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August 2018

ABC News - removing Abbott "A Relief", removing Turnbull "A Form of Madness"

Exhibit One - removing Tony Abbott was a "Relief"

ABC News reports reaction to Malcolm Turnbull appointment - "Relief"

This is the news, brought to you by the ABC.

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Exhibit Two - Removing Turnbull was a "form of madness"

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Conservatives felt that way about Tony Abbott being done over.

The people who hold those ABC sentiments are more likely to vote Greens or Labor than to support the Coalition.

A form of madness to remove Turnbull?  No, the madness came a lot earlier when he was allowed into the party.

Turnbull's letter to Wentworth constituents - "I'll be resigning later this week"

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Here's his letter to constituents confirming he's resigning his seat in the Parliament "later on this week".

There are 3 stages to it -  a preamble that includes this:

thank you to the thousands of Australians who have written to me thanking me for my public service and expressing their disgust at the shameful events of last week.

Then the letter which is itself a preamble to the "Delivering for You" aka My Legacy docco.

 I am writing to thank you for giving me the honour of representing Wentworth in the House of Representatives these past 14 years.

Your support has enabled me to be a Minister and, for the past almost three years, Prime Minister.

Everything I have achieved for Australia in public life has been due to you - built on the foundation of this community, which Lucy and I love and where we have always lived.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I don’t want to dwell on recent shocking and shameful events - a malevolent and pointless week of madness that disgraced our Parliament and appalled our nation.

As you know, I have always said that the best place for former PMs is out of the Parliament, and recent events amply demonstrate why.

I will be resigning as the Member for Wentworth later this week and you should expect a by-election before too long. So this is my last letter to you as your federal member.

It has been at times a wild ride, but together we have achieved an enormous amount. I am very proud, especially, of the achievements of the Government over the past almost three years.

With a one-seat majority in the House and a minority in the Senate many said that this Government would be “in office but not in power”. We disproved that.

We legalised Same Sex Marriage - and did so with overwhelming public support across the nation and especially here in Wentworth, where over 80 per cent voted YES for marriage equality.

We delivered, as we promised, more jobs and stronger economic growth. Last year was Australia’s best year ever for jobs growth, and at 3.1 per cent our GDP growth rate is higher than any of the G7 economies.

And in doing that we were able to repair the budget and reduce taxes - both for individuals and 3.3 million small and medium-sized businesses employing 6.8 million Australians.

A stronger economy, of course, produces stronger government revenues and it has enabled us to invest record amounts into education and health. Don’t believe Labor’s lies about us cutting health spending - it has never been higher!

In another historic reform, we have, for the first time, delivered consistent national and needs-based Commonwealth school funding.

While the Liberal Party struggles to find internal consensus on climate change policies, we have nonetheless made real strides to support the transition to cleaner, renewable energy sources and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The Snowy Hydro 2.0 pumped storage project will make renewables reliable. It is an example of the practical approach I have taken to the energy challenge, where economics and engineering are better guides than ideology and, all too often, sheer idiocy.

And through strong action we have been able to make energy more affordable. After years of price increases we have turned the corner on electricity costs!

Snowy 2.0 is only one of many huge infrastructure projects the Turnbull Government has got under way: the Western Sydney Airport and all the rail and roads that go with it, the Melbourne-to-Brisbane Inland Rail and so much more totalling $75 billion over the next decade.

There is no greater obligation on Government than keeping Australians safe. The Turnbull Government embarked on the largest re-equipment of our armed forces in peacetime.

In particular, I am very proud of our naval shipbuilding plan, the nation’s largest-ever program of naval shipbuilding and sustainment that will create thousands of high tech 21st century jobs in advanced manufacturing.

With sweeping reforms we have strengthened our intelligence, security and law enforcement services. There has been no set-and-forget on national security.

And at a time of growing global tensions and rising uncertainty, Australia remains a steadfast example of a harmonious, egalitarian and enterprising nation. We are the most successful multicultural society in the world and our diversity is our greatest strength.

On the international scene, against all the odds, we kept the Trans Pacific Partnership alive despite President Trump’s withdrawal - and in doing so protected billions of dollars worth of exports and thousands of Australian jobs. We ensured that the US did not impose tariffs on Australian steel or aluminium, as it did with other countries.

And with my friend President Widodo, we committed to a free-trade agreement with Indonesia, which is due to be signed by this weekend.

We secured and then maintained a refugee resettlement deal with the US, with more than 370 refugees that Labor put on Manus and Nauru now resettled in the US. And there was not one successful people-smuggling expedition to Australia during my time as Prime Minister.

