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Absurdities abound as Abbott wages a crass war

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Monday, 13 February 2012 18:34 by JohnL
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is becoming more absurd every time he attacks the Home Insulation Program (HIP).

The latest examples were his exaggerated claims about the HIP on November 24, 2011 in the House of Representatives and his January 31, 2012 address to the National Press Club.

In introducing “a definite matter of public importance” for discussion in the House of Representatives on November 24, 2011 (the last sitting day for the year) he said: “There were the pink batts that this government could not put into roofs for free without houses catching fire right around Australia”. (Page 13819 of Hansard for 24 November 2011.) Abbott told the National Press Club on January 31, 2012: “No good government would ever spend more than a billion dollars putting pink batts into roofs and a billion dollars to take them out again.”

The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency provides statistics (current at December 31, 2011 for most and at November 30, 2011 for others) on the HIP on its website.

Using official statistics from this source (as at November 30, 2011) and tables in the CSIRO Risk Profile Analysis on page 86 of its report on the HIP), I have constructed the following table to provide a State and Territory breakdown of confirmed fires due to HIP insulation:


Confirmed fires

Structural damage

Total insulated

Fire %
















W. Australia





S. Australia























No fires in 99.98 per cent of insulated homes
A total of 224 confirmed fires for 1,108,151 homes with non-foil insulation means that 1,107,927 (99.98 per cent) of such homes had no confirmed fires. That’s hardly “...houses catching fire right around Australia”.

Using the key statistics link previously given, there were 237,583 homes (46,551 with foil and 191,032 non-foil) that had safety inspections. This represents 20.2 per cent of the 1,178,089 homes insulated) under the HIP. Those figures demonstrate the nonsense of Abbott’s statement that “No good government would ever spend more than a billion dollars putting pink batts into roofs and a billion dollars to take them out again.” Of the 1,178,089 homes insulated with foil or non-foil under the HIP, 46,891 (4.2 per cent) had work undertaken to make them safe.

(Note: The 1,108,151 figure is that used by the CSIRO report while the 1,178,089 figure includes both foil and non-foil insulation. The December 31, 2011 figures by the Department of Climate Change and Energy comprise 1,119,808 non-foil insulations, or 11,657 more than the CSIRO figure, and 58,281 foil insulations.)

Neither Abbott nor his Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, has ever thought reality should intrude on their crass war against the HIP.

Plethora of inquiries
For example, Hunt called for a Royal Commission during a speech in the House of Representatives on June 16, 2010 (Hansard, House of Representatives, June 16, 2010, Pages 5560-5563) even though one inquiry had already reported, another inquiry was imminent and still another (also sought by Hunt) announced. They were:

• The Government-commissioned report by Dr Allan Hawke, released some two months earlier on April 6, 2010.

• A Senate committee inquiry into the HIP (with the Coalition Senators in a majority) was set up on October 29, 2009 and was a little over four weeks from bringing down its delayed report (originally due on June 21, 2010) on July 15, 2010.

• A Federal Auditor-General audit of the HIP announced on March 3, 2010. The Auditor- General noted in his report (released on October 15, 2010) that Hunt had made “a number of requests” before March 3, 2010 for such an audit (Paragraph 19 of Summary on page 25 of the Auditor-General Audit Report No. 12 2010–11 Performance Audit of the Home Insulation Program).

Unsafe work practices
It is easy to see why Hunt found the Hawke report unacceptable. It contained such findings as:

“Any objective assessment of the HIP will conclude that, despite the safety, quality and compliance concerns, there were solid achievements against the program objectives. At the time the program closed on 19 February 2010, over one million homes had been insulated.”

• “The associated political wrangling has overshadowed the duty of care of employers, which, put simply, is a requirement that they do everything reasonably practicable to ensure a safe working environment. While determining the causes of deaths and serious safety hazards and any liability for these is a matter for coroners and work safety agencies, clearly there would seem to have been some unsafe work practices by employers operating under the HIP.”

The comment about unsafe work practices was highlighted in the Daily Telegraph report of the death of Marcus Wilson, 19, on November 20, 2009 after collapsing while installing insulation in western Sydney. The newspaper said the temperature was an estimated 60C in the roof in which Wilson was working. It also reported that other installation contractors “said they had sent workmen home at 10.30am as the temperature soared to 42.1C – just short of the November 1982 record of 42.2C.”

Industrial Magistrate John McGrath also drew attention to work safety when fining Arrow Maintenance a total of $135,000 over charges relations to the electrocution death of Reuben Barnes, 16, while moving insulation into place in a home at Stanwell, near Rockhampton, on November 18, 2009. McGrath noted that the company was derelict in its duty and denounced unsafe working practices saying the world had moved beyond the unsafe practices of the Industrial Revolution.

No justification advanced for inquiry
But back to Huntʼs June 16 speech, which occurred after the procedural requirements were satisfied to allow for “a definite matter of public importance” to be discussed, namely “the Governmentʼs continued failure to address the consequences of the Home Insulation Program”.

In this speech, Hunt did not detail any justification for a Royal Commission, merely saying in his closing sentence:

“Against that background these things are evident: first, every home must be inspected and the failure to do so is gross and systemic negligence; second, small businesses must be helped; and, third, there must be a royal commission. Hunt was very big on the need for inspections during his speech, saying:

“So it must be made absolutely clear that every home should be inspected. Every home has to be inspected.”

• “Let us be clear. Against that background there is only one answer: every home must be inspected, every home must be subject to the protections that have been recommended and the warnings given by the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade, the national Electrical and Communications Association and the Electrical Trades Union. These warnings are from the people who know and they should not be dismissed.”
From these repetitious comments, you could think Hunt was serious in his demand that every home be inspected. But, as it turns out he and Abbott were no more serious about this than in holding a Royal Commission if they won government.

It certainly would not have come as any surprise to Abbott or Hunt that the first recommendation of the July 15, 2010 report of the Senate committee, chaired by South Australian Liberal Senator Mary Jo Bishop, was for a Royal Commission into the HIP.

Thus, the top priority of the Opposition majority on a committee that had lasted some six months and received 53 submissions was for yet another inquiry into the HIP.

In this first part of a two-part series, I have used official statistics to demonstrate how absurdities abound in the crass war on the HIP by Tony Abbott and his henchman Greg Hunt. In the second part I will explore Abbott’s amazing amnesia about his own statements and provide further examples of inconsistencies and false claims by the Opposition on the HIP.

Comments (110) -

February 13. 2012 07:18 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your excellent analysis of the HIP, about which we have had such misleading information fed us by Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt.  Yours is the most thorough and well documented analysis I have seen.  It shows clearly the lies, deception and disingenuousness of the Abbott/Hunt line.

Thank you for giving us the real facts and figures.  We look forward to Part 2.

Ad astra reply

February 13. 2012 07:29 PM

Patricia WA

Thank you!  This needed to be written.   I shall be circulating it as widely as possible among friends here and on my mailing list.

Patricia WA

February 13. 2012 07:52 PM


Hi JohnL

A very big thankyou for writing for us on TPS, we sure needed more facts on this subject.

We do appreciate you writing for TPS and hope you will stay here, because I am sure you have plenty of articles up your sleeve.

I am peeping in a very tiny hole at the moment, but my computer will be fixed at lunch time tomorrow.  Have you ever tried to type on a sticky pad with a broken keyboard and a broken mouse.  



February 13. 2012 08:30 PM


Good stuff John.

Yer a top addition to this blog.

Useful work. Well said & researched.

BTW, goin' by yer post it looks like Kevin Rudd was stabbed in the back for nothing...unless of course bein' a bit control freakish as PM is a big sin (don't remember that hurting Howard during his many years as leader...at least not enuff to see him knifed)...

of course it had nothing to do w/ NSW & Victorian spoilt & bullying factions wanting more power...

gawd forbid that the QLD yokels run the party (how'd turfin' the QLDer workout for ya ALP in the last election?)...

and surely it had nothin' to do w/ a PM fighting the big greedy miners who have helped keep the dollar high and trampled on tourism, the environment, farmers, Aboriginal rights, small business in general...

but of course, there was no way Rudd was gonna get his ideas across to the people...not w/ other ALP snakes & rats leaking to the big press...and the big miners usin' their moolah to push a propaganda campaign...and the Murdoch empire bein' assisted by the likes of the ABC (INSIDERS anyone?) to screw Rudd's reputation & create confusion about the mining tax...

seems to me that the big corporate shareholders got EXACTLY what they wanted in this stage of the political pendulum...

a mediocre government led by kowtowers pretending to be the workers' friend.

All talk...all reviews...stuff all ACTION.

Lots of SUCKING UP...to the big end of town.

The Workers party...laying the path for the wolves...so they can come straight thru the door to eat to their hearts' delight...next time:

School principals to get hire or fire power


Perhaps too smart for their own good. Or our own good.



February 13. 2012 08:48 PM


So why am I reading this on a blog with lets face it (sorry AA) insignificant readership in comparison to the population of Australia?  The Government should have been out a couple of years ago publicising the hell out of this with two additions - the number of OH&S prosecutions they instituted and an estimate of the quantity of energy this scheme has saved.  

The message should have been 99.whatever percent were done correctly, we identified and chased the dodgy contractors (who are now probably selling Solar PV systems) and we have eliminated the need for so many power stations/gas mains and took x tonnes of CO2 each year out of the atmosphere.  We also avoided the GFC by keeping people in work making and installing the stuff.

At the same time, the BER Scheme should have been hailed as the success it is.  My local school has a very impressive hall/music area as a result that all parents now and in the future should be proud of (the School Principal certainly is).  What was the approval rate again 98.5%?

I know Rudd persecuted Howard on Government advertising - but really hasn't the current Government lost the "selling a good message" plot?  Like it or not, those "public service" announcements are part of the pitch (to borrow a term from the Advertising Industry).


February 13. 2012 10:55 PM


Hi Lyn,
Thank you for your kind words.  I have been a great fan of your links, which I find one of the best things on any blog.  They really are an invaluable reference source and one of the best time-savers for anyone interested in what is going on.
Nasking, as an old-fashioned person, I consider loyalty to a leader something to be valued.  I think Rudd was a great leader and I consider his Sorry speech was one of the inspiring  moments in Australian political history. And I have scant regard for the power brokers.  In fact, I have a theory that it was Rudd's desire to appoint well qualified people (think Quentin Bryce, Tim Fischer, and even Brendan Nelson) to plum posts, without consulting them,  that was a catalyst for the putsch against him.
But we have moved on, and I do admire the steely determination of Julia Gillard.
2353 - I could not agree more.  I think Labor should have done more to defend itself against attacks on home insulation and the BER, both of which are highly successful programs.  However, I can understand that with a determined media campaign of misrepresentation the Party thought it was distracting from what they considered as more important issues.  I still think they were wrong, but, hey, who am I to say.


February 13. 2012 10:59 PM


Patricia WA,
I am delighted to hear from the poet laureate of Australia's blogs.  I have admired, and enjoyed, your work.  I might add that I also agree with the sentiments you express, both in verse and prose.


February 13. 2012 11:47 PM


Nasking, as an old-fashioned person, I consider loyalty to a leader something to be valued.  I think Rudd was a great leader and I consider his Sorry speech was one of the inspiring  moments in Australian political history. And I have scant regard for the power brokers.

couldn't agree more.

After watching 4 Corners tonite...and seeing my suspicions were confirmed that Rudd had been undermined incrementally & grotesquely by disloyal rats in the ranks w/ the help of scumbag Richo & other former Hawke ministers (didn't INSIDERS' Barrie Cassidy work for the Hawke gov't?)...particularly that withholding of info related to BHP...and observing Gillard's guilty face as she was interviewed for 4 Corners...I can no longer support the ALP.

Not unless a WRONG is made RIGHT.

And now I get the idea why a certain top public servant & Gillard supporter from Cafe Whispers used yesterday one of my past supportive posts on Gillard, out of the blue, seemingly to heap praise...

bit of public perception manipulation methinks...and an attempt to sway this recent Gillard critic...

so, I think it only right that people read the post I wrote on that dreadful night of the knifing of PM Rudd...the night that broke my heart...and brought tears to my wife & my eyes:

The Attempted Dismissal Of Our Prime Minister
June 23, 2010 by nasking

So,  tonight our country has become a laughing stock…has been destabilised.  Factions in his own party have put a gun to our Prime Minister’s head and told him to walk the plank.

What a dumb move. What an absolute disgrace.

As we know by way of the blogosphere & scrutiny of some mainstream columns in the past coupla days, the mainstream media were finally beginning to focus on Tony Abbott again & his pathetic small target strategy.  His useless policies.

As far as I’m concerned Mark Arbib & the NSW Right are a bloody bunch of “rats” and a disgrace. That goes for many others in the ALP who either panicked or helped orchestrate this attempted “coup”.

A few I imagine were bludgeoned (given no choice) and thrown onboard the  right-wing, ship of fools,  ’The Assassin’.

My feeling was that Rudd had just weathered the media sh*tstorm & was coming out the other end. We could see THE LIGHT.

The Labor achievements were just starting to be realised by the populace. Even many of the media recognised that he was staying. Had made it.

And what do these “kneejerk”, “cowardly” machine men do?…they attempt to DISMISS our Prime Minister. Our Captain.

After all the TRAUMA that the ALP went thru after the dismissal of Gough they then go and attempt to assassinate their own leader who helped get this country thru one of the worst & most damaging economic waves to hit global shores…it’s INSANE!.

Going by the Senate investigation on the roof insulation that I saw it was Mark Arbib that was one of the main characters involved w/ the rollout.

I mean who hell do these right-wing robots think they are?

Don’t tell me…a deal has been done w/ the mining barons & media moguls in order to pave the way for Julia? Is this part of the reason  we got an ASSAULT on Kevin the past few months from so many parts of the media?

How tragic & disgraceful if that has transpired.

My wife really digs Julia Gillard, but she wrote to our local member tonite to express her disgust at this attempted DISMISSAL.

Our Prime Minister deserves better.

