Political watch with Graham Richardson


Politics this week has been outrageous, Fraser Anning’s speech has become the talk of the week, in addition Bob Katters Support, the leadership future of the liberal party and a bit of sport.

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No wonder tried to dump Fraser Anning


Just how far some of our politicians will go to gain their 15 minutes of fame was on ugly display this week. Fraser Anning has been figuratively hung, drawn and quartered by all and sundry. He did manage to achieve a real spirit of bipartisanship in the federal parliament that had gone missing in the past few years.
The image of the Jewish Josh Frydenberg and the Muslim Ed Husic, the former a Liberal and the latter a member of the Labor Party, hugging each other should reassure us and the rest of the world that blind racism has no place in Australia. Behind this stupidity, as we see far too often, was One Nation raising its head.
Anning is in the Senate only because he was No 2 on the One Nation ticket. No 1 was Malcolm Roberts, and when he was forced out during our ridiculous citizenship saga, Anning was the last man standing and he walked into the Senate despite first-preference votes from only handfuls of Queenslanders. Pauline Hanson pleaded with him to stand down and allow Roberts to return. We can now understand why Hanson was so determined to get Roberts back in the Senate. Apart from her, Roberts was the only member of the hastily assembled hotchpotch of a team One Nation put forward who could put a few coherent sentences together. He actually gave the odd media interview and could be interesting.
The other members of the One Nation Senate team were Brian Burston and Rod Culleton. Burston never blew out a candle in the Senate and no one can remember anything he has ever said or done. The one exception to this was when Burston left One Nation or was expelled by the party founder (and some might say 100 per cent owner), Hanson.
Burston claimed to have shaken hands with government Senate leader Mathias Cormann on supporting business tax cuts. He was frustrated with Hanson’s habit of changing her mind every other Friday on that thorny issue. Burston got another burst of publicity when he demonstrated conclusively that he would fail an IQ entry test for parliament by announcing he was joining Clive Palmer’s newest political venture.
You’d have to be a real dill.
As far as Culleton was concerned, he won media attention, but for the wrong reasons. His colourful business career had left aggrieved alleged debtors who had a nasty habit of taking him to court. Hanson also wanted Culleton out, which has become quite a theme in her dealings with colleagues. Eventually he was declared bankrupt and he became ineligible to sit in parliament.
His absence remained largely unlamented, and then he was replaced by Peter Georgiou, his brother-in-law. What contribution Georgiou has made or might make is hard to say because, like 99 per cent of Australians, I could not pick him out of a line-up.
Looking at this gallery of rogues and dopes, it is of little wonder that Hanson would be keen to have Roberts by her side.
Perhaps One Nation should put more effort into selecting its candidates. A party that has no structure, bar an altar on which its founder can sit and be admired, will always produce far more than its fair share of lousy would-be MPs.
This goes for its selection of staff, too. While Anning has claimed he wrote his disgraceful speech, others are unsure of his ¬capacity to do that. It has been suggested the speech was written, or at the very least strongly influenced, by an adviser, Richard Howard.
Now it turns out that Howard also worked for Roberts, who has been of great assistance in giving references that go to Howard’s character. Roberts says Howard was fascinated by the history of Nazi Germany. This may explain the incendiary use of the phrase “final solution” in Anning’s speech.
While the Anning disgrace grabbed our attention for a short time this week and the Emma Husar affair ran for a fortnight, the government cannot get its dis¬unity off our front pages.
Now we learn that not five, as was first suggested, but 12 Liberals and Nationals, including one junior minister, are threatening to cross the floor on the national energy guarantee when it is finally put to the House of Representatives. Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce are leading the charge and creating considerable mayhem along the way.
Whatever Malcolm Turnbull and Frydenberg say in support of the NEG is drowned out by the chorus of the caucus rebels. A real compromise must be reached yesterday if the Prime Minister is to get clear air.
To be at the point where the government will need opposition support to get the NEG through parliament and to see both sides slanging it out on the floor of the house demonstrates yet again how hopeless the government’s political management really is. No groundwork has been done to smooth the NEG’s path. That is just dumb. When you desperately need a win to get some clear air that could help your re-election, you must do a great deal to earn it.
Watching question time this week, it seems that the governme/nt is utterly unaware of its predicament. The lemmings seem to be determined to follow their leader over the cliff. There is no sense that they have any idea how Australia is reacting to that shameful $443 million grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
The mob have worked this out and you can’t go anywhere without the outrage of ordinary people coming out. It took more than 6000 days to raise $85m and in one day this government dumped $443m in their lap.
Scandal is not a word that does this disgusting rort justice.
In Canberra, no one in the government is listening!

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