The myth of political sameness

Cock your ear at your local watering hole, listen to the boys as they clasp a frosted schooner of VB, and you’re bound to hear: ‘They’re all the same these pollies. Ya just can’t trust em’. Of course they are right to some extent. The deception and deviousness we see day after day from our politicians has earned them that condemnation. On the other side of the coin, by and large politicians enter public life to make a difference, to do good things, to make life better for their electorates, indeed the whole nation. Only the Eddie Obeids of this world have self-interest as their driving force.

Similarly, political parties have good intentions and many comparable policies. It’s not surprising then that many voters perceive politicians and parties as ‘all the same’.

This notion of sameness needs debunking, lest too many entitled to cast a vote swallow the myth that the ‘sameness’ of the parties absolves them from making a critical decision about who is best equipped to lead the nation, who has the best policy agenda, who has the most acceptable ideology, who has the most suitable approach to policy development, who can take us to a better future.

Politicians and parties are not ‘all the same’.

In his book: Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2002), George Lakoff, linguist and cognitive scientist, tells us how very different are conservatives from progressives, and how the major differences in their mindset affects their approach to politics. Because he studied US politics, he uses the term ‘liberal’ to describe ‘progressives’ (in the US, Democrats; in this country Labor and perhaps the Greens), and ‘conservative’ to describe conservatives (in the US, Republicans or their extreme variant, The Tea Party; in this country the Liberal National Party, the Coalition). Most of the quotes in this piece are from this book. I quote him extensively; my words could not do a better job than his.

His underlying thesis rests on a central metaphor: ‘Nation as Family’. He elaborates on this as follows:

The Nation is a Family.
The Government is a Parent.
The Citizens are the Children.

We know that the metaphor is not wholly applicable, but many people find it a comfortable one with which they can identify readily. They can accept that family dynamics and economics might be seen as applicable to the nation’s dynamics and economics, even though there are many fundamental differences. Our politicians often use this metaphor, making reference to the family budget to argue that the nation, like a family, must ‘live within its means’.

Building on the Nation as Family metaphor, Lakoff identifies two types of family based upon two distinct styles of parenting, which he assigns to conservatives and progressives respectively. When applied to the Nation as Family metaphor, they result in vastly different behaviours.

The two parenting styles are:

The Strict Father model, and
The Nurturant Parent model.

At the center of the conservative worldview is a Strict Father model; the liberal (progressive) worldview centres on a very different ideal for family life, the Nurturant Parent model, which encompasses both parents.

Lakoff asserts that the Strict Father model is a metaphorical version of an economic idea. He explains:

It is based on a folk version of Adam Smith’s economics: If each person seeks to maximize his own wealth, then, by an invisible hand, the wealth of all will be maximized. Applying the common metaphor that Well-Being Is Wealth to this folk version of free-market economics, we get: If each person tries to maximize his own well-being (or self-interest), the well-being of all will be maximized. Thus, seeking one’s own self-interest is actually a positive, moral act, one that contributes to the well-being of all.

Lakoff goes on to cite some words and phrases used over and over in conservative discourse, words that reflect the Strict Father model:

Character, virtue, discipline, tough it out, get tough, tough love, strong, self-reliance, individual responsibility, backbone, standards, authority, heritage, competition, earn, hard work, enterprise, property rights, reward, freedom, intrusion, interference, meddling, punishment, human nature, traditional, common sense, dependency, self-indulgent, elite, quotas, breakdown, corrupt, decay, rot, degenerate, deviant, lifestyle.

How many times have you heard Coalition members use these words, particularly those who have responsibility for the economy: Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and Mathias Cormann? Countless times!

Lakoff continues:

Liberals [progressives], in their speeches and writings, choose different topics, different words, and different modes of inference than conservatives. Liberals talk about: social forces, social responsibility, free expression, human rights, equal rights, concern, care, help, health, safety, nutrition, basic human dignity, oppression, diversity, deprivation, alienation, big corporations, corporate welfare, ecology, ecosystem, biodiversity, pollution, and so on. Conservatives tend not to dwell on these topics, or to use these words as part of their normal political discourse.

How often have you heard Labor members and Greens using these words? Over and again!

Lakoff summarises:

The conservative/liberal [progressive] division is ultimately a division between strictness and nurturance as ideals at all levels—from the family to morality to religion and, ultimately, to politics. It is a division at the center of our democracy and our public lives, and yet there is no overt discussion of it in public discourse.

He continues:

Yet it is vitally important that we do so if Americans are to understand, and come to grips with, the deepest fundamental division in our country, one that transcends and lies behind all the individual issues: the role of government, social programs, taxation, education, the environment, energy, gun control, abortion, the death penalty, and so on. These are ultimately not different issues, but manifestations of a single issue: strictness versus nurturance.

In Australia, an identical and just as fundamental division exists between the Coalition, the conservatives, and Labor and the Greens, the progressives. This division results in the striking differences in attitude, behaviour, rhetoric, policy, and indeed morality, which day after day define our own conservatives and our own progressives. It explains so much of the contrast we see.

Lakoff summarises the relationship between morality and politics as follows:

The Strict Father and Nurturant Parent models of the family induce…two moral systems...

The link between family-based morality and politics comes from one of the most common ways we have of conceptualizing what a nation is, namely, as a family. It is the common, unconscious, and automatic metaphor of the Nation as Family that produces contemporary conservatism from Strict Father morality and contemporary liberalism from Nurturant Parent morality.

According to Lakoff, conservatives cannot understand the thinking of progressives, nor can progressives understand conservatives. Conventional logic does not help; it is only when the two methods of parenting are used as explanatory models that understanding comes into view with a startling flash of insight.

To assist understanding, Lakoff compares conservative and liberal (progressive) moral systems:

Conservative categories of moral action:

1. Promoting Strict Father morality in general.
2. Promoting self-discipline, responsibility, and self-reliance.
3. Upholding the Morality of Reward and Punishment.
a. Preventing interference with the pursuit of self-interest by self-disciplined, self-reliant people.
b. Promoting punishment as a means of upholding authority.
c. Ensuring punishment for lack of self-discipline.
4. Protecting moral people from external evils.
5. Upholding the Moral Order.

Liberal categories of moral action:

1. Empathetic behaviour, and promoting fairness.
2. Helping those who cannot help themselves.
3. Protecting those who cannot protect themselves.
4. Promoting fulfillment in life.
5. Nurturing and strengthening oneself in order to do the above.

He clarifies these concepts as follows:

In the conservative moral worldview, the model citizens are those who best fit all the conservative categories for moral action. They are those (1) who have conservative values and act to support them; (2) who are self-disciplined and self-reliant; (3) who uphold the morality of reward and punishment; (4) who work to protect moral citizens; and (5) who act in support of the moral order. Those who best fit all these categories are successful, wealthy, law-abiding conservative businessmen who support a strong military and a strict criminal justice system, who are against government regulation, and who are against affirmative action. They are the model citizens. They are the people whom all Americans should emulate and from whom we have nothing to fear. They deserve to be rewarded and respected.

These model citizens fit an elaborate mythology. They have succeeded through hard work, have earned whatever they have through their own self-discipline, and deserve to keep what they have earned. Through their success and wealth they create jobs, which they “give” to other citizens. Simply by investing their money to maximize their earnings, they become philanthropists who “give” jobs to others and thereby “create wealth” for others [trickle down economics]. Part of the myth is that these model citizens have been given nothing by the government and have made it on their own. The American Dream is that any honest, self-disciplined, hard-working person can do the same. These model citizens are seen by conservatives as the Ideal Americans in the American Dream.

We can now see clearly why liberal [progressive] arguments for social programs can make no sense at all to conservatives, whether they are arguments on the basis of compassion, fairness, wise investment, financial responsibility, or outright self-interest. The issue for conservatives is a moral issue touching the very heart of conservative morality, a morality where a liberal’s compassion and fairness are neither compassionate nor fair. Even financial arguments won’t carry the day. The issue isn’t about money; it’s about morality.

What we have here are major differences in moral worldview. They are not just differences of opinion about effective public administration. The differences are not about efficiency, or practicality, or economics, and they cannot be settled by rational argument about effective administration. They are ethical opinions about what makes good people and a good nation.

Lakoff illustrates his thesis with an example from America that has application in this country:

Take a simple example: college loans. The federal government has had a program to provide low-interest loans to college students. The students don’t have to start paying off the loans while they are still in college and the loans are interest-free during the college years [similar to our HECS - HELP loan program].

The liberal rationale for the program is this: College is expensive and a great many poor-to-middle-class students cannot afford it. This loan program allows a great many students to go to college who otherwise wouldn’t. Going to college allows one to get a better job at a higher salary afterward and to be paid more during one’s entire life. This benefits not only the student but also the government, since the student will be paying more taxes over his lifetime because of his better job. From the liberal [progressive] moral perspective, this is a highly moral program. It helps those who cannot help themselves. It promotes fulfillment in life in two ways, since education is fulfilling in itself and it permits people to get more fulfilling jobs. It strengthens the nation, since it produces a better-educated citizenry and ultimately brings in more tax money; and it is empathetic behavior making access to college more fairly distributed.

But through conservative spectacles, this is an immoral program. Since students depend on the loans, the program supports dependence on the government rather than self-reliance. Since not everyone has access to such loans, the program introduces competitive unfairness, thus interfering with the free market in loans and hence with the fair pursuit of self-interest. Since the program takes money earned by one group and, through taxation, gives it to another group, it is unfair and penalizes the pursuit of self-interest by taking money from someone who has earned it and giving it to someone who hasn’t.

Lakoff explains:

I started with college loans because it is not as heated an issue as abortion or welfare or the death penalty or gun control. Yet it is a nitty-gritty issue, because it affects a lot of people very directly. To a liberal, it is obviously the right thing to do. And to a conservative, it is obviously the wrong thing to do.

I trust that these extensive quotes from Lakoff’s book paint clearly the differences that he postulates exist between the mindset and thinking of conservatives and progressives.

Although Lakoff’s description of the extremes of conservative and progressive thinking might lead one to conclude that there is a spectrum along which this thinking is distributed, somewhat after the fashion of a bell-shaped curve, which could throw up ‘moderate’ or ‘middle of the road’ conservatives and progressives, Lakoff maintains that there are no such politicians. He acknowledges that sometimes conservatives may have a progressive view on some issues, and progressives may have a conservative view on other issues, but insists that there are no moderates. A conservative is a conservative, and a progressive is a progressive.

Lakoff spells out in detail just how conservatives and progressives see the world:

It should now be clear why, from the conservative world-view, the rich should be seen as “the best people”. They are the model citizens, those who, through self-discipline and hard work, have achieved the American Dream. They have earned what they have and deserve to keep it. Because they are the best people – people whose investments create jobs and wealth for others – they should be rewarded. Taking money away is conceptualized as harm, financial harm; that is the metaphorical basis of seeing taxation as punishment. When the rich are taxed more than others for making a lot more money, they are, according to conservatives, being punished for being model citizens, for doing what, according to the American Dream, they are supposed to do. Taxation of the rich is, to conservatives, punishment for doing what is right and succeeding at it. It is a violation of the Morality of Reward and Punishment. In the conservative worldview, the rich have earned their money and, according to the Morality of Reward and Punishment, deserve to keep it. Taxation – the forcible taking of their money from them against their will – is seen as unfair and immoral, a kind of theft. That makes the federal government a thief. Hence, a common conservative attitude toward the government: You can’t trust it, since, like a thief, it’s always trying to find ways to take your money.

Liberals, of course, see taxation through very different lenses. In Nurturant Parent morality, the wellbeing of all children matters equally. Those children who need less care, the mature and healthy children, simply have a duty to help care for those who need more, say, younger or infirm children. The duty is a matter of moral accounting. They have received nurturance from their parents and owe it to the other children if it is needed. In the Nation as Family metaphor, citizens who have more have a duty to help out those who have much less. Progressive taxation is a form of meeting this duty. Rich conservatives who are trying to get out of paying taxes are seen as selfish and mean-spirited. The nation has helped provide for them and it is their turn to help provide for others. They owe it to the nation.

He could scarcely make it any clearer. How relevant is this exposition to the contemporary dispute about the Gonski model for school funding here!

Lakoff goes on to assert a worrying trend:

The conservative family values agenda is, at present, being set primarily by fundamentalist Christians. This is not a situation that many people are aware of.

These groups have been most explicit in developing a Strict Father approach to childrearing and have been extremely active in promoting their approach. On the whole, they are defining the conservative position for the current debate about childrearing, as well as for legislation incorporating their approach. Since the ideas in conservative Christian childrearing manuals are fully consistent with the Strict Father model of the family that lies behind conservative politics, it is not at all strange that such fundamentalist groups should be setting the national conservative agenda on family values.

In short, conservative family values, which are the basis for conservative morality and political thought, are not supported by either research in child development or the mainstream childrearing experts in the country. That is another reason why the conservative family agenda has been left to fundamentalist Christians. Since there is no significant body of mainstream experts who support the Strict Father model, conservatives can rely only on fundamentalist Christians, who have the only well thought out approach to childrearing that supports the Strict Family model.

The claims to legitimacy for the conservative family values enterprise rest with the fundamentalist Christian community, a community whose conclusions are not based on empirical research but on a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible. And that…is based on Strict Father morality itself. Thus, there is no independent or non-ideological basis whatever for conservative claims about family values.

Is this group of fundamentalist Christians representative of conservative attitudes about childrearing? I don’t know, but they are in charge. They are the people setting the conservative family values agenda.

We have become aware of the influence of fundamentalist Christians in The Tea Party on the recent debt ceiling debate in the US, which resulted in the closure of some government departments, and threatened the government with the prospect of defaulting on repayment of its borrowings. They pressured their less radical Republican colleagues and almost succeeded in overwhelming them.

Lakoff comments on the funding of policy think tanks:

Because of the way conservative think tanks are funded – through large general block grants and virtually guaranteed long-term funding – conservative intellectuals can work on long-term, high-level strategies that cover the whole spectrum of issues.

Liberal [progressive] think tanks and other organizations are not only out-funded four-to-one, they are also organized in a self-defeating manner. There are three general types: advocacy, policy, and monitoring the other side. The advocacy and policy organizations generally work issue-by-issue. Few are engaged in long-term, high-level thinking, partly because of the issue-by-issue orientation, partly because they are kept busy responding to the current week’s conservative assaults, and partly because they constantly have to pursue funding. The funding priorities of liberal foundations and other funders are also self-defeating. They tend to be program-oriented (issue-by-issue) and relatively short-term with no guarantee of refunding. Moreover, they tend not to give money for career development or infrastructure. And liberal organizations tend not to support their intellectuals! In short, they are doing just the opposite of what they should be doing if they are to counter the conservatives’ successes.

I’m sure these words will resonate in Labor hearts in this country, where we have seen several well-funded conservative think tanks (the IPA is a classic example) outperform the few progressive ones, set the policy agenda for the Coalition, and fashion the most effective framing of these policies. Labor has not been able to match this, has been manipulated to use the frames set by the Coalition, and thereby has repeatedly failed to get across its message.

It is heartening to see that the Centre for Policy Development, a local progressive think tank, has this year written a book: Pushing Our Luck: ideas for Australian progress, about which reviewer Ken Wolff tells us that it ‘presents a wide ranging picture of the changes needed in our economic and social structures if we are to maintain our “luck” into the future’.

Finally, in another Lakoff book: The Political Mind – A Cognitive Scientist’s Guide to your Brain and its Politics (Penguin Books, London, 2009), he asserts that the different thinking of conservatives and progressives has a neural basis. He argues:

To change minds, you must change brains. You must make unconscious politics conscious. Because most of what our brains do is unconscious, you can’t find out how people’s brains work by just asking them. That is why neuroscience and cognitive sciences are necessary.

There is not space here to elaborate; that will have to wait for another piece.

To me, Lakoff’s thesis was a revelation. As one who applies logic to resolve puzzling matters, Lakoff showed how pointless this process is in attempting to understand how conservatives and progressives think, and why they think so differently. He also showed the pointlessness of expecting conservatives and progressives to explain why they are so different; they don’t know themselves!

Lakoff provides a plausible explanatory model. I for one believe he has tapped into a rich vein of understanding that for me explains the extraordinary differences between our own conservatives and progressives, which until I read his thesis, defied explanation. What he says makes sense. Hereafter, it will enable a depth of comprehension for me that was not previously possible.

Try keeping Lakoff’s thesis in mind as you now listen to political dialogue, no matter what the forum. You might be surprised how much more sense you are able to make of it!

What do you think?

Comments (164) -

  • TPS Team

    12/8/2013 3:38:01 PM |

    With a song in our hearts and a revived spring in our steps towards the 2014 political year, The Political Sword welcomes back to the discussion starter spot this site’s progenitor - the one, the only Ad Astra (and we hope not just ‘for one time only’).

    In the final piece offered by TPS this year Ad Astra has taken a moment or two away from travelling north (and mowing down south) to examine closely a way of understanding differences between the thinking of conservatives and progressives, as expressed through the work of linguist and cognitive scientist, George Lakoff. It is partly summarised by Lakoff this way:

    The conservative/liberal [progressive] division is ultimately a division between strictness and nurturance as ideals at all levels — from the family to morality to religion and, ultimately, to politics. It is a division at the center of our democracy and our public lives, and yet there is no overt discussion of it in public discourse.

    Drawing on Lakoff’s thesis, Ad Astra explores how progressives might become more conscious of the ‘moral differences’ between conservative and progressive mindsets -- as they are made manifest through metaphor and the differing words conservative and progressive political parties employ to describe their worldview -- and hence to persuade others to it.

    In many ways Ad Astra’s ‘The myth of political sameness’ is a ‘prequel’ to David Horton’s earlier ‘Lights out’. When David wrote ‘A good frame for a political policy does two things: it makes the policy memorable and it provides a succinct statement about its purpose’, he was applying to the detail of political communication practice the kernel of Lakoff’s theory.

    Ad Astra here quotes from Lakoff numerous examples of the inevitably different language conservatives and progressives use to think about, describe and explain their values and policy. David had argued the need for progressives, and specifically Australian Labor, to become as proactive and effective as Australian conservatives have been in using language, or making ‘linguistic frames’. For progressives, such language should capture and pass on the progressive, ‘nurturing parent’ worldview now so ably defined for us by Ad Astra in this piece.

    (You can see and hear Lakoff, an accessible speaker and easy to listen to, talking through the theory Ad Astra explores and the practice David argued for on this YouTube clip: )

    ‘The myth of political sameness’ offers a fine challenge to progressives to reset their own critical thinking for the political road ahead. Both the piece, and Ad Astra’s return, give us a very fitting way for TPS to end this turbulent year.

    Ad Astra: thank you for this piece. We look forward to you guest blogging again on TPS in 2014.

    The TPS Team

  • Pappinbarra Fox

    12/8/2013 5:51:44 PM |

    An excellent offering to muse over into the new year.
    Thank you everyone who has made my life more interesting by your well thought out offerings this year.
    Enjoy your holidays and come back next year with renewed vigour.

  • Ken

    12/8/2013 7:31:37 PM |


    There are two sides to the right of politics, the classic ‘liberal’ and the conservative.

    The ‘liberal’ is the one who believes the government should have little or no role in the life of individuals.  The ‘conservative’ is the one who may see a bigger role for government along the lines of the ‘strict father’ model.  Conservatives also govern by the old adage, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.  They see a lot of change advocated by  progressives as nothing more than change for change’s sake.  Of course, the things they consider ‘broke’ is also a reflection of their values and will in no way match what a progressive thinks is ‘broke’.

    Howard used to decribe himself as an economic liberal but a social conservative.  Costello once remarked that the institutions government should support (and not replace) are the family, the church and charity organisations providing welfare support – he thought the government’s role in welfare should be replaced by a bigger role for those institutions.  Reith once said, if it’s in the Yellow Pages there is no need for government to provide it – and that applied as well to the outsourcing that went on in the Public Service at the time.

    While I enjoyed Lakoff’s ideas, and think they add a lot to understanding the differences between the right and left, I also think they miss differentiation within the ranks of the right.  the right has its own internal conflicts on the role of government in social and economic issues.  In America, the Tea Party takes the extreme ‘liberal’ position of a negligible role for government and basically ‘every man/woman for himself/herself’.

    There aren’t too many classic liberals left (at least not in Australia).  Like Howard they adopt the liberal approach only as regards economics but adopt a more conservative approach on social issues, with a touch of old style liberalism by trying to reduce the government’s role in supporting those less well-off.  While that fits with some of Lakoff’s comments, it is a result of trying to balance the two-sides of the right wing world.

    I will stop there before  my comment becomes as long as your post.  I don’t disagree with Lakoff but think there is a little more to consider.

  • Gordonwa

    12/8/2013 8:03:33 PM |

    Hi Ad,

    A great article and certainly food for thought. The conservative view as shown in the student loan section equally illustrates Murdoch's view of public broadcasters like the ABC and BBC. He sees them as unfair competition for his media interests and no doubt believes this is his only motivation. However, progressives see his ambition as aiming for monopoly media ownership. If he achieved this ambition he would truly become the strict father figure of authoritarian ideology.

    I get annoyed when conservative voters say of politicians that they are all the same. I say, look at the policies and the underlying values, who benefits? Conservatives usually respond, who pays? They really do struggle to see how society can benefit if we all contribute.

    A recent poll, I think it was Essential, showed that despite the election result most people supported Gonski, NDIS, the NBN, Carbon pricing and several other Labor policies by a substantial margin but they also believed that Australia's debt was too large. This 'who pays' argument may have been the overwhelming factor in determining their vote. If so, it suggests that conservative (strict, selfish) model promoted by the Coalition and aided by the mainstream media won out over the progressive societal benefits model.

    Progressives clearly need to find new ways to sell their message. The polls tell us that people are amenable to progressive ideas, we just need to sell the positive societal benefits in a sustainable and economically sensible way.

    Thanks Ad, your article has clarified many issues for me.

  • Ad astra

    12/8/2013 10:52:22 PM |

    Thank you for your comments - I'll respond tomorrow.

  • woodypear

    12/9/2013 2:25:04 AM |

    Thank you Ad Astra and thank you Lakeoff.  A brilliant explanation!  This should be compulsory reading for schools (and, may I suggest, the majority of Australians who don't think or don't know).

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 7:24:14 AM |

    Good theory, if one believes in fairies and that invisible hand.

    Does not seem to the working in the land of the free.

    Not much dribbling down to a big numbers of the population.

    Leading to growing gap between rich and poor.

    A former, respected PM seems to believe that no government is in control of the worlds economies.

