Gladys Berejiklian’s fatal mistake.

EXCLUSIVE: Sources close to Gladys Berejiklian have revealed the fatal mistake which forced her to resign as Premier of NSW: she was not photographed with a dog.

Experts have conceded that a photograph with a cute dog would have distracted people from the corruption scandal which prompted her shock resignation.

“Australians trust anyone with a dog,” claimed a member of Berejiklian’s inner circle.

“If Gladys had been photographed with a dog before, or even after, the accusations of corruption from the ICAC, she would have won over every person in NSW and saved herself from having to resign. She was not forced out of office because of her rather sordid relationship with a disgraced politician, and not because of suspicious grants to a random shooting club. She was forced out because we didn’t create this photo op, it’s on us.”

Political insiders agree with Berejikilan’s team on the power of a photo with a dog.

“Australians are very gullible and impressionable, especially when people are photographed with dogs. The country is obsessed with dogs, and anyone who owns a dog, or even pretends to own one, is regarded as inherently good. Politicians, wayward footballers, corrupt businessmen and social media influencers all use dogs to soften and enhance their image, and it works.

This is why photo op’s with dogs are so useful, no essential, in Australia’s current political climate. They convince Australians that Scott Morrison is caring, that Peter Dutton is human, and that Anthony Albanese is…well…not nothing.

Somehow, Berejiklian’s team forgot this and we didn’t see any photos of Gladys with a dog. One photo with a pooch could have saved her political life.”

The failure to photograph the fallen premier with a furry friend has led some political commentators to suggest, privately, that Berejikilian was sacrificed by the LNP. Either because she is a woman, more popular Morrison, or not an openly devout Christian.

Experts also cite Morrison as evidence of the recuperative power of a photo with man’s best friend.

“Through his many failures and demonstrations of complete and utter incompetence, the prime minister has been photographed with a dog. When the public appear to be turning on him, he is photographed with a dog, or his family. When his brand is in urgent need of repair, he’s photographed with his family and a dog.”

According to leading political commentators, the only group of people who seem to see through Puppy Propaganda are members of independent anti-corruption agencies, like the one that ended the reign of the NSW premier. The same people Scott Morrison is scared to let into Canberra.

Experts were then asked if Australians are ever likely to see Berejiklian photographed with a dog.

“Only if she enters federal politics.”

Image: http://www.abc.net.au

This Land…

Darkness enveloped the land.

A depressing grey pall hung heavily over the land and fomented despicable violence which entrenched anger, frustration, despair and fear in those victimised by birth. Toxic masculinity leeched from the pores of rabid salivating animals and sullied the pristine waterways, the same waterways which had offered solace and retreat in an imagined past; the white-capped waves and golden sands since converted into a haven for leering eyes and lecherous ghouls.

Fear racked the fairer sex. Survival strategies were devised and disseminated, carried in nervous whispers through the darkened streets and the darker web. Clothes, make-up and sobriety were scrutinised before safety was promised in the world outside – the land outside which they called home. Home, where violence had been domesticated, by those who had not.

Keys to unlock inherited power were now held between forefingers. Capsicum spray sat beside scented spray and self-care acquiesced to self-defence. Avoid the darkness, they were told, but darkness was everywhere. Darkness had swallowed the land and voraciously consumed all that was good.

Emboldened by self-appointed truth tellers and by the weakness of their rulers, they threatened and struck, abused and demeaned, dismissed and suppressed. Emboldened by the apathy, silence and spin of the law makers. Law makers or law breakers? The lines had blurred, the distinction lost.

Depravity extended its greedy tentacles from the distant corridors of power to the hallowed grounds of prestige, where the elite schooled their offspring in the perpetuation of power.

How good! they cheer,

How good! to leer.

Retain your grace, remain the same,

Make-up your face, your words be tame.

Enough is enough, the victims declared, but it was never enough. Never enough for the rapacious scourge which infested their world and controlled their bodies, and the bodies within bodies.

