Generational change and the ALP

In the Abbott Cone of Silence since the 2013 election, the media has actually been looking around for other things to report on. There are two issues that caught my interest recently.

The first was the reporting of a survey conducted by Monash University and funded by the Scanlon Foundation. The survey suggested that while Australians like immigration, they dislike ‘boat people’. (The Scanlon Foundation website discusses the objectives of this organisation as well as linking to the current and previous surveys.)

Unfortunately (for me), I can remember the 70s and 80s and the Vietnam War. I can also remember that there was bipartisan support for a considerable number of people displaced from South East Asia as a result of that war who became refugees in Australia. At the time, part of the discussion on why we should accept asylum seekers from South East Asia into Australian society was that Australia was partly responsible for the displacement of fellow human beings. There was a certain amount of logic to this argument as Australia was part of a multi-national force that had attempted to bomb the Vietnamese Communists into submission.

The Australian Government of the time assisted asylum seekers into the country; then, through a number of paid and volunteer groups gave assistance to the refugees until they ‘found their feet’ in Australia and started to contribute to our society. The National Archives website claims:

… the impact of the Fraser government can best be seen in its revitalised immigration program. From 1975 to 1982, some 200,000 migrants arrived from Asian countries, including nearly 56,000 Vietnamese people who applied as refugees. In addition, policies were put in place to grant entry to 2059 ‘boat people’ – refugees from Vietnam who arrived without documents or official permission after hazardous sea voyages to the northern coast of Australia. The immigration program focused on resettlement and multiculturalism. In 1978 the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs was created. Petro Georgiou, the Prime Minister’s immigration adviser, suggested in retrospect that: ‘Viewed in the longer run it was the entry of Vietnamese refugees that made Australia’s migrant intake multiracial … it was under [Fraser’s] management that Australia first confronted the real consequences of abolishing the White Australia Policy.’

Between the 1930s and now, it is estimated that Australia has become home to over 750,000 refugees. The National Archives attributes over 56,000 of that number to the eight years of the Fraser Government.

The interesting thing about this period of our history is that the Australian Prime Minister at the time – Malcolm Fraser – was a member of the Liberal Party and described at the time as extremely conservative.* In his defence, though, his predecessor was Gough Whitlam so the comparison is probably more marked than it could have been. Fraser was conservative economically; he commissioned a review of the Public Service as well as cutting expenditure and reducing services (sound familiar?). Fraser’s Government – his Treasurer was John Howard – had the Australian economy in recession in 1983 when Bob Hawke and the ALP were voted into power.

Come forward to 2013 and we have both political parties in Australia attempting to outdo each other in rhetoric demonstrating they are ‘tough’ on asylum seekers. The Political Sword has previously discussed some of the current practices in relation to asylum seekers, and we won’t go there again now. However, we can ask why there was bipartisan support for asylum seekers in the 70s and 80s and why in 2013 there is bipartisan support for what could be described as an ‘anywhere but Australia’ policy.

The second issue in the media that caught my interest was the ‘debt ceiling’ debate in the United States. While I won’t claim to know enough about the practicalities and politics of the issue, there has been considerable reporting on it. This News Limited business article ‘Tea Party candidates behind the US government shutdown’, written before the very public back down from the Republican Party that allowed the US Government to resume ‘normal service’, details some of the issues involved.

The Tea Party is a very conservative political group that has a number of ‘non-negotiable’ core beliefs. These are listed on their website and seem to be similar to some of the 75 points the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) believe are necessary in Australia. Ironically, the linked article from the IPA sheets a considerable part of the blame for Australia’s ‘failings’ to Fraser’s Government. There is a local Tea Party, too, calling itself CANdo. You might recognise some of the players in, or offering patronage to, that organisation: for example, David Flint, Hugh Morgan, Alan Jones.

That the conservative end of the Republican Party – backed by their Tea Party – is bringing to America significant personal tragedy and heartache is demonstrated by the personal story of an IRS government employee caught in the shutdown, Jenny Brown of Ogden Utah, as reported by George Packer in The New Yorker. In ‘Business as usual’, Packer notes that:

According to an estimate by Standard & Poor’s, the Tea Party’s brinkmanship cost the American economy twenty-four billion dollars—more than half a percentage point of quarterly growth. House Republicans have suffered a huge tactical defeat of their own devising, and their approval ratings are at an all-time low. President Obama and the Democrats in Congress appear strong for refusing to give in to blackmail.

But he then reflects that:

… in a larger sense the Republicans are winning, and have been for the past three years, if not the past thirty. They’re just too blinkered by fantasies of total victory to see it. The shutdown caused havoc for federal workers and the citizens they serve across the country. Parks and museums closed, new cancer patients were locked out of clinical trials, loans to small businesses and rural areas froze, time ran down on implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law, trade talks had to be postponed. All this chaos only brings the government into greater disrepute, and, as Jenny Brown’s colleagues dig their way out of the backlog, they’ll be fielding calls from many more enraged taxpayers. It would be naïve to think that intransigent Republicans don’t regard these consequences of their actions with indifference, if not outright pleasure. Ever since Ronald Reagan, in his first inaugural, pronounced government to be the problem, elected Republicans have been doing everything possible to make it true.

While the Republicans may be seen to be ‘winning the argument’, it seems, however, that all is not well for the Tea Party’s role within the Republican Party – as this Bloomberg report, ‘Republican Civil War Erupts: Business Groups v. Tea Party’, explains. Harold Meyerson, in ‘A tea party purge among the GOP’ (The Washington Post) also analyses the issue.

Both articles reflect on the predominance of ‘older white Americans’ in the US Tea Party. Apparently, one of the ‘big issues’ with the US Government shutdown with older white Americans was the closure of the World War II memorial in Washington – an interesting comment on the demographics and perceptions of the Tea Party’s membership! Perhaps Gary Younge of The Guardian has the answer, in terms of this group in the US:

Central to this deep-seated sense of angst is race. In 2012, 92% of the Republican vote came from white people who, within 30 years, will no longer be in the majority.

Back in Australia, it seems that the same people that are publically backing the self-proclaimed ‘Australian Tea Party’ – CANdo – also have considerable influence in our major conservative party, the LNP, particularly in relation to its leadership.

After Kevin Rudd and the ALP were voted into office, the Parliamentary Opposition Leadership position seemed to be a revolving door – with Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull both being ‘tapped on the shoulder’. On both occasions, this occurred after they seemed to agree with a proposal from the ALP Government that wasn’t conventional – the GFC economic stimulus plan and the carbon pricing scheme, respectively. Abbott won his 2009 leadership vote by one vote and was the third Opposition Leader since the 2007 election. The LNP leadership challenges were reported at the time as being orchestrated by the LNP’s ‘power brokers’ such as Nick Minchin a (now retired) Liberal Senator from South Australia. But Phil Dobbie (a broadcaster with considerable experience) also links the influence of the Alan Jones’ Radio Show with the various changes in Liberal Party leadership during the period 2007 to 2010.

Can George Packer’s comment that the conservatives are ‘really winning the argument’ be seen as valid across the Pacific in Australia?

I believe it can be. The Scanlon/Monash survey on Social Cohesiveness suggests that in 2013 this country is ‘against’ asylum seekers – in spite of bipartisan support in the 1970s and 1980s where a resettlement policy was managed by the ruling Liberal/Country Party Government. Reflecting such findings by the Scanlon/Monash survey, the current Government used the three-word ‘Stop the boats’ mantra while in Opposition and claims that they stopped the boats in their first 50 days of Government.

The ALP seems to have recognised this trend and in these days of focus groups and marketing experts also seems to be heading to the conservative side of politics, allowing for a vacuum to be created on the progressive side of the political landscape.

While ‘aping’ your competitors may work when selling TVs, it is potentially a lesser advantage when selling ideas and strategy. The ALP is responsible for a number of great social advances in Australian history, from paid annual leave to disability care. Should the ALP, in an attempt to court a group of voters that are literally dying out, (ageing conservative men and women) continue to copy the LNP’s position on a number of issues, or should it stand its ground on its own principles?

Obama and the Democratic Party in the US seem to have decided to hold their ground – and for the moment they are successful. It seems that they have begun to fracture the conservative alliance of the Tea Party and Republican Party by standing by their principles on the debt ceiling issue and demonstrating that the Republicans are being held to ransom by an ideological rump. Since the same issue arises again early next year, the battle is not over and it will be interesting to see if the ‘Tea Party’ or ‘Business’ Republicans (see again the Bloomberg report) win the day.

As older conservative Australians die out, will the ALP survive the current generational or demographic change within Australia?

Can the ALP determine a strategy to promote the real differences between them and the LNP?

Might the ALP model itself on the US Democratic Party in order to reach out to those that are not represented by the LNP?

What do you think?

* Note: We never see Malcolm Fraser as an honoured guest at events such as Liberal Party policy launches these days despite his engineering of the fall of the Whitlam Government. He resigned from the Liberal Party in 2009, and campaigned for a Greens Candidate at the last Federal Election.

Comments (186) -

  • TPS Team

    12/4/2013 12:09:33 PM |

    By now you know 2353 as one of the regular contributors to the ‘new’ TPS so there is no need to re-introduce him.

    This week 2353 discusses a couple of issues that caught his attention in recent times. One was a survey of Australian attitudes to migrants and refugees and the other the ‘debt limit’ fiasco in the USA.

    He suggests they are linked through a move to the right in politics in both countries. The rise of the Tea Party within Republican ranks in the USA is a significant concern but as 2353 points out it appears to be dominated by ageing white conservatives.

    The resurgence of the right seems to be a global phenomena, with greater or lesser success in different countries but it has been happening.  What does this mean for Australia?

    Read 2353’s conclusion that these issues and the links between them may also have implications for the ALP.

    What do you think?

  • Ad astra

    12/4/2013 1:27:21 PM |

    Thank you for your thoughtful piece, addressing as it does some of the fundamental differences between conservatives and progressives, particularly about controversial issues such as asylum-seeker policy and debt ceilings, and the way they frame those issues.  

    You draw parallels between conservatives in the US – Republicans and the extreme Tea Party – and the LNP and CANdo, the Tea Party equivalent here in Australia, an organization sponsored by the usual suspects, and steered by local Tea Party afficionado Cory Bernardi.

    Behind these differences there is a striking divergence of attitude and moral posture that separates conservatives and progressives, a divergence that explains why they think and act as they do.  George Lakoff, linguist and cognitive scientist, who has studied US politics for many years, has written extensively on this subject.  He proposes a model for conceptualizing this divergence that is both plausible and explicatory.

    The final piece for the year, The myth of political sameness, to be posted on 8 December, describes Lakoff’s thesis is detail.  It might provide readers with a credible framework with which to examine political discourse, a believable structure that makes sense of the wildly dissimilar approaches, the outrageously different language, and the starkly different frames that conservatives and progressives use here in Australia.  2353, your piece provides an ideal segue.

  • Casablanca

    12/4/2013 5:36:50 PM |

    The ABC under fire

    We here at TPS have had our disappointments and exasperation with the ABC over the last few years but it is pleasing to see that in the face of unconscionable attacks from the Government, 70% of the 18,578 who have responded to a Fairfax poll believe that the ABC is 'An excellent and essential service, they deserve more funding'. Only 7% think that the ABC is 'No longer relevant, we just don't need it anymore'.

    The poll is still open for another 4 hours at:

  • jaycee

    12/4/2013 7:08:31 PM |

    2353...While I accept the arguement for and against "boat people" in the Aussie psyche...I believe the other "Player" (with a capital 'P') in the game is being overlooked...He (and it is a 'HE') is an expert at keeping in the background...has been operating in the background for many, many years against his old foe and has been a most skillful puppeteer in controlling his marionettes and the public sentiment into the bargain. He reaches into every suburb and most homes.

    "HE"...being the Papal/Fundamentalist/Mosaic patriarchal dictatorship.

