Scott Mor­ri­son. Con­cetta Fier­ra­vanti-Wells and Philip Rud­dock. Mal­colm Turn­bull. Craig Brown. Howard Collins. Ron Tand­berg, Reg Ansett and Deb­o­rah Lawrie.

The Saturday Paper - - Contents - Richard Ack­land

God save us from Chris­tians. That must be up­per­most in the minds of those

700 asy­lum seek­ers who missed out on per­ma­nent pro­tec­tion visas be­cause, as im­mi­gra­tion min­is­ter, Scott Mor­ri­son asked ASIO in 2013 to go slow on pro­cess­ing the se­cu­rity checks.

This help­ful “mit­i­ga­tion strat­egy” en­sured the ap­pli­cants missed their dead­line and could be marched out of the coun­try within three years, in­stead of get­ting per­ma­nent res­i­dency. There’s lit­tle doubt that af­ter sev­eral mil­len­nia we’ve dis­cov­ered that God is a cruel God, which is just fine with Scott, who was con­tent to break up fam­i­lies and bring mis­ery down on the heads of the un­for­tu­nate.

As a de­vout ad­her­ent to the Pen­te­costal ways of the Suther­land shire, the min­is­ter spends a con­sid­er­able por­tion of his Sun­days de­vel­op­ing a di­rect and per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with God and work­ing on his spir­i­tual gifts, which might in­clude be­lief in mir­a­cles and speak­ing in tongues.

Just a month or so ago, the saintly Mor­ri­son said he was go­ing to “call out” mock­ery and jokes about Chris­tians. He even said he’s not go­ing to put up with it any­more and de­manded that peo­ple re­spect his right to be­lieve in the ho­cus­pocus and malarky ped­dled by his church.

Dash­ing the hopes of asy­lum seek­ers is clearly a di­vinely Chris­tian move, de­serv­ing of great re­spect.

Holy smoke and mir­rors

Into Gad­fly’s in­box plops an email from Se­na­tor, the Honourable Con­cetta Fier­ra­vanti-Wells, an­other war­rior seek­ing to un­shackle re­li­gion from its chains.

Con­nie says she was the only Lib­eral Party min­is­ter to vote “no” in par­lia­ment on the same-sex mar­riage bill. Her re­li­gion guided her to do that, but ap­par­ently that’s not enough, be­cause she wants her fol­low­ers to make sub­mis­sions in droves to the mayor of Hornsby’s free­doms re­view – that is, the one com­mis­sioned by Mal­colm Trum­ble and to be con­ducted by the late Philip Rud­dock.

She nom­i­nates the need for con­sci­en­tious pro­tec­tions for mar­riage cel­e­brants, free­dom of ex­pres­sion and recog­ni­tion of le­git­i­mate be­liefs, pro­tec­tions for char­i­ties, nondis­crim­i­na­tion in gov­ern­ment fund­ing and par­ents to have the right to with­draw chil­dren from devil classes.

It’s puz­zling be­cause all of these free­doms cur­rently ex­ist. You al­most feel sorry for Phil hav­ing to wade through sub­mis­sions de­mand­ing free­doms that God-both­er­ers al­ready have.

Ullo plod, gotta new mo­tor?

Com­muters wend­ing their weary way home each day through the gen­tle hills and dales of the elec­torate of Went­worth are wit­ness to the lat­est BMW and Jaguar cars, with blue-and-white che­quered de­cals, parked out­side the Rose Bay Po­lice Sta­tion at the end of Trum­ble’s street.

These are not ve­hi­cles im­pounded from ine­bri­ated cit­i­zens, but gifts or loans from car deal­ers or the lo­cal cham­ber of commerce for use by the wal­lop­ers.

The ges­ture is in keep­ing with the

tra­di­tion that ex­pen­sive baubles al­ways flow to the most priv­i­leged ends of town. If this largesse con­tin­ues, law en­force­ment in New South Wales could be en­tirely self-sus­tain­ing, with free­bies from all sorts of mer­chants and ser­vice providers. One as­sumes no con­tra is at­tached.

Pos­si­bly, the po­lice should con­sider re­turn­ing the Beemers af­ter rev­e­la­tions that the car man­u­fac­turer, along with Volk­swa­gen, was tor­tur­ing mon­keys with ni­tro­gen diox­ide dur­ing dodgy emis­sion tests. Ger­mans and their gases...

Past al­ways greener

Clean­ing out piles of bumf from the of­fice at the be­gin­ning of the year, Gad­fly un­earthed a charm­ing book­let is­sued by Trum­ble in the 2007 elec­tion cam­paign, when he had not long held the job of min­is­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment and wa­ter in the death throes of the Howard junta.

Thumb­ing through the glossy doc­u­ment, printed on re­cy­cled pa­per and us­ing veg­etable-based inks, one could not help but won­der about all those dreamy vi­sions for a bet­ter to­mor­row. Fresh from sign­ing the go-ahead for the Gunns pulp mill in Tas­ma­nia, Mal told his con­stituents: “I be­lieve that noth­ing is more im­por­tant to our fu­ture, and the fu­ture of our chil­dren, than work­ing to pre­serve our en­vi­ron­ment.”

