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Abbott’s atrophy

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Monday, 26 March 2012 18:57 by Ad astra
Supporters of Tony Abbott will not enjoy this piece. They will likely read only part of it, and rejecting its proposition, will go elsewhere where writers say nice thinks about the man who wants to be the next leader of this nation, the man who insists he will be the ‘next elected Prime Minister’, the man who may succeed at the next election unless the electorate wakes up to his shallowness and the darkness of his nature.

This piece proposes that Tony Abbott is on the decline, and that this will accelerate.

Those who support him will point to his success in restoring the electoral fortunes of the Coalition to a position where it could easily win the next election if this position continued. This seems the basis for the continuing support he enjoys from his colleagues, support that might be found wanting if they judged him on anything other than the polls. Even there though, they are aware that despite the strong TPP position, Abbott is unpopular with the voters and unable to gain a sustainable lead over Julia Gillard in the PPM stakes. Take away the strong lead of the Coalition in the TPP stakes, and ask where would Abbott be.

Why use the term ‘atrophy’ to describe Abbott’s status? Its biological meaning is ‘a wasting away of the body or of an organ or part’. A generic meaning of the term is ‘degeneration, decline, or decrease, as from disuse’. It’s the latter meaning that applies here.

I am not referring to his thinning hair or his advancing gauntness, or his increasingly swaggering gait and raucous laugh. It is his degenerating behaviour, his decline in political stature that is the focus here. Of course, his ardent supporters will deny this is so, and take the view that those who see this are simply biased and deluded.

At the press conference after his surprise election to Coalition leader by one vote over Malcolm Turnbull, he said that if he succeeded in restoring the Coalition to power he would be considered a ‘genius’, but if he failed he would be seen as ‘road-kill’. Even then he realized what a challenge had been placed before him, and equally that he might not succeed.

What motivates this man to do what he does?

Writing in Crikey about Abbott’s remarks on the death of Margaret Whitlam in Abbott’s humour less than killer, but does he lack compassion?, David Ritter, academic, commentator and campaigner, says: “It is deeply disappointing…that opposition leader Tony Abbott saw fit to mark [Margaret] Whitlam’s death with a cheap shot on her husband’s political legacy. Tastelessly, he said: “There was a lot wrong with the Whitlam government but nevertheless, it was a very significant episode in our history and Margaret Whitlam was a very significant element in the political success of Gough Whitlam.”

Writing a pen picture in The Monthly, playwright Louis Nowra referred to Abbott’s time as a boxer during his Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford: “Whenever Abbott entered the ring he was, as he once said, ‘terrified’. ‘It’s one of those things you make yourself do’. In his first bout – against Cambridge in March 1982 – he knocked out his opponent within the opening minute, and his three other fights were equally successful. He had little technique but a brutal sense of attack, which he called ‘the whirling dervisher’.” Is fear the motivating influence in Abbott’s political life? Another anecdote from his boxing days is that he relished flattening his opponent to the canvass. Nothing seems to have changed. His brutal sense of attack remains. But is fear his bête noire, his Achilles heel?

Ten days after his election as Opposition Leader, writing on The Political Sword in The pugilistic politician I drew attention to this characteristic and predicted an ‘unremittingly ugly period’ ahead. That prediction was accurate.

To those who support Tony Abbott and his quest for Prime Ministership, I ask some pertinent questions.

Do you want a Prime Minister who seems incapable of showing sensitivity at times of death and bereavement, one who uses such occasions to make political points, no matter how inappropriately? He has form in this regard. Not long ago he refused parliamentary pairs to Simon Crean and Malcolm Turnbull that prevented them from attending the funeral of their friend, painter Margaret Olley. Remember his comments to asbestos campaigner Bernie Banton just prior to his death, his disparaging remarks about Kevin Rudd’s account of his father’s death, and his ‘shit happens’ remark in Afghanistan after the death of a soldier there? Any one remark in isolation might reasonably be overlooked as an unfortunate slip of the tongue, but his repeated insensitivities point to a flawed character, one that seems resistant to correction.

It was instructional to hear the comments on Q&A last week about this latest error of judgment. While there was universal condemnation of his remarks about the death of Mrs Whitlam, the judgement of one panel member was: ‘Tony can’t seem to help himself’, almost as if that excused him. A recurrent theme is: ‘That’s just Tony!’, or “We all know Tony!’, the Jesuit trained Tony who seems to rely on confession of sins, forgiveness and absolution to wipe his slate clean of misdemeanors. Louis Nowra concludes his cataloguing of Abbott’s insensitivities surrounding death: “As one observes Abbott’s various distasteful remarks about death, one can only wonder whether the Opposition Leader is again terrified, driven by some visceral internal fear. If so, he deserves compassion.” Nowra seems to let Abbott off the hook – after all it’s just the way Tony is – driven by ‘visceral fear’.

Referring to Abbott’s obligation to comment on Margaret Whitlam’s death, Andrew Elder said on Politically Homeless: “It's clear he doesn't want to do it but he can't get over himself enough to throw himself into the task. He manifestly doesn't care that people are mourning her loss, and cares even less about her patronage of the arts…Taking a swipe at Gough Whitlam and his government on the way through may have been minor, but it reveals a character fundamentally too weak to become Prime Minister.”

Is this the PM you Abbott supporters want? Driven by fear into insensitive outbursts, and when the occasion beckons, paroxysms of personal invective? Would this PM make you proud? Would he be different when he had the keys to The Lodge? Or would this entrenched behaviour continue? To borrow from Abbott’s own phraseology, he seems to be ‘an insensitive, nasty leader, getting worse’. Has Abbott’s decline become irreversible? Has his atrophy reached the point of no return?

That Abbott’s aggressive behaviour is a product of his ‘visceral fear’ is a plausible hypothesis. We know that, like most politicians, he desperately wants to win, and even more so hates to lose, especially to the woman who is now the PM, a position he believes she occupies illegitimately. He has never overcome the anger and frustration he felt when Julia Gillard won the negotiating battle with the Independents to form minority government, and since that day in September 2011 has used every device at his disposal to bring down her Government. His anger at losing an election is not new; it goes back to his student days at university when he kicked in a door after a narrow loss.

Every day in parliament anger seemingly propels him to the belligerence we see from him in Question Time, which he interrupts time and again with ‘motions to suspend standing and sessional orders’ in order to berate the PM and her Government in most vitriolic terms. On the last day of sitting last week, he moved his fiftieth of such motions, no doubt determined to reach his half-century, and perhaps ‘a ton’ before the next election. In this one, again about the carbon tax, he accused the PM of having a new form of clinical disorder – truth deficit disorder – and ended his tirade with yet another insensitive remark, this time about Julia Gillard and Anthony Albanese having targets on their foreheads, a remark that even he acknowledged was tactless, one he needed to withdraw.

According to Government calculations, by virtue of his motions to suspend standing orders, the House of Representatives has foregone twenty-seven hours of Question Time and the opportunity to ask well over two hundred questions, questions he and his Opposition could have asked about significant policy issues. Instead, Abbott has chosen to waste the time of the House with motions to suspend standing orders, none of which have ever succeeded, simply to castigate the PM and the Government, and of course to provide a grab for the evening TV news – his daily picfac. The carbon tax and the minerals tax have featured strongly as subjects, but recently he attacked our PM about what he described as ‘a reign of terror on the streets of Sydney’, a reference to the discovery by the AFP and local police of a cache of handguns that were being smuggled into the country. ‘You can’t stop the boats and you can’t stop the guns’ was his fevered catch-cry. He attacks anything, but it is the style of his attack that alarms.

Take a look at him when he launches his tirade. Look at his eyes, at his body language. Half close your eyes and you may see the pugilist exercising his boxing gloves, clad in red budgie-smugglers, eyes narrowed with fear, jumping out from the blue corner with arms flailing, rushing his opponent, only to find she has neatly stepped out of the ring, leaving him shouting ‘coward’! Note how venomously he uses his favourite words of derision: ‘This Prime Minister’. Note how he berates her, accuses her of being a liar, an incompetent, heading a directionless government, incapable of governing – leading ‘a bad government getting worse’. No matter what the subject, he goes through the same routine, mounts the same derogatory assault. Note how his attacks are steadily becoming more ferocious. Does his ranting remind you of an infamous figure from the thirties? Is it fear that motivates these persistent attacks? Fear that unless he continues his attacks, he will be seen as losing his mojo? Yet when you look at him as he addresses almost empty Government benches, glance over his shoulder at his front bench and his back-benchers. You will not see smiles of delight or smirks of satisfaction. All you will see is bland indifference, resignation to the requirement that they sit through Abbott’s rant until its inevitable conclusion, defeat at a division.

Do those of you who support the Coalition want this man as your PM? Would you be able to point to him with pride? Is he capable of elevating his behaviour, or are we stuck with his steadily degenerating conduct, his progressive atrophy?

If we look away for a moment from his personal behavior, and examine his performance on the policy front, the picture is no brighter. What are his policies? We know of one, his Rolls Royce PPL, which he is determined to push through despite resistance from some of his Coalition colleagues; presumably it is meant to burnish the dull, and at times misogynist image he portrays. We know of his expensive and likely ineffective Direct Action Plan to combat carbon pollution. But that is the end of the policy road. We know though what he opposes, with his now familiar no, no, no, no, and no. He opposes the ‘toxic’ carbon tax and the minerals tax that will ‘kill the goose that is laying the golden eggs’, taxes he has given a ‘blood oath’ to repeal. But how come he opposes a reduction in company tax, this the leader of a party that boasts that taxes will always be lower under a Coalition government? How come he opposes recently introduced policy designed to improve trucking safety, and thereby the safety of other road users?

His propensity to oppose seems to have reached malignant proportions, metastasizing to almost every policy. From his book Battlelines we learn that he follows Randolph Churchill’s dictum for oppositions: “Oppose everything, suggest nothing, and turf the government out”. His colleagues endorse the notion of opposition, but perhaps not to the extent he does, and at times despair at his opposition even to measures that embrace traditional Liberal principles.

Coalition politicians and many commentators subscribe to Randolph Churchill’s dictum, but is it right? Do oppositions have no responsibility for the governance? They are elected by the people and paid for by the taxpayer. Of course, they are entitled to oppose policy they believe is bad, and suggest amendments to what they see as faulty legislation, but have they no obligation to contribute to policy that is in the national interest? From Abbott’s actions, day after day, it seems he has no intention of contributing to the government of this nation until he gets into The Lodge. Until then, he is determined to oppose everything and make it as difficult as possible for the elected government to actually govern, something it has done in spite of him with remarkable success - over 300 pieces of legislation passed so far - to his enduring vexation and anger.

His opposition is getting worse. His behavior is deteriorating. His inadequacies are exposed. His anger is escalating. His fear is rising. The atrophy advances.

This piece proposes that Tony Abbott, the would-be next PM of this nation, is in a state of decline. He looks and sounds more desperate by the day. Fearing that his attacks are not blunting Julia Gillard’s governance, not diminishing her efficacy, not stopping her in her tracks, not preventing the passage of piece after piece of legislation, he sees no option other than to intensify his attacks. As he does, not only does his record of success decline even further, his behaviour deteriorates also, to the lamentable level he now displays. Every time his venom is displayed, he is diminished in the eyes of much of the public; every time he fails, the despair of his colleagues increases.

He lives on a knife-edge of popularity with Coalition members and supporters, who would cut him loose should the polls turn towards Labor. He must live in fear of this, as he has almost nothing to offer in policy innovation or excitement, nothing that would appeal to the electorate as an attractive alternative, no rational economic policy, no budget costings that add up. He has nothing to offer but unremitting negativity and the promise of wrecking virtually every policy advance the Gillard Government has made.

To boot, Abbott has an incompetent and dilatory frontbench that he is fearful of reshuffling lest he evoke an angry backlash. As Andrew Elder says in his discussion of Alistair Drysdale’s acerbic comments last week on a possible Coalition reshuffle: ”Had the media treated Abbott in the same way that they treat the Prime Minister, he would have been peppered at every one of his picfacs over the past week about these [Drysdale] comments, with commentary about how weak Abbott is within his party's organization…”

Only a largely sycophantic media that refuse to really challenge him and call him out enable Abbott to keep afloat, his head just above the water.

We are seeing the atrophy of Tony Abbott before our very eyes. Worse is still to come.

What do you think?

Comments (139) -

March 26. 2012 07:28 PM


Before any rational judgement can be made by the vast majority of casual electors, an independent and even-handed media needs to begin telling the truth and asking the "hard" questions. Until that happens they will only see the thirty second grab of the most sane of Tony Abbott's media scrums on TV and will vote in his favour. Why? because the other side of the coin is not being shown. 300 bills passed? Nah! This is the most ineffective Govt is Australia's history. I heard Tony say so!

I fear that the only thing which will save Australia is that Tony will have the heart attack his reddening, argumentative face and popping eyes indicate are remarkably close. The Libs could do the kind thing for him and remove him from the leadership. A broken door or two is a small price to pay for saving a human life.


March 26. 2012 08:12 PM

Patricia WA

AA, I'll come back to comment on Abbott's Atrophy later. I've had these lines running through my head through my head and wanted to share them.

Whatever the reasons for Anna Bligh
Losing this election, she didn’t cry,
Make excuses, come up with an alibi.
She graciously conceded and said,  “Goodbye.”

As  always, watching her, I was impressed.
This woman always gave her very best.
Her state, the country, all of us were blessed
For knowing her.   Now she deserves a rest.

Patricia WA

March 26. 2012 08:25 PM

Ad astra reply

You are right about the MSM.  

While the TPP score is in the Coalition’s favour, Abbott’s colleagues will tolerate him, but should they become much less favourable, they would ditch him in a minute.

Patricia WA
What a lovely tribute to Anna, well deserved.

Ad astra reply

March 26. 2012 09:02 PM


A very interesting piece and I think you're dead right.

On Sunday morning I cooked brekky for my elderly dad and as usual we watched Insiders on the TV. My dad is a rusted on Liberal who, in a previous life, used to deal with the unions as an executive in the manufacturing industry. Let me tell you he is no admirer of the ALP or their parliamentary leadership.

But the issue of Craig Thompson was discussed by Barrie Cassidy and his absence from parliament due to illness. His medical certificate wasn't accepted by the Opposition and this was discussed by the Insider's panel, followed by footage. Tony Abbott was seen to say "... this isn't about whether Craig Thompson is crook, but whether he is crooked".

In an instant my dad, a man contemptuous of the ALP, turned to me and said "...that was bloody disgraceful. This fellow is on the way out". When I asked why, he told me that he (Abbott) lacks the qualities of leadership - decency, sincerity, empathy and above all intelligence.

Whack. I couldn't believe it. Dad went on to predict that Turnbull would be PM within 12 months of a coalition government if Abbott won the next election.

He said no more and kept quiet for a while. He was upset. But I thought about his reaction and realised then that Abbott was finished. It's only a matter of time, and it has nothing to do with the opinion polls.

You're comments struck a chord with me. And I think my Dad would agree with you, even if he disagrees with your politics.


March 26. 2012 10:42 PM

Ad astra reply

Neil I
Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.

Your anecdote is germane, a brilliant and pointed example of the decline of Tony Abbott's behaviour, which even a stalwart Liberal supporter finds offensive.  Thank you for sharing it with us all.

