The pond continues to be astonished and to marvel at the degree of approval out there in neo-fascist land, aka the craven, chattering, no doubt coffee swilling, class of right wing commentariat, for law-breaking.
In the old days, there was a consummate hypocrisy in the land of conservatives when it came to the rule of law - you know, like the Baiada chicken rorters who feather their nest in dear old Tamworth. Deplore misdeeds, and then in the darkened chicken coop of life, go about the business of ripping off in fine style ...
But where's the outrage, where's the shock and horror, at the outrageous behaviour, at the mis-deeds of the chook purveryors?
Blink and you'd miss it ... though if you prefer not to blink you might go off to the ABC here, or to Lateline here, or to Fairfax here.
Truth to tell, they're just furriners and we need our chooks.
So what's going to happen? Given the outrage and the energy currently being spent on proving the bleeding obvious, that Bill Shorten is a dick ...
Where's the way forward to correct a malfunctioning system? What bold steps is the Abbott government going to take? Establish a Royal Commission into the foibles of capitalist exploitation?
In your dreams ...
MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Well the money is unaccounted for and what it suggests is that those principal contractors and subcontractors at the top end of the supply chain are skimming off large amounts of money, which ends up with the workforce being paid very little money.
JASON OM: In the case of the contractor Lateline exposed, Pham Poultry, workers were indeed being short-changed. Baiada paid Pham Poultry $1 million in one month, but the Ombudsman found workers were paid much less than the minimum wage. Before Pham Poultry deregistered, its director back paid just $20,000 in wages.
ALEX SNOWBALL: The laws that they currently are are grossly inadequate. The Ombudsman has identified significant issues on Baiada's sites and workers are being fundamentally exploited on Baiada's sites, yet they're almost powerless to step in and do anything.
JASON OM: The Ombudsman emphasises that Baiada has an ethical and moral duty to ensure its workforce is free of exploitation.
They've got an ethical and moral duty? We should emphasise that?
Well that's going to work isn't it? To mis-quote Henry Miller, in the land of the fuck, it's fuck or be fucked, and if you are afraid of being fucked publicly I will fuck you privately, and by the way, fuck ethical and moral duties ...
Or some such thing.
Okay, the pond will bite. Let's check out the ethical and moral health of the commentariat.
Let's dip into the ethical sewer usually known as the Paul Sheehan column, this day titled Labor hypocrites have a death wish on border control and security.
Yep, it's a splendid account of Machiavellian considerations and political rewards and the benefits of wedging, and needless to say, entirely devoid of any ethical or moral considerations whatsoever, but laden to the gills with fine moral equivalencies.
Sheehan is a past-master of humbug, but this is exceptional even for him:
It is also a bit rich to hear Indonesian officials complaining of bribery by Australia when bribery is a national sport in Indonesia.
That's the sort of moral and ethical equivalence that comes in handy in all sorts of situations:
It is also a bit rich to hear Australian officials complaining of capital punishment by Indonesia when capital punishment is a national sport in China and the United States.
You see the advantage? You don't actually have to consider the actual rights or wrongs of bribery, or capital punishment or anything much else. You just have to assert that everybody else is doing it, so where's the harm?
Of course things get a little different when you make it personal:
It is also a bit rich to hear Paul Sheehan complaining of robbery and home invasion by a miscreant in the eastern suburbs when robbery and home invasion is a national sport in the western suburbs of Sydney.
What a pompous fuckwit he is, and as usual, the moral equivalence gets an added bonus with the explanation that Labor when in government was doing it too ...
This week, Shorten repaid Abbott's discretion over the spying controversy by complaining about a lack of bipartisanship and about the public's right to know how its security dollars are spent. The hypocrisy is brazen.
If Australia, under Labor, was willing to eavesdrop on the wife of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the best friend Australia has had in Indonesia, it merely confirmed that the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, and the Australian Signals Directorate (and its predecessors) have engaged in covert surveillance in Indonesia for many years.
As with every police and security operation, the illicit world requires penetration, which requires moral compromises as criminals are turned into informers, deals are struck, and blind eyes are turned. This happened under Labor and the Coalition. Better to pay a service fee to a smugglers crew than pay the $1 million downstream cost of allowing a boatload of asylum-seekers to reach Australia. If it gets that far without sinking, which appears to be the risk with the boat at the centre of this noise.
You see how it's done? Put a peg on your nose, talk blithely of "moral compromises", and then most wondrous of Alice in Wonderland verbiage, a commonplace, straightforward bribe can become "a service fee."
Indeed. Your average hooker knows how that terminology works. "Oh no worries, Mr Sheehan. Don't worry that anything so sordid as paying for a fuck will turn up on your credit card. We always call it a service fee, and we're so pleased you had a happy ending. Why don't you come again?"
Or some such thing. There's a lot more nose pegging in Sheehan - moral and ethical issues are just things inside the political bubble, the electorate is firmly on the side of illegality and whatever it takes and by hook and by crook and the bleeding hearts are losers, and so on.
What an exemplary advisor Sheehan would have made in the 1930s with his blithe talk of compromises and service fees ...
Of course the Prime Minister of the land is also adept at moral equivalencies. It's wondrous to see an alleged Christian so adept at the art. Why you'd swear he was educated by Jesuits.
Today the reptiles couldn't help themselves and they put the latest wedge on the front page ...
The terminology of the header on the left hand side is inexact and lacking in precision.
