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No Tony, it’s the Abbott brand that’s toxic

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Friday, 30 March 2012 12:32 by Ad astra
toxic adj: 1. containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation
2. extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful.

Tony Abbott, the second definition fits you to a tee.

You are fond of describing things as ‘toxic’: the ‘toxic’ carbon tax; the Labor brand is ‘toxic’. You repeat these slogans over and again so that they become a mantra, one that you hope will embed itself in the minds of the people, one you hope they will repeat mindlessly as if it was celestial wisdom handed down from on high.

It’s a curious phenomenon that individuals see in others an attribute that characterizes their own behaviour, yet remain oblivious to it. That is you. You insist that others are toxic, but you remain unaware that you are toxic; the Abbott brand is toxic.

While you make little attempt to explain why you insist that the Labor brand is toxic, presumably assuming that merely articulating your assertion often enough will make it true, I will not leave you wondering why your brand, the Abbott brand, is toxic.

Climate change toxicity
Perhaps the most dangerously toxic aspect of the Abbott brand is your attitude to climate change. Here you are, day after day, insisting that the carbon tax is toxic, yet never mentioning that it is designed to diminish the toxic effect of greenhouse gases that threaten the world’s climate, irreversibly if we do nothing to reduce carbon emissions.

The future of the planet and its habitability for future generations – your grandchildren and mine – seems to be of no concern to you. Which leads to the conclusion that those words you uttered in the Victorian country town of Beaufort reflected your true belief: that ‘climate change is crap’. Of course you have gone to great lengths since then to insist that this is not your true belief, that carbon dioxide levels are increasing and that human activity is contributing to that, but you have never come out and said unequivocally that global warming is a serious threat to which we must react vigorously. Why? Because you don’t believe it is.

To perpetrate your denialist view is toxic, toxic to our environment, toxic to our future. It allays the concerns that we all ought to have about global warming, and engenders a ‘she’ll be right mate’ approach, which we Aussies are ever ready to embrace, an approach that will leave us, and especially future generations, exposed to the devastating effects of global warming. Of course if you really think this is all crap, I suppose your actions could be justified, but if that is so, why not come out and say so in unequivocal terms? No, you want to hide behind the cloak of feigning belief in global warming while opposing every effort the Government is making to reverse it. That is toxic – it is malicious and harmful.

And to think that had Malcolm Turnbull won the party ballot in 2009, this country would already have an ETS, supported by all parties. There would be no talk of a ‘toxic tax’, and everyone – commerce, industry, unions and the people – would have accepted an ETS as necessary, and would be already adapting to the changes needed. Your influence has been harmful, dangerously toxic.

Of course you have an unashamed climate denialist colleague in Barnaby Joyce, in parliament and on any TV outlet that will have him, rabbitting on about the toxic carbon tax, asking how much it will reduce atmospheric temperature, how much of the Barrier Reef it will save, how many floods or droughts it will prevent – all stupid questions, stupid because Australia’s carbon tax is just one of many, one of a total designed to have a global effect. It never seems to occur to him that since global warming is a global phenomenon, a global approach is required and since Australia is part of the globe it has an obligation as a world citizen to contribute to the global effort. Like you, he seems to have no notion of global responsibility; he seems to think that others can do the heavy lifting and that Australia, with the highest per capita pollution in the world, can shirk its obligation. That attitude is toxic to our planet.

The toxicity has spread. No sooner had Campbell Newman taken office in Queensland than he directed Greg Withers, Director of the Office of Climate Change, to dismantle all of the eight carbon reduction schemes that he set up, including the $430 million Queensland Climate Change Fund, the $50 million Renewable Energy Fund, the $50 million Smart Energy Savings Program and the Future Growth Fund that spent $405 million last year on clean-coal technology, climate change programs, and transport and water infrastructure, and the 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target, thereby saving the Government an estimated $270 million.

Ted Baillieu in Victoria has abandoned Victoria’s target of 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, established by John Brumby because Victoria is a heavily polluting state, so as to save the $2 billion needed to purchase international offsets. The State Labor Opposition's climate spokeswoman Lisa Neville asks: “Are they at all committed to addressing the concerns of climate change? Are they at all committed to ensuring that Victoria, which is a large emitter in the country, is well placed to try and tackle that into the future?” The answer seems to be NO.

Do Coalition governments believe in global warming and the urgent need to reduce emissions? Or have they adopted your toxic attitude to this deadly environmental problem, one that requires no effective action on their part? Christine Milne believes they are ‘acting out their climate change denialism’.

I know you will respond by quoting the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan, but you never point out that this will result in a $1300 impost on each family per year, and that it will be much more costly than the Government’s carbon tax. And you never explain how it will actually work. You talk blithely about storing carbon in soil, planting trees and using smart technology. You deride the carbon tax as the ‘dumb’ way, while you extol your plan as the ‘smart’ way. This is disingenuously toxic. You perpetrate this nonsense because you know most of the people will accept it unthinkingly, and that most of the MSM will not challenge it. Fortunately some do. One is Ben Rose, an environmental scientist.

Writing in Climate Spectator, in an article Greg Hunt’s carbon illusion, he says: “Like Labor, the Coalition has committed to reduce carbon emissions 5 per cent by 2020. But the Libs’ ‘Direct Action’ plan has been dubbed ‘soil magic’ because over 60 per cent of reductions – 85 million tonnes of CO2 per year – are to be taken up by soil. A scant page in their 30-page policy tells us this will be achieved for the amazingly low price of $10/tonne but offers no more detail…There is a simple reason why the Libs won’t tell us more. The cheap soil carbon ‘offsets’ they plan to create will 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…The Coalition’s ‘Direct Action’ is a ‘do nothing’ carbon policy.”

Rose estimates “Up to 22 million tonnes of Kyoto compliant soil carbon offsets at prices of $25 - $200 per tonne may be generated from cleared agricultural land”, and goes on to quote the 2010 estimate of McKenzie et al that “for carbon trading to be economically attractive for Australian dairy farmers, the carbon price would have to be at least $200 per tonne of CO2”, much higher than the Government’s initial price of $23 per tonne.

In other words Tony Abbott, your DAP is a sham, and an expensive one at that, more expensive than the Government’s internationally lauded carbon tax. Your DAP would provide no compensation to households for increases in electricity and other costs, yet you have the temerity to call the Government’s carbon tax ‘toxic’. It is your scheme that is toxic. You are perpetrating a massive fraud on the Australian public. That is toxic. The Abbott brand is toxic – malicious and harmful.

That’s not all on the ‘toxic tax’ front. You willingly participated in a ‘stop the carbon tax’ protest in Canberra organized by shock jock Alan Jones and alongside Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Mirabella you knowingly stood in front of offensive ‘Ditch the Witch’, ‘Bob Brown’s Bitch’ and ‘Ju-liar’ posters. That was toxic. It reinforced how toxic the Abbott brand is.

Parliamentary toxicity
You have reduced parliament to the status of a boxing circus with your aggressive questions and your fifty motions ‘to suspend standing and sessional orders’, motions that you use to heap scorn and abuse on our PM in a most shameful and undignified manner, you the man who says he will be ‘the next elected PM’ of Australia, a prospect that horrifies. Your negative, obstructionist, combative behaviour there is toxic, your influence is toxic, and your example induces others to be similarly toxic. Just look at the behaviour of Christopher Pyne, Joe Hockey and Julie Bishop to see what I mean. The Abbott brand is toxic – harsh, malicious and harmful.

There is no need for more details here; they are displayed in gruesome detail in the last piece: Abbott’s atrophy. And if we needed any more evidence of your propensity to shoot from the lips with offensive remarks, it is your recent endorsement of Germaine Greer’s tasteless comments about Julia Gillard’s dress and shape. In typical style you now admit you should not have said what you did; no doubt you will seek forgiveness, as usual.

Asylum seeker toxicity
Look at this introduction to a segment on the ABC’s PM on 27 March titled: UNHCR scathing of asylum seeker debate: “‘Negative’, ‘hostile’ and ‘toxic’. That's how the United Nations High Commission for Refugees sees the asylum seeker debate in Australia. 

And the UNHCR's regional representative says it's part of the reason for a drop in claims. 

A United Nations report into asylum seeker trends across the world shows a 20 per cent upward spike in applications to industrialised countries last year. Australia's spike was downward. 
There was a 9 per cent drop in claims here, the first fall in six years...and that's mainly due to fewer boat arrivals.”

The regional representative, Rochard Towle, used the word ‘toxic’ advisedly. You have contributed to this toxicity by refusing to accept any other than your own solution to boat arrivals: Nauru for processing, TPVs, and your infamous ‘turn back the boats’ policy.

Although the Government compromised by agreeing to reopen Nauru if you supported the Malaysia arrangement, and prepared legislation that would allow any government to arrange its preferred offshore processing, you said NO, as usual. So we have an impasse. You insisted on your solution to the exclusion of any other, insisted it would work as it had in the past despite receiving advice from Immigration Department secretary Andrew Metcalfe and Australia's Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues James Larsen that reviving the Pacific Solution alone was not a viable option, and in the face of advice from the Navy that turning boats around was dangerous and impractical. You persisted with this policy although the Indonesians objected that you would be simply pushing the problem back to them. Relationships with our nearest neighbour were less important to you than getting your own way. It was left to Julie Bishop to smooth ruffled Indonesian feathers.

Again, the Abbott brand was toxic.

Confronted with the UNHCR-established fact that arrivals by boat had diminished, Scott Morrison, infected too with Abbott brand toxicity, simply denied the fact; instead quoting increased arrivals during this summer. Facts mean nothing to either of you if they do not suit your argument. What hope is there of a rational discussion when facts are airily dismissed. You both exhibit breathtaking duplicity, Abbott brand toxicity.

Toxic economics
We all know of your disinterest in economics, and with Peter Costello affirming your ineptitude, it is not surprising you say very little on the subject, and that what you do say doesn’t have a ring of authenticity. You have your few slogans: ‘stop the waste’, ‘reduce the debt’, ‘stop the toxic carbon tax’, but you leave most statements on economics to Joe Hockey, your shadow treasurer.

Despite a degree in economics, Joe seems to be able to make incomprehensible statements that defy the principles of the discipline – disparagingly labelled ‘Hockeynomics’ by economists – mixing them as he does with his battery of catchphrases: the Labor Government is ‘addicted to spending’, it ‘cannot manage money’, Australia has a ‘massive debt’, is paying ‘a million dollars a day in interest’ and this borrowing is ‘putting upward pressure on interest rates’, ‘interest rates will always be lower under a Coalition Government’, and ‘Labor will never bring in a surplus budget’. It does not seem to bother him that Australia has the lowest debt to GDP ratio in the developed world, that interest rates are going down, and are now well below what they were under the Howard Government. Facts are irrelevant if they get in the way of his assertions.

How would you describe these statements? They are disingenuous. I call them toxic because they distort the facts, they misinform, they give the impression of a fiscally incompetent Government, which of course they are intended to do. Here we have your characteristic Abbott brand toxicity – harsh, malicious and harmful.

It is when it comes to budgetary costings though that all the defectiveness of Hockeynomics are exposed. Who will forget the lamentable performance of the Coalition’s economics team at the time of the 2011 Budget? You, Tony Abbott, handballed the details to Joe, who in turn passed them onto Andrew Robb, who came up with a page of ‘savings’ that revealed an $11 billion dollar hole that the team was unprepared to explain, in fact even denied it existed, relying instead on its validation by an ‘audit’ by HK Howarth, a Perth-based accounting firm that accepted the Coalition’s assumptions behind the costings and certified only that the sums added up. Subsequently, two of its staff was fined for improper conduct in carrying out this work, which was never a proper audit.

‘Incompetence’ would be the best word to describe the Coalition team’s budgeting efforts, but when all three insisted that despite the accountants responsible being found guilty of improper conduct they still ‘stood by’ the costings – try ‘deceitful’. To this day they quote these savings as part of the estimated $70 billion of savings needed to meet their budgetary commitments for the 2012 Budget, which they refuse to submit to the Parliamentary Budgetary Office for scrutiny.

Andrew Robb is more economically competent and because this is so, makes statements that call into question Hockey’s assertions. Inconsistency has been the hallmark of the utterances of the economics team, to the despair of economists who struggle to understand them. Mathias Cormann is a shadowy figure; indeed he is shadow assistant treasurer, who emerges periodically to make statements that are sometimes at odds with what other members of the team are saying; again inconsistency prevails.

Although Barnaby Joyce was understandably removed from anything to do with finance long ago he still makes forays into economics and talks his usual dangerous gobbledygook, which is not just wrong, it is irresponsible. His latest blooper was his suggestion that Government cheques might bounce!

For this team to make disparaging remarks about the Government economics team, one that shielded this nation from the worse effects of the GFC, that has had wide international recognition, one that boasts Euromoney’s ‘Finance Minister of the Year’, is a measure of the audacity and pretentiousness of the Coalition and you, its leader.

This piece is already long enough. It is sufficient to expose the toxicity the Coalition exhibits under your leadership.

It argues that it is not the Labor brand or the carbon tax that is toxic, but instead the Abbott brand.

Tony Abbott, why do you call Labor toxic? Is it because the people are now voting in Coalition governments in place of Labor governments at a State level, most spectacularly in Queensland, so that only two Labor states remain? If that is your reason, were governments ‘toxic’ when the electorate voted in wall-to-wall Labor, or when they voted in a predominance of Coalition governments? Is not the cyclical nature of politics a more likely explanation of these variations than ‘toxicity’? Otherwise you would have to argue that when the people voted out a Labor government is was because the Labor brand was toxic, but when it voted out a Coalition government it was not because the Coalition brand was toxic. You simply choose, for political purposes, to portray Labor as universally toxic, and therefore to be voted into oblivion.

Why is the carbon tax ‘toxic’? Only because you say it is so. Why is your DAP, which is more costly and less plausible, not ‘toxic’. Only because you say it is not.

Having asked these questions of you, I ought to explain why this piece maintains it is the Abbott brand that is toxic. Here is why:

Because you and your spokespeople have made a mockery of climate change and the need for urgent and effective action, because you have opposed every Government effort to combat climate change, and because have proposed a phony plan that is costly, impractical, and futile.

Because you have reduced parliamentary behaviour to a contemptible level, to a level of nastiness, obstruction and negativity that plumbs new depths.

Because you have diminished debate on asylum seekers to a level described by the UNHCR commissioner as ‘negative, hostile and toxic’.

Because you have prostituted economics to the level of make-believe, where figures can be whatever you want them to be, and words can mean whatever you want them to mean.

It is the Abbott brand that richly deserves the ‘toxic’ tag. Wear it. You‘ve earned it, not just once, but again and again.

Comments (115) -

March 30. 2012 12:57 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
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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 01:05 PM


What an absolute crock of proverbial. Your time and energy would be better used working out ways for the ALP to retain party status when the cricket bats are brandished in eighteen months time. Attacking Tony Abbott isn't working. It won't work. The ALP are about to be wiped from the political landscape and not a moment too soon. If Tony Abbott snatches a new born from its mother's arms in a shopping centre and sacrifices it on the alter of the Information desk he WILL STILL WIN. He is a man of more integrity and decency than the entire cobbled together monstrosity that currently co-habit the bowels of this Government. Let's see Julia 'go scoreboard' after the people - remember us, the pleb taxpaying sheepie? - finally get our say in 2013. Print your contribution off and nail it to the dunny wall, at least that way it might be useful one day.


March 30. 2012 01:49 PM


Ad Astra

What a fantastic follow up to your previous topic.  You have nailed 'Toxic Tony' to the wall.  Now for a way to make the Australian population see the truth.  Thank you, oh and have a good weekend at the wedding.


March 30. 2012 03:18 PM

Patricia WA

NormanK - just come from reading your brilliant critique of Robert Manne's article.  I recognised your style and sentiment even without that distinctive name!

At first glance of his title I had thought that Manne might be going to explain PM Gillard's situation in terms of a several decades' long decline in Labor's vote, but it was all about opinion polls essentially since Julia Gillard was ALP Deputy Leader and then Prime Minister.   Not that he was that specific but I felt he could hardly wait to get in to blaming her for it all.  

