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The MSM is dangerously shortchanging us

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Thursday, 25 October 2012 15:45 by Ad astra
In just twelve months time, voters will be asked to choose between a Gillard Labor Government and an Abbott-led Coalition Government. How will they choose? How will they know how to choose? What information, what analysis will they have to make their choice? How will they obtain it? Who will provide it? The answers are unknown. Yet they ought to be. The nation’s mainstream media ought to be at least one of the conduits, but it is not. And it shows no signs of becoming so. Folks, this is serious – this is tragic.

It would not be so tragic if the two main parties were much the same, but we know they are not. The differences are profound, radical and nation-breaking.

Why is it that we lack what we need to make an informed and rational decision about who should govern our nation for the following three years? The answer is obvious – we are afflicted with a largely incompetent and often malevolent mainstream media. It’s a sad and perilous state of affairs.

In case you think this is just the opinion of a blogger in the Fifth Estate disillusioned with the MSM, read what Mark Textor, pollster and past Liberal Party campaign adviser says in an article in the AFR Commentariat leaves voters short on facts. He begins: ”… these days we do not just live in a world dominated by perceptions, but of perceptions of perceptions. An entire class exists to tell us what voters and consumers are thinking. Or at least what they think voters are thinking. Worse, they add a level of political and consumer analysis to predict how decision makers will then react to imagined changes in that thinking and in turn how voters may react. Confused? Imagine being an ordinary voter.”

Later Textor says: ”Voters want the real experts talking to them. They don’t want yet more opinions of opinions. The traditional media’s downward spiral of playing their online opponents’ game of quick and dirty reporting has undervalued investment in investigation of issue content, such as tasking a staff reporter to a story about hospital health, seeking a diverse range of health experts with insights and potential solutions for voters to weigh up. These would be useful signposts to understanding in the slow lane. But the absence of this truly expert analysis means voters lack basic information they need to form considered opinions”, and later still he says: ”Voters do expect the media to tell them if they are being misled. They are now in desperate need of compelling primary information to show what the truth is.” Indeed!

Mr Denmore was on the same theme in his piece Contesting the News where he says: ”The 'institutionalised' press - as traditionally defined - is finding itself less at the middle of things and more at the margin. New social media allows people to tailor and define news according to their own cultural norms, not those of an exclusive cadre.” His piece is a good read.

Let’s analyse then what we’ve got and propose what we deserve.

The Fourth Estate is not homogeneous. Like in most institutions, occupants are distributed along a spectrum, the ubiquitous bell-shaped curve. The curve of which I speak might be termed ‘the balance curve’, where at the extreme left of the curve are the most unbalanced comments, whereas at the extreme right are the most balanced.

But this curve in not the normal distribution curve, with equal portions each side on the middle. It is a skewed curve, with much of the Fourth Estate clustered at the extremely unbalanced end, and relatively few at the other extremity, the well-balanced end. Let me elaborate.

On Friday last, Australia was voted a two-year non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council by a substantial majority. It was a major victory for our nation, and for those who had canvassed for it for many years. It opened opportunities for Australia to take its place as a middle-order nation within a group that deals with the world’s most difficult, dangerous and intractable problems. It gave Australia a chance to exercise its influence and enhance its geopolitical status and its economic situation. It showed in what high regard Australia is held by the 140 nations that voted for it. All in all it was a colourful feather in Australia’s hat, and those who brought it about. Consumers of our mainstream media might have expected it to give extensive coverage to such a momentous event, the gaining of a UN seat after 26 years, but no, it received scant attention.

Admittedly the announcement came too late for the print media on Friday, but the next day, the beginning of a weekend, would have been an ideal time to give readers an account of how it all came about and its implications for our country. So how did the MSM handle this important event?

A look at the Front Pages with which Lyn supplies us, reveals precious little on Saturday or Sunday that I could see.

What about that iconic opinion-leader The Australian – Heart of the Nation? On the front page of The Weekend Australian there was a 200 word piece that echoed Bob Carr’s words about Syria: Wasting no time, Carr raises Syria with UN that was elaborated on page 6. There, Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan began his erudite opinion with: “There is one overwhelming benefit to having won a temporary seat on the UN Security Council: we won’t have to go through this tawdry, ridiculous business again for at least another 10 or 15 years”. Great endorsement! Later he says: ”If Labor stays in office, it will probably feel the need to honour all the pledges it made to win this tawdry bauble”. He then critiques PM Gillard’s travel in Southeast Asia as ‘very weak’, queries the cost of the seat, and at the end finally hands out a sliver of credit: ”Nonetheless, Carr deserves congratulations for the professionalism and effectiveness of his lobbying in recent months”. But choking on this concession, he ends with sarcasm: “We now take our place among global giants: Luxemberg and Rwanda”. So this is The Australian newspaper’s prime acknowledgement from its expert in foreign affairs – nasty and pathetic.

One can sense Dennis Shanahan almost gagging as he writes: ”After a hectic series of trips overseas and basking in the glow of victory for gaining a seat on the UN Security Council, Julia Gillard has moved to repair some self-inflicted damage to her image as an international diplomat”. To what could he be referring? To her ‘fall’ in India? No, he was harking back to her statement when she became PM two years ago that ‘foreign policy was not one of her passions’. He could have commented how well she had done in the face of that initial concession, but Dennis could never bring himself to do that, could he?

There were also a couple of short pieces in The Weekend Australian about the cost of the seat and the expectations that would be placed on Gary Quinlan, our UN Ambassador.

The editorial was more generous, calling Abbott ‘churlish’ for quibbling about the cost, but still managing to draw Rwanda’s election into the commentary ‘to put our win in perspective’. Unadulterated commendation was too much for our editor. He made up for any praise with two further editorials, one criticizing Labor for berating Tony Abbott for not raising his ‘tow back the boats’ policy with the Indonesian President, and another on The perils of stiletto politics, another tilt at that ever-so-misused word: ‘misogyny’.

What about The Australian’s Inquirer where learned opinion is offered by ‘gurus’? First, there was nothing at all from guru-in-chief Paul Kelly. In fact there was nothing else on the subject.

Peter van Onselen had a nasty article Rudd was the victim of an unimpressive triumvirate – Julia Gillard’s biggest supporters are also Labor’s worst performers, referring to Wayne Swan, Stephen Conroy and Nicola Roxon, who also cops plenty of stick from Dennis Shanahan in Roxon crosses the line – The Attorney General is under fire for her handling of the Ashby-Slipper case, where he really lets fly after his concession in his other piece that Julia Gillard had had a success. Ross Fitzgerald predictably writes a critical article about the Government, Christian Kerr rehashes the misogyny debate in his usual ugly style, and Chris (not Mark) Kenny turns his nasty pen against John McTernan, Julia Gillard’s new Scottish media adviser, who is also featured in the lead piece by Tom Dusevic.

I include this tedious detail to demonstrate what we are getting from one of Australia’s most influential broadsheets. All in all it’s a lamentable attempt at coverage of Australia’s laudable success at the UN. Negative articles, caustic comment, and nasty rhetoric heavily counterbalance what few complimentary words are offered for this success.

Perhaps this News Limited response is more understandable when one reads Rupert Murdoch’s tweet: ”Big deal! Australia gets temporary non-veto seat on Security Council. Cost big fortune in foreign aid all over the place. No Aussies care”. Uncle Rupert hath spoken – all journalists fall into line. Not just pathetic – dangerous.

The contrast with Fairfax print media is stark. The Age/SMH had a short piece on the front page, a supportive editorial, a long and generally supportive piece by Paul McGeogh and Daniel Flitton in the Insight section, and a positive article by Phil Coorey in the SMH, who took a crack at Abbott’s churlishness. There was a positive opinion piece by Jeni Whalan in The Canberra Times, and Tony Walker wrote a balanced piece in the Australian Financial Review.

There was another contrast, and it was in The Australian. There, George Megalogenis had two articles, one where he lauded Julia Gillard’s ‘sexism and misogyny’ address in parliament, and another titled: Let the debate on our nation’s future begin, a fine exposition, where he mentioned an initiative by The Australian: its regular economic and social outlook conference with the Melbourne Institute that will be held on November 1 and 2 with the theme: Securing the Future: How Australia Can Thrive in a Volatile World. He referred to an accompanying article by John Mullen, chief executive of Asciano and a director of Telstra, titled: Embrace change or we risk being left behind, that addressed the need to accept the reality of social media in the workplace, which is the opening article for this initiative. Both articles were great reading – informative and well written – just what we need to understand some of the complexities of contemporary commerce and industry, as well as the associated economics and politics.

If The Australian can provide quality like this, why do they dish up the nasty, adversarial and malevolent material we read day after day? Ask Rupert Murdoch.

Let’s for a moment look at the purveyors of this malignant rhetoric. Again, they are distributed on a bell-shaped curve.

At one end there is a large group of journalists that are unashamed Coalition sycophants. There is no intent among any of them to present the facts in a balanced way. Their intent is to present facts, and the opinions based on them, in a selective way, incomplete, distorted, and sometimes downright dishonestly. Disingenuousness is their stock in trade. They know it and they don’t care. The journalists who live in this extreme space are not worth reading at all, except of course if your biases and prejudices coincide with theirs, and you want them reinforced or confirmed. Writers like Andrew Bolt, Piers Akerman, Christopher Pearson, Chris Kenny, Michael Stutchbury, Christian Kerr, Peter van Onselen, and shock jocks like Alan Jones and Ray Hadley attract those who already share their views. For anyone wanting balanced, fact driven, logically argued analyses, reading what they write or listening to what they say, is not just worthless, it is dangerously misleading. It is no different from that dispensed by authoritarian regimes that exercise thought-control, George Orwell style. What’s more they will never change.

It is fruitless debating whether they really believe what they write or say, or whether they are consciously manipulating public opinion for ideological or commercial purposes. It makes no difference – they are perverting the truth, the very truth that voters need to rationally select the next government. They are set on this path and will not deviate. Nothing anyone can say or do will change them. They want PM Gillard and her Government gone, and instead, an Abbott Government. They must be ignored. There is no other way.

Moving a little closer to the middle of the curve is a more sinister group, sinister because they emit a superficial plausibility, plausibility not matched by their actual performance. I’m referring to the so-called gurus, such as Paul Kelly and Michelle Grattan and Peter Hartcher, journalists who have an established reputation upon which they rely to have their writings read.

Kelly in particular has a highbrow turn of phrase that impresses. He is fond of making predictions, writes with pseudo-wisdom, and coins his own peculiar phrases. Readers could be excused for taking his bait hook, line and sinker. It is only when one asks what he means by his favourite clichés: ‘narrative’, ‘vision’, what someone ‘stands for’, and ‘lack of judgement’, that the superficiality of his writing becomes apparent. I have never read his definition of these words, or seen his examples of them. They are just high sounding Kelly phrases that impress, but fail to inform. Moreover, Kelly is clearly an advocate for the Coalition and its current leader. Read any recent piece and argue that it is balanced, factually accurate and well reasoned. You can’t.

Grattan is the doyen of Fairfax, yet her recent ramblings leave readers mystified about her meaning. She seems to have resorted to cub reporter style ‘he says, she says’ reporting. Once capable of balance, her palpable dislike of Julia Gillard now pushes her into opposition to the PM, and, albeit sometimes reluctantly, into support of the alternative. She can be ever so acerbic towards the PM, but ever so mild when writing about Tony Abbott, so understanding of his foibles, so accommodating of his mistakes, his gaffes and his errors of judgement. She would fume at the suggestion that she was an Abbott acolyte, but if she writes like an acolyte, talks like an acolyte…

Hartcher is an enigma. He writes well. I was impressed by the quality of his information-packed book: The Sweet Spot, a veritable goldmine of useful facts and figures and well-reasoned argument. But it is his visceral dislike of Julia Gillard and his contemporary preference for Kevin Rudd, which distorts his columns. This was apparent in his book. Any opportunity that presents to him to take a dig at the PM is never rejected. Like Paul Kelly, he has an authoritative air about him; he clearly seeks guru status, and like Kelly seems to believe this is obtainable by pontification.

Another group, such as Greg Sheridan, Tom Dusevic, Ross Fitzgerald are perhaps marginally less acerbic, but adversarial nevertheless.

Still closer to the middle of the curve are journalists such as Phil Coorey and Laurie Oakes, but both are unpredictable, seemingly more interested in stirring the pot than transmitting useful information and offering analysis. Coorey seems to have a ‘Ruddstoration’ obsession, and Oakes a penchant for ‘leaks’ that have earned him infamy among some, and admiration among his colleagues. Lenore Taylor, of recent 'context' fame, and 'sketch' writer Annabel Crabb, belong within this cluster.

Over the other side of the curve we have a small cluster of the more balanced writers. George Megalogenis immediately comes to mind, and further still into the balanced end we have Laura Tingle, Tim Dunlop, Peter Martin and the fearless Ross Gittins.

But we soon run out of these admirable people – the MSM is dominated by those who are tarred with the Murdoch brush: to replace the Gillard Government by an Abbott government, and to ‘destroy the Greens at the ballot box’. No matter what their views are personally, they consistently come up with articles adverse to PM Gillard and her Government and supportive of, or defensive of, or at least not too critical of the Opposition Leader, no matter how gross his behaviour, no matter how inane or dishonest his utterances, no matter how badly he stumbles.

As I was finishing this piece, NormanK drew my attention to what must be one of the most appalling pieces of journalism I have ever read. Titled: Labor shuffling numbers for political survival and written my an anonymous ‘Staff Writer’ for the Sunday Herald Sun, it alludes to only one piece of factual information – that the Government was to present its Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, which is sarcastically described as a "mini-horror mini-budget". The rest is simply opinion; nasty, vitriolic, adverse opinion of a biased writer who clearly loathes the Labor Government. If you have the stomach, read it to see how grotesquely incompetent and malevolent journalism has become.

This state of affairs in our mainstream media is dangerous. We are being seriously shortchanged at a time when we need all the help we can get to select our next government.

We need factual information about Government and Coalition and Greens’ policies and their costings. We need a thorough and unbiased analysis of all of them. We need comparisons to be made between them, carefully analysed and summarized so that we can comprehend their intent, the pros and the cons, the cost benefits, and the likelihood of their succeeding. We cannot take for granted what our politicians feed us, redolent as it so often is with exaggeration, distortion of the truth, hidden implications, and dishonest projections. We need an honest, competent, unbiased, balanced mainstream media to assist us. But we don’t have it. Most of it is the antithesis of these desirable attributes.

It’s not right. It’s dangerously wrong. Is there any hope that our mainstream media will ever meet the needs of intelligent voters seeking to cast an informed vote in selecting who will govern us for the next term?

Thomas Sowell, an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, columnist and author expresses his doubts: “If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly.”

We find ourselves having to rely more and more on the Fifth Estate and social media for what we need, for the balance we crave.

Is balance an unreachable dream? Is it a fantasy like fairies at the end of the garden? Can the Murdoch domination of media thought be overcome?

Does our salvation reside in mustering our own resources in the Fifth Estate? We have access to a plethora of factual news outlets, all over the world, and we are as capable of analyzing the facts, and expressing an opinion about them, as mainstream journalists.

In fact as Mr Denmore says: ”…'the news' isn't what it was. It isn't owned by anyone. It is increasingly contested. And as bloggers scale up and embrace some of the craft qualities of journalism, the mainstream media increasingly ‘moulds’ news to satisfy the world views of its target markets…In fact, as blogs more and more resemble professionally written traditional media, the old media looks more and more like blogs.”

So it’s over to us!

What do you think?

Comments (190) -

October 25. 2012 04:11 PM


Top post.

Building slowly a case against Tony Abbott with others via links and quotes:


Definitely has a problem with women in power...

and is willing to do nasty, crafty tactics to gain power.

Awful MAN.

MANLY CATHOLIC MAN...cough cough.



October 25. 2012 04:28 PM

Niall Cook

Dare I write this, but as well written and correct as I see your article as being, you too fall into the trap of siding with one political colour or the other. You're a Gillard fan, and that shines out. In this current tumultuous divisive and vitriolic political epoch, what you have written is par for the course. You stand for what you see to be right & proper. I think those of us who take a serious interest in where our nation is going do likewise. That said, as I say in these current times, we all tend to do the same. What we have today isn't politics. It's cultural and philosophical warfare. We must fight our perceived enemies where-ever we find them, and as you rightly point out, they live within the main stream media.

So, in the twelve month period yet to run before Election 2013 is called, who is going to stand for the Fifth Estate and conduct a serious analyses of the policy positions of the protagonists in direct opposition, and as a stark contrast to the undoubted volumes of spin, negativity and bile which will come from the Fourth Estate?

Niall Cook

October 25. 2012 05:08 PM

Shirley Green

This is a well written and worthy article to read, as are the articles referred to within. I will be reading it again when more time is available.  As a keen follower of current affairs and politics, I find it distressing to read articles by journalists that are not only poorly written as far as the English language is concerned, but the continuous bias of their own opinions, or those of their employers is abhorrent.

Shirley Green

October 25. 2012 05:15 PM

Gorgeous Dunny

An excellent,sensible piece, Ad Astra. I have, over the past two years or so, watched in amazement as the most absurd and dishonest assertions by Abbott and his henchmen have been allowed to pass unchallenged.

Fortunately, several dramatic recent events have exposed this impasse on news to a much larger audience. Firstly, the exposure of Alan Jones's bile at the Sydney University Liberal Club led to a huge public outrage, mostly through the alternative media of Twitter, Facebook and blogs initially before spreading to the wider media. The backlash has been so huge (boycotts of Jones's advertisers) that the Jones dominance of talk radio is probably gone. He will join Joe McCarthy, Louella Parsons and Walter Winchell as a figure once feared and feted and now disdained.

The other was Gillard's amazing speech in parliament. It was sensational and hit the mark on sexism as nothing else has by a figure that high. The initial reaction by the press gallery and the MSM got it utterly wrong, as at once shown by the public and worldwide reaction. The attempts to rationalise their position by mumbling about 'context' and merely repeating Liberal talking points only made them look sillier.

We all know where Murdoch stands. It is almost like "Blue Murder" where a crimINAL was given a "green light" to do anything he liked. It is disappointing that the rest of the media, including our ABC, has meekly followed.

It is reassuring that there are still good ones like Mega, Gittins, Tingle and Taylor but not enough of them.

They have again been exposed by Abbott's latest gaffe about not having children. It went worldwide before it seriously hit in Australia. The international media can suss it out in just a limited exposure to Abbott, what the hell have the rest of them been doing over the past two years?

Gorgeous Dunny

October 25. 2012 05:44 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your fast response and your kind remarks.  The case is indeed building against Tony Abbott, who goes from one foot-in-mouth episode to another.

Ad astra reply

October 25. 2012 05:46 PM

Ad astra reply

Niall Cook
Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.

Thank you for your thoughtful comment.   You are right.  My orientation and that of this site is towards progressive politics.  I value fairness, opportunity for all to make the most of their attributes, caring for the disadvantaged, and with a lengthy background in medical education, I value education and a health care system that covers all aspects of health and illness that is based on community-based primary care with strong secondary and tertiary backup.

So it is natural that I find myself largely in tune with the Labor Government and admire what Julia Gillard is doing as our nation’s leader.

I find too that I am not in tune with conservative ideology, which to me seems to leave too many in its wake as the powerful and the wealthy control the resources and use them predominately to advance their cause.

I agree that there are many enemies to the Gillard Government in the MSM, in a manner similar to that which exists in the US, which we see starkly displayed as the November election draws near.

I trust that the many fine blogs in the Fifth Estate, along with balanced writers in the Fourth Estate, will provide readers with a series of compare and contrast articles that will show the differences between the two main parties.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to rely on many in our MSM to do much of this.

Ad astra reply

October 25. 2012 05:55 PM


Ad Astra

Well done, you encapsulated what many have been trying to say for the last couple of years.  Thank you for finding the words for many of us.

My biggest disappointment and disdain lays with the ABC.  It has become just another TV and radio station, vying for the salacious and shocking with commercial media.  

My main news comes from here thanks to Lyn's links, twitter and SBS tv news.  Thankfully the 5th estate is willing to look at policies and also rubbish the junk dished up to the public.  


October 25. 2012 05:58 PM

Ad astra reply

Shirley Green
Welcome to you also to The Political Sword family.  Please come again.

Thank you too for your complimentary remarks.

