Spartacus fiddles while policy roams...

 

 

The arena is strewn with dead bodies. Howard, Costello, Downer, Vaile, Nelson, Turnbull, Joyce, Minchin, Brough are names that come to mind. Hockey, knocked over by his own weight in a friendly rugby match only groggily recovered from the impact. Their clarion caller, Glenn Milne has been sacked from his tabloid gig. All despatched since the election of the Rudd government. Their party a laughing stock, their brand a joke, their ranks diminishing, the Coalition is falling apart from the inside. So many have gone to Coalition Valhalla thinking they could hate Kevin Rudd to political death, and all have failed. You'd think they'd give up, or at least change tack, wouldn't you?

I had a theory before the last election that Howard had run out of time to develop new policies that would make him re-electable, so he went negative. I'm getting the same idea about the present Coalition. Both versions of the Coalition have wasted too much time asserting their right to rule, rather than establishing their fitness for doing so. All the ‘-gates’, the scandals, the cheap shots, forged documents and so on have led them basically nowhere. They are still wandering in the wilderness, searching for a messiah.

And now ‘Spartacus’ Abbott (as Arthur Sinodinos styles him in From Spartacus to PM in waiting) tries to wow us with the irrelevant by riding his bicycle around wearing a jock strap and Lycra.

The dividend of all this? About three percentage points in the polls, back to a mere disastrous electoral position instead of Armageddon. They still can't put up a decent opponent to the nerdy Rudd (the weakling with the glass jaw, remember him?) so they have to invent one, complete with his own wrongheaded legend.

Policies? There hasn't been enough time for any of those. They've been too busy slagging muck at the hated Rudd. In your most generous contemplation does anyone reading this have much of a clue about the Coalition policy on anything in particular? Abbott was against new taxes for, oh, about a fortnight, and then for them. He was against PPL and then in favour of it. He was for Climate Change action, before he opposed it, then for it again, so that now we don't really know the nature of what he described to Kerry O'Brien as his "considered opinion" on the subject. Work Choices was dead. Now it's alive again. Two weeks ago he felt "threatened" by gays, now some of his best friends are, and he loves them all. His views on gays have "mellowed" over time, in this case a whole fortnight. As to Health we have "local hospital boards" and that's about it. Is there anything that Abbott currently claims to believe in upon which he hasn't once held the opposite opinion, even quite recently?

So much of the Coalition's precious time has been wasted trying to trap Rudd Labor via cheap scandals and circus tricks. But the party's hours, weeks and months are not the only ones that have been frittered away going for the quick kill.

The public has lost a lot of time on Abbott too. He has been in our faces, begging to be noticed. He pleads for a debate on Health, taunts the PM with imputations of policy cowardice and then wastes more of everyone's time by arriving without any policy of his own to discuss. How insulting to those who attended or tuned in. Journalists, politicians, viewers: all were left with little in their memories but his braying, theatrical laugh and a seemingly permanent scowl of anger, more reminiscent of the schoolyard or a campus politics club than the first national debate on an important subject.

I wonder how long Abbott thinks he can get away with this serial, wilful contempt for his audience, his job and his party. Is Abbott a politician with pretensions to the highest office in the land or some kind of gay-icon gladiator in pink Lycra, sporting a man rug, wearing budgie smugglers? How long do we have to put up with these childish demonstrations? You can’t run Australia from Manly Surf Club or off the handlebars of a racing bike.

Much spin has been spun about Abbott’s drubbing at the Debate.  The hard-working opinionistas are trying to find a way of writing up all this madness so that it makes sense.

“The Worm was nobbled.”
“Rudd was cheesy and focus-group driven.”
“That nasty Mr. Rudd picked on Abbott just because he didn’t bring a policy to a policy debate. Apart from that, Tony did pretty well.”

These base apologetics won’t last long, perhaps another week or two, before some serious questions will – must – at last be asked of the Opposition Leader. What was macho and appealing to some at first is fast becoming comical. The voters are realizing that, whatever he's smuggling inside his Speedos, it isn't anything resembling a policy.

Used as a substitute for hard work and policy development, hatred of Rudd has delivered us, the voters, nothing. We don't have a clue - six months out from an election, no less - what the Liberal and National Coalition actually stands for on any subject. Does anyone in the real world believe they're not going to indulge themselves in yet another brain explosion sometime soon, ‘changing their minds’ yet again?

In their heart of hearts, to the Coalition hard men, Tony Abbott must be a terrible disappointment. Buoyed up by the slanted ravings of Murdoch journalists and a lazy, shallow commentariat with their fake scandals and twitter-brained analysis, he, and they, have apparently come to believe their own publicity. One wonders whether there are any sober thinkers remaining to the left of the Speaker. Perhaps Nick Minchin's announced exit from politics is a pointer to the current Coalition wisdom concerning Tony Abbott.

As he switches from audience to audience he flips his pronouncements from ‘yea’ to ‘nay’ on any number of subjects. The Orwellian attempts by the media to rationalize Abbott’s myriad positions on just about everything, to explain them away as actually being consistent, are stymied by the fact that the only thing consistent about Tony Abbott is his inconsistency. The solution is to tell a Big Lie, and then repeat it endlessly: Tony Abbott is a conviction politician.

I know many Labor supporters will say that Abbott is fine standing just where he is, for Labor's sake, and to a certain extent I share that view. On the other hand we pay these people out of our taxes. We deserve something a little more adult than their leader's current circus act.

To compensate for the opportunities lost, between now and the Spring (the most likely season for an election, just a few months away) it’ll need to be politics 24/7. I’m not too sure the public will appreciate the Coalition’s desperation and the coming ad infinitum onslaught of ‘taking the fight up to the government’, ‘Rudd and Abbott go head-to-head’, ‘as the political battlelines are drawn’ headlines and stories. I’m not convinced that Insulation and the much-appreciated Schools Stimulus have a lot of shelf-life left as winners for them, either. Just ask the Worm.

Political posturing is important to the political class and the amateur tragics, but not really to the general public. Sure, the public takes an interest, but faced with the misadventures of Lara Bingle, plus mortgage stress they may be feeling, their work and family life, it seems to me the voters will become heartily sick of anyone who is in their faces all day, every day, yelling slogans and spouting ridiculous talking points. In NSW, over the next 12 months we also have the promise of state politics competing with federal for the voters' attention.

There is too much that needs proper attention from the Coalition and too little time and space to attend to it all. This is exactly the fix Howard found himself in, except Howard at least had control of the timing of the election, and could delay it well into injury time. Abbott does not have this advantage over Rudd. The Coalition have frittered away almost any possibility of coming good before the Spring, through sheer self-indulgence.

Remember Rudd and Gillard in 2007? Conferences, meetings with stakeholders, policy committees, white papers, and documents as thick as telephone books were the hallmarks of their policy development. What has the present Opposition done to match it? Spartacus in Lycra, childish taunts, insults and bad language, negativism at every turn... while the Prime Minister waves cheerily and gets on with the job of governing.

Sinodinos waxes on about a romanticised Spartacus:

”If Spartacus is to come down from the hills and rule Rome, he must convince the punters that he is the prime minister in waiting.”

... but Sinodinos is wrong.

This is a misreading of the historical figure of Spartacus. The Spartacus episode was not a revolution. It was a jail-break. The slaves didn't want to come down from the hills to rule Rome. They wanted to escape it altogether. The slave army wandered Italy for years looking for a way out, fighting battles only when cornered.

Sure, a few hotheads, full of false hope, thought they could take on Rome itself, but look what happened to them! Spartacus and his followers claimed minor military victories on their way around Italy, but ultimately were beaten, crucified and mostly forgotten. Spartacus was doomed to be a footnote to Roman history until Kirk Douglas came along and gave him the Hollywood treatment, using a blacklisted screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, to write the story up into an epic of political struggle that was more about the nineteen-fifties and sixties than ancient Rome. It is the Hollywood version that Sinodonis is referring to, not reality.

While Abbott wanders the continent, scoring the odd cheap victory, Rudd Labor only gets stronger. Rudd has suffered defeats in a couple of skirmishes with Abbott, true, but now seems to have the measure of the man and his party. As even Sinodinos admits, “Kevin Rudd has his mojo back.” And Rudd actually goes to work. That's always a plus.

The Coalition's subsistence on anger has left them without a policy basis from which to fight and win an election. Their laziness has sprung from their belief they are born to rule. Policies? Who needs 'em when you've got ‘angry’ and ‘entitled’? Their urgers and promoters think they can bootstrap an alternative universe based on gutter journalism, misunderstood legends and supposed Liberal ‘values’. Faced with multiple rebuttals of this idea, and the political cadavers to prove it, they go in harder, only now dressed in Lycra. However, even in the movie Spartacus ended up defeated and dead, his enterprise crushed. With precious few months left until the election, and no time remaining to do what needs to be done, the Coalition may well be joining the defeated slaves, politically crucified along the Appian Way. While their policies wander in the wilderness, the Coalition has not earned a better fate.

What do you think?

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Michael

29/03/2010Tony Abbott is all about himself. End of story.

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29/03/2010BB A brilliant exposé. You have identified an emerging theme – what on earth are Tony Abbott and the Coalition up to? Is this the best they can offer? The blogosphere is waking up to their emptiness, their negativity, their relentless attack-dog mode. I see that [i]The Piping Shrike[/i] has similar thoughts to you today in his [i] The ‘challenge’ begins to fade[/i]. http://www.pipingshrike.com/2010/03/the-%e2%80%98challenge%e2%80%99-begins-to-fade.html The people are waking up as evidenced by the reaction of the audience to the health debate. But it will take the pro-Coalition commentariat more time and gnashing of teeth to admit to the emerging reality of the Coalition’s hollowness. They will continue their attempts to spin a positive story out of Abbott’s negativity. But eventually they will not want to be seen to be backing a loser, and will realize all the disingenuous spin in the world will not convince the thinking punters that Abbott and the Coalition are a plausible alternative government. The intriguing question is when they will change their tune. The less welded-on Coalition supporters will take the lead and eventually drag the cheerleaders like Dennis Shanahan kicking and screaming behind them. Let’s see how long it takes.

