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Gillard won't lie down and die - Abbott's dilemma

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Thursday, 31 May 2012 21:05 by Ad astra
Prediction in politics is fraught but tempting. Will Tuesday 29 May 2012 go down in Australian political history as the day the decline of Tony Abbott, Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, accelerated? This was the day he announced to the Coalition party room: "Gillard won't lie down and die, and where there's life, there's fight", reminding his colleagues that their job would not be over until the election was won. It was an extraordinary statement to make in such a public forum (which clearly has its leakers), as it was a tacit admission that the task of tearing down Julia Gillard and her Government, one he set himself from the moment the Independents supported her to form a minority government in September 2010, will be a formidable task, one that is becoming more difficult by the day.

For a man who has exhibited such hubris, boosted every week or two by polls of voting intention that showed the Coalition’s position was strong, this was a significant concession – winning the next election would be no pushover. What Abbott thought would be a sprint to The Lodge, has turned out to be a marathon, for which he is beginning to realize he has less aptitude.

This is the man who would be PM

In politics, seemingly small events can have a disproportionately large effect. Remember the repercussions of ‘that handshake’ – the one Mark Latham gave John Howard at a TV studio door during the 2004 election campaign, a handshake that journalists deemed to be overly aggressive, too confronting, the tall man hovering threateningly over the shorter. While media reaction was over-the-top, that event signaled the weakening of Latham’s campaign, which steadily declined to end in defeat. Remember Kim Beasley’s confusing the name of Karl Rove, George Bush’s adviser and deputy chief of staff, with that of Rove McManus, our own TV entertainer. An innocent slip, but magnified by the media as a sign of Beasley’s incapacity to become PM, his unsuitability for this high office. Beasley never recovered from this seemingly small memory lapse.

In the same way, we have to ask whether Abbott’s “Gillard won’t lie down and die” was a momentous admission of concern that events are not unfolding as he predicted, or had hoped they would; an expression of anxiety, even fear that the certainty of winning the next election was receding. Anxiety and fear engender uncertainty and doubt, which in turn fosters more anxiety, more fear, which is so corrosive of confidence.

What precipitated Abbott’s admission?

Let’s go back to the beginning. Read again The pugilistic politician written on 10 December 2009, ten days after Abbott’s ascension to leadership. Here are some excerpts. After recalling his boxing exploits at Oxford where flattening his opponents to the canvass in the first round was his aim, I wrote this: ”… suddenly, and for most unexpectedly, he became Leader of the Opposition last week, and found himself thrown into the spotlight, with nothing much in the ledger but opposition to almost everything the Government was trying to do, trenchant opposition to the Government’s ETS leading to its defeat, a heap of political baggage, a mediocre team, a disgruntled ex-leader, and very poor popularity ratings in the opinion polls.” Later in that piece there was this: ”Abbott intends to criticise everything the Government does, to fight everything it attempts to do, to refuse to collaborate on anything, and to decline to reveal any policies until the last moment…”

In the next paragraph: ”So to what can we look forward? If one can judge from Abbot’s demeanour and performance during the last week, from the look in his eyes, from his aggressive attitude, from his determination to fight in hand to hand combat, we are in for a ruthless, cruel, bare-knuckle fight with no holds barred. This week Abbott reminded me of the familiar scene before a prize fight when the combatants line up – hairy-chested, jaw-jutting, throwing punches in the air, loud-mouthed, asserting their prowess, and promising to knock their opponent out early in the bout.” The final paragraph of The pugilistic politician reads: ”…we can expect Abbott, the pugilistic politician, to attack Government policies and actions incessantly and relentlessly, to keep Coalition policies under wraps as much as possible to avoid having to defend them, and to exhibit venom, vitriol and vituperativeness the like of which we have not seen in politics in Australia for a long while. It will be unremittingly ugly. What a prospect for 2010!”

I suppose one cannot accept acclaim for a prediction that has turned out to be strikingly accurate. It was not rocket science to make that prediction – the evidence was there for all to see. Reflect. Is there anything that was predicted in that piece that has not come to pass? In fact, Abbott’s behaviour, if anything, has become worse than predicted. His belligerence is more overt, his aggression escalates almost by the day, his vitriol pours out in ever-increasing volumes, his hatred rises, his anger boils over into unseemly language and gestures. He becomes more grotesque by the week. Several longstanding politicians have cited this period of politics as the ugliest ever.

So making the prediction now that Abbott’s decline is accelerating, feels less hazardous than most political predictions usually are.

Let’s look at a few facts.

Tony Abbott is a failure, and he knows it. It is his failure that is the likely reason for his contemporary behaviour. Failure fosters doubt and fear, and eventually evokes despair. Despair manifests itself in increasingly desperate and bizarre behaviour. The ferocity of his questions, the nastiness of his rhetoric, and the bare-knuckle approach he brings to the parliament, is the only behaviour he knows, and it escalates with every sitting week.

Coalition supporters will protest that Abbott has been a very successful Coalition Leader, and many journalists would agree, because he has elevated the Coalition’s TPP level to what they like to describe as ‘an election winning lead’, although no election is imminent. That seems to be the one criterion of success to which Coalition supporters cling.

But as a parliamentary performer he is an abject failure. He has not succeeded in defeating even one of the three hundred pieces of legislation that the Gillard Government has passed this term, and we are only halfway through. His opposition to a tiny handful of legislation has blocked them being presented to parliament, but only with the help of the Greens. He follows Randolph Churchill’s dictum that: “Oppositions should oppose everything, suggest nothing and turf the Government out”, but so far he has opposed without success, and is far from turfing the Government out.

He has moved almost sixty motions to suspend standing orders to censure the PM or the Government, or initiate a debate to castigate the Government. None have succeeded. Yet Abbott goes on hitting hit head against a brick wall. Until now, failure after failure has seemed no deterrent, but there is now evidence that it is getting to him.

He and his Coalition colleagues ask question after question in Question Time, but never score a direct hit. In fact, during this current sitting the Government has had the better of QT by far. Time and again questions asked by the Coalition about ‘the world’s biggest carbon tax’ have rebounded on them as Julia Gillard has catalogued the wild claims of disaster that Tony Abbott has made about the effects of the carbon tax – the death of the coal mining industry, aluminium smelting, cement production and of manufacturing, the disappearance of towns from the map, notably Whyalla, skyrocketing electricity prices, up by 30%, food prices going through the roof, or as Abbott would have it, up and up and up, and countless thousands of lost jobs. She has thrown these claims back at Abbott over and again with colourful turn of phrase and repetition: “When the sun goes down on July 1…” all of Abbott’s scaremongering will be shown to be deceptive and false, and he will be exposed for the dishonest scaremonger he is, always frightening the people, always talking down the economy, always eroding confidence.

Despite the failure to gain any advantage from questions on the carbon tax, which in fact are now a liability, the Coalition persists, like a broken record, bereft of any better questions to ask.

Today, in the last QT for this session, Julia Gillard slaughtered Tony Abbott with her replies, some would say ‘smashed’ him, and Jenny Macklin, talking about Abbott’s intention to claw back the Schoolkids Bonus, attacked him with the words: “The Leader of the Opposition has failed Australian families; he has failed the leadership test for families”. But it was Greg Combet who gave the most impassioned, the most eloquent performance, where he massacred Abbott, and with a smile on his face, broke into song with “I’ve been everywhere man, everywhere is doomed man”, as he characterized Abbott’s peripatetic campaign of spreading unmitigated doom and gloom once the carbon tax begins. Even the Coalition front bench smiled, but I suspect few realized the import of what Combet was saying, and the effect it would soon have on their leader’s credibility.

If one can judge from Abbott’s uncomfortable facial expressions and his body language, this is getting to him. He senses that another failure is fast approaching him, failure of his campaign of fear-mongering – when the carbon tax arrives and the sun still comes up in the east, the sky does not fall in, and the world goes on as before, while the people thankfully pocket the compensation money that Government ministers continually remind the recipients will be ‘ripped from them’ should Abbott become PM, he will be exposed for the deceitful fraud he is.

It may take some months, but by year end it ought to be obvious to all that Abbott has lied to them consistently since he became leader on his ‘defeat the carbon tax’ platform. He fears this exposure, and the damage it will do to his credibility.

There are other signs that Abbott is on the decline, perhaps they have contributed to his “Gillard won’t lie down and die…” meme. From the outset Abbott has been unpopular as recorded in opinion polls. We all know that an unpopular leader can lead a popular party, but his unpopularity scarcely altered as his party’s lead in the TPP stakes rose and rose, and this week a small recent gain has reversed. While it is wise to give no credence to polls of voting intention this far from an election, and even take approval/disapproval ratings with a grain of salt, I suspect that this week’s Newspoll was unnerving for Abbott. His popularity has declined and his PPM rating with it, while Julia Gillard’s has improved, although the TPP has changed little and is within the margin of error. He must be asking himself if his negativity is putting off even his supporters.

Another fragment of relevant information was an online poll in the Sydney Morning Herald this week that asked: “Do you think Tony Abbott’s negative approach is hurting his popularity?” We know these polls are unreliable because they do not poll a representative sample, and even the pollsters add a disclaimer: “These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.” What was notable though was that although these polls generally reflect very poorly on the Government, I imagine because of the bias inherent in the sample of respondents, this one, in which 6913 voted, revealed a ‘Yes’ count of 70%, a ‘No’ count of 26%, and only a 4% ‘Don’t know’ count, the reverse of results usually found in these polls. So even many of those who would be expected to support the Coalition added to the total of 70% who thought Tony Abbott’s negative approach was hurting his popularity. Abbott must have become aware of this.

Another sign of Abbott’s decline is his unwillingness to confront questions at doorstops and press conferences. It is increasingly attracting criticism. When the questions get tough he simply walks away. He prefers interviews with sycophantic shock jocks and seeks pre-recording of important interviews on ABC TV, some of which are edited. He is a failure when the going gets rough. People ask how he would cope with the questions that he would have to answer were he to become PM.

What we are witnessing is a steady and accelerating unravelling of Abbott’s credibility and his status, even among his supporters, and among his opponents confirmation that he is becoming unhinged, something of which I wrote in the last piece.

Evidence of this unhinging was starkly displayed when he attempted to scurry from the House on Wednesday to avoid having to count Craig Thomson’s vote among the Coalition’s on a gag motion, all to justify his unconstitutional insistence that the vote of the member for Dobell’s vote should not count, even although this would disenfranchise voters in that electorate. It looked childish; it was. It further damaged his credibility and that of the Coalition. Here’s how it looked:

Another look with a little humour added:

Here’s how cartoonist Sean Leahy saw it.

So what does "Gillard won't lie down and die, and where there's life, there's fight" really mean? In my opinion, it means that ‘this Leader of the Opposition’, this Tony Abbott, is becoming increasingly unnerved and progressively unhinged, as he sees the prize – the keys to The Lodge – retreating from his eagerly outstretched hand. He realizes that it will be no cakewalk now to grasp the keys. He knows that his strategy to demolish Julia Gillard and her Government has failed – that she is going from strength to strength, that she won’t lie down and die as he had hoped and anticipated.

He knows that he will have to fight fiercely for his prize, yet the only fight he knows is not working. He must now know that his incessant negativity is not only not working, it is actually working against him. He must know that the only strategy that could work for him and the Coalition would be coming up with sound and attractive policies, properly costed, policies more attractive and less costly than the Government's, smartly packaged and presented. But this option is inconsistent with his lazy approach to policy creation, his dilatory approach to costings, and his ignorant approach to economics. It’s all too hard.

He expected to surf to power on the unpopularity of the Government and a wave of favourable opinion polls, waving triumphantly from his surfboard in his red budgie smugglers. But the surf has become choppy, the rocks too close, and the best waves are now down the coast where a red-headed surfer is riding quietly and confidently, headed for a welcoming sandy beach.

‘Gillard won’t lie down and die’ really is Abbott’s dilemma.

What do you think?

Comments (241) -

May 31. 2012 09:23 PM

Catching upHowarth

I believe the prize has eluded him

Catching upHowarth

May 31. 2012 10:06 PM

Martyn Tonks

This is a great article. I think you have hit the nail on the head. Run rabbit, run rabbit, run,run, run.
I just wish that carbon pricing didn't start until 21 December 2012, that way it would be even more dramatic, when the world doesn't end!

Martyn Tonks

May 31. 2012 10:15 PM

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Martyn Tonks
Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Thank you for you apt comment.  Do come again.

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May 31. 2012 10:16 PM


What must be kept to the front of our attention, is the fact that it is the Liberl Party that must be defeated at the next election.
That Machievellian Party will quickly dispose of any leader that the executive sees as beyond use (remember Turnbull, Hewson?)and being almost at that status, I believe Abbott will do as much damage to the Govt' as possible to pave the way for his successor. Watch out for the strum und drang!
We must focus also on the other weak characters in the party...there are plenty of them!


May 31. 2012 11:23 PM


Hmmm could this be one of the reasons Mr Abbott hates woman MP's with a vengeance?

Apparently female parliamentarians are important as well – World Bank researchers have associated them with a reduction in corruption.

Want a strong economy? Elect more women  Dinuk Jayasuriya & Paul Burke @TheConversation


June 1. 2012 07:04 AM


This article gladdened my heart on this chilly Canberra morning.  Slow and steady wins the race!


June 1. 2012 07:28 AM



On the way out, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless
belief that any minute now, the government will crack and political fortunes will go the Coalition's way, and all that will be undone should anyone step out of line. People can only spend so long on tenterhooks. A quick chat with the independents would have shown that Abbott is further away from office than he was in September 2010, not closer as he would have them (and the media) believe

Freedom isn't complete without engaging government, Tim Dunlop, The Drum
I mean, when Gina Rinehart decided she wanted more of a say in public affairs - which is the same as saying when she wanted more influence over government - she didn't open a Twitter account or start a blog. She bought shares in Channel Ten and Fairfax

Gillard tells miners, you don’t own minerals, David Twomey, Eco News
Ms Gillard’s remarks risk reopening old wounds in the industry that fought hard against the minority federal Labor government’s mining and carbon taxes, and has concerns about its workplace relations regime.However, Ms Gillard made it clear her government, which is

Run Tony, Run, Dan Gulbery, The Daily Derp
Even Abbott’s fan club (ie the main stream media) heaped scorn on him for this display that even four year olds would’ve been embarrassed by.The irony of this farcical display is that Mr Thomson was officially recorded as voting on the side of the Tories, so the “run away” thing was a wasted effort.

The story of the Red Queen and the Mad Monk, Denise Allen , Independent Australia
Mad Monk shouted from the rooftops: “we’all be doomed!” He strutted amongst the people dressed in tiny red undies … and into their stores and places of work, pretending he cared for them; he whispered negative, soul destroying lies into their insecure, frightened ears and made the people think that life as they knew it

Trying to Dodge A Tainted Vote, Politics Of Our Times.
C.Pyne had started to make a dash for the Chamber doors. While Tony Abbott jumped over one colleague, Warren Entsch decided to run for the doors as well, blocking Tony Abbott's way. At this time Tony Abbott not thinking straight in desperation to get to the Chamber doors, pushed poor Warren Entsch out of the way sending him flying in to the Chamber doors

The Ballad of Brave Sir Abbott, Wolfcat, Insert Clever Title Here
Seriously, this man thinks he is the alternative PM. He tried (and failed) to run out of Parliament like a coward, to prove some point. Sure Australia, vote for this if you want the rest of the world to think we are a joke. Or stop and think if he runs away from this, what else would he run away from. Abbott is a coward, nothing more.  www.wolfcat.com.au/.../

Abbott votes with Thomson in Parliament on the morning of 30 May 2012, Clarence Girl, North Coast Voics
In a media doorstop Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott himself called, he at first denied outright that he had voted with Independent MP Craig Thomson against a motion to gag Opposition Treasury spokesperson Joe Hockey.Commonwealth Hansard states differently at approximately 9.10am:

Fairfax Strikes Out, Ben Eltham, New Matilda
The metro newspapers — the famous mastheads like The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review — pulled in fully a third of Fairfax’s revenue last year. But despite sales of $873 million, they made an underlying profit of only $83 million. In contrast, Fairfax Digital made $118 million in profit from $234 million in sales

Abbott’s challenges in repealing the carbon tax, Tim Wilson, Climate Nonconformist
Tim Wilson discusses the long-term impact of the carbon tax and the friendly environment for crony capitalism and renk-seeking that the it will breed as well as the challenges that poses for Tony Abbott.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Wixxy, Wixxy Leaks
It is also worth remembering that Kathy accepted this bonus at the same time, as she stated on the ABC’s 7 30, that she wanted a $100,000 pay cut. This does not make a lot of sense, also considering she also had her hand out for a $63,000 honorarium payment. It certainly fails the Wixxy Smell Test….

Are the Media seeking regime change because a Car-Crash Abbott government would increase sales?, Turn Left 2013
This post was originally a comment left on this blog by RX to the post Fairfax: their Rights At Work are more important than Yours. It also makes a brilliant stand-alone piece. Thank you RX. Posted with permission

Pedlars of hate, Miglo, Café Whispers
Good old 2GB. The same radio station that employs those fine custodians of moral virtue, Alan Jones and Ray Hadley. Maybe Ben Fordham might want to watch these two videos of his work mates in action before he sets the bar of decency at an unreachable level.

Commodity Price Free-Fall – Look Out Below!, Stephen Koukoulas, Market Economics
It also means that the Australian dollar needs to fall and fall sharply. Point forecasting exchanges rates is impossible to do well, but that aside, we could or perhaps should see a sub $US0.90 AUD before year end and it should drop into the US0.80s during 2013.

The carbon tax will cost how much-, Peter Martin
estimating the impact on household goods and services has been undertaken across broad product categories and the estimates represent the average price impact across each category. Within each category there will be a range of goods with different levels

Abbott comes out against online gambling ,Bigpond News, Video
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says he's not against gambling overall, but he is against more online gambling options, particularly those that might target young people.

Assange in Sweden: the facts, Jennifer Wilson, No Place for Sheep
The origins of Julian Assange’s current legal predicament are all too easily forgotten in the drama of his ongoing appeal against Sweden’s request that the UK extradite him to answer allegations of sexual misconduct in that country. However, in the opinion of this opinionista, they are crucial to the story,

The Australian Rallies the Troops, Rodney Tiffen, Inside Story
News is embroiled in the biggest media scandal in living memory, one that goes to the heart of its governance procedures and throws doubt on the future direction of all its operations. As News Corp’s internal desperation grows, it is likely that the ferocity of its attacks against its critics will escalate. •

ACA back away from controversial Thomson prostitute interview, Chris Seage, Crikey
So is this the action of a noble TV station with high journalistic standards interested only in natural justice, or did they buckle to pressure from the media, the general public, politicians and Thomson himself? Or is it simply a case that the prostitute’s story was, in the end, just so unbelievable?

The Running Man gives a boost to Gillard’s last chance, Crikey
Anthony Albanese, having to start off slowly after Anna Burke’s rebuke to the chamber about Greg Wilton, launched into Abbott on road transport costs. Indeed Combet was up a couple of times. The government’s intention is clear — it wants to hold the opposition to account for every exaggerated claim about the impact of the carbon price.

Mining could invest in a future that belongs to all of us – education , Jonathan Sobels, The Conversation
BHP Billiton chairman Jacques Nasser also complained earlier this month that Australia’s industrial relations and tax systems would force his business offshore.But the truth is the mining sector in Australia has been taxed lightly. As University of New England’s Christopher Lloyd points out we’ve known this since the Henry tax

Murdoch & Company: Rupert is finally reaping what he sowed, Robert Manne, The Monthly
For the specific ethical and criminal issues it raises do not take us directly to the most troubling issues connected with Rupert Murdoch’s media empire – the profound influence its coarse populist-conservative house style now exercises over the politics of the English-speaking world; the deeply tangled relationship

An Andy Coulson conviction could mean prison time, The Power Index
this will put David Cameron under yet more pressure, because he told the House of Commons last July: "If it turns out that I have been lied to, [by Coulson re phone-hacking] that would be a moment for a profound apology. And in that event I can tell you I will not fall short."

Andy Coulson charged with perjury, The Guardian
Andy Coulson, David Cameron's former director of communications, has been arrested and charged over allegations of lying on oath when he gave evidence in court about phone hacking at the News of the World.

Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 1 June 2012


Posts from the ‘Daily Fix’ Category


June 1. 2012 07:52 AM

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

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June 1. 2012 08:14 AM


I wonder what posessed someone in the Oppn Party room to report the "Gillard won't lie down" line?  If they are all behind the party leader as frequently reported - why would you destabilise your own tribe by commenting on what is basically an admission of failure in a public forum - where you know the media is certainly going to hear it (and use it if the love affair between the LNP & the media is coming off the boil - which seems to have been occuring for a while)?

The LNP State Governments don't seem to be covering themselves in glory either.  I saw a comment on a news site the other day wishing for a chance to vote out Gillard and Ballieu.  O'Farrell's media coverage from what I see interstate isn't great (I've seen articles about his "relationship" with the Sydney Casino and how the trains aren't running any better) and Newman is copping flack over "jobs for the boys" and billion dollar developments in Brisbane while the rest of the State "suffers" infrastructure failures.  The Barnett Government in WA seems to have lost it's popularity as well.  Some of this will "rub off" onto Abbott.

I suspect the LNP ascendancy is over (these things seem to balance out over time) - they will have to work for anything else they get from here.  The current Oppn Leader doesn't seem to have the "friends" or capability to do it.


June 1. 2012 08:50 AM


What I find most offensive is the reporting from the ABC. that "Both sides" of the chamber are to blame for the disrespect in the house...It was the Liberals that started and upped the ante time after time, person after person, subject after subject into the realms of disgusting disrespect and vitriol AND complete foolishness in the parliament!
This " balance of commentry" in the ABC. has made them bias toward the most criminal by downplaying the Liberals behaviour and upping the exageration of the govt's responses to such aggressiveness. This is not balance, but bias!
Get real, ABC. your self-respect is being auctioned off to feed the faux-respect of the Liberal Party.


June 1. 2012 08:55 AM


Good Morning Ad

2 Blogs just came in to late for "Today's Links":-

The Great Unhinging…now jumping the shark, Massivespray, Spray of the Day

One of the top headlines on this morning’s news was the “disturbing” image of some anti-Tony Abbott posters in Tanya Plibersek’s electoral office.  This being one of them in fact:

This was obviously fed to the media by yet another LNP troll desperate to keep the negativity rolling after some positive (relatively) press for the ALP and highlights how seriously deranged they are becoming.


media-and-you, Andrew Elder, Politicaqlly Homeless
These are matters for investigation and some of those investigations are underway right now. Katharine Murphy thinks it's her job to ask the same questions everyone is asking and get the same answers everyone gets, and pass them on like everyone does. As I pointed out in the comments attached to that article, she's wrong. Her job is to anchor statements to objective fact,



June 1. 2012 09:52 AM




Right on cue for us to DISMEMBER!
His mob will revolt by the Ides of September
It will come to a head by at latest November
He'll be beheaded by the end of December.

I only mean that metaphorically of course . . . Like Burn 'Er, or dump her at sea in a bag . . . Or stabbed in the back . . . like that. Not actually dead, that would be tragic! Smile

Downer pathetic in attempted lame defence on ABC24

Stott-Despoja says Beazley (n.b. sp. Ad!) was never like Abbortt

Downer: Blb blub er well um blbblub blb blblb blb . . .

(thinks  . . . PJK with the lower lip . . . Smile )

But all agree the whole lot of parliamentarians are rottenly behaved of course, all of them are equally to blame, they should all be ashamed and stop behaving like spoiled children.

It seems too hard for MSM to discern that one side and one side alone is responsible for the digraceful state of the House.  


June 1. 2012 10:58 AM


Ad astra - great article and hope your predictions keep on keeping on. I hadn't seen the clip with the tune - very amusing. I can see that turning into a campaign add for Labor. Pure gold.

Cassidy on The Drum has done it again. Apparently Run Rabbitt Run isn't that bad it would be far worse if it were Gillard because the people know that Abbott can be a little whacky - what tha! - so here we have a journo planting the idea in peoples head of the PM doing the same, and discounting it because it was Abbott - and well you know its just Abbott being whacky. The PM would NEVER run.

Apparently the lift in the opinion polls was surprising. Then there is the little jab why are they doing so badly? how is it that when the key indicators are good the government is struggling. I wonder if he headed the article with the great news of the key indicators and more focus was given to that people would be better informed and it would not be so surprising?

Now I know the article is not actually negative but it does have a slant (its subtle) that has a negative tone to it. Not sure I can really put my finger on it or perhaps I am too sensitive.


June 1. 2012 11:02 AM


Thomson’s Gazump.   Or Was That A Gazelle?

It was the Member for Dobell
Deciding he would cross the floor
That sent Tony Abbott
Running for the chamber door.

Delicious irony!   Farewell,
Keys to The Lodge,  for evermore!
That’s a story pollies will tell
For many years to come,  for sure.

The man condemned to living hell
In a cruel, relentless war
Fought back,  unexpectedly so well
He brought his enemy to the floor.

Time will come for the final bell,
There’s a bit of action still in store.
But will anything this tale excel
In Aussie parliamentary lore?


June 1. 2012 11:06 AM


Hi Ad and Everybody

Twitterverse this morning:-

Shananana's Labor is embarking on a brutally simple campaign to belt Tony Abbottwww.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-e6frg75f-1226377788862 oh dear, poor baby, poor petal

THE MP presiding over the proceedings of federal parliament says she has never seen it so bad as now. www.news.com.au/.../story-e6frfku0-1226379191171

ABC Radio‏@amworldtodaypm
"The focus on Craig Thomson has been the most intense I think I've ever seen of any public figure" - i'v with Nick Sherry at 12.10pm

The Australian‏@australian
We could have budget deficit: Abbott: TONY Abbott has signalled he would countenance a budget deficit in another... www.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-fn59nsif-1226379151801

Melissa Clarke‏@Clarke_Melissa
Deputy Speaker Anna Burke on @RNBreakfast: The last few weeks, the intensity, vitriol, I don't think I've heard before over last 14 yrs...

