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Julia Gillard's Light on the Hill

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Monday, 14 November 2011 11:57 by Ad astra
Will commentators ever be satisfied that the Labor Party and its leadership have established an ‘overarching narrative’ that portrays what the Party and its ministers ‘stand for’? I doubt it. The quest for this Holy Grail has been going on ever since Labor came to office, and indeed John Howard was accused of lacking one in his latter days. Do these commentators know what they are looking for? Would they recognize it if they saw it? Most who castigate politicians and political parties for lacking it, never suggest what the narrative might look like, nor have they ever had to create one. But there is one who has created a narrative for the Labor Party – Paul Keating.

In a recent conversation with Paul Kelly reported in The Weekend Australian on October 22, Keating lamented Labor’s lack of ‘a compelling overarching story’, and went on to say that Labor needs to emphasize more the transitions the nation is traversing, and should marshall its creativity to manage them and to spell them out for the public to understand. He cited the arts and music as crucial ingredients in reaching this goal.

On many occasions commentators have made reference to Ben Chifley’s 1949 “Light on the Hill” address. It has been cited as a glowing example of a rousing address that inspired the party during tough times. The phrase ‘light on the hill’ has resonated down the years as epitomising the Labor philosophy. Made in the late forties when the Great Depression of the thirties was still a vivid and frightening memory, Chifley made reference to the fear of another depression. He said: “If the movement can make someone more comfortable, give to some father or mother a greater feeling of security for their children, a feeling that if a depression comes there will be work, that the government is striving its hardest to do its best, then the Labour movement will be completely justified.”

The speech was not a long one – just 484 words, yet its impact was profound, and if one can believe the critics, still is.

I have wondered what a latter day ‘light on the hill’ address might look like. We can have a glimpse by reading Julia Gillard’s speech at the Chifley Research Centre on September 16.  Also take a look at Making a Difference on the ALP website.  Check too at the attached PDF file to read the detail of Labor’s plans and achievements.  

Here’s how Making a Difference began – harking back to the ‘light on the hill’:

“The Australian Labor Party is Australia’s oldest political party. Labor’s history and the history of Australia’s democracy are inextricably intertwined.

“We have a great objective — the light on the hill.

“For 120 years, the enduring values of fairness, opportunity and the betterment of humankind have motivated members of the Labor Party and the wider Labour Movement, and they motivate us still.

The government I am privileged to lead continues in that proud tradition.”

Since Paul Keating has urged Labor to focus on the transitions that are extant in Australia and use creativity and art to explain it to the people, I have attempted to put together a statement that might be termed ‘Julia Gillard’s Light on the Hill’, but I have titled it:


Although it is over sixty years since Ben Chifley spoke of the ‘light on the hill’, it remains a shining beacon to which Labor continues to be attracted and which it seeks to arrive at by “working for the betterment of mankind”.

Then, Labor sought to bring “something better to the people, better standards of living, greater happiness to the mass of the people.”

So is it now. The light on the hill burns brightly still.

Then, Labor’s aim was to “make someone more comfortable, give to some father or mother a greater feeling of security for their children, a feeling that if a depression comes there will be work, that the government is striving its hardest to do its best.”

So is it now.

Labor still has its eyes on the great objective – the light on the hill. For 120 years, the enduring values of fairness, opportunity and the betterment of humankind have motivated members of the Labor Party and the wider Labour Movement.

So is it now.

In Chifley’s days the world was changing. The fear of recession persisted.

So is it now.

Then Labor sought to “bring better conditions to the people.”

So is it now.

As Chifley said: “If it were not for that, the Labor movement would not be worth fighting for.”

So is it now. The light on the hill burns brightly still.

Change has always been a part of life in Australia. Yet every decade has brought better conditions to the people. As it prepares for its next phase – transformation of its economy and integration into the Asian region – this country looks to an exciting future, one that will bring great benefits to all the people.



Change is often feared, yet it should be seen as an exciting opportunity to be creative, to do better, to achieve more, to improve life for all our citizens. If we avoid change, we decline.

Let’s look at these transitions, which draw us to a better life. There are many.

Transition from a heavily polluting society to one where coal is gradually replaced by natural gas and renewable energy, so as to slow carbon pollution and the progress of global warming, and thereby secure our planet for future generations.

Transition of our economy from the manufacturing and agriculture of the past, to an open economy based on renewable energy, the minerals boom and the resourceful use of water, with all the jobs these transitions create.

As in the past, where horse and buggy gave way to rail and then to air transport, so we must now modernize out economy and transform it into one for the twenty-first century with new jobs, new industries, high speed broadband and efficient infrastructure that give this nation a global reach.

We need to accelerate the transition of international trading from that based on traditional markets in Europe and the US, to trading more and more within the Asian region.

Education is in transition with more transparency via the MySchool website and the National Curriculum for literacy and numeracy, 430,000 new computers in schools, fast broadband, increased university places, skills training, more funding, and renewed school buildings through the Building Education Revolution.

This Government believes every child should have the opportunity for a great education, which is the rock on which a strong modern Australian economy is founded. The Government’s focus is on creating jobs, more jobs and new jobs; education and training are the pathway to job creation.

There is transition in our health system from hospital to community care with more Federal funding and more local control. Super fast broadband will bring heath care to remote communities. Mental health initiatives will provide support for young and old, and aged care will be a priority as our population ages. The My Hospitals website now gives better information about our hospitals. We have introduced a national disability insurance scheme. Plain packaging of cigarettes will reduce the scourge of smoking.

We are in transition in the way we use water, especially within the Murray-Darling River system, so that both agriculture and the environment can stay alive.

Your Government is managing these transitions creatively and resolutely. Here’s what we have done:

We moved quickly to shield the economy from the effects of the global financial crisis and kept the nation out of recession. Our economy is in better shape than it is in any other developed nation.

We stimulated the economy with cash payments to individuals, by home insulation and school building programs, and then with infrastructure works.

We kept unemployment down to the lowest level in the developed world, and it continues to fall. We believe in the dignity of work. We created three quarters of a million new jobs, and are providing training for those still unemployed.

Interest rates fell during the global financial crisis, have remained low, and are falling again as inflation is kept low.

We have reduced taxes, increased pensions and family payments and introduced a Paid Parental Leave scheme.

We are committed to getting the budget back into surplus in 2012/13.

We have passed legislation to place a price on carbon to motivate polluters to reduce pollution. This will be environmentally effective, is economically responsible, will drive investment and innovation in clean energy, and will create jobs. And it is socially fair – the revenue raised will compensate families and businesses for increased costs, will increase pensions and welfare payments, and will reduce individual taxes.

This reform will encourage innovation, increase productivity, create new industries, lift economic output, and transform our economy.

We are legislating to place a tax on minerals so that all Australians can share in the bounty that our rich resources provide – a tax that will fund better superannuation, lower company tax, benefit small business, develop needed infrastructure, and simplify taxation for millions.

We have plans to improve water use in the Murray-Darling river system to sustain food production, maintain regional communities and improve environmental flows.

We have given great emphasis to regional development through our Regional Infrastructure Fund, increased funding for schools, hospitals and health care, including 22 regional cancer centres, and we have arranged for regional communities to have the early benefits of the NBN.

To prosper, this nation needs a strong economy that is competitive globally, and that requires a strong and productive workforce, one that needs boosting by immigrants. This is why we have a controlled immigration program to bring in skilled workers to do the jobs that we cannot fill.

We have invested more in infrastructure than any other government – road, rail and ports. Our nation-building efforts are overseen by Infrastructure Australia.

In pursuit of fairness in the workplace, we legislated to replace WorkChoices with Fair Work Australia that provides a balanced approach to industrial relations. Already it has worked well in stopping the Qantas dispute after its lockout of workers.

We have increased Australia’s involvement in world forums. We are now members of the G20 forum, the East Asia Summit, APEC and CHOGM. Our country is giving strong leadership on the international scene. Our economic performance is universally admired and our advice sought. We seek to be good global citizens in combating climate change.

We place heavy emphasis on defence and our commitment in Afghanistan. We are reviewing our strategic relationships in tune with the changed geopolitical situation. We aim to keep our borders secure, and are determined to deter people smugglers from taking asylum seekers on dangerous boat journeys. We do need immigrants, but we want them to arrive in an orderly and safe way. And when they are accepted, we wish them to be integrated in a socially inclusive way into our community. We value the multiculturalism this brings to our society.

Australia is a large country. To flourish we need large ideas, bold ideas, daring ideas. We need the courage to undertake brave reforms. While it might be easier to take a conservative approach and leave things the way they are, we know that will lead to decline – in our prosperity, in our way of life, in our international standing.

This is why this Government has undertaken difficult reforms:
- tackling climate change,
- introducing a tax on mineral mining,
- structural separation of Telstra and initiation of nation-wide fast broadband,
- reform of industrial relations and removal of WorkChoices,
- review of the tax system and social security,
- reform of the health system towards community, aged and mental health care,
- crucial changes in the education system,
- a water plan to repair the Murray-Darling river system, and
- moves to create a regional response to irregular migration.

Although we have achieved much, there is still legislation in progress and still more reforms underway. We do not have a perfect record, but we are determined to complete our reform agenda.

None of these reforms are easy. Change is resisted. Obstacles are raised. As Chifley said in his ‘Light on the Hill’ address: “No Labour Minister or leader ever has an easy job. The urgency that rests behind the Labour movement, pushing it on to do things, to create new conditions, to reorganize the economy of the country, always means that the people who work within the Labour movement, people who lead, can never have an easy job.”

Past reforms have not been easy. The reforms of the Hawke-Keating era: enterprise bargaining, tariff reduction, floating the dollar, the prices and incomes accord, superannuation reform, deregulation of the financial system, and the privatization of public utilities, were not easy. John Howard’s GST reform and his IR reforms were not easy.

So is it now. But the light on the hill burns brightly still, and drives us on.

In the past, predictions of calamity have accompanied each reform. Yet, far from calamity, most of the reforms have brought enormous benefits to our nation.

Still today the doomsayers predict disaster, instill fear and insecurity, and threaten to reverse the reforms we are undertaking. Time will show how wrong they are.

What the modern Australia needs is both an open economy that is competitive on the world stage yet engages with our Asian neighbours, and a culture that embraces social inclusion and multiculturalism. We can have both.

Your Government sees these objectives as the ‘light on the hill’, which we are determined to reach, despite the obstacles, despite the criticisms, despite the opposition.

We seek to make this great country greater still – more prosperous, more comfortable for its people, more welcoming to new arrivals. We seek to become an integral part of our region, while maintaining old allegiances.

The light on the hill burns brightly still.

We invite you all to join us as we seize the opportunities, make the transitions, and transform our country into an advanced nation that can take its place confidently in the global community that makes up the twenty-first century world.

Your Government is up to the challenge. We need you too.

This has not been an easy ‘speech’ to write. It has proved to be the most difficult, the most time consuming task I have undertaken writing for The Political Sword. I suspect the critics – those who yearn for a narrative, indeed insist upon one, might have the same difficulty should they try, which they will not discover until they do.

Although it is over three times longer than Chifley’s ‘Light on the Hill’ address (and would take around 15 minutes to deliver), it still seems insufficient, - still needing more appeal, still needing to be more inspirational. It may be too long, to all-inclusive. It is deliberatively repetitive in places, to underscore important points. Quite apart from the need to choose the right words, there is an imperative to include the most important matters, yet not overload the text with superfluities. It may be better broken into two or three parts.

Does it depict to you ‘a nation in transition’ as the overarching theme?

Would this, Julia Gillard’s Light on the Hill address, appeal to you?

Your constructive critique will be welcome.

Tell me what you think.

Comments (239) -

November 14. 2011 12:53 PM


Ad Astra

Wow, that was great.  I have heard Julia and some of the other ministers saying Australia is in a state of transition.  You have explained that transition very well.

I can not see the media doing backflips over it.  They would mumble and groan, it's too long, too high falutin', too this too that.  But gee it think it was wonderful and could imagine Julia saying all that.  And each and every word would be true........and the MSM don't like the truth.


November 14. 2011 01:23 PM


You may have a new career, Ad astra.

It was a great read and would be inspiring to listen to. And has succinctly detailed the government's achievements. Not an easy task, considering the breadth of its achievements.

As Gravel says, it wouldn't have suited the msm just a few weeks ago, but there is a sniff of change in the political wind and I think it would get a favourable reception, now.

Of course it would be anathema to the Liars Party and their cheerleaders; they have smeared this government as do nothing and disaster prone; a narrative which has been drip fed to the electorate by the msm.

This speech would be a start in the fight to bring the truth into the sun and allow the light on the hill, which has been dimmed by the fog of lies, dishonesty and obstructionism from the opposition and their partners in crime, the msm, to blaze again.


November 14. 2011 01:42 PM


Hi Ad

Thankyou for your brilliant article, feels like you are here talking to me again.

Do these commentators know what they are looking for? Would they recognize it if they saw it? Most who castigate politicians and political parties for lacking it, never suggest what the narrative might look like, nor have they ever had to create one

I have continually wondered what are they talking about, narrative, narrative.  Now I know Ad Astra they don't know what a narrative is and have never had to create one.

What has the media's narrative been, events "Out Of Order" distorting the facts, bending the truth to narrate a story , in efforts to blame the Government for everything so making the Coalition look grand.

Nor does she lack vision or narrative, a story to tell about her plans for Australia. In arguing that Julia Gillard has not been given her 'right to a fair go.' Ad Astra has chosen the words she uses herself in describing that vision ...

Alistair Drysdale regarding the never ending ladership coup. It's all about the narrative!

WE are told constantly the Gillard government is looking for a narrative. Here are some suggestions: It is Christmas Eve and Julia Gillard is in no mood for festive cheer, as the year's final Newspoll shows Labor's primary vote

A questioning of the Canberra media's gallery entrenched narrative that Bob Brown is pulling the PM's string, Labor will almost certainly lose the next election, and that Julia Gillard will not be Prime Minister much longer ...

Julia Gillard's narrative failure reveals harsh political realities. Today, Australia's Labor prime minister, Julia Gillard, faces two possible futures. One is awful beyond belief. If the final counts in a couple of seats don't go Labor's ...

I think there's a lot that could be said about Julia Gillard in the context of failing to provide a compelling strategic narrative

WE are told constantly the Gillard government is looking for a narrative. Here are some suggestions: It is Christmas Eve and Julia Gillard is in no mood for ...

Julia Gillard can tick off one of the three items on the to-do list she ... the government's main problem is its failure to develop a broader narrative. ...Tony Abbott eyes a power play‎ Adelaide Now

Prime Minister Julia Gillard prepares for a radio interview, .... But this ignores the need to develop a core narrative that illuminates a party's larger ...

AS the clock winds down on Julia Gillard's prime ministership, Labor insiders are ... Without clear values and a narrative to define what Labor stands for, ...

Julia Gillard is the worst prime minister Australia has ever had, according to ... She's not a leader; can't construct a compelling narrative, nor inspire, ...

There I think I put enough evidence of the harping about Julia Gillard doesn't have a narrative.

The only report that knows about a narrative is Patricia's.  Well done Patricia.



November 14. 2011 02:10 PM

Ad astra reply

Gravel, jane
Thank you for your generous remarks.  I’m sure you are both right, the MSM would have thought it too long, too detailed, but this ‘do nothing’ Government has done so much that to encompass it all takes time.  Of course it could be broken down into two or three parts, the main one being the concept of a nation in transition, and the need for change and reform.  But somehow it is the totality of the Government’s endeavour that I find so appealing. That reflects my upbringing and nature, which prefers a holistic view rather than a piecemeal focus on fine detail where the big picture can so easily be lost.  

Mind you, in medicine and education both are needed, together with a ‘zoom lens’ to range from the wide-angle view to the close-up telescopic view of issues.  The same applies to politics and politicians who need the capacity to operate at both ends of the spectrum.  At least that applies to those in power who have to govern the country.  Julia Gillard has shown her capacity to be across the fine detail as well as being aware of the broad view, the ability to wed vision and the practicalities.  In contrast, Tony Abbott is a broad-brush man with an aversion for detail.  

Thank you Lyn for your contribution, which I will now examine carefully, and respond later.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2011 02:54 PM

Patricia WA

I've lived the Labor party narrative with continuous employment here in Australia in a society with working conditions priveleged above most others in an all too often wanting world.   As an English child I learned life-long gratitude to it's British counterpart for a new home after wartime bombing, a good education and free health care. I'll die believing in it.  My admiration for our Prime Minister is mixed with pride in her achievements as a woman and my trust in her to work by  and maintain the faith in Labor values.

I was born on struggle street,
Always hungry, chilblained feet.
Three quarters of a century
Have passed, but still that penury
Has left its mark on me.

Now I’m prosperous, well fed,
Grateful for my warm dry bed,
Whatever in the news I’ve read
Or TV commentatators said,
I’ll vote Labor till I’m dead!

Patricia WA

November 14. 2011 02:57 PM

Patricia WA

I meant to preface that comment with a big Thank You! to Ad Astra for a truly uplifting post.  

Patricia WA

November 14. 2011 03:10 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Thank you for your kind remarks, and thank you too for the long list of links to the notion of a narrative.

It was refreshing to re-read Patricia WA’s piece A fair go for Julia Gillard; what a lovely poem and what sensible comments she made about the quest for PM Gillard’s narrative.

The comments on Public Opinion are germane: In his analysis of the hostility and negativity towards the Gillard Government Paul Strangio says: “I suspect when we look back at the current era we may come to view it as another such interregnum, as the neo-liberal regime decays and its replacement is yet only dimly grasped...And even if this is not the case, there is a disjunction between the most extravagant criticisms of this government and Australia's relative economic prosperity and stability, especially when viewed in the context of the financial woes and political dysfunction in much of the rest of the world (look no further than the euro zone)..   That sounds right.  Neo-liberalism is in decay, and dragging down the world with it.

The Neil Stockley piece, Julia Gillard's narrative failure reveals harsh political realities, written in August 2010, exposes the hazards of prediction: “Today, Australia’s Labor prime minister, Julia Gillard, faces two possible futures. One is awful beyond belief. If the final counts in a couple of seats don’t go Labor’s way, and if Gillard fails to gather the assured support of enough Green and Independent MPs, her political career ends in disaster. The other is a prolonged nightmare. Gillard stays on as prime minister but with her government unstable and unsure, its legitimacy called into doubt.  Need we say any more!  I wonder what Stockley thinks now?

Shawn Callahan sees Julia Gillard as not having a strategy (a narrative I suppose), for introducing the price on carbon, and goes on to quote Machiavelli: "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.", which suggests that strategy, or narrative, has to be mighty good to overcome the natural resistance to change.

I would love to read Irme Salusinszky’s suggestions for a Gillard narrative but the paywall frustrated me – do you have the full piece?  Also what is Troy Bramston saying about Labor’s moment of truth and Gillard hamstrung by poor judgement both behind the paywall?

The editorial in The Australian on November 10 gives PM Gillard a minor tick for getting her carbon legislation through, but quickly goes on to demean her with the words”Unfortunately for future living standards, the government has no coherent story to tell, one that would explain how it intends to adjust for the Asian century, how it will turn around productivity, helping corporations become more profitable and capturing the bounty of the mining boom through a sovereign wealth fund.”  Note ‘no coherent story’ and also how that story should be about helping corporations to become more profitable.  Now that’s a narrative!  Increasing productivity is important, but I see no suggestions about how this might be achieved in that editorial. It’s just another episode of demeaning the Government no matter what achievements it racks up.  Let’s demean The Oz by insisting that no matter what good news of Government success emerges, The Oz will always find a way to negate it.

As for the last piece, I suppose if Phil Gould, football coach and ‘Penrith supremo’ says ”Julia Gillard is the worst prime minister Australia has ever had”, that’s it. QED.

I would enjoy setting all these ‘experts’ a task: ‘Write the ideal narrative for the Gillard Government.’  How many would succeed?

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2011 03:16 PM

Ad astra reply

Patricia WA
Thank your for your lovely compliment, your heartfelt feelings about Labor, and your delightful poem that so poignantly captures your life.  Short, but so telling.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2011 03:30 PM

Ad astra reply

Since we’re talking about opinion polls today, the Essential poll make interesting reading.  Forget the TPP, which is stationary at 54/46, but look at the side questions.  I’m sure Bernard Keane won’t mind me pasting his comments on the poll in Crikey today:

Essential: the Gillard (semi) recovery edition

“The prime minister has recovered slightly in the esteem of voters but still remains deeply unpopular, new polling from Essential Research finds. But she has pulled ahead of an increasingly unpopular Tony Abbott as preferred PM.

"Gillard reached her nadir with voters in early September, when just 28% of voters approved of her performance and nearly two-thirds disapproved. Since then, she has clawed her way back to 37% approval and 55% disapproval -- poor numbers but significantly better than mid-year.

“Abbott, however, has gone further backwards with voters. Right through the year, Abbott's approval rating has hovered in the high 30s -- it was 40% in October. This week it is back to 36%, his lowest approval rating this year but not, in the scheme of things, significant.

"However, throughout the year his disapproval rating has been edging up, and has now reached 52%, his highest ever and not much shy of the prime minister's level of unpopularity.

“Worse, Gillard has overtaken Abbott again on preferred prime minister, for the first time since June, with a 41-36% lead.

“Both leaders, it seems, are locked in a deathmatch of voter disenchantment, but Gillard has turned her momentum around, while Abbott is going the wrong way.

“And for the first time this year, some evidence has emerged that Labor has stopped the rot on its branding and values, which has seen a systematic deterioration since the beginning of 2010. Essential re-asked a series of questions last asked in May about which party was better at representing various interests.

“In May, little differentiated Labor from the Coalition for a range of interests, even those traditionally associated with Labor -- families with young children, students, pensioners, indigenous people, ethnic communities. Now, however, Labor has kicked clear of the Coalition for all of those -- 42-31% on families with young children; 39-27% on pensioners; 28-17% on indigenous people.

“The Coalition only leads in representing the interests of "working people with high incomes", "small business and the unemployed", "big business", "the next generation of Australians" and "rural and regional Australians", although Labor has shrunk the gap on all of those except, interestingly, big business. Around 60% of voters identify the Coalition as the better representative of big business, compared to only 11% Labor.

“If there's any sort of Labor turnaround, it may have started in Labor's base. Or, at least, the self-inflicted damage there has stopped.

“Essential also asked about relationships with others countries. Voters seemed to have cool on foreign relations generally, with the level of importance attached to relationships down since March 2011 for every country except China. New Zealand, Britain and Japan were all downgraded by voters significantly -- our relationship with New Zealand was rated as "very important" by 69% of voters in March, but only 61% now, for example.

“But voter support for a closer relationship with China increased three points to 35%; similarly, support for a closer relationship with India increased by four points to 23%.

“Support for a closer relationship with United States fell six points to 19%, but 63% say the relationship should "stay the same", second only to Britain (67%). And 20 years after Paul Keating urged Australia to pursue its future in Asia, 74% of voters say our future is most closely tied to Asia, rather than North America (9%) or Europe (7%).

“On voting intention, the slow Labor recovery of late has paused: the Coalition is up a point to 47%, Labor is steady on 35% and the Greens up one on 10%, for a two-party preferred that has levelled at 54-46%.

Note particularly the sentence: ” And 20 years after Paul Keating urged Australia to pursue its future in Asia, 74% of voters say our future is most closely tied to Asia, rather than North America (9%) or Europe (7%).”, which is an important aspect of Julia Gillard's 'Light on the Hill’ narrative.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2011 04:16 PM


Anyone else find they get so many emails these days they can't keep up?

Unfortunately, I missed this campaign (watch the disturbing & really sad vid):


Another reason I'm becomin' more vegan by the week. We become so distant from the sufferin'...and indifferent...look the other way...not unlike the Germans, Stalinists, Chinese under Mao etc when their regimes were slaughterin' & torturin' people.

I wanna live in a healthy mind 21st century...sustainable & cruelty free as much as possible.

One reason I have a problem w/ some religious organisations is that so many cater to this idea that other animals are here to serve us...when in fact they should have the right to evolve as the other species we share this planet w/...

if we meet aliens oneday that come from older civilisations how will we explain to them our inability to respect other species...and continued slaughter of many of them to feed ourselves when we can resort to other foods...and even grow meat in a lab...no need to kill?

It's time to break grotesque habits of many a generation.
And stop lookin' the other way.

Thanksgiving & Christmas in many ways are the KILLING TIMES.



November 14. 2011 04:24 PM


Hi Ad

No Links, so pasted the stories for you:-

WE are told constantly the Gillard government is looking for a narrative. Here are some suggestions:  Irme Salusinszky

Dickensian romance

It is Christmas Eve and Julia Gillard is in no mood for festive cheer, as the year's final Newspoll shows Labor's primary vote at 15 per cent. As she settles down for the night in the master bedroom at the Lodge, a ghastly figure appears at the end of the bed. The Ghost of Leadership Past, in the shape of Kim Beazley, transports Julia back to the events of July last year and her role in the downfall of Kevin Rudd. The spectre then departs.

Julia is cowering under the sheets when another figure, the Ghost of Leadership Future, in the shape of Bill Shorten, transports her to June next year. In this vision, Rudd, prime minister again and now completely deranged, is addressing vast rallies and telling them: "I . . . sing . . . like . . . a . . . COW!" Julia, horrified, immediately calls Quentin Bryce and advises her to summon Santa Claus to form a government. Christmas cheer reigns supreme.

Shakespearean comedy

It is midsummer night in Canberra. Penny Wong and her partner, Sophie Allouache, wish to marry but are forbidden by Gillard, who says it's against government policy. Meanwhile, Labor's national conference is meeting in a forest on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin. Delegates watch a play performed by Greg Combet (who has been turned into a donkey), Anthony Albanese (who has been turned into a rat) and Mark Arbib (who has been turned into a human). For some reason, the play-within-a-play changes everybody's perspective. Penny and Sophie are married alongside Julia and Tim in a ceremony presided over by Bob Brown.

Greek tragedy

On the road to Thebes, Rudd meets a sphinx, who demands he recite Baa Baa Black Sheep in Mandarin, which he does. The sphinx tells him there is a plague on Thebes, also known as the Labor Party. He can end it by killing Gillard and becoming PM. Rudd continues to Thebes and slays Gillard, only to discover she is his mother. In a fit of self-recrimination, Rudd blinds Wayne Swan.


Craig Thomson wakes one morning and discovers he has been transformed into a gigantic cockroach. Nobody notices.\

Gillard hamstrung by poor judgment , Troy Bramston
AS the clock winds down on Julia Gillard's prime ministership, Labor insiders are already reasoning why: poor political judgment and an absence of policy principle.

Privately, Gillard's supporters and detractors are scathing in their assessment of her performance. However, Labor's former national secretary and campaign director is not afraid to have his comments attributed.

In his first expansive interview since resigning as national secretary in May, Karl Bitar doesn't pull any punches.

"The problem with politics in general is that the process involved in getting promoted up the political ladder causes most people to lose their values, passion and beliefs," Bitar says.

Political advancement favours those who can "recruit members, attend campaign events and suck up to the right people" rather than those with a "passion for policy", he says.

"It's this very system [that] drains most people who climb the political ladder of their beliefs," Bitar suggests.

He believes the policy failures of Labor governments are due, in part, to the lack of strong policy values some among ministers.

"By the time many of our politicians and officials reach senior positions of power, they are no longer driven by the core policy values which brought them to be involved in politics in the first place," he says. "That's one of the reasons why Labor has this problem of defining its policy purpose in the 21st century."

Without clear values and a narrative to define what Labor stands for, it is not surprising that the government struggles to develop, articulate and implement policy or to demonstrate policy consistency.

Bitar offers a damning assessment of Labor's election policies:

"If you took all the policies Labor has taken to the last few state and federal elections, put them on a table and mixed them with all of the Coalition's policies, and then asked an average voter to choose which policies belong to Labor and which to the Coalition, they would struggle to do so," Bitar says. "Even most party members would struggle with this exercise."

This is not only due to policy convergence, but also to a lack of policy leadership on both sides of politics, and to Labor's failure to define its overarching vision.

Bitar suggests party leaders should reward ministers who are prepared to take a risk and pursue big reforms and ignore those who are content "finding excuses to do nothing".

Some of these comments are included in my new book, Looking for the Light on the Hill, to be released next week.
Bitar's unvarnished assessment of Labor will not be welcome. He has many critics already for his role in leadership changes, the use of focus groups and Labor's campaign operations. Bitar is unfazed, however; he is enjoying life out of politics and working for James Packer's Crown.

His comments were made before he started with Crown.

What matters is what Bitar says. He is an experienced campaigner and organisational figure. He has exposed a hidden truth that cannot be ignored. Indeed, there are many examples to illustrate his arguments.

Following Kevin Rudd's abandonment of his emissions trading scheme, Gillard promised at the last election "there will be no carbon tax". Gillard then proposed a carbon tax in concert with the Greens, Labor's political enemy.

Despite the back-slapping and check-kissing in parliament, it remains a deeply unpopular policy that has not been communicated successfully.

On refugees, Gillard has driven a policy replete with failure. Her East Timor processing centre never eventuated. The Malaysia Solution was ruled illegal by the High Court. While it was never going to be supported in the Senate, Gillard insisted that it be presented to the lower house and it failed to win support there too.

For years Gillard argued against Nauru's suitability for offshore processing as it was not a party to the UN refugees convention. But neither is Malaysia, which has a poor human rights record. Last month, Nauru became a party to the convention, providing a basis for a policy shift. Alternatively, the High Court decision was an opportunity to move willingly to onshore processing and to prosecute an argument for tolerance. But Malaysia remains Gillard's preferred option.

If not broken promises or policy disarray, there are the political flip-flops. The health agreement with the states was redrafted and now it yields so little political dividend that nobody talks about it. The flagship "education revolution" suite of programs, important in Labor's 2007 election victory, has had its funding cut or been scrapped.

The mining tax is yet to be implemented and is also unpopular, even though it was watered down significantly.

After the Four Corners expose on the live cattle trade, the government proposed to restrict the trade and implement new welfare standards. Then, it decided to shut it down entirely. Now, it has returned to its original proposal to restrict the trade and improve standards.

Gillard adopted Andrew Wilkie's questionable mandatory pre-commitment poker machine scheme and promised to legislate it by May next year. That seems unlikely and could bring down the government.

