Houston we have a problem

This blog site traditionally has a look back at what we commented on in the past year as our last article come December. This year, we’re going to break the cycle and look at what Prime Minister Morrison should be considering over the next month or so instead of asking ‘how good is the cricket?’. That’s not saying for a second that we published nothing of worth this year because if you go to the top right of your screen and click on the ‘Archive’ link, you will not only see the articles for 2019, but the 860 or so articles published by The Political Sword since 2008.

The mythology is that when American astronauts have a problem in space, they alert Mission Control in Houston Texas with the phrase ‘Houston — we have a problem’. Going into the festive season this year, Prime Minister Morrison has a few problems where perhaps a shout out to ‘Houston’ might be in order.

Morrison won the ‘unwinnable’ election in May. Subsequently, all the polling organisations went into damage control while they looked at their methodology. Most made some admission that they had errors in their process and the world moved on. One benefit is that the current polling numbers are not front-page news every week or fortnight as there is a general understanding now that statistics and probability are only a guide based on a set of assumptions.

Morrison’s election ‘victory lap’ included a trip to meet President Trump in Washington in September. Trump gave Morrison the honour of a State Dinner. The Wall Street Journal wrote that Brian Houston, the founder of the ‘Pentecostal’ Hillsong Church, was placed on the guest list by Morrison’s people and removed by the Americans as:
In 2015, Mr Houston was censured by the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse for failing to alert authorities to paedophile father Frank Houston’s sexual abuse of children in his church.
Australia was still talking about it at the end of November, with The Guardian reporting
It has been dismissed as “gossip” by the prime minister, but in the two months since the White House state dinner, the government has gone to extraordinary lengths to try to avoid answering the simple question: Did Scott Morrison ask the Trump administration to invite the Hillsong founder, Pastor Brian Houston, to the dinner?
If the answer is no, just say it and move on. Assuming the answer is yes (a pretty good bet since it hasn’t been denied), it’s interesting that the Americans can see the reputational risks that Morrison and his minders can’t.

Morrison has also spent a considerable amount of political capital defending Energy Minister Angus Taylor. Apart from being implicated in a scheme when the government paid $80 million for water rights without receiving any water, meeting with the then Environment Minister to discuss why no action should be taken when 30 hectares of protected grasslands in the Monaro region of New South Wales was poisoned by a company in which Taylor has a beneficial interest and claiming an increase in carbon emissions over the past three years is good news, Taylor is also under investigation by the Parliament for an ongoing argument with Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. Taylor wrote to the Lord Mayor in his Energy Minister role suggesting $14million spent on international travel was inconsistent with the Mayor’s public position on emissions reduction, as well as leaking the letter to the media. It’s a pity the real figure was a somewhat more palatable $15893.29 (and $5308.88 on domestic travel). Taylor claims the fault wasn’t his; regardless Australia is still talking about it coming into December (a month later).

However, when One Nation votes against his ‘signature piece Union-busting’ legislation as they did in the last week of November, Morrison really has a problem. Hanson is quoted as suggesting
the bill [was] a “sledgehammer against the unions” – and compared it to the government’s response to allegations of illegality from the country’s major banks.

“The Prime Minister says ‘oh well, it’s not up to us, the government, to deal with the banks, it’s up to the boards to do it’,” she said.

“But they’re coming out with a sledgehammer against the unions and doing what they’re doing, so I think there is a double standard there.”
Rather than wrapping up the year on a high, as the ALP are still working out what went wrong, Morrison has maxed out the ‘political capital’ credit card this festive season. Some in the Liberal Party are concerned about the future as discussed in the publicly released results of their election review. It warns
the Coalition's future chances of forming government will remain "worryingly narrow" unless it improves its standing in Victoria and parts of NSW.

The review warns there is "no room for any complacency" within the party following the 2019 election campaign, recommending a "comprehensive impartial candidate vetting process" for candidates to avoid a similar situation where 10 Liberals were disendorsed during the campaign.
If Morrison is considering whether he should call out ‘Houston – we have a problem’, would the cry for help be meant for Mission Control (AKA Liberal Party head office) or Brian Houston? Will his minders be working overtime this festive season? Recent history tells us the knives won’t stay in the cutlery drawer if they don’t. Pass the popcorn; 2020 could be interesting to watch.

What do you think?

Note! This is the last scheduled article to be posted on ‘The Political Sword’ until around Australia Day in 2020. Notifications of new posts will, as usual, be advised on email (the email subscription link is on the right on this page) and our social media channels. The ‘noisy Australians’ behind this blog wish you and yours a relaxing and joyous festive season together with a happy and prosperous 2020.

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Michael Taylor


Always a good read, 2353. 

Will miss TPS while you have your break, so I will take this opportunity to wish all here a Merry Christmas and a great 2020. 

And thank you for your support during 2019. 



Thanks  Michael for your help and support during 2019. Hopefully we will change a few more opinions in 2020.

Cheers, 2353



Greetings Ad astra and Dear Swordsfolk, and Thank You 2353 not only for the present post but for all your many many thoughtful contributions over time. You have been Ad astra's staunch ally and support for many years now and that is a fine thing to have done.

