Tim Paine in high demand after sexting scandal.

Scott Morrison and Clive Palmer are locked in an epic battle to secure the services of Tim Paine after the cricketer was recently sacked for sexting. The prime minister and the leader of the United Australia Party are desperate for the former national captain to run as a candidate for their respective political parties at the next federal election.

“Tim is perfect for contemporary Australian politics,” announced Morrison as he pitched the Coalition to Paine.

“He is adept at scandalous sexting and mistreating women. Furthermore, he managed to keep it hidden for so many years and this is what impressed us the most. He epitomises the behaviour of the modern Liberal Party member, and he is a sporting hero, so Australians will support him no matter what he does.”

Paine was recently sacked as captain of the Australian test cricket team, which is a more important position than that of prime minister according to many Australians. He was caught sexting lewd, consensual messages to a female administrative colleague – before he was made national captain, but while he was married. Ironically, he was appointed captain due to his clean-cut public image, after the ‘sandpapergate’ scandal resulted in the sacking of the previous captain Steve Smith.

Palmer, the leader of the influential fringe party, believes Paine is better suited to his party.

“Tim’s a great Aussie. He’s a great cricketer, he’s a patriot, he wore the baggy green and he loves his country – and that’s what the UAP is all about. We’re making Australia great again and that’s what Tim did. He improved Australia’s international reputation. It was just a bit of harmless flirting on his phone, just like Warney did – and Warney’s a national hero as well.”

“People say my party’s just a bunch of crazy misfits – but Tim will fit right in here. Plus, if he’s caught mistreating women and sexting as a politician, he won’t be sacked, he’ll be promoted.”

Morrison went on to say that Paine should join the LNP because they can actually form government, before Palmer reminded Morrison that it was the UAP which greatly assisted Morrison to win the unwinnable election in 2019.

“Without me, ScoMo’s nothing,” Palmer declared.

Morrison then reminded Palmer that almost every member of the current LNP government has been involved in some form of corruption or scandalous behaviour, and not one of them has been dismissed, so Paine will be protected.

Paine has so far declined to comment on the offers as he has switched off his phone. Rumours also persist that he has received offers from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and Bob Katter.

Image: Getty Images

Three superpowers in three weeks.

The Australian government has managed to upset three superpowers in the space of three weeks. Comments from the prime minister and senior minsters or staff have provoked negative responses from China, India and the United States, and the results could be very harmful to Australia.

China.

The threat of war. Senior government figures provoked China with comments about imminent armed conflict. Former Liberal minister Christopher Pyne, Senator Jim Molan, Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo, and even Defence Minister Peter Dutton made comments suggesting Australia is already, or will soon be, engaged in some form of direct conflict with China. In contrast, an article by Ewen Levick appeared in Australian Defence Magazine in March this year entitled:

War with China is not inevitable.

Average Aussies don’t know who to believe. They also might not understand the true motivation behind the comments, but China does, and Australia’s largest trading partner has already responded the best way it knows how – economically.

India

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Australian citizens attempting to return to Australia from the COVID-19 hotspot of India could be issued massive fines or sent to jail. Many Australian citizens were born in India, have family in India and hold dual citizenship between the two countries. Australian citizens have access to Australia’s health system, and could be treated in Australia after completing mandatory quarantine, but they are being forced to remain in a country in the middle of a crisis, and are placing more pressure on India’s overburdened health system. This has not just angered Aussies in India and back home, but upset the government of India, which is battling to bring the crisis under control.

The United States

The Australian government set itself at odds with The USA when it refused to follow plans to reduce carbon emissions and protect the natural environment. New US president Joe Biden has publicly stated an ambition to actively reduce carbon emissions in the US in the near future, but Australia has refused to match these efforts. One specific policy which will harm Australia is the carbon tariff. The tariff, or fee, will be imposed on any goods being imported into the United States which have not been produced using more environmentally-friendly methods. Goods that are produced using fossil fuels will thus be worth less, and those businesses will lose money. The European Union is proposing a similar plan.

