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Lost: Tony’s Toxic Tax – Finder: Please Return to Owner

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Thursday, 19 July 2012 16:46 by Ad astra
July 1, Tony’s Toxic Tax Day, came and went. Collective breaths were held – but Australia carried on as usual. The sun rose in the East. The sky did not fall in. Whyalla survived. Abbott rabbitted on – after all it was TTT Day. What else could he do?

That day, in Abbott’s poll drive in the Sydney Morning Herald Stephanie Peatling wrote:

“Tony Abbott has fired the starting gun on an election campaign, declaring a Coalition government would restore ''hope, reward and opportunity'' to ''a great country let down by a bad government''.

“The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, also faces the fight of her political life as she begins the task of selling the carbon price – which begins today – to an electorate already nervous about its impact on the cost of living, something she must pull off if she is to restore Labor's standing in the polls and quell the chatter about her leadership.

''The next election will be a referendum on the carbon tax and on prime ministers who tell lies,'' the Opposition Leader told the annual meeting of the federal council of the Liberal Party in Melbourne yesterday.

“From today Ms Gillard, Mr Abbott and their MPs will fan out across the country in what will feel like a forerunner to the election campaign - not due until next year - with each pinning their political fortunes on the carbon price.”

Stephanie watched Tony fire the starting gun and she broke the big story. Congratulations Steph!

The race was on. The question was ‘who will first run out of puff’: Tony, the media, or Julia?

Out of the blocks, there was soon chatter on the radio and TV about the start of the carbon tax, but not much in the press.

On July 2 there were a few carbon tax items in the print media. I used Wotnews, a news gathering service to survey print media coverage:
Abbott won't dump carbon tax: PM: News.com.au Victoria
Abbott kicks into campaign drive: Sydney Morning Herald
Tough (Weet) Bikkies, I was right on carbon: News.com.au Qld
Opposition launches anti-carbon tax ads: News.com.au Victoria
Tax will remain under Abbott- Gillard: Sky News
Tony Abbott doorstop interview with Greg Hunt MP
on the Liberal Party website that launched Abbott’s anti-tax campaign.

There was an item in the Courier Mail that began: “Julia Gillard has been told to only to use her beer fridge on weekends - with radio caller Wazza warning the carbon tax will make it too expensive during the week.” She pointed out that she didn’t actually have a beer fridge.

Then there was Wayne Swan’s brave supermarket adventure. To prove his point, on the Friday evening before TTT Day, Swan visited the supermarket and bought 11 items at a cost of $35.30. On Sunday morning, TTT Day, he bought the same items for $35.10. “His shopping included Weet-Bix, which Opposition Leader Tony Abbott claimed would cost more under the tax. He also bought a $20 lamb roast, in addition to the 11 items, which Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce has claimed would cost more than $100 under the tax.

“Swan said Sunday 1 July was the day "that Tony Abbott is going to get mugged by the truth".

Next, let’s look at the Front Pages that Lyn provides daily. I have used them to collate banner headlines:

The Australian featured Tax worth fighting for on 2 July; Carbon tax ‘a threat to power jobs’ on 3 July; and on 7 July there was an article on carbon trading. That was it.

The Sydney Morning Herald began on 2 July with Sour reception for carbon tax. Then nothing.

The Daily Telegraph on 2 July had It’s Down to Business – Prices rise from day one as carbon tax begins. On 7 July its headline read Death Tax, a story about how the carbon tax was adding to cremation expenses, which turned out to be a fizzer. There was nothing more subsequently on its front pages.

The Age featured Voters desert carbon tax on 2 July. No more.

The Herald Sun had a line at the foot of its front page on 2 July that read Double Whammy Carbon Tax Pain Begins. That was it.

The Advertiser on 4 July featured Your Pain MPs Gain, which compared the recent rise in salaries of members of Federal Parliament with the ‘pain’ of the carbon tax.

I couldn’t find anything in the Mercury or NT News. I had no access to The West Australian.

Note that the above survey covers only the front pages back to 1 July. No doubt there were articles on other pages.

On July 7 there was Businesses reject Abbott's vow to repeal carbon tax in The Brisbane Times that began: “Fewer than a quarter of the biggest heavy greenhouse gas-emitting companies that will directly pay the carbon tax support Tony Abbott's ''pledge in blood'' to repeal the scheme, a survey by the Herald has found.”

Then there was the story by Simon Benson and Steve Lewis in The Daily Telegraph Businesses forced to dump carbon tax hike on customers on 16 July that began: “Small business owners, farmers and home renovators are among those already feeling the effect of the carbon tax as prices soar just two weeks after the scheme was introduced.

“In one of the biggest increases since July 1, the cost of hiring mini skip bins has risen by at least $100, or 25 per cent, due to the green levy and a new state government waste charge.

“The controversial federal tax, changes to the diesel fuel rebate and a big spike in refrigerant gas costs - all part of the government's clean energy reforms - have also driven up prices of vegetables, seafood and even pizza boxes.

“Skip bin operators have warned that some home owners have already opted to illegally dump their waste to escape the hefty price rises. Sydney Skip Bins owner Craig Wills said customers were furious when told of the increases and he had already had to lay off two workers.”

This non-story, from a couple of non-journalists, was debunked by a tweet from Craig Emerson: “Stupid Steve Lewis yarn on carbon pricing inflating skip costs, when O'Farrell hikes waste prices 640%”, and a comment on Poll Bludger by Bushfire Bill: “I note that the Daily Tele story on how disposal of waste material in skips will go up 40% due to the Carbon Tax (when it is in fact due to the O’Farrell government hiking tip charges by 640% – repeat: 640%) now has 8 comments. There is no mention of O’Farrell’s 640% price hike on tip fees, even though it completely negates the story, once understood.”

The story also included a section on how pizzas will go up because the cost of pizza boxes will escalate: “Kerry Demos, who runs the Hastings Pizza shop in Victoria with her husband, said the prices of pizza boxes will rise by 2.5 per cent. Despite this, they plan to absorb the increases rather than pass them on. "If we put up our prices, I would think we would lose customers," Ms Demos said.”

As BB pointed out, since pizza boxes on average cost 30c, a 2.5 percent rise would amount to 0.75 cents, three-quarters of a cent! And Ms Demos says she would lose customers if she added three-quarters of a cent to the price of a pizza that ranges from, say, $12 to $19. Does Ms Demos, or Simon Benson or Steve Lewis believe readers of The Tele are so unutterably stupid as to swallow the tosh they talk?

Then there was the Brumby’s bakery story where the MD suggested to his franchisees that they might now raise their prices, as the rise ‘would be blamed on the carbon tax’. He is now out of his job, the ACCC has given Brumby’s a dressing down, and Brumby’s have publicly eaten a very large piece of humble pie.

This week we had the carbon tax blamed indirectly for a rise in pokies use in Queensland because it coincided with the arrival of carbon tax compensation cheques in people’s bank accounts, a contention challenged by Stephen Koukoulas in Market Economics in Some Hokey Pokey on Pokies. As a minister pointed out, the Government does not control how people spend their money. Using the logic of the Opposition, which says that it warned of this outcome, Governments should never provide citizens with any monetary benefit, lest some of it be spent on pokies!

So to date, about three weeks into Tony’s Toxic Tax, there’s not much action. The media has largely lost interest, apart from the odd titillating story, such as the pokies one; Tony is overseas and other politicians are on their long winter break and have other things on their mind; people are getting on with their lives; fear of a lamb roast rising to $100 is retreating; citizens of Whyalla are still going to work as their town unexpectedly survives Tony’s Toxic Tax; coal is still being mined as new multi-billion dollar contracts are being signed; and the sky seems to be where it was on 30 June.

Now there will be the occasional heart-rending story of the dire effect of the carbon tax, and each will be collected by the Opposition to assail the Government when Question Time resumes; News Limited will feature any story, no matter how trivial, no matter how shonky, to press its ‘toxic tax’ story, and if it’s dubious enough, will use its attack dog Steve (Grech/Ashby) Lewis to write it; and Michelle Grattan will relish every chance to hammer Julia Gillard about her catastrophic tax.

But if experience with the GST is any guide, everyone – the media and its consumers – will soon tire of the doom and gloom of Tony’s Toxic Tax, and will go onto more interesting things – the London Olympics and the AFL Finals – by which time the end of the year and holidays will be looming. By 2013, TTT will be long forgotten.

Tony’s Toxic Tax will die. His inevitable attempts to resurrect it in QT will fall flat and become a subject of ridicule as he continues to ride his favourite hobby-horse, flailing it wildly until literally he is ‘flogging a dead horse’. The public, largely disinterested in politics, will turn his bleating off as it realizes that Tony’s Toxic Tax was a fraud all along.

Tony’s Toxic Tax has gone missing – lost in the tumult of real issues. If anyone finds it, please return it to its owner and deposit it where it hurts him most.

Comments (118) -

July 19. 2012 05:18 PM


Thanks Ad another article I have enjoyed reading, i hope TA stays overseas, sick of his negative statements, as I assume everyone else is


July 19. 2012 05:37 PM

Ad astra

Welcome to The Political Sword family, and thank you for your kind remarks.  Do come again.

Ad astra

July 19. 2012 05:56 PM


Hi Ad
Does Ms Demos, or Simon Benson or Steve Lewis believe readers of The Tele are so unutterably stupid as to swallow the tosh they talk?

I won't speak for Ms Demos but Benson and Lewis know that their readers will swallow the stories and the evidence is that the readers do in fact fall for the distortions hook, line and sinker.


July 19. 2012 06:09 PM

Ad astra

If your analysis is correct, it is a measure of the gullibility of their audience.

Ad astra

July 19. 2012 06:29 PM


Australian's by and large are dumb as posts. They believe the most ridiculous nonsense.

Even to the extent that they are jealous of destitute refugees living in a giant prison on the Indian Ocean and can watch movies sometimes.

I think by and large with the Terror spewing out it's daily bile Sydney siders are the dumbest and drunkest in the country and they show it.

As for the carbon tax, I reckon Tony and the media shills forgot that the pollution is the toxin.


July 19. 2012 07:13 PM

Ad astra

Exactly!  Pollution is the toxin.

Ad astra

July 19. 2012 07:19 PM


Great article AA - I agree completely.

(If it isn't happening already) now is the time for the ALP to start a campaign pointing out the obvious disconnect between the LNP rhetoric and reality on the Carbon Price Scheme.  I still reclon the "Workchoices" campaign before the 2007 election was one of the major reasons for the ALP victory.  From memory, that campaign started a good 6 months to a year prior to the election and with continual repetition to drive the message home to those that do believe the dross they are served up by sections of the media.


July 19. 2012 07:47 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Ad Astra – ” lost in the tumult of real issues.

Stuff like political honesty/keeping commitments for example?

Tom of Melbourne

July 19. 2012 07:48 PM

42 long

IF people weren't gullible the advertising industry wouldn't exist. Remember when Graham Kennedy used to demolish the ADS of his sponsors. They still came back for more. Funny days.
   The climate change issue is a big deal. Those who know what is happening are very concerned.
  Sometimes when a problem seems insurmountable people pretend it doesn't exist, hoping it will go away. Psychologists would have some term for this no doubt.
   I would love to be able to believe that there is NO problem.
  It would be just terrific IF it wasn't a problem, but there is too much good evidence out there to delude myself.
  The amount of energy developed counties use is unbelievable. we are absolutely hooked on it. Those hydrocarbons and carbon (coal) reserves have been locked up underground for millions of years.
   Now we cannot get it up and out quick enough. We are prepared to risk the climate of the earth and also to spoil scarce farming land and underground water quality, in the case of coalseam gas, for maybe 20 yearts supply and permanent despoilation of our environment, just for MONEY.
   The stuff will get more expensive to obtain as we pick all the low fruit. So then the environment is put at greater risk like the deep offshore drilling, great drama in the Carribean.
  Sarah says "Drill Baby, Drill". Newt Gindrich said "on the first day of myself being president we will start the pipeline from Canada to Texas get rid of the EPA, and get CHEAP oil for Americans etc".
   The Americans have always expressed the view that those ARABs are sitting on OUR oil. Some of the recent republican party comments advocated giving those arabs hell and stop them overcharging us for the oil. They reckon it should be about 15 dollars a barrell.
   Doesn't this attitude scare you? It does me and I would be very concerned about any alliance with the USA if the Republicans were to get in and these expressed views were put into practice. I'm not anti americans as people, but these policies are CURRENT views, of the party who may win the elction in the USA.
  I have american friends who believe the world is 6300 years old. There are LOTS of them believe that. There are people who believe the same thing in Australia.
   Everyone is entitled to their view but when they start changing laws and talk of kicking people around so the oil will be cheap for them, a line must be drawn.
  Regarding climate change.  
   Can anything be done about it? I think it can, But I don't believe we are smart or honest enough to get the job done. There is too many of us, on the planet, and we are too self centred and selfish. We want it ALL now, and behave is if there is NO tomorrow.
   I hope I am wrong.

42 long

July 19. 2012 08:08 PM

Ad astra

42 long
You put your finger on the real problem – global warming, one that gets lost in the puerile debate that Tony Abbott has created.  The so-called carbon tax is to reduce carbon dioxide pollution, which is causing the warming, which if not reduced and stopped will make the planet uninhabitable.  That’s what it’s all about!

Ad astra

July 19. 2012 08:31 PM

paul walter

The scab element in the press and media become a worse problem by the day and not just here.
I was astounded at the non-coversge at BBC online on the HSBC scandal the other day, for example.

paul walter

July 19. 2012 10:02 PM


Hi 2353,
... the "Workchoices" campaign before the 2007 election was one of the major reasons for the ALP victory.

Certainly that is the conventional wisdom just as many believe the 2001 election was won in part because of Howard's stand on Asylum Seekers.