I made the mistake of not copying my own reply before it went into moderation.  So all my huffing and puffing may be lost forever!  Essentially my argument was that if he was judging Julia Gillard's collapse only in terms of opinion polls then the question he should be asking is why a good government is unable to get its message across in the face of Tony Abbott's  dishonest and ruthlessly popularist sloganeering backed overwhelmingly by our media and corporate greed.

And yes, Ad Astra, it is Tony Abbott who is toxic.  Pure poison to his party and potentially to our country.  Given our democratic processes we have every right to expect focussed and constructive criticism of this government and its legislation.  At the same time we should have some idea of the alternative policies the opposition has or is developing, particularly given the precarious majority on which the government depends.  The Coalition could be in government almost overnight and we have no idea of what it stands for.  

Patricia WA

March 30. 2012 03:49 PM

Per Ardua

Norman @ 1137.  Congrats on taking apart Robert Manne's spurious diatribe.  After reading it I was really P..... Off like your good self and thought someone must do something about this - I was almost tempted to put finger to keyboard myself. Luckily I found that you had already done so brilliantly. You certainly have the "Knack" and saved me from embarrassing myself.  Keep up the good work

Per Ardua

March 30. 2012 04:45 PM


Yet another brilliant examination of the man who would be king...I mean PM.

Toxic indeed. Spreading far and wide.

As I wrote elsewhere,
by attacking the PM in that obnoxious, leering, sneering schoolboy way Abbott might think he’s getting the ocker, women stereotyping hubbies on side…

but they don’t always sit in the pub, hotels sculling a beer moaning….many go home to their wives…who they respect…even if it’s begrudging…and as younger men they’d have put another man on his arse if he’d spoken about their wives or daughters like that in public.

I don’t think Abbott is getting much respect for his dopey, rude comments directed at the Prime Minister.

Noone in their right mind wants the pub idiot running their country.

As for his thought bubbles...kids might find them appealing to burst...but I reckon most adults see them for the temporary things they are.



March 30. 2012 04:51 PM


Btw, I'm heading off for most of the next couple of weeks...will try and pop in occasionally.

Great posts the past few weeks...

And many enlightening, informative, imaginative and useful comments & links.

Well done all.

Enjoy the rest of  yer time away Ad and Lyn.

Keep up the great work JohnL and Norman.

And those beaut poems TT & Patricia.




March 30. 2012 04:59 PM

Ad astra

I’m not sure whether you have visited TPS before, but anyway welcome and thank you for leaving your comment that reflects your view of Tony Abbott and the Labor Government.  I couldn’t let your comment pass without a response.

I find it incredible that you can assert that: ”He is a man of more integrity and decency than the entire cobbled together monstrosity that currently co-habit the bowels of this Government”, an assertion which flies in the face of all the evidence that is assembled in this piece.  You do not refute any of it, being satisfied only to attest to his ‘integrity and decency’.

Clearly, you will vote for this man although he insists he will repeal the ‘toxic’ carbon tax, a tax designed to inhibit polluters from pouring toxic levels of CO2 into the atmosphere to the extent that it threatens our planet and future generations.  You will vote for him although he will remove all the benefits that flow from the tax: the family benefits and compensation and the pension increase.  Instead you will be happy cough up $1300 per family for Abbott’s much more costly yet ineffective scheme.

You would no doubt endorse the Barnaby Joyce view that as a global citizen this country ought not to contribute in any way to reducing carbon pollution.  Perhaps, like Abbott, you believe climate change really is crap.

You will vote for Abbott although he will repeal the tax on the super profits miners make when they dig up our mineral wealth, wealth Abbott believes should not be shared amongst us all, but rather kept by the billionaire miners.  You will vote for him even although the benefits that flow from the tax will largely disappear: the raising of the tax free threshold that will be such a boon to lower income earners, the lowering of company tax, and the building of urgently needed infrastructure.

You will vote for him although he insists he will turn the boats around, despite advice to the contrary from the Navy, despite the danger to boatpeople and Navy personnel, despite the upset that will cause to relationships with our Indonesian neighbours.  You will endorse his Nauru solution despite expert advice that it will not work.

You will give him your vote despite his abusive, unbecoming performance every day in parliament, and his regular indiscretions for which he finds himself having to apologize, recent ones being the ‘bullseye’ remark and the ‘I agree with Germaine Greer’ comment about our PM, one I thought you as a female would find offensive.  You will accept that it is OK for the man who wants to be PM to behave in this way.

You will vote for him despite the appalling understanding he and his shadow treasurer have of economics and their unbelievable promises and undertaking to find $70 billion of savings to pay for Abbott’s extravagant ‘signature’ PPL scheme and his ‘nanny’ brainstorm.  You will believe them when the say their costings are valid when economists say they are not and the accountants that ‘certified’ them were fined for improper conduct for doing so.  Are you gullible enough to believe what Abbott, Hockey and Barnaby Joyce say on the economics front, while economists giggle at their ignorance and ineptitude?

You seem to be a trusting person who is prepared to go along with Tony Abbott, multiple warts and all, and welcome him as PM of this country.  I can’t comprehend how you or anyone else could contemplate such a dire outcome.  But then there is no accounting for taste and others’ opinion.

Ad astra

March 30. 2012 05:29 PM

Catching up

Terrific summing up.  If possible, a little understated.

Catching up

March 30. 2012 05:35 PM

Ad astra

Many thanks for reposting your links.  I’ll get round to reading your critique of the Robert Manne piece this evening.

Thank you for your kind comment.  I’m glad you enjoyed the exposure of the toxic Abbott brand.

We are already at the coast for the wedding and the kids are arriving.  It promises to be a great weekend together.

Patricia WA
Thank you too for your supportive words.  From what you have said about NormanK’s appraisal of the Manne piece, I can’t wait to read it.

Per Ardua
Your comments about what NormanK wrote is a further inducement to read it.

Thank you for your generous comments and your good wishes.  It will be a great weekend with the family.

Have a great break yourself.

Catching up
Thank you – I enjoy your sense of humour.  Caroline would not concur.

Ad astra

March 30. 2012 05:48 PM

Mark Hyde

As a new reader to this Blog and recent progressive identifier I have to challenge the assertion that Abbott will win on a scale like in Queensland.
I have spent quite a few years really skeptically apathetic to the whole political process int this country and voted Independent in my little non-consequential NSW country electorate happy in the knowledge that our interests were best served by that Independent in the Federal parliament. All the while Labor had it's machinations with leadership spills, gaffes, policy missteps and the eventuall implosion during thew 2010 Federal Election. Since that time i have not seen a political leader's resolve and conviction on display as I have in Gillard. Now or in the past. To me she is very underrated.
In the 2010 Federal Election it is obvious if you go to the result page on the AEC website that Abbott himself was NOT the preferred choice for this country. And any status he won since or gravitas he has gained since has been at the expense of something very simple. Sound policy. Every stunt has gotten him attention and media interest, not because of the strength of his argument, but simply because of the crass and shallow way he has delivered it.  Now I agree very much with the view the government DOES need to be more positive and proactive in prosecuting the benefit of it's policies and to me it can do that by not taking Abbott's bait with his games. Engage him directly on policy. Supporters of him seem to be convinced that he is the Second Coming, some sort of Menzies Messiah but you know I don't think so. My suspicion is that the Australian people are right to be wary of him politically for a reason. For the life of me I can't see past his political stunts to see why I think that but truly, even if Labor wins or loses I'm firmly convinced that him as our PM will be disastrous.

Domestically and internationally even more so than a blow in from NSW state politics as Australia's Foreign Minister. So between now and the next Federal election. Take another look at your choice. Think really hard about where he'll be then and what policies he's likely to present, if any. To date thewy haven't been substantial or visionary....that might not lose him the election, but it will certainly give Labor a awfully good fighting chance. Something thought impossible even a few months ago if not a year or 2 ago. The veneer is slowly slipping....the 'real' Abbott will show himself soon once the pressure gets stronger and we'll see if voters generally will warm to him. My suspicion is that they were right the first time...in 2010.

Mark Hyde

March 30. 2012 06:23 PM


Mark Hyde

I hope there are another 999,999 people just like you out there!
The more time that passes the higher the likelihood of disengaged voters coming to realise that they are currently being extremely well-governed. Also the higher the likelihood that they will recognise just how hollow the Hollow Man is.


March 30. 2012 06:35 PM

Patricia WA

Thanks, Mark.    You are quite right.   Julia Gillard is very under rated!   And deliberately so by those who fear her.  Once Australians come to appreciate her as she should be, even as she was once known  before she became PM, she will lead this country for many years.  Obviously the right and big business fear that and are willing to support toxic Tony Abbott with all his negative and ruthless sloganeering and his incompetent Coalition  team. Even some intelligent men on the left really don't want Julia Gillard leading the ALP either.  Hence we get articles like that of Robert Manne which NormanK was quick to criticise, as you can read here at TPS at 11.37 this morning www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2012/03/26/Abbott’s-atrophy.aspx

NormanK, they did print my comment.   After thanking you for your response with which I agreed I went on to say
I found Norman Manne's choice of title somewhat misleading, given his illustration with its foreground focus on Julia Gillard against those fading images of the men of the historic Australian Labour Party.   This was no serious analysis of 'voting' realities over the decades, as I had been led to expect.   The only 'statistics' offered were of opinion polls since  since 2001.

The question he really wants to address and which he goes to some lengths to attempt to anwer i.e.  "How is the unpopularity of the Gillard government to be explained?"  doesn't need the backdrop of the left's patriarchy coloring his article.    That opinion polls table, appropriately labelled,  will do to illustrate the obvious and simple answer to his question.

That answer being,  the ruthless popularism of a dishonest and sloganeering Opposition Leader overwhelmingly and consistently supported by Murdoch media outlets  (70% of print alone!)  and rightist influences in corporate broadcasting generally (including the national broadcaster),  funded by mining and other interests impacted by Labor's reforms, particularly carbon pricing and the mining super profitys tax.    What more brazen example of the last than Clive Palmer's role in the Queensland election?    Twiggy Forrest and Gina Rinehart, as his allies in his anti-Labor federal campaign,  are a constant presence in print and electronic news stories,  almost more visible than our Prime Minister.

Robert Manne's loose interchange of 'carbon tax' with 'carbon price' in his paragraph on climate change above  suggests that he too has succumbed to the sloganeering about Julia Gillard's 'lie'  and demonstrates how successful Tony Abbott's negativism and sloganeering have been given his overwhelming endorsement by our media.  Now it seems even leading academics accept that distortion.

He is quite right though in stating that  'it is no accident .......her government’s already poor public opinion polls .....went into free-fall....."     That was always the intention of the Coalition,  News Corp and big business.     The reality of  Julia Gillard's astonishing survival as leader within her party and her success in achieving a stable government with a consistently successful legislative reform program gainsay those opinion polls which Manne is using here.

Why isn't Robert Manne asking,   "Why can't a good government overcome the misinformation of a ruthless sloganeering opposition leader who has massive media support backed by corporate greed?"

And please don't immediately blame Julia Gillard's accent, or big ass!

Patricia WA

March 30. 2012 06:51 PM


Patricia WA

Good on you! I didn't even think to ask that question - I was too busy being incensed by the falsehoods Manne was peddling.


March 30. 2012 07:02 PM

Ad astra

Casablanca, NormanK
Thanks for the link Casablanca to the Robert Manne essay.  I agree NormanK with your very astute analysis.  Manne seems way off track.  Perhaps he’s been afflicted by groupthink or doesn’t want to be the odd man out still supporting Julia Gillard.  His reliance on opinion polls surprises me, given the absence of predictive power of polling intentions.  History shows that; he should be aware of it.

I have no need to duplicate what you have said so well in response to his piece.  I hope he responds to your comments.

Mark Hyde
Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.  I expect there are many out there who share your view.  In the next few months I believe we will see, as you say, the slipping of the veil that has shielded Tony Abbott from proper scrutiny, which will expose him for what he is, and the lifting of the veil from Julia Gillard with the revelation of how sincere a politician and how good a policy maker she is.  If the MSM were even minimally fair, we would all know the truth by now.

Patricia WA
Thank you for your additional thoughtful analysis of the Manne essay.  

Ad astra

March 30. 2012 08:58 PM


Geez, LNP HQ must be worried about this little corner of the internet - a new troll has appeared.

Patricia - wonderful comment and well said.

Nas - have a good holiday - watch out for the idiots on the road (as I will be for the next couple of weeks as well).

Mark Hyde - Welcome to the Sword.  May your stay be long and pleasant.


March 30. 2012 09:59 PM


Thnx...you have a safe goodie too.

Cheers Ad



March 30. 2012 10:19 PM


NormanK @ March 30. 2012 11:37 AM in previous article - Abbott's Atrophy.

Thank you for not shooting me, the messenger – I would hate to be taken out by ‘friendly fire’! I am disappointed nonetheless that my left credentials have not shone out in other remarks that I have posted over the past couple of years or so. I do not recall that other time when you were in ‘fundamental disagreement’ with something for which I had provided a link. As you rightly point out, the act of providing a link does not automatically equate with endorsement: I must concede, however, that I felt some unease as I pressed the “Save comment’ button because at that stage I had not yet read Manne’s article and was too tired to do so then.

I read the article today and you will be relieved to know that it displeased me greatly, which given its progenitor, did not surprise me. Prof Manne has not completely cleansed himself of his right-wing views and he has been a consistent critic of Julia Gillard.

Although articles such as ‘The Long Good-bye: Explaining Gillard’s Collapse’ are exasperating to read I am a strong proponent of the ‘know thine’ enemy approach to reading. My eyebrow shot up involuntarily when I read at the head of the article that Robert Manne has ‘twice been voted Australia's leading public intellectual’. His article was poorly conceived – based on Newspoll, and at best poorly edited.

NormanK I endorse what you posted on the Monthly website. My only comfort was that Manne was less one-eyed about Rudd in this piece.

Last night I dined out at a well known Canberra Restaurant and was intrigued by stories with which our waiter regaled us.  He overheard our table conversation about Kitchen Cabinet, the Annabel Crabb hosted program, and added his own observations about the mien of many high profile parliamentarian’s and Trade Unionists who dine at this Restaurant. The waiter had to be prompted about Rudd but told of incidents in the Restaurant where Rudd had lost it and verbally abused staff from his Department who attended the dinners as part of their official duties. There are now too many such stories for them to be ignored or dismissed lightly. The whole leadership challenge episode should have put to rest any support for Rudd’s return to high office. As Manne notes, ‘inside the Rudd camp, one misstep followed hard upon another’.

To borrow Talk Turkey’s words ‘I am in fundamental disagreement with [Manne’s] prognostications for the next election’. I took some comfort from Manne's admission in the referenced link that he got the call wrong in 2001 when he stated that Howard’s defeat was inevitable. I hope and expect that he will be wrong again.


March 30. 2012 10:46 PM



Cheers. Don't read too much into my dancing around, trying not to offend. The other link was to an article on Abbott's PPL scheme and I took umbrage at the author's approach to the subject. It just seemed to me to be an unfortunate happenstance that on two recent occasions you had provided a link to an article which I then vented about.

I still find this method of communication extremely hazardous and because I was angry I didn't want to risk the impression that in some way it was aimed at you.
Your lefty credentials are firmly established and we are in fierce agreement that providing a link is not the same as endorsing it.

Any more Canberra gossip on the menu?


March 31. 2012 01:17 AM



Thank you for your response.

I guess that you are referring to an article by Adele Horin 'To the labour ward in a Roller'. www.smh.com.au/.../...a-roller-20120309-1upmo.html

I find the article a reasonably balanced assessment of the politics of the situation. I don't recall your response at the time but if you have a record of that I would be interested to go back to it.

One of the statistics from the article that I found most unsettling was that 'only 200,000 women out of 4.5 million female employees earn more than $90,000'. That points to the lack of success of the equal pay for equal work campaigns of the last 40 years.