On gay marriage, Gillard is out of step with her party and the community and missed an opportunity to champion a milestone reform. Gillard opposes gay marriage and a conscience vote on this issue, but will be forced to do one or the other by Labor MPs or the party conference.

These failures are the result of a government that has surrendered much of its principles and exercises bad judgment.

At the weekend, Paul Keating questioned Labor's incremental leadership, its lack of a core narrative and the ceding of political ground to the Greens.

Labor MPs point to Gillard's poor political acumen as the cause of the problem. Some say it is her staff, others point to senior ministers. But the buck stops with Gillard. Just as Rudd's problems during his prime ministership were entirely of his own making, so it is with his successor.

Troy Bramston is author of the forthcoming book, Looking for the Light on the Hill: Modern Labor's Challenges.



November 14. 2011 04:25 PM


Ad astra
Supremely well done. This might well be the best piece of yours that I've read since stumbling upon TPS. I can well imagine that it took a long time and a lot of thought to pull all of the strands together even before you began to weave the narrative.
I particularly like the repetitions and descriptive passages of what Australia will require as the century progresses.

You have asked for a constructive critique and so I will feel emboldened to offer the following. I have only read the piece once and not allowed time for points to sink in but I reckon this bears a better resemblance to listening to a speech than if I read it several times and allowed the passage of time required for proper digestion.
With that in mind, I found myself turning off a little whenever the topic became 'what this government has done'. I think this is in keeping with my views expressed earlier this year with regard to 'Fireside Chats'. To your considerable credit you got through over a thousand words without ever once mentioning the Opposition or Tony Abbott by name. Lots of Brownie points for that.

It smacks a bit like suggesting that you have written the wrong book but I would be mightily impressed if the PM could give a speech that spells out clearly where Australia needs to head in order to best capitalise on the Asian Century, the reforms that will need to be implemented and the means by which we might measure their success. You have done all of that but it becomes a political speech (instead of a motivational or inspirational speech) when you list the achievements and short-term plans of this Labor Government. In this regard my sentiments are informed by the detail that was contained in the ANU Survey that was published last month. In the absence of questions about their voting intentions participants gave candid responses on where they would like to see money spent, what was important to them and so on. On almost all of the criteria an objective observer would be able to point out that this Labor government is in fact focussing on the issues that most concern Australians and are indeed spending money in the policy areas that participants thought were important. These candid responses would have been undermined, in my opinion, if voting intention or party allegiance had been attached to them. Better to let people look at what each side of politics is either delivering or offering to deliver in each of these areas and let them make their own minds up.

So to with a speech that attempts to lay out a narrative or overarching plan for the future. Spell out where Australia needs to be in ten years' time, what resources it needs to have at its disposal, what reforms will be required to achieve these objectives and then leave it to the listener to eventually connect the dots. It also has the added advantage of being a speech that can be harked back to whenever new policy needs to be explained. Show people the whole finished puzzle (like the photo on the box of a jigsaw puzzle) and then each individual piece can be held up, analysed and ultimately placed on the board.

It is all well and good for me to say that but I have to confess that I have attempted to write just such a speech outlining the vision of where we need to be by, say, 2030 and I failed dismally. Full credit to you Ad astra for compiling such a lucid document - my quibble is likely to only be a reflection of my distaste for the 'politics' of politics and the need for politicians to be constantly blowing their own trumpet. How refreshing it would be to have a speech such as I have described delivered by a Prime Minister and then to see our learned journalists join the dots objectively to ascertain whether the government is on the right track for achieving those ambitions. That's never going to happen - more likely some small phrase would be isolated, over-analysed and turned into controversial headlines.

My quibble has used up more words than my praise and that doesn't do you justice. Really, really well done, Aa.


November 14. 2011 04:33 PM


Well done Ad. Speaks to me. Outlines goals & achievements of this government in a useful way.

You said:

Labor still has its eyes on the great objective – the light on the hill. For 120 years, the enduring values of fairness, opportunity and the betterment of humankind have motivated members of the Labor Party and the wider Labour Movement.

I agree wholeheartedly...but I hope oneday it's about more than just humankind. Perhaps oneday so many workers will be out there protectin' endangered species, growin' meat in an alternative fasion, doin' the eco-tourism thing...etc etc that we will reach that goal.

Perhaps not in my lifetime...but it will be the greatest LIGHT of all. Then we could help uplift other species and truly share in our understanding of this life w/ them & vica-versa...no longer feel as ALONE as we do...HEAL...share ideas & experiences...and the knowledge that this life is a truly magnificent & privileged journey...

full of so many things to be curious about.

Boldly & compassionately goin' where no planet, that we know of, has gone before.

Thumbs up to those people savin' those stranded whales out there...good onya!



November 14. 2011 04:55 PM

Ad astra reply

To augment Bernard Keane’s account of today’s Essential Poll, this question is significant:

Note that in Bernard’s account ‘unemployed’ should have read ‘self-employed’.

Q. Which political party do you think best represents the interests of –

                                       Labor  Liberal Greens Don’t know (Labor-Liberal) Net May 11
Families with young children  42%  31%  5%  23%  +11    +3
Students  36%  26%  12%  27%  +10    +2
Working people on average incomes  44%  33%  5%  18%  +11    +8
Working people on low incomes  50%  25%  6%  19%  +25    +16
Working people on high incomes  13%  67%  2%  18%  -54    -50
People on welfare  46%  20%  9%  26%  +26    +15
Pensioners  39%  27%  7%  27%  +12    +5
Small businesses and self-employed  22%  51%  3%  24%  -29    -27
Big business  11%  68%  1%  19%  -57    -49
The next generation of Australians  21%  32%  17%  30%  -11    +12
Indigenous people  28%  17%  19%  36%  +11    +2
Ethnic communities  27%  19%  15%  39%  +8    +1
Rural and regional Australians  22%  35%  12%  31%  -13    -16

"The Labor Party is considered the party which best represents the interests of families with young children, students, working people on low and average incomes, people on welfare and pensioners. The Liberal Party is considered substantially better at representing the interests of people on high incomes, big business and small business and self-employed.

"The Greens’ main strengths are in representing the next generation, indigenous people and ethnic communities.

"Since this question was last asked in May, the Labor Party has considerably improved its position on representing the interests of families with young children, students, people on low incomes and people on welfare. The perception that the Liberal Party best represents the interest of big business has increased."

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2011 05:33 PM


Ad Adstra - Wow!  That is a stunning piece. I always think of the overarching narrative as being a bit like what corporations do ie they present a vision statement (where they want to be in so many years) and a mission statement (what steps they need to take within a timeframe to get there).  I can't tell you how many times I've been involved in workshopping that in a previous life!  I think the main issue re the vision part of the overarching narrative for AA in writing this is that JG inherited all those loose threads from Rudd.  Her in tray was crammed full with stuff she HAD to do before she could even think about in ten years time.  She is just about there now and will have the luxury of painting her own picture very soon.  I understand what NormanK is saying, but she needs to articulate everything she has achieved so far to draw a big fat line in the sand and then claim the future as her own.


November 14. 2011 05:33 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you so much for your complimentary remarks and your detailed comments, which I very much enjoyed reading.  I am in accord with your appraisal and your ideas.

You are right.  There is a need for another speech along the lines you suggest: ” … I would be mightily impressed if the PM could give a speech that spells out clearly where Australia needs to head in order to best capitalise on the Asian Century, the reforms that will need to be implemented and the means by which we might measure their success” and ”So to with a speech that attempts to lay out a narrative or overarching plan for the future. Spell out where Australia needs to be in ten years' time, what resources it needs to have at its disposal, what reforms will be required to achieve these objectives and then leave it to the listener to eventually connect the dots.”  What a challenge that would be!  You have set the neurons firing.  Whether I can get round to that before year end is conjectural.  Let’s see.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2011 05:35 PM

Ad astra reply

I’m pleased that the ‘speech’ spoke to you.  I share your concern for other species.  

Here on the south coast we delight in our six resident magpies and their morning caroling, the visiting Major Mitchell galahs that pick off the seeds after I’ve mowed the grass, the flock of black cockatoos that screech over us, the lyrical wattle birds, the many birds by the sea: curlews, stints, silver gulls, oyster catchers, swans, pelicans, ibis, spoonbills, white faced grey herons, brown ducks swimming on the inlet, and shell ducks on the salt marsh, and a very, very occasional orange bellied parrot, as well as the ubiquitous sparrows, willy wagtails and starlings, as well as our echidna, the occasional grey kangaroo and fox, the native swamp rats, our bees that inhabit the lavender and sometimes our roof space, and a variety of insects and occasional snakes, and of course the fish in the inlet – salmon, flathead, flounder, stingrays, and King George whiting.  The wonder of nature enchants every day.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2011 05:48 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you Lyn for pasting the Irme piece.  At least it’s amusing.

On the other hand, Troy Bramston’s piece seems to be based on Karl Bitar’s views.  Why anyone would embrace the views of a man who has been instrumental in bringing about Labor’s decline, one who is said to be obsessed with polls and focus groups, one who is alleged to be a ruthless power broker, and who has now abandoned Labor (thankfully) for Crown Casino, is beyond me.  I suppose Bitar has given Bramston grist for his mill.  Books, no matter how paltry, need promotion.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2011 05:55 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your kind comments.  You’re right.  JG inherited a lot of unfinished business from KR, which she is steadily knocking over.  Then, with clear air, we can look forward to her vision of a future Australia as part of Asia.  I hope she soon gets the chance.  She is a gutsy lady who will steadily show that she is the goods while Tony Abbott fades away as a pretender without substance, incapable of creating forward-looking policy, and unable to fashion a vision that could resonate with us.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2011 06:01 PM

Von Kirsdarke

A brilliant article, AA. I feel more proud than ever to have joined the Labor Party.

I joined in September during what was probably Labor's darkest hour this year, I was sure it was the right thing because Labor's all about building the nation.

This is going to be a tough century to be in, and Labor seems to be the only party willing to take it on effectively, with the Liberals choosing to ignore the problems, sell off the nation's assets and squander the money while the infrastructure decays and the most vulnerable suffer.

As for Labor's strong recovery in the polls, I knew it would happen eventually. Tony Abbott has been shoving himself into everyone's face for nearly 2 years now, and someone that unpleasant and hollow surely can't con people into supporting him forever.

There's also the matter of Julia Gillard building a reputation of someone capable of getting things done. And at the same time, the economy is still running very smoothly.

Von Kirsdarke

November 14. 2011 06:16 PM

Feral Skeleton

I'm sorry, but my brain has been fried like an egg in the 38 degree heat where I am today, so intelligent comment will have to wait until it cools down by about 10 degrees tomorrow. It has been our hottest day since high Summer earlier this year. The person I really feel sorry for though, is my youngest son, who started his Work Experience fortnight today down at the local Marina. Frown

Feral Skeleton

November 14. 2011 06:18 PM


Hi Von Kirsdarke

How delightful to see your comment, thankyou  for coming back to the Political Sword, we do so much appreciate you work and your time.

As for Labor's strong recovery in the polls, I knew it would happen eventually.

I love your confidence, you can join in with Talk Turkey, who keeps our hopes and moral up, with delectable little bits and pieces in the form of verse.

See you again soon.



November 14. 2011 06:20 PM

Feral Skeleton

   The Labor Party are better off without the Troy Bramston's of this world, and better off with the Von Kirsdarke's! Laughing

Feral Skeleton

November 14. 2011 06:21 PM


A very strong article AA - excellent work (and I'm sure it took a long time to complete).

Your article got me thinking about the "vision"/"Narrative" thing and you and a number of other is various places have developed a large laundry list of achievements the Rudd/Gillard Government have made since 2007.  I wonder if the so called "lack of narrative" that is often commented on is due to one of two reasons.

1. Those that write the Opinion pieces and seek comments for same can't see the wood for the tress.  These people are generally Canberra based and in an unenviable working environment due in part to the need to get a story, get it online and to sell papers; they get tied up in the daily process and don't have time to reflect as we who are not beholden to the process can and obviously do (judged by this article).  When on a daily basis you get loto shouting "No" at the top of his voice and the lack of massive marketing campaigns by the current Government - the finding of the apparent narrative might take too much time or be too far hidden.

2. The opinion writers have to be lead kicking and screaming towards some objectivity.

The current trend of questioning loto is encouraging but there is more to be done before balance is achieved.  For example there are a number of recent news articles where Liberal Party spokespeople have been reported as not having all the information or facts to prove an assertion which are usually followed by words like however the Government has a problem in some unrelated area.


November 14. 2011 06:31 PM


Hi 2353

Glad you are there, I have just prepared a post for you.

Having A Bad Day?, Wixxy’s Blog

“Everyone has a bad day”, at least that’s what Barry O’Farrell tells us.
some people have more of them than others. Some have bad weeks, even months.

In fact, I can’t recall another government that has seen 3 of its members arrested in its first 6 months.
The first minister I wanted to mention can’t be named for legal reasons. He is a 62 year old married minister who was arrested for lewd conduct in the inner city one night. Barry found out about this through David Elliott.The arrest was made after witnesses reported seeing a man performing lewd acts with another man in public. After finding out that this man was a minister in Barry O’Farrell’s government, the witnesses dropped the complaint and no charges were laid.Never have I heard of a Government that is so inept. I understand that the Liberals are still on their L Plates, but seriously, the state would be better run by a bunch of chimps




November 14. 2011 08:05 PM


The wonder of nature enchants every day.

indeed. Amazingly diverse...

some overseas think this a dry nation w/ only roos, emus, spiders & a few birds...

but once they reach these shores, move beyond the oft dull skyscrapers & squat hives, the typical tourist traps, the convenience malls (transforming much more into munchotainment malls as the internet begins to win over the plastic cards & minds of the convenience addict), the unimaginative clones posing as fast food & petrol strips...they get a nice surprise...

as said individuals take the time to observe this country in all its diversity & splendour & magnificence...as you have done.

I've seen an echidna waddle across a dirt road, a huge goanna shuffle up the base of a eucalypt & remain stock still for yonks, Galahs flock around a water tank, had curious possums investigate our home in Adelaide prior to a massive sandstorm, as a youngun had wallabies race down our streets and thru our yards...heard noises on bush tracks that sounded like somethin' from the movie Predator and we got thinkin' Razorback...but were told later it was probably koalas...was greeted by a dolphin off Peel Island, QLD...so many interestin' moments.

Let's hope generations in the future have similar rivettin' experiences...that we haven't concreted, mined, driven, pipelined, poisoned, grazed, neglected such experiences out of existence.



November 14. 2011 08:08 PM


This is going to be a tough century to be in, and Labor seems to be the only party willing to take it on effectively, with the Liberals choosing to ignore the problems

Von Kirsdarke,
it seems to me that the Liberals have built a great hammock at the event horizon of a black hole.



November 14. 2011 08:24 PM

Ad astra reply

Von Kirsdarke
Thank you for your kind words.  I think you are right.  Labor has a tradition of reforming while conservatives prefer the status quo.  Courage is needed for reform, as change is usually resisted, as Machiavelli told us; those who feel they might be worse off lead the charge.  To survive and prosper in tomorrow’s world radical changes need to be made to the way we operate.  The Coalition has effectively said NO to every reform Labor has proposed because it is more comfortable for conservatives to sit back in their easy chairs and watch the world go by.  Restless Labor wants change to prepare the nation for a very different future.

Gradually Julia Gillard is being recognized as one determined to bring about change, and is being acknowledged for her persistence and courage in the face of opposition from the Coalition and the MSM.  That seems to be gradually turning public opinion around.  But there is still a long way to go.

That is a scorching day so early in summer; not conducive to thinking.  Wait till the weather cools.

Thank you for your encouragement.  You are right – journalists have to write entertaining stories, garnished with excitement and scandal or dispute.  So a rational analysis is not congruent with the requirements of their work, and frankly in some cases seems beyond them. Then, as you say, they are not imbued with a thirst for objectivity as that clashes often with the editor’s or proprietor's agenda.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2011 08:31 PM


Hi Lyn,

Thanks for the link - it's not surprising.  It seems the NSW Liberals are not particularly talented or seem to believe that Askin is a good role model (and I've never lived in NSW).

I mentioned a few threads ago I was reading a book called "Merchants of Doubt" and I decided to conduct a little experiment.  The book goes into various US attempts to discredit smoking, acid rain, the hole in the ozone layer, second hand smoking and (haven't got this far yet) climate change/greenhouse gas emissions etc.  I nearly sent AA an email disclosing this today - but got busy doing other things and JJ seems not to have posted since the new thread went up, so it probably didn't matter much anyway.

According to the book a lot of the disinformation campaigns have come from a surprisingly small number of people who either helped or were trained by those who invented the atomic bomb, deeply non-communist, generally Republican and believe that government regulation in any form is invasion of liberties etc.

How these campaigns work is that they look for something that cannot be proven without doubt.  For example not all smokers die of lung cancer and not all sufferers of lung cancer smoked.  So regardless of the discussion the comment from these people is that there is no conclusive proof that smoking causes cancer (while cherry-picking the science to support their argument).

So I chose to take JJ's "there is no corruption in the NSW Government" line as something that can not be conclusively proven.  Despite not knowing the information you kindly posted above - in reality if some public servant looks at Facebook on work time it could be construed as corruption as time and resources are being mis-used.  Therefore no one can really say with absolute assurance that the NSW Government is corruption free.  So I called JJ out on it.  S/he came back with a number of different examples of potential pre O'Farrell Government corruption (which I simply ignored) because it didn't suit my argument.  I am really happy that one post was both a response to me and TT - so I cast doubt on the reply to TT as well.  

No-one would be surprised if I disagreed with JJ - however there might be a suspicion if I went for say you, TT, Nasking, NormanK, Jason or any of the other regular posters.  Crisp was no good to me as there is normally no point to the posts , so JJ it was.

I could have kept it going for yonks - every response being greeted with a invitation to put up or shut up and prove what is in reality unprovable - that literally no-one who works for the NSW Government has misused their power, resources or infrastructure since the election of the O'Farrell Government.

You may notice some similarities with my little experiment and the methods used by those against the Carbon Price Scheme - there is no absolute here.  No one can definitely prove without any doubt that the Australian Carbon Price Scheme (with or without action elsewhere in the world) will deliver a reduction in the carbon in the atmosphere.  However, its the best chance we have so its worth doing.  My expectation is that in 20 or 30 years time, the action will be as logical as night following day - which will make the world slightly better for my kids.

As for corruption in the NSW Government, the article above seems to describe some irregular practices and there are probably corrupt individuals in any Government around the world.  As to if O'Farrell's Government is more or less corrupt that any other Government I neither know or care - as I don't live in NSW.

Sorry for the long post - glad to see the book's logic worked.


November 14. 2011 08:34 PM

Ad astra reply

There is road near here where there are giant monitors and sign cautioning motorists to watch for them.  We have even had the occasional koala in our eucalypts, and of course wombats still wander languidly across the road and too often end up as road kill. Nature is diverse and enchanting – we should care for it.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2011 08:45 PM


It would be a much more stagnant pons without you.

I meant to reply to yer most kind & motivatin' words earlier but got caught up w/ many a domestic activity.

You & Ad & Lyn & AC are to this pond the energy that surrounds and binds the other wonderful contributors...and motivates them to display their unique abilities and colour.

And once in awhile you all, like Patricia, reveal yerselves as glorious water lilies...

I enjoy drinking from the pond...sometimes splashing about...occasionally creating ripples of temporal & spatial disruption...and moral contemplation...oft feeling sustained...occasionally bereft of peace of mind wondering if a ripple has evolved into a nuisance flood...but ever-driven...by the need for change...paradoxically in & out of the pond I sometimes wish would always remain the same.



November 14. 2011 08:49 PM

Ad astra reply

What an interesting comment you have made to Lyn.   Could you please post the full details of the book ‘Merchants of Doubt’.  It sounds interesting.  Of course the skeptics are aided by a basic tenet of science, pointed out by Karl Popper, that while it is possible to refute a scientific theory, it is not possible to absolutely ’prove’ it. Skeptics, or those simply mounting opposition to a theory or proposition, can always fall back on the ‘you can’t prove it’ line.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2011 09:03 PM

Ad astra reply

I'm calling it a day to watch ABC TV.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2011 09:05 PM

Von Kirsdarke

Thanks, everyone.

Also, I've noticed from the Nielsen poll that there's been a huge collapse in support for the Coalition for 18-24 year olds (support for the ALP is 57-43 for them, compared to 53-47 to the Coalition for 25-39 year olds, 55-45 to the Coalition for 40-54 year olds, and 59-41 to the Coalition for those 55+).

The Liberals and Nationals will pay dearly for many years to come for yelling and screaming that the environment isn't important. They're telling that to a youth who were raised in the 1990's-2000's, when we were taught that we need to care for the world around us and the importance of reducing pollution.

Of course many youth are also turning to the Greens, which may also be a problem for Labor, but on voting day, a large portion of those leaning toward the Greens decide instead to vote for the more sound economic policies of the ALP.

Von Kirsdarke

November 14. 2011 09:10 PM


AA wrote Skeptics, or those simply mounting opposition to a theory or proposition, can always fall back on the ‘you can’t prove it’ line. and apparently in the USA you can not only make a good living doing it but influence world policy for years.

The book is called "Merchants of Doubt" by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway (ISBN 987-1-59691-610-4)and my copy is courtesy of the local Library system.  The subtitle is "How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming".  It's not the easiest read in the world - but by Dog (thanks TT) it's interesting.

I suppose I should also thank JJ for "playing the game" Smile

P.S. DOes anyone know what "Gluten-Free griitall" is?  That's what I got in Recaptcha bingo.


November 14. 2011 09:21 PM


Lyn @4.24pm, Troy Bramston's book sounds more like a summary of Liars Party talking points, to me.


November 14. 2011 09:28 PM


Here is the field for
the 2012 LOTO Stakes:

M Turnbull

Is there a sedan chair big enuff? Will Barnaby, Mr. Briggs, Sophie & Joe be willin' to take their turn in carryin' it?


K Andrews

I thought he might graduate to Hell House coordinator:

Hell houses are haunted attractions typically run by American, fundamentalist Christian churches or parachurch groups. These depict sin, the torments of the damned in Hell, and usually conclude with a depiction of heaven. They are most typically operated in the days preceding Halloween.

A hell house, like a conventional haunted-house attraction, is a space set aside for actors attempting to frighten patrons with gruesome exhibits and scenes, presented as a series of short vignettes with a narrated guide. Unlike haunted houses, hell houses focus on occasions and effects of sin or the fate of unrepentant sinners in the afterlife. They occur during the month of October to capitalize on the similarities between hell houses and haunted attractions.

The exhibits at a hell house often have a theme focusing on issues of concern to evangelicals in the United States. Hell houses frequently feature exhibits depicting sin and its consequences. Common examples include abortion, suicide,use of alcoholic beverage and other recreational drugs, adultery and pre-marital sex, occultism, homosexuality, and Satanic ritual abuse. Hell houses typically emphasize the belief that anyone who does not accept Christ as their personal savior is condemned to Hell. They are notable for their use of hyperbole...

J Bishop

Quite possible...she's annoyin' enuff...stubborn as heck...a survivor of the most opportunistic kind...enjoys the limelight...vague...prissy enuff...might eat Andrew Robb for dinner which would be fun to watch...wears a variety of interestin' outfits keepin' the press happy...why not.

J Hockey

Nah, I think Joe's just about had his fill of sweatin' buckets. He has a lovely family waitin' for him who keep their knives & forks on the table.

P Dutton

What's a Dutton? Yawn.

A Robb

Another survivor...reminds me of a salmon swimmin' upstream...in toxic water.

C Pyne

I doubt his flyin' carpet would stay still long enuff. Besides, I reckon he'd get sick of havin' those tight curls ruffled constantly by an "anythin' goes" media.

G Hunt

LOL. I saw the wee suit moanin' about the carbon price on a beach the other day...and wondered how long it would take for the global warming waves to lap at his tie...and suck him out to sea.  

And last but by no means least

-  Everybody's favourite -

Let's hear it for


Okay TT, you've had yer fun. Ya know people w/ Spontaneous Combustion Syndrome are not eligible to be leader of a party.

Velvet sedan chair anyone?



November 14. 2011 09:30 PM


Wow 2353

Am I thrilled to bits I put that Wixxy's blog up about NSW and the O'Farrell goings on for you.  Because of the delightful response you posted.

Thanks so much 2353, I am an avid reader and ‘like Ad Astra would be extremely interested in the book you are reading, especially from what you have told us.

Merchants of Doubt’



November 14. 2011 09:54 PM


and of course wombats still wander languidly across the road and too often end up as road kill. Nature is diverse and enchanting – we should care for it.

Couldn't agree more. Alot of Righties via Fox News & its affiliates luv to show the brutal side of nature...promote the "survivalist" stuff...they enjoy pushin' the bear attack...the shark gnaw...the croc bite...the poisonous snake...

yes, nature has its pragmatic, instinct-driven, indifferent to suffering, survival genes dominate aspects...

but it doesn't mean we should oft feel compelled to join in...replicate it...what's the point of possessing such cognitive abilities...to be sentient beings, having already outwitted most carnivores/predators as evidenced by our existence that multiplies exponentially...so as to be an  imitation of the savage beast...perhaps a callous hunter of herbivores (think royal family) puttin' on our fancy tradition coats & furs provin' what?

How wise a nation that excels in myth & pseudo science and allows rhinos to be slaughtered in the hope for a raging horn. Eh China?

Okay, I'm off. Gracias for the feedback.



November 15. 2011 08:16 AM



Market Farces , Mr Denmore, The Failed Estate
Anyway, the thing is - as that hugely successful Fairfax publisher Fred Hilmer once said - journalists are really just content providers for advertising platforms. Their job consists of making the news widget thingies that occupy the white spaces between the clients' advertising collateral. As such, their mission is to generate sufficient click bait to get people looking at the ads.

Those Beautiful Set of Numbers Again, A Frank View
Spring has sprung and Dolphins are snurfing;This is kinda like a red rag to a bull (or a dolphin). here in its full glory:Latest: “Tony Abbott,11/11/11: Australia’s government debt – 8 per cent of GDP compared with 73 per cent in Britain and the US and 100 per cent in Italy”.

It was just two months ago that the women of The Hoopla gave Prime Minister Gillard some stinging advice. “Be strong; stick to your core values; do it your way; don’t talk to us as if we’re small children,” were the key messages.Well perhaps something got through because the woman no-one thought would last until

Penbo to News critics: “You’re welcome to start your own paper. It’s a free country, Jeremy Sear,Pure Poison
If “the left” doesn’t have its own billionnaires prepared to lose huge amounts of money to establish newspapers that don’t make any money, then it doesn’t deserve to be heard.

Hack on hacking, Dave Gaukroger, Pure Poison
it’s well known that the Liberal party has a voter tracking system of its own, but that’s not surprising when it’s the two major parties who have traditionally been able to decide what limits they do, or do not, place on their own activities

Real story missed, Jeremy Sear, An Anonymous Lefty
The ALP holds a database of disturbingly private information about voters. The Age accesses it in order to expose it. The Herald Sun‘s response? To bash The Age and defend the outrageous abuse of ordinary voters’ privacy

Having A Bad Day?, Wixxy’s Blog
In fact, I can’t recall another government that has seen 3 of its members arrested in its first 6 months. After finding out that this man was a minister in Barry O’Farrell’s government, the witnesses dropped the complaint and no charges were laid.

PCC chairman Lord Hunt: the greater challenge is with bloggers, Roy Greenslade, Guardian UK
But, I counter, surely the major problems occur because of the tabloids? "No," he replies, "I think the greater challenge is with the bloggers, whether it's Guido Fawkes or whoever."

Coalition NBN plan “difficult to achieve, Renai-LeMay. Delimeter
Citigroup estimating that it will take until the first half of 2014 to finalise a cost/benefit analysis into the infrastructure, until the end of 2015 to complete new contractual negotiations between NBN Co and parties like Telstra, and until the end of 2018 to implement separation of Telstra.

NBN Co signs NT, SA construction deals, Suzanne Tindal, ZNet
NBN Co said that design and preliminary works were underway in the Darwin and Adelaide suburbs of Modbury and Prospect, with the design and construction work to begin for 85,000 premises over the next 12 months. The average time from the start of works at a site to the activation of first services is around 12 months, according to the company

When Will The NBN Be Available In My Area? Angus Kidman, Life Hacker
This is based on taking the date when construction work starts and adding 12 months, which is the rough approach NBN Co recommends. So take notice: it’s a best estimate, not a commandment written in stone. As such, there are two important caveats: it’s entirely possible that availability might happen earlier if construction proceeds well, and it’s a certainty that not every home in a given area will have availability on this date.

Local councils need to be more active in NBN development, Paul Budde, The Budde Blog
broadband is far more than simply the provision of internet services – that it is also vital for economic development, healthcare, education and the monitoring of the environment, energy, etc. Without broadband it will be very difficult for local councils to implement any effective policies in this area.

So when did corporations begin to be interested in media and governments? Think about it, they are the agencies most heavily invested in public opinion, even more so than political parties and governments. The disconcerting thing about the internet is that it is not platform for pervasive advertising, and thus for business communication models. Technology has gotten ahead of them

Clive Palmer annoyed about carbon tax, so joins Twitter, The Power Index
"We don't want to but we will have to, as I said I'm obligated to ... do everything I can to protect the people at Queensland Nickel who have done a fantastic job since our turnaround," he said."I owe it to them to do everything I can to protect this place."

Dragging coal through the courts: an alternative emissions-reduction strategy, Brad Jessup, The Conversation
Regardless of the outcomes of these cases, court battles between coal companies and environmentalists will continue. Legal alliances are being formed. Landholders, like those in Bacchus Marsh close to Melbourne, have been emboldened by the coal seam gas outrage initiated by farmers throughout New South Wales and Queensland and appear likely to join the fold.

National senators fail to vote on their own policy!, Coal Seam Gas News
This would be a first in Australian politics – where a political party has failed to vote for their own policy announcement of the same week,” Mr Oakeshott said.“Actions certainly speak louder than words in politics, and the Nationals’ absence in Parliament is not lost on the communities of the Manning Valley, the Camden Haven and the Gloucester Basin.”

If We Get a US Military Base Our Trade Partner China Will Not Dislike Or Attack Us , Take your New Paradigmand and ..............
If, heaven forbid, Australia comes under attack in the future from a rogue state (we likely won't) and we had to invoke ANZUS, wouldn't it be easier if at least one of our partners had a permanent presence here, from facilities as strongly equipped as a base?

