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Take heart from Obama’s win and Romney’s loss

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Sunday, 11 November 2012 18:47 by Ad astra
Is there a national election that attracts more global attention than the four-yearly US Presidential election? Is there an overseas election that has more significance for Australians? Despite confident predictions by the right wing punditry that Romney would win, it was Obama who won, and he did so handsomely. All their lofty predictions came to naught; all they ended with was resentful recrimination.

Is this a foretaste of the 2013 election here? Will the conservative punditry here be shown to be as wide of the mark as their American counterparts? The parallels between the Democrats and the ALP, and between the Republicans and the Coalition here, are striking. This piece attempts to tease them out and draw some inferences for the 2013 election.

Take heart from Obama’s win and Romney’s loss

The fiscal cliff
Why is there this extraordinary worldwide interest in the US election? Right now, the US economy must rate as the prime reason. We know that it faces a ‘fiscal cliff’, well described in the SMH by Max Mason in What is the fiscal cliff?. Mason explains that the term depicts ”…a raft of tax increases and spending cuts that will automatically come into effect at the beginning of 2013 if the Democrats and Republicans cannot negotiate a new set of budgetary and economic policies to reduce the spiralling budget deficit of $US1.1 trillion.”

The tax cuts for the wealthy introduced by George Bush have been legislated to stop at the end of 2102, which means that taxes would then rise sharply, particularly for the rich. This, coupled with equally drastic cuts to defence and domestic spending, would almost halve the budget deficit to $US641 billion in the 2013 fiscal year. But an undesired consequence of this radical move would be recession and rising unemployment, with, however, a return to growth after 2013.

On the other hand, if George Bush’s tax breaks were to continue and spending was to remain unchanged, it is estimated that the deficit would blow out to an massive $US8.8 trillion by 2022. Servicing such a debt would be a huge challenge, carrying with it the risk of default on loans – a fall over the ‘fiscal cliff’ – that would have worldwide repercussions.

Yet the Republicans want the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy to continue, and are against cuts to defence spending. As post-election control of Congress is still in the hands of the Republicans, a bill to that effect could still be passed. But President Obama has vowed to veto any attempt to bypass ‘the cliff’ that does not include expiration of tax cuts for the wealthy. As a two-thirds majority of both the House and the Senate is needed to override a Presidential veto, this is unlikely to occur.

A compromise somewhere in between these extreme positions is possible but not promising, despite the renewal of Obama’s mandate. The contemporary signals coming from House Speaker John Boehner are mixed. Although he is pledging to work with the President, he is still saying that he ‘doesn’t want any tax hikes’.

Because the Republicans have been playing a game of brinkmanship on this matter, local and overseas stock markets have been left in a state of jittery uncertainty, all the more so since the election.

I go into this detail because the danger of the US falling over the fiscal cliff is high, and should that happen, the economy of the entire globe will be seriously affected. Wayne Swan was vocal about this at the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting in Mexico.

This situation in the US points to the similarity between the attitude of the US Republican Party and that of the Coalition in Australia. Ostensibly on ideological grounds, they both trenchantly oppose, even if that seriously threatens to damage the nation’s economy. The intent of the Republicans is to make it impracticable for the President and his Democrats to govern, even to the extent of pushing the US over the fiscal cliff.

Brinkmanship has been played ruthlessly; the bitter mood of the Republicans after their defeat in the presidential race will likely accelerate movement down this dangerous path. But the mood of the American people is such that it will likely no longer tolerate such obstructive behaviour from its politicians, such a recipe for gridlock, especially so soon after Obama’s mandate has been so convincingly renewed.

Similarly, the Coalition here does what it can to prevent the Government from governing, albeit mostly unsuccessfully, and threatens to undo much of the legislation already passed should it assume office.

The extreme position of the Republicans is a reflection of the influence of the Tea Party, which has dragged the Party to the hard right. We can expect similar Republican/Tea Party tactics from the Coalition here. Tony Abbott’s previous parliamentary secretary Cory Bernardi, recently demoted because of his linking of bestiality to same-sex marriage, has spent time with the US Tea Party and has imported their obstructive methods into Australian politics.

Election dynamics and the punditry
There are a number of aspects of the US campaign that are noteworthy. The conservative media completely misjudged the campaign and the outcome. An article in Newser titled Conservative media blew it begins: If you relied on conservative media for your election news, Obama’s win likely came as quite a surprise. But, while right-wing pundits had long been predicting a Romney victory, the mainstream media knew all along that the president had a much better shot, writes Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic. Voters who got all their information from conservative media were vastly "misinformed," and they should be very angry at just how remarkably said media failed them, he writes. By rejecting rigorous, credible experts like Nate Silver in favor of ‘ideological hacks’, conservative pundits "were operating at a self-imposed information disadvantage."

“But that's no surprise—they've been doing it for years. Conservative media outlets wasted time on ridiculous stories, candidates, and conspiracy theories (birtherism, Herman Cain…) while pundits refused to criticize their own side, resulting in a ‘conservative echo chamber’ that…made a lot of cynical people a lot of money, while keeping voters in the dark. "On the biggest political story of the year, the conservative media just got its ass handed to it by the mainstream media," writes Friedersdorf. "It ought to be an eye-opening moment."

This is what Friedersdorf said in the Atlantic: ”Barack Obama just trounced a Republican opponent for the second time. But unlike four years ago, when most conservatives saw it coming, Tuesday's result was, for them, an unpleasant surprise. So many on the right had predicted a Mitt Romney victory, or even a blowout -- Dick Morris, George Will, and Michael Barone all predicted the GOP would break 300 electoral votes. Joe Scarborough scoffed at the notion that the election was anything other than a toss-up. Peggy Noonan insisted that those predicting an Obama victory were ignoring the world around them. Even Karl Rove, supposed political genius, missed the bulls-eye. These voices drove the coverage on Fox News, talk radio, the Drudge Report, and conservative blogs.”

Reflect on how similar the conservative media is here. The pundits at News Limited and many at Fairfax too have been calling the next election for the Coalition based on polls of voting intention for two years now, and still are, one year out from the next election, notwithstanding the lack of predictive power of these polls. In the US most pundits said the Presidential election was ‘too close to call’ or ‘on a knife’s edge’. This was faithfully echoed in our own MSM. These predictions were all based on polls of the overall popular vote although everyone knew that the election of the President is based not on the popular vote, but on electoral college votes derived from voting in the fifty states, which although close, always favoured Obama, especially in the key battleground states, which carried large parcels of electoral college votes. This is just how it turned out.

In A victory for data over punditry in The Drum the ABC’s Jonathan Green writes ”The 2012 US election will be remembered as the day the bluff and bluster of the mainstream press came undone by the quiet science of polling. Yesterday's big winner? The elegant simplicity of a mathematical certainty; of reason. Its losers? The pompous self-serving chumps of the punditocracy, for one. And also, more significantly, a mainstream media that wants politics to be a slowly revealing secret ... something only it can truly see.” Green could have been writing about our MSM.

Later he says: ”This Obama victory tells us much about the way we consume our politics today. It tells us that pundits are quite often loud, confident and wrong. It tells us that political polling is now a thing of great and elegant sophistication. And polling has now been made all the more authoritatively representative of reality by the sort of meta-polling done by the likes of Nate Silver, by the application of algorithms and cold reason to massed and detailed samplings of the electorate.” Green then quotes Greg Sheridan writing in The Australian: “One of the most depressing elements of this final election result is the absolute supremacy of the polls. I last wrote about the election on Saturday, when the polls were too close to call. But in the few days since then the polls moved more or less decisively towards Obama. And the polls were right., and concludes: ”We'll leave Greg there in his lonely struggle with mathematics. The truth is that the polls were always close, but also callable. Because people did call it, and they got it right. Nate Silver's predictions, based on poll after poll after poll, picked every state in the union. Did we just watch the election that finally consigned the lofty 'we know best' horse race of mainstream political journalism to the knackery? Let's see.”

Yes, let’s see. I doubt if this will change our pundits’ behaviour one jot, so large are their egos, so arrogant their predictions, so geared to wishful thinking, and so deafened by groupthink in their noisy echo chambers. If you don’t believe me, re-read what Turncoat Richo said last September.

Writing in similar vein inThe Drum in The dying art of punditry in Australia, Barrie Cassidy concludes:

”In Australia too the art of punditry is dead, or close to it.

“At a recent summit in Canberra, one of the more self-effacing members of the Press Gallery was asked to make a few predictions. "The way we are travelling," he said, "you would be better off following a bunch of blindfolded monkeys throwing darts."

“The record of punditry through this year speaks for itself.

“The minority government will collapse, and there will be an early election.

“Kevin Rudd will reclaim the leadership, if not this month, then next month, or the month after that...

“If he doesn't then Julia Gillard and the Government faces annihilation whenever the election is held.

“Tony Abbott, on the other hand, is as safe as houses.

“And 'that' speech on sexism was a shocker, guaranteed to backfire.

“It's not
[just] a Canberra Press Gallery thing. Most of those predictions have been embraced at one point or another by regular columnists right around the country.

“It seems that as every opinion poll comes along, political judgments are made and then somehow snap frozen. There is no acceptance that the polls, and the politics, are subject to significant change.

“Silver, the latest geek to make a name for himself in New York, would never make the call until the last minute. Only when the election is nigh would he crunch all the numbers.

“Consumers of all this punditry have been badly let down this year, no doubt about it. But they shouldn't get too upset.

“As we have seen yet again, the pundits, no matter how big their reputations, have practically no influence on election results.”

Remember that. One of the top pundits has said so, one that has pundits talking to pundits every week on his show Insiders.

Greg Jericho wrote his usual erudite assessment in 2012 US Election: Obama and maths win. Do read it and enjoy the splendid graphics. Scroll to the end to read the tweets of some who could not accept the results, even as they were confirmed. Note that it was the aggregated polls, the meta-analyses that correctly predicted the outcome. Note too that he quotes Possum’s Pollytrend: ”Yes a poll can be “wrong” but when you start collating lots of them, for them to be wrong you need to start assuming a lot of things that don’t gel with reality. It’s why in Australia you don’t need to worry about individual poll movement – but instead be smart and look at Possum’s Pollytrend.”

From now on, let’s ignore the pundits – they get it wrong so consistently that it is clear they are running an agenda of wishful thinking that reflects their own, or their editor’s, or their proprietor’s desires, rather than offering critical, honest and informed analysis.

And let’s ignore individual polls and take note of the trends.

Obama’s win and Republican Romney’s loss, and how they were predicted, give us heart in our Aussie context.

Climate change
This did not feature much in the campaign, but as Tristan Edis says in Climate Spectator in Obama's victory a win for reason and moderation ”Climate change was not completely forgotten by Obama even if he gave it a low profile in the campaign. In his victory speech he made a brief reference to the issue stating, “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened up by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

“He also made remarks around freeing the country from dependence on foreign oil, which plays to his administration’s dramatic increase in motor vehicle fuel economy standards.”

Later Edis says: ”While it will be tough for Obama to enact substantially strengthened policies to reduce emissions, his victory will mean the Republican House is at least contained from unwinding the progress he has already achieved…Also the US EPA has been quietly enacting new standards governing power plant emissions that will help put the nail in the coffin of many a coal plant, although cheap shale gas has done more of the heavy lifting in this area. Wind power had also become a major player in new electricity supply, supported by a tax credit which Romney said he would seek to abolish.”

Obama’s convincing victory will embolden him to further his efforts to reduce emissions and embrace emissions trading schemes that are already in place in several states. This will diminish the potency of the Coalition’s disingenuous statement that Australia is virtually going it alone with its carbon pricing and ETS, and weaken Tony Abbott’s vow to dismantle it.

The curse of conservatives supporters
Perhaps one of the most profound lessons from the US elections is the disconnect between the Republicans and the surging numbers and growing influence of Hispanics, Afro-Americans, Women (many of them Young Single Women), the Young, the Singles, Gays and Lesbians, and Asians, groups largely met with indifference by conservatives, who more and more are symbolized as Angry Grey-Haired Middle Aged Christian White Males with a sense of entitlement to power and a yearning for the Good Old Days. Piers Akerman is archetypical of these conservatives, as we saw this morning on Insiders. Reflect on those gathered to celebrate a Romney victory; how many outside this narrow group did you see? How many Afro-Americans; how many Hispanics; how many Asians? Very, very few!

As Edis observes: ”Perhaps of most importance though is that this election victory should help prompt a serious rethink amongst the wise heads of the Republican Party about the direction of their party. If they are to regain the presidency they must expand their appeal beyond the states in the religious and highly socially conservative south and mid-west. Their conventions and election party were dominated by grey-haired white people. These people have a high propensity to get out and vote, but they aren’t a recipe for long-term vitality in an increasingly multi-racial society. In addition Obama has done a remarkable job of getting the young, the black and the Latino’s into the voting booth.

“Broadening the Republican’s appeal will be impossible without steering the party away from ideological, anti-science, often racist, extremists from the Tea Party. You won’t win over the progressive states by embracing people who think women can control whether or not they end up pregnant from rape. Nor by taking the government to the very verge of defaulting on their loans based on a fanciful idea that the government could cut expenditure by 40% overnight. Nor will you do this by dismissing the research and advice of highly qualified scientists because it conflicts with a literal interpretation of the bible, and a belief that God controls nature.”

Does all that remind you of the situation here? Sure, we don’t have Hispanics and Africans in the numbers they have there, but half our population is Women; there are many, many Gays and Lesbians, many Young People, and increasing numbers from Asia. We are not solely comprised of audiences who listen adoringly to Alan Jones and Ray Hadley. And we do have our quota of cranks who discard the notion of global warming, many of whom belong to the extreme religious right, who seek to influence conservative policy, and plenty of rednecks who scarify Muslims and sundry other immigrants, and push us toward intolerance. Malcolm Turnbull sees the danger. In Turnbull uses US poll to warn against giving in to political fringes in the SMH, Phillip Coorey quotes Turnbull: ”…the Republican failure at this week's US election was a lesson to all political parties against pandering towards extremist views…The lessons...for everybody is that if you run off to the extremes in politics, which is what the Republicans did, some of their candidates were saying some really bizarre things, which resulted in them losing.”

To succeed in this country, political parties need to appeal to the wide spectrum of races, religions, beliefs, gender, age groups, and social groupings that grace our society. Parties that alienate groups, or ignore them, do so at their peril. Conservatives here run the risk of doing what their counterparts did in the US, ignoring large groups of would-be supporters, in a manner similar to the way Alan Jones and Ray Hadley do by pandering to a limited group of narrow-minded sexist bigots to the exclusion of broadminded, free-thinking people.

This piece draws parallels between the Republicans in the US and Coalition supporters here.

Both play obstructionist, destructive, divisive politics. Both seek to make governance as difficult as they can. Both talk down the economy for political gain. Both threaten to wreck the place to gain power, and seek to shout themselves into office. Both threaten to repeal legislation passed by the other. ‘Obama-care’ there, and the ‘carbon tax’ here, are examples.

Both have their political pundits in the mainstream media who use polls inappropriately to predict political outcomes. Both have pundits who get it wrong again and again. Both have pundits who allow their wishful thinking or that of their editors or proprietors or sponsors to override the factual evidence.

Both appeal to a limited group of voters to the exclusion of others. Both foster media outlets that promote bigotry, and political, sexist and secular bias.

Both embrace climate change skeptics, creationists and in some instances racists.

Both are fixated in the past and yearn for days of yore, the good old days when they were young, when they were firmly in control, and in our case, when the British Empire and Europe reigned supreme.

Both favour free markets, big business, small government and light regulation. Both are neo-conservatives.

What then are the lessons for us from the recent US election?

Remember that Republicans and Coalition members are very similar in ideology, philosophy and their operational strategies and tactics. The Coalition will use Tea Party methods against the Government.

Beware of the political punditry. Ignore their predictions. Ignore their analysis of individual polls, and take note only of trends. Ignore any opinion they offer that is not based on verifiable facts and well-reasoned logic. Too many are incompetent or malevolent or both. They get it wrong too often. Too many are not running an honest agenda. They are too often running someone else’s agenda.

Be aware of the danger of ignoring increasingly influential and vocal groups. Be sensitive to the needs of women, the young, homosexual groups, the disadvantaged and disabled, the indigenous, the new arrivals, and the diverse ethnic groups that now make up our nation. Political parties ignore them at their peril.

Get behind the Government and its positive reformist legislative agenda, one of the most forward-looking in decades. Get behind the Prime Minister, one of the strongest and most resolute we have ever seen.

Review the election strategy of President Obama and the Democrats, and adapt to our situation what has proved to be successful.

Check every utterance of the Opposition for factual accuracy and logic, insist on policy clarity and accurate costings, insist on answers to reasonable questions, and reject obfuscation and dishonesty. Reject negativity whenever it appears.

The Fourth Estate has let us all down by not doing its job. The Fifth Estate must even more rigorously hold it to account, and expose deceit, incompetence and malevolence whenever it raises its ugly head.

Take heart from Obama’s win and Romney’s loss. Something similar is on track to happen here. Even Michelle Grattan sees the striking parallels. Although much of our conservative commentariat is wont to dismiss these parallels, they are there to see for all who have un-blinkered vision.

2013 holds high promise for Labor and our PM.

What do you think?

Comments (125) -

November 11. 2012 07:12 PM

Tom of Melbourne

” A MELBOURNE woman who worked at the Nauru detention centre has described it as ''horrific and appalling'', as claims emerge from refugee advocates and an asylum seeker that five detainees have attempted suicide in the past two weeks.

Aid worker Brett Louise Woods returned to Australia last month after 2½ weeks at Nauru. The first worker to speak out about conditions there, she was appalled by the facilities, saying detainees had no legal representation and were ''psychologically traumatised'' because there was ''no end in sight''.

Read more: www.theage.com.au/.../...orker-20121110-2953z.html

A great and ethical policy ALP barrackers support!

