In yesterday’s Tips and Rumours we ran the following tip:

“The source says that in some cases debates are going well into the wee hours of the night, with the Legislative Council sitting until 4.30am last Wednesday to debate protective services officers and dangerous dogs legislation. It meant that the MPs could leave six hours early at the end of the week though.

“Quite apart from any concerns that anyone might have about the administration of democracy after midnight, spare a thought for the parliamentary staff who, in some cases, weren’t able to leave until after 5am and then expected to resume work roughly two hours later. Also consider the position of anyone who wants to pursue the obvious workplace relations issues; the ultimate managers of the parliament — all staff across all parliamentary services — are the speaker and the president. So the only people you could raise concerns with were complicit in the decision for everyone to be there in the first place. Must be a headache for the HR manager of parliament, I just hope the workers have a strong union.”

This tip was actually from 2011 and was published in error.

On the “Netflix tax”

Peter Matters writes: Re. “Hockey scrambles to deliver Rupert his Netflix tax” (yesterday).To call the relationship between  Abbott  and Murdochland “crony capitalism” is paying the government an undeserved compliment. A more accurate description would be to call Abbott Murdoch’s most prominent off-kick.

On the DLP

Phillip Roslan writes: “Re. “Vale the Democratic Labour Party, Santamaria’s little helper” (Tuesday). While I appreciate that the article was about the DLP and John Madigan, I am surprised Crikey didn’t take the opportunity to at least briefly mention the close link between Santa and Abbott. Below is some relevant info.

Tony Abbott’s  mentors included the Bentley driving Father Emmet Costello, his “personal confessor” Archbishop George Pell, John Howard, and the ultra-conservative catholic and 1950s Democratic Labor Party protagonist BA Santamaria. Abbott stated that he was under Santamaria’s spell, and once described him as “the greatest living Australian” and “a philosophical star by which you could always steer”. Santamaria did not accept the concept of the separation of church and state, and believed that government policy should be guided by strict Catholic principles. Abbott states that Santamaria was important because “he saw politics as a way of giving glory to God in the human world.” (Mitchell, p. 96; Marr, p. 9).

Abbott’s time as health minister demonstrated that he too has difficulty separating the power of church and state and there will be more on that later. His statements regarding that separation are very contradictory as he believes that there is no conflict between Catholic teachings and responsible government as both answer to natural law; what ever that is (Manne, 2010). Journalists, commentators and academics have commented on Tony Abbott’s inability to separate church and state (Carlton, 2009; Jackson, 2010; Manne, 2010). It was possibly from Santamaria that Abbott copied the use of hyperbolical rhetoric. Interestingly, despite Abbott’s devotion to Santamaria (who he visited until his death), Santamaria refused to give Abbott a reference for his first attempt at obtaining pre-selection (Abbott, Battlelines, p. 11). When listing those who helped him when entering politics, Abbott thanked firstly Santamaria, then Hewson, then Howard and his wife last (Battlelines, p.xiii). Costello also reported that Abbott told him proudly “that he had learned all of his economics at the feet of Bob Santamaria; Costello, was horrified.” (Marr, p. 62).


Peter Fray

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