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Can our ABC resuscitate our political media?

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Monday, 29 October 2012 16:17 by Ad astra
Opinion within the Fifth Estate about the state of the political media in the Fourth Estate is virtually unanimous. There is an almost undivided view that in this country, and in many others, much of the print media is incompetent and malevolent in the way it reports political events, that in places it is corrupt, and in the case of the Murdoch media, subjugated to the will of the proprietor. The previous piece: The MSM is dangerously shortchanging us argued this case; the responses highlighted not just agreement, but also the deep dismay that those who commented felt at this state of affairs.

Perhaps even more dismay was expressed about the way in which the ABC had often followed the commercial media line, even at times echoing its headlines and stories, virtually word for word, and too often devoid of any serious analysis of the newsworthiness of the stories, their veracity and their meaning. Some who commented felt affronted by the apparent acquiescence of the ABC to the commercial line, when it is supposed to be an independent public broadcaster, funded from the public purse. There was consternation that it resembled a Murdoch clone, that it had lost its identity, and with it much of its independence.

Only the sightless could believe that the commercial media, and in particular the News Limited media, would be likely to change their tune and adopt a more balanced approached to politics. Only the sightless would be unable to see that News Limited media are running an explicit political agenda, one that is unlikely to change unless something radical occurs.

News Limited is intent on the removal of the Gillard Government and the replacing of it with a Coalition one, and to ‘the destruction of the Greens at the ballot box’. No objective analysis of News Limited’s behaviour could lead to any other conclusion. And it’s no recent thing. Right back to some of the radical measures Labor took to counter the ill effects of the GFC: the HIP and the BER, News Limited, and particularly its flagship The Australian, has run a virulent and disingenuous campaign of denigration against these measures. It has ridiculed almost everything Labor has enacted; has labelled it incompetent and fiscally reckless; has rebuked, mocked and vilified its leaders, particularly its first female leader; and has misrepresented Labor’s intentions and actions with strident and at times vicious headlines, uncomplimentary photographs and disgusting cartoons. We know the Murdoch agenda, we know compliance with that agenda is required of Murdoch’s men, and we see the result day after day in the writings of Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt, Dennis Shanahan, Peter van Onselen, Chris Kenny, even Paul Kelly, and many others.

We have looked to Fairfax to counterbalance News Limited, but with the likes of Michelle Grattan, Peter Hartcher, and at times the more moderate Phillip Coorey replicating News Limited’s line, we have largely lost confidence there too. Fortunately, Fairfax still has Peter Martin, Ross Gittins, Brian Toohey and of course Laura Tingle, but with Michael Stutchbury, ex The Australian now at the helm of The Australian Financial Review, it must be hard for writers there to buck his anti-Gillard, anti-Labor orientation.

While we in the Fifth Estate ought never to give up, even on an outfit as recalcitrant as News Limited, with the limited resources we have we need to direct our energies in more promising directions, and the most promising of those seems to be our ABC. It may be the counter to the tsunami of commentary adverse to the Government that comes from the commercial media day after day.

It is worth pausing to ask what it is that we ought to expect from the political media. In my view, political reporters and commentators, and particularly the Canberra Press Gallery that is so close to the action, 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. They ought to be comparing and contrasting opposing policies and costings. 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 what do we get?

We get political ‘news’ dressed up in sensational clothes; we get scoops and exclusives, ’gotchas’, ‘rule in rule out’ games, he/she was ‘forced to defend’ rhetoric, and of course a plethora of ‘scandals’, so long as they are on the Labor side. Whatever else it is, this ‘news’ must be controversial, conflict-driven, lurid, entertaining, and of course short and to the point, even if inaccurate, so as not to overrun the perceived short attention span of the consumers. The default position is triviality; thoughtful analysis is relegated to less popular time slots, or less read newspaper sections.

The purpose of this piece is to suggest that we direct our attention to our ABC, with the intent of stiffening its spine, rebalancing its coverage, and re-focussing its vision. My question is: Can the ABC resuscitate our moribund and feckless media? Can it bring about changes in its commercial competitors by the sheer force of its professionalism and the strength of its determination to promulgate to the electorate accurate facts and figures, well reasoned analysis, sound guidance and helpful insights?

If the ABC were to assume a dominant, rather than a submissive role hanging onto the coattails of the commercial side, if it were to exhibit outstanding professionalism, if it were to set the standard for political reporting we deserve, if it were to divorce itself from the Canberra Press Gallery echo chamber where groupthink reigns supreme, might it not put pressure on its commercial rivals? Might that not shame them into performing better? Maybe not, but it’s worth a try.

But the ABC is certainly not without fault, and it is not yet homogenous. Some sectors perform well, others poorly; some are balanced, some imperceptibly so. There is hope though that if all its sections could perform well, if balance could be restored, it might be the agent to give mouth to mouth to a moribund commercial political media. It is not an exaggeration to view the commercial media as moribund, but still susceptible to well placed resuscitation.

Balance is a particular concern of ABC users. Writing on Independent Australia, David Horton pens a must-read: Open letter to ABC managing director Mark Scott. It begins:

”Dear Mark Scott,

“About this “balance” thing…

“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.

“The IPA is infesting every ABC outlet with its Libertarian Free Market ideology in the service of secret Business business. What are they providing “balance” for? Have there been Marxist economists daily on the ABC I have somehow missed? Even Keynesian economists? Er…no. Professor Sloan is on every week instead. Who is she “balancing”?

“What about the appearance of Peter Reith every week? A full essay on The Drum plus other live appearances. Who is he balancing? Gerard Henderson, Piers Akerman, Nikki Sava? Has there been a rash of appearances by Trotskyists, Socialist Alliance, Left Wing unionists who have escaped my notice?

“Do you really not see that the occasional appearance of, say, a Green MP, or someone from The Australia Institute, doesn’t actually match in weight the regular appearance of those mentioned above, so regular they might as well be on staff, and certainly gain the apparent credibility of being so.

There is more here that you would enjoy reading.

Remember, it was Mark Scott who took notice of Greg Jericho, when he wrote a piece on Grog’s Gamut complaining about the poor quality of reporting of the 2010 election campaign. Scott discussed Greg’s concern with his executives and brought it to a conference for discussion. As we don’t have inside access to the ABC, we can’t know what changes Greg’s piece brought about, but Scott certainly did notice it.

Why do I see the ABC as a potential remedy to the widespread problem of incompetent political commentary by a moribund media?

Mark Scott’s seeming willingness to listen and learn encourages optimism, and we all know that the ABC can and does produce informative and incisive political programs.

Let’s recall some exemplary events in the ABC’s political life. Shall we ever forget that classic interview in May 2010 by Kerry O’Brien of Tony Abbott about Abbott’s approach to the truth? Refresh your memory by revisiting this YouTube clip. Remember Leigh Sales’ interview with Abbott on 22 August of this year over BHP Billiton’s announcement about its postponement of its Olympic Dam project. These were two occasions when the Opposition Leader was pinned down over statements that were shown to be disingenuous and deceitful. Abbott looked embarrassed, harassed and angry, and showed how pitifully inadequate he was as Leader of the Opposition.

We have to go back only to yesterday’s Insiders to see how Barrie Cassidy handled Joe Hockey and his extravagant utterances about the devastating effects of the mining tax on the miners; his criticism of monthly payments of company tax; his likening of the reduction of the baby bonus to $3000 for the second and subsequent children to the Chinese birth control system, calling the bonus ‘a penalty’; and his use of the term ‘flat-lining’ to describe Australia’s 3% per annum growth rate. Hockey blustered and bumbled his way through the interview, appeared outmaneuvered, was at times rambling, and looked foolish throughout. Hockey would be wise to watch his words more carefully, in lieu of shooting off his mouth.

In case you are thinking that I’m focussing only on interviews with Opposition members, let’s not forget the many times PM Gillard, Treasurer Swan, and many other Government ministers have been put under the hammer by Tony Jones, Emma Alberici, Leigh Sales and Chris Uhlmann on ABC TV, and Jon Faine, Rafael Epstein, Sabra Lane, Samantha Hawley and Alexandra Kirk on radio. There have been so many that we can’t keep count.

What I’m saying is that ABC interviewers can be incisive and insistent; they can dig out the truth and expose disingenuousness. But this is not consistently the case.

As an example of inconsistency, let’s look at interviews by Chris Uhlmann. Recall his impertinent interview of PM Gillard on 9 May that was caustically critiqued by Paul Keating in The Drum Opinion, which because it was published without vetting, evoked an angry rebuttal by Bruce Belsham, Head of ABC Current Affairs, who felt the need to come out in robust defence of “one of this country's best political journalists and interviewers”. Read it here.

Contrast that tough interview with his soft interview of Tony Abbott about the NT intervention where all the questions were easy and facilitatory. Now look at how Uhlmann treated Bob Brown, or should I say assailed him? Uhlmann needs to reflect on his evenhandedness in interviews and not let what appear to be partisan biases influence them.

Balance in the ABC is essential. After all the sprays that Julia Gillard has been given by the likes of Piers Akerman, Michael Stutchbury and Nikki Sava on Insiders, it was a salutary example of balance yesterday to hear Mike Seccombe giving Tony Abbott the biggest spray I have ever heard on that program. Listen to it here.

Another example of balanced discourse is the fora that are conducted regularly on The World Today. Just last Friday, Ashley Hall moderated a discussion between three experts on natural disaster management titled: Debate asks whether Australia can manage natural disasters better. You can read the transcript and listen to it here. Such debates are informative, balanced and absorbing.

This is what we want in our political debates – reliable and verifiable evidence, honestly and completely presented, reasoned argument, logical conclusions, sound advice and comparison of the policy options being offered. Instead, what we usually get is biased rhetoric, flawed and incomplete information, loud argument, talking over each other, and inconclusive outcomes. The regular Lateline Friday ‘debates’ between opposing politicians are a gross example of this. They are intellectually valueless; all they provide is coarse ‘entertainment’ for those with the stomach. They ought to be scrapped and proper debate between experts substituted.

So my proposition is that as the ABC is capable of conducting demanding and balanced interviews of politicians across the political spectrum, although it does not universally do so, and as it is able to provide valid and reliable information and balanced commentary when it chooses, the idea that the ABC might assume a more dominant role becomes compelling as the rest of the media deteriorates.

This idea was captured in The ABC Plays Monopoly by Bernard Lagan on October 24 in The Global Mail the link to which was provided by regular blogger 2353.

It begins: “Australian news consumers are confronting new paywalls all over the place – but it’s all free at the ABC, where the national broadcaster is quietly combining the full force of its television, radio and digital news teams for one hugely ambitious online market grab.

“With Australia’s high-brow newspaper publisher, Fairfax Media, heading for its knees, commercial broadcaster Network Ten about to shed one third of its journalists and the Nine Network now in the hands of unforgiving US hedge funds, who is going to emerge as the titan of influence and reach in the Australian media?

“The likely answer is your ABC.”

Lagan continues: “There is a news revolution going on within Australia’s publicly funded national broadcaster, likely to reveal itself early next year when the ABC re-launches its unloved digital news arm, seeking the online audience share ABC bosses believe it should command. The organisation has rich resources; some 1,000 people work directly for the ABC’s television, radio and online news – about 20 per cent of the corporation’s employees. And many more will soon be contributing to the ABC’s online news sites, under the corporation’s plan to follow the BBC, CNN and to some extent America’s public radio network NPR, and have its journalists working across multiple platforms.

“Not only do the changes herald renewed efforts by the ABC to garner mass audiences for its online news sites – they come at the worst possible time for Fairfax Media, publishers of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age broadsheet newspapers. Now the online news competition for Fairfax – and for News Ltd’s The Australian, which moved to a pay-for-access system in October 2011 – will be increasingly from the ABC, as it puts more resources into online news and produces a re-designed more user-friendly website. Unhappily for Fairfax and News Ltd, all of the ABC’s expanded content will continue to be free.”

Lagan continues: ”While the ABC is coy about its ambitions on the ratings tables, its newly appointed head of news content, Gaven Morris, the creator of the ABC’s highly successful around-the-clock TV news channel ABC News 24, wants a visit to ABC online to become a daily habit for news followers. “There is a real opportunity for us [online ABC news] to be much more of a habit for people than we have been,” says Morris in an interview with The Global Mail.”

“Says Kate Torney, the ABC’s director of news: “The ABC has always evolved to meet audience needs, whether it be through the introduction of television or more recently with online. I see enormous opportunities to improve the ABC’s digital news service and to make sure audiences can access their news on devices of their choice.”

“Head of ABC News 24 and News Online Gaven Morris says that aside from the redesign of the ABC’s online news sites, they will also provide more content, and it will be more varied and more rapidly produced…the ABC plans to increase the number of reporters working on stories of national impact, that can be run in all states on radio, television and especially online.

“The ABC will establish…a central production desk, staffed around the clock. It will package national and international stories from both the ABC’s staff and external news agencies for television and radio, and produce text-based stories for the ABC’s online news sites, as well as for social-media sites.”

The article continues: "So has the ABC calculated that early next year – when users can expect the arrival of the Fairfax paywalls – offers the best moment for the public broadcaster to capture the online audience and lure it away from Fairfax online? While Fairfax, thus far, has been relatively subdued in its response to the ABC’s expansion into further online territory, News Ltd’s Australian CEO Kim Williams – once an ABC executive himself – has not held back." He expressed the same aggressive antagonism to the ABC as did Rupert and James Murdoch towards the BBC!

Citing the changed habits of Australians whereby 23 per cent of Australians now name online as their main source of news, and 88 per cent of all Australian Internet users access news online, and more than half of Australian smart phone users regularly use their phone to stay informed of news updates, the ABC believes it is merely following its audience online and maintains that ‘its overriding obligation is to provide news, information and entertainment to all Australians’.

This absorbing article concludes: "ABC executives say the broadcaster’s experience with the two-year-old rolling news channel ABC24 has exposed to it a much pacier news culture – ideal for online. The digital television channel changed the ABC's slow-moving schedule with an energy they now aim to translate to online…" We wish them every success.

So there it is. As the commercial media wilt, as they carry out their role as political commentators less and less professionally, it seems an ideal time for our ABC to set a new standard for political reporting, to show how it should be done, to do it in a balanced way, to take the initiative.

This would elevate political commentary to its proper level, would furnish the electorate with a reliable source of information and guidance, and at the same time might resuscitate the seemingly moribund commercial media, might energize it to begin reporting politics as it always should have done.

What to you think?

Comments (192) -

October 29. 2012 04:28 PM

Ad astra reply

Talk Turkey
So that we don’t lose your fine tribute to your dear brother Gordon, I have copied it below on this new post.

From Talk Turkey

”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? No TT, after my time in rural practice]

“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.

Ad astra reply

October 29. 2012 04:58 PM


I've said it before and I'll say it again...Until the MSM. realise that it is the left-wing and the central-moderates who do most of the analysis and serious reading and debate in our community, they(the MSM.) will continue to bleed customers to more serious sources unless they cater to those readers..: their customer base! If the right-wing were interested OR capable in extenting and developing their political conversation at all, The Australian newspaper would be showing a profit!
The ABC. HAS TO...HAS TO, shed it's right-wing bias..AND IT IS! or there wouldn't be this avalanche of anger directed toward it!..and become APOLITICAL...apolitical, it's all we ask and all this article demands...Become the professional unit they have been and can be all the time.
I don't really give a rat's A who's in charge..but let them be professional and by that, they'll be fair and balanced..
Be unprofessional and you'll be nothing more than just another suck'ole!..along with the forgettable new slimedited hacks.
Rise up! Rise up!..Our ABC.


October 29. 2012 05:18 PM

Tom of Melbourne

’ the responses highlighted not just agreement, but also the deep dismay that those who commented felt at this state of affairs.’

How truly amazing. You put a club of likeminded barrackers together, and they agree with each other.

It’s that type of incisive analysis that “puts politicians to the verbal sword” – clearly without fear or favour.

Tom of Melbourne

October 29. 2012 06:00 PM


AA. I liked and thought witty, Mr. Bowes @ Poll Bludger when he warned a troll that he "...better improve the quality and standard of his trolling or he will be cut!"


October 29. 2012 06:38 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your comment.  Like you, I really do wonder why our few resident trolls come to say nothing of consequence.

Ad astra reply

October 29. 2012 07:17 PM


This is a great post, however I believe there is an alternative and more sustainable solution than trying to findi salvation in the ABC -- an alternative platform that brings together the fifth estate so it can genuinely compete against the fourth, or at the very least, be on an even playing field.

I am the founder of Newsflock (www.newsflock.com) which aims to bring together all the content across the fifth estate and present it as a viable alternative to the fourth estate.

The purpose of this piece is to suggest that we direct our attention to our ABC, with the intent of stiffening its spine, rebalancing its coverage, and re-focussing its vision. My question is: Can the ABC resuscitate our moribund and feckless media? Can it bring about changes in its commercial competitors by the sheer force of its professionalism and the strength of its determination to promulgate to the electorate accurate facts and figures, well reasoned analysis, sound guidance and helpful insights?

I agree whole heartedly that we require a media that emphasises facts & figures, analysis, sound guidance and helpful insights -- however I believe that we need better tools to facilitate this and involve the whole community, so they can play an important role in this process. There is a structural shift happening within media and it's bigger than the death of mastheads. It's the rise of social media and the desire of the public to participate in the news process.

We can't role solely on journalists to perform this task. In fact, I think that a lot of the public's disappointment with the fourth estate is due to an understanding that they can't play an active role in this process. We are all accustomed to making comment on blogs, twitter and facebook, yet we can't provide the same challenging commentary to most content produced by the fourth estate. This commentary and collective insight helps introduce transparency, honesty and accountability in those creating the content.

I have a vision with Newsflock to create a front page of Australian news sourced from both the fourth and fifth estates, where the top stories are determined entirely by the community. The platform will strive for accountability and transparency in all discussions and in turn, provide a viable alternative to the fourth estate. This will empower the whole community in all elements of the media process. From creation, distribution and accountability.

Newsflock has just started inviting the first users to trial the platform, so if you are interested in learning more you can enter your email address at www.newsflock.com or email chris (at) newsflock.com

Please get in touch if you want to help provide an alternative view of the world to that provided by the fourth estate.


October 29. 2012 07:31 PM


I like the idea..but let's test the principle..: Anybody heard or been involved in "Newsflock"?


October 29. 2012 07:36 PM

Tom of Melbourne

So when Ad Astra chooses to put that type of pap into the public domain, it’s supposed to be ignored?

Tom of Melbourne

October 29. 2012 08:05 PM


Thank you Ad for the repost . .  . but what a help it is to write about the sad event, It's a bit like singin' the blues.

Only, I just saw a brief news item on ABC1 showing Gordon with Bob Hawke, Gordon handing out How-to-vote cards . . . He looked alive. . . yep that hurts . . .

Thanks again to all the people who have posted condolences. As you-all can see from Lyn's links, my brother was a very special bloke indeed.

But he was an historian too, and the ABC recently spent many hours recording his recollections. So he leaves behind not only his works but a record of them. It should be compelling.


October 29. 2012 08:07 PM


Top post AA.  While I have fond memories of the days when the media would draw examples from a number of different viewpoints and after a discussion let the reader draw a conclusion - I'm also in no doubt that this will become again the norm in Australia in the short term future.

The article on the ABC that you quoted from shows promise - and demonstrates that at least one of their senior management understands the need for reporting rather than finding data to ensure "balance" in addition to Mark Scott who obviously read Grogs Gamut.  It was also interesting that the article came from The Global Mail.  Firstly, why wouldn't the ABC Digital boss use his own platform to "announce" what is in essence a policy change?  Secondly, The Global Mail generally does do "old time" reporting that I have described above - it's got no worries while Graham Wood is funding it - but at some point it will have to stand on it's own and I wonder if it has the readership to do so.  Maybe the boss of ABC Digital is attempting to find different readers that don't make the comments section on any "The Drum" article that is even remotely political look like a minefield.

Australia needs a Jon Stewart type Show (while The Chaser and Shawn Micallif do point out the glaringly ridiculous quite well on occasions - the seasons of each show are only a couple of months rather than having the financial and intellectual clout to run most of the year).  Australia also needs a Huffington Post and in this regards I hope "Newsflock" succeeds.   I do however wonder how NewsCorp and Fairfax will react when the site requests access to some of their material that will be behind their paywalls. I've also seen similar websites with high ideals either become the home of vilification and abuse if the house line wasn't followed.  It was really interesting to see that on one occasion, the "house line" ended up not being in accordance with the owner's political view - he was just steamrolled!.  Having said that -  Chris my email address will be sent to you tonight or tomorrow (I've got to attend to some real life soon).

THe ABC Queensland news is on in the background and the theme has certainly changed.  The political report's comment on Abbott visiting a factory today was mildly caustic in suggesting that he has been there before to prove an increasingly irrelevant point.

Recaptcha bingo - ceaselessly (could describe Abbott's one line of attack).


October 29. 2012 08:10 PM


D'oh - first paragraph - will NOT become the norm


October 29. 2012 08:18 PM


Talk Turkey

I am sorry for your loss.  Alas I wasn't following politics at the time your good brother was involved, but by gee whiz you must be chuffed at the wonderful accolades he is receiving now, and I am sure he received while still alive.  You must follow in your brothers optimistic attitude as you have stopped me many a time from being pessimistic with your wonderful bright and positive attitude to our Julia and Labor.  I just want to thank you for all your effort since the time you have been here on The Political Sword.  My thoughts are with you during this sad time for you.

Ad Astra

I haven't read your latest, will do tomorrow, I just needed to say a few words to TT.  Hope you didn't mind.

LadyInRed  and Lyn

Thank you both for your link to Julia, it was great to see how appreciated she was with that audience and hear the wonderful intro for her.

Oh and Lady, thanks for the explanation for Cleaver Greene, that is a show I haven't managed to watch, will catch it next time around.


