Tony – this is as good as it gets

While someone as fit as you would usually have a slow heart rate, I expect your heart quickened when you read this week’s Newspoll, showing as it did a narrowing of Labor’s two party preferred lead since you took over, down to 52/48, but perhaps it skipped a beat when you saw that Kevin Rudd’s lead as preferred prime minister stubbornly remained at 32 percentage points. 

The fact that the Morgan face-to-face poll published last week carried the heading ALP strengthens lead after Summer holidays and showed a TPP of 58.5/41.5%, an improvement for Labor, and Essential Research Report the day before Newspoll showed a 56/44 TPP, the same as the two previous weeks, seemed not to dampen enthusiasm for this Newspoll result.  Newspoll seems to be the ‘preferred poll’ of the pundits, particularly at The Australian, which understands it so well ‘because it owns it’.  The fact that in early November there was another Newspoll 52/48 that bounced to 56/44 two weeks later and was therefore considered ‘an outlier’, has not deterred supportive journos from making a mountain out of the latest poll, not contemplating for a moment that this poll too might be an outlier.  You probably saw its preliminary findings the night before.  Have you noticed that if The Oz has results favourable to the Coalition coming up, there’s plenty of advance notice on its website – otherwise we have to wait patiently. 

You may have derived some cheer from today’s Morgan face-to-face taken over the last two weekends of January that shows Labour down and the Coalition up, back to where they were at the year’s beginning, but your excitement may have been tempered somewhat by a TPP of 56.5/43.5, around Possum Pollytics all pollster trend for the last couple of years, quite different from Newspoll’s 52/48.

So enjoy – this is likely as good as it gets.

If the Newspoll was a true reflection of what the public thinks of your ascent to leadership we need to ask how this is so. 

Over Christmas you had plenty of free air; Kevin and Julia and most ministers were having ‘a well-earned break’, something for which we should be grateful with a frantic year ahead. You even got a spread in Australian Women’s Weekly that ‘humanized’ you as a family man ready to give advice on moral as well as social and political issues.  Perhaps it was this uncontested exposure that seemingly enhanced your connection to the people.  Perhaps it was your policy pronouncements that attracted attention.  There weren’t all that many and they were mainly contrary, but maybe they helped.  Your promise to solve the problem of global warming, or should it be ‘alleged warming’, with a tax-free easy-to-understand scheme in which everyone is a winner, so attractive to those who wish climate change would go away, might have been a factor.  Or maybe it was just the force of your personality.  A recent Finnish study has shown that whether the elector liked or disliked a politician was more influential in deciding how to vote than was their policies.  Democracy is a wonderful beast.  Why bother with well thought-through policy if personality is the magic tool?

So the end-of-year break was a welcome opportunity for you to get started, free of a contest.  Now that the political year has begun, welcome to the real world of politics as leader, something no doubt you’ve already discovered is quite different from being a shadow minister or even a minister.

Some journalists regard you as a fight-hardened and very smart political operative, not to be underestimated.  They say that would be a big mistake.  They portray you as someone who will ‘take the fight up to the Government’, a portrayal which your pugilistic nature would endorse.

As we look for evidence of this smartness we wonder why you appointed Barnaby Joyce as Shadow Finance Minister.  You regard him as Australia’s best ‘retail politician’, whatever that means.  If you mean he has a smart turn of phrase, you’re probably right, but his preoccupation with clever one-liners is detracting from his real job, in which his accountancy skills are a poor substitute for an understanding of national finances.  Barrie Cassidy pointed out that he is behaving like a court jester.  Yet he is in politics, not vaudeville.  His performance at the Press Club this week was not a great start, and his foot-in-mouth media appearances have engendered confusion instead of confidence.  Was it smart to put him up against one of the Government’s best performers, Lindsay Tanner, who already is running rings around him?  Maybe he’ll improve; maybe he’ll learn his job; but he may turn out to be an albatross around your neck.  Already you have had to hose down comments from him that the Coalition may cut public service jobs and the foreign aid program to fund its carbon mitigation scheme.

Was it smart to bring back on the front bench old-timers from the Howard era?  That suggests a return to that era, so convincingly rejected by the people a couple of years ago.

After rejecting the Government’s CPRS after initially advocating that the Coalition pass it, you promised all the details of a plan of your own that would not be ‘a great big new tax’, but would solve the climate change problem with almost no pain to anyone.  Was that smart?  This week you delivered, but details were missing.  You promised all would be revealed, but when your announcement was made, funding arrangements were missing, details which you now say will be revealed ‘well before the election’.  By now your plan has been dissected and found wanting by Government, which insists it will increase not decrease emissions, will cost more, will provide no compensation for families, and does not reveal funding sources.  Columnists are saying likewise.  Was it smart to promise a detailed carbon mitigation plan when only a few weeks over the end-of-year break were available to do what Ross Garnaut and the Government took over two years to accomplish?  Have you discovered what you accuse the Government of so often, that talk is easy, but action takes time and effort?  Have you noticed that the mantra ‘great big new tax’ which you believed was such a PR winner is being countered by the Government’s description of your plan – ‘a climate con-job’?  I wonder which one will stick harder?

Perhaps though you felt you were smart enough to front up with a partly developed policy without costings and lacking any information about where the bucket of money to encourage polluters to pollute less would come from.  Did you expect the public to accept your thesis that the greed and the social conscience of the polluters would bring them into line and persuade them to pollute less?  Perhaps you felt ‘business as usual’ for the polluters would appeal to them, but did you believe the public would swallow it?

Perhaps you felt you were smart enough to convince the people, struggling with the complexities of the Government’s CPRS, to warmly embrace a simple plan, especially if it caused almost no pain, no matter if it was ineffective.  Did you believe the people would pick simplicity over efficacy?  Comments by some journalists on air suggest that might be so.  But that belies the inherent commonsense of the Australian public – they know a con when they see one.  Lenore Taylor nails it in The Oz when she says in Initiative is about votes, not carbon: “This is a climate change plan to get Tony Abbott through to the next election, not a serious plan to refit the Australian economy so that it emits less carbon.” 

Perhaps you hoped for some supportive comments from the media.  You were not disappointed.  Predictably, The Australian obliged with banner headlines Abbott’s cut-through climate plan.  In contemporary politics, ‘cutting through’ seems to be the most salient operative endeavour.  I suppose that means being understood by the people.  The author of the article, Matthew Franklin, went on to support you with “...most business groups have backed the plan, agreeing with the Opposition Leader’s assertion that it is ‘cheaper, simpler, and more cost effective’ than Labor’s proposed carbon emissions trading scheme.”  You know you can always rely on The Oz.  Of course, as Franklin knows and acknowledges in another article, most business groups have not backed the plan; even some of those that have expressed interest, such as the National Farmers Federation and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, want more details before committing themselves, as does the Business Council of Australia.  He should be more careful and consistent with his assertions.

Looking back to last year, for better or worse, you jumped into the ring, a place you’ve always coveted, or more correctly you were pushed into the ring by your seconds (good old Nick and Eric), and having recovered from the surprise of being chosen as the contestant to take on the champ, you’ve been throwing punches wildly, just like you always have.  You may feel you’re ahead on points so far, but time will tell how many rounds you survive.  When you have to move beyond domestic boxing to international bouts you may find that tricky, especially after Barnaby’s comments about cutting foreign aid.  How do you propose to convince the public you can handle international bouts and perform competently on the world stage?

The life of a leader is not easy – ask Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull.  You and your Coalition colleagues seem to feel though that so far the bout is going well, that Newspoll and the bevy of sycophantic journalists are right.  But if the first few days of real bare-knuckle politics are a guide, critics might conclude that unless you can lift your performance substantially, unless you can, Johnny Howard style, pull a few live rabbits out of the hat, you should enjoy this week’s Newspoll - you will likely find that right now is as good as it gets.

What do you think?

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Ad astra reply

5/02/2010You must be kidding Thank you for your considered opinion. You seem to be suggesting that Tony Abbott ought to be ignored as he is in opposition and cannot institute policy. But he is working to have the Coalition restored to government and to be elevated to prime ministership. That seems to me to be a good enough reason to listen to what he and his shadow ministers say, and to examine Coalition policies, policies that presumably will become law when the Coalition wins back the Treasury benches. Although you predict Labor victories in 2010 and 1013, it would be imprudent for Labor to assume this and ignore what the Opposition is saying and doing. This piece simply critiques Abbott’s approach to date and comments, rather superficially, on the Coalition’s new policy on climate change which seems to go by the name [i]Direct Action on the Environment and Climate Change.[/i] As a matter of fact I was reading the official Liberal Party document when your response arrived. If you haven’t read it, you might be interested in the link: http://www.liberal.org.au/DirectActionPlan/ You can download the full document from this page. It is a strange policy document. The first five pages are given over to berating the Government’s ETS, the next two to the Coalition’s record on carbon mitigation, the next six to the responses of other countries and Australian governments to climate change, and only when one gets to page 13 does the Coalition policy begin with [i] Direct Industry Action through an Emissions Reduction Fund.[/i] After a section on the Emission Reduction Fund there are a number of sections that summarize agricultural solutions – soil carbon, algae, and so on. I would like to investigate these suggestions in more detail, but I could find no bibliography or references. There is one page of costings at the end. The document runs to 30 pages. I had hoped to provide some sort of analysis of the Coalition policy, but because of the paucity of information in it, that looks like being time-consuming. Nonetheless, because it is the alternate policy that the Coalition is asking voters to support, it warrants attention. It would be useful to objectively compare the two proposals, and not have to rely on the superficial treatment given to this issue by the media, which seems to be far more interested in the politics, and who is winning and losing the battle for the hearts and minds of voters. Everyone knows most of the heavy polluters produce the electricity that industry and homes need. The Coalition is seeking to have them pollute less, as is the Government, not to close them down. Nuclear energy is another option. What we need is informed discourse on all the options. You refer to my ‘clever use’ of a list of past leaders – you must be thinking of someone else’s list. ‘Pulling a rabbit out of the hat’ was a phenomenon often attributed to John Howard by columnists. I do read [i]The Australian[/i] which I regard as the most authoritative national paper on politics. That does not mean that I believe it is impartial or that I agree with everything that is written in it. In fact it is essential reading if one wants to remain in touch with what the most authoritative political columnists are thinking and saying. Finally, I note your electoral projections. Time will tell how accurate they are. But to imply those projections warrant ignoring Tony Abbott and the Coalition is to ignore their contemporary potency on the political front.