HillbillySkeleton

29/03/2010Bushfire Bill, I hate to criticise such a fine piece of writing but, dare I say it, I feel as if your distaste for all that Slugga' Abbott represents mau be clouding your judgement and causing you to prematurely write him off as a policy lightweight. I say this because, having just finished listening to Deb Cameron on ABC Sydney radio, I have gleaned the snippet of information from her daily political chat with Alison Carabine in Canberra, that, after TA has finished flashing his lates, pecs and glutes, and getting a bad case of jock itch on the 'Pollie Pedal', he is due to come back in to land on terra political firma and start delivering some Howardesque 'Headland' speeches, in order to try and wrongfoot the government, no doubt, make some big policy announcements, and look Prime Ministerial. You can guarantee that News Ltd. and the ABC(who appear to be pandering to the Opposition more and more everyday, unctiously and uncritically running their talking points for them, ad infinitum), will do a lot of the heavy lifting for Abbott, as he goes around the country in the lead up to the election, free to compete in the Prime Ministerial Beauty Contest. Suffice to say, my advice to you BB, AA, and to the government, would be to keep your powder dry and don't write off the man as a political policy lightweight too soon. Also, if I were the PM and the government, I wouldn't try to out-exercise the exercise junkie, that'll just look fake, but what I would do is get some bloody practice at sharpening your lines against him for public consumption, and learn, toot sweet, how to turn a negative into a positive, as Abbott does well, and be prepared with the face-saving lines, As Abbott was after the Health debate, so as to minimise the damage that a negative incident can cause. Also, as the PM seems to like bushwalking, as oppsoed to 'Iron Man' Abbott's IronManAthlons, I'd be getting out and about, wherever he goes around the country and seeing the local bushwalking sights, with media in tow, to counteract Tony's schtick. A bit of Keatingesque menace from the government wouldn't go astray either. I'd have the front bench taunting Abbott at every turn, with lines like: "Mr Abbott might believe he's 'Iron Man', but we on the government side know, 'Rust Never Sleeps'". Maybe they could judiciously use some of the lyrics from this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LjbMVXj0F8 In other words, throw everything but the kitchen sink at the man. You know the Coalition will be doing it back at the Rudd government.

Liz Aitken

29/03/2010Thankyou for this interesting article. In fact, the situation is worse than you paint it! The only "policy" produced to date by the Abbott coalition is the "Direct Action Climate Policy" which is an uncosted, unfunded and unmeasured policy piece that has been roundly denounced by anyone actually working in either the renewable energy or carbon abatement sectors (such as myself). As a case in point, Greg Hunt attempted to hijack a report released by the head of Climateworks only a week and a half ago, on the basis that the Climateworks costed framework was a mirror of the coalition policy. The head of Climateworks responded publicly by baldly rejecting this coalition claim on the basis that the complete lack of a pricing mechanism in the coalition policy rendered their policy unfundable and unrealistic. So not only do the current coalition not have policies on currently debated aspects of Australian life - health reform, refugees (worse they are allowing Piers Ackerman to be their spokesperson on refugees by proxy abecause they have no coherent policy... review his racist rant on Insiders on Sunday morning), finance policy, water policy etc, the small pieces of policy they HAVE produced have been ill concieved and reactionary with little or no thought or substance. Tony Abbott has had more than enough time as opposition leader to create a range of policy platforms backed by at least some kind of sensible framework... but there is nothing there but vapourware (in the speedo's?) We must ask, what exactly has he been doing since November?

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29/03/2010BB More grist to the Spartacus mill from lyn1: The piece on [i]Crikey: Tony Abbott: Ironman or running joke?[/i] http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/03/29/tony-abbott-ironman-or-running-joke/ shows how the different commentators are playing this; some lauding Abbott, sometimes gushingly, others asking whether he thinks his sporting prowess will earn him Prime Ministership. The one on [i][North Coast Voices: Competitor Number 41 please return to the finish line - your party needs you! [/i] http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/2010/03/competitor-number-41-please-return-to.html comments on Abbott’s performance and concludes [i]” After all, when it comes down to the crunch, most people want to see economic, environmental and social policy rather than hairy pecs in an election year.”[/i]

Bushfire Bill

29/03/2010Welcome Liz! As an insider in the carbon abatement sector, your comments are pertinent. When writing this piece I tried to think if there was anything in writing, or any other definite form, that could be called a policy from the Coalition. I couldn't thionk of one that I could be certain was their considered position, something that wouldn't be subject to major changes at the drop of a hat (or a Newspoll). In some cases Abbott has completely reversed his position. The PPL scheme is one. On the Sunday before his announcement of the PPL thought bubble, if asked even his own party members would have said that it was an impossibility because Abbott was against PPL to the death ("over my party's dead body") and anyway, anything involving a rather large, new tax would be anathema, given Abbott's promise of "no new taxes" just a fortnight before. And then the entire game changed. Abbott's answer to criticism was, "I changed my mind." He also changed his ming on gays. Now, I'm not at all saying that his "new" position isn't much more preferable than his old one of feeling "threatened" by activities which contravened "normal" behaviour. It is. But it's the [i]changeability[/i] that irks me. You can't pin him down on anything, and a would-be PM needs to be pinned down at some stage. Yet Abbott is spruiked as "The Conviction Politician" by a fawning media. How anyone could trust him to actually carry out any of his promises, given his 180-degree changes of recent times, escapes me. Paul Kelly recently wrote that Abbott's views on abortion and marriage could not possibly interfere with any Prime Ministership he might win. Can he really be sure of that, given Abbott's about-face on homosexuality, or PPL? He can't of course. He just claim he's sure and hopes for the best, with not too many more clangers out of Abbott in the meantime. Likewise with Climate Change. Abbott's position has been variously cynical ("Pass it and get it off the table", condemnatory ("Absolute crap"), devious (he told Kerry O'Brien that "Absolute crap" was not his "considered opinion") and a combination of denial and acceptance (his latest policy foray). Just what IS Abbott's position. I challenge anyone to tell me exactly what it is, and to sincerely state they believe he will stick to it, after so many chops and changes. Abbott has been doing his political work lately in-between bouts of hard training for the Ironman event. This affected his performance at the Health Policy Debate, where he turned up without a policy and tried to make a virtue of it! It was a waste of time to listen to, and ended up being full of typical Abbott bluster and cheap undergraduate tactics.But no policy was forthcoming. I really don't know how long he can keep up this charade of being a serious politician. The media can assist him only so far, but when the public goes to vote I wonder whether they too won't ask themselves, "Just what IS Tony abbott's policy on anything?"

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29/03/2010HillbillySkeleton Neither BB or I are writing off Tony Abbott; that would lead to dangerous complacency. There seems to be an emerging questioning of Abbott’s strategy both politically and recreationally, which today’s media reflects. Some of course will applaud everything Abbott does, but the more balanced commentators are now seriously hesitant about the Abbott strategy. I believe its time Abbott was attacked relentlessly for his lack of policy, partly due to his preoccupation with his sporting pursuit, and for his negativity. Today, while Abbott is recovering from his weekend activity, Kevin Rudd is out giving an important address on economic policy. That is what we want from our politicians, not a declaration by Abbott that the term ‘Iron Man’ should be applied to him. Liz Aitken Welcome to [i]TPS[/i]. Please come again. I did not know that Greg Hunt’s had hijacked the Climateworks report, and I missed Climatework’s rebuttal. Thank you for filling us in. I agree with your comments about Piers Akernam; I have twice queried with Barrie Cassidy why he is used and get the standard reply – it’s to give [i]Insiders[/i] balance, as if anything Akerman says is ‘balanced’. You concluding statement is spot-on [i]” Tony Abbott has had more than enough time as opposition leader to create a range of policy platforms backed by at least some kind of sensible framework... but there is nothing there but vapourware (in the speedos?) We must ask, what exactly has he been doing since November?”[/i]

janice

29/03/2010It beggars belief that Abbott and his cheerleaders think that he can become the next PM on a barrage of negatives and stunts. I have a sneaking suspicion that while he is wallowing in the limelight of finishing the iron-man triathalon amid the adoring gaze of his media promoters, there is someone chained to a desk somewhere writing a clutch of policies for this iron-man puppet to announce during the election campaign. Who, in the shadowy background, might that policy-writer be? Minchin resigned in disgust after witnessing Abbott's woeful performance in the great health debate. There doesn't appear to be any policy thinkers in the shadow cabinet lineup so Abbott might have recruited a person or persons from without. Cardinal Pell? Howard? Or one of those all knowing journo mates? Whomever doesn't matter much because the coalition are running out of time to present credible policies to the electorate prior to the election. They simply cannot be so stupid as to think they can win on the back of Abbott's stunts and Bananaby's idiocy. While Abbott has proved he can finish an iron man triathalon, he has yet to prove he has the capacity for doing the hard yards required to earn public trust and the commitment to give 100% of his time and effort to serve the nation as prime minister.

Jetson

29/03/2010Oppositions don't announce their policies until the election has been called. That has always been the case in the past. It drives the Government of the day crazy, but thats politics for you.

HillbillySkeleton

29/03/2010A couple of policies that Scott Morrison has verbalised in the last few days wrt the Immigration portfolio: * 'Universal Offshore Processing', aka 'The Pacific Solution', if Christmas Island overflows, I would say. * The return of the Orwellian 'Temporary Protection Visas'. Whereby you can be removed back to your country of origin once a conflict there has been deemed to have ended, or if you are a convicted criminal if you are not a citizen, even if you came here with your parents at 3 months old and have lived as an Australian all your life' * Forcibly towing Asylum Seeker boats back out to sea from whence they came.

Bushfire Bill

29/03/2010G'day Jetson, but surely you jest? Labor's main policies were put together over two years, with public and wide-ranging consultations and a lot of research. They were published and documented well before the election. Abbott thought he could have a free slag-off at Rudd under parliamentary rules in the debate. But parliamentary rules didn't apply. Instead he was forced to respond seriously and cogently to questions from the media and moderator, as well as to Rudd's own responses. He flunked it. He goes about claiming Labor is "making policy ont he run" all the time. He shouldn't take this tack, because it is then fair game to ask him what his own policies are. You're just tring to have two-bob each way, fairly typical, actually and very much like Abbott himself.

Daisey May

29/03/2010Another lovely article and I'd like to throw in my two cents worth about the slow motion car crash unfolding in front of us. Firstly, not releasing policies before an election is de rigueur for all political parties since John Hewsons' hilariously inept tilt at the big chair all those years ago. It's a tacky tactic but they all do it both state and federal. The more vexing problem of dealing with a feral press is slightly more tricky. It may be more prudent to just let the journeyman journos to get this bile out of their system before the fight proper starts. Their job is no longer to report the news but to sell advertising. If the fight is an unfair one between a hugely popular Prime Minister (as the polls still show) and a washed up old has-been left over from the Howard era then there is no contest. Sections of the press that loathe Rudd to the point of fitting up a lie to look like the truth have been beavering away at his popularity for at least the last six months. What will happen is that the same slimy bores who are clamouring to touch the hem of Saint Tonys' garment will be the first to light the matches of the funeral pyre commonly known as a dip in the polls when it arrives. News Ltd of course needs to be singled out as being the vilest of the vile but not because of what it will do to the ALP. It is incredibly cruel to hold out hope for Coalition voters (and there are one or two nice ones dotted around the country) when there is absolutely no hope of them winning government. In fact, by the time Rudd and co. are finished with them they will probably go backwards. Abbotts' strategy is a stunt a day keeps the policy hounds at bay and bags him the headlines. Like Rudd he is trying to stay on top of the news cycle and he is winning that battle. In this climate Rudd and his ministers would be better off putting their noses to the policy grindstone and riding it out. Lastly, thanks to the posters who say such kind things about me and to the wonderful BB, If I knew what an avatar was and how to employ one I'd gladly oblige. Unfortunately I'm a one finger typing luddite.

lyn1

29/03/2010Hi Daisey May Another well thought out quality, comment from you today. If you go to where your name and email address is, above the comment box, there it says Gravatar, press that link. They will show you how to upload from your files and make your own Gravatar.

