Ok. call me sexist, but I’ve always felt that having a woman around the house was more likely to lead to a cleaner house, so when Kevin moved out and Julia moved in, I figured that the house would be just as clean. And – if I’m being honest – I never really noticed much difference.

Wayne and I were aware that the basement did need a good clean out after the Great Flood of 2007, but the sandbagging he and Kevin did protected most of the house even though it didn’t stop the flooding in the basement. (By contrast, my friend’s shop in the next suburb was washed away and he only recently got a job.We just kept on going to work and figured that the levy bank would either save us or not.)

Right from the beginning of the flood, Tony and Joe had been in my ear.

“They’ve built the levy bank too high. You’ve wasted all that time and effort, not to mention the cost of all those sandbags,” they told me.

“You’d be better off with us as housemates,” they assured me.

I nodded politely. At that stage I was just thanking my lucky stars that I still had a job and wasn’t facing bankruptcy like my friend in the neighbouring suburb.

But it was only after Julia’s complaint that I wasn’t treating her fairly because she was a woman, that things changed. Now, I may be a little sexist, but I certainly don’t like it when a woman points it out.

It was then that Tony and Joe told me what a mess the basement was in and that the landlord would probably throw us out; I grew a little bit concerned.

“Look,” said Wayne. “Most households aren’t even aware that they have a basement. And you’ve never even been down there.”

“But what will the landlord say?” I wanted to know.

“I’ve already spoken to him, and he says that so long as we keep the rest of the house clean, we can fix it up in our own time.”

Tony and Joe told me that wasn’t good enough and that I should demand that Wayne set a deadline.

I’ll spare you the long complicated story of how Wayne failed to meet the deadline, why Julia moved out, Kevin’s fleeting visit and why I felt like I’d be better off with Tony and Joe. It’s what’s happening now that concerns me.

You see, Tony and Joe gave me certain undertakings before moving in. They agreed that they wouldn’t touch anything in my room, and the household kitty would stay the same and that we’d be able to clean up the basement.

When they told me a couple of weeks ago that I’d have to put an extra $7 a week into the kitty, because of the mess in the basement, that sort of made sense. Until they told me that the money was going to a fund which was going to look at the reasons for flooding and ways we could prevent it in the future. In spite of my questions, they didn’t have much detail on how the money would be spent.

“Trust us,” said Tony.

“Yeah, our overriding promise was to clean up the mess the others left.”

When I suggested that they could start by doing the dishes or the vacuuming, they scoffed. Besides didn’t I have friends who’d lost their jobs and just sit around doing nothing? Couldn’t they come over and do it?

Last night, I came home to find some of the contents of my room on the lounge room floor. “What are you doing?” I demanded.

“We’re cleaning up the mess,” said Joe.

“But you’ve got all my stuff on the floor.”

“Your previous housemates enabled you to accumulate all this stuff, it’s just getting in the way of our cleaning up the mess. We’re checking through it and throwing out what you don’t need,” said Tony.

“But it’s mine!” I insisted.

“Come on,” said Tony, “we all have to make sacrifices.”

“We’re just going to sell the stuff you don’t really need,” promised Joe.

I nodded and started toward the kitchen to make myself a coffee.

“You can’t go in there,” said Joe.

“Why not?” I asked.

“We’ve made the kitchen more efficient,” said Tony.

“What?”

“Yes, we sold it to a chef. He’ll cook all the meals, and that way we won’t have people wandering in there all the time, using up electricity and being inefficient with the purchase of food.”

“That’s ridiculous, won’t we have to pay for the chef?”

“No,” said Joe, “just for your meals. Privatisation, it’s the only way to go.”

“Ah well, at least it’s giving someone a job,” I said.

“And Pedro is very grateful for the chance to work in this country. He’s earning far more than he would back home,” said Tony.

“He’s foreign. Shouldn’t we have given the job to someone Australian at least?”

“No, that’s being racist and disgusting, as our Uncle Rupert says.”

“Shouldn’t you have asked me before you did any of this?” I wanted to know.

“We did,” said Tony. “Before we moved in, we told you that we going to clean up the mess and that’s what we’re doing?”

“Right,” I said, “so how much did the chef pay for the kitchen?”

“We can’t tell you that. It’s a confidential arrangement,” said Joe.

“Well, where’s the money going then?”

“Into the basement,” said Tony.

“You’re going to pay someone to clean up the basement?”

“No,” said Joe. “We can’t afford that. We’re just going to put the money into the basement until we find a use for it.”

“But isn’t cleaning up the basement you’re number one priority?”

