The modus vivendi of this blog is plainly self explanatory. Pathetically,'progressives' regularly promote implausable, impractical or plainly asinine ideas. Who but socialists could for decades abuse the term 'economic rationalism' - without humiliation? THIS GOES TO THE VERY HEART OF ECONOMIC POLICY AND RATIONAL GOVERNMENT: TO WIT TO NOT CRITICIZE THE CONSERVATIVES AS BEING 'RATIONAL'!
My other main blog:
I now wish to contemplate that you, Peter Van Onselen are also*** a
You are in good company! How is it possible that you lack even the basic
elements of nous?
****Like another organization I know..... does
not bother coming to terms with what has been freely available in the pages of
The Oz over the past few days: it is a massive indictment for a former Liberal
staffer like you who is so keen to distance himself from his past to ignore it
There are dozens of plain stupidities extant in your current article in
the Saturday edition of The Oz.
ALL arising from the basic principal that you are indeed
Maybe between playing with my grandchildren I will bother listing them
all? But what a waste of time: I now formally regret my first - time use of the
leftist phrase as below.
'WHAT A RACE TO THE BOTTOM THAT WOULD BE'
The most elementary catastrophe is the subject of PVO - the very idea
that the esteemed Attorney - General George Brandis is a
Peter, dear twirp; understand this. Politics is governed by a series of
rules. Your childish derivation of hypocrisy at best trite.
Let me explain this to you.
Politics is governed by the need to be re - elected when in
government and the logical inverse when in opposition.
Along the way the combatants dual in the classical way on
trying to discredit each other.
Your silly words about inflated rhetoric... is plain
asinine. THERE IS NOTHING HERE THAT JUSTIFIES YOUR TITLE! I wish time could be
spent on this alone; but someone will explain it to you when / if you go back to
JOURNALISM school for remedial lessons in clear thinking / logic. I am of course
assuming that someone will bring this to your attention - because you are not
easily contactable, methinks.
Actually - I
will try to email this to you: if it is a valid email address so be
Send me a
cheque for $1000 and I will give you a complete analysis of why you are a
BY THE WAY -
WHAT IS INTERESTING ABOUT YOU IS THAT YOU WERE CLUELESS ON THURSDAY METHINKS
WHEN CHALLENGED BY CHRIS KENNY ON SKY NEWS!
That is the
advantage of being so asinine that you rarely have any idea of what goes on
around you when it comes to the subtler elements of the journalists' art. Why
you could go through life like members of PER CAPITA –you mention them – who
also never get to understand the basic idea that socialism is
news with your friends. Give it a
To get going, simply connect with your favourite social
Illustration: Eric Lobbecke Source:
ALL you can do is
laugh at the hypocritical actions of the first law officer, Attorney-General
George Brandis QC, and his opposition counterpart, Mark Dreyfus QC, himself
attorney-general in the previous Labor government, when it comes to appointments
and the pair's commentary on those appointments.
The two men are no strangers to hypocrisy, having used
inflated rhetoric to condemn others for entitlements abuses before themselves
being caught out for not dissimilar failings. But the pair's commentary about
two recent appointments to the Australian Human Rights Commission reads as if it
were torn from the pages of a Yes Minister script.
Last July, Dreyfus appointed 31-year-old Tim
Soutphommasane to the AHRC. Brandis slammed the appointment, describing
Soutphommasane as an "overt partisan of the Labor Party", adding that
"appointees must be people who can command the confidence of the entire
community that they will discharge their responsibilities in the human rights
field in a non-partisan manner".
Soutphommasane was a member of the Labor Party and an
active voice for the Left, appearing regularly on the political talk-show
circuit. He was also a fellow at the left-leaning think tank Per Capita. Dreyfus
rejected the Brandis attack, arguing Soutphommasane was well qualified for the
role. I'll come to that misnomer in a moment. It is worth noting that
Soutphommasane was an entry-level academic (albeit a very good one) when he was
appointed to a role previously held by judges and former federal
This week Brandis made his first AHRC appointment,
selecting 33-year-old Tim Wilson, a director at the right-wing (it sees itself
as "free market") think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.
All of a sudden Brandis no longer thought it important
that appointees "discharge their responsibilities in the human rights field in a
non-partisan manner", as he had previously said. Equally, having condemned
Dreyfus for making the Soutphommasane appointment late in Labor's term without
consulting the opposition before doing so, Brandis announced Wilson's
appointment to the AHRC before the Governor-General had even formally signed off
on it. Brandis's high bar for due process was suddenly forgotten.
What was Dreyfus's reaction to the Wilson appointment? He
said it was "dubious to say the least", attacking Wilson's partisanship (until
the appointment Wilson was a member of the Liberal Party). How can Brandis and
Dreyfus expect people to take them seriously? By all means condemn a partisan
appointment by your political opponents, but don't then make one yourself. By
all means make partisan appointments, but for God's sake shut up when your
opponents go on to do likewise.
The sad thing about Dreyfus and Brandis is that they are
supposed to be the adults in any room: former senior members of the bar and now
senior frontbenchers within their parliamentary parties. Prior to Brandis and
Dreyfus demeaning themselves, I would have argued that the biggest complaint
anyone should have with the Wilson and Soutphommasane appointments is that with
a base salary of more than $320,000 a year, surely candidates should have CVs to
match the likes of a Brandis or Dreyfus to even be considered for positions on
In truth, the reason appointees to the commission no
longer live up to the pedigree of past commissioners is because the AHRC has
been exposed as nothing more than a lobbying arm of the public service, and an
expensive one at that. The Fraser government set up the AHRC as an almost
quasi-judicial body that would have the power to enforce rulings on issues
within its ambit. But a 1995 High Court judgment stripped the commission of the
power to make and enforce decisions, turning it into a toothless tiger. Hence
the AHRC no longer conducts hearings.
The limited role of the AHRC today is what brings into
question the $25 million it costs each year to run. It isn't just the salaries
of the commissioners that are expensive and no longer justifiable. The entire
apparatus takes rent-seeking to a new level. You have to love the irony that in
the same week that Treasurer Joe Hockey talked about the need to reduce the size
of government when releasing his mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, the
Attorney-General makes a new appointment to a body he had previously (privately)
It is hard to justify the salaries of commissioners being
tied to those of judges, now the role of the AHRC has been downgraded. The
calibre of appointments isn't what it once was. There are exceptions: Sex
Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, a former law partner, is one.
Another is Gillian Triggs, a former dean of law at the University of Sydney. But
for the most part finding senior practitioners to fill AHRC roles is
increasingly hard to do now the functions of the commission centre around a
glorified form of lobbying and public advocacy. And with this shift the likes of
Soutphommasane and Wilson become ideally suited to becoming commissioners: able
to hit the airwaves to mount arguments in the policy areas they have been
The question for taxpayers is: why are we now paying for
them to do pretty much what they already had been doing, at a cheaper price,
when they were paid by their ideologically driven organisations? A new
conservative government was always likely to counterbalance years of left-wing
appointments to the AHRC with right-wing appointments of its own. A strong
conservative government, however, would simply have abolished the commission and
saved the money.
There is nothing the AHRC does that can't be done by
advocacy groups within academia, the non-government sector or even government
departments. Equally, the toothless reports the AHRC produces could just as
easily be done by the Ombudsman, only with much greater powers to investigate
before publishing findings.
If the AHRC has to exist at all, Wilson's appointment at
least starts the process of balancing up the organisation. Were it a truly
quasi-judicial body such ideological thinking wouldn't much matter, but as a
body for public advocacy it certainly does.
Peter van Onselen is a
professor at the University of Western