October 29. 2012 08:31 PM


TT, even in your sadness you can cheer us all up!   I loved listening to "Torero" sung by Connie Francis again after many years.  I think the PM's attitude is exactly this......and it works so well, doesn't it!

The bull is so confused because I cha cha
I never kill him, only if he gets in my way
Torero, torero, ole!

I never kill him, only if he gets in my way
Torero, torero, ole!

PS  Thank you Lyn for all those lovely links to articles about Gordon Bilney.  I know how much time and effort it would have taken, but it is such rewarding reading around the man and his times. (our times!) It makes us all feel that much closer to Talk Turkey right now, since we can't actually touch him and hug him as we would like to.


October 29. 2012 08:32 PM

Ad astra reply

Welcome to The Political Sword family, and thank you for your interesting comment.  What you are developing sounds intriguing.

I took a look at Newsflock but as I don’t have an ‘invite code’ I could get no further.

Perhaps you would like to tell us more about Newsflock and how you intend it to operate.

Ad astra reply

October 29. 2012 08:37 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your kind remarks and your interesting account of recent attempts to establish other media outlets.  Exasperated with the media we have, the people are stirring, and looking for something better.  The time is ripe for change.

Ad astra reply

October 29. 2012 08:57 PM


Thanks AA.

We have produced a video that aims to get the concept of Newsflock across. The video will be launched shortly, but until then you can view it here:


While the video is obviously light on details, I'm willing to provide an early access invite code to Newsflock for political sword readers if there is interest.

The site is currently invite only as we are testing some of the concepts and making sure everything works well before making it publicly available.


October 29. 2012 09:10 PM


Ad astra

I really good article once again. I think the ABC needs to drop the cynicism wrapped up as fact that has crept into their reporting, particularly when it comes to anything to do with Labor.

Do you think that people believe you when you say that you're going to reach a small surplus by this time next year?

Above is an example of Uhlmann's cynicism which as we know was followed by total lack of respect for the PM. And as early as tonight with regards to the Asian White Paper, 7:30 just regurgitated the line from the MSM "short on detail" and general cynicism I might as well have been reading The Australian or Grattan, and note to ABC I have already read them I wanted a balanced perspective. I wasn't aware that a white paper went into detail, I thought it was a guide? Then they rolled out Clive Palmer for an opinion on the white paper (had he even read it?)....sorry but what was that about? Half the time Clive makes no sense and tonight was an example, not that I disaggree about peace and love and 'no war' but really in context.

Q&A needs a complete overhaul if not just plain dumped. Too many people with too many opinions and a host who is trying to be a personality figure. I can't be bothered with it. Insiders, Henderson or Ackerman and Savva are so obviously biased as to be irrelivant.

So in answer to your question 'Can the ABC step up and fill the void'. Sadly, No. Should they? - yes of course it would be great!


October 29. 2012 09:29 PM


Hi Ad and Swordsters

Excellent article as usual.  The challenge and opportunity provided by the MSM gradually retreating behind its pay-walls is there for the ABC to grab with both hands.  We can only hope (and continue to lobby) that the changes will have as their objective and primary focus, the return of the balance, quality and consistency that we crave, and as taxpayers absolutely deserve.

..It will package national and international stories...   Lets hope ‘package’ does not mean trivialise, add spin to, misinterpret etc like happens too often now.

I am passionate about the ABC rediscovering its role as the balanced and independent public broadcaster that many of us grew up with and depended on for real news.  (If only we had some of James Dibble’s DNA and the cloning technology..sigh, Jimmy must be turning in his grave.)  

When I first connected to digital, 24 was my primary viewing, it was great to get real news for breakfast instead of the biased garbage and fluff on 7 and 9.  However, 24 Breakfast took a serious dive about 12 months ago when Virginia Trioli went on maternity leave – I sincerely hope she returns soon.

I’ve not commented here before, but have been addicted to TPS for many months. Until I started reading TPS and other 5th estate sites, I had no idea how mis-informed I was, and just how biased the MSM are.  TPS is the first site I check in the morning to read the latest informed comments from the late-shift, and to see what interesting reading Lyn has discovered for us, and its the last site I check before bed.  So keep up the great work Ad, Lyn, and Swordsters!



October 29. 2012 09:38 PM

Tom of Melbourne

What’s the problem with questioning about the “surplus”?

More than any politician in memory, Swan has politicised economic policy. He’s locked in politically, and it’s a result of his previous profligate spending.

Despite all this, and all the fancy accounting, Gillard today declined to commit to the previously guaranteed surplus.

The ALP made the miniscule surplus an issue, now they don’t enjoy being held to it.
As for “cynicism” – that’s exactly what this duplicitous Prime Minister has instilled into a generation.

Tom of Melbourne

October 29. 2012 10:19 PM


Chris - email sent - the URL I got back was http://www.newsflock.com?lrRef=NtNrE


October 30. 2012 12:22 AM


   Who cares? It's not like the ALP depend on your vote is it?
It seems you're just another voice who's about as popular as Garry Glitter!


October 30. 2012 12:31 AM


If I were the Government, I'd chuck the surplus "promise" (more like appeasement/compromise) out the window & then explain that we as a country can borrow HUGE amounts of foreign money at little to no interest to use to invest in infrastructure, namely ports, roads, rural rail etc...

WRT the ABC - I don't know how the management structure works there, but I would invent a "Managing News Director" that would be Kerry O'Brien. Very rarely saw a partisan interview by him, but he's nailed the odd sod lol. I do not share the view that the current MD can change, no matter how encouraging your examples are. I agree with someone else here who said the current ABC should have been gone through "like a dose of salts"after the 2007 election.

Ad, thank you for your piece. I am cynical (about change at the ABC) but hopeful.

I also want to mention that Channel 7 news here in Qld last night had NOT ONE WORD to say about the positives in the polls for this Govt., but it is the leading story if the polls are going south for Gillard's Govt. Disgraceful! Disrespectful! Pathetic!

TT, I'm so sorry about your brother. How lucky you are to have had such a wonderful brother!

PS I also signed up to newsflock. Will be interesting if they can do what they say. Won't be shopping them around though, until I know what they're about.

Night Smile


October 30. 2012 07:59 AM

Gorgeous Dunny

First, condolences to TT on the passing of Gordon Bilney, a fine human being and MP. On another blog, someone requoted his famous post-retirement retort to a petty politicking local govt twit. (In passing I should mention back in the 60s I was a friend of Len Bilney, maybe a cousin? Probably not a brother since he was West Torrens.)

Like AA, I wouldn't give up on the ABC despite its woeful recent record in news and current affairs where it has relied too much on echoing MSM memes (without sufficient recognition that these have vested interests pushing them).

The ABC is still an outstanding contributor to our culture with programs ranging from Landline, indigenous affairs, science and the environment, as well as music and the arts. Scott has been bold in helping it move into the digital age, and it may well be ahead of MSM in its usage/application across the various platforms.

The 24 hour News and Newsradio, however, bring almost as many problems as opportunities.  Have we got enough happening to sustain them? How does this cycle affect the presentation of political events. To bring it right up to the present, is something like the Asian Century White Paper too easily whisked aside after a bit of political slant?

Surely a system of public integrity should demand that IPA reps be taken out of their regular positions in talk programs on radio and TV. They're paid hacks. They ought to pay for their own publicity and propaganda. It would be far better to get academics to such positions.  There'd still be bias, but at least it would be informed and reasoned.

I even wonder if we could consider setting up the News as a separate entity and allowing commercials on the news channels a la SBS. It would give it some funding to set up more professional journalism. At present, I think that is lacking and is more concerning than issues of bias.

Too many reporters strive for the gotchas rather than drawing out the subject in interviews. It can be a battle of course, since pollies are all coached in how to bat away probing attempts. But there has to be a better way. Andrew Denton, admittedly an exceptional talent, surely ought to be a model. He encourages the subject to talk for themselves.

I still have some hopes that Jim Spigelman will be a good chair. 40 years back he did a brilliant job in setting up community radio. They tell me he's gone a bit soft with age, but I hope some of thee reforomist fire still lingers within.

Gorgeous Dunny

October 30. 2012 08:07 AM


Ad astra,
An excellent piece on a topic that is dear to my heart as I've been mourning the demise of the National Broadcaster I once knew and loved.

The Tories did such a job on destroying the ABC during the Howard decade that I do not believe it can be restored to its former glory.  What needs to happen now is to take a wire-bristled broom to it and clean it out to secure a pristine base upon which to rebuild from the ground up.

After the cleanup :-

1.  The ABC need to get back to training their own journalists and staff because to outsource is a recipe to bring in the diseases that infest the commercial media.

2.  The ABC need to put great emphasis on professionalism, integrity and honesty across the board and ban absolutely any hint of partisan views spouted by its journalists.  Not one viewer or listener ought to be able to discern which way the ABC journalist leans politically.

3.  Ban these ridiculous panels of journalists interviewing journalists regarding governments, politicians, policies, political scandals and leadershit frolics.  Straight, truthful reporting is what is required - we can do without the muddled headed interpretations of ill informed journalists and ex politicians who were unseated at past elections.

4.  The ABC must get back to producing quality drama and documentaries.  

There's a lot more ....    


October 30. 2012 08:12 AM



Truth Is Out Of Style, Peter Wicks, Wixxy Leaks
People also question why the press seem to show so much contempt for social media. It’s quite simple really, social media is killing them, surely but not slowly. Information is becoming available, almost immediately via Twitter and YouTube and people can figure out for themselves how they want to interpret that information. For those who like to read about issues with a bit of opinion or slant to them,

How The Oz missed the coup (rather than the other way around), Andrew Crook, Crikey
It’s true The Oz did a good job reporting tensions over the resource super profit tax despite the fact of the tax having been mentioned by Fairfax’s Peter Martin months beforehand. But on Saturday Van Onselen went further, accusing Fairfax of constructing a “false narrative” and sledging journalists who had “missed” the yarn. Sadly for PVO, those journos included Shanahan

The Asian century, Gary Sauer-Thompson, Public Opinion
It's a good and familiar roadmap, as it one that we know quite well: Australia needs to lift productivity, be fairer, be smarter, be better educated etc. It is a better road map than the Queenland's dinosaurone of coal being the future. Nor is the coal industry's carbon capture scenario.

The Melody Has Gone But the Song Lingers On? Deknarf, The Australian Blog
Tony Abbot use language inadvisedly (again) and then apologise with crocodile tears (again), and; the police raid on Craig Thomson’s house deliver the usual defence, the usual media huffy puffy, and a bit of legal angst from his lawyer. At least it filled out the space around the advertisements!

Newspoll and Mischievous Thoughts, Aussiepollies
The polls are undoubtedly getting closer, but how close and how real the narrowing of margins is remains unclear. It is still on the naughty side to be talking of leadership change in the Opposition despite results being less assured. What is almost without doubt is the need for a shift in the focus of Coalition strategy.

Company tax and the limits of politics, Miranda Stewart, The Conversation
According to economic theory, we should be able to tax corporate super profit at nearly 100% and not deter investment. But legally and administratively, that is hard to do. The situation of Australian companies may also be different, given the very valuable intellectual property owned by American companies. In this light, however, the current 30% tax rate seems like a crude but reasonable compromise.

Not another Village Idiot, Wendy Harmer, The Hoopla
Australia’s entrenched two-party system; factional in-fighting; lobbyists for commercial interests; string-pulling, done deals; relentless scrutiny and the interference of media cheerleaders… As an outsider looking in at Canberra? It’s terrifying

FAIRFAX EGG ON FACE: Doyle landslide despite The Age’s mudslide, Vex News
Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Robert Doyle comfortable re-election surprises no serious observer, on reflection. He had done a virtuous job as Lord Mayor and ran a very strong campaign. And yet, during the election we witnessed the most extraordinarily vicious attack on him by The Age newspaper about his team’s campaign fundraising

Mysogyny Downunder, Patricia wa, Café Whispers
I guess today’s 50-55 Newspoll explains this warning to Tony that he’d better change his ways. He is in danger of becoming as infamous as Sir John Kerr, the arch Labor traitor of 1975, rather than the LNP hero who won government in 2013. So, if Menzies House is rattled and questioning Abbott’s leadership, t looks like that speech has helped

NBN future “clearly wireless”, claims Alan Jones, Renai LeMay, Delimeter
Jones’ inaccurate comments this morning come just several weeks after the broadcaster was ordered to undergo basic journalism training by Australia’s media regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, after making an incorrect statement regarding carbon dioxide emissions in March 2011. ACMA ruled that Jones’ program would be forced to fact-check certain material before it went to air.

O'Farrell Government misleading NSW about power prices and the NBN, Stephen Conroy
"The O'Farrell Government is claiming power prices in New South Wales may have to rise because NBN Co is refusing to pay fair compensation to roll out fibre cable on the state's power poles."This is an absurd and ridiculous claim without any basis in fact.

Today’s Front Pages
Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 30 October 2012


October 30. 2012 08:13 AM


Allowing for the 'sniffing the wind' proviso of the last sentence, Ross Gittins cogently explains here why the Federal Government achieving a surplus in the Budget is vitally important to this nation.

To how we think, how we do, how we prepare... as a nation.



October 30. 2012 08:19 AM

Ad astra reply

Angry Bee
Welcome to The Political Sword family, and thank you for your kind comments about this piece and about the site generally.  

I note that you have been a visitor here for some time; I hope you will come back to comment again.  We have many thoughtful contributors whose views make good reading.  It is encouraging for all of us to know that there are visitors like you who are enjoying your time here.

I guess that after our patchy experience with the ABC, there will be some skepticism about whether it is up to the task of providing professional leadership for the rest of the media.  In the past, the ABC has provided excellent coverage of political and other matters, but at times the partisan approach it has taken on some issues has left doubt in people’s minds.  If the culture of the ABC could be realigned towards evenhandedness in political discourse, and balance in the selection of those it engages to discuss crucial issues such as climate change, the economy and education, to give just three examples, and if it were to eschew using as commentators political hacks from past eras, it might be possible to achieve the aim of being the guiding light in professional political journalism in this country.

We can but live in hope, but also we can use what influence we have to bring about this state of affairs.

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 08:24 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 08:44 AM


I recall when KO'B did the interviews on 7.30 report, Michael Brissenden was the Canberra Expert...After Howard and his "go-for" Sen. Alston rheemed the a*se out of the national broadcaster and put "the wet lettuce" in charge, KO'B was moved and Brissenden sent to "Coventry" for daring to be impartial to such a point that just to be apolitical was seen as a slap-in-the-face to the right-wing neo-cons..several promising women were sidelined and Uhlmann "schlepped" into his promised slot as..To quote.."The most revered and experenced journalist in Canberra" unquote!...one wonders how many "sleepless" nights he had to "endure" to get THAT moniker?
The perceived "witty and clever" commentry that flows from the mouths of the ABC. political reporters comes over as petty smart-arsedness rather than cutting repartee...someone ought to take Iggulden to one side and give him a "Godfather Kiss" ala Marlon Brando before he gets too over-confident and tries to crack a funny or two on the national television!...You may be taking lessons from Uhly',but like him; your're not smart, you're not clever, you're just a little sh*t!


October 30. 2012 08:51 AM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your complimentary remarks.

There is no doubt that to fulfill the role of the leader in professional political journalism, a cultural change is needed at the ABC that makes disrespectful questioning taboo.  While it is acceptable to be insistent when interviewees obfuscate and avoid the issue or refuse to address politely put questions, I find it an affront when an interviewer begins with an aggressive or assertive question.  To give a mild example, this morning on ABC Breakfast a question to Nicola Roxon about the spectrum allocated for emergency services was prefaced by words to the effect: ‘You have allocated only 10 MHz, don’t you think you should offer more than that?’ from an interviewer whom I suspect would have no idea what she was talking about and would not know what spectrum or its measure were.  This sort of impertinence is intolerable.  It could be stamped out quickly if those running the ABC addressed this cultural issue and insisted that it stopped forthwith.

I do agree with your sentiments about some of the people the ABC uses to garner so called ‘opinion’; they have no place on ‘Our ABC’.

I understand you skepticism about the ABC’s capacity to change; many share it.   Let’s work together though to try to bring about the changes the ABC needs, as it’s all we have got.

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 08:53 AM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your early morning comments; I'll address them later this morning.

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 09:16 AM



A good link to Ross Gittens who usually does write well (if not agreeably).  He's right this time as while the "surplus" argument has been overhyped by both tribes fro their own political ends - we are in a lot better position that the US where all parties recognised the need for cuts but the Tea Party Republicans would only allow cuts to programs they didn't like using the "it'll turn the country socialist" tagline.

One of my other hobby interests (while I may be on the computer toomuch - but not all of it is political) has a large base in the US.  A large supplier of material to the hobby recently placed an open letter on his website suggesting that a vote for Obhama is a vote for socialism.  The sad thing that when I sent him an email challenging his definition of Socialism and that things like Medicare do actually help a society, the response was breathtaking in it's naiveity - even allowing for the frequent "no good as it wasn't invented here" attitude shown by a number of citizens of the USA.


October 30. 2012 10:40 AM


Reading about Alan Jones' latest fact-free rant (delimiter.com.au/.../), I wonder who has the gig as his new "fact-checker"?  Based on this story, it's Andrew Bolt!


October 30. 2012 10:51 AM


Ad astra

Your are right the ABC is all we have, and 90% of the time it is the channel I watch, for many of the reasons Gorgeous Dunny pointed out. For many years it was the only channel I had reception for, and once I got Vast and the commercial channels became available to me I found the standard had dropped so dramatically (if the standard ever was very high, its been so long I can't really remember). I can't really bear watching them. So I am definitely with you in the fight for our ABC, as you say its all we have got and it is worth fighting for.


October 30. 2012 11:05 AM


This cannot be true can it?

The Gillard government will move ahead with a plan to excise the entire Australian mainland from the migration zone, effectively stripping rights from asylum seekers who reach the continent by boat.

F*** 'em, R*** 'em and Burn 'em. This may well be the very last staw on this camel's back.


October 30. 2012 11:21 AM


DMW - you would hope not, they're no better than the other tribe if they do.

Another reason to Vote 1 Greens if it happens?


October 30. 2012 11:44 AM


Good Morning Ad,

Thankyou for your magnificent work, we are so lucky to have you Ad Astra, we appreciate you very much.

I have a VIP visitor my grandson Joey, I know there is only one beautiful Grandchild and every Grandma has them.

A mini Twitterverse this morning :-

Peter van Onselen‏
A-Plus feature in today's Australian: "Is this the turning point?" www.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-e6frg6z6-1226505613219

Financial Review‏
Don Farrell steps down from top of Labor's SA Senate ticket to make way for Penny Wong #auspol http://bit.ly/PhlANf

Peter van Onselen‏
The whole Penny Wong / Don Farrell senate ticket debate is rubbish. No ALP 1 or 2 spot has EVER failed to win election in ANY state...

Wong to lead SA Senate ticket: reports

David Donovan‏@davrosz
For the record, IA is investigating Eric Abetz: tasmaniantimes.com/.../abetz-and-channel-highway-land-deals … #qanda

Wolfgang Savage‏
Queensland MPs gear up for Parliament amid nepotism row (well, not all MPs. Not the ones people want to hear) au.news.yahoo.com/.../ …#auspol

Liberals uneasy as Labor closes gap on Abbott, Phillip Coorey

No guarantee on $1.1b surplus, Michelle Grattan

Singapore a model for Chinese democracy, Peter Hartcher

About the House‏@AboutTheHouse
Media Alert: NBN Co and #Telstra to give update on #NBN rollout progress and workforce issues from 6pm today in 2S3 in Parliament House. 1/2


October 30. 2012 11:48 AM


Liberal moderates talked Howard out doing very similar. As hard as it is to type this on this one that makes Howard better than Gillard.

Never thought I would see the day that Labor would be worse than the Liberals when it comes to refugees.

The day any legislation passes implementing this will be a National Day of Shame.


October 30. 2012 11:51 AM

42 long

  Needs some sort of explanation doesn't it? These difficult situations should NEVER be subject to political point scoring . The difficulty of the matter requires genuine non point -scoring consideration from all participants in the mechanism.
   The LNP have never stopped smarting from the "rogering" they copped from K Rudd & co and I can understand that to some extent but how long is too long?
We are going to end up drawing very unfavourable attention from the UN etc and Australians are not generally racist or easily whipped up. However that has happened by a lot of ill-intentioned people, ( like Anal Jones ) and some of it sticks.
   The world is far from a perfect place and politicians cannot just wish some of the more formidable problems away, like some comentators . Who would like to put up their hand and take responsibility for this one? How would you carry the people with you with so many trying to cause difficulty?
   Can the Greens stop posturing and contribute something real too? They are part of the political scene with all it's rough and tumble, not just armchair pontificators any more.

42 long

October 30. 2012 11:56 AM


One could seriously think about implementing a plan to excise a few pollies from their seats.

reCaptcha: send zerlarga


October 30. 2012 12:00 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your comment.  Many share your skepticism about the ABC, but it is the best place to start in reforming the political media.  Kerry O’Brien would be an evenhanded news director, but it looks as if he’s being slowly ‘pensioned of’.  

What is needed is a change of culture.  If Mark Scott were to say to his news and current affairs staff that questioning of interviewees must be courteous and polite, at least at the outset, and that insistent questioning must be used only when interviewees were avoiding answering or obfuscating, that would markedly improve the quality of political discourse on the ABC.  If he then instructed his producers that panellists must be expert in their fields and must not include past political hacks or those with vested interests, the complexion of panel discussions would be strikingly elevated.

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 12:01 PM

Ad astra reply

Gorgeous Dunny
Thank you for your long and thoughtful comment.  I enjoyed reading what you wrote.  I agree that the programs you name as excellent indeed are.  The ABC is capable of producing world-class material.  It is when they enter the political arena that bias, partisan behaviour and lack of balance too often diminishes the quality of the presentations.