    The biggest hurdle for Aussies to overcome is the Muslim religion and it's totally different outlook on both lifestyle and capital. Though it is really of little concern to the average Aussie, the powers that be play the race/religion card to the limit!...and it is not only the religion that bothers the powers that is also the capital side of Islamic law....: usury is forbidden...mortages have to be "different"..
    Actually, I quite like the idea!....but you can see the havoc it would cause to the capitalist banking system!..this is one reason why the church and the conservatives work hand in glove to continue the hate-game against boat arrivals and it isn't going to end any time soon.

  • jaycee

    12/4/2013 7:24:51 PM |

    Though, of course, I back the Labor Party as the progressive party of Aust'...there are moments of dissapointment, when I can visualise the only difference between the "big two" is the speed at which they get to their knees for a foreign master!...the Libs are down like in a flash, tugging the ol' forelock!
    Again, I think we ought to give some thought to the number of Jesuits who inhabit the parliament!..and thinking on that issue, in last weeks' Keating interview, I recall he conceded O'Brien's point that he had to "wear" the "recession we had to have", as long as he could trade against the twenty years of properity.."you give me that one and I'll wear the other" he a catholic "deal" if ever I heard one!

  • jaycee

    12/4/2013 7:44:26 PM |

    Oooooo!...."and some of it (the exploded budget deficit)of the treasurers own making"...the ABC. has it's gloves off now!

  • Catching Up

    12/4/2013 10:38:26 PM |

    Good post. One I will have to do some thinking about before I reply.

    Was ready to give a quick retort, but when I gave it further thought, it is not conservatism but something much worse, that one might have found pre war, that allowed Hitler  to gain power.

    We are in the mist of some very nasty and ugly politics. This is so, not only in Australia, but across the globe, well in the western half any way.

    Politics is not played by the rules today.

  • Casablanca

    12/5/2013 12:11:23 AM |

    Save the ABC!

    Before the 2013 Federal Election Tony Abbott said that there would be "no cuts to the ABC or SBS."

    But this week the debate has fired up again, with many members of the Liberal party vocally criticising the ABC and pushing to defund and commercialise Australia's favourite public broadcaster.

    Sign the petition to show your support for Australia's public broadcasters. 43,135 signatures so far

  • TalkTurkey

    12/5/2013 12:49:53 AM |

    Thank you 2353

    Your article doesn't make me feel any better, just as watching a thoughtful future-projection movie on TV last night, envisioning life on this planet after the population doubled to 14 billion, also didn't.

    But that is because I dread the notion that both your article and the frightful projections in that movie are only too true.

    I don't have much notion though of what Labor should do about it apart from being true to Truth. I'd love to see some fire in the leadership though, I feel we are wasting the favourable wind. (Favourable only because of the terrible record of this new Government which denotes a pretty feeble effort on the FPLP's part really.)  

    Casablanca I've voted for the ABC, thank you for the link.
    I am one of the most strident of all critics of the present mob who rule the political programs nowadays and of Mark Scott especially but to lose the ABC altogether would be the dead end.

    Will we see the lickspittle ABC Abborrrttophiles helping its demise, or will they realise in time that this Government will never pay them their thirty pieces of silver for selling out this country. - This government will turn their backs on them as soon as they get their way.    

  • Casablanca

    12/5/2013 1:55:03 AM |

    Lord Brandis of Lying-Ro-dent announces his presence on Twitter:

    George Brandis QC ‏@George_Brandis 3h
    I have decided to join Twitter as a platform to express both my personal views and official professional press/information releases.-GB

    In a nice co-incidence this article appeared in the CT:

    Public servants seek ethical advice about Twitter, Facebook posts
    Markus Mannheim
    Public servants remain confused about what they can write on Facebook and Twitter, and regularly seek ethical advice.

  • Casablanca

    12/5/2013 4:06:06 AM |

    CASABLANCA'S CACHE  Thursday, 5 December, 2013; 42 items


    1.  Fiddling with Gonski while Shanghai learns
    Rob Burgess
    Love or loathe Keating – and there seem to be very few people who don't swing to one of those polarised positions – he's right about leadership. As both Howard and Keating proved, punters can be moved forwards in leaps and bounds to accept major reforms such as Keating's compulsory super or Howard's GST. Both men wielded the paint brush, and punters got over knee-jerk objections to see the new horizons of long-term benefits. How sad, then, that Australia's quest to be the 'clever country', as Bob Hawke dubbed it, is being scuppered once again by the re-politicisation of education.

    2.  New PISA results show education decline – it's time to stop the slide
    Sue Thomson
    New international test results in reading, science and maths show that Australian education is going backwards – a declining trend that has been going on for the past decade. The 2012 Program for International…

    3.  Australia's PISA slump is big news but what's the real story?
    Stewart Riddle, Bob Lingard, and Sam Sellar
    The 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results out today will no doubt see shock headlines about Australia’s falling education standards and our failing school system. PISA – which…

    4.  Revealed: Pyne's Q&A sheet to help him explain his Gonski 'giant backflip'
    Daniel Hurst
    Document outlines response to prickly questions that may arise when government finds extra $1.2bn for school funding. The three-page document, obtained by Guardian Australia, outlines the official response to a range of prickly questions that may arise from the announcement the government had found an extra $1.2bn for school funding and would substantially retain the David Gonski-inspired model over the next four years.

    5.  Shanghai's 'mind boggling' school ambition
    Sean Coughlan
    The Chinese city has not only remained as the highest performer in this year's international Pisa tests in maths, reading and science, it has accelerated even further ahead. So what makes it so successful?

    6.  Getting rich off of schoolchildren
    David Sirota
    Stop pretending wealthy CEOs (like Murdoch) pushing for charter schools are altruistic "reformers." They're raking in billions. ...the Los Angeles Times reported that News America Inc. donated $250,000 to the “reform” slate. That’s the same News America that is the for-profit education technology arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. It is the same News America that was recently trumpeted in the New York Times for rolling out an expensive “tablet (that) will be targeted at middle-school children” — that is, if the company can convince the school board candidates it underwrites to divert money away from hiring teachers and into News America’s coffers.


    7.  Court told details of Craig Thomson's alleged brothel expenses
    Adam Cooper
    Former federal MP Craig Thomson at times used the alias ‘‘Jeff Thomson’’ and paid for sexual services that included time in a brothel’s ‘‘red turbo spa room’’ with Health Services Union credit cards, a court has heard. Ten months after Mr Thomson first faced a court on fraud and theft charges, the prosecution formally opened its case in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

    8.  Peter Slipper case to continue
    Callum Davidson
    Peter Slipper will appeal against a decision made today not to allow charges against him to be thrown out of the ACT Magistrates Court.,5954


    9.  Abbott’s Dark State: War powers, invigilation and trust
    Alison Broinowski
    The Attorney-General George Brandis says the Australian people can’t be told why a lawyer's documents and equipment were seized by ASIO on Tuesday. Distinguished former diplomat Dr Alison Broinowski says the secretive ‘Dark State’ of the intelligence services needs to be exposed to the light.,5956

    10.  East Timor spying case: PM Xanana Gusmao calls for Australia to explain...
    East Timor's prime minister says he is shocked by the Australian Government's decision to authorise raids on a lawyer and whistleblower who were set to provide evidence against Australia in The Hague

    11.  Timor-Leste spy case: Brandis claims 'ridiculous', says ambassador
    Lenore Taylor
    Timor-Leste ambassador Abel Guterres said attorney-general's explanation would be rejected by any 'fair-minded Australian'

    12.  The war on whistleblowers — it’s come to Australia
    Bernard Keane
    To the extent that it hadn’t before, the war on whistleblowers and journalists that has been waged in the United States and the United Kingdom for the past several years has now been opened in Australia in the past 24 hours. The Prime Minister’s attack yesterday on the ABC, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s unusual direct intervention with the ABC managing director Mark Scott, the smear campaign directed at Scott and The Guardian by loyalist media and then the remarkable news that ASIO had raided a Canberra lawyer’s office to seize information relating to an action brought by Timor-Leste in the International Court of Justice, are all profoundly concerning and all very familiar.

    13.  Guardian editor faces grilling by British MPs over published Snowden leaks
    Nick Miller
    Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has faced a hostile grilling by British MPs, who accused him of committing a crime by distributing documents received from spy whistleblower Edward Snowden. Rusbridger was called to give evidence to the Home Affairs Committee. At one point he was asked whether he loved his country. He was later asked if he would have told the Nazis that Britain had cracked the Enigma code. He was also told he had confessed to committing a crime.

    13 News Companies
    As news organizations, editors, and journalists who often report on government actions that officials seek to keep secret, we write to the Committee on the eve of the forthcoming appearance of Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger to express our grave concern over pointed calls by those in authority for censorship of The Guardian and criminal prosecution of its journalists in the name of national security. Such sanctions, and the chilling impact created by even the threat to impose them, undermine the independence and integrity of the press that are essential for democracy to function.


    15.  'Control freak' Peta Credlin accused of pulling Coalition strings
    Heath Aston, Jonathan Swan
    The tight circle that surrounds Prime Minister Tony Abbott has shrugged it off as a verbal hand grenade tossed by an embittered member overlooked for promotion. But Senator Ian Macdonald's public accusation that Mr Abbott's office, led by senior aide Peta Credlin, has instilled a culture of "obsessive centralised control" in the government has struck a chord among sections of the Coalition.

    16.  ‘Indonesia remains important for Australia under Abbott’, or why Indonesians don’t like him
    Michael Taylor (November 30, 2013)
    It is obvious from reports coming out of Indonesia that not many of our northern neighbours like Tony Abbott. Since news of the phone tapping scandal was made public they have demonstrated their dislike by burning photos of our gung-ho Prime Minister, whilst as the media itself is concerned he rates highly as a reasonable person to attack. They certainly have it in for him.

    17.  Broken Promises
    Victoria Rollison (November 30, 2013)
    No matter how they try to spin things in their favor, the undeniable fact is that Christopher Pyne and Tony Abbott lied about their plans for Gonski. How can I prove they lied? Because nothing has changed between now and before the election, when they agreed to a bipartisan approach to Labor’s Gonski educational funding model. They have not been forced to make a deal with a minor party to hold power.

    18.  Cut ABC funding, urges Senator Cory Bernardi, as Coalition ramps up attack.
    Jonathan Swan, Mark Kenny
    So strong are the feelings within the Abbott government against the ABC, that a joint party room meeting on Tuesday was dominated by criticisms of the national broadcaster, led by Senator Bernardi.


    19.  There is no debt ceiling crisis – just an erroneous fixation with the West Wing
    Christine Milne
    The debt ceiling debate is a phoney debate imported from the US and used by the Coalition to create a false feeling of crisis. Let’s stop the game and demand accountability. The way the Coalition has carried on in recent weeks, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Australia was in the grip of a US-style debt ceiling crisis threatening to shut down our government and our very way of life. But it only takes a fairly superficial analysis to uncover what a bunch of codswallop this imagined crisis really is.

    20.  Joe Hockey gets help from Greens over debt
    Mark Kenny, Peter Martin
    Joe Hockey has reached an extraordinary last-minute deal with the Greens - once dubbed ''economic fringe dwellers'' by the government - to scrap Australia's $300 billion borrowing limit. The strange political marriage came after Coalition frustrations reached boiling point as Labor and the Greens used their combined numbers in the Senate to block an increase to a new limit of half a trillion dollars - a $200billion increase in one increment.

