loading animation

Dumb and dumber: never get between a cliché and the lazy Australian media

loading animation
Monday, 23 April 2012 15:52 by BushfireBill
VexNews writes today of something that has occurred to more than one person: the Slipper ‘scandal’ looks like a stitch-up. The Murdoch press and the Liberal Party have form.

The VexNews article distilled the suspicions of a lot here, and I'm sure a lot out in the community. Even a nominally right-wing web site can see what might be happening here.

A conservative blogger elsewhere wrote that anyone who dares to contemplate that this scandal has the smell of rotting fish about it is "blasting off the reservation".

This mocking condemnation would have a little more weight if Utegate hadn't happened.

Utegate was a rolled-gold, 100%, stitch-up.

Utegate proved that conspiracies do happen. It is chapter and verse on how to run a phoney scam.

Let's look at the connections:

1. Same journalist.
2. Same newspapers (Murdoch).
3. Same response from the Opposition.

Where is James Ashby, the plaintiff in this mess? No one, but no one has printed anything from him on the allegations. He's gone to ground, it seems, hiding behind the media's reluctance to be seen as "blaming the victim". He doesn't want to comment, his lawyers tell us. He must be a sensitive soul. So hurt, so traumatized: a 33 year old gay man shocked by someone he alleges sent him a text message with "xxx" at the end of it.

This is not me "blaming the victim". This is asking whether the allegations are true or not, which no one in the media has yet done. They prefer to pontificate in their op eds and to interview each other over how "dire" this is for the government.

They confidently predict that this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future. One by one they promise their readers that it will destroy even the Budget, the announcement of the nation's balance sheet, in tight economic times.

They don't seem to care that they have publicly, even proudly assured us they will abandon their real responsibilities to achieve coverage of what amounts to unproven, untested, bedroom titillation, with a gay twist.

Yet Ashby was prepared to give his court documents to the cockroach, Steve Lewis, or to advise him of their existence, for publication nation-wide before he went into hiding. 

A few Cabcharge dockets are involved. VexNews tells us that the way these dockets were used is standard practice among MPs, not gaming the system, but trying to make it work better for them and the taxpayer dollar.

The speed with which the Opposition has called for resignations and new elections (how long until someone says Slipper should be shot at dawn?) smacks of an attempt to get a bandwagon rolling before too much more extra information that might prove embarrassing to them comes out.

Unfortunately for them we don't sack senior, constitutional officers of the parliament and terminate governments based on what Steve Lewis writes in the Murdoch papers on a lazy Saturday.

Unfortunately for them the same organization, the same personnel as perpetrated Utegate are involved. The organization they work for is under heavy investigation for running scams just like this in the UK, involving corruption of police, intimidation, bribery, perversion of the course of justice, destruction of evidence, illegal access to documents and private telephony, and disgracefully manufacturing evidence and stories based on those lies.

Many of these same techniques are on record as being used by the local offshoot of News: forged emails and their purveying by the same journalist, Steve Lewis, who became a player in Utegate, not just its reporter; premature calls for resignations of all and sundry, parliamentary scandals, fake photographs of political figures, and so on... all of which came to nothing within days, to the shame of those promoting the scam.

The Murdoch press has made no secret, in fact has boasted about their intention to get the goods on Slipper. They have bragged they would bring him down. And now the first "evidence" has come out: a few hundred dollars worth of Cabcharge dockets, and some ambiguous text messages, cobbled together in "court documents" that have been "obtained" by Lewis under suspicious circumstances, resulting in frantic calls for the fall of governments, laid on thicker than Golden Syrup straight after.

Sound familiar?

In any other world except MurdochWorld, right-wing hacks and trolls might have a case to mock conspiracy theorists in this matter as desperate, or "off the reservation".

But in this case it should really be the ones promoting the charges, the ones trying to get the scam off the ground, who should be trying to re-establish their bona fides after their disgraceful, shameful conduct in the past on similar phoneyed-up "scandals".

It's all too quick, too pat. What we are seeing unfolding before our eyes appears to be, judged on precedent, a mass media groupthink exercise in bamboozlement, trying to obtain a quick result before the allegations are tested and the principals ferreted out and interrogated.

Many journalists and editorial writers are telling their readers and viewers that the truth no longer matters. They are telling them that the stories and op eds they are writing themselves are the only "truths" that need to be considered before judgement is passed and execution carried out.

The conservatives themselves, supposed guardians and preservers of our institutions, are urging the abandonment of the rule of law and the principles of justice. They are saying, loud and proud, that even if Slipper isn't guilty of anything, he should still resign. That's what they said about Rudd and Swan too over Utegate. Yet they remained silent about their own Senator Fisher, to name one, when she was up before the Courts and was actually convicted.

They, the self-professed bastions of the establishment, are seriously (and I'm sure they would claim, "responsibly") proposing that the nation's government should be strangled at Budget time. The nation itself - pride of the IMF and the G20, just about the best-performing sophisticated economy in the world - should be put into economic chaos with no Budget and no governance.

For what?

A few hundred dollars worth of taxi vouchers, and an un-investigated, untested, unchallenged set of allegations made by a man who has disappeared from sight, publicised by the same organization that has wrecked governance in the UK, and which nearly wrecked it here with Utegate.

No due process, just perpetual chaos is what they seem to want. Their scoreboard is "The Polls" - meaningless numbers this far out from an election. Their cheer squad is "The Shock Jocks", rabid demagogues who rake dirt and slime for a living, yet retreat to the Coward's Castle of being "mere entertainers" when caught out, as they are so often.

The dumber than dumb, to the point of being brain-dead media are herded like sheep. Dennis Atkins yesterday on Insiders let the cat out of the bag:

”What happens is that most media outlets will start reassessing the strategy for covering the Budget. Do we send our senior political journalists into the Budget lockup, or do we keep them out to watch a potential political and Constitutional crisis on the floor of the parliament? It's going to be a juggling act in terms of how we cover those two competing stories, and I think the public should be in no doubt that these are two stories of equal gravity.

"This is a huge political story that could have enormous political ramifications for the government whose future depends on which way it goes and how it plays out. So it's going to completely overshadow Wayne Swan's Budget.

"The government this week was sort-of putting together all the blocks for its Budget selling, and the message it wanted with the Budget. Speeches and interviews carefully placed here and there. Key lines and themes were going really well. The government was singing from one song-sheet. And I think they all got up Friday morning and thought: 'This is all going well. We know where we're headed and we seem to be putting one foot in front of the other', which for this government is quite a feat.

"Then suddenly, Saturday morning: WHACKO! The whole thing is blown asunder.

This is Atkins telling us how the scam works. He is an employee of one of the tabloids in question, its senior political commentator, and it's inconceivable that he didn't know about this Lewis story in advance.

Atkins was indiscreet on Insiders. He was telling the audience that the Murdoch press is so confident of its cards in this game that it can still win the pot, even if those cards are laid down face up on the table for all other players to see.

He told us what to expect: the Budget will be ignored because of a convenient sex scandal, sprinkled with confetti made from a couple of hundred bucks worth of Cabcharge dockets. This is now parrotted by Fairfax and the ABC, as night follows day.

The Murdoch-Coalition strategy was there for all to see, laid out by one of its chief perpetrators: "Government has good week. Release next scandal."

Atkins doesn't countenance the possibility that both the Speaker's woes AND the Budget could be covered simultaneously. He knows what has been decided.

He knows the game plan: it is all the Government's fault for its own Budget being ignored.

Atkins has seen it all before... and so have we.

Why do so many fall for this classic Murdoch smear? Why have so many forgotten the very poor form of the story's author, Steve Lewis, and the shameful record of his employer in matters of this type? Why do so many continue to forgive the Murdoch media for continual, egregious, multiple transgressions against laws, standards of decency, conventions and even their own code of basic journalistic ethics?

They have been shown to be habitual liars and manufacturers of stories, yet they are still believed automatically. Journalists, all now parroting talk of resignation and the fall of governments, follow them like sheep to a slaughterhouse killing room.

Not one has bothered to try to interview Ashby, the originator of the allegations. Not one has questioned the timing, or the legal issues involved. They are too busy "reacting", interviewing each other, war-gaming strategies, juggling poll numbers, passing judgement and tut-tutting about the peccadilloes of others to think clearly about just which cesspit this story came from, what's in it for whom and why it's been put out now.

The greater, more urgent scandal is how the media in this pathetically small village called "Australia" is suckered time and time again by the likes of Murdoch and his corrupt organization into abandoning their ethics and their curiosity for the cheapest of scams, promoted for the basest of reasons, spread by the lowest of the low among them.

These caricatures of ethical journalism are lazy, cliché-ridden, group-thinking, single-minded nihilists, without an ounce of creativity, imagination or even professional curiosity, peddling dodgy gay sex "scandals" and taxi rorts as more important than the welfare of the nation and its governance in testing times.

The media in Australia are an absolute disgrace.

Questions need to be asked:

1. Who is paying Ashby's legal bills? Actions in the Federal Court do not come cheap.

2. Who paid for the "independent forensic Information
Technology assessment and report" on the text messages?

3. Is Ashby solvent in the case of failure of his application? Will he be able to pay costs if his case fails? Has he received guarantees of financial support? If so, by whom?

4. Where is the evidence Ashby took genuine steps to have the matter mediated before he went to the Federal Court? Indeed, we are told of a "Genuine Steps" statement. Where is it? Slipper says he is "surprised" by the action. How could Slipper be "surprised" if the applicant took "Genuine Steps" to resolve the matter?

5. Worth repeating: who is paying for this very expensive legal action in one of the highest courts of the land?

Looking at the court documents Ashby has submitted, it's plain, from Ashby's own admission, that Slipper formed the opinion that Ashby's loyalty to him was suspect.

By February 26, Slipper was worried that Ashby was having clandestine dealings with the LNP (from which Ashby is said to have resigned) behind his back, or certainly without advising him. Slipper allegedly challenged Ashby on this matter via text messages. Ashby does not say why this conversation occurred, or what were the circumstances behind it, or what was his reply (see 18. below).

It should be noted that none of this "loyalty" aspect has been discussed in the media with any degree of significance.

A bit less than a month later, on March 20, 2012, Ashby claims to have decided Slipper's aim in hiring him was, at least in part, to begin a sexual relationship with him. It appears that Slipper had his own suspicions about Ashby, not of a sexual nature, but regarding Ashby's loyalty to him.

A month after that Ashby filed his complaint with the Federal Court.

Most of the serious charges are evidenced, not by text messages, but by Ashby's personal recollections (no witnesses are mentioned except on one occasion, and then only after the event). Slipper would certainly argue that if, as alleged, he had made advances to Ashby, that he had withdrawn them immediately saying "no hard feelings". Other instances of an allegedly sexual nature were dismissed by Ashby himself with words such as "All good", and the admission that he was not too upset about "the massage". The complaint evidence Ashby's feelings about events.

There is no mention of any formal counseling of Slipper, consultations with the federal government's HR people, attempts at mediation, or ultimatums to Slipper by Ashby (perhaps in the form of a letter of demand), except a reference to a "Genuine Steps statement" that Ashby says has also been lodged with the Court. Instead we have, at face value, a reference to the Federal Court as a first option.

The charges of "breach of contract" involving Ashby's claim he was "forced" to watch allegedly irregular dealings with CabCharge dockets and was traumatized by this seem very weak.

We do not know who is funding Ashby's application to the Federal Court, if anyone, or who funded the "forensic" examination of his mobile phone in order to validate text messages. Neither of these two processes would be cheap. While it is not required of Ashby to reveal these sources at this stage, it would certainly help clear up pubic interest in the matter.

It would also help if Ashby's ENITRE text message records were released, not just the excerpts that support his allegations. We might find out who else he had been talking to, and maybe whether Slipper's suspicions of disloyalty had any substance.

Once again the lack of curiosity from the media stands out like a sore thumb. They seem to be more interested in "the politics" and interviewing each other about this, and to be more preoccupied by the fascinating possibilities of the Budget, indeed the Budget session itself, being blown apart, leaving Australia without a means of paying both its routine and policy-related expenses, and presumably with a Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who has no policies or costings prepared and out for commentary, yet claims to be ready for an election "in 33 days" if necessary.

Despite my comments above, below is what I believe to be a fair summary of the evidence contained in the "sexual harassment" section of Ashby's court documents.

1. (Time unknown, informer not named) Ashby is informed by an ex-staffer of Slipper's of an alleged apparently consensual relationship between Slipper and a junior staffer in 2003.

2. (June-August 2011) He meets Slipper. Slipper allegedly asks Ashby his opinion of the sexuality of a third person (present in Slipper's home). Ashby at this time admits to Slipper that he is "openly gay".

3. (October 15, 2011) Slipper's first alleged formal job offer to Ashby. Declined by Ashby.

4. (October 27, 2011) Slipper's second alleged job offer to Ashby. Declined by Ashby.

5. (December 5, 2011) Another alleged job offer from Slipper. Accepted by Ashby on December 22. (Ashby later claims that, in November, Slipper had also interviewed another gay man for the job)

--------- ASHBY EMPLOYED --------

6. (January 2, 2012) Ashby travels to Canberra to commence work. In that week he claims to have stayed at Slipper's flat in Hughes. Alleges Slipper made the "Tim {Tim Knapp, a Slipper advisor} says you're my fuck buddy." comment. Ashby says this was an example of "poor humour, but admits he "brushed it off" at the time".

7. (January 4, 2012) Slipper allegedly asks Ashby to massage his neck. Ashby does so but stop when Slipper "moans" in alleged "intense sexual pleasure". Ashby immediately stops, saying "You're done".

8. (January 5, 2012) Alleged conversation as to why Ashby keeps shower and toilet door closed.

9. (January 6, 2012) Slipper allegedly showers with door open.

10. (Around January 9, 2012 "end of that week") Slipper allegedly tells Ashby that he "looks fat" in a new polo shirt. Ashby claims Slipper knew he had had a "weight problem" and claims this was "vindictive and deliberately spiteful".

11. (January 14, 2012) Slipper allegedly asks Ashby if he has "ever come in a guy's arse before?". Ashby claim to have been shocked at the inappropriateness of this question coming from an employer. Says that he was forced to remain with Slipper on that day for work purposes.

12. ("Some weeks later") Slipper allegedly asks Ashby whether he is into "twinks or bears". Ashby claims to have been "uncomfortable" saying "They are not questions you ask."

13. (February 1, 2012) Ashby claims to have advised Slipper not to do an interview with a local newspaper, the Sunshine Coast Daily. Sends Slipper a text to that effect, in strong terms. Slipper does interview. Ashby texts him saying he'll have to clean up the mess (from the interview) as a result. Signs text off with "F---k f--k f--k". Slipper allegedly replies not to worry. Signs text off with "x". A later alleged text allegedly consists of just "Xxx", in reponse to more berating by Ashby for doing the interview.

14. (Later the same day) Slipper later (9.38pm) allegedly texts Ashby "Would be good if you here but perhaps we are not close enough?" Ashby does not reply. Slipper allegedly re-sends the same text at 10.00pm. Ashby jokes ("Ha, ha") about someone called "Tim", asking where he is "tonight". Some banter allegedly follows about who is closer to Slipper: "Tim" or Ashby. Slipper allegedly text Ashby "If you interested we could be closer". Ashby claims to be "comfortable" with "Tim" being "closest", saying he doesn't like "stepping on toes". Slipper allegedly replies that it is "Your call and no hard feelings" if Ashby only wants "businesslike contact". Ashby allegedly asks for clarification as to what Slipper wants the relationship to be. Slipper allegedly replies asking Ashby if he "want{s} something more", adding Ashby is "brilliant at massages". Ashby replies that he is happy the way things are, "the massage is as far as it goes". Slipper then allegedly replies "Oh", then Ashby replies "All good", to which Slipper replies "Sorry things not working out but appreciate your frankness" suggesting that Ashby arranges all further communications "through Tim" as Slipper "cannot guarantee availability", adding that he was sorry Ashby could not make make it to a Sydney Harbour cruise at an unspecified future time.

15. Ashby claims he was dropped from the cruise plan allegedly "because he had rejected the sexual invitations put by" Slipper.

16. (February 2, 2012) The next morning Slipper allegedly text Ashby saying he was "only joking last night", claiming he was feeling "depressed and as tho the weight of the world is on my shoulders." Ashby replies that "we all carry that same level of commitment and stress for various reasons." Slipper allegedly replies "Ok :)".

17 (February 26, 2012) Slipper allegedly texts Ashby saying a third person, "Tim" (note: not Tim Knapp), thought Ashby was "a nice twink!" Allegedly repeats the same message a few minutes later when no response. Ashby claims to have been "concerned" he was being discussed "in sexual terms". More texts follow in which Slipper allegedly reveals a conversation with "Tim" about whether Ashby was loyal to "the thugs in the LNP or to {Slipper}." Slipper was allegedly "hopeful your loyalty was to me {Slipper}". It seems at this time Slipper was concerned about just where Ashby's loyalties lay.

18 (February 26, 2012) Same day, according to the court documents, there allegedly "followed a lengthy exchange of text messages in which {Slipper} appeared to be questioning the loyalty of {Ashby} and attempting to control his actions." Slipper allegedly texted Ashby: ";;)ok I do like you but must understand I get upset when you play with my enemies and keep me in the dark. It is not what I expect of someone I considered I am close to. If you find this intolerable please discuss". The reason for and background of this text exchange is not given.

19. (On or about March 9th, not in court documents) The "Mobile Phone Incident": Mobile phone allegedly snatched from Sunshine Coast Daily reporter's hands and thrown away by Ashby. Ashby later tweets: "Interesting day. Since working in the media, it's deteriorated to a point where I'm embarrassed to {have} ever been apart of it."


20. (March 20, 2012) Slipper allegedly, while praising Ashby for work done on a You Tube video, asks Ashby "Can I kiss you both". Ashby claims no other person was present in the room, but Slipper's media advisor, Karen Doane, was in the next office. When Ashby replied "No" (deliberately loudly) to Slipper's alleged request, Doane's attention was attracted (as was Ashby's intention)

21. Ashby claims to have formed a view by this time - March 20, 2012 - that the purpose of his recruitment by Slipper was to "pursue a sexual relationship with" Ashby. He claims another gay man had also been interviewed for his job in November 2011.

Comments (242) -

April 23. 2012 04:36 PM


Australian journalists, to a man and woman, are cowards. There is no other reason. They are cowards and the country pays the price....and not many care.


April 23. 2012 04:46 PM

Pia Robinson

Great piece, one of this best yet on this disgraceful situation..

Pia Robinson

April 23. 2012 04:47 PM

Ad astra reply

What a delight to have your cogent piece on the media in this country.  I am finishing a piece myself on the media: Why do journalists have so much difficulty being objective? that centres on the reporting of the aged care package, which I will post later in the week.  Your piece is decidedly topical, on a subject the media hopes is ‘on everyone’s lips’, which demonstrates how poor is journalism in this country, and how low some sections of the media will stoop to advance their political objectives.

Thank you for a lucid and highly plausible thesis about how the Slipper affair is out and about now, and what is behind it.  I’m sure visitors here will enjoy what you have written, just as they enjoy your comments on The Poll Bludger.

Ad astra reply

April 23. 2012 04:51 PM


Turnbull lost the leadership over "Utegate".  If the contention that "Slippergate" is just as confected, will Abbott go (he says looking for the silver lining to the cloud)?  To lose one leader in a confected scandal is careless - to lose two is downright desperate.

Well written BB & Welcome back to the Sword.


April 23. 2012 04:53 PM

Ad astra reply

Pia Robinson
Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.  I agree with your assessment.

…not many care” – that is the core of the problem.  If they did, the standards would have to be better.

Ad astra reply

April 23. 2012 04:59 PM


Bushfire Bill's piece is, as Pia writes, one of the best yet - and Vexnews' take is also a must-read.

Thank you for publishing it on TPS, Ad astra.


April 23. 2012 05:17 PM


Are there any journalists with an investigative brain left in Australia. Even if you forget, Utegate and all issues Pauline Hanson (thanks abbott)haven't they read what is unfolding in the UK.

I will stay with the blogs.


April 23. 2012 05:19 PM


ah someone cutting the mustard at last -thanks, great read...


April 23. 2012 05:19 PM

Catching up

Once again spot on.

Catching up

April 23. 2012 05:25 PM


This is the high court application wrt Ashby's claims. It also harks back to Tony Nutt and allegations from 2003.


2003, the magic number. The Liars Party was the government and as a result could have some 'splaining to do. Liealot may have been too cute with this lot. Or, even better, someone who wishes Liealot harm has cooked this up.

Whichever way you look at it, there is a strong smell of rotting seaweed here.

The same old cast is assembled-Steve Lewis breathlessly informing us of dirty deeds done dirt cheap, George Brandis and EricA betz with their song and dance routine and new cast member one Mr Ashby, mysteriously absent for his cue.

But, what's this? 2003? Oh noes.

The Liars Party was the government in 2003 and the current shadow front bench were either ministers or attached to ministers in some form.

Where's that bloody ALP when you need a scapegoat? Will Rupert be able to convince people that they were the government in 2003?

Will 'ol Coke Bottles manage to spin it so that it's due to Julia Gillard's incompetence in 2003?

Stay tuned for more.


April 23. 2012 05:25 PM

Mark Hyde

It's really easy to dismiss a lot of this as 'no-one cares'but I think this is the wider problem that has been playing over the decades and was soidified over and out of the Dismissal era in Australian politics. The public perception that no matter what anyone does or think, ultimately politicians are 'crooks' and not to be trusted. This develops into a palpable apathy. A very real tool to be politically exploited. Journos in this country know that and play on this constantly in how they word and write their articles. It's never truly about policy ideas anymore, but base common denominator titillation. Scandal mongering and such with a wink and a nod to the readers and commentators from the right, 'yeah, we've got your back' and 'here's your license to play with the apathetic stick a bit more'.

So why be original in political reporting? Why discuss the merits of policy or a policy itself when mere excoriation gets you readers and notoriety??

But this goes to also how politically enmeshed New Ltd is in the whole of politics in this country. The UK is a good esample of what I mean. Cameron surrounding himself with a former New of The World editor and whole mess of other problems really feeds into the apathy there further.

Well it's time the Coalition dealt with the fleas its got by getting into bed with News Ltd. Time others in the rest of the country got more wise to the 'apathy stick' tactics and challenged this up front. Not doing so makes the whole thing that much more entrenched. (Don't get me wrong Labor also has an off and on again love affair with the media, they just aren't flavour of the month at the moment now. Dissed in gossip with friends rallying around for attention. LOL.)

Anyway, great Bushfire Bill. The blogosphere and independent media itself needs more like you. Laughing

Mark Hyde

April 23. 2012 05:28 PM


Just a thought, in Utegate, grech melted under the pressure. more important for the murdoch press to have ashby out of the spotlight and the msm frothing .


April 23. 2012 05:38 PM

Gary M

Great read.

A journalist the other day asked Gillard "What she was going to do about the perception of the public that our troops are dieing in vain in Afghanistan" The reply matters not a jot.

After nearly choking on my corn flakes I thought. Jesus Christ this dumb journo has not only tried to put a thought pattern in Gillard's head, but also left the perception anyone thinking the war in Afghanistan is an abject waste of human life and money are supposedly imbeciles. Was he was giving an opinion on behalf of the half wits who think the war is justified?  Even Blind Freddie could see the question was biased and loaded. I wouldn't even mind if he said In my opinion rah rah bloody rah.

The media in this country is a joke.

Gary M

April 23. 2012 05:49 PM


BB congratulations. You have said more in this one article, then the combined main stream media output across the nation over the last 3 days.
We that rely on the general media for balanced, truthful, investigative reporting can no longer do so. Thankfully there are still scribes as yourself, who have the spine and the talent to get to the heart of matters that should be reported on with open minds.
My gratitude for saying what tens of thousands are thinking.


April 23. 2012 05:55 PM

Ad astra reply

Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come back.

I agree with your comments.  BB has said what so many are thinking, especially after the Grech affair - same journalist, same News Limited, same Opposition reaction.

Ad astra reply

April 23. 2012 05:57 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for the Court document,  It's very interesting reading.  I wonder how the Coalition feels about Tony Nutt's involvement in 2003?

Ad astra reply

April 23. 2012 06:01 PM


Brilliant, BB.


April 23. 2012 06:01 PM

Ad astra reply

Did anyone hear the interview of Mungo MacCallum by Libbi Gore on ABC 774 radio this afternoon?  It was the most balanced statement on the Slipper affair I have yet heard.  Has anyone got the link on tvider?

Ad astra reply

April 23. 2012 06:20 PM


Hi all.

Great article by Bushfire Bill.  

Journalist are very lucky to have the job they have -yet- they seem to take  that  importance  for granted.  So, I'm wondering if  many of them even care or are smart enough to understand their jobs . Watching some of the ' highly regarded' Journalists   turn in to what they once would have detest ,says a lot.
The consequence of that  has  brought  down the quality of debate & scrutiny of politics to a low level. All for what price? They should feel very ashamed. Many should NOT have the important job that they have.

Sadly I cant see that this will ever change now as they have ,like many ,  become slaves to the  economy and ethics and principals seem to get thrown out the window for a pay packet , or power.

I once suggested here at the Political sword a while ago that it would be really great to someone like Dick Smith start a daily Newspaper or some form of  media outlet...but....we can only hope.

Luckily we have many good bloggers and blog writers Smile


April 23. 2012 06:38 PM

Patricia WA

Thanks BB, you've put my own and many peoples' thoughts into very effective words.  It so obviously stinks from a common sense angle.  How many 33 years' old homosexual men would continue sleeping in a flat with someone making unwelcome advances to them or not have been able to deal with them some other way, employer or no.   I can imagine a younger straight guy being taken aback, perhaps.  But a freshface like that wouldn't have been collecting every little x recorded and noting every arch comment made from Day 1 of his new job!

Anyway the deliberately confused flimsiness of the whole scandal's structure has been shown up by Speaker Slipper sensibly separating the so called criminal from the civil complaint.  His prompt stepping aside until the taxi claim issue is resolved will leave only the charge of sexual harassment.  

Already lots of questions are being asked about that. Ashby's  violent temper and vengeful nature are known and published.  The whole affaire has been so well media managed too.  The story was splashed suddenly and widely onto every possible media front while Slipper was travelling and could be surprised, defenceless and tired, as he disembarked.  Ashby on the other hand seems almost too early protected from interview by high profile and presumably very expensive legal representation.  So, is he acting alone, or has he been put up to it?  Worth working on eh, TT?

Is this a lover scorned?
Or was he first suborned?
If agent provocateur?
Who was the procureur?

Patricia WA

April 23. 2012 06:52 PM



Why is your first reaction to news that has the government in political trouble always to look for an excuse of possible conspiracy? Do you not find the documentary evidence of some of the things Slipper said odd on their own? I dont think anyone in the current parliament (the Government included) would claim Slipper to have a good reputation, and yet, because he is now under the ownership of the Labor Party you jump to his aid.

Slipper requires the presumption of innocence, just as the complainant's complaints ought to be considered in all seriousness and not muddled with conspiracy as you have done.


April 23. 2012 07:02 PM


Hi Bushfire Bill and Ad

Thankyou for your superb article BB, brilliant read as always. You know I have always been a number one fan of your writing, for quite a few years now.

I posted the link on Twitter and within minutes my email box was clogged with re-tweets.

One person is going to frame your article:

Social Network Strat @SnStrategies replied to you:  
SnStrategies Social Network Strategies   351 followers

lynlinking Great article. Printing and framing it!!

SnStrategies Social Network Strategies
lynlinking love it!!
In reply to…  
SnStrategies You are a little beauty thankyou Bushfire Bill is a brilliant writer one of our best bloggers thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx

In reply to…  
lynlinking Lyn Linking  506 followers
Dumb and dumber never get between a -cliche and the lazy Australian Media. BY BUSHFIRE BILL. thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx

Neil Adolphson @ennelay retweeted to 255 followers:  

Space Kidette @SpaceKidette retweeted to 1,120 followers:
Eschertology @Eschertology retweeted to 371 followers

Total of followers your article has reached so far is 2,603 directly, you could then muliply by 2000 when those followers re-tweet again, actually multiply and multiply. It's a lot of people.

In his first #abc730 interview of the year, Opposition Leader TonyAbbottMHR joins us tonight re the Slipper affair and more...

Tony Abbott agrees to go on ABC's 730 for first time this year  Can't imagine why



April 23. 2012 07:07 PM


BB, what a brilliant piece. No wonder it's spreading around Facebook like wild fire, so many people are noting it as recommended reading.

It has even been linked at Café Whispers. How do you feel about that? Laughing


April 23. 2012 07:11 PM

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

Why is your first reaction to news that has the government in political trouble always to look for an excuse of possible conspiracy?

Not always a first reaction, jj, but when it's Steve Lewis, in the disgraced NEw Ltd. tabloids, doing exactly what News Ltd. tabloids do (and have been proved to do in the UK), you must admit.... all the elements are there.

Utegate was a government-threatening scandal: emails, a poor public servant being at first reluctant to talk than claiming victimization and illness due to stress, who turned out to be a Liberal mole, actively and deviously plotting with Turnbull and Abetz to bring down the government, supplying counterfeit emails to none other than our friend... Steve Lewis.

Come on, jj, how many chances do we give the News Ltd. crew before we finally admit that if anyone defies the norm and is guilty until proven innocent, its them? They are patently a corrupt, vindictive, evidence manufacturing and destroying, standover organization. The Leveson Inquiry, the dozens of arrests, the resignations and sackings, the "lost" evidence, the closure of the newspaper involved, the hundreds of payouts already made and the thousands more payments to come attest to this.