Holden Back

29/03/2010The press seem to have no compunction about spouting rubbish to keep the ads apart any more. If only they didn't have to pretend they were 'reporting'or that their opinions were better informed, we could be spared all this junk about someone's leisure activities. The Government's health policy was too slowly delivered and too hastily announced, according to Abbott on different occasions last week. I know it's an Opposition's job to have it both ways, but it does seem like they assume no-one is paying attention. They may have something there . . . It reeks of talking to the audience who already agree with you. So, which photogenic headland will Mr Abbott choose for his speeches?

Ostermann

29/03/2010Hi All Firstly I have no problem with Abbott persuing fitness, it has been well known for a long time, in fact he could even be considered as a positive role model, but the recent media infatuation with Tony seems to have appeared with Janet Albrechsen going all a gog over his budgie http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/hairy-chested-candour-will-win-tony-abbott-hearts/story-e6frg6zo-1225810744409 http://loonpond.blogspot.com/2009/12/janet-albrechtsen-tony-abbott-and-love.html So how much of this does Abbott believe of himself now, the stud muffin of the parlimentary set and why?, it is also known that people can become addicted to the endorphins (a natural opiate) released by the body during periods of intense exercise, "exercise junkies", is he beginning to believe he is superman, which is dangerous, mentally and physically, is this what we are seeing, who needs policy when Janet says the women want me and the men want to be like me, which turns into votes, (so far he has attacted a gay following). Tony seems to have only two policies, I'm more buff than Rudd and Battlelines. Maybe this can explain why he is looking all over the shop, can't focus, constant aggression, can't seem to remember what he promised last week, his choise of front benchers, the guy is stoned!!!

lyn1

29/03/2010Hi Ad and Bushfire Bill Thankyou Bushfire Bill for your absolutely wonderful piece today. Tony Abbott crowns himself Ironman, the ABC says it's official, the newspapers have gone into over drive, but you can't be an Ironman unless you win. Why does he need another name anyway, he is already called The Mad Monk Brawler Stunt Man Superman Action Man Phoney Toney Street fighter Straight Shooter Prize Fighter Another thing too, none of the newspapers of the TV channels have told the readers and viewers who won the Triathlon, or named the place getters.

Bushfire Bill

29/03/2010In the car just now I've been listening to replays of some ABC current affairs pieces from today, on News Radio. The first was a puff-piece from Fran Kelly, interviewing the administrator of the Ironman race asking him just wonderful Abbott's performance was, what an example, good for the sport and so on. He came 1,229th out of 1,500-odd and 90th in his class of about 120 yet Fran had him up there with the winners. The second was Sabra Lane inthe studio detailing to the studio anchor the "strenuous" course of the Ironman race and how truly "amazing" was Abbott's prowess in finishing it. This went on for about four minutes. The third, much shorter piece, was Rudd speaking giving a speech today, outlining more aspects of the Labor Health policy, explaining it, analysing it, arguing for it. The contrast was stark. On the one hand we have an agog media full of how (the word was used) "incredible" were Abbott's "achievenments" and hardly a word on the really hard policy yards being covered. It's a make-believe world we live in, addicted to phoney symbolism, covering the wrong stories. What possible interest could the public could have in journalists interviewing each other saying how fabulous was Abbott's effort yesterday? That was yesterday. The race is over. They don't even talk abotu the Melbourne Cup for more than a few hours afterwards. These Ironman races are pretty common affairs. Why don't we get this type of gushing coverage when Abbott's not in them? What about the other 1,499 competitors? Crazy.

lyn1

29/03/2010[b]Hi Ad and Everyone [/b] [b]LOOK AT THIS QUICK FROM OUR GOOD FRIEND GUTTER TRASH[/b] Support for Tony Abbott Plummets[/b] http://guttertrash.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/support-for-tony-abbott-plummets/

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29/03/2010Jetson Welcome to {i]TPS{/i] What you and Daisey May say about oppositions not releasing policy until the election campaign begins seems to be have often been the case in the past, but that was not so at the last election. More importantly, it begs the question: Why should policies be so withheld from the public? Are we not entitled to know what the alternative government proposes in all policy areas? How can we compare Government and Opposition policies? We know that oppositions withhold policies for fear the government might ‘steal’ them or try to emulate or exceed what is being offered. While understandable, this is not in the interests of good government and sound decision making about who is best suited to govern. I believe we should expose the shallowness and self interest inherent in the withholding of policy, and strongly insist that we see policies as soon as they have been approved by the relevant party. As far as this Coalition is concerned, it seems likely its policies are still under development despite having a series of three senior people involved in policy development for over two years – Julie Bishop, Kevin Andrews and now Andrew Robb. Everyone saw what happened when Tony Abbott turned up to the health debate without a health policy. He looked silly and was left to respond to Kevin Rudd’s policy with sarcasm, sneering, aggression and grotesque theatrics. The audience, both in-house and viewing on TV, were short-changed and left none the wiser. It was a shameful thing to do and the audience said so. I invite fellow bloggers to press the Opposition, and the Government, to release their policies in full as soon as they are complete. Daisey May How to counter the determined attempt by a group (but not all) News Limited journalists to promote Tony Abbott and the Coalition no matter how inept they are, no matter how policy deficient, is a vexed question. We the small voices feel that we are crying out in the wilderness. But we should not discount the power of the blogosphere, which I suspect journos look at surreptitiously to check out the lie of the land. Already today BB’s piece is featured on Crikey, and our stats show when that occurs, the traffic soars. Admittedly our audience on the blogosphere is tiny compared with that of the formal news’ outlets, but if [i]TPS[/i] is any guide, it is steadily increasing. So we need to press on and anticipate our small voice will be heard eventually and have an influence.

lyn1

29/03/2010Hi Ad and Bushfire Bill At last we can read common sense, the winners are named. Ironman Australia always attracts great support from local and international sports media, but the participation of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott made the race look more like a red-carpet paparazzi event than one of the world’s toughest physical challenges. Abbott would eventually finish the race in 13:57:01 http://www.xtri.com/features_display.aspx?riIDReport=6369&CAT=23&xref=xx

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29/03/2010Folks Take a look at today's [i]Essential Research Report[/i] http://www.essentialmedia.com.au/Media/Essential_Report_290310.pdf It's an eye-opener.

lyn1

29/03/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] Mungo MacCallum http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/03/29/mungo-crazy-brave-populist-abbott-needs-a-bit-of-the-oxford-about-him/ http://www.crikey.com.au/topic/tony-abbott/ http://guttertrash.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/monday-by-the-magazine-rack-31/ http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/29/2859043.htm http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Barnaby-can-still-drown-the-Liberals-pd20100326-3W6FT?OpenDocument&src=kgb http://politicalowl.blogspot.com/2010/03/media-wrap-tony-abbott-pin-up-boy.html

Holden Back

29/03/2010The Adventures of Ironyman: Episode # 237: The triumph of 'authentic' style over substance.

janice

29/03/2010The Essential Research Report is interesting, Ad astra. When push comes to shove, I don't think the electorate will be voting for a fitness fanatic with a fragmented brain to govern this country. Abbott is going to have to remake his image and start to look like a statesman but that isn't going to happen anytime soon because throwing off his addiction to the body's natural morphine is no easier than overcoming any other addiction. So, who in the liberal party/party machine is going to come up with credible policies while Abbott is bombed out on endorphins? Bushfire Bill, you ask what about the other iron-man contestants. Good question and one I continually yell at Fran Kelly et al as they wax lyrical about this one man who didn't win his category and didn't do all that much better than the 73 y.o who also finished the gruelling race.

lyn1

29/03/2010Hi AD and Bushfire Bill Here is Possum's report on Essential http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/03/29/essential-report-stimpak-support/

Ad astra reply

29/03/2010janice, lyn1 I wonder how widely the Essential Research Report will be reported in the media? If it is at all, I expect Labor’s fall in TPP will be highlighted, rather than Tony Abbott’s spectacular reversal in popularity. He is now 17 points negative in approval/disapproval (down from a positive 9 a month ago, a 26 point turn-around) while Kevin Rudd is steady at positive 17. And the strong approval for Rudd’s health policy and the stimulus will hardly be mentioned. My guess is that the pro-Coalition forces will be waiting for the upcoming [i]Newspoll[/i] desperately hoping it is favourable to the Coalition and Abbott. If it is, we’ll hear all about it, early. Like you, janice, I would expect Abbott to be dependent on endorphins with the extreme forms of exercise he enjoys. To get back to the regular desk work that he needs to formulate policy and attend to the massive task of being a diligent Leader of the Opposition, and thereby having to cut down his extreme exercise, might prove difficult. With his week-long Pollie Pedal event coming up, he will need to maintain his fitness and his endorphins with it. He’s got a difficult time ahead of him, and so has his party.

Bushfire Bill

29/03/2010[i]Bushfire Bill, you ask what about the other iron-man contestants. Good question and one I continually yell at Fran Kelly et al as they wax lyrical about this one man who didn't win his category and didn't do all that much better than the 73 y.o who also finished the gruelling race.[/i] The race organizer mentioned him, saying he took two hours less to complete the course. Fran replied that Abbott's effort was fantastic anyway, wasn't it? The race organizer (with an eye to publicity I think) could only but agree.

Bushfire Bill

29/03/2010There was also a 54 year old who beat Abbott by 2 hours. His name? Jeff [b]Rudd[/b] http://www.smh.com.au/national/the-race-of-his-life--and-still-beaten-by-rudd-20100328-r595.html

lyn1

29/03/2010Hi Ad and Bushfire Bill [quote][b]Dr Romain Barres, a lecturer in exercise physiology at the University of NSW, said Mr Abbott would probably not have too much ``architectural damage’’ to his muscles and could expect to fully recover in about three weeks. ``He completed a rather slow ironman so he will not have as much muscle damage as a professional,’’ Dr Barres said. [[/b][/quote] http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/sore-body-politic-how-abbott-survived-the-gruelling-race/ Hasn't Tony Abbott got the nine or 10 day ride Sydney to Melbourne soon.

