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It’s time to lock the gate on the Barbarians before the reasonable get trampled underfoot

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Monday, 17 October 2011 11:49 by HillbillySkeleton

It's time the men and women of Australia stopped treating our Prime Minister like she is beneath contempt. I should know, I can smell it a mile off. I have two teenage boys, and they tell me how their mates behave towards women who have done nothing more to deserve their contempt than be nice to them. Thus is it taken by them as a sign of weakness and they behave accordingly. Not that they should, but they do.

I just had cause to pause and think about this these past few days, as I have sat through some pretty disrespectful behaviour directed towards our first female Prime Minister, a self-admitted ‘Shy Girl’, who has overcome the odds that come with shyness, to get where she is today. Only to be treated with contempt and disdain by the likes of Alan Jones, who had the temerity to upbraid her for being 10 minutes late to his inconsequential in the larger scheme of things, little radio show. Not only that, but he brayed at her, like the simulacrum of a hee-hawing ass that he is, a humiliating epithet of ‘Ju-liar’. Funny, I don't remember him ever calling John Howard, ‘The Lying Rodent’. Though there was much more evidence for that than any supposed lies the PM has told.

There have been many instances, too numerous to mention, in between that and the contemptible interview, with it's condescending introduction, that Jon Faine conducted with the Prime Minister last Friday morning on ABC Melbourne radio:

Click here to hear it.  

So awful was the interview that arch-conservative bully, Ray Hadley, congratulated Jon Faine on it.

Which got me to thinking about what has gone AWOL in the political discourse of late. A quaint concept of bygone times - Chivalry. You could probably say, equally, that it has disappeared from politics in general, and society as a whole. I only have to think about the proliferation of chauvinistic bully-boy politicians like Silvio Berlusconi, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and any number of other brutish thugs in powerful positions around the world, as further examples to support my theory.

Thus, I see it as important to say that if we do not hang on to some sense of propriety in politics, and demand some old-fashioned, chivalrous behaviour from our public figures, especially those who are misaddressing our female PM, then we will become complicit in allowing the sorts of sophisticated interpersonal behaviours that the human race has developed over the centuries, since men stopped hitting women over the head with their clubs and dragging them off to their caves, on through the Enlightenment and the Women's Liberation Movement, to today, to evaporate.

If we are not committed to maintaining some standards, demanding them, the legacy and the hard work will be lost, and a new barbarity will replace it.

Freedom, justice, civility, and honour have long been concepts bandied about for political gain by those who scarcely understand the words. These ideals are, or should be, the centre of who we are as a honourable people. They should not just be convenient clichés meant to rouse support whilst doing the opposite. These truly liberal ideals would/should never propagate ignorance or hate, or deny equal rights and respect for others. Incivility and rudeness represent the very opposite of what the civilisation of the mind and heart stand for. Those who partake in incivility and rudeness have truly lost their way and are leading society astray. Those who think with open minds must speak out against them.

So it is up to those of us who still care about integrity, both our own personal integrity and integrity in politics, to perpetuate the maturation process meant to develop all the finer aspects of the human species, such as virtue and intelligence and thus stop the Barbarians at the Gate.

This, therefore, does not allow for selling out one's own integrity, following self-proclaimed leaders, such as Tony Abbott, when they are obviously 'leaders' who lack integrity; or following the crowd. Or building roadblocks to discourse.

It means thinking for oneself. It means finding truth, even under the pressure of long-held conclusions exerting influence over our thoughts. It places reason over emotion, yet never allows one to eliminate the other. It means finding and implementing answers and exposing untruths. As opposed to engaging in a culture of infinite complaint.

These are the citizen qualities that democracy needs. Without them, what is democracy other than the ugliness of mob rule? Steered by libido and greed. Something we have seen much too much of recently.

This new barbarity is propagating the very worst of humanity.

During our lifetimes we have witnessed the steady decline of courtesy and honesty, and nowhere more so than in politics and the news media. This decline has reached the point where some of the most fundamental aspects of democracy are being trampled underfoot. Therefore we must remember this: democracy only works when citizens are well-informed, given to thoughtful consideration, are civil in discourse, and respectful of the process that lifted Western Civilization out of the Dark Ages.

If we are to develop a new civility, a new chivalry, in politics and in political discourse, then it is best to determine some ground rules. And we must start by respecting the fact that each of us must make his or her own considered decisions, and we must all develop our own considered opinions. Nevertheless, we can also develop some general precepts that should guide us all collectively in how we respond to issues, politics and politicians.

Firstly, a guiding principle which sets the foundation for all else that follows is: We are part of the world around us, and that makes us responsible for the greater good. Ask yourself: are your political standards and opinions based upon the greater good? Or based upon good outcomes for vested interests that represent just the opposite?

Next, place good character and concern for others above support for purely personal financial gain. How many politicians don't do this basic thing any more? Greed is the enemy of conscience, and the downfall of many. Don't let it lead to you falling into the hands of the barbarians. Ask yourself, are your political allegiances based on money rather than concern for others? They shouldn't be.

Nor should we boast, but cherish humility instead. I know that may sound rich coming from me, but humility is the product of an open mind, and if I have not been so humble in the past, I hope to be now and into the future.

We must not assume that our way is always the best way, or that others are automatically wrong or evil, or the enemy. Although I am sorely tempted to think this about the Liberal Party under Tony Abbott's 'leadership'. We must listen. We must try to understand. We must recognise that we are all human and therefore fallible. So, with humility, we must invite honest sharing of ideas, and allow the possibility of being wrong. The Moral High Ground is still the superior territory to hold.

We must speak the truth at all times. Especially as those around us refuse to do the same. Truth is not something that it is OK to bend for the sake of an ideology. Doing so betrays what has always been best about Western Civilisation. When you engage in lies, you define yourself as a liar, and mar the reputation of all your ideals and your own ideology.

Tony Abbott and the media have used just this concept, hypocritically, to devastating effect to sully the reputation of the Prime Minister. Blithely ignoring the mote in their own eyes.

This is not the Middle Ages before the Enlightenment, when equal weight was given to every claim and superstition. Although the Internet has had the perverse effect of placing all information on the same playing field.

However, reason and honesty should claim their own supremacy. Ask yourself, in the game of political one-upmanship, are you speaking what is true? Or, defending political slogans that divert people from a clear understanding of the issues?

Partisan politics cares more about party loyalty and the acquisition of power than the greater good. It invites alliances based upon expediency rather than virtue. Once that happens, everything becomes questionable, and often devious. Words end up masking more than they reveal. Fears are shamelessly exploited. Once that happens, democracy is doomed to fail. The lives of the innocent become expendable, as we saw in The War on Terror prosecuted by the Neo Cons. As we can also see from the positions taken by the Climate Change Sceptics and Deniers. Dangerously delusional, devious and deceptive, putting the lives of our children and theirs, and the future of life itself on Earth, in peril, for their own selfish, short-term, short-sighted ends.

So, ask yourself: Are you defending those who oppress? Are you defending an ideology that is no longer appropriate?

This brings me back to the disrespectful treatment of our lovely female Prime Minister, by men and women alike now, sadly. Also, to the ever-ongoing vilification of racial, religious and social minorities. As prejudice in all its guises, sexism being one, racism another, impedes clear thinking and leads to wrong decisions. It is the mind in moral atrophy, essentially.

Prejudice and bigotry walk hand-in-hand. Prejudice means pre-judged. You are not thus seeing things in the aliveness of real, interpersonal relationships. Just as a political ideology that allows, encourages or winks at prejudice is the enemy of freedom and the truth.

So how is it then that in politics, strategy, innuendo and unnecessary contention reign supreme? Winning every political day should not be everything. The enemies of truth should not be praised or admired for their victories. In the wake of their victories, lies the destruction of our ideals. We should not be supporters of such political gamesmanship. Listening to political spokespeople or media propagandists, the rhetoric of manipulation could not be plainer. As advocates for the truth and virtue, we must demand fairness in public discourse, not the spreading of convenient lies.

Finally, the animosity prevalent in today's politics presents itself as more of an ongoing feud than a discourse of opposing visions and ideas, even though that is what most people say they go into politics for, and it is what most in the electorate expects from politics and their politicians. Unwarranted partisan strategy has done well in dividing the nation against itself for Conservative political gain. Sadly. It appears that it is designed to please corporate benefactors. Such as Tony Abbott's 'Direct Action' Climate Change 'policy', which will do just that should he get the chance to implement it in government. His corporate benefactors will be the most pleased of all. And, yes, developer donors, and the Pubs and Clubs receive favourable treatment by both sides of politics. This is all happening when you would think that our politicians' job should be to care for the welfare of the average citizen.

Just look around. All this is going on under our noses, now. No matter which party you identify with, surely you can support and fight for the kind of civility and reason that should be the cornerstone of civilisation and politics after 21 centuries of development?

Without that civilised distinction, all our power and wealth and sophistication means nothing morally, and in the process, we betray our hopes, and our history.

It's time we took a stand against the increasingly barbaric behaviour which has infected politics, and political discourse, like a cancer.

We've got to stand up and say:

“Cut it out!”

What do you think?

Comments (151) -

October 17. 2011 12:56 PM


I can't let this one pass:


and my comment upon it:

'That you should even mention the "Rudd Kiss" in your article, and what you assert it "can only be seen as", simply demonstrates the fatuousness of the content throughout.'

Before turning to the sure to be far from fatuous content above.


October 17. 2011 12:59 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for another fine piece of writing, and for addressing in such a timely way the subject of civility and decency in political discourse, so sadly lacking at present.

We can and ought to do better as a civilised society, where the language of politicians and shock jocks and the obscene aspects of the rallies we have witnessed, have no place.

Thank you; I’m sure other visitors will join me.

Ad astra reply

October 17. 2011 01:07 PM


Feral Skeleton
A huge and heart-felt welcome back! This is a topic that is becoming close to my heart. As usual I will take a little while to compose my response. In the mean time, here are a couple of newspaper articles which are decidedly on-topic.

Can the King of Cairns prove to be the Can Do candidate for Campbell?
by Matt Condon
..... we decided to take a closer look at the people he has chosen as his Can Do candidates to stand at next year's state election.
One is Gavin King, a Cairns Post "editor at large" and senior reporter known locally as "The King", who will contest the seat of Cairns in Queensland's far north.


..... we decided to go back through King's oeuvre as a columnist, and here are some selections.
On being served breakfast late in a cafe: "Looking at the waitress as she tried to explain where our food was, I started to wonder what my fork would look like lodged firmly in her right eyeball." (March 1, 2008)


On a traffic jam caused by a man threatening to kill himself by jumping off a crane in Cairns: "And while there was a collective sense of relief when the crazy man finally made it back to earth safely, I suspect I wasn't the only one who secretly wished he slipped and fell. If only because he ruined my friggin' Sunday." (November 25, 2006)


And on domestic duties: "What a nightmare week it was, not least because I had to iron my own shirt two days in a row.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but surely it is obvious that we should perform household chores we are best at, in the interests of efficiency and synergy. In other words, the missus irons my shirt because she is able to do it quickly and easily.


Time LNP and Campbell Newman drew line on Cairns candidate Gavin King
by Matt Condon

On Julia Gillard's elevation to the Prime Ministership last year: "Men, one and all, it's time to accept defeat. We are now, without any shadow of a doubt, the weaker sex.
"Despite our obvious physical superiority, women are actually far more powerful. Their secret weapon consists of just two little words.
"When these chilling words are combined as one, they are capable of blasting any man into oblivion.
"If they want to win an argument or get something done, all they have to do is say the words pre and menstrual." (June 27, 2010)



October 17. 2011 01:09 PM



Nielsen: 57-43 to Coalition; Galaxy 58-42
William Bowe   The Poll Bludger

Consistent with other recent polling, it has Labor’s primary vote recovering from unprecedented lows, up three points to 30 per cent. The Coalition is steady on 48 per cent, with the Greens down a point to 12 per cent.

Asylum seekers in Australia - can Australia 'grow up' and confront its past failings in this area of human rights?
Mark Thomson   Seeking Asylum Down Under

The Coalition's constant vilification of Labor for being weak on border protection has now morphed into a hypocritical concern for the rights of refugees. These of course - yes, you guessed it - will be protected on Nauru.

That’s Entertainment
David Horton   The Watermwlon Blog

Began with the destabilisation of an existing leader. Unflattering photos, odd pieces of film, some past “scandal” uncovered, carefully edited bits of an interview played again and again. Then we might find a disgruntled and very junior member of the party to make a criticism, anonymously of course, and describe this as “voices”.

How can Abbott’s Liberals be called “conservative” or “pro-business” after this?
Jeremy Sear   An Onymous Lefty

They call themselves “conservatives”, but they’re trashing one of the most cherished, long-standing and critical traditions of government in Australia – that citizens and business can work with Australian governments because when, as is inevitable in a democracy, that party eventually loses power, its successor will honour the previous government’s commitments.

CSI: Tony Abbott (A bloody oath of a journey)
Ash Ghebranious   Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery

It seems Abbott thinks that he should be judged differently than the way he wants people to judge the prime minister even though they did exactly the same thing.

On double dissolutions
David Havyatt   Anything Goes

With Tony Abbott having made a "commitment in blood" (but we don't know if it is written down) to repeal the carbon tax, the question has been raised whether it is possible to do so.
The issue rests on timing and our weird electoral system.

Quadrant’s shocking expose on GetUp! – turns out they’re the progressives they openly claim to be.
Jeremy Sear   Crikey Pure Poison

News has been linking this week to an expose on GetUp! published by Quadrant, written by a Young Liberal who was appalled to discover that, whilst independent of any particular political party, progressive advocacy organisation GetUp! consistently advocates for progressive causes and encourages a vote for whichever parties promise to implement them, surprisingly and shockingly completely consistently with its mission statement.

Miranda Devine, and a dose of intolerance will surely fix your tolerance levels like a dose of Epsom salts* will fix constipation ...
Dorothy Parker   Loon Pond

It turns out that it isn't homosexuals who are part of a persecuted minority, subject to bullying and harassment and prejudice.
No, it's long suffering conservatives and Christians.
For this profoundly topsy turvy insight, we can thank Miranda the Devine, as she indulges in one of her standard rants in Call off the thought police.

Q&A: Jillian Broadbent
Interview by Giles Parkinson   Climate Spectator

The newly appointed head of a review committee commissioned to design the proposed Clean Energy Finance Corporation says the tension between funding emerging energy technologies and getting a return on investment may not be easy to resolve. And she's kicked off her preparations for the job by reading up on the US Solyndra debacle.

Unacknowledged links between climate change and increased social unrest
Michael Busch   Independent Australia

In many respects, 2011 has been marked as much by the mayhem of nature as it has by the upheavals of men. Although challenges to political authority have captured the imaginations of millions and produced exciting tremors of revolution across the continents, Mother Nature’s increasingly ferocious response to the heavy environmental footprint of industrial production will likely be judged the most profound source of social change around the world in the years to come.

News Corp on the defensive
Gary Sauer-Thompson   Public Opinion

News Ltd continues to be on the defensive as more evidence is emerging of the anything goes attitude that seems to pervade Rupert Murdoch’s papers, and is giving rise to a revolt by shareholders who have the Murdoch's in their spotlight. They are opposed to the re-election of Rupert Murdoch's two sons, James and Lachlan, at the News Corp annual meeting next week because of the phone-hacking scandal.

Understanding the Aussie dollar
Ross Gittens

Economic theory tells us the level of the exchange rate is an important factor in the health of the economy. Unfortunately, there's nothing in economic theory that can explain the Aussie dollar's strange behaviour in recent weeks. It's hard to know whether to cheer or boo.

Worst. Opposition. Ever
Massive Spray   Spray of the Day

In short, this Opposition has “apparently” thrived on mindless negativity, fear-mongering, empty slogans and poisonous rhetoric and in conjunction with a fawning media pack have convinced the public that the Government are useless.

NBN committee to test Turnbull's FTTN argument
Supratim Adhikari   Technology Spectator

The joint Parliamentary Committee overseeing the rollout of the NBN is reportedly set to compare the fibre rollout methods in New Zealand to the one pursued by NBN Co.

It’s about authority, not the policies
The Piping Shrike

Here’s a question: what do the mining tax, the ETS, onshore processing of asylum seekers, gay marriage and poker reform all have in common?
All of them are supposed to be major tests for the government to bring in, yet all of them were supported by either the overwhelming majority of voters (e.g. poker reform) or close to majority. None of them could be remotely called unpopular. What we are seeing is not a problem of the policies themselves, but the declining authority of the government to implement them.

SHOW ME THE MONEY: Greedy Green politician Nick Carson cashes in on Occupy Melbourne

The self-appointed chief organiser of Melbourne’s painfully derivative Occupy protest against capitalism, currently stinking up what passes for the City Square, is a Greens party political hack and Legislative Assembly candidate with a dubious history of cashing in on far-left trends .....


October 17. 2011 01:23 PM


Hillbilly Skeleton, well done.

Your article reads like an ode to an Age past, an Age we will do ourselves a disservice if we do not bring back.

But, I fear that the Barbarians are not at the Gate, they are in the 'city' and carving it up - blocking drains here, throwing up walls overnight there, switching street signs from 'throughway' to 'dead-end', ripping up nature strips to drill beneath them, erecting temporary blockades that become permanent enclosures, painting over the bright and the welcoming with the grey and demanding...

And everywhere, anaesthetising minds to wonder and joy.

When there is nothing wondrous, nothing joyful, people are easy prey to the haters and the splinterers, to the self-seekers and self-righteous, to the men and women who demand precedence and despise all others unlike them.

That is a cancer in any society, and it is, for all the reasons you have outlined, almost become emblematic of Australia today.

"Cut it out"? To the roots, and cauterise what's left down there.

And then... build anew.


October 17. 2011 01:55 PM

Feral Skeleton

        They certainly don't muck about in the Coalition giving Hagar the Horrible a run for his money(and this is a female Liberal Party politician I'm talking about):


Feral Skeleton

October 17. 2011 02:00 PM


Some movement afoot on the Senator Fisher shoplifting/assault trial:



October 17. 2011 02:20 PM


Meant to put this comment here:

I dig yer poem. Yer spot on w/ this:

He once confessed to telling lies,
Which self-disclosure has given rise
To friends and foes alike inviting
Him to put his promises in writing.
Fearing that for truth his name’s now mud,
He swears he’ll sign to some in his own blood.

Not only does Abbott hope to get widespread media & subsequently public attention...but he obviously knows he's not trusted and therefore comes up w/ such extreme announcements in order to try and convince people.

abbott seems to have few boundaries...and as we've witnessed the past year, he's willing to benefit from the activities of extremist movements such as the "Rolex Revolution" & "anti-carbon price movement"...at some point addressing them like a supreme leader making all kinds of fiery, blunt, reductionist and exaggerated claims about his opposition, the government...and making bold promises that in all probability cannot be fulfilled...or would lead to huge political & socio-economic disruption.

The fact that so many out there in the public and the media repeat ad nauseum his sales pitches...and the arguments of his propaganda machine including Alan Jones & some in the Murdoch empire, worries me that an Abbott regime in the present war & economically insecure climate could take this vulnerable nation down the road to a climate of extreme crusading nationalism & religiosity that will divide communities and lead to a sense of being dispossessed and somewhat persecuted for many who do not agree w/ Abbott & Murdoch's policies.

Many of us felt that way under Howard & Bush in the post 9-11 period of their rule.

Abbott & Joyce & Jones & the Murdoch empire are far too pushy & desperate for me to respect them.

