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Fear, uncertainty and doubt grip the Coalition

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Tuesday, 10 April 2012 17:42 by Ad astra
Rusted-on Coalition supporters will find the title of this piece laughable. Those who regard the next Federal election as a shoe-in for Tony Abbott should read no further. What follows may be unnerving.

With just about every pundit, and even two-bit commentators predicting a win for Tony Abbott and the Coalition, the only question being by how much, the gathering fear, uncertainty and doubt in Coalition circles, while invisible to most believers, or dismissed by those who but dimly perceive that all is not well, is real, serious and potentially terminal. The bravado of its members, and at times their hubris, is all that shields the Coalition from public gaze into their internal tensions. Those members who sit on small margins in their electorates will feel the tension rise as the polls narrow.

There are many in the party who contribute to this FUD, there are policies that do, and there are factors outside the party that accentuate it.

The people who create FUD
Far and away the person who creates the highest level of fear, uncertainty and doubt is the Leader, Tony Abbott himself. Recent pieces on The Political Sword have heralded this: Abbott’s atrophy and No Tony, it’s the Abbott brand that’s toxic. This piece elaborates.

Tony Abbott’s persona and behaviour
From the outset as Opposition Leader, Abbott’s pugilistic nature, manifest in his early days at university where he kicked in a door after losing a close election, and well documented from his days as a boxer at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, have been obvious. He has exhibited unbridled aggression and combativeness, exacerbated by his near loss of Prime Ministership in 2010. The unremitting invective and abuse he has heaped upon PM Gillard, whilst applauded by like-minded members of the Coalition, has caused distress and dismay among more balanced colleagues, and at times acute embarrassment. His incessant labeling of the nation’s PM as a liar and a coward, his association with rabble rousers like Alan Jones and the rallies he has organized, and his deliberate standing in front of placards displaying ‘Ditch the Witch’ and ‘Bob Brown’s Bitch’ have created deep concern among senior Coalition members. Julie Bishop, Warren Truss and Malcolm Turnbull refused to associate with him at the rallies, in contrast to Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Mirabella who proudly stood alongside him. There is a deep split in Coalition ranks about Abbott’s persona and his behaviour.

The split was deepened in the last session of parliament when he told PM Gillard and Anthony Albanese they had bulls-eyes on their foreheads, a remark that even he realized was so over the top that he ought not to have uttered it and that he ought to withdraw, although no apology was forthcoming. Within days he had made another crass comment agreeing with Germaine Greer’s insolent remark about Julia Gillard’s dress and physical shape, which again he later said he should not have made, but of course once more there was no apology. He works on the basis that he says whatever comes into his mind, and if he is pulled up by anyone who counts, he expresses regret for his utterance and hopes for understanding and of course forgiveness from the public. His colleagues though are not so forgiving. While the Coalition is ahead in the polls they keep their anger and frustration at Abbott’s repeated gaffes under wraps among themselves, but should the polls turn, their rage is such that they will be unforgiving as they savage him.

It’s not as if he has made the occasional gaffe, the infrequent error of judgement; he has made them from the beginning in regular fashion. Who will ever forget his ‘shit happens’ remark in Afghanistan following the death of a soldier there, and his remarkable mute response to Mark Riley when confronted with it on national TV?

His vitriol, the venom he spews, the abuse he hurls, the sheer hatred he exhibits, are unbecoming of an aspirant to Prime Ministership. Even those who applaud his efforts in placing the Coalition in a strong position in the polls despise his arrogant and undisciplined behaviour and yearn for a more dignified leader. They despair of his constant negativity, so gross and so consistent that he even opposes policies that John Howard endorsed and that the party embraces, just because the Government has put them forward.

Although Abbott’s persona and behaviour is of deep ongoing concern to his sensible colleagues, what is even more concerning to them is that they know there is no hope of redemption for him. They know he will not, indeed cannot change. His behaviour is in his DNA. More than fear of what he will do next as Opposition Leader is deep-seated apprehension about what he would do should he become PM. While Abbott has improved the Coalition position in opinion polls of voting intention, his colleagues, and everyone else who watches his behaviour day after day, know he is a disaster for the image of the Liberal Party and the Coalition. Fear of Abbott’s behaviour grips the Coalition, corrodes confidence and creates uncertainty and doubt about its future. His persistent unpopularity among voters creates doubt about whether he is capable of leading the Coalition to victory, a doubt Coalition members have so far laughed off, buoyed by polling figures. On Politically Homeless, Andrew Elder says that even his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, “…does not have the sort of confidence in Abbott that a facile reading of polling data might suggest the Liberals ought to enjoy.”

Tony Abbott is on a knife’s edge. As soon as he puts a political foot wrong, he is gone. Coalition members know it, and so does he.

Barnaby Joyce’s persona and behaviour
Educated at the same school as Abbott – St Ignatius' College, Riverview, a Jesuit school – Joyce exhibits similar behaviour. He says what ever he likes when it suits him, except he seldom recognizes his indiscretions and therefore seeks no pardon. Unlike Abbott, who speaks clearly, Joyce assails us with gobbledygook. He is an embarrassment to his colleagues who fear what blooper will come next when he appears on TV or radio, or when he writes an ‘opinion piece’. His utterances on matters economic when he was shadow finance minister were so bizarre and irresponsible that Abbott took the advice of his apprehensive colleagues and removed him. But that has not stopped him making a fool of himself, recently querying whether Government cheques might bounce! Misha Schubert calls it ‘Barnaby-onomics’.

He is now angling to move from the Senate to become a member of the House and Deputy Leader, thereby becoming more active in politics, even acting as PM during Abbott’s absence should he win the next election! This prospect terrifies his colleagues who fear what he will say and do next, who tremble at the uncertainty his words evoke. Tensions are high among Nationals who see their leader, Warren Truss, being unceremoniously dumped if Joyce wins a seat in the House. And his attempt to find a Lower House seat has created tensions among those who might be displaced.

The only redeeming words we hear from his colleagues is that he is very popular in the electorate, presumably because he is personable. Most voters though don’t know what he’s talking about; they incorrectly assume that someone does.

Joe Hockey’s persona and behaviour
Hockey was another Riverview boy. His rotund jolly appearance matches his good-natured persona. He seems a reasonable fellow, but it is when he talks on matters financial that he embarrasses his colleagues who wonder what economic nonsense he will utter next, fearing that he will make yet another unsupportable statement – more Hockeynomics. Of course he is encumbered with the Abbott demand to paint any move the Government makes as inept, even dangerous. This leads him to make extraordinary statements about national debt, Government borrowing and their effect on interest rates, rabbitting on about how this Government’s ‘ineptitude at managing money’ and ‘its addiction to spending and debt’ is putting upward pressure on interest rates, notwithstanding the fact that they are falling and are much lower than under the Howard Government. Hockey sees no need for factual accuracy so long as he can make his point. Rational colleagues wonder how he could possibly manage a trillion dollar economy, having as he does such a sparse understanding of economics despite having an undergraduate qualification in the subject. His colleagues doubt if he could handle the position of Treasurer that he seeks, one that shadow Finance Minister Andrew Robb would dearly love to wrest from him.

Julie Bishop
Always the bridesmaid, she seems to have retained her Deputy Leader position with three leaders by virtue of her gender and being a West Australian. Her colleagues must wonder what she really contributes apart from spiteful barbs directed to the PM. She scarcely ever asks a question about her shadow portfolio, foreign affairs, or contributes on TV or radio. She is said to be part of a policy think tank with Kevin Andrews but we have seen so little policy that colleagues must wonder if the promised flurry of policies will ever eventuate. She seems well liked, but how long will her colleagues tolerate her paltry contribution, beginning with a failed effort as shadow Treasurer that prompted her removal to foreign affairs? Will she be deputy to yet another leader? Who else covets this post? We know Andrew Robb does.

Christopher Pyne
Pyne seems to expend most of his exuberant energy as Manager of Opposition Business on countless, but mainly pointless ‘points of order’ during debate in the House. His colleagues must wonder when he will get round to asking a question about his shadow portfolio – education. He irritates his colleagues with his antics almost as much as members of the Government. His frequent and flamboyant appearances on TV must make them wonder what his party ambitions are – another source of uncertainty.

Peter Dutton
Perhaps most noted for his nasty interjections in the House and his frequent ejections, colleagues wonder how much time he devotes to his shadow health portfolio. So little comes from him that they must ask why he is favoured with such an important role. Doubt about his ability and commitment naturally follows.

Bronwyn Bishop
Colleagues must wonder what she really contributes except spurious points of order that never get up, and appearances at rallies designed to denigrate our PM in a disgusting way. Yet she is mooted for a significant role in a ‘return-to-Howard-style’ government, another source of tension.

Sophie Mirabella
She is a constant source of embarrassment to colleagues who want to see a modicum of dignity from shadow ministers. She has none and seems to revel in her gross behaviour.

I could go on and on pinpointing areas of tension in the Coalition arising from its less talented members, aspects of colleague behaviour that evoke uncertainty, doubt and fear among Coalition members, but the piece would become too long. If you think I’m alone in my description of internal tensions in the Coalition, read Misha Schubert’s April 8 article in the Sydney Morning Herald: Coalition is crying over spilt milk that reveals the tensions that have arisen over such a seemingly neutral issue as the ‘milk wars’.

Let’s turn then from the people who create fear, uncertainty and doubt to the policies that do.

Abbott’s policy impropriety
For a policy-light Leader of the Opposition, it is astonishing that he regards his overly generous and excessively expensive PPL as his ‘signature’ policy. This has created concern among colleagues about how the policy could be funded, a fear he brushes aside. Their astonishment is heightened by the fact that in government he strongly opposed such a policy. They see his move as opportunistic, one designed to appeal to women and erase his somewhat misogynist image. His obfuscation about it being funded by a ‘levy’, not a tax on large companies infuriates those who seek just a touch of honesty from politicians. Even John Laws picked him up on that.

His latest idea of paying for nannies from the public purse has generated even more uncertainty among his colleagues who wonder what bizarre idea he will come up with next. He pleads that he has only suggested that the Productivity Commission look at the concept, but behind it is still more opportunistic posturing as the champion of working women, irrespective of how impractical or prohibitively expensive his idea might be. No doubt he would discard nanny support in a moment should he become PM if it proved too expensive.

How many colleagues despair at Abbott’s ‘turn the boats round’ policy. We know that people of the humanitarian calibre of Russell Broadbent and Judi Moylan are horrified, and fearful of what bizarre idea about boat people he will come along with next. Despite his hairy-chested posturing, Abbott knows he cannot and will not defy Navy advice and shout orders down his boatphone that would endanger Navy personnel, even if he doesn’t care much about the asylum seekers. He disregards relationships with Indonesia, which has signaled its opposition to boats being returned and with them the boat people problem. Julie Bishop already has had to smooth ruffled Indonesian feathers and fears she will have more salvage work to do as Abbott continues to defy diplomatic conventions and professional advice and push for his ‘solution’ to the exclusion of all others. His colleagues must scratch their heads at his intransigence and unwillingness to accept the compromise the Government offered that would give any government control over its processing arrangements. Of course the voluble Scott Morrison is ‘all the way with TA’. It suits his political ambitions, which likely include a senior leadership position.

Tony Abbott has no economic policies that anyone can discern. Despite an undergraduate degree in economics, he shows no interest in it or aptitude for it. Peter Costello’s advice to not let him near money matters remains sound. And it is not as if his team of Joe Hockey, Andrew Robb and Mathias Cormann add much to the economic and fiscal competence of the Opposition. How dismayed Coalition members must be at the lack of rational policies, the irresponsible posturing about how the Coalition will repeal the revenue raising carbon and minerals taxes yet still reduce personal and company tax and provide a pile of benefits to boot, and the absence of a plausible budget for doing so. The team got it wrong to the tune of $11 billion last year with a set of shonky costings; Coalition members fear what they will come up with this time when it is $70 billion of savings they are looking for. Yet their colleagues will have to wear this uncertainty and doubt about the team’s capacity for sound fiscal management until near the next election, and even then they will have to wear Abbott’s refusal to have their figures checked by the Parliamentary Budget Office, preferring some of their accounting mates to do it.

Coalition members fear the repercussions of Abbott’s blood oath to repeal legislation that is already on the statute books and operational. They wonder how he will actually stop the carbon tax in its tracks, no matter how opposed to it they might be. They are uncertain about Abbott’s mechanism for doing so in the face of opposition from the Greens in the Senate. They doubt the wisdom of threatening a double dissolution to get his way, and fear the damage that might inflict on the party. Abbott’s loose cannon approach is generating FUD in spades, and eroding party unity. Colleagues wonder too why he believes miners are already paying too much tax and why he would repeal a tax on mining profits that three big miners, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata have already ticked off as reasonable. What must they think about him kowtowing to Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer and Twiggy Forrest?

Imagine the fear generated in Coalition circles by the threat of removing the benefits that flow from the taxes, especially the raised tax-free threshold, the pension increases, the family benefits and the company tax relief. Uncertainty about the reaction of an electorate stripped of benefits already in place must haunt the sensible members of the Coalition.