Tom of Melbourne

November 11. 2012 07:32 PM


Great article, AA..The best (as against the most worthy) thing to come out of the Obama victory was the total unedifying demolition of both Rupert Murdoch's Fox News and Karl Rove.
Both these filth have polluted and diminished national politics in both America and Australia through their lies and deciept and corruption of political journalism and ideals.
NOW!..the slimy stigma of Rovism has attached itself to the LNP. through the adoption of his now debunked stupidity and hubris braggadocio. Let them continue with his dead-hand tactics..they are all losing hands now!
Murdochs' seemingly limitless influence is at an end..who but a fool would now lay their fate in his care? Plus, all those who played by and with his rules are now tainted with his fall. He will take the whole stinking MSM. ediface down with him!...All those journos' who played to his beck and call are also tainted..all those who made their way from his tabloids to the ABC. are now tainted..their qualifications as polluted and impure as sewerage water.
So rejoice in Obamas' victory, for it is more than a victory for the greater populace, but a victory for the complete and utter disgrace of htose twin serpents of humanity..: Murdoch and Rove...may they suffer the death of a thousand (metaphorical)cuts!


November 11. 2012 07:59 PM


Very strong piece AA and very true but the conservatives will continue their negative,spiteful and untrue assault until the next election and beyond.However,Labor has many positives working for it.
1-PM Julia Gillard a courageous,patient and extremely hardworking PM.
2-Campbell(the peanut)Newman aka The tyrant.
3-Ted(do nothing)Baliau.
4-Barry OFarrell-cutting education and health funding,workers compensation rights taking money out of injured workers pockets and putting it into the pockets of millionaires,closing fire stations,sacking public servants,the list goes on and would be worse if it were not for the fact that he doesnt want to upset the voters in the western Sydney federal seats(he has already pissed them off)
5-Ms Redmond in SA
6-Tony Abbott,who insists the carbon tax is the root of all evil and who now makes a fool of himself and his party everytime he opens his mouth.
7-The MSM who are making a laughing stock of themselves in front of the Australian electorate and as each day goes by are becoming more irrelevant.
Sum this up by refering to M.Grattans recent article,where she stated-where will Labor win seats at the next election,she is the political editor of The Age but clearly doesnt understand the demographics of individual federal seats nor the mood of the people-they are listening to PM Gillard and like what they hear.
PS Thanks Lyn,for your wonderful links and your juicy twitterverse.


November 11. 2012 08:32 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for your kind comments.  It was the Murdoch Empire that provided a conduit for the misinformation spread from conservative sources, Fox News being particularly prominent.  Without that conduit they could not have got their disingenuous messages out.  The same applies in this country.  Let’s hope for a steady erosion of Murdoch dominance in our media.

Thank you the compliment.  You make sound points.  In fact the poor performance of state Coalition governments is eroding confidence in the conservatives.

As I said in an earlier post, the performance of state governments will go against Tony Abbott and the Coalition, and it already is.

I’m off now to watch Devils Dust, the terrible asbestos story.

Ad astra reply

November 11. 2012 08:58 PM


See, here


Malcolm Turnbull (in his signature meretricious manner) sounds very sensible about the need for Australian businesses not to miss the digital boat.

Until you realise that Coalition policy on the NBN will very likely leave that 'boat' in a Sargasso Sea of moribund uncertainty.

Fibre to the Home (Business Premises) as Labor's NBN is building will meet all the motherhood statements Malcolm makes.

However, an Abbott government, since his brief was to "demolish the NBN", will patchwork pitch businesses into the Turnbull-trumpeted cheaper internet-connection options of wireless and disintegrating copper wire, a Frankenstein's monster of a wobbly Web.

Essentially leaving more Australian businesses, should the Coalition win in 2013, out of the fast lane than in.

Further evidence that MT is as full of it as "The Man Who Never Got It", his self-esteemed leader, TA.


November 11. 2012 09:19 PM

Tom of Melbourne

…and at 4 or 5 times as expensive as the next most expensive in the world, Our Own NBN is such great value!

Tom of Melbourne

November 11. 2012 09:46 PM


   As the "keeper of the truth" as you like to think you are,and being the arrogant prick you are!
You can't even bother for a reply? Gee I guess you and king rat could be one in the same, So here goes from the last thread.

November 11. 2012 12:50 PM

   I find it amazing that an informal voter such as yourself crys crocodile tears about being disenfranchised!
You got the government you voted for.

The second thing I find even sillier is you seem to think that reminding us every day about broken promises we might shift! what to the Coalition? I and many others don't care, So if you think you're cutting through or you see it as some sort of community service, can you be honest enough to put a diclaimer there about you?

Former ALP member
Financial member of the Australian Democrats
Informal voter at the last election
Current cheerleader for the Federal opposition



November 11. 2012 10:31 PM

Tom of Melbourne

That's great Jason!

I'll sent you a copy of my CV.

Tom of Melbourne

November 11. 2012 10:34 PM

Ad astra reply

You might be interested to read a piece I posted in May; What is making Labor stalwarts gloomy?, and particularly the text under the heading: Deteriorating State Coalition governments where you will see your thesis supported about the negative effect on the Federal Coalition of current LNP state governments.


Malcolm Turnbull is a tech-head who loves the Internet and sees the value of all businesses being on it.  It is noteworthy that he is promoting the digital world while on an Abbott-assigned mission to ‘demolish the NBN’, something he would never do.  That assignment by Abbott was the cruelest of all, and Abbott knew it.

I’m calling it a day.

Ad astra reply

November 11. 2012 10:36 PM


   I have more than enough toilet paper don't bother.


November 12. 2012 01:31 AM


Goodnight everyone.  Just in from a great day.  Many thanks for all those good wishes.   I look forward to reading this new post from Ad Astra first thing tomorrow morning!  I had taken heart from Obama's win and Romney's loss already because it had told me that Murdoch's money and media might does not have to win.   I am sure AA has given me some other good reasons to take heart beyond that.


November 12. 2012 07:26 AM



Trends, The Horserace and random numbers, Possum Comitatus, Pollytics
the top political writers in Australian journalism – writing column miles of allegedly serious analysis about how the latest poll did this or that and what it means for Abbott, Gillard, the nation etc. This analysis then dominates the news cycle in such a way that ordinarily intelligent politicians jump on the bandwagon and react to it, which then generates a brand new news cycle of the reaction, then further breathless reporting and analysis of the reaction to the reaction. And so on it goes until everyone disappears up their own meta-sphincter, by which time a new poll is released and the whole batshit crazy process starts again.

Home of the BISON’s, The Finnigans
Last Update: Sunday, 11th November 2012
GOLDEN BISONs still run free & wild - Unemployment down to 5.3645712% , GDP 3.7% - Inflation 2% - Interest 3.25% - Credit Rating still AAA with 21 years of growth.

Screening out facts? Victoria Rollinson
If you want to deliver profits, you need consumers. If you want consumers, you’ll find them on social media. But only if your product is worthy of sharing. And just a hint on this one – social media users don’t share anything that’s lacking in credibility, as this affects our individual credibility. And maybe say something that matters (take Rachel Maddow’s advice).

An economist at sea, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless
Times probably are tight at the AFR but this is the very point where resources must be put to best use, and no further trashing of the brand must be permitted. Christopher Joye is a fine economics commentator, and options for him to write sensible stories within his scope of competence should not be limited in a so-called financial review.

Honour and good sense, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless
Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey are both Johnsmen. Some believe that they are the next Prime Minister and Treasurer of this country. Neither is particularly good at identifying problems when they occur and taking action before they become bigger problems. Both have a fixation on hushing things up which they don't want to be made known. This attitude has become so pervasive that a non-Johnsman like Michelle Grattan shares their conviction that the leak

We Do Need A Royal Commission, Archie, Archie Archives
A Royal Commission into the prevalence and the practice of paedophilia within the Church will only remove the individual pricks err - priests who happen to be caught.A pointless exercise as so many cases are hidden within the Church of Rome and never see the light of day. Many others are dealt with by the Church internally

How the MSM flog stories from blogs, Sandi Keane, Independent Australia
remember their sanctimonious superiority over Gillard’s misogyny speech? Yet, not only did the mainstream media outlets in question – the ABC and the Australian Financial Review – re-shovel my story — they also failed to provide any context. Yes, they explained that Santos had pulled its CSG ad, but they failed to in any way explain the “how” or the “why

Combet Says it How it is: Finally a Pollie Worth Listening to!, Moth, New Anthropocene
I disagree with the critics. I believe, like much of the general public and perhaps even the media (suggested in the transcript above), Combet is fed up with responding to such mind numbing Orwellian doublespeak and intellectual-retardant nonsense sprouted by a man the Coalition back as favoured leader.

The Cheerleader and the MP, 80s Karma, ACA’s Asian Century, and Celebrity Journalists, Turn Left 2013
Journalists interview other journalists about stories from other journalists, opinions pieces replace investigation and research, facts disappear and feelings take their place. Latika Bourke, ABC’s social network reporter, is according to some, a cheerleader for Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party

LESSONS FROM AMERICA: Under Abbott, Australia’s Coalition has so far avoided the Big End of Town Republican party’s mistakes, Brandon Welsh.,Vex News
Romney’s defeat contains valuable lessons for the Liberal Party argues Brandon Welsh. In popular political history Barry Goldwater was an extreme right wing zealot who led  the Republican Party to a landslide defeat at the hands of Lyndon Johnson. To those with a more nuanced understanding of American political history, Goldwater was actually a saviour of the Republican Party and paved the way

Patriarchy under siege: the rise and rise of gender, Bernard Keane, Crikey
The Australian on its principled stand. Its commitment to rigour. No more “on-the-drip” sources, no more unsourced pre-budget stories about what budget night will bring, no more friendly drops from ministers, no more stories about the contents of a speech to be delivered the following day, no more briefings done by public servants that are handed on to a compliant Oz journalist  

The end of the tax revolt, John Quiggin
The Global Financial Crisis signified the failure of the free-market policies for which Proposition 13 was the harbinger. It’s time to recognise, once again, that we can never be truly prosperous without high quality public services and that the only way to pay for those services is through taxation. California has learnt this lesson the hard way. Australia can surely do better.

Facts on the US fiscal cliff, ABC
The fiscal cliff is a combination of dramatic spending cuts and tax increases mandated to take effect in January 2013 if Democratic and Republican US lawmakers cannot bridge their differences on how best to reduce the nation's budget deficit and debt.

Tea Party goes cold as US voters reject the far right, David Weisbrot, The Conversation
The Tea Party movement remains unrepentant, accepting no blame for the disappointing election results. Indeed, according to the TeaParty.org website, the root of the problem was that Romney and the Republicans played it too safe, were not confrontational enough, and, in conjunction with a tame and co-opted media, refused to highlight President Obama’s “record of crimes, fraud and treachery”.

Defeated Once Again, Right-Wing Media Wage War...On Voters, Media Matters
Obama's victory represents a clear rebuttal of the conservative media. Outlets could have marked the occasion with some actual introspection. Instead, its leaders embraced two hallmarks of the movement: personal attacks and a refusal to take responsibility for their actions.

The value of fact-checking in the 2012 campaign, Bill Adair, Politifact. Com
Our mission is to inform readers, not change the behavior of politicians. And it's ridiculous to think that our new form of accountability journalism would suddenly rewrite the traditions of American politics and end decades of lying by candidates and elected officials.

Running For Office, Patricia wa, Café Whispers
‘hitting the wall’ or sudden extreme fatigue. It’s a loss of strength experienced in endurance sports such as cycling and running, caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, and is particularly feared by marathon runners.

Today’s Front Pages
Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 12 November 2012


November 12. 2012 07:52 AM


[Apologies for reposting - I posted this last night after Ad posted the new thread, it's not deliberately on thread but it is about taking heart, so it sort of qualifies.

Uriah's 7 points - except for no.1 - though negative in themselves will be very positive for Labor in the washout, adding fangs to Labor's attack-to-be.]    

Yesterday's bit starts here . . .

Hi Nasking,
Good always to see you Bear, but I'm not really sure where you be a-comin' of in your two last posts. I think the Labor Party is very well placed for talent, though I'd love to hear some really dazzling verbal thrusts from young blades it's true.

Some clever wit, nice metaphors (a la PJK's "all tip, no iceberg" sort of thing iyswim), but *J*U*L*I*A* herself does pretty well, I thought when she paid out Costello for being spineless it was the funniest thing I've ever heard in Parliament. (She was Deputy PM at the time).

Fear not Mr Bear, the hard yards are done now, the rest will be 3-reef sailing and our Braves will have great pleasure, now the legislative agenda is pretty-well achieved, in the Fun part, needling the Slopposition, things like Emerson's Whyalla Wipeout song and Combet's calling Bullshit, our warriors would not have been game (nor had the time) to do that sort of thing before they got the legislation through, now they are positively champing at the bit, pawing the ground like war-horses, THIS is what they LIKE! Never mind being rested, a change is better than a holiday in this case, as we are about to go into 3-quarter time in the Big Game, for from February on, It's ON!

So many now have reason to be pleased with Labor, and few have cause to think at all well of the Abborttians, thugs and yahoos they are and are being seen to be. We of Leftish persuasion have worked like Dogs collectively, even we whose main contribution has been just writing like this. Time to start, not crowing, ~ (that's hubris, deadly to a campaign) ~ but telling our truth loud and earnestly, ridiculing and probing and challenging the Others, and especially goading the MSM -(speaking of which we're doing all right imo, watcha reckon? We have made them lift their game just a little, we will make them smart* for their sins in the coming months, they have been Wrong Wrong Wrong up till now and WE have been Right Right Right, RIGHT?!)

And I'll be right about this too, mark my words! (Just as I claim, OK ad nauseam, to have been hitherto, to my pride and delight and hopefully even FINANCIAL gain when my favourite comes home next year! ) Because it's ALWAYS been *J*U*L*I*A*s game plan, she as good as said so all along, and through hate and lies and grief and stonewalls all the way she has never faltered, her team has never put a foot wrong, not a single dismissal nor hint of corruption or culpable negligence, that is some record for a group so under attack from all sides.

True there have been many hurdles along the way, she could have fallen or broken a fetlock, but she hasn't, she is nimble and shrewd, and she is now 'way out in front of Abbortt personally, ever more so I suggest. She is pulling our Party UP now, he is dragging his DOWN. You know, it really does make sense!

I predicted that Abbortt would be challenged (for the leadership) this month.

That might still happen, or not. But it doesn't actually matter.

It seems to me that he is already increasingly under challenge in the wider sense, from the few but telling interviews in which he has been so cornered, by Lisa Wilkinson twice now, and obviously as his personal popularity ratings plunge 'way below the LNP 2PP's, there must be huge dismay amongst the Party spin doctors in deciding how to treat the deep infection of their sick old Party's private parts.

Whether they will decide to lance the huge boil in the Opposition's crutch or not now I can only guess, or whether they will put dressings over it and hope it heals - which it won't, it will leak poison into their system as long as Abbortt remains - is their problemm, and it is due to the fact that they have NO-ONE in a position to replace him without losing even more credibility. They are in a NO~NO~NO win situation, and Turdball is a very serious problem to their whole Party. The public loves him, his party can't stand him, and he is hopelessly wedged in a  crediblity gap over his French NBN shares . . . And many Aussies are saying I would vote Liberal if Turdball was Leader but with Abbortt, no way!

So I don't care who leads the Liberal Party, they are becalmed in Sewage Swamp via Shit Creek thanks to Abbortt.            

Oh by the way Nas I do understand that you mean after the Win, I took that on board, but look, we can let talent problems beyond that look after themselves in good time don't you think?

Besides I might be all wore out before that.

*(! undeliberate pun word!)


November 12. 2012 08:22 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

November 12. 2012 08:25 AM



Your post on CW was too good merely to link to, you belong to us anyway, so I'm reposting your birthday post to Miglo et al!

Running For Office

Tony Abbott is running for office,
The highest in all the South Land.
As the favorite of the bosses
He’s got his victory speech all planned.

But his rival is proving a tough nut,
Unexpectedly for a female,
Metaphorically kicking his butt,
And his strength is beginning to fail.

“It’s a marathon race, not a sprint,”
She’d whispered, all womanly and small.
Did he shiver and shake at the hint
That she’d tail him till he hit the wall?

Judging his manner and giveaway gait,
He knows now who’s setting the pace.
He is about to disintegrate
As Julia Gillard takes the lead in this race.

NOTES: It’s my birthday today, November 11th, and Migs was kind enough to send me greetings early this morning which I missed because I was out breakfasting at South Beach shed cafe with an old running friend who had bicycled across from Perth to meet me at seven our time. I was very buoyed up not so much by my birthday, or even the good health and happiness we both still enjoyed, but because things are looking so much better for Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her government and so much worse Tony Abbott!

As long-ago distance runners we talked about that in terms of Julia Gillard’s comment in an ABC interview last July, mentioned in Age article, that the carbon pricing campaign is

“… a marathon, not a sprint…..”

We agreed that she had been proved right. Tony Abbott has been steadily losing ground to Julia Gillard in the latest Newspolls which reveal a trend also confirmed by Nielson and others like Galaxy, as documented and discussed week after week by the Poll Bludger, William Bowe. Her remarkable personal resilience, her government’s legislative achievements and the soundness of the national economy must have been getting him down privately for some time, no matter how loudly he proclaimed her ineptitude and her government’s failings to the public.

Ad Astra at The Political Sword noticed that Tony Abbott was not only losing ground in the polls and in the media but he was also deteriorating physically in himself. As a retired medical practitioner he wrote about it in terms of

“The inexorable disintegration of the Leader of the Opposition (which) continues apace.”

As a one time runner myself I remembered that comment of the PM from last July. Tony Abbott is distance runner, often running marathons, so would be very familiar with the term ‘hitting the wall’ or sudden extreme fatigue. It’s a loss of strength experienced in endurance sports such as cycling and running, caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, and is particularly feared by marathon runners. It may be fanciful, but I like to think that Julia Gillard knew about this and had already made a shrewd assessment of Tony Abbott when she observed that poor polling didn’t worry her because she viewed the struggle with him and the Coalition as more of a marathon race than a sprint.