    “The world is fundamentally unled…Fiscal policy is not led in America by the secretary of the Treasury and there is no European fiscal union…Therefore central banks have stepped up to take the responsibility for the absence of political leadership in fiscal policy.”

    …He also warned the government not to be too aggressive about reining in the deficit.

    “We should be wary about trying to artificially pull the budget back into surplus prematurely,” he said.

    “I think it would be a mistake for ambitions about the return to surplus taking precedence over the budget’s role in supporting the economy in what is a very, very soggy world of activity.”

    …”The central banks have stepped up to take responsibility for the absence of leadership in fiscal policy,” he said.

    …”Formerly, central banks have been monetary authorities. We are going to move from the macroeconomic world to a macro-prudential world where central banks determine the prudence with which banks and financial institutions lend.

    “This will mean capital ratios, the ability of banks to invest in their own behalf, proprietary trading — all of these things are going to be determined by central banks. This is not simply central banks doing as they formerly did,” he said.

    Mr Keating said this would be a positive development as the central banks of the world were moving to become a “reinforcing arm of national policy, outside of the political system”.

    All good sense from a titan of Australian economic policy-making. As Gittins says today:

    Kerry O’Brien’s four interviews are a reminder of Keating’s indisputable claim to be our greatest, most reforming, treasurer.
    We are sure being encouraged to thinks. Thanks.

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 7:33:35 AM |

    "The Strict Father and Nurturant Parent models of the family "

    Produces if my experience as Child Protection worker in another age, rebellious children.

    Something extremely patronizing about the proposed model. Saying only they know what is good for those on the bottom of the barrel.

    I liked much of what Adam Smith wrote. Never seen that  invisible hand playing a great part in his theories.  Then it seems do long since I read him, along with Marx, I could be wrong.

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 7:42:16 AM |

    Another worry is, the way governments like this one, see the need to control research grants within anniversaries. They are already under attack, labeling many research projects in the pipe line, as waste of money, and useless.

    The academics do not agree, but I do not think their concern will betaken into consideration. The other worry, is political control of the school curriculum.

    Free speech might be their cry, but free thinking does not appears to be on.

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 7:47:56 AM |

    What do I think.

    This government is greedy, arrogant and believe they are superior to everyone else.  I believe there is a name for that.

    They also believe that the rest of the population are weak and stupid, not worthy of consideration. Maybe they do really believe in the survival of the fittest, and only the Strong, that is them have a right to exist.

    One thing for sure, all their beliefs seem to be based on a world that has long gone They yearn for the past.

  • Ken

    12/9/2013 9:31:05 AM |

    Catching Up

    The conservatives in Oz have for a long time considered all academics as 'lefties' so it is little wonder that they cut grants.

    I think it fits the Lakoff argument to the extent that many of the right's policies are based on a 'moral' underpinning so when academics produce evidence that a policy may not work it is seen as attacking moral values rather than the policy - so almost all evidence becomes leftist propaganda. It's all in the eye of the beolder!!!

  • Ken

    12/9/2013 9:35:50 AM |


    One other thing I recall about the history of the right in the USA goes back to its early Puritan settlers.  Among the early settlers was a group that believed in 'chosen ones'.  They believed that God had already chosen, or pre-ordained, which individuals would go to Heaven and that what one did on Earth made no difference.  But they also believed that worldly success was a sign that God was looking after them which, in turn, meant they were probably one of those chosen to enter Heaven.

    That link between success and religion has continued in the USA to this day.

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 10:15:05 AM |

    Debt ceiling bill before the Senate.

  • 42 long

    12/9/2013 10:19:18 AM |

      Greed is good and God want's you to be rich. Selective perception to justify poor behaviour. God botherers don't a[[ear to be "nicer" than ordinary mortals. In fact if the ones in the LieNP are indicators, they appear to be particularly mean spirited.
       It is unlikely that a professed atheist such as Gillard is, would EVER get a high elected position in the USA. Julia being an atheist and a woman obviously had those aspects held against her, by many. At least she was LEADER for a while and I am glad that was possible,but the low grade trashing of her was shamefull in the extreme. This country will never move forward till it gets a a worthy media.

  • Bacchus

    12/9/2013 10:19:49 AM |

    "There are two sides to the right of politics, the classic ‘liberal’ and the conservative."

    Interesting Ken - I think what you're calling 'liberal' could be called 'libertarian'.

    It is also interesting to look at the disparity between the factions of 'the right' in light of Lakoff's thesis. Have a read of this report on the "Libertarianism vs. Conservatism" debate held by the Cato institute with Lakoff in mind:

    I think what you write and what this debate reinforces is that there are 'nuances' within the broad range of beliefs from ultra-conservative to radical left. Some on the left hold beliefs which conform to the 'Strict Father model' and some on the right hold 'Nurturant Parent model' views.

    Kat on twitter (@kathyktr) seems to also be of this view, questioning the strict left vs right framing of Lakoff's thesis:

    "@1TPSTeam Interesting Lakoff believes there are no moderates,we are either progressive or conservative thinking, no bell curve of influence"

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 10:36:14 AM |

    Thank you for your kind comments on behalf of the TPS Team.  It has been an enjoyable task preparing this piece after reading George Lakoff's books, which opened my eyes to an entirely different way of viewing political thinking and discourse.  Thank you too for finding the 'Counterpoint' interview with George Lakoff which I found fascinating as it reinforced and enlarged upon his writings.  It will repay anyone who finds this piece of interest to play the YouTube clip from beginning to end.  He explains the Strict Father and Nurturant Parent models of family so lucidly and also elaborates on the issue of framing, which we are now realizing is so critically important in political debate.

    I hope this piece will uncover a new way of assessing political talk, enhance understanding, and point progressives to more productive ways of presenting their ideology and plans, so that they achieve to dual purpose of them being appealing and memorable, as well as explaining their purpose.  Progressives need to match the framing ability of the conservatives.

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 10:58:29 AM |

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment.  As Lakoff points out in the Counterpoint interview the so-called 'moderate' conservative may have a mix of what you term 'liberal' views about government, and conservative views about other issues, such as social ones.  He also made the point that conservatives and progressives are not distributed along a bell-shaped curve with ('moderate') adherents clusted in the middle, insisting instead that there is no middle.  He further pointed out that because of the way pollsters sample their demographics, they produce polls that give the impression that voters ARE distributed along a bell-shaped curve, which he claims pushes progressives to the right, where the polls suggest the votes are to be had, which serves only to reinforce the conservative position.  We have witnessed this with asylum-seeker policy, to the detriment of the progressive 'Nurturant Parent' morality.  He goes on to say that conservatives never shift to the left.  How true!  

    Altogether, Lakoff's insights provide another way for progressives to think.  I hope they might do so in 2014.

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 11:06:41 AM |

    Lakoff agrees with your further points that connect conservative thinking and religion.  He talks of a hierarchy of God, Man (particularly Strict Father Man) and Nature.  If one has God onside, if one is amongst the Chosen Ones, success is an entitlement.

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 11:25:56 AM |

    Thank you for your insightful remarks.  

    Your comment about Murdoch and the ABC is so correct..  He sees the publically-funded ABC as unfair competition in what he believes should be a free market where his vast wealth would enable him to expand still further his power to influence political thought.

    Your points about the Essential Poll coincide with Lakoff's views.  Because pollsters' preoccupation with polling numbers of voter intention dilutes the other issues they poll, such as Gonski, NDIS, NBN, ETS, the latter get scant attention, whereas they are really the most important issues, especially years away from an election. I suspect that with newspaper polls, the object of polls is to generate copy, rather than inform the public about issues so that thay can make informed choices at election time.

  • TalkTurkey

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

    Good Morning Ad, and Xiphid Comrades All,

    Ad, Catching Up nailed it:
    We are sure being encouraged to thinks. Thanks.

    (One think, many thinks! Thanks.
    I'm having some now! Smile )

    I was myself thinking the very same thing as I read your article Ad, that this is why I treasure The Political Sword, the sanest thoughtfullest place I know.

    The notion of the two ways of thinking is not new: long ago in Politics 1A I heard of tough-mindedness and tender-mindedness, a very similar distinction, and involving similar precepts, by a social phenomenon psychologists call the 'Response-Response' response. Basically if you know a few things about a person's attitude - say to punishment, and taxation - you can pretty well bet on what will be his attitude to everything else, to art and sport, to humour and censorship and law enforcement and public libraries. To User-Pays. To spending on infrastructure, and so on.

    What is sort of new is the notion of what I might be forgiven for describing as not a bell-shaped but a bra-shaped curve, a bulge on either side with cleavage in the middle, and never the twain meeting. I say sort of new because I have certainly long realised the same thing, - that is why Democrats and Liberal Reform Movement type "middle of the road" parties go nowhere, because they aren't middle of any road really, they sit on a corrugated-iron fence between Progressives and Conservatives. Political neutrality is not a tenable situation for parties pretending to Government, as for individuals.

    The astonishing, enraging thing is this ubiquitous attitude of They're all the bloody same, snouts in the trough, who gives a rat's, yeah kick this mob of lying bastards out, what've they ever done for us anyway?! (Everyone knows the Monty Python sketch I'm sure!)

    In one of the verses in my great big ecological poem Breeze in the Blue~Gums, Ancient Jo Mopoke, the oldest and wisest creature of all, calls a meeting of representatives of all the Australian animals at Billabong tree, to see what can be done about what You-Man-Beings are doing to them and to the environment. One point she stresses to the Fauna: (she's talking about You-Mans generally, and more particularly officials, and the rich and powerful, and especially politicians) :-  
    Don't tar them all with just one brush:
    Some are pearls amongst the slush!

    This is for kids to understand! and they can too, no problem!

    It's just so obvious, everyone's NOT the same, everyone is exactly different, and Yes, some are worse than others.
    Or isn't that, some are better than others?
    So why are so many people so ready to say They're all the bloody same?

    - Because they're ignorant yobs too bloody lazy to give a rat's as they say themselves.

    Booze and sport and bogan mates and redneck radio fill their lives.

    And WHY are they so ignorant?  
    (Read previous line, & loop !..)

    Gee there's a lot more I could write here about this subject Ad, what to do with the perception as understanding of the divergence of the sides though is another matter. But it has plainly never been so all-encompassing and blatant as it is with this mob of mugs and thugs and liars and frauds failing in their attempts even to pretend to be a Government.

    Yes the RW think-tanks are a big problem.

    The Tea-Party types, in preference to everybody being better off and more equal, would choose to live a lower standard of living as long as the gap between them and those they see as inferiors and parasites is wider. Creeps!

    But We have the Internet.
    Education is the key, and we must use the Web to promote progressive ideas.

    As wise old Ancient Jo Mopoke tells the big meeting:

    "We've looked on, aghast, in silence, at their wastage and pollution:
    It's tempting to try violence, but that's really no solution.
    Remember: Awesome power lies in proper education!

    We Fauna must spread our message through the youngsters of this nation!

    Which of course is why the Abborrttians have wrecked Gonski, they don't want less bogans!  

    In WWW We Trust.

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 11:32:10 AM |

    Thank you for your kind remarks.  I agree that Lakoff's work ought to be taught as part of social studies and politics at school. At present the public remains uninformed.  But can you imagine the howls of protest from religious bodies and conservative ranks?  They would be exposed, the scales would fall from voters' eyes, and their influence would fade. They would never allow that!

  • Ian

    12/9/2013 11:35:26 AM |

    Don't you think the conservatives' view is a little patronising?  I think of their attitueds to welfare and aid.  Conservatives prefer to donate to 'good causes'.  In the USA the spirit of philanthropy is very strong in the wealthy.  But that philanthropy comes at a cost; the donor gets to nominate which charity recieves their favours, and how much. In fact it is disempowering to the recipients, as their wellbeing is entirely dependent on the goodwill of others.  The rich control the process absolutely.

    Progressives believe everyone should receive help if they need it.  My personal view is that all welfare, including foreign aid, should come out of taxation.  That way we all pay our fair share, we don't have to choose who is most needy, and everyone gets help.

    Just look at the way Australians react to disasters.  We pitch in to help with bushfires, floods and cyclones.  We feel sorry for beggars and drop them a few coins as we pass.  All this makes us feel better about ourselves.  Of course we conveniently ignore the vast numbers of people who live in poverty in our own country, unless they 'have a cause'.  We can't see them, after all.

    I would be very happy to pay more tax if I could be confident the money would be used for welfare for the most needy Australians, and those overseas.  I believe a government is in a much better position than me to decide who is the most needy in the country.

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 11:36:10 AM |

    Catching Up
    I agree strongly with Ross Gittins.  Who can match Keating's knowledge of economics and finance?  Sadly, no one, past or present.

  • Bacchus

    12/9/2013 11:42:22 AM |


    Thank you for your kind remarks, but I cannot take credit for the lovely introductory comment on behalf of the TPS Team - that came from someone far more erudite, someone with a much greater understanding of the use of words than I could ever hope for.

    I can't tell you who the writer was, but I can give you a hint - her name begins with 'J' and she has a lovely gypsy caravan for her avatar ;)

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 11:49:17 AM |

    Catching Up
    The Strict Father model is patronizing.  Father Knows Best and must be obeyed. No argument!

    Conservatives who adhere to Adam Smith economics believe that 'all boats rise with the tide', and so when the 'best people' prosper (as they ought to do!) all benefit.  Trickle down economics says so!  Pity the theory does not work in real life economics.  Academics who challenge their economic belief system, are 'lefties' who ought not to be funded.

    'Conservatives do believe in survival of the fittest, and too bad about the others.  The world has changed, but they long for 'the good old days'.

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 11:57:32 AM |

    Then I say thank you to the author of the lovely introduction to my piece.  We know who she is!  Her words are stylist, erudite and complimentary; her work is exemplary, always.

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 11:59:51 AM |

    Thank you for your kind words and your good wishes.

    We all need a break so that we can greet 2014 with renewed enthusiasm.

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 12:03:39 PM |

    Many conservatives believe that 'greed is good' and that God wants you to be rich.  And if you are not, it's your own fault.  

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 12:04:04 PM |

    I suspect the answer is not to be found in either the left or right. Definitely not in the extremes of either.

    No, it is in a mixture of all. Yes, One needs to ensure the system serves the people, not the people serving the economy.  

    Plus, it provided a lot more freedom and was doing the one thing that guaranteed that the 20th century was going to be – and forgive the jingoistic sound of this – the American century.

    It took a working class that had no discretionary income at the beginning of the century, which was working on subsistence wages. It turned it into a consumer class that not only had money to buy all the stuff that they needed to live but enough to buy a bunch of shit that they wanted but didn't need, and that was the engine that drove us.

    It wasn't just that we could supply stuff, or that we had the factories or know-how or capital, it was that we created our own demand and started exporting that demand throughout the west. And the standard of living made it possible to manufacture stuff at an incredible rate and sell it.

    And how did we do that? We did that by not giving in to either side. That was the new deal. That was the great society. That was all of that argument about collective bargaining and union wages and it was an argument that meant neither side gets to win.

    Labour doesn't get to win all its arguments, capital doesn't get to. But it's in the tension, it's in the actual fight between the two, that capitalism actually becomes functional, that it becomes something that every stratum in society has a stake in, that they all share.

    Listening to the Senate. If Sinodinos says once more, all will be revealed in the MYEFO, I think I will scream.

    What is the difference in releasing it now, instead of next week. Only a few more sleeps, they say. Are we really children. One suspects they do.

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 12:07:56 PM |

    Ad, I do not have much trouble with what Adam Smith has written, I suspect it is the interpretation by many that is the problem.

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 12:20:36 PM |

    Talk Turkey
    Thank you for your erudite addition to this debate.  I loved your description of a biphasic distribution curve as the Bra-Shaped curve.  How apt.  As Lackoff asserts, there's no one in the middle.

    Your story about Ancient Jo Mopoke is germane. We are not all the same, anymore than politicians and political parties are the same.  What we need in political dialogue is more realization of where the differences are, and from whence they have arisen.

    You are so right, the answer is education, the medium is the WWW, and the Fifth Estate must be the prime mover.  The Fourth Estate will avoid uncovering the truth as this is not in its best interests.  It is up to us - long live The Political Sword, and ardent and loyal supporters like you.

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 12:33:20 PM |

    You are so right.  Like you, I would be happy for all 'social services' and overseas aid to be paid from taxes.  Conservatives however, think progressive taxation systems are unfair because they take 'hard-earned' money from those who have worked tirelessly to get it, and therefore deserve to keep it.  They believe this 'better class of people', who create jobs for others, ought not to be taxed at a higher rate just
    because they have done well, all due of course to their enterprise, risk taking, and hard work.  Thus their characteristic attitude to charity

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 12:40:54 PM |

    The video was enchanting, clever, and beautiful - a sign for 2014?

  • Casablanca

    12/9/2013 12:55:06 PM |

    CASABLANCA'S CACHE  Monday, 9 December, 2013; 27 items


    1.  Mandela’s failures as well as successes must be recognised
    Mark Gevisser
    While the world is right to mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela, history should acknowledge his failures as well as his extraordinary achievements.... Mandela has come to symbolise the Last Good Man, representing the kind of benevolent paternity that we so often hope for from our leaders; his life presents a redemptive narrative that embodies goodness in a way not found outside of myth, legend, and theology. The power of his story is not only redemptive, but regenerative too.

    2.  Mandela's death marks the end of Africa’s liberation struggle
    Thandika Mkandawire
    It is difficult to write about Nelson Mandela without sounding sycophantic or as if engaged in uncritical hero worship. Mandela’s stature and personality left little room for other sentiments other than…

    3.  Mandela saw sport as a way to bring South Africans together
    John Nauright, University of Brighton
    Sometimes sport really does make a difference in society. At least Nelson Mandela thought so. Though the movie Invictus plays with and stretches the reality of what happened in South Africa during the…

    4.  Is there life for South African democracy after Mandela?
    Alexander Beresford
    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…

    5.  Mandela crosses the burning water
    Catherine Marshall
    I said my own private goodbye almost two years ago, when I visited Robben Island on a trip back to my homeland of South Africa. That journey across Table Bay, towards the tiny green cell in which you lived for much of your 27-year incarceration, took me not so much to an outpost of apartheid as to the birthplace of democratic South Africa.


    6.  What's going on with the Abbott government?
    Shaun Carney, Monash University
    For every opposition, the prospect of taking office – attaining politics’ ultimate prize, often after years of hard grind – can be relied upon to drown out the little noises of self-doubt and self-criticism…

    7.  Do right thing on carbon, MRRT: Abbott
    Scrap carbon and mining taxes, Tony Abbott tells Senators in a video message.

    8.  Double and triple flipskis – Abbott’s first 100 days: Errol Brandt @e2mq173 reports
    Stephanie Dale
    Errol Brandt When Barack Obama took office, he inherited a massive financial crisis.  His first actions as US president aimed to restore confidence and stability in financial markets.  After his first 100 days, Obama still enjoyed 65% approval.  His support was as broad as it was deep:  high-income, low-income, black, white, religious and non-religions […]

    9.  Abbott and Murdoch: All out damage control
    Alan Austin
    The prime ministership of Tony Abbott has turned out more of a disaster than his most dubious doubters could have envisaged, writes Alan Austin.,5965

    10.  Will Abbott listen?
    Sean Kelly
    Sean Kelly, a former advisor to prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, says we still know very little about what sort of a Prime Minister Tony Abbott will be. But he needs to quickly learn which voices to listen to — and which to tune out.


    11.  A message ‘form’ the Prime Minister – Parliamentary sitting
    * EDITED to add: the use of the word “form” in the url is deliberate, it is a direct quote from Tony Abbott. United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt was famed for his presidential fireside chats, which he used to…

    12.  Politicians are known to use facts to obscure the truth
    Jack Waterford
    One of the arts of tergiversation, dissembling and prevarication involves the use of escape clauses, slight reservations or (literal or metaphorical) crossed fingers so as to be able to deny even plain facts.

    13.  The role of democracy: Not to fold to the biggest minority, “just because”
    Since coming into power, the Coalition have continually stated that other parties, especially the Greens and ALP, owe it to Australians to not stand in the way of their legislations. That, the people voted for the Coalition and so it is the responsibility of these parties to support core Coalition plans.

    14.  Outsiders: The Week That Was on AIMN (week ending 08-12-13)
    Outsiders: outside of the mainstream media, not part of the Murdoch propaganda agenda, not interested in the ABC Liberal party PR machine. The week was dominated by more Tony Abbott diplomatic failures, economic incompetency, back flips, double back flips, triple


    15.  Dark days ahead
    John Kelly
    He’s a relieved man today. The debt ceiling will be abolished. He has been given the breathing space he needs. But, deep down, Joe Hockey knows the problem hasn’t gone away; getting rid of the debt ceiling won’t get rid of the debt. In fact, the Greens may have added to his woes.

    16.  Don't cry for the flying kangaroo
    Michael Mullins
    No patriotic Australian wants to see Qantas go out of business. But the principles of both good business and social inclusion demand the government not thwart competition from Virgin and its cashed up foreign shareholders. In two decades, competition has lowered fares and made it possible for less privileged Australians to fly.

    17.  A developed nation needs developed industry which needs developed minds.
    Big business is having its patriotism tested against cheap labour in other countries with the former losing most battles. No business is so Australian that it won’t seek to reduce overheads and expensive local empoyees are just that.

    18.  To achieve its proposed savings, the Coalition government needs a miracle
    Paul Malone
    Rather than take a risk and outline the savings measures he intended to introduce, Abbott chose a "me too plus" strategy.

    19.  Retail Democratization: online is a game changer
    As I stated in the end of the post, Retail shopping; does it really help local economies? more to follow.


    20.  Coalitions’ uncomplimentary attitude towards Complementary Protection
    Mark Fletcher.
    The Coalition wants to scrap Complementary Protection. That’s an unwise decision. There’s something about the name of the Government’s Migration Amendment (Regaining Control Over Australia’s Protection Obligations) Bill 2013 that screams focus group. Beneath the Action Man of Action title is quite a sinister piece of work. The Bill, should it become law, would scrap the Complementary Protection framework introduced by the former ALP Government.  To explain why this is a big deal, we have to unlearn most of the politically convenient rhetoric we’ve been taught over the past few years.

    21.  Should Australia withdraw from the Refugee Convention?
    Andrew MacLeod
    Former UN official Andrew MacLeod says the Refugee Convention isn’t perfect, but withdrawing from it would be a mistake. He proposes a regional treaty to deal with asylum seekers.


