Donald Trump’s contribution to democracy.

Donald Trump may have established a dangerous precedent for modern democracy. He may have demonstrated that the more damage a leader does to a nation the more chance they have of being re-elected.

Trump lost the 2021 election to Joe Biden and the Democrats in the United States, but plans to run again in 2024 and could realistically win the next election simply because he inflicted so much damage on the nation while in office that no leader or party could fix it in just one term.

Americans expect Biden to fix many of Trump’s problems, and if he doesn’t, they may turn again to Trump.

Strategy or coincidence?

Was this Trump’s strategy from the beginning of his presidency? Did he and his advisors plan this as soon as he moved into the White House? It’s hard to imagine they did. It’s hard to imagine Trump had any plan apart from exploiting hatred and bigotry to maintain his power and protect the interests of his businesses and his allies.

It’s difficult to imagine Trump planned this failure because his reign was marked entirely by neglect; the neglect which created the myriad problems which Biden and his team must solve.

Mission impossible

Joe Biden cannot repair all of the damage Trump created. There is simply not enough time in one presidential term, especially since the underlying cause was the deliberate division Trump weaponised in his campaign and his presidency. Trump utilised existing social polarisation fomented through social media and the Murdoch press to protect his power, and entrenched this polarisation in American society. That division might be a hallmark of US society forever.

Another primary feature of Trump’s reign was publicity. He utilised the Murdoch press, or Murdoch utilised him, to advance an agenda and to win support from the ignorant gullible and impressionable masses. When Biden nears the end of his term and hasn’t fixed all of the problems Trump created, Murdoch need only repeat the same tactics to mobilise a disgruntled sector of the population to turn against Biden and vote for Trump.

The irony

Ironically, many Trump supporters suffered under Trump. They ‘voted against their best interests’ as political experts like to call it. For example, many Trump supporters are lower middle – lower class workers, who forgot, or ignored, the fact that Trump and his allies are employers and leaders of corporations who stripped workers of their rights between 2017 and 2021.

During the 2024 election campaign, Murdoch will no doubt harness this anger and direct it towards Biden in order to convince workers that they should once again vote for Trump.

Biden and his team will improve some aspects of life in the United States, because it’s impossible to get any worse, but it’s also impossible to fix all of the problems Trump created.

A dangerous precedent

Trump’s reign was closely watched throughout the world. The United States is a world superpower after all. What did world leaders, political parties and potential world leaders learn?

Did they learn that damaging a country, while protecting the interests of the leader, the party and their donors, renders the opposition’s task so difficult that the opposition is bound to fail? Once the opposition has failed, Trump’s imitators can take back power.

World leaders may never have considered this as a deliberate tactic, but Trump has shown them that it could be successful.

Trump Lite

Australia has suffered a similar fate. Recently deposed prime minister, Scott Morrison, was also known as Trump Lite and is widely regarded as the worst prime minister in the history of Australia – he was even widely despised by members of his own party.

Morrison did enormous damage to Australia. His four-year reign saw enormous damage inflicted upon areas such as the natural environment, education, Indigenous rights, women’s rights, disability services, health, aged-care services and many more.

Newly elected prime minister, Anthony Albanese of the Labor Party, has an enormous task to repair the damage Morrison and his colleagues created while in office. Many Australians, like their US counterparts, breathed a collective sigh of relief when the new party won office, but they also expect real change.

Australians expect to see improved policies and actions to fight climate change, and to lower the rising cost of living, return integrity to politics and to fix the enormous problems in education, aged-care, disability services, Indigenous communities and many other areas. The danger for Albanese and his party is that they may not have enough time to solve enough problems to win the trust of the Australian public. Remember, also, that voting is compulsory in Australia so many people must be kept happy in order for a politician or party to stay in office.

The dangerous precedent Trump set, and which people like Morrison copied, could create nations so damaged that no opposition party can sufficiently repair the damage before the next election.

Image: http://www.washingtonpost.com

Scott Morrison finally gets what he wants.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has finally been accepted as a real tradie after being exposed in a segment on A Current Affair.

Morrison was left floundering during an interview with host Tracey Grimshaw on a program which devotes itself to exposing dodgy tradies, repairmen and other occupations that Scott has imitated since becoming prime minister.

Viewers of A Current Affair watched Morrison suffer a ‘brutal takedown’ during the interview with Grimshaw, which aired on a channel which has been very sympathetic to the prime minister since he came to power. It came about the same time that Morrison rudely dismissed a journalist’s question as to why he has not appeared on NITV, the national Indigenous network, during the election campaign.

