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From the desk of Michael West


EEKUS AUKUS, Awkward! That Fella Down Under, as Joe Biden calls him, has managed to upset the French, the Kiwis, people who don’t want nuclear submarines, the Chinese, our Asian neighbours and probably most of Europe in one fell swoop with his AUKUS public relations stunt.

But Labor didn’t seem to mind and the corporate media were effusive in their praise so we will follow the money. Although, in true Morrison fashion, this Alliance for Freedom was just an announcement and there is no money, no deal so far, just a scotched subs deal with the French. Who lobbied the PM, was it BAE through Boris Johnson?

Elsewhere, Kim Wingerei with analysis of the High Court decision which means publishers can be sued for defamatory comments bobbing up on their social media pages from people they didn’t even know.

Callum Foote and I worked up a couple of JobKeeper pieces to keep the heat on those who would keep this Mother of All Bailouts a secret. Yes, Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Cartier got cash hand-outs too. 

None were in trouble in the least. If you were a foreign billionaire fashion magnate and you missed out on JobKeeper you better take a long hard look at yourself.

Callum also exposes those who needed it least, the chemists’ peak body. It was medication sales heaven for pharmacists during the pandemic. No lockdowns for them, yet lobbyists from Pharmacy Guild of Australia grifted millions in public subsidies.

Also Brian Toohey with a sensible look at the subs and the China situation; and myself and Jeff Knapp wade in on the KPMG cheating scandal. This is cheating on an industrial scale, ignored by Australian regulators and industry bodies, Picked up by the Americans. That’s on top of multinational tax avoidance, which is just cheating anyway.

Shout out to Victorians today, what with riots and now an earthquake! Shall we now expect the Commonwealth Relief and Emergency Earthquake Plan (CREEP) whose funds will be allocated to Liberal marginal seats ahead of the Election, with perhaps the balance to be given to large party donors?

Federal ICAC now. Let’s demand no less!

Thanks for your support,

Michael and the Team  

Upsetting the neighbours: the high cost of Australia’s nuclear submarine “deal”

Buying ludicrously expensive nuclear submarines upsets our neighbours, inflates the defence budget, unbalances our military forces and does nothing to address the bigger security threat of global warming and species extinction, writes Brian Toohey.

What role will Australia’s nuclear-powered attack submarines if a war with China breaks out in the next 20 years? The answer is none. The first of these subs will only become operational after 2040 and the last around 2060, if all goes well.

This protracted timeline illustrates the folly of committing Australia to buying eight nuclear attack submarines, probably from the US.

Worse, they will reportedly cost well over $100 billion, the latest estimate for the cost of the 12 French-Australian conventionally powered submarines that the Morrison government has scuppered in an extraordinarily deceitful manner in its discussions with the French.


J’Adore Josh: not just Gucci and Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Burberry got JobKeeper too

The high fashion house which counts Cartier and Piaget among its brands took JobKeeper, enjoyed a sterling rise in profits and gave local executives a pay rise while their Luxembourg parent, Richemont, helped itself to a large dividend.

Over at Horseferry House, just a brief stroll along the Thames from Westminster Palace, the chaps in the boardroom at luxury goods house Burberry will be raising a toast to Australia’s treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

They really ought to pop Josh a nice pair of Burberry monogram swim briefs in the Royal Mail for summer — that’s Burberry’s $540 answer to $80 Speedos. Pip pip, chaps! Jolly good treasurer that Frydenberg!

For Josh has kindly bestowed the gift of JobKeeper upon the London-owned Burberry in Australia. Burberry Pacific’s latest financial statements show a $2m grant. 

Meanwhile, at their chic glass headquarters near the Lac de Genève, Richemont founder Johann Rupert and his chief executive Jérôme Lambert can pay tribute to Josh too; they did even better than the English. 

Richemont Australia, which sells luxury brands Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Baume & Mercier and Montblanc, picked up $4m in JobKeeper then paid an $8m dividend to its Luxembourg shareholders.


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