Daisey May

29/03/2010Sorry to veer off topic but there are some fascinating articles about the paywalls that Unkie Rupes is rolling out. Please Baby Jesus make the dream come true. Just think, no more Bolt, Ackerman, Shanahan, Albrechtsen, Milne, Franklin, Overington, Kerr, Maiden, Sheridan and Salusinszky. Have I forgotten anyone on the dishonour roll? Please let the paywalls come in Mr Murdoch so the public can cast their own vote against you and your disgusting empire and that of your toady little journos. At the risk of giving his brain dead marketing managers ideas, I wonder why the bottled water theory hasn't been floated yet. Once upon a time no-one payed for bottled water and the very idea that they would was seen as absurd and doomed to failure. What started in the 90's as a boutique industry is now worth $22 billion globally per year and rising. I wonder if the general public will be as stupid about slaking their thirst as they are about slaking their intellect??

lyn1

29/03/2010Hi Ad and Bushfire Bill Here is GROG'S brilliant piece on Essential's Poll http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/03/essence-of-essential-report.html

Ad astra reply

29/03/2010lyn1 Grog's Gamut is always a good read. His analysis of the Essential poll is no exception. Daisey May The effect of Uncle Rupert's pay-wall will be fascinating to watch. It may have some unintended effects.

Daisey May

29/03/2010The latest Newspoll is out and it looks pretty bad for straight talking Tone. I'm so happy right now it hurts. I can't wait to see how Dennis the boy wizard spins this one. By any measure and accross all categories it's excitingly dismal. The MSM will still hold out for a while but the end is nigh for the weakest Opposition leader since Billy McMahon. The Iron Man of Australian politics? More like the Iron Lady of the Blue Rinse Set I think.

HillbillySkeleton

29/03/2010Media Watch was instructive tonight about the vendetta that that vinegary old queen, Alan Jones, is waging against the Prime Minister. What a nasty piece of work is that man, and he has truly poisoned the political well in Australia over the last 25 years.

HillbillySkeleton

29/03/2010Daisey May, You're kidding about Newspoll? Surely they could have slanted the numbers in some way to make Tony and the Coalition crew look better. Maybe the worm has finally turned for Tony? AS for the self-generated 'Iron Man' sobriquet, I think it would be more appropriate for Tony to be called 'The Tin Man', the politician without a heart. Or, maybe, 'The Pig Iron Man'. Isn't that the most lightweight iron?

Bushfire Bill

29/03/2010Newspoll results here: http://resources.news.com.au/files/2010/03/29/1225847/179050-100330-newspoll.pdf Summary: [b]2PP[/b]: 56/44 (youse know which way) [b]Prefreered PM[/b]: 59-Rudd/27-Abbott [b]Best To Handle Economy[/b]: 44-Labor/39-Coalition (at last a headline figure that follows the individual economic metrics) [b]Best on Health[/b]: 48/30 (Labor's way). [b]Nett Satisfaction[/b]: Rudd +12% (51 Approve/39 disapprove), Abbott +1% (44A/43D) Enjoy. Not a word from Shanahan at this time 11.23pm

HillbillySkeleton

29/03/2010Sue Cato, spin doctor, mentioned Essential on Q&A tonight.. Also, sad to say this, but Tony Abbott is starting to look like a Hillbilly Skeleton! (Sad for me that is) ;)

Acerbic Conehead

29/03/2010BB, the games are about to begin in the Canberra Arena, with some of the most formidable gladiators ready to pit their skills, strength and guile against each other. The arena is divided into three sections – one for each of the main components of the triathlon competition. One part has been flooded to facilitate the swimming leg. In another section, a racing circuit for quad bikes has been installed and, in the third, a running track will allow the well-honed athletes to further strut their stuff. The Coalition Opposition is so confident of victory against the ruling Ruddus team, it has allowed it to nominate a different gladiator for each event, whilst their champion will compete, as is the convention, in all three. If the noise up to this point in the arena has been loud, with the entry of Emperor Ruddus, it reaches a crescendo. He is carried in on his ute-tray litter by a coterie of minions, and deposited in the big knobs’ box. A group of Coalition supporters in the crowd voice their distain: Barracker 1: Boo! You’re nothing but a borus toxicus! And anyway, what has Ruddus ever done for us? [a pregnant pause ensues; eventually, another of the Coalition-supporting group answers] Barracker 2: Erm...I think he might have had something to do with saving us from that recession thingy... Barracker 3: Yeah...and I think he might have been behind the lowering of the salt tax... Barracker 4: Oh, and what about these raised wooden benches we’re sitting on? I hear they were built with his Stimulus Packus Projectus... [an even more pregnant pause ensues] Barracker 1 (weakly): Yeah...but what has he ever done for US... [suddenly an ear-splitting chorus of wolf-whistles signals the entry into the Arena of the Coalition champion gladiator. Donned in his trademark red budgie smugglers, his identity is well-known to all the regulars – it is none other than Antonius Spartypants! Revelling in what he considers as the crowd’s adulation, he is led by his personal trainer, Barnabus Joyceus to the pool, so that he can compete against the first of the Ruddus losers, Juliass Gillardus. According to the rules, both competitors are to swim 40 laps. Juliass gets into a rhythm straight away (she has had a lot of practice lately, opening up stacks of new Gillardus Memorial Pools at all the local schools). Spartypants, however, is a bit rusty, and it seems he is not as prepared as he needed to be. Juliass finishes her laps first, and runs over to tag-team her colleague in the next part of the triathlon competition, Nicolodeon Roxonus, who already has her quad bike revved up. Meanwhile back in the pool, Barnabus, as usual has made a gross mathematical error and thinks Spartypants has to do 400 laps. Nicolodeon doesn’t hang around and belts around the quad bike circuit like a bat out of hell. A half-hour later, when Nicolodeon has finished, Spartypants makes it to the quad bike circuit] Nicolodeon: Huh..a bit late, mate...you could have made it on time if you had wanted to... Spartypants: That's bullshit. You're being deliberately unpleasant... [Spartypants makes his way to the running track for the commencement of the last leg. If he’s disappointed with his performance thus far, the sight of the Ruddus gladiator, chosen for the running race, fills him with trepidation. It is Pennius Wongus, fresh from running all the way to and from Copenhagen, in an attempt to minimise her carbon footprint. She is so track-hardened, she leaves Spartypants trailing in her wake. So, having lost the competition, Spartypants makes his way disconsolately towards the exit. However, out of the side of his eye, he notices a very familiar character. It is Georgeus Pellus, who is surreptitiously handing out the last communion to a group of Christians who are about to experience the tyrannical devices of Ferrous Barrus and Billious Heffernanus. In spite of the imminent and horrible termination of their earthly existence, the Christians appear to be stoically keeping up their spirits] Spartypants: Erm... Georgeous...those communions seem to be having an excellent soporific effect on your flock there...I reckon they would have the same effect on the punters if I re-introduce WorkChoices...Fancy coming into a partnership with me? Georgeous: I dunno, Sparty...if I provide the bread, what’s your end of the deal? Spartypants: Why, I’ll just carry on doing what I’m good at... Georgeous: What’s that then? Spartypants: Why, putting on the circuses of course...

HillbillySkeleton

29/03/2010I don't know where you found out about Newspoll, because there is absolutely no mention of it at this time on The Australian website. That bad, huh?

Daisey May

30/03/2010I follow Possum on twitter as he is more of a political tragic than me and even then he was beaten to the punch by someone even more ardent than himself. I think Possum is the unsung hero of Australian politics as his data is so solid and irrefutable. Everyone of note checks his site before opening their mouths and he is a real crdit to creditable reporting in this country.

Daisey May

30/03/2010Better late than never but I think Acerbic Conehead is very funny and I'm more cynical than a hatbox full of arseholes when It comes to louche commentary.

Rx

30/03/2010It's been a shocker for the Sad Abbott. His brainwave idea of using his fitness activities as a publicity stunt seems to be running out of, well, puff. In fact, it might even be backfiring at last, as he's being chided by some on his side, and the Labor side, for playing too much and working too little. He's scheduled in an an eight-or-nine day bike ride soon. It will be interesting to see if he goes through with it. If he does, he opens himself to more accusations of not taking his job seriously. If he doesn't, there goes any remaining skerrick of pretense about being 'authentic' and 'good as his word'. LOL! So, after the fitness shtick, what's Plan B? Policy? Nah, every time he releases a "policy" the media savage him for it, compounding his woes. I mean, take a look at these headlines: [b]Tony, this is the mother of irresponsible policymaking[/b] http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/tony-this-is-the-mother-of-irresponsible-policymaking-20100308-psv8.html [b]Abbott's parental leave scheme is an unfair stinker [/b] http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/abbotts-parental-leave-scheme-is-an-unfair-stinker-20100316-qbw0.html No wonder he's allergic to releasing policy. Who needs it anyway, when one is born to rule? So, what's next? Go the negative? Well, he does THAT all the time, and often overdoes it, as is tellingly evident in this maniacal outburst during the Health Debate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itUmT2LRPzo ... I see here a man out of ideas and running out of options. And while that's befalling the pretender, Kevin Rudd is reported as "having his mojo back". Revealingly, both coincide with what appears to be the end of Abbott's polling honeymoon. The latest Newspoll and (especially) Essential show big drops in his approval and rises in his disapproval. Let's remember that every poll on the matter for years leading up to his challenging Turnbull found him to be the least electable and likable of the Liberal contenders. There's little reason for that perception to change, no matter how much he parades about practically naked, smooches up to gays, or talks about his sex life. It's the headkicker-bovver boy reputation. I don't think people like it, not in a putative national leader, anyway. Unfortunately for the Angry Abbott, it's too ingrained in his nature and image for him to pretend to soften it at this late stage.

HillbillySkeleton

30/03/2010Rx, Yes, very good points about the Angry Middle Aged Man, or, is that, 'The Angry Young Man' who has never grown up? All I know is I will never forget that it was Tony Abbott who was prepared to so destroy a political opponent, Pauline Hansen, that she eventually ended up in jail. Mr Abbott may be seeking to hide that part of his character from view at this time, but it is one stain on his character that he will never be able to wash away, or wish away, in my mind.