The Gillard government has passed significant legislation to increase the salaries of workers, still predominately women, in the nursing and care sectors. Ditto increases in payments for carers of children with disabilities who are predominantly women. The successful passage of the Fair Work Amendment (Textile, Clothing and Footwear Industry) Bill 2011 [2012] late last week was another milestone in removing inequities for outworkers, another largely female workforce.

Since the Horin article was published we have had another highly circumscribed thought bubble from Abbott in the form of the nanny allowance.

Prof Peter Whiteford, according to Horin, wonders if we need to go from the bottom of the OECD leagues table on generosity to near the top in one bound. Politically and economically there is no argument, in my opinion, for such a leap. The economic arguments for the Abbott schemes are unsustainable.

I believe that parents, and in particular, mothers would be more advantaged by additional government support for work-based and community child care places than by either of the schemes proposed by Abbott.


March 31. 2012 08:37 AM



I am in wholehearted agreement with your response to Robert Manne's article.  Well done once again on your clear critique of it.

Mark Hyde

Can I also welcome you here, and thank you for your comment.  It is good to hear from people outside our wonderful circle, and it helps us to keep the spirits up.

Talk Turkey

See, I can be a bit positive if I try.  Smile


March 31. 2012 10:36 AM



Below is my response to the Horin article, unedited (I may have calmed down a bit since then). I'll provide the link to the relevant page since the comment may need to be seen in the context of a series of posts on the subject. My response @ March 12. 2012 12:16 PM.

Thanks for the link to Adele Horin's article. I am not familiar with this author's work but she has immediately acquired the distinction of rubbing me up the wrong way on our first encounter. Oh well, let's say the fault lies with me.

Some of the information she provides is relevant and illuminating e.g. that very few women of child-bearing age earn $150,000 or more. Fair enough.

Let's see if I can ascertain why my fur is standing up all over the place.

His colleagues are aghast, business is up in arms, the welfare lobby is opposed, and it is hard to find women who support it either. Even the sisterhood is against him.

That's pretty damning isn't it? No-one likes it but still, it can't be all bad.
Anyone who uses 'the sisterhood', especially a woman, is not likely to cause me to purr. I don't like broad brushes and this particular expression is most commonly used these days as a pejorative.

It positions maternity leave as a workplace policy, not welfare.This is as it should be because it is normal for women workers to need time off and sustained wages when they have babies.

Mild irritation. Like many a cat before me, I can tell instinctively that I'm probably not going to like this individual.
This idea of it being a workplace policy is often said about Abbott's plan, in fact it is one of his favourite lines. I confess that I don't understand the basic contention - how is it a workplace policy when not all workplaces have to contribute to the pool of money that will fund it? If he was proposing legislation that makes it obligatory for every employer to contribute to a social insurance fund, then it would be a workplace policy.

He has failed to convince the left and right that his scheme is akin to workers' compensation or sick leave, where people are paid a replacement wage.

He has failed to convince me because worker's compensation comes from a social insurance fund to which all employers contribute. Sick leave, to the best of my knowledge, is the sole responsibility of the employer. Abbott's scheme is nothing like either of those except that it does offer full wage replacement. The content of that sentence is accurate but the juxtaposition of 'worker's compensation', 'sick leave' and Abbott's PPL is disingenuous and deliberately misleading.

Why shouldn't ordinary Australian women workers get a first-rate maternity leave policy instead of the stingy one delivered by Labor that we'll be stuck with for aeons?

Okay the reverse stroking has begun. 'Stingy' compared to what? Compared to overseas schemes that have been in place for years and are almost entirely based on different funding models whereby workers pay for their own scheme or the government taxes income at a much higher rate than we do. "Stingy' compared with what we had 12 months ago?
Who says we'll be 'stuck with it for aeons'?
Why is it inconceivable that once other social policies are bedded down in the budget that this can not be revisited and expanded upon? The passage of a little time will allow business and society to become accustomed to the idea and it will also allow a review that might suggest new and better ways of going about supporting new mothers. Baby steps.

He has failed to make the case that in Australia, more than most places, couples are reliant on two incomes given astronomical housing prices and rents.

Now I know that I'm dealing with a less than reliable commentator. I don't have the data to hand but there has been plenty of commentary that suggests that housing prices relative to annual income are not much different from what they have been for years. It's just that we are more 'aspirational' and want the four bedrooms, two cars, boat, holidays abroad and all of the other symbols that will denote us as middle class even though we really can't afford them. Most couples are reliant on two incomes because of the lifestyle choices they have made - nothing wrong with that but don't blame external forces (house prices) for the fact that many modern couples live close to the edge.

On top of his credibility problem, he has failed to provide the supporting data that might counter the most telling criticism, that its main beneficiaries are the well-off.

No, the most telling criticism is that all Australians, including the poor, will subsidise this scheme which will favour above average earners. No mention is made of the 'trickle down effect' (to borrow an expression) of a new tax on big business. I'm sure Treasury could calculate a commensurate lift in the GST that would have a similar impact on the price of goods and services. If it was couched as being the same as a 0.3% lift in the GST I wonder if consumers would be more accepting or less so.

Could our scheme be more generous? Absolutely, but it should not be at the expense of the poor and under-privileged. If you want a generous PPL scheme, legislate a social insurance scheme that spreads the burden more evenly across the workforce so that it does become a genuine workplace entitlement.



March 31. 2012 11:42 AM


The best things Campbell Newman has already done in Queensland, is doing in Queensland, and promises to do in Queensland?

In 17 months when the Federal election is due, Queenslanders will be well and truly over the LNP.


March 31. 2012 12:29 PM

Keith D

Norman K, make that 999,998 - I thought both Ad Astra's article and Mark Hyde's post were spot on.

Keith D

March 31. 2012 12:40 PM


I was sorely tempted to give Shaun Carney an earful this morning over his usual offering of 'regrettable hard truths' but I see that Bushfire Bill has done the work for me.

Ruddless Labor caught adrift in troubled waters
by Shaun Carney   SMH

The Prime Minister is, depending on your point of view, either admirably resolute or phenomenally stubborn. All of this is happening in the face of a sustained and unprecedented collapse in the ALP's opinion poll standings.

Bushfire's response (Caution: Adult themes):

Does it matter what the Born To Rule do to the nation and to its people? Does it matter that they have virtually no policies except brain farts to fill the gaps, the swathes of razed landscape they are determined to create? Does it matter that almost no journalist or commentator has ever made anything but crowing noises about how clever Abbott and his gang are at winning opinion polls? It sure doesn’t matter to Shaun


March 31. 2012 12:50 PM


Keith D

Duly noted. Smile
Only 999,998 to go!


March 31. 2012 01:28 PM


While Abbott is toxicity personnified, the poison has permeated right through the electorate via the media which is toxic in itself.  

Where has kindness gone? And ethics, compassion, respect ?  Gone to selfishness and greed in a dog-eat-dog world where etiquette is old-fashioned and unnecessary and it is everyone for himself.

When a female on a TV show can be as crass as Germaine Greer in deriding and degrading in her criticism of our PM's body shape and fashion sense is disgusting in itself, but  the way the audience condoned this behaviour by laughter and applause is appalling and downright pitiful.  And,   I wonder how many of those who joined in so readily call themselves "christian" and believe in a God of some denomination?  

The so-called christian population would be well served if they took a good hard look at themselves, their beliefs, this poisonous individual and his backers they are lauding and holding up as their choice for the leader of this country.   He has been successfully projecting his own toxic character failings onto the shoulders of our PM and her team.  He is without any kindness, compassion, ethics.  He is selfish, greedy and power crazed to the point that he will lie, cheat and deceive.  He will do and say whatever he thinks his audience want to hear and not give a second thought as to whether his words or actions may hurt another.

  Is is OK that this man can run amok around the country telling blatant untruths about your present government and the effect it's policies will have on working people, families and businesses?

Is it OK for this man to brush aside the needy, the infirm, the lowly paid souls with the words "well, the poor will always be with us" whilst at the same time handing out subsidies and welfare to those more fortunate who are well able to keep themselves in the lifestyles they've chosen?

Back in his University days, Abbott was a cocky, nasty smartarse and he hasn't changed his errant ways very much, although he's learned to cover them somewhat.   His idea of a joke was to degrade and taunt a female student in public by 'pretending' to grope her between her legs, amid chortles of laughter between himself and his mates.  She made a complaint and it went to court – however, this would-be PM turned up at the court with three of his mates as witnesses plus a QC in tow.  Then, there was the revelation that Abbott had fathered a son and there was much ado about it all in the media.  Well, of course he couldn't marry the girl he thought was carrying his child – he was much too young and thought the child had been adopted out.  I mean, true to form, with Abbott it is all care and no responsibility and besides, why give a passing thought to the consequences of sowing wild oats, a child who may or may not be added to the statistics of "the poor who will always be with us"?  How can anyone say this is a man of integrity and decency?

Does this odious excuse for a human being really tick all the boxes as being suitable to hold the position of Prime Minister of Australia?  



March 31. 2012 03:04 PM

Ad astra

You commentary on the Adele Horin article reflects the acuity of your analytical mind.  We need these forensic dissections of material that appears in the MSM, carrying as they do an authenticity which all too often is false.  Please keep your analyses coming.

Thank you too for the link to the BB comment on PB.  He really enjoys ripping into Shaun Carney, who of course leads with his chin so often.

Michael I
The next twelve months in Queensland will be fascinating to watch as Campbell Newman has the job of governing, rather than talking about how to do it, as he has for the last year.  By then the public may have an idea of the difficulties of governing, and if the MSM is even marginally honest, the electorate might extrapolate to what will happen under Abbott and realize the promises are easy, keeping them is not.

Keith D
Thank you for adding to the total that agree with Mark Hyde.

Again thank you for your thoughtful comment, with which I agree, word by word.

We off to the family wedding now – I’ll be back tomorrow.

Ad astra

March 31. 2012 03:09 PM


A bit of reading for a lazy Saturday afternoon - all articles from the Australian that are pay-walled should be able to be got around using Google.
Let's stick with the good news or we'll all be looking for a cliff. Today's opinion pages are full of doom and gloom in the wake of last weekend's election in Queensland.

The real Julia fan club
by Nikki Gemmell    The Australian
A declaration as risky, difficult and defining as an admission to church-going, or loving a book you wouldn't be caught dead reading on a train but have secretly downloaded on your e-reader. Just three simple words, setting off a little explosion of shock within the collected school gate psyche. "I adore Julia." Dead silence.

NDIS. Labor is poised for greatness.
by Peter Martin
If the reports are correct. Try to read this without crying.

Disability plan to be fast-tracked with budget cuts to bankroll scheme
by Sue O'Reilly    The Australian
THE Gillard government is preparing to launch its proposed $15 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme next financial year with substantial start-up funding to be announced as a central feature of the federal budget.

Politics, yes, but not contra the Coalition
by Malcolm Maiden     The Age
The bottom line, however, is that this project (NBN) has been politically charged from the moment it was announced. It is not secretly weighted to Labor, or weighted against the Coalition: insiders say they have seen no attempt to pressure NBN Co’s board to shape the rollout for political purposes.

Barnaby's big move - be very afraid
by Mike Carlton     SMH
If he pulls it off - and we can be sure he will leave no stone unturned to do it - he would be within striking distance of becoming deputy prime minister in a Tony Abbott government. A shiver runs down the spine just at the thought of this hayseed buffoon at the top of the political heap.

Murdoch’s inside job
by Neil Chenoweth     AFR
It was a game, and they played it across continents.
From Latin America, the United States and Canada, across Europe and Asia down to Australia and New Zealand. In every country, in every market, it was game on.


Electricity industry shockers
by Richard Denniss    The Canberra Times
Higher costs and worsening inefficiency have been problems since privatisation began in the 1990s and no end is in sight.

Against the wind
by Royce Millar and Adam Morton     The Age
The existence of wind turbine syndrome is heavily contested. People living near turbines have undoubtedly experienced nasty symptoms; some have felt compelled to leave their homes. But Pierpont’s book has not yet been backed by research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Nanny rebate would cost $2b
by Lenore Taylor     SMH
TONY ABBOTT'S plan to extend the childcare rebate to include nannies would cost about $500 million a year, according to calculations by the federal bureaucracy.

Carbon tax adds fuel to the ire
by George Megalogenis      The Australian
The carbon tax is unlike the goods and services tax in two contrary ways.
It is forecast to add just 0.7 percentage points to the general inflation rate in 2012-13 -- a quarter of the 3.1 points that the GST added to the consumer price index in its first financial year, 2000-01. But the GST wasn't preceded by large price rises on the very household items it was targeting.



March 31. 2012 03:31 PM



Thanks for the link to The real Julia fan club.  I was so impressed I even wrote a thank you email to her.  


March 31. 2012 03:55 PM

Granny Anny

Isn't it fascinating to watch the antics of Senator Joyce as he casts about trying to find a seat in the House of Reps so he can do us all a favour by becoming Deputy PM.

I thought he was going to waltz into Rob Oakshott's seat. Surely the polling can't be wrong, Oakshott is going to be wiped out isn't he? Is it just slightly possible that most people don't want this clown to represent them no matter where he puts his head up?

Granny Anny

March 31. 2012 04:50 PM

Patricia WA

NormanK - I always enjoy Mike Carlton so I followed your link asap.   Wonderful.   He confirmed everything we talked about with Ad Astra earlier this week, and in my pome too!  I've been able to use that brilliant cartoon by John Shakespeare too!   It's just perfect.

Granny Anny might be interested to see it, and anyone else who hasn't too!   Not sure if TT caught it?  The cartoon has given it a special touch, I thihk.


Patricia WA

March 31. 2012 07:10 PM


It is just over 9 months since I declared that Labor had reached its lowest point (June 22, the shortest day.) Well I admit that progress in the Polls has been just about zilch, slower than I had hoped and anticipated, due entirely to the complicity of a lazy, mischievous, stupid, group-thinkful mob of inbred self-congratulatory sycophants who believe themselves worthy of the name journalist, squawking like gulls around anybody who will throw them a few chips that they can fight over until the next Abbortt or Joyce throws a few more.

Yes. Slower progress in the Polls than I had hoped. But, AHA!
That is not the point nearly as much as it seemed back then. The game has changed a great deal, and all in the Government's favour. In particular of course, by the defection to Labor of Peter Slipper - by the fact that now nobody really expects the Government to be brought down before full term, [a possibility still, but very much reduced from the situation a year ago, and obviously, reducing further with each day that passes.] By the determination and success of the Government in getting done everything humanly possible in the way of legislation, a heroic effort in any circumstances but especially so given the straits through which *J*U*L*I*A* has had to steer the ship of State. She has emerged victorious from every encounter, including the showdown with the unbelievable Rudd in the ranks.

Three huge game-changers, Slipperation, Legislation and Ruddelimination! Abbortt gets the gulls screaming for a few chips but *J*U*L*I*A* all the fish. And because the game has changed, and she's still there, with an ever-bigger bagful of fish, when he thought she'd be overboard long before now, he's about run out of chips due to his early hubristic casting them about with Gay Abandon and Peta Credlin. The few he's got left are all dried up and the gulls are inspecting them with distrust and disgust, this is the bloke that was going to feed them, they are going to be pecking his unprotected head from now on. They are getting nothing from *J*U*L*I*A*!
Oh: Except her brilliant 3 syllable bullet: Don't write crap!

So though we haven't moved in The Polls yet, we now have the power with us, everything we need, the wind at our back, the splendid crew, the extra crewman, the treasured cargo, the time.

Abbortt has only time running out. I'm still tipping he'll be gone by November after open challenges arising in September, but I'm hoping he lasts the distance myself. By mid-2013 he will be all hollowed out if he's still there. I can't see the Coalons being happy with anybody they got, can you? None of 'em is any good. But I don't think they dare stay with the atrophying hoodlum they got now. Woe is Them! They are in denial - untenable for the well-over-a-year he has to try to last. And even then, if he does last, it will be at his last gasp, with glaring contradictions riddling his stupid Noalition. I'm relishing the rest of this Government's term.      


