aw, come on Bots, quit horsing around!
That might be a bit too cryptic for some Bots. A few neighsaysers, perhaps. 🙂
Pair of mad bastards! Myself, I reckon that she has more teeth than a crosscut saw or like Banjo Patterson’s black Alice, teeth like a Moreton Bay Shark. Next they will be banning the Banjo’s works, that is if any of them can read.
Similar in form to banning Banjo’s works, I see bloody Woolworths is now cynically using Dorothy McKellar’s wonderful poem “My Country” for a f***ing ADVERTISEMENT!
“Wind CF 28.5%, Solar CF 17.5%
That is like buying a car advertised as 100 hp and finding you actually got
Windcar 28.5 hp or Solarcar 17.5 hp.
I’d guess the “lemon laws” would be invoked pretty quickly if it was a car!”
Comment from JoNova
COVID-19 economy in hibernation for very good reasons and purposes must be the ideal time to go 100 per cent wind and solar renewable energy?
All we need is lots of money and most of our land.
Example: Capital Hill Wind Farm in NSW has: Installed/Nameplate Capacity of 140 MW, theoretical maximum continuous output from 67 Wind Turbines, installed on land area of 15,000 acres or 6,000 hectares.
Just on 40 MW real capacity based on actual long term average of 28.5% (AEMO Capacity Factor Rating 30-35% published).
So 40 MW from when the wind blows intermittently, unreliably.
The soon to be closed Liddell Power Station NSW has 4 generator units each with Installed/Nameplate Capacity of 500 MW – CP of minimum 475 MW. But there are 4 generator units = 1,900 MW CP.
Now work out how many acres/hectares would be needed to replace Liddell.
* 40 MW of Wind Farm, to achieve 1,900 MW would require 48 x 40 MW Wind Farms.
* Each Wind Farm would be replaced every around 20 years, so original plus 2 for 50 years that Liddell has reliably generated electricity for to date.
The numbers do not add up, $500,000 taxpayer funded for profit subsidy for each wind turbine plus sale of energy income plus any tax deductions for expenses incurred in operating resulting in world’s highest electricity prices for consumers and economic vandalism as businesses fail.
So cover Australia with wind turbines and solar and we could have the most expensive electricity supply with no businesses including agriculture to use the electricity.
Socialism masquerading as environmentalism, greenism.
Yep. Nice one DT.
Anton has a lot of similar numbers, too.
(tongue in cheek)
If they ran cattle at one to the acre that would be 15000 head and their methane production, a constant, would provide enough methane to power a power station.
The Capital Hill wind farm is a toy compared to the monstrocity currently under construction at Rokewood in the Golden Plains Shire, just a little south of Ballarat.
That environmental catastrophe in the making covers 16,730 hectares (167.3 square kilometres) and gobble up 39 farms upon which it is intended to install 228 giant eyesore wind turbines.
Promotional material about proposed new wind farms, or recently commissioned wind farms, anything about wind farms never provide Capacity Factor.
For example from the Rokewood article …
“Dubbed the Golden Plains Wind Farm, it will have an energy generation capacity of between 800 and 1000 megawatts, slightly more than half the capacity of the shuttered Hazelwood coal-fired power plant.”
No doubt the 800-1,000 megawatts energy generation capacity is Nameplate/Installed Capacity – engineering design rating in perfect operating conditions but ignores wind availability variable supply, so Capacity Factor using AEMO 30-35 per cent published average the AEMO CP rating is 350 megawatts at best, on average.
But as private monitoring has shown the real average CF is 28.5 per cent or 285 megawatts (1,000 figure) or 228 megawatts (800 figure).
So not even close to even one generator unit of the Hazlewood brown coal Power Station generators CF.
Noting that Hazlewood was forced to close down by a combination of factors including;
* 2016 Turnbull Government emissions levy on coal and gas burnt in power stations, legislation passed by both sides, and expandable without the need for new legislation: eg; liquid fossil fuels.
* The Andrews VicGov increasing brown coal supply price significantly, ignoring that the Hazlewood operator had a Lease not due to expire for many years at that time.
* As for all Power Stations designed for continuous generator operation, efficiency reduced when forced to adjust generator units to cope with bursts of energy from Wind and Solar sources.
* Wind Turbines worth $500,000 a year each for owners operating or not, government/taxpayer subsidies, income from energy supplied on top.
No doubt that that golden plains wind farm will produce that output 24 hours every day. That must be the only spot in our universe that has 24/7/365 winds. I look forward to the massive bird kill around this wind farm. And the exposure to lots of birdbrains.
Massive explosion in Beirut. Stand by for demands that Australia immediately repatriate 25,000 or more ‘Australians’.
New World Order, COVID 19 opportunity, does this explain the behaviour of far-left State leaders?
They are at it again:
Dangerous Marxist leaders call for ‘The Great Reset’ to destroy capitalism
Analysis | Digital Editor Jack Houghton|05/08/2020|4min
A disturbing movement to reform capitalism is gaining traction by those using the coronavirus tragedy to call for “The Great Reset”. These are not the ramblings of a few disgruntled teenagers or a wacky sociology professor from inner-city Sydney. The body pushing The Great Reset happens to be the World Economic Forum and its charismatic German leader Klaus Schwab who is calling for a return to Marxist principles, claiming that capitalism has empirically failed. Professor Schwab has just released a book titled The Great Reset and has dedicated a large portion of the official WEF website to such articles as “Does capitalism need some Marxism to survive the Fourth Industrial Revolution?”. It is truly a terrifying notion that a man as educated and powerful as Schwab would use his supposedly independent economic organisation to push for a return of the deadliest social experiments of the 20th century. And how does he justify putting an end to capitalism?