The fair were few and far between, ignored in print, ignored on screen. They and their allies drowned under a deluge of ignorance and noise as the heavens unleashed a torrent of hate and lies, and cowardly cries.  It comes from the sky, it comes from up high, the news we use to justify.

Dystopia was not an imagined future, dystopia was a lived present, dictated for eternity by one bite of a forbidden fruit.

Then he emerged.

Short in stature, but bold of heart.

Follow me, he declared, in messianic tones, and I will deliver you from darkness and into light. I will protect you, he promised. So, follow him they did and the light returned. Joy, gaiety and unimagined bliss filled their souls.

Pink roses blossomed. Pink roses bloomed with hope and the promise of a new future.

All was well in the land of pink roses.

Image: Carlos Quintero

First published in The Beast magazine, May 2021

Jarryd Hayne saves NSW Premier.

Jarryd Hayne’s substandard performance in the 2009 NRL Grand Final has saved former NSW Premier Nathan Rees from great embarrassment. Hayne performed well below expectation during the Grand Final loss to the Melbourne Storm and saved Rees from having to fulfil a promise made to the people of Sydney and NSW in the lead up to the game.

Rees promised to name a new Sydney train The Hayne Train in honour of the Dally M Medallist and the season’s most outstanding player. The train would have been painted in the blue and gold of the Parramatta Eels, and would have run on the western line between Central and Parramatta, as well as the western suburbs where Hayne grew up.

If Hayne and the Eels had found a way to overcome the star-studded Storm team, Rees would have used taxpayers’ money to name a train after a football superstar who was twice accused of sexual assault, and recently found guilty of the second case. Hayne is likely to serve time in prison for the assault which he committed on the night of the NRL Grand Final in 2018.

Considering the state of trains in metropolitan Sydney, that train could still be on the tracks today.

Jarryd Hayne saved the NSW Blues on many occasions with his brilliance during State of Origin games. This time he saved the NSW premier with a poor performance.

Nathan Rees must be very relieved.

Image: http://www.abc.net.au

Political Scandal Mix and Match.

Political Scandal Mix and Match is an exciting new card game the whole family can enjoy, and it’s out just in time for Christmas. Match the Australian politician to the scandal they committed and impress family friends with your knowledge of Australia’s crumbling democracy.

Do you know who was responsible for Sports Rorts?

Can you remember who committed adultery with their own staffer?

How did Angus Taylor corrupt his office, and how did Sam Dastyari make headlines for all the wrong reasons?

These questions and more will challenge you in this fun and easy to follow matching game.

Play individually or in teams, with just two sets of cards. One set of cards contains the names of corrupt politicians. The other set contains the specific scandal the politician committed. All you have to do is match the politician to the correct scandal.

It’s That Easy!

Actually, there are a few curve balls thrown in. We can’t make it too easy. Remember that some politicians have committed more than one scandal, so you’ll have to match them with more than one card. What’s more, individual scandals often involved more than one politician, so pay attention.

Political scandals don’t just involve corruption, and this is where the game gets really interesting. Australia’s leaders have abused their office with acts of immoral and unethical behaviour, deceit, neglect and gross incompetence, and this game lets you relive the greatest moments in Australia’s recent political history.

Clear a space on the dining table because there are many cards in this game, detailing the politicians and scandals listed below:

