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Why does Julia Gillard have so much trouble getting her message across?

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Thursday, 19 April 2012 17:27 by Ad astra
How many times have you heard this question asked, or its more pointed version: ‘Julia Gillard just can’t seem to get her message across’? Or as Barrie Cassidy said recently: ‘Even when she has a good message to get out, she can’t seem do so’. What a mystery it is that even the good stories don’t get out. How can that be?

These questions touch on complex issues. With all such issues, the answers too are complex. So let’s not race down the simplistic track and attempt a single explanation, and suggest a single magic bullet that will fix the problem. In medicine there is an ever-present urge to look for just one reason for a patient’s condition. Known as ‘Ockam’s razor’ it argues that when diagnosing an injury, illness or disease a doctor should strive to look for the fewest possible causes that will account for all the symptoms. Experience in the generalist discipline of family medicine though cautions against such an approach. There, complexity is so often the rule that seeking a magic bullet cure for a single entity is imprudent, and anyway, probability theory tells us that statistically it’s more likely that a patient has several common diseases, rather than a single rarer disease that explains his or her myriad symptoms. Wikipedia has more details. Politics is similar.

This piece therefore attempts to tease out the many factors, but in the end identifies one that in my opinion is the major one, one that is obvious enough if anyone looks with unbiased eyes, but not one that is easily remedied.

Any analysis of messaging would dissect the subject into the message, the messenger, the audience, and the medium by which it is transmitted.

The message
A clear statement of the issue, well articulated into an understandable message, is the starting point of good communication. If a message can be stated simply in terms the audience can readily understand, so much the better. This is not easy though when transmitting messages about complex issues, such as, for example, climate change and how to counter it. The Government has struggled to convince the electorate of the danger of global warming to our planet and future generations that will result from increasing carbon emissions. It has been much easier to create a negative message. Tony Abbott’s words: ‘climate change is crap’, although later disowned by him, turned out to be a simple but devastatingly powerful message that reinforced the views of the denialists/skeptics, and cast doubt into the minds of the not-totally-convinced believers.

The Government’s remedy, an Emissions Trading Scheme preceded by a fixed price on carbon, proved to be much harder to transmit to a generally uninformed and largely disinterested audience. It is complex both in its conception and the way it works. How much simpler was it for Abbott to create the negative message – ‘a toxic tax on everything’, ‘a tax that will drive up and up and up the price of everything’. His messages resonated with the public, frightened by the prospect of paying more and more for no immediate or tangible benefit. Abbott didn’t have to project the minds of the voters to the future, for most of them an improbably distant view of danger and possible disaster. He had time on his side, so his message could be simple – the carbon tax is toxic to households and businesses and he will get rid of it.

So the Government needed supremely sophisticated wordsmiths to craft clear messages in bite-sized bits that were suitable for contemporary media, with its emphasis on brevity and entertainment. Messaging needs to take account of the medium through which messages are transmitted. TV allows but a very short time for transmission; radio is more generous except when shock jocks set out to stir and startle; tabloids condense their messages into short strident front page headlines and the broadsheets often follow suit, even if there is more detailed material inside. It is only the more serious periodicals that regularly give considered analysis and fact-based opinion, and of course, the Fifth Estate. Yet the bulk of voters use the former media; a tiny minority read the latter.

On this blogsite we have criticized the Government’s media unit for not crafting more lucid and understandable messages about Government policies and plans, and the reasons behind them. We recognize that this is difficult because the matters are complex, and the messages likewise. But it ought to be possible to do better.

Note that the nature of contemporary media with its obsession with entertainment, its emphasis on short sharp messages, its unwillingness in most instances to deal exhaustively with complex issues in the way the ABC and SBS do regularly for their limited audiences, governs the way in which the message is crafted, and forces authors into a style of writing that is inimical to complex issues. We are stuck with our media, so the Government needs to work out how to use it effectively.

Already we see the emergence of a common denominator in the problem of getting messages across – the media.

The messenger
The Government messenger that cops the most flak by far is Julia Gillard. Wayne Swan did initially, but the media have eased off him, and now that Kevin Rudd is in the background he seems also to be off limits for strident criticism. But with our PM as the target there is plenty of scope for the media to criticize, demean and mock.

How many journalists have commented on her slow ocker way of speaking? Some have suggested that she get lessons in public speaking, even in elocution. While there is good advice that communication experts might give her about the words to use and how to deliver them, I doubt if they would advise her to change her voice. What would the media say? I already hear it saying, with lashings of mockery: ‘Is this the real Julia, or a new Julia?’ Can you imagine the ridicule? Those who dislike her voice, her way of speaking, will go on condemning her for it. In my opinion, nothing she could do to appease them would make the slightest difference. I don’t find it any more unusual than Bob Hawke’s drawl, or John Howard's way of speaking that imitators found such good fun. It’s irrelevant to those listening for the message, rather than finding fault.

Other criticisms include accusations of being ‘wooden’ or ‘condescending’. You will remember the ‘wooden’ appellation that originated with her appearances during the Queensland floods. That tag gathered momentum and was soon on many journalistic lips. It’s now in the archives waiting for resurrection when needed. ‘Condescending’ is a label often applied. This is a matter of perception. I have never found her so, but clearly others do. And when they do the media is all over it, transmitting the message: ‘this PM is condescending’. Is it any wonder those susceptible to such a suggestion quickly embrace the notion that this woman speaks down to us, and as we know, nobody likes that. ‘Schoolmarmish’ is another way of saying much the same thing. The media has the option of promoting such terms, or not doing so. It chooses generally to do so. Is that simply to entertain and titillate its audience, or is it a deliberate ploy to demean and more sinisterly, imprint an adverse image of our PM on its audience to advance a political purpose: the deposing of her and her Government? Some will regard the latter proposition as evidence of paranoia, but as a wise old physician once said to me: ‘If it’s true, it’s not paranoia’.

And if a sinister attribute can be applied to the PM, this has even more power than remarks about her physical appearance. To call someone a liar is a potent weapon to demean, to diminish, to blacken a reputation. Tony Abbott, his Opposition team, and his media acolytes have been spectacularly successful in promulgating the liar tag. How many times have you heard, or seen on TV, ‘there will be no carbon tax under a Government I lead’. It is repeated endlessly, and the Ju-liar image reinforced over and again. Is it surprising then that when an indoctrinated electorate is asked to assess Julia Gillard’s trustworthiness, as was the case in this week’s Newspoll, they mark her down? When commentators then say that she doesn’t seem to be able to shake off the liar image, the reason ought to be obvious – they keep telling their audience that she is a liar, day after day, week after week. Older readers will remember how the label ‘communist’ was used to brand ‘left-leaning’ people in a way that they could never escape, even though they were not communists. Labels can be dangerously infectious; often time, a very long time is necessary for them to be erased, and then only after the rhetoric has long ceased.

Once more, note what a powerful influence the media has in the promulgation of pejorative labels – they can do so with vicious persistence, or they can desist. They chose the former for those out of favour, but prefer the latter for their favourites. Tony Abbott has admitted to lying when speaking off the cuff, and often does so, but how often does our media pull him up? Seldom – he is in favour.

With the way the media demean her, is it surprising that Julia Gillard has difficulty getting her message across?

The audience
Politicians have many audiences, but the only one that really counts for them is the electorate. It matters little to them what school children or kids in hospital think; it is only those with a vote who count. The voting public is reached through a variety of means. There are public meetings, ‘community cabinets’ and personal representations with constituents, all of which may provide congenial settings to get across messages, even complex ones. But the media at large is far and away the most common vehicle for transmission to the wide audience of the voting public. If a good message cannot be transmitted via the standard media, it will count for little. Mail-outs, posters, advertisements, and handouts at voting booths have little potency. Politicians need to use the mainstream media to get their messages out.

But that’s not all there is to it. It is the media, not just here, but everywhere, that has created the expectations of their audiences. Based on the belief that what sells papers and programs is mainly their entertainment value, the media has fashioned its offerings to meet that criterion. Knowing that short tidbits make for easy transmission, the electronic media has concentrated on short, snappy presentations of entertaining information, bite-sized bits that are easily assimilated. The net result is that their audiences have been conditioned to such offerings, offerings that require short periods of attention. The outcome is an audience with an ever-diminishing attention span that will not, indeed cannot give more than a moment’s time to the subject. That is fine for Tony Abbott’s three word slogans, but entirely unsuitable for addressing complex issues such as global warming and what to do about it. Of course there are those who take political issues seriously enough to read widely, who attend to thoughtful articles in the serious Fourth Estate, and in the Fifth Estate. Sadly we are in a minority; politicians seeking election must appeal to and be heard by all the voters, and that requires them to make the most of the media that we have.

The audience is not like an attentive class of students keen to learn, the media has seen to that. It is not surprising then that having accustomed their audiences to expect, indeed insist on simple, short, snappy interesting messages that can be assimilated quickly like a soft smoothie that can be gulped down, their audiences reject a sophisticated meal of many elements blended skillfully to give an appreciation of complexity, but which takes time and attention to ingest and digest in all its complexity.

With audiences like that, habituated by the media, is it surprising that Julia Gillard has difficulty getting her messages across, many of which are complex?

The medium
Of all the factors that influence the extent to which political messages get across, there is none as powerful as the medium, indeed the many media. And now I’m not referring to its capacity to do the things detailed above, but to its deliberate political agenda. Although Coalition supporters would argue that there is no bias in the media in its favour, there is so much evidence to the contrary that it is undeniable. The Murdoch Empire and News Limited have been targeted as biased, and many pieces have been written about this. Robert Manne’s article in The Monthly: Bad News: Robert Manne on Murdoch’s Australian spelt out in detail the anti-Government agenda of News Limited and its flagship The Australian. Of course there have been the Manne detractors, but their rebuttals ring hollow. And the Fairfax Media are not without fault.

When contemplating this piece, I thought I would have to research instances of malicious media influence, but I didn’t have to wait long – along came The Sunday Age this week that blasted from its headlines an anti-Gillard message: that she had ‘snubbed’ the Olympics by deciding not to attend the London Olympics and also the fund raising dinner for Olympic athletes that is usually attended by the PM. It was only when one read down the page that it was revealed that only one Australian PM had attended an overseas Olympics since Malcolm Fraser, namely Kevin Rudd, and that PM Gillard was not attending the Olympic fundraiser because the date clashed with that of a G20 meeting that she was attending, one every reasonable Australian would agree held precedence. Coates failed to ascertain when our PM would be attending the G20, failed to realize that it clashed with his event, and failed to arrange another date when she could attend. Even he would not be so egotistical to suggest that our PM ditch attendance at the G20 meeting in favour of his fundraiser. It was his error. John Coates is entitled to express his opinion, even to have a giant dummy spit at our PM not being at events that are important in his life, but is The Sunday Age entitled to scream Coates’ disapproval from its headlines, to engage in a vicious beat-up for which there was no justification, as the article itself shows? No. Any paper with any self-respect would not do what The Sunday Age did. One can only conclude that its intent was deliberately to embarrass our PM and to demean her in the eyes of its audience. Those who read only the headlines would draw an adverse conclusion about PM Gillard; only those who read on would see that it was a beat-up. Fortunately, Barrie Cassidy saw the beat up before his 9 a.m. Insiders where all the panellists called it for what it was. It died rapidly, not subsequently featuring on ABC bulletins, but the damage had already been done.

This behaviour exemplifies the malicious way the media too often obstructs PM Gillard from getting her message out. By demeaning her in this despicable way, any message she wants to transmit, not just about the reasons she was not attending Olympics events, is smothered by the bad feelings that the paper has generated about her. Who listens to anyone that one despises, no matter how compelling the message?

Readers would be able to quote instance after instance of newspapers and electronic news outlets deliberately distorting information, misrepresenting the facts, cherry-picking those that suit their purpose, at times blatantly lying. And often this is for overt political purposes. The Australian seeks the destruction of the Greens at the ballot box and has explicitly advocated this in its pages. Only this week on ABC 774 Melbourne radio, Alan Howe, executive editor and columnist at Murdoch’s Herald Sun, described Bob Brown as “barking mad” after reading Brown’s recent Third Green Oration in Hobart, and went on to demean the Greens. News Limited makes no secret of the fact it is running an anti-Green campaign. How can such an organization provide its consumers with balanced, unbiased, fact-based reporting on political issues when it overtly runs its negative agenda against the Greens? That it is entitled to do so is not disputed, what is disputed is that it can purport to accurately inform the public about political matters so that voters can cast their vote intelligently.

It’s not just News Limited that has become an overt political player. Many, but not all Fairfax journalists have also taken up the anti-Gillard, anti-Labor cudgels. This week veteran journalist Michelle Grattan continued her anti-Gillard campaign in an extraordinary article on the Afghanistan announcement: Gillard on back foot on timing. While the vast majority of commentators gave the PM a tick for her announcement, even Tony Abbott, Grattan saw her announcement quite differently, of course through her own anti-Gillard optics, and ended her piece with: “The Afghanistan announcement was a case study in this government's communications problems. It needed to marshal its experts to get across to the media exactly what it was doing and when, and how that flowed from what has gone before.” So while most others saw this as good messaging by the PM, Grattan did not, and I suspect never will.

With News Limited and Fairfax both running a plethora of anti-Labor stories, many of which do not stand up to scrutiny for truthfulness and balance, how can Julia Gillard get her messages across?

In contrast, how often does the MSM take Tony Abbott to task, even when he lies? He and Joe Hockey have been peddling the line that Government borrowing, you remember ‘a $100 million a day’, is pushing up interest rates, but as Greg Jericho shows in his piece on The Drum: Government debt and interest rates have no connection, the Abbott/Hockey line is a blatant lie. His piece concludes: “To say blithely that Government debt is causing upward pressure on interest rates is just the type of thing you say if you know you can do it and not be held to account. And given Tony Abbott on Monday said it six times in the one doorstop, I'm guessing he doesn't feel under too much pressure to justify his line from those asking the questions.” Exactly, no journalist had the intelligence or the desire to challenge the lie.

Of all the factors that govern political communication, and we have examined four of them, in my view it is the media that has the most profound influence by a country mile. It influences the way in which the message needs to be presented to be heard or read; it influences the way the messenger is regarded; it influences the expectations and the reaction of the audience, which it has conditioned to a style of reporting that is inimical to the understanding of complex issues, and on top of that much of the media is running an overt, and sometimes covert political agenda as a player in the political field of play. It has its fingers in every pie.

It is because its influence is seen to be so pernicious, so all pervasive, so anti-democratic, that writers in the Fifth Estate are so articulate in condemnation. Mr Denmore, a past journalist, has given us a fine series of acerbic pieces that point to the deficiencies and malevolence of much of the Fourth Estate. He begins his latest piece: Nowhere man with “One of the cherished myths of mainstream media critics of the internet is that it is almost wholly populated by paranoiacs, single-issue fanatics, stalkers, train-spotters and sundry geeks occupying the far reaches of the autistic spectrum. Thank God, they say, for the reasoned professionals in the nation's newsrooms.” This reflects the reaction of much of the MSM to criticism of their performance, to questioning of their motives, to exposing their agenda. We saw this when Dennis Shanahan was challenged in the dying days of the Howard Government about his warped interpretation of Newspoll results. He responded angrily, as did his editor, casting aspersions on bloggers as useless, ignorant, ne’er-do-wells whose opinions are worthless, even dangerous. As Mr Denmore points out, it is a shame that George Megalogenis, one whose writings on economics are highly regarded, has felt it necessary to write about some who responded on his blog: "The problem isn’t us, or our loyal audiences, but the know-it-all." As Mr Denmore says: “Indeed, his blog entry reads as a rather desperate rearguard attempt to blame the disintegration of the mainstream media business model on a few ‘cyber bullies’, as he calls them - crazed keyboard warriors of the extremes whose cap-locked SHOUTING is drowning out attempts by legitimate journalists to tap dance for a loving and largely passive readership. Has there ever been a better example of an otherwise astute mainstream journalist completely missing the point about what interactive media means?” George must have had a bad day at the blog with ranting bloggers. We know the feeling.

I expect a similar reaction from any journalist who has persevered this far.

To so many of us in the Fifth Estate the unavoidable conclusion is that the mainstream media has a major, and too often a malicious influence on how Government messages are transmitted to the electorate. It’s tentacles reach into every aspect of communication as its distorts the message, demeans the messenger and poisons the audience to her or him, conditions the audience in a way that makes the transmission of complex messages to it almost impossible, and most malevolently by being a partisan player on the political field. Unfortunately there seems to be no magic bullet to remedy this deplorable state of affairs.

In the face of all this is it any surprise Julia Gillard just can’t seem to get her message across?

What do you think?

Comments (182) -

April 19. 2012 06:07 PM

lyne lady

couldn't agree more -

lyne lady

April 19. 2012 06:10 PM



I look forward to reading your latest piece. Just a few minutes after you announced that you had posted it I unwittingly posted a comment that I repeat here because I imagine that it links in with your piece.

ABC balance in operation on ABC24 at 5.30 with Julie Doyle.

Cue: Brief grab of Julia Gillard in Perth saying that 'a surplus is not a political imperative but a potent economic signal...' or WTTE.

Cross to Tony Abbott, 'Government failure, Government failure and Government failure and this Government can't manage the economy' ..or WTTE.

For extra balance, cross to Sydney for views of Lee Rhiannon (Greens, NSW), well known moderate. ' A surplus is stupid, lots of top economists disagree with surplus...' or WTTE.

Cross finally to Melbourne for objective assessment by Josh Frydenberg (Liberal, Vic). 'Gillard is wrong to try to interfere with the Reserve Bank, Labor opposed making the RBA independent and Paul Keating boasted about having the RBA in his back pocket; Tony is always right on the money....' or WTTE.

Gives a whole new meaning to the word balance: Julia Gillard with comment from 3 well known supporters of hers, Tony Abbott, Lee Rhiannon and Josh Freydenberg. Such objectivity from the ABC.



April 19. 2012 06:15 PM

Gary M

You don't want to know what I really think. But! for the purpose of the exercise you have already nailed it, not much more can be said. Except, it has taken Julia a long time to realise what the media is doing to her, and it is only in the last three months she has reacted and started to treat some of them with the contempt they deserve.

Some of the journalists act by omission, lies, as you said, and in the case of programs like Q&A down right rude. Interrupting people in mid stream, talking over the top of them seems to be par for the course especially for the ABC and SKY which is in a league of its own.. It is a wonder some of the guests on Late Line don't tell the interviewer to go and do naughty things to themselves, and walk off.I would.

The real damage done to the Labor party by far though is, the radio shock jocks. We on the left know who they are. Some of them would have put radio Moscow during the cold war, and for those old enough, radio Peking to shame. I am sure some of them are on the direct pay roll of the Liberal party. Who could forget cash for comment?

Until the Labor party funds its own electronic media outlets they are always going to be up against it. After all one must fight fire with fire. It surprises me how many of our own don't believe it is a problem.Until we do, the conservatives will always have the Lion's share of power.  

Gary M

April 19. 2012 06:21 PM


The ever smug Josh Frydenberg on Capital Hill when discussing Hockey's "entitlements" speech stated that ..."we have to spend money on initiatives that are linked to productivity..."

As in nannies for mom's addicted to shopping, cosmetic surgery and days of beauty.

Productive shopaholics.

Productive spoilt bored housewives.

Entitlements American style.

You know America...the one trying to drag itself out of a corporate aristocratic dug hole.

Where THE FEW got bailed out at the expense of THE MANY.

And healthcare and higher education for yer kids can bankrupt YOU...see you lose yer HOME.



April 19. 2012 06:23 PM


I think you are very, very correct.


April 19. 2012 06:37 PM


That was a positive joy to read Ad.
So much "meat" and so little spin. (Quite the opposite of what we've come to expect from the MSM.)
It's a real curse, that the "serious" issues are the most difficult ones for the public to grasp.
My only hope for the future, is that the opposition and their spruikers in the media, will grow overconfident and end up embarrassing themselves like Joe Hockey did on Lateline last night.  


April 19. 2012 06:48 PM


It’s tentacles reach into every aspect of communication as its distorts the message, demeans the messenger and poisons the audience to her or him, conditions the audience in a way that makes the transmission of complex messages to it almost impossible, and most malevolently by being a partisan player on the political field. Unfortunately there seems to be no magic bullet to remedy this deplorable state of affairs.

Useful reminders Ad.

The more media empowered an individual the more a voter sees thru the mist of misinformation and malicious intent to persuade them to vote and purchase against their own interests.






April 19. 2012 06:48 PM


I'm beginning to wonder if there is a disconnect between what ALP HQ thinks is necessary and what the Australian Public thinks is necessary.