Take the NBN. Abbott no doubt thought he was on a winner assigning to his defeated rival for leadership the task of ‘demolishing the NBN’ knowing how enamoured Malcolm Turnbull was of Internet technology and how it would hurt him to destroy something in which he believes passionately. He has tried valiantly to come up with cheaper alternatives but knows that what businessmen and farmers, and educators and health workers want and need is super fast broadband that will revolutionize their work and place Australia at the forefront. Coalition members must despair as they see their leader putting the brakes on progress in areas that they know are vital for this nation’s future. They must doubt Abbott’s grasp on reality as he proceeds relentlessly down this track, must fear the reaction of the electorate being offered an el cheapo, second class alternative because he says we can’t afford to travel first class. And all because it was a Labor Government that initiated the NBN, not the Coalition!

Look at climate change. Malcolm Turnbull lost leadership by one vote because he had negotiated an ETS compromise with Kevin Rudd. Half the party room supported him; the other half backed Tony Abbott and his determination to not have such a plan. If that’s not deep division, tell me what is. Turnbull still believes in an ETS, as do many of his supporters. Instead they have had to swallow the Abbott/Hunt Direct Action Plan, regarded as economically irresponsible by economists and environmentally ineffective by environmentalists. How can a single party accommodate such diversity of opinion among its members without tension and uncertainty, without fear among those who believe in climate change and that global warming will get out of control, without tension between believers and denialists?

Abbott’s policy impropriety is major source of fear, uncertainty and doubt among Coalition members.

The competence of the Gillard Government
The final factor in the Coalition’s rising fear, uncertainty and doubt is the steadily increasing aura of confidence and competence exhibited by the Gillard Government. With over three hundred pieces of legislation already enacted Tony Abbott and his Opposition front bench look increasingly impotent in halting the steady progress of Julia Gillard’s Government whose ministers look more and more competent and on top of their portfolios. The contrast between her side and the shadow front bench looks more and more stark, striking fear, uncertainty and doubt into the heart and soul of the Coalition, whose rational members wonder if they have already lost the opportunity to seize government. Abbott envisaged a short sprint to The Lodge; it has turned out to be a marathon, and Coalition members doubt if he is up to it.

The rising competence of the Gillard Government will become an increasing source of fear, uncertainty and doubt among Coalition members.

While many Coalition supporters who have read this far will regard this piece as hogwash, those who support Labor will discern the stark reality of the Coalition’s position. They will see how fear, uncertainty and doubt are corroding the Coalition’s confidence, eroding trust between Coalition members, and fostering tension among them.

All this would be public knowledge were it not for the indolent MSM that for the most part turns a blind eye to the travails of the Coalition and declines to expose them to public gaze.

It is high time MSM journalists did some of the heavy lifting, exposing, as they should, the shortcomings, disingenuousness and sheer incompetence of the Coalition and its inept leader, Tony Abbott. If they won’t, we in the Fifth Estate must.

What do you think?

Comments (118) -

April 10. 2012 05:59 PM

jj

All i can say is, poor poor you.

jj

April 10. 2012 06:06 PM

Ad astra reply

jj
So that's all you can say!

Ad astra reply

April 10. 2012 06:59 PM

Fiona

You had me snirtling into my glass of wine with your "somewhat misogynistic" description, Ad astra.

Fiona

April 10. 2012 07:00 PM

Patricia WA

All this would be public knowledge were it not for the indolent MSM that for the most part turns a blind eye to the travails of the Coalition and declines to expose them to public gaze.

It's not simply an indolent MSM, though, is it?   It's 70% a Murdoch controlled MSM, dedicated to the overthrow of this Labor government,  with the remaining 30% apparently following like sheep, but with vested interests even there influencing editorial balance in favour of the Coalition.  And yes, most of the journalists employed by our media have become indolent and cynical.  That's possibly a kinder assessment than the other which suggests sheer stupidity if they are incapable of seeing the facts you have outlined above, AA.  What can be done to shake them into their senses?

Many of them know it. Some few are brave enough to speak their minds.  Cartoonists like Alan Moir seem to have no doubts about depicting Tony Abbott as a political bully with no vision or policies trying to bully his way into power.  I'm going to have to re-write that jingle from from yesterday  polliepomes.wordpress.com/.../ into something more substantial.  Every line in that cartoon says the things you are saying here.  

TT has already armed me with a bazooka to get started on the attack.

Patricia WA

April 10. 2012 07:10 PM

Laura

Media bias will ruin this country.  Tony Abbott is a psycopath and he might be our PM due to our crappy media.  

Laura

April 10. 2012 07:37 PM

Ad astra reply

Fiona
I guess ‘somewhat’ was redundant; ‘misogynist’ alone would have done.

PatriciaWA
Of course you are right – it is not just indolence that afflicts much of our media.  Too many journalists are heeding their ‘master’s voice’ - editor or proprietor - and working for the removal of the Gillard Government.

Laura
Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.

Yes, the fear is that Tony Abbott might become PM.  Given his performance to date as Opposition Leader, that’s a really scary prospect.

Ad astra reply

April 10. 2012 07:47 PM

Fiona

As to the compliant non-Mordockian media, it's so sad that Fairfax harbours a few cranks. For example, Gerard Henderson. I can rarely be bothered with his navel-gazing, but when I saw today's headline I ran away very quickly. Fraser with teeth indeed.

Fraser - the Dismissal notwithstanding - had principles. Need I say more?

It is seriously disturbing that Henderson, Abbott, Hockey, and Joyce were all educated by the Jesuists. All the Jesuists that I've ever met are rational atheists.

Fiona

April 10. 2012 08:11 PM

TalkTurkey

Ad I haven't yet read your deliciously-titled post, I'm saving it like an Easter Egg for later tonight, right now I'm going to post the composite letter that has been building up during the day but NO-Optus has failed me repeatedly. The bit about the way I feel about your writing is going to be reinforced, I can already see, in this newest post.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(Early today)


Yeah Mark

Go ahead and betray your 4 previous generations then! As if.

As if you're genuine. As if you are not just another toxic shill.

We know your kind. Only such could write your type of rancid drivel.

We don't care. We won't be needing you and in fact guess what, we love it that such disingenuous losers such as yourself are in pain. We promise you more, and more and more. And no gain. Smile

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

Jason Well said. Liberal shill or Labor turncoat, Mark is not the kind of person we need nor want to be on our winning side. Imagine trusting him at your back!  


Ad astra have I told you lately how I love your writing?

Especially when you say it to Limpy or juvenile jerk.

Nobody says it better.    

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


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

adelaidegirl

$43 in your pocket is better than 43 beans in every cup! Glad 4U.
But where wuz you when Ad was in Adelaide?
I put out calls . . .  

Later today

AG (adelaidegirl) As for your winky comrade, yes, if you had seen what TWO TOKES did for my 52-y-o friend Tony, 5 days from death of the most excruciating cancer of all, I forget its name but it follows nerve pathways, poor Tony's eyes rolled up in his head in pain for months. He was on maximum doses of morphine every hour, and still the pain kept breaking through. He finally accepted a friend's invitation for a smoke, couldn't smoke in the hospital grounds so out into North Tce the pair went (him in a wheelchair) where he took exactly two tokes and the pain was GONE! Within seconds! Back he and his friend went to Oncology, Tony the Tony of old, smiling, joking, fully compus, he turned down his hourly morphine shots for at least 4 hours until his mate left at end of visiting hours. When his evening meal came he loved it, his precise words were I don't know what they've put in this Gnocchi but it's delicious! Then he ate all his dessert too, he said that was the first time he had been able to finish his meal for ages. He said he was completely pain-free for the first time in months, and then he said very earnestly,If there is any way you can use this story to help legalise Cannabis please do it.

Tony was a money-poor man all his life but he was enormously popular among his rough-diamond friends, manager of his local footy team for many years. When he died 5 days after that story over 500 people came to his funeral, the local chapter of Adelaide bikers - decent blokes they are too - paid for his funeral and gave him a Guard of Honour to the cemetery.

Then they held a wake at the local Kilburn Footy Clubrooms. After the other eulogies by his close relatives, Tony's mate that I mentioned went up to the stage with his heart in his mouth, and told that story to all the people there, (Dam there go the tears again as I write), and everybody cheered him and hugged him and patted him on the shoulders comradely on his way back to his place, and people kept saying wtte 'Goodonyer mate', 'Somebody has to tell the truth', 'Boy you got guts to say that in front of all these people' and so on.

Says something for people's level of intimidation eh. These weren't love&peace&brownricers nor churchgoers neither, they were rough tough people from the seamy side, adelaidegirl and Jason you would both know Kilburn by reputation but Dog I think they are more scared of being busted for dope to this day than some of them would be of being done for something serious like break and enter. Not that they are generally lawless, but you'd think they'd be a bit more staunch, no wonder we can't get dope legalised.  

The fact we still have to *wink* third-personally when we talk about persons involved in using cannabis says it pretty well too. But better a wink than not even a blink eh. Thank you AG.

When Oh when will we see any government in the WBL with the guts to get up on the stage themselves and legalise it? Gee I'd like to see that day.      

TalkTurkey

April 10. 2012 08:16 PM

Fiona

Couldn't agree more, TalkTurkey, though preferably not this godawful hydroponic stuff, which really seems to mess with people's heads.

Fiona

April 10. 2012 08:43 PM

Ad astra reply

Fiona
Yes, that was a puff piece by Gerard Henderson trying to give Abbott a leg up.  It wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement; I suppose it was the best he could manage given his subject!

PatriciaWA
I don’t know if you have had 7.30 over there yet, but if not, I suggest you take a look at Stephen Long’s piece about Fair Work Australia in response to the bad press that had been directed at it by employers and employer groups.  It was a fine example of balanced reporting.  It is possible to report fairly – too many journalists choose not to, for a variety of reasons.  

TT
Enjoy the Easter Egg.  It's specially for you.

Ad astra reply

April 10. 2012 10:33 PM

NormanK

Larvatus Prodeo’s Last Post
by Mark Bahnisch     Larvatus Prodeo
As of today, Larvatus Prodeo will cease publishing.
larvatusprodeo.net/.../

Little gain in halting the NBN juggernaut
by John McDuling      AFR
The NBN may well be expensive, but when the political imperative is a budget surplus and altering the NBN doesn’t affect the budget bottom line, this could seem like a lot of effort for questionable political gain.
www.afr.com/.../little_gain_in_halting_the_nbn_juggernaut_IKd4sbqA9MOsffCbIr4cKJ

Abbott's Budget black hole
by Andrew Probyn and Shane Wright     The West Australian
Mr Abbott said he would have a commission of audit to conduct a four-month, independent, "top-to-bottom" review of public spending.
But he indicated the coalition's "signature" policies, including its direct action climate change policy, paid parental leave scheme and a so-called Green Army, would be quarantined from the audit.
au.news.yahoo.com/.../

When is a carbon tax not a carbon tax?
by David Pannell     Pannell Discussions
The proposed carbon pricing policy in Australia is now routinely referred to as a carbon tax by both government and opposition. This is odd, because the proposed scheme is not actually a tax.
http://dpannell.fnas.uwa.edu.au/pd/pd0188.htm

The Future of Wind Power: 9 Cool Innovations
by Derek Markham     The Fifth Estate
Our economy has an insatiable appetite for energy, and because of the negative side effects of fossil fuels, the quicker that we can supplement and/or replace petroleum-based power sources, the better.
www.treehugger.com/.../...-9-cool-innovations.html

The oligarchic ALP
by Barry Jones     Independent Australia
Former state MP, Federal minister and national ALP president Barry Jones says the ALP’s fortunes would be revived if the party was transformed from an oligarchy to a democracy — but he’s not holding his breath.
www.independentaustralia.net/.../

Does Fair Work get a fair go?
by Stephen Long     7.30
The hugely unpopular WorkChoices laws helped bring down the Howard Government, but now Labor's laws, billed as fairer, are under fire. Barely a day seems to go by without headlines and stories in the national newspapers attacking the laws, but how much substance is there to the criticisms?
www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3474428.htm

The Health Services Union scandal and Labor’s unhappy political marriage
by Trevor cook     The Conversation
Many in the trade union movement, and in the ALP, would have you believe that the links between some unions and the ALP don’t matter. That they’re just an historical legacy, the voters don’t care how the sausage is made.
That’s called psychological denial.
theconversation.edu.au/the-health-services-union-scandal-and-labors-unhappy-political-marriage-6329

Press Council picking on News Ltd for the terrible things it does
by Jeremy Sear     Pure Poison
Alternatively, it might show that News Ltd breaks the rules and indefensibly smears people more often.
blogs.crikey.com.au/.../#more-14880

A bipartisan surplus shipwreck
by Rob Burgess     Business Spectator
What kind of political landscape will emerge from the rancorous and unedifying politics seen between the 2010 and 2013 elections? Heading into the 2012 federal budget, the signs are not good.
www.businessspectator.com.au/.../budget-surplus-debt-Labor-Swan-Abbott-Hockey-pd20120410-T7SC8

NormanK

April 10. 2012 11:06 PM

Shirley

Ad Astra, Thank you for your intelligent blog. I despair with the quality/bias displayed in the media. I am especially concerned with the level of aggression that reporters exhibit. This is mirrored by the aggression and rudeness the opposition display in parliament and when being interviewed. This is the behaviour as adults we should protest. Are our children  seeing reasonable adult behaviour. Or will we see an increase in Violence in our schools and courts???

I now longer buy print media, read only independent online newspapers as Global Mail and The Guardian. I read the odd blog but once the Trolls infect the comment section I read only the first few comments.

My goal this year is to only buy in supermarkets what I cant source from local small business. I may spend longer shopping but I find it actually therapeutic to rediscover life before monopolies. And I actually spend less thanks to a local farmers market.

