Long before he entered his dotage and became very odd indeed, Malcolm Fraser ousted Billy Snedden as opposition leader and vowed to catch Gough Whitlam "with his pants down". He did that and then lost his own some years later in Memphis under curious circumstances.
Malcolm Turnbull has gone him one better, dropping his own metaphoric strides during an "excruciating" interview with 3AW's Neil Mitchell and catching himself out at the same time when asked when, exactly, he learned of the Deputy Prime Minister's dalliance. In today's Australian Graham Richardson explains the perils of being deeply in love, not with a press aide but the sound of your own voice:
The Prime Minister ... has few close personal friends with political savvy — so, apart from Lucy and some of his staff, he trusts his own often flawed judgment.
His lack of forethought and his desperate obsession to come out as a hero have led him to two disasters within a week.
First, he should never have gone as far as he did in last Thursday’s press conference. Having forced Barnaby Joyce into taking this week off so the added embarrassment of him being acting prime minister could be sidestepped was a big move. Now that he was on a roll, he could announce his ban on ministers having sexual relations with staff members. He was outdoing even the best of the #MeToo activists.
Then he let the moment get to him and he blurted out the words that still haunt him: “Barnaby made a shocking error of judgment.” Joyce responded in his typical tough and crude manner by calling Turnbull “inept”.
Already the seeds of public distrust were sown. After that exchange there was no chance Australians would consider any attempted reconciliation as credible. The dogs of war had been unleashed, as had a ticking time bomb for Turnbull.
The Prime Minister is today in Washington, half a world away from the mess he failed to head off before Barnaby Joyce's love life became public knowledge. How must Mr Turnbull's hosts rate his long-term prospects?
Richardson's column can be read at this link or the one below. To hear the Prime Minister drop trou' on 3AW as he attempts to explain why the moral outrage that aired last week appears to have been set on an extended time-delay.
UPDATE: Also in The Australian and mirrored at his website, there is this and much more from Tony Abbott.
One thing I am not going to cop is gratuitous criticism from ministers who are only in government because I led them there. It is the prime minister’s right to choose his ministerial team and, given some of the policies of this government, I’m happy to serve on the backbench.
He is only just getting warmed up.
Down in Victoria -- and it's always down these days -- Labor Premier Daniel Andrews has just witnessed a factional power broker and one of his ministers exchanging loud abuse, alleged threats, accusations of menace involving a butter knife and, according to witnesses, much mutual cursing in Turkish, apparently a language rich with salty turns of phrase about other people's mothers.
Nasty as that altercation may have been, it would seem a picture of harmony in comparison with the government currently led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
-- roger franklin
It's a tough one, attempting to understand why some visitors to Australia warrant front-page attention and demands they be turned away while others do not. Geert Wilders, for example, prompted a hue and cry for asserting there are things about Islam which don't sit nicely with traditional Western norms and values. His speaking tour went ahead, albeit with massive security and the usual crowds of loud, rude and sometimes violent dolts.
Same thing with Milo Yiannopolous, whose recent Melbourne address prompted both a riot and, courtesy of Victoria Police, confirmation that officialdom subscribes to something of a blacklist. The organisers of Yiannopolous' tour were billed for $50,000, the cost of keeping him and his audience safe from the ferals who laid siege to the Kensington venue. And just by the way, a Quadrant Online question to Victoria's police minister asking if the recent Invasion Day rally would be similarly charged for its massive police presence has gone unanswered. That would be the gathering where Oxfam worker Tarneen Onus-Williams yearned to see Australia incinerated.
Apparently the expression of some opinions comes with a price tag, while others incite no objection or media opprobrium whatsoever. Take Ismail ibn Musa Menk as another example.
Better known as Mufti Menk, some might recall him figuring in news reports back in 2016, when the RAN's Mona Shindy was being promoted as the multiculti poster girl for the Australian defence establishment's prevailing view that a post-modern fighting force should look rather like the Human Rights Commission's Christmas party (except it wouldn't be called "Christmas"). Ms Shindy urged followers of her official RAN twitter account to heed Mufti Menk's YouTube videos, absorb his wisdom and admire his deep spirituality. Ah, but there was a problem, the usual one when Islamic advocates less slick than Waleed Aly are popped into the public pulpit: those videos include imprecations against homosexuals, plus a variety of other fruit-loop fulminations.
In this video, for example, Mufti Menk explains to the faithful how
"99% of pop stars ... sacrifice doves backstage. They all engage in Satanic behaviour. They all belong to a cult"
Readers can watch the sermon here or via the link at the foot of this post, and if paranoid ramblings about the West starving Muslims to death, demonic control of global irrigation projects and the lack of respect accorded learned scholars who know such truths all get a bit much, just skip to the nine-minute mark. You will never again look at The Wiggles the same way.
Mufti Menk's preaching is such that British universities banned him from speaking, which is quite an accomplishment. When it comes to free speech, the academy generally limits its gagging to those on the right. He was also banned from entering Singapore, having been accused of inciting ethnic animosities and divisions.
But in Australia, well let's just say Milo and Wilders have every right to be jealous. As the Australian Muslim Times joyfully reports,
Mufti Menk has returned to Australia but this time, his lecture series tour has made a beeline towards Melbourne for the very first time.
Two Melbourne mosques, Islamic Community Milli Gorus (ICMG) in Meadow Heights and the Australian Islamic Centre in Newport had the pleasure to welcome him in Melbourne during the first week of February 2018.
Quadrant Online is half-tempted to inquire if Mufti Menk's handlers were charged for police protection, as were Milo's backers, but why bother? In the Premier Dan Andrews' Garden State the view from Spring Street is of an electorate populated entirely by vegetables happily waiting for their next manuring.
-- roger franklin
As identity politics makes the group paramount, rather than the individual, readers of today's Australian should be grateful for the subeditor who helpfully identified Moutia Elzahead as the black sack on the left.
Worth noticing as well is Ms Elzahad's extended index finger (circled), the ISIS salute. Ain't multiculturalism just grand!
Those who subscribe to The Australian can follow this link or the one below to learn how, while we are told all cultures are equal, there is one whose antics aren't quite so valued in the courtroom of NSW District Court Judge Audrey Balla.