Labor’s Pyrrhic Victory

The Member for Fremantle, Melissa Parke, is once again in denial complaining that the Abbott government has introduced 17 new taxes. Yet under the previous Labor governments a raft of new taxes were introduced: new taxes on carbon dioxide, coal, iron ore and alcopops; increasing taxes on tobacco, ethanol, LPG, luxury cars, superannuation, etc.

Following is from The Spectator Australia:

“By winning the battle, Labor have managed to lose the war. With such a monumental strategic blunder, Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen have in all likelihood handed the next election to the LNP, and rescued the prime ministership of Tony Abbott.

As we argued at the time, the cleverest course for Labor last year would have been to allow the Coalition’s 2014 Budget to pass through the Senate. In doing so, they would have achieved three important victories. Firstly, they would have removed the Rudd/Gillard/Swan stain of wanton profligacy which, instead, they perversely wear like a badge of honour. Secondly, they would have endowed shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen with some much-need economic credentials of his own – namely, fiscal responsibility. And finally, aiding the Coalition in reforming our economy would have allowed Bill Shorten’s Labor to paint itself as the true heir to the Hawke/Keating legacy; a powerful electoral selling-point.

At the same time, the government would have been forced to wear all the opprobrium for the $7 visits to the doctor, the cuts to the pension, the welfare crackdowns and so on. Labor would have been able to rant about genuine, as opposed to theoretical, examples of Coalition ‘austerity’. Come the next election, Labor would then be in the enviable position of being able to bribe their way back into power with a fistful of tantalising handouts because much of the repair work had been done.

Instead, so brazen and successful has Labor’s obstructionist Senate campaign been, to the point where they’ve blocked cuts they themselves had proposed, that the ensuing gridlock has forced the government to abandon many of its key ideological strongholds. Where last year Joe Hockey offered up sensible economic reforms but forgot that he had to sell them, this year the Treasurer offers up a swag of saleable goodies shorn of all the whiffy bits of reform.

The losers in the long run will be, of course, the Australian taxpayer. But, as has been frequently debated within these pages, a less-than-perfect Coalition is still vastly preferable to the undergraduate socialists currently occupying the opposition benches. Whether Tony Abbott opts for an early election, or to stay the distance and offer up a similarly gentle budget next year, the reality is that this government has abandoned ‘harshness’ for the time being. That it has been forced to do so by Labor and the wanton stupidity of the Independent senators should not be lightly dismissed. Much was made in the frenzied run-up to Budget night about ‘whose Budget is it anyway?’ One could argue that it is as much Labor and the Independent’s Budget as anybody’s, having been designed with the express purpose of getting through the Senate.

The Senate are now faced with either passing it or facing an early, possibly double dissolution, election. The Coalition can argue that they have listened, that they have responded to community concerns, etc. Labor, meanwhile, can argue… what exactly? That they would be tougher in government? Hardly. That they would be even more generous? That would be suicidal.

Yes, this Budget’s measures for small business and growth are to be commended, and the desire to crack down on ‘bludgers’ – be they on welfare or sitting in the boardrooms of multinationals – admirable. The politics of the Budget are perfect, the economics palatable, the selling messages spot on – but clearly the heavy fiscal pruning must wait until the next political winter, or perhaps the one after. As for the ‘entitled’ country, the music will carry on for a bit longer, it appears, albeit slightly subdued. We’ve turned the stereo down to stop the police from knocking at the door, but we’re still partying like it’s 1999.”

Black Armband

This is from an article in The Spectator Australia by Rowan Dean.

Adam Goodes does not deserve to be Australian of the Year. The appointment was questionable in the first place, but has since become a joke. Last week, in the Fairfax media, Goodes maintained: ‘I now find it hard to say I am proud to be Australian.’

Australian of the Year is the most important symbolic annual appointment in Australia, an accolade that receives substantial sponsorship from private companies, extraordinary recognition and — with it — responsibility.

‘Nothing comes with this office except an inscribed chunk of green glass’, wrote David Marr about 2012 winner Geoffrey Rush. ‘There’s no title; no stipend; no uniform; no official residence; nothing to pin in the lapel; and only the haziest of duties.’ Pointing out that brains tended to outweigh brawn among recipients, that black leaders were more likely to be honoured than white, and that businessmen required a philanthropic bent in order to be selected, Marr also commented that there are ‘no footballers’.

