And so the mockery and the mirth begins.
What a pretty pass it's come to when even news.com.au runs a story 'Please don't go to the bigot conference' (or when you get to the actual story, a more staid header reading World Congress of Families: Kevin Andrews urged to cancel, and beware the forced video - the site first had a go at this story with World Congress of Families conference firebrand figures).
So who is Kevin Andrews keeping company with?
Where to begin, but there's as fine an assortment of fruit loops, fruit cakes, salted nuts and cashews -don't forget the dried muscatel grapes and almonds the pond used to love - as could be imagined, including but not limited to Danny Nalliah, the man who can raise people from the dead and who shares Kevin Donnelly's fondness for corporal punishment, the Evangelical Salt Shakers, the Memucan Institute (which called the push for women's equality a jihad), Cory Bernardi, Robert Clark, Fred Nile and Bernie Finn. Oh and Eric 'cancer man' Abetz ...
The SOP in such matters is always to bemoan the way liberals, do gooders, cardigan wearers, most likely Fairfax readers and ABC listeners and viewers and clickers, always target Xian fundamentalists fighting the good fight and ignore barking mad Islamic fundamentalists.
The problem of course is that barking mad Islamic fundamentalists are a very small minority in this country, while Kevin Andrews is ostensibly and allegedly the Minister for Families in the federal government, and some of the other names mentioned above are also a conspicuous part of the political elite governing the country ...
Which reminds the pond of that wondrous award Kevin Andrews named 'Natural Family Man of the Year' by Christian Group.
Are we all singing along with Lou Rawls?
So when ya see me cyclin', won't ya notice that proud look in my eyes
My feet are on the ground and my soul is searchin' for the sky
'Cause I want to be happy and free
Livin' and lovin' for me I want to be happy and free
Livin' and lovin' for me
Just like a natural man (just like a natural man)
A natural man (just like a natural man)
Not really. 'Natural' is of course a dog whistle of the basest kind, and by way of contrast, everybody else is 'unnatural'.
Now the pond is inclined to bristle when called 'unnatural' ...
Does Andrews ever wonder or have even the slightest awareness of what a destructive bunch of bigots he cavorts with?
Well it seems his spokeswoman might have had some doubts:
A spokeswoman for Andrews initially denied the minister had won such a “prize”, but subsequently confirmed the minister had received the accolade. Organisers said it was likely it would be officially presented at an international conference on a date to be announced.
Ah denialism, the natural state of the Abbott government ...
Now some have tut tutted about Andrews attending - such as Claire Moore with Families Minister should govern for all families.
But the pond sees an upside. It's good that all the fundamentalists, the bigots, the vile prejudiced jihadists should gather together in a forum of hate so that they can be observed and analysed in detail.
It's good to learn that Andrews uses his power to facilitate fundamentalist bigots, as you can read in Kevin Andrews books out parliament room for anti-gay marriage conference.
When was the last time an boofhead Islamic fundamentalist had the chance to strut his stuff in the corridors of power?
And the even deeper irony? Why barking mad Islamic fundamentalists would share many of the philosophical points of view and outlooks of the barking mad Christian fundamentalists intent on their jihad against the 'other' and the 'different' and the 'unnatural'.
And make no mistake these are hate mongers and bigots of the first water, as you can read in New HRC Report Exposes The World Congress of Families (slow to load), active around the world at hot gay hate spots, but also with a deep political agenda at work in the Abbott government.
And what evidence do we have that the jihadists are at work in Australia? Well they certainly fear, loathe and persecute secularists:
More of that story here, which does Julia Gillard and the Labor party no good, because they too facilitated the jihadists.
But the pond was beguiled by the photo attached to the photo - the cold glint in the eye, the gleaming bespectacled image of ideological and theological fanaticism which lurks right on the surface of the Abbott government ...
And that's the problem with your average right wing ratbag member of the commentariat.
They will, like little Timmeh head off to Lakemba to give Islamics a hard time, because of a few fundamentalists roaming in the wild and in a bookstore (and never mind Stormfront online), but they never seem to worry about the barking mad fundamentalists deeply embedded right at the top of the tree in federal and state governments.
Yes, you can cop this form of hysteria in the Murdoch tabloids:
But in fact the jihadists and the natural terrorists are already within the halls of power, and conducting their jihad of prejudice and bigotry quite freely ...
Which is why the congress of the jihadists on the weekend is going to do a tremendous amount of good for middle of the roaders and cardigan wearers - or, to put it another way, a tremendous amount of harm for a government of fundamentalists already adept at shooting itself in the foot ...
Well the headlines just keep coming:
That travel record was helped along by Abbott's gratuitous flight to escape the budget heat and visit the Dutch, for no real purpose than the magician's art of distraction.
And then there was that other story that's just kept bubbling along, the Melbourne junket, with its latest manifestation Abbott snubbed his senators for Melbourne fundraiser.
That snubbing is in addition to the snout in the trough angle, which saw Abbott being supported by the chief PUP, who sees nothing wrong with a little rorting ... and with friends like that ...
How deep does the malaise run?
Well even the kool aid gulping reptiles at the lizard Oz are having a hard time swallowing the soda, as shown by Niki Savva in Loose lips try to sink Abbott's leaky ship (behind the paywall because you have to pay to board the leaky ship).
With this handy illustration by Sturt Krygsman:
And some gloomy Savva text, including this:
For some it was the media’s fault, namely Fairfax and the ABC. There was criticism of the Prime Minister’s own department. Others admitted there had been a few own goals, with loose language. With refreshing frankness, Attorney-General George Brandis admitted he could have expressed himself better.
Indeed. As could the Prime Minister. Whatever possessed Abbott to say what he said served only to revive memories of the old Abbott, especially when he arrived late at the National Press Club debate during the 2007 election, then swore at Labor’s health spokeswoman Nicola Roxon.
If voters hate anything more than smelling even the faintest whiff of misuse of entitlements — and the only person to have hinted at that is the Prime Minister — it is when they smell it as they are being asked to cough up more for visits to the doctors or cop less in family benefits.
Many politicians, including those on the Labor side, do what Abbott did and tack on a legitimate function to cover what could be seen as a questionable one; however, few of them blurt it out in a brain snap in front of a roomful of people, not all of whom are well disposed towards them.
Interestingly, Paul Kelly’s book on the Labor years, Triumph and Demise, has not only revived memories of Labor’s dysfunction but prompted thinking within senior echelons of the Abbott government about parallels with its own operations, and where all that may end up. The main one that they volunteered had sprung to mind was the centralisation of power. Strictly speaking, what happened with Abbott was not dysfunction. It was a moment of madness brought on by poor planning, extreme tiredness and provocation. His colleagues could only watch, despondent and defensive, as they claimed defective hearing or simply blamed Macdonald.
Labor didn’t have to say or do much. The story ran all day before being challenged for prominence by news of expanded counter-terrorism measures at airports, plus the US seeking Australian support for military action in Syria.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten focused on the other most damaging aspect to the disclosure, which was that it was made by Abbott’s own MPs. Anyway, their ramping up the issue of entitlements could invite scrutiny of their own behaviour.
Last night Abbott’s office hosted drinks in the government party room to welcome back staff after the winter break. They would have needed a few stiff ones.
Brain snap? Moment of madness?
And so to the weekend, when the crazed jihadists and fundamentalists in the Abbott government will come out to play.
By golly, no wonder David Rowe, like the pond, seems to be a fan of Air Crash Investigations. So many crashes for El Tonio 747, so many investigations, and so many more Rowe cartoons here.