The organization is corrupt from the top down. It is nasty, intimidating, threatening, vicious in its legal action and prints egregious rubbish on a daily basis. The assumption is that they are corrupt, and that almost any serious story of this nature that they print is bogus, until they can prove otherwise by more than just splashing it on the front page and immediately calling for the downfall of the government, as was exactly what happened in Utegate.

As I said in the post:

1. Same journalist.
2. Same newspapers (Murdoch).
3. Same response from the Opposition.

An organization just can't keep on doing this kind of stuff and expect automatic respect and credibility, convenient isolation of incidents and newspaper mastheads notwithstanding.

News Ltd run a crooked, corrupt organization.

That's where we start from.

The rest is negotiable.

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

April 23. 2012 07:19 PM


Ad astra
Yes we are easily sucked in to nonsense like back on that last thread, but DYWAT Ad, the illwillians are only our playthings to play-fence with, and didn't I just say so, "we handle them with humour and reason and scorn don't we eh!"

As Punch says as he belts the life out of the Policeman:
Dat's da way ya do it! Smile

But I'm reposting a part of it now, because I'm'a relate it to Bushfire Bill's post too.

And now BB you can't avoid saying hello to me TT after all this time! You are admired here by many, as much for your firm support for the Government as for your perspicacity wit irreverence venom inventiveness (and for some good qualities as well.) There are many here who think that your fine writing is like wasted almost when on PB alone, as if it were as written on the lavvy paper in a girls' dorm, Fwwwt at the speed of sound and it's gone. Never to be seen at all by most, even of the likes of BK, albeit he is a well-read regular on PB.

So we always yearn for you, honestly and humbly and openly, to bring your work here - no-one wishes to steal you from PB, au contraire for reasons too obvious to need to explain, but here on TPS many will read this of yours today and cogitate on it for a while, allow it to mature for a few whole days . . .

You bring to the Sword fresh sting, as doth salt to fine food, variety to add to Ad's gravitas; and you must know that unlike many other blogs TPS has an agenda and a focus, displayed for all to see at the top of this page, and to which it has remained true ever since Ad's first post, (and I know you often wrote on TPS yourself in those early days BB.)

Anyway I've sung you siren songs before BB and even if you stay bound voluntarily to your present post like Jason, no not Jason Obelix, that other one on the Argo, we still want you to post your stuff here! Why not both?! There is no protocol to stop you, the only object is to defeat the illwillians who infest this nation, and it is to that end that I do so twist your arm.

Because we do want to be the very best we can be here, and if possible, the very best blog there is.        

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

Here again are the criteria by which the Sydney Writers Centre says it will judge blogsites. I'm not sure they would be generally agreed on by Swordsfolks but there they are.

"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.

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

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?      

Oh and while I'm praising everyone else I reckon my post about the orchid named for *J*U*L*I*A* dendrobium bigibbum on the last thread ought to be in the running for funniest post . . .
Not a sausage. H'mp.

And BB, agreed, the Media in Australia are an ABSOLUTE BLOODY disgrace!


April 23. 2012 07:41 PM

Catching up

The government is not acting like it is in trouble.

It sounds confident and appears to be getting on with the job of governing. Even managing to get it's message out in spite of the inane questioning from the media.

It is Mr. Abbott that looks the worse for wear.
He is starting to appear like he is begging for the public to come on side.
Another plot I believe that has failed.

Catching up

April 23. 2012 07:44 PM


Excellent article.

I posted this over at The Failed Estate and it fits also as my response to BB.

What do we know about James Ashby apart from the published information that he is a 33yo self- proclaimed gay man, introduced socially to Peter Slipper by friends? It has also been stated that Slipper made several job offers to Ashby before he finally accepted an appointment in November 2011.

Why did the matter go straight to the Federal Court apparently by-passing normal internal procedures in relation to workplace Sexual Harassment? There are remedies available there similar to those sought in the Federal Court action namely, An order that
the Second Respondent undergo counselling and training in the area of anti-discrimination
AND Compensation for the adverse action

How could a 33yo be so naive as to consider that flatting with the boss was a proper and sensible arrangement? Also, it is not clear from the MSM when and if Ashby moved to other accommodation. Has Ashby ever shared accommodation with other bosses?

Until these sorts of questions are answered the case appears to have all the hallmarks of entrapment.


April 23. 2012 07:47 PM


Top post Bushfire Bill.

This from the man who  created a propaganda machine that has helped to dumb down the populations of many countries...took fear-mongering, undermining effective governments and union-bashing to a new low...manipulated authorities to benefit Murdoch & his companies...and told lie after lie...exaggerated story after exaggerated story to hook in readers and viewers...creating a culture of cynicism and "anything goes"...no principles of any value unless they served to help grow the empire...and fill the Murdoch dynasty coffers...providing one HELL of a lesson for generations of children:

Rupert Murdoch launches Twitter broadside against UK government

News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch criticised the decision to lend the IMF £10bn, as well as energy, education and tax policies

On the subject of schooling, he called state education in the UK a "crime against the young". "Only one answer, really fix public education and give everyone equal opportunity."

Rupert Murdoch retiring I reckon would be one way to benefit the education of students worldwide...

and his attack dog papers having a fresh start with more balanced, factual reporting...

with the addition of more progressives and humanitarians and journos not filled with contempt for everything and anything that doesn't fit the libertarian me me me free trade and rampant mining til you drop pro-Israel to a fault war on terror uber alles apologist for Christian extremism manly man and extreme sports obsession demonstrated by many a Murdoch hack.

Just like all dictators in the downward spiral, Rupert Murdoch of the Holier Than Thou Murdoch Empire is demonstrating hubris and pissing on all and sundry...

and like most of those megalomaniacs in their final days of power, is determined to insult and take down as many of his former enemies...and allies...as he can.

Just another big mouthed opportunist...who built a house of cards. Out of fear and paranoia...and the belief he was better than everyone else...knew better than everyone else.





April 23. 2012 07:54 PM


sue said
Just a thought, in Utegate, grech melted under the pressure. more important for the murdoch press to have ashby out of the spotlight and the msm frothing .


Ashby today
Ash by Mayday

MSM frothing now
Gone flat by Mayday.


Ashby is
an agent provocateur
Playing billiards with Gillard
And he's trying
To pocateur!

As if.

Welcome to newies, PuffTMD, pia and Dafid, and to all the not-so-ofteners here today, as well as our regulars. And to newies I might have missed.  


April 23. 2012 08:37 PM


Link to tweets I mentioned above:


In another tweet, Murdoch criticised plans to build wind turbines to generate renewable energy: "English spring countryside as beautiful as ever if and when sun appears! About to be wrecked by uneconomic ugly bird killing windmills. Mad."

Unlike chomped land and huge craters from coal mines...and oil spills across the sea, beaches and land...and electricity lines across the landscape...

I'm sure the Japanese right now would prefer they'd had more wind power and other cleaner energy...than radiated farms, homes...asking themselves "Where do the children play?".

Methinks Rupert hearts nuclear energy shares.



April 23. 2012 08:42 PM

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

Hello TT.

Reading through the court documents (statement of claim), I doubt whether Ashby's "case" would pass the laugh test.

1. No letter of demand.
2. No use of in-house HR.
3. No attempt at mediation.
4. No clear rejection of alleged "advances" made by Slipper.
5. On several occasions Ashby endorsed Slipper's texts.

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

April 23. 2012 09:19 PM

Tom of Melbourne

I’m not sure people get the complexity in a “boss/subordinate” harassment claim.

Tom of Melbourne

April 23. 2012 09:46 PM


What I get Tom of Melbourne is innocent until proven guilty.

I also recognise a tabloid style pile-on when I see on...attempting to create moral panic...and a mob lynching.

I also know when a politician is lying through their teeth...considering Abbott has benefitted from Slipper's past support...I believe his claims that he tried to get rid of him are misleading...and not stating all the facts.

Furthermore, I have noted the air of panic and desperation in the Murdoch press and Sky News...well over-the-top stuff...which tells me that they have been ordered to go fullbore on attack mode by a mogul and his top minions in a fight for their survival. I assume Tony Abbott has done a deal with the Dark Lord of media.

Lastly, Heather Hewitt's report on the Slipper issue was so intensely biased against the present government...her predictions of a loss a year and a half out so presumptious...she does not deserve to be taken seriously as an objective reporter for the public broadcaster. Her approach would be more suited to a Fox News type program, perhaps on Sky News, where attempts to manipulate public perception are promoted and treasured.

Frankly, I was never big on Slipper being put into the speaker position...and Wilkie being stabbed in the back...as I made clear in the past.

However, the type of exaggerated mauling of this man I'm seeing and hearing coming from the mainstream media and opposition party characters is so grotesque it reminds me of the kind of grotesque frenzied attack you'd see in a totalitarian state...

or by some crazed cult...waving misleading, insulting, innuendo placards in the street...

or the Tea Party style anti-carbon price, anti-mining tax types during protests...

or by the extinct News of the World.




April 23. 2012 09:56 PM


There's something very Tom DeLay about Tony Abbott.



April 23. 2012 10:07 PM

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego


Questions need to be asked:

1. Who is paying Ashby's legal bills? Actions in the Federal Court do not come cheap.

2. Who paid for the "independent forensic Information
Technology assessment and report" on the text messages?

3. Is Ashby solvent in the case of failure of his application? Will he be able to pay costs if his case fails?

4. Where is the evidence Ashby took genuine steps to have the matter mediated before he went to the Federal Court? Indeed, we are told of a "Genuine Steps" statement. Where is it? Slipper says he is "surprised" by the action. How could Slipper be "surprised" if the applicant took "Genuine Steps" to resolve the matter?

5. Worth repeating: who is paying for this very expensive legal action in one of the highest courts of the land?

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

April 23. 2012 10:26 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Questions 1-5 aka “look over there!!”

Tom of Melbourne

April 23. 2012 11:25 PM


jj @ April 23. 2012 06:52 PM

My response to your question (Why is your first reaction to news that has the government in political trouble always to look for an excuse of possible conspiracy?) is:

Michael Kirby and Utegate. That's enough in the current context.


April 23. 2012 11:36 PM


Wellcome back BB
An excellent piece worthy of Sir Humphrey Appleby, they attack the man and smother the policy issues of the week if you don't like them. We all can see the News of the Screws(oop's World)is still alive and kicking butt in good old OZ only here it has a number of alias which all come from the same murdoch sewer. May the force be with us all god knows we need it to fight the evil empire.


April 24. 2012 01:55 AM

Patricia WA

.....the type of exaggerated mauling of this man I'm seeing and hearing coming from the mainstream media and opposition party characters is so grotesque it reminds me of the kind of grotesque frenzied attack you'd see in a totalitarian state...

Well said, Nasking.  You mentioned Heather Ewatt, as one of many.  Uhlmann was pretty bad, and so too was Emma Alberici later in the evening.  I wasn't too impressed by Tony Jones either.  All were making presumptive statements about Speaker Slipper, and the hopelessness of the government without him.   One could believe that all were under instruction. Else they've been infected with a lynch mob virus.

Patricia WA

April 24. 2012 07:10 AM


this habit by ABC presenters of predicting dire electoral straits for the government each time the Abbott-led Coalition and/or News Ltd and its corporate media clones point accusatory fingers and throw a tantrum is very disturbing...and demonstrates a lack of objectivity...and an apparent addiction to tabloid behaviour.

BTW,  enjoyed yer poem.

Thnx to Lyn and others for the useful links.



April 24. 2012 07:15 AM



Dirty, Sexy Politics - The Slipper Saga, Kate Doak, The Deadly Newt
our political leaders, members of parliament and journalists are as diverse and as human as the rest of us. While it is realistic that we hold them to certain standards, it is also completely unrealistic and unfair for us to hold them accountable for what would be non-issues in any other part of society. If we are to truly become

The Attack On Slipper is Not About Justice, It is An Attempt at Regime Change, Turn Left 2013
Getting back to the attack on Slipper, was this a set-up? Consider the age of the alleged incident, this would suggest that Tony had this tucked away in his dirt file waiting for the right moment

Hockey's entitlement, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless
Hockey protests that his speech was intended for a European audience, but why would they wish to hear from him? He voted against the measures that gave Australia its world-best economy, and in government backed policies that gave away windfall gains

A reality check on the Peter Slipper ‘scandal’, The Conscience Vote
the media is quite happy to go with it. It’s a ‘scandal’. Some are even happily adopting Abbott’s actual language – Paul Sheehan in the Sydney Morning Herald seems to like the word ‘tawdry’. A few moments ago, Channel Ten asked itself, ‘How did Labor not know who it  

Windsor stands by Govt as investigations into Slipper affair proceed, Monday's program, AM ABC
This Government only survives because of Mr Windsor and Mr Oakeshott. I think the Australian public have been saying for months this is a Government that should have died of shame but the only shameless people it seems are Mr Windsor and Mr Oakeshott.

Rats, rorters and toxic political workplaces, Bernard Keane, Crikey
The Coalition tolerated Slipper for years despite repeated problems with his travel expenses (including having to pay back $20,000), a string of unsavoury incidents and a defection from the Nationals to the Liberals. Queensland Labor has its own history of  www.crikey.com.au/.../

Abbott on Slipper in 2011 - He's a mate of mine, Clarence Girl, North Coast Voices
The only reasonable conclusion which can be drawn from this scenario is that the Liberal Party of Australia and Tony Abbott (both in government and opposition) concealed serious allegations from the Australian Parliament and voters in order that the Coalition could hold onto the federal seat of Fisher in Queensland,

ARE WE ON A SLIPPERY Slope, Tracey Spicer, Hoopla
Immediately, conspiracy theories began circulating: that the Libs leaked the story to the Murdoch media to bring down the government; that James Ashby is a Coalition stooge; that he’s engaged the same lawyers as the Health Services Union national sec. Kathy Jackson.
http://thehoopla.com.au/mask-civilisation-slipped utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Apr+23+The+Hoopla&utm_content=Apr+23+The+Hoopla+CID_30222c7377742d771386e2f48254a676&utm_source

Slipper, the Opposition and a little matter of principle, 702 ABC Sydney
"You'd expect them to say 'alright if there's to be a replacement of Peter Slipper we'll ensure that it's done in a way which doesn't actually add to (our) political advantage,'" Dr Longstaff told 702 Mornings."They would disavow any opportunity to be advantaged in the parliament by insisting that one of their own number would go in.

Slipper saga begs the question – do we need a speaker at all? , Geoffery Robinson, The Conversation
The rise of minor parties has made party negotiations more complex but it has not restored the role of “the speaker” as an imagined representative of a “legislature” opposed to the executive. The declining significance of the speaker points to

The Federal Court Discrimination Claim Against Slipper, Australian Politics. Com
This is James Ashby’s application to the Federal Court under the Fair Work Act alleging discrimination.The application was lodged on April 20. It cites two respondents, the Commonwealth of Australia and Peter Slipper.

No link between surpluses and interest rates say economists, Independent Australia
Interest rates for a start depend largely on what the Reserve Bank is doing and they’ve got their eye on inflation, so the only way the surplus could influence interest rates on that score is if it could influence what the Reserve Bank thinks might be happening  shot.www.independentaustralia.net/.../no-link-between-surpluses-and-interest-rates-say-economists

BRIDGE TOO FAR: Kelly O’Dwyer agitating against Sarah Henderson’s Liberal preselection in Corangamite, Vex News
O’Dwyer and their mentor ex-Treasurer Peter Costello, who has brutally attacked Abbott around town for being an economic vandal, unreliable mind-changer, Grouper, spendthrift and lefty-bureaucratic-thought implementer, are known in Melbourne Liberal circles

10 years in Afghanistan - what did we achieve? Mungo MacCallum, Unleashed
Julia Gillard faces an even tougher test at the polls in 2013 – when she hopes and believes most of the Australian troops will be welcomed home and the ones left behind will be out of the firing line and therefore largely out of harm's way.

Cabinet: trashed by Rudd, misunderstood by the press, Bernard Keane, The Power Index
Merely to get an issue before cabinet is a tortuous process. Guidelines for documents are tight even by public service standards. An array of accompanying impact statements must be completed and any proposal with financial implications

Could Abbott Deliver?, Miglo, Café Whispers
We know he’s going to stop the boats, rip up the NBN, tear down public departments, give the billionaires billions more, return a surplus by within the hour, scrap the carbon tax and save us from the fires of hell, but for a man who’s going to be Prime Minister  

Small Government Feeds Entitlement, Ben Eltham, New Matilda
These aspects of Abbott’s conservatism do not sit easily with the traditions of the Liberal Party (or, indeed, with the majority of Catholic politicians). As the Party’s policies become subject to  

A (Portentous?) Statement From Andrew Wilkie, Australian Politics.Com
Andrew Wilkie, the independent member for Denison, has issue the following statement about his negotiations with the government over its National Gambling Reform Bill.Wilkie’s reference to “the uncertainty and changing circumstances in the Parliament”


Slipper allegations dominate Parliament, Lateline
A former media advisor to John Howard is denying claims he covered up allegations made about Peter Slipper in 2003, as both Federal leaders accuse each other to turning a blind eye to them.

Tony Abbott asks and faces questions over Slipper affair, 7.30pm Report
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has been questioning the Government over its handling of the Peter Slipper affair but also faces questions himself.
Episode 12, 23 April 2012 Media Watch, ABC

Roxon warns against 'lynch mob' over Slipper claims, ABC
Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has accused Tony Abbott of acting like the leader of a lynch mob over allegations of sexual harassment filed in the Federal Court against Speaker Peter Slipper.

Posts from the ‘Daily Fix’ Category, Australian Politics TV

Laura Carstensen: Older people are happier
Laura Carstensen is the director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, and has extensively studied the effects on wellbeing of extended lifetimes. Full bio »


April 24. 2012 07:18 AM



Australian Newspaper Front Pages for 24 April 2012



April 24. 2012 08:09 AM


BB said

Hello TT



April 24. 2012 08:24 AM



Well if that is the standard you set, how should i believe anything this government says at all after:
- reneging on a deal with Wilkie
- misleading the Australian people on a Carbon tax
- stuffing up the Australia Network Bid
- stuffing up the Australian border protection system
- electing slipper twice on the floor of the parliament to become deputy speaker and then speaker in an attempt to curb any possible damage a Wilkie withdrawal of support, or a CT sacking would cause.
- declaring they would not means test the private health insurance rebate before the election and then doing the exact opposite afterwards.
- Saying nothing about the horrors of the Rudd Government, including its policy paralysis, before Rudd challenged for the second time, and then come out and bag him when it suits them.
- Gillard pushing Rudd to drop the carbon price all together, then axing him for the consequences, and then deceiving the Australian people by saying she believed in it all along (even though she is the only one out of the gang of four that is claiming this).

etc etc etc

The fact is, Casablanca, that both sides of the current saga should be treated seriously. You may not like the damage it is causing to the Labor Party, but hey, they were warned very loudly of the high possibility that they would find themselves in this exact position if they rewarded slippery pete!


April 24. 2012 08:24 AM


Abbott on 7:30, transcript.

I'm no fan at all of Chris Uhlmann, but in the transcript below he more often than not puts Shouldabeen on the spot, and then lets viewers of 7:30 last night watch him swing in the wind blustering from his own lips. Rehearsed lines sound tired and hollow, thinking on that same spot reveals him lost for thought.

Transcript, Abbott interview, 7:30 April 23 2012

Chris Uhlmann: A short time ago I spoke with the Opposition Leader. Tony Abbott, welcome. Peter Slipper was nurtured by the coalition, pre-selected nine times. It's a bit late in the day to be appalled by him now, isn't it?

Tony Abbott: But we never made him the Speaker of the Parliament. That's the big difference.

CU: But if you look at this case, the first respondent in this case is the Commonwealth. And the reason for that is there's a 2003 incident which was reported to Tony Nutt the Chief of Staff for the Prime Minister about a video that was involving Mr Slipper. Shouldn't it have been nipped in the bud then?

TA: Well, two points, Chris. First of all, there was no formal complaint made, and second, the Liberal National Party in Queensland was about to deselect Mr Slipper. I was trying to get Mr Slipper out of the Parliament and the Prime Minister gave him the biggest job in the Parliament. I think there's a fundamental difference.

CU: Sure, but we're talking about this case, the first respondent is the Commonwealth. One of things that's been pointed to is that a 2003 incident which wasn't handled well by the then government. That's a fair comment, isn't it?

TA: Except there's a world of difference between an allegation and a court process. There was never a formal complaint. Never a formal complaint. If there had been a formal complaint, I'm confident that things would've been done differently.

CU: But surely that formal complaint was made to the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff?

TA: It was - there was never a formal complaint made by someone who claimed to have been subject to sexual harassment. That was an allegation but this is also an allegation. It will be tested in court this time.

CU: So that's the only difference?

TA: Well, I'm not sure that that's right. Because there is a formal court process in train, as well as the sexual harassment issue, the sexual harassment issue, the formal court process on sexual harassment, serious matters, serious matters of possible criminal misuse of Commonwealth entitlements, I believe have now been reported to the Australian federal police.

CU:And should that matter be cleared up, should then Mr Slipper be allowed to sit in Parliament again while this other allegation is tested?

TA: I think both of these matters need to be resolved before Mr Slipper could once more take the chair. A good precedent's established not under the former government but by the current government is what happened with the sexual harassment issue at ADFA the Australian Defence Force Academy. There, the instant news broke of this, the government insisted that the commandant against whom no personal wrongdoing was alleged, that the commandant stand down to protect the reputation of the institution. He only came back when the sexual harassment matters were fully investigated and had been totally dealt with. So I think that the government has set the standard, and I think that the same standard that the government applied in respect of ADFA should apply here.

CU: You thought the ADFA example was a bad example, so why should you hold the government to a bad example?

TA: Well, that's not true. That's not true. We said once the commandant had been fully cleared that the government owed him an apology, but we never opposed him standing down.

CU: Do you think that an allegation should be sufficient against a sitting member of Parliament? You know as well as I do that allegations are made all the time. They are at not always tested in court.

TA: I think sexual harassment allegations, particularly allegations that are before a court, have to be taken extremely seriously. And one of the things that concerned me today, Chris, was the suggestion from government ministers that this was just a sexual harassment matter. We shouldn't take it too seriously. The last thing I would want to say to the victims of sexual harassment is that we don't take this issue seriously.

CU: Is this a standard you are prepared to live by in government?

TA: The short answer is Yes. I think that sexual harassment does have to be taken very, very seriously. And I think that the Parliament has to set the best possible example in these matters.

CU: Has James Ashby had any assistance at all from anyone in the Coalition preparing his case?

TA: Not that I'm aware of.

CU: Do you think it's possible? He is former member of the Liberal National Party in Queensland.

TA: Look, I had no specific knowledge of this. Until I read the newspapers on Saturday morning. And to the best of my knowledge, no-one in the Coalition had specific knowledge of this until they read the news.

CU: Do you think the government will run its full term?

TA: I think that the sooner we have an election, the better. I think that the more people see of the Gillard Government, the less they like it. The more they are convinced that this is an incompetent, an untrustworthy government that's interested only in its own survival. What's happened here brings into further question the Prime Minister's judgment and the Prime Minister's standards. I think many people in the Labor Party are questioning both her judgment and her standards. I think we need an election. I think we need an election. I think we need it as soon as possible. I think this is a government which should've died of shame a long time ago.

CU: Are you prepared to govern?

TA: Well, I believe that there is a better way. I think that every day the Coalition is demonstrating that we are a credible alternative.

CU: But you should have an alternative agenda then. You have said that government should do for people who what they can't do for themselves and no more. Which benefits do you plan to cut?

TA: Well, you're now getting me into the issue that the government was on about last week, Chris. I am not planning to cut benefits. Although I've certainly said and I'm happy to say again that government has to live within its means. What we've seen from the current government is example after example of waste, whether it's the $900 cheques dispatched to dead people, the $2.5 billion on combustible roof batts, the $17 billion on overpriced school halls, the $50 billion plus broadband white elephant, the list goes on and on. If the government wasn't spending like a drunken sailor still, borrowing $100 million every single day, obviously we'd be in a better position.

CU: But Joe Hockey has said that the age of entitlement is over. What are we to take the shadow Treasurer to mean when he says that? Surely it means that entitlements will be cut?

TA: Well, he was making the obvious point that if you look at France where social spending as a percentage of GDP is double that in Australia and which is now on the verge of a crisis, I mean, the Eurozone is in a crisis. If you look at France, we've got to do whatever we reasonably can to avoid ever getting into that predicament.

CU: Your problem isn't France. Your problem is Australia. If you look at Australia 3, 3% of the budget, $122 billion is spent on social welfare and social security. If you are going to make big cuts, that's surely a place to start?

TA: What I'm saying is in good time before the next election ...

CU: You said that should be soon.

TA: We will tell people and if the Prime Minister wants to go to Yarralumla and call an election for 33 days hence, in the course of the campaign, we will detail exactly where we think savings can be made.

CU: But you can't say "there should be a change of government now" and say that we don't really have a program that we can talk to you about, can you?

TA: I think there should be an election as soon as possible. That's what I want. I want an election.

CU: And you think there should be budget cuts, quite large ones, so where will the pain, there will be pain, won't there?

TA: Absolutely right.

CU: So where will it fall? There is no such thing as a pain-free spending reduction.

TA: Going into the last election, we outlined $50 billion worth of savings. We will be at least as good as that going into the next election. You can expect the same level of fiscal discipline and then some going into the next election.

CU: But there was no real discipline. In fact the two accountant who is prepared those costings for you, who at least audited them, were the subject of professional discipline by the institute of chartered accountants. And the Treasury, which has had its own problems with figure.

TA: Is that the standard we're expected to rest on? Let's face it, Chris, I think they've tried to estimate the mining tax four times, they've tried to estimate this year's budget deficit three times, and they tell us that they still haven't got it right. The Treasury looked at our figures and $40 billion of our expenditure reductions were unquestioned by the Treasury.

CU: You say there should be cuts. Will you support the government cuts in the coming budget?

TA: Well let's wait and see what they do. I've always said that our duty as an Opposition is to support good policy and to oppose bad policy, and we'll do that with this budget as we've done before.

CU: Isn't it good policy to support means testing if you really believe that governments should do for people what they can't do for themselves and no more?

TA: It depends exactly what the means testing is. We certainly don't support means tests which the government is putting on in breach of pre-election commitments such as the means test of the baby bonus and the means test of the private health insurance rebate. Both of which were explicitly ruled out before an election.

CU: Why should the government subsidise the health insurance of people who can afford to do it themselves?

TA: Well, the great thing about the private health insurance rebate, Chris, is that it is part of a universal health system, and it also helps to take the pressure off the public hospital system, which is a good thing. The private health insurance rebate is a way of getting more private investment, private money into our health system, and I think that's a very economically rational thing to do.

CU: You've said you will support the increase in superannuation contributions from 9 to 12% but you won't take any money from the mining tax in order to do that. By 2020, you're going to have to find $3.6 billion. Where will you find it?

TA: Well, again, we will detail in good time before the next election precisely where we'll be making savings, but just on the subject of the mining tax - the mining tax is going to actually lose money when you look at the totality of the revenue and the spending associated with it. By abolishing the mining tax and all measures associated with it, the budget would be $3 billion better off over the forward estimates period.

CU: I'm confused on this. You quite often say the mining tax will be a disaster, but Joe Hockey says that no-one will actually pay it. Which of those two things ...

TA: We say it's bad in principle, but typically, for this government, it is so botched, the implementation, that they are committed to a whole lot of spending increases that the actual tax itself will never cover.

CU: How will small business cope with the increase of 9 to 12% for superannuation?

TA: Badly.

CU: Why are you supporting it if it's a bad policy?

TA: Because we are following the precedents which has been established before. We don't support these things. We will do our best to stop them. But if they happen, we won't necessarily repeal them.

CU: But you're going to repeal the carbon tax. Why wouldn't you repeal super if you thought that was bad policy?

TA: Because as we're going to follow exactly the same policy in respect of the government's latest superannuation tax as was followed by the Howard Government in respect of previous Labor changes to compulsory superannuation.

CU: Even though you think it will be bad for small business?

TA: It's effectively an additional 3% payroll tax which is going to be gradually ratcheted up on business.

CU: Then don't support it.

TA: I don't like this. I don't think this is the right time for it. But there are a lot of bad things that this government is doing, and we can't reverse all of them.

CU: You are perhaps the most effective Opposition Leader in Australia's history. We know that you can break things, you've broken two Prime Ministers, can you make them?

TA: Well, look, obviously that's a question that the Australian people will be asking themselves in the - they asked themselves that question in the run-up to the last election. They will be continuing to ask that question in the run-up to the next election, but I would simply point out if you look at what I've been doing over the last few weeks, a one-stop shop environmental approvals process, a commission of audit to look at the totality of government, bipartisan support for the national disability insurance scheme, best way to get it done in a responsible and timely fashion. A Productivity Commission review into child care to try to ensure that our child care system is flexible and effective for the millions of Australian families who aren't suited by 8 to 6 institutional care, there's a lot of positives that have been coming out lately, Chris.

CU: Tony Abbott, thank you. Thank you.


April 24. 2012 08:34 AM

Ad astra

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

Ad astra

April 24. 2012 08:48 AM


Good Morning Ad

Hypocrites do you think?  ABC

Good to see Peter 'children overboard' Reith lecturing the PM about poor judgment.