    21.  We shouldn't risk returning our workplaces to the 70s
    Nareen Young
    Legislation sends a powerful statement about what sort of behaviour is acceptable in our society, which is why we should fear a return to workplaces not protected by Section 18C of the Race Discrimination Act

    22.  Tanya Plibersek slams Government's contribution to Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria
    David Mark
    Opposition Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek has slammed the Government over the amount of money it is donating to an international fund to fight communicable diseases


    23.  ABC bashing a good sign for Opposition
    Michael Galvin
    The fact the Government is taking out its frustrations against the ABC is a good sign for the Opposition, says Michael Galvin, who advocates ridicule as a political tactic. It is tempting to see this ABC bashing as a sign that the whole of the Coalition has taken on Abbott's glass jaw — strong on the attack, highly brittle in defence. In the three months since the election, Abbott has proven every bit as mad and bad as those of us who did not vote for him thought he would be.,5955

    24.  Credit Julia? Rewriting the Gillard years
    Richard Cooke
    Martyrdom is part of the Australian Labor Party’s mythology. For a generation now, there’s been an understanding that genuine progressive reform is a suicide mission. Leaders who undertake it are given a few furtive years of mandate before their electoral (and personal) destruction. But they’ll reap their rewards in political heaven, and their enemies will pay tribute down the years.


    25.  A growth record to be proud of
    Wayne Swan
    I ceased to be Australia’s Treasurer just over five months ago, but it was not until today’s release of the third-quarter national accounts that the record closed on the six years in which I took primary responsibility for running the Australian economy.

    26.  What jobs will be left once the machines take over?
    Alan Kohler
    Employment is going backwards while the economy is booming - to make sense of this, we need to understand the race to replace humans with machines

    27.  Abbott launches competition policy review
    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has written to the states and territories outlining his plan for an independent review into national competition policy - the first such review in 20 years. Mr Abbott says fixing Australia's competition policy will boost jobs and growth and improve quality of life. The previous review, by academic and business leader Fred Hilmer, was credited with boosting Australia's GDP by about $40 billion a year and cutting electricity prices nationally by 20 per cent

    28.  Cut stamp duties to improve labour mobility
    Leith van Onselen
    The Productivity Commission has released its Draft Report into Geographic Labour Mobility, which identifies Australia’s high stamp duties as a key impediment and recommends a shift towards more efficient revenue sources, such as broad-based land taxes: The most common impediments to geographic labour mobility raised by stakeholders are insufficient housing supply [...]


    29.  Chronology of climate change in Australia
    Anita Talberg  
    The Parliamentary Library has published a timeline of climate policy in Australia. The chronology begins in the 1970s, around the time that the Australian Academy of Sciences published a report asserting that human activities are likely to contribute to warming. The document charts the journey of Australian climate policy from then until today.

    30.  Securing Australia's future: energy and climate change
    Lisa Caripis
    SECURING AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE: As the Commission of Audit reviews government activity and spending, The Conversation’s experts take a closer look at key policy areas tied to this funding – what’s working, what’s not and where current funds are best spent.

    31.  Here's Why Developing Countries Will Consume 65% of the World's Energy by 2040
    Todd Woody
    China and India hold the world's fate in their hands as energy use skyrockets in poorer countries. The Energy Shift now under way is as much geographical as it is technological. Case in point: By 2040, the developing world will account for 65 percent of the world’s energy consumption, according to a report released today by the United States Energy Information Administration.

    32.  We don't want to believe in climate change
    Robert Kenny
    We don’t cause climate change. Other people do. Many of us, perhaps most who believe in anthropogenic climate change, hold this sentiment to be true. (Metered/Paywall)


    33.  ABC's tale of abject misery fails to make a splash
    Jonathan Holmes
    Those slamming the public broadcaster have ignored its report on people smugglers. Just over two weeks ago - on the very day that the spy story first broke - 4 Corners broadcast an astonishing program by reporter Sarah Ferguson and producer Clay Hichens. It revealed how the smugglers had recruited their victims by promising they could reach Australia by air, armed with stolen passports and corruptly obtained visas.

    34.  Tony Abbott threatens tougher action on asylum seekers after losing parliamentary vote
    Mark Kenny, Michael Gordon
    The Abbott government is preparing to toughen its already hardline asylum seeker policies after its attempt to reintroduce temporary protection visas was blocked in the Senate by Labor and the Greens. It will sit up until Christmas if necessary to get it done. The as-yet-unspecified changes could see up to 33,000 asylum seekers already in Australia doomed to a state of legal limbo, with limited or no working rights, no chance of permanency and access to only the most basic aid.


    35.  Fewer people with disabilities in workforce than 20 years ago, ABS figures show
    Paul Donoughue
    The number of people with a disability participating in the workforce has fallen in the past 20 years, new figures show.

    36.  Same-sex marriage: High Court reserves decision on Commonwealth challenge to ACT laws
    On Tuesday, the Commonwealth Solicitor-General told the High Court that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Justin Gleeson told the High Court that the Federal Parliament has the right to define marriage in Australia. He says that marriage is a common genus that is not divisible into multiple species. However, the ACT is arguing that same-sex marriages can coexist alongside the more traditional form of marriage. The ACT Government says 47 couples have lodged papers to get married.


    37.  In defence of an independent ABC
    Amanda Meade
    The attacks on Australia’s public broadcaster by the government and News Corp are political, ideological and opportunistic. Tony Abbott stepped in front of the cameras and reflected on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s reporting of the Indonesian phone tapping revelations. “I think the ABC were guilty of poor judgment in broadcasting that material which was obviously difficult for Australia's national security and long-term best interests,” he said.

    38.  Comment should not be cheep
    Independent Australia
    In an effort to restore proper reporting to an out of control Australian media, Independent Australia republishes a very important editorial printed today by Australia's very own beacon of fair and balanced reporting, The Australian.  REGARDLESS of what he is writing about – meaningless Labor leadership speculation, trumped up AWU accusations from 15 years ago or things that happened under the prime ministership of Billy McMahon – our editor-at-large, Paul Kelly, brings his penetrating insight and peerless authority.,5953


    39.  Assaults on democracy
    There are at least two fundamental requirements for a functioning democracy. In various ways, in recent years, we have seen political parties in Australia attempting to subvert and limit these requirements. This is an assault on democracy itself. It may not be deliberate –…

    40.  The Dog Whistle: “Omnishambles” edition
    Listen ..for our weekly chat on the the government’s early stumbles, the renewal of the war on Aunty, and name calling in politics. On this week’s Dog Whistle, Ed Butler, Paul Davis and Andrew Tiedt

    41.  The unbearable automaticity of being
    Ken Parish
    This piece is inspired by Paul Frijters’ post titled The Benefits of Being Dumb in Politics.  I don’t actually think it is possible meaningfully/reliably to distinguish between politicians who are “really smart and great actors as well, who thus have no problems with telling outright lies and with backstabbing” and those autistic egomaniacs who “are sincere because they truly do not see the inconsistencies and selfishness in their own actions and those of others”.

    42.  Progressive Australia presentation
    Matt Cowgill
    I appeared on a panel about a month ago at the Progressive Australia conference in Sydney, organised by the Chifley Research Centre. Although this wasn’t a stand-alone presentation (I was speaking in response to a keynote speech by Patrick Diamond), I thought my slides might be of interest.


    Refugee Boat Arrivals
    The updates that the Morrison Military Machine want to hide.

    ABC Fact Check determines the accuracy of claims by politicians, public figures, advocacy groups and institutions engaged in the public debate.

    Politifact Australia

    Ashbygate on Facebook

    The Finnigans' Home of the BISONs
    The Beautiful Inspiring Set of Numbers

    •  ROULE REPORT — Issues of Today


    •  NEWS HEADLINES  5 December 2013


  • 2353

    12/5/2013 7:00:38 AM |

    Jaycee - Yes religion in all forms has a lot to answer for and I have some views on that that might turn into an article one day.  However I feel that the problem is some that prosecute a case with religious fever without care or concern for the side effects.  

    Our history is full of people who publicly fought each others ideas yet after the hostilities were over for the day - went and "had a beer" together.  The "greed is good" decade of the 80's and the constant repetition of the mantra that "its all about me" have lead to a lot of polarisation where rather than disagreeing with a position - it is now "necessary" to completely demolish the position and the person that holds the opposing view.  That is sad in my view.

    It seems that the Democrats in the US seem to have found a strategy that changes the playing field and makes the conservatives there question their tactics.  The question in the piece above is pondering if the ALP can learn that lesson.

    TT  - Thanks.  While I didn't see the show you refer to, the article is supposed to be positive.  The US Democrats seem to be fracturing the alliance between the "Tea Party" and the "Republicans" by keeping Obamacare and facing down the conservative rump.  

    There is clearly a strategy behind the public posturing which I am hoping the ALP is currently discussing with the Democrats.  Causing a "small L" liberal/"large C" conservative split in the LNP is a distinct possibility at the moment and look at the damage the ALP/DLP split caused to the progressive side of politics in this Country for decades.

  • Ian

    12/5/2013 9:27:50 AM |

    Thank you for an interesting and thought-provoking argument.  I would like to see the ALP act as you propose.  However the influence of Murdoch is much more pervasive in this country than in the US.  For that reason alone, we have a conservative government, whereas the US voted progressive (well, it's all relative, isn't it?) again.

  • TalkTurkey

    12/5/2013 10:13:27 AM |

    Comradely Greetings Ian!

    You are a newie if I'm not mistaken.
    There haven't been so many since the election, it's very good to see you.

    And yes, it's indeed a thought-provoking article as you say.

    Do come again.

    Catching Up,
    Your reference to Weimar Germany is germane, and that is why, as I said, I find the projection of the current situation so daunting. Somebody yesterday spoke of Brandis as a Brownshirt, as Minister for Propaganda: and there's the AFP refusing to prosecute Brough et al for bloody treason, while Abborrrtt, costing taxpayers $3000 per week for luxury accommodation which he has spurned - I guess he's have to pay something himself? - so there he is, living in the same quarters as Police.

    That is more Kafkaesque than Kafka and more boarish than Napoleon the Alpha Pig in Animal Farm.

    And you know what the Pigs did with Animal Farm.

    I've only looked at some of your links so far today but as always they are well-chosen and by the time I've been through them I know full well I am across all the major stories.

    It's Magic!

    Re those lyrics ... It wouldn't surprise me if you don't get to see the sunrise either, when you typically post your Cache at 4.06 AM after presumably having been up most of the night!

    Cheers and Thanks Casablanca.


  • Catching Up

    12/5/2013 10:36:39 AM |

    I do not think we are going to like that new country, that Abbott so desires.

    Does Mr. Abbott really think that the worker, unions and the community is going to kneel at his knees, making it easier for him to strafe us all.

    Does he really believe he, has been given a mandate that allows his no accountability, no debate, and all his legislation to be rubber stamped, without any debate.

    Does he really believe, that unlike any previous PM, every MP, on the cross benches have no tight to voice a view, or to cast their vote on the floor of the house, according to their conscience.

    If so, Abbott must believe, the constitution has been suspended, and he, the chosen one, has been raised to the rank of dictator.

    It must be what he believes, as this is not how democracy or our constitution works.

    According to the constitution, Abbott has the numbers of MPs to form government. That is where any mandate ends.

    Mr. Abbott then has to garner the votes on the floor of both houses. That means he has to work hard to convince the MP's to vote with him.

    Mr. Hockey, under the constitution, Labor has the right to opposed, as you did in Opposition.  It is bizarre for the government to talk, as they are now doing.

  • Catching Up

    12/5/2013 10:46:55 AM |

    Qantas posting a lost. Qantas sacking another thousand workers.

    Qantas was privatized, and should now stand on it's own feet.

    The taxpayer has no obligation to underwrite their debts.

    Qantas needs to be cut loose.

  • Ken

    12/5/2013 11:09:16 AM |


    We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics. ... This new understanding undermines the old admiration of worldly success as such.  We are beginning to abandon our tolerance of the abuse of power by those who betray for profit the elementary decencies of life.
    [Franklin D Roosevelt, 2nd Inaugural Address, 20 January 1937]

    I quote that because they were lessons learned in the Great Depression that progressive parties around the world understood.  But they have again been forgotten.  The age of ‘greed’, ‘it’s the economy, stupid’ and similar have become the catchcries.  For some reason, progressive parties have become absorbed by modern economics, instead of questioning it.  Around the world banks were bailed-out in the GFC (some have been fined since), including by progressive governments.  Australia was lucky that we had a better regulatory system than most.