You cite a cogent recent example of the ABC’s dismissiveness when it covered the ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ White Paper.  Its first reaction seemed to be to pick up on Coalition lines: ‘short on detail’, ‘where’s the money coming from’, ‘all talk, no substance’, and ‘we’ve heard it all before’, a shameful way to discard a very important paper.  Why not simply announce the Paper, select some excerpts from Julia Gillard’s speech, indicate that it would be studied carefully and be the subject of a future forum among experts, and at least initially omit the inevitably partisan comments that were bound to come from the Opposition?

BTW, who is in the handsome Gravatar?  It looks a bit like The Fonz!

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 12:02 PM

Ad astra reply

From my very first post four years ago, you have responded with cogent comments, and here you are today making some splendid suggestions:

” After the cleanup :-

“1.  The ABC need to get back to training their own journalists and staff because to outsource is a recipe to bring in the diseases that infest the commercial media.

“2.  The ABC need to put great emphasis on professionalism, integrity and honesty across the board and ban absolutely any hint of partisan views spouted by its journalists.  Not one viewer or listener ought to be able to discern which way the ABC journalist leans politically.

“3.  Ban these ridiculous panels of journalists interviewing journalists regarding governments, politicians, policies, political scandals and leadershit frolics.  Straight, truthful reporting is what is required - we can do without the muddled headed interpretations of ill informed journalists and ex politicians who were unseated at past elections.

“4.  The ABC must get back to producing quality drama and documentaries.


Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 12:09 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank goodness for Ross Gittins, who writes it the way it is rather than trying to spin a partisan story, as so many commercial journalists do.  His article is very sound: Keeping budget vows is what makes Australia great.


Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 12:12 PM

Ad astra reply

What is needed is a radical change of culture among the ABC’s political presenters.  Mark Scott is the one who could effect this.  We hope he will.

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 12:15 PM

42 long

  If anyone has commented I haven't seen it. last night's Q&A was a low point for Tony Jones. No talent evident, comments dead and inappropriate, ( actually embarrassing).
  I gave Graeme Morris the top  score. i was going to rate them all but it's not important enough. What IS important is why is the format of Q&A so much a waste of time? It really is not worth turning on.
   Kerry O Brien is impressing me immensely and whoever support him in the production of 4 Corners. A world-class effort. I thought he was being pensioned off after giving Tabbott  a deserved wake up call. Perhaps he was.
   The writing is on the wall for the ABC if the LieNP get in. The question should have been put to Tabbott, but anyhow Rupert wants it privatised, so that is most likely what will happen together with the GST being broadened and upped, which is what his suppporters want. GST hurts those at the bottom of the heap.

42 long

October 30. 2012 12:25 PM

Ad astra reply

That is a great article in Delimiter.  Alan Jones seems incapable of learning how to speak the truth.  ‘Incorrigible’ is the only respectable word I can use to describe him; ‘recidivist’ would be more apt.


Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 12:28 PM


Comrades . . .

I have been deeply moved by all the people who have posted condolences. Thank you all very much. It's going to be tough on the day of the funeral whose details are as yet unknown to me, with so many more all of whom will feel much as I do. Gordon has been so beloved of so many.

Gorgeous Dunny, you said . . . I should mention back in the 60s I was a friend of Len Bilney, maybe a cousin?
Yes you got that dead right, as indeed I nearly made him once.

Dead, right? Here's the story:

We're about all about 14, 3 of us cousins sitting backs to the cabin in the back of my Dad's Holden Ute., driving leisurely along a dusty road near Yorketown on Yorke Peninsula, all on holiday. From left to right, my red-headed cousin Len, son of Dad's brother Chubby; my ginger-haired cousin Marie, daughter of Dad's sister Elsie; and redheaded me, with Dad's single-shot .22, held safely as always. Seriously.

[Rangas run rampant in my mob see.]

Right at the Dip Corner, (where there is a dip in the terrain AND a sheep dip so it was a double-dip dip!) there's a rabbit! - to the left of the car. Dad pulls over, I stand up to shoot it (across the two sitting down to my left), I actually said, "Keep still" and I'm aiming the rifle, finger on the hair-trigger I kid you not, and just as I'm about to fire, there's a big red head right in my sights!  

Why Len chose to stand up at the moment I shall never know. I do know that I went weak at the knees. I nearly killed him and it would have been his own fault! I don't think I shot that rabbit, I don't remember. I wonder if Len &/or Marie remember/s the incident. I certainly could never have forgotten it.

I'll probably see them both at the funeral, as cousins do. I must remember to ask!

Yes GD Len's me cuz!


October 30. 2012 12:32 PM


How trumphant and triumphal 'Murdochs men' will be when Abbott is installed. Chilling. Thank God no-one buys papers for the news anymore and the idiots are retreating online behind a paywall to talk to themselves............the 5th estate and balanced reporting can only flourish

What an entertaining link to Joe Hockeys interview with Barrie Cassidy. Co-alition members have had such a free ride they are outraged when they are expected to explain their extravagant pronouncements about the government and economy. Hockey was very very p*ssed off, trying to dominate the interviewer by repeating his name over and over the way one does with a subordinate, wonderful stuff.

Hockeys people should be advising him to always wear a tie whatever time of the day or night he is interviewed

Perhaps, the ABC reporters at least, are begining to realise the arrogance of Co-alition politicians in the way they deal with political reporters and how much worse that will be if they win government. The arrogant Press Gallery wont like it and in a contest with the media....well there is no contest!


October 30. 2012 12:45 PM



You will have to spell out why you are horrified by this latest excision.
It is one of the recommendations of the Houston Report. It discourages people smugglers from trying to sell a journey all the way to Australian shores - a considerably longer journey with the accompanying escalation of risk. Putting out an emergency call, real or otherwise, opens up the possibility of being taken to Christmas Island or the Cocos Islands.

I was disgusted when Howard excised Christmas Island etc but that is the current situation that the two major parties think best suits our circumstances.

If you want to rail against anybody, rail against your fellow citizens who can't see beyond their xenophobia and selfishness. We live in a democracy and apparently this is what the vast bulk of the population want. We've been over this a squillion times. Either we suck up the fact that we need to discourage entry by boat via our coastline or we suck up the fact that some people are going to drown trying to get here.

Personally, I'm over it. If they want to come by boat, let them come. If they drown, they drown. I know that given sufficient motivation, I would take the boat option, risks and all.

Unless there is bi-partisan support for a re-education of the populace, this issue is never going to be resolved to anyone's satisfaction.


October 30. 2012 12:46 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
What a delectable collection of links for me to enjoy after lunch!

Thank you for your very kind comments and this morning’s Twitterverse.

I’ve had a read of the PvO article, which I can only describe as astonishing.  For such a strong Coalition supporter to write such a piece indicates that there must be real fear within the Coalition that Tony Abbott could be, like John Hewson, one of those rare birds that ‘lose the un-losable election’.


I’ll read the others afterwards.

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 12:55 PM

Gorgeous Dunny

BTW, who is in the handsome Gravatar?  It looks a bit like The Fonz!

Ad astra reply  </i>
You didn't recognise that? It's the one and only Don Dunstan, with his beloved Adelaide. He remains my political hero.

My nickname was actually bestowed on Don Dunstan by <i> Nation Review </i> writer, John Hepworth, who at that early time thought Don was just a flamboyant trendy.

Later after some of his achievements, Heppy repented of that name, but I don't think it ever bothered Don. He managed to live with a lot more personal attacks than that.

Gillard also lists him as a hero, which might explain why she has never been phased by the level of unprecedented personal and political attacks against her.

Gorgeous Dunny

October 30. 2012 01:07 PM

Gorgeous Dunny

Great story, TT.

And an interesting connection.  Adelaide is a bit like that. Someone somewhere knows you or of you.

Assuming Len's there at the funeral and you get a chance to speak (and of course there are many more pressing concerns on such an occasion), ask him if he remembers Don from the old E % W S days 1960-63 and pass on my regards.

Your cuz was a nice young fella back then (even if one-eyed West Torrens against my North Adelaide) and I hope life turned out OK for him.

Gorgeous Dunny

October 30. 2012 01:48 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

’ the responses highlighted not just agreement, but also the deep dismay that those who commented felt at this state of affairs.’

How truly amazing. You put a club of likeminded barrackers together, and they agree with each other.

It’s that type of incisive analysis that “puts politicians to the verbal sword” – clearly without fear or favour.

Tom of Melbourne

Tom, I don’t like where you are going with that contribution. You would be well aware that Ad Astra has led a valiant crusade against groupthink infesting the Murdochracy (may I use that neologism?) and other print and electronic media. Ad Astra has attacked the problem with zeal and he rightly identified groupthink as the biggest existential challenge we in Australia face.

For you to now come along and suggest that the insidiousness of groupthink has infiltrated TPS makes you out to be a puler.

I would ask you to think before you post.

Sir Ian Crisp

October 30. 2012 01:59 PM

Ad astra reply

Gorgeous Dunny
Thank you.  I would not have recognized Don Dunstan from that photo, but now that you tell me who it is, I can see a young Don standing there.  I too was a great admirer of DD.

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 02:02 PM


Ad Astra

I guess my only response is that we can but live in hope.  Like a couple of others here, I can't see the ABC changing back to what it used to be.  I have to say, of all the news reports last night, I thought the ABC was the neutral than it has been for a while.  I found SBS can be hit an miss but most of the time the first half is watchable, especially when reports are about other countries.

Right now Julia is speaking about TT's brother Gordon in Parliament.


October 30. 2012 02:20 PM


Janice's comments sum up for me much of what I feel about what needs to happen at the ABC.   If only it could change.  I despair of it these days, and I often wonder how some of its old supporters feel when they look to what they thought of as an old friend for companionship in the evening.

Politican partisanship and rudeness of the interviewers aside, the jerky, tasteless and repetitive tone of their continuity is very off-putting and is causing me to switch off impatiently.   I can no longer relax with a drink, or even a snack in front of the tele with a favorite program.   An easier way to watch these days is at my desk with i-view.

Sadly, the deliberately pacier presentation style which may be ideal may for digital channels like ABC News 24, is now a feature of all their programming.   I don't hold out much hope for Mark Scott initiating the root and branch review they must undertake if the ABC is retain any hope of survival with reasonable audience numbers in the future.

I often question if his unwritten agenda might be to destroy it.  


October 30. 2012 02:37 PM



Your last two posts have been superb and inspiring in their energetic analysis framing a call to action. Thank you. (An apology in advance to you and readers – this is a long comment.)

It was a day of extreme cheer for me when finding The Political Sword! (discovered via taking out an account in Twitter). Don’t believe I had read anywhere a well-reasoned and positive word that supported the Gillard Government until finding this blog. To then discover a deep well of astute analysis, comment and opinion from you and your readers, tucked in beside a treasure house of linked reading in the 5th and 4th estates -- all pursued and provided by the redoubtable Lyn, was an extraordinary gift. One’s political re-education has been coming on in leaps and bounds Smile.

Joined Twitter initially to research who was writing on politics in Australia apart from #oldmedia. And began the research because had been thinking, with several other concerned friends, that it was time to begin a clearly pro-Gillard-Government blog as our contribution to preparation for the next election (we have made our decision on whom we wish to see as PM post a 2013 election) -- but that one should find out what was ‘out there’ in the blogosphere first.

Via Twitter I found rapidly, of course, that I and my friends were certainly not alone in our increasing anger at #old media or the #msm’s habits. They almost never scrutinised the LOTL and the Opposition, and almost always presented in a negative light what seemed to us to be increasingly competent governance, however slowly it came, via Labor with the Independents in this current Parliament.  

But there you, The Political Sword, were, and one couldn’t have begun! to provide anything so considered, well-researched, powerful and superbly written as Ad’s posts. With our early research proving no new blog needed (yay!), we’ve been reading The Political Sword since early June. And then there were other independent blogs (Politically Homeless, Failed Estate, Grogs Gamut, Independent Australia, Global Mail etc.). And thousands and thousands of Gillard Government supporters are found here, there and on Twitter. (Huge sigh of relief and a rapidly growing sense of ‘ethereal’ community, at least.)

It seemed that a next step for an individual might be to promote The Political Sword as much as one could across Twitter and work to extend its reach and readership (as you, and Lyn and TT and others, I know, so effectively do) – and that’s been fun.

But on the path of re-learning how to be politically active, I had also been chewing over ‘what’s missing?’ in the information a citizenry needs to be able to make informed decisions, and vote.

Two things stood out:

1. Where are party policies set out, simply and accessibly, in summary at least? Victoria Rollison stated in a blogpost of September 1, 2012 ‘I often remind people that an easy test when comparing two policies is to decide which one does the most good for the most people.’ Exactly. But how? First we must find the policies; then understand them, usually with the help of clear-eyed comparative analysis. Obviously we weren’t getting this via the #msm, when once we might have had 4-page spreads in print.

2. What we were getting from #oldmedia/#msm required ‘fact-checking’, because it was so often (a) fact-less or (b) fact-ion or (c) … sensationalist twaddle. Where was the fact-checking? Who was doing it?

In the last couple of weeks some fine things have been occurring to address both these issues.

Accessible policy and analysis

You have just said Ad, in the previous post -- The MSM is dangerously shortchanging us -- ‘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.

So, there you are addressing the same issue (and no doubt you have many times before).

I’d add only the words ‘easily accessible to the voter’. Which, may or may not mean ‘in one place’ or ‘easily found’ or grouped together for easy reference …

In a further comment to The MSM is dangerously shortchanging us you said:

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.’  (October 28. 2012 11:24 AM)

And my ears really started flapping! But will come back to this …


Also as comment to The MSM is dangerously shortchanging us and under the rubric Action Front for Truth in News Media (a Twitter ‘campign’) Barry Tucker (@btckr, and a retired journalist) let us know how he is urging and encouraging the ordinary bod to act! when we find the news ‘unfactual’.

He is evolving for the moment a simple blog at wp.me/p2QkUI-3  titled ‘truthinmediaresourcecentre’ capturing contact details in media and governmental organisations where complaints and requests for correction can be made. To this he is adding a collection of links specifically addressing news media issues. His effort is fantastic. No excuses left Smile.

I had been thinking about other strategies, though, such as the kinds of fact-checking sites that have developed in the US quite recently.

In a post titled Social Media, Bloggers, Pollies And Journos And The Rise Of The Fifth Estate (massmeeja.wordpress.com/.../) John Bergin quotes Greg Jericho (Grogs Gamut) saying:

…[bloggers] probably can’t summon the readership to make it a bit of a critical mass. I think that might be one of the reasons why in Australia fact-checking has not really taken off in any way, whereas in the US they couldn’t ignore it.

It became so big in the blogosphere that newspapers had to adopt it or risk being well and truly left behind. So, it still kind of surprises me that someone like Fairfax or even the ABC hasn’t started up a fact-checking site because it seems to me to be a no-brainer. I suspect one of the reasons is for fear that they might have to fact-check their own papers, columnists and material.

I think, though, fact-checking is an example of where things can and should go. It doesn’t mean that the fact-checkers are perfect; they’re certainly a hotly contested instrument in America in the blogosphere. But at least there is an attempt to say, right, we’re not going to let what someone says go straight through to the keeper. We’re actually going to challenge it.

The great thing about it – and, I think, the totally unforeseen thing about it – is that in this year’s US Presidential election, the questioning by fact-checking has overtaken the questioning by journalists. Journalists are now using fact-checkers as a resource. So, if they see that a claim that Mitt Romney made about Barack Obama is complete bollocks, well, they’re not simply going to let Mitt Romney say that in a press conference. They’re actually going to challenge him on it because now they have more information, and so well known are these fact-checkers that if journalists ignore these people, they’re demonstrating a wilful ignorance.

I think it’s a case where journalists are going to have to do it or they will be held up to ridicule because while there may not be many blogs in Australia doing it, they certainly are doing it nonetheless, and there are people on Twitter who are either experts in a particular area or who have good research skills – they just know where to find things and can do it quickly. I think it’s just something that needs to become part of their skill set.

One such US fact-checking site is PolitiFact.com at http://www.politifact.com/

Finally, Ad, to a couple of questions arising from the above, and reading your last two posts and comments:

* In the light of your comment that plots were afoot with Web Monkey (would dearly love to hear what you might be planning) would you see any possibility of evolving a ‘go to policy corner’ to the TPS blog that might do some of the capturing of accessible policy, and even policy analysis? And/or evolving a ‘fact-checking’ element – at least of the worst and most common ‘non-fact furphys’ as they occurred?


* In light of your discussion in this post of the improved role of the ABC, and its growing digital presence, might you see both those tasks as ones we should demanding the ABC take on, as quickly as possible?

Janet (otherwise Jan@j4gypsy on Twt)

PS: to TT: I found out only this morning TT about the loss of your brother. I am so very sorry. I feel sure that the pride you have in him was returned by his in you.


October 30. 2012 03:11 PM


Norman K
A good summary of what seems to be a developing story re asylum seekers. I thought that Howard's strategy was pretty cruel back in the day, plus a bit unusual in that a country could excise itself. But that seems to be the situation. My recollection is that whenever there was a spot of bother Howard would excise another island or three to get some favourable coverage?
I didn't realise this was part of the Houston et al report, pleased to hear that.
And I can't help myself, must return to my hobbyhorse. Which is that those defenders of our shores the Coalition had the chance to oppose the changes to Howard's legislation in parliament & squibbed it. Reported at the time, after which some very serious effort seems to have been put in to forget it.


October 30. 2012 03:13 PM


Talk Turkey
My sympathies for your loss.


October 30. 2012 03:51 PM


Norman, there are no people smugglers, there are simply refugees who need to escape and pay for transport.

Bowen summed up in 2006 just how evil his latest move is and the so-called expert panel were not and are not experts in refugee law.

Aristotle sold his soul to the government under Ruddock in 2001 when he pretended to broker peace during the 2002 hunger strike.  I rewatched my film "the Man who Jumped" last night and two images stand out.   One was Paris saying how evil it is to mistreat asylum seekers and the other was Gillards sour face when Rudd was disbanding the Nauru deal.   She looked like she could kill him because of course the racist coward has always loved shoving away refugees.

And they are refugees, the rate of acceptance for Afghans is currently 99.5% and nearly as high for Iranians and Iraqis.

Angus Houston was in charge of defence when Australian soldiers murdered Afghan children in their own home and then covered it up, he helped to cover up racist attacks, rapes, drunken rampages and other atrocities - he came here from Scotland to be a jackaroo and has no interest in the law.

Michael Le'Strange is on old Howard hack with no interest in or expertise in refugee law.

They simply parrotted out Gillards hate and prejudice.

Imagine if all 146 nations who ratified the refugee convention decided to cut off their countries to refugees.

Bowen explains in this 2006 speech what the consequences are.

And our racist, appalling MSM have let them get to this point of derangement.

It is not legal, it is not moral, it is not decent - it is as vile as Campbell Newman shutting down the TB clinic on Sibai Island and paying Nauruan workers $4 per hour while Australian's earn $40.


Coalition attempts to excise Australian mainland from migration zone
Posted August 10, 2006
Mr BOWEN (Prospect) (10.17 a.m.)?In 1951 the United Nations convention for the protection of refugees came into force. The world realised the mistakes of the 1930s, when many Western nations turned their backs on Jews fleeing persecution in Germany. Collectively, we said, ?Never again.? I am sure that all of us involved in public life would like to think that we would have done the right thing in those circumstances and stood up for those facing the worst of circumstances, regardless of whether it was popular or unpopular. If the Migration Amendment (Designated Unauthorised Arrivals) Bill 2006 passes the parliament today, it will be the day that Australia turned its back on the refugee convention and on refugees escaping circumstances that most of us can only imagine. This is a bad bill with no redeeming features. It is a hypocritical and illogical bill. If it is passed today, it will be a stain on our national character. The people who will be disadvantaged by this bill are in fear of their lives, and we should never turn our back on them. They are people who could make a real contribution to Australia.
This bill represents an extension of the so-called Pacific solution, in which we saw individuals who were processed offshore being treated differently from those processed in Australia. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs said in his second reading speech that the offshore processing system had preserved ?Australia?s strong commitment to refugee protection?. He is wrong. Let us take a look at how the Pacific solution has worked in practice. This bill extends the Pacific solution, so it is legitimate to look at how it has worked up until now. Firstly, we have seen families of refugees broken up?callously and in contravention of the refugee convention. Spouses of people who have been recognised as refugees in Australia received correspondence from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, which has been reproduced by Michael Gordon in his excellent book Freeing Ali .  

And as Australia just told the UN that we are good world citizens who can we be so dumb and as we are on the UNHCR excom. governing the enforcement of the refugee convention how can we be so fucking moronic.

I hope the ALP choke when people start to die.


October 30. 2012 03:57 PM


And Norman, less than 1,000 people have drowned in 14 years, all of them could have been saved by us and we chose not to.

The evidence is now in and can be found on sievx.com - documents showing they let people die.

And it is not up to us to tell people to stay home and die.

IN the same 14 years 126 million kids under 5 died of starvation, disease and war.

We are not stopping anyone from leaving any country we want to illegally punish them if they get here, something it is their right to do.


October 30. 2012 04:09 PM

Ad astra reply

I wonder did you see Hollowing Hockey’s motion to Suspend Standing Orders today seconded by Reticent Robb.  It was comical.  There seemed neither rhyme nor reason to back their move.  Anthony Albanese’s response was powerful as he poked fun at their ineptitude.  They lost, but succeeded in wasting everyone’s time.

Like you, I am amazed that so many in the media seem prepared to have the Coalition in government, as it has never shown itself to be worthy of government since it lost in 2007.  I suppose it would provide them with juicy copy day after day as it bumbled along.

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 04:50 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your very complimentary remarks and your comprehensive comment.  I hope all our visitors will read your astute words.