    22.  Be Prepared: Climate Change and the Australian Bushfire Threat
    Report from the new Climate Council  (70 pages)


    23.  Conservatism meets Occupy Wall Street
    Michael Gerson
    Sen. Ted Cruz’s straw poll victory at the Values Voter Summit on Saturday, just as his strategy to block Obamacare was collapsing in recrimination and desperation on Capitol Hill, indicates that some voters don’t place much value on political realism.

    24.  A tea party purge among the GOP
    Harold Meyerson
    The Republican Party has reached its Ninotchka period. Ninotchka, you may recall, was the eponymous Soviet commissar played by Greta Garbo in Ernst Lubitsch’s 1939 MGM comedy, released one year after Stalin’s show trials resulted in the execution of all of the tyrant’s more moderate predecessors in the Soviet leadership. “The last mass trials were a great success,” Ninotchka notes. “There are going to be fewer but better Russians.”

    25.  The problem with public policy schools
    James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley
    “It’s an awfully frustrating time in the world,” David Ellwood, dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, told us. “There are large and challenging problems, including climate change, demography, budget problems, terrorism, extremism and partisanship.” At public policy schools, he explains, “we think it’s our job to fix these things.” The faculty and students, Ellwood says, “are united by the principle of making the world a better place.”

    26.  'Tea Party' to whip up a political storm
    Linda Silmalis
    A PROUDLY conservative group that wants to be the "Australian Tea Party" will push for corporal punishment, referendums to sack bad governments and tougher refugee policy at the federal election. CANdo, a group created by Liberal firebrand Cory Bernardi and loosely modelled on the right-wing faction of the US Republican Party, also claims gay marriage could lead to Muslim polygamy.


    27.  Rupert Murdoch is a terrible businessman
    Victoria Rollison
    Rupert Murdoch hates the ABC. This is obviously not a hugely surprising statement. And I also can’t say I’m that surprised that one of Murdoch’s most obedient puppets, Cori Bernardi, has been using the ABC’s factual analysis of a political


    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  9 December 2013

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 1:12:03 PM |

    It's good to see your Cache.  I look forward to reading it.

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 1:14:44 PM |

    Catching Up
    That David Simon article in The Guardian is a 'must read'.  It is so germane to this piece.

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 2:30:41 PM |

    Thanks. It is funny, but there are many out there, going down the track, that this site and many others are going down.

  • Ken

    12/9/2013 3:08:37 PM |


    you are of course right - libertarian is the word I was after.  I knew when I was using the word 'liberal' it wasn't quite right but I just went ahead to get my comment up.

  • Ad Astra

    12/9/2013 3:09:39 PM |

    Thank you for a rich set of links today, many relevant to this piece.  The October piece by Harold Myerson about the differences between conservative Republicans and Tea Party members is as striking as the differences between conservatives and progressives.  The Tea Party is dragging down the Republicans who now attract just over 30 percent support.

    And the article from last December that reveals the tentacles of the Tea Party extending to Australia via the CANdo movement, sponsored by Cory Bernardi, David Flint and a cluster of right wing shock jocks, is a reminder to us that there are those who would readily bring Tea Party ultra-conservativism to this country.  And these people are totally convinced of the rightness of their cause, steeped as it is in the Strict Father morality that drives conservatives.

    It is frightening.  It is the proverbial 'wake-up call' to progressives to get their act together rapidly while there is still time.

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 3:16:51 PM |

    Bishop is worse than ever today.

  • Ken

    12/9/2013 3:21:53 PM |


    Like Ad, I like your 'bra curve'.  You should coyright the idea before others start using it!

    Seriously, what it does is join Lakoff's ideas with what Bacchus and I pointed out - the differences within the right and the left.  Your 'bra curve' allows those differences to exist within each side but captures that the two sides will never meet.  Brilliant!

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 3:24:46 PM |

    This is unbelievable.  Pyne is treating everything as a big joke.

    The arrogance of Madam speaker is beyond belief.

    Dutton made fun of Tanya, claiming she did not know what was going on, in hospitals in her electorate.

    Tanya claimed to be misrepresented, saying that St Vincent, which Dutton was talking about, is not in her electorate. The speaker did not believe she was being misrepresented. The whole question was aimed at belittling the deputy Opposition Leader.

    Pyne enjoying  the lime light.

    Pyne updating the ABC reporting of parliament. I think they are going to be changed.

    Agreement largely agree with Albanese in the last Parliament. I take it, it has not been discussed in this parliament.

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 4:58:23 PM |

    Carr making a strong speech in Senate re car industry.

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 6:17:11 PM |

    Listening to Bernadi, Capital Hill who said there is another way. Looking at wages and conditions in the car industry. Could they be setting the ground work for other Patrick lie  dispute.

    Offering GMH a deal they cannot refuse, as long as they take on the unions.

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 7:01:08 PM |

    Another rebate for small business, being debated and is going, go....

  • Catching Up

    12/9/2013 7:05:28 PM |

    research and development bill.  Sorry, this one is directing money to industry of less than 20 million. Sorry.

  • Casablanca

    12/10/2013 5:54:39 AM |

    CASABLANCA'S CACHE  Tuesday, 10 December, 2013; 58 items


    1.  The real Mandela challenge - living up to his ideals
    Toni Hassan
    Making him a saint won't help, but will be much easier than charging today's leaders to live up to his ideals.


    2.  Australia's report card in the latest OECD snapshot highlights the need for urgent education reform
    Anna Patty
    Australia's report card on education highlights the need for vital reform.

    3.  A winning formula: how to pick the best teachers
    John Hattie and Terry Bowles
    It’s one of those debates that has seemingly gone on forever. All the way back to the ancient Greeks, people have been trying to figure out the best way to choose teachers. Australian governments, most…

    4.  Curriculum, equity and resources: how we got lost in the Gonski debate
    Philip Roberts
    It’s been a big week for education. Amidst all the confusion and politics on school funding of the last week there have been a couple of repeated mantras by the federal education minister – namely that…

    5.  FactCheck: is Australian education highly equitable?
    Glenn C. Savage
    OUR VERDICT: Education minister Chris Pyne claims we have no equity problem in Australian education. While the OECD says we’re a ‘high equity’ nation, that’s not the full story.

    6.  Securing Australia’s future: science and research
    Ben McNeil
    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… Today, through long-term government backing of Australian science, a vibrant, world-class research culture has emerged, producing a string of breakthroughs in diverse fields from cancer to solar cells to Wi-Fi.

    7.  Blind ideology putting Australian education at risk
    While Australia continues to perform well above the OECD average in education, politicians are selectively mining international data to paint an unrelenting tale of woe.


    8.  Fraud police given access to Gillard's ex-boyfriend's documents
    Jeff Waters
    Victoria's chief magistrate has ordered that fraud police be given access to legal documents relating to Julia Gillard's ex-boyfriend Bruce Wilson.


    9.  A pariah on the world stage
    Mungo MacCallum, The Monthly
    Abbott is employing the same strategy on foreign policy as he brought to the boxing ring: forget subtlety..."   (4 free + subscription)

    10.  Explainer: Australia and Timor Leste in The Hague
    Sarah Heathcote
    Several issues of international law arise from Timor Leste’s dispute with Australia over the negotiations of a 2006 treaty regulating the exploitation of petroleum and similar resources in the Timor Sea…

    11.  Timorese identify bogus 'aid workers' as Australian spies
    Tom Allard
    East Timor's government believes it has identified the Australian spies who allegedly bugged its government offices.


    12.  Where did calm and considered government go to?
    Phillip Coorey
    If key Liberals are struggling with the optics of their own government’s actions, spare a thought for the punter. It is not the policy positions being espoused, as such, but the approaches and the conflicting messages being sent... “Abbott folded to the Nats on that so now he’s trying to be all hairy-chested on Holden and Qantas,’’

    13.  Australia's five tidal waves of unemployment
    Robert Gottliebsen
    No peace-time Prime Minister in Australia’s history has faced the challenge now facing Tony Abbott. I do not think the Australian nation, treasury or the cabinet understands the magnitude of what is going to happen. The share and currency markets are just starting to get a whiff of what is ahead.

    14.  Blowout in debt is government's work
    Peter Martin
    Most of the deterioration has been driven by the government itself and by the Senate rather than changed economic circumstances. The biggest driver is the government's decision to top up the the Reserve Bank reserve fund, which will add $8.8 billion to the deficit.

    15.  The Aunty Hi-Jack Show starring Bronwyn Shutshop
    Bruce Keogh
    Bruce Keogh has been leaked a letter written by a prominent conservative politician to the dear chairman. Oh yes ... our biggest problem is that the ABC attracts people who actually think about things like openness, honesty and integrity in politics and the media. Very dangerous people. May our divine God of right-ness strike them down. Our God-given right bestowed on we in the Coalition is that we were born to rule, even if it takes ungodly tactics,5969

    16.  Abbott's hundred days
    Bob Ellis
    How has it all gone so wrong? Well, the dignity he lost in Opposition is part of it. The run from the chamber. The stare. The over-flaunted hairy chest. The eye-rolling, lip-smacking, leering and smirking evasive pauses. The boastful admission he can’t be trusted to keep his word. The framing of Slipper. The getting of Thomson. The lesbian sister, burning in hell. And when the fires and typhoons came and Morrison refused to answer any questions, and Pyne ripped nine-tenths of the promised money off schoolkids, they looked like a pack of loons.,5966


    17.  The bloody-minded Banjos keepin' carbon in our air
    Stephen Bygrave
    Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics about average household expenditure show how repeal of the carbon price cannot save households very much. Why not? Because households don't spend very much on power. For a house that is struggling to pay all its bills, that may not sound like much comfort, but the amount we're talking about is relatively tiny. The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for 2009-2010 show that houses spend an average 2.63 per cent on 'domestic fuel and power'. That includes electricity, gas, bottled LPG and even firewood. It also includes those houses that pay an extra premium to buy GreenPower, to get 100 per cent renewable electricity.

    18.  Abbott, Shorten attend Mandela memorial
    Michelle Grattan
    Prime Minister Tony Abbott tonight has made a fresh but futile plea to the Senate to repeal the carbon and mining taxes ... Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen today defended Labor’s opposing a raft of legislation by saying it was staying true to its values. “Our values tell us that a price on carbon is necessary. … The carbon price brought down emissions at the same time as 150,000 jobs were created.

    19.  Lay off Tony Abbott's adviser Peta Credlin, says Senator Mathias Cormann
    Jonathan Swan
    Senior Coalition minister Mathias Cormann has urged unnamed colleagues to "back off" from making attacks on Prime Minister Tony Abbott's chief of staff Peta Credlin in the media.

    20.  An Open Letter to Holden MD, Mike Devereux
    Victoria Rollison
    Dear Mike Devereux, I am writing you this open letter as a concerned South Australian. Please don’t shut down your Holden manufacturing business in Australia. I know you are working hard with the big wigs at General Motors in the…

    21.  Mr Hockey, if you want to save some money well here’s a thought . . .
    Michael Taylor
    Joe Hockey went into the 2013 election complaining about Australia’s level of debt. The country isn’t short of excellent economists who have some practical ideas on how it could be managed but Joe isn’t listening. He wants to do things…

    22.  Senator Mitch Fifield: Portrait of a passionate man
    Nicholas Stuart
    Perhaps that's what you want in this politician because today he's got one of the most intricate, difficult jobs in government: introducing the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The idea was Bill Shorten's; it came to fruition under Julia Gillard. It's a great concept, embraced by all sides. This doesn't mean it hasn't been used as a political football. Fifield still shakes his head as he talks about Jenny Macklin rushing around in the last election campaign


    23.  Keating backs macroprudential
    Houses and Holes
    On both sides of the aisle, our contemporary brood are steadily rebuilding the uncompetitive and closed system of government-favoured businesses that led to the need for the Keating reforms in the first place.

    24.  Paul Keating warns Coalition about reducing deficit
    Glenda Korporaal and Paul Kelly
    Mr Keating said the major central banks had saved the economy from near depression in the wake of the global financial crisis and were now the effective economic powerbrokers in a world where there was little real political leadership... Mr Keating has warned of a "singular lack of urgency" in the attitude towards economic reform in Australia. He also warned the government not to be too aggressive about reining in the deficit.

    25.  ANZ survey shows job ads fell by 0.8 per cent in November, 10 per cent below same month last year
    Pat McGrath
    The latest ANZ job advertisement survey has revealed a decline in the number of positions advertised during November. The figures show jobs advertised in newspapers and online fell by 0.8 per cent during the month, after dipping by 0.1 per cent in October. The result means the number jobs advertised in November was 10 per cent lower than during the same month last year.

    26.  Open doors for investment dollars: foreign capital in Australian agriculture
    ABC Rural Reporters
    The debate over foreign investment in Australian agriculture is clouded in politics, ambition and fear. It polarises farmers, political parties, investors and the community. Yet foreign investment in Australian agriculture has been a reality for decades and in some cases, centuries. At the heart of the current discussion is our ability to meet future food challenges in Australia and overseas.

    27.  Reaching its limits: can the global economy keep growing?
    Bruce Henry and Isaac Donnelly
    In 1972 a group of scientists, known collectively as the Club of Rome, constructed a detailed mathematical model to test…

    28.  China plans 36 million affordable homes: lessons for Australia
    Rebecca L.H. Chiu and Nicole Gurran
    The sudden dismissal of Australia’s National Housing Supply Council last month suggests we may be entering a new housing policy vacuum. This is bad news for aspiring first home buyers, whose numbers have…

    29.  Adding up the flow-on effects of a Holden closure
    Barry Burgan
    The idea of further government support for the ailing automotive industry (AKA the Holden problem) generates considerable political and economic debate. For economists and business academics, it comes…

    30.  Revealed: how to save Holden
    Jonathan Swan
    The Abbott government has confidential documents that show it would cost less than $150 million extra a year to keep Holden in Australia until 2025, says former industry minister Kim Carr.

    31.  Australia’s tidal waves of unemployment
    Leith van Onselen
    After last week’s prediction of endless ghost cities, Business Spectator’s Robert Gottliebsen (“Gotti”) goes firmly the other way  today on a possible big rise in unemployment as a range of headwinds hit the Australian economy:

    32.  Parents, children pay for expensive houses
    Leith van Onselen
    The Productivity Commission has released new research on childcare in Australia, which is estimated to cost families around 9% of their disposable income across the income scale, despite $5.2 billion of subsidies from the Federal Government every year: Families across the income scale with one child in full-time long daycare spend [...]

    33.  Raise GST to mitigate ageing’s Budget impacts?
    Leith van Onselen
    John Piggott, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, wrote an interesting article over the weekend on the ageing conundrum facing Australia, and proposing to raise the rate of GST to mitigate the budgetary impacts. From The AFR: Demography gets much less attention from economists than it [...]


    34.  Broadband and business: if you build it will they come?
    Colin Griffith
    As the debate about the type of broadband infrastructure Australia is investing in rolls on, the really big question concerns the extent to which Australians will benefit from this investment. This is…

    35.  CSIRO report confirms lag in business internet use
    Kylar Loussikian
    Broadband access and coverage may have increased across the country, but businesses aren’t investing in the required skills…


    36.  Hunt's new brown coal adviser
    Tristan Edis
    Climate Spectator understands that a new adviser, Patrick Gibbons, has been appointed to Environment Minister’s Hunt’s office. Gibbons has a long history with efforts to discourage and dismantle policies supportive of renewable energy, energy-efficiency and carbon pollution reduction more generally.

    37.  Fukushima Clean-Up Chief Admits Contaminated Water will be Dumped into Ocean
    Charles Kennedy |
    ABC recently held an exclusive interview with Dale Klein, the former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and now chairman of the Fukushima Monitoring Committee, in which he admitted that many more accidents are bound to happen at the stricken nuclear site before the clean-up is finished, and that the contaminated water collected will eventually have to be dumped into the sea.

    38.  Ten Things You Can Do to Save the Ocean
    National Geographic
    All life on Earth is connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you learn about the issues facing this vital system, the more you’ll want to help ensure its health—then share that knowledge to educate and inspire others.

    39.  Ocean Acidification Summary for Policymakers 2013
    This summary for policymakers reports on the state of scientific knowledge on ocean acidification, based on the latest research presented at The Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World, held in Monterey, California, in September 2012.

    40.  Ancient farming seen curbing extinctions of animals, plants
    OSLO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Ancient farming practices, such as raising fish in rice paddies in China or Aboriginal Australian fire controls, will get a new lease of life under plans to slow extinctions of animals and plants, experts said on Monday.

    41.  Climate Council's Code Red bushfire warning
    Lesley Hughes
    Australians have always had to live with bushfires - but climate change is driving that fire danger even higher. And we’re not talking about a distant threat to future generations. According to real observations…

    42.  Towards truly resilient cities: stop being soft on old buildings
    Jeroen van der Heijden
    Making Australian cities truly resilient to extreme events is being held back by archaic planning. The majority of buildings don’t fall under new sustainability and resilience regulations, meaning private…


    43.  Leaked memo shows trade concessions
    Peter Martin
    Australia secretly works with the US to reintroduce rejected clauses that would give US drug companies greater influence. The leaked documents, published by The Huffington Post and WikiLeaks... ''The Australian position is unclear and begins to show some weakness,'' the memo says.

    44.  What you need to know about the Trans Pacific Partnership
    Deborah Gleeson
    Expect to hear a lot about the Trans Pacific Partnership in the next few days. As it moves into final stages of negotiations, outrage over some of its more onerous provisions is ramping up around the world…


    45.  Bogan pride: Queensland linguistics researcher looks at the evolution of the word
    Kim Stephens
    In 30 years, the distinctly Australian term has evolved from derogatory to culturally embraced - to the point where many of us proudly and jokingly acknowledge that we have some ‘‘bogan’’ tendencies.

    46.  Bogan is an insult that has lost all meaning
    David Nichols
    Alex Douglas's email showed old fashioned snobbery – but these days, the term bogan is too all-encompassing to sting

    47.  Designing for readers: five tips for effective typography
    Zoe Sadokierski
    Put simply, typography is the art of making language visible: designing what words look like on a page or screen.... Before desktop computing, typography was a specialised trade. Now, anyone with access to word-processing software can choose typefaces and layout documents.

    48.  Is Vanilla Ice teasing children on the internet and other headlines
    Rohan Miller
    Eye-catching headlines and images have underpinned the old newspaper model that kept punters buying for generations. But the digital era is forcing profound change on these time honoured practices. Consumers… Click bait and search engine optimisation are two of the most common ways of encouraging online readership


    49.  Counterpoint interview with George Lakoff  (19m.31s)
    This week we hosted cognitive linguist George Lakoff from the University of California, Berkeley. In the following interview Professor Lakoff discusses how our brains work and how they use the logic of frames and metaphor.

    50.  Social impact bonds might revolutionize public finance and public service delivery
    Jason Potts
    What’s new in public finance you ask? Social impact bonds, that’s what. This is the leading edge of the social finance revolution. It just might make a big difference to Indigenous and remote Australia, and, curiously, arts and cultural funding is mixed up in this.

    51.  Keating's Redfern speech is still worth fighting over
    Tom Clark
    The Redfern Park Speech, given by former Australian prime minister Paul Keating on December 10 1992, was a speech worth fighting for. It captured harsh truths about Australian history; it used those as a basis for building trust with Indigenous Australians; and it marked a turning-point for non-Indigenous understandings about Aboriginal reconciliation.

    52.  Keating gives Abbott a masterclass
    Ross Gittins leader of this country since John Curtin has more cause for self-congratulation than Keating. No leader is without character failings and Keating's were outweighed by his contribution. His vision was of "an efficient, competitive, open, cosmopolitan republic, integrating itself with the Asian region".

    53.  David Simon: 'There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show'
    David Simon
    The creator of The Wire, David Simon, delivered an impromptu speech about the divide between rich and poor in America at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney, and how capitalism has lost sight of its social compact. This is an edited extract

    54.  A small win on immigration
    Leith van Onselen
    One of my key aims of commentating on policy matters is to influence debate and ultimately promote reform. The main way that I attempt to do so is via ‘advocacy’: essentially restating ideas and arguments over-and-over in the hope that enough people read them so that they become mainstream. It can [...]

    55.  Book review: Garnaut’s Dog Days
    Remy Davison, Monash University
    In 1991, Michael Pusey unleashed Economic Rationalism in Canberra: A Nation-building state changes its mind. In his book, Pusey took aim at the Canberra econocrats who ruled the key federal government ministries and forced out the “consensus” mandarins of the Menzies, Whitlam and Fraser governments. The economic rationalists were all roughly the same age, had the same educational background and were reared on Friedman’s supply-side economics, rather than the traditional Keynesian demand-management prescriptions of their predecessors. Ross Garnaut was one of them


    56.  The Case for Filth
    Stephen Marche
    IN Claire Messud’s novel “The Emperor’s Children,” the ultraliberal Murray Thwaite comes home late, steps in cat vomit and keeps walking: “It still was not, nor could it ever be, his role to clean up cat sick,” Ms. Messud writes. The boomer hypocrite is practically a comic type by this point, but in his domestic disregard, Murray Thwaite is like most other men, liberal or conservative, old or young.

    57.  TIME’s Person of the Year reminds us that women don’t matter
    TIME Magazine announced its shortlist for Person of the Year today. Fun fact: since TIME started Man of the Year in 1927  (they un-gendered the title in 1999, only 24 years after they dubbed “American Women” Man of the Year), only four individual women have won the title, two of them women of colour. FOUR. Which makes sense, because it’s not as though women do much, let alone “the most” to ever “influence the events of the year.” Who, us? We’re too busy making Pinterest boards and doing pilates to influence anything. Someone pass the top coat, please.


    58.  Six reasons why Australia needs a single national health insurer
    Ian McAuley
    We have come to see private health insurance as an essential part of the national health funding mix, but it’s actually quite a costly way to fund health care. A well-designed system with a single national…


    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  10 December 2013


  • 2353

    12/10/2013 6:52:44 AM |

    Calm and considered government. Not!

    Now Newspoll has joined the dots.  LNP 48%:ALP52% TPP.  Lets see how Newscorp spins this.

  • TalkTurkey

    12/10/2013 8:22:13 AM |


    I never met you as Ingrid but here is a photo of me playing hard-to-get with Humphrey and Lauren a while back.

  • TalkTurkey

    12/10/2013 8:35:30 AM |


    Very good to end the year with the last poll having us UP.

    That means Abborrrtt is Down, and in this case I do believe that he must be on a slide.

    Surely Labor hasn't done a lot (or been seen to be doing a lot) to raise our stocks, but Abborrrrttians have done an amazing job on themselves.  