Marian Rumens‏
ABCthedrumPeter Reith talking about poor judgement? Really? #auspol

ABC The Drum ‏
Gillard derailed yet again by poor judgement - a piece by Peter Reith http://bit.ly/I6jTQf #auspol

Sorry, but it is a hanging offence Peter Reith's Telecard
By Simon Longstaff

Despite what the Prime Minister says, I regret to say that Peter Reith's misuse of his Telecard is a hanging offence. If he survives in office, then it will only be because John Howard has let him off the hook.

Howard has had many months to think about Reith's conduct. He has concluded that the offence does not warrant dismissal from his ministry. It is open to him to make this decision. After all, we should admire mercy – but not, I think, at the expense of justice.




April 24. 2012 09:15 AM

Patricia WA

Michael, that interview did not put Abbott on the spot.  It gave him the opportunity to rationalise away all the weak areas of the Opposition case against Speaker Slipper without Uhlmann coming back in to really challenge his responses.  He was even given a chance help Hockey out on those entitlements and the contradictory policy on private health insurance subsidies.   Then he was led into a lovely rant which took in the carbon tax, the super changes and the mining tax and his usual throwback to the 'botching' and 'inefficiency' of this government much of which he might not be able to reverse, despite his best efforts!  Then Uhlmann fed him a lovely opportunity to lauch a campaign speech about his fitness to run this country.

Patricia WA

April 24. 2012 09:21 AM


From The Conscience Vote blog linked above:

Oh, Abbott’s clever enough to avoid saying anything that’s actually defamatory. He talks about the government, not the man – but no one can mistake the message. It’s ‘tawdry’. It’s ‘squalid’. The government should ‘die of shame’. And let’s not forget the ‘sleazy’ deal made to elevate Slipper to the Speakership. The language is clear – it’s the language of gutter sexuality.

And the media is quite happy to go with it. It’s a ‘scandal’. Some are even happily adopting Abbott’s actual language – Paul Sheehan in the Sydney Morning Herald seems to like the word ‘tawdry’. A few moments ago, Channel Ten asked itself, ‘How did Labor not know who it was getting into bed with?’ (my italics) All the focus is on the sexual allegations, even if only as metaphor.

(And just by the way, media – what’s with the constant repetition of ‘a male staffer’? We can all see Ashby’s male. We know his name, and it’s not ambiguous. Why do you keep reminding us of his gender? Could it be that you think you can drum up a bit more outrage, make it more ‘dirty’ or ‘disgusting’, by focusing on alleged sexual behaviour between two men? Perish the thought.)

Sounds like Media Watch territory to me.



April 24. 2012 09:28 AM

Sir Ian Crisp

1. Who is paying Ashby's legal bills? Actions in the Federal Court do not come cheap.

Ahhhhh, now we are supposed to worry about someone or group picking up the tab for legal representation. It’s a bit late for confected outrage. Who remembers Carmen of Amnesia and her 185 “I can not remember” responses during the Marks Royal Commission?

Yes indeed, it isn't cheap to take any case to court but it helps if the taxpayer writes a cheque.

Swimming against the TPS’s sequaciousness brings its own satisfaction.

Commonwealth liability to pay costs

Burchett J ordered that the Commonwealth pay the sum of $761,594.13 in fees and past interest, (27) plus legal costs to be agreed or taxed. Interest from 25 February 2000 is also payable, at the rate of 10.5% per year. (28)

Liability of others to pay Dr Lawrence’s costs

The Commonwealth argued that it would not pay Dunhill Madden Butler’s fees until all other avenues of funding, in particular payment by the Western Australian Government, had been pursued in full. After Burchett J’s decision, any such payments seem doubtful.

Parenthetically, a Save Carmen Fund was started and accumulated close to AUD$100,000. If the Commonwealth picked up Carmen’s legal tab what happened to the dosh in the fund?

Because of people like Reith and Lawrence I regard ALL Australian politicians are nothing but vile, putrid, rotting filth.

Things that make you go mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Sir Ian Crisp

April 24. 2012 09:34 AM

Patricia WA

PS Michael, I agree with you that Abbott's rehearsed lines sounded tired and hollow, but that's to us lefties, who know when he is lying.  He is very suave and persuasive as he lies.   He spoke his lines and they weren't properly challenged.   Uhlmann either doesn't want to, or can't, go in for the kill

Patricia WA

April 24. 2012 09:36 AM


As Lyn notes above, many a Coalition supporter and pollie are focusing on the "poor judgement by PM" accusation when discussing this Slipper issue...

the same goes for a compliant media.

Could the same not be said of Tony Abbott then?

He accepted the support of Peter Slipper. And attended his wedding. He obviously wasn't that outraged by previous rumours and accusations.

Abbott's an opportunist first and foremost.

It's not surprising the Murdoch empire generally heart him.


One who takes advantage of any opportunity to achieve an end, often with no regard for principles or consequences


Not much of an alternative is he?



April 24. 2012 09:42 AM


Patricia @ 09:15 am.
Well said and similar to what I was going to post before I read yours.  The other thing is that the interview was also pre-recorded (and beautifully edited) because for some reason Abbott is a protected species.  Why is he afraid of live interviews? and why is it that the ABC sees fit to mete out preferential treatment to him?


April 24. 2012 09:52 AM


From the Essential Research poll:


Further questions on the mining boom have 66 per cent believing it has benefited them “not at all”, 51 per cent supporting the mining tax (down one on mid-March) and 29 per cent opposing it (down five).

Tony Abbott's really on a winner there.




April 24. 2012 10:04 AM


Patricia, Janice, hi.

I take on board what you are saying re the Abbott interview, but how often have we actually heard Tiny even asked those questions?

Uhlmann is incapable of the killer blow, but Abbott (short of James Ashby being another Godwin Grech) won't be felled with one mighty blow, he'll be weathered down by people observing interview after interview in which he can't spout anything but scripted lines, and when he tries to improvise, dithers.

That failure to deliver 'killer blows' of his own after having been such an "effective" (???) leader of the opposition for so long is what will see him removed by his own side.

He'll erode, he won't crash, since that latter likelihood is covered by his being a protected species for now. No amount of protection can shield him from the perception which is slowly building that his repetitiveness is the tattered beat of his hollow drum.

Julia Gillard grows stronger under pressure. Abbott retreats to well-exposed furphies he panders out as facts when anyone paying attention has long since seen them exposed as empty - Perth accounting firm, anyone?

Set loose to announce his 'accomplishments', all Abbott does his repeat his empty promises and flaccid predictions.


April 24. 2012 10:09 AM


Did Melissa Clarke just say Abbortt was planning $50 million in budget cuts? She did, I'm sure, and that's what the subtext said. I really think she might not know the difference. Like Snotty Joe! (or was it Poor Old Robb?)

What a tangled web Wilkie weaves. Well he'd be mad to bring down the Government even if he could, what would he get, a new election and probably obliteration but anyway a mouthful of feathers after that even if he still were an independent backbencher but with a NOalition Government. Hung Parliament again is very much against the odds of course. Wilkie despises Abbortt and I am sure the feeling is mutual, Wilkie's reasons are better though.

The misdeeds Slipper is accused of having done in these latest allegations are actually pretty comparable with those of which the Hokey-Pokin' Senator Mary-Jo Fisher was found guilty (but not convicted, is that right I think?!!!)

Comparable, but imo far less important.  

Slipper is accused of having touched Ashby's elbow, and made (vague?) suggestive suggestions to him which sound pretty ordinary to me. (Seems they both have homosexual inclinations anyway, what is so shocking?)
And having illegally spent some $100+ somehow I don't understand.

Fisher is guilty of having assaulted a diligent female security guard by repeatedly slamming her car door on the woman's elbow, attempting to escape from lawful detention first by deception and then by physical violence.  
And having stolen nearly $100 worth of luxury items from a supermarket, in a plainly sneaky premeditated way.

Nicola Roxon showed Emma Alerbici who was boss last night. She made the point about Fisher very well, never naming her but using the well-known case and the precedents perfectly.  

When Slipper is cleared of the money matter, as I am betting he will be for lack of evidence, he will be back as Speaker. He will not change his approach to rulings at all, he is scrupulous about that I think, quite harsh to *J*U*L*I*A* I reckon in sitting her down during answers, I don't agree with some of those rulings, but he has definitely shown no favouritism to anyone so far, nor do I expect him to.

But can you imagine his personal schardenfreude (sp.?) as he sits on them again?

Po-faced outside, all aglo inside.

There is danger here though. If he is not back there by the budget session the present Deputy, I forget who she is, will be under huge pressure of provocation and harassment by the yahooing Abborttians. Will she have the numbers in a potential naming? (Will Slipper be entitled to vote as an IndependAnt while standing aside as Speaker?) (Yes or No he's a lost vote to the Right).

But the Speaker needs that undoubted power, especially with these Abborttians the way they are. Without it the Government is in unstable equilibrium, like balancing on one foot.  

I don't believe that Wilkie, Windsor or Oakeshott will desert the Government, for both personal and ideological reasons. And I take Bandt as read, but Crook would vote with Abbortt, the Mad Katter who knows, I think he would . . . No I have no idea, I wonder if he does.

Interesting times.

The Government must seize the initiative now and take control of the mix of questions coming from the rabid ones.

As in:
OK representatives of the Media, I'll take just 2 questions on the matter of (Slipper, in this case), after which I will expect some serious questions on the economy which is what this press conference was called for . . .

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

Gee this new laptop+Telstra combination is a delight after my old computer+Optus combo. Sorry Optus, we are just too close to your tower it seems, but the difference is vast.  


April 24. 2012 10:15 AM


Noticed this comment @ Poll Bludger:

Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 9:35 am

Remember Mr Thomson’s wife wrote in the msm about giving her husband and family some respect re his illness. Abbott and his cronies were carrying on about it at the time. Thomson’s illness could have stemmed from the stress and harrassment being put on him by his work colleagues ie Abbott and Co...

Brings to mind:

Tony Abbott has no time for Bernie Banton



Between his belfry-bat ears is a coil of such saturnine weirdness that no one, not even his closest friends, would want to unravel it. This makes him do things he comes to regret. His wife, Margie, knows this. In 2005 when she heard that John Brogden had resigned as NSW Opposition leader, after being found in his office with self-inflicted wounds, she told her husband, “Whatever happens, don’t you say anything about it.”

The next day, Abbott, then health minister, joked about Brogden’s actions in relation to a change to a Liberal policy: “If we did that, we would be as dead as the former Liberal leader’s political prospects.”

Abbott’s response to the subsequent outcry was, “Look, I’ve never claimed to be the world’s most sensitive person.”


Frankly, I reckon Tony Abbott is far too impetuous, opportunistic and insensitive at times to be a Prime Minister of this country.



April 24. 2012 10:17 AM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
It is ironic that Peter Reith should be writing a piece condemnatory of PM Gillard’s political judgement after his performance in government.  How good was his judgement in the ‘kids overboard' affair; how good was his judgement in the waterfront dispute; how good was his judgement in allowing his son to run up a large bill on a Commonwealth Telecard.  Of course Reith is simply a gun for hire any time the Coalition needs a hit man.  He has no shame when he writes these pieces; indeed his effrontery is redolent with audacity.  This is the style of key Coalition members – say whatever you like, no matter how impudent, because much of the media that we have here will parrot it as if it is Holy Writ, no questions asked.

Ad astra

April 24. 2012 10:20 AM


Attorney-General Nicola Roxon made some useful points on Lateline:

NICOLA ROXON: Well, look, the point that we've been trying to clearly make here is that you shouldn't have double standards. There have been civil actions against many people in the past, including two ministers of the Howard government, Mr Wooldridge, Mr Turnbull. There was never any suggestion they should stand down as ministers while those claims were being heard. There is a current Liberal Senator that is party to a extensive piece of litigation in South Australia who's not been asked to step aside.

So those rules should apply to Mr Slipper, because otherwise I am quite worried, I must say, as the Attorney, that you create a perverse incentive where you actually make it attractive for people to bring a claim if the automatic result is people are not able to participate in their normal job.

So we have to be careful here that we don't actually assume that a complaint being made is a complaint being proved. That's what we have our courts for and we should make sure that process can continue properly


II really don't think Abbott thinks his actions and accusations through enough.



April 24. 2012 10:47 AM


Here's an example of how tightly Shouldabeen is framing his answers when asked how much Coalition staffers had to do with the coming to public attention of James Ashby's allegations concerning Peter Slipper.

From www.news.com.au/.../story-e6frfku0-1226336771935

Mr Abbott said he has no knowledge of any Coalition personnel helping to prepare the case against Mr Slipper.

"Not to my knowledge," he told Macquarie Radio Network today.

"I had no specific knowledge of any of this until I read it in the newspapers.

"And I think that goes for everyone in the Coalition in Canberra."

Note, "in Canberra".

Indeed, note "specific" - did he simply give the nod to the campaign, but had himself kept clear of the details, so that he could 'honestly' avow no "specific knowledge"?

It's this sort of sneaky 'accuracy' that will bring the whole thing down, and Shouldabeen with it.


April 24. 2012 10:57 AM


Watching  the film Farewell (L'affaire Farewell)...a young man in Russia/USSR listens to his Queen cassette on a Walkman...he mimics the lead singer...struts about...in a forest...far from the critical gaze of the authorities.

This is juxtaposed with cuts to Queen playing to a huge animated audience somewhere in the West.

That was the 80s.

Freddie Mercury is dead now.

But if he were still alive I wonder how the Russian authorities would treat him if he tried to play there?



April 24. 2012 11:34 AM

Ad astra

Thank you for posting the transcript of the Chris Uhlmann interview of Tony Abbott on 7.30, which I witnessed.  I note your comments and those of Patricia WA and janice.  As I saw it, I was surprised that Chris Uhlmann asked so many pointed questions, to several of which Tony Abbott responded uncomfortably.  When he is discomforted, Abbott reverts to well-rehearsed lines that come across like a catechism recited mantra-like in church.  Note how he reverted to old, old events - $900 cheques to dead people, millions wasted on combustible roofs and school halls, and so on.  He is adept at regurgitating slogans on cue, and they have been imprinted in the minds of the electorate, some believe indelibly, just as those who recite catechisms have had them imprinted over the years so that they can reel them off, even without thinking about them, without questioning their authenticity, without querying their meaning.  It is a very clever technique that Abbott and his advisers have devised.  I wonder whether PM Gillard’s repeated use of words that point to Abbott’s negativity is an example of the same technique.

Getting back to the interview, I felt that Uhlmann could have, indeed should have pursued him further when he gave slogan-like, evasive or unconvincing answers.  For example, near the end when Abbott said: “…But there are a lot of bad things that this government is doing, and we can't reverse all of them.”, Uhlmann could have said: “It sounds as if you are leaving your options open to renege on your promises to repeal government policy; are you conceding that it might be impossible or inadvisable to honour your promises?  And if you did renege, would that be an example of you breaking promises in the same way that you condemn the PM for doing?”  No doubt he would have squirmed his way around even such a pointed question!

Although Uhlmann should have gone in much harder, in my view it was one of his more proficient interviews. But the unfortunate preamble to his last question: “You are perhaps the most effective Opposition Leader in Australia's history.” was a signal of Uhlmann’s attitude.   He seems to hold the view that to be persistently negative and obstructive, to be constantly condemnatory, to be relentlessly abusive towards our PM and her Government, to never have anything good to say about what has been achieved, is to be an ‘effective’ Opposition Leader.  I suppose it’s the polls that lead him to his attitude.  That to Uhlmann seems to be the measure of being ‘effective’.  Has he ever thought of equating effectiveness to Abbott’s contribution to the governance of the nation?  It has been negligible, indeed counterproductive, but that seems not to count against Abbott in the effectiveness stakes, at least in Uhlmann’s mind.


Compared with the grossly partisan commentary that Heather Ewart gave earlier in the program, Uhlmann was much superior in my mind.  Ewart has a propensity for adding her own overlay of sarcasm and acerbic comment that portrays her antagonistic attitude to the Government, irrespective of the content of the story. We have come to expect that of her.  I wonder how much her attitude influences her husband, Barrie Cassidy.  


For me, the interview of Nicola Roxon by Emma Alberici was most disappointing.  Initially even-handed in her interviews, she seems to have been infected by anti-Government sentiment, perhaps in the ABC environment.  The way she rudely interrupted and talked over Nicola Roxon, and the firm but calm and logical way in which Nicola responded, was a telling contrast.


It seems that the ABC is being overwhelmed by the tabloid frenzy, that leads even the level headed Jon Faine on 774 Melbourne radio to ask if the Gillard Government is in ‘crisis’, although he did offer an alternative, that this was just an episode that will soon pass.

The first blog piece I ever wrote was on media groupthink.  It is steadily becoming more obvious, and as Nicola Roxon put it, pushing some towards the ultimate in groupthink – the lynch mob.

Ad astra

April 24. 2012 11:44 AM

Ad astra

I note your comments about Tony Abbott’s insensitivity and the Roxon interview. Nicola exhibits quality in whatever she does, whatever the forum.

I too noted how Abbott’s qualified his remarks about internal knowledge of the Ashby/Slipper affair, so if it is revealed that the Liberal Party or its operatives are involved, he can do a John Howard: ‘I knew nothing’!

Ad astra

April 24. 2012 12:22 PM


Ad Astra at 11.34
Congrats, I reckon you've distilled the main points about the Uhlmann & Abbott interview. (Unusually) good questioning but not pressing home & allowing Abbott easy escapes & ranting opportunities. I suspect more focused observers than I would have found quite a few fibs & distortions that Uhlmann didn't pick up on.
As for Heather Ewart, language fails. At least for a family blog such as this.


April 24. 2012 12:25 PM

Patricia WA

It's this sort of sneaky 'accuracy' that will bring the whole thing down, and Shouldabeen with it.

I think you're right, Michael.  This whole thing is too well set up, even though the case against Speaker Slipper is flimsy.  The flimsiness is about the timing. They have nothing else to use on Slipper and no-one but Slipper to use on this Government.  It's a good one and holding well. They are so desperate not to have Wayne Swann's Budget brought in, or at best ignored, that they are frantically pushing this 'scandal.'

Abbott is now known for this sort of thing and soon he will go just too far.   I thought his attack on Robb Oakeshott and Tony Windsor on the ABC was extraordinarly foolish. Those two faithless?  Where does he think that will get him?   Clarence Girl at http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com.au/ describes his manner as one of hypocritical manufactured outrage which I think has now become his usual public stance. The Liberal Party want a Prime Minister of substance not an attack dog, and a sneaky cur at that.  I can't see them putting him up come an election.

Patricia WA

April 24. 2012 12:33 PM



Although I am inclined to agree with you that Abbott might well be worn down over time with his negative statements, I don't think his appearance on 7.30 last night falls into that category.
On the day that the IMF gave Australia a glowing report card, Abbott had the unfortunate news reports on television that showed a number of positive responses to the IMF statements and then Abbott saying Australia is under-performing - a careful choice of words but none-the-less his head popped up with a criticism when all else in the report was of a positive nature. That's an example of what you are saying may well happen to him - striking a discordant note when most other players and the lived reality of some of the things he is criticising are playing a different tune.

Most of last night's interview would appear credible to a disengaged viewer and Abbott subjecting himself to the completely inept interviewing skills of the Highland Warrior means he was not pulled up on the falsehoods of what he was saying.

A small digression to point out what I believe is Uhlmann's main shortcoming. Recently I had a conversation with someone who suggested that I should take up chess. I tried to explain that I had given it a couple of goes over the years but found that my brain doesn't function in a way that suits that particular style of competition. I can't retain a sufficient number of game plans that will allow me to not only pursue my own strategies but to also accommodate the tactics of my opposition. I told the story of giving boxing a bit of a go and discovering to my embarrassment and physical discomfort that I was hopeless at it. I could plan three or four moves and counter a few blows from my opponent but the moment he landed a telling blow I spent too much time trying to evaluate what had just occurred and in the meantime I was getting beaten to death, each new hit piling confusion upon confusion. I am also hopeless at public debating for the same reason.

Both Abbott and Uhlmann are of a similar mindset. Abbott has war-gamed his response to all manner of questions and can trot them out at will these days. When his stock answers don't work he obfuscates or quite simply answers a different question.
Uhlmann comes to an interview with a list of questions, almost all of which can be anticipated and countered with stock answers. He can't think on his feet in the way that O'Brien was famous for doing. Let me give an example:

CU:And should that matter be cleared up [CabCharge misuse], should then Mr Slipper be allowed to sit in Parliament again while this other allegation is tested? 

TA: I think both of these matters need to be resolved before Mr Slipper could once more take the chair. A good precedent's established not under the former government but by the current government is what happened with the sexual harassment issue at ADFA the Australian Defence Force Academy. There, the instant news broke of this, the government insisted that the commandant against whom no personal wrongdoing was alleged, that the commandant stand down to protect the reputation of the institution. He only came back when the sexual harassment matters were fully investigated and had been totally dealt with. So I think that the government has set the standard, and I think that the same standard that the government applied in respect of ADFA should apply here.
  (my emphasis)

This is not the truth of the matter. The commandant was stood down for showing poor judgement by going ahead with minor disciplinary hearings against the young lady on the same day that her allegations of sexual misconduct perpetrated on her were at their peak. The commandant undermined her case by giving the appearance of her being a 'bad girl' anyway and he subjected her to further stress when she was vulnerable. 'Secret' portions of the subsequent investigation vindicated Smith's outrage. The commandant was not stood down to protect the reputation of the institution.
Uhlmann predictably went for the gotcha, accusing Abbott of double standards by criticising Smith for his actions and then citing it as a commendable precedent. Being predictable, Abbott deflected it with a sweep of his hand. If Uhlmann had contested the validity of the claim that the commandant was stood down to 'protect the reputation of the institution' he might have caused Abbott to vary from his script.

But even so, what was Abbott's response?

TA: Well, that's not true. That's not true. We said once the commandant had been fully cleared that the government owed him an apology, but we never opposed him standing down.

Translated into the current context this would mean that if Slipper stood down but was subsequently cleared of all charges, all that would be required is an apology to him. But in the mean time if the government fell as a result of a quirk in the numbers (perhaps because an independent thought Slipper was displaying guilt by standing aside), Abbott gets the Treasury benches on the back of unproved claims of impropriety against Slipper.

Uhlmann is an appalling interviewer and no amount of pointed questions delivered in a severe tone with a rapid-fire aggressive manner will make up for the fact that he can't think on his feet. He did not take Abbott to task for rubbishing Treasury for being inconsistent with its estimations of MRRT revenue or the budget deficit when anyone with half a brain knows that Treasury could run the modelling every week and come up with a different number each time because nothing is fixed, everything is fluid.

Then of course we have the loaded question that almost made me throw up:

CU: You are perhaps the most effective Opposition Leader in Australia's history. We know that you can break things, you've broken two Prime Ministers, can you make them?

I'm quite sure you can anticipate my response to that, in fact I'd imagine you share my disgust.

You are right that Abbott is unlikely to be knocked out by a killer blow (unless it is internally generated) but while the likes of Uhlmann continue to quest after a momentous gotcha Abbott will slime along like a snail going over, under or around every obstacle placed in his path.

I agree that having "no specific knowledge" of the allegations against Slipper rang all sorts of alarm bells.


April 24. 2012 12:36 PM


Welcome back, Bushfire Bill!

You were too long away. I hope we'll see you here regularly again.


April 24. 2012 12:37 PM


Hi Michael

I heard the use of specific too,Tony Abbott was very specific in saying specific last night on 7.30pm  report. As you noted Canberra , see no-one in Canberra.

Conservationist Geek‏

Abbott had no "specific" knowledge of any of this? Liberal Party dirt unit worked with News since last Nov ;) #auspol

Paul Barratt‏
Tone had "no specific knowledge". What do those weasel words mean?


The Australian‏
No deal with Wilkie: Abbott: TONY Abbott has ruled out a deal with Andrew Wilkie and remains opposed to the inde...


COALITION staffers didn't help prepare the sexual harassment case against Speaker Peter Slipper, Opposition Lead...

Not to my knowledge," he told Macquarie Radio Network today.

"I had no specific knowledge of any of this until I read it in the newspapers.




April 24. 2012 12:39 PM


I don't supose this Slipper scandal has anything to do with the Coalition attempting to have Slipper forced to resign his seat which would cause a by election which in all probability would be won by Mal Brough?  Abbott would be naive enough not to consider that Brough would then replace him as LOTO......just a thought.


April 24. 2012 12:52 PM


Abbott cocks up yet again:

Australia's annual inflation rate fell sharply to 1.6 per cent, down from 3.1 per cent 12 months ago and well below the central bank's target range of 2 to 3 per cent.

Underlying inflation, which is the RBA's preferred measure as it excludes the most volatile price movements, rose 0.3 per cent in the quarter for an annual rate of 2.2 per cent.

The RBA indicated after its board meeting earlier this month that it could ease the cash rate if the inflation figures were weak.

The largest price rises were for pharmaceuticals, secondary and tertiary education and petrol, while prices fell most sharply for fruit, computers and audio visual equipment and furniture.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a rise of 0.7 per cent for the quarter, with a fall in the annual rate to 2.2 per cent.

Shortly before the announcement, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott mistakenly suggested the Reserve Bank would be making a decision on interest rates today.

The bank holds its monthly board meeting on the first Tuesday of every month, except in January.

"Should the Reserve Bank lower interest rates today that will be welcomed, but that obviously is a matter for the bank," Mr Abbott said.

After journalists pointed out that it was the inflation figure, not the cash rate, that was due out today Mr Abbott sought to explain the link between the two


The man gets a bit rattled and he mixes up important economic information.

I can imagine he'd be a giant on the world stage...a giant pain in the butt for Australia.



April 24. 2012 01:03 PM

Dan Gulberry


Don't be so negative.

Abbott would give a massive boost to industries doing it tough in today's economic environment, like the comedy industry and, erm...., well the comedy industry anyway.

Dan Gulberry

April 24. 2012 01:20 PM


Abbott as PM would certainly be a joke at our expense.



April 24. 2012 01:38 PM

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

I've posted a second update, fairly summarizing the Ashby document, with a little of my own op-ed commentary beforehand.

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

April 24. 2012 01:39 PM

Patricia WA

No joke, N' - a travesty.  Not even tragi-comic.

Imagine!   Such style in our nation's leader on the world stage!

Patricia WA

April 24. 2012 03:03 PM

Ad astra

Thank you for your updates, which give us a better handle on the Ashby claim.  The media have dished up the salacious bits; your second addition puts them into perspective.

Judging from the radio commentary this morning about how the tabloids are promoting the Ashby/Slipper affair, it seems they are determined to fan the flames until they have consumed Julia Gillard and her Government.  How much longer they can keep the fire blazing is their problem.  I notice today that the Ashby/Slipper affair is being relegated to around third place on the news, with the inflation figures at the top of the news and current affairs, and in Melbourne the lockout at an automobile parts manufacturing plant that threatens employment at Ford, and the union discrimination case against Toyota over recent sackings/redundancies.  I noted too that talkback callers had relegated it still lower on their priority list.  People will soon tire of all the nasty rhetoric.

Tony Abbott will hope that what has transpired so far with the help of a supplicant media will have further damaged PM Gillard’s reputation and that of her Government, but they will want to throw fuel on the flames as often as they can to keep the fire raging.  I see that Julie Bishop and the always-acerbic George Brandis were out this morning with the line that since PM Gillard was not insisting that Peter Slipper stand down until the civil matters were settled, she was making light of a sexual harassment charge, to which she correctly and indignantly replied that she had spent most of her adult life fighting against harassment of any sort in the workplace.

No doubt, because Anzac stories will dominate tomorrow’s press, Abbott and Co. will want to throw petrol on the fire after that to keep the heat on the Government.  It will be interesting to see who throws it and under what pretext.  

My prediction is that the fire will subside, perhaps flaring up momentarily when legal processes occur, but as it grows colder, people will move away to warmer places.  How much damage it has already done will not be apparent until much later.  The pundits are already asserting that the damage is irreparable – Gillard’s house is burning and will be destroyed – but if they are as accurate as are the economists in predicting changes in economic parameters, we don’t have too much to be concerned about.

Ad astra

April 24. 2012 03:19 PM

Ad astra

Dan Gulberry
Thank you for your comment.  Do come again.

Tony Abbott is comical, but he’s no comic.  His bloopers, like the one this morning about the Reserve bank and interest rates, do raise a laugh.  Even the usually-languid journos picked up on his confusion.  But as Nasking and Patricia WA despondently point out, it is tragic comedy – this man could soon be our next PM.  Can you imagine someone so bereft of even the rudiments of economics, and so lacking in support from his economics team, could soon be pulling the fiscal levers that govern our nation’s prosperity and wellbeing.

