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Why Julia Gillard will win the 2013 election

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Thursday, 5 April 2012 12:48 by Ad astra
The prophets of doom will dismiss this piece as ridiculous. The likes of Dennis Shanahan, Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt, and of course the shock jocks, Alan Jones and Co., have long since written off Julia Gillard and her Government and have confidently predicted an annihilation of the proportions seen in the NSW and Queensland State elections. They have been joined by mainstream journalists such as Paul Kelly, Michelle Grattan, Shaun Carney and Peter Hartcher, and even old Labor people, most notably Richo, who sells his negative prognostications to the highest bidder, but also the more balanced Peter Beattie and Bill Hayden who warn Labor that to avoid obliteration it must change, must reconnect with the people, must restore trust. And only the other day, respected academic Robert Manne, who seems to oscillate from right to left to right again, joined the chorus of those who see Julia Gillard and her Government as doomed in his essay in The Long Goodbye: Explaining Gillard’s Collapse in The Monthly. His essay was forensically dissected by our own NormanK in a comment offered on the piece Abbott’s atrophy at 11.37 am on 30 March. His comments are right on the money. Read them.

Manne bases his ‘collapse’ theme mainly on the opinion polls, which he dissects in detail, and concludes that these are sufficient proof of the desperate situation in which the PM finds herself. He assigns predictive value to polls of voting intention and makes no attempt to question their validity. He then dissects the causes. Having dismissed ‘structural factors’, such as falling party membership and a paucity of idealistic younger people as the ‘explanation’ of ‘Gillard’s collapse’, he goes on to attribute it to a series of what he calls ‘blunders’: failure of administrative attention to the successful stimulus package, asylum seeker policy, ‘cold shouldering’ the Greens over the ETS, the absence of political nous in announcing the RSPT (now the MMRT), the removal of Kevin Rudd as PM, Julia Gillard’s decision to make an agreement with the Greens for a carbon tax/ETS, and Kevin Rudd’s attempt to regain leadership, all of which led Manne to predict that Tony Abbott would be PM before the end of 2013.

You can judge for yourself the plausibility of his assertions and reasoning, and ask why he has become so negative, why he seems to have abandoned hope for a Gillard Government after 2013.

In contrast, this piece takes an optimistic view.

No one, but no one knows what the outcome of the 2013 election will be. So what we read and hear from the pundits, established and self-appointed, is surmise. Much of it originates from polling and some from recent elections. As an intellectual exercise let’s analyze seriatim the factors that might determine who will win in 2013. This piece makes the case that Julia Gillard will win.

The polls
Note how Manne, and virtually every other commentator, use polls as the basis for their predictions. It is always the polls that start the ball rolling - the opinion polls and the actual polls - elections. Elections at least are concrete, not at all hypothetical. They represent a historic reality. In NSW, the Labor Government was heavily defeated. In Queensland, it was nearly eliminated. In Victoria, it lost by one seat. Commentators don’t mention the latter, but refer to NSW and particularly Queensland, making the patently obvious observation that if those results were replicated at a Federal level the result would be the same. The assumption by some is that they certainly will be replicated, by others that they probably will be, by still others that they could be. The latter are on safe ground, the former simply reflect forecasts, or more correctly guesses.

The assumption that Federal election polling will follow State polling is not well supported by history. Have we so soon forgotten John Howard’s long period in power when there were wall-to-wall State Labor governments, a period when it was postulated that because the Australian electorate did not favour wall-to-wall governments of the same persuasion, it re-elected the Howard Government many times. We have seen recently how Labor everywhere has morphed into only three at a Federal and State level. An assumption that the people will now deliberately opt for wall-to-wall Coalition governments is not well founded. Indeed it could be argued that a predominance of Coalition governments at a State level may be an advantage to Labor in Federal elections.

Of course the prophets of doom point to telltale parallels between defeated State governments and the Federal Government: loss of trust, breaking of promises, telling lies, failure to listen to the people, poor communication leading to the people having stopped listening, inadequate service delivery, and policy failures. Some of these parallels may be valid, most though are extrapolations of preexisting opinions about the Gillard Labor Government. It is easy to use these hypothetical parallels to reinforce established beliefs. For many journalists that is the objective.

Opinion polls of voting intentions
Let’s return to opinion polls on voting intentions. They have been the basis of most of the dire prognostications. Yet, everyone knows that such opinion polls are not predictive this far out from the scheduled time of the next election. Why do commentators persist with this deception? Is it because it fits their preferred narrative about the Gillard Government? Is it because they wish for the disappearance of this Government, one that is anathema to so many of the rich and powerful who see it enacting legislation contrary to their interests? Is it because polls make money for the pollsters and their newspaper proprietors, great, if not illuminating copy for journalists, and juicy news items for radio and TV?

John Watson, senior writer for The Age begins his April 3 opinion piece: Let me remind you: it's 2001, John Howard is facing disaster: with "Forecasting voters' intentions 18 months in advance is idiotic", and to reinforce his message, concludes with "No amount of certainty and seeming authority can alter the essential idiocy of announcing voters' verdict a year and a half in advance".

In between these assertions he fleshes out his reasoning. Talking of “the divining of portents for Julia Gillard's government after the Queensland election and the recent Age/Nielsen poll, in which Labor trails 57-43 per cent on the two-party vote”, he notes: “In fact, we saw something very similar in 2001".

Watson points out that in 2001 the Howard government was being written off by many self-styled pundits. Andrew Bolt told us Howard was ''…the walking dead prime minister, even before the GST puts him out of his misery'', and ''God's gift to his foes'', devoid of vision, inspiration and understanding, and ''...a one-trick pony.'' Michelle Grattan reported deep pessimism in Coalition ranks; pollster Gary Morgan said the government had ''zero chance''; Paul Kelly wrote that ''within five short years'' of Howard's 1996 landslide, Labor could win a comfortable majority, supported by six state Labor governments…If the blue-ribbon seat of Ryan fell in a by-election, it would be ''proof that the malaise has corroded the foundations of the Liberal Party''. In fact Ryan did fall and the loss led to ''feverish leadership speculation, internal suspicion and instability'', as Michael Gordon of The Age had predicted. The pundits asserted that the electorate had ‘stopped listening’ to Howard.

Yet within four months of these dire prognostications, Howard led the Coalition to a resounding victory, his third.

Towards the end of his article, Watson adds: “Gillard certainly does not inspire confidence in her ability to turn things around, but neither did Howard 11 years ago. His government repeatedly showed the truth of the adage that only one poll counts.” Exactly.

The details to support Watson’s contentions are there for all to see. You will find it rewarding to read his informative article here.

So right now, at this time, polls of voting intentions as predictors of what will happen at the 2013 election should be discounted. To give them credence is, to use Watson’s word, 'idiotic’.

But what would commentators use for predicting the outcome of the next election if there were no opinion polls? Think of that, no TPP calculated from a sample of around a thousand, presumed to be representative of the whole electorate. Without such polls, they would be forced to fashion their predictions on actual events: elections, and the performance of the Government, the Opposition, other parties, and the Independents. That would change the prediction game profoundly. But we do have opinion polls, almost every week. Having predicted the demise of the Government based on the false premise that these polls of voting intention do have predictive value, the doomsayers then proceed to construct explanations for the outcome they are predicting. It is astonishing illogic, but that is what they do. Why do they so seldom look at performance?

The performance
We ought to be judging our politicians and their parties on their actual performance, not on what the most recent opinion poll says, or even on the polling trends, although the latter are likely more reliable. So what of the Gillard Government’s performance since elected?

Despite the brickbats that are hurled every day at the PM and her Government, over three hundred pieces of legislation have been passed in the face of trenchant opposition from a vitriolic Opposition leader, with not one failure. There are two pieces of legislation that will be presented when there is certainty of passage – the asylum seeker amendments that would allow any government to choose its preferred style of offshore processing, and the original pokies legislation. The Government can see no logic to presenting bills that are certain to be defeated.

Much of the legislation represents important moves and significant reform – the highly regarded stimulus program and related measures that successfully shielded this nation from the worst effects of the GFC, the critically important BER and HIP programs, the carbon tax/ETS, the MMRT, plain packaging of cigarettes, health reforms, cancer centres, GP Super Clinics, pharmaceutical benefits reforms, disability insurance, indigenous reforms, IR reforms, the National Broadband Network, an investigation into problem gambling on pokies yet to be legislated, the list goes on and on. Although the Opposition has opposed most of them, the ones that they have built most of their campaign of denigration upon are the GFC measures, the BER and HIP programs, the carbon tax and the MMRT. These have been the reforms that have been targeted by Tony Abbott, the Opposition, and much of the MSM, to such an extent that most voters would be unaware of the hundreds of others. And there is still more important legislation to come.

The economy
What about the state of the economy? Unemployment low - just above 5%; inflation low – within the RBA’s ‘comfort zone’; interest rates low – a 4.25% cash rate and likely to fall; public debt low – a small fraction of comparable countries; a healthy trade surplus; a strong Australian dollar; Triple A credit rating from all three rating agencies; massive investment in mining and related infrastructure; a growing economy despite natural disasters and the high AUD; and our Treasurer named ‘Finance Minister of the Year’ by Euromoney Magazine. What more do people want? They would like faster growth, better retail sales, better conditions for export manufacturers, and higher levels of confidence in the business community and the electorate, but nonetheless the Government’s record is a splendid if not perfect one, the envy of the developed world.

What a pity the critics don’t start with the many accomplishments of the Gillard Government and suggest how the electorate can be made aware of them.

PM Gillard – the politician, the person
And these accomplishments have been achieved with a minority Government where every piece of legislation is opposed, where negotiation with the Independents is needed every time. Julia Gillard is a brilliant negotiator, tireless in her efforts to bring needed reform that will set our nation on course for a bright and prosperous future, all the time against the dead weight of the Coalition and Tony Abbott with his foot on the brakes.

And not only has she had resistance to everything she attempts, she has had personal invective heaped upon her, often by a hostile media, not just about her policies or her political ‘misdemeanors’, but also her appearance, her shape, her hair, her dress, her voice, her facial expressions, her demeanour. As she said to Barack Obama: “You think it's tough being African-American? Try being me. Try being an atheist, childless, single woman as prime minister.''

Yet she doesn’t complain. She has mental toughness, steely courage, tenacity, and a quiet determination to get things done. She now confronts rude and aggressive journalists, tells them ‘don’t write crap’, and recently left them open mouthed with her move to install Bob Carr as Foreign Minister.

How then can she hurdle this barrier of media hostility, how can she overcome the perceptions that have been built up in the electorate by the relentless, ruthless and vitriolic negativity of Tony Abbott, the Coalition and the mainstream media? How can she throw off the spurious ‘liar’ label that impairs her image, and is reinforced at every opportunity by the malevolent forces pitted against her every day, every week? That will take time and may not be possible, especially when Abbott, Coalition ministers and the media take every opportunity to reinforce it. So another approach is needed, one alluded to by Bob Carr, who put his finger on the nub of labor’s electoral challenge when talking with Jon Faine on ABC 774 Melbourne radio this week.

He said that when the election comes around, the crucial brief for the Government is to make the electorate starkly aware that it has a CHOICE. A choice between the Government we have, and the alternative, an Abbott Government. That’s what the people must be confronted with. Which will they choose?

The choice
Which would they sooner have? A government that has achieved so much, or the spectre of a Coalition government with all its negativity, all its threats to repeal what Labor has put in place, all its bizarre promises – a Rolls Royce PPL with a ‘great big new tax’ on business, sorry a levy, to fund it and taxpayer funded nannies for working mothers, yet tax reductions and other Labor goodies that it won’t repeal – and it’s pledge to do all this, and more, with much less revenue, having foregone the carbon and minerals taxes. It says it will find a massive $70 billion of savings; from where is a mystery. Will it find some by actually reducing pensions and removing benefits flowing from the carbon and mineral taxes? Or will it lose its nerve? It says it will cull the public service and eliminate the climate change department – why would we want that if the climate were not changing! Its last attempt to find savings revealed around a $11 billion so-called ‘black hole’, and the certifying accountants found guilty and fined for improper conduct in endorsing the costings. The Coalition insists it will reveal all before the election, but who will believe what they say? They too have a problem with public perception.

What about competence? The public will have to choose between the PM we have, who has accomplished so much in very difficult circumstances, and an alternative PM who has shown no inclination to address policy matters, no ability in formulating a plan for Australia’s future, no interest in economics, only an intention to return to the past, the Howard past, with no vision of what the nation needs for a prosperous future, no idea of how that nation can adapt to the Asian Century, to changing international commerce, changing international relations and changing climate, and no plan for our future.

The electorate will have to choose between a competent economics team of Wayne Swan, Penny Wong, Bill Shorten and David Bradbury, and the motley alternative: Joe Hockey, Andrew Robb, Mathias Cormann and the occasional commentator, Barnaby Joyce, a group that have never come up with plausible economic policies, budgets or costings.

Voters will have to choose between the highly competent Minister for Health and Ageing, Tanya Plibersek, and the indolent shadow minister, who scarcely ever asks a question about health, Peter Dutton.

They will have to choose between the Minister for School Education, Peter Garrat and his team, and the shadow minister, Christopher Pyne who spends so much time on points of order that he scarcely ever gets round to addressing education.

The choice will have to be made between the new Foreign Minister, Bob Carr and his counterpart Julie Bishop, who spends so much time spitting venom at the PM that she hardly ever addresses foreign affairs.

They will choose between the impressive and highly competent Attorney General Nicola Roxon, previously a very successful health minister, and her opposite number, the sarcastic George Brandis.

And they will contrast the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet with his ETS, and his counterpart, the disingenuous Greg Hunt, caught between a belief in climate change and an ineffective Coalition Direct Action Plan to combat it.

Will they prefer the highly regarded Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, or his counterpart, Eric Abetz?

One could go on, but person against person, the comparison between Government ministers and their shadow counterparts shows up the stark difference between competence and industry on the Government side, and indolence and incompetence among most of the shadows.

A well-informed electorate will have no difficulty choosing between the Government and its alternative. The task for the PM and her Government is to make this contrast starkly apparent in the face of a largely hostile media, to restore a strong connection with the people, and reestablish trust.

In my view, when it comes to the crunch, when it comes to the choice between the Government’s achievements on the one hand, and the vague, unbelievable promises and shonky costings of an incompetent alternative government, the choice will be easy. The ‘liar’ image that has afflicted Julia Gillard will pale into insignificance as the public becomes aware of the monstrous lies perpetrated almost daily by the alternative, Tony Abbott. Even the most sycophantic sector of the media will be unable to disguise his disingenuousness and the hollowness of what he has to offer. The exposure of Abbott is already happening.

The people will see they have a choice: competence and achievement from a Government, which although far from perfect, has countless accomplishments, OR a shallow, policy-light alternative whose shadow front bench, to use Bob Carr’s words, is the worst in Australian political history. The choice will be clear. Julia Gillard will win.

It is not often that we read anything complimentary about our PM. But in an article The real Julia fan club in The Australian on 31 March journalist Nikki Gemmell, chatting at the school gate to other mothers about Julia Gillard, quoted one of them: “She’s such a strong role model for our daughters”, and hinted that there may be more admiration for our PM among women than is recognized, some of whom, intimidated by the narrative they are being fed about her by the media, are yet to ‘come out’ in her support. Don’t be surprised if their support jumps come election time.

But she showed her admiration most when she wrote in her opening paragraph: “It felt something like blasphemy. 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.”

Well, so do I.

What about you?

Comments (178) -

April 5. 2012 02:02 PM

Patricia WA

But we already had a Real Julia Fan Club here a year  ago!  We've never wavered in our admiration for our Prime Minister here at The Political Sword.  Thanks again, Ad Astra, for your continued affirmation of faith in her.  

We adore Julia!

She’s forthright, strong and no fibber
Stand-out model for any Libber.
Trace her career; right from the start
It’s clear that she’s no bleeding heart.

But, intelligent and aware,
She’s never anything but fair.
Questions on why she’s not married
Have been very lightly parried.

Which echoes that other 'Welsh' red head
Who resolutely refused to wed.
True, Julia’s not a Tudor, born to rule,
But she surely comes from that gene pool.

Patricia WA

April 5. 2012 02:04 PM

Barry Kayde

Could not agree more with your excellent article. The Prime Minister would be without a doubt one of the most mentally toughest people I have witnessed. This is what terrifies the Noalition and the MSM. She is unflappable unlike the supposed tough guy Tony Abbott. Nobody could ever forget his head shaking,trembling death stare at Mark Reilly, a truly embarrassing moment for the supposed tough guy of Australian politics. Abbott  would not last five minutes if the blowtorch was applied to him like it is Julia Gillard day after day by a partisan media. Her colleagues say she is as tough as nails and she proves it every day.  A truly dignified lady.

Barry Kayde

April 5. 2012 02:45 PM


I wish I had your faith in the commonsense of the Australian electorate.

There seems to be such an urge to PUNISH Labor out there that I wonder if there is any sort of rationality at play.


April 5. 2012 04:00 PM


Totally off topic

RN's Inside Sleeve has had some great music to read blogs by today Pity it is just ending as I start on this one


April 5. 2012 05:46 PM

Ad astra reply

Patricia WA
Thank you for your lovely poem.  How apt.  You are right – the Real Julia Fan Club started here long ago.  We need to recruit more and more to our numbers.  There is plenty of time.

Barry Kayde
Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.
Thank you for your comment.  You are right.  Julia is a supremely tough but very dignified lady, such a contrast to her pugilistic counterpart.

We must have faith.  Remember John Howard.  Remember that it was the same ‘pundits’ who wrote him off, as are now writing Julia off.  They were wrong then, for the same reasons, as they are now.  She will do a Johnny Howard – Lazarus with a triple bypass.

Ad astra reply

April 5. 2012 05:57 PM


Very interesting to compare ministers to their shadowy counterparts. Might I suggest that Labor's strategy would be to NOT focus on Gillard and encourage all their other ministers to talk to the media. It would improve the perception of team, inclusiveness and participation - they very themes that have seen members leave the party. I also hate the way Labor MPs hide their party logo. How can the public respect Labor when their MPs won't associate themselves with the party?


April 5. 2012 06:00 PM


AA As expected an excellent summary that needs repeating as often as the noalition utter their crap brain farts. Mind you the word brain is a big hurdle, the BISONS on the Frank view blog also need repeating.

Goebbles constant lie came true as perception became reality. Having said that Hitler had total control of the media something the anti labor forces do not have nor will they not while while blogs exist.

I have a nagging feeling that the poll commissioners do not poll as randomly as they assert, but I still get a sick taste in my mouth when they come out week after week regardless what has happened on the political scene each time.

Labor needs to get its message out at every opportunity we may be loosing the media war but the real battle comes in Nov-Dec 2013, when the no policy mob clash with our policy elite.

Yesterday whilst collecting my next door neighbour a liberal diehard, at the Canberra Airport I saw copies of the OO on many seats, give aways as its buying base declines. I brought it home a quick glance showed it contained all the usual rubbish that bushfire Bill refers to. I have not been game to read it yet but I did feel contaminated by just handling it. May the force be with you all.


April 5. 2012 06:26 PM

Ad astra reply

If you haven’t been here before – Welcome to The Political Sword.  Do come again.

You are right.  The calibre of the Gillard ministry is such that they can not only hold their own, but perform with distinction. The women are particularly impressive.

Ad astra reply

April 5. 2012 06:45 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you as ever for your kind remarks.  We all wonder exactly how the pollsters conduct their polls.  It would be reprehensible if they manipulated them to achieve a pre-determined result, and I wouldn’t accuse the reputable pollsters of that.  But I do wonder how they select their sample, whether they take account of the fact that they may be under-selecting younger people who use mobile phones exclusively.  Also, we have noticed that The Oz seems to coincide its Newspoll with headlines  and stories in News Limited outlets adverse to the Government.  Maybe that is coincidental!

Like you, I find The Oz unpleasant reading; it being behind a paywall prevents me from even peeping.

Ad astra reply

April 5. 2012 08:37 PM


Dam This is where I meant to post this, not the last thread.

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 09:15 PM

Patricia WA

Wonderful commentary there, TT!   This is when I wish we could post pictures here with comments!

Your eye of time is very clear,
All the way back to Boadicea!  

Do you remember this?  Inspired by another post of Ad Astra's praising our Prime Minister!polliepomes.wordpress.com/.../

I've just been listening to Nikki Gemmell, who wrote the I Adore Julia article in the Oz, which AA referred to being interviewed on Radio National  blogs.abc.net.au/.../...cant-say-in-australia.html   Good to hear that even at the Oz Gemmell had 80% supporting and appreciative letters in the biggest mailbag she's ever had there.