Rational’ econocrats v. “hand waving Mediterraneans”, Mark Bahnisch, Larvatus Prodeo
the departure of George Papandreou and Silvio Berlusconi as Prime Ministers of Greece and Italy and their replacement by econocrats acceptable to “the markets”. The article dwelt at great length on the sufferings of the thrifty and efficient Germans at the hands of Italy and Greece

Cutting the slack and saving the budget, Julie Novak, Online Opinion'
A recent CPD report purports to show that the case of bloated, or excessive, government employment is overstated. According to the CPD figures, if we compare ongoing APS employment against population growth then the total number of Australians per public servant has increased from 1991 to 2009.

Regulation or Deregulation, David Havyatt, Anything Goes
I reckon everyone who talks about deregulation of the Labor market should read this Ross Gittins piece.As he says;Here's the point: the labour market has always been highly regulated. It remained highly regulated under Work Choices and it's still highly regulated under Fair Work.

Limit Pokies Damage, Keith Williams,  Captain Turtle
The current version of MPC for bets over $1 is actually a compromise position. It lets Clubs keep the high intensity machines, but seeks to control total spend. Its a good, workable system, but if the Federal Coalition continues to play its spoiling role, then its passage through Parliament is less than assured



November 15. 2011 08:16 AM


Ad Astra

Maybe Julia read your thought-waves.  I've been up very early today (power going out for most of the day for maintenance), and I read a piece in one of the papers (not Murdoch) that was touching on some of what you have said.  


That was a great short pome, and also enjoyed re-reading your A Fair Go pome again.

Von Kirsdarke

Well done for your positiveness and joining the ALP.  You sound like you are quite young.  Glad to see you have a good head on your shoulders.  Look forward to hearing more input from you.  Are you going to the ALP Conference (I think that's what it is called) in December?  It would be great to get good feedback from it.


November 15. 2011 08:26 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

November 15. 2011 08:28 AM


Sorry, somewhere in that first paragraph should have been the words 'the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has written a piece.........


November 15. 2011 08:38 AM

Von Kirsdarke

Thanks, Gravel. I'm 23, so yes, I'm fairly young.

As for the ALP National Conference, I live in Ballarat so I don't think I'll be able to make it. I hope to help out with local Labor matters over the summer though.

Von Kirsdarke

November 15. 2011 08:40 AM

Ad astra reply

Do you have a link to that opinion piece by Julia Gillard?  I've been looking for it but can't find it.

Ad astra reply

November 15. 2011 08:42 AM

Feral Skeleton

          If I remember rightly, today is a very big day for you and the Sanqween. If I am right, then let me convey good vibes across the ley lines to both of you, and I hope that by the end of the day you are reposing in peace and happiniess. Smile

Feral Skeleton

November 15. 2011 09:06 AM

Feral Skeleton

  Here's a link to the Julia Gillard piece:


Feral Skeleton

November 15. 2011 09:19 AM


Abbott visits troops in Afghanistan (www.abc.net.au/.../3666706):
"Mr Abbott says some of the troops told him they did not like casualties being politicised."

So why are you there, Tony?  He's like a stalker - wherever Julia goes, creepy Tony follows.


November 15. 2011 09:35 AM

Feral Skeleton

   So exactly HOW have 'casulaties in Afghanistan been politicised', in Australia, Mr Abbott?

Feral Skeleton

November 15. 2011 09:47 AM


Good morning all.
Ad astra, I give you 10 stars for your "The Light on the Hill" piece.  Please send it off to the PMs Office and tweeters might also put it out in the twittersphere.

NormanK has come up with a very good critique which I sort of summed up as "gloss over the achievements (past history) and emphasise the goals yet to be met (the future).  Dwell on the vision; paint a picture of what this nation will look like a decade or two into the future."

Lovely pome, but then I expect nothing less from you these days - you've joined the ranks of the 'elite' writers of verse IMO.

I have a new resident in my care.  He/she, a Port Lincoln Parrot of dubious heritage, is an escapee pet/breeder aviary.  It is a bossy bird which is only happy indoors, free to roam unrestricted. So far there have no answers to the ads looking for the owner.  


November 15. 2011 10:07 AM


Abbott 'wind change'.


"Woos"??? Action man is trying to make lovey-dovey with Diggers??? The headline enough is a dig at Shouldabeen's posturing.

Check the quotes from Tiny. There's virtually no paragraph from his own lips that actually makes grammatical sense. The quote about politicising deaths is illucid and illogical. We KNOW what he's trying to say, but do we WANT (can we accept??) a potential Prime Minister whose utterances have to be interpreted with generosity, rather than understood as the statements of leadership?

Apart from the pitfalls of his own mouth, Shouldabeen couldn't resist putting on the military equivalent of a bomb disposal suit to be filmed/photographed helping deal with a mock bomb. So, willingly entering into an exercise in bullshit when real Australian soldiers really died when real bombs have gone off. Does the man think through his faux action man photo ops, or is he just led down the road of all publicity is good publicity?

Perhaps not, when this quote concludes the article:

"During his visit, Mr Abbott also dressed up in a bomb disposal suit to participate in the defusing of a mock roadside bomb, drawing laughs from assembled troops when he sprinted clumsily down a road on the base."

Do we really want a PM who draws laughter from real action men as he clumsily imitates them?

recaptcha code "troops) tailwi" - add 'nd', you've got troops tailwind: is wooing soldiers enough to reinvigorate TA's ranking? Doubt it.


November 15. 2011 10:10 AM

Ad astra reply

Thanks for the link to the JG opinion piece.

Thank you for your kind remarks. I expect that pieces with Julia Gillard's name in the title are regularly monitored by her office.  The piece has already appeared on Wotnews Daily News Report.

NormanK’s idea of a forward-looking statement about where Australia should be in ten years is a good one.  He has set a challenge; whether I can muster a response by year-end is conjectural.  I’ve got overseas visitors coming soon so time is limited before we go into quieter mode over the end of year break.

Ad astra reply

November 15. 2011 10:20 AM

Feral Skeleton

Marvel at the 3rd last paragraph in this Niki Savva piece(in which she actually criticises Abbott), and the hint, or maybe that should be 'preparing the ground for what she knows is to follow', that Tony 'No Tax, No How' Abbott, is actually preparing to announce some 'Great Big New Taxes' of his own next year(or, will they be 'Levies'?):


   If you can't get behind the Paywall for this I'll cut 'n' paste it for you.

Feral Skeleton

November 15. 2011 10:25 AM

Ad astra reply

The Abbott Afghanistan visit was like all his other forays into the public sphere – opportunistic, populist, say anything, do anything to garner a vote.  It’s a pity he opens his mouth at all, but as he says, don’t take as gospel anything he says, unless it’s scripted.

Ad astra reply

November 15. 2011 10:41 AM

Ad astra reply

The sun is shining - the grass beckons again.  I'll be back after a couple of hours on the mower.

Ad astra reply

November 15. 2011 11:09 AM


Hi Ad and Everybody

Here is Bushfire Bill , posted on Twitter by Mark Shove, thankyou to Mark:

markjs1Mark Shove
For Bushfire Bill fans..his latest post takes aim at the poll-driven/lazy journos..who don't get the vibes: http://bit.ly/vrJ3gJ

Bushfire Bill
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 8:19 am | Comment 928

Gerard Henderson joins the rank of race callers who can’t – or won’t – see who’s gaining and who’s tiring.

A mile out from the finish line the bolter is 8 lengths ahead but is starting to slow down while the champion mare is just getting into her stride.

So Henderson reminds us that if was a one mile race instead of a two mile race, the bolter would win easily.


Not only that, but he’s rather bitchy about it, in that Hendo sort of way.

When it all boils down to it, the Fairfax mob – who some here seem to think are the more reasoned of the commentators we have advising us on politics – are just your common or garden mug punters who can justify their positions with prettily-worded ambiguity about “policy” (or lack of it) and with plonking dismissals of the distastefulness of “retail politics”.



November 15. 2011 11:27 AM


Hi Lyn,

Thanks for the links today (and every day Laughing).
It looks as though the gremlins have taken a bit of a holiday. That can only be a good thing.
May I say once again how lovely it is to have you back, providing updates and bits of gossip off that Twittery thingy.
The Sentinel is on duty and we are all the richer because of it.


November 15. 2011 12:31 PM


Hi NormanK

Thankyou for noticing the absence of the gremlins, they disappeared yesterday and again today.

You could imagine my excitement this morning after posting, to find
the gremlins gone, except one got into "Take your New Paradigm and  .............. " and one in Delimeter.  The little pests they moved my headings up a space.

NormanK thankyou so much for your marvellous help with fighting those gremlins.  I can't believe they caused me so much trouble for nearly 2 years.

NormanK you are nominated for the title of in House

         TPS Technology Advisor.

Watch this very short, brief video, David Cameron paying Julia Gillard a compliment:

David Cameron imitates Julia Gillard, ABC
British leader David Cameron attempts to master the Australian accent during a speech to the Lord Mayor of London's banquet.


An opportunity for sound and fury signifying something , By Julia Gillard, SMH,  Video CH10
Robust debate on uranium and gay marriage is what the Labor conference needs.

Labor meets next month in Sydney. As Australia's oldest and largest political party, we must take our opportunity to speak to the country, to be clear about Labor's vision for the future.


Two tweets for you and everybody:-

Tony Abbott's me too visit to Afghanistan after PM Gillard's is sad sign of his mental state in particular when berets were his major topic

2FBSStephen C
Tony Abbott has an actual POLICY...Let Troops in Afghanistan wear their berets. That'll help the "forgotten families" eh @JoeHockey?



November 15. 2011 12:38 PM


Hi Everybody

tweets should have been posted above:

Tony Abbott's beret push if approved would lead to more deaths in Afghanistan CRAZY WRONG AGAIN Where's the money Tony http://bit.ly/rLscYr

John_HannaJohn Hanna
by MarionGroves
Is there an ABC News rule that if you mention the #PM you MUST mention Tony Abbott ?



November 15. 2011 01:31 PM


FS @9.35am, well only one name springs to mind in that department.

Is there an ABC News rule that if you mention the #PM you MUST mention Tony Abbott ?

Of course, Lyn We must have balance, don't you know?



November 15. 2011 01:52 PM

Feral Skeleton

       Maybe no one has answered the ad because they let a bossy parrot go on purpose?
   Do you have as many parrots and galahs flying free around your area as we do here?

Feral Skeleton

November 15. 2011 01:57 PM

Feral Skeleton

  I'd just like to make everyone aware again that the Liberal Party nicked my term, 'Forgotten Families'. I used it first before any of them did, in my blog that reinterpreted Menzies' famous speech about the 'Forgotten People'.
  I guess it was to have been expected from a crew whose idea of a policy is to take a Labor policy, triple it, and restrict it's biggest benefits to the Economic Elites.   Such as the Paid Parental Leave Policy of Mr Abbott.

Feral Skeleton

November 15. 2011 03:07 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn, Michael
Tony Abbott’s visit to Afghanistan exposes yet more gobbledygook.  What do you make of this remark: "My strong suspicion would be that, while it might well be possible to start significant draw downs of troops within a few years, it would be wrong to think that Australia's involvement with Afghanistan will terminate at that point, or that the West's involvement should terminate at that point."  

What does he mean by ‘strong suspicion’?   Why use ‘might well be possible’ if not to give himself wriggle room?  What are ‘significant draw downs’?  What does ‘within a few years’ mean? What does ‘it would be wrong to think that…’ mean?

This is Alice in Wonderland talk where, like Humpty Dumpty, Abbott believes that words can mean whatever you want them to mean.

And what about him done up in bomb disposal gear!  What on earth does he believe that will do for his image, except make him look the galah he is, with apologies to all genuine flying galahs.

Read more: www.smh.com.au/.../...an-visit-20111115-1nfy6.html

Ad astra reply

November 15. 2011 03:53 PM


Maybe no one has answered the ad because they let a bossy parrot go on purpose?

The thought has crossed my mind Laughing:  
I expect there are as many galahs, sulfur crested and rosellas flying around here as most places.  The Port Lincoln parrot is foreign (in the wild)to Eastern Aust but there are plenty of licensed breeders around.  This bird has a leg band which suggests it probably came from a breeders aviary, but unfortunately there is no info on it for ident purposes.  I would presume it has been sold as a pet because it is a "hybrid" having been crossed with, perhaps, a rosella rather than one of the sub-species as it has red vent feathers as well as a red fringe at the end of its leg feathers.

It appears I may be stuck with this parrot permanently so I will endeavour to train it to conform to its new environment.

I see the LOTO has re-appeared.  The media haven't been all that interested in his Tarin Kowt stunt visit.  Not much about his UK jaunt either.


November 15. 2011 03:55 PM


Ad Astra

You have been trumped today in the speech writing department! Your effort, though very commendable, pales into insignificance beside the PM's address at around 12.45 today. I watched it live on ABC24.

I will have to concede though that either the PM has read your speech or one of her advisors conveyed the message.

The PM's speech will probably be introduced on tonight's news as a extension of the PM's opinion piece in today's SMH: www.smh.com.au/.../...omething-20111114-1nfi3.html. More likely it will be called a 'backflip' or a 'Policy U-turn' on uranium. Both of these descriptions have been used this afternoon by ABC24 newsreaders.

The PM was also at her best in answering questions. She used phrases like 'These are matters I have spoken about and want to be heard on'; re the ALP Conference she repeated that she 'expected and wants a noisy conference' also that the Conference is held well out from an election because she does not want 'an election year parade and pageant'; questioned about the uranium issue she said 'the matter will be discussed but I am making my position on this very clear' and on the uranium announcement being on the eve of President Obama's visit - 'My decision, My announcement, My logistics.'

That last statement did not stop an ABC24 interviewer from asking 'Isn't the timing more than a bit of a coincidence [given Obama's imminent arrival]' To which the interviewee, Prof Andrew O'Neil from Griffith Uni responded 'No, the PM's announcement was more about full, frank and open relations with India'.

Unfortunately the PM's media address will have been chopped up into a series of sound bites by news time at 6pm.


November 15. 2011 04:31 PM


The SMH says 'Tony Abbott makes top secret eight-hour trip to Afghanistan'. Unannounced, yes, but Top Secret, hardly! It was not a matter of 'if' but 'when' Abbott would arrive in the footsteps of the PM. Also, as happened before his last visit he went via London to over-come his jet lag before continuing to his 'theatre' of war where he made a bee-line for the dress and props departments. So predictable.

What a phoney is our Tony. But at least he has a policy now. Giving back the beret to our troops.


November 15. 2011 04:36 PM


FS, the Liars Party is so bereft of talent, they have to plagiarise anything they can lay their thieving hands on that isn't nailed down.

Ad astra, I thought draw downs happened when a lending institution transferred a loan for a car or some such into one's account. I don't think I've heard the term used wrt humans before.

And what about him done up in bomb disposal gear!

Yet another missed opportunity for the Taliban.

janice, do you get the impression that we're seeing yesterday's man?

Looks like the PM is getting into her stride, Casablanca. She has grown in stature and into the job in these last few weeks, I think.


November 15. 2011 04:54 PM

Feral Skeleton

           Channel 9 Newsreader, Georgie Parker, trumped everyone from early this morning on The Today Show by sneering as she said wtte: "Julia Gillard has today announced what the Opposition have been calling for for years, that she would like to sell Australian Uranium to India."(Cut to Georgie with a disgusted look on her face and rolling eyes to the heavens momentarily).
  Can't do anything about it though, can we, it's 'Free Speech' after all. Or, is that, 'Free Body Language'? Smile

Feral Skeleton

November 15. 2011 05:30 PM

Ad astra reply

I missed the PM’s press conference; it sounds as if it was commendable.  I’d like to get the transcript.  If you come across it, please post the link.

I don’t know whether or not the PM’s staff look at blog sites, but when ‘Julia Gillard’ is in the title of a piece, they just might, and some of the substance may rub off onto the speechwriter.  I hope so.

Ad astra reply

November 15. 2011 05:31 PM


janice, do you get the impression that we're seeing yesterday's man?

Yep.  Last year's, last month's, last week's as well.  Smile


November 15. 2011 05:32 PM


Hi all, I'm back, the power is restored, how I missed you all while I looked at a dead computer screen. Smile

No TV, no radio and no computer, it was like being transported into Sir Liealot's reality. :-(

And now to read that I missed a great speech by  Julia, I could just about cry.  Does anyone know if there is a way to download and watch it anywhere?

Feral Skeleton

Thanks for putting the link up for Ad Astra, I had forgotton which paper I read it in, I was trying to read through stuff quickly, and I didn't think to write it down.


You keep coming up with great links even after your daily links, thank heaps.

Von Kirsdarke

Wow, you are young.  Please keep posting here, I love to read/hear young people's views, especially on politics, and I think you would  have some very modern and interesting views.  Ballarat is not far from where I live, we were over there not that long ago.

A big thanks to whomever posted that video of David Cameron taking off Julia, I thought he was very good at it.  He must have been really impressed with her to bother doing that.  I get the impression that most of the dignitaries that have met Julia are impressed, and so they bluddy well should be.  Smile


November 15. 2011 05:51 PM


Wow. The gloss is falling off even for the Liealotts. Read this and feel good.

Brain snaps put Abbott in dog house

Niki Savva. The Australian. November 15, 2011 12:00AM

ALL politicians have brain snaps, big or small, and there are always consequences, big or small, invariably bad, which flow from them. They might fall victim to hubris, thinking they are so good they can do or say anything and get away with it. Prime example, Bill Clinton entertaining Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office.

They might succumb to the lures of "friendly" interviewers and blurt out something they shouldn't which has corrosive long-term consequences. Prime example, John Howard telling Philip Clark on ABC radio that he would consider his future as leader when he was 64.

Or their resentment gets the better of them when they think their companion is hogging the camera, and they forget and show their inner selves. Kevin Rudd with Kristina Keneally.

Or they face pressure so intense and relentless they just do something incredibly brave or foolhardy. Prime example, the former Greek prime minister, George Papandreou. Not content with finally resolving the crisis, he proposed a referendum. Whatever possessed him to do it and whatever possessed him not to confide in his colleagues, including his Finance Minister, remains a mystery.
Free trial

What is it with leaders and their finance ministers? In a classic display of brain snappery, Tony Abbott excluded the Liberals' finance spokesman, Andrew Robb from a key decision-making group convened hastily to discuss reversing Coalition policy opposing an increase in compulsory superannuation from 9 to 12 per cent as the government proposes, using the revenue from the mineral resources rent tax which the Coalition has vowed to abolish.

Sounds complicated and important, right? It was, not only because the government's figures have been dodgy from day one, and there are claims now the spend will exceed revenue by about $5 billion.

So you would think the Coalition would carefully consider any decision with such serious financial and philosophical ramifications. Yet the man expected to help fund the policies as well as devise them was left out of the discussion.

There are quite a few Abbott doubters in the Liberal Party, and that action, plus the announcement of the anti-dumping policy and the ongoing negativity, risk turning them into Abbott deniers.

Abbott is aware he is reaching a crossover point in his leadership, and has canvassed with close colleagues the possibility of headland speeches next year to lay out his priorities and values. They are strongly encouraging him to do it.

The new year would be a good time to unveil a new Abbott, especially if the summer leaves Australians more kindly disposed to the government. Already Liberal MPs are picking up a slight but perceptible change in tone. Voter anger is turning to resignation on the carbon tax -- that now it's passed it's here to stay, no matter who wins.

This suits Labor, desperate to cement the view that, despite what he says, Abbott will keep it. His switch on superannuation helped considerably with that argument.

Labor will be looking for something fresh to talk about next year and, rather than responding to its agenda, Abbott needs one of his own. Just as the government spends too much time talking about him, he needs to talk about them less and himself more.

Meanwhile he, his colleagues and his staff need to review and learn from what happened on November 4. The Sydney Morning Herald quoted comments by the opposition assistant Treasury spokesman and frontbencher responsible for superannuation, Mathias Cormann, from a private meeting reiterating the Coalition's policy to repeal the mining tax and the superannuation increase.

In response to that story, about 9am, Abbott's chief of staff, Peta Credlin, emailed the offices of Cormann, the party's federal director Brian Loughnane, and the leadership group, which includes Barnaby Joyce, Nigel Scullion, Eric Abetz, Christopher Pyne, Julie Bishop, George Brandis, Joe Hockey and Warren Truss, advising of a phone hook-up at 11am to discuss super.

Incredibly, some are still adamant Robb should not have been included because he is not part of the leadership group and he is not the responsible shadow. Others at the time were curious he was not on the call, and assumed it was because he was unavailable. Robb was reportedly "ropeable"; although he has since publicly supported the decision, his detractors in the party blame him for the ensuing bad publicity.

For the record, I did not speak to Robb for this column. However, leaving him off the call, whichever way you look at it, was a blunder. And it is a collection of brain snaps, blunders, call them what you will, in process or judgment, that have damaged Abbott.

Abetz, the workplace relations spokesman, was left off a critical phone hook-up at the start of the last election campaign, which led to contradictions on policy.

Abbott made a perfectly good, positive speech to the Liberals' Federal Council meeting and blew it out of the water by playing show and tell with his ballot for the party's presidency.

Whether or not Craig Thomson would be a given a pair to attend the birth of his child was another silly brain snap. In the wrong place at the wrong time when the Senate passed the carbon tax. And on it goes.

Abbott or his staff -- and there are already harsh mutterings in the Coalition about Credlin -- should have ensured Robb was included because of his responsibilities and his expertise.

Worse, the reversal was leaked to The Sunday Telegraph's Samantha Maiden within an hour, denying Abbott the chance to prepare for a major announcement.

Frontbenchers already suspected a reversal, supported by the opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey, who is not besties with Robb, was planned, but they expected it to be discussed soon at a meeting of the shadow cabinet.

That's what should have happened. Until then any questions on policies from the last election should have been handled as they always have been. That is, they remain until otherwise decided. If the SMH story was designed to flush out and pressure the opposition, it worked a treat. There is now another gaping hole to fill and a frontbench rattled and angered by leaks and jealousies.

Abbott was adamant in the hook-up that the tax was bad and would be repealed. This does not mean there will not be other tax measures, including on the minerals sector, to make up funding shortfalls. They will be spelled out later.

Abbott will not emulate his former boss, John Hewson, and write a long suicide note detailing all his policies this far out from an election. However, he is concerned, as are those close to him, about his negatives; hence, the discussion of headland speeches. His role model there is Howard.

He will pay if he doesn't. His drop as preferred PM is no accident. He has to convince the doubters there is more to him than they have seen, and which so far many of them don't like.



November 15. 2011 06:19 PM


Ad Astra

I found the transcript of the PM's address. Haven't found a video.



November 15. 2011 06:21 PM

Patricia WA

So Nikkie Savva thinks that Abbott has to

to convince the doubters there is more to him than they have seen, and which so far many of them don't like.

Is she serious?   'Doubters' are probably sick of the sight of him and have been grateful for the past few days relief from having him  thrust in their faces in newspapers and on their TV screens.  To say nothing of hearing constantly  about what the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, has to say about everything and anything.

Patricia WA

November 15. 2011 06:44 PM


Top Secret???
Is there anybody who DIDN'T think Abbott would make a visit to the troops on his way home?


November 15. 2011 07:06 PM


Hi Ad

Here is the video of Julia Gillards Press conference today:

November 15, 2011. Gillard on Uranium exports.
November 15, 2011. The Prime Minister has outlined her support for the exportation of Australian Uranium to India. (AAP/Samuel Cardwell)


November 15, 2011. Gillard on Gay Marriage.
November 15, 2011. The Prime Minister has said that she would allow a conscience vote on the issue of Gay Marriage in the parliament but that the Government would not introduce the legislation. (AAP/Samuel Cardwell)



November 15. 2011 07:11 PM

Patricia WA

Anyone who doubts our Prime Minister's leadership capacity should look at this picture


Patricia WA

November 15. 2011 08:08 PM


Hi Everybody

This is funny, spot the difference:-

Spot the difference: PM Gillard - images.smh.com.au/.../...114173426870049-420x0.jpg LOTO Abbott - images.smh.com.au/.../1_729-abbott-bomb-420x0.jpg - who you gonna call? #auspol



November 15. 2011 08:41 PM


Dog, I miss one day, and now there's heaps of fine posts.

Welcome Von Kirsdarke, aged 23. I am nearly 3X your age young friend but I joined the ALP at 17 and have been proud of it, (the Party that is more than my membership thereof), because it is a GREAT party, with arguably the finest traditions in the entire democratic world! Certainly it was the first Labor party in the world to gain national government, it's the Party which has made virtually every social advance for Australians since Federation, it is the Party about which Ad astra is moved to write what amounts to idylls of adoration as above (and coming from him, that's a huge tribute.) Words are not adequate to express the loyalty the ALP commands through the ranks of us little ordinary True Believers, the respect we feel for our working-class heroes, people like Curtin and Chifley, Whitlam and Dunstan, Hawke and Keating and now *J*U*L*I*A*, whose charm and ability are matched only by her steel. She is very special this one, a maker of history like those other greats, and living proof of what women say, to be given half the credit you have to do twice the job of a bloke. And I have the feeling that she has to be very special too in this situation. Anyway it is she who bears aloft the Light on the Hill for now, and she deserves every bit of loyalty we can give her. She is our Champion, check the set of her lower lip and pity Abbortt.

The Party is only as good as the people who make it up and those whose ideas it chooses to embrace. It ain't perfect but it's the best we got, one loves it for its faults and fights and foibles as well as its essential decency, amounting on the ground to nobility of the ordinary kind.

Misbehaviour of any serious kind is considered abhorrent to the mass of grassroots Labor people always, but it happens sometimes among those who should know better, and when it does, well, if you're proper staunch you stump-jump it, as our PM said, you don't let obstacles stymie you, you keep going finding other ways.

Ad astra as you know I share a great deal of my political DNA with you, Dam though, here's another thing you got wrong, for shame! Galahs is one species, common as muck and very droll,  Major Mitchells are much rarer, the ones with the orchidlike red-and-yellow crests and the loveliest of airbrushed pink and white plumage. They only like really semi-arid areas, unlikely to be at coastal victoria I think.

I have tessellated several Aussie Cockatoos in one combined flock, the companion verse goes:

There's Corellas; Cockies Black and White;
Grey Gang-Gang; pink Galah;
But Major Mitchell cockatoos are Polly Superstar'
A breast that glows in velvet rose
Wings satin, silver-pearled;
With crest aflame he shrieks his claim:
"I'm Glory of the World!"

You can see that design if you want! On my website www.ozzigami.com.au, on the Tessellations and Punography page! http://www.ozzigami.com.au/tessellations.html

Ad astra it seems from your description you have an ideal spot to read and consider and work.

Lyn thank you for always saying such nice things, to me and to everyone else, unless they are absolutely horrible and even then you are very gracious. You already know what I think about your Links.

And you say things like this:

"NormanK you are nominated for the title of in House

         TPS Technology Advisor."

I second your nomination Lyn, NormanK fixes many things for Swordsfolks, The Sword would be bereft without either of you.

You are blessed of Dog Albitey to have been vouchsafed this lovely bird. I know the species well, my rellies on Yorke Peninsula and on Eyre Peninsula (just south of Lincoln itself) kept pet ones, they were beautiful and completely tame, the Yorke Peninsula one was free to fly around the house, the ones at Lincoln were in a big aviary but tame just the same, and they were visited every day by wild ones. They are wonderful clear whistlers and can learn tunes, one of which is the 8-note riff that I know as Look out boys, here comes the Bobby!

I'll tell you the funny sad story of the Little Falla as my Uncle Walter used to call him another time. In the meantime your little falla would like some Weetbix and honey and milk, please, and a nice cup of tea, oh yours will do thank you! Urrrk no sugar?!!!

There are so many good sincere writers here, can't keep up with all of us, but if there were something with which I seriously fdiasagree I hope you will expect me to make my feelings felt because I will. Jane and Jaeger and FS, and Nasking with whom I greatly empathise on other life forms and much else, Michael and Gravel and Pollie Pome Laureate PatriciaWA, daily enrich my and each others' lives, I thank us all. But we owe it all to our host Ad astra, (let us never take for granted Web Monkey's part btw, Thank you WM), and as I think about it, co-equally with the Australian Labor Party itself, without which Ad would have no such organisation worthy of his allegiance as espressed in his writings. he might still be political in other countries, but I doubt he would feel the same about any other political country in the world. I feel about the ALP much as I feel about Australian Wildlife, Australian Rules Football, Australia the land itself.
The Light on the Hill is the easiest thing in the world to ridicule, You know the lines to the Internationale,
"Though cowards run and traitors sneer
We'll keep the Red Flag flying here!"

Well the cowards and the traitors can behave true to form, Comrades, they can do their worst, because even if instead of keeping the Red Flag Flying, we are keeping the Light on the Hill burning bright and if I'm not mistaken, it's flaring up very cheerily right now!

Thanks Labor, thanks *J*U*L*I*A*, and thank you very much Ad astra.


November 15. 2011 08:53 PM


I think it's probably a Twenty-Eight Parrot. Almost identical to Port Lincolns, a bit bigger on average, a lot rarer, and from WA not SA. Port Lincoln Parrots have no red at all.  


November 15. 2011 09:45 PM

Ad astra reply

Thanks for the link to the transcript of JG’s press conference, which I’ve saved for future reference.  She sounded very self-assured and in control.  The journalists were relegated to their proper status – simply journalists seeking information, for the most part respectfully.  

Thank you too for the Niki Savva piece; I get the impression she is becoming more and more irritated by Tony Abbott, whom she sees as letting what looked to her like a certain electoral victory slip away through ineptitude, or as she calls it, a series of ‘brain snaps’.

Ad astra reply

November 15. 2011 10:15 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Many thanks for the videos of JG’s press conference today.  Good viewing – saved for reference.

What a contrast in the photos – PM Gillard looking assured among world leaders, and LOTO Abbott looking silly in his bomb disposal gear.  He should bring it back to his party room – he may need it,

Thank you for your comprehensive and interesting comments.  As I have a bird watching expert visiting soon, I’ll get him to correctly name the lovely birds I’ve called Major Mitchell galahs – with pink bellies and grey backs.  Looking at our bird book it appears as if they are really Eolophus roseicapilla.  The Major Mitchell’s are a cockatoo and have a bright red and yellow crest.  So you are right.

I’m calling it a day.