‘Distressing’ is an apt word to describe much of the journalism in the MSM.  While some of it is no doubt attributable to the contemporary commercial pressures that afflict the MSM and its journalists, and some due to the competitive pressures occasioned by the Fifth Estate, some of the poor journalism is the direct result of proprietors and editors requiring their journalists to meet ideological and commercial objectives, which are incongruent with the notion of fairness, opportunity and caring for the disadvantaged.  Murdoch employees must feel this consistently, and it shows.

Ad astra reply

October 25. 2012 05:58 PM


I prefer a fella travels with his wife than gets up to know good...including gambling, affairs, strip joints, prostitutes...so he can't be blackmailed in setups and gotya moments orchestrated by press barons, private eyes, police, competitors and their minions...which can have a huge impact on who influences politicians and policies




October 25. 2012 06:00 PM


That should be:

gets up to no good...


October 25. 2012 06:00 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Summary of 3,237 words from Ad Astra – ”I blame the media for the government’s woes”

Tom of Melbourne

October 25. 2012 06:16 PM

Ad astra reply

Gorgeous Dunny
May I welcome you too to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.

Thank you for your comprehensive comment.  I find myself in agreement with all you have written.  You are right.  A striking pointer to the echo-chamber in which so many of MSM journalists exist is how badly they misjudged and misconstrued the ‘misogyny’ address, and even after the massive response to it on YouTube, now over two million views, they still argue the merits of their position, as if they alone have the wisdom and the inside information, and of course ‘the context’ to correctly judge her address.  It makes one wonder if their predisposition is able to be changed.

The very first piece I wrote, on Possum Comitatus’ Possum Box in June 2008 was titled Is the media in Australia suffering from groupthink.


Nothing much has changed!

Ad astra reply

October 25. 2012 06:20 PM


Ad Astra, I look forward to your pieces and this one is up to the usual high standard. New media is beginning to take over from the old guard and they are not about to give up without a fight.

Abbott is the man because they imagine he will be able to arrest the leaking of their power; no accident that the NBN is high on the hit squad list because they know full well it will further encourage new voices.

For a change progressive ideas will get their day in the sun above the sad old man, Murdoch, hatespeech. I think the cat has now been let out of the bag and nothing they can do will be able to slow down our own Ozzie Spring.

Keep up the thoughtful work it is quite inspiring.


October 25. 2012 06:20 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your kind comment.

I agree, the ABC disappoints again and again.  I fear a pro-Coalition culture there influences its journalists unduly.

You are right.  What Lyn feeds us day after day is so much more valuable than what we derive from the MSM.  That’s why so many visitors come here.

Ad astra reply

October 25. 2012 06:30 PM

N'ellie May

Dear Ad,
Terrific article. When even the ABC leads with news head-lines about opposition attacks on the government, without a reply from the govt,you really feel depressed. A once balanced, supposedly objective news service has been hijacked from the people of Australia. The commentary is mostly from right wing representatives from The Australian or the IPA and there doesn't seem to be a fair and even representation of opinions any more.
However, thank you, Lyn and all the regular contributors to TPS because you have given voice to our concerns and please continue to demand answers and accountability from the MSM. You are our inspirations.

N'ellie May

October 25. 2012 06:39 PM


Hi Ad Astra, Another great read and so very informative.

Of course your own personal bias shows but your article is not about that. It's simply about a fair and even coverage from the MSM so that "we", the general public, can read both sides of the story before making up our minds how we vote.

Right now much of the MSM is shamelessly attempting to influence that sizeable number of "swinging voters" in only one direction. Sadly, for many of us who see through the MSM truth distortion, it's the wrong direction.


October 25. 2012 06:41 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you so much for your complimentary remarks.

You are right when you say that new media is beginning to take over from the old guard and they are not about to give up without a fight.  We are ready for them.

I do like your tag: ‘Ozzie Spring’.  Let’s have it all through 2013.

Ad astra reply

October 25. 2012 06:48 PM


Ad astra

A thought provoking article Ad and I liked Niall Cook's response as well. I know that I have been wrestling with the question  "am I just looking to digest views I already share?" I believe that's what happens when the MSM is skewed and we get opinions of peoples opinion fed to us as news, and so much of it out of touch with reality. Of course I am aware of the glow that I get when people share the same opinion, it feels good to be among people who are alike, its normal and its natural to do that. The more unbalanced the media the more that people will search for people who share their values.


October 25. 2012 07:19 PM


Nicely written AA.  It has obviously struck a chord with a number of people who have decided to become new contributors on this site.  Running through my mind when reading your appraisal was the saying power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  There are a number of on and off topic examples I'm sure we can all think of.

You would not have seen this Global Mail article regarding the potential future influence of the ABC when writing your article as it was only posted today.  Both articles dovetail nicely given the predilection of some ABC reporters to be more than supportive of the current LNP leadership and excreta throwing.



October 25. 2012 07:38 PM

Ad astra reply

N’ellie May
Thank you for you kind words.

Like you and others who comment here, I am regularly irritated by the ABC’s approach to news and commentary. So often they seem only to echo News Limited lines.

Thank you for your complimentary remarks.

One of the aims of this site is to counterbalance the heavy pro-Coalition, anti-Government bias that afflicts so much of the media. There are too few voices in support of the Government.

Thank you too for your thoughtful comments.  Of course we all look for views that correspond to those we hold.  That is natural and desirable, and serves as a counter the views so virulently put by those who berate PM Gillard and her Government at every turn.  Unbalanced, they seldom concede anything of merit – we need to provide the balance to the debate.

Thank you for you kind remarks.  Yes, this piece has attracted some new folk to comment.  That is great.

I couldn’t get the Global Mail article to load, but I’m stuck on dial-up speeds at present.  I’ll keep trying.

Ad astra reply

October 25. 2012 07:56 PM


Ad Astra's impressive post emphasises again the blatant bias of Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd here in Australia favoring the Coalition and the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, and the great damage he has done in opposing the Government's minerals tax and carbon pricing scheme along with promoting the chicanery of scepticism about climate change.  Murdoch's ownership of more than 70% of our national and local print publications has been a worry for years, and the much less weighty Fairfax organisation even in its better times was rarely able to counterbalance that with the Age, SMH and Sun Herald, regardless of those half decent journalists Ad Astra has named who are just retaining some influence even through the serious decline of  recent years.

After the UK phone tapping scandal and the closure of the News of the World, one of Murdoch's most profitable newspapers,  politicians in London were suggesting that 40% ownership of the country's media by one company had too much potential for corruption. So what about that near seventy per cent control by News Ltd. of print and electronic media here in Australia?   His humiliation in London doesn't seem to have daunted Rupert Murdoch at all and he is brazen in his determination to use The Australian and his other publications to overthrow the ALP and Julia Gillard's government along with its NBN Co,  which is such a threat to his media empire,  in favor of his puppet, Tony Abbott.  There was something almost childishly defiant but chilling in his recent comments on Twitter telling us here in OZ and the rest of the world how irrelevant was our gaining the UN Security Council seat.

Reform of media ownership laws must surely be a priority for Labor in their next election campaign program!  Rupert Murdoch is a tyrant operating in several continents with power to harm our entire planet.  He controls our press and with it our freedom of expression far more repressively than any 17th century monarch against whom the English rebelled, urged on by great writers like John Milton who said,

Remember!   "True Liberty Is When Free-born Men Speak Free!"

John Milton’s Areopagitica,
Crying freedom for the press
Back in 17th century England,
Resisted monarchy’s excess.

His tract was a mighty weapon
In democracy’s progress.
We are the beneficiaries
Of his most eloquent address.

But we ‘free-born’ are complicit,
As we watch and acquiesce
While that freedom is abused
With a brazen shamelessness.

We encouraged one man’s ambition
To buy up, control, possess
As property our thoughts in print,
And we applauded his success.

We shared profits with this behemoth
Who now destroys our happiness
And publishes news of the world,
Writ as he commands it be expressed.

This threat of global tyranny,
Warns that it’s time to re-possess
What for him is now a licence
To break all rules and decency transgress.

Our precious freedom so perverted
Has caused democracy’s regress.
Let’s use our laws while we still can,
Redeem ourselves, and truly free the press.


October 25. 2012 08:48 PM


Mr Abbott can't help himself. He is too smart by half, most comfortable when sending heavily loaded, poorly coded messages to the Alan Jones minority.


Gee someone ready to call him out and on the Sunshine Coast.


October 25. 2012 08:49 PM


Dear Sir,

Yet again I am so impressed to read sense instead of the tripe being served up bu the turdoch media and the no longer credible abbott broadcasting corporation.I feel that the democracy of this country is being destroyed by the media as they pervert every thing to ensure an abbott government.

This nasty and pervasive force distort every move that the government makes in their desparate endeavour to cause an election and install the undoubtebly most dangerous and unsuitable individual that ever aspired to the high office of PM. That they obviously recognise the utter stupidity of this person running the country apparently is overwhelmed by the perceived benefits to their own situation that his election would bring.


I'm bloody terrified.


October 25. 2012 09:29 PM


At Independent Australia:

'Open letter to ABC managing director Mark Scott'



October 25. 2012 09:40 PM



Couldn't agree more. Well said.


October 25. 2012 09:46 PM



I think what everyone has said so far leaves anything I could add, pale is comparison. You do such a good job of articulating the worries of so many people into a logical argument/discussion that most with even a balanced centre left attitude could argue with, well done.

Oh dear clever Green is in the slammer.


October 25. 2012 09:53 PM


An excellent article but a frightening one too. Somehow the elements of the fifth estate that speak the truth and combat the deceit that is put out there by much of the mainstream media have to get their message in a place where the wider community can hear it. It's going to be a huge task but worthwhile if we can save this country from Mr. Abbott.


October 25. 2012 10:00 PM


Sorry for going off-topic so quickly, but most media in Queensland tonight is reporting that Newman's hand picked Director General of Transport is standing aside under a cloud for potentially misleading Parliament at an Estimates Hearing.


Pretty to watch (and some of the comments are brilliant!)


October 25. 2012 10:05 PM

Ad astra reply

You correctly put your finger on so much of the MSM problem here and overseas: Rupert Murdoch’s massive influence over the media by virtue of ownership, and through the imposition of his ideological values on his outlets and those who work for him, most of whom submit meekly.  Your pome expresses this so eloquently.  Thank you.

Thank you for the link to the Sunshine Coast Daily.  Hallelujah for a journalist that calls it as it is. If only more would.

It is scary.  The prospect of a highly conservative Abbott-led government is horrifying, not just to progressives, but I suspect to many of Abbott’s colleagues, first among them, Malcolm Turnbull.

That was a very strong letter from David Horton.  If only Mark Scott would take his words seriously.

Thank you for the compliment.  Such comments make the endeavour of writing so worthwhile.

Thank you – it is truly frightening.  Sometimes it feels like George Orwell’s Ninteen Eighty Four.

Birds of a feather…

I'm calling it a day.

Ad astra reply

October 25. 2012 10:37 PM

Ad astra reply

I eventually got onto The Global Mail story about the ABC on the iPad.  What an interesting story.  It should put the wind up Fairfax and News limited, hidden behind their pay walls.  Thank you for the link.

Ad astra reply

October 25. 2012 10:42 PM

Truth Seeker

Ad, another great and well put together article in your usual, exceptional style.

I think you know how I feel about the MSM, as portrayed in my poem "The Media".  Smile
So I wholeheartedly concur with your writing and the vast majority of comments.

Cheers  Smile   Smile

Truth Seeker

October 25. 2012 10:54 PM

Tao de Haas

Dear Sir and contributors,

Not sure if to feel better of worse reading this article and the comments. Seeing I live in a world of parallel realities I feel both.I feel better that my deep concern is shared and validated and worse because the seriousness of the current situation. There are moments when I despair when I see this country with so much potential being dragged down into a cesspit for pure selfish personal and political gain. Witnessing the very deliberate unleashing of hatred and fear makes me feel physically ill. Don't people realise or do they just not care that it will take generations to recover from this? Is the hunger for power so insatiable that nothing will stand in the way? It appears at this stage the LNP will win the next election. Don't they care how much they are damaging this country and the people they suppose to represent in the 'process' of achieving this? Either way if they are or are not aware it is psychotic and very worrisome indeed. The MSM including the ABC is blowing wind into their sails, they too must believe that this direction will somehow benefit them. How do individual journalist especially on the ABC who seemed to be more neutral that they are now being used as propagandists. Tony Jones' appalling treatment and lack total lack of respect for Kate Ellis is a case in point.    

Also, am I one of the few who thinks that the 16th century adversary Westminster System is no longer serving us well to deal with the challenges of the 21st century as it is set up for confrontation rather than any real form of collaboration? Even the concept of collaboration seems to be a foreign concept to conservatives, especially when you have another regular LNP mouthpiece, Peter Rieth on, what was 'our' now 'their' ABC the Drum saying that working together would mean everyone agreeing with each other. Oh dear!

But this outdated system will not change for many many years to come if ever. Especially now the Opposition is fast to drag us back into the dark ages and more extreme black and white duality. It is impossible to even raise the question about this seemingly sacred two party system, without people immediately dismissing the question by reacting, well what do you want a dictatorship or well look at Italy is that what you want? I don't even bother saying, no what I would want would be some sensible debate and exploration. But that again be met with oh you want a 'talk fest'. As I mentioned I live in a world of parallel reality. I despair at the current situation and I feel optimistic when I read there are still many people awake to what is going on, so thank you.            

Tao de Haas

October 25. 2012 11:57 PM


Ad astra
You have done something I have long fantasized with doing myself, viz., naming a lot of the current crop of political media commentators, along with their relative position on the sycophant~freethinker continuum, as I now tend to view the situation.

I just want to query this though first : You said, "... at the extreme left of the curve are the most unbalanced comments, whereas at the extreme right are the most balanced."
I have thought that you must mean that the other way round, in popular parlance at least the Bolts et al are on the Right and are indeed 'unbalanced'. Is my presumption correct or am I missing your meaning?  

Of those I'm gracing with the term 'free-thinkers', there are only very few, and even then they are patchy: Lenore Taylor and Megalogenis sometimes seem quite simpatico to the Left, at other times infuriating by their inconsistency or even antagonism. And there are no really committed Leftish writers on the entire MSM at all!  

But of the ones I think of as sycophantic, there are many, and  quite a few approach the absolute in their unfailing support of all things Abborttionate, and even more so in their universal inevitable condemnation of the Gillard Government. Bolt, Hadley, Anal Jones, Nikki Savva, Judith Sloane, Ackerman, - these, (and there are others), are single-mindedly dedicated to spinning any and every issue against the Government, and excusing every idiocy of Abbortt's mob of morons. There is no question their unfailing partisanship.

It is up to the Fighting 5th Estate to inform the People now.
That quote in Ad's article from Rupert Mordork slagging the Government's achievement in scoring a seat on the UN Security Council makes it plain that he has declared war on our Government as a threat to his corrupt empire. That's why I write on this Sword blog, I know it's why Ad conceived and maintains it, I know that's why Lyn has carved her name in a trillion tweets and links across our nation, I know The Sword inspires everyone of goodwill to that united purpose. Which is why I like to call you-all Comrades.

And I don't use the term Fighting 5th Estate flippantly really, You can swap recipes here and tell yarns and stuff and please do, but (and I'm only reminding us all) the motto of this blog is A Hub for the Fifth Estate and its mission statement is For putting politicians and commentators to the Verbal Sword. This is a blog with attitude, and intent to proselytize that attitude across the 5th Estate. And Lyn is already doing that in special style.  

And we are getting better at doing it too.  

Ad astra you are ALWAYS on target. Don't know how you do it, really. But together we are making our presence felt to the old Failed Estate, we are prodding them now, and have you noticed, we quote them feely, they almost NEVER quote any of Us!
Well Comrades we don't care. They are making themselves ever more irrelevant, their thrashing around rendering them ever less powerful, like Brer Rabbit progressively sticking himself to the Tar Baby. (Love that image! Smile)

Oh and I'm on a new personal crusade myself now:




October 26. 2012 12:33 AM


I whole-heartedly agree!
What a fantastic series & won't next year's shows be an awesome romp!
Pity the ABC's alleged "news" channels & shows can't spend the time to accurately report the actual NEWS, not just opinionfactousnous :-(


October 26. 2012 12:38 AM




October 26. 2012 01:00 AM


Truth Seeker, your poem "The Media" in truth belongs here to  support Ad Astra's case about how we are short changed by them.  At the very least you should link it so that the many new visitors who've been drawn to AA's post can find it, but preferably it should be here on this thread over your name.

Yes, TT, I guess that even good heads like George Megalogenis, Laura Tingle and Lenore Taylor have to hang on to their jobs.   Wouldn't you call David Marr unaligned and unwilling to toe any company or party line?


October 26. 2012 07:00 AM


Yes sorry I did notice I didn't hit the 'a' key hard enough.

Oh dear cleaver Greene is in the slammer.
We will have to start a petition snicker snicker.



October 26. 2012 07:46 AM



Big Daddy, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless
The MSM have serious questions to consider about what falls off their schedule in pursuit of the latest pearls to drop from his lips. The idea of "balance" is not a public demand but one of the journosphere, because a "balanced" political system places them at the centre of events. Politics is out of balance, and politicians are spending all day wrapping themselves around "the media cycle" for zero impact; this simply can't go on.

Needing more from our media , Wemattermedia
This isn’t just a problem with the American media. Fox news and CNN are fun to point out from Australia, ribbing the absurdity of our American counterparts, but every day in Australia we are inundated with blunt slogans. Stop the boats. Move forward. The carbon tax. The mining tax. The faceless men. The Mad Monk. Peter Slipper’s text messages. Craig Thomson’s prostitutes. I don’t remember when it happened, but at some point the media stopped doing its job.

Open letter to ABC managing director Mark Scott, David Horton, Independent Australia
I thought the ABC was about presenting good and accurate information. Your view seems to be that if you have someone telling the truth, it must be balanced by a lie; a fact balanced by an opinion; history balanced by rewritten history; science balanced by ignorance or religion; objective data balanced by vested interest; conservative opinion balanced by neoconservative opinion.

Disgusting,Dishonest and Divisive:Tony Abbott on Refugees,Anthony , Seek or Stumble
In summary, we have a Government who’s policy has lead 4 innocent people to take their own lives, and an opposition who think that is not cruel enough. This mornings press conference from the Opposition was disgusting, dishonest and divisive – and deserves to be called on that

The New Pollution, Peter Wicks, Wixxy Leaks
Whatever the reason, it is a disgrace, and I believe it actually breaches the law. I was under the distinct impression that printing deliberately misleading electoral material was against the law. I hope somebody takes a closer look at this. I am crossing fingers that the Electoral Commission aren’t napping at the wheel

Update:  When David Met Goliath – An AFV EXCLUSIVE !!!!!!!!!!!!, A Frank View
Here is the Sunrise story where they crossed live to Thomsoms’ home and showed footage of the police raiding the home – Considering that it takes a long time to set up a live cross and Seven were there BEFORE the police arrived it begs the question – Were Seven tipped off about the raid ?

Costello forces seek to bury Tony Abbott not to praise him, Vex News
Tony Abbott has been the most brilliantly effective Opposition Leader since Paul Keating demolished his opposition from the Lodge. He is a human wrecking machine. And yet what’s left of the Costello forces in Club Fed, whose continuing spokesperson is ex-Cossie staffer Niki Savva, appears to be reading the Last Rites for Abbott’s leadership.

Forget business tax cuts, focus on electricity reform, Bernard Keane & Glen Dyer, Crikey
Sims is only the latest in a succession of independent authorities to identify the huge cost of a flawed regulatory model for electricity pricing that allows power companies to use investment to game the system to gouge consumers. Ross Garnaut was the first prominent figure to call for a fundamental overhaul of electricity regulation when he updated his climate change reports in 2011 and identified market

Not So Taxing Times, Aussiepollies
The Opposition of course were crowing, enjoying a day where again, the Treasurer has been squirming over economic issues. But the celebration should also have been a tad on the difficult side for them too. The tax raised no revenue, so it was not doing the damage to the economy and businesses that the Coalition had warned about

Price Shock- The carbon tax is doing even less than expected, Peter Martin
The carbon tax has boosted the cost of living scarcely at all. Despite dire talk of an “almost unimaginable” increase (Tony Abbott) and $100 for a Sunday roast (Barnaby Joyce) the first official consumer price figures show a far lower impact than predicted by the Treasury

Big Business wimps tax reform , Gary Sauer-Thompson, Public Opinion
Big Business' preference, stated in the past, is for broadening the GST and cutting heavily into the welfare state. So Big Business stands exposed in terms of tax reform. They are only interested in protecting their own interests not tax reform. This of course, would not surprise anyone familiar with the Business Council of Australia.

