25 tin soldiers were forged from a single spoon

Hans Christian Andersen wrote "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" in the very first book of fairy tales, 181 years ago.  It was a yarn about the silent love between a one-legged tin soldier and a faire maiden which was made of paper.  It featured an evil, manipulating goblin which started as a jack-in-a-box but took different forms as the story evolved over the decades of performance of pantomimes and plays.

This analyst's memory was pinged on the observance of the silent executive appointees who feature under the Turnbull/Morrison/Frydenberg administration.  The memory was of seeing an animation some 55 years or so ago, where the solder was mute and monstered by a demon - much of the tale of Bairdijiklian Malenomics contains those elements.

24 were complete

The soldiers were forged from a single tin spoon by an un-named creator.  24 were perfect and not heard from again.

1 was a hero ...

The last in the production line was left short a leg but was perfectly balanced, even under the difficult conditions in a paper boat.  The story is outlined here.  

... although flawed

Our soldier recused himself from emotional and interpersonal interplays.  He was there and not there, like our crypto-political actors within the Canberra Bubble who take as faith the loopy judgements of unskilled ministers and implement them despite probity, economic, engineering and environmental condemnations.  They don't care about that crap ....

Wiki reports thus:

Joan G. Haahr writes in The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales

  • The story is unusual among Andersen's early tales, both in its emphasis on sensual desire and in its ambiguities. Blind fate, not intention, determines all events

  • Moreover, the narrative questions the very decorum it praises. The tin soldier's passive acceptance of whatever happens to him, while exemplifying pietistic ideals of self-denial, also contributes to his doom. 

  • Were he to speak and act, the soldier might gain both life and love. Restrained, however, by inhibition and convention, he finds only tragedy and death. 

Who is the jack-in-a-box?

It is common to characterise components of multi-party relationships as "alpha males", "submissives", "leaders", "followers", "sheep" and so on.

Taking the evolution of the Turnbull/Morrison/Frydenberg junta, and developing the analogy to see if it fits, the analogy emerged (see chronologies and flow charts) ~

  • Malcolm Turnbull was the dominant male who said he acted in concert with his wife, Lucy Turnbull, who was co-terminously a NSW public servant in the areas that Turnbull was inclined to gift.  In their respective areas, both might be regarded as jacks-in-a-box as with Baird and Berejiklian

  • Scott Morrison had been a mechanistic Minister for Immigration and became Treasurer, he acted in concert with his chief of staff Philip Gaetjens.  Morrison was Abbott's and Turnbull's Tin Soldier, Gaetjens the Paper Doll, maybe

  • Josh Frydenberg was Turnbull's Environment Minister who engineered the controversial $444 million gift to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, where he was Tin Soldier, leading to fostering Gaetjens and both enacting, without demur, Morrison's extension of Turnbull's gifting, making Josh a second-order Tin Soldier.

Gaetjens told the AFR in August 2019 that 

  • "There's been a lot of accusations but I haven't seen any evidence to say that I do not live by the requirements of the Public Service Act, the codes of conduct that we have to deal with, and I just think that it's been used as a political thing aimed at the government as well as me."

He went on (comments are in italics),

  • He said the current round of tax cuts have "a clear, dual focus of getting money out into the economy from those people who are lower and middle income earners and have the greatest propensity to spend, as well as a long-term structural change of completely abolishing a tax bracket'' - this being the Government's mantra.

  • Mr Gaetjens has had a heady rise, moving in four years from chief of staff to Scott Morrison when he was Treasurer, to the secretary of Treasury, to his new role - indeed, Gaetjens told the AFR that he doubted he would have got the Treasury gig if he had not done Baird's Treasury, but two wrongs do not make a right.

  • Mr Morrison is demanding high standards of the public sector, including a focus on implementing the government's agenda. Mr Gaetjens said the public sector must still give frank and fearless advice as long as the advice, if accepted, could be delivered expeditiously - when the agenda is capricious and jingoistic, and no professional advice is floated within Treasury missives, is Gaetjens a Tin Soldier, a sheep or a Teddy Bear?

The Public Service Act and codes of conduct contain generic statements and no guidance as to positive and negative evidentiary and analytical reviews of the type that Gaetjens and his masters are now facing, and failing.


Morrison's Tin Soldiers

There are three levels of crypto-political influence on non-public policy processes:

  1. Ministers and MsP - some were intimidated as by Baird over greyhounds and council amalgamations, others wary through factional exposures during the anti-Turnbull insurrection.  Getting any to acknowledge let alone remedy policy and ethical failures has not been possible.  The commitment to community and nation-building has been replaced by Party Room chains
  2. Agency Heads - subject to arbitrary appointment and dismissal, the conditions for professional independence have disappeared.  Worse, however, are the appointments of people who caused significant errors in the past to the Budget Repair guardian posts which is a denial of Morrison's (and Bairdijiklian's) election commitments 
  3. Media, lobbyists, institutes, academics and other co-conspirators - some are involved through Party and other Clubs, some enraptured by ideological positioning, many by self-interest including the consulting Gravy Train (which has reached unprecedented levels under the Turnbull/Morrison/ Frydenberg Cabal).  The ABC, Fairfax and News media silos are conspicuously absent from the ethical, probity and professional catastrophes outlined in these pages, including plagiarism which is supposed to be their core business.  Academics have been confined in silos.  Local councils have shown they cannot understand strategic challenges.

Then there are the Conscripts such as the current analyst, who has had copyrighted Intellectual Property stolen by the Cabal and their agents and solutions ignored, to  public disadvantagement - see and  The more appropriate term might be Slaves as the disregard for individual or citizen's rights is comparable to blackbirding.

The "Botany Club" is a singular monstrosity

Started under then Minister Albanese with Moorebank, and constructed by Baird with his Port machinations in 2013, it now comprises Botany Port (with Kembla an associate and Newcastle a rejectee), ARTC with its various sponsored "projects", GSC with its insipid District Plans, Moorebank (bringing in Treasury, IPA, NSW Ports, Sydney Ports and stevedores), and iA and its Calfas Panel's monopoly-strengthening underpull.  It neuters Inland Rail and the Aerotropolis as well as Illawarra and SouthWest coal and commuting futures.

Others are the Tollway Club and the MTR Metro fan club.  None can be touched by Ministerial fiat.

These matters are of the essence.  They characterise a shift from the true-blue ethics of Menzies and subsequent PMs, to Turnbull's corruption of processes and values as maintained and extended by Morrison and Frydenberg, with McCormack wandering in the paddock.

when "political appointees" interdict

In April 2019 Jack Waterford wrote in Tearing up the political rulebook (SMH):

  • If Shorten has any sense, he will not allow the Attorney-General's department to be the lead agency in this (corruption reform) process, because it has been shown over the years to have its own institutional interests against reforms of this type, quite apart from its recent experience of obeying a minister in playing a dead bat to anything smacking of accountability or transparency.

  • ... Senator John Faulkner, as "minister for integrity" in the Rudd government, established protocols by which most boards were appointed through a public-service merit process. This seems to have gone by the way, with recent Coalition governments opting for barefaced patronage, the conscious stacking of boards with cultural and ideological warriors, as well as party friends, relatives and donors. Under successive Coalition attorneys-general, this has extended to appointments to quasi-judicial posts, such as immigration and administrative appeals tribunals