Ad astra

April 24. 2012 03:28 PM


Hi Bushfire Bill

Here is a list of tweets favouring your article, "Dumb and Dumber.
You will notice the Tweets have gone to ABC24, ABC radio, SBS,

Bushfire Bill has the great skill of dissecting bullshit dressed up as truth.http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/

@stevensash @mrumens @jot_au @AngelaLoRosso @ElliotG78
The Political Sword http://t.co/Vvq1iYMh

Ian Harris‏@ianrharris
RT @CuppaT2: Bushfire Bill returns to the Political Sword!http://tinyurl.com/7oztvolTakes the verbal sword to the lazy partisan press.#auspol

Retweeted by Geraldine
citation_needed it's not broken on mine but see if this works http://tinyurl.com/7oztvol

Ian Harris‏@ianrharris
RT @CuppaT2: Bushfire Bill returns to the Political Sword!http://tinyurl.com/7oztvolTakes the verbal sword to the lazy partisan press.#auspol

Bushfire Bill returns to the Political Sword!http://tinyurl.com/7oztvolTakes the verbal sword to the lazy partisan press.#auspol

Nicola Moir‏@NicolaMoirArt
RT @SpudBenBean If you read nothing else today, read this http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx #auspol #osyd
In reply to Denise Hide conversation

Denise ‏@SpudBenBean
@702sydneyhttp://www.abc.net.au/sydney/ Re the Budget (Mark Riley) perhaps read this http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx

Denise ‏@SpudBenBean
miamiaman Utegate was a cock-up too, they're not very good at it. This is worth a read http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx@TonyAbbottMHR

Denise ‏@SpudBenBean
If you read nothing else today, read this http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx #auspol

John Hodgkin‏@funtoursau
The media in Australia are an absolute disgrace. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx

Lyn Linking‏@lynlinking
Dumb-and-dumber-never-get-between-a-cliche-and-the-lazy-Australian-media. BY Bushfire Billhttp://www.thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx

http://thepoliticalsword.com excellent blog on slipper by the people that brought you utegate

Maintain the Rage‏@Maintainrage
The Political Sword | Dumb and dumber: never get between a cliché and the lazy Australian media http://fb.me/wLOflGN4

jan jay‏
The Political Sword | For putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword: http://bit.ly/IggKXV

Bushfire Bill to the rescue !www.thepoliticalsword.com/.../...ralian-media.aspx

This crap re Slipper is all about Abbott & Murdochs media bringing down the Govt. Known as a coup elsewhere. Read BB http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx

Bushfire Bill returns to the Political Sword! http://tinyurl.com/7oztvol #auspol

Ian Harris‏@ianrharris
The Political Sword | For putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword: http://bit.ly/IfWwxh A good read!

Ian Harris‏@ianrharris
The Old World Order appears better at stitching up the ALP than the other way round . See http://bit.ly/bfwbCG#auspol#in#libspill

Turn Left‏@turnleft2013
one of the best examination of the current manufactured scandal in Aust politics atm www.thepoliticalsword.com/.../...ralian-media.aspx

MSM FAIL www.thepoliticalsword.com/.../...ralian-media.aspx

Lyn Linking‏@lynlinking
@SnStrategies You are a little beauty thankyou Bushfire Bill is a brilliant writer one of our best bloggers http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx

": brilliant piece! RT“ http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/ excellent blog on slipper by the people that brought you utegate @psychamuse

@abc730http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/ excellent blog on slipper by the people that brought you utegate @turnleft @ jot_au”

@AlboMP http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/ excellent blog on slipper by the people that brought you utegate @turnleft @ jot_au”

John Hodgkin‏@funtoursau
The media in Australia are an absolute disgrace. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx

http://thepoliticalsword.com excellent blog on slipper by the people that brought you utegate

Maintain the Rage‏@Maintainrage
The Political Sword | Dumb and dumber: never get between a cliché and the lazy Australian media http://fb.me/wLOflGN4

jan jay‏@batterbox
The Political Sword | For putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword: http://bit.ly/IggKXV

The Political Sword | Tony Abbott, we are sick of your lies - www.thepoliticalsword.com/.../...of-your-lies.aspx

Bushfire Bill has the great skill of dissecting bullshit dressed up as truth.http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/

Margaret Foley‏@hoodathort
brilliant piece! RT“@davidbewart: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/ excellent blog on slipper by the people that brought you utegate @turnleft @ jot_au”

An excellent political analysis of the Slipper scandal - cooked up by LNP with News Ltd fanned flames http://bit.ly/I3jElo #auspol

Liz McLennan‏@LizBuff46
This, myr friends, is a MUST READ by a really stright up reporter interested in THE TRUTH! http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/

robina creaser‏@sharpfang
@SBSNews 'Dumb and dumber: never get between a cliché and the lazy Australian media' #slipperscam @abcnews24 #auspolhttp://www.thepoliticalsword.com/

In reply to SBS News Hide conversation
Guido Tresoldi‏@GuidoTresoldi
Australian journalist sucked in by anti-Government News Ltd. strategy http://bit.ly/IfNGQi #auspol

Thanks to Fiona Reynolds. ".....something that has occurred to more than one person: the Slipper ‘scandal’ looks... http://fb.me/DvyA8YJR

Dumb and dumber: never get between a cliche & the lazy Australian Media, by @BushfireBill re #Slipper http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx #auspol #ausmedia

Concera Vota‏@conceravota
While long, well worth the time!The Political Sword  http://t.co/TMJE8R9lhttp://t.co/TMJE8R9l

The Political Sword | For putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword http://bit.ly/rqPKp8

Leroy @Leroy_Lynch retweeted to 653 followers:    
  lynlinking Lyn Linking
I've posted 2 updates, Questions need to be asked & court documents Ashby has submitted A must READ By Bushfire Bill thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx

George Bludger @GeorgeBludger favorited your Tweet:

walabytrack @walabytrack retweeted to 81 followers:

charlie @bronwyn64 retweeted to 300 followers:    
lynlinking Lyn Linking
I've posted 2 updates, Questions need to be asked & court documents Ashby has submitted A must READ By Bushfire Bill thepoliticalsword.com/default.aspx

That's it I quit, there are too many.  

See how popular you are Bushfire Bill.SmileSmileSmileSmileSmile


April 24. 2012 03:39 PM

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

Tony Abbott is comical, but he’s no comic.  His bloopers, like the one this morning about the Reserve bank and interest rates, do raise a laugh.

I am reminded, AA, of the hell Kim Beazley went through and the penalty he paid for confusing "Rove" (the TV star) with "Rove" (The American Political Hatchet-Man).

Ashby will have to front the media soon. He can't just drop bombshells like the one he has (pathetically weak as his case may be) and walk away without explanation.

He made the decision to take his petty complaints, not much more than office politics and some banter, to the Federal Court, in the full knowledge that it would cause a scandal that would grip the nation's media, and now he has to stump up with some justification for it.

You can't get away with drive-by legal action - no proof, an incomplete story, and the defendant not given a chance to rebut the allegations - and hope to survive, simply by silence.

Ashby is playing a big game, perhaps a bigger game than he first imagined.

If he is allowed to get away with it, every Tom, Dick and Harry with a grievance - real or imagined - will know that all they have to do is file some papers with the Federal Court (Ashby used the internet to file his) and resignations of even the highest office holders in the land will be demanded and received (or if not, cries of outrage and constitutional crisis will result).

Abbott is just as susceptible to this low-rent tactic as is slipper, or Gillard, or even the Governor-General, for that matter.

He would do well to stop demanding Slipper's resignation (and an election be called), calm down, and wait for justice - in one form or another - to be done, after due process of law are fully exhausted.

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

April 24. 2012 03:56 PM


Bushfire Bill

Welcome back and well done, you have covered it and brought out plenty to think about.  


April 24. 2012 04:00 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
No wonder you’re exhausted – almost 50 tweets and heaven knows how many re-tweets beyond that.  Is this what is called ‘going viral?

In twenty-four hours there has been eighty comments - that must be a record!

Ad astra

April 24. 2012 04:10 PM

Ad astra

How right you are.  Tony Abbott should watch his back before some malign creature decides to lay a claim against him in the Federal Court.  It wouldn’t have to be sustainable or even true, but by his own celestial standards born of a fine upbringing and an exemplary record in public life, free of misdemeanours and falsities, he would deem it necessary to step down from his high office until the matter was clarified, no matter how long that took.

Ad astra

April 24. 2012 04:45 PM


Hi Dan Gulbery

How delightful to see you comment here again today, @ 01:03 PM
you have a chuckling sense of humour enjoyed by all. Also your Gravatar oozes merriment.

We do enjoy your blog posts:-

Colin-barnett-shows-lnps-true-colours-again,Dan Gulbery, The Dailey Derp

It shines a further spotlight the Tories hatred of anything that might benefit anyone who wasn’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth, or as Joe Hockey recently put it “their sense of entitlement (more on that in a future post),



April 24. 2012 05:22 PM


Ad and Bushfire Bill, Everybody

Interesting read by Ratsak, posted by Markjs on Twitter.

Mark ‏@markjs
Is Tony Abbott "the Poseiden of Aussie Politics"?...Ratsak over at PollBludgers thinks so: http://bit.ly/JRDNcw & I think he's right #auspol
As others have noted it just reeks of Utegate. The cabcharges will be found to be legit. Slippery isn’t dumb. He likes to enjoy the privileges of his office, but he’s been burnt before so you can bet your bottom dollar the paperwork is in order. So any chance of a criminal matter will disappear, and it’s odds on that a link will be found to the Libs in the accusations. Landeryou is certainly right on the case. It doesn’t even need to be that tight a link, just enough to muddy the waters and have Liberals answering uncomfortable questions



April 24. 2012 05:43 PM


I too was thinking about the misery inflicted on Beazley over the Rove business. But hey the nation's self proclaimed saviour, ready to step in on the instant to get the country running again's not knowing when the RBA hands down its decision's no big deal is it?
I've seen this described as no hanging offence & it won't be- nothing will be- but is there a better example of Abbott's carelessness? This from a party that went from one election to the next campaigning on interest rates. We're told that Australia holds its collective breath on RBA days, Tony obviously doesn't need to.


April 24. 2012 05:43 PM


Hi Ad and Bushfire Bill

Here is copy of a letter to Nicola Roxon from George Brandis, re who is going to pay for Slippers costs..

Brandis says I refer to your interview on Lateline last night.  See the Coalition business with the Government is conducted through media appearances.  




April 24. 2012 06:12 PM


Dan Gulberry
Great to see your Can't-bear-to-look* Chimpanzee (or are you a Bonobo? I know Bonobos have lots more fun) here on TPS. I see you often on Poll Bludger, always sensible comments, 'on ya.

I am all for multiple posting though I'm a bit hypocrite, I only ever post here so far, hardly ever even on my own blog!

Bushfire Bill your updates (in colour too!) are exactly the sort of properly investigated investigative information, accompanied with probing explicit questions, that the MSM specializes in the avoidance of. I've said it before, they are like the Stepford Wives, now Emma Alberbici has had her brain done too it seems! Because she sure was bici last night with Nicola Roxon, who put her in her place firmly but quite politely. despite EA's rude presumptuous impudent attitude throughout.

They are ALL like the bloody Stepford Wives it seems to me. How can this be? Are they so afraid of Murdoch? Are they so dim? They are certainly absolutely careless of what sort of nation we take into the future. I am astounded always by that.

That is why I find writings by BB and Ad astra, for two, so refreshing, and so inspirational, for in addition to being completely logical, they are unfailingly committed to, positive about, and actively working for the Labor cause, and you can count me in too, because I know that it's Labor or it's THEM, and I cannot countenance that latter eventuality.

But the media are NEVER uncritically positive about ANYTHING the Government is doing. Always there is a 'but', a grizzle, a put-down, they get a AA+ for consistency I'll give 'em that.

And note, Ad and BB only tell anything like it is, their predictions and insights have consistently been closer to the mark and the bone respectively than ANY of these bloody airheads and sycophants and traitors.

Yeah bloody traitors.

Heather Ewart, G'rnhhh. How dare she be so bald-faced partisan and antagonistic to Labor on the publicly funded broadcaster eh? Crassidy's wife you say Ad? Gee that's cosy eh.

Somewhere in the Oz Blogosphere there may be a person who has felt the strange compulsion to compile a data base on notables in public life, or influencing it in major ways (The 3 Fat Miners e.g.) matching them with their religious proclivities.

If so would that person please step forward? I'd love to see it.

I do not know that about OOman, Wormtongue Jones, Old Coke Bottles, Alberbici,  Crassidy or E-Wart, for instance, and I'd like to. Because nobody needs to try to tell me They don't bring their filthy religious baggage with them into the Media and into Politics, I just might spit.  

*J*U*L*I*A*s most precious attribute is that she is free of religious prejudice and shibboleth. When comes such another?

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

*You know the 3 Wise Monkeys, Hear No Evil, See No Evil and Speak No Evil, well I have beautifully accurate set of 3 Koalas, crafted in China but very well done like 3D photos for realism, you'll have seen this sort of models - hard plastic, carefully detailed sculptured Indian Chiefs and St Bernard Dogs and the like, anyway these 3 Koalas are sitting on one log together in 3 Wise Monkeys pose exactly, but when you re-perceive them they are The 3 Can't-Bears, Can't-Bear to Look, Can't-Bear to Listen, and Can't-Bear to Say.

And I can see why.



April 24. 2012 06:14 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Thanks for the link to Ratsak’s comment over at PB.  Just below that comment was one by Leroy that linked to New Matilda where Ben Eltham has an interesting take on the Ashby/Slipper affair titled: Slipper's Media Attack Dogs.

Among his comments is this one about Emma Alberici’s interview of Nicola Roxon, about which I made some comments this morning.  This is what Ben had to say: “Last night’s Lateline interview between the ABC’s Emma Alberici and Attorney-General Nicola Roxon shows the difficulty that even the national public broadcaster encounters when covering matters of a sensitive legal and constitutional nature.

Nicola Roxon is Australia’s first female Attorney-General. She duxed law at Melbourne University, worked as a senior associate at Maruice Blackburn Cashman, and as an associate to High Court Justice Mary Gaudron. She is, in other words, eminently qualified for the role. As you’d expect, she made a strong case for defending the presumption of innocence in the current proceedings: "we have a legal system so those complaints can be tested, so people are given the opportunity to defend them," she pointed out.

“In contrast, the ABC’s Alberici conducted a misinformed interview that alternated between legal perplexity and ignorant hostility. In answer to Roxon’s defence of the presumption of innocence, for instance, she interrupted the Attorney-General to argue that "virtually every commentator in the land is echoing the thoughts of the Opposition on this one."

“Showing that she simply doesn’t understand what the presumption of innocence means, Alberici added that "Tony Abbott is certainly not alone in suggesting this is more than just your run-of-the-mill accusation against a member of the Parliament."

I couldn’t agree more.

Ad astra

April 24. 2012 06:22 PM

Andrew Smith

Unfortunately most reasonable and/or thinking Australians in the centre have been turned off by clubby politicians and media of both sides with their confections and feigned moral outrage at non issues..... but that's the point isn't it?  It has now become an arena for christian kooks, arch conservatists, elite lefties, racists, bigots, etc. who like in the US have become the darlings of media and pollies.....

Andrew Smith

April 24. 2012 06:46 PM


Hi Ad

Ben Eltham's piece is a good read "Slipper's Media Attack Dogs" like you I agree with everything Ben says.

Funny thing I have noticed most of the articles in News Com and the Australian about Slipper have not been behind the PAYWALL, pretty obvious why.

Bill Shorten‏
If he doesn't even know when the RBA meets, no wonder Abbott has no idea about the impact of the 10 straight rate rises under the Liberals.

Latika Bourke ‏
Wayne Swan says Tony Abbott hasn't ruled out any Liberal Party involvement in preparing or aiding James Ashby's case against #Slipper.

But look at the Abbott gaffe, Peter Reith on the drum & MSM describing it as a slip of the tongue, I don't think so Mr Abbott doesn't know and is not interested:-

"Abbott's slip of the tongue as inflation falls , Malcolm Farr,News Com "
He told reporters today: "Should the Reserve Bank lower interest rates TODAY, that will be welcomed.

"But that obviously is a matter for the bank."

Treasurer Wayne Swan lept onto the slip of




April 24. 2012 07:10 PM

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

But look at the Abbott gaffe, Peter Reith on the drum & MSM describing it as a slip of the tongue, I don't think so Mr Abbott doesn't know and is not interested:-

To be fair, Bill Shorten, Financial Services Minister, said that everyone knows the RBA meets on the second Tuesday of the month.


It's the first Tuesday.

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

April 24. 2012 07:43 PM


Bu@@ered if I can figure it out.

More than once it has been noted here that the government's 'obsession' wiyh Mr Abbott is one of it biggest problems. More than once it is been said Stop talking about Mr Abbott.

It has been suggested give him enough rope and he will hang himself.

Along comes a rolled gold opportunity and Silly Billy Shorten blows it big time.

What little hope there ever was for the government had for turning around keeps getting blown by its' own stupidities and and its' blind obsession with Mr Abbott.



April 24. 2012 07:46 PM


Hello BB

I know I read that about Shorten.

Sorry but I am not into being fair to Abbott.  He doesn't deserve any kind of fairness from me.  I am sure the poor petal gets ample protection from an army in the MSM.


April 24. 2012 08:00 PM


In my view the real sales pitch for the ALP will commence if and when Slipper is cleared of any criminal offence (what he does out of hours is hardly anyone's concern - despite the current interest in the story).  The main argument is easy, demonstrate how the LNP & News were wrong with both the Ute and Slipper "scandals" and ask if people really want the next Government to be formed by people with such "impeccable" moral standards.

It would be better if the link between the LNP & News can be found as well - I'd start looking at the current problems News are having in the UK.


April 24. 2012 08:06 PM


I agree! just sent a text to my federal member to pass on your thoughts.


April 24. 2012 08:21 PM


Someone is shouting up above.

I have watched interview after interview after Press Conferences, you name it. Every single Journalist asks every single Government MP about Abbott:-

Tony Abbott said this, Tony Abbott said that.

Then they go straight back to their desks and write the Government
can't stop talking about Abbott. They are only answering the questions give them a break.  Aged care package announced, it's as all Abbott, Abbott, ABC Tony Abbott says.

DMW Bill Shorten is not a dickhead and it is pure ignorance to compare him in any way to Tony Abbott.

("its' blind obsession with Mr Abbott") that is a stupid statement.


April 24. 2012 08:38 PM

Ad astra reply

Explain to me how Government ministers can stop talking about Tony Abbott, when almost every journalist refers to him, or what he has said, or what he going to do, and asks questions about his assertions?  

Ad astra reply

April 24. 2012 08:47 PM


Thanks Jason,
I too have sent messages and tweets along those lines for some time. Maybe one day the message will get through let's hope it won't be too late when it does.

Yes Lyn,
I was shouting and letting out pure and absolute frustration with the nineteenth rate antics of this government.

Quite frankly the way they handle things I doubt they could organise a sexual encounter in a brothel even if they walked in with a fistful of fivers and several platinum American Express cards.


April 24. 2012 08:53 PM


Tony who?

Or am I just taking the historical perspective, circa 2015?


April 24. 2012 09:07 PM


Hi Ad

Wonder what you thought of the 7.30 report tonight. Chris Uhlmann
didn't want Anthony to talk at all really

I have 2 comments below who's opinion I agree with but there were no others.

Social Network
Chris Uhlmann #abc730 why ask people on your show if you don't let them talk. Please shut up and let your guest speak. @leighsales come back
Rick Eyre‏
Did Uhlmann talk over Abbott last night the way he's talking over Albo tonight? #abc730



April 24. 2012 10:30 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Yes, Chris Uhlmann did try to rough up Anthony Albanese, but didn't make much of a fist of it.  Albo is too strong to be intimidated.  It seems to have become an ABC habit to talk over interviewees, so long as they are Labor.  Tony Jones has set the pattern, Chris Uhlmann follows, and some of the radio presenters, for example Sabra Lane, are in the same mould.

Ad astra reply

April 24. 2012 11:33 PM


AA and Sworsters
The media, Abbott, and others have stupidly compared the alleged conduct of Mr Slipper with what happened to the ADFA man. This is a very silly comparison and quite illogical. It follows the form of argument "my grass died, so the Queen must replace her Corgis with Labradors". How silly is that!

The ADFA man was stood down by his ADF superiors because he failed in his primary role to look after his students ie he made a poor judgement in the way he immediately dealt with the young lady victim vis a vis other unrelated issues he had with her. His inept behaviour was specifically in his job performance.

In the subsequent full report by senior ADF staff, the ADFA man was specifically found to have exercised poor judgment.

However in contrast, Mr Slipper's alleged failings were not in the performance of his primary duties. In fact comments have been widely published from both sides of politics that he is doing his primary role as speaker very well indeed. And if he is to be stood down by his superior (notwithstanding that he has stood himself down) then this superior is the Parliament itself. The mechanism for this is of course a vote against him by the House and the Senate.

Come on Mr Abbott ... what are you waiting for ..... simply say that at the first opportunity you will move motion 51 for the suspension of standing orders so that you can then move to displace the Speaker.

As an aside, I watched Dateline tonight about the massive numbers of suicides and murders by USA returned soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. This domestic death toll so far since they attacked Iraq is >6K ie double the number lost in actual combat in both wars.

Twenty traumatised returned US soldiers suicide each and every day. Many take their spouse and children with them.

So far the duplicitous upper eschelon US military leaders have not had the gutz to face up to this and practise denial at every opportunity, both verbal denial and conduct denial in not providing services for PTSD treatment.

Despite the huge current incidence of these homecoming deaths, the number is still seriously on the uprise.

This makes a nonsense out of any claim that a normal person can go through such war horror unscathed emotionally or that they "enjoyed" each and every minute of their deployment.


April 25. 2012 07:52 AM


Good Morning Ad

Thankyou for your thoughts on the 7.30pm report last night.  Just when I think Uhlmann is improving he goes and lets us down, all the time everytime

Psyclaw, thankyou for your enjoyable well thought out comment, you are an asset to TPS.

(Abbott, and others have stupidly compared the alleged conduct of Mr Slipper with what happened to the ADFA)

Comments below:

Paul Bongiorno‏
The ADFA matter went to alleged criminal behaviour not a civil damages suit.

Karen Middleton
Only that he said Kafer standing down was wrong & now says it's a precedent RT @zackster: do you know anything abt Abbott's ADFA backflip?

Paul Bongiorno‏
MeetThePress10 Greg Hunt came up with a strong political point calling for Slipper to stand aside like ADFA commander had to.

Zac Spitzer‏
But, the commandant of ADFA was stood aside after he made a bad call whilst handling an issue

I see the use of Commander and Commandant, Commondore, do you know the difference, just wondering not important.



April 25. 2012 08:01 AM



    The Finnegans, Home of the BISONS
Dear Friends: I have decided to set up a new home for the BISONs. The norty BISONs have bred like rabbits and become too big to update, manage and use. Thank you to Frank for allowing me to use his AFV Blog as the original home of the BISONs. Please keep them BISONs & Feedbacks coming in folks via my tweet

The curious timing of the staffer against the Speaker, Benjamin Thomas Jones, Independent Australia
With Julia Gillard’s minority government already beleaguered by scandals, leadership uncertainty and consistently poor polling, the timing of this latest allegation could not be more suspicious. In the Machiavellian world of federal politics, coincidence is an unknown word. The criminal and civil charges against Slipper are serious and

Colin Barnett shows LNP'S true colours again, Dan Gulbery, The Daily Derp
Fellow Tories Campbell “Cannot Do” Newman in Queensland, Ted “Fail You” Baillieu in Victoria and Barry “Even Lazier Than Peter Costello” O’Farrell in New South Wales have signed up without any quibbles, making the Barnett led WA LNP government the only state government of any political stripe to refuse the grants.

Slipper's Media Attack Dogs, Ben Eltham, New Matilda
vast media attention is because of the unusual difficulties that Julia Gillard’s government now finds itself in. In ordinary times, the speaker is a minor figure in the political firmament, scarcely worthy of more than a passing mention as the person who hands out warnings and endless intones "order" during interminable Question Time debates.

Nicola Roxon calling it like it is: Tony Abbott is leading a lynch mob, Turn Left 2013
The demands from Tony Abbott to bring on the election when he has neither policies or costings, show the true reason for the attacks on Peter Slipper.This is about bringing down the democratically elected government, and Slipper is collateral damage.

Watch out Sydney: Bolt's on his way to 2GB, Matthew Knott, The Power Index
2GB owner John Singleton will be hoping that the show performs better in the ratings than it did on MTR when it aired in the morning. Bolt and Price drew an audience share of around 2% (top talkback hosts like Hadley command 20% audience shares).

Rates gaffe shows Abbott 'out of touch', ABC
In an unprompted opening statement, Mr Abbott said a cut in the official interest rate "today" would be welcomed but would be "a matter for the bank".
"I think that the families of Australia will be looking for a break," Mr Abbott told reporters."Should the Reserve Bank lower interest rates today that will be welcomed, but that obviously

Australian inflation plummets as the fiscal vandals undermine the economy, Bill Mitchell, Billy Blog
The trend over the second half of 2011 was for inflation to ease. But the plunge in the first three months of 2012 that today’s data reveals is pointing to a very sick economy. The annual inflation rate is now estimated to be 1.6 per cent with a downward trend. As I noted last September if the trend that was apparent then continued

Live and Local FM – 23 April 2012,  Dylan Caphorn, The Body Politic Australia
This week, we look at the latest scandal with Speaker, Peter Slipper, the US elections, the results from the first round of the French elections, and the same-sex marriage survey results.The Body Politic appears weekly on 89.7FM’s Live and Local program, Mondays from 6.15

Deflation on the RBA Menu- , Stephen Koukoulas
At today’s meeting, the Board judged the pace of output growth to be somewhat lower than earlier estimated, but also thought it prudent to see forthcoming key data on prices to reassess its outlook for inflation, before considering a further step to ease monetary policy.”

What turns a “nightclub centre” into a “gay dance-strip area”? Dave Gaukroger, Pure Poison
Andrew Bolt is interested in Peter Slipper’s travel claims, particularly some centred around travel near King’s Cross in Sydney. Back in February Andrew asked:Why a taxi ride just after midnight to


April 24, 2012. Swan details CPI figures, AAPOne’
Treasurer Wayne Swan details the latest CPI figures showing a drop in inflation due to a cut in fruit prices.
Posts from the ‘Daily Fix’ Category, Australian Politics TV


April 25. 2012 08:03 AM



Australian Newspaper Front Pages for 25 April 2012



April 25. 2012 08:15 AM


The smell of a Slipper set up extends from Shouldabeen down with his 'I am not my brothers' keeper' response to having foreknowledge of any Coalition involvement in Ashby's allegations.


Asked about the claims yesterday, the Coalition leader, Tony Abbott, said: ''No one that I am aware of had any specific knowledge of this prior to reading the newspapers on Saturday morning.

''I think there are something like 100,000 members of the Liberal and National parties right around Australia. Can I guarantee that no one had any role, anywhere, in anything?''



April 25. 2012 08:43 AM

Ad astra

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

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 08:58 AM


Hi Ad

I see that the ABC have changed their story about Abbott's gaffe on the rates cut.  I knew the media would quick smart include the Shorten Gaffe.  They will be fair to Mr Abbott for sure.

The link I entered in Today's links goes to the second link now with the revised article.  

My excerpt in today's links has been removed.

Today's Links:
Rates gaffe shows Abbott 'out of touch', ABC
In an unprompted opening statement, Mr Abbott said a cut in the official interest rate "today" would be welcomed but would be "a matter for the bank".
"I think that the families of Australia will be looking for a break," Mr Abbott told reporters."Should the Reserve Bank lower interest rates today that will be welcomed, but that obviously

This morning:-
Abbott, Shorten in rates gaffe, ABC
Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten was caught giving the wrong information while criticising Opposition Leader Tony Abbott for doing so.
This morning Tony Abbott mistakenly told reporters the RBA would announce the latest official cash rate today.



April 25. 2012 09:04 AM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Our ABC has to be 'balanced' doesn't it!!!!

Do you wish me to change the item in your Daily Links?

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 09:17 AM


Hi Ad

I guess it would be wise to change, otherwise looks like I have made up the Topic Heading and the excerpt.

Thankyou Ad


April 25. 2012 09:36 AM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 09:36 AM


For anyone who, like me, got a bit depressed reading Bill Mitchell's summary of the government's fiscal consolidation plans (linked above), you might like to read this article by Laura Tingle. True, she is not an economist but she does cite some learned individuals.

Dollar dictates focus on monetary policy
by Laura Tingle     AFR

What gets lost in all the noise is the underlying reasons for putting the highest priority on getting the budget back to surplus.
The most important thing the government can do right now for the economy, for business and for workers, is to reweight macro-economic policy to tighter fiscal policy and looser monetary policy.
..... one of Australia’s most eminent economists, professor Max Corden, argued that the preferred policy option for Australia’s present economic situation should be contractionary fiscal policy and expansive monetary policy to achieve a lower exchange rate without inflation.



April 25. 2012 10:12 AM


Hi Ad

Interesting wonder why the Coalition is wary of Oakshott?

Libs wary of Oakeshott ,Daniel-Flitton, National Times

Some Liberals now suspect Labor will seek to manoeuvre Mr Oakeshott into the job to escape the crisis engulfing the position after sexual harassment allegations, on the assumption Mr Slipper would continue to vote with the government from the crossbench

''There is no point in us trying to talk to Oakeshott; we wouldn't trust his word anyway,'' a senior Coalition MP said.


April 25. 2012 10:33 AM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
The way Tony Abbott flings insults at Rob Oakeshott. it is not surprising that there is a fraught relationship.  There's not much love lost between Oakeshott and Abbott.

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 10:52 AM


A bit more good news (or confirmation bias) with regard to the push for surplus from Jessica Irvine.

Don't worry, low inflation is here to help
By Jessica Irvine     SMH

Don't let the worry warts convince you that lower inflation is anything but good news.
Low unemployment. A budget in balance. Inflation under control.
If that doesn't sound like good news to you, you'll never be satisfied.



April 25. 2012 10:57 AM



Thanks for the heads up about Julia's orchid - it's beautiful. My Cooktown orchid is about to flower for the second time this season so I can admire the subtle difference. I've tried to change my Gravatar (several times) but it seems that I'm now locked-in to this rose. It happened coincidentally with a BlogEngine update. Now I have the luxury of a couple of different Gravatars on different sites.