March 31. 2012 09:58 PM

Patricia WA

Away for much of that lazy Saturday afternoon, NormanK, but now I'm back I got into your links and made a priority of the two Disability Insurance articles.  As Peter Martin promised I was profoundly moved by Bill Shorten's address.  How blessed we are if that sort of misfortune has not touched us or ours.

I was interested to read in the Australian article which was a pretty objective report on how Wayne Swann planned to budget for it, that Tony Abbott has committed to supporting the scheme.   I was wondering if he dare say NO to this one.

And yes, Janice, I still agree with every word you say about him.  Just because he knows how bad he'd look if he opposed it, doesn't let him and the Coalition off the hook for not doing something similar themselves during their years in power at a time when all those surpluses were being delivered!

And I second your comments on Germaine Greer too.  I suspect it's a bit of the green eyed monster there!   Our Julia is held in high regard elsewhere in the world as well as being No. 1 pollie here in Oz, and clearly doing a brilliant job.

Patricia WA

March 31. 2012 10:25 PM


If you missed the Science Show on Radio National today well silly you. There is always something interesting and today was no different.

Amongst the bits about measuring sea level rise, searches for cool hydrogen and pathogens affecting sea otters was a chat with Chris Mooney author of The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science--and Reality

Very interesting indeed.

You can get the podcact here: http://goo.gl/VwYU0

Or you can tune in on Monday @ 14:00 (that's 2:00 pm for those that need conversions)

Professor Q also has a take on Chris Mooney and his book here: http://goo.gl/f5KX9


March 31. 2012 11:36 PM



Would it be alright if I'm a Republican (Liberal) Brain Sceptic?
Not a fully fledged Denier, you understand, just sceptical in the absence of further conclusive evidence that such an organ exists.

Good to see you, by the way.


April 1. 2012 08:08 AM


Good Morning NK
I must admit that I had some moments of scepticism that Mooney was able to find any Republicans with brains so that he could undertake his study.


April 1. 2012 08:47 AM

Patricia WA

Tony Abbott!  What An Arse!

“Julia Gillard’s got a big arse!”
Said Germaine,  with a lack of class.
The media couldn’t let that pass!
Had women’s lib become a farce?

Some of them went off quite rabid
For comment,  and as per habit
They got the nod from Tony Abbott.
He’d seen a headline. Had to grab it.

He’d forgot the enormous frame
Of Gina Rinehart whose other name,
The big Australian,  only came
To mind too late to him.  Oh, the shame!

Her fortune being so gigantic
He’d become quite sycophantic;
Talked to her in terms romantic,
Which,  now recalled,  sent him quite frantic.

He took little time to agonise
But hurried out to apologise
And tell a load of PR lies,
Cos something else had made him wise.

He’s heard,  big arse and all,  no breeder,
Labor love Gillard and heed her.
But Robb et al are grumbling,  “Do they need a
Great big arse like him for leader?”

Hi NormanK!   I've posted this at polliepomes.wordpress.com/.../ along with illustration and some commentary to follow shortly.  I'm hoping for something more to come up on the Sunday morning TV nattering among the journos.  I thought the Julia Gillard Nicki Gemmell article you linked to was really good and I want to include that too.   It's not just Labor type women I speak to who admire Julia.  All women know how hard it is to handle personal slights about one's appearance and person, even if you're not in the public eye all the time.  I am sure men do too, but women particularly appreciate that their PM has guts in the face of an extraordinary level of insults and unfair criticism.

Patricia WA

April 1. 2012 09:27 AM


Patricia WA

Good on you! From a male point of view, I can safely say that I believe we have far fewer physical attributes that can be mocked and belittled. Apart from a balding head or a perceived lack of taste in ties there is no comparison between men and women in terms of their vulnerability to personal attacks. Make-up, hair (Conroy's tonsure has yet to make headlines), breasts, bum, shoes, jewellery, clothes and any other physical feature that might make them distinctive. Julia Gillard, true reformist that she is, has added earlobes to the national conversation.
There are different ways to attack a man - disparaging comments about his virility for instance - but the list of superficial attributes open to mocking is much shorter for men than women.
I love your poems Patricia, I just struggle to find new ways of expressing my admiration so please take it as read that your efforts are greatly appreciated.

As a Sunday morning treat here is yet another example of this tax-addicted federal government putting its hand in our pockets to steal our hard-earned so that they can waste it on ill-conceived schemes that are of benefit to no-one.

PBS slashes prices of major drugs in major win for families
by Samantha Maiden     News.com

Some of the most widely used medications, including scores of antibiotics, painkillers, antidepressants, cholesterol controllers, laxatives, blood pressure and heart drugs, will fall in price, thanks to a Gillard government move which brings drug costs into line with the market price.


April 1. 2012 10:34 AM


Watching the self-satisfied Gang of Four on Lopsiders.

They make me feel sick. NOTHING Labor is doing, can do, has ever done or ever will do is an unqualified success.

But it doesn't matter. We are winning anyway. We are over the hump. The NOposition is yelling desperately, people have heard it all before and Oh No Not Again is what J**** said about him this morning.


April 1. 2012 11:26 AM

Ad astra reply

The wedding was delightful, under the canopy of the Australian bush, among the extended family.  We are now off for the farewell barbecue.

Patricia WA
Your poem captured the sentiment of so many of us, disgusted with Germaine Greer's stupid remarks, and Tony Abbott's oportunistic use of it.  But we know poor Tony can't help himself, and anyway he can always say he shouldn't have said what he did, and the MSM will say no more, certainly not ask if such a man is fit to lead the country.

Your observations are germane.  Women still have to endure much more scrutiny about appearance than men.  As a so-called enlightened society we have a long way to go to achieve gender equality.  And we have a LOTO who inhibits our progress towards that goal.

I agree with you about Insiders.  The presence of Piers Akerman pulls the program down.  I was amazed that he started with a positive about the price of common medications coming down, but he made up for that with his usual pile of negativity.

I believe you are right.  Labor is on the rise.  Tony Abbott must be concerned under his veneer of bravado.

Ad astra reply

April 1. 2012 11:47 AM


Another well thought out article with plenty of food for thought. Thanks.

Your reply to Caroline was superb ...... comprehensive and fact based.

She and others of her persuasion are entitled to their view, but in my opinion they are not entitled to a vote.

Democracy relies on an informed electorate and any person who ignores the facts you have listed in favour of their own prejudiced, cognitive machinations, in the absence of contra facts or argument is not an informed elector.

We can argue all day about Abbott's character eg whether or not he is misogynistic, and we can list points of evidence pro or con such a view. This evidence will be factually based and will vary in strength (or as is said in legal parlance, it will vary in probative value) and leads to the formation of a view either way, arguable in both directions at some minimal level at least.

But if we limit the analysis to things Abbott has actually said or done, we are arguing about actual, list-able events. And in this domain the floodgates about silly, dishonest or contradictory things he has said/done open wide.

Frankly there are too many to list .....his changing views on AGW, carbon pricing, parental leave, and his instantaneous opposition to policies which at least prima facie deserve some discussion (eg MRRT), are numerous.

But let's just limit the focus to some of his gaffes..... shit happens in Afghanistan, his political component of Obama welcome speech, his foot in mouth Mrs Whitlam condolence, his foot in mouth endorsement of Greer's comments about JG's body, his dismissive statements about Indonesia's opposition to turning boats back, and of course his K O'Brien gaffe that only pre-prepared utterances by him are to be trusted (put up by him as a reasonable point of view!). And we could also include the notable Mark Riley interview  ......  a most rare example of a politician committing "gaffe by silence".

Really Caroline, is this a man capable of that aspect of national leadership which requires verbal and intellectual sensitivity  and the engaging of brain before mouth ..... you know, for example the subtle, confidential negotiations and considerations in the sensitive field of international relationships.

And when Abbott is unavailable, Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce takes over!

Come on! If that's really your unqualified view, I rest my case as to you not being an informed elector deserving of a vote.


April 1. 2012 11:57 AM


Ad Astra

Glad the wedding went off well, hopefully the weather was good where you were, it was brilliant day here.

and the MSM will say no more, certainly not ask if such a man is fit to lead the country.

That was exactly what I thought when I heard it being discussed on TV and radio.  Why didn't the media reflect on his disqualification as a leader of ANY country, by agreeing with that silly woman.


April 1. 2012 12:08 PM


An excellent long article on Chris Bowen based on a one-on-one interview.

Resisting the force of a perilous tide
by Michael Gordon     SMH
''I do think there's a broad recognition in the caucus and in the broader community that it's a tough job. I get strangers in the street saying, 'Oh, mate. I don't know how you do it. I don't agree with everything you do, but it's a tough job, the toughest job in Australia.'

''That would be the most common thing that people tell me in the shops - not hate you, or love you, or good job, or bad job. Tough job.''



April 1. 2012 12:13 PM


Toxic Tony of the Half Truths and Straw Men! Why has the ALP backroom forgotten Debating 101?


April 1. 2012 12:56 PM


Former Labor deputy prime minister Lionel Bowen has died at the age of 89.

Mr Bowen served as a minister under Gough Whitlam and was deputy leader for seven years in the 1980s in the Hawke government.



April 1. 2012 04:32 PM

Patricia WA

Yes, NormanK, I thought that article from Michael Gordon was a good one, more like the journalism I used to expect from the SMH.   One minor criticism though, why use the words 'cobbled together' when talking about Julia Gillard's cabinet?   There was nothing hurried or second rate about it, as those words 'cobbled together' suggest.  She had plenty of talent to draw on for all her ministries , and she did.

It is her voting majority in the House of Reps which is very narrow and was achieved with some difficulty, needing as it dd a Greens member and two Independents, formerly more of the right than left. But even that was not hurried, or 'cobbled rogether' but rather achieved with painstaking and drawn out negotiation.   The success of her government's legislative program is testament to how carefully and skilfully she has formed her government.

PS Norman, Miglo liked the latest pome and comments and it is now posted at Cafe Whispers as cafewhispers.wordpress.com/.../

I've added several paras there on Abbott's need to apologise so often.  So if you're planning to link could it be to Cafe Whispers where hopefully it will invite broader comment?

Thanks Ad Astra, I've copied your comment to polliepomes.wordpress.com/.../ where it expands nicely on NormanK's observations.  

Patricia WA

April 1. 2012 04:46 PM


Patricia WA

If it makes you feel any better Michael Gordon said:
..... when Julia Gillard cobbled together minority government after the 2010 election.

I reacted to that remark as well but I suspect that we are all a bit gun-shy from all of the 'debacle', 'incompetent' references that seem to be obligatory in any article on this Labor government. Within the context of that particular article 'cobbled together' is probably pretty accurate.

OED: "roughly assemble from available parts or elements".

It's a bit sad that we feel the need to remark positively on what should be a perfectly normal bit of journalism though, isn't it?


April 1. 2012 05:23 PM

Ad astra

Yes, the sun was shining all day and the evening was comfortably warm and congenial in the marquee.  After today’s barbecue, all have gone home after having a wonderful time.

Thank you for your kind remarks.  As you suggest, if all of Tony Abbott’s misdemeanours, inappropriate statements, lies, policy ineptitude and negativity were properly catalogued by the MSM, everyone would be applying to him the adverse assessment and abuse that it heaps on Julia Gillard every day.

The Michael Gordon article was well worth reading.

Thank you for the link to your interesting article on your website.

Ad astra

April 1. 2012 06:16 PM

Patricia WA

Point taken, Norman.  I guess we here are very sensitive about how our Prime Minister is reported, and are quick to jump to conclusions, sometimes the wrong ones.  

I'm wondering how staff at the Australian are responding to what must be a huge number of hits on the Nikki Gemmell article about the PM.   Yesterday they were inviting us to share the article by email with five friends.   Today that facility seems to have disappeared.  Or am I imagining that?

By the way I found myself continuing to add to my own post at polliepomes.wordpress.com/.../ and to talk about how Julia Gillard's courage in the face of slurs, slights and jeering is causing women to admire her courage.   Few of us could keep smiling and working on as she does.  Which is why I was accessing the Nikki Gemmell article again to quote from it.   So now I've written an almost entirely different post from the Cafe Whispers one this afternoon.

I've done this before, and Lyn has been kind enough to find the point of difference between the two and to link to both!  Is it possible you'd have the time for that? I'd understand if not.    You are doing a mighty job standing in for Lyn here and I imagine without all her pre-established warning bells of new posts etc.   She has a wonderful feedback network. My son who is a bit of a tech head is full of praise for Lyn's Links, even though he and I don't see eye to eye on politics!

Patricia WA

April 1. 2012 06:49 PM


Patricia WA

Consider it done!
By the way, I do have access to Lyn's data base of recommended blogs (as of October 2011) so I am cheating a bit. Smile


April 1. 2012 11:02 PM


Farewell the Honourable Lionel Frost Bowen AC
by Julia Gillard     ALP News
The Prime Minister today paid tribute to the late Lionel Bowen, whose long and remarkable life came to an end in Sydney this morning at the age of 89.

Tony Abbott! What An Arse!
by patriciawa     Café Whispers
Tony Abbott’s echoing of Germaine Greer’s criticism of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s appearance has told against him amongst women voters as I’m sure internal party polling has informed him.

Tony Abbott! What An Arse!
by Patricia WA     polliepomes
rnm1953:  “It’s better to have a leader with “a big arse” than a big arse for a “leader.” 

Seriously, answer me this: what do homosexual marriages lack that’s present in all heterosexual marriages?
by Jeremy Seare    An Onymous Lefty
As the time for submissions to the Senate and House of Representatives inquiries into the I-can’t-believe-we’re-still-seriously-arguing-whether-we-should-stop-discriminating-against-gay-people marriage equality bills comes to a close, it seems to me to be a particularly pertinent time to revisit the fundamental question in the whole debate: why on Earth shouldn’t the law consider marriages between gay people marriages?

Latest campaign: Don’t let Clive get away with this
by Kelsey     GetUp
Right now mining magnates like Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart are pressuring the Government into allowing them to build the world’s largest coal export facility that would literally double Australia’s coal exports, right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

It’s not time
by Bill     Billablog
Following Labor’s devastating loss in the Queensland election, it was probably inevitable that some people would eventually blame the “It’s time” factor.  After all, Labor had been in government in Queensland for nearly fourteen years and it was just time for a change.
What utter rubbish.

Fact Checking With Climate Skeptic
by Sophist in Training
I replied to a climate skeptic on Twitter, and it was so lengthy I might as well blog it:

"Risk-on" as China manufacturing booms...
by Christopher Joye     Aussie Macro Moments
This is now three months of trend improvement, and is good news for the AUD and commodity currencies in general. Risk should be inclined to open strongly tomorrow on this news, as it is also a clean slate after last week’s month-end/quarter-end/Japanese New Year end.

Australia’s Immigration Detention Network: Serco Under Fire at Last
by Peter     Aussie Views News
One article cannot do justice to this report, so here I shall concentrate on a group of recommendations that the Report chose to place first; departing from the normal practice of listing recommendations in numerical order. Presumably it did so as it considers this topic to be important.

Time to be conservative on the climate
by John Connor     Climate Spectator
Countries and companies around the world are beginning to find smarter, cleaner and healthier business and economic development. These reports remind us that we need to urgently speed this up as well as increase our work to minimise the human and economic loss from the consequences of climate change that are already happening or are unavoidable.

Democratic dysfunction in thumping Qld result
by Crispin Hull
THE Red Corner boxer who has been knocked out in the first 30 seconds of the first round by the Boxer in the Blue Corner is not in much of a position to claim “we wuz robbed”.
But Labor in Queensland was robbed. It won 27 per cent of the vote and only nine per cent of the seats.

Straw Men and Scarecrows
by archiearchive      ÆRCHIES ARCHIVE
Today I am going to reflect on straw men.
Not scarecrows which are also straw men, but the rhetorical version.

Tony Abbott, Freud, the death metaphor, and nannies
by Jennifer Wilson     No Place for Sheep
Bereft of anything resembling policy and driven by a singular obsession to become Prime Minister, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has to find a way to keep himself in the public eye. How better than to make offensive statements, sit back and wait for the outrage, then apologise publicly for your error in judgement?