I would remind people of  "Lesson Plan", shown on SBS a few weeks back...a doco on Ron Jones' Third Wave class experiment during the turbulent 60s.

When I heard that Aboriginal students in some schools,  controlled now partially by others outside of the public system, are being taught by way of Direct Instruction apparently using strict scripted lesson plans...

whilst Alan Jones & others were pumping up these anti-carbon price revolts...

and the media usual suspects simultaneously w/ Coalition members & supporters attack our PM, the government, The Greens, the Indies...time & time again using extreme slogans & descriptive words...in an attempt to alter & manipulate public perception...and diminish the authority & respect for the PM & her government...

it gets me wondering how far Abbott & co. are willing to go to get power...

and how they would use it considering their patterns of behaviour (rants in parliament, almost OCD type of campaigning, obsession w/ fitness), approaches (spreading cynicism, writes a manifesto, scaremongering & unwillingness to put forth the real details of policies) and the current global climate (conflict in the Middle East, China emerging as heavyweight, climate change, economic/financial instability globally, protests against financial, political, corporate corruption, incompetence & influence):

'The Wave' Official Trailer


Smiles can be deceiving. Look at the fanatacism that lies beneath...and sometimes bubbles to the surface.



October 17. 2011 02:23 PM


Feral Skeleton

A huge sigh of 'if only' passed my lips when I read this.  

Whom do we start with.

The media.
The opposition.
The small minded and selfish.

Unfortunately I can't foresee anything changing unless something huge happens, and I couldn't even guess at what that 'something huge' would be.


Can I also concur with what you have said.  Oh and thanks for your daily-abbotts, I do enjoy them.


October 17. 2011 02:30 PM

Feral Skeleton

       You know what happens when the good stand by on the sidelines and let the worst of us have their way on the field of play. You just have to read the story I linked to above about the NSW Coalition government to know in your heart why it is imperative to 'hold the fort' and stop Tony Abbott gaining entry to our political citadel.

Feral Skeleton

October 17. 2011 02:43 PM


Well done Feral. Useful piece.

Only to be treated with contempt and disdain by the likes of Alan Jones, who had the temerity to upbraid her for being 10 minutes late to his inconsequential in the larger scheme of things, little radio show. Not only that, but he brayed at her, like the simulacrum of a hee-hawing ass that he is, a humiliating epithet of ‘Ju-liar’.

This is a generally laid back country that oft breathes easier when it gives authority & tall poppies a bit of a middle finger now & then...however, it also usually recognises when a government or other authority figures are trying to put useful, fair-go policy in place...and gives them a certain amount of respect/kudos for doin' so...

however, under the Murdochracy people have become extremely cynical...and seems these days too oft unable to recognise good effort and useful policy. They seem to enjoy kicking for kicking's sake...or griping for griping's sake.

And...they also seem to idolise celebrities too often these days. Look for easy answers.  

This benefits an unprincipled media that benefits from stirrin' sh*t up. Causin' chaos.

And promotin' fake characters who are merely living advertisements...too often the idols, spruikers for the corptocracy.

As for Jones, I believe that Alan Jones is one of those fanatical types who rarely sleeps and thinks of strategies non-stop that benefit him & his allies. His work is lecturing...social engineering...a one-man propaganda machine. Not unlike Rush Limbaugh.

His ambushing of PM Gillard & subsequent derogatory comments & agro, pontificatin', paranoid participation in the anti-carbon revolt is typical of a fanatic who has grand plans for the nation. Knows what's best for everyone else. Somethin' he & Abbott & Pearson & Rinehart & R. Murdoch have in common.

It amazes me that anyone pays this man...let alone listens to him. People are extremely gullible. It's not difficult to participate in the odd charitable event when you have plenty of dosh...and many followers to do the heavy lifting...whilst you do the preaching.



October 17. 2011 02:57 PM


Correction: Lesson Plan the doco was on ABC2 not SBS.



October 17. 2011 03:09 PM


Habib sues radio over welfare cheat claims
by Chi Tranter

Former Guantanamo Bay inmate Mamdouh Habib is suing two Sydney radio stations for calling him a "grub" and "bludger" welfare cheat.

Mr Habib, who was captured in Pakistan in the aftermath of September 11 and transferred to Guantanamo Bay, claimed talkback hosts on 2UE and 2GB defamed him when they said he was trying wrongfully to claim disability benefits.
Then-2UE hosts John Laws and Steve Price, and 2GB's Ray Hadley, made the remarks after Mr Habib ran in the City2Surf marathon race in Sydney in 2005, a Sydney court heard on Monday.



October 17. 2011 03:09 PM


I noticed during my absence from this blog that fool Liberal Jamie Briggs brought up the GST:

[b]Consider adding GST to fresh food, Liberal MP Jamie Briggs urges [/b]

by: James Massola From: The Australian October 05, 2011  

Mr Briggs said broadening the GST base would help the states address inefficient taxes such as stamp duty.

“It strikes me as strange that a state treasurer wouldn't be arguing, when the commonwealth government is trying to put pressure on them to reduce ineffective taxes ... that we look at extending the stretch of the GST,” Mr Briggs told ABC radio.

“I mean let's not forget the GST in the first place was meant to be applied to food and services.

“But part of the deal, because of the Labor Party's complete opposition to the GST even when it got an electoral mandate, meant that a deal had to be done with the Democrats and excluded food and services.”

Asked if that meant scrapping the exclusion of fresh food, Mr Briggs said: “I think it has to be discussed, I mean if you're serious about having a tax forum.”

Mr Swan warned extending the GST to food would hit the nation's poorest families and called on Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to clarify whether this was Coalition policy.

My wife & I eat a helluva lot of fresh fruit, veges, pulses & grain these days.

We worked out that broadenin' the GST would cost us a minimum of a thousand dollars a year.

My parents and my wife's parents also eat heaps these days...so they'd also be hit hard.

I take it that turkey Briggs would prefer we all ate fast food and got sicker...so big pharma and the fast food corporations could get richer off our backs.

Great lesson for kids.


Undermining one of Howard's more useful compromises.



October 17. 2011 03:10 PM


Thanks for the article Feral Skeleton.  I am in Perth and only rarely hear excerpts of Jon Faine interviews on ABC News Radio.  I listened to last Friday's interview with Julia Gillard and thank you for the link.  I too am appalled at the lack of courtesy and respect the media and opposition display towards our Prime Minister.
I don't believe she needs special treatment because she is a woman.  Rather, she deserves it, as does everyone else, because she is a human being.    Tony Abbott and his team have led the way to personally denigrating Julia Gillard at every opportunity and the media has followed.  It is now almost a blood sport.  Witness Christopher Pyne's disgusting analogy on Lateline last week likening the PM to something involving the carcass of a dead sheep and maggots.  The interviewer, Ally Moore, did not even blink.  The attack has been two-pronged ie her leadership is continually called into question and subtle swipes are taken at her personally.  It's all about destroying any popularity at all and trying to keep her down in the polls. I am very impressed by Julia Gillard.  I think she is one courageous, determined woman and I support her 100%.  However, like you, I'm not sure what we can do to help.  


October 17. 2011 03:10 PM

Feral Skeleton

        It's a fair point you make about the likes of petty demagogues like Alan Jones. People give him a credibility that he just doesn't deserve when you look at his work in the cold light of day. However, given a soapbox by the likes of John Singleton, and the opportunity to practice his 'craft'(more like witchcraft), day in , day out, he hones his tools to a sharp point against the dull intellects who listen to him and lap him up.  

   You'll also be interested to know I snipped another paragraph about Mr Jones in the interests of civility and practising what I am preaching. Laughing

Feral Skeleton

October 17. 2011 03:20 PM


You'll also be interested to know I snipped another paragraph about Mr Jones in the interests of civility and practising what I am preaching.

synchronicity. Smile

However, given a soapbox by the likes of John Singleton

Don't even get me started on that fella...i can't stand people who pump up grotesque ockerism for a buck. They make me puke.

It's like promoting conformity redneckism cum ubernationalist that benefits the rich all the way to the bank.

Revving cars w/ tons of empty beer glasses...leavin' behind a trail of bloodied bodies...both human & animal.




October 17. 2011 03:43 PM


BTW, sorry I haven't been that civil in discussin' some folk Feral...but then, I'm just one of the wee folk...I don't get paid to pontificate unlike Jones & such...and I don't have the privilege of the limelight like many pollies & corporate bigwigs.

I'd probably tone down my approach if I was bein' read by kids...and had more influence. Think Grog.

But...I'm just a moneyless protestor voicin' his opinion to a wee crowd in a world where people like me and many others are ignored in favour of those w/ the contacts and the "right stuff" education & qualifications, protected by lawyers, blood and hypocrisy and moolah and old school ties......so forgive me if I run off the civil rails now & then when I'm talkin' to the other "little people"...

BTW, this was one brave lady:

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired


I'm not a religious fella...but I can understand why some people needed to believe in a higher power to stand up to the bullies.

Bob Marley - Go Tell It On The Mountain




BTW Feral, ya gotta a bit of yer grandfather in ya...mebbe more than a bit...   Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile



October 17. 2011 04:26 PM

Feral Skeleton

    I think it's OK to let off a little steam. However, it's when it's disrespectful, and basically just a rant with no factual basis, or, worse still, a rant with a fabricated and deliberately misleading basis, that the debate that we are all trying to have is diminished. Especially by things like name-calling and derogatory references.

   It's about time we demanded a few standards again. It thus pains me to see that, as a result of the debasement of the political discourse, and the debasement of interpersonal relatioinships in society in general, that the younger generations aren't being provided a very good example by us oldies. Smile

   Frankly, the straw that broke this dromedary's back was last week in Question Time, when the Liberals orchestrated a bunch of hooligans to come into the Public Gallery of Parliament and heckle the Prime Minister of this country. Then, to top it all off, one of them later on, when being interviewed by the media, a woman and a Nurse, what's more, had the gall to call another woman, who has achieved an infinite amount more than that miserable example of Australian humanity ever will, our Prime Minister, "That lying scrag".

   And they call Nurses, 'The Caring Profession'. She had more in common with Nurse Ratchett than Florence Nightingale.


Feral Skeleton

October 17. 2011 04:47 PM

Feral Skeleton

      Thank you for commenting on my post. Smile
Welcome to The Political Sword! We try to let our better angels triumph over the little devils within us all, when we comment on politics and the media here. We also try to provide a counterweight to the rest of the political commentariat.

   I agree with everything you have said, to which I might add the comments yesterday on Insiders of the pre-eminent woman in the Liberal Party from WA, Julie Bishop, who spoke of the PM as "Being on the equivalent of a political Death Row". These sort of comments are uncalled for and add less than zero to the political debate. However, as the Liberals don't appear to have anything of substance to add to the debate, then it's not surprising that that sort of thing is what they come up with.

   As my mother used to say, "You get the face that you deserve." Julie Bishop appears to get uglier with each passing day.

Feral Skeleton

October 17. 2011 05:00 PM

Feral Skeleton

     Thank you for the Bob Marley clip. Smile

  Also, our family, like yours(except we're not total Vegos Wink ), also eats a shed load of fresh fruit and vegetables each week. Especially as there is no GST on them. In fact, I can remember that it was because fresh food had no GST attached to it that made me think at the time that I may as well buy more. If it had had the GST on it I know I would have thought, "What's the difference between fresh and processed food?" And processed food is easier to make! Also, yes, it is still relatively expensive but not exorbitantly so without the GST added, week in, week out.
   For example, over the last couple of weeks, with Rhubarb and Strawberries in season and cheapish, I made a couple of Rhubarb and Strawberry Pies. We also go Meat Free a couple of times a week. Laughing

   As for Jamie Briggs, he looks like he eats out A LOT! And, isn't it cute the way he wants to swap out a tax that people doing a business transaction pay, for one to be placed on to the basics of life?  See what I mean about greed being a motivating factor for the Barbarians? He wants to get rid of a tax which makes it cheaper for people to accumulate assets. Which is fine, as it goes, because it may help First Home Buyers, however it's not fair to burden those who may not even own their own house who have to eat every day and should be able to buy reasonably cheap, healthy food.

Feral Skeleton

October 17. 2011 05:05 PM

Feral Skeleton

        The 'grubs' look at those men in the mirror every day.

   Poor Mamdouh Habib, he gets tortured by the Egyptians, at the Howard government's behest it seems from recent news on the matter, comes back to Australia, picks himself up, gets fit and runs in a race, and they have the hide to put him down for it?

Feral Skeleton

October 17. 2011 05:09 PM

Feral Skeleton

   There's a familiar face in this crowd:


Feral Skeleton

October 17. 2011 05:12 PM


Then, to top it all off, one of them later on, when being interviewed by the media, a woman and a Nurse, what's more, had the gall to call another woman, who has achieved an infinite amount more than that miserable example of Australian humanity ever will, our Prime Minister, "That lying scrag".

yes I saw that. What strange behaviour. Some of those who protested in parliament sounded quite unhinged outside...as tho they hadn't taken their medication for the day. Bizarre behaviour.

The way they were actin' you'd think the PM was possessed and they thought she needed a good exorcism. I was expectin' them to get out crosses...and dolls w/ pins in them.

I reckon the Opposition & some in the media have alot to answer for.

I reckon a few of Joyce, Jones & One Nation's mob could use some meditation, time off the booze and a calming herbal tea. And perhaps a few more long weekends...at the beach, or lake, or hiking...anything to burn off the fanatical anger.

And perhaps they should reflect on the weird behaviour of their leaders...includin' Abbott. And themselves.

Peace out. Smile  



October 17. 2011 05:23 PM


Thank you for the Bob Marley clip.

Yer welcome Feral. Glad ya dig it.  

  Also, our family, like yours(except we're not total Vegos  ), also eats a shed load of fresh fruit and vegetables each week. Especially as there is no GST on them. In fact, I can remember that it was because fresh food had no GST attached to it that made me think at the time that I may as well buy more.

It also motivated us to buy more...and we luv to buy from local farmers when possible. I reckon they'd be hurt too if the GST was broadened.

In this household we're quite willin' to pay more for Medicare in the future if need be...provided the rich dig into their deep pockets...but we reckon hands off fresh food re: GST...it's useful to motivate others to eat them wondrous foods...rather than just junk.

Jamie Briggs gets pushed heaps these days by the Coalition...and Murdoch empire & other usual suspects...another reason I don't trust "weathervane" Abbott. They're tryin' to lay the groundwork for future policies when The Greens aren't the balance of power.

over the last couple of weeks, with Rhubarb and Strawberries in season and cheapish, I made a couple of Rhubarb and Strawberry Pies.

LUV IT!!! Thnx for remindin' me...we must get some rhubarb...takes me back to the days of my Gran's rhubarb pies w/ custard. Yum. Smile



October 17. 2011 05:42 PM

Patricia WA

I thought the Piping Shrike article about the government having no authority was a bit pointless.  It seemed a silly argument. Government may not seem to have authority - because the media presents it as having no authority.   Meantime it keeps on consistently exerting its authority to govern and to legislate, and with no effective opposition.   How often have we been told in the past year the Government, Cabinet, Caucus and ALP are divided and  Gillard's leadership/authority is under challenge?

Still the Prime Minister keeps on keeping on, and the Greens and Independents continue working with her and her ministers. However often Tony Abbott claims the contrary and whatever media promoted public perceptions about her may be it's pretty clear that she has plenty of personal credibility and therefore authority amongst those with whom it matters.

Patricia WA

October 17. 2011 05:50 PM

Feral Skeleton

    Yes, I was thinking that the Coalition were pulling one of their cunning stunts wherein they push out a lowly backbencher with a high profile, like Jamie Briggs, to say something and fly the kite for the rest of them. If it flies, they go full steam ahead with it. If it doesn't, he gets Coalition Brownie Points for taking one for the team, and rewarded in any future government of theirs with a position on the fast track to the Front Bench and a Senior portfolio. Especially by the time, as you say, when they believe they have demolished The Greens and destroyed them like The Democrats, and have taken back control of the Senate. Hopefully, however, that scenario will never eventuate because Murdoch's karma will bite him big time and so, the media cheer squad, who are pump-priming the Coalition, will be severely diminished in their effect on the minds of the electorate. And all the hot air will go out of the Abbott balloon.

Feral Skeleton

October 17. 2011 05:56 PM

Patricia WA

FS - re the Jon Faine interview - did you notice though that he dropped the 'first PM' gibe at the end of the interview?  She clearly had a win there.   I felt he was firmly and politely put in his place.  He certainly behaved himself once she made it clear he had gone too far.    She didn't say,  "Cut it out!"  She didn't need to.

My sense is that the PM and the government think more is to be gained by not fighting fire with fire in the house.  True that MSM commentary keeps suggesting that both sides are as bad as the other, which is clearly not true if you watch QT. I don't know how they can counter that, given the overwhelming media ganging up on Julia Gillard's Prime Ministership.

I do think a stand should have been taken on the hecklers in the Speakers Gallery by naming the MPs who invited them there.  Is that now not likely to happen?

Patricia WA

October 17. 2011 06:19 PM


The latest silly stuff I have heard going around and left unchallenged by the media, is the claim of a "future mandate" by the libs.  This is now their strategy for claiming they will be able to overturn the CEF legislation. IE they will have a mandate because they have won the election and so the ALP will be honor bound to vote with them and rescind the legislation.  Really? They can claim a mandate now for an election to be held in 2 years time for the basis of policy?  And use this as a predictor that the ALP will vote to overturn their own legislation?  

We cant be surprised that this nonsense comes out of the mouth of C Pyne or Mr Abbott as they seem incapable of forming policy which actually makes sense.  When I heard this broadcast on The World Today on our ABC I had a bit of a chuckle but I did not hear any questions or query from a journalist pointing out just how silly this is.

Arrogance of this magnitude would normally be slapped down by any self respecting Australian let alone a skeptical journalist.  But even putting the arrogance of assuming a future mandate to one side. Framing a policy around the assumption that another party will behave in way they have vowed not too?  What sort of moron would nod and say, "yeah, I can see that working"?  

Still it allows Tony and his boys to once again escape any scrutiny about how could they wind back the CEF.  Meanwhile they also run around telling business to become vandals and not act in their own interests and are not pulled up over it.


October 17. 2011 06:32 PM


Just to add to my previous post.  I recall that for the weeks leading up to the vote on asylum seeker legislation, the media were constantly hounding the gov about "plan B".  If you cant get the votes what is your PLAN B?  That was probably a fair enough question as it was clear the necessary support would be difficult.    So now with the fantasy as I described above where is the media challenging the Libs about Plan B?  Ummm,  it seems they don't need need plan B as through the dint of their brilliance and negotiating skills Plan A is a sure winner.  How lucky we are to these servants of democracy guiding us through this minefield.  


October 17. 2011 06:39 PM

Ad astra reply

Welcome to The Political Sword family and for your comment.  Please come again.

Jon Faine is well regarded in Victoria, but some of us see him morphing into a shock jock, not as gross at the awful Alan Jones of course, but following the same trend of being disrespectful to those in authority.  He was way over the top with his interview of Julia Gillard and his talkback callers took him vigorously to task.  I hope he will curb his shock jock tendencies as a result.

Ad astra reply

October 17. 2011 06:57 PM


FS - welcome back to the Author ranks.

The flippant reply to this article is the age of chivalry is not dead - it's just taken a long holiday.

Seriously however I share you concern at the lack of respect for the Prime Minister of this Country (and wonder if the media would refer to the Queen as say Liz of London).  