Tom Laing‏@tomlaing
Optus and NBN Co agreement makes business sense: Analyst - paul budde, NBN, national broadband network, malcolm ... willunganbn.blogspot.com.au/.../...ment-makes.html

ABC The Drum ‏@ABCthedrum
Twenty years after the Mabo decision, we still have a long way to go, writes ANTaR's Peter Lewis http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4045144.html

Minister's 'gays on boats' poster upsets Abbott www.brisbanetimes.com.au/.../...0120601-1zlac.html via @brisbanetimes Tacky but TRUE

Mike Kelly MP‏@MikeKellyMP
'Hypocrisy' call over carbon tax www.smh.com.au/.../...rbon-tax-20120531-1zkt7.html

Rabid Dog ‏@RabidDogAbbott
Didn't we use that slogan?? MT @markjs1 Onya Tanya!! show Abbott for what he rly is. misogynistic/homophobe... http://bit.ly/MbhIws #auspol
"It is offensive and she (Ms Plibersek) should apologise," Ms Bishop said.

Jen Redding‏@JenRedding64
www.theage.com.au/.../...t-20120601-1zlac.htmlAwww Lil' Tony can DISH IT OUT and Not Condemn it from HIS side.. and wails like a Wuss when SATIRE shows him up

National News: Fairfax journalists return to work http://bit.ly/KisAqS #australia

Not Rupert Murdoch‏@RupertMurdochPR
David Cameron: "Some people are saying there was some great conspiracy between me and Rupert Murdoch...." www.opendemocracy.net/.../some-people-mr-cameron-murdochs-and-satanic-deal



June 1. 2012 11:09 AM


The LNP must have watched too few Roadrunner and Wyile E Coyote cartoons.  Roadrunner (the Government) is always the poor sucker that is going to get it in Coyote's (the Oppn) latest scheme.  Then at the last second, some small detail is overlooked by Coyote and the whole thing backfires.

Coytoe then inevitably ends up squashed, burnt to a cinder or my personal favourite - looking like an accordian.  Roadrunner runs off ahead into the distance with a casual "beep beep" at the chaos behind him.


June 1. 2012 11:28 AM


Hello Ad Astra, I enjoyed reading your latest brilliance in bed this morning with my new Think-Pad.  I am sure your proven predictive instinct will be as unerring this time as it was with Pugilistic Politician, which I also re-read today. How satfisfying it will be to look back and enjoy Tony Abbott's final demise.  Satisfying in itself, of course. But to be able to nod and say "I told 'em so!"  Won't we be insufferable!

I followed that up drafting out my latest pome, inspired by Miglo's reference to a 'startled gazelle' yesterday (cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/the-omen/)
which brought to mind 'Thomson's gazelle' which remarkably is spelt without a 'p'!!!!

I loved that cartoon you used and would like to use it in my blog but can't seem to find the artist for attribution.  It normally comes up with a click!  It's copying Okay so it's not copyright protected, but I'd love to name him/her and look at their other work too.  Can you help?



June 1. 2012 11:35 AM


    That's gold!Or the "Foghorn leghorn" of Australian Politics!


June 1. 2012 11:45 AM


SORRY!   DELETED CRUCIAL TWO WORDS, WHEN I MEANT TO ITALICISE.   In bold here for correction's sake

Thomson’s Gazump.   Or Was That A Gazelle?

It was the Member for Dobell
Deciding he would cross the floor
That sent Tony Abbott pell mell
Running for the chamber door.

Delicious irony!   Farewell,
Keys to The Lodge,  for evermore!
That’s a story pollies will tell
For many years to come,  for sure.

The man condemned to living hell
In a cruel, relentless war
Fought back,  unexpectedly so well
He brought his enemy to the floor.

Time will come for the final bell,
There’s a bit of action still in store.
But will anything this tale excel
In Aussie parliamentary lore?


June 1. 2012 11:47 AM


In scrambling to waste his vote, hasn't Tony decided to lay down and die?

He has painted himself into a corner with this tainted vote nonsense, which says a lot about his judgement and priorities. He just doesn't think things through.

If Libs are going to vote against themselves, then Labor needs a few more "tainted votes" and before long, they'll have a comfortable majority.

Thomson's next trick should be to oppose the carbon tax and say Gillard is a rubbish PM, which means Abbott will have to do the opposite.


June 1. 2012 11:47 AM


What happened there?  No italicised pell mell and no bold either!

What a curse perfectionism can be!


June 1. 2012 11:57 AM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
What a splendid collection of links, many of which are on a theme similar to this piece, and more still on Twitterverse.  I’ve added the additional two links to your special page.

Dennis Shanahan’s take is amusing in Better the devil they want us to know a cryptic header that invites the reader to read on: Julia Gillard's plan to lift Labor's deplorable support, become competitive electorally and shore up her own leadership is an admirably simple political message, if not pretty in its aim and execution. Labor is embarking on a brutally simple campaign to buy votes and belt Tony Abbott.  That’s all I can read, but note his words: ‘deplorable’, ‘not pretty’, and ‘brutally’.  He gives his backhander, then grudgingly concedes the message is ‘simple’, quite a compliment from Shanas, but tags it as ‘not pretty’ and ‘brutal’.  What a disgrace that Tony is being subject to a brutal campaign that points out he is a devious liar every time he spreads his message of gloom, doom and disaster that the carbon tax will bring about.  Poor Tony.

I note in your tweets a report of what I heard on ABC radio from Anna Burke: ”The Labor MP said the mood of parliament has reached a level of intensity and personal vitriol she has not seen during her 14 years in the lower house.”  She was generous enough to not blame individuals, instead blaming the mood on the belief there could be an election at any moment because of a hung parliament, which meant MPs were not pacing themselves for three years.”  We all agree with her first comment, but hold Tony Abbott primarily responsible for this state of affairs, something the media seems too scared to say.  And we agree that Abbott is not pacing himself.  He is running out of puff.

I was amused at poor Tony’s upset over the posters inside the Sydney electorate office of Tanya Plibersek that carry the slogans: "I'm threatened by boats and gays. Gays on boats are my worst nightmare" and also "Note to Ladies: Make me a sandwich".  Why then wasn’t he upset about the ‘Ditch the Witch’ and ‘Bob Brown’s Bitch’ posters in front of which he stood at a carbon tax rally?  It’s another example of Abbott-brand hypocrisy writ large.

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 12:10 PM

Ad astra

Catching up
The prize is tantalizingly close, but out of his reach.  That’s the frustration.  So near, and yet so far!

You are right.  It is the Liberal Party, indeed the Coalition that must be defeated.  They will ditch Abbott just as soon as they believe he has become an electoral liability, and should they put Malcolm Turnbull in his place, admittedly unlikely, the task would be much harder.  Apart from him there is no one that could match Julia Gillard.

That was an informative article, one that confirms what we already know about the power of women, and it added an explanation: ”The ability of elected females to achieve improvements in the overall state of the economy is perhaps driven in part by the fact that female MPs have to break through a “glass ceiling” to enter parliament in most countries. These women may on average be quite extraordinary and thus have a greater effect on policy outcomes than the average male parliamentarian.”

The women ministers in the Labor Government are outstanding, and doing a commendable job.

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 12:23 PM

Ad astra

First, thank you for your kind remarks and your delightful pome, so apt.  I’m glad that you enjoyed the piece, and that you read it on your Think-Pad.  Beware, such devices are addictive!

I too looked for the author of the cartoon, but for the life of me could not work out the ‘signature’ in the bottom right of the cartoon.  But as that signature was there, I felt that attribution was being made although I couldn’t make out who it was.

Here is the URL of the Facebook page where I found it: www.facebook.com/photo.php

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 12:30 PM

Ad astra

Right!  Tony Abbott has had it.

I too have noted that rather than blame Tony Abbott for a situation for which he is almost entirely responsible, Coalition supporters like to say: ‘they’re all the same!

You are right: “It seems too hard for the MSM to discern that one side and one side alone is responsible for the disgraceful state of the House.

Thank you for your kind remarks.  I haven’t seen the Cassidy article. Could you please post the link.

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 12:39 PM

Ad astra

It was like Roadrunner, but it wasn’t meant to be funny.  The Government and Craig Thomson certainly enjoyed it.

Let’s hope Abbott is the Coyote, so long as he doesn’t keep coming back.

Wikipedia says this: ” Jones [the creator of the series] based the Coyote on Mark Twain's book Roughing It, in which Twain described the coyote as "a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton" that is "a living, breathing allegory of Want. He is always hungry." The description fits our would-be PM, Tony.

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 12:49 PM

Ad astra

I love you sense of humour.

I too wonder that Tony Abbott has made such a serious tactical error in uttering those damning words, and that the Coalition has those in its midst who are prepared to leak them.  It is an error of judgement compounded by disloyalty.

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 12:52 PM


A picture and a thousand words or something like that



June 1. 2012 01:32 PM


Ad astra

Thank-you for the half-time pep talks - much needed and as usual right on the money.
I was beginning to despair that Abbott would ever be shown up for the fool that he is but he has done the job on himself. His remarks about Gillard and the absurdity of being caught on camera running from the House in an attempt to keep alive the unconstitutional notion that he has the right to 'accept' Thomson's vote should see a change in the way many Australians view him.

It's interesting that in all of the articles about Pyne and Abbott's dash no-one has seen fit to quote Deputy Speaker Anna Burke when she said at the time:

Mr Hockey:  Madam Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order. Just to clarify: as we said that we would not accept the vote of the member for Dobell, when we realised—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER:  The member for North Sydney does not have the call. The member for North Sydney, it is not for the opposition or the government to accept a member's vote. We need to clarify this: it is for the parliament to accept a member's vote.

Page 1

Fingers crossed that this is a watershed moment that will bring Abbott into sharper focus.
He has poured salt into his own wound by calling attention to a couple of relatively innocuous posters thereby guaranteeing them a far wider audience than they might otherwise have enjoyed. Commentators keep telling us what a clever political operative he is. Can't see it myself.

A bit of clever Photoshopping provided by someone at PB.

I'm sorry for not making much contribution to the conversations of late. Two concurrent family medical dramas are draining both emotions and intellect.


June 1. 2012 01:35 PM


Hi Bill

Ad Astra says he loves your sense of humour so do I.

("Thomson's next trick should be to oppose the carbon tax and say Gillard is a rubbish PM, which means Abbott will have to do the opposite.")

Thankyou for your comment Bill, we do enjoy your blog
kicking at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight

Cheers SmileSmileSmileSmile


June 1. 2012 01:37 PM


The Cassidy article mentioned above is truly crook. Essentially an "aw shucks, that's just Tony" defence. My computer illiteracy prevents me posting the link.
But there's a lot of this stuff about at the moment, the "they're all as bad as each other" lines proliferating.
It's long been rattling around in my mind that with Abbott's ascenscion (it hurts to type that word in this regard!) to liberal leader, his large group of minders analysed what they had to work with.
And beyond his remarkable ability to deliver vicious if untruthful slogans, that wasn't much. The task therefore became to drag Labor down to Abbott's level. Relentless negativity plus ritual excusing of Abbott's gone a long way to achieving that.
I put up a post on the Cassidy site, but I doubt I can be bothered to go back & look.


June 1. 2012 01:49 PM



Set yourself free! Laughing

How to Copy and Paste a URL (Web Address)


June 1. 2012 02:15 PM


Here is the Cassidy post - I replied I go by the moniker LS on The Drum. I saw your post BSA bob - well done.



June 1. 2012 02:17 PM


Hi Ad

Thankyou for writing up another awe-inspiring, brilliant article.

Your writing feels like you have come to visit again and having a talk to me in the Lounge room by a cosy fire. You always leave a vivid impression in my mind with your writing.

I always pick out a few words for Twitter when I send the link
these words I selected this time, it's hard you know. You do give me a magnificent selection of words to choose from.

"the keys to The Lodge – retreating from his eagerly outstretched hand."



June 1. 2012 02:26 PM


Hi Norman K

I am so sorry to hear you have 2 sick family members, I do hope they will be OK soon.

Your writing and intellect is still perfect.

I too enjoy as you said Ad's half time pep talks, yours are good too,

We will just have to keep you talking about the economy, no I know some IT tech stuff (just joking with you).Smile

(I'm sorry for not making much contribution to the conversations of late. Two concurrent family medical dramas are draining both emotions and intellect.)



June 1. 2012 02:26 PM


I can't believe that they only knew about Tanya's posters today!

This has to be a ploy to water down his bully image, lets hope it backfires. He has had a couple of bad days, he is getting a message that the public don't like him and so he goes for the underdog line. Oh my his press dudes have taken a big gamble on this one. Sneaky, dirty playing cynical lot that they are.


June 1. 2012 02:40 PM

42 long

Tony's ploy never had a plan "B". He backed himself into a corner from the beginning. The most alarming aspect of the plan was an assumption that all of australia could be assummed to be fools and accept his eternally repeated rubbish.
   The entire LNP stand condemned also for making that assumption, as they put him there.
   I can't recall a time when I regarded them as totally unworthy of my vote to the extent I do now.
   We have a system of democracy that many people would give their lives for the future of their children, and we get this
"offering" for potential leader.

42 long

June 1. 2012 02:50 PM

Ad astra

Thanks for the link to the Cassidy article.  I see what you mean.  Barrie is having a bob both ways.  Like you, I’m irritated by the media’s propensity for attributing Abbott’s bizarre behaviour to some endearing intrinsic trait, expressed by ‘Tony Abbott can be a bit whacky’ or ‘That’s just Tony’, as if that is sufficient to excuse his aberrant, and at times weird behaviour.  Why do journalists not ask: “Does this man’s behaviour fit him to be PM?” or “Would voters be willing to accept Abbott’s bizarre behaviour were he to be PM?”  For all but rusted-on Abbott supporters, the answer would be a resounding NO.  Why does the media let him off the hook when he deserves to be strung up?  

My hypothesis is that many, if not most journalists do believe the opinion polls and the prediction of commentators (not the pollsters themselves) that the Coalition will have a big win in 2013, and that if they are to maintain their status under an Abbott Government, they had better be nice to him.  Because journalists are now under threat – just reflect on the Fairfax strike – they are thinking about whom they might be asking for a job should their own evaporate, and since News Limited owns 70% of metropolitan newspapers, that is where they may have to gravitate.  And they know full well that News Limited wants Julia Gillard out and Tony Abbott in.  So why would they endanger their future by calling Abbott for what he is, when they know that might jeopardize their job opportunities?  They know too that being on the drip feed from government is crucial to their success, to their ‘scoops’, their ‘exclusives’, and that if they alienate a future government there will be no drip feed.

Only the gutsy commentators like Laura Tingle, Ross Gittins and Peter Martin are courageous enough to call Abbott out.

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 02:56 PM


Hi Ad

Twitterati this afternoon:-

Tim Dunlop on BSides has an article about Barrie Cassidy's article.

The Latest BISONs ARE HERE - 1st June 2012

Kevin Rudd‏@KRuddMP
Well folks I'm totally stoked. Jess has given birth to a beautiful baby girl. Josephine Therese. 6.3 lbs. All well. KRudd

Tony Abbott's free pass, Tim Dunlop, BSides
Bizarre scenes and shifting mood in Parliament, Barry Cassidy, The Drum

The new @QuarterlyEssay from @latingle (on government, entitlement and an angry nation) has arrived. http://bit.ly/M2NRU7

@Wraithaz excellent article in ThePunch tks www.thepunch.com.au/.../obviously factual brought out the libturds en masse to write usual crap     Abbott has dug a big hole over ‘disastrous’ carbon tax

Meanwhile, it seems a significant portion of his party has been off buying shares in mining. Which tends to show some sort of confidence in the future of the sector. At least 34 Opposition members or their partners have invested in mining, as their leader has travelled the country warning the tax would be a wrecking ball generally, disastrous for mining, and death to the coal industry.www.thepunch.com.au/.../

David Donovan‏@davrosz
My piece on John Howard being rewarded by the Queen for stopping Australia from becoming a Republic:

Mark ‏@markjs1
RT @Greatmaddog: Julia Gillard is the toughest PM since Keating...maybe even smarter...she's a woman of steel.>> Hear...Hear!! #auspol

Neerav Bhatt‏@neerav
What is a halted NBN worth? @itnews_au opinion piece by @mwyres says it would be "the network no-one would want" to buy www.itnews.com.au/.../...s-a-halted-nbn-worth.aspx

Keppel MP appointed to tourism committee | Rockhampton News | www.themorningbulletin.com.au/.../ Cutting Public Servants to pay LNP hacks

The Project‏@theprojecttv
What do you think of the Tony Abbott posters snapped in Health Minister Tanya Plibersek's office? Offensive? Funny? www.news.com.au/.../story-e6frfkvr-1226377446341



June 1. 2012 03:02 PM


Perfectionist tragic Paticiawa said

Thomson’s Gazump. Or Was That A Gazelle?

I say Bravo Craig of Dobell!
Yes indeed, you gazzumped 'em so well!
And wouldn't that Poo-Poo
Look cute in a tu-tu
Performing as Thomson's Giselle!

And Patricia you have cracked the rhyming barrier now haven't you, I know because I did that myself lang syne, and it really makes you appreciate the wealth of words in English, there's hardly anything that you can't rhyme (or at least wing it with). Your rhymes are ever more hilarious and clever, (the best ever I think may have been Ogden Nash,  just to keep us humble.)


June 1. 2012 03:04 PM

Ad astra

Thank you for your complimentary remarks, and the link to Hansard.  It beats me why it was necessary for Anna Burke to spell out the truth about entitlement to vote, which seems self-evident.  Parliamentarians who don’t know this are incompetent in this regard.  I suspect though that the ‘runners’ know this perfectly well, but being the deceptive bunch they are, perpetrated the lie that Thomson was somehow not entitled to vote, and his electorate thereby deprived of representation, because he is ‘tainted’.  Not charged or convicted, just ‘tainted’ in their small and biased minds.

I’m sorry to read of your personal issues and hope they soon resolve.

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 03:22 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Thank you once more for your always-generous remarks.  It delights me that you enjoy these pieces so much.  That is a very big compliment.

The words: "the keys to The Lodge – retreating from his eagerly outstretched hand" do conjure up the image of the Coyote, wildly running as usual, hands feverishly clawing, but never actually grasping the prize before he falls off a cliff.  

But I suppose Barrie Cassidy would excuse him with: ‘Tony Abbott can be a bit whacky’.  ‘Whacky’ is not prime ministerial Barrie.  We don’t want a Coyote, we want a Roadrunner, and we have one already!

I found your comment on the Cassidy piece, and concur with your remarks: ”So all the verbiage about the opposition being only a byelection away from government is temporarily taken off the table in order to run the "oppositions are only oppositions, they can do whatever they want" theme.  Abbott, with help from the usual support crew, created this scenario.  He didn't have the wit to foresee it actually happening & looked a bloody fool in his panicked & failed escape attempt.
  His actions were, to quote Stephen Crane, "the work of a master's legs."
  And yes, this person may well be within a byelection of forming government.”

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 03:40 PM


I like the comment on the Cassidy artice that is a couple under mine (right down the bottom).  BSA Bob - I saw your well written observation as well (it's one of the comments that convinced me to add to the "discussion").  

All of us tend to over analyse, we forget the simple. "Leader don't run, they walk or they stand they don't run".

.  Thanks Krafted - well written.


June 1. 2012 03:40 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Thanks again for the Twitterati.  I was taken by Tim Dunlop’s appraisal of Barrie Cassidy’s article.  Everyone should read it – it is spot on: http://tjd.posterous.com/tony-abbotts-free-pass

After quoting Cassidy, Dunlop says: “Just try and get your head around all that. The apologetics for Abbott, not just, as Cassidy tries to pretend, because he is Opposition Leader and not Prime Minister, but because he's Abbott and we've all always known he's a bit whacky.  Shucks.

Yes, why hold an alternative prime minister to the same standards as a prime minister once that alternative has already established that he's a bit unhinged?  Let's just give him a free pass on everything because 'whacky' is just in his character.

That says it all.

The BISONS make great reading, and the Punch article by Tory Shepherd is good.

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 03:51 PM

Ad astra

42 long
How right you are.  Judging him by his bizarre behaviour, his vitriolic language, his disingenuous talk, his scaremongering, Tony Abbott is unworthy of anyone’s vote.  Yet we have senior journalists like Barrie Cassidy letting off the hook because, after all he can be a bit ‘whacky’.  Yet Abbott wants to be PM, a whacky PM I suppose.  But that’s OK, that’s just Tony!

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 03:54 PM


Actually - whats happening with comments on The Drum?  That's twice in two days I've got a comment lightly critical of ABC staff through the ABC System and published Smile


June 1. 2012 04:20 PM



Thinking of your during your stressful time, and hoping all works out well.

Ad Astra

Your words from when Abbott obtained leadership of the Opposition have all come true, and as you add, he is even worse than you predicted.

Talking of predictions, I said the media would excuse him and they have.  I had just got home from shopping and saw Abbott on the tv with the caption, wtte We did not accept tainted vote.  I went straight to twitter to see what it was about, found a link to a newspaper article, tried to read it aloud, only to have to stop because of the tears of laughter down my face.  Then I saw the footage.  What an absolute fool he is and has always been.

At least it has lowered my fear of the Nopposition wining next year a little bit.........if only the media would be fair, but Ad Astra, I can see why reporters are too scared to go hard in case he does win.  If the opinion polls to change for the better for Labor, do you think the media may do a rethink on that?


June 1. 2012 04:24 PM


Looks like I got censored on this one on The Drum. I suggested that instead of moaning about why the media have tuned out  perhaps he could lead the way and write about something different like the emerging differences between the two parties instead of just alluding to them?? it can't be that hard.


Unfortunately, however, while real differences have since begun to emerge between the Labor agenda and the program of rescission and roll-back proposed by the Coalition, some sections of the media have tuned out.


June 1. 2012 04:56 PM

Ad astra

I’ve been reflecting on the article to which you linked that showed the value of women in parliament.  I think we are seeing this before our very eyes, with a tough, resilient, brilliant PM who seems to be across multiple issues all at the same time, and her female ministers who perform so well – Nicola Roxon, so good in the health portfolio, now very sound as attorney general; Tanya Plibersek, good in her housing portfolio, now doing well in health and always excellent on TV and in shows such Q&A; Jenny Macklin, so articulate, strong and sound in the families and indigenous affairs portfolio; Penny Wong in finance, so calm, so logical, and so articulate on TV; the reliable Kate Ellis in early childhood and Kate Lundy in multicultural affairs; and now the competent and strong Anna Burke as Deputy Speaker.

Why is this so?

Apart from the explanation in the article to which you linked, that women who make it to high places have got there because of their determination and ability to traverse ‘the glass ceiling’, I feel there is an innate biological reason.

I have always found women colleagues and staff great collaborators – competent and reliable.  I attribute at least some of this to their capacity to multitask.  While we men generally take a linear approach, women are able to grapple with many things at the same time.  To give a homely example, they can cook a meal, attend to noisy kids, answer the telephone, and get in the washing almost simultaneously.  This capacity, when applied in professional situations, enables them to attend to many things at once.  Some wrongly label this behaviour as ‘flighty’, and contrast it with male single-mindedness, which they laud; whereas in fact it is an advantage, an attribute that many males lack, except perhaps the creative ones.  

Women seem to have the ability to engage the logical part of their cerebral cortex with the creative part, replete as it is with its rich imagery.  There seems to be a more powerful connection between the right and left parts of the female brain that exists in the male brain.  I accept these are generalizations and that they don’t apply universally.  Some women seem to have a ‘male brain’, and vice versa.

But the upshot is a capacity that females have to contemplate many aspects of a problem simultaneously, in contrast to males who generally prefer to consider each aspect seriatim.  I believe the combination of male and female behaviour is the ideal.  Sometimes single-minded, unilateral, sharply focused thinking is what is required; but often multilateral thinking is needed to find the solution.  In family medicine a necessary attribute is the ability to consider a multiplicity of factors simultaneously, the ability to think divergently; this is why so many females have found this discipline to their liking.  Narrow specialties attract men because linear, convergent thinking is more applicable there.

Yet despite all we know about how females think and act, despite the value they have been shown to have in complex situations that require a multilateral approach, some men still have a misogynist attitude, an attitude I suspect some male politicians still harbour.  This can engender hostility and resentment toward females.  Is the antagonism that we see directed towards Julia Gillard by some male politicians a manifestation of misogyny?   I believe it probably is.  Which leaves me unable to similarly explain the attitude towards her of Julie Bishop, Sophie Mirabella and Bronwyn Bishop.

What do you think?

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 05:15 PM

Ad astra

Thank you for your kind words.  Prediction is usually hazardous, but in the case of Tony Abbott, not all that difficult.  His belligerent behaviour is long standing. Predicting what will become of him is more problematic.  Of one thing I am sure, once the media desists from protecting him, from excusing his bizarre behaviour with such spongy adjectives as ‘whacky’, and call him for what he is, he is finished.  But will the media ever get round to it?

I found Robert Simms’ article well written.  Like you I wish he would follow it up with specific examples of the hard policy questions the media should ask.  While generalities are useful, it is the specifics that force answers from reluctant politicians.

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 05:21 PM

Ad astra

Sorry, I missed your comment first time through.  I'm not sure if you have been here before, but if, not welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.

