(Above: who knows if this was the drop, the pond just likes the old boots).
Surely he's gone and his goose will be cooked in the Xmas New Year break ...
It's all over news.com.au (no paywall) in Defence pay debate: Minister and senior staff spent thousands of dollars on wine and food.
Naturally the Fairfaxians picked up on it with Defence Minister chaos as two staffers ejected amid leak investigation.
And the ABC tracked the story in Defence investigates leaking of minister David Johnston's expense receipts.
What's even funnier - since the pond likes a serve of irony even more than a shiraz - is that Johnston was wining and dining with the canoe-building ASC ...
It's hard to imagine even Abbott sticking with this barnacle, but who knows, when barnacle meets barnacle, it can be a stick fest ...
It comes at the very moment that jolly Joe is ushering the country towards economic disaster, at least if you read the runes and the headlines:
Jolly Joe will be spruiking his vision today, which is a lovely irony, since co-joining Joe with the vision thingie is like ushering a luddite into a machinery room ...
How bad does it get these days?
Well the wretched, pathetic Paul "magic water" Sheehan, after mounting a desperate defence of the Abbott government in his previous column, today fell into line with the bulk of the carping conservative commentariat and berated the government, and especially a subdued jolly Joe.
First of all, the magic water man (scribbling Time for Hockey and Abbott to tell the electorate a new story) conjured up an epic nightmare:
The collective carnivorous hunger of the parliamentary press gallery was whetted at question time on Wednesday. Sitting at the dispatch box, the position usually occupied by the Prime Minister, was Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Sitting opposite, in the position usually occupied by the Leader of the Opposition, was his deputy, Tanya Plibersek. Oh how the gallery would like to see that scenario play out before the next election. The amount of blood involved would be a feeding frenzy of speculation and poll-driven agitation.
It could happen...
Uh huh. What fun that Julie Bishop seemed to think she was head of an impotent government and somehow it was all Tanya's fault ...
And then the magic water man got into the trenches:
The party room has come to hate the $7 Hockey tax on visits to doctors, and this hatred pales in comparison with the cold loathing for Hockey's proposal to use the tax to pour $20 billion into a giant medical research fund.
On Monday, the Coalition's economic committee refused a request from the Minister for Finance, Mathias Cormann, to approve a bill that would enable this research fund to be set up. This was an open rebuke. It was also a sign some sanity is beginning to return to the Liberals on this issue.
If Hockey continues to insist the government is committed to the $7 levy, and the $20 billion research fund, then his time as an effective member of the government is over. He becomes a liability. It's a real red line.
The $7 levy, or tax, or fee, or co-payment is zombie politics. It has zero chance of passing the Senate. It has zero chance of being rehabilitated with the electorate. The $20 billion research fund has zero chance of being funded. And it has zero chance of ever winning approval from the community.
The whole thing was a political and conceptual disaster from the moment it came out of the Treasurer's mouth on budget night on May 13, 2014.
The inevitable death of this tax and its $20 billion spending white elephant will mark the point at which the Abbott government begins its retreat from Moscow, the long march back to credibility and authenticity with the public. Hopefully, the retreat will not be as disastrous for Abbott as it was for Napoleon. The Labor Cossacks will do their best to inflict damage.
If Hockey continues to wrap his reputation around this measure, then he is heading for an embarrassment that will damage not just him but his Prime Minister.
What to make of this? Well the pond loves and celebrates the conga line of the carping, keening commentariat forming a chorus of complaints and whining at their craven, crestfallen conservative comrades ...
It also suggests why Sheehan isn't much of a guide. His sense of history is as wonky as his taste for magic water. The Labor Cossacks?
As anyone with the Greg Hunt ability to hunt out Cossacks (watch out for walri), the Cossacks played an important role supporting the Tsars in the military and the police, and were the first to declare open war on the Bolsheviks ...
The Labor Cossacks? Tsarists all?
What a futtock Sheehan is, and all the more so when he shifts from sinking in the boot to acting as team coach of Team Australia:
Far better for the offices of the Prime Minister and the Treasurer to draft a gracious exit strategy that acknowledges the Senate has blocked the measure, the people have spoken, and the government has abandoned this policy and will seek others ways to repair the budget.
A golden opportunity for such an admission will present itself in two weeks, when the Treasurer presents the mid-year budget statement. As Hockey's demeanor has telegraphed, this will be a sober reassessment of a deteriorating federal debt and deficit position. Defeats in the Senate, plus falling commodity prices, have hit hard.
