Macklin / Dicey days at the top of the political tree

“Turnbull’s demand that bank CEOs front a House of Reps committee to explain themselves once a year was no better than an empty gesture. And he knew it,” writes Seven Days columnist ROBERT MACKLIN

PM Malcolm Turnbull had a taste this past week of just how dicey life at the top of the political tree can be.

Robert Macklin

Robert Macklin.

On the upside, he reversed Tony Abbott’s rejection of climate change as a prime concern of the CSIRO via his ever-accommodating Science Minister Greg Hunt. Then he saved the United Nations from Kevin Rudd who responded by throwing all his toys out of the pram. And to top it off he made the sensible decision to include former Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, as a co-royal commissioner in the inquiry into the rotten NT juvenile detention system.

HOWEVER, when the banks refused to pass on the full interest rate cut ordered by the Reserve, his demand that their CEOs front a House of Reps committee to explain themselves once a year was no better than an empty gesture. And he knew it.

When the final Senate seats were declared he was faced with 11 fractious cross-benchers in place of the eight he’d tried to eliminate with his double-dissolution election.

And then Senator Cory Bernardi – the stalking horse for his neo-conservative nemesis – announced he’d signed up more than 50,000 supporters for his Australian Conservatives movement.

Enjoy it while you can, Malcolm.

CLOSER to home, ACT Lib Leader Jeremy Hanson’s proposal for a defence industry taskforce within the Chief Minister’s office would be a tremendous asset to the ACT. Unbeknown to most Canberrans, local companies already figure prominently in high-tech defence procurement. The $1.5 million taskforce would turn a very tidy profit for the ACT.

AT last, that drug-addled sportsfest in Rio got underway with 271 Russians admitted to competition. On the bright side – and fingers crossed – our athletes have so far been spared the gun-crazed hooligans that haunt the city streets… and that’s just the cops!

THE Royal Commission into child abuse delivered yet another shocking broadside to the conscience of all Australians with heart-rending testimony from the victims of Anglican priests in the Newcastle diocese. Justice McClellan’s inquiry, established by the Gillard Government, has been running so long – and with such appalling revelations – that it’s almost become part of the background noise in the national news cycle.

But last week’s evidence from a survivor detailing multiple rapes with a priest cutting his back to symbolise Christ’s blood plumbed new depths of depravity. Yet there was scarcely a ripple of community revulsion.

Imagine the outcry if they’d been Muslim clerics.

SPEAKING of Muslims, there was a delicious irony in the way the parents of an American Muslim soldier killed in Iraq finally opened the floodgates of repulsion on Daffy Donald Trump. When the Republican nominee attacked Khizr Khan and Ghazala Khan after Khizr’s moving speech at the Democratic convention, even Trump’s staunchest defenders were silenced.

In fact, Trump has proved so irredeemably toxic we’re beginning to wonder whether he’s not a devilish “plant” organised by the Clintons!

FINALLY, a delightful contribution from the inspector-general of intelligence and security, Margaret Stone, revealing that a “Senior ASIO officer” set his terriers on the wrong people because of his “fat fingers” on his computer keyboard. “Accidents do happen,” said Margaret.

Oh dear. Maxwell Smart would have been proud.

robert@robertmacklin.com

 

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