In 2001 the ALP was at sixes and sevens mostly over the GST rollback and showing up the absurdity of the rollback, whether it should apply to sanitary products. Basically the electorate just didn't know what it would get if it voted Labor and they weren't considered ready to govern otherwise it may have been a different result.

The Workchoices 'issue' was certainly a factor in the electorate turning away from Howard and it was an indicator that the Howard regime had passed it use by date. It is most likely that Labor would have won in 2007 with almost anyone leading them and without the Workchoices campaign. Maybe by not as much but a win all the same.

That campaign actually did Labor a great disservice in more ways than one.

It enabled the reinforcement of the message that Labor is controlled by the unions and can't survive without them which has later allowed the faceless men garbage to take hold.

More importantly by becoming conventional or accepted 'wisdom' it emboldened others such as the mining and gambling industries to try their hand at (successfully) running similar types of campaigns.

It is often the case that those that think they 'know' why an election is won or lost are usually 'learning the wrong lessons'.

There a few things that are most likely true about the Australian electorate. Mostly once the election is over we just want the government to get on with the job of governing 'don't bother us with the nitty gritty just get on with it'. We want the government to appear competent and assure us they are in control. Possibly the biggest conundrum/challenge is that we actually want, some even suggest we need, to be led.

I don't great insights into what will be the three or five things that will actually turn it around for this government are (would I be sitting here pontificating if I did? No, I would be making quite a few quid making it happen Smile) however I do know that the appearance of being in charge and and being capable of leading us to where we think we want to be are part of it. At the moment, for the majority, those elements appear to be missing.


July 19. 2012 10:45 PM


Having just completed Liealot's toxic BAS report for the financial year, I can reliably inform anyone who's interested that it's not a popular tax with people running their own businesses.

I resent the time required to complete Liealot's toxic GST requirements and seeing how much this toxic tax costs me with every purchase I make.

And let's not forget that when you buy fuel Liealot's toxic tax is also levied on the component which attracts the fuel excise-a toxic tax on a tax.

42 long, the arrogance of the GOP is quite breathtaking. Gingrich's casual assumption that he could just start draining Canada's resources to provide cheap fuel for the US defies belief.

Obviously, good ol' Toxic Newt thinks no country should be allowed to have any say in the use of their resources, if the USA wants them.

And it's just sooo easy for the deniers to recklessly gobbling up resources when you claim that pumping extra pollution into the atmosphere has no impact on the planet's climate.

The deniers are very fond of making those claims by saying that volcanoes pump far more pollution into the atmosphere than we do.

I'm sure they do, but I look at it in the sense of a full glass. Nature fills the glass, but the pollution we add causes it to spill over and cause the change in the planet's climate.


July 19. 2012 11:22 PM


Further to our discussion on the previous thread about demonisation of the PM I've just complained again to the ABC. This time about Heather Ewart's snide commentary on the ALP leadership speculation rumors at the end of the Chris Evans story on skills training initiatives.  Those rumors had been rebutted very firmly many hours before this story went to air.  

Heather Ewart referred to the Joel Fitzgibbon comments as......a clumsy effort to keep the leadership question alive during the long winter break from Parliament.   Any Q&A viewer on Monday could see that the 'clumsy effort' was made by Tony Jones who ambushed Fitzgibbon on that program. As well, I was infuriated by Ewart's unsubstantiated claim about the Prime Minister's performance, viz.....

There's no doubt that even Julia Gillard's closest backers in the ministry are disappointed and frustrated with her performance.

I have seen no statements to that effect from any of Julia Gillard's closest backers.  This is not news, nor even commentary on news.  It is speculation.  And malicious speculation too.

ABC bias against this government is so obvious. Why has there been no mention, much less appraisal at all of the performance of the Leader of the Opposition in the USA?  That has been truly newsworthy, breaking as he has of long-standing traditions about criticism of our government when overseas.  Sometimes I truly despair.


July 20. 2012 04:55 AM

Winnifred Sweeney

Thanks for you post, I've subscribed for you blog and hope to see more soon. If you're interested in any business ideas then click on my name - link to my site. Thanks.

Winnifred Sweeney

July 20. 2012 07:22 AM


Good morning all.
Ad astra,
Thank you for a good read.  With a little bit of luck people will not only tire of the cowardly Abbott's gloom and doom, but will stamp the word 'toxic' on his forehead.  

The enemy camp have run out of steam once again and are resorting to beating up the leadership rubbish in an effort to cause a split in the Labor Party.  Heather Ewart's 'report' last night was full of gossip gathered from the cess pits of the media and anti-Labor forces who wallow in wishful thinking.  Heather added Kelvin Thompson alongside Joel Fitzgibbon as two from the dreaded NSW Right who have joined the push for leadership change.  I really do wonder at times who are the 'sources' and, reading some of the blogs, I suspect the 'sources' are the anonymous souls who vent their spleens with regular monotony thereon.


July 20. 2012 07:38 AM


"Sometimes when a problem seems insurmountable people pretend it doesn't exist, hoping it will go away. Psychologists would have some term for this no doubt."



July 20. 2012 07:48 AM



The climate change denialists may soon to be running the asylum, Independent Australia
Also in common with the US is the existence of Tea Party-style “grassroots” activism — in Australia helped along by free market think tanks that claim regulating greenhouse gas emissions is an attack on our freedom.

Carbonageddon- nobody believes Tony, Petering Time, North Coast Voices
VOTERS believe that the carbon tax will not be scrapped by a Coalition government despite Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's "pledge in blood" to move on his first day as prime minister to repeal it, private polling by the major parties has found.

Wonder what an Abbott government will look like? Read up on Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Turn Left 2013
Tony constantly tells people how bad the Australian economy is performing, even though we have one of the best performing economies in the world. Why does he do this? It is necessary for the people to believe that we are in crisis, so he can offer us the cure – Work Choices

AIG report finds carbon price will work, Donna Kelly, The Fifth Estate
Three quarters of business now report that they have taken or are planning actions to improve efficiency, though much of this activity is preparatory or investigative.Energy efficiency savings achieved recently are stronger than those outlined in previous research, and are growing more ambitious over time.

Union secretary Paul Howes paid to do a Murdoch media hatchet job on the Greens, Antinuclear
While many have criticised the tactics of Dastyari and Howes  — there is also an important issue about conflict of interest and News Ltd payments to Howes. When the HSU scandal was at its peak, Howes tweeted that his AWU salary is only $140,000. I asked the self-described faceless man on several occasions whether he's on the Murdoch

Since the carbon tax started: Edition 2, Stephen Koukoulas, Market Economics
second edition of Since The Carbon Tax Started in which a range of market and economic indicators are examined in the context of the introduction of the carbon tax on 1 July 2012. The post is a simple factually based report and at the moment draws no conclusions on causality, correlations or linkages between the carbon price starting and movements in the various indicators

Guns Or Butter? We've Got Both, Ben Eltham, New Matilda
So to argue, as Tony Abbott did in Washington, that our strategic environment is "not benign", is disingenuous, at best. At worst, it’s simply scaremongering. What about the argument that Australia is not pulling its weight in the US alliance? This argument is not backed up by the facts either. Australia’s relationship with the US remains one of the closest and strongest of any of America’s allies

More racist, right-wing bullshit, Miglo, Café Whispers
Another one of those anti-refugee emails is doing the rounds again. We’ve all seen them. We all receive them from racist, right-wing friends or relatives.

The Conversation panel on asylum seekers: meet the experts , Megan Clement, The Conversation
The Conversation has brought together a team of six academic experts to tackle one of the thorniest issues in Australian politics – asylum seeker deaths at sea.
Over the next few weeks, they’ll be examining the research evidence to address the Houston panel’s terms of reference, and provide workable policy recommendations for the public and the government to consider.

The Kimberley: The Right Thing Or Ka-Ching, Geoffrey Cousins, The Global Mail
This is the cry of the mining companies wherever they want to go in Australia where indigenous people live or have ever lived. "We will bring benefits that only our activities can bring. These will be employment, health and educational benefits that will help to solve the enduring problems of Aboriginal communities."

Carbon combo being fed into pokies? Nothing but a beat-up, Bernard Keane, Crikey
The yarn that people were wasting their carbon price compensation payments started yesterday with The Australian Financial Review, was boosted by the ABC, and spread further today via The Daily Telegraph, based on gaming revenue data from Queensland (yesterday), NSW (today) and some anecdotal and minor statistical claims from NSW and Victoria.

Rinehart finally gets her man on Fairfax board, Andrew Crook, The Power Index
Cowin’s private company — Competitive Foods — owns the rights to local Burger King offshoot Hungry Jack’s as well as KFC stores in Western Australian and Northern Territory, and is a majority shareholder in wage-cutting pizza proprietor Domino’s.

Melbourne By-election Notes, Poliquant
What leads me to hedge my bets on a higher Green vote than indicated by the straight average is that since the last federal election the Coalition has placed much harsher scrutiny over the Greens as party of the left, portraying the Greens as extreme. If there is any pool of voters that this would affect, it is Liberal voters. I would

Newest U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy: Trolling, Spencer Ackerman, Wired Com
The program, called Viral Peace, seeks to occupy the virtual space that extremists fill, one thread or Twitter exchange at a time. Shahed Amanullah, a senior technology adviser to the State Department and Viral Peace’s creator, tells Danger Room he wants to use “logic, humor, satire, [and] religious arguments, not just to confront [extremists], but to undermine and demoralize them.” Think of it as strategic trolling, in pursuit of geopolitical pwnage.

When social media goes horribly wrong: The Shell ‘Let’s go’ campaign, Anthillonline
Now, think about a marketing campaign to help promote, get buy-in, and other annoying business phrases, for the company’s new strategy: Drilling for oil in the Arctic.Did you come up with a build-your-own-caption campaign? One that allows lots of sharing on social media? No? Shell did. And, without intending to, Shell has unleashed a PR nightmare

Newspapers must pay for printing lies, says Max Mosley, BBC World News
Max Mosley has called for newspapers printing false ‘kiss and tell’ stories to be fined ten per cent of their takings. Ideas: Max Mosley, 72, arrives at the Leveson inquiry (Picture: PA) The ex-Formula 1 boss yesterday told the Leveson inquiry that a press tribunal should be created to deal with ‘major problems’ of ‘privacy, defamation, media harassment and accuracy’.

Today’s Front Pages
Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 20 July 2012
http://www.frontpagestoday.co.uk/index.cfm PaperCountry                                                        


July 20. 2012 08:14 AM


Another day another "job for the boy" in Queensland.  Again reported by the COurier Mail.



July 20. 2012 08:23 AM

Ad astra

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

Ad astra

July 20. 2012 08:33 AM


Agree with you, Janice..couldn't believe the dumb irony missed by the ABC. in Ewart's piece...first she announces the rumours of a leadership challenge, then proceeds to build AND demolish the rumour in the one "report"!!sort of like : "Watch out for that dog, he could bite...but when you look closely, you'll see he's been taxidermied, so don't worry about him"..WHAA??!!
Do these commentators not see their own irony?


July 20. 2012 08:36 AM

Ad astra

Winnifred Sweeney
Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.

As we know, ‘nature abhors a vacuum’, so the Heather Ewarts of this world, not having anything negative to say about Julia Gillard’s WA tour, and having nothing much to report on Tony Abbott’s overseas tour, resort to the well tried leadership beat up.  ‘Reliable sources’ or simply ‘sources’ can always be unearthed to support their paltry stories.  Whether or not there are Labor discontents stirring the pot, or whether the stories are largely fictional, we will never know.  But what we can see is the venom with which the likes of Heather Ewart and Michelle Grattan tell their stories.  Their palpable nastiness is a mystery to me.  How can it be explained?

Ad astra

July 20. 2012 09:10 AM


And for the prophets of doom - Has Australia been through Armeggedon since July 1?

Some facts may help:
- www.petermartin.com.au/.../...bon-tax-started.html


July 20. 2012 09:54 AM

Tom of Melbourne

The actual “irony” is that the very same people as are making the above comments also said the following was a “beat-up” or “speculation”
•  That Craig Thomson had a case to answer
•  That Gillard would walk away from her written agreement with Wilkie
•  That Rudd was leaking to the media in 2010
•  That Rudd was challenging Gillard earlier this year
...and various other bits and pieces that are routinely labelled as baseless speculation, which ultimately have proved to be well founded reporting.

I’m amazed that Ad Astra and a range of others continue to provide commentary about “speculation, given how hopelessly wrong they’ve proven to be.

Tom of Melbourne

July 20. 2012 09:56 AM

Tom of Melbourne

Left of the relevant comments-
How entertaining it is here. Varous comments –
•  Those rumors had been rebutted very firmly many hours before this story went to air.
•  It is speculation.
•  The enemy camp have run out of steam once again and are resorting to beating up the leadership rubbish in an effort to cause a split in the Labor Party.
•  ‘Reliable sources’ or simply ‘sources’ can always be unearthed to support their paltry stories.

The actual “irony” is that the very same people as are making the above comments also said the following was a “beat-up” or “speculation”
•  That Craig Thomson had a case to answer
•  That Gillard would walk away from her written agreement with Wilkie
•  That Rudd was leaking to the media in 2010
•  That Rudd was challenging Gillard earlier this year
...and various other bits and pieces that are routinely labelled as baseless speculation, which ultimately have proved to be well founded reporting.

I’m amazed that Ad Astra and a range of others continue to provide commentary about “speculation, given how hopelessly wrong they’ve proven to be.

Tom of Melbourne

July 20. 2012 10:03 AM


Ad astra this was a very good article thanks. Your "Then nothing" and "No More" highlighted the haplessness of their stories. The pathetic attempt at whiping up something.

42 long

"Sometimes when a problem seems insurmountable people pretend it doesn't exist, hoping it will go away. Psychologists would have some term for this no doubt."


Now to Lyn's terrific links.