Amazing how hard the interviewer worked at downplaying Gemmell's message about how much the PM is admired by so many.  One also had the sense afterwards when she called for opinions from listeners that she was playing for time while staff worked hard to get 'balance' in the opinions we heard on talk back.

Patricia WA

April 5. 2012 09:22 PM


The Three Little Words You Can't Say In Australia
Audio: Kelly Higgins-Devine speaks with Nikki Gemmel (I adore Julia).


Hat tip: ruawake@PB


April 5. 2012 09:24 PM


I meant to post this along with my 'chariot' rave:

Ad astra asked . . .
How then can (*J*U*L*I*A*) hurdle this barrier of media hostility . . ? . .

Well, watch this! Especially at 10.01 precisely!



April 5. 2012 10:27 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for posting your delightful comment on this piece.  It is a gem, a tribute to your skill with words.

Ad astra reply

April 5. 2012 11:12 PM


Community cabinets could be the cure for Gillard’s communication conundrum
by James Mahoney     The Conversation
By all accounts, in person Prime Minister Julia Gillard is relaxed, funny, engaging and a good listener. Her ministers say she is tough, masters briefs well, leads, and takes decisions. On top of that, Parliament works with hardly a hiccup to the Government’s legislative agenda despite tight numbers.

Who's really failing Australia?
by Rob Burgess     Business Spectator
..... it's important to widen the net a bit to realise where good governance in this country is falling apart .....
Good governance is undermined every time journalists "write crap", as Julia Gillard put it, about either side of politics.

Labor should govern boldly to the end as Drysdale suggests – but if that results in the total electoral wipeout that Orgill fears, it's journalists who'll carry a lot of the blame.

Announce it, hope for the best. The NBN-style weakness at the heart of Labor decision making
by Peter Martin
It might be popular now, but Labor’s $36 billion National Broadband Network is shaping up to be a financial disaster that will set back Labor’s image decades rebranding it the party of waste and extravagance.

Fairfax's notion of useful reporting "could be 'a disaster' ...."
by Dorothy Parker     Loon Pond
It's not enough that we have The Australian leading the pack of baying hounds spreading FUD.
Fairfax wants to get into that game .....
Yet when you actually [read] NBN labelled a waste to set Labor back years, there's very little in the way of sizzle or fizz, with the main point seeming to be to drag Percy Allan, president of the Australian Institute of Public Administration, out to do the fear-mongering.
Percy sounds like the sort of wired public administrator or accountant or economic advisor you have when you have a lamington in need of a good lashing of desiccated coconut.

Who wants a poor man's NBN?
by Robert Gottliebsen     Business Spectator
In Australia we are actually going to have two community-wide debates before the next election. Both will play a big role in shaping the nation. The second debate will be about carbon .....

Gottliebsen’s misinformed carbon revolt
by Tristan Edis     Climate Spectator
Robert Gottliebsen yesterday wrote an article that is incredibly concerning for those worried about dangerous climate change.
In the article Gottliebsen outlines how a range of highly influential Australian business people are working to galvanise community opposition to the introduction of a price on carbon pollution.

Why The ‘NBN Rollout Determined By Electorates’ Argument Doesn’t Hold Water
by Alex Kidman     Gizmodo
The Coalition’s latest attack on the NBN has shifted from purely financial to accusations of pork barrelling, stating that the areas chosen for the next range of roll-outs were selected for reasons of political expediency. How accurate is that kind of thinking?

Don’t Write Crap, She Said
by Niall Cook      The Bannerman
So, Tim Flannery is an unreliable source of information on Climate Change.So reckons Gemma Jones, Murdoch stable ‘journalist’ Well, for the record, here’s Professor Tim’s qualifications. Of course, this isn’t the first time the Oz has attacked Tim Flannery, indeed, anyone who dares to stand and offer an opinion against the standard conservative denialist mantra.

Keep recommendations secret, said Tony Abbott
by Malcolm Farr     The Punch
Tony Abbott forcefully insisted the recommendations be kept secret.
“If we were to publicly table a document which names people and recommends various prosecution actions, then we would obviously be creating a media firestorm,” Mr Abbott said at the time.
“It may well be that not all of those prosecutions go ahead, certainly I think people deserve their day in court.”

IPA under fire from scientists over Plimer book mail out
by Mathew Knott     The Power Index
Scientists and teachers have accused free market think tank The Institute of Public Affairs of spreading disinformation by sending copies of Ian Plimer's latest book to hundreds of schools around the country.

There are no butts about it
by Michael Madigan     Winnipeg Free Press
Australia's Opposition leader Tony Abbott walks like a boxer and often thinks like one -- which is to say not a lot.
Millions face starvation and the ongoing lethal fallout from centuries-old conflicts, yet in Australia we've got time enough on our hands to giggle and fuss over the size of our leader's bum.
It's not the most profound benchmark for a successful democracy, but freedom to make a bum joke at your leader's expense is a good start.

'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).


April 5. 2012 11:31 PM

Ad astra reply

Patricia WA, NormanK
Everyone should listen to the Vikki Gemmell interview.  It amplifies beautifully the  short quotes in this piece. Thank you for posting the link.  Eighty percent in agreement with Vikki's views is very heartening.

The Ben Hur clip is just what we are seeing with the Julia/Tony race -  what a marvelous metaphor!

Ad astra reply

April 5. 2012 11:35 PM


Thank you Patricia and Ad,

But the time I mentioned in Ben-Hur was wrong and dumb,

(10.01 is just the length of the clip),

6.54 is what I meant. Pretty speccy eh!

GO *J*U*L*I*A* *B*O*A*D*I*C*E*A* !

(Sounds best if you pronounce it Boodica the way we used to back in the old days . . . Smile )

Welcome to you Barry Kayde,
Yes *J*U*L*I*A*s a *dignified lady*
But faced with Anal Jones, or OOman
She's a very, very feisty WOMAN!


April 6. 2012 07:39 AM

Chris Blair

Julia Gillard will rally Labor party and left wing people at the election to campaign because she is running a truly Labor agenda. This will be quite different to NSW & QLD where only the most committed members could even hand out at the booths on the day. I think also that trade unions have a real fear of Abbott and his agenda and they will mobilise not only financially, but with their members and officials. None of this really happened at the state elections.

Chris Blair

April 6. 2012 08:37 AM

Ad astra reply

Chris Blair
Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.

I’m sure you are right about union support for Labor.  Although there has been some posturing by some unions to show they are not in Labor’s pocket, when it comes to a decision about whether they want a Labor government or a Coalition one under Tony Abbott, there is no way they will choose Abbott.

Ad astra reply

April 6. 2012 09:11 AM

Ad astra reply

I read through your links early this morning.  What an interesting collection.

What struck me is how prominent people, leaders in their profession, can have such varied views on the one subject.  Brad Orgill thinks Labor should govern cautiously so as to ‘save the furniture’ when it loses the next election; Alistair Drysdale says Labor should govern boldly and set up the nation for a prosperous future irrespective of the consequences for it electorally. On the climate change front you have Robert Gottliebsen, a Plimer supporter, running an anti-carbon tax line, while climate scientists increasingly warn of the dire consequences of global warming.  You have the Federal Coalition running an anti-NBN line while Coalition Premiers complain about missing out, and Robert Gottliebsen tells us how the Internet has relieved him of the drudgery of commuting to work, and how the NBN will transform communities, especially the more remote.

I suppose it ought not surprise us that people may hold diametrically opposite views about any subject, but we need to ask why is this so.  Such differences ought not to be so stark if the verifiable facts governed thinking.  There must be another explanation. As Tristan Edis suggests, self-interest is a dominant factor in the thinking of many who proclaim expertise.  Add to that prejudice and the pursuit of political advantage, and you have a formula for the adoption of irreconcilable positions, resolvable only by the exercise of power – political or industrial.  It’s not a pretty scene, but we seem stuck with it.  Those who favour evidence-based debate and decision-making must make their voices hear above the shouting of the self-interested, the prejudiced and the powerful.  This is where TPS has a small voice.  To me, your links demonstrated the need for such small voices.

Ad astra reply

April 6. 2012 09:33 AM


Ad astra

Did you read the comments on Rob Burgess's piece? I went back to leave a comment because he failed to offer a third alternative for Labor's future - a modest majority at the next election.
Reading the comments that regurgitate all of the lies we have been fighting against for the last two years has caused me to rethink just what any comment of mine might contain.

I agree about the content of today's links - where is the middle ground or third alternative? We live in a polarised society where even the so-called experts feel obliged to take one side or the other and offer scant recognition of some other view. Strange and depressing times.


April 6. 2012 10:59 AM

Ad astra reply

Yes, the comments following Rob Burgess’ Who's really failing Australia? in Business Spectator were fascinating.  Did you notice how the first few regurgitated the same tired old conservative line: Labor waste and profligacy, massive debt, Labor can’t manage the economy, only the Coalition can and will be left again to pay off Labor’s debt, the carbon tax is stupid, the minerals tax so watered down it will be revenue neutral, and so on.  And no one spoke of a Labor win; only a wipeout was predicted, the only question is how big!

I thought Vadim Zorin’s comment germane: “Your article is a lone voice of reason in the wilderness. Judging by the commentary, that wilderness is huge.” Touché

Ken Oliver made a good point: “Gee, of course pollies only ever tell people what they want to hear, and what people what to hear is generally soothing half-truths.  No one ever got elected speaking truth unto people power.  As the saying goes, to every complex and nuanced problem there is a simple and straightforward answer – and it is always wrong. But lots of people will only listen to straightforward answers and don't much care if they're wrong.

Sadly, that’s the truth.

For anyone who is interested, here is the link: www.businessspectator.com.au/.../Gillard-Labor-Coalition-media-Abbott-Greens-MRRT-pd20120405-T2U9W

Ad astra reply

April 6. 2012 11:03 AM


in support of your contention that Julia will win in 2013 there are 11 noalition seats with less than 2% margin whilst Labor have only a couple. Unless the whole voting public have a massive brain fart, Julia will get in with a workable majority, and if she does I hope she will direct labor preferences to Tony W and Robert O in the lead up to the election. PS I have still not read the OO copy I picked up at the airport, I will wait until after my fasting today is over. PPS Bananby col is also printed in the Brisbane courier mail but then he is one of their own.


April 6. 2012 12:07 PM

Ad astra reply

That is an interesting statistic.  As the polls narrow as election day approaches, I suspect that it may be Coalition members who will be feeling the heat.

Ad astra reply

April 6. 2012 12:15 PM


Ad astra

An article vaguely supportive of your contentions above.

Labor has a glimmer of hope... maybe
by Mark Kenny     Adelaide Now

Respected independent polling analyst Andrew Catsaras, however, cautions against jumping to conclusions, warning polls are fascinating but have three key weaknesses:

THEY are hypothetical (asking voters what they would do if there were an election now).

THEY are only a sample of the electorate and thus have margins of error.

THEY are reflections of the past rather than being predictive.



April 6. 2012 02:40 PM

Ad astra reply

Andrew Catsaras uses hard data to reach his conclusions; the commentators don’t.  They rely on current polls not withstanding their invalidity as predictors.  I’m surprised Andrew put the chance of Labor re-election at 25%, or any figure for that matter.  I’d like to ask him his basis for so doing.

The old chestnut ‘stopped listening’ might have been applicable to John Howard in 2007 after over eleven years in government, but Julia Gillard has been there only a couple of years.  What evidence is there that they were listening to her in the first place?  I find it just as plausible that the more the electorate gets to know her, the more they will listen.  They hardly know her; their judgement of her is likely based mostly on Abbott slogans and his nasty rhetoric and MSM distortions.  Wait until they see what she has done; wait until the electorate realizes that Abbott’s ‘the sky will fall in’ talk, is just that – hot air, and they will see her quite differently and will listen more attentively.  

I do wish commentators would discard their weary clichés and base their assessments of the current position and the likely outcomes on verifiable facts, current and historic, and elementary reasoning.  Instead they prefer overinflated hype based on nothing much at all except their own opinions.

Ad astra reply

April 6. 2012 04:01 PM


Ad astra

I'm inclined to agree with your evaluation of Gillard's chances next year. When Labor won in 2007 she must have had half an eye on this term or the next as a good time to challenge Rudd for the leadership. Having put to bed some of his unfinished business; grown into the role of PM (see foreign affairs for example); circumvented further leadership speculation for at least the short term; and established her own reputation as a 'doer', I suspect the PM will now get on with spelling out her own personal agenda and vision for the nation.

I can't help but reflect on the positive body language and demeanour being displayed by Labor MPs and compare it to what seems to be at best the neutral appearance of Coalition MPs. If one were to only watch the different MPs performing, one could be forgiven for thinking the numbers in the polls are the reverse of what is being published. Someone on PB said that Coalition internal polling is showing a different picture from the published polls. This is unverified but it does sit in accord with what I am seeing in their behaviour. I also think Labor have got one or two big initiatives up their sleeves for release around this time next year. The vibe is much too positive to just say that they are cruising along accepting the inevitable.

The biggest stumbling block to re-election is going to be "she lied" and I'm not sure how they get around that. If an advertising campaign could reveal the truth of what was said back then and the degree to which people's opinions have been misled by the Coalition and a lazy (possibly complicit) media, the emotional turn-around could be of tsunami-like proportions. If that one hurdle didn't exist I would be much more confident that it is currently 50/50 on who will win government next year.

On the bright side, Abbott's head looks as though it is about to explode over the HSU affair. I just hope it sends him right over the top and he has a public breakdown. It is impossible to now feel any pity for him as a fellow human being. His behaviour this year has been particularly reprehensible, especially his ongoing attacks on independent statutory bodies. To undermine the public's faith in such bodies is to undermine their faith in all aspects of governance and that leads to anarchy.


April 6. 2012 05:48 PM

Ad astra reply

I think you are onto something.  The polls reflect neither achievement or competence, and certainly not who the people really want to govern them.

Tony Abbott is almost apoplectic about the HSU affair, and George Brandis and Eric Abetz are not far behind.  Abbott always thought that the Thompson affair would bring the Government undone and deliver him the keys to The Lodge.  His was always banking on a short sprint to the prize; it has turned out to be a marathon.  Abbott is frustrated, all the more so with the projected four to six week delay in releasing the HSU report, and is tiring.

He will trash the reputation of any statutory authority, any group, any person who gets in his way.  He has no respect for authority unless it is going along with him.  Imagine what damage he would do to our institutions in government!

Ad astra reply

April 6. 2012 07:58 PM


[ The biggest stumbling block to re-election is going to be "she lied" and I'm not sure how they get around that. ]\

I'm not all that sure that they need to. The anecdotal stories are starting to filter through. The Nikki Gemmel story is a pretty good indication of what's happening at the grassroots level. While it's a given that the major msm journalists will ignore facts, truth and reality for the veiw that they are paid to give. In fact, they remind me of my time working in an intensive piggery. They, the pigs.....not the journalists, reacted to the stimulus of plentiful food.

It was the food that interested them. They gave not a fig or thought to the concept of the processses that actually put the food in the trough. To the pigs, the food in the trough was the story.....and that is all they needed. Add a plentiful supply of water and you have content pigs...or as content as they could be under those circumstances.

It is interesting to note that pigs, even while under the  pressure of intensive exploitation, sought to defecate/urinate in a spot removed from their daily lives.

What we need to ask is why?

Why do Australian journalists;

not understand the concept of constitutionally valid minority Government?

seek to undermine any legislation that relates to the future wellbeing of the country and its people.

they will actually have the gall or the " front" to try and convince us that they are only " working people " and not in the thrall of those who have bought and paid for them, and many others, over the years.

The difference between pigs and Australian journalists is that pigs have a sense of honour. Some sort of decorum, if you like.

A pig will drop its body wastes in a spot removed from it's immediate life. An Australian journalist will sh&t in your loungeroom, pi^s in your fishtank, wa%k in your kitchen and, while cleaning themselves up, vomit in your shower......and in the morning;

tell you that the search for  truth is the only reason that they do what they do.

Australian journalists would do well to study pigs. They may just learn to understand that which they can't comprehend.  



April 6. 2012 08:38 PM


Some bloke on TV saying  
"There is one man who has" (wtte) come back from the dead and his name is Jesus Christ . . .

Jesus wept!

I was fortunate in having been raised as having no religion really, my family went every now and then (rarely) to the (only) Unitarian Church in Adelaide, even then I despised pious bullshit, but our Unitarians generally had the advantage of not really believing in an Omniscient Omnipotent Being any more than we did. Like in Yes Prime Minister where they're considering a replacement for a  bishop, I can't recall the plot exactly but you get the picture a bit from a couple of these quotes about the episode from the Yes Minister website.

Top 5 Quotes:

Sir Humphrey: "The Church is looking for a candidate to maintain the balance."
Master of Baillie College: "What balance?"
Sir Humphrey: "Between those that believe in God and those that don't."

Sir Humphrey: "Bishops tend to have long lives. Apparently the Lord isn't all that keen on them to join him."

Sir Humphrey: "The PM never thinks it is silly to appoint people who are vain and incompetent. Look at the Cabinet."

Sir Humphrey: The Queen is inseparable from the Church of England."
Jim Hacker: "And what about God?"
Sir Humphrey: I think he is what is called an optional extra."

Jim Hacker: "The Foreign Office will never get the Cabinet to agree to this policy."
Sir Humphrey: "The Foreign Office never expect the Cabinet to agree with any of their policies. That is why they never fully explain them."  

[I love the Yes (Prime) Minister series, the all-time best of all.]

But Dam! How can otherwise-apparently-relatively-rational adults believe in this HOOEY!? Hey?

I can remember feeling a little bit betrayed to realize that Santa Claus was a fake, but I know I never believed in Gogg Gog g. .g.gg. g Ggohb Gee I still can't write that word!

Occultism! Witchcraft! Superstition! All over the ABC! WTF!!!  

Belief in a GHOST! They're all bloody MAD!

More important than her gender - (almost as important as her being a redhead! Smile ) - our Prime Minister is atheistic. Truly, this is so precious - it means that she has an intellect free of religious shibboleth and prejudice.

How could anyone who believes in ghosts be rational EVER? Oh and look at their LOVE these Christians! and their dedication to Truth! GWBush . . . Abbortt . . . Pell . . . Rudd . . . (Fed me Duck!)

Praise Dog for *J*U*L*I*A*! She is a genuine Goodwillian, it shows through in her every utterance including Don't Write Crap, she is our Greatest Living Treasure and gee you Aussie women, you Aussie non-religiomanes, you working parents, you who really want a fairer more responsible Australia where all are accorded respect, it's time all of yo/us got real about the future. Remember, you don't know what you got till it's gone, our present PM is SPECIAL.

Don't blow it. Ignore the rabble, the Polls, the bloated Miners, the misogynists, the sniggering inbred Media. We on this site have been infinitely more correct in our prognostications than they have(not hard, They've been Wrong 100%) but even as I write I retract that, they were right once, about the Rudd challenge ever happening, (but then they fomented and virtually manufactured it, and of course the rotten bastards always had information they never made available to yo/us - because they wouldn't blow Rudd's cover while he was white-anting *J*U*L*I*A*.

But they made up for that one correct prognostication by their mammoth error in predicting the outcome - (we were spot on) - and they were then utterly confounded by Carr's accession to FM . . . Great moments!  

And as Ad astra's article predicts, we will win in 2013, because, and only because, enough people will realise in time that when you're on a Good Thing it is real dumb not to stick with it.    


April 6. 2012 08:52 PM

Ad astra reply

Ian, TT
Thank you for your stories about the pigs and Sir Humphrey.  Both delightful and germane.

By 2013 the people will have woken up to the Opposition charade and the sycophancy of the MSM, will see our PM in a favourable light, and will hear what she says.

There's a thunderstorm coming on so I'm closing down my computer.

Ad astra reply

April 6. 2012 09:34 PM



You had me laughing out loud again - no mean feat! It hasn't been a good day for accentuating the positives.
I'm not sure that the pigs would appreciate the inclusion of journalists in a story about them. As well as having hygenic habits pigs are by all accounts incredibility smart.


April 6. 2012 10:27 PM


Part of the final scene in George Orwell's [i]Animal Farm/i].

Napoleon [the Dictator-Pig] was only now for the first time announcing it - that the name "Animal Farm" had been abolished. Henceforward the farm was to be known as "The Manor Farm" - which, he believed, was its correct and original name.

"Gentlemen," concluded Napoleon, "I will give you the same toast as before, but in a different form. Fill your glasses to the brim. Gentlemen, here is my toast: To the prosperity of The Manor Farm! "

There was the same hearty cheering as before, and the mugs were emptied to the dregs. But as the animals outside gazed at the scene, it seemed to them that some strange thing was happening. What was it that had altered in the faces of the pigs? Clover's old dim eyes flitted from one face to another. Some of them had five chins, some had four, some had three. But what was it that seemed to be melting and changing? Then, the applause having come to an end, the company took up their cards and continued the game that had been interrupted, and the animals crept silently away.