April 25. 2012 11:14 AM


Good Morning Swordsters

In case some of you haven't caught up with this I/V on Radio National this morning, Archbishop Hepworth, head honcho of the traditional Anglican church in Australia who is close to Mr Slipper and his family, was interviewed about him.

Whilst some might reflexively say "what's Dog Albitey (TT) got to do with it" the archbishop is close to Mr Slipper and paints a picture of him at variance with the Abbott-esque MSM version.

Mr Slipper is an ordained anglican priest, but is without a parish due to his being an MP (conflict of interest, too busy to run a parish etc). The Archbishop said that Mr Slipper goes to Mass in Canberra daily.

The archbishop defined Mr Slipper as a most complex person with undoubted good qualities and competencies. He said he held an open mind about the current circumstances. (I note here that the MP most-full-of-religiosity in the parliament, Abbott, is bereft of an ability to keep an open mind, despite the Christian and legal imperatives that he should ..... nothing can trump "I want the Lodge").

So what do Archbishop Hepworth's contribution add up to.

Firstly, it suggests that Mr Slipper is basically a good man. His current media profile says the opposite, based on the momentum of innuendo the LNP and LP and the MSM have created in only 6 or 7 small months.

Secondly, it suggests that the whole issue might be quite complex and those who have already concluded Mr Slipper's guilt and worthlessness might themselves come a gutzer.

Thirdly, it suggests that Mr Slipper may not simply be a mindless, shallow, exploitative person who is in the system to rort it and to seduce innocent 33 year LNP men, as Abbott (now!!!!) and the MSM would have us believe.

Fourthly, it confirms the need for Mr Slipper to be given due process so that he can defend himself by presenting the fullest picture of himself and his alleged behaviour.

Let us recall that in the first half of last year local (ie Sunshine Coast) LNP moves were afoot to preselect someone other than Mr Slipper for 2013. At the time, Abbott was publicly supporting Mr Slipper, and he came in for some flack for failing to assert his support to the local LNP cabal. The fact of Mr Slipper's previous 9 preselection victories is not something Abbott can simply walk away from with alacrity and without conscience, as he has tried to do.  

And most of us know (a) how petty pre-selection can be the more localised it is and (b) how few members actually are eligible to vote in preselections and (c) how the local idiosyncratic issues on which the selection are often decided might have nothing at all to do with the national interest.

This is a characteristic of all major parties. It leads to "parachuting in" candidates, something I am not in disagreement with if it means a capable non local person is selected in preference to a local moron.

Marius Benson on the TV Drum last night said that he cannot conceive of any unpredictable event happening which will allow Labor to be re-elected in 2013. He listed a number of possible events (more GFC, national emergency, terrorism, etc) but argued that such would favour the Coalition.

What he did not raise at all was the possibility of an Abbott blunder changing the current momentum. The devil in me is strongly wishful that as the full facts of the Slipper matter emerge, there just might be some info which will drop shit on Abbott and his ilk from a great height.

Now that would be true justice.


April 25. 2012 11:43 AM


Good Morning NK,
agree that orchid is a delightful specimen though I noticed one opionista some where said it was red to match JG's hair. What the ....?

On matters economic Shane Wright over at the West Aus has done some great work in 'demythtefying' the budget in this article:

Budget-busting for beginners
Two weeks from today, the Australian public is going to be given an almighty Budget earbashing. It will start a couple of seconds after Wayne Swan stands up in the Federal Parliament to deliver what will be his fifth Budget.
From either side of the political fence to those with vested interests to those whose only connection to the Budget is whether smokes and grog are going up (they will, by the way), it will be hard to escape the cacophony of sound and fury.
All manners of claims will be made, some with justification, some that will bear no resemblance to the truth.


Mr Wright has some very pertinent observations toward the end of his article that will probably go totally unnoticed by the majority of those who believe the current opposition would be better managers.


April 25. 2012 11:55 AM



Phillip Adams ‏ @PhillipAdamsABC
The Oslo trial. Read the Monster's manifesto - he's a great admirer of Australia's approach to refugees.Makes you feel proud


April 25. 2012 11:56 AM

Ad astra

Thanks for the Laura Tingle link, which begs the question: “Why can’t more journalists write like her?”

Thank you for the background on Peter Slipper from Archbishop Hepworth.  It is most informative and enlightening.  On ABC radio the only comment of the Archbishop’s we heard was that it was his view that Slipper should stand down until both cases were settled.  Nothing else that you record in your comment was mentioned.  Which tells me that the ABC was running with the ‘newsworthy’ rather than attempting, even in a small way, to transmit some of what you have told us.  It’s the story of contemporary mainstream media, which gives priority to material that will entertain, titillate and provoke, ahead of that which will inform.  It really is a tragic situation.  The outcome is mind manipulation by a largely partisan media, George Orwell style.

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 12:17 PM

Ad astra

I am gobsmacked – the 11 am ABC news did mention Archbishop Hepworth’s admiration of Peter Slipper, after it mentioned his advice that Slipper stand down from his priesthood positions until both issues were resolved, adding that Slipper was resisting this.

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 12:20 PM


Hi Ad and Pysclaw

I too am enthralled by your fabulous post Pysclaw thankyou so much

For everyone here is the link to the interview:-

Pysclaw I hope this is the interview you were talking about if I have the wrong one, will you tell me please.

Tweet from ABC:

ABC Radio‏
Listen to Archbishop John Hepworth speaking to Alison Caldwell about Peter Slipper --  -http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2012/s3488392.htm


April 25. 2012 12:30 PM


Hi Ad & Pysclaw

Looks like all the News are reporting Slipper told to step aside,
publishing whatever looks bad:-

Shalailah Medhora‏
SBSNews: Anglican Archbishop John Hepworth advises Peter Slipper to stand aside as church's senior legal officer
Slipper told to step aside from church job

DTN Australia‏@DTNAustraliaRepl
DTN Australia: Slipper told to step aside from church job: Anglican Archbishop John Hepworth says he's advised P...

http://bit.ly/6I6NZ Slipper told to step aside from church job: Anglican Archbishop John Hepworth says he's advi... http://bit.ly/JHCeC9


April 25. 2012 01:14 PM

Ad astra

The Shane Wright piece made interesting reading.  Thank you for posting it.

I don’t know how versed he is in matters economic.  When, in disputing that budget surpluses mean lower interest rates, he uses words like: “…it’s a load of old codswallop”, it evokes suspicion in me that the writer is being too smart by half.  Being so dismissive of the views of others is unwise when swimming in the economic surf.  There many rips, undertows, unexpected deep water, visible and invisible rocks, sharks, and some rouge waves that wash over the incautious swimmer.

The examples he uses to debunk the idea that a surplus budget fosters lower interest rates are superficially plausible, but being devoid of the complex contextual variables surrounding each example, have to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.  None of the four examples mention inflation.  Using simplistic examples is a sign of inexperience.

He goes on to explain the place of economic forecasts, illustrates how wrong they can be, but charitably concedes “That’s not to say the forecasts are worthless.”  That will come as a relief to Treasury officers and economists who spend their entire lives making forecasts.

He then explains the concept of ‘parameter variations’, explaining how they can upset forecasts.  What he writes makes sense.

He concludes with reference to the ‘pea and thimble trick’, which he assures us Wayne Swan will use to bring his budget into surplus, giving a few examples of how he might/will shift money from one budget year to another to achieve his surplus.  He may well be right.

What he is right about comes near the end:
Plenty of words will be written about how it will be an opportunity for the alternative PM, who often demands that an election be called immediately, to outline how he would structure the Budget.

“But it ain’t going to happen.

“He will mock the surplus, argue it is a fraud achieved through the aforementioned pea and thimble tricks and focus on “cost of living” issues and how they relate to the carbon tax.

“Given the Opposition has, since the 2010 election campaign, gone out of its way not to deliver a large or financially challenging policy, to expect something to appear on May 10 is the ultimate example of putting hope over experience.”

I find these expositions interesting to read and sometimes informative.  My problem is my skepticism about the capacity of economists, or journalists who write about matters economic, to really understand the enormous complexity of the world economy (for that’s the environment in which we now live), the variables that operate, the way the importance of each variable varies from time to time and place to place, and how they interact with each other.  When it comes to prediction, which requires an understanding of the former, they are often wrong.  Reflect on how often they have been wrong about interest rate movements.

I enjoyed reading what Shane Wright has said, and although somewhat sceptical about his assertions, I will wait to see how accurate they turn out to be.

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 01:20 PM


Back to the subject left dangling last night.

Lyn, true Shorten is not a first rate DH however, his comments on the gaffe by Abbott gives the perception to many that he has an equally poor grasp on operations of the Reserve Bank as does Abbott.

Shorten with his gaffe illustrates that the government is spooked by, and obsessed with what Abbott does and says. All Shorten had to say was ... it shows the Leader of the Opposoition has no understanding of how things work.  Full stop the end. By trying to prove he was smarter he dropped himself in the poo.

Once again it has shown what is in the minds of many that this is a government that is expert in turning opportunity into adversity.

Explain to me how Government ministers can stop talking about Tony Abbott, when almost every journalist refers to him, or what he has said, or what he going to do, and asks questions about his assertions?

Which come first the chicken or the egg?

How often at a press conference does the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and other ministers say in the part before journalists start asking questions say some along the lines of ... and I fully expect Mr Abbott to oppose / say no to this ...?

I don't see as many press conferences as some others here but of those I have seen I have noted that regularly the leader of the opposition is mentioned in one way or another by members of the government BEFORE he is mentioned by the press pack.

Why the bleedin' heck bring him up at all. It gives an opening for journalists to ask about him and his thoughtlines.

There are any number of responses that could be used when a journalist asks about what Mr Abbott has said.

Journo: Mr Abbott says the sky will fall in ...
PM: (with a wide eyed look of hooror) And you believed him?

Jouno: Mr Abbott says that ...
PM: In the unlikely event that the Leader of the Opposition makes a positive contribution to the debate that is I will take notice of what he has to say

Notice I used his title not his name. When asked about the leader of the opposition refer to him as that i.e. LoTO not Mr Abbott.

The responses that the PM and the treasurer, in particular, give have the appearance and create the impression that they are not in control and all that they can do is react to what the leader of the opposition does and says.


April 25. 2012 01:27 PM


I don't know what qualifications Shane Wright holds with regards to economics but I do know that he is respected by other economic commentators such as Peter Martin, Tim Colebatch and more.

On Twitter he engages often with the likes of Grog, Possum, TheKouk and others and again appears to be respected by them.

The article in question is probably best read as if we know nothing about the process and as an explanation to the person in the plaza.

He has been with the The West Australian for yonks and for mine has an astute eye and writes well.


April 25. 2012 01:37 PM

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

The responses that the PM and the treasurer, in particular, give have the appearance and create the impression that they are not in control and all that they can do is react to what the leader of the opposition does and says.

Tend to agree with you DMW. The government gives the impression of being obsessed with Abbott. Without him it seems they wouldn't have a reason to exist. It has to stop. Constantly mentioning his name just gives him free publicity.

Someone somewhere has probably told Labor ministers that the words "Tony Abbott" have a negative connotation, and I'm sure they do.Sounds reasonable to me. But the other negative connotation is that by mentioning his name they give him credibility at the same time, even while arguing that he has no credibility.

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

April 25. 2012 01:43 PM


... and now that it is past 1:00 PM and the shops are allowed to open and the footy can start here is a long read for those of us don't wish to engage in either sport. (I see shopping as a form of sport some days)

Mate, Just Look at Yourself!  Nick Bryant @TheGlobalMail
Australia has a better story than its lazy clichés would suggest. The wonder from down under needs a linguistic relocation.


April 25. 2012 01:53 PM


Hi BB,
I have tweeted to JG (and some others) along the lines of think about buying a new car you go to the Ford dealer and the salesman bags Holden you think if he is that scared of them they must have a good product.

Since tweeting this first hand experience has proved the point. My first best friend has been shopping for a new car and when we shopped around a few bagged the Mazda 2.

No prizes for guessing which car she has totally fallen in love with and has now bought.


April 25. 2012 01:57 PM

Ad astra

Thank you for the background on Shane Wright.  I will then take his article as one for the uniformed rather than a serious treatise on the economics of budget surpluses.  It will be interesting to see how right he is.

Regarding last night’s debate about whether or not ministers should mention the ‘Abbott’ word, I acknowledge that your suggested alternatives might be effective in putting him down.  My question is this: “If Tony Abbott has made an art form of relentlessly demeaning PM Gillard, and with success judging by the contemporary polls that measure the here and now (not the power to predict eighteen months from now), why would ministers not achieve similar results by focussing on Abbott’s multiple deficiencies?  Tony Abbott’s personal polling is poor, on a par with PM Gillard’s; could this be due to the anti-Abbott campaign waged by Government ministers?

I would be interested to have the opinion on this matter from those versed in public relations.  Of course that might bring forth a series of contrary views, as we sometimes saw on Gruen Transfer.

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 02:04 PM


DMW, I haven't long read your criticism of the government wrt the Abbott thang.

My first reaction was to arc up, but on reflection, you're quite right. I wouldn't have been quite as harsh as you, but you have the nub of the problem.

The government must stop rising to the Abbott bait. As soon as some hack starts a question with "Tony Abbott says.....", they should be cut off at the knees.

Just saying "Well I'm here to talk about whatever, not Tony Abbott." often enough and ignoring any subsequent reference to Liealot will quickly condition even the most persistent chook.

For that matter they could take a leaf out of that master communicator JBP's book and only feed the buggers what the government wants to feed them.

Let the chooks know who's in charge which has been the government's chief problem as far as getting their message out goes.

One day watching Joh at work should be enough, although they don't need to adopt his most famous catch phrase.

So thanks, DMW, the penny has dropped.

And wot BB said a lot better and more briefly.


April 25. 2012 02:11 PM


Hi Ad Bushfire Bill and Everybody

This is a good report for Peter Slipper.

I wish someone would tell me some scenarios about the Speaker position eg. what happens if Slipper stands down from the Speakership? or what could happen?

No wonder Slipper was very confident of the Cabcharge investigation. It’s beginning to smell like #Utegate Mark 2 -

Speaker was 'meticulous' with taxi dockets
THE owner-driver of Peter Slipper's favourite limousine company yesterday defended the Speaker as "meticulous" in his handling of taxpayer-funded Cabcharge dockets for travel between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.


April 25. 2012 02:12 PM


Ad astra

It was DMW who put up the Shane Wright link, something for which I am also grateful.

There are a few things in what Wright has said and your responses to them that need addressing. The first is my admiration for coming up with a succinct reply to those who criticise Treasury for 'getting their estimates wrong'.
Plenty of reliable economists berate Treasury and the RBA for being too optimistic in some of their forecasts and they may well be right but people like the leader of the opposition would like to have the public believe that Treasury quite simply 'can't add up' because their forecasts vary from report to report. In response to that type of rhetoric Wright offers this riposte:
"Parameter variations are not something that men do with tape measures in their sheds."

It is unfortunate that Gillard and Swan have allowed an impression to be fostered that there is a connection between surpluses and interest rates. They have not said this directly but from all that I've read they seem happy to leave the assumption uncontested. What they have said explicitly is that in the quest for a surplus, government will be reducing its input into the economy thereby slowing growth and taking pressure off inflation which might then prompt the RBA into reducing interest rates. It's not the surplus that triggers downward interest rate movements but the withdrawal of public capital at a time of low inflation and slow growth. So in a sense Wright is correct to cast scorn on anyone who draws a direct connection between surpluses and interest rates. Your are correct though to be sceptical of simplistic evaluations of an extremely complex system where everything is interconnected and where many parameters are beyond anyone's control.

The 'pea and thimble trick' referred to moves Swan made in MYEFO last November. He moved a swag of spending out of next years budget into this years thereby blowing out the 2011/12 deficit in an attempt to safeguard the 2012/13 surplus. Although this is a bit of accounting trickery, it also means that around $4.5 to $5.0 billion of public money is being injected right now or in the near future. This in itself is a small stimulus package. Pensioners will have an extra $1.5 billion in discretionary spending in the very near future. Queensland got a kick along with the forward payment of around $1.5 billion to facilitate rapid work on infrastructure repairs after the natural disasters. Areas of the south-east got about $1.4 billion in infrastructure spending for:

road and rail infrastructure projects, including the duplication of the Pacific Highway, works on the Bruce Highway, the Interchange at Mains and Kessels Road, the Hunter Expressway, Western Ring Road in Melbourne and the South Road Superway, the Gawler Line Modernisation project in Adelaide and the Blacksoil Interchange Project.

If Swan gets his wish and the RBA cuts by 0.25% or 0.50% then the economy will have the added boost of lower lending rates and a weaker dollar. From all that I've read it seems that there are broadly speaking three schools of thought. Those like Bill Mitchell and Tim Colebatch who believe that withdrawing capital is suicidal. Others who see it as being a big gamble that might or might not come off depending on the U.S. and China. The last group is those who support the Treasurer's viewpoint that this is the right thing to do at this time.

There will be no definitive answer as to whether it was truly successful or otherwise (although tens of thousands of words will be written insisting that it was or wasn't) because as soon as Swan hands down the budget the parameters will have changed. I hope he is jumping the right way and that Labor has a bit of good luck when it comes to parameter shifts. Just like in sports, no-one in politics wants to talk about the degree to which luck can influence outcomes because that would imply a lack of control.
Here's hoping that the U.S. keeps growing, Europe settles down, China stays strong and the Aussie dollar drops into the nineties.


April 25. 2012 02:53 PM


Hi Jane,
yeah I can be a 'cranky ol bu@@er' sometimes. It takes forever, it seems, as a parent you have to learn to let the kids make their own mistakes so that they too can 'enjoy' learning from them.

When it comes to those who supposed to be seasoned and professional politicians making what seem to be basic mistakes I do find it too easy to be that 'cranky ol bu@@er' and dish out harsh words.

Maybe I too will learn.  Smile


April 25. 2012 03:13 PM



Take this with a grain of salt but my understanding is that the situation is not much different to what it was twelve months ago. In fact it might be slightly worse for the LNP because they have lost a vote. If Slipper stands aside for six months (for example) he will be banished from the House because he is still the Speaker but unable to vote. Instead of there being 150 votes in the House there will be 149. Compared with this time last year the Coalition have lost one vote that they can count on (Slipper) and might have gained a 'maybe' (Wilkie) - nett effect at best = 0. They have 73 votes and a 'maybe'. Labor has 74 votes and a 'maybe' and the Labor Speaker who by tradition resolves deadlocks by maintaining the status quo.
At some point in the process of getting a Vote of No Confidence up, the Coalition need an absolute majority of 76 votes. This means that more than one independent needs to change their position. Even if I'm wrong about the absolute majority, the Coalition need to garner 75 votes to 73 to defeat the government and nullify the Labor Speaker's casting vote.

The ALP is not responsible for Slipper's morals so it is unlikely that Oakshott or Windsor will shift because they want to see the current raft of policies carried to fruition.
Bandt is locked in with the ALP.
Wilkie should know which side his bread is buttered on but I have so little faith in him that he could commit political suicide on some misguided principle and side with the Coalition.
Katter is unpredictable but usually sides with common sense on this type of issue i.e. who knows?

This time last year Labor had 75 votes plus the Speaker and the Coalition had 74 votes.

If Slipper is forced to resign his seat and the Coalition win the by-election then we are back to where we were last year but with a disgruntled and unpredictable Wilkie. I suspect that for all of his bluster he is a coward and will find a way to justify to himself the continuation of this parliament.

If Slipper is forced to resign from the Speakership but not his seat then he returns to the cross-bench as an independent who is likely to vote according to conscience on normal bills and back the ALP on Confidence and Supply. It is inconceivable that he will want anything to do with the LNP after this mess. If we are suspicious of a honey-trap then he must be doubly so.

With all of the scare-mongering and doom-saying in the press no-one has pointed out that it is the Coalition who have lost a vote that they can count on - Slipper.


April 25. 2012 03:42 PM

Ad astra

DMW, NormanK
Apologies for the incorrect attribution of the link to the Shane Wright piece.

If your analogy about the selection of a car were to be applied to our political scene, with the perpetual abuse heaped by Tony Abbott upon Julia Gillard by name, why is she not further ahead in the popularity stakes?

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 03:55 PM


It would be Mister Wilkie's higher moral sense, rather than a cynical hankering for Relevance Revisited for as long as possible, that would prompt him to opine that Mister Slipper should stay sidelined as long as possible, yeah?

I have quite a lot of faith in Mister Wilkie's higher morality. The Morality of One.  


April 25. 2012 04:01 PM

Ad astra

What a splendid article that was by Nick Bryant in the Global Mail. www.theglobalmail.org/.../

I will now get hold of Peter Hartcher’s and Mega’s books.  I’ve bookmarked Bryant’s piece for reference.  

I enjoyed reading about the historical influences on our national narrative.  What stuck me as curious is that in the many articles I have read about the alleged lack of a narrative of the Rudd/Gillard Governments, including those from gurus like Paul Kelly, not once do I recall reference to the historical perspective that Bryant spells out so nicely.  I hope the PM and her senior ministers read his article, and find some time to break away from travails of everyday politics and workshop ways of updating our national narrative, and Labor’s narrative in harmony with it.  What an exciting exercise that would be!

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 04:06 PM


Lyn @5.22pm 24/4, I'd say that Gillard eould have grilled Slipper before she gave him the nod and as Ratsak has observed, he's been bitten before, so has most likely been ultra careful.

And the Liars' rather quixotic attitude to their members fiddling the books is writ large with Phone Card continuing to lurk in the background scheming to make SerfChoices a reality again, with the emphasis on SERF.

I wonder if his phone is publicly funded? Might be worth checking who's paying that number.

Phone Card was allowed to carry on after his $50k phone card rort was exposed as though nothing had happened and was handed a $250k publicly funded golden handshake after he pulled the pin. No standing aside for good ol' Phone Card.

jj, you've very conveniently overlooked the fact that Wilkie's pokies legislation wouldn't have made it through the Lower House no matter what.

Neither Windsor or Oakeshott would have supported it and your hero Liealot had had his orders from Clubs Australia.

I wonder if he's paid off his mortgage by now? He's certainly bent over and taken it from enough mobs like Clubs Australia etc.

No lie on a carbon tax, there isn't a carbon tax. Another meme so beloved by the Liars Party, which Bob Brown demolished clearly and decisively on Q&A. Still no cigar.

case, ionenPe


April 25. 2012 04:09 PM

Ad astra

Thank for your most lucid exposition on the economics of surplus budgets and interest rates.  Of course you are right, it is not the simple creation of a surplus that influences interest rates; it works, as you say, by ”…reducing its input into the economy thereby slowing growth and taking pressure off inflation which might then prompt the RBA into reducing interest rates.”

Your last paragraph captures the complexity and some of the variables that could make a surplus budget a winner, or the opposite.  I suppose that of the divergent opinions on this issue, someone is going to be right, although that might be more attributable to luck than to wisdom.

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 04:13 PM

Ad astra

I enjoyed reading your response to Lyn about the votes in the parliament sans Peter Slipper.  How come you can write such a lucid and compelling analysis, yet MSM journalists can’t or won’t.  Now I know as soon as I say that someone will come up with an MSM article that does.  If so, I’d enjoy reading it.

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 04:14 PM


Hi NormanK

Thankyou millions for your post to me about the Speakers chair.
Your opinion is greatly appreciated, I can't thank you enough. You have explained in easy to follow and understand words.

I won't take it with a grain of salt though, I will take it with icecream and strawberries on top.  

We do learn so much from each other it's amazing.

Norman K thankyou for being such a valuable informative, sharing your wise considered opinion, you are an education.



April 25. 2012 04:20 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Thanks for the link about Peter Slipper’s travel voucher technique.  I could see only the first couple of paragraphs; the rest is behind the paywall.  I’m surprised that The Australian is publishing something that might be in favour of the man they are hounding.  Perhaps they know something we don’t and are guarding there rear in case Slipper comes up with a plausible explanation that nullifies the Cabcharge issue.  Whatever else people say about him, nobody has labelled him as stupid, and it would be stupid, with his past history of travel misdemeanors, to be slack with travel claims when he’s in such a prominent and vulnerable position.

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 04:26 PM


Sorry to be OT, but I cannot get onto the Global Mail. I am on wireless, an ex-gov HP compaq computer running Windows xp and firefox browser. Any suggestions? thanks


April 25. 2012 04:37 PM

Ad astra

I found the Global Mail article pretty slow to load.  Maybe the server is overloaded. Try again posting www.theglobalmail.org/.../ into your address field.

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 04:41 PM


Hi Ad

I only remarked the other day where the Slipper articles lately have not been behind the Paywall.  Maybe this one is because it's a favourable article.  

Copied and pasted for you:

Speaker was 'meticulous' with taxi dockets
by: Hedley Thomas From: The Australian April 25, 2012 12:00AM

Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size Print Email Share Add to Digg Add to del.icio.us Add to Facebook Add to Kwoff Add to Myspace Add to Newsvine What are these? Tweet this
THE owner-driver of Peter Slipper's favourite limousine company yesterday defended the Speaker as "meticulous" in his handling of taxpayer-funded Cabcharge dockets for travel between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.

Tim Conroy, who manages Oakcorp Limousines, described allegations by one of Mr Slipper's advisers, James Ashby, of misuse of Cabcharge dockets as unusual.

He said he had co-operated with a previous investigation by the Australian Federal Police, which said it did not find any wrongdoing.

Audit documents, receipts and Freedom of Information searches show that Oakcorp Limousines on the Sunshine Coast has received much of the tens of thousands of dollars spent by Mr Slipper on travel.

"The AFP looked at all this some time ago -- they were not investigating us, but they were looking into the legitimacy of the expenses generally -- and they went into travel he had done on certain dates," Mr Conroy said.

"They found nothing untoward, as far as we are concerned. The latest thing seems unusual. He always fills out Cabcharge dockets when he travels with us, and he takes meticulous care. He was painful, actually, in filling them out. He did not hand any blank dockets to us."

Mr Slipper has stood aside as Speaker over allegations of criminal conduct relating to claims he handed multiple taxi dockets to a driver in Sydney in January and February this year. It was alleged by Mr Ashby in his legal document filed in the Federal Court that Mr Slipper did not fill in details but simply asked the driver: "How many do you require?"

Mr Slipper has emphatically denied the claims.

Mr Conroy said there was little if any profit in the $275-plus drives he does from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane airport or the CBD.

"We make money out of the stretch limousines, not the sedans, but we run both because it keeps the workers employed so that when there is demand for the stretches, we have the staff," he said.

"We don't talk about our passengers or what they discuss, we keep our heads down. But a lot of dirt is being thrown around and it is beyond us what the game is."


April 25. 2012 04:45 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Thanks.  That is one interesting story, isn’t it?

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 05:18 PM


Hi Ad

Channel nine are reporting fresh allegations

This article says

"amid fresh taxi allegations"

but only talks a few words about Canberra Hire Cars and mainly about
archbishop John Hepworth

'Complex' Peter Slipper hits back at Tony Abbott, amid fresh taxi allegations
by: James Massola From: The Australian April 25, 2012 10:44AM

2 hours ago

AN archbishop has defended Peter Slipper as a "complex character", as the Speaker hit back at Tony Abbott, saying he'd been a friend when the Coalition leader didn't have many.

But pressure also mounted on the embattled MP, with allegations by a Canberra limousine driver that Mr Slipper had adjusted his travel details to minimise suspicion over his taxi fares.

Berris Crossin, a driver with Canberra Hire Cars, claims Mr Slipper would fill out multiple taxi dockets to cover a single trip because “it didn't look as bad as one big fare”.

The Liberal MP turned independent has already stood aside as Speaker following allegations of misuse of taxpayer-funded Cabcharge vouchers, and also faces civil claims that he sexually harassed a former male staffer.

The Archbishop of the traditional Anglican Communion, John Hepworth, confirmed the MP will be also be asked to step down from the church offices he holds.

Wilkie adds to angst over Slipper

ANDREW Wilkie is the second independent MP to declare Peter Slipper should not reclaim the Speaker's chair before he is cleared.
Labor in loop on police probe
LABOR would have been informed federal police were investigating financial irregularities within Peter Slipper's office.

Archbishop Hepworth today said the Queensland MP was “quite shattered” by the allegations against him, adding that there were “a number of Peter Slippers”.

“Peter is one of those in the tradition of the Australian larrikin MP and we have very few of them these days, so they tend to stand out, that is people who are interesting, exciting, have bad patches and very good patches,” he told the ABC.

“There are a number of Peter Slippers.

“The very devoted husband to (his wife) Inge. She is a strong defender of Peter, a strong liberal woman you'd say in the Menzies tradition. I've also seen Peter drink too much, I've spoken to him about this, I've seen the arrogance that comes about when that happens.”

Mr Slipper has gone to ground since the fraud and harassment allegations were raised at the weekend, but last night hit back at former Coalition colleagues who say he should not return to the Speaker's chair until all allegations are dealt with.

In a message on Twitter, Mr Slipper pointed out he had backed Mr Abbott to replace Malcolm Turnbull in the 2009 leadership spill and said the Opposition Leader had attended his wedding.

“I have been a good friend of Tony Abbott even when he didn't have many. I even delivered him the key vote he needed to become leader!” he said.

“He seemed to be the right person at the time,” he added.

“A cynical person once told me that `if you want a friend in politics, buy a dog', Mr Slipper then remarked, in an apparent reference to Mr Abbott.