As often happens, events conspired to prove Marr wrong, and Goodes was appointed our first ever footy-playing Aussie of the Year on 26 January — an occasion Goodes couldn’t resist, er, marring with his musings over ‘the sadness and mourning and sorrow’ of indigenous Australia. As Marr correctly observed: ‘What the winners are given is a voice.’

Last May Goodes had to rely on publicly shaming a 13-year-old girl in the full glare of the TV cameras, demanding she be escorted out of the football stadium and marched into a two-hour interrogation and a lifetime of humiliation, in order to get his message about racism across. No more. Now his every utterance is heard across the land.

So how has Adam Goodes employed this wonderful gift?

In the same week his fellow Australians did so well at the Oscars, Goodes also chose to spruik a film. Sounding like he was auditioning for a job on the ABC’s At the Movies, the AFL star described a certain piece of commercial celluloid as ‘must-see’. ‘This extraordinary film… should be required viewing for every Australian’, he proclaimed. Every Australian? Wow! That’d put it ahead of Crocodile Dundee and The Great Gatsby combined in terms of box office success. Must be some flick!

Putting aside the delicate question of whether or not the Australian of the Year should be advertising a commercial piece of work, the reason for Goodes wishing to inflict this particular cinematic event upon his fellow countrymen is not to unite us in some amazing celebration of Aussie pride, patriotism, goodwill or communal fellowship, but rather, Goodes wishes to shame certain racial groups within the community whilst encouraging other racial groups to wallow in self-pity and ancient grievances.

Put bluntly, our Australian of the Year wishes to divide us all into either the Oppressed or the Oppressor.

Personally, I have no interest in either promoting the film or discussing its artistic, historic or cinematic merits. It’s a film, and like any other relies on the director’s talent to manipulate the viewer’s emotions via dramatic camerawork, skilful editing, emotive music, concise story-telling and powerful performances. Indeed, Goodes himself admits ‘I was moved to tears. Three times.’ Terrific. So was I during Philomena, and I have no doubt I’d be weeping into my Maltesers over this one too.

The film — it calls itself a film, rather than a documentary — is the work of long-time hard Left activist John Pilger, and it concerns itself with the shocking way indigenous Australians have been treated since colonisation. Goodes admits that the ‘buzz’ around the film is largely among Aboriginal communities. Personally, I have no beef with the film, with its accuracy or with its subject matter. Undoubtedly, the stories told are horrendous and the suffering exposed unimaginable. I’m sure it’s a deeply distressing film.

Where Goodes steps not only over the mark but into loony tunes territory is that he imagines some ‘disturbing’ media conspiracy to ‘silence’ the film, before launching into a creepy guilt-through-ancestory diatribe against those descended from the perpetrators of Aboriginal maltreatment.

Goodes asks the rest of us (non-indigenous, presumably) Aussies to put ourselves in his shoes and imagine what it’s like to watch ‘a film that tells the truth about the terrible injustices committed over 225 years against [my] people, a film that reveals how Europeans, and the governments that have run our country, have raped, killed and stolen from [my] people for their own benefit.’

He goes on: ‘Now imagine how it feels when the people who benefited most from those rapes, those killings and that theft — the people in whose name the oppression was done — turn away in disgust when someone seeks to expose it.’

Huh? ‘The people who benefited most from those rapes’? What’s that mean? And why should I bother imagining what it felt like for Goodes or anyone else to watch such-and-such a film? He’s a famous footballer. I’m not. He’s descended from the first Australians. I’m descended from Scottish peasants. Do I expect him to imagine what it felt like for me to sit through Braveheart? These are the frothy-mouthed rantings of some student union political activist circa 1970, not the considered comments of 2014’s most honoured citizen.

It’s vile stuff. And I don’t just mean the past mistreatments of Aborigines, Irish single mothers, Scottish peasants or anyone else. I mean it’s vile that the Australian of the Year should seek to whip up hatred of a group of people (whom he loosely labels as Europeans, whatever that means) and lay at their feet responsibility for ongoing disadvantage within indigenous Australia. Worse, Goodes’s outrage is not based on protesting specific government legislation, policies or deeds, but rather, on the broad narrative of a film.