Ad astra reply

November 16. 2011 12:13 AM


Ad Astra

As soon as I read 'pink bellies and grey backs' I thought aha, Ad's talking about the Galah. I had no idea that its scientific name wasEolophus roseicapilla but google sent me straight to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galah. There are pictures included in the article.

The Galah habitat covers most of mainland Australia and about half of Tasmania. Here in the ACT, the sub-species in greatest abundance isE.roseicapilla,homo sapiens politicus


November 16. 2011 12:34 AM

D Mick Weir

Evening all,
whew been busy touring the traps. Has taken time and lots of cogitating taking all of this post and the comments in.

Intiguing (and apropos nothing). When QE2 was in town HRH and her cavalcade wizzed by three times while I was out checking the traps and no probs. I got (politely) asked to leave the area prior to one drive past.

POTUS is in town today and already I have been informed I should be nowhere near the area while POTUS and his cavalcade go past.

Already have seen (and heard) the survailance copters droning overhead.

Security is a strange beast.

D Mick Weir

November 16. 2011 12:36 AM

Acerbic Conehead

Another wonderful piece of writing.  Stirring, comprehensive and incisive.

In my mind at the moment I'm comparing it with, "stop the boats, stop the waste, stop the debt".

Talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Acerbic Conehead

November 16. 2011 01:11 AM



You began your excellent piece thus:’Will commentators ever be satisfied that the Labor Party and its leadership have established an ‘overarching narrative’ that portrays what the Party and its ministers ‘stand for’? I doubt it’.

I think that Craig Emerson is one of the stronger media performers. On Lateline last Monday, Dr Emerson was talking about growth in the Asian region and the visionary leadership of Hawke, Keating and now Julia Gillard in forging a greater role for Australia in the region. Ali Moore cut him off with the put down that ‘it's a lot to do with our geography’.
Well, I’ve got news for you Ali, we have always been geographically located in the Asian Region! Yes we have! However, until Keating urged Australians to stop thinking of Asia merely as the region that we flew over to get to Europe we had little to do with Asian culture, commerce and trade.

Dr Emerson was undaunted by Ali’s inanity and managed to further articulate the vision thing for Australia becoming more engaged in Asia. He then neatly re-iterated his earlier point emphasising that it was not simply because of an accident of geography but of the visionary leadership of Hawke, Keating and now Julia Gillard. Quite neat.

CRAIG EMERSON: I think the Australian-China relationship will go from strength to strength. That's the truth of it. And as Trade Minister, I'm doing a lot of work on that. We are seeking to broaden and deepen our integration with China and with this, the Asian region in the Asian century.

You wouldn't want to be any other place on Earth than Australia that's locked into the growth that's occurring in the Asian region in the Asian century. No accident, Ali. A result of visionary leadership, much of it by previous Labor governments, Hawke and Keating, and now Julia Gillard launching this white paper exercise called the Asian Century white paper designed to broaden that integration.

ALI MOORE: It's also I guess no accident; it's a lot to do with our geography. But isn't it logical that China will see this partnership, this Trans-Pacific Partnership, as a vehicle for the US to expand its influence in the region? And couple that with the military announcement, that it could be a potential source of tension?

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, I don't think so. More trade is better trade. And it's not a matter of being in any way anxious about an economic powerhouse wanting to open up its borders and trade with the fastest growing region on Earth.

I mean, I'd see that as a bit of flattery, actually, that the United States is indicating through president Obama and secretary of state Hillary Clinton, a little earlier, saying that America wants to plug into the Asia Pacific century. Well good on America.

Australia's here and we want to work with America, with China, with Japan, with all of those APEC economies. And yeah, sure, geographically, you're right: we're in the region. We've got minerals. That's a blessing, given the industrialisation and the urbanisation of China.

But we wouldn't be able to take advantage of that without the economic reforms of the last 25 years initiated originally by Bob Hawke and Paul Keating to create the open and competitive economy, now continued by Julia Gillard.

And then you've got the contrast of the economic Hansonism, almost a fortress Australia, that Mr Abbott is trying to cash in on, seeking to prey on anxieties about the future. Well, we don't need to be anxious about future; we have a brilliant future in this region.

This interview passes as a narrative in my books but the MSM will ignore the policy content and will continue their carping criticisms. Most of them would not know a 'narrative' if it bit them in the proverbial!.

See full transcript & video: Gillard returns happy from APEC meeting:  www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3365149.htm


November 16. 2011 08:08 AM



Lord/Lady’s Chatterals Lover, Ash, Ash’s Machiavellian Bloggery
The role of government is to ensure that the legal rights of a relationship are equal including next of kin rights and other legal rights. That is it! The relationship is solely the fare of those involved. Regardless of if they choose a de facto relationship, or a civil union, or a traditional marriage, their rights, under the law must be equal. That is where the purpose of government ends!

The enemy of my ally is my friend, Mungo MacCallum, Unleashed
In any circumstances it would be hard for Australia to stay neutral. But as an ally – Gillard's word – with the ability to deploy American troops from Australian bases, neutrality would not be an available option. Like it or not, we would be part of the action. And one of the first things we would be required to do is to stop trading with China,

Politicians Do A Disservice Ignoring Form Communications, Alex Schlotzer.
Though I have little doubt the form emails supporting a politician’s particular agenda are paraded as demonstrating support for their agenda.It seems almost foolish to be ignoring the information these can provide, and how they can be used in campaigns or constituent engagement.I’d urge politicians rethink ignoring form communications.

The Week The News Went Global , Ben Eltham, New Matilda
Nothing is going to stop the media writing stories about the "special relationship" and "enduring friendship" enjoyed by Australia and America. It certainly helps that Barack Obama looks like he gets on well with Julia Gillard, at least on camera. But the truth is that the Australian political system — and its associated elites in the foreign policy and defence establishments, as well as in the media

A challenge to climate sceptics, Steven Myer, OnLine Opinion
The lone amateur maverick who overturns the fuddy duddy scientific establishment is a bit of a myth. I am not saying it never happens. Occasionally an exceptionally gifted amateur who has devoted long hours to a problem may come up with an answer that overturns the accepted scientific paradigm. But I can't think of one instance of this happening in the past century.

Australia Under Nuclear Pressure, Noel Wauchope, Independent Australia
There is much press coverage about how upset India is, about this. However, as it turns out, it is not all that important. According to Indian experts, such as Dr M.V. Ramana, who spoke on the ABC ‘National Interest’ programme last week, this issue is “purely symbolic” — as India does not need Australia’s uranium,

Conscience vote on marriage equality an insult, The Conscience Vote
a conscience vote! Not only is the question going to come up in Parliament, but MPs and Senators will be free to speak their minds. That’s brilliant, right? Those who advocate for marriage equality should be dancing in the streets, surely.

No Debate On Muckaty For Ferguson,Jim Green, New Matilda
Opposition to the dump goes beyond the traditional owners. The NT Government is opposed and the NT Parliament has passed legislation attempting to prevent the dump. There has been solid union support for traditional owners, including from the ACTU. A growing number of councils along the transport corridor have voiced their opposition

It takes energy to smile… the psychology behind smaller power bills, Liam Smith, The Conversation
The lesson from this is that Australians should expect to know a lot more about how much energy their neighbours are using in the near future.Also, in addition to descriptive norms, expect other psychology-based persuasive communication principles to make their way into other parts of government communication to influence behaviour for public good.

Disappointing: Turnbull hasn’t fleshed out his NBN plan, Renai-LeMay, Delimeter
After my initial burst of enthusiasm for Turnbull’s plan, the Shadow Communications Minister’s behaviour over the succeeding months — in which he has done virtually nothing to address its criticism or expound its merits in public — has done much to sour me on it. Watching Turnbull in action in that period, I often find it hard to believe that he has the energy and determination to see his rival proposal through, should he be appointed Communications Minister in a Coalition Government

Turmoil predicted from Australia’s “carbon price”, Junk Science. Com
Anybody who thinks this scheme can be modified by law in the current parliament is deluded because there is no way this delicate Labor-Greens alliance will re-open any aspect of the package.Regardless of whether Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd is prime minister, alternative options this parliamentary term are gone.

News Int may have spied on MPs while Murdoch was in charge, Paul Barry, The Power Index
But if true, how on earth could spying on MPs have ever seemed like a good ideato the lads at News, which was then being run by Executive Chairman, James Murdoch? Was it blackmail they had in mind? Or bad headlines about theMPs in their favourite Sunday newspaper? And how did it ever get on the agenda?

The Federal Government, Telstra, the unions and scores of contractors are on board with this project, yet the Opposition remains opposed," Mr Hicks said.
"Industry, workers and the millions of people living in regional Australia need to know that Tony Abbott and the Coalition won't pull the plug on the most important piece of infrastructure to be built in our time."

HSU president loses no-confidence vote #Ausunions, Darin Sullivan, The Left hack
A motion of no-confidence against Kathy Jackson, executive president of the Health Services Union East branch, has been passed at the union's annual conference.
A delegate said the motion, expressing dissatisfaction with Ms Jackson, passed with 1190 votes in favour, 565 opposed and 29 abstentions, including proxy votes

More cuts, more credit, Macro Business
Billions of dollars in spending cuts will be announced when the Government releases the latest official assessment of the national economy before Christmas.
The reductions will be aimed at bolstering the Government’s determination to deliver a Budget surplus in 2012-13.And it will come in the face of persistent Opposition claims that the Government is driving Australia into dangerous levels of debt.

US interests are Australia's? , Gary Sauer-Thompson, Public Opinion
The “American Era”---the era when the United States could create and lead a political, economic and security order in virtually every part of the world---is nearing its end. The US is shifting its main strategic attention to Asia, both because its economic importance is rising rapidly and because China is the only potential peer competitor the US faces

You wouldn't read about it, much. Living costs are slowing, Peter Martin
Self-funded retirees are the only identified exception. Their living costs climbed 0.8 per cent in the quarter, an annualised pace of 3.2 per cent, reflecting in particular seasonal increases in the cost of international holiday travel and accommodation to which they are more exposed than other groups.

Why the right wing fears climate action (and it’s not because they’re crazy,Jess Zimmerman, Grist
Klein starts off with a deep dive into the climate denier psyche, and concludes that their intense opposition comes not from logical or scientific objections (how could it?) but from corporate-funded movements telling people that climate change mitigation threatens their personal comfort and freedom.

Some Great Big New Facts - On Tax, Stephen Koukoulas
Or think of it this way, if the current government were to raise the tax take to the peak level under the Howard government, it wound be the equivalent of $4,000 a year, every year, for each household. The facts are the facts. They might be uncomfortable or inconvenient, but this is a low taxing government despite that little tally that excitable characters like Mark Textor trot out from time to time

Why Greens do not welcome Obama,Oz left
Bob Brown has said a number of times that he favours Australian withdrawal from Afghanistan. Obama says he has a withdrawal plan but commits more troops. This looks suspiciously likes the pea and thimble trick. Brown should keep one hand on his wallet if he gets to shake this man’s hand at the end of this week.

New York police evict anti-Wall Street protesters, Reuters
Unfortunately, the park was becoming a place where people came not to protest, but rather to break laws, and in some cases, to harm others. There have been reports of businesses being threatened and complaints about noise and unsanitary conditions that have seriously impacted the quality of life for residents and businesses in this now-thriving neighborhood," Bloomberg said in a statement

At our dinner with the PM…, Kelsey, Getup
They already claim some 34,000 signatures, and they’re planning to deliver the petition at the ALP National Conference in a few weeks, when the party’s policy on marriage equality will be decided.

#29 Could a touch of panic launch a hysterical headline-, Urthers Say
So a story with unnamed vague sources, a newspaper with an obvious agenda to destabilise the government and delegitimise the Australian Prime Minister becomes a talking point on other outlets of the same corporation with questionable ethics. The possibly fabricated story, or at least poorly sourced story, becomes fodder for the political party that news organisation is promoting. It leads to questions by an opposition



November 16. 2011 08:46 AM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for reminding us of the brilliant performance of Trade Minister Craig Emerson in an interview with Ali Moore on Lateline this week, all the more noteworthy because he had to counter Ali’s irritating and egotistical interruptions, which characterise her interviewing style.

He is a PhD in economics from ANU, and it shows.

He not only answered her questions and rebutted her silly interjections, but also painted a vivid vision of the Asian Century, and the Labor reforms, past and present, which have brought this nation to its current position in relation to our Asian neighbours and trading partners.  He is one of the Government’s best performers, and one if its most articulate.

As I watched him with delight, I compared his performance with what we have seen over and again from Joe Hockey, Andrew Robb, the economic illiterates Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce, and the Shadow Minister for Trade, Julie Bishop.   He is so far ahead of the Coalition’s team that it astonishes me that responsible journalists could so much as contemplate the Labor team of the PM, Wayne Swan, Penny Wong, Bill Shorten and Craig Emerson being replaced in Government by the Coalition’s incompetent and economically dangerous team.  What are they thinking?

Ad astra reply

November 16. 2011 08:51 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

November 16. 2011 09:08 AM

D Mick Weir

Hi Ad,
I wrote this last night at about 2:30AM and forgot to press save comment - the brain is getting very addled.

What an interesting post and lots of equally interesting comments. Due to the late (early?) hour and so much to read it hasn't all sunk in fully yet so only some brief observations.

NormanK @ November 14. 2011 04:25 PM wrote

... To your considerable credit you got through over a thousand words without ever once mentioning the Opposition or Tony Abbott by name. Lots of Brownie points for that.

On that alone, abso-bloody-lutely brilliant

How intriguing, as pointed out by Casablanca's comment @ November 15. 2011 05:51 PM, that Niki Savva writes Just as the government spends too much time talking about him,  (Abbott) he needs to talk about them less and himself more.

2353 @ November 14. 2011 06:21 PM raises some interesting points and given my hectic life (lives?) atm I can sort of understand the comment, These people ... (are) in an unenviable working environment due in part to the need to get a story, get it online and to sell papers; they get tied up in the daily process and don't have time to reflect as we who are not beholden to the process can and obviously do (judged by this article).

That doesn't excuse some of the poor reporting we get but does explain how some of it slips through the net that used to be there.

Supposedly one test of a good speech is tell them what you are about to tell them, tell them, and then, tell them what you have told them. This one doesn't 'pass' that test but seems to better for it so maybe that is not a good test!

You wrote 'The Government’s focus is on creating jobs, more jobs and new jobs; ...'

I have been pondering this constant referebce to the government 'creating' jobs and it seems to me that the even average Jill or Joe can work out that the government doesn't create jobs (unless it increases the size of the Public Service) and think that it would be better if if our pollies said something like the goverment is making sure we introduce sound policies so that we create the right enviroment so that more jobs are created ...'  (This btw is a comment about our pollies not what you have written.). I am wondering if some people think the government is being dishonest (or at least making false claims) when it says it has created jobs.

Thanks Ad for a great article and Swordsters for some great comments on it.

I shall toddle off now for a few hours shuteye before I have to, once again, tread lightly on the hamster (gerbil?) wheel.

Having had some shuteye it is off around trhe traps again. Type to you all later

D Mick Weir

November 16. 2011 09:54 AM

Feral Skeleton

D Mick Weir,
            I, for one, am so glad you continue to make the time in your busy life to keep coming back to The Political Sword. You are a much-valued member of our little community. Smile

   One thing I have always wanted to ask you...are they real 'traps', or metaphorical 'traps'?

   I win ReCaptcha Bingo! I got 'sword'. Laughing

Feral Skeleton

November 16. 2011 10:01 AM

Feral Skeleton

  Good article on IR by Laura Tingle:


Feral Skeleton

November 16. 2011 11:07 AM

Ad astra reply

D Mick Weir
Thank you for your contribution to the debate, and for your encouraging comments.  I take your point about ‘job creation’.  Your wording is more accurate.

Like FS, I’m intrigued about the nature of your ‘traps’.

Thank you for the Laura Tingle link.  As usual, she is balanced.

There’s still more grass to be mown, but we’re gradually ‘mowing it down’.  I’ll be back after lunch to watch the Barack Obama arrival.

Ad astra reply

November 16. 2011 11:20 AM


It has taken a while for the penny to drop but now I know what is missing from TPS. Measured informative comments such as this one:

Hard to believe with Labor’s and its gang’s and the cross bench’s collection of habitual drunks, anti-depressant and sedative drug-habitues and hi-health-risk sexual deviants that the current illegitimate “government” will see 2013.

Someone will likely die and/or go to jail!

But even harder to believe, if the current gang should last until 2013, that — at the current rate of Australia’s spiraling down the socialist – statist – elitist-authoritarian-regulatory – fascist – totalitarian-tyranny gurgler — there’ll be anything recognizably Australian left for the Libs to save!

Sourced from the comments section of Lyn's red herring link this morning:
Turmoil predicted from Australia’s “carbon price”

No surprise that the above commenter has a Tea Party logo (replete with US flag) as his avatar.

It would appear that, like Wiley E Coyote, one of these days all of us 'lefties' are going to wake up to the fact that we are running in mid-air beyond the cliff's edge and all that we can look forward to is an unpleasant plunge into a deep canyon.

Thank-you Lyn. Today marks the day of my new awakening. Laughing


November 16. 2011 11:34 AM


What are they thinking?

They're not Ad astra. They're parroting Liars Party talking points. No thinking required or encouraged. Rote learning and Liars Party indoctrination mandatory.

Easy if you don't try.


November 16. 2011 11:47 AM


So, the ABC radio is going on and on and on and on.....about the uranium thing, how there is a split in Labor about it.  Did they not listen to Julia, who wants it to be talked about, agreed with, disagreed with, then a decision by democratic means within the Labor Party as a whole will be made.

I just get so infuriated with the constant repetition.  Like you Ad, I am going to watch Obama arrive, 3.30pm as I heard it, this afternoon and will forgo any other programs until they have given their dual press conference.  I am looking forward to it.


November 16. 2011 11:48 AM

Feral Skeleton


   With the US soon to begin its withdrawal, our government must provide a compelling narrative about the way ahead.


Feral Skeleton

November 16. 2011 11:53 AM

Feral Skeleton

     They cram the Talking Points into the empty heads until they end up with it all 'Twirling around in there' like Herman Cain. Laughing

   Fair dinkum, that seems to be the necessary qualification for being a Conservative Spokesmodel these days. #1. Be an airhead.
#2. Be able to cram 'facts' thought up for you by the faceless puppeteers who pull your strings.
#3. Look convincing as you spew it all back out for the cameras.

Feral Skeleton

November 16. 2011 11:56 AM

Feral Skeleton

   I forgot #4. Be able to convince the mindless to spew it back into public forums endlessly, as if it were the truth.

Feral Skeleton

November 16. 2011 11:59 AM

Feral Skeleton

   Honestly, when I read comments like the one NormanK. quoted, I have images of these guys sitting in front of their keyboards, with either rubber S&M suits on, getting all excited by their contributions, or in their their daggy Y-Fronts with de rigeur skid marks.

Feral Skeleton

November 16. 2011 12:00 PM


Galahs is one species, common as muck and very droll

Each species is special...

imagine an alien civilisation visitin' this planet far in the future...thrilled, curious...labeling and cataloging each unique species & sub-species...each amazing fossil...seeing it all with new eyes...

an Earth once devastated by global warming...many species extinct...but healing as the engines of human growth were stopped...as short-sighted, ownership obsessed humanity perished...

well, most did...

...seemingly common as muck w/ populations widespread one millenium...extinct the next.

The galahs might survive what we don't...we might take them down w/ us...as the lands bake, the floods come and fail to leave...the storms batter and purge...

but some people may have adapted...

The term galah is derived from gilaa, a word found in Yuwaalaraay and neighbouring Aboriginal languages

How often does the busy busy MAN turn his head to see the oncoming storm?

Who will tap him on the shoulder?

And tell him his family have already LEFT.

The War on Drugs - City Reprise #12

Music for a planet on the edge...wasting time...and a busy busy man...who doesn't see the storm...and a family who have already LEFT...preparing...




November 16. 2011 12:09 PM


You've been monitoring my on-line shopping lists again, haven't you?

rubber S&M suits ..... or ..... daggy Y-Fronts with de rigeur skid marks

I'll leave you to guess which I'm wearing at the moment. I should also point out that designer skid-marks cost a small fortune.  


November 16. 2011 12:13 PM


FS, I don't know about you, but I'm getting heartily sick of this msm obsession with narratives, compelling or otherwise, about every policy governments (or oppositions, for that matter) make, every word they say, every time they go to the toilet!!

If the msm wants a goddam narrative, they should read a novel, a short story or see a play and stop gibbering on about governments having to make up f*ckn bedtime stories about everything they do or say or the way ahead!!!!!!


November 16. 2011 12:15 PM


The msm; bereft of thought, wit or ideas!


November 16. 2011 12:20 PM


thnx for yer concern & upliftin' words.
Still a few tests & results to come. So far so good.
Specialist yesterday was more positive than negative.
Sleeps a wee bit more peaceful.  



November 16. 2011 12:22 PM


Hi Ad

2UE Paul Murray and David Speers putting a spin on Abbott's latest stunt.
They are not too happy with the bomb suit, in  fact a bit ashamed of their pin up boy, but then they go on to say Julia Gillard is too familiar with Barrack Obama.

Action Man: too far this time Tony? 2UE

Speedos, pushbikes, guns and now a bomb disposal suit. Has Tony Abbott taken things a little too far in Afghanistan putting on that suit? Paul Murray with Sky's David Spears on getting that image on the news


Some lovely photo's of Julia Gillard on this article by Amber.  

Shame about Neil Mitchell being so nasty, what an awful person, nearly makes me want to cry:-

Glad I believe in Karmar.

rubbing Obama’s back in that touch-feely way she has and suggesting that she and the most powerful man in the world had some type of cosmic understanding because they were born in the same year, 1961.”




November 16. 2011 12:50 PM


Casablanca (which is ever-so-much-more-romantic-sounding than Whitehouse!)

I owe you a greeting anyway having omitted you from my acknowledgments yesterday. And now I'm going to tell you off for omitting the greatest of all the trail-blazers to China, namely Edward Gough Whitlam of course, who, before anyone else in the "West", took a trip there in 1973,and opened negotiations with what is now our most important trading partner.

Gough is so loveable, such a delightful wit! When he was about to leave for China, taking his wife Margaret, the largest woman you see in the average decade, the lousy Yellow Press, who were just as nasty then as now, started a meme that this most-important-ever of all trade ventures was nothing but a junket. One asked how could Gough justify the cost to the taxpayer of taking Margaret with him. he could of course have pointed out that it would have been an insult to the Chinese not to have taken her: such was not the way Gough answered things.

Instead wtte (here assume best Gough rough-suede voice):

Well! Comrade! Where we're going, Western technology has barely penetrated, and in case of an emegency, I don't know of another woman who can kick-start a 727!    


November 16. 2011 12:56 PM


Thank you so much for this piece, I am in my late 50's and I have voted labour all my life and always will. I had a tear in my eye while reading your piece and coming from an ex waterfront worker that's not easy to say. Thank you again. Long Live The Labor Movement. United We Stand Brothers and Sisters.


November 16. 2011 01:01 PM


Will America's super committee live up to its name?...do some heroic things in the nick of time?

Or will it turn out to be yet another flabby, time wastin', full of sh*t, ill-fittin' suit w/ a habit of helpin' mega-rich friends?





Demand broadband...

demand assistance for under-utilised teachers, firefighters, postmen & postwomen, park rangers, musuem & art gallery workers, customs agents, investigative reporters, public TV & radio crew, those who investigate & scrutinise the share markets...

demand that Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac executives take a pay cut...

demand that politicians take a haircut...and attend to their congressional duties more often...

demand that clean energy incentives are placed before oil subsidies...

demand that the unemployed are not forced to bow & scrape as their social security runs out...it shouldn't run out...it's criminal...breeding criminals...demand they be provided with appropriate training, upskilling courses & guidance counselling for free...

demand free tertiary education...demand deletion of all university/college-related debts...

demand returned/returning military veterans get appropriate education, counselling, training and healthcare support...

demand an ending of all loopholes & tax dodges for the rich...demand they pay their fair-share considering the influence, money & contacts they have benefitted them more than most...

demand access to bulk-billed healthcare for ALL...

demand department of defence moneys be spent frugally...not wasted on corporate wars...not fed to large corporate entities & private contractors who spend like there was no tomorrow...possible the way they play games...

demand more funds are injected into university/college science/medical research & environmental studies...

demand more money is injected into schools for music, theatre, film & TV & the digital arts, languages & environmental studies...


this is YOUR COUNTRY...not just THEIR COUNTRY...



'Magical week' for super committee?By Alan Silverleib and Tom Cohen, CNN
November 15, 2011

Washington (CNN) -- Eight days and counting.

With time running out, senior Democrats and Republicans remained unclear Tuesday about the prospects of success for the so-called congressional "super committee" -- the 12-member panel charged with the seemingly Herculean task of finding at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade.

California Rep. Xavier Becerra, a Democratic member of the panel, told reporters this could be a "magical week" for the committee.

"I think it can be done, but the clock is ticking," Becerra said. It simply "has to be a balanced deal."

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said there was no deal, but predicted that if "there is an agreement ... it can, in fact, pass."

Earlier, however, a House GOP aide told CNN the panel's six Democrats and six Republicans "are still as far apart as they were a week ago."

Time for a NEW NEW DEAL




November 16. 2011 02:45 PM


Hi Eric

Thankyou for your delightful comment, and a big welcome to you.

United We Stand Brothers and Sisters.

Here, here, we hope you keep commenting on TPS we will
be more than pleased to read your opinions.



November 16. 2011 02:53 PM



All-China Federation of Trade Unions

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions ('ACFTU; simplified Chinese: 中华全国总工会; traditional Chinese: 中華全國總工會; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Quánguó Zǒnggōng Huì), is the sole national trade union federation of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest trade union in the world with 134 million members in 1,713,000 primary trade union organizations. The ACFTU is divided into 31 regional federations and 10 national industrial unions.

The Workers' Daily is the ACFTU newspaper.


Officially founded May 1, 1925, from the second conference of the All-China General Labour Federation, the ACFTU was restricted in 1927 by the newly established KMT rule of Chiang Kai-shek.

Many trade unionists were executed in this period, and government-sponsored "yellow" unions were installed.

By the rise of Mao Zedong in 1949, the ACFTU had been re-established as the sole trade union centre, but was again dissolved in 1966 in the wake of the Cultural Revolution.

Following Mao's death in 1976, in October 1978 the ACFTU held its first congress since 1957. Since the early 1990s it has been regulated by the Trade Union Law of the People’s Republic of China.

In 2008, a new labor law in China is forcing most companies - including most foreign owned ones - to create an ACFTU chaptered trade union within them.

ACFTU has a monopoly on trade unionizing in China and creation of competing unions is illegal.

As a tool of the government, ACFTU has been seen as not acting in the best interest of its members (workers), bowing to the government pressure on industry growth and not defending workers' rights.

This, however, may be changing in 2000s.

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions maintains the position that the ACFTU is not an independent trade union organisation, and states in its policy:

5. There are differing approaches among ICFTU affiliates and Global Union Federations concerning contacts with the ACFTU. They range from “no contacts” to “constructive dialogue”.

The ICFTU, noting that the ACFTU is not an independent trade union organisation and, therefore, cannot be regarded as an authentic voice of Chinese workers, reaffirms its request to all affiliates and Global Union Federations having contacts with the Chinese authorities, including the ACFTU, to engage in critical dialogue. This includes raising violations of fundamental workers’ and trade union rights in any such meetings, especially concerning cases of detention of trade union and labour rights activists


Control freaks & profiteers find democracy hard...

when unions are forged out of tin you really wonder how resistant, useful & durable they are...how easily manipulated...how rusty?

Tin dragon make little fire.



November 16. 2011 02:57 PM

D Mick Weir

Hi all,
back home for a bite of lunch and for some real sustenance catching up with Twitter and comments here.

FS @ 9:54 AM
... are they real 'traps', or metaphorical 'traps'?

Umm, metaphorical. However, depending on your point of view some later become 'real' traps. That is a whole other story and I will leave it to intigue you more. Though, being the really great bloke that I am there is a clue in my last tweet Smile

NormanK @ 11:20 AM
we at least have jj drop in sometimes but s/he has a long way to go to get to that level. Tho' you may have given sh/im some ideas. Perish the thought.

I am not going to delve into commenters attire while tapping out their thoughts. It could get embarrassing.

TT @ 12:50 PM
And Gough had the good sense to appoint Dr Stephen Fitzgerald as the first Australian ambassador to the People's Republic of China and between them they certainly changed the thinking from the 'yellow peril' view that many had, though unfortunately some still hold it.

And a by the way.
I think I have mentioned Stephen Koukoulas' blog http://stephenkoukoulas.blogspot.com/ The bloke is prolific and he writes a lot of easily digestible common sense stuff such that it is hard to believe he is an economist. I am gaining some insights by reading him.

His post yesterday Some Great Big New Facts - On Tax

is well worth the read and the opening pars will give you a clue:
A few ill informed commentators enjoy rattling off the changes to the tax coverage in the four years since Labor won the 2007 election. They try to create an impression that the current government "is addicted to tax". It is also a line the Opposition have used when trying to attack the government over the flood levy, the price on carbon, the mining tax among other things.

Unfortunately for them, the claim of "tax addition" is not supported by any facts.

Oh well now it's (almost) time to say:
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work (around the traps) we go

D Mick Weir

November 16. 2011 03:16 PM

D Mick Weir

... and FS I forgot to say your welcome back made me Embarassed  - Again

D Mick Weir

November 16. 2011 03:22 PM


So the billionaire mayor has his say...and a jerk move to the right...to appease the few whiners...against the many:

Michael Bloomberg's health and safety arguments weak, say lawyers

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to break up the Zuccotti Park camp on health and safety grounds draws criticism

Dominic Rushe in New York guardian.co.uk,
Tuesday 15 November 2011

Early on Tuesday, lawyers for Occupy protesters managed to get a court order ruling that the protesters could return to the park after the clearance. The order from New York supreme court judge Lucy Billings allows protesters to bring tents and other equipment back into the privately-owned park, and also barred police from making further evictions or for arresting anyone unless they were breaking the law.

Despite the ruling, hundreds of New York police blocked protesters from returning to the park, and more arrests were made as the two sides headed back to court for a second hearing.