July 20. 2012 10:39 AM

Ad astra

Thank you for the Peter Martin link: www.petermartin.com.au/.../...bon-tax-started.html which reads:
Since Day One of the carbon tax...

From Stephen Koukoulas, who explains:

The post is a simple factually based report and at the moment draws no conclusions on causality, correlations or linkages between the carbon price starting and movements in the various indicators.

Since end June 2012

Official cash rate: No change

Australian dollar (vs USD): +1.8%

10 year govt bond yield: -0.12 percentage points

ASX200: +1.9%

RP Data house prices: +0.6%

Change in Housing Wealth: +$24 billion

Westpac index of Consumer sentiment: +3.7%

Ad astra

July 20. 2012 10:47 AM

Ad astra

You bring back ghastly memories of the early days of the BAS, the most frustrating form I have ever had to complete.  Finally Peter Costello realized he had been conned by the Taxation Department into including many more questions than were necessary for the purpose of the BAS, and simplified the form substantially.  Even then it was tedious, and obviously jane, it still is.

Ad astra

July 20. 2012 10:51 AM


Bit of an aside, but I can't resist.

If anyone's interested in trying their hand at actually steering humanity through a future beset by economic and climate crises, there's a game you should play.

It's called "Fate Of The World", and you can buy it online via Steam (there may also be a free demo).

It's fun, it's frustrating, it's occasionally (okay, frequently) sobering.

Also, since I'm here, I'll share with you my latest anti-denier tactic. Whenever someone presents a baked-on opinion about the AGW 'scam', ask them to describe the kind of evidence that they would require in order to change their mind.

Actually, now I come to think of it, that's not a bad bit of advice for us all to apply to all our opinions.


July 20. 2012 10:54 AM



I'm not sure you have an argument. The very nature of speculating is that sometimes you hit 'pay dirt' and sometimes you don't. In a way you too are speculating. So like Patriciawa I looked up the dictionary and ths is the definition that most fits the word specualtion in my opinion in this current political climate:

continuous and profound contemplation or musing on a subject or series of subjects of a deep or abstruse nature

I believe there is a point where it is no longer speculation but in the case of the media driving towards an outcome, so that in the end we have a chicken and egg scenario.

And I selected this meaning also because of the word abtruse:

Beyond the understanding of an average mind

And the general public without being insulting is average.

I look forward to your response.


July 20. 2012 11:04 AM

Ad astra

The media still insists that its ‘leadership’ stories are based on actual ‘sources’, and I expect there are some corridor whispers by malcontents or the mischievous that feed the stories.  But there is no compulsion on the media to perpetrate them.  They provide no useful information, nor are they ‘news’.  They are of interest mainly to the commentariat who live in the Canberra echo chamber where they hear the stories echo around the corridors until they become ‘given truth’.  The more they are repeated, the more factual they appear to be, the more convinced the perpetrators become.  And what else can the write about on a slow news day?

The other factor operating is that political commentators are scared out of their journalistic minds that they will completely miss the ‘big story’ as they did with Kevin Rudd’s removal and the appointment of Bob Carr as Foreign Minister.  So they jump at shadows and will continue to do so until at some time in the future they get it right.  

Reflect on how many times we have had Julia Gillard leadership speculation with predictions that ‘unless the polls improve by (insert time), she will be replaced?  I’ve lost count, and frankly I don’t care any more.  The reassuring thing is that she sails on untroubled by all the leadership talk.   So should we.

Ad astra

July 20. 2012 11:53 AM

Tom of Melbourne

” But there is no compulsion on the media to perpetrate them.”

Odd comment. When politicians are talking about changing the Prime Minister, what possible reason would there be for journalists not to report this.

When Gillard and the hacks knifed Rudd, the media hadn’t listened to the rumblings. There were a few minor reports, but the media didn’t seem to believe it could happen. They were caught napping.

This time, the media is reporting on the rumblings. The public is entitled to know about this too, and not have another Prime Minister just knifed out of the blue.

Tom of Melbourne

July 20. 2012 11:54 AM


Yes Ad astra - it's just speculation, and corridor whispers, but it is designed to damage. I watched Heather Euwitt last night and got all cranky at what passes for journalism. I promised myself I was going to ignore it all.

But then ToM's comment went and stirred up that old fighting spirit that is naturally a part of my personality.

Life is a bit like speculation, sometimes we get it right and sometimes we get it wrong, the main thing is we keep on learning.


July 20. 2012 11:56 AM

Tom of Melbourne

” In a way you too are speculating.

I think I’m only pointing to the atrocious track record of many here that have claimed legitimate reporting is-
•  Baseless speculation
•  Speculation
•  A media beat-up
•  Unfounded

History is showing that the press are right more often that the partisan commentators.

Tom of Melbourne

July 20. 2012 12:09 PM


Thing is ToM, it *was* baseless speculation last time around - Rudd is going to challenge, we were told.  Rudd is only 5 votes from the leadership, we were told.

In the end, it was Gillar, sick of all the speculation, who called the spill, and we saw that the so-called support for Rudd did not exist.

And now they're at it again.  Despite everyone involved openly stating that removing Gillard at this stage would be a mistake, and that Rudd is not a viable option, the rumours and speculation continue.  And now they're the using the fact that people are responding to the speculation as 'evidence' to fuel further speculation!  It's like something out of Alice in Wonderland.


July 20. 2012 12:13 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
I’ve just now finished reading you links.  What an absorbing collection.
The most frightening for me was The climate change denialists may soon to be running the asylum in Independent Australia.  Playing the YouTube of the Abbott interview on climate change by Tony Jones reveals what we are up against if this man ever becomes PM.  He talks not just like a skeptic, but like a denier.   Abbott is terrifying!  If you can bear to witness him at his devious worst, play the video.

Another article that is germane to this piece is Carbon compo being fed into pokies? Nothing but a beat-up by Bernard Keane on Crikey.

The whole piece is worth a read.  Keane concludes:
”So, people may be blowing any government handouts they get — carbon price compensation or not — on the pokies. But there’s no clear evidence that it’s happening.

“The ABC is particularly culpable in this for failing to do some basic research on the numbers; instead, it simply offered he-said-she-said quotes from various sources. It did, however, note Livingstone’s view that the real issue was high-impact poker machines.

“The logic behind such stories, in any event, is confusing: poker machine revenue doesn’t vanish from the economy; it doesn’t sit in the bottom of the machines, lost forever, but continues to circulate through the economy. The story thus becomes a moral judgment about gambling.

“But plenty of goods and services carry moral judgments. What if carbon price compensation was spent on cigarettes, or alcohol, or junk food? Or watching a bad movie? Or buying Fifty Shades of Grey? There are plenty of unedifying consumer choices out there that carbon price compensation will be “wasted” on beyond poker machines.

“Unless you think governments should be in the business of directing every welfare recipient, including those nice middle-class people on $100,000 a year, on how to live their lives, what’s the point beyond attacking the government?”

Thanks again Lyn for feeding us so plentifully.

Ad astra

July 20. 2012 12:20 PM

Ad astra

LadyinRed, Sanchez
I admire your spirit in responding to ToM’s provocation, and commend the well considered logic you bring to the discourse.  

I’ve done just that on previous occasions, but have long ago concluded that rational dialogue with him/her is beyond reach.

Ad astra

July 20. 2012 01:10 PM


Hi Ad astra,

This may provide another "Insider's" perspective on the musings of the parliamentary press gallery on the leadership speculation:



July 20. 2012 01:47 PM


You are right Ad astra - I will leave ToM to his musings.

The climate change denialists was a terrifying read. What does it tell you when the LNP overwhelmigly vote to dumb down climate science being taught in schools? And what can I say Glen Elmes, a scary piece of work. Let me tell you Noosa is not just filled with climate denialist nutters.

And ......shudder...."the conservative white male effect".....another shudder....Pell, Bolt, Jones and I'm as crazy as I look Monkton.

I loved Keatings "non-intelligence of Abbott" utube video it is clasic Keating.

But Add astra I couldn't watch all of the Tony Jones interview with Abbott - I love my laptop too much to put it into danger of my throwing something.

Malcolm Fraser on Tabbott.


This is perhaps on eof the best explanations for carbon pricing that I have seen. I think that if the PM were able to put forward the argument in the way that Keating does in this video....what I am suggesting is it would do her to watch it over and over.

Paul keating calls the industries that carbon pricing will fire off as the new silicon valley industries:



July 20. 2012 01:52 PM


Toxic Tony's Tactic Falls as Flat as a Tack.


July 20. 2012 02:07 PM

42 long

  Heard Grattan use the term "conventional wisdom" as a source of opinion or something.
  What in heavens name is that? Her comments this morning seamed rambling confused and devoid of anything tangeable.
Kelly never challenges her. It is like "gospell".
Surely her gratitous contributions have passed their use by date.
   I'm not suggesting she should fall on her sword. Just retire and let some new talent in.

42 long

July 20. 2012 02:11 PM


Ad Astra

Oh goody, does this mean I can stop getting up at the crack of dawn to see if the sky has fallen or not? Smile Smile

Please everybody, tell me they are not stirring up Leadershi- again.  Oh wait, isn't it a Newspoll weekend.  What a surprise.

Just reading on twitter, Ashby's text messages will be used on Monday.  Hopefully Peter Slipper will win this and be back in the Speakers chair in August.  The Deputy Speaker, Anna Burke, has done a reasonable job, but I did like how Mr Slipper seemed to stop a lot of rubbish when he was presiding over Parliament.  I wouldn't want to be in the Noppositions place if he does.


July 20. 2012 02:51 PM

Ad astra

42 long
‘Conventional wisdom’ is code for groupthink among the Canberra Press Gallery.  Rumours, no matter how obscure their origin, echo through the corridors like negative feedback in a PA system until they reach screaming pitch, which demands the attention of journalists hungry for a story to meet their next deadline.  They then seek the response of relevant politicians to the rumour, which then adds the element of denial, which makes the story even more intriguing.  

Then the denials are fed to other politicians for a response.  And so on goes the merry-go-round, giving lazy journalists story upon story about nothing much at all.  But as LadyinRed says, one purpose behind leadership speculation is to damage Labor.  It is not just laziness but malice and an intent to destabilize that motivates at least some journalists.  Two who spring to mind are Michelle Grattan and Heather Ewart.

Thank you for the link to Barrie Cassidy’s article www.abc.net.au/.../4141546   He hits the nail on the head.

I agree with these paragraphs particularly:

“One of the Prime Minister's problems is that if you were to take a straw poll of federal parliamentary press gallery, probably 80 per cent on my soundings would predict the demise of Gillard before the end of the year.

“They are, of course, only guessing. They don't know. How could they know? How could they know with any clarity whether Rudd's numbers will grow to where they need to be?

“But that kind of mind set has a self-fulfilling prophecy to it. The journalists don't want to be wrong, whether they make the predictions in public or in private conversations among their peers. They become willing participants in what to many of them is the only game in town.

“The momentum is always with the agitators, those challenging the status quo, and not with the numbers as they now stand. The fear is that if you don't support the concept of a challenge, then you will miss the story.”

Journalists are so scared they will again miss a leadership change that if necessary they will talk one up endlessly to try to make it happen, and thereby prove themselves right.  It really is sick.

Ad astra

July 20. 2012 02:56 PM


Hi Ad

Thankyou for another delectable, delicious article, I love getting my beak into your articles they make me chirp like crazy.  I love the way you have collated the Front Pages.  About the most enjoyable result of the Whyalla Wipeout was Craig Emerson's song and dance video. He is now an ABC icon they keep playing the video clip so good PR proof.

Ad your comment at 12.13pm you must have the same appreciation as me
because for three days you have selected the no 1 articles from Today's Links.

Lady in Red I love your enthusiasm I am the same each day I cannot wait to read what the bloggers have had to say.

I see Mr Abbott said he didn't want to talk about home politics while on America's streets but proceeded to do just that.

Concera Vota‏ said:
For those who have studied German politics from 1929 will KNOW what Abbott's tactics are and why they are effective.

Twitterverse and Twitterati together today:-

Court Reporter for Sydney Morning Herald. Tweets heavily censored due to non-publication orders, suppression orders, legislative restrictions on publication...

Louise Hall ‏1 hour ago
Ashby's lawyers lose latest application n court re: admissibility of hearsay evidence in abuse of process application.

Ashby text messages allowed as evidence, Louise Hall @12.46pm

The Commonwealth and Peter Slipper will be able to use text messages sent between James Ashby and his alleged co-conspirators as evidence in support of their abuse of application set down for Monday


Latika Bourke ‏
Christopher Pyne 'journalism will come to a grinding halt' if News Ltd's Steve Lewis is made to give up his source in the Ashby/Slipper case

You know how the coalition keep saying that only ALP taxes? Well in NSW Barry O has given 800,000 home owners a new tax! #auspol #nswpol

Mark ‏
Bushfire on why Ashbygate is so important to the very survival of #NewsLtd ...a must read: http://bit.ly/LZmZHP#auspol #BBill

Bushfire Bill
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 11:49 pm
Many don’t seem to understand the true implications of the Ashby case.
This Monday coming News Ltd will be in the dock of the Federal Court of Australia accused of an abuse of process in attempting to concoct a story with the intention of bringing down the elected government.It will have been an attempt to usurp a sovereign, elected government. Another one, to add to Labour in the UK and Obama in the USA. It will spell the beginning of the end for Murdoch, and may likely provide the circuit breaker the government needsto get some clear air.

National Times‏
Abbott concedes economy's 'fundamental strengths' www.nationaltimes.com.au/.../...0120720-22eb9.html via NationalTimesAU

Before his visit to the US, Mr Abbott had argued that Australia's economy was in a perilous position and that this was the ''worst possible'' time to have introduced a carbon tax.Mr Abbott could not resist a dig at the Gillard government.''Obviously there are some question marks about government policy,'' he said of Australia's economy.