Unfortunately this society is becoming less self reliant and more likely to try and find someone to blame if say the sky is not the right blue colour tomorrow.  To an extent politicians have brought this on themselves by attempting to "market" their particular brand of policy as you would Tim Tam biscuits.  The downside is if your Tim Tams are "off", you complain to Arnotts and probably get restitution through a package of different product so you forget the bad experience.  Sections of the media (some of whom who have obviously spent too long in Rugby Union scrums sniffing the backsides of other players) are playing on the disillusionment created when the marketing (of both major political parties) exceeded the reality.  And  on top of the uncertainty, a woman has successfully stitched together a group of progressive people who have the courage (another work starting with "B" would also be appropriate) to make some major change.  Yup - its straight old sexism, led by a group of people who share an understanding of the "old boys club" network.

Short of ACMA pulling licences from TV & Radio stations because insulting the PM of the Country fails the decency test for a licence holder (if that provision actually exists), I hope that the "other 99%/Occupy" groups around the world become a single progressive voice of equal power and influence to the "Tea Party" movement that seems to currently driving a conservative agenda.  Who knows, a significant proportion of the other 99% probably don't give a rats about rugby union, definitely haven't spent time in the fetid air of the collapsed scrum and don't care the gender of whoever does the job provided the best wo/man is chosen.


October 17. 2011 08:35 PM

Feral Skeleton

           I think the answer to your question about the hecklers in the gallery is that because it is the Speaker's job to do something about them, nothing is going to happen.  I don't know how many times throughout the course of this government, and Kevin Rudd's before it, I have shouted at the TV for him to do something! about some antics brought on by the Opposition. All he ever does is say "Order!", or sit there silently until they finally fall silent. It's only when push comes to a very big shove does he turf them out.

   Which is sort of the obverse situation to that which I am explaining above, in a funny sort of way. Harry Jenkins is being too civil to the barbarians...and they are trampling him underfoot.

Feral Skeleton

October 17. 2011 08:40 PM

Feral Skeleton

      Thank you. Smile

   Look, I don't know about giving up hope, all ye who enter politics. Why, just today, Possum was bemoaning the lack of civility in politics anymore, so if a perceptive little possum like him can start asking the question, maybe some young kids with more energy than us can come along and politely start a revolution. Maybe call it, 'Occupy the World'. Smile

Feral Skeleton

October 17. 2011 08:44 PM

Feral Skeleton

       Or, in other words, the media make it up as they go along. Quel surprise!

   Which pretty much leaves it up to the likes of us to clean up after them and deconstruct their stories for the benefit of those who do not have the time to do so, in the hope we can make a difference.

Feral Skeleton

October 17. 2011 09:50 PM


FS - I agree the "Occupy" movement shows promise.  My concern is they won't find the going easy with the number of vested interests that control the media and political parties worldwide (look how hard The Greens find it in Australia in spite of holding the balance of power).  Hopefully they won't implode when the various interest groups find out they have to co-exist to continue the momentum.


October 18. 2011 12:25 AM


Thanks for this article .... it is of the variety I particularly enjoy ie the challenge of understanding why people act in what you describe as an unchivalrous manner.

I liked your reference to the common good as a criteria by which we can all assess our views and conduct.

It has long been my view (I make no claim of originality) that aggression is invariably a mechanism by which a person seeks to hide/deny a deep inferiority and the anxiety that flows from it.

The classics are the bully and the homophobe.

In the political context, Abbott can be seen to attack, attack, attack, in an effort to avoid at all costs exposing his weakness in actually conceptualising a vision for the future and turning it into a policy to achieve it. His aggression is a continuing attempt to change the subject whenever the issue of policy comes up.

As a real conservative (tolerates today, fears tomorrow, loves yesterday) visions of the past, not the future define his capability.

On these grounds I am not pessimistic about 2013. Abbott has had his honeymoon election campaign in 2010 and as a new leader he was able to garner bonus votes to his mob without any policy scrutiny, ably assisted by Latham, Oakes, the Rudd issue, an unquestioning MSM, an un-costed budget and the huge mileage made from JG's naive "real Julia" statement.

The coincidence of such factors is unlikely to reoccur. But flowing from his negativity in 2010, 2011 and 2013, which of necessity he can only express in words....mantras and other throw aways .... he is now building up a catalogue of promises for which he will have to provide policy arguments by mid 2013.

The fact that he fails your basic test, ie striving for the common good will eventually bring him down, either by his own mob or the electorate. This is good, and it is also for the common good.


October 18. 2011 12:39 AM



Abbott faces fallout from Gillard's Big Week
Tony Kevin   Eureka Street

So it is done. What Rudd and Turnbull couldn't achieve as party leaders in 2008–2009, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet last week achieved, in the face of implacable opposition from Tony Abbott and a well-funded, climate change denialist, do-nothing lobby.

Something in the water: warming's effect on El Niño and La Niña events
Michael D Lemonick   Climate Spectator

As just about everyone knows, El Niño is a periodic unusual warming of the surface water in the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean. Actually, that’s pretty much a lie. Most people don’t know the definition of El Niño or its mirror image, La Niña, and truthfully, most people don’t much care.

the ending of the neo-liberal period?
Gary Sauer-Thomson   Public Opinion

There is a sense emerging that the period of neo-liberalism is drawing to a close. It began in the 1970s with its call argument for a return to free-market economics and was marked by privatisation, a reduction of state power, and a reassertion of liberal economic principles that appealed to the classical liberalism developed by the Austrian philosopher Friedrich Hayek during the depression of the 1930s.

Can the Government win on Australia Television tender
David Havyatt   Anything Goes

Ultimately it is absurd to have a Government funded national overseas television service operated by anyone other than the Government funded broadcaster. However, since the commercial networks first had the Australia Television service tendered out under the Howard Government (won by Seven) that has been the accepted position.

Brendan O'Neill, and who are you going to call when in urgent need of a bunny joke?
Dorothy Parker   Loon Pond

Brendon O'Neill: The protests are really an expression of middle-class anger with the working classes.
Thought the current round of demonstrations had something to do with Wall Street, with wealth inequality, with unfairness in the system, with fat cat financiers and bankers?
Golly, did you get out of the bed the wrong side this Monday morning.

5. Paul Whittaker
Paul Barry   The Power Index

You may not know Paul Whittaker but you do know his boss. The new editor of Sydney's Daily Telegraph ran Rupert Murdoch's The Australian for four years before taking charge at the tabloid. And he's already causing a stir by laying into Liberal Premier Barry O'Farrell.

Living On A Prayer?
Wixxy   Wixxy's Blog

These absolute saints (and I don’t use the term lightly) who look after troubled children need all our support, and the governments support. None of them do it for the money, as the $16,000 they were getting under the Keneally government, the one with a conscience, hardly covered the cost of raising a child, and certainly doesn’t compensate for the heartache that often comes with the role.

In 21st Century Australia the rich get richer and the poor lag behind
Clarencegirl   North Coast Voices

The wealthiest 20% of households have increased their average net worth 15% since 2005-06 (CPI adjusted), while the poorest 20% of households saw only a 4% rise, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Can lawyers save the planet?
Greg Foyster   Rooted  Crikey

Lawyers have been called many things over the years, but “greenie” generally isn’t one of them. Yet with politicians hamstrung to address environmental problems, the legal profession is fast becoming our planet’s last line of defence.

What’s wrong with ‘Freshwater economics’? (Hint: it is absurd).
Nicholas Gruen   Club Troppo

There’s something maddening about watching people of great intelligence doing really, really, (and obviously) stupid things. Enter Freshwater economics. Quiggin’s book Zombie economics takes shots at lots of freshwater nonsense. But this essay by John Kay is very hard to beat as a kind of phsychoanalysis of what’s wrong with it all.

Sweating Blood
Andrew Elder   Politically homeless

Tony Abbott's whole strategy has been based on toying with the government. Whenever Gillard has come to Abbott to cut a deal he has pretended to consider the idea, possibly with an amendment or two, before eventually declining to support. The idea behind this is to portray the incumbents as a do-nothing government so that by the next election it will offer no alternative to an Abbott government.

Hard to believe figures
Jeremy Sear   Pure Poison   Crikey

There are people out there who’d love you to believe absurdly huge figures about the cost of the “carbon tax” and the pokie machine reforms. And they would’ve loved these two stories from last week.


Like it or not, the sceptics are true believers too
Michael Bachelard   The Age

There are some very vocal and seemingly influential climate change sceptics who have been given well-supported platforms by some media organisations in Australia. 2GB's broadcasting of Alan Jones and News Limited's publishing of Andrew Bolt are a couple of examples that spring to mind.

In a better world more economists would speak on behalf of consumers
Ross Gittins   The Age

YOU could be forgiven for not knowing it, but economists are meant to be tough on business. Their ideology holds that capitalism is good not because it's good for capitalists, but because it's good for consumers - and consumption is ''the sole end and purpose of all production''.

Food bowl water plan a done deal
Tom Arup   The Age

FARMERS across the Goulburn Valley food bowl will be boosted by a $1.2 billion deal to roll out Australia's largest irrigation infrastructure renewal project, to be announced today by the state and federal governments.


October 18. 2011 08:15 AM

Feral Skeleton

        Thank you for your considered comment. It led me to reflect upon the fact that Abbott is using the government's policies as a negative for his own, with the emphasis on the negative. For example, his Climate Change policy, over and above the fig leaf 'Direct Action' policy), is to negate the government's policy. That's it. Ipso facto, it could be argued by him, and probably will be, that, if you don't need the government's policy, then you can see a good reason to put off 'Direct Action'. I'm sure he'll find a 'Labor Black Hole' to tip it into once he has gotten over the line of an election. Lord help us should he not be exposed as the charlatan he is before then.

   Also, this negative template now applies to Asylum Seeker policy. It is everything the government's is not, plus a few Howard government talismans(TPVs, Tow Back, Nauru), that all the sensible, non-partisan commentators are saying will no longer work the way they did under Howard. No matter how much Abbott et al. doth protest they will.

   The pity is, we no longer have an objective 4th Estate prepared to expose the Emporer-To-Be, as being naked except for a pair of Budgie Smugglers. They are not sowing the seeds of doubt in the community that they should be.

Feral Skeleton

October 18. 2011 08:33 AM

Ad astra reply

LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: www.thepoliticalsword.com/.../...-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Ad astra reply

October 18. 2011 08:34 AM


FS - the Eureka Street article in NormanK's links is relevent to your post above.

Quote Eureka Street Abbott's style of political opposition, which may yet win him the prime ministership, has in my view damaged the civility of Australian public life. There are two parallel universes in the parliamentary chamber that seem no longer to meet except in gladiatorial contest. There is hardly any sense of a common pursuit of the national interest, and a fading recognition of the integrity of those opposite.


October 18. 2011 09:00 AM

Patricia WA

FS,   You can sure smell the contempt in this article by Nikki Savvawww.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-e6frgd0x-1226169106874.  It's as stinking a piece of character assassination as I've read anywhere.

I have been trying to respond since late last night but every time I try to SUBMIT the comments box goes haywire.  Is it just my site, or do they have a special sabotage gadget for known dissenting voices.
Can someone else visit the site and check if there are any comments at all?    

Here's my two bits worth - anyway

Feeling better, Nikki? Nice bundle of bitchy generalities about our Prime Minister you’ve thrown together here. How about some facts to back up your assertion that “people doubt her competence, question her trustworthiness, distrust her values and mock her presentation?”

People like yourself in the media may be able to make statements like that often enough to influence public opinion. That doesn’t mean that she is incompetent and untrustworthy. Her communication and negotiating skills have just this week achieved the passage of the Clean Energy Future legislation following almost two hundred other pieces of legislation enacted so far this year.

The government she established a year ago has not fallen apart. The Greens and significant Independents are still supporting her despite the worst efforts of character assassins and rumor mongers like yourself.

I haven’t seen one Labor ‘backbencher or frontbencher’ out blaming her for anything. If you have please name them. Nor, apart from the policy difference over the Malaysian plan with the Greens have I seen 'blaming’ by other partners in this hung parliament.

Rather I've heard expressed by many admiration for her courage and competence which I and others share.

I'd like to know if other people have the same problem in trying to comment.

Patricia WA

October 18. 2011 09:39 AM

Feral Skeleton

     Mm, 'civility' seems to be the word of the week. Smile
I just think that anyone not susceptible to the brainwashing that goes on regularly by the media in it's conspiratorial attempts with the Coalition to shoehorn it into power, or those who continue to 'pine for the fjords' as Monty Python used to say(and, boy, aren't we missing their like in contemporary satire?), of a time(after Watergate and before Bush 2) that seemed to suggest that rational adults were in control of our governments, and not religious zealots, or...religious zealots, is thus starting to get a bit restless about the road they are dragging us down along.

   What can we do? Appears to be the catch-cry, now that the Oligarchs and their religious mates have been gifted so much money from the public purse over the decades since Reagan and Bush's Tax Cuts, that they are free to pursue their quest for total world domination(and, in their usual trick they accuse us Progressives of trying to do just that with our call for action wrt Global Warming), with a virtually unlimited supply of funds.

   All I can console myself with is the fact that there are stirrings from the oppressed, action being taken in a pragmatic & practically-antithetical way to the media empires the oligarchs have built, by the likes of Al Gore and others, and that, eventually, an articulate messiah comes along to kick the miscreants to the curb. Who inspires others to create a world-wide movement and can't be bought for any amount of money the obscene wish to dangle in front of their eyes.

   As a scientist I believe this will eventually happen. It's just the laws of Physics: For every action there will be an equal and opposite reaction. Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, etc.  So THEY may be attempting to push us down and have been for a few decades now, but WE will pop up elsewhere. We can't be kept down forever. They've tried in the past and always failed. They are trying very hard now with the revivified anti-Science and anti-Reason movement, fitting hand-in-glove with the anti-Intellectualism movement in general, caused by the channelling of education through home-schooling with a heavy emphasis on religious instruction, the proliferation of religion-based education in the community and the infiltration of it's advocates into politics. Which is leading to a virtual smothering of debate.
   Well, it's up to us to fight back against it before they smother us to death. How? Keep the momentum going. Another law of Physics. Smile

Feral Skeleton

October 18. 2011 09:47 AM


My fingers were poised to fire a torpedo at NS late last night but in the interest of conserving my energy for other missives I decided that she is just not worth the effort.

She would almost head my list of intractables, those journos who write with malice and aforethought, up their with Mr Piggy Akerman.

Any way, good on you for trying! Your thoughts were at least expressed, if not received by her. I hope the fact that you bothered to try motivates others who read here to take up the cudgels and send a few emails.


October 18. 2011 09:48 AM


"up there with Mr Piggy"


October 18. 2011 09:54 AM

Feral Skeleton

           As I said about Julie Bishop recently, as my old mother used to say, "You get the face you deserve." Applies to Ms Savva too. Looks like she has spent her life sucking...lemons.

   However, as the perceptive say, The Austrollian, in it's circulation death-throes, and buckling under the weight of it's consigliore's legal troubles overseas(and Cameron doesn't appear to be the ruthless foil for Murdoch on the world stage it was hoped he would be), is starting to tailor it's work to the demographic that still gives a toss about it, the well-self-funded retiree mob, and  having to find new and 'interesting' ways to keep them enthused as foot-soldiers for the cause.

   I mean, who's Nikki bleedin' Savva anyway, when she's at home? (Also as my mun used to say about legends in their own lunchtime like her) She's just another paid shill that spruiks Murdoch and Coalition meat, no better than any spruiker in Kings Cross on any night spruiking the meat inside the flesh palaces of Darlinghurst Road.

   Best to just ignore them and concentrate your energies, not on having a crack back, which is how they want you to waste your precious time, but instead use your time productively against them, as I have read that you do so well when you are out and about amongst friends and family. That's where our battles need to be fought, not against people who will just ignore you anyway. Which, if you really want to influence the readers of The Austrollian, would be better achieved by commenting on Jack the Insider's blog. He still lets us barbarians through Murdoch's side gate. Smile

Feral Skeleton

October 18. 2011 10:00 AM

Patricia WA

Thanks, psyclaw.  I will try again from my daughter's line next door when they wake up.  

Meantime I thought this was promising, but reading beyond the headline suggests that Abbott's sabotage tactics are working if mainstream media commentators don't make it clear that he and not the new legislation is responsible for unreasonable price rises.


Patricia WA

October 18. 2011 10:03 AM


TA is behaving like a spolit brat over the carbon tax legislatation. Please discuss.


October 18. 2011 10:41 AM

Feral Skeleton

     Tony Abbott is an Agent Provocateur for the Fossil Fuel Industry(which overlaps the Climate Change Sceptic/Denier industry almost perfectly), and a saboteur of democracy. He is a grub.

   I would say something worse about the man, but I'm too polite. Smile

Feral Skeleton

October 18. 2011 10:58 AM


Good Morning Swordsfolks,
Yesterday I answered a call to read some o' me pomes to some upper primary classes, been a while since I was in loco didactico, hoo boy, what a nervous effort is teaching!

I cannot imagine now how I stood it for so long. And these were nice kids, not bored (because I was New) and not (yet) cynical about things . . . The school was all right too as concerns facilities but Gee I'm glad I'm not a kid again and not a teacher now neither.

I walked into the staff room at lunchtime, there were 13 women and one man, the latter sitting all by himself at one end of the long table, the women all talking together. Then some more women came in, and a muscly youngish man, I picked him (as anyone would've) as the Phys Ed teacher, he grinned, he said he used to be but now he was teaching Year Twos. Such a preponderance of women, I think there'd be more males by weight in nursing now. I don't really think it's ideal.  

Anyway the kids liked my readings and gave me spontaneous and heartwarming applause, the teachers loved my tessellations and 3D geometrical PaperCraft, just a pity I'm no good at marketing, the way the teachers go for my models when they get the chance . . . But the education system seems to me to be so bloody hidebound and locked down now, they got their little ways, it's all tied up with pretty bows but those ties are wrought in titanium.

When I got home I just flaked . . .

So that's why I didn't post anything yesty.

Folks nil desperandum about the vicious bodyline at the PM right now, the Coalons and their sickofantasizers are smarting at the hits they have taken, but the hits won't go away and neither will she. They only hate her so because she is so effective and there's nothing they can do about it, and they WON'T be able to wind back the reforms the Government is passing because they WON'T control the Senate and Labor WON'T just say It's a fair cop* and let the Coalons torch the legislation that the government has put in place with such effort, and they are well aware of that, and they're freaking.  Two more full years if she wishes to go, look at what has been achieved in the last 13 months, factor in Abbortt's rate of hair loss, Smile , Oh and Rupert's troubles . . .

Folks, on The Day it'll be OK.    

*"It's a fair cop":

Not quite so funny as I remember but very very apposite and unwittingly prescient!


October 18. 2011 11:06 AM


Good Morning Swordsfolks,
Yesterday I answered a call to read some o' me pomes to some upper primary classes, been a while since I was in loco didactico, hoo boy, what a nervous effort is teaching!

I cannot imagine now how I stood it for so long. And these were nice kids, not bored (because I was New) and not (yet) cynical about things . . . The school was all right too as concerns facilities but Gee I'm glad I'm not a kid again and not a teacher now neither.

I walked into the staff room at lunchtime, there were 13 women and one man, the latter sitting all by himself at one end of the long table, the women all talking together. Then some more women came in, and a muscly youngish man, I picked him (as anyone would've) as the Phys Ed teacher, he grinned, he said he used to be but now he was teaching Year Twos. Such a preponderance of women, I think there'd be more males by weight in nursing now. I don't really think it's ideal.  