And it wouldn’t surprise me if these idiots have managed to hand the election to Tony Abbott due to their obvious & repeated lack of spine.



BTW, I will no longer be reading David Marr's articles either. He was obviously part of the plan...his ambush of Rudd part of the big con...the assassination.

Bloody traitors all.



February 14. 2012 02:56 AM



Thank you for the detailed post on the HIP.  I have heard the government attempt to put this position several times, but I have not ever seen the case laid out so clearly and argued so persuasively.  The PM's support team needs to get its act together.  They must know by now that they can't rely on the msm, so they have to think of an alternative way to get the message out on all of their good news.

The misinformation campaign mounted by News Ltd and its subsidiary, the ABC, seemed to intimidate the government from rightfully claiming credit for having weathered the GFC.  Every time they raised the issue they were whacked over the head with cries of "pink bats" and "school halls".

I look forward to reading more of your work John.


February 14. 2012 03:09 AM

Patricia WA

Nasking says his

suspicions were confirmed that Rudd had been undermined incrementally & grotesquely by disloyal rats in the rank

Well, my suspicions were confirmed too by watching that program.  Even on the day I knew it was no assassination, rather a mercy killing after the mainstream media had almost destroyed Rudd, presumably at the behest of their proprietors to help out their the mining mates.   What I didn't know then and have heard in dribs and drabs since was what a hopeless leader he was, and how loathed he was by the troops.  Thank God there was consensus and good sense amongst the more influential Caucus members - those so called faceless men that Nasking complains of who have always been identifiable and happy to own their part in it all. I wrote this on the 24/06/10

Mutatis Mutandis - The Necessary Changes Were Made.

We held our leader in high regard,
Watched helpless as he was daily mauled
By media and an opposition fighting hard
And dirty, with no holds barred.
And finally when he lay bleeding,
Victim of press gallery canard,
Yes, we killed him, because we knew
He was near dead;  so battle scarred
And bruised he could never rise again.
So much his reputation marred
Our cause, also dear to him, looked lost.
No choice but for the old praetorian guard
To take control and end a tragic farce.
This was no assassination.
It was an end to suffering; a coup de grace.

Nasking's 'faceless men' are my 'Praetorian Guard' who saved not just the Labor Party, but this country. Even with a hung Parliament and needing Greens and Independent support this Gillard government has achieved far more substantive and vital reforms than Rudd's, particularly the clean energy programs.

And we have a fine, strong Prime Minister who has the affection and loyalty of her team.  Despite knowing that with her they're facing more of the same relentless media hostility they've endured so far Caucus and Cabinet are still behind her.  Jenny McAllister, the ALP President, on Q&A tonight was equally sure that the Party is on the right track.  

If Kevin Rudd really is encouraging all this media speculation and helping big business in its destabilisation campaign then he is a fool and even less deserving of sympathy than I had thought.    

Patricia WA

February 14. 2012 03:18 AM


Hi Nasking

From your post "observing Gillard's guilty face (four corners).  I actually didn't think she looked guilty.  I thought she looked extremely irritated and cross.  She never starts out on her interviews this way and I felt some exchange must have occurred which had been cut.

I now notice ABC News Online has posted an article titled "Planning the Coup" which summarises the 4C story, but then goes on to say that the PM's office has provided a part transcript of exchanges which were cut from the program.  Reading this material explains a lot.  She answered the questions asked...her answers were just not included in the program.  I wonder why.

If I was as clever as Lyn I would provide the link, but techno clever I aint.  Anyway, it's easy to find, but Lyn may link to it as a matter of routine anyway.


February 14. 2012 08:22 AM



No Doubt  No Benefit, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless
Won what? This is PR-wank, a bogus metric for publicists to justify their parasitic existence; it has no place in journalism. I can still remember in the 1999 NSW election campaign, the team all gathered around the analog telly watching the news each night and Kerry Chikarovski

Milne dumped by ABC for being 'high editorial risk', The Power Index
he public broadcaster was responding to a question put on notice by Senator Eric Abetz to ABC boss Mark Scott as to why Milne had been removed from his regular slot on the Sunday morning current affairs show.

The Great Unhinging – now with extra stupid,Massivespray, Spray of The Day
on top of the sundae of stupid that is Australian political reporting. A Newspoll was reported that stated that Abbott was viewed by the “people” (I hope to god I never meet someone this stupid…they’d be lucky to be able to stand upright) as being able to handle the economy by 43%-34%.

Marriage equality bills to hit Parliament today, The Concience Vote
when Bandt or Wilkie tries to introduce ‘controversial’ legislation. The major parties fall into lockstep against them. Granted, the ALP passed the resolution at its last conference to make marriage equality a matter of conscience,

Essential: only one leader more disliked than Gillard — Abbott
But among women, Abbott still has a serious problem. Gillard doesn’t attract more female support than male — in fact her approval rating among women is nearly three points lower than among men,

As a poet, Rinehart makes a great billionaire, Heathern Scripture
The first line of those four abandons metre, as rhetoric stirs from its meat-coma and begins to lick its spit-flecked jaws. Every bad poet loves adjectives. Who can resist “massive”? Who can resist an awkward phrase like “political hacks”?

Gillard speech drafted before Rudd ouster,  Channel 9
State Department officials in Washington also appeared to have intelligence about the leadership tensions, with diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks quoting a Labor plotter telling an embassy officer Ms Gillard was "campaigning for the leadership

Gillard Dodges Questions on Rudd Plot, Lateline

Labor: Restoring confidence in the wake of the Liberal’s waste of $55m to spruik WorkChoices

Greens:  Bandt introduces the marriage equality Bill – ABC News 24

TEN: Holding on (SA by-elections


February 14. 2012 08:51 AM



Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 14 February,2012

Canberra Times http://twitpic.com/8jgvfz
Courier Mail http://twitpic.com/8jgv44
Hobart Mercury http://twitpic.com/8jgus5
The Australian - Coalition up in Newspoll - http://twitpic.com/8jgug0
Daily Tele http://twitpic.com/8jgu7k
The age http://twitpic.com/8jgu4r
SMH - Gillard staff planned coup http://twitpic.com/8jgu2u
Gold Coast Bulletin http://twitpic.com/8jgv1x



February 14. 2012 09:10 AM


As someone who deliberately didn't watch 4 Corners last night because I'm just over the Rudd/Gillard thing, it seems that those that already had an opinion on the events didn't change their opinion.

Everyone with an opinion needs to take a Bex and have a good lie down.  It happened, the events of 2009/10 can't be replayed to give a different outcome and any reverse challenge by Rudd will only further tarnish a damaged brand.  Who said "if you can't govern yourselves, you can't govern the country"?

I worked with someone once who married, divorced, remarried, divorced and then remarried his first wife.  On the face of it, it seems like a really stupid thing to do.  Effectively the ALP would be doing the same thing.  This bloke I worked with never did *really* explain the logic behind the sequence to those he worked with (not that it was our business anyway).  The ALP couldn't explain a similar act to a whole country of voters - lets face it they can't even sell successful policy outcomes.


February 14. 2012 09:43 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Thanks Lyn for the Front Pages too.

Ad astra reply

February 14. 2012 09:47 AM


Good morning all.

All this time I have been giving Kevin Rudd the benefit of the doubt that he's not consciously undermining the PM and her Government.  However, after watching that 4C one-sided expose I now see Rudd as a bitter egomaniac who is not honest with himself, let alone those who cannot see the thorns among his roses.

IMO, Rudd ignored the dissent and dissatisfaction with his performance as a Labor PM purely and simply because he thought he did not need the support of his party so long as he showed only his best side to the populace.   Looking back, as PM,  Rudd was under fire in the media for
an endless string of criticisms from reducing an air hostess to tears to using unbecoming language overseas when using the term 'ratfu....s' referring to the leaders of another country.  MSM reported problems within government offices because of the workload he imposed on staff which precluded them from normal family lives at home.

Rudd set himself up as a demi-god and his colleagues had the courage to bring him down before he could wreak further havoc.  He blubbered and wept at his misfortune and blamed everyone but himself as he went about repairing the holes in the shiny veneer he presented to his adoring public.  He hid behind the media's penchant for stories to meet their deadlines and showed himself to be a hard-working FM.  He has shown not one tiny little bit of gratitude that he only holds the FM portfolio because his successor, PM Gillard (unwisely, as it turns out) felt kindly enough towards him to ensure he could continue to use his talents to serve his country.  I have little doubt that the PM's colleagues would have counselled her against such a move.

Kevin Rudd most probably knows he will never ever get his hands on the Labor leadership (in or out of government) again, but because he is a bitter little egomaniac he will not rest until he helps get Labor out of office.  He will continue to present himself as pure as the driven snow and keep his shiny veneer polished to blind those fans he can fool and he will continue to be cowardly enough to allow all the blame for his downfall to fall on the shoulders of PM Gillard, the one person who has acknowledged his worth and given him his world stage, the portfolio of Foreign Minister.

Needless to say I am over Kevin Rudd and if I had a magic wand I would use to turn him into a frog.


February 14. 2012 09:55 AM

Ad astra reply

Today's Newspoll turns out to be a fizzer too.  TPP within margin of error, and PPM of little significance statistically.  Forget it.

The media hype such an insignificant poll has generated reinforces the theme of the previous piece, that opinion polls are poisonous.  They simply distract, as does leadership speculation, from the main game.

Ad astra reply

February 14. 2012 10:06 AM



Welcome to TPS, first let me applaud your comments re Lyn's~Links. Where Ad astra is akin to our lodestar Polaris, ["for [he] is constant as the Northern Star, upon whose true-fixed and unbending quality there is no fellow in the firmament"], Lyn is our Venus, our morning star, up long before dawn, shining her light on the just and unjust, we could not do without her, that is no exaggeration.

And we are blessed too with Patricia WA's versifying, making TPS the most pometic of political blogs. She keeps me up to it too!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Pink Batts fiasco was just that, not the installation, not the few fires and fewer deaths, but the media beatups, always playing up any problems, never giving perspective on the rates of such incidents as compared to rates where such installations were performed before the introduction of the HIP. Somewhere, just once, I did see some such meaningful comparison, and from memory the rates of incidents were quite comparable, not sure whether the HIP scheme wasn't marginally safer actually, have you any facts re that?

The onesided condemnation of this scheme, an operation  extremely helpful in providing short-term employment, and extremely long-term in its benefits, was so hyped that it had to be abandoned in the end. The Abbortt-led media campaign will have lasting negative ramifications for any other useful employmental schemes, a great pity and one which should raise the ire of every true-hearted fair-minded Australian.

JohnL you are as welcome as a Valentine card to TPS. Thank you. More please.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And from Lyn's~Links, this article. [I have included it all so you may find merriment in his priceless bit of reasoning at the very end.]

Milne dumped by ABC for being 'high editorial risk'
The Power Index Monday, 13 February 2012

Controversial columnist Glenn Milne was dropped from the ABC's Insiders program last year because he was a "high editorial risk", according to answers submitted recently by the broadcaster to Senate Estimates.

(This is the bloke I described as "Glenn Milne, the drunken thug", in The Lass From Yarralumla. TT )

Asked as to why Milne had been pulled from The Drum opinion website, the ABC said it was as a result of "growing concerns about the quality of his contributions".

The public broadcaster was responding to a question put on notice by Senator Eric Abetz to ABC boss Mark Scott as to why Milne had been removed from his regular slot on the Sunday morning current affairs show.

Milne caused rumbles when a column he wrote for The Australian last August detailing allegations regarding Julia Gillard's former relationship with accused conman Bruce Wilson was pulled within hours of publication.

The ABC said the column impacted their decision to dump Milne because it included "material which had serious issues in terms of accuracy and legality".

"ABC News management considered there was a high editorial risk involved with including Mr Milne in a live program, with no opportunity for editing, and it was decided that Mr Milne's services would not be required," the ABC said.

Milne, whose byline has not appeared in The Australian since the Gillard column controversy, has rejected the ABC's reasoning for his dismissal:

Milne dumped by ABC for being 'high editorial risk'
The Power IndexMonday, 13 February 2012

Controversial columnist Glenn Milne was dropped from the ABC's Insiders program last year because he was a "high editorial risk", according to answers submitted recently by the broadcaster to Senate Estimates.

And as to why Milne had been pulled from The Drum opinion website, the ABC said it was as a result of "growing concerns about the quality of his contributions".

The public broadcaster was responding to a question put on notice by Senator Eric Abetz to ABC boss Mark Scott as to why Milne had been removed from his regular slot on the Sunday morning current affairs show.

Milne caused rumbles when a column he wrote for The Australian last August detailing allegations regarding Julia Gillard's former relationship with accused conman Bruce Wilson was pulled within hours of publication.

The ABC said the column impacted their decision to dump Milne because it included "material which had serious issues in terms of accuracy and legality".

"ABC News management considered there was a high editorial risk involved with including Mr Milne in a live program, with no opportunity for editing, and it was decided that Mr Milne's services would not be required," the ABC said.

Milne, whose byline has not appeared in The Australian since the Gillard column controversy, has rejected the ABC's reasoning for his dismissal:

"I don't understand Mark Scott's editorial judgment in relation to a journalistic behaviour," Milne told The Australian.

"ABC journalist Peter Lloyd was convicted and jailed for using ice in Singapore but was allowed to come back and go on the ABC again. But I report adverse facts about the Prime Minister and I am dumped."

"Poor Petal!" Smile


February 14. 2012 10:24 AM

Ad astra reply

I have a couple of hours of mowing to do; I'll be back after lunch.

Ad astra reply

February 14. 2012 10:31 AM


those so called faceless men that Nasking complains of who have always been identifiable and happy to own their part in it all.

I'd like to know why you keep referring to "Nasking's faceless men"? You are confusing me w/ the Coalition & Murdoch media.

As for your obsessive support of Julia Gillard, and willingness to dump on a former PM who got us thru the GST, gave the SORRY speech, put in place the fastest rollout of assistance & funded building programs to public schools & hospitals in dire need (neglected by Howard & Abbott etc.) I've ever witnessed, signed the Kyoto Protocal, got rid of WorkChoices & put in place more protections for workers, began building trade training centres, funded essential infrastructure programs, put in place early childhood education, created more university places, started building regional cancer centres, increased age pension, created a  National Organ Transplant Authority, pushed paid parental leave, started building the NBN...

that's the PM Rudd you identify as "hopeless".