Ironically, this will adversely affect traditional Coalition voters, whose businesses will suffer due to the tariffs. Australia, rightly or wrongly, has a very close relationships with the United States, and cannot afford to alienate the superpower.

Upsetting other nations is inevitable in international diplomacy. Upsetting other nations is also justified if those nations are acting in a way that clearly contravenes the interests or the accepted values of the nation making the comments. China, for example, needs to be called out for its actions in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang. In this case, however, the comments are calculated, but careless, and are deliberately designed to appease specific sectors of the Australian population.

China. Anti-China comments appeal to the racists. Australia is a racist country, and anti-Chinese racism has existed since the gold rush in the 1860s. The Liberal National Party coalition taps into this anti-China sentiment because it is dependant on the votes of the country’s racist underbelly. Warning Australians of the threat of war is also a convenient way to justify enormous spending on defence, and observant commentators noticed that the comments were made close to ANZAC Day, which commemorates fallen Aussie soldiers and is the nation’s most sacred day. Ironically, however, the public comments about China have adversely affected trade with China and this severely disadvantages Australian producers of beef, wheat and wine, who would normally vote for the Coalition.

The USA. The prime minister rejected the US proposal in order to appease the fossil fuel industry. Australians are now cognisant that the fossil fuel industry owns the Coalition.

India. Racism, or damage control? Threatening to imprison Australian citizens returning from an Asian country is clearly racist, but the proposal could also be an attempt to save face. COVID-19 quarantine is ultimately a federal government responsibility in Australia, and it has been handled very poorly. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been even worse. Many Australians are staring to see through the government’s COVID-19 publicity stunts, so the threat to fine or imprison citizens could be an attempt to appear tough and decisive on border control and biosecurity.

Some of the Australians trapped in India have no Indian heritage. They are cricketers, chasing big money in the lucrative Indian cricket competition. A few of the cricketers have criticised the government’s stance. Will the words of some Aussie sports heroes be enough to the change the government’s stance?

For a government that is nothing but publicity, photo opportunities and marketing, this is a massive public relations faux pas. Will it persuade Australians to stop voting for the Coalition at upcoming elections?

Image: Aditya Joshi

Controversy surrounds the selection of the Prime Minister’s XI.

Australians have reacted with shock and horror to the selection of the latest Prime Minister’s XI on the eve of another season of cricket Down Under.

Prime Minster Scott Morrison has put forward his XI, and none of them play cricket. Instead, Morrison has selected 11 of the most corrupt and scandal-prone members of his Liberal National Party coalition to represent the country on the world stage and protect Australia’s international reputation.

The prime minster traditionally selects a national team to play invitational matches against visiting nations, usually as a warm up for games against Australia’s top team. The players are normally young and have not yet worn the famous baggy green cap which signifies selection in the national team.

The controversial list contains no opening batsman, no wicket keeper, no pace bowler or spinner, and no recognised all rounder. None of the XI have played at state level in the five day or limited overs format, not even T20. None of the PM’s team members have worn the baggy green, and none of them will ever deserve to wear it.

The 2020 Prime Minister’s XI:

Coach – Scott Morrison

  1. Angus Taylor – Forged information about Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. Grassgate.

2. Bridget McKenzie – Sports rorts.

3. Barnaby Joyce – Watergate. Adultery.

4. Peter Dutton – Au-Pair scandal. Joked about rising sea levels. Comments about African gang violence. Insulted female journalist. Offshore detention. Racism. Ignored official apology to Stolen Generations. Paladin.

5. Sussan Ley– Luxury apartment scandal. Overseeing the destruction of Australia’s environment as Minister for the Environment.

6. Christian Porter– Adultery. Covered up Alan Tudge’s adultery. Publicly defended Robodebt. Appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

7. Alan Tudge – Adultery, covered up Christian Porter’s adultery.

8. Stuart Robert – Robodebt

9. George Christensen – Asian strip clubs. Ban the burqa. Stop same-sex marriage. Deny climate change. Cut immigration.

10. Paul Fletcher – $30m purchase of land for new Sydney airport. Australia Post scandal.

11. Mathias Cormann – Helloworld Travel scandal

Reserves:

Michaelia Cash, David Littleproud, Matt Canavan, Richard Colbeck, Michael McCormack, Greg Hunt, Craig Kelly, Gladys Liu, Michael Sukkar, Josh Frydenberg, Jason Falinski, Andrew Hastie.