His supporters in the media like Samantha Maiden have certainly made that connection and are advising him to take a break, rest up. He is also seen to need some time out of the limelight since Julia Gillard’s worldwide PR triumph with her misogyny speech. Earlier he had foolishly and flatly denied an anecdote recounted by David Marr from his student days which depicted him as a misogynistic bully. The idea that he could have menacingly punched the wall behind the head of a woman who had defeated him in a student election seemed very credible in light of what is generally perceived to be his character by his political critics, at least. He had tried to gainsay that reputation by bringing the women of his family onto the political stage to defend him but that had little effect on his popularity ratings. All their protestations counted for nothing once he had pushed Julia Gillard into her passionate outburst with his loose tongue.

This little pome plays with the idea of Tony Abbott suddenly realizing that Julia Gillard has his measure and will out- run him. She will wear him down. He will hit the wall. Perhaps he already has and knows that he will not win office.



November 12. 2012 09:59 AM


Abbott's gone.

Listen to/read what he had to say in addressing the Country Liberal Party over the weekend in the Northern Territory. His 'speech' will undoubtedly be on the Liberal Party website or fawned over in the Murdoch Press (same thing?) by now.

Not a new word, not a new thought, not a new angle of attack (his specialty, we're told by everyone but him [who actually wants a kinder, gentler polity, without personal politics, didn't you know?] that 'everyone' who continue to say he's the best Opposition Leader ever), nothing but the same old same old which has nowhere to go.

He can't change. Himself, his tune, or his fate.

When the Today show's Lisa Wilkinson can make him look evasive, incompetent, and just plain silly, by no more than re-asking a simple question, this simpleton is erasing himself from competence in voters' minds.

A slow spiraling political suicide. With smirk.

He's about to be remembered, on so many levels, as "Tony Abbott, The Man Who Never Got It".


November 12. 2012 10:35 AM

Ad astra reply

Have you a link to the Abbott NT speech?

Ad astra reply

November 12. 2012 10:47 AM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Your links are fantastic again; I’m part way through.  Although heavy going, Possum’s article was brilliant, exposing as it did the futility, in fact the downright disingenuousness of the reporting we get on individual polls from the likes of Shanahan, Grattan, Hartcher and Coorey.  If anyone in not convinced of the deceptiveness of individual poll reporting, do read Possum’s piece.

The ‘Media Matters’ piece shows how grotesquely the conservative media is behaving in the US where the Obama win and the Romney loss is being attributed to the ‘stupid’ voters.  For a foretaste of what we ought to expect here when Abbott loses in 2013, everyone should read this extraordinary piece.

I have to take my iMac to get its hard drive changed today at Apple’s request, so will be out of action for the middle of the day.  I’ll try to follow comments on the iPad.

Ad astra reply

November 12. 2012 11:08 AM




unsurprisingly, Ross Gittins makes his usual commonsense, talking about where Australia 'is' as much as what his text is directly addressing.

When will this country escape our enslavement to fear?


November 12. 2012 11:18 AM


AA, hello.

Abbott's NT speech is quoted here:


The quotes ring resoundingly hollow, of course.

If I find the full speech (oddly[???] not on the Liberals' website), I'll post the address here.


November 12. 2012 11:45 AM


Monica Attard‏@attardmon

Pleasant surprise from first full carbon tax electricity bill. It's LOWER!


November 12. 2012 12:23 PM


Interesting photograph that accompanies this Grattan puffpiece on Abbott.


I remember seeing the news coverage this shot is excised from. Abbott and Howard walked to an Air Force plane to fly to Bali for the bombing commemoration events a month ago.

Across the tarmac they walked, and then Abbott went straight up the steps into the plane, leaving Howard to follow him.

No deference to age, no associated politeness from a man to his acknowledged mentor, not so much as the hint of an 'after you' even offered.

This 'body language' struck me all over again how excessively self-involved Abbott is.

Something too small to even think about, some might say?

Perhaps, but we are all the sum of our often most unconsidered parts. What any of us do automatically, without thinking, is most often how we truly are where 'in ourselves' we are not thinking about the particulars of any situation, or challenge to our unconsidered behaviour.

Automatic behaviour characterises us.

Abbott's rudeness to Howard was manifestly in character, and once again displayed how aggressive competition for primacy sits at the base of his nature.

In short, he's a boofhead.


November 12. 2012 02:31 PM

42 long

The NSW detective inspector on a News 24 interview said J Hockey did not have the picture right. Tony is indecently quiet on this matter, but as Bob Brown pointed out had great concerns for Ashby a 33 year old declared homosexual, and Bob on that occasion said the LOTO should be more concerned about 13 year old boys in the care of Tony's church.
    Some of you may remember Hal Todd. "Toddy" campaigned for years on late night radio against certain priests that he had information about and couldn't get any action taken. It took a lot out of him.
   A piecemeal approach cannot work here . There is a need and an opportunity to clear this matter up once and for all time.  The church has prioritised forgiveness for the p[riests and the name of the church instead of concern for the injured.
   That does the new testament say  "Better that a millstone be placed about their head than put a stumbling block in front of one of my little ones" [Forgive any errors and omissions as it is from memory) and I have long ago lost any belief in the commonly accepted dieties. They are horrible hypocrites who don't read their own god's word.  Not ALL of them but the others have gone along with it so are accessories.

42 long

November 12. 2012 02:41 PM


Hi Ad and Everybody,

Thankyou Ad for your absorbing, brilliantly researched, well thoughtout article.  We on TPS are so lucky to have you thankyou for TPS.

Happy Birthday to you dear Patricia for yesterday, I hope you got a couple of  nice presents.  

BSA Bob so pleased you enjoyed Dorothy Parker.  She sure sorts them all out.

Uriah thankyou,  so pleased you think the Twitterverse and Links are juicy.  I find them juicy too.

Ad I thought Possum’s post was magnificent, long read but very worthwhile.  He is a top guy.

Twitterverse is Twitteratti today.  I was all ready to post and my computer did an emergency shutdown so lost the lot.

Norman K does that mean my computer is now unstable and I should do my routine Defragmentation, Clean Disk, Restoration.

amanda meade‏  
Senior Media Writer for The Australian and mum of one
Sydney · http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media
After reporting many redundancies, today I am announcing my own - here on Twitter! After 18 years at the Oz I have taken redundancy.

Essential Shocker for Abbott. his net disapproval is now 25pts, worst ever (58 to 33) while PM is now only 8 (49-41) - essentialvision.com.au/category/essentialreport

Essential: Gillard pulls clear of a troubled Abbott, Bernard Keane, Crikey
Julia Gillard has pushed further ahead of Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister and the Opposition Leader has plumbed new depths of disapproval with voters, new polling from Essential Research shows.
Tony Abbott has a huge problem with female voters. Both men and women don’t like Abbott’s performance, but this month his net disapproval among women blew out from -19 to -30. Gillard also now leads as preferred PM among both men and women, although among women she leads by a huge 21 points.

Bushfire Bill
Posted Monday, November 12, 2012 at 11:05 am
The slow cook aspect in opinion polls regarding how people change opinions explains the desperation of the Coalition.
Ever since the polls turned savagely in 2001 with the Tampa business – and stayed there – the Coalition has been looking for another silver bullet.
More like Fool’s Gold, actually, as poll results this far out mean very little, like calling the Melbourne Cup after the outbound field passes the post for the first time: a pointless exercise.

Bishop vows to pursue Gillard on union fund, Gemma Daly, AFR
Ms Bishop has already sought to table in Parliament a copy of a cheque for $67,722.30 from the Workplace Reform Association that was used to settle the purchase of the property.

However, an internal Slater & Gordon account ledger shows that the same amount of money was paid by Mr Blewitt as a “DDep”, or direct deposit, meaning the law firm might not have sighted the cheque.

Off-brand and unoriginal: Why Breakfast failed to satisfy
Ten's embattled Breakfast program survived a disastrous rush to launch, low ratings, the loss of one of its three presenters and a change of programmer, but in the end it couldn't survive its own blood-spattered balance sheet as Ten's management moved to staunch the bleeding by axing a costly live TV show which was giving very little back

Twitter's friendly fire becomes war on users
Twitter's restrictions on third-party applications, and the penning-in of users to "official" apps, coupled with the addition of targeted advertising, videos, photos, and oddly named Promoted Trends, has turned Twitter into a carbon copy of Facebook.

In a world where a billion people already have Facebook accounts, how much growth can Twitter expect when they're waging war on the users they already have?

George Megalogenis‏
First tweet as private citizen: @TonyAbbottMHR should call for Royal Commission into child abuse. Opp. leader's job is to speak for victims.

Stokes reaches out to Foxtel #ausmedia http://bit.ly/VUOTIw

Australia Poll Average & Seat Projection Update at http://poliquant.com after Newspoll release tonight #auspol

Newcastle Herald‏
BISHOP'S LETTER: Diocese defends handling of abuse www.theherald.com.au/.../?cs=305

The vibes from America are bad for Abbott, Katharine Murphy
Abbott does not want to find himself locked out of the political centre. Romney's unhappy trajectory demonstrates that Abbott can't rely on disgruntled right-wing blokes to get him over the line. In Australia, as in the US, there's not enough of them to guarantee victory

Rushing back to the polls fraught with danger for Abbott,  Phillip Coorey
In March this year, Abbott told Sky News: ''If an incoming Coalition government can't get its carbon tax repeal legislation through the Senate, well, we will not hesitate to go to a double dissolution.''

At the time of those statements, the Coalition was monstering Labor in the polls. Abbott was confident he would never have to carry out the threat in the event Labor and the Greens kept control of the Senate after the election.www.brisbanetimes.com.au/.../...0121111-296bg.html

Feel the Howard uplift, says Abbott, Michelle Grattan
''I want people to respect our polity again - as they did in the days of John Howard,'' he told the Country Liberal Party convention in Alice Springs on Sunday.

''I want people to be able to listen to the Parliament and feel uplifted - as they could in the days of John Howard. I want people to be able to see our country abroad, doing good things, helping our neighbours with cash,

Palmer's lawyers challenge LNP suspension, AFR
Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer is planning to take legal action against the Liberal National Party (LNP) for suspending him.

Mr Palmer says his lawyers will write to the executive on Monday to push for his suspension to be withdrawn, claiming he's been denied a fair hearing



November 12. 2012 02:45 PM


Hi Nasking,

Good to see you posting important information for our enjoyment thankyou.

Hope you are feeling much better from your rest.



November 12. 2012 02:51 PM


The following link and story are for you (Swordsters will get a lot of reading it as well)

A letter to my so-called 'progressive' friend  Jamila Rizvi @Mamamia
... when we walk into a polling booth on election day we are doing so much more than deciding who we would like our local representative to be. We are playing our part in a system that ensures a stable, democratic and peaceful Australia.

An Australia that (to quote the terribly corny but awfully catchy advertising campaign) was founded on a vote not a war. ...

Tell me this: Could you look a Saudi Arabian woman in the eyes and tell her that you don’t want to cast your vote in a free, fair and open election? Could you justify the ‘political point’ you’re apparently going to make, to the family of someone killed during the anti-Assad uprising in Syria? How about to a citizen who has been jailed after publicly criticising the Chinese Communist Party? How about to the 15 year old Pakistani girl who took a bullet to the head, in her fight to get a decent education?


I know that challenges can be, ummm, challenging but here it is ToM:

Read the article and then write us a sound and reasoned response as to why you believe it is ok to vote informal. If You have a moment you might also let us how you would explain to the 15 yo Pakistani girl why voting informal is the 'right thing to do' in your mind.


November 12. 2012 03:14 PM


Gillard is happy to send people to Nauru in shackles in spite of being told endlessly that it is illegal and immoral and it seems she is happy to let people die in horrendous conditions to win the votes of rednecks and racist cowards.

She is wasting our money on a lie, a series of lies in fact. and the moron cheerleaders refuse to see.


November 12. 2012 03:21 PM


  Yet again another great read, I have sent it to my sister in the US for her pleasure.

  Ever since the hung parliament the right wing mouth pieces have talked to each other & have come to their own conclusion that we are all as thick as bricks, if they tell us how to vote often enough that we will follow their thinking & put Abbortt in the lodge.

Where do they get such delusions from, each other maybe?.

  I like others here have been totally gob smacked at some of the so called reporting [opinion as fact with wishes as predictions] we have witnessed by some of these so called journos over the last few months, what makes them think they have this self imposed power & influence? again talking to each other maybe?.

  Just like the PM's speech, in their opinion "if we pour enough scorn on it no-one will give it any relevance". WRONG

   They are wrong on all presumptions, badly so. Most us Ozzie's don't like being told how to think or vote[TfM & SIC aside, counted with those that can't think for themselves], we will see another rude awakening of the MSM after the next election here too.

  How will they spin that result when it happens, if there are any of them left by then. Women! will elect the next government of this country, I'm very happy about that, they are not members of the old boys club. Who look at every issue through the prism of "what's in it for me & my backers firstly"
   Like the Lieberal push to have voluntary voting introduced here it has one aim only if we can't win legitimately we will rig the outcome & disenfranchise those we don't like, scary because they will try to do it if given the chance. A policy which we should oppose at all cost.

  Patricia Happy Birthday for yesterday sorry I missed it yesterday head down bum up in the garden & hives.


November 12. 2012 03:47 PM

Truth Seeker

Ad, another great read, well done.

I think the shrinks in the US must be rubbing their hands together with glee at the prospects of all the poor little rich boys suffering a major re-emergence of 'Relevance Deprivation Syndrome', after their appalling efforts to lie/talk/buy Romney into the top job.

Murdoch in particular must be feeling somewhat deflated at the magnitude of his irrelevance.

As with many of the right wing/tea party commentariat.

The fundamental problem with these types is that they surround themselves with sycophants, who massage their egos to the detriment of truth fact and reason, making them believe their own press, that "Greed is good" and everything is for sale at some price.

And like The Abbott,  they just don't get it!

Cheers  Smile

Truth Seeker

November 12. 2012 05:13 PM

Ad astra reply

Thank you for theGittins link -  a great article.  Thanks also for the report of Abbott’s hypocritical speech.  I wonder why it’s not on the Liberal website?

Grattan’s piece is archetypical of the ‘let’s get back to the good old days’ approach that Abbott is fostering, and Grattan is salivating about it like Pavlov’s dog.

42 long
Your biblical quotation is apt.  Many may soon feel the weight of the millstone around their necks.

Ad astra reply

November 12. 2012 05:36 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
I’ve got my iMac back with its new hard drive – everything is working well.  Sorry to see you have had computer trouble and have lost data.  That is very frustrating.  Hope it’s Ok again.

First, thank you for your very kind remarks about this piece.  You are always so encouraging.

Your Twitterati were such good reading.  BB was once again at his best, and what a good suggestion is his to call out Abbott and Hockey every time they talk down the economy with “Another business closed”.

Essential Research reflects the trend against the Coalition and particularly Tony Abbott, who has sunk to new depths.  Still he can go lower.

It is a measure of the desperation of the Coalition and its Deputy Leader that she intends to pursue the S&G matter when parliament resumes later this month.  It’s pitiable.

What an interesting contrast there is between Michelle Grattan’s puff piece, embracing as it does a return by Abbott and the Coalition to the past, the Howard past, the very retro attitude that lost the Republicans the presidency, while Katherine Murphy has the perspicacity to see the parallels with the US election:

”Australian politics watched the US race closely, as politics does. It would be silly to draw too many conclusions and export the precise conditions of the US to here - but it's not silly to see election season in America as a harbinger for our own contest in 2013.

“Australian politics is manifesting the same broad issues: the forwards/backwards construction that's an oldie but a goodie when progressives and conservatives vie for government.

“Australian Labor has grasped the forward/future frame to cast Tony Abbott as Mr Retro. The negative character attacks on Abbott lately have added Mr Extreme to Mr Retro.

“This strategy is designed to push Abbott out of the political centre - just as Obama pushed Romney out of the centre and nailed him to the hard right of his party. Romney was a moderate who had to neutralise conservatives in his own ranks to win the nomination - and then lacked the time and independence to walk his candidacy back to the centre.

“Abbott does not want to find himself locked out of the political centre. Romney's unhappy trajectory demonstrates that Abbott can't rely on disgruntled right-wing blokes to get him over the line. In Australia, as in the US, there's not enough of them to guarantee victory.”

Read more: www.brisbanetimes.com.au/.../...0121111-2968c.html [/i]

Ad astra reply

November 12. 2012 05:47 PM

Ad astra reply

KHTAGH, Truth Seeker
Thank you both for your kind comments; I’m glad you enjoyed the analysis of the parallels, as I see them, between the US Presidential election and Federal politics here.

As you both indicate, Tony Abbott and the Coalition ‘just don’t get it’.  Here we have Abbott saying how he wants to elevate discourse in the House to the ‘good old Howard days’, when Abbott himself has been the one primarily responsible for the degraded state of language in parliament.   It is effrontery writ large for him to then stand up and criticize the low standard of dialogue that Abbott himself has created.

Ad astra reply

November 12. 2012 05:50 PM

Ad astra reply

I believe we will see a lot more of ‘lower electricity bills’.  Do you have a link to the Monica Attard Twitter?

Ad astra reply

November 12. 2012 06:02 PM


Jason is probably pretending to do some work AA Wink



November 12. 2012 06:23 PM


Ad, thank you for refering me to your article written in May-how things have changed!
I really look forward to election 2013 and the build up to it ,as PM Gillard stitches up Abbott and the Libs on all fronts.It will be particularly irksome for Abbott and gang as they see Australian business along with the electorate desert their cause.The signs of this are already apparent.  


November 12. 2012 06:52 PM

Tom of Melbourne

I’ve read that article DMW.