This is the reset button, the new reality, and the new narrative. It presents not merely a cost, but an opportunity.
Now there's a man guaranteed to give Australian rugby a lift.
Oh go drink magic water flavoured with sustaining kool aid ... and remember, you can put it on the government tab ...
All the same, there's a special piquancy reading the carping commentariat brooding about their heroes with feet of clay.
It's lovely to be able to read Laura Tingle today at the AFR, currently outside the paywall, in A government all blustered out, nowhere to go, but it isn't the same, because Tingle started off relatively sane.
Happily however Tingle calls out the magic water man on the re-set button and the re-boot:
Having so comprehensively stuffed up the politics of the budget, and in the process given a bad name to so many important reforms; having dallied so long before pushing the Senate to consider the budget, it is finishing the year with few policy or political options with which to recast, reboot or in any other way really influence events crowding in.
The shorter version of the situation is that, in a not entirely unexpected development, the economy has been slowing for much of 2014. By the last quarter it had slowed almost to a standstill, with 0.3 per cent growth.
National income is falling even more sharply: it has gone backwards as commodity prices plummet. We are having an ‘income recession’. There is nothing in prospect in, say, the next six months to change this in a material way, short of a miraculous rebound in those commodity prices.
And so on and so forth, and Tingle saved the loveliest irony until last:
Hockey’s concession to the fading fortunes of the economy is to at least say that the government will not offset falls in revenue flowing from lower commodity prices by finding extra budget savings. (That is, the deficit will blow out.)
But at the same time, he continues to insist the government has a plan and is sticking to it. That plan was to get the budget back to surplus. It is a word you don’t hear much of these days.
In addition to the impact of the slump in commodity prices on the budget bottom line, the government officially bade farewell to $3.45 billion of its budget savings on Wednesday when Pyne introduced a new bill into Parliament containing its amended higher education reforms.
Any “reboot” the government now attempts must incorporate a major reversal: trying to stop the deficit blowing out too much, rather than showing Labor a path to surplus.
Meanwhile, why did Pyne introduce a new bill rather than just amend the old one? Because “we don’t want to have a double dissolution trigger”, he said.
The bluster has truly gone out of the government’s politics.
The double dissolution bluster?
Ah yes, the pond fell about in a gale of post-ironic laughter when news of Pyne's latest feat came through, discounting any talk of a DD ...
But at the same time, it raised the spectre and the question of just how barking mad the reptiles are these days ...
How about this advice from that classic reptile, Adam Creighton only a few days ago?
Yes, Creighton's too thick to understand that seven bucks pissed against the wall on a medical research fund isn't going to contribute much to solving budget issues, yet somehow he gets to call himself an economics correspondent for the lizard Oz ...
The pond wants some of the confrontational double strength kool aid he's on ... oh, and can we put it on the government tab?
But let's be fair to the poodle. He cried off from the idle double dissolution chatter a year ago:
(Google it if you like)
So there it is, a government heading to disaster - can we put the drinks on the tab? - and without the bluster or the threats of a DD ... just lurching from one lunch to the next, on a jerry-built canoe ...
And the commentariat thinks that a re-boot and a re-set is going to fix things?
When even a patsy like Karl is taking shots at the guvmint? A guvmint prepared to use children as pawns in a blackmail gambit?
Can we put the drinks on the tab while we consider the problems with that ...?
And so to the celebratory cartoons of the day, and strangely Bronnie is the new figure of fun ... along with her faithful lapdog poodle ...
Luckily you can find more David Rowe here:
Luckily you can find more David Pope here:
And while we're at it, luckily you can find more Moir here:
And luckily you can find more Wilcox here:
And so to news from a planet far far away, where the Bolter is strangely not recognised as one of the world's best climate scientists. More here, with graphs and other thingies:
Ssssh, please, how many times must the pond say it, please don't mention climate science!
So the government's fucked, the country's fucked, the planet's fucked, and Chairman Rupert has gone barking weird ...
Well waiter, yes we will have just another wee drop, but remember to put it on the tab.
While on the good ship Titanic, the idea's to have fun ... yes, that looks like a tasty drop, and so modestly priced too ... thank the long absent lord, we're always thinking of the suffering taxpayer here at the pond ...