  • TalkTurkey

    12/10/2013 8:42:42 AM |

    WRT the Bra Curve,

    It's all about tiny differences eh!

    To his bride said the sharp-eyed detective,
    "Can it be that my vision's defective?
    Has the East tit the least bit
    The best of the West tit?
    Or is it a trick of perspective?"

  • Michael

    12/10/2013 9:51:48 AM |

    I haven't had much to say lately...

    But may I just say this: Casablanca, you rock!

  • Catching Up

    12/10/2013 10:08:45 AM |

    No Mr.  Reith, Labor is not saying no, because they think that is his just desserts.  Mr. Reith, Tony is getting his just desserts. He is doing it all on his own, with no help from Labor.

    ...Labor has form on negative tactics in opposition, and kids itself that it is simply giving Abbott his own medicine, writes Peter Reith.

    As we head to the Christmas break, there is a whirlwind of decisions and outcomes blowing through the corridors of power in Canberra. Some have been initiated by the incoming government but some are the consequence of the decisions of the previous government and even earlier. The cumulative forces at play may be a better indication of where the government is heading than any individual issue..

  • 42 long

    12/10/2013 10:12:41 AM |

      I'm not on facebook ,and I NEARLY bought a Jaguar (second hand) once.
       Prediction. Abbott's ADULT government WILL cause a recession. Clear as Crystal. It's in their DNA. In addition WE as Australians will be about as popular as a pork chop in a synagogue, overseas. We will have to pretend we are Kiwi's.

  • 42 long

    12/10/2013 10:25:57 AM |

      I won't go on the ABC site but Reith's legacy of bias lies and deceit would have caused anyone with a sense of shame to withdraw from political comment but the LieNP don't seem to mind relying on him and the likes of Downer, (all larger than life in their resurrections) speaking on their parties performances and policies(or lack of).  It is a strange phenomenon having these "ghosts" feature so prominently. Frazer doesn't get much of a leg in because he recognised the ROT setting in and resigned from the Tony Murdoch Party.

  • Casablanca

    12/10/2013 10:36:06 AM |


    Love the photo - glad that you escaped to blog another day. This is going straight to the pool room!

  • Ad Astra

    12/10/2013 11:55:35 AM |

    2353, TT,
    Even Dennis Shanahan is coming to realize that he's been backing a DUD all this time.  It took a poll of the people to open his eyes.  It will get worse Dennis, just like we've been telling you for three years now.

  • Ad Astra

    12/10/2013 12:10:13 PM |

    Catching Up
    At least Reith's article is consistent with his TV rhetoric - persistently negative towards Labor.  He is a world beater at negativity - by comparison, Labor is still in amateur status.

  • Catching Up

    12/10/2013 12:14:16 PM |

    Well Ad, reading the comments, he has given many a good laugh this morning.

  • Catching Up

    12/10/2013 12:43:44 PM |

    Another comedy, on ABC 24 NPC.

    Director of National Party NPC ABC24

  • Catching Up

    12/10/2013 12:46:06 PM |

    Childcare workers asked to hand back wage rise
    Jonathan Swan and Bianca Hall

    The Abbott government is asking childcare providers to “do the right thing” and hand back $62.5 million given to them to improve wages in the poorly paid sector, in a move slammed by Labor as a broken election promise.
    The contracts were signed with the previous government, with the money to be spent in 1100 childcare centres to bolster the $19-an-hour wages of certificate III childcare workers by $3 an hour and the pay of early-childhood teachers by $6 an hour.
    Asked whether it was cruel to be asking low-paid childcare workers to return money promised to them, Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley said: “Of course I feel for workers who might have expected a pay rise, but who led them to expect that pay rise?”
    At a media conference in Canberra on Tuesday, Labor's child care spokeswoman Kate Ellis said the government had led child care workers to expect that pay rise when it promised to honour agreements.
    Ms Ellis said the government's process was ''shambolic'' and ''cruel'' to child care workers before Christmas.

    or at:

  • Catching Up

    12/10/2013 1:09:18 PM |

    Pyne is now attacking research grants, that are given out by our universities. Appears all that have been successful are waste of money. I think Pyne is setting himself to be arbitrator in this matter. Cannot leave it up to academic and their peers.

    Another Gillard achievement that has to go.

  • Catching Up

    12/10/2013 3:52:15 PM |

    Senate vote gives Clean Energy Finance Corp a reprieve AAP

    The senate has voted against the first of the carbon tax repeal bills.

    The Senate has rejected the first of the government’s carbon tax repeal bills with Labor and the Greens combining to vote it down.

    Parliament’s upper house voted 38 to 29 against further debate on a bill to scrap the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, effectively defeating the legislation.

    The CEFC abolition legislation was the first of the package of 11 bills which abolish the carbon tax, in line with a coalition election promise. or at:

  • jaycee

    12/10/2013 6:04:58 PM |

    "Because if I was running a business and I was committed to that business in Australia, I wouldn't be saying that I haven't made any decision about its future.

    "Either you're here or you're not."

    Does Hockey think he's playing some sort of "dare - double dare" game with GMH?...and if they get their back up, and considering they are up against the eight-ball staying in Aust' and they suddenly say ; "Ok!..we're going". WTF. is Hockey going to do then?...wave that magic wand to save 50,000 jobs?...plead with them to stay(doing the Tony/SBY crawl?)?..WTF. does this miasma of idiocy, that demeens the title of "Government", think is going to happen when all these jobs and associated employment flow-ons go?...
    Who the F#CK voted for these jerks?..c'mon!..I want some names!..I want some faces to those names!...I am starting to want some justice!

  • TalkTurkey

    12/10/2013 6:47:40 PM |

    I keep hearing this 'The Abbott government is asking childcare providers to “do the right thing” and hand back $62.5 million given to them to improve wages in the poorly paid sector' -

    What does that mean, "asking" ?

    They're just taking it from them aren't they, and using the money instead in an *upgrading-qualifications* scheme aimed eventually at getting rid of unions altogether?

    Or am I wrong?

  • jaycee

    12/10/2013 7:01:44 PM |

    If you read those missives from the likes of Gina, Twiggy, the IPA. and other economic rationalists that are continuing carping about "let the markest decide"'d believe they have control of some unique gyroscopic market that when a company collapse or economic disaster happens, the "free market" will stabilize itself through some magic spinning top!
    They are fools living in a fools paradise!....there is only one thing that happens when societies become destabilized...violence and disaster.

  • jaycee

    12/10/2013 7:03:54 PM |

    Now, if someone was really nasty, they'd drop a few pamphlets  in the crowd, of Abbott's previous commentry on Mandela when he wasn't such a "devoted sympathiser"...

  • Curi-Oz

    12/10/2013 7:13:38 PM |

    Speaking with a friend yesterday after being asked not to discuss 'anything political' with her, she added, ".. there's no point in voting, being involved or interested in politics any more. Our votes don't make any difference and we were told who would win, and they did."

    I find this very disturbing, and appreciate all the links to Dr Lakof's work, and those of David Simmons. Perhaps I will find some answers that will re-engage her with why it is important to stay at least a little interested in politics and who is reporting it, and why it is being reported a particualar way.

    Thanks for being an education this past year, all you Swordsters. I look forward to next year, learning from you all, finding ammunition for the continuing fight for a better, more inclusive Australia - like the one I migrated to.

    PS - Sorry TT, I like the idea of the clangour of battle when it comes to cutting through the miasma of political obfustication. Xiphid sounds a little fishy, if accurate *wry lopsided smile*

  • jaycee

    12/10/2013 7:19:21 PM |

    Never in my wildest dreams, could I have imagined such a rat-infested, rusting hulk... a plague-infected miasma of idocy such as the Party we see fronting the House, calling itself ; government, moored to a buoy of waterlogged buffoonery called ; "Warren" who is, as I write, the stand-in as against : "stand-up" comedy calling himself acting Prime Minister of Australia......never in my wildest dreams...

  • Casablanca

    12/11/2013 2:36:25 AM |

    CASABLANCA'S CACHE  Wednesday, 11 December, 2013; 40 items


    1.  Mandela funeral: avoiding the caricature of Madiba’s legacy
    Adam Habib, University of the Witwatersrand
    A life magnificently lived in the service of humanity. This is why there is such a simultaneously outpouring of grief and celebration with the passing of Nelson Mandela, or Madiba. He has brought South Africa and the world together like no other. Perhaps his widow Graca Machel put it best to me when she said: This is his final gift to South Africa... South Africa has been united in grief and celebration across race, class, generation, party, and ideology. The real challenge for all of us is how to make it sustainable going forward.

    2.  Nelson Mandela was a great man on world stage, but not in his home life
    Emma G Keller  (Biographer of Winnie Mandela)
    Mandela was prepared to sacrifice domesticity for the cause of freedom, and he expected his family to do the same....Mandela's contribution to his country was enormous. His sadness that his own family had to pay the price for his contribution was also huge. As South Africans mourn his death now, spare a thought for the Mandelas. They have been living with their loss for years.


    3.  Ashbygate mastermind
    The Ashbygate Trust
    A decision either way will clear some of the air — a win for Ashby means he and others, including Karen Doane (if she can be found), can be called as witness under oath, a loss means Rares’ judgement stands. As far as truth is concerned, both outcomes have a downside.,5967


    4.  State surveillance of personal data is theft, say world's leading authors
    Matthew Taylor and Nick Hopkins
    "More than 500 of the world's leading authors, including five Nobel prize winners, have condemned the scale of state surveillance revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden and warned that spy agencies are undermining democracy and must be curbed by a new international charter."

    5.  The spying game: what a 15th-century Irish warlord can teach today's politicians
    Patrick Stokes
    Irish philosopher Richard Kearney visited Melbourne last year and, being the fine raconteur he is, told a great tale from his nation’s past. In 1492, Black James, nephew of the Earl of Ormond, and a group…


    6.  Voters turn on Abbott as Newspoll puts Labor ahead
    The poll result confirms an Australian Financial Review/Nielsen poll, published two weeks ago, which was the first since the election to show that voters had dramatically shifted allegiance away from the Coalition, despite the party’s landslide win on September 7.

    7.  Abbott's to-do list looking hard and unpopular
    Michael Pascoe
    The Abbott government’s honeymoon with the electorate was very brief indeed - more a Saturday night in a Nowra caravan park than a fortnight in Noosa - judging by The Australian’s Newspoll today and the earlier Fairfax/Neilsen effort. What makes it an economic worry is that the Abbott/Hockey team has blown its lead without trying to do anything particularly difficult when there are difficult things that need doing. The political capital has gone on fripperies and foolishness rather buying something useful.

    8.  Abbott hits the ground reviewing
    Jack the Insider
    ...Of graver concern is the list of policy and administrative reviews so long a male blue whale could develop a nasty case of penis envy looking at it. There are 49 reviews or inquiries currently underway or likely to begin soon. The Productivity Commission is flat out like a lizard drinking working on seven reviews, there are five white papers, three concurrent reviews of the NBN and perhaps with the blue whale in mind, a review of the analysis of invasive marine species.
    Tony Abbott once derided Kevin Rudd as having ‘hit the ground reviewing‘ less than a year into Rudd’s prime ministership. The same could be said of Prime Minister Abbott now, save the pivotal difference that Kevin Rudd remained a popular figure. This is not a luxury Tony Abbott enjoys.

    9.  Abbott, 2009: Oppositions are not there to get legislation through.
    Paul Davis
    There’s already been a couple of articles on AusOpinion regarding mandates. One from Paula Matthewson with “What’s in a mandate?” and another by Bill Street with “Everyone has their mandate”. Consider this piece as a corollary using election data. The Liberal Party certainly appears fond of the word mandate. A search of the party site reveals many examples, such as....

    10.  Holden closure could be disastrous for Tony Abbott
    Mark Kenny
    The government, of course, is right about the fact the local automotive industry is slavishly dependent on government assistance. 'Twas ever thus. Indeed, it is a universal complaint. Car makers the world over receive support and protection in one form or another. Australia's car makers, we are told by industry advocates, are actually at the lower end of taxpayer assistance.

    11.  Disillusion is growing beyond the levy lift
    Dennis Shanahan
    Last weekend, the Coalition's primary vote dropped to where it was in 2011 - before the broken promise on carbon tax took hold. Labor's two-party-preferred support is for the first time back to where it was before Gillard and then Greens leader Bob Brown announced the tax.... the distractions from the Coalition's central message on repealing the carbon tax have been negative and either out of Abbott's control or coming from within the Coalition.

    12.  Disguise fair nature
    Andrew Elder
    This past week has shown that a directionless government can easily lose what little focus it has. This past week showed that a party which is a 'flat track bully' when the polls go with them will go to water when polls are less than favourable. This past week has been all about ramping up for this government's one true test: the repeal of the carbon tax, the rod for this government's back.

    13.  Climate and science policy: the Coalition's first 90 days
    Luke Menzies
    As the end of the Parliamentary year draws to a close, and we mark the Coalition’s first few months in power, I thought it would be useful to provide a comprehensive list of climate change and science…


    14.  Tony Abbott's threat to delay holiday for senators appears hollow
    Lenore Taylor
    Tony Abbott’s threat to keep parliament sitting until it passes the carbon tax repeal appears likely to be hollow, with the Greens refusing to back a government motion implementing the tactic. Guardian Australia understands the government motion – likely to be put on Wednesday – will propose that the Senate not adjourn until it has voted on the bills implementing the carbon tax repeal. The Greens will not back this motion, meaning the Senate is likely to rise after debating the carbon tax repeal bills, but without voting on them.

    15.  Childcare workers asked to hand back wage rise
    Jonathan Swan and Bianca Hall
    The Abbott government is asking childcare providers to “do the right thing” and hand back $62.5 million given to them to improve wages in the poorly paid sector, in a move slammed by Labor as a broken election promise. The contracts were signed with the previous government, with the money to be spent in 1100 childcare centres to bolster the $19-an-hour wages of certificate III childcare workers by $3 an hour and the pay of early-childhood teachers by $6 an hour.

    16.  “Preference whispering” too successful for its own good?
    Michelle Grattan
    The government has taken the first step in exploring how to curb the scope for “micro” parties to win Senate places through elaborate preference deals. Special Minister of State Michael Ronaldson has asked a parliamentary committee to investigate “Senate voting reform”.

    17.  So if the carbon tax is not working, can the government please just explain what is?
    Mike Sandiford
    In fact, in the one key sector that counts - the electrical power sector - emissions are declining rapidly. It’s the sector that counts because it is most directly affected by the carbon tax. In case you are in doubt, just listen how the government alternates between describing the carbon pricing mechanism as a “carbon tax” or an “electricity tax”.

    18.  Notes from Question Time
    Michael Galvin
    Even though the Opposition is edging in front in the polls and Prime Minister Abbott is looking shaky, Michael Galvin says the Government has a readymade replacement waiting in the wings.,5975

    19.  The warrior Bishop takes her seat
    Jack the Insider Blog
    Early in his political career, Tony Abbott described himself as the political love child of John Howard and Bronwyn Bishop....Abbott’s political dam will look dotingly down on her progeny from the Speaker’s chair.


    20.  Deals, trade-offs - will we sell out to the Americans?
    Ross Gittins
    Tony Abbott looks to be appeasing big business at the expense of the rest of us. According to someone called Oscar Ameringer, politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other. But when Tony Abbott spoke to the Business Council's 30th anniversary dinner last week, he was very much in protecting big business mode.

    21.  WTO struggles across the line in new era of policy malaise
    Peter Lloyd
    The WTO Multilateral Trade Negotiations in Bali almost failed. By negotiating for one day beyond the scheduled conference time, 159 exhausted nations finally concluded an agreement. What’s at stake are…


    22.  It's the Australian economy that needs saving
    David Llewellyn-Smith
    The prospects for productive Australian industry are waning daily, yet we continue to sit back and debate which particular business is worth saving. I am talking about the global currency war that we are comprehensively losing while having our backs turned.

    23.  PM's decision on cars means hard times ahead
    Tim Colebatch
    The cost of supporting the car industry is minor compared with the losses Victoria and the country will face.... Some will say this shows the car makers can't be trusted. Abbott said recently: ''They're very good at using taxpayers' money but … not that good at maintaining production and jobs despite the use of taxpayers' money.'' That's dumb. Car makers must make profits to survive. They invest where they believe they can make profits. If their assumptions turn out wrong - a currency becomes overvalued, or a new government welshes on promised support - they become unprofitable, and must go where they can make a profit.

    24.  The case for keeping the car industry
    Leith van Onselen
    In sadly his last article for The Age, Tim Colebatch has published a typically well-reasoned piece on why the Australian Government should fight to keep automotive manufacturing alive in Australia: In 2011-12, the industry employed more than 45,000 people, and produced $5.4 billion of net output: $2.2 billion from making cars, [...]

    25.  Govt spending outstrips growth: PBO
    PBO finds increase in spending on health, social security and GFC stimulus. The pace of federal government spending has outstripped economic growth over the past decade, particularly under the former Labor government, according to the independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO). The PBO found that between 2002-03 and 2012-13 government spending grew by 27 per cent faster than the economy, after accounting for inflation.

    26.  GFC, Bubbles and Pricks.
    To understand why this happened, you need to first gain an understanding of leveraging, and before you do that, you first need to understand money.

    27.  Australian disease will be one for the text books
    David Llewellyn-Smith
    While the nation continues to debate whether we should let this business go or bail out that business, the real issue continues to be ignored. Indeed it is so far off the radar that cheap shot commentators like Michael Pascoe can make wise cracks about it while the economy burns. But it’s not funny. It’s [...]

    28.  More super competition
    Arthur Sinodinos
    Industry funds argue they have performed better than other funds so their governance is not an issue. If that is so, they have nothing to fear from a more competitive environment.


    29.  Standing up for the Arctic was worth it
    Alex Harris
    Taking on one of Russia's biggest oil companies had its risks, but not once have I regretted the decision to join the Arctic Sunrise

    30.  Warsaw No-Show
    Nathan Lentern
    For me one of the most boring debates of the Abbott-Gillard era was that of climate change. It was mind blowing to see two political parties shed so much blood over an issue in which they’d both so comprehensively hollowed out their policies out into wimpy half measures. I was initially interested in Labor’s carbon tax but then I realized that in the long term they would be indexing their carbon price to the wimpy, ineffectual price of European emissions permits.

    31.  A four degrees warmer Australia: Hot not sexy
    Lyn Bender
    While our volunteer firefighter PM hoses down discussion about the obvious link between climate change and extreme weather events, Lyn Bender takes us on journey to a four degree warmer Australia... People are more likely to give credence to global warming on hotter than usual days, than on cold days and especially in the wake of fires and floods or extreme storms like the Philippines typhoon, Hurricane Sandy in the United States and the October 2013 bushfires in NSW. Not surprising, then, that denier prone governments rushed to hose down the connection between extreme fire and climate change.,5972


    32.  A bad Christmas for refugees
    Kerry Murphy
    Last week asylum seekers had a small win only to have it snatched away, and then were confronted by a more serious attack. Those working with asylum seekers have learned to expect abuse and derision from governments directed against asylum seekers and those helping them. Labor is only moderately better than the Coalition, but at least they occasionally made positive decisions. However these recent events have reached a new nadir.

    33.  Spy row 'reopens' asylum seeker route
    Michael Bachelard
    People smugglers say they are taking advantage of bad relations between Australia and Indonesia.


    34.  Four poems for Seamus Heaney
    Peter Gebhardt, Alan Roddick, Jena Woodhouse, Mark Tredinnick
    Requiem for a poet
    ('... who has made the room — and kept going')
    When you account, as you must, the courtship with the soil,
    It is a grand reckoning, croppies and trouble-makers, friends in toil,
    Old fermentations, and even family in the chain of ancient moil.

    35.  Objectivity and The Australian: Falling down off the paywall
    Peter Wicks
    Behind its flimsy paywall yesterday, The Australian newspaper, through senior reporter Ean Higgins, launched an absurdly comical attack on Independent Australia. Peter Wicks dissects this piece and corrects the record.,5973

    36.  AIMN and Independent Australia* voted* best* independent journalists
    *Voted: there was no election, ballot or poll *Best: singled out by anti-Left trolls – and if you are annoying the Right, you must be doing something right *Independent Australia: although the poster (below) says it is AIMN journalists, many… Just because You don’t like what We say, does not remove our independence. It simply means that you don’t like what we say, that is all.

    37.  Political Footballs, Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Volkswagens.
    There’s been a bit of discussion about whether this site is “independent”. The discussion is nonsense, and a distraction, of course. And someone usually makes the point that the detractors don’t know the meaning of the word “independent”. But, as is my wont, I’d like to swap this around. If this site is not independent, then, by definition, it is “dependent”. On whom are the writers on this site allegedly dependent? And in what way, are they dependent?

    38.  How children's literature shapes attitudes to Asia
    Kerry Mallan, Amy Cross and Cherie Allan
    Australia’s relationship with Asia has always been a focus for heated debate and, often, misunderstanding. What role do books play in moulding this relationship? A research project underway at the Queensland…


    39.  Evidence based public good provision
    Nicholas Gruen
    One of the big problems with public goods is choosing which to build. The goods themselves are joint in consumption but the community may not know, indeed is unlikely to know, how much to spend on one pubic good compared with the next. How much should be spent on guide dogs and how should that be traded off against suburban roads.


    40.  Child abuse victim's faltering testimony silences the lawyers
    David Marr
    "We know her name and saw her face. Most of this week will be spent examining her case. When she began to read her statement in a slightly faltering voice the feeling in the hearing room changed. ...But in the gallery at the other end sat [other] victims and the parents and friends of victims who have been on the case for nearly 20 years. For some it has become their life’s work. And they came from all points on Monday to see what they had managed at last: to put the Catholic Church in the dock. The commissioners lowered their eyes; the lawyers were still; there was absolute silence."


    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

    List of assets owned by News Corp

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

    •  ROULE REPORT — Issues of Today


    •  NEWS HEADLINES  11 December 2013


  • Casablanca

    12/11/2013 3:45:55 AM |

    Australia must do better on boats problem, says Sir Gerard Brennan
    Michael Gordon

    Sir Gerard will use the annual presentation of integrity awards for MPs to call on the nation's leaders to articulate a vision for ''an honourable and confident nation'' and demonstrate ''true political leadership'' on the issue.

    In a carefully worded speech to be delivered at Wednesday's presentation, he implies that the political debate has been driven by popular opinion that has fallen short of ''the vision of a confident nation in a changing world''.

    Sir Gerard cites the debate on asylum seekers in the September election as illustrating the problem of determining political action in the public interest.