I'm so glad this piece took the chill off your Canberra morning.

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 05:25 PM


Thanks, TT.  I'm never quite settled with something until I've seen your reaction.  Yes, it was tempting to use 'gazelle' in the the main body of the verse, but that would have been overkill and unkind to gazelle!

I've just had a boozy lunch with an old friend, a long ago editor and proprietor of the Fremantle Gazette, who is horrifed at the reach of Rupert Murdoch down to local community level. He sold the paper decades ago, never dreaming that an international conglomerate like News Ltd would want to get their hands on it.  What can be done to counteract the influence of this man?  We need to keep reminding people that his 70% control of newspapers in Oz does not mean newspapers just in capital cities but allnewsprint publications in small towns and communities across the country.  His influence over the mind-set of Australians is truly alarming.


June 1. 2012 05:46 PM


Another fine article, Ad astra. I appreciate your efforts and blog, thank you.


June 1. 2012 05:59 PM

Ad astra

Thank you for your encouraging words; I'm glad you enjoyed the piece.

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 07:02 PM


Great read Ad Astra.
In QT on Monday, the gloom was writ large on Abbott's demeanour. I commented to my hubbie that I bet he has bad news in the polls and of course that night Newspoll delivered. No doubt Credlin must have had the polling and had tried to assure Abbott it was the cash handouts, afterall his "human" comments from the previous Thursday were believable.  But even Abbott knew the cash didn't get in any accounts until after the polls, so his ego was punctured.

So what will happen over the next 2 weeks, will Abbott slump in a gloom, press on with his Carbon Tax fear (which now threatens his credibility) or finally go to his own home and give us all a rest.


June 1. 2012 07:03 PM


"Bazz Cass" is now a weak-kneed yes-man. Henry Lawson wrote :"The further you get from poverty, the more afraid of it you become." Bazz, like too many in the celeb-journo club are terrified they will not be able to continue with the style of living they have come to expect....they have been "bought"...thirty pieces of silver go a long way, but to those who purchase Bazz and the rest, it is small beer..small change, they have got their "judas kiss" for next to nothing..but what Bazz has lost...His reputation as an honest/reputable professional..is gold..solid gold! his reputation is now as a paupers promise.....: worthless.


June 1. 2012 07:30 PM


NormanK  - remiss of me to forget to wish you all the best while you are looking after ill relatives.  My apologies.

Sue - you're probably right in Newspoll was enough to throw the LNP off "their game" for the week.  It will be interesting to see what happens on July 1 (apart from the sun coming up as usual etc).  Interesting they didn't just turn their focus to the Morgan poll.


June 1. 2012 08:01 PM

Ad astra

Abbott knows no other strategy than opposition.  I note today that he was still harping on the burden that the carbon tax will bring when he commented on the Fair Work Australia pay increase to low paid workers, bring their wage to a little over $600 dollars a week.  His comment was that he welcomed the increase as these low-paid workers, ‘who will need all the help they can get when the carbon tax comes in, as that will drive prices up and up and up’!  The man behaves like an automaton.  He gets his running orders every day and goes out and delivers them slogan-like.

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 08:02 PM


Hi Ad Astra - an excellent, thoughtful and thought-profoking article as usual.  I always read and enjoy them
For you and PatriciaWA, if you haven't found this out already, I think that cartoonist is Sean Leahy.


June 1. 2012 08:51 PM

Ad astra

Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.

Thank you for your kind encouraging words.  I'm glad you enjoyed the piece.

Thank you too for the name of the cartoonist - the name you suggest tallies with the signature and the URL below it.  I'll add an acknowledgement.

Ad astra

June 1. 2012 09:22 PM

Dan Gulberry

As always, a great read AA.

Another good pome by Patricia, and lots of further reading from Lynn.

Keep up the good work everyone.

Dan Gulberry

June 1. 2012 09:23 PM


Only the most vigilant of TV watchers will be aware of this I suppose Smile
but the Queen has just presented John Howard with the Royal Order of the Count

I have posted this before, more than once probably, but our own Dear Past Leader is the giver who keeps on giving or should that be being given to.

Beware of the last rhyme, it is the wickedest ever devised.
I am deeply ashamed of it but what can I do?

Decent Christians should only read the following blindfold.


Johnny Meets the Queen

John Howard climbs up on a chair, to kiss Queen Lizzie's cheek:
He says "Your Royal Highness, there's a favour that I seek:
There's no-one dotes on Royalty as much as Aussies do -
I want my land Australia to be a Kingdom too!"

The Queen says, "What a nice idea - but there's just one tiny thing -
For your land to be a Kingdom, John, you'd have to be a King!"

John Howard climbs down from his chair, he grovels on  his knees:
Kisses Liz's hand and wheedles "D'ohhh, Your Highness! Please?
If I can't have a Kingdom, please, oh please Your Majesty,
Please, please decree Australia a Principality!"

The Queen's expression shows that he is getting on her Quince:
"John, for a Principality, you'd need to be a Prince!"

Her answer is quite clearly a downturned Royal Thumb,
But Johnny scuttles up and kisses Liz's Royal Bum!
He begs her, "Let me make a Kingdom on Australian Soil!
Swipe me  with thy Magic Sword, Marm! Make me something Royal!"

Liz draws from wells of Wisdom - ( for Liz is Wisdom's Fount) -
(Her speech is sweet as Jesus doing Sermon on the Mount)
"John, Blessed Be True Royalty! - but -Sorry to be blunt! -
Australia's just a country John - You're no more than a Count!"


June 1. 2012 09:34 PM


Ad you said

It beats me why it was necessary for Anna Burke to spell out the truth about entitlement to vote, which seems self-evident.  Parliamentarians who don’t know this are incompetent in this regard.

I would suggest that Anna was playing to the gallery - literally. And bloody good idea imo. Of course the Abborttians are well aware of Thomson's rights but they will trash any tradition of decency, or actual constitutional rights if they can, if it will help them seize power. But Anna can remind the Gallery, and through it the wider community, of elected representatives' rights, and Abbortt and his minions can just suck it up.


June 1. 2012 09:59 PM


Deliciously norty, TT.   And I might add, very appropriate verses to commemmorate such a significant event in the nation's life as the decorating of J.W.H!


June 1. 2012 10:12 PM


I suggest that you be handy to your vomitorium before reading this!



June 1. 2012 11:16 PM


Talk turkey
As you said Anna Burke may have to spell out to the gallery, the parliament decides whose vote is counted not a party. But you may be interested to know that northcoast voices referenced Hansard and so had the list of all members who voted with Abbott and Thomson


June 2. 2012 12:26 AM

paul walter

It was a very good thread starter, had me rechecking some of my thinking also.
Am one of these moved to tick off the PM for what I feel is timid politics, such as her intervention on behalf of the USA over Assange, so must always remember what life has taught me about people like Abbott.
better a bird in the bush, etc.

paul walter

June 2. 2012 02:48 AM


The Tipping Point

Ad astra

My heart and head are so full I don't know where to start.

Let me say anyway first, I am very happy with where Labor sits now.

[Though I'll never get odds of 5 to 1 again!  Smile]

Yes! Today, yesterday, the day before have all been showing the early signs that we have passed the tipping point.

With choo-choo trains that's where The Little Engine that says

I think I Can . . . I think I can . . .

gets far enough past the summit that now gravity is on its side

and it becomes The Little Engine that says



But trains always start with a bump - (overcoming initial inertia.)

You know who gave our train that critical bump?

Craig Thomson, take a bow.

Or rather, let me salute you. I think of you as a working-class hero, though few would recognize that yet.  


A hunted man, maybe you're not as pure as driven snow, I don't know and don't much care, no-one is driven snow anyway and in the whole scheme of things I have never thought you evil. Not like Reith for example, a schemer and liar and crook: you are an unfortunate victim of circumstance as few others are; an ordinary but very capable and hardworking man, a caring husband and father of a young child, bailed up like a despised criminal, pushed into a corner with nothing left to lose.

Well Mr Thomson, be proud, your honourably-quivering chin and trembling accusing finger and defiant stand have wrought consternation and dismay among the Rotten Right and their MSM yellow running dogs, more than anything else ever has since Abbortt became LOTO. You have by your pain and misery uniquely, if incidentally, defended the rule of law, the presumption of innocence and the separation of powers, the very pillars of a decently ordered society. Good Man. I want you back in the Labor Party, I am not real happy that you were ever distanced, at the very time you needed it most. Perhaps it was for the best, the Power of One was never more poignant. I just can't help thinking you have been a good friend to Labor and to this country, and you deserve better yourself.


There is  a tool called vice-grips, like pliers, but in addition to having an adjustable bite, the design incorporates a 'past-the-centre' mechanism that allows the jaws to bite incredibly hard, to clip the bitten object tight, and to refuse to let go until deliberately released. It too has a tipping point, you squeeze the handles together and you can feel it suddenly grab its mouthful in its steely teeth, and you know you have the object in your grip. I think, Ad astra, we felt that tipping-point moment when Thomson gave his vote to the Opposition -(!?!!!) - surely a unique, and uniquely ironic event in the history of the Westminster System anywhere! - and Pyne and  Abbortt made their ludicrous dash for the doors, providing an image which will haunt them forever.

As will Pyne's obscene tongue-poke at the Speaker as he was  yet again 94a'd for disgraceful behaviour.

Women in particular reading this blog should be aware that, in  anthropological terms, tongue-poking is symbolic spitting. Would Pyne have tongue-poked a male? Slipper? I don't think so!!! So that leaves me with the conviction that in addition to his other endearing characteristics this disgusting boor is an icon of misogyny. Women, make your feelings heard!


As I watch the various MSM today, even Lateline, I can feel the change: at last they are starting to query the Abbortt line of Doom Death and Destruction, to actually take their positions responsibly a little bit, to take notice of Greg Combet, to value the NBN, to call out the Abborttians, to doubt their ability to undo the good things the Government has done . . .

"Milk or bread might go up half a cent or so, an incredibly small amount . . . " says a credible guest on Lateline.

"Households will be well compensated, most will be better off . . ."

That sort of talk will have Abbortt lying awake at night, and when he does sleep it will haunt him in troubled dreams. Smile

For him, nothing more can ever come to any good.
We've got him in our vice-grips and he knows it.

The Coalons now are like a hive of bees bereft of their queen, I've seen that, they are sort of aimless, lost, demoralized. All who watch Parliament QT will have noticed that this week, our side in jubilation, theirs in despair.

Tony is no longer their infallible champion,
"*J*U*L*I*A* isn't going to lie down and die", says he,

Ohhhh but Tony you promised!

" er er I didn't write that down so it doesn't count . . ."  

Abbortt you're done for. Just a matter of time.

Abbortt remember
The Ides of September . . .

Ad astra I am proud of us-all, we are just a little bit of the push that has helped our Little Engine past the summit, but I think a very important one. I suspect that there are many Pikiranku's Out There (Welcome, Comrade!) who read your essays and follow our comments, yet who rarely or never comment themselves, and to them I say Cheers, do as you will, write or merely read TPS, but be sure, you will always be well-received on this site, provided only that your will is good.

Ad astra you said first in this essay, "Prediction in politics is fraught but tempting." Certainly, the minutiae are impossible to predict - the defection of Peter Slipper, the ascension of Bob Carr, the challenge by Rudd (who?) all in the last few months - yet Ad both you and I have been right, for all the right reasons, about the overall direction and trajectory of the political seasons so far, ever since the election, and you Ad have been basically right all along for ever since you started this blog. I call it Eye of Time as you know, it's not mysterious, it's just logic plus a little nous, extrapolated into the future. Property developers have an Eye of Time of course, investors, inventors, indeed all sorts of people who are just reasonably logical in thinking about their own personal futures; but when it comes to politics we are thinking of the whole gamut of social conditions for all on this island, and we need to look at macro trends. And with Abbortt, his hollowness has always been glaringly obvious, his lack of policies, his cut-and-run lying behaviour, and we have known that it would never be enough to hold a useless NOppositionists together, provided only the Government can last its term. And since there is no possible good to be gained form speculating on the death of one or two Government Members, and since this Government has never wavered or failed in its decent legisaltive and social progrms, it really leaves only one logical prediction, that come the 2013 election Labor will win. No matter what the polls say in the medium term. And since it only serves our purpose well actually to predict that right out loud, well why wouldn't we!

But Ad astra were it not for your own steadfast optimism I would not have been able to sustain mine, you and Lyn have been constant inspiration to me and I know it helps encourage us all just for others to be upbeat. I think there is a sort of simpatico synchronicitous vibe that extends beyond TPS too theoughout the blogosphere, and that too is mutual, with our own Lyn as its great cross-pollinator. We all help each other to stay positive, fie on detractors. (de = down, tractors = pullers), well they can pull their heads in instead, because we are going to win.  

Because we have passed the tipping point, we have the Abbortians rattled now and literally on the run.

And you know what? (as Kevin Rudd likes to say)-
If an election were called right now, I reckon we would be neck and neck by polling day given a well-run campaign.

The Abborttians must realize this now, and they are freaking. Hence their behaviour in Parliament.  

By Spring next year we will do them properly.

And Ad astra you will be partly to blame! Smile


June 2. 2012 06:48 AM



You are correct that there is a "silent" audience for the TPS - probably silent because you are all so eloquent and we couldn't say it better.  However, it is wonderful to have such positive (although not delusional) views expressed - makes for a good start to the day.

Go Little Red Engine, go!!


June 2. 2012 08:32 AM


Spot the bulls**t by two!


In which Peter Hartcher tells us neither Gillard nor Abbott is "a true leader", basing the former contention on what people have said happened with no objective proof of it having done so, and the latter on what we all saw as Shouldabeen wheezily sprinted for the door in Parliament.

The former? Hearsay and repeated commentary without proven base in fact. The latter? The evidence of our eyes.

Lazy work, Peter, lazy and slantingly opinionated.

BS Number 2.


In which Lenore Taylor claims to recognise 'skilful' political strategy being slow-cook developed by Tiny Abbott and the Cabal of Incompetents to "triangulate" the Government.

Too clever by 'arf, Lenore, trying to tie in an American after-the-event claim on political skill with the hamfisted negativism of Tiny and his troupe. The latter efforts may resemble the Yank theory, but only by accident.

You don't get political subtlety out of "No". You may get accidental congruence for the long bow of a political journalist searching for something, anything!, on a slow Saturday morning, but to even begin to ascribe political savant status to anyone in the tactics group for the Coalition just shows how slow this Saturday morning actually is.


June 2. 2012 08:43 AM


With Prime Minister Gillard throwing down the gauntlet to the "big end of town", there will be repercussions. Recall Whitlam's speech to the same and he saying to the effect ;"You'd be suprised how good bedfellows we could get to be!". I hate to rain on our own back-slapping parade, but the rabid-right also will not "lay down and die" (they will just smell that way!)..they are scheming as we reflect now.
I have noticed the military are being drawn into the budget discussions in a demogogic way. Retired officers are complaining in the MSM. and certain types will try to emotionalise these complaints,re; "Our boys at the front are being deserted nonsense". I would think the govt' would do well to keep a charge sheet with the words "Treason/Sedition" already inked in and a selection of names (we all know whom)handy just in case there is a 1975 moment in certain quarters!


June 2. 2012 09:10 AM


Yes I never say in a few dozen words what I can say in several thousands. . .

Oh hang on . . . Maybe that's multiloquent! Garrulous . . . Voluble . . . Talk the leg off a dead donkey!Thank you though. Anyway, if you don't write lots, do write often.

Lenore Taylor has been got at!
It is an idiotic article from a journalist I had thought worthy of the appellation.

Carrot and stick I think. Pay increase or lose your job LT,
what's it to be? Now, if you just change this line . . . to say . . . and so on.

Taylor should hide her head in shame.  


June 2. 2012 10:12 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody

Twitterverse for you.

I see our Michael has trumped the Twitterverse this morning.

Thankyou for your links Michael and your  opinion on those articles.

Sorry if some of the below twitter links have duplicated yours.  I haven't got time to go back through them at the moment.

Michael says "Lazy work, Peter, lazy and slantingly opinionated"

Michael says"Lenore trying to tie in an American after-the-event claim on political skill with the hamfisted negativism of Tiny and his troupe."

Brilliant observation Michael couldn't agree with you more.

Independent Australia says
99 per cent of the time, the ‘news’ or commentary appears to be journalist’s own personal opinion.

David Donovan‏@davrosz
Australia deserves a fair and balanced #media says former MP Denise Allen:  www.independentaustralia.net/.../

James Chessell‏@jameschessell
Australia is fast running out of ex-politicians for James Packer to employ. Now it's Mark Arbib. [free] www.afr.com/.../packer_gets_muscle_man_arbib_YTwLFpKZ0Cok6Kus9MLLVI

Graham Readfearn‏@readfearn
Gina Rinehart's Hancock Coal has "direct line" to Government, says leaked email on planned 30 Mtpa coal mine.

Latika Bourke ‏@latikambourke  X Peter Hartcher
Peter Hartcher: Gillard and Abbott crippled by their fears and panic: www.smh.com.au/.../...se-floor-20120601-1zn4x.html

TAWNBPM‏@TAWNBPM   X Phillip Coorey
Can understand this! "The Herald understands that Labor and Coalition MPs on the committee are uncomfortable with...

Askgerbil Now‏@Askgerbil   X Michelle Grattan
Tony Abbott threatens Oz economy: "no budget deficit if another global economic crisis, or natural disaster." www.theage.com.au/.../...ficit-20120601-1zne1.html #AusPol

Kate Moor‏@kemoor X  Malcolm Farr
Talk about twisting a message > RT @vexnews: Tony Abbott blasted by Kristina Keneally for "violent negativity" #auspol

Eddie L‏@eddietqld  X Lenore Taylor
Abbott plays the triangle to create a clever discord www.brisbanetimes.com.au/.../...0120601-1zmw5.html via @brisbanetimes

Luke Mansillo‏@mansillo
Abbott evolves from Dr No, with hints of The Joker but not yet 007  www.theage.com.au/.../...t-007-20120601-1znar.html

Luke Mansillo‏@mansillo
Ministers trade barbs on Rinehart's Qld mine plan www.smh.com.au/.../...ine-plan-20120601-1znbv.html



June 2. 2012 10:36 AM


I have posted in other places that the worst mistake a MAN can make is to underestimate the tenacious staying-power of women! Prime Minister Gillard, if I have ANY notional understanding of the female mind, is there to stay for the distance and woe-betide any foolish person trying to undermine her. The subtle ways and means of the maneuvering of feminine politics has, I believe, been sculptured in the mechanisms of survival in a "mans' world"....The pupil has mastered the masters' skill and to watch Tony Abbott dash himself against the rocks of PM. Gillards sublime tenacity is akin to watching the perfect athelete perform a perfect 10!...A thing of beauty.


June 2. 2012 11:13 AM

Ad astra

Dan Gulberry
Thank you for your complimentary remarks.  I’m glad you’re enjoying The Political Sword.

paul walter
Thank you for your comment.  You are right; it is easy to draw conclusions from afar. ‘Timid politics’ may appear that way from a distance, but may look very different up close with all the facts on display.

The world is full of experts who know exactly what to do in any given circumstance; one has only to listen to talkback radio to hear them in full flight.  They offer opinions on just a fraction of the facts, which they often have wrong anyway, they see everything through the prism of their own beliefs, they never have to live with the consequences of their opinions or advice, and they have no idea of the extraordinary complexity that surrounds most issues. A lifetime in family medicine has taught me caution.  Jumping to conclusions without all the relevant facts is hazardous.

Thank you for your always-encouraging words and thoughtful comments.  They deserve a considered response.  Bear with me while I do some thinking.

Ad astra

June 2. 2012 11:52 AM

Bring Back Maxine


Another insightful masterpiece. Sometime ago when the Abbot fueled CT
hysteria was at its height, I opined that it appeared to me that PM Julia Gillard had embarked on a "Rope-a-dope" strategy. She foresaw how the attack dog would bite by annoucing a CT before issuing the detail of the CT policy. And bite he did with his way over the top hysterical diatribes of towns & indutries. The consquent polls showed that Abbott had the PM on the ropes. Now we see the result, Abbott's CT attack virtually exhausted, "she won't lie down and die" and now Gillard is getting off the ropes lauching a sustained attack on Abbott. The Tone now realizes he is facing the Mohammed Ali of Australian politics. The cowardly bully boy is running shit-scared.
The dilemma for the Liberals is the longer they stick with Abbott the less time they have to develop and sell alternate policy to counter PM  Gillard. Their current two policies of fear & smear will not win them the next election in 15 months time.

Bring Back Maxine

June 2. 2012 11:54 AM

Bring Back Maxine

* hysterical diatribes of towns & industries being wiped out.

Bring Back Maxine

June 2. 2012 12:33 PM


Good Afternoon Ad
I have at last caught up with your extensive comment @ June 1. 2012 04:56 PM re women in parliament etc.

Starting at the end:
Which leaves me unable to similarly explain the attitude towards her of Julie Bishop, Sophie Mirabella and Bronwyn Bishop.

One of the ways that women have 'made it' in business, politics and other 'high' endeavours is to be more 'blokey' than the blokes. Could it be that the Liberal Ladies are still cast in that mould and to hold their own need to be more macho than the men? There could be a PhD in it for some aspiring political/gender studies student to tease that out.

You raise the point that some (many?) male politicians still harbour misogynist attitudes and I suspect that is a reflection of where our society is at at the moment. It raises the question of what breeds misogyny? Answering that would be, most likely, a multi PhD spawning excercise but I will offer a simple answer. It comes down to fear. Fear of the unkown in part and fear of loss to a greater extent.

Many men fear the loss of control and power that confronts them on a daily basis and it most likely hurts more when they lose out to a women.

Someone recently defending Mr Abbott against the charge of being a woman hater wrote something along the lines of ... how could he hate women, he has a wife and three lovely daughters ...  To be trite, is it possible that he thinks I go down to Canberra to get away from all those women bossing me around at home and what do I get, another bloody woman bossing me and the country around ... it's just not fair a macho man's man like me just shouldn't have to put up with it

Your thoughts on the biological differences between the genders are apt and female multi-stranding versus the male single-mindedness idea is worth exploring further. There was a brief discussion a few posts back about the book on the differences between the conservative and progressive brains which may tie into this.

I have dozens of other scattered thoughts on this that this single minded mere male is having difficulty tying together and so I will leave it with the thought that Mr Abbott may well embody that ultra conservative ultra male mind many had hoped had gone the way of the neanderthals.


June 2. 2012 12:37 PM


with all the challenges you are facing at the moment please remember to take care of yourself as well.

Difficult as it is to give or write you a hug please accept this 'ether' hug xox


June 2. 2012 12:39 PM


Ahh!...Maxine McKew.....Alone, a good reason to tune in to the ABC.,alongside style, unbeatable news television.
Get back into politics, Max', or get back on the ABC..Damn it all, woman, the nation needs you!!


June 2. 2012 01:07 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Thanks for the Twitterverse, such an interesting collection that makes for great reading.  You are right about Michael – he has nailed a couple of noteworthy articles.

Thank you for the links to the articles by Peter Hartcher and Lenore Taylor.

I have almost finished reading Hartcher’s book: The Sweet Spot – How Australia made its own luck – and how it could now throw it all away. It is a very good book, full of useful facts and information, well written, logically reasoned and surprisingly easy to read for a book on Australian history and economics.  Near the end he argues that both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott are not the leaders this country needs.  This is exactly what he argues in his piece this morning: Panic on the House floor www.smh.com.au/.../...se-floor-20120601-1zn4x.html where he asserts that neither is ‘a true leader’.

This seems to be Hartcher’s position, at least since he wrote his book in 2011, and I doubt if it will change.  It’s hard for anyone to reverse a strong position, to issue a mea culpa even when the facts change, so we can expect more of the same to reinforce his already well established viewpoint.  It’s a pity that those who talk about leadership generally refrain from carefully defining it, but in this instance Hartcher does at least suggest how the two leaders might have better handled the situations they faced.  I assume from what he wrote that for him one aspect of leadership is anticipation, having one’s story/narrative/strategy worked out beforehand, and sticking with it.

Lenore is too smart by half in Abbott plays the triangle to create a clever discord www.smh.com.au/.../...-discord-20120601-1zmw5.html  Presumably she has just read Screwed, Dick Morris’ latest book, co-authored with Eileen McGann.  Morris’ sole aim was the pursuit of power for George Bush.  In that regard his strategies would appeal to Abbott.  I doubt if anyone except a political tragic would even read her article, let alone understand it.  What I find irritating about it is not so much her attempt at cleverness, but her lauding of Abbott for his ‘cleverness’.  Presumably she believes that blind pursuit of power by whatever dirty trick is suitable is OK for someone who lives in a cold policy free zone, warmed only by the hot winds of opportunism.

Ad astra

June 2. 2012 01:30 PM

42 long

Virtues that might be appropriate for "in the Ring" and like places cannot have a place where diplomacy and not offending people counts.
   How manY true leaders are there anyway? Mahatma Gandi? Churchill for all his querks seemed appropriate at that time. No country picks it's leaders carefully enough, and governing the country is becomming so critical we should examine the whole picture with our best brains, and an open mind.
   The vested interests of the powerful are woefully inadequate.
  Tony Abbot and his present crew would have the potential to shame us on the word stage.
  Scott Morrison and Julie Bishop have already done that with out near neighbours.
   Malcom turnbull may have had a freudian moment  when he explained  why many Liberals/NP's have bpught shares in Mining companies.
   Having talked the value down  and then purchased shares, when they get in they will withdraw the Carbon price and the other mining taxes ( making Clive Palmers donations worth the effort and getting a nice capital improvement on their individual shares in the process.
   Just another example of getting the "Best Politiians money Can Buy"

42 long

June 2. 2012 01:59 PM


........Abbott may well embody that ultra conservative ultra male mind many had hoped had gone the way of the neanderthals.