The Prime Minister doesn't "risk", he wants a cabinet split, he wants Malcolm Turnbull to have a go.
Emboldened by the support of a bunch of crypto-fascist back benchers who only recently wanted to dump him, he now wants to rub big Mal's nose in the wedge. Big Mal will have to like it, or lump it ... as the bouffant one noted in his front page effort:
In short, legislative over-reach and a comprehensive desire to ignore the rule of law and the constitution fact all grist to the mill, and a way to rub big Mal's nose in it. Let it toddle off to the High Court in due course. In the meantime, the endless chant of "stop the boats" can carry on, rising above the screaming of listeners feeling they're being reduced to mindless automatons.
That facilitating bit of mutton, the useless Dutton, might not have much of a clue, but useless fools are even better than useful fools when it comes to mischief-making law-making.
And while we're on the subject of moral equivalences, alongside the bouffant one's story there was a reptile EXCLUSIVE and it started off with a ripper:
If you keep reading this sort of verbiage, you'll end up writing scripts for a re-make of Yes Minister, or become an advisor to the federal government.
Marvel at how it's done. A bribe is no longer a bribe. It's a "financial incentive".
The helpful chaps were just doing what every Liberal must do and incentivising ...
A bribe is no longer a bribe. It's an upfront payment, preferably discreet, but in case of emergency, explicit, and offered on a case-by-case basis, because that's the best way to handle the cash flow ... and besides, it's just helping out poor fisher folk, lowly paid employees ...
They aren't really minions of major people smugglers, they're just good hearted folk out to make a buck. Remember that the next time you're running grog for Al Capone ...
Ah M'lud, I had a wife and ten wee little bubs at home, and I was just a low level, lowly paid employee. I'm a human bean, M'lud, not some despicable member of an international crime gang.
Oh and M'lud, surely it's all okay, because Labor was doing it too ...
Cameron Stewart wins the pond's "you can't fight in here, it's a war room" wordsmithing award of the month. On and on he goes, offering the official version up for approval:
The covert people-smuggling disruption campaigns of the Rudd/Gillard Labor governments are also understood to have involved secret Australian payments to selected Indonesians in Java, including potential crew, to prevent boats from departing for Australia. But because Labor did not have a policy of turning back boats, these covert payments took place on land rather than at sea, as allegedly occurred last month with a boat carrying 65 asylum-seekers.
Both the government and the opposition have refused to disclose details of their respective covert people-smuggling disruption programs. Labor has toned down its attacks on the government after it failed to answer questions about what disruption activities took place under its own watch.
Indonesia has accused Australia of state-sponsored bribery and acting unethically after the captain and crew of the asylum-seeker boat claimed an Australian official paid them about $US5000 each to return to Indonesia.
What an ugly word! How dare you use it! Here's the proper form of words, thanks to Cameron Stewart:
It is believed that the payments to the crew were made by an ASIS official who was on board the Customs vessel, but it is unclear why such payments were allegedly made so openly. The Australian understands ASIS has offered financial incentives to captains and crew of asylum-seeker vessels at least several times previously to persuade them to return to Indonesia. However, these involved payment being made only after the boats returned to Indonesia. In some cases the payments were not been made in cash but were disguised as other forms of financial assistance.
You see! Payments, financial incentives, financial assistance. Why, it's just like heading off to your friendly local bank for a business loan ...
As for the actual vessels supplied, the story gets a bit murky, but let's remember the important principle it invokes:
The asylum-seeker boat captain, Yohanis Humiang, told media in Indonesia yesterday that he received a cash payment from an Australian official on the condition he never worked with people-smugglers again. He claimed the boats supplied by the Australians were unseaworthy, had limited fuel and no navigational system other than GPS.
However, sources have told The Australian that the two boats were escorted back by the patrol boat HMAS Wollongong and a Customs vessels until they were about 30km from the Indonesian coast. The Australian ships could not escort further without breaching Indonesian territorial waters.
The asylum vessels were then tracked by Australian radar until they reached the coast.
The boat’s captain, Yohanis, told Indonesian police that the Australian officials did not provide enough fuel to reach their agreed destination of Rote Island in Indonesia. He said one of the two boats ran out of fuel, forcing its passengers to transfer to the other boat. However, this boat hit a reef. Those on board were then rescued by villagers. Sources in Canberra said the captain’s allegation that the boats did not contain sufficient fuel to reach land were untrue.
You see. No need to dispute whether passengers had to transfer to a single boat, and then hit a reef, and then those on board had to be rescued at low tide.
Enough fuel was provided, and it's hardly the fault of Australians that Indonesians make lousy sailors ...
As always, we can rely on the Bolter to show how ethics and morality have got nothing to do with it, because doing is all that matters. Why not offer a bribe to your local politician? Call it an incentivising transfer of funds, a financial incentive, and you too will be seen as doing rather than seeming:
You see? Let's not talk of bribes, the Aussies were just there to help and deliver aid to Indonesia's poor, and besides it saved lives.
It's such a good worthy cause that the pond is only disturbed by the lack of technology involved.
Surely the only fly in the ointment, as so astutely noted by Cameron Stewart, was the overt way that vulgar, demeaning cash changed hands.
Surely it behooves the Australian government to instal a tap and go, or at worst a swipe and pin system so that pirates can enter the modern age, and fully enjoy modern technological benefits as they receive their incentivization payments.
It would also make Moir's forlorn concern for cheques as outdated as a love of postcards (and more Moir here).