All I can say is if Mr Abbot becomes our next PM.....and is rewarded for his total disregard for rights/responsibilities of others. Do we want a Australia that is encouraged to be selfish and racist. I can not imagine him representing me on the world stage. Might be time to emigrate.

Shirley

April 11. 2012 09:34 AM

Patricia WA

Hi Shirley, nice letter to be greeted with first thing here in Freo!  

Your shopping plan is very much like mine.  Some few things I do get from a visit to Woollies, even IGA lets me down on pre-packed and chopped lamb shanks - staple diet and best bones for Tacker. Local butcher can't seem to supply them at a price and the rate we need them!  Easy to buy a fortnight's supply in bulk when fresh and freeze.

Local shopkeepers bother with you, as well.  Nice to be walking to the shops again for smaller occasional purchases.  Also I am mentally preparing myself for the possibility of not driving a car and so having to shop piecemeal on one's daily walk.

TT, you've got me thinking even more seriously about drug laws and decriminalisation.  That always made sense to me as an obvious short cut to prison reform, but I'm looking at it from an entirely different angle, community health.  Today Norman K's links sent me to the Conversation to read about HSU but there I found myself absorbed in even more interesting stuff, a whole range of articles, on the drug war which you're probably familiar with.

http://theconversation.edu.au/pages/war-on-drugs  

Patricia WA

April 11. 2012 09:45 AM

Ad astra reply

Shirley
I’m not sure if you have been here before, so welcome to The Political Sword. Do come again.  Thank you for your complimentary remarks.

Like you, in search of balanced reporting, I have virtually abandoned newspapers and even most of the online news and opinion, in favour of the niche publications and the Fifth Estate.  The links that Lyn and NormanK post make for informative and enlightening reading.  The MSM is losing public support, in my opinion because of the partisan bias it so often exhibits.

Ad astra reply

April 11. 2012 09:55 AM

Ad astra reply

NormanK
Thanks for yet another set of informative links.  I found the one about the novel ways of harnessing wind power fascinating, showing as it did the ingenuity of human imagination.

Thank you for posting Stephen Long’s nicely balanced piece on 7.30 about Fair Work Australia, a fine example of fair-handed reporting.  If we had more of this we would have far less misinformation in the community, misinformation that distorts the way people respond to pollsters.

Rob Burgess’ article too was interesting and balanced in the way he reported the opinions of economists about the effect of a surplus on our economy.

The pieces on the NBN, the carbon tax and Abbott’s Budget black hole too were good reading.

Thank you.

Ad astra reply

April 11. 2012 10:35 AM

NormanK

Ad astra

I'm glad you enjoyed the links. I hesitate before I put up ones like the wind turbine innovations because they are perhaps not considered relevant to politics. However, the future starts tomorrow and any new technology that might diminish our reliance on fossil fuels is of political importance in our current climate of nay-sayers talking down the potential of the future. Sometimes things just need a little push - with a modest price on carbon for example. I'd love it if a town the size of mine could put up half a dozen inflatable turbines and reduce our reliance on the grid that invariably goes down at the first hint of a storm. Storage is the big hurdle that needs to be overcome.

I put the 7.30 link up because I couldn't believe my ears as I watched it last night. Looking at the transcript this morning my perceptions of even-handedness was justified. The most refreshing aspect of that report is that there was not a politician in sight or even referred to apart from the intro. It seems that in modern reporting, an event hasn't actually occurred unless there was a politician there to witness (and comment) on it. A Coalition claim can't be refuted unless a government representative holds a press conference or provides a media release. A government initiative can't be evaluated without an opposition spokesperson giving their two bobs worth. The ability of journalists to be independent and objective seems to have evaporated - it's only real and relevant if some partisan commentator shows the reporter where to look. I hope last night's article is a sign of things to come. Perhaps we can look forward to constructive criticism of the government and facts-based refutals of Coalition untruths.

Rob Burgess is up there with Ross Gittins for his objectivity and good sense. I don't always agree with him (or like what he is trying to tell me) but I do trust him.

NormanK

April 11. 2012 11:52 AM

archiearchive

Most interesting part of this three year election campaign is the polling. When the poll-pundits start syaing things like "LNP ahead in all states" and the numbers clearly show the ALP ahead in SA, then the credlinability of all poll commentary is questionable.

The actual numbers in the polls are also fascinating. The %'s are of declared voters. So, of those who nominate a party, those are the numbers published. Not, or rarely, published is the % of "undecideds" which is now topping 20%. Add those into the 2pp %'s and suddenly that "57%" for the LNP becomes just 37% - 47% depending on how the undecideds go. It remains to be seen just WHY there are so many. Is it because they believe the media about the ALP "incompetence" yet are unable to see Tony Abbott as a sensible Prime Ministerial choice? If so, when the vote is taken, as opposed to a poll, we could well find that Tony will not be elected and that the Independents could increase in number leading to yet another "hung Parliament"

archiearchive

April 11. 2012 12:10 PM

Ad astra reply

archiearchive
Your comments about polls are germane.  Yet despite all the qualifications that should be applied to the opinion polls that you correctly identify, commentators treat the results as holy writ, even commenting on a ‘slight fall’ (or rise) of one percentage point in this parameter or that.  And they do this knowing the margin of error for most polls is around 3%.  It is dishonest and done simply to make a political point to the advantage of one side or the disadvantage of the other.  Dennis Shanahan is a past master at this.

Ad astra reply

April 11. 2012 12:51 PM

TalkTurkey

Ad astra said
TT
Enjoy the Easter Egg.  It's specially for you.

> Thank you for the article Ad, and for the special nod.
As Lyn keeps her fave rave complimentary comments in a gold box,
that one of yours goes into mine.
                             *
NormanK
You have stepped up splendidly to providing the Links, thank you very much on behalf of everyone. Except for Nondays, not a day goes by without some uniquely interesting material on TPS Links. That says a lot for you and Lyn, and a lot for writers on Australian blogsites and some on the outer fringes of the MSM, and it does a lot for The Political Sword and the whole blogosphere too, and reveals a lot about *insiders* in the MSM itself, in that hardly ever is an article from the MSM referred to by the bloggers except in richly-deserved terms of derision.  
                             *
Laura
You are very very welcome, but as a former chalkie I feel constrained to correct both your sentences.

Media bias will not ruin this country.  Tony Abbott is a psychopath, and he will never be our PM despite our crappy media.

But I'm only disagreeing in order to agree more emphatically see.
We will not let him win. VENCEREMOS! Smile

                             *
Fiona, Patricia, adelaide girl, FS - How come only femmes are prepared to speak up on Cannabis? Eh fellers? Oh and Ad did, true.

                             *
Larvatus Prodeo was the first political blogsite I ever saw, though that was only a couple of years ago. The name means 'masked I come'. It was not long before I found The Political Sword, and with its combination of Ad astra's lead articles and Links and its stance and comments it has suited me ever since. In the meantime LP has come to an end, sad but there you go.

What has killed it? Illwillians largely it seems. Well they won't get us, Ad's writings are our inspiration and Links are our armour, and as long as Goodwillians remember just to poke *FUN* at Trolls, their input just makes this a richer playground, they never touch us.  
  

TalkTurkey

April 11. 2012 01:11 PM

Ad astra reply

NormanK
I was so impressed with Stephen Long’s Does Fair Work get a fair go on 7.30 last night that I send a congratulatory message via ‘Contact us’ on the 7.30 website: www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3474428.htm

Ad astra reply

April 11. 2012 02:11 PM

adelaidegirl

Hi TT, thanks for your story.  Tony sounds like he did it real tough but had a lot of friends to support him through it.
On the medication, I don't really need the cheaper prices as much as I'm sure other non-concession people do, but it's a welcome sign that our PM Julia is a true Labor girl, doing her best for the less advantaged people in Australia.  Go Julia!!!
I only learned about the Adelaide get-together after the fact!  Would be excited to be included in the next one, though.

adelaidegirl

April 11. 2012 04:42 PM

archiearchive

I have written on strange and warped Polling results in Western Australia. archiearchive.wordpress.com/.../

archiearchive

April 11. 2012 06:35 PM

nasking

Ad astra,
Why aren't you writing opinion pieces for the SMH, Age and The Drum?

It's time that Gerard Henderson's biased claptrap was balanced by your pieces.

N'

nasking

April 11. 2012 06:53 PM

nasking

I was thinking about this damned confusing seemingly forever war on terrorism...and the BS going down in Syria and Iran etc. today...and the following came to mind:

Of all the many talks I had in Washington, none gave me such pleasure as that with you. There were two reasons for this. In the first place, you are about my oldest friend. In the second place, your self-assurance and to me, at least, demonstrated ability, give me a great feeling of confidence about the future … and I have the utmost confidence that through your efforts we will eventually beat the hell out of those bastards — "You name them; I'll shoot them!"

Letter to Dwight D. Eisenhower (1942); to this Eisenhower replied: "I don't have the slightest trouble naming the hellions I'd like to have you shoot; my problem is to figure out some way of getting you to the place you can do it." as quoted in Eisenhower : A Soldier's Life (2003) by Carlo D'Este, p. 301


http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_S._Patton

And this:

Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.
Cavalry Journal (September 1933)


Obama thinks things thru...he's a good man...but I'm not sure how much longer our democracies can afford leading from behind.

Wars can be won by women too.

N'


nasking

April 11. 2012 07:32 PM

nasking

You read this transcript, watch the vid...

www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3474422.htm

Gets my blood boiling. Goddamn Taliban!...who do these misogynistic hateful smug pr*cks think they are?

You can see they're gonna be laughin' soon enuff...sayin' we fled with our tails between our legs...just like the Russians.

The women, children...those men considered as collaborators...others normally persecuted by these self-righteous pr*cks...they're gonna feel the iron grip of revenge...as we pull out.  

And those Pakis who have been supporting the Taliban will up the funding and supply of weaponry...smug satisfaction written all over their barbaric faces.

Barbarism will rule again.

And democracy will have turned away...controlled by its own barbarians once at the gates...now in our governmental houses, controlling our markets...in our homes by way of 24hrs a day boxes.

Is it any wonder that the Islamic barbarians can continue to recruit en masse...recruits with passion and fervour...anger and hate directed at the so called great democracies...those taken hostage by corporate aristocrats and robber barons...more driven by a love for money...than the pursuit of true freedom and egalitarianism.

Quite frankly, everytime I look at the news and see this Syrian totalitarian mobster playing us for suckers...wiping his brave opposition out bit by bit...I feel more disgusted with our governments.

As for  the persecuted Afghanis who are looking for somewhere to find peace and security for their kids...I gotta apologise for those scumbags Abbott, Howard, Morrison, Jones and Murdoch...if not for them our present government might've had the courage to hold out their hand and do the right thing...

and convince our population that if we're gonna fight a war in another country part of that means protecting its persecuted citizens and our allies the way we would our own children.

We've let you down...

so some can score political points. Grab power. Make money from fear-mongering.

We used to set a better example.

N'





nasking

April 11. 2012 08:11 PM

Ad astra reply

archiearchive
Your analysis of the WA polling make one wonder how much fiddling goes on with polling figures so that they fit the newspaper’s agenda, doesn’t it.

Nasking
Thank you for the nice compliment.  There would be no way any of those papers would publish anything I wrote, as my opinions do not match the agenda of those papers.

Ad astra reply

April 11. 2012 09:19 PM

nasking


I don’t know if you have had 7.30 over there yet, but if not, I suggest you take a look at Stephen Long’s piece about Fair Work Australia in response to the bad press that had been directed at it by employers and employer groups.  It was a fine example of balanced reporting.  It is possible to report fairly – too many journalists choose not to, for a variety of reasons.  

I agree...it's worth checking out:

www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3474428.htm

I have alot of respect for Stephen Long.

N'

nasking

April 11. 2012 09:37 PM

nasking


There would be no way any of those papers would publish anything I wrote, as my opinions do not match the agenda of those papers.

Ad,
then they are fools...thinking short-term.

Not surprising the corporate media got caught with its pants down as the blogs and social network sites exploded outwards during the 2000s.

If excellent bloggers such as yerself are ignored or transformed into hollow characters by the corporate bosses/gatekeepers the resentment will grow...

soon they'll have a movement on their hands to contend with that will not only promote ignoring their claptrap and changing ownership laws...

but also revolutionise the media landscape to the point they become as extinct as the dinosaurs.

We are merely at the beginning of this new era of enlightenment, empowerment, egalitarianism and diversity...the transition has begun...

and to ignore the likes of you Ad astra is to ignore one of the primary drivers of change...

but I expect no less from the contemporary Luddites and backward thinking, opportunistic defenders of their own...and THE FEW's...privileges.

Where the sun falls shall we see those who have hidden in the shadows.