Big Business Ducks Reform, Ben Eltham, New Matilda
Almost no revenue at all, in fact. The September quarter this year is the first that the MRRT has been in operation. No tax was collected via the MRRT. Not a cent. The MRRT debacle shows why business leaders can’t be trusted to help draft business taxes. Business leaders in this country like the BCA’s Tony Shepherd claim they want "comprehensive tax reform". But what they really want are lower business taxes, and to keep their own special tax breaks as well.

Asian Century solutions will require funding boost, Charis Palmer , The Conversation
Mr Baillieu’s Asia push comes ahead of the release of the Federal Government-commissioned white paper on Australia in the Asian Century.The white paper, to be released on Sunday, is expected to recommend closer links between Australian and Asian universities so more students can complete part of their degree at an overseas campus, according to a report in The Australian

Hockey repeats inaccurate NBN claim, Renai LeMay, Delimeter
news Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has continued to publicly repeat a factually inaccurate statement regarding the accounting treatment of the National Broadband Network funding as a capital investment, maintaining that the funding should be treated as an expense, despite direct evidence to the contrary, including the acknowledgement of fellow Liberal MP Malcolm

Sally Neighbour, Matthew Knott, The Power Index
She doesn't do small talk, nor false modesty, and if she cracked a smile during her interview with The Power Index we must have missed it. Anyone doubting her guts didn't read her feature in The Monthly, in which she described her then boss, The Australian's Chris Mitchell, as "rude", "overbearing" and "vindictive" among other things

Video Channel 7 Sunrise
HSU national secretary Kathy Jackson and the lawyer for Craig Thomson join us to discuss the police raids on the embattled MP's home and electoral office.Published: October 25, 201au.tv.yahoo.com/.../

Mining tax fails to raise ‘single cent in revenue’, David Twomey, Echo News
Opposition assistant treasury spokesman Mathias Cormann says Mr Swan should be sacked for shackling mining companies with extra compliance costs for no extra government revenue.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the tax has damaged investor confidence and raised perceptions of sovereign risk, even though it has not raised any money

Today’s Front Pages
Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 26 October 2012


October 26. 2012 07:56 AM

Barry Tucker

We are fortunate to live in a country where we are free to comment. The right-wing bias in our News Media is a threat to our democracy.

Those who comment here would be more effective if they sent their comment to the ABC's Managing Director, Mark Scott @abcmarkscott, or to the Minister responsible for the ABC, Senator Stephen Conroy email: senator.conroy@aph.gov.au or minister@dbcde.gov.au

This is what I will be doing all day today, until I have exhausted myself. I am also organising a flash mob to demonstrate outside the ABC HQ in Sydney.

Please feel free to join me in this campaign by taking action yourself; not just commenting here -- take action!

Barry Tucker

October 26. 2012 08:43 AM


Ad astra,
Thank you for yet another excellent piece.  I think I could tolerate the biased Murdoch media if our National Broadcaster had not been infiltrated, sullied and turned into another arm of that selfish, power-crazed old man.

It saddens me that a majority of Australians  ignored the undermining and destruction of the ABC during the Howard decade.  More and more people are realising what the nation has lost but not enough of them yet to rise up and demand the return of a completely unbiased national broadcaster.

It seems such a long time ago to me that the ABC was where we turned to find out the truth behind the breaking news that the commercial media clouded and enhanced with sensational tripe and personal opinions of strident journalists under orders to sell papers.

It seems a long time ago that ABC journalists and staff were so well trained that they were constantly poached by commercial media.  Now, the ABC don't 'do' training at all and all their journalists have migrated to it from outside the ABC.  The ABC has become a clone of Murdochia and the current affairs programmes such as 'The Drum' are journalists interviewing journalists, (usually from outside the ABC) and 'guests' are a line-up of ex-politicians with often dubious or colourful backgrounds that those of us with good memories have not forgotten and were glad to see the back of.

Sadly, I do not think I will see a return to the ABC I knew and loved.

Meanwhile, Nauru can see a mountain of gold in each and every assylum seeker.  Again, the tories under Abbott (in refusing to go with the govt on off-shore processing including Malaysia) have effectively put a millstone around the necks of all Australians.


October 26. 2012 09:09 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 09:36 AM

Tom of Melbourne

Again, the tories under Abbott (in refusing to go with the govt on off-shore processing including Malaysia) have effectively put a millstone around the necks of all Australians.

Yet again we have contributors seeing to excuse the government over its incompetence, inhumanity and duplicity over asylum seekers.

•  In 2004, Gillard said – another boat, another policy failure
•  In 2007 Rudd advocated turning the boats back.
•  The ALP also sought the political high ground with its condemnation of off shore processing.
•  Gillard then came up with the East Timor solution, followed by the Malaysian Solution, followed by Nauru, PNG…

The fact is that the ALP has chosen each about face, at every step the ALP has politicised the issue, as much as the coalition. It has sought to make political capital out of the public aversion to harsh detention, then did the backflip when arrival of asylum seekers bothered the redneck vote.

The ALP has no moral compass, it taken itself into the policy slime, and no one made it go there. Only the most blinkered would excuse the ethical bankruptcy and ineptitude

Tom of Melbourne

October 26. 2012 09:36 AM


Barry and janice...I did send an email to both Mr. Albanese and Mr. Conroy a couple of years ago on this very subject..It was voiced in no uncertain terms as to the result of non-action on the govt's part.
The ABC. is now almost completely trashed, vandalised and pissed upon by the right-wing buffoons! Right down to the stupid balloon promos' one can see "dumbo Scotto" written all over it!
One can only hope the govt' is keeping these thickos in place till some sort of opportunistic moment. To me it is THE most major blunder of the Rudd govt' they didn't go through thwe relevant dept's like a dose of salts and got rid of the Howard infection entirely!


October 26. 2012 09:42 AM


PS. nothing stinks more than "shit on your shoe"..and THAT best describes EVERYTHING stroked by the slimy, uliginous fingers of the Howard govt'.


October 26. 2012 10:00 AM


That is one of the best bits of writing I ahve seen here. Well said.

The blatant bald-face bias of the ABC is the single great reason for the parlous state of 'politics' in this country.

By the way I have predicted that Rupert Mordork will die in 2013.

I was right about Abbortt's fall from grace, spot on the Ides of September. Rupert Beware!


The ABC is THE problem. The absence of just that one bastion of Truth has devastated the MSM, there is now nothing but sludge. Even the one slightly truthful media outlet, Fairfax, is now on the skids, so Mordork's victory is complete. For now.

It seems like a conspiracy because it is. It is Mark Scott, faithful unapologetic stooge of John Howard, who does the hiring - and the higher~ing - in the ABC. Anybody who doesn't toe the LNP line is sidelined to harmless programs, sycophants have been promoted to all the frontline political shows. Simple as that.

And the invited guests! IPA all the time, Reith, Ackermann, Savva, it is a tragic farce to call it balance, it's Big Bigotry v small quiet voices of reason that are swamped and ridiculed and trivialised and neutered by the servile presenters of Capital Hill and 7.30 and Lateline and Lopsiders.
And it impinges on the quality of the programs - Look at the utterly dumbed-down Jonica Newby WhizzBang Dogfood Show aka Catalyst! - and in several cases survival of other programs.

And I'm not even really too sure of Jonath~n Holmes on Media Watch any more. Pretty toothless Watcher, whatcha reckon?

Well Comrades we must remedy this. We need an AGREED STRATEGY to return the PUBLIC broadcaster to the standards it should be upholding.

We might only have our milk teeth still, but we can bite already. But we need unity of action and purpose.

Already we agree resoundingly on the problem.



October 26. 2012 10:29 AM

Truth Seeker

Patricia, thanks for your suggestion of reposting  "The Media" here.

I don't know how to post a link, but I am happy to repost here once again under indulgence from Ad.

Back by popular demand   Smile   and in support of AAs fine article

The Media

The conference called, the scrum was set, and the OB trucks plugged in
As the Journo’s and the camera crews got ready for the spin
A whirl wind tour of misinformation, slogans and downright lies
That attracts our illustrious media like our garbage attracts flies
And so they wait with baited breath to hang on every word
Hoping for a headline scoop, a hope they know.. to be absurd

Then the crowd is hushed as the Abbott and co step forward to the mics
And their Tony starts his diatribe complete with barbs and spikes
Designed for maximum effect to drive his message through
Riding roughshod over fact and truth to hoodwink me and you
And his slogan filled Invective keeps him confident and strong
While his minders look on nervously hoping nothing will go wrong

When his rambling finally ceased, he said “We’ll take your questions now”
And the usual suspects, cap in hand, begin to scrape and bow
Then a cub reporter fresh from uni and wet behind the ears
Asked a bold yet relevant question realising everybody’s fears
And the minders all looked panicked and the journo’s all looked shocked
And his front bench shifted nervously as the Abbott went off half cocked

He stammered and he stuttered, then said “Let me just say this”
But his response was incoherent, filled with naught but wind and piss
So he reverted to his tried and true and blamed the government
But the cub reporter asked again and the Abbotts brain was spent
Then the head began to wobble with the stare, adding its part
But the journo’s were distracted by the smell of his brain fart

So while Abbott bolted, Bishop stepped up, all prim and looking spruced
But her expression really said it all.. “I’ve just been verbally goosed!”
Then the mincing poodle took the stage, a fire in his tummy
With nostrils flared and eyes ablaze…. he spat another dummy
Then Hockey sought to join the fray, his large jowls all a-quiver
Stating “Lower tax and interest rates you know we will deliver.”

But the cub piped up so loud and clear asking “How’s that to be done?”
But because of the impertinent cub, they were no longer having fun
So the conference ended and all the pollies quickly walked away
And the journo’s left to write their tripe for the headlines the next day
While reporters smiled into their cameras, saying “back to the studio.”
And the morning anchors lauded them, then returned to their spin promoting show.

And the next days headlines in the papers read “Another Abbott win.”
Ignoring facts and truthfulness and promoting only spin
And the mainstream commentators all said……holding hands to hearts
That the Abbott’s surely got it all…. ignoring his brain farts
So the fifth estate said enough’s enough  and with minds of one accord
Tore down the media’s empires and put them to The Political Sword.

Cheers   Smile   Smile   Smile

Truth Seeker

October 26. 2012 10:35 AM


You know, it's almost comical!...Have any of you got ONE tragically, perrenially sick (as in physically ill) relli' who, whenever they attend a family show, move from one to the next regaling everybody about their current illness?
We have our "resident relli" troling his gripes and groans like one of the best...one can't weep for them, just groan in anticipation and put on a brave face when you see them approach!


October 26. 2012 10:37 AM


To me it is THE most major blunder of the Rudd govt' they didn't go through thwe relevant dept's like a dose of salts and got rid of the Howard infection entirely!
Rudd's prime objective, it turns out, was to ensure he was loved.."the people's prince".  That attitude was his undoing and caused every bit of his disfunctional office and subsequent removal.  I was one of the millions of labor voters who were so pleased to see the back of Howard that it took me a long time to view Rudd minus the rose coloured glasses, question the mounting criticism and to finally come to realise his vanity even extended to
wilful revenge and betrayal.

TalkTurkey - Thank you.  That is high praise from you and I'm chuffed to be on the receiving end of it.  


October 26. 2012 10:45 AM


Good read

Lindy Bryant‏@Linsarmel

“@mrumens: Time we heard truth about the real Kevin www.smh.com.au/.../...al-kevin-20120224-1ttrw.html … via @smh” written Feb 12, ACT knew the Impossibility of Rudd reign

Retweeted by psynubs


October 26. 2012 11:01 AM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for all your comments overnight and this morning.  What thoughtful comments they are.  We are privileged to have such helpful input to this important debate about our MSM.  There are several new contributors whom we welcome enthusiastically.

I will now work through your comments.  It will take a while, complicated by the fact that because I have exceeded my usage allowance for the month I am on dial-up speed, which is not just slow, but unreliable and very frustrating.  It often takes several attempts to up load a comment.

Truth Seeker
Thank you for your kind comment and for reposting your verse The Media, which captures so well what is happening so much of the time as the media pack confronts the would-be leader of this nation and gets the usual pre-packaged slogans and barbs, the usual non-answers, and the premature walking away from questions.  Yet, like clockwork, their reports of the encounter extol his words, commend his ‘narrative’, and echo his storyline.

I guess we’ll have to wait until next year to see how Cleaver Greene gets himself out of his current mess.  His unpleasant jail mates will give him a hard time, but he’ll go on smiling in his enigmatic way.

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 11:15 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody

Thankyou Ad Astra for another work of art. I tell you what,  I did not encounter one tiny problem selecting an excerpt, every word is excellent.

Twitterverse for you all, enjoy:-

Mark ‏
Bushfire: "The wasted Old Media have lost their mojo." ...Brilliant post as usual: http://bit.ly/UIXMnO #auspol #BBill

Mr Denmore‏@MrDenmore
Fiscal austerity: A deficit of common sense | The Economist http://econ.st/XXG2UL

Brendan Gullifer‏
Gillard 'in plot before Rudd coup' www.smh.com.au/.../...udd-coup-20121025-288bt.html … via @smh Peter Hartcher

kimworldwide ‏
“@wendy_harmer: This-the time Maxine McKew told me working for K. Rudd was"like being kept in a dungeon" http://thehoopla.com.au/working-kevins-dungeon/ …” @theage

chris murphy‏
Witnesses have gone to Castle Hill Police with powerful descriptions of alleged criminal assaults at the Hadley house.And???

More Labor bashing from Murdoch  wouldn't mess with McArdle tho - tough customer will likely sue

Coalition would have held early election http://soc.li/6hkpU4T

Marian Rumens‏
The real Kevin exposed www.smh.com.au/.../...al-kevin-20120224-1ttrw.html … via @smh @

People Skills‏
So Maxine McKew is complaining about disloyalty to the leader... by being disloyal to the leader... #mindblown

Build the NBN‏
Coalition's #NBN alternative expensive and obsolete : Former head of the ACCC www.businessspectator.com.au/.../Coalition-NBN-plan-obselete-Samuel-pd20121022-ZBLLN … #auspol @labordirt

#NBN fibre being rolled out in Toowoomba pic.twitter.com/9iLKoAGA

Build the NBN‏
#NBN prices are up to 43% cheaper than ADSL2 on the copper network www.news.com.au/.../story-e6frfrnr-1226169583039 … #auspol

Chris Reynolds‏
Laying the first #NBN Fibre in Toowoomba only 250m from #SQIT http://twitpic.com/b75he6

Sean Bradbery‏
I like the Hockey who calls for compassion in funeral row, not Abbotts capering dodgy economics clown www.smh.com.au/.../...eral-row-20110215-1av7e.html … via @smh #auspol

SBS News‏
Nauru raises asylum seeker visa fees http://bit.ly/SlpuV3


October 26. 2012 11:16 AM

Austin 3:16

Why is it that we lack what we need to make an informed and rational decision about who should govern our nation for the following three years

Why is it that you are assuming that the electorate will make a rational and informed decision ???

It may well be that the lack of demand is the cause for the lack of supply.  

What rates better Insiders or  Big Fat Gypsy Weddings ?

Austin 3:16

October 26. 2012 11:17 AM

Ad astra reply

Tao de Haas
First, welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.

Thank you for your thoughtful comment.  I’ve read it and re-read it; I hope others will too.

I’m sure many who come here would agree with your sentiments: ”There are moments when I despair when I see this country with so much potential being dragged down into a cesspit for pure selfish personal and political gain. Witnessing the very deliberate unleashing of hatred and fear makes me feel physically ill. Don't people realise or do they just not care that it will take generations to recover from this? Is the hunger for power so insatiable that nothing will stand in the way?” That insatiable quest for power is the fearsome prospect.

I too find uncongenial and counterproductive the adversarial system where oppositions (and many commentators with them) believe they must oppose virtually everything.  Just imagine how much more would have been achieved since 2007 if there had been a collaborative approach from the Opposition instead of the pugilistic approach of its leader.

You conclude: ”I despair at the current situation and I feel optimistic when I read there are still many people awake to what is going on, so thank you.”
Together we can overcome the threat to our society from our largely incompetent and too often malevolent media.

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 11:59 AM

Ad astra reply

Talk Turkey
Thank you for yet another supportive comment.

First, to respond to your question about the normal distribution curve, the convention is to place lower values to the left of the midpoint, and higher to the right.  As I called it ‘the balance curve’, the writers who have lower levels of balance belong to the left of the midpoint, and those with higher levels of balance to the right.  This left-right convention has no relationship to the political orientations of left and right.  Had I called it ‘the unbalance curve’ the most unbalanced would have been placed to the right of the midpoint.  I hope that makes sense!

You are right.  There are very few writers in the MSM who could be described as strongly ‘left-wing’.  Even those who seem to acknowledge the merits of PM Gillard and her Government are still able to be critical of them.  Whereas the strongly ‘right wing’ writers seem almost totally unable to give credit, and when they occasionally offer a positive crumb it is countered by a negative backhander, or two, or three.

You identify some other writers who are not worth reading because of their bias: Niki Savva and Judith Sloan.  The former is predictable as she was press secretary to Peter Costello; the latter is more dodgy in the sense that her outlets represent her as an economist and endow her with the credibility that goes with that label, yet she is blatantly conservative and pro Coalition in her writings.

You are right again when you say: ”It is up to the Fighting 5th Estate to inform the People now.”  Most of the MSM, with the few exceptions we have identified, are hell bent on another mission: Remove the Gillard Government and replace it with an Abbott Government.

Your rousing call to arms is an inspiration: ”…together we are making our presence felt to the old Failed Estate, we are prodding them now, and have you noticed, we quote them feely, they almost NEVER quote any of Us! 
Well Comrades we don't care. They are making themselves ever more irrelevant, their thrashing around rendering them ever less powerful, like Brer Rabbit progressively sticking himself to the Tar Baby.

Cleaver Greene will be freed!

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 12:21 PM


jaycee you sent me to the dictionary with 'uliginous' "growing in muddy places" (well it gave uliginose) but either way what a good word! Is there one meaning "flourishing in sewage" do you think?

Tao de Haas
With your flair for writing, obvious goodwill, and your concerns for the state of the Westminster System as (mal-)practised in Australia, you are not only welcome, you are naturally at home here.

And so many other newies, welcome to all of goodwill. That's all that is really required on Ad astra's staunch site, all else follows.  


October 26. 2012 12:26 PM


Ad astra

Another excellent analysis of the current state of play. The UNSC seat is a particularly good example of the corrosive nature of political reporting in this country at the moment. If the successful bid was for a seat at the high table of a sporting body instead of one that can be politicised there would have been balloons and streamers and banner headlines on the front pages and more than a little bit of 'rallying 'round the flag' rhetoric. It might still have been so if there had been bi-partisan support for the bid - yet another convention flaunted. It seems that a story which should have gladdened the hearts of most Australians and conjured up a bit of national pride was sacrificed on the altar of political spitefulness because the wrong team was in power at the time.

However, it is not just the banner headlines and leading journalists that contribute to the unhealthy state of our political discourse and virtually destroys any chance voters have of making a reasoned judgement about the two parties. It is also to be found in the tone of voice of television and radio commentators who for whatever reason favour one side over another and the never-ending need for conflict to drive the story. The only good news items involve 'heroes' and animals.

It is also to be found in the choice of language utilised in even the driest of stories.
A case in point:

Business surrender: Julia Gillard told her tax plan is unworkable
by Annabel Hepworth and David Uren     The Australian

I'd love to jab a needle into the headline but that is the product of subbies who are likely only following directives.

THE Gillard government's economic reform credentials have suffered another hammering after its business taxation review was dumped amid an industry revolt over plans to slash tax breaks to fund a corporate tax cut.

That's not a surplus of overly emotive words in one sentence, is it? The presence of such language is editorialising.
The word that really got up my nose was 'plans'. Context: this working group was formed to examine whether there was any way that business could forego some of their tax breaks (R&D write-offs, lower levels of depreciation and the like) in exchange for a cut in the rate of company tax. There was no plan. A plan is: a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something (OED). The Business Tax Working Group (BTWG) was set up in an attempt to come up with a plan - not because a plan existed and they were being asked to implement it. More properly the word that should have been used there is 'proposal' or 'suggestion' but that would have negated the possibility of painting the government as a failure.