Hope that's not out of context, DMW, excised as it is from your comment.  I agree with you.  I've often thought how weak an argument it was to suggest that Abbott's three daughters proved he had to have progressive views on women.  He didn't get to choose their gender.  I remember how chuffed he was at the idea of that putative 'son' of his turning up a while ago. We don't know much about his wife, which is fair enough.  She manages a child care centre, but neither she nor her daughters have expressed strong views on women's status as far as I can make out after searching the web. There was this story. aww.ninemsn.com.au/.../abbotts-women.
After reading that I could only assume they share their father's ideas and love being known as 'Abbott's women.'


June 2. 2012 02:10 PM


I haven't had the chance to read all of this but a quick scan suggests it is sobering look at the state of women in politics

The Invisible Women  Tara Moss http://blog.taramoss.com/index.php?itemid=798

Despite having our first female PM, Australia's rank internationally for representation of women in parliament has slipped from 21 to 38 over the past decade.



June 2. 2012 02:19 PM


off to grandad duties see you all later


June 2. 2012 02:25 PM


Lenore Taylor's "triangulation" is a fancy word for Abbott as usual being allowed to get away with anything. At least she does point out the inconsistencies in his many positions, but this doesn't happen in the non "political tragic" sphere where a newfound concern for human rights is quite compatible with the traditional "piss off somewhere else, anywhere else at all, & take your troubles with you. We don't care" attitude that's served the coalition so well.


June 2. 2012 02:39 PM


Interesting cmment abt Abbott and women ... in the last week or so there was a picture on i think a Fairfax site of Abbott and one of his daughters taken at one of his daily stunts. I am sure she loves her dad but the kindest thing you can say abt the photo is that she appears to be leaning away from him and the look on her face has a touch of "you awful man" abt it.  


June 2. 2012 03:10 PM


Ad astra, a great analysis of the dilemma facing Liealot and the Liars Party in general, mostly due to their arrogance and hubris due to the protective shield of the msm, failing completely todo their job.

I'm sure they all thought that Gillard, weak and feeble woman that she is, would cave in in the face of the sustained vindictiveness of the Liars' and their barrackers' assault on her character, her appearance, her shape, down to the clothes she wears.

She has borne all of that with dignity, good humour and grace under extreme pressure. Not to mention the added stress of Kevin Rudd's white anting.

They've thrown everything at her, including threats of physical harm, but still she stands, getting stronger and more self assured by the minute.

This is reflected in her team, who have also grown in stature and confidence since the leadership issue has been resolved.  

They know they have a leader who is more than able to withstand the ignorant, misogynist attacks from an opposition which daily looks more incompetent, petulant, spiteful and disorganised.

All presided over by a leader who embodies everything that is negative and who lacks any of the qualities of even a halfway decent leader.

It is he who is unraveling before our very eyes all the more so, because at last some of the msm, has plucked up the courage to sporadically question his behaviour, his lack of any coherent policies and his fitness to be PM.

And with the unraveling of the Murdoch Empire, he will lose the unquestioning support and concealment of his frailties and stand exposed for the straw man he truly is.

BBM @11.52am, I think you've nailed it. The PM has shown herself not only to be a negotiator par excellence, but a pretty good strategist, tactician and judge of character.

Liealot has only one strategy and that's go in hard and hope to land a knockout punch before the first round finishes.

If his opponent keeps ducking and weaving, he might land a couple of blows but ulimately he's stuffed, drops his guard and leaves himself open to a concerted attack and eventual defeat.

DMW @12.33pm, it could also be that they are just a bitchy lot of Liars slags infected with Liealot's venom and spite, she writes in a completely non-bitchy way. lol

I think the bitchiness is borne out by what is reported wrt school bullying. I guess it comes from the roles men and women have been assigned traditionally.

Men often resort to a bit of biff outside the pub or behind the bike shed to establish physical dominance, but women and girls have, and still do, resort to verbal abuse, wounding the psyche.

Of course, the other and just as plausible explanation is that they're female Liealots. Works for me.

Patricia @1.59pm, I guess Liealot's family has been well conditioned to think Daddy knows best when it comes their status and roles in life.

Lyn, thanks for all the links. It's taking me a while to plough through them all, but I'm finding them to be delicious fare.


June 2. 2012 03:11 PM



I've quoted this before but I love the image . . .

The sullen, stubborn bullock-pull
That breaks the horse's heart

Only *J*U*L*I*A* isn't the sullen one, Abbortt is.
He is not one for the hard yards nor the long haul.

A lot of men, especially those who fancy themselves alpha males, have difficulty coming to terms with the fact that in most modern situations - not by any means all, but Parliament is a case in point - testosterone and physicality is of very little advantage, but is often of very serious disadvantage.

It is all so tough on Tony Abbortt. Here he is, a self-proclaimed Alpha Male, a Holy Crusader, Born to Rule, and there she is, a nubile attractive female (and a Ranga, a cherry on the top!) whom by rights he should be able to bend over the despatch box and swive stupid, because of course you know that's what all women really need, betcha timid ol' Tim doesn't give her what she really wants . . .

So come on Tony - Knock her flat! Oh Pleeeeeze, go on Tony, show her who's boss, have a go at her I dare ya! Smile Go on Tone, break her nose it's too pointy, bite her earlobes off they're too long anyway, flatten 'er, you can do it!
The Ladies will love you for it  . . . Working class bitch she is . . . All our lady friends at my golf club hate her . . .

Well the times have changed, Tony Abbortt, since you used to hang around the Sydney University Women's Room yelling out clever sexist remarks, "Don't forget your pilly-willies girls, my little spermy wormies gonna getcha if you don't look out, don't expect me to wear a franga, I can't get pregnant,  and I'll be long gone, I'll be a Catholic Priest by then Ha ha harrr."

But Dam we don't live in Abbortt's fantasy land, the reality is so cruel! Both she and her seat in Parliament are so close he can smell them . . . Just . . . can't  . . . reach . . . Grrrrnnnhh!. . .

It must be killing him, but it's only making her stronger day by day.


June 2. 2012 03:32 PM


Jane said
. . . the ignorant, misogynist attacks from an opposition which daily looks more incompetent, petulant, spiteful and disorganised.

Why do you only concentrate on their best qualities Jane? Can't you think of anything nasty to say about them? Smile


June 2. 2012 03:33 PM


TT, it just goes to show that you should NEVER try to beat a bloodnut. lol

Recaptcha: moon. lyingtu NB, Liealot.


June 2. 2012 03:42 PM

Ad astra

Again thank you for your kind words and encouragement.   TPS is for many a place of refuge from the anti-Government onslaught that hits us every day from a media that seems hell bent on demeaning the Gillard Government and driving it out.  Yet the same media pays so little attention to the alternative, an Abbott Government.  If the purpose were to replace what the media likes to paint as an unsatisfactory government, the logical position for it would be to compare and contrast the two, to argue from facts and figures how the alternative would be preferable.  But the media almost always makes no attempt to do this.  It is focused on tearing down what we have, but never proposes what should be erected in its place, and how that would be better.

There are some who come here to catch a glimpse of another way of viewing the political scene.  Every day they are assailed by the likes of Andrew Bolt, Piers Akerman, Alan Jones and Ray Hadley at the extreme end of the anti-Labor spectrum, and even when they seek a more balanced view, they still have the likes of Dennis Shanahan always painting the Government in a poor light, and even when it climbs just one rung of his beloved Newspoll ladder, even that is talked down.  We have the elder journalist Paul Kelly pouring pontifical scorn on PM Gillard and her Government, and Peter van Onselen writing as if to curry favour with his superiors, casting aspersions and making dire predictions.  There is Steve Lewis always looking for a shady angle, Matthew Franklin who would choke on any good news for the Government, and Michael Stutchbury, who would get writers cramp if he had to write something complimentary about Julia Gillard.  Among those are a few who are more balanced: Paul Bongiorno, Malcolm Farr, Laurie Oakes if he’s in the right mood, and isn’t fondling another leak.  And fortunately there are the top brass: Laura Tingle, Ross Gittins, Peter Martin and George Megalogenis.  

But by and large the purveyors of gloom and doom, the trenchant critics of PM Gillard and her Government, who spread their adversarial comment and dire predictions, dominate the media scene.  It is disheartening for Labor supporters, especially those who believe the Government is doing very well despite the difficulties it faces every single day.  They come here, as several have said recently, to read a more balanced appraisal of the political landscape.  Although some who come here see many of us as hopelessly biased towards Labor, we see our position quite differently.  We try to take an objective view, give bouquets where we feel they are due, and we do give much credit to PM Gillard and her Government; and hurl brickbats when we feel they are warranted, and we do throw many at Tony Abbott and his Opposition.  Some who come here find this approach a refreshing change from the persistent negativity of the Opposition and the media.

Many who comment here sense a turning of the tide, chief among those is yourself TT, or to use your metaphor, that the tipping point has been reached.  To us, Abbott’s Gillard won’t lie down and die is a signal that he is becoming fearful that his campaign of destruction of the PM and her Government is coming off the rails, that the fight is longer than he wanted, that his opponent is tougher than he anticipated, that the keys of The Lodge are slipping further away.  

Desperation is taking hold and he doesn’t have a Plan B.  

The same old lines are being used.  We even had Greg Hunt out today subsequent to the announcement by three electricity providers that their prices would go up by around 15-16%, with the weasel words that ‘the carbon tax was at the centre of the price rise’.  Note that carefully he did not say it was entirely due to the carbon tax which is estimated to add only around 10%, but he left the impression that the carbon tax was the devil.  He went on to describe the tax as a python, a colorful metaphor designed to leave the impression that the tax would squeeze the life out of consumers.  This adherence to the same old lines, lines that are going to be shown to be lies in about four weeks, bespeaks a campaign that is running out of ideas, running out of puff.   Even the pro-Government Herald Sun today headlined the accusation that electricity suppliers were trying to hide their increases behind the carbon tax.  If the Hun is on to this, how much longer can Abbott and Hunt push their disingenuous lines?

All this leads me, TT, and others to believe that the decay of Tony Abbott and the Coalition has begun, and that the crumbling of their shonky edifice will continue unabated.  We do not believe we are deluded or even possessed of wishful thinking.  We are simply reading the tea leaves and telling it the way we see it.  Some will argue – time will tell.

In the meantime we invite all who find TPS congenial to join us regularly and enjoy our company.

Ad astra

June 2. 2012 03:43 PM


Jane do you mean *J*U*L*I*A* or me? Smile

'Cos I'm not all that hard to beat . . .


June 2. 2012 04:59 PM


TT @3.32pm, I always try to look for the positives in people. rofl.

And @3.43pm, I of course refer to all those under the benevolent and noble aegis of bloodnuttery, whose triumphant coat of arms is emblazoned for all to see.

A rampant PM on a field of gold, her fiery tresses forming a halo around her head, one hand holding the sword of righteousness and good governance high, the other clasping the book of wise and fruitful legislation to her breast, one foot resting on the neck of the utterly vanquished Liealot.


June 2. 2012 05:12 PM


This is an extremely frightening article...


... because of the embedded preconceptions about politics in Australia, the people of Australia, and the writer's doyenly insouciance about what the people of Australia seem to be prepared to swallow as acceptable today about the politics of Australia.

What is perhaps even more frightening about this article is the alogical construction of Shaun Carney's argument, where he can write of Abbott, "As a minister, he was determined and dutiful but rarely inspired or creative. As opposition leader, his determination has defined him", without any follow up or indeed concern that such definition of a possible national leader should set off clangoring alarm bells. Just a statement made, a 'judgement' offered, and then nothing, either to expand on it, clarify it, or explore how it might be less than complete in its assessment of the man.

The article is full of such observations, statistics quoted, 'sage' rhetorical comment offered, and yet none of it does anything to add up to any more than the mealymouthed and two bob each way final paragraph (word count reached, Shaun?) - "Whether this has been good training for Abbott as a prime minister can't be known, but he has been, for the most part, a devastatingly effective - if not particularly well-liked - opposition leader."

"devastatingly effective" is apparently a virtue in the day by day talking down of an economy, the blowing in the wind uncertainty for the electorate of a possible future government's full palette of policies, the sheer viciousness of pursuing and haranguing beyond veracity political opponents, and the 'who me?' opening of doors to the snarling shallowmindedness of the haters and the disaffected.

What Tony Abbott brings to Australian politics will take generations to scour off it.


June 2. 2012 05:14 PM

Ad astra

Good to see you back again.  That lovely Gravatar is a joy to see.

Thank you for your kind remarks.  Your rope-a-dope concept is sound.  I agree with your analysis.  

While we cannot expect Tony Abbott to lie down and die anymore than he can expect Julia Gillard to do so, she now holds the whip handle with many policies in place and as they mature and the sky does not fall in, the Coalition’s scaremongering will become apparent to all. Maybe even the media may begin to point that out.  He has no Plan B, because he was relying, as he did in his boxing days, on a quick knockout in the first round.  But, as you say, he is now up against the Mohammed Ali of Australian politics, who will duck and weave, avoid his flailing arms, let him exhaust himself, until he is ripe for the killer blow, or he retires hurt to the loser’s corner.  As you hint, it may be his seconds that throw in the towel, and look for a fighter who can go the distance.

Ad astra

June 2. 2012 05:15 PM


Hi Jane

You are a character and a lovely one at that.

What a vivid picture, delightful

"One foot resting on the neck of the utterly vanquished Liealot".



June 2. 2012 05:20 PM

Ad astra

Thank you for your complimentary words.  I enjoyed reading your analysis.

I agree with your assessment of this Leader of the Opposition: “…a leader who embodies everything that is negative and who lacks any of the qualities of even a halfway decent leader.

 It is he who is unraveling before our very eyes all the more so, because at last some of the msm, has plucked up the courage to sporadically question his behaviour, his lack of any coherent policies and his fitness to be PM.

 And with the unraveling of the Murdoch Empire, he will lose the unquestioning support and concealment of his frailties and stand exposed for the straw man he truly is.

I agree too that it is the incessant attack on our PM that has made her stronger and more determined than ever to succeed.  All strength to her arm.

Ad astra

June 2. 2012 05:46 PM


BBM - welcome back.  I think you are correct, the Government has been playing a very long "rope a dope" game with the Oppn.  While the defence of the CPRS Bills has been reasonable, there has been relatively little call on the Oppn to demonstrate how they have calculated their claims that prices will rise exponentially on things like bread, milk and a lot of other necessities.

Come July 1 when the CPRS price is included for the first time, it's almost certain that some things may go up a few cents, others a few dollars.  The Government then has a tad over twelve months (and a lot of footage for election campaign advertising) to shove the reality versus the claims down the Opposition's throat.  

Can you imagine a series if ads that start with the black hole from last election, then the next ad talks about scare campaigns, then businesses going bust (most of the businesses "featured" by the LNP will still be trading I suspect), etc.  With the LOTO's and the Shadow Treasurers apparent grasp of economics and how the federal budget works, it should be fun to watch the lessons as they unfold.


June 2. 2012 05:50 PM

Ad astra

Thank you for the link to the Tara Moss piece: http://blog.taramoss.com/index.php?itemid=798 It’s a good read; the women who visit here would find it confirms what they already know or suspect.

The other point you made in an earlier piece about the difference between brain function in conservatives and progressives may be relevant to the gender issue. I suppose female conservatives think much like their men, and work from a base of fearfulness that persuades them to avoid change when they can.  Being conservative, they may still feel that the leader should be a man.

Your other point, that they seek to be more macho than Coalition men, may be relevant also.

Jane’s explanation may be relevant too.  The female Coalition members rather than being misogynist, may simply be exhibiting bitchiness towards their female opponent, and jealousy of her success.

As you say, there are a couple PhD’s there for a social scientist.

Ad astra

June 2. 2012 05:56 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Not like Reith for example, a schemer and liar and crook: you are an unfortunate victim of circumstance as few others are; …. 

Well Mr Thomson, be proud, your honourably-quivering chin and trembling accusing finger and defiant stand have wrought consternation and dismay among the Rotten Right … I want you back in the Labor Party, …I just can't help thinking you have been a good friend to Labor and to this country, and you deserve better yourself.

Now any thinking person would regard that as a load of nonsense.

There are few, if any parliamentarians how have ever had such a vast number of documented adverse findings against them by an independent statutory institution.

Like it or not, the evidence is that he’s treated union funds as his personal bank account, and the best people can come up with is –

•  He’s not as bad as Reith
•  He seems nice and he’s a father
•  Look over there at … (insert MJF, Lawler, Jackson, Abbott, the media etc)
•  The media is to blame and so is Abbott

Tom of Melbourne

June 2. 2012 06:01 PM


Tom...with a scungy bait like that, you certainly are no "fisher of men". Parody, I suspect is more in your line...go refresh your satire:look in the mirror!


June 2. 2012 06:10 PM


   The dogs might be barking but the caravan has moved on!
Has Thomson been charged convicted and sentenced since you were last here?
Or are you just being a c##nt as usual!


June 2. 2012 06:12 PM


Ad astra and it may be his seconds that throw in the towel, and look for a fighter who can go the distance.

I think we are seeing that already. He has his yapping apoplectic poodle and the occasional Bishop sister baying for their drop of Prime Ministerial blood, but the rest of the Liars seem very subdued, almost haunted.

I think they can see the writing on the wall. They see a government and PM full of confidence, their legislative program on time and the support of the Independents undented.

We've seen Craig Thomson start to toy with his tormentors, resulting in that unseemly and clumsy race to scuttle from the Chamber.

Their mantra of refusal to accept Thomson's "tainted" vote has lost its lustre and been exposed as the tawdry and irresponsible babble of a ship of fools, who seem not to know how their workplace functions.

Thank you Lyn @5.15pm. I have to admit TT inspired that flight of fancy with his stirring calls to arms and defence of Prime Ministerial bloodnuts. I am still savouring all of your lovely links and tweets from the twitterverse.

2353 @5.46pm, an ad featuring the Liars slipping further into the economic black hole of their own making, as $100 notes are slurped into it in ever increasing magnitude would be jolly viewing, I think.


June 2. 2012 06:52 PM


Hi Ad

Thankyou for you most enjoyable post to Talk Turkey @ 03:42 PM

Your words are held up by enchantment Ad Astra.

I had the Twitterati all ready to post and lost the lot.  Day has finished for the news anyway so we can begin again tomorrow.

I found the Insiders Panel for you:

Susan McDonald‏ @McDonaldSusan

The Insiders panel this Sunday June 3 is lenoretaylor, Malcolm Farr and Niki Savva 9am ABC1 & ABCNews24



June 2. 2012 07:27 PM


I find it quite encurraging
When those who've been dispurraging
Must cherry-pick some bits in, some bits out:
It shows their disingunity
I taunt them with impunity
It feels like I have punched 'em in the snout! Smile

This was the most important part of my post last night:

You have by your pain and misery uniquely, if incidentally, defended the rule of law, the presumption of innocence and the separation of powers, the very pillars of a decently ordered

Guess which bit was, er, 'edited' by my dispurrager at 5.56 PM.

*Well I just love it!*  


June 2. 2012 08:10 PM


Talk Turkey

What you have written about Craig Thomson and your expression of gratitude for what he did is worthy of an email from you to him, exactly as you have written it here.  I am sure he did not anticipate the Nopposition's reaction, which I still find myself grinning about.  It would be great for him to receive it.

Ad Astra

Between you and Talk Turkey, I know that you are keeping me from feeling total despair.  We have had a couple of false starts with the media  showing Abbott in a bad light but they were fleeting.  Until I see much more sustained criticism I will not get hopeful about them changing any time soon.

Welcome to yet more new posters, and can I add my encouragement to comment. I do not say anything important, but it all adds to the mix.  Even your words of encourage to any/many of our great commentors are worth the effort as they deserve good recognition.


I don't know how you manage to keep going with all your links as well as all the grabs from the twittersphere.  I am very grateful for all your hard work and efforts.  Thanks heaps.


June 2. 2012 09:20 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Thank you for your kind comments.  I'm sorry you lost your Twitterati today - that is very frustrating.  Don't worry - you have given us so much today already.

Thank you for tomorrow morning's Insiders panel.  We can expect more acerbic comment from Niki, but it will be interesting to see if Lenore comes up with her 'triangulation' theory, and whether Barrie is still pushing the 'Abbott can be whacky' line.  I hope the feedback he got on his piece will have persuaded him to retreat from that.  Who of us want a whacky PM?

Ad astra

June 2. 2012 09:21 PM


ToM, the AEC disagrees with FWA.

Gravel, I have been emailing Thomson during the worst of the Nopposition's frenzied attacks. According to Emma in his office, he reads his emails personally, so I'm sure he'd love anything from TT.


June 2. 2012 09:25 PM

Ad astra

I'm pleased that TPS provides some comfort, some relief from the barbs and arrows that the media hurl Labor's way perpetually.

It will take a while for the media to change its tune, if ever, but our PM has taught us to be patient.

I'm calling it a day.  Goodnight.

Ad astra

June 2. 2012 10:41 PM


Gravel and Jane,
I will do as you suggest if I can find CT's email address, atm it doesn't seem easy, something up with his page it seems, but if you or someone could provide it, or even send the post for me, I'd be very pleased. And thank you for seeing things wrt this as I do.

How nice some people are. And how shrivelled and rancid and judgmental and lacking in human kindness are others, especially very many Crispians!

Rule of law, Separation of Powers, Presumption of Innocence - There is a greater principle yet, and it is not even enshrined in any constitution, and it is, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is the basic precept that separates Christians from all other faith systems, for two reasons, one being that it was Jesus' own teaching, and the other that it is Christians like Abbortt who seem most likely to honour the dictum in its breach.

Whoso is without sin, let him cast the first stone.

To Abbortt that is mere noise.

We'll fix his dirty little black wagon though, DYWAT!

He is the big black engine that was sure it could . . .
and guess what . . .

Quick, the brake! We're off the rails! We're going backwards!
LOOK OUT! We're going to crash!
Quick JUMP!
Splendiferous crash sounds off . . .

Don't you worry Gravel, have some faith in Ad and me, Gravel,
there's 3 reasons we are upbeat,
one is that it helps, it is a self-fulfilling prediction,
one is neither of us is going to say anything demoralising for the converse reason, (the Polls! the Polls!  Well ignore the bad polls! Only suck on the ones you like the flavour of!)
but the third and biggest one is,
because we've looked at it all with our separate but similar Eyes of Time,
and come up with the same answer,
we WILL win!

But you're right thus far Gravel, that if it weren't for Ad's opinion coinciding with mine I'd be in a lonely place, - so would he to some extent without a few cheery comments - not many perpetually sanguine voices, but, well, look at that, who do you think helps the situation more, the doomsayers or the pollyannas? And who do you think has a better time personally, the Sad Sacks or the Sheila B Wrights? You know what they say . . .    Smile


Please if anyone can find Craig thomson's email address?


June 2. 2012 10:50 PM

Tom of Melbourne

”ToM, the AEC disagrees with FWA.”

Hmmm, yes Jane, 1 down, 179 to go.

”You have by your pain and misery uniquely, if incidentally, defended the rule of law, the presumption of innocence and the separation of powers, the very pillars of a decently ordered 

So how exactly is saying that this is a matter that requires “presumption of innocence”?  It doesn’t apply in civil or employment law. This episode is an illustration of the hopeless preselection processes in the ALP (and the Liberals too, but it’s who has 180 findings against him).

Tom of Melbourne

June 2. 2012 11:39 PM


The article that we should have read in one of the opinion columns today.

Abbott's Symbolic Principles
by NormanK     Canberra Made-up Daily

Tony Abbott made a fool of himself last week by running for the doors of the House of Representatives in order to avoid 'accepting' the vote of the Member for Dobell, Craig Thomson. Unfortunately the doors were locked and the Deputy Speaker Anna Burke called him back and his name was registered alongside Thomson's as a vote for the Noes during a Division. His undignified scramble was for naught.

So how did it come to this? What set of circumstances would drive a grown man, an elected representative of the Australian people, to career like a hyperactive schoolboy up the stairs of the House and bang on a locked door like Fred Flintstone?

Tony Abbott will tell you that it was in order to uphold a principle. That, on principle, the Coalition refuses to accept any gains that may be had by receiving Thomson's vote on the floor of the House.

Is this a legal principle?
Is this a moral principle?

Certainly it is not a constitutional principle since any member of the House is entitled to vote in whatever manner they may wish on the question before the House. There are party constraints that limit this freedom but by agreeing to the rules of the party that they have joined individuals willingly, consciously surrender that freedom. They exercise their democratic right when they debate and vote in party room meetings. Should they feel strongly enough about the subject when it is raised in the House, they are still at liberty to vote contrary to party lines provided they are prepared to accept the consequences which may be large or small.

As the Deputy Speaker pointed out to the Shadow Treasurer and the House only moments after Abbott's mad dash:
..... it is not for the opposition or the government to accept a member's vote. We need to clarify this: it is for the parliament to accept a member's vote.

So there is no constitutional principle to be upheld since the parliament has not censured Thomson or had him dismissed from the parliament. His vote is just as valid as the other 149 members.

Perhaps it is a moral principle? Tony Abbott would have us believe that Craig Thomson's vote is 'tainted' - whatever that might actually mean suffused as it is with religious or Mafioso overtones. The Coalition has decided that Thomson's vote should not be registered in the Parliament because an FWA investigation has reported that he may have cases to answer regarding the misuse of HSU funds.