So Whiney Piney doesn't want Lewis 2 reveal his source (Ashby) to the court as ordered...wonder why? http://bit.ly/LZnXDU #AshbyGate #auspol

Stephen Mayne‏
Interesting Andrew Crook story in Crikey today on Labor's preference dealings in Melbourne http://www.crikey.com.au/?p=304388#comments

Laura Tingle‏
wmdglasgow: She's back! AFR political editor Laura Tingle's comeback column: www.afr.com/.../you_ve_got_to_accentuate_the_differences_VyGppQsBYs7fpyWBWwKfaN @latingle”

Robert Corr‏
Parliamentary Greens abandon their party platform. Just another big party now. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/-22d5b.html

Meanwhile the NSW backs away from all pre election commitments re mining approvals. " Following yesterday's... http://fb.me/1TwXy5qeH

Malcolm Turnbull: socal progressive, economic conservative hardliner. Don't be fooled! b6 "MALCOLM Turnbull has... http://fb.me/1vcBsOF3N

Kerry Seebohm
Unions continue their campaign to ensure the election of an Abbott govt. Tho they rep 18% public sector and 13% private http://bit.ly/LAekKr

QLD LNP Treasurer Barry O'Sullivan sued for defamation by former party state director Geoffrey Greene http://bit.ly/LvY6gN #qldpol #auspol

The Watcher‏
#qldpol this should make all those losing their jobs feel good www.couriermail.com.au/.../story-e6freon6-1226430381222  Arts Minister Ros Bates' son gets contract while thousands of public servants lose jobs

Australian Politics‏
Abbott concedes economy's 'strengths': TONY Abbott has acknowledged the "fundamental strengths" of the Australia... http://bit.ly/OxLvgZ

At home, Mr Abbott's comments about the nation's economic prospects are far more gloomy.

He told reporters in Australia last month that “economic storm clouds have rarely been more dark”.

“Here in Australia, economic conditions are soft, “ he said. “The stock market is down. Profits are weak. Retail sales are weak. The property market is down. So, these aren't great economic times. Anyone who pretends otherwise is not living in the real world.”


Connecting Up‏
Australia's wealthy urged to make a difference and donate to charity organisations http://ow.ly/clf10 #npau

AFP refers Slipper to prosecutor


July 20. 2012 03:27 PM

Tom of Melbourne

So just remind me Ad Astra, (and Lady in Red & Sanchez) which of the following did you get right?
•  Rudd leaking to the media
•  Rudd challenging Gillard
•  Gillard walking away from a written agreement with Wilkie
•  Gillard watering down poker machine reform
•  Thomson had no case to answer

In hindsight, which of the above should the media not have reported? Which of them was speculation? How would the public interest have been better served if the press did not report on those issues?

Tom of Melbourne

July 20. 2012 03:40 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Thank you for your kind remarks.  I’m glad you enjoy my musings.  I should have included Craig Emerson’s ‘Whyalla’ song.

We do think alike when it comes to your link selection.  You have a keen eye for the relevant.

More fascinating Twitterati.  Can’t Abbott supporters see his two-facedness: talking down the economy when he’s here, but talking it up while away.  This man is a fraud and a sham.

It seems as if the Ashby messages will get exposure in court.  That should be revealing.  What will become of referring Slipper's Cabcharge claims to the DPP remains to be seen, but already Michelle Grattan has delighted in walking us through the dire outcomes.

Bushfire Bill’s remarks on Poll Bludger are so pointed, that they are worth reproducing here in full:

”It’s a race now, to see who will go down first – the government or Murdoch.

“Many don’t seem to understand the true implications of the Ashby case.

This Monday coming News Ltd will be in the dock of the Federal Court of Australia accused of an abuse of process in attempting to concoct a story with the intention of bringing down the elected government.

“Let that sink in for a few seconds.

“Then consider where it could lead, if proved.

“Murdoch wants Foxtel. Murdoch wants BSkyB. These are worth billions and billions between them in cost and potential revenue. But not to the News Corp Print division. Rather to the News Corp Entertainment division.

“The print division, serially underperforming and unprofitable (but the old man’s favourite) has been cut loose from the main News Corp. company. Already Print’s disastrous performance in the UK has all but wrecked the BSkyB deal. There is a faint hope BSkyB could be resurrected if everything, repeat everything goes well after this.

“Imagine if another part of News Corp Print ruined another lucrative Pay TV deal, this time the Foxtel takeover.

“You’d have to be a fool to believe that any repercussions of dirty doings here in Australia, of an almost exactly equivalent nature to the ones already uncovered in the UK, wouldn’t fly back across to the UK and kill BSkyB again, this time permanently.

“This would be too much for News Corp Entertainment to stomach. They’d be wanting to get rid of the old man, and his family, and pronto.

“This isn’t just about the twinky Ashby and whether or not Abbott or Pyne or Brough knew what he was up to. This is about the survival of News Corp itself. They can’t take another scandal like the NOTW Scandal.

“None of us can figure out why such a successful Australian government (in objective terms) has so little support. It’s because of the infuence of News Ltd in the fight against them by the conservative side of politics. The government, on the other hand, needs a circuit breaker to shake the public out of it’s malaise, ennui and negativism.
“The Ashby-Slipper-Lewis case could be that circuit breaker. If abuse of process is proved against Ashby and Lewis then there will be all hell to pay.

“It’s not a wrongheaded story about Ruddstoration, or schoolkids not getting their free waterbottles when they visit Parliament house, or some dross about how much the Carbon Tax is going to increase rubbish tipping prices.

“It will have been an attempt to usurp a sovereign, elected government. Another one, to add to Labour in the UK and Obama in the USA. It will spell the beginning of the end for Murdoch, and may likely provide the circuit breaker the government needsto get some clear air.

“If the public find out it’s been duped by the media all along over Slipper, don’t expect the public to forgive News and Murdoch, or any other newspaper that tries to maintain the fantasy that journalism is a noble profession.

“The Hack-Gate scandal started out small: a few complaints, a couple of questions, a wheelchair-bound country town solicitor.

“Look at it now.

“Arrests, charges, resignations, supergrasses, hundreds of millions paid out, judicial inquiries, the closure of newspapers, the loss of a huge Pay TV deal.

“And it’s hardly even got to court yet!”

Ad astra

July 20. 2012 04:17 PM


Lady in Red tried following those links to Keating and Fraser videos but for some reason both were impossible to follow with many breaks.   However at the same site I was able to watch another the PM talking at the McKell Institute about how Great Reforms Endure!  www.youtube.com/watch

She was wholly engaging and convincing as she talked about our Carbon Tax and other great Labor reforms of the past which were once vehemently opposed and are now widely accepted e.g. the Snowie Scheme and Mabo.  What a leader she is!


July 20. 2012 04:30 PM


how are you doing with your footy tips this year?

Just wondering Smile


July 20. 2012 04:47 PM



I agree with the lived experience analogy. It is really only when we go through something we fear that we can really judge. I find her engaging and genuine. I can't follow all the criticism. I also like Keating's style but predominately they are saying the same thing....our economy has to transition.

Ad astra

Thanks for Ashby-Slipper-Lewis update from Bushfire. So true, I can't understand why a government that by all accounts is keeping the economy strong, trying to take us towards a better future, clean energy and NBN is so reviled. It makes no sense.

Twinky...haven't heard that for years. Love it.

Thanks Lyn for the great work this week - as always much appreciated. I'll have to get on to twitter - I have resisted so far - but maybe its time.


July 20. 2012 05:43 PM


Thinking back on US 'hawks' like Richard Armitage over the last few days ticking Australia off for trimming back our national defence budget, I wondered how a country that spends as much as it does on 'defense' managed to let its primary economic hub, New York, and its actual Defense Department HQ, the Pentagon, be bombed?

And but for a planeload of determined civilians, never got within a whisker of stopping a third bomb that was flying towards the White House?

The answer is simple. There's hardly a Defenc(s)e Department in the world that actually operates in reflection of its name. What they are is 'offence' departments. What most of them were more honestly called four or five decades ago, was 'War' departments.

Nobody ducks a sucker punch. The USA got smashed on 9/11. Didn't see it coming, froze when it was arriving, hurled around accusations after it happened. And increased the biggest defense budget on the planet.

And then went to war, with John Howard's Australia in tow.

Then, well then, all that money, all that materiel, all those men and women, they were put on the offensive. That's when the defence departments could do what they were designed to do - war.

Screwed it up, of course. Now we're supposedly in a period of 'Coalition of the Willing' delivered peace, but the Western world has no means at all to fight a 'war on terror' until the warriors like Armitage and Little Johnny face the fact that only peace delivers peace.

So, while the gravel-voiced warriors hector Australia about us letting down the martial side, perhaps they might like to visit a veterans' hospital or rehabilitation centre, or even gutsier, go for a walk in Baghdad - no sentries, no Humvees, no drones overhead, just take a walk into Baghdad.

Funny thing is, the locals are more likely to offer the wanderer a coffee and pastry, even after the wanderer and his type have plastered their city to dust, than they are to seek bloody retribution. Well, some might turn their backs, or shut their doors, hardly blame them...

But what they wouldn't do is scream from the rooftops for more money for a Defence Department devoted to retribution, for armed forces armed to smash so far from the borders of their home country that the "De" in Defence has been painted over far from home eyes to bloodily reveal what has always been the true message of ever-expanding 'defense budgets' - "we can't stop you, but we can make your families, everyone you ever knew, anyone who shares a nationality with you wish they'd never been born".

If human beings were truly being human, there'd be no need for a cent, a rouble, a yuan, a name your own currency, to be spent on "defense". There'd be no offence.

But then, well there'd be nothing for 'hawks' to puff their chests up about. Or go red in the face demanding death-money be increased.


July 20. 2012 05:48 PM


Ad Astra,

Thanks for reposting Bushfire Bill's observations.

I wish BB would post here at The Political Sword where I know you, as the blog owner, would offer him welcome and encouragement. The moderator at Poll Bludger doesn't exactly offer encouragement to commenters (apart from a few favourite RWers). In fact, it's the opposite, he often pops out from watching quietly on the sidelines to abuse and insult regular commenters, including at times, Bushfire Bill himself.


July 20. 2012 05:51 PM

Ad astra

I did enjoy watching Great Reforms Endure.  Julia Gillard is a great leader and a strong Prime Minister.  Opponents can throw whatever they like at her, but she, like great reforms, will endure.

The media and the Coalition better get used to it.  Even Tony Abbott has woken up to that in a startling exhibition of insight: "She won't lie down and die!"

Ad astra

July 20. 2012 05:57 PM

Ad astra

What a cogent comment, with which I heartily agree.

BB will always be welcome here.  He hits the nail on the head every time.  Why any moderator should object to that, I do not know.

Ad astra

July 20. 2012 06:21 PM


the lived experience and saying you are unable to follow all the criticism has sparked a thought or three (which I may or may not develop).

When you follow in the footsteps of Whitlam, Hawke and Keating it is a very tough act to follow.

Whitlam had an excellent 2IC (straight man?) in Lance Barnard, a very safe pair of hands and the plot got lost when Barnard retired though it was slightly righted when Hayden became Treasurer.

Hawke had Keating (good coop/bad cop?) and well, I need say no more.

Keating didn't seem to need anyone and that may have eventually hastened his demise.

Ms Gillard has those three to be 'measured' against and here comes the real kickers; she has the 'great expectations' created by her immediate predecessor to fulfill and the the even greater expectation that being the first woman in the job she would be the archetypal 'everywoman' and fulfill all the conflicting ambitions of the sisterhood and many others.

Given all of those factors it becomes too easy to find fault and point to failure to live up to unrealistic expectations.

One other point; I suspect that, while there are some very good minds among the cabinet, there is a let down with the foil similar to the Whitlam-Barnard, Hawke-Keating (and even the Howard-Costello) partnerships.


July 20. 2012 06:47 PM


Good posting of Bushfire Bill, AA. If all is revealed about the "conspiracy" come Monday, I hope there will be some clamoring for arrests right up "to the top" for sedition!! Why Murdoch and his snivelling suporters haven't been already done over on that charge in the ol' Dart just goes to prove the influence he holds over the heirarchy of establishment!..
The filth of the LNP. are up to their nostrils in covert operations against the state and ought to be dragged before the beak in chains WITH a goodly selection of the MSM. shackled together with them to keep them company!
Are there laws in this country against traitors or are there just excuses for them?
Is this government the rightfully elected AND selected representatives of the majority or are they not?
Are filth like A.Jones, Hadley and their crowd so above the law they can AND do incite hatred and violence against the person of the Prime Minister?
I say we get up an online petition supporting the investigation toward a charge of treason or sedition to be bought against such provocateurs in the MSM....I'll be the first to sign!


July 20. 2012 07:04 PM


Michael...Thinking on your post ; I'd be inclined to favour a TRUE Defence Army. What we have now and which is costing us the earth is an Attack Army. We are shelling out a fortune for attack equiptment and manpower...if we were to implement a policy of pure defence, we could train more young volunteers..heck!.even I would volunteer to defend my country, but not to attack another! and make or purchase tactical equiptment specifically for the defence of our terrain.
Other countries have such a policy, why not ourselves?


July 20. 2012 07:32 PM


earlier today I (partly) heard a proposition that governments (and I am sure it was about US govt.) should only be able to to wage a war from current taxation not by borrowing.

There was a bit of a discussion and basically it was said that the populace would likely agree to higher taxes if the country needed to defend itself but would most likely revolt if asked to pay more for 'wars of folly'.

I suspect I heard it on Counterpoint on Radio National but I can't find relevant transcript atm.


