What has become of the Fitzgibbon affair?

Remember what a hub-hub there was over Joel Fitzgibbon.  First, without any help from Defence Department bureaucracy, he managed to foul up the Department’s pay system, targeting specifically SAS personnel on active duty, arranging for them to receive pay slips that indicated they were to receive no pay, leaving them distraught that their families back home faced destitution.  If only he had had the sense to ask the bureaucrats to fix this, it would have been done in an instant.  The Shadow Minister said he could have fixed the problem in four hours.

Sensing that a ministerial scalp was in the offing the Coalition went ballistic, demanding an explanation, and when Fitzgibbon made a fumbling response at Question Time they smelt blood and went in for the kill, like hunting a vulnerable wildebeest as Dennis Shanahan put it.  Fitzgibbon looked stunned, but survived. More...

A hopeless Government? Ask the Opposition

Late last year I wrote a rather long piece The curse of adversarial politics which was an update of an article I wrote for Possum Box in July, at the beginning of my blogging efforts.  This morning, as I accessed the Liberal Party website to update a regular service on The Political Sword – Opposition Watch, I was reminded that nothing has changed since then, politics is as adversarial as ever, in fact of late negativity has intensified, so much so that it was argued that it was the major reason for Malcolm Turnbull’s unpopularity in Why is Malcolm Turnbull so unpopular.  You will recall my trilateral label: Turnbull’s Terrible Trifecta: Negativity-Arrogance-Disingenuousness.

If you suspect I may be overstating the case, take a look at the following items that appeared on the Liberal Party Website today and yesterday.  In the interests of brevity, I’ve deleted the dates and details of the person authoring the post, leaving just the linked title and the summary.  If you’re interested to learn about any item in more detail, click on the link and it will take you to the page on the Liberal website where the date, author and full text is to be found.  The list is displayed though more to illustrate the style of Liberal media statements, many of which end up in newspapers and on news bulletins.  Is it any wonder the negativity continues and spreads? More...

The arrogance of the media

Have you noticed how uppity the media has been during the boat people tragedy?  The annoyance has been evident when journalists have pressed Government ministers for information about this event.  Laurie Oakes became irritated during his Channel Nine Sunday interview with Julia Gillard.  He said he had initially supported the Government’s decision not to speculate on the nature of the incident, but thought now the time was right for more information.  Gillard said the Government had no intention of going off half-cocked as did the Howard Government over the ‘kids overboard’ affair, only to admit later that the information was incorrect.  Laurie continued his probing, but to no avail.  He must have known he wasn’t going to win, so why did he press on?

This Howard Government mistake though does not seem to have eased media insistence on prising information from Government ministers.  They seem to use the public’s ‘right to know’ argument to press their case. More...

Kids overboard all over again?

The human suffering that lead to the recent boat people making a run for Australia and the physical and psychological trauma many of them have suffered in the explosion off Ashmore Reef, sadly is now being overshadowed by the politicisation of the event with predictable divisive effects in our community.

We’ve been all through this before, the Tampa, Kids overboard, the Pacific Solution, Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs), harsh and prolonged detention, and so on.  Do we need to go through it all again? More...