I live in North-West Sydney. This is the area where Arthur Sinodinos harvested the bucks as a director and deputy chair of Australian Water Holdings while also Treasurer of the Liberal Party of Australia.
AWH is one of those no-equipment no-expertise no-tradies no-nothing hollow man entities that corrupt cronies specialise in for the purpose of siphoning taxpayer funds to their good selves via lucrative government contracts.
Yet as Liberal Party Treasurer and AWH BOD, Sinodinos had no memory of donations from AWH to the Liberal Party. We know this because he told the ICAC so (the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption).
How they must chuckle on the way to the bank. What must it be, to siphon money paid by western Sydneysiders like me to secure fresh water supply – our water bills, not PayTV or the latest smartphone, just clean water – into eastern suburbs private school lifestyles?
What an exciting time to be alive. Oh to belong to a political party that aggressively promotes the mythology of financial reward as a product of hard work. While taxpayers stump up six-figure annual salaries to men who have ‘stood aside’ due to the obvious stench of corruption.
Actually, scrap that. In my darkest hours, losing sleep over what more I could have done for my kids, there is cold comfort: I did not steal from low-income families whose local schools desperately need funding to subsidise eastern suburbs private school lifestyles.
A low bar, but there it is.
Arthur Sinodinos was once the all-powerful Chief of Staff for Mr John mean-and-tricky Howard. ‘Mean and tricky’, by the way, is a description from his own side, from the then Liberal Party President Shane Stone no less, back in 2001. Remember Tampa?
Yes, Sinodinos was installed long before the 2001 Tampa election and stayed long after. He presided at a time that the Liberal Party of Australia was purged of anyone with the slightest conscience, coherent ideology, or desire (or ability) to govern rather than hold power.
From 1997 to 2006, to be exact. In other words, Arthur Sinodinos arrived to be the Howard big kahuna just after the Libs returned from the wilderness in 1996, and left just before Howard lost his seat as well as government in 2007.
What a guy. And what a loyal party man, the way he blew in and then deserted the sinking ship. Surely he must be rewarded for such meritorious service. And he was, in 2011, with a safe Senate seat.
But that is like five years not drawing a six-figure salary provided by taxpayers while LNP policies rip into welfare recipients. Goodness. How did Sinodinos muddle by in the interim?
Well, like all hard working men of merit, he worked hard in a liberal democracy to earn his just rewards in a fair and equal system that rewards hard working men of merit and is not at all an instrument of crony capitalism and corrupt neoliberaism.
For example, Sinodinos served as honorary Finance Director (2009 to 2011) and President (2011-2012) for the NSW branch of the Liberal Party. And according to his wiki profile, Senator Sinodinos was a Member of the Board of Global Panel Foundation Australasia, a respected NGO that works behind the scenes in crisis areas around the world. During 2012 Sinodinos was a regular columnist, writing in The Australian.
As anyone can see, a position with a “respected” organisation – respected by – um – who knows – which works “behind the scenes” – so modest – while on a Murdoch retainer is some hard work indeed. What could be more meritorious, as measured by the core values of liberalism set down by JS Mill?
Sinodinos is gone. Neoliberalism is not. The mythology of meritocracy will persist. And here is why, and how: meritocracy is the biggest lie of liberalism. We live in a nation state that purports to be a liberal democracy. It is not. It is a settler-colonial state where there is no evidence that any sovereign nation conceded sovereignty to the coloniser at any time. None.
If you search this, the name Batman and the place ‘Port Phillip’ will come up. The idea that traditional owners ceded to John Batman or anyone else is utterly discredited by contemporary scholars.
Meanwhile, adherents of liberalism – and by that I mean vested interests in maintaining the mythology of meritocracy – continue to aggressively prosecute the case for hard work and reward.
The necessary implication is that the poor, by definition, are wicked and lazy.
This is not true either, but it coincides with the founding narrative of white Australia, and chooses to invest itself in the falsities of liberalism rather than the historical, contemporary and obvious fact that sovereignty was never ceded by the true owners of this land.
Consider the loaf of bread or stolen handkerchief narrative. Most Australians know this story. A starving English man or woman stole a loaf of bread and came up against the oppressive power of the state. A state which placed the property rights of the baker in a loaf of bread above the human rights of a hungry woman or man. A state which presumed to sentence a human to seven years transportation, or commute death to life.
White Australians who simultaneously buy into the victim status of the hungry English working class while turning into the baker?
That is what Tony Abbott and Arthur Sinodinos rely on for their 6-figure salaries, via ‘popular’ vote. That wealth is courtesy of appropriating (I am being polite) the lands, the gold, the cedar, the minerals, the vast wealth of this continent, which does not in fact belong to us.
Arthur Sinodinos does not ‘deserve’ his comfortable wealthy lifestyle – as subsidized by my water bills. He has ‘earned’ nothing like the riches he enjoys.
Nobody should employ Tony Abbott to do anything, or listen to him on any topic. Abbott is a terrible person, a known hate- and terror-monger who on any basic criteria should be out of sight out of mind as soon as humanly possible.
Malcolm Turnbull cites known falsities (erroneous productivity claims produced by Econotech, analysed by Griffith University economics professors and which the Productivity Commission ‘distanced itself from’ in unusually strong terms) as evidentiary support for recalling the parliament in a letter to the Governor General. His (enclosed) confirmation for the constitutionality of his claims are 13 pages of advice from Attorney General George Brandis QC, a man who in the face of an imminent terror threat, was incapable of opening the second tab on a spreadsheet.
This is in fact how neoliberal meritocracy works.