Aye to that, DT.
Film stars and other entertainers are mostly good at what they do but they should keep their mouths shut when it comes to politics their yapping clearly demonstrates what stupid people they really are.
We now have Russell Crowe telling all his twitter fans that Danial Andrews should keep going because he is doing a great job.
I heard The Gladiator on local radio a week ago and again today bragging about how he dealt with road rage, maybe he was in fighting outfit with sword in hand? I think he is height challenged so maybe the sword tip was in the driver’s face? LOL
And I was told by friends that he is in a new movie with road rage, he must go to the Dodgy Dan acting school.
Why would anyone take any notice from a bunch of people who spend their lives pretending to be someone else for that’s what actors do.
My sentiments exactly Bots.
UK road test of Tesla 3 EV, comment from reader …
“I have just done a 156 mile round trip in a long range Tesla3 in UK at 70 mph average with 4 passengers, no luggage, radio playing and no adverse weather conditions at 5 degrees celsius.
Started out telling me I had 290 miles of range. At end of trip I had 35 miles of range quoted. 250kw charger took 20 mins to put another 200 miles back in the tank.
Conclusion: If this is the best ranged and quickest charging EV on the market, then EV’s are still no good for long range travel.
Goodness only knows how their UK rivals perform especially if they only have 50kw chargers to rely upon in the UK.
Perhaps take a taxi to a bus station, then a bus to a place near your destination and then another taxi to your final destination will be the solution to long distance travel in the UK until they can come up with an EV that claims double the mileage and a comprehensive 250kw charger network.
EV’s are just not cut out for it at present unless you want to drive at 40 mph!
Otherwise they are great if you do less than 100 miles per day and charge off a regular mains socket at home ( rather than the unnecessary expense of a 7kw charger at home).
Here's an interesting perspective by Peter Zeihan.
Will China implode?
Will the CCP be forced out of power by revolution or will they divert attention to
protect their grip on China by warmongering?
The Beginning of
the End of China
By Peter Zeihan
May 15, 2020
The Chinese are intentionally torching their diplomatic relationships
with the wider world . The question is why?
The short version is that China’s spasming belligerency is a sign not
of confidence and strength, but instead insecurity and weakness. It is
an exceedingly appropriate response to the pickle the Chinese find
Some of these problems arose because of coronavirus, of course.
Chinese trade has collapsed from both the supply and demand sides.
In the first quarter of 2020 China experienced its first recession since
the reinvention of the Chinese economy under Deng Xiaoping in
1979. Blame for this recession can be fully (and accurately) laid at the
feet of China’s coronavirus epidemic. But in Q2 China’s recession is
certain to continue because the virus’ spread worldwide means
China’s export-led economy doesn’t have anyone to export to.
Nor are China’s recent economic problems limited to coronavirus.
One of the first things someone living in a rapidly industrializing
economy does once their standard of living increases is purchase a
car, but car purchases in China started turning negative nearly two
years before coronavirus reared its head.
Why the collapse even in what “should” be happening with the
economy? It really comes down to China’s financial model. In the
United States (and to a lesser degree, in most of the advanced world)
money is an economic good. Something that has value in and of itself,
and so it should be applied with a degree of forethought for how
efficiently it can be mobilized This is why banks require collateral
and/or business plans before they’ll fund loans.
That’s totally not how it works in China. In China, money – capital, to
be more technical – is considered a political good, and it only has
value if it can be used to achieve political goals.
Common concepts in the advanced world such as rates of return or
profit margins simply don’t exist in China, especially for the state
owned enterprises (of which there are many) and other favoured
corporate giants that act as pillars of the economy. Does this generate
growth? Sure. Explosive growth? Absolutely. Provide anyone with a
bottomless supply of zero (or even subzero) percent loans and of
course they’ll be able to employ scads of people and produce
tsunamis of products and wash away any and all competition.
This is why China’s economy didn’t slow despite sky-high commodity
prices in the 2000s – bottomless lending means Chinese businesses
are not price sensitive. This is why Chinese exporters were able to
out-compete firms the world over in manufactured goods –
bottomless lending enabled them to subsidize their sales. This is why
Chinese firms have been able to take over entire industries such as
cement and steel fabrication –bottomless lending means the Chinese
don’t care about the costs of the inputs or the market conditions for
the outputs. This is why the One Belt One Road program has been so
far reaching – bottomless lending means the Chinese produce
without regard for market, and so don’t get tweaky about dumping
product globally, even in locales no one has ever felt the need to build
road or rail links to. (I mean, come on, a rail line through a bunch of
poor, nearly marketless post-Soviet ‘Stans’ to dust-poor, absolutely-
marketless Afghanistan? Seriously, what does the winner get?)
Investment decisions not driven by the concept of returns tend to add
up. Conservatively, corporate debt in China is about 150% of GDP.
That doesn’t count federal government debt, or provincial
government debt, or local government debt. Nor does it involve the
bond market, or non-standard borrowing such as Lending Tree-like
person-to-person programs, or shadow financing designed to evade
even China’s hyper-lax financial regulatory authorities. It doesn’t
even include US dollar-denominated debt that cropped up in those
rare moments when Beijing took a few baby steps to address the debt
issue and so firms sought funds from outside of China. With that sort
of attitude towards capital, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise
that China’s stock markets are in essence gambling dens utterly
disconnected from issues of supply and labor and markets and
logistics and cash flow (and legality). Simply put, in China, debt levels
simply are not perceived as an issue.
