NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

Barilaro of laughs In today’s dose of “what do you take me for?” New South Wales Nationals leader John Barilaro has told his critics in the Liberal Party to “put up or shut up”. This is after he resolutely failed to do either last week.

“It’s simple: if you don’t like it, you know where the door is,” the Nationals leader said, after Police Minister Dave Elliott suggested Barilaro should consider his position.

Side note: when Dave “I would want my kids strip-searched” Elliott is the voice of reason, something is definitely awry.

Janine Perrett argued in these pages that Barilaro “looks like just another bloated, narcissistic, disloyal, self-indulgent, hypocritical, self-absorbed and egotistical National Party leader” before demonstrating that he manages to be so much less than that.

A while ago, in a different context, Guy Rundle wrote of the contempt inspired by watching politicians live out “imaginary lives on our time“. It comes to mind watching this publicly funded tough-guy fantasy play out — an act which continues to achieve precisely nothing, even for the sectional interest it purports to benefit.

Trump Watch Who says Australia can’t be a thought leader? While time and time and time again we find that the hard right in this country simply adapts talking points from its American counterpart, it’s good that we can also export a few ideas of our own.

At the start of the year, what now seems like 16 years ago, as truly apocalyptic imagery and fires engulfed great swathes of the country, we heard a lot of (completely baseless) talk of arson, as well as complaints about the scourge of (non-existent) Greens governments and their disastrous forest mismanagement.

Now, as unprecedented fires ravage the US, we are seeing a spate of social media posts blaming antifa (and, for balance, far-right group the Proud Boys) for starting the blazes. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is arguing that, rather than climate change, the culprit is “forest management”. Makes you proud, huh?

Today in the surveillance economy Dan Murphy’s is boasting of becoming the first retailer to scan your car’s licence plate. The idea is customers enter their registration number when they order online. Then, when you arrive at the drive-through, digital cameras scan your license plate and alert a Dan Murphy’s employee, who then places the order in your boot.

General manager of digital for Dan Murphy’s Claire Smith has explained that not only will the service be retained post-COVID, it will be “expanded”. That doesn’t sound ominous at all.