July 20. 2012 07:38 PM


Hi Ad

This report has just come in, I hope it's not near you



10 km (6.2 miles)
Distances 117 km (73 miles) ESE (118°) from Melbourne, Australia
421 km (262 miles) SW (218°) from CANBERRA, Australia



July 20. 2012 08:45 PM

42 long

  I'm glad that the BB statement is available above I have always said this stuff is serious and rivals watergate in the extent and seriousnee of it. People play with fire when they plot to overthrow a costitutional goverment. It's not for Abbott to decide that a new election is required mid term, just because he tasted victory and didn't get it. Could he guarantee that the same thing could not happen IF an election was held soon? NO he can't. There would be a lead-up to it and anything could happen. And they say a week is a long time in politics.
   His strategy was to make her die quickly. His foul game of "Cops and robbers". Mass uprisings, harrassment bullying and demonising of her has NOT worked, shock Jocks in overdrive. newspapers on side. Monkton and Bolt smirking as the pay for comment, deceit and the distorted claims of the deniers is promoted. but he must wonder WHY?. He thought he held all the cards. One significant thing in this, is that he has shown himself to be EXACTLY what Craig thomson said in parliament. That HE (Tony) is NOT fit to be PM or be a member of parliament even.
It's pretty easy to see why Rupert wants Gillard out, and it hasn't been such a secret that anyone deuies it. He will be more free to keep on doing what he has always done with Labour out of the way.

42 long

July 20. 2012 08:53 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Yes, we felt it, but it was much less that the one a few weeks ago.  It was centred on Morwell  about 85 km north east from here.  All's well.  

If only Julia hadn't brought in the carbon tax!

I'm calling it a day!

Ad astra

July 20. 2012 09:00 PM



Oakeschott is right (again).  The ALP need to show a degree of discipline rather than take public pot shots at each other.  Mr Oakeshott, who signed an agreement to support Labor after the 2010 election, says he is "utterly sick" of leadership speculation and is warning Labor it could face an early election if Ms Gillard is dumped.

"My message to them is not a threat, it is explaining once again the choice that they have," Mr Oakeshott told ABC News Online.

"They can choose as a party to focus on the very full policy agenda... or, if they want to focus on fighting the next election and staring at polling figures, then I will do what I can... to assist with that next election.

"If they are serious in any way about the speculation that's in the public arena now about leadership change, then they are effectively tearing up the agreement that they have... with me... (and) all bets would be off."

The question here is will the "party faithful" who consistently open their mouths to change feet sit up and see the damage they are doing?


July 20. 2012 10:06 PM


Courtesy of the twitterverse (too many tweeps to remember) this scary article from The Rolling Stone

Global Warming's Terrifying New Math Bill McKibben
Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe - and that make clear who the real enemy is
When we think about global warming at all, the arguments tend to be ideological, theological and economic. But to grasp the seriousness of our predicament, you just need to do a little math. For the past year, an easy and powerful bit of arithmetical analysis first published by financial analysts in the U.K. has been making the rounds of environmental conferences and journals, but it hasn't yet broken through to the larger public. This analysis upends most of the conventional political thinking about climate change. And it allows us to understand our precarious – our almost-but-not-quite-finally hopeless – position with three simple numbers.


July 20. 2012 10:09 PM


Thanks for yet another excellent article.
Whenever I hear someone whinging about the carbon tax, I approach it this way. I calmly ask them if they have insurance for their car/house & contents/health. Their answer is inevitably "of course". Then I ask why. The usual answer is "I might have a car accident", "My house might be burgled/burnt down", "I might get sick & need to go to hospital". So I say that even though these scenarios are not 100% guaranteed, there's a possibility so we take the precaution - just in case. Same with our environment.
People soon seem to understand what I mean, and you can see them actaully thinking about this for a change.
I wish some "journalist" would ask Phony Tony if he has insurance! Cheers Smile


July 20. 2012 11:14 PM


Slip over to the independentaustralia site and have a read about how the ABC's DRUM program has been so accommodating of the conservatives IPA crowd and then sign the petition.

Cheers - Granny Anny


July 20. 2012 11:29 PM

42 long

Perhaps Tony might look at a policy to cover loss of earnings so that he might be able to cover the 700,000 debt on his house if he is out of a job.
Funny You borrow to finance a house but a small debt to GDP means financial irresponsibility.
  The Insurance analogy is usefull for the global warming issue but the sacrifice we are being asked to make is nothing like the CST or the possible increase in GST that many propose and nothing is said about..
  Another name for CO2 ( carbon dioxide) is Carbonic acid gas. perhaps that offers a less benign meaning. Sure it aids the growth of plants, but too much of it makes the planet hotter, and the seas more acid.
The earth's atmosphere is not that vast. it's not a giant sink that we can just toss gases like SO2,CO2, methane and a lot of  refigerants into without doing damage
   We damage our rivers, seas, soil, underground aquifers, and ATMOSPHERE with rubbish, plastic, heavy metals that our way of living does more and more. There has to be a time when we take stock of what is happening, and do something about it, seriously.

42 long

July 21. 2012 12:59 AM


Good to see Joh's Qld is alive and well. Have paper bag sales gone up, I wonder? I should imagine that the PS will now be well politicised.

Obviously Newman thinks that all this sort of stuff will be overlooked by the voters, but he doesn't have the wit to understand they'll be extremely savage at the next election after all his spin beforehand.

FFS, he hasn't even given it a decent interval before going the Joh.

jaycee @6.47pm, I'll second that motion.

Ad astra, very pleased that you were unscathed by the latest earthquake.

However, I don't blame the the carbon price, but lay it squarely at the feet of Liealot and his fellow dingbats who are hell bent on damaging Earth, which is getting a bit fed up with their nonsense.

That's why you were unaffected. Earth knows who's fighting the good fight and who isn't. I expect the imminent arrival of an earthquake which will swallow Menzies House, all shock jock HQs and the wizened foreigner and his spawn.

WRT Tony's Toxic Tax, I let our accountants complete the BAS form. I categorise all our transactions every quarter, which is very time consuming and irritating.

And I get more hacked off when I see how much Tony's Toxic Tax is stripping from my pocket every time I buy a loaf of bread.

It also looks like Tony the Toxic Taxer's absence has left a hiatus for the msm, so it's out with the old Leadershit crap to try and flog a few more papers.

I skimmed through the article on the Drum, went ho hum! and read a few more comments.

In some ways The Drum article put me in mind of Toxic Tony telling a coal miner that his mine was closing with the attendant job losses, after the bloke had just told him and kept telling him that they were opening a new mine and were looking for workers.

Toxic just kept telling him the mine was closing and all the workers were being sacked. It was as if the man hadn't said anything.

2353, is it the ALP running with another round of leadership speculation or the Liars and the msm shit stirring because there hasn't been a revolution wrt the carbon price?

And of course there's the Ashby thing coming to a head and they probably need their usual "Look over there!" in the hope an unfavourable decision might be ignored.

Libbyx33, what a great approach to the whingers. Most people understand the reason for insurance; that we're protecting ourselves against what could happen.

Simple, yet effective.


July 21. 2012 01:04 AM


Lady in Red

You are right Ad astra - I will leave ToM to his musings.

Probably the best decision you've made all day.

I went on with him/her for 2 weeks a month ago and all I got was the continual changing of the goalposts. He/she never "puts up" and is happy to "put it out there" ie launch plenty of smears with fictionalised "fact" basis.

Any ongoing dialogue is replete with red herrings and tangential twists and turns to avoid accountability.


July 21. 2012 07:08 AM

Truth Seeker

Psyclaw, there's two weeks you'll never get back!
The last two lines sound like you were talking to about RAbbott himself... funny about that.
Engaging with those trying to defend the indefensible is like hitting your head against a brick wall, it feels good when you stop, except in Toms case you are likely to get more sense and satisfaction out of a brick wall!  

Truth Seeker

July 21. 2012 07:34 AM


DMW - thanks for the Rolling Stone article.  It's not all rock 'n roll is it?

Grannie Annie - done - thanks for the link

Libbyx33 - I've asked a similar question on other forums.  It's amazing how people can hold two diametrically opted views at the same time (of course I'm insured but why pay for carbon emissions).

Jane - I have no idea if the ALP is running another "unofficial" leadership spill or not - but people like Fitzgibbon on Q&A and the NSW State Secretary need to pull their heads in and realise that any comment on GIllard's leadership, polls and so on will be used as evidence the spill is on (again).  It's called party discipline and regardless of your view of the LNP the have the discipline in spades over the ALP and it shows.  THe best answer is for the entire party when asked by the media to say absolutely nothing apart from Julia Gillard is the Prime Minister and leader of the ALP in the Parliament.


July 21. 2012 07:35 AM


Libbyx33 - that should be "diametrically opposed"


July 21. 2012 11:23 AM

Ad astra

Thank you for your overnight comments, which I enjoyed reading.
I can’t fathom what is going on in some Labor ranks about leadership.  It is either mischievous or stupid.  I might write something about this soon.  But I hope that the commonsense of Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott will resonate with them.  There is too much to do to be bothered with idle leadership talk.

What an informative and frightening article is Bill McKibbin’s Global Warming's Terrifying New Math in Rolling Stone.  Everyone should read it from beginning to end.  The most frightening sentence for me was: “We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn.” This resource is in the ground and is owned by oil, gas and coal companies, who plan to profit from it in the decades ahead.  To leave this resource where it is would likely bankrupt them.  So they will fight to mine and use it no matter what irreversible damage this does to the planet.  THEY ARE THE REAL ENEMY IN THE GLOBAL WARMING DEBATE.  We must fight them to save our planet.

I will email this article to Tony Abbott, so at least he can’t say he wasn’t told.


Ad astra

July 21. 2012 11:25 AM

42 long

  Even IF the party showed firm discipline and "shut up" about speculation on leadership ( which they should) keeping quiet would be taken as evidence by the MSM that something was cooking.
   They will re-run any rumour, or absence of one, on any pretext. Abbot tried to rev it up in the US by heaping praise on KRudd.
   Rudd even has his Missus run an article the other week. (well surely she wouldn't have done the interview without telling him)
   There would be at least 3 possible replacements  (Excluding KRudd who really has excluded himself) capable of doing a good job  of leading the parliamentary labour party.
   Can anybody suggest ONE for the Libs? They need to, in case some of the tactics of SCARY TONY are a bit OFF and seen to be.
   Forget Turnbull, who most voters would support. THEY hate him. The New Super-Right takeover of the LNP won't have him under any circumstances.
  Oakshott reads the situation well, and I believe Julia still has the support of the large MAJORITY of the Parliamentary Labour party PLUS the independants.
  The Leadership is a distraction aiding the LNP and IS a "
Fake" story trotted out by the MSM when nothing else is happening.
   The opposition would love to have KRudd there as they would tear him to pieces. Do you all remember the Bla bla bla  of Brandis and co? ( childish, like most of their performances, but it works) How many times did Turnbull say "and the Prime minister should RESIGN" when Kev was in? I lost count.
   They have even more on him now. He is damaged goods, a lot by his own actions, who just cannot be recycled.
  KRudd is not a team player. he 'fluffed' the greatest challenge of our time.
   Julia won't "lie down and die" so she is the one to keep there. Obviously Tony doesn't want her there. What better confirmation do you need of her potential?

42 long

July 21. 2012 11:29 AM

Ad astra

Welcome to The Political Sword family and thank you for your kind remarks.

Your analogy is apt and clever.  What a great way to explain the need for ‘insurance’ against the dire effects of global warming so dramatically described in Bill McKibbin’s Global Warming's Terrifying New Math in Rolling Stone.


I hope you email Tony Abbott with your analogy.  

Ad astra

July 21. 2012 11:44 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody

Twitterverse for you included is Bushfire Bill on the latest Rudd Leadership beatup:-

My take on Leadershit: "Journos elbow each other out of the way to dismiss Gillard... and interview each other" blogs.crikey.com.au/.../#comment-1348778

Bushfire Bill
Posted Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 9:47 am
anyone who can stand up to the total shitstorm that has been thrown at her, get things done as she has (as opposed to “making nice” but doing little, like her predecessor), and who can bring together a fractious collection of independents, whacked out Greens and disaffected Liberals into the makings of a record-breakingly functional parliament, is the person I’d want to have next to me in the trenches when the howitzers are firing in my direction.

Desperate PM resorts to social experiment Ross Peake July 21, 2012

There's no doubting Gillard's determination or toughness but so far neither trait has proven powerful enough to spark confidence in Labor ranks. So why is she even bothering to sit in front of a computer today, for a Google+ Hangout session?

Watching Julia Gillard right now... http://fb.me/15DO07MxO

Julia Gillard‏
#PMHangOut is live! Watch it here plus.google.com/u/0/112153677877168767707/posts TeamJG

ABC News 24‏
latikambourke on #WeekendBreakfast now, talking to @NickChampionMP about the latest leadership speculation http://bit.ly/abcnews24

Latika Bourke ‏
Labor MP Nick Champion says if union leaders want to have a say on the Leadership they should become MPs, then they'd have a vote in caucus.

That 8 questions in a row all about leadership and Rudd. Setting the agenda I see Latika #abcnews24

Chris Ogilvie ‏
Latika is extensively tweeting a Rudd supporter this morning." How predictable David....must be a poll this weekend?

  Latika Bourke ‏
You can read Govt MP Nick Champion's very honest piece on the state and future of Labor here: http://latika.me/QhWv4w via @ABCthedrum.

Latika Bourke ‏
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey says Libs don't support expanding GST - he's making the point that it's up to the states to argue for change.

