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'Piss or get off the potty' blunt advice to Malcolm Turnbull as Bernardi and Christensen consider their futures

by December 21, 2016 General

1. Bernardi on the brink

The Australian’s front page screams that the Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi is “on the brink” of breaking away and forming his own conservative movement. Bernardi is quoted as refusing to comment on “gossip.”  [Sarah Martin]

Bernardi’s keeping a low profile over the summer but he’s certainly laid enough hints, so if he comes back in the new year sporting his “Make Australia Great Again” cap but not much more he may leave Canberra with said cap in hand. 

Speculation is rife that Maverick South Australian senator Cory Bernardi is set to split from the Coalition. Speculation is rife that Maverick South Australian senator Cory Bernardi is set to split from the Coalition. Photo: Lightly Salted/Liam West

One Bernardi supporter I spoke to said the South Australian had made up his mind to leave.

The former Independent MP Tony Windsor launched an extraordinary spray, urging Bernardi to “do Turnbull a favour” and just go. But the free advice doesn’t stop there. He says Turnbull should call out Cory Bernardi and the Coalition’s other most outspoken right-wing MP George Christensen and kick them out, although he used more, shall we say, country Australia language than that! 

George Christensen says jokes at his expense are like water off a duck's back

George Christensen MP. Photo: Andrew Meares

What’s George Christensen got to do with it? Well overnight I’ve learned that Christensen is also contemplating his future. [My report/Fairfax]

In other political news:

This is one of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s most detailed set of statements on Australia’s foreign policy to date. An excellent read in the Australian Financial Review’s weekend edition where she backs Trump’s approach on Syria (nothing else has worked) and says Australia is deliberately strengthening its relationships with Japan, India and Singapore as a hedge against US-China tensions. [Andrew Clark]

The influence of controversial political staffer James Ashby continues to bubble along. [Primrose Riordan/Financial Review]

The risk with politically insecure candidates is that they fall prey to svengali-type characters. Clive Palmer, leader of the now defunct Palmer United Party, would say his Senator Jacqui Lambie was influenced to leave by her controversial staffer Rob Messenger. 

2. Maquarie’s Green Investment Bank takeover spooks MPs

There’s a really interesting story brewing here in Britain over Macquarie Bank, aka the “millionaire factory’s” planned takeover of the Green Investment Bank. 

The GIB is the UK’s equivalent to Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation – in fact the CEFC is a copy of the GIB. 

They both finance green economy projects that might have a hard time finding investment otherwise. They behave like companies so they take a market approach in seeking to make a profit, rather than handing out subsidies.

In Britain the UK Government is privatising the GIB. And a variety of MPs, from the former Tory Minister who helped set it up, to the former Lib-Dem Business Secretary and a current Labour and Green MP are all concerned about the bank’s likely buyer – Australia’s Macquarie Bank. [My report/Fairfax]

3. ACL car bomb

The Australian Christian Lobby posted images of what it said showed a “car-bomb” that had exploded after being rammed into its Canberra headquarters in Deakin. Police said an investigation is under way, but details remain unclear. [Bevan Shields/Fairfax]

The Daily Telegraph reported the driver is receiving medical attention. [Ian Paterson]

4. Indonesia terror plot thwarted

Our Indonesia correspondent Jewel Tospfield reports three suspected terrorists were shot dead after one of them threw a bomb at police raiding their house just outside Jakarta. Police believe they were planning a Christmas Day attack. [Fairfax]

5. Hunt for Berlin attacker

And now to Germany where police have issued an arrest warrant for 24-year old Amis Amri, thought to be armed and wanted over the fatal truck attack at the Christmas Markets. The Germans are offering €100,000 ($143,902) for his whereabouts. [Fairfax]

Amri had ties to Islamic extremists and crucially, was denied asylum protection in July. He was meant to be deported.

Police found an identity document in the cabin of the truck used to plough into the marketplace, killing 12 and injuring 49.

AP reports that the suspected used six different names including three different nationalities, according to the European arrest warrant issued by the Germans. [AP]

6. Cold Christmas for the Queen

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Armed police officers patrol The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace ahead of the Changing of the Guard ceremony on December 21, 2016 in London, England. Security at major landmarks has been increased following the attack in Berlin which left 12 people dead and 49 injured. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Armed police officers patrol The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace ahead of the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Photo: Leon Neal

Yesterday as I walked through Central London the visibility of police manning the streets in high-visibility vests was palpable. 

It was the same in London just after a similarly horrific attack in Nice earlier this year. 

Police officers put a Road Closed sign and a traffic cone back in place, after members of the British military marched past on The Mall towards Buckingham Palace in London, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. London police on Wednesday instituted road closures in the area surrounding Buckingham Palace for nearly two hours while the popular Changing the Guard military ceremony was taking place ? a security measure rushed into place because of the deadly Christmas market truck attack in Berlin. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Road closures in the area surrounding Buckingham Palace. Photo: Matt Dunham

Police went a step further and actually closed down roads surrounding Buckingham Palace during the ever popular Changing of the Guard today. [Hatty Collier/Evening Standard]

Australians will not back a republic during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, Malcolm Turnbull says.

Photo: Getty Images

And you do know one must be feeling very poorly indeed to delay one’s traditional pilgrimage to Sandringham for Christmas.

At this stage, the Queen and Prince Philip are still planning to head to their Norfolk retreat in time for Sunday, despite their “heavy colds.” [BBC]

It comes just a day after the Palace announced the Queen, who turned 90 this year, has begun winding back some of her charity commitments.

And that’s two number sixes dedicated to the Royals two days in a row!

Never fear, I’ve not become a raging monarchist since moving to London and devouring The Crown (although I must say I do have a bit more of an appreciation of the role they play in British society.)

And that’s it from me today, you can follow me on Facebook for more.


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