lyn1

5/02/2010Hi Ad What an excellent letter to Tony Abbott, I hope he reads it. On Channel 9 this morning Tony was asked about Barnaby Joyce's bungle, Tony said:- "Now the thing about Barnaby is he answers questions truthfully, he says what’s on his mind and that’s a good thing." Really Tony so that means the Coalition is really going to stop foreign aid. also we are all to believe what Barnaby says because it is the truth. Crikey has a good piece on barnaby Goose today http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/05/2811606.htm?section=australia I am concerned too that it seems Abbott and Co have a plan to call our Prime Minister Kevin Rudd a liar on everything and anything, three times in question time the Coalition MPS were asked to withdraw, they did so, but made sure it was clear Kevin Rudd is a liar. Now on ABC 2 hours ago this. I don't know about anyone else but I was brought up to never call anyone a liar and when I heard this in Parliament it made me shudder. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/05/2811606.htm?section=australia Fancy Tony but but but Abbott calling anyone a liar after the Hanson affair of which he lead the charge it is about the 11th paragraph that a true discription of Abbott appears:- http://brookesnews.com/030309hanson.html The Coalition's performance in Parliament Question time this week was embarrassing, these people are aspiring to be our law makers. Now to "you must be kidding" appropriate pen name to match your comments.

lyn1

5/02/2010Hi Ad Sorry I put up the ABC link twice when I meant to put Crikey here it is http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/02/05/abbott-crosses-the-flaw-defending-barnaby/

HillbillySkeleton

5/02/2010You Must Be kidding: It's called scrutiny, and all Opposition Leaders since the dawn of time have been subjected to it. So get used to it, and stop trying to constantly shout down Ad Astra for providing very reasonable scrutiny which attempts to explain without much hyperbole and juvenile name-calling, an analysis of the alternate Prime Minister. I mean, since when was it decreed that the only commentary on Tony Baloney be positive? If you want that, go back to The Hun, The Daily Terror, or The Courier Mail, etc. No one is holding your hands behind your back to stop you clicking away from 'The Political Sword'. Though, it seems to me, that you may be one of the increasingly-active Self-Funded Retiree demographic, so avidly supportive of the Coalition, with the time, the computer literacy, and more than a High School Education enough to construct seemingly lucid defenses on behalf of your beloved conservatives. I've seen your like popping up more and more lately, and especially in this electiion year, almost as if you have each been given a blog to trawl and troll for the Coalition...for the cause and policy positions that you so fulsomely support. Which you have a right to do, of course, in a democracy. It's just that I am finding your contributions, full as they are of the latest Coalition memes and talking points, repeated obsessively, to be fast becoming tiresome in the extreme. I only came to this blog myself recently, as I had heard that Ad Astra was an erudite commentator on politics with well-reasoned positions, and not the Labor/Lefty 'bum-boy' that you irritatingly and irrationally assert, also to engage in some adult back-and-forth on politics. You're spoiling that experience for me. I can get your sort of contribution in spades on the News Ltd. blogs. I thought I had avoided it here. If you must contribute, I ask merely that you back your inflammatory rhetoric with facts, as the rest of us try to do.

You Can't Have It Both Ways

5/02/2010AA, I agree with You Must Be Kidding. Focus on the government who were elected to govern. [quote]only when one gets to page 13 does the Coalition policy begin with Direct Industry Action through an Emissions Reduction Fund. ...... I had hoped to provide some sort of analysis of the Coalition policy, but because of the paucity of information in it, that looks like being time-consuming. Nonetheless, because it is the alternate policy that the Coalition is asking voters to support, it warrants attention. [/quote] If paucity of information worries you how about Penny Wong's performance on Lateline last night ? Tony Jones can't be accused of being a Liberal supporter. He is clearly frustrated with the "paucity" of information that the government is providing the voters to make an assessment on the ETS.

You Can't Have It Both Ways

5/02/2010Here's the link to the ABC's transcript of the interview. http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2010/s2810791.htm

HillbillySkeleton

5/02/2010http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/opinion/cartoons/alan-moir/20090907-fdxk.html Might I also add that, in general, the Liberals don’t have a policy, they have a posture. They don’t have a program; they have a “message.” We could call them the stupid party, but this is working well for them. Only for the country, it doesn’t add up. To my eyes, this behavioural stance adopted by the Coalition and Tony Abbott has blended into and bled into the co-ordinated response against the election in the US and Australia of Social Democrat governments, by both of the parties in each country now in Opposition, that is, the Republican Party and the Coalition. You will often find, if you close your eyes and just listen, that a lot of the same talking points are coming out of the mouthes of Tony Abbott and Republican politicians in the US. They are experts at pressing people's buttons, and this is the technique they are employing to wheedle their way back into power so that they might continue implementing the agenda of the true elites who hide in the shadows and boardrooms of the great multinational corporations. I might add, that it is no surprise that they use 'retail politicians' like Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce, and, recently, Scott Brown in Massachusetts in the US, to do their prosletysing and administer the Kool Aid to "the mob", as Howard used to sneeringly refer to the electorate. And might I also add, as an aside, that it was interesting to hear a commentator on America's PBS News refer recently to an Australian who played a big part in co-ordinating the campaign to elect Scott Brown to the Senate in the US. I wondered if it might be Son of Howard, Richard(named after 'Tricky' Richard Nixon, would you believe?). He was reported to be undertaking an Internship with the Republican Party, back in the day when Howard was found out trying to get the taxpayer to fund his 'education'. Nevertheless, to go back to the topic at hand, Tony Abbott. You made the point, AA, that Tony promised much, but delivered a lot less, when he released his Climate Change policy this week. With respect, I don't think that's the point so much anymore. I get the impression that the message, as opposed to the actuality is what's important in politics these days. Such that, if Tony repeated ad nauseum, that his plan, to be released, would be 'complete', then people would store that bit of information away, registering only that it would be a complete policy, as opposed to an incomplete grab bag of measures around the edges of Climate Change. So he would get a tick, without the majority of time-poor citizens connecting the dots upon analysis of what was presented, and thus ending up with the idea that Tony Abbott's Climate Change policy is as complete as the government's comprehensive action plan, when it isn't. Which is what the aim of the exercise was. Then, as we have seen today, it's onto the next attack line, as if on a political travelator, and we have the tried and true "The Prime Minister has misled Parliament" trope, trotted out with all the solemnity that a straight-faced Abbott can muster. Over what? The fact that some kids in a Timber town in Victoria's Western Districts(hmm, wonder if they have a local Coalition MP?), can't work for an hour and a half after school. Which the immensely capable Deputy PM has already said is actually a problem that will be solved ASAP by Fair Work Australia, to the satisfaction of all involved I imagine. Nevertheless, as with Malcolm Turnbull before him, a la 'Utegate', we will have to put up with strident posturing from Abbott seeking to prosecute this non-case, at least for the weekend and into the next sitting week of parliament, as he confects more outrage against an entirely competent and professionally-operated government, even if it is run by an ex-bureaucrat from Queensland(as if being one was like a case of the political plague and a very negative thing...funny isn't it, that bureaucrat is the pejorative, public servant less so, and political staffer some new, gold standard of political adjutant, when the opposite is actually the case?) I'm just hoping that, enamoured as the masses may now be with the totally case-hardened, Message Man Abbott, that when it comes to voting him, and all the ideological baggage that will come with him, into the highest office in the land, the spell that the new Howard, not in Trakky Daks but Lycra Bike Shorts, has cast, will be broken by the enormity of the reality that would then become manifest.

Ian McKendry

6/02/2010You must be kidding: Oh please. A fair attempt at crafting a biased bleat masquerading as comment, but sadly you gave the game away when you (like so many of the identikit thinkers out there) were seemingly unable to resist referring to the Prime Minister of our democracy as 'K-Rudd'. What's with that? Tiresome, so bloody tiresome and trite. Please either be a bit damn polite or a bit imaginative. You are not required to mindlessly repeat the oafish 'witticisms' of the less bright members of your cohort - are you? Perhaps a template has been issued... All Along The Watchtower

Rx

6/02/2010Calling the Prime Minister K-Rudd just demonstrates how little originality of concept exists among conservatives. Nothing new to see there! Talk about ossifying fogeys. PS: For those who still (would have us) believe otherwise, the economy did more for the Coalition than the Coalition ever did for the economy. I hope this helps.

janice

6/02/2010Spot on Ad astra and thanks Lyn for your useful links. YMBK goes on kidding himself/herself and You Can't Have It Bothways who prefers everyone puts focus on the Government rather than give scrutiny to what the alternative government offers. BTW, I wouldn't accuse Tony Jones of being a Liberal Supporter even though he may well be, but he is so busy preening his ego and attempting to be the biggest and best, his interviewing prowess suffers accordingly. IMO he rates as a C minus. Abbott's great big CC policy is a great big nothing. Anyone with even half a brain must surely see that the big polluters will not invest in renewable energy unless they're forced to do so by being made to pay big for their pollution. They will take Abbott's carrots with gusto and go on happily polluting while the taxpayers go on providing more and more carrots. Yes, we need the energy they provide but we also need that energy to come from lower polluting forms which require investment both in dollars, technology and plain old commitment to the welfare of the nation, its people and the planet.

