Not quite behind the throne


The IPA (Institute of Public Affairs) has had many words written about it, including that it may be the power behind the throne in the Abbott government. The problem is that ‘behind the throne’ usually means a shadowy or lesser known presence but the IPA is making itself anything but that, which may well lead to its undoing.

While the IPA certainly seems to be influencing the current government, one debating point is whether that is a genuine direct and active influence or merely a confluence of ideologies? Either way, it allows the government to support the IPA’s position on many issues and the IPA to claim it is influencing the public agenda.

Abbott in 2013, prior to the election, spoke at the IPA’s 70th anniversary (video here and transcript here) and in relation to its ‘wish list’ of 75 policies for an incoming LNP government openly endorsed ten of them and said: ‘that is a big “yes” to many of the 75 specific policies you urged upon me’.

Others have shown that Abbott, while definitely accepting some of the proposals, has been a little more pragmatic in adopting others or has been slow to take them too far. As with his decision not to proceed with the repeal of section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, Abbott may agree in principle with the IPA’s position but he is still a politician and will sometimes bow to political pressure, including public reaction, or to an inevitable political reality, such as not having control of the senate.

It is no coincidence that the IPA and Liberal Party policy are similar because Liberal members of parliament are involved in its activities and its current chairman is Rod Kemp, a former Liberal minister in the Howard government (who had already been a director of the IPA before becoming a Liberal member of parliament). Liberal power broker Michael Kroger is also on the board and one other member is also a former Liberal candidate — the other members of the board are business people. It claims to be a research organisation but there are no academics on its board, although it does have an academic Research Committee. Its approach to research, however, is anything but ‘academic’. Its Executive Director, John Roskam, says:

I’m sceptical about peer review in as much as you’re reviewed by your mates. Good analysis will stand up to scrutiny whether it’s peer reviewed or not.

The rejection of ‘peer review’ is interesting because, although designed to bring rigour to research, peer review has elements of a free market approach. It is competitive in the sense that other academics exercise their self-interest in finding flaws, if they can, in another’s work, thereby promoting their own work and their ability to ‘sell’ their own skills and knowledge. (It is sometimes when these elements dominate that the science can suffer.) If that does not follow market principles, then I’m not sure what does, but the IPA rejects it. We can only question why.

The IPA also refuses to divulge the funding for its research whereas mainstream research may be considered ‘suspect’ if funded by organisations that have a vested interest in the outcome of the research. Roskam again:

… he denies the IPA tailors its findings to the demands of the paying client. On the contrary, he says, clients come to the IPA because their concerns are consistent with IPA principles.

The IPA was founded in 1943, by big business, in response to what was seen as the threat of government interventionist social policies (also perceived as ‘socialist’ policies, remembering that Labor was in government at the time). Sir George Coles, founder of the Coles group, was its first chairman and it has been pointed out that all of its members in the early years lived in Toorak, an elite address in Melbourne.

It is also no coincidence that the Liberal Party was founded the following year: the IPA was involved and is reputed to have influenced (even provided) Menzies’ original policies. Early on it was a more conservative organisation but since the 1980s has become neo-liberal.

Although claiming to be a research organisation, its main aim appears more about getting its views before the public: in 2012‒13 financial year it claimed 878 mentions in print and online; 164 articles by its ‘researchers’ in the national media; 540 radio appearances and mentions; and 210 television appearances and mentions. I am not sure exactly what it means by ‘mentions’ — does it include critical mentions? — but it certainly appears a way of inflating the figures. Thus it claims media success in pushing its agenda. It may not be a bad thing that the IPA is now so openly pursuing its approach because, at least, it opens its arguments to wider scrutiny, rather than simply being a shadowy and secretive presence behind the throne.

Like the old union ambit claims (I’m sure it will enjoy that comparison), the IPA may not get all it wants but creates the debate and climate for the type of reform it wants. As its director for development and communications explained:

If we’re not out there arguing for the Australian Human Rights Commission to be abolished … no one is going to advance the idea of radically reforming it.

Even its approach that the ABC should be abolished as a government funded media service contributes to the ABC inviting its spokespeople to appear in the name of ‘balance’. (Although, interestingly, the IPA also wants the repeal of laws that mandate ‘balance’ in the media.) So, by pursuing a more radical agenda, it actually achieves lesser changes towards its ultimate aim.

The IPA agenda is not simply a set of policy prescriptions but a plan to reshape Australia in the neo-liberal image. Even the title of the article where its 75 policy ideas were presented clearly sets out that intent: ‘Be like Gough: 75 radical ideas to transform Australia’ [emphasis added]. The article correctly suggests that political culture moves left or right when left or right governments are elected, but claims that left governments are more successful in moving to the left than right governments are in moving the political culture and society back to the right. The article suggests that Abbott, to be successful with a free market reform agenda, must act like Whitlam and do it quickly: ‘If he hasn’t changed Australia in his first year as prime minister, he probably never will’. (As Abbott has now been in government for over a year, perhaps we can take limited comfort from that assessment.)

The IPA claims all this in the name of ‘freedom’ and perhaps garners some wider support for its positions because of that. (It had 3,383 members at 30 June 2013 and plans to have five thousand by the end of 2015.) We all support ‘freedom’ but, as with any offer too good to be true, one needs to read the fine print and find out what is actually meant.

I think more pertinent than Abbott’s speech at the IPA anniversary was a speech by Rupert Murdoch at that same event. Here are a few interesting excerpts revealing the big business and IPA defence of the free market and how they would like to shape the debate:

… we must argue the morality of free markets and the immorality of markets that are not free. The cold, commercial word ‘market’ disguises its human character — a market is a collection of our aspirations, exertions, choices and desires.

We have not persuaded people that the market does better because it is more moral — or that socialism fails because it is largely immoral in its denial of fundamental freedoms. To the contrary, too many people think that the market succeeds because it is based on a vice — greed. And that socialism is better because it is based on a virtue — sharing.

The market succeeds because it gives people incentives to put their own wants and needs aside to address the wants and needs of others. To succeed, you have to produce something that other people are willing to pay for.

[The market is] about fairness and opportunity. He [Arthur Brooks, leader of an American free market think tank] defines fairness as the universal opportunity to enjoy earned success. That means enjoying the fruits of our success.

What’s fair or compassionate, for example, about using taxpayer dollars to bail out Wall Street bankers?

What’s fair about taking money from people who have earned it and giving it to people who didn’t?

People begin to resent the rich only when they conclude that the system is rigged. To put it another way, if we wish to persuade people that income inequality is not the right way to measure the fairness of our society, we have to work to make sure that social mobility is real — especially for people at the bottommost levels of society. By that measure, we have much left to do.

Unsurprisingly, Murdoch’s approach to ‘fairness’ was picked up by the treasurer, Joe Hockey, in a speech he made to the Sydney Institute in June of this year:

In other words the average working Australian, be they a cleaner, a plumber or a teacher, is working over one month full time each year just to pay for the welfare of another Australian. Is this fair?

Whilst income tax is by far our largest form of revenue, just ten percent of the population pays nearly two thirds of all income tax. In fact, just two percent of taxpayers pay more than a quarter of all income tax. Maybe these taxpayers would argue that the tax system is already unfair.

The majority of Australians do not understand (rightfully, in my opinion) why some level of redistribution of income is ‘unfair’: the arguments that do exist are more about the extent of redistribution. Also, Murdoch’s claim that ‘income inequality’ is not the right way to measure fairness does not stand up to scrutiny. Murdoch suggests that social mobility is the answer but Piketty showed that the increasing wealth of those at the top is creating a clear lack of mobility, not just for those at the bottom (whom Murdoch mentioned), but those in the middle and upper middle income levels, who now have only miniscule opportunity to rise to the levels of wealth of those at the top (like Murdoch). Murdoch also ignores (as Piketty does not) that his children will inherit all that wealth and will not have ‘earned’ it — ‘earning’ success and wealth is meant to be central to the free market approach. If they believe that earned wealth is a key to the ‘fairness’ of the free market, why don’t they support inheritance taxes?

When Murdoch uses the words ‘greed’ in relation to the markets and ‘sharing’ in relation to socialism, although critical of that view, he actually raises a basic difference. The market is based on the philosophy of the self-interested individual and what is ‘greed’ but an expression of self-interest? Sharing is based on social responsibility and the common good. If, as Murdoch says, people do have this view, it is not some vague unwarranted feeling but a genuine value judgement based on the underlying principles. (Also noting that when Murdoch and the IPA use the word ‘socialism’, they do not mean Soviet-style socialism but almost any progressive view that suggests governments have a role to play in ensuring fairness.)

While Murdoch claims that the market represents human aspirations, my piece on the free market showed the extent to which the economic theory of the market is not based on reality at all: it is a framework supporting the property-owning classes, particularly the property-owning elites. If I lose my property I have no place in the market, no opportunity to improve my situation. I think the ultimate loss of property is someone with a severe disability who has lost their capacity to sell even their labour. What would happen to such people in a pure free market? They would be like the beggars of the past, living on the streets and probably starving.

That takes us to the different views of freedom of the left and the right as discussed in ‘Whose freedom?’. Because the right and the free-market advocates do not accept lack of means or lack of capacity as a limitation on freedom, they do not see why government needs to intervene. It is only the left or progressive view of freedom, that it should include improving the capacity of individuals to exercise their freedom, that deals with situations like the severely disabled person’s freedom in a market society.

The example of the disabled person also shows that there is still a distinction between the ‘market’ and ‘society’, a distinction that is blurred or ignored in the IPA and Murdoch view of the world. Australian society generally takes the view that the disabled person, or the unemployed person forced out of the market (often through no fault of their own), should be given some support. That is done in the social realm, not by the market (although in many ways it supports the market), but because that social approach draws funding (through taxes) from market activities, groups like the IPA, and its business supporters, believe such funding should be severely limited — or non-existent in their perfect world! You can see where the Abbott government draws its inspiration from in its approach to welfare but, as it discovered post-budget, it is not a view widely held by Australians.

Murdoch also mentioned that there was a difference between being ‘pro-market’ and ‘pro-business’, a difference the IPA does not yet seem to have grasped. It has in its 75 ideas the development of northern Australia which, it states, the government should support by creating a special economic zone that provides government incentives and concessions. If the IPA actually believes in the free market then the north would be developed without government assistance because it would be in the self-interest of the free market players to do so. If it requires government assistance, then that is actually, in Murdoch’s words, a ‘pro-business’ stand requiring government interference in the market. Some have unkindly suggested that this approach is simply supporting Gina Rinehart’s vision of the north that includes lower taxes for her mining operations. As a fictional political character used to say many years ago: ‘You may well think that but I could not possibly comment’.

There are reports, however, that some major corporations did withdraw funding support for the IPA over its earlier stance on Aboriginal affairs and more recently over its support of climate change deniers. If those reports are true (and apparently they cannot each be confirmed), it would suggest that some big businesses have more sense, and more understanding of issues beyond the market, but which influence the market, than the current IPA.

The IPA philosophy runs counter to the Australian concept of ‘a fair go’, as Hockey discovered to his discomfort when he echoed Murdoch’s words. As suggested by my other pieces, the IPA misrepresents ‘freedom’ by supporting a very limited concept of the word. It also misrepresents its supposed free market philosophy by supporting specific business proposals that require government intervention (in contravention of the free market philosophy). It thinks that ‘the market’ is society. Its research is questionable, as is its political judgement, as evidenced by its approach to climate change.