•  I prefer Obama over Romney, and explained this on several occasions at TDT. But Obama would never get preselected in the ALP.
•  I cast a formal vote until I have to choose between the Liberals & the ALP, they usually come about equal 4th
•  I would find a reason to differentiate between political groups if I was in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran
•  I’d have no difficultly explaining my voting rationale to anyone.
•  The greatest legacy an Australian politician could leave is the sense that they have restored a sense of integrity to public office.

My problem with the ALP is its structure and culture, which is poisonous. It is run as a fiefdom for powerbrokers, and a sinecure for union hacks. The structure is cancerous and I think it is pointless to support any organisation that is so demonstrably devious, underhanded, duplicitous. Regardless of whether they happen to somehow come up with a rational policy on increasingly rate occasions.

Unions now have 14% of the private sector employees, and that includes former public sector employers such as Qantas, Telstra, Commonwealth Bank…even in their traditional stronghold, the public sector, they have about 1 in 4.

But they still exercise their control of the ALP. They bring the deal making and intmidatory tactics and culture from construction sites into party forums, and then reward the union time servers.

As I say, I think it is a poisonous culture, and it’s one that I don’t support.

Equally, I don’t vote Liberal, and never have.

(and just so Jason can get my CV right, I used to be a union official)

Tom of Melbourne

November 12. 2012 08:25 PM

Ad astra reply

Thanks.  I wonder what Tony will say.

Ad astra reply

November 12. 2012 08:29 PM

Ad astra reply

If businessmen see that Abbott and Hockey's talking down the economy is costing them business, they will start to scream.  Why will our MSM journos not point this out as BB has done?

I'm now going to watch Devil's dust part 2 and the evening's TV on ABC

Ad astra reply

November 12. 2012 09:49 PM


thanks for your response.

I must admit you have me on a technicality as, if understand the Electoral Commissions guidelines correctly, a vote is valid while ever a voters intentions are clear and once the voters preference can no longer be determined the vote is 'exhausted'. So if you vote Mr Ed - 1, Miss Ex - 2, and then Mr Why -3 and Miss Zed - 3 your first and second preferences are counted but then if both Mr Ed and Miss Ex are eliminated your vote no longer counts.

That is backdoor optional preferential voting in my mind and I don't favour optional preferential voting as it is a backdoor to first past the post voting which I consider a no go zone for various reasons.

On the presumption that you actually live in the electorate of Melbourne then I would guess that at the last federal election you cast a valid vote as I suspect that you would have placed Adam Bandt ahead of the tied Liberal/Labor candidates.

While I get your dislike of Labor as it currently operates I wonder if you missed or just overlooked this part of Jamila's letter:

It is your choice who you vote for and why you vote for them. And I agree, that it is a sad reflection on the offerings of each party if you choose to exercise your vote against the party you don’t want to see in power rather than for the party you do. But the fact remains, you get to choose.

In Australia you have a right to vote, yes. But you also have a responsibility. The relationship between the elector and the elected doesn't go one way – it’s a contract, a bargain, an agreement – and you have to play your part too.

The way I see it voting is not an all or nothing exercise. It is not 'my candidate or no one' choice. It may come down to choosing finally the less worst option but that is what we asked to do and I reckon it is part of exercising our privilege of getting to choose our representatives that we number our ballot paper correctly 1, 2, 3 and so on without skipping pr repeating a number from our most favoured candidate so no down to our least desired candidate.

One other trick question if I may, Did you buy a sausage sambo to assist the fundraising efforts of the local school at your polling booth?


November 13. 2012 07:21 AM


  I find it slightly curious that in the Devils Dust series not one mention of who owned the mines that caused the problem. Especially Witanoon. I suppose they didn't want to do the Gina's lawyer waltz for the next few months.
  Also no mention of the Mad Monk denigrating Bernie Banton like he did as the feral heath minster, they mentioned hockey but not MM. They should have in my opinion.


November 13. 2012 07:22 AM



Why the mainstream media are losing it, Victoria Rollison, Independent Australia
As it stands, the relationship most mainstream journalists have with social media users is either to ignore us (check out managing editor David Donovan’s analysis of how few people well known journalists follow on Twitter), or they’re openly hostile to us engaging with them at all. You only have to see the rate at which the ABC’s Latika Bourke blocks Twitter users to see that she would clearly prefer a one-way-conversation. How this attitude aligns with her title of ‘Social Media Reporter’ is beyond me

Embattled Abbott Thirty-Six Below The Wave , Dr Kevin Bonham
This represents:* Abbott's worst Newspoll approval rating ever.* Abbott's worst Newspoll disapproval rating ever.* Abbott's worst Newspoll netsat ever - and not by a small margin either (five points).* The worst netsat for an Opposition Leader since the -39 recorded by Simon Crean in May 2003 (Crean was removed within six months).* The worst Newspoll disapproval rating for an Opposition Leader since the 69 and 65 recorded by the soon-replaced Alexander Downer in December 1994, and the equal-seventh worst of all time.

Newspoll – 13 November 2012, Dylon Caporn, Body Politic Australia
There is yet again bad news for Tony Abbott on personal ratings: his approval is down three points to 27% and his disapproval is up five to 63%. Julia Gillard is respectively up two to 37% and up one to 52%, and her lead as preferred prime minister has widened from 45-34 to 46-32."

Dazed & Confused, Sal Piracha, Only the Depth Varies
the Republican brand is severely damaged by its war on women, its immigrant bashing, and its obstruction in Congress. Thisdamaged down ticket candidates. Lastly, the pick ups in the West show the changing demographic. Hispanic voters shocked Republican know-it-alls and old school pollsters by turning out to vote. Republicans totally underestimated that. They also underestimated the turn out by African-Americans and young people.

An other classification of journalists and pundits in an age of corporate media, Uther’s Say
Poopers in Australia are less obvious but Andrew Bolt, Piers Ackerman, and various shock jocks qualify.Others have one foot in this category but still fall into others’s second classification, sometimes barely. They are people like Niki Savva, Peter van Onselen (especially in his “Contrarian” role), often Paul Kelly and Dennis Shannahan play the role of agenda setters for their master’s voice at the Australian.

What business needs to learn about politics, Ross Gittins
Business leaders have lost confidence in the Gillard government and, having concluded its days are numbered, are uncharacteristically willing to attack it in public. In private, though, most would doubt an Abbott government would be any more willing to grasp the nettle.

And you thought Aussie politics was poisonous right down to its rightwing grass roots!, Petering Time, North Coast Voices
“You come upon a neighbor — whom you know to be a Democrat — drowning in a lake. You're the only person in the vicinity. Do you help him? Whew!Now that one is really, really tough. I honestly do not have an answer for thatone. You could always be a smartass about it I suppose. Scream: "Hey Joe,you sure you're a Democrat?

When Tony didn’t meet Bernie Banton, when J Bishop trampled on asbestosis victims, the Right just doesn’t get it, Turn Left 2013
Ms Bishop might have acted ethically, and as a lawyer has the right (edited to add: this should be ‘responsibility’) to represent her clients to the best of her ability, but how can you claim to love workers when you represent the corporation that was killing them?

Protection, Peter Wicks, Wixxy Leaks
Those who say the world of politics should not mess with religion, I say why not? In NSW at least, one only had to walk into a Catholic Club and you would have seen pictures of Local Labor party members gracing banners, posters, and stands all over the place, protesting their support of those trying to help out the problem gamblers by

Gillard announces royal commission into child abuse, Bernard Keane, The Stump
And in a significant development this afternoon, Tony Abbott also bowed to pressure and said the Coalition would support a major inquiry if it wasn’t limited to the Catholic Church.

Pell claims a “disproportionate attack on the church”, Jennifer Wilson, No Place for Sheep
The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, today claimed that calls for a royal commission into the sexual abuse of children by priests and brothers are a “disproportionate attack on the church.”Pell goes on to claim that the Catholic church is not the only culprit, or the only community producing culprits, and that the sordid history of coverups, removal of offenders from one school, parish, diocese or state to another is no indication of a systemic failing in the church

BREAKING: the news that will have pedophiles squirming, Mamamia
The news of the Royal Commission comes after a senior police officer made damning allegations about the Catholic Church’s concealment of child sexual abuse on ABC’s Lateline last week. Senior NSW Detective Peter Fox gave a horrifying account of the culture of cover-up he experienced when investigating alleged crimes within the church.

Establishment of Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, Press Office, Prime Minister
Today I have announced that I will be recommending to the Governor-General the establishment of a Royal Commission into institutional responses to instances and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia.The allegations that have come to light recently about child sexual abuse have been heartbreaking.These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject.

I Think About – - -, Archie, Archie Archives
Menzies House and Peta Credlin have convinced Tony Abbott that the voters are only capable of being interested in one thing at a time.The Carbon Tax. To vary things just a little, he is allowed to mutter about “Stopping the Boats”. But there is only one single solitary subject to be pushed every day.That Damned Elusive Carbon Tax!
Off with its head!

‘Louder’ light could power a brighter quantum future, Geoff Pryde, The Conversation
The laws of quantum physics say that you can’t accurately copy an unknown quantum state, a fact known as the “no cloning theorem”. Because of this kind of idea, it turnsout that the qubit amplifier can’t work every time – sometimes it tries to teleport the information but fails.

Alan Jones slams Turnbull’s NBN performance, Renai LeMay, Delimeter
In a segment broadcast on Sydney’s 2GB radio station last week (the audio is available online here), Jones repeated an number of criticisms he has previously made about the NBN, claiming that the project is “hopelessly behind scheduled and hopelessly over budget”, that its underlying fibre technology would be “obsolete” before it was build due to the future of telecommunications being “wireless”

The War on Women Backfires, Michelle Goldberg, The Daily Beast
It quickly became clear that women hadn’t just reelected the president–they’d dealt a historic blow to the religious right, helped put a record number of women in the Senate, and become the heart of a new governing coalition. According to CNN exit polls, women made up 53 percent of the electorate, and they went for Obama by 11 points. (Romney, meanwhile, won men by 7.) According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, it was the second-largest gender gap

Congressional Republicans’ ‘Compromise’- Everyone Should Accept Romney Tax Plan, Josh Israel, Think Progress
Seemingly ignoring that over than 3 million more Americans voted for President Obama than Mitt Romney on Tuesday, Congressional Republicans are moving quickly to embrace Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) call to adopt a tax “compromise” that is virtually identical to the tax proposal that Romney made the centerpiece of his failed campaign

Today’s Front Pages
Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 13 November 2012


November 13. 2012 08:19 AM


Is this lazy, lying, or just desperate?


Mark Baker continues his pursuit of Julia Gillard over her time at the law firm Slater and Gordon.

In one paragraph he writes:

"...Slater & Gordon managing director Andrew Grech has confirmed Ms Gillard ''acted directly'' in the conveyancing work on the property purchase. The confirmation came in documents lodged with the Australian Press Council in support of a complaint against Fairfax newspapers and this journalist over reporting of the firm's role in the Australian Workers Union ''slush fund'' scandal."

Note the words "confirmation came in documents".

Now, this paragraph: "'The only documentary evidence Slater & Gordon was in possession of was that Ms Gillard acted directly for Mr Blewitt in relation to a conveyancing matter, a union dispute and a defamation matter,' he [Andrew Grech] said.

Mr Grech confirmed to Fairfax on October 16 that the file was missing."

Note the words "said" and "file was missing".

Apparently, in the world of Mark Baker missing files can serve as confirming documents.

Something reported as "said", spoken, serves as "confirming" documentation, written text.

This is desperate, shoddy journalism, shifting words around in a story to apparently confirm a proposition while they in fact undercut it.

And, irony of ironies, we are back in a place where the Coalition and its catspaws rely on someone named Grech.


November 13. 2012 08:45 AM


Good Morning Lyn,
Hooray for you, your links are the BEST reading on the WWW.
A daily delight, a reason to get up, looking forward to the day.

And Good Morning everyone else,


If an election WERE called now for before Crispmess, the only reason we would lose is not our standing in the polls now, but that the Abborttians would do an about-face, claim Labor was wasting taxpayers' money going early, trying to take advantage of Abbortt's unpopularity and so on. So Labor will not go early.

Because if it weren't for that dynamic, we would otherwise win the campaign.

But anytime after May next year that dynamic will not apply.

If Abbortt is still there, (and he is already plainly a dead man walking), he will be even more smelly by then.

The Opposition will lose the campaign on its own demerits, and Labor will win it on our own merits, and the 49%~51% situation now will tip quite definitely our way, though we may rely on the Murdoch media to kick and scream ever more shrilly . . . but I think Australians are a good bit more sceptical of its wisdom than ever before.

Labor has a great story to tell, Abbortt has nothing, no policies, no people skills, a great deal of nasty baggage and most especially he will be savaged by Women.

49%~51% is very, very satisfactory at the moment. Could hardly  be better actually, we don't need peaking early. Slow and steady is the best policy, and *J*U*L*I*A* is doing that in style. It has always been her game plan, get the chores all done, wear down the bolters, and then on to victory!

I love the way we're going to tell you-all the truth.

Thanks again Lyn.      


November 13. 2012 08:48 AM


DMW said
I must admit you have me on a technicality as, if understand the Electoral Commissions guidelines correctly, a vote is valid while ever a voters intentions are clear and once the voters preference can no longer be determined the vote is 'exhausted'. So if you vote Mr Ed - 1, Miss Ex - 2, and then Mr Why -3 and Miss Zed - 3 your first and second preferences are counted but then if both Mr Ed and Miss Ex are eliminated your vote no longer counts.

Sorry DMW but you're slightly off the mark here.  The vote you have described above is informal at a Federal Election as there is no clear direction from the voter between Mr Why and Miss Zed.  For it to have been a formal vote, either Mr Why or Miss Zed should have been given the 3rd preference and the last preference given a 4 or left blank.  Queensland has optional preferential voting and in if it was a state or local government election, your described vote (and the actions by the electoral officials is correct - the vote exhausts after the 2nd preference) - however the Feds are different.

So the point remains that Troll from Melbourne has disenfranchised himself and accordingly has no right to complain about the Government or Prime Minister he gets.


November 13. 2012 08:50 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

November 13. 2012 09:58 AM

Tom of Melbourne

DMW, I’ve spent plenty of time supporting the ALP, and I’m entirely comfortable with my decision. I always participle in indicating my preferences, I simply choose not to make a distinction between the ALP and the Liberals, as is my right.
Use of “troll” is always proof that the person using the term has no legitimate or rational point to make.

Yet another case here from 2353.

Tom of Melbourne

November 13. 2012 10:28 AM


You would think I would be smart enough to check the facts first.

At the AEC website:

Voting – House of Representatives
A House of Representatives ballot paper is informal if:
  * it is blank or unmarked,
  * ticks or crosses have been used,
  * it has writing on it which identifies the voter,
  * a number is repeated,
(my emphasis)
  * the voter's intention is not clear, or
  * it has not received the official mark of the presiding officer and is not considered authentic.
Note: If a House of Representatives ballot paper has all squares numbered but one then it is assumed that the unmarked square constitutes the last preference and the ballot paper will be deemed formal.


Scrutineers Handbook: 5. Formality of votes
House of Representatives guidelines
Consecutive series of numbers

A House of Representatives ballot paper is only formal if the voter has indicated a first preference and consecutively numbered all boxes. A number in the series may not be repeated or skipped.

So either I have confused myself with practice in some state jurisdictions or I am absolutely wrong. It wouldn't be the first time.


November 13. 2012 10:30 AM


David Pope @Canberra Times pretty well sums up the Royal Commission thing:



November 13. 2012 10:54 AM


in many ways it is very difficult to make a distinction between Labor and the LNP it is a matter of 'shades of grey'. In other areas is is starkly black and white.

In the end what we are asked to do when we get to that cardboard booth on polling day is make a choice.

For some 'no choice' is the option; maybe from the point of view it doesn't matter who I vote for all I end up with is another bloody politician.

To my feeble mind though as a citizen it is my duty to make that final choice and indicate my preference (more often now) from least worst to most worst.

We will never know or be able to find out but I have a suspicion that a good number of people who whine long and loud about politics and politicians take the 'no choice' option and I reckon it is a cop out.

Your or my single vote makes three fifths of five eighths difference to the overall result but it is still an important indicator to those that choose to take on the task of governing and to make a considered and full choice is our duty.

Hear endeth the sermon.


November 13. 2012 11:40 AM


DMW - that is the difference between you and those that disenfranchise themselves by not following the process.  You are correct in stating that your duty under Australian Federal Election law is to make your choice by consecutively numbering every square.  If you think that a particular person is head and shoulders above the others - you give them your first preference.  You could also view it as you give the "least worst" one your first preference.  For you vote to count, you need to follow the rules.

To criticise the result - you have to be part of the decision - to sit on blog sites and claim that something is wrong with the way the Government does or doesn't do something and at the same time stating they don't take a legitimate part in the process in disingenuous at best.  The common term for someone that is disingenuous on a blog site is a troll.


November 13. 2012 11:41 AM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
I’ve now read your most interesting links.  Victoria Rollison’s was a great piece about the state of our media.  We need more such articles.

The reluctance of the MSM to use the word ‘embattled’ to describe Tony Abbott with his record low approval is nicely described by Dr Kevin Bonham.  I suppose when the mainstream journalists begin to use this word Abbott is done for.

Uther’s Say had a nice classification of journalists.

Archies Archive was amusing on the subject of messaging to the public.

Alan Jones is incorrigible – attacking the NBN with a series of untruths and Malcolm Turnbull at the same time!  He will never change.

The commentary on the US elections was informative.  If the Coalition and the MSM doesn’t learn from the Republican mistakes, the same will happen here in 2013.

Ad astra reply

November 13. 2012 11:41 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody,

Thankyou Talk Turkey for your support, you are always such a Happy Chappy.