“Not so much,” said Tony. “Our number one priority is stopping those kids from stealing apples in the backyard. And we’ve done that. If anyone jumps the fence, we have a security guard who grabs them and then locks them in the basement.”

“Isn’t that illegal?”

“Stealing apples is illegal,” insisted Tony.

“Doesn’t it just add to the mess in the basement?”

“The mess in the basement isn’t so bad,” said Joe.

“I thought it was a crisis.”

“Yes, well, it is,” he explained, “but not a very serious one,”

“Ok, I’d like everything put back in my room the way it was. And then I’d like you two out of here,” I told them.

“You can’t mean that,” said Joe.

“Yeah,” said Tony, “we’ve been doing such an excellent job.”

“But you lied to me. You’re doing all these things you promised you wouldn’t do!”

“Who told you that? Have you been talking to Wayne?” asked Joe.

“Yeah, you shouldn’t listen to him. He was one of the people in the house when the basement flooded,” added Tony.

“Look, we promised we’d fix this mess and that’s what we’re doing!” asserted Joe.

I looked around. All I could see was chaos in what used to be one of the neatest rooms in the house.

“And one other thing, from tomorrow, you’ll need to ring the doorbell to get in. We’re having the locks changed,” Joe informed me.

“What?”

“We don’t want those people who caused all the mess to get back in, do we?” asked Tony.

“But don’t I get a key? I mean, I live here.”

“Yeah,” said Joe, “but it’s not like you own it or anything!”

“Hi, can I have the joint credit card?”

“Why?”

“I want to book a flight.”

“Where to?”

“Noosa.”

“Why?”

“Well, I remember that waiter there who was so nice when I lost my wallet. I want to go back and thank him.”

“Didn’t I thank him at the time?”

“Yes, but I think I should too.”

“Couldn’t you just send him a card?”

“No, it’s best done in person.”

“But aren’t we trying to save money?”

“Yes, but this is one of those things that will make me more popular with the Australian people and you can’t put a price on that.”

“What about our budget emergency?”

“That was just something I said when you wanted to spend money. This is something that I want to spend money on, so it’s completely different!”

“Ok, I see what you’re trying to do here. You’re trying draw a link between the Prime Miniture’s visit to the Netherlands and your visit to Noosa, but I think you’ll just end up sounding like a complete prat!”

“This has nothing to do with Tiny Abbott. I accept that he’s going over to the Netherlands to thank the Dutch and that’s got nothing to do with trying to extend the one story that’s boosted his standing in the polls.”

“Don’t write that.”

“Why not? Is it because I shouldn’t politicise tragedy?”

“No. Politicising tragedy is fine in certain circumstances. Like when people die installing insulation because Labor funded it. You can criticise them for a lack of oversight. No, you shouldn’t write that because it’s not true!”

“You don’t think he’s going there for poll driven reasons?”

“No, I don’t think it’s true that it’s boosted his standing in the polls. I mean, have you seen the poll at the bottom of this page?”

“Seen it? I wrote it.”

“And I never said any of this. So why are you pretending that you had this conversation?”

“It’s like when Liberals claim that they’ve consulted – it’s called fiction!”

Ok, if you hit this web address (at least I think it’s a web address, it could be a web site or possibly an envelope) http://www.abbottlies.com.au then it takes you straight to the Liberal Party website. (Cut and paste it if you think I’m playing with the link!)

So which smart lefty thought of doing that? Well, actually it was the Liberal Party themselves. Apparently someone thought they could beat Labor to the punch by registering the name, then redirecting traffic to… well, one could say the actual lies.

Now if that’s not a spectacular admission, I don’t know what is!

“Tony Abbott’s lies are up in lights for everyone to see at abbottslies.com.au,’’ Mr Shorten said.

I guess this means Senator Brandis, Eric Abetz and Kevin Andrews don’t qualify for the most spectacular stuff up of the week.

Kevin Andrews – for those of you who missed it – had to clear up a memorandum issued with his authority, which said that the following would not be considered gainful work when considering reduced waiting periods for unemployment benefits: ‘domestic or gardening tasks” at the applicant’s house of that of a family member, work ”for the purpose of achieving election of the person to public office” and work that involves nudity or is in the sex industry.

Mr Andrews has since clarified that people doing live modelling for artists would be considered to be working even though they were sitting perfectly still.

Similarly, those working in the sex industry will be considered to be in “gainfully work”. Of course, one wonders why it would have been excluded in the first place. Was it that Kevin Andrews thought that sex was too much fun to be considered work? (Highly improbable). Or was it that he felt that people doing work of which he disapproves should be punished. (Possible, but then the list would have been much longer!)