The IPA may be behind Abbott’s throne but it is making its presence known, even boasting of its role, which may not be in its or Abbott’s best interests. It has arguments built on sand that are not in accord with the values of the majority of Australians. The more it comes out from behind the throne, as it is doing, the more Australians will understand what it, and the Abbott government, truly stand for.

What do you think?



Rate This Post

Current rating: 0.4 / 5 | Rated 12 times

TPS Team

30/11/2014This week Ken Wolff takes a look at the IPA and its influence on the Abbott government. Will the extremist views of this "think tank" be a factor in the undoing of this government? Let us know what you think in comments below.

Ad astra

30/11/2014Ken Once again you have given us an erudite and thoughtful piece to debate. Who could deny that the IPA has an important influence on Coalition thinking? Abbott conceded that in his address to the annual IPA gathering this year. The IPA is a neoliberal think tank with a radical free market ideology. It despises Keynesianism, and any form of government support unless it is Murdoch’s ‘pro-business’ support for new enterprises when venture capital is lacking due to high risk, or where a catastrophe has occurred in a business ‘too big to fail’, when losses are conveniently socialized. Much of the ideology behind the Hockey Budget has its origins in free market thinking. The ‘end of the age of entitlement’ was Hockey’s consistent theme well before the election and the Budget is a manifestation of that idea. Those who Hockey felt were getting more than they were entitled to (the leaners), were the ones most severely hit. The Budget was unpopular from the outset, and according to the commentariat (but of course not the Federal Liberals), was a significant factor in the Coalition loss in the Victorian State election. Victorians took out their anger and feelings of unfairness about the Abbott/Hockey/Cormann Budget by voting against the Coalition here. Two State ministers virtually conceded this in comments made after the result was clear. The IPA’s influence over the Abbott government must therefore take much of the blame for the Coalition’s loss, and will need to do the same when it loses office federally in 2016. Abbott and Co. seem so wedded to IPA ideology that the possibility of them make major shifts in their thinking is remote. They have set themselves on an IPA inspired course, and their ship, barnacles and all, with Chief Barnacle Tony at the helm, will surely founder. Will they then write a letter of thanks to the IPA? Thank you Ken for another excellent discussion-starter.

Chris Weir

30/11/2014The IPA give a good impression of being anarchists the way they use 'freedom'.

Geoff

30/11/2014The problem that is facing the IPA is if Tony Abbott (who I prefer to call Captain Pugwash) is thrown out after the next election, which is more than likely, it will mean that twice it's policy platform has been rejected twice by the Australian people (first work choices in 2007). So, how are they relevant, their agenda is unsalable to the Australian people, they know this, the Liberal party know this, or we wouldn't have all the lies before the last election. It is about time that the MSM started calling them out on this, the truth is the Australian people do not want the IPA's agenda, policies, or anything to do with them. They should just leave the stage for others with more sensible ideas.

Casablanca

1/12/2014[b]1. Victoria's Swing To The Left: Eltham's Analysis Of Saturday's Result[/b] Ben Eltham 30 Nov 2014 A Coalition Government has been knocked off after just one term in government. Ben Eltham analyses the historic Victorian Election result.... For Labor, victory is sweet. In his victory speech, Andrews lauded the grass-roots efforts of hundreds of nurses, firefighters and paramedics, who had mounted a huge ground campaign of door-knocking and letter-boxing in support of the ALP. Democracy is often pronounced sick or even dying, but in this election the intensity of the democratic struggle waged for the comparatively minor prize of state government suggests that, for a minority but nonetheless sizable number of citizens, democratic participation is alive and well. https://newmatilda.com/2014/11/30/victorias-swing-left-elthams-analysis-saturdays-result [b]2. Labor wins Victorian election but watch for upper house chaos[/b] Adrian Beaumont, 30 November 2014, 10.36am AEDT With all election night votes counted, Labor has definitely won 44 of the 88 Victorian lower house seats, with the Coalition… http://theconversation.com/labor-wins-victorian-election-but-watch-for-upper-house-chaos-34796 [b]3. Victorian blame game brings more nasty static for end of Abbott’s parliamentary year [/b] Michelle Grattan. 30 November 2014, 8.07pm AEDT Voters were unimpressed with the state government’s performance and disgusted with its chaotic parliament. But the federal budget, with its array of nasties (many of which haven’t even been passed because of the Senate) and the general style of the federal government played right into Labor’s hands. http://theconversation.com/victorian-blame-game-brings-more-nasty-static-for-end-of-abbotts-parliamentary-year-34841 [b]4. Napthine, Abbott and One Term Governments! [/b] Rossleigh November 30, 2014 When Julia Gillard said: “If I could put it as clearly as I can . . . ‘don’t write crap. Can’t be that hard. And when you have written complete crap, then I think you should correct it”, she pretty much hit the nail on the head. Over the past few weeks, the media have been feeding us such gems as: “This election will be decided in a few key marginal seats.” Compared to all the elections where the marginal seats aren’t key? This was followed by: “Labor will need to win a majority of these to claim government.” What, you mean they can’t just have a military coup? http://theaimn.com/napthine-abbott-one-term-governments/ [b]5. Green Army Balmy [/b] Edward Eastwood November 30, 2014 From the outset it was always clear that ‘Abbott’s Army’ was never going to work. According to Fairfax media, the High Court ruling on school chaplaincy also applies to other directly federally funded projects such as The Green Army. In simple terms, this means that the Federal Government has no power to directly fund projects – such as picking up litter and pulling weeds – which would normally be funded and administered by either state or local government. The High Court has ruled that all direct federal funding can only be “used to meet relevant international obligations or conserving matters of environmental significance.” http://theaimn.com/green-army-balmy/ [b]6. Getting rid of dysfunctional Prime Ministers [/b] Jennifer Wilson. November 30, 2014 The situation with Abbott is very different: while Rudd was still popular but behind the scenes, dysfunctional, Abbott is openly dysfunctional and unpopular to boot, so the electorate won’t go into nearly as much shock and awe if he’s chucked out of the top job in his first term. Personally, I’d like to see Abbott stay on as leader as he’s the ALP’s best asset. http://theaimn.com/getting-rid-dysfunctional-prime-ministers/ [b]7. Tony Abbott had ‘toxic’ effect on Victorian election, say former premiers [/b] Daniel Hurst. 30 November 2014 Federal MPs play down prime minister’s influence on Coalition defeat as former Labor and Liberal premiers unleash vitriol. Former Labor and Liberal premiers of Victoria have said Tony Abbott had a “toxic” effect in the state election, but federal ministers have sought to play down the prime minister’s influence in the Coalition’s defeat. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/nov/30/tony-abbott-toxic-effect-victorian-election-say-former-premiers?CMP=ema_632 [b] 8. The broken clocks are right twice a day [/b] Victoria Rollison. November 29, 2014 As if a switch has been flicked, as if a group memo has gone out (perhaps from Rupert Murdoch), Australian political journalists have all very neatly and in a scarily synchronised fashion all decided there are problems with the Abbott government. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but this is the biggest case of too little too late that I have ever witnessed. It is now official that the mainstream political press is exactly one year and three months behind the independent media who, like me, have been pointing out to our readers since the day Tony Abbott became Prime Minister, that he is not fit for the job. Actually that’s not true. I and most others were saying it for six years before that. http://theaimn.com/broken-clocks-right-twice-day/

Ken

1/12/2014Ad I don't think the IPA influence is one of telling Abbott what to do but is more insidious. The IPA has been an influence on the Liberals ever since the Liberal Party was created. And it probably played a significant role in moving the Liberals to the right, to the neo-liberal position. Rod Kemp is an example: in the IPA to start with, then a Liberal Minister under Howard, and back to the IPA as chairman. So the upshot is that the IPA doesn't really have to tell Abbott and co. what to do because the Liberals have been infiltrated over many years and already share the IPA values.

Ken

1/12/2014Chris I agree that the IPA's view of freedom is like the 'law of the jungle'. In its view, only the biggest survive. But they forget the story of evolution (though I imagine thee would be a number of them who don't believe in evolution). When the dinosaurs ruled the earth (the biggest creatures at the time) small mammals were running about in the undergrowth, waiting their chance. The IPA and the Murdochs and Rineharts of this world would do well to remember that.

Ken

1/12/2014Geoff Thank you for reminding us that the IPA has been at this game for some time. If I had thought of the Workchoices example myself, I would have written this piece slightly differently. You also reiterate my point that what the IPA stands for is not in accord with the values of the majority of Australians and, as you say, it has already been rejected once in an election. I agree entirely that the MSM should be exposing the IPA and where its ideas would actually lead Australia. But when Murdoch owns the majority of newspapers in this country, and obviously supports the IPA approach, I don't expect that to happen.

Geoff

1/12/2014Murdoch is a major funder of the IPA, one of the reasons I think they should be banned from the ABC. He owns 63% of the MSM so why should he be able to push his views on the ABC as well. I really question what the ABC is doing with programs like the Drum, why have the partisan political players on there repeating their focus group positions. Get academic, independent thinkers who are unattached to either political party, who can discuss the research, the science of the issues. Then the pollies would have to do more than go through the spin cycle.

Ken

1/12/2014Geoff In my initial response I forgot to welcome you to TPS. So a warm welcome and I hope you find a like-minded 'family' here and return to us regularly. Your opening question is a good one: if Murdoch already expresses IPA views through his papers why should we allow the ABC to also promote IPA views? Obviously groups like the IPA would claim that if the ABC has left-leaning guests and commentators, then there should also be right-leaning commentators. As you say, it would be good if they could have independent academics but the problem with that is that the IPA and the Liberal Party consider most academics to be left-leaning and that any criticism of IPA or governments approaches is a sure sign that they must be from the left. So they effectively have a position that says their own position is independent and neutral and any criticism comes only from the Left. You can't win an argument against such people without being dismissed as a 'Leftie'. But as you said in your first comment, the people aren't so gullible and have voted against the IPA position before and will again.

jaycee

1/12/2014Even the most casual perusal of the IPA's 75 point wish list reveals a pattern...: The systematic unwinding of essential structures that give coherence to a civilised society. Take any ten of those wishes and eliminate them from administration of the national agenda and you would have thousands out on the street in desperate protests. What would the govt' do?..set the water cannons (more expense!) on them? bring in the riot squads(more expense!), send then to a stalag? No...the reading of that crude and juvenile wish list exposes the puerile philosophy of the "free-market rationalists". As our society moved from a conquest / plunder tribalism to administrative / taxed governance collective (way back in the time of circa 2nd. c.AD.), layer upon layer of necessary legal and social limits were required to stabilise such a unwieldly beast!..Occasionally, there are "breakouts" of elements of uncivilised behaviour and new laws and regulations must be, for the sake of humanitarian crises as much as for economic control, legislated. One has to wonder, reading and seeing on our media those personalities of the IPA. , how long such "soft-dick" non-producers like Mr. Berg or Mr. Roskam or Mr. Wilson et al would last in the fierce furnace of the "warrior-robber-Baron" free-for-all they promote?..I would encourage any of those IPA. "idealogues" to go policy-in-hand onto a full unionised building site and "have a chat to the boys" about the "sound principles" of their ideas...I suspect the outcome would be one more "piece of soft reinforcing" added to that days' concrete pour!...At least I would hope so!