One of the requirements of being Australian of the Year is to act as ‘role model for us all’. So what role would Goodes have the rest of us play from now on? Must all Aborigines, in Goodes’s Australia, see themselves as the perpetual victims of unimaginable horrors, rather than individuals in their own right? Must all ‘Europeans’ see themselves as collectively guilty of inflicting endless pain and suffering on indigenous Australia?

When John Lennon felt disgusted by specific policies of the British government towards Northern Ireland, he protested by returning his MBE. The public, the media and the government duly sat up and took notice.

If Adam Goodes feels so aggrieved, he can do us all a favour and hand his chunk of green glass to somebody else; preferably someone who doesn’t struggle to be proud to be Australian.

 

John Pilger

This article is from The Spectator Australia written by one of its regular contributors Peter Coleman.

Journalists such as John Pilger get pleasure from knocking Australia and Australians.

‘What a stupid question! What a stupid question! What a puerile question!’ This is how Warren Snowdon, the Labor MP for Lingiari in the Northern Territory, responded to John Pilger as recorded in the film Utopia — a pilgerising documentary telling what the English playwright Harold Pinter called ‘the filthy truth’ about Australian treatment of Aborigines. Pilger put it to Snowdon that he has been the representative in the federal Parliament of ‘some of the poorest, sickest people in Australia’ since 1987: ‘Why haven’t you fixed it?’ It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for the spluttering Snowdon. Pilger pinches a nerve. For generations Australians have been determined to ‘fix it’. We have tried almost everything. Missions. Welfare. Self-determination. Land Rights. Royal Commissions. Constitutional Amendments. Reconciliation Walks. The Intervention. The Apology. Billions of dollars. Nothing has ‘fixed it’ — if by ‘fixing’ we mean the elimination of poverty, squalor, disease, malnutrition, drug addiction, unemployment and violence against women in Aboriginal camps. They continue to shame Australia and shock the world. Long ago the full integration of traditional Aborigines into a modern Australia proved unworkable. Timeless Aboriginal traditions gradually or rapidly disappeared, and only remnants have survived in the demoralised outstations on which Pilger concentrates.

Yet Pilger and negativist films like his Utopia are among the greatest obstructions to Aboriginal advancement. They alienate ordinary Australians whose continuing goodwill is necessary for all our programmes of reform. In style and argument the leftist Pilger reminds me of no one so much as P.R. (‘Inky’) Stephensen, editor of the prewar neo-fascist Publicist, who in the sesquicentenary year 1938 published his contemptuous Brief Survey of Australian History deriding what he deemed the patriotic complacency of Australian yobs and snobs. In 1938 he also published the newsletter Abo Call, which campaigned for the renaming of Australia Day. He called it Day of Mourning — denouncing the arrival of the infamous British settlers of 1788. The idea has had currency ever since. Pilger is cast in the same revolutionary-defeatist mould. In an Australia Day street scene in the film he asks a passer-by if Aborigines might be offended by Aussie celebrations. The man replies ‘You are full of shit’ and moves on. Pilger uses the incident to illustrate ingrained Australian prejudice. But if it illustrates anything, it is the popular rejection of terrible simplifiers like Pilger. In Abo Call Stephensen promoted Xavier Herbert’s Capricornia as a novel supporting Aborigines against white Australians. He would have been delighted to promote Pilger’s Utopia.

Does Pilger have any proposals to ‘fix it’? He shows no interest in the ideas of Noel Pearson or Marcia Langton, or in Bess Price and the other indigenous MPs in the Northern Territory. He seems unaware of any government programmes or of the work of countless private organisations ranging from conservative Rotary Clubs to the libertarian Centre for Independent Studies. He does not mention the continuous commitment of Tony Abbott. At the end of the film, he calls for a Treaty between Australians and Aborigines. But a Treaty (or series of Treaties as Warren Mundine recommends) would have as little influence as The Apology. It would probably make matters worse by bolstering separatism.