Constitutional lawyers said health and safety was unlikely to trump the first amendment. Darius Charney, attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), said the right of people to assemble peacefully in political protest was one of the most fundamental rights under the first amendment.

"In my view, the health and safety issues are rather minimal in comparison to the first amendment issue," he said.

All speech is protected under US law, but political speech has the greatest legal protection.

"This is a very classic example of the right of people to assemble in peaceful protest to air their very serious concerns about the direction this country is heading in. It's very much a political act," Charney said.

There are factors that can over turn the right to protest: violent conduct, for example, incitements to violence or civil disobedience.

Bloomberg's decision to invoke health and safety seems to be an admission that those arguments were unlikely to hold up.

Charney said health and safety arguments looked weak too. "Protesters were not blocking traffic, there were no accusations of crimes, noise was being kept to a minimum in the evenings. I think the balance of the argument is against health and safety."


I dig this woman:

Leymah Gbowee: How We Organized Women to Vote in Liberia


Leymah has been on The Daily Show & Colbert Report. She won a peace prize.

She's gutsy.

She knows how to OCCUPY...and get MESSAGES across to the elite w/ their fingers in their ears & their hands in the till...whispering orders to their trained puppets holding weapons.



November 16. 2011 03:58 PM

Ad astra reply

Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.  I was touched by your comment.  I’m glad the piece stirred memories of your long connection with the Labor movement.  You are right: “United we stand…’.

I hope the health news continues to be positive.

The ‘traps’ metaphor is indeed intriguing.  Thanks for the Koukoulas link - very interesting reading.  It demonstrates how disingenuous Textor is prepared to be to sell his wares.

Hi Lyn
When David Spears, a longstanding spear-thrower for Tony Abbott and his Coalition can see that the bomb suit was among Abbott’s more ridiculous stunts, it shows that Abbott is wearing his welcome very thin.

Ad astra reply

November 16. 2011 04:08 PM


It's time we got to know a bit about NY mayor Michael Bloomberg:

Michael Rubens Bloomberg (born February 14, 1942) is the Mayor of New York City.

With a net worth of $19.5 billion in 2011, he is also the 12th-richest person in the United States.

He is the founder and eighty-eight percent owner of Bloomberg L.P., a financial news and information services media company.

In 1973, Bloomberg became a general partner at Salomon Brothers, a bulge-bracket, Wall Street investment bank, where he headed equity trading, and later, systems development. In 1981, Salomon Brothers was bought, and Bloomberg was fired from the investment bank and given a $10 million severance package.

Using this money, Bloomberg went on to set up a company named Innovative Market Systems. His business plan was based on the realization that Wall street (and the financial community generally) was willing to pay for high quality business information delivered as quickly as possible and in as many usable forms as technically possible (such as graphs of highly specific trends).

In 1982, Merrill Lynch became the new company's first customer, installing 22 of the company's Market Master terminals and investing $30 million in the company. The company was renamed Bloomberg L.P. in 1986. By 1987, it had installed 5,000 terminals. Within a few years, ancillary products including Bloomberg Tradebook (a trading platform), the Bloomberg Messaging Service, and the Bloomberg newswire were launched. As of 2009, the company had more than 250,000 terminals worldwide.

His company also has a radio network which currently has its flagship station as 1130 WBBR-AM in New York City.

He left the position of CEO to pursue a political career as the mayor of New York. Bloomberg was replaced as CEO by Lex Fenwick.

The company is now led by president Daniel Doctoroff, a former deputy mayor under Bloomberg.

Bloomberg says that he frequently rides the New York City Subway, particularly in the commute from his 79th Street home to his office at City Hall. However, an August 2007 story in The New York Times asserted that he was often seen chauffeured by two New York Police Department-owned SUVs to an express train station to avoid having to change from the local to the express trains on the Lexington Avenue line.

In March 2009, Forbes reported Michael Bloomberg's wealth at $16 billion, a gain of $4.5 billion over the previous year, enjoying the world's biggest increase in wealth in 2009.

At that time, there were only four fortunes in the U.S. that were larger (although the Wal-Mart family fortune is split among four people).

He moved from 142nd to 17th in the Forbes list of the world's billionaires in only two years (March 2007 – March 2009).

In March 2011, his total wealth had increased to $19.5 billion, ranking 12th in the Forbes 400 and 30th in the world.

Bloomberg's personal net worth, in addition to aiding his political career, has allowed him to engage in substantial philanthropic endeavors, including the donation of over $300 million to Johns Hopkins University, where he served as the chairman of the board from 1996 to 2002.

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Bloomberg, through his Bloomberg Family Foundation, donated and/or pledged $138 million in 2004, $144 million in 2005, $165 million in 2006, and $205 million in 2007, making him the seventh-largest individual contributor to philanthropy in the U.S. for 2007. 2006 recipients include the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; World Lung Foundation and the World Health Organization. In 2008, Bloomberg's website announced a combined donation of $500 million with Bill Gates to help governments in developing countries with tobacco control.

According to The New York Times, Bloomberg has been an “anonymous donor” to the Carnegie Corporation each year for the last several years, with gifts ranging from $5 to $20 million. The Carnegie Corporation has distributed this contribution to hundreds of New York City organizations ranging from the Dance Theatre of Harlem to Gilda's Club, a non-profit organization that provides support to people and families living with cancer.

In 1996, Bloomberg endowed the William Henry Bloomberg Professorship at Harvard with a $3 million gift in honor of his father, who died in 1963, saying, "throughout his life, he recognized the importance of reaching out to the nonprofit sector to help better the welfare of the entire community."

On July 21, 2011, Bloomberg announced that he would donate $50 million to Sierra Club's “Beyond Coal” campaign, the grassroots organization’s efforts to close older coal plants and prevent new ones from being built. The gift, spread out over four years, will come from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

On crime, Bloomberg opposes the death penalty, stating, "I'd rather lock somebody up and throw away the key and put them in hard labor, the ultimate penalty that the law will allow, but I'm opposed to the death penalty."

As mayor he increased the mandatory minimum sentence for illegal possession of a loaded handgun. In regard to the change, Bloomberg commented, "Illegal guns don't belong on our streets and we're sending that message loud and clear. We're determined to see that gun dealers who break the law are held accountable, and that criminals who carry illegal loaded guns serve serious time behind bars."

As mayor, Bloomberg strengthened the cell-phone ban in schools.

In dealing with global warming and New York's role in it, he has enacted a plan called PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York to fight global warming, protect the environment and prepare New York for the projected 1 million more people expected to be living in the city by the year 2030.

Bloomberg has been involved in motivating other cities to make changes, delivering the keynote address at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit and stating, "[W]e now know beyond a doubt that global warming is a reality. And the question we must all answer is, what are we going to do about it?" Bloomberg also talked about how he would go about fighting climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, using cleaner and more efficient fuels, and encouraging public transportation.
His ideas have occasionally suffered setbacks, such as the New York State Assembly's rejection of his idea for applying congestion pricing below 60th Street in Manhattan.

Bloomberg has expressed a distaste of taxes, stating, "Taxes are not good things, but if you want services, somebody's got to pay for them, so they're a necessary evil."

Bloomberg is in favor of providing tax breaks to big corporations for the good of the whole community. As mayor, Bloomberg lobbied the CEO of Goldman Sachs to establish its headquarters across from Ground Zero by promising $1.65 billion in tax breaks. Regarding this deal, Bloomberg stated, "This [New York City] is where the best want to live and work. So I told him [CEO of Goldman Sachs], 'We can help with minimizing taxes. Minimizing your rent. Improving security. But in the end, this is about people.'"

Bloomberg has placed a strong emphasis on public health and welfare, adopting many liberal policies. As the mayor he made HIV, diabetes, and hypertension all top priorities. He extended the city's smoking ban to all commercial establishments and implemented a trans fat ban in restaurants.

Mayor Bloomberg has been a strong supporter of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation – the largest urban healthcare agency in the United States – serving over 1.3 million New Yorkers, and has touted its use of information technology and Electronic Health Records to increase efficiency and enhance patient care.

Mayor Bloomberg is a proponent of large-scale development. He has repeatedly come down in favor of projects such as the Atlantic Yards mega-development, the Hudson Yards redevelopment, and the Harlem rezoning proposal.

This support has led to a negative response from the preservationist community.

On smaller-scale issues, Bloomberg usually takes the side of development as well. He favors the demolition of Admiral's Row in order to build a supermarket parking lot.

However, Bloomberg has occasionally come down on the side of preservation, most notably in vetoing landmark revocation for the Austin Nichols warehouse.

Bloomberg is a staunch advocate of free trade and is strongly opposed to protectionism, stating, "The things that we have to worry about is this protectionist movement that has reared its head again in this country...."

He worries about the growth of China and fears the lessening gap between the United States and other countries: "The rest of the world is catching up, and, there are people that say, surpassing us. I hope they are wrong. I hope those who think we are still in good shape are right. But nevertheless, the time to address these issues is right now."

Bloomberg is one complex fella...

he makes mega-bucks...assisted by his control over NY & part of the media...

got an easy start compared to some (the $10 million severance package for one)...

but he's determined & visionary...

he's passionately supportive of some excellent charities...but I guess he can afford to be...still, more charitable than some mega-rich cheaparses...

he's quite cool on some issues...provides a fair-go...

but can be ruthless when it comes to property developing...you'd almost think he was the face of NEW LABOUR back in the 90s/early/mid 2000s. Smile

He seems to understand that good health helps keep the bills down...and tobacco & certain fats just ain't helpin'...

He's also worried about China's economic advantage...

but is he worried enuff about corporate greed...say Goldman Sachs?

And the waste created by too many Americans? Not just the OCCUPY MOVEMENT.

I reckon far too many corporate offices are filled w/ WASTE...

crap plastic food & poisonous drink...corrupt investors & brokers...greed for gain execs...toxic furnishings, ceilings, carpets...

how about cleaning Manhattan...and the rest of America's corporate garbage dump...rather than worryin' about protestors who walk about & sing & play music




November 16. 2011 04:10 PM

Feral Skeleton

        Did you read that the biggest contributor to the New York Police Department(which sounds unethical just typing those words), was the JPMorgan Chase Bank!?!
   Which, when you tie in the actions by the Police against the Occupy Wall Street Protest Movement, with Michael Bloomberg, who has made a motza on Wall Street, makes you think that there is something rotten in the State of New York.

   Btw, happy to hear the news about S' so far is good. Smile Let me tell you, I lost my OH 2 years ago from Leukaemia, so it's a big shock when the news is not of the good variety because you get to our age, which is still young Wink , and you think, 'OK, now for the 50s,60s,70s,80s, and the rest together.' Then, all too suddenly, you're not allowed to think that way anymore.
   So, good,good,good, and may more and more good news emanate from the Dr's rooms. Smile

Feral Skeleton

November 16. 2011 04:12 PM

Feral Skeleton

   I'd just like to add that I have just melted, now that President Obama has set foot on our native soil. Laughing

Feral Skeleton

November 16. 2011 04:13 PM


Thnx Ad.


November 16. 2011 04:22 PM


but can be ruthless when it comes to property developing...you'd almost think he was the face of NEW LABOUR back in the 90s/early/mid 2000s.

Make that:

but can be ruthless when it comes to property development...

you'd almost think he was the face of OZ's NEW CITY LABOR & the UK's NEW LABOUR back in the 90s/early/mid 2000s.

Not Gillard's Labor.



November 16. 2011 04:55 PM


Feral Skeleton

Wasn't it lovely the way Julia and Barak greeted each other, like long lost frieds.  They would make a lovely couple if they weren't so very happy with their partners.  I can't stand the commentators though.  All the rubbish they go on with. Bahhhh!


Can I welcome you too.  Hope you have time to comment occasionally.  If you get bored look up the archives, there are so many brilliantly written topics you may like.  Oh and almost every weekend Acerbic Conehead writes wonderful satirical stuff which keeps you smiling all weekend.


November 16. 2011 05:13 PM


Did you read that the biggest contributor to the New York Police Department(which sounds unethical just typing those words), was the JPMorgan Chase Bank

that's attrocious.

Thnx for the supportive comments...I can imagine how tuff it musta been for you re: yer hubby. How dreadful. You poor thing. How well you have done to overcome it as much as you have. You have my RESPECT.

Feral & Gravel,
Obama & Gillard fit together nicely...demonstratin' how well America & Australia can get on if we have decent & visionary people leading both.

It's a relief to see it.

Obama & Gillard have brill smiles...so good to see them greetin' those school kids...good stuff.

The Aussie soldiers did us proud. I hope we can pull them outa Afghanistan soon...I don't want one more soldier to die, or innocent citizen, or be badly injured in that dreadful conflict.

I'm pleased we're focusin' more now on the Asia-Pacific region.

We've been eatin' & drinkin' very multiculturally lately:

Vine leaves from Greece
Falafels in Souvlaki bread w/ tahini & salad
Chinese noodles, black bean sauce & tofu w/ veges
Spring rolls
Mexican chilli w/ avocado & brown rice
Indian style spinach, potato & capsicum curry w/ rogan josh sauce
Stuffed parathas
Sushi w/ tofu, cucumber, ginger slices, avocado & wasabi
Miso soup
French wine



November 16. 2011 05:27 PM


I'm sure all would agree that we don't want to see anymore wives & families lose their loved ones in Afghanistan:

Leigh Sales speaks with a young widow of the Afghanistan war about her tragic loss.


An amazing, courageous woman.



November 16. 2011 05:29 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for the link to the article by  Peter Leahy, another man looking for a narrative: “The government must engage the Australian public to persuade them of the reasons for being in Afghanistan. This requires a clear statement of aims and intentions. At this stage of the war, it also needs an exit strategy and a compelling narrative and open discussion.

“It is time for another debate on Afghanistan in the Australian Parliament. This time let's hope that it has more substance than the last.”

But at least he made some attempt to suggest one:

“For the record, we need to be in Afghanistan, to ensure the Taliban don't return, to keep faith with the Afghan people, to help girls go to school and to show our bona fides as a reliable strategic partner. Who will seek our support in the future if we go now with the job half done?”

He concluded with the dilemma: “Just how we complete the mission when everyone is heading for the exit door is a real problem.

I suppose that is what one is entitled to expect a chief of army from 2002 to 2008 and a professor and director of the National Security Institute at the University of Canberra.

Ad astra reply

November 16. 2011 05:34 PM

Ad astra reply

I agree.  Julia and Barack have a warm relationship, and looked comfortable in each other’s presence.  I hope that might still the critical tongues for a while.  I’m looking forward to the joint press conference.

Ad astra reply

November 16. 2011 05:34 PM


Makes sense to me:

Uncertainty now lingers over China’s nuclear sector. The government says it will resume new approvals after completing the Atomic Energy Law as well as new safety codes, but few details about those policies have emerged during the drafting process.

Zhang Guobao, a senior energy policymaker, has said the new rules may be completed next spring.

“You have to remember that China has not renounced nuclear power,” he recently told state media. “After next March we hope that the international and Chinese understanding toward nuclear will take a turn for the better, and perhaps resume its path of development.”

Despite such reassurances from Chinese officials, analysts have quietly lowered their forecasts for China’s nuclear installations over the next decade.

“We have cut down our nuclear power capacity target from around 86GW in 2020 to 56GW in 2020,” says Rajesh Panjwani, analyst at CLSA in Hong Kong.

Others point out that China’s pause in nuclear development could create an opening for more advanced technologies to enter the Chinese market.

“The suspension of new approvals will probably slow down the original plant build-up and may change the technology mix a little bit, favouring the third generation technologies that are intrinsically safer,” says Zhou Xizhou, associate director of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates in Beijing.

So-called “third generation” reactors are considered to be safer than previous reactors because they employ passive cooling systems making it much less likely that a nuclear meltdown or radioactive leak will occur.


Caution...safety first...prepare professionally using foresight & experience to plan for possible problems..learn from mistakes...

use the best technology & experts...

then move forward...



November 16. 2011 05:41 PM


For the record, we need to be in Afghanistan, to ensure the Taliban don't return, to keep faith with the Afghan people, to help girls go to school and to show our bona fides as a reliable strategic partner. Who will seek our support in the future if we go now with the job half done?”

that job will always be there. We've done our bit.

Time to get out.

Bring the young women here & elsewhere if they don't feel safe...but don't ask more families to lose their loved ones whilst we continue to stir up too many negative passions in Afghanistan & Pakistan by being there...and the Americans using their air & artillery power.

It's time to let the pressure out.

Bring the boys back HOME.

Let's END Bush's war.



November 16. 2011 05:58 PM

Feral Skeleton

        You made me feel hungry , and jealous! Laughing

Feral Skeleton

November 16. 2011 06:12 PM


Imagine if we had invaded Indonesia due to the Bali bombings...if we had also bombed Malaysian extremist camps...

imagine how many moderates woulda become extremists in our area.

How long would that fight have gone on? How expensive?

Would Australia be able to afford essential services?

How many extremists recruited?

It's time to get out of Afghanistan.

If we're gonna send uranium to India...we better give Pakistan some positive news too.

Let the pressure out.



November 16. 2011 06:14 PM


You made me feel hungry , and jealous!


Shame the web doesn't have smellavision eh?



November 16. 2011 07:16 PM


BTW, I know it will take one - two years to pull the troops out professionally & help seal a number of things up. I can see the last troops leaving in 2013...but not 2014.

Perhaps Obama & Gillard know somethin' we don't.

And I do believe we should leave together...coverin' each other's asses/arses.

As for the American troops to be stationed & rotated in the top-end...

no problemo. I'm cool w/ that...as is my wife.

Tho, I might change my mind if we get another Bush-like character...or a Perry...or anyone too bloody gung-ho (some of the Republican Presidential candidates sound like kooks when it comes to Iran)...

apart from that, the American troops will probably help boost the NT/Darwin economy.

I don't think the Greens will be too happy about it tho.



November 16. 2011 07:25 PM


I intend to make some Italian food next week...buy some real Italian imported goods...and Chianti or Valpolicella...to celebrate the end of Berlusconi.

"finita la cattivo musica, passata la fiesta".

the bad music is finished, the party is over

My Italian isn't great so the syntax/grammar might be out.



November 16. 2011 07:49 PM


helping to create addictions early...

and bringing colon & bowel cancer & diabetes & blood pressure problems & heart disease to a neighborhood near you:

Congress Pushes Back On Healthier School Lunches, Fights To Keep Pizza And Fries

AP  |  By MARY CLARE JALONICK  |  November 15, 2011 at 10:03 AM
& Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- Who needs leafy greens and carrots when pizza and french fries will do? In an effort many 9-year-olds will cheer, Congress wants pizza and french fries to stay on school lunch lines and is fighting the Obama administration's efforts to take unhealthy foods out of schools






Rock & rap-a-time kids
on the school trip
When the KFC shows, the bowels will rock
When the foul pizza stakes the heart, the health bill will grow
And down will come school younguns, Mcburgers and all



November 16. 2011 08:25 PM

Feral Skeleton

    For someone who hauled myself and the kids down to Sydney to march in the Anti Iraq War Demonstrations, I, too am relatively sanguine about having the Marines pass through on a regular basis our Top End Military Bases on their way, hither and yon.

  As you say, it's got a lot to do with who is Commander-In-Chief atm, who is building themselves up militarily in the neighbourhood, the nature of our strategic assets which could be very attractive to a resource-hungry power, and, as you say, the economic flow-on benefits for our country.

   My pov may well change depending on who becomes the next C-I-C after Obama's Second Term(I don't think the Republicans have a strong enough candidate in the wings to take him on and do him over-though with Citizen's United money coursing through the veins of the electorate via the Super PACs, and attempting to brainwash them in favour of the Repug candidate, you never know).

Feral Skeleton

November 16. 2011 09:03 PM

Ad astra reply

I'm calling it a day.

Ad astra reply

November 16. 2011 09:50 PM

Feral Skeleton

         You have to watch this, Keith Olbermann is letting rip into Bloomberg:


Feral Skeleton

November 17. 2011 12:23 AM



I'm suffering a great shock at the moment. I can't believe what I saw on Lateline.

Here was Ms J Bishop being interviewed quite well by Steve Cannane and she conducted herself in a totally non-partisan, non-political, non-point-scoring, sensible and reasonable manner.

She answered all questions and to me demonstrated a style, and an appreciation of national interest (rather than Coalition interest) that I thought were beyond her.

This was quite a long I/V and dare I say it ????? she performed as a leader.

Dog Albitey (thanks TT) forgive me for this heresy.

Perhaps leadership ambitions are currently active in her mind.


November 17. 2011 01:51 AM



I agree with you that Julie Bishop conducted herself in a totally non-partisan, non-political, non-point-scoring, sensible and reasonable manner.on Lateline.

Like you I have never heard Ms Bishop sound as if she was across the finer detail of her portfolio until tonight.

I felt as if she was really messing with my head as I kept expecting her to revert to type. This is some sort of Coalition confidence trick!

Tony Abbort began well enough in his after dinner speech (he even made some gracious remarks about the PM) but could not resist making it all about himself in the end.


November 17. 2011 02:54 AM

Patricia WA

Casablanca, I found nothing gracious about Tony Abbott's crass reference to race in his welcome speech to President Obama.  You are right perhaps that he started off Okay but that sounded like patronising big white boy stuff to me, and yes everything in the end does have to revolve around him.

Perhaps he's lucky that the President's arrival has overshadowed the hilarious reaction in the media and the blogosphere to his latest stunt dressed up in a bomb disposal suit. That inspired me earlier today to revise a very recent pome I posted here about his rumored affaire It really does need the pictures for full enjoyment though so I'll just link you to


Patricia WA

November 17. 2011 07:51 AM



Obama Gives It A Burl At Parliamentary Reception, Australian Politics
Listen to Julia Gillard’s speech: Listen to Tony Abbott’s speech: Listen to Barack Obama’s speech:

Draconian journalism Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless
The only acceptable self-regulation of the media is, apparently, Uncle Jonathan squeezed into a spare ten minutes on Monday nights: wagging his finger, raising his eyebrow, with a bemused and indulgent smirk at scallywag young journalists trampling this and tripping over that in pursuit of "the story". Occasionally he gets up on his high horse about Bogan Media (e.g. Today Tonight, A Current Affair, Alan Jones), but either way there's no harm done and nothing really changes

Reinvigorating ANZUS: Should the US deploy more troops in Darwin?, Dylan Caporn, The Body Politic – Australia
Given America’s propensity to, both in word and deed, adhere to the newly emerging paradigm of liberal or humanitarian interventionism, it should not be so readily discarded that the United States is, and can still be, a force for human good. The more bases, the better.

Alliance or Dalliance?, DAMOB,  Throwing Stones from the Glasshouse
A commentator said today that the friendship will be tested if and when the issue of Taiwan comes to a head. This is where the purpose of the military base will kick in. History has shown us that we fight whenever the US tell us to, but we also need to know when to say no. We need to be that tough friend with the US too. Surely Gillard and her government are well aware of what it means to allow the US military to be based here…and in Darwin of all places.

the media: goodbye self-regulation?, Gary sauer-Thompson, Public Opinion
Remember all that guff about the ALP guillotining Gillard, Rudd making the big comeback, and it would all happen before Xmas? The media flows were full of it. After the carbon price legislation was passed, little has been said. It was junk journalism Junk, or crap, is what passes for political journalism these days.

Greiner takes on BOF...again, Paul barry, The Power Index
Greiner is demanding the issue of funding and ownership be re-examined by the O'Farrell Cabinet's infrastructure sub-committee, of which he is a member. He apparently has NSW Treasurer Mike Baird onside.That's a problem for Premier O'Farrell, who has promised voters that a final plan and cost for the 13-year old rail project will be nailed down by Christmas.

An Update - More Great Big New Facts on Tax ,Stephen Koukoulas
Howard Government was the highest taxing government in Australia’s history, made me consider the following point. If the Labor Government had the same tax receipts as the peak level received by the Howard Government (24.1% of GDP), there would have been only one deficit (2009-10) and rather than net debt peaking at around $110 billion, the Government would have net financial assets of around $201 billion in June 2013

Special relationship? Why Gillard needs to talk tough with Obama about US military base, Brendon O'Connor, The Conversation
Gillard’s expressed a disinterest in foreign affairs when she came to office, and it wasn’t Obama’s forté either. Have they grown together in office in terms of their development of policy?
For both of them there was a contrast between them and the previous leader. Kevin Rudd was criticised for travelling too much

How the NBN came to my house (and how much faster it is), Amanda gearing, Crikey
Its nearest equivalent plan delivers 120GB for $59.99 per month with the option to add multimedia for an extra $10 a month or multimedia eXtream for $20 a month. So, for about the same cost, the NBN promises to deliver a far superior service at a similar cost.Roll on the roll-out.

Imbecile’ pokies activist funds full-page newspaper ad, Stephen Mayne, Crikey
Indeed, when our local federal MP in Manningham, Kevin Andrews, stepped out as Tony Abbott’s spokesman slamming the federal reforms, I gave him a solid public slap in the local paper saying he was completely out of step with his community given the Manningham councillors had voted 8-1 in favour of measures such as $1 maximum bets and compulsory pre-commitment.

Not sure what he means, Jeremy Sear, Pure Poison
There is a doping allegation, but Bolt’s introduction was “may not be as representative of Australia as we might fear from this news”, which clearly suggests his questions about their representativeness are quite separate from that allegation.

IEA and the energy crunch of 2017, Brian, Larvatus Prodeo
In practical terms significant international action before 2015 is to me unimaginable. The IEA says initiating action after 2020 will become politically impossible. Joe Romm at Climate Progress disagrees. By then he thinks “most policymakers will realize that we are on path to the self-destruction of modern civilization

Obama Down Under, Australian Politics TV
There has been an explosion of video about US President, Barack Obama’s visit to Australia. We find it strange the regular references to his being in our country for 28 hours. Anyway, there is no doubt that the buzz over the next 28 hours will focus on Obama and what he’s doing, saying and looking at.Instead of posting each individual video, we’ve collated them into this one post. You can also check them out through our Obama Down Under playlist

ABC: Interview with Kim Beazley, Australian Politics TV
ABC, interview, Kim Beazley, military, TV, USA

MARN OF THE MOMENT: Ferguson shows Labor a way out of the abyss, Andrew Landeryou, Vex News
India needs electricity if it is to bring 400 million people out of poverty. If the Greens have a plan for how it can do this, I’m happy to put them in touch with the relevant ministers in Delhi.”The Fin Review reports him saying also “The Indian people aspire to the same standard of living that the Greens enjoy in Australia.”We’re not sure a public official has said a more pleasing thing since VEXNEWS was founded. Martin Ferguson is a patriot, indeed.

Super is a con, perpetrated by people who con themselves, Peter Martin
Wilful blindness by the government and spinelessness by the opposition have ensured the amount of compulsory super we are forced to hand over to money managers will climb from 9 per cent to 12 per cent of our salaries by the end of the decade (unless we run self-managed funds and try to make a go of

Say It Ain’t So, Wixxy, Wixxy’s Blog
The latest in this madness comes of course from Tony Abbott, as that is where most mad ideas seem to originate from currently. Tony tells us that if he wins the next federal election, a thankfully diminishing possibility, he will consider his victory a mandate to remove the Carbon Pricing legislation, pokie reforms,

Tony Abbott’s Body Armor., PaticiaWA, Polliepomes
Canberra is rife with rumor! The L.O.T.O. is in a dark, black humor. Has his spouse told him he has to go? Is she sick of hearing him say “No!”

Everybody’s Going It Alone, Min, Café Whispers
So, it appears that the rest of the world IS moving to pricing carbon, in direct conflict to what the opposition AND their msm is trying to tell us. I wonder how the ‘rollback’ will look as even more go online, assuming that ever comes to fruition

Australia's coal-seam gas industry feels the political heat, Rebekah Kebede, Reuters
In Australia, contrary to Alan Jones' rousing remarks at the Gunnedah rally, landholders own only the surface rights to their land while the government owns the underlying mineral rights, which it can lease out to gas developers.Gas companies then negotiate land access agreements to come onto farms and usually take up about one hectare per well, excluding land needed for infrastructure like roads.

Chasing the Truth – for whom and to where? AMEP
My observations are that the elite corps of political journalists, and aspirants, are often trained for and seduced into this game. To effectively expose the destructive character of the players behind this strategy would destroy careers. Yet, by choosing to be players in this political game, aren’t journalists failing to be prophetic voices

Investors pile the pressure on James Murdoch , Peter Campbell, This is Money UK
Growing investor unrest has seen one in ten of the independent shareholders, who hold the remaining 61 per cent of the stock, say they will vote against Murdoch on November 29.  fit to fulfil the role of chairman’ and could damage ‘the company’s public standing and image overall’.

Rudd on Howard Part I , Kevin Rudd censuring John Howard in 2007 for his Obama , YouTube



November 17. 2011 07:54 AM


With his 'back of Bourke' car-salesman's tie and greasy hair, didn't Shouldabeen look the ticket as an alternative PM at last night's dinner for President Obama?


November 17. 2011 08:10 AM


Good Morning Ad

Here is a couple of links that have been disqualified from our Special Page.

When you read them the reason for disqualification will become obvious:

This by Mr Abbott is absolutely flabbergasping:

your election as President because it showed that America could live up to its dreams, and that Americans were capable of judging people by the content of their characters, rather than the colour of their skin".

Zen president enjoys getting an ear bashing
Katharine Murphy is national affairs correspondent at The Age. She has been reporting on federal politics for more than a decade,

Tony Abbott spoke of … Tony Abbott, at length


Barack Obama praises US-Australia bond in speech

Joe Kelly, The Australian

Tony Abbott told Mr Obama that millions of Australians, regardless of their political affiliations, took pride in "your election as President because it showed that America could live up to its dreams, and that Americans were capable of judging people by the content of their characters, rather than the colour of their skin".


Julia Gillard and Barack Obama recast the union
Paul Kelly, Editor-at-large From: The Australian

Gillard has become one of the most pro-US leaders in Australia's peacetime history. The Obama-Gillard concord redefines the alliance and deepens its permanent military characterGillard is almost a Labor version of Howard: an enthusiast adapting an alliance she sees as enduring to new events. The conventional wisdom half a decade ago that Labor would retreat from Howard's intimacy with the US has been repudiated

US President Barack Obama tries speaking the local lingo at dinner in Canberra ,Courier Mail

Mr Abbott also talked about linguistic mix-ups, recounting his first visit to the US as an MP where a briefing that described him as a "ferocious liberal'' and "deeply anti-republican'' meant he spent a fortnight being introduced to communists




November 17. 2011 08:20 AM


I was really quite amazed at how nervous Gillard was at the joint press conference yesterday afternoon. I have never really seen her get nervous at any speaking arrangement, but with Obama her lip was quivering and for the first section of her speech she sounded like a sheep!