Quite frankly Patricia, you sound like a Murdoch propaganda machine. Your view is blinkered & myopic...and fails to take into account the machine that was thrown at a PM just trying to do his best for this country...it ignores the the grotesque disloyalty...and the horrid nature & anti-democratic element of that despicable act...

the plotting and eventual axing of a sitting PM by his own party. It reminds me of something fascists would do. Or communists. Not a democratic party.

Gillard looked BLOODY GUILTY to me. Full of it.

She is damaged goods. Sadly.

I once believed in her integrity. No longer. Power & ambition does terrible things to some people.


But no taming of the beast by way of giving it the Australia Network. No way. Be the true maverick...serving the people's best interests...not the moguls.

Let's put Abbott back into the wilderness...where he belongs. No more extreme right-wing pandering fruitcakes pretending to be rational Liberals should be given so much air-time & prominence. This country deserves better than the ANNOINTED one.

We've had enuff of the LIBERAL OLD GUARD...and Johnny (WorkChoices, Children Overboard, AWB look the other way, neglect essential services, unleash an irresponsible housing boom, suck up Iraq War Bush's backside, take a billion out of healthcare, regional rorts) Howard coming to the rescue of the inept crusading zealot Abbott and his frontbench of mostly morons & mocking moral midgets.

Let's change leadership...and kick their arse.

W/ the likes of Rudd, Plibersek, Albanese, Smith, Conroy, Combet, Wong, Crean, Shorten, Roxon and many others we should easily be doing that.

But the rot & mistrust has set-in.

And we know why.

Thanks to a stupid decision.

That saw Rudd ousted...and the great Lindsay Tanner leave. And Greg Raguse lose his seat.

It's time for a change.

Before it's too late.

BTW, I noticed Tanya Plibersek out there doin' her job efficiently, communicating the message...calmly & clearly.

Whilst the PM has become nothing but a DISTRACTION...AGAIN.



February 14. 2012 10:36 AM


thnx for the links. Great to see you back doin' what you do so well.

DMW did a top job too...filling in whilst Lyn took a well-deserved break.

This is a valuable blog.



February 14. 2012 10:52 AM


Talk Turkey,
Thank you for your comments.  You are right, the HIP is now safer than pre-HIP insulation.  This is from the Department's website: "CSIRO’s analysis of the HIP fire data demonstrates that the fire incident call out rate for HIP households is around 1.07 incidents per 100 000 households per annum (Note this analysis was completed using data as at 31 October 2011). The fire incident rate for HIP households is now below the comparable pre-HIP rate and continues to trend downwards."


February 14. 2012 11:18 AM

Patricia WA

Nasking, I seem to remember Wayne Swann, Julia Gillard and Lindsday Tanner along with Ken Henry and Treasury had a lot to do with decisions made around the GFC package!   It was not a solo performance by one KR!

Not acknowledging their role suggests obsessive hero worship on the part of the Rudd camp.

Cheers.    Happy Valentines Day!

Patricia WA

February 14. 2012 11:53 AM


Hi Nasking

Thankyou for your comment @ 10.36am, I love how you are always so supportive and appreciative, thankyou for you nice words.  I did mean to say hello to you yesterday, I am very happy and pleased to see you back on TPS,  you must be feeling heaps better.

My state of the arts new computer is back on deck just now. We get spoilt dont we, esecially if I think back to my first computer in 1998, it really was a battle Axe, I thought it was the bees knees.

[/i]Umm you won't get much of a response from us girls here regarding Julia because we think she is just it, look if she does resign her resignation (medical) certificate should state Persecution dying in the heart.

I wish Patricia and I were the Murdoch propaganda machine, we could run rampant through those newspapers.  [i]Gillard looked BLOODY GUILTY to me. Full of it. She is damaged goods. Sadly
I didn't like it when Kevin Rudd got sacked, but like 2353 I got over it, they made history been done.



February 14. 2012 12:23 PM


The statistics of relative per capita deaths and fires are the only ones that have any validity. There were 4 deaths I think, sure that's awful, but on a per capita basis as with the fire stats I don't think the rate was any, or anyway significantly worse, and as with road trauma, the more driver miles by the more drivers the more road trauma, (experience in both driving and roof insulating of course lowers that rate, true many of the HIP insulators were novices, that comes in too, imagine a driving situation where most of the drivers were novices!)

On any long weekend there are far more road deaths, and incomparably more serious injuries, than in the whole million-plus HIP installations. And the media, meh, crickets.

That the Media pack shrieked like Harpies over those relatively few deaths and fires, that they chose to rerererepeat it into one of the most politically-damaging-to-Labor memes ever in this country, all without any perspective at all, is very close to criminal in its deliberate attempt to oust the Labor Government at the time. Because that is what is has been all along.

I had my roof done free in one afternoon. Some very polite and efficient Indian men came and did it. It was quite a hot day but they did not complain. I gave them Woodroofe's Lemonades, they were almost in tears with just being treated decently, they said softly and sadly wtte Many people in this country were not so nice to them. It made me profoundly ashamed. I am in tears at the memory now in fact, that my countrymen could deserve such a pronouncement, for deserved it undoubtedly was. Dog save us all from those without humanity.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ATM there is a debate on ABC1 that "The Screen is mightier than the Sword." Don't know whose side to come down on!

Not mightier than OUR Sword folks! Smile  



February 14. 2012 12:24 PM


Not acknowledging their role suggests obsessive hero worship on the part of the Rudd camp.

indeed...the above played an integral role in a highly productive & imaginative government.

Which serves to partly undermine the contention that Rudd was a solo control freak act. That was always nonsense...we know Gillard had heaps of access to him.

However, I'm sure Lindsay Tanner wasn't working alongside Rudd whilst secretly plotting a coup. He just got on w/ the job...and is sorely missed.

There is no hero worship on my part...I'm quite aware of Rudd's occasionally annoying idiosyncracies and the odd weakness he showed as leader...but let's face it, the guy did heaps in a short amount of time, w/ the valuable help of others, yet some in his party aided & abetted a devious mainstream media that had various motivations to damage him...weaken his position, diminish his government's achievements, exaggerate in order to make the government under Rudd look like it was dawdling...when in fact the reality was quite the opposite when you take into consideration the burden of the GFC and how quickly they acted, unlike many overseas...

I have friends & family overseas who were flabbergasted when they heard Ruddy had been taken down so callously & viciously...as they watched their own countries struggle badly during that economic tsunami.

It didn't make any sense to them that a PM who had helped steer Australia so competently thru such a global storm could be treated so badly. It set a bad precedent.

I hope Rudd returns...tweaks the IR laws & reduces for the time being the carbon price and slightly increases the mining tax and gives necessary company tax cuts in order to ease the pressures on small & medium business...

there are terrible distortions in the economy...and yes, I know that the mining boom brings in useful revenue for the government coffers...and keeps the Chinese happy...but at what expense?

Yes, the high dollar makes imports cheaper, including petrol, and slightly dampens inflation...but at what expense?

Unless some of these pressures are eased we will see a tsunami of job losses I reckon.

I like the idea of a much higher tax-free threshold to be introduced in July...and means-testing private health rebates...and the NBN rollout...and more help to pensioners...and a disability insurance scheme...

certainly the government has generally a good story to tell...and could improve it w/ a few common-sense tweaks...

but the lack of focus on dentalcare is disgraceful...it should be a prime objective for this government, making affordable dentalcare for all a top priority...everyone I know, including myself is suffering badly from teeth problems...and many of us go into debt...or just avoid the dentist because the ALP & John Howard failed to bring a Denticare system into being...it has COST this nation dearly.

By increasing the Medicare fee the population would've barely noticed. Big deal...one less useless electronic gadget bought a year.

The ALP need to get on doing what they do best...providing affordable essential services...providing training & tertiary education opportunities...ensuring diverse businesses and projects prosper whilst employees and employers negotiate and compromise effectively to up productivity and enthusiasm and employment prospects...enhancing and maximising a cooperative, harmonious multicultural society which sees Australia evolve for the better based on exchanging of cultural ideas & traditions...supporting sports for all...arts for all...science & technology for all...media for all...providing opportunities for broader access by way of viewing & participation...and ensuring we have a communication system that is as effective, efficient and affordable for our disadvanged by way of distance or finances or disability.

Much of this they are in the process of doing.

They just need a better salesperson. Someone more focused. Who stumbles less. Someone good at grabbing media attention. Someone who can focus intensely on the job when need be...and get down comfortably w/ the people...w/out feeling they are about to be knifed by the mates of big mining...and factional bosses living in NSW & Victoria who think they were born to rule...think they know better than others in less populace states.


BTW Patricia, just because we differ on the leadership doesn't mean I don't highly respect yer poetry and prose.

Happy Valentine's Day (Always gets me thinkin' of the Valentine's Day Massacre...yikes!...

but...I did send S' a beaut card...even tho I dislike these imposed over-the-top commercialisation days...guess it helps the economy roll tho)



February 14. 2012 12:32 PM


I wish Patricia and I were the Murdoch propaganda machine, we could run rampant through those newspapers.

LOL Lyn. Smile

Well said.

Bring on media/cross-ownership laws & regulations w/ teeth. And more opportunities for the alternative media...opinion sites.

Thnx for the kind words. Yer a sweetie. One of the reasons I came to this blog.



February 14. 2012 12:38 PM


That the Media pack shrieked like Harpies over those relatively few deaths and fires, that they chose to rerererepeat it into one of the most politically-damaging-to-Labor memes ever in this country, all without any perspective at all, is very close to criminal in its deliberate attempt to oust the Labor Government at the time. Because that is what is has been all along.

Well said JohnL,
it was an orchestrated campaign...deliberate use of hyperbole and distortion of statistics and opinion in order to damage a generally effective government...and hit Rudd's popularity levels...

the Murdoch empire is renowned for such campaigns when they don't get all their own way...the spoilt, petulant sewer-dwellers...

look at THE SUN over in the UK...and the dead & buried NEWS OF THE WORLD (jobs cut so callously & viciously it tells ya what we can expect from a Murdoch-backed Abbott government).

Good job John. It's time the lies were smashed.



February 14. 2012 12:48 PM


Just a little story about the Pink Batt reporting (I don't think I've told it before)
Whilst the controversy was in full swing a year or two back, one night the 6pm news ran a story on a house fire linked to the insulation program. Suitably solemn tones were adopted with background graphics reading "debacle", "scandal" or some such together with appropriate criticism from the opposition as to how terrible all this was.
A couple of inane local issue stories followed & then....
In a cheesy & cheerful manner, we were told that guess what folks, there'd been a roof fire in a suburban house & it'd burned down. Yes, what had happened was that contractors had installed a ducted air conditioning system, they'd stuffed  up the electrics & the joint had caught fire!
All this told with a guess what, c'est la vie attitude, just another minor issue, it doesn't affect you.
Horses for courses I suppose.


February 14. 2012 12:48 PM



This article by the Possum might also be of use...

- blogs.crikey.com.au/.../




February 14. 2012 01:07 PM


BTW, I've been highly impressed w/ Emma Alberici on Lateline...some wonderful interviews.

Annabel Crabb has also grown on me...she's comes across far more confident & relaxed w/ herself these days. Perhaps oneday she'll do some hosting on INSIDERS.

Karina Carvalho is a lovely addition to ABC Breakfast News...she works well w/ Michael Rowland.

In fact, I've even been impressed w/ Chris Uhlman much of this summer...he's growing into the job.  

And I even reckon most of the SKY NEWS lot have done a good job the past few mths...sure they are somewhat biased towards the Coalition...but I do like to hear alternative views to keep the government's feet to the fire...and occasionally the Abbott mob (tho I'm not big on the use of some of these ALP rats, that doesn't include Bruce Hawker who I like to hear from...it does include Richo)...

provided they remain fairly balanced I have no probs visiting there...and I do dig the digital news thing they have, to catchup on various news.

It's just a shame it feels like Rupert's shadow is always hanging over them.



February 14. 2012 02:59 PM

Tim Badrick

I take it you have forwarded those stats on the homes per
insulation ratio to Peter Garrett's office Lyn. Based on
those numbers he has just as good of argument claiming
every state government is as negligent in allowing
people to die on roads as a result of poor quality
roads as he was being the symbolic scapegoat for
a brief spike in accidental deaths resulting from
the insulation program. I take it you are willing
to stand by those figures subject to independent
scrutiny. If i keep being so left facilitating i
might even get a link on Blogotariat with my own
website (laugh).

Tim Badrick

February 14. 2012 03:08 PM

Ad astra reply

Tim Badrick
Welcome to The Political Sword family. Do come again.  Your analogy about road deaths is telling.

Ad astra reply

February 14. 2012 03:37 PM

Tim Badrick

Will do Lyn, just so many websites out there to look at besides my own, i guess i need to narrow it down and
concentrate on the good ones. I dont think Tony Abbott
will like it that i am paying you a compliment (laugh).
I think you and Barry Everingham must give Tony more
than a few bad dreams. I like your website Lyn, just
like Independent Australia, i just wish there was a
lot more tolerance out there in blogland for me and
my more conservative tinged perspectives. Regardless
of what some hardcore leftists think, i am definitely
not a right winger. There seems to be some sort of a
paronoia out there in the left indepenpent media that
everything trad and a bit right of centre is evil and
no good. Sorry to tell them that's BS. Will keep more
of an eye out for your website from now on mate.

Tim Badrick

February 14. 2012 04:04 PM


Hi Tim Badrick

Thankyou heaps for coming to "The Political Sword", we need all the
commenters we can get.  I do hope you will stay and keep contributing your opinion.  We are in for a fast and furious year
this year, Abbott full of hubris because of the latest newspoll.  He will be riding for a fall as his head grows bigger and bigger.