Ad astra

1/12/2014Geoff Welcome to The Political Sword. Do come again. You are right. Only the ultra-right wing Tea Party adherents could endorse IPA's radical ideology.

Ad astra

1/12/2014Casablanca You have done it yet again - you have aggregated a great collection of items relevant to the Victorian election. Thank you. The Federal Coalition by and large is in denial. We should welcome the fact that the longer they are avoiding taking responsibility for their role in the Coalition's loss in Victoria, the better it will be for Labor.

Ad astra

1/12/2014Jaycee It's good to see you back. Your comments are spot on and always worth reading.

jaycee

1/12/2014Always lurking, AA. always lurking...though of late have been a tad weary of "social media" and it's clique style behaviours. Though getting back to the IPA. , one has to wonder on their nous...I mean, even those with the most basic intelligence can appreciate that if one was to bring a blow with the hammer onto one's thumb, pain would ensue..well, I suppose if one was a LNP. voter, it could take several blows!..So one has to ponder if those people in the IPA. believe they will only be witness to the ensuing chaos that their "wish list" would create...or perhaps they cannot believe they would be drawn into any conflict arising from such vicious and life-threatening cuts? If one looks to history..to Mycenea in ancient times, archeology demonstrates that the fortress there was burnt to the ground down no less than six times...yet there was not one foreign weapon to be found..meaning that the city was destroyed by it's own people...that is, the hill-top priveleged, becoming overbearing to the plebs on the plains below, were wiped out to a man six times!...six times!...Now, you'd think they would have learned after the third or forth time...you'd think ?? Just goes to show, the attraction of absolute power and wealth comes at a cost to common sense...a heavy cost, one might add..Perhaps the IPA. would be better served to retire and study some ancient history rather than the fluff in their collective navels !

Ad astra

1/12/2014jaycee Judging from the volume of Joe Hockey's bellowing in Question Time today, he must be very angry. Angry at losing in Victoria, angry at the mess his Budget is in, angry at the pending disaster of the forward projections of his deficits as per Chris Richardson, angry that the only remedy he has at his disposal are neoliberal IPA-type solutions, ones that penalise the less-well-off and let the wealthy off the hook. Faced with the possibility of ballooning deficits, scared to cut any deeper just before Christmas, and determined not to hurt the well-off, he is without a way ahead. He knows he will have to wear the pain of burgeoning deficits, and cop the same flak he so lavishly handed out to Wayne Swan when falling commodity priced robbed him of revenue. He knows his MYEFO will spell out the disastrous situation, right at the end of the year, leaving a bad taste about the Abbott Government and the Hockey Budget in the mouths of the voters that will last all over the end-of-year break. As for Abbott, he was his typical arrogant, self-satisfied, smug self, steeped in denial. The government has had a great year and is looking forward to the next. Never mind Victoria, never mind the legislation stalled in the Senate, never mind the escalating deficit, all is well - he has 'got rid of the carbon tax, the mining tax, has stopped the boats' and his massive infrastructure projects are going well. Denial is all he has left. He needs counselling, but that will never work in someone wallowing in denial. All the time he alienates the electorate and his mates in the media, but why should he worry, everything's fine!

jaycee

1/12/2014Upon sensible reflection, admitting that those staff of the IPA. all have had as decent an education as could be obtained in this country, one has to seriously consider on their intelligence..I do not mean their level of education or training, but their natural capacity to make cogent , rational evaluation of what they promulgate. If their education was on equal terms with a healthy intellect, they would have to reconsider the policy claim of economic rationalism being a level playing field where fair trade and fair play go hand in glove with equal opportunity for all to achieve prosperity and wealth limited only by one’s creative genius , work ethic and /or business acumen… What a crock !! Any child knows from visible want that the bag of lollies he/she is holding (bequeathed to them from favoured patronage) has value according to the want in the eyes of other children…while he/she holds tight to that bag he/she calls the shots. Likewise, the cost of digging up a tonne of mullock to extract ore is the same for gold as it is for iron…the end value in both calculated by the want of the extracted ore…the knowledge is as old as the hills, so to promote the lie that the one who holds the shovel has wealth equal to the one that holds the gold is to plumb the depths of perfidy to Murdoshian levels! But to then go on to claim that such want of wealth is to create a fairer society has to be delusion equal to hallucinogenic visions…for even if the most humble peasant was to have nothing but their garden of vegetables, a clutch of chickens or rabbits for food..a family adequately fed and clothed from the adults industry and skills, wanting little more from life than such well-being and health…if such peasants existed, those of the philosophy of the IPA. would need to destroy such small contentment…as swiftly as possible before it became known that life could be lived without a creed of grasping wealth…destroyed as quickly as possible because..as in the value of that bag of lollies, all accumulated wealth only has such value as measured against want. If the wealth of King Croesus was not wanted, it would have no value..so the simple life of the peasant must be destroyed to create the “want” that gives value to both the gold and the method of obtaining that gold..ie; the philosophy of the IPA. and the LNP. “running dogs” (I like that saying!). So too, must the wage of the artisan work of the employed be restrained at or below “break- even” levels so the mogul can rejoice in his “value- added” gold. It was Edward Wakefield who styled the system of keeping workers wages just below that level of possible accumulation so as to afford them buying their own estates and thereby removing their labour from the gentleman’s service..ever the fair trade and fair play bastards! I have no sympathy nor can harbour any mercy for such filth! History knows and recognizes their face..hubris and greed will lure their Nemesis..there is nothing new under the sun and as the saying goes…”When first the tottering house begins to sink…thither goes all the weight by an instinct”……and good riddance! Oh for the next election to be sooner rather than the two years away, for these gormless fools now in office are digging a hole that will surely bury them!...and so the saying goes, they know not to stop digging!..Thinking that at the bottom of the pit there is more gold when all there is , is their own black souls! Let them dig and when their fate is sealed, as it has been in Victoria these last few days, feel no remorse to cover them over. For such hearts to implement policies that harm not only the old and infirm, but are so black they will not give safe harbour to even a new-born, whose only mischief is an accident of birth. Where the evangelic choir for that child?..where the incense, myrrh and the three wise men?..no glory awaits, no mercy nor salvation..the threat that such a child may one day grow and with their hard work and ingenuity, take a little measure of the wealth from the horde of the insatiable greedy…where is their faith, their belief in the "God of Love”? It is not some blind-faith evil that motivates this ship of fools, it is that simple-minded horror in the soul of humanity…it is Zola’s ; “La Bete humanie”…the beast in mankind..it is the horror in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”…where a fellow citizen, under our watching eyes will send back to peril, children and even pregnant women…in our name…When I for one, as would many others, would freely give a share of my own children’s clothing for that child if needed …It is beyond decency what this government is doing in our name….It is beyond decency! The horror, the horror!

Casablanca

2/12/2014[b]1. Albanese Brands 'Negative Abbott' A 'One Trick Tony' In Stinging Parliamentary Attack[/b] Chris Graham If you like passionate politics and zinging one-liners, then Anthony Albanese’s speech in parliament today won’t disappoint. https://newmatilda.com/2014/12/01/albanese-brands-negative-abbott-one-trick-tony-stinging-parliamentary-attack [b]2. More evidence that Albo was the best candidate[/b] (Video 10m) https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=855506871150093&fref=nf [b]3. Vice-Chancellor Compares Peak University Body To Flesh Eating Disease[/b] Max Chalmers School might be out for the summer, but the battle over Australia's universities has reached fever pitch, with one VC vowing to boycott the sector's peak body. https://newmatilda.com/2014/12/01/vice-chancellor-compares-peak-university-body-flesh-eating-disease

Casablanca

2/12/2014[b]Abbott Switches Government Off And On Again [/b] Prime Minister Tony Abbott has switched off the government at the wall, waited ten seconds, and then switched it on again, in a last-ditch attempt to try to get it working. “We tried everything else,” the PM confirmed. “Holding down control-alt-delete, banging the keyboard over and over again, using the phrase ‘efficiency dividend’. But nothing worked unfortunately, so we’ve turned it off and on”. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2014/12/01/abbott-switches-government-off-and-on-again/ Peta didn't include a monitor in this promo!

Ken

2/12/2014Casablanca Thank you, especially for the link to Albo's speech. At least someone on the Labor side is taking it to the government. Just a shame that, as was said, it was to an almost empty Committee Room. No doubt it is the type of speech that other politicians will read, more than the public will hear about it, and may just inspire the Labor members that it is possible to attack the government without getting their own fingers burnt.

Ad astra

2/12/2014Casablanca Thank you for this morning’s links. Anthony Albanese is spot on – Abbott is a ‘One Trick Pony’. He continues to apply in government his negative, slogan-driven approach, which netted him handsome electoral dividends in opposition, and wonders why they don’t work now. His one trick no longer garners applause, and he can’t understand why. Only yesterday, after well over a year as PM, did he see the need to hit the ‘reset button’, but as [i]The Shovel[/i] humourously portrays, it is unlikely to restore his fortunes. In [i]Poll Bludger[/i], an article titled [i]Another fortnight, another dire Newspoll for Tony Abbott.[/i] tells a sorry story for him: [i]The fortnightly Newspoll in The Australian brings the government little respite, Labor’s lead down from 55-45 to Labor’s blowout last time to 54-46, from primary votes of 37% for the Coalition (up one), 37% for Labor (down two) and 13% for the Greens (up two). Tony Abbott’s personal ratings continue to deteriorate, with approval down three to 33% and disapproval up two to 57%, while Bill Shorten’s remain broadly stable as they have for so long, with approval unchanged at 39% and disapproval up two to 43%. Shorten’s lead as preferred prime minister widens just slightly from 43-37 to 43-36.[/i] A commenter on [i]Poll Bludger[/i] has kept a record of One Trick Tony’s net popularity since late October 2013, as follows: 
+13
+7
0
-5
-5
-16
-12
-10
-7
-21
-30
-26
-31
-31
-29
-17
-18
-19
-19
-11
-15
-15
-19 [b]
Now -24[/b]. In only the first two of twenty-four polls did he have a positive rating; it’s been downhill since then. After sinking to -31 six months ago, he had a tiny upswing at the time of Malaysian Airlines downing, but has been going down steadily for the last four polls, and this week’s [i]Newspoll[/i] has him down another five points from a fortnight ago. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2014/12/02/newspoll-54-46-to-labor-6/ He is out this morning, after his marathon press conference yesterday when he tried to hit the reset button, whingeing about the difficulties he is having in the Senate. It turned out to be a sickening, pathetic ‘poor me’ performance. He even went so far as to label Labor as in a ‘feral mood’! Ordinarily, one would be incredulous that Abbott, the most feral politician in living memory, could accuse Labor of feral behaviour, and lampoon it for channeling the behaviour that he exhibited over six long years, and then whine that he is being hardly done by. But with anything Abbott says or does, incredulity is pointless. This man has no political ethics or decency. Anything goes. Rules are irrelevant. He is a ‘say anything’, ‘do anything’ politician, who resorts to denial and lying when he makes a mistake, which he does day after day, week after week, month after month. I’m not the only one who is incredulous. On the [i]Today[/i] show today host Karl Stefanovic accused Abbott of being “fairly feral” while in opposition, telling the Coalition leader “no one is buying what you are selling”. http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2014/12/02/karl-stefanovic-calls-tony-abbott-fairly-feral/?utm_source=Karl%20Stefanovic%20calls%20Tony%20Abbott%20‘fairly%20feral’&utm_medium=Top%20Stories&utm_campaign=Top%20Stories The decline of Abbott continues remorselessly. Even his close colleagues can smell blood in the water, and there’s already talk about who might replace him. He is simply not up to the job. His media cheerleaders are disturbed that their champion is performing so poorly and making so little headway. They are even writing adverse comments in their columns, warning him that he has to lift his game. One Trick Tony is hoping he can end the dirge the year has been on a better note, that he can enjoy a long summer holiday, and that he will come back refreshed to face another year as PM. Apropos of holidays, I am still pondering whether or not Denis Shanahan’s article in today’s [i]The Australian[/i] has been written ‘tongue-in-cheek’. He begins: “[i]As Tony Abbott resets his political strategy, he is planning to do much less international travel next year and have a reasonable, relaxing family holiday of surf and sand for the first time since he was elected Liberal leader five years ago. “The Prime Minister’s key staff, under increasing pressure because of the government’s self-confessed “ragged week”, are also planning the longest leave in five years.[/i] Later he writes: “[i]Because he was chairman of the G20, Mr Abbott also had to break his traditional family holiday surfing on the NSW coast to attend the economic conference in Davos in early January.” “Mr Abbott said in Switzerland that he had gone to Davos to make a speech as G20 chairman to set out Australia’s vision for the Brisbane summit. But after the conference he said it was not something he intended to attend every year. “The timing of the Davos conference meant that Mr Abbott’s long-term chief-of-staff, Peta Credlin, had to cut short a skiing holiday in the US to accompany the Prime Minister. [/i] Oh dear - poor Tony, poor Peta. Read the whole Shanahan piece and judge whether he is having a piece of them. Surely not! PS: You can get to the article behind the Murdoch pay wall by placing the title in [i]Google[/i]. One Trick Tony is a spent force, irrelevant to today’s politics. Albo said it with all the fervour for which he is famed. Will Labor come to regret that he was not selected as Opposition Leader?