Ad astra reply

March 26. 2012 11:02 PM


Bananaby Joyce is sounding more loopy as each day passes. I can't wait to see the transcript. Unfortunately, I imagine that Clive Palmer has sent the brothers out to destroy all copies of the Lateline video and transcript.


March 26. 2012 11:02 PM

Ad astra reply

If you missed Barnaby Joyce's performance on Lateline tonight, do replay it when it appears on ABC online tomorrow .  This is the man who is seeking a Lower House seat in order to become Deputy Prime Minister in an Abbott Government!!!   Imagine an Abbott/Joyce Government.  Caution: That image may be damaging for your health/sanity.

Ad astra reply

March 26. 2012 11:10 PM

Ad astra reply

We are on the same page - Barnaby was more loopy than usual tonight.  That is bad enough, but when he wants to be Deputy PM, rater than the court jester, that is dangerous.

Ad astra reply

March 26. 2012 11:17 PM

Ad astra reply

Did you notice our comments had identical timelines - your comment just pipped mine.  Did anyone else see Bizarre Barnaby tonight?

I predict that if Coalition members did, thay might move quickly to clip his wings before he does any more damage, and certainly to avoid an Abbott/Joyce leadership combination.

Ad astra reply

March 26. 2012 11:24 PM


My mate Seth seems to come up with an apposite thought that relates to our 'political angst'

Today's post: Speechless

Unhappiness compounds.

Unaddressed, it compounds into frustration.

And frustration is the soul killer, the destroyer of worker and customer relationships, loyalty and progress.

The solution is pretty simple: address the unhappiness. Change the system or talk about the problem or acknowledge it if that's all that can be done. None of this can happen, though, unless there's communication.

Most open door policies are window dressing. Most, "is everything okay with your dinner?" is rote. True communication, actual intention (and action) in digging deeper, is difficult work. If it doesn't feel like you're working at it, you're probably not doing it right.



March 26. 2012 11:48 PM


Ad Astra,

I'm honoured to be on the same page as you but apologies for elbowing you aside at 11.02pm.

My other thought as I watched the spectacle of Bananaby un-ravelling (yet again) was that he was sounding eerily like Bjelke-Joh.  This is doubly frightening when you recall how many times Joh was re-elected.  


March 26. 2012 11:50 PM


Abbott’s hard politics turning away women

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Video    Red Bluff

Brandis outs Abbott
Ash Ghebranious    Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery
In a rather off the cuff QANDA discussion in regards to tone of the political debate, George Brandis made a political statement.

Nine things to know about Campbell Newman
by Paul Barry     The Power Index
He's got big problems
Clive Palmer is the LNP's biggest backer, and that's a problem for any leader. The mining tycoon has given the LNP and its coalition partners close to $1 million a year for the last three years.


Green Cities: Self-reliant communities essential with climate change
by Lynne Blundell     The Fifth Estate
“Communities have to learn resilience – the ability to bounce back from major events. Climate change and the effects of extreme weather events are tilting on its head what we expect governments to be,” Bun said.
We also need to be looking at new ways of rebuilding community infrastructure after extreme events.


An ABC QandA Adventure In False Balance
by David Donovan     Independent Australia
Managing editor David Donovan completes the final part of his research into the ABC Q&A program by looking at the way it creates false debate on non-controversial issues, while stifling debate about matters that are truly important.

Not quite right
by Dave Gaukroger     Pure poison
The correction was on the left hand side of page two today, I suspect that it won’t have the same impact as the original headline. So much for “Don’t write crap”.

Is Australia living beyond its means?
by Ross Gittins
It has become fashionable to say the US is ''living beyond its means''. But can the same accusation be levelled at Australia? It was a claim we used to hear often when people worried about the big deficits we were running on the current account of the balance of payments.

EDITORS AT WAR: Daily Tele’s Whittaker and Sunday Tele’s Breen squabble over who gets what in merger mania
by Andrew Landeryou     Vexnews
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Huawei courts Julie Bishop, Andrew Robb
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China’s Huawei banned from NBN
by Geoffrey Barker & David Ramli     AFR
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March 26. 2012 11:55 PM


Thanks for your insight into Abbott-dynamics. I too am sure he is driven by fear, especially now that he has well shot his bolt as far as his negativity is concerned.

Talk about the boy who cried wolf! I think his predictable mantras are now falling on deaf ears with little impact. And he knows it. He also knows that his poor policy skills which are usually kept covert, are beginning to be quite overt as their relevance increases the closer we get to an election.

Also as I have said previously, his mob have been for 2+ years living in and enjoying a daze of excitement, euphoria and high expectation, stimulated by the adrenalin rush that Abbott's take-no-prisoners approach creates.

This has taken over the cognitive skills of even the moderates who didn't vote for him as leader......you know..... for them it has been a sense of "well even though I thought he was a fool and an unsuitable leader back in December 2009, and so I didn't vote for him, maybe I was wrong.... maybe he really can get my sorry little a*se back on to the government benches".

This adrenalin has in no small way been amplified by the huge amount of uncritical MSM suppport he has received, and the resultant 2PP poll indications.

In other words, the 43 or so moderates who didn't vote for him have had their brains, their ethics, their common sense, their sense of fair play, and their community minded sentiments ie the very purpose they entered politics, paralysed and put away in the back cupboard.

So deep and misleading is their adrenalin inspired euphoria that they have also failed to give weight to Abbott's long term poor personal polling which has for the long term has been in stark contrast to the 2PP figures.

But foolish blunders he has been making recently, including the forehead target gaff, the Mrs Whitlam comments, the PM's "deficit disorder" comment, and most of all his arbitrary statement that his unsustainable Parental Leave policy is his "signature" policy, in the face of total lack of endorsement from within or without the colonition are slowly lifting the haze from the moderates' adrenalin euphoria.

We have been told by a range of political commenters recently about the resultant disharmony in the party room. This is a good sign for the nation.

Some say that despite it all Abbott is not bereft of intellect. If this is so, the formalising today of Joyce's intent to be depitty dog, should exacerbate Abbott's fear.

Surely he can recognise that whilst in his mind, "Abbott for PM" might sound great, "Abbott for PM, and Barnaby for Deppity" sounds totally ridiculous.

As is my usual habit, I have already emailed Joyce tonight about his Lateline appearance and the "flat earth" rubbish he was spruiking.


March 27. 2012 12:25 AM

paul walter

We may well have survived Abbott conservatism, reaction and denialism, but for the self indulgent over reaction of Queensland bogans in the state election there; unfortunately some of the worst traits in the Australian psyche have reasserted themselves. Intolerance, denialism, petty greed and fear of "other" all played their part and these are the aspects that the sorcerer's apprentices, Abbott and Joyce, learned to play upon, from the old master.
Never, never, never overestimate the heart or brains of the average cobber.

paul walter

March 27. 2012 08:41 AM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your overnight comments and your links NormanK.  I'll respond later.

In the meantime, any of you who missed the Barnaby Joyce extravaganza on Lateline and perhaps wonder at the use of the word 'loopy' by Casablanca and me to describe his performance, may wish to judge that for yourself.  Here is the link for the video and the transcript.


Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 09:06 AM


This must be one of the best you have written Ad astra.  The paragraph below contains the reason for Abbott's fear.  The PM sits at the very core of his fear because he cannot cower her.  She is a mere woman, yet she stands strong against all he has been able to throw at her.  Now, he not only fears her but he hates her with a passion that is all consuming and will ultimately destroy him.

Take a look at him when he launches his tirade. Look at his eyes, at his body language. Half close your eyes and you may see the pugilist exercising his boxing gloves, clad in red budgie-smugglers, eyes narrowed with fear, jumping out from the blue corner with arms flailing, rushing his opponent, only to find she has neatly stepped out of the ring, leaving him shouting ‘coward’! Note how venomously he uses his favourite words of derision: ‘This Prime Minister’. Note how he berates her, accuses her of being a liar, an incompetent, heading a directionless government, incapable of governing – leading ‘a bad government getting worse’. No matter what the subject, he goes through the same routine, mounts the same derogatory assault. Note how his attacks are steadily becoming more ferocious. Does his ranting remind you of an infamous figure from the thirties? Is it fear that motivates these persistent attacks? Fear that unless he continues his attacks, he will be seen as losing his mojo? Yet when you look at him as he addresses almost empty Government benches, glance over his shoulder at his front bench and his back-benchers. You will not see smiles of delight or smirks of satisfaction. All you will see is bland indifference, resignation to the requirement that they sit through Abbott’s rant until its inevitable conclusion, defeat at a division.

Abbott's fear and hate of our PM is the reason his attacks are becoming more ferocious and, at the end of his 50th SSSO rant when he planted a target on her forehead is a sign of a mind in such turmoil that we should not be surprised at how far he might go in order to chalk up a win over this woman whom he wants so desperately to end up vanquished and grovelling at his feet.  The man is MAD.


March 27. 2012 09:10 AM


Absolutely brilliant piece Ad astra. One of yer best.
It's Tony Abbott writ large.

The man is in no way suitable to be a political leader...let alone Prime Minister of this great country.

The consistency of his abusive comments and actions demonstrating a lack of empathy and comprehension of events as you so aptly and vividly point out I believe makes him unsuitable.

The public know it. As does his party.

Yet they continue to support him...being the desperate, morally bankrupt individuals they ate these days.

This article should be spread far and wide across the blogging and media landscape. The public need to read this revealing and astute assessment of the leader of the Coalition.

An Abbott win is certainly a frightening prospect.

I believe you, JohnL and Mr. Denmore have posted exceptional articles this week.

The break obviously helped. Smile



March 27. 2012 09:37 AM


Yes Ad,
I watched that disgraceful performance by Barnaby Joyce last night on Lateline...the man is a boor...his approach was disrespectful and aggressive on a number of occasions...I

I do believe that host Emma Alberici was somewhat intimidated by the end of the interview.

Imagine an Abbott & Joyce government. This is potentially Dark Ages stuff.

ALP lost Qld on the carbon tax: Joyce


The constant aggressive use of "Emma" brought to mind a man boorishly lecturing and having a go at his daughter.

It did not sit well with me. Alberici deserves more respect than that.

Some on the Right are far too cocky and brutish these days...and far too libertarian...influenced by Murdoch, Alan Jones, One Nation, the Institute of Public Affairs:


and Tea Party-like politics.



March 27. 2012 09:56 AM


So Clive Palmer admits he was leading the media down the garden path in the last week of the Queensland election campaign?

Perhaps that explains why Tiny Abbott didn't seem so fazed by the big man's loony-tunes references to local politics and the CIA - he'd been wised up that it was a game to distract 'negative' media attention from Cameron Newman.

If this is so, then will this be a tactic used again by the likes of Palmer at the Federal election?

After all, as we saw with the Rudd 'challenge', the political media in this country are desperate not to miss a scoop.

A bogus scoop laid out for them such as Palmer is now claiming he had so little trouble making go far and wide would be just the way to divert attention from precisely the atrophy Ad Astra has identified in Abbott during the heat of electioneering.

I wonder also why the word "liar", so popular in other media stories, is not being applied to Porky Pie Palmer?


March 27. 2012 10:53 AM

Patricia WA

Barnaby barmy, Ad Astra?  Come on, that's not fair!

Barnaby barmy?   That’s unfair!
To suggest that he is not all there!
Barnaby is not irrational
He is the very best of Nationals.

The Coalition resurrection
Owes so much to his selection
To lead his party in the Senate
And explain their every tenet.

The media love our Barnaby
Cos he’s the man who’s gunnabe
Deputy PM soon for sure.
What reporter could ask for more?

One day there could be a story
By-lines,  journalistic glory,
Headlines and acclamation
When Barnaby stands in to lead our nation!

Patricia WA

March 27. 2012 11:00 AM


As I wrote over @ Cafe whispers:

I reckon 7:30, Q&A and Insiders have really damaged both Rudd’s and Gillard’s governments.

There needed to be a fair..and yes balanced…appraisal and reporting of facts over the years…when it comes to government policy and performance....

partially to offset News Ltd and their propaganda machine…and shock jock allies…not to mention channels Nine & Ten (who this government by way of Stephen Conroy's department keep subsidising).

It didn’t happen.

These ABC shows kept sticking the boot in and loving it going by the mocking grins and jokes (ABC BREAKFAST hosts kept taking the piss out of the QLD Labor numbers this morn)

Sack the Fairfax man behind the scenes…Mark Scott.

Scott worked for NSW Liberal Nick Greiner's government.

And Peter McEvoy behind the Q&A show who screwed over the YOUR SAY question people.


In May 2011, for example, with the assistance of e-democracy platform OurSay, Q&A producer Peter McEvoy Q&A decided to allow the democratic selection of a question for the panel. Freelance journalist and OurSay volunteer Gary Newman explained the situation in Crikey:

‘McEvoy decided to let the public democratically select a question by popular vote, via the e-democracy platform developed by democratic media organisation OurSay. Ordinary citizens were invited to post questions on OurSay’s website and the public voted via the website for which question they liked the most, using Facebook and Twitter to inspire others to follow suit.’

The question chosen to be read out, however – a rather banal one about education – turned out to not be the question that had received the most votes on OurSay.

Newman explains that the question selected

‘… was not the question that had received the most votes but was in fact chosen by McEvoy, Q&A’s very own “invisible despot” in the control room above the audience, albeit from the “top five” questions as voted by the public via OurSay. When it came to the crunch, McEvoy couldn’t bring himself to entrust the people with power over the agenda.  He chose the question he thought was the most relevant and entertaining.
‘The winning question from Leigh Ewbank read: “The government is investing $40 billion in the National Broadband Network and up to $50 billion for a new submarine fleet. Given that dealing with climate change is a priority for the Gillard government and the Australian public, why won’t it invest a similar amount in a nation-building renewable energy project with the scale and vision of a Snowy Mountains Scheme for the 21st century?”’

It seems that McEvoy had only agreed only to use one of the top questions, despite the top question being the most popular on OurSay by a margin of 50%.

Newman explains Our Say’s disappointment at the decision and the Q&A team’s interesting response:
‘… OurSay made numerous requests to McEvoy’s team that the top question be used, but these were ignored.

‘After the show, when I put to Tony Jones that this whole exercise demonstrated Q&A was in fact a dictatorship, McEvoy was present and acknowledged with a laugh that this was indeed the case. And therein lies the reality check: Q&A is in fact not democratic media. It is nothing more than an adventure in autocracy, cleverly repackaged to make us feel as though we are controlling the news agenda.’

Why did McEvoy not want a debate about renewable energy? McEvoy however, about a month later, was happy to allow 27-year-old James Brechney to ask Labor’s Peter Garrett the following question, which cast doubt on the science of climate change:

“I’m not a climate scientist, but climate change is still disputed by experts. Why are we teaching it in schools as a scientific fact? Shouldn’t we be following the UK’s lead and bringing science back to basics in the classroom?”

Brechney later interjected in the debate to say that climate change was “just a theory, like gravity”, describing himself as an “evangelical revolutionary”.
Libs and libertarians if you ask me...



March 27. 2012 11:11 AM


Perhaps the ALP and msm should be pointing out the “faceless” and not so faceless men and women behind the Liberals and Nats?

Tim Wilson from free-market, libertarian promoting Institute of Public Affairs usually owns up to things funding-wise…but the funding should definitely be scrutinised further…and made clear to the public by The Drum, Q&A, Agenda hosts etc…

Now the QLD election is over the FOCUS wil go on the ABBOTT OPPOSITION big time.