Anyway the kids liked my readings and gave me spontaneous and heartwarming applause, the teachers loved my tessellations and 3D geometrical PaperCraft, just a pity I'm no good at marketing, the way the teachers go for my models when they get the chance . . . But the education system seems to me to be so bloody hidebound and locked down now, they got their little ways, it's all tied up with pretty bows but those ties are wrought in titanium.

When I got home I just flaked . . .

So that's why I didn't post anything yesty.

Folks nil desperandum about the vicious bodyline at the PM right now, the Coalons and their sickofantasizers are smarting at the hits they have taken, but the hits won't go away and neither will she. They only hate her so because she is so effective and there's nothing they can do about it, and they WON'T be able to wind back the reforms the Government is passing because they WON'T control the Senate and Labor WON'T just say It's a fair cop and let the Coalons torch the legislation that the government has put in place with such effort, and they are well aware of that, and they're freaking.  Two more full years if she wishes to go, look at what has been achieved in the last 13 months, factor in Abbortt's rate of hair loss, Smile , Oh and Rupert's troubles,
Folks on The Day it'll be OK.

*"It's a fair cop"

Not quite as funny as I remembered, but very very apposite and unwittingly prescient!


October 18. 2011 11:33 AM


A reoccurring theme here is the acquiescence of the media to the coalitions thought bubbles.  The oppositions tactics re the CEF and permits will clearly be damaging to Australia and consumers.  Should industry take heed of his advice and not purchase permits etc, we will see an extension of the lack of investment, most noticeably in the power industry .  The recent increases in power costs are in large due to the cost of keeping aging infrastructure going.  New investment is almost impossible  without confidence in how that investment will be treated.  Industry has known for years that a carbon price is inevitable but wants to know what the rules are before jumping in.  The CEF legislation should provide this certainty and investors could produce their business plans with confidence.  

What I write here is not unknown to the media and certainly the business analysts.  I would challenge anyone to quote a credible independent analyst who does not believe that uncertainty on carbon price is the greatest handbrake on the power industry.  

Tony Abbott is doing his best to create more uncertainty that should his plans work out will extend for many years to come.  He does this for no other reason than he frames this and all issues as political win loss scores and does not consider the governance of the country.

The media, sadly seem to go along with this and not question the motives and tactics of the opposition.  We can speculate as to why.  Is it because they also have in interest in politics as a blood sport and Tony is providing plenty of biffo? Or is it because News Ltd controls the news agenda and they are acting as a partisan cheering machine for Tony?

I am an optimist by nature and I believe the media have a herd mentality.  When it becomes to hard to continue ignoring the contradictions of Tony Abbott they will turn quite quickly.  As Tony has had it so easy for such a long time his hubris is on display but will come back to bite.  Another issue that will come up is the NBN.  All signs are that Telstra shareholders will vote today t accept the NBN deal to purchase the access network which will effectively remove Telstra's fixed line monopoly.  I would expect the Telstra share price to go up on the back of this because the uncertainty has been removed.  That Tony is still running around saying he will stop the NBN if elected is also gross vandalism.  In this scenario Telstra would be left with what? Those who were lucky enough to have the NBN already connected would be OK but the rest of us would be left out.  Telstra shareholders could again expect "negative gains".  

Examples like these I believe will be frustrating the big end of town who may prefer a Lib in the Lodge but do not want years of disruption in exchange.  Self interest will move these people to start agitating and the media will finally start to put the blow torch on Tony.  When this happens expect things to turn very quickly.  I for one do not believe the next election is the lay down misere for Tony that the media seem to believe at the moment.  

The more people who talk up and call out the BS of the libs the harder it is for the media to ignore it.  So I am keeping up the fight.


October 18. 2011 11:37 AM


Bad Abbott - "bam bam"


The following text, if you don't want to read the whole puff piece ("genial smile, FFS!), sums up just how Australia will be run/governed/guided by Shouldeen as PM.

Tony Abbott "has a habit of wresting the implement [a hammer] out of her [his daughter's] hands in order to drive the perfect nail.

Into oblivion.

Abbott doesn't just nail a plank to a deck, he declares war on the nail, punishing it with pitiless force.

Take that, nail. Bam, as with any object, alternative destiny, stray opinion poll or opponent who dares to offer resistance to the ferocious will of the Opposition Leader to win. Bam.

Or anyone who seeks to divert him from his current mission to make the Gillard government the story. Sweat towelled off from the exertion, back in pressed shirt-sleeves, there's a genial smile with that Bam, delivered down the barrel of the TV camera. Here's my answer, designed to end the discussion. Don't bother with the follow-up question. You'll get the same response.

Gillard is the story. No stray lines. Bam."

Bam bam bam, Australia, into oblivion.

PS "Here's my answer, designed to end the discussion. Don't bother with the follow-up question. You'll get the same response."

People KNOW this about TA's approach to the truthful exploring of any question/subject, the Press sees it everyday, and yet how often does anyone actually make it public as this story does, albeit buried way down in the tail end of things?

PPS And why oh why don't we see more often, at the end of TV interviews, those last seconds when he smirks to his attending staffers, winks at a reporter, or simply grins with self-satisfaction?

'Insiders' occasionally shows these tail-end moments that are cut out of news reports, and appear to have no difficulty in collecting them day in and day out. These are far more illustrative of the real TA than the reiterated rote answers the article above makes clear are for the cameras.

(I do know why.)


October 18. 2011 12:24 PM

Ad astra reply

Political Sword Media Mash

Labor's carbon success marred by embarrassing failure on asylum-seekers by Dennis Shanahan, Political Editor of The Australian, October 15, 2011: www.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-e6frgd0x-1226167112334


Following the Political Sword Media Mash analysis of this article posted on 16 October at 6.15 pm on Cross-breed Purposes Patricia WA questioned why I choose a Shanahan article to dissect, as experience shows that almost everything he writes is anti-Gillard and pro-Abbott.  The reason was that this one seemed to illustrate many of the techniques writers like Shanahan employ to get their antagonistic messages across while on the surface not appearing overtly to do so to the unobservant reader.  Her comment though prompted me to reflect on how his article would have read if it were stripped of Shanahanisms, stripped of partisan bias and pejorative words, and devoid of the anti-Gillard, anti-Government rancor he so often brings to his writings.

So below you will find the same Shanahan piece in italics and quotes dissected into segments, and my substitute words in bold type following each segment.  Compare the two and reflect.

This week's parliamentary success of the carbon tax and the failure of Labor's offshore processing of asylum-seekers even to make the House of Representatives for a vote will decide the fate of the Labor government and-or Julia Gillard, perhaps within months.

“The passage of the carbon tax through the Senate because of the Greens-Labor partnership and the inability to submit the asylum-seeker offshore processing changes because of Greens-Coalition obstruction could also decide the fate of minority government.”

This week's parliamentary success of the carbon tax, a historic event in the nation’s history, and a landmark event for the Gillard Government, was followed by the disappointment of not having the numbers to pass legislation designed to enable offshore processing of asylum seekers.  The decision of WA Nationals Tony Crook to not vote for it meant that the Government was one vote short, and so the bill was not put to the vote.   Although defeat of the bill in the Senate seemed certain, PM Gillard was still hoping that Tony Abbott might support it as it would have enabled any future government, including one that he might lead, to implement its preferred option.  The future of this minority government may well rest upon these events.

There are commentators who believe that this series of events will lead to an earlier election than the one due in late 2013.

There are an increasing number of scenarios that make an election for the House of Representatives earlier than August 2013 more probable, with the common aim of creating certainty, resolving government legitimacy and restoring parliamentary supremacy.

“Australia's national political and policy agenda is being set by political opportunism made possible by a weak government, an embattled Prime Minister, a rampant opposition and lack of parliamentary certainty or authority.”

There are some who question whether this minority government, weakened by having to rely on Independents to give it a slender majority, will last its full term.  Some still question its legitimacy, and the polls suggest a preference for a majority government.  But as it has successfully passed over 200 bills without a failure, there are some who see it as being effective.

The Opposition leader has consistently claimed the Gillard Government is not legitimate and has no mandate to introduce a carbon tax.  He does not accept that Ms Gillard campaigned on the introduction of an ETS, and that her change of mind regarding her pre-election commitment to not introduce a carbon tax was necessary because of the changed circumstances post-election when she found herself dependent on the support of Independents and the Greens, who insisted on an introductory carbon tax.  Some see political opportunism by both the Greens and the Coalition as having produced this outcome.

Labor leadership changes are being discussed as a result, as factional leaders, ministers and backbenchers come to grips with the reality of the Prime Minister's loss of credibility and air of incompetence.”

There is still some media speculation about Julia Gillard’s leadership, but there is no evidence that members of the Labor caucus are considering an alternative leader, expressing as they do confidence in her leadership.

"The passing of the 19 Clean Energy bills through the House of Representatives by the narrowest of margins and their expected ratification in the Senate is a political and policy milestone for Labor."

The passing of the 19 Clean Energy bills through the House of Representatives and their expected ratification in the Senate is a political and policy milestone for Labor.

“Julia Gillard and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet finally have succeeded in passing a carbon tax and laying the basis for a limited emissions trading scheme in the future where their predecessors, Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong, failed at the cost of their jobs.

“The parliamentary scenes of Labor MPs cheering, clapping, hugging and even kissing were not so much a sign of jubilation as relief. As one minister told Inquirer yesterday: "It's never going to be popular, people won't like it, but it's done, it's through."

“This grim determination over the carbon tax personifies Labor's political position and is Gillard's forlorn hope.”

Julia Gillard and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet have succeeded in passing a carbon tax, laying the basis for a limited emissions trading scheme in the future, an achievement greeted with jubilation in parliament.  Although still unpopular with the people according to the polls, Labor is relieved that it is now passed and awaits acceptance with time.

Since Gillard announced her intention to recognise the Greens' balance of power in both houses of parliament in February by introducing a carbon tax notwithstanding her election promise not to do so, and destroyed Labor's primary vote and her credibility, the mantra has been that things would be tough until the compensation package for the tax was announced and the tax itself was implemented in July next year.

Labor is now relying on its compensation package to improve the standing of the carbon initiative in the mind of the electorate.

The announcement of the compensation package of tax cuts and household assistance has hardly helped, so the future for Labor now turns to the delivery into family bank accounts of advance compensation in June next year and the opportunity to say the tax is not as bad as expected after July next year.

“Gillard has determinedly stuck to this formula and is convinced Abbott's success as Opposition Leader will falter once the immediate public anger at the carbon tax subsides.

“This latter point is reinforced by the Labor view that Abbott is so keen for an early election because he wants the next poll to be a referendum on the carbon tax, and preferably one before the tax is implemented. Labor's explicit campaign is slightly contradictory but depends on the tax being in place and under way and argues that Abbott can't repeal the tax but wants to withdraw the compensation, "clawing back" payments to pensioners and families.”

The announcement of the compensation package of tax cuts and household assistance now turns to the delivery into family bank accounts of advance compensation in June next year, and after July the opportunity to show the tax is not as bad as portrayed.

Combet has again demonstrated an ability to do an almost impossible job well and competently. As a former union leader Combet showed a skill in negotiating not only with unions but also with employers in the steel and coal industries. He also showed the necessary steel required to draw a line under insatiable Greens demands for renewable energy funding, subsidies and unrealistic carbon reduction targets.

“Campaigning for industry and household compensation, Combet has shown competence and conviction and not suffered the same odium as Gillard, who gave him the impossible task.”

Combet has again demonstrated an ability to do a difficult job well and competently. As a former union leader Combet showed a skill in negotiating not only with unions but also with employers in the steel and coal industries. He also showed the necessary steel.  Campaigning for industry and household compensation, Combet has shown competence and conviction.

Abbott's response to Labor's argument is that you don't need the compensation if you don't have the tax, but he is caught on the mechanics of how to withdraw it. Further, Abbott's rollback campaign smacks of Labor's unsuccessful anti-GST campaign in 2001. The Liberal leader is in danger of overreaching his position with warnings such as the one yesterday suggesting business not buy foreign carbon credits.”

Abbott's response to Labor's argument is that you don't need the compensation if you don't have the tax, but he is caught on the mechanics of how to withdraw it. Further, Abbott's rollback campaign smacks of Labor's unsuccessful anti-GST campaign in 2001. The Liberal leader is in danger of jeopardizing his position when he warned business not buy foreign carbon credits before the next election.

The key issues on carbon tax for both sides during the next year is whether Gillard can get the public to accept it and whether Abbott can convince the public he can repeal it cleanly and before 2015.

“Notwithstanding the difficulties Abbott may face on the carbon tax, they are completely overshadowed by Gillard's carbon problems because voters have stopped listening to her about anything. Gillard's credibility problems go well beyond the carbon tax and nothing demonstrates that more than the swamping of any positive relief over carbon by the asylum-seeker debacle.”

The key issues on carbon tax for both sides during the next year is whether Gillard can get the public to accept it and whether Abbott can convince the public he can repeal it cleanly and before 2015.  Some question whether the public is still listening to Gillard, and whether Abbott’s threat to repeal legislation already in operation is realistic.

The political strategy, tactics and policy preparation behind this week's humiliating surrender on offshore processing, to avoid an even more damaging and potentially fatal failure on the floor of the House of Representatives, has been sheeted home to Gillard.”

There is no doubt Abbott has behaved irresponsibly by refusing to endorse the principle of offshore processing on the pretext of being afraid of being blamed for sending asylum-seekers to Malaysia from Christmas Island. Gillard has grounds for blaming Abbott in part, but the Government’s reversion to pre-1991 Labor policy on mandatory detention, and the perception in the region that Australia is now a soft touch, while officially fearing 600 boat arrivals a month, is due to a long policy decay under Rudd and then Gillard.’

There is no doubt Abbott has behaved irresponsibly by refusing to endorse the principle of offshore processing on the pretext of being afraid of being blamed for sending asylum-seekers to Malaysia from Christmas Island. Gillard has grounds for blaming Abbott in part, but the Government’s reversion to pre-1991 Labor policy on mandatory detention, and the perception in the region that Australia is now a soft touch, will no doubt cause the PM to reflect on the asylum policy and the strategy employed in presenting the policy.

After allowing the perception to build that Labor's changes to the Howard-era management of asylum-seekers went much further than they did, Labor created pull factors for asylum-seekers in the region and Gillard's trail of spectacular policy failures, starting with the East Timor solution last year, has undermined public confidence in the immigration system.

“This long trail of incompetence led Labor into the invidious position this week of prolonging its own misery and weakness while further humiliating Gillard.  The crisis cabinet's discussions on Thursday included advocacy of going to Nauru for offshore processing, as well as discussion of going to Abbott once again seeking a compromise that would allow both Malaysia and Nauru.

“The brutal reality was Labor could not go to Nauru and hold on to the Prime Minister and Immigration Minister and there was no choice but to retreat from the field, leaving Abbott in charge of government policy from opposition.

“As with its stunned reaction to the High Court decision overturning the Malaysia Solution, cabinet had no plan how to move to onshore processing and has left Immigration Minister Chris Bowen with the task of patching up the existing system, dealing with an inevitable shortage of accommodation and shovelling the expected increase in asylum-seekers into the community after security and health checks.

“Like Combet, Bowen has done well with an impossible task and escaped the odium directed towards Gillard over the failure of faith in the immigration system.

“The concentration of anger, loss of faith and incompetence on Gillard has crystallised discussions about changing the Labor leadership to restore voter confidence and give the minority Labor government the ability to work more effectively and have a chance of winning the next election.

“Even those opposed to Rudd's return can see the logic in simply saying to the public, "Sorry, we got it wrong" in removing our last leader, and drafting the Foreign Minister into the leadership.

“Again, even those who don't like Rudd and may fear retribution believe if he did return it would be best to go to an election, on the basis that he would get a short-term bounce in the polls and could campaign on giving Labor legitimacy.

“There are also those who oppose a Rudd return but recognise Gillard's days may be numbered and who are working quietly to position Defence Minister Stephen Smith as an alternative candidate to Gillard and Rudd. This is another scenario that would suggest a leadership change would be followed sooner rather than later by an election.

“The least likely outcome is that Gillard will lead Labor to an election after August 2013.’

The history of the Government’s asylum policy shows that since changing from the Howard Government ‘Pacific Solution’ the number of boat arrivals has increased.  The Government has attributed this to the ‘push factor’ of increasing numbers seeking asylum around the world because of war and civil strife, for example in Sri Lanka, while the Opposition firmly believes it is due to softening of the policy, thereby creating a ‘pull factor’.  

The PM has built her policy on the prospect of regional collaboration to manage what is recognized as a regional problem via regional processing.  When her initial attempt to establish a processing centre in East Timor came to nothing because the locals felt such a centre would offer better conditions than its own people enjoy, she explored the possibility of processing on Manus Island or in Malaysia, finally making a deal with the latter, which though was deemed to be contrary to Australian law in a High Court challenge.  Her attempt to overcome this impediment by revising the law to allow the government of the day to determine which country it preferred for offshore processing was made impossible because the Greens and the Opposition were against it.  The Government has now settled for onshore processing with rapid movement of arrivals from detention into the community on temporary visas where claims for asylum will be completed.

The Opposition is implacably opposed to Malaysia on the grounds that it is not a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees, and believes Nauru is the best and most humanitarian option now that it has signed the Convention.  The Government points out that when the Coalition last used Nauru it was not a signatory, and points out that the information it has received from its advisers indicates that Nauru will not now be a deterrent to people smugglers.  The problem is a vexed one for which no side has a certain solution.

This sequence of events has led some commentators, and possibly some in her party, to question the PM’s judgement and has raised questions about her leadership.  The Opposition insists that she is incompetent and that leadership speculation is at fever pitch in her party room, an assertion denied vigorously by her ministers.  The polls indicate that her popularity with the electorate is low and not yet showing much sign of improvement.

In my opinion, she has a major task rebuilding confidence in her Government in the electorate.  Whether she can do this before the next election, and whether it will be sufficient to secure another term in office is a matter of conjecture. I question whether she will be the one to lead the Government to the next election.  The next twelve months will critical for her and her Government.

Please note that the last paragraph is not my opinion; it is Shanahan’s opinion written with my words instead of his.

Folks, you may care to check if my attempt to rewrite the Shanahan article has included all the facts in his piece.  I believe I have.  What is missing is Shanahan’s pejorative words and phrases, the condemnation, the sarcastic demeaning of the PM, her policies and her Government that abounds in his piece.  As a result, my substitute is substantially shorter.

If Dennis were to read my substitute I expect he would see it as so bland, so lacking in excitement and drama, so devoid of conflict and controversy, so unentertaining, that I would never rate as a mainstream political journalist.

Herein lies much of the problem.  As Lindsay Tanner points out in his book: Sideshow: Dumbing Down Democracy, the MSM has so accustomed its consumers to sensation, entertainment, conflict and discord, that the public has become addicted, literally so addicted to such fare that journalists are ‘forced’ to feed that addiction.  Anything factual and well reasoned runs the risk of being discarded as being too bland and uninteresting.

You will note that my substitute encapsulates the facts, and leaves the expression of opinion until the end, where it is clearly identified as such.  I have no aversion to journalists expressing an opinion, so long as it is identifiable as simply an opinion, and so long as the opinion is based on verifiable evidence and logically argued.  An opinion based simply on partisan bias or for the purpose of partisan propaganda is just that.  It is dishonest to represent it as a considered opinion based on fact and reasoning.  Yet that is what Dennis Shanahan would have his readers believe.  Therein lies the deception.