Archbishop Hepworth told The Australian earlier this week it was inappropriate for Mr Slipper to continue as an ordained priest or as a Chancellor, or senior legal officer, in the conservative Anglican church while under investigation.

He today said the pair had now spoken on the phone and exchanged text messages, and will meet in Brisbane on Friday to discuss Mr Slipper's future in the church.

“I've said to Peter that I think it is not appropriate to stand aside from the speakership and not stand aside from an important office in the church,” he said.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr played down the scandal today as a “temporary federal issue” that was of no interest internationally.

Senator Carr, who is in Washington meeting senior US officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said: “No one is remotely interested in that here in the United States.”


April 25. 2012 05:37 PM


thanks for highlighting the dangers of using analogies Smile

I have no easy answer as to why it works mostly in one direction and not the reverse.

As the incumbent there are certain expectations that the electorate has of its' leader and, with great help from the media, Abbott has exploited any and all things that are perceived as at odds with those expectations.

I suspect, despite all the gains that women have made in Australia, there is still quite a large segment that distrusts and/or resents women with power and Abbott has manipulated that. That is only a small part of it though.

BB touched on something else in the main post:
No due process, just perpetual chaos is what they seem to want.

There is another chunk of the electorate that thinks along the lines of ... bleedin' wimin, can never make up their minds ... red hair one day, blonde the next ... should I wear the blue or the purple blouse with this and oh, the earrings just don't look right ...

Tap into that sentiment and you can see how easy it is to create the perception of chaos and of government led by 'one of the bleedin scatty wimmin' that doesn't know what it wants.

Again that is only a part of it.

One aspect that I have not seen written about is that, we, the electorate at large, did not know, and, were not given a chance to know, Julia Gillard. We usually get to know candidate for the top job either through their time as opposition leader or as the person 'groomed' as next in line.

Leading up to the change over there was very little or no this is Julia and what a great leader she would make one day  PR type stuff. The electorate wasn't 'softened up' or given good reason to like her.

The only article I noticed was in The Canberra Times (that I haven't been able to locate on-line) about 4 - 6 weeks before the event. When I read the article I commented that a spill may be in the wind but dismissed the notion as nothing else appeared and it seemed a bit far fetched to think they would dump a very popular PM even though I for one believed he was an absolute dud.

This lack of informing us who JG was allowed the 'coniving bitch' who killed 'our Prime Minister' to overwhelm any good points about her and fed easily into the stupidity of which Julia? the real one or, some other one. The coniving two faced bitch is the one that was most easily digested and believed.

So Ms Gillard started her life at the top well and truly behind square one and it seems that for many her finest quality is turning a silk purse into a sow's ear while the electorate wants a person how knows how to provide us with silk purses preferably filled with lot's of gold bribes umm, sorry, entitlements.


April 25. 2012 06:27 PM

Ad astra

I have just watched the replay of the very poignant Gallipoli proceedings and listened with pride to our PM, Julia Gillard, give her moving speech.

On this day the consequences of the relentless pursuit of power and blind hatred are brought flooding back to us as we gratefully remember the fallen, and all who have served their nations in bloody war.  And then I reflected on our Federal Parliament...

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 06:34 PM

Ad astra

I enjoyed reading your exposition about the ‘Julia Gillard is detested’ syndrome.  It makes sense.  My hope is that the next eighteen months will see the falling of the scales from the electorate’s eyes, and the warm, competent, diligent woman with the red hair is revealed and revered.  Perhaps that’s a faint hope with the hostile media she has assailing her every day.

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 06:42 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
I’m sure that News Limited will be fossicking around looking for cab drivers to back their story, trying to squeeze the last drop out of the ‘scandal’.  Whether this is a well-planned succession of leaks, or people are just coming out of the woodwork, only time will tell.  We should expect more, because they can’t afford to let this matter fade from attention.  If that happened, they might be forced to give due attention to issues of importance to the people, for example the Federal Budget, which might give the Government some kudos.  That could never be allowed!

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 07:42 PM


It would be no surprise to me that there are journos 'catching cabs in Canberra' to get some 'dirt' and paying with suitably 'fattened' cabcharge dockets.

100% rolled gold for sure I can tell you it has happened in the past.


April 25. 2012 08:03 PM

Ad astra

We may be surprised when the full story is told, if that is ever allowed to happen!

Ad astra

April 25. 2012 08:53 PM

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

Ad wrote this:

I’m sure that News Limited will be fossicking around looking for cab drivers to back their story, trying to squeeze the last drop out of the ‘scandal’.

I wrote this at PB earlier today:

There is no evidence that Slipper handed over blank dockets. Multiples, yes. But not blank.

One set of hire car people (in Brisbane) say Slipper was meticulous and pedantic pedantic about filling out dockets.

From the Australian…

    Tim Conroy, who manages Oakcorp Limousines, described allegations by one of Mr Slipper's advisers, James Ashby, of misuse of Cabcharge dockets as unusual.

    The AFP looked at all this some time ago...
    They found nothing untoward, as far as we are concerned. The latest thing seems unusual. He always fills out Cabcharge dockets when he travels with us, and he takes meticulous care. He was painful, actually, in filling them out. He did not hand any blank dockets to us."

Slipper’s preferred driver over 19 years, in Sydney, says this (from the DT):

   Mr {Antwan} Kaikaty confirmed Mr Slipper would supply multiple Cabcharges to pay for Sydney travel - including for three trips in January and February.

Note: not “multiple blank Cabcharges”, just multiple dockets.

Since Steve Lewis wrote the quote, I take it as almost certain that Lewis specifically asked about blank dockets, in the context of Ashby’s statement, as the emphasis was on “blank” dockets in that document… blank dockets were the clincher in his case. Lewis must have asked about whether the dockets were blank. The whole smear attempt depends on them being blank.

As Lewis, a man with few scruples who is infamous for purveying counterfeit documents and out-of-context quotations, has not used the word “blank”, I presume Mr Kaikaty said they were NOT blank.

So, I suggest Lewis just left out the bit about them not being blank, hoping (probably successfully) that many or most would read the non-existent word “blank” between the lines.

The point is that NOT ONE HIRE CAR COMPANY has confirmed Slipper handed over blank dockets. To the contrary, the most detailed evidence is that he was meticulous, even "painful" about filling in his hire car dockets.

BW: hire car companies use CabCharge dockets routinely, in fact almost universally. You don’t have to be a cab comapny to use them.

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

April 25. 2012 09:08 PM


I don't know what or who the original source is meant to be for this claim (I haven't read the court documents) but a bit more of the story might be coming out.

The Australian understands the AFP is now taking the lead in assessing separate allegations made in court documents that Mr Slipper misused Cabcharge dockets on three occasions in January and February this year.

Mr Slipper has denied the allegations and has sought access to the Cabcharge dockets in question from the Finance Department.

The dockets were allegedly provided to the driver of an unmarked vehicle, which did not appear to have any meter or charging device, and Mr Slipper is claimed to have referred to the driver as a friend.



April 25. 2012 09:28 PM

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

The dockets were allegedly provided to the driver of an unmarked vehicle, which did not appear to have any meter or charging device, and Mr Slipper is claimed to have referred to the driver as a friend.

This is close to a direct quote from Ashby's document. Hire cars don't have meters or charging devices. The driver referred to is almost certainly Antwan Kaikaty, who has been Slipper's Sydney driver for 19 years, and who runs an unmarked Audi hire car. Kaikaty would be likely, after 19 years, to be Slipper's friend.

Hire cars don't have meters. They run on an "agreed" price, usually listed on their web sites as in: "Airport to City" or "City to City", "Airport to Manly" etc.

It doesn't matter whether the car was a hire car (that is one with, in NSW, "HC-XXXX" black number plates). As long as the CabCharge dockets are accepted (which means the driver or firm has a merchant's account with CabCharge), they're OK for travel.

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

April 25. 2012 09:46 PM


Bushfire Bill

Thanks for that - I had no idea about such things.
So it's another puff of smoke? Jesus wept!


April 25. 2012 09:49 PM

Granny Anny

For what it is worth I have some experience of limmo drivers touting for businees at the airport doors at both Brisbane and Sydney. Note however that I haven't been there for a few years now.

The limmo drivers would offer to take you into the city. The fare was always less that a cab fare, and quicker. I always paid with a cab charge docket, much to my employers delight about the savings.

Granny Anny

April 25. 2012 11:13 PM


DMW @2.53pm, I wouldn't accuse you of being a cranky old bugger, just someone who is very frustrated at how obtuse we can be at times.

It's so simple; just don't take the bait. Problem solved.

NormanK @3.13pm, thank you for that run down of the position even if Slipper is forced out.

What it boils down to is that all this has just been yet another stunt.

I sincerely hope that it all comes crashing down on Liealot like a ten tonne anvil.


April 26. 2012 01:21 AM

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

There's now talk of ANOTHER Liberal who's lost pre-selection stumping up to take Slipper's place.

LONG-SERVING federal Liberal MP Patrick Secker, who last month lost a preselection challenge in his rural South Australian seat, will consider running for Speaker if Peter Slipper does not resume the role.

In comments certain to embolden Labor strategists who last year convinced Mr Slipper to defect from the Coalition to take up the Speaker's role and give Labor an extra vote on the floor of parliament, Mr Secker, the opposition whip and a deputy speaker in the previous two parliaments, told The Australian: "I am sure I could do the job."

Slipper would be unlikely to rejoin the Opposition, I'd venture. Secker would thus not only fill his place, but would deprive Abbott of yet another vote on the floor of the House.

The Gods are laughing. I can hear them chortling.


Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

April 26. 2012 02:02 AM


Re Secker, that's an astonishing and gleefilling article, though I'd be a lot more astonished if it ever eventuated. Nonetheless and whatever, just the whiff of such disintegration can't be bad.

Or could it?! He could prove a Trojan Horse could he not? Given the right set of circumstances . . .

Arr no he wouldn't do that . . . Smile  


April 26. 2012 02:21 AM


April 23. 2012 03:15 PM
Ad astra said these 3 things

1. Hi Lyn
Thanks for the tweets.  The intrigue behind the Slipper affair deepens.  Who knows how it will turn out?  Another “Grech affair’?
[Future ammunition for the Government I reckon Ad.TT]

2. 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.”

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


Ad astra reply

I loved this clip Ad, especially the beginning where She says
wtte ". . . the program where we talk about things like grown-ups" and proceeds to make that a true claim. It is breathlessly rare to see such a discussion, and gives the lie to ALL THE REST! Folks if you haven't watched it please do, it will warm the ol' cockles I guarantee. It deserves a wide audience.


April 26. 2012 02:29 AM


OK that link didn't work so try this:



April 26. 2012 07:21 AM



Your ABC turns positive hour into criticism of Prime Minister, Uthers Say
Tony Jones’s unease at Brown’s comments was further evidence of how some subjects are so difficult to discuss in an adult way in a news limited media. The ABC has since Julia Gillard became Prime Minister been as zealous to delegitimize her and her government and to minimize her and her government’s successes.

Budget-busting for beginners, Shane Wright, News Yahoo
opportunity for the alternative PM, who often demands that an election be called immediately, to outline how he would structure the Budget.But it ain’t going to happen.He will mock the surplus, argue it is a fraud achieved through the aforementioned pea and thimble tricks and focus on “cost of living” issues and how they relate to the carbon tax.

Get your rocks off, Ash, Ash’s Machiavellian Bloggery
This whole Slipper thing got me thinking. I remembered an exercise I loved to use with actors. You basically craft a small two hander between two partners and you get actors out to perform the piece. Say the lines are

the world of corporate welfare .....Gus Leonisky, Your Democracy
I know this constant demand for victimhood is a real thing these days. Everyone wants to be a victim, to portray themselves as censored, suppressed, bullied. But it's particularly amusing coming from senior business groups, which have the luxury of two national newspapers that will report their every half-baked thought bubble

News That’s Fit To Punt – 25/Apr/2012, Art Neuro Weblog
It’s all a bit messy, what with Andrew Wilkie out there trying to get even for the betrayal, and let’s not forget the spectre of Tony Abbott as PM on the horizon. If he resigns, then surely it puts an early election on the agenda for the government and of course the chances of the ALP wining that are miniscule.

Lest We Forget: An Australia Worth Dying For, James Higgins, The Politics Project
Originally held as a remembrance for the sacrifices made by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during the Gallipoli campaign of World War I, Anzac Day now more broadly commemorates all those who served in military operations for our country. Far from being a celebration of war, it is rather a commemoration of the sacrific

The lost political clout of media moguls, Richard Farmer, The Stump
“Prime Minister David Cameron was last night resisting demands to fire one of his ministers following evidence from James Murdoch about leaks from the Government during News Corp’s controversial bid to take over British satellite broadcaster BSkyB.”

Climate change denial is as easy as ABC, Sandi Keane, Independent Australia
Spearheading the Australian campaign is the right-wing lobby group, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). With links to the Liberal party and mining, the IPA is front and centre of the climate sceptic campaign. It has been highly successful in skewing public opinion. The public’s loss of appetite for a carbon price is no accident.

CPI weak. Why the Bank will cut, then cut again, Peter Martin
The inflation figures show prices for necessities increasing strongly. Electricity prices climbed 9.9 per cent during the year, childcare prices 9.7 per cent and petrol prices 5.9 per cent.

And more “Celebrating” a “Happy ANZAC Day” around the country and the world, featuring Kochie, turnleft2013
no disrespect meant for anyone included here, just next year, perhaps choose different words

Murdoch appears before Leveson inquiry, Lisa Miller, ABC
News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch has looked to downplay his influence on British politics, telling a UK inquiry into press standards that he has "never asked a prime minister for anything."


Leveson inquiry: the dark heart of this strange affair, Guardian UK
In its crudest form, the suggestion is that the Murdochs used the Sun to make sure that Gordon Brown was driven out of Downing Street so that the incoming Conservative government could deliver them a sequence of favours – a fair wind for them to take over BSkyB; the emasculation of the much resented Ofcom; www.guardian.co.uk/.../leveson-inquiry-murdoch-david-cameron


Slipper is a solid Speaker, Crikey Video
MP Peter Slipper is in hot water right now but most concede he’s run a pretty tight house in his role as Speaker. Just check out how in his very first question time he kicked out four Liberal MPs in quick succession …


April 26. 2012 07:24 AM



Australian Newspaper Front Pages for 26 April 2012


April 26. 2012 08:18 AM


Okay everyone, where to now, just listened to Tony Windsor saying Mr Slipper should not resume the speakership until ALL allegations are looked into. I am disappointed that the assumption of innocence it being thrown out of Australia. If this works, I can see a heap of false claims being made, and mostly against Labor politicians.  The media would cover up anything against the "Others" and not demand the same rule for them.


April 26. 2012 08:26 AM


Good Morning Ad

More news on the Speakership, Christophe Pyne thinks this can't happen:-

Should Slipper slip, another Liberal stands ready
by: Micahel Owen From: The Australian April 26, 2012 12:00AM

In comments certain to embolden Labor strategists who last year convinced Mr Slipper to defect from the Coalition to take up the Speaker's role and give Labor an extra vote on the floor of parliament, Mr Secker, the opposition whip and a deputy speaker in the previous two parliaments, told The Australian: "I am sure I could do the job."

Asked if he was interested in replacing Mr Slipper, who has stood aside pending an investigation into allegations he misused Cabcharges and also faces a sexual harassment claim from senior adviser James Ashby, Mr Secker said: "I don't rule anything in or out - that is politics."



April 26. 2012 08:31 AM

Ad astra

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

Ad astra

April 26. 2012 09:11 AM


More tragic consequences of Bush's wars:

It’s estimated that a US war veteran dies every 80 minutes… not in combat, but by committing suicide.

Nick Lazaredes reports on the emotional scars left behind by service in Iraq and Afghanistan, as veterans return home from war unable to cope with what they’ve experienced.

In addition to being rocked by some 6,500 suicides each year, the veteran community is grappling with the trauma of returned servicemen killing their families and even complete strangers in violent attacks.

But who’s helping the veterans deal with what’s known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? No one, say the families, whose pleas for help have been all but ignored.

With more troops coming home for good in the next few years to both the US and Australia, it’s left many wondering where it will all end


The costs go on and on...



April 26. 2012 09:19 AM


Not just Bush's war...

Rupert Murdoch

On the Iraq war

In March 2003, Speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference, Murdoch backed Bush government plans to invade Iraq. "We worry about what people think about us too much in this country. We have an inferiority complex, it seems," he said.

"I think what's important is that the world respects us, much more important than they love us ... There is going to be collateral damage. And if you really want to be brutal about it, better we get it done now than spread it over months," he said.

In April 2004, days after major military clashes in Iraq, Murdoch wholeheartedly backed the U.S. government policy and dismissed the magnitude of the ongoing guerrilla war against coalition military forces. “We have got to see the job through. And I think it is being misrepresented. There’s tremendous progress in Iraq. All the kids are back at school – ten per cent more than when Saddam Hussein was there. There is one per cent more fresh water. There’s … most of Iraq is doing extremely well,” Murdoch said.
“There is one small part where the Sunnis are, which were the people who supported Saddam Hussein, who are giving trouble, and more by, I think, giving cover to international terrorists and people from the Taliban and from Afghanistan coming in. And it’s not - this is notable - they’re not really trying to kill Americans even, they’re trying to kill people, like, from the United Nations. Anyone who is trying to come in and help get their country going properly,” he said.

Murdoch had no doubt that the war in Iraq would have no impact on Bush’s election prospects. “They’re with him on that, completely. He’s going to walk it in. The economy is doing extremely well and, you know, there is an international crisis,” he said.

In November 2006, on the eve of the U.S. mid-term elections, Murdoch downplayed the number of deaths in Iraq. "The death toll, certainly of Americans there, by the terms of any previous war are quite minute," he said. "Of course no one likes any death toll, but the war now, at the moment, it's certainly trying to prevent a civil war and to prevent Iraqis killing each other."

"I believe it was right to go in there. I believe that certainly the execution that has followed that has included many mistakes," Murdoch said. "But that's easy to say after the event. It's much easier to criticize the conduct of the war today in the media than it was in previous wars. I'm sure there were great mistakes made in the past, too."

On January 26, 2007 Murdoch participated in a panel discussion on "Who Will Shape the Agenda?" at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In response to the moderator asking if "News Corp. managed to shape the agenda on the war in Iraq, Murdoch said: 'No, I don't think so. We tried.' Asked by Rose for further comment, he said: 'We basically supported the Bush policy in the Middle East...but we have been very critical of his execution.'"




April 26. 2012 09:22 AM


The propaganda machine in action:




April 26. 2012 09:28 AM



This is not a prediction but I do wonder aloud just which politician wants to be responsible for setting the precedent of MPs standing aside while civil suits are investigated and tried.

"The Windsor Protocol"?
"The Oakshott Moral High Ground Motion"?
"The Abbott Directive"?

It will be a brave individual who puts up a motion against Slipper and cements their name in Australian political history for what could become a poisonous precedent.

Not saying that it won't happen - just wondering who is going to put their head up above the parapet.


April 26. 2012 10:16 AM

Sir Ian Crisp

As if to underline the notion of dumb and dumber Nicola Roxon opened her maw to make a goose of herself. Is Nicola Roxon a blonde? Is Roxon's stupidity all Abbott's fault?

Sir Ian Crisp

April 26. 2012 10:52 AM



This is the link to the Uhlmann/Albanese interview on the 24th.

The transcript contains a number of inaccuracies, partly as a matter of the limitations of lines of dialogue in print, which together act to mask Uhlmann's ill-mannered agenda-driven modus operandi in interviews with people he has decided to attack. For the same sorts of inaccuracies occur in every transcript wherever the interviewer interrupts the interviewee, and Uhlmann and Wormtongue Jones (never mind that Anal one), have specialised in doing it with self-righteous unapologetic determination.

Let me explain.

The transcript shows each speaker's 'over' as a neat and finished sentence. Only in two places does a sentence of Albo's end with . . .   (indicating an interruption, Albo doesn't trail off in his pronouncements.)

But when you watch the clip and read the transcript simultaneously and very attentively, you will find many places where Uhlmann has interrupted/come over the top ofAlbanese.

This is very hard to nail down, on the transcript it looks Oh so polite, completely sanitised, whereas in fact it is always very effective in destroying each point the interviewee needs to be allowed to bring to full-stop.  

If it were to be put in print, as I can't do, the victim's response (to the protagonist's own previous question, remember) would be progressing towards its conclusion when it would suddenly be over-printed with Yuddayuddayudda,yudduddayadudda, YAH?

I invite you to go to that interview where you can both read and listen-and-watch at the same time. It happens in every interview where OOmann and Wormtongue are hostile to their guests. It is a disgrace but it is only a reflection of the way the Abborttians behave in and out of Parliament.

I feel like smacking them across their ill-bred smarmy smug faces every time. This is a bent use of the public broadcaster, and they are completely cynical about it.

Dog Albitey, SOOL 'em Labor!

No more cap-in-hand "Thank-You-Mister-Kind-ABC-Interviewer, it's a pleasure", like a dog that's just been beaten and then given a pat! It hasn't been a pleasure, it's been bloody infuriating!


Be PUNGENT where necessary! Scathing, vitriolic, put them in their subservient place!

What don't you front-benchers understand that any 2nd-year-out grade teacher confronted with a smartarse kid already knows?


You our Government have done so well in steering this lugger unscathed through dire straits, but now you must become a man'o'war, man the guns, seize the pikestaffs, repel these rotten pirates who will steal the lot if they can.  

No more Pussies Me Hearties,
Engage with the Enemy,
and FFS [i]FIGHT!

Sorry for shouting, [b]NOT!


April 26. 2012 11:02 AM

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

It will be a brave individual who puts up a motion against Slipper and cements their name in Australian political history for what could become a poisonous precedent.

Not saying that it won't happen - just wondering who is going to put their head up above the parapet.

I think there's little doubt that this is all bound up with the homosexual - more homophobic - angle.

Some of the tweets to Slipper from critics on twitter have been really disgusting, totally over-the-top homophobic.

When I was young and pretty (a long time ago!), at university and at work I had several "offers" from gay guys in positions of authority over me.

I endured hands on knees, earnest imprecations to reveal my true self, confessions of admiration and so on. I suspect most males have had the same thing happen to them in one way or another at various stages of their lives, and most women too.

My "technique" (if you can call it that) was to tell them up front I wasn't interested in that kind of relationship, that I wasn't (as some appeared to have hoped) a gay guy pretending to have girlfriends so that I could hide my true nature etc. etc. I was heterosexual and what they were suggesting was just not on.

This usually sufficed. Only on one occasion did I have to issue a "reminder" a second time to one particularly ardent admirer (who was my immediate boss). I never dobbed him to our managers, never even thought of it (it was the 1970s, after all), but three weeks later he was sacked anyway, for other reasons related to his attitude at work, and the quality of his work.

As he was packing up his stuff, seeing me shocked he'd been sacked, he told me he was convinced I'd complained about him, in order to take over his job. He didn't believe me when I denied it, and (if he's still alive) probably still doesn't believe me.

Apart from that one incident, there were no hassles with any of the others, except perhaps a certain cooling of relationships, and some embarrassment if we ever found ourselves alone together.

My point is that these kinds of things happen all the time in the workplace, and similar scenarios. I'm not in any arguing that sexual harassment doesn't happen in the workplace, but that we need to exercise common sense and maturity in evaluating the nature of many workplace situations and how we react to them. Otherwise we'd spend nearly all our time in court.

In the case of James Ashby, he readily admits he had made it plain to Slipper from the outset that he was gay. So there wasn't even the "Is he or isn't he?" hurdle to get over (as there had been in my case). I'm not saying that knowing someone is gay excuses harassment, but you could say that it might change the nature of the office banter.

For example, you mightn't say, "Oooo-Errrr has she got a nice bottom?" to someone you know wouldn't be interested in ladies' posteriors. But you might, without any intention to harass at all, say, "Do you like twinks or bears?" I've had homosexual employees of mine carry on in the most outrageous way in my presence, making the "sauciest" of comments to me about other men in the room. I just shrugged it off and sometimes even joined in, for fun. I can distinctly remember asking one gay employee (who is still a very close friend of long standing) what he found attractive about so-and-so, pretty-well the equivalent of whether he liked "twinks or bears". We had a good laugh about it. No offence intended and none taken. All in good fun.

Even if Slipper was trying to get Ashby into bed with him, where do you draw the line between harassment and exploratory questioning, or gay banter? The answer is: it's up to the court, I guess.

If Ashby and Slipper had "got together" it wouldn't be the first or last time an office romance had started with a bit of casual chat.

But let's leave purely sexual harassment for a moment and look at other forms of potentially actionable trouble between bosses and staffers.

If Slipper had been accused of being a bully, for example, I don't think we'd be going through the current national angst about his behaviour.

There's a case going on regarding bullying at Optus, right now. My wife used to work in the very department involved (although not with any of the people mentioned in any direct way). She confirmed to me that the whole corporate ethic is to bully staff and harass them to achieve higher and higher sales goals. She confirmed to me that many staff are burnt out within months, sick of the boiler-room atmosphere permeating the place (as she was).

Yet we are not hearing of national disgust at the way things are done at Optus, or any other workplace that has a similar culture. There are no calls for resignations.

Alright, so Optus isn't the Parliament, but the same principle applies: these are allegations that are denied and we will find out something approaching the truth once evidence is led, tested and cross-examined.

Much has been made in the last 24 hours that the Fair Work Act reverses the onus of proof to the respondent's side. But all this means is that ONLY IF the facts are established by the applicant (Ashby), then the respondent (Slipper) must then prove, according to the Act, that the applicant's construction of the events alleged is not true.

However, this legal, technical matter only seems to have made the bile and vitriol against Slipper even worse. All kinds of crazy, ancillary red herrings are being introduced as well: that Nicola Rixon, in saying Slipper is "innocent" until found "guilty" doesn't understand the laws she's supposed to administer, that Gillard wrote these laws personally and is now reaping the whirlwind and so on.

The primary, and I believe homophobic aspect of this is that Slipper's enemies now believe that, because of the FW Act's reversal of the onus of proof once the facts are established along traditional lines, he actually is, in fact, guilty of homosexual harassment, even before any hearing commences, and they thus feel free to slag Slipper off with the most hateful language.

This is the tragedy of what is going on at the moment. The nation can be stopped - its parliament, its Budget, its governance - by anyone with $62.40 (the Federal Court filing fee for such cases) who wishes to do so, simply by getting themselves a lawyer, setting out a few selective and untested "facts" and then pressing the "SUBMIT" button at the Court's web-site.

It's a national hysteria, which (as my original post argues) has now infected our media - more interested in heat than light - and our national sense of decency which, we are constantly reminded by that same media, requires that we give our fellow citizens "a fair go".

That is the tragedy of The Slipper Affair: we have abandoned our sense of fair play, our sense of justice and our common sense, preferring to, instead, indulge in hatred, chronic ire and the lynch-mob mentality.  

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

April 26. 2012 11:12 AM


BB's Alter Ego, your last observations are the sanest, most rational and compassionate on this matter that I have yet read.

Thank you.


April 26. 2012 11:23 AM


DAM though I didn't mean it all to be in bold and italics, only bits, that'll teach me not to preview eh.

Which is a silly expression, like 'head over heels'. D-uh?

I think it should be, that'll learn me . . .

From the lovely Wind in the Willows:

The Toad, having finished his breakfast, picked up a stout stick and swung it vigorously, belabouring imaginary animals. `I'll learn 'em to steal my house!' he cried. `I'll learn 'em, I'll learn 'em!'

`Don't say "learn 'em," Toad,' said the Rat, greatly shocked. `It's not good English.'

`What are you always nagging at Toad for?' inquired the Badger, rather peevishly. `What's the matter with his English? It's the same what I use myself, and if it's good enough for me, it ought to be good enough for you!'

`I'm very sorry,' said the Rat humbly. `Only I THINK it ought to be "teach 'em," not "learn 'em."'

`But we don't WANT to teach 'em,' replied the Badger. `We want to LEARN 'em--learn 'em, learn 'em! And what's more, we're going to DO it, too!'

`Oh, very well, have it your own way,' said the Rat. He was getting rather muddled about it himself, and presently he retired into a corner, where he could be heard muttering, `Learn 'em, teach 'em, teach 'em, learn 'em!' till the Badger told him rather sharply to leave off.

Some of the dearest writings ever. So easy to find nowadays if you just remember a few words in a row, to get that quote and all the chapter I just googled
learn 'em Rat

Still sorry my last post was all bold italics though.


April 26. 2012 11:30 AM

Ad astra

Thank you for your lucid exposition, which to those who are unfamiliar with what happens commonly in workplaces, will be a revelation.  

Your explanation of the legal niceties too was informative.

We need more of this balanced type of comment and less of the hysteria, some of which is homophobic in origin, but in this matter is largely political.

Ad astra

April 26. 2012 11:44 AM


Good Morning Bushfire Bill

Thankyou for your most enjoyable post @ 11.02am,

you are amazing, a TPS treasure.

Guess this will be another frenzied, dramatic revelation by the Bootstrappers:-

Shorten bid to put HSU branch into admin
Outside the court, Ms Jackson said Mr Shorten’s move was “a cheap political stunt” and he was “here to grandstand”.

“We will get to the administration point whether we apply for it or he applies for it,” she told reporters.

“This is a spiteful move ... by the ALP. They should have taken action on (federal Labor MP Craig) Thomson and (suspended HSU boss Michael) Williamson earlier.”



April 26. 2012 12:01 PM

Ad astra

We're getting on the road now.  I'll be back this evening.