Here comes the flood.

The Institute of Public Affairs shows up in his piece:




March 27. 2012 11:12 AM


Patricia WA

Spot on: another feisty pome. That last para scares me - hopefully many on his own side of politics will also be scared.

Both Abbort and Bananaby are unstable characters.


March 27. 2012 11:43 AM


In an instant my dad, a man contemptuous of the ALP, turned to me and said "...that was bloody disgraceful. This fellow is on the way out". When I asked why, he told me that he (Abbott) lacks the qualities of leadership - decency, sincerity, empathy and above all intelligence.

Whack. I couldn't believe it. Dad went on to predict that Turnbull would be PM within 12 months of a coalition government if Abbott won the next election.

My father-in-law is a swing voter but usually votes National party. He feels the same  way about Abbott.
Has no time for him.



March 27. 2012 11:45 AM


Joyces' aggression to Ms Alberici last night was quite ignorant and all over the place. He seemed to be not in control of his faculties. Fruit of the vine?????

Whatever, he showed what a huge embarrassment he would be as a deppity PM, not to mention how dangerous for the nation any of his flat earth decisions would be if he had opportunity to make them.

The class and competence of the alternate cabinet is a farce.


March 27. 2012 11:48 AM

Ad astra reply

Thank you all for your contributions to this important debate about the man who could be inflicted on the Australian nation unless his unsuitability for high office, and the danger he would be to our nation if he became PM, is exposed over and again.  

I will now respond to your comments seriatim.

Seth Godin’s ‘unhappiness compounds’ is profoundly true.  Tony Abbott knows this.  He knows that if he spreads fear, uncertainty, distrust, anger, despair and loathing, unhappiness will result and compound.  We have seen the anger, alienation, distrust and fear that his three word slogans have created and perpetuated as he repeats them again and again, like a catechism until to many they feel like received wisdom, to be repeated mindlessly, spreading the unhappiness contagion far and wide.  It is evil, but sadly that is the Abbott brand.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 11:54 AM

Ad astra reply

Your comparison of Tony Abbott’s style with that of Joh Bjelke-Petersen is apt.  When will we hear Abbott say: “Now don’t you worry about that”.

Abbott has learned from JBP – keep it simple, have just three points you want to make no matter what the subject of the interview might be, and it doesn’t have to be true.  It worked for Joh, and it’s working so far for the man who wants to be our ‘next elected PM’.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 11:56 AM


Ad Astra, I enjoyed this excellent post.   I was interested in your quote from Abbott’s book "Battlelines" quoting Randolph Churchill’s dictum “Oppose everything, suggest nothing and turf the government out”.  It seems that Abbott could not even get that right.
I was intrigued whether the Randolph Churchill was Sir Winston’s son, who was a Conservative member of Parliament from 1940 to 1945, or Winston’s father, Lord Randolph, who was elected to Parliament in 1874 and as far as I can determine was still a member when he died in1895.  So I decided to find out.
In the course of that research I came across an article by Geoff Gallop (former West Australian Premier) on smh.com.au on November 1 2011 attributing this to Edward Stanley, later the 14th Earl of Derby, speaking in the House of Commons on June 4, 1841.  Stanley said the duty of an Opposition was very simple – “to oppose everything and propose nothing”.
I mention this not to be pedantic, but to lead in to a statement I found by Brendan Nelson in Peter Van Onselen’s Liberals and Power: The Road Ahead. This statement is:
“In the process of building an inspiring and attractive alternative government, Liberals will not follow in Lord Derby's oft-quoted advice, given in 1841, that 'the duty of an Opposition is to oppose everything, and propose nothing'. The British Tories did not win a parliamentary majority for the next thirty-three years, and if the Liberals adopted such a strategy, we too could be in the political wilderness for a long time. As Menzies once put it:
'The duty of an Opposition, if it has no ambition to be permanently on the left-hand side of the Speaker, is not to Oppose for Opposition's sake, but to oppose selectively. No Government is always wrong on everything, whatever the critics may say. The Opposition must choose the grounds on which to attack. To attack indiscriminately is to risk public opinion, which has a reserve of fairness not always understood'.
Indeed, simply opposing the government may create headlines, but to win an election you need to present an alternative.”
I like the fact that two former leaders of the Liberal Party, the founder Sir Robert Menzies and Brendan Nelson, oppose Abbott’s position on the role of an Opposition.  Even better, though, is that the advice from Menzies is the need to present an alternative to win an election.


March 27. 2012 11:57 AM


Thnx for the links Norman.

From the Canberra Times article:

But Mr Abbott doubted a Labor opposition would ''commit suicide twice'' by supporting the tax in the Senate.

''If I'm wrong, if an incoming Coalition government can't get its carbon tax repeal legislation through the Senate, well, we will not hesitate to go to a double dissolution,'' he told Sky News.


Cocky little bugger isn't he?

A fearful man acting like a boxer before the fight...boasting and making over-the-top claims...the media sycophants lap it up...crowding around him like lapdogs and paparazzi...

the raging bullsh*tter is at it again.

The weathervanes above him start spinning madly.


March 27. 2012 11:58 AM

Catching up

Maybe Mr. Fraser has a point.  

Malcolm Fraser laments the state of Australian politics and the systemic apathy of voters.


Catching up

March 27. 2012 11:58 AM


Patricia WA. I loved your poem on Anna Bligh


March 27. 2012 12:07 PM

Ad astra reply

Thanks again for your informative set of links.  So far I’ve looked at the first, the Insiders clip ‘Abbott’s hard policies turning away women’, in which I was surprised to hear Chris Kenny joining Laura Tingle and Dennis Atkins in criticizing Abbott’s behaviour.  Maybe the media is slowly awakening to the disaster this man would be as PM.

But as Dave Gaukroger shows in his piece about the NBN story in The Oz, the MSM has a long way to go to reach balanced reporting and commentary.

I’ll catch up with the rest of your links later.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 12:10 PM


Joyce's' aggression to Ms Alberici last night was quite ignorant and all over the place. He seemed to be not in control of his faculties. Fruit of the vine?????

I thought the same. Like Abbott he's driven by both fear and anger...

And is highly unpredictable.

He certainly didn't look a picture of health last night.

And both he and Abbott are hiding something big...I'm sure of it...involved with some plans and people I reckon would annoy, scare off and disappoint many voters.

The mega-rich miners only part of it.

In May 2006 Joyce promoted mining of Antarctica (mining is banned under the Antarctic Treaty). Joyce justified his proposal by saying:

There's minerals there, there's gold, there's iron ore, there's coal, there's huge fish resources and what you have to ask is: 'Do I turn my head and allow another country to exploit my resource ... or do I position myself in such a way as I'm going to exploit it myself before they get there'.




March 27. 2012 12:17 PM


This from 2003:

Mining association outlines IR agenda
28 January 2003
Five-year enterprise agreement terms and an extension of time for lodging unfair dismissal claims will be on the agenda today when federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott meets with the CEO of the Australian Mines and Metals Association...

Knott said in today's meeting with Abbott he would propose that parties who chose to do so should be allowed to extend the terms of enterprise agreements from three years to five, thus saving themselves months - sometimes up to a year - of negotiations for what were often just salary maintenance adjustments.




March 27. 2012 12:20 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your thoughtful assessment of Tony Abbott’s colleagues who have tolerated, and even at times applauded his approach because has placed the Coalition is a strong position in the polls.  

I agree that this will be unlikely to continue and that is Abbott’s fear.  Being bereft of plausible policy (and I don’t include his PPL and ‘nanny’ schemes in that category), Abbott is likely to redouble his negativity and intensify his attack-dog behaviour.  More ugliness is on the way!

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 12:22 PM


Barnaby Joyce, Bananaby Joyce!
Dog Albitey Shut Dat Voice!

It was painful to watch that this morning Ad astra, of course you know I am not going to argue with a single syllable of Abbortt's Atrophy, sorry to correct your spelling though!

Though gee it's a shame we need to spend our days fighting this good fight, we can't not, but eating bulbs and yabbies like the Old People, or meeting over lunch in a place built by the people for the people and still owned by the people instead of greedsters would be a better way to spend time and effort, still that's what we're stuck with, no-one really individually to blame but boy can't one despise the aiders and abbettors of that creed of Greed.

Yet Abbortt is Labor's greatest asset, it isn't a matter of doing him slowly, it is a matter of getting the hard yards done against all opposition [nearly all Done now!], and now, forcing him into the open after the Budget, making it impossible for any half-way decent journalist NOT to get stuck into him and his Joyces like so . . .

WHAT are you going to do? EXACTLY!?

HOW are you going to pay for it? EXACTLY!

WILL YOU REALLY repeal the price on carbon pollution?



HOW will you really Stop the Boats? Exactly?


Will you really repeal the MRRT?

Will you continue to allow billionaires to play fast and loose with the People's beliefs?

WHOSE jobs, WHICH Public services you slimy bastard,

We won't let you slither away any more,


All this takes the fullness of time, but *J*U*L*I*A*s timing must be perfect, and it is so far. Glitches and ditches and Bob Brown's Bitches notwithstanding, all btw more than compensated now by Peter Slipper's defection Smile (or anyway equilibrated), she is right on target as far as I am concerned. I give my Eye of Time full marks. (Ad astra's too btw.) Please get that, Worried Comrades. Just be staunch, and talk our fight up every time. "You know it makes sense!"  

Queensland is sad but it had to happen, though vastly distorted by Media and Money. The LNP will waste no time carving up the pork for themselves, pigs are like that with pork. Straight into the trough, you watch, they been waiting with their eating irons ready.  

But it is a sacrificial piggy too, its so-great loss will make it a centre for political warfare now, no holds barred, and the net result will be a raising of political consciousness there and everywhere, game ours then. Consciousness is fatal to ignorance.
[BTW - The people of Queensland will not take kindly to the clear understanding that that is what has happened, (or anyway what Palmhair is now claiming), that they have been hoodwinked by hoodlums, not a bad phrase at that.]

But the timing must be perfect, because there needs to be time left to destroy his successor. Now his successor can't be to his Right, nor could be even as Right as Abbortt, ergo, it must be someone to his , er, "Left", and who is there, well heh heh, not necessarily as obvious an answer as you might think because there's always a chance of surprise, but you'd have to think yes Turdball. Who has done a lot of self-buggery in his time, and now he is known for his incontinence, oh nice image Turkey. Pooey puns too. Well Turdy deserves them any way. If he were a cleanskin the Liberals would abort Abbortt today, and the Coalition could win with him, but he isn't, he is Soiled Goods, soiled by Goddy Gretch my favourite goblin, and in an impossible hole with the NBN and he knows it. So maybe we ought to look behind Turdy, is there anyone? I doubr it . . . No-one with any profile anyway.

It leaves the possibility that Abbortt stay the distance, simply because there is no-one at all with any abilty to formulate policy and pull together the halves of the Abbortt-widened opinion gap in Coalon ranks - a very serious problem for them now. Abbortt remaining I think is our best chance, that's why I think he'll be gone by September-November, because many in his Mob think so too, he is a loser from now on, his strategy, such as it was, has already failed, 300 Bills Yeah. All he's got left is NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!, a cry which will serve him well when they chuck him out - be that before or after the 2013 Election.

We are on a half-time break now, this is the time to plan. Plan to seize the time, every time, lean on journalists, screech at Anal Joneseseses emissions, shout our outrage at the Media compicity, do what we are doing but do it well and positively and purposefully. Keep your Swordhand at the ready.

Gravel, be of stout heart. VENCEREMOS!


March 27. 2012 12:25 PM

Ad astra reply

paul walter
Your warning is sobering.  Understanding the psyche of the Australian electorate is crucial to success politically.  Abbott has played fear and uncertainty as hard as he could, which has had the expected dangerous effect.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 12:32 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your very kind words.  You are always so encouraging.  

I agree with your conclusion: ‘The man is MAD’.  Shall we coin a clinical diagnosis for him, as he did for Julia Gillard – ‘Fear-induced delusional disorientation’ (FIDD).

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 12:43 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your very complimentary remarks about this piece.  We need to expose this would-be PM at every opportunity.

Like you, I thought Barnaby Joyce, apart being more ‘loopy’ than usual, was disrespectful and condescending towards Emma Alberici, who is a good interviewer.  His attempts to intimidate her were obvious.  He talked over her in a bullying manner and in doing so became even more incoherent than usual. She will remember that encounter and sharpen her sword for the next.

What a misogynist combination Abbott and Joyce would make.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 12:51 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your generous compliment.  Your history of the quote is interesting.  Whoever created the ‘oppose everything, suggest nothing’ slogan, how much better is Bob Menzies’ advice: “The duty of an Opposition, if it has no ambition to be permanently on the left-hand side of the Speaker, is not to Oppose for Opposition's sake, but to oppose selectively. No Government is always wrong on everything, whatever the critics may say. The Opposition must choose the grounds on which to attack.

To attack indiscriminately is to risk public opinion, which has a reserve of fairness not always understood'.

Indeed, simply opposing the government may create headlines, but to win an election you need to present an alternative.”

There is NO likelihood that Abbott will follow Menzies’ advice.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 12:56 PM

Ad astra reply

Patricia WA
Your poem was both apt and delicious. It is music to our ears. We should create a melody to match.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 01:02 PM

Ad astra reply

I see that Clive Palmer is to be sued by environmentalist Drew Hutton, not seeking money but an apology and a retraction now that Palmer has admitted his statement was a ploy to distract the electorate from the accusations directed at Campbell Newman.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 01:06 PM

Ad astra reply

Catching up
Thank you for the link to the Malcolm Fraser article.  He has long been a critic of poor political behaviour, and has often castigated his own party.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 01:18 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your heartfelt contribution and your kind words.

If only journalists would ask the questions you pose, if only!  Abbott would stumble, obfuscate, repeat his three word slogans, heap scorn on Julia Gillard, and when the going got tough, would walk away.  He has no plausible answers to your questions, but answer them he must, and if he doesn’t he must be mercilessly pilloried by the media.  It may be a faint hope, but as you always encourage us, we must battle on until our message – Abbott is dangerous and incompetent – is imprinted on the psyche of the electorate.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 01:20 PM


Cheers  Ad:

It seems America has its own mega-rich shaping and manipulating:

'Koch Brothers Exposed:' New Film Examines How Billionaire Brothers Shaped The Political Narrative

The Echo Chamber of Influence - Documents and interviews unearthed by Brave New Foundation researchers illustrate a28.4 million Koch effort that has manufactured 297 opinions and commentaries, 200 reports, 56 studies and six books distorting Social Security's effectiveness and purpose. This is just one example of the vast industry comprised of Koch brothers' spokespeople, front groups, think tanks, academics and elected officials, which has built a self-sustaining echo chamber to transform fringe ideas into popular mainstream public policy arguments.

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Cancer in Crossett - Koch Industries is among the top ten worst air polluters. And, Georgia Pacific, a Koch Industries subsidiary in Arkansas, is one of the largest manufacturers of the human carcinogen, formaldehyde. While the Koch brothers wage war against safety precautions, every day this factory is dumping millions of gallons of wastewater into streams that flow near a small rural town. The surrounding area is noticeably affected by air pollution - particularly in a minority neighborhood now dying of cancer. The brave community members of Crossett give powerful testimony to how they believe their health is being ravaged by a Koch Industries plant.