Until suddenly, catastrophically, they are.
As every country or sector or firm that has followed a similar growth-
over-productivity model has discovered, throwing more and more
money into the system generates less and less activity. China has
undoubtedly passed that point where the model generates reasonable
outcomes. China’s economy roughly quadrupled in size since2000,
but its debt load has increased by a factor of twenty-four. Since
the2007-2009 financial crisis China has added something like 100%
of GDP of new debt, for increasingly middling results.
But more important than high debt levels is that eventually,
inevitably, economic reality forces a correction. If this correction
happens soon enough, it only takes down a small sliver of the system
(think Enron’s death). If the inefficiencies are allowed to fester and
expand, they might take down a whole sector (think America’s
dot.com bust in 2000). If the distortions get too large, they can
spread to other sectors and trigger a broader recession (think
America’s 2007 subprime-initiated financial crisis). If they become
systemic they can bring down not only the economy, but the political
system (think Indonesia’s 1998 government collapse).
It is worse than it sounds. The CCP has long presented the Chinese
citizenry with a strict social contract: the CCP enjoys an absolute
political monopoly in exchange for providing steadily increasing
standards of living. That means no elections. That means no
unsanctioned protests. That means never establishing an
independent legal or court system which might challenge CCP whim.
It means firmly and permanently defining “China’s” interests as those
of the CCP.
It makes the system firm, but so very, very brittle. And it means that
the CCP fears – reasonably and accurately– that when the piper
arrives it will mean the fall of the Party. Knowing full well both that
the model is unsustainable and that China’s incarnation of the model
is already past the use-by date, the CCP has chosen not to reform the
Chinese economy for fear of being consumed by its own population.
The only short-term patch is to quadruple down on the long-term
debt-debt-debt strategy that the CCP already knows no longer works,
a strategy it has already followed more aggressively and for longer
than any country previous, both in absolute and relative terms. The
top tier of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) – and most certainly
Xi himself –realize that means China’s inevitable “correction” will be
far worse than anything that has happened in any recessionary period
anywhere in the world in the past several decades.
And of course that’s not all. China faces plenty of other of issues that
range from the strategically hobbling tothe truly system-killing.
China suffers from both poor soils and a drought-and-flood
prone climatic geography. Its farmers can only keep China fed
by applying five times the inputs of the global norm. This only
works with, you guessed it, bottomless financing. So when
China’s financial model inevitably fails, the country won’t
simply suffer a subprime-style collapse in ever subsector
simultaneously, it will face famine.
The archipelagic nature of the East Asian geography fences
China off from the wider world, making economic access to it
impossible without the very specific American-maintained
global security environment of the past few decades.
China’s navy is largely designed around capturing a very
specific bit of this First Island Chain, the island of Formosa
(aka the country of Taiwan, aka the “rebellious Chinese
province”). Problem is, China’s cruise-missile-heavy, short-
range navy is utterly incapable of protecting China’s global
supply chains, making China’s export-led economic model
questionable at best.
Nor is home consumption an option. Pushing four decades of
the One Child Policy means China has not only gutted its
population growth and made the transition to a consumption-
led economy technically impossible, but has now gone so far to
bring the entire concept of “China” into question in the long-
Honestly, this – all of this – only scratches the surface. For the long
and the short of just how weak and, to be blunt, doomed China is, I
refer you my new book, Disunited Nations . Chapters 2 through 4
break down what makes for successful powers, global and
otherwise…and how China fails on a historically unprecedented scale
on each and every measure.
But on with the story of the day:
These are the broader strategic and economic dislocations and
fractures embedded in the Chinese system. That explains the “why”
as to why the Chinese leadership is terrified of their future But what
about the “why now?” Why has Xi chosen this moment to institute a
political lockdown? After all, none of these problems are new.
There are two explanations. First, exports in specific:
The One Child Policy means that China can never be a true
consumption-led system, but China is hardly the only country facing
that particular problem. The bulk of the world – ranging from
Canada to Germany to Brazil to Japan to Korea to Iran to Italy – have
experienced catastrophic baby busts at various times during the past
half century. In nearly all cases, populations are no longer young,
with many not even being middle-aged. For most of the developed
world, mass retirement and complete consumption collapses aren’t
simply inevitable, they’ll arrive within the next 48 months.
And that was before coronavirus gutted consumption on a global
scale, presenting every export-oriented system with an existential
crisis. Which means China, a country whose political functioning and
social stability is predicated upon export-led growth, needs to find a
new reason for the population to support the CCP’s very existence.
The second explanation for the “why now?” is the status of Chinese
trade in general:
Remember way back when to the glossy time before coronavirus
when the world was all tense about the Americans and Chinese
launching off into a knock-down, drag-out trade war?
Back on January 15 everyone decided to take a breather. The Chinese
committed to a rough doubling of imports of American products, plus
efforts to tamp down rampant intellectual property theft and
counterfeiting, in exchange for a mix of tariff suspensions and
reductions. Announced with much fanfare, this “Phase I” deal was
supposed to set the stage for a subsequent, far larger “Phase II” deal
in which the Americans planned to convince the Chinese to
fundamentally rework their regulatory, finance, legal and subsidy
These are all things the Chinese never had any intention of carrying
out. All the concessions the Americans imagined are wound up in
China’s debt-binge model. Granting them would unleash such
massive economic, financial and political instability that the survival
of the CCP itself would be called into question.