The reasoning is simple.  While Howard was rightly condemned for carpet bomb advertising of the Government's policy initiatives, it got the message out.  Everyone knew about the perceived benefits of the GST, Health Insurance rebate and so on well before the actual date the policy kicked in.  One of Rudd's election pledges was to either reduce/eliminate advertising (I can't remember which one) for new programs.  Rudd and Gillard to their credit have from where I sit have kept this pledge.  There has been little if any advertising of Government programs, there has been a one sided story created by Abbott of waste and failure.  The Home Insulation Program, BER and NBN would have been good targets for a positive advertising campaign (although the NBN CO seems to be running a campaign now).  The effects of the anti-CPRS campaign could be effectively neutered by a well crafted campaign (and it would be the perfect argument to the petty game of LNP State Governments legislating the cost of a "carbon tax" being included as a separate item on power bills).  Sure, if my memory of Rudd's pledge is correct, there would be some criticism - which would blow over in a week especially with Robb and Hockey jockeying for position on the biggest brain fart of the month.  

The ALP election campaigns in Queensland have been frankly woeful - there was almost no positive advertising for the State Election and I've seen very little at all for the Local Government (and Brisbane is a party political Council).  You have to sell a positive message.  Even crap cars, junk food providers and rubbish supermarket products can find something good to say about themselves - why can't the ALP (that actually does have a better product that the main competitor)?  Until ALP HQ realises it and begins to sell itself positively it will remain in the doldrums (and probably in opposition).  The media likes to back winners - so give probably more than a fair go to the tribe they think will win.

So the quick answer to the question posed in excellent analysis by AA from my point of view is simply that the ALP can't sell ice to eskimos and really needs to learn to do so - FAST.


April 19. 2012 06:55 PM


I feel one of the factors you only glanced at is possibly one of the more important. Unlike many previous Governments, this one has set out to do many things. We are proud of the over 300 bills which have passed through the Parliament during the life of this Government. This means that ANY message the PM gives will appear to be fragmented. Especially in the hands of an unsympathetic MSM.

On the subject de jour, however, my limerick muse has been hard at work. Following Lateline last night this burst forth from my outraged sense of justice.

Joe Hockey want us all to work
And bugger the ones who may shirk
And when you're too old
To work, you'll be told
To fuck off and die, you old jerk!


April 19. 2012 07:15 PM


As soon as The Drum host introduced a guest from the Murdoch empire's Daily Telegraph I deleted the show.

Not interested in an ABC that spruiks a rich media empire.

I no longer watch Q&A either.



April 19. 2012 08:29 PM


Have you read this speech by Paul Kelly from 2000:

John Howard is right to argue that in the 1980s the Opposition supported many of the Government’s reform directions. In fact, the Opposition often attacked the Government for not advancing further and faster. This was a remarkable and unusual advantage for a reforming government. For example, the Coalition supported financial deregulation, low tariffs, a broadly based indirect tax (most of the time) and microeconomic reform. It attacked the Government at various points for its failure to be bolder and for buckling before the vested interests on its own side, notably the trade unions who, via the Accord, had a unique access to decision-making. The Coalition criticised the Government for its failure to free-up the labour market, its reluctance to privatise more quickly and for too lax a fiscal policy. Far from complaining that Labor was engaged in rip and tear reformism – the classic 1990s oppositionist perspective – the Coalition’s typical claim was that Labor was too timid. This gave Hawke and Keating great political flexibility and the chance to occupy the middle ground. It also helped to entrench the reform policies.


The Howard Government
I want to consider the Howard Government under four headings – economic strategy, tax policy, management of the anti-change backlash and salesmanship.
The primary economic strength of the Howard Government resides in the 1990s reappraisal of fiscal and monetary policy. In its first budget the Government put in place a fiscal consolidation with the aim of achieving an underlying balance on average over the economic cycle. The budget was returned to surplus in 1997/98. This set up the medium-term economic strategy – a fiscal policy to boost national savings and combat the current account deficit and a monetary policy to target inflation. This is a significant departure from the 1980s construct. As Treasury Secretary Ted Evans has explained, these approaches reinforce each other but ‘a breakdown in the performance of one policy inevitably compromises the other’.

The Howard Government has also signalled the political limitations to fiscal consolidation – it does not intend to accumulate surpluses but to utilise them. The first drawdown from the projected surplus was devoted to the 1998 taxation package and the selling of the GST; the second drawdown will be announced next year in the context of the Coalition’s 2001 re-election campaign. Australian politics has entered a new phase – the debate about how to spend the surpluses. The politicians enjoy this process very much. The economic question is whether this is premature given the size of the current account deficit and need for fiscal insurance against a future downturn. Significantly, the new ‘surplus politics’ seems to be enthusiastically bipartisan although the 2001 election will be the test of this.
Howard’s economic reform agenda has been modest with one major exception – the tax package. How should this package be seen? I believe there are several answers to this question. I think it should be seen as representing the major commitment of Howard’s career going back to his time as Treasurer. His initial submission for tax reform was defeated by the Fraser cabinet in early 1981. It has been a personal and career-long crusade.

Second, it should be seen as an objective deep within the psyche of the Liberal Party. Of the six elections between 1984 and 1998 the Liberals ran on major tax reform on four occasions; 1984, 1987, 1993 and 1998, with three of these four packages involving a new indirect tax and three of these four election platforms being dominated by the tax issue. When John Howard got into trouble in his first term he reached instinctively for his top drawer and another tax package.


Fifth, given this issue was always going to put the Government’s survival on the line, the question is whether the economic benefit justified the political price. My colleague Alan Wood has argued that in Howard’s first term there would have been a greater economic dividend from making IR reform, not tax, the central issue. That is, if you are going to risk survival then fight on the right grounds. But Howard had no interest in such a notion. Howard made it clear to Peter Reith at the time that he wanted a negotiated settlement on the Coalition’s industrial reforms, not a double dissolution bill. He chose to make tax, not the labour market, the issue of his prime ministership. Why?

I believe the real answer to this question is that John Howard has never seen tax reform in narrow economic terms. He has always been interested both in its appeal as an election winner and in lower marginal rates for the middle class as an ideological re-positioning of Australian society.
The next feature I want to assess in Howard’s approach, overall, is his effort to ameliorate the backlash against economic change and globalisation driven typically by the notion that its dividends have been unfairly distributed.

Howard has relied on three techniques here. First, keeping a social safety net in place for the underprivileged. He has declared the social safety net to be sacrosanct. Second, by vetoing or limiting a range of economic reforms in the cause of championing the ‘battler’, for example, quarantining competition policy, preventing bank mergers, freezing protection cuts in manufacturing industry, seeking tax and industrial reforms in which there are ‘no losers’, pledging special deals for groups of displaced workers such as at National Textiles, cutting immigration and giving the program a sharper focus. Howard’s initial instinct to appease the One Nation party reflected a populist strand within his political character and a political calculation. Third, Howard has retained key elements of the Labor social policy orthodoxy – Medicare being the prime example.

My interpretation of Howard’s real position on equity is that he accepts that a market economy means there will be a greater spread of income and a greater concentration of wealth and that the key to sustaining support for this outcome is a combination of a firm social safety net and a more aspirational political culture. While Howard stresses fairness in his rhetoric many of his policies, notably his tax cuts, are pitched towards rewarding and encouraging middle-class effort and achievement. The Prime Minister, using the cover of egalitarian rhetoric, seems to be moving Australia’s political culture more towards the aspirational end of the spectrum to complement the market-based economy.

My final point about Howard is implicit in this analysis. It relates to the realm of ideas and it is highly subjective – that Howard has not sold the intellectual case for economic liberalism and that support for this philosophy has waned during his prime ministership.


4. The Future

...a future dilemma is how far the neo-liberal economy takes government out of the equation. There is no danger of this happening yet but it is a question for the future. How many policy levers are left? There was a time 20 years ago when treasurers could adjust the exchange rate, shift protection levels, manipulate interest rates, change fiscal policy to control demand and influence the Full Bench on wage outcomes. What can they do now? I vividly remember Treasurer Keating’s deep pre-occupation with the levers of economic policy, a word rarely used these days.

This reflects the transfer of power from the Treasury to the Reserve Bank. It is explicit in the inflation-targeting policy and implicit in a medium-term fiscal policy with balance over the cycle. The surrender of policy arms to the market or independent institutions such as the Reserve Bank is the great feature of the current economic model. It also represents in the transition from the 1980s to the 1990s a shift to a supply-side strategy from a demand-side strategy.

It is important to remember, however, that it is only governments that have democratic legitimacy and that governments live or die according to their economic results. The issue is whether a contradiction will emerge between the market-based economic model and the expectations invested in elected governments. The Australian economic model at year 2000 is an impressive instrument during a growth cycle. But how will it handle substantial economic fluctuations that demand a response from government? When an embattled future treasurer asks ‘what can I do?’ an answer will need to be found to the question.


an unanswered question is how well has Australia really done and whether or not we have misjudged our strength. This requires distinguishing between our own efforts and our good fortune. Our economy is chained to the US economy via financial markets. We have gained from US growth, good management by the US Federal Reserve, the US sharemarket and our local depreciation. This is not to argue that Australia’s own efforts have not been important. Our success during the Asian financial crisis has been a turning point. But a potentially bigger test is what happens to Australia when it is exposed to some new external shocks. What happens when the US downturn finally arrives? What happens if Chairman Greenspan makes a mistake? Or if the multilateral trade system gets into serious trouble? Or if we face a serious regional crisis that runs for years?

The immediate issue is whether the Coalition’s re-election strategy which involves a further rundown of the surplus is consistent with external pressures on Australia such as a slowdown in US growth. I suspect that at the end of the 1990s our leaders suffer a touch of hubris and our public a sense of complacency. The single greatest lesson today is that the margin for error is reduced – the consequences for a nation of economic mistakes are greater than ever (witness Asia) just as the benefits from getting the economy right are greater.

Interesting eh?

And yes, Mr. Greenspan did screw up...

Reserve Bank dudes aren't Infallible.

The Reserve Bank here has already distorted the economy here by pushing rates too high...as have a few banks.

Thank goodness we had government levers to pull during the GFC...a little bit more restraint and forethought by the Reseve Bank might've helped...they decreased rates too quickly. Damaging savers...and putting financial organisations at risk.

Taking the government out of the mix to appease those of a pro-neo-Liberal policy stance is plain stupid.

It's not the safety net and "entitlements" that damaged parts of Europe and the UK...it's upper middle class and corporate entitlements...

And lack of appropriate taxation...the flooding up of moneys and asset ownership...

The irresponsible use of credit cards...the charges on credit cards...

The extortion of government purses by large investment companies/banks...

The dopey, expensive, too oft outsourced wars.



April 19. 2012 08:34 PM

Ad astra reply

lyne lady
If you haven’t been her before, welcome to The Political Sword family.

Thank you for your support.

Balance to the ABC seems to be giving equal time to divergent views even if some of them are of no value.   It seems to have no capacity to differentiate between the worthy and the worthless.

I have often wondered what the effect of a Labor channel would be.  Getting people to attend to it would be the greatest challenge.

‘Productivity’ is a word politicians love to bandy about, but it’s a lot harder to define and demonstrate.  It’s a fine-sounding word.

puffTMD, paddy
Welcome to you both to [i]The Political Sword[/i[. Do come again.

Thank you for your comments.  I too hope that the inadequacies of the Coalition team will become obvious, but you see the difficulty we face when the MSM seems so reluctant to expose it.  Take Michelle Grattan’s piece this morning about the Hockey interview – not one word of criticism, in contrast to anything she writes on Julia Gillard where nasty rhetoric abounds: www.theage.com.au/.../...ement-20120418-1x7zs.html

Thank you for your kind comment.  I for one would be grateful if you could enlighten us how the ALP should sell its messages in the face of a hostile media.  This is a serious matter.

The more messages the ALP has to sell the greater the difficulty.  Tony Abbott has it easy – he has a few simple negative messages to sell, and that is a breeze.

I’ll take the iPad to bed and read your comment in a leisurely way.

Ad astra reply

April 19. 2012 08:54 PM


Does this message come across enough for you?

“In the past we have had means testing on various payments and what we've said lately about this is if you take means testing too far you create poverty traps for people higher up the income scale, so you always have to balance these sorts of considerations,” Senator Sinodinos told ABC Radio.

A senior Liberal policy theorist introduces us to the sad state of potential 'poverty traps' for rich people.

Come on PM, there's a whole election's worth of 'message' for you to get across in exploring that sort of thinking with voters.

I wonder, is Arthur on an income as 'meagre' as Joe's?


April 19. 2012 09:22 PM


Hi Michael

What now I have heard everything "Poverty traps for people on higher income".

So does a poverty trap mean, if the rich are means tested, they fail the means test so then they are in poverty.

What a nut case  "Take means testing too far" Sinodinos Oh Dear.

The Liberals are already running scared:

Coalition tries to hose down talk of welfare cuts, Alexander Kirk, ABC
The Federal Opposition is hosing down suggestions it is planning to make sweeping cuts to welfare payments, after shadow treasurer Joe Hockey declared the "age of entitlement" was coming to an end



April 19. 2012 10:10 PM


'Media is just a word that has come to mean bad journalism.
Graham Greene '

and we're stuck with it. It would be so nice if we weren't, but we are.

I grew up in the 50s and 60s when a newspaper was more than birdcage lining, the wireless was the only electric entertainment centre and journalists, coppers, politicians and publicans were all held in high regard, though not always in that order. The word media may have existed. I never heard it. But, funnily enough, this country, Australia, is now much as it was then. The mineral boom was about to begin, infrastructure was being built. One of our primary school excursions was to see a hill being blown up to make a pass for the standard gauge railway line. The Premier at the time, Sir David Brand, solemnly shook all of our hands. I'll never forget the excitement in his eyes. He was genuinely enthused about the progress of the line.

I wonder how today such an occasion would be reported. Mildly enthusiastic, a touch of worldly ersatz cynicism. Perhaps even a grudging acknowledgment of the work and the vision it took to get the project up and running. But certainly no analysis of the benefits that it would bring to the state. That would require an intellectual effort far removed from todays journalists. And therein lay the nub of the problem. Journalists today are ill equipped to think, to analyse, to put forward a cogent argument about anything. They are, in a word,.....dumb. To expand...they are as dumb as dogs^&t! And they know it. Why else would G Mega be forced to defend them? Why do they look down on the blogging fraternity with such panicked disdain? They're dumb. They're incompetent and they becoming irrelevant. They are bad journalists.

So, Julia Gillard is faced with an msm that tells, promotes and manufactures lies. She can't rely on a fair go from the journos because they, to a man and woman, are cowards. Spineless spivs if you like. When the people charged with the duty of truth are to cowardly to pursue it;.... what chance is there? For you, for me, our children and grandchildren? What bloody chance is there??

The PM and her Government have the authority of the legislature. They just have to keep doing what they're doing. Governing fairly, justly and with vision.

As for Australian journalists, an American called Abraham Lincoln summed them up long ago;

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.



April 19. 2012 10:13 PM


AA - the ALP need to sell their message in the same way as Woollies, Coles or Harvey Norman sell theirs - advertise.  It's common to hear people complain about Harvey Norman prices being considered expensive, but there is always a lot of people flashing their credit cards at the one near my place.  Howard's Government went too far and sometimes used extremely thin pretexts, but at least the message got out.  While it's nice to have the high moral ground - obviously it isn't assisting the re-election chances of Gillard in 2013 as people are decrying every bi of reform the Rudd/Gillard Government has carried out.

You are right, it is serious.  If an amount of (preferably paper & TV) advertising is done as the policy is released, Abbott and his cheer squad don't have enough time to develop a reasonable sounding attack before the Government's point of view is being broadcast regardless of the attitude of the media reporting.

At the same time the ALP (not the Government) need to create a series of ads like the Mining Council and Workchoices 2007 version ads.  The purpose of these ads is to promote the Government's record (in a similar way to the Mining Community ads) and point out the alternatives (the Workchoices ads).

The reality is rightly or wrongly the ALP or the Gillard Government can not rely on accurate or fair coverage in the Australian media.  Therefore they need to use elements of the media they can control - paid advertising.  The ALP needs to get back to the stage where it isn't unusual for a number of the people listening to a "Morning Show" to ring him up and call him out on incorrect statements before the ALP staffers even know what was said.  The added benefit is that the media tends not to seriously bite the hand that feeds it - including the Federal Government if there is a considerable spend to protect.


April 19. 2012 10:43 PM


Ad et al,
Here's the Kelly speech in its entirety...meant to put up link earlier:




April 19. 2012 10:57 PM

Ad astra reply

What an intersting read.  Thank you.

Arthur Sinodinos' poverty trap is laughable.

Laziness and incompetence is an accurate descriptor for some journalists.  I suspect that the most potent factor in distorting journalism though is the political agenda individual journalists or their editors/proprieters  are running.

I agree that quality advertising by the Labor Party (not the Government) could be valuable.  I wonder does the Party have the necessary funds?

Ad astra reply

April 19. 2012 11:48 PM


2353 said
. . . the ALP can't sell ice to eskimos and really needs to learn to do so - FAST.

I do see the problem. Is it such an important market?

Why the need for such haste anyway, the ice should keep up there in cold storage shouldn't it?

Should be easier to sell when global warming has progressed a bit further.


April 20. 2012 12:12 AM


"Grattan saw her announcement quite differently, of course through her own anti-Gillard optics..."

what a lovely line. Grattan, she of the "Rudd is six votes from the leadership", seems to have a particular grudge against the PM. Well I presume she has as I have not read her for quite a a while. One can only wonder why.


April 20. 2012 01:15 AM

Patricia WA

Ad Astra, Pip was promoting this post over at cafewhispers.wordpress.com/.../#comment-71930.   She quoted that disingenuous question from Barry Cassidy wondering why the PM just can't seem to get her message out.  I was reminded of this pome I wrote in response top that which I think I posted here......if you'll bear with me.

There is nothing odd or mysterious,
That we hear no news, nothing serious
About the achievements of this woman
In a man they’d say were superhuman.
Abroad, she is acknowledged everywhere
As statesman-like. Here, no one seems to care.
Journos meanwhile with camera and mike
Trail a fitness freak on a racing bike.
Reports headline his stunts as smart.
No suggestion that he’s a media tart.
It seems our press is so beguiled
That news limited to him is all that’s filed.

But that was months back and since then you're written about why Julia will win the next election, www.thepoliticalsword.com/.../...013-election.aspx and made your lovely declaration,  "I adore Julia!" along Nikki Gemmell and those mums at the school gate.  I've been trying out something a little less effusive in shops and on our walks when people stop to pat Tacker.  I find casual ways to mention the PM and it's amazing how much positive feedback I get, particularly of the "I can't see what they're complaining about!" or sometimes "I think she's a trooper, with what she has to put up with and how she keeps smiling." variety.  So in spite of the media, I think Julia Gillard's message is getting through.   Perhaps another verse is needed for that pome.

But out there  on the street in recent days
People chatting have begun to praise
Our Prime Minister's staying power, her drive.
She get things done.  They know she will survive.

Patricia WA

April 20. 2012 07:29 AM



Don't shoot the messenger, ban the reader instead, Tim Dunlop, Unleashed
It's pretty clear that the media industry has reached crisis point. As many have noted over the past decade, it is getting harder for journalists to engage in their primary task; namely, to make wads of money for the people who own the company (the ABC notwithstanding

Has Joe Hockey promised the end of the Australian safety net?, Matt Cowgill. We are all Dead
To achieve the sort of cuts that Hockey has flagged, to bring our social spending into line with Korea and other countries in our region, would involve huge cuts to health spending, pensions, aged care and help for people with disabilities. Quite simply, that’s where the money goes. No amount of fiddling around the edges

We’re ‘entitled’ to be outraged, Mr Hockey,  The Conscience Vote
It was a shambles. A shemozzle. It had to be fixed. Look at the US, he cried. Look at the UK. Their debts are huge, and we’re in danger of going the same way! It’s time for decisive action, and Hockey’s

Attacks on the welfare state are misguided and will only worsen things, Bill Mitchell, Billy Blog
The Opposition treasury spokesperson, Joe Hockey is prone to making ridiculous statements which we typically ignore but this time he was embarrassing our nation in London. He gave a speech to some conservative policymakers in Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne – The End of the Age of Entitlement.

Gillard, Interest Rates, the RBA and the Liberal Party, Stephen Koukoulas , Market Economics
Despite the obvious absurdity of this claim, and recall that the 2004 campaign was the election when Mr Howard claimed that “interest rates will always be lower under the Liberal Party”, the Reserve Bank under the Costello-appointed Governor Ian Macfarlane kept quiet

Tony Abbott, Paid Parental Leave and the Productivity Commission, Greg Jericho. Grog’s Gamut
Tony Abbott has been very big on the glories and wonders of the Productivity Commission. He wants them to look at whether the Government should subsidise nannies. Such a suggestion is not of course a “policy” because it binds him to nothing,

Your right to know whatever happened to Right To Know, David Satler, Crikey
Quicker than you could say “Moguls on a Mission”, News put together a coalition of media groups including the ABC, Fairfax, AAP, the MEAA, SBS and Sky News. Their inaugural joint statement verged on the parsonical:

Hockeynomics Eats Our Safety Net, Ben Eltham, New Matilda
Joe Hockey was, according to this article by Annabel Crabb last year, the very first male member of federal Parliament to take parental leave, after the birth of his third child. Parental leave is, of course, an entitlement. It’s also a policy that enables

News That’s Fit To Punt – 19/Apr/2012, Artneuro Weblog
So colour me Bolshy, if Tony Abbott really wants to end entitlement, he should bring in 100% Death Duties so that nobody gets an entitled leg up by dint of the birth lottery, because that’s the worst kind of entitlement that gives way to the vested interest politics

Hockey Speech: The End Of The Age Of Entitlement, Australian Politics Com
The road back to fiscal sustainability will not be easy. It will involve reducing the provision of so called “free” government services to those who feel they are entitled to receive them. It will involve reducing government spending to be lower

Party welfare cut plan will entrench poverty among vulnerable Australians, ACTU,  Org
Unlike Tony Abbott’s Liberal Party, most Australians recognise that many in our community need greater support in order to overcome unemployment and be able to contribute to the nation’s economy.