Well with regards to JohnL's article and the stats on the HIP,
I haven't been in touch with Peter Garrett but I have spread Johnl's report far and wide on Twitter and on Facebook.

Umm you could get a referral from Blogotariat, first you need a blog though, good luck with that but I see you were just jesting



February 14. 2012 04:25 PM


Hi again Tim

Well that's weird, your reply to me went up before I posted my post to you, how did you know what I was saying???

TPS is not my Blog although we all like to claim our little piece, but TPS belongs to our fabulous Ad Astra all by himself. You will find Ad up above you at 3.08pm.



February 14. 2012 04:56 PM

Ad astra reply

I’ve just listened to QT and was astonished that in the hour I saw not one question was directed to Julia Gillard about the Four Corners program.  I thought the Opposition would have been all over it.  Christopher Pyne was on about it on ABC 774 Melbourne radio this morning, but got short shrift from Jon Faine, who is audibly tiring of the incessant talk about leadership.

The QT focus was again on the alleged effect of the carbon tax on Alcoa, a line they pursued yesterday to no effect.  I wonder who designs the Coalition’s QT strategy?  It certainly is not doing the Coalition any good, and is giving the PM open slather to tear their arguments, and their demeanour, to shreds.  She is performing well, and in full flight is formidable.

Regarding Four Corners, I wonder why the ABC wasted so much time, money and effort on this supposed exposé that told us almost nothing we did not already know.  I suppose they felt they had a scoop regarding the acceptance speech supposedly having been composed two weeks before the coup.  Was Julia Gillard ambushed with this ‘revelation’?  We will never know, but I suspect she was, as she was invited on to discuss contemporary issues in national politics, not past history.  She looked annoyed at yet another dose of impertinence by a journalist.  How she must tire of such arrogance.  I was pleased to see her, as is becoming her habit, bat the question away with an air of ‘Why are you asking me such questions when the business of government is beset with high order problems such as the transition that this country is traversing, the threatened job losses that such a transition brings about, and the actions needed by industry, business, unions, and government to adapt to, and take advantage of the transition.’  The ABC has again fallen into the populist pit and has taken its eyes off the main game.

Regarding Kevin Rudd.  I was a keen Rudd supporter in his earlier days and was inspired by his ‘Apology’, his outstanding work with his inner cabinet to successfully counter the worst effects of the GFC, and his focus on climate change as the greatest moral challenge of our time, which it was and still is.  He seemed set on a course that would place Australia at the forefront.  When he allowed opinion polls and focus groups to divert him from the lofty goal of an ETS, and put it on the back burner, people began to lose faith in him.  He seemed to be stepping away from a matter of principle, and although but a temporary backward step, it evoked an adverse outcome for him.  When stories began to emerge about his autocratic style and his lack of consultation with colleagues, I found this disturbing and quite hard to believe.  His overconfidence in his own judgement and ability began to erode relationships with caucus so badly and irrevocably that when it came to the ‘day of the coup’, he had just a tiny handful of supporters left in caucus.  It was a sad and abrupt end to someone who started with so much promise and such stratospheric public support.

There will be endless debate about the wisdom of replacing him, the validity of the stated reasons for doing so, the way in which it was done, the role of the so-called ‘faceless men’ (whose faces we know all too well), and Julia Gillard’s role in all of this.  I for one believed her when beforehand she said repeatedly she was content in her deputy leader role and had no designs on the PM job.  Others will not believe that; the Four Corners program appeared to be designed to promote the view that she was part of the plot for perhaps as long as two weeks before the event.  I believed her when she said last night on Four Corners that her decision to challenge was made on the fateful night of June 23.  Others will see the look on her face as lying as she answered that question; I saw it as annoyance and irritation with yet another pushy interviewer.  She agreed to be on the show and then she copped another self-important interviewer who showed less respect for the nation’s leader than he ought.

On the question of whether Kevin Rudd should return, there are several issues.  Firstly, has his behaviour to colleagues changed sufficiently to allow his rehabilitation to the top job?  Many doubt it.  Many think his ego is too massive to allow a mea culpa and a permanent change.  If that were the case, Labor would be back to where it started in June 2010.  Next, would his return herald a jump in the polls for Labor?  Personally, despite all the opinion polls that rate him as preferred to Julia Gillard, I doubt if that would be borne out in reality.  Finally, a change back to a deposed leader within eighteen months would be seen as the actions of a desperate and dysfunctional government.  Since neither is the case, Labor would be best served but avoiding leadership discussion and instead getting on with its comprehensive and necessary reform agenda.

It needs to be recalled that after Kevin Rudd’s removal Julia Gillard’s popularity and Labor’s ratings rose sharply and remained buoyant until Laurie Oakes threw that nasty question at her at the end of her NPC address that alleged that she had broken a deal with Kevin Rudd on the evening of June 23 to give him until October to get back on track.   From the moment of that question onwards, her and Labor’s ratings slumped and have remained depressed ever since.  That question seemed to convince the electorate that she was one of the backroom plotters and that she had stabbed Rudd in the back.  Some suspect the Oakes question resulted from a leak from Rudd or one of his aggrieved staff.  It is frightening that just one question could derail a PM so badly that she nearly lost the ensuing election.  I wonder what Oakes and the leakers feel about it now.  And the question still remains – who is back-grounding the media still?   Is it coming from Rudd or the Rudd camp.  Wherever it is, it is destabilizing and in my view politically stupid and selfish as it plays straight into the Opposition’s hands.

In my view, what Labor supporters ought to do now is to get right behind the PM, even if they are Rudd people, stop back-grounding journalists, and put aside all leadership speculation, all desire for a change.  Labor’s fortunes can be restored so long as all Labor people pull together and focus on the massive job ahead.  Achievements are the only things that will impress; leadership talk from within Labor is not just useless, it is corrosive.

Ad astra reply

February 14. 2012 04:59 PM



Thank you for your hard work on your topic.  I followed the HIS and as someone above mentioned, Possum did a lot of work on it.  It is shameful in this day and age that the media can all misrepresent something so badly.

Off topic, I went into town today and lo and behold the NBN truck was sitting in the main street.  I dumped a lot of my shopping list and went in for a visit.  The small town we now live in will be getting fixed wireless early 2015.  Yiippeee.  And I couldn't believe the intelligent questions I was asking.  On the drive home I put it all down to The Political Swords topics on the NBN.  I have obviously absorbed much more on the NBN than I thought.  A huge thank you to all those who gave sensible and intelligent input on it.


February 14. 2012 04:59 PM


Hi Ad

Julie Bishop is now trending for her take the cake question to Kevin Rudd in QT today.

Bishop compares Rudd axing to Maldives coup, ABC
The Federal Opposition has compared the recent coup in the Maldives to the Labor caucus's decision to replace Kevin Rudd as prime minister.The former Maldives president was last week replaced by his deputy.
The Federal Opposition has compared the recent coup in the Maldives to the Labor caucus's decision to replace Kevin Rudd as prime minister.

TrendsAustraliaTrends Australia
Julie Bishop, @juliebishopmp is now trending in Australia http://trendsmap.com/au

BernardKeaneBernard Keane
Now waiting for Julie Bishop to make some wisecracks about the slaughter in Syria. #qt



February 14. 2012 08:09 PM


Paul: Thank you for mentioning the article from Possum, which was great.  In fact, I refer to it in the second part of the article.  Possum’s article was an excellent analysis of the CSIRO report.  What I attempted to do in this article was to use the all the latest information and refer it to the many misrepresentations by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt.  By the way I also refer in the second part to another early article by Professor Rodney Tiffen on March 26, 2010.

Tim Badrick:  There are links to all the statistics in the article.  These statistics come from the CSIRO and the Department  figures on the number of fires which, I understand, came from officlal fire brigade statistics.  As such, they will stand up to independent scrutiny.

Gravel:  Thank you for your comments.


February 14. 2012 08:29 PM


Hi Gravel

Lovely to see you back here again.I guess your move is completed by now and you are getting settled in.  I hope everything has sorted out ok for you.  Especially the TV, have you been able to watch ABC 24 when QT is on?

Funny you should say about how much we learn from TPS.  Some people I know went to Italy for 8 weeks, they take a reasonable interest in politics.  Anyway on their return they happened to ask me one question, so of I went babbling like a babbling brook.  When I came home I said to myself "I didn't know you had that much information in your head Lyn".  Then I said thankyou TPS.

See what we have learnt today from JohnL another whole host of information.  Abbott to Garrett Industrial Manslaughter really. Thankyou JohnL.



February 14. 2012 08:45 PM


I have linked this post to as many Facebook pages as I could, so I hope it provides some extra traffic.


February 14. 2012 09:13 PM


Hi Miglo

I told you before I love having friends in high places.

Who else has a posh cafe right next door.  You really are a great neighbor.  

Thankyou Miglo.



February 14. 2012 10:40 PM


Gravel said
The small town we now live in will be getting fixed wireless early 2015.  Yiippeee.  And I couldn't believe the intelligent questions I was asking. [ Smile TT ]  On the drive home I put it all down to The Political Swords topics on the NBN.

>And Tim the reason The Political Sword is such a great blog is down to Ad astra in the end, ably supported and encouraged by and in turn supporting and encouraging the rest of us both directly and by example, as in his big post at 4.56 PM, he goes on articulating my own thoughts so exactly I can't hardly believe it as they say. Today's post is almost uncanny to me in that I agree with virtually every point, even though obviously that doesn't apply to Nasking for example, not having a go Nas, just saying well if you want Kevin Rudd back you are obviously on a different page from Ad and me.

Tim you said,

I take it you have forwarded those stats on the homes per
insulation ratio to Peter Garrett's office Lyn.

I think you must be thinking of the stats supplied by JohnL, is that right? They certainly give the lie to the meme don't they! But while we have the Truth, They have the MSM including Our ABC, that is the real reason this blogsite exists after all, to do what we little people can to counter their poison.

But looking at OOman right now I know we have our work cut out.

JohnL have you access to the relative per capita death rate amongst insulation installers prior to the HIP scheme? I can understand that there would have been few, possibly too few to to draw significance from, but it would be interesting to know.  


February 14. 2012 11:45 PM


Perhaps this unprepossessing but true and simple limerick might help jog a memory somewhere . . .

Poor Kevin 0h-Seven was in Heaven
Thinking he would be Kevin Eleven
But he was so rude
His image got screwed
And squeezed into Kevin O'Lemon.

Bring Back Kevin! - And lose Government next day!

Best own goal since the Libs forced Slipper out!

No, better than that!!!

Best worst idea EVER!

What can you people - and by that I include Robert Manne on Q&A no less!!! - be thinking of?

Have you yet to take on board that whatever you think, Oakeshott Windsor and Wilkie won't wear it?! They've said so!

Just what is it that you don't get?


February 15. 2012 12:27 AM


Thank you for this well overdue analysis, though with Labor being the party of the workers (especially building trades) one did expect the roof insulation programme to have been better "constructed" especially as far as supervision and OSH is concerned in roof spaces where generally only licensed tradespeople move - electricians and plumbers.  However, as far as it went you have demonstrated that the totality of the programme was successful, I just believe it should have been more successful if there were less suits in the party and more blue singlets.  But this issue was prefaced by another seeking answers that were already known, the 2020 conference gave us a hint of what was to come.

At this Rudd concert one of the fora was National Security.  Of the 100 personalities of this one forum in Canberra, only one was a uniformed member of the armed forces?  Gus Houston, a helicopter pilot.  No Explosive Detection specialists, nor anyone from those in the explosives game in the armed forces.  So, given Gus Houston's limited knowledge, what were the other 99 doing there, and how did Rudd and his cohort expect anything useful to spew forth?  Perhaps they just didn't want to know anything difficult?

He telegraphed his management style methinks...


February 15. 2012 07:13 AM


Talk Turkey,  
No, I have not seen any figures relating to the death rate among insulation installers before the HIP.  


February 15. 2012 07:51 AM



Where there’s smoke, there’s usually…a journalist, James Higgins, The Politics Project
Because someone leaked something? Because Rudd and his supporters are readying for a challenge this week? Because a senior minister said something on the record? Or even off the record?

Morning Report – Tuesday, 14 February 2012, Dylan Caporn,  The Body Politic – Australia
The Labor Party’s leadership tensions have been given fresh life by allegations Julia Gillard and key factional supporters were preparing to challenge Kevin Rudd weeks before his eventual overthrow

The cost of living – if the facts aren’t sensational enough, just add a twist, Matt Cowgill, We Are All Dead
the report doesn’t say anything about the ‘painful side effects’ of the mining boom for Australian residents, because it isn’t designed to do so. This type of write-up was typical of many others

Policy contradictions ,   Gary Sauer-Thompson , Public Opinion
What he overlooks with Alcoa's situation caused by a high dollar and falling prices for aluminum is corporate welfare--the huge subsidies given to this multinational firm by state and federal government.

Carbon message lost in negativity: Neil Lawrence, Matthew Knott, The Power Index
Lawrence, who crafted the ad campaign that helped kill of Kevin Rudd's original mining tax, is profiled today as No.7 on The Power Index's list of spinners and advisers.

NO SOUP FOR YOU: Coalition tensions in Lyne cost two generous party donors dinner with Tony Abbott, Vex News
Many in the Liberal party believe that Lyne and for that matter the State electorate is fertile ground for Liberal candidacy but are very disappointed in Abbott, who has done brilliantly

Invaders, Miglo, Café Whispers
The small amount ethnographic evidence I have uncovered suggests that from Day 1 there was aggressive behaviour from the English (even before their so-called settlement of Australia).