Ad here is Twitterverse for you:

Bushfire Bill
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 7:41 am
Dennis For Dummies,
Chapter XXXXIV
If Abbott thinks he’s been copping a pummeling with the gender stuff, wait until the government starts telling the punters that he’s been talking the economy – and with it their jobs, businesses and economic well-being – down the toilet.

This is certified, grade “A” Dennis Dementia.

He hasn’t changed much over the years, either


Bushfire Bill
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 9:55 am
he’s an incorrigible smartarse. He needs an Abbott to make him look good.

In truth Turnbull is both the current crop of Liberals’ best hope and their least likely leader.

If the changeover is to be done, let it be done now, for Labor’s sake. That will give Labor enough time to do Turnbull slowly.

If he tries to take over just prior to the election, expect blood on the canvas. Abbott will give him much more of a fight than he’s ever given anyone before.


Thiess, not Gillard, tied to slush fund: Latham by Laura Tingle, AFR
Mr Latham said AWU leadership “reviewed the Wilson-Blewitt material 10 years ago, at that time, trying to damage Gillard inside the ALP”.

“They found nothing of use to them, just as this year nobody in the media or the Liberal Party has proven any of the dozens of allegations and smears against Gillard arising from this matter 20 years ago.

“How inconvenient for the political right wing.”


Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's approval rating tumbles , Phillip Hudson
Mr Abbott's rating is higher than the worst scores for several previous Opposition leaders who were dumped as leader, including Malcolm Turnbull's 58 per cent, Kim Beazley's 61 per cent and Simon Crean's 62 per cent.

ALP gains wouldn't help it win early poll,Phillip Coorey
LABOR'S modest recovery in the polls is not being translated into the seats that matter for the government, making an early election unlikely

Dennis Shanahan is a must read for the LOL's.www.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-e6frg75f-1226515463703
Hence, Labor's strategy of declaring a gender war with Abbott as the main target has worked on his personal support and fitted neatly with Labor's recent rise from its doldrums of despair.

Heading into an election year, it's a dangerous and trying time for Abbott as Opposition Leader, but he still has the advantage of being able to point to a primary vote giving the Coalition an election-winning lead. And he still has positive policy announcements ahead of him.
For an opposition leader, that remains a powerful claim despite the clear success of Labor's personal campaign against him.

The moment of truth finally arrives, Lenore Taylor
When Tony Abbott announced yesterday afternoon that the Coalition would support a government-backed royal commission provided it did not focus exclusively on the Catholic Church the push finally became unstoppable

Child abuse inquiry reaches wide, Michelle Grattan, Richard Willingham and Barney Zwartz

Seems fair Bruce Flegg allows media advisers to run his ministry - after all, he has a family business to look after www.brisbanetimes.com.au/.../...0121113-2998h.html

Axe hovers over Bruce Flegg as sacked LNP insider Graeme Hallett goes rogue, prepares to allege Bruce Flegg not "fit and proper" to hold office


November 13. 2012 12:54 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Your Twitterverse is, as always, interesting. BB is a great read.  His treatment of Dennis Shanahan is classic BB.

It was a relief to see the AFR featuring a Tingle/Skulley article about Latham’s assessment of the S&G saga, which puts JG in the clear.  When will the MSM give up on this non-story?  Probably not until the Coalition loses the 2013 election.

I see Phillip Coorey has learned little about the poor predictive ability of polls of voting intention this far from the next election.  He seems still to be in the ‘if an election were held today’ mode.  Moreover, he seems to overlook the narrowing of the polls once an election is called.  I wish he would read Possum’s latest.  It doesn’t take a genius to work out that Labor would be wise to wait until it had a comfortable lead in Pollytrend.

Ad astra reply

November 13. 2012 01:13 PM

42 long

Going earl is not liked by the electorate.
   Once a date is fixed the policies will come out and Abbott will have trouble with finance. They BOTH do but Abbott's problem is larger. His backers will want the GST fiddled with and that hurts the retirees and pensioners and low income people. You have to please your backers and LOOK who they are for the LieNP.
   I want a badge that says "detective FOX for an OAM." When I heard his speech yesterday I was very impressed and when I got to know the circumstances and pressure he was under, I respect him massively.
   Whatever other story is in town, the Royal Commission is a big one.  Pleased to note that abbott came on board but Hockey made a fool of himself. He seems to be getting better at that with practice.
  I don't always mind Phil Coorey. He's different and thinks. Isn't kevin O'Lemon a  media tart? What a cross to bear this man is. Loyalty ? delusional ( surely) Asbestos Julie likes him so he must be alright, Oh! and Phillip Adams, but Phillip is alright and julie the bishop is a weird one. Hope you don't mind me indulging myself. I don't do it often.

42 long

November 13. 2012 03:26 PM

Tom of Melbourne

MDW, decades ago I decided that I wasn’t a Liberal voter, and I’m happy with that decision. More recently I’ve also decided that the ALP isn’t a political party that is worth supporting, unless it acts to restructure itself.

That’s my choice, and I’m entirely comfortable with it.

The policy contortions and dishonesty of the government only confirm my personal view that that neither is worth putting in front of the other. That’s not copping out, it’s a rational decision.

The ALP does not deserve any relief from pressure to reform, in my view.
2353 proves again he is completely out of logic. According to him declining to choose between the internally/structurally poisoned ALP and the philosophically poisoned Liberals is being a “troll”

Bizarre and nonsense, and par for the course for 2352.
Ad Astra - ” When will the MSM give up on this non-story?

Perhaps when Gillard explains the range of inconsistencies, and when she retracts the “young & naïve” defence – available only to women, but logically not an excuse that should be available to a politically active mid-30s law partner.

Tom of Melbourne

November 13. 2012 04:01 PM


Tom, old disproved stories don't need to be rehashed.

What needs to be rehashed is Abbott's disgusting abuse of Bernie Banton, Julie Bishop representing the mining bosses against dying workers, sexual abuse cover ups in churches and Pell's stubborn refusal to admit those cover ups because he wrote the book on how to cover them up.

It is about the ALP's weak cowardice in punishing innocent people who have asked us for protection and the lazy racist media too fucking dumb to ask the obvious question of the racist moron Gillard - who the hell are you alone in the world to treat refugees in this manner?  What gives you alone the right to colonise other countries in this manner?

Who gives you the right to make things up as you go and create illegal torture chambers based on a report written by three old white men who didn't know what they were doing and who ignored the actual experts?

She can whinge about sexism all she likes, she is a racist to the bootstraps, and an ignorant one at that.


November 13. 2012 04:55 PM


The most poignant aspect of this RC is that it is down to the existence and vigour of the Fighting 5th Eatate that it is even happening: for see, Fox would never have come out in the first place had it not been for the support he knew he'd get from social media. There would not have been the roar of demand for a RC to help the PM decide bite the bullet. We are very powerful though we don't always see it.

My tweet re "Shorter Pell":  "Anyone'd think that Catholics were responsible for six times all the inferior religions put together ... Oh hang on . . ."  


November 13. 2012 04:59 PM


Urgh! I started reading ToM's post by accident! Ptui!


November 13. 2012 05:20 PM


  It could be worse I started to reply to that broken down old pole dancer!


November 13. 2012 08:15 PM


Abbott puts his foot in it again, this time channeling Andrew Bolt.


And condescending an Aboriginal woman along the way as he belittles an Aboriginal man sitting with him in parliament.

"I would love to think that a highly traditional Australian Aboriginal [Alison Anderson, currently elected to the Legislative Assembly in the Northern Territory], who is nevertheless charismatic and inspirational in modern Australia as well, might enter the Federal Parliament," he said.

"I think it would be terrific if, as well as having an urban Aboriginal in our parliament, we had an Aboriginal person from central Australia, an authentic representative of the ancient cultures of central Australia in the parliament," he said.

Bad Abbott quotes: "highly traditional" but "nevertheless charismatic"???

This bloke's a patronising racist numbskull of the first order!


November 13. 2012 08:51 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Eddie Obeid also seems to be doing a great job of keeping up the high ethical standards of hacks and powerbrokers in the ALP.

But despite all the evidence of this and-
•  Gillard’s dishonesty
•  Her hypocrisy
•  Swan’s incompetence
•  Former National President Warren Mundine opting out

…just keep up the chant “Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, Abbott,…”

Then repeat it a few more times.

Tom of Melbourne

November 13. 2012 09:50 PM


   Like you would know what high ethical standards are!I'm still to work out what's more disgusting you or a phedophile priest.
You keep chanting Pell Pell Pell


November 13. 2012 10:16 PM



The government and people of Australia.

Today on 12/11/2012 is our 12th day of hunger strike.

25 more asylum seekers have been brought to the Nauru Hell from Darwin by force and fraud when they saw the worst condition of the detention centre they have also joined the hunger strike.

One another asylum seeker is suffering from the severe pain of tooth, from one week, instead of giving him treatment by the doctor; they called Nauru police, now he is out of order means, he naked himself in the whole camp.

We have seen four asylum seekers they have made imaginary graves for themselves because of losing their mental health.

Purpose of hunger strike is not to give us facilities here in Nauru Hell, we want to be shifted from this Hell Hole to Australia and our cases should be started immediately.

In this modern period no body wana keep a domestic animal in tent at a temperature of 42 Celsius for a day but unfortunately human being are living in Nauru Hell is such worst conditions.

In short period we have seen asylum attempted suiciding, self-harming, mentally disturbed, stressed, naked themselves, protests and hunger strikes. So what will be result in the future?

We request to the government and people of Australia save our lives and future.

Asylum seekers on Nauru

via John Passant @EnPassant


November 13. 2012 10:35 PM


ToM @ 3:26 PM,
Understand your thinking and the choice you have made and there is no good analogy but I see it a bit like this:

You are driving along the road and come to a T intersection you have to choose to turn left or right. Your choice is to stop there and go nowhere.


November 14. 2012 01:45 AM


Tune: Bold Gendarmes


We are the Labor Ladies' Handbag Hit Squads,
And of us you'd best beware!
We've our handbags, you blokes watch your cods
For we will gladly hit you there!
For if men think we're helpless women,
And they can simply push us round
We all close in  - We raise a din!
We all close in -  And then we win!
The Handbag Hit Squad comes to town!  

We all close in  - We raise a din!
We all close in -  And then we win!
The Handbag Hit Squad comes to town!

When shock-jocks tried to make a riot
Well we all know they're not too bright!
We happily just let them try it,
And what we did then served them right!
For when they went one step too far,
And said our Leader should be drowned,
We just closed in - We raised a din!
We just closed in - We knew we'd win!
The Handbag Hit Squad went to town!

We just closed in - We raised a din!
We just closed in - We knew we'd win!
The Handbag Hit Squad went to town!

So Men! If you espouse misogyny -
If you treat women with disdain -
You might never more sire progeny,
For we know where to cause men pain!
But if you treat all folks with decency,
And never more put women down,
Then with a grin we'll let you in,
And everybody will be kin,
And you'll be welcome in our town!

Then with a grin we'll let you in,
And everybody will be kin,
And you'll be welcome in our town!


November 14. 2012 07:22 AM



The mysterious Pell, Barry Everingham, Independent Australia
In the past few weeks, we have been presented with cover stories of Australia’s two most extreme right-wing figures – Sophie Mirabella and George Pell – and we can live in hopes that Narastek will soon share with us a doubled edged trifecta — a 2 of Us look at Andrew Bolt and his guide, mentor, and employer, Gina Rinehart.It’s not every weekend we get a close look at such characters,

Inevitable defeat for the ALP no longer so inevitable, Peter Lewis, The Drum
Labor's gradual recovery in the polls since mid-year has finally changed the dynamic of federal politics. This week we look at which groups of Australians are changing their voting intention, to give us some clues about where and why the earth is moving for the political parties.

Catholic Church child abuse – over 90% of Australians say ‘No More’, we’ll have a Royal Commission, Turn Left 2013
In 2003, Simon Crean, Jenny Macklin, and others had called for another Royal Commission following a similar scandal engulfing the Howard-appointed Governor General Peter Hollingworth, the head of the Anglican Church. This was refused by the Howard Government.

Royal Commission into sexual abuse of children, Catching Up, Café Whispers
They are clever at ingratiating themselves within organizations, institutions and families. They are the uncle one relies on, the man that is always taking the boys on outings, the priest that leads the choir. The list is endless. No group that involves children are safe from these animals. Not even the lonely and struggling single mum. They are found everywhere.

The Entwistle precedent: just who is responsible at the ABC?, Matthew Knott, Crikey
A prominent federal frontbencher, the program alleges, accepted secret payments from a company competing for a big government contract. The only problem, it turns out, is that the story was based on fraudulent documents concocted by a politically-motivated source.  Should Mark Scott, the ABC’s managing director, resign?

The Land Of Rape And Honey, Peter Wicks, Wixxy Leaks
but I’m sure you catch my drift. Every time we hear Christopher Pyne with his knickers in a twist, and every time we watch George Brandis get all high and mighty one cannot help but think of privilege off the backs of the poor. Not only that, every time that Sophie Mirabella or Kelly O’Dwyer appear on Q&A spitting bile and venom we are reminded that it is not just the men.

Newmania- Existential Politics, Sal Piracha, Only The Depth Varies
Welcome to Newmania, where there is no Upper House to temper the excesses of the Newmanian government (or any other government). In this parliament, there’s almost no Opposition either (and they’ve been evicted from their offices in Parliament House and relocated down the road). Mercifully, the media is still welcome, but not with their cameras pointed at the chamber, and not in their former tea room. There are cutbacks everywhere

Royal commission into ‘vile and evil’ acts, Tracker
Meanwhile, Australia’s leading child advocacy group called for retrospective legislation making the destruction of evidence illegal to be passed as a matter of urgency.Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston said Monday’s announcement would have caught some institutions off guard.“Perhaps some of these organisations will be madly shredding documents as we speak,” she told AAP

Abbott’s Polling Woes, Dylan Caporn, Body Politic Australia
. Prominent Cabinet Ministers label him as a misogynist, again something which is hitting him hard in the polls. A Quarterly Essay that covered his past, again placed his aggressive behaviour while President of the Sydney Representative Council into the spotlight, raising questions about his capacity to be Prime Minister.

Turnbull inaccurate on internet filter details, Renai LeMay, Delimeter
Malcolm Turnbull has appeared to make a number of incorrect statements over the past week regarding the Federal Government’s now defunct mandatory Internet filtering policy, as the Shadow Communications Minister and other senior Coalition figures continues to make inaccurate statements in the communications portfolio.

NBN on track despite major data issues: NBN CTO, David Braue, Z Net
The hardest part of delivering the services has been reconciling the differing sets of address data that it is working: PSMA's G-NAF (Geocoded National Address File) database; asset databases from a variety of utilities; and Telstra's own extensive copper-network ductwork maps — which NBN Co only gained access to in April.

Today’s Front Pages
Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 14 November 2012


November 14. 2012 08:21 AM


A total eclipse...Nth. Qld thrown into darkness..:Il Presidento Newman gets out of bed to rule his junta!


November 14. 2012 08:36 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2012 08:56 AM


To Assylum Seekers on Nauru,

You chose to pay a people smuggler to get to Australia by boat, despite warnings from our Govt that you risked being sent into detention on Nauru or Manus Island; that you risked being detained for as long as those people already processed and waiting in camps in Malaysia and Indonesia and those who do not have the money to pay the price for a passage on a boat.

In choosing to pay a people smuggler for a boat passage to Australia, you have already cost the Australian taxpayer many thousands of dollars to attempt to ensure you do not drown on the high seas and/or to send rescue ships and personnel to pluck you out of the ocean.

In choosing to pay a people smuggler for a boat passage to Australia, you are taking advantage of (even abusing) the generosity of Australians by forcing the government of Australia to take you in when there are many thousands of people who would also love to come to this country, many already processed and waiting for years in camps in conditions many times worse than you have been given on Nauru.

The majority of the Australian people are generous and compassionate souls but the limits to generosity rest with the capacity of our infrastructure and our compassion is reduced considerably when we come up against those willing to abuse it and force their way into our country.


November 14. 2012 10:11 AM


Good Morning janice,
a well thought out and written response to To Assylum Seekers on Nauru

Maybe you should send it to the Minister's office I am sure the PR people there would enjoy it.

The majority of the Australian people are generous and compassionate souls ...

I still can not understand how 'generous and compassionate souls' can justify putting children behind bars and/or razor wire fences.

I can not understand how countries such as Canada can handle more refugees than Australia and 'process' their claims in a matter of weeks when it takes Australia months and even years.

I don't understand how 'generous and compassionate souls' can be so easily mislead by this government and those that came before it how asylum seekers threaten our border security.

It is sad and discouraging that 'generous and compassionate souls' put economics before humanity and are willing to destroy the lives of children for the sake of the impossible dream of total border security.

Maybe all the alleged 'generous and compassionate souls' should have a bit of a rethink about if they kidding themselves in thinking they are 'generous and compassionate souls'.


November 14. 2012 10:21 AM


DMW - agreed.  Nauru and PNG are political fixes, not logical (or even logistical) fixes.  The ALP Government since 2007 should have been having the argument that refugee seekers are not criminals and do not deserve to be treated as such.  It is sad to realise that Fraser was more progressive on this issue.

Having said that - Marilyn's frequent contributions o n this issue are unwelcome due to the tone and the language.  All she does is suggest that everyone wanting humane treatment for refugees is a nutcase - certainly not the case in my experience.


November 14. 2012 11:07 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody,

Big day for me today,  at last seeing the Eye Specialist.  

Did I tell you before:  I had been told by the Dr to wash my eyes with “Johnson’s Baby Shampoo” every morning & every night.

You will see Abbott's advisory panel at News are saying Abbott should take a holiday.  Well IMO there is no way he will take a holiday and stay out of the news and off the TV no never.

Here is Twitterverse for you:-

Bushfire Bill
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 7:38 am
This Baker bloke from the SMH is up on a charge before the Press Council. He’s already written one slanted story (yesterday) that has been heavily criticised by its subjects, S&G as misleading the reader into thinking this is new ground, or that there is something sinister going on.

