Dr No in good form:
No, no, no, as Dr No, Sir Duke himself, Tony Abbott says no to tougher tests, labels after hepatitis A outbreak.
Never mind that the reptiles have discovered an EXCLUSIVE which is EXCLUSIVELY everywhere in media land:
Won't someone think of the children.
But let's be fair.
Sometimes he's Dr Yes, Yes, Yes, while using the children as an excuse:
Yes, yes, yes, to $400 million. And who will pick up the tab?
Well the government will pay its "fair share", whatever that might be, which however cheapskate the offer, will see the Australian taxpayer pick up some part of the $400 million.
And the rest will be picked up by anyone wanting to be online, as the costs are directly passed on by ISPs to their customers.
So there you go, that's how to piss $400 million in taxpayer/consumer cash against the wall, so that citizens can have the privilege of paying for the government to spy on them.
Now that story splash was in Gizmodo here, and it's pretty softcore, but it does make a few obvious points:
What's really offensive is the way Tony Abbott threw child pornography into the mix, and for that the pond has to turn to a really vicious rant by Bernard Keane in Crikey. Now the pond generally prefers to let Crikey sit behind its paywall. The pond doesn't mind breaching Murdochian fortifications, but struggle street shouldn't be targeted.
That said, Keane's rant is so to the point, so necessary, so right, that the pond just has to note at least one slab of Abbott lies about data retention while the media cuts and pastes.
Inter alia, Keane notes the remarkable and blatant corruption of process that saw Dan Tehan joining Bravehearts for a photo opportunity, before pointing out that the Dutch Data Protection Authority decided an amended version of its laws in the area shouldn't be enacted "because, despite data retention being in operation for over four years before being annulled, Dutch law enforcement agencies had been unable to demonstrate that it worked".
Now read on:
Yes, in this context, read concern for children as concern for the rights of major Hollywood film studios.
If you want to discover paedophiles, first hunt out the powerful who give them institutional protection, instead of devising ways to allow them to flourish within institutions. And if you want to discover child abuse in families, follow the trails which can be noted by doctors, teachers, and those in positions of power in organisations where children congregate.
Regrettably, Abbott is a luddite, and when it comes to technical matters regarding the intertubes, is a fool.
The question is, why haven't the conservative commentariat, and all the alleged libertarians and Tim Wilson and all the other doofuses out there, had something to say about Abbott's lies, which don't stand for a second against anyone who has the first clue about anonymisation tools?
And even if journalists don’t want to speak out on something that directly threatens their craft, at the very least they must stop being party to the government’s deception of voters, by verbatim reporting of claims for which there is no evidence.
The pond has had its problems with Crikey in the past, but the rag does a service when it points out that the "mainstream media" is often just another way of saying "lickspittle forelock tuggers".
Of course, this matter is bipartisan, in that the Labor party has been just as much a supine fellow traveller as the "mainstream media".
You can imagine the pond's discomfort watching Senator David Leyonhjelm twist himself in verbal knots and distortions about the greyhound industry on 7.30 last night, here, and then come out with this:
SABRA LANE: Next week Parliament resumes. The focus will go back onto national security and metadata laws and the Government wants to retain people's metadata for two years. Will you support that?
DAVID LEYONHJELM: No. No, it's totally unreasonable.
SABRA LANE: The Prime Minister says that the cost of losing this data will cause an explosion of unsolved crime. What do you think of that statement?
DAVID LEYONHJELM: It's prime ministerial hyperbole - an explosion of unsolved crime. What he's essentially saying is there is that explosion already 'cause we obviously don't have compulsory retention of metadata right now. So, how long has this been going on? Ever since metadata has existed. What nonsense. There are three issues that worry me about metadata. One is just the cost. I think it's going to be ridiculously expensive. The other one - the next one is the potential for misuse of the data and the third one is just the libertarian principle. We should be watching the Government; the Government shouldn't be watching us. The idea that we are all equally likely, equally capable of becoming criminals and therefore all of our metadata has to be stored in the event that we become criminals so that you and I and my 84-year-old mother and all the kids with their smartphones and so forth are going to be turned into criminals, paedophiles or terrorists or something, it's ludicrous. SABRA LANE: And the cost? The Prime Minister says it's a small cost to pay.
DAVID LEYONHJELM: $400 million is not small. Who's going to pay it? Taxpayers? They can't balance the budget now on the current expenditure, so they're going to expend another $400 million or are we all going to have to pay an extra $20 a year each to allow the Government to spy on us, to snoop on us? So in other words, it'll be a special tax on our internet bills to allow the Government to spy on us.
Well yes, the federal government can't balance its own budget, and now it's going to make life that little bit harder for households wanting to balance their own budget, while staying online with a decent data plan.
And for what? For the right to search for needles in a metadata haystack, when enforcement by standard police tactics - including infiltration - is likely to produce better results.
Is there any good news then?