    The ALP needs to remember that Australia has a history of services being provided by government (in the original colony that’s all there was!!).  Unlike Americans, Australians more willingly accept the role of government.  Strangely it is the LNP that runs counter to that tradition.  The LNP backflip on Gonski can also be seen in that light – voters expect government to fully support schooling (aside from the mixed and broken promises).

    As Ad commented, there are basic differences between conservatives and progressives.  It also relates to one of my previous posts on leadership and conviction.  The ALP needs to focus on its progressive role, on fairness and equity.

    While accepting the requirement for a strong economy it needs to be tempered with a broader social understanding:

    Some will react by saying nothing can be done unless we have a strong economy.

    That is self-evident and barely worth a mention.

    But what is the point of a strong economy –

    •  if school children are being left behind because their schools do not have sufficient resources
    •  if people are dieing because our hospitals are overcrowded
    •  if people are working but still earning barely enough to survive
    •  if our nation is in flames from the effects of climate change

    Every year we delay addressing these things, is another year that will add to the cost of rectifying the problems in the future.  Another year that will actually weaken our economy.

    How can our future economy be strong if many of our children are failed by the education system?

    How can our future economy be strong if more people are sick for longer because the health system is under pressure?

    How can our future economy be strong if we are spending more and more on the ravages of bushfires, of more frequent droughts, of rising sea-levels, because we did nothing now?

    That is how the message of a socially responsible economic message should be sold.

  • Catching Up

    12/5/2013 11:19:20 AM |

    Maybe his service to big business is a positive.

    .".......Tony Abbott calls on business to ‘campaign’ against his opponents
    Prime minister promotes Coalition’s pro-business agenda and announces a high-level lineup of advisers at BCA annual dinner...........

    ................The Coalition’s pro-business agenda will transform the country within a few years, Tony Abbott has vowed, as he called on the business community to “campaign” against those trying to stop the new government from implementing its policies.

    Setting out his business credentials in a speech to the Business Council of Australia (BCA) annual dinner, Abbott announced a high-level lineup of business advisers and a broad review of competition policy.

    “Australia will be quite different in a few years’ time because a Coalition rather than a Labor government has been calling the shots, and calling them with a preference for freedom,” he said.

    “I am confident that the BCA will continue to tell the government what it should do: repeal the carbon tax, repeal the mining tax, cut red tape and get the budget back under control,” he said.

    “Even more importantly, I hope that the BCA will campaign against everyone who is trying to stop the government from putting that good advice into practice.................."

    Calling on one part of the community to wage war on the other.

    Nothing to do with class war, could one say.

    Definitely to do with a war, between employers and workers,

  • Catching Up

    12/5/2013 12:21:40 PM |

    Hope this works

    <p><a href=''>The Dog Whistle: “Omnishambles” edition</a>.</p>

    Listen above for our weekly chat on the the government’s early stumbles, the renewal of the war on Aunty, and name calling in politics.

    On this week’s Dog Whistle, Ed Butler, Paul Davis and Andrew Tiedt talk about the new government’s constant dramas and whether the Gonski multi-flip was a ‘carbon tax moment’, the dual assault on the ABC from the government and News Ltd, and then take a closer look at political name calling and why our politicians are so relentlessly banal when it comes to tossing insults.

    Starting to come to the conclusion that this government believes their own spin. Beverlie the last government was not legitimate, and all traces must be removed.

    One could say, they are obsessed with hate, that has remove their ability to make appropriate judgments.


  • 42 long

    12/5/2013 12:30:51 PM |

      Abbott always tailors his message to the particular audience at the time. This whole thing is a game to him based on DOGMA that is NOT proven. It's right wing ideology a little more to the TEA Party side of things that most in this country would be a little wary of.
       Rampant Capitalism leads to monopoly. Even the US has anti trust laws.
      DAMAGE to the environment is not compensated for in the usual ECONOMIC argument.
       International companies have too much lobbying power which over rides the concept of rule by the people.
       Any one who reckons EVERYTHING should only be done for profit and IF there is no profit then there is no demand for it heads the society in a direction that only has theoretical outcomes as it's never been done. Certainly with a three or four year term of election cycle, a proper determination of policies that are good for the future are unlikely from anything but a left inclined government.
       The policy of banks working for the shareholder's interest rather than the customer's is hardly likely to do the right thing for the customers.
       Converting parklands and swimming pools into high rise areas  for developer mates to make a fortune from is hardly likely to produce an area you want to live in.
       Private schools will never serve the lower socio economic class which will get bigger under the abbot mob schemes where any recovery of debt will be borne by those least able to bear it. Abbott leads for all Australians. Yeah Pigs fly.  

  • Catching Up

    12/5/2013 12:57:51 PM |

    They say Abbott listens. Well it is clear not to us. Not to workers ot their unions. Not to community groups or experts in their field. Not to advisory bodies. He dismantled them all.

    Yes, I am afraid that Abbott doers listens, and more worrying, only from powerful, right wing business and industry groups.

    Seen a word, from 1984 that might describe Pyne and co. Double think.  Could go along with the double talk, he is so clever at.

  • Catching Up

    12/5/2013 1:21:07 PM |

    Xenophon, independent senator, is asking Alan Joyce to resign MC ABC 24

  • Catching Up

    12/5/2013 1:22:03 PM |

    Wonder if this is what the ACTU PC that is coming up  ABC 24

  • jaycee

    12/5/2013 4:50:08 PM |

    Thanks for the article Catch'..I read it and if THAT isn't a clarion call for the fascist state, then NOTHING is!

  • Casablanca

    12/5/2013 10:55:06 PM |


    It struck the Brandis note of pomposity so I was easily sucked in!

  • Bacchus

    12/5/2013 11:12:03 PM |

    You and many others Casablanca Wink

  • Casablanca

    12/6/2013 3:08:38 AM |

    CASABLANCA'S CACHE  Friday, 6 December, 2013; 64 items


    1.  Lessons lost in the Gonski debate
    Robert Gottliebsen
    ... Australia's poor education outcomes can be dramatically improved by working on the lost art of better teaching. The furious debate about education and the Gonski report is missing what I believe is not only an important gap in our education system but is a root cause of Australia falling behind other nations.

    2.  Gonski vision the foundation to lift schools performances
    You need all your fingers and all your toes to count the myriad funding and teaching reforms required to remedy the lagging educational performance of Australian children. But you need to look in just one place to find a foundation on which to build them...the Gonski vision for the long term.

    3.  Pyne Gives Equity The Old Up And Under
    Mike Seccombe
    The great schools debate, in which we move from prepositions to preposterous. Let’s start by acknowledging that the Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, talks loftily about improving teacher quality, although to date he has done not much more than emit thought bubbles.

    4.  Pyne's Education Numbers Don't Add Up
    Ian McAuley
    In attacking Gonski, Christopher Pyne has exaggerated the increases to school funding over the past decade. But worse, he's ignored the fact that most money went to private schools

    5.  Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne - more school funding lies exposed
    Both Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne have been telling a lot of lies in regards to school funding, some of which you may already have read on my site. Well, after some more research, I can add to those lies.

    6.  FactCheck: is Australian education highly equitable?
    Glenn C. Savage
    “The OECD says that we are a high equity nation in terms of our students… I don’t believe there is an equity problem in Australia.” – Education Minister Christopher Pyne, Lateline interview, 26 November…

    7.  Did Abbott & Pyne break the 10 Day Rule?
    Tony Abbott has instructed his ministers to complete their submissions to ¬cabinet 10 days before they are scheduled for discussion as he seeks to assure business and others that the days of ad hoc policymaking are over. The Abbott Government does not present as mature and stable - it appears inadequate and in panic mode.

    8.  Why study English? In defence of a discipline
    Anthony Uhlmann
    Last month, heads of English departments in universities across Australia formed a new peak body to advocate for the discipline of English. In part, the Australian University Heads of English (AUHE) group was formed to restore a sense of unity and direction to the discipline. The formation of this group is consistent with global moves to defend particular disciplines, and indeed the humanities more broadly, in a quickly-changing higher education environment.


    9.  Craig Thomson ‘broke his own rules’ by allegedly using union credit cards
    Australian Associated Press
    Witness tells court that the former HSU national secretary drafted guidelines in 2003 to curtail spending

    10.  Craig Thomson Trial: Day Two — Hogwashgate
    Peter Wicks
    Day three looms large and, despite two days of one of the country’s most eagerly awaited trials already having passed, the prosecution has yet to even make their opening address. And despite prosecution not yet addressing the court or calling a single witness, 79 of the charges against Thomson have already been dismissed by the magistrate.,5952


    11.  Ton of pressure: premature end to honeymoon as Tony Abbott hits 100 days in office
    Mark Kenny
    "Pretty happy": Prime Minister Tony Abbott holds a different opinion to voters of the first 100 days. "....however, the milestone already looms as something quite different - not so much a celebration of the first 100 days as an excuse for the first 100 delays. Voters were told again and again this would be a government of results - no excuses. Unqualified promises were made in full knowledge of a hostile Senate."

    12.  Let’s Play Political Whack-A-Mole
    Mike Seccombe
    A carnival of Coalition nastiness relegates Labor’s manifest outrageousness to a sideshow. Every day, new examples of the nastiness and incompetence of the Abbott Government crowd out the possibility of writing about anything else.

    13.  Christopher Pyne, the joker in pack, could bring down Tony Abbott
    Nicholas Stuart
    Christopher Pyne is right to feel disappointed. Yes, he was the second-youngest MP ever, and yes, he is undoubtedly the prissiest, most precious and precocious petal among a bunch of preening peacocks, and yet there's one thing that has continually eluded Pyne. Respect. The perception that he's shallow, superficial and trivial has now become political reality.

    14.  Question Time: He's A Little Crackpot And He's Been Caught Out.
    Christopher Pyne is fast becoming the most hated person in Australian politics. Shrill, arrogant and bordering on delusional, Pyne seems to think he is winning the education debate. That's not to say he isn't saying the right things from time to time. It's his delivery that leaves a bad taste in the mouth, clearly the minister is suffering from dotnetnoobism.

    15.  The age of the slogan is finally over
    Rob Burgess
    Healthy national debate cannot subsist on three-word slogans. Unfortunately for Tony Abbott the media isn't playing his game anymore. And they are being served up a smorgasbord of errors and broken promises to pick apart. And it’s all being reported by journalists. Which is a nice change. It's as if the national media has finally realised that this is not a game.

    16.  Abbott & the auto-unravelling of the Right
    For some time, this blog has insisted that an Abbott government — far from getting a smooth ride, even with a big parliamentary majority — would most likely face “crisis and volatility” at least as much as the ALP had over the last few years. By way of contrast, the rapid accumulation of problems for Abbott in recent weeks has come as a shock to many on the Left, especially those who had — prior to the federal election — staked much on the all-powerful and apocalyptic nature of the coming Coalition regime.

    17.  Abbott says keeping his word on GST
    Prime Minister Tony Abbott says a proposal to apply GST to rents in caravan parks is an administrative change rather than a broken election promise. Mr Abbott was reminded in parliamentary question time that he promised during the election campaign that there would be no change to the GST "full stop end of story",

    18.  A look at the ‘progress’ of Tony Abbott
    Shakeel Ali
    It’s been just over two months since Tony Abbott’s Liberal National Coalition was elected in a landslide victory to assume the role of the Government. Many have criticised the Government over the few policy choices it has made since it was elected, and it looks as if the voters are starting to feel the same way.

    19.  The Coalition resorts to payback and anger, but is impotent on key promises
    Michelle Grattan
    Abbott’s annoyance erupted on Tuesday when he threatened to keep parliament sitting beyond next week. It was the political equivalent of kicking the cat....The Coalition is frustrated that it has power but when it comes to key promises it finds itself impotent. Some things are way beyond command and control.