Going Analog
by Mr Denmore     The Failed Estate
The tendency now is to filter stories through the same few predictable sources - for and against - so that every issue becomes a predictably partisan one. The prefabricated conflict and the easy heat it generates spares  journalists from the effort of moving the frame and looking at the world in a different way.

We Risk Letting Lawyers Stifle Innovation
by Ross Gittins
If our business people, economists and politicians are genuine in their desire to lift our productivity, rather than just moan about the Fair Work Act, they'll put reform of the regulation of intellectual property high on their to-do list.

The opposition's NBN longshot
by Stephen Bartholomeusz     Technology 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.

Talking about Aged Care
by Tristan Ewins     Left Focus
My hope is that the Greens and the ALP will respond to this issue and run with it as we approach the next election. But the Coalition often takes the votes of many aged Australians for granted. They should also be pressed to ‘put their money where their mouths are’ when it comes to Aged Care.

Scientists and policy-makers: it’s time to bridge the gap
by Hamza Bendemra     The Conversation
Scientists are these days expected to provide practical solutions to a host of major challenges (such as energy security, transport, climate change, food security and so on).
At the same time, policymakers are expected to efficiently assess the vast array of knowledge available at their disposal to design practical and robust policies.

Canned pairs reveal Opposition's fruity strategy
by John Warhurst     Eureka Street
The purpose of the Opposition's actions is both practical and symbolic. It wants to make life difficult for Government MPs despite the impact on its own members. Furthermore it wants to emphasise the closeness of the numbers in parliament, whenever a Government member seeks leave.

Painting Ourselves into a Corner
by John Leonard     Turn Left 2013
The World Wild Fund for Nature’s Living Planet 2010 Report includes the bad news that humanity’s demands on the planet exceed by 50% the planet’s capacity.

RBA unlikely to cut in April: economists
by AAP     Business Spectator
National Australia Bank head of research Peter Jolly agrees that tight fiscal policy means lower interest rates, and probably a lower Australian dollar.
"The mix ... is probably a better combo for some of the businesses and sectors most under structural stress from the mining boom and the consequent high Australian dollar," Mr Jolly said in his weekly interest rate outlook.


April 1. 2012 11:06 PM

Patricia WA

Before I say goodnight I note that I didn't respond to TT's comment about Insiders.   I immediately agreed with you and I don't know why I didn't reply then and there.  Amazing, isn't it, just having Akerman there again going on about the hopelessness of Labor and the government had all of them tilting that way, after the program's having been half reasonable without him or Bolt.  True David Marr held firm over his own stance on refugees and did try laughing at Akerman about the GFC but Cassidy should have shut him up, or not had him on at all. I thought Cassidy was pretty weak today, and didn't cut through with Morrison at all.

Patricia WA

April 1. 2012 11:57 PM

Doug Evans

Really well said. You've got Toxic Tony to a tee. Unfortunately for us all despite the eloquence, erudition and energy of your good self and others, I fear he will be our next Prime Minister. I won't bother to refer to the apparently immoveable polls in support of this assertion. This tends to annoy people. In my guts I know he's nuts but thanks (I guess) to the unpopularity of the Gillard government in great swathes of the wide brown land Abbott and his band of baneful bumblers look like getting their chance to show us they are as hopeless as many of us already know them to be.

Nevertheless, and this will probably be an unpopular opinion, I can't help feeling that the only reason to wish to see this government returned is awareness of just how truly awful the alternative is. One of the Fairfax commentariat wrote a piece recently (that I couldn't dust up before writing this comment)to the effect that despite the differences, the leadership on both sides is equally inadequate. I can't quibble with this.

Unlike the clowns on the Opposition front bench Plibersek, Albanese, Combet and one or two others on the government front bench have ability. Gillard has strengths and is doubtless popular with her colleagues for good reason but she is not a leader. Barring some disaster befalling the opposition I can't see that she has what it takes to turn the electorate which appears to have made up its mind to me. Neither can I see anyone else in the government who can be put front and centre to try to turn the sentiment in the north and the west.

Despite their excellent legislative record, the public sees thought bubble after backflip after compromise and contradiction. Gillard seems to have nothing to hang her hat on outside of 'delivery' but she is not good st explaining what or why.

No better example of the Gillard government's lack of direction than the clash between its climate change policies and its energy policies which seem to belong to opposed political agendas, one which recognizes the climate reality and another which doesn't.

No light on the hill. No light on the horizon or at the end of the tunnel either. Desperate times.

Doug Evans

April 2. 2012 02:35 AM


<blockquote>The Coalition could be in government almost overnight and we have no idea of what it stands for.</blockquote>

I know what it stands for, Patricia; WRECK. THE. COUNTRY.

Ad astra, another great post, exposing Liealot's lies, deviousness and banality. However, I disagree that "if the msm was even minimally fair, we would all know the truth by now."

Rather, I think it would be more correct to say that if the msm was the tiniest bit honest, we would have had the truth long ago. Too much to hope for either virtue in the msm we're saddled with at this time, I think.

Hopefully, the malevolent Emperor will topple before too long, buried in an avalanche of reprehensible scandals.

Caroline's comment reveals that there are some who think these serious character flaws are signs of integrity and honesty.

I thought you dealt with her comment flawlessly, but I fear that ignorance will always conquer logic and slogans will always hold more weight with people like Caroline than the truth.

However, she can feel confident that I, at least, have taken her advice and printed her comment, nailed it to the dunny wall where it will be put to appropriate use.

I suppose the compost bin would be as appropriate, but I fear the poor old worms might find Caroline as toxic as her hero.

I'm glad the wedding was such a success.

Geez, LNP HQ must be worried about this little corner of the internet - a new troll has appeared.

New troll, or an old one in different clothes, 2353?

janice @1.38pm 31/3, hear! hear! In particular your criticism of Germaine Greer and her spiteful criticism of the PM's clothes and figure.

Is this the same Germaine Greer, leading feminist, in the vanguard of the Women's Liberation Movement, one time champion of women's rights and author of one of the seminal texts of the Women's Movement, The Female Eunuch?

Is this the same Germaine Greer who railed against the stereotyping of women based on their age, body shape and clothes?

Is this the same Germaine Greer who abandoned her principles and played to an audience of bigots and oafs for a few cheap laughs?

She should hang her head in shame!

Granny Anny @3.35pm 31/3, I know what I'd like to do whenever Barnyard pokes his head up. I've been sharpening the axe for ages.

TT, sorry I didn't reply to your comment on Ad astra's Abbott's atrophy post. I have been to Canberra to gawk at the Renaissance exhibition at the National Gallery and spend a couple of days with the two eldest rug rats.

There are no trains for me to catch
In the event that we should hatch
A plan to have a face to face
With fellow Swordsters in a place
And time to be agreed.
My trusty car is all I need
To deliver me on time
To discuss the latest Liealot crime,
Marvel at TT's wealth of talent
And finally part with good wishes meant.

As for crustacean life forms-bleah!

I hope the Liars hang on to Liealot till the death knock. But really what choice do they have? Has there ever been a mob so bereft of anything remotely resembling talent? And all thanks to the Rodent and his political progeny Liealot.


April 2. 2012 04:20 AM



I'm the one who's been remiss:
Let me blow you a comradely Kiss!
You have sure found your milieu!
Abbortt looks so much sillier
The way you keep taking the pSmiless!


April 2. 2012 05:47 AM


I agree about Caroline, Jane,
And what you say of Greer is germane,
And with sycophants of Kevin's,
And wormtongues like Evans
They are rats, they belong down a drain.

I won't bother to refer to Doug Evans saying "I won't bother to refer to the apparently immoveable polls in support of this assertion [that Abbortt will be the next PM]. This tends to annoy people."

So I haven't said anything have I! Because as I said, as Dougie said, I won't bother. I wouldn't want to annoy anybody eh!

At least Caroline spits her hate right out. Dougie tries sidle up and to squirt his venom right into our ear. This is not the first time, I do not forget. But like Greer and Caroline he doesn't hang about much when he gets called. But as I say as Dougie says I won't bother saying any of the above because it does tend to annoy people. Voice of experience.

Anybody think what I haven't bothered to say above is uncalled for, go and have a good read of Evans' post again. Not even the saving grace of slyness.  


April 2. 2012 08:31 AM


Calling all Queenslanders, your country needs you.

Courtesy of Peter 'Mumble' Brent a breakdown of the latest Nielsen poll numbers: http://goo.gl/2CktB

When you look at the state by state and rural/city breakdowns the government is deep doggy doo and Queensland is really dragging the numbers down helped along a bit by WA & NSW.

Be Bold Banana Benders it is time to speak up for your country


April 2. 2012 09:45 AM

Ad astra

Another great set of links that I will read after I return to Melbourne today.
Doug Evans
Thank you for your complimentary remarks.  I see you agree about the toxic Abbott brand.  

Like you, I won’t bother to refer to the polls, except to point out that the Nielsen poll this morning has Tony Abbott losing ground in the approval/disapproval stakes despite the Coalition’s increasingly strong position in the TPP stakes, which the news commentators helpfully remind us would result in a bad loss for the Government if the election were held now, which of course it is not, not in fact for about eighteen months.  If that result for Abbott is not a sign of the toxicity of the Abbott brand, tell me what more evidence is needed.  Even the news people commented on this and asked if his recent comments about the PM’s dress might be responsible!

I find myself at variance from the comments you offer in the second part of what you wrote.  Rather that attempt here to rebut your assertions, I invite you to read the next piece, which I am preparing now, titled: Julia Gillard will win the 2013 election.

Thank you for your kind remarks and your comprehensive comments in response to other bloggers here.

Your comments about Germaine Greer are indeed germane.  How true they are.

I agree with your hope that the Coalition hangs on to Tony Abbott until the end, as well they might despite his low popularity, because there seems to be no one else, at least who is acceptable to the party.  Malcolm Turnbull still seems to be on the outer.

You must fill me in on your ‘crustacean’ reference.  I’m intrigued!

You will note that I have invited Doug to read the next piece: Julia Gillard will win the 2013 election, which I will have ready by mid-week.

Indeed, Queenslanders need to understand that there is a vast difference between the State Government and the Federal.  Is eighteen months enough time?

Ad astra

April 2. 2012 10:08 AM

Ad astra

We are now getting on the road to Melbourne.  I'll be back this afternoon.

Ad astra

April 2. 2012 10:49 AM


on Poll Bludger
Monday, April 2, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

[Womble had said,

"Janice can you, or anyone else here, honestly say Julia is doing a good job at winning people over???

If the numbers haven’t turned around by Christmas it makes perfect sense to roll the dice and try someone else – would be mad not to, as bad as it will look."

Janice repied

She has won over those people who are capable of thinking and can smell rotten rats mingling in their midst. If people had a bit of spine and would speak up and challenge the bullshite that Abbott and co spruik, then a lot more would be “won over”. Instead, these people say nothing when their friends/acquaintances spruik the anti-govt meme because they want to be liked and fear that speaking out for the govt will cause them to be sidelined in the friends stakes. There are those who are appalled at the disgusting treatment dished out to the PM but when it comes to defending her they remain silent. Just like the ungrateful pensioners who can’t bring themselves to give thanks to a Labor govt for giving them the means to live more comfortably.

If the Labor Party even give a passing thought to going to the 2013 election without Julia Guillard* at the helm, they would not deserve to win it and I repeat, I would consign them to the scrap heap.

10-4 both re the rats and re *J*U*L*I*A* Janice.
BTW Please always post here as well OK ?

[*sic; Janice it's just simple Gillard,  probably Gaelic origin I think; not Guillard a la Guillotine, des Grenouilles!]


April 2. 2012 11:30 AM


There was a tune to the original, "There are hands"
but it doesn't even register on Google.

There are Rats
That live in water
There are Rats
That live in sewers
There are Rats that do just what they oughter
Being Lab Rats, helping us find cures;
There are Rats that are both clean and charming,
They're so cute that chidren make a fuss,
But the Rats I find disgusting and alarming
Are the Plague Rats who pretend they're Us!


April 2. 2012 11:43 AM


An interesting confluence of ideas happened today.
Last night I watched the last episode of Great Barrier Reef (taped) and was partially relieved to see that they mentioned climate change several times throughout the series. They also made some effort to portray the interconnectedness of the Reef, the Lagoon and the coastal rainforest and how vulnerable it was in the face of natural forces and mankind's activities.

It then occurred to me that we are seeing very few documentaries on climate change or even on the debate between various ways of pricing carbon or more broadly reducing emissions. Given that this phenomenon could (in the extreme*) actually wipe humans off the face of the planet, it seems a curious thing that there is not more serious discussion of the problem. If we were facing a giant meteorite hurtling toward Earth with a predicted impact in 2025 our screens would be full of opinions about what effect it might have and how best we should combat or minimise those effects. And yet because there is no single physical object that we can point to, we waste time fiddling.

There was a steadily increasing wave of public opinion in favour of climate change mitigation in 2006/2007 such that even Howard had to come out and propose an ETS. Since Copenhagen there has been a steady decline in both interest and belief in climate change. The GFC wiped it from our collective consciousnesses and now we seem to be obsessed with economics - global and national. If climate change could be put back on to the national agenda, it could very well turn Labor's fortunes around. I don't say that because I simply want Labor re-elected in 2013 but because if Labor is not returned to government there is a very real chance that our carbon reduction efforts will be put back ten to fifteen years, by which time it will be environmentally and economically too late.

How then to get climate change front and centre of the national debate? The luke-warm reception that the latest CSIRO report received is indicative of our local media houses' indifference to the topic.

David Attenborough, I thought. An elder statesman, well-known to everyone and passionate about the subject who would stand the best chance of cutting through the economic and political blather that is dominating our news. Perhaps I should try to make some effort to contact him and plead for assistance at this tipping point in Australia's political history that will determine how we approach energy use and pollution over the next decade. Perhaps he could issue a press release, do an interview or better yet do a lecture tour of Australia pointing out the folly of not taking climate change seriously.

Lo and behold!

Sir David Attenborough to go on stage in Sydney and Melbourne to talk about his life and career
WORLD-renowned natural history presenter Sir David Attenborough is coming to Australia in August for a series of live presentations on his life and career.

I have been unsuccessful in seeking out an e-mail address that might reach him, even if only through an indirect route. So if someone with search skills superior to mine is able to find an address for him it could prove to be very helpful. One message in a bottle bobbing on the digital ocean would likely be ineffective but a whole swag of them might eventually see a couple of them get through. The survival of this Labor government for one more term could well be the difference between Australia keeping up with the world-wide changes in energy use//economic reform and having us lag behind in a foolish hungering for a long-past 20th Century utopia. A few e-mails is the least we could do to facilitate this important third term for a progressive government who will lock in reforms that will resonate throughout the rest of this century.

*If the oceans acidify to the extent that the algae bloom is seriously effected, it's all over Red Rover for the creatures of the oceans because the food chain starts with the smallest critters who live on algae. Dead acidic oceans on a planet as blue as ours would spell catastrophe for humans. "Alarmist"? You betcha!


April 2. 2012 01:00 PM


I saw about 10 minutes of Insiders in a motel room in Tamworth last night and as I'm not a regular viewer would like to ask the ABC a question. What value does Piers (whatever his name is) add to the discussion?  All he seems to be doing is acting as Abbott's mouthpiece.

Sorry about the quality of the typing, I'm using a iPod at a Macca's in the Hunter Valley.


April 2. 2012 02:04 PM


Ad Astra,

The Abbott brand may be  toxic, but the Australian people still prefer him to be our Nation's leader than Julia Gillard. Dont pick and chose from polling numbers and pretend you dont care, if this blog is about putting politicians and commentators to the political sword, then at least try and balance out what you are saying with some context.

Keep on trying though Ad, it seems the harder you try the worse the ALP does in the polls. Maybe you have more influence than what you think? He he!