    ''Both major political parties proposed to quash the miserable trade of people smugglers by imposing hardship on refugees who have been smuggled,'' he says.

  • Catching Up

    12/11/2013 9:42:39 AM |

    Senate hearings NBNCo. Live Parliament House.

    Conroy serving it to them.

  • jaycee

    12/11/2013 10:22:51 AM |

    Pyney at a "boost 'em then boot them" end of year pep talk at his old Alma' the other day...
    "...When I was your age I told my classmates that one day I would be a "penetrating influence" in Australian politics....well, everybody laff'd at me...well..they're not laffin' now!"......cue for "Biccus Diccus" moment!

  • Catching Up

    12/11/2013 11:02:36 AM |

    ""...When I was your age I told my classmates that one day I would be a "penetrating influence" "

    for good or bad, is the question.  Maybe those listening at his old school had the same thoughts.

  • Catching Up

    12/11/2013 11:05:17 AM |

    That new board of NBNCo, are not coming across as bright sparks.

    One thing in either favour, not comfortable at giving false impressions or answers.

    Senate hearings.

  • TalkTurkey

    12/11/2013 12:39:39 PM |

    Loons and Goons,
    Mugs and Thugs,
    Liars, Crooks,
    Human Slugs.
    Dougie Cameron
    Givin' 'em a hammer'n':
    Abborrrttians are a mob of loons
    Headed by the Prince of Goons.

    Just saw JBishop putting up for auction a T-shirt she says she's sure will bring a lot of money. Dog albitey the way she handled it and rolled it up scrunched and nasty it's a bloody second-hand T-shirt now.

  • jaycee

    12/11/2013 1:21:30 PM |

    What a bunch of squib / white-bait journos' at the press club today....spend more time chewing the ends of their pencils that writing decent copy!...How come Rupert's crowd of boils aren't called before a committee or the Press Club to give explanation of their actions?

  • Catching Up

    12/11/2013 2:16:20 PM |

    Holden closing its doors 2017.

    Truss raving on about getting rid of the carbon tax. Seems getting rid of it, plus the FBT is not enough.

  • Catching Up

    12/11/2013 2:27:24 PM |

    Am I hearing right. The government is making a big thing, report saying that the carbon tax WILL COST $160.00 per year. Will most noticed.

    The rescinding of the School Kids bonus, alone will cost most families 2 to 3 thousand a year. That is only one cut, this government is making.

  • jaycee

    12/11/2013 4:15:28 PM |

    Die, die everything die!...the environment, workers rights, manufacturing, carers, pensioners, the sick, the old...die, die the lot of them...the LNP. "final solution" !

  • jaycee

    12/11/2013 4:17:15 PM |

    The Murray -Darling wetlands taken off endagered listing..."too much green-tape"....the LNP. killing machine in action.

  • Catching Up

    12/11/2013 4:27:27 PM |

    I wonder if Abbott left directions to pull the plug while he is away?

  • Catching Up

    12/11/2013 4:39:32 PM |

    red, black and green tape.

    Code words for regulations and protections.

    I believe the biggest one they will go all out for, is IR wages , laws and protections.  

    When it comes to welfare, those so called tapes, protect children and old people for starters.

    Was not Garrett, persecuted for not providing enough regulations when it come to the Insulation scheme under the Stimulus Package.

  • jaycee

    12/11/2013 6:37:42 PM |

    These idiots in govt' are trying to govern by a book!...the economic rationalist's bible...they seem to have forgotten one vital ingredient..: in "...of the people, by the people, for the people" !
    They got lucky in the Howard years with the Keating structures in place, a booming China alongside a booming mineral / gas resourse sector....and the idiots seem to beleive it was their "good judgement" that caused all of it!....what a joke..and the worst of it is THEY STILL SERIOUSLY BELIEVE IT !

  • jaycee

    12/11/2013 6:52:44 PM |

    They stare us in the face, their dull eyes drift sideways with their lying..their soft, stumbling lie-speak just audible enough to deliver their damnation of everything that cannot deliver a "bottom-line" result.....yet..yet all the while assuring us ("with respect") they do indeed

  • jaycee

    12/11/2013 7:06:03 PM |

    I tell you what!...Rupert's and Gina's press's are going to be working 'round the clock shifts pumping out flattering copy to gild that rotten LNP. lily!

  • Michael

    12/11/2013 7:24:49 PM |

    I wonder what his school age contemporaries made of Pyne's boast he'd one day be a "penetrating influence"?

    Think about that phrase, and wonder, as a contemporary of Pyne this very moment (I can't bring myself to write "an adult Pyne"), what is a "penetrating influence"?

    Come to a similar conclusion as his school chums? Or indeed the schoolkids he was addressing recently?

    Who knew 'penetrate' could be spelled 'w-a-n-k'?

  • Casablanca

    12/12/2013 2:16:08 AM |

    CASABLANCA'S CACHE  Thursday, 12 December, 2013; 62 items


    1.  End of the Road?FrownPenguin Special Price: $9.99)
    Gideon Haigh
    Australia is one of just thirteen countries in the world equipped to take a car from design concept all the way to a showroom – a remarkable achievement in a market so small. Yet the industry has few friends, and many vociferous critics who argue that the country should not make cars at all.  In this engaging and insightful analysis for the lay reader, Gideon Haigh explains why the industry has become an ideological battleground, and reveals the more complex and surprising truth behind the partisan rhetoric.

    2.  Holden is one piece in GM’s global restructuring puzzle
    John Spoehr
    In the wake of the global financial crisis, Holden’s parent company, General Motors was placed on life support. Let’s look at the cost of keeping GMH in Australia relative to the cost of losing it. The price of keeping GMH appears to be around $150 million per year of government co-investment.... around $4 billion in lost economic activity would flow from closure of Holden nationally. The impacts would be widespread with Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia worst affected. Some 65,000 jobs would be lost.

    3.  GM's First Female CEO Is a 'Car Guy'
    Jordan Weissmann
    Mary Barra's promotion will help shatter pernicious auto-industry stereotypes about gender while putting the company in the hands of someone who cares deeply about cars. As the newly named CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra will be the first woman to run a global automaker. It's a remarkable, sun-roof shattering achievement that not long ago would have seemed unthinkable. But according to Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, the most important thing to know about her may be that she is, in fact, "a car guy."

    4.  What happens next for Holden workers?
    Greg Jericho
    While Australia as a whole would likely move on from the death of Holden, it wouldn't be so easy for the local communities that rely on it. Imagine being a worker at the Holden manufacturing plant in Elizabeth. While others look forward to Christmas, they must cope with the pressure of wondering about their future and the pleasure of being treated as political pawns by a government clearly suffering from internal division. Sometimes the argument can be economic, often it is more political. The current debate seems to be verging to the political side as we see factions within the cabinet use the media to try and set the government's position.

    5.  Did Holden deserve endless assistance? A question the Coalition failed to ask
    Lenore Taylor
    The company said it required more money than is available to the entire car industry from 2019 to 2020. It’s not fair to say the Abbott government wanted Holden to leave. No government in its right mind would want to lose thousands of jobs. But it does seem fair, on the basis of this week’s extraordinary ministerial shouting and ostentatious public letter-writing, to suggest that the government wanted Holden to make a decision before the Coalition answered one of the biggest questions over the future of the company... That question is “should the government provide indefinite assistance to retain an industry?” The Coalition didn’t answer it in opposition and hasn’t formally answered it in government because if the answer was no then the demise of car-making would be in part as a direct result of its own action.

    6.  Now it’s Warren Truss giving Holden what for
    Michelle Grattan
    In Question Time...acting Prime Minister Warren Truss increased the pressure on GM, declaring he had written to Devereux in the wake of his PC appearance. The letter is tough. “I note your statement today that ‘there’s been no decision made at this point’...

    7.  Government’s treatment of Holden was bizarre
    Phillip Coorey
    The federal government has decided to park the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, not at the top. Whether you believe in subsidising the industry or not, Holden is leaving for one incontrovertible reason: the federal government was no longer prepared to pay the subsidies required.  As the government gives Holden its marching orders, it has become a case of be careful what you wish for. The government may save $1.5 billion between now and 2020 by cutting the car industry free, but it stands to be liable for at least that amount to repair the damage.

    8.  Devereux ‘looking for cover’ in Holden exit: Truss
    Joanna Heath and Ben Potter
    Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss has accused Holden chief executive Mike Devereux of “looking for cover” at Tuesday’s Productivity Commission hearing to hide that his company has already made a decision to quit its manufacturing operations in Australia.

    9.  Holden to stop Australian manufacturing in 2017
    Joanna Heath and Phillip Coorey
    Holden managing director Mike Devereux has announced the iconic car maker will be leaving Australia at the end of 2017 following a row with the federal government over subsidies to keep the company here beyond 2020. Mr Devereux made the announcement to workers at Holden’s manufacturing plant in Elizabeth in Adelaide on Wednesday.

    10.  Walking away from Holden: Abbott finishes what Hewson started
    Remy Davison
    But Holden’s departure is nevertheless a deliberate public policy choice on the part of the Abbott government. It has been clear since 1992, when Liberal leader Dr John Hewson announced a zero tariff regime for automotive products, that the Coalition parties saw no future in an Australian car manufacturing industry.

    Aussie cars just Holden on? Errol Brandt @e2mq173 comments
    Errol Brandt
    The Abbott government is sending yet more signals that Australia is not open for business. This time, they seem to have lost interest in car manufacturing, an industry we've had in this country since the 1920s. Treasurer Joe Hockey indicated that a Coalition government would “draw a line in the sand” on support for car manufacturing in Australia. Now they’re in government, they believe the industry must stand on its own or be allowed to fail. This view seems to go hand-in-hand with a belief that Australia’s support for its car industry is unusual, yet compared with the United States and Germany, the per-capita assistance to our car industry is reasonable.

    11.  Holden closure: the end of an era
    Warren Murray
    Nearly every Australian has a Holden story – and with the car company folding, those memories will fade. Here's how I remember the iconic brand; please share your stories. Up until today, watching the demise of Australia's car industry had been a bit like the annual V8 Supercar championship between Holden and Ford. As a Ford man I cheered hard for the blue oval to stay in the race, but always felt that Holden would probably win.

    12.  Holden announcement - severe setback for Australian industry
    Tony Melville
    “Holden’s decision to shut down its local manufacturing operations by 2017 is a severe setback for Australian industry and the many people and businesses linked to the auto sector in this country,”  Ai Group, Chief Executive, Innes Willox said today. “There are two big challenges presented by today's announcement which will be defining opportunities for government and industry.  The first is to ensure that appropriate transitional support is provided for the employees and businesses directly affected by this decision.  The second challenge is to make sure we find new ways to stimulate and develop our manufacturing capabilities in the absence of the role that Holden has played so well for many decades.

    13.  CFMEU Appalled at Holden Closure by 2017
    The CFMEU is appalled at the announced closure of Holden by 2017.
    “Our thoughts go out to all the workers and their families who will be facing a bleak future this Christmas,” CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor said.

    14.  Holden to cease manufacturing operations in Australia by 2017
    Emma Griffiths
    Australia's entire car making industry and tens of thousands of jobs have been thrown into doubt by Holden's decision to close down.

    15.  Pay cuts hurt, don't they Prime Minister?
    Annabel Crabb
    While the Coalition has blamed excessive salaries for taking down Holden, we know how Tony Abbott himself felt when he was given a pay cut in 2007.

    16.  Timeline: Holden's history
    Look back on the history of the manufacturer, since its early beginnings more than 150 years ago. The history of Holden dates back to 1856, when James Alexander Holden started as a saddlery business in Adelaide, South Australia.


    17.  Barack Obama lights up damp Nelson Mandela memorial
    David Smith
    In a peculiarly rambling, rain-soaked event bogged down in domestic politics, it felt at times like Mandela's soul was absent. "..But Obama was on vintage form. "Nelson Mandela reminds us that it always seems impossible until it is done," Obama told the gathering. "South Africa shows us that is true. South Africa shows us we can change. We can choose to live in a world defined not by our differences but by our common hopes. We can choose a world defined not by conflict, but by peace and justice and opportunity."

    18.  Mandela's passing: a time for self-reflection
    Barack Obama
    We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again, but we should all strive to borrow from his strength and his largeness of spirit...

    19.  Mandela: in South Africa, death and politics are bedfellows
    Rebekah Lee
    South Africa – and the world – has said its formal goodbye to Nelson Mandela. It was a celebration of a life gloriously lived, an event that united us as a global family. Earlier this year, I reflected…

    20.  Heed Mandela’s example as struggle for his legacy begins
    Roy Smith, Christopher Farrands, and Lloyd Pettiford.
    It is as the iconic figure of the struggle to end the repugnant system of apartheid that Nelson Mandela will be most simply, fondly and longest remembered. What type of society South Africa has become and how much the vast majority have really benefited, is a more problematic question, but even here it can be argued that, but for the inevitable ravages of old age, Mandela might have made more of a positive contribution.

    21.  Jerry Dammers: how I made Free Nelson Mandela
    Dave Simpson
    Jerry Dammers on how a kid from Coventry who had never heard of Nelson Mandela ended up writing a global hit that became the anti-apartheid anthem...How protest songs came into their own with the campaign to free Mandela... At that 1990 Wembley show, someone introduced me to him as the person who wrote Free Nelson Mandela. "Ah yes," he said, "very good." ..."Like slavery and apartheid, "Mandela once told an audience in Trafalgar Square, "poverty is not natural. It is man-made and can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings." He saw that the ending of apartheid is only the beginning – and that's as true now as it ever has been.

    22.  Nelson Mandela: 'By far the greatest man'
    Malcolm Fraser
    In the 1980s there was already a magnetism about Nelson Mandela. His name was known worldwide even though he had been in jail for 27 years. What kind of man could achieve that reputation from the barren Robben Island? I first met Mandela in Cape Town's Pollsmoor jail. I was with other members of the Commonwealth Group of Eminent Persons in 1986.


    23.  Former East Timorese president Jose Ramos-Horta condemns Australia over spying claims
    Peter Lloyd, staff
    East Timor's former president Jose Ramos-Horta says Australia would never have secured a seat on the United Nations Security Council had claims that it spied on its neighbours been known... Australia should not underestimate the damage it has done by allegedly spying on East Timor and Indonesia.

    24.  No Contest: Edward Snowden is Person of the Year
    John Cassidy
    In an effort to gin up a bit of publicity for its annual choice for “Person of the Year,” Time has released its list of ten finalists. They include Pope Francis, President Obama, Jeff Bezos, Miley Cyrus, Ted Cruz, and two Middle Eastern leaders: Bashar al-Assad, the embattled President of Syria, and Hassan Rouhani, the new President of Iran. Of these, Pope Francis is by far the strongest candidate, but even the radical new Pontiff can’t compete with another troublemaker on the list: Edward Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who is currently residing somewhere in Russia as the guest of Vladimir Putin, Time’s 2007 honoree.

    25.  Right to know: the ‘nation’, the ‘people’ and the Fourth Estate
    Martin Hirst
    We might forgive politicians for putting the “national” interest before the “public” interest. But when the news media makes the same mistake, it is time to be worried. The Guardian and the ABC rightly pursued the story of Australia’s spying activities on both Indonesia and Timor Leste. Not only have the revelations been embarrassing, they should also cause concern for anyone who values fairness and humanism in international relations. It is therefore puzzling that News Corp broadsheet The Australian has so vehemently denounced the reporting of Australia’s spying activities.

    26.  Intelligence oversight and accountability: who watches the watchers?
    John Blaxland and Rhys Crawley
    The recent revelations of alleged telephone interception of Indonesian politicians, espionage in East Timor and raids in Canberra have raised more questions than they have answered about Australia’s intelligence…


    27.  Tony Abbott plagued by own goals
    John Warhurst
    The government has the Christmas holidays to regroup. It won't want to surrender momentum too easily. Labor shouldn't get too excited. It still has lots of hard work to do and dark days to suffer in opposition. But neither it nor the government could have predicted the turn of events so far.

    28.  Speaker Bronwyn Bishop under fire for repeating 'puppet of the unions' taunt
    Daniel Hurst
    “But you need to recognise, Madam Speaker, that you are meant to be impartial. You need to recognise, Madam Speaker, that the office you hold is greater and more important than your own political rhetoric,” Burke said


    29.  ABC chairman James Spigelman announces audits of 'impartiality', defends move into online space
    ABC chairman James Spigelman has defended the corporation's digital presence, saying without online and mobile platforms it risked marginalising itself in a future media landscape. In a speech at the National Press Club, Mr Spigelman also announced the ABC will produce and publish external audits examining its impartiality.

    30.  Attempts to stand over ABC nothing new, says chairman
    Michelle Grattan
    ABC chairman Jim Spigelman has strongly defended the national broadcaster against political attacks and complaints about its competing online with commercial media. Spigelman said there was nothing new in the ABC competing. “Nor are the complaints. Nor is the attempt to exercise political influence to restrict us.”

    31.  Clive Palmer declares stake in more than 100 companies... in Register of Members' Interests
    Alex McDonald and Gillian Bradford
    The labyrinthine business interests of billionaire MP Clive Palmer have been laid out in the latest Register of Members' Interests. The 11-page declaration reveals the companies, subsidiaries, trusts and directorships held by the member for Fairfax.

    32.  Union slush funds to be exposed
    Christian Kerr
    THE Abbott government will establish a royal commission into union malfeasance in the new year. Terms of reference are under development but The Australian understands the inquiry will focus on slush funds and examine union financial management and financial control. It is expected to be approved at one of the first cabinet meetings of next year. The royal commission replaces an election commitment for a judicial inquiry into the Australian Workers Union.


    33.  The Coalition are losing it, not the ALP winning it
    Simon Copland
    They say it takes time to learn how to be in Government. In turn it takes time to learn how to be in Opposition. If you were to read the polls at the moment, it would be easy to argue that the ALP have learnt how to do opposition much faster than the Coalition have learnt how to do Government.… Despite this however, two months in, the ALP are getting very lucky. Take a look at the past few months, and in no way are they settling in to opposition. I mean just look at the two biggest issues of the last couple of months. On the crisis with the Indonesians the ALP has been pathetic at best.

    34.  Leaked John McTernan emails reveal aggressive approach of Julia Gillard's spin doctor
    Latika Bourke
    Thousands of emails from Julia Gillard's powerful media adviser John McTernan have been leaked to the ABC, revealing the aggressive approach adopted by the former prime minister's communications director and the inner workings of the media team. The British spin doctor cultivated his image among Australian journalists as a real-life Malcolm Tucker - the political operative from the BBC political satire The Thick of It - but the bad language was not just reserved for venting at journalists over the phone or in writing.


    35.  Spot the fake: shoppers get help with online reviews
    Justin Malbon
    Three cheers for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It recently released a guide for dealing with fake reviews, which in essence said fake reviews are unlawful. They can mislead a consumer into believing an opinion about a product or service reflects the genuine views of an independent reviewer. Consumers tend to place faith in online reviews.

    36.  Sustainability reporting - finally taking off?
    Carol A Adams
    This week has seen the launch of two significant reports, the International IR Framework and KPMG’s Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2013. The Framework marks a paradigm shift in “corporate” reporting and the KPMG Survey signals that the world is ready for it.

    37.  Australia's first G20 sherpa meeting
    Tarek Dale
    Australia is the G20 host in 2014 (a process that started earlier this month on 1 December). Its first meeting as host will be held on Thursday and Friday this week (12-13 December). Senior officials (sherpas) from G20 nations will meet in Sydney, beginning a process that will culminate in the leaders’ summit next November.


    38.  Murray-Darling taken off endangered listing to cut 'green tape'
    Daniel Hurst
    The Greens’ deputy leader, Adam Bandt, describes Coalition MP's move as “a sneak attack on the environment'. Murray river wetlands, floodplains and groundwater systems will be removed from a list of threatened ecological communities, amid government claims the protections posed a “bureaucratic nightmare”.

    39.  CCC advises government not to revise UK's carbon budget
    Fiona Harvey
    Committee on Climate Change tells ministers to hold firm on commitment to cut carbon emissions drastically. Ministers must stand by their commitment to drastic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, despite deepening coalition rifts over the issue, the government's advisers on climate change have urged. Households will pay just under £200 a year by 2020 to subsidise low-carbon energy and industry, rising to about £220 by 2030, they said. But these costs will save money in the longer term because they will reduce reliance on expensive imported gas – on current gas prices, about £100bn will be saved by 2050.

    40.  Still time to change Earth's long-term forecast
    Jørgen Randers
    After a lifetime promoting sustainability – sadly, with limited success – last year I sat down to consider what will happen to my beloved world over the next 40 years. The main question I asked myself…

    41.  Government doesn't need climate bodies: it needs commitment
    Neville Nicholls
    In closing the Climate Commission, and introducing legislation to abolish the Climate Change Authority, the government has said it can instead rely on information from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology…

    42.  Shanghai's 'airpocalypse': can China fix its deadly pollution?
    Matthew Currell
    The current “airpocolypse” emergency in Shanghai - which has seen schoolchildren ordered indoors to protect them from the polluted air, flights grounded and companies ordered to cut production - comes


    43.  Manus Island detention centre inhuman, violates prohibition against torture: Amnesty International
    Conor Duffy and Justin Stevens
    Manus Island's detention centre has been described as cruel, inhuman, degrading and violating prohibitions against torture in a detailed report by Amnesty International. The centre has been notoriously difficult for journalists to access since it reopened last year, but three Amnesty researchers and translators were allowed into Manus Island for a week last month.

    44.  New Labor senator wants to change the debate on asylum seekers
    Michelle Grattan
    Senator Sam Dastyari in his first speech called for “A conversation that isn’t about how we stop the boats, but about what we can do to improve the situation of those so desperate, that they consider getting on boats in the first place. “It is far too easy for us as politicians to exploit our communities' natural fear of differences and of change.” A better conversation about asylum seekers did not mean sacrificing values or silencing honest criticism, he said. But what was needed was for the politics to be taken out it.


    45.  The myth of political sameness
    Ad astra
    This notion of sameness needs debunking, lest too many entitled to cast a vote swallow the myth that the ‘sameness’ of the parties absolves them from making a critical decision about who is best equipped to lead the nation, who has the best policy agenda, who has the most acceptable ideology, who has the most suitable approach to policy development, who can take us to a better future. In his book: Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2002), George Lakoff, linguist and cognitive scientist, tells us how very different are conservatives from progressives...