Critics have slammed the selection arguing that members lack the necessary competence or skill to be elevated to such a lofty position, and are incapable of playing the game in the right spirit. They also worry about Australia’s international reputation, which is still recovering from cricket’s ball-tampering scandal.

In response, Morrison argued that every member deserved to be selected in the team.

“The hardest part as selector was leaving people out,” he said.

“We could have formed another XI with LNP members who have all done more than enough to earn selection. I dare say that in the near future, they will put a lot of pressure on those already selected.

Image: Alessandro Bogliari

A Century in Three Overs.

Sir Don Bradman is famous for many amazing achievements. He is regarded by many as the greatest batsman of all time and finished his career with an average of 99.9 runs.

One of his lesser known, but still impressive achievements, is the century he scored in just 3 overs, off only 22 balls.

Bradman scored the unfathomable century at Blackheath Oval in November 2, 1931. Was it the fresh mountain air, the 1000m altitude or the kookaburras cheering him on from the pine trees surrounding the oval? Who knows, but either way it a was a remarkable innings.

Bradman recorded the following figures on the way to his century:

1st Over 6 6 4 2 4 4 6 1 (33)
2nd Over 6 4 4 6 6 4 6 4 (40)
3rd Over 1 6 6 1 1 4 4 6 (27) & 2 to Wendell-Bill.

It was very kind of Bradman to let his batting partner, Oscar Wendell-Bill, score some runs during the blitz. It’s also surprising that he recorded two singles during the century, and that he was not on strike for the first or fifth ball of the third over.

The world-record innings was not scored while playing in the baggy green. It was reached while representing a Blackheath XI against a Lithgow XI to commemorate the opening of the Blackheath wicket. In total, Bradman made 256 including 14 sixes and 29 fours, despite renowned bowler Bill Black being introduced into the attack.

Not only was the century the fastest in history, it was also witnessed by a crowd so large it is unlikely to have been matched since. The young boys among that crowd had come to see the great man play and were also employed to retrieve the ball from the road, people’s backyards and the pine trees after Bradman had dispatched yet another boundary. The collection of the ball is included in the 18 minutes that it reportedly took for Sir Don to reach his ton.

After the game, Bradman wrote about the innings with the humility that was as famous as his sporting talent, saying,

‘It is important I think to emphasise that the thing was not planned. It happened purely by accident and everyone was surprised at the outcome, none more so than I.’

Obviously Blackheath Oval is relatively small and the boundary fence may not measure the same diameter as the MCG or Lords. Bradman was not facing a rampaging Harold Larwood, nor Dennis Lillee or Sir Richard Hadlee. He was instead battling the bowling attack of the Lithgow XI.

Furthermore, he had a little assistance not available to modern day cricketers. He faced overs of eight balls, so over the space of three overs he had an extra six balls in which to compile the ton. That said, he still reached a hundred within the modern-day 3 overs.

Could it be repeated?

Perhaps it has been, somewhere. Perhaps in a game of grade cricket somewhere in the world.

In first-class cricket, the fastest century belongs to David Hookes. The Australian hit 102 runs off 34 balls while playing for South Australia in a Sheffield Shield match against Victoria back in 1982. Even in T20 cricket, which was created solely for big hitting and boundaries, the fastest hundred is still slower than Bradman’s Blackheath best. Indian batsman Rohit Sharma scored 100 from 35 balls against Sri Lanka in 2017.

Technically it is possible.

A batter could score 102 runs within 17 balls, then hit a six off the 18th ball just to rub it in to the bowler. It would be a remarkable feat, requiring skill, audacity, timing, power, technique and perfect footwork, all of the traits which distinguished Sir Don Bradman.

This feat, and many other which accompanied Sir Don, does make one ponder…do today’s cricket coaches give kids a golf ball and a cricket stump, and instructions to hit the ball against a water tank for hours on end?

Image: Alessandro Bogliari