Keystone XL - Koch Industries and its employees are the single largest oil and gas donors to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Along with ample evidence linking the Kochs' business to the Canadian tar sands, they refuse to testify in Congress about their financial interest in the controversial Keystone XL. At the same time, the Kochs' allies in Congress are doing their best to stonewall and remove oversight.

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The faceless men behind the conservative, libertarian Republican and Tea parties.



March 27. 2012 01:22 PM


Trailer of Koch Brothers Exposed:



March 27. 2012 01:44 PM


Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Bananaby the Opposition Spokesperson on Finance under Abbortt. The high point was his alarmist statements about the US defaulting on its loans.

Now as part of his bid to become Deputy PM he is telling us that the Foreign Investment Review Board should review all foreign company purchases over $1.00 or did he say $100 million? Thankfully too, he has reassured us that he personally cannot bear children but that his wife can. That's a relief.

Bananaby has also reminded us that if a coconut falls on your head, it's apparently the council's fault or the tree's fault, it's somebody's fault. There's no such thing as bad luck. We can't build a dam anymore because it's all impossible. It's too difficult. Thank goodness he clarified that for us poor plebs.

His best pick up line to Emma was, "you take me to a place in the globe where you can buy it like you can buy it in Australia and I will buy you a slab of beer and we can sit under a bridge tonight and drink it". Clearly, the best offer Emma had all week.

This is doing my head in trying to detect any logic in Bananaby's Lateline job allocation.


March 27. 2012 02:10 PM

Ad astra reply

The Koch Brothers’ story is frightening.  We should not believe though that the same malign influence could not be exercised here.

Please don’t try to get your head around any of Barnaby’s utterances.  Cognitive dissonance is bad for one’s mental health.  It can cause anger, embarrassment, dread and guilt.  Leave cognitive dissonance to Barnaby, whose brain seems to be able to cope with it, in fact revels in it.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 02:47 PM


It is interesting to note above the words by Bob Menzies on how to behave in Opposition versus the version attributed to Churchill and the British conservatives.  The actions of the current Federal Opposition demonstrate how far they are from the ideas of Bob Menzies who was the founder of the Liberal Party - who Abbot claims to reporesent.

It's also interesting to note that the British conservatives were in Opposition for 33 years using the "oppose eveyrthing" dictum.

It is interesting to see more information on the influences of the Koch Brothers coming to light.  The problem here is that those that repeat their propaganda won't understand or believe the information as presented.


March 27. 2012 02:51 PM


Btw, the Lib supporting Channel Nine is up to it's old pre-election campaign strategies methinks...

I heard that they're gonna be targetting dole bludgers again...might be today...

Remember the dole bludger buildup before Keating lost to Howard?...

the Paxton family for one:

But back to the Paxtons, and the role of "dole bludgers" as THE wedge issue in the 1996 election, in which of course John Howard and the Libs swept in. I mentioned this in May but without elaborating. I’ve now combed through a bit of stuff, and come up with this Paxtons chronology, in support of my case. While it’s not footnoted, I can vouch that it generally comes from the record, apart from the 11 March Ray Martin interview with PM John Howard (sourced from my notes only). Oh, and one other – preparing to write this, I realised that I’d hopelessly conflated the two “A Current Affair” hosts of the time, Ray Martin and Mike Munro. Same difference to me, but if it’s not to you, then you have been warned. (However, I note that I have taken out the host’s name where I haven’t been reasonably certain.)

A Paxtons chronology

?? January 1996  Sunday Age runs article on unemployment, featuring the Paxtons

19 February 1996  First Paxtons episode airs on “A Current Affair”

It showed Shane Paxton going into his younger brother's bedroom and saying "Mark, get up, it's 12 past 12, get up."

Apart from the clichéd shots of unemployed youth sleeping-in, however, this was was no ordinary fly on the wall insight. With an election looming, Shane Paxton was goaded into disclosing that he intended to vote Labor – for the simple reason that it was the pro-dole entitlement party. The story was also intercut with the opinions of an outside rent-an-expert, Bob Gregory, who stated that smoking cigarettes (as the Paxtons did) and keeping a dog (as the Paxtons also did) seemed to be unwarranted luxuries for people living on the dole.

Nine didn't get that footage straight away. "It took us three days of shooting to get that, because one of the boys wouldn't get out of bed," said ACA's executive producer, Neil Mooney.

Nonetheless, a fiction that this was a straight fly on the wall story prevailed and persisted at Nine. “This started as a program on generational unemployment in Victoria. And Shane Paxton was the person who showed our crew around, you know, pointing out the houses where no one had a job” (Peter “I wish we had more stories like that” Meakin)

1 March 1996   Election-eve Paxtons “teaser” on ACA (?)

On a Friday, it is usual practise “A Current Affair” to publicize, via short teasers, big ACA stories that will be screening the following week. (I have no information on whether this actually occurred; if anyone can corroborate (or authoritively deny) it, please let me know)

2 March 1996   John Howard wins Federal election

4 March 1996   Second Paxtons episode airs on “A Current Affair”

In which the three Paxton kids were flown to South Molle Island, where they knocked back kitchen-hand, lawn mower, and food service jobs.

5 March 1996   Third Paxtons episode airs on “A Current Affair” ...


Paul Barber, a journalist at the Melbourne radio station 3AW, attacked A Current Affair's treatment of the Paxtons and urged a public boycott. He was then sacked when Channel 9 withdrew $300,000 worth of advertising.

?? March 1996   Daily Telegraph runs Paxton story on front page.


?? March 1996   Mike Munro writes article in the Herald-Sun

Munro wrote in the Herald-Sun, in a piece entitled "They aren't the victims. We are", that he didn't set out to do a hatchet job on dole bludgers. Quite the contrary. "I wasn't convinced they were lazy... they just seemed different... I wanted to portray them as a social problem, not as kids not trying hard enough."

More here:



Memories eh?

Channel Nine, Fairfax, Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, Ray Martin, radio and advertisers...John Howard ...a certain Victorian premier....working overtime...in concert.



March 27. 2012 02:56 PM


Ad Astra

Excellent.  We visited friends yesterday, both women, and someone mentioned Abbott.  The howls of 'Don't go there' were said as one voice. This has emphasized your topic.  Now for the other half of voting Australians to have the same reaction.  I couldn't bring myself to watch Barnaby, and as usual nothing in the media deriding him so no-one will know about it.

Talk Turkey

As pessimistic as I am, I won't give up hope, DYWAT.


Thanks again for that link, but the only thing it took me to was a song......I'm a bit slow here.  Anyway, now that Ad Astra is back I will email with my new address to pass on to Patricia WA.


Two little pome's in one day, well done.


March 27. 2012 03:14 PM

Bushfire Bill

"While the TPP score is in the Coalition’s favour, Abbott’s colleagues will tolerate him, but should they become much less favourable, they would ditch him in a minute."

We can only hope then that the TPP stays enough against Labor for Abbott to stay put. A turn to the positive for the government 6 weeks before the election would do just fine!

He has brought his Catholic schoolboy mindset into the national parliament. Say and do what you want, there's always the sacrament of Confession to reset the Naughty Clock.

As I think I wrote once here before, he must have been sick for the second RK (Religious Knowledge) lesson on Confession, the one where the brother or the priest explained that Confession wasn't a get out of jail free card. You had to be truly sorry, not just sorry you'd been caught out. I can remember being disappointed at that outcome. For one glorious week, until the second half of the two-week lesson, we'd all thought Confession was a licence to sin. The "absolution" part, only introduced in week #2, was a real bummer.

The more Abbott tries this envelope-pushing gambit, the more the punters will think he's incorrigible. If he's still LOTO at the time of the election, there'll only be one place to turn: back to the government.

The state of Labor federally is likened to that of the NSW and (now) the Queensland branches. There is one thing missing in those two regions: Abbott. Whatever you think of Can-Do and Barry O'Farrell, they are normal. They are not ratbags. They speak properly and respectfully to other people and they don't go the biff as a first option, as Abbott does. Abbott is Gillard's ace in the hole. She should pray he stays there until she needs to play him.

And as for Barnarby Joyce's aspirations to become Deputy Prime Minister... may the Gods save us. They are both from Riverview, Abbott and Joyce, but I don't think Joyce even made the first RK period on confession, much less the second one.

Bushfire Bill

March 27. 2012 03:21 PM


My last effort for the day;

What's Rupert's game in Scotland?

Yet another Faustian pact it seems:



News Corp subsidiary 'hired hacker to attack rival'

AM By London correspondent Rachael Brown

A subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has been accused of enlisting the help of a computer hacker to bring down a rival company.

The BBC's Panorama program says News Corp's security arm NDS recruited a hacker to acquire the smart card codes of ITV's ONdigital, the biggest UK pay TV rival to News Corp's Sky TV.

The BBC says the codes were then posted online, allowing pirates to access ITV's digital services for free.

ONdigital went bust in 2002, just four years after it had been set up as a rival to Sky.



And memories thanks to Sue @ the Cafe:

Rupert's killer of a deal

February 1 2003

As News Corp's boss finds his dream of a global satellite TV empire within his grasp, the ghost of a Christmas past has come back to haunt him in the shape of a $6 billion lawsuit. Ben Hills reports.

Australia would have a new major media player.

For Murdoch, the deal was a disaster. He had to carry the multi-billion dollar contingent liability on his books, dragging down the credit-worthiness of his entire empire.

He is said to have told another executive around this time that one of his two major goals in life was to eliminate this liability from his books.

According to the claim filed in New York, Murdoch first tried to buy Australis out of the contract for a piffling $US220 million, then resorted to a campaign to try to destroy Australis as a competitor, and abort the $6 billion deal which he planned to renegotiate on vastly more favourable terms directly with the studios. Win-win.

Beginning in 1996, as Australis sought to tap the US junk-bond market for the capital it needed to build its business, News Corp contacted financiers, advisers and prospective investors, giving them "misleading and disparaging information" in an attempt to scuttle the fund raising, say the bondholders.

When this failed - the money was raised, though Australis was forced to offer an excruciating 16 per cent return to get it.

The claim says that a financial report was leaked to the News Corp paper The Australian, which published a damaging article predicting that Australis would be losing money right through until 2009.

The claim cites two out of four cases in which News Corp's tactics "poisoned the environment" for bond raising.

Patterns of behaviour?

Getting access to politicians.

And possible uncompetitive behaviour.

Hacking for benefit...profiteering.

Wonder how the taxes are going?



March 27. 2012 03:24 PM


Here 's link for last article:


I'm bushed.



March 27. 2012 03:26 PM


Another brilliant article, which should be more widely circulated.

We in Canberra have to suffer a weekly Bananaby column in the Canberra Times, with his stupid fixed grin image and which I avoid reading at all costs. With four ACT Federal representatives none of which have had more than one article that I can recollect printed and yet this Queensland buffoon is in there week after week. I can only think he must pay the media to allow him to push his barrow.

I still maintain that Abbort will never be PM and that after the next election we will see Julia with a workable majority. No opposition leader with a PPM  lower than the incumbant PM will ever be elected. As you state his rants are getting shriller and shriller and is not a good look.


March 27. 2012 03:54 PM


Once again, Ad astra a great post analysing the badly flawed character of the man who would be PM.

“Oppose everything, suggest nothing, and turf the government out”

I don't think you could have chosen a more apt quote to describe this man's approach to opposition. It is an empty vessel philosophy which he applies ferociously to his position as LOTO.

Interestingly, Randolph Churchill is thought to have had [strike]syphilis[/strike] described as "an undisclosed ailment" by his doctor and this may have affected his behaviour.

I don't think Sneerleader has any such ailment, but I think he could be far more accurately described as suffering "truth deficit disorder" than the PM.

Unfortunately, I believe Churchill's dictum best describes Abbott's default position; all that lies beneath is what is on display. Pity this country if he ever gets his hands on the levers.

Off thread, I'm glad you had an enjoyable time with the multi skilled TT, Jason and TT's friends. I hope that in the event of a future visit to Adelaide, I'll be able to come along.

I fear that the only thing which will save Australia is that Tony will have the heart attack his reddening, argumentative face and popping eyes indicate are remarkably close.

archiearchive, it also seems that Little Prissy Whynne suffers the same condition. Observing his scarlet face, bulging eyes and foaming mouth as he postures and squeals on the Speaker's left, puts me in mind of an irate chihuahua.

Casablanca, I didn't watch Lateline, but the reference to Barnyard in full spittle flecked flight makes me think that he, too suffers from Liealot's and Whynne's propensity to scarlet faces, bulging eyes, foaming mouth and complete disconnect with reality.

psyclaw @11.55pm 26/3, I second that.

janice @9.06am & Nas' @9.10am, agree with every syllable.

Michael, @9.56am, how could you suggest that PPP tells porkies? He's the Premier of Queensland now and, and everyone knows that members of the Liars Party never tell porkies.

TT @12.22pm, couldn't agree more with your assessment of Malvolio.

Off thread, I'm glad you enjoyed your face-to-face with Ad astra, his OH and Jason Obelix. And I like your idea of meeting other SA Swordsters.

I had actually replied to your suggestion on JohnL's previous post, but was foiled by the evil computer genie that ate my comment and presumably spat it out into some foreign ether.

Dem those computer genies!

Nas' this country would do well to heed the lessons from the expose of how deeply the tentacles of the Koch brothers have infiltrated the political process in the US.

PPP, has succeeded in Queensland and even as I type this he is without doubt demanding his pound of flesh from Newman. I feel sure that he is the defacto premier of Queensland.

And we can expect no less from a Sneerleader election in this country. God knows how many have got their pudgy fingers tightening around his genitals.

The Unholy Triumvirate is no doubt first cab off the rank and their claws will have already infested the smugglers.


March 27. 2012 04:56 PM


Patricia WA wrote a peom about Anna Bligh and it is a pity that Patricia did not have to tolerate living in Qld under Beattie & Bligh for so many intolerable years.

I wonder if Patricia doesn't mind Anna being paid $150,000.00 per anuum for the rest of her life for being a failure.

There would be many Aussies who would be pleased to receive such a pay-out after being sacked.


March 27. 2012 05:40 PM

Ad astra reply

Bushfire Bill
It was great to see your comment today.  

Of course you are right.  Abbott is Labor’s best asset.  If the TTP turned Labor’s way too soon and he was turfed out, that would not be to the Government’s advantage, as almost any alternative would be preferable to the pugilistic, confession-addicted Tony.  The problem for the Coalition, should it finally decide that Abbott is too big a liability, would be finding a plausible replacement.  Tp whom would they turn?  Malcolm Turnbull is an obvious choice; he would be acceptable to the electorate and the business community, but antipathy to him in his own party seems so vast that it is highly improbable he would be selected.  Joe Hockey was a contender in the contest Abbott won, but how acceptable would he be to the business community after his incoherent utterances on economics, and to the electorate after his disingenuous attempt to sell fraudulent budget costings last year?  Andrew Robb is sounder but has no charisma and is almost unknown to the public.  Scott Morrison and Christopher Pyne probably think they are future leaders, but it would be scraping the bottom of the barrel to select either of them.  Julie Bishop likes being the perpetual bridesmaid; no one in his or her right mind would consider her. Who else is there?  

So I think we can rest assured that for Abbott to be discarded the TTP would need to be the reverse of what it is now.  If it were, they would throw him out without any sense of regret or compassion for him, as he has earned none.  Finding a credible replacement would be a huge problem though, and the infighting that would entail would be damaging.  So like you, I hope the turn around for Labor will be late in the day, leaving little time for an Abbott substitute to get any traction.