 PoliticianParty
1Scott MorrisonLiberal
2Bridget McKenzieNational
3Angus TaylorLiberal
4Peter DuttonLiberal
5Barnaby JoyceNational
6Michaelia CashLiberal
7Sam DastyariLabour
8Stuart RobertLiberal
9Pauline HansonPHON
10John BarilaroNational
11George ChristensenNational
12Matt CanavanNational
13Andrew RobbLiberal
14Mathias CormannLiberal
15Richard ColbeckLiberal
16Malcolm RobertsPHON
17Andrew BroadNational
18David LittleproudNational
19Alexander DownerLiberal
20Josh FrydenbergLiberal
21Alan TudgeLiberal
22Paul FletcherLiberal
23Christian PorterLiberal
24Sussan LeyLiberal
25Eddie ObeidLabor
26Steve DicksonPHON
27Gladys BerejiklianLiberal
28Daryl MaguireLiberal
 Scandal
1Said Melburnians were afraid to go to restaurants because of African gang violence.
2Made a joke about rising sea levels threatening low-lying Pacific Island nations.
3Sent a text message calling a female journalist a “mad fucking witch”
4Claimed allowing Lebanese Muslims into Australia was a “mistake” and was to blame for higher crime rates in Western Sydney.
5Called refugees “illiterate and innumerate”.
6Proposed a special visa be made available to white South African farmers.
7Labelled Australian Doctor an “online leftist publication that really carries no weight”
8Refused to attend Kevin Rudd’s official apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008, and threatened to resign his portfolio over the issue.
9Overruled the advice of immigration authorities to grant a French woman a visa after being lobbied by AFL boss Gil McLachlan. The Au Pair scandal.
10Sports Rorts
11Unable to cite figures related to deaths in nursing homes, despite being minster responsible for aged care.
12Walked out of the senate while being questioned by the opposition about the aged care sector.
13Helloworld travel scandal
14Claimed that “many instances” of domestic violence allegations are made up by parents to gain custody of their children.
15Called climate change a UN conspiracy
16The sugar baby scandal. Dated and sexted with “Sweet Sophia Rose” during work trip to HK, partially paid for by taxpayers. Story published in New Idea
17had an affair with his staffer, who became pregnant, the subject of a sexual harassment allegation
18Compared gay men to rams having sex in paddocks.
19Said that the role of a father is to take their teenage daughter on a date
20Has direct family links to the $20 million Murray-Darling Basin fraud
21Murray-Darling Basin Watergate scandal
22Bought water through buyback at inflated prices and the funnelled the money to an overseas company based in the Cayman Islands
23Accepted bribes from Woodside Energy while Foreign Affairs Minister. Joined Woodside Energy after retiring from politics
24Bugged offices of Timor Leste government to assist Woodside Energy to gain rights for resource projects in Timor Sea
25Accepted bribes from Chinese officials to finalise a trade deal
26Grassgate
27Accused of criminal behaviour after keeping a man in immigration detention for five days after the man was granted a temporary protection visa.
28Robodebt
29His department released the private welfare details of a Centrelink customer.
30Accused of interfering in a police investigation after phoning the NSW police commissioner
31Witnessed the Prime Minister call NSW police commissioner during an ongoing police investigation.
32Campaign bus scandal
33Accused of falsifying information to attack Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore’s record on climate change
34Her staff alerted the media that police would raid the Melbourne offices of the Australian Workers Union in 2017
35She threatened to name female political staffers “over which… rumours abound”.
36Responsible for ‘unethical’ purchase of land for new Sydney airport. Paid $30 million, land worth $3 million
37Resigned from the front bench due to expenses scandal
38Used taxpayers’ money to attend two New Year’s Eve events hosted by a prominent Queensland businesswoman and donor
39Purchased a $795,000 luxury apartment on the Gold Coast while on a taxpayer funded trip. Claimed it was an impulse purchase.
40tried to claim almost $38,000 for his home internet bill
41Helped a friend and Liberal donor sign a deal in China while holding shares in the company at the centre of the scandal.
42Resigned amid increasing concern over his relationship with China and businessman Huang Xiangmo
43Allowed Sydney-based Top Education Institute to pay a $1,670.82 travel bill after he spent his Parliamentary travel budget.
44Acted in a corrupt manner in relation to cafe leases at Circular Quay
45Misused his position as a Member of Parliament to benefit his family’s financial interests in Direct Health Solutions
46Misused his position as a Member of Parliament to benefit his family’s financial interests in water licences over the family farm
47Sentenced to five years in jail with a non-parole period of three years
48Representations to NSW Minister for Roads on behalf of Mid-Western Regional Council for funding to seal a 1.5 km stretch of roadway near his family property near Mudgee
49Launched Dr. David van Gend’s anti-same sex marriage book
50Called for a ban on Muslim immigration from “radicalised” countries
51Appeared at anti-Islam rallies organised by Geert Wilders and the Reclaim Australia movement
52Compared Safe Schools anti-bullying program to “grooming” by paedophiles
53Tried to ban the burqa
54“why can’t we argue a conspiracy by the UN and most of the world’s scientists?”
55Subject of Australian Federal Police (AFP) enquiries about regular travel and cash transfers to the Philippines for 12 months.
56Reported to be a regular visitor to and big spender at Ponytails strip club in the Philippines
57Paid back more than $2,100 for taxpayer-funded flights and cars linked to trips to the Philippines.
58Undercover footage emerged of him making derogatory comments and touching a dancer at a strip club in Washington DC
59Solicited political donations from the NRA as the US gun lobby encouraged PHON to weaken Australia’s strict gun ownership laws
60Said Australia was “in danger of being swamped by Asians”
61Wore a burqa during Senate question time as part of her push to ban the garment.
62Claimed the 1996 Port Arthur massacre was a government conspiracy
63Failed to declare his family home
64Did not declare his membership of the North Queensland Cowboys when it received a loan from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility
65Documents she signed to give her approval of millions of dollars in grants to local councils were later shredded
66Was in a secret relationship with Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire
67He took part in a “cash-for-visa” scheme in which he received tens of thousands of dollars in commissions.
68Caught speeding in a ministerial car, along with other driving infringements
69Tore up agreements to change logging rules in New South Wales to better protect animals that survived recent bushfires
70Sparked an internal war in the NSW Government over koala habitats