The best policy remains assimilation, not separatism. As it happens this is the underlying theme of an important new play — Tom Wright’s Black Diggers. A sort of rejoinder to Pilger’s Utopia, it is about the thousand or so indigenous soldiers who joined the AIF in the first world war and fought alongside fellow Australians in Palestine, the Somme, Gallipoli and Flanders Fields. The play’s director Wesley Enoch says that they ‘forged bonds that would sow the seeds of the modern reconciliation movement’. The play’s researcher David Williams observes that the black recruits were fully integrated into the AIF (unlike in many foreign armies.) He quotes Gary Oakley of the Australian War Memorial: ‘The Army was Australia’s first equal opportunity employer.’ They received the same pay and same training as other soldiers and experienced the same hardships. Any negative stereotypes quickly disappeared in the trenches. Their service obviously did not eliminate prejudice in the postwar years, but it was a giant step in the right direction. Assimilation — and a play like Black Diggers which received standing ovations at the Sydney Opera House — do far more to advance the Aboriginal cause than the anti-Australian and ultimately anti-Aboriginal propagandists from P.R. Stephensen to John Pilger.

The Turf

From The Spectator Australia, Robin Oakley, an Englishman:

At Christmas a friend from CNN sent me the story of a US officer on a European train. Searching for a seat, he found one occupied by a miniature poodle and asked its French female owner if she would put the dog on her lap. She not only refused but also remarked loudly as he moved on, ‘God spare us from these bloody Americans who think they own the whole world.’

Ten minutes later, the visibly weary American returned to say that there was no seat vacant on the entire train. Again he requested politely that madame move her dog. Again she refused, this time snarling, ‘Won’t somebody protect me from this boorish foreigner?’ At this point, with the train slowing, the American seized the dog and hurled it through the window on to a grassy bank. As its owner shrieked her fury, an Englishman sitting opposite spoke for the first time. ‘Oh dear, oh dear,’ he said. ‘You Americans never get it quite right, do you? You hold your fork in the wrong hand, you drive on the wrong side of the road and now you have thrown the wrong bitch out of the window.’

England’s drubbing in the Ashes series already had me thinking about national characteristics: the Australians not only played much better cricket than our boys, they also seem to be altogether more proficient at the art of ‘sledging’, verbally destroying their opponents’ morale even before they have faced their first ball. Friends have asked if the same happens in racing.

Not in quite the same way. There is not too much time for verbals when you are driving half a ton of horse across two dozen obstacles, although occasionally, when a jockey’s call for racing room is ignored by a rival, it can lead to choice words afterwards, occasionally to changing-room fisticuffs. Jump jockey Timmy Murphy has just returned from a nine-day suspension after he and Dominic Elsworth scrapped in the Newbury weighing room. In Murphy’s case, injury was added to the perceived insult: throwing a punch at Elsworth, he dislocated his
shoulder.

Jockeys do talk to each other during races. The day after he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on The Dikler and celebrated into the early hours, a badly hungover Ron Barry only won a race at Uttoxeter thanks to two fellow jockeys shouting a warning to him and his mount every time they approached a hurdle. There is kidology too. When David ‘The Duke’ Nicholson was riding Mill House in the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown, his less experienced fellow jockey John Buckingham loomed up beside him around the final bend on San Angelo. ‘Steady Buck,’ called Nicholson, ‘you’re trotting up.’ Buckingham eased his mount and at that moment The Duke went hell for leather for the line on Mill House. Had Buckingham not been influenced into taking a pull, Nicholson admitted later, his own horse might not have been in the first four.

The leading Flat jockey Greville Starkey used to do a marvellous imitation of a barking dog and occasionally went into his routine during a finish to put off an opponent’s mount. It happened as he fought head-to-head with Pat Eddery as Pat won the Japan Cup on the Dowager Duchess of Bedford’s Jupiter Island. She still has the photo to confirm it.

I have been trying to recall, too, which jump jockey it was who accidentally spat out his false teeth as he shouted at an opponent for taking his room during a race. The jumping boys being what they are, linked always by the camaraderie of facing injury or even death every time they go out, the offending jockey, who didn’t have a ride in the next race, went back along the track to search for them.

Perhaps it is a little less friendly on the Flat, although even there most of the tensions are worked out in weighing-room antics, like the time Philip Robinson and George Duffield tried to get the South African champion Michal ‘Muis’ Roberts superglued to the floor in his riding boots. They just couldn’t get him to stand in one place for long enough.