Well yes because today in reptile central, Niki Savva keeps leadership speculation alive. She runs through all the candidates, from Julie Bishop through Malcolm Turnbull performing like a tame seal to the Q and A mob, to Scott Morrison as a longer-term prospect.
Along the way, the pond acquired too much information, as with this starting point:
Warren Entsch walks to Parliament House. Julie Bishop runs. Often their paths cross near the Carmelite Nuns’ monastery on Mugga Way in Red Hill. If Entsch is wearing headphones, he doesn’t hear Bishop coming. She swoops like one of Canberra’s notorious magpies and whacks him on the bum as she passes.
He reckons his heart has a little flutter, partly because of the shock and partly because, well … which bloke doesn’t like a flirty encounter on his way to work? Without headphones, Entsch hears her coming so when she is close enough he spins around and grabs her backside. Both cheeks, he brags.
Dear sweet long absent lord, this is how Liberal heavies get their jollies?
There was more - something about Entsch getting a good grip on the chief diplomat's rear - so it took considerable courage on the part of the pond to plough on, but eventually Savva got away from the joyous cheery bum clutching, and down to business:
Well he's deeply unpopular for a reason.
On the matter of metadata, Abbott has shown himself to be a liar, a fool and an overblown rhetorician, deploying the most wretched hyperbole and hysteria, without ever really showing he has any understanding why he must resort to these kinds of thuggee tactics.
And meanwhile, zinger Bill provides material for Micallef and Chris Bowen should be off getting fitted for a clown suit ...
There's other business today on the reptile front. Once again the bromancer seems to have had some kind of vision:
Oh the bromancer has kind words for his chum, that giant of international affairs, and knows how to apportion the blame, by cleansing Mr Toxic of any share of nattering negativity:
It's all about submarines. It’s a lot more important than you think. And I fear our toxic political system is going to render us not only ungovernable but in crucial ways undefended.
Naturally the pond is in awe at a much sharper mind concluding that a contract for $40 billion is important, much more important than anyone can understand, except the bromancer (the pond tips $60-80 billion by journey's end, much like the current skilful acquisition of fighter planes, with both making the original NBN scheme seem like a two dollar store offering).
Never mind. The bromancer has had a change of heart. The Japanese sub deal, done under the table, is now all too difficult. Things must change. The Germans have offered to do the bulk of the deal in Adelaide.
Let's leave aside the ritual abuse of Labor to focus on the bromancer's advice to Abbott:
I am now coming, reluctantly, to the view this option just presents too much risk, financially, politically and militarily. I don’t think Abbott can secure Japanese subs through good process. Impatience with process is one of Abbott’s weaknesses. His only priority now should be the national interest. The most important consideration for our submarines is not actually all the revolutionary historical stuff but that they work effectively and that we actually get them...
... It is part of its perverse genius for political mismanagement that subs are now a big negative for the Abbott government.
Abbott’s then defence spokesman, David Johnston, in opposition categorically promised a Coalition government would build 12 subs in Adelaide. Abbott no longer has the political capital to abandon this promise.
If he does so, we are likely to end up with no subs at all. This is where Abbott realising the full extent of his political crisis is central to any solid achievement in the rest of his term....
...The way forward now is narrow but clear. The government must hold a formal competition between the Japanese, the Germans, the French and perhaps the Swedes, with all of them instructed to include work for an Australian partner and an option for most or all of the build to occur in South Australia.
The Japanese don’t want to participate in a formal competition. But only a formal competition has any chance of commanding sufficient bipartisan support. If the Japanese get the subs deal without a competition, that loads way too much risk on to the subs. The subs could prove too costly; be undeliverable politically in Japan; the subs, good as they are, might not work for us technically; the whole thing could be repudiated by Labor. The fact the Japanese have never exported subs before also carries its own layer of technical and commercial risk.
The only sensible option now is a transparent process that involves a formal competition. If the Japanese won’t participate in that, then that’s unfortunate but we’ll get the best the Europeans have to offer. Otherwise, the Abbott government will merely have found a new way to do nothing, leaving us once more without subs.
Dear sweet long absent lord, it seems he might be talking about an actual tender, as opposed to weasel words like "competitive evaluation process" ...
Will Abbott pay attention to the bromancer? Who knows, but he's wonderfully collegial and consultative. Just look how he consulted about the collegial sacking of Ruddock ...
And there's other business in the reptiles today. Not having got their satisfaction from Tim Wilson, today it's Jennifer Oriel who's wheeled out by reptiles to do the hard yards, and deliver the standard HRC/Triggs bashing:
Never mind the metadata, maybe it's worth while looking at what federal government contractors get up to in prison camps.
How high's the fear and the denial?
This is a juvenile, paranoid, authoritarian government ... with minders minding the minders ...
No wonder the reptiles love it. Why it must be just like working for Chairman Rupert ...
As for the future? Could that be the man that invented the intertubes and fixed the NBN, in the way gangsters fix things? And is currently presiding over the metadata folly?
Golly gee, thanks Mr Moir, and more Moir here.