Your suggestions are commendable.

There is a need for compare and contrast opportunities whereby competing policies could be assessed.  As you say, to do this access to policies of all major parties is needed, along with timetables for implementation and costings.  But it is not easy to find policy statements that contain the detail that is needed for comparison. All parties have general statements laden with motherhood statements, but seldom details of how, where and when, and at what cost over what period it is proposed to implement the policy.  It is easy to write aspirational statements, but much more taxing to spell out implementation details.  Even if they were available in sufficient detail, expert analysis of the pros and cons of each would be necessary, couched in a language that the ordinary person could appreciate.  Given the widespread disinterest in politics among voters, and the disinclination of many to devote much time to understanding policy, it would be a challenge to author an analysis that voters would be prepared to read.  It might be worth attempting such an exercise on The Political Sword through 2013.

Which leads to the next issue you touched upon: how to promulgate such material.  The Fifth Estate has a major problem: that of penetration into the electorate.  While it is evident that the penetration of the Fourth Estate is steadily diminishing with decreasing print sales, a process that will accelerate as pay walls are erected around online news and opinion, the Fifth Estate still lacks the penetrating power of the Fourth Estate, and will continue in this way unless a better way of dissemination is developed.  While dissemination to the general public will remain problematic, dissemination to politicians, journalists and decision makers might be improved if it were easy for visitors to the Fifth Estate to send messages or forward articles and blog pieces to them.  This is what Web Monkey and I are working on.  We will advance this when we meet later this week.  We hope to have something to offer by the start of political play next year, or maybe sooner.

Fact checking has become a potent force, notably in the US.  We need it here, but I’m not aware of a fact-checking site here; if anyone knows of one, please post the link.  Clearly Alan Jones hasn’t come across it, as the article on Delimiter demonstrated so well today.

It would give journalists a powerful tool if they had checked facts to work with when questioning politicians.  Of course, they could do some fact checking themselves.  That’s actually in their job description!  As you suggest, we ought to expect that Our ABC would carry out this role as the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

There is much to be done, but we can do it.  We can make our views felt and heard.  We must gird our loins for the battle in 2013.

Again, thank you for your helpful comments and suggestions.  Do come back.

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 05:15 PM

Gorgeous Dunny


I'm very glad that you've discovered so many online friends and supporters. You definitely are not alone, albeit it is understandable if you believed the MSM noise.

In case you haven't been there yet, I'd mention The Poll Bludger, where I frequently haunt. You will find many diverse posters there. Bushfire Bill is our star, but there are so many different perspectives from around the country that it is well worth a visit.

Crikey online supports Poll Bludger and it also supports Possum's brilliant Pollytics (well worth a look). It used to support Pure Poison, a site not dissimilar to the worthy Political Sword, but I believe it has now folded.

Gorgeous Dunny

October 30. 2012 05:18 PM

Ad astra reply

Gravel. Patriciawa
Your feelings of despair about Our ABC are understandable.  I hope your fear that Mark Scott might be out to destroy the ABC is unfounded Patriciawa.  If that were so, the ABC is doomed.

Looking at it positively, I believe that he is the one who could transform the ABC – by changing the culture.  It is the culture that ‘gives permission’ to journalists from time to time to be impolite, sometimes rude, even to people holding high office, such as our PM.

We have all encountered businesses or organizations where the staff is discourteous and indifferent to the consumers.  Like that wonderful episode of Yes, Minister where a hospital had been built, commissioned and staffed but had no patients, but where the idea that patients ought soon to be admitted was seen by the administration as preposterous, as that would unreasonably disturb the equilibrium of the staff.  I know that was satire, but a surgical colleague of mine who had ignored one of his hospital’s ‘rules’, was once told by an annoyed hospital administrator:  “I could really run my hospital well if it wasn’t for you bloody doctors and your patients.”

Shall we devote our energies to encouraging a modification of the culture of the ABC in a way that would restore respect to political discourse, yet insist on cogent answers to reasonable questions?

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 05:46 PM



A few months back I did follow a link to a 'fact checker' page in Crikey, a quick search just now on crikey for 'fact check' and I eventually found this www.crikey.com.au/.../

a further search on 'get-fact' found 4 articles where Crikey has applied a Fib-o-Matic meter to a few 'claims".

Its not much, but a start perhaps.


October 30. 2012 05:51 PM



make that 5 articles with the Fib-o-matic.

apologies about the link above.. what is the trick to posting links...?


October 30. 2012 06:58 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
I’ve finally got round to reading your links after watching an appalling Coalition performance during QT.  Mind you, on The Drum this evening Peter Reith thought Joe was ‘magnificent’, like he was in Insiders!

I thought Andrew Crook’s rebuttal of PvO’s article in The Oz was delightful.  Dennis Shanahan got it wrong at the time of Kevin Rudd’s removal despite PvO’s apologia.

Although I didn’t read all of the article about Eric Abetz, it does look fishy.

Altogether the links were a great read.  Thank you.

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 08:08 PM

Tom of Melbourne

ALP barrackers must be so proud of Our Prime Minister for introducing a more punishing and inhumane policy on asylum seekers than anything ever dreamed up by the Howard government.

….but, but, but…it just can’t be the fault of Our Prime Minister, it must be the fault of Abbott… or the media…or something.

Tom of Melbourne

October 30. 2012 08:10 PM


Hi Ad

Thankyou for your interesting posts, as they always are.

I missed Question time today as had to attend a sad funeral this afternoon.  

Just working away now to catch up.  I am enthralled by our  commenters on TPS, they are all magnificent.

Barry Tuckers work is very interesting so am watching him closely.

Just making time to check Chris at  Newsflock http://www.newsflock.com/about/intro  who has me intrigued, I have signed up.

Delighted with Janet, thankyou Janet for your amazingly interesting post @ 2.37pm.  I am thrilled to see you are my twitter friend
@j4gypsy, I have noted your re-tweets of "The Political Sword" & other blog sites for which I thank you very much.  I will need to read your post again later.
Janet thankyou for your kind comments about Ad Astra, TPS and myself, lovely to hear whenever anyone reports they enjoy TPS.

I agree Ad Eric Abetz he is fishy to say the least. PVO well???? you know what I mean.

I am posting a link to today's Question time live blog by Katharin Murphy, it's ok for anyone who missed QT, I don't enjoy her outlook much or her perception but gives one an idea of what happened.

Talk Turkey there is a nice picture of your brother on this blog:
Politics wrap: October 30, 2012



October 30. 2012 08:18 PM

Ad astra reply

Thanks - I have bookmarked Crikey's Get Fact.  That should be a great resource.


BTW this blog engine uses square brackets for emphasis.

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 08:20 PM

Tom of Melbourne

At some point the blog owner, apparently a member of the medical profession, might explain how he can support a policy that, when applied as intended, has proven to be detrimental to the physical and mental health of the innocent recipients of that policy.

It’s hypocrisy all round here.

Tom of Melbourne

October 30. 2012 08:25 PM


   Very proud!I wish I could say I'm surprised that you never mention how far Morrison wants to go, but comming from an arse licker like you it's hardly a shock!  


October 30. 2012 08:25 PM

Ad astra reply

42 long
Q&A is hit and miss – sometimes good, sometimes second-class, sometimes awful.   Tony Jones has turned it into an entertainment rather than a serious forum for political discussion, and there is rather too much of Jones.

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 08:32 PM


   Perhaps Ad could explain how syphilis has finally got the better of the small bit brain you possess!


October 30. 2012 08:42 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Sorry you have had a sad day.  You didn’t miss anything in QT, except Bitchy Bishop, Motor-Mouth Morrison, Hollering Hockey and Reticent Robb, all burned by Fired-up Julia.  Abbott man was quiet.

I’m calling it a day.  Good night.

I’m going to Melbourne tomorrow so won’t be around after mid morning.

Ad astra reply

October 30. 2012 09:51 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Well Jason, I think it is really loyal and cute (a little like a Labrador) the way you bowl in with some insults every time some of Ad Astra”s partisan hypocrisy is pointed out.

But I would like to understand how a member of the medical profession can justify supporting a policy, which when applied as intended to innocent people, is harmful to their physical and mental health.

Tom of Melbourne

October 30. 2012 11:02 PM


   I wasn't aware Ad Astra was answerable to you.
However for all your rantings about "us" being "barrakers" when was the last time since the 2010 election that you put the "oppostion" to the sword?

It seems you're nothing but a "coalition" barraker who still think student politics have a place in the national debate.
Come back when your balls drop!


October 30. 2012 11:59 PM


Hi Janet (otherwise Jan@j4gypsy on Twt)

So you're the gal with the vardo logo! I picked it as such remember? But I also picked you as a good'un, it is splendid to see you hear and read your thoughts in depth. Because they do indeed have some depth.

The sort of problems and opportunities you canvass today are very germane, we are gradually disciplining ourselves to become worthy of the Fighting 5th badge in order to combat the merciless bias of the MSM. We didn't start this fight, but we dare not fail. We must not let the LNP seize power through our laziness or silence, because I seriously fear that if once they ever get into Government again, the LNP will ensure that we never do again. NEVER.  

You name several fine blogsites, what makes TPS stand out apart from Ad's articles and Lyn's links is the quality and variety and goodwill of posts - and yours is very well up there.

How many silent TPS readers are there, I wonder? All are welcome to stay unheard, but ever more so to speak up. We're not just here for gossip. We got a job to do.

Janet I'd love your vardo pic to grace the Sword, it is a beauty.


October 31. 2012 12:08 AM


Copied from Twitter - Seems everybody is saying the ABC has gone to hell.

Lurline McCulloch‏@lurlibel

Petition | ABC (Australia): Stop the bias towards the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) | http://Change.org  www.change.org/.../abc-australia-stop-the-bias-towards-the-institute-of-public-affairs-ipa … PLS SIGN


October 31. 2012 12:18 AM


NormanK @ 12:45 PM
You will have to spell out why you are horrified by this latest excision.
It is most unfortunate that I should need to spell it out and I will come back to that shortly.

It is one of the recommendations of the Houston Report.
Whoopee. That does not make it compulsory to implement the recommendation. Governments do not act on or implement ALL recommendations of a particular report. It would be unfair to mention the Henry Tax Review or the Gonski Report as examples as they are long term visions to be impemented over an extended period. I am sure though we wouldn't have to look too hard to find at least one recent report where some recommendations have been rejected.

Ok, I note the time of your comment was before Question Time. If Blind Freddy couldn't see it coming I could. While I could not recall the exact words or times of Gillard and Bowen among many others giving Howard a pasting for considering the option I knew they had done so.

Just from the political 'games' level it was a dumb move and once again gave the opposition ammunition on double standards etc. It is almost like the government either failed or forgot to study Politics 101.

I could repeat, or write them in a slightly different way some of the points in Marilyn's comments @ 3:51 PM & 3:57 PM if you need further explanation.

Unless there is bi-partisan support for a re-education of the populace, this issue is never going to be resolved to anyone's satisfaction.
Bi-partisan is a pipe dream and it ain't gonna happen. That does not stop real leadership being practiced by a prime minister. There is something that Paul Keating said along the lines of there are time that a leader has to do things despite the electorates prejudices and I wish I could recall it exactly as it is very appropriate to the current stupidity.


October 31. 2012 06:50 AM


   A great follow up from your last post, I do worry like others that with Mark Scott at the helm the ABC will not change. I wonder if one approach to bias media is to come out & ask them straight [reporters] to their face why do you want an Abbortt government, he has no policies out there so their answers would be some what telling maybe?

  I have been out getting even more swarms, with 28degs yesterday & 34 in Melbourne today I think the bees are telling the truth as to what is in store for us this summer HOT bloody HOT.


October 31. 2012 07:27 AM


That 28 degs was here in the southeast coast of Tassie by the way.


October 31. 2012 08:09 AM



Sweetest of them all: how Julia Gillard won the 2013 election, William Bowe, The Conversation
the unchallenged consensus of the Canberra press gallery was that a Tony Abbott prime ministership was simply a matter of time.Polling certainly provided a temptation to succumb to such a view, with Labor recording such lows with such consistency as no past government had ever recovered from – at least within the limited frame provided by the modern era of opinion polling, which has seen only five changes of government.

Abbott’s Double Whammy, Archie, Archie Archives
Reality is finally seeping into the Federal Liberal Party and it is difficult to see Tony Abbott surviving the swirling storm of dissent which is forming within the Liberal Vacuum Flask.Even if some of the cracks are plastered over at the Party Meeting in Canberra today, it will only be a temporary fix.A vacuum flask can only stand so many shocks until it suddenly shatters.

Can ‘Dr. No’ become ‘Mr. Yes?’ Open Fire
Most recently by using the toxic ‘dying of shame’ phrase while in parliament, only days after [insert derogatory adjective here] Alan Jones muttered it in yet another display of his inhumanity. For that gaffe there was no escape for Abbott, he was either a cunning, sly asshole looking to hurt Julia Gillard personally or such a buffoon as to not consider the implications of using such a phrase. Whatever the case, he made his bed, or probably his wife did, and he must now lay in it.

Karma Police, Peter Wicks, Wixxy Leaks
In the meantime Jackson cronie Katrina Hart showed her courage in taking on Thomson’s lawyer. Hart dared Thomson to sue her for defamation and made a huge deal out of it to show how tough she is. But only after she received the backing of some nameless media organisation.  I didn’t know Eric Abetz was into publishing….
I didn’t know Eric Abetz was into publishing….

Here Come The Polls!, Ben Eltham, New Matilda
Attention now turns to the Liberal Party, with press gallery leader Phil Coorey reporting today that "several Liberal MPs" had told him that "Labor’s recovery was now clearly a trend and Mr Abbott needed to broaden his approach beyond attacking the carbon tax.". As for poll blogger Brent, he’s now arguing that the poll bounce will lead to the removal of Tony Abbott as opposition leader

Is Abbott the conservatives' liability?, Malcolm Colless, On Line Opinion
They worry that this is creating an image of indeciveness. "We know what Tony is opposed to but what does he stand for," they ask, ironically echoing a catchcry from Labor designed to wedge the Liberal Leader. For example, we know that Abbott will not go down the Work Choices path on industrial relations reform. This policy he says is dead and buried. But we are still to see what his vision is for a new, conservative, industrial relations landscape.

The uncharitable IPA, Alan Austin, Independent Australia
The Institute Public Affairs (IPA) is at it again ― trying to undermine much-needed reform, attacking the Government for evils entirely concocted and protecting powerful interests it will not name. All under the smarmy guise of defending privacy and freedom.A diatribe of confected outrage against the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) appeared in Murdoch’s The Punch on Monday.

Thomson lawyer planning to sue HSU member, Simon Cullen, ABC
Mr McArdle said in a letter to Ms Hart."The claims against him, made by you in the article in the Telegraph, are false."The letter was sent on October 22 and offers to drop the legal action if Ms Hart apologised within a seven-day period.But Ms Hart is refusing to budge, arguing she feels as though she is being forced into an apology

IN THE FAMILY: Mirabella MP’s allies seize control of Wangaratta council, could bone CEO and replace him with husband, Vex News
Federal member for Indi and Coalition industry spokesman, Sophie Mirabella, has triumphed in local elections in the Wangaratta council, local political insiders say, helping elect a raft of conservative candidates after a vigorously contested campaign.They are set to sack the incumbent council CEO Doug Sharp and – it is strongly rumoured in

Learning The Labor Lockstep. Bernard Lagan, The Global Mail.
McKew argues — and presents evidence — that contrary to her assertions, Gillard was no passive player; impatient for the Prime Ministership, Julia Gillard, writes McKew, allowed others to create a sense of crisis about Rudd’s leadership and then cut the elected Labor Prime Minister down, pretending it was in the national interest to do so.

Toothless Twitter? Listeners stick by Alan Jones after PM scandal, The Power Index
Elsewhere in Sydney, Fairfax's Media rotten experience with radio continues with 2UE sliding to a new low of 3.8% in the latest survey, down 0.5% from the weak 4.3% in survey six. That fall makes the decision to give programming boss, Peter Brennan, the push, a little easier to understand. In Melbourne, Fairfax's flagship 3AW slipped a little, down 0.1% to 16.5%. It is still market leader though. In Brisbane, Fairfax's 4BC saw a 0.2% rise to 6.2% in the latest survey.

Gillard says Murray Darling Basin ‘national issue’, David Twomey, Echo News
Australia’s Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said South Australia may be set to receive more than a quarter of a billion dollars of federal government funds to pay for water management but the Murray Darling Basin project is a “truly national issue”.

Conroy threatens naughty NSW with NBN powers, Renai LeMay, Delimeter
“In the interim, NBN Co is prepared to use Commonwealth powers to gain access to the poles it needs now to continue the rollout to the areas of Gosford, Long Jetty and Lidcombe, until sensible commercial arrangements can be finalised with the relevant utilities.” In a statement entitled “NBN Co determined to keep NSW rollout on track”, NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley said the company would not hesitate to use “powers in the Telecommunications Act” to get on with the job of rolling out the infrastructure.

Today’s Front Pages
Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 31 October 2012


October 31. 2012 08:31 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

October 31. 2012 09:10 AM


The thing I remember most of those times when the LNP. was riding high in the polls is that smug "a*se-licking smile" from some (we know their names)ABC. interviewers who used the 7.30 report to push their own tawdry barrow, full to the brim with their hero's tawdry ambition!...tyre's a bit deflated now though!....but that's alright, said interviewer can "sling his hook" anytime he likes!


October 31. 2012 09:16 AM

Tom of Melbourne

On the issue of government policy on asylum seekers, Paul Keating recently said - "It's the job of leaders to protect the country from its prejudice"

Gillard is no leader.

Tom of Melbourne

October 31. 2012 09:31 AM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
I’m starting to work through your links, but as I have to leave soon for Melbourne, I probably won’t get far.

I was naturally attracted by the piece by Poll Bludger’s William Bowe: Sweetest of them all: how Julia Gillard won the 2013 election


It begins: “From the time the carbon tax policy was unveiled in February 2011 until its implementation on July 1, the unchallenged consensus of the Canberra press gallery was that a Tony Abbott prime ministership was simply a matter of time.

“Polling certainly provided a temptation to succumb to such a view, with Labor recording such lows with such consistency as no past government had ever recovered from – at least within the limited frame provided by the modern era of opinion polling, which has seen only five changes of government. State election disasters in New South Wales and Queensland likewise suggested that Labor was unmooring from its support base as never before.

“Not for the first time though, the self-confidence of political commentators, together with the utility of mid-term polling as a pointer to outcomes at long range, has been shown to have been greatly exaggerated.

“As the Prime Minister and her defenders had long forecast, the introduction of the carbon tax has heralded a shift in the political breeze, such that current polling offers no basis for predicting the result with any confidence one way or the other.

“The press gallery has generally been reluctant to relax its assumptions so far, although suggestions that the Coalition might achieve something close to a senate majority have quietly disappeared. Labor, however, will be allowing itself to view the future through a hopeful eye, and planning its election strategy on a basis of playing to win. To do so it must achieve something which remains off the radar for observers still wedded to the old assumptions: gaining seats from the Coalition.”

It is gratifying reading from an experienced poll analyst what we have been saying here on TPS all year, namely that polling of voting intention more than a year from the next scheduled election has no power to predict the next election result.  Bowe puts it this way: ”… the utility of mid-term polling as a pointer to outcomes at long range, has been shown to have been greatly exaggerated.”

Why has the commentariat never acknowledged that?  Because polls make easy copy, and because the polls have been running the way the commentators desired.  Is it any wonder we are so cynical about the veracity and honesty of much of the MSM?

Ad astra reply

October 31. 2012 09:41 AM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
I see another item on polls: Here Come The Polls! by Ben Eltham http://newmatilda.com/2012/10/30/here-come-polls

This paragraph caught my attention: ”Informed observers tend to decry the influence of opinion polls on long-term policy reform, as George Megalogenis did in his excellent Quarterly Essay at the end of 2010. Megaologenis’ point — that the constant drumbeat of poll data proves irresistibly distracting for the politicos and the media — is a sound one. But it is also a fact of contemporary political life. The constant spin cycle of political commentary demands a way to keep score. Opinion polls provide that. And when they move, the political system moves with them — to the next endless merry-go-round.

“It’s not quite meaningless: after all, we’re talking about who’s running the country. But it is certainly wearying. Like negative campaigning and personal attack tactics, the endless opinion poll commentary does not tend to improve the health of our democracy. It increases cynicism and degrades political engagement amongst voters.”


Ad astra reply

October 31. 2012 10:15 AM


Ad astra, thankyou for another thought provoking piece. You are a lot more optimistic about the ABC than I am. Not often spoken of, is the great work Conroy has done in moving the ABC and SBS Boards away from the hands of political influence by advertising the positions and basing the choice of members on merit.

Unfortunately, one significant remnant of the Howard heavily politicised ABC Board remains in the presence of Mark Scott. His second five year term was waved through by Maurice Newman in the last days of his and other Howard political appointees control.

He needs to go for two reasons. Many times he has shown himself to be a Liberal stooge which effects the way almost everything is now slanted, at the ABC. Secondly he is ratings obsessed with no understanding of public broadcasting, where properly informing the public should be the number one objective, rather than fixed eyeball or ear count ups.

There is a precedent for the ABC Board to sack the boss. They need to do that now and appoint someone independent like the rest of the members now are. That person should come from a public broadcasting background so we can rid Aunty of her ugly,  blatantly commercial, makeover.


October 31. 2012 10:30 AM


Best thing about watching our/their ABC?

No matter how they present them onscreen, the Coalition mouthpieces, from Shouldabeen to whoever they trundle out as a humble backbencher when they want to display a 'new' face...

They look and sound stupid.

And there is nothing any media outlet on the planet can do (except not feature them) about that. An empty talking head is an empty talking head.

ABC to TV Uzbekistan, ain't that the truth?