A new low for Julie Bishop,The Conscience Vote
It doesn’t take a literary scholar to see the subtext there. Bishop explicitly drew a parallel between Rudd being ousted as Prime Minister and an armed, violent coup. She likened factional

Alcoa: seeing through the carbon tax doomsday predictions, Matthew Wright, The Drum
Abbott invoked this ill-informed view again on Wednesday when Alcoa suggested it may have to shut down its aluminium smelter at Point Henry in Geelong, which employs 600 people,

Cloud hangs over Rudd's clean coal vision, Michael Atkin, ABC
The institute, which is 99 per cent funded by Australian taxpayers, has spent $37 million on projects around the world - including almost $13 million on United States projects that are

4Corners, The Comeback Kid, and the Forces of Darkness and the Faceless Men  Miss Eagle
Forces of Darkness in the Opposition or an ill-informed, short memoried, unresearched media want to beat up the leadership change to their own advantage there is frequent mention of

Mining corporations’ control of Australian media to increase, as Gina Rinehart joins, Christina MacPherson, Antinuclear
Other mining billionaires may also join Rinehart’s bid to shape Australia’s media in her own image…….. the corporate rich’s control of the media is hardly limited to Rinehart. It is the rule,

Is Bank Bashing Justified? Of Course It Is, Ben Eltham, New Matilda
Australian banks have shown no compunction in using their influence in dubious ways. Remember the "cash for comment" scandal? This was the scandal involving prominent Sydney radio hosts John laws and Alan Jones,

Death isn’t an option: climate change activists aren’t waiting for deniers to die,  Crikey, Rooted
“Younger people don’t have any financial vested interest in climate change, and seeing older people denying it, annoys young people because they are putting profits and lifestyle


Tough day ends on high for Gillard, Lateline
Despite having to deal with more speculation about the way in which Kevin Rudd was deposed

  ABC: Blame game takes centre stage in parliament,

Kelvin Thomson MP: Sky News Morning Agenda 13/2/12
interview, Kelvin Thomson, Member of Parliament, Sky News

ABC: Gillard dodges questions on Rudd plot

February 14, 2012. Gillard responds to 4 corners.
Prime Minister responded to questions on Monday nights episode of 4 corners which detailed the circumstances surrounding her replacement of Kevin Rudd

Channel 7: PM polls slump amid new revelations

Manufacturing Jobs: Tony Abbott and Sophie Mirabella
, www.youtube.com/watch

February 14, 2012. Greens secure $165 million for dental care
Greens senator Richard Di Natale and MP Adam Bandt say they have secured $165 million dollars from the government  


February 15. 2012 08:06 AM



Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 15 February 2012

Gold Coast Bulletin http://twitpic.com/8jxxjy
Courier Mail http://twitpic.com/8jxx8f
Herald Sun - hit list http://twitpic.com/8jxx2z
West Australian http://twitpic.com/8jxwxi
Daily Tele http://twitpic.com/8jxwko
The Age http://twitpic.com/8jxw01
The Australian -  http://twitpic.com/8jxvx6
SMH - http://twitpic.com/8jxvl7
The Canberra Times http://twitpic.com/8jxv39


February 15. 2012 08:28 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

February 15. 2012 08:49 AM


Bad Abbott by association

Quoted on page 34 of Hansard from the House of Representatives of February 14, 2012.

Andrew Robb, Shadow minister for Finance: "On Friday I did my 76th boardroom since I got this job two years ago."

Now allowing for what he means by "did" a boardroom, and I have visions of fishnet stockings and bitemarks on the board table for some odd laterally associative 'reason', where exactly can we place the political sentiments and economic concerns of a shadow finance minister who sits in at 76 company board meetings in two years?

Why ask?



February 15. 2012 09:06 AM


Hi Ad and Everrybody

Bushfire Bill on why the Media want Rudd back:-

Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 8:04 am |comment 1603

Crikey! Fairfax is in full High Dudgeon mode this morning aren’t they?
Grattan has now set in concrete that Labor will lose the election
Coorey is accusing Gillard of (cough, cough) lying to Four Corners
Idiot Wright pere has some irrelevant tosh on the Maldives
Feeling miffed at missing the Rudd coup, indeed dismissing it just as it happened, the media have demanded a new coup. They want Rudd back so they can slag him off properly. That’s the Australian way
The big news today is who showed which poll numbers to whom and when, as if an adverse finding on this matter will retrospectively disqualify Gillard, and somehow wind the clock back to June 2010




February 15. 2012 09:56 AM


Your Links just get better day by day. They are the way I love to start my day, about 4 hours? after you start yours. Thanks on behalf of the Many.

Now from your Video link above: (I've only kept excerpts)

Check the Iggulden SPINNNNN

Tough day ends on high for Gillard

Print Email
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 14/02/2012

Reporter: Tom Iggulden

Despite having to deal with more speculation about the way in which Kevin Rudd was deposed, Prime Minister Julia Gillard gained headway towards her first legislative victory of the year.

EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: Despite renewed wobbles on the question of her leadership, Julia Gillard is tonight inching toward her first legislative victory for the year; 2.5 million private health insurance customers are to have their government rebates paired [sic TT Smile] back, helping the government return the budget to surplus.

The win looks to be secured after the Greens caved in on demand for an extra $1 billion for dental services, settling for a more modest scheme.

Political correspondent Tom Iggulden reports from Canberra.

(Other stuff, then  .  . . ) . . .

TOM IGGULDEN: The Opposition [i.e. Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader of the NOposition, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dear Dog Allbitey! TT] is taking full advantage of the latest Labor leadership upheaval, targeting questions to Kevin Rudd about the recent leadership coup in the Maldives in which the deputy leader deposed the sitting Prime Minister.

That is the way Iggulden chose to report this gross bit of illwill on Bishop's part when all it was was a hamfisted nasty attempt at a gotcha, abusing QT as a fulcrum, with human misery as its leverage.

JULIE BISHOP: There are reports that he was involved in coup preparations that began weeks earlier. Does the Foreign Minister agree that the new leader should tell the full truth about his involvement in the coup?

The NOposition thought it was HILARIOUS, HAW HAW HAW they went.

Kevin Rudd was seething, smacking the %itch very properly.

KEVIN RUDD, FOREIGN MINISTER: Those opposite seem to think that this is a trivial matter, when hundreds of people are being beaten in the streets.

Did Iggulden go in for an easy quart of blood?

He did not.

JULIE BISHOP: The Coalition is deeply focused on our foreign policy in the region.

Duck me fed!

I will return to a consideration of another part of Iggulden's slanted report later. Re the Tent Embassy should move on stuff.

Iggulden is no friend of the Left imo.


February 15. 2012 09:57 AM


Bad Abbott by association #2

This one got past me when it happened (January 17), but the thrust of the story illustrates what lies at the heart of Abbott's Coalition - 'strong over the weak'.


The story examines (although the radar's gone blank since) Ms Sophie Mirabella's control over the willed estate of the man she lived with for a (aided by him) productive early part of her political life.


February 15. 2012 10:25 AM


Hi Michael

Thankyou so much for your wonderful Bad Abbott report, and  the link to the Australian story, very interesting. Funny how the Mirabella story fades in for 1 minute and then fades out forever.

Go Michael, good on you.  Michael says:-
thrust of the story illustrates what lies at the heart of Abbott's Coalition - 'strong over the weak'

Min at Cafe Whispers did put this article up while I was on holidays,
you might be interested:

Lying scrags, female politicians and other whores, Min, Cafe Whispers

On one hand the media insists on conformity, and to standards set by the June Dally-Watkins School of Etiquette and Deportment combined with Elle magazine, and yet this same woman cannot be seen to be too attractive or run the risk of being accused of deviously using her sexuality. Additionally, it is not just one single set of stereotyping to which female politicians must conform, but all shades in between depending on the circumstances and the current theme which the media organisation chooses to promote.

Hi Michael I think  this link might go behind the paywall I will put it up for a test.

People have been reporting if anyone  googles  the heading from the Australian then the results go behind the paywall.  Wonder how long that loop hole will last.




February 15. 2012 10:37 AM

Ad astra reply

I enjoyed reading your comments this morning after having a night off enjoying a Valentine’s Day dinner followed by watching on TV an exciting rare tie in the ODI between India and Sri Lanka.

Thank you Lyn for your link to BB’s acerbic comments about the Fairfax beat-up about that always-enchanting-to-the-press Rudd ‘coup’.   Do read what BB has to say, couched in his inimitable words. blogs.crikey.com.au/.../#comment-1158357

This morning at least the ABC gave precedence to the imminent passage of the health insurance rebate legislation, but couldn’t resist reference to the Australia Day disturbance at The Lobby restaurant, and of course the new ‘revelation’ that Julia Gillard might have seen some internal polling about preferred leaders of the Labor Party before the coup, and might have discussed it with others.  The implication from this startling assertion is that she was involved in the coup long before her decision to challenge Rudd, which she says was not made until that fateful night, but which according to her detractors, using tortured logic, makes her a liar.  Richo, who in an article in the SMH assumes the mantle of political psychologist and human lie detector is reported as saying: ”Mr Richardson told radio station 3AW that while there was no evidence that Ms Gillard was lying - it was his view that she probably didn't agree to replace Mr Rudd until a day before the coup - she came across as dishonest. "It looked as though she was lying," he said.  Apparently that’s good enough for Richo and Fairfax. www.smh.com.au/.../...-gillard-20120214-1t2zo.html

It seems that there are still some in caucus who are stupid or malicious enough to background journalists, and Laurie Oakes seems still to be the go-to man.  So we have another round of intrigue, this time centered on internal polling.

No doubt this will be fodder for the Opposition in QT; I can see already Christopher Pyne florid with faux anger, and Julie Bishop’s claws at the ready.

Take a look at the media and see how much reference you can find to the health rebate legislation, one of the most significant reforms in health for years.  You won’t find it given much prominence; they are focused on what’s really important, what happened in June 2010.  The media is sickening; BB’s comments show how sickening they are.

I thought this comment by Bob Brown summed up the Four Corners program well: ”Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said he was disappointed with the Four Corners program because it did not contain any major revelations as flagged.

It was a "damp squib", he said, before making light of the revelation that Ms Gillard's staff were preparing a speech ahead of any possible move on Mr Rudd.

"I've checked with my office and there have been people scribbling in their preparations in case I get asked to take the prime ministership in the future," Senator Brown said.

"I've seen some doodling as well."

Senator Brown said it would be a lot of fun if one could see all the speeches being written in ministerial offices but the program didn't contain anything that changed his thinking about the stability of the Labor leadership.

"Surely we can get on with a bit of substantial business instead of being endlessly sidetracked by that sort of information."


If only the media would leave it at that.  But they won’t.  Leadership speculation is such good fun, readily fills column inches and radio and TV news, and has endless fascination for the indolent and the feckless, many of which are journalists.

A small ray of hope – this morning, Jon Faine on ABC 774 radio, sarcastically dismissed this media beat-up as a waste of the public’s and the nation’s time, focussing as it does on the trivial, the inconsequential, the titillating, instead of what’s important to us all.  His guest, Peter Mitchell, Channel Seven newsreader, agreed.

Ad astra reply

February 15. 2012 11:56 AM


Higgledy Piggledy, my fat hen,
She lays eggs for gentlemen;
Sometimes nine, and sometimes ten,
Higgledy Piggledy, my fat hen!

Iggulden Piggleden, my fat arse!
You're nothing but a sounding brass!
You make the ABC a farce!
Iggulden Piggleden, my fat arse!


February 15. 2012 01:54 PM

Ad astra reply

Another hour of mowing done in 30 degrees heat– two more to go, and the place will look good.  It takes about six hours all told.

I hear on the midday news that the bill to introduce a means test for the private health insurance rebate has successfully passed through the House of Representatives, and predictably Tony Abbott has said he would restore the rebate in Government – could he have taken any other stance?  His wealthy supporters will be pleased.  But his loss of $2.4 billion from his budget bottom line may cause him to pause.

So The Gillard Government has achieved another piece of vital legislation.

The details are:
Health rebate changes explained
People currently get a 30 per cent rebate on the money spent on private health insurance.
It is designed to encourage Australians to take up private health insurance.
Previously the rebate was available to all Australians irrespective of income.
Under the new scheme individuals earning $80,000 or less and families earning $160,000 or less will be eligible for the full rebate.
Individuals earning up to $95,000 and families earning up to $185,000 will be eligible for a 20 per cent rebate.
Individuals earning up to $125,000 and families earning up to $250,000 will be eligible for a 10 per cent rebate.
The means test will be indexed for inflation, with the cut-off rising to $83,000 and 166,000 in the 2012-2013 financial year.
It is expected to net the Government $2.4 billion in the first three years.”

The Opposition argued that people would flee from private health insurance and overburden the public system.  Past experience indicates this is unlikely.  Treasury modeling suggests that 27,000 may leave, but since in just the last quarter 50,000 joined, the net effect is likely to be a gain.

Ad astra reply

February 15. 2012 02:42 PM



Thanks for this summary of the available data. As someone else said, it needs to be pointed out and pointed out often.

And welcome to The Political Sword. Smile

I have only been following the political commentators and media more generally for about two years - since Joe Hockey introduced me to his novel accounting practices in May 2010 and the media failed to hold him to account for it. What has intrigued me of late is the almost complete absence of articles such as your contribution above. Although I am happy to acknowledge the presence of an agenda on the part of some media houses, it still doesn't explain why almost every reporter is reluctant to write anything that might be construed as being pro-Labor. I'm not suggesting that your article is pro-government but if it were published in The SMH or on The Drum you would be bombarded by a tidal wave of comments accusing you of being an apologist or of attempting to rewrite history when the commenter knows 'what really happened'. Perhaps it is through fear of this appellation (being a 'leftie') that reporters are not inclined to put their name to a bit of properly researched journalism that reflects on the government with a positive light.
They seem to be happy to pass on the positive findings of a report when it is released or to quote a government spokesperson or independent expert but when it comes to a bit of objective opinion based on facts, they shy away from offering any good news on this government. I wonder what social historians will make of this particular decade in terms of how our media is operating?

A bit more information about the deaths of three of the four workers:

Mitchell Sweeney
WORKERS laying government-subsidised ceiling insulation, including a young man who was electrocuted, used banned metal staples because it made the work go faster, a court heard yesterday.
Mitchell Sweeney, 22, died in February last year at a home in Millaa Millaa, far north Queensland. The accident occurred months after staples were banned on the order of environment minister Peter Garrett.
The court heard Titan directed staff to use plastic fasteners, but Mr Sweeney and co-workers ignored the advice, one saying, "we found it faster".