Ostermann

30/03/2010BB heres Shannas http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/turnaround-as-rudd-steadies-abbott-falters/story-e6frg6zo-1225847167927

lyn1

30/03/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/03/30/newspoll-labors-best-all-year/ http://andrewelder.blogspot.com/2010/03/spearhead-term-spearhead-used-to-really.html http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/ http://www.crikey.com.au/topic/tony-abbott/ http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/ http://blogs.reuters.com/global/2010/03/29/australias-ironman-opposition-leader-kicks-off-fitness-debate/ http://enpassant.com.au/?p=6855 http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/importing-the-craziness-yes-andrew-laurie-oakes-article-was-was-aimed-at-you/ http://mumbrella.com.au/murdochs-paid-online-access-strategy-for-the-times-might-just-work-for-the-australian-21752#more-21752 http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/29/2859471.htm?section=justin http://marynorris.thecoachbuzz.com/2010/03/27/abbotts-referendum-on-murray-darling-basin-may-not-be-needed-joyce-says/ http://politicalowl.blogspot.com/2010/03/media-wrap-pollster-says-labor-and-rudd.html

Ad astra reply

30/03/2010Folks Labor supporters will be delighted at today’s [i]Newspoll[/i] and relieved that the downward trends of recent months seem to have been reversed. As polls are not as reliable as those who conduct them would have us believe, and as they move around considerably, we should not be surprised though if the next [i]Newspoll[/i] happens to be less favourable to Labor. Having in the past roundly criticized Dennis Shanahan for his misleading analyses of [i]Newspoll[/i] results, we should commend him for his write up of today’s [i]Newspoll[/i] which accurately represents the facts in the [i]Newspoll[/i] tables. There was not a skerrick of encouraging news for the Coalition, and Dennis did not attempt to manufacture one. If only all his analyses were as balanced as this one. But we can anticipate that should the next [i]Newspoll[/i] be less favourable to Labor we will see headlines like ‘Rudd recovery falters’. Tony Abbott seemed subdued this morning as he acknowledged that the poll results showed what a big task the Coalition had to wrest power from a first term Government. He also acknowledged for the first time that having a health policy gave Kevin Rudd a big advantage with the public, realizing that turning up to the health debate, which we remember [b]he[/b] requested, without a health policy was to his disadvantage. Surprise, surprise! I wonder whether he is suffering from a post-Iron Man let-down. Professional athletes have a lengthy preparation for such extreme events and allow a lengthy recovery time. Tony Abbott is straight back into doorstops, radio and TV interviews and today delivers a ‘headland’ address on economics. That seems to unwisely place great stress on his body and mind. A reasonable conclusion would be that while exercise is good for most people and can be compatible with normal work schedules, extreme sporting events are probably not, especially when the individual is heading the alternative government of the nation and seeking to be its prime minister. And he still has a week-long Polly Pedal bike ride to come. He passes this off as a good chance to meet people, which it is, but it still takes a week of his time, just when he needs to be getting his policies together and doing all those other things Opposition leaders need to do. Contrast his work ethic and effort with Kevin Rudd’s as Opposition Leader. In my view he needs to make a crucial decision – which has the highest priority – extreme sport or leading the Opposition. He seems not yet to have done so, and needs to do so soon.

Ostermann

30/03/2010Hi All Found this little article from Pires Ackerman http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/piersakerman/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/a_teams_strategy_of_hitting_the_fans followed up by two posts from Crikey http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/03/29/searching-for-a-turd/ http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/03/29/theory-flushed/#more-5603

HillbillySkeleton

30/03/2010I reckon the biggest mistake, strategically, that Abbott has made in the last week was not taking up Malcolm Turnbull's offer to slot into Shadow Finance. I think that could have arrested the drastic decline in the Opposition Newspoll vote because there must be a lot of small 'l' Liberals who want to see Malcolm back on the front bench in some capacity, and Finance would have been an ideal fit if he could not be Opposition Leader. But no, Abbott's obvious personal dislike of the man made him blind to the possibilities that Turnbull's financially forensic mind would have opened up. Sure, Robb, has an Economics degree, but he also has severe depression, which only makes him look weak. A harsh judgement but a valid one nevertheless. Well, now, the Iron Man has to contemplate the fact that 'Rust Never Sleeps', and Malcolm is no doubt feeling rusty up on the backbench.

Bushfire Bill

30/03/2010Shanahan was muted last night in his initial response, but by this morning has recovered somewhat. He says that Rudd's personal performance figures have moved back into respectable territory, "just". He is still promoting the Icarus Syndrome, whereby Rudd has to outperform almost every other previous Prime Minister in Newspoll polling history in order "just" to tread water. He also repeats the "Gillard for PM" furphy, describing chatter in the Labor Party on this as "universal". He gives reasons for Abbott's slump as not bring a Health policy to a Hea;th policy debate (as if it's almost a minor thing), "being seen to be too negative" (perception again), Barnarby Joyce, spending too much time exercising", not having Parliament as a forum where he could shout lots and make frivolous points of order, and the silly PPL scheme. To me that adds up to a litany of failure and misconception, but it seems Shanahan sees the collection of problems as just politics, that is, fixable. He defends Abbott's lack of a Health policy as "holding his nerve until he is ready", the "Master Plan" theory, but does not address how to repair the rest of the Abbott baggage. Upon reflection it seems to me the reversal of fortunes for Rudd Labor, at the expense of Abbott and the Coalition are a mix of surprise and confirmation. Labor has been heading north on the Economy metric for a while now, steadily improving their position compared to the Coalition over time. The individual economic metrics - unemployment, interest rates, response to the GFC to take three - had been winners for Labor, with only the omnibus "Best to handle the Economy" lagging behind in negative territory. It's nice to see all the economic categories go positive, and about time. The switch in Primary and 2PP votes likewise is no real surprise. In fact the 56/44 figure leaves me wondering why Newspoll lagged so far behind the other polls - Morgan and Essential especially - for so long. It now joins its fellow polls in showing a healthy lead for Labor along the voting metrics. However, I think 56 is a big high for Newspoll, traditionally favouring the Coalition as it does. So this may have a slight element of rogue, or at least MOE variability in it. All in all a good result, but still with some volatility in there.

Ostermann

30/03/2010Is this a sign of things to come http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/tony-abbott-urged-to-co-operate/story-e6frgczf-1225847173218

lyn1

30/03/2010Hi Ad , Bushfire Bill and Everybody [b]DON'T MISS GUTTER TRASH BRILLIANT PIECE ON THE NEWSPOLL RESULTS THIS MORNING[/b] [b]http://guttertrash.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/coalition-facing-election-annihilation[/b]/

Paul of Berwick

30/03/2010Well, after a poll like this we should start discussing who the NEXT leader of the Opposition is - Greg Hunt anyone?

Bushfire Bill

30/03/2010I'm starting to think Abbott is the patsy in all this, that it's [i]the Party[/i] which is letting him down, jst as they let Nelson and Turnbull down. Abbott's got a lot of flaws, be he isn't stupid. He's actually quite a thinker (wrongheaded, I'm sure some would say), but at least he's having a go on his Party's behalf. The latest Newspoll signals the end of the "bread and circuses" phase. He'll have to energizxe his lazy Party, wistfully wishing they could just coast back into power without any bother - or go the way of the previous leaders before him.

bilgedigger

30/03/2010Bushfire Bill it seems to me that whoever fiddled with the lead image depicting the battle of the gladiators has made a grevious error. While our Department is normally focussed on unravelling psychological dispositions, when having coffee our conversations sometimes cover anatomical disposition and it's relationship to male self-image or lack thereof. The general consensus of opinion gleaned from an indepth comparison of all known images of the infamous "budgie smugglers" and the paucity of the evidence they have displayed, indicates to us that the physicality attached to Tony Abbott's image above has been grossly exaggerated. Not that we are claiming any insight into the motivation of the Leader of the Opposition in his obsessive pursuit of the "ironman" image but it does give pause for thought. Hmmm...shades of father envy? "Man of Steel" versus "Ironman"?

mick smetafor

30/03/2010yeah bb i think of him as being like the teaser stallion at a stud.the mare wasn't responding to the expensive stallion magnificent mal, so they bring on the snorting prancing teaser, toney the bruiser and much to everyones horror she seemed to like him and worse than that he looked like he might do the business,but allas he gets an attack of brewers droop at the last minute.bring on magnificent mal.

Bushfire Bill

30/03/2010Biledigger, it was I who fiddled while Rome burned. The original picture of course was of Kirk Douglas squareing up to Woody Strode and can be found here: http://fourstory.org/content/4/3/8/1.jpg After the shoot Kirk kindly moved aside and allowed Tony to pose for the camera with Woody. Kirk considerately left his loins behind so that Tony could assume, shall we say, [i]greater apparent proportions[/i] in the nether regions than he otherwise might have. It was only after the lights were turned off and the camera put away that Tony inspected Kirk's loins, expecting to find a budgie stuffed down them. Imagine his surprise when he discovered instead a [i]complete flock of galahs[/i] (and a couple of Major Mitchells for backup) in residence. Also in Kirk's undies were Bourke & Wills, Patrick White and Phar Lap. Rumours that Piers Akerman, supposedly in Italy for the week doing an investigative story on asylum seekers (or "These people" as he calls them), was also occupying a large space on the right hand side of of Kirk's whatchermecallit were denied by Piers, who tells us that he doesn't need to do research on boat-people, as he just makes it all up anyway as his guest appearance on Insiders at the same time as the shoot can attest. Kevin Rudd couldn't wait for his turn with the spear and sandals, so he just waved goodbye and went to work, chuckling to Abbott, "Go Tony!", as he popped a grape and left.

Bushfire Bill

30/03/2010P.S. That's Joe Hockey in the foreground, taking a rest after a Rugby game on the weekend.

Ostermann

30/03/2010In light of the last weeks events, I wonder if Turnbull is counting numbers yet

janice

30/03/2010BB, I agree that Abbott is not stupid but I really do not think he has the ability to write a policy which is why I think his health policy didn't make it to the last election campaign. I also agree he hasn't got any talent to work with and that they're a lazy bunch. However, if he is isn't going to knuckle down to earning his own pay packet he can hardly expect his colleagues to do so either. IMO he cannot continue with his extreme physical fitness programme and do the work he must do as an opposition leader who will be fronting the electorate as the alternative prime minister in a few months. I have read your thoughts over at PB and tend to agree with some of them. I haven't made up my mind yet whether he is deliberately playing the macho clown while he waits for a miracle to happen or whether he has recruited a policy writer.