It is noteworthy that today’s Newspoll to whose TPP I assign no predictive power at all, shows Abbott stuck at the same level of unpopularity despite the TPP having moved in favour of the Coalition, while Julia Gillard’s approval has improved.  This must worry Abbott’s colleagues and cause them to ask if they can win with such an unpopular leader.  They may reflect that the LNP in Queensland were unable to win despite Labor being regarded poorly by the electorate at the two previous elections, until it selected an acceptable leader for this one, to wit, Campbell Newman.

As one who greatly admires your writing and respects your judgement, I look forward to further contributions from you.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 05:47 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your complimentary remarks.  If one can believe that part of the polls that dissects men from women in their opinion of the leaders, women do not like Tony, but men are less antagonistic; and men do not like Julia as much as women.  Your anecdote matches those perceptions.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 05:56 PM

Ad astra reply

I heard about the first item you mention on the news.  It seems there is nothing too low for the Murdoch outfit to use in pursuit of power – this time sabotaging a competitor, ITV digital services.

I had not heard of the second matter you report.  It all adds up to a ruthless proprietor of a vast money making empire doing ‘whatever it takes’ to make money and crush its competitors.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 06:03 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your kind comments.  Having a Bananaby column to read every week is a burden for you Canberra folk.  Out of interest, would you please post a link to his next piece so that I can assess whether his written word is as irrational as his spoken.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 06:09 PM



We have been barking up the wrong tree since last night's Lateline interview with Bananaby Joyce. Abbortt has just settled the issue by declaring that Bananaby is an 'absolutely outstanding Australian'.


March 27. 2012 06:13 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your complimentary comments, and for your comprehensive response to this piece.

I was interested to read your mention of Randolph Churchill possibly being afflicted with syphilis, which has neurological manifestations including confusion, dementia and depression.  

We did have a marvellous time with TT, Jason and TT's friends including Jason the Younger.  We are bound to be back to Adelaide; when we are, I look forward to meeting with you; TT will arrange a similar meeting.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 06:17 PM

Ad astra reply

That proclamation by Tony Abbott that Barnaby Joyce is an ‘absolutely outstanding Australian’ is code for: ‘there is no way he will be my deputy’.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 07:09 PM

Patricia WA

John L1, I see that AA has already quoted again your quote from Menzies.  Let's hope that Abbott has typically rejected even that impeccable authority for a Liberal to heed, if anyone has drawn his attention to it, and he will never learn that it is"The duty of an Opposition........not to Oppose for Opposition's sake, but to oppose selectively. No Government is always wrong.......(and)......simply opposing the government may create headlines, but to win an election you need to present an alternative.”

PS John, Thanks for your comment on my verses about Anna Bligh, referring to them as a poem.  I haven't included them in my polliepomes.wordpress.com collection because that's the first time I've felt I was writing something like a real poem.   Those few lines came up spontaneously as I thought of the more than thirty years of political service she had given since her student days when the issue of illegal terminations had to be so fiercely fought in Joh's Queensland. She has given so much since then.  I need to finish that properly.  She is a fine woman.

Thanks Casablanca for your comment on the Barnaby pome, which I've now copied along with other commentary from AA, psyclaw et al on the Lateline interview by Emma Albericcipolliepomes.wordpress.com/.../

Patricia WA

March 27. 2012 07:10 PM

Danny Lewis

"That proclamation by Tony Abbott that Barnaby Joyce is an ‘absolutely outstanding Australian’ is code for: ‘there is no way he will be my deputy’."

Ad Astra: That reminds me of a quote from Paul Lyneham's political dictionary.

He gives the definition of 'paranoid' as "getting a get well card from Graham Richardson".

Danny Lewis

March 27. 2012 08:27 PM


Don't worry, jimson, I'm sure Premier Palmer will live down to the Bjelke-Petersen standard.

Once again the hypocrisy of the msm has been exposed by Michael. Why haven't there been headlines screaming from every dead tree edition and self righteous TV and radio hosts calling for Porky's blood?

It's doubly disgusting when you consider the screeching over Bligh's attack on Campbell.

Danny Lewis. roflmao


March 27. 2012 08:30 PM


Bushfire Bill @ 3.14pm.

Hi BB. With respect, you are incorrect about true contrition being a requirement for forgiveness by Confession. The RC church recognises "perfect contrition" (being sorry for offending the goodness of God by sin) and "imperfect contrition" (being sorry because you're scared shitless about going to hell for ever and ever).

For those immature personalities hooked by this fear campaign, such as Abbott, imperfect contrition is pretty easy to achieve. And it really presents no barrier to going on to re-offend and re-confess over and over again.

BB, your views about Newman and O'Farrell are spot on. We all have to put up with periods of conservos in government from time to time and it is tolerable when the leader and the team are basically good people and not dogma driven ratbags like Abbott (or simply plain ratbags, as in Joyce's case).

Although I must say that in the case of the present alternative government, the current front bench is so full of has-beens who were just mediocre in their hay-days that whoever replaces Abbott will have a lot of lead in the cabinet saddlebags.


March 27. 2012 08:37 PM

Ad astra reply

Danny Lewis
Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.

I like Paul Lyneham’s definition of ‘paranoid’.  How apt that Richo is in his quote.


Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 09:07 PM


One thing that you didn't mention was Tony Abbott's joking about the suicide attempt of John Brogden, a former NSW Opposition Leader (Liberal).

While at a function, Tony Abbott openly mocked the suicide attempt by stating: "If we did that we would be as dead as the former Liberal leader's political prospects."

I think that statement alone shows what kind of a person Tony Abbott is.


March 27. 2012 09:19 PM


Day 2 of Newman's reign and already he is giving out jobs for the boys.


So what you say - except he claimed going into the election that ALP practices such as "jobs for the boys" would cease under an LNP Government because he has higher standards.


March 27. 2012 09:25 PM


Ad astra

I sincerely hope that your diagnosis is accurate. I have made the mistake before of underestimating Mr Abbott and his ability to discipline himself so that he conforms to a desired image.
Another makeover is not out of the question.
However, I have said before that if he finds himself on a downward trajectory that he will crash and burn because he has put so much of himself into this crusade. If he falls, for a short time afterward he is going to find that his life appears to be without purpose. I don't envy him that period.
My empathy/sympathy does not extend to the point of wishing to inflict his particular brand of hubris on the rest of Australian society, however.


March 27. 2012 10:04 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your comment.  I hope you will return to The Political Sword.

Your example is another one that illustrates Abbott's insensitivity.  I remember that indiscretion; many others will also.

Sometimes a diagnosis is established with certainty only after an autopsy.  We may have to wait for that.

Ad astra reply

March 27. 2012 10:19 PM


Ad astra

I look forward to the Coroner's Report.*

*In the preceding sentence I used a metaphor that was in poor taste. I withdraw.


March 27. 2012 10:48 PM


Patricia WA @ 7.09pm

You said, 'Thanks for ... comment[s] on my verses about Anna Bligh, referring to them as a poem.'

I for one, do not use the expression 'pome' to suggest that you have written a piece that is not quite worthy of the name 'poem'.

Au contraire! The poem is not mightier than the pome!

You are truly living up to the Political Sword's motto, 'Putting politician's and commentators to the verbal sword'. Its just that you have the skill to raise it to another level by commenting in verse. Keep them coming.


March 27. 2012 11:34 PM


The decay of the political process
by Barry Jones     The Conversation
The development of national factions constitutes, in effect, the privatisation of the party, with factional warlords engaged in carving up the assets, rewarding factional loyalty and promoting an almost feudal code of allegiance. Factions are essentially executive placement agencies.

The Institute of Climate Change Denial
by Elaine McKewon     Independent Australia
Today, the IPA is a high-profile organisation that consistently rejects the evidence for anthropogenic climate change and opposes mitigation strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Its staff and associate scholars are usually presented as independent experts who provide unbiased commentary.

There is no cycle
by The Piping Shrike
But it was not just what happened to Labor that made Saturday’s result so extraordinary. One thing that has been little mentioned is what happened on the other side. Parachuting Newman was extraordinarily risky, but there’s been little discussion as to why the LNP had to take that risk.

Greg Hunt’s carbon illusion
by Ben Rose     Climate Spectator
There is a simple reason why the Libs won’t tell us more. The cheap soil carbon ‘offsets’ they plan to create will be not be measured and neither will they be permanent. In short, the Direct Action plan is constructed on the premise of bogus soil carbon offsets.

Antony Green is on to something.
by Peter Martin
Labor would be left with not a single seat in Queensland if the state voted federally the way it did Saturday night.
But he says there’s no reason to believe Queenslanders will vote the same way.

Australia playing catch-up with latest refugee reforms
by Kerry Murphy     Eureka Street
On Saturday two major reforms commenced regarding refugee processing. The first is the long awaited Complementary Protection provisions. The second is the abandonment of offshore processing and having all protection visa applications assessed in the same process, regardless of how the person arrived in Australia.

Stealing from Tassie to feed Qld?
by Rob Burgess     Business Spectator
The short-term effect of the Queensland result is likely to be a whole lot more visits to the sunshine state by Julia Gillard, and just about anyone else presentable, to announce a long list of 'essential infrastructure' spending.

Is Malcolm Turnbull the saviour of the centre or just a man of the 1% in a leather jacket?
Turn Left 2013
I have been hearing and seeing a lot talk recently about how if Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull would just left their current parties and formed a new party of the centre, the voters would flock.

Get rid of middle-class welfare
by Crispin Hull
THE politics of scaremongering comes in short, exaggerated language – talk of disasters and catastrophes, usually when some small government benefit is being removed or the sacred surplus is threatened.
The really scary stuff, though, comes in measured, dispassionate words in a longer discourse of fact and argument.

But Jonathan Holmes: Your Report Has Not Been Peer-Reviewed and It’s Wrong
by Jennifer Marohasy
Last Monday on ABC TV’s Media Watch the sniggering Jonathan Holmes suggested that there was something wrong with Peter Ridd peer-reviewing my technical report ‘Plugging the Murray’s Mouth: The Interrupted Evolution of a Barrier Estuary’.


March 28. 2012 12:26 AM


here is one of Barnaby'sdiatrribes.
It is my first atempt hope it works otherwise i shall have to get my Guru grandson to assist


March 28. 2012 01:03 AM


Darren C, as I remember there was quite a hullabaloo about that at the time, as there was after his boorish attack on Bernie Banton.

Reminds me of his political father pointedly and spitefully failing to invite the widow of Sgt Russell, the first Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan, to a wreath laying in his honour when Dubya came to visit.

She'd been agitating for an increase in the pension for the families of soldiers killed in combat and had fallen foul of the Rodent, who punished her in that incredibly petty way.


Catching Up wrote a post about the Rodent's family at Café Whispers. Eye opening and I think this is the sort of stuff he's handed on to Sneerleader.


Sometimes a diagnosis is established with certainty only after an autopsy.  We may have to wait for that.

Not too long, I hope.


March 28. 2012 08:41 AM

Ad astra reply

Thanks - Barnaby's rhetoric is the same in print, but the English is better - no doubt due to the subeditor's intervention.

Ad astra reply

March 28. 2012 09:07 AM


When I look back at the Howard government…and what got me so pissed…and fearful at times…was not the man himself…I found him to be a generally irritating and boring character…sometimes mean-spirited…other times mild-mannered…but ya oft got this sense he was driven by a bitterness towards the Left and unions…had this ideological obsession with crushing unions and the rights that protected workers.

For me it had more to do with the people and groups he unleashed, the ones who were used as the attack dogs…the environment was created for them to go nuts on the Australian people…do their propaganda thing…explode their culture warrior and private companies should dominate stuff all over the public…

a free ride to espouse greed is good, free market, rampant capitalist, money should flood upwards, prosperity evangelism, misogynistic, ocker bully, sexist pig, over-the top nationalism, religion uber alles, war on everything, you’re with us or against us, nudge nudge wink wink to homophobes and racists, Islam and Aboriginal baiting, corporate land grabbing, environment comes second, women are primarily baby-makers, 40s & 50s culture preferable to 60s & 70s, anyone with Green concerns are fairies at the bottom of the garden, asylum seekers are invaders and can be used to score political points, Murdoch is God, Righties know what’s best for you, condescending, opposition should be mocked, humour should be nasty, far too libertarian, obsession with tax cuts over service delivery, arrogant dismissive deaf approach to peaceful demonstrators and critics, cults are useful for political ouposes, touch of McCarthy paranoia, this could be the third world war and you are expendable…approach, ideas, attitude.

Not good.

Abbott gives me the same feelings. Dread.



March 28. 2012 09:09 AM


Should be: cults are useful for political purposes.


March 28. 2012 09:55 AM



Pay TV piracy hits Murdoch

Exclusive: Neil Chenoweth
March 28, 2012 – 9:36AM

A secret unit within Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation promoted a wave of high-tech piracy in Australia that damaged Austar, Optus and Foxtel at a time when News was moving to take control of the Australian pay TV industry, a four-year investigation by The Australian Financial Review has revealed.
The piracy cost the Australian pay TV companies up to $50 million a year and helped cripple the finances of Austar, which Foxtel is now in the process

The AFR investigation  has revealed a global trail of corporate dirty tricks directed against competitors by a secretive group of former policemen and intelligence officers within News Corp known as Operational Security.

Their actions devastated News’s competitors, and the resulting waves of high-tech piracy assisted News to bid for pay TV businesses at reduced prices – including DirecTV in the US, Telepiu in Italy and Austar. These targets each had other commercial weaknesses quite apart from piracy.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is still deliberating on final details before approving Foxtel’s $1.9 billion takeover bid for Austar, which will cement Foxtel’s position as the dominant pay TV provider in Australia.

Read more: www.smh.com.au/.../...-murdoch-20120328-1vxfw.html

Geez, who woulda thunk it?



March 28. 2012 09:55 AM


AA re Bananby it is hard to bluster in print but it can still be rubbish it would be nice if whoever does the links here could pick him up as well share the pain sort of. A letter in the CT this week complaiming about the Government not answering precise questions in QT makes you wonder. The question usually start with a diatribe this waste that waste disfunctional government or ends with GBT, IMHO if the preface is false everything that follows is rubbish and should be disallowed which the Speaker did to one such last week. Most opposition questions are from reports here or there none on policy which makes this mob the worst opposition ever.


March 28. 2012 10:00 AM


Last night I watched a movie from Chile, about the time of the bloody Pinochet/CIA coup against the elected Leftist Government of Salvador Allende. The sense of gathering impending social conflict based on class and race was brilliantly recreated, and the street scenes reminded me of the Brown's Bitch / Burn the Witch demonstrations, that bastard Abbortt would be perfectly at ease about being able to generate such a coup here, if only he could.

"The man is MAD!"


March 28. 2012 10:03 AM


That should be:

The piracy cost the Australian pay TV companies up to $50 million a year and helped cripple the finances of Austar, which Foxtel is now in the process of acquiring.

Read more: www.smh.com.au/.../...-murdoch-20120328-1vxfw.html



March 28. 2012 10:13 AM


Courtesy of @GeorgeBludger

This is what happened to Queensland ...=> http://www.flickr.com/photos/64041833@N04/7010388405/in/photostream

This is the calculator used by Snotty Joe. http://www.flickr.com/photos/64041833@N04/6999108137/in/photostream


March 28. 2012 10:16 AM


The links failed I see. Reposting, with links parsed thru TinyURL.