Bushfire Bill
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 9:39 am
Paul Kelly thinks he’s being ironic, perhaps even witty in writing this:
Abbott is depicted as sexist and misogynist, out of touch with women and youth, too rigidly Catholic and unsympathetic to a more diverse nation in its family types and libertarian tolerance. Direct or indirect, Abbott is caricatured as an old-fashioned white male addicted to resisting change.
and this…

Gillard constructs a parallel narrative: she presents as our first female PM, fighting prejudice and misogyny, a model of tenacity struggling with minority government, a divided party and an obstructionist Abbott, and implementing a carbon tax while keeping the economy spinning. She defines herself by adversity.

He doesn’t realise that’s exactly what’s happening and describes Gillard and Abbott to a “T”.


Abbott should leave attacks to deputies, say Liberals, Phillip Coorey
Mr Abbott sought to project a positive demeanour and said he would not stoop to the ''nasty, personal commentary'' of Labor.

Calls to end secrecy of confession, Michelle Grattan

John Pratt‏
Aboriginal MP rebukes boss Abbott. Tony the buffoon has his foot in his mouth yet again #auspol http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/-29aup

Mark Colvin‏
michaelidato: Channel Ten is courting disaster with its newsreader bloodbath, writes Michael Lallo. | SMH http://bit.ly/SIXl89

Malcolm Turnbull‏
Voters out of the loop on NBN - actually focus groups showed voters weren't fooled by Labor spin. www.afr.com/.../92b236dc-2d46-11e2-8332-2705577aa384

Panasonic Eclipse Live by Solar Power 1 http://ustre.am/PgNY

Clive Palmer calls on Queensland #LNP backbenchers to rally against their leaders www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/palmer-says

Minister hid talks with lobbyist son about a client & his moonlighting as a GP | Courier-Mail #qldpol www.couriermail.com.au/.../story-e6freoof-1226516219749 … via @couriermail

Flegg fiasco has Newman looking like a hypocrite www.couriermail.com.au/.../story-e6frerc6-1226516168643 … via @couriermail Qlders were warned about Newman,no listened,#kaosqld

Tony Abbott must a have on radio, some of his comments:-

Latika Bourke ‏
OL Tony Abbott 'I'm no more a misogynist than the Prime Minister is a misandrist.'

Latika Bourke ‏
Host 'we're not going to talk religion and we're not going to talk politics here either.' TAbbott 'let's leave sex out of it as well.'



November 14. 2012 11:25 AM


Ad Astra

What a great read, you have encapsulated the USA election and all the spin offs well.  Thank you for this and for boosting my optimism again.


Can I agree completely with your response to the asylum seeker letter. I wish I had your way with words.  Thanks.


Happy belated Birthday for the 11th.  Sounds like you had a great time.

Talk Turkey

Thank you for posting Patricia's latest pome, she does them accurately, and I love the explanations that go with the pome.  I hope to get to her site soon and leave a comment

Talk Turkey

You've done good with your pome/verse too, although I don't know the song you are referring too.


I now have about 500 links of yours to catch up on.  I still haven't got through all the ones on Julia's great speech in Parliament.  Talking of that speech, we had visitors for a couple of days and they hadn't seen the speech even though they heard of it.  One of our visitors said a Liberal friend of hers said that she is going to vote for Labor on the back of that speech. I then downloaded the speech and they watched it intently for the whole 15 minutes.  The other person, who hasn't voted for nearly 20 years said immediately that she was going to enrol to vote in the next election.  I couldn't believe it when she said she didn't know anything about the Carbon Price scheme.  We all had a great weekend, with a bit of political talk interspersed amongst the general chatter and laughter.  I feel like I have helped Labor in some small way by getting a vote that they haven't had for a long time.


November 14. 2012 11:29 AM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
I hope your visit to the eye specialist gives you confidence in the diagnosis and satisfaction in the treatment.  Please let us know how it goes.

I'll now read your Twitterverse.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2012 11:44 AM



THOUSANDS of people are wishing you well at the eye specialist today.

Your link to Cafe Whispers . . .  
Royal Commission into sexual abuse of children, Catching Up, Café Whispers
They are clever at ingratiating themselves within organizations, institutions and families. They are the uncle one relies on, the man that is always taking the boys on outings, the priest that leads the choir. The list is endless. No group that involves children are safe from these animals. Not even the lonely and struggling single mum. They are found everywhere.



November 14. 2012 11:50 AM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
As always, your Twitterverse was great reading.  BB's comment about the $5000 allegedly deposited in Julia Gillard's bank account 17 years ago when she was working for S&G, hits the nail on the head.  If it happened at all,  who knows what it was for?  Not even the one who said he paid it in seems to know.  

News Limited is not muck raking, as nobody has ever found any muck; it is simply doing what it does so well, cynically smearing by innuendo.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2012 11:56 AM

Ad astra reply

I'm glad you enjoyed the piece.  I see that there is still great debate going on between Republicans and President Obama about how to avoid the fiscal cliff.  I doubt if the Republicans would have the temerity to play their cynical game of brinkmanship too hard after their resounding defeat in the Presidential race.  But who knows?  They are a bizarre lot with rigid ideologies.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2012 12:08 PM

Ad astra reply

I'm sure many would empathise with your letter to asylum seekers.  

It is a vexed issue.  Those taking extreme positions have difficulty justifying them.  There are no easy answers; some suggest by their remarks that there might be, but seldom attempt to spell them out.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2012 12:50 PM


Here is a song for you, you won't like the brass all that much, it's really brassy,
but I bet you're smiling when they start singing.


Other People Can you think of some other *eye* songs?
Must be heaps.
I know some.)

Send one (or more) to Lyn'n'Us with the youtube link eh?

That'd be fun.

And now I'm going to tell people on Twitter to do likewise,
our Tweety links to and from and with them enough!



November 14. 2012 12:56 PM


   Are you saying if a million or more people a year wish to come we let them no questions asked?

Who should have to pay(taxpayers I assume) once here for housing, should social security benefits be allowed to help them get on their feet? if not how do they survive?
With state governments cutting back on a lot of services show me where and how the people already struggling to get assistance as it is that more people fighting for the same dollar can be any better off!

Children with complex medical needs should they be automatically placed ahead of those already on the waiting list of our public hospitals?
People who wish to immigrate are often knocked back if they or their children are deemed to be a burden on the tax payer.

It's well and good to talk about compassion and ask why doesn't a "generous and compassionate people" do this or that! So it must be reasonable to also ask the "refugee lobby and it's shills" and to get reasonable answers to the questions such as mine and Janice or anyone else, instead of waving around the "UN convention on refugee's" as the answer to everything, it's outdated and it needs to be looked at and re drafted to fit a new century!


November 14. 2012 01:13 PM



Europe copes with millions of refugees a year.  Our few thousand are a drop in the ocean (pun intended).  There is no evidence I am aware of to suggest that the number of people arriving here claiming refugee status would change significantly (up or down) should we do identity checks onshore and then assist people to find a new life in a country that nominally is free of persecution.  

A significantly greater number of South East Asian people were brought to this country at the end of the Vietnam War by Labor and Liberal Governments and have managed to fit into Australian society well.  Whitlam and Fraser made it work 40 years ago so it obviously can be done.

Again - its sad that Fraser is more progressive than Howard, Abbott, Rudd or Gillard on this issue.


November 14. 2012 01:15 PM



  I could not agree more, anyone that uses their own health situation to blackmail another country into actions is only contaminating their own argument & would find most people saying if you want to starve your self why should I care.

  They were willing to put their lives on the line jumping in the boats in the first place. Bring on the Malaysian solution. Then we can change them for more deserving people like children, just don't let the catholic church near them.

   Sorry if I offend anyone, but I'm just sick of the whole situation, if it wasn't for the lieberals there would not be a problem period, no wonder Fraser won't talk to any of the current Lieberals.
   Now the only problem is to dodge Marylin's verbal diarrhea. Sorry if this causes more abuse from her.  


November 14. 2012 01:32 PM


I still can not understand how 'generous and compassionate souls' can justify putting children behind bars and/or razor wire fences.

As far as I know there is no razor wire fences on Nauru and A/seekers are free to roam the island.

I don't understand how 'generous and compassionate souls' can be so easily mislead by this government and those that came before it how asylum seekers threaten our border security.

It is sad and discouraging that 'generous and compassionate souls' put economics before humanity and are willing to destroy the lives of children for the sake of the impossible dream of total border security

Well I'll bet my last dollar that you would soon come to understand why the Government is duty bound to pay attention to the security of our borders if a terrorist decided to hate us enough to gain entrance  via an assylum-seeker-people smuggler and managed to blow Perth off the map.

But, the issue is not that these people are terrorists ready to run amok in our country - the issue is that the "small numbers" of people- loaded boats is rapidly growing (there are 100,000 in Malaysia's camp alone) and will continue to grow until we can no longer cope economically.

The government is duty bound to look after the welfare of each and every Australian citizen, to provide infrastructure and services across the nation and as well, to show compassion and generosity in the way of foreign aid.  To do all this and offer succour to assylum seekers, there needs to be an orderly system to the intake of assylum seekers so that as much attention is paid to the neediest of those people, not only in our region but also to give heart and hope to at least some rotting in the hell holes of Africa.

And, as with the other bleeding hearts who don't mind people using blackmail in the form of self-harm and/or violent protests that result in the destruction of the expensive facilities provided for them at taxpayer expense, when you run out of arguments you resort to 'children behind razor wire' etc.  What about all those poor children dying by the hundreds in African camps?
Those poor souls didn't have 8 or 10 grand on hand to pay a people smuggler.


November 14. 2012 02:12 PM


While Iwas on Twitter I wrote

Priests who refuse to tell on past offenders citing sanctity of confessional must be barred from taking confession ever again. That'll help!

It is gobsmackingly ludicrous that in this millenium there are many men walking around who know of rapes and murders and every kind of villainy and are prepared to absolve their perpetrators time out of mind again and again!

Who gives them the right to absolve them?
Oh yes that's right they do!

It is criminal when other people hide evidence and knowledge of serious misdeeds, we don't live in a theocracy but a democracy and the Rule of Law is supreme and must be obeyed by all. That the Catholic Church has arrogated to itself a right that runs diametrically counter to the secular law is outrageous.

Well it must end. Hooray for our nontheistic Prime Minister, Hooray for Peter Fox, and Hooray for the Fighting 5th Estate who are essential to the dissemination of Truth today.

Without any of those 3 I just cheered this would not be happening.

And we will not be stopped.  


November 14. 2012 02:30 PM

Janet (@j4gypsy)

Thank you Ad for such a cheering, as well as your usually astute, analysis of pollies and pundits at a critical time for global and Oz politics.

Just on the fiscal cliff issue: found an article pre the US election, written by Jonathon Chait, a pundit I’ve come to have some respect for, found at:


He offers a longish take on how Romney, if winning might have played the fiscal  cliff issue, and then on how Obama might play it. The most intriguing part of his analysis (IMO) is here:

'Obama does have a plan to break the legislative impasse and settle the long-term struggle over the scope of government. It does not rest on the GOP’s coming to its senses and thinking of the national good. The plan is the very opposite of naïve. And he can put it into effect even more quickly than Romney could enact his own plan.

Here is how it will happen. On the morning of November 7, a reelected President Obama will do … nothing. For the next 53 days, nothing. And then, on January 1, 2013, we will all awake to a different, substantially more liberal country. The Bush tax cuts will have disappeared, restoring Clinton-era tax rates and flooding government coffers with revenue to fund its current operations for years to come. The military will be facing dire budget cuts that shake the military-industrial complex to its core. It will be a real-world approximation of the old liberal bumper-sticker fantasy in which schools have all the money they require and the Pentagon needs to hold a bake sale.

All this can come to pass because, while Obama has spent the last two years surrendering short-term policy concessions, he has been quietly hoarding a fortune in the equivalent of a political trust fund that comes due on the first of the year. At that point, he will reside in a political world he finds at most mildly uncomfortable and the Republicans consider a hellish dystopia. Then he’ll be ready to make a deal.

And one other short piece from Michael Tomasky (another pundit I read regularly), adds a little to your comments on how you think Obama might manage the fiscal issues: ‘Obama's Statement: Setting the Terms of Debate’


Michael seems a tad more optomistic about Obama’s capacity to leverage from the power of his re-election than you felt you could be perhaps, noting: ‘The 2009 Obama would not have been that direct and confident. Not even the 2011 Obama. This is new. He's saying, "I am the president, I won. Deal with it, and deal with me."’

On the #msm issue: Just one other piece I found fascinating about the US election (which, since one week behind us, feels almost like a long time ago now!) came from Lyn’s wonderful links: Alan Austin’s ‘Europe reacts to Obama’s re-election’ at:


Austin states: ‘Commentators were also disturbed by the extent of les mensonges flagrants (the blatant lies) of the Republicans during the campaign. In Europe, this is usually punished with shaming in the media and banishment from public life.’

Oh, if only in Oz!!

[Lyn, washing eyes out with baby shampoo sounds as if it would hurt! There must be something more gentle available. Hope the specialist has good suggestions today.]

Janet (@j4gypsy)

November 14. 2012 02:52 PM


    I wasn't trying to have a go at DMW have gave me a lot to contemplate about my own thinking on this vexed issue.
I admit I'm torn I was once a supporter of onshore processing now I don't know.

We have what we have and I can't see anything changing policy wise in the foreseeable future! (that doesn't mean it shouldn't)It won't!
Labor is torn between it's left and right factions The Coalition base listen to the likes of Jones and Bolt so they are unlikely to listen to reason, and the Greens say everything is bad and vote for the status quo.

I accept that it was handled better 40 years ago, but a decade of dog whistling by Howard coupled with the aftermath of 9/11 I get the impression (real or imagined)that most people I come in contact with couldn't care less! if anything they wish the Navy could blow them out of the water.

Then you get the likes of Marilyn who maybe a passionate advocate for her cause, but sadly she does more harm than good.


November 14. 2012 03:14 PM

Janet (@j4gypsy)

It is so very hard to feel informed enough about Australia's management of refugees seeking asylum to make any useful comment at all. At least, this is so for me.

Just a link to an article it might be useful to look at again:


But one of the issues seems to relate to the way in which Oz officials responsible for administering relevant legislation, at airports here in Oz and overseas, actually 'do the job'. There seems to be something of a culture of 'management by luck and the individual officials you score'. Add to that the need to know how and when to ask for asylum at point of entry - and lives are dependent on having information officials may be hell-bent on you not having, for reasons it's hard to discern.

I spent a few years living in another country where I had to update my visa every three months. This could be done by going into the relevant capital city office, or be leaving the country and returning (by train or plane or bus), thereby scoring an updated stamp on the visa for the next three months. There were some hairy moments at borders, and I once sat in a bus watching others having documents examined, refused, and their being removed, thinking this was the time I wouldn't be allowed back in. It never actually happened. And if it had, I would have had the option of calling home to Oz, being transferred funds and flying back to Oz where, in fact nobody was waiting to imprison me, let alone take my life, and where I had other 'homes' with family and friends.

The situation we are currently in legislatively and politically is tearing at many of us. Working with others towards infinitely better ways to manage it seems the only option.

Janet (@j4gypsy)

November 14. 2012 04:28 PM


I don't know how long Cory Bernardi's mailing list is! nor do I know if any of the other "extreme right" Senators and MP do the same. Yes you have to sign up for it, and as both he and I live in SA I lke to see what he's up to. but here is a sample of todays rant!

Things that make you go 'hmm...'

Labor reached a significant milestone this week – but 500 people-smuggling vessels under their watch is nothing to be proud of. And if you think that’s bad, wait until you read what other flaw has been exploited in our border protection laws!
Even the British can’t seem to sort out who should be in their country and who shouldn’t. This saga is going from bad to worse and is threatening to drag on for a very long time.

Do you remember the link I sent a few weeks ago about a prisoner escaping from a Norwegian prison while wearing a burqa? Well, it’s happened again, only this time it was a convicted terrorist that escaped in Indonesia.



November 14. 2012 06:39 PM

Tom of Melbourne

This site is inhabited by a disproportionate number of hypocrites, fortunately I don’t believe the level of hypocrisy is represented in the rest of the community, it would be distrustful and dysfunctional if this was the case.

Those who  condemned in Howard the statement “we’ll decide who comes top this country and the circumstances in which they come”…now endorse an even more draconian policy from the ALP.

The site is run by a medical practitioner, who endorses an unethical and partisan policy, which when applied as intended to innocent people, it has proven to be harmful to their physical and mental health.

The excuse is apparently “the Liberals made us”. So that’s what the ALP has become, a rabble that is outmanoeuvred by rednecks. Some party. But this is crap in any event. The ALP contains a disproportionate number of rednecks, racists, isolationists.

We have people who think it is appropriate for the government to deprive innocent people of their liberty, to appease red necks, and apparently hope that it will send some type of signal to desperate people. It also sends a signal to the rest of humanity and decent, humanitarian people.

What a place this blog is, inhabited by hypocrites, rednecks and those who mindlessly endorse whatever policy contortion the ALP happens to have on a particular day.

Tom of Melbourne

November 14. 2012 06:46 PM


Hi Ad. SmileSmileSmile

Back from the Specialist & fantastic report. I passed every reading test and the scratch on the Cornea has healed.  

My instructions are to use Lid-Care, moist eyelid cleanser sachets .  Available over the counter.

Drops morning and night called “Bion Tears” for dry eyes available over the counter.  “Bion Tears” are better than “Blink” because they contain no preservatives.

Important especially on the computer “Don’t forget to Blink”  

Hi Janet thankyou for your  enjoyable comment @ 02:30 PM  re Obama and Romney.. and your link.

At the end you said the Baby Shampoo would hurt. it doesn’t it’s just for cleansing,  but the lid care sachets are better I am informed.  

