George Christensen
George Christensen (Image: George Christensen/Facebook)

Cash in hand Apparently it is possible for some things to be so predictable they become surprising. See the profile of Attorney-General (and rule of law fan) Michaelia Cash in Good Weekend. Apart from the customary “relaxed” photo shoot, which makes you long for the warmth and authenticity of a Boston Dynamics dance sequence, Cash’s rhetoric is the exact kind of Kmart Thatcherism you’d expect:

To achieve, you work hard. To achieve more, you simply have to work harder … There’s a hurdle in front of you? You go under it, around it, pick it up and smash it, but you get to the other side … If your parents give you a work ethic, you will survive anything.

Ah yes, the exact kind of inspiring determination that one picks up in the hardscrabble world of … *checks notes* political dynasties. Cash is the eldest daughter of George Cash, one-time president of Western Australia’s Legislative Council. She went to Iona Presentation College, an expensive Catholic girls’ school. Best of all, Cash took elocution lessons. Firstly, one is forced to ask what kind of psychopath was running that class? Secondly, there is nothing that says “voice of the common people” than having done elocution lessons like the scion of an 1920s publishing mogul.

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Palmer gives a handout Is there any more vivid and depressing illustration of the state of modern media than the ad on the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald this morning? Clive Palmer, whose long-running campaign against reality has filled the coffers of advertising departments in all the major newspapers — even those who dedicate every other issue to portraying him as a prize tool — has added another frame to this shitshow reel, shifting listlessly from vaccine scepticism to lockdown protest.

Palmer has pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into Nine and News Corp over recent years. But putting anti-lockdown hysteria on the front page while New South Wales is ravaged by a ruthless strain of COVID, and while anti-lockdown protests are already putting the state’s health system at risk, really raises the question: is there anything the SMH wouldn’t print for the right price?

Borat and sold Could we just lay off Kazakhstan, an actual country with real citizens and not a fictional land created to house a hilarious backward stereotype? Not only does it have to suffer the indignity of having sports events use the theme from Borat instead of its actual anthem, it has to live with being used as the example of some foreign “shithole” we’re somehow doing worse than.

So of course when it was pointed out that our vaccination rates are worse than (get this) Kazakhstan, Labor’s Jason Clare mined this for an attack ad against Scott Morrison. We’re losing to Kazakhstan! Where Borat is from! Can you imagine!

Seriously, guys, come up with some new material.

Bill Shorten goes AZ The ALP’s approach to Australia’s vaccine rollout disasters has been to stick to the mantra “he had two jobs” — attacking the federal government’s hotel quarantine program, and Scott Morrison’s failure to secure Australia enough doses of Pfizer. Labor has gone particularly hard on the latter, which has involved trashing the AstraZeneca vaccine to a level that borders on the irresponsible. This approach has hit its apotheosis with the preselecction of Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah, an infectious diseases expert and physician who hated AZ before it was cool.

So we can’t help but wonder if there’s something pointed in former leader Bill Shorten’s post on Instagram yesterday, a beaming mid-jab pic captioned: “Have now had my second AZ jab. Very happy to be fully vaxxed. Doherty Institute has confirmed the AZ is as effective as Pfizer.”

The George who cried wolf Dawson MP and perpetual nuisance George Christensen has “left the door open” to a split with the Coalition over vaccine passports as a “matter of principle”, according to news.com.au. We suspect the Coalition, by now, won’t be quaking in its boots. It seems Christensen’s favourite pastime that doesn’t require a passport is threatening to quit or cross the floor from the LNP.

  • July 2016: Christensen threatens to cross the floor if the government doesn’t change its plans on superannuation reform. He does not.
  • December 2016: Christensen warns his position in the party might “no longer be tenable” if the party didn’t pay more attention to the concerns of conservative voters. He does not quit.
  • February 2017: Christensen writes a “letter of demand” to then-PM Malcolm Turnbull threatening to quit over the federal government’s inaction in a sugar industry dispute affecting Dawson. He does not send it.
  • June 2017: Christensen threatens to cross the floor and vote for a debate over a Greens bill establishing a royal commission into the banks. He does not.
  • June 2017: Christensen threatens to cross the floor to vote with a Labor bill protecting penalty rates. He actually does it. Conveniently, in a trick possibly learnt from his colleague Barnaby Joyce, it makes no difference.

Change the record, buddy.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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