In June, the Prime Minister asked the BTWG to prioritise consideration of a cut to the company tax rate, although the government insisted the group would have to find other tax changes to pay for it. This came after the government had welched on its promise of a company tax cut in the May budget in favour of a multi-billion-dollar cash splash for parents.

Why use 'welched' when the authors would know full well that the company tax rate cut was abandoned because the Coalition (the party of business) decided to play politics and not support it? Using 'cash splash' is editorialising again.

That's just a couple of examples from a story that could have been written without the emotive words and editorialising. By all means, the authors may have been justified in suggesting that the BTWG was doomed to failure because no consensus was ever likely to be found among the business community. Business want their cake and eat it too. There's a very real possibility that setting up the working group was a political stunt but then the question must be asked of the participants - why agree to it in the first place?

Back on topic, it is the use of these unnecessary words that contaminate much of our reporting at present.


October 26. 2012 12:47 PM


TT..I dug in the Roget's!...There isn't a word invented that aptly describes a depth low enough to place such a destroyer of soul and people.


October 26. 2012 01:03 PM

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Barry Tucker
Welcome to The Political Sword family.  Do come again.

Your emphasis on the role of the ABC is laudable.  It is noteworthy that many who have responded to this piece have commented about the ABC:  Gorgeous Dunny, Gravel, N’ellie May, 2353, Cuppa, Tao de Haas, Libbyx33, Lyn in her Links, janice, jaycee and Talk Turkey.  While there is disgust and despair at the state of our print media, the greatest dismay revolves around the way the ABC has been perverted to the cause of the Coalition in a number of subtle and subterranean ways. This, our public broadcaster, funded by we the taxpayers, seems too often to be an echo of the print media, particularly News Limited, whose headlines appear over and again in ABC news bulletins.

I laud your campaign to draw to the attention of Mark Scott our distress and anger at the way the ABC has relaxed its pursuit of balance in favour of sensation, entertainment, promotion of the Coalition, and criticism of the Government.  We acknowledge there are exceptions to this trend, but it’s the trend that’s so worrisome.

Occasionally on The World Today a forum of experts is held, moderated by the presenter of that program; Ashley Hall is particularly good.  These are excellent expositions on a variety of important subjects.  Balance is achieved by having three or four panellists who are clearly expert in their field, whose opinions are sought by the moderator in a balanced way.  They are not politically partisan discussions, although politics may enter into the debate.  When I have listened to these informative fora, I have wondered why we don’t have more of them.  They not only inform, but they also expose different angles and viewpoints, give varying perspectives, and paint a comprehensive picture, rather than the narrow partisan viewpoints we get all too often.  Clearly the ABC knows how to conduct such expository events; why do they not do this more often in current affairs programs to enlighten the public.  

Note that I’m not referring to Friday’s Lateline discussions between politicians with opposing viewpoints that end up a shout-over-each-other exercise, nor to some discussions on radio between opposing politicians, nor even to some of the partisan discussions on The Drum; I’m referring to sensible, calm and courteous discussion among experts who know what they are talking about and who are not pushing ideological wheelbarrows.  That is what we want, ought to expect, and deserve.  Then we might be better equipped to make judgements about issues, and importantly which party is best equipped and best oriented to lead us for the next term.

I hope many will rally to your cause.

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 01:44 PM

Ad astra reply

It’s always good to read your comments.  Thank you for your kind remarks.

Along with several others who have commented in this piece, I share your distress at the loss of the ABC we once knew and loved.  Your fourth paragraph is telling: ”It seems a long time ago that ABC journalists and staff were so well trained that they were constantly poached by commercial media.  Now, the ABC don't 'do' training at all and all their journalists have migrated to it from outside the ABC.  The ABC has become a clone of Murdochia and the current affairs programmes such as 'The Drum' are journalists interviewing journalists, (usually from outside the ABC) and 'guests' are a line-up of ex-politicians with often dubious or colourful backgrounds that those of us with good memories have not forgotten and were glad to see the back of.”  How right you are.

I hope that your prediction that the situation is irrecoverable is not the case, but I fear it may be. Perhaps a different board structure and MD would make a difference.

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 01:52 PM



Just for Abbortt, how about faecophile ?


October 26. 2012 02:03 PM

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Hi Lyn
Thank you for your Twitterverse.  I’ve still have to look through Today’s Links, which I will do this afternoon as it’s cold and wet outside, no place for outdoor work.

First, thank you for your generous compliment.

Next BB.  Isn’t he just the sharpest writer!  In case any visitor he couldn’t access his magnificently acerbic comment on Poll Bludger, here it is in full:

” Three iterations ago, they bunged on Slipper and Thomson for a Newspoll.

Next one, it was Margie And The Kids.

Now Maxine and Kevin come to the fore, with a bit of help from a sweaty Joe Hockey, dripping sarcasm again!) about how bad we’ve got it here. Oh, and did I mention Slater & Gordon, Mark-434?

It all seemed so perfect. Cadenza after cadenza, rolling Newspolls, leading to the climax when Juliar – barren, whining, devious female that she is – would be shamed out of office in a Killing Zone coup, booted out of her own caucus by a jeering mob of Labor hacks.

The mind boggles as to what the next hyperventilatory installment will be.

Can they get a disaffected maid from The Lodge to do a tell-all? “You know that story about the Aussie flag on ABC? Well… it’s true!!!”

They’ve tried shankles, earlobes, grating voices, Boganville, embezzlement, outright lies, plotting (a politician playing politics! The disgrace of it!), scheming, flip-flops and belly-fluff.

It’s becoming more and more of a small-town circus, with bearded ladies, fire-eaters and phoney lion tamers cracking the whip at tired old pussy cats who just want a good lie down.

There may be a few waverers this Newspoll who were thinking if the phone rang they might go back to Labor, and now they won’t because, well, there’s a cloud over her, isn’t there? I mean it can’t ALL be just trumped up bullshit, can it?

Well, yes, it can be. But no, it’s probably not ALL trumped up.

And so bloody what?

Julia Gillard has simply shown that she can, and has, matched wits with the best they have to offer and has the capacity to beat them at their own game, with a good dollop of policy and achievement, runs-on-the-board to sweeten the way.

She’s had to turn from a feisty Deputy, slight starry-eyed and a bit earnest-looking, into a professional Prime Minister. And she’s well on the way to earning her diploma in How-To-Kick-Heads #101.

If this palaver is what they have to serve up nowadays to win a Newspoll, then bring it on.

How many times can Tony trot out the wife and the kids for a Grand Tour of the TV studios? Let’s face it, Margiw didn’t stay a thousand miles from politics (and Tony himself) just because she loves running a child minding centre. She clearly can’t stand the whole performance, and doesn’t seem to have much time for the OH, either. Why would she?

OK, so Maxine’s written a book. She wrote it a long time ago when the strategy all looked so neat. This week was going to be the Return Of Kevin The Magnificent. The pundits don’t even bother to disguise it anymore. They speak openly of Rudd’s ambitions, as communicated pretty-well directly to them from the man himself (as if we hadn’t guessed already).

Slater & Who? That’s a dead duck.

Peter Slipper? He’s gone politically, useful to get some of the key legislation through and keep the Independents in line. What do they want to do? Bury and cremate him as well? Scatter the ashes?

What do they want? An early election? To what end? Antony Green has put the kybosh on that as a tactic. Messy, boys.

It’s become so obvious that the whole polling thing is being gamed, that it wouldn’t surprise me if there isn’t a backlash. If Tony Abbott can be right, even if he’s wrong, the wheel can come full circle and so can Gillard, once she’s back in the public’s estimation.

The tired old tactics that used to work well don’t work so well now. The wasted Old Media have lost their mojo. They write love letters to each other’s group-think, and not much more. They tweet between themselves and have a giggle about how clever they are. It’s so very Last Days Of Berlin. “Hey everybody! I found some champagne. Put your helmets on and we’ll have a party!”

Slipper, Thomson, Slater & Gordon, Ruddstoration, Carbon Tax and the Mining Tax. Same old same old.

Give us your best shot Peter Hartcher and Maxine McKew. Flaff another electricity bill around in QT, Tony. Tell us the one about the dirty old Speaker, Dennis. 2GB’s doing shankles again this week. And something about Bob Carr’s wife. Where IS Alan Jones, anyway? Has anyone trash-talked the economy today? Joe! Do your stuff!

It’s tired. It’s mindless. They don’t even know why they do it any more. They certainly have that look about them of time-servers going through the motions.

We’re coming to the turn and the bolter who sprang out of the starting gates can feel the hot breath of the favourite right up his arse. They’ve nobbled her. They weighed her down. They’ve doped her up. They’ve fixed the jockey.

And still she keeps gaining.

Do your worst. I don’t think it’s nearly enough anymore.”

Acknowledgement to Poll Blugder: blogs.crikey.com.au/.../#comment-1453213

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 02:08 PM


Ad you said
Cleaver Greene will be freed!

Be a bugger if we have to wait a minimum 8 years eh!

What a wonderful program, Richard Roxburgh is adorable! Droll humour, brilliant plots, beautiful babes, hilariously bizarre clients . . . Horrible Lane Hole . . . I think it stands with Yes Minister, wickeder though. Love it. Best ever.

Don't forgive the ABC though. Honour the scriptwriters and production crew and actors, but the political bias on the ABC is still there at the end of each show.



October 26. 2012 02:56 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Simon Bensen’s article is just more rabble rousing, a skill he has in spades.

James Button’s account of the Rudd years and his views of Julia Gillard will be a counterbalance to the Maxine McKew story and Peter Hartcher’s account of it.  It was inevitable that Hartcher would grab the chance to have another tilt at Julia Gillard.

BB’s summary points to yet another attempt to get a poor Newspoll result for Julia Gillard.  But will it work? Are the people waking up to the strategy?

There are some good NBN stories; fancy it costing less than the current Internet!  And how I would love to have it now as I struggle with painfully slow speeds.  But according to the NBN map, we are not near to where it is planned – too remote I suppose!

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 02:57 PM


Thank you for saying what so many of us have been thinking. I have just had my say on what is happening in the Press sewing circle. When they didn't see the demotion of Rudd coming they blamed Gillard for not telling them in advance. Now the Libs are very carefully laying out their succession plan, bit by bit, in full view of the media.


October 26. 2012 03:11 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your complimentary remarks, and for your astute analysis of the Hepworth/Uren article, which so skillfully illustrates how important words are in transmitting meaning and intent.  Their intent of that article was to demean Julia Gillard, not to communicate meaning and to explain the process that took place before and within the Business Tax Working Group.  Instead, they could have explained the difficulties inherent in the BTWG achieving tax changes to offset corporate tax cuts.  Business wants only benefits. It is unwilling to forego anything to achieve them.  The outcome is much more a commentary on the power of self-interest among businessmen than it is a commentary on the Government’s objectives in establishing the BTWG.

You ought to send your comment to Hepworth and Uren and the editor of The Australian.  It may make no difference, but if many of us take that type of action, eventually we may dent their hard attitudes.

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 03:19 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your comment.

The media hate missing anything – they are supposed to be the ‘insiders’!

Tell me, where are the Libs laying out their succession plans?

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 03:23 PM

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Austin 3:16
That is the question – will the electorate make an informed and rational decision about who should govern us?  They may not be interested or inclined to do so, but even if they were, they certainly could not do so with what they are being fed day after day by the MSM

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 03:54 PM


Like Robynne I too am terrified. My own tipping piont came with the PM's misogyny speech. Like the majority of people I cheered when the PM finally articulated what we all knew - Abbott was a mysogynist and hypoctite. Like the majority I was gratified when the speech went viral and was picked up by respected news organisations globally. And then reality set in when the next morning our completely dysfunctional Australian media utterly ignored it, concentrating  - to a man - on Gillards supposed support for Slipper - a complete fiction. Clearly, in lock step, the media had deliberately and willingly decided what the agenda would be irrespective of the actual news

This has gone beyond just a concern. How bad does it have to get before it becomes treason? The MSM have become propagandists.

Voting is compulsory in our country and 'journalism' has now become merely an attempt to convince the majority of even untruths if that is what is  necessary to achieve regime change.

.....so, in who's advantage is it to achieve 'regime change' to an Abbott co-alition right wing government? Big Business?    

It is all very sinister


October 26. 2012 04:06 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
I’ve now worked through you great collection of links. Thank you for them.

WeMatterMedia is an interesting site, and the article a good one, on a theme similar to this one.

What a surprise it was to read Niki Savva’s article that was so critical of Abbott – the troops must be getting restless.

I was disappointed I couldn’t play the video of Kathy Jackson and Craig Thomson’s lawyer, Chris McArdle, but my Internet is too slow at present.

Renai LeMay asks on DeLimiter why Joe Hockey keeps telling lies about the NBN.  What a naïve question!

I’m off now to shop. Back later.

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 04:12 PM

Ad astra reply

We are all terrified by our media.  ‘Treason’ is not an inappropriate tag when one realizes that our media is deliberately perverting political discourse to its own ideological and commercial ends.

We have to ask who benefits from an Abbott Coalition government, and the answer is some in business, the miners, the media, and Rupert Murdoch.  Enough said.

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 04:22 PM


Ad astra

This is what archiearchive was referring to with regard to leadership change in the Liberal Party.

A Careful Preparation
by archiearchive

And so we have seen a slow but growing undercurrent of criticism. A gradual shift from unquestioning support for the “ageing student politician”. A necessary change in position for the scribes. They must have a chance to show that they have not been unthinking in their support for an increasingly unpopular leader.


October 26. 2012 05:06 PM


I just had a debate online with a senior journo from the ABC who keeps calling the abuse of refugees some mysterious thing called a border protection policy.

Instead of initially engaging he told me to piss off and said he would continue to report the lie.  WE will see.

But Astra, what is Gillard doing actually?  She has no vision, no policy areas that are her own - everything that is happening now is Rudd's vision.

HOw is returning to the brutal abuse of refugees a good thing for a country that is on the executive committee to make sure countries live up to their obligations helping anyone?

Seems though that Nauru is sick of us already and is charging 30 times more than usual for visas that the refugees have not applied for.

HOw is sticking it to single parents and making them and their kids more destitute than before good for the country?

A mining tax they were told was so useless it would raise nothing has raised nothing.

And emissions reduction here balanced out with massive increases in coal sales overseas, how is that good for the country.

Staying in Afghanistan watching poppies grow and children starve, how is that good for the country?

Having no clue about the right to a separation of powers under our pathetic constitution and branding people criminals without charge or trial, how is that good for the country.

Stealing more and more aboriginal land while handing out mining licences for the uranium to flog to nuclear armed India while Pakistan is in turmoil and the industry is on the verge of a hellish nightmare - how is that good for the country.

How does it help to continue the oppression and abuse of aborigines for another 10 years when the first 5 years of the Howard oppression saw a massive increase in suicides, job losses and despair.

How does being a virtual dictator help Australia?

And how can she whinge about sexism when she climbed over the bones of 4 ALP men in 5 years to get the top job?

You have to take your blinkers off, she is the most racist PM since Billy Hughes.


October 26. 2012 05:30 PM

Wake Up

Whilst I know the Australian Press Council is a toothless tiger, it still has to at least be seen to be taking complaints seriously and to that end I urge everyone to complain every time they see this sort of nonsense in the print/online media.

It is a very simple process, can be done online and only takes a few minutes:


Chances are they will find a way to close the complaint without adjudication, however before they do, someone has to look at your complaint, process it, seek more information from the publication responsible for the article and then respond back to you. This all involves time and effort by the APC and more importantly by the publisher.

I can assure you this is an extremely painful process for them both and if mountains of complaints were levelled at them everyday they would soon get sick of it and probably tone things down a tad.

I've done it 5 times this week already and will continue to do so if these morons insist on treating me with contempt by writing such crap all the time.

Let's face it, it's not hard to find something to complain about when every day Limited News offers a huge selection of targets.

Wake Up

October 26. 2012 05:39 PM


The Libs are not laying out their plans in public. They are doing it with gentle nods and winks to the Press Gallery.

"How do we report today's horrible blunder by the LOTO?"
"Oh, don't go flat out and say something you may need to withdraw in six months time."
"So Abbott is gone?"
"We didn't say that." *wink*

The result is that we, the easily spooked electorate see Niki Savva's name under a headline "That quacking is Abbott, sitting duck". We see Peter Hartcher gently chiding Abbott, "Mission rethink for Abbott". There have been others recently.

Not a lot but after two years of non-stop unalloyed praise, support and sycophantic arse-licking, it is a major change.

This is where we, the outsiders, will see the preparation to replace a thuggish fool with a suave con-man.


October 26. 2012 05:42 PM

Barry Tucker

Ad astra. I have today Tweeted this standard message to some 50 journalists and news media outlets: "More & more people are complaining about bias & imbalance in ABC News & Current Affairs. What do you say about this?"

Replies were still coming in late this afternoon. In almost every case checked so far, ABC journalists say they are not aware of any bias. Why then is there the perception among listeners and viewers that bias does exist? These comments can be viewed on my Twitter account @btckr.

I got SUSPENDED for my Twitter campaign. In the downtime I emailed Senator Conroy (ABC his responsibility) with an outline of the perception, with links to blogs, and included comments made following those blogs. I asked the Senator to review the matter and to ensure the ABC's impartiality. I sent a copy to the Prime Minister.

There is much more to do, and there is much that concerned citizens can do by protesting to the news outlets themselves. When you protest you are heard. When you comment on blogs hardly anyone notices.

Apart from independent blogs like yours, the ABC is now the last hope for objective, fair and unbiased commentary on political affairs for a wider audience because the print media has been thoroughly corrupted.

Unfortunately, like many others, I feel the last bastion has been lost -- and it may have been lost for decades to come.

Barry Tucker

October 26. 2012 05:44 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you.  What an interesting read on Archies Archive: archiearchive.wordpress.com/.../

But we don’t want Abbott – the gift that keeps on giving – going just yet, do we!

Thank you fir the additional intelligence on Abbott man.

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 05:50 PM

Ad astra reply

Barrie Tucker
Good on you for your efforts!  Clearly the MSM is in denial again, just as it was when there was the worldwide take up of the Gillard 'misogyny' address.  

Cocooned in Canberra they are like creatures that live underground who cannot see when exposed to the glare of daylight.

Why and how were you suspended?  Who did that?

You are right - if we irretrievably lose the ABC, what have we left in the Fourth Estate?

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 05:54 PM

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Wake Up
Thank you for the Australian Press Council address.  Let’s all complain whenever there is a flagrant abuse of media power and influence.

I have bookmarked the Australian Press Council Complaint Form.  It looks easy to use.


Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 07:17 PM

42 long

The far right see the current ABC as still hopelessly left biassed. Abbott will privatise it.  The current manager will be suitably rewarded. They cannot conceive of any serious opposition to their supportive "free" press. The threat to democratic socialist governments and policies stem from the press that promotes unfettered exploitation of resources and those who make obscene amounts of money making more of it and giving lss to the lower socio economic groups. This sounds like a raving leftie rant but the situation has never been more obvious both in the USA and it's imitators of the TEA Party here. Both parties should be renamed. There is nothing LIBERAL about the LieNP. It is NOW a semi religious elitist born to rule mob of crazy right wingers that would scare the pants off any thinking humanist inclined liberal thinker in a marriage of convenience with the remnants of a group of farmers that hate communists,  (like school teachers and anyone who works for the public service). They are in an unholy alliance formed under Menzies for the critical mass of that party to exist.The Democratic Labour Party with the help of B A Santamaria and Archbishop Mannix helped keep Labout out. Control of the media is doing the same JOB now but is the media controlled by the LNP or are they a SLAVE to the aims of and a front for the people who bACK them through the Media.. Look at the funders of the LNP and you can work out where there aims will be directed. People and groups don't support Partys with lots of money unless there is a pay back and there always is. In some countries it is a direct corruption, where good deals fall to those who support the successfull party.   That will happen here if Abbott gets to rule.The ordinary person is only needed to get a vote on the day. That is why so much effort has been put in by the MSM lately. They deny that they have such influence. Murdoch never denies that he doesn't want Labor in government here. You don't have to be real smart to see what's going on. Lets keep polling and letting them know we think they are on the nose. A democracy need a free press willing to provide a non biased analysis of the situation. We get nothing like it. They still keep giving us their propaganda and LIES.