N'

nasking

April 11. 2012 10:58 PM

NormanK

Pell Vs Dawkins Q&A - response
by Richard Dawkins     Comment (11) posted on item @ pharyngula
I too was disappointed by this so-called debate. I don't want to put all the blame on my jet lag ..... The two things that really threw me were, first, the astonishing bias of the audience and, second, the interfering chairman.
*****
Such an extreme audience bias was a little off-putting, but it wouldn't have mattered so much if the chairman had allowed us to have a proper debate instead of continually racing ahead to get in another dopey question.
freethoughtblogs.com/.../#comments

Supporters hope Abbott PM will be Fraser with teeth
by Gerard Henderson     SMH
Today, Tony Abbott is vilified by Julia Gillard and her colleagues, along with quite a few commentators, for his negativity. Yet this is not unusual behaviour for an opposition leader.
www.smh.com.au/.../...th-teeth-20120409-1wl2w.html

Abbott and the limits of Gerard Henderson's support
by Andrew Elder     Politically homeless
In this article tobacco-subsidised Gerard Henderson is getting ahead of himself in not only assuming that Tony Abbott will be PM, but what sort of PM he'll be. The whole article sounds very defensive, a rally-the-troops effort rather than a calm appraisal of the inevitable.
andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/.../...hendersons.html

Gerard Henderson on sandal wearers and sneering secularists, or how Tony Abbott is really Bob Hawke ...
by Dorothy Parker     Loon Pond
Sadly, when it comes to slapping sandal-wearers, our rambling Prufrock reveals himself to be steeped in mindless stereotypes of the most dullard anti-literary festival kind. No doubt Henderson is right on board with Campbell Newman in the axing of the Queensland literary awards because it's just an excuse for sandal-wearers to flock together, and $250k is both an invaluable contribution to the bottom line as well as a way of punishing the sandal wearers.
loonpond.blogspot.com.au/.../...l-wearers-and.html

Swan's Zero-Sum Surplus
by Ben Eltham     New Matilda
Is Wayne Swan about to blow up the economy?
It sounds like a silly question, and yet that suddenly is what many economists and business figures are warning us about.
http://newmatilda.com/2012/04/11/zero-sum-surplus

Budget debate in a sea of contradictions
by Greg Jericho     The Drum
In the past week the debate over whether or not Wayne Swan should send the budget back to surplus has continued across the media.
Such a thing is wonderful for economists who can provide quotes to newspapers, appear on radio programs and generally prognosticate to their hearts' content, but the discussion does get rather confusing for non-economists given much of the narrative now seems to contradict what voters have been used to hearing for well over a decade.
http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3942678.html

Drum post– “Budget debate in a sea of contradictions”
by Greg Jericho     Grog's Gamut
..... here’s one that is not in it, but gives an indicator of how Australia got through the GFC compared to other nations. I like the graph because I think it is worth remembering that the GFC is not some little “cold” that the rest of the world caught, and we got through with just a small case of the sniffles.
grogsgamut.blogspot.com.au/.../...e-in-sea-of.html

Parenting goes corporate
by Nicholas Gruen     Club Troppo
And just as a matter of fact, I can’t think of a framework or mission or vision statement that has helped me either think of something worthwhile or actually helped shape my thinking in any useful way. Can you?
clubtroppo.com.au/.../#more-18850

Ten reasons why a Carbon Tax is good for Australian Agriculture
by Carl Sudholz     csudholz.net
This article takes the long term view that is vital when considering such major economic transformation but is so often ignore in the fear mongering debate.  As shown in the table below, it is my view that the Gillard Government’s Carbon Tax package provides a shining light that makes agriculture’s future very bright. The alternative provides only darkness.
www.csudholz.net/10-reasons-why-ct-is-good-for-ag/

Change afoot for public broadcasters: don't stuff it up
by Quentin Dempster     The Drum
The appointment of the Honourable James Spigelman AC QC as the next chairman of the ABC comes at a crucial time for public broadcasting in Australia.
The new chairman takes up his duties as the Gillard Government completes its 'convergence review' with a new media regulatory regime for what is called 'the digital economy' expected to change the way content can be produced and exploited.
www.abc.net.au/.../3939736

Mark Scott on the future of your ABC
by Rod Tiffin     The Conversation
Welcome to In Conversation, our series of discussions between leading academics and major public figures in Australian life.
In this instalment, Mark Scott, managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, is in conversation with Rod Tiffen, Emeritus Professor of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney.
theconversation.edu.au/mark-scott-on-the-future-of-your-abc-6231

BLOWING THE WHISTLE: Jackson took cash from Williamson for her HSU 2009 campaign
by VexNews
Despite accusing the NSW HSU’s Mike Williamson of serious wrongdoing, the HSU national secretary and de facto Victorian boss Kathy Jackson has been stonily silent about receiving massive financial support and assistance from Williamson in a hotly contested trade union election in Victoria in 2009, sources say.
www.vexnews.com/.../

Carbon Price Not Evil, says Church
by redglitterx     Turn Left 2013
Despite misleading headlines in the Murdoch media (Dumping on charities – Salvation Army says the carbon tax will be a costly load of rubbish, story repeated in the daily newspapers in the capitals), it turns out this may not be the case after all.
turnleft2013.wordpress.com/.../

Incompetence Shines Through
by Archie      Ærchies Archive
With all the polls indicating a crushingly anti-ALP mood within the Australian Electorate, fed by a conniving media, there are still some things which cannot be papered over.
Like the incompetence of the Barnett Government in Western Australia.
archiearchive.wordpress.com/.../

NormanK

April 11. 2012 11:20 PM

Casablanca

archiearchive

'credlinability'- a great word!

Ad

A very fine dissection of the incompetence of the leading lights in the Coalition. The Liberals are lacking in leadership talent to challenge Abbott. As Norman Abjorensen argues in 'Malcolm on the outer', Turnbull is 'all but out of contention to return to the leadership of what is still essentially Howard’s party'. http://inside.org.au/malcolm-on-the-outer/

BTW Joe Hockey went to St Aloysius College, Milson's Point not Riverview. Both, however, are Jesuit Schools. Hockey is about 8 years younger than Abbott but followed him to St John's College at Sydney University which has been in the news recently for it's continuing tradition of bullying and misogyny.

Casablanca

April 12. 2012 07:37 AM

grannie

At last  i have  got on to comments  re my tablet astroid,  clicked on from pollbludger.
Mystrey to me,
The first comment here tell u immediatley, that  tories  have  no imput in to much at all,  its typical of there,
Thought process play the man not thhe game,    i watch question time,  when i look at what the torries have to offer up
I  say  "  is  that all there is"   mostly they are left over from the last years of howard, and the 20 th centuary, as howard was
Pm in the last centuary,    they have  not moved on,  some even dress  for it,
Well, last centuary, there was no nbn, even thought of  pollution unfotunatley wss  not taken seriously.
So time has simply passed them by

grannie

April 12. 2012 08:11 AM

Bilko

AA
another cracker of a blog confirming once again that we are kindred spirits even when some of my noalition comments are a little vitriolic you always take a smoother line. "archiearchive" comments on the WA poll hark back to comments we shared in an earlier piece concerning manipulation etc etc and my faith in them has steadily declined. The only one that matters is on election night the rest are just puff pieces to pass the three years inbetween the real ones. Your blogs are getting links on PB and only god knows where else I keep telling my son to take an interest in the blogs lots of good things to be found however he is very busy so I shall forgive him, and soon our soccer teams play each other in the UK premier league so that will be a fun night if he is in town to share the event with me via foxtel the only good part of the Murdoch empire.

Bilko

April 12. 2012 08:17 AM

Michael

This article, by Scott Stephens, the Religion and Ethics editor for ABC Online, is deeply worth reading, as it addresses many of the particular and general issues raised at The Political Sword.

From the kernel point of reviewing last Monday's Pell/Dawkins Q&A televised 'debate', it does so through examining how society is now, and how we are dealing with each other (and not) as social beings.

In looking at the "and not" it explores the roots of what we see here as "toxic", political and social engagement that is outright antagonism cloaked in self-righteousness.

www.abc.net.au/.../3474271.htm

There are a mountain of comments following the article. Diamonds and dust, gold and dross... perhaps illustrating the central thesis of the article?

Michael

April 12. 2012 08:33 AM

jj

I know how you all think on this blog that you are somehow holders of the forgotten truth, however really, you have more in common with the likes of Andrew Bolt and Janet A then you do with Gillard. This blog is just the left wing reflection of Andrew Bolt's: with conspiracies, baseless statements and complete and utter bias the core of everything that is posted.

There is not a Labor Member, let alone a Coalition member that would confer anything that you have written in your current post on the Coalition, and seeing as you provide no real evidence of what you claim i really do wonder how loopy your followers must be to believe this stuff. You always follow the evidence Ad Astra, and in this current post, you dont even bother.

jj

April 12. 2012 08:53 AM

Bushfire Bill

AA, Hockey is a St. Aloysius old boy, not Riverview. Still Jesuit-educated though. A stint at St. John's university college (where Abbott also resided) does a lot to redress the balance.

You mentioned commentators. I suggest that the FUD is manifest there as well. There seems to be something close to an obsession among them to continually express certainty that the Coalition will win. We see so many stories along these lines, almost daily, based on polls, that I'm starting to suspect they are geeing each other up, stoking each other's confidence, try to keep each other optimistic... which to me reveals a lack of confidence in the final result. It seems Abbott's boosters and bolsterers can hardly believe their luck. The gloating pieces they write are the equivalent of pinching themselves to make sure they're not imagining things. They show a growing nervousness at the actual result.

And nervous politicians and political operators make mistakes, which I think was your point.

It should also be noted that we never hear any particular policy given as the reason for Abbott's "inevitable" victory.

For example, never read an analysis stating that the Coalition's Green Army has energized the nation into doing something about Climate Change, or that his tax policy of "lower taxes" (blessedly free of complicating detail) has economists stroking their beards wondering why they hadn't come up with something equally brilliant.

No, the reasons almost always given are that "He's ahead in the polls." There are sometimes explanations as to why Abbott has this poll ascendancy (as opposed to, and in place of analysis of his policies), but they're half-hearted, almost as if the commentators can't believe them themselves. Something along the lines of "good at retail politics" or "Gillard bad" usually suffices. There is little depth to analysis of Abbott, but much relief that he's where he is, despite himself.

But if it's so blindingly clear that the Coalition is a shoo-in, that they're biding their time until the clock runs out for Gillard and they can take over, like bus drivers waiting for their shifts to start, then why is there no policy analysis from the commentariat? The victory aspect is settled, beyond doubt, the figures stack up compellingly, we are told, so why can't we hear what the Coalition would do in government, rather than what they will undo?

If a house is renovated and additions put onto it, then the next owner (who doesn't like the renovations) may promise to tear them down. But he'll still have to have a plan regarding what he'll do with the hole in the wall the original owner knocked out to join the new room to the old. Rectifying a badly done or unwanted renovation from a previous owner involves more than swinging a 16 pound demolition hammer.

Likewise, if the entire edifice of the Gillard and Rudd governments' renovations to the nation are to be flattened, what's going up in their place? We have only a few clues as to what Abbott and his ragtag gang will use to replace Labor's (by then) six years of government and legislation.

This is a serious vacuum: Shaun Carney recently wrote an almost ejaculatory piece recently, suggesting that the entire body of laws and policies of both the Rudd and Gillard governments could be "ripped up" by the year 2014, if the Coalition wins in 2013 and, riding a wave of popularity (once again, indicated by today's polls), gains control of the Senate in a succeeding Double Dissolution election.

Abbott's default "policy" position is that if no comments have been made by him on any area of policy, then we are to refer to the 2010 election manifesto. But in many cases that manifesto is way out of date, or its costings were wrong. What then? We need a second default position.

The second default position is to refer to whatever John Howard's government had in place relevant to a particular policy area. I'm surprised that no commentator has expressed caution that the policies of a government which would, by 2013, have been gone for six years (along with many of its key players: Foreign Minister, Treasurer and even Prime Minister to list three) may be a little dated by the time 2013 comes around. Indeed, when "Whatever Howard Did" was mentioned as the Coalition's second default position in a recent Press Club speech by Abbott, there was no comment from any of the usual commentators. Nothing.

Are we to interpret this lack of analysis of what the Coalition will do as confidence, laziness, collusion  or embarrassment on the part of the opinionistas?

More importantly, if an Abbott government is so certain to be elected, isn't the public entitled to know exactly what its policies would be? After all, Abbott and his Shadow Ministers claim to be "election ready", even if an election was called this afternoon. Yet we know next to nothing - apart from casual "shootin' the breeze" comments - of these policies.

It's not enough for the commentariat to continuously repeat the mantra that the Coalition is certain of victory, going by the polls, without them stepping up and asking detailed questions of Abbott and his would-be ministers, and then making their analysis of these policies known to their reading, listening and viewing publics.

Simply saying "It'll be alright on the night", or "Confidence will be restored" is not nearly enough.

Arrogantly telling us (as Phil Coorey and Annabell Crabbe did recently) that the gillard government is stuffing up so much lately that there aren't enough column inches left over to cover the Coalition is dumbfoundingly insulting.

So why the reluctance for the so-called political analysts to do their job, outling an Australia under Abbott for us so we can all make appropriate judgements?

Bushfire Bill

April 12. 2012 09:26 AM

TalkTurkey

Last first:
Grannie I love your posts wherever I come across them.

If you want to double-post comments here and elsewhere you are welcome, I know your sincerity and goodwill, that is all we ask here really. I also understand that you have serious arthritis in your hands? . . . You will cop no criticism for typos here, we are well past that. Oh except for perhaps a few brain-dead Trollish persons, who visit us masochistically in order to receive a few more whacks about the head, they are just figures of fun to us.  

'Tis thee who could nonetheless make perfect wedding dresses n'est-ce pas? I do have the right person Yes? If so I know that you are also a devotee of the *one true faith*, well yes I do argue vehemently against all forms of religion, but in your case I know that you have taken the best parts to your heart and left the hypocrites such as Archbigot Pell and Abbortt to eternal damnation, which concept is certainly attractive in their case.