October 31. 2012 10:44 AM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your kind comments.  I see you are skeptical about any ABC revival being possible while Mark Scott is present.  You may be right, but as we are powerless to effect a replacement, we need to work with what we have got.  Heartened by his response to Greg Jericho, I believe that he may be susceptible to persuasive arguments that the ABC needs a change of culture whereby there is renewed respect for the authority of high-ranking political positions, such as, for example, the PM and the LOTO, as well as Ministers and senior Opposition figures.  They ought to be extended courtesy by all interviewers, especially junior ones, and even if the interviewer does not respect the person, she/he should respect the position.  That does not mean that the questions should not be probing and insistent, but that they should be respectfully put.

Judging by the words that some interviewers use, and by their tone of voice or by their body language, they exhibit discourtesy and disrespect that is unbecoming for the ABC.  After all, it is not 2GB!  The ABC is no place for the Alan Joneses and Ray Hadleys of this world.  Reflect on the much-celebrated interview of Tony Abbott by Kerry O’Brien about Abbott’s handling of the truth.  Although insistent and probing, O’Brien was courteous throughout.  Courtesy and respect is not inconsistent with insistent probing.  If only Mark Scott would insist on a courteous and polite approach from all his journalists, the character of the ABC would improve out of sight.

Ad astra reply

October 31. 2012 11:13 AM


Wholeheartedly agree with Joe..I don't think Scott has the nous to comprehend community voice. His dickying-up and dumbing down of Aunty shows a commercial business-plan gormlessness.
It's a public broadcaster..ergo..it's for the general public, NOT the generic corporations!
I would recommend Scott keeps in mind the old theatre adage..:"An audience in house is worth two in the hustings!"


October 31. 2012 11:33 AM


Listening to some ABC radio this morning I note that these people at least have gotten over the media's brief flirtation with "Context".
Shovelling out Labor quotes from 2006 et al about the evils of excision. No mention of the times, of Children Overboard, of the fact that Howard was pushing the fear factor as hard as he could simply to win elections. No speculation as to what Abbott may actually do about this new development. Just content to score a few gotchas.


October 31. 2012 11:51 AM


And, BSA Bob, ABC News have selectively quoted Bowen to leave out where he has been explaining the incision is another recommendation of The Houston Report that the Government is adopting.

The World Today introduced it's report, the other day, on Penny Wong and the Senate ticket as her having been "restored" to No 1 position; presumably, to cover up for her previously and falsely media reported "demotion", when she was actually Number 2, last time she stood.

Ad Astra, these are not isolated examples, sadly.


October 31. 2012 12:02 PM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody


Malcolm Farr‏
PCoorey going to Fin. Leaving SMH.

Hmmm, so SMH will still have Peter Ruddstoration Hartcher, while the FIN will gain Phil Ruddstoration Coorey. Meh.

Bushfire Bill
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 10:16 am
I think the government needs a strategy that assumes The Boats wont go away as an issue, factoring them in to an overall plan that sidesteps them altogether.

You can’t win every battle, and with left, right, center and even international forces against the government, or in for a share of the take, it’s probably best that The Boats are simply masked off and put into hold mode.

It’s up to the government to move in another direction and convince the voters that the finish line is somewhere else other than where Abbott keeps on pointing


Bushfire Bill
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 9:27 am


Turn Left‏
Tony Abbotts vote is now tainted, I call on the LNP to reject his vote until this court case is finalised and the media over examine it

Prez Malarke
@OzFacts At the very least the Liberal Party should refuse Mr Abbott's vote until his matters before the court are dealt with. #auspol

Court hears Tony Abbott defamed union boss John Setka
From:The Australian October 31, 201211:07AM
Mr Abbott is fighting the claim with a truth defence, arguing Mr Setka has a history of threatening behaviour and intimidation going back more than two decades as well as convictions for contempt of court.
Michael Wheelahan SC, representing Mr Abbott, said video of the speech to the Master Builders Association would show his speech patterns and inflections did not connect Mr Setka to the home visits, but referred to other unionists.

"At trial we will say to the jury that 'home visits' is not a meaning which the words convey in respect of Mr Setka," Mr Wheelahan said. "'Home visits' is at most contextual.

Simon Cullen‏
Police have lodged an extra 28 charges against former HSU boss Michael Williamson

Don Arthur‏
Populist, negative, ugly & Australian http://ind.pn/TSG0c9

Stephen Koukoulas‏
Why do people say the budget surplus is vanishing? Because @joehockey says so? MYEFO has a revenue downgrade & still had surplus

It seems Abbott is a user & abuser. Women are deserting the Abbott they know |www.dailytelegraph.com.au/.../story-e6frezz0-1226505590019

Attractions of mining boom fail to send us west, Peter Martin

Ken ‏
ACCC must investigate PSYCHO TONY ABBOTT's scaremongering lies remember Brumby's http://yhoo.it/VC7VP0 MSM IS A CO-CONSPIRATOR

http://bit.ly/UeXZtD Now real division in the LNP with Abbott - "This is a big test for Tony," one senior Liberal source said #auspol

Wolfgang Savage
Qld Parliament 'wasn't misled' over purchase chief www.brisbanetimes.com.au/.../...0121030-28huf.html … #auspol Looks like jobs for mates from where I am.

David Marler‏@Qldaah
#qldpol #auspol #Newmania "LNP @KerryMillardMP Photographed Hiding In Eventide Protest Crowd" - http://ht.ly/eTutH

David Marler‏@Qldaah
#auspol #qldpol #Newmania Fraser Coast "Local Firefighters Take A Stand Against Budget Cuts" - http://ht.ly/eTutL

Such a pity that the Coalition opposition are so vindictive. Abbott shifts attack to surplus forecast www.canberratimes.com.au/.../...0121030-28i3x.html

Zuvele Leschen‏
Households & businesses will be able to cut power bills by choosing to switch off during peak demand times www.theage.com.au/.../...bills-20121030-28hqm.html

Gina Rinehart loses court bid against children http://ow.ly/eTKra #rinehart


October 31. 2012 12:54 PM


The bias in the ABC is painfully blatant. And evident, in the overwhelming presence on the political programs of the Conservative bigots in the IPA; in its favoured "guests" including the criminal Reith, plus Sloan, Ackermann, Savva and all their ilk, and the people who get to host them: Uhlmann, Alberici, Cassidy, Iggulden and many others. Even on ABC radio, we have in SA the two Breakfast hoons Abraham and Whatisname, and I would bet there are Whatsisnames in every capital's top spots.  

If I were a billionaire I would delightedly mount a challenge to Mark Scott's continuance as CEO of the ABC on the grounds that he has failed to honour their Charter, whose wording I don't remember but I do know it has been outrageously betrayed by that one man, in his appointments to all the main positions of political influence in the whole body of broadcasters. I dare to hope that the influence of the Fighting 5th Estate may be brought to bear effectively on him and on the main offenders. There is much beating of the Drum but we must sound the trumpets a lot louder yet before the walls come tumbling down. Let us bray!

Many Comrades of The Sword will recall that more than a year ago I tried by every means to railroad Ad astra into applying to be one of the Directors of the ABC when they advertised several such positions. I still wish he had, though I know well that he is already stretched to an extent that scares me on his behalf. Imagine Ad with the opportunity to rub Scott's nose in his own RW agenda!

But we are winning on many other fronts mes amis, Don't You Worry About That, and this despite Mark Scott, the mining magnates and the MSM's best and unrelenting efforts.

You know what I'm going to say now Comrades!



October 31. 2012 12:57 PM


Well guess what? The previous NSW State Labor Government actually left Barry O'Farrell a Treasury full of 'surplus' cash.

Funny how these figures never came out when O'Farrell went on and on in Opposition about a Labor Government impoverishing NSW. How many Godwin Grech's are there in the bureaucracies of Australian governments, all trying to do their bit to make Labor in government look bad?

And how many of the recently unemployed in NSW owe being without a government job to crap number-counting? The NSW Treasurer should join them.


the text:

NSW's surprise surplus after $1bn budget error

by state political reporter Sarah Gerathy

The Auditor-General has revealed that the New South Wales Government has made a $1 billion mistake in its sums, and the budget is actually in surplus.

Peter Achterstraat's audit of the state's finances found that data entry errors, mistakes in spreadsheets and poor reconciliations were responsible for much of the disparity in projections.

When the Treasurer Mike Baird delivered the budget in June, he forecast a deficit of $337 million.

But Mr Achterstraat says with the corrected figures, the budget is in surplus by $680 million.

He says the poor accounting is not acceptable.

"For a number of years I've been concerned about the quality of the financial accounts coming from the departments into Treasury and this year I guess I'm coming to the end of my tether," he said.

"The forecasts need to be tightened up, the mistakes need to tightened up.

"The NSW Government is a billion-dollar business, it's not a school tuck shop."

The State Government delivered what it called a 'tough' budget in June, with $1.24 billion in cuts and thousands of job losses in the public sector.

The Auditor-General would not say whether he thought the mistakes were the result of a stretched public service, even though redundancy payments were five times that of the previous year.

But he says the Government may have made different budget decisions if it had the correct figures.

"It's a bit like a cricket match - if you've got five overs to go and you think you only have to get X number of runs and all of a sudden you're told you've got to get five times that, it's very different," he said.

Comment is being sought from the Treasurer.


October 31. 2012 12:59 PM


Have to agree with BB. over at Poll Bludger on the boats issue...It isn't going to go away, some are true refos' and some are in it for the money..human nature. The fact that there is not some sort of mafioso-style "turf-war" on the Indo' side of the sea says' that there must be some sort of "cosy-arrangement" with some powers that be over there..."say no more"..but the boats will keep coming or the reffos' will be pushed into the sea! Would not suprise me if they(the reffos') are given the choice of pay and go or stay and "pay".
Either way..for them and us it is a lose, lose situation.
Damn, damn sad..I say!


October 31. 2012 02:01 PM


Not the ABC, but several months ago I rang a commercial news program to point out a verifiable factual error in their reporting. The guy I spoke to conceded the error (billions of dollars re NBN costings) & quite obviously didn't bloody care. I fear the ABC's heading in that direction. Ah yes, Penny Wong's Senate ticket. Standard issue Labor preselection beatup. These things don't happen in the Coalition. That must be the case, as it's never (well, hardly ever) reported.

Gave up on Mattndave a long time ago. Though I must admit when a passenger in someone else's car a while back I heard them trying to rein in Prissy Chrissy in full blustering flight. They failed, of course. But who can?


October 31. 2012 02:31 PM


BSA Bob - the reason you hardly ever hear about LNP selection contests (in Queensland anyway is that the LNP Constitution states that no one will talk to the media on party matters.  If you're trying to get selected for something now or in the future - you wouldn't be commenting on party policy would you?

This is the open church with a wide range of views that Abbott claims to be a member of.


October 31. 2012 03:12 PM


Yes, er, no, you never see any anonymous Senior LNP Sauces queing up to tell Shanahan, Uhlmann or Simpkin how unutterably dreadful their party is.

By the way,saw a GM the other day.


October 31. 2012 03:44 PM


It is not legal under any law anywhere in the world to cut country out of the migration zone to deny asylum.

NO matter if the morons in the non-expert panel claim we alone in the world can do it we can't.

It's just ridiculous.

The refugee convention does not have an of/off/pause button just for us, it is legally binding always and for everyone.


October 31. 2012 04:02 PM


       So why did pass the HOR this morning? Presumably the Senate will pass it as well!


October 31. 2012 04:04 PM


I don't think this has been posted here yet.

The man in the mirror
by Nikki Gemmel     The Australian
THE Spectator magazine's recent cover headline was bold: Abbott Examined. Under it, the names of four distinguished contributors: Peter Craven, Neil Brown, Greg Sheridan, Peter Coleman. Anything wrong with that?

Let me bring in Virginia Woolf. "How to speak to a man who does not see you?" Each of these writers had insightful things to say, but nowhere did The Spectator present a woman's opinion, let alone trumpet it. Was it simply that a voice representative of half the population was deemed unnecessary? Surely not. Yet there are men out there who (still) feel they know best, they will speak for us, they don't feel our view is worth considering, or worthy. Yes Virginia, they just don't see us. Still.



October 31. 2012 05:04 PM


After all of the anxiety surrounding this amendment to the Migration Act, it is simply a means of levelling the playing field for all manner of irregular maritime arrivals.

The Migration Amendment (Unauthorised Maritime Arrivals and Other Measures) Bill 2012 (the Bill) amends the  Migration Act 1958 (the Act) to implement recommendation 14 from the report by the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers (the Expert Panel) handed to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship on 13 August 2012, and to implement other measures to strengthen the regional processing framework.

The  Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing and Other Measures) Act 2012(Regional Processing Act) amended the Act to give effect to recommendation 7 of the  Expert Panel’s report to allow offshore entry persons to be taken to designated regional processing countries for the processing of any asylum claims.  The Regional Processing Act commenced on 18 August 2012.

Under the Regional Processing Act, regional processing arrangements only apply to offshore entry persons who enter Australia at excised offshore places.  Regional processing arrangements do not currently apply to individuals who enter Australia at the Australian mainland because they are not classified as offshore entry persons.

Consequently, under current arrangements, there is an inherent risk that individuals may seek to travel to  the Australian mainland to avoid being sent to a designated regional processing country.  
The Expert Panel stated that all possible measures should be implemented to avoid creating an incentive for people to take even greater risks with their lives by seeking to bypass excised offshore places to reach the Australian mainland.  

Further, the Expert Panel stated that such an amendment will be important to ensure that the introduction of processing outside Australia does not encourage asylum seekers to avoid these arrangements by attempting to enter at the Australian mainland.  
Such attempts would increase the existing dangers inherent in irregular maritime travel.



October 31. 2012 05:27 PM

Tom of Melbourne

What you condemned in the previous government you support/excuse in this one.

Tom of Melbourne

October 31. 2012 05:52 PM

Ad astra

Hi Lyn
We are now in Melbourne and I’ve just now finished reading your interesting Twittterverse.  I wonder what will become of the Abbott defamation case?  I liked the comment that until his case is settled he should not use his tainted vote.

I caught a few minutes of QT before going out to an appointment, and was nauseated to see Julie Bishop with claws exposed spitting venomously at Julia Gillard about the S&G matter.  The Coalition is bereft, and is now resorting to using any pretext to attack the PM.  What nasty person JB is.

Ad astra

October 31. 2012 05:58 PM


   I see you have come down with another case of Selective Moral Outrage!


October 31. 2012 06:09 PM


BSA Bob - the best I can see around here is QR suburbans, the occasional QR freight with 2800s or 2400's at the front and the PacNat PN class.

Gets a tad boring really.  A GM - I'm jealous.

For all those wondering what we're talking about - they are classes of train engines - it's not a secret code.


October 31. 2012 06:18 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Summary of TPS barracker’s position on asylum seekers-

”I used to feign sympathy for desperate asylum seekers, it felt really good to stick it to Howard. But now I find they’re just so very inconvenient, the way they come here seeking our protection. They’re a real (political) nuisance.

Now I find it so much easier to advocate locking them up for a very long time. It seems logical to take this action that is proven to be harmful to their mental health.

It feels just right to show them some old fashioned cruelty”

Tom of Melbourne

October 31. 2012 06:40 PM


   Here's a bit more for you to be outraged about!

CONTROVERSIAL watered down national poker machine reforms are set to go ahead after the Greens agreed to back the Gillard government's scheme, which will also give the green light for a trial of mandatory precommitment in the ACT



October 31. 2012 06:48 PM


   On the wheat bill some more Selective Moral Outrage!
Latika Bourke ‏@latikambourke

RT @andrewtillett: On #wheat WA Libs Mal Washer and Dennis Jensen abstained. Crook, Slipper, Oakeshott, Thomson and Bandt voted with Govt
Bill passes. 70-67 Wheat passed


October 31. 2012 07:56 PM

42 long

  Crazy, when the free market method is opposed by a "Tory" party. Where is the form and consistency in their behaviour evident, or is rank opportunism and a power grab all that matters. If ever there was a party that has "lost it's way" it is this LNP. Rabble, that's all.

42 long

October 31. 2012 07:57 PM


Thanks ToM for
It's the job of leaders to protect the country from its prejudice

Do you have source of when and where he said that?

I need a bit of 'context'


October 31. 2012 08:08 PM

Sir Ian Crisp

   Very proud!I wish I could say I'm surprised that you never mention how far Morrison wants to go, but comming from an arse licker like you it's hardly a shock!

Now now JGuy, no need for intemperate language.

I must congratulate you for taking Don Farrell (he must be related to Will Farrell) to one side and suggesting that the age of chivalry, although not considered ‘progressive’, is not dead. I would also like to claim that it was my urging that caused you to act. Well done JGuy and Sir Ian.

Sir Ian Crisp

October 31. 2012 08:16 PM


O' Allo...I see IC. (not to be confused with IQ.)has been dropping his dough on the ponies again!...otherwise he'd be doing his "figgerin'" for the Melb' Cup instead of boosting his profile here on TPS.


October 31. 2012 08:27 PM

Tom of Melbourne

It was Keating’s reply to Maxine McKew, about asylum seekers, reported here -


In her book, McKew interviews Paul Keating and asks him if Labor could have "regained the moral high ground and altered the national conversation" on refugees. The former Labor prime minister replies, "It's the job of leaders to protect the country from its prejudice" in a veiled criticism of Ms Gillard.

Tom of Melbourne

October 31. 2012 08:50 PM


thanks for posting the governments publicity blurb on the amendments to various acts that take this country further down the road of wallowing in it's prejudices.

Consequently, under current arrangements, there is an inherent risk that individuals may seek to travel to  the Australian mainland to avoid being sent to a designated regional processing country.
The Expert Panel stated that all possible measures should be implemented to avoid creating an incentive for people to take even greater risks with their lives by seeking to bypass excised offshore places to reach the Australian mainland.
  (Your emphasis)

Pretty good sales pitch isn't it? Create the problem (fear) and offer the solution.

I can accept that one should 'shut the gate before the horse bolts' but, this is not only shutting the gate, it is triple deadlocking with extra bolts and chains.

How many boats of asylum seekers have actually made it to the shores of mainland Australia since say December 2007? My memory may be a bit rusty but I can only recall one which had Chinese refugees on it who were actually looking for New Zealand and got a bit off course.

Wow, one boat with and a handful and a bit of asylum seekers in five years and we get PANIC STATIONS!

Because of the nature of other lives interference with my 'real on-line life' today I have not had the chance of getting across all that happened today on this absurd set of amendments so I will have reserve some judgement but I did hear that Oakeshott (I think) suggested that the government should delay on this and I think that is very wise counsel.


October 31. 2012 08:55 PM


42 long @ 7:56 PM

Crazy, when the humanitarian approach is opposed by a "progressive" party. Where is the form and consistency in their behaviour evident, or is rank opportunism and a power grab all that matters. If ever there was a party that has "lost it's way" it is this ALP. Rabble, that's all.


October 31. 2012 09:43 PM


"Excising" parts of Australia was wrong when Howard did it - and it is still wrong today.  When is the so called progressive party in Australia going to stand up and say "You now what, our treatment of refugees is morally wrong.  We're not playing this game anymore."  If Canada can check the credentials of double the number of people claiming refugee status than we get and start to assimilate into the community within 3 days (on average) what is our problem?

Something over 90% of those that come on boats and apply for refugee status get what the ask for in the end - so why does the Government pander to the redneck element?  We could take in refugees from South East Asia during the 70's supported by both sides of politics.  We've gone a long way backwards since then.


October 31. 2012 09:59 PM


I am developing a 'thesis' along the lines that Ms Gillard is suffering from 'Thatcher Syndrome' whereby she needs to prove (probably only to herself) that despite being a woman she can be tougher and more hard arsed than each and every supposedly tough and hard arsed male contender to the throne that can be thrown up by all sides of politics.

Ms Gillard's constant reference, in often glowing terms, to how Howard 'did it' is a big clue to the make up.

The way Ms Gillard is acting on this issue she would make an outstanding LNP Minister for Immigration that would make Mr Morrison look like a pansy.


October 31. 2012 10:18 PM



I have no idea where all of this passion is coming from. This legislation is no big deal. It is shutting the gate before the horse bolts.
If 'refugee facilitators' see that making your way to Christmas Island etc. is no longer going to guarantee on-shore processing, they are going to switch to trips to the mainland. Have a look at a map - reckon the west coast of Australia is not a pretty big target? It would be impossible to properly monitor that expanse of coastline. Heading for the mainland would double the distance that needs to be travelled and probably multiply by a factor of ten the risk involved.

As for the comparison between the Henry Tax Review and the Houston Panel - there is no comparison. The government said, when putting the expert panel together, that they would accept and implement all of its recommendations without exception. Note: before it had even convened. Now you want to cherry-pick the bits and pieces that you find offensive. I hate the idea of Nauru and Manus but in the absence of a better comprehensive plan devised by experts in their fields I am just going to have to live with it.

Unless I have missed something, there is nothing in this legislation that involves excising the Australian mainland. Rules which once only applied to Island arrivals will now apply to all maritime arrivals. In a backhand kind of way, this new legislation negates the effects of Howard's excisions. He did them in order to keep some asylum seekers out of our courts by removing their access to legitimate appeals to higher and higher courts. If you want to be angry about something, be angry that Labor didn't repeal that bit of legislation. In 2010 the High Court said that asylum seekers had a legitimate right to appeal decisions and therefore the excisions no longer served the purpose for which they were designed. Labor used that existing legislation to provide a definition of who might be liable to be sent for off-shore processing. The Houston group recognised the potential problem of boats trying to come all of the way to the mainland in order to circumvent that definition. This legislation prevents that.

Frankly, your high dungeon, in the absence of a detailed explanation of where you are coming from, is extremely annoying. Instead of getting emotional about it, spell out your reservations.