This unique boardgame has no age restrictions. That’s right, anyone from nine months to ninety-nine years of age can play this game because Australia’s politicians have committed scandals involving everything from Au Pairs to Aged Care.

What are you waiting for? Order your board game now and pay only $30.00. Yes, buy it now for only $30, (or 10 easy payments of $3) Don’t hesitate, because if you buy this on Christmas Eve, it will cost $300.

Political Corruption Mix and Match, get it now for Christmas.

Image: http://www.abc.net.au

Save Centennial Glen

Centennial Glen is under threat. The parcel of natural bush land to the west of Blackheath in NSW could be turned into a scenic highway if authorities choose this option for the expansion of the Great Western Highway through the Blue Mountains.

The construction of the highway would destroy the local ecology and rid the residents of a popular local hiking trail, as well as adversely affecting many other groups such as rock climbers, school students and teachers, and local businesses.

Part of a whole

The proposed highway expansion is part of a larger project to expand the Great Western Highway all the way from Katoomba to Lithgow. Many residents between Katoomba and Lithgow are not in agreement with the project, as they believe it will be destructive in so many ways. They are also not convinced by a project which the government itself says will save only 10 minutes on the journey from Katoomba to Lithgow. 

Economic mistake

The official document from the NSW government claims the entire Great Western Highway Upgrade;

“Supports regional economic growth”

I would argue that the proposed scenic highway could harm the economy of Blackheath.

The proposed scenic highway could reduce the amount of money injected into the local community. The scenic highway would essentially act like a bypass of Blackheath. According to Transport NSW, which is responsible for the highway project, the scenic highway option would require the building of an outer bypass with bridges crossing over Shipley Road, Centennial Pass, Porters Pass Track, and over the rail line at the north.

Shipley Road is a suburban road at the southern end of Blackheath, before the main shopping area. Centennial Pass is a section of the bush land that includes part of the popular hiking trail, and Porters Pass is another section the hiking trail that winds its way through the bush.

Motorists would not pass through Blackheath. They would enter the scenic road before the town centre, and they would exit after the town centre. The road itself may become an attraction for some visitors looking to enjoy the view, but it won’t bring more money into the local economy.