HillbillySkeleton

6/02/2010Some good points janice. :) I have a slightly different take on Tony Jones, and Leigh Sales for that matter, seeing as how they both share the Lateline interviewing duties now. Firstly, Tony Jones, I believe, is probably another closet Liberal Party supporter, like Christian Kerr. They are both ex-Private School boys(Tony went to Newington in Sydney, and Christian to the same Private School in Adelaide as Chris Pyne), who saves his most dogged interviews for the Labor Party. I remember thinking the same thing when the ALP were in Opposition, as in "Why doesn't Tony Jones ever apply the same amount of forensic questioning to Howard government figures?" He's still at it now, it seems, that the Coalition are in Opposition. Softball interviews as essentially an enabler to get the Coalition memes and talking points out at night, in time for the papers the next day, and the 3rd degree for the government. I can even remember Tony Jones and Joe Hockey almost giving each other High 5s last year when the first bad Newspoll for the Rudd government came out. It was sickening to watch them both gloating so obviously. Leigh Sales I'm just starting to find icky, with her School Marm schtick, and oh so pointed line of questioning, holding the government to account, which is fine, but letting the Opposition just run off at the mouth. She makes the government answer the question by interrupting them, but not the Opposition. Which I also find extremely irritating about Tony Jones as well. Making bumptious interruptions constantly, such that it increasingly seems that he is more interested in grabbing a "Gotcha!" headline than in listening to an explanatory answer. So rude. ABC Left Wing bias? You've got to be kidding!

You must be kidding

6/02/2010For those of you who don't realise ... the Prime Minster the Hon Mr Kevin Rudd has a shortened verson of his name that would be K Rudd ... just like J Howard, like P Keating, like R Hawke, like M Fraser ... so this frightening attack upon a correspondent for mentioning the obvious is a little disheatening. As I have said before, why keep punching the "man" when it comes to politcal debate. Surely a democracy is about the ability to fashion good argument and thus apply debate to the issue before the community. I regret that I have been accused of many things, including from one who suggested I was a self funded retiree. Does that not awake you to the thought that some folks might be a tad blinkered. "This person must be a self funded retireee to hold such views" "This person must be a liberal conservative to have said that" ... no folks, I am not, rather I am an Australian with a point of view that may not be in agreement with you. And not afraid to say so. But I can't recall calling anyone a pious prig ... or similar, although I do recall having an undisciplined rant about some of your comments being overly biased. So as the Hillbilly said, let's stick to the facts and debate the issues without being personal. And if you don't like K Rudd ... then let's call him Kevie or any other agreeable tag similar to the other tags I am sure you have made against previous Prime Ministers. It is such irony to on the one hand preach disdain for a terminology used by a critic of your words and then on the other hand use similar terminolgy to support your own argument. So fellow correspodents who find it distasteful to have an alternate view put to them without resorting to personal abuse perhaps you should reflect on the words of Hillbilly who with tremendous use of adjectives and cliche (Hemingway once said when you see an adjective ... kill it) clearly articulates the power of quality debate. The truth ... as Hillbilly wants to remind us ... should be used to discuss issues that affect us as a community and I can tell you from a very short life experience that it is a government that affects us not an opposition. And if we begin to bag an opposition then we are heading for places with authoratarian regimes as perhaps M Danby (Labor MP for a seat in Victoria)so eloquantly detailed in the parliamanet this week. We do not want to suppress opposition what we neeed to do is scrutinise government for they represent us whether we voted for them or not. It is the government that must be scrutinised to ensure it serves us, the people.

janice

6/02/2010And I can tell you from a long life experience that you ignore scrutinising the policies of an opposition (which aspires to take government at the first opportunity) at your peril. An astute voter scrutinises both the government he may, or may not, have voted for as well as the alternative government we know as the Coalition. How else can anyone come to a conclusion that one will serve the nation and its people better than the other? My beef is that the current opposition is weak and unwilling to do the hard yards to forumlate a set of policies which give a firm statement of the direction they wish to take this nation. In government, the Coalition ran out of ideas and vision after their first term in office and for the rest of the decade they lurched from election to election on the back of bare-faced mis-information, fear tactics and out and out bribery. Since election 2007, there has been a blatant campaign by a biased media (possibly furious that their government funded advertising income dried up) to promote an incompetent, policy void, directionless coalition as a viable alternative government.

This Site Is a Sad Joke

6/02/2010This site is a sad joke. It masquerades as having a balance political debate. Only if you support the ALP. Posters with differing opinions are often subjected to ad homeniem attacks. Short memories Janice. The current government went into the last election as "Howard light". Their policies were scanty or direct copies of the former government. Now you hold the Liberal opposition to a different standard. The current government is rattled and dislike it as you may Tony Abbott is gaining traction.

janice

6/02/2010I agree HillBilly that Jones, Kerr et al are closet liberal supporters. That in itself is neither here nor there, but it becomes a very bad thing when they are unable to keep their personal bias to themselves. I remember a time when it was difficult to suss out the personal political leanings of an ABC journo and the ABC was the place to go to get the full facts and nothing but the facts. The worst thing that ever happened to this country is the politicisation of our National Broadcaster so that it now no better than the tabloid press of Murdoch Inc.

Ad astra reply

6/02/2010Lyn1 Once more thanks for the links. You’re right, the Coalition seems to be now focussing its attack on the Government in couple of ways: first on the cost of the Government’s ETS, ‘a tax on everything’ (thus the stunt in the supermarket), and second on the Government’s IR policy that is said to leave some workers worse off. Associated with this an accusation of Kevin Rudd has lied to parliament (thus the lying stunt in QT). No doubt next week there will be another form of attack. How is the Government is supposed to govern while all this distraction goes on? HillbillySkeleton Thank you for your thoughtful comments and kind remarks. I hope you won’t be deterred from commenting here by some visitors to this site who appear to be promoting a stereotypical point of view that seems aligned with the Coalition’s position. I suppose we should feel complimented that they consider [i]TPS[/i] is a site that warrants their counter attack. It is sad that the ‘message’ is becoming more important to politicians and their media advisors than is the ‘substance’. Tony Abbott wants to send a message that his carbon mitigation plan is simple, cheap, avoids cost to consumers and will be effective. He supplies insufficient detail to enable voters to make a considered judgement on it, particularly its effectiveness, relying, as you say, on them believing him when he says it will be a complete policy come election time. As mentioned in the above piece, Lenore Taylor was fingering the truth when she said “This is a climate change plan to get Tony Abbott through to the next election, not a serious plan to refit the Australian economy so that it emits less carbon.” I am similarly irritated by Tony Jones’ assertive approach, his interruptions, his pursuit of a headline, and his search for a gotcha moment. In his interview with Penny Wong he was trying to inveigle her into revealing the modelling of the cost implications of carbon mitigation targets that the Government has not yet set. The implications of a 5% target are there for all to see, in detail. Did Tony think that she should reveal information related to distant targets, yet to be set, something no sensible politician would do? Yet he persisted, I suppose believing that even although he was unlikely to get the answer he wanted, at least he made the interviewee look devious and uncooperative. I’ve seen him on this tack many times before. I suppose Leigh Sales feels she has to match his style, but I find her less aggressive and prepared to give both sides similar treatment. What I find annoying about this style of interviewing is the arrogance of the assumption underlying it, namely that they are entitled to take an aggressive, probing approach to interviewing politicians to the point of rudeness and disrespect. No one disagrees with the notion that politicians ought to be accountable to the electorate that voted them in for the promises they made in campaigning, but who appointed TV interviewers, radio shock jocks and journalists as the ones to hold them accountable on our behalf? None of us did – they appointed themselves, or their bosses did, without any reference to the electorate. What gives them the right to act on our behalf? I believe that the basic problem is the adversarial nature of the political process in this country that is built on unending criticism, opposition to everything the other side does or suggests, uncooperative and destructive behaviour, distortion of the truth, and determination to bring the other side down. The national interest is often subjugated to this end.

Bushfire Bill

6/02/2010The "K Rudd", "KRudd", "K-Rudd" thing is so childish. It's like calling Howard "Coward". YMbK, please don't offend our intelligences by claiming you're just spelling out Rudd's name with the KRudd thing. It does you no honour at all. But what really fascinates me about your comments under the various names above is how conservative supporters expect blogs to be [i]unbiased[/i], read: "you cannot criticise the Coalition without offering equal criticism of Labor". Of course when it comes to "KRudd", bias away, YMbK! The idea seems to be that you cannot be unbiased in your writing unless you give both sides of politics a serve, gratuitously or not. On the other hand, contributors like YMbK offer us only completely level-headed, lofty commentary, free of the slightest taint of partisanship. It's merely a coincidence that they have not one word of praise, or even encouragement for anyone but their own side of politics (andf that's when they admit they have a "side".. usually they claim to be swinging voters who'll never vote Labor again etc. etc.) They end up tying themselves in the most convoluted knots, as with YMbK's preposterous assertions yesterday that all the jobs soaked up by the Stimulus Package had [i]ansolutely no effect[/i] on the unemployment statistics, as if (somehow) 5.8% was all unemployment was ever going to be, stimpac or no stimpac. I assume what they are saying is that if there had been no stimpac then the thousands who worked under it would have just gone onto Seek.com and found themselves alternative employment, without causing any movement - up or down - in the statistics. YMbK's (and Hockey's) assertion that first there [i]was[/i] a recession and then there [i]wasn't[/i] are too ridiculous for words, but they keep peddling them under the guise of "informed and reasoned comment" with that weary tone of writing, as if they are self-evident to anyone but a blind Labor hack. But are they biased? Never! Still, I must not be too biased about this. YMbK's written words have improved out of sight in recent times. At least he offers more than the usual bullet points and bad misspellings that his [i]compadres[/i] serve up on other blogs.