Liberal Nationals: 50% more GSTax, poverty line of 44 cents a day and NO pensions – then what are our taxes funding?, Turn Left 2013
Joe Hockey, has found a way to fill the black hole in the Liberal budget. Raising GST to 15% and slashing pensions.

How Fair is Australia’s Welfare State, Peter Whiteford, Inside Story
It’s important to remember that the Australian social security system differs markedly from those in other OECD countries. In Europe, the United States and Japan, social security is financed by contributions from employers and employees, with benefits related  

Hockey should reveal welfare cuts, Sky News
Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury says opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey needs to reveal which welfare payments he wants to withdraw.In a speech to policymakers in London, Mr Hockey said the 'age of entitlement' in western countries was over.

We are the Welfare Cheats,Sophist in training
  Another classic are the little side bonuses used to shore up key votes: the Baby Bonus, the First Home Owners Grant and other payments which are not means tested. These payments simply result in ’tax eaters’ – voters who view government as a populist

Carbon tax to raise electricity prices less than expected, Independent Australia
The effect of the carbon price on retail electricity will be lower than predicted and vary considerably by region, a new University of Queensland study has projected.

Twiggy lets rip with his Gillard conspiracy theory, Joe Hockey's Asian solution to welfare, The Power Index
Twiggy on the grassy knoll? Seething WA mining magnate Andrew Forrest stepped up his assault on Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard

Can surpluses lead to lower interest rates? Graham White, The Conversation
It is possible to argue that interest rates were lower than than they otherwise would have been, but we should be wary of a mechanistic understanding of interest rates. At the same time the government should be applauded for their determination

Greg Sheridan’s fantasy night out with Tony Abbott, Jeremy Sear, Pure Poison
Labor and the Greens losing in Melbourne’s Carlton! And all because some young equality activists interrupted Tony’s dinner and “banged on the windows” so hard that “one of the staff worried the windows


Gillard criticised for 'advising' RBA, Lateline

Posts from the ‘Daily Fix’ Category

The Drum Thursday 19 April
Tim Palmer speaks to Sue Cato from Cato Counsel, former NSW Labor premier Nathan Rees, Daily Telegraph NSW political reporter Andrew Clennell and Fairfax economics reporter Peter Martin.


April 20. 2012 07:33 AM



Newspaper Front Pages from Australia for Friday, 20 April 2012



April 20. 2012 07:47 AM

Ad astra reply

Welcome to The Political Sword.  Do come again.  Michelle Grattan's piece on Joe Hockey's London speech was such a contrast - not one pejorative comment.  Yet today The Oz has apparently gone full bore in dissecting the implications of it for the Liberal Party.  Her bias is just too obvious, and her credibility as a serious journalist diminishes with each biased article.

Patricia WA
What a delightful and apt pome, with its additional verse.  Maybe we have to mobilize the women voters to the Gillard team.  They seem less prone to harboring Abbott slogans as if they were Holy Writ.

Ad astra reply

April 20. 2012 07:57 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

April 20. 2012 08:24 AM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
What a fantastic collection of links!  Thank you.

So far I've had time to read only Tim Dunlop's delightful piece: Don't shoot the messenger, ban the reader instead: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3959944.html

I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a chuckle about our beloved MSM.

Ad astra reply

April 20. 2012 08:39 AM


Dennis Shanahan misses the big point as Hockey kicks another Coalition own goal.

In the article laid out below (fresh from behind The Australian's paywall) Dennis writes about how Hockey and Robb are undercutting Tiny Abbott on economic matters.

They are, through shared ineptitude across all three of them and a few others in their 'top team' besides.

But Dennis is confusing a symptom with the ailment.

What's really being exposed when any of the Coalition team step out from behind Shouldabeen's shifting shadow is just how incoherent and unfounded Coalition policies are.

Because they haven't actually done the hard work of establishing what their policies are apart from 'kick Labor' and 'back to the Howard years', excitement about doing the former and idiosyncratic takes on what was best about the latter, lead to them coming out with comments and claims that rub roughly against each other - "incoherent and unfounded".

Enough so for Labor to drive a truck through with more than a year until the next election.

Still, it's rare to read Dennis sticking it to the Coalition of inanition, so read and enjoy.

"JOE Hockey's speech in London this week on the end of the age of entitlement is another mistake from the Coalition's economic team.

As the government prepares to bring down the harshest budget for decades, the opposition Treasury spokesman handed Labor another day's distraction, another scare campaign and more respite when it needs it most.

Coming only days after the opposition finance spokesman, Andrew Robb, mangled the issue of a "greedy bank" putting up interest rates, Hockey's speech is another demonstration of how Tony Abbott has to do so much of the heavy lifting for the Coalition.

Hockey's speech itself wasn't bad and reflected commonsense thinking only now beginning to penetrate European strongholds of excessive entitlements.

Yet he made two mistakes: first, he made an open-ended, ill-defined declaration that fiscal sustainability "will involve reducing the provision of so called 'free' government services to those who feel they are entitled to receive them"; and he stepped out of character from the warm, dry and cuddly image he's worked on for years.
Rec Coverage 28 Day pass

Labor ministers pounced, suggesting Hockey (and the Opposition Leader, of course) were threatening to "massively reduce" pensions and welfare payments as well as cut Medicare.

Liberal colleagues were puzzled as to the mixed impression Hockey was creating but closed ranks to blunt the Labor scare campaign.

In this unforgiving and brutal political atmosphere - only weeks before the budget - the Coalition's economic team cannot afford to give Labor the slightest excuse to divert attention from its monumental economic challenge.

What's more, there were Liberal frontbenchers agitating for the Nationals' Barnaby Joyce to be removed after a concerted Labor campaign that picked up trivial mistakes and attacked him for having the temerity to talk about the danger of the level of US debt.

Much of that attack was ludicrous, too, but it was argued there would be distractions for Labor until Joyce was shifted. Abbott shows no sign of shifting anyone, but Hockey and Robb must ensure they stop giving Labor a free kick."


April 20. 2012 09:26 AM


Good Morning Ad

The twitterverse is buzzing as normal.  I see just as you said, the Hockey shock was whitewashed and did not appear on one front page.
But I do think the Liberal party are nervous over Hockey's speech, maybe there were reasons for Hockey's amazing opinion, he certainly made people notice him:

Peter Reith just said on #Slynews, wtte, "Hockey said what he said overseas, wasnt expecting to be reported here", Yes Pete, Truth Overboard

Thefinnigans How dumb is Reith it was a #lateline interview beamed from London why does he think it wouldn`t seen in Oz #Dickhead

Financial Review‏
No claim too outlandish for #miners attempting to raise the stench around Gillard govt @latingle says free
www.afr.com/.../inside_story_on_the_long_goodbye_U5yTvcjcY0o77pwGp1g9rI #auspol

Gordon Graham‏
Michael Pascoe suggests Joe Hockey's comments were aimed at Abbott, not the ALP http://bit.ly/JR4cXo

Candid @TurnbullMalcolm shatters the myth of "We are better economic manager" and that was in good times, not GFC -

vexnews: Coalition gifts @AustralianLabor its best opportunity to whack them since Turnbull's email snafu

Ken ‏@KoenjiEikaiwa
Who'll ever forget CRAZY Tony Abbott's jetlag comments about not visiting Afghanistan & "shit happens" Joe Hockey too

Mr Denmore‏@MrDenmore
Bob Brown: A pillar among the Greens | The Economist http://econ.st/HP0gv8

Ken ‏@KoenjiEikaiwa
CRAZY Tony Abbott is now trying to out do government without considering consequences he's lost the plot http://bit.ly/Iaifu1 WRONG AGAIN

Meta Starostin‏@Snow_Crash
Close Open DetailsBBC News - Leveson Inquiry: Rupert Murdoch and son to appear http://bbc.in/JOaFCi #auspol #hackgate



April 20. 2012 09:48 AM


Just in case this link originally laid out for us by the inestimable Lyn gets lost in your reading priorities, it is an essential read. Essential!

Thanks Lyn.


It sort of falls within the ambit of my own post above, too. Coalition crumbling. The Michael Pascoe link above also paddles in the same slowly heating pool. bye bye Shouldabeen.


April 20. 2012 10:00 AM


Day Trip to Bangor
As sung by Fiddler's Dram



As treated with undue disrespect by TalkTurkey:
(for the original is a lovely song, don't miss it, this is a nice clip too)

Bad Trip in Australia
Australia will be a wonderful place
When Canberra’s run by Catholics:
Abbott Hockey and Robb
And their whole holey mob,
And charming Cardinal Pell as well,
‘Cos when Micks make a mess
They simply confess,
And everything is bonzer
Pell absolves them from sin
With a wink and a grin
And the deals go down.

Won’t it be fine
When Christopher Pyne
Takes over Education!
All the Catholic schools
Will be showered with jewels
And State schools will just get a big banana
And Gregory Hunt that Samaritan Christian Smile
Will save us from invasion
Singing a few of his favourite hymns
As the boats turn round.

Those junkies on drugs, and the tree-hugging thugs
And abos and poofs and Moslems
We will whisk them away with a real massive spray
Of Papally-sanctified Holy Water
And we’ll fight the Good fight for the Catholic Right
And we’ll have a Christian Australia
And to show your respect you must genuflect
And you will kneel down!.

Won’t it be nice reserving the vice
For those who know not to abuse it!
Those boy-bumming priests are not paedophile beasts:
They’re only teaching the concept of Evil,
And when things go wrong, they move right along
After saying a mea culpa:
No law-suits involved,  
All their sins get absolved
And they just move 'round.

Then our spiritual home will be centred on Rome
And we can sell off Canberra:
And those in the know will make pots of dough
And the miners can sell off the rest of Australia
And when it’s all sold we’ll grab all our gold
And live in Vatican City
And we’ll live in hope
Pell can be the Pope
When the deals go down.

Australia will be a wonderful place
When Canberra’s run by Catholics:
Abbott Hockey and Robb
And their whole holey mob,
And charming Cardinal Pell as well,
‘Cos when Micks make a mess
They simply confess,
And everything is bonzer
Pell absolves them from sin
With a wink and a grin
And the deals go down.


Truly Folks I start to get interested in just who is a Papist, who a Jew, who a Born-Again, who a religiomane of any kind.
Anyone know of whether any such info exists as a list?

I think it should be public and manifest information about those who seek to make our laws.

Another thing, nobody but nobody ever got back to me about those Sydney Writers Centre "Best Australian Blogsite 2012" awards  being the promo of a primarily-commercial venture rather than primarily-pro-bono one . . . Hello ?


April 20. 2012 10:35 AM


Hi Ad

Mr Denmore questions contradicting stories.

If the links do not take you to the full article , just tell me and I will copy and paste for you here.

Mr Denmore
Aged care reforms dominate the front pages today. But whom should we believe - The AFR or The Australian? .

John Hanna‏
MrDenmore AFR Stuch trying to out 'right' the @Australian is something to behold

Mr Denmore‏
John_Hanna I wonder what @latingle thinks of the headline, since her story says the exact opposite??

John Hanna‏
MrDenmore It's getting beyond a joke. Thank goodness for @latingle

Home safe in aged-care overhaul: JULIA Gillard's aged-care overhaul will ignore expert economic advice that the ... The Australian

JULIA Gillard's aged-care overhaul will ignore expert economic advice that the family home be included in an assets test to rein in ballooning costs in the $12 billion-a-year sector.

The Prime Minister will today unveil her plan for the crumbling care system but will shun the Productivity Commission's advice to include the family home when assessing the cost of care.

The decision spares the government from a political row over measures that might have forced Australians to sell their family homes and marks a capitulation to warnings from lobby groups, including National Seniors, against "blindly" following the commission's blueprint.

Aged care overhaul targets family home, Laura Tingle, AFR
The system will let people pay for their nursing home through a lump-sum payment (a bond), periodic ­payments or a mixture. But wealthier Australians are set to pay more under an expanded means test on the family home and other assets.

Labor hopes the reforms will stop the stress of emergency fire sales of family homes to meet the cost of accommodation bonds, which can reach many millions of dollars and often hit pensioners hardest.

The lack of profits in the aged care sector has limited investment in new nursing homes, forcing governments for two decades to seek politically tolerable ways of accessing an individual’s own capital, usually locked up in a family home, to meet costs.



PS Thankyou Michael for drawing attention to the Tingle article as you say essential read.


April 20. 2012 11:08 AM


The soup thickens.

Turnbull: we made economic mistakes
by Peter martin    The Age

COALITION communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull has crashed into the economic debate, saying the Howard government made bad economic decisions in its final years, ones for which he accepts collective responsibility.


April 20. 2012 11:39 AM

Ad astra reply

Regarding the Sydney Writers' Centre, I received an email notifying me that The Political Sword had been nominated for this competition.  I don't know who nominated it.  After a reminder that I needed to agree to being in the competition, I filled in the details and subsequently got an email with instructions about how to post the icon.  

Here is the link that describes the competition including the categories and awards: www.sydneywriterscentre.com.au/.../details.html

Whether it is commercial or otherwise seems not to have deterred a vast number of blogsites, over a thousand, from entering.  I note that The Poll Bludger is next to The Political Sword in the alphabetical list.

For my part, I will await the results with interest.

Ad astra reply

April 20. 2012 01:04 PM


Michael at 8.39
Thanks for the Shanahan stuff.
I'm sure I've seen that line about Abbott doing most of the Coalition's heavy lifting from Dennis before, it's certainly been in the Murdoch bin before. Neglecting to mention, of course that the media does the heavy lifting for Abbott.
This piece is an example of what often strikes me about Murdoch coverage & the infatuated Shanahan in particular, in that the whole article reads like a pep talk from a football coach at half time- "you cut that off well Andrew, but Sophie & Julie need to work on their co ordination, & next time Joe gets ahead of the line, don't forget to come in behind ready to pick up Barnaby.." That sort of thing. In other words, a standard biased piece from a huckstering Murdoch shill.


April 20. 2012 02:51 PM

Ad astra reply

I’ve just now read your last comment on the previous thread, which I had missed.

I can’t dispute your logic, or your analysis of what Joe Hockey said.  As you point out, he did not identify either what he would define as ‘welfare’ although he did name some items that he deemed not to be welfare and why; nor did he identify to where any attack on entitlements ought to be directed – that would have been too specific, to easily attacked.

So what do we conclude about his interview with Tony Jones?  

Was it a typical bumbling Hockey performance replete with his usual obfuscation, or was it an extremely clever, well thought out presentation where he consciously avoided committing himself or the Coalition to any attack on this or that entitlement, but instead made generic noises that left the impression that he would address all entitlements with a view to avoiding their escalation or maybe scaling back some of them?

While agreeing with you that we ought not attack him, or anyone else for that matter, on what we thought he said, rather than what he did say, we are entitled, like our MSM journalists are doing today, to interpret what was behind his speech, and his Lateline interview.  Are we looking at bumble footedness or an astute stratagem?  I must admit I favour the former.

It was amusing to see Dennis Shanahan, courtesy of Michael, taking a pot shot at both Hockey and Robb for giving Labor a ‘free kick’, and leaving poor old Tony to ‘do too much of the heavy lifting for the Coalition’.  Dennis is annoyed because he wants nothing, nothing at all to get in the way of the heavy artillery barrage that he wants directed uninterruptedly at the Government.

Ad astra reply

April 20. 2012 03:01 PM


TT - wonderful!  It's a song that often comes into my mind on sunny days (although I know it as The Day We Went to Victor [Harbor].  You have given it a wonderful modern feel!

Ian - couldn't agree more, except the part about being dumb as dogs.  Sorry, but I'm pretty sure my two girls are smarter (and nicer) than the Noalition shills Smile


April 20. 2012 03:29 PM


2353 @10.13pm 19/4, the trouble is even if the government did as you suggest, the howls of outrage and accusations of every thing from lying to the assassination of archduke Ferdinand by barrackers like Anal and Hadley would negate any positives achieved by the government.

Then we would be subjected to the usual "Tony Abbott says.....the government is desperate, incompetent, wasting money on self promotion, the PM is inept, another promise broken, blah! blah! blah!" until we would feel compelled to scoop our eyes out with a spoon and puncture our own eardrums.

The only real solution i can think of atm is for government pollies to connect with the punters face to face-haunting shopping malls etc.

If we're lucky, the fall out from Sloppy's call to bash the disadvantaged and cosset the wealthy will continue to resonate with people.

But I really think a personal assault with easily understood information about legislation like the clean air act is what's necessary.

It's no good the PM or anyone else doing pressers as a means of communicating the government message; we know the msm with a very few exceptions will spin it negatively.

Michelle Grattan aka Ol' Coke Botttle Eyes is a potent illustration of what I'm saying. She will never portray the PM as anything but incompetent, inept and disaster prone without the slightest bit of evidence for that argument.

Obviously, poor ol' Coke Bottles is suffering from an advanced case of pernicious jealousy of blood nuts.

She's under the thrall of some red budgie smugglers (though God knows why, most sensible people feel like vomiting at the sight!) and that wrinkled ring wraith, Emperor Rupert.

However, Sloppy may have dented the NOppositon's armour with his latest brain fart from London. Liealot's defending Sloppy's brain fart, so if we're really lucky, that might be the catalyst to set the rust eating away at the Liars armour and giving the government a 4x2 studded with nails to beat them severely about the head and shoulders.

I just hope the government goes out full bore on this. I don't think the Liars welfare for the wealthy has been more starkly highlighted. And to add salt to the wound, he reckons we should emulate Asia.

A few photos of Filipino children fossicking on tips, Thai bar girls and stories of parents having to sell their daughters into prostitution or to the highest bidder on the marriage market should focus people's attention on who the Liars really care about.

Give the buggers a dose of their own medicine, every time they start in on "waste" and debt. and their other hobby horses.

Peter Reith just said on #Slynews, wtte, "Hockey said what he said overseas, wasnt expecting to be reported here",

Lyn, OMG! So Sloppy was told to go for it, it'll NEVER be reported back home!

Another stick for the government to beat the bastards with!  Look, sheeples, this is the policy initiatives they're keeping a secret until they get the reins of power! No wonder they aren't game to tell us what their policies are!!!!!

This is what they'll do to your Mum, take her pension from her and leave her to beg in the streets so they can hand it over to someone in Toorak to buy another Ferrari!!!!

How many more of these types of policies have they got down the back of the couch?

Time to resurrect Godwin Grech, the gift that keeps on giving.

Ad astra, great news wrt Sydney Writers' Centre. There are some very fine writers here; you, TT, NormanK, Patricia just to name a few.

Liealot doing the heavy lifting? I don't think lifting an atom is all that arduous.


April 20. 2012 03:41 PM


Ad astra

I'm glad that you caught up with that comment.

Without labouring the point for too long, I have no problem with someone on a blog reading between the lines of what some politician said because the audience is small and besides the scroll function can serve its purpose if someone gets a reputation for so-doing without reasonable foundation. My objection is to the hypocrisy of cheering on the press when they do it to a Coalition member and bemoaning it when they do it to Labor. Large newspapers and commercial television news bulletins have a much larger audience and their journalists should adhere to a higher degree of professionalism than commenters on blogs. They are distorting the reporting of news by imparting their own spin on to it in order to sensationalise the content.

I am fairly sure that Hockey went away from that interview feeling as though he had achieved all that he set out to do. Joe is no fool even if he does say incredibly foolish things sometimes. If I have to point to a single instance to back up my contention, re-watch the section where Jones asks him if the Howard government was guilty of out-bidding its opposition with welfare hand-outs. Hockey anticipated the question and gave an unequivocal answer of "yes". He was under no pressure to do so and could just as easily have wormed his way around to stating quite the opposite. There is a strategy at play here but I have no idea what it might be although my inclination is towards either undermining Abbott or reining in his propensity for making promises that he won't be able to keep.

Jones was his usual appalling self during that interview. He missed at least two opportunities to get Hockey to define 'welfare'. That would have provided an indicator of where Hockey might seek to wind back entitlements even if he was unwilling to name them himself.

Having said all of that, it would appear Hockey has done the Coalition no favours because much of the media are now portraying his comments as an intention to cut the pension.