    46.  Liberalism and the Burdens of Tolerance
    Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner
    Keynote address to “Reconfiguring Anti-racism: Tolerance, Harmony, Inclusion or Justice?” conference

    47.  Advantageous attributes in the new work era
    David Brooks
    We're living in an era of mechanised intelligence, an age in which you're probably going to find yourself in a workplace with diagnostic systems, algorithms and computer-driven data analysis. If you want to thrive in this era, you probably want to be good at working with intelligent machines. As Tyler Cowen puts it in his relentlessly provocative recent book, Average Is Over: ''If you and your skills are a complement to the computer, your wage and labour market prospects are likely to be cheery. If your skills do not complement the computer, you may want to address that mismatch.''


    48.  Restorative justice beyond the Royal Commission
    Jane Anderson
    Last week I went to the Royal Commission and had a private session, which means, in short, that I am a victim of sexual abuse. That history spanned nearly three decades. My encounters with one perpetrator prepared me for more harrowing experiences during adolescence, and later in a marriage that turned violent. While I commend the Royal Commission process for its sensitivity and professionalism, I would like to offer some alternative thinking

    49.  Better health services needed to break cycle of juvenile offending
    Aneeka Simonis
    Improving health services in the juvenile justice system and the community could reduce the risk of youth offenders repeating…

    50.  Inside out: why we need to bring students and prisoners together
    Maggie Hall
    Over the past 15 years, a criminal justice professor in Philadelphia named Lori Pompa has quietly grown an innovative education program that brings together university students to learn alongside prisoners…

    51.  New Zealand's blogosphere is thriving, but will the party last?
    Merja Myllylahti,
    Blogs are thriving in New Zealand thanks to threats to media freedom, an increasingly commercialised media environment, and shifts in media ownership.

    52.  Analysts say
    Mr Denmore
    'Analysts say': It's the no-more-gaps of journalese. The dignifying of rent-a-quotes with the title of 'analyst' is all-purpose cover-up for the passing off of idle conjecture and sheer guesswork as the carefully though out prognostications of the prescient. Financial media is full of it. Up against deadline and desperate to find facts to fit the premise snatched from the ether by an editor in search of an easy splash, journalists will find "analysts" who will say anything to fit the purposes of the story.


    53.  What Kids Learn From Hearing Family Stories
    Elaine Reese
    Reading to children has education benefits, of course—but so does sharing tales from the past.  “Dad, tell me a story from when you were little. Tell me the story about the time you met your best friend Chris at school.” Six-year-old Alex, who has just started school himself, snuggles into his pillow and catches his dad’s hand in the dark.

    54.  The best comebacks to sexist comments
    Laura Bates
    Followers of the Everyday Sexism Project have shared their wittiest responses to sexist abuse – funny, ferocious and not for the faint-hearted

    55.  Greek and American barbarians
    Gillian Bouras
    I knew nothing about Kavafis until I came to Greece, but his presence in my mental and literary life is one of the many presents migration has given me. He was part of the cultivated Greek diaspora in Alexandria, where he spent most of his life working at his day jobs: those of journalist and civil servant. He was a relentless perfectionist who polished and reworked his 154 poems, which were read initially only by his friends.


    56.  Snoozers Are, in Fact, Losers
    Maria Konnikova throw out your arm and hit the snooze button, silencing the noise for at least a few moments. Just another couple of minutes, you think. Then maybe a few minutes more. It may seem like you’re giving yourself a few extra minutes to collect your thoughts. But what you’re actually doing is making the wake-up process more difficult and drawn out. If you manage to drift off again, you are likely plunging your brain back into the beginning of the sleep cycle, which is the worst point to be woken up—and the harder we feel it is for us to wake up, the worse we think we’ve slept.

    57.  Do you need a digital detox?
    Cassie White
    We Australians love the internet. Whether we're checking social media feeds on our smart phones, scanning news on our tablets, or booking holidays on our desk tops – we spend a lot of time online. In fact, figures suggest on average we spend almost one day every week online (or 23 hours and 18 minutes to be precise). And our average social media use is higher than that of any other country, at six hours and 52 minutes a month.

    58.  Some antidepressants work better than others – now we know why
    Tim Outhred and Andrew H Kemp
    Three million Australians are currently living with depression or anxiety, and antidepressants are now the third most commonly prescribed class of medication in Australia, after antibiotics and cholesterol-lowering…

    59.  Snacking your way to better health
    "Whatever the reasons, every study has indicated that nuts make an independent contribution to health and longevity, even after taking other factors into account... Botanically speaking, nuts are fruits, but most of the nuts we consume are the fruits' seeds — able to produce a new plant when raw. Like the yolk of an egg, seeds must contain nutrients that support healthy tissues."

    60.  Uruguay legalises marijuana in a first
    Michael Vincent
    Uruguay has become the first country to legalise the production and sale of marijuana. Under a ground-breaking new law, passed on Tuesday, Uruguayans are permitted to grow the drug legally, or buy up to 40 grams per month from the government via pharmacies.

    61.  Catalyst fallout: Heart Foundation warns patients stopping anti-cholesterol drugs, statins
    Lucy Carter
    The Heart Foundation says it has hard evidence that patients are stopping or changing their medication as a direct result of the ABC's controversial Catalyst programs on heart disease. The October programs questioned the link between heart disease and cholesterol, as well as the widespread use of anti-cholesterol drugs known as statins. The programs prompted a backlash, particularly from doctors and specialists who say statins have been clinically proven to cut the risk of heart disease.

    62.  Explainer: what are electronic cigarettes?
    Renee Bittoun
    As rates of smoking fall in Australia, electronic cigarette manufacturers are moving in. Liberty Flights last week released an (awful) online ad to “create awareness” of electronic or e-cigarettes in the…

    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  12 December 2013


  • Casablanca

    12/12/2013 2:52:42 AM |

    Bill Cobbett ‏@GrumpyGunsmith 9h
    Warren Truss is now urging people to "roll up to your Holden Dealer" and buy their cars. Too late, dickhead

  • Casablanca

    12/12/2013 2:55:13 AM |

    re item 24 in today's Cache - later breaking news:

    Jay Rosen ‏@jayrosen_nyu 22m
    Kinda nice for Time that they had a newsmaking Pope. Puts a plausible veneer on refusing the obvious pick: Snowden.

  • TalkTurkey

    12/12/2013 3:44:52 AM |

    Here's looking at you Casablanca!

    Musing on #5:-

    Lenore Taylor: "It’s not fair to say the Abbott government wanted Holden to leave. No government in its right mind would want to lose thousands of jobs."

    Who said this governmentt was in its right mind?

    I don't mean that as a joke. I really think Abborrrrtt's sanity is at issue here, and he is taking his whole party with him.

    As for the demands he and Hockey made to GMH for an immediate decision on their plans - this was a case of failed idiotic bumbling brinksmanship, not so much a request for information as basically Garn then yous bastards, double dare yer, pull yer bloody car industry out of Australia, see if we care, betcha haven't got the guts! - Never thinking Holden could possibly pull out, of course, unless Abborrrtt Himself gave them permission. Stupid bluff, and GMH simply called them. Now they are dismayed.  

    Question: Did they want Holden to fold?

    If they did - how stupid is that? - Lenore? - effectively deliberately to kill the motorcar industry in Australia! There goes industrial capacity and capability in this country, and scores of thousands of skilled jobs!  

    If they didn't, how stupid is that! - Lenore? - To challenge, to attempt to bully, the company on which the whole future of the motor car industry in Australia depends - for we all know that now even Toyota's future is in doubt too. To bully, never taking into account that GM could just shrug "Who needs Australia anyway?", leaving this STUPID government open mouthed-like Abborrrtt that day ...

    Watch to the end with Laurie Oakes!


  • jaycee

    12/12/2013 7:36:19 AM |

    The LNP. through the "coaching" from such lobbyists as the IPA. are conducting an exercise in social engeneering via economic management.
    By implementing, to the full, the cruel pragmatism of economic rationalism and the "free market" philosophy, the LNP. hopes to change the social structure of the nation.
    In essense it is a kind of coercive the moment!...if their "persuasive" minimalist govt' intervenionist policies do not convince, you can bet the gloves will come off and Brandis and his thugs will move in for the kill.
    I am already supprised the Govt' hasn't moved in to silence fifth estate dissent...I see they are moving on the national broadcaster....well..that Speigleman always was a woos!...and it was to the detriment of Labor they didn't move on Mark Scott years ago...he's a crawler...always was , always will be...he'll buckle straight off.
    That basteard Rudd and his band of sucks have done untold damage to the Party AND the people of Aust'
    Between them and the forth estate MSM.,it really was an act of treason.

  • jaycee

    12/12/2013 8:24:59 AM |

    Abbott making excuses.." High cost, high dolar, small market"...he forgot to add..: Lack of govt' support.

  • Ken

    12/12/2013 9:48:06 AM |

    The American Government propped up GM and our "government" can't find $150 million a year to support GM-H.

    I agree with other comments that it's all to do with the economic rationalists taking over.  They see no need for manufacturing if we can buy it from someone else - completely ignoring the national security implications of not having an adequate manufacturing sector, nor the need to have a workforce skilled in manufacturing.  If we have to import more and more manufactured goods consumers will suffer every time the currency falls, and our economy will go belly up when the resources boom ends and we still have to import all the manufactured things we want but no longer have the income.  In that scenario our currency will drop further making imports more expensive - ironically it would have made our manufactures more competitive for export but we will have no manufactures left to export.

    Ideology trumps common sense!!!

  • jaycee

    12/12/2013 10:09:08 AM |

    It is not as if there is no historical precedence for the uselessness of "wealth creation" over national social interest.
    Mycenae, the archeology records, was sacked and burnt to the ground six times...the fortress on the rise was destroyed time and again...BUT..the mystry was that there were never any foreign weapons found...after exhaustive reserach and archeology, it was concluded that the 'fortress on the hill' was one big "gated community" protecting the elite and wealthy, from the plebs on the plain no avail..time and again, after the plebs had suffered enough of the bullshit from their "betters" they would rise up and wipe the whole lot of the bastards out and burn their homes to the ground...the tragedy is that they never learnt from their mistakes and a "new rich" moved in and rebuilt on the ruins of the last...and the cycle started all over again.

  • jaycee

    12/12/2013 10:25:02 AM |

    The absurdity is that we have a working infrustructure in-situ, a trained workforce socially settled and trained in-situ...suppliers in-situ and performing well...the only problem was product...and THAT would have been altered to better suit the market IF the factory was left a functioning unit.....all these cheap-labour economies are short lived anyhow!...give or take a revolution or two!..Holden has been here undisturbed radically for sixty tell me of many other countries that can claim social cohesion enough to allow such continuety of production for so long?
    Now....we got zilch, save a "Abbott promise" (and THAT is as good as a Judas kiss!) that he will look after the workers....well!...bend me over and pass the sauce bottle for what THAT's worth!

  • Catching Up

    12/12/2013 10:33:32 AM |

    Paul Keating Canberra ABC 24

  • jaycee

    12/12/2013 12:45:24 PM |

    All the alarm bells about this govt' are going off at once in my mind!...I see a pattern developing with this crowd that doesn't auger well at all.
    Social convention is being shut down. Humanist conventions are being turned off. Unions are being targetted. The welfare net is being corporations are being massaged for policy direction. extreme right-wing think tanks are framing policy as well.
    With the unionised labour force dismantled, social unity can be disrupted and a system of belief that it is every man/dog for themself encouraged with the consequence that we will be working for tips !

  • Casablanca

    12/12/2013 1:54:26 PM |

    Did somebody say something about The Strict Father model?

    Smacking children: Tony Abbott, you're just too gentle
    Ben Pojibe

    This government has an unambiguous policy of punishing everyone it can as harshly as possible. Yet Abbott is now prescribing 'gentle' smacking. Where’s the consistency?

    Oh, the disappointment. Just when it seemed we had a prime minister willing to toughen Australia up again, Tony Abbott comes out with a namby-pamby recommendation for “gentle smacks” on children.


  • jaycee

    12/12/2013 3:26:38 PM |

    Ziggy-Zit'........The brothers Grime!

  • jaycee

    12/12/2013 4:34:12 PM |

    Everything busted!....Labor's achievements, the LNP's own promises...everything busted and broken..: The carbon "tax" removal ..not going to happen soon...Gonski ; a patch-up to be dismantled in more 'favourable' times, NBN. ; buggered / cost more / longer..broken.Child care / Aged care..gone..the environment gone!...all gone...everything busted and nothing to replace them..!
    Holden ..gone...Quantas..gone...Indonesia, Timor L'Este..China..relations on the rocks...all busted!
    Where in the name of sanity is this government going? Murdoch really worth an entire nation?

  • Casablanca

    12/12/2013 4:56:36 PM |

    Christmas Present...

    margo kingston ‏@margokingston1 1h
    Shorten finds his passion at last. We have an Opposition leader for Christmas. #Holden

    michael w beattie ‏@mickdundee48 1h
    Wow! Didn't think Bill Shorten had it in him, great in Q.T., making the fools in government look like the numbskulls they are.

    Greg Jericho ‏@GrogsGamut 1h
    Abbott saying outrage is not good enough for a alternative PM. Uhuh. #qt

    Judythe Riley ‏@muso1947 1h
    You're right Bill. This government is comprised of self serving, arrogant, selfish bastards. #Holden #QT #BornToRuleNot @TonyAbbottMHR

    Lucy Stanton ‏@louinoosa 1h
    Shorten is at his best when defending workers #qt

  • Catching Up

    12/12/2013 5:27:02 PM |

    Mr. Pyne telling us a story of photos taken three years ago.  Made him look much younger with no grey in the hair.

    Christopher seems to think, it was the worry of being in Opposition.

    No, Mr Pyne, that is what happens to people who are consumed with hate.

    He looked as if he has began Christmas celebrations a little early. Maybe he visited the Speakers office with a bottle of wine. We all know where that can lead Pyne.

    By the way, the emperor was seen to be wearing no clothes today. Yes, his plan still is, no carbon and MRRT tax. This with taking all regulations off business, allowing them a free go.

    Turnbull was a nearly as naked, when one looks at his report.

    It confirmed all that  have been criticizing his NBN lite/fraud from day one.

  • 42 long

    12/12/2013 5:27:11 PM |

      When it comes to the pure stuff, Shorten is the real McCoy. Abbott keeps saying he is not playing politics. If he stopped doing that he would be inert.

  • Catching Up

    12/12/2013 5:33:50 PM |

    Conroy talking in the Senate.

  • Catching Up

    12/12/2013 6:05:10 PM |

    It is prudent that one keeps their powder dry, until there is something rally worth fighting for. Shorten has given the impression  that he is willing to go along with Abbott. At times, often appearing as they are is step.

    One needs causes that the public will fall in behind. That is ow occurring. We see a leader, not jumping up and down, or quick to show passion for everything.

    One doe not have to oppose all that Abbott does. No, one pick causes, that one truly believes in.  Two or three will do.

    More videos of brutality to live cattle overseas.

    Where one has seen passion during the wee, is wit Conroy. He is fighting hard for hos legacy, and does have much truth on his side.

    Another is Kate Ellis.

    Yes, Labor is slowly, methodically,....warming up.

    Yes, and Abbott confirmed he has not talk to the heads of GMH.

    I suspect, because he is very happy with the outcome. Seems to think he has wedged Labor. Time will tell.

  • Jason

    12/12/2013 6:46:34 PM |

    Daniel Hurst ‏@danielhurstbne 6m
    Remember the controversy over Barrie Cassidy’s app’t as Old Parliament House Advisory Council chair? Brandis names David Kemp as replacement

  • Catching Up

    12/12/2013 7:05:42 PM |

    Is nothing beyond this mean mob's reach.  

    The Abbott government has put a stop to a $1.2 billion scheme set up by the former Labor government to deliver pay rises to aged care workers.
    Before the election, the Coalition portrayed the Gillard government's Aged Care Workforce Supplement as a tool to boost union membership, because providers needed to have an enterprise bargaining agreement to qualify for funding.
    The Coalition promised to return the money to the general aged care funding pool and consult with the industry about another way to distribute the funds. On taking office in September, it suspended applications for the supplement.

    Read more:

  • Catching Up

    12/12/2013 7:55:33 PM |

    Must be read.

    A aside. Polls show it is the young, followed by women who are turning Stygian Abbott. Wonder why?

  • Catching Up

    12/12/2013 8:05:39 PM |

    "........With all this in mind, I would like to issue a formal apology to Delimiter’s readers. I was wrong. I was wrong to believe Malcolm Turnbull that he had honourable intentions for the NBN. I was wrong to believe that the project would survive in a reasonable form under a Coalition Government. I was wrong to trust that the dream of faster broadband for all Australians could be still be realised in a different model.

    Please believe me, once and for all, that I have lost any faith I had in Turnbull in his role as the Communications Minister and as a leader in Australia’s technology landscape. From now on Delimiter’s default position will be that the Minister is not acting in the best interests of Australia from a NBN perspective. I will require significant evidence in each and every article I cover to shake me out of that belief. I will still deal with all political players with respect, politeness and professionalism, as I always have, but it is now clear that there is a fundamental gulf between what the Coalition says it is doing and what it is actually doing. I will now attempt to pinpoint that gap in a much more direct fashion.

    At the heart of all of this is a basic underlying question: Is the Coalition sincerely attempting to deliver better broadband services to all Australians. I have long believed that answer to be “yes”. Today I can conclusively say that the answer to that question is “no”. It may seem an irrelevant philosophical point to many. But this makes a very big difference in how I work.

    You can’t just delete 28 percent of Australian premises from."

  • Catching Up

    12/12/2013 8:50:39 PM |

    Abbott and co have told us more than once, over the last couple of days. that Newcastle flourished from getting rid of it's heavy steel and other industries.

    Yes, Newcastle is now a lovely city. Had much going for it.

    What happen to those who lost their livihood at the time.

    Newcastle also has much more going for it, than other cities. It is a seaside city, that has become a tourist mecca.

    Abbott is still on, they can all go and work in the mines. Those jobs are in his head and nowhere else. I know plenty that have been trying to get jobs in the mines, with no success.

  • Catching Up

    12/12/2013 8:54:40 PM |

    Stygian, I do not know where this word come from  What I meant was against. Can only blame spell checker.

  • Curi-Oz

    12/12/2013 9:14:38 PM |

    Stygian is a quite appropriate word though, with it's implications of the gloom of being buried in hopelessness and despair by these recent political developments.

    Totally appropriate to the Greek Tragedy that this Government seems to be leading us into.

  • Catching Up

    12/12/2013 9:53:17 PM |

    Curi-Oz, it came out of nowhere.

    I am afraid we are in for a tragedy, and there appears no way it can be avoided.

    Maybe Labor should have sided with the Greens, and gyve Abbott his DD trigger.

    They are so wrapped up in their own cleverness, they might have taken the bait.

    Look how cocky they are, after the last couple of weeks they have had, it does not make sense.

    Once again, Abbott is the only one in step.

  • TalkTurkey

    12/13/2013 1:03:23 AM |

    Good Morning Casablanca,

    Just greeting you first! Smile

  • TalkTurkey

    12/13/2013 1:12:00 AM |

    Stygian! Smile

  • Casablanca

    12/13/2013 3:06:00 AM |


    Top of the morning to you!

    Did you see item #60 in Thursday's CC?  

    Uruguay legalises marijuana in a first
    Michael Vincent
    Uruguay has become the first country to legalise the production and sale of marijuana. Under a ground-breaking new law, passed on Tuesday, Uruguayans are permitted to grow the drug legally, or buy up to 40 grams per month from the government via pharmacies.

  • Casablanca

    12/13/2013 3:23:43 AM |

    CASABLANCA'S CACHE  Friday, 13 December, 2013; 75 items

    1.  Holden to cease making cars in Australia by 2017: experts react
    Paul Gollan, Hamza Bendemra, Henry Ergas, Liz van Acker, Nick Economou and Phillip Toner
    General Motors Holden has confirmed speculation it will withdraw from car production in Australia by the end of 2017. The announcement by Holden comes after days of sustained public speculation and calls…

    2.  Holden’s fate draws attention to government assistance
    Greg Jericho
    Some people may be glad to see the car industry go, but it isn’t the only one with its finger in the budget pie. From the talk by some commentators and government ministers you would think the car industry and manufacturing in general is the only industry that receives any government handouts. The reality is rather different and also rather complicated. The Productivity Commission each year reviews the assistance for each industry, splitting it into two main categories – tariffs and budgetary.

    3.  Adding up the flow-on effects of a Holden closure
    Barry Burgan
    The evidence says Adelaide will struggle to make up the gap left in the absence of Holden, that this does create issues in a national context, and therefore an effective and strategic approach is essential to this problem.

    4.  Olympic Dam pipe dream no help for Holden workers
    Paddy Manning
    Now Prime Minister Tony Abbott seems to be hoping a BHP expansion of the copper/gold/uranium mine will help clean up the damage caused by the government’s bizarre mis-handling of Holden. Abbott told Parliament on Wednesday: “There is much that we can be hopeful and optimistic about in...

    5.  Taunts in Parliament and text brought about General Motors Holden's exit from Australia
    Mark Hawthorne
    It was the text message that sounded the death knell for Holden as a manufacturer in Australia.  ''Are you seeing this question time attack on Holden?'' read the text message, sent by a company insider. ''Taunting [Holden] to leave. It's extraordinary.'' It was sent by one of the company's key strategists at 2.30pm on Tuesday, as Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss and Treasurer Joe Hockey were ripping the car maker to shreds during parliamentary question time.

    6.  The future of manufacturing: niche doesn’t need to be small
    Geoff Spinks and Chris Gibson
    An unfortunate consequence of Holden and Ford’s decision to cease manufacturing cars in Australia is the negative impression that all local manufacturing is similarly doomed. Yet there are plenty of local…

    7.  Moving on: Holden closure shows we need a new growth agenda
    Andrew Beer
    General Motors has confirmed it will cease manufacturing in Australia from 2017, citing a “perfect storm of negative influences”. GM chairman Dan Akerson said these forces include “the sustained strength…

    8.  Bold thinking and low dollar could be saviours to local manufacturing
    Peter Martin
    Australia is a world leader in making high-end gearboxes for rally cars, it has cornered a niche market in rear-view mirrors, its design teams dream up parts of totally foreign-made cars from scratch. But in order for Australia to continue to have an automotive industry when it no longer has a car industry a number of things will have to happen.

    9.  Ensuring car industry’s closure benefits consumers
    Leith van Onselen
    Assuming the car industry’s closure is a fait accompli, and there will no longer be the need to protect the industry, then how should the Government respond to ensure that consumers benefit? Well, there are a large number of policies in place that are increasing the retail cost of cars.