But they had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. An uproar of voices was coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously.

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Here's a link to the whole last chapter



April 6. 2012 10:38 PM


This is the full 1954 animation of Animal Farm. I've seen it before, it's excellent, and unutterably tragic in real life, because it is not really about an animal farm at all, it is really about millions of people. Enjoy, but have a dry hanky on hand.

Dog I love Youtube!



April 7. 2012 12:07 AM

Patricia WA

Thanks, Ian.   I just left a note over at PB, but I'll copy it to here for the benefit of we slower paced Swordians.   Things move so quickly over there that things get swallowed up!

Thanks, Ian! That needs to be said more often.

Did anyone notice on ABC News that the Anglican Archbishop complaining of ‘spin’ was reported as having a go at Canberra politicians?   Nothing I heard him say suggested he had politicians in mind.

Journalists these days are incapable of seeing themselves as others see them – servile shit stirrers for their owners – in this country one in particular. Good to see Murdoch closer and closer to getting his come-uppance.

Patricia WA

April 7. 2012 12:55 AM

Patricia WA


Why doesn't this long apologia for Tony Abbott's stance on gay marriage not convince me?

Patricia WA

April 7. 2012 12:59 AM

Patricia WA

Sorry, very late.  Forgive double negatives. I guess anything to do with Tony Abbott is bound to have a surplus of negatives. It's all his fault

Patricia WA

April 7. 2012 07:36 AM


I don't think anything you said mistakenly or otherwise could be as unmeaningless as Abbortt's lies . . . er . . .


April 7. 2012 09:31 AM


NOT on topicsent to me this morning by my friend Paul Scott
Professor of Pure Mathematics (retired)

If the link works (of which I'm not sure) it is pretty amazing.

Click here: Regifting Robin


April 7. 2012 09:32 AM


Guess not.


April 7. 2012 09:40 AM



Try this maybe?


April 7. 2012 10:37 AM


Proving TAbbott does believe in science

When scientists were scientists  Fiona Katauskas


April 7. 2012 10:38 AM

Andrew Catsaras

Andrew Catsaras uses hard data to reach his conclusions; the commentators don’t.  They rely on current polls not withstanding their invalidity as predictors.  I’m surprised Andrew put the chance of Labor re-election at 25%, or any figure for that matter.  I’d like to ask him his basis for so doing.

Ad Astra, the 25% figure is an implied probability calculated from the odds of the betting markets.  It is the only "objective" measure we have of the likely chance of this future event. Everything else is opinion.

I wrote this last year on the value of using the betting markets as a guide:

Unlike the myriad of hallucinations that pervade the collective consciousness of the political world, which - via a process that appears part apothecary part alchemy - mysteriously becomes accepted as an indisputable premonition of the outcome of a future event; the betting markets are worth taking seriously as they are the best reflection of the potential election outcome because the prices, and thus the probabilities, are determined not only by a wide range of opinions which absorb all available information (public and private) but, most importantly, by the weight of money and the forces of supply and demand, which results in an equilibrium of the relative probability of each party winning and therefore best approximates the true chance.

Andrew Catsaras

April 7. 2012 11:38 AM


Andrew Catsaras,  

I did assume that the methodology you used to derive that 25% figure was as you have explained it, and there is some sound reasoning there, but also some less-than. This betting is not done by a random sample of people, but of course is seriously skewed to those with an interest in politics; and the big money, as distinct from the opinions of the bulk of bettors, comes from the higher rollers, and the higher rollers tend to a preference and a vested interest in the Right. The odds don't go so much with the number of bettors, who each have an opinion as likely to prove correct as those of the contrary opinion, but mostly with the money. Imagine Rindlard or Palmhair betting huge amounts on Labor? Imagine poor me betting lots on the Coalons, even if I thought they were set to win? There is much to bias the sample, and might I suggest if you have some cash going begging, and if you can get odds anywhere near 4:1, it would be a VERY good bet. People will bet on Black Caviar because they WANT him to win, and the odds they get will therefore be lousy, skewed by factors not to do with reality but with wishing. Oh yes he'll likely win, (I hope he does too), but that's not what the odds 'really' are about - even though that is a really a nonsense, there is no 'true' objective probability of his win, and likewise there is no objective probability of a Coalon win.

Getting back to the Ben-Hur chariot race, the rich Romans all had their money on their emotional favourite, and similarly in the Abborticus v Boadicea race, the rich Romans got their dough on Antonius; but check out the real form, and yeah, if you can get fours, threes even, I suggest you grab the chance. I predicted months ago the odds were set to fall, and so they are doing. And so they will continue to do, and faster now.

VENCEREMOS! Yee-hah!        


April 7. 2012 11:59 AM

Ad astra reply

Andrew Catsaras
Thank you Andrew for responding to my query about how you derived your 25% probability estimate of the Gillard Government winning the 2013 election, and for your explanation.

From what you say, there must now be sufficient data from ‘political’ betting markets to enable the probability of an event to be predicted with a degree of validity and reliability

It will be interesting to follow the betting markets as the political calendar advances towards election day.

Ad astra reply

April 7. 2012 01:49 PM


"Rich children do better at school".

Well, there's a surprise revelation from The Australian.

Guess what, guys? Rich children do better at everything. Because, if they aren't capable as people, their parents buy the 'achievement' for them.

And so the cycle continues through the generations until 'rich people' become the people we immediately recognise as having money - chinless, gormless, self-satisfied, dismissive, and right down there in the bone, deeper even than the marrow... stupid.


April 7. 2012 02:11 PM


I find myself tearing my hair out again this morning and realise that it must be Saturday which inevitably means another Shaun Carney article full of carefully constructed sentences containing nothing of worth.
Carney is in close competition with Judith Sloane to see who can wind me up to the greatest extent in the shortest possible time.

Times are a'changing, and so must political thinking
by Shaun Carney     The Age

I'm not even sure where to begin in deconstructing this blather. The shortest option would be to take to it with a red pen and remove all references to the Labor government and let it stand as a damning critique of Abbott's back to the Noughties policy agenda. In that particular regard it is a reasonable article.

It would take too much time and space to dissect it sentence by sentence or paragraph by paragraph. I have no quibble with Carney's short trip down memory lane but once again he drags out the 'vision thing' as a way of criticising Labor.

China's boom is our boom and it is hard to imagine it coming to an end.
But it will. What happens then? What will be left? How does Australia best set itself up to prosper beyond the current terms of trade bonanza? Within the political system, these questions are pondered only sporadically and in ways that cannot inspire confidence. The government casts itself as a bold reformer with all of the answers, presiding over a splendid economy that is, admittedly, a ''patchwork'' but is still the ''envy of the world''.

And that's it. That's the end of Carney's discussion of Labor's policy initiatives, evaluated in the context of the questions that he has posed. It would appear that by simply not offering any answers himself, he sees this as damning of Labor. Another handful of hair hits the floor.

Perhaps Mr Carney missed Dr Craig Emerson at the National Press Club this week spelling out that the potential for Australia's future prosperity beyond the mining boom relies on integration with Asia.

Australian businesses expanding into China, India, Indonesia and other rising nations in order to capitalise on the rapidly expanding middle class in those countries and bringing some of their profits home.

Australian businesses forming partnerships with Asian ones so that not only do we have access to their markets but they have access to ours.

Australia training its populace in Asian languages so that we receive a warmer welcome during negotiations.

Australia providing educational opportunities to their rising middle class so that the business, artistic, social and political leaders of Asia have a positive long-lasting tie to this country.

Australia training its own people in the skills of service delivery so that we can potentially become the 'office' for the Asian Century.

Australia building a world-class digital communications network so that instead of hitting a bottleneck when incoming data hits Australian shores it encounters a wide spout that quickly disperses it to the four corners of the nation. Similarly, innovative businesses will be able to exploit this super-fast network to beam our digital goods and services into Asia.

Australia protecting its wonderful natural resources so that the new Asian middle class seeking ways to spend their new-found wealth will want to come here on holidays.

Mr Carney obviously hasn't heard the Prime Minister say repeatedly that while the resources boom is likely to last for another decade or more we must start preparing ourselves for the day when it ceases to be the engine-room of our economy. Instead, he implies in a back-handed way that all politicians are ignoring this truth and are devoid of plans that will still be resonating in 2022.

No mention made of the need to keep our manufacturing base active so that as the new opportunities of a clean energy future emerge and demand for new technologies and hardware explodes around the world, we are in a good position to re-tool our factories and be a step ahead of our competitors. We have all of the ingredients from which this new hardware will be made - using iron ore, aluminium, coal, precious metals and rare earths we can take dirt and turn it into high-tech commodities. This is why anyone with half a brain to look beyond the domestic politics of support for the car industry can see that we need to keep those wheels turning, those brains being trained, those innovations occurring so that when the opportunity presents itself we are ready to go.

No mention of the Clean Energy Future initiatives that will not only redesign our economy to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels but will also drive innovations in carbon mitigation and sequestration that can then be handed over to the manufacturing sector for mass production.

No mention of building up our national savings in the form of superannuation funds that can invest in and exploit the innovations of the coming decades.

Carney attacks Abbott's 'back to the Noughties' non-policy policy but makes no attempt to defend or even elucidate Labor's big picture reforms.

No doubt he is waiting for the PM to deliver a speech clearly outlining her vision for the future. Equally beyond doubt is that any such speech would suffer the same fate as those that have come before it - reduction to partisan polarisation over some half-sentence that can be leapt on as indicating a 'backflip' or 'class warfare' or 'wasteful spending' (the list is not endless but some days it does seem so).

Because Carney refuses to go to the effort of pulling together the many strands of government policy and weaving them together into a tapestry depicting Australia in a decade or two's time, he feels emboldened to say:
In the small-bore contest of contemporary Australian politics, next year's election will assuredly produce a winner. But it seems just as certain to also produce millions and millions of losers regardless of who makes the victory speech.

I don't know why I bother to read Carney.

Perhaps it saves on haircuts.


April 7. 2012 02:37 PM

Andrew Catsaras

I'm glad my explanations have been of help.

Just some additional points on the betting markets.

A 25% chance means that if the election were held 4 times, the Coalition would win three times and the ALP would win once.

So a 25% chance is a very real chance, but at the moment, it is one-third as large as the Coalition's. (It's actually changed slightly to now be 76% to 24%)

However, because the election is not held four times, there is no way we can determine if those estimates (which are based on the best information available at this point in time) are correct or not.

But we do know that other markets which have a high volume of events (eg horseracing) the final odds (starting price) do accurately reflect, on average, the true chance of the horses winning.

There is no reason to assume that the betting on politics is any different.  It is a market, as any other, and is framed by bookmakers as any other, and is then subjected to the forces of supply and demand, as any other.

Plus we have the punters exchange of Betfair, whose prices are a true reflection of supply and demand of betting and have no bookmaker to frame or influence the odds.

As for markets being distorted, if the price on offer from any bookmaker for either the ALP or the Coalition were not a good reflection of the "true" chance of them winning, it would not be long before those odds were taken - at the very least by another bookmaker - and those odds would return to be similar to the rest being offered.

This is, as I've described above, the best objective measure we have.

There is one other measure which is also worth following re the % chance of a party winning, and that is Roy Morgan Research's question that is always asks:

"Regardless of who you'd like to win, who to you THINK will win the next Federal Election - the Liberal-National Coalition or the Labor Party?"

The most recent poll shows that is running as 76 % Coalition, 24% ALP, the same as the betting markets.

Both measures, betting and public opinion, are saying the same thing - at this current point in time.

That's the best we can do re estimating the probability of a future event like the election.

Andrew Catsaras

April 7. 2012 02:44 PM


Ad astra said

From what you [Andrew Catsaras] say, there must now be sufficient data from ‘political’ betting markets to enable the probability of an event to be predicted with a degree of validity and reliability

'A degree' of validity and probabiity? Like . . . 25% ? Smile

It's nothing but punting Ad. But remember it's horses for courses, it's a 36-month race and we got the stayers and the work-horses, intelligent guessing does come into this.

What proportion of horses lead from start to finish? Even in Aussie Rules Football it's uncommon. Full many a team, and many a jockey, and many a Tour de Bicyclette rider, jump away to lead with a helluva flourish from the start and end up wishing they had reserved some energy for later. Abbortt has nothing left. No policy, no wins, almost no issues, and the ones he has, Asylum Seekers and Craig Thomson, are turning against him.

Anybody offer me 4:1?

I relish the thought of the post-Budget session! And the rest of the race! The more the NOpposition whinge, the more opportunity *J*U*L*I*A* and Swan and our other stayers will get to explain and proselytize Labor policy and record.

And EVERYBODY wants the NBN. Suck eggs Abbortt.    


April 7. 2012 02:45 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your expanded explanation.  We shall watch the 'political' betting markets with much more interest now that we have had your helpful analysis.

Ad astra reply

April 7. 2012 03:07 PM

Ad astra reply

What Andrew is saying is that at this point in time the odds per the betting market and the Roy Morgan question is running 76/24 in the Coalition’s favour.  What you and I have been saying, based on other observations about the leaders and the state of the parties, which are not capable of being expressed with numbers, is that the odds will likely swing to Labor over the eighteen months to the next scheduled election.  The extent to which you or anyone else takes up the existing odds on a Labor win is a measure of their confidence in that win taking place.

Anyway, I for one will now watch the betting markets, firstly to see how they change from month to month and try to divine what has brought about that change, how they end up on election eve, and how predictive they have been the following evening.

Ad astra reply

April 7. 2012 03:25 PM

Andrew Catsaras

Yes, that's right Ad Astra, it is at this point in time.

Unlike other probabilities; for example a coin toss where we are certain that the two chances - heads or tails - are each 50% or 1 chance in 2; or a die where we are certain each of the six numbers has a 16.67% or 1 in chance in six; the probabilities on events is an estimate of the chance.

In a coin toss or a die throw, the chances never change, but in an event, the estimated chances (odds and Morgan's voter question) do change over time as circumstances change, and have with respect to the next election - if they didn't change, then we could be confident that are not reflective of circumstances.

The ALP has shifted between a 25% chance (July 2011) up to a 33% chance (December 2011) and back now to a 24% chance (April).

Andrew Catsaras

April 7. 2012 03:59 PM

Bernadette Callinan

great article, agree with every word.Instead of the nightly opinion polls, I would like to see a daily roundup of what all the ministers have been up to for the day...and the shadow ministers SmileIt's actually really interesting.

Bernadette Callinan

April 7. 2012 04:02 PM

John lawrence Ward

So Tony Abbott must , when he becomes PM, Stop the Carbon Tax. Stop the Mining Tax.
Retrieve all the tax breaks.
Otherwise he will have broken a sacred election promise.
Or are these like John Howards Non Core promises that were Never ever Cast in stone , Iron Clad, until he broke them?

John lawrence Ward

April 7. 2012 04:26 PM


Very nice analysis, Ad Astra - my gang over at Facebook are responding and sharing like little mad things.

Mr Ward, not only are Blood Oaf's "promises" like Mr Howard's non-core thinggies, they aren't even worth the blood that they haven't been written in.


April 7. 2012 05:30 PM

Ad astra reply

Bernadette Callinan, John lawrence Ward, Fiona
Welcome to The Political Sword family to you all.  Do come again.  Thank you for your complimentary remarks.

Bernadette, you are right, but most of what ministers do day by day is not exciting enough, not sensational enough, not newsworthy enough for the average journalist, especially TV journalists, who need a snappy video clip to set off their story.  The ABC and SBS do a better job than most commercial outlets in passing on what is happening in Canberra.  Sensational stories that have entertainment value are hard for producers to resist, and too often crowd out substantial news.

John, Tony Abbott’s objective is to become PM by promising anything, no matter how questionable the likelihood of him being able to deliver.  He will, just as John Howard did with his core and non-core promises, soon be weaseling his way out of his promises, all the time blaming Labor for making it difficult/impossible for him to keep them.  He cares only for winning.  If he does win, he will make Julia Gillard look like a rank amateur in the dishonesty stakes.

I’m glad Fiona that you are using Facebook to spread the message.  Thank you.  Blood oaths will mean no more to Tony Abbott that any other.

Ad astra reply

April 7. 2012 05:44 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

Ad Astra, your piece “Why Julia Gillard will win the 2013 election” shows exquisite timing by you. Easter 2012 will now have a special significance thanks to you. You are a true allegorist.

Many years ago a person beckoned the people to follow him. After a period of struggle that person was crucified on the cross and pronounced dead. But that person rose from the dead and went on to enjoy eternal life. He extended the promise of eternal life to all who would answer his call. At this time of year we pause to remember that person’s struggle, death, and resurrection.

You assert that a similar fate awaits the bird of paradox. You have documented the vicissitudes of life that the bird of paradox has had to confront. Among other things, she is a white, Welsh, unmarried female atheist. Her struggle is reported daily in the newspapers. She has some time to prepare for her trial but the court of public opinion has declared that she will and should be crucified and declared dead. You enlist the aid of court reporter John Watson to reinforce your assertions. Comrade Watson retells the story of John Howard who fell out of favour with the populace yet he triumphed at his trial. Comrade Watson states that forecasting a trial 18 months before the event is fraught with danger. However, comrade Watson consults the planets, Houses and zodiac signs before he puts pen to paper. Why do I say this? Comrade Watson presented an essay in an earlier time in which he stated that both Rudd and Brumby faced public trials and Rudd was a safer bet than Brumby to win when their trials were held. Watson was wrong about both Rudd and Brumby. Watson also said that $1:16 was on offer for Rudd’s deputy NOT to replace him before the election. We know what happened there. Watson said in another essay “poll results bode well for Rudd. You wouldn’t think it, given recent commentary, but a look at history suggests the government has no reason to panic”. Comrade Watson’s budgie ‘Dudley’ might be a more reliable source.

Should we rally around the bird of paradox our prize will be the repristination of the glamour of state socialism in lieu of eternal life. Will the populace turn towards the bird of paradox and her obnoxious solipsism? Perhaps you are right and the polls will move in her favour but if you are wrong the ALP is headed for a gloomy future.

Sir Ian Crisp

April 7. 2012 06:14 PM

Ad astra reply

Sir Ian
To use a time-honoured saying - only time will tell.

Ad astra reply

April 7. 2012 07:58 PM


I don't wish to argue with you, but I most certainly will with much of the 'reasoning' that goes into such quantified prognostications as long-range forecasts of outcomes of elections.
The disconnects are legion. I'm flobbergobbled trying to round them all up, I won't be able to get them all, but here come some.

You say:

"A 25% chance means that if the election were held 4 times, the Coalition would win three times and the ALP would win once."

> No, it means that a meta-opinion of a completely unrepresentative group of not-disinterested persons (and in this case at a distance of well over a year) results in a purely guesstimate figure, - based not on number of bettors, nor of those with insider information, but on volumes of money wagered - a guesstimate figure which at any given time is always wavering around, atm around 25% as you say. Sure, people will bet on the distant outcome, but the odds at the issue of writs will not be the same as it is now, or tomorrow, what does that connect to? Lost in space!
Yes it is indeed a nonsense to say "if the election was held 4 times", you might as well say what about if it had been held yesterday, it wasn't, or with no recourse to any media, that doesn't happen, or ftm on the moon? Coins you can toss many times, elections are unique unrepeatables, there really are no comparables.

So a 25% chance is a very real chance, but at the moment, it is one-third as large as the Coalition's. (It's actually changed slightly to now be 76% to 24%)

> ... So that means yesterday's figures were 1% WRONG then? Erm . . .
You might be able to get better 'odds' on your bet, but that doesn't mean that the 'reality', or the 'probability' of a win has really changed . . . It hasn't . . . Just that someone's put some more money on the NOpposition today.  

However, because the election is not held four times, there is no way we can determine if those estimates (which are based on the best information available at this point in time) are correct or not.
> There is no 'correct' "at this point in time!" There won't be a 'correct' until after the election!

But we do know that in other markets which have a high volume of events (eg horseracing) the final odds (starting price) do accurately reflect, on average, the true chance of the horses winning.

Whoa, whoa, Steady on dere Bro . . .

One at a time! : -

*High volumeevents? (Elections are exactly not.)

*Final odds? (That's not what we're talking about, and even then they are still guesstimates until the votes are in, and then it's not 'odds' anymore anyway!).

*Starting price? (Not for 12 months plus, after the writs are issued and on election eve, and that's different!)

*Accurately reflect? (What does that mean? Lucked in or lucked out is all. Informed on form, sure, but it's just a guess!)

On average? (Yeah you can do that in hindsight with horse races . . . er sort of . . . But predictively it's utterly useless!  
And too, (two!) how do you *average* Australian elections? . . Smile!

*the "true" chance?

> WHEW! Smile

. . . Let me get me breff Comrade . . .