I think that the boost of Marines in Darwin is good on several fronts:

- The Darwin economy will get another big boost, which will be coupled with the soon to be announced INPEX deal. With housing prices and economic growth beginning to taper off this should help to redirect the NT's economy.

- It gives our forces at Larrakeyah Barracks and Robinson Barracks amongst others the chance to get involved with more highly skilled training exercises.

- Although there is already a small US presence, with this boost Darwin will become even more of a multicultural hub, and will see the families of many of the soldiers come and visit AUS.

- It will see a quicker response time and a greater chance of getting through a major cyclone relatively unscathed, due to the extra amount of troops able to aid in the relief effort.

I think it is fantastic for Darwin and Australia, and if China views this as a military build up than it is being very precious. Australia has had a long and very close relationship with the U.S. and this is just a continuing and enhancing of this relationship.


November 17. 2011 08:38 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

November 17. 2011 08:41 AM


As you say, it's got a lot to do with who is Commander-In-Chief atm, who is building themselves up militarily in the neighbourhood, the nature of our strategic assets which could be very attractive to a resource-hungry power, and, as you say, the economic flow-on benefits for our country.


Just for interest's sake:

People's Republic of China – Iran relations

China finds in Iran a permanent partner for its exports and a source for its growing energy demand.

In March 2004, Zhuhai Zhenrong Corporation, a Chinese state-run company, signed a 25-year contract to import 110 million metric tons of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Iran.

This was followed by another contract between Sinopec and Iran LNG, signed in October of the same year. The deal, worth $100 billion, adds an extra 250 million tons of LNG to China's energy supply, to be extracted from Iran's Yadavaran field over a 25-year period.

In January 2009, Iran and China signed a $1.76bn contract for the initial development of the North Azadegan oil field in western Iran. In March the two countries struck a three-year $3.39 billion deal to produce liquefied natural gas in Iran's mammoth South Pars natural gas field. Because of its limited refining capacity Iran imports one third of its refined products such as petrol from China.

In 2001, the volume of trade between Iran and China stood at $3.3 billion, and in 2005, the volume of Sino-Iranian trade hit US$ 9.2 billion.

China's exports to Iran have experienced particularly rapid growth in the past five years, with China replacing Japan as the world's second largest exporter to Iran. Iran's imports from China rose by 360% between 2000 and 2005. Aside from China's inexpensive products, Iran is also buying more from China for strategic reasons.

Iran's Deputy Minister of Commerce Mehdi Ghazanfari said trade exchanges between Iran and China will exceed $25 billion in 2008.

Iran is currently China's third largest supplier of crude, providing China with roughly 12 percent of its total annual oil consumption (nearly one million barrels daily).

Iran–China trade value reached $30 billion in 2010 and is expected to increase to $50 billion by 2015.

Ali Akbar Saheli, Iran's former representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that the two countries "mutually complement each other. They have industry and we have energy resources".

Iran represents a major market for China's military exports, purchasing 14% by value. Between 2005 and 2009 this represented 1,000 anti-air and anti-ship missiles and approximately 50 infantry combat vehicles.

Iran today continues to align itself politically with the People's Republic of China as the European Union and United States push forward with policies to isolate Iran both politically and economically.

Iran has observer status at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and aspires to membership to this organisation, in which China plays a leading role.

In July 2004, Iranian parliamentary speaker Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel stressed China's support for Iran's nuclear programs.

China's Foreign Minister, Li Zhaoxing also said that his country opposes Iran being referred to United Nations Security Council over its nuclear program, and claimed that the Iranian government had a very positive attitude in its cooperation with the IAEA.

Some history related to Iranian/Persian women & China:

During the Tang Dynasty, communities of Persian-speaking merchants, known as Bosi (波斯), formed in northwestern China's major trade centers.

Iranian girls were in demand as dancers in China during this period. During the Sui dynasty, ten young dancing girls were sent from Persia to China. In the Tang dynasty inns were often attended by Iranian or Sogdian waitresses who performed dances for clients.

Dancers were sent as gifts, and whirl dances were often performed by Iranian girls. Some of these Iranian, central Asian, and Sogdian girls were known for having blue eyes and blonde hair.

Blue eyed Greek and Persian girls danced in bars and clubs in China during this period.

During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (Wudai) (907-960), there are examples of Chinese emperors marrying Persian women.

The young Chinese Emperor Liu Chang of the Southern Han dynasty kept a harem, including one Persian girl he nicknamed Mei Zhu, which means "beautiful pearl"(媚珠).

During the first year of his reign, he was not over sixteen years old when he had a taste for intercourse with Persian girls. Liu Chang was attracted to the Persian girl's dark brown skin color.

From the tenth to twelfth century, Persian women were to be found in Guangzhou (Canton), some of them in the tenth century like Mei Zhu in the harem of the Emperor Liu Chang, and in the twelfth century large numbers of Persian women lived there, noted for wearing mulitiple earrings and "quarrelsome dispositions".

Multiple women originating from the Gulf lived in Guangzhou's foreign quarter, they were all called "Persian women" (波斯婦 Po-ssu-fu or Bosifu).

Some scholars did not differentiate between Persian and Arab, and some say that the Chinese called all women coming from the Persian Gulf "Persian Women".

I found these links useful for background info:

China's Energy Relations with the Developing World By Carrie Liu Currier, Manochehr Dorraj



Journal Essay
Lubricated With Oil: Iran-China Relations in a Changing World

Manochehr Dorraj and Carrie L. Currier



Oct 11 - Iran Suspends CNPC's Participation in South Pars Phase 11



CNPC in talks with Iran to revive South Pars field





November 17. 2011 08:46 AM


this site is useful:


the Iran News Round Ups are worth checkin' out.



November 17. 2011 08:47 AM


The 'real Julie' Bishop?

For those impressed with the lucidity of Shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Lateline last night, perhaps it's worth considering what an indictment of her and the Coalition her performance actually was.

Simply put, if a shadow minister can behave like a mature adult politician at any given time, why is almost all their time given over to the caterwauling obstructionism that has characterised the Opposition since the complexion of the current Parliament was settled?

Simply answered. Brought to a shrill peak under Tiny Abbott, the Coalition is focused entirely on the antic politics of unseating Labor, not the serious policy positioning of their pitch for government.

Be 'surprised' by the apparent capability of Ms. Bishop.

Be horrified that she cuts her cloth more routinely to the sandpit politics of Shouldabeen.

But do NOT be, never be hopeful that if a 'real Julie' can emerge, that she is a model for the others on the shadow frontbench.

We have already seen the 'real Joe' Hockey in his run of absurdist ABC interviews; definitely the 'real Andrew' Robb rabbitlike transfixed by TV cameras; the 'real Barnaby' Joyce in his spitting raves at the doors to Parliament ("Yes/No, No/Yes, Yes/No", Barnaby?), and so on and on - 'real Malcolm', anyone?

Julie Bishop should be ashamed that she can 'throw the switch FROM vaudeville' so easily. What she is doing with the rest of her time is revealed as mere clowning, when the nation, and Australian politics, deserves much better.


November 17. 2011 08:47 AM


Whoops...here's the link:




November 17. 2011 08:56 AM


Furthermore...further reasons our relationship w/ China as an energy provider is important and yet problematic...and why gas & uranium now play an essential role:

This from 2004:

Fueling the dragon: China's race into the oil market

China's expectation of growing future dependence on oil imports has brought it to acquire interests in exploration and production in places like Kazakhstan, Russia, Venezuela, Sudan, West Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Canada.

But despite its efforts to diversify its sources, China has become increasingly dependent on Middle East oil. Today, 58% of China's oil imports come from the region. By 2015, the share of Middle East oil will stand on 70%. Though historically China has had no long-standing strategic interests in the Middle East, its relationship with the region from where most of its oil comes is becoming increasingly important.

A report by the U.S.-China Security Review Commission, a group created by Congress, warned that China's increasing need for imported energy has given it an incentive to become closer to countries supporting terrorism like Iran, Iraq and Sudan:

"A key driver in China's relations with terrorist-sponsoring governments is its dependence on foreign oil to fuel its economic development. This dependency is expected to increase over the coming decade."

China's relations with state sponsors of terrorism has provided these countries a great deal of money, allowing them to continue to harbor terrorist organizations and to maintain a policy of oppression and exploitation of their people.

China is the number one oil and gas importer from Iran. The two countries are bound by energy deals reaching a total value of $120 billion and growing. While the U.S. and EU were forging a diplomatic strategy to halt Iran’s nuclear program, China signed in October 2004 its largest energy deal with Iran ever and promised to block any American attempt to refer Iran’s nuclear program to the UN Security Council. This may indicate not only that China is interested in a militarily strong, even nuclear Iran that dominates the Gulf but also that for China, energy security considerations trump international cooperation on critical global security issues.

In addition to its special relations with Iran, China is also known to be a provider of WMD technologies to rouge states including North Korea, Syria, Libya and Sudan.

China also provides conventional weapons that could threaten U.S. military forces securing the Persian Gulf. Of particular concern are China's sales to Iran of anti-ship cruise missiles, which pose a threat to oil tanker traffic and American naval vessels operating there. This arms trafficking presents an increasing threat to U.S. global security interests, particularly in the Middle East and Asia.




November 17. 2011 09:41 AM

D Mick Weir

I think I am about to change careers again ...

The $200,000-a-Year Mine Worker John W Miller @ Wall Street Journal, Asia Business

Resources Boom Fuels Demand for Underground Labor, Spurs Skyrocketing Pay; a $1,200 Chihuahua

MANDURAH, Australia — One of the fastest-growing costs in the global mining industry are workers like James Dinnison: the 25-year-old high-school dropout from Western Australia makes $200,000 a year running drills in underground mines to extract gold and other minerals.

The heavily tattooed Mr. Dinnison, who started in the mines seven years ago earning $100,000, owns a sky-blue 2009 Chevy Ute, which cost $55,000 before a $16,000 engine enhancement, and a $44,000 custom motorcycle. The price tag on his chihuahua, Dexter, which yaps at his feet: $1,200.
Mr. Dinnison proudly calls himself a Cub—a Cashed-up Bogan, a bogan referring to Australian slang for an uneducated blue-collar worker.

I could cope with being called a cashed up bogan, not sure about the tatts but a $1,200 chihuahua ... where do I sign on?

Hat Tip Tyler Cowen @ Marginal Revolution

D Mick Weir

November 17. 2011 10:15 AM

Ad astra reply

If the only ‘fault’ you can find with Julia Gillard’s performance yesterday is what you describe as nervousness, she must have done supremely well.  I too heard the momentary quaver in her voice in the initial part of what she said at the press conference, and a couple of ABC reporters mentioned it is passing.  Whether it was nervousness or a ‘catch in the voice’ that anyone of us gets occasionally, is immaterial.  She ‘recovered’ quickly and held her own in the conference.  

This visit has been a great success so far for both leaders.  She has vastly improved her stature with her international forays, and it’s beginning to show in the way she is regarded by the people and the journalists.

Last night on Lateline Julie Bishop performed better than I have ever seen her do.  Others have commented similarly.  Apart from one small tilt at Labor over free trade, she spoke in a balanced and diplomatic way.

I thought that if only she spoke this way in other interviews and in the House, how much better she would be regarded.  In fact if all politicians were to focus on the issues rather than attempting at every turn to score political points, how much better our parliamentary system would work.  I believe that as all parliamentarians are elected by the people and paid for from the public purse, they owe it to the electorate to work together for the benefit of the nation, rather than tearing each other apart while we the voters look on in dismay.

Ad astra reply

November 17. 2011 11:59 AM


Hi Ad and Everybody

Some tweets for you about the speeches in Parliament this morning:-

@Thefinnigans finns- stop upsetting the rightards, their BOY abbott is being shown for what he is- A COWARDLY RACIST DUMBARSE #mediafail

ryanmoore3Ryan by BrentonEccles
Obama get introduced the the Cabinet. Abbott is deathly jealous. #aubama

gordongrahamGordon Graham
@GrogsGamut RT@latikambourke Galleries and Parliament rise to applaud President Obama. Fmr Prime Minister John Howard not clapping at all.40 seconds agoFavoriteRetweetReply

benhiderBen Hider by geeksrulz
So Abbott used a non-partisan occasion for a partisan snark, and Howard didn't applaud Obama's speech. Keep it classy Liberals #aubama
2 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

bravotravJudy Moran
Watching the Libs swamp Obama is absolutely embarrassing. Obama couldn't care less about you good for nothing opposition members. #aubama
5 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

Obama will collapse any minute after having met Peta Credin. #aubama
2 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

AndrewBGreeneAndrew Greene
President #Obama and Prime Minister Gillard leave the Parliamentary chamber with arms around each other
5 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

My mrs just went WOW how lovely, the PM and the Pres arms around each other as they walk away...beat that Toxic you loser7 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

conceravotaConcera Vota
And press have another one coming out todayRT @Thefinnigans: The picture that terrified Tony Abbott http://twitpic.com/7f4r5p/full #aubama
7 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

Anyone else think #Obama gave the Libs a bit of a slapdown re: comments around democracy and climate change? Was Tony listening? #auspol
1 minute agoFavoriteRetweetReply

Tony Abbott's ill manners were to the fore again when he failed to acknowledge those present in the parliament before speaking WRONG AGAIN

9 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply



November 17. 2011 12:12 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Thanks for your links and tweets.  What an interesting collection they are about the speeches in the House.

Was I correct in thinking that Tony Abbott was into partisan comment in his address – for example over uranium to India – or is that just my bias showing through?  It seems as if some tweeters think so too.  I expected such behaviour; he seems unable to curb his partisan talk, even on such significant occasions.  If Julie Bishop can avoid partisan talk, why can’t Abbott?  Because combat, conflict and partisanship is in his DNA!  There is no cure.

Ad astra reply

November 17. 2011 12:35 PM


Abbott just can't help himself, can he? Partisan domestic politics get mentioned at every single opportunity, whether it's a brief moment with Her Majesty or a Condolence Motion or welcoming the single most powerful individual in the world into the Australian Parliament.
If (when) Abbott gets toppled he is going to have a nervous breakdown and seriously crash. No-one can maintain such a single focus in their life without putting their mental well-being at risk, especially if it all comes to nothing. I gather Abbott can be a bit of a drinker so I would expect six months on the turps while he tries to find a new meaning to his existence. Political commentator perhaps? Someone give him Latham's and Richo's phone numbers.

Abbott is an embarrassment to us all.


November 17. 2011 01:14 PM


Hi Ad

You were exactly right in your assumptions,Tony Abbott was into partisan comment in his address.

Norman K exactly right too:   Abbott just can't help himself, can he? Partisan domestic politics get mentioned at every single opportunity

Michael I am so pleased you noticed the tie, I have been on about that for ages, someone should teach him how to tie a tie.

Wonder if Abbott will be in Darwin,  he should be at home sitting on the ground in a circle with his didgeridoo , he likes to be one of the crowd.

I am not sure what was said today by Abbott on the US Alliance, but it appears from this Steve lewis article, there will be another

"I didn't say what I said" from Abbott, should happen in 24 hours.

Abbott supports US bases 12am 17th November Steve Lewis

TONY Abbott has called for closer military and intelligence ties with the US as he backed further "joint facilities" with the superpower

Foreign policy experts last night accused the alternative PM of scrapping years of Coalition policyAustralian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre head Hugh White that said he was not thinking through his "naive" comments - which would antagonise China

If Australian companies start to jump up and down about his policy, then I am sure he would back down," Professor Williams said.

Macquarie University national security expert Clive Williams said Mr Abbott's position was "foolish" given China was Australia's biggest trading partner

He appears to be putting strategic interests ahead of economic interests, but I don't think he has really thought it through

Mr Abbott is expected to outline his position on the US relationship - following the US President's address to a joint sitting of parliament in Canberra.




November 17. 2011 01:15 PM


NormanK - the best thing that has happened to Richo since he lost relevance is The Hamster Wheel's weekly portrait of him as a Fat Cat.

Latham seems to have flown around in ever decreasing circles and finally flew up his own fundamental orifice.


November 17. 2011 01:19 PM



Hee hee hee hee. Literally. Smile


November 17. 2011 01:29 PM


Bugger bugger bugger bugger!
Bum bum bum!
I lost another bloody post!
Dog I'm bloody dumb!
I'd nearly bloody finished it!
I touched some key and fwwttt!
Enough to make St Agnes spit!
My whole dam post Kaput!

It was last night and I was watching *J*U*L*I*A* then Toenail then Obama giving their speeches (Obama has just finished in the House as I write now.) I was far from complimentary about any of them be it noted. Our PM was stilted and nervous, Abbortt had an edge to his voice like fingernails on tin yelling about how everything was all about him. Obama spoke in platitudes and blandishments, all three of them were parish-pumping as hard as they could go.

I do sort of understand them all, I think. Abbortt is hyper because everything he has fought for including his position as LOTO is at risk now, the media has fallen out of love with him at last and he has to scrub up as good as he can (but it won't save him.)

*J*U*L*I*A* and Obama are both hyper because of the venom of their respective opponents, they are scared spitless of those terrible people ever getting into power, as indeed so am I and I'm sure nearly all Swordies. They all dare not put a syllable wrong, but it's a pity that such an opportunity to inspire was so wasted.

Today in the House wasn't a lot better. Circlejerking a lot, not much substance and Toenail went on and on. Obama nearly asleep.

And it's a pity that what they are talking about is mainly militaria.

Toenail Abbortt really does seem to see himself as what everything's about. Like this: You're standing on a jetty, the sun behind you throwing your shadow on the water. Rippling rays of light radiate from your head- only your head, not the person's alongside you! - Plainly it shows you that you are the Centre of the Universe!  Most of us can realize that each person is the centre of his own, but it seems that Toenail Abbortt has never got over the belief that it shows he must be a Saint, or better, an avenging Angel, perhaps Jesus Himself even! This is a genuine delusional condition, of which the extreme manifestation is megalomania, and cult leaders are typically of this type of personality.

When Abbortt is finally dumped by his sorry excuse for a Party, I do think he will be at risk of serious decline.. I will not be rejoicing - If it were Howard I would! - but then I won't be grieving too much for Abbortt neither, he doesn't give a fig for anyone else.

The trajectory for Abbortt's demise will make for riveting entertainment. Will it be before Crispmess, mercifully swift like *J*U*L*I*A*'s coup? I don't think so! The Coalons haven't the guts or the nous and they got no-one worth having to replace him with anyway. So, before Easter 2012? June? August? November 2012?
After that it would be desperately late to do it.

I'll take a punt on August. I think it's their tipping point. The Eye of Time is a little misty as to when, but not doubtful about the main event itself. Abbortt will have to go, They are panickfully starting to realize it, and casting about in dismay because they know that what I'm saying is true!

The Eye of Time, Abbortt! The Eye of Time! Smile

They have NO-ONE!

Whoever it is must have a hope of winning an election, hey aren't you glad you aren't responsible for the team they have to try to put together, to put together policy and a credible fight to take the place of the utterly-failed strategy! They are so-o-o-o-o far behind the 8-ball now!


Turdball or Mesma yeah?

Hee hee hee hee hee What a lovely game.

Come on Punters!  

Starters? Favourites? Odds?  

OOOOh Can't you feel their pain! It's EXQUISITE!

The best thing about gloating and jeering like this is, it is also the very best self-fulfilling weapon to bring them down. Only because we have the wood on them though, the contrast is stark. We must be careful not to be too hubristic though, I don't mean that, I do mean ridicule the Coalons and rub it in like salt into open wounds, and rub their noses in their filthy nonsense, they have earnt it and and we must as good Guerillas take every opportunity to do them in.  

Both Obama and *J*U*L*I*A* are looking better by the day though, and for rather comparable reasons. Dog be praised and thanked and patted and praised and stroked and rubbed and scratched and given something toothsome !




November 17. 2011 01:48 PM


NormanK said
If (when) Abbott gets toppled he is going to have a nervous breakdown and seriously crash. No-one can maintain such a single focus in their life without putting their mental well-being at risk, especially if it all comes to nothing.

TT said
When Abbortt is finally dumped by his sorry excuse for a Party, I do think he will be at risk of serious decline.



NormanK said
Hee hee hee hee. Literally.

And TT said
Hee hee hee hee hee What a lovely game.

Another Snap!

Is this schadenfreude, hubris or just gleeeeeeeee?


November 17. 2011 02:18 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Thanks for The Telegraph link.  While Steve Lewis does not offer an adverse comment against his favourite Abbott for his 'let's have American bases here' comment, the two defence experts, Hugh White and Clive Williams, see Abbott's statements as naive and foolish, as they can only antagonise China with whom we have such strong trading relationships.

Abbott is dangerous to our nation; the quicker his party realize that, the sooner we will see him gone.

We're off shopping for a couple of hours.

Ad astra reply

November 17. 2011 02:21 PM



I totally agree with your assessment below.

Be 'surprised' by the apparent capability of Ms. Bishop.

Be horrified that she cuts her cloth more routinely to the sandpit politics of Shouldabeen.

Julie Bishop should be ashamed that she can 'throw the switch FROM vaudeville' so easily. What she is doing with the rest of her time is revealed as mere clowning, when the nation, and Australian politics, deserves much better.

At 2305 hrs last night I sent her an email to that effect and at 2349 hrs she replied in an amicable manner which engaged a further reply and restatement of my first email.

It is just ridiculous that she does not at least sometimes conduct herself so well in the day to day discourse.

I think that like the others in that mob she has been 101% vulnerable to the adrenalin fix stimulated by Abbott the fool's pugilism and his (perceived but superficial) capacity to get them over the line. Hence very clouded judgement.

Whilst Hockey and the others you mentioned have clearly shown that they are having a similar adrenalin moment (for 2 years so far!) they have also clearly demonstrated their stupidity, incompetence, and unfitness for high office as well.

JB judged by her showing last night might be less of a lightweight than I had considered. My fear of her as a potential PM is far less than my concerns about Abbott the fool.

But I hope and expect that JG will occupy the Lodge for quite a few more years yet.

Michael, why not send her an email such as you have written here.



November 17. 2011 02:28 PM

Ad astra reply

Michael, psyclaw
I agree with your comments about Julie Bishop.  If it is possible to have the Julie Bishop we saw last night, why do we have to put up with the nasty, claws-exposed, highly partisan Julie Bishop we see day after day?

Ad astra reply

November 17. 2011 02:42 PM


Norman K
My prediction is for a change and the demise of Abbott the fool shortly after Easter. If all goes well, the polls after Xmas break should continue to creep JG's way and once she gets to about 49 2PP he's a goner.

Yes, Abbott the fool was partisan at least twice in his speech and yes, he can't help himself. He must be polemic at every opportunity .....his pugilism gene at work.

The most glaring was his statement that the change of view by Labor about India/uranium was not seamless from Howard to Rudd/Gillard as it was for Bush to Obama.

I noted him reading pretty well all of his speech whereas JG as usual spoke from the heart and mind.

Of significant interest to me was the socialisation prior to the President entering the chamber. From 1016 hrs to about 1019 hrs Julie Bishop leaned over the despatch table to socialise with JG and WS who were similarly leaning over towards her ..... it was clearly social chit chat which all three were enjoying, and it was good to see.

Abbott the fool at the time stood with 4 or 5 cronies with his back to the despatch.

When I spoke to JB by email last night I  contrasted her Lateline performance with Abbott's inabilities of which we are all aware.

I encouraged her that since she was able to perform in the national interest on Lateline and since she was the only shadow minister to do so in recent years, she therefore had an obligation in the national interest to fix the problem of Abbott-the danger-to-Australia by working towards his removal.

One can only sow seeds and hope.


November 17. 2011 04:55 PM


Had a very busy morning and taped Obama addressing Parliament.  It was excellent in as much as we just fast forwarded past abbott.  I could anticipate how bad he would be and from your reports, we didn't miss a thing.  

I know the China thing is important in regards to having a few thousand troupes in Australia, but I fail to see how they are going to be a threat to China with the HUGE military force.  I can't see how it would affect our trading position with them.  I know Nas will try and explain it.......I would like to understand all the hoopla the media is going on with.  I suspect greatly that if it had been the opposition doing this it would be "isn't this wonderful, how good are they".


November 17. 2011 05:21 PM


I gather Abbott can be a bit of a drinker.....

'splains a lot, NormanK.

And something I just have to get off my chest. I was in our local post office today doing post office stuff, when the subject of the carbon emissions price came up.

Imagine my astonishment when the post master (or whatever they're called these days) announced, without the vestige of a smile, that all the monies collected will be handed over directly to the UN!

I remonstrated with him, explaining how the money will be allocated. He shot back that that was the mining tax. I remonstrated yet again, but there was no budging him.

This would not be so worrying if it was the local hermit or drunk, but this bloke would have been spruiking this stuff for weeks.

So now I will have to provide hard copy to disabuse him of his wrongheadedness. I have no idea how, why or when he arrived at this nonsensical notion, but it must be nipped in the bud.

I feel an email to the PM and cabinet coming on. There will have to be public announcements to correct this false impression and to put the peddler of the misinformation in his, or her, place!

I wonder, has anyone else been treated to this stuff?


November 17. 2011 05:25 PM


It was certainly a stirring & oft insightful speech by Obama...

as was PM Gillard's...

but a competitive, long-winded, preachy, point scorin' attempt by Abbott, per usual. Send him packin' to a seminary, please.

As for Obama's speech,
how I read it, the President was telling China that its expansion across the globe as an economic power w/ a growin' military will be far more scrutinised...and if it doesn't play by the rules of the game - rules that further need to be worked out durin' various Asia-Pacific state meetings - then there will be consequences...

expectations/soft demands are that China will clamp down more on piracy, open its markets to more competition, including increasing imports & allowing more investment...and bein' more flexible w/ their currency.

And respect others' borders, human rights.

Obama takes a more softly softly approach in his speeches for obvious diplomatic, trade, debt-related & "better a coldish war than a hot one" reasons when it comes to speaking about...and to...China...

but I couldn't help but feel there was a big stick hidden behind his back durin' this speech...that could be wielded down the road if China's posture remains stubborn on said issues...

and if the Chinese economic expansion continues to undermine the sovereignty of nations/states...

and it looks more like resources are bein' imported, bases/alliances are strategically & sneakily bein' established, for present & future militaristic advantage...and states feel intimidated or financially cajoled into participating.

Australia, bein' the oft opportunistic, "hope there's no negative consequences for our greedy decisions" country has now been put in a somewhat uncomfortable position of havin' to take sides down the road...and may have to pay economically/trade-wise for its semi-manic applause of a US President and his announcement of increased troop, submarine etc. visitations by the US military.

Once the exhuberance party ends...the next morning hangover comes.

Frankly, I prefer to know we have a close alliance w/ America under this president...but some will wake up the next morning and have "buyer's remorse". It's only natural in a functioning democracy.

The reality is, Australia has been quite negligent when it comes to China's expansion...and its policy of "opening the resources trade floodgates to China" has oft been dictated by selfish mining magnates...

completely ignoring the fact that this occasionally careless, look the other way & take the moolah, approach may have assisted in the exponential build up of China's military...and nuclear weaponry...they may come back to bite us in the not too distant future.

Particularly, if China is unable to control the easing of its housing/apartment/mall boom...and deal in the long run w/ inflation problems...and systemic corporate (finance & real estate) & government-based/funded corruption that is a ticking time bomb.

A widespread collapse of the Chinese economy could lead to fervent nationalism...and a far more militaristic & aggressive posture...particularly off the back of climate-related problems & restricted access to resources.

A hypothetical that it is likely the Obama & Gillard administrations are preparing for...just in case. They would be negligent not to do so.

Certainly Australia's contribution to China's energy needs can be, has been, positive in some respects. It has slightly taken off the pressure for China to get in bed w/ every rogue regime to the Nth degree...tho only "slighly" from my own observations (see above posts)...

and it may be seeding goodwill & better relations in China that will spread across that country's more rational & human rights/democracy-driven population...perhaps easing the rigid stance of some of the "old guard" in charge...and helping to create a new generation of entrepreneurs & political leaders who recognise that putting "the people" first can be far more beneficial than havin' an overly cautious, stodgy, somewhat dictatorial approach to running the political economy...and society as a whole.

So yes, trade w/ China can be beneficial...but when it comes at the expense of our environment (Gladstone, food bowls)...when it leads to an undermining of our democracy (think lobbying, coal policy written by coal mafia, so to speak) and rights (farmers vs coal seam gas)...and other job sectors & mortgages/small business(think high dollar, high interest rate pressures due to mining...suckin' life outa tourism & some exports & manufacturing)...

and does Australia have the courage not to kowtow to this massive country's whims & needs & desires?...

could it be feeding rampant capitalism & lack of energy conservation & undermining funding of more imaginative, cleaner, greener projects & schemes by agreeing to so many Chinese company & government demands?

Could Australia be carelessly feeding a boom that will explode right under the average Chinese worker & small businessperson's feet?...feeding toxic factories...low wage, exploitive factories...

feeding a potentially dangerous tech-boom (think mobile phone cancers...and youth debt related to said phones & use of plastic to buy other tech goods)...

not to mention contributing to global WASTE.  

And has this kowtowing, far too unregulated feeding of China's MAW, increased confusion by the Chinese planners in relation to which energy direction to take?

...will it be more coal under Abbott?...more uranium under both governments?...more or less gas under Abbott & Allan Jones' government?...too much of everything under both?

All things considered, I'm pleased that the Gillard govt is thinking ahead...the mining resource tax a case in point...and the use of such to resdistribute super profits to help fund infrastructure, provide small business tax cuts & help pump up Superannuation.

In regard to Obama's comments related to "protecting intellectual property rights"...I can imagine it pisses America off as it tries to increase jobs that Chinese & other Asian businesses & black market types are pirating, distributing & profiting from their goods...

but I would also remind Obama that there is dispute globally when it comes to "ownership & intellectual property rights"...and not every American corporation is honest & unlikely to steal intellectual property...not every company has an original & unique idea...

and sometimes the spreading of ideas w/out profit-making & censorship can benefit THE MANY...

not just THE FEW corporations who have the money & lawyers to steal & defend themselves...or prosecute/persecute others.