April 2. 2012 02:05 PM

Ad astra

I can’t find an email address for David Attenborough , but here is a mailing address: http://www.fanmail.biz/62434.html   You may be interested in this site: www.britannica.com/.../Sir-David-Attenborough I note he has authored Are We Changing Planet Earth? (2006) that dealt heavily with environmental issues such as global warming.

It is a great idea that we contact him and ask him to focus on climate change during his Australian tour in August.

Ad astra

April 2. 2012 02:23 PM


Ad astra

You're on a Mac aren't you?
Are you having trouble playing ABC24 on Safari?
Since this morning I have had an "update Adobe Flash Player" message and nothing that I do seems to fix it. Same result on Firefox.


April 2. 2012 02:39 PM


  I hope you put up a better performance on your wedding night!
After all these months away from "us" that's the best you can do is it?
Polls come and go as I've told you before, and yes at the moment Abbott might be prefered but we haven't seen his "election wares" as yet.
In good time before the next election he says (whatever that means) but wants one tomorrow, perhaps you could be a guest poster and give us a glimpse of the "Abbott Nirvana" that you say is comming!


April 2. 2012 02:52 PM


A curious little survey about climate change on the ABC website.


Hat tip: mari on PB.


April 2. 2012 03:24 PM


Talk Turkey,

Quit nitpicking will you - I apologise for missing the typo when I posted my PB contribution.  I haven't posted on PB for some weeks and only did so this morning because Womble (and a couple of others there) get my hackles up when they start on the leadership rubbish every time the polls are published.



April 2. 2012 04:23 PM


Oh Janice, nitpicking was not my intent!
Believe me, my note was entirely well-meant!
Just saying, it's Gillard, without any 'u',
And whoever you want to send posts to, please do!

But your contributions are valued much here, and as all will confirm, I am always pleased to see multiple posts of well-said stuff. And as I said I am all yours re the Rats.


April 2. 2012 05:19 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

AA, you stand like a colossus; the only thing protecting us from the evil of Tony Um-err-ahh. You have once again penned an eloquent piece about Abbott and do you know as I read your piece I was transported back to 85 BC. Yes indeed, Marcus Tullius Cicero must have been guiding your hand. Bravo!

As a deeply committed Raëlian I was prepared to extend to Abbott a fair amount of goodwill. After reading your piece I am prepared to join any campaign that seeks to reintroduce the death penalty for any person whose name starts with ‘A’. Ooops! Better change that to anyone with the last name of Abbott. As a matter of interest, Raëlians believe that our bishop, Brigitte Boisseleir, cloned a female child in September of 1961. There’s something to exercise the mind.

If anything Abbott deserves a merciless and very public birching. He is a serial pest and I’m willing to bet he is somehow connected to all these shark attacks of late. I have reason to believe that he was responsible for Shanghai Warrior finishing 6th out of 14 runners at Bendigo on March the 17th. The punters, myself included, chased Abbott from the racetrack and I don’t want to think about what might have happened had we caught Abbott the Scoundrel. I can’t explain the rust in my dad’s car but I’ll bet Abbott has something to do with it. I even blame Abbott for the ALP’s poor showing in the recent Queensland state election. I think we should ask the AEC to investigate.

AA, don’t you listen to those who say you are merely putting up a smokescreen to deflect attention away from the Bird of Paradox. Who cares if she’s a liar? She is after all just a politician and as such she is hardly likely to transcend the grubby world of Australian politics.

I think in time the unregenerate Abbott will be dealt with by the well-known vacillancy of Lib-NP MPs.

One last thing. You mention global warming and then go on to give climate change a few mentions. The Green Church has abandoned global warming and prefers to use climate change.

Sir Ian Crisp

April 2. 2012 05:28 PM


Talk Turkey,
Okay, I believe you, especially as your explanation is set in verse.  (Clever old gobbler aren't you?)

I hate to admit it, but I have grown tired of all this gloom and doom being pedalled by the Opposition and their media spokespersons.  What they are doing is pedalling a recipe for the black dog to run amok in the Australian population, and all because they want to get their hands on power.  

I tuned in to a segment on the radio the other day and was surprised to hear a 'chat' between the presenter and his guest who acknowledged he is not a Labor supporter.  However, this man opined that the politics in this country has gone to the dogs and he said he has come to the conclusion that there is an unhealthy emphasis on the polls.  He said polling should be restricted to 'quarterly' polls and completely and utterly banned in the two weeks prior to an election.  He said that in the seat of Ashgrove in Q'ld, the people were polled several times a week during the campaign and during the last few days, it was ramped up to several times a day.   He also said he thought Q'ld may well rue the day they dispensed with an effective opposition.


April 2. 2012 07:14 PM


That Seth Godin must have poked his head in on Australian politics.

The coalition of No
It's easy to join.
There are a million reasons to say no, but few reasons to stand up and say yes.



April 2. 2012 08:18 PM

Ad astra

I have a Mac but don't look at ABC 24 on it.  There is trick to updating Flash; Web Monkey updated mine, but I can't remember the sequence of steps.

I did the survey.  I see most are concerned about climate change. There may be hope yet!

I hope Seth is right about 'Yes' being the new normal.

I'm calling it a day.

Ad astra

April 2. 2012 09:09 PM



Most Dogs are Best Friends to their Masters
But one Dog is a Pain:
The Black Dog of Depression
When he's Master of your Brain.

BD and I are not entirely strangers, the Black Dog Institute published that little rhyme of mine in about 2005 in a book of essays and comments entitled Tracking the Black Dog, you could read more of my thoughts about him there.

And yes, the constant vuvuzela-chorus of nay-sayers is inclined to bring one down, but you can always do what I did then, don't listen, turn them off, do something else, write! (Writing is the Best Medicine)

And this next bit is for both

That is a great little bit of writing of Seth Godin's,
thank you for the link.

While *J*U*L*I*A* is GO - GO - GO,
There's Abbortt's screaming NO! NO! NO!
But she'll be here, and he'll be gone:
She spins NO! NO! NO! into ON! ON! ON! She spins NO! NO! NO! into ON! ON! ON!


April 2. 2012 10:57 PM


A dark and bumbling future for Australia
by Barry Everingham     Independent Australia
Australians should be very, very, afraid about what might happen if Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce get a licence to run Australia ...

Teamwork and Healthcare
by Andrew Leigh    
Here’s my speech from this morning, officially opening the Allied Health Professions Australia national conference on behalf of Health Minister Tanya Plibersek. My focus was on how we often place too much emphasis on individual, and not enough on teams.

Australia and the world: our very foreign policy
by Andrew Elder     The Drum
Australian foreign policy is not connected to our political system, and it is utterly unrelated to the way Australians interact with other countries.

Abbott sound bites from his John Laws interview 02/04/12
carbon tax "goodies"
PPL - tax or levy?

The Cycles of Party Politics
by Antony Green
The question is, does this decline in Labor representation represent a cyclical or structural change in party politics. Is this decline in Labor seats just a turn of the electoral cycle with the Coalition parties recovering from a series of terrible election defeats a decade ago.

Government is NOT like running a business!!!
by Ash Ghebranious    Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery
Sorry. But it is not. Governing, whether that be a state or a nation, is more like running a household.

#46 Is the One Party state coming to Australia?
by Uther's Say
Others first entertained the possibility in 2011 when at least one poll had the coalition ahead 61% to 39%. It was not just the poll numbers but the fact that the full force of the News Corporation, despite this alarming poll results which others thought was in part due to News Ltd’s successful domination of the Australian media scene, was still ruthlessly on the attack for its preferred party.

New texts drag O'Farrell into Star scandal
by Deborah Cornwall and staff      ABC News
A series of explosive text messages suggest New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell wanted to "smash" Sydney's Star casino.

Pokie industry calls dogs off Labor MPs
by Patrick Lion     News.com
The poker machine industry has claimed victory and has called off its controversial $40 million campaign that targeted worried Labor MPs in the Government's most marginal seats.

Only Monday, and yet the class and newspaper wars rage on ...
by Dorothy Parker     Loon Pond
Yes, it's Sheehan in apocalyptic disaster, let them eat a little cake or we'll all perish mode, a Jeremiah with a jeremiad, but you have to say it's also deeply lazy column writing, flinging together a few movies and a few snippets to eke out a column.


April 3. 2012 12:28 AM


TT @5.47am, rofl.

SIC, please regale us with Julia Gillard's "lies". However, you may not use the carbon tax meme, unless you are prepared to admit that you lack written and verbal comprehension skills.

I must admit I am puzzled by your aversion to liars; after all you appear to be a fan of the egregious liar Sir Liealot of Brainfartia.

To quote that intellectual giant, Pauline Hanson, "Please explain."

Mind you, Pauline may not have been a Rhodes Scholar, but she knew when she'd been set up and who had provided the slush fund.

Gracious me, could it have been that bastion of truth, honesty and integrity, Sir Liealot who swore on a stack of Cardinal Pell's bibles that he'd done no such thing, only to be forced to admit he'd been more than a little parsimonious with the truth?

And of course, there are the bare-faced porkies listed by Ad astra in his post on 19/2/12 titled Tony Abbott, we are sick of your lies.

So, please explain to your eager audience why you blithely and uncritically accept Tony Abbott's congenital lying, but purse your lips at the ephemeral list of Julia Gillard's "lies"?

Ad astra, the 49% and I buy those vile crustaceans, commonly called crayfish, for the export market.

I have never been able to stomach the things and after many years handling them, I think I'm developing an allergy to them.


April 3. 2012 02:10 AM


SIC, just another example of Liealot's devotion to the truth. Enjoy.



April 3. 2012 09:42 AM


There are some very rare occasions when I wish I could attach my own name to the by-line of a mainstream news story. Here's an example. John Watson "took the words right outa my mouth".

Let me remind you: it's 2001, John Howard is facing disaster
by John Watson      SMH
Forecasting voters' intentions 18 months in advance is idiotic.
No amount of certainty and seeming authority can alter the essential idiocy of announcing voters' verdict a year and a half in advance.



April 3. 2012 10:09 AM

Ad astra

Thank you for your links, and particularly for the ‘Howard facing disaster’ piece, which fits neatly into what I am now writing.

Another delightful piece of verse.  I love the last line.

Now I understand the crustacean reference. Thank you for the link exposing yet another Abbott lie.  How come Julia is lampooned continuously with the ‘liar’ meme when this man lies endlessly without a murmur from the MSM?

We are getting on the road now for the south coast.  I’ll be back this evening.

Ad astra

April 3. 2012 10:39 AM


apropos nothing in particular

I have always reckoned that Paul Bongiorno was/is a reasonable to good journo. Don't always agree with him and that is true of most if not all journos.

Anyway since Mr Bongiorno took up Twitter he has shown another side and an often sly and quick wit.

Some Opposition also ran tweeted this:

Scott Morrison ‏ @ScottMorrisonMP
An Immigration Minister writing opeds about nannies, a Foreign Minister waging a campaign to decriminalise drugs - who's minding the shop??

and the reply?

Paul Bongiorno ‏ @PaulBongiorno
@ScottMorrisonMP It does make you wonder. Besides all sorts of agendas it shows they can chew gum and scratch their bottoms simultaneously.

I giggled.


April 3. 2012 11:19 AM


Ad astra @10.09am, the msm cannot deny that they're campaigning for the Liars party after being exposed time after time by people like Paul Bongiorno, who seems to want to do his job properly.

Pip @Café Whispers posted a tweet from Bongiorno lamenting the fact that Channel 10 had killed his story about Liealot confessing that he would not repeal ALL of the carbon pricing legislation if he got his mendacious paws on the levers of government.


What really amazes me is that people like SIC and Caroline swallow Liealot's and the Liars Party's gigantic porkies whole, with a straight face and then babble endlessly about the PM's "lies", without providing any evidence that a lie has been told.

The endlessly repeated carbon tax "lie", doesn't stand up to ANY scrutiny, particularly when all the proponents of that meme can only parrot the mendacious rantings of the likes of the Parrot, Dolt and Lealot.

Then there's the risible "betrayal" of Andrew Wilkie meme. It seems that the excitable Mr Wilkie is not sufficiently gutted by this to cosy up to Liealot.

Hopefully, the government will conquer the pokies lobby, despite the behind the scenes manoeuvering by Kevin Rudd.


April 3. 2012 11:53 AM


Gee don't all write at once!

I got an idea a lot of us are feeling that we are living in an inside-out universe, where lies and betrayals are praiseworthy and truth and loyalty condemned. Abbortt more popular as PM than *J*U*L*I*A*, and Snotty Joe more trusted as Treasurer than Swan!? Gravel, yes I often feel like throwing my hands up in despair too but that won't teach the baby to swear! We must fight on, now there is a Doldrums time especially, DON'T succumb to that slow poison, this time is just as critical as when Parliament is in full cry.

Keep the Light bright, never mind the Evanses!
Fight the Good Fight, we'll have 'em for elevenses!


April 3. 2012 11:53 AM


Pip, @Cafe Whispers has posted a tweet from Paul Bongiorno lamenting that Channel 10 had pulled the plug on Liealot's statement that he wouldn't repeal ALL of the carbon pricing legislation if he gets his mendacious paws on the levers of government.

I suppose even Liealot's incompetent economic oaf Sloppy Joe has managed to calculate that the booty from the carbon pricing scheme might help to fill some of that $70+bn black hole they've dug for themselves.



April 3. 2012 12:26 PM


For anyone who may have missed the import of the sound-bites that were linked to this morning (because no-one in the mainstream has picked up on it*), in an interview with John Laws yesterday Mr Abbott made two significant admissions. In making these admissions Abbott showed yet again that he has no capacity to maintain his spin when faced with a consistent line of questioning, even by someone as 'friendly' as Laws.
Firstly, when is a tax not a tax? When it's a levy.

Laws – Your proposal for paid parental leave, that’ll be funded by a 1% levy on the company’s biggest companies. That’s a great big tax.

Abbott – Well, it’s a modest levy

Laws – It’s a tax

Abbott – It’s err…I’m not going to get into a terminological argument with you John.. I accept that it has to be paid for. It will be paid for by a levy on the taxable incomes over…blah blah blah…There will also be a company tax cut under us to make headroom for this…

Laws -But it’s very interesting, when you talk about a cut it’s a tax, when you talk about an increase it’s a levy. What’s the difference between a levy and a tax?

Abbott – Well, I’ll leave others to ponder

Laws – No, no, no, you obviously know the difference.

Abbott -Well, well, er

Laws -Tell me the difference between a levy and a tax

Abbott – Well…umm…John…we can speculate all day

Laws – No, no we don’t need to speculate.

Abbott – I accept John, I absolutely accept that the paid parental leave scheme does have to be paid for and it is going to be paid for by a levy which you prefer to call a tax, it will be paid for by a levy or a tax if you prefer that term..um.. on larger companies.

Thanks to Leone @ PB.

So Abbott's sound-bite about the ALP's cut to company tax that: "It's a tax cut paid for by a big new tax, it's not a tax cut it's a con" starts to sound more than a little hypocritical.

The government plans to tax super-profitable miners through the MRRT. They will take some of the cream off the top of big miners' profits and use some of the income to off-set revenue losses that they will incur when they cut Company Tax by 1%. The source of their income (MRRT) will have no impact on the price of anything because commodity prices are set by international markets. In the broadest theoretical sense, the tax cut will have no impact on the budget.

Abbott's PPL will tax over 3000 big businesses who will inevitably pass the cost on to consumers and since they represent a wide spectrum of businesses from banks to supermarkets, price increases will occur on all manner of goods and services. However, Mr Abbott promised at the last election that he would provide a 1.5% cut to Company Tax to offset this new 'levy' in order to make headroom for this .... Since the election, the 'quantum' of the cut to Company Tax has yet to be clearly defined which would imply that it is far more likely to be 1% than 1.5%.