Ad astra

April 26. 2012 12:04 PM


Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

Thank you for your very informative follow up.  


Thanks for your great links.  I do wonder if all this rubbish will ever stop.

Talk Turkey

Love the bold, dislike the italics with vigor.


April 26. 2012 12:05 PM

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

I should have added that if all our personal messages, conversations and actions of a sexual, flirtatious or humourous nature were printed out in dry text form in a Federal Court document, we'd all be as guilty as sin of being tacky once or twice in our lives.

As a girlfriend once said to me, when telling me of how she rejected the attentions of a particularly oily, gigolo-type would-be lover:

"It doesn't matter how sweet they are, whether they read you poetry or not, whether they give you flowers or shower you with flattering comments: the aim in the end is to get your pants off. Otherwise none of us would be here to tell the dirty little story."

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

April 26. 2012 12:13 PM


Hi Ad

A Tweet from Sydney Writers Centre:

Before we announce the finalists, we just want to say that overall the standard was very high. #bestblogs2012


April 26. 2012 01:11 PM


Lyn @8.26am, Secker was dumped in the pre-selection process for Barker here in SA. He is a twat of the first order and a Howard hugger of the same order.

Obviously, he wasn't too pleased to be removed from the gravy train, particularly as he's slavishly followed every Liars Party handbook directive.

I don't know a thing about his replacement, even his name, but I've no doubt he is as complete a wanker as his predecessor. Goes with the territory.

However, as Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego asked @1.21am, will he jump ship and occupy the Speaker's chair if Slipper doesn't regain it?

What a fitting end it would be to yet another Liars Party monumental fail! And would cause an enormous amount of angst in Liars ranks, methinks.

Liealot would have to confiscate all cutting implements and start wearing armour. How delicious!

As if to underline the notion of dumb and dumber Nicola Roxon opened her maw to make a goose of herself. Is Nicola Roxon a blonde? Is Roxon's stupidity all Abbott's fault?

Do you mean her dumb blonde idea of the presumption of innocence, SIC?

No doubt insisting that the provision of evidence to support one's case in a court of law is another example of Roxon's dumb blonde ideas?

And that unsupported and untested allegations don't constitute proof?

And here's me thinking that our legal system has held these tenets for centuries, not just the last few days.

I bow humbly to your superior knowledge.


April 26. 2012 01:54 PM


Strange, isn't it, how the Right Wing always comes with weapons attached?

The bludgeon, the poisoned blade, the blunt instrument, the acidic slanderous tongue... the pick your wounding/killing device of 'choice'.

It's always shoot from the hip, sling off from the 'palpitating with outrage' lip, insinuate the worst, shout out "proved!" without any proof, characterise from the pejorative book of cliche, disdain without investigation, fly off the handle they haven't bothered to get a grip on, shout for the throat-clearing, salute throwing, Reichstag-roaring thrill of it.

And then drinks at the members only club.


April 26. 2012 02:38 PM


Hi Jane

Bushfire Bill said @  01:21 AM   The Gods are laughing. I can hear them chortling.  

(will he jump ship and occupy the Speaker's chair if Slipper doesn't regain it?)

Thankyou for the link Bushfire Bill


I think the salary will make a difference of $323,750 - well above the backbencher's salary of $185,000a salary of $323,750

I can't wait to see what happens over this, seems Pyne is involved  

How delicious! indeed Jane.

Some Tweets regarding Secker below:

National News: Secker could replace Slipper as Speaker http://bit.ly/JS8oLm #australia

Patrick Secker's denial that he was interested in Speakership sent by Christopher Pyne's office #auspol

Zen Digital ‏@z3n_digital
Secker wants the speaker role but has to fight all the rats of the sinking LNP ship#auspol Labor to the rescue for one person

sp rocket‏@sprocket
latikambourke Secker's change of heart reminds one of Alex Somlay's in 2010 - notice in that case sent from Whips office

GenGusface Gussie, the goons have paid Secker a visit. An offer he cant refuse

Conservationist Geek‏
Abbott has form: Who can forget the Somlay mess when Abbott's office issued a false statement on his behalf http://is.gd/fT5Tmb #secker

sp rocket‏@sprocket
latikambourke Secker's change of heart reminds one of Alex Somlay's in 2010 - notice in that case sent from Whips office
Lib MP clashes with Abbott over speaker's role Lenore Taylor


April 26. 2012 02:55 PM


Out of the mouths of babes (and leaders of Opposition business).
Christopher Pyne offered this opinion today:

"The government provides the Speaker and one of the reasons why the government is in so much trouble over Peter Slipper of course is because it changed the natural order of things by shoehorning a member of the Coalition to take the speakership, when of course it's the tradition of the parliament that the government provides a Speaker."

Let me rephrase that for you Christopher.

"The government provides the Speaker and one of the reasons why the government is in so much trouble over Peter Slipper of course is because it changed the natural order of things by shoehorning a member of the Coalition to take the speakership, when of course it's common knowledge that Coalition MPs are morally bankrupt and unfit for such a role."


What does he mean by the original statement anyway? Far-be-it for a member of the Coalition to concede that the Slipper defection and subsequent standing aside has cost them a vote not the government.


April 26. 2012 04:31 PM


Michael @1.54pm, lol.

NormanK,or to paraphrase Prissy, "Blah! blah! blah! bullshit bullshit....."

And from your link, Lyn, Prissy has this to say:

"Patrick, I am sure ... wouldn't even entertain such a ridiculous offer. I have known Patrick for 26 years. Patrick is a very loyal supporter of the Liberal Party."

So the goon squad have paid Secker a visit? What could they have offered him in place of preselection for the safest Liars seat in the country?

I don't think they could blackmail him with a dirt file. There's never been a hint of dirty deeds as far as I know.

If I were him, I'd be playing my cards very close to the chest and if the opportunity rears its head..... After all, even if Liealot gets the nod next year, Secker won't be enjoying any of the spoils.

I wonder if the PM will come a-calling with a siren song?


April 26. 2012 05:25 PM

Patricia WA

Thanks for that Canberra Times link, Lyn.   I was thinking of Alex Somlyay this morning when it was announced from Pyne's office that Secker had pulled his head in.

<b>Ta-Ra-Ra BOOM De-Ay! I’m Alex Somlyay!</b>

I’m Alex Somlyay!
A true Liberal you see!
Look how they treated me!
They gave my job to Entch!
I wanted my revenge!
I promised on my word,
As all Australia heard,
I’d deputise the Speaker.
I’m no attention seeker.

I’ve had a rotten day.

The whole world’s phoning me.
I’ve had the third degree.
I’ve been very clearly told
If I’m keen on growing old
By every mate and crony
Of that rotten bully Tony
To forget the Speaker scheme.
Come back and suffer with the team.

Goodbye to all that lovely pay!

Patricia WA

April 26. 2012 05:37 PM

Ad astra

The finalists in the Sydney Writers’ Centre Best Australian Blogs 2012 Competition have been announced.  You can view them at: www.sydneywriterscentre.com.au/.../...etition.html

In the Category in which The Political Sword was entered: ‘Commentary’, the finalists are:
Ben Pobjie's Wonderful World of Objects
Café Whispers
Feeding the Chooks
Mike Stuchbery
Only the Depth Varies
The Failed Estate

Heartiest Congratulations to all the Finalists from all of us here at The Political Sword

The People’s Choice round is still open, and will be until 5pm on Wednesday 
9 May 2012.  If you haven’t voted, and wish to do so, click the icon in the left panel.

Ad astra

April 26. 2012 06:42 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

Jane, Roxon has an infrangible grip on stupidity just like her boss, the bird of paradox.

Currently Mr Ashby is taking legal action against Mr Slipper. Mr Ashby is using s351 of the Fair Work Act. Section 351 of the Act uses “the reverse onus of proof” rule which means the respondent - Mr Slipper - is presumed guilty. As you well know the ALP drafted the Fair Work Act but I’m assuming no one told our AG, Nicola Roxon.

Here is an example of a case that applied s351 of the FWA:

In that case the court noted that where an employee argues that there has been a breach of the act, then it follows that s361 of the Fair Work Act (FWA) is enlivened. This means that there is a presumption in favour of the employee making a compliant (sic) that the facts are true. There is a reverse onus on the employer to rebut that presumption.(see paragraph 16 of judgement).

Jane, here is the relevant section of the FWA that will be enlivened when Mr Ashby puts his case:

s. 361 Reason for action to be presumed unless proved otherwise
(1) If:

(a) in an application in relation to a contravention of this Part, it is alleged that a person took, or is taking, action for a particular reason or with a particular intent; and

(b) taking that action for that reason or with that intent would constitute a contravention of this Part;

it is presumed, in proceedings arising from the application, that the action was, or is being, taken for that reason or with that intent, unless the person proves otherwise.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in relation to orders for an interim injunction

Jane, you would be right to think that the bedrock of our legal system has for many years upheld the ‘presumed innocent until proven guilty’ standard. However, you didn’t figure on the bird of paradox dreaming up the Fair Work Act (both she and Roxon are alleged lawyers).

The antilogy is simply put: Roxon says that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty but her boss has trounced that standard by writing legislation that deems a person guilty until proven innocent.

What did alleged AG Roxon say?

Attorney General Nicola Roxon says we cannot have a legal system in which Speaker Peter Slipper is immediately assumed to be guilty, just because he’s been accused of sexual harassment by staffer James Ashby.

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon says denying Peter Slipper the presumption of innocence while a civil suit is current may encourage others to bring frivolous claims against Members of Parliament.

We cannot live in a world – we might as well have no legal system if we just say as soon as the allegation is made, that then it’s proven true. That just feeds into the sort of muck-raking mentality that we have from Mr Abbott and says that any time an allegation’s been made, people are automatically sentenced to whatever he deems is right.

That’s not the way for us to run a country. It’s not the legal system that we have.

From Roxon’s CV:

Nicola is an honours law graduate, who worked as an industrial lawyer, union organiser and judge's associate to Justice Mary Gaudron in the High Court of Australia prior to her election to parliament.

Thankfully Roxon hasn’t as yet cauterised our sense of humour.

Sir Ian Crisp

April 26. 2012 06:56 PM


Sir Ian,
       I thought Roxon was answering the question on late line the other night about who was paying costs! Not this cut and paste job that you've put up! put the link up!


April 26. 2012 07:52 PM


They are all getting pretty tetchy aren't they - and there is a noticeable increase in the trolls posting here and elsewhere.  It can only be the upcoming CPRS that is to blame - as nothing else has changed maybe with the exception of Abbott & Co's frustration levels.

I hope that the introduction of the "rebates" from the CPRS have some form of advertising attached to them to demonstrate that most people will be better off in spite of the LNP Governments across Australia doing puerile stunts such as ensuring the cost of the CPRS is printed on power bills.  It's probably Gillard's last chance to influence opinion prior to a 2013 election.  If she doesn't - she is doomed to be booted out.


April 26. 2012 08:04 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

Sir Ian,
       I thought Roxon was answering the question on late line the other night about who was paying costs! Not this cut and paste job that you've put up! put the link up!


Google not working J Guy?


And no J Guy, Abbott didn't put Roxon up to this little caper of outing herself as the only AG not up with the law. Just think; we are paying her. Ouch!

Sir Ian Crisp

April 26. 2012 08:19 PM


Sir Ian,
       So what about the alleged fraud? the criminal matter, any thoughts there on the presumption of innocence?


April 26. 2012 08:28 PM


Sir Ian,
       EMMA ALBERICI: Now if Mr Slipper is cleared of the travel rorts allegations, the criminal charges against him, will you support his return to the Speaker's chair once that is over, given civil proceedings will still be the pending?

No doubt with your legal training you will tell me they are one in the same, to be tried under " using s351 of the Fair Work Act."?


April 26. 2012 08:30 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

J Guy, if those allegations are part of the Ashby case there is no presumption of innocence under the FWA. Did I mention that the FWA was written by the bird of paradox.

Who knows where this will go but it sure as hell beats watching Home and Away or old Tarzan and JANE movies.

Sir Ian Crisp

April 26. 2012 09:54 PM


SIC why are you banging on about FWA wrt Peter Slipper and James Ashby?

Ashby has lodged an application with the High Court where his allegations will be tested. So until the High Court makes a decision, the presumption of innocence applies to Slipper.

This is what Roxon was talking about.

God alone knows what you're banging on about. Have you been at the cooking sherry by any chance?


April 26. 2012 10:05 PM

Bushfire Bill&#39;s Alter Ego

Sir Ian, the onus of proof is only reversed if the alleged actions of the respondent are established as fact. Only then is the onus reversed as to <i>motivation</i>.

Facts still have to be established in the usual way, otherwise anyone could allege anything, and by virtue ofmaking the allegations under some FWA provision have them automaticall accepted as true.

The broader case is that, no matter WHAT the law says, a man has a right to defend himself, subject to tested and established facts, not mere claims in a pre-trial document.

Already Slipper has produced the three 27th of January CabCharge dockets that Ashby says were given over blank (except for a signature) to the hire car driver.

They have indeed been filled out by Slipper/Ash y is either wrong, or is lying. This is the danger of not allowing people to defend themselves properly, and the danger of not alloowing them to give their version of the facts before a final decision as to guilt or innocence is made.

If you just want to use the Act's reversal of the onus of proof as some kind of cheap short-cut to saying Slipper is guilty, so you can slag him off at will as a guilty man, then you are very unsavoury human being indeed.

Careful how you answer this one, Sir Ian. Your continued presence - at least on this thread, mine - is in the balance, depending on how you answer.

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

April 26. 2012 10:30 PM

Tom of Melbourne

The Slipper appointment was a stroke of genius
Slipper is a great Speaker
Slipper should return as Speaker
Speaker should be presumed innocent
It’s all a media beat up
Thomson has no case to answer
It’s all a media beat up
There is no leadership tension between Rudd and Gillard
It’s all a media beat up
Gillard isn’t backing out of her promise to Wilkie
It’s all a media beat up
Gillard didn’t mean “no carbon tax”
It’s all a media beat up.
Gillard didn’t mean this reform would fail without community consensus
It’s all a media beat up.
It’s all a media beat up.
It’s all a media beat up.

Tom of Melbourne

April 26. 2012 11:01 PM

Tom of Melbourne

”At 32 Ashby is hardly a “young man””

But at 33 Julia Gillard was (self described as) “young and naïve”

Tom of Melbourne

April 26. 2012 11:11 PM


You mentioned Dumb and Dumber Bill Shortens performance over the last couple of days sure fits the bill (no pun intended)


April 26. 2012 11:38 PM


I said this morning that I reckoned that Slippergate was going to end up being ammo for Labor . . .

I didn't think it would happen quite so fast! Smile

Peter Slipper has it seems effectively scotched the "criminal" allegations, and Ashby, the Allegator, has apparently gone to the deepest part of the swamp, has anyone seen anything of him?

Ashby is a person of "questionable veracity", indeed of dubious character altogether. Surely, with the evidence as provided by Slipper having blown away the only shred of accusation that could have resulted in possible criminal prosecution, it is now Ashby who looks like He Who Should Be Arraigned. Hee hee. And the Abborttians are wondering if their arses are properly covered. And I would bet there are several whose undies aren't quite pristine as they contemplate a possible Slipper slap.  

But importantly, it is obvious that now the civil case is unsustainable, since the man Ashby is evidently a crook and a stoolie; the whole thing is Grech Revisited, even with some of the original cast, can you believe it.

So how would it be fair for the Independents to insist that
Slipper continue to stand aside from his rightful place in the chamber?
It would be a complete denial of natural justice, a reversal of the onus of proof, a very serious precedent, I don't believe they can justify such a stand, and I hope that they will see it that way.

In fact it is so glaringly obvious, what I'm saying, that if they come down against Slipper's exoneration and reinstatement, that I would reluctantly be forced to wonder whether these men whom I have always considered quite noble were not more cynical than I have fondly hoped.

No, I still think they are quite noble - atm!  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Iggulden Piggulden
Cop my phlegm
You're a sleazy
One of Them.    


April 27. 2012 06:51 AM



Abbott and Slipper, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless
Note that Abbott chose Chris Uhlmann as his interlocutor. Abbott is the only politician Uhlmann interviews whom he does not talk over or interrupt. Every one of his other interview subjects cop this treatment, along with begged questions and beef-witted assumptions that have to be batted away before the question can be answered; Uhlmann's assumptions are clearly Abbott's assumptions, which is why he was content to hear Abbott in respectful silence.

THE BACKLASH: HSU thugs lash out at whistleblower Daniel Govan as Administrator sought, Vex News
The HSU boss Kathy Jackson faces removal from office following the filing of formal corruption charges against her by an operating theatre technician at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Daniel Govan.He told VEXNEWS last night that his charges had already prompted a vicious reaction from union bully-boys with Kathy Jackson’s “sidekick”

Peter Slipper Cabcharge Dockets. Is somebody having a lend of APN journalists-, clarence Girl, North Coast Voices
Psst! Did you hear that a friend of a friend of a friend of my brother who lives somewhere in Queensland unlawfully used a Peter Slipper CabCharge docket?That appears to be how ridiculous the media rumour mill is becoming.

The decline of liberal democracy, Gary Sauer-Thomson, Public Opinion
What Evans has in mind is not the way the democratic processes have been captured by the corporations; or the way that Murdoch's media empire can threaten to shape public opinion in order to persuade politicians so in awe of Murdoch that they leaped to accommodate him without him needing to ask out loud. They allowed him to

What goes up, must come down, Ash, Ash’s Machiavellian Bloggery
There are those that also dispute the IPCC modelling claiming, and quite soundly, that the data we have is not statistically accurate enough to make long-term projections. This does not mean the modelling is wrong. And of those they are divided into the groups I outlined above.

Has the death knell just sounded for Federal Labor?, Turn Left 2013
It may feel that way to the media, but amongst those of us on the Left, it feels like a Government under constant attack by journalists,especially from the Murdoch stable,who confuse rumour and innuendo with research.In an ongoing attempt to achieve regime change –

For a budget both sustainable and fair, Tristan Ewins, On Line Opinion
Labor also stands to gain, here, by linking Carbon Tax relief with broader Cost-of-Living Relief. In such a way Labor needs to develop a package in which all disadvantaged and mainstream working class

Price falls help with purchasing power & the cost of living,Stephen Koukoulas, Market Economics
That is true, there were large increases in the items that Mr Hockey cherry-picked from the CPI release. It is interesting to note that, according to the weights in the CPI,theaverage household spends 2.2% of its income on electricity, 1.0% on water & sewerage; 0.7% on childcare; and 3.6% on petrol.

Want $8 billion in savings- Attack welfare for the well-off, Peter Martin
The Australian Council of Social Service says the list should also appeal to the Coalition, whose Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey has spoken out against tax concessions for trusts and the culture of entitlement.

Media facing new watchdog, ABC
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has confirmed he is considering whether there needs to be a new regulatory body to oversee the media.The Government is poised to release its Convergence Review, which looked at whether media regulations

Media's old master playing politics in Australia?Jonathan Holmes, ABC
Ever since the 2010 election, Julia Gillard's Government has been subjected to an unrelenting onslaught by the Murdoch press - or so it clearly believes. (News Ltd, of course, tells us that it is simply "holding the government to account".)

Politics Betting: Slip sliding away...?, Betting Betfair
We've heard the Leader of the Opposition's call for an election for seemingly endless months now, in fact almost since the day after the dust settled on the 2010 election In fact, a Google search for the term "Abbott calls for an election" brings up over nine million pages.Yup, nine million.

Cheerleaders, warriors and a public interest test: who would you trust?, Bernard Keane, Crikey
News Corporation provided a trove of internal emails relating to communications between its public affairs director, Fréd Michel, and Adam Smith, special adviser to Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt, over the government’s consideration of News Corp’s takeover of BSkyB.  www.crikey.com.au/.../

Tony Abbott His tactics have driven the government to the edge of destruction, Bernard Keane, The Power Index
But once in office, Abbott won't have the luxury of thriving off negativity. He'll have to deploy his skills to the task of explaining to voters where he wants to take Australia and how he's going to do it. It will be far harder than canny lines like "a great big new tax".

Media Release- Government applies for appointment of administrator to HSU East Branch, Bill Shorten
The Minister for Employment & Workplace Relations has today intervened in Federal Court proceedings concerning the Health Services Union (HSU) and advised the Federal Court he will make an application for the appointment of an Administrator

They Sure Hate…Art Neuro Weblog
if the Liberal Party had any heart, they’d negotiate so that the government can do its proposed Malaysian Solution in exchange for being able to do it Nauru Solution when (I’m pointedly not going to bother saying ‘if’) they get in power.But no. Tony Abbott has put his kaibosh on any understanding over the legislation and keeps carping that Julia Gillard’s government can’t stop the boats. Well, no, she can’t because Tony, you won’t let her

No one stays clean in a mud fight, Laura Tingle, Australian Financial Review
The most likely scenario, despite all the drama, is that Slipper will stay “stood aside”, not resign, possibly indefinitely.
That means the Coalition still has one less vote than it did before Slipper left it to become Speaker.
The government may have been dragged through the mud, but it still has the numbers. The Slipper story means the door has been opened for all sorts of personal mud to be thrown. Like the Godwin Grech affair, we don’t know where it will end, or whether someone will find themselves on the wrong end of a foil spear.


Government calls for health union administration, 7.30pm Report
The embattled Health Services Union today faced an application by the Government in the Federal Court for it to be placed under administration but is that necessary or a political stunt?

Govt moves to place HSU East branch into administrationSky News political editor David Speers
speaks with Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten.

I don’t believe in phone hacking: Murdoch, ABC
Rupert Murdoch has told the Leveson inquiry he does not approve of journalists engaging in devious practices to obtain information.

Posts from the ‘Daily Fix’ Category, Australian Politics TV


April 27. 2012 06:54 AM



Australian Newspaper Front Pages for 27 April 2012


April 27. 2012 07:27 AM

Ad astra

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

Ad astra

April 27. 2012 08:35 AM

Sir Ian Crisp

SIC why are you banging on about FWA wrt Peter Slipper and James Ashby?

Ashby has lodged an application with the High Court where his allegations will be tested. So until the High Court makes a decision, the presumption of innocence applies to Slipper.


Do you mean this High Court Jane?



This application was filed electronically in the FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA (FCA) on 20/04/2012.

Is the FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA masquerading as the HIGH COURT or is it the other way around?

I think you'd better get back to teaching Cheetah about etiquette.

Sir Ian Crisp

April 27. 2012 08:43 AM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Thanks for another great set of links.  I was particularly interested in Laura Tingle’s article.  I was surprised that a journalist of her standing would be so frank about a fellow journalist, Steve Lewis, of Godwin Grech infamy.  Her piece is revealing.  

Here is the link: www.afr.com/.../no_one_stays_clean_in_mud_fight_SrX4XX5iHHo8QrXj3oFiGN

Ad astra

April 27. 2012 08:49 AM

Sir Ian Crisp

Careful how you answer this one, Sir Ian. Your continued presence - at least on this thread, mine - is in the balance, depending on how you answer.

Bushfire Bill's Alter Ego

We certainly don't want any people disagreeing with the groupthink do we BBAE. Let's all fall into line with TPS's answer to Marshall Applewhite and declare that there is no need for any legal action because Mr Ashby is a liar and Mr Slipper is as close to a saint as any human can be.

By the way, I see someone has said that Ashby is of questionable veracity and is of dubious character altogether plus the fact that Ashby is a crook and a stoolie but you have said nothing. What of your statement "If you just want to use the Act's reversal of the onus of proof as some kind of cheap short-cut to saying Slipper is guilty, so you can slag him off at will as a guilty man, then you are very unsavoury human being indeed".

Would that be 'slagging off' at a person who must be presumed innocent? Aren't we all innocent until proven guilty?

Sir Ian Crisp

April 27. 2012 08:53 AM


From Lateline:

EMMA ALBERICI:  Lisa, yesterday was all about the relationship between Rupert Murdoch and politicians in London and now more specifically they've been looking at the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World.

In the past Rupert Murdoch has said that the buck does stop with him, so did he explain how this scandal unfolded under his watch?

LISA MILLAR, ABC CORRESPONDENT: Well it was certainly a more hostile Rupert Murdoch than we saw yesterday, Emma, and he had lot of regrets, some apologies, but at the end of the day he was spreading a lot of blame.

He was pointing the finger even at his son James for being pretty inexperienced, he said, when the issue first arose. He pointed to a couple of figures at the News of the World. He also suggested that he wished he'd gotten hold of Clive Goodman, the first royal reporter who was arrested and convicted over phone hacking, got him in a room without any of the lawyers and got to the bottom of it and then torn the place apart.

But I think the headline that we'll see come out of these proceedings today, this final day and a half of Rupert Murdoch, was that he admits there was a cover-up at the paper.

Let's have a listen.

RUPERT MURDOCH, CEO, NEWS CORP: I think the senior executives were all informed and I - ah, were all misinformed and shielded from anything that was going on there. And I do blame one or two people for that who perhaps I shouldn't name. Because for all I know they may be arrested yet.

But, there was no question in my mind that - maybe even the editor, but certainly, beyond that, someone took charge of a cover-up, which we were victim to and I regret.

EMMA ALBERICI: Extraordinary - extraordinary words there from Rupert Murdoch. Now, we know that Rupert Murdoch owns something like 175 news titles, including the News of the World and 6,000 journalists, so did he give any sense of how he was distracted, where his attention was during this whole scandal?

LISA MILLAR: Emma, you do get a real sense that his heart was with The Sun, biggest-selling tabloid in the UK and that he didn't care that much about the News of the World. He said he didn't pay much attention to it. And while he apologised to all the people who lost their jobs there at the newspaper, he said when he made the decision to close it that he'd panicked and that was what forced that decision.

But then he went on to say, "I should have closed it years ago." So, a real sense that his heart was not in that newspaper, he didn't pay any attention to it and where his head was was at The Sun newspaper.

EMMA ALBERICI: It beggars belief considering what a profitable newspaper it was for the group in the UK.
But Mr Murdoch was also questioned, we know, about what's now become very famous footage in the UK, played over and over on British televisions, and that is the footage of Mr Murdoch walking alongside Rebekah Brooks, his one-time News International chief executive.

Now he surrounded by a press pack pushing him for an answer to the question of what his priority was at the time. He pointed to Rebekah Brooks and said "Her", the inference being she was the priority. Now, at the time and subsequent to that, everyone has thought that was an incredibly inappropriate statement to make. How did he justify it?

LISA MILLAR: It was considered inappropriate, you're right, because of the number of victims and terrible stories that were coming out, the fact that he thought Rebekah Brooks was the priority. Well it was extraordinary today to listen to him talk about the anguish, as it was, of being harassed by the paparazzi.

He said, "You know, if you've got the paparazzi chasing you as they were, they had microphones right under my nose and cameras in my face," and it was almost people raising their eyebrows, looking at this man who's made millions from the media, talking about being harassed and pushed into answering in a way perhaps he didn't want to by the paparazzi. But then of course he said, "Most of them were free-lancers anyway; they didn't work for me."

EMMA ALBERICI: The tables turning there.





April 27. 2012 09:26 AM


Good Morning Ad

Yes I agree Laura's artile is good value, she is brave.

Here is some of what has been said:

Laura Tingle is one of the few journalists who actually calls out her colleagues on questionable behaviour (Lewis/Uhlmann)

Mr Denmore‏
The fraud claims against Slipper fall apart as @latingle asks whether Ozcar hack Steve Lewis has jumped the gun, again

latingle piece in AFR - No one stays clean in a mud fight - alluding to #UteGate Mark 2 for Abbott - www.afr.com/.../no_one_stays_clean_in_mud_fight_SrX4XX5iHHo8QrXj3oFiGN well done Laura

a profile of B.A Santamaria's influence on Tony Abbott in the AFR Magazine
Tony Abbott’s higher calling

Bob Gosford‏
They deserve each other @FinancialReview: Tony Abbott: George Pell as a person of influence in my life http://tinyurl.com/ckhx5c4 #auspol

Financial Review‏
Tony Abbott | I regard George Pell as a person of significance and influence in my life   [free] www.afr.com/.../higher_calling_aNGk1uJKD26R4KQ6TWkbJJ #auspol

brian thomson‏
Brilliant analysis. Rupert Murdoch killed softly with Leveson lawyer's words http://gu.com/p/376zb/tw via @guardian

Pin it on your fridge. On #Slynews this morning both Richo & Hewson predict that PM Gillard has one month left before being rolled #auspol


April 27. 2012 10:06 AM


Federal Court SIC, you're quite right. Mea culpa.

But whichever way you try to spin it, FWA is not involved and until Ashby's claims are tested in court, Slipper has the presumption of innocence.

Which is what Roxon tried to say when she was <strike>interviewed</strike> screeched at by the angry Alberici, who shouted over the top of Roxon and tried to make her own opinion the topic of the interview.

And who, like the Liars Party and their barrackers, seems to think the presumption of innocence is at their discretion to be bestowed at their whim.

She should be removed from air until she learns how to conduct an interview, or shuffles off to her spiritual home Ltd News where sloppy work is not only acceptable, it's mandatory.


April 27. 2012 10:15 AM


Mea culpa, mea culpa.

I've realised that in accepting Chris Uhlmann's description of Tony Abbott as the 'most effective Leader of the Opposition' earlier this week I've fallen into a trap too many of us have been led into.

He's a lousy Leader of the Opposition, based on precisely the statistics that Uhlmann and his ilk have used to laud him as an effective one. The polls.