Bushfire Bill

30/03/2010Janice, Point taken, but in the absence of physical fitness (i.e. no policies) how else can he grab attention. He really does remind me of the support act, forced to stay on stage for an extra 10 minutes, covering for the star who's arrived at the theatre drunk and unruly. Today's Newspoll was the start of the slow hand-clapping, as backstage they pour black coffee down the major attraction's throat trying to sober him up. Meanwhile, Abbott asks the audience, "Did you hear the one about the Ironman....?" He's been severely let down by his party who do pay lip service to policy development, but as soon as they see Abbott making some ground on Rudd think they can coast in on his slipstream. They're wrong. The audience paid to see the main act - a party that can govern, or at least appear to be prepared to govern - not a one man band. Abbott is everywhere, all the time, running around while the lazy pin-stripe suits who think they're born to rule loll back in the deck chairs and yell, "Go Tony!".

janice

30/03/2010All true BB, but Abbott did conspire with Minchin to oust Turnbull! Up until that point all the coalition did was obstruct the passage of bills in the senate and not one of them put any work into policy making. Abbott had to be aware that his party consisted of a talentless mob of lazy people waiting for a workhorse to present them with the means to regain government. As soon as he appointed Bananaby to the Finance portfolio he showed grave shortcomings as leader. The truth is, he is not a leader's bootlace.

Bushfire Bill

30/03/2010Bararby's done it again. He's come out saying that he uses Productivity Commission reports for toilet paper, has suggested the government thinks burning down houses with poor insulation and then rebuilding them will be good Stimulus spending, and has called the BER a useless bunch of sheds down the back of schools. He's the living embodiment of a Piers Akerman blogger. And no, he didn't get a laugh at the speech.

HillbillySkeleton

30/03/2010It appears from Tony's climbdown speech today that he has thrown in the towel on an alternative Health Policy, and will now go along with the government, who actually have one. Also, he's decided bringing back WorkChoices by another name won't fly either.

Ebenezer

30/03/2010Just as a point of interest, Sloppy Joe did not look all that happy at Tony's speech today especially after the pat on the back. Could be some discontent in the camp already and it's only been 24 hrs since Tony's triumphant triathlon. Seems Joe may have preferred some policy initiatives rather than lycra photo opps. Cheers Eb. :)

lyn1

30/03/2010Hi Ad Bushfire Bill and Everyone Hillbilly Skeleton, Tony Abbott's change of mind on everything (again and again) now the Governments Health policy is hilarious. because at the debate and on TV. Abbott has been saying it won't bring anymore beds, no more nurses, no more Doctors. As recent as yesterday after the ironman triathlon, when asked about the Essential Polling he said the polls don't fix hospitals. Remember last Question, time before Kevin Rudd ambushed him on the debate, Abbott was screaming out he doesn't agree with the Health policy, he had his hand on his heart. The worst problem Abbott is having, is convincing his own party to agree on anything. [b]As Bushfire Bill said I'm starting to think Abbott is the patsy in all this, that it's the Party which is letting him down, just as they let Nelson and Turnbull down[/b larvatusprodeo says [b]any time the Coalition’s kooky plans go hay wire, the first thing they can think of to do is to shout “Brown people in boats!”. [/b] http://larvatusprodeo.net/2010/03/30/theyre-here-asylum-seeker-beat-ups/

lyn1

30/03/2010Hi Everybody [b]DON'T MISS GROG YET ANOTHER WONDERFUL PIECE, THIS TIME NEWSPOLL, THANKYOU GROG[/b] http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/03/newspoll-alp-56-lnp-44-or-so-much-for.html

HillbillySkeleton

30/03/2010Eb, I noticed Joe Hockey's grimace today after the pat on the back from 'Pig Iron Man' Tony, too. One would have thought that Joe would have been called on to give the Economics speech, while Tony looked on indulgently, not the other way around. Especially as the speech was 'absolute crap' and merely contained Tony's new promise to support Hospital & Health Reform, which, as it turns out to Tony's bemusement, is actually just like Tony's Hospital Plan, now that he takes a second look at it! Also, in the speech Phoney Toney pledged to not bring back 'Son of WorkChoices'. Maybe it'll be 'Daughter of WorkChoices' to appeal to the ladies? :) Finally, when he got around to Economics, all he could promise was more of the same Howard & Costello behaviour, which amounted to pissing the Mining Boom revenue against a wall paying oodles of Middle Class Welfare and the Rent-Seeking Agrarian Socialists. Speaking of which, wasn't Barnaby amusing today?

Bushfire Bill

31/03/2010Dennis spits the dummy on bloggers: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/none-so-blind-as-bloggers/story-e6frg6zo-1225847700988 What a crybaby!

Ebenezer

31/03/2010Yes Tony won't necessarily oppose the health reforms, well not until he changes his mind next week anyway. Shanna's is a git, I don't bother reading his rubbish anyway. Some of the senior journos need a rest, permanently. Starting with Shanahan and Grattan. Cheers Eb. :)

Bushfire Bill

31/03/2010Shanahan rails against bloggers celebrating Rudd going one per cent over 50% on "Approval", saying it's within MOE. Yet he whooped for joy himself when Rudd went one per cent BELOW 50% on the same metric. He's become unhinged. Probably sold the Australian's campaign to Murdoch as a "Get Beazley" redux and now it's not going to plan he strikes out at the messengers. The alternative theory is that this is designed to get the bloggers all het up so they'll fork out to get through the paywall. Heh!

HillbillySkeleton

31/03/2010I left a reasonable comment on the Dennis Shanahan blog today, the one which railed against us bloggers. I wonder if he'll publish it? Anyway, BB and AA, keep up the good work, it's obviously having an effect where it counts!

lyn1

31/03/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS [/b] http://mumble.com.au/ http://theorstrahyun.blogspot.com/ http://larvatusprodeo.net/2010/03/30/theyre-here-asylum-seeker-beat-ups/ http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/03/30/polligraph-debate-drilldowns-part-1-–-the-overview/ http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/30/2860225.htm?section=justin http://andrewnorton.info/2010/03/30/whats-happening-to-liberal-economic-credibility/ http://enpassant.com.au/?p=6862 http://loonpond.blogspot.com/2010/03/peter-costello-and-hearty-dose-of-moral.html http://www.bordermail.com.au/news/local/news/general/tony-abbott-out-meeting-normal-people-says-sophie/1790919.aspx

Ad astra reply

31/03/2010BB, Hillbilly Skeleton I've read Dennis Shanahan's article. It reads like a revival of his angry article criticizing bloggers in the dying days in the Howard Government. I note your contribution HBSK has been accepted by Shanahan’s blog. I have contributed two comments, which I see have just been accepted. lyn1 An interesting set of links, as usual. Thank you for keeping up this great service to [i]TPS[/i].

HillbillySkeleton

31/03/2010Ad Astra, Not as surprised as I was to see Shanas accept my post. Still, it's all for the good if he maintains a more open approach to comments on his blog from now on, having hopefully realised that the jig was up, you cannot ignore the blogosphere and hope they will go away or fade into irrelevancy. Too many erudite commenators have now set up shop in competition with the MSM, and we are now holding the old school political journos up to the light for constant evaluation, and effectively too it seems. The plaintive cries of the old guard will be seen for the hissy fits that they are, with no real substance. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the Old Fox himself, Rupert Murdoch, may be having second thoughts about putting his mastheads behind paywalls, as they may just be usurped in the free sphere by the upstart internet media groups like Crikey, and bloggers like us here, and others just about everywhere you look on the 'net these days. If we are to maintain a thriving democracy, we must maintain our rage, and never let ourselves be intimidated by the 800lb gorillas in our midst. That way lies demagoguery by the powers that wish to be.

lyn1

31/03/2010Hi Ad and Bushfire Bill I was reading the comments on Shanahan's column, and thinking, gee this comment is well written and then I see it was you Ad, well done Ad excellent. Ad astra Posted at 11:45 AM Today Ad astra Posted at 11:51 AM Today [b]Hillbilly Skeleton of NSW Posted at 8:23 AM Today [/b]good on you Hillbilly Skeleton [b][quote]The websites were full of gleeful Labor supporters early in the morning who could now "go to sleep laughing" after having their predictions of Abbott's downfall vindicated.[/b][/quote] Dennis Shanahan has spat the dummy, poor Dennis, I think he has been reading The Political Sword. Possum, The Poll Bludger, Mumble, Grog, Gutter Trash, must make him really sick, hee, hee, hee. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/none-so-blind-as-bloggers/comments-e6frg6zo-1225847700988

Ostermann

31/03/2010Hi All Found this article http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/playing-the-man-proves-a-poll-turn-off/story-e6frg6zo-1225847701211 what will be interesting to see is if Tony can continue the patern in the chart and how long before he becomes political history, I think the Coalition has come to realise they cannot win this election. Andrew Robb has his work cut out for himself http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/robb-defends-productivity-commission-after-barnaby-joyces-toilet-paper-joke/story-e6frgczf-1225847867695

Ad astra reply

31/03/2010HillbillySkeleton Shanas is gradually being dragged kicking and screaming into the reality of the blogosphere; he would be wise to accept that it won’t go away and will continue to try to hold journalists to account, just as they believe they are entitled to hold governments to account. lyn1 Thank you for your kind remarks. I was surprised that Shanas blog accepted my comments so readily. I had to split my remarks into two because of the character limit his blog now imposes. Ostermann It’s interesting to see Peter van Onselen’s abrupt change of tack from supporting Abbott to seriously questioning his tactics. But he’s right that Abbott’s attack dog approach, which might have suited his role in the Howard Government, and might have even gained him traction in parliament, does not wash with the general public. Yet since that is his natural [i]modus operandi[/i] it might be difficult for him to change. While Barnaby Joyce is the Coalition’s Finance spokesman in the Senate, he will go on making the sort of stupid and damaging statements he made yesterday; he’ll probably go on making them whatever his role. He is a dangerous liability to the Opposition, but how can Abbott shut him up, short of sacking him. He is more suited to vaudeville than politics, despite Abbott lauding him as a great ‘retail politician’. Both Abbott and Andrew Robb will soon tire of having to cover Joyce’s tracks.

Ostermann

31/03/2010Hi All It appears Tony's economic speech yesterday seems to have fallen flat as well, http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/03/31/no-progress-for-abbott-on-the-economy/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CrikeyDaily+%28Crikey+Daily%29 after conceeding that the Rudd Govt's. hospitals plan is better than having no plan at all to offer, I can only wonder how long Abbott is going to last, not just as leader of the opposition but in politics itself, because as we are beginning to see when it comes to the real work of governance he is looking to me as a light weight.