Gavel my dear friend, I think it might be wise if you delete the 500 links and start afresh. To read the 500 it would take you approx. 200 hours which is 8 hours a day reading for about 12 weeks.

Anyway so pleased you are happy and you know having 500 articles is just like a bookcase full of books.

Talk Turkey thankyou for your cheering me along. Thankyou for the song “louis armstrong & jack teagarden - jeepers creepers [1958] “ Were Did  You Get Those Eyes.  Tricked you, I love the Brass, love all musical instruments.  My Favourite is the Harp.

I have to say I was terrified of what the Specialist might say.  I have a dreadful fear of glaucoma so am fussy with my eyes.

A few pieces of  information  for you all:

Paul Bongiorno‏
Gillard: There's not one allegation against me. After months and months of trawling for wrong doing,nothing. because nothing is there

Paul Bongiorno‏
Gillard: This is smear pure and simple. It's all the Liberals have got while the government gets on with the job. Fired up and effective.

Australia's triple-A safe amid strong finances: Moody's,

David Marler‏
spencerjolly: Campbell Newman proud of Bruce Flegg for his courageous and dignified resignation

Newman should have sacked Flegg outright not allowed him to resign.Gutless, hypocritical leadership #qldpol www.brisbanetimes.com.au/.../...0121114-29bxb.html

Possum Comitatus‏@Pollytics
Getting Newmanned on wages - Qld equal lowest wage growth in Australia since Newman elected http://twitpic.com/bd0eiz #qldpol



November 14. 2012 06:48 PM


I must link to this:



November 14. 2012 08:17 PM


Thanks Jason and I agree that a decade of Howard's dog whistling certainly didn't make Australia any more tolerant in a number of areas (including refugee policy).  And while the "sorry speech" was seen to be a (in the words of Sir Humphrey) "a brave move" and there has been plenty else to celebrate - the ALP has had half a decade to use the antidote to the dog whistle (facts and logic) to redress the balance.

Labor's internal divisions are probably no greater than the LNP's - just better publicised (something I have commented on before).  They are really not a reason for allowing - let alone increasing the severity of - a policy rightly derided less than 10 years earlier when the "other side" tried it.

The ideology promoted by Jones and Bolt at the end of the day is not important.  They will always oppose the current Prime Minister because she doesn't play their game.  And secondly, the audience numbers for both of these clowns is literally slowly dying out.  I reckon Rudd should have committed to onshore processing as soon as he had demonstrated "the apology" didn't ruin the country.  I realise the practicalities why Gillard hasn't done it this term and would hope that once she has a working majority in the next term - she immediately rectifies the problem.

It's also probably opportune to remind everyone that The Greens actually support onshore processing, so if the ALP gets a majority in the Reps, legislative changes needed (if any) are a pretty good chance for approval in the Senate.


November 14. 2012 08:18 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
I'm delighted all went well with your eye specialist visit, and that you have all the medications you need for eye health.  Please do blink often and take a spell from the computer when your eyes are tired.  You are so tireless in gathering links and tweets for us, but your eyes come first.

You must be looking forward to your break over December and January.  You deserve that more than any of us, as your work is the most constant of all.

You still managed to get this afternoon's tweets together despite your having to attend the eye specialist.  Thank you so much.

If only New Limited journalists would read Paul Bongiorno's tweet and abandon their pointless pursuit of our PM, whom we want to run the country, not answer stupid journalists' questions.

Ad astra reply

November 14. 2012 09:13 PM

Tom of Melbourne

” hope that once she has a working majority in the next term - she immediately rectifies the problem’ …more fact free wishful thinking -  “the Liberals made us do it”. Crap, Gillard specifically and deliberately advocated this policy.

Tom of Melbourne

November 14. 2012 09:37 PM


Jeeezus, Tom!...You're so bloody miserable, I bet you sniff the dunny-paper after you've wiped your arse just to take any contented look off your face before you face the world!


November 14. 2012 11:12 PM

Tom of Melbourne

The lowest of the low in company ethics would be “they knew at the time that it was hurting people, but they deliberately kept doing it to look after their own interests” – eg Hardies, big tobacco.

But this equally describes the ALP policy on asylum seekers, but here we have a medical practitioner supporting the policy.

Tom of Melbourne

November 14. 2012 11:53 PM


Before I answer the comments of individuals on the 'vexed issue' of asylum seekers I ask each and everyone of you to answer this question honestly:

In the unfortunate circumstance that the current government was an LNP government would you be supporting the policies and actions that are currently being implemented or would you be screaming blue bloody murder

I will will wager that most, if not all, would be very vocal in their condemnation of an LNP government doing what this Labor administration is doing.

To those that would support a LNP government doing what this government is doing I would wonder why.

So fess up people, who amongst you would support wholeheartedly Mr Abbott or any other LNP Prime Minister and Mr Morrison or any other LNP Immigration Minister doing what Ms Gillard and Mr Bowen are doing?


November 15. 2012 12:40 AM


A small thing, but nonetheless..
Our ABC news this evening gave a factual account of Julia's swipe at the Oz over its latest S&G beatup. I couldn't help but think that not long ago Julia would've got "lashed out", "forced to defend", "no matter where she goes..."


November 15. 2012 01:01 AM


   I'd like to say yes I would scream blue murder! However as you asked me to be honest  no!
Rather sad really.


November 15. 2012 01:03 AM


Jason @ 12:56 PM
Are you saying if a million or more people a year wish to come we let them no questions asked?

No. And you know I am not. You probably plucked that figure out of the air for dramatic effect as we both know it is highly unlikely the number of people arriving by rickety boat would not reach that sort of number.

Who should have to pay (taxpayers I assume) ...

We taxpayers are being ripped of with offshore processing costs and it has been established that onshore processing is less expensive.

A report by Oxfam and A Just Australia put the cost of the Pacific Solution, which saw asylum seekers detained on Manus Island and Nauru, at more than $1 billion over five years, or $500,000 per person.

There is also reasonable evidence that a process of 'community detention' costs about one fifth of onshore detention.

We could 'pay' asylum seekers ten times the current dole and it would still cost less than offshore detention. As to medical costs if we didn't create the traumas with the inhumane treatment in the first place we wouldn't have to face costs.

The above was written before I read your comment @ 2:52 PM and I didn't think you were having a go at me (I know you are better than that Smile and I took it as a heartfelt - however torn - comment)

janice @ 1:32 PM
Well I'll bet my last dollar that you would soon come to understand why the Government is duty bound to pay attention to the security of our borders if a terrorist decided to hate us enough to gain entrance  via an assylum-seeker-people smuggler and managed to blow Perth off the map.

Nice try janice. Any 'terrorist' who really wanted to do harm to this country would more likely fly into the country where relatively speaking they would be given a 'red carpet welcome'. If it was really a border security issue every single person arriving in this country by irregular means or with questionable documentation or reasons no matter by boat, by air or for that matter walking would be shipped off to the gulag archipelago no questions asked.

Janet (@j4gypsy)
interesting link and at some point I may come back to it and other associated problems we (and the government) have with a department that may well be out of control.

2353 @ various times
thanks for seeing it from slightly different angles to mine and educating me on a few of the finer points. Smile


November 15. 2012 06:57 AM

Truth Seeker

The difference  between What is happening now and what the LNP proposed is that it is the LNP that label and treat those that come by boat, as ILLEGAL arrivals, where as the ALP/ Houston report was about breaking the business model for people smugglers.

The reason to stop the boats is about stopping unscrupulous people selling a shortcut which is costing innocent lives, many of which we may never know about.

DMW, wrt your question, the problem, as I have stated before is that for onshore processing, people first have to get ONSHORE, and that means boat or plane.  If there was a land bridge to Indonesia, I would happily say form a cue and lets get on with it. Unfortunately there is no bridge, and the LNP policies? are not about what's right, or saving lives, it's about fear and loathing, bigotry and right wing philosophy.

Gillards compromise was forced on this government by the intransigence of the LNP and greens for purely political reasons, as they are both ideologically driven, albeit from different standpoints and reasoning.

Howard turned lying into an art form in this and many other matters, and Abbott has continued and built on his legacy.

Gillard is trying hard to play the hand that the people dealt her, where as Abbott is just playing the spoiler because he sees political and personal advantage in being obstructionist and negative.

The best interests of this great nation are not being served by this opposition, in fact to the contrary, and the comparison of attitudes on this problem is IMO, not only invalid but onerous, as each party is coming at the problems from very different ideologies.

There is no perfect solution to this problem, only compromise and as the only party prepared to compromise and accept policies that they don't believe in, for the sake of doing something was the ALP.

A long way from a perfect solution, but with the heat of emotion brought about by the fear campaigns of the LNP the public demanded some action, and the government responded.

There are no winners in this.... only ways to minimise the losses!


Truth Seeker

November 15. 2012 07:30 AM


You deliberately miss the point regarding border protection.  I know, you know and anyone with a rational brain knows that there is only a faint chance of a terrorist arriving on our shores by boat but, any government worth its salt cannot leave our borders open to any sort of invasion.

I was very sympathetic to assylum seekers held in detention, both under the Keating government and the Howard Government.  My sympathy dissipated, slowly at first after the Rudd government closed detention centres and began onshore processing and the boats began to come at an increasing rate.  It was at this time that I began to look at the issue minus the rose-coloured glasses and I saw the people smugglers pocketing huge sums of money and their clients risking life and limb - all care and no responsibility on the part of the p/smugglers.

And when our government spent millions of taxpayer dollars providing accommodation for the overflow of people from Xmas Island and we saw the people who forced their way into detention by arriving by boat start their campaigns to get citizenship/residency quickly by fair means or foul.  They threatened self harm and ran amok rioting and burning down the facilities provided for them.  We saw more boats sink and spill human cargo into the seas and many more millions of dollars were spent in rescues, even to the point of 'rescues' of people who yelled for help as soon as they hit the open seas after leaving Indonesia.  

The government worked hard on a regional solution to this problem and every bleeding heart and his dog screamed blue murder in concert with Abbott and his mob who wanted no solution because he wants to keep the issue alive and expensive (no wonder he and Hojo can be so sure that Labor will never deliver a surplus when it has to spend billions unnecessarily reopening Nauru and Manus Is).

We need a regional solution yesterday so that we can no longer be blackmailed by people who are blatantly taking advantage of our soft hearts.  
Not only do they force their way into our country but as soon as they get in they start agitating and threatening self harm if all isn't as rosy as think they deserve.  Well there are thousands of Africans dying in horrific conditions in camps and for me, they are in far greater need and more deserving than these people who have the means to fork out ten grand to pay a people smuggler for a passage on a boat.  


November 15. 2012 07:33 AM



Hitting The Wall!, Patricia wa, Polliepomes
This little pome plays with the idea of Tony Abbott suddenly realizing that Julia Gillard has his measure and will out-run him. She will wear him down. He will hit the wall, metaphorically this time, of course, in this all important political race.

(Why) (Do) Politicians Lie (?), Don Aitkin, On Line Opinion
My second example: in her 2010 campaign Julia Gillard said '"There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead …' and was branded 'Juliar' when she did introduce such a tax. If I were the judge here, I would say that this was not a lie, but another broken promise. She could have justified it later by arguing that the circumstances changed. She had assumed that she would be leading a government which had a Labor majority in the House of Representatives. That didn't happen

Catholic Church: the rogue defence , Gary Sauer-Thompson, Public Opinion
It sure has taken a long time break down the defensive walls of legal protection that the sexual abusers, paedophiles and predators in the Catholic Church have hidden behind so successfully, for so long. Several decades in fact to set up a Royal Commission to expose the systemic network of abuse and its coverup. The Catholic Church, and it appears the police,

Cardinal spin, Jennifer Wilson, No Place for Sheep
if George Pell is its most senior member, and the best spokesperson they can come up with. The man obviously has no grasp of the magnitude of the problem and is blinded by his loyalty not to his god, but to his institution. If ever there was a time a bloke should ask himself what would Jesus say, this is it for the Cardinal

Reflections of a Whistleblower, Kim Sawyer, Independent Australia
In reflecting on whistleblowing over the last twenty years, I see a story of sacrifice.Many whistleblowers have sacrificed their livelihoods and, in some cases, their lives for a public interest that has not protected them. The Australian whistleblowing story is one of political promises not kept, recommendations not implemented, and bystanders who do not want to be involved. It’s time for a change

Wages Breakout Lets Us Down Once Again, Greg Jericho, Grog’s Gamut
It is really starting to get annoying. Today the ABS once again produced data that failed to show any sign of a wages breakout. How long must we go before we turf out these current union hacks and bring back some 1970s style leaders who will deliver the destruction of the economy so long promised us by conservative commentators since around mid-2007?

US fiscal brinkmanship and its threat to Australia, Greg Jericho, The Drum
The fiscal cliff is a poorly phrased descriptor of a combination of tax increases (or more accurately, the end of tax cuts made by George W Bush in 2001 and 2003) and spending cuts totalling around $7 trillion over 10 years, which are due to come into effect on January 1, 2013.

Abbott’s culture language clunky, Lib says, Tracker
While the language may have been a tiny but clunky, Ken Wyatt’s nephew is a member of the Labor Party and what Tony Abbott is cleary saying here is that he wants more indigenous Australians in our federal parliament,” Mr Hawke told Sky News.“I don’t believe anybody can find fault with that.”

Game on in Fairfax v News paywall battle as Fin goes metered, Matthew Knott, Crikey
The porous “metered” system adopted by Fairfax is increasingly in vogue with publishers around the world. The theory is that by allowing readers to access a set number of articles a month — usually 10-15 — you can continue to attract casual browsers (and the advertising dollars they bring) to your site while milking money out of more loyal readers.

GOTCHA: After years of injustice, the Victorian Ombudsman gets what he so richly deserves, Vex News
A scathing report was published, condemning various individuals on the most dubious basis, and it led to not a single charge or even civil claim against any of those individuals. It created a political climate where the government had no choice but to sack the council. It led to a bizarre and untested but most probably unconstitutional statutory ban on electorate officers and political staffers serving in local government

What does ‘free range’ mean? Why the ACCC was right to knock back egg trademark, Stephen King, The Conversation
On November 2, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued an initial assessment knocking back a certified trademark application by the Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL). The decision is here.The key element of the trademark relates to the use of the term “free range” for eggs.

A sense of unease and misgiving” – abuse and the Catholic Church on the Tiwi islands, Bob Gosford, The Northern Myth
Twenty years ago a young man gave his evidence to Northern Territory Police investigating allegations that the principal of his school had systematically abused children on the Tiwi Islands just to the north of Darwin.Ten years later that evidence – supported by his oral evidence in Court and a further supporting affidavit – was recalled in his blogs.crikey.com.au/.../

The Next Senate on Current Polls – November 2012, Poliquant Com
Today we are going to have another look at estimating the results of a Half-Senate election based on current polls. Whilst a Half-Senate election is impossible constitutionally before 1 July next year, the Half-Senate election hypothetical is still useful in estimating future Senate numbers. As the polls have shifted significantly since July so this shall be a useful exercise.

Today’s Front Pages
Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 15 November 2012


November 15. 2012 08:01 AM

Ad astra reply

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

Ad astra reply

November 15. 2012 08:46 AM


Of course Janice is absolutely correct on this issue of asylum seekers. Regional processing IS the only solution as there is every chance of an escalation in middle east conflicts and therefore more refugees coming to this region.
Australia knows this, Indonesia knows this as does Malasia and all the other transit countries who do NOT want chaos amongst an already barely stable and climatically volatile region.
Blind freddie can see there is political direction by all the above countries toward a regional solution, the only apparent barricade is Australian political and (thanks to a jerk-off opposition) public opposition.
Sadly, this current influx of asylum seekers are the "proving ground" for such a policy.
With the flare-up of violence in the middle east which seems to be spreading rather than abating, hundreds of thousands more people will be fleeing the war zone. Our neighbours to the north are well aware that Aust' will only settle as many as can be practically organised in any one year and will not condone a chaotic influx. Likewise, they(our neighbours) do not wish to host an unknown number of foreign nationals on their soil, so the regional solution is a given and the best solution for ALL parties involved....the only problem is selling it to a racist population and a cringing, squeamish dog-eat-dog a*se smelling opposition! (sorry about that last bit..couldn't help myself!).


November 15. 2012 08:52 AM

Tom of Melbourne

” The difference between What is happening now and what the LNP proposed is that it is the LNP that label and treat those that come by boat, as ILLEGAL arrivals, where as the ALP/ Houston report was about breaking the business model for people smugglers.

Fascinating, punishing innocent people and the difference is semantics, nuance, “the vibe”. I’m sure the asylum seekers are interested in the finesse of your definition.

” Gillards compromise was forced on this government by the intransigence of the LNP and greens

More blame someone else, and NEVER accept responsibility.

Tom of Melbourne

November 15. 2012 08:57 AM


Janice @ 7:30 - other countries around the world can hold people onshore for a matter of days and check credentials - are they particularly clever (or are we particularly stupid)?  Its not a cause and effect between people arriving by boat and political decisions out of Canberra.  The number of people willing to take the risk of potentially years in detention centres etc is based on the physical security or fear of persecution in the country they come from.  The geo-political situation in the middle east changed significantly for the better soon after Howard's dog whistling in 2001 and again for the worse around the time Rudd was elected.

Yes - we should be targeting people smugglers, generally they are not the ones seeking asylum.  Australia has a much better chance of stopping them if it takes away their business model by resettling people already in refugee centres across South East Asia in conjunction with other countries in the region.


November 15. 2012 09:17 AM


2353..As for "checking credentials", I'll leave you to seriously ponder on the "depth" of credential checking that goes on in such chaotic holding camps!
The Middle east is NOT getting better unless you are looking at a different middle east than I am! and as for targetting people smugglers operating in another nation..I believe there is a system of payola involved that goes up and beyond the "on-the-ground" actvities in those nations that could start an "international incident" if not handled correctly...the "people smugglers" use such payola as an insurance policy for their continued uninterupted operations...perhaps a "small price to pay" for a larger payout!


