Malcolm's got Bill by the Shorten curlies

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(Art by John Graham / @johngrahamart)

Contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence says that with Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister, it is time for Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to disappear — completely.

MALCOLM'S GOT Bill by the Shorten curlies.

Time to stand aside Billy Boy. Give Tanya or Anthony a go; a Penny for your thoughts.

You ain't got it mate. Your ambition exceeds your capabilities. You present as passionless and bereft of vision and ideas.

Besides, you're soiled goods insofar as the political knifings you engineered are concerned. In these, you've got priors and you've got bad form.

You caused the nation needless expense and not simply for the pulping and reprinting of stationery or the name changes in prime ministerial letterhead.

Just as with your political suicide bummers, quislings Julia and Kev, we're just not that into you, Bill. Partly because we know what you're capable of doing.

We've lost trust. We've got your number. Join the dots. You're the lowest common dominator here.

As leader of the Opposition, you're weak at the helm, especially compared with much stronger personae within your shadow cabinet. Not a good look for any leader.

Surely democracy and we the people are best served if we have an Opposition near equal in calibre to our Government.

As it is, governments increasingly run roughshod over us, stomping upon our freedoms and civil rights.


The Austasi Border Farce is a case in point.

So is Peter Dutton, the dangerous and bungling Minister responsible for Immigration and Border Protection. Dutton dressed up as ram.

The aborted paramilitary-style dark op provided a legitimate and legislative opportunity for Shorten to defend our civil rights and show some intestinal fortitude, rather than whimper predicticable platitudes.

Operation Fortitude remains a serious attempt of a government assault upon its people. No question.

What madness prompted such a provocative and deliberate act upon our civil liberties?

It was/is an abuse of process and of our human rights, and the rancid smell of racial profiling will not be sweetened by all the perfumes of Arabia.

Where were you Bill? Why didn't you protest with the people? Too much of a toff?

Unseemly for a Leader ? 

An ineffectual opposition facilitiates dangerous political delinquencies.

On Ray Hadley's 2GB show, Dutton accused the media of being hysterical and waging a jihad about Operation Fortitude, singling out Fairfax Media and the ABC. Duh?

Dutton and the Austasi Border Farce were the ones conducting an hysterical jihad against ordinary people going about their business in Melbourne's CBD!

Clearly, the media poses a greater threat to Dutton than does Shorten. I can't recall if Shorten was even mentioned.

Then again, Bill, the media is doing the heavy lifting for you  It's shining a light into the long dark shadows cast by the Austasi Border Farce and the lies told to the Australian people.

Thanks to Fairfax Media paying for documents discovered under Freedom of Information, investigative reporter Natalie O'Brien yesterday confirmed the extent of those lies and validated our growing distrust of the body politic.

'... six officers were to be stationed at two taxi ranks in Melbourne over a two-night operation doing status checks "alongside" Victorian police and the Victorian Taxi Directorate. But after the botched operation was cancelled Border Force officials had said they were never going to approach people in the street or racially profile people but rather check the visa status of anyone referred to them by another agency.'

We are constantly being lied to and misled. Cover-ups and apportioning blame to "low-level" personnel is the default crisis management response to decision blunders and gutless leaders who refuse to assume responsibilities and own their mistakes.


Pillars that define democracy, like transparency and public accountability, have gone AWOL.

Like Shorten, they are missing in inaction. 

If Parliament and the Australian people it serves have been deliberately misinformed, then something needs to be done about it.

Bill, you sound bored and boring. Bland. And you sounded so even when shirtfronter Tony Abbott was about, long before Malcolm talcum powder was sprinkled upon the prime ministership.

It's your personality. You haven't got one. Not in terms of a media persona. In real life, politicians have to be a reel person. And vice versa.

It's true that it's facile and destructive politics for opposing parties to simply slag one another's initiatives or vote against bills without first considering their merits or otherwise.

Incursions upon our civil liberties and freedom of speech are increasing in our shrinking democracy.

We need leaders who will not capitulate to such toxic intellectual and moral revisionism and who will champion the people, and stand and fight rather than take flight.

For the sake of good robust governance, if not for his Labor Party, Shorten should stand down.

Otherwise, it's only a matter of time until there's a coup and he suffers the ignominy of being hoisted on his own petard, the letterhead changed and the stationery again pulped.

The original John Graham artwork featured at the beginning of this piece may be purchased from the IA store HERE.

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