I think I've got the right person but if not you are welcome here anyway.  

                          *

Casablanca your apposite and beautiful Ingrid Bergman gravatar is delightful, and with your comment re *Credlinability* too, roflmao as they say ArchieArchive! Your gravatar is even more apposite though much less beautiful!

I think the mutual adoration between TA and PC might be Peta-ing out by now hey! She doesn't surely want like a good Hindu wife to be immolated on his funeral pyre, if I were her I'd be standing on his head in my Pradas looking for a nice safe seat because plainly she has a lot more going for her than he has, she is probably the most capable critter in the whole Coalonic menagerie, she'd be looking at Liars' Party leadership I reckon. But she'll lose a lot more Credlinability if she sticks with him and his non-policies.

                          *
                        
NK I haven't read the Dawkins comments yet but as for the audience and the 'moderator', the whole thing reminds me of the Emperor's Suit, with Pell the stupid naked emperor, Wormtongue Jones as his lickspittle choirboy, the fawning crowd as the fawning crowd, and Dawkins in the role of the little boy who alone sees and calls out Pell's nakedness. It made me cringe. The worst part was when the audience brayed a stupid laugh at a perfectly valid point of Dawkins, he astonished and rightly offended said wtte What was funny about that!? and they all brayed again. [No not all, some were cringing like me.]

The best part was when Pell talked of 'preparing some boys' (he meant as choirboys or eunuchs or something) but he hesitated a moment too long, the audience gasped delightedly (well the non-religious minority anyway) and laughed this time intelligently, and with deep meaning. It was a classic moment, can somebody cleverer than I find it without to much trouble and link us to it?

                        *

Nasking I don't always agree with you but thank you for your passion and persistence always.

                        *
ABC1 tonight at 9.30 on the Vietnam conflict. I've just been talking with my Grunt cobber Ian: be it well noted, we the protestors at the time are far more likely to be friends of the Grunts now than the Lieberal bastards who went all the way with LBJ and sent not only Regulars there but also many conscripts, selected by a marbles lottery on the dasis of birthdates.  

              LEST WE FORGET!

TalkTurkey

April 12. 2012 09:35 AM

jj

Bushfire,

You obviously dont read much because there has been tones and tones of analysis as to why Abbott is doing well and Gillard is doing badly. You may not like what is written, but it has definitely been written.

jj

April 12. 2012 09:48 AM

Michael

"tones and tones", JJ? Bell-like? Or are you playing hollowly on Shouldabeen's Christian name?

PS If you could point us to the tomes analytically written on any Coalition policy, love to read them. Seriously. The vacuum Bushfire Bill points to is ripping the heart out of sensible, informed political discourse in this country.

PPS  "A tome is a large book, especially one volume of a multi-volume scholarly work." Wikipedia. Your thesis is looking thinner and thinner, JJ.

Michael

April 12. 2012 10:11 AM

Ad astra reply

Bushfire Bill
I enjoyed reading your comment.  You put your finger on a distressingly common problem, namely that most of our MSM journalists spend so much time denigrating PM Gillard and her Government, so much time assuring us that a Coalition Government is certain come the next election, yet so little time exploring what an Abbott government might look like, might do, might aspire to.  

The paucity of Coalition policies, and the implausibility of the few we do know about, seems to be of no concern to these columnists.  The prospect of life under Abbott needs exposure so that all can see what we would be in for, and where there is no policy framework to enlighten us, commentators ought to insist that he provide it, and not be fobbed off by ‘you will be told well before the election’ or by what seems to be Abbott’s fallback position – Howard policies revisited or resuscitated.  

The dead weight of an indolent, largely partisan media, which prefers titillating entertainment to the heavy lifting of policy analysis drags political commentary down to tabloid level that fails to inform but always provides light amusement.

I stand corrected re Joe Hockey’s schooling.  Thank you.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 10:11 AM

Jason

jj,
  I see you "accuse" Ad Astra of providing " no real evidence of what you claim"!
However I notice you haven't bothered to take this post apart line by line and fill in the blanks you claim are missing?

As is your usual lazy style you write a few words say it's wrong provide not one let alone (any) facts to back up your claims.

jj talk is cheap and none cheaper than yours!



  
  

Jason

April 12. 2012 10:14 AM

Patricia WA

"tones and tones"of analysis!  Exactly jj, all about "Tone" himself and amounting to nothing!

Are we to interpret this lack of analysis of what the Coalition will do as confidence, laziness, collusion  or embarrassment on the part of the opinionistas?

Bushfire, for me the answer to your rhetorial? question, is that it's probably a mix all of the above as well as apathy which comes from years of compliance with instructions from their News Ltd proprietor or other editorial boards where corporate interests outweigh any desire for quality journalism.

I can't imagine anything more dispiriting than having my copy continually monitored by determined subeditors alert for departures from the editorial line.  So what do you do?  Quit?  Go overseas?   Blow the whistle on it all?  Are there likely media whistleblowers who'd get a hearing in our current MSM?    

Patricia WA

April 12. 2012 10:20 AM

Patricia WA

Rhetorical!  ie Did you really expect an answer?  I agree with everything you say.   As I generally do, particularly on the subject of dogs!

Patricia WA

April 12. 2012 10:21 AM

Ad astra reply

Casablanca
Thank you for your kind comment.  You are right – there is so little talent to challenge Abbott, that the Coalition looks as if it is stuck with him, unless her stuffs up very badly, that is worse than he has already.  You will recall that Joe Hockey was supposed to be the one to replace Malcolm Turnbull according to Nick Minchin’s plan, but Joe’s equivocation over the ETS lost it for him.  I note Joe’s schooling background - different place from Abbott, but same orientation!

Andrew Elder had an interesting analysis of Norman Abjorensen’s article in which you may be interested: andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/.../...r-analysis.html

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 10:28 AM

Ad astra reply

grannie
Apart from the few policies Abbott has conjured up or has had though bubbles about – his PPL, nanny support and the Direct Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution – we know almost nothing about what he might do in government, except as BB points out, revert to Howard policies, no matter how unsuitable for an economy that has moved well beyond the Howard years.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 10:34 AM

Cuppa

Hooray Ad Astra! It's a most uncommon thing to see members of the Noalition and their vacuous 'policies' taken to task.

I thank you for having the ethical decency to go where the pro-Coalition choristers of the mainstream media are unable or unwilling to go.

Cuppa

April 12. 2012 10:35 AM

Ad astra reply

Bilko
Thank you for your complimentary remarks.  I don’t have much time for visiting PB, so thank you for the feedback.  I see the Coalition backers are out in numbers today commenting on this and the last piece, seemingly stung by the assertions they contain, but almost to a person they take aim at the messenger but fall short of refutation of the assertions with their own verifiable evidence.  For them, shooting is much easier than refutation.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 10:39 AM

Bushfire Bill

Bushfire,

You obviously dont read much because there has been tones and tones of analysis as to why Abbott is doing well and Gillard is doing badly. You may not like what is written, but it has definitely been written.


I'm not talking about poll analysis, JJ, I'm talking about positive policy analysis.

The position of the media seems to be to pull down government policy and then assume that whatever Abbott proposes is rock solid, needing no discussion. The "Couldn't be worse than Labor" gambit.

The commentariat praises Abbott for withholding policy "until the election", claiming this is good election tactics... but at the same time tell us that his election is a certainty.

If Abbott's election is a certainty - show me a "senior journalist" (or even a junior one) who writes of any other possibility - then either his or the scribes' telling us his policies now couldn't possibly do any harm, could it?

If you're a dead cert, then mere policy announcements are not capable of affecting the final result, are they? It'd be good for the people to know what they are voting for, wouldn't it?

The best Carney, for example, can offer is as follows:

...by the end of 2014, every policy and program implemented by the Rudd and Gillard governments can be wiped from the statutes.

... without giving us the slightest hint of what would replace these Labor policies and programs.

It's glaringly obvious that the Coalition has few coherent policies and that the media are doing a poor job in not pointing this out.

Paul Kelly listed the "Subsidized Nanny" idea recently as an election winner, yet fails to inform his readers that this is merely a proposal to be put to the Productivity Commission, and that as a policy has many, many problems involving equity, compliance, administration, public service resources and need.

Policy analysis is pretty thin on the ground in the media.

Instead they tell us that it is a good, even clever thing that the Coalition won't release policies. Or, in Coorey's and Crabbe's cases, that by the time they've finished documenting Labor's debacles, there isn't any room left - and nor should there be - to bother investigating what the Coalition would do.

Many of the coalition's followers openly state that they don't expect their side of politics to do anything at all about Climate Change, that the Coalition is just going through the motions on Global Warming, so why do they need to set out a policy that's never going to be implemented? That's how cynical and cocky Coalition supporters are getting.

The Indonesians have said flat out that they will not accept boats back once they have left Indonesian waters. The Navy admirals state that it is nearly impossible to turn them around. Nauru has no facilities sufficient to suit the new High Court rules. Yet Abbott's bland assurance that these will all be overcome by just picking up the phone and telling the brown people what they are to do will solve all these problems goes unremarked upon in any serious manner.

Citing polls in themselves is not in any way a sufficiently detailed method of policy analysis. If the Coalition is sure to win then discussing their policies and analysing them in a professional manner cannot possibly do any harm.

Or do you think - as I suspect you do - that there is a very real chance of the Coalition losing, a lot realer than many are prepared to admit... hence the spine-stiffening assertions to the contrary that we see so often.

If your side of politics is so confident, then be confident that we will accept your policies. Or that if we don't accept them that our numbers will be so miniscule that it won't matter a damn anyway. Tell us what the Coalition's policies are!

Bushfire Bill

April 12. 2012 10:53 AM

Ad astra reply

Michael
Thank you for the link to Scott Stephen’s piece relating to the Q&A debate between Cardinal George Pell and Richard Dawkins.

A couple of paragraphs caught my eye: “Brad Gregory has laid out the consequences of "hyperpluralism" for political and public discourse:  "There is no shared, substantive common good, nor are there any realistic prospects for devising one (at least in the immediately foreseeable future). Nor does secular discourse offer any realistic prospects for rationally resolving any of the many contested moral or political issues that emerge from the increasingly wide range of ways in which individuals self-determine the good for themselves within liberalism's politically protected formal ethics of rights ... As a result, public life today ... is increasingly riven by angry, uncivil rivals with incompatible views about what is good, true, and right…”

And his concluding comment: “Given the choice of panellists, last night's Q & A was destined to be what it was: the vacillation of opposing monologues, interspersed by tediously predictable questions, and smattered with a derisive and frankly disgusting Twitter-feed. It is hard to shake the impression that, instead of genuinely informing and contributing to our public conversation, Q & A brazenly went after ratings. If that was the object, then as a stunt it worked magnificently.

But, I feel compelled to ask - perhaps appropriately given the season - "what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" In a time when so many of our civil institutions have collapsed, when moral and political disagreement has descended into a state of agonistic hyperpluralism, doesn't the ABC now have a well-nigh sacred vocation to protect and indeed to enrich public debate, to make all things virtuous and excellent available to everybody, rather than to debase it even further by succumbing to sensationalism?”


Personally, I was disappointed with this edition of Q&A, which I generally find both interesting and informative, at least of the attitudes of panellists and audience.  Richard Dawkins was not at his best and rather put off by audience reaction, Tony Jones’ interruptions, and especially by George Pell’s doctrine-driven and generally unconvincing answers to profound questions.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 11:04 AM

Ad astra reply

jj
I never thought I would see you paying me a compliment.  Yet there you are saying I have much in common with the illustrious Andrew Bolt and Janet Albrechtsen.  Clearly, I have arrived – at least in your discerning eyes.

Since you confirm that “I always follow the evidence”, except of course in this piece, you may care to follow suit and furnish the evidence you have that would refute what I have written.  We will wait patiently.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 11:18 AM

Ad astra reply

Nasking
Thank you again for your encouragement.  The Coalition supporters are out in force this morning with some new ones joining the throng, presumably upset by the last two pieces.  It fascinates me that any amount of criticism of PM Gillard and her Government passes before them without comment, perhaps with applause, yet when someone exposes the Coalition’s deficiencies, its policy paucity, the outrageous rhetoric Tony Abbott emits almost every day, the growing fear, uncertainty and doubt that afflicts the alternative government, and their hubris based as it is on unreliable opinion polls of voting intention, they scream blue murder, shoot at the messenger, but never attempt any refutation.   If they have such a convincing story, such incontrovertible evidence, let’s see it.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 11:29 AM

Ad astra reply

TT
I did enjoy your comment this morning.  Like you, I thought the term ‘Credlinability’ was a clever creation.

Your comments about Q&A are spot on.  I looked for the link to it.  Here is the link to the questions asked: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3469101.htm

Here is the iview link to the video: http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/series/q%26a/

I’ll look with interest tonight at the session on the Vietnam conflict at 9.30 on ABC1, one that commenced with a fabricated event.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 11:36 AM

Ad astra reply

Cuppa
Thank you for your encouragement.  Most MSM journalists won’t go anywhere near the topic of the last few pieces.  Not only would any such attempt be ruled out by their editors and proprietors because they would not fit the narrative they are running, but as you can see from the reaction of Coalition supporters this morning, to this piece and the previous one, journalists would have these people coming down on them like a ton of bricks.  To them, criticism of our PM and her Government is kosher, criticism of the Opposition Leader and his Opposition is not.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 12:24 PM

NormanK

Ad astra

Thank-you for another great read - the headline is a corker! You have been a bit naughty though, putting words in the mouths (or thoughts in the minds) of Coalition MPs without any concrete proof.
Let's call it artistic licence.