As for the Shanahan article, BSA Bob has got it - a pep talk to the team to point out where they are going wrong. It was shameless and ought to be embarrassing to him if he had a shred of integrity.


April 20. 2012 03:41 PM

Patricia WA

Lovely lyrics, TT.   Every line too true......

[i'Cos when Micks make a mess
They simply confess,
And everything is bonzer
Pell absolves them from sin
With a wink and a grin[/i]

You've got me going now................

So far it hasn’t come to pass
That  Tony Abbott has to sell his arse,
And with divine support to reach his goal
It seems he doesn’t have to risk his soul.

Patricia WA

April 20. 2012 04:02 PM

Ad astra reply

It’s easy to agree with your sound analysis.  Regarding your comment: “My objection is to the hypocrisy of cheering on the press when they do it [reading between the lines] to a Coalition member and bemoaning it when they do it to Labor.”  I agree.  Whatever the analysis, whatever the subject, whoever the target, we ought to apply the same critical judgement.  Of course we sometimes don’t.  After enduring the plethora of anti-Government press, I guess we cheer when the Coalition occasionally gets similar treatment.  ‘Human nature’ I suppose!

Ad astra reply

April 20. 2012 04:16 PM

Jo A

I have just voted for you as the best blogger....good luck and all the best in the world to you....Smile

Jo A

April 20. 2012 04:43 PM

Mark Hyde

The one goal for the print media in particular for this country is readership and ad revenue I'd say. Outfits like News Ltd seem so fickle in this regard and in terms of The Daily telegraph in particular it's not so much just partisan ramblings that go on but outright titillation and base common ground rhetoric that reinforces talking points from the day. I wonder if the hard work of actually understanding policy itself is beyond some journos so they hold to a 'spoon fed' approach to their task as the easiest means of creating copy. The quality of true policy analysis is sadly lacking in this countries print media and it's been on the decline for decades. Having this loss of overall standards over time means that it has often LEAD public opinion rather than just reflected it back to it's readership. Like it's validating 'cluelessness' in our population as protest. I've been following an interest unrelated documentary series that seems to outline the very historical changes that have happened over the centuries. ABC TV's Australia on Trial (3 pivotal trials in Australi's legal and social history that has impacted it as a nation). This latest episode about the Myall Creek massacre and resultant trials depicts both major papers reaction as something historically telling. The Australian as it was then sided with the Aborigines yet the Sydney Morning Herald railed against them and sided with the Squatters in the resultant controversy in wider Australian society....my how times have changed (the Australians vigourous defence of Anbdrew Bolt losing of his recent case and SMH coverage excoriating him over Aboriginality et al). This moment of the program just struck me clear as day as to how maybe it hasn't changed that much at all. Maybe it has ever been thus. ;)

Mark Hyde

April 20. 2012 04:48 PM


Ad Astra

It is frustrating when we can see clearly what is happening and being helpless to do anything about it.  2353 has suggested advertising.  I love that idea, but can already hear the outrageous howling that would ensue.


I admire you way of thinking, so pleased to read you here at TPS.

Talk Turkey

Loved your new words to that song, well done.


You are right, but as Ad has said, it is nice once in a blue moon to allow ourselves to have a go at, in this case, Hockey, just because I recon he deserves it.  Oh my, what if the Noposition actually intend to do what we are misinterpreting, welcome to a third world country for Australia.


April 20. 2012 05:13 PM


Hi Jane

I love the way you answer everyone's posts, for icing on the cake you actually read them all. Yes Mr Reith what did they say Truth overboard of course.  

Thankyou so much for your posts, they twinkle and sparkle with delight.

I got into a furious exchange of tweets with Latika Bourke, speaking to the camera is not confiding, seems Latika is confused with the word confide:


Latika Bourke ‏
PM confides she hates having her photo taken.

Lyn Linking‏
latikambourke PM please do not confide in the Press ever. Latika you just broke the PM'S confidence. Trust - Loyality - respect

Latika Bourke
Wut, she said it on camera?! RT lynlinking: latikambourke Latika you just broke the PM'S confidence. Trust - Loyality - respect

Tony Abbott is furious over means testing:-

Tony Abbott furious over Labor plans to means test high level care, Malcolm Farr, Herald Sun
DO the top spokesmen for the Opposition talk to each other? Not often enough going by conflicting responses to aged care reforms today.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he was furious that the Gillard Government appeared ready to means test high level residential care from 2014.

“The Government today is going to make everyone using aged care pay more,'' Mr Abbott told the Nine network.


Peter Martin‏
Hockeynomics lasted one day. @BernardKeane: Abbott: "some will pay more" for aged care. That's the point.



April 20. 2012 05:34 PM


Ad astra & Gravel

Now that I've had my Andrew Wilkie moment, ascertained that my moral compass is calibrated to my satisfaction, I can wallow in the pleasant spectacle of Abbott bemoaning 'user pays' as part of the aged care reforms. Perhaps someone should hand him a pamphlet about how the concept of free markets works.


April 20. 2012 06:17 PM


What an intersting read.  Thank you.

Yer welcome Ad,
I thought you'd find it useful.



April 20. 2012 06:20 PM


Hi Patricia

You have been mentioned on "Club Troppo's" missing links:

while Patricia at Cafe Whispers pens a poem about Tony Abbott’s Magic Pudding Budget Plan.




April 20. 2012 06:22 PM


Tony Abbott furious over Labor plans to means test high level care, Malcolm Farr, Herald Sun
DO the top spokesmen for the Opposition talk to each other? Not often enough going by conflicting responses to aged care reforms today.

Good stuff Lyn.

Earlier at The Cafe I wrote:

I reckon Abbott makes it up as he goes along…he’s an impulsive character.

For his frontbench it must be like travelling with a fella who lives out of a shoebox and takes off on whatever transport he can find at the time…I doubt many of them have time to put on their shoes and coats and shirts of policy development.

It’s kinda like IMPROVISATIONAL THEATRE…starring Tony Abbott…and his hurried, sweaty team.

Thnx for all the links. Great job.



April 20. 2012 06:26 PM


and that wrinkled ring wraith, Emperor Rupert.





April 20. 2012 06:33 PM


I just hope the government goes out full bore on this. I don't think the Liars welfare for the wealthy has been more starkly highlighted. And to add salt to the wound, he reckons we should emulate Asia.

A few photos of Filipino children fossicking on tips, Thai bar girls and stories of parents having to sell their daughters into prostitution or to the highest bidder on the marriage market should focus people's attention on who the Liars really care about.

Give the buggers a dose of their own medicine, every time they start in on "waste" and debt. and their other hobby horses.

Well said Jane.

The safety net that Hockey and the Coalition envision for future Aussies:

Squatter Community Living Under A Bridge In Metro Manila Philippines




April 20. 2012 07:08 PM


Hi Nasking

I don't think a bear sparkles and twinkles but your  posts take me over and your bear manners are immpeccable. Thankyou Nasking

Strange mob, Abbott and Hockey.  Hockey says he will cut all welfare and Abbott says people will pay more for aged care.  Apparently the means testing is making Abbott furious, well now poor petal.

(For his frontbench it must be like travelling with a fella who lives out of a shoebox and takes off on whatever transport he can find at the time)

I have to use brackets because still can't get the biuquote to work for me.

Tony Abbott is hiding in a secret place in Hervey Bay this afternoon, glad he is hiding because we sure don't want to meet him by accident anywhere. Especially if I am surfing in the ocean, not likely though because surfing mucks up my hearts on my umberella. Just thought I would mention, we won't be going to the swimming event either.

Abbott's secret summit  20th April 2012 2:00 AM The Chronicle

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott will lock himself away tonight with business and industry leaders at an undisclosed
  Hervey Bay location

A devoted ocean swimmer, Mr Abbott will complete the 1.6km Pier to Pub event tomorrow




April 20. 2012 07:10 PM


Geez, lead story on the ABCTV News tonight (in Queensland anyway) starts with "The Government is attempting to repair a financial timebomb".  How's that for positive?

Now how do they capitalise on it?  Possibly by ramping up the rhetoric on how they are fixing a known problem (I can remember Peter Costello saying the problem existed) versus the Coalition's plan to reduce Australia's welfare "Safety Net".

I'm in agreement with NormanK here - some changes need to be made to welfare, but not to those that help people when they are financially impoverished (like those on over $150k p.a who can't do without a Health Insurance rebate.

The ABCTV News gets better - now they are questioning Abbott's statement that he is a conservative conservationist - (with the Greens and ACF suggesting it's not the case.  Is the worm turning on Abbott or the LNP?


April 20. 2012 08:00 PM

Ad astra reply

Jo A
Welcome to The Political Sword. Do come again.

Thank you for your kind words and your vote.

I share your sentiments.

Hope springs eternal.  Abbott's best efforts to be negative today at the Government's aged care package, which is receiving plaudits all round, has fallen flat.  He looks like the spoiler he is.

This morning Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells came on ABC 774 Melbourne radio to talk about the aged care package on behalf of the Coalition and gave the worst interview ever (worse by far than Joe Hockey's) - negative, vague, non committal and obfuscating.  It was so bad that Jon Faine was bombarded with negative feedback via text messages, the like of which I have never before heard.  The Coalition will not gain much trying to knock this package.  There is a limit to negativity, even with the media we have to endure.

Ad astra reply

April 20. 2012 08:28 PM


Hi Ad

I am disappointed nobody mentioned Matt Cowgill's magnificent blog
We are all Dead posted in "today's Links". Matt's article has been noted by all the heavies and included on Peter Martin's article this morning.

I thought Norman K would have been interested as well as you Ad

Has Joe Hockey promised the end of the Australian safety net?, Matt Cowgill. We are all Dead
To achieve the sort of cuts that Hockey has flagged, to bring our social spending into line with Korea and other countries in our region, would involve huge cuts to health spending, pensions, aged care and help for people with disabilities. Quite simply, that’s where the money goes. No amount of fiddling around the edges




April 20. 2012 08:35 PM


Tony Abbott is hiding in a secret place in Hervey Bay this afternoon, glad he is hiding because we sure don't want to meet him by accident anywhere

Lol Lyn.

He could suddenly pop out and serve you with an austerity measure.
"No pension for you until your ninety".

Thnx for the lovely kind words.



April 20. 2012 08:47 PM


Hi Lyn

It's been a bit of a 'day' in this household so thank-you for the nudge towards Matt Cowgill's article. I shall read it forthwith. Laughing


April 20. 2012 08:52 PM


Lyn, you're right as usual - the Matt Cowgill article well written and comprehensive demolition of Hockey's argument that we spend too much on welfare.  Hockey's comparison to Asian economies is flawed due to the different societal norms.  While it seems to be slowly changing, traditionally Asian parents have lived with their children and supplied services such as childcare in return for economic support - something which has not generally occurred in Australia for a long time.  Cowgill suggests that Australian welfare payments are low on a global scale and our "means testing" process has an sometimes detrimental effect (although I still have no problem with a $150k pa means test on the Health Insurance payment).

You'd better stay at home tomorrow - that way you won't run into Abbott (not that I'm suggesting you would actually run him down Laughing).


April 20. 2012 09:12 PM


An article worth taking on board:

The officer, a lieutenant-colonel, is standing opposite a fair-haired young man, a Dane, who was just looking on, neither saying nor doing anything. Nearby, protesters and soldiers are standing around. No sign of violence anywhere.

Suddenly the officer raises his rifle, holding it horizontally, one hand on the butt and one on the barrel, and then he drives the squared-off end of the magazine hard into the young Dane’s face. The victim falls backward on the ground. The officer grins with satisfaction.

IN THE evening, Israeli TV showed the clip. By now, almost every Israeli has seen it a hundred of times. The more one sees it, the more one is shocked. The sheer brutality of this completely unprovoked act makes one flinch.

To veterans of demonstrations in the occupied territories, there is nothing new in this incident. Many have suffered brutality in many different forms.

What was unusual in this case was that it was caught on camera. And not a hidden camera. There were quite a lot of cameras around. Not only those of the protesters, but those of army photographers, too.

The officer must have been aware of this. He just did not give a damn...

...THE HERO of the affair is Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner (“Iron Man”, in German).

Far from being exceptional, he seems to be the quintessential army officer, indeed the quintessential Israeli.

The first thing TV viewers noticed was the kippah on his head. “Well of course,” many murmured to themselves. For decades the national-religious movement has systematically infiltrated the officers’ corps of the armed forces, starting from officers’ induction courses and climbing up, with the aim of having one of their number end up as the army Chief of Staff. By now, kippah-ed lieutenant colonels are common – a far cry from the kibbutzniks who dominated the officers corps at the birth of our army. At the time of the incident, Eisner was a deputy brigade commander.

The national-religious movement, to which the core of the settlers belong,
was also the home of Yigal Amir, the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin and of Baruch Goldstein, the mass-murderer of the Muslims in the mosque in Hebron


So sad that the Kibbutz welcoming mentality in Israel has been replaced with extreme nationalism and hostility and suspicion.

So much like those Germans who helped bring about the rise of the NAZIS...seems to be a case of the once persecuted taking on the worse qualities of their persecutors. Sadly.

Not unlike the child of an abusive alcoholic who ends up acting out the same aggressive behaviour due to trauma and emulating the dominant characters in their life.

I was watching the trial of the mass murderer from Norway the other day...and got to thinking that those in Iraq who are now blowing up people should be referred to as mass murderers...and be tracked down and put on trial just as this character has been. This is no longer about "global terrorism" or "freedom fighters"...it's about people who are mentally unstable, craving justice, revenge, power or have an addiction to hurting people...too oft delusional paranoids...acting out their vicious fantasies...letting off steam. Tribal, border etc. disputes become just an excuse...some even plan destruction and use the mentally and physically disabled...the traumatised...easily manipulated youth to do their dirty work for them.

They are mass murderers...and should be arrested and tried as such.

Once the Coalition troops leave Afghanistan...no longer perceived as occupiers...any Taliban who take it upon themselves or use others to kill...will be merely "murderers"...or "mass murderers"...can any religious and/ or political group really gain the trust and respect long-term of the community if it allows psychotics to represent it?

I suspect Kony 2012 is just the beginning...


BTW, DUG Tim Dunlop's article. Power to the people.




April 20. 2012 09:34 PM



You little beauty, thankyou I was looking all day for
an analytical response.

Matt Cowgill doesn't write often but when he does his research of the facts is magnificent.  He impressed a lot of heavies with that article, Grog, Possum, George Meg, Stephen Kouloulas, Bill Mitchell, Peter Martin, Stephen Long.  The economics group.

I think I will stay home tomorrow because Abbott would just want to talk to me about the Newspaper decline and he might try and stop me from supporting our bloggers.



April 20. 2012 09:40 PM


Thankyou Norman K

Hope you enjoy.



April 20. 2012 09:53 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
I read the Matt Cowgill article earlier and saved it for reference.  It is very good, using as it does sound data illustrated by graphs to expose the emptiness of Joe  Hockey's threat to look at all 'entitlements'.  I wonder does Hockey really know where social spending goes - mainly on health, age, family and incapacity, and to make savings there will cause him great pain, to say nothing of his victims. He needs to do his homework.

Ad astra reply

April 20. 2012 10:17 PM


Thankyou Ad

Your opinion is always valuable to me.

The economists would agree as you said, He needs to do his homework.



April 20. 2012 11:21 PM


Ad astra alluded to this interview this morning on ABC 774 where Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells talks to Jon Faine about aged care reform prior to the formal announcement by Julia Gillard.
If for any reason you need cheering up, have a listen to this because you won't believe your ears:



April 21. 2012 12:29 AM

Patricia WA

Thanks for that, NormanK! Amazing that there are no comments.  Appalling to think that woman could well become our next Minister for Aging and Mental Health.  She sounded to me as if she was herself in need of mental health care.

That interview should be compulsory listening for every bureaucrat in the sector!

Patricia WA

April 21. 2012 12:40 AM


Hi Lyn, thank you for the compliment. I do read all the comments avidly. There is so much to learn from every contributor here.

And they are such a varied bunch, from TT with his passion, poetry, humour and irreverence, NormanK measured, his wry humour and lovely turns of phrase, Patricia and her pomes, Ad astra patient, wise and always polite and respectful to commenters most of us would like to sock on the jaw, Nas' an old friend and an absolute mine of information.

I could go on and on about everyone, but this comment would end up the size of Gone With the Wind.

However, I couldn't finish without you lovely Lyn who unfailingly provide us with a feast of links and tweets all with a delicious sparkle.  


April 21. 2012 06:21 AM


an old friend and an absolute mine of information

Jane my friend, your passionate, oft witty sharp as a tack comments adds a special element to every blog you contribute...yer unfailing courage to take the verbal big stick to the spinmeisters and BSers and that two-faced, raging pontificator leading the Coalition  provides me with both motivation and glee. Over the years we've blogged together I have found you to be consistent in yer support, friendship, determination and fire...I appreciate all, intensely. I treasure yer uniqueness. Yer boldness.

Yer an asset jane to these blogs.
Cheers N'


April 21. 2012 06:49 AM


However, I couldn't finish without you lovely Lyn who unfailingly provide us with a feast of links and tweets all with a delicious sparkle.  

couldn't agree more. Lyn is a gem...providing valuable links day after day...consistently volunteering her time without the type of hubris and griping you oft see demonstrated by a media pack provided the privilege of good money and other remuneration. She is an inspiration to us all.

thnx for pointing out the Matt Cowgill article. He's a font of knowledge.

I've always been impressed by the means-testing of benefits process here...it ensures valuable revenue can be directed into necessary areas. This Aged Care announcement has pleased my wife and I no end...more emphasis on helping older people to stay in their own homes...superb. Plenty of other good aspects too.

BTW, Hockey seems obsessed with exaggerating Australian government debt...and talking about CUTTING into the public service, welfare etc...

Perhaps the man has opted for the wrong career? Seems to me he'd be happier working in a deli...cutting and slicing the processed meats...cutting the cheese on a daily basis. Cheerfully chatting and sweating away...chop chop, slice...

I reckon he's projecting his dreams onto his opposition Treasurer position...

the way Abbot does his Messiah missionary complex...

and Joyce his obvious urge to be an 1800s cowboy buffoon.



April 21. 2012 07:34 AM


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.

Talk Turkey,
When I was having my Patton moment the other day yer timely comment helped to calm that beast in me ...that urge to consistently call for overwhelming use of force to crush the Taliban...

the fear had risen up in me for the women and girls...the persecuted Hazara people...if the Taliban took control again once the bulk of the Coalition forces has left...I do not trust this Hamad Karzai...I feel he will sell out the Hazara and others to appease the Pashtun Taliban movement in order to save his own butt...or flee.

But it is quite possible that the Taliban will splinter once the common enemy has left. That the intensity of this conflict combined with the fact that far more Afghanis have received a wider education than in the previous years could see some real reflection on the populace's part...recognising that there exist far more opportunities than just falling back into a middle ages, patriarchal, tribalistic pattern.

The seeds of upward mobility and enlightenment have been planted...as has the knowledge that regardless of the horrific mistakes, occasional brutality inflicted upon them by the American forces and other occupiers...there were many demonstrations of goodwill...friendships formed...training of various types done...memories of shared laughter and sacrifice.

There is hope yet.

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected...and peace gradually unfolds across the lands. And justice is called for by THE MANY...not just THE FEW.

Afghanistan will continue to be observed...and people protected in various ways...some of which we could not have conceived of during the time the Russians pulled out...social networking for one.

The Afghani people are unique...and yet diverse...and will hold a special place in many a heart and mind. Hopefully many will also be permitted to contribute to this great, bold country...and take their positive experiences and learned skills home now and then to contribute to an evolving society.



April 21. 2012 07:46 AM


"Media" is a fitting word for them.

Because they're extremely medium.

Medium - as in very ordinary. Nothing special. At all.

...It's about time they came clean and admitted that the reason they are behind the Coalition, pushing like crazy, is they know the Coalition are useless and NEED the boosting to be 'competitive'. The medium people rely on the excitement of political contest to attract audience to their medium products.


April 21. 2012 07:58 AM


But out there  on the street in recent days
People chatting have begun to praise
Our Prime Minister's staying power, her drive.
She get things done.  They know she will survive.

Good stuff.

The PM visited the school across the road from my wife's a few months back...the feedback she got was "Julia...the PM was so warm and down-to-earth...so friendly...took time to chat to...listen to the students" etc.

Eventually the people are going to wake up big time to the CON that has been perpetuated by far too many in this corporatised media pack.

There are a few decent and fair-minded ones around...they know who they are...I'm loathe to name them these days in case they get pounced upon by the venomous ones...as has happened previously. That in itself tells you something about the contemporary MSM culture. There is something so secondary school about it.

The Murdochracy...where scorn and bullying and gossip and conformity and being part of the clique is so in.



April 21. 2012 08:06 AM


Meant to put up this link previously:

Hazara people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran




April 21. 2012 09:04 AM


Excellent...a politician who appreciates science and technology:

Federal politician Andrew Leigh contemplates five ideas that are just over the horizon of today's technologies.