Matthew Fuller
QHI Installations Pty Ltd was fined after the company was charged with failing to conduct its business in a way that was electrically safe,
Christopher John McKay pleaded guilty to the  charge.  A guilty plea was also entered on behalf of the company.


Rueben Barnes
The first-year apprentice carpenter was working with two other men when he was electrocuted while using a steel pole to move the insulation into place.

It is worth noting that at the time of their deaths, the states were responsible for the enforcement of their own OHS standards. Even so, how do you maintain sufficient oversight such that you can prevent an employer from sending workers into 60 degree heat or using a steel pole in a 'live' ceiling or going out and buying their own staples, leaving the ones provided by the company unused?


February 15. 2012 03:58 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for adding the details of the deaths that occurred during HIP installations.  Do you have information about the lad who died from heat exhaustion?  This was not an electrical death, it was due to heat.

I’ve just witnessed the first hour of QT, another hour in which the Opposition wasted the time of our elected representatives on questions designed to embarrass, harass, annoy, and frustrate the PM.  There were no questions from them about policy issues.  Once again Tony Abbott started with the same Point Henry Alcoa question he asked on Monday and Tuesday, and got exactly the same response.  The delay in upgrading the alumina refinery at Wagerup, WA, was also attributed by the Opposition to the upcoming carbon tax, but the PM read out a statement from Alcoa to the contrary, stating it was due to its inability to obtain a satisfactory supply of natural gas. What’s the purpose of these disingenuous questions, based on patent falsehoods?  There must be one and it’s bound to be Machiavellian.

As anticipated, there were several red-faced questions from Christopher Pyne about the Fair Work Australia inquiry into the health union, and, on cue, Julie Bishop bared her claws as she struck out at the PM about today’s revelations about the Tent Embassy affair.  

Apart from Dorothy Dixers from the Government benches (why on earth can’t they make them less obviously so?), it was left to Rob Oakeshott from the cross benches to ask the one sensible question, about the duplication of the Pacific Highway.  

I do resent my tax monies being wasted on this childish circus, day after day.

What did emerge was that the passage of today’s health rebate legislation lifted the total to 266 for this Government, compared with 108 in the first year of the last Howard Government.  Yet the Opposition calls the Government incompetent, dysfunctional, and so conflicted that it is unable do its job.  How many more bills did the Opposition expect it to pass?  Nobody says.  If this minority parliament ‘experiment’ is a ‘failure’, as painted by Tony Abbott, how come so many bill have been enacted?

Regarding the health rebate bill, Treasury estimates that if the rebate were left in its current form, it would cost the budget an unsustainable $100 billion over the next 40 years. If Tony Abbott repeals it, where will he find the $100 billion?

Tanya Plibersek, who is one cool, competent lady, mocked Joe Hockey for insisting that hundreds of thousands would leave private health insurance, while the reality was that 800,000 had joined in the life of this Government.  

Finally, Wayne Swan talked about our $1.4 trillion budget.  Imagine that in the hands of Abbott/Hockey/Robb!

Ad astra reply

February 15. 2012 04:30 PM


Ad astra

I didn't include Marcus Wilson because JohnL had fairly comprehensively addressed that particular case. I can't find any evidence of the outcome of investigations but I am confident that the company employing Wilson was found guilty of OHS negligence.

IT was both Marcus Wilson's first day at work and his first day installing roof insulation.
Just after lunchtime he came out from the sweltering roof cavity and collapsed in the street from heat exhaustion, his phone in his hand as he tried to call for help.



February 15. 2012 04:47 PM


Hi Ad

Thankyou for your calm, measured and logical report on Question time today.  Tanya Plibersek sure is a calm performer.  See according to David Speers they are playing games on their mobile phones.

David_SpeersDavid Speers
Slipper rules MPs playing Solitaire in the House not in breach of the rules

Julie Bishop fairly flew at the box but Slipper didn't see her ignored her the PM shut down



February 15. 2012 05:19 PM


Norman K,
The three other cases you mention are included in the second part of my report.


February 15. 2012 05:20 PM

Patricia WA

Ad Astra - my apologies!   You were kind enough to keep your 'poisonous polls' thread open for me, and I didn't make my comment on it after all.  So I'll do that here now. I agree with almost everything you say, particularly about how serious a problem is '.....the obsession of political parties with poll results...' But I'd go further.

The nexus between party policies and polling can sometimes be useful.  But the connection between media reporting of polls and the angling of their commentary on poll results is where the poison is and does its dreadful deeds.  Even more toxic is that major polling organisations are generally owned by media interests who can decide where to focus their questionnaires  and how to angle their questions.  They can even make stategic choices about sample structures, demographic distribution and timing of calls. Newspoll for me is no longer a research tool, it has become a weapon for use by Newscorp to mould rather than examine popular opinion.  Which makes it a dangerous weapon in the hands of the employees of a right wing megalomaniac who owns two thirds of our main stream media.

I know that William Bowe and Peter Brent would argue with my paranoid p.o.v. but there you are, that's how I feel.  So thanks for the chance to air my opinion.

I was distracted from expressing it by the emotional response to Nasking's comments on the Four Corners program and criticism of the Prime Minister.  My knee jerk reaction to that was a mistake.  I was so pleased that Nasking's return meant that his health had improved, and for thatI was  very pleased to see him in print here again.  

So pleased I forgot that in the frequent and voluminous comments 'N posted with us, for all some of its brilliance, there was often dross and a patronising response to those who at times disagreed with him.  His declared loyalty to Kevin Rudd is commendable.  Commonsense, however,  or political nous should surely tell him, the Rudd camp and Rudd himself, that undermining the very party he hopes to lead is hardly a practical path to political power.   (If I were TT I'd be able to put in a 'pooh, pooh!' there somewhere!)

All that alliteration reminds me, JohnL!  Thank you for the compliment on the pomes, but the real poet around here is Talk Turkey.  His language reverberates rhythm and rhyme on all manner of things. Poetry pours out of him, while my verses are very laboured.  Quite literally so.  He is the mentor here.

PS is there a female version of Mentor?  Mentrix?  Mentress? - Brings to mind Temptress......Maitresse.......hardly.

Patricia WA

February 15. 2012 05:24 PM

Patricia WA

Sorry for the spelling mistake up there!  It should have been 'mold' but I guess that 'mould' isn't that far out.  The results often stink!

Patricia WA

February 15. 2012 05:44 PM


To my gleeful victory-wiggling delight, Swannie yet again mentioned the 3 Stooges, was required to withdraw of course, and then referred to first one Coalon of the Stooge triumvirate as Larry, had to withdraw again, and then another one, Abbort it must have been, as Moe, at which stage PooPoo (wasn't it?) did a POO and Slipper caused unbelieving hilarity when he ruled that Hon. Members would only refer to other Hon. Members by their seat or their title not their name!   - Which made it sound as if Moe really was Abbortt's name, the Government couldn't stop laughing.  But I laughed most of all at home.

Swan has made good and certain that he can call them the 3 Stooges for all time now, Dog don't dat cap fit 'em eh! It is making them smart, and I mean it is stinging them not making them clever! So, smart verb, not smart adjective! (It was an unconscious double entendre without the entendre iyswim.) They know it, no metaphor could be more apposite. Below the moron for clever. Always at stupefyingly stupid cross purposes. Not even funny.  

Abbortt didn't have much to say today. Mesma said more, nothing important at all, she should have died of shame yesterday anyway.

But the most important moment, don't know if you caught this, was when Peter Slipper quite peremptorily sat *J*U*L*I*A* down, to her apparent dismay, for failing to be relevant in answering the question - which was pretty fair actually. I was pretty surprised too I must say, it said very clearly that he was not to be gnored in his rulings, not by her, not anyone. And it would be a great thing to start a tradition of answering properly.

Slipper could be a pain in the Chair, but I must say I want Order restored after years of worsening abuses, always most stridently led by the NOposition of course but never so much as recently. And Slipper is plainly setting about doing something about it. Credit where due, his rulings are firm and knowledgable, and very much all his own.

Four 94a's for Them, one for Us. Enough for everybody to know he's not trifling with the House. It bloody will come to order, and it is doing so too. Well done so far your Mightiness.


February 15. 2012 06:10 PM

Patricia WA

Re Mo!  His name!   I saw that too, TT, and so did many MPs!   I think he intended the double-entendre, too!  There was a bit of spark in his eye as he said it!  

Slipper is really slippoing in the knife, isn't he?  What sweet revenger he's getting, money aside!   I think he's quite a performer.  If the saga of his achieving it were quite forgotten I don't think anyone would quarrel with the gravitas and sound sense he is bringing to the speakership.

Changing the subject,  do any of the Press Gallery watch Parliament and Question Time in particular? How can they continue to attack Julia Gillard as they do?  They should be full of admiration for her resilience and courage. If you think of how much shite has been thrown at the Prime Minister from every direction in the media and as well the pressure she is under from a dozen legitimate calls on her attention by her role, her performance in Parliament is stellar.  She is across detail and full of fight!  What a great PM we have there!

Patricia WA

February 15. 2012 06:14 PM


Hi Ad

The Political Sword has had another accolade from a neighboring blog, Niall Cook, The Bannerman.

Thankyou to Niall.

Polls, polls, and more bloody polls, Niall Cook, The Bannerman

There is an excellent piece on The Political Sword on polling in Australia, which goes into chapter & verse on the historical relevance of polling between elections. It’s well worth a read. The pertinent passage which conforms with my own belief being


Miglo posted John's article on facebook here are a couple of comments for John:

Michael Taylor
An excellent read over at The Political Sword. http://​www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/​2012/02/13/​Absurdities-abound-as-Abbott-wa​ges-a-crass-war.aspx

Chacabuco St
There were no more deaths nor heat exhaustion events as they are in any normal home insulation industry year of work. Dodgy contracts, over quotong, untrained immigrant workers and dodgy work practices abound. But you can't fight the Tea Party with facts. What you have to try and do is turn the dogs on each other.

Pam Pollock
CONTRACTORS employed people who got no training..and still theGov't got blamed

Tony Abbott will never be prime minister Any other project with such success rates would be applauded



February 15. 2012 06:33 PM


Norman K,

I meant to add that I googled  Marcus Wilson, Marcus Wilson death over a period of about six months (the googling – the references that came up went back to before the death) trying to find if there were any articles about his employer being charged and/or fined.   If anyone can find information that some action was taken on this, then I would be glad to hear it and amend tyhe record.  Thank you for raising the issue.


February 15. 2012 06:33 PM


Hi Patricia

I agree with you, Talk Turkey and I have told him before, is very talented  with a brilliant thoughtful brain. The words just flow and flow.  Seems to me the opportunity of having TPS has seen Talk Turkey excell.

Patricia I love to see you two brilliant minds compare your work.  You both enhance TPS bringing constant delight and entertainment.  

Thankyou Talk Turkey and Patricia, it's lovely to own you both.

Your Links just get better day by day. They are the way I love to start my day, about 4 hours? after you start yours. Thanks on behalf of the Many

Talk Turkey you support is such an inspiration to me I get such a kick out of our readers enjoying the links, you have written me some beautiful pomes. You should put the English Country Garden back up again for our new friend JohnL.

Patricia said:-
JohnL!  Thank you for the compliment on the pomes, but the real poet around here is Talk Turkey.  His language reverberates rhythm and rhyme on all manner of things. Poetry pours out of him, while my verses are very laboured.  Quite literally so.  He is the mentor here.



February 15. 2012 06:33 PM



Oops! Sorry about that.
I look forward to Part 2.


February 15. 2012 06:55 PM


And from every negative (loss of life due to disregard of WH&S practices) comes a positive.  Queensland is the first state to introduce new WH&S legislation based on a "National Model".  In short all WH&S legislation will be similar across the country inside the next year or so - another "failing" of a "dysfunctional and failed" Government Laughing.

There is a large theory change in the new legislation - the onus is now on "should have known", so the Insulation Installers "should have known" that sticking people in 60+ degree ceilings would cause harm.


February 15. 2012 07:57 PM

Tom of Melbourne


Office of the Treasurer

“New figures today confirmed the outstanding success of the Home Insulation Program” said the Treasurer today.

“Independent audit confirms-
•  The vast majority of houses didn’t burn down as a result of the installation of our insulation.
•  Of those that did burn, very few people actually died. Overwhelmingly people survived, a tribute to your Government and to the Aussie spirit!
•  Once we removed the insulation, there were few fires, and even fewer fatalities.
•  The program was often quite safe.”

Mr Swan added – “Mr Abbott has no plan to have a home insulation program, which is typical of his political negativity, it’s yet another issue he says NO to”
Yep, it’s a tribute to the government.

Tom of Melbourne

February 15. 2012 08:25 PM


Tom of Melbourne,
I cannot find this press release from the Office of the Treasurer.  Perhaps you can provide a link to it.  If, as I suspect, it is supposed to be irony (extremely heavy-handed), could you point to me any confirmed occasion where even one (not "very few") actually died from the 224 fires of which there were 30 with structural damage.  You see, irony to be effective needs some basis in facts.
If you just make up things, you should expect to be called out.  
In the Australian vernacular, how about you "Put up, or shut up".   I don't expect you to be able to put up.


February 15. 2012 08:40 PM


Patricia of WA:
I think you are too modest.  Yes, I enjoy the contributions of Talk Turkey, but perhaps there is a clue in  your own words "my verses are very laboured"  I would leave the "u" out of the last word and say, yes, they are pro-labour, in the sense of being pro working people.
My favourite Australian poem is Henry Lawson's Faces in the Street, particularly for the opening words:
"They lie, the men who tell us, for reasons of their own,
That want is here a stranger, and that misery's unknown."
The lie is still being told  today.
My next favourite is Lawson's "To my cultured critics".  I think you will see where I am coming from.


February 15. 2012 10:06 PM


Patricia WA said
Re Mo!  His name!   I saw that too, TT, and so did many MPs!   I think he intended the double-entendre, too!  There was a bit of spark in his eye as he said it!  