Rx

6/02/2010"For those of you who don't realise ... the Prime Minster the Hon Mr Kevin Rudd has a shortened verson of his name that would be K Rudd" ____ Oh wow! I never realised that. K-Rudd is short for KEVIN Rudd... THANK you! It all makes sense now that you've expalined it. You call the bloke by his first INITIAL, followed by surname, and you get ... KRUDD! Omigod that's hilarious! Krudd - crud, geddit? Crud, crud, crud. LOL!!! I'm so taken with its BRILLIANCE and ORIGINALITY, I think I'll use it again and again and again, in every post I make. Like this ... K-Rudd this ... K-Rudd that ... K-Rudd the other Now people are going to think *I'M* smart too. Hehehehe, I may be a useless ossified old reactionary fart, but at least people will think I'm their intellectual equal. I can't thank you enough for the insight. It's the deepest wit I'm ever likely to hear from the conservative side. Forever in your gratitude, Sir Genius. Crud - /rolling on the floor laughing/ K-Rudd - crud

Bilko

6/02/2010The Mad Monk selected Barney Rubble just to divert attention from his own deficiencies and as he corrects his errant child he will look a more autocratic figure to the punters. Really Barney should change his name by deed poll to Costello so that the comedy act of Abbott & Costello could have a future in the entertainment industry when they both are ejected from their present positions later this year. I took some UK visitors to Parl House on Thursday this week to both chambers for QT and to say they were gob smacked was an understatement. It was pointed out to me this week by a Labor figure that whilst Phony Tony will get better there is no hope for Barney. All part of a cunning plan Baldrick.

lyn1

6/02/2010Hi Ad Just need to tell HillbillySkeleton I have thoroughly enjoyed all his posts this morning. Thankyou HillbillySkeleton. Bilko I don't think Phony Tony will get better he will get worse, in Parliament question this week I thought he came very close to loosing his temper more than once, when that happens there may be a real puch thrown. I watched Tony Jones interview Penny Wong and thought he was positively rude, Penny Wong is so intelligent, calm, and measured, in charge of a policy 2 years in the making. The cartoonists are having a great time with Tony Abbott's facial features aren't they. You must be kidding would you like me to send you some links to plenty of excellent bloggs supporting the coalition.

Ad astra reply

6/02/2010BB Like you, I long for well-structured arguments to support the claims of posters on this site. We will get nowhere if unsupported assertions are made, simply because Joe Hockey or Tony Abbott, or even, God forbid, Barnaby Joyce made them. They so often lack the logic that intelligent discourse demands. You have often drawn attention to the internal inconsistencies in so many of Joe Hockey’s public statements. I have often thought what fertile material they would make for school classes in clear, (or should I say unclear) thinking – do they still have them I wonder. But I must be careful, lest I be accused of an [i]ad hominem[/i] attack on Joe. Why would one attack dear old Joe personally, when his utterances provide such a rich tapestry of material to lay into. Rx Good to see you rolling around convulsed with laughter about your discovery of the subtly hidden meaning of ‘KRudd’. Never let it be said that this site is uninformative and has no sense of humour. Bilko You mention Barnaby Joyce. The danger of Barnaby to the Opposition is not so much his colourful rhetoric, or even his bumbling treatment of important issues in public fora; it is his capacity or lack of it to manage the finances of a nation of 22 million people and a trillion dollar plus economy amidst the economic certainty that still exists globally – that’s the scary bit. Tony Abbott is worried about Barnaby’s public utterances; I wonder how worried he is about his behind-the-scenes capacity?

Kersebleptes

6/02/2010Ad Astra, Pointless fluff-question, here. Why does the Political Sword's symbol on the address bar appear to be a spanner? Or is it a sword hilt, with the blade presumably buried in a victim?

Ad astra reply

6/02/2010Folks You may be interested in Ben Eltham's piece on [i]New Matilda: A Rocky Start to the Political Year[/i] http://newmatilda.com/2010/02/05/rocky-start-political-year

Ad astra reply

6/02/2010Kersebleptes I don't have the answer to your queation. The symbol came with the off-the-shelf blog engine. I thought it looked like a sword, (which would be appropriate) but that is pure conicidence. However, now that you mention it, it does look like a spanner. So let's give it whatever symbolic meaning we wish it to have. 'Symbols can mean whatever we want them to mean' - I'm sure Lewis carroll would agree.

HillbillySkeleton

6/02/2010lyn1, Thank you for your kind words. :) As far as I know, I haven't had a gender reassignment operation lately, so I will remain a woman until the day I die! I think the problem is my gravatar and name tend to suggest maleness, I couldn't find one that looked like a female skeleton! As time wears on during this election year I will most likely get carried away with emotion as tactics get down and dirty closer to the election. Please feel free to pull me up.

lyn1

6/02/2010Hi HillbillySkeleton Sorry about writing his instead of his/hers. I have got to know your skeleton gravatar I like it. I get carried away too as the campaign gets down and dirty, I remember clearly in 2007 when the media and the coalition crucified Kevin Rudd absolutely. Sentence from Barnaby Joyce's piece today in the Punch (quickly add up Labor party expenditure via MYEFO for the next four years, I said billion when I should have said trillion). Thought everyone might like to scim over. http://www.thepunch.com.au/

You must be kidding

6/02/2010Folks ... I'm excited. Finally a contribution that made sense in the debate ... that it is important to scrutinise what is before us. Janice is brilliant in her debating thrust that unless we scrutinise the opposition or the alternate government we do so at our own peril. Now I don’t want to verbal Janice but I think she means that we must analyse what is laid out before us because we may be duded. And given we have only had something like 6 changes of government in the last 60 years we perhaps can learn a lot from the past in terms of evaluating what an opposition party did when they got into government. For instance I remember the core and non core definition of the last opposition party to win government back in 1996. Perhaps if we had scrutinised the previous opposition we would not now be debating the merits or otherwise of keeping promises ... Do you remember for instance the previous opposition leader (pre 2008) promising 1. If the States do not cooperate with hospital funding I will enact the commonwealth taking over the running of hospitals. Now I remember that and I believed him when he set a deadline of June 2009. Yet we have not met that promise yet and not likely to, so perhaps it was non core. 2. I remember the Grocery Choice promise ... that was delivered, no wait ... that has been cancelled some 6 months later. Fuel Watch? Ummm, no that must have been non core ... perhaps I should have scrutinised that a little more. 3. I remember Minister Garrett in January 2008 saying that plastic bags will be taken out of the system by the end of 2008. The bag I used for those beautiful vegetables today must be something a little different to plastic. 4. No worker will be worse off under our new IR laws ... now I distinctly remember the then opposition leader saying that prior to the election he won. Gee I suppose that was non core as well. So Janice we can learn from history, but the point is we usually vote out a government as they did in WA in 2008, Victoria in the late 1990’s, and even federally in 2007 when things we going “well”. Oppositions don’t win, governments lose and the reason they usually lose ... 6 times in 60 years ... is because the people are feed up. We don’t get excited about an opposition; we were feed up with McMahon, Whitlam, Fraser, Keating and little Johnnie. Thus it is the government that must be scrutinised for when they don’t measure up we get rid of them. Were we ready for Beazley in 1998, yes I think we were but we were not yet tired of LJ ... and his rabbit out of the hat tricks. My gosh R Hawke was only leader of the Opposition 4 weeks before he was Prime Minister and never sat in the Parliament as Opposition Leader. So Janice is right ... let us scrutinise the Opposition by starting with the last Opposition Party that laid out a policy prgram prior to the last election and whether they have met their promises ... I’m sure collectively we will have an opinion.

You must be kidding

6/02/2010And another thing Just quickly ... our Prime Minister referred to himself as Kay Rudd when he met the Juddster. The Juddster is that AFL chap Chris Judd who has won a few awards and was in Canberra if I recall to meet with the PM over a government sponsored Drinking campaign ... this was before the Juddster then lead his team mates on a drinking binge just before Christmas. But given the Kay Rudd referred to himself as such I suspect the way to write that would be K-Rudd ... if I was to refer to PM as crud then perhaps I would write it as Krudd which would have that affect. It is interesting to then hear from the group when they then refer to Tony as Mad Monk or indeed there that beauty Barney Rubble from our dear friend Bilko (wasn’t he a con man) ... but wouldn’t Barney Rumble be better? Then there was Phoney Tony from lyn1 who perhaps doesn’t understand irony. AA wants supportive argument as opposed to cliché and well worn observations ... I look forward to reading same from my colleagues.

You Can't Have It Both Ways

6/02/2010Ad astra [quote]As I read your comments I wonder if you are all the same person – ‘stevens’ appears in the email address of the last two[/quote] You need to be very careful about disclosing personal information of posters without consent. Privacy laws exist for a reason. Nice try ... I have no idea who the other posters are even if one has a similar name. Look up the white pages it is a very common surname.

This Site Is a Sad Joke

6/02/2010Ad Astra Are you for real ?? I expect two things from you immediately: 1. Remove any reference to my name from this website. I have given you no permission to post my personal information. 2. I expect a written apology on this blog for posting personal information without my express permission. If you do not comply with my request I will report your disgraceful behaviour to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Sir Ian Crisp

6/02/2010AA, I’ll bet you were positively choleric while writing this piece. I’ll bet the dog has a sore freckle. Back in February 2009 you penned “Why did Janet Albrechtsen write ‘Who is the real Rudd?’” I wonder if Ms Albrechtsen, having read your piece “Tony – this is as good as it gets” is thinking to herself ‘why did AA write ‘Tony – this is as good as it gets?’ Don’t you enjoy the attic salt from Joyce? My fav has to be his dig at Rudd when he said something like: The PM says he can speak Mandarin…well so can 1.3 billion Chinese.

Ad astra reply

6/02/2010You must be kidding Thank you for critiquing in detail the Government’s performance to date as you see it. I seem to have seen that list before. It did not include any reference to the Government’s rescue of the nation from recession, or to any other achievement. I guess you’ve already given them credit for those accomplishments, but didn’t record them in your post. I trust you now feel that you have added a contribution that balances the comments of other posters that were critical of the Opposition. I guess in deciding for whom to vote, the criticisms you make of the Government are set on one side of the ledger and its achievements on the other, and similarly the criticisms, promises, policies and achievements of the Opposition. When they are all weighed up, a decision should be readily forthcoming. I feel we may be progressing towards rational discourse. It’s gratifying to read that you do not want to ‘verbal' janice, who is a regular and highly respected contributor to [i]TPS[/i]; in fact she has been a contributor from the very beginning. I won’t respond to you further comment about K-Rudd. Best let that one lie. You Can't Have It Both Ways Your privacy has not been affected. As you say, there are many with that name. I accept your word that you are different from the others I mentioned. You are welcome to return with thoughtful comments. This Site is Sad Joke Your privacy has not been affected either. No contact details have been posted. As you have requested it, I will now remove the reference that has caused you offence, which was not intended. I was just curious. Since you ask for my apology, here it is.