HillbillySkeleton

31/03/2010Is Tony Abbott a sociopath? Below is a list of their defining characteristics. How many would you tick off wrt Mr Abbott? * Conventional appearance * Glib, superficially charming, often highly verbal * Promiscuous sexual behavior * Manipulative and cunning * High sense of entitlement * Lacks a sense of moral responsibility or moral conscience * Shallow emotions * Callousness, lack of empathy * Lying without remorse, shame or guilt * Interested only in their personal needs or desires, without concern for other people

Ostermann

31/03/2010HBS Hmm interesting question, like BB's yesterday is he a patsy and are the Liberals just bone lazy, this is something I have been thinking about for a while like all of us, who? What? does this man represent, why did Costello bolt when he had the chance? When Costello turned down the opportunity to lead the Liberals after the last election and they were looking a leader, Abbott was one of the first to put his hand up but was laughed at, I suspect part of his behaviour is to prove a point to his colleges, hence his sulking off and writing his manifesto "If I were King". But I must say my thinking is that a large part comes back to Howard and Howards history, Howard ran the Cabinet with an Iron Fist mostly to ward off challengers to his position, Howard told his cabinet what to say and what to think, so after 12 years they were all basically programmed, so when the control master is no longer calling the shots chaos reins, I think that Howards true legacy is to leave his former cabinet minsters as insecure puppets with no real idea about how to formulate policy just to write it based on his instuctions, so what we now have is no policies, no concepts, and lots of dog-whistling. They will just try to frighten us into voting for them as per the puppet master.

Colen

31/03/2010HBS Just like K Rudd. How many would you tick off.

Ostermann

31/03/2010Is that a dog-whistle in your pocket Tony http://www.vexnews.com/news/8785/cunning-stunts-tony-abbott-wages-war-on-illegals-to-reconnect-with-howards-battlers/

Colen

31/03/2010Robin Williams took a little fun at Oz on the Dave Letterman show and K.R. spat the proverbial dummy. He must be under pressure. I don't know what from. Maybe concerned about Jule's knife in the back, because Abbott isn't a threat according to TPS. Are his ministers letting him down with stuff up's in their Portfolio's? News anyone? Are there any Smoking gun's about to leap out from somewhere. I thought we had a sense of humour or are we not so thick skinned. We can dish it out but not take it?

Bushfire Bill

31/03/2010Glad to see Peter van Onselen agrees with me: [b]van Onselen[/b]: [i]Liberals are now at serious risk of making the same mistake with Rudd that Labor for so many years made with John Howard, [b]hating him to the point where it affects their judgment[/b] about how to deal with him politically.[/i] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/playing-the-man-proves-a-poll-turn-off/story-e6frg6zo-1225847701211 [b]Me[/b](above): [i]Their party a laughing stock, their brand a joke, their ranks diminishing, the Coalition is falling apart from the inside. So many have gone to Coalition Valhalla thinking they could [b]hate Kevin Rudd to political death[/b], and all have failed. You'd think they'd give up, or at least change tack, wouldn't you?[/i] Some, a few, in the Liberals see the hatred of Rudd as destructive to their cause. Others, the lazy majority, prefer self-indulgence - in the face of overwhelmingly poor results so far - to actual policy action.

Bushfire Bill

31/03/2010... and this, from the sam article: [b]van Onselen[/b]: [i]Ever since Rudd became Labor leader, Liberals have underestimated his skills as a politician. Yesterday's Newspoll showed that, although Abbott might have made voters stop and consider whether Rudd was all that he promised to be, they certainly had not taken Abbott's criticisms of their Prime Minister as gospel. The danger for Abbott now is that he has little room to move. Newspoll could start to feel like a fortnightly kick in the teeth. If his net satisfaction rating falls much further, he might start to be seen as a drag on the Coalition vote.[/i] [b]Me[/b] (from above): [i]I had a theory before the last election that Howard had run out of time to develop new policies that would make him re-electable, so he went negative. I'm getting the same idea about the present Coalition. Both versions of the Coalition have wasted too much time asserting their right to rule, rather than establishing their fitness for doing so. ... With precious few months left until the election, and no time remaining to do what needs to be done, the Coalition may well be joining the defeated slaves, politically crucified along the Appian Way. While their policies wander in the wilderness, the Coalition has not earned a better fate. [/i]

Bushfire Bill

31/03/2010Colen, you seem like a smart guy, but this is dumb, especially from you: [i]Robin Williams took a little fun at Oz on the Dave Letterman show and K.R. spat the proverbial dummy. He must be under pressure. I don't know what from. Maybe concerned about Jule's knife in the back, because Abbott isn't a threat according to TPS. [/i] Abbott is not a threat, except in Liberal Fantasyland. Ditto for The Gillard Threat. These mems are so tired, they should go to bed and have a good lie down. Yesterday's news, mate. As long as Coalition supporters keep expecting a "magic bullet" to bring Rudd Labor down they are guilty of bone laziness. The time for shortcuts, pipe dreams and Messiahs in Lycra is gone. Get to work, quit the gossip and achieve something.

HillbillySkeleton

31/03/2010Colen, * Promiscuous sexual behaviour...I think not, if you are talking about the PM. * High sense of entitlement. Hmm, no. He's Kevin, and he's here to help! * Lacks a sense of moral responsibility or moral conscience. Au contraire, our PM is highly moral. He can't even cope with the idea of Bill Henson seeming to exploit young pre-pubescant girls in his photographs. * Callousness, lack of empathy. Nup. His approach to asylum seekers is evidence of that. Also his desire to house the homeless. * Lying without remorse, shame or guilt. Can anyone else think of examples of this? * Interested only in their own personal needs or desires. I can't remember the PM complaining about having to subsist 'only' on a humble Shadow Minster's salary, when he was one. Thus, I think the answer is, 'No', the PM is not a sociopath.

Colen

31/03/2010HBS * Promiscuous sexual behaviour...I think not, if you are talking about the Opposition Leader. Admitted to his one relationship at Uni. * High sense of entitlement. Camping out with the Aboriginals. * Lacks a sense of moral responsibility or moral conscience. Mad Monk self flagellation. * Callousness, lack of empathy. Nup. Bike rides fundraising for those less fortunate. * Lying without remorse, shame or guilt. Owned up to child being his own. * Interested only in their own personal needs or desires. Fundraising etc. Thus, I think the answer is, 'No', the Abbott is not a sociopath. It's tough trying to pin it on anyone. Good luck.

Bushfire Bill

31/03/2010I wouldn't say Abbott is a sociopath, either. He's just naughty boy.

Colen

31/03/2010BB I agree but the man appears overly Cranky at the moment. There is something bugging him. Is he pushing himself too hard? He needs a break before he loses it. He needs to get some perspective. Is the responsibilty of the postion getting to him? He was on top of everything during the debate which is good but there is a time when one needs to let go.

lyn1

31/03/2010Hi AD and Everybody Tony Abbott interview today: [quote]TONY ABBOTT: No, no. Look what my position all along has been that the problem with Mr Rudd’s position is that, at least on what we’ve been told so far, there are no new beds, no new doctors, no new nurses and not even any new dollars until 2014 at least. Now, that is a real problem for Mr Rudd’s so-called plan. If he can fix the plan, sure, I’m happy to be constructive, but at the moment it’s more of a press release than a plan.[/quote] http://australianconservative.com/2010/03/tony-abbott-on-cctv-cameras-crime-and-kevin-rudd’s-failed-border-protection/ [b]Tony Abbott yesterday[/b] [quote]TONY ABBOTT has moved to defuse health as an election issue by suggesting the Coalition will now support Kevin Rudd's healthcare reform plan[/quote] http://www.smh.com.au/national/abbott-backs-off-for-good-of-his-health-20100330-rbl8.html

Bushfire Bill

31/03/2010[i]I agree but the man appears overly Cranky at the moment. There is something bugging him. Is he pushing himself too hard?[/i] I can only assume you're communicating from the planet Tralthamador, Colen. There must be some kind of time lag between Earth transmission and whereveritis you are. Rudd is trying to get a job done. He has posturing Premiers and an antagonistic press against him, even if only for show. He has a Leader of the Opposition who indulges in circus stunts rather than policy development, or even policy discussion. There is not long to go until an election. Time's a'wasting. Nevertheless he's calm, cool and collected. He wiped the "Master Debater" from the floor last Tuesday week. He's re-ascendant in the polls. You should stop trying to make reality fit the cheap "Rudd's gone" talking points. That would be good for your head as well as your heart.

lyn1

31/03/2010Hi Ad and Everybody [b]HERE IS OUR FAVOURITE GROG HE NEVER LET'S US DOWN THANKYOU GROG BRILLIANT AGAIN [/b] Thankyou Grog The whole piece is enjoyable, Love this last sentence: [quote]Ah yes, working together as a team. The minor issue of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, but other than that, perfect[/quote]. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/03/in-case-of-electoral-wipeout-blow.html

Daisey May

31/03/2010When Dennis writes fairly and evenly I write to him and tell him so. Unfortunately this only ever happens about twice a year. I'm always astonished at how thin skinned some of these journos' who spew out hatred can be. I was once rung at my work by a hack from the SMH insisting I explain my resistence to her idiocy. At the time I was working in an adult shop and was serving a truckie with an armload of Trannie mags and told her it was inappropriate to ring me in working hours. During my time in this shop I had another distinguished visitor from News Ltd drop in at 2am in the late 90's. I'm no prude and don't care what people are into but this particular customer bought a butt plug that was not much bigger than a finger which really made me giggle inside. I always knew by the writing that said journo was an anal retentive hypocrite but here was proof positive that the journo was a goose to boot. As for Shanna-langa-ding-dong, I knew that him and his ilk read these sites. He just can't get his head around the fact that vast numbers of people hate him as a man and don't rate him as a journalist. He can't even get a gig on Insiders which I'm guessing rates even lower than Meet the Press.

Ad astra reply

31/03/2010Folks Tony Abbott’s performance is deteriorating by the day. Is he suffering the after effects of his Iron Man participation? He turned up late for his twenty five minute interview on Melbourne 774 radio, and had only ten minutes; Jon Faine was mad and gave him short shrift. His utterances at doorstops today were paltry; his handling of Barnaby Joyce’s inane comments about the Productivity Commission were limp; his shifting position on health reform pointed to his confused state; and his attempt to switch attention to ‘law and order’ and ‘we’ll determine who comes to this country...’ was as obvious as it was pathetic. With his pursuit of Howard’s doctrines, he runs the risk that he will soon suffer Howard’s fate - people will stop listening. He’s attracted attention and some admiration for his fitness and endurance at extreme sports, but how many people will see that as a qualification sufficient to be PM, despite the gushing adoration of Janet Albrechtsen? Even the supportive columnists are now seeing through his shallowness and policy paucity; Peter van Onselen is an example today. His star burned brightly for a few short months, is now fading, and will soon be extinguished.

lyn1

31/03/2010Hi Ad and Bushfire Bill Thankyou for keeping us entertained everyday with your wonderful pieces, everytime you both post a piece, I can't wait for the next one. Daisey May, you are brilliant too, what excellent comments you write for us, on The Political Sword, keep up the good work. Hillbilly Skeleton your comment [quote](Is Tony Abbott a sociopath)[/quote] is hilarious. As always your comments are of excellent quality.