Any deal between any American administration and Beijing is only
possible if the American administration first forces the issue. Pre-
Trump, the last American administration to so force the issue was the
W Bush administration at the height of the EP3 spy plane incident in
mid-2001. Despite his faults, Donald Trump deserves credit for being
the first president in the years since to expend political capital to
compel the Chinese to the table.
But there’s more to a deal than its negotiation. There is also
enforcement. In the utter absence of rule of law, enforcement
requires even, unrelenting pressure akin to what the Americans did
to the Soviets with Cold War era nuclear disarmament policy. No US
administration has ever had the sort of bandwidth required to police
a trade deal with a large, non-market economy. There are simply too
many constantly moving pieces. The current American
administration is particularly ill-suited to the task. The Trump
administration’s tendency to tweet out a big announcement and then
move on to the next shiny object means the Chinese discarded their
“commitments” with confidence on the day they were made.
Which means the Sino-American trade relationship was always going
to collapse , and the United States and China were always going to fall
into acrimony. Coronavirus did the world a favour (or disfavour
based upon where you stand) in delaying the degradation. In
February and March the Chinese were under COVID’s heel and it was
perfectly reasonable to give Beijing extra time. In April it was the
Americans’ turn to be distracted.
Now, four months later, with the Americans emerging from their first
coronavirus wave and edging back towards something that might at
least rhyme with a shadow of normal, the bilateral relationship is
coming back into focus – and it is obvious the Chinese deliberately
and systematically lied to Trump. Such deception was pretty much
baked in from the get-go. In part it is because the CCP has never been
what I’d call an honest negotiating partner. In part it is because the
CCP honestly doesn’t think the Chinese system can be reformed,
particularly on issues such as rule of law. In part it is because the CCP
honestly doesn’t think it could survive what the Americans want it to
attempt. But in the current environment it all ends at the same place:
I think we can all recall an example or three of how Trump responds
when he feels personally aggrieved.
Which brings us to perhaps China’s most immediate problem.
Nothing about the Chinese system – its political unity, its relative
immunity from foreign threats, its ability import energy from a
continent away, its ability to tap global markets to supply it with raw
materials and markets to dump its products in, its ability to access
the world beyond the First Island Chain – is possible without the
global Order. And the global Order is not possible without America.
No other country – no other coalition of countries – has the naval
power to guarantee commercial shipments on the high seas. No
commercial shipments, no trade. No trade, no export-led economies.
Noexport-led economies…no China.
It isn’t so much that the Americans have always had the ability to
destroy China in a day (although they have), but instead that it is only
the Americans that could create the economic and strategic
environment that has enabled China to survive as long as it has.
Whether or not the proximate cause for the Chinese collapse is home
grown or imported from Washington is largely irrelevant to the
uncaring winds of history, the point is that Xi believes the day is
Global consumption patterns have turned. China’s trade relations
have turned. America’s politics have turned. And now, with the
American-Chinese breach galloping into full view, Xi feels he has
little choice but to prepare for the day everyone in the top ranks of the
CCP always knew was coming: The day that China’s entire economic
structure and strategic position crumbles. A full political lockdown is
the only possible survival mechanism. So the “solution” is as dramatic
as it is impactful:
Spawn so much international outcry that China experiences a
nationalist reaction against everyone who is angry at China. Convince
the Chinese population that nationalism is a suitable substitute for
economic growth and security. And then use that nationalism to
combat the inevitable domestic political firestorm when China
doesn’t simply tank, but implodes.
China will start ww3. But they will find themselves put out in short order. If they invade Vietnam, the viets will kick their asses out just as in 1979. Then there is India, Taiwan will not be a pushover, and Japan will come back and fight the chinks. Surely they have enough territory to administer without taking on the rest of the world. But this is what politicians of all ilk like to do, start a foreign war when all is not well at home.
They just never give up and now they are glorifying Bruce Pascoe in an effort to concoct more false history:
Covid-19 NZ vs Sweden. This is what logic would dictate in the first place, isolate everyone until the virus almost dies out, release them from isolation and the virus comes back with a vengeance, lock them down again and keep repeating the mistake for years and years.
Recent events, especially their slant on the chinazi flu and recent smear of falun gong, show beyond any doubt that the Australian Bolshevik Collective (ABC) must be destroyed.
All over the blogosphere people call for it to be privatised.
This is very shortsighted. It would simply be snapped up by Morrie Schwartz or some similar billionaire socialist minion of Soros, and we then loose even the last vestige of any control we might have. The luvvies are still employed and continue to spew out their evil lies.
The only solution that works is for the ABC to be abolished totally and all the luvvies thrown onto the scrap heap where they belong. The valuable real-estate can be sold and the proceeds go into government revenue. But first of course all the broadcast-specific assets must be dismantled or sold to real news outlets if any can be found.
The United States has a true and real leader, President Trump, despite opposition from Democrat controlled States has achieved these things during the Chinese Wuhan Virus lockdown, yet our Prime Minister has achieved…….. what was that? Crickets?
1: America added over 9 million jobs from May through July—beating market expectations three months in a row. President Trump’s historic, bipartisan relief package alone is estimated to have saved over 50 million jobs.
2: Retail spending has fully recovered and is now at an all-time high.
3: Industrial production rose for the third straight month in July, with factory output up 3.4 percent last month after a 5.7 percent surge in June.
4: The NASDAQ and S&P 500 stock indices are trading at or near record highs once again, lifting Americans’ 401(k)s.