The one man not to make an enemy of in the old days, however, was Lester Piggott. In Piggott’s later years as a jockey, the cocky young Italian Frankie Dettori used to enjoy teasing the icon of the Turf. Lester eventually had had enough of it and one day at Goodwood Frankie was leading him around a bend when suddenly Piggott struck like a cobra. A hand snaked out and seized the crouching Dettori firmly by the testicles. The grip then tightened like a vice, bringing tears to the Italian’s eyes, while the leading jockey’s voice muttered in his ear, ‘That will teach you to be so cheeky, you little sod.’ Dettori and some fellow jockeys afterwards examined the video of the race but no evidence was visible. ‘The cunning old fox had caught me on the blind spot where the camera angle changes.’

At least England’s batsmen haven’t had to face that from the Australian slips.

Mark Latham

I have posted recently about my disdain for The Australian Financial Review but today faced with a 4 day break with limited newspapers, I decided to purchase said newspaper, AFR WEEKLY, covering Thursday March 28 to Monday April 1.

Journo’s get a 4 or 5 day break, no wonder the internet is taking over as a source of information. Not that you would buy this paper to read information, other than that based in Australia.

But that is for another post.

Imagine my surprise to see on the next to last page a small photo of Mark Latham and his column. I thought that he was dead and buried as a columnist after his exit from The Spectator Australia.

No, here he was lamenting the fact that the Gillard government failed to establish a Public Interest Media Advocate.

What a joke, he must be one of the few Labor stalwarts believing that we need media regulation. That includes regulation of blogs like this one.

Mark Latham has used some colourful language during his time as a Labor parliamentarian, including the following:

“Hand in your badge, Adolf.” 

Directed at former Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock.

“Howard is an arse-licker. He went over there, kissed some bums, and got patted on the head.”

Description of Prime Minister John Howard’s trip to the United States.

“That deformed character Tony Staley.”

Description of disabled former Liberal Party President.

“If he didn’t steal my property he wouldn’t have any injuries, so I’ve done the bare minimum to chase him, to tackle him, to pick up my bag and retrieve the stolen property.”

Outlining how he broke the arm of a Sydney taxi driver.

“There they are, a conga line of suckholes on the conservative side of politics.”

On the Coalition.

“No, I think I made a mistake.” 

Recanting his call for the reintroduction of corporal punishment in schools.

“My assessment is, I’ve won by two today, I’m one up on him.”

On former Labor PM John Curtin, who won the leadership by one vote in 1935.

No wonder that the Labor Party is currently polling at about 30% and this newspaper, can I call it that, is suggesting that 24 seats will be lost by this totally incompetent government.

 

Mad taxes and massive debt

Who says I’m bitter, twisted and tormented?

By Senator Barnaby Joyce who is the Leader of the Nationals in the Senate, LNP Senator for Queensland and Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Water, writing in “The Spectator Australia”, 15/22 December 2012.

 “A left-leaning journo from a very leafy suburb in Canberra is ringing me up to ask my views on global warming based on the recent exposé of new ‘facts’ from Doha. Facts which no doubt lead to Doha being an utter policy flop while leaving Australians with a massive financial liability. Support for climate change paranormal activity is not as gripping as it used to be.

Many have come to the conclusion that without a job you will not be emitting much carbon and poverty as policy is best left to the clergy. The sad thing for Australia is that we have managed to get ourselves stitched up in an idiotic broad-base energy consumption tax which is doing nothing to affect the temperature.

In the past week I’ve been talking to a coil spring manufacturer in Rockhampton who currently exports to 40 countries including China. He informed me calmly that with the increase in costs due to a carbon tax he will still make money, but it won’t be from exporting coil springs. It will be from importing them from India. The vision of his employees is clearly etched in my mind as the good lady from the Fairfax masthead asks my views on global warming.

The year has been one of mad taxes, massive debt and the demise of leftist liberal economics in the face of hardnosed East Asian business. As Indonesia has been paying its way out of debt, we are getting ourselves deeper in. As South America tries to work out how to trade beef into Asia, we have been shutting down the live cattle trade. The latest sector under threat is livestock selling centres. The RSPCA and Animals Australia are now going to use their spare time telling us all that auctioneers are ringmasters in abhorrent dens of animal cruelty. They should be more ambitious and close down the whole Australian Stock Exchange, drain all the dams, ban lawn mowers and return us finally to hunters and gatherers on the forest floor eating sticks and bugs.

Should I have told the learned scribe that I have had an epiphany? Coal is an evil black rock and can only be made holy by passing over salt water, to another country. There, it becomes righteous in a power station. Likewise iron ore’s inherent guilt is only assuaged if it moves overseas with the penitent black rocks.