Grog

31/03/2010Cheers Lyn1 Your links I am sure have helped my daily hit count grow! I almost wasn't going to write one tonight, but geez, with the material the Libs are giving us, how could I resist?

lyn1

31/03/2010Hi Grog Thanks for you kind comment. Your right, sometimes I think I won't be able to put any links up today ,but sure enough, as you say the Libs keep giving. I have been wanting to tell you, I have tried to leave a comment on your blog a few times, but have found it too difficult, could you tell me what I am doing wrong.

Grog

31/03/2010Not sure lyn1 - as far as I'm aware you just have to hit "comments" at the bottom of the post and write your comment (you can be anonymous, or if you have a blogger ID, you can use that). BB's left a few coments, so he might be able to help you

Grog

31/03/2010And yep - using a new gravatar - thought I'd use the same one as my twitter profile. Was getting tired of Woodward and Bernstein!

Ad astra reply

31/03/2010Grog You're right - lyn1 is a gem - she points us to your website and we always enjoy the read.

johyn Ryan

1/04/2010Is Cohen Sir Ian Crisp in disguise

HillbillySkeleton

1/04/2010If that's you in your new avatar, Grog, then may I say you are waaayyy handsome! Mrs Grog is one lucky lady! Beauty and brains!

HillbillySkeleton

1/04/2010According to Joe Hockey on Lateline last night, his 'Shadow Expenditure Review Committee' has its sights set on the Public Service in Canberra for cutbacks. In the federal Health Department(which Tony Abbott did nothing about for the 5 years he was Health Minister, btw), according to Hockey, "They don't treat one patient". Um, but they do send out the Medicare cheques, they have been pulling together the new Hospital and Health Reform Plan; they oversee the PBS, the TGA, Medical, Allied Health, and Nursing Education planning, and funding determination. What about Pandemic planning and Vaccine rollout? Wasn't it Tony Abbott himself who got together the federal Health response to Cervical Cancer treatment? Will all that now go by the wayside in a future Coalition government? Of course it won't. This is just another example of the Coaliton's pea and thimble trick of outsourcing what were previously Public Service tasks to their Private Industry mates, and hiding it behind the catchphrase, 'Small Government'. Then there's Joe's plaint about the federal Education Department, "They don't teach one pupil". Um, but they have been co-ordinating the 'Education Revolution' and 'Building the Education Revolution'. So, is Joe saying that he will be putting the kybosh on that, in order to, "Pay off Labor's debt quicker"? So don't expect any new school buildings to be approved for your Public School, it'll be back to the Private Schools being able to leverage new buildings out of the parent's pockets and Public Schools can whistle Dixie. Back again to maintenance being a forlorn hope for Public Schools, and Private Schools being beacons of bright, shiny newness in comparison. No more national harmonisation of Education policy or curriculum, either. Instead the Coalition will probably farm out Education policy to their mates, such as Kevin Donnelly. Maybe they will gut Treasury, and outsource its functions to Henry Ergas, or the Environment department could be run as an arm of the Mining Industry? Again, and this is what Joe's words are code for, there will be an explosion of Private Contractors, with all their 'Commercial In Confidence' contracts that make the costs to government as opaque as possible, for as long as possible. Will this scythe through the Public Service apply to the Social Security Department? How will that jibe with Abbott's plan to create a whole new Welafre bureaurocracy to administer his unwieldy Paid Parental Leave Scheme? Or, will it's metastatic growth be at the expense of savage cuts in other areas of the Welfare budget? Hockey's words seemed to suggest it. Of course the Coalition will quarantine cuts from the one area where waste and mismangement has been identified-Defence, a sacred Coalition cow that grew very fat indeed under Howard. If the Coalition are going to, 'Spend less, and pay off debt quicker', with spending at no greater than 25% of GDP, then they'd better have the guts to exactly detail where those cuts in services will thus occur. What major Infrastructure projects, linked to the stimulus will be gone? Also, with Abbott's pronouncements of recent days, fed through his ciphers in News Ltd., and new favoured journalistic son, Steve Lewis, he of the Grechian falsehood propagation, we have heard that they are going to run hard up to the election on demonisation of refugees and "Those people", the foreigners in our white midst. So we have seen the 'Fortress Australia', pronouncement, where 'Pig Iron' Tony has baldly stated that he will turn every asylum seeker boat back. Also, last night we saw the line from Joe that 'Foreigners' are buying too many houses and forcing the prices up for our native-born moms and dads, whereas the truth is that it is all of <1% of House sales. Then there's Authoritarian Tony, who wants a CC camera on every corner. What next, monitoring all our internet communications? All in all, it appears to me that an Abbott government would devolve the Public Service and instigate a shambles of outsourced private contractors with no central co-ordination. And they would be more Authoritarian than even Howard was.

Ostermann

1/04/2010Hi All Heres a fun game for all to play http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/03/31/wingnut-bingo/ meanwhile back at Liberal HQ http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/tony-abbott-heading-for-acting-school/story-e6freon6-1225848300248?from=public_rss and the this http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2010/04/01/save-a-space-in-the-sepulchre-abbott-is-85-over/

lyn1

1/04/2010[b]TODAY'S LINK'S[/b] [b]THIS IS HARD TO BELIEVE, HEADS FOR ACTING SCHOOL [/b] http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/tony-abbott-heads-for-acting-school-in-bid-to-soften-aggressive-image/story-e6frf7l6-1225848291878 http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=20247 http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2010/04/01/save-a-space-in-the-sepulchre-abbott-is-85-over/ http://larvatusprodeo.net/ http://www.sauer-thompson.com/archives/opinion/2010/03/abbott-on-econo.php http://loonpond.blogspot.com/2010/03/punching-on-with-punch-until-youre.html http://alexwhite.org/2010/03/lessons-from-the-modern-prince-part-3-he-was-against-it-before-he-was-for-it-aka-the-barnaby-principle/ http://inside.org.au/in-praise-of-the-blame-game/ http://larvatusprodeo.net/2010/03/31/tony-abbott-and-political-catholicism/ http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/03/31/crikey-says-barnabys-bad-week/ http://catallaxyfiles.com/2010/03/31/im-going-to-miss-bananaby/ http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/03/31/academic-warning/#more-5616

Grog

1/04/2010If only it were HillbillySkeleton! Think Oscar winning film mid 1990s....

Ad astra reply

1/04/2010HillbillySkeleton A nice appraisal of Joe Hockey’s blustering effort on [i]Lateline[/i] where despite his refusing to reveal much detail and his avoidance of Tony Jones’ ‘will you guarantee’ teasers, let slip enough of his stated intent to pose a problem for Tony Abbott and the Coalition as the election approaches. He deems an attack on the public service that does not treat a patient or teach a kid to be a winner, but he and his leader may come to regret it. As you say, the temptation to outsource public service duties to private contractors will be strong. That would be costly, but a great way of hiding the real costs. \And his mantra that under the Coalition taxes will always be lower and spending less, may come back to bite him as did ‘interest rates will always be lower under the Coalition’ come back to bite John Howard. Ostermann, lyn1 Again thank you for the links. I wonder will Tony still be ‘authentic’ after going to acting school? Of course he will – he’s authentic no matter what he does.

Ad astra reply

1/04/2010Folks As most bloggers will likely wish to take a break from politics over the Easter break, instead of posting a political piece, I have just posted [i]What do you want from The Political Sword?[/i], which provides an opportunity for visitors to [i]TPS[/i] to suggest ways this blog site might proceed in the lead up to the election. Your comments will be most welcome. I’ll leave [i]Spartacus fiddles while policy roams...[/i] open for the time being.

Daisey May

1/04/2010What's the bet Swan will release the Henry Tax Review on day one of Abbotts'charity ride? Abbott can't get out of it and all the oxygen of his 9 day ride will be sucked dry. The commentariat won't be able to ignore it and even the hacks at News Ltd will have to bump Tones ride for what will be at least a weeks worth of headlines. The charity ride is no secret and the ALP tacticians could not have a better opportunity to make Abbott look like a gormless gym junkie who is more obsessed with riding around in hideously unflattering lycra than focusing on policy yet again. Everyone wins except Abbott. The charity will still get it's money, the ALP will be out on the hustings touting huge changes and Abbott will be in a monkey suit all sweaty and unkempt trying to impress with the type of fading masculinity normally associated with red sports cars and plaited pony tails that taper away from a prominent bald spot.

bilgedigger

1/04/2010Tony Abbott talks about "turning the boats back". I recall an interview on T.V. where Alexander Downer sniggered as he talked about his then Government's policy of "turning boats back". Perhaps Tony Abbott is thinking about using the Australian Federal Police, the Navy and Airforce as partners in his new enterprise of cruelty paid for by taxpayers. Recently I've been re-reading Tony Kevin's site (www.sievx.com) and the devastating interviews with survivors of SievX where there are so many unanswered questions. The events surrounding this tragedy are still murkey even after the inquiry ("A Certain Maritime Incident") with the role of the then Government Prime Ministerial Refugee Taskforce largely unexamined. Tony Abbott and other Liberals need to come clean about their involvement in such matters prior to attempting to foist on the Australian voter a course of action whereby the huge loss of life which occurred may well happen again.

Daisey May

1/04/2010Can anyone shed any light on why The Australian and its inbred cousins have changed their tack from writing poisonously pathetic articles about how satanic Kevin Rudd is to attacking Gillard every single day of the week over the BER? They have been running this line for months now and despite all the piss poor venomn the governments stocks have risen, not fallen. Prior to Rudd being elected, News Ltd went into bile overdrive (which was a sight to see), not only throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at him but printing the most hateful crap imaginable and still he rose to the top in voters eyes. We are now witnessing the same shit all over again. The more hostile and aggressive they are toward Rudd the beter his prospects become electorally. I find it hilarious when the News Ltd staple of unhinged hacks berate the Coalition for being negative (which causes the polls to plummet) as if it is solely their fault. News Ltd is unrelenting and grossly naked in its political campaign to unseat the government despite the majority vote of the people. Lets call a spade a spade here. This sort of stuff is despicable and downright evil and must be fought to the last breath. The arrogance of Rupert Murdoch to inflict his twisted ideas about the honest depiction of daily events upon a largely docile populace is utterly sickening. Some of his own family are on record as being upset at how Fox News depicts the unfolding drama of life and can you blame them? This is a sick and twisted old man who can accurately be likened to King Lear. Rich, powerful, feared and influential but in the end, hated, derided and forced to accept his utter impotence in the greater scheme of things. Someone remind me of how that play ends.

238.rkwrh.com

18/05/2010Pingback from 238.rkwrh.com Glf Episode Shrimp Ring Talent Show, Glf Auto Bumpers
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?