A Current Affair follows the formula of any modern commercial current affairs program. It runs countless stories exposing small-time cheats and scammers such as dodgy tradies, fridge repairmen, loan sharks, lawyers or small businesses, instead of pursuing big time cheaters such as political doners or the politicians themselves. It goes after very easy targets. If it does run stories on politicians, it is likely to be an ‘expose’ of a local council’s failure to repair a few potholes.

A Current Affair is nowhere near ‘investigative journalism’, and yet Morrison couldn’t even survive an interview on a show of this nature.

Ironically, Morrison has now been reduced to the status of the people he has been imitating in endless photo opportunities since coming to power. He has pretended to weld, drive trucks, use military hardware, bake, pour beer, build a cubbyhouse, run water for a football team and even wash a woman’s hair in a salon.

If only A Current Affair and its counterparts would run a story exposing his failure to be prime minister.

Image: Getty Images

Was it ScoMo or Hanson?

Who is responsible, Scott Morrison or Pauline Hanson?

Which of these Australian politicians is responsible for the destruction of yet more Australian wildlife?

Morrison and Hanson both handled wombats in recent years and now a large proportion of the nation’s wombats suffer from mange. Coincidence?

Mange is one of the biggest killers of wombats. The mange mite buries itself under the wombat’s skin triggering extreme itchiness which makes the wombat scratch, causing open wounds and scabs to form.  These become infected, the wombat loses condition, becomes dehydrated, malnourished and slowly dies. The good news is, it can be treated.

The Wombat Protection Society of Australia is working to eliminate that threat. WPSA is a national non-profit organisation created to raise awareness and money in order to provide wombats with immediate protection from harm. WPSA enhances quality of life, funds projects that develop and protect suitable habitat, and provides sanctuaries for Australian wombats.

Mange is considered to be the major health issue impacting wombat welfare. It is caused by the parasitic mite sarcoptes scabiei, and the society has brought attention and action to this issue by encouraging and supporting research and collaboration in the treatment and prevention of mange in both free living and in-care wombats.

Wombat conservation occurs throughout Australia but is carried out almost exclusively by volunteers. Very little government funding is provided to wombat protection groups, and Morrison and Hanson could change this; Morrison especially. Instead, both politicians exploited wombats for photo opportunities instead of substantially increasing funding for their protection.

The One Nation leader posed for a bizarre photo with a distressed wombat while campaigning. She straddled it before appearing to knee it in the back in a move that’s not even legal in the NRL or Super Rugby. That wombat is likely to be suffering a lot more than mange.

Morrison appears extremely uncomfortable handling the wombat during his photo opp, but one can’t expect a man to offer empathy to an animal if he can’t even offer it to humans.

Morrison and Hanson attract an equal amount of suspicion. Both are populist leaders more capable of slogans and photo opportunities than actual policy formation or genuine action. Both utilise racism and the gullibility of semi-literate Australians to maintain their power, and both have a terrible track record on issues of environmental sustainability during their terms.

So who gave the mange to Australia’s lovable native animals?

Was it Scott Morrison or Pauline Hanson?

Images: AAP, ABC

Who should lead a nation?

There are two types of leaders: boring administrators and inspirational heroes.

Who would you prefer to lead your country?

Personally, I want a boring administrator to lead my nation. Boring administrators fulfill the role of a national leader, which is to essentially ensure that schools are funded, rubbish is collected, hospitals are staffed and trains run on time. It’s a boring job, best performed by boring people. Politicians are public servants and the highest ranking politician in the land is the highest ranking public servant in the land. A highly-paid and famous public servant, but still a public servant.

Unfortunately, too many world leaders have forgotten this, and have succumbed to the temptation to be seen as strong, charismatic, brave heroes.

Politicians do paperwork. Ultimately, that is their job. They review current policies regarding public services. They draft new policies and negotiate to have them implemented. Politicians on all sides of the political spectrum will strive to have their world view reflected in policy, but ultimately all of them are administrators.

That’s not to say politicians are boring per se. They can be as exciting and interesting as they want in their free time. They can front alternative rock bands, make funky art, do extreme sports or whatever they want, as long as they remember that when they are performing their role as a politician, they are supposed to be boring.

Brave, inspirational, strong and charismatic leaders struggle to combine substance with their style.

Donald Trump epitomises style over substance. His substantial fortune funded a slick public relations campaign which won him the election and kept him in office. He deliberately positioned himself as a strong, charismatic leader making bold statements to persuade impressionable voters to elect him. It worked. He even coined the phrase ‘Fake News’ to drown out the voices of reason, the voices of the boring administrators who offered the electorate statistics, facts and objective information gleaned from the boring paperwork they had done in their role as public servants. Trump reigned as a populist leader who was apparently strong and brave, and did nothing to serve the public. If you vote for strong leaders, you risk creating another Trump.