Your comments will be welcome.

Ad astra reply

October 18. 2011 12:34 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

It seems the Guevarists are once more in lockstep. Adopting a materteral hectoring tone our very own Central Coast sage – and born-again champion of civility – has joined with the ACTU’s Ged Kearney in asking us to return to civility. Kearney has a piece over at The Punch titled “Hate is the new debate”. Fancy someone with union connections pretending to know anything about civil behaviour. Both writers present their cases in which reality and transcendence oppugn one another. Both articles made no reference to PJ Keating, the founder father of abuse, insults, name-calling and vile behaviour.

*How long did our born-again champion of civility remain respectful and avoid being uncivil? She wrote her piece on the 17th October and had this to say on the very same day:

I think it's OK to let off a little steam. However, it's when it's disrespectful, and basically just a rant with no factual basis, or, worse still, a rant with a fabricated and deliberately misleading basis, that the debate that we are all trying to have is diminished.

As my mother used to say, "You get the face that you deserve." Julie Bishop appears to get uglier with each passing day.

It would seem that our Central Coast sage is an unregenerate hardened ALP myrmidon incapable of self-control.

Sir Ian Crisp

October 18. 2011 12:35 PM


Another NBN hurdle cleared.

Telstra shareholders approve NBN deal
Telstra shareholders have overwhelmingly supported a plan to hand the telco's fixed-line copper network to the National Broadband Network (NBN) in a vote at the company's annual general meeting in Sydney.

More than 99 per cent of proxy votes cast supported the deal, with 0.55 per cent of votes against it.


October 18. 2011 12:53 PM


That is good news Norman K.  99 percent of proxies is an indication the insto's want the deal done and they would have analysed the details far more than the average shareholder.

To remain on topic, it will be interesting to see how this is reported.  I expect it will be "ho hum we thought that would be the way it would go. Where is the color and movement?"

Now consider if the deal had been voted down.  What do you suppose the banner headlines would be?  


October 18. 2011 01:36 PM



To follow with your Bad Abbott, why is all the language  the opposition is using so violent?  From what you have said, that report seems to revel in violence, is this what Abbott projects?  It has to be a male ( in general, not all males) ego thing to bash things up, destroy good works.


October 18. 2011 01:57 PM


Did anybody see the ABC 24 news item about BumBolt getting the 2011 Sexist Award for comments he made about something or other? So did I.

Did anybody HEAR what those winning comments were, and what the MC had to say in 'her' award speech?
- No, you didn't, because the ABC cut it the moment 'she' started to speak.

The ABC 24's real news is so much more urgent and important. [b]NOT![/b]


October 18. 2011 02:11 PM

Feral Skeleton

Oh, Sir Ian. Fish, meet bait. Laughing

   And, speaking of fish, nice little PJK red-herring you threw in there. My piece is au currant wrt the desire to not let the New Barbarians storm our civilised citadels, ably represented in our own sphere by Tony Abbott. Anyway, Mr Keating, and, I will concede, Mr Costello, were witty and biting, a natural progression for a civilised world. Tony Abbott is the modern manifestation of Vlad the Impaler, a point which he, himself has made.

   Anyway, by calling for civility, I do not mean meekness and timidity. That way lies humiliating subjugation by the bullies.  I feel quite comfortable sticking with my traditional homilies as they apply to our politicians and media, thank you for asking. Smile

Feral Skeleton

October 18. 2011 02:51 PM


To make it easy for our resident night of the realm.

Its an accepted internet practice that if all you can favourably compare something to is Nazi Germany - you are awarded a Godwin and immediately lose the argument.

Why should someone who can only resort to namecalling and insults when discussing the actions of the Government of this Country (remembering the ALP won the most votes in the 2010 election 2PP - unlike Howard in 98) not be treated with the same contempt.  Anyone can insult, it is far harder, but in the end much more effective, to present an alternative viewpoint and present it so that others may change their opinion on the matter.

It also interesting to note that the media who insist on "immaculate" behaviour from politicians do not insist on the same levels of morality or behaviour from themselves.  When was the last time you read an opinion piece on the domestic lives of Alan Jones or Ray Hadley and their respective partners/family?


October 18. 2011 03:08 PM


Ad astra

Well done with your rewrite. You have met all of the restrictions that you set for yourself but, as you point out, if you were to hand this to an editor these days it would be thrown back across the desk at you.
"Where is the colour?
Where is the conflict?
How does this advance the narrative of Julia versus Tony?
Do you seriously think this reflects the current trends in the polls?
I can't see any evidence of you in this article - it could have been written by anybody.
If I want colourless expositions on the facts of the matter I can get a cadet to write it. We don't pay you big bucks for this bland tripe.
Have another go and this time put some sting into it."

I suspect Dennis is now a 'personality' and is obliged to live up to his reputation.
All that means for me is that I won't read his diatribes.


October 18. 2011 03:26 PM

Patricia WA

Yes, Norman K and Ad Astra.   One wonders just who insists on the color and life in those articles.  Just when did we stop getting news and begin to be bombarded with views?

Thanks, AA, I do understand your motive and I can see the effectiveness of the excercise.   I suppose this morning that's what I should have done with Nikki Savva's piece on the PM.

I am still mystified about why I can comment on that article from my daughter's address and not my own, which is in News Ltd's memory.

Patricia WA

October 18. 2011 03:42 PM


What I found even more offensive than that Jon faine, lightweight, is that the ABC ran that story. If the ABC had respect for the office of the Prime Minister of Australia, they would have pulled the story, from their news service. It was not news it was poor manners.
Another example that standards at the ABC have definitely fallen under the present Chairman.


October 18. 2011 04:08 PM

Ad astra reply

NormanK, Patricia WA
Exactly.  The media has so conditioned the public to colour and movement, entertainment, conflict and sensational offerings that something as bland as a factual account, such as I have written, would be considered to be boring.  This is the tragic state of affairs we have now to endure.

This has rendered newspapers simply a mechanism for entertainment rather than transmitting information.  Journalists are trapped in this dark ditch with nowhere to go, as most of the MSM is the same.  Yet there still are the likes of Laura Tingle, Lenore Taylor, George Megalogenis, Ross Gittins and Peter Martin who seem to be able to write balanced material and avoid the extravagances that afflict other journalistic offerings.  They are respected by their editors and the reading public.

How can the public be desensitized to its addiction to perpetual entertainment?  Is there any incentive for proprietors and editors to revert to factual reporting when they rely on entertainment to sell their products to a less-than-discerning public, and in the face of their declining sales?  Sadly I think the answer is ‘No’.

Our way out is not to read the MSM, and instead to up the ante in our Fifth Estate writings.  People like Shanahan are incurable, and his editor unrepentant.  It’s up to us!

Ad astra reply

October 18. 2011 04:11 PM


Yes the dumb it down ABC has it's own shock jock Jon Faine.
Faine with the support of the ABC management has denigrated the office of Australian Prime Minister - a new low for our public broadcaster.


October 18. 2011 04:35 PM


One bright spot on the horizon.  www.abc.net.au/.../3577040

Rupert is putting The Oz behind a paywall.  I dont think it will need to be very strong wall.  Cant see many trying to clamber it.


October 18. 2011 05:23 PM


Trevor - I guess the real question is, how do we stop the Oz from getting out again?  Wink


October 18. 2011 05:36 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

Anyway, Mr Keating, and, I will concede, Mr Costello, were witty and biting, a natural progression for a civilised world.
The TPS's Central Coast sage

Let’s dig into the vault and see what we can find. Here’s just one:

"I am not like the Leader of the Opposition. I did not slither out of the Cabinet room like a mangy maggot..."
PJ Keating.

Yes Feral, how very uplifting. Not what I’d call attic salt but there you go. I think what has you, Ged, et al upset is that the other mob has decided to employ the tactics of the Left and boy ain’t the Left in a conniption fit. Some of the alleged 'insults' hurled at Gillard should be considered as compliments.

Feral, please inform the debate by detailing if and when J Gillard was described as a ‘mangy maggot’ by Tony Um-Err-Ahh.

Feral, AA has no rule in place that prevents any person from acting like a fool. Please don't abuse the right to do so.

Sir Ian Crisp

October 18. 2011 05:46 PM

Patricia WA

Learned how to clear my browsing history which was causing a glitch.   Interesting to see that Nikki Savva had allowed only two dissenting comments through in over a hundred agreeing with her, and both of these were complaining she had not printed their original views.

Several people I know bothered to comment along with myself.   God knows how many others of like mind were discarded.

You were right, FS!

Patricia WA

October 18. 2011 06:00 PM


Political Sword Media Mash

Do as we say, not as we do ...
Editorial   The Australian   17/10/11

Here we have a classic example of the upside down story combined with a sub-editor's hook. Correct me if I'm wrong but based on the headline I expected an article about hypocrisy. Ah yes, the opening paragraph confirms this.

AFTER telling the mining industry to buy Australian because manufacturing is struggling, the Gillard government appears unconcerned at revelations that the company rolling out its National Broadband Network has spent just 23c of every $1 spent on tenders for the project with Australian companies. Australian companies account for just $1.75 billion of almost $7.4bn worth of contracts placed with construction and manufacturing firms.

Naughty naughty government. Them's big numbers, especially with such a low percentage of Australian content. What is the government spending all of this moolah on?

An analysis by The Australian, reported today, has found that the NBN's big-ticket deals include $1.1bn for the Swedish company Ericsson to roll out a fixed-wireless broadband network and up to $1.5bn for French company Alcatel Lucent to supply networking equipment. The NBN Co disputes the analysis, insisting that of contracts let to date, about half - or between $3.5bn and $4bn - are "Australian content".

First up, is there an Australian company with the necessary expertise and resources to roll out a huge fixed wireless broadband network? Probably not. Did they tender? Who knows - certainly not the author of the article. Should NBN Co be re-inventing the wheel by either starting up a separate company or lending support to a fledgling business which will have to expand at astronomical rates (equipment, trained staff, materials) in order to meet the timelines?
Secondly, what is Alcatel Lucent supplying? Hardware of a type and quality that don't exist in Australia - there just isn't the market. And if there was a competitive product, is the company tooled-up to handle the volumes that are going to be required over the next five years or so? A shortage of networking equipment would seriously mess with the timetable which is already fraught with enough variables, especially in these 'robust' political times.
But wait, NBN Co dispute the numbers anyway. They say the Australian content might be as high as 54% - more than double The Australian's estimate. Who is correct? Who cares?

Predictably, the issue will prompt demands from Australian firms and trade unions that as much of the work as possible be channelled in their direction, backed up with concerns about job losses in local firms or foreign workers on 457 visas taking jobs.

And where would this 'predictable' response be shouted the loudest? Anyway, it seems as though we are going to go along with the premise that only 23c in the dollar are being spent in Australia and the rest is going off-shore to buy products and expertise that are readily available here despite any proof that either of these premises is correct.

As with the mining industry, it is not that simple. As a spokesman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said, the government does not mandate procurement policies and the contracts are a commercial matter for the NBN Co, although the government expects it to allow small and medium-size enterprises to participate where possible.

A fortnight ago, we argued against steelmakers' and union calls for tax breaks for miners who use local content. The argument about protection in Australia has been won and local firms most
(sic) compete commercially. It serves nobody's interests, least of all taxpayers, for governments to attempt to artificially prop up a particular sector.

Oh good, it's not simple. So, apart from general guidelines about frugality and use of Australian enterprises where possible, the government is actually 'hands off' in this process. That's not what is implied in the headline and the opening paragraph. In fact this naughty government appears 'unconcerned at revelations' of the 23c in the dollar spend. Pats on the head all 'round though for The Australian speaking up against 'protectionist' tax breaks and the government for listening to this sound advice.

One reason The Australian supports fast broadband in principle is that it will give Australian firms an important competitive edge and boost jobs. Unfortunately, this project is already costing a disproportionate share of consolidated revenue compared with other countries where fast broadband is being largely funded by the private sector. Taxpayers would be even worse off if the problems inherent in any government monopoly were compounded by a regressive "buy Australian" policy during the construction phase.

A bit of positive endorsement, if only in principle, for fast broadband but 'unfortunately' the author has to maintain the indefensible line that this is a 'disproportionate share of consolidated revenue' rather than concede that this is an equity investment that doesn't come out of consolidated revenue and is expected to turn a profit.
And the very last line? NBN Co (and by implication the government) is doing the right thing by not compromising quality and affordability as a result of a 'regressive "buy Australian" policy".

So what have we got? An upside down story where the final analysis is that NBN Co and the government have done the right thing despite the fact that the figures would tend to imply the reverse. The headline is a lie. The opening paragraph is arguably incorrect in its quoted figures and certainly misleading in its inference that the government is being hypocritical. The headline should have been positive, the opening paragraph could have detailed the numbers involved without implications of hypocrisy and the main body of the article could have stayed much the same as it is now but without the overarching tone of disenchantment with the government's actions. In fact, arguably the government should not have been brought into this at all. NBN Co is an independent company operating under government guidelines and if they have breached these guidelines then NBN Co should be taken to task.
Unfortunately, if you only read the first half of the story you would be left with the impression of even more government 'waste and mismanagement' and 'hypocrisy'.


October 18. 2011 06:10 PM

Feral Skeleton

Sir Ian Crisp,
              I am not going to engage in your Gish Gallop, I have better things to do with my precious time. So, finally, let me just say a couple of things.
1. I notice you conveniently left out any of the nasty comments Mr Costello made during his time in Public Life, just for a bit of even-handed balance to maybe prove your point. Not to mention that which proves my point about the disrespect rampant in contemporary political discourse, especially, and in the majority, from the Conservative side of politics.
2. The premise of my piece is that politics needs to move on from those times. Your commentary suggests you don't agree. Fine.

Feral Skeleton

October 18. 2011 06:19 PM

Feral Skeleton

Bravo! NormanK. You have shone a light on the pablum that is your standard Australian Editorial. They just can't bring themselves to admit in print that something this government is doing is the right thing for the nation, fulsomely and directly, even when it so obviously is. They have to carry the can for the Conservative's line that Private Enterprise would do the NBN better and cheaper, when all available data and common sense suggests otherwise.

Feral Skeleton

October 18. 2011 06:30 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your splendid contribution to Political Sword Media Mash.  You have picked an archetypical piece from The Australian, no less an editorial, and have dissected it skillfully to show the deceptiveness of the headline and the opening paragraph, and how inconsistent they are with the rest of the editorial.

This inconsistency seems to be a common feature of such articles.  Having looked carefully at the Dennis Shanahan article I critiqued, the impression that emerged was that it was somewhat of a dog’s breakfast, poorly constructed and sequenced by the author.  It seemed as if getting the political propaganda out was the prime objective, so Shanahan packed in as many derogatory words on as many subjects as he could, caring little for its literary merit.

The editorial you dissected exhibited the same inconsistency and disorganization, ending up as it did a disingenuous statement of substandard literary value.

Thank you for your contribution to our holding the media to account on the grounds of accuracy, balanced comment, and plain English.   This editorial fails on all counts.

Ad astra reply

October 18. 2011 06:31 PM


"First up, is there an Australian company with the necessary expertise and resources to roll out a huge fixed wireless broadband network? Probably not. Did they tender? Who knows"

I can answer that.  There are a number of companies with the expertise to construct the NBN and are engaged for the construction employing lots of subcontractors.  The equipment and fibre cable is another thing.  The last telecomms equipment manufacturer in Australia was JTEC which was closed and the IP remnants flogged to Erricsson about 5 years ago.  Prior to that there had been a flourishing telecoms manufacturing base AWA, Scitec, JNA to name a few.  As part of the privatisation of Telstra a requirement for sourcing local product was removed.  That was the demise of the local manufacture of telecommunications equipment.  They struggled on for a bit but were gradually bought out by larger international manufacturers and local plants closed.  Except for AWA of course who had the bright idea that it was easier to invest the money overseas than make stuff.  They promptly lost most of it and closed a proud Aussie institution that had invented many things, including ILS (instrument landing systems)for aircraft.  

Pirelli (now Prysmian) were company making fibre cable in Sydney but that has now closed as well. another victim of the removal of local content.

But your conclusion is right.  This major materials required for this job cannot be sourced locally.


October 18. 2011 06:41 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

Stop trying so hard Feral. The Newcastle Knights have signed a centre for next year and he has a better sidestep than you.

Sir Ian Crisp

October 18. 2011 06:53 PM



Thanks for that. That is the point though, isn't it? It's about the hardware and scales of production rather than labour. What you have added simply further highlights the paucity of decent comment on this type of topic in the mainstream. An editorial such as the one above could have included a bit of history that helped explain why it was sensible to go off-shore for some of the hi-tech equipment needed for the build. I have no doubt that plenty of businesses in Australia will be capable of the construction and installation especially since they have had sufficient time to tool-up and train staff.


October 18. 2011 07:02 PM


I have just read my post above and apologise for the atrocious grammar.  It was a stream of consciousness that needs a good editing.  Oh well, that's what happens when you have a premature click of "save comment".


October 18. 2011 08:03 PM


The ABC are on a roll, perhaps they have disengaged from the bad news only model. NBN likely cheaper than ADSL for similar speeds is a positive NBN story here: www.abc.net.au/.../3577578

If you don't read the article some take out quotes are

" It found, on average, a reduction of between 23-43 per cent on plans where NBN speeds are limited to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) - a similar speed to the maximum available for most ADSL2+ services.

On average, NBN services with the four ISPs limited to 25 Mbps were also slightly cheaper than ADSL2+, even though they are around 2.5 times faster."

What are the chances of this study being published in the Oz?  Chris Mitchell would choke on his Wheaties if he saw this in his publication.

I expect Malcolm will have to come out and dismiss this and claim under the Libs plan it would be even cheaper.  


October 18. 2011 08:48 PM


This has rendered newspapers simply a mechanism for entertainment rather than transmitting information.

Emperor Rupert's stated aim when he first started to hijack newspapers in Britain, Ad astra.

SIC, as far as I can remember, PJK didn't organise a rent a cretin mob to disrupt the Parliament, he did not encourage creatures like the execrable Anal Jones to threaten the Prime Minister and the leader of the Greens with violence, he did not hold parliament in contempt with childish stunts, tantrums and appalling behaviour, he did not seek to derail parliamentary conventions, or deny pairing, he did not trash talk the Treasury and undermine its reputation nor did he trash talk the economy, and he isn't a bare faced clueless liar spruiking a litany of lies, distortions and innuendo about government legislation and programs.

He did however, know what he was talking about, he was capable of forming policies that were not written on the back of a pub coaster or brain farts here today and vanished tomorrow and he respected the parliament and the office of Prime Minister.

NormanK, it's interesting that the touching concern for Australian companies doesn't extend to actually buying Australian. Inconsistency writ large. Do they expect us to swallow this garbage?

Great dissection. Pity the OO is incapable of writing anything as well.


October 18. 2011 09:10 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for the additional information about the NBN, and the link.  This is yet another advance that Tony Abbott intends to demolish.  May we be spared from this insanity!

I note and endorse your comments about PK.  He still talks more sense on economics than any one else.

Ad astra reply

October 18. 2011 09:57 PM

Feral Skeleton

Sir Ian Crisp,
              Meh. Who needs your aprobation? You're just another sneering elitist. They're a dime a dozen these days. That's the problem.