The Coalition has pre-judged Thomson as being guilty of these allegations even though this flouts the underlying principle of criminal law in this country which says that an individual is innocent until proven guilty. On the lesser charges that might attract civil action, the Coalition's pre-judgement of Thomson flies in the face of one of our fundamental social mores - that of the benefit of the doubt. Although not couched in legal terms, that principle of the benefit of the doubt allows individuals to go on with their lives until such time as a court passes judgement on their actions. Only then should the social consequences of any illegal actions be brought to bear - dismissal from place of employment and so on.

In all of the press conferences that Abbott has held not once has he explained just what 'tainted' means. It is easy enough to understand the concept of tainted food or tainted water or even tainted love (as the pop songs would tell us) but what exactly is a tainted vote? 'Tainted' has some pretty serious religious overtones. It also gets popular use with regard to money and other material gains that have been acquired as a result of illegal or immoral activity. It has no place in a discussion of the vote of a Member of the House of Representatives of Australia.

A 'tainted vote' is entirely a construct of Tony Abbott. At best it has symbolic meaning that might resonate with like-minded people who believe that Thomson is guilty of the crimes alleged against him but it has no basis in the constitution or in law or in our social mores or, for that matter, in the religious teachings of Christians upon which many of our values are based.

We then must ask why Tony Abbott would invent this symbolic principle. The sole purpose of describing Thomson's vote as tainted and therefore unsuitable for acceptance by the Members of the House is to put pressure on Mr Thomson and the Gillard minority government. The desired outcome of this pressure is to have Thomson resign from parliament thereby forcing a by-election that the Coalition would hope to win. They would then accrue to themselves another vote in this tightly contested parliament. The pressure and the choice of the word 'tainted' are also designed to add to what Mr Abbott hopes is a mounting perception that the Gillard government is illegitimate and clinging to power through fair means or foul.

For short-term political gain Tony Abbott has invented a symbolic principle that ignores (indeed contradicts) legal principles, constitutional principles, social principles and Christian principles.

The alternative prime minister of Australia is prepared to make a fool of himself in order to uphold this symbolic principle that negates the centuries of work undertaken to establish the network of legal, social and religious principles that are the bedrock of our society. All this, simply because he believes that it may bring him one step closer to gaining power.

If he is prepared to ride roughshod over these ancient principles in his quest for the keys to the Lodge, how quickly would he shuck off this symbolic principle once he had achieved his aim?
What other principles is Mr Abbott prepared to abandon in the same way as he abandoned his dignity in the House last week?


June 3. 2012 02:11 AM


“Where There’s Life, There’s Fight.”

Tony Abbott who said those words,
Is always looking for a fight.
He’s long been fighting a woman
He says has what is his by right.
Now waging war to take it back,
He claims ‘cos she lives by a lie,
He can win by hook or by crook,
And she’ll soon lie down and die.

Whatever dirty tricks he’s tried
Still this woman, Julia Gillard,
Has outwitted him, and stood firm,
As he attacks with no holds barred.
It’s been no use, his verbal abuse,
The insults and lie upon lie.
She stays calm, makes jokes and she smiles,
Refusing to lie down and die.

Both have their troops to support them,
Their armies with banners unfurled.
Hers have their plans battle ready,
Drawn up by the best in the world.
He has relied on powerful friends,
But some are now starting to sigh
And ask if he has it in him
To force her to lie down and die?

Tony often loses his cool.
That banging on the Chamber door,
With his mad run to it, recalled
He’d smashed one of plate glass before.
Old mining mates are suggesting
Julia’s a more likely ally.
They have heard her and assessed her
Not the type to lie down and die.

Public opinion’s changing too.
There are reports that is because
Folk see the life and fight in her
And how she shares their love for Oz.
Her war’s for them; his for himself.
Good things she’s done he will decry,
Not caring if that harms them too.
“Thank God!” they’re saying, “She won’t lie down and die!”

Hi, TPS people, as always and promised to TT, I'm posting this here first. I've still got to find an illustration and write up my notes inspired by Ad Astra's post and your comments, particularly TT's and janes.   Any suggestions?


June 3. 2012 07:50 AM



You have just explained the whole incident very well and caught all the nuances involved.  Well done and thanks.  


Another great pome, it is as if you and NormanK are on the same wave length.  Look forward to your further thinking on your blog which our wonderful Lyn will link to.


June 3. 2012 07:54 AM

Ad astra reply

Craig Thomson's email address is: Craig.Thomson.MP@aph.gov.au

Ad astra reply

June 3. 2012 08:03 AM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for a magnificent 'column'.  Apart from being a brilliant commentary on Abbott's 'tainted vote' charade, it is a damning commentary on the state of the MSM that no such opinion piece has graced it columns, that it has taken a writer in the Fifth Estate to expose the crass disingenuousness of Abbott's contention.

Ad astra reply

June 3. 2012 08:10 AM

Ad astra reply

Thank you again for another telling and touching pome.  You are our poet laureate.

Your last line says it all: “Thank God!” they’re saying, “She won’t lie down and die!”

Ad astra reply

June 3. 2012 08:56 AM


I'm with Gravel
Well done NK and PatriciaWA!

I don't know how to freeze a single frame  
but NK's image of Fred Abbortt bashing on the cave door is too lolworthy to go to waste



June 3. 2012 09:11 AM


2 posts From Poll Bludger - VERY interesting!

Bushfire Bill

Posted Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

Gee, Old Coke Bottles is a fan, isn’t she?

Costings have been a bane for Tony Abbott.


The Coalition was embarrassed after the 2010 election when its numbers were challenged,

Found to be wrong.

It looked bad.

It WAS bad. No “perception” bullshit about it: it was BAD.

As it did when the opposition's Perth accountants received a dressing down from their professional association for breaching standards.

Dressing down? They we hauled over the coals and fined for professional misconduct.

Then loose opposition talk has given the government grist to say that the Coalition has a $70 billion funding gap. Repeated often enough, it imprints itself in people's minds, regardless of the facts.

Loose talk? Imprints itself? Robb said it, Joe CONFIRMED it. Proudly. Why does anyone think they don’t deny it, if they didn’t say it?





Posted Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

Bushfire Bill,
It has been stated previously that the Coalition have adopted a deliberate Duchessing plan for Grattan. She believes that, WHEN they win, she will be allowed to take up her rightful place on a seat in the Prime Minster’s office ante room, and the Coalition believe she is good value in the interim.


June 3. 2012 09:39 AM


If you haven't picked up a copy of The Weekend Australian Financial Review nip down to the corner store and see if you can get one. It will be three bucks well spent.


Angry and Entitled  an edited extract from Laura Tingle's Quarterly Essay #46, Great Expectations: Government, Entitlement and an Angry Nation

Of course you could pick up a dead tree copy probably in your newsagent tomorrow or you could get the e-book:

I suspect (and hope) that this essay will nudge the political discourse toward a better place. Already the excerpt has clarified for me some of what is wrong with our current governance and the way our politicians are plying their trade.


June 3. 2012 09:46 AM


Ad astra
Thanks for the CT link, I've sent my letter on to him, may it bring him some comfort. Thanks too to those who suggested my doing of this - I'd thought of it but thanks for the push.


June 3. 2012 09:55 AM


NormanK - I am so sorry that I did not refresh before posting my pome late last night.  I would have been greatly helped by your observations written as I worked away over here.  They've already helped me this morning as I revised a couple of lines for Miglo before posting at cafewhispers.wordpress.com/.../#comment-81248

As well your first focus on that 'undignified scramble' will help as I get down to writing my notes for my own blog, for which I still want to find an appropriate illustration.

Any suggestions, anyone?  


June 3. 2012 10:05 AM


A slow, grudging, unhappy, tentative but undeniable change of tone in Lopsiders today . . . Crassidy doing his best to defend the Abborttians, flogging a wind-broken horse . . .

Oh now Mal Farcom, Niki Savva, AND Lenore Taylor all giving *J*U*L*I*A* the stick after all, better kiss poor Tony better before Daddy Rupert gets upset . . .

But we are clearly in the ascendant . . . and we WILL win.


June 3. 2012 10:16 AM


an excellent article you have 'found' there Smile

Perhaps you could consider submitting it to The Monthly Quadrant Review - Publishing the stuff John West Rejects  http://www.monthlyquadrantreview.com/ for publication.

Something else 'the big runaway' highlights is that the Opposition had not thought through their tactics on this.

I think it was my mate Michael Moore (a former ACT Assembly minority government member and minister) who said the smart thing to do would have been to get one opposition member to vote with the government and thereby nullify Thomson's vote.

That would have been an 'adult' way of illustrating their 'principles'.

It is becoming more obvious that the opposition leader and the manager of opposition business are not up to their current tasks let alone capable of being effective ministers prime or otherwise. Behind the facade the opposition is at sixes and sevens with itself and I suspect it is more good luck than good management that the infighting hasn't broken out into the public arena as yet.


June 3. 2012 10:21 AM


BK over at PB has given us a link to a good story about Peter Slipper in the opinion of his ex-wife.  Very heartening.



June 3. 2012 10:40 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody

Twitterverse for you:-

John Pratt‏@Jackthelad1947
Infrastructure is surplus to budget requirements. Ross Gittins

Steve Richards‏@MightyChewbacca
A WHOLE 2 cents?!?! @steveuwa: The Shocking truth . Carrots to rise 2 cents per kilo under a carbon price www.abc.net.au/.../#auspol .

RN Sunday Extra‏@RNSundayExtra
Our Opinionista @ShaunCarney1 on the polls for preferred PM & why both Abbott & Gillard are stuck in negative territory www.theage.com.au/.../...arged-20120601-1znb1.html

@MichelleGrattan copies handout from Tories,makes out its her biased work. Lazy slag dusn't know meaning of word workwww.smh.com.au/.../...ers-game-20120602-1zog6.html

Booyah, Julia!‏@booyahjulia
RT @AustProtParty: Prime Minister Julia Gillard faces a backbench carbon tax revolt www.news.com.au/.../story-e6frfkvr-1226381499024

Ms Slipper speaks out #auspol Abbott let loose the dogs, says Slipper's ex-wife www.watoday.com.au/.../...wife-20120602-1zoke.html via @watoday

The Age‏@theage
Melbourne's best markets. www.theage.com.au/.../...to-go-20120602-1zof3.html via @theage

John Pratt‏@Jackthelad1947
Queensland puts coal before coral. Coal is short term tourism could last forever. www.theage.com.au/.../...coral-20120602-1zoui.html

Rinehart stalks Fairfax board as Corbett digs in | m.smh.com.au/.../...tt-digs-in-20120601-1zn3t.html

Miners circling Ipswich | Rockhampton News | Local News in Rockhampton | www.themorningbulletin.com.au/.../ Happening in Maryborough Qld also


Chris Ogilvie ‏@ChrisOgilvieSnr
Breaking: Barrie Cassidy could still change camps, sources reveal that his @TonyAbbottMHR Tattoo is only a STICK ON #insiders #abcrentapanel

Agnes Mack‏@AgnessMack
#insiders Abbott didn't make it out, but still fronts up to cameras saying he did.

Details Expand Collapse
Andrew Elder‏@awelder
@AgnessMack ... and nobody calls him on it, because you've gotta let Tony be Tony

Matthew Ross ‏@Matt_Ros
#insiders Abbot runs like a purse snatcher from a vote for the shadow purse holder of the country come on its a comedy in the making LNP

There is no evidence CT voting in same side as Opposition was a ALP set up, stop saying it was #insiders

Matthew Ross ‏@Matt_Ros
#insiders I am a little insulted that #insiders has decided that we have decided and all before July 1 some people like Facts odd thing

Savva showing that she's an unethical hack as per usual "Thomson is guilty, because everyone thinks he is" #insiders

Nikki Savva judges most people have made a judgment ...and she doesn't blame Abbott for exploiting it #insiders



June 3. 2012 10:50 AM

Tom of Melbourne

NormanK – ” Although not couched in legal terms, that principle of the benefit of the doubt allows individuals to go on with their lives until such time as a court passes judgment on their actions. Only then should the social consequences of any illegal actions be brought to bear - dismissal from place of employment and so on.

This statement isn’t true. It has recently been reported that the government has dismissed 13 public servants from their employment due to misuse of credit cards. There have been no criminal charges, certainly no convictions and no civil litigation.

Equally, Gillard claimed credit for suspending Thomson from the ALP. Arguably, the people of Dobell elected an ALP member and Gillard has stripped them of this as well a say in government and caucus. Without any charges.

It therefore is entirely reasonable for people to make judgments about the “line that has been crossed”. After all, Gillard has.

Tom of Melbourne

June 3. 2012 11:19 AM


there is something that I have learnt and, I admit freely that I am unable to do, that is, you cannot persuade people to your point of view by confrontation or by pointing out that they 'wrong'. It is could be done by careful presentation of facts and gentle nudging.

Flogging a dead horse doesn't work either.

Claiming the high moral ground doesn't assist and is best left to those who have some understanding of morality such as church leaders and leaders of the opposition. Oh, hang on, maybe that doesn't work either.

The FWA report points toward wrongdoings and possible illegal activity. At this time there is also reasonable room for doubt as it appears that not all the evidence has been bought forward.

The constant I am right and all youse guys are wrong  refrain that you preach is dull, colourless and boring and does nothing to persuade some people to another point of view or shed light on how we can get a better form of governance.


June 3. 2012 11:22 AM


I just wanted to add a special note of thank you for Patricia also putting her wonderful pome up at the Café.


June 3. 2012 11:23 AM



Neither you nor I know all of the details surrounding the dismissal of those public servants. For all that we know they may have put their hands up when confronted with minor breaches of the guidelines. They would have access to several avenues of appeal if they felt they had been dismissed unfairly. As is so often the case, you take a tiny snippet of information and extrapolate it to suit your own predispositions.

As I have stated here on a previous occasion, Gillard's 'crossed a line' comment is both unsatisfactory to me and unfortunate. However, if a company stands an accused individual aside on full pay because the company is concerned about harm to its reputation while due process is carried out, I have no problem with that. Thomson's situation was causing harm to the Labor 'brand'. Slipper's situation was causing harm to the reputation of the parliament.

Let's be blunt - Gillard had to act on Thomson and Slipper to get the press off her back and try for decent coverage of the budget. My preferred option would have been that the individuals stood aside of their own volition but I am not a political operative so my opinion is virtually worthless.

What I won't do in this instance is condemn Thomson based on a report that the DPP said contained no proper evidence of wrongdoing. You seem to think that you have been provided with 'proof' of Thomson's guilt. The DPP and the AEC hold a different opinion. I know which view I am likely to find more credible.

We have a constitution for a very good reason. It is designed to stop people like you and Abbott beating up some false moral issue, a symbolic principle, and using it for political purposes.


June 3. 2012 11:26 AM


On ten -

Grattan telling Tony Burke that labor throws mud too . . .

Other b*tch saying we're racist . . .

Utter hostility.

Grattan absolutely interrupts in the middle of a piece of reasoning, Tony defers, "Sorry Michelle..." WTF?!

WHEN is Labor going to say



So SAY IT Labor!



June 3. 2012 11:26 AM



Thanks for the tip. Smile

And the ether hug. Embarassed Embarassed


June 3. 2012 11:36 AM


   Arguably the people of Fisher elected a "Liberal" but Abbott stripped them of that!

ToM the 13 public servants you put up what crap! Thomson is alledged to of used a UNION credit card!Had nothing to do with the publc service! can you point to where Tomson misused a "government credit card" or a you just making shit up now?As much as you don't like it the HSU isn't an arm of government!

ToM any chance you might concede that Thomson is employed on a different set of conditions to that of the public service or you and I, and no matter how much you argue your case it's wrong,even if the rules were changed Thomson would still be dealt with under the current rules!

The other fact you ignore is by the time there might be a resoulution to all this we'll have gone to another election or statute of limitations may have run out and nothing will happen.


June 3. 2012 11:38 AM



Another fantastic pome! Well done and thank you for sharing it with us.
More than any other of your pomes this ones appears as though it would be conducive to being put to music. All it needs is a "won't lie down" chorus.
C'mon musos! This could be an election rallying song.


June 3. 2012 11:43 AM


I can understand your Embarassed but 'real blokes' are allowed to give (and accept) hugs most particularly when life is throwing some curve balls at us.


June 3. 2012 11:58 AM


Hi Ad,

I think you've mixed up the titles of the last few columns. It probably should read "Gillard won't lie down and die - it's what makes Labor stalwarts gloomy"

Why should Abbott want Gillard to lie down and die - Gillard is the best thing that ever happened to him. Without Gillard there is no way on earth that he'd be in the position he is now. He'd be lucky to be a shadow minister.

As you've pointed out the guy is inept. The only thing that's keeping him in the game is that Gillard is even more inept. Her perverse genius for incompetence is the only reason that the conservatives have a lead in the polls. It's certainly not Abbott's skill as a politician.


June 3. 2012 12:09 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Interesting, NK, DMW & Jason but I'm out for a few hours.

(I'm mindful of the previous comment that I post and disappear)

Tom of Melbourne

June 3. 2012 12:16 PM


a picky point I will think through a bit more

... I am not a political operative so my opinion is virtually worthless.

This may go in a circle but each and all of our opinions are worthy of something and sometimes are worthy, whether they have an effect is another matter and here is the rub if they have no effect do they become therefore worthless.

This could be a chicken and egg discussion that is often in the School of Inconsequential Studies at the University of Life.


June 3. 2012 12:25 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Thanks for the interesting Twitterati.  After reading it I am more and more convinced that what so many journalists write and say (there are laudable exceptions) is governed, or should I use the Abbott word ‘tainted’, by the threatening shadow of Rupert Murdoch looming over the entire media scene here and overseas, and this applies to Fairfax columnists such as Michelle Grattan, Shaun Carney and Lenore Taylor.

I have just begun reading David McKnight’s 2012 book: Rupert Murdoch – An investigation of political power.  Although I have reached only page ten, it evident already that this man has a commanding influence over his editorial staff and in turn the politics of the nations where he operates.  His staff knows what he believes and wants, and sets out to ensure he gets it – that is central to his journalists’ survival strategy.  We ought not to be surprised at News Limited’s continuing relentless negativity toward PM Gillard and her Government, because Murdoch wants them out and the Coalition in.  There is no doubt about this at all.  Because Fairfax is in financial difficulties, its journalists are insecure and keeping an eye open for alternative job opportunities, and where else would a political journalist gravitate but to News Limited?  

This is why I believe so many journalists pussyfoot around issues where Tony Abbott ought to be roundly criticized, even castigated. They don’t want to upset Uncle Murdoch.  Journalists would likely be offended at this suggestion, and certainly none of us know their inner feelings, motivations or intent.  We can judge only from what we see, what they say, and what they write.  This is the basis of my opinion.  We saw a tiny fragment of confirmatory evidence this morning, with the softly, softly approach to Abbott and his antics from all the journalists on Insiders.  Murdoch’s influence is very, very powerful.

Ad astra

June 3. 2012 12:54 PM



If push came to shove (i.e. with a gun to my head) I'm sure I could offer an opinion on where to make the first incision as a prelude to performing brain surgery but given my background would that opinion have any worth?

Curiously, I originally wrote ... I am not a political operative so my opinion is worthless. I amended that to virtually worthless because I can see that for the sake of conversation my opinion does have some worth. On the subject of political tactics, my opinion is only marginally more useful and informed as my opinion on brain surgery tactics.


June 3. 2012 01:03 PM

Ad astra

I thought Insiders was a pretty limp one this morning.  To me the highlight was the brilliant performance of Stephen Smith, back in Australia for only an hour from Singapore where he attended the 11th Shangri-La Defence Ministers’ Dialogue.  He was across every aspect of his work, and able to answer lucidly every question posed, even if somewhat marginal to his portfolio.  He is articulate, credible, and eminently understandable.  He is just one of a set of outstanding ministers in the Gillard cabinet, who stand in such contrast to the rabble in the Abbott front bench, who scarcely ever contribute to policy debates, and open their mouths only to criticize.

The aborted Abbott ‘escape’ got a good run, but curiously it was Niki Savva who was most critical, whom I suspect like many Coalition members and supporters, are furious at the lack of anticipation that Craig Thomson might vote with the Coalition, and therefore the lack of contingency planning that led to an unseemly farce, which made the would-be PM of this nation looking unprepared and foolish.  She was really cross.  Lenore Taylor and Malcolm Farr didn’t have much to say, probably, as I indicated to Lyn, afraid of upsetting Uncle Murdoch.  This man hovers as a threatening shadow over most political commentary in this country.  Journalists look intimidated, and act as if they are.

Barrie Cassidy did not use his ‘Abbott can be a little whacky’ excuse to let Abbott off the hook – I wonder was he stung by comments on his piece?  Did you or anyone notice the feedback?

Nor did Lenore come up with what she thought was her ingenious suggestion that Abbott was ‘cleverly’ triangulating, Dick Morris style.  Perhaps she realized she was being too smart by half for the average voter.

Malcolm Farr seemed to have some background information on the mix-up over EMA’s and Paul Howes’ involvement in it.  Frankly I wish Howes would control his mouth.  He comes out in public and blasts the Government, which he supports, and a policy that he supports, using words like ‘insanity’ to describe the Government’s actions.  

Overall, I thought today’s session was tame and very soft on Abbott, but we believe we know why.

Ad astra

June 3. 2012 01:04 PM


ahh, brain science and rocket surgery excellent examples of where our opinions may well be worthless.

Some noted academic at the School of Inconsequential Studies probably noted (and if they didn't they should have) that In this day of lightening fast communication everybody has an opinion and they believe it is their duty, nay god given right, to shout it out to the rest of the world

Anyway, Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it is off around the traps I must go.

Type to you later


June 3. 2012 01:07 PM


But before I go NK




June 3. 2012 01:20 PM


  Laura Tingle had this to say about Paul Howes and the "EMA'S"

"Were the agreements a surprise to the trade union leadership? Since the Australian Workers Union’s Paul Howes and the ACTU’s Dave Oliver both sat on the taskforce that recommended them, you would think not."



June 3. 2012 01:40 PM


NormanK - congratulations.  You are now a published author!

Does everyone realise that not watching the Sunday Morning "commentary" shows will assist your blood pressure.


June 3. 2012 02:16 PM

Ad astra

Many thanks for the Laura Tingle article link.  It makes informative reading.  I'm looking forward to reading her Quarterly Essay: Great Expectations: Government, Entitlement and an Angry Nation which is now available for the iPad.  She is a sound and balanced writer.  If only we had more Laura Tingles!

Ad astra

June 3. 2012 02:17 PM

Ad astra

I see you have a sense of humour.

Ad astra

June 3. 2012 02:51 PM


Ad Astra

I have not long read a blog written by "mumbles" that I had book marked.  It was strange then to read your comment at 12.25pm. He was saying Labor was scared of Abbott/Howard........you say political writers/opinionistas are afraid of Murdoch.  Could it be projection by 'mumbles'? As I recall he used to be quite friendly to Labor before he started blogging for The Australian.


June 3. 2012 03:04 PM


Glorfindel said

ithout Gillard there is no way on earth that he'd be in the position he is now. He'd be lucky to be a shadow minister.

You got that first bit right Goldenheaded Idjet, dunno how you managed. Second bit's upta tho'. Without *J*U*L*I*A* he would have been PM FFS! (Though by now his party might already have kicked him out and tried to find someone less gormless.)

But with Her, he'll be lucky to be an MP at all after next election. A whupped one, if at all. And he will either have been rolled by then, or the NOposition will be a rump, a rabble at that, bereft of ideas, leadership, policy, direction,  organization, enthusiasm, esprit de corps, need I go on!


Ad astra, re Lopsiders, they were indeed a lack-lustre lot eh. I'm really disappointed at Lenore Taylor, I thought her more insightful than she seems to be after all. Sure Savva was proper pissed off at the HoR spectacle, good stuff, if she's disgusted (only in the same way that Cats fans are when the Crows show them how to play Aussie Rules), then so are a lot of other Aussies.

Long live ToM, Glorfindel, jj, Limpy Crisp and a very few others, we NEEEEEEED yous for our fun as punching bags.

In the Middle Ages the finest swords were tempered by running the glowing-hot blades through unwanted people's bodies (often village idiots) . . . great image eh Glorfindel?  Smile  ,

It was all they were considered useful for. Iron in the blood, you know . . . Even ToM has some, it just doesn't show in his character.

But we have a very fine Sword that needs a good temper . . .

.. ToM ? ..... ToM ? . . . Come here Laddie, I assure you, this won't hurt, I won't feel a thing . . . Smile

Gee I have such
*Fun*With*Trolls* . . ! . .  Smile



June 3. 2012 03:12 PM

Ad astra

Rupert Murdoch's power and influence is all pervasive, especially in the minds of his staff, even Mumble.

Ad astra

June 3. 2012 03:16 PM


NormanK,  Whoever the Fake Paul Keating is, he has taste. You are in good company there at the Monthly Quadrant Review and deservedly so!  I found your comment, now posted article, very lucid and helpful in understanding a situation which I had only perceived as another crazy scene in the theatre of the absurd in which Tony Abbott sees himself a star. Let's hope the truth about this dangerous man ultimately is known and understood by the average voter.

Reading through your post before I write my notes your mention of 'ancient principles' reminded me of girlhood history lessons and the 1215 Magna Carta. A quick check with Wiki confirmed something I learned long ago, that  .......no freeman could be punished except through the law of the land, a right which is still in existence today.

Well, that 'ancient principle' seems to have been well and truly extinguished here in Downunderland, doesn't it?  

My head is spinning with all this.  After all, we have talked for weeks on end about a person's right the presumption of innocence.  Surely Tony Abbott has been advised, at least by George Brandis, about the very shaky legal ground he is on.