Ad astra reply

6/02/2010Reposted from an earlier post Rx Despite what ‘You must be kidding’ asserts, when the term KRudd is used, as it often is in blogs, it is used pejoratively. It reminds me of kids in a playground calling each other names. I prefer to use the full name Kevin Rudd or John Howard or Tony Abbott, or simply the surname to avoid repetitiveness, and avoid such appellations as KRudd or K Rudd or T Abbott. For a while one journalist, taking a rise out of TV journalists’ pronunciation, was asking why they referred to ‘Mr Rabbott’ or ‘Mr Rabbit’. Silly stuff. Ian McKendry Welcome to [i]TPS[/i]. Your comments about KRudd align with Rx’s and mine. Maybe there is a template, or maybe it’s just mindless repetition. In either case it’s boring, and unproductive. janice I agree. ‘You must be kidding’ and ‘You Can’t Have it Both Ways’ both seem to believe that criticism should be directed at the Government (which of course it should) but not at the Opposition as it is not in Government. This is a longstanding Coalition line which shadow ministers use to avoid answering questions about their own policies. Their media advisors must have given them that line as they follow it slavishly. The Opposition is the alternative government, only two years out of power and seeking power again. Tony Abbott is the alternative Prime Minister. I find it curious that some feel that that being out of power exempts them from scrutiny. I thought that in a democracy the policies and the people who framed them ought to be scrutinized so that an informed decision about voting could be made. How is it that the policies of those in power are to be scrutinized, but the alternative policies of those who are not in power are to be accepted in the vaguest form, short on detail or implications? That doesn’t make sense. Maybe their accusation is that the focus of this site is too heavily on the Opposition and not on the Government. That’s not my perception, but it may be theirs. Anyway they are welcome on [i]TPS[/i] to express their views, but hopefully in a logical and well-reasoned way so that we can understand them, and even persuaded to their point of view. You must be kidding, You Can’t Have it Both Ways, This Site is a Sad Joke First, the Tony Jones interview with Penny Wong. He was frustrated because he was trying to extract information from her about the cost implications of targets not yet set. Why on earth would she venture into that? She said over and again, that if higher targets were set, the cost implications would then be revealed in full. But that did not satisfy Tony, always hopeful for a scoop that would make headlines. To compare her unwillingness to go down that track with the vagueness, imprecision and incompleteness of the Coalition carbon mitigation policy is drawing a long bow. As mentioned in another post, finding the documents upon which the policy is based is difficult. There are footnotes that support some of the statements in the policy, but where is the list of authoritative papers that elaborate on such important aspects of the scheme as, for example, soil carbon sequestration and algal synthesis and biofuels? We would all like to know more of their potential – can you refer us to authoritative scientific papers on these subjects? There are no footnotes to the one page on Costings and Funding, so we are left high and dry there. Do you seriously expect any of us, used as we are to using the scientific literature to inform ourselves, to accept this paltry policy paper and compare its contents with the hundreds of pages of fine detail the Government has provided in its CPRS documentation? And please don’t repeat the weary mantra that the Government’s policy is the one that should be subject to intense scrutiny, not the Opposition’s, because after all the Opposition is not in power and can do nothing. We want to know exactly what they intend to do about carbon mitigation if they win the next election – it’s not all that far away. Finally if you think this site is a sad joke, please put us right with verifiable facts and figures and well-reasoned arguments. We will pay attention, but not to weary clichés, worn-out mantras and meaningless slogans.

Ad astra reply

6/02/2010Sir Ian I’ve re-read [i] Why did Janet Albrechtsen write ‘Who is the real Rudd?’[/i]. It was a critique of a derogatory, even vitriolic piece about Kevin Rudd. Are you suggesting that it’s OK for Janet to write such a piece, but it’s not OK for me to write a piece critical of Tony Abbott’s actions and policies? Anyone is entitled to critique my piece as I did Janet’s, and several already have, on this blog anyway. I doubt if comment on it will emanate from another blog, and I can’t believe Janet would be at all interested in commenting. Would you care to critique it, as I did Janet’s piece? Barnaby might be funny but he is Shadow Finance Minister.

You must be kidding

6/02/2010My Dear AA You dismiss the critique but don't offer any retort or indeed support for our Prime Minister and his meeting of non core promises. Your silence should then be accepted as agreement of the list ... but perhaps the Hillbilly and BB and indeed Janice might like to join your debate on the issues raised and provide this weary eye a reason why these promises were not scrutinised enough as Janice suggest we should have done ... let's for instance talk about IR ... and to quote you AA ... "but hopefully in a logical and well-reasoned way so that we can understand them, and even be persuaded to their point of view". So what are your thoughts on the reformed IR laws ... let's get past the past and accept the issue was the biggest at the last election. And sure whether the Union movement was stating fact in their 'Your Rights at Work' campaign is now not an issue, the 'logical' view is that the campaign worked very well and the government was changed. We then had the so called mandate to change the IR laws ... in other words the Work Choices legislation which was introduced in 2005. Amended in 2007 to provide a 'No Disadvantage' provision. So the mandate the Rudd Government had was to repel the Work Choices legislation... So tell me why then did they repel all IR legislation back to pre Keating. You may recall the trouble Minister Brereton had in driving through his legislation which was the precursor to flexibility in the work force allowing enterprises to move into independent negotiation with their employees and allowing certain individuals to negotiate independently. This was very relevant to the mining industry and it may be just coincidence but those workers became very well paid, disputation virtually ended and the entire sector drove the economy ... and good news this was prior to Howard being elected. Howard’s laws extended those agreements to allow most employees the same opportunity if they chose to either collectively bargain or indeed have their own agreement. Interestingly productivity in Australia increased, wages increased and the economic good times which started with Keating and perhaps even further back with Hawke extended for another decade. The strength of the economy overcame many financial crises during this period. So why ... with the proof on the board within the workplace ... would the Rudd Government go beyond repelling Work Choices to include all changes to IR laws since before Keating? Perhaps your commentators could outline why this happened ... I accept the Work Choices campaign but why extend it back to pre date 1993. I am sure labour reform is understood by your correspondents as an integral part of the modern work place and given the services sector employs over 30% and works to satisfy our needs 24/7 why are they penalised ... remember consumers drive the market and we (that would be most of us) want to shop 7 days a week and in some markets 24 hours a day ... we also want to eat and be entertained when we want to ... this is the modern world ... so my question is ... why take the laws back when we have had deregulation in all other sectors of the community (eg retail trade hours, licensing laws). When Minister Gillard says she will ask FWA to visit a Victorian rural workplace to help the employer not retrench 6 workers due to her changes ... is she asking for the flexibility that the dreaded Work Choices was offering? Such an irony. Of course there are poor performing employers and of course there are poor performing employees but why penalise the clear majority of both categories to attain the wishes of the Union movement which in 1993 represented some 47% of the workforce and now only represents some 22%. Perhaps you could justify these changes when the Minister promised that no employer or indeed employee would be worse off under her changes. It seems she got that wrong. So Janice given you provide fantastic commentary perhaps you could explain why we didn’t scrutinise the Rudd Opposition’s IR Policy a little more closely ... I would argue we were more focused on what was wrong with the Howard Government which is as it should be. It was right then in 2007 to scrutinise the government so it must be right in 2010 to do the same.

mick smetafor

7/02/2010wow its getting willing in here,a bunch of tories complaining about bias,thats a bit rich.but then they would know about bias wouldn't they reading the smelly old tripe dished up by rupert and his strident troupe of resentful performing seals day in day out.i was going to say hang about and you might decide that tps is fair and balanced but then that slogan is a bit on the nose now isn't it.

You Can't Have It Both Ways

7/02/2010AA, You state inter alia [quote]Do you seriously expect any of us, used as we are to using the scientific literature to inform ourselves, to accept this paltry policy paper and compare its contents with the hundreds of pages of fine detail the Government has provided in its CPRS documentation? [/quote] Would that be the scientific data in studies released by the IPCC and CRU et al? The validity of this "scientific" data is now in serious doubt. Poor or no proper scientific method to support their claims. The world media is now revealing more of this side of this previously curiously lopsided debate. Mr Rudd ended last year urging action on climate change "...the greatest moral challenge of our generation." Yet in 2010 he has attempted to focus policy attention elsewhere. What happened to this morals on this ? Mr Rudd should reintroduce his bill and when it is inevitably rejected simply call a double dissolution if his dependence on the CPRS as the way of lowering emissions is to remain credible. The risk for Mr Rudd is that a double dissolution guarantees climate change is more likely to become the central issue of the election campaign, exactly what the Coalition now appears to be wanting. The reason for the risk and Mr Rudd's reluctance to now address "...the greatest moral challenge of our generation." is simple. Opinion polls no longer show an overwhelming majority of the public supporting action on climate change as Mr Rudd proposes. Mr Rudd now seeks to shift the policy agenda on to matters other than climate change because he is concerned that selling the CPRS might be as complicated as selling the Goods and Services Tax was for John Hewson in 1993 and Howard in 1998...