jaycee

2/12/2014" defines fairness as the universal opportunity to enjoy earned success. That means enjoying the fruits of our success." So with that definition, the "cat-burglar", by serupticiously casing, planning, carrying out a stealthful robbery without harm to person or property, ought to "enjoy the fruits of his success" without fear of aprehension?...similar,perhaps, to a phone hacker connecting to a murdured childs phone...the only crime is in getting caught!..."someone throw him off the stage..he's a wanker!!"

Ad astra

2/12/2014Casablanca Do you have a link to the transcript of Albo's telling speech? It is worth preserving.

Casablanca

2/12/2014Ad, I knew that you (and others here)would be impressed by Albo's speech. Curiously, it was part of a Grievance Debate in the Federation Chamber and therefore recorded in Hansard. It was accessible on Albo's parliamentary web page under [i]Recent Speeches[/i]: The direct link to the speech link is: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2d891fab-c2b5-41b4-967f-0b37fdb6fe7c%2F0352%22

Ken

2/12/2014jaycee Glad you picked that up. I also thought it was up there with the best of the neo-liberal statements. It applies to those who are already filthy rich and bugger the rest. And, as you say, it could apply equally to the burglar the poacher, or our old bushrangers -- although that is obviously not what the neo-liberals intend. It also goes back to Chris's early comment that the IPA/neo-liberal view of freedom is anarchic and the wider implications of 'earned success' confirm that.

Ad astra

2/12/2014Folks One Trick Tony can’t take a trick with the voters. His regurgitation of tired old slogans about getting rid of the carbon tax, and on and on and on, haven’t helped him in today’s [i]Essential Poll[/i] as reported in [i]Crikey[/i] by Bernard Keane: “[i][b]Essential: you haven't kept faith with us, PM[/b] “Nearly twice as many voters reject Tony Abbott's claim that he has "fundamentally kept faith with them" as believe it, today's Essential poll shows, while there is widespread opposition to the government's remaining unpassed budget measures. “Last week, as he unsuccessfully battled to overcome criticisms the government's $300 million cuts to the ABC and SBS weren't a breach of his election commitments, the Prime Minister told Parliament the government had "fundamentally kept faith with the Australian people". Voters don't believe him, with 56% disagreeing, including 34% who strongly disagree, compared to 31% who agree, with even a fifth of Liberal voters disagreeing with Abbott. http://media.crikey.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/faith-copy.jpg “But despite the recent focus on the Prime Minister's broken promise about ABC and SBS funding -- to which he finally admitted yesterday -- voters haven't marked him down on his personal attributes. Across a range of positive and negative attributes, Abbott has shifted little since the immediate aftermath of the budget: perceptions he is "good in a crisis" have lifted 7 points to 42%; perceptions he is "hard-working" have increased 5 to 62%, but otherwise perceptions haven't shifted. Perceptions of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have shifted even less, except for a 5-point drop in perceptions he is a "capable leader". The result is that most voter perceptions of Shorten remain significantly better than for the Prime Minister. http://media.crikey.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/comparison-copy.jpg “Voters also oppose the remainder of the government's unpassed legislative program. The only measure with any support is the proposal to make the young unemployed wait six months before claiming benefits, which is opposed 48%-39%. Most strongly opposed is the indexation of the fuel excise, opposed 72%-18% and the Medicare co-payment (68%-24%). The government's funding cut for universities of 20% is opposed 65%-20% and its proposal to deregulate university fees 56% to 23%. Tony Abbott's paid parental leave scheme, which he said yesterday he would not be backing away from, is opposed 57% to 30%. “The Australian Defence Force pay deal, which at 1.5% amounts to a real pay cut, is also opposed, but only narrowly, with 47% to 42% saying it is unfair, with both Liberal voters (50%-43%) and Greens voters (42%-33%) saying, on balance, it is fair. “On voting intention, Labor has picked up a point, to 40%, while the Coalition remains on 40%; the Greens are down a point to 9%, while the PUP remains at 3%. The two-party preferred outcome shifts in Labor's favour to 53%-47%.”[/i] The inserted links take you to the tables. Despite all his bravado, all his insistence that his government is making good progress and doing what it said it would do, as Karl Stefanovic said on Channel Nine this morning: “no one is buying what you are selling”.

Ad astra

2/12/2014Casablanca You are fantastic. Thanks for the Hansard link to Albo's speech, now bookmarked.

Ad astra

2/12/2014Folks In today’s [i]Crikey[/i] Guy Rundle has a thoughtful article: [i][b]Napthine's loss the beginning of the end for the Right[/b] “There were probably better things to do in Atlantic City in the early hours of Friday night/Saturday morning than watch the ABC feed on bad wi-fi, but truth be told I couldn’t think of any. I could have set the laptop up on the tables at the Trump Tower, or stage side at Scores by the Boardwalk, but nothing could match the sheer deliciousness of watching the Napthine government bubble down the drain of history. From the early and unmistakable trends away from the government to the strong showing by the Greens in Melbourne to the rapidly forming certainty -- that was exactly what you want from a vote count. None of that heart-stopping coming-from-behind sudden-reversal stuff. This was steady and remorseless erasure, exactly in line with the polls. “True, there was a bit of a wobble with The Age’s Napthine endorsement, but that just turned out to be another instalment in the world’s longest suicide note. Other than that, it was steady all the way. The first one-term government in Victoria since 1955, the pundits said, omitting to remark that that had occurred during a wrenching split down the middle of the ALP, with Labor (anti-communist) preferences going to the Libs. To try to find a common-or-garden first-term defeat you’d have to go back I dunno how far into our electoral history. “The significance of the victory can’t be understated for Victorian politics. Given a fixed four-year term, by 2018 Labor will have ruled Victoria for 24 of the last 36 years -- 28 of the last 40, if, as seems likely, the party wins a second term. That is domination of politics over an era, with the consequent shaping of the political culture. Whatever lasting depredations Jeff Kennett left us -- a Mordor-style casino "awarded" (with monopoly privileges!) to a Liberal Party treasurer like the place was Louisiana, a needlessly vandalised school and hospital system -- or the attempt by Matthew Guy to kill the livability of the city in a single term, they haven’t had lasting purchase. “Thus, the history of the Victorian Liberal Party in the post-Hamer period is a history of failure. Liberal parties, based on a philosophy of individualism, do not weather opposition well -- people depart quickly for fresh opportunities rather than face the bitter task of opposition. The Victorian Libs are engaged in a continuing struggle between a Christian Right and the old business establishment party. If the suburban god-botherers take control of the party, they could keep the Libs out of power indefinitely. “Post-election analysis has pointed to the various national and state-based factors responsible for the Napthine government’s defeat, with the emphasis on the Abbott factor foremost. Yet the Baillieu/Napthine government was in trouble from early on, long before the shenanigans with Geoff Shaw started. And trying to attribute blame to particular policies ignores a key fact: across the English-speaking world, the Right is in trouble. When you put Victoria together with the federal government and add in the Cameron government in the UK, three of its major governments are facing a one-term proposition. The Newman government in Queensland would be in the same boat, were it not for the vast majority it gained on election. And in the US, the Right can only win seats via gerrymandered Congressional votes -- the Democrats win the presidency and an overall majority in the raw vote for the House. “Everywhere, the Right is losing its legitimacy, and the Victorian election can be seen as a small example of that. That lost legitimacy is the key factor -- without that loss, the Napthine government might have received the benefit of the doubt traditionally extended to a first-term government. The problem for the Right is not the superficial screw-ups or the federal contamination effect -- it’s that the social-cultural ground is shifting beneath their feet in ways that benefit the progressive centre. “That is especially so in a place like Victoria, dominated by Melbourne, which is in turn coming to be dominated by knowledge, science and culture industries. The growth of such industries creates a growth in the numbers of a particular type of professional -- knowledge-oriented, reflexive, universalist and global. They are, in some ways, a distinct social class in themselves, but they can also be seen as a recomposition of the bourgeoisie. The old ranks that made Victoria the jewel-in-the-crown of liberalism are thinned and transformed by these new groups. They do not, of course, have the numbers to change the political culture by themselves, but neither did the old professional bourgeoisie. Rather, there is a sort of "leadership" effect whereby the rising social power of a small class will change the wider political culture more generally. “In Victoria, decades of this process have accumulated, expressing itself in neighbourhood change, cultural change and social activism, which makes the state inherently progressive. The Cain (Jr) government of the '80s nurtured much of this by creating a whole quasi-state apparatus network of arts festivals, small group grants funding, multicultural networks and the like, reaching far into every aspect of social life. Kennett wisely decided not to attack this structure en toto, merely to prune it back and redirect some of the cultural activity away from the community and towards the commercial. A decade later, that distinction has somewhat collapsed, and the Cain-Kirner-Kennett model of Victoria continues to infuse society with a progressivist, statist ideal of how society should work. “But to varying degrees that is happening everywhere. Every four years, a cohort of voters from the old class division check out for good, and a new cohort of voters turn 18, or equally importantly, pass from youth into their 30s retaining much of the progressive political thinking they had as teenagers or students. This is not because they have become more idealistic. It is because the progressivist message -- that society should be steered by rational, socially just, best practice, systems-oriented thinking, with universal equality of gender, race, sexuality etc -- is simply the base idea of their social class and of the world they have started to build around them. The sad fantasy of Bolt, Roskam, James Paterson et al -- that if only the party had stuck to a more hard-Right austere classical liberal message -- does not even begin to fit the current situation. It’s the endless nostalgic reprise of Thatcherism -- and of Kennett. It takes those victories -- which arose from the collapse of post-war social democracy under the weight of its own contradictions -- and mistakes their one-off, system-rebooting moment for a general principle. “There’s never going to be a time from now on when it’s a smart move to combine social conservatism with free-market liberalism. Social conservatism doesn’t even fit the form of social life we now have, the hybridity and fluidity that was edgy in the '80s and '90s and is now central to the culture and the economy. As for the free-market austerity, the swingeing cuts, the low-church moralising about earning and saving, well, we are all not merely Keynesians, but also Rawlsians now. It’s precisely because people want the dynamics of freer markets that they also want the recuperative effects of the current progressivist formulation of how economy, state and society works. The Right can come up with whatever fantasy it wants -- Chris Berg’s (the Build-A-Bear classical liberal) assertion that fixed terms are to blame is my favourite -- but unless it begins to reflect on the composition of its polticial philosophy, it’ll be one, two, many Victorias from here on in.”[/i] Food for thought for all sides of politics.