>It was the merriest moment, wasn't it! (For Labor MHRs anyway) And Yes I thought there was a twinkle in his eye, or perhaps that should be, perhaps 'e done a twinkle in their eyes! I wondered whether it was deliberate ~ If it was it was very very clever, it masquerades successfully as an inadvertent slip, ha ha, no ton impended until I wrote it but let it pass! I tend to think it was the clever option, and I have a lot of respect for the mind of someone who could do that. Really clever comes very rarely.[The camera caught it in close-up didn't it?  Must try to get see that bit again and get the wording exact.]

It wasn't just Moe, it legitimises Curley and Larry too. It's a bit like throwing verbal shoes and I love it. Good on Swan. I have always said here, that with humour and ridicule We will defeat Them.

In our guts we know they're nuts . . . The convoy of no consequence/incontinents - Albo understands the value of ridicule very well.

As this is our Sword, Ridicule is our Edge. The Right can't do humour, and they are sometimes not quite dim enough for our jibes not to get to them. They do understand The 3 Stooges, and they hate it!

Jason says the 3 Stooges in the flesh have got in touch with the NOpositin to threaten legal action against these blokes for impersonating them!  


Don't you worry about Tom!


Tom of Melbourne
Is so fraffly well-born
He never ever needed to develop a brain,
And in the way of trolls,
He glories in the polls,
And comes to TPS to try to cause us pain! (In vain!)

   I always say,

Have Fun Smile With Trolls

We just keep a few out of pity but they don't survive very well in this environment, we have to feed them ridicule because they don't do well on comradeship.

Looking forward to Part 2 johnL1.


February 15. 2012 10:15 PM

Ad astra reply

What is a ‘Heather Ewart’.  It is a metaphor that speaks of what is so distressingly wrong with the political media in this country.

On 7.30 tonight she spent the first minute telling us how Julia Gillard is bedeviled by incessant ‘leadership speculation’ that she will never be able to shake off, and then spent the next five minutes demonstrating why that is so – the media beat up of the speculation is unremitting.  She seemed unable, or maybe unwilling to see the cause and effect relationship between the persistence of the speculation and the media’s continual promulgation of it.

Let’s keep a watch for ‘Heather Ewarts’.

Thank you all for your enlightening comments.  Patricia WA, I find myself in agreement with your comments about opinion polls.

Regarding the insulation casualties, you will see more about them when I post Part 2 of JohnL’s piece.  It is titled: Abbott’s amazing amnesia on insulation inquiry.  I will post it tomorrow afternoon.


Ad astra reply

February 15. 2012 11:18 PM



This might explain the lack of information regarding Marcus Wilson's death.

Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications  
Legislation Committee
Additional Estimates 2010-2011, February 2011

Senator Troeth—There are two other victims: Mitchell Sweeney; and Marcus Wilson, who died of heat stress, although I understand that no charges have been laid against anyone in relation to his death.



February 15. 2012 11:26 PM

Patricia WA

As well, AA, every government person Ewart used in her piece was contradicting her argument.   It's as if she has made up her mind that leadership speculation is an issue and she will use even comments that rudely persistent journalists have elicited denying that this is so as her proof that it is a talking point.  

She even stated very firmly that failing an early challenge emerging,  Rudd is determined to challenge in several months time!  She finished on exactly that point with an air of triumph as if that was news!  A leadership challenge may not happen now. But a leadership challenge will happen.  So there!

"So the news I reported didn't happen!   But it will!  One day!"  I think that's what I heard on the ABC this evening.

What intrigues me is the level of malice in this woman, and others, like Michelle Grattan.  It drips from them.  Does anyone  understand it at all?

Patricia WA

February 16. 2012 02:23 AM



Here is a gem of a quote from The New Yorker 14 February 2012.

'When I was a young reporter, one of my mentors, the late Anthony Bambridge, a Fleet Street editor of the old school .. offered me some advice on how to produce arresting copy: treat the serious subjects trivially and the trivial subjects seriously.'

In this article about Rick Santorum, John Cassidy continues

This somewhat paradoxical approach to journalism, which for some reason I hadn’t picked up during my time at the Columbia J-School, remains a sound one. However, it does presume an ability to distinguish between what is serious and what is trivial, which is sometimes lacking. Take Rick Santorum: Is he a serious candidate, who is therefore ripe for mockery? Or is he a trivial character, ripe for building up?

Read more www.newyorker.com/.../...y-should-we-take-him.html


February 16. 2012 02:50 AM


Kevin 2012?

Has Kevin Rudd changed enough to justify a return to the Lodge, asks Norman Abjorensen. 15 February 2012

'What Kevin Rudd palpably failed to recognise was that his primary constituency, through whose confidence he held office, was his parliamentary caucus. A returned Rudd would be vindicated with no reason to change anything; indeed, he may well be worse because he will have been told that he is indispensable.'



February 16. 2012 08:10 AM



Spin and anger aside, facts you can bank on, Greg Jericho, The Drum
Look at the above graphs - the banks need your deposits, and they also need your loans. Yes the Government can do more to curb the oligopoly nature of he banking industry, but

The Great Unhinging II – totally batshit insane, Massivespray, Spray of the Day
more than one Opposition in this country…we have the Coalition Opposition, the News Ltd Opposition, the Fairfax Opposition, the 7 Opposition, the 9 Opposition, the 10 Opposition and the ABC Opposition.

Junk Political Theatre , Gary Sauer-Thompson, Public Opinion
Coalition claimed that the government was going to kill the aluminium industry with its carbon tax whilst the government claimed that the opposition didn’t care about manufacturing jobs

Racist statements by mining magnate Lang Hancock, and claims that he had Aboriginal children, Christina MacPherson, Antinuclear
He referred to part-Aboriginal people as “no-good half-castes” and said to deal with those who were unemployed he would “dope the water  www.heraldsun.com.au/.../story-fn7x8me2-1226271180226

Faceless Men and Lazy Journalism, The slightly Disgrntled Scientist
Journalists call them "faceless men" because most Australian voters were never really aware of their existence until this spill took place. But then, whose job is it to keep Australian voters informed?

Why the Liberals do not deserve your vote, in Tony Abbott’s words, Jeremy Sear, Pure Poison
Meanwhile, please remember that this is, according to their leader, the Liberals’ big issue. It’s “in their DNA”. Extra taxpayer money for the rich to maintain their privileges over everyone

Curing viral misinformation, Dave, Dave’s Archives
at least some of those who don’t particularly care about or believe climate science may nonetheless choose to use the generic tool for its treatment of other issues. (Hard core denialists of any stripe

Polls, polls, and more bloody polls, Niall Cook, The Bannerman
There is an excellent piece on The Political Sword on polling in Australia, which goes into chapter & verse on the historical relevance of polling between elections. It’s well worth a read. T

RBA Supports Ongoing Increase in Gross Government Debt , Stephen Koukoulas
If, as Abbott, Hockey, Robb and Joyce suggest, a Coalition government was to reduce gross debt, the flight of capital from the Australian bond market could be enough to derail the economy

Power in Australia belongs to no one,  Toby Ralph,  The Power Index
The pollsters who advise politicians are not actually powerful, they are the prism through which decision makers can find out what Peter and Peggy from Penrith fret about,

Private health insurance means test passes – what now?, Elizabeth Savage, The Conversation
Clearly the struggle to get the means testing of the rebate passed shows how difficult it is to remove what many people now see as an entitlement. Means testing reduces inequity in the health

Smelter closure good for Australia, Matthew Wright On Line Opinion
Bewilderingly, his climate change spokesman Greg Hunt repeated criticism of the carbon price again on Monday even though Alcoa has publicly and consistently distanced the

Tony Abbott sets three tests for new PM Julia Gillard, This Other Life
Factions alone couldn’t decide the leadership, Mr Bowen said.  Faction leaders can’t simply decide that they’re going to make a change,” he said.“They have to have the views of the caucus

It's Time - For The Unions To Quit Labor,Max Ogden,New Matilda
This provides a basis for union influence which no one can object to. For example, it gets rid of the constant media attacks that a handful of union bosses "stand over" the ALP to get what they want.

How to spot an astroturfer or an online fake, Sandi Keane, Independent Australia
A “troll” epitomizes all that is ugly on the internet: someone (generally hired) who posts inflammatory comments, often nothing to do with the topic, for the sole purpose of disrupting

It’s A Shame About Ray…., Wixxy, Café Whispers
where Ray lives was called Nelson. When Ray was a councillor in the Hills Shire Council, he pushed hard to have the suburb boundaries changed. Eventually Ray got his way, and his house left the

Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott: The Popularity Game Makes No Sense, Aussie Views News
A change in Prime minister without a general election has only occurred twice in Australia. Once was the Gillard Rudd change. The other was McMahon Gorton change in 1971.

Australia’s Economic Performance, Andrew Leigh
Those opposite continue to maintain their policy of economic vandalism. They oppose a carbon price and suggest again a policy of direct action, a policy that finds no support

Pastor Danny–still duping the Faithful, 1petermcc , 1petermcc's Blog
Pastor Danny Nalliah has decided to once again get involved with Aussie politics by forming a new political party that is against multiculturalism (and yes. He hails from Sri Lanka).

Kevin 2012,  Norman Abjorensen, Inside Story
The big question surrounding a possible Rudd return is whether Rudd Mk II would be any different from Rudd Mk I, and if so, how. The closest we have to any sort of precedent is that of Menzies, never one to reflect on his own shortcomings,

Dental scheme rorts in Government's sights, Saba Lane ABC
An investigation by the Federal Human Services Department has found 48 dentists wrongly claimed millions of dollars through the Commonwealth's Chronic Disease dental scheme


Abbott promises to repeal means test legislation, Lateline
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says he will repeal newly passed legislation that will see changes to the private health insurance rebate

Private health rebate changes met with caution, 7.30pm Report
legislation to means test the private health rebate has passed the Lower House by a single vote.

ABC: Slipper’s new parliamentary style
ceremony, Peter Slipper, Speaker of the House

Jamie Briggs MP: Sky News AM Agenda – Wednesday 15 February 2012

NSW: Uranium mining ban could be overturned

ABC: Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage
Julia Gillard, parliament, Prime Minister

ABC: Independent MP to support change to private health

February 15, 2012. Turnbull criticises set top box costs

Eric Abetz MP: Joint Doorstop with Senator Michael Ronaldson, Sky News,
Fair Work Australia, interview, Michael Ronaldson, press conference

February 15, 2012. Members' Doors - private health insurance bill
MPs discuss the private health insurance bill that will be voted on in Parliament today. In order of appearance: Petter Dutton LP, Christopher Pyne LP, Craig Emerson ALP, Adam Bandt

TEN: Rebate means-test, Christopher Pyne


February 16. 2012 08:20 AM

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

Ad astra reply

February 16. 2012 08:27 AM



Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 16 February 2012



February 16. 2012 09:06 AM


Abbott's normal modus operandi is to "promise" to repeal the "horrible" legislation that went through almost immediately and then backpedal a month or two later if anyone asks him about it again.

Watch & see.


February 16. 2012 09:10 AM


Re Lyn's second link today - the massivespray one - the author calls for gutsy responses by Labor politicians, in particular mentioning turning questions back on alleged journalists.
I only remember one turned-back-on-a-journo question in all my life, can’t remember what it was but wasn’t *J*U*L*I*A* that did it?

And it left the journo flobbergobbed. Anyone remember?

I long to see Labor politicians do some finger-in-air jabbing at these appalling hateful-agenda-driven furphy-mongers and REALLY bore it up ‘em. Dog Allbitey why not, in the meantime they just get more unhinged, Heather Ewart was the worst ever last night.

Am I the only one with fantasies of like waterboarding the likes of her and Anal Jones until they explain themselves and recant and repent, and then fit them with one of those head bracelets that the Buddha made Monkey wear, that would cause intense headaches if he did something dishonourable . . ? . . Oh how I wish . . .  

Unhinged is bloody right. Ewart was literally unbelievable.

The media and the NOposition are like a Cat-and-
Rat farm, you feed some of the rats to the cats, some of the cats to the rats, keep their fur for hats and mats. They feed on each other but really all they produce is scats. They're bloody bats. Sorry to our chiroptera, no offence, I know you're actually much more highly evolved than low-level simians like Abbortt.  


February 16. 2012 09:27 AM

Sir Ian Crisp

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ about the creeping insidiousness of “Heather Ewarts”. I purchased some new batteries for my “Hearther Ewart” detector and fired the beast up. I pointed the machine at The Political Sword and the needle registered in the ‘high alert’ area. I pointed the detector at “Putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword” and the detector started to smoke and emit fumes. I had to shut the detector down. I was lucky to get a printout before the forced shut down. The printout read: The Political Sword is littered with “Heather Ewarts”.

I just had a call from the repair shop and was told that my "Heather Ewart" detector could not be repaired. The repairer asked me how did I do so much damage to the machine. I told him I pointed it at The Political Sword and he gave me some sound advice. He told me that TPS is known to be riddled with "Heather Ewarts".

Sir Ian Crisp

February 16. 2012 09:54 AM


So Sir Ian talks about  "The"  today

The is featured 18 times
I am thinking THE means - The Ewart, no wait it means???

Well the has taken over "I" because "I" is only used 9 times that is half the times of "The"

Don't take up satire Sir Ian.

The heads
The creeping
The beast
The machine
The Political
The needle
The high
The detector
The verbal
The detector
The Detector
The forced
The print out
The Political
The repair
The repairer
The machine
The Political

Cheers SmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmile


February 16. 2012 10:00 AM



Re Limpy's post @ 9.27am (Limpy being another one of our few pet Trolls) -
- See? I told you the Right doesn't do humour!

Have Fun Smile With Trolls


February 16. 2012 10:00 AM

Ad astra reply

Patricia WA
You are right. No matter what evidence emerged contrary to Ewart’s insistence that there was a leadership challenge, she airily ignored all that and persisted with her predetermined view that a leadership challenge was inevitable sooner or later.