Whatever the reason, people can rest easy. Those forced into sex work because of the Abbott Government’s six month waiting period can breath a sigh of relief knowing that they’ll be treated just like everyone else.

Yep, you can’t say that this government isn’t fair.

Particularly on social media if you’re a public servant. They’ve forbidden it!

“Sorry, I can’t stay for another beer – I’ve got a doctor’s appointment.”

“You what?”

“I’ve got a doctor’s appointment. I have to go and get a mole checked out. My wife thinks it might be skin cancer.”

“No such thing, mate.”

“What do you mean?”

“This skin cancer stuff is just a conspiracy so that scientists can get more money.”

“How do you know?”

“It’s just my opinion. But I did read something about it on the Internet, and someone rang up a talkback show and said it was a load of crap and the host said that he wasn’t convinced that it existed either.”

“But what about people who’ve died of skin cancer?”

“They did ask anyone who’d died of skin cancer to ring in and nobody did. One woman tried to say that her husband had died of skin cancer, but they said that they weren’t going to rely on hearsay.”

“I had a mole removed last year and my doctor said that I should get any changes checked.”

“Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he? I mean, they’re all part of the conspiracy.”

“So you’re saying that the doctors and the scientists are working together just to make us part with our money?”

“Exactly. I mean, it’s supposed to be caused by the sun and the sun is a naturally occurring part of nature and plants need it to grow so how could it be bad for us?”

“I suppose, but it’s hard to believe that so many people would be trying to mislead us.”

“Scientists have often got it wrong. I mean look at that Climate Change crap. There were all those predictions that we’d all be underwater by now, and it’s only the beachside suburbs that have been submerged.”

“All right, I will have another beer. I can afford it now I don’t have to pay all that money to go to the doctor.”

“Yeah, that was a good idea of Abbott’s. Taxing people $200 every time they visit the doctor.”

“Well, it certainly got the Budget in a much healthier position.”

“And it stopped people rushing off to the doctor every time they felt a bit crook or severed an artery.”

“And it’s certainly cut down on waiting times. Last time I went there were more doctors than patients.”

“Say what you like about the Liberals, they’re certainly sound economic managers.”

“Yeah, that idea about fining anyone who didn’t finish secondary school and charging the ones that did for the cost of their schooling was a stroke of genius.”

“It’s great to know that the Budget’s will be back in surplus by the year 2043.”

“Apparently it’d be a lot sooner if unemployment hadn’t hit 68%.”

“Well, at least we don’t have to fork out our taxes for those lazy bludgers any more. Demanding that all those on Work-for-the-dole have to buy a new uniform every day should have been an enormous boost to our clothing industry. If only those lazy bastards had done it instead of saying that they didn’t have any money because the cost of administering the scheme was being deducted from their benefit.”

“You’d think that they’d want to give something back to the community.”

“Nah, they’re too lazy, mate. I saw one who claimed that he was homeless. And I said why don’t you buy a house then instead of just sitting around. I mean, it’s not like he didn’t have time.”

“Yeah, people who vote Liberal have a different mindset. When Sophie Mirabella lost her job, she went straight out and got that job with that submarine thingy. But those Left wing types just wait around expecting someone just to hand it to them.”

“Yeah, if I’d paid any income tax last year, I’d be really pissed off.”

“Me too. That was another great move by Abbott. Abolishing income tax on anyone earning over $200,000. Really gives people an incentive to work harder.”

“And there’s plenty of jobs out there. The social media unit of the PM’s office is always hiring. I believe that it has over nine thousand staff now and they still can’t keep up with the criticism.”

“Typical of Australians. They’re just never grateful. I mean, if it wasn’t for Abbott we wouldn’t have unemployment of 68%, interest rates of zero, and six of the richest people in the world living in Australia.”

“Yeah, we’d still have all those buses and trams clogging up our roads.”

“Lucky we voted Labor out when we did or the deficit’d be even bigger than it is?”

“What is it these days?”

“Dunno. It’s an operational matter. Apparently, it isn’t in the nation’s interest for anyone to know.”

“Let’s have another beer.”

“Yeah mate, after all, I’ve just read somewhere that drinking doesn’t cause any harm and that it’s all a big con to enable governments to tax it.”

“Cheers.”

“Cheers.”

’m sure you’ve all heard about Jacqui Lambie’s disgraceful performance on the Kim and Dave show. No, I’m not talking about her description of her perfect man as “well-hung” – I’m talking about this, when she was asked about her body hair:

“Right now the state I’m in, I can tell you what, you’d want to bring out that whipper snipper first.”

I mean, what sort of example is this for an elected representative to be setting? Surely, she shouldn’t be using the fact that she hasn’t been in a relationship for eleven years to justify her lack of waxing.