So, let's turn this around. Abbott will provide a 1% cut to Company Tax (including those 3000+ big businesses) which will result in a significant drop in federal revenue. To accommodate this drop he will either have to spend what is popularly referred to as 'taxpayer dollars' to maintain expenditure on government services or make cuts to those services. Either way, the Australian public will wear the cost of this Company Tax cut. In order to pay for his PPL scheme he will then 'levy' a 1% tax on 3000+ big businesses who, if they wish to maintain their competitive edge and profit margins, will pass the new cost on to consumers. To pay for Abbott's PPL scheme the entire Australian public (including the poor and least well-off) will have to cough up money from the budget to cover his Company Tax cut AND pay more for their goods and services to cover his 1% levy on big business.

To Mr Abbott I would say: "It's not a levy on big business. It's a tax on consumers. The cut to Company Tax is a cut to government services."

The second interesting thing that Mr Abbott revealed to John Laws is that we should not assume that because he is going to repeal the 'carbon tax' that he is necessarily going to undo all of the 'goodies' associated with it. What are the 'goodies'? A pension increase, tripling the lowest income tax threshold, providing assistance to trade exposed industries who are also facing problems through the high dollar. The question is which of these 'goodies' is Mr Abbott going to keep and where is the money coming from? Once again he is promising to maintain some of the expenditure whilst at the same time destroying the revenue stream. Government services will be the victim of this foolish Magic Pudding accounting.

Why this isn't splashed all over the front pages of newspapers this morning, I have no idea.

For more on taxes and levies go to Ash's latest offering.


* Lateline gave it a brief mention last night.


April 3. 2012 12:28 PM



As I say above, I think Abbott was referring to 'carbon tax' compensation not income.


April 3. 2012 01:16 PM


A pension increase, tripling the lowest income tax threshold, providing assistance to trade exposed industries who are also facing problems through the high dollar.

NormanK, I imagine Liealot has already had feedback about the squealing there would be if he took those goodies away from pensioners etc.

And at the same time he shows his colossal ignorance by telling people that he can hand out all that cash without significantly less money landing in the Treasury coffers.

Why this isn't splashed all over the front pages of newspapers this morning, I have no idea.

Let me try and guess.

@12.28pm, you're right.  


April 3. 2012 03:46 PM


We've all got open minds, right?

Budget cuts will bring on recession
by Tim Colebatch     BrisbaneTimes
''Labor craves the approval of the financial markets in a way the Liberals don't need to,'' Eslake says. ''Labor has to show that it can govern responsibly. The Liberals don't.''

It is the only plausible explanation for the tragedy we are about to experience. Next month Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan will give us a budget that will probably send most of Australia into recession


It is worth travelling down into the comments and reading what 'v' @  April 03, 2012, 2:46PM has to say.

It will indeed be interesting to see what Swan and Gillard come up with in this year's budget. If they want to put a smile on my face they will attack the diesel subsidy for miners and means test some of the Medicare safety net. Hopefully they will throw some money at construction initiatives in the Eastern states - like social housing.


April 3. 2012 06:08 PM

Patricia WA

Sorry, TT, late to my desk today!  First of all we had a very cloudy start to the day and so it was unusually dark and my cat and dog decided that if I wanted to sleep in that was okay with them!  TT, you'd probably agree with my daughter that though it was probably selfishness on Sheba's part who was curled up at my feet, it was thoughtfulness and consideration on Tacker's who would normally not let the kids pass the house on the way to school without rushing out to greet them and be patted, the highlight of his day.

So, a late start and then I was drawn into a trip to the cinema by my kids to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which was delightful, funny and insightful.   I say insightful because I learned a very much needed lesson today after watching Tom Wilkinson's portrayal of a homosexual judge returning  to India to seek out his first love.

I really did think I had sorted out my feelings and thoughts about homosexual people and their rights to full equality before the law, even though the gay marriage issue has never seemed a priority to me. In fact, I get impatient when I'm told it is a first order question for Labor to sort out.   I thought that was because for me marriage as either a rite or an institution now seems an irrelevance, having become so devalued even when children are involved. Surely, I thought, full equality for same sex couples before the law was enough?  Why add the constraints of conventional marriage which seemed to me to be so harmful to the people bound by it and the children born within it.

I've been re-thinking that attitude this afternoon. Not about marriage so much but about homosexual rights to it, and my failure to fully appreciate the urgency and passion of their need for this last barrier to be removed.  This love story about two young men who loved each other many decades ago, were discovered together and shamed into lifelong separation, took me back to my own adolescence when I had my first exposure to the idea of gay love.  Well it wasn't called 'gay' then.  Nor was 'love' mentioned in connection with it.  Homosexuals were criminals, I learned, but I couldn't understand exactly what law they were breaking since newspapers reports were written in terms of 'gross indecency' and 'offences' which it seemed were so appalling they could not be spoken of in polite society.

I've just been reading this article in the Guardian which exactly describes that experience of mine and of most of my peers.  Not really an experience mind you, just an awareness as I started to read newspapers in my teens in the UK in the fifties. This para pretty well sums that up.

It is hard for us to imagine now how repressive was the atmosphere surrounding homosexuality in the 1950s. 'It was so little spoken about, you could be well into late adolescence before you even realised it was a crime,' says Allan Horsfall, who campaigned for legal change in the north west, where he lived with his partner, a headmaster. 'Some newspapers reported court cases but they talked of "gross indecency" because they couldn't bring themselves to mention it, so young people were lucky if they could work out what was going on.'

In the fifty years since I grew up in that environment I have become a well informed, rational and I like to think a fair minded adult who believes in equal rights and opportunities for all regardless of gender, race, or sexual preferences etc.......etc.    Watching the portrayal of that elderly judge, a stereotypical mature, ageing pillar of society, talking of his lifelong love for another man, I realized how little I knew about him and other people like him of my own generation, or till then had empathised with his situation.   I was taken back to my own adolescence when I learned not to think about those uncomfortable things.  

I had forgotten how uncomfortable they were, nor how even more uncomfortable I had been made to feel about my own sexuality.  I was in my early thirties before I finally got that sorted out, and somehow it had seemed easy then to accept women friends who were clearly lesbian and comfortable with it, and to begin to understand my playwright ex-husband's theatre friends who were openly gay.   But I can't say I was willing to spend a lot of time thinking about them.  There was too much else to enjoy, to read and to think about.

Well today I have the time and I am taking it to read about the appalling things we have done and are still doing to people growing up alongside us in our so called democratic country.  Just because I don't value marriage, or want it for myself any more, is it fair that I should deny it to other people to whom it is a much yearned for and too long denied right?

Patricia WA

April 3. 2012 08:32 PM

Ad astra reply

Back home on the coast and a lot of interesting comments with which to catch up.  I’m off now to view the 8.30 program on SBS about Murdoch’s latest stunt – hacking into competitors’ pay TV so that it became available without payment.  It should be good viewing.

Ad astra reply

April 3. 2012 09:18 PM


Federal Labor flawed and floored
The federal Labor Party has failed its surviving supporters in the bloody aftermath of the Queensland election.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, a proven liar, asks the electorate to trust her – fat chance.
Gillard’s claims to be managing the economy are an absolute joke, as are her claims to lead a reforming government.

The only actions her government is responsible for have been retrogressive.



April 3. 2012 09:29 PM

Patricia WA

Norman!   Don't do this to me!    Piers Akerman writing in The Telegraph!   I should have known.

Patricia WA

April 3. 2012 10:54 PM


Patricia WA

Sorry! Proves my point though really - there's hardly anybody out there.
Guess we'll just keep shouting into the wind. Smile


April 3. 2012 11:13 PM


The politics of the ether
by Andrew Elder     Politically homeless
Big business thinks about as much of Abbott and Hockey as they do of Gillard and Swan. That said, Assange has detected that Australian politics is in a period of deep disillusionment with the major parties (yes, both of them; Liberals relying on the sky-high polling for their side really are kidding themselves).

Rann rams Oz … Sunny Coast rival … Sly Bailey a dud …
by Crikey
Former premier Mike Rann has let fly at The Australian for its supposed “beat-up” style of journalism. In a speech last night at Flinders University Rann criticised “desperate journalists” at the newspaper. “They try to be amateur political players themselves or, at worst, twist their story and sometimes even their quotes in order to get their ‘beat-up’ into the paper,” he said.

by Ash Ghebranious     Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery
Abbott went to the 2010 elections making the claim that his coalition would introduce no new taxes. He did however release his paid parental leave scheme which had a ‘levy’. He DENIED this levy was a tax. For the election campaign he denied it. For 18 months after the election campaign he denied it. And yesterday in a interview with John Laws he finally admitted that it was sort of a tax.

Abbott the Boastful forgets his own Medicare safety net history
by Admin     Blogotariat
This is a typically inaccurate statement by Abbott. There was a safety net written into the Australian Medicare universal health care scheme before he became Federal Minister for Health and Ageing in the Howard Coalition Government.

Tony Abbott: We are all Israeli … Really? We Are?
by redglitterx     Turn Left 2013
Tony Abbott “as far as I’m concerned, Australians are Israelis. We are all Israelis”

Thomson’s lynch mob left frustrated for another day
by Malcolm Farr     The Punch
It’s been so long coming that release of the report into credit card use within the Health Services Union is being hailed as a huge stride in resolving this lingering, messy controversy.

Gillard’s broken promise
by Fred Argy     Club Troppo
Gillard is still the best person to lead the ALP (there is no one else). How deal with the loss of trust following her broken promise on carbon tax? This is a difficult question but it must be resolved.

Swan's slow-motion crash
by Rob Burgess     Business Spectator
Australia looks likely to learn a harsh lesson from the 2012/13 federal budget – the pain of recession outside the resources sector might even be enough to make voters realise a simple fact: our national media got it wrong when it swallowed the Coalition line that Australia Inc must run its balance sheet totally ungeared.

AFR sacks 'voice of dissent'
by Nick Leys     The Australian
THE Australian Financial Review's long-standing economics contributor John Quiggin has today been sacked by the newspaper.

End of an era (for me, anyway)
by John Quiggin
A little while ago, I got a message from the Fin to tell me they wouldn’t be running any more columns from me, as they are bringing in some new commentators.


April 4. 2012 09:02 AM


If you have been missing your dose of Newspaper Front Pages help is at hand

I have come across a source that has all the newspapers you could want and more all in the one spot.

You can look at the usual suspects PLUS mastheads such as:
Benalla Ensign, Deniliquin Pastoral Times, Kybram Free Press, Tablelands Advetiser, The Cairns Post, Townsville Bulletin and heaps more.

I am still testing the site and I am not sure exactly which page this link will take you to but if you want news from here, there and all places in between check it out


April 4. 2012 09:18 AM


Watching the Murdoch media empire sink slowly into the cesspools of its own decades-in-the-making creation, the last thing any responsible Australian government of whichever political stripe should have done is make SKY the regional 'voice' of this country.

Far from botching a tender, the Gillard Government rescued Australia and how it is seen from more tainted brushes than can currently be counted.


April 4. 2012 09:57 AM


Thank you for your Links again NK,

This is NK's original link:
Tony Abbott: We are all Israeli … Really? We Are?
by redglitterx     Turn Left 2013
Tony Abbott “as far as I’m concerned, Australians are Israelis. We are all Israelis”

I found this dismaying, I would have found it astounding too from anyone else except Abbortt.

It was a bit down the page, not instantly obvious but a vitally-important piece of understanding about TA's belief system, I've copy-pasted the whole item from the Jewish News and the comment from the quoter and a brief one from me.

Abbott: We are all Israeli [ !!! ]
March 16, 2012 · No comments
National, News · Tagged: Central Synagogue, Gareth Narunsky, Hillel Fried, Josh Frydenberg, Malcolm T, Rabbi Levi Wolff, Studio Central, Tony Abbott

FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott gave a strong endorsement of Israel’s right to defend itself during a speech at the Central Synagogue last Friday night.

Appearing as a special guest as part of Central’s ongoing “Studio Central” youth program, Abbott spoke about the contribution Jewish Australians have made to our nation, before noting the similarities between Australia and Israel.

“In so many ways, [Israel is] a country so much like Australia, a liberal, pluralist democracy,” he said, “A beacon of freedom and hope in a part of the world which has so little freedom and hope.”

He added that Australians “can hardly begin to comprehend” the existential threat Israelis live under. “It is so easy for us in Australia to get moral qualms, if you like, when we read about Israeli actions in – on the West Bank for instance – or Israeli involvement in Lebanon.”

“And yet, we are not threatened in the way Israel was and is, and if we were threatened in the way Israel was and is, I am sure that we would take actions just as strong in our own defence.

“When Israel is fighting for its very life, well, as far as I’m concerned, Australians are Israelis. We are all Israelis in those circumstances.”

On a more local front, Abbott noted that Australia was the only the country in the world after Israel to have had a Jewish head of state, a Jewish Chief Justice and a Jewish Commander of the Armed Forces.

He was also full of praise for the Central Synagogue congregation and the wider Jewish community. “I am immensely encouraged to see the strength and the vigour of Jewish culture and Jewish faith here in Australia.”

Central Synagogue shaliach Hillel Fried said the successful evening heralded a re-invigoration of the Studio Central program.

“There’s a young community that’s being developed in the Central Synagogue that’s more and more vibrant, and that is growing in numbers,” he said. “We’re appealing to that crowd again so it’s a very positive development and we’re looking forward to many more events.”

Rabbi Levi Wolff expressed his gratitude to Kooyong MP Josh Frydenberg, who was also present, for his role in securing Abbott’s attendance for the event, noting that when the Opposition Leader mentioned there were “three future prime ministers in the room”, it was a testament to Frydenberg’s potential and ability.

Wentworth MP and shadow minister for communications and broadband Malcolm Turnbull also attended the event.


Tony Abbott (left) with Central Synagogue president Danny Taibel (centre) and vice-president Bob Rosen. Photo: Henry Benjamin.

Redglitterx's Comment

The headline on this Jewish News story was taking a quote from Abbott which is further down the page [no, higher up. . . TT]
"Tony Abbott as far as I’m concerned, Australians are Israelis. We are all Israelis
In other words, followers of non-Abrahamic religions, atheists, Muslims, Palestinians, Arabs, people of Middle East descent or recent migrants, or just brown people in general – You Will Not Be Welcome In Abbotts Australia."

TT's Take:

No. Wonder. Jesus. Wept.


April 4. 2012 11:20 AM


To balance up Tim Colebatch's article from yesterday:

Australia needs budget surplus
by Editorial    AFR
The Australian Financial Review  will be the first to applaud Mr Swan if his budget on May 8 vigorously cuts wasteful ­government spending, delivers more than a paper-thin surplus and provides a credible path for eliminating the budget’s ­substantial structural or underlying deficit.


April 4. 2012 12:42 PM


Bushfire Bill in fine form this morning,

This lucky country has turned into a cowering, seething, mass of anger, resentment and phoney, misdirected entitlement. We are xenophobic, cockily arrogant and lacking in self-confidence, all at the same time. We’re talking and whingeing ourselves into an economic and social grave, squabbling over the spoils so much that we stand a good chance of losing the lot by allowing ourselves the indulgence of hatred, misogyny and childish tantrum-throwing.


April 4. 2012 03:53 PM


Alan Kohler trots out his usual bash Labor bs here:


To which, in response, how could I but..?

Australian business is gutless.

Run for subsidies when the market whacks them, bleat about taxes when the good times roll and Range Rovers crowd their garages.

The nation-crippling sense (neurosis) of entitlement starts from the top of the income scale in this country.

Hairychested in a pack, whiners and pleaders by nature. See themselves as wolves, sound and cringe like hyenas.


April 4. 2012 06:04 PM

Ad astra reply

I haven’t been around much today as I’ve been working on the next piece: Why Julia Gillard will win the 2013 election, which I will post tomorrow.

Thank you NormanK for another great set of links, TT for posting Tony Abbott’s pitch for the Jewish vote, DMW for your new-look front pages, NormanK for the very interesting AFR editorial and the link to BB’s great comment on PB, and Michael for Alan Kohler’s piece.  

It seems to me that economists vary so much in their opinion of what to do and what will happen, that it is almost a worthless exercise following them.  They seem either so wedded to a particular economics model no matter what the evidence says, or so keen to please their preferred audience, that they will willingly write anything that suits their purpose, with scant evidence advanced to support their case.  It is cynical self-serving journalism.  It is both disappointing and reprehensible.