At long last Tony Abbott appeared on Jon Faine’s program on 774 Melbourne radio this morning and exposed his hollowness for all to see.  Asked about what he would do about the recent spate of job losses, he spent several minutes rabbiting on about the carbon tax, until Faine shut him up, as the carbon tax was irrelevant to these job losses.  When Faine insisted Abbott say what he would do, guess what, he repeated his mantra about stopping government waste, and when asked how much that would actually save, Abbott said he couldn’t say as that was for macroeconomists to work out, and when Faine insisted that the savings would be miniscule in its effect on employment, all Abbott could say was that he thought it would make a considerable difference.  

Finally asked about leadership speculation, his repeated his mantra about Julia Gillard being more concerned about her job than those losing theirs, and as a result her government was ‘paralyzed’ and unable govern.  The fact that Labor has passed more than double the number of pieces of legislation that Howard managed in his first term makes no difference to Abbott, he just persists with his deception.

It was easy to see why Abbott has avoided Faine for so long – he has nothing new to say.  All we heard was his old tired mantras.  He is a hollow man.

Ad astra reply

February 16. 2012 10:33 AM


Hi Ad

Bushfire Bill tells us this morning his thoughts on the 7.30pm report:

Bushfire Bill
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 9:04 am  Comment Number  2977

Bushfire says:-

If i was on twitter
I would suggest we all turn off our tv. Stop buying
Papers till they stop the rudderst,ation of the airwaves , and start giving the people facts about policy

7.30 has become a joke, and this new status is reflected in its ratings, which (as someone reported yesterday) have absolutely tanked at or below 700,000. You can only fool some of the viewers some of the time, and 7.30′s time is up. The number of viewers who switch off after the news is the telling figure. 35% of the ABC TV audience disappears after the weather.



February 16. 2012 10:39 AM

Ad astra reply

Patricia WA
I see that Barrie Cassidy, who is married to Heather Ewart, has the same view: “Julia Gillard will get no clear air until the leadership issue is resolved.”   He, with his wife and sundry other journalists, will make sure that this is so.  Jon Faine put forward the thesis that since most journalists missed the Rudd coup, they are determined not to miss this one, even if they have to bring it on themselves through their own collective efforts.

Sir Ian
Are you sure your Heather Ewart detector was pointing in the right direction? Were you perchance using it back to front and it was actually pointing at you?  Be careful not to ruin another one.

Ad astra reply

February 16. 2012 10:54 AM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
BB's comment about the media hype about 'Ruddstoration' is, as usual, spot on.  Thank you for alerting us to it.

Ad astra reply

February 16. 2012 11:16 AM


Ad astra

Abbortt's actually not hollow.

'Fact he's full of it!

But he's empty of anything decent.

So here's a poem many of us will remember "being taught" at high school. One of T.S.Eliot's signature poems. Just for a bit of light relief. Not!

The Hollow Men by T. S. Eliot
Mistah Kurtz -- he dead.

A penny for the Old Guy

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer --

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.


February 16. 2012 11:58 AM


Ad Astra at 10.15 last night
I watched Heather Ewart in an increasingly angry mood & put up a disjointed post at the Cafe. What angered me most was the lack of any remaining pretence, just an arrogant- Here we are on this little hill talking about this because it amuses us & it's easier than actually doing journalism & we're going to keep doing it for as long as we feel like it so there!

2353 at 9.06
Agreed. It's already an "aspirational" as evidenced by the rider "when we can"

Lyn at 10.33
Thanks as always for the links, especially the one to B.B. For a while I've seriously considered just ignoring 7.30. I'm drawn to it to see where the mainstream criticism will come from but it's so over the top now, you can sit back assured the criticism will be there & do more interesting things in the meantime.


February 16. 2012 12:15 PM


Hi Ad

Hi Ad regarding the media, here is a well said comment in the SMH:-

Media as sidetracked as Labor by leadership row, SMH


What purpose is served by all this salivating in the media about who did what, and when (''Gillard used polling to trigger coup'', February 15)?

Does this reflect in any way on the ability of a government to govern, on its ability to formulate and execute policies?

This kind of ''reporting'' reduces politics to nothing more than spectacle, which serves merely to encourage the antics of the schoolboys (and girls) in question time, not to mention those of the Leader of the Opposition. It tells us nothing about the abilities of politicians to lead and manage complex organisations

Does anyone imagine those who lead decision-making in the great corporations of our land are any more perfect than our politicians, that directors and executives don't behave irrationally from time to time? But we don't hear much in the media about that, which leaves directors and executives to get on (mostly) with running their companies.

Come on, you guys in the media, let our politicians get on with their job of managing things and give us reporting that enables us to judge whether or not governments are delivering as good a set of outcomes as circumstances allow - and whether oppositions contain enough wit to do better.

Ian Bowie Bowral



February 16. 2012 12:40 PM


Norman K:
Thank you for the reference to Liberal Senator Judith Troeth's comments at an additional estimates hearing in February 2011 where she said: "There are two other victims: Mitchell Sweeney; and Marcus Wilson, who died of heat stress, although I understand that no charges have been laid against anyone in relation to his death."
On August 30, 2011, the ABC News reported that Titan Insulations was fined $100,000 over the death of Mitchell Sweeney after the company pleaded guilty to
failing to conduct its business in a was that was electrically safe.  Magaistrate Paul Cluck ordered the company to pay the fine within two years and have no conviction recorded.  The magistrate said that while the company took steps to train its staff, there was a failure to ensure metal staples were not used. This is the third fine mentioned in the second part of my article.


February 16. 2012 01:08 PM


Being at the other end of Victoria now, I am fortunate to miss ABC 774 and Jon Faine.  Thanks for the update on him, he hasn't changed one bit.

Off to watch the grandkids dance.  Have been too busy to concentrate on politics lately.


Thanks for your great links, will read some when I get time.


February 16. 2012 02:37 PM


What we didn't see from Parliament on our screens yesterday (because the government pulled a swifty by asking a Supplementary Question and thereby using up the last minutes of Question Time) was yet another Motion to Suspend Standing Orders - #39.

Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin—Deputy Leader of
the Opposition) (15:12):  I move:
That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the member for Curtin from moving the following motion forthwith:
That the Prime Minister explain to the House and to the Australian people why she should continue to hold the office of Prime Minister, an office she has debased in the manner in which she came to it, in her handling of the Craig Thomson affair, in the contradictions that riddle her explanation of the role her staff played in the Australia Day riot and in her deception of the Australian people before the 2010 election over the introduction of the carbon tax, gambling reform, means testing the private health insurance rebate and operating an open and transparent government.

Page 54

Seconded by Kevin Andrews.

Mr ANDREWS (Menzies) (15:22):  I second the motion. Standing orders should be suspended here and now because there is a death stench hanging over the Prime Minister of this nation. The standing orders should be suspended here and now because we have a Prime Minister who is evading question after question when she ought to have the courage to come into this place and face up and answer questions which are in the public interest and about the good government of this nation.
Page 55/56

Anthony Albanese spoke to the motion on the government's behalf, with the following interesting highlight:

My attention is drawn to an op-ed piece by the now Leader of the Opposition, who had this to say in the Australian on 24 July 2009: "Opposition, by contrast, tends to be a permanent debating society because even the most final decisions can sometimes be revisited in office."
There you have their principle in writing—you know you cannot trust him unless it is in writing—'Don't worry about anything that is said.'

Page 57

The Motion was lost 71 to 68.


Are we pushing for #40 today?


February 16. 2012 03:43 PM


Christopher Pyne pushes a single to mid-off.
Coalition 0 - 40.
Labor 269 not out.


February 16. 2012 04:06 PM


Hi Ad

Here are some twitter comments on Question time today, you will notice Mr Pyne is not very popular.   Wilkie and Crook voted with the Coalition according to Misha Schubert:-

Kieran_GilbertKieran Gilbert
Albu Shultz berated Chris Pyne for some reason after Nationals MPs staged a dramatic walkout of solidarity after leader Truss booted out

40th censure motion. Four more and they moved more censures then Australia has had parliaments

mwyresMichael Wyres
I still stand by my statement that the Coalition never forgave the Australian people for not voting them into office

conceravotaConcera Vota
Obvious Libs are overwrought that all their attempts to force a spill in ALP have been unsuccessful.

I think all of Australia can see how full of crap this motion is #qt #auspol #5.1%unemployment

mishaschubertMisha Schubert
JoeHockey: we all know that something is going to happen to bring down the PM. It must be dealt with now.

MissBaileyWoof: FFS someone take Pyne to the doctor

SwearycatSweary Cat
is Chris Pyne auditioning for a role on Two & a half Men? The irrationality is uncanny... #qt

Pyne is really angry that PM Gillard won the last election beating Abbott or did he forget there was an election & we voted NOT FOR THEM #qt

BREAKING NEWS: "Paralysed" minority passes 280+ bills through parliament without fail. #qt #censure

Pyne flinging more shit than a chimp in a zoo #qt

farrm51Malcolm Farr
Pyne plagiarizes Oliver Cromwell. "In the name of God, go."
29 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply
»gordongrahamGordon Graham

Pyne is getting lost in his moment LOL #qt
29 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply
»crazyjane13Marian Dalton

Slipper tells Pyne to withdraw 'steeped in deceit' and 'malevolent'. Pyne actually rolls his eyes before withdrawing

BREAKING NEWS: Paralysed Opposition Government unable to pass suspension of standing orders. #

mishaschubertMisha Schubert
Wilkie and Crook voting with the Coalition. Windsor oakeshott and Bandt with Labor.

mikestuchberyMike Stuchbery
Pyne's like that kid who loses his mind when you don't give the kid he was scrapping with a detention. #QT

KarenMMiddletonKaren Middleton
Speaker rules Christopher Pyne's question out of order. He was asking PM if it's true she shopped around secret polling, pre-challenge.


February 16. 2012 04:42 PM


Peta Credlin
Got the Slipper for meddlin'!

(She interjected during QT and was told that if she did it again she would be banned from the Advisors' Box (?!) for the rest of the duration of Slipper's speakership.) Bwaaahhahahahhah!


February 16. 2012 04:59 PM

Ad astra reply

I have just posted Part 2 of JohnL's two part piece; this one is titled: Abbott's amazing amnesia on insulation inquiry: I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as Part 1. www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2012/02/16/Abbott’s-amazing-amnesia-on-insulation-inquiry.aspx

Ad astra reply

February 16. 2012 05:11 PM


Hi Ad

The Nationals spat the dummy when Warren Truss got thrown out of QT

bedfordkathyKathy Bedford
reports that Nationals are revolting in Canberra #qt Member for Gippsland joins us shottly @ABCDriveVIC

Nationals MPs stage walkout SMH
Speaker Peter Slipper, a former National who joined the Liberals and last year became an independent, ordered Mr Truss out of the chamber for an hour after he interjected during an answer by Prime Minister Julia Gillard

WALKOUT: Nationals storm out after leader ejected , News Com
ALL 11 National Party MPs today stormed out of the House of Representatives in protest against the ejection of party leader Warren Truss.

It was the most obvious sign of growing Opposition resentment towards Speaker Peter Slipper, a Liberal who turned independent to get the job with Labor backing.

“There are two laws in here,” said one walk-out MP in a comment aimed at Speaker Slipper.

The Nationals’ backbenchers walked out first and were and were soon followed by the party’s two remaining frontbenchers, Luke Hartsuyker and John Cobb.

Tensions between Mr Slipper and the Opposition rose further when he threatened to ban Mr Abbott's advisers, for the rest of his time in the office, from sitting in a special area on the floor of the House.

Mr Abbott’s staff in the adviser box included his chief of staff Peta Credlin.



February 16. 2012 05:13 PM


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That last wink doesn't lurk . . . I think . . .


February 16. 2012 05:30 PM

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Hi Lyn, TT
Many thanks for the tweets and the information that Peta Credlin, Tony Abbott’s chief of staff, was the interjector from the ‘Adviser’s Gallery’.  She is well steeped in Coalition disorderliness.

Again QT was a disgrace with the Coalition focussing again on Alcoa and the carbon tax, the Tent Embassy affair, and personal attacks on PM Gillard, with no acknowledgement of the good job figures.  This must be the most incompetent alternative government ever.  All they excel at is muck-raking, sloganeering and political opportunism.

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February 16. 2012 06:20 PM

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I have just posted Part 2 of JohnL's two part piece; this one is titled: Abbott's amazing amnesia on insulation inquiry: I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as Part 1. www.thepoliticalsword.com

This time the link will work.

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February 16. 2012 06:27 PM


Mal Farcolm needs a proof reader!

See something wrong here?

Mr Slipper had thrown out fellow Queenslander Mr Truss for an hour over interjections, despite a long-standing practice that party leaders are given greater latitude than other members.

Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne pointed out the practice to the Speaker, but Mr Slipper said he also had no obligation to ensure Standing Orders were obeyed.

Oh those pesky negatives!

Read more: www.news.com.au/.../story-e6frfkw9-1226272897917


February 17. 2012 08:30 AM


Good Morning Ad

I have just checked and Stephen Koukoulas's link is not working,

here it is again:




February 17. 2012 09:45 AM


Yesterday Lyn posted this:


Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 16 February 2012


Anybody who looks at that page will be struck by the headlines' almost total vapidity - puerility - triviality (the content isn't actually worthy of these splendid words to describe it!)

Yesterday only the SMH had a sensible front page. All others were crapulous.

Now wonder Lyn quoted Bushfire Bill saying the, it was on my mind this morning even before I read BB's identical thought, let's mount a campaign to discourage people from buying squashed tree newspapers at all, (I don't anyway), it will demonstrate our power and our condemnation of their modus operandi and it will free up timber that would be "rip-rip wood chipped, turned into paper, thrown in the bin, no news today."  

Lyn (whom I bet agrees too) quoted
Bushfire Bill
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 9:04 am  Comment Number  2977

If i was on twitter
I would suggest we all turn off our tv. Stop buying
Papers till they stop the rudderstoration of the airwaves , and start giving the people facts about policy


I make a specific exception of the Barrier Daily Truth, the feisty and independent-minded little paper bilong Broken Hill.  



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