Casablanca

2/12/2014Ad, Abbott took the family to Europe last Christmas.... [b]Prime Minister Tony Abbott is dreaming of a white Christmas, in Paris.[/b] Tony Wright. December 16, 2013 Mr Abbott, wife Margie and two of their daughters, Frances and Bridget, are flying to Europe to be reunited with the eldest Abbott daughter, Louise, at the end of the week. Louise will travel from Switzerland where she works to join them for Christmas. The family will spend about a week in France before Mr and Mrs Abbott return to Australia for their traditional summer holidays on the NSW south coast. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/politicians-christmas-holiday-plans-20131215-2zfbz.html. The Davos Forum was in late January, 2014 so I guess that the dear leader returned to Australia for a bit of sun before returning to Davos, Switzerland for the Forum. That is, he interrupted a holiday in Paris to enjoy a bit of sun 'n surf in Oz knowing full well that he had to be back in the Swiss Alps circa 20 January, 2014. Now Davos is where Klosters, the famous Ski Resort, is located. (You can probably see where I'm going with this..) Imagine the outcry from the likes of D. Shanahan if a Labor Prime Minister's Chief of Staff had been recalled to duty on the public purse from a ski holiday in the US to travel to Davos Klosters for a World Economic Forum. BTW Hockey also attended, with a clutch of specialist economic advisors, so why did Credlin have to attend? AS I also recall Abbott's main contribution to the Forum in his role as Chairman of the G20 was to take 'a swipe at Labor's stimulus package during the global financial crisis in a departure from the convention of avoiding domestic point scoring while on the world stage'. He also dubbed the Forum the "Woodstock for intellectuals". He emphasised that it was government's role to let private businesses create wealth because profit is "not a dirty word" and quoted Abraham Lincoln, saying that "government should do for people what they can't do for themselves, and no more". http://www.news.com.au/national/prime-minister-tony-abbott-tells-world-economic-forum-in-switzerland-all-governments-should-embrace-free-trade/story-fncynjr2-1226809040771 The following account of Abbott's grand entry to the world stage is worth a re-read: [b]Abbott’s Davos Moment[/b] Mike Seccombe. January 24, 2014 You have one chance to speak to the world’s most powerful people. What do you say? http://static.theglobalmail.org/feature/abbotts-davos-moment/820/ If only the MSM had read Mike Seccombe's piece in the lead up to the G20 we would not have let Abbott loose again on that audience or have been surprised by his cringeworthy performance. BRING ON THE DOUBLE DISSOLUTION. ABC News24 is announcing that the Uni De-regulation Bill will be voted down in the Senate. I loved Lambie's comment this morning that somebody should get Christopher Pyne a box of Kleenex (or WTTE). [b]TRACKING ABBOTT’S WRECKAGE[/b] Now up to 296 and counting. http://sallymcmanus.net/abbotts-wreckage/

Casablanca

2/12/2014Ad Thanks. An uplifting piece by Guy Rundle who is one of my favourite writers. The move back to the left is also noted by Peter Browne: [b]How the Abbott government parted company with majority opinion[/b] Peter Browne. December 2, 2014 - 12:15AM The mismatch between the underlying views of Coalition MPs and the reality of electoral democracy crosses almost the full range of policy areas, from financial advice to university funding. It appears to be a problem not just for this government but also for the Coalition more generally, and particularly the Liberal Party. [b]There's evidence that the electorate has shifted a little to the left, and the parliamentary Liberal Party has certainly shifted to the right.[/b] The gap that's opened up is wide enough to make it very hard for the Coalition, in its present shape, to attract an election-winning majority. As the Victorian election showed, a one-term government isn't out of the question. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/how-the-abbott-government-parted-company-with-majority-opinion-20141201-11xizb.html

Curi-Oz

2/12/2014On contemplation of some of the comments about Mr Abbott today, it has just struck me that even after the “coup” against Mr Whitlam’s government, there was not this level of vituperation against Mr Fraser as there is against Mr Abbott. Is it that we have a better exposure to comments by the MSM and others? (Yay for the internet!) Is it that we are (in general) more experienced in identifying people playing silly-buggers? Is it that we are in an echo-chamber of our own ideology, and we are out of touch with the wider economy? (because we all know there is no such thing as society…) Or is it that we have identified that the installation of this current government is the second coup in this country, organised by a similar coterie to the first one in 1975? There is a part of me that keeps hoping that somehow we will survive in such a way, that the society that is Australia will recover and reclaim that generosity of spirit that I first experienced when I arrived here forty odd years ago. There is a part of me that fears the damage is terminal, and will continue to make Australian society/economy smaller and meaner still.

Ken

2/12/2014Curi-Oz Welcome back. You have been quiet for a while, at least as regards comments. I think we can take some heart from two of the articles Casablanca found suggesting that the electorate has moved ever so slightly to the left while the Liberals continue to move ever further to the right. I think the Australian concept of the 'fair go' was perhaps becoming something people just accepted would always be there and this government has shaken them out of that complacency. Many are now realising that the 'fair go' can be destroyed by government if we let them. I don't expect Abbott to bounce back but I fear that the Libs could go to a more moderate leader (such as Turnbull. Although he has also wasted a lot of political credibility, a more small 'L' liberal approach could win them enough votes to hang on. So perhaps we should stop criticising Abbott and just leave him to get on with hanging himself.:-)

Curi-Oz

2/12/2014With a perfectly straight face, I keep telling people that the next leader of the LNP and PM should be Ken Wyatt (http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=M3A) But that is just me playing with their minds - especially if they are 'liberals' of the Abbott/Murdoch party *smirks faintly* PS - I've been lurking, but you've all been saying things better than I could. But I've got lots of things to think about, thank you!

Casablanca

2/12/2014Break through article by Stephen Parker at: [b]1. Higher education changes a 'fraud on the electorate'[/b] Stephen Parker. December 2, 2014 - 4:27PM These reforms are unfair to students and poorly designed policy.... Somehow I believed what the Coalition wrote in early 2013: that there would be no change to university funding arrangements. Somehow I believed what Tony Abbott said to the Universities Australia conference in March 2013: that we could expect a period of benign neglect from an Abbott government. And somehow I believed what Abbott said two days before the election in September 2013: that there would be no cuts to education. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/higher-education-changes-a-fraud-on-the-electorate-20141202-11yliz.html See also: [b]2. Vice-Chancellor Compares Peak University Body To Flesh Eating Disease[/b] Max Chalmers. 1 December, 2014 School might be out for the summer, but the battle over Australia's universities has reached fever pitch, with one VC vowing to boycott the sector's peak body. https://newmatilda.com/2014/12/01/vice-chancellor-compares-peak-university-body-flesh-eating-disease [b]3. University of Canberra's Stephen Parker slams Universities Australia[/b] Emma Kelly. December 1, 2014 - 11:45PM University of Canberra vice chancellor Stephen Parker has lashed out at Universities Australia, saying Australia's peak university body has lost its moral compass and is pledging to shun the organisation's future meetings. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/university-of-canberras-stephen-parker-slams-universities-australia-20141201-11xyf8.html

Casablanca

3/12/2014[b]1. Higher education 'reform' has been halted. Now's the time for inspiration [/b] Lee Rhiannon 2 December 2014 16.07 AEST The policy debate around higher education is a good example of the technocratic and uninspiring nature of Australian politics. Despite the fact a number of countries – including Mexico, Germany, Brazil, Denmark, Sweden and Norway – now offer free university education, the debate in Australia is generally about what level of per student funding is appropriate and what the “fair” price of a degree is. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/02/higher-education-reform-has-been-halted-nows-the-time-for-inspiration [b]2. Where to start with the uni deregulation mess?[/b] Stephen Parker 2 Dec 2014, 12:16pm Let me say what other vice-chancellor's haven't: the deregulation of university fees is about ideology, not budget savings, and it will only hurt students. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-02/parker-uni-deregulation-speech/5933302 [b]3. Senate torpedoes Pyne’s university deregulation[/b] Michelle Grattan, 2 December 2014 The Senate has voted down the Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s higher education measures – one of the budget’s key reforms… http://theconversation.com/senate-torpedoes-pynes-university-deregulation-34926 [b]4. Don’t harass me, Lazarus tells Pyne[/b] Michelle Grattan, 2 December 2014 Palmer United Party Senate leader Glenn Lazarus has warned Education Minister Christopher Pyne to “stop harassing” him and other crossbenchers as the government tries desperately to get its higher education… http://theconversation.com/dont-harass-me-lazarus-tells-pyne-34916 [b]5. Government determined to fight on for university fee deregulation [/b] Michelle Grattan 2 December 2014, 11.16pm AEDT On Wednesday Pyne’ll introduce a revised version of his legislation into the lower house, incorporating the amendments proposed by crossbenchers. Next year, the Senate will be voting on the bill again. http://theconversation.com/government-determined-to-fight-on-for-university-fee-deregulation-34929 [b]6. Real-life decisions: why price signals for Medicare are flawed[/b] Adam Shoemaker and Ross Guest Amid last week’s furore over the on-again, off-again Medicare co-payment proposal, Prime Minister Tony Abbott emphasised during Question Time that his government wanted “to see price signals in the system… http://theconversation.com/real-life-decisions-why-price-signals-for-medicare-are-flawed-34851 [b]7. Me? A Culpa? or Abbott Thinks That Getting On His Knees Means That He’ll Automatically Be Forgiven [/b] Rossleigh December 2, 2014 When our PM said: “I have no theological objection to nuclear power”, I have to say that I agree with him. I mean, I’ve checked out the commandments – all ten of them – and I’ve found no prohibition on nuclear power. Working on the Sabbath, yep. Worshipping the wrong god, sure. Even killing seems to be against God’s law. But nuclear energy. Nup, not a word against it. http://theaimn.com/culpa-abbott-thinks-getting-knees-means-hell-automatically-forgiven/ [b]8. Senate votes down university fee deregulation despite late concessions [/b] Daniel Hurst, December 2, 2014 Christopher Pyne tells senators they will have another opportunity to vote on the proposed changes after the Christmas break.. On Tuesday evening senators voted 33 to 31 against allowing a second reading of the bill, thereby blocking its passage in a significant defeat for the government during the final parliamentary sitting week of the year. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/dec/02/senate-votes-down-university-fee-deregulation-despite-late-concessions [b]9. Budget surplus a distant dream as Coalition presides over spending surge [/b] Stephen Koukoulas In its 15 months in power the the Abbott government has not acted like an administration dedicated to reducing public debt..In opposition, the Coalition parties had a spokesman for debt reduction. Curiously, it is a position they dropped the moment they won the election and the reasons for doing that now seem clear. Government debt is rising at a breakneck speed and when the mid year economic and fiscal outlook (Myefo) is released later this month, it will confirm wider budget deficits and rising government debt. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/dec/02/budget-surplus-a-distant-dream-as-coalition-presides-over-spending-surge [b]10. Finding a narrative for the Abbott government... [/b] First Dog on the Moon 1 December 2014 Let's look at a few of the key themes from 2014 and see if we can figure out a story about Tony Abbott and his team. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cartoon/2014/dec/01/first-dog-the-governments-narrative

Ken

3/12/2014I think the most interesting point from Vice Chancellor Parker's comments is that the current government approach is the first step towards privatisation of universities - which is exactly what we here on [i]TPS[/i] would expect. As we have pointed out repeatedly this year, it is totally consistent with the current Liberal (and IPA) position, an ideological position that thinks the government has very little, preferably no, role to play in many areas where we take government involvement for granted, including education and health.