I had been planning to write my notes using your reference to TA, Fred Flintstone and that closed cave door, and jane's line about CT 'toying with his tormentors.' TT will know how tempting it is to write ever more verses about Abbott in that corner he has painted, and the vote he says is tainted!

But satire doesn't seem enough, on this one. It's no laughing matter to consider your question about what other principles Mr Tony Abbott might be prepared to abandon.  


June 3. 2012 04:09 PM

Pappinbarra Fox

Mister Abbott running for the exit, pushing Entsch out of the way, reminded of George Kostanza pushing a little old lady out of the way to escape a fire. And then I thought, yes Tony is just like George in many ways.

Pappinbarra Fox

June 3. 2012 04:37 PM

Ad astra

Pappinbarra Fox
Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.

You have typecast Tony Abbott well.

Ad astra

June 3. 2012 04:49 PM

Tom of Melbourne

DMW, thank you for your generous advice on “Blogging Etiquette”. While I’m sure you’ll find your own style effective, I’m also entirely comfortable with my own.

I tend to err on the side of being entirely direct, and anyone who prefers a different style of commentary is entirely welcome to scroll on by.

But if someone makes a comment that I consider incorrect, or which I consider to be without justification, I’m inclined to say so, directly.
NormanK, and others.

There is no presumption of innocence in employment law, and what people (or at least me) are discussing in the case of Thomson is his fitness for his current occupation.

Several are (probably deliberately) confused in this respect. No one is presuming him guilty of a criminal offence, no one is seeking to deprive him of his liberty. His presumption of innocence is protected.

However, we are entirely justified in forming our personal judgment about his fitness for his occupation. On any reasonable standard, such as that which is applied to the employment of almost everyone else, he doesn’t meet the standard of honesty and transparency.

A senior officer who declined to be interviewed on the basis of self incrimination wouldn’t continue in their office. Almost 200 adverse findings, using a range of contradictory excuses (all on the public record).

It’s all enough for reasonable people to make a judgment about his character, and that certainly does not require the “presumption of innocence” when it comes to occupying a public position of trust.
It is simply disingenuous to chide people to “wait for the FWA report before forming a judgement”, and then-
•  Make up stories without evidence on the influence wielded by a VP.
•  Ignore almost 200 findings by an independent statutory authority.
•  Neglect contradictory excuses publicly stated by Thomson
•  Call people who point this out “a troll”

Tom of Melbourne

June 3. 2012 04:53 PM


Hi Pappinbarra Fox

Ad Astra has said welcome to you and welcome from me too.

Do you come from Pappinbarra? if so how lucky you are, what a gorgeous place to live.

You are thinking straight when you thought Tony is like George.

Cheers SmileSmileSmile


June 3. 2012 05:25 PM


   His fitness under his current terms of employment say he's unfit to sit in the parliament if he's a bankrupt or is found guilty of an offence that carries a gaol term of 12 months or more.That's it end of story!

Yes reasonable people can make up their minds about his fitness or otherwise but it doesn't alter the fact that as we speak until either of the above happen he stays!

ToM we have here in SA an MP who has been charged with possessing child porn, he hasn't entered a plea as yet, he was arrested over 12 months ago and although he doesn't attend "parliament" much since his arrest he is still on his ministerial salary and there isn't much that can be done about it for exactly the same reasons Thomson is still there.



June 3. 2012 06:04 PM


@ Talk Turkey

Such optimism in the face of reality, I can't recall where I've come across it before. Oh silly me yes I can, about halfway through the Qld election when some party hack was telling me how well that campaign was going and how the LNP wheels would fall off in the final week and Anna would storm home.

Hmm now how did that go again?

The party was in an exceptional position heading towards the last election, for a while it looked as though they would be the first second term government in recent history to actually gain seats.

Then came Julia and the challenge we had to have, the most inept campaigning in recent history, followed by the most inept governing in recent history and here we are.

Yet somehow this will magically all change.

I'm glad you're managing to have fun though, still a little coherent rational thought could make a nice addition to said fun.

Ahh but I shouldn't be churlish and begrudge you some fun, after all you have at the most 18 months or so if it left.

@ Ad astra,

Unfortunately it's gallows humour.  


June 3. 2012 06:40 PM


Pappinbarra Fox, except George Costanza has principles and ethics. lol

ToM, read the Constitution. If you don't like what it says, change it. Until then stfu. End of story.

......who has 180 findings against him).

And nary a charge in sight. Nice try, but no cigar, again.

Yes, Glorfindel, there's 18 months to go before the election, Rupert's looking very shaky, Barnett, Ballieau and soon O'Farrell will be well on the nose by then and the msm has already started to distance itself from Liealot and the Liars.

I'd almost feel sorry for you, if I didn't think you deserve to have the rug pulled out from under your feet.


June 3. 2012 06:56 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Jane – ”Until then stfu. End of story.

Strong rebuttal as always. Perhaps you could have a look at the advice here about “Blogging Etiquette”

Jane routinely speculates about Jackson and Lawler, it’s always fact free too.

If you were to consistently apply the “stfu” standard, on the basis of “no charges have been laid”, you wouldn’t bother to complain about Abbott (he’s not done anything illegal), or Howard (no charges in relation to Workchoices, AWB or Children overboard).

People form judgments about character, and Thomson demonstrably lacks the type expected of a community leader/representative.

Jason -
Yes reasonable people can make up their minds about his fitness or otherwise but it doesn't alter the fact that as we speak until either of the above happen he stays! “

Obviously, even though Gillard has deprived the people of Dobell of the caucus vote they thought they had. People will always discuss political issues over which they have no control. That’s what happens 99% of the time on blogs.

Tom of Melbourne

June 3. 2012 07:09 PM


   Get over it! Abbott denied the people of Fisher their vote in caucus when he kicked slipper out and the Member for O'connor wasn't elected as a member of the coalition where he now sits Wilson Tuckey ran on that ticket!

And your point is?


June 3. 2012 07:41 PM


It's no laughing matter to consider your question about what other principles Mr Tony Abbott might be prepared to abandon.

I have one fault to pick with that sentence, Patricia. What principles?

And just as a matter of interest for ToM, MPs are elected by voters in the seat they stand in. Or to put it another way, the voters employ MPs to represent them.

The voters will sack any MP they see as not doing the job they were elected to do. Geddit?

Public Servants are employees of the government


June 3. 2012 07:50 PM


Hi Norman K

Congratulations on having your opinion piece published in the Monthly Quadrant Review. You do TPS and all of us proud.

I tweeted and so far has been re-tweeted to approx. 1,500 people.




June 3. 2012 08:09 PM


You erg me on . . Smile

painted . . . tainted . . .

Tony Abbortt's reviled and mocked
Since the idiot went off half cocked:
Cos he said Craig's vote's tainted
He's self-corner-painted
And the door in that corner's been locked!

It works!

Women should stick their tongues out at Pyne everywhere they see him. I will too.
Well so should all blokes too.

That photo of him tonguepoking Anna the Speaker will be great to plaster the electorate of Sturt with . . .  Smile


June 3. 2012 08:42 PM

Ad astra

Congratulations.  A deserved accolade.  Your writing is first class.

Ad astra

June 3. 2012 09:07 PM


Ad astra

That is very kind of you to say. It means a great deal coming from you.
Still haven't worked up a new piece for TPS unfortunately but the day must surely come. Frown Frown ..... Laughing


June 3. 2012 09:11 PM


Hi Lyn,

1,500 people? That is simply astonishing!
I hope I didn't leave in any typos. Smile
Thank-you for doing that - an audience is all that any writer can reasonably hope for.


June 3. 2012 09:22 PM


       A well written piece you are to be congratulated, There were no typos that I could see just an enjoyable read.


June 3. 2012 09:43 PM


Hey NK
I also tweeted to all of my 56 followers the moment I saw it posted.

Some of them may have actually read the tweet as well Tong

PS The management contract is in the mail nudge-nudge wink-wink say no more


June 3. 2012 09:55 PM



Expect a little wrinkled old trillionaire to come around with a contract to write for the DT anytime now . . . Smile


June 4. 2012 07:25 AM



Norman Kupke: Abbott’s Symbolic Principle, NormanK, Monthly Quadrant Review
Sometimes something drops into mail box unexpected. Norman’s article is one, and is a good one too.
For short-term political gain Tony Abbott has invented a symbolic principle that ignores (indeed contradicts) legal principles, constitutional principles, social principles and Christian principles.

Burying the Lead , Mr Denmore, The Failed Estate
Much of the discussion around the future of mainstream media journalism is about money. Who's going to pay the journos' salaries? What's a viable business model? Will the revenue generated by the erection of paywalls be sufficient to make up for the loss of audiences?

Is Australia a High Debt Country-, Archie, Archie Archive
This may be a lie being spread so someone can gain an undeserved political advantage .Debt levels are only considered to be too high by those hoping for disaster. There is a case for charging those who insist on making such claims to be charged, under the Crimes Act, with treason!

Poor Widdle Diddums Tony, Dan Gulbery, The Daily Derp
Actually you are an archetypal bully. You have no problems with dishing it out, but when it comes back at you, you hide behind the skirts of your Deputy, Julie Bishop.
Craig Thomson may or may not be guilty of all the offences he’s been accused of, but when he stated in Parliament that you were not fit to be a Member of Parliament, let alone Prime Minister,he was spot on

Australia deserves a balanced media, Denis Allen, Independent Australia
The prime example of this deterioration in standards, is the recent diatribe directed at a sitting Prime Minister and Government? So much so, that the authors almost seem to be willingly complicit in aiding the Opposition in its attempts to bring down an elected Government merely on the strength of vindictive, acerbic personal opinions and commentary.

20 years on, Ash, Ash’s Machiavellian Bloggery
In less then 30 days, Australia starts to price carbon. Its been a very long time coming. 17 years. Already vested interests are talking about towns disappearing overnight. Again there is hate and division. Some say the hate is self made by the government cause they lied. Did they?

The Latest BISONs ARE HERE - 1st June 2012, The Finnigans,
Home of the BISON’sSTOP THE WHINGING, BE HAPPY - Australia has been voted the world’s happiest country after topping the OECD's annual Better Life Index, beating Norway and the United States.The Paris-based OECD surveyed its 34member nations on 11 topics: housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance

The Week Everything We Thought We Knew About Australian Politics Was Turned Upside Down, Turn Left 2013
Craig Thomson may have just ensure that Tony Abbott will never be Prime Mini. May have also ended his chance of still being Leader Of Coalition Opposition (LOCO) at the next election.That Craig Thomson, the man who Tony Abbott had spent months trying to destroy, pushing him to the brink,

Miners are masterful propagandists, Crispin Hull
It seems that the mining industry (largely based in the West) is not satisfied with merely handing over 83 per cent of their profit to foreign shareholders, they want a stream of foreign workers to help them dig it up – as this week’s fury over special arrangements for miners to import foreign labour reveals.

You Said It, Tony!, Patriciawa, Café Whispers
Whatever dirty tricks he’s tried On this woman, Julia Gillard, She has outwitted him, stood firm, As he attacks with no holds barred.It’s been no use, his verbal abuse,The insults and lie upon lie.She stays calm, makes jokes, and she smiles, Refusing to lie down and die

Will parliament stop the Memes, Luggi Berrospi, Law and Politic Blog
In short, a meme was born.At this point, it’s not even clear how enforceable the parody ban is, let alone whether it would be enforced online. It’s easy to ping a TV show for making fun of Parliament,

Dr Windschuttle and Mr Windbag: Part 1 -left brain/right no brainer, Ethical Martini
Yet another piece by Chris Merritt in which the rampant narcissism of Chris Mitchell is on display. Are The Australian‘s journalists under orders to interview Mitchell on a weekly basis? Or are they so immersed in the paper’s groupthink that they can put words in his mouth and ‘interview the keyboard’ so to speak?ethicalmartini.wordpress.com/.../

@Pollytics PS 2.4% 8/2010 resources.news.com.au/.../...-newspoll-pdf.pdf9.5% 5/2012
www.newspoll.com.au/.../...Leaders%20Ratings.pdf9% 6/2012 resources.news.com.au/files/2012/05/… @OzEquitist

Paul Krugman Demolishes a Couple of Pro-Austerity Tories on British Television, Blue Texan , Crooks and Liars
Looks as though British right-wingers are just as unconvincing and fact-free in their arguments as their American counterparts. Love how they offer absolutely no evidence and just prattle on with their vapid talking points, babbling about lower taxes and less regulation.

Is working harder and longer really worth it-, John Quiggin. The Drum
In reality, once the labour market improved in the late 1990s, it proved impossible to maintain the high stress needed to keep workers going at full pace and more, for long hours. Both the proportion of workers putting in more than 50 hours a week, and the pace of work employers could demand, started falling around 2000, and continued to decline at

What is a halted NBN worth?, Michael Wyers, IT News
Mike Quigley said at Senate Estimates last week that not completing the network would leave the company in situation without a purpose, and without hope of privatisation.

Nobody would likely come forward to buy the satellite and wireless networks; they are just not viable on their own without the subsidy provided by the fibre portion of the network.

Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 4 June 2012


June 4. 2012 07:29 AM


Good Morning Ad

Looks like I did away with Michael Wyres Link

Here it is:

What is a halted NBN worth?, Michael Wyers, IT News



June 4. 2012 08:30 AM

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

Ad astra

June 4. 2012 08:35 AM

Ad astra

Good Morning Lyn
The Michael Wyers link has been fixed.

It was a sound article that I hope will stop Malcolm Turnbull in his tracks, although I suspect he already knows the situation, and is simply humouring Tony Abbott, who presumably still wants him to 'demolish the NBN'!

Ad astra

June 4. 2012 09:01 AM


The Michael Wyers article is a good reality check.  It seems that the Opposition has "tired" of the NBN argument having (with some success) planted the seed of doubt over the whole scheme.

If, as the article suggests, the take up rate of the NBN is better than expected, you would imagine that there would be some word of mouth advertising about how good it is - as well as some financial demonstration on how well it is travelling financially, hopefully prior to the next election.

Another FUD campaign apparently turning to muck.


June 4. 2012 10:08 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody

Twitterverse for you:-

There is a whisper that Nielson poll is one month old, that would explain Labor PV of 27% Vs 33% of last #Newspoll #auspol

Last weekend #Newspoll Labor PV 33%. This weekend Nielsen 27%. It's beyond MOE & no show-stoppers. Somebody is lying or deadly wRONg.

Bushfire Bill
Posted Monday, June 4, 2012 at 9:29 am |
Every article we see about “The Polls” tells us what we already know: Labor is tanking at the moment. Why does this need to be repeated endlessly. Even so called “respectable” commentators can’t shut up about them. What’s the point of it?

Abbott is using USA Republican Party tactics – they don’t care how much damage they do to the country blogs.crikey.com.au/.../#comment-1286853

Financial Review‏@FinancialReview
Nielson poll finds @KRuddMP is still preferred PM even as Tony Abbott's stocks fall with voters [free] http://bit.ly/MandbR #auspol

Tim Lester‏@telester
New Nielsen Poll. Woeful for Labor, but not great for Abbott either. http://goo.gl/y3qpQ #auspol

BigPond News‏@BigPondNews
Abbott and Gillard on the nose - poll: Tony Abbott's disapproval rating has risen to three points behind the PM'... http://bit.ly/LmFaC0

Jen Redding‏@JenRedding64
Mr Abbott's approval rating is down 5 points to 39 per cent, equalling his personal record low.#auspol HA! Read more:Michelle Grattan www.theage.com.au/.../...-cent-20120603-1zq83.html

John Pratt‏@Jackthelad1947
Leaders neck and neck in plunge to bottom of unpopularity pit Peter Hartcher www.smh.com.au/.../...rity-pit-20120603-1zq50.html

Daniel Flitton‏@danielflitton  X   Michael Gordon
Gillard's still in the basement www.theage.com.au/.../...ement-20120603-1zq86.html via @theage

Malcolm Farr‏@farrm51
Get a real job. The blacksmith who became a senator wants colleagues to get their hands dirty. Th Punch: Malcolm Farr www.thepunch.com.au/.../

Luke Mansillo‏@mansillo
An Abbott gov plans to reduce state/fed tension over environmental issues by giving the states greater control... www.couriermail.com.au/.../story-e6freoof-1226382000904

National News: Canberra, Queensland square off over protection of reef http://bit.ly/MomYwD #australia

Financial Review‏@FinancialReview
Fairfax, News Ltd journalists brace for bad news as companies prepare to announce major restructures [free] http://bit.ly/MamAz3 #media

Byorgen Druffeldroff‏@bastardsheep
How much longer until the weekly polling starts including the minor parties as well as ALP/LNP? Phillip Coorey- www.smh.com.au/.../...ays-poll-20120603-1zq7m.html


June 4. 2012 10:27 AM

42 long

  If the poll figures included the minor parties and "independants" ( who are not a party but ARE independant. The construction of  a new parliament might be more obvious.
  The LNP "hate" the greens so much that they will preference labout in front of them.
  Katter's party can damage the LNP which is ( as rarely acknowledged) a " Coalition" that has it's moments too. Most of the independents are ex NP.
  ON the matter of a bi-election in the Craig Thomsons seat, if certain facts become known and investigations done, Craig Thonson might get the seat as an independant, if people in the seat of Dobell thing Craig was set-up by the LNP and not backed up by labour.
   A strong enough case can be made for parliament not being a "kangaroo Court, for Labour not to have so precipitously " deserted" Thomson, I believe. Anyhow it's certainly been an interesting week in the "Chamber of Horrors".
   The pity is that the same "theatre" that Abbott uses is being his undoing. (Love the irony). Would have better if sensible analysis had done it. The Journo's would look better and the Australian voter would have looked more mature.

42 long

June 4. 2012 10:52 AM


"Demolish the NBN"! PAH!

Here's Australia mid-2013, a third of the rollout done or being done, some towns done some not, some suburbs, give me strength!

Why do I call him Turdball, well if he had a spine he wouldn't be pretending this unsustainable position.


If he does he will take Abbortt down. IMO that is what he will do.
I have long thought that one day he will find Abbortt altogethe too revolting and do some revolting of his own. But he has to let Abbortt rot enough and stink enough that Turdball looking urbane and statesmanlike will be implored by enough to stride in to try to pull the NOposition's fat from the fire.

When? When I bin tellim yous!

Abbortt remember
The Ides of September
Two months to dismember . . .
Just bones come December.

The Liberals have no-one else anyway, isn't it?

Divide and Conquer, so true.
Ruddstorationists Fie.
Abbortt v Turdball is the one to watch.  


June 4. 2012 10:58 AM


Good morning Lyn,

Top billing! Smile What a privilege.
It seems Darryn's site is still at the fledgling stage so the inclusion of it in Lyn's Links will hopefully give it a bit more exposure. It looks like an ambitious but worthwhile venture that deserves some support.

The Michael Wyers' article will make sober reading for Mr Turnbull.


June 4. 2012 11:51 AM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Thanks for the Twitterverse, which of course is all over the Nielsen poll.  Journalists love to play this pointless game.  It matters nothing to them that as a predictor of the outcome of an election in eighteen months, it is not only useless it is also dangerously misleading.  Yet in the pursuit of an easy story they pursue their favourite line: “If an election were held today…” you can fill in the rest.  This is disingenuous journalism that knowingly deceives the voting public, and feeds the meme they have been disseminating for ages – that the Gillard Government must be removed.  Michelle Grattan salivates with delight as she tells us about ‘the bad news for Labor’.

Like Bushfire Bill, I too am fed up with the media’s morbid focus on polls.  It is obsessive.  The media cannot and will not report polls objectively as they form too much of their content, and it is such easy copy.  BB’s comment is great reading:

Here are a couple of excerpts:

”What’s the commentary been about for the past two weeks?
1. Craig Thomson.
2. Abbott’s Run.
3. The politics of the EMA announcement.
4. Polls, polls, polls.

Virtually nothing about policy.

Every article we see about “The Polls” tells us what we already know: Labor is tanking at the moment. Why does this need to be repeated endlessly. Even so called “respectable” commentators can’t shut up about them. What’s the point of it?

Gillard is not going to resign. Rudd is not making a comeback. There’s no election within coo’ee. Bills are being passed, laws enacted. Nothing’s changed.

How often do we see real criticism of policy content? Rarely. It’s always the belly-fluff associated with the policy, not the policy itself. I guess that means the commentators think the government’s doing a pretty good job, on policy.
Gong on and on about polls is a lot of effort expended to state the obvious, time and time again.”

Later he says this of journalists:

All they have to do is get up in the morning, grab a coffee and start writing (after reading each others’ stories to see the meme of the day). Email 800 words into head office and the rest of the day is free.”

His entire comment is worth reading.

Ad astra

June 4. 2012 12:07 PM


@ Jane,

18 months, a bit more time than Kristina Keneally had but less time than Anna Bligh had.

Remind me again how did those results go again?

And at least with Anna Bligh you could point to her past results as an indication that she had the capacity to turn things around.

What is it about Julia Gillard that would indicate that she has any capacity whatsoever to improve on her present position?

When Gillard took over the party was in the strongest position any first term government has been since Menzies she nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of certain victory and since then the situation has become steadily worse.

Gillard took over in a strong position which, under her leadership, has become a very weak position.

So why should we expect things to change ? In nearly 2 years Gillard has shown absolutely no ability whatsoever to achieve what you think she can do in 18 months?

Faith is better left to religion and the other areas of life where rational thought isn't required.

More generally - Why the attacks on Mumble - if anything this blog owes him a great appology for the slurs cast on his character when he first wrote about the Gillard leadership coup. And might I note that since then Mumble has been consistently more accurate than the musings of the Political

And the NBN - great bit of policy - good thing that we had Rudd to make it so. Without his coat-tails to ride on this inept government would be in an even worse position.


June 4. 2012 12:10 PM


Lyn that Bushfire Bill post, gee that bloke can write, no-one so dynamic as he. He keeps us 'acks real 'umble.

In that rave he reckons *J*U*L*I*A* will indeed lead Labor into the next election, and he says he doesn't think Turdball will roll Abbortt either. Well I agree with the first bit, as for the second I have always said that by the end of the year and as from the Ides of September Abbortt will be rotting flesh, I do admit of the possibility that the LNP might not have the sense nor the options to ditch Abbortt, I do not admit though of the possibility that he will not be very smelly by Crispmess, it is part of my whole Eye of Time vision that he will be seen as hollow and nasty by many too many by then.

The LNP will have, indeed as from this moment has the problem as to whether, and how, to ditch the ailing failing flailing Smile Crocodile they thought they could ride to the election having gobbled *J*U*L*I*A* easily by then, but who has failed with all his death roll attempts to drag her down,

. . . And whether and how to try to mount the glossy gelding Turdball instead, (because who else?), after all he only lost by one vote (ONE VOTE!!!) in the original leadership runoff, and that was only because one pro-Turdy woman was absent . . . Folks, how do you think Turdy feels about that? Equanimitous, "It's a fair cop" I don't think so!

So here he is in his Dunce's Corner, with his stupid Anti-NBN Dunce's Cap on, fulminating, plotting, waiting his chance . . . And I don't blame him neither, he only wanted to be an MHR so he could stroll into the top job of all. And he only lost the leadership because of Grech . . .  

All he has to do is say-
Look Australia I cannot longer stay silent,
*Abbortt's NBN policy is unsustainable, if I become LOTO we will HELP the fibre network but of course do it faster better cheaper because we're always better rah rah rah.
*We won't be able to avoid a price on carbon, I'm going back to John Howard's position . . . but we'll get more bang for your buck rah rah . . .
*We will reconsider the Boats the Boats the Boats (no policy tho' note)
*We will halt the wicked Labor waste, yeah rahh rah etc ad nausam ad infinitum (sed non Ad astra!)

And of course the MSM will say how forward-thinking, how impressive
etc. Abbortt will blow away if Turdy is shrewd.

But Turdy has to have the b*lls* to challenge, exactly as Costello did.

The Opposition would have a better chance with Turdball, but if he were to form government at least it wouldn't be the horror of an Abborttians-Vatican-Magnates-MSM-Tobacco alliance ruling the country. And they won't win anyway. Damned if they do or don't.

In Chess it's just called a Fork, well I think they're Forked already.

In Chess a Queen-Trap is similar, but there they have failed dismally.    

So the rotters really are in a quandary, and it is quietly getting worse, those in the real hot seats will be visiting the toilet more often . . . with more effort . . . or less than none . . . Smile

So Gravel my Dear,
Be of good cheer
I'm quite sincere
And never fear
We'll win next year
Da Turkey's here!

"b*ll" could be any of 5 words, unusual for all 5 vowels to fit in a 4 letter word. Bag does likewise with 3. There are others, yes.  


June 4. 2012 12:58 PM

42 long

From an outsider perspective,replacing the mad monk with Turnbull may seem simple, but I believe the LNP have moved so far to imitate the "Tea Pary/Republican USA style that they would have trouble accepting Turnbull.
They regard him as a " lefty" who should be in the labour party. that is an indicator of the "Nature" of Abbott's way. Could they make the adjustment? I doubt it.
   Tony should note the old adage
  " Cock of the Walk" this week, next week, a feather duster.

42 long

June 4. 2012 01:20 PM

42 long

Glorfindel, The blowtorch is now on Tony. He was going to have to put some flesh on the bones of his empty utterances, at some stage. The problems with the nature of his tactics and the questions about what sort of person he is have emerged as an extra factor which would have to come out in a pre-election campagn any how.
   As far as to Julia's competence/ support,, i judge that not by the what the oppositionor press,( None of us would regard that as a reliable gauge at the moment, surely?) say, but the support the independents and her party give her, and that has always been at a high a figure as most would see as convincing.