Mike Kelly MP‏
Abbott’s foreign policy vision: muddle along www.afr.com/.../0d270316-d16c-11e1-b30d-d8a08f8742ef

Depressing & provocative. Mike Carlton sees Gillard exit tap on shoulder late August. Well reasoned piece. #auspolwww.smh.com.au/.../...-be-over-20120720-22fcl.html

Book tackles 'dangerous, bullying' Abbott | The Australian - m.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-fn59niix-1226154470110 ABBOTTS A RISK TO AUSTRALIA'S SECURITY

Ross Gittins‏
Productivity story not as bad as we've been told - my column http://bit.ly/MxjzIw #EconomicsHSC #EconomicsVCE

30m  Troy Bramston ‏
Good analysis by Jack Waterford on Labor and includes lots of John Faulkner's wise speech last weekend to ALP Conf. m.canberratimes.com.au/.../...-20120720-22f4k.html

Watching the deniers
Robert Manne on Labor's choice www.theage.com.au/.../...pidly-20120720-22fni.html

Ken Travers‏
So its not just in WA that Liberals break election promises and prioritise roads. Derailing dreams of transport relief www.theage.com.au/.../...elief-20120720-22fd9.html


July 21. 2012 11:54 AM


I wish the liars were correct in their claims that volcanoes produce more greenhouse emissions than humans, they aren't.

Source: About.com Environmental

Do Volcanoes Generate More Greenhouse Gas Than Humans?

Is the rumor about volcanoes and greenhouse gases true? Not even close!

Greenhouse gas emissions from volcanoes equal less than one percent of those generated by human activities.
Photo by Lyn Topinka/U.S. Geological Survey

Dear EarthTalk: Could it really be true that a single large volcanic eruption launches more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the amount generated by all of humanity over history?
-- Steve Schlemmer, London, England
This argument that human-caused carbon emissions are merely a drop in the bucket compared to greenhouse gases generated by volcanoes has been making its way around the rumor mill for years. And while it may sound plausible, the science just doesn’t back it up.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the world’s volcanoes, both on land and undersea, generate about 200 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, while our automotive and industrial activities cause some 24 billion tons of CO2 emissions every year worldwide. Despite the arguments to the contrary, the facts speak for themselves: Greenhouse gas emissions from volcanoes comprise less than one percent of those generated by today’s human endeavors.

Human Emissions Also Dwarf Volcanoes in Carbon Dioxide Production
Another indication that human emissions dwarf those of volcanoes is the fact that atmospheric CO2 levels, as measured by sampling stations around the world set up by the federally funded Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, have gone up consistently year after year regardless of whether or not there have been major volcanic eruptions in specific years. “If it were true that individual volcanic eruptions dominated human emissions and were causing the rise in carbon dioxide concentrations, then these carbon dioxide records would be full of spikes—one for each eruption,” says Coby Beck, a journalist writing for online environmental news portal Grist.org. “Instead, such records show a smooth and regular trend.”


July 21. 2012 12:26 PM


Hi Talk Turkey, they need a new para over Cafe Whispers so I've quickly redrafted the Popeye pome, using some of your suggestions particularly for the title.  Here it is anyway and I hope you like the illustration at cafewhispers.wordpress.com/.../

Tony the Phoney!  The No No Man!

Abbott’s no fighting man
Like Popeye the Sailor Man.
Him fight to the finish?
He hasn’t demolished
Even one Labor plan.

He might try to fool ya
He’s tougher than Julia.
But he aint on the square.
He’s biffed ‘er and buffed ‘er
And tried to out-rough ‘er
But never gets anywhere.

You know what the facts is
It’s just Liberal taxes
Which hurt the working man.
He thinks he’ll win votes
By stopping the boats,
And playing the big strong man.

Insult Indonesia?
He thinks that’ll please ya!
That’s all part of his plan.
He says he’s no coward
And just like John Howard!
“Yeah! That’s the man wot I am!”

“If them admirals risk
Feeling the strength of my fisk,
It’s boff an’ it’s wham understand?
All of their scrutiny
I’ll treat as mutiny,
When I run Downunderland.”

But don’t you believe him,
His ego deceives him.
Just like the Can-do man
He’s not good for Australia.
Let make sure he’s a failure,
A loser, hardly an also-ran.
Cos that’s the real Tony - the phoney!  The No No Man!


July 21. 2012 12:32 PM

Tom of Melbourne

That’s nice.

…and over at The Daily Trash we’ve had a very interesting and diverse conversation about Lawler, Thomson, Jackson etc.


No one is banned there! (unlike some other places)

Tom of Melbourne

July 21. 2012 12:54 PM


When Madonna King (the one who used to try to be the Alan Jones of Brisbane Radio) is telling Newman he's going to far - Newman has a real problem.



July 21. 2012 01:08 PM

42 long

i said a while back TfM, IF it is so bad here that you have to BAG everyone, go to the places you feel more acccepted. We will get over it.

42 long

July 21. 2012 01:18 PM


Saturdays can be good and @Drag0nista and her #NoCrapApp http://wp.me/p1XCSR-o0 make it more so.

The Dragon Lady pointed me to a great article by @AndrewCatsaras
Take me to your follower: into the leadership void @TheDrum
In how many science fiction films have you heard the alien visiting our planet (usually from Mars, sometimes from Venus) demand in a computerised monotone voice: "take-me-to-your-follower"?

The short answer: none.

What is it that the mythical beings from another world understand that our politicians do not? Why is it that they expect those who are in charge of our society would actually be leading that society?


Very informative.


July 21. 2012 03:42 PM


It's possible, just possible, that the likes of Steve Bracks are trying the old 'tell them things are so bad if they don't come back on board the ship will sink' stunt in newspaper stories about how Labor will be destroyed at the next Federal election.

Well, I say, "cute" is for the Coalition. That election is still as many as 16 months away, and now is not the time for testosterone to be dribbling out of you, boys, BOYS, because the woman who gets things done is showing you how to... get things done.

Julia Gillard is smarter, tougher, better, than anyone male or female or passing as anything in between on either side of the House of Representatives (they are the only ones who 'count' in the current leadership beat-up, after all).

She holds her nerve when all around her...

Aeroplane Jelly is tougher than some of the nervous nellies claiming to 'regretfully' speak for the betterment of Labor and/or Australia in suggesting she throw in the towel (types, incidentally, who most likely think it's a tea-towel she'd be throwing in. Yeah, spell that misogynist, "some of my best friends are tough women" types. Looking at you Mike Carlton).

"She won't lie down and die". Even bully-boy fools get something right every now and then.

Q&A. Monday nights, ABC, not televised all year around, but on fairly regularly. You watch it?

Then you'll have noticed that most nights the first bottom of the screen subtitle informs us of the voting intentions/party identification of the live-in-the-studio audience.

Well, duhh.

OK, look again this Monday. Fate may dump on me for drawing attention to this, but right up to last week's episode the breakdown in the audience tended to closely mirror the political polls' numbers. Except, that mirroring week in week out seems to have lead the way more often than not of the 'official' figures. Last week, Labor-identifying audience members, 33%.

Not a landslide-busting return to re-election, but there are those 16 months still to go, and a poll that reflects voters making an effort to get up and go out on wintry Monday nights for something that starts at 9:35 strikes me as more likely to demonstrate (admittedly on both sides) a little extra effort put in than answering a research firm's phone call.

Of course, NOW I've drawn attention to this, Monday's Q&A audience breakdown may just put Labor back into the doldrums...

But these audience numbers are bums on seats/likely numbers on ballot sheets made flesh.


July 21. 2012 04:03 PM


Did ToM really say that no-one gets banned from Daily Trash?

Could the name of the blog be all too true? It takes someone like ToM to get himself banned anywhere it seems to me.



July 21. 2012 04:58 PM


A great read again. Someone should start a list  (a very large list) of all those deniers of climate change. In years to come it should be referenced to those who should pay out of their own pocket for delaying the remedial action.

Gina also known as "rent a tent, formal attire hire" would be first.


July 21. 2012 05:23 PM

Ad astra

42 long
I agree with your analysis.  We need to discuss this constant ‘leadership speculation’ in greater detail.  Maybe next piece!

Hi Lyn
I’ve just got through reading your Twitterverse.  BB was, as he always is, spot on.  Dennis Atkins has some sensible things to say about Julia Gillard’s leadership continuing until the election next year.  All the rest are miserable prophets of doom.  Now that is to be expected from News Limited sources, but when Steve Bracks, Mike Carlton, Robert Manne and even Laura Tingle get on the ‘Gillard must go’ bandwagon, I wonder how this senseless groupthink can happen.  It seems that everything these people say is predicated on the polls – on the polls would you believe.  These are intelligent people, yet they are suckered into believing in the predictive value of polls well over a year before the next scheduled election.  The first piece I wrote in June 2008 was on the power of groupthink.  It’s getting worse, much worse.  Journalists are scared witless that unless they join the ‘she must go’ throng, they will be ostracized by their colleagues, a fate worse than death!  

Andrew Catsaras wrote a sensible article that pointed to the obsession with polls and focus groups that afflicts politicians and journalists alike.  For a return to reality, everyone should read his piece: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4140658.html

I listened to the whole hour of Julia Gillard’s Google+ Hangout and was impressed with her candour and her answers.  It contrasted her hour answering questions with Tony Abbott’s answers to questions in recent times.  She is so far ahead, yet journalists never acknowledge this.  I think we know why.

Ad astra

July 21. 2012 05:43 PM

Ad astra

Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.  Climate denial is alive and well.  The perpetrators of denial are an evil force as the survival of planet and all that live in it, are at stake.

Thank you for the clarification on the extent of CO2 pollution occasioned by volcanoes.  Contrary to what Plimer and Monckton say, you point out: ”According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the world’s volcanoes, both on land and undersea, generate about 200 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, while our automotive and industrial activities cause some 24 billion tons of CO2 emissions every year worldwide. Despite the arguments to the contrary, the facts speak for themselves: Greenhouse gas emissions from volcanoes comprise less than one percent of those generated by today’s human endeavors.“

Why does not the MSM write like you did in your pome ‘Tony the Phoney’  The No No Man?  We know why.

You do write such commonsense comments.  I can but agree with your sentiments.  ”Julia Gillard is smarter, tougher, better, than anyone male or female or passing as anything in between on either side of the House of Representatives (they are the only ones who 'count' in the current leadership beat-up, after all).”  And I would add to that, most of the commentariat.

Ad astra

July 21. 2012 05:57 PM


Thanks for that lead to the Andrew Catsaras article.  How true this is.

A politician, by definition, is a leader, not a follower. Their success is determined by how well they lead a nation, not follow it. Therefore, waiting for signals from the public, via market research, cannot possibly enable a politician to lead, and often the result is poor policy. This is primarily because the policies developed are designed to work with the many and varying views of the public so as not to offend anyone.

However, politicians must not accept that the attitudes and perceptions of the public, regardless of how strongly felt or sincerely held, are not to be challenged if challenging them is in the best interests of the nation. It is their job to do precisely that.


July 21. 2012 06:15 PM


AA - Re journalists - the article from Mike Carlton is somewhat bewildering, but when I see it relation to those several other reasonably straight thinking types I've come to the conclusion that it's the result of an editorial board directive, ultimatum even, i.e. shape up and follow the 'Gillard Must Go!' line or ship out.  Carlton seems to be saying Okay, I'll do that, I'll do as I'm told and what many others have done before, and been proved wrong, I'll name a date.  But in doing so he manages to tell us all her great achievements. He can't seriously believe that the ALP would swap that for a sulking, treacherous ex-leader who could never match that and won't accept the verdict of his party?    

Yes, there is a fear factor at work here, but not about missing a possible scoop on a leadership challenge and change.  It's a fear of the future without a job, under threat of dismissal from powerful media moguls.  Big business and the right know that Gillard is a winner.   Gillard has guts.  She must go!   We'll make sure she does!

Let's get together here at the end of August to celebrate when Mike Carlton's prediction is proved as wrong as the myriad more before this.  In his heart of hearts I bet he'll be as pleased as punch.


July 21. 2012 06:19 PM

Wake Up

Ah ha, now it all makes sense,

"Tom of Melbourne" is actually "Mr Spineless".............


The connection was even provided by ToM with the following link:


How's your Blog going now Tom ?

Wake Up

July 21. 2012 07:04 PM


Hi Ad

I agree with your disappointment in those particular opinion writers they are all bootstrapping.  Seems to me if Labor had the Queen of Sheeba as leader it wouldn't suit the MSM,  Remember the hard time they gave Kevin Rudd.

Here is a couple of tweeples

Latika Bourke ‏
Here’s the link to keep open tonight for results in the #melbournebyelection http://latika.me/MAEgXP

Agnes Mack‏
According to the pundits every sunrise is a disaster for Julia.And of course there's no group think in our oh so independent media

ABC News‏
Powerful union bosses have backed Julia Gillard, saying Kevin Rudd doesn't have enough support to regain the leadership http://bit.ly/PsomOk

Julia Gillard JG looks and sounds like a PM who is right on the ball with best interests of all Austalians at heart

Paul Bongiorno‏
Thought Mike Carleton on the SMH was a bit wooly in his thinking. Logically Labor should stick with Gillard on his arguments.


July 21. 2012 07:07 PM

42 long

ToM is certainly a man with a mission. I should never respond to him. He has shown himself fully on the "trash' thing, if anyone wants to read it.
  The links are the best here. The language is unnecessarily "coarse" on that other site and people are mean spirited and don't want to heed others opinions. It does suit you ToM. you have done well in finding it.
  On another topic....
     Kevin Rudd must actually believe he is some sort of messianic personality. Julia should have demolished him at the time of his being replaced. She lacked the killer instinct and I don't think it was her nature. Also Kevin still had a big local following. The change WAS necessary as he was behaving weirdly. I'm not going into it here. plenty of people knew of his unpredictability, and were aware of his lack of inclusion of the Party. He knows what the labour party is. He want's it to be Kevins Party with him as the almighty leader. He is enormously vain. He should have sought a job in North Korea, or somewhere where he could be a GOD/King. he is a bit like Abbot with a "superiority" complex. Any humility is faked with both of them.
   The only people who want Rudd are being unhelpful deliberately MSM etc and Abbot or in the case of some of the less safe seats are getting the Jitters.
  Swap Kev in and go quick is a crook idea. Time is on Julia's side. ( Unlike the LNP. Their lies and exaggerations should do them a lot of damage as they are more exposed, with the passage of time. the Slipper Ashby HSU FWA thing should worry the LNP more than Labour. Also the behaviour of the new NSW and QLD governments is not hurting labour.
  Pissy Chryne wants a "cleansing election". Nothing new in that from them. Overthrowing the government quickly has been their constant aim from the beginning. More reason not to give it to them
  It's not very long since the last one. The independents chose Gillard because only with her would there be any hope of a full term government. Tony didn't impress them even though he would throw more money( OURS ) at them as a bribe. They didn't trust Abbot ( Good judgement)
   This is a no brainer. There is no future in bringing Rudd back. Labours enemies are promoting it to destabilise.      