Feral Skeleton

October 18. 2011 10:30 PM


Trevor at 12.53 wondering how the media would have portrayed a negative vote from Telstra's shareholders. Well they didn't have the opportunity of course but they made do with what they had. No favourable commentary on what this means for the Government that I could see. Trevor's correct in forecasting that they'd do their best to turn it into a non event. No commentary from Abbott or Turnbull about what a black day this is for the country, don't insult the shareholders because they (and the people who ran the shonky batt installation companies) will make useful footsoldiers when it's time to reintroduce Workchoices. No mention of what it means for the country at all. Just a determination not to say anything good about this Government.


October 18. 2011 10:40 PM

Feral Skeleton

BSA Bob,
        The spin on the Tesltra story I heard was that the shareholders 'had no choice' but to vote for the deal because the naughty government had held them hostage with their nasty little deal with the company.
   The Opposition come out with the nonsensical line that it was another $11 Billion of taxpayers' money wasted on something that never needed to be done. Or, in other words, everything should have been left the way Howard and Alston designed it, as another one of their duopolies, along with Optus and lots of little supplicant minnow ISPs.

Feral Skeleton

October 18. 2011 11:22 PM

Acerbic Conehead

HS, you have penned a truly sad lament for the death of decency at the hands of the denizen of the death-stare.  Living up to his reputation, here Tones is singing in triumph the Guns ‘n Roses classic, illustrating the depths he can easily plumb in his crusade to slag and bag the back alley bitch.  To him, it’s just part and parcel of following the law of the Jungle.  
:- )
Welcome to the jungle
Wontcha join our games
Like pin the tail on the donkey
Comin’ up with silly names
We are the people that can find
Lots of terms of abuse
An’ Juliar jus’ can’t hack it
She’s nuthin’ but a wuss
:- )
In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch me bring her to her
knees, knees
Huh!  Brave Thinker indeed!
:- )
Welcome to the jungle
Made up of Real Action trees
I put on my Tarzan budgies
An’ swing through ‘em with ease
They say I’m the king of the swingers
Won’t write any policies
Someone else can have a go
But you won't get any from me
In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Feel my, my, democracy
Guh-Guided to make you scream
:- )
Welcome to the jungle
Never heard of chivalry
I love to live like an animal
No kinder, gentler polity
If you got a hunger for decency
Hopin’ it comes eventually
There’s more a chance of you coppin’
My Machiavellian bastardry
:- )
In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch me bring her to her
knees, knees
Brave Thinker indeed!  Ha!

Acerbic Conehead

October 18. 2011 11:27 PM


Trevor said
I have just read my post above and apologise for the atrocious grammar.  It was a stream of consciousness that needs a good editing.  Oh well, that's what happens when you have a premature click of "save comment".

Trevor one thing I have lernt from reading blogs is to stump-jump the tyopos (that was a genuine typo!) it's the thought that counts!

my say on Poll bludger. isd a reaally good teancher.

I will say though that the best way to get the thought across is with perfect grammar. For all its eccentricities English can be an absolutely precise tool. It's amazing when you think about it. Don Dunstan was almost perfect, the worst mistake I ever heard him make was to carelessly split an infinitive! Once.

Abbortt and his ilk are very careful to avoid focused comments that they can be held to, when they do they turn out to be weasel words.  


October 19. 2011 12:35 AM



The Coalition game of deterring renewables investment
Bernard Keane   Crikey

The federal opposition’s self-appointed role under Tony Abbott as a sovereign risk machine is, at least politically, well understood. Not merely content with forecasting a looming apocalypse as a consequence of the carbon pricing package, Abbott has deliberately embraced the tactic of adding to business uncertainty with a cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die promise that he would repeal the package.

Rio Alcan deals with climate reality
Giles Parkinson   Climate Spectator

The move by Rio Tinto to jettison all but what it calls “tier one” assets from its Rio Alcan division is the second major step in a long term plan to ready the business for a carbon constrained world, which it recognises is not just inevitable, but coming soon.

Faulkner takes on Asher in senate showdown
Matthew Knott   The Power Index

Commonwealth Ombudsman Allan Asher has apologised for feeding questions to a Greens Senator before a May parliamentary hearing, but refuses to heed calls for him to resign.

Who lied? And when, and why and how?
Bill   Billablog

The passage of the Carbon Tax bill last week reminded us all (as if we’ve ever been allowed to forget) that Julia Gillard lied during the election campaign when she said there would not be a carbon tax under a government she leads.   As usual, the reality is a little less simple.

The risk in Abbott's carbon hubris
Rob Burgess   Business Spectator

Why does hubris so dog the Liberal Party?
The past few days have seen leader Tony Abbott and deputy leader Julie Bishop warning companies not to buy carbon permits, on the basis that they will not be compensated when the Coalition tears up the government's carbon pricing package.

Occupy Philosophy, Occupy Economics, and the Sustainable Finance Lab
Ingrid Robeyns   Crooked Timber

But let’s not spend our energy on that quibble, but rather applaud efforts to involve professional philosophers (and other academics) in contributing to the discussion of the issues that the Occupyers are trying to put on the political agenda.

NBN Co reveals 2012 rollout schedule
Renai LeMay   Delimiter

On average, the company expects the rollout process to take 12 months in each location, from commencement through to the network being available for commercial use by customers. Some 12 retail ISPs — including major companies like iiNet, Internode and Primus — have already completed NBN Co’s ‘on-boarding’ process and are already offering commercial services over the NBN.

#21 When Journalists use the language of propaganda
admin   Uther's Say

It raises the question of how those who sit on endless panels on Sky News Channel falling over themselves to agree with each other and with the company line must feel. Perhaps some of them know that they are not required to speak the language of journalists but they are dealing with the language and currency of propagandist.

The NBN's smart application
Paul Budde   Technology Spectator

Preliminary data suggests that there could be significant cost saving in aligning the rollout of smart grids and the NBN. At present electricity companies are building separate wireless networks for their smart meter requirements and as such they are overbuilding existing national telecoms infrastructure. If the two projects could be combined, many of the additional cost involved could be avoided.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Australia could have two elections within six months

Tony Abbott and the Coalition leadership team plan to take Australia to two elections in the space of six or twelve months, should Labor and their Greens party frenemies block the repeal of the carbon tax, as appears certain.

How the NBN can help bridge our geographical cultural divide
Stuart Cunningham   The Conversation

Australia’s dispersed population and its vast tyrannies of distance has created a major, ongoing, cultural divide.
The relative costs of consuming culture between bush and city are starkly skewed in favour of the city, and may be getting worse as culture goes digital and the disparity in access, speed and reliability of broadband makes the bush relatively worse off.

The Shadow Boxing Champ
Andrew Elder   Politically homeless

..... the press gallery runs free advertising for political parties. The Liberal Party are getting the best run you can get from a press gallery at the moment. Yes, they would be crazy to rely on them continuing to run their lines on face value and not considering basic questions like whether Abbott really would be a better PM than Gillard, and why .....

Are your blog's visitors coming with additional political spam?
Clarencegirl   North Coast Voices

Speaking with a fellow blogger this week he complained that his blog is receiving double the amount of spam it usually receives and all of this increase is anti-carbon tax propaganda and right-wing abuse. North Coast Voices also noticed a similar spike, along with a sudden rash of adult content.

Tony Abbott - our next Prime Minister?
Regan Footner   891ABC Adelaide

If there were to be a federal election this week, polls predict Australia would have a new Prime Minister.
Tony Abbott would win the leadership and Government with a huge swing to his party.
So how would you feel about having Mr Abbott as your Prime Minister?
The 891 Mornings program posed that question to our listeners this morning and two guests on the program who sit on very different sides of the fence - Susan Mitchell and Chris Kenny.

Why Vinod Khosla is still betting big on cleantech
Sophie Vorrath   Climate Spectator

Vinod Khosla is not short of opinions on the subject of clean technology investment. On the recent collapse of US solar panel start-up Solyndra, the billionaire venture capitalist told The Wall Street Journal: "Just because Solyndra failed doesn't make it bad."


Playing dirty
Karl Quinn   Farm Weekly

Whether or not the Clapham brothers have plans to launch a US-style campaign against people who have illegally downloaded porn in Australia, there is a certain irony in the legal action they have launched through Movie Rights Group on behalf of Kill The Irishman.

Tony Abbott wants to cut off the NBN, but Victoria makes a different call
Phillip Hudson   Herald Sun

THE State Government is demanding Victoria receive a bigger share of the National Broadband Network, despite federal Liberal colleagues wanting to shut it down.
"The inadequate rollout will hold back Victoria's innovative and research-focused industries and institutions."

It's time for the truth to allay, or confirm, our fears about SIEV X
Steve Biddulph   SMH

Nothing about the SIEV X story adds up. The passengers were taken hundreds of kilometres across Indonesia in a fleet of blacked-out buses, with motorcycle escorts. In Bandar Lampung they were kept in a hotel owned by the chief of police. Police with guns forced them to board the decrepit vessel, it was loaded until its gunwales were barely above the water. Nineteen metres of boat with three decks and more than 400 people, many had to stand or hold children on their knees in the crush. This did not look like a voyage designed to succeed.

Families to get more cash from carbon scheme
Lenore Taylor   SMH

THE average household will be much better off than the Gillard government has calculated after pocketing carbon tax compensation, according to independent modelling.


October 19. 2011 12:43 AM


Regarding your 9.54am post and your suggestion about us doing more to bring the MSM to account. I think the MSM as a whole is implacably unyielding and not at all amenable to correction.

But the situation is not without hope and I have been thinking along similar lines as you ... sitting on our hands should not be an option.

Here is a very rough outline of a proposal for action by the many readers and contributors to TPS.

1) We compile a list of maybe 10 or so higher profile journos who have in the past shown that they are prepared to analyse Abbott's conduct (eg George Megalogenis, Laura Tingle, Lenore Taylor) and their e-mail addresses.

2) We all send regular e-mails to them (fortnightly??? weekly????) about a current issue which is rich with Abbott's lies and deceits and mantras and which the MSM has not applied a deserved blow torch to (currently, his claims about Nauru, its past (non)successes, and the fact that it is still unlikely to be of any benefit) and about which he is "getting off scott free").

3) The e-mails would be unique to the writer in actual expression.

4)We could suggest a general format though, eg Innocent a sentence or two about how "I admire your work and especially liked what you wrote about XYZ" followed by (B) a sentence or two like "but Abbott is saying XYZ, clearly untrue/unworkable/speculation/contradiction/insincere/partisan/abusive/enduringly negative/etc etc" followed by (C)"how about/is it possible/would you please/it's about time/would you consider" writing a piece to "analyse/refute/clear up/expose" the facts of the matter.

5)I have found that a friendly email to the three journos I named above will get a personal reply ..... if many of us can charm any of them you never know your luck in the big city.

6)Every week or so swordsters could suggest issues about which Abbott is getting away with blue murder and these could be the subject of our e-mails.

I would be happy to periodically call for suggestions, collate them, then list them (along with copious exhortations to all readers to take up the cudgels).

I think that such an approach would be far more effective than just preparing a standard text for all to send .... identical missives are not very subtle and the receiver can bin them without too many qualms.

What do you think FS? It would require discipline more than effort .....obviously most swordsters can bang a hundred or so words together pretty effortlessly.

The power of this approach lies in harnessing the participation of TPS readers too, and in stepping outside the TPS occasionally to take the fight to them (the journos).

What do you think? Have you any idea of the numbers of reasonably regular contributors and readers?

Anyway, this is something to cogitate about.


October 19. 2011 08:28 AM

Ad astra reply

If you haven’t been here before, welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.  You are right; it seems as if Jon Faine, who has established a good reputation, is slowly morphing into a shock jock.  Those of us who listen to him regularly hope that the hostile reaction to his comments about the two PM’s will pull him up in the tracks.

You have written such pointed verse and selected such an apt YouTube clip to portray Tony Abbott’s appalling behaviour.  Thank you.

Ad astra reply

October 19. 2011 08:34 AM

Ad astra reply

I do like your idea.  If you are willing to feed us examples of Tony Abbott’s disingenuous behaviour, let’s agree to write to the journalists you name, and the few others who still uphold decent journalistic standards.

Do you already have a list of their email addresses?  

I would welcome indications from others who comment here about whether they would be willing to participate.

Ad astra reply

October 19. 2011 08:37 AM

Ad astra reply

LYN'S DAILY LINK updated: www.thepoliticalsword.com/.../...-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Ad astra reply

October 19. 2011 09:14 AM

Patricia WA

Gillard Has Guts!

One paper tells the truth today
No matter what the others have to say.
You know, about the PM being dead,
Politically I mean.  How often has that been said!

But here she is alive and well,
And with plenty of good news to tell.
This picture says it all dear reader.
We couldn’t have a better leader.


While leakers and gossip writers go to town,
Character assassins bring her down,
And Abbott does his stunts and struts,
She keeps going.   Yes!   Gillard has guts!

Patricia WA

October 19. 2011 09:43 AM

Ad astra reply

Patricia WA
What a great photo and a lovely pome!  You are right, our PM has guts!

Ad astra reply

October 19. 2011 09:56 AM


Here is a start list of those I think worth contacting. None of them are locked onto supporting Abbott in my observation.

Other Swordsters (including readers) might nominate others, and I'll collate them all. Hardcore right wing journos of course should not be included. eg Bolt, Milne, Akerman, Savva etc etc..... while I feel good when I send them a torpedo I know deep down it's unproductive, except for my own catharsis.

Other Swordsters could also from time to time nominate the glaring hi-profile current matters about which scrutiny should be demanded. An example of this would be Abbott's current frolic about repealing the ETS and especially his advice to business to not purchase carbon credits.

Someone needs to address this uncertainty he is again promoting.
Let's make a small step to eliminating Abbott's free rides.



October 19. 2011 10:15 AM

Ad astra reply

Many thanks.  That's a good start.  I've filed them in a text file for later use.

Now we need the instances of Abbott disingenuousness, of which there is an abundance,  that we wish the journalists to address.

Ad astra reply

October 19. 2011 12:34 PM


On-topic, sad to say.

Liberal MP spruiks Coalition on Australian Tea Party page
by Richard Willingham   The Age

Liberal MP Andrew Laming has used the right-wing Australian Tea Party’s Facebook page, which features comments encouraging violence against US President Barack Obama during his tour next month, to gather feedback and promote the Coalition.


Comments on the page include:  ‘‘I encourage you to throw things at obama when he steps off the plane in australia...bottles...rocks...fruit...veggies whatever you can find [sic]’’

Another says ‘‘please take him on safari for salt water crocodiles’’ while several others encourage the President and Julia Gillard to go on a walkabout in the desert and never come back.


Senior Minister Craig Emerson said it was further proof the Liberal Party, in the true liberal tradition of tolerance and constructive endeavour, was being hijacked by hard Right conservatives.

‘‘Mr Abbott must disassociate the Liberal Party from such Right-wing extremism, but he’s unlikely to because he’s been inciting this so-called people’s revolt,’’ Dr Emerson said.



October 19. 2011 01:54 PM


  On indulgence, after waiting two months and shelling out $26,000 I now have a 7.6 KW solar system (40) panels on my roof and with the pool pumps going the meter is still going backwards, goodbye electricity bills!!!!!


October 19. 2011 02:06 PM


Bad Abbott

Bam Bam Abbott seems to have decided that anything to do with Climate Change doesn't need changing at all... except back to what was accepted in 1955.

Not content with setting out to rescind the carbon pricing legislation, he's going after (through his mouthpieces Hockey and Robb) everything contained in the actual name of the package of legislation.

There will be no "clean energy" in Australia if the Coalition follows through on the threats and warnings (they can't be called policy) that have been made to business and independent statutory authorities (existing and in the setting up stages) over the last 72 hours.

This is a preview of an Abbott Coalition Government - continuing the wrecking back to what may as well be the Stone Age when the rest of the world has not only moved to clean energy production and use, it is also obliged to 'punish' dirty energy users as Australia will be with levies on exports from this country.

All the blather that the Coalition goes on with about an uncompetitive Australia will be nothing to where this country is left behind in failing to switch to clean energy.

We'll be in the rest of the world's dust, with only the small mercy that their exhaust we'll be breathing will at least not be fossil fuel waste. We'll have to stay at home to breathe that.


October 19. 2011 02:22 PM

Patricia WA

psyclaw - an excellent suggestion.   I get so depressed when I read MSM commentary and the accompanying views of Jack and Jill Citizen.  But then I think it's important to at least try to balance that with my own p.o.v.   Depending on the column and the writer I sometimes get printed.   FS obviously has more experience on this than myself, but it's worth letting each other know where we see a need for comment and also where we find a way in.

Patricia WA

October 19. 2011 02:39 PM



True to form, like all bullies, Abbott becomes unhinged when intimidation has not worked.  Threats and intimidation are the only tools in his box, so if this one did not work lets get another one out.  All that time at Oxford and the only thing he can remember or is known for is his blue for whacking people in the head.  Perhaps he got whacked in the head a few times too many.

I am seeing an increasing number of articles now critical of his threats to industry so perhaps he is wearing thin.  Or it is too embarrassing  to go along with the nonsense.

I cant imagine what the party room meetings would be like. Can the rest of them really think this is the way act?  They must be getting calls from industry leaders and lobby groups telling them to calm down.

But when Tony looks in the tool box there is still only one tool available.  


October 19. 2011 03:08 PM


I wonder how business will react to this latest round of threats and intimidation from Liealot and the Liars Party?

I find it interesting that he is now destroying his natural allies by doing this.

It clearly shows that he is becoming more desperate as business, instead of continuing to conduct an expensive campaign against the carbon legislation, is now starting to knuckle down to work with it.

Liealot may find that campaign funds could dry up in the face of his ongoing hysterical, hypocritical bully boy tactics.

And threatening to hold 2 or more elections within the first 12 months if he gets elected would not be attractive to any business and with luck, may result in withdrawal of support and/or a quiet word.

Ditto with the hype on the NBN. Even if the Liars Party are stupid enough to think they can reverse the CEF legislation and the NBN, I doubt that business will support these actions.

And in light of the link from NormanK on compensation, even his most rabid supporters in the denture set and loony nurses would probably think twice about having the compensation ripped away from them and replaced with Sloppy's podgy mitt in their pockets to be handed over to the bigpolluters.

Okay, the cretinous nurse probably hasn't got the wit to understand, but I bet the denture set would.

A few falling polls would prompt a change of attitude from the Liars. Wouldn't it be nice to see Liealot stagger out of the party room gasping "Et tu Sloppy>?"


October 19. 2011 03:38 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

C’mon Jane let’s get real. Who was it that moved his family from their bijou Bankstown fibro cottage to Canberra in order to claim the Canberra T/A? That was a breach of the rules but never mind the rules only apply to the lumpenproletariat. Who was it that assisted the queen to walk when such ‘fondling’ was against the rules of protocol? (What was it you said about parliamentary conventions?) Would parliamentarians extend conventions to the monarch? Who was it that held parliament in contempt by rostering his appearances at question time? Who was it that said we would end up being a banana republic? Who was it that described Australia as being at the arse end of the world? (That’s not the case when he needed to describe us as being strategically placed in the Asian region.) Who presided over double digit interest rates? Who was it that in 1989 blamed the Commonwealth Statistician (CS) for the high CPI figure? Keating said the CS was not measuring housing costs properly. No such whining was heard from the lout from Bankstown when interest rates were going down. Displaying his usual fecklessness, the lout also blamed the NSW gov’t because it wasn’t increasing the supply of housing quickly enough. It was only the previous year, and using unassisted genius, the Hawke ALP camorra was going to correct the housing crisis by restoring negative gearing.**

Jane, stop feeding me my lines.