Casablanca

3/12/2014[b]11. Tony Abbott should be looking to the message, rather than the messenger[/b] Jack Waterford. December 2, 2014 - 11:45PM As Abbott sees it, he has a communications problem. His intention, motives and policies are pure, and well adapted to the times. If they have failed to impress the senate, that is primarily the fault of an unreasonable Labor Party. If he caused any wrong impressions by refusing to 'fess up that his ABC cuts were a broken promise, the false impressions were due to the incapacity of the media, and the public, to understand that circumstances had changed...Abbott's sudden complete surrender on the point (as, 12 months later with the ABC) was not so interesting for the demonstration of his pragmatism and realism, so much as for reinforcement of his capacity for dissimulation, sophistry, dissembling, prevarication and, even, as I commented at the time, tergiversation. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbott--should-be-looking-to-the-message-rather-than-the-messenger-20141202-11ym7r.html [b]12. Tony Abbott is haunted by his past self[/b] Peter Lewis and Jackie Woods. 2 Dec 2014, 5:32pm Tony Abbott's pursuit of Julia Gillard over broken promises set the benchmark for his own rule, applying a strait-jacket to each and every commitment he was to make. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-02/lewis-and-woods-this-ship-of-state-may-not-be-seaworthy/5934046 [b]13. It's time to let political dinosaurs go extinct[/b] Tim Dean 1 Dec 2014, 2:37pm 20th century political dinosaurs are tackling 21st century problems with obsolete ideologies from the 19th century. Where is the party of the future?... Simply put: we're currently governed by 20th century political dinosaurs that are offering ill-fitting solutions to 21st century problems based on obsolete ideologies from the 19th century. It's not just about a lack of narrative or vision, it's that whatever vision either party can muster is tailored for the wrong century...Maybe it's time to let the dinosaurs go extinct and find a new species of political party to take their place. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-01/dean-its-time-to-let-political-dinosaurs-go-extinct/5930350 [b]14. The East-West Link is dead – a victory for 21st-century thinking [/b] Peter Newman. 3 December 2014 Labor’s state election victory in Victoria has fatally undermined Melbourne’s most controversial tunnel, the now-doomed East-West Link, with new Premier Daniel Andrews pledging to rip up the contracts for the project. His decision is a victory for anyone who values 21st-century urban thinking over the outdated car-first mentality. http://theconversation.cmail2.com/t/r-l-cihihid-trhltityg-p/ [b]15. Abbott and his Politics of Hate[/b] John Lord December 3, 2014 John Howard had his haters, mainly because of his decision to back George W Bush in an illegal war. Spurred on by a hateful media Julia Gillard was loathed by many because of a perceived lie. When people hate politicians, they do so with malevolent intent. http://theaimn.com/abbott-politics-hate/ [b]16. Class warfare: would Shorten pass the test that Ed Miliband failed? [/b] Rob Manwaring. 3 December 2014 For British Labour leader Ed Miliband, defeat was yet again snatched from the jaws of victory. With the UK general election less than six months away, the recent Rochester and Strood by-election was a key test for Labour. But with one tweet, shadow attorney-general Emily Thornberry was forced to resign and hand momentum to the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which placed even greater pressure on Miliband. http://theconversation.cmail2.com/t/r-l-cihihid-trhltityg-a/ [b]17. Christopher Pyne confident reworked higher education changes will pass Parliament next year[/b] Julie Doyle 3 Dec 2014, 10:27am Education Minister Christopher Pyne says he believes the Government will get its higher education changes through the Parliament next year. Mr Pyne will introduce a fresh bill this morning to overhaul university funding. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-03/pyne-confident-reworked-university-reform-bill-will-be-passed/5936254

jaycee

3/12/2014“ The death and abuse of asylum seekers in Australia’s name must stop says Nicole Judge, a former Salvation Army worker on Manus Island.” This is the crux of it all…: A bloody Salvation Army person dishing out their religo – simpatico blind-Freddy advice on the bleedin’ obvious! We got a govt’ that does things all arse-up!...They got religious people in-situ where you need rational, objective consideration, not another faith-based administrator. They got economic rationalists in-situ where you need conciliatory accountants…They got “Free-Market” promoters where you need local manufacturing sympathizers…they got IPA. style libertarians where you need community conscious negotiators ! They got a silver-spooner “shoe-horned” through the private, privileged education system (how the f#ck he even graduated I have no idea!!) doing his level best to screw over state education programs… It’s all upside down and about face…the ministers all arrogant and in-your-face!..A MSM. only now becoming UN tongue-tied when it is too late and we find ourselves bogged to the axles in the pouring rain on a two-wheeled track that ought to be a bitumen highway far from any help and out of range of mobile reception….a worst possible national interest scenario!...and only now the MSM. Asks : “Why are we here?”….. Well…where does one start to tell you…

Casablanca

4/12/2014[b]1. Found in translation: Abbott’s mea culpa explained[/b] Patrick Smithers. Dec 2, 2014 We’ve analysed the PM’s press conference. Here’s what he was really saying. DEFENCE PAY. What he said: “I have enormous respect for the professionalism, for the courage, for the tasks that our Defence Force personnel do.” What he was really saying: I like photo opportunities with soldiers as much as the next politician http://thenewdaily.cmail2.com/t/i-l-silddt-kyuyhjx-e/ [b]2. The old economic models don't apply in the 21st century [/b] Jeffrey Sachs. 3 Dec 2014 For a long time the debate between free-market and Keynesian economics has raged. But in the 21st century, we need a whole new way of considering the economy. http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2014/12/03/4140646.htm [b]3. The Baird Government’s popularity is a lesson for Abbott[/b] Tristan Edis. 3 December, 2014 Desperate to deflect blame for the Victorian Coalition government being voted out after just one term, federal government MPs point to the fact that the NSW Coalition is doing exceedingly well in the polls. Hence, they argue, the federal government can’t be a significant factor in the recent Victorian election. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/12/3/policy-politics/baird-governments-popularity-lesson-abbott [b] 4. There's nothing archaic about organised labour[/b] Shaun Crowe 3 Dec 2014, 1:17pm A new approach to jobs and growth isn't going to materialise out of thin air. We'd be crazy to ignore unions as we strive for a future based less on toil and more on meaning http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-03/crowe-theres-nothing-archaic-about-organised-labour/5936122 [b]5. Defence probe into leaking of Defence Minister David Johnston's expense receipts [/b] Eliza Borrello 3 Dec 2014 The Defence Department has launched an investigation into the leaking of documents relating to the Defence Minister David Johnston's travel and hospitality expenses. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-03/defence-probe-into-leaking-of-minister27s-expense-receipts/5939280 [b]6. Degrees of failure: university reforms fail to pass Senate [/b] Mark Kenny. December 3, 2014 - 8:31AM Another day, another humiliating set-back ending a year of budget policy pain for the Abbott Coalition government. Last week it was the GP co-payment. This time it's higher education. Both are crucial to the budget repair task but also to the objective of sectoral viability. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/degrees-of-failure-university-reforms-fail-to-pass-senate-20141202-11yom9.html [b]7. One down, two to go? Labor revival puts incumbents on edge[/b] Paul Williams December 3, 2014 The rule of thumb in Australian politics has been that voters are reluctant to throw out governments after a single term. And if they do, it’s during a major crisis. Perhaps that’s a measure of Australians… http://theconversation.com/one-down-two-to-go-labor-revival-puts-incumbents-on-edge-34919 [b]8. A tumultuous year in higher education comes to a close, another soon to follow [/b] Gwilym Croucher. 3 December 2014, 6.22pm AEDT If there was doubt higher education was a political battleground for the Abbott government, the events of the last 24 hours have dispelled it. http://theconversation.com/a-tumultuous-year-in-higher-education-comes-to-a-close-another-soon-to-follow-34982 [b]9. It’s all Kerry O’Brien’s fault[/b] David Frizzell Australia has lost its ability to have constructive, informed and ambitious national conversations. How much of our malaise can be traced back to four embarrassing minutes in the public life of our Prime Minister. http://theaimn.com/kerry-obriens-fault/ [b]10. Pyne Is Right, The Real Battle Over Deregulation Just Started[/b] Max Chalmers. 3 Dec 2014 Progressives can breath a sigh of relief after Tuesday night's Senate result but now the real battle begins. https://newmatilda.com/2014/12/03/pyne-right-real-battle-over-deregulation-just-started [b]11. Christopher Pyne's People Movement Poised For The Most Phyrrhic Of Victories[/b] Chris Graham. 3 Dec 2014 We went through all the insults on Christopher Pyne’s ABC petition, so that you didn’t have to. Tony Abbott may be the greatest self-harmer in the history of Australian politics, but Christopher Pyne is not too far behind, setting his own cracking pace with his petition demanding that the ABC not close down production houses in Adelaide, despite his government cutting $250 million from the ABC budget. https://newmatilda.com/2014/12/03/christopher-pynes-people-movement-poised-most-phyrrhic-victories [b]12. The kooky Cult of Abbott's end days[/b] Bob Ellis 3 December 2014, 10:30am It is hard to see the Abbott's Government's bizarre cult-like denial of reality and meaningless, hairy-goat expedition lasting another two years... It is, in fact, a strikingly aberrant government showing signs of being the worst in our history. A thousand things they have done wrong could be listed by any attentive student. These include our shaming at APEC and the worst deficit in our history. Some of the signs of Jonestown, or the Branch Davidian burning itself to death in Waco, Texas, are already apparent. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-cult-of-abbotts-end-days,7152 13. Off the rails: How Australia is at odds with global infrastructure plans Max Berry 3 December 2014, 5:00pm Ambitious projects and global plans are under way, but rail freight deserves a higher priority by the Abbott Government and the states now https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/off-the-rails-how-local-reality-is-at-odds-with-global-infrastructure-plans,7151 14. Greedy Murdoch bulldozes Abbott into slashing the ABC Rodney E. Lever 3 December 2014, 6:00am Rupert Murdoch has ruthlessly bulldozed Tony Abbott into slashing government funding for the ABC, Australia's most abundant source of generally accurate and [...] https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/greedy-murdoch-bulldozes-abbott-into-slashing-the-abc,7150