And Christine Milne gets real with farmers:

Her conversations with local apple and cherry growers and sheep graziers were much longer and more detailed, and apparently aimed at eliciting information as well as providing footage for the evening news. The major party leaders' media events are usually pretty quick affairs.

Milne even admitted the multiparty climate committee that designed the carbon tax, of which she was a key member, may have under-estimated its impact on big food processors and promised to look for a remedy. Usually chats with political leaders in front of the cameras do not result in the leader admitting they may have got something wrong.


Best to break down the barriers...listen...and inform...demonstrating respect.

Creating bridges...I'm all for it. Helps overcome the loud voices of the misinformation peddlers and scare mongers.



April 21. 2012 09:35 AM




Some who have become quite suspicious of the Right-wing antics the past decade might think:

"Typical muck-raking expected of this lot...the Opposition and News Ltd are a low and desperate bunch
Anything to distract from the positive messages coming from the government..
Anything goes to try and get power".

We'll see how this pans out...but I have my suspicions this is a set-up...Sinodinos was sure out their early  this morn calling for Slipper to step aside..."serious allegations cast a pall..."



April 21. 2012 10:57 AM


Good Morning Ad

You will have seen, heard, read or smelt the news this morning, smelt more like it, because there is a big stink.

Here is some information from the Twitterverse for you and all our dear readers

Slipper denies sexual harassment allegations, ABC

News Limited says court documents show the Howard government was aware of previous allegations of sexual harassment as early as 2003.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the allegations are serious and Prime Minister Julia Gillard must stand down Mr Slipper while the matter is dealt with in the courts.


Staffer accuses Slipper of sexual harrasment , ABC Radio

Thirty-three-year-old James Ashby claims he was continually harassed by Mr Slipper since he began working for the Speaker in December.Mr Ashby has launched a Federal Court action seeking compensation from Mr Slipper and the Federal Government
Mr Ashby, who is gay, says that in his first weeks in the job, Mr Slipper requested massages, asked him for graphic details about his sex life and sent him suggestive text messages.


Putting the boot into a Slipper, The Stump

The vicious Murdoch tabloid attack on House of Representatives Speaker Peter Slipper has taken an even uglier turn this morning. Now he’s not just a Liberal rat but a sleazy sexual harasser – and a homosexual one at that.

AndrewBGreene @PeterSlipperMP Try asking where and how cockroach Lewis got the documents so soon. Contempt of court? Vexatious litigation?

Lewis has no credibility NLib whore RT  Didn't Steve 'Godwin Grech' Lewis say the same thing about #utegate ? ;)

Richard Farmer‏@richardlfarmer  
Putting the boot into a Slipper - The vicious Murdoch tabloid attack on Speaker Peter Slipper takes an even uglier turn

Clinton Neal‏@Clinton_Neal
Labor makes major announcement on aged care. Next day media latches onto allegations RE: Speaker. Whatever sells papers. #AusPol

Graham Parks‏@cruicerod ReplyRetweetedRetweet
ASelfStarter ozleaks why now ? Howard held onto this information when PM Shows that Abbott has nothing left #auspol

Peter Oataway‏ PetefromHayNSW
Slipper goes @WilkieMP votes with Libs - Libs in power b4 @SwannyDPM delivers budget call election ALP wipeout @farrm51 @BriggsJamie #auspol
Retweeted by Malcolm Farr

Conservationist Geek‏@geeksrulz ReplyRetweetedRetweet
Why won't the LNP come clean & tell us all they covered up for years? Would they be considered accessories to a crime, if guilty? #auspol

Conservationist Geek‏
Right on cue Abbott demands PM stands down Slipper pending allegations.. Looks like it was all planned and organised with Limited News. ;)

Chris Johnson‏@seearjay
More to Slipper staffer than Steve Lewis recalls?



April 21. 2012 11:27 AM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Yes, I heard of the ‘Slipper affair’ this morning, which you describe as a ‘stink’; from the twitterverse it looks more like a ‘sting’ organized by the Liberal Party, of which James Ashby is a member, and News Limited via Steve (Grech) Lewis.  The timing is curious.  No sooner has Julia Gillard launched far-reaching and widely applauded reforms to aged care than along comes this ‘scandal’ to distract attention from her achievement.  The tabloids will run hard on it while the aged reforms are relegated to inside pages, News Limited journalists are salivating with anticipation (as was Christian Kerr on ABC radio this morning), and Tony Abbott and Arthur Sinodinos are already out there calling for Slipper to be stood down, although John Howard took no action when aware of similar allegations in 2003, all hoping further to taint the Government and wishfully hoping for its imminent removal.

Goodness knows how it will play out.  No doubt our PM will take her usual measured approach and ride it out with her usual grit.

Ad astra reply

April 21. 2012 11:40 AM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
As usual BB’s comments are great reading: blogs.crikey.com.au/.../#comment-1223344

As are Ian’s:

Ad astra reply

April 21. 2012 12:16 PM


Will James Ashby turn out to be Shouldabeen's Godwin Grech?

It smells like that. A set-up that the Opposition Leader over-reacts to so much that he ends up looking too eager and way too gullible.


April 21. 2012 12:25 PM


Hi Ad

Thankyou for posting Bushfire Bill, I enjoy what he says very much, called like his style, Ian too they are both to the point and very fact driven.

Here is some of the latest reports, the Abbott Pty Ltd smells blood, trying to link Craig Thomson to Slipper two scandels the Government can't Govern:-

Opposition Leader calls on Speaker to step aside amid sex harassment claims, The Australian.
From: AAP April 21, 2012 11:56AM
"These are matters that are now to be the subject of proceedings in court, so these are of a vastly more serious and substantial nature than anything that has been alleged against Mr Slipper in the past."

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been contacted for comment on the allegations

Leader of the Opposition: Statement on Peter Slipper , Liberal Org

We now have a Government in Canberra that is dependent for its survival on two Members of Parliament, Craig Thomson and now Peter Slipper, who both face investigation over very serious allegations.

she must act today to ensure that Mr Slipper stands down




April 21. 2012 12:44 PM


Lyn and Ad Astra

This is just sickening.  Labor has had a great week and look what happens.  The Aged Care Package was very well received, even got good coverage on the ABC news last night.  How very appropriate is this thread now, Ad Astra.

Oh and I heard the interview with Jon Faine and that senator, it was atrocious.  For a change Faine was very good.  And the responses that were read out were to be heard to be believed.  She certainly didn't win any friends on that.

Thanks for the links to BushfireBill and Ian. Is it the same Ian that has commented here?  I reads like his stuff, both of which are excellent.


April 21. 2012 12:49 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
It’s looking more and more like a sting, set up by the Liberal Party in cahoots with News Limited.  The Coalition must be concerned about all the good publicity that the Government is getting with its aged care package and is desperate to distract the public.

Ad astra reply

April 21. 2012 12:51 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for posting the link to the awful Concetta Fierravanti-Wells interview with Jon Faine.  I hope Coalition supporters listen to it to see just a fraction of what they would be in for with the Coalition in power.

On the technical side, I see that you accessed the link via ‘tvider’ from ‘wrightgb’.  How did you find it?  How did wrightgb access the clip?  Can such a clip be accessed via the ABC website?  If so how?

Often I would like to post an audio clip from the radio, but don’t know the process.  Any help you can give would be welcome.

Ad astra reply

April 21. 2012 01:33 PM

Tom of Melbourne

”why does Julia Gillard have so much trouble getting her message across?”

There’s a simple answer – because she has a severe, and well earned, credibility problem.

Tom of Melbourne

April 21. 2012 01:57 PM


So do you Tom


April 21. 2012 02:02 PM


Dial M for Murdoch
The author of Dial M for Murdoch speaks about why he wrote the book and his part in the ongoing Leveson inquiry.




April 21. 2012 02:05 PM


Ad astra

I 'borrowed' it from PB. tvider seems to be an application that allows you to load photos, video and audio into a database so that they can be distributed via Twitter and accessed from Smartphones etc.
I have tried to learn how to get my hands on past audio/video of interesting interviews and I'm not having much success. With the audio in question wrightgb probably grabbed it while it was still current on Faine's home page and uploaded it to tvider.
There are lots of tricks like this that I would love to learn but it is slow going without a teacher. Any tips that I acquire I will pass on.

The hosts of A Frank View seem to be very quick at picking up audio and video as it becomes available - it's worth a visit once a day to see what they have posted.

Our Tweeting Tweety might have some advice on this subject since she is our social media expert. Laughing


April 21. 2012 02:06 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Fair enough Lyn, but I'm only a blog contributor. Gillard is a Prime Minister with a big credibility problem and much of the public has stopped listening to her.

Tom of Melbourne

April 21. 2012 02:08 PM


Blair aide among 46 new Murdoch hacking claims
Latest batch of phone-hacking cases puts The Times in the frame

A key Labour aide who worked for Tony Blair and David Blunkett had his messages intercepted while employed at the highest levels of government, according to papers filed yesterday against Rupert Murdoch's News International – one of 46 new claimants involved in a second tranche of phone-hacking lawsuits against the company. Matthew Doyle, who became Mr Blair's deputy director of communications in Downing Street and continued to work for the former prime minister until this year, joined the England and Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney, actor James Nesbitt and Sir John Major's former daughter-in-law, Emma Noble, in filing damages claims.

The latest salvo of cases also involves the first lawsuit related to allegations of illegal newsgathering against Times Newspapers, publisher of The Times and Sunday Times. It was revealed yesterday that phone hacking litigation has so far cost Mr Murdoch's News International £10m in legal fees for victims. Mr Doyle is the latest member of New Labour's innermost circle to bring a hacking claim against the News of the World and his proximity to two of the party's biggest beasts while in government will raise further questions about the Murdoch empire's efforts to snoop on the private lives of those running the country. Mr Murdoch and his son, James, will next week give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. Mr Blair's wife, Cherie, has also brought a damages claim against the NOTW in the latest round of litigation while a cast of senior Cabinet ministers and Labour lieutenants, including Mr Blunkett, Lord Prescott, Tessa Jowell and Alastair Campbell have already received apologies and substantial damages payments for the interception of their voicemails.


Even The Times has been tainted.

A bloody disgrace.

Murdoch should be stripped of his ownership.



April 21. 2012 03:13 PM

Ad astra reply

I agree with your comments.

Thanks.   I'll check with Web Monkey and if I get any information about how to capture audio clips, I'll pass it on.  If Lyn has any tips, I'm sure she will pass them on.

The Murdoch mess gets messier and messier.

Ad astra reply

April 21. 2012 03:32 PM


Hi Ad

Norman K is our TPS  in house IT specialist.  I will attempt to explain as I understand, and then NormanK may like to elaborate, expand or refine so to speak.

(“Often I would like to post an audio clip from the radio, but don’t know the process. Any help you can give would be welcome”)

TVider is a Twitter App, can be downloaded to your Twitter profile and Download to your mobile phone to record audio radio programs.

  Installing TVIDER to your Twitter account, the website has a download option, the App will tell you what to do.

Go to TVIDER click download and the APP will install on your Twitter profile settings.

Nothing lost easy to remove if you don’t like the app or just leave sitting there.

Set about recording via instructions .  Once you have completed your

recording you then have a link to share with us.

The App provides the tools to create the video or audio for you.

The Political Sword blog engine does not allow  posting a video in comments.  

Because the App creates a URL means you can link to it .  

Norman K picked up the link from Frank or PB , both blogs can imbed video’s in their comments.


Tvider iPhone version 1.2

3 types of media - VIDEO, AUDIO, PICTURE

Tools to instantly generate media using mobile camera.

Option to publish a pre-recorded media from your phone memory or

SD card memory

Instant Micro Media Tweeting experience designed by limiting the

media length to 30s in case of video and audio

Reply and Re-Tweet the media Tweets in your timeline.

Instantly click a picture or record a video/audio using handy Tvider

mobile application and update your status on twitter

Just record your Video, Picture or Voice using your computer mounted

Webcam and Mic with our online widget and Tweet it with a standard

twitter message.

You can also upload a pre-recorded video/audio/picture file



April 21. 2012 04:20 PM


Another response on Hockey's 'entitlenomics':

Razor gangs and welfare reformers must not lose sight of evidence Peter Whiteford, Gerry Redmond, Bruce Bradbury, SMH, April 20, 2012

Read more: www.smh.com.au/.../...evidence-20120419-1xa3t.html

While financial sustainability is critical, we also need to take account of the fundamental reasons why we have social spending in the first place.

In Australia, we have the most income-tested system in the developed world, with the primary objective of helping people in poverty.

The  September, 2009 ‘pension increase was the largest single increase in real terms - that is over and above inflation - for single pensioners since the age pension was introduced 100 years earlier.’

....the government's initiatives more than halved poverty in this group, almost at a stroke. The ABS itself has also calculated that inequality among single people over 65 fell by more than any other household type in the period after the global economic crisis.

As the Treasurer prepares to take his axe to public spending and Mr Hockey talks about entitlement, it is worth remembering that well directed welfare can be very effective and withdrawing it could be devastating.


April 21. 2012 06:32 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Thanks.  I'll try tomorrow to install Tvider via my Twitter account.

It's reassuring that some journalists are awake and able to call things the way they are.

Ad astra reply

April 21. 2012 07:13 PM


One of the more magical of lifes lessons is the vague understanding of heart. Not the pump, the gateway to the soul.

The amount of toxins it can absorb. The weights life and passion put upon it. When, finally, the poisons and toxins become to much we have days of sadness, disappiontment and an all absorbing sorrow. Today was such a day. You know that they should never happen, but accept that they do. Morose, depressing, bewilderment.

Then the magic happened.

I listened to a song about a stairway to heaven.

The neo-cons wont beat me. They wont beat you. They wont beat us. They wont beat Julia Gillard.

our hearts are too strong

cross posted from Poll Bludger


April 21. 2012 08:43 PM

Ad astra reply

And so say all of us.

Ad astra reply

April 21. 2012 10:36 PM


"Julia Gillard just can’t seem to get her message across’?" one reason could be Sir Humphrey's method smother its announcement with Russian spies/hockeynomics from London or even a royal/Slipper scandal, oops guess what, they are front page news. There IS only so much oxygen to go round and the jurnos seem to be passing the mask to each other not for fresh air but the old CO2 which is weightless or so Abbort thinks.


April 22. 2012 12:17 AM


WooHooooooo!..got my new computer today, and I've given up on Optus here, seems we are too close to the tower, we are under their radar it seems, I've got with Telstra after all. It seems to be working OK atm.

H'mmm. Except the . / Del (ete) key is wired wrong way up! Press Del you get .  -  Hold shift key down while typing . it deletes a letter at a time . . . D'uhhh?

Australian computer! LEADER, well maybe not after all.


April 22. 2012 08:40 AM


How much is Big Mining lying to us?


More than you might have thought.


April 22. 2012 09:10 AM

Patricia WA

Thanks for that, Ian, and for your comments over at PB.  When I read the rationally vehement responses of people like Lyn,  yourself, Ad Astra, Gravel, NK, N' and BB et al. I know that Julia Gillard and her government must and will prevail.  One can only wonder at the wickedness of News Ltd and Tony Abbott in their mad pursuit of power which allows them to lie and mislead to this extent.

The sheer silliness of the trumped up charges against the Speaker are mind boggling.  Even were he to have been indiscreet enough to pen those few XXXs or ask for the bathroom door to be left open where is the crime?  Well, we know the answer to that.  He defected, which is not a crime, but entrapment is, I believe.

Watching the news last night I was appalled at the prominence given to the story by the ABC.   I really felt for Peter Slipper and his family and sent off a 'chin up' email to him, praising his work as Speaker.  Let's hope he can hang in there and not quit.

Patricia WA

April 22. 2012 10:48 AM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for the Global Mail story about the disingenuousness of the mining industry advertisements.  With such a lot of useful facts and figures, I’ve filed it for reference.

Patricia WA
Like you, I enjoyed the Global Mail story.

Insiders was an instructive example of how the media dominate the news that is transmitted and how it is presented.  Predictably, the Slipper affair dominated, and the most important political news for people, particularly older folk – the aged care reforms – was relegated to a thirty second comment at the end.  Insiders is now tabloid, a reflection of News Limited.  Murdoch might as well own it.

Ad astra reply

April 22. 2012 11:01 AM


Ad Astra,

Just because you dont like it when the Gillard Government gets bagged out (rightfully), does not mean that Insiders is biased! If the show ignored the whole Slipper Affair (which could help bring down the Govt i might add...which is of particular political importance you would think) and just talked about how good Gillard was then i am sure you would not be whinging. The Government has more bad weeks than good weeks, you should just accept that Insiders is just a reflection of this.


April 22. 2012 11:20 AM


Or as Barrie Cassidy said recently: ‘Even when she has a good message to get out, she can’t seem do so’.

Geez Barrie, I wonder why?

Shows like Insiders couldn't possibly have anything to do with it could they? You know the one...catering to Murdoch empire sleaze and innuendo. Letting News Ltd and Tony Abbott derived topics dominate...whilst the the important Aged Care announcements by tlhe government are not only discussed in a vague token fashion...Mark Butler's achievements are used to bash the rest of the government by yet another News Ltd softly spoken sellout Dennis Atkins...one of the two News Ltd guests your staff invited on...once again ensuring that not only does the public broadcaster feel compelled to spruik a criminal media organisation...but per usual makes sure that the Labor government hating and accusatory VOICE of the Murdoch empire is heard loud and clear.

Barrie, yer another tricky dick...another softly spoken...well you know.

Yer another enabler of the Murdochracy.

Don't pretend to be anything else.

When the ABC is eventually fully corporatised...and partially dismantled...and its independence lost to cater to the corporate agenda...you will have made a major contribution to its fall from integrity.

Well done Barrie...well done.



April 22. 2012 11:32 AM


Good Morning Ad

A few tweets to support your honest, genuine, reliable opinion:

Stephen Koukoulas
After 55 mins of insiders, aged care reform gets 60 seconds of discussion after more than half an hour of Slipper

Anne Summers‏
mumbletwits Could the #ABC be more right wing than #Skynews? Can #Spigelman stop the rot? Sh we just turn off altogether? #tough choices

Bernard Keane‏
Quelle surprise @TheKouk: After 55 mins of insiders, aged care reform gets 60 seconds of discussion after more than half an hour of Slipper

Linda White
insiders -30 mins on Slipper & 2 mins on the age care package, yet in the long run the latter will be more imp to Aussies than the former

Stephen Koukoulas‏
Many people, including Cassidy don't understand the IMF! #insiders

Alexander White
Gawd, they're still rabbiting on about bloody Peter bloody Slipper. Didn't anything else happen this week? #insiders

And the Parliament elected Slipper as the Speaker, not the Gillard Minority Govt, a slight inconvenient truth

David Horton
bronwyn64 and a right to know what formal arrangements were entered into between ABC and IPA.

And yet another Labor Reform>>>Industry applauds aged care reform plan www.abc.net.au/.../3963618?section=business @abcnews #auspol



April 22. 2012 11:52 AM


Sue @ Cafe Whispers wrote: The exact timing time could not possibly have anything to do with the embarrassment of Joe Hockey’s “entitlement speech” in Europe the other night. Or with the Prime Minister’s wonderful Aged Care proposals yesterday. Or with the fact that the almost toothless Carbon Price will come into effect in around ten weeks. Or with the Newspoll due out on Thursday. Or even with media speculation on the strength of Abbott’s hold on his position.”

My response:

All of the above Sue…

add Andrew Robb’s cockup supporting the ANZ interest rate rise.

And the release of Dial M for Murdoch.

And the fact Rupert and James Murdoch are to front the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking next week.

And this:

FORTY-SIX new phone-hacking lawsuits have been filed against Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper group, with footballing stars Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs among the latest to sue, a court has heard.


It’s also about stealing the thunder of the budget announcements.

It’s what the Murdoch empire and their puppet politicians do…have done for decades…

desperate, wily scumbags attempting to drown out good, useful messages…

attempting to manipulate public perception

distract…divert public attention away from their own crimes and trouble…

do and say just about anything to grab…or retain power.

This is not a democracy…it is a Murdochracy.



April 22. 2012 12:34 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Thank you for the tweets about Insiders.  Clearly, I wasn’t the only one to notice the imbalance.

Thank you for your pertinent comments.  They are so apt.  The Murdoch influence worsens by the day.

I do wish you would carefully read what I wrote before you come here offering your comments.

I did say “Predictably, the Slipper affair dominated…”  Note the word ‘Predictably…’  Only someone out of touch with contemporary media would expect otherwise.  My point, if you care to re-read what I wrote, was that the most important piece of Government policy this year, one that will affect all people of advancing years, and all of us eventually, was relegated to a snippet at the end of the program, almost as an afterthought.

If you care to read Lyn’s list of tweets, you will see that I was not alone in my criticism.

But I was incorrect on one count: I wrote that it was given thirty seconds – that was wrong – it was actually given forty-six seconds.  Check it out for yourself.


Ad astra reply

April 22. 2012 12:52 PM


yer welcome.

I find yer comments spot on.