In Mexico some years ago, people vowed to vote for Enrique Pena Nieto because he is ‘muy guapo’, or very good looking. Perhaps not the best reason to vote for a president. It worked, though, and he became president, but few people would nominate Mexico as a land of public service efficiency.

Leaders such as Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Boris Johnson in the UK and Scott Morrison in Australia have also fallen into the Trump trap. They posit themselves as strong, courageous leaders who can improve and protect their country, but forego the boring administrative tasks required of a leader.

Scott Morrison is called ‘Trump Lite’ and famously displayed his organisational incompetence during the recent Australian bushfire crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and the damaging floods. A boring administrator would have saved many Australian plants and animals, homes and people’s lives.

Morrison also makes endless statements claiming to ‘stand up to’ fellow world leaders in times of crisis. He famously attacks China when his popularity wanes and pretends to be courageous towards the emerging superpower. The statements increase his popularity among gullible, impressionable voters (and the racists) who demand inspirational, brave leaders, but they are not the wise words of a skilled administrator addressing the country’s largest trading partner. A boring administrator would treat China appropriately, and protect Australia’s economy and exports.

Brave, strong charismatic leaders often need an enemy. They will often create one to appear strong, and this can manifest as real life conflict.

Morrison’s predecessor also succumbed to popularism. Former prime minister Tony Abbott flaunted his impressive muscular physique honed through daily exercise, and implied that it was central to his ability to run the country. Yes, it was impressive for a man of his age, but do you need a six pack to manage tax rates? He also promised to shirt-front Vladimir Putin at a world leader’s summit, before eventually shaking his hand and smiling. Not only did he fail to deliver his promise, he also placated voters who expect a leader to be physically strong and brave, rather than boring and intelligent. He also forgot that you can’t shirt-front someone who never wears a shirt.

Putin is himself a strong, charismatic leader. He poses endlessly in photos boasting of his physical virility and prowess. He portrays himself as a strong leader and he eventually believed his own hype. Experts attribute his invasion of Ukraine to his ego, and his desperation to be seen as a strong leader, in the vein of a conqueror determined to restore the glory of Russia and the former Soviet Union. If you vote for strong leaders, you run the risk of creating another Putin.

Strong leaders keep us safe.

This is a popular belief and refrain. Proponents point to leaders like Winston Churchill as examples of charismatic and brave leaders who protected a nation during times of war. Yes, a brave leader might guide us through a war, making rousing speeches of courage and resilience, vowing to face the enemy anywhere at any time, even on the beaches. But a skilled administrator, a boring public servant, could prevent us from going to war in the first place.

“She’s got no balls.”

You’d hope not, because then she wouldn’t be a she – but that’s a different discussion. The quote comes from an acquaintance discussing candidates in an upcoming local election, made in reference to the incumbent female representative. The conservative, middle-aged man believed the woman wasn’t strong, brave, confident or aggressive enough to lead their region.

Why?

They didn’t say. They just believed she had no balls. Clearly they expected a leader with as much style as substance, perhaps even more of the former. They didn’t want a boring public servant.

Media darlings

Modern politicians must exist within the modern media landscape. They must present well and this will force all of them to consider ‘optics’ before and during their political term. However, many politicians prioritise optics too greatly and neglect their duties. Only voters can prevent leaders from concentrating too heavily on optics and instead force them to dedicate themselves to their work.

Next time you consider who to vote for in an election, ask yourself:

Does charisma staff hospitals?

Does charisma care for the elderly?

Does charisma improve children’s literacy?

Does charisma make the trains run on time?

Does charisma keep wages high?

Does charisma create employment?

Also remember this:

Boring politicians do their job and let us get on with our lives.

Boring politicians are not noticed, except when they make mistakes. When the trains don’t run on time, hospitals are understaffed, school children are left without teachers and roads are full of potholes, politicians are noticed. They shouldn’t be. They should administer our nations and regions and remain in the background.

Boring politicians avoid the headlines. Boring politicians resist the lure of fame, they ignore the temptation of the perfect soundbite or witty retort at their opponents.

Boring politicians are more efficient. Thus, you spend less time dealing with their departments, and more time enjoying your own life.

Image: Aditya Joshi

Have You Seen This Man?

Authorities and welfare organisations are attempting to identify and locate a man seen wandering Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs pleading with local sporting clubs to become their no. 1 ticket holder.