42 long

October 26. 2012 07:52 PM

Ad astra reply

42 long
Sadly, you are right: "A democracy need a free press willing to provide a non biased analysis of the situation. We get nothing like it. They still keep giving us their propaganda and LIES.

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 07:53 PM

Ad astra reply

I'm calling it a day.

Ad astra reply

October 26. 2012 10:16 PM


While generally I agree with the thoughts of 42long above - the ABC in Queensland has been doing a reasonable job over the recent couple of days in prosecuting the case of the potential misleading of Parliament by the Director General of Transport (and former Liberal State President).

The nice thing about it is that the LNP can't win on this one.  If found guilty, it will be all over the media again in a couple of months, if found innocent it won't be a big story.  The perception of Government sleaze in the Queensland media over the last couple of days will stay (and be added to the existing discontent over Newman's 14000 job cuts).

Headlines such as DG on $10,000 a week forced on leave are damaging to the LNP (link below).  The question to be asked here is do the media have it in for Governments in general, or is Newman so bad his Government is a "special" case?  



October 26. 2012 10:23 PM

Tom of Melbourne

” Both parties should be renamed.”

Interesting. But I only saw you comment on half the suggestion.

What should we call the ALP?  The Association for Lack of Principles? Or perhaps CCSI – the Club for Career & Self Interest?

Tom of Melbourne

October 26. 2012 11:04 PM



The question to be asked here is do the media have it in for Governments in general, or is Newman so bad his Government is a "special" case?

A similar thought was rattling 'round in my brain this afternoon - not for the first time. In the world of gotchas and scandal there are significantly more bonus points for landing a blow against a member of the government than for a member of the opposition. We should always bear this in mind whenever we complain about a particular programme or media house having it in for the government. At the moment, federally, that means any attempt at scoring points off federal Labor. If it was a federal Liberal government we might well be cheering them on. Tabloid television seems to be the main offender, closely followed by tabloid newspapers - look at some of the stuff directed at the NSW and Victorian governments.

That doesn't mean that some of the other stuff isn't happening with regard to places like The Australian and editorial policy at the AFR but it is a mistake to think that media motivations are simple, direct or entirely partisan. The media is a complex monster with many different motivations and it is mainly because we discuss politics here that we focus on its political motivations. It is an ugly, ugly thing with more than one wart on the end of its nose.


October 26. 2012 11:35 PM


Two links to restore faith in the future of journalism. The first is from The Daily Telegraph and proves that objective informative journalism is still being practised by some reporters.

Gillard looks beyond the mire to Asia
by Paul Osborne     AAP

IF there's one thing Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott agree on it's that Australia's future - and that of its rural sector - lies in Asia.

Based on speeches they gave to a National Farmers' Federation (NFF) conference in Canberra this week, the Prime Minister is keeping her focus on long-term thinking. But one would be left with little idea what a coalition government would do to boost ties with Asia.


The second is perhaps indicative of what the 'new media' will look like.

Time to put baby bonus myths to bed
by Nick Parr     The Conversation

The Gillard government’s plan to cut the baby bonus for second and subsequent children from $5000 to $3000 from July 1 2013 raises issues of equity and demographic change. Some have welcomed what they see as a cut to middle-class welfare; Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has hinted at adverse demographic effects. However, neither position is correct.


October 27. 2012 03:30 AM


Ad Astra @ October 26. 2012 05:50 PM
Cocooned in Canberra they are like creatures that live underground who cannot see when exposed to the glare of daylight.

[tongue in cheek on] [chip on shoulder firmly in place]
Dear Mr Astra and all other Swords Folk,
Stop blaming Canberra

First up remember it is you blighters that elect the majority of the politicians that you send to Canberra to sit in The House In THe Hill to pontificate on the nation's behalf.

Just think about this for a moment; out of the 224 members and senators the ACT (Canberra) with around 250,000 voters elect four of them while Tasmania with around 360,000 voters elects 15 of the blighters that fly in/fly out to send up hot air in Canberra.

The actual finger you were pointing was at the members of Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery. Now it is a picky point but not all of them live in Canberra. A good number cross the border from Queanbeyan which is is in New South Wales. There are also some that only fly in from elsewhere while parliament is sitting and fly out again.

There are real people with real lives that have nothing to do with the politicians you lot foist upon us who live in this wonderful city.

Don't blame us. It is all your fault. You keep voting for them and encouraging them and as a result like bees to honey they attract those pernicious press people.

Slightly seriously:

Federal and state Labor governments should learn from ACT Labor's improved showing in Saturday's territory election, the former chief minister Jon Stanhope said.
The territory's longest-serving leader said yesterday ALP governments around Australia had crumbled in the past two years because they had strayed from core Labor values.

Stanhope backs core Labor values Noel Towell @Canberra Times

... and to Labor a point and show we ordinary folk in Canberra are smarter than you lot:

The final figures are not in, but a pro-female swing is clearly discernable in last weekend's ACT election.
Maybe the general political environment of Julia Gillard's denunciation of Tony Abbott for being what she called misogynist might have rallied female voters.

Women prove winners on the hustings  Crispin Hull @CanberraTimes

Not only did the Labor primary vote increase we put women ahead of men.

Canberra is a progressive place despite all those other drongo politicians and journalists you lot foist upon us so go hang your heads in shame.
[tongue in cheek off] [chip on shoulder moved slightly]


October 27. 2012 03:40 AM


I have over the last two days I have spent what I consider two of the most wonderful hours ever listening to a very enjoyable, highly entertaining and informative radio programme.

Late Night Live only goes for an hour but I listened to it twice and may even go back for a third helping.

Mr Adams had a 'fireside chat' with Bob Rogers and the programme is a gem.

Bob Rogers landed his first job in radio as a panel operator in Melbourne in 1942. He became an announcer at 7HO in Hobart in 1949 and he's still behind the microphone in 2012, now as the morning presenter on Sydney radio station 2CH. He talks about the history of commercial radio in Australia and his part in it.

Go listen and you will hear some wonderful stories some of them germane to Ad's current post.


October 27. 2012 03:45 AM


+1000 What NormanK said @ October 26. 2012 11:04 PM


October 27. 2012 03:49 AM


... and now I have caught up

... it's good morning from him and good night from me


October 27. 2012 08:10 AM


NormanK - why is it that you put on record so eloquently what I was trying to say?  

To explore the theme a bit further, "Gotya" reporting sells papers (or TV shows) - I don't think that anyone really disagrees with that statement.  Is there such a "need" to sell media product at present the public agrees with the current standard of reporting or have "we" as a population become so dumbed down that we accept it as the best practice?  

While there are websites such as The Global Mail, The Conversation, The Hoopla,Independent Australia and to a lesser extent Crikey, New Matilda and so on - none of them seem to be financially viable in their own right (being funded by donation, part time writers and so on).  Is the lack of stand alone viability due to the usually in depth reporting being "not s-xy enough",  is it that people just don't know about the sites or is the Internet delivery model not sufficiently advanced that the population doesn't feel comfortable ditching their traditional sources of news - even though they will acknowledge the quality has diminished over the years.  The aritcles you refer to in your 11:35pm post I would suggest are on an inside page of the dead tree editions and are in reality probably used to separate the advertising (or they didn't get the advertising they were expecting?)


October 27. 2012 09:35 AM


OMIDOG Latika Bourke interviewing Sinodinos!

She actually asked a couple of slightly critical-of-LNP q's, including one on Abbortt's boorish references to *J*U*L*I*A*s childlessness. Desert-head had it all ready, wtte "I think what he was referring to was the fact that MP's have to spend so much time away from their families . .  Oh and someone (Labor) said something about someone LNP spending too much time in North Sydney . . . so see that's the same thing . . ."

Of course Leaky followed up with insistent Oh-come-off-the-grass-Arthur questions immediately didn't she.

As if!    


October 27. 2012 09:45 AM

Sir Ian Crisp

Why no contributions from TPS claquer 'Bring back Maxine'? I would have thought she would be in here trying to increase sales of her tell-all book.

I hope she is still welcome here at TPS.

Sir Ian Crisp

October 27. 2012 10:54 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody

Twitterverse for you:-

Bushfire Bill
Posted Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 9:32 am
Hartcher wishes to taint the Gillard government with illegitimacy by going back to square one and calling Rudd’s replacement illegitimate


Crunch time for one-trick Tony, Tony Walker, AFR

Lenore Taylor
Where abbott fears to tread, but some wish he would www.smh.com.au/.../...ombshell-20121026-28atr.html … via @smh

John Hanna‏
Guess who Peter Hartcher is writing about this Saturday, go on, I dare you. #SMH http://goo.gl/Mmzwz

According to Mike Carlton, Tony Abbott is really very stoooopid, not bright at all - www.smh.com.au/.../...e-abbott-20121026-28ax4.html

smh Agreeing with Carlton: Abbott "stupidly shoves both feet in his mouth before the brain is in gear

One dark night the Labor Party would rather forget, Dennis Atkins

Joe Hockey sticks up for economic opportunism, Laurie Oakes

Bishop's revelation exposes Abbott's intention to call election, Phillip Coorey
Ms Bishop's revelation confirms the long-held suspicions of the independents, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, who never trusted Mr Abbott's assurances he would govern for the full term.

VegemiteBlues‏   by  Michael Gordon
The real lesson to be learnt from Labor's history wars www.theage.com.au/.../...-wars-20121026-28ay8.html … via @theage #auspol

In 2007 Mr Abbott said people should refrain from making a judgment about Mr Laming (what about Thomson?) #auspol pic.twitter.com/69P9pZIW

Asia Pacific News‏
Swan drank with PM the night before coup - The Canberra Times http://bit.ly/VOE3od #News #Australia



October 27. 2012 10:57 AM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your witty comment at 3.30 AM.  With tongue in cheek I’m sure you realized that the cocoon to which I was referring was that in which the Canberra Press Gallery resides, and you probably suspected that I was not referring so much to a physical cocoon, but rather a psychological one.

While this group is human, many with families, some not even resident in Canberra, they exist within a work environment with all its contemporary pressures, commercial and ideological.  The imperative that governs their working life is to produce copy that is first entertaining, next sensational, preferably ground breaking, and always first on the newsstands.  They abhor being left behind, being caught unawares, looking uninformed, and worst of all appearing to be stupid.

I suspect that the pressure under which they work engenders a habit of keeping an eye on what other journalists are doing and saying, watching where they are getting their stories, trying always to get a scoop, an exclusive, and of course a significant gotcha.  They are bombarded with press releases from which they often conjure stories, too often with little forensic analysis.  

They talk to colleagues down the hallway; they seek whispers in parliamentary corridors; they ring their ‘sources’, they watch each other’s writings and programs, they chat at their drinking holes.  How much time do they have to talk with ordinary people, the average Joe or Jenny?  I suspect not much.  The output from polls and focus groups is probably as near as they get to ascertain what ordinary folk think.

In their cocoon, groupthink must operate decisively and govern their thinking.  Were they to take a break and talk with the man and woman in the suburban street away from their cocoon, where the bright sunshine illuminates, a different perspective might be possible.

But even when such a foray into the suburbs does occur, it is often to pursue a political objective, such as showing how devastating a carbon tax induced increase of $9.90 a week in electricity prices with be in this family with two school children, struggling as it is on an income of just $150,000 a year.  

I don’t have a ready remedy to counter the cocoon problem, nor it appears do they.

‘Cocoon’ seems an apt metaphor.  But I did enjoy your humorous take on it.  I say again, you should be writing original pieces for TPS.

Ad astra reply

October 27. 2012 11:06 AM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
I have to go shopping now; I’ll look at your Twitterverse when I return.  It looks fascinating!

Ad astra reply

October 27. 2012 01:12 PM


*Shakes Head*

samantha maiden ‏@samanthamaiden
Faceless man Don Farrell beats Penny Wong in SA Senate ballot 112 votes to 83. The Finance Minister will be dumped to second place #auspol

The Shoppies Union rules the roost and it is a worry.


October 27. 2012 04:15 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Has Maxine McKew gone from being a great judge of the political sentiment to a poor one? I doubt it.

Do faceless men & hacks  run the ALP? Penny Wong probably thinks so.

Is Gillard predisposed to dishonesty? The evidence mounts that this is the case

Tom of Melbourne

October 27. 2012 04:24 PM


Don Farrell got rid of one of the best senators SA has ever had in Linda Kirk and he did it as a personal grudge.

Now the right in SA, thugs like Koutsantonis and Atkinson, want to get rid of Wong although Wong would still win from 2 spot.

The ALP has become a sick joke and only the most partisan of hacks could ever stand for them.


October 27. 2012 04:50 PM


Marilyn & ToM,
              Why don't you two poor excuses for humans get a room together!
Although I'm not a member of the SA Right what happened on the floor today at state conference was in accordance with our rules!
It will be over turned by the national executive and rightly so.
The only sick joke would be you two! do nothing whingers of the first order who carp from the sidelines.



October 27. 2012 05:02 PM


Laurie Oakes is more on the ball this week-end:

Tony Abbott...is shameless about putting politics ahead of economic responsibility—or, for that matter, truth.



October 27. 2012 05:15 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
I’ve now read your Twitterverse – what a remarkable collection!

I see journalists are out critiquing Maxine McKew’s Tales from the Political Trenches.  Peter Hartcher has a goes at it in two articles, predictably both uncomplimentary to Julia Gillard, and he takes a swipe at Wayne Swan on the way.  Dennis Atkins also had a go.

But I find Michael Gordon’s appraisal of McKew’s book the most plausible.  He concludes that it will change attitudes to Julia Gillard very little: ”McKew's narrative is likely to do little more than reinforce existing perceptions, positive and negative, about Gillard and Rudd. Its value is as a clarion call to the political class to aspire to something better.”

Read more: www.theage.com.au/.../...-wars-20121026-28ay8.html

It is noteworthy that The Australian newspaper, seemingly piqued by the Fairfax coup of getting the nod to serialize McKew’s book, has one of its columnists taking a shot at Fairfax, while trumpeting the astuteness of The Oz in the time leading up to the coup that displaced Kevin Rudd.  If you can get behind the pay wall, it’s an amusing read.  Peter van Onselen pulls out all the stops to extol that paper and in particular Dennis Shanahan, whom he paints as an astute observer who ‘scooped the media pack’.  

Titled: McKew's news: remember, you read it here first, PvO paints the revelations in her book as ‘old hat’, insisting that Dennis and Co exposed all McKew’s revelations at the time, two years ago.  The fact that no one accurately predicted the actual coup that memorable Thursday evening, does not dissuade him from re-writing history to place The Oz and guru Dennis in a favourable light.


The articles by Mike Carlton, Tony Walker, Laurie Oakes, and even the one by Lenore Taylor, may be forerunners of other articles that point to Tony Abbott’s weaknesses, mistakes, and inflexibility, characteristics that raise serious questions about the future of his leadership of the Coalition and about his suitability for high office.  When columnists start using words like ‘rattled’ to describe Abbott, it suggests that they at last are prepared to call him for what he is, something we’ve been urging them to do all year.  Unless he can change rapidly and markedly, and I doubt if he can, the writing is clearly on the wall.

Ad astra reply

October 27. 2012 05:33 PM


Ad astra

You might be interested in this article by Peter Hartcher, written in November 2010. It seems Peter has selective amnesia when it comes to describing the events of June 2010.

The call that rolled Rudd
by Peter Hartcher     SMH  27/11/2010

Should Labor switch to Gillard? "It certainly wouldn't be worse." But he didn't think it would happen. Gillard was not running. "She's being loyal," Richardson told The Sunday Telegraph in comments published on June 20, three days before the coup.
He was not speculating. Some of the faceless men had approached her, urging her to run, and met resistance. This was the third prerequisite for a challenge - a challenger. And Rudd was safe as long as Gillard was immovable.



October 27. 2012 05:51 PM


Great stuff AA you keep getting better.I just wish more of the general public were aware of TPS.
Re the ABC - in the past people who had no particular interest or affiliation with the political process but who were obliged as we all are to vote and who wanted an unbiased and informed opinion of policy would tune in to the ABC before they voted.The old saying was you get the truth from Aunty.Sadly this option no longer exists.I must unfortunately conclude that the infiltration of News Ltd and their cohorts is complete in the MSM.Rupot may own 70% but he controls 100%.


October 27. 2012 05:59 PM

Tom of Melbourne

“In accordance with our rules”

Oh, well that makes it all ok doesn’t it Jason? I mean, as long as the ALP rules manage to accommodate with whim of ambitious hacks, the ALP is a great political party!

Ad Astra is right! The media just shouldn’t be allowed to report this kind of stuff.

Tom of Melbourne

October 27. 2012 05:59 PM


Ad astra

Here's a perfect example of what you are railing against in your article.
Simon Benson wants to make much of the resumption of sitting next week as being something that Gillard must be dreading because she still has Rudd and Thomson to deal with. The whole article is peopled by strawmen but the following paragraphs show how badly we are being let down.

If Craig Thomson is charged, as has become a possibility following the show-trial police raid of his Central Coast home this week, the situation for the PM becomes more complex.

It will be harder to defend Coalition attacks that the government is relying on a "tainted" vote. The presumption of innocence won't matter politically despite the obvious offence to the voters of Dobell that they will be denied a voice in parliament for the remainder of the electoral cycle.


I wish Mr Benson would spell out to me just exactly how a government or a party or a parliament 'rejects' the vote of an elected parliamentarian. Spell out for me in clear unequivocal terms, based on the Constitution or established convention how the voters of Dobell [might] be denied a voice in parliament for the remainder of the electoral cycle.


October 27. 2012 06:15 PM

Ad astra reply

What a gem that Hartcher article is.  Thank you for finding it.

Everyone interested in the Rudd ‘coup’ and the players in it should read it. Hartcher give Julia Gillard a clean slate back on 27 November 2010.  Now he is pillorying her.  That exposes Hartcher as opportunistic in his reporting; he was supportive in 2010, but negative now.  How the past comes back to haunt even political columnists!


I read the Benson article and thought the same as you did.  Like so many News Limited journalists, he just makes it up as he goes along.


Ad astra reply

October 27. 2012 06:18 PM


   As you know I didn't write the rules! but be that as it may who cares what you think? I'm sure if Penny was put in the number one position you would bitched and whinged about that! because that's all you ever do.


October 27. 2012 06:18 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your kind remarks.  Your disappointment with the ABC matches that of many others who comment here.  Yet with the rest of the MSM is such a parlous state, it might be the one element of the media that is capable of reviving the rest.  That might be a good subject for another piece.

Ad astra reply

October 27. 2012 06:38 PM


Shortchanged and Elvis has left the building forever it seems. (MSM's ability to just do their job).

It's as if this extreme right wing ideology has swept the world and we didn't get any exemption. Tony Abbott's negativity and vile behaviour has spread through Canberra, I honestly don't know how people could think and act like that, with others standing by and giving him support, then these people in the media calling themselves journalists? More akin to eloquent named trolls. Keep up the great work here, the MSM environment has driven me to get moving and seek media/articles/stories/information elsewhere, this place being one of them. Thankyou.


October 27. 2012 07:39 PM


NormanK - have you sent an email/letter to Fairfax referring to the two articles and asking why the different "treatment"?  The reply, if you get one, would be interesting.

It's also a demonstration of the power of people with the skills, knowledge and technical capacity to search out contradictions - putting the large media companies on notice that similar behaviour will be called out by someone, somewhere.

A top find Sir, well done.


October 27. 2012 08:14 PM


re that PvO article you mentioned

Andrew Leigh ‏@ALeighMP
.@vanOnselenP enjoyed your "you read it here first" piece today. But no mention of this prescient front page piece? en.kiosko.net/au/2010-06-23/np/au_australian.html

The link is to a front page of the OZ. Note the date and then look for the Patricia Karvelas ‏@ the bottom right.

Interesting but as we all should know selective memory is the best of memories. Tong


October 27. 2012 08:57 PM


As much as I might enjoy basking in the glow of discovering that Hartcher article, the credit goes to someone at PB (who might have acknowledged someone on Twitter). As I remarked the other day, the interconnectedness of social media means that there are thousands of people conducting independent research on every imaginable subject and sharing their discoveries with everybody. Our esteemed journalists had better get used to the idea that if they have published something, no matter how long ago, some nerdy little geek is going to remember it or track it down. No wonder some of the old media feel threatened, there is nowhere to hide now. Where once their earlier musings were used to line bird-cages, now they sit forever in the digital archives.