Ad astra reply

April 4. 2012 08:15 PM


Well I just watched the Community Cabinet Meeting in Parramatta.

2 unhappy comments:

1, Why doesn't the Convenor make it clear at the outset that questioners have just 1 minute to ask their questions, ding a little bell, 30 second extension and finish?
The redhaired woman so-o-o-o paranoid got 5 stupid minutes where no-one had the goolies to stop her. *J*U*L*I*A* at last, far too late, finally suggested that the woman aske her question . . . but it's a weak look, everybody else hated it.

2, The woman who addressed the meeting about issues of the deaf was NEVER SHOWN, only the bloke doing the hand signing. FFS! Couldn't they have stood them close together? That was so RUDE!

And you can STILL never hear the questioners at pressers, let alone SEE them, WHAT IS WRONG with the ABC?


April 4. 2012 10:44 PM


Radio shockjocks diss NBN during paid ads
by Renai LeMay     Delimiter
Let me make this clear: NBN Co can not even pay 2GB’s conservative shockjocks to tell the truth on air — these commentators will go to any length to avoid it. As media professionals, 2GB’s announcers are completely out of line and should be cautioned by their station management and by the Australian Communications and Media Authority if possible. Not only have they damaged their own credibility in this case; they’ve also damaged their own organisation’s commercial interests.

Swan's budget challenge and the surplus non-debate
by Greg jericho     The Drum
Moving from a deficit to a surplus will have a number of impacts on the economy - not all of them will be good. If the RBA does cut rates, the value of the dollar will fall and this will improve conditions for businesses (especially in the manufacturing and tourism sector) which rely on exports. But if the decline in growth is not offset by the stimulus provided by a possible drop in interest rates then the relief of a lower dollar will be little comfort for those who have lost jobs in the meantime.

Gillard’s vaccine for carbon market ills
by Tristan Edis   Climate Spectator
Thankfully, unlike Europe, the Australian government set a minimum floor price that companies have to pay for their carbon permits. This will act as a safeguard to ensure there is a reasonable level of incentive for domestic emission reductions and hopefully prevent misguided investments in high polluting plants that could be stranded at a later date.

Climate change isn’t over yet, so why are we cutting climate change jobs?
by Robin Tennent-Wood     The Conversation
Yesterday’s announcement that one-third of jobs in the Department of Climate Change will be cut is yet another step back in the ALP’s half-hearted dance with climate change policy.

The age pension was fairer than super
by Brian Toohey     Eureka Street
Labor has the politics of superannuation badly wrong. Its core constituency would be much better off without it. So would the economy.

Malcolm on the outer
by Norman Abjorensen     Inside Story
One of the most curious things about the Liberal Party is the extent to which it so readily adjusts to the persona of a strong leader – curious because this is a party that so champions liberal individualism.

Andrew Leigh: kicking goals, requires promotion
by Nicholas Gruen     Club Troppo
I just came across this MPI speech by Andrew Leigh. Damn fine job. Straightforward, informed, powerful. In a world in which people somehow get divided into subject wonks and sliver-tongues, it’s amazing how much actually knowing stuff and having a perspective on things gives you a platform on which to communicate.

Impeach the Supreme Court Justices If They Overturn Health-Care Law
by David R Dow     The Daily Beast
The problem with the current court is not merely that there is a good chance it will strike down a clearly constitutional law. The problem is that this decision would be the latest salvo in what seems to be a sustained effort on the part of the Roberts Court to return the country to the Gilded Age.
And then came Citizens United, in which the court struck down a popularly supported, bipartisan effort to place limits on the ability of the wealthy to dominate political discourse.

Loyal to Labor and committed to the RRT
by Bill Hayden     The Drum
Yes Peter [Costello], I modestly agree I am the good bloke you claim I am these days and that my grasp of economics is as refined as you have stated. I now hope you will have the intelligent insight to endorse my sound common sense economics next time you approbate me publicly.
I say little from retirement about the issues of the day. I’ve played my game. That is for others to do. But I am loyal Labor.

Swan needs more than a bag of tricks
by Peter Martin    SMH
If Wayne Swan pulls this off, he will really deserve to be called the world's greatest Treasurer.
Unless, of course, you used creative accounting. And for Swan, just as for any chief financial officer given a near-impossible task, the incentive is there.

Workers pay the penalty for one-way flexibility
by Ross Gittins     SMH
Whether or not they realise what they're doing, Australia's business people, economists and politicians are in the process of dismantling the weekend and phasing out public holidays. And they're doing it in the name of making us better off.


April 5. 2012 08:38 AM


Good Morning All,

This is the most doldrummatic period since before the last election.
Feels a bit like we are suffering from a thousand cuts, but never fear, the NOposition is running out of puff far more, it is pumping foam from the bottom of its near-empty tank of poison.

Happy Easter, then 3 weeks and we will be into the 3rd Quarter. In which Labor's strength and stamina will at last dominate. The Coalons have lost the plot now, what have they got left? They are dead in the water on the NBN. Craig Thomson is not at risk afa I can see. But Labor must be strident forevermore in its condemnation of crap reporting. That is the real battle.

Waiting with bated breath for your new post today Ad astra.    


April 5. 2012 09:51 AM


“And yet, we are not threatened in the way Israel was and is, and if we were threatened in the way Israel was and is, I am sure that we would take actions just as strong in our own defence."

Sounds like Abbott and his Neo-con supporters are keen to provoke an incident...use fear-mongering and conflict trauma to garner votes...like Mr. Sarkosy.

The war on terrorism...the war that keeps on giving.

Tony Abbott is a menace to Australian society...as are the old guard Liberals who took us into a bogus war in Iraq...one that managed to recruit many many Islamic militants.

“When Israel is fighting for its very life, well, as far as I’m concerned, Australians are Israelis. We are all Israelis in those circumstances.”

What a ridiculous and irresponsible thing to say.

An insult to Arab Australians for one.

Sounds like Abbott is willing to sell Australia to both the Israel lobby...and super rich mining interests.

Just like GW Bush did to the Israel lobby and big oil...Texas and Saudi Arabia for starters.

How did that turn out for America and the world?

Not too well for Israel either.

Abbott, Murdoch, the neo-cons...a threat to world stability.



April 5. 2012 10:23 AM




Full doco:


Tony Abbott and the neo-cons are a menace to society.

Know the REAL Tony Abbott.



April 5. 2012 10:32 AM






April 5. 2012 11:34 AM


As for QLD's new premier Campbell Newman:

Newman cutting the literacy awards is more than just political pettiness…and cost saving.

It is part of a long-term strategy to silence dissenting and alternative voices…to ensure that ex-military man Newman and his ally Abbott can pursue a hard-right, pro-war, pro-nuclear, religion over secularism, mining over the environment, fishing & cattle uber alles agenda.

In many ways these people have their heads in the 1940s.


Continuing on from where Bush and Howard left off.

...these politicians do not really believe in freedom of speech…they are a CON…

libertarians are stupid to fall for their bullsh*t

Every one is expendable when it comes to their loopy religious & resource wars.

Civil rights are thrown out the window when it suits them.

Ask this lady how her freedom of speech rights were respected:

Cornelia Rau is a German citizen and Australian permanent resident who was unlawfully detained for a period of ten months in 2004 and 2005 as part of the Australian Government’s mandatory detention program.


Or this poor lady:

Vivian Alvarez Solon (born 30 October 1962) is an Australian who was unlawfully removed to the Philippines by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) in July 2001. In May 2005, it became public knowledge that she had been deported, although DIMIA knew of its mistake in 2003. Solon’s family had listed her as a missing person since July 2003, and until May 2005, did not know that she had been deported. The circumstances surrounding Solon’s unlawful deportation have caused much controversy in the Australian media.

In October 2005, a report on Solon’s deportation was released, following an inquiry conducted by former Victoria Police commissioner Neil Comrie.

The report revealed that several senior DIMIA officials in Canberra knew about Solon’s unlawful deportation in 2003 and 2004, and failed to act. It also found that Solon’s mental and physical health problems were not given proper attention.

Solon has since returned to Australia on 18 November 2005


Anyone who thinks Tony Abbott and the Coalition…or Newman and the LNP give a crap about your right to dissent…to differ…is fooling themselves.

Newman has proved himself to be just another Neo-CONARTIST…

Silencer of VOICES.



April 5. 2012 12:23 PM


Peter Martin is riding his favourite hobby-horse once again, tilting at the NBN.
Quoting Percy Allan, president of the Australian Institute of Public Administration at length, Martin has another dig at the NBN. Although there may be some truth in Mr Allan's criticisms of the decision-making process that brought the broadband policy into being, I have to take particular umbrage at this comment.

"If a lower than expected proportion of people end up subscribing to it because they don't want to pay Rolls-Royce prices for a Rolls-Royce service, this thing is going to be a financial disaster - watch public opinion then."

Let's put something up front. Once the copper system is decommissioned everyone who wants a landline telephone connection is going to have to go to the NBN. Everyone who wants a wired broadband connection is going to have to migrate to the NBN. By the end of the roll-out every single hard-wired connection will be running through the NBN i.e. almost every Australian will have some form of NBN-based scheme. Take-up is not going to be a problem because we are going to have it forced on us. Make an argument against that if you will Mr Martin but please discontinue spreading low take-up fears.

There won't be Rolls-Royce prices for a Rolls-Royce service - plans available from major ISPs to date have seen equivalency or a small drop in price for basic connection but with higher speeds and greater usage allowances. A significant proportion of Australians will have access to high-speed broadband for the first time ever and they will be able to access it for a modest fee as determined by the government's low wholesale price to retailers. Competition between ISP providers who are all paying exactly the same wholesale price is going to be fierce in terms of rates, packages and services.

And the bloody thing will eventually turn a profit.

If Peter Martin didn't have a bee in his bonnet on this subject he would point out these inaccuracies.
That quote could just as easily read:

"If a higher than expected proportion of people end up subscribing to it because they are prepared to pay Volkswagen prices for a Rolls-Royce service, this thing is going to be a financial triumph - watch public opinion then."



April 5. 2012 12:51 PM

Ad astra reply

I have just posted for your consumption over the Easter break: Why Julia Gillard will win the 2013 election.


Ad astra reply

April 5. 2012 01:01 PM


       Or as Bushfire Bill writes!

I’d have loved to have seen the Institute Of Public Administration’s report on the copper telephony system, circa 1911:

Report: Copper wires unnecessary, costly, over-engineered
Ridiculous predictions that both high speed data, facsimile and voice communications could one day be sent along the same wire highlight just how trumped up this Rolls Royce network has become.

It promises much, but so far has delivered very little.

Only 10% of the population has taken up the electric telephone into domestic premises. Most potential subscribers prefer writing letters, courier delivery by horse and buggy and for urgent matters, by telegram.

The Institute's fear - and it appears to be well-founded given the government's complete ineptitude - is that this overpriced copper wire telephone system could go the way of horseless carriages, alternating current electricity and the ridiculous notion that heavier than air flying machines may someday carry as many as 12 passengers on journeys of over 50 miles: useless wastes of time and vital national resources that could be better spent on truly urgent matters such as training more wool-classers for the expected bumper wool crop of the coming season, research into increasing the efficiency of cedar cutting in our abundant NSW coastal forests and alleviating the desperate need for more and better schooled chimney sweeps as winter approaches.



April 5. 2012 02:52 PM


An important message for Mac users.

'Rude awakening' for Mac users: serious Mac flaw needs urgent fix
by Brian Krebs     SMH

Apple has released an urgent patch that will fix a security hole in its Mac operating system that has allowed some 30,000 Mac computers in Australia and more than 500,000 worldwide to be infected with malicious software (malware).

Hat tip:  guytaur@PB


April 5. 2012 05:42 PM


Ad astra, of writings that stoke up my fire
Yours are the ones that I most admire:
So sensible, so lucid, and so optimistic,
Staunch and defiant, but never hubristic;
I'm so glad I found the Political Sword
It brings its own reward, now I never get bored,
Methinks TPS the best blog on Lyn's~Links,  
Because of the way our own Ad astra thinks!

Folks, remember, (I've told you time and again,)
Abbortt's undermining will be public by the Ides of September,
he'll be subject to open challenge by November,
and dead ash by the end of December.
Have I ever yet been wrong? (I mean that too.)

I'm no orphan though. Ad astra has always said likewise.
Patricia WA, Lyn, some others.
But Ad astra has always been the firmest of us all.

Now he has beautifully gazzumped a rave I started a while back, and never really finished. He makes us all feel more upbeat, so I hope I don't lower the mood . . .
We all got our own Eye of Time folks, it's not mystical, it is pure simple logic extrapolated through time.

Just think of the fight for the next election as any 2-sided competitive sport, Aussie Rules is good, but in this case let’s think of it as like unto a 2-chariot race,
with 2 extremely different teams and drivers.

And of course it’s a matter of horses for courses.

And this course is no hundred-cubit dash, but an arena the teams must circle 36 times – or until one team is ousted - by fair means or foul.  

Check the form.

One driver is Antonius Abborticus:
Darling of Rome, really fit, big money on him,
lots of rich backers, fancy gold-plated rig,
but by Zeus, what sort of a motley mob he has as his team!
(Because see he’s been forced by his backers to take a bunch of old hacks that have never done any real roadwork in their lives, raised on gentries' estates!)

Robbius Gerontius a sad little old Shetland,
Snottus ad Hoccus a great fat lumbering golloper,
Pinus Poopus a mincing little show pony,
Mesma Plagiaria a skinny skittish mare with a mean streak,
Vampirella Mirabella a plump sway-back mare that feeds on old dead men's flesh,
and amongst others,
Malicius Turdballus, a glossy gelding which doesn't look all that bad, but has a disconcerting habit of taking a different direction from the way Abborticus wants it to, and in fact Abborticus has a sneaky feeling that this glossy gelding is just looking for a chance to bite him.

Well that's some of Abborticus’ chariot mob, the rest of his choices are worse.  

The other chariot is driven by one *J*U*L*I*A* Boadicea, fiery Gaelic warrior princess, quick in response and apprehension, determined, single-minded, experienced in verbal swordwork, and we knew all that.

But check out her Team!  

Albanesix a genuine warhorse,
Swanifix a good strong improver,
Smithifix a fine calm stallion,
Plibersix a splendid mare, in peak condition
Emersix a protective stabilizer
Conrofix a combative charger . .
Plus whole stables of fit thoroughbreds, racehorses, hardened stayers, wonderful willing work-horses, trained as a team and champing at the bit from the word go.
And we knew that from the start, even if we didn’t know quite how good they really are.

And we knew from the start of all the obstructions the cheating backers of Rome would throw in her road,
that at every turn she would be booed, slighted, ridiculed . . . and that her team as it went would have to deliver loads of weighty goodies, to a largely unappreciative crowd, whereas Abborticus travels empty . . .  To orchestrated cheering!

But we also knew that to knock *J*U*L*I*A* out of the race before the whole 36 laps, Abborticus would have to knock off one of her chariot’s wheels . . . just like that bastard Roman tries to do every time to Ben-Hur . . .
And we also knew that *J*U*L*I*A* is one hell of a driver . . .

Why such a huge majority thought that Abbortt could knock off that wheel is beyond me.

Sure, if one of the team died it could be a problem . . .
(though probably not, since a by-election would probably return a representative of the same party anyway)
but nothing that Abbortt could do would hasten that in any case.
Well, except for murder.

So it has always seemed probable to me that *J*U*L*I*A* would go the distance anyway.
If a wheel had been broken off, as Eye of Time cannot predict, all bets would be off, but what would be the use of fearing that anyway?

That’s not the same thing as predicting a win for Labor if she did go the whole distance though.

My Eye of Time is very clear that if she does manage to last the 36 laps, (and my hopeful guess is that she will), then she will win handsomely.


April 5. 2012 05:54 PM

Ad astra reply

That is magnificent.  Please post it on the current piece so that no one misses it.

Ad astra reply

Comments are closed