I used to read with bemusement suggestions that the wearing of masks affected physical and mental functioning. Now I`m not so sure, this is purely an observation with no clinical evidence or merit ( much as my thinking folk who wear backwards fitted baseball caps are lucky breathing is autonomic or they would have dead 5 minutes after birth,) but I`m wondering whether the mask does entrap exhaled Co2 and lead to a systemic oxygen depletion. Because each and every maskwearer I cross paths with seems minimally functional. Getting stuck behind one at a cashier is like “going to jail”, not “collecting $200″ and missing two throws. And if you see one driving, well, its the old saying ” If you don`t like the way I drive, stay off the footpath”.
Footballers will be allowed to have ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ written on their shirts!….
They weren’t however, allowed to have a poppy emblem on them (Anzac Day and Remembrance Day ) to remember our war dead because that’s a ‘political slogan’
Just let that sink in for a moment!
The burners looters murderers movement has turned me away from sports. And I haven’t watched sport since the stage 3 lockdown. Found far more useful stuff to do with my time.
Our fighting men are crapped on yet again:
Totally agree Albert, on both above sentiments. Very obviously though Pres Trump is doing what he considers needs doing to prevent another Hekmutallar, and other deaths happening to his USA troops. As Tony Abbott said, “S..t happens” and in this instance Trumps priorities are his live troops over our murdered troops.
It`s a problem where there is not a correct answer and an incorrect answer. There is a crap answer and an even crappier answer and those poor three blokes and their families are the victims.
I`ve said it before but will repeat myself that the entirety of Pakistan and Afghanistan and every “human” in them are not worth one Australian.
And I`d ask that SMH pigeon exactly what are the agreements Pres Trump has made with N Korea and Putin over and above whatever the fevered mind of the democrats and fairfax/9 invented?.
The missus and I are in the “interior” behind the Gold Coast for a few days and saw some Victoriastan number plated cars. In conversation with one couple I jokingly said, give our very best regards to that nice Mr. Anderson Premier chap when you get back, and they replied with “he is doing such a wonderful job in this crisis!”
Heard and seen the same thing. Utter disbelief but I suppose if the only news source you listen to is the abc/sbs/fairfax9/bbc it,s understandable. Being that way is because you are either a born idiot, born that way so no fault on their behalf or an uneducated idiot, self made and only themselves to fault. Either way their vote counts equally as yours or mine and that is a bigger worry.
Pensioners won’t be getting their usual September pension increase of a pathetic $2 or $3 a fortnight but those politicians and bureaucrat cockroaches award themselves eye watering pay increases, A bloody disgrace.
The insanity gets worse by the day. This from Michael Smith News:
Bureaucrats want farmer to fly 40 sheep from Melbourne to Sydney to get to market to get to a market in Corowa.
“In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me” not of Clancy this time sadly but of the greens. I`ve heard them described as the “watermelons”, green on the outer but red on the inside. The huge enigma is if they were repatriated back to their marxist philosophical home, China or Russia they would be dead in a week for espousing their crazed schemes. In Russia Vladimir would arrange an awful accident on a bus from the airport wiping out their entire coterie with a few africans thrown in to lend an air of credibility. In China the entire collectivist crew would be falun gonged, organ harvested within a week. The left overs from that, who cares, who knows, Soylent Greenies?.
No, I don`t believe they are commies, just stark raving bloody nutjobs.
An unusually serious Rowan Atkinson – well worth the listen.
Two disturbing videos the lame stream media will never let you see. Youtube will not either, hence bitchute.
Watch and remember Williamson’s Law.
Williamson’s Law of Surveillance.
1. The technology usually starts out as a secret.
2. If it is technically possible, they will use it.
3. When no longer secret they will promise not to use it.
4. They will continue to use it.
5. When caught they will argue it is necessary to protect (i) national security or (ii) the children.
6. Strict conditions will be made allowing its use in certain cases. They will ignore the restraints.
7. Someone will develop technology/software to avoid the surveillance but there will be an attempt to make this illegal.
8. The surveillance technology will continue to be used.
9. They will stop using it when a new and better technology is developed.
10. The new technology will be secret. Go to 1. above.
Yairs, spot on Sir P for I have seen “them” do that from first hand. One can feel sorry for some departments in the security field for instance because the “baddies” can and do lay their hands on lots of loot to obtain the latest technical gadgets one way or the other and the “goodies” have to go through all the channels, jump through all the hoops, and then argue about budgets etc. The effects on the bureaucrats armour plated rear ends are carefully taken into consideration by the bureaucrats, and eventually whatever it is requisitioned may be approved. By that time the baddies have obtained more up to date stuff and move on largely unhindered. When governments enact some law or the other to “stop criminal activity” as in the 10K money limit or JWH’s gun laws they aren’t out to stop criminal activity at all because the crims don’t care, the various agencies are out to curtail the rights and freedoms of we ordinary mostly law abiding citizens.
Thnx Bots. Perhaps we should rename that well-known law “The Law of INTENDED Consequences”.
Another day, and sadly, another 15 deaths “from covid”, and sympathies to all the families involved. And all death were in Comrade Dang xi Ping’s oh-so-well-run state of the Democratic Republic of Victoriastan.
Before reading on, note that deaths in Australia from ALL causes is about 400-odd per DAY; so “covid” deaths are so far this year approx 1/283rd of ALL deaths in Australia.
So we now have a national total of 517 deaths (nearly all of them in aged care), which amounts to about 0.0021% of our population, or about 2.1% of all those infected. Very many are listed as recovered, leaving 5505 infected, or 0.022% of the national population.
Nationally, then, for any one person walking around the streets and going about their business, they have 1 chance in 4632 of meeting someone who is infected, and even slimmer odds if most of the infected are locked up by the VicStasi and other States’ medico-secret-police.