**There is plenty more but we all have other things to do rather than spend the next month reading about the Keating locust years.

Sir Ian Crisp

October 19. 2011 03:47 PM


There is more than a bit of irony attached to unfolding events over recent days and it is not of the happy or humorous kind. As investors and energy groups begin to voice their concerns over the Coalition's attempts to promulgate uncertainty around carbon trading and even green loans, it is once again providing proof that money is the thing that exerts the most power today.

Thousands of pro-carbon pricing activists on the streets, concerted efforts by climate scientists, ringing endorsements of the CEF Bills from economists and countless reviews of the best way forward in tackling climate change have had no effect on Tony Abbott's wrecking ball approach to the subject. The main hope now is that sufficient pressure will be brought to bear on him, and the Liberal Party more generally, to discontinue the undermining of certainty and allow investors to plan for the future with some degree of confidence.
If they are successful, it will be ironic that big business and not people power will be one of the major guiding forces towards a clean energy future.

The fall of Abbott and the cessation of his party's destructive actions that threaten to place Australia several decades behind the rest of the world are the outcomes I am most keen to see happen in the near future. It will be of no comfort to know that the 'big end of town' has once again had its way and succeeded where all other democratic and reasoned approaches have failed.
It's a bit like supping with the Devil.


October 19. 2011 03:53 PM


Sir Ian,
       You're just bitter that unlike you! Keating will be remembered!


October 19. 2011 04:11 PM

Feral Skeleton

   I can't believe it. I had to spend ~3 hours in the car today driving to Sydney and back, so I got to listen to a bit of radio. The story du jour appears to be the release of the NATSEM modelling, as independant as any economic modelling gets in this country, wrt the effects on family budgets of the Carbon Tax.

   The modelling says that Oz families are actually going to be better off than even Treasury modelling calculated. Good news!

   So, what does the Opposition do?

1. They attack Treasury. They say, therefore, you can't trust any modelling Treasury does about anything. Treasury modelling was out by $2.30/week. Quel horreur. It also sort of proved that families would just about break even on the financial effects, so be relatively worse off cf the NATSEM modelling. Which you would have thought the Coalition would grab onto as proof that families 'would barely break even'. Nope. They've buuilt up the shibboleth that Treasury is filled with socialist Marxists, so instead they have to put an upside-downism into play instead, ie Treasury modelling is incompetent, you just can't trust 'em. Sheesh.

2.  Eric Abetz went down the rabbit hole for his comments to the press and came back with, I kid you not, "Some families will be worse off, and others will be worser off." I think he was trying to get us to be sympathetic to those families that rake in >$200,000/year, who are the ones the NATSEM modelling calculated would be about $6.30/week worse off. Hmm. Better hold a place for them at their local soup kitchen.

Feral Skeleton

October 19. 2011 04:14 PM


Norman K

You can console yourself that the "big end of town" threw all they could at getting their way to stop the CEF.  They failed at this and now appear willing to take a more pragmatic approach, self interest is still their guiding light.   Their muscle did not win in this tussle. (Oohh, I think I just had a Patricia moment.)

Tony, Never Take a backward step Abbott, wants to carry on the fight though.  He may end up resembling one of those Japanese soldiers still hiding out in the jungles in 1960 not realising the war was over.  As first Industry, then the press and finally his party accept that moving on is the best route he will be stranded.  


October 19. 2011 04:15 PM

Feral Skeleton

         Your idea has merit. I would like to do an experiment at least to see who replies to their e-mails and whether the campaign has an enduring effect on them, which we may be able to calibrate by a subsequent change in tone in their work. Every little bit helps in my book. Smile

Feral Skeleton

October 19. 2011 04:15 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

J guy, Keating will be remembered and that's for sure. His name was on the lips of those waiting in the bankruptcy court's ante room. Keating can't even stray into his own backyard because his poodle always attacks him.

Sir Ian Crisp

October 19. 2011 04:22 PM


Feral Skeleton

You can be very proud with the way the conversation is going that you have started with this topic.


Thanks for your contribution to TPS Media Mash, it was excellent.  I just missed  headline that you were talk about.


I've forgotten which one suggested writing to the 'journalists' but what a great idea.  I'm sure the many good minds here will be able to get something happening.


Well done.  No more electricity bills for you.  A few extra dollars for a VB eh!  Go Cats.


I forgotten what you have written but I enjoyed it and agree with you. (I got interrupted and didn't write it down.)


October 19. 2011 04:26 PM

Feral Skeleton

   Actually, it may well be one of Abbott's BFF's, Alan Jones, who may provide the counterpoint to the cosy Anti Price on Carbon relationship that Abbott has with the biggest polluters and Miners and cause him the most exsistential pain. I only caught the last bit of his National Press Club address, but he produced one of those evidence lists that he is famous for, which detailed which former politicians were now working as lobbyists for the Mining Industry. Lots from both sides of politics, sure, but he wasn't cutting the Liberals any slack. So, I'm just interested in seeing how Tony Abbott parlays his criticism. We already know he can't stomach Labor, so no news there, but putting the Liberals on the spot is new. Actually, Alan's got strange new bedfellows in The Greens and the Nationals with his Anti Coal Seam Gas stance. Which is exactly the non black and white scenario that Tony finds it hardest to deal with. Smile

Feral Skeleton

October 19. 2011 04:27 PM



Good to see you back.  I think you are going to have to change lures.  Not many bites on that one.  I always favored the little brown Nilsmasters myself.  You know, the ones you have to tie on behind a tree  because the Barra will be jumping out of the water at you.

Any keep the casting up you may hook one yet. I am enjoying it from a spectators viewpoint.  


October 19. 2011 04:45 PM


I've posted this on PB, the nutter truckers, Crikey and sent it to the PM yesterday. I'm just so sick and tired of the unfair, vitriolic, lying commentary about the PM.

Dear Prime Minister,

Firstly, my sincere congratulations on the passing of the Carbon Reduction Scheme. I am sure that my grandchildren and their childrens gratitude will echo with much more resonance than mine. The future,as always, has much to thank the past for. This is no exception. Again, thank you.

As I watch the daily political debate I can’t help but at times to feeling a disquieting coldness overtake me. It’s as if the heart of the old time knockabout, she’ll be right Aussie has been clenched in a corrupted fist of hate, bile and venom. The personal attacks on yourself have been particularly disturbing. No Australian worker, and you are one, should ever be subjected to that. It really is unAustralian. How and where you get the strength to fight it day after day I have no idea. I, like millions of others are just thankful that you find the courage to do so.

In those times when you find yourself doubting the validity of your beliefs, your vision of the countrys’ future, the steadfastness of your colleagues beliefs please remember that for every Australian that doubts you one Australian believes in you. That the polls say different is superflous. The last ballot boxes spoke truthfully. I truly believe that in the cheap cardboard voting booth Australians, aware of the importance of their individual action, vote in the best interests of this country. It was so in 2007, it was so in 2010 and will be so in 2013.

Pay no attention to those who, by not understanding the true nature of courage, seek only to destroy it. To those to whom the meaning of Honour is not the selfless actions of the brave, the courage of independent thought guided by an empathatic awareness of the foibles of humanity. They believe Honour to be a useful addition to the school motto. Give them no heed.

Millions of Australians believe in you and your journey. Draw on our strength.


October 19. 2011 04:57 PM


Who was it that assisted the queen to walk when such ‘fondling’ was against the rules of protocol?

So he should have let the poor old dear fall over? Would that have been a breach of protocol?

Who was it that held parliament in contempt by rostering his appearances at question time?

Any stunts? Idiots in the gallery? Abuse, foaming at the mouth, ranting, bogus Points of Order? Refusal of pairs? Getting slung out of the chamber?

Banana republic if we as a nation didn't lift our game. Hardly amounts to trashing our economy overseas.

Keep going with the strawmen. I need some mulch.


October 19. 2011 05:14 PM

Feral Skeleton

   Nice explanation, minus all the spin, of how the new Onshore Processing of Irregular Maritime Arrivals will work from Sandi Logan:

     Onshore processing:

Sandi Logan, Immigration spokesman writes: Re. "Crikey clarifier: what's a bridging visa?" (14 October, item 3) & Marion Le (Monday, comments). There has plenty of misinformation circulating since last week’s announcement of a move towards onshore processing and Crikey, Marion Le and Jennifer Burn have got some of it wrong too.

1) Those people who are currently under "community detention arrangements" are a mix of people. Some are on what we call a positive pathway and are heading for a visa; others have been found not to be refugees and are at various stages of review (i.e., on a negative pathway). Some have applied for protection and some have not. No-one is placed in community detention until all relevant checks have been undertaken and they have been assessed as not being a risk to the community. The same case-by-case assessment would apply to anyone being assessed on their suitability to reside in the community on a bridging visa.

2) Next, there is the issue of "welfare" for people on bridging visas: point being, they do not receive welfare payments. The living allowance for which an irregular maritime arrival (IMA) granted a bridging visa may -- not is, but may -- be eligible is managed through the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme, which the department funds and Red Cross, under contract administers. For those who are eligible for this, the allowance is paid at a rate of 89 per cent of the Centrelink special benefit, but is not paid by Centrelink. The expectation is that most people living in the community would support themselves.

3) Claims that a bridging visa is like a temporary protection visa are scurrilous. Ms Le would well know what a bridging visa is and what it is used for; it is a temporary visa that is granted to people -- under a range of circumstances -- while they await an outcome or make arrangements to return home. Its meaning should be taken literally -- "bridging" so as to provide passage over a gap. The government’s policy that those who are found to be owed Australia’s protection will be granted permanent protection visas is unchanged. Jennifer Burn is also wrong in her assertion that a person granted a temporary protection visa could more easily apply for other types of visas while on a TPV. Every TPV granted under circumstances in the past included a mandatory condition (regulation 785.611) which required that: "The holder cannot be granted a substantive visa other than a protection visa."

4) In terms of paperwork and costs, there will be no paperwork for an IMA to complete for a bridging visa. As an IMA cannot make an application for a bridging visa, it would be the minister exercising his personal powers to grant such a visa. He is able, at that stage, to impose conditions on that visa, such as work rights. There are still significant costs associated with processing people in the community. Although it is correct that detention is more expensive, the idea that bridging visas cost 90 per cent less than detention is a both an exaggeration, and without any evidence to support it. Furthermore, visa processing in the community will be no faster than in detention -- the key factors that affect the processing of refugee claims are the volume of cases and the availability of information. Non-IMA protection visas are generally able to be processed faster than IMA protection claims because the person has identity documents and their claims are more easily verified. IMA claims may be more difficult to verify, so while the number of people arriving by boat, especially without identity documentation, remains high, claims can take longer to process -- regardless of whether the person is in detention or in the community.

   I still think the Malaysian Arrangement would have worked better though. However, this is the next best alternative.

Feral Skeleton

October 19. 2011 05:19 PM

Feral Skeleton

    That was an absolutely beautiful message to send to the PM.  Thank you for taking the time to do it and thank you for sharing it with us. I hope you're right about the number of people out there, a silent majority, even if only barely so, who will appreciate all the hard work she is doing on behalf of our country and the world. She truly is one of the bravest people in the world in 2011.

Feral Skeleton

October 19. 2011 06:14 PM


I suspect Abbott's "ranting" is beginning to be so 2010.  Two examples demonstrate the point:

1. First Ten Early News report on the ticker at the bottom of the screen this morning relates to People being better off than expected under the Carbon Pricing Scheme.  Second one relates to success of NBN.

2. Local FM Radio station around lunchtime on their news reports 1st refugee boat arrives in WA since the on-shore processing of refugees was made the de-facto policy. Grab of Morrison doing the "watch out for the boats" rhetoric.  The announcer calmly states after the grab that boat arrivals in Australia are down 19% in 2011 versus 2010 - nicely deflecting Morrison's utterance


October 19. 2011 06:42 PM


I know what I want for an early Christmas present. Laughing
If I get it I will forgo all others.
The Queen to talk about climate change during one of her speeches while in Australia and to emphasise that we all need to do something about it.
It would be unreasonable to ask for a positive endorsement of the CEF but it would be interesting to see how Abbott spins any positive comments she may make since this will oblige him to make his most concrete statements on the subject to date.
C'mon Your Majesty, make my day.


October 19. 2011 07:16 PM


Despite what trolls may say, Keating had class.

He had a first rate mind, first rate political acumen, first rate humour, first rate turn of phrase, first rate ability to speak "plain English", first rate ability to use succinct figures of speech (recently "Abbott needs a good judo chop"), first rate speech maker, first rate vision for Australia, first rate  vision of leadership ("It's a travesty to have your hands on the levers and not use them"), first rate insight into Indigenous issue (see the Redfern Speech), first rate reformer skills, first rate dress sense, first rate appreciation of "serious" music, first rate appreciation of the yarts, first rate ability to identify fools, imbeciles and con artists, first rate ability to spotlight fools, first rate ability to put fools in their place, and even as a republican first rate manners in assisting Her Majesty.

Overall he was a great treasurer and PM despite being criticised  daily by his political enemies and other airheads. In this latter regard he endured the same unfairness as JG does.


October 19. 2011 07:54 PM


I have been laying in IC and moderate care, in Hospital, and ,as one does, reflect on life,when your told of your likely forecast is cloudy with sunny periods, such as it is.
Enough about that.
Part of dwelling was the thought of Abbott:
"The inventor of scene painting his own little theatre,where he has the meetings of many minds ,without a singular original thought."
"My gratitude shall not be stinted" (re the offers to gain ,arse or blood.For a Diety's sake that is the refuge of a fool.
My view is that a lustral (pay in own coin)timbre should be taken,and a "In mercy obdurate, as harsh in anger"
In an Americaism, he is a begiting where he was begot  the fellow is a fool , to lead Australia is a whim that I would abhor.
Special Hello to Naskin, sorry mate, I've been crook, things are day by day.
CJM (Lang Mack}


October 19. 2011 08:49 PM

Ad astra reply

I did enjoy your letter to the PM.  You echoed the sentiments of most of us.

I’m writing something on Abbott’s latest wrecking ball for next week.

I agree with your assessment of Paul Keating

Good to see you back.  We hope you are soon back to robust health.

Ad astra reply

October 19. 2011 09:08 PM


Did my ears and eyes deceive me or did I imagine it that as I walked in on the TV on 10, George Negus was saying, I think, (I only heard the last half properly) [Well may you say god save the queen] because nothing will save Julia Gillard!

Is that really what Negus said? Was it his own opinion, or was he quoting someone else? Either way it's #*cking OUTRAGEOUS!

Has Negus sold his soul to Gina Rindlard? Gee the power of mammon eh!

BTW I don't want our comments on Grog's appearance on ABC TV  to make him think we don't love him any more. Perhaps The Drum is not that sane man's medium. I think he is by nature not too quick to speak, he is certainly sensitive and thoroughly intellectual in what he writes, I do hope he is not infected with ABCTVbia.

Psyclaw I have always wondered how we could collect comments on all the noted journos, good bad and execrable, and have a meta-opinion them on display, be able to post excerpts to those concerned, whether to encourage or to discourage.

They are writers as are we - though I don't mean to say 'writers like us', since I would not gladly be bracketed with a lot of them. But all of them can understand nuanced words, so when with relevance and goodwill and good sense we of the 5th Estate outwrite for free their ignorant bigoted paid-for-comments, you may be sure they are [i]stung[/i. Whether or not they have the ability let alone decency to lift their game, we have some satisfaction in getting our opinion off our chests, and the combined weight of our concerted opinion will inevitably bear on the subjects' status within their profession.

If that's the word. (It is in some cases.)

Oh and tell me true, why does anyone (except for Jason, whom I know just can't help himself Smile) say anything to illwillians?

Hi Lyn. Thinking of you.


October 19. 2011 10:18 PM


F.S. at 4.11
I too was in a car when I heard this from the opposition. It didn't surprise me that the broadcast I heard didn't call them on it. I figure that if they say you can't take anyone's opinion seriously I'll demand of them the courage of their convictions & start by not believing anything they say. Actually I'm about 45 years ahead of them there.
Bernard  at Crikey wrote a piece about this sort of thing a while ago. Can't remember the name, but it pointed out that there's little respect for expert analysis now, that if you come up on analysis you don't like you just ring round for your own "expert" who will of course get equal time to mouth his drivel. Plus I'm encouraged to believe that my opinion on climate change, for example, is as good as that Ross Bloody Garnaut fella's (as long as I disagree with him)
I thought Jones was a hoot on 7.30. I thought Leigh Sales got out her wet lettuce leaf about halfway through but didn't use it much, nothing like the rough trot Government people get. But in fairness, how can you have a sensible interview with Jones?
P.S anyone making a book on how long it'll take the MSM to compare Gillard's dress/body language/hair/shoes etc unfavourably with everybody else who was there to greet Liz today?


October 19. 2011 10:27 PM

Feral Skeleton

Talk Turkey,
             George Negus lost all credibility when he agreed to work under a Murdoch's direction.
  Actually, I find it quite sad to see the way that journalists are trying every which way but loose to will the downfall of the PM, as if it's some sort of weeing contest to see who can make up the line that will make her crack. The Niki Savva piece, a case in point as well. I can't begin to imagine what they are like amongst their friends and family. A poisonous nest of vipers comes to mind.

Feral Skeleton

October 19. 2011 10:47 PM

Feral Skeleton

BSA Bob,
         I swallowed hard and made myself sit through the interview with Leigh Sales and Alan Jones. To be fair, I think, Leigh gave it more effort than I thought she would to make Jones accountable for some of his crimes and misdemeanors. However, I think that she should have realised that she was attempting to interview a pro and if he didn't want to give a straight answer, he wouldn't. And he didn't.

   I did, however, notice a chink in Jones' armour when she probed him about his Climate Change interviews. To justify his lop-sided attitude, he brought up the leaked e-mails, aka 'Climategate'. Which, subsequently, as anyone who followed the trail to the end found out, proved 3/5ths of not much at all to disprove the proof for AGW. He also blustered about the calibre of the scientists he interviews who are CC Sceptics, when, in actuality, they are either bought and paid-for shills for the Fossil Fuel cabal, or scientists suffering Relevance Deprivation Syndrome at the end of their careers, whose yearning for the limelight has encouraged them to jump on a bandwagon with some spaces left, the occupants of which will welcome them with open arms.

   Also, as per usual, even though Leigh Sales did attempt to put him to rights about Julia's statement, pre-election, about the Carbon Tax, she failed, as so many journalists have, to make the point that saying, "There will be no Carbon Tax under a government I lead", referred only to a majority government which she would lead after the election. Plus, it was interesting to hear Jones say that he was happy with the idea she originally had of bringing the nation along on Climate Change via the People's Forum. Which was strange coming from someone who doesn't believe in AGW.

   Finally, the most obvious thing any journo could say to the liesayers, like Jones and Abbott et al., was again left unsaid. That is, what about Howard's 'Core and Non-Core' pre-election promises?

Feral Skeleton

October 19. 2011 10:56 PM


Good reply. I thought I noticed a trace of almost self pity as well; "It's not my fault, they were standing where I  shot."


October 19. 2011 11:01 PM

Feral Skeleton

BSA Bob,
        Yes, I've noticed that in the past when Jones is confronted with a half-way decent question that attempts to skewer him by pointing out what is obvious to Blind Freddy.