I should be thankful for the Left’s assistance in closing down the fishing industry, timber industry and large sections of agriculture, making our manufacturing industry less viable and making every tree sacred.

I should have thanked her for 30 per cent unemployment in Northern Tasmania accompanied by a 50 per cent reduction in house prices. I should have been grateful for enlightened people joining hands and forming a human chain around any poor, sorry bastard trying to make a dollar.

Not that I’m at all bitter about it, as I remember the glee attending my demise as Shadow Finance Minister. I dared to extol the virtue of prudence and stated that if you have a static debt ceiling and an accelerating debt trajectory then sooner rather than later line A will intercept line B and you will either go back to the taxpayer for an extension of credit or cheques will bounce.

I initially issued this warning when our gross debt was around $100 billion. Now, three extensions of our overdraft later, it is just shy of $260 billion. It is fascinating that in the past three weeks we have borrowed in excess of $3 billion a week. Annualised, that’s more than $150 billion in extra debt per year. To earn the money to deliver the tax to pay the debt we need an extra net profit in the economy of $500 billion, at tax rates of approximately 30 per cent. A business return of ten per cent would mean that we have a gross income potential, which we are unaware of, of $5 trillion. That’s surprising; a threefold increase on top of the current economy, and it’s just hiding out. Maybe I should suggest to the learned Fairfax scribe that a better piece of investigative journalism would be to go look for it. This current climate change omphaloskepsis appears more adept at hiding our economy than finding it.

No, I’m not bitter, twisted and tormented. I think Wayne Swan is totally competent and so is Julia Gillard. I can understand why Gillard’s former boyfriend Bruce Wilson’s mate Ralph would bury money in the backyard because of some aversion to banks and those nasty questions they ask you such as: ‘Where did this cash come from, Cyclone?’

Appointing Peter Slipper as Speaker of the House to meet the Queen and the President on my behalf was a masterstroke of theatrical brilliance. Craig Thomson, well, he’s just misunderstood. The NBN (Next Budget Nightmare) is going to give impairment a good name. Of course you can cool the planet with a broad-base consumption tax, just like the GST did.

What if we actually did something away from leafy lefty climate change land? Imagine if we did something as dangerous to the world, Australia, the penguins and polar bears as building the inland rail between Gladstone and Melbourne to create internodal port access between the southern capitals and our northern mineral province.

It is ludicrous to think that we should have a direct rail link between the second- and third-biggest cities in our nation. Next you will want direct flights. Imagine if instead of making power dearer, we made it cheaper. Outrageous! Imagine if we expanded our agricultural industry by stopping decisions such as shutting down the live cattle trade or closing down irrigation in the Murray Darling or making it a criminal offence to cut down a tree. What if we actually tried to expand the economy through the construction of vital infrastructure such as dams? Very dangerous. We might actually grow more food to sell to south-east Asia.

Imagine if we stopped borrowing money for bureaucracy and getting up to our eyeballs in debt. In the past, our children wanted to travel to Europe, but in the future we’re going to create a little piece of Southern Europe right here in Australia just for them.”

 

 

A Big Fat Zero

From “The Spectator Australia”

The mining tax will be remembered as the only tax in history to raise no money whatsoever. A big fat zero. But now we learn this is not the only ‘achievement’ of this government that amounts to naught. Or rather, nought. Two years ago, Tourism Australia spent three million dollars of taxpayers’ money bringing Oprah Winfrey to Australia in order to boost US tourism figures. The result of the The Big O’s lavish paycheck? An equally big fat zero. We also learn that the success of Wayne Swan’s and Kevin Rudd’s much vaunted stimulus package in terms of, er, stimulating the economy can be measured as the statistical equivalent of nothing whatsoever. The likelihood was that most recipients of the government’s $900 freebie would simply splash it out on the pokies or pay off their mortgage.

Which is exactly what happened. According to a recent ANU study: ‘The household consumption response to the bonus payment is insignificant. It is also quantitatively small.’ At the time, much was made of the fact that the government was so incompetent it was sending the stimulus payments to dead people. As it turns out, dead or alive made not a jot of difference to the effectiveness of the multi-billion dollar package. Which was zero.

As an aside, we are pleased to announce that the negative impact that the vicious anti-Alan Jones campaign has had on his ratings is also — yes, you guessed it — zero.

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