October 31. 2012 10:22 PM


The whole excision thing is a reverse 'Russell Crowe' thing.

Crowe, born in New Zealand, once he became 'famous' on the world stage became 'Australian'.

We claim sovereignty over the Cocos Islands, Christmas Island and many others and they are part of Australia They 'belong' to us and are part of Australia until the unfortunate inconvenience of some asylum seekers arrive and then we deny all knowledge of our 'ownership'.

Now we are telling ourselves and the world that Australia is, well, Australia, a wonderful caring, sharing vibrant multicultural country with boundless plains to share; unless of course you arrive here in a leaky boat seeking asylum and then Australia isn't Australia it is some no-man's land.

It is unprincipled and hypocritical and an absolute blight on us as a nation and I don't accept any of the bullshit excuses put up in a vainglorious attempt to justify the unjustifiable.

On this the government deserves a score of minus 1042 out of ten.


October 31. 2012 10:29 PM



Do you seriously believe that a minority government can afford to take the high moral ground at this stage of the electoral cycle? Opinion polls have clearly shown that for the last ten years or more the majority of Australians want tougher action on this question. It's not just 'rednecks' who hold these opinions, at times it is as much as 75% of the population.

Labor could go all moral tomorrow and they would be voted out next year, leaving us with a mob who are at least as reprehensible as you are currently finding Labor. What gain have you made? Rudd tried to go down the conciliatory path and the influx of boats accelerated. As I said the other day, the only way that this can be resolved satisfactorily is if there is bi-partisan support for a re-education of the Australian public. If one side of politics (I don't nominate which one) chooses to use this as a political football it will never be resolved in a properly humanitarian way because the electorate just won't wear it.


October 31. 2012 10:35 PM


Ad astra, another great post. I'm afraid I am among the pessimists wrt the ABC.

I don't know if it can ever return to its former glory, but it can only go backwards under the malignant hand of Mark Scott.

It should have been swept clean of Liars Party influence in 2007, and restocked with the Andrew Olles, Red Kerrys and other quality journalists who towered head and shoulders  over the best the commercial channels had to offer.

But while Mark Scott remains it will never happen.

NormanK @5.04pm, hopefully the amendment will have the desired effect. I hope that asylum seekers sent to RPCs will have their claims processed quickly and not be left in limbo for years.

If claims are processed quickly and efficiently, asylum seekers may not be as desperate to reach the mainland. All they need is a fair go and they will repay it a hundred fold.


October 31. 2012 11:06 PM


NormanK - The ALP has been in power since 2007, there has been plenty of time to have the discussion.  Secondly, "illegal immigrants" traditionally arrive on a 777, not a boat despite the rhetoric that they come on boats from Indonesia, so why are we persecuting people who have a legal right to act in the way they are?

I accept but don't necessarily agree with your argument that a minority Government probably shouldn't have the moral argument without bipartisan support however there is no excuse to make the existing abhorrent situation even worse.  

If you follow the "play safe" argument to its conclusion, Gillard also shouldn't have done the Carbon Price or MRRT - as they are both arguments she still hasn't "won" completely.  For the record I admire the courage she has shown with the arguments the Prime Minister has picked - but potentially adding to the suffering of those that are desperate enough to attempt to cross open seas to achieve a degree of safety when there was no real political imperative to do so does deserve criticism and smells of rank politics.  The Opposition will not stop criticism despite the number of Houston recommendations implemented for two reasons.  The first is that the Houston recommendations are not the position of the LNP and second, the boats will continue to come anyway.


October 31. 2012 11:27 PM



I am not being deliberately obtuse here. I just don't see what the fuss is all about with regard to this latest small development. If we're going to go back six months or more on this topic then I'm bailing out now.

We are where we are. The Houston panel made a series of interlocking recommendations. Labor has agreed to these recommendations. Let's just see where they lead.

There are two major imperatives at work here.
One is to stop the drownings which means stop the boats.
The second is to reflect public opinion (or get voted out) which means stop the boats.

I'm an optimist (on a good day), if Labor get another term they might just do something surprising of which we can be proud.


October 31. 2012 11:30 PM


The government said, when putting the expert panel together, that they would accept and implement all of its recommendations without exception.

Well I guess that justifies it all. It is not our fault it is what our hand picked 'experts' told us to do

I bow to their wisdom in setting up the inquiry in getting the result they wanted. I also know that with a different set of experts some of whom are equally or better qualified there would have been a different set of recommendations.

Despite all of what you have written @ 10:29 PM and to 2353 @ 10:29 PM I will ponder Keating's words further

"It's the job of leaders to protect the country from its prejudice"


October 31. 2012 11:42 PM



You still haven't said what you are so upset about. As I said to 2353, if you're going to go back more than six months I'm not interested but if it's mostly about recent events why can't you articulate your concerns?


November 1. 2012 12:51 AM


Hello Ad astra,
I have been following this site and your blogs for about 6 months since I came across The Political Sword while searching for articles on the converting of leasehold land to freehold land during the John Howard years. I found a good speach made by Bob Brown on the issue which you archived. I thought this was a great site with lots of usefull information so I continued to come back. I thank you for your effort and will let others know where to go for good information.


November 1. 2012 01:46 AM


Regarding the ABC, in my opinion it is the best of the MSM. Like other news services they can and do dramatise issues to make it more 'exciting'. It seems issues are often presented to entertain the audience rather than inform them.
Tony Jones interview of Chris Bowen on Lateline last night was quite hard on Chris but justified. The government has changed their mind on border protection policy from 5 years ago and they are entitled to do that. Maybe there is a really good reason why they feel it is important to discourage unscheduled boat arrivals. Perhaps we need to trust the judgements of those with the detailed information.
I don't really want to get into an argument about whether the new measures are right or wrong, but I too believe if nothing is done then there will be increasing numbers of boat arrivals and that is not sustainable.
What has not been talked about much is the real problem for the government, and that is the cost with increasing asylum seekers. At the moment it works out to be around $80,000 per refugee if I am correct. Please correct me if this is not right, but the government are bugeting for $1 Billion to process 1250 refugees. Its not cheap folks especially when the lawyers get involved.
We need to be realistic of how many people we can take and the government have increased the refugee quota so that should be welcomed. I think you will find most people welcome genuine
refugees, but they want it to be done in a fair and orderly way.


November 1. 2012 07:22 AM


Dear Ad Astra

Thank you for this thought-provoking post.
Yes, there were some exemplary events at the ABC, and some of the best were incidental!  Once they slipped into the midday news bulletin footage showing the soon-to-resign British PM Tony Blair, in effusive mood, declare on the subject of the Westminster political system “It’s no longer about Labour versus Liberal.  It’s now the secular against the Faithful.”  I remember at the time being so bemused that what he said stuck word-for-word in my mind – what could he possibly mean?

Well, hell hath no fury like a supremacist’s delusional expectations disappointed and here in Australia since the last election we have seen furies faithfully at work, using anything to hand as a tool to inflame our rage, depersonalise us and make of our entire nation a nest of fire ants to be turned as a weapon against obstructions to “the Plan”.   To a supremacist,the press is just an device to their supremacist ends.  The question your post puts to us is:  what is it to us?

I see two mindsets at play behind the current political strife.  Those for whom their end justifies any means and those for whom honourable means, kept in good faith, will bring an end which, although perhaps at first unforeseen, will be, in the long term, a good one.  Tony Blair was on track:  the political strife we endure is the product, not of the Westminster system, not of the media, but of a conflict of bad faith versus good.

To my mind, the Westminster System and the media, like any another social institutions, sink or swim on the basis of good faith.  The problem with Australia at present, I think,is not the Westminster System or the Press, and not even people without principles, but the fact that when good people get slack institutions are left free to be misused by supremacists who certainly do have principles, but whose pre-eminent ones make them loyal, not to the people they purport to represent, but to other interest groups altogether.   The Westminster system, to a supremacist, is just another device to their supremacist ends.  The question, as the Political Sword so calmly, but persistently puts to us, is:  what is it to us?

The world is watching the state of politics in Australia with interest.  This is because they want to see which way an Australian - a politician, a reporter, a person in the street - chooses to go.  Good faith or bad?  Will our fundamental love of freedom, dignity and peace - our legendary Australian virtue of “no bull” - come through and see us clear of strife?


November 1. 2012 07:26 AM

Janet (@j4gypsy)

Ad, October 30. 2012 04:50 PM

Thank you so much for letting us know what you are planning for TPS:

While dissemination to the general public will remain problematic, dissemination to politicians, journalists and decision makers might be improved if it were easy for visitors to the Fifth Estate to send messages or forward articles and blog pieces to them.  This is what Web Monkey and I are working on.  We will advance this when we meet later this week.  We hope to have something to offer by the start of political play next year, or maybe sooner.’

That seems a fine idea! A site like Get-Up seems to use this kind of approach  for great effect. And it will certainly help the ability to ‘act’ quickly and effectively.

Since we seem to be in agreement that fact-checking is part of the ABC’s role, I might try and pursue their current approach, via Barry T perhaps.

Gorgeous Dunny: October 30. 2012 05:15 PM

Thank you for pointing me to Poll Bludger & Pollytics and for such nice words. I do actually have a current sub to Crikey, but have to confess when clicking into Poll Bludger I get comments by William Bowe directly on poll stats and don’t know how to find Bushfire Bill’s posts. Frustrating & not sure what am doing wrong …

Lovely Lyn, October 30. 2012 08:10 PM

Thank you for your mention. Yes, ‘out at last’, or ‘in from the cold maybe’Smile. It’s a joy having you in my Twitter stream Smile. To think that I might never have found the BISONS!!

TT: October 30. 2012 11:59 PM

Yup, it’s the vardo gal, and you were so very clever to know what it was! It’s a privilege to be welcomed into the fighting fifth. I shall try to live up to the ‘good-un’ tag. Thank you Smile.
Re adding the vardo gravatar – I know there’s a lesson or two from you or NormanK perhaps on how to do this in posts in the last month or so, and will hunt it out.

Joe 2: October 31. 2012 10:15 AM

I fear I am with you and others here on not feeling confident that the kinds of change we need with the ABC could occur with Mark Scott still at the helm. I had been wondering how it was he had ‘scored’ a second 5–year term: a last minute wave through it seems. Also v. good to learn more of how Conroy is managing the Board.

I do take Ad’s point at October 31. 2012 10:44 AM: that persuasion towards a culture of courtesy might be possible. In fact, there’s the makings of a petition or a multitude of ‘letters to’ in Ad’s words in this comment Smile.

NormanK October 31. 2012 11:27 PM

I note your comment: ‘I'm an optimist (on a good day), if Labor get another term they might just do something surprising of which we can be proud.’ The refugee issue is a heartbreaking and devastating one and it is easy of course to understand the pain and passion it engenders. But, I have been wondering, too, if there might be a ‘longer game’ in the ALP camp that rides on having a majority government. Am hoping.

KHTAGH: Thanks for the follow Smile

Janet (@j4gypsy)

November 1. 2012 08:04 AM



The Pack Circles, Mike Seccombe, The Global Mail
On Abbott’s own side of politics, it means the backbench becoming increasingly unruly in Question Time; like barrackers for a team that is squandering a lead, they try to fire things up a bit. At times over the past couple of days it was impossible to hear the person who was supposed to be speaking because of the cacophony of shouting from the opposition side of the chamber. Yesterday four Liberal MPs became so hysterical in their interjecting that Speaker Anna Burke ordered them out of the chamber

Red Tape Cut For Packer, Wendy Bacon, New Matilda
Tough laws regulate gambling in NSW - and they're about to be bypassed to help James Packer build his casino. The independence of casino regulation is being challenged.

Media pass: citizen journalists need an industry body, Tim Dunlop, The Drum
Having insisted angrily that social media was overreacting to Julia Gillard's speech, the same journalists who dismissed it as irrelevant outside the context of Peter Slipper's sacking have now written article after article interpreting the latest polls almost entirely in regard to "the speech", with nary a mention of the former speaker.

Slipper lashes Coalition over 'flawed' wheat stance, Viddeo ABC
This is all about preserving the flawed and fatal and terminal leadership of the Leader of the Opposition, the Member for Warringah.""I suppose you have to admire the Deputy Leader of the Opposition because she's supporting her leader - after all, she's supported how many leaders?"How many leaders has she been deputy to?

NSW's surprise surplus after $1b budget error, Sarah Gerathy, ABC
The Auditor-General has revealed that the New South Wales Government has made a $1 billion mistake in its sums, and the budget is actually in surplus. Peter Achterstraat's audit of the state's finances found that data entry errors, mistakes in spreadsheets and poor reconciliations were responsible for much of the disparity in projectio

Senate Secrets: The police raid on Craig Thomson could have some interesting complications. Ronald’s Space
If the police did seize these documents, what will they do with them for they make it impossible to prosecute Craig Thomson without drawing attention to the refusal of the Federal Police to investigate the 144 federal MP’s who allegedly ripped off $4.64 million. These documents also draw attention to the fact that the Federal Police refused to investigate fatalities caused by the Howard Government’s alleged enforcement of “Performance Indicator targets,

Gillard/Abbott Debate Changes Australian Definition of “Misogyny”,    Jessica Bagnall, Feminspire Com
These quotes represent only a tiny sample of the ridiculous things spewing out of the mouth of someone that could very well be ruling a country that is as equally female as it is male. But even looking at these few quotes, many things are clear – the most glaring of which being that Tony Abbott is undoubtedly a misogynist and a sexist. However, somehow, several Australian media outlets responded to Julia Gillard’s empowering, and long-awaited speech, with arguments about semantics of the definition of misogyny.

White paper shows way to Asian century, Ross Gittins
Sometimes the media are so eager to fan controversy they hardly pause to summarise the content of a 300-page document before launching into their own and other people’s criticisms. And no matter how weighty the subject matter, you can bet it’ll be done and dusted within a week.

Is stagnation the new normal? Gary Sauer-Thompson, Public Opinion
The current fetish in Canberra about the budget surplus is an expression of austerity now being “in fashion”. Governments respond to the revenue shortfalls of the global economic crisis through deficit reduction plans whilst economists blame it on the profligate spending of countries with social democratic governments

Nobody has connected to NBN at 100Mbps, claims Christopher Pyne, Renai LeMay, Delimeter
Christopher Pyne should retract his comment that no users have connected to the NBN at speeds of 100Mbps. They are simply untrue; this is not an opinion, it is a fact. The fact that the Shadow Education Minister made this statement at all either illustrates that he does not understand the NBN rollout well; or that he is willing to grossly misrepresent the project in public. Either is not a great outcome for the Australian public.

The philosophy of economics , Daniel Little, Understanding Society
It is for citizens and policy makers to make the judgments about the public good that are needed in order to decide whether a given road or bridge is socially desirable; it is for the technical specialist to provide design and estimate of costs. But philosophers doubt that economics is in fact value-free, or that it should aspire to being so. Here is an earlier post that considers recent thinking about this issue.

Scribe signs Tim Dunlop, Scribe Publications
We are delighted to announce we’ve signed Tim Dunlop to write a book on media and democracy. The book, tentatively titled News At The End Of The World, will hit the shelves in 2013.

Today’s Front Pages
Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 1 November 2012


November 1. 2012 08:30 AM




...Paul Sheehan tries to demonstrate how Alan Jones is actually winning after his loose-mouthed behaviour led to advertisers quitting his show.

It's a half-hearted, confused argument, but it seems to be all about displaying how 'real Australians' dearly want to hear a down to Earth voice.

Demonstrating this, he quotes the man at the end of the story, and, unfortunately, simply by printing words out of Jones' mouth proves once again that the commentator is truly... a "douchebag".


November 1. 2012 08:33 AM

Ad astra

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

Ad astra

November 1. 2012 09:04 AM


NormanK - Apart from a philosophical objection to "stop the boats" in any case, my objections to excerising of the mainland  that it won't work and it is (in the words of Craig Thomson) pandering to the rednecks.

The proof is that Howard won the 2001 election partly on his treatment of a group of boat people.  He promised that he would stop the boats, opeened the processing centres in PNG & Nauru and low and behold the boat traffic slowed down for a while.  The current Government has now reopened detention centres in third countries and re-introduced (or in the case of excersiation increased) the penalties applied to those choosing an "irreguar" method of coming to Australia to claim refugee status.

I'm a great believer in discovering the root cause (in my professional life I have to be).  Root cause is discovering the reason a certain event happens.  People have been escaping perceived hatred and violence in their homeland for hundreds of years by "migrating" using official and unofficial channels.  Look at the redistribution of people around Europe over the centuries as a result of religious and "land for expansion" wars have raged.  So is it logical that beacuse a certain country throws people into detention centres for an unspecified period that there will be almost nobody attempt to make the journey here despite the disincetive?  No - some will still decide that the effort and "jailtime" is worth it - there is hundreds of years of human experience to base this on.

So we have to look for another reason for the root cause.  It is demonstrated that people will leave when the political situation changes.  In the early 2000's, the USA with Australia's help entered the political debate in Iraq and later Afganistan using guns, planes and tanks.  Therefore the political situation changed.  People who don't like the new political landscape - either because they were the agressors in the old system or have concerns about the new system may choose to leave.  There is a certain number that for reasons best known to them can't or don't want to use official channels.

By the mid 2000's, the political situation in Iraq and Afganistan had settled to an extent and surprisingly the number of "irregular arrivals" into Australia did as well.  

To prove it, it the past few years, the US and Australia have substantially pulled out of Iraq and have annouced they will pull out of Afganistan.  Poltiical instability has increased as a result.  So more people again feel the need to escape what they consider to be an intolerable situation, and again we have an increased number of people choosing to take the risk and try to get to Australia.  Seems a much more logical sequenence of events to explain the recent history - doesn't it?

So it was and still is my opinion that Australia shold take whatever funding that is currently politicising "boat people" and do something useful with it - increasing migration from the middle east (as we are part of the problem), assisting those that have already started the refugee journey to compete it in a safe and humane manner as well as having the discussion that what we are currently doing is basically disgusting.  The passing of the "exercising of the mainland" is in my case the straw that broke the camels back from the practical "I can live with this" to "this has gone too far".


November 1. 2012 09:20 AM

Gorgeous Dunny

Thanks for that response, Janet.

With The Poll Bludger, the key is just to skim over William's psephological musings (which are very good, but essentially just for political tragics like me) and go straight to the Comments in whatever is the primary thread (currently it is Newspoll 50-50).

Bushfire Bill is bound to appear there, often with lengthy posts in the morning.  He loves dissing the MSM, now being referred to as the OM (Old Media) which after the Gillard speech many think has been overtaken by the new media (blogs, Twitter and Facebook). But there are many other diverse posters, and most come up with digests like Lyn does here. BK is always good fun with his early morning links, especially to cartoons. Oz Pol Tragic is older than me (I'm 70) and she has an awesome depth of knowledge which she brings into play from time to time.

Possum is a great educator in the way opinion polling and economics work (he is an economics statistician). He can be very funny and his tweets are worth following.

If there is an archivist handy, maybe they could dig up some old history on his wars with Andrew Bolt. They were hilarious, at one point Bolt's selective misuse of statistics (to promote race politics) led to Possum saying he'd ram his casio up Bolt's arse - a threat which Bolt hilariously took literally for a while. Bolt these days tends not to mess with Possum.



Gorgeous Dunny

November 1. 2012 10:20 AM



Let me know if you want it and I will put the Gravatar tutorial up again.


November 1. 2012 10:38 AM

Janet (@j4gypsy)

NormanK (November 1. 2012 10:20 AM)

NormanK, putting up the tutorial would be very helpful & save me searching. Thank you!

Janet (@j4gypsy)

November 1. 2012 10:46 AM


I've mentioned this before, but I would really like a way to easily read Bushfire Bill's comments without having to search through all the other comments.  Could he be persuaded to have them re-posted elsewhere so his pearls of wisdom are not lost?  Thanks to Lyn for bringing Bushfire Bill's comments to all here at TPS.

2353, thanks for pointing out the changing refugee flows around the time of Howard's offshore processing.  Apart from the regime change in Afghanistan, which gave (initial) hope to many Hazaras that they could be safe in their own country, Indonesia (where many of our asylum seekers transit) was trying very hard to be seen as a "good" muslim country - even more so after 9/11 and the Bali bombings.  There was goodwill towards Australia at that time, and Australian and Indonesian officials were able to work together to disrupt people smugglers.

Unfortunately, the goodwill in Indonesia no longer exists.  In fact, as the Indonesian military is only 30% funded by their government, it is likely that some of their "fund-raising" includes people-smuggling activities.  After all, the circumvention of immigration, movement of large numbers of foreigners who don't speak the language and provision of large boats is a lot easier for a large organisation whose members are used to following orders.  The Indonesian military have long memories, and won't have forgotten East Timor, no matter what the Indonesian Government's policy is towards Australia.  Don't forget that the previous wave of asylum seekers started in 1999, exactly the same time as the Indonesian withdrawal from East Timor.

The parroting of the Opposition, that Howard's policies worked before, and will work again, deliberately ignores the changing of the geo-political position.  You can't step into the same river twice.  


November 1. 2012 10:57 AM


MWS - thanks for the additional information.  I wasn't aware of most of it and it gives further justification to my position.