Feral Skeleton

October 19. 2011 11:32 PM


Nice bit of free publicity for Jones courtesy of the taxpayers tonight on their ABC. I can see them offering him a position next.


October 20. 2011 12:40 AM



Rallies and revolution: just keeping the nutters occupied
Greg Jericho   The Drum

There has been some suggestion that the anti-carbon tax protests are akin to the Tea Party in America, where we see the right-wing, religious, anti-tax, pro-guns section of America desiring to flex their apparently heretofore ignored political might.

Janet Albrechtsen, and a mangled message that oozes an illiberal air of group think ...
Dorothy Parker   Loon Pond

Well as the ruling chattering elites established a long time ago, you can always have your cake and eat it too, and so in the matter of the current round of protests, Albrechtsen is in a dire and dark mood.

Pricing in Abbott's carbon extremism
Giles Parkinson   Climate Spectator

With each day that passes, the conservative Coalition in Australia more and more resembles the Tea Party reactionaries in the US, promoting policies that defy the science, are economically illiterate, are based on a distant technological past, and might as well have been orchestrated by Alan Jones, the NSW radio shock jock and Coalition puppeteer – or Rush Limbaugh, his US equivalent.

The ombudsman and the Senator and the beatup
Jeremy Sear   An Onymous Lefty

I don’t agree that an Ombudsman, concerned about the inadequate funding of his office, suggesting some “dorothy dixer” type questions he can be asked so that he can express the concerns of his office, is somehow “corrupt”.

Politics by shockjockery
David Horton   The Watermelon Blog

The horrible lot (Bachmann, Perry, Cain and the rest) seeking the Republican nomination in the states, and the equally horrible lot trying to overthrow the government by bombast in Australia, have more in common with radio shock jocks than with the politicians of the past like Eisenhower and Kennedy, Menzies and Whitlam.

NBN for business demonstration video
NBN Co   YouTube


If I Could Turn Back Time
Wixxy   Wixxy's Blog

It seems all of Barry’s posturing was just foreplay, and he has now decided it’s time to thoroughly screw the west. Alas, I am quite sure this is not the special attention the residents of Sydney’s West hoped for.
One of the first things Barry did when he took office was to scrap the Western Express Rail Line, then he pulled funding from Blacktown hospital, but now comes the biggest shock of all… Barry is looking to turn Penrith into a nuclear waste dump.

Rupert - My Part In His (Near) Downfall
Lindsay Tuffin   Independent Australia

And thus continued that retreat from a perhaps purer journalism and into the glorious world of marketing-platform journalism, in which the news part of the newspaper is subsidiary to the commercial imperative — too often simply the window dressing for the real business of making money.

You think the summit's over? The good stuff is just beginning
Peter Martin

Wayne Swan may yet go down in history as the father of a monumental change to the tax system. Not merely the far-sighted, poorly-sold and now emaciated mining tax applying to just four of the originally planned twelve or so commodities, but a truly massive change with the potential to set up Australia for decades to come.

Crabb on the media
Gary Sauer-Thomson   Public Opinion

It is about the political class--the intertwining of politicians and journalists in liberal democracy that is most marked in the Canberra Press Gallery. The speech is more focused on the politicians than the journalists, as it pretty much ignores the bad practices of insider journalism.

The promise of Occupy
John Passant   En Passant

OCCUPY. IT’S the movement of a new generation–but it’s also the voice for working people of all ages furious at the relentless decline in their living standards and mounting economic inequality.
And as it gathers momentum, the movement is showing that we have the power to resist the endless attacks on us–and win.

A Year In The Life Of The Internet
Senator Scott Ludlam   Field Notes

This is the first time in recent memory that we’ve considered the quaint notion of a government utility building a new piece of national infrastructure. We were here a century ago with the water distribution network, sewerage, gas and electricity, and of course that’s how our existing copper telephone network was built: taxpayer funds deployed in large measure for the supposed collective good.

Telstra’s filter has blocked 84,000 requests
Renai LeMay   Delimiter

The nation’s largest telco Telstra has blocked more than 84,000 Internet requests to access sites allegedly containing child pornography since the start of July this year, when it quietly started filtering its customer’s traffic for a blacklist of sites compiled by international policing agency Interpol.


PM delivers on promises to Illawarra
Editorial   Illawarra Mercury

The excitement at the conference over the NBN was palpable. The opportunities that could arise from our connection to the technology permeated through various sessions and was all the talk in between. RDA Illawarra could not be more chuffed.

Carbon tax praised by investors
David Wroe and Katharine Murphy   The Age

THE world's four major green investment groups representing $20 trillion in funds have hailed Australia's carbon tax as a boon for investors, strongly backing the government's claim that the scheme will deliver economic benefits. The report, commissioned by groups representing 285 pension funds and other institutional investors around the globe, found that Labor's carbon price and financial assistance for green technology ''should provide investors with real confidence'' in investing in renewable energy in Australia.


October 20. 2011 08:20 AM


I was waiting for it, and Limited News didn't disappoint:


(Well, apart from the continuous disappointment of focusing on trivialities and slighting the PM at any opportunity, of course.)


October 20. 2011 08:35 AM

Ad astra reply

LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: www.thepoliticalsword.com/.../...-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Ad astra reply

October 20. 2011 09:00 AM


Yes Folks I've posted this before - twice - the second time was when the Lying Rodent stuck his head up again, this time it's in honour of Her Awefulsomeness yet again (for the 16th time!) allowing us the delight of spending $480 million on entertaining her and showing her our undying sickofancy.  

So :

John Howard climbs up on a chair, to kiss Queen Liz’s cheek:
“Your Royal Highness” Johnnie says, “there’s a favour that I seek:-
There’s no-one dotes on Royalty as much as Aussies do –
I want my land Australia to be a Kingdom too!”

The Queen says, “What a nice idea – but there’s just one tiny thing –
For your land to be a Kingdom, John, you’d have to be a King!”

John Howard climbs down from his chair, he grovels on his knees,
Kisses Liz’s hand, and wheedles, “D’ohhh, Your Highness, Please?
If we can’t be a Kingdom, please, oh please, Your Majesty,
Please, please decree Australia a Principality!”

The Queen’s expression shows that he is getting on her quince:
“John, for a Principality, you’d have to be a Prince!”

Her answer is quite clearly a down-turned Royal Thumb,
But Johnnie scuttles up, and kisses Liz’s Royal Bum!
He begs her, “Let me MAKE a Kingdom on Australian soil –
Swipe me with thy Magic Sword, Marm, make ME something Royal!”

Liz draws from wells of wisdom – (for Liz is Wisdom’s fount) –
(Her speech is sweet as Jesus doing Sermon On The Mount):-
“John, Blessed Be True Royalty – but – sorry to be blunt –
Australia’s just a country, John, you're no more than a Count! ”

Thank Dog our Prime Minister has the courage and honesty not to 'curtsey'.

Vive la Republique!



October 20. 2011 09:20 AM



From an unknown person to you, I am sending my best wishes for your recovery.  


Having given Jon Faine the flick I was twisting the dial and at 8.30am on Neil Mitchell, 'How dare Julia Gillard not bowing to the Queen or wearing a hat.....'  Apparently Julia is going to be on the station soon, so I have stayed tuned.  Just as I was thinking the media, or I should say ABC, have slowed down on their criticism, I didn't think about the commercial lot.  Silly me.  :-(


October 20. 2011 11:09 AM

Feral Skeleton

Talk Turkey,
            Much as I would like to keep my Comments numbers up, I have deleted your second posting of Johhny Meets the Queen, and the corrective comment.

   Of course, for doing you this favour I expect no less than a follow-up: 'Tony Meets the Queen'. Wink

Feral Skeleton

October 20. 2011 11:16 AM

Feral Skeleton

   Congrats on your positive reception by the kids of SA, btw. Well, a small part of it. SmileYou definitely deserve it.

   Also, if I were you I'd try and get a little money-making venture together with your Tesselations and books, I think you'd be surprised at the positive reception they'd get around the traps. I have a couple of friends who have a similar business making and selling Felt Stories, based upon Australian iconic tales, to Pre Schools around NSW. They do a roaring trade, week-in, week-out, during the school year. All you have to do is get an ABN and get out the phone book and start ringing around to make an appointment. Get the appropriate clearances, and away you go! The feedback I get is that schools are hungry for new things to entertain the littlies with. Smile

Feral Skeleton

October 20. 2011 11:28 AM


In the interest of keeping your Comments numbers up, FS.  Laughing

Hold your nose and support the coming media paywalls
by Tim Dunlop   The Drum

When Murdoch goes, many of of his army of editors will also go. This will open the way for a new generation of management who are much better equipped to instigate the sort of wholesale reinvention - or re-machining - that journalism needs.
I also strongly suspect that The Australian will disappear. It seems unlikely a de-Murdoched board will want to continue to foot the bill for this marginal asset and it is hard to think of a more positive outcome for Australian journalism or democracy.



October 20. 2011 11:31 AM


Psyclaw, and All,
I kind of like the form of Open Letters to politicians and journalists which The Political Sword makes possible. I think journos in particular are susceptible to insightful comments about themselves which they realize will resonate with many people. Such open letters are certain to be relayed via infinite avenues to those at whom they are directed. Feel the Power!

I don't write many such but the first post I wrote here - (and it happenstantially echoed one by Ad astra) - was to Prime Minister Gillard. Not all I write are likely to be so pleasurable to me!

Collected, the compendium would be a lot like I mentioned yesterday, a meta-opinion of those most complimented, and those most reviled.



October 20. 2011 12:20 PM


Gravel at 9.20
Thanks for that. They were going to find or manufacture something weren't they? Jaeger's link at 8.20's good. We can probably look forward to another week's "Julia Gillard forced to defend..."
Plus of course if she'd displayed what some regard as the appropriate amount of obsequiousness she'd have been labeled a hypocrite.


October 20. 2011 12:27 PM


PM tells 3AW she's going nowhere
Interview   Neil Mitchell & PM   3AW

Neil Mitchell spoke with Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday morning, as she comes under mild attack for not curtsying to The Queen upon her arrival in Australia.
Ms Gillard also discussed the Qantas industrial relations issue, controversial Labor MP Craig Thomson's investigation and whether she will be around for the next election.



October 20. 2011 01:14 PM

Feral Skeleton

  Thank you NK for the suppport! Laughing

   However, of course, what will really get the conversation going is who will the PM support tomorrow in the Rugby?  Wales or Oz?

Feral Skeleton

October 20. 2011 01:50 PM


Bad Abbott

A month or so ago I posted here that I sensed the 'wind' was changing in terms of Abbott's hold on Coalition leadership and the support of the wider community.

That gentle breeze has barely gusted a susurrative hint of change till just lately, for over the last week, I sense a Clean Energy legislation passed Shouldabeen becoming that little bit more desperate.

And how is this observable? Policy!

Hard to believe, but forced into actually addressing potential policies that a Coalition government will enact (mostly undoing Labor initiatives, of course), Tiny is duly putting his foot in his smirky-jerky mouth.

Not only has he been shifting the local business community offside (or at least, has them teetering over the quagmire of quandary), now he's 'attacked' our largest trading partner, China. Finds the country lacking compared to Japan.

Now that's a comparison the Chinese have always found easy to take. I don't think.

Whispers, mumblings, sotto voce "WTF"s, from within the belly of the beast he's crafted, the man is queering his own pitch, day by stumbling day.


October 20. 2011 02:34 PM



I agree with your comments above. I also have thought for the past few weeks that the ground beneath Abbott may be shifting.  I think we are seeing evidence of it in more hysterical behavior.  His almost pleading with industry leaders to not participate in the carbon permits is bizarre.  Tony had a couple of shots in locker and he has fired all with as much force as he could.  Now he looks up and sees the gov still standing.  Whats worse for him is they have runs on the board.  People are now scanning NBN announcements to see when their suburb or town will be connected and are disappointed if not scheduled soon.  How will he tell these people to forget it, we are back to relying on Telstra?  I am sure industry will now be lobbying him to pull his head in on the CEF.  But he is responding in the only way he knows how.  Beg for more time so he can land a knock out blow.  Trouble is, industry has thrown the towel and is more interested in getting on with it and seeing how they can make some bucks.

Not sure if it is schadenfreude that is washing over me yet but I am getting a warm feeling that we are going to see the unraveling of Mr Abbott over the next few months.  As Norm would say "warm the set and cool the tinnies".



October 20. 2011 03:16 PM


I read this morning a bit more detail on Justice Mordy Bromberg's orders for what the HUN has to publish as "corrective action".  In the orders, as reported in fin review, he explicitly stated that he was not going to force them to say sorry.  He stated that he would not force an apology if it was not a sincerely held belief.  The orders amount to the HUN having to publish 600 words with similar profile as Bolt's column which correct and explain the factual errors in the original piece.

I think this is fair enough and will obviously be humiliating to both News and Bolt.  I am struggling though to understand any continued complaints about restricting free speech.  When the only punishment is to correct factual errors where is the restriction?  By continuing with this complaint they are really saying, we should be able to publish any old BS that suits our position and not have to correct it.  Its an astounding position and I would love someone who thinks the ruling and orders are a restriction on free speech to explain their concerns with this back drop.  

Publishing BS in a mass circulation paper is not the same as spouting forth to a group of people at the pub.  As such they do need to be held accountable, not only to correct errors but perhaps actually uphold their own standard of ethics and conduct.


October 20. 2011 05:49 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for the link to the 3AW Neil Mitchell interview, which I listened to throughout.  Given that Mitchell is usually an aggressive interviewer, I thought her treated her with respect, and she handled his questions well.

It was such a contrast to how Alan Jones operates.  Could the tide be turning in her favour among some in the media?  It won’t get my hopes up too much, but that interview, in my opinion, was a big plus for our PM.

Ad astra reply

October 20. 2011 05:51 PM

Ad astra reply

I’ve just finished a piece:Australia’s King Canute: Tony Abbott, which I’ll post some time later. In the meantime I’m going out for dinner.

Ad astra reply

October 20. 2011 05:54 PM


Hi Swordsters

I propose that we now get active in emailing each of the journos who I'll list at the bottom.

With minimum (ie no) consultation I respectfully suggest we refer to this action as the PEA Project (please expose Abbott).

Each 3 or 4 weeks we could all (including those who only read here) send an email about a specific topic to each of the journos.

I think it is important that we write in our own words. This would be the best way to powerfully and uniquely express our passion for what we request.

With your indulgence and to get the ball rolling I will nominate the first topic. It is a request for journos to analyse the reality and possibility and implications and consequences of Abbott's pledge to repeal the Clean Energy Act, and the fact that he is making such an outlandish "promise".

What we are aiming at is for the journos to state what Abbott would actually have to do.....reduce pensions, reduce tax free threshold, refuse to honour carbon credits bought by companies, wind back the tax breaks etc etc and show what a crap, unworkable, unsaleable action this would be.

Here are some guidelines:

1) Use your own words.
2) Commence with a sentence or two complimenting/praising/sucking up to the journalist(the last thing we want is to criticise this group, since they're the possible "goodies").
3) Describe / state the issue (Abbott's repeal promise)
4) "Beg" that the journo analyse this and inform the public.
5) State how appreciative you would be.
6) Cut and paste your words into an email to each of the listed journos.

Here are the email addresses:


If we could get even one of these to write an article (or two), that would be an achievement.

Please don't hesitate to let us all know of any journo you think is worth including, but please, no intractables like Bolt, Milne, Savva, Akerman et al. Include email addresses of the journo if you can. if not, I'll find it.

Take your time ..... it'll be three weeks before we start the next effort. But do follow the Nike advice ...."just do it!"

May the force be with you!


October 20. 2011 06:41 PM


Ad astra
It says something about the state of public discourse that I spent the first five minutes of Mitchell's interview with the PM wondering when the tone was going to change in an attempted ambush. Thankfully it didn't come.
Listeners may have found that interview a bit boring but questions were asked and answers given - I agree with you that it seemed like a good outing for the PM.


October 20. 2011 07:27 PM

Patricia WA

Silly commentary from June Dally-Watkins on the ABC Home page but I persevered thinking it might inspire me to a verse or two, particularly since the headline ran "Off With Her Head!"  

Instead I had the very pleasant and unusual experience of reading through a couple of hundred comments overwhelmingly supportive of the Prime Minister!  And lots of them really pissed off with the general unfairness and bias of the media.

Patricia WA

October 20. 2011 07:31 PM


Abbortt is rattled. The awful truth of his failure is just coming home to him. I'm eating Belgian hazelnut chocolates, and eating chocolate is something I hardly ever do.

Everywhere I look the Media is trying to back off quietly and let go of their previous rah-rah for the Coalons, Abbortt in particular, without appearing too much to backflip. At last that fawning support for the manic maniac that is Abbortt is becoming unfashionable, the new not-so-cocksure angle is Aren't all the politicians incompetent puerile yadadayadadah, not game to actually say anything actually positive about the Government but no longer so enraptured by Abbortt. Basically it's because they don't want their arses hanging in the breeze after the next election when they will be left with the little crazy nasty rump of readers that they deserve. Which I wish them too. They can all put each other into chaff bags and dump each other in Bass Strait afa I'm concerned, if the last one needs help with tying h/self in I'd be glad to oblige.

We are witnessing Abbortt losing his grip, I don't mean to state the obvious nor to skite about it but ever since the election I have predicted exactly this sort of demise for him, I even thought it might come earlier but the unremitting media spitlicking has kept him afloat to a degree I own I did not expect, I've never seen anything like it. Well now it is losing steam and certainty. The Carbon Tax has really wounded Abbortt, nobody but madmen believe he can ever undo it. His turn 'em around policy on Nauru is being derided ,and he is being called on it too, although only ever-so-gently so far, oohhh don't want to be the first to test those waters, bloody media gaggle, like bloody penguins on an icefloe when there might be leopard seals about, Go on, jump in!, No you jump in!

The NBN is receiving wild welcomes, Australia's economy is the envy of the world, we got the best treasurer, we're on average the richest people, (six times as wealthy as the average Yank . . . Gee), and all that truth is at last swamping even the most wistful of Abbortt's 'slickers within the Coalons and even more importantly the media. The shock jocks are getting shockingly shocked themselves, poor petals, She's too good for them and they can't stand it.

Yum these chockies are particularly scrumptious. Abbortt's going down, and taking his stupid Party with him. They'll be sorry they ever supported him, and many have that dreadful sinking feeling already, how I know, I've felt it often enough over decades, when something disastrous has hit Labor fortunes (mostly Coalonic lies of course.) It's just that now the boot is on our foot, poor petals yes, it's a terrible feeling, and I hope they all get scurvy too. Smile


October 20. 2011 07:39 PM

Feral Skeleton

           June Dally-Watkins is the David Flint of the female gender. The go to madam for arch comments about the common rabble, such as our Prime Minister. Wink

Feral Skeleton

October 20. 2011 08:24 PM


Michael's good at this stuff, but I'll have a go.
Watching Abbott this evening trying for a swipe at the Government over the Asher affair. Crediting everyone as usual with the memory of a demented goldfish he said it was a sad day when the Ombudsman had to resort to this to get his eminently reasonable requests out- words to that effect.
Just watched 7.30 for once trot out a parade of Coalition figures' previous statements at least as critical of Asher as the Government. No one's meant to make any connection.

Patricia W.A. at 7.27
I put up a comment on that silly site. I've gone back to it several times to see if I got published, but can't acess it. I wonder if it's overloaded?


October 20. 2011 11:15 PM

Ad astra reply

I have posted Australia's King Canute: Tony Abbott: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com

Ad astra reply

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