He touted the mag­nif­i­cence of his $10 bil­lion plan for wa­ter se­cu­rity in the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin, only to stand by later as PM and see it shred­ded by the known root veg­etable Barn­aby Joyce.

He also claimed to be “a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate of the need to ad­dress cli­mate change”, yet has gone on to si­dle up to the coal in­dus­try and ap­point Josh Fry­den­berg as the min­is­ter who speaks out of both sides of his mouth.

What hap­pened to the man who in 2007 wrote in bold font: “I be­lieve en­vi­ron­men­tal de­ci­sions must be based on sci­ence – not ide­ol­ogy or po­lit­i­cal grand­stand­ing”?

To­day we have no clean en­ergy tar­get, as rec­om­mended by Doc Finkel, no cap and trade scheme, and car­bon that is free to roam un­taxed.

Prat­tle royal

Gad­fly has been re­ceiv­ing favourable re­ports from the Dart on the re­cently re­leased biog­ra­phy Ma’am Dar­ling, 99 Glimpses of Princess Mar­garet, writ­ten by Craig Brown of Pri­vate Eye fame.

One of the an­gles pur­sued by Brown is that the monarch is re­quired to avoid say­ing or do­ing any­thing un­pre­dictable, hence the au­thor noted a di­ary en­try by George V: “The poor arch­duke and his wife were as­sas­si­nated this morn­ing in Ser­bia ... Stamps af­ter lunch, bed at 11.30.”

This may also ex­plain why monar­chs such as Brenda con­verse by ask­ing airy ques­tions such as “How long have you been here?” or “Have you come far?” – which ap­par­ently gives the im­pres­sion of a “ra­di­at­ing com­mon sense”. Brown ex­plains:

“... the Queen has man­aged to avoid say­ing any­thing strik­ing or mem­o­rable to any­one. This is an achieve­ment, not a fail­ing: it was her duty and destiny to be dull, to be as use­ful and un­demon­stra­tive as a postage stamp, her life ded­i­cated to the near-im­pos­si­ble task of say­ing noth­ing of in­ter­est. Once when Gore Vi­dal was gos­sip­ing with Princess Mar­garet, he told her that Jackie Kennedy had found the Queen ‘pretty heavy go­ing’. ‘But that’s what she’s there for’, ex­plained the Princess.”

It’s im­pos­si­ble to leave this in­trigu­ing topic with­out re­call­ing Auberon Waugh’s ob­ser­va­tion that the Snow­dons were “the two high­est-paid per­form­ing dwarves in Europe”.

Es­teem engine

Howard Collins, OBE, is the English­man in charge of Syd­ney Trains, which has been lately in the news for rea­sons as­so­ci­ated with chaos, over­crowd­ing and de­lays.

But that’s not the only string to his bow. From source ma­te­ri­als we dis­cover that Howard is the chair of the Aus­tralian branch of the An­tique Mo­tor­cy­cle Club of Amer­ica, based in Alabama, a trus­tee of the Lon­don Trans­port Mu­seum and a board mem­ber of Trans­port Her­itage NSW.

Some­how that all makes sense.

Plane view

Al­ready peo­ple are miss­ing Ron Tand­berg, the re­cently de­parted pocket car­toon­ist for The Age.

As hacks re­mem­ber his work, talk inevitably turns to his gags that never made it into print. In 1979 Deb­o­rah Lawrie, un­der her mar­ried sur­name Ward­ley, took Ansett Air­lines to the Equal Op­por­tu­nity Board in a sex­ual dis­crim­i­na­tion case.

Aus­tralian air­line pi­lots were all chaps and Sir Reg Ansett fa­mously opined that fe­males were un­suit­able for the task be­cause of their men­strual cy­cles, among other prob­lems.

Lawrie was awarded $14,500 by the board and Ansett was told to em­ploy her. She was still un­der­tak­ing fi­nal train­ing when Ansett pi­lots went on strike and, with her col­leagues, lost her job. Ul­ti­mately, she did train pi­lots for Tig­erair.

A Tand­berg car­toon cen­sored by then em­ployer the Her­ald Sun showed Sir Reg turn­ing to her from the pi­lot’s seat and say­ing, “That’s why they call it the cock­pit.”

Trum­pette #54

One of the great plea­sures of the mod­ern era is the war of words be­tween the North Kore­ans and the United States pres­i­dent. As the lan­guage gets more in­tense, there’s ev­ery chance that the nu­clear fall­out will be less harm­ful.

One of the more re­cent sprays from the Py­ongyang word­smiths is the de­scrip­tion of Don­ald Trump as “an old lu­natic, mean trick­ster and hu­man re­ject”.

The North was vis­i­bly up­set by Trump’s in­sults while vis­it­ing South Korea, where he de­scribed Kim Jongun as a “cult leader”. And this is quite apart from his be­ing “short and fat”. Even though the qual­ity of these slights was ex­ceed­ingly poor, it was too much for Py­ongyang ’s state me­dia:

“The worst crime for which

[Trump] can never be par­doned is that he dared (to) ma­lig­nantly hurt the dig­nity of the supreme lead­er­ship. He should know that he is just a hideous crim­i­nal sen­tenced to death by the Korean peo­ple.”

All the Do­tard could muster in re­sponse was “mad­man”. North Korea is def­i­nitely ahead in the fire and fury stakes.

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