And Michael Taylor you are a gem on SM, always a good read yourself. Just as long as you keep those cats in your yard .. lol

Myself, I feel ashamed of my long non-contribution to this beloved site, which apart from its informative and educative and socialising roles contemporaneously, now stands retrospectively as a coherent and uninterrupted almanac of Australia's sociopolitical landscape over the last 12 years. All down of course to Ad astra's wise and benign guiding light. Thank you Ad.

I have ample evidence in my life that I am in no wise wise, but I would have d by this stage of my life to have been benign. Well on an individual basis I hope I am, but and this is why I write so rarely my feelings about Australia's choices and direction since 2013 are rage, contempt, horror, dismay, disappointment, above all, fear for the future of our climate, for the burgeoning world population, for biodiversity, for species, and for Life on Earth itself. Emotions not conducive to benignity! Nor to writing encouraging hopeful posts as I delighted in sending here 2010-2013. VENCEREMOS! We WILL WIN! I used to say. And at least as far as Australia was concerned, I believed it, with *J*U*L*I*A* at the helm of the Labor Government elected on the back of Rudd in 2007, and with what I saw as mostly decent rational policies .. I thought Australia was finally back on the Whitlam track of fairness and responsibility, education and social inclusiveness, so hard-laid in the 70's, derailed by Fraser but relaid by Hawke and Keating, destroyed by the Lying Rodent Howard .. 

I have never recovered from that 2013 loss to Abbortt, which now stands as the moment Australia lost its future afa I'm concerned. We had it all in our grasp, - proper education, decent work conditions, enlightened social attitudes .. And to what did we lose it? To Murdoch, to RW Christian religiosity, to greed, entrenched power and wealth and privilege. To crooks and crookedness. 

But May's election was the final nail in the coffin from which Labor's moribund body had attempted to rise, this time with the combined weight of Rinehart and Palmer sitting on top .. And the final proof that as - Catweazle famously used to say: "Noothing wairks". Seriously - All the shouting and marching, all the selfless protesting by dedicated people with righteous causes, all the social media, counted as nothing against the power of the rich elite. And that's every in the world, barring a few places NZ which are anyway impinged upon by world affairs. Especially us. Good luck Kiwis. 

We are left with an angry and embittered people in a ravaged land which not long ago had such bright promise, our riches squandered and privatised ..  So with nothing but doom and gloom to predict, and no reason to want to bring the good folk here down, I find it difficult to think of anything worthwhile to say. I honour the three of you above-named for continuing the verbal battle. Having no progeny leaves me no less sad than those of you with kids, though mine is sadness for the world rather than for your own offspring .. but I think that in some respects this leaves me clearer-eyed about than those whose focus is family. I love the planet, biodiversity, wilderness .. and I see no future for Life on Earth. Three degrees global warming? Why not eight? Eighteen? 

David Suzuki. David Attenborough. Great eco-warriors who are now so discouraged, heartbroken me. And little Greta Thunberg, quite right to live in a perpetual state of fury at the inaction of world leaders. But she's only been living it for sixteen or so years. I've been doing it for a lot longer. By the time she is my age, will there be whales? Numbats? Food? Water? No measure Humanity has ever taken has succeeded in reversing our rush to Armageddon, and it is clear that no policy ever will. Everything ever tried turns out to be Mickey Mouse stuff - , eg, sunshields to protect the Great Barrier Reef. Way too little, far too late.

People talk of 2100, of 2050 .. I give the world until 2034 for the grand fuckup, when the world will finally freak out having realised the shape of the future as we have not yet done, and in the next few years after that the Apocalypse will become a reality. 

I'm avowedly non-theist but that doesn't mean I'm blind to the uncanny accuracy of some of the predictions. One of which has a bit in it , wtte, "In those days shall the people cry unto the mountains, Fall on us: for the great day of His wrath is come: and who shall be able to stand?" And to Scummo, the Pentecostal PM, global roasting is all proof of his religious beliefs: he's already enRaptured!   

I feel deleting all this but it's all what I feel and it is why I now find writing futile.

I used to say, VENCEREMOS! Now Friends I sadly say, Noothing wairks.

But Happy New Decade to all you lovely people. Deeply sincerely.


*Anagram of ESCHER! q.v.



Michael Taylor


Greeting, Turkey. 

My cats - you will be pleased to know - are only intent on murdering one poor creature: me. 

Carol’s cat in particular surely spends the night plotting such a way. 



Happy new year Talk Turkey,

Thanks for the compliment, it is really appreciated and the acknowledgement is heartwarming. I've always been a great believer in the 'old wives' saying it is darkest just before the dawn. As horrible as it is to say it, the bushfires that have affected all areas of the country maybe the dawn.

Already we've seen Morrison's popularity taken a plunge although opinion polls are only as good as the method behind them, There are also rumours of the woefully inadequate emissions reduction targets being increased.

So don't loose hope

I have two politicians and add 17 clowns and 14 chimpanzees; how many clowns are there?