42 long

June 4. 2012 01:34 PM



That was a bit of fun on twitter this morning.  Can I say it sure wastes time though.  I got behind on my duties and had to wait till now to get here.  Thanks for the fun.  Oh and by the way how do I get my gravitar to work there like yours does.

Talk Turkey

With you now having joined twitter, I jokingly said about you to Lyn, how will you manage with just 140 characters.  I see though you are doing well.

Talking of twitter, they all seem to think this latest poll is bad for Abbott as his numbers went right down.


June 4. 2012 02:07 PM


@ 42 Long,

"The blowtorch is now on Tony. He was going to have to put some flesh on the bones of his empty utterances, at some stage"

I heard something very similar to that refrain sung all last election campaign. And the result there wasn't overly good. It didn't work then, why should it work now?

Regards Gillard yes she has the support of (some) of the independents in parliament and the support of the (majority) of her party.

However as the next general election will rely on the support of the general public - which she does not have - such support from her parliamentary colleagues is irrelevant.

John Howard went to his last election with the support of his party too. It didn't really help all that much.

PS Andrew Wilkie shows how far incompetence will get you when you try and keep the support of those independents.


June 4. 2012 02:17 PM


Hi Gravel

Thankyou for the fun on Twitter this morning.  But did you see Talk Turkey missed a bit and probably is a bit confused.

Talk Turkey is called Talky Turkey so you and I both were talking to Talk Turkey who is a twitterer in America, he probably thought what are these two Lynsal & LynLinking talking about.  Anyway I tried to fix by retweeting to Talky Turkey so not sure what happened after that.

With regards to your picture this is what to do:-

First put your picture on desktop or somewhere you can find it, name

picture for easy finding.

Go to Twitter

Top left of page under your name click view Profile

Right top of page click box Edit my Profile


from where you put it.

Presto hope that is clear for you if not ask me again.

Cheers SmileSmileSmileSmileSmile


June 4. 2012 02:23 PM


That is a very subtle way of calling TT a blatherskite! Smile

As for Abbortt, the Liberals have less than 200 days to replace him . . . After that it would be worse still . . . He is rotting already.

Great fun for Labor.


June 4. 2012 02:34 PM


42long @12.58pm, apart from the Liars Party having morphed into the Tea Party, which I'm not entirely convinced is true, Turnbull probably is seen as a "lefty", despite him now marching in lockstep with Liealot.

However, he is also damaged goods after the Grech debacle, something the government would not fail to remind the electorate of at every opportunity.

I do find it very interesting that Brandis and Abetz both managed to avoid ANY responsibility for their roles in that MSU!

Although Turnbull's going had a lot of people who had heaped scorn on him over the Grech debacle, suddenly become staunch supporters of the "noble" Turnbull after his resignation speech, it didn't convince me.

His basic character flaws are still there and if given a second chance, I've no doubt that his massive ego wouldn't allow him to alter his MO.

I'm not entirely convinced that the Liars Party has morphed into the Tea Party. I think some have enthusiastically adopted some of the more unsavoury practices of the Tea Party, but I don't think the whole Parliamentary party has been infected.

I am with TT wrt Liealot crashing and burning, and that Turnbull will not replace him for the reasons TT and I have stated above.

I also believe that Turnbull lacks courage and integrity.

But the Liars Party's dilemma lies way back when they annointed Howard.

Like Menzies, he was, and still is, bitter about the rejections of him by the Liars. His revenge has been to fatally weaken it by ensuring potential rivals and talent were systematically removed.

The bunch of talentless hacks we currently see sitting on the opposition benches is Howard's doing.

Liealot doesn't have Howard's vengeful Machiavellian abilities, but like all Howard favourites lacks talent, is incredibly lazy and lacks the ability to think on his feet or interest himself in policy formation.

Unfortunately, these flaws, or at least some of them, infest the entire parliamentary party and the only reason they enjoy the position they hold in the polls is down to the corrupt influence of the Murdochracy.


June 4. 2012 02:48 PM


glorfindel, keep telling yourself that Mumble is right.

But when Uncle Rupert's empire comes crashing down Liealot will no longer protected by any but the most hardcore of Rupert's robots.

As for your idiotic "inept" government Liars Party propaganda, the number of bills passed and the continuing legislative program gives the lie to that particular line of crap.

Most of which legislation has been supported by the Liars Party, which can only mean that they're incredible hypocrites.

Instead of regurgitating rubbish from the LIars Party handbook, acquaint yourself with the objective facts and weep!


June 4. 2012 03:21 PM


@ 42 Long,

PS your suggestion that Gillard's revival is entirely dependent on the flaws of Abbott, is by implication, as damning a commentary on the skills of Gillard as any I've made.

And most likely quite accurate. Sadly I feel you're correct, any revival of the party's federal fortunes won't be because of Gillard's ability to communicate, or he brilliant strategies, or her ability to draft policy that connects with the electorate - because none of these exist. Any revival will be due to Abbott's stumbles. Let's hope there is a lot of them.

@ Jane,

Reality suggest that Mumble is often right, I'm merely reflecting that. Certainly at the time of Gillards ill-fated challenge history shows that his reading of the proverbial tea-leaves was streets ahead of those at the Political Sword.

Oh Callooh! Callay they've managed to pass some legislation, tell me how much comfort will this provide you during the next stint of opposition?  George W Bush managed to get some of his legislation passed too - I suppose that makes him competent in your eyes?  Although I suppose at least he didn't come up with anything as hare brained as the "Malaysian solution".

The objective facts are that if a federal election had been held on the last weekend we'd now be considering the Qld result as a "good show".  Gish galloping onto whatever faint straw you can grasp to give yourself some hope won't change that objective fact one iota.

Set the bar for Julia as low as you like, she still struggles, and it's not the fault of those bogey's in the MSM.


June 4. 2012 03:42 PM

42 long

Having read what has been said above with interest, let me say, it is a fact that parties lose elections rather than win them. The "Messianaic Thought Bubble" Rudd was somewhat of an exception. He offered inspiration, but didn't carry it through.
If the carbon price thingy settles down and the broadband rollout procedes , the unrelentless and empty "Rotten gov't and Rotten PM" stuff has already worn thin, because it is essentially nasty, cheap and altogether over the top, and does nothing whatever for the way pollies are regarded by the masses It is also becoming obvious that Tony can't handle what he dishes out to others.
  I don't have a lot of time for Turnbull either. He was caught well and truly with the Godwin Greche affair, GOOD people like Warren Entsch don't get a mention except when they are nearly knocked over by the rabid r,abbitt's frenzied escape attempt. .

42 long

June 4. 2012 04:12 PM


Some legislation! More in the first 12 months than the Rodent passed in an entire term, despite having control of the Senate! Read it and weep 300+ pieces of legislation and counting, over 75% of which has been supported by the Liars.

All you can come up with as proof of incompetence is a pathetic single example of a bill which didn't pass. 300+ passed and counting, glorfindel.

I can hardly write this next sentence for laughing. .....if a federal election had been held on the last weekend we'd now be considering the Qld result as a "good show"

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. There's another meaningless statement.

If ifs and ands were pots and pans, tinkers would be rich. Ans another.

If I'd picked the right numbers in the xlotto a couple or so weeks ago, I'd have won $70m.

If I'd bought Poseiden shares when they were $1 and sold at $100, I'd be very rich.

Notice that nasty old qualifier IF? I suspect I'm not the one "gish galloping" from one faint straw of hope to another.

Liealot is dead meat and here's a real "objective fact" for you.

There's bugger all talent or ability in that bunch of Rodentochracy hacks perched on the opposition benches, unless you count the sprint to the doors of the House as an example of ability. And they couldn't even get that right! roflmao!

The "objective facts" are that an election wasn't held last weekend, month or year. The "objective facts" are that there won't be an election for another 18 months.

The "objective facts" are until then, your bullshit counts for nothing.


June 4. 2012 04:24 PM


Good slapdown, Jane. Liealot and the Liars Party are political invalids - wholly and utterly dependent on the support of the baised media. They're the ultimate welfare case.


June 4. 2012 04:42 PM


Hi Ad and Everybody


The Age‏@theage
Storm weather: Brace for the worst tonight with trees down, landslides and potential flooding. www.theage.com.au/.../...epens-20120604-1zqwe.html via @theage

Andrew Catsaras‏@AndrewCatsaras
latingle spoke with Steve Austin (ABC Radio Brisbane) today about her @quarterlyessay http://bit.ly/L6xyTA

BigPond News‏@BigPondNews
Journos meet Fairfax over NZ job plans: Fairfax journalists are meeting with the head of the media company's reg... http://bit.ly/LYhrHt

Bushfire Bill
Posted Monday, June 4, 2012 at 10:39 am
Exceedingly sloppy work.
In any case, $12million is precisely 0.075% (yes, just 1/13th of one per cent) of the BER total of $16 billion.
Yet this beat-up, full of errors, red herrings, misstatements, inconsistencies and outright smoke-screening of the facts makes it to the FRONT PAGE of this egregious Murdoch shit-sheet.

Malcolm Farr‏@farrm51
No longer instant devastation, but a python's squeeze. TAbbott on the carbon pricing start-up. http://tiny.cc/c82cfw

Jonathan Green‏@GreenJ
don't forget, these guys have a whole team of writers RT @lenoretaylor: abbott attributes turnbull's popularity to his criticism of the NBN

Tony Abbott‏@TonyAbbottMHR
Just viewed the Gold Coast tip. Carbon tax on landfill means more expensive council rates for homeowners. A Coalition Govt will abolish it.

rafael epstein‏@Raf774
speaking to @latingle about what we want from government at 4pm @774Melbourne @QuarterlyEssay

Have finally been able to get past all the grovelling and spin to actually read Abbott's speech to the Minerals...
to the Minerals... http://fb.me/1JrftarCh

Financial Review‏@FinancialReview
Forget the psychic octopods - who what would happen in Euro2012 if it were played out the financial markets? [free] http://bit.ly/LYccHF



June 4. 2012 05:12 PM


@ Jane,

So that's the mark of a good government ? Passing legislation, it doesn't matter what the legislation is, or the effect of it so long as tons of it get passed?

Seem as though you picked the single metric which shows Gillard in any kind of flattering light and decided that it's the be all and end all of government.

Just because you can find some sycophants who'll cheer you one doesn't make it any more or less meaningful.

I used the “Malaysian solution” as an example of the lack of competence of the Gillard government, not as an example of failed legislation. I didn't think I'd have to dumb it down this much for you, but here we are.

The “Malaysian solution” was a farce long before it became a legislative issue. You might recall the embarrassing defeat in the High Court.

Actually I don't know if you would, for you must surely have spent the last two years or so under a rock somewhere.

You've obviously missed the citizens assembly re climate change, the “real” Julia fiasco, the East Timor asylum seeker solution debacle, the no carbon tax promise, Carr, Wilkie, Slipper, Thomson etc.

But somehow magical fairies will sprinkle dust over every-bodies head while they're asleep and things will turn around.

“What's that captain, it's only an iceberg and this ships unsinkable”

Any day now Kate will pull ahead in Ashgrove and then who's going to lead the LNP? Can-do's wheels will surely fall off then. Anna will storm home in the last week.......

Candidates disease is much better when it's confined to an actual candidate.

Obviously the polls that were accurate in 2007, in 2010, in 2011 and 2012 (Qld) are somehow wrong now. We don't know how or why they just are.

“Liealot is dead meat and here's a real "objective fact" for you.”

Um know that is an insult and speculation. Thank you for demonstrating to the world as a whole that you have know idea what an “objective fact” is.  Although lets be fair it was blatantly obvious already.

“There's bugger all talent or ability in that bunch of Rodentochracy hacks perched on the opposition benches,”

Ahh that must be one of those “objective facts” you were so keen on. As must be the baseless speculation that something wonderful will happen just because there is time between now and the next election.

Essentially your case boils down to

1. The Gillard government has passed some legislation.
2. There is time before the next election
3. Somehow via some unknown magical process  voting intentions will suffer the most dramatic turn-around this country has ever seen and Gillard will lead Labor to victory.

I've also included a precis with the insult, hyperbole and sheer fantasy removed from your comments – see below:


June 4. 2012 06:01 PM


By the same token Glorfidel; "No [insert item here]" with no policy or describing how they would act differently won't win either.  If negativity won, Bligh would still be Premier of Queensland.

The polls and their reporting in Australia are a joke.  In reality the ALP would lose today - just has the Coalition (with Howard as PM) would have lost through the majority of 2000.  For the record, Howard won in 2001.  Without knowing the questions, number of respondents, margin for error and when the poll was taken - the numbers are about as useful as last weeks lotto results and statistically as valid as putting a lotto entry in with the numbers that haven't been drawn for the longest period of time.  While the required data above is probably available for a price, the general public gets the story from the media - not the polling company.  While the media might pay the polling company to find out some of the detail I refer to above, they certainly don't report it.  When you also consider that a particular poll will give a indication based on the questions and margin of error over a certain period - surely the trend by the same polling company (thus ruling out method variation) is more important.

After all, there is only one organisation that conducts a poll of the entire sample (everyone over 18 who is registered to vote) and they only do so after the Prime Minister has called for such a poll to be taken.  The organisation is the Australian Electoral Commission and the approved method is an election.  With 18 months or thereabouts to go before an election must be called, and the latest Wylie E Coyote stunt by the LNP falling flat (yet again), while you might have a low opinion of Gillard but you surely would recognise that she would have rocks in her head to go to the polls prior to the bedding down of her program - which includes CPRS, NBN and around 290 other bits of legislation.  In fact (regardless of my views on the ALP Government), I would suggest that the way Gillard and her Cabinet have worked over the past 18 months would show a great deal of dedication and following a plan of attack - hardly the sign of one of the Oppn's claims of dysfunctional or incompetent - wouldn't you?


June 4. 2012 06:02 PM


The pathos exhibited by the right-wing is their weeping lament that they were done-over at the last election by a more skilfull negotiator and several sincere independants that refused both material and carnal bribery by the leader of the opposition to back the most stable political party...
The bathos exhibited by the right-wing is their laughable promise that "come the next election they're gonna'..." Yes?...gonna' what?....a bunch of gonners and eye-specialists...: "I'll do this, I'll do that"!
There's a looong time between now and the next election....and there's many a slip twixt cup and lip!
Now go check your stocks and shares.


June 4. 2012 06:20 PM


Evening Swordsters

I've been up north for nearly a week and have just spent an hour on returning to read a few hundred TPS comments, all very interesting. Great to see the pot still boiling.

At a motel one day (Sunday?) I watched  Sky I/V of Albo by the constiped Paul Kelly and some sneerer called David Crowe, a Murdoch Canberra hack. Both were keen to chuck any innuendo, smear, gotcha, half truth or blatant lie to Albo in the form of so called questions.

Well he ate them up for breakfast. He followed Corporal Jones's axiom "they don't like the hard steel uppem" and quietly, calmly and comprehensively he shafted them. By the end they were sitting there like two nervous nellies with nowhere to go. They had exhausted their store of "creativity" in devising silly questions and had nowhere to go. They did not like the cold steel uppem at all.

Even as Abbott day by day looks sillier and more and more in the corner he painted for himself, so too his media agents, especially the more blatant ones look like geese wit the intellect of preschoolers. And like Abbott those two looked like they'd been caught red handed with hands in the lolly jar by the time Albo had finished.


June 4. 2012 07:10 PM


Hi Psyclaw

Welcome home. Hope you had a good week, we did miss you on TPS though.

(by the constiped Paul Kelly and some sneerer called David Crowe)
thanks for the smile.

Kelly ODwyer on Capital Hill this afternoon, Lyndal Curtis was looking very exasperated couldn't get a word in edge ways.  Anyway Kelly ODwyer said there is a private not for profit hospital in her electorate of Higgins who told her they will be paying $400,000.00 more for electricity because of the Carbon tax.

I hope someone checks her out because she has been making a fool of herself recently on the closure of a furniture store see link:

Lessons of the humble tweet lost on pollies , Nic Christensen, News Com

O'Dwyer should have expected this. She could have also learned from a similar experience only a couple of weeks ago when she tweeted a photo of herself together with Liberal senator Eric Abetz and a local furniture shop owner. The image showed the trio standing in front of his shop with the signage reading: "The thanks to Julia (Gillard) Closing Down Sale". When the MP tweeted the image, she also wrote: "A picture says a thousand words."




June 4. 2012 07:25 PM


An interesting day of reading for me. And some interesting comments here about the prospects for the flavour of the next government.

Whenever the next election is finally held some things won't change including the leaders of the respective major parties (with a margin of error of +/- 3% and a 95% confidence level)

For some perspective on why the constant carping and negativity of the opposition will likely continue a couple of articles for people to digest.

First one written almost two years ago by Tim Dunlop @ BSides
As we enter the hung parliament zone....
So all those hoping that this hung parliament is an opportunity to reinvent our politics, just be aware: key segments of conservative Australia aren't going to be of that frame of mind.

Very prescient and with hindsight incredible forecasting.

Next an article by the inimitable Possum that opens with a reminder of what he wrote just after Labor got the thumbs up from Windsor and Oakeshott.

The Great Unhinging Revisited Poss @KingsTribune
And so it was that The Great Unhinging was foretold. From its social dynamics through to its political consequences, from its partisan political drivers through to its media exploitation.
Yet what you may not know is just why what has ultimately come to pass, was ultimately so obvious and predictable more than 18 months ago.

If you thought last twenty months have been bad you ain't seen nothing yet, the worst is still to come


June 4. 2012 07:38 PM

42 long

Kelly O Dwyer is going to have to be made responsible for what she does and says.
   When the (Picture shows a thousand words" matter came up in parl't and was revealed as a big CON and the owner was relocating at a nearby street location and NOT closing down at all. she was most "put out". She should "GET REAL" or get out of parl't. Again this does nothing but reduce the opinion the person in the street has of pollies. They keep doing it to themselves.
   Incidently I have observed a few posters here lately being rather insulting and personal. Others don't, and rely on the facts to speak for themselves. There is no point in demeaning people in a discussion. I know when we were taught to debate at school, it was part of the process to destroy the opposite party's argument, but personal insults should not be part of it. I have noticed some doing it and will definately regard them as less worthy of my attention and response. Do we have some deliberate stirrers here, perhaps with an agenda? I'm not identifying anyone, but I think they do a pretty good job of identifying themselves. An interesting litmus test.

42 long

June 4. 2012 07:46 PM


oops forgot the link to Poss' article @TheKingsTribune



June 4. 2012 07:58 PM


glorfindel, I think the space is more representative of the content of any of your comments.


June 4. 2012 08:02 PM


42 long,
       I'm one of your problems who's been insulting, and I don't apologise for it and don't mind admitting it!
Sometimes in life you have to speak a language your opponent understands!
If that makes me "less worthy of your attention" so be it!
No doubt you've never swore at work or around friends but good for you,far be it for me to judge!


June 4. 2012 08:30 PM

Tom of Melbourne

” one-over at the last election by a more skilfull negotiator and several sincere independants that refused both material and carnal bribery by the leader of the opposition to back the most stable political party...”

I think it might be worth checking with Andrew WIlkie about whether he considers the negotiation “skillful” or perhaps “duplicitous”
Howard lost the election because he lost the trust of the public. Worchoices was considered a breach of trust.

Gillard is in the same position. The public considers the carbon tax a breach of trust.

These days the electorate know the smell of bulls**t and it’s really no use carping endlessly about the media or Abbott, Abbott and Abbott.

Tom of Melbourne

June 4. 2012 08:43 PM


One of the biggest mistakes the newly elected Labor Party committed in 2007 was in not totally cleaning out of every position of influence in the bureaucracy AND the national broadcaster, every Howard appointed person. It's well and good to play the "live and let live" card, but in govt' as here on these forums, the name of the game is politics, politics, politics.
If we were argueing against a literate and rational opposition, sure, logic and reason would be worthy..but if one casts a judgemental eye over the arguements put forward by those who would favour the "right" of politics both here and elsewhere, we see false and deliberately distorted debates. We see stunted and stalled and clumsily made points..repeated ad nauseam lies screamed with the shrill air of the desperate. Even those who would like to be seen as witty or urbane come across as try-hards! But unfortunately they have one major weapon they can and do hide behind...: a compliant MSM. The Right-wing can say and commit the most outrageous acts and they are handled with kid-gloves....a cowards comfort.
Sure, as I said, it's both noble and good to put up what would and should be a decisive debate...but they just aren't listening, their mind is like those old corner stores...empty and closed. they understand only one word...:the verb..:"a doing word".
And in that suggested action, I can only agree with Jason.


June 4. 2012 08:47 PM



When I read ToM, or hear shock-jocks like Abraham and Bevan,*
I can't resist a joyous urge to smile and say
Thank Heaven
For Glorfindel!
For Glorfindel gets shriller day by day . . .
Thank Heaven
For Glorfindel!
A willing whipping-boy for us to flay!
Those plaintive posts so redolent with feeling
Give me such pleasure 'cos it sounds like he is squealing . . !
Thank Heaven
For Glorfindel
Thank Heaven for him, and all his likeminded sneering trolls -
They give this Turkey nothing but lols!

*Matthew Abraham and David Bevan are our SA ABC breakfast show bigots. Don't get Jason Obelix started . . . Smile


June 4. 2012 08:50 PM


Weird, because there isn't a carbon tax, ToM as you very well know. I wonder where that load of old flannel originated? Oh, that's right, the msm.

And good golly, who's beavering away with the PM drafting new legislation. Oh noes! It wouldn't be Andrew Wilkie, would it? Negotiating with the PM? Fancy that.

The public's bullshit meter isn't working too well, they've swallowed all the manure fed to them by the msm and the Liars Party so far.


June 4. 2012 08:53 PM


   "Obviously, even though Gillard has deprived the people of Dobell of the caucus vote they thought they had"

What about the deprived people of Fisher who also have an "independent" or the people of "O'Connor" who voted out the coalition in "Tuckey" only to now find the new man has now joined the coalition?
I guess that bit got lost in your post?


June 4. 2012 09:31 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Of course, it’s not a “carbon tax”.

It is a “ carbon non market, government imposed charge, which is designed to raise revenue for the government to then deploy to the spending priorities it determines, but no, NO, NO, it’s nothing like a tax”

The bulls**t detection meter, reads “extreme” when Jane provides this type of commentary.
Jason, if your sense of ethics is determined by the level of the Liberals, your ALP is done for.

Tom of Melbourne

June 4. 2012 09:49 PM


Not my sense of ethics ToM! just driving the bus through the many holes of your aguments.

However I thought you would have been a much happier man this week with the good news about your party!
THE Australian Democrats - who are under threat of extinction as a national political party - have won a reprieve.

The party has vowed to contest next year's federal election after the Australian Electoral Commission ruled it had enough members to continue to be registered."


I look forward to seeing all the valuable advice you give here being put into action and who knows Senator ToM of Melbourne perhaps, don't forget us though!


June 4. 2012 09:54 PM

42 long

You certainly came in there jason. If you had read my words more carefully I might have got a more considered response. You have talent, but you can do better than that. You have obviously NOT got the point of my post at all. Notice I am not attacking you as a person, just what you have said which is the point of a discussion, isn't it?. Leave the personal asides out of it, and we will all get a better result. We are all friends here, aren't we?

42 long

June 4. 2012 09:56 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Yes Jason, the AEC enquired about my membership.

It was obviously a fairly rigorous review of the books.

Tom of Melbourne

June 4. 2012 11:08 PM



Of course, it’s not a “carbon tax”.

It is a “ carbon non market, government imposed charge, which is designed to raise revenue for the government to then deploy to the spending priorities it determines, but no, NO, NO, it’s nothing like a tax”

The bulls**t detection meter, reads “extreme” when Jane provides this type of commentary.

At the risk of boring so many readers with the following comment that I have repeatedly posted (including to you several times ToM, receiving in return mere silence) the HC in Air Caledonie defined "tax". If there is any option whether or not to pay then it is not a tax.

The big emitters have the option to pay zero by emitting zero, or more realistically to pay less by installing better, cleaner technology.

Wise boards and managers have already begun to exercise this option and at their own discretion will pay less, by emitting less.

Although we may at times feel comfortable by over-simplifiying info to suit our argument, the fact is that governments' revenue includes monies that are not "tax" eg fines, licences, certificates, borrowings, tariffs,excise, customs, rent, dues etc.

Only those bereft of a mature vocabulary incorrectly refer to these as taxes. Or those who are on a particular band wagon.

It's like you telling us ToM that on Saturday you're off to the animal races at Flemington. Much clearer to just say you're off to the gee gees.


June 4. 2012 11:25 PM


@ June 3. 2012 04:49 PM you wrote DMW, thank you for your generous advice on “Blogging Etiquette”.

I suspect you misread me or, more likely, I was making my point poorly.

I was in fact suggesting that in all forms of discussion about politics or any other subject, whether face to face, via letters to the editor or on blogs, the twitterverse or wherever that confrontation doesn't help one's cause or encourage the target of the confrontation to consider your or my points of view.

I suspect though the confrontationist style is the tip of the iceberg of a bigger problem. The discussion of politics and political ideas has become far more partisan and discussion has been replaced by shouting at each other. Less and less are people willing to actually listen to another point of view.

The internet rather than encouraging an open airing of views and the contest of ideas has encouraged clustering with people tending to visit those places that reinforce their own point of view.

I am generalising here and this applies to many, but not all, blogs. Often rather than someone with a differing point of view being welcomed and being allowed the space to test their ideas against those of the regular residents they are labelled as troll or sometimes worse.

As a result often the visitor feels the need to shout or confront instead of engage.