There is a lot more about our Government and its achievements - which remember you made possible - on my webpage

After we take some time out to rest up, Lucy and I will be back and look forward to seeing you in the neighbourhood here in Wentworth - the best part of the best country in the world.

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Turnbull

And this is his legacy according to him.

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The Turnbull Government was a thoroughly Liberal Government, committed to individual freedom and opportunity.

Three years ago I said that as Prime Minister I would deliver strong economic leadership and, from the time I launched our National Innovation and Science Agenda in November 2015, that’s exactly what I have done.

The policies of my government have delivered record jobs growth, lower unemployment, less dependence on welfare and more opportunities for all Australians, not just a select few.

Stronger economic growth has enabled us to turn the corner on government debt, bring the budget back into balance a year earlier than forecast, spend record amounts on health, education, infrastructure and national security and, at the same time, reduce taxes for individuals and small and medium businesses - overwhelmingly Australian and family owned.

I am proud of our many achievements, including:

  • Legislating for marriage equality and doing so with overwhelming support from the Australian people.

  • Bringing greater prominence and much-needed funding to one of our nation’s gravest challenges, violence against women and children.

  • Establishing a national redress scheme for the victims of child sexual abuse, and providing record support for mental health services

  • Committing record funding for infrastructure, hospitals and Medicare, fully funding the NDIS, and reversing the unpopular decisions from the 2014 Budget - all made possible by our strong economy

  • Providing affordable access to $8.1 billion worth of new life-saving medicines

  • Providing record drought assistance for our farmers and drought-affected communities across NSW and Queensland who are experiencing the toughest conditions in recent memory

  • Bringing an end to the years of toxic, divisive debate about schools funding with the largest, fairest reforms to schools funding in our nation’s history

  • Introducing the biggest reforms to childcare in 40 years, ensuring those on lower incomes receive the highest level of support

  • Delivering record jobs growth, with the 400,000-plus new jobs created in 2017 the strongest in any year in our history

  • Defending the rule of law on worksites and standing up for Australian workers by establishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission and ending corrupt payments between big business and unions

  • Cutting taxes for more than three million small and medium businesses up to $50 million turnover,  which employ half the nation’s workforce

  • Cutting income taxes for every working Australian, benefiting middle-income earners this year and, when the full reform is complete in 2024, ensuring 94 per cent of workers will pay no more than 32.5c of any additional dollar they earn

  • Delivering the toughest multinational tax avoidance laws in the OECD, ensuring that all companies pay their fair share of tax

  • Leaving the budget in the strongest position since the Global Financial Crisis, and on track to return to surplus next year

  • Turning the corner on energy prices, ending the shortage of gas on the East Coast and with a range of reforms that will save families and small businesses hundreds of dollars a year

  • Making innovation a national priority through our National Innovation and Science Agenda, which has helped startup businesses access record funding

  • Starting work on a record $75 billion infrastructure program, including nation-building projects such as Snowy Hydro 2.0, the Western Sydney Airport and the Melbourne Airport Rail Link

  • Prioritising pumped hydro storage, the key to making intermittent renewables like wind and solar reliable. Snowy Hydro 2.0 will be the largest pumped hydro scheme in the Southern Hemisphere and it will be accompanied by other projects we have developed including Tasmania’s “Battery of the Nation”.

  • Acquiring from NSW and Victoria their shares in Snowy Hydro making it, as it should be, wholly owned by the Commonwealth.

  • Taking a new, collaborative approach for the Federal Government in Cities policy. Instead of being just a giver of grants - a dumb ATM - we established City Deals where the Commonwealth, State and local government agree on their objectives and then work together to realise them. And where the Commonwealth will invest as a partner. Already we have City Deals under way in Townsville, Launceston and Western Sydney with City Deals being negotiated in Geelong, Hobart, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin. The approach can also apply to regional areas and we recently committed to a Regional Deal for Tennant Creek and the Barkly Shire.

  • Securing new free trade export deals, including the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Peru Australia Free Trade Agreement, enhancing our existing deal with Singapore, and negotiating a new free trade deal with Indonesia which is due to be signed on 1 September 2018.

  • Ensuring Australian exports of steel and aluminium are not hit with US tariffs or quotas - protecting thousands of jobs.