It's disheartening to see so many media commentators acting like Murdoch empire clones...and Liberal party shills...tabloid junkies and dealers...



April 22. 2012 01:31 PM


Worth thinking about:

Early research proved that dental care could make the difference for individuals trying to get into work, and our most recent report showed a cost to the economy of $1.3 – $2 billion in lost productivity per year, on top of more than $223 million in hospital admissions.

In Australia today low-income earners are 60 times more likely to lose all their teeth than high income earners, in fact one in six poorer Australians has no teeth at all. People often wait so long for treatment in the public dental service that there is no chance of tooth recovery or repair.

According to the AIHW report released earlier this month (Oral health and the use of dental services 2008), people with concession cards are more than twice as likely to have teeth removed at an appointment than someone from a higher income household.

Seventy-one per cent of concession cardholders actually paid a private dentist for their last visit, presumably because they were unable to wait the twelve month plus most common for public dental treatment in 2008. Our clients tell us now of waiting for up to five years for a first appointment.

The need for public dental assistance is so extreme that we are faced with a moral conundrum when we advocate for our clients. Should we help them access the public dental support they are entitled to, knowing that their inclusion will displace another? Perhaps they too, like our client, have been waiting for years for the treatment that will enable them to step out of stasis and into normal life – get a job, eat a favourite meal, smile in a photo.

By incorporating dental care into Medicare we will safeguard the health needs of our most vulnerable Australians. As health economists will tell you, universal access also cuts administrative costs, helps control prices, places more emphasis on primary and preventative care, and reduces unfair anomalies whereby those just above the cut-off point miss out.

While Medicare is not perfect, free treatment at public hospitals, bulk billing GPs and government subsidies for pharmaceuticals and specialists all help to keep healthcare much more affordable that it would otherwise be.

And, even more importantly, a universal system also ensures community ‘buy in’ because everyone pays for it and everyone uses it.

much more here:




April 22. 2012 01:48 PM


From Jeremy Sear @ Pure Poison blog, Crikey:

UPDATE: In fact, if ANY MP from ANY PARTY is accused of a crime, if I understand the Coalition’s logic, Julia must immediately dissolve parliament and call an election. And from then on, any party that loses an election just needs to have one of its members accused of a crime, and they can immediately have another election until they win and/or Australia degenerates into complete chaos.

more here:




April 22. 2012 02:05 PM

Ad astra reply

Thanks for the Jeremy Sear links.  Even more interesting than what Jeremy wrote are the comments that followed: blogs.crikey.com.au/.../

Ad astra reply

April 22. 2012 02:36 PM

Ad astra reply

In my earlier days, I gave countless anaesthetics for local dentists to carry out full clearance of teeth, mostly because they were carious and beyond correction.  That would be a rarity now.  At that time there was a ‘toxic focus’ theory, which postulated that chronic dental infection was a source of ‘toxins’ and microorganisms that had ill effects on health.  That theory fell out of favour for a while, but now it is recognized that chronic infection of the gums and surrounding tissues (periodontitis) results in inflammatory conditions in other parts of the body, difficulty in controlling blood glucose in diabetes mellitus, and ill health generally.  Many adults are said to be affected by chronic dental disease; the burden of ill health that this causes is hard to estimate, but is thought to be considerable.  So any dental scheme that enabled prompt and effective dental care ought to measurably improve the health of the population.

The main problem always seems to be cost.  We could have a universal dental scheme if enough money was available, and if that was applied to providing dental facilities and dental professionals.  It is doubtful if there are presently enough of the latter to go around.

I agree with you about a dental scheme.  I am strongly in favour of a universal dental scheme as part of Medicare, but don’t know from where sufficient funds could come.  As nobody wants to free up funds by cutting existing services (entitlements) except Joe Hockey, increasing taxes is the only option.  How many taxpayers would be prepared to pay a considerably higher Medicare levy to allow the inclusion of a dental care scheme?

Ad astra reply

April 22. 2012 02:38 PM


Hi Talk Turkey

Glorious to see your post this morning.  I have missed your enthusiastic, happy posts.  Thankyou for keeping our spirits positive with your delightful glittering verses.

(WooHooooooo!..got my new computer today, and I've given up on Optus here, seems we are too close to the tower)

You have made a very wise decision to abandon Optus, even though Telstra have their faults, they do still have the monoply. NBN will shine bright for me.

Here is some Slippery Slime for anyone who cares to read, you will be astounded at the spelling or typo's whichever you choose to call them:

Mark ‏
Important to read Terrorgraphs "transcript" of alleged conversations/Texts between Ashby/Slipper...: http://bit.ly/JzLzaU 1/2 #auspol
This is an extract of allegations against Peter Slipper in the application in federal court,

Speaker Peter Slipper flies in for vote on his future

James Ashby's abuse conviction for making threatening phonecalls

Julia Gillard will stand or fall on the Peter Slipper saga

Abetz weighs in. "The opposition says federal parliament Speaker Peter Slipper should resign following...

The Australian‏
Step aside Slipper, says Wilkie: ANDREW Wilkie today joined Opposition calls for Speaker Peter Slipper to step ...

Chris Johnson‏@seearjay
Abbott's reliance on obfuscation of facts is gobsmacking; Slipper was elected unapposed by Parliament: http://bit.ly/Igi7Jo #slipper


Zac Spitzer
Australian Public Service Commission: Harassment, note the "current good practice advice"

Turn Left‏
Tony Abbott was charged with indecent assault on a woman, in public turnleft2013.wordpress.com/.../ so if Slipper has to stand down, so should Tiny



April 22. 2012 02:44 PM


Nas - on your post above about the dissolution of Parliament - what happened to the Liberal Senator accused of shoplifting.  What happened when Turnbull and Abbott made false and misleading statements about Rudd using a fabricated email from someone in Treasury?

While I can understand Abbott having a go (he would have to lift his standard to get to the level of gutter politics), the Murdock and ABC outlets should be the first to understand that firstly someone is innocent until proven guilty (and therefore they cannot be disadvantaged through loss of their job, benefits or entitlements) and secondly Parliament appoints the Speaker, the Government doesn't.

It is also interesting to notice that in the cases of the Liberal Senator Shoplifter (accused) and the making of false and misleading statements, the Government kept a respectable silence and allowed the justice system to perform it's job - demonstrating why Abbott in my opinion needs to lift his game to get into gutter politics.


April 22. 2012 02:53 PM


Hi Ad

Here is Bushfire Bill compliments of Mark:-

Mark ‏
Bushfire gets to the heart of this blatant & obvious #NewsLtd set-up to smear Slipper.....don't miss it: http://bit.ly/JXZc38 #auspol #BBill
This is a beat up, built upon a bootstrap, reinforced by opinionation, founded on a few alleged text messages and some untested court documents, spread initially by a known liar, purveyor and forger of faked documents, amplified by the nihilistic belief that a good sex scandal trumps everything: serious,  



April 22. 2012 02:57 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Thanks for the additional links – the plot thickens.  Will this turn out to be another ‘Grech affair’?

Your comments are apt, but waiting for Tiny Abbott to lift his game might be a very long wait.

Ad astra reply

April 22. 2012 03:08 PM


Too true AA - I suspect to be waiting a while.  In my defence I also contribute occasionally to the Lotto system with the innate belief that someday I might get lucky despite the extremely long odds of winning a significant sum of money.  Hope springs eternal Laughing


April 22. 2012 03:22 PM


In case you missed it Mr Krugman has some very 'sound' advice:

Both takes on the topic are brilliant.


April 22. 2012 03:27 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
BB in full flight is always good reading.

Ad astra reply

April 22. 2012 03:40 PM


How many taxpayers would be prepared to pay a considerably higher Medicare levy to allow the inclusion of a dental care scheme?

There's the rub Ad...and as you aptly point out there might not be enough dental professionals to go around.

I do believe this present government is attempting to incrementally deal with these issues:


I know there has been an obsession with tax cuts the past decade and more...but surely one gutsy government will come along and do the hard sell on this...too many are suffering acute and chronic pain due to tooth and gum disease...in turn, it's undermining other aspects of their health as you mention based on yer professional experiences.

This will need consistent revenue...so linking it to the mining tax will not suffice.

As you say, the Medicare levy will have to increase.

It's a no-brainer.

But of course we have Tony Abbott farting on about "The rising cost of living". Trying to persuade the voters to vote against their own interests.

Move him and Murdoch aside and I reckon we'll have a much more rational discussion on dentalcare.

This country's pollies acted sane once.

That's why we got Medicare.

Whoever let Murdoch get such a foothold deserves to be flogged.

Same for whoever let Abbott find his perch.



April 22. 2012 03:48 PM


the Murdock and ABC outlets should be the first to understand that firstly someone is innocent until proven guilty

yes, isn't it interesting how they act in tandem sometimes...a double act...an attack duo...?




April 22. 2012 04:54 PM


The Speaker stepping aside takes the wind out of Shouldabeen's sails...

Until his flatus-generating team come up with more false and talk-about-slippery! effluvium to drive once more the Coalition flagship of innuendo, smear, outright lies, and holier than thou (watch Abbott's eyes as he lies and knows he is) sanctimony and plain ignorant of due process lip-smacking tongue-sliding say it once, twice, three times it's shady slander.


April 22. 2012 05:00 PM


Hi Ad

Slipper stands aside amid harassment claims

Peter Slipper has stood aside as Federal Parliamentary Speaker amid allegations he sexually harassed a staffer and misused taxpayer-funded Cabcharges.


ABC News 24‏

At 5pm AEST, political editor @LyndalCurtis has latest on House of Reps Speaker @PeterSlipperMP standing aside



April 22. 2012 06:21 PM


From the ever-rational Mr. Denmore:

It  didn't matter anyway, because two days later, the aged care story had been shoved under the editorial bed like a used chamber pot. There was a much more colourful yarn to pun headlines out of. Instead of creaking tales about hospital beds and home care, we had one that yielded "Sex Text Scandal" and "Gay Sex Pest". Corr! So saucy, even the perpetually randy UK tabloids picked it up.

Even better, the Tory regime changers of News Ltd could spin the Peter Slipper story into an imagined constitutional crisis and provide yet another reason to call for an ELECTION RIGHT NOW! to fix the mistake made two years ago and to "put an end to what many view as a dysfunctional government".   The News Ltd goons had Slipper in their sights anyway, having used their 'news' pages recently to depict him as a rat. (That there was no manufactured outrage over Slipper in the 18 years  he served as a Coalition MP spoke volumes. A classic stitch-up, then.)

You see, what matters for our partisan press is not how many people a story affects (as in aged care, the NBN, health reform or improving disclosure around financial advice - all good reforms under this government), it is how a story can be spun to suit their chosen narrative and ideological imperative - in this case confecting a climate of permanent outrage to force regime change.


Sad days for the public interest indeed.



April 22. 2012 06:38 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

My point, if you care to re-read what I wrote, was that the most important piece of Government policy this year, one that will affect all people of advancing years, and all of us eventually, was relegated to a snippet at the end of the program, almost as an afterthought.
Ad astra

I thought the Maltese Pigeon’s “Sydney needs a second airport” distraction was designed to pave the way for the bird of paradox to announce her aged care policy. Just why is the bird of paradox worried about people in their twilight years when she is on record as saying something like old people don’t vote ALP.  I seem to recall that old people were ridiculed by some ALP MPs and even some of TPS’s contributors scorned people of senior years for having the gall to attend anti-carbon tax rallies in Canberra. Should I go fishing here at TPS and pull up some of those comments? Now you try to convince us that the aged care policy (“the most important piece of Government policy this year”) is the ALP’s capstone for 2012. Once again I’ve caught you out on inconsistency.

While I can understand Abbott having a go (he would have to lift his standard to get to the level of gutter politics), the Murdock and ABC outlets should be the first to understand that firstly someone is innocent until proven guilty

Innocent until proven guilty before the law. However in the court of public opinion people are free to speculate. There is a difference. Here at TPS we've had trials in the court of public opinion. One such trial was that of Sophie Mirabella and people exercised their right to speculate.

Sir Ian Crisp

April 22. 2012 06:40 PM


Hi Ad

This is what Malcolm Farr had to say.

(Government numbers slippery on Speaker's decision, Malcoolm Farr, News Com
If Independent Andrew Wilkie supports the Government, it will have 75 vote in the House of Representatives to the Coalition’s 73. Without Mr Wilkie, the numbers will be 74-74 each.

This is based on the Government continuing to have the backing of cross bench independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, and Green MP Adam Bandt.


April 22. 2012 06:41 PM


One such trial was that of Sophie Mirabella and people exercised their right to speculate.

I haven't followed that.

Did Mirabella go to the backbench?



April 22. 2012 06:58 PM


thnx for the info.

I hope Wilkie doesn't hold grudges over the gambling policy rejection. And remembers which party persecuted him over his brave whistleblowing during the Iraq Fiasco.

Surely the ALP can find it in their heart to give the courageous Wilkie a little help with his gambling bill?

And Wilkie realise he MUST be more pragmatic on the issue...compromise more. I despise gambling and casinos...but I 'd hate to see it driven nderground after what i've seen...and read about the prohibition years in America.

May sanity prevail.

Small victories are better than none at all.



April 22. 2012 07:03 PM


To NormanK:

Honoured Sir,

Having spent most of the afternoon on Poll Bludger hunting for your wondrous dialogue 'twixt our Prime Minister and La Stupenda (silly me, I should simply have searched the last thread here), I have taken the liberty of stealing - oops - appropriating it (with suitable links) for my Facebook page.

Definitely one of the best, and most pointed, takes on the one-eyedness of Ms Grattan.

With may thanks, I have the pleasure to remain, Sir,

Your most humble servant,

Etc., etc., etc.


April 22. 2012 07:30 PM


Sir Ian
       Senator Mary Jo Fischer is fair game is she not?


April 22. 2012 07:52 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

Yes she is J Guy. Also up for criticism is every Australian politician and that includes that brothel inspector hiding behind the bird of paradox.

Sir Ian Crisp

April 22. 2012 07:59 PM


Sir Ian,
       As far as I was aware in the two states where Tompson is/was under investigation "brothels and prostitution" are legal.
If stupidity were a crime you'd be doing life!


April 22. 2012 08:32 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

You are right of course J Guy. However, to deny you are a brothel inspector casts a poor light on those who proudly inspect brothels and don't hide that fact behind their mum's skirt.

Sir Ian Crisp

April 22. 2012 08:43 PM



Thank-you. Laughing
You have just brightened up what has hitherto been a very bleak weekend (despite the glorious weather). Wouldn't it be a hoot if, through your endeavours, that particular bit of scribbling fell under the gaze of the great lady herself?

"Hmmph" she said, "no dessert for you young man."


April 22. 2012 08:51 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

Did Mirabella go to the backbench?

I don’t think so. However, she didn’t appoint someone to a taxpayer funded position for the purpose of cultivating a sexual relationship. She didn’t need to install frosted glass panels in her shower recess or worry about facing a sexual harassment case.

Sir Ian Crisp

April 22. 2012 08:59 PM


Sir Ian,
       Evidence old son evidence! when you can present me a case that Thomson has done something wrong,I'm more than happy to accept it.
no doubt your reply will furnish me with the details.


April 22. 2012 09:02 PM


Before I write anything myself let me draw your attention to this post on Poll Bludger. It is staunch and noble and defies the utter despicability of the Abbortt-led Right.

[Best Wishes and Right On Gweneth.

Be sure, We will win. Venceremos! Smile TT ]

(from) Gweneth

Posted Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

[NB I haven't tried to find *Geoffrey*s post. (PB is impossible to keep up with!) I don't know what it referred to. Gwenweth's letter doesn't depend on anything but itself anyway. TT]


Posted Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

Geoffrey the whole world is fallible, even you and I.

Politics is not about perfection but working together for the best outcome with the cards we are dealt. I would love to wish away the tumour in my belly but that isn’t an option open to me. I have choices – I can give up, give in or fight. I would love to wish the Labor party and the other parties of the left into easy majorities and a fair press but that option isn’t open to me. I have choices -give up, give in or fight.

Life is not a spectator sport. Politics is not about winning arm chair debates in the club and scoring points – it is about fundamentals to do with how our society functions at its most basic level. I don’t give f*ying f*ck what Julia Gillard sounds like – I can’t think of a politician in living memory who sounded like pleasant to the ear.

What I care about is that for all her faults and mine we are both fighting for the same outcome. And she is fighting a damn sight harder than some of you sanctimonious bludgers here.


Good on you Gweneth.

This will reach you via the MAGIC of the Blogosphere - surely.

Sent via my *N*E*W* laptop! Smile

BTW this is not in any way to be taken as criticism of Poll Bludger, which is a great site, as good as its many writers, though yes it goes too fast to keep up with. It is the fastest way of finding out breaking news I know of though. But it reminds me of the monthly poetry meetings in Adelaide 'Friendly Street', we all want to hear the sound of our own voice, that's about 70 people, there's a 3-minute limit for each, and in one ear it all goes, after that nobody knows, and it doesn't even register most of the time,. . .

Well the Sword is a lot more . . . well you know.

Anyway I didn't take the last term to relate to PB nor most of its contributors, just to mean lazy illwillians.


April 22. 2012 09:08 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

J Guy, you mention evidence so I ask you furnish any evidence that the person I was talking about was the same as the person you have named. I made no mention of names.

You could end up doing life yourself.

Sir Ian Crisp

April 22. 2012 09:13 PM


Sir Ian
       But I was speaking hypothetically! who knows what your on about.


April 22. 2012 09:40 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you Lyn and others for your ongoing links.  I’ve enjoyed reading your comments.

The Slipper affair is moving rapidly, and not particularly in the direction Tony Abbott was hoping for.  He would have preferred a bare-knuckle scrap on the Floor of the House on the next day of sitting, hoping to distract attention from the Swan Budget and his own response.  Instead he will have Slipper back in the chair if rapidly exonerated, or his deputy if the investigation is ongoing.  Neither will give him any joy.  I see Abbott’s threat of a no confidence motion is not being taken seriously by the Country Independents.

So he will probably be left mouthing his angry words to a largely disinterested audience, long tired of his repetitive and always unsuccessful motions to suspend standing and sessional orders.

I’m writing the next piece Why do journalists have so much difficulty being objective? that will be ready in a  day or two.

I’m calling it a day.

Ad astra reply

April 22. 2012 09:50 PM


All you Labour luvvies are that much closer to the edge now that Slipper has done what Thompson should also do. Get used to it. All your chickens are coming home to roost.

Jason says "As far as I was aware in the two states where Tompson (sic) is/was under investigation "brothels and prostitution" are legal".

That may be so, podgy one - but the following acts are not legal:

1.  Spending union funds (ie. other people's money) to indulge in the varied offerings of those mercantile-inclined social establishments, and

2.  Lying by saying you did not go there - even the NSW Police have clearly found that no fraud was committed in relation to the use of the relevant credit card at those establishments - that means the person who owns the credit card, used the credit card at those places. You do understand that, don't you?

I would have thought that even an ALP lad of limited cranial capacity could figure those points out for himself.

The sound you can all hear is the thin ice cracking under your feet.

Have a good Anzac Day, folks. Those of us who have served will enjoy catching up with old mates and marching together. Those elderly members amongst you who shouted "Ho! Ho! Ho! Chi Minh!" back in 1971 and who spat at, or threw blood and paint at, soldiers returning from Vietnam back then can reminisce on the old days of tie-dies, Jim Cairns (read his account of Long Tan and you'll throw up out of disgust for his appalling views), drugs and treachery - and hang your heads in shame for the damage YOU did to hundreds of young Vietnam veterans.


April 22. 2012 11:43 PM


I am mindful of your request to avoid feeding trolls and I am happy to abide.

I have been absent for a couple of weeks and have just read many back comments on TPS.

I note the abusive comments from Capstan and my reflex action is to apply past professional skills in an attempt to understand the level of abuse from this person. I won't however conduct discourse with him.

My considered opinion is that he suffers from what the Irish call "bod beag". In Aussie vernacular this is known as Little Willy Syndrome, not to be confused with Little Man Syndrome, although they do often coexist and I think that that is the case here.

Abuse, sarcasm, and big man speak ('I was in Afghanistan.....') are very common signs of the disorder

AA, as I think you know, I have professional interests in another branch of endeavour, and my background there leads me to comment to you that the claim that lying (Point (2) in 9.50pm post) is an illegal act, is a fanciful exaggeration not indicative of a strong intellect in the writer of such hyperbole.


April 22. 2012 11:56 PM



Just noticed your response @ April 21. 2012 06:32 PM to my alert about SMH article Razor gangs and welfare reformers must not lose sight of evidence www.smh.com.au/.../...evidence-20120419-1xa3t.html

You said It's reassuring that some journalists are awake and able to call things the way they are.

The really great thing about that article appearing in the MSM is that the authors are in fact academics. They are Prof Peter Whiteford,  Director, Social Welfare Research Centre, UNSW; Dr Bruce Bradbury, Senior Research Fellow, Social Welfare Research Centre, UNSW and Associate Professor, Gerry Redmond, Director, Flinders Institute of Public Policy and Management.