As I’ve said a coupla times before: of COURSE we had to act on the precautionary principle when this covid first hit. But now that we have MUCH better data about it, we STILL persist in a hundreds-of-billions of dollars destruction of the national economy, peoples’ jobs, peoples’ small businesses, family connectedness, mental health, and on and on.
And pollies wonder why we have come to the point where we don’t trust pollies!
Spring is approaching, even for the poor buggers in Victoriastan and many thoughts would be about grassy knolls in Spring sunshine one would imagine.
And that’s where infected people should be, in the fresh air and the sunshine particularly. Salt in sea air helps a lot too. But instead, people are confined to to their rooms which are virtually man made incubators.
The whole purpose of the house arrest is to enhance the numbers for conjob19. To justify the house arrests. Some real sick psychopaths running our governments.
Stupidity and ignorance, one congenital and one acquired but with the same symptoms. One instance of concurrence is Di Natali and his just made valedictory speech to the Upper House. Made by video link and what a blessing that was. To be able to silence a buffoon by merely pressing the 0/1 button. I recall his advice in the last election where he stood in front of a Blast Furnace (go on- push the bastard, add some entropy to the universe) and intoned ” We need to value add, don,t just dig it up, value add by refining it”. Fantastic, Dicky, no one has thought of that. The next day he is in front of a Coal Mine whining ” We are leaving it in the ground, no more coal”. Too stupid to realise that a Blast Furnace, that have five basic designs I`m told, all have a campaign life of 20 years or so and for those 20 years high quality coal is needed 24/7/365. Unfortunately the forelock tugging journalists were on the same level as Dicky or politically chose to ignore that rare combo of ignorance and stupidity. But his speech, predictably included such a gem as “Politics has become uglier, nastier and more divided”. And whose fault is that Dicky?. The greens were conceived in hate, born in hate and live still, in hate. Hate tolerance, hate respect and hate diversity. Just go Dicky, no regrets and don,t look back for every one is rejoicing.
Neat summary, John.
It’s good that Tony Abbott has landed a job with the UK Board of Trade, Interesting that Scott Morrison gave it the thumbs up too.
However, I have a feeling he has joined them to advise on stopping boats of illegals across the Channel, from France. Which is also why Scomo described it as a ‘Great Hire, Boris.’
He’s there to stop the boats I reckon.
Bye bye China and Xi Dan Dung … Oh dear, how sad … Never mind
That interfering serial pest Kevin Krudd is now trying to convince the Brits to cancel Tony Abbots appointment.
That’s because he lost the job as Australia’s Rat Phucker on the UN.
Miserable bastard if ever there was.
Scrap state governments!
Australian States and Territories comprise 610 politicians, duplicating the activities of 227 federal politicians. Australians support a further 537 local governments. We have approximately 7,700 elected politicians in Federal, State, and Local government, and we have 2,046,000 public servants nationally.
Our public servants provide us with critical services in health, education, defense, and law enforcement, essential to our national well-being and safety, but there is significant duplication at the bureaucratic level.
Modern Australia is over-governed and in need of a overhaul. We need to scrap state governments.
In such a scenario, local government would continue to communicate directly with local citizens on issues affecting them, and in turn would be able to lobby the federal government directly, rather than having to defer to State Government and encountering the barriers this presents. Federal government would be in a position to deliver funding and services direct to citizens via local government, and do so far more effectively and cost efficiently. Savings to the taxpayer would be in the order of $1.2 to $1.3 billion each year. In addition, service delivery would be far more streamlined and timely.
If you are fed-up with being over governed, and believe that the Australian political system needs a overhaul, sign the petition: https://www.change.org/scrapstategovernments
Sorry G-Sharp but I don’t fully agree with you. Scrapping state governments and handing their responsibilities to what are now unconstitutional “Local Government” would be a grave error unless there was a complete and thorough rewrite of the powers and functions of ‘Councils’. Having watched the way in which Councils have gotten bigger and more powerful over the years, I would not trust them to pass up such a golden opportunity to expand on their dictatorial march toward even more power. In addition, there are thousands of them and many simply don’t have the expertise to carry out the job.
Scrap state governments by all means and follow that with a great big broom being put through the public service to rid ourselves of the dead wood that costs us dearly for little or no benefit. Having done that the next step should be to scrap the present ‘local government’ system and make them direct regional offices of the Federal Government.
G Sharp “Savings to the taxpayer would be in the order of $1.2 to $1.3 billion each year.”
I expect the savings to exceed this figure when you count the number of years their pensions would add up to.
Congrats to both G-Sharp and Albert but nothing is going to change for the seats on the gravy train paid for by residents in the various taxes as in rates, stamp duties etc. are too good for the various authorities and they aren’t going to give them or their cushy jobs away. Back in the early nineties I tried to get a licence from a local shire to operate a pie cart for a lot of construction was in progress at that time. The red tape was so horrendous and time consuming, the hoops and rings of fire so daunting, many of them downright silly, that I gave up after some weeks of trying. I was no stranger to the fast food business for years before we had operated a fast food and catering business without any of the red and green tape. The whole country is well on the path to socialism and doesn’t realise it.
5.9 Section 92 of the Australian Constitution provides: On the imposition of uniform duties of customs, trade, commerce, and intercourse among the States, whether by means of internal carriage or ocean navigation, shall be absolutely free.
The above refers to border closures etc. and of course the Premiers are contravening that section of the constitution and any others that spring into their minds as they see fit.