November 1. 2012 11:02 AM


                             Gravatar Tutorial
Bear with me if I state the obvious but we'll try to do this in one hit.
If you don't already have an image in mind, do something like a Google Image search and pick one out.
Copy and store this image somewhere that you feel you can navigate to easily later on e.g My Documents.
Go to Gravatar Home Page.
Click on "Sign Up" at the top of the page.
The new page will ask for your e-mail address. Fill in your address and click "Signup".
Wait for an e-mail from Gravatar. This is their way of confirming that you actually exist at this e-mail address.
As part of this e-mail there will be a link which begins with "http://en.gravatar.com/accounts/activate/"; and more.
Click on this link and it should take you to a registration page at Gravatar.com.
I can't replicate this next step because an account already exists for my e-mail address but from memory this is where you need to create a Username and a Password.
Here is the most likely hurdle. Because Gravatar is world-wide, there is a high likelihood that someone else has already used your Username. You need to devise a different one and see if the system will accept it. If you get a message along the lines of "username already in use" you will need to fiddle some more with your username. (Now is a good time to point out that the only time you will need this username is at the Gravatar site. Once your image has been accepted and attached to your e-mail address it will follow your e-mail address wherever you go.)
Keep trying until you get a name which is acceptable to the system.
My suggestion would be to rename your proposed image so that the two things are visually connected for possible later use.
You will need to create a Password. Do so and WRITE IT DOWN.
Click Register or Next or whatever the button is to go forward.
You will be invited to attach an image to your e-mail address.
Click "My computer's hard-drive". A new page should appear. Click "Choose File".
A new window will drop down.
Navigate to where your image is stored and click on it. Click "Choose". Drop down window will disappear.
Click "Next". This will upload your image to the Gravatar database and your browser should refresh with your image centre-screen.
You can crop your image by moving the dotted lines individually or from a corner. Gravatar images are square so if your original is rectangular you will need to crop it. Making the dotted "crop box" smaller zooms in on the image so play with it until you are happy with the Preview.
Click "Crop and Finish!". Select a rating for your image - hopefully not "X".
This will upload your edited image to the database. Note : your original image in My Documents is not altered by this process.
You should see a blue box with your cropped image beside your e-mail address. Below this will be :
"Select image (below) to use for the selected email (above)"
Click on your image. This last step is probably not necessary but do it anyway.
A confirm message comes up. Click "Confirm". You will return to Manage Gravatars page.
This is the end of the process. Because you are a good cyber-citizen, click on My Account and Log Out so that you are not taking up server space.
Wait at least 10 minutes.
Return to your favourite blog, refresh and look at one of your previous posts to see if you have been successful. If it is not there at first wait another ten minutes and refresh.
It's important to know that you can continue to use your current name because your Gravatar follows your e-mail address not any username. The Gravatar is applied retrospectively so that all of your previous posts on other Gravatar-enabled sites will be accompanied by this image. This is good and bad. Your nom de plume gives you a certain degree of anonymity but your Gravatar makes you recognisable to an extent.
If you use another e-mail address your image will not appear.
I hope this helps. If you fail the first time, try again but take note of the steps you have taken and where outcomes differ from those above and in this way we can find the shortcoming in my tutorial or the error in your application.
Good luck.

P.S. TPS has been known to have a long response time to implementing Gravatar images - sometimes up to two weeks. If you don't see your image here perhaps try another site like PB or polliepomes.


November 1. 2012 11:03 AM

Janet (@j4gypsy)

Gorgeous Dunny (and gosh he is gorgeous in your gravatar!):

Thank you for the clues on how to get to Bushfire Bill posts more easily. And thanks for such delicious feedback on other posters, and on Possum. I do follow him in Twt actually, but so recently had no idea of his history in the blogosphere.

And, for MWS:

Lyn has just suggested on Twitter following @markjs1, who links to Bushfire Bill posts directly in a tweet. Just tried it and it worked, thus far.

Janet (@j4gypsy)

November 1. 2012 11:04 AM


THE Coalition won't be able to provide a fully-costed alternative to Labor's National Broadband Network before the next election, despite just last month saying it was ready to go with a substitute plan.

Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull this morning said it was difficult to devise an alternative to the government's NBN without access to all of its details.

"Our policy will be costed in the sense that we can provide very hard, reliable estimates of the relative cost of our approach," Mr Turnbull told ABC radio.

"But we are not in the position to provide an alternative if you like to the NBN Co's corporate plan because we simply don't have access to the contractual information."

But last month Mr Turnbull told the Australian Financial Review his policy was ready to go.

"We do have our policy ready, and if I were to release the policy document today it wouldn't surprise anyone because I have described it pretty extensively in my speeches and articles," he said.


November 1. 2012 11:15 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody

Here is Twitterverse for you:-

Bushfire Bill
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 9:09 am
How can you be “on track” to win an election when the very polls you are relying on show that you’re neck and neck with the other side, and that your leader is tanking, ever faster lately, in personal approval.
Faith is how the writer can demonstrate to us that Abbott is loathed out there in the focus groups, yet still insist he’s “on track” to win. It’s all there neatly in those four-hundred words: the Great Old-Media Delusion.

How long until even the faith disappears?


Mark ‏
Bushfire on Abbott: " The punters don’t appreciate the “boils under the arms” look" http://bit.ly/Rt2zDP #auspol #BBill

Judythe Riley‏
No Phil Coorey, Thomson doesn`t really turn his back on #labor. Simply a case of an independent expressing own views. www.smh.com.au/.../...on-labor-20121031-28kh2.html

Something in the way he moves - Tony Abbott's swagger is turning off voters, Steven Scott is The Courier-Mail's national political correspondent.

Byorgen Druffeldroff‏
"we need to stop pandering to redneck view on immigration" [applauds] www.smh.com.au/.../...on-labor-20121031-28kh2.html

geeksrulz Australian media is 'owned' by LNP & they have 'infiltrated' ABC courtesy of Howard @abcmarkscott

Revealed: How strict guidelines were watered down before Packer put forward $1 billion plan for #Barangaroo http://ow.ly/1PhJEJ

O'Farrell and his mate, James Packer. http://fb.me/2dERMUpjz

Asia Pacific News‏
Alan Jones has hit out at critics - Sky News Australia http://bit.ly/Vb5VSn #News #Australia

Tweeting Roo
Australia:> The dark side of proxy voting - Business Spectator http://shrtn.in/2Pxcbv #Business

$211 million for Victorian hospitals up for grabs, Herald Sun
MORE than $200 million in funding to improve hospitals, health centres and provide more beds is sitting unspent amid a bitter stoush between the Victorian and Federal governments

Geoff Pearson‏
A DEFIANT Tony Abbott has dismissed backbench concerns that his ''Rolls-Royce'' paid parental leave scheme Read more: www.smh.com.au/.../...ave-plan-20120228-1u124.html

NSW Liberal MP accused of taking gifts from coal seam gas company http://ow.ly/eVDjY reports @bencubby

Judythe Riley‏
Surely there are more humane ways to *stop the boats* as TAbbott insists. We`re now punishing desperate people? www.sbs.com.au/.../Asylum-seekers-told-of-no-advantage-rule


November 1. 2012 12:01 PM


More good sense from Rob Burgess

Abbott's now in real fiscal trouble
by Rob Burgess     Business Spectator

Comments from the Business Council and Australian Industry Group, published yesterday, look like a major headache for Tony Abbott.

Both groups, neither of which is a fan of big government, nonetheless called on the the Gillard government to rethink its expenditure cutting spree.

Fairfax papers report the BCA's Jennifer Westcott as saying "our members are telling us that the economy could well be softer than Treasury has projected, and in these circumstances it would be reasonable to revisit the need to return to surplus in 2012-13" and AiG's Innes Willox as saying cuts were "already very substantial and we must now be getting close to the point where it could be self-defeating and fiscal policy could excessively slow the economy and, ironically, impede the recovery of tax revenues".

That's right, keep spending at the current level, or risk seriously damaging the already-softening economy.


In recent days Wayne Swan has shied away from reaffirming that he'll actually hit that target, but this looks like a feint. Along with the Treasury boffins, Swan has only just finished going through the expenditure/receipts balance line by line, and suddenly can't guarantee he'll hit his own carefully calculated target?

Under-promising and over-delivering looks more likely. By refusing to guarantee a surplus, Swan appears to be drawing out an attack from the opposition benches so that he can rub coalition noses in it when the tiny surplus is, in fact, achieved.



November 1. 2012 12:23 PM


Hi Norman K

Thankyou for the link above Love this part:-

"Swan appears to be drawing out an attack from the opposition benches so that he can rub coalition noses in it when the tiny surplus is, in fact, achieved"



November 1. 2012 01:11 PM



That was my favourite quote as well. Smile
If it had come from the comment's section on a blog I would have regarded it as wishful thinking but coming from Mr Burgess it carries much more weight. Burgess seems to belong to the same economic school of thought as Wayne Swan but is not shy about giving the government a kick when he feels it is justified.

I'm pretty confident of a modest surplus next year. China is speeding up again, albeit modestly; the U.S. is showing stirrings of recovery and Europe has promised itself money to get things moving again. A fractional uptick in commodity prices will significantly boost government revenue. Tourism is increasing again. House approvals are up even if prices are down marginally. Plenty to be optimistic about.

Business is calling for extra spending - perhaps they could lead the way. That's what markets do, isn't it?


November 1. 2012 02:15 PM


Yes, Lyn and NormanK, I've had that thought too! Wouldn't it be delicious! Mind you, I think Swannie is already enjoying himself.  He looks so relaxed sitting back with that half smile while Joe and Tony work themselves up into a lather over what they must know is a bunch of lies.  They can read the financial papers too, can't they?  I loved that picture of the PM laughing at a crack about Joe Hockey.


November 1. 2012 02:45 PM



You mean this photo which is purportedly taken after Hockey shouted at the Prime Minister: "Debate the economy!"



November 1. 2012 03:50 PM



I enjoyed reading you comment that you wrote on the 30th.  The Political Sword is growing in stature with more people like you adding to the depth of thought and analysis.  Look forward to more talk and debate along the lines you have written.

Ad Astra

I was giggling at you description of some of the Nopposition, Bitchy Bishop and didn't she live up to that description today. Luckily we didn't hear from Motor Mouth Morrison, he is one nasty piece of work, will never forgive him for saying the Gov., shouldn't have supported the family's of the drowned people to go to their funerals. Hollering Hockey, well he hollered again today and got kicked for it.  The poor haples Reticent Robb, reminds me of a cartoon dog that always looked sad and down in the mouth.


November 1. 2012 04:18 PM


The no advantage rule the moron pollies are on about was invented by three nobody clowns without a clue on 13 August this year.

Why the fucking government are running so hard on this nonsense is beyond me but it is fiction and fairy tales.

(80) Program 2.1: Refugee and Humanitarian Assistance
Senator Fierravanti-Wells asked:
In relation to the number of places allocated to non-UNHCR-registered asylum
seekers, please provide a breakdown including:
a. the number of places allocated to unauthorised arrivals by boat;
b. the number of places allocated to unauthorised arrivals by air;
c. the number of places allocated to persons who had arrived on a valid visa andAnswer:
Allocations, targets, or limits are not made in relation to Protection visas for asylum
seekers. If all the criteria for a Protection visa are met, the visa will be granted and no
distinction within the Program is made regarding the lawful status or arrival means of
the applicant.
Visas granted to asylum seekers in Australia are counted towards the Special
Humanitarian component of the Humanitarian Program. In 2008–09, 2497.

Now the special humanitarian component has zero to do with obligations under the refugee convention as DIAC;s own webpage shows.

How they can say they don't set quotas and then try and set limits though beats me, there is no legal basis for any of it.

Everyone has the right to seek asylum, no-one has the right to be resettled in a third country after being granted asylum in another country.

Unless that asylum is withdrawn.


November 1. 2012 04:29 PM

42 long

  Hockey is acting like a boofhead. It IS the national parliament after all. IF it is OK for him to shout and carry-on, it is OK for everyone and it obviously is not.
   JuLIE Bitchop has no love for Our leader. I think she and Kev are in cahoots, ( or something).
  So the ALP are going to get dirty are they TONY? Perhaps your mob are trying to provoke them?.
   Doesn't the member for Indi have a class way of doing things? (Sophie Mirabella) She has a particularly churlish manner of practicing the "I Withdraw" to the point of it being close to invalid. IF we take the parliament too seriously we could end up seriously depressed.

42 long

November 1. 2012 05:06 PM


JuLIE Bitchop

How apt 42 long.  


November 1. 2012 05:49 PM


Well, the government benches were having a good laugh today, 42 long.  Greg Combet had the PM in stitches with his race calling during Question Time.  You'll get some idea of it at www.smh.com.au/.../...r-1-2012-20121101-28l88.html scroll down to 3.21 in the notes on Katharine Murphy's wrap-up.


November 1. 2012 06:18 PM


Thanks for that pic of the PM, NormanK, and now we have the one of her laughing with Greg Combet today.  Julia Gillard strikes me as a very emotionally healthy woman.  Able to grieve in private but able to hold herself together, still able to enoy being amongst her team, to make plans, to inspire and to laugh with them.  

Kevin and Tony are not like that at all!  Both are so obsessed with their own ambitions and disappointments that nothing else matters.  The Coalition's resources have been so focussed on getting Tony into the Lodge by bringing JGPM down with slurs, sleaze and negativity that his party's long term needs for a program and policies have been neglected. And God only knows what goes on behind that pretty little blond head of Kevvie, nor what mischief he's been up to.


November 1. 2012 07:36 PM


Keane: the ‘excision’ that isn’t, and why it’s good policy
by Bernard Keane     Crikey

The government’s bill for the so-called “excision” of Australia is sound policy if we’re serious about stopping boat arrivals. Criticism of the move is sharply misguided.


November 1. 2012 07:45 PM

Tom of Melbourne

[i]” Julia Gillard strikes me as a very emotionally healthy woman{/i]…for one so hooked of duplicity

Tom of Melbourne

November 1. 2012 07:49 PM


NormanK, perhaps you've already seen this, but we have to make sure that TT does too when he get back here.   Someone at PB has linked to an article by Mike Seccombe in the Global Mail about humor in Parliament, with a brilliant picture of the PM laughing at Greg Combet's race calling spiel today.   It's a good article about other political humorists past but if you're in a hurry today's stuff is half way down the page.


If you missed the call itself go to



November 1. 2012 07:56 PM


Go to the top of the class once again Ad a great piece.However I dont share your optimism of the ABC whilst Scott is in charge.
Patriciawa-I share your assessment of PM Gillard as emotionally healthy in contrast to abbott and rudd.
Rudd and the MSM should realise that he is totally sales department material NOT MANAGEMNT.


November 1. 2012 08:11 PM

Tom of Melbourne

JuLIE Bitchop

How very clever.

That’s just as witty as “ditch the bitch”. Hilarious and you should have it made into a placard.

Tom of Melbourne

November 1. 2012 09:37 PM




"There's a shadow inside all of us. But that doesn't mean you need to embrace it. You decide who you really are. And I know you'll make the right choice and become the hero you're destined to be. "



November 1. 2012 09:38 PM


Try this...bit rusty Laughing




November 1. 2012 09:39 PM



Thanks for the links - a bit of humour goes a long way. I'm trying to imagine someone from the other side having a bit of a go at it. Christopher Pyne tries but is a bit too prissy (hence his nickname). Greg Hunt has had a go at it but he telegraphs his punchline and is far too self-satisfied when he finishes. Turnbull can be devastating. Barnaby Joyce has a quick wit as well - in fact I wouldn't want to get into a sparring match with either him or Turnbull. Abbott is quick but nasty.

I recall Combet trying to pull off a rendition of "I've been everywhere, man" but he was under-rehearsed and fell about laughing (self-consciously) half-way through. Obviously, he had regaled his staff with this little skit and pulled it off to perfection. Ms Bishop was not best pleased. Refreshingly, it was not outright nasty - the kind of ribbing that goes on at weddings and farewell parties where everyone enters into the spirit. It had a last day of school feel about it, didn't it?

Lovely to see Ms Gillard laughing uninhibitedly - I don't know how she copes with the pressure.


November 1. 2012 09:43 PM


Top post Ad...evolution comes with all things...adapt or become extinct.

That includes the MSM...and the ABC.




November 1. 2012 09:45 PM


Talk Turkey,
our thoughts are with you over the sad loss of yer brother.



November 1. 2012 09:49 PM


2353 @ 9:04 AM
The proof is that Howard won the 2001 election partly on his treatment of a group of boat people.

That is accepted wisdom by some (many?). It is one of the hard lessons 'learnt' from the 2001 election and Ms Gillard being a relative newbie in the shadow ministry in the area of immigration more than likely absorbed the lesson such that it became part of the essence of her being.

It is a good thing to learn the lessons of history but sadly many politicians in particular seem to learn the wrong lessons from history. (There are some journo's guilty of the same crime)

As a challenge to the accepted wisdom that being tough on refugees and asylum seekers is an important ingredient in winning an election in Australia read the following article:

Opposing John Howard on asylum seekers, and winning  Peter Browne @ InsideStory

Of course those that believe the 'accepted wisdom' will tell you that this is the exception that proves the rule.


November 1. 2012 10:28 PM

Ad astra

Thanks to all of you for your comments today and for your links and Twitterverse Lyn, which again have been grist to my writing mill, as you will see tomorrow.

I've been with Web Monkey this afternoon working on a new process for extending the penetration of TPS, and this evening I've been completing the next piece that I will post tomorrow afternoon: The inexorable disintegration of the Leader of the Opposition.

Ad astra

November 1. 2012 10:33 PM


Ad astra

I love the sound of inexorable.


November 1. 2012 10:51 PM


thank you for the link Keane's Crikey article.

All my objections are negated by what was written by Keane.

And still I object.

The Houston Inquiry was set up with the principle purpose of STOP THE BOATS and the vain hope of 'save my arse and get the boats off the headlines'.

My objections to the whole charade are that it is discriminatory. Arrive by plane and we can hide it, arrive by boat and you will be vilified, hounded and treated as a fifty first class person or worse more like vermin.

The only thing the excision does is that it makes sure that all irregular maritime arrivals no matter were the land will be treated as vermin.

While it is terrible and shocking that anyone might drown at sea while taking the journey it is also terrible that there are still people dying because of the unwinnable war on terror. It is terrible that people still die when planes crash and it is terrible that people die in auto-mobile accidents.

Just as the death toll from road accidents does not stop us from driving and deaths that occur from planes falling out of the sky does not stop us from flying all the excisions in the world will not stop people from taking whatever means they can to escape whatever terrors that haunt them to find a safer place to live.

It is all costly and demeaning window dressing for base political purposes.

The government could probably save itself a fortune by supplying the Indonesian military with a few thousand life vests and rubber duckie inflatable boats all fitted with GPS positioning transmitters so that when a problem occurred the people could be found quickly.

My objections are also based on the fact that due to silliness or whatever the government has allowed itself to be sucked into joining the problem of displaced persons with the security of our borders. They are separate issues but many people equate the arrival of an apparent armada of leaky boats with an invasion force of spies and terrorists.

On this topic I am, and will remain, an objectional person if only because of a failure of leadership based on learning the wrong lessons from a dark period in our history and a government that has abandoned principle for the sake of appealing to racists, bigots and other sundry unlearned folk.


November 2. 2012 12:34 AM


DMW, I think you are looking for something negative to say about this government and are delighted that the current initiative over the migration zone gives you a chance to say that it has has abandoned principle for the sake of appealing to racists, bigots and other sundry unlearned folk.

You underestimate our Prime Minister and seem to forget that she has substantially increased our refugee intake. She had made a principled effort to establish the first regional processing centre in Malaysia in an effort to solve the hazards and racketeering in the boat trade.  When that failed in June she set up the expert panel with an undertaking to accept its findings.   The Houston Report, delivered in August contained the proposal for this legal excision of our migration zone from Oz for boat arrivals.

Protests would have been a bit more relevant then when the terms of the expert panel report were first known, but possibly just as pointless as now.  The Prime Minister is not for turning.  I see Julia Gillard as being very determined and prepared to take her time with a step by step progress towards a regional solution which helps our neighbours with this problem rather than simply dumping the excess of ours on them. First we have to sort out our laws and pre-empt the inevitable legal appeals which will cost money which could be better put to re-settlement and welfare of truly destitute refugees who have been waiting in camps for years.

Meanwhile a more affluent refugee/asylum seeker/economic migrant is arriving here by boat.  Within a few years this trade in smuggling people who can afford exorbitant fares is going to assume crazy proportions with its short cut to processing, accommodation, legal advice and well supported transition into one of the most prosperous countries in the world.   Already numbers are growing.  

I think the Greens with their come one come all policy are just not being practical.   Once they arrive here people must be processed and housed appropriately.  There is no way we can simply accept thousands on shore and then house them in tent cities alongside our western lifestyle. They must be absorbed.  The hundreds of lives risked on the journey must be rescued. In years to come our coastal surveillance costs are going to become disproportionately high at the expense of other services like health, infrastructure and schools for all our citizens, new and old.  

I think this government will be thanked one day for these first controversial moves to change the way this problem was tackled.  


November 2. 2012 02:16 AM


I think you are looking for something negative to say about this government and are delighted ...

I am far from delighted and in many ways I am saddened to be critical of the government in this area of policy.

I don't have to look to far to find things be critical of with this or any government. Sometimes my criticism may be on the mark sometimes not.

Equally it is not hard to find things to be critical of with the current opposition or any opposition. Equally it could be on or off the mark.

No government, opposition nor any commentator here there or anywhere is so perfect that there would not be something to be critical of. That does not make it delightful to be critical although I do note that there are many here who take great delight in being nothing but critical of the current opposition and would never in a million years concede that there may be some good people with good ideas and propositions that are on that side of the chamber.

To never disagree with all the actions of a government, never find fault or have no criticism is the lot of the partisan player or the sycophant neither of which I choose to be.

No I haven't forgotten the increase in the intake numbers and have applauded that choice.

It is a moot point whether I underestimate the Prime Minister or not and if I do it would be easily counterbalanced by the overestimation of her abilities by others.

We claim to a great and fair country that has world's best practice in many areas but we are absolute failures when it comes to how we deal with this challenge.

As 2353 pointed out on October 31 @ 09:43 PM
If Canada can check the credentials of double the number of people claiming refugee status than we get and start to assimilate into the community within 3 days (on average) what is our problem?