Meanwhile . . .

Strong of arm was Hiawatha;
He could shoot ten arrows upward,
Shoot them with such strength and swiftness,
That the tenth had left the bow-string
Ere the first to earth had fallen!

But I don't reckon ol' Hiawatha would'a been in the hunt with the length of bow you just drew Cobber, it must be a new record for one sentence!

There is no reason to assume that the betting on politics is any different.  

> Yes there is. All the ones listed at the top of this rave.

One example: Some hyper-rich punters on political outcomes are would-be players. They are skewing the game itself, - as in Queensland! - not just the odds you may get from your bookie on a nag. If a billionire takes a huge plunge on a horse it doesn't change the horse's chances.
If I took a long time I could find a lot of quite diverse reasons, let alone none. (Think about the Media's influence!)      

It is a market, as any other, and is framed by bookmakers as any other, and is then subjected to the forces of supply and demand, as any other.
> The people who bet big bucks are what supplies a disproportionate part of the betting market in politics as in horse-racing, but politically, one Ms Rindlard both in monetary and media influence probably outweigh that of all the people on all the leftish blogs in Oz, with Turdball thrown in for good measure, but she still only got one opinion and she still only got one vote.  

Plus we have the punters exchange of Betfair, whose prices are a true reflection of supply and demand of betting and have no bookmaker to frame or influence the odds.

> Yeah, but they have Piggy Twiggy and the Fat Brigade to do that!

As for markets being distorted, if the price on offer from any bookmaker for either the ALP or the Coalition *were not a good reflection of the "true" chance of them winning*, it would not be long before those odds were taken - at the very least by another bookmaker - and those odds would return to be similar to the rest being offered.

*How the hell will they know if it's true reflection - until after the election?

This is, as I've described above, the best objective measure we have.

> 'Best objective measure' is like 'a little bit pregnant'.
It is a nonsense, like 'half-unique'. The betting market is financial groupthink, nothing more.  

There is one other measure which is also worth following re the % chance of a party winning, and that is Roy Morgan Research's question that is always asks:

"Regardless of who you'd like to win, who do you THINK will win the next Federal Election - the Liberal-National Coalition or the Labor Party?"

> Yeah but I'd take ONE Ad astra's opinion over a MILLION political punters, especially since his prognostication and mine are substantially identical.

The most recent poll shows that is running as 76 % Coalition, 24% ALP, the same as the betting markets.

Both measures, betting and public opinion, are saying the same thing - at this current point in time.

That's the best we can do re estimating the probability of a future event like the election.

> Hey look,
I can bet that I will die on a Wednesday, at this distance I have an exactly 1 in 7 chance of being right (unless I cheat.) But will I really prove to have been 'right' if I prove to be right? Not really, it's just a lucky guess with nothing to go on at all. But the odds are real. As in, toss a coin, 1 in 2 exactly. But there is no predictive capacity whatsoever in that anyway.

I can bet on Black Caviar at his next start, sure he's got great form, he seems likely to win, but as for the odds given, win or lose, those odds will prove to have been wrong! Think about it: If he wins, the 'odds' turn out to have been infinitely large after all! 100%! And if he loses, Oh, gee, they were ZIP!

Calling odds on imponderables has nothing to do with science or prediction, and everything to do with guessing, whether informed or purely random.  

I really mean this not to be a personal wrassle, thank you for the article, it is just me calling out all nonsense about polls and odds, sure we can prognosticate all we want but there is no objective figure on the probability of imponderable events and if there were it would only go and skew the result so that it would be a self-fulfilling contradiction. You might as well read tea-leaves, or consult the Stars (not Ad astra though).

And just on that about Astrology, let me tell yous all, I used to think I was a Scorpio until I found out I was an Ophiuchan, the 13th sign, that of the noble Ophiuchus, the Serpent-Bearer of Knowledge and Healing (Beautiful Greek myth, see his sign in the heavens or on a screen near you!) see there are 13 moons in a year, the Druids had 13 signs to correspond, but the bloody Christians didn't like that because Judas was #13, so they dropped one, well we've rediscovered it, I'm Ophiuchan, and Ophiuchus does to Astrology what Dog Albitey does to Religion. Because Ophiuchus shuffles everybody else along do you see, squeezing in in November-December, and so nobody else is where they thought they were re their position in the Zodiac, got that? So now you can prove that the astrology nuts are talking out the same orifice as religiomanes and people who reckon they know the objective odds on the next election, expressed in numerical terms. (That's not you I mean Andrew, I know you were just being the messenger, even if it seems I was a bit ridiculatory. Not of you OK.)

But to say the odds are some given number - not what a win will pay, but the actual probability - is all as nonsensical as if I were to predict the shape of clouds over Western Sydney on the day of the next election, yet to be discovered. It's just gobble.

But I'm with Ad astra's opinion, as he is with mine. No-one knows the outcome, but I am very confident.

Yes. We will win!

I just entered an agreement with Jason, we gonna put $50 jointly on Tony Windsor Kiss to win next time, he'll pay $4, check his form folks! He is a prime example of the NOpposition convincing itself it's home dry, believing its own publicity . . . heh heh . . .
Come the election they'll be Custered, mark my words!  


April 7. 2012 08:36 PM


So Limpy is a Christomane hey?

Well that explains his love of humanity, all his gentle utterances to make us all feel good . . .

. . . So I'll send him these comforting words from his fave rave ghost . . .  He might find something to relate to!

Scribes and Pharisees - Hypocrites
Matthew - Chapter 23 - part 2 - vs. 23 & 24
23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. (King James Bible)


April 7. 2012 08:55 PM


Oy, TalkTurkey, Black Caviar's a gurrrrrl...

Thank you, Ad Astra, for your most kind (and second) welcome. I don't post much here since I am trying to limit my "frivolous" webtime - but I read with delight, and spread your words of wisdom with enthusiasm.


April 7. 2012 09:31 PM



Izzat so? I really thought she was a horrrrssss

But I did think she was a he if not an it. Truly.

I thought that we'd got over Gurrrrrls with Makybe Diva.  

Bloody females are taking the bloody country over.

Can't help thinking yous're doing it in style too.  

But anyway . . . speaking of OY . . . "frivolous"?

Whaddya do for Serious?

Welcome to newies, Bernadette Callinan, John Lawrence Ward, and to you Fiona of whom we have seen a little before.


April 7. 2012 09:44 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

TT, you’re wrong again. I am a devotee and adherent of Discordianism. I am aware of other alleged religions and their beliefs. That awareness includes Christians celebrating Easter.

Save your bible readings for someone who believes in that hocus pocus stuff.

Sir Ian Crisp

April 7. 2012 11:06 PM


Useful post...you make many valid points.

The Coalition will lose the next election if Tony Abbott is the leader...even though polls tell us otherwise at this point.

Abbott is "unpredictable".

Many say his NO NO NO stance makes him predictable. This is not the case. He is a man in a cage...suppressing many of his underlying emotions...this is doing severe damage I imagine to his long-term mental state...he will not be able to tamp down those emotions much longer...nor his minders...

the outburst in parliament related to "targets on their foreheads" is an indication he is losing control...and his side of politics knows it...

This man would have us believe he can deal comfortably with the many many issues and emergencies that will be thrown his way...

his pattern of behaviour contradicts this.

The Coalition will pay dearly for pushing this capricious character on us.

If the Coalition have any intention of bringing nuclear weapons into this country...making them part of our defensive arsenal...I shudder at the thought of Tony Abbott being in charge of this country...

and dealing with overseas leaders who might find his approach worth ridiculing, mocking.



April 7. 2012 11:54 PM


Tony Abbott:

The use of United Nations conventions to subvert the provisions of our Constitution already constitutes a far greater threat to Australia's sovereignty than a Monarch who mostly lives abroad.

Interesting that Abbott doesn't seem to mind supporting Palmer and Rinehart an Twiggy...regardless of their corporate relationships with Chinese companies...

nor does he mind defending businesses...including Murdochs...that spread American ideals, propaganda and profiteering across this land...

as one of the government critics who oft votes to the right said unthinkingly to me in Beaudesert yesterday over lunch when discussing climate change and the carbon price debate...and the over-the-top mining:

We won't have to worry about what our politicians have to say soon...the orders will be coming from Chins soon enough...then they can deal with the climate problem...and the mess left behind by the miners.

Doesn't Abbott know he's on a loser here...so he has kowtower to the rich Barnaby out there spinning the sh*t....add Alan moneybags Jones.


Bloody snakeoil salesmen.

Manipulating the rural and regional folk to vote against their own interests.

Soon the people will see this lot for the lying manipulators and manure slingers they are.

Tony Abbott cares about Australian sovereignty...my arse.



April 7. 2012 11:59 PM


We won't have to worry about what our politicians have to say soon...the orders will be coming from Chins soon enough...then they can deal with the climate problem...and the mess left behind by the miners.

Should be China...not Chins



April 8. 2012 09:32 AM


I thought Chins must be the Chinese conglomerate that has bought the WBL . . . so not far wrong anyway . . . Smile

And I can see the new owners now, being so distressed to see the eternal damage being done in their interests to parts of the world we Australians ourselves know to be trashable and expendable, (Pilbara, NSW coal areas etc), that ChinsCorp undertake intensive long-term regenerative projects . . . because Chinese people are so nice . . . Nicer even than Palmhair and Piggy and Rindlard . . .



April 8. 2012 09:40 AM


While I am also a member of the Julia Gillard Fan Club, I have a sad feeling that the present political climate is "structurally driven" not "personnel driven". The right questions need to be asked before we can turn things around. Which is why I have posted on the decline and fall of the ALP. archiearchive.wordpress.com/.../


April 8. 2012 10:01 AM

Andrew Catsaras

Talk Turkey,

I'm not sure what has got you so animated, but I was asked by Ad Astra to explain how I arrived at a 25% probability of the ALP winning, and I was happy to to do so.

As I explained, it's an estimate of the betting markets based on the information we have now and explained why it is valid, if you don't want to accept it - that's fine.

By the way, Black Caviar is a mare, not a stallion or gelding.

Andrew Catsaras

April 8. 2012 10:21 AM

Ad astra reply

We appreciate your visiting us here and giving an explanation of your 25% probability estimate of the ALP winning.  I for one will watch the betting markets with renewed interest, especially as the election approaches and concludes.

Ad astra reply

April 8. 2012 10:43 AM

Ad astra reply

Welcome back.  I hope all is well with you.

You are right – Tony Abbott is unpredictable, and an increasing liability to his party.  The comments of your Beaudesert friend are noteworthy.  Abbott ought to be careful whom he sells his soul to.

Your thoughtful article on Archies Archive made interesting reading.

Things are already turning around for Labor.  Tony Abbott’s train is heading for a crash while Julia Gillard’s makes steady progress, at times uphill, but once over the top will be unstoppable.  There are signs of fear, uncertainty and doubt gripping the Coalition, while confidence rises daily in Labor.

Ad astra reply

April 8. 2012 10:54 AM


Ad astra, everyone,
Check out Poll Bludger anytime now, with an eye on to people's changing view on Abbortt being (wtte) our blessing in disguise . . . a living treasure who will ensure victory for *J*U*L*I*A* in 2013 . . . Our secret weapon against the Forces of Darkness.

(Well no, those are my words just amplifying the buzz a stage further), but the writers on PB have at last gotten around to realising that Abbortt is in terminal necrosis and will either be ousted by Crispmess or himself lead the Coalons to a famous defeat in 2013.

What Ad and me been saying ever since!

Abbortt would be taken down tomorrow IF they had anybody with any nous at all to replace him (that's what's called a Big If see) for they have NO-ONE, and they know it, and they're panicking now, and for all their hubris, for all their crazy aberrant win in Queensland, for all their Media bias and Mining money, they know Abbortt has FAILED ALREADY, he DIDN'T manage to stop ANYTHING, except Labor's scheme to Stop the Boats, a nice piece of nasty poisonous irony if ever I saw one, for now it can only turn to bite him in the budgie. SmileUCH!

When cancers and leprosy and gangrene start to set in, their progress is exponential, and there ain't no form of antibiotic to prevent Tonecrosis now.

Keep him or ditch him, he has already spelt DOOM for his side of politics for 2013. They will never now be able to patch together a credible policy, nor credible costings, nor a credible team. If they stay with him but go to decenter (decent-er) policies, or go to a decenter leader but keep similar policies, or go to a decenter leader with decenter policies, every way fragments them.

All Abbortt's Own Work. We are lucky to have had him.

'Had' as in this splendid limerick:

As Titian was mixing rose madder,
His model reclined on a ladder . . .
Her position, to Titian,
Suggested coition,
So 'e clumb up the ladder 'n' 'ad 'er!  

We will have him more in coming weeks and months.

And then we'll have him for dinner too.

As in Portnoy's Complaint, where he had the family dinner (liver) twice in the one day!

I remember Don Dunstan being vastly amused by that passage . . .
or perhaps 'passage' is a term too far . . ?! . .




April 8. 2012 10:55 AM


In other words the voters are stupid and will forgive Julia on her betrayal of the electorate .
Its really clear this site is here to personally bash the liberals.
That is why it is irrelevant with its lefty retoric


April 8. 2012 11:27 AM


[ Its really clear this site is here to personally bash the liberals.
That is why it is irrelevant with its lefty retoric ]

Then why are you commenting?


April 8. 2012 12:10 PM


     I prefer to see the whites of their eyes when I "personally bash liberals".
Not do it on a blog!


April 8. 2012 12:39 PM


I did acknowledge that what I wrote might sound a tad deprecatory to you, but I also explained that it wasn't yourself but the notion of assessable probability I am ridiculing. It means nothing except perceptions of non-disinterested non-random parties and their capacity and inclination to back their judgments in money terms.
I do not question the 25% figure as respects what odds you would expect should your guess turn up.

But let us suppose Rindlard put a tenth of her personal wealth on Abbortt to win, so, $1.7 billion, that would trump the whole market and drag the payable odds on the Coalons 'way down further . . . while you could get fantastic odds then on Labor . . . n'est-ce pas?

As you may see from my failure to realise Black Caviar's gender, I am no gambler,(nor horseman!) but I do have a bit of a handle on the notion of probability, (one good reason I do not even touch pokies), and also that the more lop-sided the betting on any one side of any prognostication, the shorter the odds on it - but the real likelihood remains unchanged. BC and her jockey won't care. *J*U*L*I*A* bless her doesn't care. They have a job to do and they intend to do their best, though Hell and huge money should try bar their way. Our PM said long ago, if you can't get past a roadblock you find a different way. She is one helluva charioteer.  

[That was the best part of Ben-Hur, where the horses leap the smashed chariot, cheers Cecil B. de Mille, wow, that looks so dangerous but someone actually did it. Wonder if it was Charlton Heston, bet not. And I wonder how many horses got hurt. In those days they didn't say "No animals were hurt . . ." ]

Sometimes it helps to look retrospectively to see things clear.

Suppose that you had taken a poll amongst the Media in the week or so before the Rudd challenge, as to the 'probability' - here I'd prefer the uncoloured term 'likelihood' - of *J*U*L*I*A*s emerging not only victorious but in better standing altogether, (as she is, as I firmly predicted btw), you would have had 'odds' at ridiculous levels, say 10 to 1. So . . . did we just land on the 1 time in 11 that she did win? Clearly, that may be seen to have been utterly nonsensical in hindsight, yet they, the Media, Coke Bottles and Crassidy and them, are the 'experts', just ask 'em!

Why am I so interested in debunking this erroneous use of the term probability? - Well partly because it may helpfully be used to cover precisely a precise calculation, as in, 1 in 2 on any coin toss, 1 in 7 dying on a Wednesday, chance of inheriting red hair or the Breast Cancer Gene. I would prefer it be reserved for applications such as that, rather than for assessments of perceived likelihoods, though granted it used much more loosely.
But the stronger reason is that it creates groupthink, as do the Polls, they are not just reactive onlookers at all. To give the likelihood of Labor's win a numerical value harms Labor's cause, it talks down our chances, and anyway, if Ad and Patricia, Lyn and Bushfire Bill and TT had been the ONLY five people whose pre-diction was for a *J*U*L*I*A* win, it would not have been on the basis of other people's mouths nor their money, but on our own individual assessments of the situation based on insight rather than groupthink - the basis for the Media frenzy, in which they were so comprehensively confounded. (They will never be the braying mob again that once they were. She has fixed that.)

So, back to the future: if 75% of bettors think that TA will win in 2013, (irrespective of their own preferences, yes), why would I care? Why would I change my own assessment? Bettors, not a cross-section; sums of money, not the people: one Gina may be greater than all others put together. But perceptions can and do create Groupthink, and that is what I am at pains to counter.

In the final washout, Labor will win because Labor is better for Australia, and the Coalons will lose because they are a backward-looking mob of no-hoper lying self-interested discordian pious Born-to-Rulers. Humph.

So Folks go ahead, place your bets, I hope you get great odds backing Labor, (do it now, avoid the rush, get the good odds), I hope you get pignuts if you back the Coalons, but it won't change the real likelihood of a Labor win one way or the other, except, as Palmhair well knows, by creating groupthink. And that I want to talk down, if I talk about it at all.  

Don't get fooled again.


DOG I love Youtube!

Lyrics, music, the lot , ohhhh . . .  Smile

Artist: The Who
Song: Won't Get Fooled Again Lyrics

We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
And I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again

Change it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fall that's all
But the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
And I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!

I'll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
For I know that the hypnotized never lie

Do ya?

There's nothing in the street
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Is now the parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!


Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss


April 8. 2012 12:55 PM


Eeny and Meany and Mo are waiting for you back at Coalon's Entrance  . . . Allez vite!  Smile

*Fun * With * Trolls *  


April 8. 2012 01:10 PM


@ Ad Astra, Thank you for reading the post. I can sense a slow change in the polls and it can best be exploited by recognising the causes of the current unpopularity and addressing them. Not trying to paper over the symptoms.


April 8. 2012 02:00 PM

Patricia WA

Archie, I liked your post, but as a vociferous member of the Julia Gillard Fan Club I am determined to stay optimistic along with others here at The Political Sword.  Keep coming here for encouragement and smiles!

TT - I loved that limerick!   Brilliant!   I repeat it here for the sheer joy of it!

As Titian was mixing rose madder,
His model reclined on a ladder . . .
Her position, to Titian,
Suggested coition,
So 'e clumb up the ladder 'n' 'ad 'er!

Patricia WA

April 8. 2012 02:18 PM


"For all his intellect, Turnbull hasn't thought deeply about where this country is going and what it needs from government; there are fits and starts of insight into particular issues but these are more like the brilliant essays of a student rather than the parts-of-the-whole musings that come from the reflections of a leader."

Andrew Elder, at http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/ 'How poor history leads to poor analysis, April 7 2012

This perfectly sums up the 'strength' and weaknesses of Malcolm Turnbull as the leader of anything he tilts his kilt to lead.

I'm sure he has somewhere at some time been anointed as displaying "coruscating wit" or "comment". Quite true, if you apply the true definition of 'coruscating'.

All flash and sparkle.


April 8. 2012 02:20 PM


It's not mine though you understand.

In fact even if it were I couldn't acknowledge it.
(Best usage on limericks is never to claim nor acknowledge authorship, I like that.)

Which is why I was shocked when JJ McRoach, in his book A Salute to the Humble Yabby, published my name over a certain infamous crustacean limerick in which the humble Yabby cherax destructor   found a new rhyme for his scientific name, and an unlikely calling . . . Rude. Smile

But Titian's adventure is one of the best, yes,
how mellifluously 'e 'ad 'er eh!

The Limerick's an artform complex,
whose subject runs largely on sex:
It burgeons with virgins
and masculine urgins
and subtle (!?) erotic effex  


April 8. 2012 03:28 PM

Ad astra reply

Welcome to The Political Sword.

When you use the word ‘betrayal’, I expect you are referring to Julia Gillard’s introduction of the carbon tax when pre-election she said that there would be no carbon tax under a government she led.  When she said that she meant it, as she wanted an ETS, and said so.  But a funny thing happened on the way to government – the people did not give her, or Tony Abbott, a majority.  Both of them had to negotiate with the cross benches for support to form a minority government.  She won, Tony lost.  Part of the deal with the Greens was that prior to the introduction of an ETS, which PM Gillard wanted, there would be a short period when a carbon tax would apply before the ETS kicked in.  All this is a matter of verifiable history, which I expect you would know.

So the PM had a choice – scrap altogether the introduction of an ETS, or achieve it by having first a period during which a carbon tax applied, notwithstanding her pre-election assurance.  She chose the latter, because she believed an ETS was needed to reduce carbon pollution, which is increasing global warming and threatening our planet.  John Howard wanted an ETS and went to the 2007 election with that policy.  Malcolm Turnbull wanted an ETS and had negotiated one with the Rudd Government, but he was ousted by one vote by his party, which then turned turtle under Tony Abbott’s leadership and opposed it.  Coalition supporters could not be blamed for being confused.