Casablanca

4/12/2014[b]1. Is history repeating itself already for Tony Abbott?[/b] Jonathan Green 4 Dec 2014, 8:45am There was little quarter given when the country turned against Kevin Rudd. That same sense of simple crisis is lacking for the moment in the reporting of the Abbott Government, but will that continue? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-04/green-is-history-repeating-itself-already-for-tony-abbott/5939542 [b]2. Abbott's woes through Pope's human values lens[/b] Andrew Hamilton | 03 December 2014 Pope Francis’ recent speech to the European parliament provides a useful lens for reflecting on the priorities and policies of the Australian Government, themselves currently the object of introspection and criticism. The Government has consistently seen the world from the perspective of competitive, self-reliant and economically productive individuals. They, and the businesses of which they are part, are to be rewarded; regulatory obstacles to their enrichment, whether these have to do with climate, mining or finance, are to be neutered....This critique suggests that the challenge facing the Government is not to make its policies seem more palatable. If people dump your restaurant when served fly blown meat, you will not bring them back by conning them that it is a delicacy. You would do better to offer them decent meat. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=42245#.VH-c-8k4WSo [b]3. Killing Religion an own goal for ABC managers[/b] Michael Mullins | 01 December 2014 ABC presenter Quentin Dempster has referred to a 'nincompoop' in senior ABC management who was heard to comment on the need to get rid of the 'strangle-hold of specialisation'. Radio National is the home of specialisation at the ABC, and religion has been one of its signature specialisations, because of the public broadcaster's 'cultural diversity' charter obligation. Management is executing the emasculation of the ABC that Rupert Murdoch expects from the Abbott Government as a reward for his role in its 2013 election victory. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=42248 [b]4. Science cuts are false economy[/b] Julian Cribb. December 4, 2014 - 12:00AM In the general spirit of slash-and-burn that has prevailed in Australia in recent months, it is becoming clear that some cuts have the capacity to inflict damage on the national economy that will last, not just for years, but for generations... This article should not be read as special pleading on behalf of science. Rather, it is special pleading on behalf of an intelligent, resilient and innovative future Australia - not the rustbucket economy, ruined environment and spreading sickness and social inequity which the continued political degradation of our knowledge base will inevitably deal us. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/science-cuts-are-false-economy-20141203-11xjfr.html [b]5. Time for Hockey and Abbott to tell the electorate a new story[/b] Paul Sheehan. December 4, 2014 - 5:53AM The collective carnivorous hunger of the parliamentary press gallery was whetted at question time on Wednesday. Sitting at the dispatch box, the position usually occupied by the Prime Minister, was Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Sitting opposite, in the position usually occupied by the Leader of the Opposition, was his deputy, Tanya Plibersek. Oh how the gallery would like to see that scenario play out before the next election. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/time-for-hockey-and-abbott-to-tell-the-electorate-a-new-story-20141203-11ze6y.html

2353

5/12/2014The recent polls and media commentary regarding the performance of the Abbott Government is surely a textbook case of 'the chickens coming home to roost'. Abbott got to power on negativity and not giving an inch. Now the media is generally holding him to account for his statements he made around political promises and lack of ability to pass legislation that he was happy to use to criticise others. For those that believe Abbott got to power on a series of lies, this has to be pretty to watch. Let's hope that the polls are correct and Abbott joins the short list of one term governments - something the Victorians recently did to their Government. Newman in Queensland could be another example before June 2015. The Abbott/Napthine Liberal Party experiment in negative politics for the sake of it has failed. Hopefully it will force both political parties to reassess their strategies, find some people to administer their parties that have some 'real life' experience rather than the current 'career path'. The current path seems to be school, uni (and membership of the respective political parties 'club'), work for MP and then move on to the party organisation. It will probably make our society a lot more caring for those less well off and/or needy.

TalkTurkey

5/12/2014Greetings Comrades Truly sorry Folks, I haven't really been keeping up with TPS lately, though I am ever true to this site. I hate this Government so much, and its IPA puppetmasters, I am close to speechless with rage ALL the time. So I spend a lot of time on Twitter where SHOUTING is more appropriate, at things like the loathsome Morriscum and his smug Christianity on my TV. SO MANY things this horrible mob has already done! I seethe at new outrages EVERY DAY. Especially on what used to be our ABC. Alberici, Sales, Uhlmann, Maiden, WormtongueJones. In another day and place I would be arming myself with a pitchfork against these lickspittles religiomanes and class traitors. I could wish it were that simple, because there is no real release for my fury as things are. ATM all I do is screech imprecations from the sidelines. To keep me ol' Black Dog at bay. As we get closer to the election my not-very-scholarly input will become more relevant. One thing this Government has done is so to have coarsened my language that I lead a virtual Jekyll-&-Hyde existence between this site and Twitter - and Mr Hyde is taking over! No he's not. Not really. But it can feel like that. TPS remains an Island of Sanity on which the Light on the Hill burns bright and clear. And Bill Shorten actually gave that sacred flame a little oxygen the other day. C'mon Bill. Blow!

jaycee

5/12/2014Repost from comments on The Guardian some time back...but still most pertinent! To be honest, you have to wonder where that silvertail turncoat Turnbull lost his cajones to join that plethora of pissweak pansies that calls itself the govt' of this nation! Consider it..; A born in the UK. mongrel, married to a Kiwi Labor rat trying to bugger-up the nation for Aussies!...and we all know that a Englishman's loyalty to Queen and country is inculcated in his mother's milk and there lies the real loyalty...put THAT together in a mix with Popism and the Jesuit doctrine injected up the wrong way and you got a recipe for sheer, unadulterated, non-viscous, plug-ugly bastardry of the worst kind....! This is the LNP. that we are experiencing today. This reek of indecency, this pustulance of moral terpitude, this low bred bastard mongrel mob , so foul and mutant a breed that a "bitza's bitch" would spurn them from it's teat and drive them in a cowering whine, wimpering from even it's humble, disgraceful, flea-ridden den!......What low scum of human ingenuity could mould sewer clay into such a festered lump?....only a sperm spawned from infected loins and cultured in the most hideous tomb of a womb could squirt out such foul an inhale of fetid swamp-gas-breath to bring form to a Howardian beast!...breast-fed on the thinnest, sourest pap that ever a howling demon could spoil, to nurture such insidious malevolence toward anything good in humanity....These are the members of that cringing congregation of ghouls that deprive the poor, desert the broken spirited, break the back of the honest worker and tear the living heart from the breast of the working mother and then clamour in salivating haste over the corpse of decency to dare call this good governance. And that "epitome of Republicanism" ...Turnbull, will throw his lot in with such excremental smear.....talk to us no more dear Malcolm, of your "love of country" ..your " fellowship of national fortune"....you are now but dirt beneath our feet...join ye the scrapings on the boot-blade outside the cow-byre gate....go on "good man"!..join in "hearty fellowship" and bitter-drink their toasts from the chalice of poisoned fidelity. Forget your call for a republic, take heed now of your new regal monarchs...obey and yeild your neck to the yoke of lick-spittle Murdochracy and hitch your crappy-wagon to their star of gross largesse and opportunistic barbary.....the betrayal of duty to one's birth-country, whilst enjoying the protection due and expected under it's passport has to be the lowest...THE LOWEST act of bastardry...."you'd have to be a real dingo to run out on your mates"...you'd have to be a member of the LNP. LNP. .....: "Lowest Negative Possible.".....The filth of humanity....not worth a fallatio's spit !

TalkTurkey

5/12/2014jaycee Gee from you I would have hoped for something a little critical of our Government, even perhaps with some colour and imagination ...Instead we get this pale beige virtual endorsement of everything Abborrrtt has done! :)

jaycee

5/12/2014TT. it is one of those strange lessons from history that vileness of spirit and perfidy of action has, is and ever will be, the deserving recipient of a common abuse that loses neither colour nor relevance however much repeated down the years. As Marcus Cato once remarked of Julius Caesar : "He is the first sober man to bring down a govt'", so may we say of Abbott ; "He is the LAST sober fool you'd WANT to run a govt' "

jaycee

5/12/2014I can fully sympathise with your post TT. It takes such effort these days to find the strength to argue the case for revolution in both thought and deed, enough to even fire-up the beast in one's own belly. But we are in dangerous times..not only from Brandis' surveillance, but from the awful spectre of entrenched governance by the oligarchy. For it cannot be more certain that Big Media, Big Mining, Big Energy and Big Banking are running this nation...those gormless fools we see jumping through hoops and tumbling like clowns on the floor of The House are only govt' by name. The danger is that entrenched oligarchy reaches to and corrupts , out of necessity for survival, all corners of bureaucracy..Treasury, judiciary, policing, military and security...and as has been displayed throughout history, there comes a situation so dire to the citizens that, like a cancerous growth, only "surgical" intervention can remove them. This next election is our chance to take our country and our democracy back from the morons who thieved it away! If we fail, the country must surely slip into oligarchic absolutism and from there to utter chaos..The above corporations, the IPA. and the LNP. are pulling a sleep-walking nation toward it!

jaycee

5/12/2014Haunted by History. So I drive to the town, pick up a few groceries, check the mail, chat a while..a bit of goss..a bit of this an’ that and then hit the road to home again...and that is where the haunting starts. You’ve seen them, as you drive along the main roads and the back roads...sunlight slanting off white sepulchre...you catch fleeting glimpses of them through the trees...deep in the scrub, sometimes almost complete, sometimes but a shadow of their former glory.......you can sometimes drive past them for years before you suddenly realise they are there and then you get a shock at their “sudden appearance”..: ruins of old cottages and huts...scattered, crumbling ruins...sad testament to optimistic aspirations. Mostly we drive on...just giving an acknowledged glance to these pieces of jaded history...someone else’s tribulations, another’s history. I have stopped at several of these sites...joined in a pagan-like offering to another’s story...tossed a pebble or two into the underground tank out the back. I’ve stood for a moment in the remains of a back door opening, silent, wondering on the view they must have seen from that same place, another time...a time which may move inexorably on, yet the human condition remains. Who were these intrepid builders? What singular ambition drove them to sculpture out of rough earth and stone, from memory and trial and error these testaments to a hopeful dream? They haunt me, these vacant souls...shuffling through sad ruins, backing onto abandoned fields that once must have swayed wave-like with fronds of wheat or oats. Now, scavenging crows pick nastily at an obscure morsel and a cruel sun rakes it’s talons over old wounds. There are stories out there, hovering around these ghosts of the past. An entire population of early settlers with their children and animals, gone now, the only memory in some cases being a headstone or two marking a seriously foreshortened life and along with such disaster the presumed tragedy for the rest of the family, having to absorb the sadness into their hearts. When one scans the landscape of those long-ago years, the inevitable hardship and difficulties faced, one gets the feeling their lives were dominated by the practical demands of weights and measures, time and distance. The burden of necessity, always the prime consideration of their immediate attention. Strangely, the history of these ruins seem to be shrouded in mystery...few if any people living now have knowledge of the folk who built and lived in many of these ruins. Their short moments of occupation at odds to the effort it must have taken to erect such structures. It is as if strangers to us all had swept fleetingly through the land, leaving no word or lasting deed of their presence save these crumbling hovels. One wonders what the indigenous peoples would have made of these pioneers, struggling with stone and beast, fire and plough to make a meal for their family when food was in abundance all around!.......madness, surely! But it is the history that haunts me, for it is there, fixed in stone as solid as any Roman effigy, though perhaps not as romantic! But then THAT would depend on the story and the rumour of salacious intrigues! It seems a pity we can stand where they once stood, feel the heat and wind which they once felt and imagine the sweat and toil they once gave to a land and ambition that both their ghosts and our living spirit still share, yet not know their name. Quo vadis?