Courtesy of @GeorgeBludger

This is what happened to Queensland ...=> http://tinyurl.com/bnw7sv6

This is the calculator used by Snotty Joe. http://tinyurl.com/bvbcssh


March 28. 2012 10:22 AM


This latest news from the Australian Financial Review still not on ABC online or ABC 24…

Doesn’t surprise me.

Too many Libs and Murdoch empire supporters in there.



March 28. 2012 10:23 AM



Luv the Joe calculator.



March 28. 2012 10:30 AM


Abbott's boorish attitude towards the brave and suffering Bernie Banton was disgraceful and gave us real insight into the man who would be PM...

willing to say or do anything to undermine unions and other critics of toxic industries...and assist big business.

He doesn't care about the casualties...

Could be YOU



March 28. 2012 10:32 AM


Darren C, Danny Lewis
What pleasure meeting you is! Smile
There's always room for more aboard
The friendly Fellowship of the Sword.

And speaking of
Which is something Patricia WA and TT do all the
Is it easy for you to get to Adelaide by
And anyway, you're going to have to ease our
And please explain?,
(Jane!) ,
About this strange relationship you have with
Crustaceans! Smile


March 28. 2012 10:48 AM


Q. When is the indefinite article, 'a' not indefinite, even in its absence??
A. When it is the deinitely-necessary syllable missed in the second line in the Darren'n'Danny ( Smile ) verse (as above)
and now, below,
daring to boldly go
where no 'a' has gone before . . .  

Darren C, Danny Lewis
What a pleasure meeting you is!  
There's always room for more aboard
The friendly Fellowship of the Sword.


March 28. 2012 10:54 AM




March 28. 2012 11:57 AM


An unfolding issue that might prove to be pretty big.
My main question is: "What's Andrew Robb up to?"

Huawei’s growing US image problem
by Ben Potter     AFR
Despite going to extraordinary lengths to win acceptance in the American telecoms market, China’s Huawei Technologies faces ever intensifying suspicion, verging on hostility, from the highest levels of the United States government.

ASIO not target of my outburst, Robb explains
by Phillip Coorey    SMH
No one else in the Coalition criticised the decision because of the ASIO involvement and Mr Robb's outburst raised eyebrows among colleagues yesterday, who said the comments were not sanctioned by the Coalition leadership or by the opposition communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull.

Huawei block splits opposition
by Marcus Priest with John McDuling      AFR
The federal Coalition has split over blocking Chinese technology company Huawei from the national broadband network, with federal shadow attorney-general George Brandis and former Liberal numbers man Nick Minchin backing Labor.
A day earlier shadow finance minister Andrew Robb hit out at the government’s decision to block Huawei from tendering for work on the $36 billion NBN, saying it was the “latest clumsy, offensive and unprofessional instalment of a truly dysfunctional government”.


Coalition disavows Robb on Huawei
by Michelle Grattan     The Age
Liberal frontbencher Andrew Robb's tough criticism of the government's decision to ban Chinese firm Huawei from supplying equipment to the national broadband network has been repudiated by senior Coalition colleagues.

Huawei a security risk by any gauge
by Malcolm Maiden     SMH
Huawei Australia board member Alexander Downer says the government's decision to deny the Chinese telco supplier Huawei a major role in the construction of the national broadband network is absurd, but it looks logical to me.

A cold Huawei play with icy ramifications
by Justin O'Brien     Business Spectator
There are a number of ironies at work. As a critical platform provider Huawei is well aware of the power of the networked society to affect change. The confluence of technology and social media practice is transforming politics across the globe, including in China itself. The unresolved question is whether Huawei, with its genesis within the People’s Liberation Army, is a commercial entity or corporate sleeper for Chinese political and military interests?

NBN chief says no price gouge despite Huawei ban
by David Ramli     AFR
The chief executive of the company rolling out the $36 billion national broadband network says he’s confident it won’t be price gouged by suppliers, despite Chinese tech giant Huawei being banned from tendering.


Conroy named a community visionary
by AAP     SMH
Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, who is overseeing the government's $36 billion national broadband network (NBN) project, has received an award from a New York-based think tank.
Senator Conroy has been named Intelligent Community Visionary of the year for 2012.



March 28. 2012 12:07 PM



News piracy allegations should be investigated by police: Conroy

March 28, 2012 - 11:57AM

Media reports that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp promoted the pirating of its international pay-TV rivals were serious, and allegations of any criminality should be investigated by police, the Australian government said today.

"These are serious allegations, and any allegations of criminal activity should be referred to the Australian Federal Police for investigation," a spokesperson for Senator Conroy said.

Separately, Treasurer Wayne Swan told a conference in Melbourne that the allegations of News piracy were "concerning".




March 28. 2012 12:24 PM


I wonder if this supreme court judge is trying to screw over Obama…and the people’s healthcare?:

Antonin Scalia

Antonin Scalia was nominated by President Ronald Reagan as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Scalia took oath of office September 26, 1986, and in 2000 was the centerpiece of the U.S. Presidential Selection.

In January 2004, Scalia spent time duck hunting with Vice President Dick Cheney at a private camp (guests of Wallace Carline, owner of Diamond Services in Amelia, St. Mary Parish) in southern Louisiana (reportedly travelling on Air Force 2 just three weeks after the court agreed to take up the vice president’s appeal in lawsuits over his handling of Vice President Cheney’s Energy Task Force.

While Scalia and Cheney are avid hunters and longtime friends, several experts in legal ethics questioned the timing of their trip and said it raised doubts about Scalia’s ability to judge the case impartially.

But Scalia rejected that concern, saying, “I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned.”

In April 2004, “Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ordered U.S. Marshals to seize the tapes of reporters who recorded his speeches before two religious schools in Mississippi. Ironic in that the man who fancies himself the sole authority on the Constitution would believe that reporters should not be able to talk about what he says.”




March 28. 2012 12:35 PM


Antonin Scalia on Crime  

Government is not responsible for abuses in private prisons. (Jul 2009)
Scientific testing requires live testimony in criminal cases. (Jun 2011)
International Court not grounds for stay of execution. (Jul 2011)
Fleeing the police is reasonable grounds for a search. (Jan 2000)
Shorten time between sentencing and executions. (Apr 2000)
OK to lengthen prison sentences retroactively. (Mar 2000)
Life-sentence alternative doesn't affect death sentence. (Jun 2000)


Nice guy. Sounds like a Republican.

Like a Floridian, Ohio and Texan one these days.



March 28. 2012 12:35 PM

Ad astra reply

I enjoyed the Hockey calculator.  I'm writing about him now.

Ad astra reply

March 28. 2012 12:37 PM




Alan Kohler actually has to observe that the world IS moving to confront climate change at national government level.

Worth a read, though, as ever, he carps an anti-Labor line.

In response to this quote from the article:

"The idea that Australia is leading the world on climate change is quickly becoming untrue", which is, of course, where the carping with faint (strangled in his throat) praise comes from, I wrote:

"The idea that Australia is leading the world on climate change is quickly becoming untrue."

The Conservative's claim that no other country in the world is doing anything at top government level to confront climate change is even more rapidly being exposed as untrue.

And "untrue" for some long time.

Hell will freeze over before those particular liars have that accurate epithet hung daily around their necks as a matter of 'ordinary' political discourse.


March 28. 2012 12:41 PM


Big times:

Supreme Court Health Reform Law: Obama Administration Finds Optimism
Posted: 03/27/2012
Huffington Post




March 28. 2012 02:31 PM


Twerp Central



March 28. 2012 03:06 PM


Didn't ya know...the heart of the nation...or is it heartland?...is fair and balanced...

just like their big cable cousin in America:


N '


March 28. 2012 06:17 PM



Thanks for the like to Chris Kenny!

First who the hell is he and second how do I disinfect the computer?

Interesting it isn't behind the paywall.


March 28. 2012 07:26 PM


    Chris Kenny, is/was a journo but was at Alexander Downer's side pretty much since the 1996 election as media advisor first then became "Chief of staff", I think after the 2007 election he was "Chief of staff" for Nelson and then Turnbull!
As for disinfecting your computer I can't help!


March 28. 2012 08:29 PM

Ad astra reply

I've been busy all day writing the next piece which I'll post in a few days, so I haven't been around much today.

I'll be busy with family activities for a few days, including a family wedding at the weekend, so I'll be absent from the site for long periods.


Ad astra reply

March 28. 2012 10:36 PM


Thanks Jason - one out of two isn't bad Laughing


March 29. 2012 12:36 AM


Getting behind the wheel in the new nanny state
by Greg Jericho     The Drum
Tony Abbott has a problem with women; Julia Gillard has a problem with men. Both of their problems are to do with participation. Both as well are attempting to use economics to solve them, when in reality they are just playing politics.

Can The Coalition’s Collection Of Circus Freaks Prevent A LNP Victory In 2013 ?
by Admin     Blogotariat
Great! Let’s hear more from Palmer. With any luck he’ll cost the LNP about 20 seats at the next Federal Election.
And finally, there’s Gina Rineheart. Well, she’s a female version of Palmer. Though not as boorish, she’s just as greedy, just as self-obsessed and just like Palmer, titillated by the success of the mining tax campaign and enervated to see more of herself on the teev.

A sting too far for News Corp?
by Stephen Bartholomeusz     Business Spectator
News Corp has already been destabilised and distracted by the ongoing and ever-deepening phone-hacking scandal and allegations of corrupt payments to officials in the UK. Will the resurfacing of old allegations of immoral behaviour in its pay television operations be the final straw for investors that forces significant change within the group?

accountability .....
by John Richardson     Your Democracy
A secret unit within Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation promoted a wave of high-tech piracy in Australia that damaged Austar, Optus and Foxtel at a time when News was moving to take control of the Australian pay TV industry.
The piracy cost the Australian pay TV companies up to $50 million a year and helped cripple the finances of Austar, which Foxtel is now in the process of acquiring.

Conroy responds to News piracy allegations
by AAP     Business Spectator
The federal government says reports that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation engaged in piracy against its pay television competitors in Australia contain "serious allegations" and any criminal activity should be investigated by police.

Stop-start decade of political changes
by Annabel Crabb     The Drum
In Australia, we don't change governments very often. And like teenagers with sheets, we often leave it a shade too long - till things get distinctly whiffy - between changes.

by Niall Cook     The Bannerman
Stop-Start? No, I don’t think so.
I don’t believe we ever managed to see a start which came to a stop in the first place. And which decade are we speaking of, Annabel? Which specific 10 year period?

Are you mad as hell and not going to take it anymore?
by Tory Shepherd     The Punch
Yes, that’s what we need, more pointless, seething, incandescent, insane rage.
Mr Bernardi has come to the startling conclusion that what the world needs now is hate, bitter hate, because he reckons conservatives have been keeping their antipathy to themselves.

Huawei’s NBN ban: A 24 hour round-up
by Renai LeMay     Delimiter
Over the past couple of days, the Fin has allocated what looks like a dozen or so journalists onto the Huawei story, and the results have been incredible. It would be impossible for Delimiter (with our comparatively meagre resources) to keep up — and it looks like almost every other technology media outlet is suffering the same problem. Kudos to the AFR on this issue — it is really going the whole hog.

Ahoy me hearties, you scurvy land lubbers, hand over your codes, or it'll be walk the plank time ...
by Dorothy Parker     Loon Pond
But speaking of the Murdoch press, there's a much more interesting game afoot in the motherland, at least for those who think of England as some kind of matriarch, as opposed to a bloody colonial patriarch.

By now the world's had a chance to look at Panorama's program Murdoch's TV Pirates .....
This is a story that appears to have legs, and if you head off to the AFR, you can cop a preview with Murdoch cops blast over pay TV pirates, wherein it's revealed that News Corp lawyers tried to mount a pre-emptive counter-strike:

Hacker who got stung
by Neil Chenoweth and Angus Grigg
For the undercover watchers in Rupert Murdoch’s private security force, David Cottle was the “king”, the “co-ordinator” of all hacking activities in Australia.
He called himself “Bond 007” online and hosted web forums about hacking pay TV smartcards – he certainly didn’t think his telephone records could be hacked.

Murdoch Hacking Scandal Could Go Global, Threaten News Corp. Core TV Business
by Peter Jukes     The Daily Beast
Allegations that a News Corp. subsidiary hacked pay-TV access codes of a rival broadcaster and that a hacker in the pay of the company pirated rival satellite channels in Italy could threaten the conglomerate’s core business of broadcasting, satellite, and pay television.

News Corp. Piracy Claims Are Serious, Australia Says
by Erik Larson and Amy Thomson     Bloomberg
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. (NWSA), already engulfed in a U.K. phone-hacking scandal, faces fresh probes in Australia and Britain as lawmakers said police should investigate claims that the company promoted piracy of pay-TV technology.


March 29. 2012 02:30 AM


Thank you for your very fine Links.
You do a splendid job in Lyn's absence.


March 29. 2012 03:13 AM


Merdeoch pere has finally achieved total worldwide media dominance, he's all over his competitors in the UK, the US, and now especially Australia. (But not over his own outlets, especially not the unAustralian and His ABC.)

What an evil old bastard he really is.

Adelaide boy y'know . . .

He's welcome to a free 8x12 room back here anytime . . . for a long time . . . or at least, for as long as he has left . . .

The real depth of his dastardry can only really be measured in deaths and destruction in the places where he has promulgated war and ensured poverty. We are not really talking about telephones and crap. We are talking about hypercrime.


March 29. 2012 09:43 AM

Patricia WA

Thanks from me too, Norman.  

Wouldn't it be fantastic, TT, if Murdoch finally got his come-uppance while he's still able to feel the pain of it all?

Patricia WA

March 29. 2012 10:11 AM


Oops - no link. Frown

by Niall Cook     The Bannerman
Stop-Start? No, I don’t think so.
I don’t believe we ever managed to see a start which came to a stop in the first place. And which decade are we speaking of, Annabel? Which specific 10 year period?


March 29. 2012 10:40 AM

Patricia WA

You perfectionist, NormanK!    'The Bannerman' reply to AC did come up pretty quick smart, but anyone who hasn't yet read it should follow Norman's link above.

Flighty ideas like that in  Annabel C's Drum piece should be promptly gainsaid.  The idea that politics is cyclical and it's all much of a muchness leads to cynical apathy.

I was interested in the suggestion that Rudd was not intended to last long anyway, which Cook says is 'another story' - anyone have insider details on that?

Patricia WA

March 29. 2012 11:08 AM


From The Independent in the UK:

Murdoch company in pay-TV piracy scandal ‘paid Surrey Police’

News Corp subsidiary at the heart of claims it used computer hackers to crack rivals’ technology made a £2,000 payment to a British police force for “assistance given to us in our work”, The Independent can reveal.

NDS, a London-based specialist in satellite television encryption technology, said yesterday that a payment made to Surrey Police in the summer of 2000 was a “charitable donation” for which it had received a written acknowledgement.

But a cache of 14,000 internal emails belonging to the London-based company shows that its deputy head of security, Len Withall, asked for a cheque to be drawn for £2,000 as payment for “some work” he had been doing with the force over the previous six months.

Mr Withall, who was a former detective chief inspector with Surrey Police before joining NDS in the early 1990s, asked for the payment to be made from a special budget “set aside to Police/Informants for assistance given to us in our work”.

