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...

The NBN saga

As with the global financial crisis where a vast amount of uninformed comment was made by economists and journalists on a subject none of them really understood, are we seeing something similar with the national broadband network (NBN) proposal announced by the Government last week?

A brief history of telecommunications in Australia

Before getting into the NBN proposal, let’s look briefly at a little history.  There’s a wealth of historical information at a website Caslon Analytics from which it is hereby acknowledged that most of the following history is excerpted.  As this is a rather long piece, if you wish to skip the past history, scroll down to the heading: Recent events in telecommunications.  Or if you know all about the new NBN proposal and it’s just the pure politics you want, you may wish to start at: Now for the politics. More...

Why is Malcolm Turnbull so unpopular?

To borrow a term from Malcolm Turnbull himself, his unpopularity seems to be the result of Turnbull’s Terrible Trifecta.  More of that later.

There’s not much need to emphasize Turnbull’s contemporary unpopularity – it’s all over the air waves and the papers.  It takes only a few metrics to quantify it.  He leads a Coalition that Possum’s Pollytrack currently shows has an average TPP vote of only 40.  Pollytrack shows 60/40 in Labor's favour across several polls, and Pollytrend showing a steady trend away from the Coalition.  The latest Newspoll PPM ratings show 67/18.  As primary votes are running at 47/36, it means that half of Coalition voters don’t prefer Turnbull as PM.  Presumably most of them prefer Kevin Rudd.  Finally, for the first time in Newspoll, Turnbull’s satisfaction/dissatisfaction rating is in negative territory: 39/42.  Essential Research gives a similar result.  Possum has this to say about the most recent Newspoll: “Turnbull’s satisfaction dynamics have an eerie longer term linear quality to them; you can almost run a straight line through them starting from his November 2008 satisfaction figures and ending on today’s. Since November, Turnbull is losing around 100,000 people a week in terms of the number of folks that are satisfied with his performance across the Australian electorate. With his dissatisfaction levels it’s even worse, with around 115,000 people a week becoming dissatisfied. The difference between those rates, that 15 thousand people or so, represents the rate at which the Undecideds are breaking against him. Turnbull’s problem isn’t any given Newspoll; it’s his longer term performance that’s grinding him into the dirt...”  In today’s Pollytics, where Possum analyses voting trends by gender, he concludes: “The lunge away from Turnbull and toward Labor ... is singularly a female voter movement, with the Coalition currently getting their equal lowest level of female voter support since these Newspoll breakdowns started in 1996 - blowing out a 12 point female voter advantage to Labor.”   More...

Why is our PM so popular?

Another Newspoll today, the Essential Research Report yesterday, Morgan last Friday and ACNielsen last Monday, all give the same message – the Rudd Government is very popular and the PM enjoys high approval and high preferred PM ratings.  Today’s Newspoll has the 2PP back at the February levels of 58/42.  Satisfaction with Kevin Rudd is 68% and dissatisfaction 21%, a positive gap of 47 percentage points.  He is the preferred PM by 67 to 18, a 49 point gap.  All these are the best figures for this year and close to the best ever.  Essential Research, which uses a methodology different from the others, has 2PP at the improbable level of 63/37 two weeks in a row.  Morgan has the figure at 61/39.and ACNielsen at 58/42 with PPM at 69/24 and Rudd satisfaction/dissatisfaction at 74/22.  All these are remarkably consistent, albeit with a few quite stratospheric 2PP levels.  Possum’s Pollytrack aggregate figures are around 60/40, and Pollytrend is steadily edging up in Labor’s favour.  More...

The media scum

No it’s not a misprint for ‘scrum’; I mean ‘scum’. 

This piece has been evoked by this morning’s media story in News Limited papers lead by The Daily Telegraph with headlines PM’s jet temper tantrum – Rudd made hostie cry complete with a picture of him waving at the VIP jet’s door, and a video.  The accompanying piece Kevin Rudd blows up over special VIP jet meal describes how he became upset when the vegetarian meal he ordered was not available, as he was trying to lose weight.  The article goes on to say that a 23-year-old air force staffer wept and reported the matter to the senior cabin attendant after Rudd reacted ‘strongly’ when told his meal request could not be met.  Terms used in other Murdoch papers to describe this incident  include: ‘abused’, ‘berated’, ‘rage’, ‘air-rage’, ‘rant’, ‘tirade’, ‘temper tantrum’, ‘air-hostess blast’, ‘blow-up’, 'mid-air serve', ‘red-meat incident’, ‘mile-high meltdown’; all examples of literary licence I suppose, but more flagrant than what appears to be the official term, ‘reacted strongly’.  We’ve come to expect this sort of florid language from the media, particularly the Murdoch tabloids. More...