W/out the spreading of vids, music, speeches, articles & so on across the web that Al Gore & the Democrats helped to boost, it's not certain that Obama would've beaten the Right-Wing talkback, Fox News propaganda machine.

Just a reminder.

Dear friends,

Right now, the US Congress is debating a law that would give them the power to censor the world's Internet -- creating a blacklist that could target YouTube, WikiLeaks and even Avaaz! Now if we stand with key members of the US Congress, we can defeat this attempt at global Internet censorship. Click here and help build an unprecedented global petition for a free and open Internet:

Right now, the US Congress is debating a law that would give them the power to censor the world's Internet -- creating a blacklist that could target YouTube, WikiLeaks and even groups like Avaaz!

Under the new law, the US could force Internet providers to block any website on suspicion of violating copyright or trademark legislation, or even failing to sufficiently police their users' activities. And, because so much of the Internet's hosts and hardware are located in the US, their blacklist would clamp down on the free web for all of us.

The vote could happen any day now, but we can help stop this -- champions in Congress want to preserve free speech and tell us that an international outcry would strengthen their hand. Let’s urgently raise our voices from every corner of the world and build an unprecedented global petition calling on US decision makers to reject the bill and stop Internet censorship. Click below to sign and then forward as widely as possible -- our message will be delivered directly to key members of the US Congress ahead of the crucial vote:


For years, the US government has condemned countries like China and Iran for their clampdown on Internet use. But now, the impact of America's new censorship laws could be far worse -- effectively blocking sites to every Internet user across the globe.

Last year, a similar Internet censorship bill was killed before reaching the US Senate floor, but it's now back in a different form. Copyright laws already exist and are enforced by courts. But this new law goes much further -- granting the government and big corporations enormous powers to force service providers and search engines to block websites based just on allegations of violations -- without a trial or being found guilty of any crime!


Lastly, I noticed some student recommended Obama join up w/ that doink Justin Bieber.

Bieber is a Christian. He said he has a relationship with Jesus, talks to him and "he's the reason I'm here".


Nothin' like girls fallin' all over themselves due to the charm of a magnetic figure...no matter how CONSTRUCTED they are.




November 17. 2011 05:37 PM


Related to yesterday's announcement, from one American perspective:

With Eye on China, Obama Boosts U.S. Military Presence in Australia


Worth watching it all.



November 17. 2011 05:47 PM


I noticed President Obama also referred to universal rights:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights


China...and even America...have a long way to go.



November 17. 2011 05:53 PM


Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Great Obama firmly brought up child & women's slavery...must come to an end.

Noticed CNN has been focusin' heaps on this subject of late.

Future military &/or sanction-based interventions related to this cause...who knows? Could be used as one justification.



November 17. 2011 06:01 PM


Women's rights in Iran


Iran needs to get its sh*t together...perhaps w/ some useful persuasive talk/pressure by China...& Russia.


This Is Not a Film

(Persian: In film nist) is an Iranian documentary film by Jafar Panahi and Mojbata Mirtahmasb. It was released on 28 September 2011 in France, distributed by Kanibal Films Distribution.

The film was smuggled from Iran to Cannes in a Flash-Drive hidden inside a birthday cake. It was specially screened at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. It took also part in the International Competition of the 27. Warsaw International Film Festival.


Panahi is under house arrest, awaiting the result of his appeal of a six year prison sentence and twenty year ban on film-making, leaving the country or giving media interviews for "propaganda against the regime". Bored and desperate that this verdict may mean his artistic death, he starts documenting his life. He begins filming himself in his apartment, then calls his friend and collaborator, Mirtahmasb, who arrives at the apartment and takes over the camera. Banned from film making and determined to save at least some of his artistic visions, Panahi reads some of the scenario from the movie he was planning to make. Upon hearing fireworks marking the anient Iranian festival Chaharshambe Suri that precedes the Persian new year, Nouruz, and other suspicious noices resembling shots, he gets scarred and quickly stops this project. He turns on the TV to hear the news. We see news about the tsunami in Japan and later it is announced that Iran's president has banned any fireworks and bonfires that used to mark Chaharshambe Suri.

After Mr. Mirtahmasb's departure, Pahani takes his friend's camera and starts chatting with the boy who collects the litter in the appartment blok, asking him questions about his life and plans for the future. This conversation takes places in the claustrophobic scenery of a lift, as the boy goes down from floor to floor and ever so often gets out of the lift to do his job.

Good onya At the Movies duo for reviewing this and bringin' up Jafar Panahi's predicament...the injustice by Iranian regime. And censorship.

Controlling of the people & lack of freedom of speech.



November 17. 2011 06:35 PM


Have just watched Prime Minister Gillard's address to the troops in Darwin.  Wow, wow and wow!  This is the best I have ever heard her - very confident and very strong.  What a woman!


November 17. 2011 07:05 PM


Hi Catey

It's exciting isn't it , Julia Gillard our Prime Minister has made everybody very proud of her, there are some wonderful pictures
going around as well.

Twitter has gone wild and they all share your opinion Catey:-

The top 2 tweets are people talking about The Political Sword

The picture that sends me cracker everytime www.thepoliticalsword.com/image.axd2f1377141.jpg How appropriatement #auspol
19 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

MisdaMagooMr. Magoo
@Thefinnigans: The picture that sends me cracker everytime www.thepoliticalsword.com/image.axd How
appropriatement #auspol" #PMSL #TWINS
4 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

Julia sounds passionate and excited in introducing Obama. She really should keep up this technique. #aubama #abcnews24
12 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

aussiepolliesTom Bridge
Julia Gillard suddenly seems more animated #aubama #auspol
14 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

theMickMorrisMichael Morris
The PM should speak off the cuff without notes far more often.... Passionate not robotic #aubama15 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

conceravotaConcera Vota
I wish PM spoke like this at all her election appearances!
16 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

gordongrahamGordon Graham
Gillard's captured the mood of this audience perfectly if you ask me #auspol17 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

Julia is shining in her speech next to Obama in Darwin.19 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply

CheersSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmile  Go Julia


November 17. 2011 08:28 PM


What I found highly disturbing, yet predictable, today was Fox News' Sean Hannity & guests (including pinheads like Michelle Malkin, Monica Crowley & Sandra Smith) unrelenting attacks & mocking of their President & the Democratic party whilst Obama was overseas attemptin' to strengthen alliances.

At least O'Reilly referred to Obama as a "patriot" for his Australian efforts.  

Fox News is a bloody disgrace.

Roger Ailes should be sacked...same goes for that constant sh*t stirrer Hannity...send him back to obscure radio land.

I'm really beginnin' to wonder about the Murdoch links to China, that includes Wendy Deng.

Why would Fox News attack Obama full bore durin' such an important visit?

Isn't Murdoch a proud Aussie? Or do politics & opportunism & ratings based on conflict & hype & abuse come first everytime?...even before a deepening of the ANZUS treaty?

Murdoch's lot banished the BBC from their system due to cajoling by Chinese authorities.

Makes me wonder how in-deep the Murdoch empire is w/ Chinese authorities.

Not surprising that big deep hole...filled w/ IOUs to China...happened under the watch of the Murdoch empire...and their favoured leaders, Bush, Howard & Blair.

Sure, the Murdoch empire gave some soft warnings, occasional rants about China...but haven't ya noticed how they play the tricky dick weathervane game?

I sure as hell wouldn't give SKY NEWS the Australian overseas media thing...not whilst Murdoch is involved.

As for non-voting shares in Channel Nine James Packer...that connection w/ big gambling families in Macau worries me.

It's all about gettin' in too deep.



November 17. 2011 09:37 PM


Gravel at 4.55
I agree with your comments about media reporting of the American troop increase. They have to tread a fine line between their usual ability to find a negative angle on every thing this Government does & the fact that Abbott's already tried to trump the Government with a bigger offer.
Abbott's offer isn't getting any attention in the mainstream from what I can see. I suppose that's one way of dealing with their problem.
Leigh Sales doing her usual line on 7.30 tonight with Kevin Rudd. Instead of going over (& over...) the usual leadership questions she could have mentioned the prospect of Abbott causing more pain for us on this issue. But she didn't.


November 17. 2011 09:49 PM


Abbott's offer isn't getting any attention in the mainstream from what I can see.

Abbott's speech was criticised by Hugh White, Peter Hartcher & a fella from a US strategy think tank on The Nation...

of course Greg Sheridan of The OZ defended Abbott's speech...makin' it sound BRILLIANT. Fawnin' stuff. To be expected.

Abbott's ridiculous, bizarre, inappropriate Quiet American reference was also roundly criticised...but Sheridan referred to it as "irony"...and defended it like some obsequious puppet...you'd think he or someone in his organisation was the speechwriter/ghostwriter. Smile



November 17. 2011 10:04 PM


I really feel for the Chinese people who are not gettin' the benefits of the real estate, gambling, export, finance booms...

the lack of money put into schools/education we've witnessed durin' the earthquakes, badly built schools crushing children & staff...

it seems that the problems continue...even as some citizens make mega-bucks from useless property developments, gambling & corrupt financial practices & investments (some call SCAMS):

17 November 2011

Anger over deadly China kindergarten minibus crash
By Michael Bristow

BBC News, Beijing

The crash in Zhengning has provoked angry questions on social networking sites

Related Stories
Road collisions kill 56 in China

Van overloaded with 66 children

There has been anger in China following a crash involving a kindergarten minibus in Gansu province that left 18 young children and two adults dead.

The bus had just nine seats, yet had 64 people crammed on board when it collided with a truck on Wednesday.

Members of the public have been expressing their outrage on internet micro-blog sites about the country's lax safety standards.

The government has now ordered checks on all school buses.

The accident happened on Wednesday morning when the minibus crashed head-on with a coal truck in foggy conditions.

Four children and the bus driver died at the scene of the accident, which happened in Zhengning county in Gansu province.

The others, including a teacher, died later that day. The remaining 44 pre-school children are in hospital, with a dozen of them in a serious condition.

"The [work safety] bureau has blamed overloading for the accident," said on article on the state-run Xinhua news agency. The van was also in bad condition.

'One of many'

Micro-blogging sites have become extremely popular in China over recent months as an outlet for people to express their unhappiness with the government.

In the hours following this accident, people started showing their indignation.

"How could they put over 60 kids into a bus that is restricted to just nine people?" asked one posting.

Lu Dan, a magazine editor, wrote: "We are crying our hearts out - let it be the last place that such an accident occurs."

Some of these critical postings now appear to have been censored.

Many feel there are too many accidents in China involving school children, a fact acknowledged by Xinhua. "The accident is one of many in China involving school buses or students," it said.

A total of 70,000 people died in road accidents in China last year, according to the police.

But a study published earlier this year by the World Health Organisation says the true toll may be far higher, as the number of fatalities given by China's health authorities is almost double those recorded by the police.

No good.



November 17. 2011 10:14 PM


China Said to Warn Banks on Risks Tied to Local Government, Property Loans

QBy Bloomberg News - Nov 17, 2011

China’s banking regulator warned lenders that some projects backed by local governments may run out of funding and loans to developers are likely to sour as property sales slow, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission told lenders last week to step up asset sales and debt restructuring for loss- making local government financing vehicles that are struggling to repay loans, the person said, declining to be identified as the instructions were private. The watchdog also said lenders should cut “high-risk” loans to developers, the person said.

China’s banking regulator tightened capital requirements and clamped down on off-balance sheet assets this year. Still, the International Monetary Fund this week called for closer oversight of banks as risks increase. Home sales plunged 25 percent in October from the previous month. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (1398) Ltd. and its three biggest local rivals have lost about $71 billion in market value this year.

A Beijing-based press official for the banking watchdog said he couldn’t immediately comment.

Premier Wen Jiabao’s battle to lower housing prices in China began in April last year, when the cabinet raised minimum mortgage rates and down-payment ratios for some home purchases, saying “more forceful” steps were needed to cool speculation. Authorities tightened the rules further this year and imposed housing purchase restrictions in about 40 cities.

Home prices may fall as much as 30 percent in the next year, Barclays Plc’s research unit said last week. They had risen by 140 percent from 1998 to the end of last year, according to the national statistics bureau.

Repayment Ability
Wen said that the country won’t waver on its property market curbs during a Nov. 7 visit to Russia.

CBRC told lenders to visit developers that have borrowed money, the person said. The CBRC expressed concern that property companies have raised additional financing from non-bank lenders, trusts and bond sales, which may curtail their ability to make repayments on bank loans, the person said.

The regulator said some developers have used projects funded by such bank loans to improperly raise funds from trusts, which may trigger “major credit risks,” according to the person. Property loans that need to be restructured should be classified as “substandard” at a minimum and downgraded, the watchdog said.

Despite ongoing reform and financial strength, China confronts a steady buildup of financial sector vulnerabilities,” the Washington-based IMF said in its first formal evaluation of the Chinese system on Nov. 15. Banks need to upgrade risk-management systems, and the central bank and regulators should add skilled personnel and disclosure standards must be raised, the IMF said.

Endangering Economy
ICBC and its three closest local rivals, which are among the world’s eight largest banks by market value, have declined an average 21 percent in Hong Kong trading this year. Investor concern has mounted that defaults by small companies, developers and local governments will climb and endanger growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

The CBRC last week told banks to inspect loans to local government financing vehicles, 35 percent of whose debt matures in the next three years, the person said.

Local governments, previously barred from directly selling bonds or borrowing from banks to pay for projects including roads and bridges, set up more than 6,000 financing vehicles and amassed 10.7 trillion yuan ($1.7 trillion) of debt by the end of 2010, with 80 percent owed to banks, the National Audit Office said in a June report.

Circumventing Restrictions
Premier Wen had ordered the first audit of local-government borrowing in March, amid concern spending designed to support the economy following the 2008 global financial crisis would leave a legacy of bad debt.

The regulator warned last week that some local governments are circumventing regulatory restrictions and raising funds by using companies that aren’t classified as financing vehicles, the person said.

The banking regulator said it will also stop approving the sale of wealth-management products with maturities of one month or less, the person said. That move was reported earlier today by 21st Century Business Herald, which cited unidentified people.


It's time for China to get its rampant capitalist but less than democratic house in order.



November 18. 2011 12:28 AM


Ad astra

This one is just for you (knowing how much you enjoy the topic Smile ).

What does Gillard stand for?
by Ross Fitzgerald   The Canberra Times

The PM’s track record as she relentlessly pursued power reveals a lack of conviction and flawed judgment. (sic)



November 18. 2011 12:55 AM

D Mick Weir

Hi All,
back from the rounds of the traps, didn't bump into POTUS or his cavalcade, oh well, I will just have to bask in the 'glory' of having seen QE2 pass me by. Smile

POTUS dropped into Campbell High and, well, my kids went to school there (many years ago) so I feel I have a (very tenuous) connection.

I have been pondering the quizzing I have gotten from FS and Ad about my references to 'checking the traps' and my use of the term.

As far as I can recall I have been using 'checking the traps' for at least 40 years and I had thought that it was in reasonable common usage.

I don't know but it probably has some relationship to another (maybe forgotten) Australianism "See you around the traps"  which we used to indicate that we would run into one and another at one of our usual haunts at some undefined time in the future. See this: wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_Around_the_Traps_mean

Anyway, way back in the dim distant past when I was a trainee in steam radio we were given all the dull, boring and colourless tasks which included checking the filters (dust & water 'traps') on the air conditioning, checking all the clocks were in sync (to the second) all the 'mundane' things. We were also sent off to buy skyhooks and left handed hammers but that is another story.

So, 'checking the traps' was used as a term used to say you were off to do the usual boring stuff. It was also used as 'cover story' if you needed to go off to do some shopping or other things that were not actually work. Sort of a 'nod and a wink' to say if anybody is looking for me tell 'em I'm 'checking the traps' but in reality I am elsewhere.

These days I don't work anywhere in the 'meeja' but old habits die hard so still 'check the traps.

As to what occupies me now, well, that could sound interesting if you weren't doing it yourself, but, suffice to say because I am working at lots of different locations around the national capital these days for any of you that live or visit here I could very well 'see you around the traps'.

D Mick Weir

November 18. 2011 01:02 AM

D Mick Weir

snap, caught a glimpse of that article in the dead tree edition a bit early today and had just looked for it to let eveyone know.

D Mick Weir

November 18. 2011 01:14 AM

D Mick Weir

if my you didn't get some idea from the reference to my tweet another obscure clue: It something that is mentioned by The Devoted Few

D Mick Weir

November 18. 2011 06:23 AM


DMW:  I knew what you meant, but I can understand how it may have caused confusion too.  That's one of the pitfalls* of English; there are so many layers of meaning to snare* the unwary - but I wouldn't get hung up* about it.  Wink

This page discusses the origin of "around the traps":

The purported North American origin of the phrase is interesting; I guess it makes sense since trapping in England etc. was probably poaching, and more circumspect language would have been used (nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)


November 18. 2011 07:42 AM


By all means read this Julia Gillard bashing by hearsay and "reported" events article by Ross Fitzgerald:


But, I'll be very surprised if you don't come away from it thinking, as I did - "The professor is a pillock".


November 18. 2011 07:57 AM


Bad Abbott.


The link takes you to Tony Abbott's speech to Parliament and President Obama.

This is not only tosh, it is nonsense. There are grammatical cul de sacs, logical non-conclusions, literary references that reverse the meaning of their sources, and metaphors so mightily mangled they conclude as head-scratching non sequiturs.

If he writes his own speeches, he gets a C-. If he has a speechwriter or speechwriters, they are ill-literary and illiterate in one tight little illogical package.

Hansard is all too often a record of horror perpetrated upon the English language. Shouldabeen excelled as he always does when he volunteers to lead the way and show the light. All on the historical record.

If only he'd maintained the 'dignified silence' he displayed to Mark Riley, then at least a medical practitioner might have stepped forward to put the man in a safe, quiet place, away from the close scrutiny he so conspicuously and continually fails to rise to.


November 18. 2011 08:16 AM



THE AUDACITY OF TRIPE, Everyone is a Moon
This turgid piece by Patrick Carlyon and Owen Vaughan is full of stereotyping stupidity, beginning with the first paragraph:THEY are a touching pair and touchy pairing. Their hands, like disembodied life forms, seek out the other’s shoulders, backs and, quite possibly, bottoms. And it continues in this vein throughout

A Coalition of the Weak A Frank View
So who with replace mR Abbott? (how much did that trip cost the people? – talk about waste)The market is firming, latest odds and rating (MykScale);The Zombies – Andrews / Ruddick 1:666 – Nil , The Bishops – Elder Bishop / Bishop (?) 1:999 – Nil

Canberra royalty gather for lamb, jewfish and a US president, Tom Cowie, The Power Index
Diners were fed a series of Australiana dishes including macadamia-encrusted lamb, pan-fried jewfish and passionfruit pavlova for dessert. To drink they were given the choice of a Coonawarra cab sauv and a Margaret River semillion sauv blanc.

Theorising Darwin: US may stockpile and transit cluster munitions,NAJ Taylor, Crikey
I wrote for Crikey in March this year, “No other signatory country in the world has expressly permitted such unfettered free access to its territories as this. It is unprecedented.”If only I knew then what I do now about Darwin, especially given how little we are likely to ever know about what weapons the US keep there.

Obama to China: you can’t exploit our fiscal crisis, Bernard Keane, Crikey
While the prime minister kept her address to history and rhetoric, Tony Abbott again chose to use the occasion to inject a note of partisanship, but rather more subtly this time than the inappropriate lengths he went to when New Zealand Prime Minister John Key addressed parliament, choosing to refer to carbon pricing and the mining tax in his remarks.

Obama’s speech to Parliament: experts respond,Matthew Thompson Editor, The Conversation
China stands on the outside looking in. If it plays be “the rules”, Obama said, China would be welcome to join the club. But the price would be high. China would have to temper its assertiveness over sovereignty issues on the South China Sea.

The strategic friendship: Australia caught in the middle of Obama’s ambitions, Daniel Baldino, The Conversation
From an Australian perspective, rising tensions and the potential for conflict between the US and China represents a nightmare scenario. Any redistribution of US forces in the Asia pacific, including plans to boost the US-Australia defence relationship by allowing marines to “rotate” through Darwin, w

Can We Serve Two Masters?By Aaron Fernandes, New Matilda
More than simply playing host to an increasing presence of foreign armed forces, Australia should seek to provide for its own defence and work to establish peace and security within its immediate region. Such a response would enhance Australia’s contribution to an alliance and not detract from it.

Rantings of a self-interested minority, Tim Dunlop, Unleashed
They are designed to suggest that businesses themselves are above reproach and everything is the Government's fault. You hear the same nonsense echoed when the CEO of David Jones, or Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman, blame the Government for their falling sales. Yes, it's the Government's fault, not the fact that people can buy stuff cheaper and more efficiently over the internet,

Washington Insider Praises Australas carbon tax, Independent Australia
But when it became clear the country was waking up to the threat of climate change, powerful corporate and ideological interests opened their war chests. They spent hundreds of millions of dollars to distort, disrupt, and discredit the scientific consensus that has firmly established the devastating results of massive greenhouse gas emissions

Analysing the entrails of Rupert's Australian visit, Stephen Mayne, Unleashed
Lachlan is certainly being paid by Ten like a full-time CEO. His day rate as interim CEO is $8,666. This amounts to $260,000 per month and came to $1.614 million for the period from his appointment as interim CEO on February 23 through until the September 30 year end

Gillard and Obama: appearance and reality, Malcolm Farnsworth, Unleashed
Obama and Gillard were the stars of the show last night. Tony Abbott was a bit player, not even seated on the main table. But a sidelined Kevin Rudd was there also, more aware than most that in politics, as in diplomacy, things aren't always what they appear to be.

Picking Things To Bits – Tony Abbott’s Address to President Obama , Shellity
In similar vein, I am very proud that an Aboriginal has finally been elected to the Australian House of Representatives as a member of the Liberal National Coalition.
“My PA found out on Google that we’ve got a black fellow in the House of Reps. Fancy that! Next thing you know we’ll be letting them buy their own groceries. ANYway, I think you, sir, are just as important as whatsisname

The iiBorg are assimilating all NBN competition= Renai-LeMay, Delimeter
as I pointed out in mid-2010, that there will not be a strong level of competition for customers and innovation on the National Broadband Network infrastructure which NBN Co is rolling out right now, due to the rapid disappearance of retail service providers from the market. Customers will be increasingly presented with just a handful of choices — Telstra or Optus at the top end for bundled plans, iiNet and Internode in the middle and TPG and Dodo as the cut-rate operators

Support grows for Katter’s party: Labor poll, Video, Australian Polics TV

Posts from the ‘Daily Fix’ Category, Australian Politics TV
Sky News- Australian Agenda, Liberal Party tributes to President Obama, Obama Down Under, VIC- Fair Work orders nurses to cease strikes,

Media inquiry: MEAA wants one-stop shop for complaints, Margaqet Simons, Crikey
Warren told the inquiry that employers had fought self-regulation at every step of the way, opposing the establishment of the union’s code of ethics and establishing the Australian Press Council only to ward off the threat of government regulation

Media inquiry: power struggles in the press, Jonathan Holmes, The Drum
to Ray Finkelstein, anyone sitting through even one day at the inquiry comes away feeling, it's a chance to tell the media that its performance isn't as great as it thinks it is, and that either it agrees to shape up, or someone's going to do the shaping for it

Media criticised for 'lack of diversity, Sky News
It was no secret that the Independent Inquiry into Media and Media Regulation was set up in the context of at least one Australian newspaper publisher carrying out political campaigns, media commentator Dr Margaret Simons said.

Australia backflips on uranium to India, Purnendra Jain, Asia Times
The opposition Liberal Party led by Tony Abbott will wholeheartedly support this reversal and even ridicule and make a mockery of the Labor leadership as Abbott's conservative party then in government led by John Howard before Labor won office in 2007 had already announced its intention to sell uranium to India.

FIRST WITH WORST- Michael Johnson’s back in the saddle as political fund-raiser, Vex News
leaked document, believed to be the work of former LNP MP for Ryan, Michael Johnson, proposes the formation of a new “serious political party which can successfully challenge safe LNP seats and marginal seats.”It proposes the party could be called “New Liberals – Liberal values for Queensland” and would presumably target metropolitan conservatives annoyed by the party merger with the Nats. The document is here.

NBN Co signs $635m worth of contracts for equipment, Industry Search
The builder of the federal government's $36 billion national broadband network (NBN) has signed contracts worth up to $635 million for equipment to install the high speed service in homes and businesses

NBN: Myths Debunked, Michael Wyres
This video from Macquarie University has been around since August – but with recent announcements from the Federal Opposition regarding policy towards the National Broadband Network
-conceived, badly under engineered andI thought it pertinent to spread this one out more widely.

What do I need to do to access the NBN?Department of broadband, Australian Government
Commercial services are now available in eight Australian communities. For more information on NBN service providers visit NBN Co’s website.NBN Co has a released a 12-month national rollout schedule listing the communities in each state and territory where work on the fibre optic network will begin up to September 2012.


THE AUDACITY OF GROPE: Julia and Barack's special relationship , By Patrick Carlyon and Owen Vaughan , News Com
THEY are a touching pair and touchy pairing. Their hands, like disembodied life forms, seek out the other's shoulders, backs and, quite possibly, bottoms.
When such targets are out of reach, digits settle on forearms or the nearest available body part.Obama constantly bares his American teeth. His smile alone could power a Third World country.

Gillard looking to blame media: Hartigan , Sally Jackson, The Australian
THE Gillard government had called the print media inquiry because it was "on the nose with the public and looking for someone to blame", News Limited chairman and chief executive John Hartigan has told the inquiry



November 18. 2011 08:19 AM


Good morning all,
Wasn't it wonderful to see our PM shine so brilliantly over the past few days?  

The LOTO has been getting a lot of well deserved flak and I'm surprised he hasn't been moving around in the bomb suit he donned for his Afghanistan stunt.  There will always be a Ross Fitzgerald attempting to turn a big failure into a plus but IMO the horse has bolted and people are seeing the stark reality that this LOTO is not even a leader's bootlace.


November 18. 2011 08:42 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

November 18. 2011 09:23 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody

My favourite twitterer has posted Bushfire Bill again:-

@markjs1Mark Shove
Abbott the narcissist has once again FAILED the Prime Ministerial test...more from Bushfire Bill: http://bit.ly/u3Tuwe #auspol #Abbottfail
25 minutes agovia TweetDeck

Bushfire Bill
Posted Friday, November 18, 2011 at 8:31 am |Comment 514

YOU JUST DON’T DO THESE THINGS at an occasion of state. They are NOT political occasions. They are STATE occasions, formal events where petty local politics is left outside the door.

Abbott has a habit of putting his foot in it and then smarming his way out by turning it all into a joke, or with a clever quip. Narcissists don’t mind being in trouble, as long as everyone’s looking at them and talking about them. That is the sole aim of whatever they do.

An Abbott Prime Ministership and government would politicise everything. Nothing would be seen except through the political lens. There seems to be no concept of decency, or probity in the man. Rudd was right: not fit to be Prime Minister.



November 18. 2011 09:26 AM

Feral Skeleton

   Good Morning All!
                    Thursday is my day when I turn into a Whirling Dervish, I'm afraid, so apologies for not making an appearance yesterday.
   Is the worm turning? As has been mentioned abroad in the media, Tony Abbott just couldn't help himself yesterday in his speech to the President of the United States. He had to inject irrelevant domestic political matters into it. Cringeworthy, is how I would characterise it. At least he didn't call him 'Sir' every 2 ups and tug the forelock quite as much as he did the night before at the Official Dinner for the POTUS.

  Someone on the radio just now called his performance, "Loutish and Uncouth". Just about sums it up perfectly.

   I'd also make the observation that he appears to be gearing up to make the MRRT the next 'Battleline'. Oh so predictably, and when most in Australia actually think it doesn't go far enough now, and are marking the government down wrt cowardice in not standing up more firmly to the Mining Industry.

Feral Skeleton

November 18. 2011 10:16 AM


Hi Ad and Everybody

Wonder what happpens now, charged, would she still be in the Senate?

Andrew Green reporting on twitter:

@AndrewBGreeneAndrew Greene

South Australian Liberal senator Mary Jo Fisher has been found guilty of assault but not guilty of shoplifting in Adelaide magistrates court

2 minutes agovia webFavoriteRetweetReply



November 18. 2011 10:25 AM



I know you are busy, but I don't know how to find a video link to Julia's speech in Darwin.  

It has been a full on two days with President Obama here.  I have seen some great photo's.  Comparing the previous Presidents' visit with this on has thrown up a very start contrast.  Could Australians be a bit more progressive than I give them credit for.


Thanks for the China stuff.  As in every partnership/relationship, there are good and bad, and will all depend on how it is handled.  I think the doom and gloom by the media is very much overdone.


Thanks, glad I'm not alone in that.


November 18. 2011 10:42 AM

Feral Skeleton

  How could Mary Jo Fisher NOT be guilty of Shoplifting? She had nearly $100 worth of unpaid-for goods in her possession when she left the grocers?

   Need I superfluously add that if this Guilty of Assault charge had been handed down to an ALP Senator, the Coalition and the MSM would have been censoriously all over it like a rash.

   No doubt also the sly and physically aggressive Senator will Appeal the Assault Ruling.

Feral Skeleton

November 18. 2011 10:56 AM


D Mick Weir at 12.55
Apropos of not much, I frequently use "around the traps". People seem to know what I mean.


November 18. 2011 10:57 AM


Hi lovely Gravel

Here is the link to video of Julia in Darwin, its absolutely wonderful, will put goose bumps all over you:

I posted a few other video links for you, you may like to look at the Hamster Wheel, shock jocks attituded to Julia.

November 17, 2011. Julia Gillard Introduces Obama

November 17, 2011. Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduces US President Barack Obama to the troops at the RAAF base in Darwin. President Obama. (AAP/Chris James)


Posts from the ‘Daily Fix’ Category

US-Australia joint media conference

Courtesy of The Hamster Wheel last night, this devastating compilation of shock-jock attitudes to Julia Gillard.


Enjoy SmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmile


November 18. 2011 11:01 AM


Your Links are the single most powerful force in the whole Blogosphere. You know that thing about "Six degrees of separation" meaning that when you find out who all the people you know know, and all those know, and so on, by the time there's six removes, everybody in the world is included? (and that's probably true.) Well I reckon *Lyn's~Links* shave at least one layer off that six, it might be more than that. You bring our news for breakfast and mental nourishment all day long. You must have hundreds of Lurkers, better they read what you link to than not at all, but you always welcome them to TPS anyway. Lurkers are fine, sous-les-ponts that's different but we just butt them away anyway.  