So, it's great that academics are responding to speeches like the one that Hockey made in London and calling him out on it. Matt Cowgill also relied on some information provided by Peter Whiteford for his excellent piece at http://mattcowgill.wordpress.com/

Cowgill also cites an earlier article by Whiteford and Redmond which is also a useful discussion on the welfare/tax balance in our system. For richer or poorer: the delicate art of messing with middle class welfare. at theconversation.edu.au/for-richer-or-poorer-the-delicate-art-of-messing-with-middle-class-welfare-1560


April 23. 2012 01:13 AM

Patricia WA

There may well be a delicate art to messing with middle class welfare, Casablanca, so I certainly wouldn't trust it to the
likes of Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott.  I shuddered listening to Hockey last week talking about looking to Asian comparisons rather than Europe for welfare spending.  For me his talk of the end of the age of entitlementsuggested that he had no appreciation of how important Australia is in our region as an example to follow to achieve the well-being of citizens.  Nor did he have any idea on how long and hard had been the struggle to achieve our currently enlightened society.

The End Of The Age Of Enlightenment

Joe Hockey travelled to London,
To make his declaration
That it was time to turn the page,
And bring to an end the age
Of what he called Entitlement.

You may well ask why didn’t he
Announce it in North Sydney
That we’re citizens of Asia,
Neighbours of Malaysia
And the Indian subcontinent.

There, he said, they are satisfied
With what their families provide
To support them when they’re old.
Now Oz could save amounts untold,
With something the equivalent.

When asked to whom the scheme applied
He hesitated and then replied,
“Oh, we’d have to have a means test
Which would eliminate the rest
Of us who prove ourselves non-indigent.”

Posted with notes and illusrated by Alan Moir at  polliepomes.wordpress.com/.../

Patricia WA

April 23. 2012 01:45 AM


is it time for a new gravatar maybe the one shown in this article might appeal



April 23. 2012 06:22 AM


I have read with interest many of the comments made over the last week or so by the varied inhabitants of this very interesting ALP Petri dish - what a funny bunch of people you all are! You make me laugh - for that I am grateful - laughter really is such a tonic!

The most consistent attack on me is that I am not a returned veteran and have not served in Afghanistan - most recently, psyclaw has attributed this to "little willy syndrome" indicative of some sort of disorder.

Let me point out to you all that, yet again, you are collectively hoisted by the petard of your own hypocrisy in your application of fairness. In relation to Craig Thomson - you demand that everyone say nothing, do nothing and refrain from any action whatsoever until the matter is resolved through legal processes. Craig maintains that he has done nothing wrong - how dare anyone suggest otherwise?

But with me, you all accuse me of lying and of not being what I say I am - a returned veteran who has served in Afghanistan. On what evidence do you conclude as you do? On what basis do you feel you are entitled to dismiss and dishonour me? By your approach to Craig Thomson, I would suggest you are bound to accept my statement until someone has proven otherwise.

Maintain some level of consistency, dear friends.

But your suspicions are baseless for I am, indeed, a returned serviceman. I will give you a couple of additional morsels of information to further heighten your inclination for suspicion and paranoia: I also served in East Timor - and I had the great honour of serving on operations at the same time as my son - when I was in Afghanistan, my son was serving in Iraq.

Go to town on these further matters of fact, labour luvvies!

As to psyclaw, who apparently is a learned member of the legal fraternity, I note his words: "... my background there leads me to comment to you that the claim that lying (Point (2) in 9.50pm post) is an illegal act, is a fanciful exaggeration not indicative of a strong intellect in the writer of such hyperbole."

Alas poor psyclaw! Your marks throughout your legal studies were modest to the point of being utterly tenuous, weren't they? Are you really maintaining that the act of lying never constitutes an illegal act? If so, what do you make of the various charges and penalties that pertain to perjury, the making of false statements (I do believe that one may prove problematic to your dear Mr Thomson) and, in other areas, false advertising vis-a-vis the TPA / Competition and Consumer Act?

More hyperbowl from me? I don't think so. Back to the textbooks to you, young psyclaw! You'll never become an Articled Clerk with poor performances like that!

I will enjoy Anzac Day with my mates and fellow returned veterans - that is a right I have earned. None of you will ever know what that is like - for none of you have similarly served on operations. The closest many of you older luvvies have got to returned veterans is when you were spitting on them back the 1970s - how do sleep at night, knowing the psychological damage you did to those young returned Vietnam veterans way back then?

Your ability to spit on, and sneer at, returned soldiers like me is based on the fact that blokes like me, when we were soldiers, served to keep Australia the nation it is.

There is a certain irony in that little matter of fact, don't you think?


April 23. 2012 07:17 AM



Julia Gillard is indeed a delightful orchid,
what a great compliment to our PM to have it named for her!


Check out its species name!


Excerpt from
Floral Emblems of Australia
Australian National Botanic Gardens
Australian National Herbarium

"Cooktown Orchid

Floral Emblem of Queensland

On 19 November 1959 the Cooktown Orchid, under the botanical name of Dendrobium bigibbum . . . was proclaimed as the floral emblem of Queensland . . . "

???*biggibum* ?!

Not sure which is the correct link of these two below but one will take you to the article, or just google cooktown (that's all!) and look at the Orchid link immediately, pretty flowers in first link, full article in second.



Julia Gillard certainly is a lovely flower.
But biggibum! Smile

Dog's sake don't tell anyone, I don't want this getting around.



April 23. 2012 07:20 AM


dendrobium biggibum not bigibum
Sorry *J*U*L*I*A*


April 23. 2012 07:34 AM


No dammit it's Dendrobium bigibbum

Third time lucky!

I bet you no-one will remember whether its biggibum bigibum bigibbum or biggibbum now unless you cheat and really make an effort to remember.

Dendrobium (tree~life) refers to d. bigibbum's tree-hugging habit. Smile


April 23. 2012 07:56 AM



Guilty Till Proven Innocent, Archie, Archiearchives
This MUST be Julia Gillard’s fault. She is, after all, the Prime Minister.The Leader of the Opposition is strident in his demands that Slipper be stood aside while the allegations are investigated! Obviously this is something for which the Office of Speaker

Sex Text Pest Bests Rest Test, Mr Denmore, The Failed Estate
Sleaze and conflict didn't figure in the federal government's $3.7 billion aged care reform package. Sold as "more choice, easier access and better care" for older Australians, the package was warmly welcomed by a broad cross section of aged care providers,

_Peter Slipper stands aside: what does this mean constitutionally?Peter Black, Freedom to Differ
What makes this situation so unusual, is that there is no provision for "standing aside" in the Constitution. However, it must be assumed that standing aside does not mean he has resigned as Speaker, and constitutionally he must still be considered to be the Speaker. As such, he surely cannot be entitled to sit on the

Labor’s” Speaker who won his seat on a Coalition ticket and whose behaviour was covered by the Coalition for years, Jeremy Sear, Pure Poison
Because he’s Labor‘s problem. Not the people who made sure he had one of the 150 votes in the House of Representatives. LABOR LABOR LABOR LABOR LABOR. They’re to blame for this person the Coalition put into parliament. LABOR.

Something About Slipper, Only The Depth Varies
Equally dangerous is our tendency to jump to the nearest, juiciest conclusion, rustle up a quick round or two of the blame game and make political hay. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has called for the Prime Minister to take swift action, for Mr Slipper to be

Coalition moral high horse is nothing but a braying donkey, Jennifer Wilson, No Place for Sheep
Before Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his braying band of born to rule big mouths get too comfortable up on their freshly saddled moral high horses, they might do well to consider this: Speaker of the House of Representatives Peter Slipper has a history

More choice, easier access and better care for older Australians, Julia Gilllard
Older Australians want to receive care in their own home. Over the next five years, the number of operational Home Care packages will increase from 59,876 to 99,669. This will mean less waiting time for people who need care. Under new means-testing arrangements for Home Care packages, which will start from 1 July 2014,

Paltry Newstart Allowance is fast becoming a poverty trap , Peter Whiteford, The Conversation
single unemployed adults receive $490 per fortnight in Newstart payments, or $35 per day. If they’re renting privately, they’re entitled to up to $120 per fortnight in rent assistance. But, to get that amount their rent has to be more than $267 per fortnight,

Aged care reform: experts respond, Steve Macfarlane, The Conversation
The reforms announced by the government today are welcome and in line with preferences expressed by older Australians – both in research and in government consultations – to be able to live in their own homes with adequate support for as long as possible.

The Age of Entitlement, Bill, Billablog
No more pensions, no more baby bonus No first home buyers grant John Howard said that we could afford it Now Joe Hockey says we can’t, This is the ending of the Age of Entitlement, the Age of Entitlement Entitlement! Entitlement!

Wrong, wrong, wrong- Gillard, Hockey, Robb, Peter Martin
You opposed means testing of the Private Health Insurance Rebate @JoeHockey #LateLine #auspol You opposed means testing of the baby bonus @JoeHockey #LateLine #auspol You said families taking in over $150K deserved government support @JoeHockey #LateLine #auspol

Hockey's Mockery Of Smith, Sarah Lumley, New Matilda
Hockey’s argument also seems disingenuous. Given the importance of the issue, and what’s at stake, a brief attempt at clarification of Smith’s position, and what Hockey might have meant, is warranted.

Rupert Murdoch’s war on Democracy… it is ‘not sustainable’ and interferes with his ability to make money, Turn Left 2013
in Australia, we have a media mogul, who not only has his mind set on regime change and over throw the democratically elected Gillard government (in cooperation with the democratically elected Independents and Greens), we have a media mogul who wants

Climate change denial not just for fools @FinancialReview, Kurt Tudder, Don't believe the lies, critically analyze!,
Manne attributes the shift in public sentiment to the mobilisation of right-wing ideology. Vested corporate interests, the Murdoch media and conservative think-tanks have combined to disparage  

Enough to make a liberal weep, David Leyonhjelm, On Line Opinion
year is obviously not enough to rectify all the problems it inherited, but it is sufficient to signal intentions and show signs of progress. To date, all the signals point to little more than

Abbott a'Courting and Conservative? PPL, Nannies and the Nanny State, Tristan Ewins, Left Focus
Perhaps a still personally unpopular Abbott, faced with a re-united Labor Party, even with a recent thrashing in Queensland and abysmal polling at present, senses that he must lift his efforts to personally appeal to voters.  

is Tony Abbott damaging our country?, Miglo, Café Whispers
He wants to take from the poor and give to the rich. He tells us our country is an economic and social mess and the media believe him, as do many people.He hasn’t a good word to say about our country.

Can-we-have-a-little-truth-please, Michael Wyers,
A somewhat tense conversation ensued between Turnbull and Quigley, in which Turnbull tried to enforce the notion that NBN Co was taking a massive risk in ordering the satellites, and thereby committing

The End Of The Age Of Enlightenment, Patriciawa, Polliepomes
I was appalled to hear Joe Hockey talk about how we should look to our region for a model on welfare spending! Not so! We need to

Coalition hasn't checked its satellite NBN facts. Here they are..., David Braue, ABC
All this suggests that Turnbull should have done his homework before badmouthing the NBN Co solution. Faced with the reality of Ka-band satellite's future, Turnbull's preference for leasing capacity from the private sector simply falls apart.


This week on Insiders, Barrie Cassidy and the panel look at the scandal surrounding Federal Speaker Peter Slipper.

Meet The Press

Government on edge as Slipper stands aside, Mark Simkin ABC

Gillard Announces $3.7 Billion Aged Care Policy, Australian Politics TV
The Gillard Labor government today announced a suite of aged-care policies worth $3.7 billion over five years.


April 23. 2012 07:59 AM



Newspaper Front Pages from Australia for Monday, 23 April 2012



April 23. 2012 07:59 AM


Local Government elections in Queensland are on this weekend.  It was pointed out in a NoNews paper on the weekend that Newman became Lord Mayor of Brisbane in 2004 - three weeks after Beattie whitewashed the LNO in a State Election.

It might happen again.

On topic - I'm happy someone above mentioned Mirabella.  Has the enquiry happened for her yet?  If not, by the "standards" of Abbott (now there is two words that usually aren't used in the same breath), she should also stand down.  That makes two LNP, one ALP and one independent by my count.


April 23. 2012 08:13 AM


We was talking the other day or I was anyway
about acronyms and the like,
DYWAT Don't You Worry About That!
IYSWIM If you see what I mean, etc,
Well here is one I found somewhere scrawled on the walls of my gerbilsphere, I'll drag it out and dedicate it to Cat's Pan whose billet doux again grace this site. It is very apposite imo.

It is *WGA#AU?!*

Unfortunately its precise meaning can never be determined.

It is plainly to mean Who Gives A (something)About U
but the # is unclear.

It could be an R, as in *Who Gives A Rat's About U ?!*

or it could be an S . . . or an F . . . ?

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

Have Fun With Trolls Say I. *Cat's Pan*, Ho ho ho.  


April 23. 2012 08:28 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

April 23. 2012 09:25 AM


Oh and if Cat's Pan or anyone thinks or (more likely) purports to think that my last post, no pun intented but let it stand, oh Dog there's another unintentional pun, last post, let it stand get it, yes ho ho ho.

But as I was saying seriously,
I was a fierce opponent of the Vietnam conflict altogether,
I chanted Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh the NLF is going to win! along with all the millions of others who at home help stop a war that fascist bastards like Cat's Pan promulgated for purely imperialistic purposes. Yours truly, little slight bloke that I anm, stood between hateful jackbooted thugs, agents provocateurs true to name, wading into our ranks, attacking specifically the women and girls in one protest march, to prevent the Waterside Workers from fighting back as we marched past Adelaide Town Hall, so nearly playing into their hands by a public melee. My voice and body alone prevented that happening, DYWAT!
This disgraceful All the Way with LBJ Holt Government conscripted people because they couldn't get nearly enough volunteers! Conscripted young blokes killed, in peacetime, in a bloody illegal immoral inhumane unequal war in a place where we had no business at all to interfere!

We were right then . . . Not before so-o-o-o-o much pain by so many . . . I never had a hard word for the Grunts themselves, even the regulars were victims of a sly lickspittle pious Government using khaki to win again and again until Gough bless him finally yanked us out praise Dog.  Bloody wars just about ever since though, same old story, the Right gets us involved to suck up to Uncle Sam every time. Aussies are sucking suckers.

But the kicker is that ever since the Australian forces were withdrawn at last, having failed to do any 'good' whatever that might have ever meant, but enormous harm . . . as in Iraq . . . those very people who sent them there, and their old peers whose careers had "moved on" in the meantime, they didn't want to know these hardened and brutalised and cynical men back from a war people ended up hating -
- (oh we/they - not me! - supported it like mad in like '66 you betcha, but opinion turned you see) -

and that is why now, the people like me, who were the sort of people who cared about others then and are the same sort of people who care about others now, are much more likely to have a decent attitude to the Grunts, who know they have been dudded from the side that conned them in the first place. Yep.

And that is why I felt honoured not long ago to be offered by a Vietnam Veteran and spokesman and battler for his mates, an Associate Membership of the RSL, an offer I honoured immediately. And whatever the truth of Cat's Pan's claims, what i'm saying is true. Me, a respectful RSL member, imagine that. I go to their BBQ's sometimes. They are none of them braggarts, they are mostly pretty quiet about things not in the present, I think perhaps Psyclaw might correctly interpret something there.

It isn't the young and essentially innocent recruits that are to be blamed for the military madness that goes on extending its insane grip on the world. It is hateful braying people, ex-military or no, like Cat's Pan.

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

But anyway bugger Cat's Pan, I just reminded myself of a joke:

*She offered her honour . . .
He honoured her offer . . . .
and all through the night,
it was honour . . . and offer  . . .*
and so on. Smile

Bad Turkey  


April 23. 2012 10:00 AM


That first sentence  
Oh and if Cat's Pan or anyone thinks or (more likely) purports to think that my last post signifies disrespect for returned servicemen,

was supposed to finish like

well my Dad was a bomber navigator in WWII,
one of my very best friends is a staunch Vietnam Veteran,
and I am proudly an Associate Member of the RSL,
so don't presume to judge me or pull rank on Jason who has his own unique way of serving his fellow humans. Real patriots don't make the sorts of noises Cat's Pan makes.  

So there.  


April 23. 2012 10:39 AM


Good Morning Ad

Today's Twitterverse for you:-

Justin Barbour‏@justinbarbour
Everything about this @couriermail "story" is horrible: Inge Slipper as a 'fragile woman,' citing her hair colour, etc.

Newman and LNP about to sell off the rest of QR National after criticizing its sale for the past 3 years

The #SlipperGate is smelling to me more and more like the #UteGate - blogs.crikey.com.au/.../
Interesting times indeed

Let he who is without sin cast the first slipper: "to digging up dirt on Slipper and acting in some kind of honey-trap"

So Abbott this morning furiously backing away from Slipper's cabcharge. He demands now PM Gillard "resolves" the sex issue. What a grub.

Zuvele Leschen‏@ZuveleLeschen
Breaking news: Pyne calls for new election - news.theage.com.au/.../...pyne-20120423-1xfm4.html #auspol Bet noone s

Andrew Hedge‏@andrew_hedge
Also won leadership ballot by one vote: Slipper's. RT @thetowncrier Tony Abbott was happy to go to Peter Slipper's wedding, says @AlboMP.

Jason Whittaker‏@thetowncrier
The Financial Review declares the Gillard government a "lame duck administration" in its leader today:
w that coming!

michelle griffin‏@michellegriff
''Slippery Pete'' is a strange guy who seems to live a strange life and is always a risk.

Ryan Moore‏@mooreryan3
Political insiders unsurprised at latest instalment in Speaker saga http://j.mp/I5uV2O #auspol #slipper

The Daily Telegraph‏@dailytelegraph
Gillard should call election - Pyne http://bit.ly/Ih6ORU

Conservationist Geek‏@geeksrulz
Howard, Nutt, Sinodinos and Abbott may be called as witnesses in #slippergate

RN Breakfast‏@RNBreakfast
Tony Windsor: "If Tony Abbott wants to test the confidence in the Government, do it in the house, not in the press" #auspol @RadioNational

ABC News Breakfast‏@BreakfastNews
Christopher Pyne: It's up to the independents to move a vote of no-confidence #Slipper

Re #slipper : we can expect to be subjected to Tony Abbott at his pious best this week ~ smhletter http://ow.ly/arwOj #auspol

ABC Radio‏@amworldtodaypm
Craig Emerson:There were civil cases against MTurnbull & Michael Wooldridge -not asked to stand aside. http://bit.ly/JZVSo7 #Slipper #auspol

Paul James Schacht‏@pjschacht
Rang Speakers office. A PM cannot require a Speaker to step aside/remove himself etc. Only the Parliament can do that. #auspol

SmileSmileSmileSmile(um) (um)  (um)  (um)


April 23. 2012 11:16 AM


There is always a flip side to every story

Psyclaw may be able to help us out with this one:
Orchids, Dandelions and an Intriguing Set of Genes  All in the Mind @RadioNational

very interesting listening


April 23. 2012 11:22 AM

Cats Pan

Cat's Pan - you know, I like that so much, I think I'll use it from now on - thanks turkey, me old gobbler!

Touch a bit of a raw nerve there did I, Turkey?

You are well named - a turkey you indeed are - and, as I suspected, one of the low life from the 1970s who spat on the young diggers returning from Vietnam. And you chanted for Ho Chi Minh - the commander of the enemy we were fighting - in other times, mate, that would have seen you immediately charged for treason - for treason it was.

And you were there supporting the Waterside Workers, were you? They were the bastards who refused to load ammunition onto the ships resupplying our troops in Vietnam. We were fighting a full-on enemy of mixed conventional / irregular basis - and bastards like the WW refuse to load our ships.

Soldiers had to load ammo onto the ships, didn't they, Turkey?

Yes they did.

You're a joke - you make me laugh.

And it was a pleasure to have defended you over all those years, mate, while you lived the grubby, squalid little life that is apparently yours.

Don't thank me, mate - it really was my pleasure indeed. When I was a soldier, that's just what we did for ALL the citizens of our country.

So your old man was a navigator in bombers in WW2? Good on him - he was a better man than you will ever be.

Enjoy your time in the local RSL club - as an RSL member, I can confirm that you are welcome there - we are happy to contribute to the raising of yourself above what little you have actually become in your own life.


Cats Pan

April 23. 2012 12:56 PM

Gary M

"But with me, you all accuse me of lying and of not being what I say I am - a returned veteran who has served in Afghanistan. On what evidence do you conclude as you do?"

Oh Capstan you have been watching to many re runs of 'Rambo'

Being an x digger myself, Yea I know, there ain't no x lefty diggers yada, yada yada. But you on the other hand, just like my good self, has never fired a shot in anger in your life. I have not yet met any x service personnel yet who blow their own bags like you do, about their  war service, most of them are that traumatised they want to forget it.The only people who do, are legends in their own mind, and  are again like you, fantasist's. Every left leaning blog has at least one armchair General of the rancid right  and just like you, most of them couldn't find Afghanistan on a map.