Not that I disagree with the contentions that you have made. It must be extremely difficult for moderate Liberals to sit back and listen to "turning back the boats" for example when everyone knows that it is going to be physically, morally and politically impossible to do. On the subject of moderates, I haven't seen any evaluation of how the numbers changed at the last election. I know some moderates retired but have no idea by whom they were replaced. Is the climate change sceptic's camp bigger now than before the election for instance?

I also agree with you and BB that there is something odd in the way in which conservative MPs and their supporters are conducting themselves at present. Certainly they ought not to be displaying too much hubris but there is a sense that with the resolution of the leadership question within the ALP there is a down-turned look to the mouths of Shadow Ministers. Thomson was their last roll of the dice (that I can see) and since it seems apparent that he won't be called to account for anything before the 2013 election, the closer we get to July 1 the more desperate they will become to find a new talking point.

On the subject of Abbott's commitments should he win government, there is little point in trying to pin him down on specifics because he has given himself the ultimate 'Get Out of Goal Free' card - his commission of audit of government spending. In a recent speech he reiterated his intention to conduct an audit and that "the coalition's "signature" policies, including its direct action climate change policy, paid parental leave scheme and a so-called Green Army, would be quarantined from the audit."

In other words he has gone one better than core and non-core promises. It doesn't matter what he says during an election campaign because afterwards he will be able to say:
Education reform - can't afford it.
Healthcare reform - can't afford it.
Goodies attached to the carbon pricing scheme - can't afford them.
Company tax cuts - can't afford them.
Foreign aid increase - can't afford it.
Nanny subsidies - can't afford them.
NDIS - can't afford it.
The list is endless.

Should he win in late 2013 we are in for a terrible period of 12 to 18 months where the Coalition will be trying to unpick Labor legislation but faced with a hostile Senate. It will be a hamstrung government forced to bring down budgets that still include carbon pricing revenue and expenditure and MRRT revenue and expenditure; NBN contracts waiting to be signed by a hostile minister; refugee policy in limbo and so much more. Is it any surprise that serious-minded Coalition members would be scratching their heads to try to see a way through this impasse? It's not as though an Abbott-led government would be seen as being thwarted from implementing their own policies - rather that they can't instigate them until such time as they unravel all of Labor's reforms. How do you pay for Abbott's 'green army' while still compensating people for the effects of the carbon price? It will not be possible for new initiatives to run concurrently with extant regimes - the budget won't cope, especially with the current over-commitment of funds by Mr Abbott.

If Antony Green is correct it might take until mid-2015 before a double dissolution election could be called and even them there is no certainty that it would work in the Conservative's favour. Predicting an election outcome over 3 years out from the event is not just foolish, it is completely lacking in credibility. We could be in for 2 years of government inaction at a time when the economy is fragile and in transition - good reason for wise heads in the Liberal Party to be concerned.

These are two areas that should be focussed on - Abbott's lack of any policies other than his 'signature' ones and his unwillingness to commit to anything in core policy areas beyond 'aspirations' which means that he is asking for a blank cheque; and his hubristic commitment to another election if the Senate can not be brought to heel.

NormanK

April 12. 2012 12:40 PM

TalkTurkey

This is Richard Dawkins' letter to

richarddawkins says:
10 April 2012 at 12:48 am
I too was disappointed in this so-called debate. I don’t want to put all the blame on my jet lag (I had spent the whole night on the plane from Los Angeles and, incidentally, missed the whole of Easter Day crossing the Date Line). The two things that really threw me were, first, the astonishing bias of the audience and, second, the interfering chairman.
[Suck on that Wormtongue Jones : TT]

Right from the start when we were introduced, it was clear that the studio audience was dominated by a Catholic cheer squad. The cheered whenever the Cardinal said anything, however stupid and ignorant. To be fair to the ABC, I am confident that they were not responsible for stacking the audience.

[I am not at all so confident Richard, rather the reverse. The only statement of yours I disagree with. TT]

I believe it was genuinely first-come-first-served, and I can only think that the Catholics must have got off the mark very swiftly and rallied the troops. Our side just isn’t very good at doing that: perhaps it is one of our more endearing qualities. It was encouraging that the vote of viewers at large came down heavily on our side, to the evident surprise and discomfort of the studio audience. [76% : 24% thought that religion doesn't mke the world a better place or wtte. TT]

Such an extreme audience bias was a little off-putting, but it wouldn’t have mattered so much if the chairman had allowed us to have a proper debate instead of continually racing ahead to get in another dopey question. There were times when the Cardinal had doled out more than enough rope to hang himself but then, in the nick of time, the chairman blundered in and rescued him with yet another samey question from the audience. The only time the chairman did a good job was when he pressed the Cardinal on what seemed perilously close to anti-Semitism.

More and more, I am thinking that discussions of this kind are positively ruined by an interfering chairman. That was also true of my encounter with the Archbishop of Canterbury, which could have developed into an interesting conversation but for the meddling chairman who, to make matters worse, was a ‘philosopher’ with special training in obscurantism.

Cardinal Pell had evidently been well prepped, formally briefed (for example with his alleged fact that Darwin called himself a theist on page 92 of his autobiography). I knew it wasn’t true that Darwin was a theist and said so, but I obviously couldn’t counter the “Page 92″, which duly got a cheer from the touchline. I’ve since had a chance to look it up and, as expected, it refers to the way Darwin felt earlier in his life, not his maturity when he said he preferred to call himself ‘agnostic’ because the people “are not yet ripe for atheism”.

Another missed opportunity on my part was when the Cardinal nastily insinuated that I had not read to the end of Lawrence Krauss’s book having written the Foreword. Actually I didn’t write the Foreword, I wrote the Afterword, which suggests that the Cardinal hadn’t read the book. Indeed, the content of what he said suggests that he (or whoever briefed him) had read only the infamous review in the New York Times, again by a philosopher not a scientist.

Altogether an unsatisfactory evening. Much better was the radio interview the following morning, after I had had a night’s sleep and had my wits more properly about me:
mpegmedia.abc.net.au/.../bst_20120410_0815.mp3

Richard

TalkTurkey

April 12. 2012 12:47 PM

TalkTurkey

I t'ought I heard
A Tweetie Bird . . .

??????????????? Kiss

TalkTurkey

April 12. 2012 12:59 PM

Ad astra reply

NormanK
Thank you for your thoughtful comment, beginning with your perspicacious opening paragraph.

Your assessment of Tony Abbott’s strategy is sagacious.  I expect that that is exactly what he would do – use his ‘commission of audit of government spending’ to knock out anything that doesn’t suit his ideological position or his funding sources.  It is a sign of his intentions that he has excluded his signature policies: his hugely expensive PPL, and his costly Direct Action Plan that will cost families $1300 a year, generate no revenue, will be complicated technically, and for little benefit.  But don’t be surprised if he ditches this too; after all why bother if climate change is crap, likely his real assessment despite his protestations to the contrary.

He is, as your correctly say, setting up a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ option, that he will use more ruthlessly than John Howard use his ‘core and non-core promises’.

Site traffic has been so heavy this morning that I haven’t had time yet to read your links – that’s for this afternoon.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 01:02 PM

Ad astra reply

TT
Thanks for the Richard Dawkins mpeg link and your transcription of some of it.  I’ll listen to it after lunch.  Clearly, he is very upset, not just by the unconvincing answers of the Cardinal, but by the audience reaction and the ‘interfering chairman’, one that we have seen in interfering mode many times.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 01:29 PM

NormanK

Ad astra

It would seem that you have stirred up the natives.
Job well done!

Here are a couple of positive articles to balance things up a bit.

Why Swan is right to stick to his surplus plan
by Jessica Irvine     SMH
So, on balance, we should have a surplus, if only because it won't hurt too much and it could, at the margin, help shift the responsibility for macro-stability back to where it belongs - the Reserve Bank.
www.smh.com.au/.../...lus-plan-20120410-1wn2p.html

Labor's historic SME assault
by Rob Burgess     Business Spectator
The party of the blue-collar 'worker', recast in the late 20th century as the party of the 'employee' more generally, is attempting to become the party of the self-employed and the small employer.
www.businessspectator.com.au/.../Brendan-OConnor-small-business-SME-Labor-pd20120412-T9T6E

NormanK

April 12. 2012 02:19 PM

Casablanca

HSU corpse fouls Julia's nest. Moira Rayner April 11, 2012

Nobody will ever know whether union men have really done bad things because no one will, in my humble opinion, ever be charged. The police in NSW see nothing to investigate, and FWA's report is useless to the DPP which does not conduct investigations either so cannot determine whether anything further should be done in the way of, you know, throwing the book at folks.

www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=30930

Casablanca

April 12. 2012 03:36 PM

Ad astra reply

TT
That was an appealing interview of Richard Dawkins by Fran Kelly.  He was more articulate there than on Q&A, maybe because she interrupted him less than did Tony Jones, and certainly more courteously.  Even allowing for his jet lag on Q&A, the way in which audience reaction and inappropriate Jones’ interruptions impaired his answers to questions shows how potent these unfortunate intrusions are.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 03:37 PM

Ad astra reply

NormanK
Thank you for the links to the Jessica Irvine and Rob Burgess articles.  I was amazed to see Jessica supporting a return to surplus when many of her colleagues say the opposite.  In trying to ascertain the reason why commentators have diametrically opposed views on the surplus, it seems it boils down to their preferred model of economics on the one hand, and their predictions, based on that model, of the outcome that arises from achieving a surplus, versus not bothering to do so.

Rob Burgess’ article is a goldmine of information about SME, which I have discovered means ‘small and medium enterprises’.  I have saved it.

I still haven’t got to read your other links!

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 03:47 PM

Ad astra reply

Casablanca
Thanks for the Eureka Street link.  I found Moira Rayner’s piece informative and speculative.  It will be fascinating to see how the HSU saga plays out.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 03:52 PM

Ad astra reply

Folks
While we have been having sensible dialogue on this piece, there has been flurry of comments from Coalition huggers on the previous piece, which you may care to read, if for no other reason than to see the calibre of comment that comes from them and their seeming incapacity or unwillingness to mount counter arguments.  Shooting at the messenger in derogatory terms seems so much easier for them.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 03:53 PM

NormanK

Ad astra

I hope you watched the video of the interview with Brendan O'Connor. If not, I recommend it highly. Some of Labor's strategy is starting to emerge and dare I say that there might be a 'big picture' involved. I'm waiting anxiously for the budget now, I want to see where Swan and Gillard choose to stimulate with redirected money.


Casablanca

Veeerrry classy Gravatar!

NormanK

April 12. 2012 04:01 PM

TalkTurkey

Plain Packaging!
Cardinal Pell is sight to behold!
The Archbigot in crimson and gold!
But in sackcloth or hessian
When taking confession
His flockers would drop the man cold!

TalkTurkey

April 12. 2012 04:07 PM

NormanK

Ad astra

I had meant to also include that the more reasonable economic commentators are willing to concede that if budget cuts are made in areas that don't affect low income eaners or areas of demand in the economy Swan could achieve his surplus and stimulate the weaker sections of the economy AND drive interest rates down which will hopefully lift consumer confidence.
The two main camps that I can see in the 'surplus' argument are the nervous nellies crying "what if it all goes pear shaped due to external forces" and the steady as she goes camp who are happy to rely on Treasury forecasts of trend growth. Everything depends on where Swan chooses to make some savings and where he chooses to assign small parcels of discretionary spending. Some of the nervous nellies have blinkered imaginations that allow them to only see cuts coming from services (with subsequent job losses). I suspect we will see some more creative accounting as well.

I haven't seen many commentators willing to acknowledge that by bringing some spending forward from next financial year to this Swan is writing cheques that will be cashed in 2012/13 i.e. it will be stimulus at a time of budgetary contraction. Related to this is the nonsense of it being a $40 billion turnaround in a single budget. So much of what Swan has loaded on to this years deficit is not recurrent spending that I suspect the turnaround is more like about $10 billion - just as Jessica Irvine spelled out. If Swan gets this budget right it will be a feather in his cap and a great launching pad for the Gillard government's attempts at re-election.

NormanK

April 12. 2012 04:17 PM

Ad astra reply

NormanK
Yes I did watch the Brendon O’Connor video interview by Bob Burgess.  It was a well-conducted and informative interview.  I love Burgess’ initial paragraph: “For political historians, the two years preceding the 2013 election will be notable for the ALP's extraordinarily audacious attempt to steal the Liberal Party's lunch.

www.businessspectator.com.au/.../Brendan-OConnor-small-business-SME-Labor-pd20120412-T9T6E


Your additional comments on the surplus make good sense.  While the Government is getting on with governing, Coalition supporters seem to have taken their eyes off the ball, and are looking at the final scoreboard that predicts a massive win.  Any sportsman knows how imprudent that is.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 04:47 PM

Ad astra reply

NormanK
At last I’ve read your links, and what a fine collection they are.  The ones on the surplus are informative, especially Greg Jericho’s beautifully illustrated and written pieces.  The commentaries about Gerard Henderson’s puff piece about Tony Abbott and the carbon tax make great reading.  Thank you.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 05:19 PM

adelaidegirl

Dear Mr Bushfire
I love your long pieces - such clarity and purpose in your writing.  I wish your writing got more exposure as it is so logical and without rancour, while pointing out the blindingly obvious - like the lack of Coalition policy/analysis.
What is even more astonishing is the time and care you take to respond to commenters like jj.  Keep up the excellent work!

adelaidegirl

April 12. 2012 05:25 PM

debbiep

Hi All Smile

AA another insightful article  followed  with great comments by all - makes interesting reading .