  • Protecting Australia’s sovereignty through countering foreign interference and covert and corrupt influence

  • Keeping our borders secure, with not one successful people-smuggling expedition to Australia during my time as Prime Minister

  • Securing a refugee resettlement deal with the US, with so far more than 370 refugees that Labor put on Manus and Nauru now settled in the US

  • Reviving  Australia’s defence industry with our $89 billion naval shipbuilding program, including 54 vessels under construction or design - the largest commitment since the Second World War

I have always stood up for Australia on the international stage. No matter who I was dealing with I put Australians first: from securing the resettlement deal for asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru, to defending the jobs of our steelworkers, fighting to maintain the TPP and the thousands of jobs it will secure.

Importantly, we have delivered on our greatest responsibility of all: to keep Australians safe during a time of unprecedented threats.

The new laws of my government have cracked down on foreign interference, given our troops greater powers to target terrorists in the field, and enabled the detention of criminals who pose an ongoing threat to our nation.

Under my leadership, we maintained the Coalition’s strong record on border protection. There were no unauthorised boat arrivals while I was Prime Minister.

We set out Australia’s strategic and defence priorities for the coming decade in our Foreign Policy and Defence White Papers. These have helped inform our record defence investments and our international engagement, all designed to keep Australians safe.

And at a time of growing nationalist sentiment across the world, I have opposed racism and division at every turn, ensuring Australia remains the most harmonious, egalitarian and enterprising nation, embracing diversity.

When I was elected Prime Minister I spoke of the optimism I hoped to bring to the role.

I said then that Australians can be confident about their future - that our best years are ahead of us and, three years later, they still are.


He's also got a letter in the Wentworth Courier.

Found plenty of time to get all that together - must have missed the item on the check-list "remove Prime Minister title" from website etc.

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Regular readers of the Wentworth Courier might be bewildered.

A week is a long time in politics.

Just a week ago Malcolm pledged he'd still be Wentworth's local member no matter what.

I'd treat the claims in his look-at-me stuff the same way as I treat the article below.

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Queensland Government puts $100K into pet dog weight loss business

This is the small but perfectly formed Kate Jones, Minister for Innovation in the Queensland Labor Government.

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Ministers for Innovation have to do stuff to prove they're innovating.  

That means spending money on stuff more conventional investors won't touch.

In Kate's case it's big money.  This month alone Kate has given away $8.3M in taxpayer grants to innovators.

Kate's program is much like Malcolm and Wyatt Roy's.  Big website, big name and big money for some crazy ideas.

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Yesterday the Ignite Idea Fund lit a match to $100,000 worth of real taxpayer money with this bottler of a government funded innovation.

Jenny Craig for dogs.

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The Project had Yassmin on to tell us lack of diversity & old white guys caused the Liberals dramas

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It's quite an insightful actual quote.   Magied says "If anyone ever comes at me and says women can't do something or people-of-colour can't do something I'll be like, is this the best you white men have?"

I don't think I've ever heard someone in public life say women or people-of-colour can't "do' politics.  It's just a made up glib line that suits her act and gets gobbled up by shows like The Project.

I put this up through gritted teeth  - in the end I think it's important to understand what plays out on mainstream media.

Doesn't say much for the quality of the (giggle, giggle, giggle) political debate they dish up.

Peter Van Onselen must be very proud.

Ms Abdel-Magied warned us last week.........

Australia, I’m comin’ for ya. Whassgood? #InsertLibSpillJokeHere... 😭 . . . Forreal tho, my parents migrated from Sudan to get away from the whole shady government business. This week has been a trip. . . . Do y’all remember where you were when the first spill happened, Gillard & Rudd? I was a uni student, hanging in a cafe w @lauragartry and we thought it was the wildest thing. Little did we know, it was only the beginning...

Vic Lib MP Julia Banks announces resignation - blames bullying by Labor and her own party

Ms Banks was the only federal Liberal to win a seat from Labor at Turnbull's 2016 union corruption-busting double dissolution election.

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It's a key marginal seat - wikipedia tells us:

The Division of Chisholm is an Australian Electoral Division in Victoria. The division was created in 1949 and is named for Caroline Chisholm, a social worker and promoter of women's immigration. It is located in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, and includes the suburbs of Ashwood, Blackburn South, Box Hill, Burwood, Chadstone, Huntingdale, Mont Albert, Mount Waverley, and parts of Clayton, Forest Hill, Oakleigh and Surrey Hills.