    10.  Holden angered by media reports it did not submit bid to supply 'blast-proof' vehicles for Australian government VIPs
    Mark Kenny
    The top of the line Holden Caprice was recommended by the Attorney-General's Department last year as the preferred option for a fleet of nine specialised blast-proof VIP vehicles to be used by the prime minister and other dignitaries, according to confidential government documents. The revelation appears to contradict reported Abbott government sources as saying Holden had not even submitted a bid in the tender because the car maker simply ''was not interested''.


    11.  Now is the time to remember what Mandela meant by ‘ubuntu’
    Marie Breen-Smyth
    Many fine words of tribute were uttered as some of the world’s most powerful people gather to pay tribute to former President Nelson Mandela. In spite of the rain, thousands gathered to hear the tributes…

    12.  Mandela has been sanitised by hypocrites and apologists
    Seumas Milne
    The ANC liberation hero has been reinvented as a Kumbaya figure in order to whitewash those who stood behind apartheid. Almost the entire western establishment effectively backed the South African regime until the bitter end. Ronald Reagan described it as "essential to the free world". The CIA gave South African security the tipoff that led to Mandela's arrest and imprisonment for 27 years.

    13.  Razer’s class warfare: Nelson Mandela and giving violence a chance
    Helen Razer
    Let’s stop banging on about forgiveness and peace. Nelson Mandela was locked up for being a terrorist — and sometimes armed rebellion is the only way to bring about change. When I was a kid in Canberra, protest was my after-school activity. My revolutionary dance-card was pretty full,... What is easy to remember, though, is Thursday afternoon. For two years, that was my slot for picket duty at the South African High Commission.

    14.  Zuma is just the face of South Africa’s democratic malaise
    Lawrence Hamilton
    South Africa is mourning the death of Nelson Mandela, a founding father like no other. His legacy includes a still-lauded constitution, four peaceful, free and fair democratic elections (five if 2014 follows…

    15.  Mandela’s stance on HIV set him apart from his ANC successors
    Glenda Gray and James McIntyre
    In the past few days since the passing of Nelson Mandela, the father of the South African nation, it has become apparent just how much Madiba meant not only to us, but to the rest of the world. He is a part of all our lives, and his humanity has touched us all. For those of us working in the field of HIV, this was embodied by his stance on the inaction of our government as HIV exploded in South Africa.


    16.  Politicians’ expenses: Tony Abbott spent $474,707 in first half of 2013
    Gabrielle Chan and Daniel Hurst
    Finance department report on spending habits of federal MPs reveals millions spent on overseas travel and office fitouts.

    17.  Register of Members' Interests reveals Kevin Andrews accepted race tickets from online betting companies
    Alison Branley
    The federal Minister for Social Services has defended accepting tickets to race meetings from online betting companies. Kevin Andrews was a guest of Sportsbet at this year's Victorian Derby and he was guest of Sportingbet at the Cox Plate this year and last year.


    18.  The internet after Snowden: what now?
    Giovanni Navarria
    Since June, thanks to the information disclosed by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, a troubling truth has come to light. The internet, and with it the entire gamut of new communication…

    19.  Phone surveillance by security agencies: Labor backs Senate inquiry
    Lenore Taylor
    Greens senator Scott Ludlam says the review of the interception and access act 'has never been more urgent'. A Senate committee will scrutinise internet and phone surveillance by Australia’s security agencies after Labor backed an inquiry proposed by the Greens.


    20.  Holden's eight hard lessons for Abbott
    Robert Gottliebsen
    Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey have yet to grasp the full implications of what they have done in helping drive General Motors out of Australia. And for Tony Abbott to suggest that the GMH workers can get work at Olympic Dam is a cruel hoax for South Australians.... Here are eight implications from the Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey decision.

    21.  Joe Hockey's fighting spirit encapsulates all that is wrong with the Abbott government
    John Birmingham
    Is there anybody left for this government to disappoint, to betray, or just to piss off? It has been a remarkable 100-plus days, culminating in this week's cage fight with General Motors-Holden; a ham-fisted brawl, shirts ripped, faces bruised and knuckles bloody...In the end, the Abbott government proved, yet again, that it is incapable of mature and nuanced responses to the sort of political and economic challenges that are entirely predictable in their inevitability if not in their specifics.

    22.  Holden opens a Pandora's box for Hockey
    Rob Burgess
    The vision of the Abbott government is clearer than ever. Dead wood will be cut out. Uncompetitive work practices must end. Capital must flow to sectors in which we have a genuine global competitive advantage, not just a comparative advantage.

    23.  A question for Joe Hockey: why?
    Ian Porter
    Spending could have been cut in other areas before targeting the car industry. The question that needs to be answered after the government effectively forced General Motors to abandon car manufacturing in Australia is a simple one: why did Treasurer Joe Hockey do it?.... Given a choice between delivering some real social benefits by cutting out negative gearing and damaging the Labor Party, Hockey failed the national interest test with unnerving insouciance.

    24.  Abbott government halts Labor's $1.2b aged care scheme
    Dan Harrison
    The Abbott government has put a stop to a $1.2 billion scheme set up by the former Labor government to deliver pay rises to aged care workers. Before the election, the Coalition portrayed the Gillard government's Aged Care Workforce Supplement as a tool to boost union membership, because providers needed to have an enterprise bargaining agreement to qualify for funding. The Coalition promised to return the money to the general aged care funding pool and consult with the industry about another way to distribute the funds.

    25.  Breaking News – Barry, the man in the pub, claims that the Abbott Government has Kept an Election Promise.
    There seemed to be some confusion about Abbott’s promise to spend his first week as PM in an indigenous community. Some people were arguing that he’d broken an election promise in record time.


    26.  Abbott government to launch royal commission into union 'slush funds'
    Ben Schneiders, Royce Millar
    The Abbott government will launch a royal commission into union ‘‘slush funds’’ in the coming months in a move that will place heavy scrutiny on union officials and senior Labor politicians. The royal commission comes less than a fortnight after a Fairfax Media investigation uncovered millions of dollars in a string of secret union slush funds.

    27.  Coalition withdraws aged care workers' $1.2bn pay rise
    Daniel Hurst,
    The federal government has dismantled a $1.2bn Labor scheme to increase the pay of aged-care workers, arguing the package was designed to impose “unionism by stealth”.

    28.  The parliament is in chaos
    “The parliament tonight is in chaos.” And with those words Tony Burke (Watson, NSW), the Manager of Opposition Business said what many were thinking. That comment came at 10:27 Tuesday 10 December, when the Government used their numbers to gag debate, silence dissent and ram through legislation.

    29.  Blame is the Name of the Game
    Paula Matthewson
    Blame is the name of the game in Canberra this week. No-one wants to be held accountable for difficult, unpopular or stupid decisions...The blame game may be a diverting past-time for politicians, political aficionados and the parliamentary press gallery. But in the end it’s nothing more than a hollow distraction that undermines the real scrutiny, accountability and considered decision-making that our parliament is meant to be providing.

    30.  Lucy Who?
    Kaye Lee
    Sussan Ley, who seems to have learned her oratory skills from her Minister, Christopher Pyne, to tell us that axing the carbon tax and cutting red tape would fix all the woes of the childcare system. Her proof of this was a couple of anecdotal stories about turning the lights off for an hour and eating individual cupcakes.

    31.  Public interest or public choice? Your $1.2bn ABC
    Sinclair Davidson
    Australia is about to have a debate on the role of government in business. That debate is going to be spread over several issues – Qantas’ junk bond status, Holden’s Australian manufacturing decision, the ABC’s crowding out of private news. These are all issues that are going to challenge the Abbott government over the summer.


    32.  Holden and the spread of Australian disease
    David Llewellyn-Smith
    The departure of Holden is the writing on the wall for Australia's current macroeconomic settings. Our famous good fortune may bail us out once more, but we shouldn't count on it. Four years ago, I started a blog called Houses and Holes. It took its name from the principle of chronicling (and fighting) the rise of an Australian elite intent on squandering our extraordinary good fortune.

    33.  Some home truths on Australian competitiveness
    Alan Kohler
    With demand for new housing being choked and foreign investors rushing to buy what apartments are being built, don't expect Australian competitiveness to improve anytime soon. The high price of land in Australia is one of the reasons businesses like Holden and Qantas are uncompetitive, and the combination of several recent developments is making the situation much worse.

    34.  Sack the economists
    Dr Geoff Davies
    Mainstream economists have bungled the management of economies right around the world, wreaking destruction and chaos — yet they carry on completely unperturbed.. WITH COALITION GOVERNMENTS in power across the country, enthusiasm for free-market fundamentalism is surging yet again, however ineptly some politicians may attempt to enact it.

    35.  The float Australia had to have?
    Jim Minifie
    The Australian dollar was floated this day in 1983. By 1985, it seemed to take on water, list badly, and sink. And that actually was the idea. The real exchange rate – roughly, the dollar rate, adjusted for inflation in Australia and its trade partners – had been too high, on and off, for years. A fall in the terms of trade – the price of exports divided by the price of imports – in 1985 sent the dollar down, spreading the fall in incomes to all who bought imports, and cushioning Australian producers that were exposed to trade.


    36.  The inconvenient truth for the Coalition's NBN
    David Braue
    We knew before today that the Coalition's NBN plan would cost much more than claimed, and that the odds were stacked against its easy implementation. The Strategic Review's revelation that the Coalition had seriously underestimated the costs of its alternative policy going into the election - and made rollout promises that it cannot deliver - made the review a Pyrrhic victory for Turnbull.

    37.  Please accept my apologies: I was wrong about Malcolm Turnbull
    Renai LeMay
    Long-term readers of Delimiter will be aware that I have long tried to hold all sides of politics to account on an equal basis when it comes to technology policy and implementation. Well, I am here today to formally apologise. I was wrong to have faith in Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition on this issue. You were all right, and I was wrong. Turnbull does indeed appear to be attempting to “demolish” the NBN

    38.  Coalition NBN could reach gigabit speeds by 2030
    Ben Grubb
    The fixed-line portion of the Coalition's version of the national broadband network could be upgraded to super-fast gigabit broadband speeds by 2030, according to the NBN strategic review tabled in Parliament on Thursday.

    39.  Malcolm Turnbull reveals plan to break NBN promise
    Peter Martin and Jonathan Swan
    The Abbott government will break its NBN election promise of giving all Australians access to 25 megabits per second download speeds by 2016, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull admitted in Parliament on Thursday.

    40.  NBN 2.0: From engineer’s dream to political football
    Michael de Percy
    With unwavering confidence Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull unveiled the consultants report showing Labor’s ambitious plan to provide fibre–to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband to the vast majority of Australian households would have cost A$73 billion.

    41.  The real NBN Strategic Review released
    Shadow Minister for Communications Jason Clare today released the real Strategic Review of the Coalition's second rate NBN plan. This is the secret advice handed to Malcolm Turnbull in his first few weeks in the job. "This document is an unadulterated, uncensored and unamended analysis of the Coalition's broadband plan by NBN Co before Malcolm Turnbull brought his mates in to give him the answers he wants," Mr Clare said.

    42.  Delimiter publishes internal NBN Co FTTN analysis
    In a series of articles published late last week and early this week through the Sydney Morning Herald and ZDNet Australia, freelance journalist David Braue detailed the contents of an internal document produced by NBN Co for the Department of Communications during the Caretaker Period immediately prior to the Federal Election in September.

    43.  NBN Co's Assessment of the Coalition's Broadband Policy prepared for the Incoming Minister's brief
    163 pages - 46MB

    44.  NBN-Co-Strategic-Review-Report
    134 pages - 4.71MB


    45.  The industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef
    David Ritter
    In weighing up the interests of the Great Barrier Reef against those of transnational coal companies, Greg Hunt decided it was more important to protect the latter. The clue should be in the title. Australians should reasonably be able to expect that the Minister for the Environment is actually for the environment.

    46.  Earth may be ‘doubly sensitive’ to carbon dioxide
    Alex Kirby
    The sensitivity of the Earth system to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide may be twice as great as scientists had thought, new climate records from the distant past.,5981

    47.  The rise and fall of oxygen
    Andrew Glikson
    How long has Earth’s atmosphere included oxygen? A recent paper suggests low levels of oxygen appeared in the atmosphere approximately 2.95 billion years ago. That’s about 550 million years earlier than previously thought. Understanding the origin of atmospheric oxygen is central to study of the evolution of life.

    48.  EXCLUSIVE-Heavy industry to challenge EU CO2 permit quotas
    Michael Szabo
    Dec 11 (Reuters) - Europe's heavy industry is firing a barrage of legal challenges to cuts in the carbon permits they will get up to 2020 - subsidies worth over 4 billion euros ($5.5 billion) - with at least nine firms opening the assault in a Dutch court.


    49.  Australia: Asylum seekers held in cruel and prison-like regime on Manus Island
    A report published today details how asylum seekers are being held in a prison-like regime, in extremely cramped compounds in stifling heat, while being denied sufficient water and medical help. Most have fled horrific situations and risked their lives in their efforts to reach Australia.

    50.  Australia: This is breaking people: Human rights violations at Australia’s asylum seeker processing centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea
    Amnesty International
    This system of harsh conditions and humiliating treatment is a deliberate effort to pressure people to return to the desperate situations they have fled from. Australia is directly responsible for this deplorable and unlawful combination of arbitrary detention and inhumane conditions

    51.  Amnesty website for Manus Island information
    Photos are forbidden inside Manus Island Detention Centre, So...we have to use words. We spend over $1,000,000,000 to detain 2,000 asylum seekers offshore. But since 2012, only 1 has been processed. Just. One.

    52.  Asylum Lotto: Nobody Wins
    Tracey Spicer
    Somehow, I don’t think the family of the toddler who died off the coast of Java yesterday will care about who’s really responsible for ‘stopping the boats’. They’ll be busy burying the body following the sinking of a wooden fishing vessel on its way to Christmas Island.

    53.  Immigration Minister Scott Morrison not telling the full story on asylum seeker arrivals
    ABC Fact Check
    The verdict: There has been an 80 per cent reduction in asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat in the comparison period outlined by Mr Morrison. However, the data shows the number of arrivals began to slow significantly under Labor...


    54.  Greg Jericho ‏@GrogsGamut 7h
    This line on Mitsubishi being the ALP's fault was rightly pointed out as bullsh*t by @PhillipCoorey … #qt

    55.  Plibersek Writes The Gillard Years
    The Hoopla
    “We will never know how successful Julia Gillard could have been if she’d led a united party. That is one of the great sadnesses for me.” Reflecting on Julia Gillard’s years as Prime Minister, Tanya Plibersek recalls many things. A magnificent speaker, a political operator with clear vision, generous charm, and a sense of humour. She recalls phenomenal dignity in adversity, and a PM who managed a hung parliament effectively.

    56.  Leaked John McTernan emails reveal he was oblivious to Julia Gillard's position on abortion law
    Latika Bourke
    The day after Ms Gillard delivered her "Women for Gillard" speech which warned of Liberal men wearing blue ties wanting to make abortion their plaything, John McTernan emailed junior staff asking, "Are we opposed to the Madigan Bill on abortion?" "Yes, wholeheartedly [opposed]," replied a colleague.


    57.  Asia’s uneasy alliances
    Mark Beeson
    The sudden deterioration in the security environment is shattering some of fundamental assumptions about the basis of regional security.

    58.  Update from the latest Trans Pacific Partnership meeting
    Deborah Gleeson
    Just before leaving for Singapore on December 6 for the latest Trans Pacific Partnership meeting, I wrote about some of the major concerns surrounding the secretive agreement. This is an update on developments…

    59.  Will the Coalition sell us out to the yanks?
    Leith van Onselen
    After years of secret negotiations, WikiLeaks recently shone a light on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the proposed regional trade deal between Pacific Rim countries, including Australia, which if it goes ahead could establish a US-style regional regulatory framework that meets the demands of its major export industries, including pharmaceutical and [...]


    60.  What truth & reconciliation commissions seek to undo is the human need for vengeance
    Elizabeth Dori Tunstall
    In tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela’s legacy, I devote this week’s column to understanding the values, design, and experiences of truth and reconciliation commissions and what it means to design processes for social justice. Although South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is one of the most famous, Amnesty International counts 32 truth commissions that have taken place from 1972 to 2007.

    61.  Tony Abbott says 'gentle smack' can be good for children
    Emma Griffiths
    Prime Minister Tony Abbott says a gentle smack is sometimes the best thing for a child. The issue has been raised in the first report submitted to Federal Parliament by the newly-established National Children's Commissioner. Commissioner Megan Mitchell points to the United Nations recommendation that all corporal punishment be banned in Australia. She says the community needs to engage in a debate about corporal punishment.


    62.  Coalition accused of organising ‘assault on ABC’ over spying revelations
    Daniel Hurst
    Labor frontbencher Brendan O’Connor says government is working with News Corp to bully the public broadcaster. Tony Abbott and his communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, have told the national broadcaster it made an error of judgment by agreeing to partner with Guardian Australia to reveal Australia’s past attempts to spy on the Indonesian president.

    63.  What would be the point of yet another ABC inquiry?
    Fiona Martin
    Prime minister Tony Abbott may be a fan of institutional inquiries and a critic of supposed ABC bias, but he has nothing to gain by responding to calls for yet another review of the ABC. First, there’s no clear need for a review. Claims of ABC bias are always tenuous, especially given the extensive accountability framework developed over six years by former editorial policies director Paul Chadwick

    64.  Please Leave My Aunty Alone Mr Murdoch
    The alarm at 6am every morning awakens me to the ABC news. It has been that way for as long as I can remember. Before I retired I listened to AM on my way to work. I have an ipad now and what a remarkable instrument of technology it is. I read what attracts me on the ABC web site.


    65.  The fourth wave of feminism: meet the rebel women
    Kira Cochrane
    The women's movement may have been in hiding through the 'ladette' years, but in 2013 it has come back with a vengeance. Introducing the new feminists taking the struggle to the web – and the streets. You could have joined one of the country's 149 local grassroots groups, or shared your experience of misogyny on the site Laura Bates, 27, started in April 2012. Her Everyday Sexism Project has proved so successful that it was rolled out to 17 countries on its first anniversary this year, tens of thousands of women worldwide writing about the street harassment, sexual harassment, workplace discrimination and body-shaming they encounter. The project embodies that feminist phrase "the personal is political", a consciousness-raising exercise that encourages women to see how inequality affects them, proves these problems aren't individual but collective, and might therefore have political solutions.

    66.  Am I overreacting? No, actually, I’m responding reasonably to unreasonable treatment
    Jennifer Duke
    At my work desk, I opened up the thread and there it was. My photo, taken from my Twitter account or my LinkedIn or from somewhere, with my name and publication. Someone had then quoted the picture and underneath it they'd written: 'Lipstick lesbians are always cute.'

    67.  Sexting: Victoria makes it an offence to send explicit images without consent
    Oliver Milman
    New laws will crack down on jilted lovers who maliciously send intimate pictures of their former partners to others

    68.  ACT gay marriage decision paves the way for national equality
    David Marr
    High court indicates that if parliament recognises equal marriage, it won’t stand in the way. But the high court has done remarkable work. It went out of its way to declare that that there are no historical, religious or constitutional barriers to same-sex marriage in Australia. The way is open so long as the law is national. Theirs is not the language of equal marriage advocates, but the judges unanimously declared that in 2013 old notions of Christian matrimony don’t decide the meaning of marriage in the Australian constitution.

    69.  ACT law delivers neither marriage nor equality: the High Court’s verdict
    Anne Twomey
    The ACT’s Marriage Equality (Same Sex Act) 2013 produced neither a marriage nor equality. Instead it produced inconsistency, leaving the law completely inoperative. Nonetheless, the High Court’s judgment in Commonwealth v Australian Capital Territory may, in the long term, prove the best possible gift for same-sex marriage advocates. This is because much of the court’s unanimous judgment concerns the meaning of marriage in Section 51(xxi) of the Constitution. It concluded that: …when used in s 51(xxi), “marriage” is a term which includes a marriage between persons of the same sex.

    70.  Australia’s Federal Parliaments still reflect a White Australia
    Gerry Georgatos
    There will be equality in Australia when it is reflected in all our public domains and institutions. Political parties need to lead the way, but they lag among the worst offenders. Our Australian parliaments do not reflect the demography of Australia and are still held hostage by what I loosely term — the Anglosphere. There is a long way to go before there is equality in Government and until this happens there can be no equality before the law or in the public domains. Australia’s conservatism and the affluence of its dominating Anglosphere results in a lack of urgency on the part of those who have dominated during the last two centuries – thus denying, for the time being, the harmony of equality.,5978


    71.  Artist Richard Tipping headlines Born to Concrete exhibition at NSW State Library
    Deborah Rice
    The boundaries of literature are being pushed within the walls of one of Australia's most historic libraries. Internationally renowned word artist, Richard Tipping has applied his poetry to the Mitchell Library staircase, quite literally, by sticking bright vinyl letters to the sweeping marble. He was installing his piece, called HEARTH.  "HEARTH uses only five letters, H, E, A, R and T, but when you place them next to each other you get words within words.

    72.  Twitter and the discerning citizen journalist
    Stephanie Dale
    No Fibs relies on social media to broadcast our news. In particular, we are a Twitter experiment. The wonder of social media is that it enables us to disseminate news quickly - very quickly. Its inherent danger is that is also encourages citizen journalists to spread false information quickly - very quickly. As a citizen journalist your credibility is 100% dependent on your accuracy. Your readers must be able to trust your work and the authenticity of your sources. So how do you check the accuracy of information you find on Twitter?

    73.  When facts are fluid: Emerging best practices to verify information on social media
    Alfred Hermida
    Abstract: Journalists have always had to balance the need to be fast with the need to be right. The explosion in material from the audience, coupled with the speed and reach of social media, has placed strains on the traditional verification practices.


    74.  Feeling anxious? There could soon be an app for that
    Patrick Clarke and Lies Notebaert
    Cognitive bias modification is a new approach to treating emotional problems. It holds considerable promise for the remote delivery of mental health interventions. The story of how this new approach came…

    75.  Managing stress and mental illness in the workplace
    Kathryn Page
    Common mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety disorders, are the second leading cause of disability in Australia and affect around 20% of the working age population at any one moment. The cost of work-related mental health problems on workplaces is enormous. A recent VicHealth-funded study reported that job strain-attributable depression costs the Australian economy A$730 million per year, with much of the cost worn by employers.