42 long

July 21. 2012 09:27 PM



Anybody watch ABC 24 "NEWS"?
*Wild dogs kill sheep in Vic 10 mins
*Barrier Reef Oh pretty 8 mins
*Ned Kelly 6 mins
*Now GOLF! No news is good?

74 Murdered in Denver
Sheep killing altogether more important



July 21. 2012 10:29 PM


Well, I have had to take refuge here to read some sane posts as I am really depressed. I stupidly followed a link from Larry Pickering's blog (which is just a vile shrine to misogyny) to his new enterprise 'The Pickering Post' and it just unbelievable the BS he is posting as factual.  He has also reproduced it on Facebook! Obviously,to attract as many nasties as possible. The level of abuse and vitriol is sickening. What is wrong with people?  


July 21. 2012 11:11 PM

Ad astra

At 11 pm, in the Melbourne by-election, with 66% of the votes counted, 2PP: Labor 51.38%, Greens 48.62%.  Labor 13,988, Greens 13,234

Ad astra

July 22. 2012 01:23 AM


Sorry Wake Up @ 06:19 PM. ToM's not smart enough to pull something like that off - bullying, badgering, framing an argument that has no bearing on what someone is actually saying, and then arguing with himself - these are the traits of ToM ;)


July 22. 2012 09:00 AM


Michelle Grattan here:


finishes her 'story' with this:

"The only thing that seems certain is that when the Parliament returns next month, Gillard will find herself operating amid a frenzy of destabilisation."

Since the story is headlined "A Crack of the Whip Adds Fuel to the Fire", the 'only thing that seems certain' is that Michelle Grattan had a deadline to make and a word-count to reach, and everything else...?

Her signature folderol.


July 22. 2012 10:36 AM

Ad astra

Michelle Grattan's article reflects the utter confusion among political commentators about Labor leadership, something that was obvious on Insiders this morning.  They haven't got a clue, subject as they are to rumour, whispers, scuttlebutt, and groupthink.  All they are certain about is that leadership fills column inches, and gives some, Grattan for example, exquisite pleasure writing about it and predicting dire consequences for Julia Gillard.

It's pathetic.

Ad astra

July 22. 2012 11:35 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody

Twitterverse is buzzing like a Bee Hive this morning:-

Financial Review‏
Victorian Labor declares victory over the Greens in a tightly-contested fight for the state seat of Melbourne http://bit.ly/LBI7hm #springst

GhostWhoVotes ‏
MelbVotes 2PP (postal votes added): ALP 51.38 (13988 votes) GRN 48.62 (13234 votes) #auspol

Matt Cowgill‏
What is AdamBandt’s point about preferences? He lost the primary vote to @cathbowtell & won the 2PP with Lib prefs. VIC DIVISION – MELBOURNE, Virtual Tally Room results.aec.gov.au/.../...FirstPrefs-15508-228.htm

Ken ‏
Adam Brandt beats the drum saying the Greens had a win No the favourite was beaten when without Liberals should've won http://bit.ly/Qc4YaT

Ken ‏
Typical Liberal Colin Barnett charges WA more for electricity & has mining revenue yet does nothing for infrastructure http://yhoo.it/NGSswR

Still be here in 2013, Gillard www.smh.com.au/.../...-gillard-20120721-22gxw.html via @smh Australia would be a different place without the hate rants of Hadley/Jones.

Financial Review‏
Rupert Murdoch quits British newspaper boards [free] www.afr.com/.../murdoch_quits_british_newspaper_DIFUcHn9c3GHOMLGcLUwVN #media

James Johnson CHR‏    
Lawyerocracy on Trial. Resumes #3Sept12 at 55 King Street, Melbourne, Australia http://bit.ly/MRhHuU
Melbourne Australia · http://lawyerocracyontrial.wordpress.com My  LABOR sources tell me it is likely ALP will split between JuliaGillard and KRuddMP forces, TWO (cont) http://tl.gd/if1d23

Stephen Tuck`‏
The real Libs; Promise to end cronyism swept under the carpet www.smh.com.au/.../...e-carpet-20120721-22gs6.html via @smh #auspol

The Daily Telegraph‏
Newman scraps Smart State tag http://bit.ly/O8TPAk

Housing Minister Bruce Flegg evicts Inala gran Miriam Cope couriermail.com.au/.../story-e6freoof-1226431636699 Qlders hang your heads in shame,you voted these grubs in.

Meta Starostin‏
Latest: November date for Abbott defamation case http://bit.ly/MSmzNo #auspol

Chris Barrett‏
If #Greens are the answer must be a stupid feckin question #softleft Labor shading Greens in photo finish www.theage.com.au/.../...inish-20120721-22ha5.html via @theage

Jonathan Green
more on that RT @Independent: Rupert Murdoch quits boards of British papers http://ind.pn/Pud60g


Elliot Giakalis‏
Smug look on Stuchbury is priceless. He can’t wait to get stuck into his usual Lib rant #Insider

Agnes Mack ‏
insiders Ged Kearney refuses to play #leadershit game.

Agnes Mack ‏@AgnessMack
insiders GK impressive in her rejection of Barrie's determined efforts to engage her on #leadershit. It's issues all the way for Ged

Agnes Mack‏
insiders GK sticks to her point - we will campaign on issues which affect working people.

  Agnes Mack ‏
insiders Where would you be if Tony Abbott were PM? GK: Exactly where we are now, fighting for workers' rights. No to Abbott's policies

Agnes Mack ‏
#insiders Barrie clearly didn't listen carefully enough to Ged Kearney - still determined to pore over News ltd report of that union meeting

Chris Gambian‏
Well done @GedKACTU - the only person on #insiders actually talking about real people and real issues

Ged Kearney is very impressive.Workers rights are under threat with the Abbott team, and everyone knows it! #insiders

Johnny Boy‏
Kearney is an impressive lady - calm & reasoned #insiders

Hello Mr Hockey- Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer & Twiggy finance & run the LNP-have you told that to the person on the street #auspol

Aussie Oskar‏
insiders Is nothing but a mouthpiece for the liberal party. It's all about negativity towards @JuliaGillard and pumping up @TonyAbbottMHR

Judge Trickibee‏
Love Mr Bandt doing his "Labor only gets elected on preferences" spiel. Fab from a man who won on Liberal preferences. #MeetThePress10


July 22. 2012 11:41 AM


I am not sure what the pundits or polls were saying about the Melbourne by election but such a national result on those figures should see Julia swept back into power with a sizeable majority and result in Abbort being aborted a satisfactory result all round. I am sure the Libs did not field a candidate because it would have sucked votes from the Greens leaving Labor well ahead no wonder Tones went MIA.


July 22. 2012 12:05 PM


  Many thanks for your welcome AA I have been reading your posts for a while & find them with no equal as to truthfulness, facts, insight & most of all honesty backed up with great comment input for exceptionally enlightened people [with the odd exception on this site as with others sites as well, tom, susanne blake & spineless  3 of the worst I have found]You talk from personal life experience from what I read.
Person experience is the only real truth we have when all said & done everything else is just input from other people radio papers TV are all manipulable.
  At nearly 54 my eyes like yours see much more than a lot of others due to that life experience. Here is my rant :-

Why don’t we get it?

    Even with undeniable evidence of climate change we still argue over the facts. Why?
The truth is we don’t see the change, well most don’t & is the main reason the media & the shock jocks get away with it. Pulling the wool over the eyes of the majority of people.

    This is for one big reason, the passage of time & your point of reference through residency over that time. We have the most transient population on the largest island continent  in the world.
   Ask yourself, where did you grow up, was it in one place. Where do you live now? There are very few people that can say I now live in the same place where I grew up, if you can find someone who does you will get the best idea of how things have changed. Especially here in the south of Tasmania the environmental evidence is scary.
   I still live in the same area I grew up in, next to one of our best surf beaches in Tassie Park Beach. I grew up on this beach from 1962-66, 4-8yrs of age & believe me we have lost 10's of meters of dunes since then.  two hole rows of dunes are now gone, the pitch of the beach [got steeper] & width water to dunes has completely changed got shorter. High tides never touched the dunes, even in a storm they would rarely be touched & if they were within a month or so the wind would have repaired them back to dunes with a distinct upper beach with smaller & smaller dunes petering out to soft sand. Now every high tide eats into dunes that have been there for a millennium as proof of the aboriginal middens everywhere. Yet if you didn't know the beach over such a time you would not know any difference.
  When I went to school in the mid 60’s-74 in winter there was a distinct 4 month period that was winter & you knew it. As a child in those days your life was pretty well controlled by the weather, no computers often no telly, radio if you were lucky you were kicked outside from under mothers feet at daybreak & back in as the sun went down. Controlled only by the fact of if it rained or not.
   I walked to school over 2 miles all my school life; it was safe to do so in those days. Frosts stayed on the ground the entire day, as long as the sun had not reached it and we would play in the same frosty ground [running & sliding, killing our shoes] on the way home as we did on the way to school. Puddles  often stayed frozen solid for days at a time.   Even with gloves the first lesson was a subject that didn’t require writing because every ones fingers were stiff with cold. Believe me Tassie was a cold place to grow up in.
  These days we are lucky to get more than a dozen frost/yr, which are all but gone by the time the sun breaks through, or not long after. Single figure temps were regular in those early days all day! often for weeks on end nothing above 10C, we rarely get day temps under double figures if at all now.
         Unfortunately this just goes over the mad monks & the lieberals head as irrelevant, an inconvenient truth. At 54 I'm so angry that something that is SO! important is just a game to him. A means to an end & that is to get into the lodge & finally bandage the wound to his ego of not winning at the last election.
       Thank heavens for the Carbon tax. Unfortunately it’s going to be too late to stop major damage like this from happening, remembering that there is a 20 year time lag between actions (serious action) and starting to turn things around. We will pay in more ways than just our pockets and our current me me me attitude will go down as the most selfish people/period in history. We will be rightfully condemned for it.


July 22. 2012 12:06 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
Another interesting collection of Twitterverse, with some amusing references to Labor’s win in Melbourne.  Since when has winning on preferences been a downer in our preferential voting system?  That’s how Adam Bandt won Melbourne – with Liberal preferences.  I though he was above such spin.

Like other tweeters, I found Ged Kearney was excellent on Insiders, focused on policies that were for the benefit of workers, and refusing to be drawn on spurious leadership issues.  Her performance was an object lesson to interviewees, one Joel Fitzgibbon should note.  

The discussion on leadership was desultory, yet these people are supposed to be the ‘Insiders’!  I despair of our MSM.  No wonder fewer and fewer are reading what they write.

Regarding the defamation case against Tony Abbott, I wonder if he ought to take his place in parliament until it is settled, lest he illegitimately cast a ‘tainted vote’.  Perhaps he won’t vote in divisions until his case is over.

Ad astra

July 22. 2012 12:56 PM



Hats off to you thankyou for your honest genuine, enjoyable post. We are so pleased to have you here on TPS, adding as you say to our other truthful insightful commenters.

My sister lives in Tasmania, she moved from Battery Point,purchasing a grape farm near Launceston.  When I stayed with her for a holiday, we travelled all around the Island.  My most amazing visit was to Queenstown, unbelievable the devastation caused by mining  was overwhelming.

As you say we are confronted with this current me me me in his desperate attempt to get into the Lodge. Lies, slandering our Prime
Minister our country does not matter.

I am posting this link to Stephen Mayne's report  just for fun,in case anyone would like to see how the other side views the Melbourne bi-election.
Don't laugh too loud:-

Labor vote crashes as preferences, smears and donkeys save the day in Melbourne

For Labor to fail to secure even one-third of the primary votes in a seat it has held for 108 years says something about the party's problems.

The Australian has been predictably brutal with the Greens, although the Herald Sun, to its credit, treated the by-election seriously and covered Cathy Oke's performances reasonably.

But what will the Murdoch press say tomorrow after one of the most fascinating by-election contests in a while


July 22. 2012 01:04 PM


Off-topic I know but an interesting bit of information about Julia Gillard's attitude to same-sex marriage was reiterated yesterday in her foray into Google Hangout.

Pressed on gay marriage, Ms Gillard told Mr Bazzi she did value people in same-sex relationships but ‘‘I’ve got a view about the cultural status of marriage in our society’’.

Read more: www.brisbanetimes.com.au/.../...0120721-22gxw.html

There seems to be an unwillingness or inability to grasp the concept that Ms Gillard does not necessarily object to the 'same-sex' aspect of same-sex marriage (SSM) but rather has a fundamental disdain for the institution of marriage which she sees as lacking relevance in 21st Century Australia. This is not the only time that she has expressed this opinion - she did so during her latest appearance on Q&A and yet I have not seen any commentator pick up on this distinction.

JULIA GILLARD: ….. I am going to take a different view from you though and I do want to explain my view. You know, I, of all people, ….. would sit before you and say I think that you can have a relationship of love and commitment and trust and understanding that doesn't need a marriage certificate associated with it. I mean that's my life experience and so I’m speaking from that life experience.