The constitution was drafted not for the legal profession but for the man on the street with average intelligence because the “man on the street” outnumbered any legal people and legal shysters by hundreds or thousands to one. The constitution doesn’t state anywhere in section 92 (this section will hold sway until that nice Mr. Andrews premier chap and that even nicer plucked duck lady with an IQ that matches her shoe size, and even someone from marketing, decides to change the section and that’s OK) that it can be changed on the whim of some politician as does Chinese law that changes on the whim of the communist party, so the above mentioned politicians and bureaucrats are breaking the law of the land and should be brought to justice. When they drafted the constitution they knew damn well that there were bushrangers, rampaging savages sometimes, snakes, crocs, even MIL’s, and yet they knew that most people would rely on their common sense to avoid those dangers just like most people do now if they have a bad cold, flu, or some kind of pox but they go right ahead and break the law of the land with impunity. One wonders where Julian Burnside and all the other so called human rights shysters including Tim Southpaste and Missus Triggs are, why aren’t they standing up and yelling, why aren’t they taking these politicians on who are denying us our human rights?
During my apprenticeship as a boilermaker starting 65 years ago I often used to wonder what would become of some of my fellows, one who took five years to read “Huckleberry Finn” I loaned him in the first month as an apprentice, and another who did body building but never quite gained enough strength to stand in a rivet bucket and lift himself by the handle, now I know for I think that they are the fathers of our current crop of politicians.
Car pararade for Trump in Portland…amazing.
The $500 million redevelopment of the Australian War Memorial is an insult to veterans:
o Money spent creating a khaki Disneyland can be better spent on veteran health and welfare.
“Even if we stick to the government’s narrative that it’s all about honouring service men and women, then they would be better honoured by investing in veterans’ health and welfare. Morrison maintains that the redevelopment of the AWM “is not at the expense of resources being available for veterans”. It is absurd to suggest that money spent on the AWM will not have a bearing on the amount of money spent on veterans’ health and welfare; $500 million spent on turning the AWM into a khaki Disneyland is $500 million that will not be spent on veterans’ housing and accommodation, mental wellbeing, suicide prevention, injury compensation and support services.” Leo, Aug 14
By Leo D’Angelo Fisher
It can at times seem a fine line between commemorating and glorifying the deeds of war. Australian diggers have always been conscious of this delicate distinction.
Through the decades – and particularly during the recent resurgence of Anzac Day as a national day of observance – veterans have insisted that memorialising Australia’s participation in theatres of war, and remembering those who have died in the service of their country, is about sombre reflection not boastful bravado.
As a nation we eschew the overwrought “thank you for your service” nonsense of the United States but Australians embrace Anzac Day and Armistice (Remembrance) Day to pay tribute to the valour and sacrifice of service men and women.
On those occasions, without fail, the old diggers stress one thing: these days are not about glorifying war. They are about recalling fallen mates, anonymous comrades and family members. They are about imploring new generations: Never again.
Which is why most veterans are aghast at the plans of the federal government to spend $498.2 million on the expansion of the world famous Australian War Memorial (AWM).
The AWM is going into theme-park mode despite near universal objections to the plans, unveiled by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in 2018.
The proposed expansion – the centrepiece of Brendan Nelson’s time as AWM director (2012-19) – will transform the AWM from sombre and dignified to loud and proud. And critics be damned.
Nelson is weepy and effusive when it comes to eulogising the valour and heroism of Australian service men and women, he is devoted to Simpson and his donkey and he is fiercely intolerant of allegations of war crimes by Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) soldiers in Afghanistan currently being investigated by the Brereton inquiry, infamously noting that “war is a messy business”.
But as AWM boss the Digger’s Mate was deaf to criticism that the proposed $500 million project was excessive and antithetical to the historical purpose and tenor of the memorial itself (opened in 1941), and to the values and spirit of the Anzac legend the memorial is supposed to represent.
The massive redevelopment would almost double the area open to visitors to 10,000 square metres and would include constructing a new southern entrance, demolishing and rebuilding the historic Anzac Hall and creating a glass area to house large objects such as an F/A18 Hornet, reconnaissance aircraft and armoured vehicles…and of course a café or two.
At what cost – literally and figuratively?
In 2018, Brendan Nelson explained the thinking behind the memorial super-revamp:
“In crowded [AWM] galleries, the stories of Australian military service from the Boer War through to the First and Second World Wars, Korea and Vietnam are all largely told. Yet, the service of 70,000 young Australians in the Middle East Area of operations of the past two decades currently covers only 2% of available space,” he said.
“The opportunity and the responsibility our nation now has is to proudly tell the stories of what has been done in recent years in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Solomon Islands and East Timor and in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.”
The logic is sound. But at what cost – literally and figuratively? The memorial’s heritage value is incalculable but apparently also expendable. The proposed redevelopment will change the memorial forever. And the estimated cost of the nine-year project must inevitably be taken as a bare minimum.
A commitment of half-a-billion dollars on what was and remains a discretionary expenditure was less than fiscally responsible in 2018, when the Morrison government was in full denial about Australia’s faltering economy; during a budget-busting pandemic any responsible government would have determined that now is not the time for such a grandiose project.
Coalition governments believe themselves to have a natural affinity with and respect for Australia’s military that Labor does not – a contention that has no basis in fact but is an abiding mythology of Australian politics, particularly in times of real, imagined or contrived threats to national security. On 1 July, when Scott Morrison launched his government’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update – presented in the context of the sovereign threat posed by China, a simmering enmity blatantly fanned by Morrison himself – it was the tried and true trope writ large: Australia is under threat and only the Coalition will ensure that the ADF has everything it needs to overcome that threat.