    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  13 December 2013


  • Catching Up

    12/13/2013 7:16:27 AM |

    Well the Royal Commission into the decision making re Pink Batts. Not headed by judge but Brisbane Lawyer. After all their were four deaths and all those fires. Shame that the tragedies where fewer than the norm in the industry before that.

    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.

    This will be the ninth I know of.

  • jaycee

    12/13/2013 8:25:22 AM |

    This from the "ash-tray swill" ; Bazz Cazz..."...Tony Abbott has so far by and large resisted their urgings. He appears to understand the value of the sensible centre."

    Abbott "understands the sensible centre" is this sort of absolute BULLSHIT that gives the ABC. it's bad name!

  • jaycee

    12/13/2013 11:55:43 AM |

    Of course, you know, the collective right-wing has gone insane…not insane as in the ” white-coat tied at the back in the padded cell” kind of insanity…they still “sound” sane, but they have these “breakout moments” Pliers Ankleman….you know the style : like your’re having a cuppa with an old friend who has recently taken a curious interest in UFO. phenomena…and in the middle of chatter they might suddenly hold their hand up flat to silence you and with a searching, vague look in their eyes they announce..: “They’re transmitting!”….and after a few seconds of intense concentration they resume the conversation.
    There’s nothing you can say, but you have to consider suggesting a short holiday in a cottage by the sea.

  • Casablanca

    12/13/2013 2:14:15 PM |

    Christine Milne ‏@senatormilne 11m
    No 44 on IPA list for Abbott delivered at COAG. See what else the puppet masters

    No 44 on the IPA list is:
    'Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states'

    Tick! Abbot Point near the Great Barrier Reef already devolved to the Coal Industry.

  • jaycee

    12/13/2013 5:35:24 PM |

    Just listening to that Hooke prick on '24..These guys dress themselves up as "point-men".."front-men"...savvy can-do's for the other words.."Non-producing dead shits"...their master's voice...servants to turds......I wouldn't employ the dead-beat to poison feral dogs!...useless pricks get money for providing arsehole tactics and they sell themselves as "consultants"....the Agri-joke about consultants is ..: " This bull gets the hots for the cows in the next paddock and throwing caution to the wind, takes a run-up and leaps the dividing fence..unfortunately for him, his nuts get caught on the barb-wire and he lands on the other side ball-less.....the other bulls gather and commiserate..."Geez mate"..they say..."what'll you do now you've lost your balls?"......being fatalistic, our bull / steer says.."Oh well, I'll just have to make the best of it and become a consultant!"

  • jaycee

    12/13/2013 8:02:49 PM |

    Abbott and his deadbeat LNP. mates...:

    More useless than turd on a barbi-plate!
    More hopeless than a 7-10 split at a blind-bowls meet!
    More greedy than a phirana in a fish-bowl of minnows!
    More vindictive that A. Jones!
    More evasive than a businessman's spreadsheet at a tax audit!
    Lower than unwanted refuse at a Mumbai rubbish dump!
    Lousier than a woolen  blanket at a WW2.stalag !
    Dirtier than the sole of a gum-boot at Bolivar sewerage works!
    As cadgey as a Liberal minister before an inquiry (ANY inquiry!).
    More bastards than Charles the 2nd!
    More filth than an imagined Bernardi porno!
    And as servile as a Vatican room full of Bishops with the hope of one being promoted to Cardinal!

  • TalkTurkey

    12/13/2013 10:40:35 PM |

    Greetings Comrades,

    I worked really hard today topdressing J****'s lawn, gee I'm feeling it now.

    I just finished your Cache links Casablanca, it's such a smorgasbord! All those people writing their hearts out, nearly all on our side, still we failed to prevent Abborrrtt's victory.

    But as I told Jason - We can still pull the fat out of the fire, if we can just convince enough of the new Senators that it would be irresponsible in the extreme, and counter to Australia's long-term interests, to repeal the price on carbon ... The Government is performing so appallingly that I don't think they can ever recover, they are a laughing stock and we can hope that the Left can use them as an exemplar of LNP thinking far into the future.

    Oh and Yes Casablanca, I am across a lot of the developments in the struggle to legalise use of Cannabis, but I VERY much appreciate your heads-up anyway Comrade!    

  • Michael

    12/14/2013 11:04:02 AM |

    The look of disdain on Barry O'Farrell's face as, right beside him, he watched Abbott answer questions from the Press after the COAG meeting yesterday was priceless.

    Absolute 'stink under my nose' contempt.

  • TalkTurkey

    12/14/2013 2:21:48 PM |

    I missed it!
    Wished I'd seen it, might see it later I guess.

  • M.R.

    12/14/2013 4:08:11 PM |

    This is all pretty good stuff. But I'm of the age where my main cry is "I don't like reading tons and tons on-screen: so I tend to print it out." Of course, I'm scarcely likely to print out this Comments thread; so I can't help wondering why those who have SO MUCH to say don't say it on their own blog ...? It would be so very much more readable there.
    Et apart à tout cela ... I liked the lead article very much. Thank you.

  • jaycee

    12/14/2013 9:16:32 PM |

    "Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer ;
    Things fall apart ; the centre cannot hold ;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned ;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity"......................(From ; The second Coming, by W.B.Yeats)

    Future Proofing.
    For many years we have been protected from the need for "future proofing" by having a huge pool of natural resourses and countryside as a buffer against over-exploitation of both land and sea. Here in the mallee-lands, particularly, the enormous expanse of treed bush gave free-reign to totally unregulated clearing and attempted grazing deeper and deeper into the bioforest. There was only one thing stopping us and that was water...on ground or in the air, it drew a line in the sand as to how far we could reach into the bush to profit from agriculture, and neither Goyder's salutry line nor common sense seems to have prevailed.
    It never dawned on us the damage we were doing to the environment....Was there such recognition even of the word : environment? The first two lines of that poem...; "Turning and turning..." Further and further we went..Wider and wider, not hearing nor seeing the damage we were doing. Now we have report after report from all around the country of this section being lost to mining, that part lost to property developement and then we have extreme weather sweeping through widening swathes of countryside, wiping out both communities and wildlife.....Extinctions and extirpations...; "The centre cannot hold".
    WE...are now the centre. There is no more "outback" to retreat to..If there is any "future proofing" to be done, it must start with a deliberate act by us, it must start now and it must start here in the place where we live. We are those who "...are full of passionate intensity"....and the innocent?....those who suffer?...well, at the moment it is the creatures of the the not too distant future it will be know it, I know it...we all know it...we can no longer retreat from our collective responsibility, we must future-proof our environment, our houses, our communities, ourselves.
    How do we "future proof" ?
    Quite simple really..almost an equation. Taking as accepted that each part of a product is a necessary portion of the : From yeast and salt etc. do we get bread ; then each part of an; EVERY PART, is necessary to the success of the whole....every "link" in the chain of life is essential to sustain the whole of life...and THAT includes us!
    So do we draw a line in the sand and commence as a community to rebuild OUR local environment so it becomes "future proofed", or do we let slide into oblivion all that we see precious and meaningful and watch in useless and hopeless inaction our fate approach
           " And what rough beast, it's hour come round at last,  
             Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?".................(From "The Second Coming" by W.B.Yeats)

  • Truth Seeker

    12/15/2013 12:02:21 AM |

    Ad, thanks for another of your fine articles to finish the year   Smile  

    There are definitely some fundamental differences in the way that the right and the left think, and those differences are highlighted in the policy priorities, as you point out, Gonski being a classic example.

    To me the tell tale is actually in their lack of ability to think creatively, so I would venture to suggest that there may be a fairly simple explanation in as far as those from the right of politics use more of the right side of the brain, where those from the left use more of the left side of the brain.

    Just a thought.   Smile    

    Ad, I hope you and your family have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and new year, and likewise to all TPS'ers.

    Cheers   Smile      

  • Mangrove Jack

    12/15/2013 9:05:26 AM |

    Your post on Lackoff was weird Ad Astra, in the sense that I'd just read a paper by Bill Mitchell covering the same ground. Lots of references to Lackoff.

    <a href=””>Framing Modern Monetary Theory</a>

    Mitchell is trying to identify the obstacles to a broader understanding of economics, that is, the reality not the myths that self-serving conservative ideology has brainwashed us with.

    To your list of words and phrases that characterise conservative metaphors you can add “living beyond our means”, “maxed out the nation's credit card” and many others listed by Mitchell.

    Mitchell believes that conservatives and their lavishly funded think-tanks have grasped the opportunities created by cognitive linguistics and very successfully turned reality on its head.

    “Proponents of neo-classical macroeconomics have been extremely successful in their use of common metaphors to advance their ideological interests. What is, in fact, a myth that is designed to advance a narrow ideological interest, is constructed and accepted by the public as a verity. We end up believing things and supporting policies that actually undermine our own best interests because of the way the arguments are presented to us. In other words, we accept falsehoods as truth and ideology triumphs over evidence. “

    A good example of that of course is the myth that the budget deficit is a “bad” and that we must get the books back “in the black”.

    That myth, and 8 others, are presented as “mainstream” propositions, and convincingly demolished, in the paper.

    “A related advantage for progressives of promoting public awareness in MMT is that the ideological basis of conservative policy agendas would become more transparent. It could no longer be said that fiscal austerity needs to be imposed because the government has run out of money. It is anticipated that if the public were to have a better understanding of how the system actually works and could correctly distinguish
    between fiscal space constraints and ideological constraints, we would end austerity and demand policy responses that enhanced our collective and individual wellbeing”

    Or, if more people understood MMT, the era of the dominance of neo-liberal ideology would be over.

  • Edward Eastwood

    12/15/2013 10:11:45 AM |

    With Hockey due to release his budget review on Tuesday, the need for a switch to MMT is more urgent than ever. No doubt that Tuesday's statement will call for more cuts to welfare and social services, not to mention wages and conditions. MMT with its inherit premise of a job guarantee or a 'living wage' as Bill Mitchell now refers to it - is a must! It's simply common sense that when times are tough, governments run a deficit to protect jobs and services through the public sector! When times and conditions improve, governments cut back and allow the private sector to expand, therefore building a surplus - it's that simple!
    As for workplace reform, cut 15 percent from the salary of the top 10 percent of the senior staff employed by Treasury,Finance, Prime Minister, Cabinet, Employment and Workplace Relations, Oh, and don't forget the Reserve Bank every time the unemployment rate exceeds 2 percent! Easy!
    ps. Abolishing negative gearing wouldn't be a bad idea either!

  • Ad astra

    12/15/2013 11:06:34 AM |

    Thank you for your kind comment about this piece, and welcome to The Political Sword.  Do come again.

    The comments do become voluminous during the week after posting.  Most who comment here do not have their own blog, and so use TPS to express their views.

  • Michael

    12/15/2013 11:07:33 AM |

    Oh, and one other thing....

    Remember when the entire Australian economy was going to come to a grinding halt that would require broad and deep spending cuts, according to Jiving Joe Hockey, remember all this was unavoidable... on December 12.

    Anyone notice Australia collapsing into a heap last Thursday?

  • Ad astra

    12/15/2013 11:10:52 AM |

    Truth Seeker
    It’s good to see you back again, and thank you for your complimentary remarks and good wishes, which I reciprocate.

    You make an interesting observation – that ”the right of politics use more of the right side of the brain, where those from the left use more of the left side of the brain”, and thereby are more creative.  I suspect you are right.  

    I am currently reading a fascinating book: Thinking, fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman, which demonstrates the fast and slow decision making processes we use in everyday life.  I expect he will touch on the right brain – left brain phenomenon as he reasons his case.  I shall look for this in keen anticipation.

  • Ad astra

    12/15/2013 11:12:58 AM |

    Mangrove Jack
    Thank you for your thoughtful and informative comment.  Somehow, I couldn’t get the pdf file to load, but I did find Modern Monetary Theory meets George Lakoff  posted on 8 December on naked capitalism, embedded in which was a audio-visual presentation by Bill Mitchell Framing Modern Monetary Theory in which the visuals were displayed.  I’ve read the text of the post, but will have to leave the 28-minute presentation until later.

    The text is extraordinarily valuable in as far at it links Lakoff’s thesis to MMT.  So I shall look forward to viewing the presentation.  

    It is high time that progressives came to grips with the political value of framing debates in a way that the people can grasp and that is appealing to their commonly held notions and beliefs, while at the same time demolishing some of the myths of neo-classical macroeconomics such as the ones you quote: …the myth that the budget deficit is a “bad” and that we must get the books back “in the black”.”

    Thank you for drawing attention to this valuable resource.

  • Truth Seeker

    12/15/2013 11:19:33 AM |

    Ad, thanks for your reply, and good wishes.   Smile

    I have been lurking and keeping up with what's happening, but there has been an awful lot going on, and I have not had the time to comment.

    Hopefully things will settle a bit in the new year, and I can then take the time that I would like.

    Cheers   Smile  

  • Ad astra

    12/15/2013 11:32:42 AM |

    Edward Eastwood
    Thank you for your interesting comment and welcome to The Political Sword.  Do come again.

    We await Joe Hockey’s MYEFO next Tuesday with bated breath.  As you predict, it will almost certainly contain cuts to welfare and social services in line with his notions of macroeconomics.  We shall see from his words (rather than the numbers) how he justifies them, how closely his justification aligns with neo-classical economics and conservative thinking, and how well George Lakoff’s thesis enlightens us about the model of political morality that underpins Hockey’s actions.  I wonder how deeply the Fourth Estate will examine this!  I suspect not at all.  Once again the Fifth Estate will need to come to the fore.

  • Mangrove Jack

    12/15/2013 12:59:53 PM |

    For those with an understanding of MMT, Hockey's MYEFO will be a schizoid ride between high farce with much rolling around the floor laughing, and "fist through the gyprock" frustration.

    I'll be listening to Hockey and recasting the lines of Goldsmith's poem "The Deserted Village"

    "And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew
    That one fat head, of thoughts, could have so few"

    If nothing else, it will be fun ticking off the metaphors from Lackoff's checklist as they rolloff Hockey's tongue.

  • Catching up

    12/15/2013 1:36:14 PM |

    No matter what Hockey's aim is, he will be creating unnecessary gloom and doom, leading up to Christmas.  He will be talking down the economy, as he has done continualy for the last few years.

    Why d
    he does this now, is beyond me.

    PS.. Turnbull is claiming that NBNCO wasted 20 billion, while claiming at the same time, those who contacted to do the work, are being under paid.

    I wonder where the truth lies.  I wonder what he and his stooges consider waste.

  • Edward Eastwood

    12/15/2013 1:41:48 PM |

    Ad Astra, Thank you for the warm welcome, and I most certainly will return.
    Mangrove Jack; With regards to neo-libs and their claims, the last lines of Goldsmith's poem sums it up;
    "Vain transitory splendours
    could not reprieve
    the tottering mansion from its fall."

  • Catching up

    12/15/2013 1:42:30 PM |

    I was born into an era, following the great depression where most considered borrowing bad.

    This was mainly, in my opinion, was the fact, that the majority of workers did not have incomes that allowed anything to service debt.

    Then come along the miracle of Hire purchase, and improving of individual wages, that allowed most to borrow, to increase their wealth.  

    The moral being, debt is good, when one has the means to service it. When it comes to business, debt is essential, in increasing wealth.

    What I cannot understand, that a community  that relies on debt, to house itself, and provide big ticket items, still sees government debt as bad.  

    Does not make sense.

  • Mangrove Jack

    12/15/2013 3:23:12 PM |

    It makes even less sense CU when one realises that government debt is not really debt at all. But it suits the conservative agenda to have us all believe the opposite.

    And it gets even more weird when you understand that government debt is "non debt" for households. That is, an asset.

    In fact, households could not save if there were no government deficits.

    Another way to look at it is to ask if the government's running a deficit who's getting the surplus ? The answer is the private sector.

    Do they have to pay it back ? Never.

    Conversely,if the government's running a surplus, whose pocket is that coming out of ? Households and the private sector generally.

    It was no coincidence that households racked up record debt during the years of the Costello surpluses. If they hadn't, the economic sieve would've sunk because the government had stopped paddling.

    When we give the Treasurer plaudits for delivering a surplus we are no smarter than turkeys who vote for Christmas.

    Bill Mitchell explains all this in section 5 "Face to Face-Mainstream macro and Modern Monetary Theory" of this paper:

  • jaycee

    12/15/2013 3:30:07 PM |

    While endorsing Lakof's thesis in the main...I beleive we have a unique situation here in Australia, reinforced by our current PM...; The Catholic Monarchists.
    It is no contradiction to the current catholic doctrine in Aust' to have loyalty to both the Son of God AND the Royal Family...a situation once held exclusively by the Protestant faith...indeed it gave it it's name!...
    B.A.Santamaria, himself was sympathetic to a constitutional monarchy..:
    "...Cardinal Pell points out that it was only through the Industrial Groups that the communists were defeated.

    This was the great achievement of a most distinguished Australian, B.A. Santamaria.

    Working through the parishes of the Catholic Church, he established a movement which by the early 1950’s had 6000 members in 350 districts with 100 factory and union groups..."

    With both the catholics and the royalists in your back pocket, you have one hell of a voting bloc !
    I have relatives who fit the above mould and while being poorer than church mice, will vote for the LNP. even to their own detriment.
    I too hope to write a piece on this phenomenom for the new this space!

  • Mangrove Jack

    12/15/2013 3:44:17 PM |

    "I have relatives who fit the above mould and while being poorer than church mice, will vote for the LNP. even to their own detriment.
    I too hope to write a piece on this phenomenom for the new this space!"

    You might find Joe Bageant's "Deer Hunting with Jesus" a good template, jaycee.

  • jaycee

    12/15/2013 4:33:42 PM |

    Mangie jack..Good lead..I listened to the vid interview...agree....but it didn't say if he was prodo or mick influenced.
    It makes a difference because of the work ethic thingo!

  • Mangrove Jack

    12/15/2013 5:26:41 PM |

    Jesus Christ, jaycee. The Battle of the Boyne wasn't that long ago (in their minds)

    Be careful with your language!

  • Mangrove Jack

    12/15/2013 5:57:23 PM |

    My earlier comment to Catching Up might've left a few heads spinning if you weren't up to speed on one of the basic insights of MMT: if deficit spending puts money in householders pockets, where does that money come from ?

    The short and simple answer is that the government creates it out of thin air. That's why you hear MMT say the government is not financially constrained.

    So why do we have to pay taxes?

    Well, taxes just drain off that flow of government spending, back to where it came from. That is, nowhere. That's why MMT says taxes fund nothing. If we didn't have taxes we'd have too much money chasing a finite supply of goods and services, and we know where that leads.

    So government spending is a "flow" into the economy, and taxes are a "flow" back out, not unlike a flow of water through the turbines of a hydro scheme. The energy produced by the flow of water is not unlike the work efforts of the citizenry as they go about earning their daily bread.

    This little metaphor is my own, and helped drive out of my head, former, and wrong, ideas about the nature of deficits, money, and such. Readers can make up their own (or borrow mine for free!)

  • Ad astra

    12/16/2013 7:48:17 AM |

    Mangrove Jack
    This time I was able to load the pdf file Framing Modern Monetary Theory.  I have bookmarked this important paper.

    I thank you and Catching Up, Edward Eastwood and jaycee for your informative comments.  You have sparked an important debate on MMT; no doubt tomorrow Joe Hockey will add fuel to the fire you have lit.  I was about to close comments, but will leave them open for a day or so to accommodate comments about the MYEFO.

  • Ad astra

    12/16/2013 12:12:27 PM |

    Mangrove Jack
    Framing Modern Monetary Theory by Louisa Connors and William Mitchell (November 2013) is an outstanding paper.  It strongly embraces Lakoff’s work about metaphorical language.

    I found their list of frames for progressives appealing:

    ”- Jobs for all that want to work
    - Price stability
    - Income security for those that cannot work
    - Fair share of the economic pie for all (fairness not greed)
    - Zero waste of people
    - More skill development
    - More educational access
    - Safer cities
    - Environmental care”

    I also found their primary metaphors, and their elaboration, enlightening:

    - Purposes Are Destinations
    - Purposes are Desired Objects;

    The primary metaphor Purposes Are Destinations relates to the subjective judgement that we want to achieve purposes and we succeed when we reach a destination.

    Progressives must define the destination in terms of people rather than in terms of an independent ‘economy’. We define our purpose as having ‘zero waste of people’. This destination is reached not when the public debt ratio is x per cent but when unemployment is 2 per cent and zero underemployment.  Rather than complain about high unemployment, we must always specify the desired destination, which links with the second metaphor: Purposes are Desired Objects. Accordingly, debating financial ratios such as the size of deficits merely reinforce the conservative frames about sacrifice, solvency, rectitude, and drunken sailors. We must always focus on the desired objects that relate directly to the intrinsic frames.

    A key issue concerns language and terminology.

    Orthodox economic rhetoric…trades on an incomplete understanding of macroeconomic realities and exploits powerful metaphors to ensure that these realities and related policy opportunities are obscured from vision.  When this economic reality is understood and framed in an accessible way, it is anticipated that decisions to cut spending on welfare and other public goods will be seen not as responsible economic management, but ideologically motivated decisions that deprive our children of a future, and rob the most vulnerable members of our society of the opportunity to thrive.”

    Thank you for publicizing this valuable resource.

  • Catching up

    12/17/2013 9:02:05 AM |

    Well since this government came to power, we have seen us lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to employment, growth and the share market growth.

    Maybe it is time for this government to talk about the economy, and forget their obsession with debt.

    Could it be, we should be look at growing the economy instead.

    There is more to the economy and debt much more.

    we are fast from having one of the best economies in the world, to lagging bad behind,  Not bad for a government that has not bought down a budget, but sees jobs being lost every day.

    It seems only to be a matter of time, before the three AAA ratings go.

    To rub salt into the wound, the debt, if that important is now out of control.  I suspect much of what we see now, is bad debt. Yes, debt that is not used for investment in our future.  Debt that  is caused by cutting, leading to decreased revenue.  

    Money for NDIS, Gonski, CEF and NBNCO, were investments in the future, leading to growth.  Much growth.

    This government's action is even cutting us off from taking leading role in the Asian Century.

    Good governance demands that one first identified the problems.

    This government is so bounded by their own ideology,  They lack ability to accept , or even seek advice.

    They are so obsessed with the word debt, they do not see what is happening around them.  Are incapable of doing what is needed.

    What we had, was an economy that was traveling well. One of reasonable growth, inflation,  Low unemployment. Decent share market.  Low taxation and government spending. In fact a  small government.

    It was performing better than most, with three AAA ratings.

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