Surrey Police, which was rocked last year by revelations linked to the News of the World’s hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s mobile phone, said it could not find a record of the payment on its accounting records but was conducting further investigations.

Payments to police by private companies are not illegal and are made frequently for events such as the policing of a football match.

But the revelation that a corner of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire was seeking to pay a British police force for unspecified work will fuel the controversy surrounding allegations that NDS supplied the encryption codes of rival companies to hackers in several countries, including Britain, who then created pirated “smart cards” for sale on the black market


And so the sordid story rolls on piece by piece…

Where it will end nobody knows…



March 29. 2012 11:11 AM


From yesterday’s Crikey:

Chenoweth has spent more time than anyone researching and writing about the world’s most powerful family. As we all know, the Murdochs play the game hard, so News Corp has long campaigned to undermine Chenoweth’s employment at Fairfax, claiming he is biased, obsessed and full of conspiracy theories.

There has been a recent regime change at Fairfax with Hywood coming in and removing Michael Gill and Glenn Burge, the duo who ran The AFR for the previous decade. They were replaced by two News Corp recruits from The Australian  — Brett Clegg and Michael Stutchbury — who both had spent many years previously at The Fin.

What to do with Chenoweth was always going to be an interesting question for The AFR’s new leadership team. The timeframe of the various moves is important to note:

February 7, 2011: Greg Hywood replaces Brian McCarthy as CEO of Fairfax.
March 21, 2011: Hywood removes Gill and Burge and Clegg announced as AFR supremo, sparking tough News Ltd moves to enforce some gardening leave.

July 4, 2011: UK phone hacking scandal explodes, sparking a series of articles by Chenoweth in The AFR which is editorially leaderless.

September 28, 2011: Clegg finally settles in as AFR CEO and immediately poaches Michael Stutchbury from The Australian to be editor.

Early November, 2011: Chenoweth takes annual leave and long service leave from The AFR to help the BBC’s flagship investigative program Panorama research allegations about News Corp’s role in global pay-TV piracy.
March 27, 2012: The Panorama program goes to air and The AFR carries a two-page Chenoweth spread summarising the allegations.

March 28, 2012:The AFR goes super-hard with five pages of new Chenoweth allegations, including details of hacking and piracy involving NDS in the Australian pay-TV market.

In the end, The AFR’s hand was effectively forced by the quality and gravity of what Panorama produced. It would have looked very strange to see an AFR reporter helping the BBC drop a bombshell without sharing the goodies around.

However, The AFR’s decision to go so hard today was still very brave. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the Fairfax empire follows up. Will there be editorials damning the unethical Murdoch empire?

While there have always been plenty of competitors and journalists who take pot-shots at News Corp, the key to its power has been an ability to keep compliant regulators and politicians on side. That all changed in the UK when everyone turned on News Corp over phone hacking. News of the World was closed, scores of employees have been arrested, the BSkyB mop-up takeover was abandoned and there are now serious prospects the company will be kicked out of Britain in disgrace.


Neil Chenoweth of Fairfax (AFR), Nick Davies (The Guardian), Stephen Mayne (Crikey, shareholder), Tom Watson (UK Labour)…Panorama team…PBS Frontline team…Robert Greenwald and team…

just some of the people and groups not afraid of giant media octopi with lots of extra tentacles.

Helping to restore democracy…and media ethics…balance.



March 29. 2012 11:25 AM


I disagree with Greg Jericho @ The Drum on his criticism of the government's car subsidy...it's a pittance compared to overseas subsidies...too many workers and businesses rely on these car industries across Australia...during these wobbly, uncertain economic times we can't afford to let so many employers crash...

especially as people need stable incomes due to their mortgage commitments...

not all can afford to spend time being retrained, on the dole, going to uni...working in two jobs to try and get similar pay (think of health costs).

Let's get with the real world.

As for Abbott,

If Abbott wins and cuts the mining tax…and revenue continues to decrease…and rebates are handed back to the upper middle class…and the GST goes up…and bracket creep is permitted to happen…and the NBN is screwed with…and some well-off people take time off via the Rolls Royce Paid Parental Leave Scheme…and others have nannies pushing babies prams along city sidewalks and thru parks…

well, everytime people have problems with their internet…everytime they feel service delivery has slowed, say in public hospitals…everytime they see their prescription drug costs go up…and get stuck in traffic because someone failed to build the appropriate congestion alleviating infrastructure…and hear that their child’s school cannot afford new computers…nor essential maintenance…

they are going to blame Tony Abbott. Alongside the premiers.

The man who defended the mega-rich miners.

Everytime they suffer…have to make sacrifices…cutback…fork out more on medicine…get to work late due to traffic…wait forever for cancer-related services…feel their internet could be better…

They will think of Tony Abbott.

Santa Claus for the upper middle class…and rich.



March 29. 2012 11:28 AM

Ad astra reply

Thank you so much for continuing the links service, which we value so much.  I've just read Greg Jericho's piece - it was excellent analysis, as usual, even if one does not agree with all his conclusions.

We are getting on the road soon to Melbourne.  I'll be back this evening.

Ad astra reply

March 29. 2012 11:30 AM


Have a wonderful time. Enjoy the wedding. You deserve a good break.

As does Lyn.



March 29. 2012 12:29 PM

Ad astra reply

Thanks.  It will be a great family weekend in a lovely venue on the south-west coast.

I'm closing down this iMac now and will use the portable computer and the iPad to keep in touch.

Ad astra reply

March 29. 2012 12:58 PM


Just watched the Prime Minister and Senator Conroy on the NBN release.  It is good to see a strong person handling the press with ease now.  Didn't hear Sir Liealot's name once......only the 'opposition'.  Hope that keeps up.


March 29. 2012 01:20 PM


I apologise to anyone who doesn't share my ongoing interest in the Pay TV piracy allegations being made against News Corp. They may well prove to be the most significant story involving a media house/s during 2012. This has the potential to bring the entire house crashing down.

For those who are interested:

News Corp subsidiary paid British Police
by Angus Grigg   AFR

News Corp subsidiary NDS had a special account for making payments to British police and informants, emails obtained by The Australian Financial Review reveal.

The News story that kept changing
by Neil Chenoweth     AFR

Rupert Murdoch’s media empire was ready to fight back against claims that it promoted television piracy against its rivals, and the emails were flying back and forth between News Corporation executives in Britain and the office of the chairman in New York.

Federal police join News probe
by Laura Tingle & Gemma Daley

The Financial Review’s investigation comes as the competition regulator examines the proposed takeover of Austar by Foxtel, which is 25 per cent owned by News, in a $1.9 billion deal that would cement its dominance of pay TV in Australia.

Foxtel Responds To News Ltd Scandal
by David Richards     Channel News

News Ltd yesterday issued a statement claiming it had done nothing illegal and the AFR story was full of "factual inaccuracies" and "fanciful conclusions".
Using their own publication, they claimed the AFR allegations were rejected by News Limited in a strongly worded statement that accused the newspaper of "selective" reporting. "The story is full of factual inaccuracies, flawed references, fanciful conclusions and baseless accusations which have been disproved in overseas courts," News Limited said.


Pay TV piracy claims bring a fresh storm for News Corp
by Bruce Arnold     The Conversation

News Corporation has previously and consistently denied any role in fostering pay TV piracy. Foxtel has also denied any involvement in promoting piracy and says it has a strong record of combating the problem. It is currently in the process of acquiring satellite broadcaster, Austar.


March 29. 2012 01:31 PM


The man who hopes to save Republican WisconsinItes...the man who would be president:

Mitt Romney Tells 'Humorous' Story About Father Closing A Michigan Factory

The Huffington Post  |  By Amanda Terkel
Posted: 03/28/2012 5:31 pm Updated: 03/28/2012 6:58 pm

At the outset of his 35-minute conference call, Romney told what he thought was a "humorous" story about how his father once shut down a factory in Michigan and moved production to Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

One of [the] most humorous I think relates to my father. You may remember my father, George Romney, was president of an automobile company called American Motors. ... They had a factory in Michigan, and they had a factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and another one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And as the president of the company he decided to close the factory in Michigan and move all the production to Wisconsin. Now later he decided to run for governor of Michigan and so you can imagine that having closed the factory and moved all the production to Wisconsin was a very sensitive issue to him, for his campaign.


BWAHA HA HA HA...Mitt's a killer...

Only he could turn layoffs into something hilarious...

What next?

A standup routine on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon...taking the piss out of some rich schmuck who runs a state as governor oneday pushing  healthcare policy that is influential...the next running away from it like it's his grandfather in drag...pretending he doesn't know it...would never impose it on the wider public?

Must have a  mormonic sense of humour eh?



March 29. 2012 03:15 PM


From Frontline:

How Does News Corp. Make Its Money?

March 27, 2012, 10:08 pm ET by Sam Bailey and Gretchen Gavett

By all accounts, Rupert Murdoch loves newspapers. Last month, with his media empire under assault from the ongoing phone-hacking scandal, he personally arrived in London for the launch of a Sunday edition of The Sun. “Having a winning paper is the best answer to our critics,” he wrote in a staff-wide e-mail.

But as the graphic below shows, Murdoch’s beloved newspapers have become a smaller and smaller part of his empire over the past 10 years. As three former News Corp. executives recently told The New York Times, News Corp. today has become “a sports and entertainment company with a newspaper problem.


I gotta get myself a sports team, a sports channel or twelve…maybe a movie & tv channel…

and of course some news channels I can spruik my product on…

perhaps a cable, payTV network…to advertise more…make some more bucks so I can buy the best players…

of course some newspapers and internet sites would help the promotion…especially if I use a few tits & asses…fear-mongering, dog-whistling, fabrications and exagerrated stories to get attention…

I can dump the papers once everyone’s online…most of the staff are expendable grunts anyway…

I could then afford to own a business channel…point people in the direction of my preferences…turn them off my competitors…until I takeover their patch…then they’ll come grovelling…

Not necessarily in that order…but my grandiose dream could become a reality…

Provided the elite know of Mummy and Daddy and Grandad…and how wonderful and intelligent and charitable and moneysmart our family is…

and brave and radical of course…got to show them I can get down in the trenches too…give the Poms a good middle finger…

Stick it to the elite and all that…deny I’m part of it…gotta talk like I’m one of the mob…

I’ll get the papers to be my common man voice…yes, good idea…now I really have a hard-on…

I mean being part of an influential dynasty has to have some benefits…RIGHT?

in fact, I could own the world…

Politicians, police, sports stars, celebrities, media hosts, journalists, private eyes, CEOs, presidents, intelligence officers, security guards, music sports & film critics, public debates, studios, refs, coaches, generals, directors, producers….gasp!

I could send off a daily email to my Mother…


N ‘


March 29. 2012 04:50 PM

Patricia WA

NormanK, thanks for that great round-up on Murdoch's latest doings, or hopefully - undoings!   Was it only half a year or so ago that we here at TPS were reading and commenting on Ad Astra's post, wondering if the political influence of the Murdoch media had reached its nadir.


We all watched his appearance before the House Committee then and hoped for his come-uppance as he ate humble pie but was paradoxically saved from more searching questions by a little bloke throwing a custard pie at him.   The story then became Wendy Deng springing to the rescue of the poor old fellow.   His share prices haven't dropped that much since. True his son, Jsmes,  has to keep moving away from the heat of it all.

Eating Humble Pie!

Was Rupert Murdoch really humbled
Or knew he had at last been rumbled,
As talk-back raged and bankers grumbled
When News Corp’s share price sharply tumbled?

Poms now scorned their weekly snickers
Over stories which featured randy vicars.
Those scandals were nowhere near as big as
Hacked phones of dead children, or public figures.

So maybe a handsome apology
Was by far the better strategy,
Read as a mea culpa, an elegy
From a great man, at power’s apogée.

Regardless of the reasons why,
He’d reached the point of do or die.
Then fate, in the form of a little guy,
Stepped in, and threw at him a custard pie!

Could we have imagined then how much bigger the scandal around News Corp would become?   Let's hope this time it brings the greedy old bastard to his knees and while he is still compos mentis and able to feel the pain of it all.  


Patricia WA

March 29. 2012 05:38 PM


Nasking:  I like your reference to Jimmy Cagney's last line in White Heat – one of the best gangster movies made.


March 29. 2012 06:03 PM



it's a goodie.



March 29. 2012 06:04 PM


Good poem Patricia.



March 29. 2012 07:28 PM

Patricia WA

Thanks, N'     Looking back at the post on Murdoch I mentioned last July and reading it again and all the comments I felt very nostalgic for Feral Skeleton.  I wish she were here still and we were having those ding dong discussions again.   Lots of give and take!  I know we get peed off with each other from time to time but we basically see eye to eye on the things that matter.   Where are you, FS?  Surely we weren't that unbearable you had to leave us for good?

Patricia WA

March 29. 2012 08:10 PM


Very big 10-4 on Merdeoch being gaoled while still able to feel the pain!

Nobody is talking about his MAJOR crimes though, messing in the Middle East, guess whose side on, fomenting religious hatred in the US and Europe and promoting ignorance and warfare everywhere including the land of his birth which he has so egregiously betrayed.

But this might make you feel better heh heh


Original lyrics


My love pome to


You keep saying you've got something for us,
Something you call News, but confess.
You've been messin' where you shouldn'a been a messin'
And now you're the one that's gettin' in a mess.

These boots are made for kickin', and that's just what they'll do:
Any day now our boots will kick the crap right outa you!

You've kept lyin', when you shoulda been truthin'
And now you're runnin' but there's nowhere to hide:
You kept spyin' and despite your denyin'
You been spied on by the very ones who've been spied -

These boots are made for kickin', and that's just what they'll do
Any day now our boots will kick the crap right outa you.

You're a global outlaw and a warmonger,
And you think you will always get out on bail. HA!
We just found us a big new slew of emails, yeah!
And Rupert Merdeoch you'll be going to gaol!

These boots are made for kickin', and that's just what they'll do!
Any day now our boots will kick the crap right outa you!

. . . Are you ready Boots? . . .

                           START KICKIN'!

recaptcha priated upulgra   . . . pirated you fools


March 29. 2012 08:54 PM


Its interesting that Fairfax is going after Murdoch - is it the grabbing of a commercial opportunity or is it a return to genuine reporting that we have been observing on and off for a while mainly from Fairfax?


March 29. 2012 09:58 PM

Ad astra

It's been a long day - I'll be back tomorrow.

Ad astra

March 29. 2012 11:40 PM


Murdoch Hacking Scandal Could Go Global, Threaten News Corp.’s Core TV Business
by Peter Jukes     The Daily Beast
Three recent revelations in the last two days, however, go beyond intrusions into personal privacy and threaten News Corp.’s core business of broadcasting, satellite, and pay television.

Nanny Sends Tracey and Tony to the Naughty Corner
by Shakira Hussein     The Stump
Tony Abbott’s proposal to provide taxpayer-funded rebates to subside the cost of nannies made me roll my eyes, but not much more. It’s Tony, after all – I don’t expect any better from him.
The string of self-indulgent, self-justifying, sense-of-entitlement utter bullshit articles by female journalists and commentators like Tracy Spicer, on the other hand, makes me want to throw up.

The danger of the 'surplus we had to have'
by Rob Burgess     Business Spectator
Both sides of politics now regard return to surplus as non-negotiable. Labor is making fierce spending cuts (to be unveiled in the May budget), but at least has some revenue from the mining tax to give it wriggle room on politically sensitive areas of public spending. On current estimates, that's $3 or $4 billion a year the Coalition won't have.