Sexist? Double-standard?

Yeah, I guess we don’t criticise Tony for his lacking of waxing.

But the whole Jaqui Lambie “controversy” has been another one of those moments where I feel like some people are inhabiting another planet. Why? Well, let’s look at how it’s played out:

Lambie goes on the Kim and Dave show and gets asked some personal (and dare I suggest, risqué and crude) questions.

She responds in a risqué and crude manner.

This is thought to be important enough to be widely reported.

Jacqui Lambie apologised to anyone who was offended.

Responses include Judith Ireland who told us that Jaqui “shouldn’t be let off the hook” for her comments, and Neil Mitchell who asserted that if a male politician talked about a woman’s breasts “there’d be fury” and various letters and comments along these lines:

“If any male pollie mentioned a part of a womans body he would be walked over hot coals. This type of ‘talk’ is not acceptable, she can try and paint it anyway she pleases. It is not ‘normal ‘ I would be absolutely horrified if I heard my daughter speak in this manner, women want respect, well she just lost a whole lot. I feel so sorry for her teenage son!”

And a number of articles compared it to the reaction when Tony Abbott described a Liberal candidate he was introducing as “feisty” and possessing “sex appeal”. The general suggestion being how come that Lambie , a woman, can get away with it, when Abbott was so severely dealt with.

All that sounds fine, except for the fact that it draws a completely different narrative from what actually happened. If we reduce the two incidents to the basic facts.

Abbott – at a political meeting – uses sexist language to introduce a candidate. He is criticised for it. He doesn’t resign. He goes on to become PM. He doesn’t apologise.

Lambie – on a breakfast show – uses sexist language after telling the radio audience that she hadn’t been in a relationship for eleven years because she’d been “physically and psychologically damaged” and the announcers decide not to explore that part of her answer, but instead find her a partner (because we all know that every woman needs a man!). She is criticised for it. She doesn’t resign. She DOES apologise.

I fail to see that one “got away with it” and the other didn’t, given that both faced a storm of criticism and that neither has – so far – suffered any consequences in terms of their public position.

Yes, her language was inappropriate. Yes, I am happy to condemn her for reducing men to sex objects based on the size of their penis. Yes, if a man did something similar, they’d face criticism and be forced to apologise. JUST LIKE SHE DID!

But, of course, I can’t imagine any breakfast announcer saying to a man, “You haven’t been in a relationship for something like eight years…”

Or asking Tony if he misses Margie on those cold Canberra nights!

P.S. The bottom of the page gave me the following warning:

“Warning: Title display in Google is limited to a fixed width, yours is too long.”

Seems appropriate.

“Let’s wait until we’ve got all the facts in before we come to hard and fast conclusions. But obviously it is the clear and settled position of the Australian Government that larger countries should not bully smaller ones, that countries should not aid people who are in rebellion against their own government and that international disputes should be settled peacefully in accordance with international law.”

Tony Abbott, 18th July, 2014

Waiting for the facts, now there’s a change for a start. Ok, it didn’t stop him directly blaming Russia for this tragedy, but it is a vast improvement from when he interrupted Question Time earlier this year to announce that the missing plane was on the verge of being found.

But it’s pleasing that the Liberals are now adopting the policy that “larger countries should not bully smaller ones”! This will, of course, prevent our future involvement in such events as:

The Vietnam War
Both Iraq wars
Our attempts to screw East Timor on oil
The G20
Trade agreements with the USA
Support for the Japanese effort in World War Two
As for “aiding people who in rebellion against the their own government”, this probably stems from the fact that Abbott – being English – is still upset over the American War of Independence where tea was tipped into Boston Harbour, while colonials dressed as Native Americans chanted, “No taxation without representation”. The current Tea Party have drawn their name from this event, but left out the word “Boston” from their name. Similarly, in order to achieve consistency, they’ve also left out the words “without representation” from their slogan.

Now, I know some of you will object to me calling Mr Abbott “English” given that he’s lived here since childhood and that he took out Australian citizenship in his twenties. (And, as Parliamentarians aren’t allowed to be dual citizens, he’s clearly revoked his British citizenship – even though there appears no evidence of that.) However, when I complain about referring to Mr Murdoch as an Australian, I’m told that he’s born here so that makes him Australian, even if he has given up his citizenship. As Terry McCrann put it yesterday.:

“In the 1960s Murdoch went to Britain, in the 1970s to the US, in the 1980s to the very different universe of Hollywood; that, and a lot more would, as they say, be and is continuing to be history.

But all through this dizzying roller-coasting cacophony of activity he never left Australia.