    20.  Letter to Indonesia
    Barry Everingham
    Through sources in his personal staff, Barry Everingham has been leaked the text of the conciliatory letter written to the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.,5961

    21.  The Crisis that is Christopher
    No one has been expelled from the Chamber for unruly behaviour more times than Pyne. Offense comes as naturally to him as does sleeping and wakening. His demeanour is crass and unpleasant. His self-righteous indignation is shallow, superficial, and school boyish. If as the LNP say, “the adults are back in charge” then it’s difficult to imagine how this adolescent loutish, imbecile with an uncouth acerbic tongue got a jersey.

    22.  PM says he hasn’t dropped ball on reform
    Phillip Coorey Chief political correspondent
    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has forecast a bounce in economic growth emanating from his promised review of competition policy as he reassured the business community he had not dropped the ball on economic reform.

    23.  Question Time: A Shorten Shambles & Bronnie's Bungling Of A Hopeless House.
    The word 'rout' get's thrown around a lot without anyone ever actually realising what the word means, it sure comes close to describing question time today though, all that was missing was a disorderly retreat.

    24.  Palmer named on two key committees
    Mining magnate and federal MP Clive Palmer has been appointed to two key parliamentary committees dealing with economic matters. Mr Palmer, was named on Wednesday as a member of the standing committee on economics, as well as the infrastructure and communications committee.

    25.  Infrastructure is built with rigorous cost-benefit analysis, not politics
    Greg Jericho
    Tony Abbott has decided to fund the Melbourne east-west link before a business case has been made

    26.  The Brandis agenda
    Shipra Chordia and Andrew Lynch
    Armed with an ambitious political and legal agenda, the new attorney-general faces a testing time... Together, the[se] matters present Brandis with a full slate of complex legal and political issues that will test his resolve and effectiveness in very public ways.

    27.  Sex, politics and the G-G
    John Warhurst
    Previous governors-general have made far stronger interventions into the republic debate after retirement. Bill Hayden (1989-96), appointed by Bob Hawke, played a leading role as a direct-election republican in the Constitutional Convention of February 1998. Sir Zelman Cowen (1977-82), appointed by Malcolm Fraser, actively supported the campaign for an Australian republic in the 1999 referendum.

    28.  Securing Australia's future: governance and state-federal relations
    Jennifer Menzies
    The Commission of Audit’s brief to assess the split of roles and responsibilities between the Commonwealth and the states and territories is the first indication of the Abbott government’s commitment to undertake radical reform in this area.

    29.  The ABC and its managing director Mark Scott are caught in a perfect storm
    Michelle Grattan
    Critics variously driven by ideology, commercial interests or a combination have found in the ABC’s decision to partner with Guardian Australia to publish the Indonesia spy story a big opportunity for the broader attack on the public broadcaster that is their recurring theme.

    30.  Yes, it is our ABC
    Rodney Tiffen
    The gulf between the views of the public and the ABC’s vocal critics is large and growing..Murdoch’s Australian newspapers are not going gentle into that good night. Their lamentable circulation performance suggests that grim days await them, but their rage is undiminished. In particular, the Australian has maintained its rage against its most enduring target, the ABC.

    31.  Australia has more soft power than ever but can we keep it?
    Helen Vatsikopoulos
    Australia has moved up in the world – to seventh place on the 2013/14 Soft Power Survey published in the December/January issue of Monocle magazine. The Soft Power Survey is conducted yearly by Monocle and the UK-based Institute for Government think tank. It ranks the top 30 countries who “best attract favour from other countries through diplomacy, culture, design, cuisine, sport and beyond".

    32.  Canberra's key party relationships: it's complicated
    Annabel Crabb
    The debt ceiling union between the Greens and the Coalition might make things awkward now, but wait until July next year when the marital prospects in the Upper House get much, much broader. It seems like yesterday, doesn't it?

    33.  Are You Smarter Than A Politician? Take the 12-question quiz
    If you got between 0 and 4 correct, congratulations, you have a bright future as a right-wing politician; If you got between 4 and 8 correct, it is possible you were educated in an Australian school, under the failed, inequitable, Howard SES model; If you got between 9 and 12 correct, please don’t tell anyone. This current Abbott-regime does not like people who are smarter than their entire front bench combined.


    34.  Labor wasn't asked to top up reserve
    Shane Wright
    Neither Wayne Swan nor Chris Bowen was asked to inject almost $9 billion of borrowed money into the Reserve Bank, previously confidential documents reveal.

    35.  “Open for business” is bad for business
    David Llewellyn-Smith
    This is better from the PM. From the AFR: Prime Minister Tony Abbott has forecast a bounce in economic growth emanating from his promised review of competition policy as he reassured the business community he had not dropped the ball on economic reform. This will leave him vulnerable when businesses turns on him.  And turn they will if he is serious.  If done right, this agenda will be a red rag to every rentier in the country.  Affected interests will all twist “open for business” to their advantage and scream “closed

    36.  Debt ceiling farce ends in sense
    Leith van Onselen
    The debt ceiling farce looks all but over, with the Greens last night agreeing to abolish the debt limit in exchange for measures enabling greater public scrutiny of Federal debt. Under the deal, which will be passed by the Senate today, the Charter of Budget Honesty will be amended...

    37.  Bye bye debt ceiling: Joe Hockey laughing all the way to the bank
    Stephen Koukoulas
    So the government debt ceiling has gone. And good riddance in one sense, it was no big deal other than perhaps it helped with some fiscal discipline as governments were always likely to be a bit coy when asking for an increase the debt limit. It had the down side of creating market tension whenever the Opposition threatened to or actually voted against the rise in the ceiling, but that was always low risk.

    38.  Should users pay the toll for Australia’s infrastructure problem?
    Garry Bowditch
    Australia spends more on infrastructure today than at any stage in its history. Yet governments are unable to meet demand and don’t expect ever to do so. What can governments do to keep up with escalating demand and community expectations for infrastructure?

    39.  A deal on debt, as government announces business leaders who will have its ear
    Michelle Grattan.
    The government today clinched a deal with the Greens to scrap the debt ceiling, in exchange for undertaking to provide detailed information and schedule regular parliamentary debates on the subject.

    40.  Meet Tony Shepherd, Transfield’s doyen of debt
    Glenn Dyer and Bernard Keane
    Tony Shepherd, charged with finding ways for the Commonwealth to pay down debt, knows plenty about debt, and not so much about paying it down,


    41.  Humanity Wholly Unprepared for Abrupt Climate Impacts, Warns Report
    Jon Queally
    'The pace of change is orders of magnitude higher than what species have experienced in the last tens of millions of years.'

    42.  Time to stop waffling about degrees of climate danger
    Peter Christoff
    “Erratic”, “inconsistent”, “highly political” and “lacking in direction”. That’s the unvarnished verdict on Australia’s climate policy, according to experts within our own Parliament House. It wasn’t a…

    43.  A modern economy needs a Clean Energy Finance Corporation
    John Mathews
    Defending the role of the CEFC is not just playing politics. In its short life, the corporation has already demonstrated an impressive track record in financing investment in new, green and cleantech projects throughout Australia. It is attracting significant investment into the sector – capital that would not be appearing without it.


    44.  TPVs: ineffective, wasteful, cruel
    Jane McAdam
    Temporary protection visas do not deter asylum seekers - that's a fact. The disallowance of the Migration Amendment (Temporary Protection Visas) Regulation 2013 may only provide a six-month reprieve, but it gives the opportunity to reflect on the detrimental impacts of this regime and how at odds Australia is with international practices.... No other country issues rolling TPVs. Most grant refugees permanent protection, either upfront or on renewal.

    45.  I am a former TPV holder – here is why they do not work
    Abdul Karim Hekmat
    TPVs did not have impact on my decision to come over 13 years ago. They simply do not work as a deterrent, but make the lives of those under this regime a nightmare

    46.  Impasse over TPVs widens as Clive Palmer weighs into debate
    Michael Gordon, Mark Kenny
    Thousands of refugees, including unaccompanied children, face the prospect of no work rights and limited support beyond next year as the latest political impasse on asylum seekers widened to include Queensland MP Clive Palmer...he compared the treatment of women and children to a ''neo-fascist state''.


    47.  Keating: interviews for the true believers
    Carol Johnson
    The ABC’s four-part series of interviews with Paul Keating, displayed the former prime minister and treasurer in all his complexity, both at his best and at his worst. This is a man who could describe painting his big picture of the nation’s future while “high as a kite” from listening to three or four symphonies....However, the full story of the Keating years – and their aftermath – is both far more complex and more contentious than Keating would have us believe. These were interviews for the “true believers” indeed.

    48.  Julia Gillard: Bewitched & Bedevilled: Women write the Gillard Years
    Samantha Trenoweth, Ed.
    With room for outrage, humour, reason and personal reflection, it's a must-read for anyone looking to contemplate ‘The Gillard Years'. Contributors include: Jane Caro; Eva Cox; Clementine Ford; Claire Harvey; Ruth Hessey; Shakira Hussein; Carol Johnson; Kathy Lette; Cathy Lumby; Emily Maguire; Helen Pringle; Helen Razer; Tracey Spicer and transcripts from Gillard's misogyny speech, Anne Summer's My Speech: Her Rights at Work. The Political Persecution of Australia's First Female Prime Minister (R-rated version) and Chloe Hooper's On The Road with Julia Gillard.


    49.  Internet is transforming governments and politics
    Paul Budde
    All round the world we are seeing massive social changes in the way people interact with their leaders and with their political elite. In many cases governments and politicians seem to be behaving as though they are immune to the changes that are following on from these new grassroots-based democratic processes.

    50.  When ‘What’s your policy?’ means ‘How much?’
    Policy analysis — good policy analysis — is difficult.  Part of the problem, no doubt, stems from the ambiguity surrounding the nature of policy.  In the fourth edition of The Australian Policy Handbook, Althaus, Bridgman, and Davis note the diversity of approaches to framing policy.  Citing Hal Colebatch, they write:

    51.  Eureka rebellion should be 'central legend' of patriotism, says MP Andrew Leigh
    Ross Peake
    Dr Leigh, said Eureka should have more prominence in Australia's history and national debate, because of its strong elements of democracy, republicanism and multiculturalism. ''Organisations of the left and the far right both see Eureka as a militant struggle of protest against the entrenched powers of the status quo, a radical tradition to which only they are the rightful heirs,''

    52.  Vic protesters vow to hound Abbott
    Protesters gathered at a hotel where Prime Minister Tony Abbott was due to speak have vowed to hold rallies every time the prime minister is in Melbourne....the group, Rapid Organised Anti-Abbott Response Network (ROAR), was a collective of union members and socialist groups that formed immediately after the election.


    53.  Senate to force Turnbull to publish NBN Review
    Renai LeMay
    The Strategic Review is being led by NBN Co’s Board and executive management. Its primary objective is to evaluate both the current NBN operational and financial performance as well as the timing, financials and product offers under alternative models of delivering very fast broadband to homes and businesses across Australia. Its recommendations will help shape the Government’s decisions regarding the future of the project.


    54.  The Australian squeals like a stuck pig
    David Llewellyn-Smith
    I missed this yesterday, but it’s worth revisiting. The Australian composed a whining editorial without peer: This is correct, desperate and ignorant in equal measure. I agree that the shallowness of coverage in other outlets is an issue. But it’s always been an issue and certainly isn’t being made worse by new media which is increasingly providing much deeper coverage on vertical subjects than the horribly biased News stable can manage.

    55.  How the internet is killing the world's languages
    Caitlin Dewey
    "Less than five percent of current world languages are in use online, according to a recent study by prominent linguist András Kornai – and the Internet may be helping the other 95 percent to their graves."