Unfortunately I think we have a big problem in this country in that many people feel that they are not being listened to let alone heard and we are developing into a shouty society.

Another problem that feeds into this shouty thing is that generaly as a country we want to be able to run our lives without interference from government or other do gooder types however the moment something goes wrong we expect the government to fix it and if we think they won't (or maybe can't) we get all shouty and bitchy and scream 'why aren't you bar stweards listening to me?'

So ToM by all means ... tend to err on the side of being entirely direct  but, is it possible to take time to consider the consequences of all of us being blunt, direct and/or confrontational? Will we end up with an even more dysfunctional form of governance and a society at war with itself? This of course is something that anyone who takes the time to comment here , there or anywhere could also consider.

Maybe I am too much of an idealist in that I have a sometimes forlorn hope that there is room for a contest of ideas rather the left versus right Punch and Judy Show.


June 4. 2012 11:43 PM


ToM, as you seem unable or unwilling* to admit what constitutes a tax, you need to be reminded that the carbon pricing scheme is NOT a tax.

The bullshit meter does indeed register in the extreme when you try your tired old flannel time and again, just like your hero Liealot.

Endlessly repeating a lie never makes it a fact or the truth. I suggest you peddle your crap on Bolt's site. He's not too fussy about accuracy or truth.

In fact he prefers it when people lie; you should fit right in.

*that's my choice


June 5. 2012 07:36 AM


DMW said Maybe I am too much of an idealist in that I have a sometimes forlorn hope that there is room for a contest of ideas rather the left versus right Punch and Judy Show.

Don't stop believing DMW.  At times we all let our particular bias infect our ability to discuss the concepts.


June 5. 2012 07:46 AM



Two Parties - Neither Preferred , Sal Piracha,  Only The Depth Varies
The one big move in the poll is Tony Abbott's personal approval dropping five points. As I write this, Mr Abbott is spinning for all he's worth, at a press call located at a garbage dump - bring your own imagery. Journalist and author George Megalogenis has tweeted: John Howard was poll-driven. But he never fell for trap of responding to, let alone spinning each

SRSLY: NSW government pushes for Jackson cheerleader as HSU administrator, Vex News
UPDATE: In addition, we learnt this morning that Phillips was a close friend and contemporary of Tony Abbott’s in student politics at Sydney University and was a very active member – with Abbott – of the Democratic Club there in the mid 1970s. They were involved in multiple student elections and for elections to the notorious Australian Union of Students, at the time, well-informed sources say.

FOI Airs More Than Slipper's Laundry, Paul Farrell, New Matilda
If a bill is put forward to amend the act there needs to be similar widespread resistance from both the public and journalists. Expenses are the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of unseen reports and documents exist within these agencies, the release of which would dramatically improve government transparency in Australia

Soft diplomacy: Greg Sheridan gets it wrong on aid, Israel and the Security Council , Dennis Altman, The Conversation
since she got the top job, he has been running a campaign designed to demonstrate that her government is bound on leaving Australia defenceless while squandering precious taxpayer’s money on unnecessary overseas aid. His latest outburst in last weekend’s Australian is, not surprisingly, half right and half dangerous nonsense

Packer's advertising splash for Echo control, Matthew Knot, The Power Index
The Crown Casino chairman has taken out 12 full-page advertisements since last Thursday in The Australian Financial Review, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph. The advertising spree would have cost about $465,000 according to Simon Davies, head of publishing at marketing firm OMD.

Guest post: You silly Queenslanders. You WOULD give Can’t Do tyrannical powers wouldn’t you, Turn Left 2013
The almighty hypocrisy of our pathetic media is largely to blame for the fact that a government that should be heaped in praise where praise is due, is crucified for no other reason than to install the LNP back in power. The same bunch we got rid of a mere 4 years ago.

Landfill Emissions Income Potential , Ask Gerbilnow. Com
To TonyAbbott Paying carbon tax on landfill is optional. Most councils generate electricity, EARN income:
claims in the media of local councils being "hit by a carbon tax" the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus, has released a statement on how the carbon price will apply to pollution from local landfill sites

Abbott likens carbon tax to python squeeze, Simon Cullen, ABC
"But it is going to hurt from day one and as time goes by it's just going to get worse and worse and worse and the only way to fix it is to change the government."

Lessons of the humble tweet lost on pollies , Nic Christensen, News Com
O'Dwyer should have expected this. She could have also learned from a similar experience only a couple of weeks ago when she tweeted a photo of herself together with Liberal senator Eric Abetz and a local furniture shop owner. The image showed the trio standing in front of his shop with the signage reading: "The thanks to Julia (Gillard) Closing Down Sale".

Qantas under new pressure from China, Singapore and itself, Ben Sandlilands., Plane Talking
The inconsistency between what Qantas claims to be trying to do, and what it actually does to its customers, is arguably, not the best way to go about driving Virgin Australia out of the skies. But it will probably go on trying to blame others for its misfortunes

The Warrior Who Won’t Lie Down And Die.Patricia wa, Polliepomes
Eighteen months on and Ad Astra is able to assess what a failure Abbott has been in frightening either Gillard or her government. He has proved a poor performer in comparison to the Prime Minister in the parliamentary arena. He has had no wins at all in blocking significant and reformist legislation in spite of his venomous rhetoric and obstructive tactics.

Tiny niche ISPs join the NBN market, Renai LeMay, Delimeter
analysis When you think about competition on the National Broadband Network, you normally think about major telcos like Telstra, Optus and iiNet battling it out to win Australia’s broadband spend. But the truth is that a large number of very small ISPs have already joined the NBN market and are also competing.


Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 5 June 2012


June 5. 2012 07:56 AM


My email to Morrison .

Mr Morrison

Your I/V with Ms Kelly to the issue raised on Four Corners provided no constructive content or reasonable attempt to contribute to the solution. I suspect we'll see more of this from you as today rolls on.

As usual, "blah blah blah bad government ….. blah blah blah Nauru ……blah blah blah we stopped the boats ….. blah blah blah we'll turn them around". Blah blah blah ad nauseum.

Your appropriate title should be Shadow Minister for Blah Blah Smirking Blah.

As you well know, but as you won't say because it would destroy your mantras:

(1) Your Naurau solution was a failure and can't be repeated because as the HC found in the cases of M61and M69 on November 11, 2010, your processing of asylum seekers was illegal.
(2) The HC "Malaysia" Case also captures Nauru.
(3) Processing is done by private contractors and your government started this method.
(4) The assessors conned by Emad were private contractors, not the government.
(5) Indonesia won't accept "turn back the boats"
(6) The AFP is apparently as lazy and incompetent as the MSM, if they can be so easily trumped by a Four Corners journalist who simply took the time to talk to a few refugees.

You and you deceptions are part of the problem.

PS Re Captcha is "the goonten" .....apt!


June 5. 2012 08:24 AM

Ad astra

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

Ad astra

June 5. 2012 08:30 AM


"You and your deceptions are part of the problem."

Quoted from Psyclaw's email to Scott Morrison, and perfectly summarising why the Coalition in Opposition and in government makes this country a meaner place.


June 5. 2012 09:26 AM


Hey 2353

---  Without knowing the questions, number of respondents, margin for error and when the poll was taken ---

You mean without knowing the kind of information that polling organisations, quite often, make publicly available?? Have you ever gone to the source Morgan, Newspoll, Nielsen, Galaxy etc and actually looked for that information??
For example if you go to:

You'll find information on the methodology of the polling. Including the questions,number of respondents, when the poll was taken and margin of error. Oh and that the methodology was via the telephone and that it was via random selection of phone numbers.

So how hard have you ever looked for this information?

Not to mention that there is good third party anaylsis from the likes of Possum, the Poll Bludger etc that is also freely available.

No offence but when your first complaint is that you don't have access to information that's freely available on the internet for anybody who looks it's not doing your credibility a ton of good.

I'd agree that trends are important, bearing in mind the margin of error of the poll. And what has the general trend under Gillard been ?

-- After all, there is only one organisation that conducts a poll of the entire sample  ---

Well technically it can't be an "entire sample" that's kind of an oxymoron a sample is a segment of the population. If you measure the entire group it's a census. If it's the entire group the it's the population not a sample.

You remind me a little of Stephen Colbert talking about Bush when he said:
“I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

I guess in our case though reality must have a right wing bias.

Yes I'd agree that Gillard is in no rush to go to the polls? And ? Neither was Howard in 2007. All that did was delay the inevitable.

Unless there some hitherto unexplained method by which the consistent trend under Gillard with be reversed.

I also fail to see how hard work and competence are necessarily related? As Jane pointed out earlier 75% of Gillard's legislation has been supported by the opposition. Does that make them a hard working opposition with a great deal of dedication and a plan of attack? I doubt it.

But I think you might have hit the nub of the problem
-- I would suggest that the way Gillard and her Cabinet have worked over the past 18 months --

It's been nearly 24 months since the Gillard was sworn in as PM and yet they've only been working for the past 18. It must be that first 6 months off that's the problem.

@ Jane
Wow elegant rebuttal and so very original.


Now you can teach a turkey to type
But it's output will still be tripe
He could say nothing but gobble
And save us the trouble
Of reading his next half baked swipe


June 5. 2012 09:39 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody


Possum Comitatus‏@Pollytics
Here's the Lowy Poll all that came from http://bit.ly/Ltucdz

@GrogsGamut @Pollytics you mean the thinktank funded by shady, influence-seeking billionaire Frank Lowy? I shall refuse to read it

Possum Comitatus‏@Pollytics
Next we'll find that 40% of Australians hate tomato sauce on pies

Greg Jericho‏@GrogsGamut
Abbott says Libs will "take the pressure off interest rates." Yeah rising interest rates is a big worry at the moment. http://bit.ly/Lip4r0

Darin Sullivan‏@darinsullivan09
Australian Press Council rules The Daily Telegraph inaccurate #Ausmedia #Auspol http://post.ly/7dCSn

david ewart‏@davidbewart
www.alternet.org/.../why_i_stopped_being_a_right-winger_--_modern_conservatism_has_become_a_form_of_mass_hysteria why i stopped being a right whinger

Melissa Clarke‏@Clarke_Melissa
Abbott on #4Corners: If tv stations can identify ppl smugglers, then Govt should be able to stop them. @BreakfastNews

Melissa Clarke‏@Clarke_Melissa
Abbott: The international economic storm clouds have hardly ever been darker... this is the worst possible time to intro carbon tax.

The high court and the fact that Nauru needs work could stop them opening offshore tomorrow tony you liar prick #abcnews24 #auspol

Baillieu to hand over secret plans www.theage.com.au/.../...plans-20120604-1zs5n.html via @theage

National Times‏@NationalTimesAU
Carbon tax is here to stay, says Combet www.nationaltimes.com.au/.../...0120604-1zs9l.html via @NationalTimesAU

James Massola‏@jamesmassola
I don't think I've ever seen a correction this large www.dailytelegraph.com.au/.../story-e6freuy9-1226383959453

The Punch‏@ThePunchHQ
Band of people smugglers easily settle in Australia, while real refugees stay in detention. Nice work #4corners www.thepunch.com.au/.../



June 5. 2012 10:04 AM


Hi 2353,
I've gotten over questioning and doubting my hopes only on days that end in 'y' and now oscillate between days that contain an 's' and those that don't. Also only in hours that have '1' in front (I use the 24 hour clock) Smile

Funny how things pop up and stare you in the face a bit like when someone says 'no one buys red cars these days' and suddenly you start seeing red cars everywhere.

On Twitter this morning this one stuck out like the proverbial dog's whatsits:

Drag0nista ‏@Drag0nista
Exhibit A RT @Eschertology: @Drag0nista not just that you are antiGreen - that you are proLNP - and what's wrong with the Greens you goon?

Leave the last two words out and there may have been a possibility of discussion. I guess the only good thing about the tweet is that Drag0nista now knows there ain't much point in attempting a civil and possibly informative discussion with Eschertology.

A couple of other examples of confronting and/or insulting have jumped out at me already today but I suspect there isn't much mileage to be had discussing them.

Any howse 2353, I am still marginally more on the side of hope than hopeless and some of the discussions had here do tend towards the contest of ideas rather than the the Punch and Judy Show.


June 5. 2012 10:10 AM


Talk Turkey


Anyhow, is it you on Twitter or not, I am confused, it has your gravitar.  I was disappointed when Lyn said it wasn't you. :-(


Keep on keeping on, you are doing a great job.  I will be able to read all your links today as we have terrible weather here in East Gippsland.


June 5. 2012 11:17 AM



I . . . think . . . so . . .

or not ! I'm not sure now . . . Bloody Yank turkey . . .


June 5. 2012 11:40 AM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
I just now finished reading through your Links and Twitterverse.  What host of information they provide.

The links to the Queensland garbage dump debate was informative, again demonstrating how disingenuous Tony Abbott's rhetoric really is.  I guess we should be grateful for his reassurance that instead of being struck dead by a carbon tax cobra strike on July 1, we will be steadily squeezed to death by a python!  What devious imagery - as pythons can take as long as they like to strangle their prey, Abbott has given himself plenty of time for his dire predictions to eventuate.  My question to him is whether the python will swallow us whole.

Patriciawa, your pome was delightful, so apt, so clever. Thank you.  

Ad astra

June 5. 2012 11:54 AM


Hello Ad Astra.  Thank you for that compliment.  I hope you had time to read my notes too, which explain how I reached the title of my post which Lyn so kindly linked to atpolliepomes.wordpress.com/.../

Sometimes I get insights when writing them into what has driven me to write a pome.  This time I think my last paragraph in the notes does a better job than the pome itself.  TT will know what I mean.

Julia Gillard has plenty of enemies and detractors, as would any national leader prepared to develop reformist policies and make unpopular decisions.    That in itself tells us she herself has the courage and conviction which she has told Caucus Labor will need if they are to win the next election.  I have quoted above a colleague’s description of her and another from the Australian newspaper.  So reliable sources tell us she is incredibly strong, incredibly decent and a woman with fire in her belly coupled with a reasoned, quietly angry determination.  No wonder Tony Abbott has admitted, to himself at least, that Julia Gillard is a warrior who will not lie down and die.


June 5. 2012 01:15 PM


Have just learned that Crikey will be shuttering the Pure Poison blog at the end of this financial year. A real blow. PP did an invauluable service by holding Australia's manistream media - quite possibly the worst of any democracy on Earth - to account. PP is at least the fourth blog to which I've become attached that's closed down underneath me. The moral: Don't get too attached to any website because on the internet nothing lasts forever (except my typos). I hope The Political Sword will be around for a long time yet, holding the media to account, and as at least one venue in Australia that's not falling over itself to install an Abbbott "government" ASAP.


June 5. 2012 01:50 PM

Ad astra

Yes, I did read your narrative, and fully agree with it and your conclusion.  Julia Gillard is a warrior who will not lie down and die.

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June 5. 2012 02:31 PM


More evidence, if we needed it, as to why we should place very little reliance on commercial opinion polls. The Lowy Institute Poll (skilfully provided to us by Lyn) has sections on the Emissions Trading scheme and Dealing with climate change.


The detail is well worth a look. All figures are as a percentage of overall respondents and not a percentage of a sub-group (if I understand it correctly).

In November 2011, the Australian government succeeded in passing climate change legislation through the federal parliament.  However, there is considerable public opposition to the government’s climate pricing system. The majority (63%) of Australians say they are against the legislation ‘introducing a fixed price on carbon that will then lead to an Emissions Trading Scheme’, with a high proportion (45%) ‘strongly against’. Just a third (35%) are ‘in favour’.

The 63% of Australians who say they are against the legislation were presented with three statements and asked ‘whether you agree or disagree it is a reason why you personally are against the legislation’. Half the population (52%) oppose the legislation and agree it ‘it will result in job losses’. Thirty-eight per cent say ‘it is not necessary to act before other countries’. However, a third of the population oppose the legislation and say it does not go far enough, with 33% agreeing ‘the measures are not strict enough to result in substantial emissions reductions’.

To summarise in a format that we would normally get from a commercial poll:
Against: 63%
For: 35%

And yet when further questions are asked we find that 33% of the 63% who are against the current scheme declare that their objection is that the scheme doesn't go far enough. If the CEF scheme is not sufficiently robust for them I think it is reasonable to assume that the Coalition's DAP (modelled at around $10 per tonne) would also be unacceptable. If push came to shove and this 33% were told they could have either the CEF scheme, the DAP or nothing, I don't think it would be unreasonable to assume that the vast majority of them would opt for the strongest of the three proposals.

So if, for arguments sake, two-thirds of the 33% against the government's carbon pricing scheme opted for it as the only plan that will give them a halfway decent outcome we have: 66% of 33% = 21.78%. Let's call it 20%.

New figures would be:
Against: 63% - 20% = 43%
For: 35% + 20% = 55%

Even if we allow for the perversity of human nature and contend that 15% (not 20%) would opt for the current scheme as being the best alternative when their options are narrowed, we get:
Against: 63% - 15% = 48%
For: 35% + 15% = 50%

Not such a bad outcome before the scheme is brought into practice and voters have an opportunity to have their fears allayed. Encouraging for the government is that if evidence becomes more readily available that more and more countries and constituencies around the world are adopting carbon pricing schemes, there is a very real chance that a significant proportion of the 38% Against who felt that we ought not to act ahead of others, might change their position to either indifference or at best a vote for the CEF scheme.

Even those who oppose the CEF scheme because "it will result in job losses" (i.e. 52%) might well adopt a new position once it becomes apparent that the scheme is not the main driver of future job losses. Contained in this group are the people who are least likely to shift because the FUD approach of the Coalition will not abate after July 1 and every job loss will be blamed on the carbon price.

Never-the-less, we can see that by digging a bit deeper into just why such a significant proportion of respondents stated opposition to the imposition of the current scheme we find that there are contradictions, especially from the 'it doesn't go far enough' group.

To further muddy the waters:

Most Australians (57%) are also in favour of a future ‘Coalition government removing the Emissions Trading Scheme’ if it is elected at the next Federal election, with 38% ‘strongly in favour’.

This would imply that 6% of those who voted against the CEF scheme shifted to a position of not supporting the Coalition repealing it. A simplistic interpretation of this would be to say that of the overall 33% who oppose it because it doesn't go far enough, a full 27% would rather have a weaker scheme than the one that we currently have - cutting off their nose to spite their face. I acknowledge that this is simplistic and unverifiable but there had to be a 6% shift from amongst the groups opposing the CEF scheme. A little less perverse would be for some of those who oppose because we would be leading the world on this reform deciding that they could live with it. Somewhere in the middle of the perversity stakes would be those who feel it would lead to job losses but don't want it repealed anyway.

As if these contradictions were not enough to have you tearing your hair out if you were trying to formulate public policy on climate change action, we have this:

Only a third (36%) of Australians now support the most aggressive form of action, down from two-thirds (68%) back in 2006 who said ‘global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs.’
The largest proportion (45%) of Australians now support the intermediate proposition that ‘the problem of global warming should be addressed, but its effects will be gradual, so we can deal with the problem gradually by taking steps that are low in cost’.

So a full 81% of those polled feel we should be taking some reasonable steps to alleviate the causes of global warming. The fact that this figure falls away to 35% support for the CEF scheme indicates to me that the Coalition's fear campaign has been very effective in exacerbating the possible costs and impacts of its imposition and the playing down of the degree to which other countries are acting.

It also seems to indicate that the 45% who support gradual change at low cost do not fully understand the budgetary impacts of the DAP which might spend as much as $1300 per taxpayer to theoretically achieve the same reduction in emissions over a similar timeframe. By comparison, the CEF scheme will have zero to minimal impact on 90% of Australian households with emphasis for compensation placed on the least well-off and it requires no cuts to services.

This should be somewhat heartening for the government as some of this 45% are likely to shift as they come to realise that the CEF plan has minimal impact on their household budget and as the truth comes out about the budgetary impacts of the DAP and the subsequent cuts to other areas of the budget that would need to ensue in order to fund it.

All of the above are just my musings and have no basis in proper statistical analysis. However, it does make two things plain to me.

The lived reality of the upcoming scheme should calm the nerves of some of those who have serious concerns about its impact (cost, jobs, global competitiveness) and the government can take heart from that.

Human beings are strange and fickle creatures (some of whom would reject a half a glass of milk, preferring to risk having none because they wanted a full glass) whose idiosyncratic ways can not be measured by some simple opinion poll.


June 5. 2012 03:18 PM

42 long

A worthy summary normank. This would have to be a most difficult issue and the longer it goes on the more some just go into "too difficult to think about" mode.
   The attack by abbott on scientists is unforgiveable. He has put back their legitimacy and standing, immeasurably. I can NEVER forgive him for this kind of tactic, which is followed by his view that if you don't understand it "don't vote for it" and then tries to confuse the issues and frighten people. They are crying out in europe for certainty and a higher carbon price for certainty for he power sector and cannot understand the situation we have here in tis country.
  I don't believe Tony believes that global warming is happening. Even recently he said it is "actually" cooling. The number of informed people who deny human input is changing the climate is diminishing as more "facts" line up and more information is collated. There are active attempts by the 'vested " interests to ridicule and deny these facts, particularly in the USA, where in North Carolina recently it has been made illegal to publicise a water rise above a prescribed figure ( by anybody). It's hard to get a balanced consideration from the masses when the opinion shapers spend so much effort and money bombarding them with denier propaganda.
   The Theists regard the second coming as the circumstance that will make global warming a non event anyhow. What hope have we got?
    What a cop-out is abbott's proposal is anyhow. His approach would cost a lot more and certainly not provide a direction that the power industry needs here. The point is that he doesn't believe in it, and when he mouths " climate change is real" he doesn't mean it at all. This man calls Julia a Liar. She will never be in his league.

42 long

June 5. 2012 03:56 PM

Ad astra

I have just posted: Has Tony Abbott got a Plan B?.  Enjoy.


Ad astra

June 5. 2012 03:59 PM


NormanK, excellent comment. I'd forgotten that we really will have a carbon tax if we elect Liealot, something ToM and glorfindel seem astonishingly comfortable with, given their violent opposition to the government's scheme.

Liealot has admitted that there will be an extra $1,300/annum ($25/week) levied on all taxpayers to finance his DAP scheme, all of which will be handed over to the highest polluters.

I remind ToM that this really will be a tax, because he won't be able to avoid paying it.

Add to that the claw back of the compensation package and returning the tax threshold to $6,000/annum and we could potentially be looking at an increase in tax of $38.46/week for all taxpayers.

ToM and glorfindel may be happy to have their take home pay garnished to pay off the big polluters, but I doubt that most tax payers will feel so generous.

I feel this is a point the government should be labouring. The number of voters violently opposed to the carbon pricing scheme could take a nose dive.


June 5. 2012 04:03 PM


42long @3.59pm, I don't think that he doesn't believe climate change is occurring, I don't think he cares.

The only thing he cares about is shifting into the Lodge.


June 5. 2012 04:11 PM



I haven't read or heard anything to suggest that the $1300 would take the form of a new tax. It's one of those leaps of logic that if taxpayer dollars are being used to pay for the scheme then the assertion can be made that it is in effect a tax. In other words it is rhetoric. Still, it is a good talking point for the government and much more succinct than spelling out that PS jobs or services would have to be cut to make room for the new expenditure.

Also I haven't heard Abbott acknowledge the $1300 figure. I took care to say 'might cost as much as' because that figure is a result of government modelling and really shouldn't be taken as gospel (even though it's written down).


June 5. 2012 04:13 PM


We have to be cautious that we don't focus too much on the Abbott and not the powers backing him up. Even a cursory reading of Mr. Abbott's policy analysis demonstrates a person with only limited capacity to run a nation. That being so, one has to ask; Who is steering the Liberal Ship?....cast your eyes over the motley crew fronting up on the opposition benches of the Parliament...Seriously!!?...So who or what is navigating such a "ship of fools" toward "electoral victory"? Not Tony (universally disliked!), Not Julie B.(no comment!), Not Joe,nor; Andy,Pandy or Mike!!? None of the front-bench nonentities have a worthy public profile to recommend them.
This begs the question : "Is there a Public Face to the Liberal Party, or just an idea...a promise...a mere suggestion?"
I suspect their image has been manufactured by an in-step media marketing machine. There is no personality, no policy(worth talking about)no commentry of any substance save from the designated mouth ; Mr. Abbott.
Who the hell are the opposition?....There is no "opposition",
just demolition. Let's be serious..If one was a Liberal supporter, who or what would you vote for? Or are you only voting "against" Labour? and if that is so, surely it adds up that one would be voting against half the electorate and the country just out of spite!  


June 5. 2012 04:16 PM

Ad astra

What brilliant exposition of the recent report on the Lowy Institute Poll.  Thank you.  You know you should be writing original pieces for TPS.

I enjoyed your reasoning, and can see nothing wrong with your arithmetic.  

Why is it left to Fifth Estate bloggers to write such important, lucid and informative articles?  What on earth is wrong with the MSM.  I'll lay long odds that its appraisal of the report will be superficial, cherry picking the 'juicy' bits, and failing completely to provide anything as valuable as you have written.

So that no one misses this great piece of analytical writing, please post it also on the next piece that I have just posted, and 42 long and jane, could you please post your responses too.

Ad astra

June 5. 2012 04:25 PM

Tom of Melbourne

’ToM and glorfindel may be happy to have their take home pay garnished to pay off the big polluters, but I doubt that most tax payers will feel so generous.

Jane always lapses into verballing others when the facts don’t support her perceptions.

Tom of Melbourne

June 5. 2012 04:30 PM


Hi Jane,

Earlier I described Abbott as inept - how on earth does any rational person turn that into an endorsement of policy?

Be a dear and try and connect to reality a tiny bit when you comment. The change might do you some good.


Comments are closed