In the light of this sequence of events, you can call Julia Gillard’s action whatever you like: betrayal, lying, dishonesty or back-flipping; I regard it as a sensible, indeed necessary change of mind in order to achieve an ETS.

But then I believe the scientists who tell us in increasingly strident terms that the planet’s atmosphere is warming, that oceans are acidifying and threatening the ecology of the sea, that sea levels will rise and threaten low lying land with inundation, that extreme weather events will become more frequent, and that as a consequence there will be less arable land, there will be the migration of millions threatened with inundation, water and food shortages will result, and with all this there will be increasing social disruption and conflict.  Do you hold the same beliefs?  If not, you would I suppose also believe that no action to combat carbon pollution was necessary, and that any action was not just useless but economically unwise.

So when it all boils down, Julia Gillard’s actions need to be viewed against the threat she is trying to avert.  If you think the threat is non-existent, then clearly any action is unnecessary, all the more so if it contravenes a pre-election assurance.  But if you do believe the threat is extant and needs addressing, would you have our PM do nothing simply because she said pre-election that she would not introduce a carbon tax?  Or would you expect her to compromise in order to achieve her aim of an ETS via a preliminary carbon tax?

I believe the threat of global warming is very real and I’m glad she took the action she did.  I would have been disappointed if she had done nothing and exposed us all to the dangers we hear about with increasing insistence every week.

Miney, you need to declare your hand about your belief in the reality, or otherwise, of global warming.  You then need to say what you believe our PM should have done in the circumstances in which she, a believer in the reality of global warming, found herself.  It’s not much help to rational debate to come here, to a site that you accuse of lefty rhetoric, and throw around a slogan such as ‘betrayal’, a slogan I expect you’ve seen on conservative blog sites.

The Federal electorate spoke in 2010 and gave us a hung parliament, and if the election is held at the expected time in 2013, will speak again.  Only then will we know what judgement it will pass on the record of the Gillard Government.  You may feel that ‘the betrayal’ of which you speak is enough for voters to send her Government packing.  By then, the electorate might have other ideas.

Finally, if you believe that ‘lefty rhetoric’ is irrelevant, how would you categorize conservative rhetoric?

Ad astra reply

April 8. 2012 03:36 PM

Ad astra reply

I enjoyed your verse.  The public almost gave government to Tony Abbott.  They won’t be fooled again.

Ad astra reply

April 8. 2012 03:55 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for the link to Andrew Elder’s analysis of the Abjorensen article.  It makes interesting reading.

Ad astra reply

April 8. 2012 11:27 PM

Patricia WA

Can't compete TT, but I've been waiting for the chance to use this one.

There once was a pollie called Abbott
Said white Aussies should breed like the rabbit.
But if he keeps on urgin’
Us gals to be virgin
We’ll never get into the habit        

Patricia WA

April 8. 2012 11:48 PM

Patricia WA

Just found another.

How fine it would be to be Green
And shun compromise as obscene.
With ideals of perfection,
Rather lose an election,
Than prevail in a world less than clean.

Patricia WA

April 9. 2012 01:59 AM


Agreed the Greens are problematical,
But just a few rats are fanatical:
Shame they can't all be Labors
But we gotta be neighbours
And prevent the rats gettin' too ratical.


April 9. 2012 10:40 AM


Off topic, but too political to be political!

Alzheimer's is in the news.

Well World take this on board.

Cannabis is easily the best agent known to slow or arrest its onset.

Not a claim, a fully accredited finding.

Scripp's Institute in La Jolla California is amongst the top few medical laboratories in the world.

The findings are clear. Natural Cannabis is much better at preventing the deposition of amyloid plaque than either of the synthetic drugs you will get prescribed. Read the article.

Natural Cannabis is virtually free to produce (!), meanwhile Alzheimer's if I am correct is the most expensive of all medical conditions - in terms of money spent on supporting and treating, plus the huge loss of earning capabilities of the sufferers.

Yet these two ends have never been allowed to join up. Clever huh,
no, scared shitless of Uncle Sam and the Singles Convention it has enforced worldwide since the 1930s.

I have seen Cannabis utterly relieve the pain of a close friend in the last few days of his life suffering from nerve cancer, the most excruciating condition imaginable.

It is the best agent known (afa I know) to relieve intra-ocular pressure in Glaucoma, an eye condition in which increased pressure in the eyeball progressively destroys sight.

It is known to send some cancers into remission.
This is far under-researched, can you guess why?

Natural Cannabis has been found to be efficacious in treating multiple sclerosis, both types of diabetes, mental conditions, trauma, high blood pressure, virtually every condition you can think of. It is not equally efficacious in every case, but neither is any other drug. But you will never know whether it will help you or yours, unless you break the law. You certainly won't get scripts from your GP. Even in countries with policies indicating a degree of sense, where you might get legal cannabis prescribed for extreme conditions, it won't be natural cannabis, it will be selected derivatives or artificially synthesised cannabinoids, well you gotta keep the money rolling in to the drug producers I guess. Sad part is, natural cannabis is the most likely to help your case!

Read the article!


Read any number of articles!



International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) Am Mildenweg 6
D-59602 Ruethen
Phone: +49 (0)2952-9708571
Fax: +49 (0)2952-902651
Email: info@cannabis-med.org

If you want to be deleted from or added to the IACM-Bulletin mailing list or if you want to change your e-mail address please visit www.cannabis-med.org/english/subscribe.htm. You may choose between different languages (English, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese).

The articles of the IACM-Bulletin can be printed, translated and distributed freely for any non-commercial purposes, provided the original work is properly cited. The source of the IACM-Bulletin is IACM, www.cannabis-med.org.

AFA I know TT and FS have been the sole persons ever to comment on this subject on this or any other political blog. Everybody scared shitless to say boo. Easier far to trivialize and/or ignore and/or punish. It's your pain or condition, or your friend's or neighbour's or relative's, that you are allowing to be trivialised.

More than a million people in Australia use cannabis anyway every day. All are criminals.

How else can I try to tell you except like this? I've been trying for over 40 years now!


April 9. 2012 12:05 PM


Ad Astra,  

I have just posted your reply to miney on the poll bludger site. It deserves much wider distribution.


April 9. 2012 12:37 PM

Patricia WA

Thanks for the information, TT. Will follow up on that. As someone who enjoys rude health my one fear is of mental deterioration.   Cryptics and word play are part of my daily mental gymnastics, but in the end I have to accept that we do age and of course we die.  Meanwhile it's good to stay well informed on how to deal with the process.

I'm making it a priority this week to visit the one person I think can help me access cannabis.   It's not something I've considered before!   My only drug of addiction being caffeine, and having a somewhat negative view of dope smokers.  

Patricia WA

April 9. 2012 01:41 PM


I won't make a habit of doing this but a bit of cross-pollination is often a good thing.
ratsak over at PB spells out in no uncertain terms the difference between the wealth-creating policies of Labor and the Coalition.

The Libs are like those CEOs focused solely on their next bonus. They have no care for the long term because they’ll have been long gone when the mess they’ve created has to be cleaned up. They neglect investment and training and any other long-term thinking because these things are ‘expensive’. Much better to run down the capital, reward their supporters with big cash handouts and shout about how clever they are.


April 9. 2012 03:15 PM

Patricia WA

Tony Abbott’s Easter Address From the Opposition’s Ship Of State


I’m Popeye the Sailor Man,
I’m one tough gazookas,
Who hates all palookas
And here is my master plan.

I’ll push conservation
So most of this nation
Has clear new contour lines
To protect precious mines.

I’ll tear up the NBN,
Then start all over again,
Making  sure it employs
In good jobs all our boys.

My parental leave dream
Is a great part of my scheme.
Soon gals won’t get chosen
For jobs with promotion.

I’ll remove the vexation
Of all Labor’s taxation
To ensure that the wealthy
Stay happy and healthy.

Then with hospitals empty
There will be beds aplenty
So the poor near old age
Need no pension or wage.

Though I am happy to say
That my dear sister is gay,
I agree with George Pell;
Real queers all go to hell.

Same for that woman Julia
She’s got no right to rule yer!
Get her out! Let’s shove’er!
And her live-in lover!

What’s up, Robb? 'Course we can’t sink!
My policies do not stink!
And this boat's got no holes!
Just read the bloody polls!

Patricia WA

April 9. 2012 04:33 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for posting the interesting information on natural cannabis.  It is being used medically already in certain circumstances and as the scientific evidence accumulates, no doubt its use will widen.  Of course there will be a prolonged debate about its use for recreational purposes versus medical purposes.  The debate will be best served through authoritative scientifically based evidence.

Thank you for pasting my reply to Miney on PB.  As I wrote it, I wondered if I was saying something everyone knew anyway, but maybe there are still some who don’t, who will benefit from understanding the sequence of events surrounding the much-maligned carbon tax.

The comment on PB by ratsak was an informative read.  Thank you for posting the link.

Patricia WA
Nice verse, so apt.

Ad astra reply

April 9. 2012 04:48 PM

Patricia WA

TT, before you get in and point it out, I do understand that Tony Abbott has his gazookas confused with his palookas  I have talked about this in my post and how I am sure that Alan Moir meant his own "big palooka" was so punch drunk he didn't know the difference!

Anywhere it's here with notes and illustrations. polliepomes.wordpress.com/.../

So what do I do now on my walk and with the rest of the day?  Ah, of course it's Monday!   George Pell and Richard Dawkins on Q&A!   Should be fun?

Patricia WA

April 9. 2012 08:32 PM

Patricia WA

Thanks for your comment, AA.  It's precious to me and as always I've stored it with my post which is illustrated by the Alan Moir cartoon and has some explanatory notes on urban slang.  TT may be interested to know that I've corrected the gazookas and Palookaterminology within the pome itself as I streamlined it here and there to improve the beat.  I think it's consistent right through now.   I hope he and NormanK like this final version.


Patricia WA

April 9. 2012 10:43 PM


Reimagining Journalism
by Mr Denmore     The Failed Estate
After more than a quarter of a century in the business, I left professional journalism six years ago, disenchanted and bored with an industry that for the most part is about recycling memes that aggregate audiences for paying advertisers.  My original inclination as a youngster was to become a copywriter for an ad agency. In retrospect, journalism (as it's done today) isn't that different.

Tony Abbott’s Easter Address From The Opposition’s Ship Of State.
by Patricia WA     polliepomes
A poem inspired by an Alan Moir cartoon. Caution: contains references to sharp objects.

The lukewarm attorney
by Andrew Elder     Politically homeless
NSW Attorney General Greg Smith is in grave danger politically. His agenda needs to be clearer than it is, and stronger, if he is to survive. If he goes on as he is he'll become a bigger target for the opposition than Robyn Parker is but without the personal affection and entrenched political support that Parker can command.

Tony Abbott is a dead-beat ‘dad’.
by Ash Ghebranious     Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery
How much of a dead beat ‘dad’ is Tony Abbott??? Okay. Before you all start making allegations of defamation, I am making an analogy here. One that Tony Abbott has already made.

Would you like a nuclear weapon with that?
by Kelsey     GetUp
This might come as news to you – but your tax dollars are actively being invested in the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and the submarines and fighter planes to deploy them.

The future of journalism
by Angela Phillips     Open Democracy
Enthusiasm for new ways of looking at the world can run ahead of the old controls. Having access to private data creates issues of privacy as we have seen. The ability to watch the world from one’s desk is seductive, but cost cutting means that the web is now too often an excuse for shackling journalists to their desks copying and pasting rather than talking to contacts.

journalism's future
by Gary Sauer-Thompson     Public opinion
Phillips argues that journalism's future lies not in finding ways of doing away with journalists and journalism. Or about undermining the quality of what journalists should do. It lies in finding a way to get citizens not only to participate but also to pay for the journalism we all need.

The eternal stupidity of Paul Sheehan a black mark on the Australian education system ...
by Dorothy Parker     Loon Pond
What a tedious, boring, uninformative, and irrelevant member of the commentariat columnist brigade Paul Sheehan has become.

New think tank to help ALP reconnect with voters
by Troy Bramston     The Australian
Last week, a new centre-left political think tank was officially launched in Sydney. With strong Labor Party links, the McKell Institute aims to help the party and the broader centre-left reconnect with voters, develop new policies and give voice to progressive values in public debates.

OCMTB 13 Big bums, budgie smugglers and news limited false equivalencies
by Uther's Say
Commenting publicly and negatively on the body shape of a woman is highly inappropriate but even then if the comment was about a big woman or a tiny woman it would hardly be as offensive as a comment mocking the size of her bottom. It is particularly egregious when so many young women suffer much anxiety about not having the body shapes promoted by corporate interests.

The Decline and Fall of the ALP
by archiearchive
Brought up in a post-war boom where everything material came easily, the now aging demographic “bump” is leading a faux-conservative political movement today. Conservative in wanting less taxation and faux in wanting the welfare to which they have become accustomed.

A Striking Contrast: Australian and US Jobs Data
by Steven Koukoulas
It all goes to show that Australia continues to be a shining light in the global economy, despite the recent bout of RBA induced growth under-performance.

Romney takes a page from the Karl Rove playbook
by Rachel Maddow     msnbc

How poor history leads to poor analysis
by Andrew Elder     Politically homeless
That loss, every bit as 'unexpected' as 2007, is the 'political disaster' that Abjorensen fears but cannot articulate. He's tried a long run-up through history, but it's such bad hack-history that his conclusions are only right by accident, and not right enough to be reliable.

The problem of the “political cycle”
by Alex White     The Piping Shrike
So will Labor survive? That is a question that relies little on whether it can revive its “values” and reconnect in any meaningful way to the electorate. In reality the survival of either of the main parties depends on the opposite: how well can they adapt to operating with no social base?

Very expensive ‘free’ information
by Crispin Hull
The longer a government stays in power the more secretive it gets – simply because it has more things to hide.

Turnbull has no NBN plan, says Conroy
by Renai LeMay     Delimiter
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has demanded that the Coalition publish its policy platform for the next election in the area of broadband and telecommunications, pointing out that this is the third time, in as many months, that he has made this inquiry of the Coalition; asking it to disclose its broadband policy, the technology it proposes to use, and the cost to Australians.

Crying over spilt milk
by Misha Schubert     SMH
..... there's another struggle afoot. It is largely a guerilla conflict, fought in the shadows. For the most part, its skirmishes are kept in check by the sheer force of Tony Abbott's ambition and his insistence that an opposition on the cusp of power must not let itself become the story, at least not one about division.

Sceptics' case melts more
by Gerard Wynn     The Age
A clutch of recent studies reinforces evidence that people are causing climate change and suggests debate should now move on to a more precise understanding of its impact on humans.


April 9. 2012 10:59 PM



I just want to pick you up on one point that you continue to make over and over without any rebuttal. You continuously state that the actions of Gillard in introducing a Carbon Tax was justified as it was necessary for her to be able to form minority Government. Can i ask you this: when is a principle or promise not subject to compromise or breakage when there is the excuse of the need for power? Was it right for Gillard to promise Wilkie poker machine reforms, when knowing the numbers on the floor of the parliament were not there for it?

I know that this is a fringe blog that bares no reflection on the mood of the majority of the population, but at least try to make sense in what you say...


April 9. 2012 11:10 PM


An example of what i was saying above:

"Things are already turning around for Labor.  Tony Abbott’s train is heading for a crash while Julia Gillard’s makes steady progress, at times uphill, but once over the top will be unstoppable.  There are signs of fear, uncertainty and doubt gripping the Coalition, while confidence rises daily in Labor."

On what empirical evidence is such a claim made on? Tony Abbott's position as Liberal leader is far more secure than Gillard's as has been seen by the minimal leaks and the fact that he has not been challenged; so how is he headed for a crash. How is a primary vote constantly below 30%, coupled with reports such as the auditor generals report on the Australia Network from last week signs of steady progress, or merely 'hills'? On what basis do you claim that uncertainty and doubt is gripping the Liberals? Polls are good, minimal leaks, landslide wins in NSW and QLD, ahead in all other states and a Govt federally that faces bungle after bungle.

I swear you live on a different planet! There is no evidence whatsoever, apart from opinion pieces from other left wingers who base their spurious claims on nothing, that any of your claims are true. Yet, people on this blog follow you like your some kind of cult religious figure, that sees all sensible information filtered through a sift that leaves behind only the most ridiculous left wing conspiracies possible.

Poor you...


April 10. 2012 07:58 AM


Last first: Patricia:

(Q&A yes, I'll be watching, popcorn for atheists, GO Lovers of Dog!)

Funny Poopeye, the label on the tin he's guzzling from says SPIN before it curves out of sight, clevv-verrr!

He might manage to play a gazooka*
But he likes to play with a bazooka!*
Let's not sully the name
Of that boxer of fame,
The decent, if dumb, Joe Palooka!

[Patricia, * & * is an example of where 2 words rhyme almost too well, and you have to lean on the syllable 3 back from the terminal one in each line to differentiate them. There must somewhere be an authority on 'rules' of rhyme, like you shouldn't rhyme homophones, like e.g. pare pair pere and pear, that is horrid when you come across it. Those rules become obvious, on an intuitive aesthetic basis,only when they are broken, but they are harder to round up than feral cats.]  

Ad astra
The evidence, any amount of it, on the efficacy of cannabis in a dizzying range of conditions, and its innocence of almost any serious long-term effects, is already widely available, but debate on the issue is forever stymied by police who can use it as an excuse to raid anyone anytime on suspicion alone; by drug companies, alcohol producers, plastics and fuel and timber companies, nicotine purveyors, religiomanes, and Jonica Newby forever posing as a scientist on ABC Cattlepiss.
Oh and the medical profession, Ad, no joke.  

Back to Patricia:
I can't quote sources but I have read scientific studies that show that cannabis users are under-represented in road fatalities as compared with straights, (there seems little doubt of that, it is largely due to the fact that stoned drivers are more careful and drive slower than the average. True.) Alcohol users are 'way over-represented of course.
Furthermore, and surprisingly even to this turkey, one study recently seems to indicate that long-term cannabis-(only)smokers have marginally better lung function than peers who don't smoke anything! Cannabinoids (there are many) mostly are vaso-dilators, they relax and open our tubing generally, and dope-smokers' habit of holding a lungful of smoke for a period seems to increase tidal air and benefit breathing. Imagine that. Nicotine is a vaso-constrictor, squish. That's why pregnant persons, females especially, shouldn't smoke cigars. Or Pitcheri. Or anything nicotinic.

All the cannabis-related information you could ever read from all over the world is available at that site I linked to, International Association for Cannabis Medicine, IACM. They will send you monthly updates of scientific research if you register. Anecdotal stories, longitudinal case studies, utterly reputable medical research, it's all there but it is easier to trivialize, ignore or punish its use or didn't I say that before?  

There is a book on cannabis use in the treatment of cancer, I haven't read it but I know what it's about, it's called Run From The Cure. And that, do you see, is about as logical as the belief that the Coalons are better money managers than Labor. But mre serious.

Oh btw Patricia where did you acquire your "somewhat negative view of dope smokers?" As if we don't both know! "Police who can use it as an excuse to raid anyone anytime on suspicion alone; drug companies, alcohol producers, plastics companies, nicotine purveyors, religiomanes, and Jonica Newby forever posing as a scientist on ABC Cattlepiss.
Oh and the medical profession, no joke

Oh and most of all the bloody Media doing it for all the above.

So how many dope-smokers have you actualy met? That is, how many do you know you've met, because you have actually met thousands without knowing it unless you are a recluse!

One thing I haven't mentioned is its role in creative thinking.
Where did John Lennon get it from???

If you first thought that you liked my verse,
Would you then deem it worthless, or worse,
If you found it induced
By some weed-smoke I'd used
That society treats as a curse?


Oh there is one caution: Go easy the first few times you ever use it, and don't ingest it whatever people tell you, it can be quite a wild ride with good dope cookies, if you are novice especially. If you're going to use it at all smoke it, oddly enough it is the best way to use it. Voice of long experience, and the scientific findings confirm that.

Repeat: DON'T EAT!
No joke: Just SMOKE.

And don't whinge if it makes you cough, no pain no gain, just go with caution if you've never smoked anything. Sips of smoke. and hold it for a half a minute or so.  

Most of all do some research for your own satisfaction. I would not dream of encouraging you to do something against your own better judgment. Never mind the Law though, it deserves ignoring.

The views expressed in this post in no way purport to represent those of the owner of this site.  