Common sense tells us that motorists will not drive past the entry to the scenic road and into Blackheath for a coffee and cake, before backtracking out of Blackheath to join the proposed road. They will also not backtrack into town after exiting the scenic road. There is even less incentive to enter Blackheath, and spend money in its businesses, when perfectly acceptable coffee and cake is offered at many other towns in the Blue Mountains, including at the famous Hydro Majestic in Medlow Bath, which is just a few minutes drive away.

This is a region that has already suffered from the drop in tourists numbers due to the bush fires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rock Climbing

Walls Ledge and nearby rock faces are enormously popular with rock climbers, from near and far. The new highway would ruin one of the most popular rock climbing sites in Australia. Rock climbers not only climb in Blackheath, they also eat, drink and relax in Blackheath, and this income would be lost to the community if they went elsewhere to climb.

School

Mountains Christian College sits atop the ridge of Centennial Glen, with fantastic views and an amazing playground. The scenic highway proposal would be built very close to the school’s facilities and the construction work, and the highway itself, would cause endless noise disruption for students and teachers.

Why build a scenic highway?

Official justification for the scenic highway is that even though “…. There are likely impacts on the existing environment through the valley…” There is “…the potential to create a scenic route for locals and visitors.”

The scenic route already exists, in the form of a hiking trail. If locals and visitors want to enjoy the beautiful views over bush land and farms, they can do so on foot. You don’t need a highway or a car to admire the scenery of Centennial Glen, just a pair of sturdy walking shoes.

The hike to the viewpoints is not even particularly long or hard. From various entry points, visitors can walk along relatively flat paths across the top of the ridge, and within a few minutes enjoy the views. A longer and more strenuous hike exists down below the cliffs, and this does require walking up and down steep and slippery steps, crossing over some boulders and trudging through mud, but the famous views are accessible on top of the ridge, just a few minutes from Blackheath.

The paradox

Who spends money in Blackheath?

Who would use the scenic road?

Probably the same people.

Tourists spend a lot of money in Blackheath and throughout the Blue Mountains, but tourists are most likely to drive on the scenic road. Locals would probably drive it once or twice out of curiosity, but why would they if they’ve already seen the view on foot?

Thus, the scenic road, which is supposed to attract more visitors to the region, would prevent those same people from visiting Blackheath.

Truck drivers won’t use the scenic road. They have a set schedule and need to arrive at their destination on time in order to keep their job and their income.

Locals won’t use the scenic road. If they use the highway regularly they do so to go to work, school the shops or an appointment, and they want to arrive at that destination on time. The scenic road would only add time to their journey.

How is it possible?

Centennial Glen is a possible site for highway expansion because it is not national park. The land is council land, managed by Blue Mountains City Council. The other side of the existing highway is part of the Blue Mountains National Park, including sites such as Govett’s Leap, and this area can not be built on.

Short-term thinking

Like many government-endorsed infrastructure projects, three of the four options for the highway expansion will deliver only short-term benefit. The project is apparently designed to cater for:

“Increased transport capacity to meet future growth.”

This means more traffic. The government boasts that the highway expansion will reduce congestion and traffic jams. It will in the short term, but experts tell us that building or expanding roads does not reduce congestion in the long term. Eventually, new roads fill up with cars and traffic jams return.

Alternative transport

Like many government-endorsed infrastructure projects, it could be replaced, or at least supported, by alternative transport.

Improvements to the train service between Central (Sydney) and Lithgow (then to Bathurst) could take many cars off the road. New trains running on a modern timetable could encourage people, especially weekend tourists from Sydney, to take the train instead of driving. New trains which allow for passengers to bring luggage (for a weekend away) strollers, bicycles or other large items would cater for the large number of people who would prefer not to drive to and through the mountains, but are put off by Sydney’s outdated and insufficient public transport network.

Once on the train at Central, the trip is not that much slower than driving from Central Station/CBD to Blackheath. The train trip to Katoomba is even quicker if passengers can get the express train which continues to Bathurst.

Locals are continually advocating to save Centennial Glen. They are following accepted channels and communicating with local and state government to try to save this beautiful section of bush land. Their efforts, and updates, can be see at http://www.savecentennialglen.org