On its original boundaries, it was a comfortably safe Liberal seat centered on Camberwell. However, successive redistributions from 1980 onward have moved the electorate south-east, taking in strongly Labor-voting suburbs to balance out the relatively affluent Liberal-leaning suburbs in the north of the seat, and making the seat marginal. The first member for Chisholm, Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes, was one of Australia's most distinguished soldiers and a former Olympian, who held the seat until his death on 31 July 1970.

Labor finally took the seat in the 1983 landslide that brought Bob Hawke to power, only to lose it in 1987. Anna Burkebecame the second Labor member ever to win it in 1998 election and held it until her retirement in 2016. Julia Bankswon the seat for the Liberals at the 2016 election, becoming the only Liberal challenger to take a seat off Labor at that election.

Are WA Police running a protection racket for Bruce WILSON and GILLARD?

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On 30 July this year retired detective sergeant Dave McAlpine wrote to WA's Police Commissioner to advise him of the existence of new evidence in the Gillard/Wilson slush fund investigation.

On 15 August a detective sergeant from WA's Serious and Organised Crime Division replied on the Commissioner's behalf:

"..should you or someone else be in receipt of additional evidence that you believe has not been considered you are invited to provide that to this office so that an assessment of its relevance and impact can be made."

As a result of that letter, Dave and I had a number of discussions - the end result was that we agreed to take the police up on their offer.   We agreed to prepare a detailed brief of admissible evidence against a range of crooks.

I flew to northern Thailand to be with Dave and we got cracking!

It's not a simple or quick task.

We've been contacting witnesses, taking statements, arranging for the correct witnessing/jurat administration and the like.  We've been doing it for free - at no cost to the state or anyone else.

On Sunday we went public and told you what we've been doing.

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Yesterday we published the police letter inviting us to submit the additional evidence.

Well, we've clearly hit a nerve.


I want you to know something about Dave and me.

We don't frighten easily.  

And we don't tolerate crooks regardless of how nice their jewellery or suits are.

It's risible that the WA Police, having issued an invitation for us to submit fresh evidence would write to say that regardless of what we've got, they won't reopen the investigation.

They haven't seen so much as a single page of this new and damning material.

But there are other ways to bring this evidence to the courts.

Our system of democracy and the rule of law provides citizens with many safeguards.  There are ways and means to have administrative decisions like this one reviewed.

Dave's a seasoned campaigner and I've been through the school of hard knocks too.

This doesn't end here.  Nothing has changed for Dave and me.  Not one jot.  We forge ahead.

Never give up.

PS - we also try to be well mannered gentlemen and to keep our correspondence in order.

Yesterday, Dave and I wrote to the WA Police Commissioner to make it clear that we'd accepted his police service's original invitation.

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Every touch leaves its trace.


The Liberal Party has picked up some slimeballs along the way

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Michael Photios.

Early this morning I was weighing up whether or not to reprise Paul Sheehan's story.

I'm fortunate to have a great brains trust and I sought advice from a mate I respect.

Mate do you think it's wise to revisit this or will it piss people off  - "Give him a chance, don't dish the dirt etc etc?"

He said

Worth doing. 
That poor bastard was destroyed by Morrison/Photios and their damaging dark arts. 

Here's Paul Sheehan's story on how Scott Morrison came to be an MP.

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News Limited was willing to pay dearly for this story not to be published. It first offered a $110,000 payment, plus a private apology, to avoid going to court. But the price it demanded was that the matter be kept confidential. The company was told to take a jump. See you in court.

The Daily Telegraph had published four stories about Michael Towke which he believed had defamed him, destroyed his political career, and caused untold stress to his family. ''These stories sent my mother to hospital,'' he told me. ''They demonised me. I wanted to confront them in court.''

Michael Towke's preselection for the federal Liberal seat of  Cook in Sydney's Sutherland Shire was scuttled by a smear campaign.

Michael Towke's preselection for the federal Liberal seat of Cook in Sydney's Sutherland Shire was scuttled by a smear campaign.

Photo: Jon Reid

But a court was not where News wanted to see Towke. ''They spent a lot of money fighting me,'' he said. ''Their lawyers made me jump through every hoop. They asked me 30 pages of questions.''

Near the eve of the court date, lawyers for the subsidiary which publishes the Telegraph, Nationwide News Pty Ltd, offered the confidentiality package, which Towke emphatically rejected.On the eve of the trial, Nationwide came up with another offer: $50,000, plus costs, plus removing the offending articles from the internet and dropping the confidentiality requirement. On the advice of counsel, Towke accepted.

He was never willing to accept any settlement that was confidential, despite the risk that entailed. ''I was willing to bankrupt myself to clear my name,'' he said.