If I came into your local RSL on the 25th one things for sure, you wont be there.

Over the top lads,Gung Ho Semper Fi.

Gary M

April 23. 2012 01:03 PM


Hi Ad

Regarding the Blog awards, Tweet from Grog/Greg

Greg Jericho‏@GrogsGamutReply
The finalists of the Best Blogs comp will be announced on Thursday, but the People's Choice voting has 16 days to go -

Greg Jericho‏
This story on the Best Blogs comp looks like it has confused last years finalists with 2012 http://bit.ly/Io7xio (@Sally_Jackson) Cream of the Blogs

So it seems the 2011 finalist list is doing the rounds, but the 2012 finalists WILL BE ANNOUNCED THURSDAY 26 April. #bestblogs2012

And I would appreciate your votes as the only Gov 2.0 blog in the Australian blog awards! #gov2au


April 23. 2012 01:14 PM


Hi GaryM

Love your post in reply to ..............

People say to people sometimes if they look familiar "do I know you"
well I think I know you could that be I wonder?

Everyone would agree with your comment, especially love this bit

( I have not yet met any x service personnel yet who blow their own bags like you do, about their  war service,)



April 23. 2012 01:34 PM

Cats Pan

Gary M - you are indeed a rarity if what you say is true - an ex military member on a rabidly pro-ALP site!

But seeing as how any claim to military service in this ALP Petri-dish is regarded with scorn, derision, contempt and disbelief - you will surely not object to being treated in the same manner. All's fair etc?

Prove you are what you say you are - you know, "Halt! Who goes there!?" - that sort of thing. From what you've said so far, I doubt you progressed much further than Kapooka. If you did – I’d say you’re some sort of pogue or blanket-bender – possibly kicked out early for getting caught nicking stuff from the Q store.

As to blowing one's "bag" - how have I done that? I have merely said a number of things that are true:

1.  I have served in Afghanistan.

2.  I have served in East Timor.

3.  When I was in Afghanistan, my son was serving at the same time, in Iraq.

4.  I have previously mentioned that I have been subject to Taliban rocket attack.

All of these statements are true. Tell me how any of these can be construed as "blowing my bag"? What unbelievable accounts of VC-winning derring-do have I added to these fairly bland and innocuous statements that so incenses you rather excitable lot into breathless claims that I am making the stories of Flashman pale into insignificance by comparison?

I think you all need to have a good collective bex and communal lie down - I know you are all keen on doing things on a communal basis, like goldfish or sheep. The hyperventilation arising from mere mention of operational service makes one fear for your rather delicate sensibilities.

And Gary - how many blokes do you know who have actually served on ops? ANS: Zero. I'm the first one you've actually had any contact with - aren't I? Come on – fess up!

And mate - I'm here to tell you - I'm not traumatised at all! Loved every minute of both deployments, to be honest.

You want to visit my local RSL on Anzac Day? Help yourself, mate - if you can drag your scabby backside out of bed that early!

I'll be there - with a lot of others who have served in recent years - we all know each other very well indeed.

PS - settle down on the "gung ho, Semper fi" stuff, you wally - those are Yank terms that we never used in the Army when I was there.

Cats Pan

April 23. 2012 01:44 PM


Cats pan,
        So you were a soldier! So what?


April 23. 2012 02:09 PM

Cats Pan

Dunno, Jason - you lot are the ones making a really big deal out of it.

Possible motives - Jealousy? A sense of inadequacy? Sheer incomprehension? Who knows!

Does that answer your question, oh portly one?

Cats Pan

April 23. 2012 02:27 PM


Cats Pan,


April 23. 2012 03:11 PM


Just why is the bird of paradox worried about people in their twilight years when she is on record as saying something like old people don’t vote ALP

Well SIC it goes to prove that the PM governs for everyone, not just a select few to whom she has signed over her @rse.

And @8.51pm 22/4, but according to Rule No 5 (a) iii, of the Liars Party handbook, "Anyone accused of dodgy doings must immediately remove themselves from the Parliament and stand in a corner until Liealot says."

Oh, sorry. I forgot the fine print-this rule only applies if it might lead to Liealot becoming PM. All NOalition MPs are exempt from anything remotely involving the truth, integrity and honesty.  

psyclaw @11.43pm 22/4, roflmao. Great troll rebuttal.

Bound to attract the usual fact free reply, followed by the donning of red smugglers and riding around in circles on a treadly shouting, "Look at ME! Look at ME! BLOODY LOOK AT MEEEEEEE!!!"

2353 @7.59am, Slagabella should have stood down the minute the allegations were made public, if the Liealot rules are in fact fair dinkum.

And MJ Fisher shouldn't have been raking in extra cash sitting on Senate committees while awaiting her court appearance.

Moral equivalence, anyone? And a total lack of consistency, honesty and integrity being exercised by Liealot? Situation normal, I suppose.

Cats pan, prove what you say is true.


April 23. 2012 03:15 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Thanks for the tweets.  The intrigue behind the Slipper affair deepens.  Who knows how it will turn out?  Another “Grech affair’?

According to Greg Jericho, it looks as if the finalists for the 2012 Sydney Writers’ Centre Best Blogs Competition have been confused by publication by The Australian of the 2011 finalists.  According to the Sydney Writers’ Centre, “…it seems the 2011 finalist list is doing the rounds, but the 2012 finalists WILL BE ANNOUNCED THURSDAY 26 April.”

If you are looking for some good cheer, take a look at this video discussion on Essential Media:


Ad astra reply

April 23. 2012 03:19 PM

Gary M

"Gary M - you are indeed a rarity if what you say is true - an ex military member on a rabidly pro-ALP site!"

I wont really dignify that twaddle with a reply.

As I said you are a blow hard, the only service you may have seen is a church service when you got baptised, even  a marriage service for you would be about as credible as your military service. I wouldn't think any self respecting women would have you.

Look me old China, just come clean you're a dunny janitor at your local shopping centre, it's nothing to be ashamed of. That you could confuse a dunny brush with a 7.62 mm SLR, or some poor constipated soul letting out a huge fart after a nosh of prawns, and an explosion of a M26/F1 grenade, is quite understandable.

That rata tat tat of an M60 is not to be confused with some young kid dropping a handful of marbles on that (thanks to you) impeccably clean terrazzo tiled floor.

But hey Capstan you're gooooooooooooood....... at taking the piss.


Gary M

April 23. 2012 03:27 PM


Good afternoon AA

The evidence about Little Willy Syndrome continues to unfold:

I'm here to tell you - I'm not traumatised at all! Loved every minute of both deployments, to be honest.

Any person who writes in this way is certainly from "way out there" and needs a bit of a hand to settle down and start thinking rationally. Sadly for some this is not possible.

And in two careers, I have never come across an ex-serving soldier who having actually faced fire, death and the mayhem of war writes so superficially about it.

I suppose we all fantasize a bit, imagining just who is behind the various pseudonyms on blog sites. Earlier today I was imagined to be "young", and I took this as a compliment. At my age to be perceived as "young" on the basis of what I write is very encouraging.

As you would appreciate AA, as one gains the wisdom that aging makes available to us, it is refreshing that some reader(s) still observe a youthful outlook in our words.


April 23. 2012 03:29 PM


For Capstan;

"When you are offended at any man's fault,
turn to yourself and study your own failings.
Then you will forget your anger.
- Epictetus"

Warmest regards


April 23. 2012 03:39 PM

Gary M

"PS - settle down on the "gung ho, Semper fi" stuff, you wally - those are Yank terms that we never used in the Army when I was there."

OBTW I almost forgot. Now I know you're not an x digger, you are correct they  are indeed Americanism's. However "Gung Ho'was part of the Army lexicon in the sixties and seventies. as was Weary Dunlop.

When I went through Kapooka in 1969 with the Vietnam conflict/fiasco still going, 'Gung Ho' was as nearly as common as me, and that's common as muck. It was used in conjunction with the most often used word by Australian soldiers in the English language. F#@%^&*.So spare me and the rest of the lovely people on this blog, anymore of your delusional diatribe .

Gary M

April 23. 2012 03:44 PM


It would seem that we have lost another of our half-decent newspapers (a threatened species) with The Financial Review stooping to the level of the Murdoch Press and calling for an election.

Labor now a lame duck

The government got itself into this dismal mess when the last election left Labor unable to form government without the support of the Greens and independents. Ms Gillard then recanted on her pre-election promise not to bring in a carbon tax to win support from the Greens, and reoriented Labor’s policies towards rural and regional voters to win the backing of the independents. With its majority threatened by the inquiry into allegations of misappropriation of union funds by Labor MP Craig Thomson, and a politically dangerous promise to independent Andrew Wilkie to pursue poker machine reform, Ms Gillard gave Mr Slipper the job of Speaker, depriving the opposition of a vote and allowing Ms Gillard to recant on her promise to Mr Wilkie. This government is failing Australia badly. The best solution would be a fresh election which resulted in one party winning a sufficient majority that allowed it to govern properly.

The government got itself into this dismal mess when the last election left Labor unable to form government without the support of the Greens and independents.

Similarly the Coalition got itself into a dismal mess when it could not form government without the support of the independents and one WA National Party member. It is probably fair to lay some of the blame at Labor's feet since they were the incumbents and it was their election to lose but a good deal more credit/blame should be assigned to the Australian voting public who elected a hung parliament. It seems that minority government is just not a legitimate option in Australia as far as some members of the press are concerned.

Ms Gillard then recanted on her pre-election promise not to bring in a carbon tax to win support from the Greens, and reoriented Labor’s policies towards rural and regional voters to win the backing of the independents.

Alright let's not go down the 'she lied' path again but simply acknowledge that Gillard was obliged to agree to a three-year fixed price that she didn't want before the trading system proper kicked in - a compromise.
As for reorienting its policies towards rural and regional voters, does the author seriously believe that the Coalition was not doing exactly the same thing during the seventeen days of negotiations? Does the author really expect us to believe that the independents could have been brought on board to support a government without some concessions being made? Perhaps the reason the Coalition was unable to negotiate support for itself was that Tony Abbott stuck to his principles and refused to alter one word of their election promises. The independents tell us otherwise.

This government is failing Australia badly. The best solution would be a fresh election which resulted in one party winning a sufficient majority that allowed it to govern properly.

This is the clincher, isn't it? "Failing Australia badly" - well not according to The Finnigans' BISONS (recently updated). By all objective measures this government is providing sound economic and social judgement that is benefiting all Australians in one way or another.
As for being "allowed to govern properly" - if the Gillard government had decided that it was all too hard with a minority government and they were just going to cruise for three years they would still have had to govern. Pay the bills, update outdated legislation, maintain security and so on. In any of these areas has there been a breakdown in governance? If there has I haven't heard about it. If governing properly includes bringing about reform then I also can't see any areas where they have failed to carry out their intent (with the exception of pokies reform to date). No bills have been knocked back in either house which is more than can be said of the Rudd government. No bills have been fundamentally amended in such a way as to compromise the original intent. Where then is the 'improper' or inadequate governance?

We set a very dangerous precedent when we call for a fresh election just because the incumbent has fallen out of favour in the polls or because vested interests backed by megaphones in the media don't like some of the reforms. If this government falls it should be because the major party can no longer count on the support of other individuals. It should not be because the opposition party, wealthy individuals and corporations and some in the media just 'don't like it'.

Golden BISONs – IMF says Australia has the strongest economy
The Finnigans     A Frank View


April 23. 2012 03:50 PM

Cats Pan

Gary M - mate - there's plenty of piss to take on this site, without a doubt. It certainly is a "target rich environment" in that respect. And you still have not provided me with anything to prove you have served - throw me a bone, cockroach (that's Army slang for members of a certain Corps, before the rest of you start bridling in indignation - as Gary may or may not know).

Psyclaw seems to have an undue fascination with willies - I conclude he's a trick cyclist or similar (another Army term, folks) who may or may not know why he hates his mother.

FYI psyclaw - some returned blokes are certainly a bit gun shy - no doubt about it. But plenty of others are good to go and keen to return to the sandpit, two or three deployments notwithstanding. It's only you poor, tragic lefties who imagine that all blokes in uniform are tormented, shattered husks of their former selves having returned from ops.

The truth is, lefty luvvies, a lot of blokes in uniform are both proud to wear the uniform and keen to return to active service following a rotation. None of you would understand that - including Gary, whose highlight in a brief military career was washing dishes somewhere.

Psyclaw says: "I have never come across an ex-serving soldier who having actually faced fire, death and the mayhem of war writes so superficially about it" - nice observation, old one - just how many returned vets have you actually had anything to do with? (psyclaw waves one hand with most fingers folded down).

And Ian pops up too - gidday mate! Nice poetry - problem is that it's hard to be angry when you are continuously laughing. But your artistic inclusion into the debate was appreciated.

Any more for any more?

Cats Pan

April 23. 2012 04:09 PM

Cats Pan

Ahhhh Gary! All becomes clear! You went to Kapooka in 1969! I reckon you were a conscript - weren't you? Only you were too scared to go into the Regular Army - weren't you? So you opted for Option B - didn't you?

For those of you who don't know - and that would be pretty much everyone on this site, because you're all as ignorant as bat poo - a conscript at the time of Vietnam had two choices upon his number coming up, as follows:

Option A: go into the Regular Army for two years - and take what comes with that. For some, that meant a tour of Vietnam as a Nasho.

Option B: go into the Army Reserve for six years - and spend all your conscripted time of service at home - fat, dumb and happy - never, ever being required to serve on operations overseas.

None of you have ever heard about Option B, have you?

Gary M - you were an "Option B" bloke, weren't you? Not having the guts to take two years in the Regs - off you went to the Reserves, didn't you?

And the happiest day of your life was when Gough Whitlam got elected, wasn't it? Because he said blokes like you could all just go away - which you did, didn't you? As quickly as your fat little legs could carry you!

You're a hero, mate. Do you actually wear your Nasho gong on Anzac Day?

You do, don't you?

You have no shame.

Cats Pan

April 23. 2012 04:18 PM

Gary M

Capstan I think it may have been you that starred as a bait layer/or fitter and turner. But in your case in a fast food outlet. For your info I was a PTI. In the drop shorts. Gung ho!!! The dish washers outside of training battalions is done by civvies. But if you served you would know that wouldn't you? Yea sure you would.

Gary M

April 23. 2012 04:18 PM

Ad astra reply

You will be delighted to see that I have just posted a piece from Bushfire Bill: Dumb and dumber: never get between a cliché and the lazy Australian media, which about the Slipper affair.  Enjoy.

I’m tired of the exchange between Cats Pan and others who have been upset by his comments.  No more here please.  Let’s comment on BB’s post.


Ad astra reply

April 23. 2012 04:23 PM


Oh for a bex, a cuppa and a good lie down


April 23. 2012 04:25 PM


Hi Ad

I am rushing over to read Bushfire Bill on TPS.  

See you there bye for now

Cheers SmileSmileSmile


April 23. 2012 04:31 PM

Cats Pan

Gary - a PTI? Want to tell everyone here on this site why you blokes were known as "Yabbies"?

Cats Pan

April 23. 2012 04:37 PM


Ohhh Kayyyyy . . . This is one of their pages. I've bolded some bits.

I've voted but I'm just a bit, erm, a bit erm about an (it-seems) commercial site to, erm, presume to choose the Best Austalian Blogsite from an incomplete list thereof. And is it to ride on how many people vote for any person or blog, because that would be a nonsense, making meaningless their claims as below.  

No-one else seems worried much tho' . . .

The Best Australian Blogs 2012 is now underway.
Have you voted in the People's Choice Award yet?

The Sydney Writers' Centre is thrilled to announce the return of the Best Australian Blogs Competition for 2012. 1024 blogs entered this year's competition, and over 940 blogs are currently battling it out in the People's Choice round. Finalists will be announced on Thursday 26 April 2012, and winners on Thursday 10 May.

The Best Australian Blogs Competition is one of Australia's leading blog competitions, open to any Australian blogger with blogs of any size, on any topic, with any level of popularity. Find out more about the 2011 winners, competition and media reach here.

In 2012, there are five categories you can enter. The categories were created so that your blog is compared with blogs that have similar objectives and resources to yours.

The categories for 2012 are:


Best Australian Blogs 2011 winner
Styling You's Nikki Parkinson

Words and Writing

There is also a People's Choice Award round open to blogs entered in any category.
This year we've added four special awards to recognise outstanding posts and newer blogs. The special awards are:

Funniest post
Outstanding advocacy post
Best new blog (for a blog under 6 months old)
Best young blogger (for a blog written by a blogger under 26)
For more information on the categories and the special awards, click here.

The official Twitter hashtag for the 2012 competition is #bestblogs2012. You can follow the Sydney Writers' Centre at @SydneyWriters for the Best Australian Blogs Competition announcements.

Show off your success on your blog

Wondering what criteria your blog will be judged on?

70% Quality of writing
We'll be looking at the ease of reading, clarity of expression, relevance, and the quality of topics and observations. Yes, we will be mainly focusing on your writing – we are the Sydney Writers' Centre after all.

20% Presentation and usability
This includes the attractiveness of your blog, ease of navigation and usability, effective linking to other blogs and resources.

10% Engagement and social media integration
We'll look at the conversations in the comment section, guest bloggers, and the use of social media to promote your blog. For example the use of Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin.

Key dates 2012

Competition launches: Thursday 15 March 2012
Competition closes: Friday 13 April 2012
People's Choice Award voting launches: Friday 13 April 2012
[NOTE it doesn't say here when People's Choice Voting closes. On their home page it says there's 16 days 1 hour left, I'm still not sure about that though.]

Finalists announced: Thursday 26 April 2012
Winners announced: Thursday 10 May 2012

Contact details

Sydney Writers' Centre in Milsons Point
Competition coordinator
Rose Powell: rose@spindriftmedia.com.au

Anyway do you see The Political Sword scores 'way up there on all the criteria. Great inspirational writing, always led by Ad astra; thoroughly usable format, with navigable archives forming a continuous contemporary political record, thanks to Web Monkey, who has fought off the spammers entirely; ever-relevant, by definition and practice and common agreement; linked to and from all the daily political gossip sites via all social media by the incomparable Lyn our Early Tweetie Bird, ably aided by NormanK during her rare breaks. All this effort purely pro bono btw. And so many good-willed people, a few not so, ah well what can you expect in a country where Abbortt's Opposition is so rampant, but we handle them with humour and reason and scorn don't we eh!

So that's 90/90 we got, then there's the perfect 10 we score for  engagement and social media integration, so that makes a conservative 100/100 for us, need I say more?      

recaptcha: know experter

(We do!)


April 23. 2012 04:45 PM


Ian, Cats Pan doesn't have any faults at least as far as he is concerned, so introspection is superfluous to requirements. Besides, that sort of stuff is for girls, big tough warriors like Cats Pan are action figures.

I guess what really irritates me about good ol' Cats Pan's  comments is that they seem like dialogue lifted straight from some pathetically bad B movie that went straight to video.

Every time I read one of his comments, I wonder if he wrote it with a cigar clamped between his gung ho teeth. Like the stereotypical officer in a bad American war movie.

I do wonder if Cats Pan knows that the same tired allegations were made against Slipper 'way back in 'o3, when Cats and his mate Ace Rimmer were counting stobie poles in Iraq and listening to Hammond Organ recitals in Afgahnistan.

Apparently, someone said that Slipper had been a very naughty boy with a staffer and his cabcharges were dodgy nine years ago, when Liealot and the current shadow ministry were scrubbing oldies with kero and lying about children overboard.

Perhaps their preoccupation with covering their tracks wrt imaginary WMDs and all things Halliburton lead to their swift, stern and morally upright decision to sweep it under the carpet and select Mr Slipper three more times for the seat of Dobell.

Nothing to see there again and again and again, it would seem. Ditto when Mr Slipper was annointed Speaker. Gracious me, what a poor memory you have Grandmother.


April 23. 2012 04:46 PM

Gary M

Catspan I would check your own head first.But enough of this, wax lyrical to your hearts content, you have not served,and what's more I know it.End of story.

Now back to what's really important making sure we keep the personification of evil out of the lodge. That is more important than another re-run of Rambo.

Gary M

April 23. 2012 04:56 PM

Ad astra reply

I thing we have had enough about Cats Pan.  Please don't carry this conversation onto the next piece which is about a vitally important subject.

I'm closing comments on this thread.

Ad astra reply

April 23. 2012 04:58 PM


Gary M,
      Sgt Schultz and his band of "Scabs" failed to even break us the "MUA" in 1998! Defeat seems to have followed him everywhere!


April 23. 2012 05:02 PM

Cats Pan

Laughing - just laughing.

Gary the Yabby - that's "wax lyrically", mate, to your "heart's content" - perhaps you really were a Nasho PTI - your grammar is at about the right muscle-head standard.

Jane - I'm not sure what you're on about or what you're smokin' - but I'm sure all the other dope heads on this site would like some, too!

This site really is more fun than the legendary bucket full - well done all of you!

Cats Pan

Comments are closed