TT thanks for the awareness on Richard Dawkins letter. I have been feeling frustrated since the debate on QandA. Tony Jones has continued to be  very disruptive in his interviews. He did so again on Lateline in the coming days after and it seems to be recurring more often . Mainly towards the government- all under the excuse he needs to 'rush it' .  Someone needs to tell him it's quality not quantity  that usually will win in the end.

oh, and btw  Great links NK.

debbiep

April 12. 2012 05:34 PM

jj

Bushfire Bill,

You are missing the point. Sure, the coalition is not producing many policies for the public to observe or the Government to pick apart, but neither should they! You tell me of another opposition in Australian federal political history (apart from Hewsen...and look how well he did) that has laid out their policy platform, or even a slither of it, before an election is called. So what if Abbott states that the nature of the parliament is tenuous. It doesnt change the fact that the most likely circumstance in which there is a change in Government is via the people, and thus, the coalition has a right to wait until then to release his party's policies.

As for the analysis of Gillard's performance, it goes well beyond what you have stated! Look at the editorial pieces and stories on the High Courts ruling on the Malaysian solution; the coverage of Gillard's broken promise; the coverage of her poor communication skills; the coverage of the Craig Thompson Affair; the coverage of the Australia Network bungle etc etc. I have read multiple pieces by the press gallery that have aid out multiple policy reasons as to why Gillard is doing so badly. Sure, there hasnt been much policy analysis on the Coalition, but: 1. they have not announced many new policies (as they have a right not to); and 2. most other oppositions have not had much scrutiny of their policies in the past...just look back to the Kevin07 campaign to understand this; and 3. it is true that the Gillard Government has made so many policy and communication errors, and so therefore such bungles have taken up all of the air time.

I know you think that Abbott=Evil and Gillard=Saint (or some other faultless figure), but time after time Gillard has proven herself to be a hopeless and contradictory leader, and time and time again Abbott has proven himself to be a very different man to the stereotype people such as yourselves attempt to paint him as. When you open your eyes and look at the policy, polling and first hand evidence, it is clear that the Gillard Government has not been a good one, and it is more than likely that they will be booted out at the next election. To say otherwise is just plain ridiculous.

jj

April 12. 2012 05:55 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

This Abbott fellow is nothing more than a bounder. Mention his name and the feeling of fed-upness rises dramatically. Is anyone out there willing to leave a gardening tool in his driveway? Perhaps a shovel.

Sir Ian Crisp

April 12. 2012 06:47 PM

NormanK

Ad astra

This might be the source of our new-found friends on the previous thread.

Countless Accomplishments
by Tim Blair     Daily telegraph Blog
A rare – possibly unique – Labor optimist explains why Julia Gillard will win the 2013 election:
blogs.news.com.au/.../

NormanK

April 12. 2012 07:18 PM

TalkTurkey

Thanks for the links to Richard Dawkins rightly` go to NK.

That said, I would have written some of my thoughts at the time if my computer hadn't kept giving up on me. And the things I would have commented on were the very things which Dawkins himself found so objectionable.

  

TalkTurkey

April 12. 2012 08:34 PM

Jason

jj,
  I see you still write a good line based on your and the "coalitions" "wet dreams"
Grow up you little "piss ant" and start putting up a bit more than the usual crap we have to endure!
If you are part of the future that Tony Windsor has to face in the seat of "New England" No wonder he's held it so long,you and Barnaby are nothing but the idiot sons of the establishment!
You like to lecture "us" and yet your local branch of the "coalition" wonder about like the 3 stooges as you seem unable to get rid of an independant despite the money from the Liberals and Nationals!

Long may you and your "kissing cousins" give advice to the coalition!

Jason

April 12. 2012 09:14 PM

Ad astra reply

deppiep
Thanks for your kind remarks.  I’m glad you enjoyed the piece.

jj
I’ll leave it to BB to answer you in any detail, that is if he considers it worthwhile responding to you, but I see that like other Coalition supporters you run the line that the Opposition should not have to reveal its policies well in advance of the election, and you quote Kevin Rudd as doing just that.  Well, whether Rudd did it or not, I believe it is unconscionable for Tony Abbott to refuse details of his policies when he is angling almost every day for an immediate election.  

Are we to believe that were the election to be announced now that he would have a suite of well developed policies, fully costed, to present to the public immediately, or would he simply recycle tired old Howard policies, which he regularly reminds us ‘worked then, so they will work now’?  Has this man any vision for this nation as it enters the Asian Century, with an economy that is vastly different from the Howard years?  The electorate has the right to know now what this man would do when he replaces a Government he condemns in such derogatory terms, yet all we have had is his PPL, his Direct Action Plan and a thought bubble about a nanny scheme.  Is there anything else?

NormanK
Thank you for the Tim Blair link.  That does explain from where all the Coalition huggers came - they are Tim’s followers!

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 09:15 PM

Ad astra reply

Folks
I'm calling it a day to watch the ABC program on Vietnam.

Ad astra reply

April 12. 2012 09:30 PM

Patricia WA

NormanK - interesting to read those 80 comments on Ad Astra's post about Julia Gillard winning the 2013 election.  99% adverse and hostile to an unbelievable degree. And with all that knocking I could find no constructively negative comments at all.  No one gave a substantial reason for their sneering rejection of our belief in this government's competence.

So, it's not just that the Opposition has no policies to speak of;  they and their supporters seem incapable of mounting a  credible critique of the government's policies, i.e those legislated for and already in force and those about to be enacted.  They seem to think that repeating over and over again that Labor is unpopular and that people hate the Prime Minister is enough.  

I can't believe that people who write those sort of letters really represent over half of our population.  This morning I caught the tail end of a Radio National interview with (the Chairman of The Association for People with Disability?) discussing how widely and how much appreciated is the government's proposed NDIS and particularly the level of community consultation that has gone into its preparation.  I've not so far been able to link into it to listen to it in full.  Do those haters of Julia Gillard and her ministers not know of anyone who has not been touched in some way by the tragedy of disability?

I mention that as only one policy initiative demonstrating the level of real concern and compassion shown by this government which I am sure will be considered and appreciated by many Australians when they vote in 2013.
  

Patricia WA

April 12. 2012 10:36 PM

archiearchive

@ Patricia WA, I have made changes to the "incompetence" article. I fear it turned nasty. Perhaps I should find subjects I am less intense about. (About which I am less intense??) archiearchive.wordpress.com/.../

archiearchive

April 12. 2012 11:14 PM

NormanK

Patricia WA

They are not so very different from us. No doubt they feel that they have talked these things to death, the answers are obvious because they are reinforced in the media of their choosing and through participation on blogs and they feel entitled to speak for most if not all Australians - the polls tell them so. They feel they belong on the side of 'right' and that it is incontrovertible.

The main difference (which I'm sure you will hasten to point out) is that most of us would be willing to engage in meaningful debate that centres around factual evidence. These days it would seem that not only is everyone entitled to their own opinion, they are also entitled to their own facts. No good would come from engagement with them except to remind us that we must take great care to keep an open mind at all times lest we become exactly like them.

We are all products of what we consume and they are on a different diet from us.

NormanK

April 12. 2012 11:32 PM

NormanK

Unemployment, steady at 5.2%; media bull on carbon tax, increasing
by Greg Jericho     Grog's Gamut
Ahhh so Country Energy uses could be paying $381 a year extra, but those who get electricity from other providers would be paying less of an increase. So really the $380 is at best an “up to $380”… Oh well, at least that up to $380 is all because of the Carbon Tax, right? I mean the headline couldn’t contain two misleading parts could it?
grogsgamut.blogspot.com.au/.../...dia-bull-on.html

Phone-Hacking Scandal Comes to the U.S.
by Mike Giglio     The Daily Beast
In an exclusive interview, a London lawyer reveals his plans to take on Murdoch on behalf of clients who believe their phones were hacked in America.
Fleet Street lawyer Mark Lewis is coming to America this week—and he’s bringing the phone-hacking scandal with him.
www.thedailybeast.com/.../...-comes-to-the-us.html

Truth-Squading the Piracy Claims
by Sharona Coutts     Global Mail
"Smartcards", "pirates", "conditional access providers" - if you're feeling baffled by the almighty fight that's been waged between the Australian Financial Review and Rupert Murdoch's papers in the past two weeks, there's little wonder. And you are not alone.
www.theglobalmail.org/.../

Stop the Carbon Price Lies
by Dan Gulberry     The Daily Derp
On April 11th, 2012, The Courier Mail (a Newscorp fish wrapper), published not one, not two, but three articles claiming the Salvation Army would suffer under the upcoming Carbon Price arrangement.
This is despite the fact the Salvation Army said nothing of the sort in their media release of July 11, 2011.
thedailyderp.net/.../

The pots and kettles
by George Megalogenis     Meganomics
I’ve never understood journalism’s circular firing squad, where one columnist attacks another.
Readers surely want a critique of those with power, or who aspire to it.
But a challenge was issued the other day by economist Henry Ergas. He decided I was an idiot, which, I concede, is an occupational hazard for me.
blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/.../

Marketing clean energy to Kath and Kim
by Tristan Edis     Climate Spectator
The recent appointment of a new CEO for the Clean Energy Council, David Green, brings into focus the limited time left until the next federal election. During this period the clean energy and greenhouse abatement industry sectors need to secure a reasonably stable regulatory environment in which to invest and grow, irrespective of the election result.
www.climatespectator.com.au/.../marketing-clean-energy-kath-and-kim

#47 Getting Roved- another version of Fox 101 from masters of manipulation
by Uther's Say
Getting Roved is another variation of Fox 101 a core theme of Cheers and Tears for America: Broken Media. Put simply it is the act of accusing opponents of one’s own greatest weaknesses. The classic is the constant whine of the propaganda press for the one per cent hollering about the bias of the “main stream media” also owned by the one percent and therefore just as committed to the same outcomes as those they are accused by.
http://utherssay.com/

Attacks on the constitutionality of the carbon tax reinforce the need for complementary policies
by Neil Perry     The Conversation
..... the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) – recently commissioned a legal opinion on the constitutionality of the carbon tax. It concludes that the carbon tax is unconstitutional because carbon dioxide emissions are, from a legal perspective, state property and the federal government can’t tax state property.
*****
..... it is hard to believe that any State government would follow through with a challenge. If successful, the States would then be liable for any damage their carbon emission “property” causes in the future.
theconversation.edu.au/attacks-on-the-constitutionality-of-the-carbon-tax-reinforce-the-need-for-complementary-policies-6055

Now Tony Abbott’s got a great big new tax – and the Murdoch media think it is funny
by redglitterx     Turn Left 2013
Nothing makes me laugh out loud more than the thought of paying more tax to fund nannies for the wealthy subsidised from the taxes of the working poor.
http://turnleft2013.wordpress.com/

HSU corpse fouls Julia's nest
by Moira Rayner     Eureka Street
The HSU corpse is stinking out not only its own but the house of any union, and the hung parliament's as well. No, it isn't Julia's fault.
www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=30930

ANZ: Has the unemployment rate peaked?
by Christopher Joye     Aussie Macro Moments
Some excellent analysis from ANZ--they basically argue that the monthly unemployment rate is probably a better (or less noisy) proxy for the economy's growth pulse than the quarterly National Accounts' point estimates. More specifically, they suggest that a stable 5.2% unemployment rate implies the economy is growing at around trend:
http://tinyurl.com/7lfcdbb

NormanK

April 13. 2012 12:37 AM

Patricia WA

I found George Megalogenis almost incomprehensible in your linked article as I read it tonight, NormanK.   Maybe because it's late, and maybe because I thought it a surprisingly thin- skinned response from him to criticism from a fellow economist/columnist writing in his own paper - both were nit picking it seemed to me.  Most sensible and interesting sentence in his article was at the end.  As he conceded.....

Readers surely want a critique of those with power, or who aspire to it.

Now, ain't that the truth!  If only he and fellow journalists put more time into writing critiques of those who aspire to power!

Patricia WA

April 13. 2012 03:05 AM

Cuppa

Great to see you back wielding The Sword, Bushfire Bill. Your absence from these worthy pages was too long!

I'm know I'm not alone in wishing you'd return to writing feature pieces, as previously. Your writing warrants top-of-thread prominence.

Cuppa

April 13. 2012 08:12 AM

jj

Jason,

Pure vile is all you possess. No wonder the Labor Party is in the gutter with members such as you!

Your advice seems to be doing the Labor a whole lot of good at the moment (snigger, snigger)!

Ad Astra,

Whether you believe the Coalition has policies ready to release the moment an election is called is irrelevant! Like every other opposition in history, the Coalition has a right to wait until an election is called before it starts to release them. You were not demanding this of any of the previous Labor politicians, so dont demand it of the Coalition.

If you weren't so selective you would know that there are plenty of other policies they have announced other than those you claim. Plus, who says that they cant be policies proposed by the Howard Government? What authority do you have to say that they wont work?