That’s obvious in business terms. NewsCorp is now the country’s unequalled private sector media player — bizarrely, challenged and increasingly confronted only by the nominally publicly owned but “their” ABC.

BUT he never “left” Australia in even more core personal terms. He always will be quintessentially Australian.”

So, I guess that Rupert is “Australian”; one might almost say that he’s “the Australian” – well, the only one whose opinion counts. (Who needs scientists when Rupert can tell us that the best way to deal with climate change is to build away from the sea?) Of course, we just had the celebration of fifty years of “The Australian” – that newspaper which advocates free enterprise and not relying on handouts, while itself not actually making a profit in the fifty years of its existence.

Ah well, yesterday’s front page of another Murdoch Media Misinformation unit, assured me that Bill Shorten just doesn’t get that we have to find billions of dollars worth of savings while simultaneously celebrating the fact that the Carbon Tax is gone and we’ve removed a $9 billion impost on the economy. And we also want to get rid of that Mining Tax. Because if we get rid of taxes then thats money that the government doesn’t have and Bill Shorten doesn’t seem to get that when you get rid of taxes like that you need to find spending cuts.

(Typical Labor. When it was announced last year that they’d require people to keep log books on their business-related leased cars, they didn’t understand that this would lead to the death of the car industry because apparently most people weren’t using them for business purposes and if you stop a business rort, that’s bad for the economy – stopping rorts by pensioners, parents, the disabled, the unemployed and anyone else who may not have voted Liberal, on the other hand, is a good and just thing. And let’s face it – any money you take from the government is a rort unless you’re someone whose leasing a car.)

Nevertheless, I can’t understand why – even if they still try and remove the spending associated with it – the Liberals are so concerned with removing the Mining Tax, because, after all, it’s raising so little money, it could hardly be a disincentive to investment. And given some of the things that have been cut because of the “dire emergency”, you’d think every bit would count.

Now I’ve read a bit this week about the “special friendship” of Tony Abbott and Shinzo Abe. And I was a bit surprised by the first part of Greg Sheridan’s analysis: “TONY Abbott and Japan’s Shinzo Abe have become close friends, and more than that…close political, regional and personal allies. When they speak in private they mostly speak in English. An interpreter is always present but Abe understands everything that Abbott says and often responds in English.”

Mm, sounds positively romantic.

So, when talking about the bravery of two Japanese submariners killed in a raid on Sydney Harbour during the Second World War, Mr Abbott had this to say:

“We admired the skill and the sense of honour that they brought to their task although we disagreed with what they did. Perhaps we grasped, even then, that with a change of heart the fiercest of opponents could be the best of friends.”

Now I know that the war was a long time ago, but I suspect that not everyone who lost relatives admired the Japanese “sense of honour” at the time. However, I suspect that the passing of the years has enabled the survivors of the Burma Railway and Changi Prison, to better appreciate the skill with which the Japanese managed to extract the maximum productivity from the POWs. Perhaps also, those used by the Japanese as “comfort women” grasped that with a “change of heart” they could become the best of friends.

Yes, there’s no point in holding a grudge, because, after all, they did apologise to few of our diggers. (All right, it did take them till a couple of years ago to do it, but that’s a lot quicker than our response to the stolen generation.)

Moving on – It’s a great principle. Rather than concentrate on what was done – or perhaps, tactfully not mentioning it – admire the skill and sense of honour.

For example, instead of vilifying Jack the Ripper, I can admire his skill in not being caught. Instead of condemning Charlie Manson, I can admire his persuasive skills. Instead of growing angry at Christopher Pyne, I can admire the way he has become Education Minister with virtually no skills at all.

But there have to be limits. We have to ensure that if Tony goes to Germany, he doesn’t say that while we disagree with the Holocaust, we have to admire the efficiency with which…

No, even Tony wouldn’t go that far.

But then a week ago, I wouldn’t have expected to hear him praising Japan’s war effort to a Japanese Prime Minister who has turned his back on their tradition of pacifism since World War Two, announcing his intention to expand the military to better enable Japan to defend itself.

And thanks to this new policy, Australia may now be buying submarines from Japan.

“Australia may ask Japan for help in designing a new class of submarine or may consider buying complete submarines from Japan. Australia’s previous government had promised to build 12 submarines in Adelaide for a total cost of around $40 billion, the country’s most expensive defense project. However, the Abbott government elected in September last year may downsize that and is said to be considering other options.”

http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/Australia-Inches-Closer-to-Japanese-Submarine-Deal-2014-07-09

Like I said, things change. Once we were threatened by a submarine invading Sydney. Now, it appears that thanks to Japanese subs, even more workers may “liberated” from their jobs in Adelaide!