The man is believed to have grown up in the region and is described as Caucasian, middle-aged, chubby and bespectacled, who is ‘…otherwise unremarkable aside from an affixed smirk which is equally arrogant and condescending”

The desperate man was first sighted in Bondi Junction wearing a Sydney Roosters jersey and baseball cap. Witnesses say he ordered a beer at Artie’s before approaching club bosses, muttering,

“How good are the Roosters!” and demanding to be made the club’s no.1 ticket holder for season 2022 and beyond.

The dejected figure was then seen in Kingsford a few hours later in cardinal and myrtle, claiming to be best friends with Rus. He ordered a beer at Henry Morris Bar and demanded to be made no.1 ticket holder of the Rabbitohs.

Stories of similar sightings throughout the East then emerged.

“Yeah, that’s the guy we saw a while ago,” confirmed club bosses at Randwick Rugby Union Club.

“Dressed in our jersey and scarf, ordered a beer and forced everyone to shake his hand. Kept saying; ‘How good are the galloping greens’ then said Campo’s gonna have a great season, and asked if the Ella brothers were all fit. We felt sorry for him until he demanded to be made no.1 ticket holder, then we showed him the door.”

Beasties stalwarts recounted their own tale of the listless wanderer.

“Seen some strange things at footy clubs, you know, boys will be boys, but this was bizarre. Decked out in full playing kit, even the shorts – not pretty – strolled into The Field and ordered a beer and insisted on meeting a board member. One of our execs decided to humour the poor guy, but when she introduced herself, he scoffed and demanded to meet a ‘real’ board member. That’s when our props did some lineout practice and dumped him on O’Sullivan Road.”

Authorities also received complaints about the unwelcome intruder from the Waratahs, Sydney Swans and Sydney FC, as well as Sydney Coastal Junior Cricket Club.

Sydney Coastal staff immediately contacted police after the man appeared at a junior competition saying,

“I know Dave Warner and Kaja, Kawi, Kijawa…you know, the foreign bloke.”

“We made it clear we want nothing to do with him – I mean, we’ve got kids at this club.”

Law enforcement and mental health experts have not identified a precise cause for the behaviour, which began in the lead up to the most recent federal election. Police are also investigating a possible link with an eerily similar case at Shark Park in early 2016.

Image: Craig Greenhill

First published in The Beast magazine, March 2022.

Scott Morrison faces yet another attack.

Embattled Prime Minister Scott Morrison is under more pressure after an online petition was launched to remove him as no.1 ticket holder of the Cronulla Sharks rugby league team.

The petition is called New no.1 Sharks fan and is yet another sign that the leader of Australia is becoming less and less popular with the public, just as he is poised to announce a federal election.

Morrison has been no. 1 ticket holder of the club since 2016 and is a familiar sight at home games at Shark Park. He often appears in team colours during photo opportunities and has made himself so synonymous with the region that he earned the nickname LiarFromTheShire.

The petition is proposing that Morrison be removed from the role for a number of reasons. It claims that he is an imposter because he grew up in the Eastern Suburbs and only started supporting the club after moving to The Shire. It also claims that changing a footy team halfway through life is ‘UnAustralian’ and that he should be replaced in the role by someone who has a proven link to the club and has contributed meaningfully.

The petition is currently collecting signatures from the Australian public and will reportedly be sent to the Sharks if it attracts enough interest. Club bosses will then be asked to put the proposal to a vote, and let registered members decide if Morrison stays or goes.

Image: Craig Greenhill

Sydney Boys High School becomes a trade school.

Sydney Boys High School will become a trade school in honour of old-boy Scott Morrison and his endless attempts to be a tradie.

The academically-selective school in Sydney will now be known as Moore Park Boys Heteronormative Pentecostal Vocational Learning Centre (MPBHPVLC), and will teach only vocational courses.

Boys will no longer study Extension Maths or English, nor French continuers, Economics or Physics, and must instead study for careers which Morrison has pretended to do while prime minister.

Courses will be offered in hairdressing, welding and forklift driving, and any other career involving hi-vis and a hard hat. A military cadet unit has also been established and will teach boys how to stand menacingly over a map like a Field Marshal.

Another major change to the school is the introduction of religion. The heteronormative students will pray between every lesson and will start the day with the Lord’s prayer. Chaplains will replace school counsellors and Economics classes will make way for lectures on tax avoidance and attracting government subsidies.

Sydney Boys High School thus becomes the first academically-selective school to convert to vocational education and its fate will be closely monitored by Morrison’s alma mater UNSW, as it considers whether to rename itself Kensington Tech.