Keep sticking your head in the sand Ad Astra, all you and your Labor mates are doing is helping the Coalition!

jj

April 13. 2012 09:18 AM

Cuppa

Whether you believe the Coalition has policies ready to release the moment an election is called is irrelevant!

It is fully relevant because the Noalition themselves said they have policies ready to go at short notice. Note the date, 10 months ago...

Phillip Coorey, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 June 2011

...The opposition frontbencher Andrew Robb, who is in charge of policy development, said that by tomorrow, the Coalition would have 40 policies ready to go ''in the event of the government collapsing''.

www.smh.com.au/.../...r-reform-20110628-1gp5b.html

__________

Pure vile is all you possess

"Vile" is an adjective; the word you'd be looking for here is a noun.

Pedantic, you say? Well if you're going to get into character assessments of worthy and decent contributors to this blog, then such is perfectly in order.

Cuppa

April 13. 2012 09:43 AM

Michael

JJ has constant consonant problems. "n" when he meant "m" in 'tones'; "v" where he presumably meant "b" in 'vile'.

If only Shouldabeen's policies were so visible, and their inadequacies so easily exposed.

Michael

April 13. 2012 09:49 AM

jj

Cuppa,

That goes against what Ad Astra is saying. Astra is saying that he doesnt believe they have any policies to offer and that they are just bluffing the electorate. You have provided evidence that they indeed do have policies to offer, but are waiting until and election is called to release them, just as all previous oppositions have.

jj

April 13. 2012 10:09 AM

Cuppa

You have provided evidence that they indeed do have policies to offer

I have done nothing of the sort. I have provided evidence that they SAID they (would) have policies to go at short notice. There is a difference.

Of course, what the Noalition SAY is very often different to their real intention, or what the facts actually are.

You should be suspicious about their policy coyness. Peter van Onselen, The Australian, 10 June 2010:

He is now telling colleagues he doesn't want to frighten the horses, suggesting Abbott wants to lower his profile and keep the focus on the government's failings instead of what the opposition's policies in government might actually look like.

www.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-e6frg6z6-1225877645540

Did you ever wonder what "policies" they're huding under a bushel that would frighten the horses?

Tell us why they deserve your support when they deliberately whitewash "policies" that would frighten the horses?

Do you believe parties should be transparent? If so, how do you excuse their policy opaqueness?

Cuppa

April 13. 2012 11:39 AM

Jason

Bob Brown resigned as leader of Green. Leaving Senate in June.

No link as yet on sky news screen.

Jason

April 13. 2012 12:13 PM

NormanK

Jason

Wow!

NormanK

April 13. 2012 12:23 PM

Jason

THE political champion of the environmental movement, Bob Brown, today stood down as Greens leader and will quit Parliament in June after 16 years in the Senate.

He will be replaced by his deputy and fellow Tasmanian Christine Milne.



Read more: www.news.com.au/.../story-e6frfku0-1226325656165

Jason

April 13. 2012 01:07 PM

Cuppa

Bob Brown is one hell of a decent guy.

Cuppa

April 13. 2012 01:12 PM

Patricia WA

Clean, green living and thinking written into every inch of him!  A good man.  

Patricia WA

April 13. 2012 01:52 PM

Ad astra reply

Jason, NormanK, Cuppa, Patricia WA
I share your admiration of Bob Brown, a decent human being, one who was prepared to call things the way they are, unlike most politicians.  We shall miss his frankness and his wisdom.

Ad astra reply

April 13. 2012 03:33 PM

Michael

Bob Brown also has an intransigent streak. If it wasn't so set in him this country would have had an Emissions Trading Scheme established years ago.

Which would also almost have certainly meant no Tony Abbott as Opposition Leader, and a whole different Australia we'd be living in right here and now (no 'Juliar' for a start).

No point in appointing the man 'Saint Bob'. He was and is a politician, more attractive to those on the Left than many another, but like every politician, a man with a barrow to push he occasionally refused(s) to direct down an alternative track.

Michael

April 13. 2012 03:45 PM

Casablanca

PM & Premiers doing a Press Conference on ABC24

Adam Bandt elected Deputy of Greens - good choice.

Casablanca

April 13. 2012 03:54 PM

Bushfire Bill

I have read multiple pieces by the press gallery that have aid out multiple policy reasons as to why Gillard is doing so badly. Sure, there hasnt been much policy analysis on the Coalition, but: 1. they have not announced many new policies (as they have a right not to); and 2. most other oppositions have not had much scrutiny of their policies in the past...just look back to the Kevin07 campaign to understand this; and 3. it is true that the Gillard Government has made so many policy and communication errors, and so therefore such bungles have taken up all of the air time.

Utter crap JJ.

This is a hung parliament. Abbott is one heartbeat away from power in the event of a health issue, a car accident or a criminal conviction.

He should have policies ready to go, no ifs or buts. This is not Rudd 07. It is an unprecedented situation that could change quite literally overnight.

He reckons he's ready to govern, tomorrow if necessary. Even if not tomorrow, we're told that he is a certainty to win next year.

Let him prove it by rolling out a few policies.

Bushfire Bill

April 13. 2012 04:13 PM

Patricia WA

Michael, agreed about Bob Brown's resistance to compromise, but today is not the day to dwell on that.  Gracious goodbyes should be he order of the day.  Tony Abbott clearly doesn't know how to do that quite as well as the PM does.  

Patricia WA

April 13. 2012 04:31 PM

jj

Bushfire Bill,

He can roll them out when he wants to...and it is obvious that he doesn't want to.

How is he not releasing policies until an election is called in a hung parliament, any different to not releasing your costings a day before the polls open?

Just because you want to see some policy bungles from the opposition does not mean that the Coalition should follow your ridiculous political judgment.

jj

April 13. 2012 04:44 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

JJ has constant consonant problems. "n" when he meant "m" in 'tones'; "v" where he presumably meant "b" in 'vile'.

If only Shouldabeen's policies were so visible, and their inadequacies so easily exposed.
Michael

Stick around Michael because, when; Lyn returns., you’ll have a -  great time,, onboard the comma, apostrophe, and sundry,. sins of punctuation train.

While we wait for the train would you mind tossing a mild rebuke Cuppa’s way?

I'm know I'm not alone in wishing... .
Cuppa

Sir Ian Crisp

April 13. 2012 05:01 PM

Cuppa

The Noalition said 10 months ago they had policies ready to go at a moment's notice.

But then Abbott has also told colleagues he doesn't want to "frighten the horses" about what the Coaliition's policies would look like in government.

So the policies, if indeed they do exist (rather than being just a figment of Liberal spin) are being kept from the public until... when? Until it's too late for the public to decline?

Surely that's more dishonest than the Liberal/media allegation of Gillard "lie" about the carbon tax.

They are not even going to tell us what they plan to do.

Who in good faith could vote for them if that's their attitude?

What are they hiding? jj should be demanding to know, rather than coming here making tragic excuses for Liberal trickery.

Shifty is as shifty does.


Cuppa

April 13. 2012 05:01 PM

NormanK

Oh dear! Now the token Prime Minister and the real Prime Minister are both women!
How will Tony Abbott cope?

NormanK

April 13. 2012 05:28 PM

Ad astra reply

NormanK
That may be more than Tones can bear.  Surrounded by women - women at home, women in his office, woman deputy, women political leaders, women governors - it's all to much.  Call in a female therapist.

Ad astra reply

April 13. 2012 07:05 PM

Patricia WA

Anyone with doubts about Kathy Jackson as an honest and regretful leftie whistle blower can read all about her pro bono legal advisor, QC Stuart Wood, at www.vexnews.com/.../ where it is interesting to learn that

Wood recently emerged as an interested person in the HSU case, advising Liberal shadow minister Eric Abetz on the legalities on the release of the Fair Work Australia report.

Sue at cafewhispers.wordpress.com/.../#comment-70849 first noticed Wood was as  member of the H R Nichols Society and there's been a lively thread there since.

Patricia WA

April 13. 2012 07:34 PM

DMW

Have you voted in the Sydney Writers Centre [i]Best Australian Blogs 2012'  Peoples' Choice Award?

www.sydneywriterscentre.com.au/.../...schoice.html

DMW

April 13. 2012 08:42 PM

Michael

I doubt my punctuation would prove as falsely constructed as your 'knighthood', Sir Ian.

Michael

April 13. 2012 08:53 PM

nasking


I wrote my views on Bob Brown here:

cafewhispers.wordpress.com/.../#comment-70902

but I thought this worth repeating:

Bob Brown moving aside for renewal purposes demonstrates he’s far less stubborn, egotistical and power mad than the likes of John Howard & Rupert Murdoch.

Some hang around like a bad smell…and do their organisations no favours.

Instead of the Liberal party getting a fresh look and leader…Howard hung around beyond his ‘use by date’ and now we’re stuck with one of his parliamentary bed sores.

The obsessive power mad Rupert Murdoch tries to impose a family clone or two on us…whilst the reputation of his corporation continues on the downward spiral.

Two thumbs up to Bob.

A true democrat.

N’

nasking

April 13. 2012 09:10 PM

DMW

Interesting

The prisoners’ dilemma and refugee policy Stephen King @ CoreEcon
The federal government has apparently designed a great prisoners’ dilemma to be played by asylum seekers and refugees.
http://economics.com.au/?p=8696

In the interests of further edumification from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner%27s_dilemma

DMW

April 13. 2012 09:33 PM

NormanK

DMW

That is one of the real anomalies of Australia's migration policy. If memory serves me correctly Howard combined the two quotas, presumably as some form of deterrent whereby once all of the places are used up no-one gets to come for the rest of the year i.e. no family reunions for those already established here. Perhaps it was a gesture for domestic consumption, influencing the attitudes of those who are sympathetic to the plight of asylum seekers in camps and channelling hostility at boat arrivals - hence the notion of queue jumpers.

I would love to have it explained to me why this is a good idea and why Labor has not reversed the decision. The party platform endorses a lift in the overall intake (dependent on the Malaysia swap going ahead) but surely this is not much different. The problem is that an open quota on on-shore processed refugees will be portrayed as an open door policy - "come on down! As many as you like!"
I see Morrison is already using "let 'em in, let 'em out" to disparage community detention.

Having said that, Labor should just bite the bullet on this one.

NormanK

April 13. 2012 10:14 PM

DMW

Hi NK
it is my (getting more addled) memory that Howard did combine (and reduce?) the humanitarian intake.

The unfortunate thing is that both sides pander to the lowest common denominator redneck focus group thinking on the problem.

Oh well, such is life in the current climate.

DMW

April 13. 2012 10:25 PM

Tom of Melbourne

"Anyone with doubts about Kathy Jackson as an honest and regretful leftie whistle blower can read all about her pro bono legal advisor, QC Stuart Wood, at www.vexnews.com/.../ where it is interesting to learn that...

That's great news. It probably means that Craig Thomson didn't use any members money on personal expenses or prostitutes. What else would be the relevance of this point?

Tom of Melbourne

April 14. 2012 01:46 AM

Jason

Tom of Melbourne,
I must say it's good to see you got out of "North Korea" as the flight director in one piece!

Jason

April 14. 2012 11:25 AM

Ad astra reply

Folks
You will have noticed, at the top of the left panel on this blog site, the icon for the Sydney Writers’ Centre Best Australian Blogs 2012 Competition People’s Choice.

Someone nominated The Political Sword for this competition, and I agreed to enter it in the ‘Commentary’ category.  The winner of each category is to be selected by a panel at the Sydney Writers’ Centre.  

However, an opportunity has been afforded for anyone to select a blog for the People’s Choice award.  If you wish to enter your vote, click the icon and follow the instructions.  The Political Sword is to be found near the end of a long list of entries (there are over a thousand) amongst those starting with ‘T’.

Ad astra reply

April 14. 2012 11:32 AM

DMW

For a quiet Saturday read you will find some interesting links here:
nocrapapp.com/.../

DMW

April 14. 2012 11:42 AM

DMW

NK,
someone heard my dummy spit about focus group pandering

Vision? Party leaders have eyes only for polls Lenore Taylor @NationalTimes
Like the unwanted suitor who appears ever more pathetic the more he seeks to please, politicians appear to be despised by focus groups.
Yes, that's right, politicians are constantly criticised for pandering to focus groups, but the focus groups really, really hate them.

www.nationaltimes.com.au/.../...0120413-1wyni.html

DMW

April 14. 2012 01:01 PM

Ad astra reply

Folks
I have just posted The three stooges play budget games.

www.thepoliticalsword.com/.../...budget-games.aspx

Ad astra reply

April 14. 2012 03:26 PM

NormanK

DMW

I see you've been taking your cynical pills again. Smile

The slaves in my brain are working on a major rant about that type of article about that type of survey. Suffice to say that they make me very angry.

If there was a concerted push by all media houses to get across the impression that Eddie McGuire is one of the great intellects of the 21st Century I reckon it would take about 12-18 months and we would see that opinion reflected in a survey. Modern citizens are like a herd of sheep with little, if any, capacity or willingness to think for themselves. Perhaps it has ever been thus and therefore it is by sheer good luck that we haven't sleep-walked our way into complete anarchy. I despair - I really do.

If the Gillard government is poll-driven and focus group obsessed then they are really bad at it.

NormanK

April 14. 2012 04:23 PM

Fiona

Patricia WA, that's fascinating about Wood QC. I jes lerve the smell of the HR Nicholls Society in the evening ...

Fiona

Comments are closed