NBN Co releases three-year rollout plan
by Renai LeMay     Delimiter
The National Broadband Network company today released a detailed plan of the locations and schedule where it plans to deploy fibre and wireless broadband infrastructure over the next three years, noting that the rollout was slated to hit some 3.5 million premises in 1500 communities in every state and territory in Australia.

NBN may go down to the wire
by Stephen Bartholomeusz     Business Spectator
While both NBN Co and the Gillard government will be anxious to get as much of the network in place and as many homes and business connected ahead of next year’s federal election, the numbers provided today suggest that the Opposition’s plan to halt the rollout and create a different kind of NBN using a mix of different and lower-cost (and lower speed) technologies remains viable.

Compulsory super: it’s good, it works and we want more of it
by Trevor Cook
Life expectancy in Australia has jumped by more than twenty years for men, and by nearly thirty years for women, during the last century. Many people can now expect to live a quarter of their life span in retirement.

‘Freedom of choice does not equate to a right to a government subsidy’
by redglitterx     Turn Left 2013
Freedom of Choice is a mantra for the Right – freedom to choose private schools, private hospitals, private transport, and that often means paid for by someone else.
Those on the Right claim they are against socialism, but they are very much for socialism, when it comes to someone else paying their bills.

Nanny state we cannot afford
by Chris Bowen
Now Mr Abbott will say that he is only proposing a reference to the Productivity Commission. But he has made his predilection clear. Those who complain about a nanny state under Labor need to be careful what they wish for. Tony Abbott may be simply trying to improve his popularity with women. Or he may be letting his interventionist leanings override a more classical liberal approach.

Swan Delivers a Powerful Message
by Stephen Koukoulas
Of huge significance, Swan’s very clear message to the RBA is that it can easily cut interest rates knowing that government demand will be dampening demand and inflation pressures over the forecast horizon.  This message is now filtering through to foreign investors in Australian markets which is seeing the Australian dollar take a few steps lower as the carry trade loses some of its appeal.

Could the cost of living be Abbott’s undoing?
by Tristan Edis     Climate Spectator
Much has been made of the importance of cost of living issues in the decisive victory by the Liberal National Party in the recent Queensland election. Many pundits are suggesting this will also be the undoing of the Gillard Government due to the carbon price. But politicians need to be very careful in pandering to the mob’s demands to lower the price of bread.

Baillieu’s anti-climate strategy doesn’t add up
by Victoria McKenzie-McHarg     REneweconomy
The last two weeks have seen an avalanche of destructive environmental policy from the Baillieu Government. Yesterday, in a double whammy of climate denial, the Baillieu Government dumped Victoria’s target to cut greenhouse pollution by 20 per cent by 2020 and a standard to limit pollution from new power stations. This sends a clear message that polluters are welcome in Ted Baillieu’s Victoria and clean technology investment and jobs are not.


March 30. 2012 12:57 AM


The Long Goodbye: Explaining Gillard’s Collapse
Robert Manne



March 30. 2012 11:32 AM


latikambourke | 20 minutes ago

I see #insiders finally managed to get an Opposition frontbencher to interview. It's Scott Morrison on Sunday.

PaulBongiorno | 16 minutes ago

@meethepress10 The Prime Minister.Her interlocuters, Hugh Riminton, Michelle Grattan and Greg Sheridan. 10.30am Sunday on Ten


March 30. 2012 11:37 AM



Thanks for the link to the Robert Manne article.
Since this is now the second occasion where I find myself in fundamental disagreement with something that you have provided a link to, may I take the opportunity to stress that I am NOT shooting the messenger. The act of providing a link does not automatically equate with endorsement so let me be clear that I'm not having a go at you.
I hope I have worded that satisfactorily because I am really angry at the moment. I have posted the following comment on Mr Manne's article.

What a huge disappointment. Mr Manne my estimations of you have dropped considerably after reading this nonsense.
The first half of this essay relies entirely on opinion polls which are, at best, an unreliable snapshot of voter sentiment and have no predictive qualities. Never-the-less, you are entitled to your opinion based on them.

Let's have a look at the 'strategic errors'.

1. Asylum seekers. "A different policy would have benefited more refugees but would not have been open to political exploitation by a ruthless populist conservative like Tony Abbott."
If you would like to spell out just what this 'different policy' might entail and how it would negate Abbott's ruthless populist race-baiting I'm sure the federal government would at least listen to your proposal. Rudd should have dismantled the horror of the Howard regime but it would not have made him more popular or protected him from Abbott's 'Stop the Boats' rhetoric.

2. BER. The BER was implemented by state and territory departments - any 'waste' or lack of value for money rests with them. In any case, Orgill handed down a 97.3% positive report card. The Coalition in concert with The Australian are responsible for the electorate not recognising that this was a huge success and it doesn't help that you continue to reinforce the negative perception.

HIP. "The home insulation program, however, did the government considerable harm because of its thoughtlessness and because its slovenly implementation cost several lives."
Several reports have shown that the industry is now safer than it was before the roll-out and it dismays me that someone as well-informed as you are should continue to attribute the loss of lives to the scheme. Three out of four deaths were the fault of the employer not following OH&S rules (proven in courts of law) and the fourth was a blatant lack of common sense on the part of the worker, his colleagues and his employer.

3. CPRS. I can't remember a single commentator who predicted that Tony Abbott would assume the leadership (by ONE vote) and scuttle the CPRS. There was bipartisanship on the need for a price on carbon right up until Abbott saw electoral benefit in opposing it. If Turnbull had stayed leader or Hockey had won the vote, we would have Rudd's ETS in place now.
You may be right about the double dissolution - hindsight is a wonderful thing.
You are correct in asserting that postponing the ETS for three years was a fundamental mistake regardless of what part Gillard may have played in calling for it.

4. RSPT. Conceded, it was rushed out with little thought given to the hue and cry that would ensue, especially from a hostile media.

5. Replacing Rudd. We may never know what really happened on that eventful evening. What we can be sure of is that conservative politicians in concert with a conservative media have fanned the flames ever since. Since we don't actually know what prompted the 'coup', all commentary around it is pure speculation.

6. Pricing carbon. "..... having promised the electorate that her government had no intention of introducing a price on carbon ....."
I have no idea why someone such as yourself would choose to promulgate this myth. From The Australian, dated 20/08/10 (the day before the election):
"I don't rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism," she said of the next parliament. "I rule out a carbon tax."
This is the strongest message Ms Gillard has sent about action on carbon pricing.

Yes, Ms Gillard spoke of the scheme as not coming into effect until after the 2013 election but she had no way of knowing that she would be heading up a minority government. It is convenient that you neglect to point out that Oakeshott and Windsor both insisted on the climate change committee. Without the multi-party committee Gillard could not have formed government. It wasn't just Bandt and the Greens who forced her hand on this policy. Windsor has stated on many occasions that it was fundamental to Gillard getting his support.

7. Rudd return. Are you seriously advocating that the Labor Party should undertake a course of action designed to boost their electoral chances rather than forge ahead with a leader who is getting things done? Populist much? A switch back to Rudd would signal to the electorate that Labor had got it wrong in 2010 and would once again make it "impossible for the Labor government to run on its record at the next election" (to borrow your words).

This sort of shallow nonsense is what I would expect from the Murdoch press, not from an esteemed academic such as yourself. The factual errors alone are sufficient reason to dismiss this analysis.


March 30. 2012 11:46 AM


Many fine links this morning thank you again NK.

The Comments on the first link today have either been culled of any pro-Murdoch ones (I don't think so!) or Murdoch enemies are wall-to-wall, because every one spits venom at the bastard. I tell you if he were ever put in the public stocks people would fly from everywhere in the world to throw rotten eggs.

It is diverting to speculate whether there was a certainty that Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler and not bloody least this Murdoch (and his spawn) had to happen.  I think a strong argument could be made for the proposition: it is said that 'nature abhors a vacuum' , well human nature sure exploits any opportunity, and with all those abovenamed, their nature is predatory in the extreme. Each wanted to grab everything everywhere forever for themselves, why this should be so is I suspect beyond us ordinaries but I guess that it's the same answers as Why Climb Everest because it's there and I want to.

But I can find it in my heart to see redeeming features in the motivations of each of Alexander, Julius, Napoleon and Adolf.
I won't make that case, but I don't see any of them, even the last, as being all bad.

But then there's Rupert.

What good is there in this man? Through his mad obsession with controlling media throughout the world he has stupefied its population. He alone, with the power he already wielded 20 years ago or more, could have helped the spread of information, helped the human condition, the care of the planet, become a true hero.

I can see no saving grace in him at all. He has bankrupted competitors by skulduggery, pried into people's private lives with impunity and ruthless determination, but bigger, gargantuan, he has been critical in toppling and creating governments, fomenting division and war, dumbed-down the world as in supporting global hotting denialists, and he alone is more responsible for the parlous state of the entire world than anyone who has ever lived.

Need he have ever arisen out of the World, like one of the many-headed-&/or-horned beasts in the Book of Revelations?
(Thinks . . . could he actually be one of Them???!)
- If he had set himself on the path to being a force for Good, would he have ever controlled what he does now? That is very dubious. Tits and scuttlebutt have done for him what highmindedness and information could never have done I suspect. But only Murdoch was ruthless enough and clever and exponentially powerful enough to pull off such a world coup as he has.

What if he had died in infancy? Would 70% of Australian
media be in one person's hands? Would that same person bestride the whole world like a Colossus? Would journalism - once an honoured and trusted semi-profession eager to be recognised as truly professional - have descended to the pigshit level that it has now? Not denying the few pearls, but they are hard to find - which is why our Links are so precious, to show us those brilliant pearls by altruistic mostly-amateur writers, without the pigshit in the Murdoch-dominated media.    

If not our Rupert, or anything with his singular dominance what might the world media be like?  Would there not be multiple media with a great diversity of views, promoting positive discussion on matters such as world population control, instead of fomenting hostilities and backing the military industry?

Murdoch makes me sick. He makes the world sick. Abbortt would not be in the hunt without Murdoch. I would surmise that this blogsite would never have been started, the need would not have been there, if not for him. No depth of loathing for him will ever be enough. The wars in Iraq and the other situations in the Middle East are more down to him than to any other person. Perhaps it is only coincidence that his secret hacking organisation was based in Haifa, h'mmm.

Let us hope that some sort of the come-uppance which is his long overdue due is on the way for him. Gee I hope the creep gets gaoled for the rest of his life. At least it will be a small measure of revenge and justice for the billions of people he has hurt. Because one way and another and another, we are all his victims. It would have been a better world without him.      


March 30. 2012 11:57 AM


From Australian Financial Review:

At least until now, there has been no known link between the pay TV piracy allegations and the UK phone hacking scandal that has badly damaged News International, the UK arm of News Corp. The egregious phone hacking by journalists and private investigators at News Corp newspapers and other media companies has no known counterpart in Australia.

The evidence uncovered by Chenoweth, however, reveals that NDS paid £2000 to Surrey police for information. Surrey police are at the centre of the UK phone hacking inquiry. In addition, the emails suggest that NDS intended to procure phone records in Australia illegally. The Australian Federal Police has confirmed that it has been working with UK police investigating News International since July last year, but the content of the investigation is not known.

Under Australian law at the time, hacking and piracy of smartcards was not illegal. But the evidence uncovered by Chenoweth raises legitimate questions about corporate governance, accountability and trust at an important public corporation that go beyond the question of legality. News Corp strongly disputes the conclusions of the Financial Review’s investigation.


Governance concerns indeed.

Win at all costs mentality it seems.

Pretty well a culture of do and say anything to ensure profits and expansion.

This doesn’t surprise me…Murdoch’s businesses really took hold in the heady 80s….

The 1980s saw laissez-faire economics and neo-liberalism takeoff…partially in reaction to over-the-top union strikes and militant approaches that hindered economic growth in the 70s…and eastern european communism came under intense criticism and protest…these morally and environmentally bankrupt regimes doing nothing for the cause of social democracy.

Add the spread of cocaine use that made business and other high profile users pumped up, money accumulating obsessed, painfully egotistical, ready to take short cuts, overly confident and aggressive in business, big impulsive spenders…taking crazy risks…energised…

And the rejection of political correctness partially due to its stifling effects on humour, banter, the workplace…and a sense that some in minority groups were taking advantage of laws and government funding…

We must add of course the growth of evangelism…and eventually prosperity evangelism…

And a parallel and exponential growth in tolerance of sexual tittilation and sex-based humour off the back of sexual liberation movements…and partially in response to attacks on contraception and free love in tandem with promotion of family values by born again etc. Christians…and of course the use of sex and nudity to promote products…and hook in viewers…

Advertisers used the liberalisation of the market to reach more living rooms…more often…including using product placement in films…and television…advertising became less regulated...truth and integrity began to fall to the wayside...creating jobs and making moolah and expanding the reach of companies became main priorities...

Sports became more corporatised…

Gay rights issues became more prominent partially due to the tragic AIDS epidemic and slow response by governments…and irrational response by some political and religious figures…gays gained higher profiles as they “came out” or
were exposed by celebrity and scandal fixated media. Gay relationships began to be accepted more by the wider public...but some political figures used gay issues for wedge, scoring points purposes. Aided and abetted by certain media.

And of course the elite tree was being shaken…aristocrats in the UK went broke…new entrepeneurs exploded into public view off the back of new technology…new media...computer games, videos, walkmans…and property investment and resort opportunities…yachts...jets...

So it’s not surprising that this environment that Murdoch’s papers began to thrive in…sometimes they influenced...has driven much of his…and his associates...and long-term staff’s behaviour…and way of looking at the world…and doing business.

Problem for Murdoch is he missed the internet blogging, social network boom for awhile…the transition from papers to the new media...

He got on board too slowly…leading him to push his interests too aggressively the last few years…the bullying and manipulation and profiteering, attention-seeking tactics of his papers and Fox News has become sooo obvious…and led to terrible mistakes…costly outcomes.

And the culture of News corporation has not evolved much since those heady 80s…

even tho some might like to believe so…just more shiny and polished looking.

Times have changed Rupert…you can’t just buy yer way to owning an empire that pushes others around…without intense scrutiny and pushback.

Old enemies have long memories…and also inluence and deep pockets.

And neo-liberalism ain’t what it used to be.

Welcome to our media world.



March 30. 2012 12:15 PM



Thank you for that link.

Like NK I am a bit dismayed at Robert Manne's essay, his graphs I'm sure are accurate and look sad, but I find his analyses dubious and I am in fundamental disagreement with his prognostications for the next election.

I am interested in the next 18 months' graphs, now that Gillard Labor has got the whole wagon-load over the summit!

No NO NO NO NO will only get Abbortt run over and squashed now.  

Perhaps Prof Manne is only writing thus to worry us. Well Matey we don't need your help.

But never fear Swordsfolks and other Goodwillians:



March 30. 2012 12:39 PM

Ad astra

I have just posted No Tony, it’s the Abbott brand that’s toxic to give you something to bite on over the weekend while I’m at a family wedding.  I won’t be around much until we return to Melbourne on Monday afternoon.


You may wish to repost your great set of links on the new piece.

Ad astra

April 5. 2012 04:44 PM


Don't forget that Abbott won the leadership by one vote with one absentee. Since then one of his supporters has left the party to become Speaker. He's a minority leader!


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