Not So Special


Scott Morrison should buy a whole book of lotto tickets, but he should probably pass it on to those SAS blokes. They’re gonna need some of his luck when the war crimes prosecutors come for them. As awkward as it must be for Smoko right now, having to suddenly switch from the politician’s reflexive fetishising of the ANZAC legend to mumbling “something-something-war-crimes” and “oh-noes-I-think-I-hear-my-mother-calling,” he’s still better off with the news cycle churning on thirty-nine state-sponsored murders by our not so fucking special forces than he might otherwise be.

Recall the violent prolapse of the nationally puckered anus when Australian cricketers got caught cheating in South Africa. Now, multiply that by twenty or thirty years worth of fetishising military service, culture and sacrifice, and you’ve got a super-massive national shame spiral to suck up all the attention that might have embarrassed the PM had it settled elsewhere.

Like, say, on more than a billion dollarydoos worth of compo the feds promised to pay to the victims of the Robodebt standover racket. Or at least those who survived, there having been a large number of innocent passersby who were grabbed up by the gubbermint’s data-matching snatch squads and given a bit of the ol’ SAS treatment - but on a much larger scale.

Thirty-nine Afghans encountered one particular type of Australian public servant and lost their lives.

Two thousand and thirty Centrelink recipients encountered another type of Australian public servant and also lost their lives.

Scotty was, as I recall, the Treasurer during much of the robberdebt period, and promised that the haphazard administrative muggings of random citizens would totes pay off when they couldn’t find that faded payslip from the two weeks of casual work they did back in 2012, thereby proving to the ATO that, say, Engadine Maccas wasn’t paying its toilet cleaners a quarter million bucks a year.

The impossibly punishing record-keeping demands of Robodebt were looking extra-egregious when former Fairfax business writer Michael West revealed on his site that “the PM either lied about a critical probity report, or numerous government departments and agencies are so incompetent that all of them – together, coincidentally, jointly and severally – lost it.”

A critical probity report, you say?

Incompetence and shenanigans implied, you imply?

What fresh shitfuckery is this then?

Some pretty old and stale shitfuckery, as it happens. But fascinating nonetheless, in the same way that a fourteen year old Big Mac left sitting in a share house cupboard is both a little stale and utterly fascinating because it simply doesn’t comply with the usual laws of thermodynamics and entropy by disintegrating and rotting away. (And it doesn’t. Not even a little. I can personally assure you of that).

West’s report, based on FOI research by Jommy Tee, pondered Smoko’s infamous sacking as managing director of Tourism Australia in 2006, one year out from the end of his contract. Long have we wondered, lo these many years, what the fuck he did to get shivved like that.

It might have had something to do with this. His very special brain child.

Or more likely, it had something to do with “the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding the $180 million tourism campaign,” and specifically with Morrison’s appearence before Senate Estimates to explain himself. Morrison, under oath, cited a ‘probity report’ by KPMG that found everything was tickety-fucking-boo.

Move along, Senators. Nothing to see here.

An entertaining coincidence as it turns out, because when West and crew went looking for the report, or even some evidence that such a report had ever been done… they got crickets.

And tumbleweeds.

And the cold, hard silence between the stars.

the probity report supposedly conducted by KPMG, a report that Scott Morrison repeatedly used to shield himself from attacks over the awarding of the $180 million contracts, cannot be found anywhere. –

Moreover, Tourism Australia was unable to find any emails, briefings or tender documentation associated with a probity audit into the M&C Saatchi contract.

Smoko promised the Senate that he would provide the report, but later said he couldn’t because it was considered ‘Commercial-in-Confidence’.

The business equivalent of ‘on-water-matters’.

KPMG told West that “this reference goes back many years and while we can confirm we have provided services to Tourism Australia, we cannot confirm we completed the report.” Tourism Australia advised that “no probity audit document could be located.”

The Department of Industry, which had responsibility for Tourism Australia, refused the FOI request because no relevent documents could be found.

Not even the National Archives, who’s only job is to find and keep these things, could find any sign of this thing ever having existed. The National Audit Office concluded simply that there was and never had been any report.

Looks like Smoko made it all up and lied to the Senate. Looks like that’s why he got shitcanned. But luckily for him, that’s not what he got asked about this week. He really should buy those Lotto tickets.