Ad astra reply

7/02/2010You must be kidding Thank you for taking the time to detail your considered views about IR, past and present. You seem to be well informed on the subject, perhaps more than I can claim to be. In matters as complex as IR, because there are few who are into the detail, most of us have to judge the success of any policy on its outcome. WorkChoices seemed to throw up a lot of problems, amplified of course by the media, the unions and the Opposition at the time. So much so that John Howard felt compelled to introduce at the last minute the ‘Fairness Test’, but by then it was too late – the people had already made up their mind. Now that the Government has introduced its ‘Fair Work Australia’ some problems are emerging as anomalies crop up. So far there are few, but no doubt more will arise. This morning in her interview with Laurie Oakes on Channel Nine, Julia Gillard insisted that the legislation provided for adjustments to take home pay to even out any anomalies. The situation of the kids not being able to work part-time because it was less than three hours is being worked out. So I expect more problems will crop up which the media and the Opposition will amplify, but it is how these are resolved to the satisfaction of employees and employers that will determine the overall success of the new IR laws. Although predictably employer groups forecast difficulties with the new laws, and said it took IR back to the Hawke-Keating era, the extensive consultation that the Government had with them has resulted in many problems being ironed out at the outset. The simplification of the award system from some thousands to a few hundred ought to reduce the time needed to administer it, and that will be cost saving. For my part, I am prepared to see how the new laws pan out, and especially how the Government handles any problems that arise. My guess is that few workers would want to revert to WorkChoices, or any variant of it that Tony Abbott might have in mind. So it’s an academic exercise debating which system was/is best for workers, employers and the community. Let’s wait and see how this one works. mick There have been some new visitors to [i]TPS[/i] who have expressed their views strongly. All opinions are welcome on this blog site so long, as you indicate, they are fair and balanced, based on fact and well reasoned, and free of clichés, mantras, slogans and pejorative language. So long as all who visit here have receptive minds, a variety of views ought to lead to better understanding. You Can’t Have It Both Ways Are you saying that the few mistakes that were made in the IPCC report, the couple of instances of sloppy or even misleading science, or some faulty predictions, set as they are among thousands of pages of first class science by thousands of top climate scientists should negate the entire body of scientific evidence that has been accumulating over many years? If you are, you’re taking a very high stakes gamble with the viability of our planet and its habitability for our offspring. If you believe we should discard the science and take this risk, you and I will probably not live to see the forecast catastrophe, but our descendents will, and will not thank us if the sceptics/deniers are proven wrong and the planet succumbs. Nothing in science is absolute as Karl Popper taught us eons ago, so we have to work on probabilities. And according to the climate scientists, they are 80 to 90% certain that their predictions are right. That’s enough for me, and despite his doubts, it seems to be enough for Tony Abbott to put forward a carbon mitigation plan. On the subject of who would win the public debate with the electorate, it may be that the simple, or should it say simplistic message the Opposition is promoting will appeal more than the complex message the Government is sending, complex because it is dealing with a very, very complex problem to which there are no simple low-cost, pain-free solutions. Tony Abbott is playing the line of short-term political expediency, and may well gain traction now, but his plan ignores the long term where all the climate change damage will be done. Folks I’ll be on the road for the rest of the day, so I’ll respond to any other posts when I’m back home this evening.

HillbillySkeleton

7/02/2010You Must Be Kidding: The facts are these: 1. The States ARE co-operating with the federal government wrt Hospital reform. A fact acknowledged last week by Nicola Roxon, who said they were very close to a deal. The Prime Minister never promised to take over Public Hospitals by 2009. He said he would consider a referendum at the coming election if the States weren't co-operating. A promise he has kept to the letter of because the States ARE co-operating on Hospital reform. 2. Grocery Choice was only cancelled at the last minute, not through any lack of commitment and effort on the government and Choice's part, but because the Big Duopoly of Grocery Chain proprietors, Woolworths and Coles, refused to co-operate with the government and give over their pricing information to Choice to facilitate the implementation of Grocery Choice. Arrogant spoilers, and definitely not the government's fault. You know, YMBK, you'll have to do better than a literalists line of defence, as in, 'It didn't happen, therefore it's all the government's fault it never happened.' If that's the best a Liberal fanboy can do wrt criticism of government policy implementation, then no matter how many words you contribute, it won't take much effort to knock you off your perch. 3. The plastic bag that I used recently to carry home my new printer was made of a biodegradable cornstarch material. That's positive progress on the plastic bag front. I imagine it will trickle down to all shops eventually. A good enough solution to the problem as far as I'm concerned, not being an absolutist as you seem to be, YMBK. Oh, and being realistic about the problem and its solutions. 4. Did you see the interview with the Deputy PM today, YMBK? She restated the case that if a worker was found to be worse off after Award modernisation then they will be allowed to apply for an adjustment order. As for the young kids working after school, she has put someone onto that case to find an appropriate solution to their problem so that they may keep their after school jobs. You know, YMBK, it's a pity that the world isn't frozen in aspic, because then you might have a point with your criticism. Problem solving is what the real world is about, and that's what the Rudd government is doing about those things you have sought to beat them about the head with.

HillbillySkeleton

7/02/2010This Sight Is A Sad Joke, and, You Can't Have It Both Ways, Did you read the story about how The Punch caught out one rabidly anti-government poster who was blogging on their site under 14 different aliases!?! Let me just tell you what Jack the Insider told his bloggers...With every post comes an IP address specific to that particular computer. So no matter which name/names you choose to use, you can always be identified by the site moderator wrt your IP address. Unless, of course, you take the time to run around from computer to computer in your house in order to truly conceal your identity. Which I wouldn't put past some of the more 'enthusiastic' supporters of one party or the other.

HillbillySkeleton

7/02/2010You Must Be Kidding, You are factually wrong with your assertion that Rudd and Gillard repeled(sic) the IR Laws back to the pre-Keating era. In fact, what they have done is to restore Enterprise Bargaining, which Hawke/Keating introduced. You were probably, mistakenly, referring to Pattern Bargaining, which used to occur Industry-wide pre Hawke/Keating Enterprise Bargaining. I understand why you wish to drag the debate back to the pre-Hawke/Keating years, though, as even Howard was forced to acknowledge, eventually, the great strides in the economy and in IR that Hawke and Keating made, and you wouldn't want to diss the old man, would you?

HillbillySkeleton

7/02/2010You Can't Have It Both Ways, The validity of the scientific data underpinning the science of Climate Change is NOT in doubt, as you would have us believe in your blanket statement and wild assertion. Fyi, the IPCC Report has broadly 2 facets. The first is a demonstartion of the science. There have been no doubts about this, or mistakes found, no matter how hard the denialists have tried. The second part of it goes to interpretive papers, wherein some over-exaggerated claims have been found to have been made, plus reliance on questionable sources for a minority of those papers, and their validity. Good scientists, as they are, the IPCC is undertaking a thorough review of all those claims made for their 5th Report.

janice

7/02/2010You must be kidding: I spent about 20 minutes this morning responding to your statements point by point. Then it occurred to me that I was wasting my time and energy because just about everything you put forward is not your own considered opinion, is it? You see, I've read it all or heard it all before from the Coalition party's machine. Therefore I am assuming you are perhaps part of the Young Liberal Movement or part of the Liberal Party Propaganda machine. It seems that it has not gotten through your skull yet that the Howard Govt's IR legislation which he pushed through the Senate because he had the numbers to pass it without debate, was the prime reason that caused Australian voters to sit up and take notice. Even rusted-on conservative voters turned on Howard and his team because they watched in dismay at the detrimental effect the legislation was having on their children and grand-children. It was the odious IR legislation that also caused the voters of Australia to look very carefully at everything else the Howard Government was doing, found it wanting in other areas, and so they turfed the lot of them out on their ear. HillbillySkeleton, YMBK is not confusing Enterprise Bargaining with Pattern Bargaining at all. He/she is trying confuse as many others as possible though because this is the tactic the coalition parties (supported by the Murdoch press) have been using since Labor gained office. They have, it seems, stepped up the effort in this election year but maybe the one good thing to come out of the Howard years is that the electorate has some immunity to scare campaigns and are now more alert to avoid the big political con job. You know commenters like YMBK, You Can't Have it Bothways and This Site is a Sad Joke go over very well on coalition supporter blogs and Lyn even offered to supply some links for them. Alernatively, the three of you might learn a great deal if you went to the Labor Party website and actually read the policies and feedback that is contained there. After all, I do not find it above me to go and read the information put up on the Greens and Coalition Websites. I've learned it is a good idea to find out from the horse's mouth as it were, rather than swallow the propaganda spruiked by media opinionistas. Reading political party websites frequently, one soon learns to sift out the nittygritty from the bullshit.

This Site Is a Sad Joke

7/02/2010AA your apology is perfunctory. Disappointing but unsurprising. I don't accept it due to its insincerity. HBS a computer can be traced by its unique IP address. Thank you for the blinding glimpse of the obvious. You seem to know alot about posting on a site using multiple aliases, who else are you here? Your opinions and posts are suspiciously similar to the other pro government posters. Perhaps you welcome the SA governments attempts to censor political debate on the internet by making posters reveal their full details. I'm heartened that my presence here appears to offend you. Even if the site is a sad joke it is worth staying because it appears to aggravate you so much.

lyn1

7/02/2010Hooray for Janice Well written, well thoughtout reply Janice to YMBK, You Can't Have it Bothways and This Site is a Sad Joke. I agree with you Janice the three new visitors are from the Young Liberal Movement The confuse as many voters as they can tactic is blatantly obvious from all the Coalition front bench in and out of Parliament. I think Tony Abbott has been doing a lot of study and research during his 2 years doing nothing in his aboriginal affairs portfolio. Janice I am putting a link up that everyone should read, in particular, YMBK, You Can't Have it Bothways and This Site is a Sad Joke. http://weaversrant.blogspot.com/2010/02/why-abbott-is-abhorrent.html

HillbillySkeleton

7/02/2010This Site Is A Sad Joke, Your continued presence is appreciated. Don't you worry about that!

lyn1

7/02/2010Sorry all my friends but I meant to put this link up too, hope you all enjoy. http://guttertrash.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/tony-abbott-can-feel-an-election-coming-on/

HillbillySkeleton

7/02/2010janice, TSIASJ has a hide as thick as a Republican Elephant. How he/she could feel emboldened enough to abuse Ad Astra, as they have just done, on AA's own blog FFS, is beyond my comprehension. I guess it's just that 'Born To Rule' mentality that riddles the minds of conservatives like woodworm and which sees them feel no shame when they commit despicable acts like TSIASJ has done here today. Broad brush abuse delivered with absolutely no foundation in fact whatsoever. I hope AA just treats it with the contempt it deserves.