Ken

5/12/2014jaycee and TT I think some of the changes that spawned this government go back to the 1980s and the rise of Thatcherism and Reaganism - the rise of the economic rationalists. Society has changed. As many have said we have now become an 'economy', not a 'society'. I think a simple example of that is the reporting of the stock market on a daily basis. When I was growing up, and into my early 20s, if you wanted to find out share prices, you searched through a newspaper and found the full list which was usually published daily. There was no sign of them on television news. Now it seems that the share index is something we are all supposed to be interested in and it is reported [i]ad nauseam[/i] morning, afternoon and night. If that isn't an indication of change ... We have to recpature our 'society' and again make the economy the servant of the society not its master (as the Murdochs, the bankers, and others you mentioned TT, would have us believe). And Labor needs to absorb that view again.

jaycee

5/12/2014This Lambie senator is a conundrum...listening to her speak, she comes over as in one instant ; naive and in the other astute. Whatever her method of policy interpretation, be it simplistic obvious or convoluted complex, there is one thing for certain..she is pure working class. Her military training has created a authoritarian certainty in her analysis, but when she spoke on the unfairness of the Pyne education bill, you could hear the class-backgrounding of every person's right to a fair go! I strongly suspect she, herself was denied education and took the "military option" as compensation...as many working people mistakenly do, thinking that promotion through the ranks is squarely based on dedication, loyalty, honour and courage...never for a moment taking into consideration the inherent power of "the old school tie". I think she will be a force well worth respecting in the senate, and one cross-bench senator Labor could move close to for "warmth"..as long as it doesn't make the mistake of the PUP. party leader and "presume" on her sense of justice and honour.

Ad astra

5/12/2014Casablanca Thanks for your continuous links, always relevant, always helpful. TT Your disgust is understandable. At this time of goodwill, we all need to stand back from the puerile pit in which so much of politics wallows. Let's take a break and hope that the standard of political discourse and action improves in 2015. A vain hope, I suspect, but at least on [i]TPS[/i] we can elevate the level of dialogue, and address what's really important. jaycee You do write so well, with such elegance and style. Please write again for [i]TPS[/i] in 2015. 2353 Indeed, the chickens are coming home to roost. The roosters are agitated and jostling for position on the perch,'adult' though they claim to be! Who knows what 2015 will bring. They don't know. No one does. Whatever happens is bound to be unexpected. Ken Your piece has attracted a lot of comment. Next year promises to be still more stimulating. Thank you.

jaycee

5/12/2014Thank you for the consideration, AA. I am somewhat in the same canoe as TT. the times are so grubby there is so much to say, yet one wearies so from what feels like the repetitiveness of saying it!...the canoe is becoming a tight squeeze!

Ad astra

6/12/2014Folks If you have been confused by the blather that has been emitting from Joe Hockey’s mouth ever since he became Shadow Treasurer, and more so since becoming Treasurer, Bernard Keane’s exposition in today’s [i]Crikey[/i] may help you unravel some of the confusion: [i][b]Joe's economic story just doesn't add up[/b] “If you try following the logic of Treasurer Joe Hockey's economic arguments, you very quickly see why the government is failing to get its key messages through and has spent much of the year in a mess of its own creation. “The essence of the Hockey narrative for much of the year is this: Labor left an appalling fiscal legacy, but the economy is too weak for a stringent and dramatic return to surplus, so the budget was about putting medium-term savings and structural reforms in place that would begin the fiscal repair task, while infrastructure spending would provide the immediate stimulus required to spur growth. But Labor, vandals that they are, are both opposing those medium-term savings and, as if their evil knows no bounds, trying to sabotage infrastructure spending through their opposition to asset recycling, designed to get the state governments spending. And Labor, so the narrative goes, even dawdled on free trade agreements, which will deliver a big benefit to the economy over the medium-term. “Hockey has remained wedded to this narrative even after Wednesday's terrible GDP number -- indeed, for Hockey the evidence of softness in the economy reinforces the need for Labor to support asset recycling and encourage Premier Daniel Andrews to build the East West Link (although Hockey has opened the door to other big projects Andrews might want to bring forward, provided they can get started pronto). Hockey, like Wayne Swan, says he won't be "chasing down" falling revenue in the forthcoming Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. “But the Hockey narrative doesn't stand up to the simplest scrutiny. For starters, Hockey himself actually made the budget situation significantly worse. Between the election and the end of 2013, the government took decisions that worsened the deficit by more than $20 billion over four years. It dumped the carbon price, a move which the 2013-14 MYEFO acknowledged would cost $6.3 billion in lost revenue. It dumped the mining tax, which MYEFO acknowledged would cost $3.4 billion. And it walked away from a series of tax and superannuation measures already announced by Labor that cost $3.6 billion in lost revenue. “Each of those figures is just for forward estimates -- they were all ongoing measures. As revenue sources, they might go up or down, but they were built into the budget -- the carbon price might have fallen in line with international trends, and the fall in iron ore and coal prices would have reduced mining tax revenue this year, but the removal of some superannuation tax concessions was designed to provide long-term savings that would make a substantial difference a decade hence. “Then there was the $8.8 billion handout to the Reserve Bank, a one-off that substantially worsened the 2013-14 deficit. “So when Hockey laments that Labor is blocking his "medium-term" fiscal repair job, he hopes voters will ignore that he made that job substantially harder himself, purely for political reasons -- especially the grossly irresponsible act of walking away from measures like ending the Fringe Benefits Tax novated lease rort, and the tax on superannuation incomes over $100,000, which his predecessors had already announced and worn the political pain from. Hockey has not merely wasted the Coalition's political capital, he chucked away measures Labor has burnt political capital on for the good of the budget. “Then there's what Hockey calls his plan to "significantly increase infrastructure spending over the next few years" -- the equivalent of eight Snowy Mountains Schemes, he likes to boast. As a number of commentators have pointed out, in fact the government is simply spending on the projects it inherited from Labor, albeit with a greater bias towards roads, which self-confessed Luddite Tony Abbott seems to think is all that 21st century infrastructure involves. Given infrastructure lead times, whatever stimulus is delivered to the economy over the next 12 months will be entirely because of former infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese and Labor, and not because of Abbott, Hockey or Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss. “And as we know from the Productivity Commission, free trade agreements are good for diverting trade, but their actual economic benefits are far harder to identify, if they ever materialise at all. Don't hold your breath waiting for a Chinese consumer-led recovery. “That leaves Hockey urging consumers to spend up big for Christmas in order to give the economy a shot in the arm -- while warning of the terrible damage Labor is doing to the economy and the budget. “In opposition, Hockey long insisted the mere election of the Coalition would provide a surge of business and consumer confidence that would spark higher economic growth and get the animal spirits of the economy stirring. If it ever did, Hockey killed all that off himself with his budget communication strategy. "Now he's left with Plan B that consists of wishing consumers a merry Christmas. “No wonder the dogs are barking about his job.”[/i] http://media.crikey.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/hockeypoint.png Bernard leaves his readers to sort out whether Smokin’ Joe has done all this in pursuit of an IPA-like neoliberal ideology pressed on him by his ideologically-driven boss; or whether he is determined to punish his so-called ‘leaners’, who may not vote for the Coalition anyway, and reward his ‘lifters’, who do; or whether he is pursuing a ‘trickle down’ economic strategy no matter how much that increases inequality; or whether he simply does not understand economic theory at all and is flying blind; or whether he is just doing what Abbott and Co. have done for years – blame and deprecate Labor repeatedly for its sins, and extract maximum political retribution. Maybe it’s all of the above. You sort it out. Let’s know what you think.

jaycee

6/12/2014Success!..I think I have found the "model" that P.G.Wodehouse founded his character "Bertie Wooster" on...; one Augustus J.C.Hare....a Victorian gentleman of rather bumbling character, although a prolific writer of what looks like the most boring manuscripts.. From Wiki' : " To the first belong "Memorials of a Quiet Life" (about his adoptive mother), "Story of Two Noble Lives" (Lady Canning and Lady Waterford), "The Gurneys of Earlham..." Add to those thrilling volumes his own autobiography.."The Story of My Life" which commences with ; "In the Autumn of 1878, the desire to comfort and amuse one of my kindest friends during hours or wearing sickness and pain induced me to begin writing down some of the reminiscences of my life". and there you have an almost complete wrap of the Wodehouse Playhouse characters...Carry on chaps!

jaycee

6/12/2014" Maybe it’s all of the above. You sort it out. Let’s know what you think." Sorry, Ad...can't fit three in the canoe..you're on your own!

Ken

6/12/2014Ad I didn't need to see the Keane article because I had just begun working on a similar piece, examining the figures from the PEFO and MYEFO before and after the election to show, as Keane does, how much of the increase in the budget deficit was due to decisions by Abbott and Hockey. Might have to find a different 'hook' to hang it off.

jaycee

6/12/2014The obvious intent of the LNP.coalition, and that has to include both their lobbyists ; The IPA. and their supporters ; Big Corp'..is to introduce Autocracy as the governing principle of state..and we see evidence of that in language, accusation and legislation..trouble is that such absolutism can have no future...being by it's very nature a fixed doctrine, with pre-determined certainties and controlling interests withdrawing by "capital gravity" to a smaller and smaller cabal of "players". It's philosophy (or lack of) will not allow imaginative expansion, nor creative entrepreneur ventures, for all investment infrastructures of major significance must be "ticked off" by unwieldy vested interest and the controlling elite (and we ALL know who THEY are). The system is dead before it even gets off the ground..for how can one have a combination of free popular developmant and absolute rule at the one time? How can one penalise those unfortunate enough to fall into the branded infamy of "Leaner", publicly punished and then visibly reward the autocrat's favoured "Lifter" without creating the most polarised and rebellious society...there being nothing more than a sliver of chance / opportunity between the situation of either.It is a recipe for anarchy. The ideology of this govt' , founded on childish principles of selfish possession that most of us grow out of by our late twenties,strangely desires to extract some sort of vengeance for some perceived "wrong" perpetrated against those self-promoted "haves" by some collective of Marxist-Maoist-Socialist-Fabian-styled "have-nots", who have nothing better to do with their lives than "parasite" on the "hard-working deservedly wealthy" who know EXACTLY what people need and want because they have it!...and they are ready to give it all to us folks..where they have been giving it to the public for dozens of years..same location..we love it! The short of it is chaos!..that's what we now have, it's what we are expected to put up with and it's what we will get these next two years..."The Adults" (think 'Sylvania Waters')are now in charge!(pity they are all juiced-up to the eyeballs!).

jaycee

6/12/2014Interesting John Pilger article.. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40389.htm

jaycee

7/12/2014ECSA figs show 2PP Nat Cook 52.1 ahead of Heidi Harris 47.9 - 599 vote gap. @alpsa looking comfortable to win @7NewsAdelaide #FisherVotes
What does two plus 1 equal?