While I'm on corrections - Ad astra the earlier cocoon comment came from the eloquent DMW.


October 27. 2012 10:00 PM


NormanK @ 8:57 PM
... and while I am on 'umbleness 'twas an honour to have my little rant equated to your fine prose. Smile


October 27. 2012 10:12 PM

Ad astra reply

Apologies for wrongly attributing your 3.30 AM comment to NormanK, who was kind enough to point to my error.  My comments to him in response ought to have been directed to you.

So I say to you, as I said to NormanK, you ought to be writing original contributions for TPS, such is the eloquence of your writing.

I note your comment at 3.40 AM, and when I am back to 3G speed I’ll play the Phillip Adams, Bob Rogers dialogue.

Apropos your links to the ACT elections last Saturday, I note tonight that Labor has now an eighth seat at the expense of the Greens, giving the remaining Green the balance of power. Shane Rattenbury is likely to join with Labor to form another minority government headed by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher despite Liberal Leader Zed Seslja having claimed victory a week ago.

I note your link to The Australian of 23 June 2010.  I wonder why PvO is ignoring Patricia Karvelas’ prescience, and lauding Dennis Shanahan so lavishly?

You are right – there is now nowhere for journalists to hide – their effusions are digitally preserved for posterity.

Thank you for your kind comment.

You are right – the Abbott pathology has infected many, but I sense that there are more and more ready to shake loose from his contamination and call him out.  It’s about time.  

I see that Joe Hockey is on Insiders in the morning.  It will be interesting to see how hard Barrie Cassidy goes at him.

I'm calling it a day.

Ad astra reply

October 27. 2012 10:28 PM


... and harking back to my little rant earlier today.

Never let the facts get in the road of a good rant and while you are at it cherry picks the statistics to suit your argument.

Just think about this for a moment; out of the 224 members and senators the ACT (Canberra) with around 250,000 voters elect four of them while Tasmania with around 360,000 voters elects 15 of the blighters that fly in/fly out to send up hot air in Canberra.

Those that are quick with mental arithmetic would have worked out that Tassie has one federal representative for every 24,000 voters while for the ACT it is one for every 62,500 voters.

Depending on which end of the telescope you are looking through that makes either Tassie over represented or the ACT seriously short changed. That is until you look at the national figures and rounded we have one federal representative for every 62,500 voters across the country.

Think it might have something to do with vertical equalisation or sumfink like that. That or some weird provisions in the constitution.


October 28. 2012 03:52 AM


This article, better written that most in the msm, captures the inadequacy of Paul Kelly who is full of his own self importance and in love with his own sonorous delivery. I disagree, however, that Laura Tingle is at the balanced end these days. She is full of promise but never delivers; perhaps intimidated by Fin Review’s, Editor in Chief, Stutchbury.
A similar analysis could be conducted of the ABC journalists who have a charter to inform and educate. Most of them, however, are derisive, critical, sarcastic and nasty. Of the TV journos there’s Chris Uhlman, Mark Simpkin, Hadyn Cooper, Tom Iggulden,  and Greg Jennett


October 28. 2012 08:10 AM

Ad astra reply

Harking back also, I hear Macca on Australia All Over this morning using the word ‘cocooned’ to describe the Canberra Press Gallery, accusing them of ‘same old, same old’ commentary, and lamenting the state of political discourse.  

Groupthink among observers perhaps!

Thank you for your complimentary remarks.

With virulent Government antagonist Michael Stutchbury as editor of the AFR, it must be difficult for even someone as usually balanced as Laura Tingle to hold her neutral position.  

The ABC is another issue – perhaps it ought to be the subject of another piece.

Ad astra reply

October 28. 2012 09:55 AM

Sir Ian Crisp

I wonder if elevating a male to the number one spot and placing a female at the number two spot on the South Australian ALP Senate ticket is a sign of misogyny. Wasn't our federal parliament treated to a vituperation against misogyny? Isn't the ALP opposed to misogyny?

Sir Ian Crisp

October 28. 2012 10:05 AM

Sir Ian Crisp

The Macquarie Dictionary describes misogyny as ''hatred of women''.

But editor Sue Butler says it will be expanded to ''entrenched prejudice against women'' in the next edition.

"We decided that we had the basic definition, hatred of women, but that's not how misogyny has been used for about the last 20, 30 years, particularly in feminist language," she told ABC radio.

A second definition was needed, she said, that was ''slightly stronger than sexist but heading in that direction towards entrenched prejudice rather than a visceral hatred".


BBC is not a Murdoch paper so its pedigree is beyond question.

Sir Ian Crisp

October 28. 2012 10:40 AM


Well....What can be done?..That depends on what is the problem.
Recently I(alongside another) started up a community forum within the fremwork of an established action planning group,for debate and discussion in the Environmental Arena. A topical area for discussion one would would think..particularly concerning our area of the Murray River and the environs.
But ..nothing!...as yet..not a cracker...views, yes..but posts and commentry..no!
I have to ask; where has all the radicalism gone? Are we all become de-radicalised to the point of silence?
I see here, on the Sword, many of us are radical and fiery to the point of revolution!..Some, I believe, are even printing T-shirts to that end!........The only opposition on the site comes from a couple of "...schoolboys creating mock farts in the mattinee kissing moments down at the local 'flea-pit' cinema"
Them and a crazy, phamplet waving mall-screecher imploring us all to "REPENT!..REPENT!"..but we are getting older.. if not there already.
Where are the radicals besides ourselves? What percentage of the torch-bearers are ready to pick up the baton and run with it? Bushfire Bill writes many brilliant pieces that are read and complimented...sure..but where is the ongoing discussion such commentry ought to bring about?...a couple of one-liners on PB. and that is it!...I have followed on with a point or two on PB. but nothing much else there as far as I can see.
And then you get such fools like Tom and Crisp who legitimise themselves by just drawing breath!...(who suffers for the waste of oxygen? I ask.)...
In my area of enviromental awareness, we are seeing a rise in managerial "Neo-Green" business-plan enviromentalism..ie; if it doesn't pay..make it go away!
So, one has to ask; Where are the radicals?
I think the fifth estate must begin to amalgamate its sources and create a pool of "insiders" within both govt' and industry to draw its' own news stories from to construct a solid, accurate, legitimate and permanent structure so that when the inevitable collapse of the MSM. comes about, we will not be at the mercy of a "new Murdochracy" in the form of a controlled social media news gathering system much the same as the old!


October 28. 2012 10:54 AM

Tom of Melbourne

•  The most senior woman in the Senate
•  The first female Finance Minister
•  One of the ALP’s best performers
•  A recent mother
•  An articulate spokesperson for homosexual rights.

…gets dumped for a time serving, irreverent union hack!

Welcome to misogyny ALP style.

Tom of Melbourne

October 28. 2012 11:24 AM

Ad astra reply

I like your fiery approach to political issues. You ask: “Where are the radicals?

Then you articulate what many here would endorse: “I think the fifth estate must begin to amalgamate its sources and create a pool of "insiders" within both government and industry to draw its own news stories from to construct a solid, accurate, legitimate and permanent structure so that when the inevitable collapse of the MSM comes about, we will not be at the mercy of a "new Murdochracy" in the form of a controlled social media news gathering system much the same as the old!

I am working with Web Monkey on ways in which the influence of The Political Sword might be extended, which will be ready for 2013, the election year.

As the traditional political MSM corrodes and dissipates, what replaces it must be sound, reliable and balanced.  Is a revamped ABC part of that process?  That will be the subject of another piece.

Ad astra reply

October 28. 2012 11:37 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody

Twitterverse for you:-

demafler: So this is why Morrison wouldnt tell us what was saidIN iNDO TALKS- ''Oh, no, we cannot,
'' www.smh.com.au/.../...he-boats-20121027-28c81.html

AGAIN - how many times Kevin Rudd's go round description of leadership coup http://News.com.au : www.news.com.au/.../story-fndo4bst-1226504567073 … via @newsdotcomHQ

NSW Premier O'Farrell's 'Get Clover' laws backfired, Sydney by-election winner Alex Greenwich says http://bit.ly/Rmqb0h #auspol #nswpol

Jane Wray‏
Queensland Health  trainee doctors out of work | The Courier-Mail: www.couriermail.com.au/.../story-e6freoof-1226504514577 … via @couriermail

Australian News‏
WA Liberals reject federal wheat stance: WA Liberals have emphatically rejected the Federal Lib... http://bit.ly/RbS9Z9 #ausnews

Latest figures for the Sydney by-election show a 15.7% swing against the Liberals. Where are the headlines in MSM? #syd12 #nswpol #libfail

James Massola‏
You can download the Asian century #whitepaper here: http://bit.ly/wM3VZ1

ABC News 24‏
You can find the Australia in the #AsianCentury #whitepaper online here: http://asiancentury.dpmc.gov.au/ #ABCNews24


Contextual Dan‏
FFS Joe, quit while you're behind #insiders

MSM - bury/ignore MC @C_L02 Hopefully Abbott's ambitions to become PM will crash & burn like Joe Hockey's credibility just did on #insiders

grace pettigrew
#insiders Cassidy challenging Hockey full on about his China baby bonus comment. Hockey looking very foolish.

interest rates low, economy growing and Gillard more popular... Joe Hockey says it's a tragedy #insiders

Agnes Mack‏
#insiders Barrie: But Abbott said we'll get economy growing again... the econom's growing at trend. Hockey: Should be growing above trend

Marian Rumens‏
According to #JoeHockey 'flatlining' means growth of 3% #auspol #qldpol

Des Egan‏
Gee, Joe Hockey being negative about the Govt whitepaper on our Asian future even before it is released. What an embarrassment

Agnes Mack‏
#insiders Seccombe : If 3% growth is flatlining, the word needs redefining

grace pettigrew‏
#insiders Jacqueline Maley, #smh gossip columnist, is way out of her depth in discussion of the politics of company tax, a waste of space


October 28. 2012 11:38 AM

Ad astra reply

I thought Insiders today was more balanced that is usually the case.  The panel was sound because it had three balanced commentators: Jacqueline Maley, Mike Seccombe and Brian Toohey.  Imagine today’s discussion were Piers Akerman or Michael Stutchbury there instead!

I thought Barrie Cassidy’s insistent questioning of Joe Hockey was appropriate, and showed up Hockey’s bumbling, blustering manner when confronted.

Mike Seccombe’s spray at Tony Abbott was the most powerful I have heard on Insiders.  Why have others not the courage to say what he said?  That is the question, and we believe we know the answer.

The Poll of Polls and Andrew Catsaras’ comments were fascinating.


Ad astra reply

October 28. 2012 11:51 AM


Tom..I couldn't have said it better myself!...Welcome to the ALP. left-faction.


October 28. 2012 12:16 PM

Wake Up

I think you will find that it is the ALP right faction at work here Jaycee.

Wake Up

October 28. 2012 12:19 PM


Good Afternoon Ad and Swordsters one and all,
rather than 'cocooned' I suspect the word 'clustered' would be a better descriptor of the press gallery (and for that matter it would be an apt descriptor for many groups, even those of us that cluster here at the Sword)

It is all too easy to tar all members of the Press Gallery with the same brush but membership of 200(?) plus they are a very diverse bunch. I know a few who are actively involved in team sports and even help out with administration. Laura Tingle is a member of a community choir. No doubt with a bit of digging we could find many involved in their local schools activities and other community ventures.

Cocooned could accurately describe some just as it would well describe some in the wider world. There is one whose lifestyle strongly suggests she is 'cocooned'. As far as I know Michelle is still first in and last out and appears to only travel between her home and the House In The Hill.

Another interesting thing about using 'cocooned', or 'clustered', as an example of what is 'wrong' about the Press Gallery is that clustering is a natural societal thing. We cluster within our families, schools, workplaces and other clusters.


October 28. 2012 12:38 PM


I totally agree with you on insiders I'm getting the impression that Barrie Cassidy is changing his style a little, gone have little girlish giggles that would emanate out of him at times. Especially when discussing women matters.
  Sharks are smelling the political blood in the water & are circling, is it the continuation of Leigh Sales effect? will Mark Scott pull him back into the lieberal preferred line next week? As you say interesting times.


October 28. 2012 12:46 PM


Also has anyone else noticed a distinct lack of both the poodle & robber(just to think of 2)on the telly over the last month at least? behind the scene dealings are afoot would be my guess, I can hear the knives being sharpened now to use a lieberal description.


October 28. 2012 01:07 PM


So, SIC, when Tony Abbott described Peter Slipper as a "misogynist", was he using the word to mean "hatred of women"?  I think not.  Instead of criticising Julia Gillard's use of "misogyny", consider who defined it first - directly before the Prime Minister's speech.


October 28. 2012 01:16 PM


Wake up...Yes, but I am of the left and I was (tounge firmly in cheek) welcoming sfb;Tom to the left!


October 28. 2012 01:19 PM


Abbortt won't undo the Carbon Price
Nor wind back the Mining Tax
He stop no boats, nor the NBN
I've said before and I'll say it again

Thexpletive might have to do here because otherwise I have to say, like, These are the #*CKING facts and truly Comrades I think it's all sort of silly doing that. But by-and-large anyway, this is a well-spoken blog, I like that. So I'd rather you correctly thought the dirty words for yourself, because that is English as She is spoke.  Expletives do add reality, because most of us use dirty words in daily speech, and emphasis, because they are inserted anybloodywhere they can lend their feeble aid . . .
but . . .
English is so pretty . . . and the best writing doesn't use any rude words at all.  I can't even imagine Ad, nor Lyn, ever using expletives, least of all in writing, so that says it all.

I'm not having ago at Comrade Jason Obelix at all btw, he occasionally diagnoses the odd case of fornicating ricardocephaly here, but he is always on the money anyway wrt  those he does so with. Though I think they are usually too limp for much of that. But mostly what Jason says is echoes of what the Limpies have already said. And that says a lot about them. Whereas in private 'phone conversations Jason's language is exemplary, Darwin Grammar College hoity-toity accent as well. Smile

But in VERSE, well that's a different matter again. We Pomesters claim as much verbal passing lane as we need to get by. So thexpletives have to be there, for emphasis and reality and rhythm.

Just read that little rhyme up the top again. It's true you know. For two reasons, each ABSOLUTE in its own right, the chronlogically second - after the election - backing up the first, as a secondary post is used to prop a corner post in a fence. I want to explain my logic here - not that I think I am first to think this way, but I've always thought it anyway since the last election. It's interesting, the second ensuring the first, in a reverse.


When SBY makes clear his absolute NO to Abbortt's Boats policy, as diplomatically he will;

when people see no damage to the sky but rather the reverse from the price on carbon;

when they see people glorifying in cheap instant on-line High-Speed Broadband connections;


when, well before the election, the Greens leaders, not cutely but very very gravely, address the scary reality of a possible LNP cabal running this country into the ground, and MAKE CLEAR TO THE PEOPLE THAT THEY WILL NOT TOLERATE TAMPERING with the great and good legislation which this Government(including Rudd's) has managed to pass, though the threat of Hell barred the way and though we have been under a Damoclean Sword all this time . . .

When they say that loud and clear, as for the sake of this country they MUST - that
He won't have the numbers in the Senate to win,
Then he won't get the chance, because [i]HE WON'T GET IN!i]

All clear Comrades?

Very good.

BTW Iknow Jason has always been aware of this insuperable hurdle for the LNP, that awareness has reassured and stiffened us like that cornerpost prop. It's a very good thing to be aware of; sure the Greens hold one vital key, I could wish they didn't, but just as Labor faces the reality of them, so must they face the reality of political reality: no perfection-or-nothing stuff now FFS please Greens, we simply mustn't let bickering on the Left mean that all is lost to the Right. RIGHT?
Yes, Right.    


October 28. 2012 01:25 PM

Ad astra reply

Whether we use ‘cocooned’ or ‘clustered’, the descriptor portrays a phenomenon that is at the centre of so many of the world’s problems.  People cocooned or clustered tend to hold similar views and values.  That can be a positive, but when clustering reduces or precludes the views and values of others, problems arise out of ignorance, prejudice, intolerance and bigotry, which can so easily lead to enmity, hatred and conflict.  

We see this phenomenon in religious and sectarian circles, and in politics.  Blind adherence to a set of beliefs and views, adherence that rejects other beliefs, values and views, and those who hold them, has been, and still is at the root of so much strife in our world.

We here at The Political Sword hold largely similar views and values.  We do not pretend though to be the purveyors of truth to the wider electorate, although we wish we could be.  The Canberra Press Gallery has a particular responsibility, an onerous one, to inform the electorate about what is happening politically, what the issues are, and what they mean for us.  Their offerings should be fact-based, well argued, balanced, and free of bias, and if an opinion is offered, it ought to be similarly based.  

But we know that too often they do not meet these desiderata.  They are sometimes ideologically driven, often commercially, something we see in News Limited all the time.  That distorts what they write, and misleads those who in twelve months time have to make a choice between two parties that are radically different in their values and policies, parties that will take this nation in very dissimilar directions.

That they have families, and outside lives, interests and activities is accepted, that these may influence their thinking is acknowledged, but that does not absolve them from doing their job professionally.  My complaint, and that of so much of the Fifth Estate, is that they are too often unprofessional, and at times both incompetent and malevolent.  They are abrogating the sacred responsibility they have to the public.

To give a medical analogy:  Doctors are obliged to always do the best for their patients, and certainly to do no harm.  They must establish rapport, gather the relevant facts, analyse them to reach a diagnosis, develop a plan to manage the condition in consultation with the patient, and guide the patient through that plan.   They may hold views and have a set of values about the condition and those who have it and about how best to manage it, than those held by the patient.  But at all times they are obliged to inform, guide, help and comfort the patient.  It is when the occasional practitioner deviates from accepted practice to follow his or her own aberrant line of thinking or treatment that trouble arises: patients are misled, mistreated or neglected.  

Likewise, it is the responsibility of political journalists to gather the facts, analyse them objectively, inform the electorate accurately, guide it logically, and assist it to reach a rational decision.  Instead, they often pursue an agenda that is not in the best interests of the electorate, one that is pushing the ideological or commercial interests of their proprietor or editor.  That is wrong, and we all know it.  Yet that is what we have, and being ‘cocooned’ or even ‘clustered’ aids and abets this malignant process.

DMW, I am enjoying our discourse – it clarifies my thinking with every exchange.  Thank you.

Ad astra reply

October 28. 2012 01:44 PM


Imagine that we had a Troll infestation
And nobody READ them
Let alone FED them
And nobody cared, not at all!


October 28. 2012 02:08 PM


Bye the way TT nice to see you back more often mate.


October 28. 2012 02:52 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Your Twitterverse bears no good news for the Coalition.  Morrison’s obfuscation is exposed; the ‘Get Clover’ campaign backfires on Barry O’Farrell with a 15.7% swing against the Liberals; there is disagreement in the Coalition about wheat de-regulation; trainee doctors are locked out of Campbell Newman’s hospitals; and there is agreement that Joe Hockey muffed his lines on Insiders.  

The only downside for Labor is the McKew book, which I suspect will be soon on the remaindering shelves.

The next Newspoll should be interesting.

Ad astra reply

October 28. 2012 02:52 PM


I think if anything The Political Sword would be most comfortable with the term Centre Left. The position of Gough Whitlam, of Don Dunstan, with a Browny-Green tinge too. But there's room for shades of pink and of green, even blue-green perhaps (if you are a few billion years bypassed by evolution.) Whatever, it suits my sense of freedom of thought and expression, I love it as I love Freedom and Truth and the Labor Party itself.

A couple of nice portmanteau words,

the former inspired by Ad astra's terms for Snotty Joe Hockey

Blustering, and bumbling -

And the second from DMW's description of the Press Gallery

cocooned and clustering
(I like this one)

What've we got, cocoon, cluster, clone, cluck, (nice comfy clutch of chicks)!) . . cuckoo, and shades of PUCKOON! which if anyone doesn't know is a weirdly funny book by Spike Milligan.

Comrades remember
I said come November
There would be an LNP Plot
Cos they HAVE to stab Abbortt!
Now's their chance, watch 'em grab it!
So: Turdball? - Or Joey da Snot?