April 10. 2012 11:06 AM

Ad astra reply

I do understand that for the Coalition and its supporters it is necessary to sustain the ‘Ju-liar’ meme.  It is central to their ongoing election campaign and will feature strongly in election advertising.  Naturally, factual evidence about the sequence of events that brought her to accepting a carbon tax as a precursor to an ETS, evidence that dents the Ju-liar story, will be strongly rejected by Coalition supporters.  Nothing must call it into question.  Your comment demonstrates just that.

BTW, why do you visit TPS, which you regard as a ‘fringe blog’?  Have you not got better things to do with your time?

I see you took the bait about signs of ‘fear, uncertainty and doubt gripping the Coalition’.  The evidence you seek about this assertion will be posted soon.  Will you have the strength to read it through?  Or will you prefer to remain secure on your own planet, buttressed by current opinion polls that lack predictive power, and recent wins in State elections?  Hubris is dangerous.  

Ad astra reply

April 10. 2012 12:39 PM


Hi, look, I'm a 5th generation ALP voter, the party and the union movement are in my blood. I voted in 2007 for Kevin Rudd. I did not appreciate that vote being usurped by Gillard's vaulting ambition. I did not appreciate a pathetic election campaign in 2010 delivering minority government to the ALP after one term. I give Gillard no kudos whatsoever for negiotiating a deal to secure minority government -- it was she that delivered such a bad election result in the first place... And finally I give her and her minions no credit for the trashing of Rudd at the February challenge. A disgraceful public character assassination of a former PM and the man who led them all out of the bloody wilderness.

She has swung the party to the right, and alientated its left base and its youth, which is leaving in droves for the Greens. ALP branches are closing down all over the country. The leadership is not accountable in any way to the Rank and File.

She will only ever be PM by default, due largely to the way she took it in the first place. Gillard's only hope is that Abbott hangs on and we have a replay of that shocking 2010 campaign. I have never voted Liberal in my life but if they ditch Abbott for Turnbull I will take great pleasure in punishing this lot and their illegitimate leader.

Gillard is worse than McMahon. I turn off when she comes on the box. The sound of her voice makes me ill. She has wrecked and trashed my century-old party and will go down as the woman that delivered a decade of concervative government.


April 10. 2012 12:49 PM


    Are you a paid up member of the ALP?


April 10. 2012 01:04 PM


Jason, not for more than 20 years. I left back then because the NSW right was running roughshod over the membership and because I couldn't see the party overcoming its factional obsessions. They were more interested in fighting eachother than the tories. Rudd for me gave hope for renewal because he got there despite the factions and was challenging them from within the tent. We all know who won that battle.


April 10. 2012 01:10 PM


I had an exciting experience on the weekend that I hope many non-concession medication users will also have and will change their minds about our PM.
I use 4 pretty standard medications and need to fill prescriptions each month.  This generally costs about $98.00.  On Saturday I filled my scrips and the cost was $57.00!!!!  I think this has something to do with something the government did with the PBS and generic medications brands.  That's the sort of thing do-nothing Labor governments do, I suppose Smile


April 10. 2012 01:24 PM

Patricia WA

Ad Astra, the same question you asked of jj one might well ask of "Mark" who has just dropped a bundle above.   Why come here?  One always wonders about people who claim to be long term supporters of the ALP and are now totally put off by our current leader.  And Jason is right to ask if he is a paid up member of the ALP, or ever was.  Any rational person with reasonably leftish sympathies, much less a long term party member,  would have listened to the pros and cons of the leadership struggle.   The rage he expresses is not rational.

I too felt misgiving over Rudd's dismissal but having watched his behaviour since, not as finally reported by some of his colleagues, but over the year and more of his having the opportunity to serve the country and the party as Foreign Minister, I have no doubt the right decision was made back in June, 2010.   At that time, mind you, I had hoped he might make a come-back, so confused was I, along with many people.

One only has to compare Rudd's lack of progress as PM in legislative reform with the real achievements of the current Labor government, even with a hung Parliament, to know how vastly superior is the leadership of Julia Gillard

Patricia WA

April 10. 2012 01:38 PM


Why come here? Do you only want one point of view here?

You can wonder till your heart's content about my ALP bona fides. You wonder your way into years of opposition.

Rudd was a peerless Foreign Minister, getting seats at tables for minnow Australia that were not marginally possible under that dill Downer. In the Labor tradition, Rudd was also an internationalist on foregn aid, committing Australia to contribute to helping on global hunger, women and girls access to education and health, and to a doubling of the aid budget by 2015, as part of our commitment to the Millennium Development Goals... Did you see Gillard's presser the other day? No guaratees on maintaining that commitment to double aid. Typical. This is the most reactionary, right wing PM the ALP has ever had. Howard is her hero. That should tell something Patricia.


April 10. 2012 01:52 PM


    Keating and Hawke took us to the "right" and it's only that the coalition are that far "right" that we're still seen as left these days, yes we have a few differences from the LNP IR, health,education human rights and a few green issues other than that bugger all else separates us from them.

Rudd offered no hope! he got there because he was popular at the time and when he won he showed how to handle badly the absolute power that the factions gave him,and it just confirmed in the minds of many in the caucus the only time things could get done was when Rudd was out of the country. Rudd proved to be a bureaucrat not a leader of a country and worse he wouldn't even stand by Garrett during the "pink batts" affair easier to cut him loose than have the buck stop with him.

The CPRS he played wedge politics with both Turnbull and Nelson and when it came to the crunch up went the white flag.

The mining tax again,a few adds on tv by the miners and "shock jocks" on radio telling the ill informed we'd be ruined and he fell in a heap.

You may not like Gillard and if Rudd had any backbone he would've impemented the 2007 agenda! he didn't.

I'm a paid up member and belong to no faction! but if I did it would be with the left.


April 10. 2012 02:28 PM


Ad Astra,

You didnt really answer anything that i have to say. It does not  take hubris to state that the Labor Party is in the worst position it has been in in decades around Australia. With such a weak labor party i just cant understand how you can claim the Coalition, which is now in charge of Australia's largest states, and has a consistent primary vote above 45%, is worried/scared, or whatever you say it is?

I can understand, however, that if you read the fringe leftish stuff all day every day, you tend to think like those bloggers and commentators. To claim Gillard is a competent and brilliant politician and PM is just ridiculous. Any objective look at her record in politics, let alone her time as PM would show that she is a woman mired in contradiction and short of any real friends.


April 10. 2012 02:38 PM

Ad astra reply

I’m not sure if you have been here before, but anyway welcome to The Political Sword.

It is sad to see such a devoted and longstanding Labor supporter so disillusioned by the party and so revolted by its leader.  I note you are a Rudd supporter, and that the manner in which he was treated is a significant factor in the way you feel.  I will not attempt to dissuade you from your view, as that would be pointless.

The dilemma to which you allude – who to vote for at the next election – is a very real one for you.  Despite your disappointment with Labor, would you have the stomach to vote for an Abbott-led Coalition?  If not, would you vote Green or some other party instead?  If so, to which party would you give your second preference?  Would you in any way want your vote to end up with Abbott if he is still leader at the next election?

As this piece points out, we have a choice; we have to choose.  Neither side will be a perfect choice; so we have to choose the least risky.  That is easy.  By election time is it possible that the many accomplishments of the Gillard Government might outweigh your anger at its leader?  I hope so.

Like others here, I wonder what has attracted your attention to this site.  Was it the current piece?  Sometimes, as Jason hints, people come here purporting to be strong Labor supporters, claiming though that they have changed their mind, but leaving us wondering if that is really so.  But we won’t question your bone fides.  

We welcome all points of view here but reserve the right to challenge and question, as you would expect.

Ad astra reply

April 10. 2012 02:44 PM


  As your so cock sure of yourself 18 months out from an election how about a $100 bet on the result?


April 10. 2012 02:48 PM

Ad astra reply

No, I don’t spend my time reading ‘fringe leftish stuff every day’.  I read the links that Lyn, NormanK and others post, but most of my time is taken attending to the site and writing pieces.  And I do have other things to do.

If you wish to rest comfortably in the coziness of poll generated hubris, that is your right.  Who would deny you that feeling of certainty that the next election is yours?  Enjoy it while you can.  

I did mention that my answer to you was coming in the next piece.  Please be patient.

Ad astra reply

April 10. 2012 03:06 PM

Patricia WA

But, Mark, it seems while Kevin Rudd was doing such a brilliant job earning brownie points as an internationalist overseas he was at the same time undermining his party and leader by leaking to News Ltd journos!  Did he also earn brownie points with News Ltd with his awarding Sky and Murdoch that contract for Australia's Asian TV news service?  It's not really surprising if the government has had to rein in some of his more grandiosely generous and self serving gestures which lacked full Cabinet support,  is it?

This article might give you some idea of the kind of behaviour, even as PM,  which caused ministers and caucus to despair of him.  I find it totally convincing in explaining the complex personality we are talking about here.  Please note it reports on feelings and opinions recorded well before June, 2010.  www.heraldsun.com.au/.../story-fn56baaq-1226280973899

Patricia WA

April 10. 2012 03:17 PM


Aa, Normank,
           Not sure if you've seen this!

As of today, Larvatus Prodeo will cease publishing.

After a couple of test posts, the blog began to wend its way through the online world on March 17, 2005, so it’s a very old beast in internet years.

We collectively feel seven years is enough.

I think LP played a significant role in stimulating political debate over the course of its life, and acted as something of a catalyst for a lot of good things in the spaces of new media and public discourse.

To large degree, though, the caravan has moved on.



April 10. 2012 03:23 PM


I came here from a friend's share on Facebook. Not been here before. Will be an ALP true believer till the day I die, whether I come back here or not. As to the choice I will face next year? Well, my nose has been rubbed in the dirt by this PM. The party she leads doesn't respect or even seem to want my vote. But it is a dillemma. I will probably hold my nose and vote labor, but I live in a safe Liberal electorate so it matters little. As for those in swinging seats. Many not so close to the party who voted for Howard and then switched to Rudd will give this mob the flick without much second thought.

And when Gillard rolled Rudd in 2010, when she intrigued to remove a sitting PM in his first term, the ALP was leading 2PP 52 to 48. I rest my case.


April 10. 2012 03:42 PM


    "Rest your case" by all means if that's what you call it!
So how is your "vote" not wanted exactly?

Forget Rudd was dumped that's history now, what should the "Labor Party" that you were a member of 20 years ago that probably voted at state and national conventions on the directions labor should take that you now wish to say it wasn't "me" get you back?


April 10. 2012 03:47 PM


Patricia, I'm not interested in gossip or intrigue or unsourced or anonymous quotes, or hearsay. If the Deputy PM and Cabinet had a problem with the PM they should have given him three strikes, read him the riot act, openly confronted him that if he didn't change his style the Cabinet would back a change in favour of Gillard AFTER the 2010 election. Instead they put their own comfort ahead of the party's interests. So what if Gillard was getting things done while Rudd strutt the world stage. So what? He was our PM and she was his Deputy. She was doing here job as part of the team. In politics, disunity is death.


April 10. 2012 03:58 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for alerting us to the closure of Larvatus Prodeo.  It is sad when a longstanding site calls it a day.  But Mark Bahnisch has other fish to fry.  Good luck to him, and a warm thank you to him and his colleagues for the contribution LP has made to rational political discourse in this country.

Resting your case on opinion polling figures might be unwise.  Although superficially plausible, many events occurred shortly after Kevin Rudd’s removal and for a while Julia Gillard rode high, but then came the leak to Laurie Oakes from who knows where, and that devastating question he asked Julia Gillard at the NPC.  You know the rest of the story.

Do return from time to time to give us you views.  They may change.

Ad astra reply

April 10. 2012 04:00 PM


Jason, unmangle that question and I will try to answer it.


April 10. 2012 04:01 PM


TT, good information.  I know someone *wink* who used cannabis during a very serious bout of shingles.  So serious it involved hospitalisation and a number of doctors dropping by to have a shufti at the amazing blisters!  Worked a bloody treat (so I'm told) with the excrutiating pain, sleeplessness and loss of appetite.  But mostly, the excrutiating pain.

And don't whinge if it makes you cough, no pain no gain, just go with caution if you've never smoked anything. Sips of smoke. and hold it for a half a minute or so.   

It's not the cough that carries you off, it's the coffin they carry you off in.
You've got to cough to get off.

Or so I've been told.


April 10. 2012 04:18 PM


    I asked as someone who said "Hi, look, I'm a 5th generation ALP voter, the party and the union movement are in my blood." How is it your vote is lost or not wanted?


April 10. 2012 04:20 PM

Ad astra reply

Isn’t it amazing that the Gillard Government has negotiated something as useful as reducing the cost of hundreds of common medications.  Who would have believed it?  Although it did get some media publicity, has there been a flurry of homely anecdotes splashed on the front pages of the Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph and the Heart of the Nation – The Australian, like the stories about the devastation the carbon tax would inflict, and the disaster to families on over $150,000 a year that any change to the threshold for benefits would mean.  It would be too bad if I missed them.

Thank you for alerting us to the closure of Larvatus Prodeo.  It is sad when a longstanding site calls it a day.  But Mark Bahnisch has other fish to fry.  Good luck to him, and a warm thank you to him and his colleagues for the contribution LP has made to rational political discourse.

Patricia WA
Who was the ‘Rudd Government insider’ to whom Laurie Oakes refers in his article.

Resting your case on opinion polling figures might be unwise.  Although superficially plausible, many events occurred shortly after Kevin Rudd’s removal and for a while Julia Gillard rode high, but then came the leak to Laurie Oakes from who knows where, and that devastating question he asked Julia Gillard at the NPC.  You know the rest of the story.

Do return from time to time to give us you views.  They may change.

Ad astra reply

April 10. 2012 04:24 PM


Thanks Ad astra, I had no idea Laurie Oakes was so key to Gillard's downfall. How will we in him over in 2013? Maybe we should actively work for Laurie's downfall. Or maybe it was the content of the leaks, not the leaks themselves, that proved so devastating. Who argued for the CPRS to be ditched again? Who wanted the ETS shelved until Abbott, yes Abbott, got on board? Was it that dictatorial one-man-band Rudd? Or was it is his Deputy who prevailed on that? Honestly, how about addressing some of Gillard's Howardesque policies like selling a carbon tax with middle class welfare, like caving into xenophobia on asylum seekers. Back to Nauru is it? Harks back to Gillard's days as shadow immigration minister, when she kept her mouth shut while asylum seekers sewed their own shut or threw themsleves on barbed wire.

She knows a rival when she sees one. Bet Chris Bowen's thrilled to bits to see his career stalled in immigration while 'Tattoo Man' David Bradbury leap-frogs to Assistant Treasurer.


April 10. 2012 04:26 PM


    What union were/are you a member of?


April 10. 2012 05:33 PM

Patricia WA

AA, yes that would be fascinating to know.   It looks like a staffer or a senior bureaucrat, doesn't it?   One can understand their reluctance to be identified in contrast to the caucus members who came out so forcefully in February and spoke their minds, confirming everything written there.  It must have been hard for them to hold their tongues all these months.

One can imagine a name being put to those disclosures in years to come, if it's that of a senior public servant, perhaps with similar observations on another male PM of another party.  Though God forbid that becomes a reality in the near future!   That's what makes me so confident of Julia Gillard being the person we believe her to be - the trust she and appreciation she and Wayne Swan reportedly enjoy from their bureaucrats.

Patricia WA

April 10. 2012 05:37 PM

Ad astra reply

I doubt if I will change your mind about anything.  But you know it wasn’t Laurie Oakes that did the damage, but the leak he was fed.  Some suspect Kevin Rudd was the source, or someone close to him.  As Patricia WA suggests, no one really knows.  We may never know unless Laurie spills the beans in the fullness of time.  Of course there were other factors – politics, like life in general, is complex and multi-facetted.  You have your ideas about how the events unfolded and why, as do others.  Nobody knows for certain.

Ad astra reply

April 10. 2012 05:45 PM

Ad astra reply

I’ve just posted Fear, uncertainty and doubt grip the Coalition.  


Ad astra reply

April 10. 2012 05:54 PM


    "Who argued for the CPRS to be ditched again? Who wanted the ETS shelved until Abbott, yes Abbott, got on board? Was it that dictatorial one-man-band Rudd? Or was it is his Deputy who prevailed on that?"

Who was it that said "I'm" the leader and this is what we're doing!Rudd seems then as you were 20 years ago with the NSW Right spineless!
5th generation you say! what as a bullshit artist?


April 10. 2012 06:00 PM


Jason, your suspicion is noble. You smell a rat, huh. After all, how could I be a life-long Labor supporter, a former party member, someone with union ties back 5 generations, a paid-up union member of 26 years, yet not support the Gillard Govt?

Mate, have you seen Labor's primary vote lately? There's a few of us about, wandering around in broad daylight, looking for an ALP to believe in. You say Rudd's gone, get over it. I have.  Look at party membership. A lot of us have.


April 10. 2012 06:19 PM


Mark is as much a "union in my blood and fifth generation labor voter" as my great aunt Fanny used to be the Queen of Sheba. I don't have a great aunt Fanny. Mark is a troll. Pure and simple. A troll. Nothing more, nothing less.

The professional liars are getting pretty desperate....sending out such obvious argumentively defiecent agents.


April 10. 2012 06:40 PM


    Party membership was on the decline long before Rudd got the chop! Yes point out the obvious by all means! but you should know that being from NSW.
However the question remains the same which "right wing union" were you a member of that had/has a lot of say in "pre selections" etc the "shoppies the AWU"?
After all you in one way or another once voted for the same people who you now condem (if you were a member)

As for the "polls" or " looking for an ALP to believe in." I will try until the day I die to bring about change within the ALP what about you?? or is it all to hard! much easier to stand outside the tent and piss in is it? You claim to want a "party" to believe in again get involved! as they say actions speak louder than words.


April 10. 2012 07:06 PM


   "Mark" seems to think we are as stupid as he!
The "fith generation" got me, I know my "dad" has always voted Labor and my family tree dates back to the "first Fleet" I don't know how anyone on either side of my family voted since "federation"!
However if Mark wish to waste his time while my kids are on "School Holidays in SA" I'm more than happy to waste it!


April 10. 2012 07:09 PM


Jason, what are you talking about? I've never stopped being a financial member of my union. Truth be told I gave up ALP membership almost 30 years ago. Back in the day when Richo was Gen Sec, when blokes like Peter Baldwin were getting bashed for blowing the whistle.

You fight the good fight from within Jason. I gave up. Presumably one doesn't have to be a party member to support the ALP. But the bloke I backed, who had an agenda, who had a vision, who had policies I supported, *who could win election*, has been trashed as a psychopath. Sure, must be something in all that. But it was up to me to make that decision at the ballot box. Not Paul Howes, Richo, Ludwig, Farrell and Furner. Good luck Jason, taking on the big boys. For me, I'm now looking elsewhere.


April 10. 2012 07:38 PM


    That's where you and I differ I can look my kids in the eye and tell them unlike you I don't quit no matter how hard it gets!


April 10. 2012 07:57 PM


You look after that machismo Jason. It might be worth something one day.


April 11. 2012 12:56 PM

Nite Lite

I was so hoping for an objective, balanced and harsh self assessment of the Labor Party as it stands...but we are treated to a Labor "pep rally" of "we love Julia".  If that is how the majority of the remnants of the Labor movement believe then you deserve what you get in 2013. Your PM is not impressive and panders to the wrong people but once again you will reap what you sow in 2013. In any event, if you dont at least change leaders approx 8 months out and at least pretend to move in another direction...well it will still lead to decimation just not as bad.

Nite Lite

April 11. 2012 01:27 PM

Ad astra reply

Nite Lite
I’m not sure if you have been here before, but welcome to The Political Sword anyway.

I trust you found the piece objective and balanced, but your disappointment that it did not meet your criterion of a ‘harsh’ assessment suggests that you were looking for another negative anti-Labor tirade, of which there is an abundance in the MSM.

Your comment indicates that you have swallowed the ‘conventional wisdom’ of doom and gloom for Labor purveyed by most MSM commentators.  So be it.  You might disagree with our upbeat assessment of the Gillard Government, but I’m sure you would not deny our right to hold it in high regard.  

Do come back again, especially after the 2013 election, when we will see whose assessment was correct.  That is the only poll that counts.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 07:17 AM


Wow, fancy using polls as a basis for predictions. Crazy.

Just another sad, clueless, rusted on Labor loser, hopelessly in denial about the worst government Australia has ever seen.



April 12. 2012 08:27 AM

Ad astra reply

If you wish to wallow in the comfort that the polls of voting intention currently give you, that is your right, even if they have no power of prediction of the outcome of the 2013 election.  

Clearly, ‘denial’ is not limited to “sad, clueless, rusted-on Labor losers” as you like to describe us. Instead of taking the easy option of shooting the messenger in such disparaging terms, why not try refuting the arguments put forward in this piece by this “sad, clueless, rusted-on Labor loser”.  Or is that too hard?