The hawkish Morrison government, and the prime minister in particular, professes a great ardour for the ADF. Not progressing with the AWM redevelopment, or even postponing it, is an optic to be avoided at all costs: Labor might scrimp and save when it comes to honouring Australia’s warriors, but never the Coalition.
$500 million that won’t be spent on veterans
But turning the AWM into a theme park only honours the grandiosity of the Morrison government.
If the budget impact of the AWM redevelopment outlay in the midst of COVID-19 and over the course of the “post” COVID-19 decade does not cause the Morrison government pause, then the question of whether this is the best use of public money in such challenging times should. Even if we stick to the government’s narrative that it’s all about honouring service men and women, then they would be better honoured by investing in veterans’ health and welfare.
Morrison maintains that the redevelopment of the AWM “is not at the expense of resources being available for veterans”. It is absurd to suggest that money spent on the AWM will not have a bearing on the amount of money spent on veterans’ health and welfare; $500 million spent on turning the AWM into a khaki Disneyland is $500 million that will not be spent on veterans’ housing and accommodation, mental wellbeing, suicide prevention, injury compensation and support services.
In July, the parliamentary standing committee on public works held a public hearing to “scrutinise a proposal from the Australian War Memorial to conduct a $498 million development project at the War Memorial in Canberra”.
One of the most scathing submissions was from an 82-strong powerhouse that included two former AWM directors, a former AWM deputy director, former secretaries of federal government departments, former ambassadors and a who’s who of academics and historians.
The signatories described the proposed redevelopment as “grandiose” and “totally inappropriate” and argued that the expense “cannot be justified”. The eminent Australians returned to a familiar objection: “The money would be better spent on direct benefits to veterans and their families and on other national institutions.”
Australia has historically taken a dignified and respectful approach to honouring our war dead, which is why simple statues of solitary diggers in thousands of towns and suburbs around Australia can be so deeply moving and almost spiritual.
Simple ideals overtaken by vulgarity
Somewhere along the line the simple ideals that for generations have guided our commemoration of service men and women have been overtaken by a vulgarity and insensitivity that mock the honeyed declarations of gratitude to diggers past and present.
Brendan Nelson has been a polarising figure throughout his public life, whether as federal president of the Australian Medical Association, born-again Liberal MP, Howard government minister (including Defence minister), short-lived Liberal leader or his controversial tenure as AWM chief. As part of his quest to “modernise” the War Memorial, Nelson staunchly defended and encouraged the role of arms manufacturers to sponsor the memorial.
In 2019, while still director of the AWM, Nelson was obliged to register with the new Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme because of his membership of the Australian advisory board of French arms manufacturer Thales, a position held while he vigorously defended the right of arms manufacturers, including Thales, to sponsor the memorial.
In that audacious logic peculiar to politicians Nelson insisted that there was no conflict of interest because he donated his fee as a member of Thales’ advisory board to the memorial.
Corporate sponsorships at the War Memorial did not start with Nelson, but they thrived under him. The AWM lists Boeing, Thales, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems among its “corporate partners”. Now, with the AWM’s sponsorship agreement with BAE about to expire – the arms manufacturer lends its name to the BAE Systems Theatre – the AWM is under pressure to not renew the agreement.
The president of the Medical Association for Prevention of War, Dr Sue Wareham, is among those who consider the partnership with BAE a conflict of interest that “commercialises the memory of our war dead”.
“When our troops go to war they need to be equipped, but the companies that do so already have their rewards, measured in tens of billions of dollars,” Wareham told The Guardian.
“Our war veterans however pay with their lives. To conflate the two is deeply offensive. There is no place for vested interests in a war memorial.”
The AWM has lost sight of its reason for being
Nelson’s sanguine disposition regarding conflicts of interest extended to life post-AWM. In January, Nelson was unblushing when Boeing announced his appointment as president of Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific. No wonder the AWM lost its way under Nelson.
The ease with which Nelson can rationalise conflicts of interest, whether his own or the AWM’s, demonstrates how one can solemnly profess a set of values while systematically undermining them. The AWM’s insistence on persevering with Nelson’s unloved and unwanted $500 million extravagance reveals an institution that has lost sight of its reason for being. The AWM is more interested in becoming a tourist attraction and marketing man Scott Morrison wouldn’t have it any other way.
A prime minister who believes that government is essentially about marketing sees the AWM’s expansion plans as being “on message” and “on brand”.
Quite apart from his personal backing for the extravagant project, Brendan Nelson recently headed the hastily convened prime ministerial taskforce that provided Morrison with a face-saving recommendation to overturn his previous refusal to recommend World War II sailor Teddy Sheean for a posthumous VC. Meanwhile, Perth billionaire Kerry Stokes, an ardent supporter of the AWM expansion, has had his term as War Memorial chairman extended by 12 months. The fix is in.
While veterans are ostensibly at the heart of plans to redevelop the AWM, they have had little or no say in the final outcome.
The proposed mega-War Memorial theme park is grotesque and irresponsible; it literally short-changes veterans and exposes the hubris and hypocrisy of those who claim to be acting in solemn tribute to Australian serving men and women.
But if the project must go ahead perhaps we should be thinking of a new name for this overwrought reimagining of a much loved Australian institution. “Nelson’s Folly” comes to mind, but we shouldn’t discount “Morrison’s Monstrosity”.
Leo D’Angelo Fisher is a regular columnist and Editor-at-Large at Australian Veteran News.
Connect with him on Twitter: @DAngeloFisher
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