October 28. 2012 02:56 PM


Hi Ad,
likewise learning is a part of the fun of it Smile

The words we use to describe things or people can sometimes have a harsh edge. One word can have implication of a trait which is very bad and/or highly undesirable where a word with similar meaning may be less offensive and convey the trait a little better. Meanings can also be contestable.  cocoon/cluster, misogynist/sexist, prejudiced/biased, pedant/formal maybe?

That they have families, and outside lives, interests and activities is accepted, that these may influence their thinking is acknowledged, ...

One of the problems, as I see it, is that some in the fifth estate are using terms like cocooned to imply that the gallery don't know anything about what it is like in the 'real' world and that those in the gallery are the only ones that are so totally myopic and insular, well, except for those on the conservative side of course.

Truth is we can all be 'guilty' of myopia and/or insularity in some areas of our lives.

I also suspect that a lot of 'good' reporting and/or analysis gets overlooked, missed or not commented on because of an obsession by some with finding bias, inaccuracy or whatever in the daily output of the MSM.

The ABC is a good example. There are many great programmes that give a thorough look at a topic (even 'political' stuff) but some obsessed with 'proving' that particular personalities are obviously lackies of the opposite side. It doesn't prove things one way or another but it is interesting that very often when say, Leigh Sales interviews a polly, it is perceived as too hard by many partisans on one side and too soft by partisans from the other side. Some see the interview as reasonable and balanced.

Labels are handy things and help us make sense of things but there is a propensity to label things and people in politics and commentary thereupon in a very strict and confining way.

It is all very complex; a bit like life I guess.


October 28. 2012 04:11 PM


I am watching my predictions as in certain places one might watch a cock (and pussy!) fight : I can't directly influence it except by urging, but I can make my predictions about the outcome, and the Pussy I've backed (with real real money too), after sharpening her claws and biding her time against the frantic flapdoodling of the brainless braggart rooster crowing and squawking about her head, has drawn serious blood in her first real demonstration of her lethal power.

Finally goaded to retaliate by Cock Abbortt's outrageous personal attacks on her, *J*U*L*I*A* must even have surprised herself with her devastating, spontaneous, unplanned lightning strike against him.

Here now we see bedraggled ineffectual Cock Abbortt, tongue out, eyes bulging, panting, dripping blood, nonplussed: soon he will be pecked to death by his own mates, though as cocks go they're not very impressive at all, just weak little peckers who are only able to challenge now that he is so weakened that he can no longer fight them off.

And as for LNP Pussies, what, Mesma?

None of them has any fighting ability against the Fighting Pussies and Cocks in the Government. And we of the Fighting 5th Estate should be screeching ourselves hoarse in support of our champions. As we do.  

SING HEY, Heh heh, Just checked Sportsbet where I put a nice wad on the Government not four months hence, at SEVENS. WOO-HOO, Labor's gone from $7 to $6.25 to $4.70 to $3.95 to $3.25 to $3 JUST NOW!

LNP, then counted a virtual CERT at $1.10 (the FOOLS!) is now out to $1.33, they don't look quite so strutting-cocky now! In four months! (and even at threes the betting is actually lagging behind the real situation, it always has been. Would any of you dear Readers be happy to be offering threes now? Mad if you would. Sevens was ridiculous even when I placed my stake, but I was happy to grab that price, I ain't proud!

I'm nearly in tears now and it's not down to the money I'm ever-more-confident of winning, it's the rush of seeing the Money turning to Labor like I always have said! I NEVER have bet so much as $2 on anything ever before, well this is a fair bit more than that, but much more than the money itself, I'm glad and proud I put money where my mouth has always been!

Cock and Pussy Fight, hope no-one objects too much to the metaphor, not a bad one in all the circs.

Dog I never thought to be barracking for the Cats! But then, *J*U*L*I*A* follows the Doggies so I guess it's all right.

Let's hear it through the blogosphere Comrades, practise yelling it inside yourself, it will help you be brave:

VENCEREMOS! ("Vencheraymos!") = *WE WILL WIN!*  

You bloody bet we will!  


October 28. 2012 04:26 PM


Ad I agree Insiders was a good program today with a worthwhile panel.

I have been thinking about whether the Libs will get rid of TAbbott. And I am thinking that perhaps they wont. To get rid of him they will have to 'knife him', he wont simply step down. And to knife him will mean they wont be able to use Rudd as successfully against the Labor party in the next election. It woulkd clearly show the electorate is that parties make decisions on leaders based on suitability not just popularity. A leader who is a loose cannon, control freak, actually not good at the job and unlikeable, is reason enough to get rid of them. To suddenly turn around and say TAbbott was good enough when he was scoring points with his lies, but now that he has been less successful we have to get rid of him and most of the front bench? How would that look? How would it work? TAbbott has made sure that most of the backbenchers, and the front benchers for that matter have not had to be clued up on their portfolio as they were never requested to ask any questions unless it was about assylum seekers or the carbon tax. Consequently they have no experience.

And think of all those people in the electorate who have been behind him. All the people who listen to every word of Alan Jones, Shanahan, Ackerman, Grattan and Savva say....how will they take it? Badly I suspect. They may be stuck with him.


October 28. 2012 06:04 PM


Hey everyone, have had a busy few days and has taken me ages to catch up.  It has been great reading all your comments from the last couple of days.  Missed Julia unveiling the Asian White paper.  Set tv to record but it didn't, damn and blast.  


I was wondering if there is a youtube or link to it.  I wish I knew how to find this stuff for myself, it is frustrating.

Knee High

Showing my ignorance here but a few of you have referred to Cleaver Greene.  I have no idea what it is about.  I feel really silly.


October 28. 2012 06:08 PM


Very true Lady in Red-if the libs dump abbott how do they explain it when they have spent 2yrs calling the PM a backstabber with blood on her hands. It will be up to the MSM to spin this story when they replace abbott,and they must but with whom? Turnbull looks priministerial is intelligent but a large portion of his own party despise him therefore the leaks alone would sink him but also he is not a politician by trade as it were and doesnt have the instinct for politics his fine words and a nice suit only go so far and more to the point he would be an  easy target for a disciplined career politician like PM Gillard, not to mention a 15.7% swing against the libs in part of his federal seat.Joe Hockey(the buffoon as he is known in business circles)is a laughable choice.Julie Bishop-no those crazy eyes wont do.C Pyne-Noooooooo!!-although it would make great copy on The Chaser.Not much to choose from is there-says a lot for the lib team.This is why the MSM have been trying to shore up Abbott recently.His supporters need him to do a hatchet job on the labor movement when(they think)he becomes PM-dont worry about running the country just conduct an idealogical purge.The dam is about to burst for the federal libs and it is there own fault they dont no how to gain votes only how to alienate voters.Tony(no policy)Abbott has painted himself and his party into a corner.  


October 28. 2012 06:27 PM


My entry to the choice of "C" words is "Cloistered".  I'm sure the Press Gallery in Canberra does interact with us "Meer mortals" who live in the ACT, however the majority of their time would be spent either at work or sleeping at home.

Its a really interesting discussion.  I hope I haven't intruded.


October 28. 2012 06:31 PM





October 28. 2012 06:38 PM



Cleaver Greene is the lawyer come rakish, playboy, likeable heart of gold character Rake on the ABC and in the last episode in trying to outsmart the very corrupt Minister for law and order finds himself sent to jail, and we have to wait until the next series to find out what happens.


October 28. 2012 06:47 PM


Uriah - I think they will keep him and go to the next election with him. He will have to go back to 'discipline Tony school' over the Christmas break, but I am not sure he can do it a second time. He can contain himself when he is in a winning position with easy questions and relentless repitition and factless drivel that no-one pulls him up on. But I think fact checking will bring him undone. His easy interviews are over even with MSM I think, especially now they know if they give him enough rope he ultimately creates some really stupid gaffs. All the while, and more importantly, the PM shows how statesperson like she is, poised and sure of herself and her position. Since her speech in parliament stripping TAbbott of any credibility I sense a greater confidence and suredness which undoubtedly will win her more respect amongst the electorate.


October 28. 2012 07:13 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

So, SIC, when Tony Abbott described Peter Slipper as a "misogynist", was he using the word to mean "hatred of women"?  I think not.  Instead of criticising Julia Gillard's use of "misogyny", consider who defined it first - directly before the Prime Minister's speech.


MWS, down boy. Are you aware of the TPS omerta? You aren't supposed to respond to Tom or myself.

Sir Ian Crisp

October 28. 2012 07:32 PM


For those here who haven't caught up with this on the 'tubes:

The Oxford dictionary updated the definition of misogyny nine years ago. Macquarie is just playing catch-up.



October 28. 2012 07:32 PM


Hi Gravel

You will notice how Julia was introduced, how she was spoken to, how she was treated.

They were so well mannered and Julia was introduced with the respect she deserves.  

Here is Julia for you :-

Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivers her address on the release of the Asian Century white paper.

This is the response from "You Know" who

Government needs to back paper with action: Abbott
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott responds to the Asian Century white paper, saying the Government is "weak on delivery" and needs to back up its talk with action



October 28. 2012 07:48 PM


Its a bit early to say the govt are weak on delivery,especially when abbott has not got the guts to announce policy to  the people he wants to vote for him.Who advises this amateur!!!The liberals strategy is in  a complete shambles.Meanwhile PM Gillard has her house in order and goes from strength to strenghth.


October 28. 2012 07:59 PM


Hi Lady in Red

Thankyou for posting the video of Julia's speech for Gravel.

I am sorry I didn't check by refreshing TPS.  My bad habit is half entering my post, then going away for more information. FrownFrown



October 28. 2012 10:04 PM


2353 @ 6:27 PM,
please, intrude at your leisure and pleasure.

Particularly when when you come up with words such as cloistered. Much better than clustered. A nuanced distinction too cocooned.

Taking a tangent, cloistered reminds me of musty old English churches with bats in the belfry.

In the church hierarchy if I remember correctly an Abbott is lesser being than a Bishop. Looks like the Liberal Party really has its' arse before its' face or sumfink. Bats in the belfry?

May be that, that thinking is influenced by the day being Sunday.


October 28. 2012 11:02 PM



TPP: 50-50 (was 54-46)
PV: Labor 36 (+3)  Coalition 41 (-4)
PPM: Gillard 45 (+2) Abbott 33 (-1)
Approval: Gillard 35 (-1) Abbott 30 (-3)
Disapproval: Gillard 51 (+1) Abbott 58 (+3)
Nettsat: Gillard -16  Abbott -28


October 29. 2012 12:24 AM



I am sad to tell you that my elder brother Gordon Bilney, Labor MHR for the SA seat of Kingston 1983-96, died today at the age of 73. I had no warning, though he was not well. I expected that he had many months left, but he died quite suddenly in the end of cardiac arrest.

Gordon was always my political guiding light and how can I say, so very much much more.

Those who knew him will know what I mean.

Alan Ramsey, one of the finest political journalists ever to grace Australia, and partner to the redoubtable Laura Tingle,  wrote an article about Gordon n the eve of the Rudd Government's first sitting in 2007, which will explain what I mean, without the inevitable personal prejudice which I as his brother could not avoid.

Alan's article runs to 4 pages but I will cut and paste just half the first page. After that you may follow the link to the the rest - which is like few articles about anyone.

Because my big brother Gordon was the best ever.  


In praise of certain PMs, past and present

Alan Ramsey
February 9, 2008

Page 1 of 5 |

I sorely miss Gordon Bilney. When the new Parliament meets on Tuesday, and Krudd and Co grace the government benches for the first time, there will be nobody of Bilney's like on either side. Bilney was like the Hawke years' John Button, another free spirit of great style and wit. It is no coincidence they are close friends. Bilney was the MP and Keating Labor minister from Adelaide's suburbs who, the week after his voters dumped him in the 1996 election of March 2 that gave us 12 years of John Howard's government, wrote to a carping local official in his electorate:

"Dear Mr Seamer,

"I saw today your letter of 26 February. One of the great pleasures of private life is that I need no longer be polite to nincompoops, bigots, curmudgeons and twerps who infest local government bodies and committees such as yours. In the particular case of your committee, that pleasure is acute.

"Yours sincerely … "

The official was so upset by Bilney's "bloody insulting" letter that he gave it to South Australia's then (short-lived) Liberal premier, Dean Brown, who immediately rubbished Bilney publicly as a "disgrace" and "not fit" to be in political life - which, of course, he no longer was - but I thought the beige Mr Brown a thoroughly humourless man who must surely often have felt similarly about such twerps as Bilney's target but had never had the courage to tell them to go elsewhere and and seek a life.

Bilney's life, on the other hand, has always been full of colour.

He was 13 years a politician and, before that, 16 years a diplomat, including a stint as an adviser to his political god, Gough Whitlam, before elective politics swept him up in 1983. Bilney enjoys his life, always did, including two wives, as much as he still does sailing, Australian Rules football, and the produce of South Australia's vineyards. And when he emailed me three days ago, I knew the content would be a joy.

"Dear Alan", he wrote. . .

Read on here


Gordon was a great reader, wonderful writer, bon vivant, wit, international diplomat, raconteur, friend of Gough Whitlam and Don Dunstan, staunch Labor man all his life, and historian for the Party.

It is ironic, but not unfitting, that he died on the day that Labor has come back to level pegging with the Opposition.

One thing Gordon got badly wrong. Years ago, while Costello was still in the Parliament but Brendan Nelson was about to be rolled, Gordon said Abbott would never lead the Liberals.  

He was wrong about that, but now, more than ever, I am determined to see that Abbott never becomes the Prime Minister. Today, Gordon would be delighted to know, that looks almost impossible.

I am more grateful for the Comradeship of the Sword than I can ever say. Thank you all for being so staunch.

VENCEREMOS! Through my tears.




October 29. 2012 02:01 AM


Dearest Talk Turkey, my sincere condolences to you at this sad time, probably made more difficult by the suddenness of it all.  What a brilliant man he was!  No wonder you admired him so, though I'm sure he was very proud of you too, no matter how different your career paths.  

If he didn't get to see this latest Newspoll perhaps he saw on Insiders this morning the Poll of Polls with Andrew Catsaras.  If not that, then he would have been aware of the narrowing which we are all watching and which, as you say, he would have been delighted to see.  

Kind thoughts for you and your family at this time of grief at your personal loss of one very close to you.  No doubt the nation will soon be mourning the passing of one of our distinguished citizens who has given good service to us all.  


October 29. 2012 04:24 AM


I am sort of lost for words

GB will live on in spirit and there are many fine moments in a life well spent to remember as you mourn the loss.

My heartfelt wishes


October 29. 2012 07:00 AM

Ad astra reply

Talk Turkey
We at The Political Sword who love you and all you bring to us, send you our deepest sympathy at the sudden sad loss of your dear brother.  He was a great man, highly respected and deeply loved, and a wonderful brother to you.

You and your dearest will be in our hearts over the sad days ahead.

Ad astra reply

October 29. 2012 07:08 AM



Down to the Crossroads , Mr Denmore, The Failed Estate
'Journalism at the Crossroads' is a vital addition to a growing body of scholarship in Australia and elsewhere about the role of journalism in a democratic society at a time of enormous change. In many ways, we can ALL now be journalists and we can all contribute to the noble art of finding things out and telling people about them. That has to be cause for hope.

Abbott on the edge, Bruce Haigh, On Line Opinion
Chances are that Abbott has also changed very little. Anger is a by-product of his ruthless, ‘whatever it takes’, ambition. Wed this to his conservative Christian beliefs and he becomes a crusader, using religion as a shield from criticism and to mask his real persona, or so he thinks. He is not trusted and he is not liked, particularly by women, but also by a lot of men who distrust his superficiality.

Geoff Shaw and the Liberal Party “Animal Farm”, Vince O’Grady, Independent Australia
It’s theatre on the political stage, allowing Abbott to get up and do his worst rendition of the political tragedy ― like a second rate actor and who keeps repeating the same lines, banging on about Thomson’s “tainted vote” and Julia Gillard’s alleged “incompetence”.

The Questions O'Farrell Won't Answer, Lawrence Bull and Wendy Bacon, New Matilda
New Matilda had some questions for NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell about James Packer's casino plans. We got a reply from his office - but no real answers. Here’s our exchange with the Premier’s office New Matilda submitted a list of questions to Barry O’Farrell about James Packer’s casino plans.We received a disappointing reply from Mark Tobin, previously a senior reporter at the ABC.

South Australia: Labor's Right faction , Gary Sauer-Thompson, Public Opinion
This Catholic conservatism has a deep faith in the sanctity of family and traditional male and female roles; by an equally profound hostility to the new social movements – feminism, gay liberationism, environmentalism – and to the forces of  “nihilism” and “relativism” that had supposedly taken root among the intellectual class.

Asian Century White Paper: experts respond, Craig Mark, The Conversation
Prime minister Julia Gillard released the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper in an address to the Lowy Institute on Sunday.The paper sets out 25 “national objectives” to prepare Australia for the rise of Asia in the 21st Century. These include boosting productivity, encouraging Asian language teaching in schools, strengthening

Open Warfare, Archie, Archie Archives
So there is “Open Warfare” because this time round? Get real, Jessica. This confected outrage is media led and media caused. It is in line with the “Execution” and the “Assassination” of Kevin Rudd. There is nothing of reality in it. It is just more of the MSM rubbish we have been subjected to over the past two years. So don’t encourage the Jessicas of this nation

Working in Kevin’s Dungeon, Wendy Harmer, The Hoopla
More than that, I wonder whether Australians (those who are not in the Press Gallery) have an appetite for raking over the machinations of what transpired during those turbulent days when Ms. Gillard came to power? Perhaps it will be just more evidence that most of us just don’t have the “ticker” for it all.

Tony Abbott: Don’t come the raw prawn with me , Diana Elliott , The Observant.
Another day, another dive into the trenches of language warfare for Tony Abbott. The latest installment includes his musings on the relative expense of raising subsequent children, following the Government’s decision to prune the $5,000 baby bonus to $3,000 a pop for later offspring.As Abbott explained to Andrew O’Keefe on Sunrise, the reduction is going to hurt working families™.

Rise of the nutjob, Sally Baxter
Journalists, politicians and cab drivers, for example, will all have their own nutjob stories.Sometimes the journalists, politicians and cab drivers are nutjobs too. I’m making no particular point here, except that in the past most of society’s nutjobs have had to struggle for attention.Once upon a time the wronged and the passionate, having exhausted all other avenues of redress, or sometimes sooner, would turn to their local newspaper.

The Real Tony on Alan Jones; The Rhetoric of ‘Sorry’. Sensitive Tony
In Mr Abbott’s response, astute purveyors of vitriol and some astute supporters of Abbott, will delight in the fact that he chose to humanise Mr Jones, by referring to him as “Alan”; A tactic employed by law enforcement to gain the trust of hostage takers and build relationships

Destroying the joint for Reclaim the Night, FCollective
But the great thing about 2012 has been the fightback. From Julia Gillard’s, now internationally renowned arse-kicking of Tony Abbott, to the 20 000 strong online movement of Destroy the Joint, to the thousands of people who marched in honour of Jill Meagher.Australians have taken not just one, but many, stands against the misogyny that is so pervasive in our society

The Abbott Factor: Opposition Leader Ratings And Party Standing, Dr Kevin Bonham  
The question then is: do Opposition Leader ratings matter? In the second of the above pieces I've pointed out that every federal Opposition Leadership that has recorded lastingly and substantially bad net satisfaction ratings (netsats) has ended in either election defeat or the Leader getting dumped. If a leader as unpopular as Abbott ever won, it would have been in the first half of the 20th century,


Media cuddles up to Packer with few hard questions, Stephen Mayne, Crikey
And just as concerning is the performance of the mainstream media which has turned into a Packer cheer squad as the NSW Parliament collapses in the face of a powerful rent-seeking casino developer.

Today’s Front Pages
Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 29 October 2012


October 29. 2012 07:42 AM



  I feel for you mate. My deepest sympathies go out to you. I do know how you feel.

My big Bro went at only 48 of massive cardiac arrest, only 12 months after my dad at 60 of the same, then 12 months later my mum too.


October 29. 2012 07:52 AM

Truth Seeker

TT, i am deeply sorry for your sad loss.
sincerest condolences to you and your family.
An ALP stalwart who's loss will be felt throughout the Labor movement.

Truth Seeker

October 29. 2012 08:38 AM


Condolences, TT..To yourself and your family..coraggio!