The high rating of the Coalition in the voting-intention polls indicate that Tony Abbott IS a very effective leader of the Coalition in opposition - he's moved them into supposed landslide election winning status. Those numbers can't be argued with. They can be questioned, they can be analysed in terms of time remaining until election day, etc, etc, but looked at right now in this exact moment of time, they certainly support the claim that he has effectively led the Coalition to an election winning position. His own numbers are less rosy, but the Coalition is set to win.

Great job for your party, Tony. But, another set of numbers indicate that the job you've done will not be good at all for the nation.

The numbers that display how inept Tony Abbott is in the process of governance. "He's not in government!", I immediately hear the cry.

No, he's not. But a truly "most effective Leader of the Opposition" would long since have been IN government, because a truly "most effective Leader of the Opposition" would have made it impossible for a government he opposed to govern. For that government to introduce and pass legislation. To maintain the day to day running of government and government financing of everything in Australia than runs on "taxpayers' dollars". To BE in government.

The sheer number of bills passed and regulations applied, regardless of where anyone reading this stands on their impact or philosophical underpinning, displays that Tony Abbott has been utterly crap at stymying or tripping up this government at doing what national governments do. He's proved completely incapable in Parliament, the sourcespring of governance, of displaying any attribute at all of an 'alternative Prime Minister'.

He's brought the election hustings into the chamber of the House of Representatives, treating the place where laws begin and are ratified and become integral to the way we all live, as if it were just a larger version of a Queanbeyan car repair shop or a franchise bakery in a shopping centre anywhere. I keep expecting him to pull a fluoro jacket out from under his table in the House of Representatives, or to wave his large-vehicle 'I could be a truckie if I had to' driving licence any moment.

Certainly the endlessly and impotently raised censure motions have been nothing more than electioneering exercises, manifestly, since they have so spectacularly failed to garner parliamentary support from those listening, apart from his dragooned into line (rubberstamped pre-selected) Coalition members behind him.

So I confess I have been accepting the phrase "most effective Leader of the Opposition" on the same basis as everyone else who's let it slip into common understanding through repetition alone.

No more. Tony Abbott is what he is. A shouter. Nothing more.

Shout long enough, loud enough, people are forced to hear. Keep shouting, and people start to listen.

Tony Abbott is a very effective leader of the Coalition in opposition. He has been, anyway, in terms of blackguarding the Gillard Government. But where is the Coalition now? Even with the Slipper imbroglio playing out? Exactly where it was when Rob Oakeshott reached the final words of his 17 page speech just after the last election.

In Opposition. Directly across the parliamentary chamber, but in real terms, just shouting from the sidelines for all the effect it has. Is that really the mark of a truly effective Leader of the Opposition?


April 27. 2012 10:22 AM


This from Jonathan Holmes @ The Drum:

Furthermore, there was clearly a conviction within the cabinet earlier this year that Kevin Rudd, with the connivance and assistance of News Ltd, was plotting to return to power.  If he'd succeeded, would there have been a pay-off for News?

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's head, surely - after all, he's been News Ltd's most outspoken critic.  And with Conroy gone, a new anti-siphoning regime?  A polite binning of the recommendations of the Finkelstein Inquiry, and/or of the Convergence Review (some of whose recommendations a little bird has just leaked to The Australian's media columnist Mark Day)? The ABC's wings clipped, so that its taxpayer-funded websites can't so easily undermine News Ltd's attempts to charge a commercial rate for online news? 

much more here:


As someone who supported Rudd retaking the leadership I feel compelled to say I'm beginning to regret doing so going by the information I have read of late relating to Kevin Rudd's possible opportunistic relationship with News Ltd.

The following an example:

STEPHEN LONG: At stake: a $223 million contract to run Australia's overseas broadcasting service. A network at arm's length from Government, but considered vital to Australia's soft diplomacy.

The bidders, the ABC and Sky News - jointly owned by the Nine Network, Seven and Murdoch's BSkyB. Behind the scenes, a power struggle between then-Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy. Senator Conroy won out, quashing the recommendation of an independent review panel that twice favoured Sky, and permanently handing control of the Australia Network to the ABC


Frankly, I do not understand how a man treated so badly by a news organisation could be so willing to give them a leg-up.



April 27. 2012 11:06 AM


Going by the relentless attacks on PM Gillard and her g.overnment it seems Bruce Guthrie was right back in May 2011:

The 80-year-old News Corp mogul keeps a weekender just outside the millionaires' coastal enclave of Carmel, which once elected Clint Eastwood as its mayor. The Murdoch estate, roughly the size of a small European principality, stretches through rolling hills and valleys.

If the conspiracy theorists are right, it would have been here or at a local resort he sometimes uses for such conferences that the word went out - it's Tony's time now. This is not entirely fanciful. Indeed, Murdoch let it be known within News after dining with Abbott late last year that he liked the Liberal leader and what he represented. Perhaps he merely amplified this in California. Maybe he went further and that, in turn, fuelled the budget and carbon tax coverage.

Either way, it certainly wouldn't have been a direction. That's not Murdoch's style. It would more likely have been an observation expressed by him or a lieutenant during or after dinner or at a coffee break between sessions. His editors, better than most at reading the wind, would have noted the boss's latest leanings and applied this knowledge at the first opportunity - many of them would have arrived back in Australia the morning of the budget lock-up. Of course, it would be open to an editor to ignore the boss's preferences, but as I discovered, that can sometimes come at a cost.

Either way, it seems increasingly apparent that Labor and the Greens are going to be facing a largely hostile popular press between now and any election. Bob Brown clearly senses this and I suspect Julia Gillard does too. Meanwhile, it looks just as obvious that Tony Abbott has Rupert Murdoch in his corner. No wonder the Liberal leader has a spring in his step - the News boss is not in the habit of backing losers.

Bruce Guthrie is a former editor of The Age, The Sunday Age and Herald Sun, and is the author of Man Bites Murdoch.

Read more: www.smh.com.au/.../...e-corner-20110521-1exun.html

It seems Julia Gillard is one of the few leaders who does not kowtow to the Dark Lord of the media.

Not that the bulk of the propagandised, misinformed and gullible public give her credit for that.



April 27. 2012 11:16 AM

Ad astra

You have hit the nail on the head.  Abbott’s ‘success’ is manifest only in polls of voting intention, which are not predictive so far out from an election.  He is manifestly unsuccessful judged by his inability to frustrate governance by the Government, which has successfully passed over 300 pieces of legislation.

The fact that Chris Uhlmann regards polls of voting intention (while disregarding polls on Abbott’s popularity) as the criterion for judging Abbott’s success, simply demonstrates that he is no different from the host of other journalists who place such great store in polls of voting intention to the exclusion of all the legislative success of the Gillard Government.

He is a victim (knowingly or unknowingly) of mindless or malevolent media groupthink.

Ad astra

April 27. 2012 11:18 AM

Ad astra

Thanks for the Jonathan Holmes link.  It makes fascinating reading.

Ad astra

April 27. 2012 11:34 AM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
I see others have picked up on the significance of Laura Tingle’s article and her exposure of Steve Lewis.

The article in the AFR on Tony Abbott was fascinating.  What makes him tick is interesting to read about, but how he would govern is what the electorate needs to know about.

Ad astra

April 27. 2012 11:38 AM


Good Morning Swordsters

For an object lesson in how to respond to media persons on a hyping mission, Christine Milne's handling of Fran Kelly's repetitious hypotheticals on Radio National this morning are is a must. If only Abbott was listening (and able to comprehend what Ms Milne was saying ..... much doubt about this).

The repetitious questions were about how Adam Bandt will vote in 2 weeks time if a no-confidence motion is put against Peter Slipper as Speaker. Ms Milne firmly refused to be drawn on the matter because (a) other MPs shouldn't be players in the saga, (b) she's not a commentator, and (c) no-one knows what the circumstances will be in 2 weeks time.

IMO Ms Milne showed leadership, media management skills, authority, ethics and common sense in abundance. Statesmanship I call it.

The Slipper Matter

On other sites and a little bit here, much is being made of s 361 of the FW Act and it's reverse presumption of guilt. This however does not mean that Mr Slipper has to prove his innocence carte blanche.

The explanation of the muddled thinking around this "reverse onus of proof" goes something like this.

Under the Act employers must not inflict "adverse actions" on employees. In s342, the adverse actions are listed. They include such things as sacking or not promoting or demoting an employee and amongst them is ss 1(b) which says that injuring an employee is an "adverse action". This is what Ashby has claimed ie that his boss, Slipper, has injured him by sexual harassment.

Now s361 is a bit difficult to conceptualise in regard to the Slipper matter. This is because most of the "adverse actions" listed under s 342 of the Act are distinct, clear cut and specific actions such as sacking, demoting, not promoting etc as opposed to the more subtle and indistinct "injuring" that Ashby claims.

Take for example a claim by Fred that he was sacked because he was a homosexual. Under s 361, Fred having been actually sacked, and having made the claim that it was because of his sexual preference, the onus is on the boss to prove that Fred was sacked for some other reason ie incompetence etc etc. This is the reverse onus of s 361, but note that it is activated only after the fact that Fred has indeed been sacked. In a sense, Fred has to first prove that he has been sacked (obviously not too hard to do).

In another example, if Harry claimed that he was overlooked for promotion because he was Jewish, the fact that he was actually overlooked might be a bit harder to establish than it was for Fred to prove that he was actually sacked. The boss might be able to show that Harry's skill base did not enable him to be in the pool of those being considered. As a result there would be no need to actually involve s 361 ........ the boss doesn't have the onus of proving that Harry was not promoted for some non-Jewish reason, because on the basic facts Harry was not skillful enough to even be in the pool of potential promotees. (an example of this would be if Harry, a boilermaker, claimed that he was not promoted to head chef, because he was Jewish)

In the Slipper matter, Ashby has to prove first that he has been injured by his boss (being "injured" is Ashby's claim of an "adverse action" against him). This is more difficult than in Fred's case when he simply had to prove that he had been sacked (Fred's "adverse action").

Was Ashby in fact injured? Did the injury occur in the workplace? Was the injury inflicted by his boss? Or was it inflicted by his flatmate?

Only after these questions are answered (proved) in a way that holds that Ashby was in fact injured by his boss in the context of his employment, will s 361 be activated. At that stage Slipper will have to prove that his conduct was something other than sexual harassment.

An "Unusual" Aspect of the Ashby Claim

There are numerous documents published by FWA and by the FW Ombudsman's Office which advise employees about the available remedies for sexual harassment. Step by step guides tell the employee how to have the matter addressed and remedied. A large range of low key remedies are recommended by both agencies, none of which include "take the bastard to court". Why hasn't Ashby utilised the normal processes available in such circumstances ???????  !!!!!!


April 27. 2012 11:40 AM

Ad astra

Thank you for the Bruce Guthrie link.  He was on ABC 774 Melbourne radio this morning talking about the Murdoch influence on politics, and reinforced what is coming out of the Levinson inquiry.  His minions here know what Murdoch wants – an Abbott Government – and that’s why News Limited is hell bent to achieve that for him.

Ad astra

April 27. 2012 11:57 AM


Cheers Ad.


Mr Murdoch had met Mr Abbott as Opposition Leader once before, during a visit to Sydney in February. Mr Abbott faced accusations that he changed his stance on another contentious media policy issue after enjoying Sunday brunch with the mogul.




April 27. 2012 12:46 PM


In his speech today Tony Abbott referred to the government's suspension of live exports to Indonesia as "they panicked over a television program".

A dismissive and reductionist analysis by a cocky politician.

A reminder of the public outrage in response to the valuable, gutsy, revealing 4 Corners episode:

Live animal exports suspended
Posted by: Derryn Hinch | 31 May, 2011
- 10:39 AM

Give a big pat on the back to the ABC and 4 Corners last night. And a big pat on the back to the instant world of Twitter.

Last week Meat and Livestock Australia and LiveCorp announced they were suspending the supply of cattle to three abattoirs after seeing the damning footage, but 4 Corners says Australian animals were still being slaughtered at one of those supposedly banned facilities yesterday.

The government suspension, which is to be applauded, must only be the beginning.  The export of live animals for slaughter overseas is barbaric and unnecessary.

And to make things worse some people in Government and in the industry have known about these inhumane practices for at least ten years.



100K sign GetUp! petition to ban live export
From: AAP June 01, 2011 5:14PM
Herald Sun

MORE than 100,000 Australians have signed a petition to stop the export of live cattle to Indonesia.

The petition, organised by the advocacy group GetUp, comes after the airing of graphic footage showing Australian cattle being mistreated in a number of Indonesian slaughterhouses

GetUp deputy national director Sam Mclean said the online petition showed that many Australians were behind a ban.

"This is an incredible showing of public pressure to ban the cruel and unnecessary treatment of Australian cattle that make up the live export trade," Mr Mclean said in a statement on Wednesday.

"For too long the federal government has backed the industry to clean up its act, warning them to get it right, but the footage ... clearly shows they can't do that on their own."

The petition calls on Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig to immediately stop live exports of Australian cattle to Indonesia and work towards ending the industry within three years.

GetUp, the RSPCA and Animals Australia will be present the petition at Parliament House tomorrow.

Mr Ludwig has suspended shipments to 11 Indonesian abattoirs on Tuesday, pending an investigation.



Cruelty in abattoirs outrages Australia
Kathy Marks

The National

Jun 5, 2011 

The scenes - recorded by an animal-welfare activist and broadcast here last week - show Australian cows being slaughtered in Indonesia. Veteran politicians say no other issue has triggered such a massive feedback of outrage from constituents. A petition to halt the live export trade gathered 200,000 names in three days.


Once again the ever-cocky Tony Abbott has shown himself to be INSENSITIVE to the feelings of others.

Abbott takes the same reductionist, cocky, compassionate conservative when it suits him approach that GW Bush did.

Look where that got the world.

And Abbott seems to have the same dismissive approach to the people's VOICE OF PROTEST as his former leader John Howard did...

recalling Howard ignoring the many many voices protesting his decision to join the Iraq War invasion...

his initial approach to Aboriginal reconcillliation...

his treatment of the UN...

the many demands he step aside for a new Liberal leader...

and so on...

It seems that Abbott is already demonstrating the arrogant, dismissive, insensitive, opportunistic, worst characteristics of the likes of John Howard and GW Bush...

Imagine the displays of knee-jerk hubris if he becomes leader.

And gawd forbid if any Australian animals are treated inhumanely...

will it be the Coalition doing its LOOK THE OTHER WAY routine?

BUSINESS as usual.



April 27. 2012 12:54 PM


Swordsters save yourself some time and trouble

As informed via Twitter:
Laura Tingle ‏ @latingle
here we go. game, set and match.


Peter Slipper 'an unmitigated liar' says 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley

The Lord High Executioner has spoken and nothing lese need be said or written


Got That?



April 27. 2012 01:15 PM


A useful and ongoing thread on Rupert Murdoch and his empire:




April 27. 2012 01:56 PM


Here's Shouldabeen proving again his contempt for elections and essentially, for the electorate.

Because if he doesn't get the election result he wants (see 2010) he's prepared to go back again and again to the ballot box to make the voters see the light and make it 'green' for whatever he wants... now!

Except capital G Green, of course.



April 27. 2012 02:02 PM


From an informative article by Richard Ackland, SMH columnist in Brisbane Times:

The context of that swaggering lecture in 2009 is fascinating. The general election was held eight months later and a lot happened in the interim. In March 2009 the Tory opposition leader David Cameron (now the PM) said the BBC licence fee, which is the corporation's main source of revenue, should be frozen. The opposition's culture and media spokesman, Jeremy Hunt (a former PR man), made the same call.

Just after James's lecture in Edinburgh, Hunt wrote an article in Murdoch's Sun attacking the BBC and saying it should curtail its commercial activities. Between the lecture and the publication of the article Hunt had flown to New York where he met News Corp retainers.

Just before the lecture, Murdoch had complained that Ofcom was meddling in his business - in June 2009 the regulator had announced BSkyB should sell some of its channels. Less than a fortnight later Cameron declared that if he was elected to government he would scrap Ofcom.

Thirteen days after the lecture, Cameron and James Murdoch had a drink at a private club in Mount Street, called George. Over a cocktail James said The Sun would back Cameron and the Tories at the coming election.

It was revealed before the Leveson inquiry into the media on Tuesday that Jeremy Hunt, the Media and Culture Secretary, and his office, instead of acting in a quasi-judicial capacity in determining the merits of News's bid for the balance of the BSkyB shares, was actively backing the bid.

How the world has turned upside down. James has been drummed out of London with his tail between his legs, the BSkyB bid is in tatters, and the idea of ''soft touch'' regulation of the media is a distant fantasy. In fact, out of all this will come a statutory scheme with powers to enforce codes of conduct for newspapers and internet media.

The remarkable thing is that James Murdoch on Tuesday and his father Rupert on Wednesday were still clinging to their tattered scripts in evidence before Lord Justice Leveson.

''I want to put it to bed once and for all that I used the influence of The Sun to get favourable political treatment,'' insisted Rupert with a straight face.

James said he would never make ''such a crass calculation'' about what his newspapers could have achieved in relation to the BSkyB bid in the run-up to the election. ''It would never occur to me.''
The strangled guffaws could be heard around the world, right back to little old Oz, where almost on a daily basis the Murdoch papers shove their proprietor's commercial interests down our throats.

The relentless attacks on the national broadband network in News Ltd's national daily The Australian and other of its capital city tabloids is not without an eye on protecting the patch of Foxtel, SkyNews and Fox Sports.

The assaults on the Finkelstein findings and on the recommendation for a News Media Council are certainly something News Ltd has shared with other media organisations, including this one, but News has very much been to the forefront on that political campaign.

It is notable that Tony Abbott's Coalition is in step with News Ltd in its opposition to a statutory media regulator, a privacy law and the broadband network in its current proposed form.

I think we're entitled to know what backroom discussions, private drink sessions, winks or nods have taken place, if any. As Paul Keating once observed of Rupert Murdoch: ''You can do a deal with him without ever saying a deal is done.''

He doesn't have to ask prime ministers for favours. They understand implicitly what's required.
The wondrous thing about Leveson's hearings is that for the first time since Murdoch went to Britain in 1968 to buy the News of the World, he has been put on the stand and pressed to account for his role and influence with successive British governments.

We have seen over the past 12 months or so evidence of News International's ever-spreading stain on British institutions and democracy - on the police, on the public service, on politics and on the media itself.
In Britain, at least, the Murdoch ascendancy is over. But the Leveson hearing is not over.


Tony Abbott spruiked Andrew Bolt in his speech today.

Freedom of speech and preserving, cherishing, respecting democracy is about leading people out of cages...not into them.



April 27. 2012 02:12 PM

Patricia WA

Very good comment there, Michael.  Essentially Abbott's failure to gather any personal popularity out of the massive effort by News Ltd et alia media which have put the Coalition so far ahead is a pretty clear indication that he personally is never likely to be a successful draw card in an election.

One minor quibble. The Coalition is not, "Exactly where it was.....just after the last election." It is one vote down in the House of Reps.   He is also one vital supporter down in his party room should there be a leadership challenge. The way he has failed to keeps his friend Slipper close by him makes one wonder how many other disgruntled Lib MPs there might be.

Patricia WA

April 27. 2012 02:39 PM


Patricia and Michael,

I wasn’t too happy about Slipper being brought in…but putting that aside for now, this whole Slipper affair is starting to get the distinct smell of a

aided & abetted by the Abbott-led Coalition…

not unlike the Gretched affair…and the claims thrown at former high court judge Kirby.

What form does News Ltd’s Steve Lewis have on this kind of investigative reporting?



April 27. 2012 02:54 PM


Guess who's coming for dinner...lunch...breakfast...you name it?:




April 27. 2012 03:35 PM


From Tim de Lisle @ The Guardian:

Rupert Murdoch’s evidence was like one of his tabloids
Media mogul’s evidence at the Leveson inquiry was a lively mixture of accurate reporting, one-eyed comment and fantasy

It was hard to say which of his statements provoked the most incredulity. There was his declaration that the News of the World was “a campaigning newspaper”.

There was the idea that the great Harold Evans, while editing The Times, knocked on Murdoch’s door and asked what line to take.

And then there was this assertion: “I take a particularly strong pride in the fact that we have never pushed our commercial interests in our newspapers.”

…The Sun is different: as the i-Sky corner in Private Eye shows, it plugs Sky doggedly.

If Murdoch read that column himself, he would surely not have said what he said. If he had merely claimed “we allow our papers to criticise our TV programmes”, it would have been true-ish. What was outrageous was saying that he “never” pushed his commercial interests, and that he took “particularly strong pride” in it.

As Harry Evans showed in these pages, it’s when Murdoch hotly denies something that we need to be most suspicious.


Murdoch denies using power to sway politics





April 27. 2012 04:07 PM


Thnx for the links above.

My last for the day:

Rundle: if only News was run by Rupert…
by Guy Rundle
@ Crikey

Some day there will be billions of smart telephones” — thus spake Yoda of the tribunal, R. Murdoch, on the second day of his testimony to the Leveson inquiry.

Some on teh Twitter said the wrinkled billionaire had come to resemble his own “spitting image” puppet. I thought he looked like an enormous foreskin in designer eye wear, but there you go.

Murdoch senior spoke slowly, even ponderously throughout much of his second session, almost as if he was trying to run the clock out. But he also resorted to claiming levels of ignorance of his own organisation that beggar belief.




April 27. 2012 04:22 PM


Hi Michael

Thankyou for your link to the Telegraph story by Alison McMeekin, looks like Malcolm Farr’s and James Massola’s  are a duplication.  Wonder who copies off who.

Michael you said “Because if he doesn't get the election result he wants (see 2010) he's prepared to go back again and again to the ballot box “  

How many double dissolutions has Abbott promised so far I wonder.

Marian Rumens‏
@OMarian Wow. if Tony Abbott becomes PM looks like we're going to get an election every other week #auspol #libfail

Tony Abbott sets out his plan to turn back the boats to Indonesia, Malcolm Farr @ 1.55 pm, News Com
TONY Abbott will tell Indonesia
he would fly to Jakarta in his first week
he would call a double dissolution election
He would give new orders to the Navy that,
And on his first day in office he would telephone the President of Nauru


Tony Abbott to reintroduce protection visas for asylum seekers , Alison McMeekin, @ 11:47AM The Telegraph

he would call a double dissolution election
he would "pick up the phone to the President of Nauru
Within a week of taking office, I would go to Indonesia
politely explain to the Indonesian government
I would give new orders to the Navy
Abbott said temporary visas for illegal boat arrivals would be re-created


Abbott compares Indonesian people-smugglers to Australians who smuggle drugs into Bali , James Massola, @ 3.34pm  The Australian

TONY Abbott would visit Indonesia in his first week
would hold a double dissolution election
Indonesia would be the first nation Mr Abbott would visit
“Within a week of taking office, I would go to Indonesia
politely explain to the Indonesian government
repeated his pledge to give the Royal Australian Navy new orders, “within a week of taking office
pick up the phone to the president of Nauru



April 27. 2012 04:31 PM


Hi Michael

I forgot to include this Tweet by Michelle Grattan.

Do you know what Michelle means by saying 'does Abbott really mean" , does she mean he doesn't mean anything he says or he just doesn't mean he will go to Indoesia.  I really mean I am confused.

Michelle Grattan‏
does abbott really mean he'd go to Indonesia within a week of taking office? sounds like a promise made for the breaking, that one



April 27. 2012 04:45 PM


Michelle Grattan did her usual 'kick Julia Gillard over anything and everything' schtick here this morning:


to which I responded pointing out that Tiny Abbott had spent just short of $600,000 of "taxpayers' money" over and above his direct remuneration in the first 6 months of 2011 alone.

Sticking it to Peter Slipper's financial 'extravagance' seems like very small beer by comparison.

Funny though, after informing me that my comment had been published (I checked and it was), after later emailing me that my comment had been replied to, it plain disappeared.

I don't know... Did someone check the 'handwriting' and decide the original post couldn't possibly have come from me? That it had to be dismissed out of... hand?

This country, and its mainstream media have gone completely mad when they put online invitations for anyone at all to make compare and contrast judgment on whether someone's handwriting is truly his across several documents.

See here.  www.smh.com.au/.../...-slipper-20120426-1xo1y.html

Talk about knitting at the base of the guillotine!


April 27. 2012 05:28 PM


Hello Ad astra. Thank you for your encouraging words of support.

Without taking anything away from the great list of authors we have at Cafe Whispers, it's embarrassing to be on that list of finalists without seeing TPS there.

I don't think anybody at CW would dispute the fact that you're one of the best writers across the blogosphere and are highly respected by all at the Cafe.

Nonetheless I am pleased that CW has progressed to the final round and would be happy to take the gong. I'll leave that in the hands of the judge, Grog.


April 27. 2012 05:45 PM


Hi Ad

Read this article and be confused with a headache:-

Slippery dilemma for Abbott, By Andrew Probyn:-

And it’s to do with what has defined Mr Abbott — his “blood pledge” to rescind the carbon tax — and what looms as his biggest problem, the Senate.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume that when Parliament resumes on Budget day, May 8, the Government loses a no-confidence motion and Ms Gillard goes to Governor-General Quentin Bryce to surrender her commission.

Ms Bryce then asks Mr Abbott to test his numbers on the floor but some of the independents can’t stomach supporting him.

With no one being able to form government, Ms Bryce calls an election for June 16.

Here’s the first problem for Mr Abbott. It is a House-only election because the earliest date for a half-Senate election is August 3, 2013. Even though the coalition trounces Labor in the election, the Abbott government faces a hostile Senate. Of the 76 senators, 31 are Labor and nine are Greens.

Mr Abbott makes his government’s first business the rescinding of the carbon tax. Mr Abbott urges Labor to respect his mandate, arguing the election was a referendum on the carbon tax.

Legislation is hurriedly prepared and presented to the Lower House in early July, by which stage the carbon tax has already been enacted.

The legislation sails through the House but under the new Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, Labor makes it clear it won’t play ball in the Senate.

So begins a race to a double-dissolution trigger, which requires two Senate rejections, three months apart.

It’s a race because the Constitution requires a half-Senate-only election between August 3 next year and May 24, 2014, for a group of senators who won’t take their positions until July 1, 2014.

Mr Abbott was hoping to secure a double-dissolution trigger within six months of the 2012 election but the ALP, acting in concert with the Greens, succeeds in sending the Bill to a committee for review, delaying the first vote for many months.

The Government bleats about the delay tactics, perhaps threatens legal action, but the ALP and the Greens feel safe in the knowledge that the High Court ruled in 1975 that the Senate has a right to reasonable time for deliberations and “has a duty to properly consider all Bills and cannot be said to have failed to pass a Bill because it was not passed at the first available opportunity”.

And so, Labor and the Greens deny Mr Abbott his double-dissolution trigger and on August 3, 2013, Australians go to their first half-Senate-only election since 1971.

Labor’s simple election strategy is to ask voters what happened last time a government got control of the Senate: WorkChoices.

It’s a powerful message. Mr Shorten shrewdly makes the election a referendum on the Abbott government’s first year in office, knowing full well that Labor obstruction has prevented Mr Abbott achieving any of his major policy ambitions.

Mr Shorten’s strategy works. The coalition does not win sufficient seats to secure control of the Upper House.

With his inability to rescind the carbon tax becoming a political albatross and a symbol of his government’s impotence, Mr Abbott re-doubles his efforts to secure the double dissolution election trigger.

But a new problem would emerge if he exercised the trigger within 10 months of the 2013 half-Senate-only election: it would not only dissolve a Senate of 76 members already in the chamber but the 36 who got elected at the August 3 election who haven’t yet even taken their seats (this excludes the four Territory senators whose terms are linked to the House).

Never in Australian political history would the nation’s voters have been put in such a pickle.



April 27. 2012 05:48 PM


Sorry Ad

I got so confused I forgot to put Andrew Probyn's link up:-



April 27. 2012 05:50 PM

Ad astra

Thank you for your kind comments, and congratulations on a well deserved place among the finalists.  With best wishes for the final.

Ad astra

April 27. 2012 05:57 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Thanks for the Andrew Probyn story - it's fascinating reading.

Ad astra

April 27. 2012 05:58 PM

Ad astra

I have just now posted Why do journalists have so much difficulty being objective?.  It is an analysis of the reporting in The Australian Financial Review of the Government’s aged care package by several reporters writing in the same issue.  It is nowhere as exciting as Bushfire Bill’s piece on the Slipper affair, which we may revisit in a few days.  But I trust it demonstrates how the reportage of an event is heavily influenced by the writer’s beliefs, ideology, biases, prejudices, preferences, hopes and desires.

I hope you find it interesting.


Ad astra

April 27. 2012 06:30 PM

Ad astra

I will leave this thread open for  a few days so you can add comments relevant to the Slipper affair as new information comes to hand.

Ad astra

April 27. 2012 11:37 PM


Nas' 2.02pm, all the more reason to implement Finkelstein's recommendations asap. If Rupert and the Liars party are agin it, I'm all for it. lol

Patricia WA @2.12pm very good point. And if Slipper slips the leash Liealot has been fashioning and I think he may just do that, Liealot looks even more incompetent and inept, if that's possible.

It just occurred to me that Liealot is the most incompetent and inept LOTO ever. He has had absolutely no influence on ANY government legislation since assuming the position.

His sole contribution to political discourse in this country is a handful of mediocre three word slogans and childish behaviour at QT.

Apart from a few brain farts, that is the sum total of his achievements as LOTO. Definitely not something that will be described in glowing terms in years to come.

Nas' @3.35pm, I'd say another ingredient to add to the Emperor's soup would have to be self delusion.


Comments are closed