November 15. 2012 09:27 AM


Interesting thing with trolls..I believe, as with hands that become hard and callosed with labouring work, the troll brain, too, becomes thick and callosed with strain from thinking and is incapable of forming critical constructs that can be debated BUT also cannot change its' habits of dumb, try-hard offence.
Do us all a favour, AA. Give this Tom character the flick...he's just become a usless distracting boor..there is enough real critical debate on this site that is both elucidating and objective..we don't need this 'hair-shirt' rubbish. It has become insulting to the intellect.


November 15. 2012 09:29 AM



Thank Dog your eyes are mended! But they are telling you something as you know. You must rest them more I think.

Those eyes of yours are the most important to the most people of all the eyes on the Fighting 5th Estate! When they start to water or sting or blur STOP! Go and look at some other things than your 'puter screen. Or have a nap.

Anyway here's some more eye-songs for you, enjoy.  

Doctor My EYES!

Them There Eyes

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlIL7_5AwJ0

Eye in the Sky Smile

The Night has a Thousand Eyes (HORRIBLE film clip! Smile )http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBxo8V6R0tc


November 15. 2012 09:38 AM


Truth Seeker @ 6:57 AM,
... and the LNP policies? are not about what's right, or saving lives, it's about fear and loathing, bigotry and right wing philosophy.

Can you or anyone explain to me in what ways the government's current policies in this area are not about fear and loathing, bigotry and right wing philosophy.?

Gillards compromise was forced on this government by the intransigence of the LNP and greens for purely political reasons, as they are both ideologically driven, albeit from different standpoints and reasoning.

TS the ALP is no less 'ideologically driven' than the other parties that is the nature of party politics. Oppositions these days oppose (publicly at least) often for the sake of opposing. Ross Gittins has recently written on that in relation to economic reform:
What business needs to learn about politics  www.rossgittins.com/.../...eds-to-learn-about.html

On oppositions there is one thing that I would happily import from the American political lexicon that being renaming the Opposition Leader the Minority Leader. It is possibly too late but changing the label could change some thinking although the current US political impasses suggest not.

Ms Gillard and the government she leads IS trying hard with the hand that they have dealt themselves. Slowly but surely over the last five years and even more so over the last two years the government has painted itself into the current corner.

janice @ 7:30 AM
DMW, You deliberately miss the point regarding border protection.

Mr Howard & co successfully tied border protection in with 'irregular maritime arrivals' in 2001 and the Labor opposition failed to unpick it and point out that they two separate issues. Labor and the then shadow minister for immigration learnt the wrong lessons from the 2001 election and took the border protection 'bait' hook, line and sinker.

It appears also that the government has learnt nothing from the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody inquiries nor the previous experiences with Nauru and Manus. There are solid bodies of evidence of the effects of excessive incaceration of vulnerable people that appear to be being ignored and that is bordering on criminally insane.

Successive governments have created the 'market failure' of providing a reasonably inexpensive and safe way for people to escape persecution and terror whether real or perceived and the 'people smugglers' have stepped into fill the void.

Even on purely economic grounds the system as set up is a failure and adds costs to taxpayers currently and for many years to come.

The government has done some 'excellent' work in this area as it has been able to spin it so that many people believe its' policies are about 'breaking the people smuggler's business model' and 'saving lives by discouraging perilous sea journeys' and deserve top marks for the way it has sold those 'pups'.

The harsh realities are that the policies come from a 'save our arse' mentality not from working toward a viable and decent way of handling a challenge that will be with us for a long time to come.


November 15. 2012 10:08 AM


On something completely different - Newmania is in crisis this morning.




Someone commenteed to me yesterday afternoon it took 14 years for Labor to be "corrupt", it;'s taken the LNP 6 months.

Pretty to watch Laughing


November 15. 2012 10:12 AM


Sorry Lyn I forgot to mention (twice) that the news on your eyes is good and must be a relief to you - and us.  Please take care.

(I will no go and speak severely to myself as well as contemplating giving myself an upper cut as punishment for my lapse!)

Here's link I missed in the post above.



November 15. 2012 10:18 AM


As a 69 YO Aussie male I may fit the description "Angry Grey-Haired Middle Aged Christian White Males with a sense of entitlement to power and a yearning for the Good Old Days. Piers Akerman is archetypical of these conservatives"... but like you Ad astra I am certainly not of that mould.

I am "angry", but only about the lies of Abbott and the MSM. Sorry I'm also not Christian (but respect those who are - but which is frequently not reciprocated). I have nothing but contempt for the "born to rule" attitude of the LNP which I've observed after each ALP victory over the last 40 years. Finally I abhor the pompous, sniggering Piers Akerman.

Ad, your article is right to the point and so worth referring to others. Mainly I try to encourage those I know to read this site (and several similar others) to get a more realistic view of what would really happen to our nation if Abbott and his MSM mates were allowed to take over next year.

Lets never stop reminding everyone we come into contact with, that "Abbott is not in any way a fit person to lead our nation". It only needs 5 in each 100 voters to change their thinking in the next year and the election result will be a "landslide" the opposite way to which the MSM is trying to push. As with the USA the pundits will be proven wrong!


November 15. 2012 10:33 AM


You are absolutely correct and I must say you put your argument much better than I did.

I really do think you underestimate the huge numbers of misplaced people around the world.  If we took in and resettled the whole 100,000 souls who've been waiting in Malaysian camps for a decade as well as the twenty thousand in Indonesian camps, the boats will still come because those taking the boat trips and paying the people smugglers do not want to spend even a day in a refugee camp - their fear of persecution is not great enough.

When the word got out that Australia was taking in all comers, the refugees in camps around the world would be on the move and heading to our region.

Oh, the reason why other countries can process refugees in a matter of days is because those whose credibility is suspect can be moved on/out just as quickly.  Here in Oz, an assylum seeker denied entrance is able to appeal ad infinitum, cost the taxpayer a motza in the process until a sympathetic judge or a delegation of bleeding hearts can be found to stop their deportation.

You might also like to consider not only the instability of the Middle East as Jaycee points out, but the consequences of global warming we will be facing sooner than many people think now.  When the seas rise there will be people the world over looking for a dry spot upon which to live, and the droughts, floods, earthquakes etc take their toll in our own fair land, how do we cope with a million/s extra citizens.   For all the land mass we have in Oz, most of it is pretty well useless because it is too arid to sustain life.  

The crux of the matter boils down to the fact that although we are a prosperous nation compared to others around the world, this could change very rapidly should we over populate in an unsustainable way.  


November 15. 2012 10:49 AM


It could've been me writing what you have! 69-y-o included.

If you are a new contributor to TPS (?) let me be the first to welcome you.


November 15. 2012 10:53 AM

Truth Seeker

DMW, I di not say that the ALP were not Ideologically driven, but come from different ideologies.
The main difference is that the ALP have a social conscience, which the LNP are almost totally lacking, and therein lies the main ideological problem.

The LNP rejected the compromise on their own policies, not for ideological reasons, but for purely political reasons.

It is not within any governments scope of practice to fix up all the ills of the world, only to deal with what has direct effects on their small part of it  and until there is some way to stop greed, anger, hatred jealousy and stupidity as well as visions of grandeur and the born to rule mentality that so pervades the political landscape of right wing ideology, compromise is the only option.

People can wax lyrical about some perceived nirvana  or utopia, but realists deal with and try to find solutions for real problems.

And yes most would love to live in a world where all were equal and treated fairly, but that is not the world we inhabit.

10% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

Evil flourishes where good people do nothing!

Lyn, so glad to hear that you have good news on those gorgeous tweety eyes  of yours.


Truth Seeker

November 15. 2012 11:34 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody,

Ad thankyou for your lovely compliment yesterday, also your thoughtful, concerned enquiries re my eye.

I know how lucky I am to have my TPS friends. Thankyou 2353 , Truth Seeker and Talk Turkey wow what a lot of songs for me.

Love, this comment  by 2353     “Someone commented to me yesterday afternoon it took 14 years for Labor to be "corrupt", it;'s taken the LNP 6 months”

The Australian is driving me crazy .  
Their story about Julia is unfounded and supporting  Abbott’s (his words) filthy campaign.  At least when I read Bushfire Bill it gives me back some confidence.

Here is Twitterverse for you.

Bushfire Bill
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink
The Austraian’s story is so byzantine and convoluted, but in the end it is peppered with statements such as,
There is no evidence, nor is it suggested that Ms Gillard asked for the cash or knew of its origins.


There is no evidence that she received union money, or that anyone other than Ms Gillard paid for the renovations to her Abbotsford home in Melbourne's inner-east in the mid-1990s.

In other words:

“Here’s all these detailed goings on – denials, assertions, fractured memories, diary entries, Dictaphone details, contextual rehashes, bits and pieces from everywhere, lots and lots of names and dates – and none of it points to anything at all.”

Gillard was right: it’s a smear.


Bushfire Bill

Posted Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 8:48 am
We do not have news outlets in this country, we have propaganda organs!

The Australian is being quite unhinged, indeed obsessive.

They are dragging sources, “witnesses”, documents and other “evidence” from everywhere in their quest to nail Gillard. The aim is to bombard the reader with so much “information” – names, dates, sources – that the conclusion is inevitably, “She must have done something wrong”.


The $5000 smear - it was based on someone made a diary entry based on a conversation with someone and now the someone said i cant recall

Union official who first raised Julia Gillard renovation claims now doubts his own story, Hedley Thomas and Pia Akerma

It's inconceivable that I could forget that. Maybe I'm wrong - I mean, no one is infallible."

Mr Gries asked if part of the diary could be left with him to review. He sent an email two days later stating he did not want to be quoted on anything, adding that the diary note related to him informing Mr Cambridge was "old inaccurate history


Julia Gillard banks on more media incuriosity, The Australian

While we make no claim - nor is there any evidence - that Ms Gillard had knowledge of Wilson's fraud, her responses have been inadequate.

the ABC. It is deeply worrying that a taxpayer-funded media organisation - which did not hesitate to run allegations from three decades ago about Tony Abbott's alleged behaviour as a teenager at university - is censoring coverage and avoiding legitimate questions about Ms Gillard's professional behaviour as a 34-year-old partner in a law firm, and her stubborn reluctance to be open about it now.

chris murphy‏
Death of a venomous untruth.Ex Union official who started the story now says Union did not fund Gillard PM house renovations. #auspol

Bath, blowdry and barracking for the PM, SUE DUNLEVY
WHEN he's not running her bath, fetching the newspaper or blowdrying her hair the Prime Minister's partner, Tim Mathieson, is often flopped on the couch at The Lodge watching her in parliament

Abbott gives small business big focus , Malcolm Farr,
The move means Mr Abbott is effectively promising to return small business to the growth rates of the Howard government, before the global financial crisis.

The doubling would produce about 30,000 extras businesses a year, with a significant increase in job numbers.
: www.news.com.au/.../story-fn9evb64-1226516871706

Abbott in trouble again after 'urban Aboriginal' remark, Phillip Coorey
Betfair said Ms Gillard was the ''hot favourite'' at $1.45 to be Labor leader on election day while Mr Abbott had moved out to $1.66 to remain the Opposition Leader until election day.
This means Mr Abbott has a 57 per cent chance of leading the Coalition to the next election compared with 65 per cent for Ms Gillard.

Rich cash in on welfare, Matt Wade, The Age
most revealing finding was the amount of government assistance being transferred to high-income households. The preliminary results showed the richest quintile of households received about 12 per cent of social assistance benefits while the second richest quintile got 11 per cent.

Stephen Tuck`‏
#Pell have u been lying? Who do u confess 2 Lawyer alleges church cover-up as late as 2005 #Lateline http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-

Libs quiz voters in sandbelt marginal seats

amanda meade‏
"Legacy" deadlines to disappear for ABC journalists in major restructure [free] www.theaustralian.com.au/.../story-e6frg996-1226514731960

Steve Kilburn‏
@Can_do_Campbell don't worry the way they are going every LNP MP will get a go at being a minister over the next 3 years

Kerry Blades‏
@KRuddMP Why is @LNPQLD allowed to break their own laws without national media comment? How is this happening? www.queenslandlabor.org/.../ … #auspol



November 15. 2012 11:42 AM


Hi Ausdavo

Thankyou for your enjoyable comment @ 10:18 AM.

Good to see you commenting again.

I'm going to do what you said "It only needs 5 in each 100 voters to

change their thinking".



November 15. 2012 12:23 PM


TS @ 10:52 AM,
... ALP have a social conscience, ... if the current policies in this area are an example of a party with 'a social conscience' then I must have a very different understanding of what that means to many others here. It doesn't bear thinking about what an ALP without that alleged social conscience would be like.

... realists deal with and try to find solutions for real problems.

I contend that realists would also attempt not to create more problems than they solve. The current 'fix' is more than likely to crate many more problems than it solves. I hope I am wrong about that and it is only my inate cynicism and pessimism that suggests to me that this wiill keep biting in the bum from here to the election and should they be re-elected beyond that.

The Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers is used as justification for the current policy direction and most people would accept that it should be no different. Wiser people pause and recall the advice about setting up inquiries Never set up a commission of enquiry until you know what the answers will be

The government set up the 'Expert Panel' to get the answers it got for the most part. There may be one or two it didn't 'expect' in the form they got them and some nuances that went slightly another way but they got what they asked for.

Among the answers was increasing the current humanitarian program from 13,000 to 20,000 immediately, and expanding it to 27,000 within five years. Although the numbers fall short of what I suspect will be needed in the not too distant future I have applauded that.

I could, with hesitation, be dragged (yes with a bit of kicking and screaming) to agree with a majority of the other 'answers' possibly including the use of Nauru and Manus if the government got real about it.

I will use totally arbitary numbers that I am not wedded to in this example. If the government this financial year took 7,500 from Indonesia, 5,000 from Malaysia some from Pakistan, Africa and other parts of the Middle East and say 1,000 of those on Nauru and Manus then I would believe it was about 'Stopping The Boats AND Saving Lives'. The fact is that a large number of refugees will come from the boat borne contingent and it will just perpetuate the viscous cycle.

I must be off aroud the traps so may not respond until very late or even tomorrow. (Huge sighs of relief can be heard emanating from Swordsville)


November 15. 2012 12:58 PM

Truth Seeker

DMW,The ALP without the social conscience on this issue would be just like Little Johnny Howard / T Abbott.

The expert panel was brought in to break the stalemate brought about by the political opportunism of the LNP, who weren't even prepared to back their own policies, because they do NOT want the boats to stop coming, they just want to get their grubby little mits on the top job, no matter what levels of collateral damage is caused along the way, proving yet again that they are the least qualified and capable to run this country.

They are an absolute disgrace to us as Australians, and are still refusing to compromise on the main thrust of the report; The regional solution.

They are trying to run the country from opposition, and have not and will not accept the fact that they lost the election.  

They are a bunch of spoilt little rich kids who, when faced with a decision that they don't like, take their bat and ball and go home so no-one can play.

There will never be a green government in this country, as they are too narrow in their ideologies, and they missed the boat (pardon the pun) at true political relevancy, by refusing to negotiate for the best outcome they could get on this and other issues, which is what a mature and involved political party should be doing.

So the choice is clear, get a government that is at least prepared to talk and compromise, or take the worst possible option.... The LNP.


Truth Seeker

November 15. 2012 02:04 PM

42 long

  The LNP have now become a party that I could not possibly vote for. I haven't changed they have moved or my perception of them has. They appear to go to the weird right which seems to have a common theme or new mantra.
  I'll roughly define it as pro theist, anti science anti mass education. Develop at any cost unrestricted opportunity for free enterprise to produce a brave new world for the allready privileged to maintain and expand that privilege at the expense of the lesser mortals.
When you point this out you are accused of being involved in the policy of envy or creating a class war.
   THE Yanks used to say "what is good for General Motors is good for America. And " The business of America is BUSINESS".
   You can be rich and if you aren't, YOU are to blame it's not because I have all the contacts money and influence, control the media and the government. ( Of coures not)
  GOD and money are now working in unison for the believers and to hell with ( literally) all gays, other religion believers and atheists and anybody who thinks the only world we have needs a bit of restraint and action from the trashers of it to enable it to survive.
   Hartcher considers the concept of the inhabitants burning coal and hydrocarbons and thinking it could affect the climate as a "conceit". Construing human emotions and traits in place of scientific fact is a strange "esoteric manner of handling the argument surely.
  Too much spin and not enough honesty from the LNP for me.
  Cutting funding to the TAFE  and UNIVERSities. is politically designed to keep education the exclusive prerogative of the well off, and control the very essence of it as well.

42 long

November 15. 2012 02:32 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Thanks for the Twitterverse.  The smearing of Julia Gillard continues, particularly via the editorial in The Australian despite its front page story today about the faulty memory of one of its informants.  It is scurrilous, all the more so because it is deliberate.  

I thought BB’s comment was spot on: ” “Here’s all these detailed goings on – denials, assertions, fractured memories, diary entries, Dictaphone details, contextual rehashes, bits and pieces from everywhere, lots and lots of names and dates – and none of it points to anything at all.”  Gillard was right: it’s a smear.”

Ad astra reply

November 15. 2012 04:28 PM


AA - when there is nothing left or you haven't got a clue, baffle with Bulls**t.  The Australian is on an ideological crusade here.  

Its reputed that the Australian's circulation is falling.  Maybe the plan is to rope all the other media into the same story - puff its chest out and claim that they are the news makers.  Given the link above criticising the ABC for not coming to the party, the strategy doesn't seem to have worked.


November 15. 2012 04:40 PM

Ad astra reply

I've just posted a new piece: Abbott and Hockey are endangering Australian Business.  It was inspired by a comment on this subject on Poll Bludger by Bushfire Bill on October 24.  Enjoy.


Ad astra reply

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