You must be kidding

7/02/2010Folks Come on let's all calm down a little. AA has directed us to provide logical and balanced debate and I am looking forward to this from my colleagues. Janice, I would imagine if you put forward and argument, like scrutinising opposition policy then perhaps your commitment could last more than a day when it was suggested that perhaps we should have scrutinised the previous Opposition (now Government). All the contributions on the IR issues clearly indicate that many folks treat understanding the complex nature of our economy with scant respect and we become a little tribal and thus very passionate about the things we believe ... even if they are not true. I'll give you a for instance ... Minister Brereton was attacked significantly as Prime Minister Keating pushed his IR legislation through. Nothing to do with pattern bargaining by the way, but more focused on enterprise bargaining and the introduction of individual workplace agreements for high income earners ... such as miners etc. All of which are now gone. It seems that it is okay then to push workplace reform back to the very early 1990's and the high strike era of the 1980's. And because of partisan politics you think that is okay. Here's a question for you Janice ... what drives the economy? That would be the economy that provides jobs, individual wealth and prosperity? If you can answer that question and then read the new IR legislation you will then understand why this breaking down of the IR system in Australia which we have had for around 20 years is a little worrying. You are right, Howard went too far with his orginal WorkChoices which was introduced in 2005 but amended it just 18 months later and as AA suggests a little too late to change people's minds. But you also suggest that it would have impacted children and grandchildren ... I just wonder if you could articulate how you interpret that the law would have down that. Just interested to know what you think on that. And the Hillbilly ... when you use "(sic)" try and use it correctly. Your subtly is a little misplaced especially when the spell checker on your own computer seems to be out of work and if you were quoting me as implied by its use ... I don't recall using the misspelt word ... then get it right please. I must say I am a little disappointed. AA suggested this was a balanced site but it seems the responses today have provided a more partisan approach to commentary which I fear is a little disappointing. A final point, I suspect when folks talk about Rupert they mean the NEWS organisation and the implied suggestion was that NEWS is full of right wing hacks. Crumbs I didn't realise that Philip Adams was right wing. Indeed I don't think Jill Singer is right wing, nor Ross Fitgerald, or Cathrine Deveny but it's nice to now know. I'll stop reading their commentary. Come on folks AA wanted logical and balanced debate not partisan politics ... show us you know what you are talking about ...

You must be kidding

7/02/2010AND ANOTHER THING Lyn1 ... now I am accused of being a young liberal ... just a day ago I was a self funded retiree. I just wanted to correct your comment about T Abbott. "I think Tony Abbott has been doing a lot of study and research during his 2 years doing nothing in his aboriginal affairs portfolio." Aside TA working as a voluntary Fire Fighter (very relevant to mention that today I suspect) and patroling the local surf beach as a member of the surf life saving club ... he also spends time each year in the far north of Queensland volunteering in Aboriginal communities for at least the last couple of years. Indeed he has worked with Noel Pearson to try and over turn the Wild Rivers legislation in Queensland which discriminates aganist indigenous communities. Still waiting to hear a response from the Fedeal Government on that issue. Might have to wait a while I suspect. He also was the originator of the Pollie Pedal which raises funds for various groups and is an annual event. So if you want to clip Abbott then do so on facts.

HillbillySkeleton

7/02/2010YMBK, ' So tell me why then did they repel all IR legislation back to pre Keating.' 1. 'repel' should be 'repeal' 2. What about the question mark after 'Keating'? Just the facts YMBK, as requested, but with no character assertions tacked on the end as in your posts.

Sir Ian Crisp

7/02/2010HillbillySkeleton, if you are going to be a pedant make sure you yourself are impeccant. I draw your attention to your post at 1:30pm. You typed ‘The first is a demonstartion of the science’. I have checked my dictionary and can’t find the word ‘demonstartion’. I did however find the word demonstration. Anyone can put a typo into their work without realising it.

Sir Ian Crisp

7/02/2010And how 'bout some spacing to separate your paragraphs. You are aiming for perfection I take it?

HillbillySkeleton

7/02/2010Sir Ian Crisp, I picked that mistake up myself upon rereading the post but as I didn't preview before posting it did indeed demonstarte my own spelling fallibility for all the world to see. :)

Ad astra reply

7/02/2010Folks Back at my computer after a long day on the road, I’ve read your posts with great interest and have deleted the spam. Thank you all for the time and effort that you have put into your postings. HillbillySkeleton, you have been very active and have furnished much useful information. Your response janice has added to this. Thank you both. Thank you Lyn1 for the interesting links. You must be kidding, you too have been active in responding. You seem interested in informed dialogue. Thank you for the effort you have put into your posts. It would serve no useful purpose to attempt to dissect the contributions and comment on them. And it’s pretty late anyway. What seems to come through is that strongly held opinions are hard to change. It’s hard to persuade some folk to a different viewpoint no matter how compelling the facts, how well-reasoned the argument. It’s a pity we are reluctant to ‘trade’ points of view: conceding the veracity of some of the points those with a contrary view express, and vice versa. If we did a little such ‘trading’, we might find that there is more agreement than at first sight appears, and fewer points left to debate. If no one is prepared ever to concede a point, not willing to budge an inch, we shall never move towards agreement. This might be regarded by some of you as naive piffle, but trying to find some points of agreement seems sensible. Those of you who have recently come to [i]TPS[/i] to express a viewpoint quite dissimilar from many bloggers who post here, should not be surprised if the regulars suspect you are part of a move to change the ambience of [i]TPS[/i]. YMBK, YCHIBW and TSIASJ, you arrived about the same time and you express similar views, so regular bloggers here wonder if there might be common connection with conservative thinking. Sir Ian, you take the cake for pedantry. Were you a schoolmaster? We don’t want to go back to school. Finally, after reading all the other contributions, offered to advance the debate, I re-read yours, This Site is Sad Joke, and wondered what it was you expected after I complied with your requests of yesterday. You say my apology was ‘perfunctory’. I don’t know how you could possibly judge my sincerity in making it, but you did. Would you like to furnish the form of words that would have satisfied you and rendered it not perfunctory? No, you don’t offend me, nor do you aggravate me. But I do wonder what you expect of me and others who post here. Even your [i]nom de plume[/i] tells us you disapprove of [i]TPS[/i]. Do you use the same name whenever you blog? Are all blog sites you visit a ‘Sad Joke’? If not, I suppose you use aliases. Do return and give us your views. You won’t upset me, and I suspect others will either ignore you or give you as good as you dish out. By the way, you don’t need to be angry here.

Sir Ian Crisp

8/02/2010AA, my point about the piece written by Ms Albrechtsen was not that it was replete with facts or fiction. I was just trying to point out that she felt disposed to write the piece. However, you seemed to be dumbfounded when the article appeared. You say the mood of her article was derogatory and even vitriolic but her language was rather muted when you consider that Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese delegate at Copenhagen, called Rudd a liar. Ms Albrechtsen’s language was typical rightist boilerplate. On the other hand you couch your articles in purple prose when Rudd is the topic. You now feel disposed to write an article warning Tony um, er, ahhh, Abbott to temper his excitement. You warn us of his shortcomings but in so doing you have highlighted Rudd’s shortcomings. For instance, both leaders are guilty of using scare tactics. Abbott uses his ‘great big new tax’ to cow the voters while Rudd tells the people of Parramatta that in 2015 they will be able to form the Parramatta Surf Life Saving Club to patrol Parramatta beach. You make mention of Barrie Cassidy pointing out that Joyce is behaving like a court jester. Barrie says Joyce is in politics not vaudeville. Surely it is pure comedy when a man, hoping to become PM, visits a strip club then suffers memory loss. Comedians were revered when vaudeville was at its peak. Politics and vaudeville have much in common. So you see the appearance of the two articles by you and Ms Albrechtsen is perfectly understandable given that the authors cleave to their ideologies. Should we be shocked enough to ask: why did he or she use such a turbid thought process to compose such an article? The answer is no. I will have to decline your offer of cake. I forbore criticising a typo. Another person using the sobriquet HillbillySkelton did not. I guess you missed that.

Ad astra reply

8/02/2010Sir Ian I’ve read your comments several times and I think I understand them. I take your points. Most of them warrant no further attempt to debate them. So I’ll just let them lie. Except for one: how you can put the ‘comedy’ of the Scores’ episode of seven years ago alongside the contemporary tragic comedy of Barnaby Joyce as Shadow Finance Minister? I guess you’re just making one of your cryptic observations; I can’t believe you feel they are comparable in comedic terms?

Rx

8/02/2010A belated welcome to Hillbilly Skeleton. Love your work!

You must be kidding

8/02/2010AA Just a little help for you to get across the subtly of Sir Ian. The fact that Rudd when in Opposition on one of his many overseas trips ... a good christian fellow, went to a strip club and then failed to recall it because he was so blind drunk apparently is indeed a joke. The fact that he remembers ringing his wife immediately when he got back to the hotel room to confess to her of his sins is a little rich in humour. He can remeber talking to his wife about the incident but can't remember actually doing the incident ... now that is pure Laurel and Hardy stuff, slapstick for sure. I'm sure if you take the paetisan politics out of the joke everyone of us would find that chuckle worthy. Much the same as Alan Bond when he failed to remember the billions lost, Carmen Lawrence who was going to write a book on her failed memory but forgot to put pen to paper and Malcolm Fraser who quite didn't understand if you chat to strange women in a bar you are likely to get taken for a ride and loose your pants. Slidesplitting comedy. This issue of conveniently not remembering something when it should be obvious to all reasonable observers that they are "pulling a leg" is slightly cringe worthy and thus comedic. So the comic connection is not unreasonable. The reason I suspect he uses these analogies is to make the point that when in opposition you are likely to be a joke ... so when a future PM says he can't remember going to a strip club its very much like a shadow minister saying billion instead of trillion ... both a joke. I suspect the point he is saying is that if you want to criticise someone best you come with pure heart and no history of doing same otherwise you are a joke. That's what I think he was saying.

janice

8/02/2010What drives the economy? Good question YMBK. Ask 10 economists and you'll get 10 different answers because it is a mix of much and there is no simple answer. However, without actually writing a thesis, the way I look at it is: There can be no prosperity if there are no jobs. If there are no jobs there can be no productivity. Individual wealth can exist with high unemployment and low productivity and this component ought not to be the focus of a nation's aspirations to achieve a happy, productive society where the means are available to all its people to achieve, to participate in the workforce to provide for his family unit. Productivity is known to increase where the workforce is treated and remunerated fairly, and a happy and contented workforce makes for increased profits. Increased profits, high employment and high productivity equal a steady flow of revenue into government coffers which ensures better infrastructure and services which in turn create more jobs and a better standard of living. Money goes round and round benefiting the community as it goes so we don't need the money dams and clogged pipes that are the result of the individuals grabbing whatever wealth passes their doors until it becomes an obscene status symbol. Problems occur in the workforce when the pendulum swings too far either way and the IR reforms this Government has undertaken endeavours to restore some balance to the equation. Business, small and large, have a responsibility to ensure their workers are not treated as expendable slaves to discard without any entitlements when something goes wrong (poor management decisions, financial downturns or whatever). There are more indians than chiefs in any business workforce and if the chiefs treat the indians fairly to enable them to earn a reasonable income with which to support their family units, then the business and its chiefs reap the benefits as does the national economy.