    56.  It's time to recognize and internalize the US suffix 'ize'
    Robert Nelson
    Here’s the truth, and if you’re British or Australian, you may not like it: when it comes to the suffix ize, as opposed to ise, the American standard is correct. I have no idea what cultural forces made America more sensitive to English spelling than Australia and even Britain, or how the British English spell-check software on your computer got it so wrong, when the British used to know better.

    57.  Rush to Judge ABC Endangers Media
    The arguments being trumpeted by News Corp in Australia have their sympathisers in government too, notably Cory Bernardi. The South Australian senator wants the ABC to be compelled to sell advertising and paid subscriptions online to reduce its dependence on public funding and to allow commercial news outlets to better compete with it.

    58.  Hard Evidence: is open access working?
    Ernesto Priego
    According to Peter Suber open access is academic literature which is “digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions". Open access delivered by journals is called “gold” open access and open access delivered by repositories is called “green” open access. Most academic literature is not open access. And in recent years there has been a growing open access movement to remove paywalls, which are put up by journal publishers.

    59.  The revolutionary box
    Brett Evans
    It’s not just sweatshop labour that keeps down the price of the stuff we buy. The container system is so economically efficient, “that it makes more financial sense for Scottish cod to be sent ten thousand miles to China to be filleted, then sent back to Scottish shops and restaurants, than to pay Scottish filleters.” That’s not madness, ... that’s just shipping.


    60.  Gender equality through the eyes of young women
    Women's Agenda
    In Mission Australia's 2013 Youth Survey young women ranked equity and discrimination as the number one issue facing the country. Female respondents indicated they were concerned about workplace discrimination, racism and gender inequality. WGEA asked young women whether they thought gender equality was an issue in Australian workplaces.

    61.  ACT marriage equality may stay despite Abbott’s best efforts
    Lionel Grant
    According to some experts, the ACT’s new marriage equality laws stand a real chance of survival against the Federal Government’s High Court challenge[...],5958

    62.  Why young women being aware of gender inequity is good news
    Conrad Liveris
    I am not surprised that young women are concerned about equity and discrimination. I am surprised, though, that this has been picked up by Mission Australia's landmark youth survey for the first time. It is a double-edged sword; this is beyond the 'Gillard Effect'. Young women are more conscious of their gender and where they sit in Australia. The role of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency research, particularly regarding the gender pay gap, and the publicity it has received in 2013, play into this as well. Young women are acutely aware of the limitations that exist in Australian society.

    63.  What happens when you connect schoolgirls with senior women in business?
    Jacqui Jones
    Over three hundred female high school students nationally have had the opportunity to be mentored by senior women in business since late last year as part of the Australian Business and Community Network's (ABCN) Focus program. The Focus program, piloted by Minter Ellison Lawyers and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, seeks to equip female students with the skills to become effective leaders.


    64.  Do smart people drink more? Here's some science to ease your hangover
    Alice Robb
    "It's the booziest time of the year, and also the most hung over... Here's something that might help the self-reproach: You can blame your hangover on your high IQ, because studies show there might be a positive correlation between intelligence and alcohol consumption." Alcohol consumption has been found to correlate positively with verbal ability, evolutionary adaptability and going to university.


    Refugee Boat Arrivals
    The updates that the Morrison Military Machine want to hide.

    ABC Fact Check determines the accuracy of claims by politicians, public figures, advocacy groups and institutions engaged in the public debate.

    Politifact Australia

    Ashbygate on Facebook

    The Finnigans' Home of the BISONs
    The Beautiful Inspiring Set of Numbers

    •  ROULE REPORT — Issues of Today


    •  NEWS HEADLINES  6 December 2013


  • Casablanca

    12/6/2013 3:44:53 AM |

    TT, (re yours @ December 5. 2013 10:13 AM)

    The sunrise comes at the end of my day more frequently than at the beginning!

    I think that I might even be asleep before dawn today! Enjoyed the linked song.

  • Catching Up

    12/6/2013 7:14:39 AM |

    Boats seeking throught. Businesses fleeing the country.

    For a country open to business, there are sure many closing down.
    Now we have a trade ageratum with Korea. Yes, one that allows the,m to sue the Australian government clause in it.

    Was not a pretty sight, watching Bishop, literally on her knees, apologizing to Indonesia.

    We now have the government ministers talking to the media. Is there a battle between the dries and wets.

    Rescinding the toxic tax are not saving these industries.

    Holden does not seem to impressed with the assistance that Abbott has given. Not appreciative of him doing away with the MRRT, Toxic tax, and changes made to the FBT when it comes to cars.

    Abbott's  policies are not delivering the miracles he promised.

  • jaycee

    12/6/2013 8:34:48 AM |

    With Abbott's clarion call for business to "attack his attackers"...he is "framing the enemy". Once he has "identified" the enemy ie. ; all those who oppose him and business economic rationalists, he can get Brandis to "outlaw" them...and then let slip the dogs of "law".

  • TalkTurkey

    12/6/2013 11:57:56 AM |

    Vale Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    You have ennobled the world.  

  • Ad astra

    12/6/2013 12:10:42 PM |

    Thank you once again for your phenomenal effort in presenting us each morning with such a comprehensive list of links.

    Our slogan-driven PM is finding that government by three word slogans is impossible.  He is now beset with diplomatic problems with Indonesia, China and East Timor, all the result of past government actions and his mishandling of the diplomacy, for which his bare-knuckle street fighting approach is quite unsuitable.  He also has industrial problems with Holden and Qantas, about which he has internal dissent between the wets and the dries.  His ‘stops the boats’ policy looks shaky with the undetected arrival of Burmese asylum seekers despite ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’.  His alliance with the ‘economic fringe dwellers’ Greens over the debt ceiling; and the debt itself, to which his own government had added significantly, is giving him and Hockey grief.  Christopher Pyne’s continuing somersaults over Gonski, earning him ‘most incompetent minister’ status to match the ‘most arrogant minister’ tag has made him an object of derision, even among his media accolades.

    As Paul Keating said in the ‘Keating’ series, ’when you are PM problems are coming at you all the time’.  Abbott is finding this out hour after hour and he’s not coping.  Why? Because he’s a dud.

  • Ad astra

    12/6/2013 1:36:36 PM |

    We are shortly getting on the road to Melbourne, where will be for a couple of weeks.

  • Pappinbarra Fox

    12/6/2013 2:06:03 PM |

    Casa and Ad, Thank you both for your perspicacious choices and thoughts.
    I think Abbott just does not have the ticker for it.

  • Jason

    12/6/2013 4:37:24 PM |

    Australian Labor ‏@AustralianLabor  47m  
    We have started an online condolence book for Nelson Mandela that we'll give to ANC in South Africa. Sign your name:

  • Frank

    12/6/2013 10:04:46 PM |

    The Democrats in the US are not up against a monopoly media that controls more than 70% of the print media. They have the New York Times the acquisition of which Murdoch sees as his last frontier. He has secured the Wall Street Journal and the tone of the newspaper has changed markedly.The US also has the MSNBC that counteracts Hannity and the O'Reilly factor. Most the ABC and Fairfax outlets were hostile to the centre left and some have only switched since Labor lost the election.So the tea party mentality will prevail in this country unless social media or the fifth estate can make a significant impact.

  • 2353

    12/6/2013 10:46:39 PM |

    Hi Frank and welcome aboard if you haven't been here before.

    While I see where you are coming from there is significant movement in the media market in Australia.  While you are correct that the majority of Australian media is owned and operated by News, the opportunity to expand into what they obviously saw as a vacuum has been taken by The Guardian who are ahead of expectations (according to a how are we going article written a month or two ago) and soon by another UK based media outlet.  

    The Courier Mail, one of the most blatantly biased News outlets prior to the election was this morning comparing Morrison & his "Sovereign Borders" policy to Gilligan's Island on the front page.  I suspect there is a fair degree of buyers remorse occurring in the media which will be good for the long term future of the Country and force political parties to have policy rather than three word slogans.

    With the decline in traditional media (paper sales and eyes watching news bulletins), and the literal dying out of the stereotypical membership of the conservative rumps around the world - there will be some movement back to the left of the spectrum - The Greens seem to be sitting on around 10% of the vote and a lot of them are reputed to be disaffected younger ALP voters.  In my view, the ALP should be trying to promote itself to this group rather than chase the demographic that listens to Alan Jones et al.  The Democrats seem to have been pretty successful at attracting the vote of the disaffected and lower socio-economic groups in the US as shown by some Republican states attempting to introduce Voter ID laws.  There is nothing to stop the ALP doing likewise here - with or without the traditional media reporting.  Making the ALP seem to be an aspirational choice would be a good start.

  • Casablanca

    12/7/2013 4:40:26 AM |

    CASABLANCA'S CACHE  Saturday, 7 December, 2013; 40 items

    VALE NELSON MANDELA | 1918 - 2013


    1.  Nelson Mandela: A seven-part obituary
    Read the story of Mandela's tempestuous life, filled with hardship and struggle and crowned by a singular triumph, in The Telegraph's seven-part obituary.

    2.  OBITUARY: Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner and President, Dies at 95
    Bill Keller
    Mr. Mandela’s quest for freedom took him from the court of tribal royalty to the liberation underground to a prison rock quarry to the presidential suite of Africa’s richest country.

    3.  OBITUARY: Nelson Mandela: The man who built the rainbow
    Gerry Carman with the Telegraph, London
    Nelson Mandela is survived by Graca, as well as his two daughters by Winnie Mandela, Zenani and Zindziswa; a daughter, Makaziwe, by his first wife; 17 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

    4.  Obituary: Nelson Mandela
    Fergal Keane
    To those who observed him closely, Nelson Mandela always carried himself as one who was born to lead. As his former cellmate and long time friend, Ahmed Kathrada, said recently: "He was born into a royal house and there was always that sense about him of someone who knew the meaning of leadership."

    5.  Nelson Mandela
    The Editorial Board
    Nelson Mandela...fully deserved the legendary stature he enjoyed around the world for the last quarter-century of his life. He was one of the most extraordinary liberation leaders Africa, or any other continent, ever produced.


    6.  Follow Mandela's example, and roar with laughter at all this rightwing fawning
    Marina Hyde
    "Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time," intoned David Cameron, who went off on a jolly to apartheid South Africa in 1989, with all expenses paid by a firm lobbying against sanctions. "President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time," declared George W Bush, neglecting to mention that the ANC were still on a US terror-watch list until 2008, which meant the secretary of state had to certify that Mandela was not a terrorist in order for him to visit the country.

    7.  Beloved Mandela is dead
    Tess Lawrence
    As he lay dying, in one of the many heartbreaking ironies of Mandela's life, on the other side of the world in London, two of his other children, Zindzi and Zenani, daughters with his second wife Winnie Madikizela, were attending a Royal premiere in the company of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, of the Justin Chadwick directed, Anant Singh produced film Long Walk  to Freedom, starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, based on their Dad's autobiography of the same name.,5964

    8.  Mandela’s Death Leaves South Africa Without Its Moral Center
    Lydia Polgreen
    Mr. Mandela’s decades in prison and insistence on forgiveness over vengeance made him a potent symbol of the struggle to end his country’s system of racial domination.

    9.  Postscript: Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
    William Finnegan
    He was the last of the twentieth century’s national liberators. He became a global symbol of righteousness and reconciliation. He led his beloved, tormented country from the howling darkness of apartheid to the promised land of democracy with shrewdness, courage, and visionary determination. It was a long and difficult trip, both for Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday, and for South Africa.

    10.  Mandela death: saying goodbye to a global icon
    Adam Habib, University of the Witwatersrand
    How do you say goodbye to a global icon? The answer must be: with dignity and by being true to the values that he fought for. By these standards, we all have done Nelson Mandela a disservice. The international…

    11.  Mandela: spirit of Rolihlahla, the one who shook the tree
    Marie Breen-Smyth, University of Surrey
    Nelson Mandela’s African name – Rolihlahla – means the one who shakes the tree, the one who unsettles the status quo. When I was a student living amid the political violence of Northern Ireland in the…

    12.  The Contradictions of Mandela
    Zakes Mda
    I REMEMBER Nelson Mandela. No, not the universally adored elder statesman who successfully resisted the megalomania that comes with deification, and who died Thursday at age 95, but the young lawyer who used to sit in my parents’ living room until the early hours of the morning, debating African nationalism with my father, Ashby Peter Mda.