But I really meant to congratulate *Ad*astra* this time, why?, because there is currently in session a Media Enquiry which must please him mightily, as it does me, - (and I found the reports on its progress in *Lyn's~Links* of course)- but Ad astra started this site in a crusade to bring about precisely the sort of scrutiny which the learned Justice Finkelstein is evidently bringing to his examination of persons, and issues pertinent to his brief. Ad's first-ever post makes his aim crystal-clear, and the Sword has been true to that ever since.

Many other simpatico sites exist with great writers, that's why *Lyn's~Links* is such rich and varied fare, but it's also how I know that of them all it is Ad's own articles which unerringly illuminate the way towards that Light On The Hill.

If this sounds sycophantic, well I'm sad if heartfelt tribute seems that way, blame life's experiences for that I guess. The fact is that I feel in empowering league with decency here, if it weren't for Ad it wouldn't be here at all, and if it weren't for all of Us it wouldn't be what it is. The fact is that now I am feeling that our combined effort is at last directing some lovely light where it will expose the bias which so skews the course of our 'democracy', a word being ridiculed as I write by a bloke watching comrades being violently ejected from a Wall Street occupation.

It is completely a matter of point of view whether the term democracy applies when one Murdoch has millions-fold the influence of one Me. But here I am not just one Me, here I am the dreaded TalkTurkey, proud Footsoldier of the Political Sword, and We, Dear Swordsfolks, can preen a little I reckon, we are a lot more powerful than Murdoch and the Coalons thought we could be, and we are on the front foot a little bit.

Remember that bit in Lord of the Rings, the movie, where the Goodies are under major attack from Orcs on armoured Elefaunts, which are HUGE, and the Elf bowman tells the Dwarf, (I forget their names) wtte, they have a unprotected spot weak at the throat? Like that image? Go for Murdoch's throat (and indeed Murdochs' throats pl.), make them ST#U or force them to stop the bias eh.    

Anyone who does read what Jonathon Holmes and Margaret Symons have to say, - see today's *Lyn's~Links* ! - is left in no doubt that Finkelstein is bringing rigour and street-shrewdness to bear on those he examines. Today it is Margaret Symons and possibly Hartigan's turn. She is relishing the chance. He is dreading the interrogation. Great fun.

And very important.

Check those Media Enquiry links Folks if you want a Smile  


November 18. 2011 11:48 AM


Hi Everybody

As expected

SA Senator Mary Jo Fisher guilty of assault but cleared of shop-lifting by: Court Reporter Candice Keller From: AdelaideNow November 18, 2011 10:56AM

LIBERAL Senator Mary Jo Fisher has escaped penalty for assaulting a Foodland security officer, with no conviction or fine imposed.

Today Magistrate Kym Boxall cleared Fisher of stealing goods from the supermarket at Frewville last year. But Mr Boxall said Fisher did use force against store security officer Cathryn Groot.

He did not record a conviction or impose a penalty.

Mr Boxall said Fisher assaulted Ms Groot as she tried to leave the premises by pushing her out of the way of her car and slamming the driver's side door into Ms Groot's arm several times.

Mr Boxall said Fisher did so in the context of suffering from a panic attack and the associated symptoms, and was seeking personal space.



November 18. 2011 11:53 AM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Thank you for the links and the BB comment.  He is always spot-on.

Tony Abbott’s comments were inappropriate on such an occasion.  He seemed either to not know that, or simply didn’t care.  How come he wore a suit and tie? Why not Speedos?  Even Abbott would know that would have been inappropriate.  Yet he felt he could make partisan comments and that was OK, or at least in tune with his renegade image, which I imagine he believes is to his advantage judging from the way he laughed away criticism on Channel Nine this morning.  Even when confronted with the interviewer’s statement that Opposition members said they were squirming in their seats as he spoke, he airily waved that away, without attempting to address the discomfiture of his colleagues.  He made out he was ‘praising’ Julia Gillard!

What Abbott did would be of little concern, were it not for the fact that he wants to be PM, the leader of our nation.  If he was an inconsequential politician, some insignificant backbencher, few would care, but he wants to be top dog, wants to be entrusted with governing the nation.  That is frightening.

It was good to see our PM shining all through the Obama visit.  What a change from all the brickbats she has hurled at her almost every day.  Her performance on the international scene has been so accomplished that even the hostile media has found little fault.

I agree with Catey’s and janice’s assessment of her, which was reflected in the tweets you posted, Lyn.  I for one am proud of her performance and feel honoured to have her as our PM.  She has done us proud.

Thank you too for the links to the Darwin address and the Hamster Wheel collage of the disgusting references to our PM by the shock jocks.  Seeing them assembled shows how revolting these shock jocks are.

Ad astra reply

November 18. 2011 11:56 AM

Ad astra reply

The danger is that the style and strategy Fox News and the venom of Roger Ailes might be replicated here.  The Bolt Report has begun down that track, although I don’t know how well that program is doing.

I wonder sometimes whether Kevin Rudd is simply playing a game with the media with his answers about leadership.  Leigh Sales falls for it every time, along with much of the media who need a leadership issue to match the dictum that the end of the year is the killing time for leaders.  So we can’t go into a new year without leadership speculation.  Maybe there will be the speculation for which the media craves if Tony Abbott continues his downward spiral.

NormanK, Michael, janice
Ross Fitzgerald has written a completely predictable piece.  I could have written it for him, trotting out as he did the weary old rhetoric we’ve heard from him so many times before.  I wonder when he wrote it?  It’s dated 17 November, but there is no mention of the PM’s recent overseas work or the Obama visit.  How could these not be mentioned in a piece that is headlined: “What does Gillard stand for?”  Was it a set piece that the editor had in stock that was used as filler or a counter to all the good publicity our PM has received recently?  Whatever the reason for gracing it with a place in the paper, it is worthless.

Thank you Michael for the link to the Abbott speech and via that page the Obama speech.  I couldn’t see Julia Gillard’s – do you have a link to that?  

I agree with your comments about the grammatical aspects of Abbott’s speech. C is a generous mark.

FS, the characterization of ‘loutish and uncouth’ you mention in your comment is apt.

D Mick Weir
Now we know you are using a well know expression for being out and about – ‘around the traps’.  

We all agree with your laudatory comments about Lyn and her links.  They are uniquely valuable; there is nothing like them in the blogosphere.  Without them, commendably continued by NormanK in Lyn’s absence, we would have to scan the papers and blog sites ourselves.   To have someone so expert to do that for us, saves us time and enlightens our minds and enriches our lives.  

Thank you too TT for your kind remarks about TPS and my part in overseeing it.  I agree that Judge Finkelstein’s approach is encouraging.  He seems determined to really hear what people have to say, and no doubt will digest the written submissions as well as the oral.  He will give the aggressive statements of the likes of John Hartigan no more credence than that of others.  I doubt if we will see a whitewash from him.  I hope though that he can come up with some usable mechanisms for moderating the media towards truth and fairness in reporting, even if he recognizes that it is not possible to influence the political stance media outlets take.  It is truth – complete and unembellished, that we want, clearly distinguished from mere opinion.

Your continuing strong support for TPS is much appreciated.

Ad astra reply

November 18. 2011 12:16 PM


Arrghh how just is that eh.

Mary-Jo Fisher Not Guilty of shopstealing

Guilty without conviction of Assault

Entitled to go on as a Senator

Involved in the making of laws for people some of whom have lost jobs and/or been given custodial sentences for lesser crimes, and Yes Folks, you're right, judge or no bloody judge, she DID take $92 worth of goods without paying, she DID slam the door on the Guard's arm several times, she DID try to bribe or cajole her way out of it, she DID try to run away when apprehended, the CCTV DID disappear, so No of course she's not lying or guilty of anything, really, the Frewville Supermarket ought to pay her a fee for the fre publicity!

"Makes me ashamed
To live in a land
Where justice is a game . . ."
Bob Dylan, The Story of the Hurricane


November 18. 2011 12:36 PM


On Poll Bludger, jaundice view mentions
". . . other forms of ‘weirdness’ lurking among our representatives, such as: irrational belief in religion . . . "

Now if s/he'd said rational belief in religion it would be an oxymoron . . .

"irrational belief in religion", what sort of moron is that? Smile


November 18. 2011 12:37 PM


jaundiced view sorry.


November 18. 2011 01:09 PM


And how is the Bolt report doing - not very well. On Sunday October 16 "Insiders" have 177,000 viewers (#45), whereas "The Bolt Report" had 118,000 viewers (out of the top 50).

A month before it was 169,000 (#48) and 134,000 (out of 50) viewers respectively.

For reference:  
- http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2011/10/week-42-4.html
- http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2011/09/week-38-3.html


November 18. 2011 01:36 PM

Feral Skeleton

   Can I just put it to you that, now that Senator Mary Jo Fisher has not been convicted of Shoplifting due to her Defence's characterisation of her as suffering from a Mental Illness and therefore the offence is thus excusable, does that mean that it is allowable to let people in this nation be Senators and Members of Parliament when they suffer from a Mental Illness? I think that's taking the encouragement of people suffering Mental Illness into the workforce a step too far.

Feral Skeleton

November 18. 2011 01:42 PM

Feral Skeleton

   Here's 2 more apt analyses of Abbott's behaviour whilst the POTUS was in parliament yesterday giving his speech:



Feral Skeleton

November 18. 2011 01:43 PM

Tom of Melbourne

So now that Mary Jo Fischer has no conviction recorded, does anyone have any idea when Craig Thomson will make the “comprehensive statement” he promised?

Or was that a “non core” promise?

Tom of Melbourne

November 18. 2011 01:43 PM

Feral Skeleton

   Also, another fantastic summation of NBN news and a report by Citigroup on the Opposition's policy:


Feral Skeleton

November 18. 2011 02:08 PM

Feral Skeleton

   Good news from Antony Green re the upcoming NSW State By-election:

   AntonyGreenABC Antony Green
Labor recovery in Grafton could set scene for big swing at #clarence by-election http://bit.ly/shVt3a #nswpol

Feral Skeleton

November 18. 2011 02:16 PM


Thanks again Lyn for some very useful links.

The upshot of the MaryJo case in SA seems to be you don't need a sound mind to be a Senator.


November 18. 2011 02:18 PM

Feral Skeleton

Tom of Melbourne,
                 So you are a Liberal. I note the terminological inexactitude wrt Mary Jo Fisher: 'No Conviction was recorded'. Which, as anyone with a passing knowledge of the facts knows is completely different from the truth of the matter, which is that she was found GUILTY OF ASSAULT. However, the Magistrate took pity on the poor petal due to her Mental Illness. Which is now a recorded fact she can never escape from. She and her Defence relied upon it in Court, and the Magistrate accepted it as a proven fact.

Feral Skeleton

November 18. 2011 02:19 PM

Ad astra reply

Thanks for the stats on the Bolt Report.  I wonder how long it will survive.

Thank you for the links to the Mark Kenny and David Penberthy pieces, both noteworthy as neither is a fan of Julia Gillard, and Mark Kenny has been a strong Coalition advocate in the past.  With guys like this criticizing Abbott, he had better watch his step, lest he run out of supporters in the MSM.  And he needs to realize that if he looks like losing the poll advantage he has had, and diminishing the chances of the Coalition winning government, they will savage him cruelly.

Ad astra reply

November 18. 2011 02:21 PM

Feral Skeleton

  Lol, I bet ToM comes back with the tried and tested Liberal argument, 'You mean Leftys, being howibble to poor petals suffering from Mental Illness.' Which they are using more and more lately as a defence, it seems to my eyes. Smile

Feral Skeleton

November 18. 2011 02:29 PM

Ad astra reply

The NBN piece made interesting reading.  Unscrambling that egg is going to be more and more problematic.  Antony Green’s analysis too is intriguing.  I guess that when you hit rock bottom, the only way is UP!

Don't worry about Tom; I note he came out of the woodwork only when Mary Jo avoided a jail sentence.  Now he's safe to renew his attack on Craig Thomson.

Ad astra reply

November 18. 2011 02:46 PM

Feral Skeleton

Ad Astra,
         That would be Craig Thomson who hasn't even been charged with any crime yet, let alone convicted? Although, having to put up with the constant smear and innuendo about him you'd be forgiven for thinking he was Hannibal Lector. Smile

Feral Skeleton

November 18. 2011 02:48 PM

Feral Skeleton

  Here's a little something to brighten up your Friday afternoon:


Feral Skeleton

November 18. 2011 02:50 PM


Hi Everybody

A new magazine called FEMFIB :

GeorgeBludgerGeorge Bludger

Sophie Mirabella, finally on the cover of FemFib http://tinyurl.com/7h2j9gq #auspol

19 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply



November 18. 2011 03:02 PM


FS it's easy:

Her mental illness is:

* Serious enough to get her *exonerated* from 2 charges worth 2 years (unaggravated assault) and 10 years (larceny)

* Trivial enough to permit her to make laws for the rest of us.


November 18. 2011 03:13 PM


   I see ToM is back doing his best Christopher Pyne impersonation.
ToM if it's a none core promise why don't you man up and front him about it? As to when he might make a statement don't know don't care, I don't think it's up to him to do the DPP's job! There is either a case or there isn't.
No doubt you'll scream about union members money etc, and should he ever be charged he'll have to answer,but at the moment it would seem he has nothing to answer for! I'm sorry that our legal system doesn't work the way you would like,perhaps you could run as an independent and fix these things up.  


November 18. 2011 03:41 PM



There are no words that can say how thankful I am to you for finding that link for me.  It was a wonderful, relaxed and free flowing speech.  Julia is certainly getting into her stride.

D Mick weir

I always thought the expression "around the traps" related to checking the rabbit traps.  I guess it's near enough to all the other interpretations.

Well it seems it is okay to steel and assault someone and still be a senator.  Surely there has to be something that can disqualify her?  I can't believe it.

Feral Skeleton

Thanks for all your links too, just when I think I can turn the computer off, I get a lovely lot of extra links to peruse.

Talk Turkey

You have written some lovely heartfelt tributes the The Political Sworders, can I add that your contributions are looked forward to by me too.


November 18. 2011 03:46 PM


Talk Turkey at 3.02
Well put. You know it makes sense.


November 18. 2011 04:45 PM



You are sick!

Depression is a serious but treatable illness that effects some of the world's greatest minds. To say that we should not encourage such people to gain treatment and return to the high offices they once occupied is disgraceful and disgusting. What do you think should happen FS? Get rid of them? Throw them on the doll queue? Or create some sort of exemption to the anti-discrimination act that sees people with a history of mental illness unable to get to certain positions in the Australian workforce?

Go back to the gutter where you belong!


November 18. 2011 04:54 PM


As for the Abbott speech,

Once again you jump to criticize when there was nothing in it. So what if he made a humorous jibe, it was better than the drooling Gillard did again, with a speech that was so obviously written by someone other than herself.

I just love it how the left so vigorously attacked Howard of being too close to GWB and yet here we have a Prime Minister who couldnt stop hugging, kissing or slapping the poor guy on the back; who got so starstruck that she barley managed to deliver her speech to the press; and who altered her long held stance on nuclear policy (as a member of the left) just to aid the U.S. in their attempts to forge stronger relationships with the Indian's. This woman is all over the place, as are all the people that support her. Her ideals and values have gone out the window, as have all of the other members of the left (other than Doug Cameron).

Here is a positive critique of Abbott's speech, because i know none of you will read any such complements on your own:



November 18. 2011 06:12 PM


Thanks for the China stuff.  As in every partnership/relationship, there are good and bad, and will all depend on how it is handled.  I think the doom and gloom by the media is very much overdone.

Yer quite welcome Gravel.

There certainly is an aspect of "doom & gloom"...but there are also some useful, sober analysts providing important details regarding our relationship w/ China...and offering up various hypotheticals & attempting to do some problem solving. If you read thru The Conversation links put up by Lyn, listen to Hugh White & others at the Lowy Institute & so on ya get a variety of views. It's refreshing that we get varied views these days...people feel they can speak their mind.

Unlike far too many in mainland China & HK these days.

I'm feeling fairly positive about our relationship w/ China...I do believe there are enuff highly intelligent, forward looking influential characters who recognise the problems related to authoritarian capitalism...and give a damn about their environment, living & work conditions...and see beyond the chains of paranoid censorship & the cess pit of irrational exuberance...

willing to create new bridges...and do maintenance on the ancient bridges & walls that lead to invigorating, mentally stimulating & stable relationships w/ their own people, nature...and their neighbours.

Some have the ability to put the blinkers aside and reach out across the geo-political spheres...

recognising that we are evolved enuff now to move beyond simplistic attitides such as "might is right"...and "unification at all costs"...

I was thinkin' about Sun Yat-sen the other day...trying to imagine China & Taiwan's relationship if he had lived...what impact he would've had...his influence on Chiang Kai-shek...whether he could've prevented the purge/the split...the Chinese Civil War...if things had worked out differently?

Three Principles of the People


I was reading Sun Yat-sen's 1924 speech in Kobe, Japan focusing on Pan-Asianism...the attempt to create a bridge...the hope, the insight, the ironies and the determination stands out...and reflecting on the date and the upcoming Invasion of Manchuria, the second Sino-Japanese war:

The origins of the various civilizations of the modern world can be traced back to Asia's ancient civilization. It is only during the last few centuries that the countries and races of Asia have gradually degenerated and become weak, while the European countries have gradually developed their resources and become powerful. After the latter had fully developed their strength, they turned their attention to, and penetrated into, East Asia, where they either destroyed or pressed hard upon each and every one of the Asiatic nations, so that thirty years ago there existed, so to speak, no independent country in the whole of Asia. With this, we may say, the low water mark had been reached.

When Asia reached this point, the tide started to turn, and the turn meant the regeneration of Asia. It started thirty years ago when Japan abolished all the Unequal Treaties that she had entered into with the foreign countries. The day when the Unequal Treaties were abolished by Japan was a day of regeneration for all Asiatic peoples. After the abolition of the Unequal Treaties, Japan became the first independent country in Asia. The remaining countries, such as China, India, Persia, Afghanistan, Arabia, and Turkey were not independent, that is to say, they were still dominated, and treated as colonies, by Europe...

Thirty years ago, Japan was also a colony of the European countries. But the Japanese were far-sighted. They realized that the only way to power was to struggle with the Europeans and to abolish all Unequal Treaties, which they did, thus turning Japan into an independent country...

Since Japan has become an independent country in East Asia, the various nations in this part of the world have been buoyed up with a new hope. They realized that since Japan has been able to achieve her independence through the abolition of the Unequal Treaties, they could do the same. So once again they have mustered courage to conduct their various independent activities with the hope of shaking off the yoke of European restriction and domination and regaining their own rightful position in Asia. This has been the prevailing thought in Asia during the past thirty years, which indeed gives ground for optimism.

Thirty years ago the idea was different. Men thought and believed that European civilization was a progressive one-in science, industry, manufacture, and armament-and that Asia had nothing to compare with it. Consequently, they assumed that Asia could never resist Europe, that European oppression could never be shaken off. Such was the idea prevailing thirty years ago. It was a pessimistic idea. Even after Japan abolished the Unequal Treaties and attained the status of an independent country, Asia, with the exception of a few countries situated near Japan, was little influenced...

Ten years later, however, the Russo-Japanese war broke out and Russia was defeated by Japan. For the first time in the history of the last several hundred years, an Asiatic country has defeated a European Power. The effect of this victory immediately spread over the whole Asia, and gave a new hope to all Asiatic peoples.

In former days, the colored races in Asia, suffering from the oppression of the Western peoples, thought that emancipation was impossible. We regarded that Russian defeat by Japan as the defeat of the West by the East. We regarded the Japanese victory as our own victory. It was indeed a happy event...

Did not therefore this news of Russia's defeat by Japan affect the peoples of the whole of Asia? Was not its effect tremendous? While it may not have seemed so important and consequently have had only a slight effect on the peoples living in East Asia, it had a great effect on the peoples living in West Asia and in the neighborhood of Europe who were in constant touch with Europeans and subject to their oppression daily. The suffering of these Asiatic peoples was naturally greater than that of those living in the further East, and they were therefore more quick to respond to the news of this great victory.

Since the day of Japan's victory over Russia, the peoples of Asia have cherished the hope of shaking off the yoke of European oppression, a hope which has given rise to a series or independence movements-in Egypt, Persia, Turkey, Afghanistan, and finally in India. Therefore, Japan's defeat of Russia gave rise to a great hope for the independence of Asia...

From the aspect of cultural development during the last several hundred years, the material civilization of Europe has reached its height while Oriental civilization has remained stagnant. Outwardly, Europe is superior to Asia. Fundamentally, European civilization during the last several hundred years is one of scientific materialism. Such a civilization, when applied to society, will mean the cult of force, with aeroplanes, bombs, and cannons as its outstanding features...

Recently, this cult of force has been repeatedly employed by the Western peoples to oppress Asia, and as a consequence, there is no progress in Asia. To oppress others with the cult of force, in the language of the Ancients, is the rule of Might. Therefore, European civilization is nothing but the rule of Might. The rule of might has always been looked down upon by the Orient. There is another kind of civilization superior to the rule of Might. The fundamental characteristics of this civilization are benevolence, justice and morality: This civilization makes people respect, not fear, it...

Japan is the first nation in Asia to completely master the military civilization of Europe. Japan's military and naval forces are her own creation, independent of European aid or assistance. Therefore, Japan is the only completely independent country in East Asia. There is another country in Asia who joined with Central Powers during the European War and was partitioned after her final defeat...

After the war, however, she was not only able to regain her territory, but to expel all Europeans from that territory. Thus she attained her status of complete independence. This is Turkey. At present Asia has only two independent countries, Japan in the East and Turkey in the West. In other words, Japan and Turkey are the Eastern and Western barricades of Asia. Now Persia, Afghanistan, and Arabia are also following the European example in arming themselves, with the result that the Western peoples dare not look down on them. China at present also possesses considerable armaments, and when her unification is accomplished she too will become a great Power. We advocate Pan-Asianism in order to restore the status of Asia. Only by the unification of all the peoples in Asia on the foundation of benevolence and virtue can they become strong and powerful...

At present there is a new country in Europe which has been looked down upon and expelled from the Family of Nations by the White races of the whole of Europe. Europeans consider it as a poisonous snake or some brutal animal, and dare not approach it...

Such a view is also shared by some countries in Asia. This country is Russia. At present, Russia is attempting to separate from the White peoples in Europe. Why? Because she insists on the rule of Right and denounces the rule of Might. She advocates the principle of benevolence and justice and refuses to accept the principles of utilitarianism and force. She maintains Right and opposes the oppression of the majority by the minority. From this point of view, recent Russian civilization is similar to that of our ancient civilization. Therefore, she joins with the Orient and separates from the West...

Japan to-day has become acquainted with the Western civilization of the rule of Might, but retains the characteristics of the Oriental civilization of the rule of Right. Now the question remains whether Japan will be the hawk of the Western civilization of the rule of Might, or the tower of strength of the Orient. This is the choice which lies before the people of Japan.


So much we can learn from history...helps us to avoid same mistakes. Not to take any country/people for granted...realise that variables make for many many possible outcomes...and even the most passionate determination to heal, create bridges can be undermined by myopic, excessively biased & ambitious leaders who use propaganda machines & cult-like practices & crazy theories/notions of "superiority" & fingerpointin' at so called "common enemies", even false flag/sabotage events to mobilise the people...using extreme nationalism to drive their people over a cliff...in a vain attempt to CONTROL outcomes, resources and so on.

I was wondering if the word Japan could be substituted for a future China?

Perhaps replace Europe w/ the USA? Perhaps Bush's USA?

I'm hopin' for a multicoloured future...wear bridges replace suspicion, greed & overt nationalism & militarism.

And all countries recognise the ADVANTAGES they have...and PULL THE LEVERS to ensure every country has a fair-go.



November 18. 2011 06:16 PM


make that: where bridges replace suspicion, greed & overt nationalism & militarism.



November 18. 2011 06:18 PM


Some who missed this might find it enlightening...positive assessment of the ALP's approach to GFC etc.:

Updated November 18, 2011 14:55:34

On this edition of One Plus One, President Obama's 'Recovery Tsar'




November 18. 2011 06:23 PM


Thnx for the useful links Lyn...the followin' stuff from Tim Dunlop stood out for me:

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has released a survey of their members' views on important things and it has managed to garner a lot of media attention, including an interview on ABC Radio National's Breakfast program and a headline in The Australian that declares: 'Business blames Labor for economic malaise'.

The media loves a good survey and it's not just because they are an easy way to fill up column-inches or airtime. Surveys have the added advantage of involving numbers and percentages, lending an air of scientific rigour to what might otherwise be seen as the rantings of a self-interested minority.

So when the citizens at Occupy say that they don't like the way the Government is distributing wealth, that's just some smelly kids in a park somewhere whinging. But when you have a nicely typed survey that says, '80 per cent of our members say the Government lacks an understanding of business', then that's an opinion to be taken seriously.


The other thing I dislike about such surveys is that they turn attention away from the performance of business itself. They are designed to suggest that businesses themselves are above reproach and everything is the Government's fault. You hear the same nonsense echoed when the CEO of David Jones, or Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman, blame the Government for their falling sales. Yes, it's the Government's fault, not the fact that people can buy stuff cheaper and more efficiently over the internet, or that entering their stores is like entering the seventh circle of hell.

more here:


Spot on.

BTW Ad, I doubt that Bolt's show will last...there's somethin' desperate & old fashioned about it.

I'm off for the next day or so.



November 18. 2011 06:36 PM


Hi Nasking

Thankyou to you too, for all your valuable information , our foreign correspondent diligently keeping us informed.

Tim Dunlop is a good writer isn't he, and to the point common sense.

Nasking do you think the US troops in Darwin are a good idea, and also do you agree with this article by Ben Eltham?

Our great and powerful friends, Ben Eltham, The Drum

Chinese growth means that at some point in the next decade or two, China will become the largest economic power in the world. That wealth will allow China to quickly and easily acquire military power of at least comparable weight to that of the United States, which means that at some point after 2030, China will become a superpower rival to America.

Nasking hope you have a nice 2 days off.



November 18. 2011 06:42 PM

Ad astra reply

As I would expect, you are willing to embrace the same endorsement of indiscretion on such occasions of national importance as does Tony Abbott.  

Even some of his supporters, Mark Kenny and David Penberthy, thought Abbott's indiscretion was unacceptable.  But if you say: '...there was nothing to it', Abbott will be mightily reassured.

You refer to than magnificent purveyor of wisdom - Quadrant Online - where a Phillipa Martyr described it as 'a masterpiece', brilliant, and 'noble'.  Beauty is obviously in the eye of the beholder.

Ad astra reply

November 18. 2011 07:00 PM


Abbott the fool's speech was "a masterpiece", "brilliant", "noble" says the person behind that quadrant piece. My mind just won't let my fingers hit the relevant keys to label her as a writer, creator, or journo.

She uses those 3 descriptors and gives absolutely no examples or evidence or argument as to why/how they apply.

The claims are pure nonsense and not an ioto more. The words and the delivery were disgustingly poor for an alternate PM, and again give strength to the growing momentum to rightly do away with him. His need to read such a hopeless speech made it all the more look like a goose performing.

JJ when you put up such low grade references it very much indicates your own limited ability to critically analyse evidence. The link you provided reflects poorly on you and deems you a lightweight IMO.

Today I heard grabs of shadow defence person David Johnston defending Abbott the fool's speech, on Nine MSN today.

Like JJ, Johnston by claiming that it was an excellent speech and that the politics introduced by Abbott "needed to be said" showed himself to be equal to Abbott in the fool stakes.

When has cheap partisanship ever been "needed" in a speech which is part of a state ceremonial occasion.

The fact is, as KR said to Leigh Sales last night, Abbott the fool just can't control himself and act appropriately when a bit of class is needed.

As is my want, I sent a relevant missive to Johnston first thing after I heard him.

Abbott as LOTO sadly reflects very badly on this nation. We are all the poorer for his presence on our stage.


November 18. 2011 07:25 PM

Ad astra reply

Posted just now, another of Acerbic Conehead's delightful satirical pieces: Supping from the Drinking Gourd


Ad astra reply

November 18. 2011 07:58 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
I must be slowing; I couldn't find the link to the transcript of Julia Gillard's speech introducing Barack Obama.  Please help me!

Ad astra reply

November 18. 2011 08:36 PM


Hi Ad

Is it the video of Julia introducing Obama in Darwin, that you would like to watch?

If this is not the one you need, let me know Ad.

November 17, 2011. Julia Gillard Introduces Obama
November 17, 2011. Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduces US President Barack Obama to the troops at the RAAF base in Darwin. President Obama. (AAP/Chris James)




November 18. 2011 08:46 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
I've got the videos - I was looking for the transcript of her speeches, particularly of her introduction of Barack Obama in the House.

The Canberra Times had Tony Abbott's speech in the House, but I couldn't find Julia Gillard's.

Ad astra reply

November 18. 2011 08:50 PM


Ad astra
As Lyn's erstwhile apprentice, are you looking for Ms Gillard's welcome to Obama at the joint sitting of parliament? If so, try this link:



November 18. 2011 08:52 PM


Hi Ad

Sorry, To much haste, now I dropped the c in speech.

Cheers Smile


November 18. 2011 08:53 PM


Aaaugh! Scooped again by a low-flying bird. Laughing


November 18. 2011 09:03 PM


Hi NormanK

Thankyou for your link to help Ad, sorry our posts crossed.

See what happened to me, I went and dropped a c again.  My keys are sticking on this state of the arts keyboard. Think I will spray it with easy glide .



November 18. 2011 09:05 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn, NormanK
Now I have all the links and Michael has pasted the transcripts on the next piece.

Thanks to you both.

Ad astra reply

November 20. 2011 01:52 AM


psyclaw, I seem to remember Liealot and the cheerleaders making a lot of noise about the government "embarrassing" the POTUS by changing leaders just days before he arrived in Australia.

Well, the POTUS has been embarrassed alright; by Liealot airing petty domestic QT shite in his welcome speech.

He made a fool of himself and the rest of us. What a talentless hack! No wonder the talentless hacks at the OO love him; he's their soul mate.


Comments are closed