It then becomes a question - you know, if you believe, as I do, that people can have, you know, deep and committed relationships without a marriage certificate, it becomes an issue about, you know, how are we going to deal with this cultural institution of longstanding in Australian society and are we going to try and change it to fit circumstances where people are in love and deeply committed but don't fit the current Marriage Act or are we going to grow up new traditions and norms that embrace that?

I have taken a particular view about it. You know, it is a, you know, view that some people might look at me and think, oh, it’s an odd one for her to hold but it is a view I hold and I hold very deeply. So that's how I’ll exercise my vote as an individual when these things come before the Australian Parliament. But I have certainly become persuaded that it’s not for me to tell my Labor colleagues or anybody else what they should believe and how they should vote when that comes to the Parliament so I have ensured that, when it does, Labor people are able to vote any which way they choose in accordance with, you know, their heart, their conscience, their family, their community and I suspect large numbers of them won't vote the same way as me.

(edited & my emphasis)

Conveniently, comments about "the cultural status of marriage in our society" are seen as being in defence of the traditional understanding of what marriage means rather than an indication that she sees no particular need for such an institution in modern society and that we should perhaps "grow up new traditions and norms".

It seems that her position can only be viewed within two immutable frameworks. Either she is anti-homosexual and doesn't wish to accord them the same rights as other couples or she is pandering to the religious vote by not wishing to rock the boat.

The first framing causes people to wonder how she can reconcile being an unmarried atheist and yet not support SSM. Surely if she belongs to the Left then she can't be tied down to old conservative ways of looking at marriage. She has abandoned her roots and lacks conviction.

The second framing fits better with conservative commentators' narratives because it shows quite clearly that Gillard is willing to subjugate her leftist views in order to cultivate the influential religious groups and union leaders despite the concept of SSM being popular according to the polls. She lacks the courage to face down these community leaders and therefore stands for nothing. This allows her to be placed in the same group as Tony Abbott.

There is a third alternative. Julia Gillard is only a passenger in this debate because if she were to place herself in the driver's seat she would be advocating the abandonment of the formal institution of marriage itself. In 2012 this would be a bridge too far even for a reformist Labor government. So, rather than lacking in conviction or courage she is in fact so far out to the left in her radical thinking that she knows that there is no point in pressing or advocating her opposition to marriage.

As someone who shares her situation (unmarried by choice, childless by choice and an atheist) I can fully appreciate where she is coming from but the distinction that I would make is that I subscribe to the tenet of 'each to his own' and I would have no objection to making the institution of marriage available to all who may wish it. This means that Gillard is much more radical and steadfast in her opposition to the formal institution of marriage than I am.

It is curious that our so-called 'insiders' and 'thinkers' are unable to read between the lines and point out that her objection is not to same-sex marriage but to marriage itself. I would argue that her position is much more clearly stated and requires no deduction of true intent by reading between the lines but that pastime seems to occupy so much of the thinking of our opinion writers that I have no doubt that if someone like Carney or Grattan decided to give voice to this opinion it would be couched in revelatory terms in order to make them seem all the wiser.

As with so many topics of discussion in our current political media, if one of the players doesn't fit within the carefully constructed boxes then evidence to the contrary will be ignored and outliers will be forced into a convenient box. Labor and asylum seekers is another topic where there seems to be no willingness to entertain the idea that there is an alternative view to the polarised, convenient attitudes that fit within the prefabricated boxes.

The most interesting aspect of the coverage of Gillard's attitude to SSM is that no one in the Opposition or among the conservative commentators has seen fit to attack her for her radical stance. Surely it would be far more damaging among members of the swinging, slightly conservative electorate if she were to be painted as being against the institution of marriage. Is it any wonder that she is trying to keep her head down on this subject and walk a fine line between what she actually believes and what she knows to be possible at this point in our cultural evolution?


July 22. 2012 01:12 PM

Ad astra

I haven’t heard any analyst make that observation.  Maybe it would be too uncomfortable for Coalition advocates to suggest what you have.

Unfortunately Anthony Green is overseas, so we don’t have the benefit of his wisdom.  What I have heard suggested is that on these figures Adam Bandt himself might not be returned at the next Federal election, which would certainly be the case if the Liberals did not preference him.

Ad astra

July 22. 2012 01:15 PM

Ad astra

Thank you for your very kind remarks, and your most thoughtful comment.  You have a unique experience, having lived for so long in the same location, which has enabled you to see the changes to the climate and the coastline over the years.  I for one lived in many places, first in south-east Queensland, then in several locations in Victoria.  So it has been less easy to see climatic changes.

However, despite Dorothea Mackellar’s reference to ‘droughts and flooding rains’, a feature of this country that old timers from the land confirm, what climate scientists are now postulating is that the world will witness an increasing number and severity of extreme weather events.  Recent experience is consistent with that prediction.  One has only to recall the ten year drought and what it did to the Murray-Darling river system and the Coorong, the Queensland floods, Cyclone Yasi, the Victorian floods in the north and east of the state, the effects of which are extant, and overseas where we hear of extreme and unparalleled weather events in Europe and America: floods, landslides, fires, tornados coming earlier than usual.  Of course none of these are conclusive evidence of global warming, and climate scientists cannot make that claim, but deniers can easily dismiss them as just ‘natural events that we have always had’.  

It is much easier to deny something than to prove it; indeed Karl Popper pointed out that it is not possible to absolutely prove anything.  The best scientists can do is to give a probability estimate that what they are reporting is so.  We had a recent example of this when scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider ‘discovered’ the Higgs-boson particle, but were unable to say absolutely that it existed, but rather that their experiments suggested that there was only a one-in-two million chance that it did not exist.  This approximates absolute proof, but it can never reach it.  Climate scientists have just the same problem; they can never absolutely prove the causes and effects of global warming they are predicting, instead stating they are around 90% sure. As far back as 2009, the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, indicated a median probability of surface warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, with a 90% probability range of 3.5 to 7.4 degrees.  Whatever the figure, it would be disastrous for our planet.  Wikipedia has a lot of useful information: en.wikipedia.org/.../Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

Finally, the article referenced by DMW on July 20 on TPS, Bill McKibben’s July 19 Global Warming's Terrifying New Math on Rolling Stone was an outstanding appraisal of the threat of continuing to burn fossil fuels  It revealed that if all the carbon in reserve is burned, 2,795 Gigatons of carbon will be released.

Referring to that figure, McKibben goes onto say: “We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We'd have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate. Before we knew those numbers, our fate had been likely. Now, barring some massive intervention, it seems certain.”


It is very scary stuff, yet the deniers dismiss such statements as ‘a hoax’!

Thank you for your contribution to this critical debate.

Ad astra

July 22. 2012 02:32 PM

Ad astra

Thank you for your appraisal of the reason for Julia Gillard’s position on same sex marriage.  Your argument seems to be that she not against same sex marriage per se, but questions the institution of marriage itself.  If she sees no reason to marry the one with whom she is in a committed loving relationship, it would be logical for her to also believe that there is no need for same sex couples who are in a committed loving relationship to marry either.

Of course she could take the ‘each to his own’ approach and vote in favour of SSM as an option.  Presumably this is where politics enters the field, where she finds it less politically dangerous to maintain the integrity and meaning of the Marriage Act than to confront it.  Democracy is a wonderful state of affairs, but it has the drawback of forcing politicians to always consider the implications for reelection of everything they do.  Some see that as avoiding hard decisions, even cowardice, but survival to fight another day is preeminent in political thinking.

Ad astra

July 22. 2012 02:37 PM

Tom of Melbourne

…and Bacchus would probably suggest that he is intelligent and exercises good judgment. Who knows, he may, in a number of matters.

But clearly not in blogging, or politics.

Tom of Melbourne

July 22. 2012 03:00 PM


  Further to what Normank has said I'm in the same position I've been with my partner for 20 years we have two children 17 & 14 but we've never seen the need to get married or given it much thought.
That said I'm not opposed to anyone getting married either gay or straight.


July 22. 2012 04:00 PM




you can read precisely why carbon pricing is not 'toxic' at all, but how doing nothing about the planet's altering environment will assist its degradation to a point where "toxic" will be only the first stage of this world's demise.


July 22. 2012 04:03 PM


I'm away from this device for a day or two, look what happen, some wonderful new contributors and seldom-seeners, all declared by their very contributions as volunteers in the service of The Political Sword, whose relevance as a metaphor has never been so apposite.

But one in particular was moving.

KHTAGH (?!) said
Many thanks for your welcome AA I have been reading your posts for a while & find them with no equal as to truthfulness, facts, insight & most of all honesty backed up with great comment input for exceptionally enlightened people

Well said Comrade, Ad astra is our sage as well as our host. He ought to be the First Australian President at least. He never will be I guess, but that is down to the dumbth level of Australians generally. (BTW Barrie Jones vies with Ad for President in my opinion, and that is an insult to neither iyswim*)

Dunno about the 'exceptionally enlightened' bit though. I read that, I know it's a compliment but actually it depressed me, because if we are so dam much cleverer than yer average Jo, Dog help us all because we really have no answers except to fight like hell in every way we can - which mostly is wielding this noble Sword.

You said your piece, that bit especially, very well, please let us hear more from you. And Oh ship, I was going to name you all but thanks anyway. From all of us. Basically all the praise goes rightly to Ad anyway, he regards us all as his infinitely-extending family and all you have to do is be goodwilled. Cool,as the young folks say.

Yes we do hear from the sorts of creatures who infest shadows under bridges, the very sort you name, spoilers and jeerers, well they are only there for us to play with. Oddly, real people seem to have trouble realising that, they try to talk sense to them, well they are quite impervious to logic, they make it clear in every line. They slip and slither like Wormtongue, which incidentally is my barely-pejorative-enough name for Tony Jones. They are vulnerable though to barbs of wit and ridicule, like Orcs whose armour is penetrable only at the throat. I always say,



July 22. 2012 04:06 PM


What's fundamentally different between Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard?

Out of their own mouths -

"My name is Kevin, I'm from Queensland, and I'm here to help". First person singular, me me me.

"We are us". First person plural, us us us.


July 22. 2012 05:22 PM


I'm away from this device for a day or two, look what happen, some wonderful new contributors and seldom-seeners, all declared by their very contributions as volunteers in the service of The Political Sword, whose relevance as a metaphor has never been so apposite.

But one in particular was moving.

KHTAGH (?!) said
Many thanks for your welcome AA I have been reading your posts for a while & find them with no equal as to truthfulness, facts, insight & most of all honesty backed up with great comment input for exceptionally enlightened people

Well said Comrade, Ad astra is our sage as well as our host. He ought to be the First Australian President at least. He never will be I guess, but that is down to the dumbth level of Australians generally. (BTW Barrie Jones vies with Ad for President in my opinion, and that is an insult to neither iyswim*)

Dunno about the 'exceptionally enlightened' bit though. I read that, I know it's a compliment but actually it depressed me, because if we are so dam much cleverer than yer average Jo, Dog help us all because we really have no answers except to fight like hell in every way we can - which mostly is wielding this noble Sword.

You said your piece, that bit especially, very well, please let us hear more from you. And Oh ship, I was going to name you all but thanks anyway. From all of us. Basically all the praise goes rightly to Ad anyway, he regards us all as his infinitely-extending family and all you have to do is be goodwilled. Cool,as the young folks say.

Yes we do hear from the sorts of creatures who infest shadows under bridges, the very sort you name, spoilers and jeerers, well they are only there for us to play with. Oddly, real people seem to have trouble realising that, they try to talk sense to them, well they are quite impervious to logic, they make it clear in every line. They slip and slither like Wormtongue, which incidentally is my barely-pejorative-enough name for Tony Jones. They are vulnerable though to barbs of wit and ridicule, like Orcs whose armour is penetrable only at the throat. I always say,



July 22. 2012 05:24 PM

Tom of Melbourne

1.  The purpose of providing the link to http://thedailytrash.wordpress.com/ was to point to the fact that the slur made regarding FWA VP Michael Lawler had been effectively refuted.
2.  Thanks for the link to another iste that contains the same nonsense from Wicks, I might have to pop in there and ensure any readers are aware of the rebuttal.
3.  I’ve not posted there previously, and I only post as Tom of Melbourne.
4.  Lame brained types that somehow post “in tongues” about “trolls” are simply too brainless to  provide debate.

Tom of Melbourne

July 22. 2012 05:26 PM


*Oh yes, iyswim, I forgot.
If you See What I Mean.


July 22. 2012 06:13 PM


   "the slur made regarding FWA VP Michael Lawler had been effectively refuted."

By who? What did "Michael Lawler" say to refute this slur?


July 22. 2012 07:29 PM


I awoke this morning to the clock alarm at 7am. waiting to hear news of the Melbourne election....wait for it!...NOTHING!..not jack sprat!..even though, by then, it was swinging labor's way....but does the ABC. after a week of heaping dire warnings and predictions on a Labor defeat, even report the progress?..not a jot of it!
Listen up everybody...we have to accept that the Howard era appointees to the ABC., while greatly deminished, have a debilitating residule that still stinks up the place! Mark Scott was an influential Horard man...NO WAY is he going to do Labor any favours like unbiased reporting!...Abbott can go overseas knowing he is leaving the job of slander toward Labor in safe hands!.....PURGE THE LOT!...START AT THE TOP!


July 22. 2012 08:25 PM

Ad astra

Thank you for your comment about marriage from your personal experience.  There is no substitute for actual experience.

Ad astra

July 22. 2012 08:27 PM

Ad astra

I have just posted The pathology of leadership speculation.  Enjoy.


Ad astra

July 22. 2012 11:50 PM


ToM, your link may carry some weight if:

* you'd actually "effectively refuted" anything.
* armchair opinionator (aka kittylitter) hadn't totally demolished your supposed argument ;)


Comments are closed