    13.  Is there life for South African democracy after Mandela?
    Alexander Beresford, University of Leeds
    As the figurehead of South Africa’s struggle for freedom, Nelson Mandela inspired generations of political activists around the world. He is, quite possibly, the most revered politician in world history…

    14.  Nelson Mandela dies: man who reinvented South Africa as a ‘rainbow nation’
    Michele Alexander, Monash University
    Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa, has died at the age of 95. The fears of South Africa, the nation that once was deeply divided in its perceptions of Mandela, have now been realised…

    15.  Nelson Mandela: The View From South Africa
    Natasha Joseph
    Westerners don't always appreciate the extent to which the anti-apartheid crusader functioned as a Rorschach test in his home country.

    16.  Mandela, Madiba, father of a nation
    Bruce Haigh
    Even when he was locked away in prison, Nelson Mandela was everywhere in South Africa as a symbol of hope, says Bruce Haigh, who writes here about his own experiences during apartheid as an Australian diplomat. I cannot remember when I first became aware of Nelson Mandela or of the system of government he was trying to change. I was an 18-year-old jackaroo in the Kimberley of Western Australia when he was sentenced to life in prison on Friday June 12, 1964.

    17.  Apartheid's Useful Idiots
    Ta-Nehisi Coates
    For many years, a large swath of this country failed Nelson Mandela, failed its own alleged morality, and failed the majority of people living in South Africa.

    18.  Will the World Produce Another Mandela?
    Michael Hirsh
    Look around the globe, and you won't find a successor worthy of him. Are there any on the horizon?

    19.  Nelson Mandela's Death and South Africa's Next Great Struggle
    Natasha Joseph
    With the anti-apartheid crusader's death on Thursday, will South Africans finally confront the stark inequalities that still plague their young democracy?


    20.  Not just tiger mums and rote learning: it’s time for a balanced view of Asian education
    Keita Takayama
    International test results on maths, reading and science literacies, released this week, continue to show one thing for sure: the outstanding performance of Asian education systems. Each time the results…


    21.  Jacksonville 66: Thomson in Court — Days 3 and 4
    Peter Wicks
    On Wednesday we saw the mainstream media embrace the prosecution tactics of trashing Thomson’s name and reputation. On Thursday, when real evidence began to be heard, they disappeared.,5962


    22.  Marty-Bishop meeting yields little progress
    Bagus BT Saragih
    “The ball is on the Australian side [of the court] because it all depends on the core problem: how to rebuild mutual trust,” said Marty. The most concrete result of their two-hour meeting was that they agreed to set up a special communication or “hotline”.


    23.  Coalition keeps getting rolled in the political surf
    Laura Tingle
    In a week dominated by the Coalition’s first spectacular political management debacle over school funding, spying scandals, ASIO raids, cosying up with the Greens to get rid of a legislated ceiling on government borrowings, continuing unhappiness within the government about the obsessive attempts by the PM’s office to control absolutely everything, and on-going digestion of Joe Hockey’s GrainCorp decision, the regional development decision might seem a small issue.

    24.  Grattan on Friday: Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott is a partnership facing plenty of tests
    Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra
    A column by Paul Kelly in The Australian this week caused a ripple around the government. It said, in essence, that Education Minister Chris Pyne has been told, after a discussion in the expenditure review to go out and try to find savings from the Gonski funds. The detail is less important than that the article referred to what had happened in the “razor gang”. It was an early sign of what inevitably come in any government – leaks.

    25.  Question time is faster … but is it any better?
    Don Woolford
    Tony Abbott is speeding up question time but that doesn’t mean the opposition is eliciting anything more than abuse and derision.


    26.  Sandi Logan, Immigration Department spin doctor, quits job
    Noel Towell
    The Immigration Department's long-serving spin doctor Sandi Logan has quit, saying he is taking a 12-month sabbatical. Mr Logan was the face and the voice of the department from 2005, often attracting controversy with his confrontational forays into social media. But the former journalist and ACT Policing spokesman was sidelined by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison in September and his Twitter account was silenced.


    27.  Microsoft partners with university but industry collaboration still weak
    Kylar Loussikian, Tim Mazzarol, Frank Vetere & Roy Green
    Microsoft’s research arm will partner with the University of Melbourne to explore how people interact socially with technology. But indicators continue to show Australia trailing other countries in terms of business collaboration.

    28.  Coffee greenwashing works: study
    Charis Palmer, et al
    Coffee labelled as “eco-friendly” can attract a premium, with consumers led to believe it tastes better, according to new research from Sweden. The researchers, from the University of Gavle and the University of Chicago, asked study participants to taste and rate two types of coffee, after telling them that one was “eco-friendly”. In reality, both coffees were the same.

    29.  Delivering growth but protecting economies: our G20 conundrum
    Susan Harris Rimmer, Australian National University
    With Russia handing the G20 host baton to Australia this month, and combined with our UN Security Council seat, the biggest year of Australian diplomacy begins. Prime Minister Tony Abbott had a backdrop…


    30.  US concessions don't give Trans Pacific partners access to drugs
    Brigitte Tenni, University of Melbourne
    In the next few days, 12 Pacific Rim countries will make critical decisions about what is potentially the most damaging trade agreement for public health ever signed. The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement…


    31.  Drought conditions return to Australia's eastern states
    Blair Trewin, Australian Bureau of Meteorology
    While much of Australia has received average to above average rainfall over recent months, parts of Australia such as western Queensland are in the middle of a drought. Drought has been a feature of the…


    32.  Save our ABC
    Pulled straight from the Christmas wishlist of Rupert Murdoch and right-wing think-tank the IPA, defunding or commercialising the ABC would ruin a rare, educational and uniquely Australian public resource. We like our ABC free of ads, free for all, free to remain fair and balanced. Will you make sure Tony Abbott knows to keep it that way?,5959

    33.  Review the ABC (Anti-ABC petition)
    The ABC is a taxpayer funded organisation and as such must provide value to the community that supports it. Going by its output in recent times, I don't believe the ABC is meeting its obligations to the taxpayer. To determine a corrective path, a review into the following needs to be conducted:

    34.  ABC leaks Confidential Information – They Must Have a Government Appointed Person To Veto their Stories!!
    So, Government Ministers – unnamed – are telling the ABC about Holden’s “decision” to close, and the ABC publicises these rumours. This is further evidence for the argument that the ABC needs to be brought back under some sort of control, isn’t it?

    35.  Does Australian TV Need the ABC?
    Michelle Smith
    After Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi’s recent statement that the ABC’s funding should be cut and that the broadcaster should run paid advertisements, several “Save Our ABC” campaigns have swung into effect. GetUp’s online petition currently has over 150,000 signatures. The campaign image shows one of the Bananas in Pyjamas, among our biggest children’s television exports, ominously trapped in a blender. What kind of difference would it make if the federal government hit “puree” with B2 inside?


    36.  The art of promise stretching: are we being served?
    Rod Tiffen
    Multi-year spending promises have become a fixture of public debate. But are these deep horizon promises serving the interests of voters? Do they understand what's being promised and when it will be delivered? And are journalists asking the right questions? We asked media and political scholar Rod Tiffen to examine the issue — and suggest how journalists might improve the situation.

    37.  Dear Aunt Rose Comma Thank You for the Speech Recognition Software Exclamation Point
    Eric K. Auld
    "This is my first time using it comma but I think I've got the hang of it. How's Uncle Bernie. No. Wait. Backspace. BACKSPACE. Question mark. Huhhhh."


    38.  Why is a father looking after his daughter for a week so surprising?
    Georgina Dent
    The response to a father minding his own child reveals a lot about how society still perceives the roles of mothers and fathers.


    39.  If at first you don't succeed ... part of your brain makes you try again
    David Heslin, et al
    Perseverance is a quality that plays a large role in the success or failure of many pursuits. It has never been entirely…

    40.  How Happiness Boosts the Immune System
    Jo Marchant and Nature magazine
    Researchers have struggled to identify how certain states of mind influence physical health. One biologist thinks he has an answer


    Refugee Boat Arrivals
    The updates that the Morrison Military Machine want to hide.

    ABC Fact Check determines the accuracy of claims by politicians, public figures, advocacy groups and institutions engaged in the public debate.

    Politifact Australia

    Ashbygate on Facebook

    The Finnigans' Home of the BISONs
    The Beautiful Inspiring Set of Numbers

    •  ROULE REPORT — Issues of Today


    •  NEWS HEADLINES  7 December 2013


  • Casablanca

    12/7/2013 5:16:21 AM |

    'We do' at midnight to celebrate new dawn for same-sex marriage
    Matthew Raggatt

    The first same sex weddings on Australian soil have taken place, with Canberra men Joel Player and Alan Wright saying ‘I do’ minutes after midnight in an emotional ceremony at the National Carillon.

    ACT government keeps its promise on marriage equality
    Katy Gallagher. ACT Chief Minister.

    As the first jurisdiction in Australia to legislate for marriage equality, the ACT government delivered on a clear and public promise we made during the election in October last year. We acted on a belief held deeply by people throughout Canberra and in communities across Australia - that everyone deserves equality before the law. In a modern, secular and mature society where, in most respects, we have removed discrimination on the grounds of gender and sexuality, the exclusion of some from the institution of marriage remains a mark against our national record.

  • 42 long

    12/7/2013 9:16:03 AM |

      No matter what I do with my computer or my wife with hers, we cannot log onto or view I A. I also had a few posts disappear on that site. Has anyone had the same problem? I'm starting to wonder if I am being nobbled.

  • Catching Up

    12/7/2013 9:24:38 AM |

    Once again, Mr. Abbott and his government, the only one in step.
    The rest of the world seems to differ.

    Australia to lower flags on memorial day

    Flags in Australia will be lowered to half-mast on the day of Nelson Mandela's memorial.

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made the request to honour what he says is Mr Mandela's extraordinary life and contribution to the world.

    Mandela was also an honorary Companion of the Order of Australia.

    Yesterday the flags at Downing Street in London and the White House in Washington were lowered but the flag at Parliament House in Canberra remained at full mast.

    Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek suggested last night it should be at half-mast as a "small but powerful gesture".

    Australians have also been calling for the flag to be lowered on Twitter, using the hashtag #lowertheflag.

    The ABC has been told that it is protocol for the flag to be lowered on the actual day of the memorial.

    Nelson Mandela | Life and ti

  • Catching Up

    12/7/2013 9:27:11 AM |

    No problem getting into IA.

  • Catching Up

    12/7/2013 9:35:25 AM |

    Love this, the Timorese leader are sure the Australian embassy will correct the misleading story.

    I wish I had their faith in this government. Did not enjoy seeing our FM going all out with the Chinese counterpart.  Yes, disagree, but why are we out ahead of everyone in this incident.

    We are now at war, with three countries in this region. Not sure that there are not others, not far behind.

    I wonder where the type of diplomacy this government practices, takes one.

    Seem to be, we will say and do as we like, and you will lump it.
    Same when it comes to Qantas and GMH, and goodness knows,who else.

    We are in government, therefor we are boss, and all will fall in line.

  • Catching Up

    12/7/2013 9:37:10 AM |

    It is interesting that the court did not issue a injunction while making it's deliberation. It is funny that none were asked by the Feds.

  • TalkTurkey

    12/7/2013 10:08:18 AM |

    Check this link
    What do you see?!
    Michelle Grattan
    Deep in thought:
    Great big bubble -
    Substance nought!