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 08:55 AM


He he. Remember the Jap soldiers who went on "fighting" on remote islands well into the 1950's, years after the war was finished (with the timely help of a couple of Big Crackers)?
Well, looks as if there's one still living in Canberra and writing "Why Julia will win wtc..".

When Julia dropped the Big Cracker in 2010, aka the Big Lie, she dropped it on all honourable Australians, and finished her chances of ever being taken seriously or respected again. Add that to her serial stuff-ups, blunders, scientific illiteracy and hubris, and her reputation becomes inexorably worse.

Yet Mr Smiley and a few other jungle boys, with their fatigues looking like Julia's reputation, reckon the Emperor is still winning and it's only a matter of months before they're sailing triumphantly into Tokyo Bay.

Big surprise waiting for those dears, no surprises for everyone else.


April 12. 2012 08:57 AM


Instead of wasting so much Cyberspace space why don't you Lefties put some $$$ on Labor to win the next federal election? They're presently @ 3.80.


April 12. 2012 08:58 AM


You are mad.  She's gone.  If you had any conviction you'd put your money where your mouth is and drop a cool couple of grand on her now and reap the benefits next year!  But no. You are all froth and no susbtance.


April 12. 2012 09:42 AM

Ad astra reply

James, Gary, blagobax
Welcome to all of you from the Coalition camp to The Political Sword.

You are all tarred with the same brush – shoot the messenger because you don’t approve of the message.  Why not refute what the messenger is asserting?  You seem so sure of your position, you ought to be able to mount a plausible counter argument.  We are waiting.

They are good odds Gary; those who bet on such events will be taking them up.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 10:47 AM


With such a dull blade, it seems the pen is truly mightier.  Approximately two thirds of the population are against the carbon dioxide tax, and one third of Labor voters are against it.  More than one in two people believe that they will suffer financially because of it.

When all you've accomplished is to repeatedly spit in the face of most Australians, instead kowtowing to an echo chamber of over-educated, under-intelligent, supremely arrogant fools, your bed is made.  Keep dreaming all the way to the poll booths, folks, your hubris will make the landslide all the easier.  Gillard is on track to bring about the demise of the federal Labor Party as a political force, a la Queensland Labor.  Good riddance to bad rubbish.


April 12. 2012 11:21 AM


Don't you just love how those of us over here in reality are pressed to mount a 'plausible counter argument'. To what ?
As far as this site's 'analysis' is concerned the case for Julia winning in 2013 amounts to some wishful thinking and awful poetry.
If the laundry list of lies, cover-ups, corruption, deceit, ineptitude, incompetence, waste, graft, arrogance and entitlement isn't enough of a hint as to why the general public hates this PM and all that her government stands for, I don't think that any argument would convince you. And that's just the stuff that that we know about !

Nobody here is shooting the messenger, we are just calling the nuthouse to come and collect him. And maybe asking that they keep the gate locked next time.


April 12. 2012 12:04 PM

Ad astra reply

Marky, rcf
Welcome to two more newcomers to The Political Sword, both incensed that this site should mount a case against their beloved Coalition and its revered Leader.  Why is that all of you reject the opportunity to dismember the arguments offered here?  It’s pathetic that while you can recite a catechism of misdemeanors and a catalogue of ineptitudes of our PM and her Government, you can’t bring yourself to even address the misdemeanors and ineptitudes of the Coalition, the gross and unbecoming rhetoric of its Leader, the tensions within the Coalition, and the paucity of policies, which these pieces expose.  You simply deny them and retreat into your cocoons warmed by opinion polls of voting intention eighteen months out from an election that statisticians tell us have no predictive power, telling us as they do only what has happened in the past, and the contemporary views of a sample of voters.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 01:04 PM

Pete of Perth

julia's toast along with Bob

Pete of Perth

April 12. 2012 01:23 PM


First time I've visited this site - from all the talk in the above posts about puffing weed, it is clear to see what a lot of the regulars here spend most of their time doing. And given the verging-on-delusional talk here about the coming Gillard victory - boy, have you lot been sucking on some potent stuff!

If you want to know where you will end up, just look at the path you're on. For Gillard’s ALP,  that path, made slippery through lies, deceits and conceits, is heading straight over a very high cliff, at the base of which are huge mounds of sharp, jagged rocks. Splattered all over those rocks are the mutilated remains of ALP (NSW) and ALP (Qld).

ALP (Gillard) is now waddling determinedly and blinkeredly up the same path towards the same cliff, like a dodo on its way to embrace extinction. Her government, indeed, is a dodo of a government - it cannot fly and is doomed, no matter what the spruikers and urgers at sites like this might otherwise suggest. The previous dodos, ALP (NSW) and ALP (Qld), both believed the spruikers and jumped off the cliff yelling "I can FLY!!". That was the last thing they said before, like a couple of over-stuffed meat bombs, they very messily spattered themselves on the sharp rocks of reality below. All they are now is so much untidy organic paste for the crows and seagulls to squabble over.

Go team Dodo! Your fate awaits – how blind are those who will not see!


April 12. 2012 02:53 PM

Ad astra reply

Pete of Perth, Capstan
My goodness, I’ve never seen such a flurry of anti-Labor, pro-Coalition bloggers here before.  Someone or something must have stirred you up.  Are there some uncomfortable truths in what has been written here?

Anyway welcome to The Political Sword.

You paint us here as delusional, supporting an irretrievably doomed Government, to be replaced in 2013 by your vision of a Coalition Government led by a policy genius who will rescue this country from the ravages of an incompetent, fiscally irresponsible, poorly led and divided Labor Government.  I wonder who is delusional?

Another of your Coalition cheer squad suggested that I should be taken to the nut house, presumably on the basis of this piece, or maybe others too.  But will there be room there for an amateur blogger among the throng of journalists, commentators, opinion writers and sundry experts who fill our media landscape, who write in exactly the same vein, the only difference being that most of them are on the other side.  They should make interesting company, as you and others who have come here today would if you were to articulate something rational for us to digest, rather that just regurgitating the standard Coalition catechism of disaster, doom, gloom and hopelessness for Labor built on an edifice of opinion polls of all things.  

Why not demolish Labor’s entitlement for office with a competing set of brilliantly conceived and accurately costed Coalition policies that would overwhelm anything Labor could conceive, let alone legislate.  We’re waiting – still.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 02:57 PM


First time visit, and last time.

The problem with blogs is you can write any rubbish and find a few kindred spirits to echo. Why worry about opinion polls when self delusion is a trait that you share with your beloved Julia.

Yes, please. Stay the course. Hope it works for you.

The discomfort you are feeling is called cognitive dissonance.  


April 12. 2012 03:22 PM

Ad astra reply

You appear to be another Coalition hugger – this is our largest collection here in one day ever.  Welcome to The Political Sword.  Do come again but try to contribute something other than psychological diagnoses: ‘delusion’, even the more sophisticated ‘cognitive dissonance’.  

By the way, I’m feeling no discomfort as you suggest; maybe is it you and your mates that are, bridling at what is written here.  It is so much easier for you all to characterize the writer as psychologically disturbed than it is to rebut the writer’s assertions and arguments.

It’s a pity you won’t read this, determined as you are to never return.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 03:36 PM


Christ, it's a a total dickhead convention here.


April 12. 2012 03:44 PM

Ad astra reply

Welcome to the throng of Coalition supporters, now contributing in their own inimitable way to The Political Sword, all of whom regard us here as destined for the nut house, delusional, afflicted with cognitive dissonance, and now we have your less-than-complimentary quasi-medical diagnosis – dickhead.

Tell us all, what or whom has stirred you up?  We’ve never seen such interest before.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 04:34 PM


Un-fucking-believable. Totally deranged.


April 12. 2012 04:43 PM

Ad astra reply

Welcome to you too.  What on earth has so frightened you Coalition huggers so profoundly that no less than a dozen have appeared here today emitting derogatory comments about the author and the commentors?  What has scared the daylights out of you all?  Is it the possibility of losing the unlosable election, or the disarray in Coalition ranks, or both?  Please tell us.

We know you think we are nuts, deranged, in denial, and so on, but that doesn’t help us understand why you are running so scared.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 11:08 PM


There is a plethora of Jameses here. Thank you for the welcome (from 'Jungle' Jim).

However, your glib "shoot the messenger" because I "don't like the message" rather attaches far, far more importance to the message than it deserves, and it avoids tackling the point I made about the Big Lie.

It's not about "not liking the message"; far from it, I think the message is naive and rather laughable - almost as good as Bob Ellis and his predictions about State elections. As Napoleon observed, why disturb your opponents when they are making mistakes.

Surely the message of Qld has sunk in; the exit polls showed without any doubt that voters ranked Gillard's execrable lie and the tax itself as one of the top three reasons they turfed out Labor.
Now, the entire Qld Parliamentary Labor Party could be easily squeezed into the family Commodore. Literally.

You, like Gillard, seem unaware of the growing anger which is out there and cannot be bought off with more promises; remember, few now believe anything Gillard says, her word is worthless, and most know she is a true bungler. Such anger did not grow overnight and will not dissipate until she too is turfed out, together with the majority of her stumbling parliamentarians. A truncated mini-bus will be large enough to transport them to and from the wake.

With a little help from you, they will go on believing it will be all right on the night. I urge you to continue to send that message.

Ad astra? Hardly. Capus in arenae, more likely.  


April 12. 2012 11:47 PM


Good evening Ad astra (as in Per Ardua),

Firstly, thank you for your very kind and gracious welcome - it was most polite and greatly appreciated.

I don't think any of your most recent visitors - including me - are here because of fear. Certainly not fear of electoral setbacks facing the coalition in the next few years. Nor because of alleged disarray in Coalition ranks.

No, mate - let me reassure you most earnestly on these points: none of your most recent visitors have any doubts concerning the next election's outcome whatsoever.

Let me explain the chief reality of the world in which we live. It is this: the polls are RIGHT!

I realised this firstly in 2006 / 2007, towards the end of John Howard's reign. The polls screamed that Howard was stuffed - I could not believe people would be that stupid - guess what? People indeed were that stupid - the polls were right - Howard was stuffed - this current bunch of ALP incompetents got in. That's the bunch in whom you lot have such FAITH!

Admit it – while I wept – you cavorted and, indeed caroused! With feeling, I suspect!

But Howard's demise was inevitably followed by a series of spectacular political failures, all of which were clearly and unambiguously trumpeted to the masses beforehand in unequivocal terms. The most emphatic of these were, of course, in NSW and Qld.

But even the Vic election, right at the end, correctly predicted that the ALP government would fall. And so it did.

So here we are now, mate - and the polls are screaming that Gillard's bunch of clueless clowns are completely stuffed. I can see that - clear as a bell. And so can all the other newcomers who have so recently joined you here.

The only people who are in denial here are ... you, mate, and all the other drug-sucking regulars at this site who completely fob off the freight train that is about to run straight over the top of you.

You're doomed, mate - and that's it.

You shall weep – we shall joyously cavort. You can put money on it.

You're not nuts or deranged - you're simply in the grip of severe denial.

Never mind - the day after the next election, when the staggering extent of the smashing Gillard has received is fully revealed (like that of what's-her-name in NSW and that of what's-her-name in Qld before her) - you can simply do what others severely gripped by denial always do in the end: get used to it and move on.

In the meantime - I again thank you for your most cordial and polite welcome.




April 13. 2012 03:28 AM


The Noalition nongs that climbed their way up onto this thread (who sent them?) are sheep brainwashed by the right wing propaganda of the mainstream media. If gullibility could be measured they would be heavyweights. They're intellectual negatives, vacuous meme-swallowers, and dupes of the highest order. They actually must think (if that's the right word) that the Noalition, that party representing billionaires and big media, are on their side! How the forces of greed and darkness must laugh at them and how easy they are to manipulate into voting against their own interests. Suckers.


April 13. 2012 06:59 AM


Wow I never saw these virtues in amongst..real and fake julia, Timor,live cattle fiasco,citizens assembly, no carbon tax..er then carbon tax,Malaysia..then no solution except blame Abbott, Oz day riot, fair work dud taking us back before Keating,..  Saying Gillard has achieved so much is a bit like saying I painted you house didn't I? to which I reply yes, but you painted it pink and yellow when I wanted white!she may well win the next election but my bet is that she won't... ill will against her is justifiably palpable.


April 13. 2012 07:02 AM


Good morning Cuppa. Risen sufficiently from your drug-induced haze as to be able to string a few predictable, hack invectives together? Well done, little man! Your mother will be pleased.

You and the rest of the lefty losers here make for an interesting observational group. There is a Ph.D waiting for the first keen social observer / psychologist who subjects your group's determined denialism to academic examination and rigour. Your collective inability to recognise reality is quite astonishing - not seen, dare I observe it, since the utter madness of Hitler's Berlin bunker in the last couple of weeks of his life.

Guided and supported by the mainstream media and the ABC (ALP Broadcasting Commission), your ideological folly has a rigid consistency greater than that contained within the finest reinforced concrete. Your biggest problem is that, like Hitler, Stalin and all the other tyrants of the past, you lot fervently believe you know better than the rest of us in the great unwashed masses. You believe it is your enlightened duty to bury society in rules, laws and regulations of ever greater complexity. You despise those aspects of western society that made it great - religion, tradition and conservative values - and you will do anything you can to either to destroy or dismantle them.

And, boy, you sure know how to spend money - other people's money, of course! You haven't got a clue how to make money, other than by being a public servant of some description (what APS level are you, Cuppa, and which department in Canberra do YOU inhabit?).

I bet you work in the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency - the ultimate loony lefty depository! Your biggest problem, mate, is that it will be tossed into the garbage bin of history when Abbott becomes PM in the not-too-distant future. Oh, the bitter tears you shall weep!

That happy day will only be exceeded in joy and merriment when we conservatives finally sell off the ABC and SBS - you lefty types will be able to snap them up for a song, because they have very little value. But you will then face the awkward dilemma of actually having to run them and manage them in a business-like fashion - tasks at which you lot are hopelessly incompetent.

Hear that sound, Cuppa? That's the sound of the conservative future rapidly approaching.

You can best ignore it by getting back to the weed you were furiously puffing in the wee hours of the morning.


April 13. 2012 09:04 AM


Come on Dasher and Dancer,

Enough of the bluster and sheeplike right-wing talking poins.

Stop baaaahing and start explaining yourselves.

Tell us why you think the Noalition would be better.

What of their "policies" do you prefer, and why?

What personal qualities do Abbott and others of his "team" bring to the table?

If you're going to post on Ad Astra's blog, you should at least attempt to make a case as he and other contributors do.


Guided and supported by the mainstream media and the ABC (ALP Broadcasting Commission)

PS: Capstan Dancer,

The ABC has not been the Australian Broadcasting COMMISSION for twenty-nine years! It's been corporatised since 1983.

I know conservatives have trouble keeping up with changing circustances. But you still haven't got it after 29 years?? Good heavens, old-timer, that number is almost greater than your IQ!

And now you've made a "claim" (ahem) about the ABC "guiding and supporting" the progressive side of politics, you'd better have some evidence to substantiate this nonsense, or we'll take it as another reason to treat your "contributions" with the scorn they deserve.


April 13. 2012 10:52 AM

Ad astra reply

James, dasher, Capstan
You presence here in the last day or two has given us insight into the thinking of fervent Coalition supporters, and you have seen how we Labor supporters think.  That is useful for both camps.

There seems no purpose in trading personal insults or in entertaining the hope that one side will substantially change the views of the other.  You have a very jaundiced of PM Gillard, her Government and what it has achieved; we have a similar view of Opposition Leader Abbott and the Coalition.  The best we can hope for is that there will be better mutual understanding rather than agreement.  

You place great faith in polls of voting intention notwithstanding their lack of predictive power, especially this far from the expected time of the next election, and are convinced that it is already in the bag for Tony Abbott and the Coalition.  We disagree and challenge your assumption that the polls are right and already indicate who will win.  You cite State elections as reasons you are so confident of a win in 2013, despite the historical disconnect between State and Federal polls that we saw through much of the Howard years.  

I suspect too we have substantial ideological differences, although they have not emerged in our discourse.

So we ought to accept that our views differ, and that we will all have to wait until the night of the election to know what the result will be.  We can argue until the cows come home, yet with little hope of changing each other’s views substantially.  

The unexpected arrival of so many Coalition supporters on a site that is largely supportive of the Gillard Government has added another dimension to our discourse.  I hope you will return from time to time to express your views on the contemporary piece, free of personal comments about other bloggers, buttressed by facts and figures and well reasoned argument rather than unsupported opinion.  We have more than enough of the latter from MSM journalists.

I will leave this thread open for today and will then close it for comments in favour of later pieces.

Ad astra reply

April 13. 2012 11:00 AM


My dear Cuppa,

Re the ABC, here's a little test that even a lefty-luvvy like you can apply - the results of which you cannot deny.

The test is this:

How many ABC employees have either worked for the ALP in some shape or fashion (eg media advisor, that sort of thing) or have ended up standing for the ALP as political candidates?

Once you have calculated that very large sum, now do the same thing for ABC employees who have done the same for the conservative side of politics.

A very much lower number, isn't it dear boy?

And it doesn't really matter much - the ABC's future is going to be pretty short. SOLD!!! for 20 cents to the highest bidder!

How's the weed going, cuppa?

Got used to the ever-growing sound of the conservative juggernaut that, having reduced ALP (NSW) and ALP (Qld) to so much pulped roadkill, is about to do the same to Gillard's Goosies?

WHEN Tony Abbott is in, he will get on with paying off Labor's debt - just like Howard did before him. "No National Debt" - these are words we use - these are outcomes we actually achieve. Your side can only dream of this concept.

What's our current debt, mate? $200 BILLION? And what was it in 2007?

Kindest regards, my public service, grey cardigan-clad amigo.



April 13. 2012 12:12 PM


For all of our newest visitors - you may be interested to know why it is that we approach the future with confidence and optimism. The following is a set of data compiled by The Finnigans. This is data collected from reputable authorities and individuals but I am presenting an abridged version in order to keep it relatively brief. More information is available at the site on which it was first published but I am waiting for permission from them before linking to it.

When the reality of what this Labor government is achieving (and the threat that an Abbott-led government poses to its survival) becomes more broadly recognised we will see a more intelligent debate on who is best placed to represent us in the future.

Don't let the facts get in the way of a nostalgic yearning for a previous 'golden era' though - we all have to have our dreams don't we?
Oh, to be nineteen again!

Grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee and read about what a wonderful country you live in and whose future prosperity is being assured by reforms put into place by this Labor government.

The BISONs (Beautiful Inspiring Set Of Numbers):


2. Inflation measure hits two-year low, inflation gauge shows prices rose 0.1 per cent in February, taking the
annual rate to 2 per cent

3. Hiring intentions have reached their highest level in more than three years as a report shows the jobs market has posted solid growth for the second consecutive month.

4. Our economy is up by 7.4 per cent on pre-GFC levels. Canada +3.5% USA & Germany +1%, UK -2.75%, Japan -3% Italy – 4.5%

5. Australia’s GDP in 2011 was $1.444 trillion. Will be above $1.5 trillion next year

6. PM Gillard gets A-plus on International Women’s Day – Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been given the tick of approval by an executive leadership expert on International Women’s Day.

7. Since 2007 the ratio of net debt to GDP of the leading western economies has grown from 52% to 82%”(a swing of 30%). In Australia, minus 3.8% to 8.9%(a swing of 13%)

8. The 10 year government bond yield is now around 4.0% having recent hit an all time low of 3.65% – it was above 6% in late 2007 when the Coalition was in office

9. The size of government – taken as government spending – will fall from 26.0% of GDP in 2009-10 during GFC to 23.6% of GDP in 2012-13. The Howard government’s average government spending to GDP ratio was 24.2% of GDP.

10. The Tax to GDP ratio will rise from a 30 year low of 20.0% of GDP in 2010-11 and will reach 22.3% of GDP in 2012-13.The Tax to GDP ratio in the last Howard year was 23.7% and the average Tax to GDP ratio under Howard was 23.4% of GDP.

11. Francis Fukuyama, the doyen of US Conservatives endorsed the #MRRT: “Developing countries are giving away the store because they let the benefits of the mining industry flow to a small group."

12. New figures show Australia’s resources and energy exports predicted to reach a massive $225 billion in 2016-17

13. Australia leads the OECD pack in GDP forecasts – Mar 8th 2012, 20:24 by The Economist online.

14. The Gillard Govt has committed more funding to urban public transport since 2007 than all Govts combined since Federation

15. #MRRT will ensure Australians get more Super from 9% to 12%.

16. NAB chief economist just told insolvency conference media is over blowing carbon tax which only cuts 0.25% off GDP growth and clips 25k jobs

17. The profits-based Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) for iron ore and coal will begin on July 1, 2012, and apply to all new and existing iron ore and coal projects. The Treasury estimates the tax will generate A$3.7 billion in fiscal 2012/13, A$3.8 billion in 2013/14 and A$3.1 billion in 2014/15.

