Macklin / Wise moves away from a week of polibabble

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WISE move from PM Malcolm Turnbull to nick off to China in last week’s lead up to the Budget. Nothing more boring for voters to hear the non-answers from pollies to reporters’ questions about what’s in it.

Robert Macklin
Robert Macklin.

Unfortunately, the spokesmen he left behind – Treasurer Scott Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann – took great delight in parroting their polibabble…not a word about those “surprises”.

And when the conversation turned to Labor’s proposed Banking Royal Commission they just raised the decibel level about the power of ASIC, under whose watch the recent banking horrors played out.

Either way, it’s unlikely to go ahead. Electoral Commission figures released last week revealed contributions from the banks in 2014 of $564,000 to the Libs and $650,000 to Labor. QED.

TURNBULL played the international statesman with his usual aplomb. And it did him no harm to praise AFL above the other footy codes – Rugby League fans vote Labor en masse anyway and the Rugger Buggers are rusted on Libs.

Our own CM Andrew Barr was also on an Asian safari starting talks with the big Chinese airlines. Odd the way he seems to be emulating the Turnbull template.

THE spectre of Clive Palmer being hauled to court on criminal charges rolled into view as administrators charged that he’d used his failed Queensland Nickel as a “piggy bank” for other ventures such as his political party. Clive might argue that this investment paid off – his PUP voted to save him millions by ending the mining and carbon taxes.

OTHER alleged miscreants also faced the prospect of serious court action. The ACT Supreme Court cleared the way for David Eastman to be retried for the murder of Assistant Commissioner Colin Winchester… in 1989!

Surely there’s a legal principle that “justice delayed is justice denied”. And after 19 years in jail…

THE “60 Minutes” crew in Lebanon were also facing their legal comeuppance. Jailing journalists always raises the hackles, but their reckless stupidity involving snatching children from a public street really doesn’t qualify. No doubt the government will ensure they don’t remain behind bars for long.

SPEAKING of journalism, the Panama Papers scandal continues to engage the ATO behind the scenes. More Australian revelations can be expected shortly.

But one side effect is already apparent – the inequality issue has struck home, and tradies in the building industry will use it to justify their own “cash only” tax avoidance.

It’s also part of the journalistic revolution where the great newsgatherers of old are being replaced by the WikiLeaks model, with whistleblowers taking the lead.

AT first we all sympathised with Sofina Nikat, the mother of little Sanaya Sahib, the toddler she said had been snatched by a barefoot African in a Melbourne park.

When she confessed to murdering her child the nation split between those (mostly blokes) saying “Toldya so” and those (mostly women) who blamed “the dysfunction and violence” that surrounded her.

FINALLY, on a happier note, the Australian swimming championships produced a splendid new cohort of young stars such as Cam McEvoy, Kyle Chalmers and Mack Horton to challenge the world in Rio… more educated, better spoken and nicely mannered. Hardly a larrikin among them. What is the world coming to?

robert@robertmacklin.com

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Robert Macklin
Journalist and author. Contact robert@robertmacklin.com

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