One subject that will remain at MPBHPVLC is politics, so that boys can pretend to be prime minister, something Morrison has been doing since 2018.

Image: Element5Digital

Parliament or Prison? The new Aussie family boardgame.

Gather the whole family for the most exciting boardgame to hit your loungeroom, and celebrate the impending federal election with Parliament or Prison?

Pick a card and read the real life scenarios of atrocious behaviour in Australian society, before deciding whether the offender is in parliament or in prison.

You might be horrified by the answer – but that’s what makes this game so captivating!

Play it in teams or as an individual, and find out which of your friends or relatives can guess the most correct answers and be declared the winner. Every time you answer a question correctly, you move up one seat from the back bench, and the winner is the first player to be elected ‘Prime Minister’.

Get yourself in gear for the next federal election by guessing the fate of the people involved in the following scenarios:

Where is the man who was accused of raping a young woman during a debating competition? Is he in prison?

What about the person/people who covered up the alleged rape of a younger staffer in parliament house, Canberra? Are they behind bars or running the country?

What happened to the person caught smoking marijuana?

What happened to the people who cut $14 million from the national audit office, after that office discovered substantial improprieties and wasteful spending (such as the sports rorts). Are they in prison or in parliament?

What is the fate of the person legally seeking asylum in Australia?

Where is the person responsible for paying 10 times too much for land for the new Sydney airport? 

Who voted against a binding code of conduct designed to ensure politicians act with integrity, and prevented parliament from debating whether to set up a National Integrity Commission? Where are they now?

Where is the young man caught drunk in public, driving without a licence and shoplifting?

What about those who gave $345,000 to News Corp to build a spelling bee website, handing the excessive amount of cash to a company whose industry is neither website building nor education. Are they in prison or in power?

Who loosened political donation laws, and who ignored a ruling of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal? Are they running an undercover racket in prison, or looking forward to a fat parliamentary pension?

What happened to the man who forced a young female bushfire victim to shake his hand?

Where is the Labor politician who admitted to taking huge bribes from shady Chinese businessmen?

What about the independent politicians caught trying to sell Australia to the US gun lobby?

Who let Aged Care descend into a cruel, heartless, dangerous shambles? Is he is parliament, in prison, or at the cricket?

Parliament or Prison? is like Game of Knowledge or Trivial Pursuit, but with much greater real life consequences.

This fun, informative and educational game will enthrall, entertain and shock every Australian. Marvel at the grossly corrupt and unethical behaviour of our nation’s leaders, and contemplate why they are not in prison. Conversely, find out what kind of crimes land people in prison, and ponder why they are not in parliament.

Play the games with your kids to help them understand why their planet is burning.

Invite some millenials over for a game and show them why they’ll never be able to buy a house, no matter how much smashed avo they forego.

Play with your favourite Baby Boomers and scare them out of even considering an Aged Care facility.

Parliament or Prison?

Buy it in toy stores or online for $24.95, or get a personally-signed copy from your favourite politician for only $150,000.

Image: Markus Winkler

Controversy surrounds Moana Pasifika.

The Moana Pasifika Super Rugby team has decided to boycott its first ever game just hours before kick off in order to protest inaction on climate change. The players from Pacific Island nations are demanding that countries like Australia do more to reverse climate change which threatens Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and the Cook Islands.

“Sea levels are rising and already threatening the homelands of the players which make up this team,” began a statement from the new franchise.

“This is caused by climate change, and climate change is being driven by wealthy countries such as Australia, where we will play many of our games and where some of the players have played and lived for years. We made this difficult decision after much discussion and in order to draw attention to this urgent issue.”

The statement went on to explain how Australia has the highest per capita carbon footprint of any nation on earth and is contributing greatly to the climate crisis. The country, which is home to four Super Rugby franchises, continues to burn and export coal, and is planning to expand the fossil fuel industry.

Furthermore, various members of the new Moana Pasifika team have played for the Wallabies.

“Our players are already seeing the lands of their ancestors adversely affected by rising sea levels. Salt water from the ocean is mixing with fresh water and ruining the crops on which people have relied for generations. If fossil fuels continue to be dug up and burned, entire low-lying islands could be underwater and residents would lose their homes.”

“For this reason, we have put family and country head of the sport we love and decided to boycott our first ever game. We hope the boycott will convince rugby fans and rugby loving politicians to move Australia away from fossil fuels and other destructive practices, and towards a future with renewable energy.”

Players from other Super Rugby teams expressed their support for the stand via social media, as many of them have Pasifika heritage.

In response, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison tweeted a photo of himself in his Cronulla Sharks rugby league jersey.

Image: http://www.moanapasifika.co.nz