18. MP Rob Oakeshott says “this parliament is working and I’m proud of it” – 300 bills passed

19. GM Holden will promise to keep making cars in Australia for at least another decade after securing a subsidy package from the federal and South Australian governments worth more than $200 million.

20. We are in Asia. Time to reform to meet Asia challenge, says former World Bank chief James Wolfensohn. March 22, 2012. FORMER World Bank president James Wolfensohn has warned that the world is not prepared for the global power shift from West to East, as Asia drives the international economy’s future prospects.

101 Economic Fundamentals:

1. Unemployment 5.1% (Canada 7.5, EUROZONE Avg 9.3, UK 8.7, USA 8.3, Japan 4.1, NZ 6.6, China 4.1, India 9.4, Brazil 4.7. South Africa 25%, Singapore 1.9, South Korea 3.7)

2. Inflation 2%%

3. GDP Growth 3.5% – The Australian economy is now around 7 per cent larger than it was prior to GFC Mark 1. By way of comparison, most developed countries have gone backward.

4. RBA Interest Rate – 4.25% – RBA Interest rate 4.25%, compared to 6.75% when Howard was voted out.

5. Current Govt Net Debt – 8.9%

6. Total Public Debt – 27% GDP (Canada 81%, EURO 97%, France 99%, Germany 84%, Japan 205%, UK 91%, USA 95%)

7. Trade Surplus $22.4 billion last financial year – easily the biggest surplus in raw terms for the past 40 years
of records compiled by the ABS

8. Sovereign Rating – Australia one of just 15 countries to hold the top AAA Rating from all Agencies

9. Currency – AUD/USD 1.04, AUD/UK 0.68 AUD/Euro 0.82 – The floating of AUD is the single most important economic reform introduced by Labor. It acts as a shock absorber to external economic conditions

10. Australia is in Asia, the growth engine averaging 6% and part of the Asian Century. It’s middle and aspiration class is expected to hit 800 millions by 2020. Double of USA+Europe.

11. NBN – One of the most advanced high speed Internet enabled network in the world. Australia’s first national wide, open access FTTP broadband network with minimum 93% coverage, capable of achieving 1 gigabit per second broadband speeds.

12. Australia is the richest country in the world according to Credit Suisse Research Institute’s most recent
Global Wealth Report, the median wealth of Australians now is well over $200,000, ahead of Switzerland, 4 times USA.

13. Under Coalition spending grew by average of 3.7% per annum, under the current Labor spending growth is
averaging 1.5%

14. More people at work today than any time in our Nation’s history. In Jan 2012, 46,300 new jobs created for the month of which 12,300 full-time jobs and the Unemployment rate is now 5.1% from previous 5.2%

15. Australia net debt is expected to peak only at 8.9% in 2016 (MYEFO)

16. THE Gillard government’s reforms to financial advice will boost the retirement savings of Australian workers by $130 billion over 15 years

17. Retail turnover up 0.3% in January. (0.1% fall in December.) from ABS

102. Political Fundamentals:

1. “ALP best manager of money, history shows” – George Megalogenis

2. No interest rise for the 14th consecutive month (last rise was Nov 2010) Vs 10 consecutive rises under
Howard/Costello. The lowest rate, since 1960, of 3% was in April 2009 under Labor. Lowest under Howard 4.25%,
Fraser 7.65%, Gorton 5.7%, McMahon 4.3%). Interest rates will always be lower under Labor.

3. “The Atlantic magazine named Gillard as one of its “2011 brave thinkers” for her resolute strength in pushing through a carbon tax. “Whether you see the move as politically expedient or as a principled course correction, there’s no denying the risk that it entails in a country where climate change is a wildly contentious issue,” writes Geoffrey Gagnon”

4. NEW Treasury analysis finds Mining played minor role during GFC, it says service industries such as retail -
which received a hefty boost from Kevin Rudd’s stimulus package – were crucial in sustaining the economy during its darkest days.

5. Wayne Swan – Treasurer of the Year 2011

6. PM Gillard solved #QANTAS dispute in 36 hrs, Hawke solved the Pilot Dispute in 1 month and Howard solved the Waterfront Dispute in 6 months.

7. How good are nations at keeping the promises made at G20 summits? – Australia NO: 1

8. PM Julia Gillard elected & confirmed as PM with the greatest thumping winning margin in history 71-31 with one supporter away on leave, otherwise it will be 72-31

103. Social Fundamentals:

1. Australian families depending on one breadwinner pay among the lowest amounts of tax in the world and have become better off under the Gillard Government – Natsem

2. The Herald/Lateral Economics Index of Australia’s Wellbeing rose 2.2 per cent in the quarter, outstripping GDP growth of 1 per cent.

3. The number of people filling for bankruptcy in Australia has fallen by 16%.

4. Recently released IMF estimates show that Australians are the fifth richest people in the world, behind only
those living in Luxembourg, Qatar, Norway and Switzerland

5. AUSTRALIA is second best – almost but not quite the greatest place in which to live, according to the latest
United Nations human development index. Norway pips us by a flared nostril. Australia scores 0.93 on a scale of 0 to 1, where 1 is the highest score possible. At 0.94, Norway’s margin over Australia is close to invisible

6. Ave weekly earning +4.7% in yr to Aug. 10 years of real wage gains.

7. Aust & Holland have the best pension systems in the world followed by Sweden, Swiss, Canada, UK
8. Australia top destination for expats globally: HSBC – AUSTRALIA’S image of healthy outdoor living and reputation for a work-life balance has elevated it to the top destination for expatriates globally, according to a worldwide survey by HSBC.

9. THE Gillard government’s reforms to financial advice will boost the retirement savings of Australian workers by $130 billion over 15 years
10. From Mega: Costs of the Parental Leave Scheme: The total cost of the government scheme is $1.4
billion in 2012-13, covering 126,000 families.

104. The Future:

1. Business investment spending is expected to grow by 15 per cent this year and another 15 per cent next year. – Ross Gittin

2. Australia in good shape if another crisis hits, says IMF – 8/8/11

3. BHP Billiton $80B Olympic Dam copper/uranium/gold mine in South Australia creating 6000 jobs during a decade- long construction phase, 4000 ongoing jobs at the mine and 15,000 indirect jobs.This is despite the Resource Tax

4. The strength of the nation’s markets during the Global Financial Crisis was highlighted by the World Economic Forum, which in 2009 ranked Australia as the world’s second-best financial centre after the UK. Australia was the only country in the top 20 to improve its ranking.

5. For dealmakers Down Under, 2011 will go down as a vintage year for inbound M&A activity, according to the latest data from Dealogic.So far this year, Australia has attracted a record US$59.9 billion of total inbound deals, already surpassing US$55 billion achieved in the whole of 2010, according to the data provider.

6. The figures show September quarter spending on exploration for coal up 12 per cent to a new record high of $227 million, spending on iron ore exploration up 9 per cent to a new record high of $235 million, and spending on onshore petroleum exploration up 33 per cent to a new record high of $249 million.

7. The ABS figures follow Tuesday’s Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics forecast of record energy and minerals export earnings of $206 billion in 2012. If realised, they will boost government revenue, making its forecast surplus easier to attain. The bureau says capital expenditure by resource companies stands at a record high of $232 billion.

8. Bloomberg has done a survey and found that Australia is the 5th best and easiest place in the world to do
business after HK, Netherlands, USA and UK.

9. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Australia is probably the best positioned of the developed countries to handle a further deterioration in the global economy. IMF Asia and Pacific region director Anoop Singh told a media briefing in Washington that the institution supports the Australian government’s plan to return the federal budget to surplus in 2012/13.

10. Manufacturing activity remained in positive territory in January 2012, according to the latest Australian
Industry Group. Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) is 51.6, readings above 50 indicate an
expansion in activity

11. Trade surplus up $366m in Dec to $1.7b. Total exports second highest monthly level on record at $27.7billion.

12. A SURGE of global demand for Australian government bonds has saved the federal government from issuing at least $10 billion in debt, cutting more than $500 million a year from its future interest bills.

13. The rate for Australian Government 10 year bonds (the “yield”) is at record low 3.75%

14. Amid the global economic turmoil and credit squeeze, Australia remains a gold standard country to invest in, says BHP Billiton boss Marius Kloppers, as BHP Billiton delivered a $US9.941 billion ($A9.23 billion) first-half profit.

15. Reserve Bank of Australia deputy governor Philip Lowe: "business investment had jumped about 20 per cent in 2011, and the Reserve Bank expected “double-digit increases in business investment in each of the next couple of years,” he said.


April 13. 2012 12:24 PM


Capstan wrote:

How many ABC employees have either worked for the ALP in some shape or fashion (eg media advisor, that sort of thing) or have ended up standing for the ALP as political candidates?

Once you have calculated that very large sum, now do the same thing for ABC employees who have done the same for the conservative side of politics.

A very much lower number, isn't it dear boy?


A very much lower number? You haven't given a number! What IS your number?? And how did you "calculate" it?

I will give you some "numbers". Take off your shoes and socks and start calculating...

Darce Cassidy, Friends of the ABC, March 2009


It is certainly true that both Kerry O’Brien and Barry Cassidy worked as media advisers for the ALP.  It is also true that David Hill stood for parliament as an ALP candidate after he left the ABC.  Moreover Bob Carr, former Labor Premier of NSW, once worked for the ABC as a current affairs journalist. More recently former ABC journalist Maxine McKew won John Howard's seat in federal parliament for the Labor party.

While these facts might give some hint as to the political sympathies of those concerned, it does not establish that any of them were biased in the way in which they carried out their duties.

It is also true that despite Michael Kroger’s assertions,  a significant number of  ABC staff have had  Coalition connections.  For example:

Gary Hardgrave, a former minister in the Howard government, is a former journalist with the Brisbane bureau of the ABC's 7.30 Report.

Peter Collins, Leader of the Liberal Party in NSW for several years, was also a former ABC TV journalist.

Peter McArthur, a former current affairs reporter and TV newsreader for the ABC served several years in the Victorian parliament as a Liberal member.

Bruce Webster was a sports broadcaster for the ABC and later the Liberal member for Pittwater in the NSW parliament.

Jim Bonner, after leaving the staff of Malcolm Fraser, held senior editorial positions with ABC radio and television in Canberra and Adelaide.  He later resumed his connection with the Liberal Party when he assumed the position of Director of the Liberal Party in South Australia.

Pru Goward, a Canberra based high profile ABC journalist reported on federal politics for a number of years.  She recently won Liberal Party pre-selection for a seat in NSW.

Cathy Job, a current affairs presenter for ABC radio in Brisbane became a media adviser to David Kemp after resigning from the ABC.

Vicki Thompson, a senior political reporter for ABC radio in Adelaide became Chief of Staff for John Olsen, Liberal Premier of South Australia.

Ian Cover, a member of the ABC’s Coodabeen Champions crew, served as a Liberal member of the Victorian Parliament between 1996 and 2002. (Note: the Coodabeens focus was on sport rather than politics).

Rob Messenger was ABC radio broadcaster in Bundaberg.  He is now the National Party member for Burnett in the Queensland parliament.

Grant Woodhams,  National Party member for Greenough in WA worked with ABC radio in Tasmania, South Australia, NSW and Victoria.

Ken Cooke, State Director of the National Party for 13 years, and a close associate of Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, was an ABC journalist before taking up his position with the National Party.

Chris Nicholls, an Adelaide ABC journalist, broke a story revealing that Barbare Wiese, a minister in the Bannon Labor government in South  Australia, was involved in a conflict of interest. He was accused of improperly obtaining details of Weise's financial affairs, but was acquitted. Nicholls, and his story, were defended by the ABC's News Editor, and the ABC State Manager.  Some time later he left the ABC to work for Liberal Senator, Grant Chapman.

Eoin Cameron,the former Liberal member for the federal seat of Stirling, presents the breakfast program on ABC local radio in Perth.  He is a popular and respected broadcaster.

Cameron Thompson worked for the ABC in Longreach and Darwin before winning the seat of Blair for the Liberal Party.

The current State Director of the ABC in Queensland, Chris Wordsworth, is a former press officer for one time Liberal Defence Minister John Moore.

In March 2009 Scott Emerson, a former ABC journalist won the Queensland seat of Indooroopilly for the Liberal National Party."



Another one they missed: Former ABC Radio presenter in Brisbane, Rod Henshaw, Liberal candidate for the seat of Dickson.

Since the Friends of the ABC compiled that list in 2009 there have been more interchanges between the ABC and the Coalition.

...Kevin Naughton, who worked at the ABC for 16 years, covering 10 state and federal elections. ...was media adviser to former SA Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith

... Liberal Party ... to endorse former ABC journalist Dai Le as the candidate for the state seat of Cabramatta.

Former ABC radio science presenter, Joanne Nova, also known as Joanne Codling, prominent climate change skeptic and anti-carbon price activist.

The Managing Director of the ABC, Mark Scott was senior policy adviser to NSW Liberal Minister, Terry Metherell. {H}e once considered running for Parliament, under the banner of the NSW Liberal Party


So there are some "numbers". (The list may even be inexhaustive.) You've said your "numbers" are "very much higher", but you haven't given any. So put your money where your foolish mouth is, and put your "numbers" forward so they can be compared to the above.

You demonstrated your ignorance about the ABC by calling it a COMMISSION, when it has not been that since last century. (Try to keep up). If you cannot show my numbers to be "very much lower" than yours, it will be the second demonstration that you're full of shit.

PS: I notice you also failed to explain why you support the Noalition. Cat got your tongue? I'm repeating the questions I asked previously, with emphasis.

Tell us why you think the Noalition would be better.

What of their "policies" do you prefer, and why?

What personal qualities do Abbott and others of his "team" bring to the table?

If you cannot explain WHY you support the so-called Coalition, it will marked as a third indication that you're a waste of space. You can count to three, can't you??


April 13. 2012 01:29 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for posting that very powerful set of figures.  It is hard to reconcile those accomplishments with the bad press and constant criticism by Coalition supporters of what they like to describe as 'the worst government in Australian political history'. I would dearly love to read the reaction to your list of the pro-Coalition bloggers who visited us recently.

Ad astra reply

April 13. 2012 01:42 PM


Ad Astra,

Please consider leaving this thread open beyond today. It's an ideal opportunity to take apart the spin of the Coalition fanbois line by line.


April 13. 2012 01:49 PM

Ad astra reply

Will do.  I wait breathlessly for Capstan's response to your very well documented list of Liberal supporters who have been on the ABC payroll.  Then again, I suppose I shouldn't hold my breath.

Ad astra reply

April 13. 2012 02:19 PM


@ ad astra, Jason, NormanK, Cuppa, & Patricia WA

We will miss his honesty and incorruptibility in our Parliament.

I have written some words of thanks to Dr Bob Brown.


April 13. 2012 04:06 PM


Thanks Ad Astra, for agreeing to keep the thread open a little longer. We'll see what the Coalition lackeys have to say for their side (if anything), take it and process it through the de-spinner.

This ain't no mainstream media Liberal-lovey site where right wing spin goes unchallenged.


Your blog is great. You do good work. Thanks.


April 13. 2012 05:14 PM


Hey Roadkill – sorry – Cuppa! Nice list - I'll respond shortly with my contributions to this issue.

But I will say this - if all you people here on this blog seriously believe that the ABC is NOT biased towards your side of politics (and that would be taking your phenomenal level of communal denial to unprecedented levels) - then you will have no objections whatsoever to those within the coalition who are advocating the sale of both the ABC and SBS.

I mean, it's a magnificent win-win outcome, isn't it?

We get rid of a complete infestation of publicly-funded lefties whose claim to impartial neutrality is nothing short of a sick, sick joke - and you get to do the same with a bunch of ABC right wing nazis!

How good is that!

So it's all agreed then - the ABC and SBS MUST be sold off - by unanimous agreement across the political divides!

Good work, Roadkill – sorry - Cuppa! Have an extra chokky bikkie on the APS for this outstanding piece of work! Boy, have you done your bit today to ensure that Julia gets her surplus!


April 13. 2012 05:22 PM


A contribution of nothing, capstan.

Wrong in referring to the ABC as a COMMISSION when it hasn't been a commission since the early 1980s.

Wrong in your assertion that the ABC has been an employment springboard for greatly more progressives than conservatives.

No reasons given as to why you think the Noalition would be better than the government, despite twice given the opportunity to make a case for the Noalition.

And your latest a contribution of nothing but stalling.

What a right-wing lightweight.

Spinning like a capstan...


April 13. 2012 05:28 PM


Gee, it didn't take long to descend into personal insults, did it?
Still, this might help in the ABC bias debate.

Media favours Coalition, study finds
Newspapers are left wing, television is right wing, and
the media as a whole tends to favour the Coalition.
And surprisingly, according to researchers from the Australian National University, the ABC Television news is the most pro- Coalition of them all.
Former Liberal prime minister John Howard railed against the alleged left-wing bias of the ABC, but the researchers found Aunty was more likely to favour his side.


April 13. 2012 05:32 PM


You may as well close the comments AA. NormanK and Cuppa have just delivered the plain, unvarnished simple truth of things. The r/w zealots wont be back. Truth, in all of its forms, scares them. As well it should. Sad, though.

I rationalise the mindset......no, make that the dumbset, of the zealots by invoking that golden saying..." there, but for the grace of the Gods, go I ".

Still I do live in hope that one of them, just one....perhaps it may be you Blagobax,Miney, Mark or even Capstan?. Perhaps one of you may find the deep seated courage to see the reality of things. You may possibly begin to understand that the governance of the nation is pretty important work. Not a shiny bauble given to amuse and silence the ugly petulance of a foul mouthed, one dimensional, slow witted twit like Tony Abbott. But, then again, perhaps not. If you don't have the courage to think you wont have the bravery to do.

Admit it, Capstan, JJ, Miney and others, admit one honest truth to yourselves:....you find it easier to hate than to think. You should have my scorn.....you have my pity.  


April 13. 2012 06:32 PM


Good evening to you all, once again - the card-carrying members of the Dodo club - all about to become just as much roadkill as your ALP brethren in NSW and Qld. Keep waddling up that cliff, dodos - and keep believing that, when you get to the top, you can fly! Try not to dwell too much on the term "meat bomb".

Good to see we’re all agreed on the selling off of the ABC and SBS!

Acid test, one and all: let's see what bets you’re prepared to put on an certin, sure-as-eggs-are-eggs ALP victory at the next Federal election. Pretty simple, isn't it? Put up or shut up – if you’re so sure that Julia’s got you home and hosed – lay down a few bucks to make a nice, easy, guaranteed profit! What could possibly go wrong?!?

Bets, anyone? Anyone at all? Roadkill - sorry - Cuppa? Come on, don't be shy!

Oh - by the way, Ian - thanks for your patronising, condescending sermon on "courage".  You’re obviously an expert on this subject, so I paid very careful attention to your directions in that respect.

Or perhaps not. Having served on operations in East Timor and Afghanistan (I don't recall any "Ians" in the concrete bunker with us on those occasions when the Taliban 120mm rockets were coming in, or when we were doing the patrols through TK) and also having two of my sons are in the Army - three tours of Iraq for one of them - I reckon I don't really need to cop much on this subject from a gold plated wanker like you. What have you done for your country, mate? Or your kids (if you have any that you admit to)?  Besides consume oxygen and other people's taxes?

Thanks for your pity - my gift back to you is the scorn, derision and contempt that you and the rest of the tragic lefty plonkers here all deserve - but not hatred, because I do not have that sentiment.

Although I am detecting the strong, foul odour of hatred in many of the writings from many of the regulars here – plus the equally nauseating pong of rank hypocrisy.

But I digress ... where were we? Ah yes - bets, anyone?


April 13. 2012 06:55 PM


Out of a deep love for my father and his WW11 mates I wont dignify your rant with any answer other than....my pity for you deepens. I am so sorry that you are who you are. I am neither xtian nor religious but I hope the Gods shine on you.


April 13. 2012 07:13 PM


Good one, Ian - I hold my Dad (26 Bde Borneo) and his WW2 mates in similar high regard - as I do all my relatives who served in WW1 (five killed, two wounded).

But don't pontificate to me and spare me the tawdry alleged pity. If you do not dignify my pertinent observations above - including my summation of you as an onanist of fervent, fevered practice - that is only because you are incapable of dignifying anything.

One final observation, mate - you'll never hold a candle to your Dad and his mates. They were men.


April 13. 2012 07:53 PM

Ad astra reply

I think it is time to close this thread.  Your comments are getting out of hand.

Ad astra reply

April 13. 2012 07:54 PM


" They were men."

and they voted labor.


Comments are closed