    Thanks for the link CU

  • TalkTurkey

    12/7/2013 10:38:02 AM |

    Six things about Mandela that don't get much airplay.

    He was no pussy, he was a Lion.

  • 42 long

    12/7/2013 12:28:58 PM |

        The abbott's mob are making the ALP look like genius's  as each day passes.

  • jaycee

    12/7/2013 1:08:13 PM |

    "...Every democracy suffers from these abuses - since the most powerful men compete for the principle offices of state, hire the weaker citizens as their supporters and reduce everything to chaos..."

    A quote from Cassius Dio, circa 2nd century AD.

    Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it....Tony Abbott is a history dunce..the LNP. and it's supporters are a history dunce...get ready for a history repeat!

  • jaycee

    12/7/2013 1:19:54 PM |

    I suspect Grattan is setting herself up to be remembered as a sort of revered "doyen of journalism"...and she probably will succeed...amongst her forth estate peers..few others. We will know her for her two-faced articles and her "see no evil" prattling about the Abbott shenanigans while in oppn'.
    Like the rest of her press gallery pussycats...: hopeless gutless and useless!

  • Catching Up

    12/7/2013 6:31:19 PM |

    Help us. Abbott is going to South Africa.

  • Ken

    12/7/2013 7:10:36 PM |


    What is also overlooked now is that Mandela was in charge of the ANC youth wing when it adopted militant tactics.  Howard called him and the ANC 'terrorists' and under current legislation in many countries today, including OZ, he would be.  It just proves the old adage that one person's 'terrorist' is another person's 'freedom fighter'.

    Catching Up

    Abbott in South Africa - as long as he doesn't open his mouth or try to tell them how to 'stop the boats' (which seems to be the ony thing he knows how to say!!!)

  • Ken

    12/7/2013 7:13:45 PM |


    Agree Abbott has no sense of history other than some rosy glasses about the Howard years.  And no sense of policy, other than what the business moguls and IPA are telling him.  I expect that, unless there is improvement, Abbott could be gone as Coalition leader before the end of 2014.

  • jaycee

    12/7/2013 8:05:00 PM |

    Ken..he won't be "gone"...he will stay and he will do untold damage to the nation...history will some ways, it could be the maturing of the nation.

  • Catching Up

    12/7/2013 8:10:36 PM |

    It appears that Abbott will miss most of parliament this weeks. Maybe he should let the head of state, the GG go instead.

    Suspect he is very happy about the respite, Mandela's death has given him.

  • jaycee

    12/7/2013 8:10:58 PM |

    Or to frame it in a "Keatingesque" way...He is the "bastard" we had to have!

  • Casablanca

    12/8/2013 2:25:44 AM |

    Abbott and Murdoch: All out damage control
    Alan Austin 7 December 2013, 11:00am 123

    THE PRIME MINISTERSHIP OF TONY ABBOTT has turned out more of a disaster than his most dubious doubters could have envisaged.

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  • jaycee

    12/8/2013 8:49:31 AM |

    One hundred days of totally...TOTALLY inept govt'...Three international incidents..diplomatic clumsyness, leadership ignorance, economic stupidity and a softly - softly coverage by the "Olde Worlde" MSM.
    Can there be any other accusation than "betrayal" of national interests by those that elevated this "stir-fry" of goons?...and when the head goon goes to Mandela's funeral in Sth' Africa this week...the man left in charge of Australia is ...: WAIT FOR IT!!!....(Mumbles)TRUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!???..God help us all!...f#ckin' Truss...what a wanker....and in charge of Aust'...CRY TREASON! you bastards...TREASON!

  • jaycee

    12/8/2013 9:59:51 AM |

    Murdoch, Abbott and the LNP. ....: "The horror, the horror..."

  • Catching Up

    12/8/2013 10:38:50 AM |

    Could we have had that generational change wit the Gillard government. A government that did bring much reform in many areas, especially Health and Education. A government that focused on infrastructure for the future, such as th NBNCo.

    A government that not only said it will spend money on roads and transport, but already had.

    A government whose foreign policy dwelt on helping poor countries around the us  by concentrating on health and education, not necessary money and trade, as this present government is proudly saying they are going to do.

    The Gillard proudly saw our future as a big part of the Asian Century.  Yes, even brought down a paper on the topic. I have not seen this government give it even a glance.

    Yes, could we have had a government that was bringing about that generational change, and threw it out, as we thought it did not conform to Labor valuers, that many seem to think is to be found in the last century, not this one.

    Yes, Labor seemed to believe in building and planning for the future. It also delivered a solid economy.

    Labor, under Ms Gillard, seen the way to a fairer society, was to take unnecessary rebates and welfare to the middle/upper income earners, while ensuring those in need where supported.

    Yes a government that believed in building, while we have one, that loves to drive the bulldozer through everything in its path.
    Not, Labor was not perfect. That is impossible, buty it was heading the right way.

    I see generational change, as that meets the needs of this generation and the next, not the generations of those long gone.

    Took me  a while to get my mind around this post, and the concept of generational change.

  • Catching Up

    12/8/2013 10:46:37 AM |

    93 days since the election. 82 days since government installed.  

    I see Abbott intends to stretch the Mandella death long enough to keep him out of the country all the week.  Wonder it the GG is going, as I believe this is a Commonwealth country.

  • Catching Up

    12/8/2013 11:29:00 AM |

    I wonder if Peta will be on that plane.

    Yes we will have Truss, bit also Plibersek .

    I see that FM Bishop as usual is playing down the harm she has caused. Seems to think they can say as they like, with no repercussions. A repeat ot the Indonesia farce with Bishop and China.

    Personally, I would rather listen to the Chinese version of the lurking dangers.
    We also have her, today, saying they are close to signing that trade pact with China. Another sellout, as the one with South Korea.

    It is easy to come to agreements, when one gives the opponent all they want.

    Sorry for misspelling Mandela's name.

  • Catching Up

    12/8/2013 11:30:06 AM |

    No, he is the bastard we should not be having.

  • TalkTurkey

    12/8/2013 11:48:05 AM |

    Good Sabbath to You All, bold Xipids!

    English Dictionary LogoEnglishDictionary

    English dictionary » X » xiphi

    Previous word: xion

    Next word: xiphisternum

    Definition of: xiphi
    A sword; of or pertaining to a sword: xiphisternum. Also, before vowels, xiph-. [<Gk. xiphos a sword]

    'xiphi' used in domains:

    Read more:

    (Xiphiids are Swordfish.

    Xiphids are Swordies!)

    The Sword: About which I have been meaning to write a bit.
    If I can muster the mustard, iyswim.

    Well Comrades,

    I know it has become very difficult to find enthusiasm when all *J*U*L*I*A*s Government, and we the writers on the 5th Estate, fought for is being trashed, both domestically and internationally, with Australia's reputation now stinking around the world. Well We the Australian People elected these Abborrrtttians, by hoodwinking yes, but We did let ourselves be hoodwinked.

    Not you, not me, but We.

    We the Fighting 5th failed but we tried.
    We the Fighting 5th tried but we failed.

    I think we were magnificent, Hobbits versus the combined Forces of Darkness, but we lost that major battle.  

    Are we to bow now to the final permanent reality of the nightmarish world of 1984 right here in Australia?

    Not me anyway. Surely, not proper Xiphid Warriors like Us.

    Despair isn't decent for Us.

    We have a job to do, bigger than ever before, daunting indeed, but we have social media, and we are legion.

    As long as we form a legion! And stay in fighting trim!

    Low moods always come with failure, and the realisation that all our worst projections coming true, and in Spades, has hit our mood like post partum depression, when the baby was stillborn too. Yes I know.

    But look at it this way: We were absolutely right about everything*, our perceptions and pronouncements were spot-on about the nature and agenda of these frauds and mugs and thugs, when hardly a one in the mainstream media called them on their lies and their idiotic plans. All the best blogs, all the best bloggers, but The Political Sword, of them all, has the moral authority and the concomitant responsibility to speak for Progressives. May we continue to merit that.
    (*Except in my case the outcome, but then I didn't bargain on the perfidy and eventual succession of Rudd to the Leadership. I always based my projections on *J*U*L*I*A* being  Leader.)  

    So, how to keep our edge? Well, don't forget the change that will take place in the Senate in July, that is the real watershed, for if the PUPs vote conservative en bloc as feared, the Forces of Darkness will prevail for the next two years without hindrance. We must focus on them, individually and collectively, for if we can turn any of them to the light - not discounting the possibility of turning Palmhair himself, he is not a stupid man - if only one or two, Abborrrtt will have a real problem.

    So WRITE and be Damned my Xiphid Comrades, don't stop, and don't give ALL your best to Twitter, TPS needs us and we need TPS.

    Ad astra will be contributing the last thread for the year later today. For the first time since I've been writing here, this is the first time he's had a break to refresh and mature his considerations.

    Tell everybody eh?        


  • Catching Up

    12/8/2013 1:32:20 PM |

    Maybe the battle but not the war. I believe we have come out of the battle stronger, and growing in strength.

  • Catching Up

    12/8/2013 1:40:22 PM |

    I believe we do not make the mistake that Abbott and his cronies make.

    They believed that wining was all that was needed.

    They are finding out quickly, that winning is only the beginning.

    One then has to govern, not according to their beliefs and prejudice but in the reality that is Australia today.

    They are quickly learning that our parliament is not only made up of government members.

    There are also those across the chamber. All that have a vote, with the same value as the individual MPs that make up the government.

    Yes, A PM has to lead, has to get all onside, if he wants to get his legislation through.

    Most PMs. down history have had to negotiate.

    Time for Abbott to begin. Forget about cleaning up Labor's mess, and get on with governing for all.

    At the end of the day, there is only one reality in politics. Yes, it is still the art of the possible.

  • Catching Up

    12/8/2013 5:04:45 PM |

    Obama is taking three previous president with him. Why not our PM, follow his example.

  • khtagh

    12/8/2013 6:12:35 PM |

    Hi all Xiphids.

      I'm a busy bee at the moment, but always touch base with TPS. I was talking to a friend the other day who just got back from WA,  he stayed with an old mate while there who told him the following, he was working on this project & as Jeff said he is one person that does not bullshit. Everyone was made to sign a non-disclosure contract!

      How many people know this, Gina just finished building an international grade airport in the desert so she can quietly fly in all her international workers/slaves without anyone knowing.

    So many complained about a mining tax because they screamed they might lose there well paid mining jobs, soon NO! Australians will be working in the mines as Abbott will allow Gina to replace them all with 457 workers by stealth, so she makes even more money, you know 1 million every 30mins is just not enough for her to live on.

      Mushrooms, most Australians make mushroom look like the dux of the class.

  • jaycee

    12/8/2013 6:50:33 PM |

    That's interesting. K'...has anyone here got a version of Google Earth that could show this can't be that hard to find!
    My friend's son worked up in the mines and he was one of only a few Aussies amongst amny, many Irish 457. workers and even he was made redundant in the end.

  • khtagh

    12/8/2013 7:14:37 PM |


       Have you ever tried to look at Groom lake also known as area 51 on Google? I'm sure that if Gina wanted it kept quiet she would part with enough $'s to Google to make it so, also where do we look? I would love to know where it is too. They would just claim it is a defense facility end of search.

  • jaycee

    12/8/2013 8:54:09 PM |

    Gina says..: "...We need to see for ourselves the result of excessive or reckless government spending, the entitlement mentality, the welfare state and the loss of work ethic. It’s called Greece, or Spain or Italy."

    AS if such a slob could put in even ONE HOUR'S hard work!!!

  • jaycee

    12/8/2013 8:56:14 PM |

    And, I might add...even though places like Greece and Italy are a tad "down" at the moment..they still have something in spades Gina and her mates will NEVER have....class and style!

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    Decision making. What in the hell does that mean. Could not they get any judge to head it. Comes to think of it, the judges are generally retired. Maybe, with all the inquiries this government has set up, there are none available.

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