And to Labor (sic) a point
"It's the job of leaders to protect the country from its prejudice"

Ms Gillard is fanning and reinforcing the prejudices of some and it is disappointing and demoralising for me.


November 2. 2012 04:19 AM


Comrade Swordsfolks

Today is Gordon's funeral. A terrible day for those of us who have loved him.

Many of you will have seen his eulogy in Parliament by *J*U*L*I*A*, then Tony Abbott, and finally Amanda Rishworth, who now holds Gordon's old seat of Kingston.

All who have seen it will know why I have always been so proud of him. Even Abbott could find nothing evil to say about him, in fact he was downright complimentary - and that would be unique I think!


Here is a story which probably only two people, of whom I am one, would remember.

While he was still studying for his Master's degree in politics, he made pocket money on Saturdays helping a certain young bloke produce a local newspaper: just the two of them, working together in a building in the middle of Adelaide. That newspaper was quite short-lived, it was called The Sunday Advertiser, its advertising line went
"Let Value be your best adviser
Buy the Sunday Advertiser!"

That young man - in his 80's now - is still alive . . .

Can you guess his identity?


Jump many years, after Gordon stint as High Commissioner to the West Indies, based in Kingston, Jamaica, when he had won the seat of Kingston here, but was not yet a Minister:
there was an occasion when, while the Foreign Minister was overseas, PM Bob Hawke, as acting F.M., approached Gordon to ask him a Dorothy Dixer, concerning some F.A. issue.

But Gordon, knowing Parliamentary protocols better than Hawke himself, started his question wtte thus:
"I address this question to the Foreign Affairs Minister . . ."k . . . knowing that this was the proper way to ask such a question, and expecting the PM to say, "The Minister for Foreign Affairs is overseas on (some important mission), and in his absence I will reply to the Member for Kingston ..."
But Hawkey didn't understand the protocol, he thought that the question now would have to be taken on notice, and he was heard by the entire Press Gallery to mutter furiously something not at all complimentary to my brother . . .

That night Gordon was interviewed by Paul Lyneham, who asked, wtte, . . . "Mr Bilney, is it true that the Prime Minister said something insulting about you during Question Time today?"

With not a moment's hesitation Gordon replied, "Yes, I distinctly heard the PM call me a DUCKWIT!"

Lyneham sort of gobbled, but recovered enough to say, "How does it feel for the PM to say something like that about you?"

Gordon's comeback was just as swift: "Water off a duck's back, people call me worse things than Duckwit all the time!"


Such was the power of Gordon's wit, which endeared him to all who knew him, most especially *Gough Whitlam*, who made him Liaison Officer to the Foreign Affairs Department during Gough's first, brief Government.

Their friendship lasted until Gordon died.

Many years after Gough's untimely defeat, Gordon, chainsaw in hand, climbed a tree in his own backyard in Canberra in order to prune it. He  cut it unwisely, with the result that a huge limb crashed on him and smashed him to the ground, chainsaw running and all. Gordon was knocked cold, and spent several days in a coma in Canberra hospital.

Gough came to visit him, unaware that Gordon was completely non compus mentis.

So Gough left him a short verse by Hilaire Belloc, which read:

Lord Finchley tried to mend the Electric Light himself.
It struck him dead: And serve him right!
It is the business of the wealthy man
To give employment to the artisan!


But the story which best encapsulates Gordon's fighting spirit on behalf of our beloved Labor Party and our nation concerns the Federal Election of 1990, when his worst-ever opponent was high-profile Senator Janine Haines of the Australian Democrats, attempting to make the transition to the House of Representatives. The simpering, saccharine Janine, followed everywhere by an adoring and sycophantic pack of Media, only needed to come second in the 3-horse race, since then she would have received the great majority of Liberal second preferences and won easily.

That would have given the Democrats a toe in the door of the Reps, which would have been a terrible outcome, because they would have stuck like ticks forever to the body politic, never to be removed.

Everybody - and I mean everybody, even my niece, his daughter Sarah, who came to lend a hand in the election - had Gordon gone for all money. Only Gordon remained defiant, he had a little campaign songline which he repeated many many times: "She'll be sorry that she ever bothered us!" sung to the same tune as  "And we chundered in the old Pacific Sea!"

In order to try to ensure that the pissant long-forgotten Liberal candidate did indeed run second to Labor, Gordon famously prevailed on his own horrified Electorate Committee membership to vote Liberal! There were nearly resignations over that apparent almost-treachery!
But in the event the Liberal did squeak into second place (Alexander Downer now claims to have connived with Labor to defeat Haines, but personally I think he is big-noting himself, having neither the wit to see the need for, nor the ability to help Gordon's effort. )

So by enormous personal effort, and with his terrific local Party members behind him, Gordon did defeat those cynical Democrats, in doing so effectively confounding them, never to recover.

The two-party system, which every sane person understands is the best way known to govern a nation, remained intact until the election of Adam Bandt of the Greens, who at least are unlikely to preference the Right.

That particular election - only one of many, remember - took a great deal out of my poor little big brother Gordon, but I think that was the noblest victory of them all.

Not long thereafter Gordon had a triple heart bypass and valve. He underwent surgery on the day the long summer Parliamentary break began, and by the next sitting he was back at work as Minister for Defence Support and Minister for Co-operation Development and Pacific Island affairs!  


Gordon always anticipated that he would die of a heart attack, and in that too he turned out to be correct. But what a life he lived! - and what a legacy of inspiration he has left to Labor folk, in his undaunted unstinting efforts for the party  and for the people he came to represent!  

More than any other lesson in my life, Gordon's dauntless fight against Janine Haines, when no-one except he himself believed he could possibly win, is the reason I have always talked up Labor's impending win in 2013.

Nothing could please Gordon better.


November 2. 2012 07:07 AM


If, as Julie Bishop maintained in Parliament yesterday she was "insulted as a woman" by the suggestion that she couldn't come up with her own questions for the PM without having men script them for her, perhaps she should consider not repeatedly allowing herself to be the skirted mouthpiece for dodgy men as the 'one size fits all' Deputy Opposition Leader for whichever male is currently Leader of the Opposition?


November 2. 2012 07:17 AM

Ad astra

Talk Turkey
Thank you for your post about your dear brother Gordon Bilney.

All of us will be thinking of you and your loved ones on this sad day.

Ad astra

November 2. 2012 07:37 AM



Bringing The House Down, Mike Seccombe, The Global Mail
It was a good riff. Not quite Keating perhaps, but it had the same effect: even the Opposition benches laughed, Malcolm Turnbull appearing particularly amused.Not as amused as Julia Gillard, though. On gets the feeling she is looking forward to further mirth at the expense failure of the ACME Carbon Tax scare campaign.

They Had It Coming: Gillard and the misogynists, Judith Brett, The Monthly
Faced with this sort of assault, deep from the unconscious of so many men, it has been very hard for the real Julia. What does one do when the misogynist fantasies of so many men are being projected onto you on a daily basis? How do you remind people that you are an ordinary human being, when not even bereavement protects you? In the end she did perhaps the only thing she could do. She fought back.

Recommendation 8 and 14 and sorting the wheat from the chaff, Ash, Ash’s Machiavellian Bloggery
Now for the last two years, the Nationals have been loyally tagging along with the Liberals supporting stuff that they would never have if this was not a hung parliament. The Nationals bent over to the Liberals on their Health polices, their infrastructure polices, their infantile carbon tax war. So when it came to Wheat, the Nationals expected the coalition to bend over a little.

On the QT- Combet has them at the jump, Greg Jericho, Grog’s Gamut
OK, Question Time today, as ever was pretty dull, but yesterday and today Combet has been having a bit of fun with Tony Abbott’s predictions about the impact of the carbon price.

Why white collar criminals ❤ judges, Evan Whitton, Independent Australia
Judges initially controlled evidence. On a fixed wage (plus the graft), they had no incentive to prolong the process; trials took a few hours. Lawyers do have an incentive – $5 plus a minute today – to spin the process out. The civil adversary system dates from 1460,when judges began to lawyers control civil evidence. The criminal adversary system dates from the 18th century, when lawyers first began to defend criminals.

Social media gives the power back to the people, David Cowling, On Line Opinion
Social Media is still relatively young in Australia and there are still a lot of unchartered waters ahead. As a nation we have only really experienced significant social media growth over the past 3 years. Whilst this is the case, many people, companies and organisations still haven't yet joined social media websites. Over the coming years it is expected that even more Australian entities, both people and business, will sign up and join the social media revolution.

The Melbourne City Corporatocracy, Carl Scrase., Independent Australia
people in hundreds of cities around the world are starting to mobilise into a global movement for real democracy. This is not a game, and it not irrelevant in Australia. Democracy in my hometown is being systematically corrupted by extreme American neo-liberal sensibilities; ones that are looking towards China and realising that democracy might be getting in the way of profit.

Ross Garnaut: will the Asian Century reboot our debate on growth?, The Conversation
The best thing about the White Paper is that it could provide us with a framework for breaking away from the Great Australian Complacency of the Early Twenty First Century. It may make it possible for mean Australian incomes to be 17% or 18% higher in 2025 than they are today.But in the meantime and for quite a while, we have to hold our

Abbott To Support Migration Amendment As Nauru Asylum Policy Crumbles, Peter, Aussie Views News
Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the Bill before parliament that will effectively prevent any person seeking asylum in Australia if they came by sea is that both the Opposition and the Government have no option other than to pass it. Despite the fact that the policy Australia has adopted flies in the face of all international agreements concerning refugees. The bill, called Migration Amendment

Australian business needs to stop whinging about the company tax rate, Kevin Davis, Smart Company
Treasurer Swan could reduce the headline corporate tax rate from its current 30% rate to just over 15%, with virtually no consequences for government tax revenue with one simple piece of legislation: Simply abolish the dividend imputation tax system.Currently, around half of company tax paid is offset by franking (tax) credits received by Australian shareholders in companies.

FERAL GOES LEGAL: CFMEU boss revs up Rolls Royce lawyer to sue Tony Abbott, Vex News
Sources familiar with the the proceedings say the associated costs are likely to run both sides as much as $500,000. Who’ll be paying? Couldn’t possibly be the union, with all the fuss about rampant corruption and money laundering at the Health Services Union, could it?

Keane: the ‘excision’ that isn’t, and why it’s good policy, Bernard Keane, Crikey
The government’s bill for the so-called “excision” of Australia is sound policy if we’re serious about stopping boat arrivals. Criticism of the move is sharply misguided.There appear to be four grounds for criticising the government’s excision of the mainland, none of which are valid reasons for opposing it. The first, and most easily disposed of, is that Labor has changed its position from 2006 when the Howard government considered similar legislation.

Andrew Robb fact check, Stephen Koukoulas, Market Economics
Below is the full Hansard transcript of Mr Robb, the Shadow Finance Spokesperson, who yesterday spoke on the suspension of standing orders.In bold and italics are a couple of simple fact checks against what Mr Robb said

You're not squeezed. The truth about your cost of living,Peter Martin
“He went to Sanitarium and claimed Weet-Bix prices would be much higher, but breakfast cereal prices fell 0.9 per cent. He went to a dairy farm saying milk would go through the roof. But milk prices are down 0.5 per cent. Senator Barnaby Joyce said a lamb roast would be $100 after the carbon price. But lamb prices are down 2.3 per cent. Tony Abbott said motorists wouldn't be able to get in their car. But there is no carbon price on fuel.”

Australia, no Australia here mate, Alex Schlotzer’s , Café Whispers
In Chris Bowen’s most recent appearance on Lateline he struggled to justify a bad decision however he did make sure to wedge Tony Abbott on this decision. Since it was a policy measure pursued by former Prime Minister John Howard it will be hard for the Opposition to filibuster in the same way they did on the so-called Malaysian Solution.

The danger of a looming NBN divide, Steve Jenkin, Technology Spectator
If the Coalition is keen to play the "say anything beforehand and renege later" game with its NBN Policy, not only will they be a one-term government, they'll later suffer a voter backlash the like we've never seen.

Market better to deliver broadband, says Abbott, Renai LeMay, Delimeter
Personally, I think it is just that Abbott does not fundamentally understand broadband policy in general, and the personal differences between former Opposition Leader Turnbull and the man who ousted him several years ago are too great for them to work closely enough on common messaging in this area and on Abbott’s education.

Abbott calls the shots on broadband, Stephen Conroy
'Over the last ten months, the Opposition Spokesman, Mr Turnbull, has delivered 20 speeches, issued 36 media releases, and sent 1,341 tweets, but still has not released a broadband policy,' Senator Conroy said.'This month he stopped talking about any Coalition plan and instead devoted himself to denigrating the professionalism of the NBN Co Board and management

Today’s  Front Pages
Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 2 November 2012


November 2. 2012 08:20 AM

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

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November 2. 2012 08:57 AM


TT - my thoughts are with you today.


November 2. 2012 08:59 AM


DMW @10.51pm 1/11, I see where you're coming from and agree that the angst wrt boat arrivals is out of all proportion to the actual numbers who arrive on our shores.

A ludicrous amount of money is being spent with equivalent ludicrous contortions by government to be seen to "protect our borders" from these poor, desperate wretches trying to make new lives for themselves and their families.

Unfortunately, this inordinate amount of effort, waste and bloodymindedness can be harked back to one political opportunist facing electoral defeat in 2001, who seized on the arrival of a sinking boat carrying refugees to shore up his electoral support by lying about them.

Enthusiastically supported in his campaign of demonisation by such creatures as Phonecard Reith, he has succeeded in permanently poisoning people's attitudes towards asylum seekers arriving by boat, by calling them illegal immigrants, who murder their children and will murder us in our beds, to quote one Minnie Bannister.

That boat arrivals are pathetically few in number seems not to matter-the Nopposition will still make political capital out of them.

I have a feeling that this latest move by the government is designed to take a great deal of political heat out of the situation, and hopefully asylum seekers arriving by boat will have their claims quietly processed offshore and be assimilated equally quietly and quickly into this country to build their new lives.

I hope my reading of the situation is correct, rather than yours.


November 2. 2012 10:24 AM


Changing the subject completely - the LNP in Queensland seems to be having a power struggle.  First, the politically appointed DG of Transport is stood aside (and referred to the Ethics Committee of Parliament rather than the CMC) and now this.


I think I said a week or so ago when the DG went - this could get interesting.

If they are busy fighting themselves, it also has implications on the LNP's ability to campaign effectively for Abbott in the next 12 months

Now back to the usual high level of conversation.


November 2. 2012 11:01 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody

Twitterverse for you:-

Bushfire Bill
Posted Friday, November 2, 2012 at 7:56 am
Mike Smith is the main individual agitator. He was the 2UE shock jock who was suspended and ultimately sacked around the time Glenn Milne was also sacked for writing a story in The Australian about Gillard and S&G.

Smith was in cahoots with Bolt, who has been in the naughty corner (and doesn’t he whinge about it!) ever since.

Smith has been interviewed by (at least) Alan Jones and Ben Fordham on 2GB on this Gillard business. He has come across photocopies of forms, cheques etc. purportedly with Gillard handwriting on them and has published them.



Why government debt must grow forever, Stephen Koukoulas, Business Spectator
Just this week, the Australian Office of Financial Management, the custodian of Australia’s government debt, issued its annual report. The report presented a sober, balanced and incisive view of government debt.

Bishop defends Abbott after Wilkie warning, Channel 7

Liberal Leader Tony Abbott's daughters Frances and Bridget to kick up heels at Derby Day with parents
Frances, 21, and Bridget, 19, admit Prime Minister Julia Gillard's accusations their father is a misogynist have taken a toll on the family.

"That's our dad and it's really hard to hear things that we know aren't true being said about him," Frances said.


Mr Mike Stuchbery‏
Wait, Abbott's now trotting out his daughters to tell the nation their dad isn't a misogynist? Methinks the family doth protest too much

Carers pay a hefty price for working within a boys' club
IT'S true Julia Gillard should know more than most about sexism and misogyny (in the broad sense of the word).

Not because of the bitter hate campaign she has faced from the lunatic fringes of the web, but because of her career in the male-dominated world of unionism.

Apart from her father, the Prime Minister's view of men comes almost entirely from within the labour movement and the ALP.

Headaches for Abbott as tactics falter, Michelle Grattan

Marco De Ieso‏
www.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-fn3dxiwe-1226507467676 … O'Farrell's Liberal State Government's attack on essential services & intro of new NSW taxes - must read! #auspol

Waleed Aly on the cruel sophistry about "saving lives" of Asylum Seekers at sea. www.theage.com.au/.../...dness-20121101-28mpv.html … via @theage

Women's Agenda‏
Abbott's paid parental leave policy more generous than the government's but still not helping his perception with women http://ht.ly/eVLTr

Mark Whalan‏
greenat16 ANOTHER State Liberal branch in turmoil www.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-e6frgczx-1226508697957

Gossip Girl ‏
“@VictorianPT: Baillieu to sell V/line #springst #vline #metrotrains m.theage.com.au/.../...o-metro-20121101-28mw0.html …”

Geoff Pearson‏
Coalition nod for electricity cutoff plan www.nationaltimes.com.au/.../...0121101-28ncp.html … via @NationalTimesAU

david ewart‏
Abbott’s tow-back a sham www.afr.com/.../abbott_tow_back_sham_oDBjh89BD6x71KhdXrNrLL

John Bergin‏
In case you missed it - here's Graham Richardson's interview with Alan Jones | http://ow.ly/eXqaS

Judythe Riley‏
Is TAbbott so foolish he won`t admit we`re part of a global economy? His arrogance is astounding. www.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-fn99tjf2-1226128448888 … #climatechange



November 2. 2012 12:03 PM


Talk Turkey, my thoughts are also with you.

I liked Gordon's sense of humour. He once said he had a face only a mother would love, and when saying this a smile cracked its way over his craggy face, exposing a man much gentler than his normal appearance suggested.


November 2. 2012 12:50 PM



Is this the in-fighting that we were hoping would manifest itself before the last election? Santoro and Caltabiano belong to the same faction I believe and are the recipients of Uncle Clive's disdain in recent months.
Newman has plenty of tests ahead of him. We might soon find out whether he is just a figurehead or whether he has a power-base of his own.


November 2. 2012 01:13 PM


More on Mr Santoro. This seems to be the article that kicked off today's round of speculation.

LNP calls in police over Santoro fund-raising claims
by Pamela Williams     AFR

He has been known as a factional warlord, crushing enemies and rewarding allies in equal measure through decades in and around politics.
He resigned as a minister in John Howard’s government in 2007 after revelations of massive numbers of undisclosed share trades cost him the backing of the then prime minister.
After several years focusing on his lobbying business, Mr Santoro returned to the political fire last year with a battle to secure a position as federal vice-president of the Liberal Party, a feat achieved not without controversy, but in the end with the blessing and support of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
Mr Santoro has since been a focus of moderates and reformers over the role of lobbyists holding official positions in the party.
In Queensland last year the LNP banned paid lobbyists from holding office on the party executive.
Crossing swords this year with Queensland mining millionaire Clive Palmer



November 2. 2012 02:00 PM

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Hi Lyn
Thanks for your links and Twiterverse.  Once more you have given me material to feed into the new piece that I will post this afternoon.: 'The inexorable disintegration of the Leader on the Opposition'.

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November 2. 2012 02:40 PM


NormanK - Is this the in-fighting that we were hoping would manifest itself before the last election?

Oh I hope so.  The pile is building up - 14000 Public Servants, cuts to needed programs, political DG appointments turning sour, a possible recession (caused in part from lack of investment by the Govt in wages and services), plus the normal things that will inevitably stuff up over the next two years looks like Newman might be a one termer - if he lasts that long.

And if he lasts that long - it will only be because he has a large power base inside the LNP - something I'm not sure of.  I suspect Newman is there because of his perceived success in knocking off Soorley and Bligh, and he has just as many enemies within as he does without.


November 2. 2012 02:58 PM

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I have just now posted The inexorable disintegration of the Leader of the Opposition.  


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November 2. 2012 03:10 PM


Jane @ 8:59 AM
I have a feeling that this latest move by the government is designed to take a great deal of political heat out of the situation, and hopefully asylum seekers arriving by boat will have their claims quietly processed offshore and be assimilated equally quietly and quickly into this country to build their new lives.

This will not take the 'political heat' out of the debate in fact it is set to become even more intense and different fires are now also being lit.

There is already argy bargy over the 'no advantage' for those who arrive somewhere near an excised Australia. I haven't heard a number from the government on how long people could be detained so as to have no advantage over someone in Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan or wherever else. The opposition is saying it needs to be at least five or six years.

The boats will keep coming regardless and so Nauru and Manus will be full (more likely overcrowded) in a short time so where to next? There is another 'opportunity' for the flames to be fanned.

The treatment of those detained will be another source of flames.

Already skulduggery and sheer bastardry is being exposed. Unless an Asylum Seeker specifically says words very similar to 'I want asylum because I am (afraid of persecution etc.) at their first interview with Immigration officials it will be determined that that person is not a genuine refugee. The unconvicted inmates of the prisons that are called detention centres do not get to speak to anyone that may advise them of their rights before that first interview.

I could have a steak knives moment and write ... but wait there is more  but that will do for examples of why the debate will not die down.


November 2. 2012 04:08 PM


DMW, controversy will always be there, but I still feel that this is the first step in the adoption of a regional approach.

I also think that the government is being cagey wrt processing time, given that the opposition has already stated they would seek to punish already traumatised people with what is tantamount to a 5 year jail term.

Of course it won't stop the boats; they won't stop until people are able to live safely in their countries of origin. But it may facilitate speedy and efficient processing and settlement.

I think that there should be a health quarantine period of 6 months for all arrivals, time aplenty to process their applications.

It's appalling that other people's desperate plight has become such a political minefield and allowed the nasty racist undercurrent in this country to surface, but that is the reality that has to dealt with.


Comments are closed