Ad astra reply

8/02/2010You must be kidding Thank you so much for spelling out for me what you believe Sir Ian was saying. But my question to Sir Ian was whether the ‘comedy’ of the Scores incident was comparable with the tragic comedy of appointing Barnaby Joyce to the position of Shadow Finance Minister. Leave aside the trillions mistake – everyone makes them. I’m referring to the sad lack of qualifications that he has got to manage a trillion dollar economy. Nothing he has said so far gives any cause for confidence that he understands his role, understands how the economy works and needs to be managed, and that he can or will take a balanced and rational approach to this task. His throwaway lines, while smart and newsworthy, not only induce no confidence, but rather cause alarm. It’s that sick tragic comedy to which I refer, not some trifling tangling of numbers. Now I’m doing the explaining.

You must be kidding

8/02/2010Hi Janice What an interesting contribution and it possibly provides insight into why some folks believe that its money that makes the world go around. What I find intersting is this statement ... "There can be no prosperity if there are no jobs. If there are no jobs there can be no productivity." This is absolutely correct but it is the second stage of an economy model. For there are no ... absolutely no employees (workers) unless there are risk takers ... employers. None. It is the risk takers that drive the economy for they take investment risks either with their own money or those of lenders. They then scale up and perhaps employ folks ... and then your second stage comes in. The question then becomes ... why make it hard for risk takers to employ? Why would you do that? It is interesting you actually believe that if the economy stalls then those that hold some wealth still benefit. These are idealogical ideas that perhaps is a little focused on economies before the internationalisation of markets particularly since the 1940's. I contend that if the economy stops we see a significant shedding of wealth ... we just saw that with the GFC. Your view that employees need to be content at work to provide excellent productivity is not an unreasonable idea and the extended idea of employers working with employees to work together is one we should all try and work towards. Indeed if the risk takers could strike up an arrangement with their workers then productivity would increase. I am sure you would agree this would be a fantastic development specifically for the small business community which is the biggest employer in Australia. Indeed why wouldn't an employer and employee determine what is best for them? The funny thing is though is that the new IR laws stop that from happening. What Keating wanted for Australian workforces and indeed what yoiu want Janice has been repealed (sic). Strange that. As always a great contribution.

janice

8/02/2010So, YMBK, we go back to the 'wouldn't it be lov-er-ly' song. And it would be wonderful if both employers and employees played a fair game and worked together for mutual satisfaction but the human species comes in all shades of predatory prowess so perhaps it is asking too much. I don't believe the new laws are making it harder for employers to employ; rather I think it is making it harder for the unscrupulous employers to exploit employees. There are too many people who do not have the skills to negotiate their working conditions, especially if they come up against a personnel officer who uses subtle bully tactics to intimidate. This is why Howard's AWAs were odious and in fact, left no room to negotiate even if the applicant was able to stand up for his or herself. On the other hand, I recognise employers also need protection from unscrupulous employees. (Over the years I've been on the receiving end of both sides of this argument). I've always been an admirer of Paul Keating who I believe always had the interests and welfare of this nation at heart. Pity his political career ended too soon.

You must be kidding

8/02/2010Keating has gone and so to his IR laws it seems. Don't know many company's with less than 50 staff with the luxury of a personnel officer. The fact is though what we need in the legislation is for anyone to negotiate on the employees behalf, be they parent, grand parent, agent, officer or indeed unionist .... now that would be a system wouldn't it Janice. It would hold those inscrutable employers to account I would reckon.

HillbillySkeleton

8/02/2010You Must Be Kidding, It's an interesting technique you employ as you engage in rolling devaluation of the arguments of those of us who oppose your slavish devotion to Coalition dictat. For example, you attempt to devalue janice's whole argument by snidely commenting that you 'Don't know many companies with less than 50 staff with the luxury of a personnel officer.' In this way you have attempted to negate janice's argument that coercion and subtle, and not-so-subtle, bullying tactics were being employed by HR personnel(in companies with large workforces), and employers themselves, in companies and small businesses with <50 employees. Now, tell me YMBK, do you agree with the practice, which had become widespread under WorkChoices, of youth employee exploitation by unscrupulous employers, in businesses of any size? And, if so, why?

You must be kidding

8/02/2010Please Hillbilly, I may be a little slow but you will need to explian the issue you want clarity on a little better ... I am not sure what you mean "of youth employee exploitation by unscrupulous employers, in businesses of any size? And, if so, why?" ... you'll need a bit more descriptor ... give me an example as I am keen to provide a view.

Grog

9/02/2010I think you're being a little bit paranoid about The Oz releasing the newspoll early only if it is a good result for the Libs. They did it for both of the polls this year (the first was 54-46) - Sam Maiden has been tweeting about it coming out at 10:15pm as well - I think they're trying to make sure people ge tit first from the site and not from Lateline. But we'll see if they keep doing it

Ad astra reply

9/02/2010Grog You may be right. Let's see over the next few polls.

HillbillySkeleton

9/02/2010YMBK, Example 1: Subway franchises had a take it or leave it rate of pay for their young workers which was $4/hour < the average for their age. Example 2: There came into being after Workchoices an Individual Contract Template. It slashed pay and conditions. Another, "Take it or leave it" proposition for employees. Example 3: Spotlight took away one employee's loadings for weekend and after hours work completely and gave her an extra 2c/hour in return.

HillbillySkeleton

9/02/2010Jeez those spam blogs are irritating in the extreme.

Ad astra reply

9/02/2010HillbillySkeleton You're so right. I wish I could block the spam, but I can't with this blog engine. So I just have to kill them when I see them.

You must be kidding

9/02/2010Hillbilly, I'm afraid urban myth has gotten to you. Subway is a franchise operation and each of there store owners are required under the franchise agreement to maintain federal and state laws. This requirement also reaches to IR law in their appropriate jurisdiction. The fact that junvenile wage rates are set by law then it would seem the franchisee to which you refer was breaking the law and in breach of their franchise agreement. If they are breaking the law then they should be brought to account and I cannot pick up in any legislation since 1990 where paying a retail employee $4 is allowable. So the example to which you speak should be reported to the regulatory body. An urban myth I would suggest. Another good example of this under payment was a Baker's Delight franchisee who under paid its staff. The Regulator fined significantly the franchisee and the franchisor breached the franchise agreement. The Franchisor then audited its 700 stores to ensure compliance with the regulations. The problem many small business operators have is that the IR law is complex and few understand it ... much like our superannuation laws I would suggest. In your second example, the WorkChoice legislation prescribed minimum conditions. It is reasonable to say that templates based upon these conditions were available via various sources. So that should not be a problem but the issue you raise of take it or leave it certainly is an issue and the WorkChoice legislation prescrbed the opportunity for an employee to be represented and indeed there was a specific clause that prohibited take it or leave it options. In a market with skill and labour shortages it is a foolish employer who provide an ultimatum to its employees for the assets of a company leave at 5 PM and employers hope they come back the next day. Without doubt there are those employers who break the law and do not spend much time in managing effectively their staff and no amount of law will change that unfortunately. The case of bullying in Melbourne this week is a perfect example. The final case of Spotlight is a little right and a little wrong. Spotlight broke the law and it cost them a lot of dollars to get it right. The WorkPlace Ombudsman provided guidance and applied fines for breaches of the WorkChoices Act ... as it should have been. But your example of the woman leads to the point ... when are penalty rates applicable and when are they not. Why does someone selling shoes on Monday get paid less than someone selling the same shoes on Sunday? And why should consumers who want to shop on Sunday pay more for the privilege. The deregulation of the market has meant we can now shop 7 days. We can drink and eat 24 hours and we watch sport on 4 days of the week. The notion of weekends doesn't exist anymore for many markets and services ... so the question is why do we pay more for working on a Sunday. My view is that penalities should and must apply on the sixth and seventh day. Penalties should also apply if an employee works more than standard hours yet it seems there is still a cabal who believe certain days are sacred and others are not ... so why pay penalities on standard hours worked. Perhaps you could explain that to me. The WorkChoices legislation allowed employees to negotiate ... in other words if they wanted to cash out their holidays they could ... made no difference to the employer but if the employee wanted to ... underline "wanted to" they could (I think up to 50%) ... this was interpreted as loss of holidays. If an employer stopped this notion of penality rates they could do away with them but only on the basis of increasing pay to compensate to employees who agreed ... note "agreed" ... across the entire workforce ... this was interpreted as doing away with penalty rates. The previous government were bombarded with examples of employers getting it wrong and applied a no disadvantage clause some 18 months later ... as AA suggests too late. The urban myths are with us and unfortunately not true.

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11/02/2010Folks As all we seem now to be attracting to this post is silly spam, I'm closing comments.
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?