Here is his story.

Michael Towke is 34. He attended Marcellin College, Randwick. He is a Lebanese Christian, a practising Catholic and the eldest of eight children. He has a first-class honours degree in engineering and a BA, both from the University of Sydney, and won the Alan Davis Prize, the top prize for sociology.

He has an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. At 17, he joined the Army Reserve and served for 20 months. He is president of the Sylvania conference of the St Vincent de Paul Society and has been volunteering for Vinnies since he was 15. He works as a telecommunications engineer. He has lived in the Sutherland Shire for 10 years.

Towke is also a long-serving member of the Liberal Party. In July 2007 he won preselection for the then safe federal Liberal seat of Cook. He was set to replace the outgoing member, Bruce Baird. The contest attracted a large field, including Paul Fletcher, who recently won Liberal preselection for Bradfield (vacated by the former Liberal leader Brendan Nelson), and a former state director of the NSW Liberal party, Scott Morrison.

Towke won easily. On the first ballot, he polled 10 times as many votes as Morrison, 82 votes to 8, who was eliminated in the first round. His victory meant that a Lebanese Australian would represent the Liberal Party in the seat where the Cronulla riot and revenge raids had taken place 18 months earlier, in December 2005. ''The campaign against me started four days after preselection,'' Towke said.

Two senior people within the Liberal Party, whose identity is known to a widening circle within the party, went through Towke's nomination papers to find every possible discrepancy and weakness. Then they started calling selected journalists to tell them Towke was a liar. The first story appeared in The Daily Telegraph on July 18, 2007, under the headline, ''Liberal ballot scandal in Howard's backyard.'' Three days later, on July 21, a second story appeared in the Telegraph: ''Towke future on hold.'' The next day, in The Sunday Telegraph, a third story: ''Party split as Liberal candidate faces jail.''

''That was the story that sent my mother to hospital,'' Towke told me.

Then came a fourth story in the Telegraph, on July 25: ''Towke lied, but just by degrees.'' Four different Telegraph journalists, two of them very senior, wrote those four stories, so the campaign of leaks and smears was assiduous. There is insufficient space to detail all the claims made and disputed. Towke was portrayed as a serial liar, an exaggerator. He disputed every such imputation with factual evidence. After it was obvious his political credibility had been destroyed by these stories, he started defamation proceedings. A year of legal attrition ensued.

Shortly before the matter was to begin in court this month, Nationwide News paid and settled.

It is telling that experienced Telegraph journalists appear to have based their stories on sources they trusted, suggesting those doing the leaking were both senior figures and seasoned in dealing with the media.

Though Towke would eventually win his legal war, the damage had been done. The adverse media coverage set in train a reaction within the party to get rid of him. A second ballot was ordered, in which the balance of power was shifted away from the grassroots in Cook and to the state executive. The second ballot gave the preselection to Scott Morrison. Amazing. He had been parachuted into the seat over Towke's political carcass. Morrison clearly had backers who wanted him to get the seat. ''These guys were prepared to ruin my life,'' Towke said.

Why? There was a view among some senior Liberals that a Lebanese Australian could not win Cook in a tight election.

Two years later, Towke's honour has been restored. His name has been cleared, his standing in the party rehabilitated, and his ties to the electorate broadened. Justice will be served when the two assassins within the party are politically terminated. That process has begun. The circle will only be complete if this Lebanese Australian represents the shire in Federal Parliament.

Tony Abbott explains why Julia Gillard will "forever" be a respected former PM

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Self-interest - we'll cover your backside if you cover ours.

I used to call many of these people friends.

The blatant self-interest and matey, clubbish atmosphere is an affront to hardworking decent people.

Here's Tony Abbott responding yesterday to a question from a journalist about political "sniping".


Tony knows what she did.

We've discussed it at great length.

Covering up for someone's dismal work record is one thing.

Legitimising criminality is quite another.

Disgusting behaviour.

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President Trump orders US flags to half-mast until Friday's state funeral for the late John McCain

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Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment.

I have asked Vice President Mike Pence to offer an address at the ceremony honoring Senator McCain at the United States Capitol this Friday.

At the request of the McCain family, I have also authorized military transportation of Senator McCain’s remains from Arizona to Washington, D.C., military pallbearers and band support, and a horse and caisson transport during the service at the United States Naval Academy.

Finally, I have asked General John Kelly, Secretary James Mattis, and Ambassador John Bolton to represent my Administration at his services.