October 29. 2012 08:44 AM


TT - please accept my deepest sorrow at your loss.  The loss of a sibling is not something you prepare for.  From experience you never get over it.  My younger brother went at 45 from a viral heart infection.

RIP - Gordon Bilney - you will be missed.


October 29. 2012 08:47 AM


What do today's Newspoll figures show us?

Apart from anything else they show us the difference between the Press writing about how Prime Minister Gillard "fell on her face" in India, and voters noting what she said and how she said it when she was straight back up on her feet. Cool, calm, self-deprecating, ruefully smiling.

These numbers confirm the same thing Abbott realised when he 'warned' that this PM will "not lie down and die".

That it's not about how Julia Gillard falls, but how she gets up.

And, I suspect, voters have also noted that when she gets up she does it for herself, and doesn't need partners, staff, or scripted professional supporters to explain what a 'marvellous, all-embracing and truly humble' individual she is at just getting up.


October 29. 2012 08:50 AM


Dear Talk Turkey

My sympathy to you and your family for your sad loss.

Our thoughts are with you.


October 29. 2012 09:03 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

October 29. 2012 10:51 AM



My sincerest condolences on the loss of your brother.


October 29. 2012 11:45 AM

N'ellie May

Deepest sympathy to you and your family.
After reading about him I can see why you must be so proud of your brother's legacy - what a great life!

N'ellie May

October 29. 2012 11:48 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody

Twitterverse for you:-

Bushfire Bill
Posted Monday, October 29, 2012 at 10:58 am
After years slagging off Labor for switching leaders because of polls (true or otherwise) they’d look like fools for doing the same thing over a 50:50 poll. 55-45 maybe, but not 50-50.

The Tony Abbott train wreck (Menzies House’s words, not mine) has a lot more screeching and screaming to get through before it finally comes to a halt

Bushfire Bill
Posted Monday, October 29, 2012 at 9:16 am
Abbott’s been in too long, and is too aggressive (even in defence) for Turnbull to mount a successful challenge this year.

To mount a challenge you have to have lots of stuff in The Australian saying the leader’s office is dysfunctional.

You need Grattan and Hartcher on-side, too. And Coorey and the rest of the dinosaurs.

You need talkback to accept that Turnbull might do a better job. At the moment they hate him.
You need grumbling backbenchers offering anonymous comments to selected journalists.

Bushfire Bill
Posted Monday, October 29, 2012 at 7:54 am
Christ, Shanahan can be bitchy when the Newspoll goes against him.

His piece today on Newspoll gets so worked up that it ends like this:

Stephen Koukoulas‏
Election betting: To lead their party at next election: Abbott out to $1.33; Turnbull into $3.00; Gillard into $1.28; Rudd $3.70.

chris murphy‏
LIBs trackside watching fading leader & hoping for a 2nd wind.Soon only Greg Sheridan,The Aust,left cheering the beaten horse

Sky News Australia‏
Poll shows Abbott 'running out of puff' http://bit.ly/XH7Ptm

The Daily Telegraph‏
Labor, Liberals 50-50 in Newspoll: UPDATE: LABOR'S "character assassination" of Tony Abbott is partly to blame f... http://bit.ly/UWytim

Poll shows Abbott running out of puff: MP, SBS
Tony Abbott is well-known for his physical fitness but a Labor MP says the latest opinion poll shows he's running out of political puff.

Labor, Liberals 50-50 in latest Newspoll, Phillip Hudson
It is the first Newspoll since Ms Gillard's speech in Parliament three weeks ago in which she claimed Mr Abbott was sexist and a misogynist.

Mr Abbott also faced Labor claims last week that he was referring to Ms Gillard being childless when he said the Government had made cuts to the baby bonus because it did not have enough experience in family matters.

Stephen Koukoulas‏
My Business Spectator column: Why the current US economic recovery is the weakest in almost 100 years www.businessspectator.com.au/.../US-GDP-markets-economy-election-president-pd20121029-ZHRAD … @businessspec

Labor claws back support, Ben Packham

PARTY GAMES: Asia story can be Labor's theme, Denis Atkins
government looking for a narrative now has one (even Keating would applaud) and the job now is for the Prime Minister and her colleagues to simply stick to the available script.

susanai‏@susanrat .......... Dennis Shanahan
ALP vote rises after war on misogyny: Newspoll | The Australian: www.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-fn59niix-1226504943610

Australia the true subject of paper, Peter Hartcher
THE Gillard government's white paper doesn't tell us a thing about Asia that hasn't already been rehashed endlessly in a thousand conferences and a million research papers. But that's OK

Rudd cancels appearance to save spotlight for Gillard, Phillip Coorey
Despite laying low, Mr Rudd still managed to provide a distraction yesterday, when a written response he sent to Ms McKew was published in The Sunday Telegraph. In it, Mr Rudd contends he had no plans to be a long-serving prime minister and was going to hand the leadership to Ms Gillard.

John Pratt‏  ........  Peter Martin
Abbott faces Revolt over wheat bill. Libs don't agree on much, stand for nothing. No wonder LOTO is most unpopular ever http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/-28dkf.html

Gillard sets course for Asia future, Michelle Grattan

Leave the elderly out of your idiocy Newman! Aged care closure fight www.brisbanetimes.com.au/.../...0121027-28d09.html … #qldpol

www.couriermail.com.au/.../story-e6freoof-1226504916505 … This grub earns $470K a year and we have to pay his legal fees because he lied to parliament

Herald Sun‏
Bolt: Newspoll: Labor and Coalition even http://hsun.info/UWa1NW

Meaningless promises, replete with pure spin, Greg Sheridan
On every level, it is a con job. The government is having a lend of us. Its only admirable quality is its chutzpah
conceptually confused and silly
pathetic and obsessive
sign of government failure.
The magic fool's gold of the National Broadband Network,
This white paper is pure spin. It is an emperor whose nakedness is epic.

Faster news, but mind the quality, Paul Sheehan
So Malcolm gets to represent the Herald on national television, as if this were a paper of eccentrics, when the paper is shedding its eccentrics. Once you've shed idiosyncrasy and eccentricity, and replaced them with a fast, shape-shifting commodity called breaking news and analysis, you don't get it back

Ross Gittins‏
Why budget promises are important and should be kept unless things really turn bad - my column http://bit.ly/QOIREp #ausecon #auspol

A Sheikhy time to be entering politics stage left, Malcolm Farr
Mr Sheikh is known for exposing Sophie Mirabella’s lack of paramedical training when he collapsed onto the desk during an ABC TV program as the Liberal shadow minister sat next to him looking on, somewhat bemused.


Mark Enders‏
The Newman Govt and their record on accountability www.townsvillelabor.org/.../...accountability.html … via @weebly


Brilliant disection of our old media, The Political Sword For putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword www.thepoliticalsword.com/#.UIkTUFxu8G0.twitter

David Kirkpatrick‏
“If you have the stomach, read it to see how grotesquely incompetent and malevolent journalism has become.” www.thepoliticalsword.com/.../...tchanging-us.aspx … #NewsLtd

Wendy_Bacon @btckr @GetUp Complaints about the RW bias have been happening for years now. Here's a blog post from 2010 www.thepoliticalsword.com/.../Their-ABC.aspx

Kirsten Neilson
daveyk317 can't face it. Am depressed enough about the bias of our MSM.

David Kirkpatrick‏
@kirsten2310 you should read it. It is compelling. We must utilise blogs like these to get the truth out. @Adastra5 is a legend.

@Pamela_November @janecat60@archiearchive @JacintaOC @Fraloob just read "the political sword" http://is.gd/CTzFnM

Judythe Riley‏
The average suburban punter in the Aust electorate doesn`t know he/she is being indoctrinated. The media on a mission. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/


October 29. 2012 11:53 AM


Thank you to people who have already offered your condolences, and to those who yet might.

One less vote for Amanda Rishworth in Gordon's beloved Kingston, that would hurt Gordon if he were still around . . . Oh wait . . . That's silly . . .

Gordon was staunch and undaunted Labor to the end, leading from the front, intellectual and earthy too. His FEC adored him, he did many things for the community, saved open spaces and knew how to organise visas, support industries, and knocked more doors in hilly Kingston than anyone ever did even though he was chubby rather than athletic. He famously found a way to convince arrogant doctors into behaving themselves when they flatly refused to offer bulk billing. Simply, he told his local Party members, Look you go to doctors too, what you do, first thing, ask, Doctor Do you bulk bill? and if he says No, say, Oh well look Dr Robyn down the road does bulk bill, I'll go to her instead, thank you and so long. The arrogance collapsed within a couple of weeks because all the other Labor MHRs followed Gordon's lead. It was People Power, in the flesh.
[For all I know Ad you might have been on the other side in that one! Do you remember it?]

The fact that Gordon was Centre Left limited his brilliant career - the Right and the Left peck the Centre from both sides, it is a sad fact of what is still, notwithstanding, the noblest Party in the world. Gordon would have been a marvellous Prime Minister, though his sense of humour and outspokenness was probably too wicked - No it wasn't it was marvellous.

Gordon's wit was one of the reasons Gough Whitlam and he were so close. Gordon was his Liaison Officer to the Foreign Affairs Department while Gough was Foreign Affairs Minister as well as PM in his first administration. As it was he became Minister for Defence Support during the first Gulf War and also Minister for Pacific Island Affairs, a portfolio created under Hawke and immediately abolished by the Rodent.

That's enough for now about Gordon, Comrades. Writing here helps but I can't stop the tears. Thanks again lovely Lefties.

There will never be anybody quite like Gordon again, but there's still some splendid people in the Labor Party. Amanda Rishworth in Gordon's old seat of Kingston is one of them.  


October 29. 2012 12:17 PM


Dear Talk Turkey

I am so sorry for your loss.


October 29. 2012 12:28 PM


I see the nasty and the spiteful are out in full force, Maxine dragging out KRudd, digging up 'a key former union accountant' who shall remain anonymous regarding her time at Slater & Grodon. Oh dear how pathetic and how low can they go?

I really think the electorate are sick of dredging up all this stuff. I think they have moved on regards to KRudd, and they don;t trust the MSM to tell the truth anymore. Also, once you have decided that you actually admire her and consider her someone you would vote for all this negativity can have the reverse effect, in that it steels your resolve. It also can have the effect of making people who were not sure decide actually I am going with the under-dog. I think that is what we are seeing and will continue to see happen.

Also, as I have said previously I think the Libs will keep TAbbott, all the hooohuh about dumping KRudd because he polled bad will be even worse for the Libs since TAbbott has 'done his time' as LOTO and for many it will mean he deserves a crack at the top job.


October 29. 2012 12:33 PM


Today's Newspoll headline figure reminds me of the share market.  Newspoll reported two polls ago that support for the two major tribes was 50:50, then it retreated a tad and now the numbers have returned.

In the stockmarket there is a "system" of analysis known as charting.  Briefly the price of shares is graphed for a period of time and there are common patterns that can be observed.  One of the patterns is a resistance level - commonly attributed to an effect caused by favourable sentiment waiting for "something" to happen - say a new product, a profit result or similar event that is going to be in all probability favourable to the company and it's share price.  The term used by the chartists is "resistance level" - and briefly described as a point just before the stock jumps into the unknown.  

You can see on charts the price reach a certain point a few times and then either breach the resistance level - usually dramatically (although at times when there is no positive sentiment, the stock will retreat from the resistance level equally as dramatically).

In the case of the opinion polls (and yes the usual caveats about polling and statistics apply here), there seems to be a positive sentiment towards the Government in the polls and Newspoll (with a reputation of not being "friendly" to the Government) has hit the line ball level twice in a couple of months in spite of what some would suggest is a campaign of stunts rolled out to affect the results.

My belief is that there will be some trigger that causes Newspoll and the other polls to track support for the Government at a higher (election winning) level -  which becomes a new normal level of support.  The other thing with resistance levels is that if the level is breached, it takes a significant event to return the polls to the resistance level in the short term.

Bushfire Bill (courtesy of Lyns Links) is correct.  Abbott is still a train wreck waiting to happen.  There are questions at the moment, when a new polling norm is established (say another couple of months) there will be a period of questioning over teh summer break and then if there is perceived to be enough time before the election, something will happen to Abbott.


October 29. 2012 12:36 PM


Amanda Rishworth (whom I barely know, but I know she is richly worthy, pun see) tweeted this just a few minutes ago.
She is a worthy successor to Gordon and an adornment in more ways than one to our noble Party.

Amanda Rishworth MP‏@AmandaRishworth

Very sad to hear of the passing of Gordon Bilney. Was a v popular local member and made a great contribution to the country and our region


October 29. 2012 12:45 PM


So todays slogan is "soap opera". If Tones like the sound of it, and clearly he does, then everyone will have to get on board.

I am expecting Pyne, Hockey, Bishop and TAbbott to use it relentlessly. I can see Hockey give that annoying shake of his head, and his "I give up" look on his face and then ......look this government needs some time in opposition - it is a soap opera every day in every way....followed by another shake of his head.....another look of exasperation. I often wonder what that exasperation is really about?


October 29. 2012 01:38 PM


Dear Talk Turkey,

I have collected these for you:-

Peter Logue‏@pjlogue
A charming, intelligent, impish man and a great friend from my days in the Press Gallery. vale Gordon Bilney @JohnHillMP

Former minister Gordon Bilney dies
DISTINGUISHED South Australian Labor politician Gordon Bilney has died.

Former minister Gordon Bilney dies, Herald Sun
DISTINGUISHED South Australian Labor politician Gordon Bilney has died

Former minister Gordon Bilney dies, Courier Mail

Former minister Gordon Bilney dies, News Com

ABC News Adelaide‏@abcnewsAdelaide
Former ALP minister Gordon Bilney dies http://bit.ly/S3O76U #adelaide

Tweeting Roo ™‏@TweetingRoo
Former minister Gordon Bilney dies - #Adelaide Now http://shrtn.in/2P6J2z #Aust

The Daily Telegraph‏@dailytelegraph
Former ALP minister Gordon Bilney dies http://bit.ly/YcbOxf

Gary Rivett‏@SAboy
Former #ALP minister Gordon Bilney dies www.abc.net.au/.../4338776?section=sa … @abcnews #auspol #adelaide #saparli

Amanda Rishworth MP‏@AmandaRishworth
Very sad to hear of the passing of Gordon Bilney. Was a v popular local member and made a great contribution to the country and our region

Former minister Gordon Bilney dies - Adelaide Now: Former minister Gordon Bilney diesAdelaide NowMr Bilney was a... http://bit.ly/SRqr5O

Matthew Pantelis‏@5aaNewsDirector
Gordon Bilney passes away aged 73, former ALP member for Kingston in #Adelaide's sth, minister in Keating Govt, defeated in '96

John Hill‏@JohnHillMP
Very sad to hear of the passing yesterday of Gordon Bilney Former MP for Kingston & Hawke/Keating Min Larger than life - will be much missed

Tha Kanima dude=) ‏@BiGkHoPeR
Former minister Gordon Bilney dies - Adelaide Now http://dlvr.it/2P6BFt

Former ALP minister Gordon Bilney dies: THE SA health minister has paid tribute to former ALP federal minister Gordon Bilney, who has...

TJ Marx‏@tjmarx
Former ALP minister Gordon Bilney dies: A minister in the Hawke and Keating governments, Gordon Bilney,... http://goo.gl/6NkTN ABC News

Kate Hannon‏@Kate_Hannon
Local ABC radio 891 reports former member for Kingston Gordon Bilney has died. Rod Sawford confirms on 891 now.

John Hill‏@JohnHillMP
Very sad to hear of the passing yesterday of Gordon Bilney Former MP for Kingston & Hawke/Keating Min Larger than life - will be much missed

Gordon Bilney - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_BilneyCached - Similar
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
Gordon Neil Bilney (21 June 1939 – 29 October 2012) is an Australian politician. He was an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of ...


October 29. 2012 01:46 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Your Twitterverse is fascinating where it covers the spin about the Newspoll result.  Isn't it delicious to see the Coalition complaining bitterly about Labor's 'vicious attack' on dear Tony, the man who has been mounting vicious attacks on Julia Gillard for the last two years!  Diddums.

We ought not get too excited about this Newspoll; next time it may go back to where is was about three weeks ago. Newspoll seems to have become volatile lately.  What really counts is the trend line, which shows a consistent narrowing.

We ought not take too much notice of the Maxine McKew disclosures, in which people will soon lose interest.  Let's do a 'Julia' and sail on unperturbed!

Ad astra reply

October 29. 2012 02:01 PM


Sportsbet offering less AGAIN TODAY on Labor winning, remember I placed a tidy sum on Labor at $7 4 months ago, odds have  gone down in steps since then, day before yesterday it was at $3.30, yesterday it was $3, today $2.80! Abbortt out from $1.10 then (Dead cert see, Dead is right!) to $1.40. Not so flash now, eh Tone.

Tune Click go the Shears
(or the Dismal Guernsey Song!)

Out with the hubris, in with the sense!
If you think the LNP will win you must be dense!
Every time I check the odds I get another kick!
Idiots with dough on Tony Abbortt must feel sick!    


October 29. 2012 02:12 PM


Lyn that is wonderful, I'm all in tears again now. Thank you Dear Tweety. What a marvellous scout you are. Yes Gordon was one of a kind.


October 29. 2012 02:32 PM


Ray Hadley
Speaks very badly!



October 29. 2012 02:52 PM


I'm so glad I'm not the only 50+ male that gets brought to tears over some of the links, comments, FRIENDSHIP on this site, well done all... well nearly all, some just don't get it anyway, it does take a reasonable amount of internal feeling to be a leftie IMO.


October 29. 2012 03:37 PM


My sincere condolences to you and your family in your very sad loss.  I remember Gordon Bilney as a competent Minister in the Keating Government and concur with all that Alan Ramsay wrote about his service to his constituents and his country as a whole.  


October 29. 2012 03:41 PM


Did anyone notice a meeker TAbbott in Question Time today? Is this a new tactic? He looks meek and we start thinking the PM is the bully?


October 29. 2012 03:41 PM



This is how civilization feels, my orthopteran friend.
Well I had to look it up, you can too!

Cobber I can't read my own verse without breakng down! True!
But today's pretty special in the lachrimatory department yep.

This is a wonderful thing this site. It is ennobling. And very comforting to me today. Thanks all.


October 29. 2012 03:56 PM

42 long

Directionless effort in QTime today. Like to be privy to behind the scenes private communications within the LNP. They have no certainty of outcome at all left. Decision time chaps and chappines in the BS LNP. Playing games and being paid for working by the taxpayer is not going to be enough, from here on in. Can't rest on hero Howards past invented greatness. Need an alternative vision.
  Turnbull is a winner for the election? probably, but I wouldn't even guarantee that. The shadow cabinet would be unlikely to give up their ambitions and just put the best of their flock in. The Minchen Abbott group are a special mob patterned on the Tea/Republican party. Can they adopt a new image and re invent them selves?. I would wager NO!. It's asking for too much team spirit and true party loyalty, ahead of individual ambition. IF it happens it will be interesting to watch.

42 long

October 29. 2012 03:57 PM


LiR said
Did anyone notice a meeker TAbbott in Question Time today? Is this a new tactic? He looks meek and we start thinking the PM is the bully?

He has had his nose badly bent and he knows that anything he says that sounds vaguely *misogynistic* is going to get it bent further. He is like the bull so confused because Donna *J*U*L*I*A* has cha-cha'd him to a standstill. OLE!

He'd better not get in her way any more!

Do listen: Connie has a better voice than I'd remembered!



October 29. 2012 03:59 PM


Deepest condolences on your sad loss TT. I will be thinking of you and yours during this sorry time.


October 29. 2012 04:24 PM

Wake Up

So sorry to hear of your loss TT

Wake Up

October 29. 2012 04:30 PM

Ad astra reply

I have just now posted a follow-up to this post.  It's titled: Can our ABC resuscitate our political media?


Ad astra reply

October 29. 2012 04:31 PM

Wake Up

Wow, I had to actually search to find any reference of the latest Newspoll in the MSM. What a sorry bunch of sore losers they are !!!

Wake Up

October 30. 2012 01:02 PM


TT, so sorry to hear of your loss. He was a terrific politician and an enormous credit to the Party.

Am in the process of building a garden bed and assembling a flat pack cupboard. Hopefully, I will be able to resume reading and commenting shortly, but sweetcorn, peas and beans are calling me.


Comments are closed