If you doubt the scientists, what about the actuaries?


There’s an old adage that if you want to know who will win an election follow the bookmakers’ odds or where the punters are putting their money rather than the polls (particularly when the polls are close). Something similar could be said of climate change. For Mr Abbott and others like him who remain sceptical of the science, they should instead follow the risk assessment of the actuaries as they advise the insurance and reinsurance industry and the investment banks.

The actuaries do not concern themselves directly with the science but with evaluating the risk and the costs that arise from it. As the actuaries put it:

Our role as actuaries is to help optimise decisions. We don’t seek to prove or disprove the estimates made by the experts but we need to understand what they are saying.

Australian actuaries have been at the forefront in taking environmental factors, including climate change, into account, establishing a committee in 1998 to examine environmental and energy issues as they affect their profession. In January 2012 Australian actuaries played a significant role at the ‘Climate Change Summit for Asia’s Insurance Industry’ in Singapore. American actuaries were slower to react (their first climate committee appeared in 2005) but are now developing an Actuaries Climate Change Index and an Actuaries Climate Risk Index, initially for North America, that cover a range of factors, including obvious ones like temperature and precipitation and lesser known factors like soil moisture.

Munich Re, a major reinsurance company, issued details in 2011 [page 11 of link] showing that the number of weather-related catastrophes between 1950 and 2010 was on an upward trend (and weather-related events accounted for about 85 per cent of insurance claims). There was a sequence of bad years between 1986 and 1999, with a peak of 14 catastrophic weather events in 1993. The years 2004, 2005 and 2007 also had an above average number of major weather events. Although it seemed slightly quieter from 2008 to 2010, 2011 became the costliest year on record (but not just from weather events) for the global insurance industry following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Christchurch earthquake and hurricane Irene in the US — total insurance losses for the year of $105 billion out of total economic losses from natural disasters of $380 billion. (To give those figures a context, the Australian government’s total revenue in 2010‒11 was $283 billion.)

A similar upward trend is apparent in plotting natural disasters in Australia.

The cost to the insurers and reinsurers of such events varies, depending where they occur. Some have argued that the increase in insurance pay-outs is attributable mainly to social and demographic changes, such as the growth of coastal cities and rising property values. That can be seen in the Sydney hail storm of 1999 or more recently the hail storm in Brisbane at the end of November: the Sydney event remains one of the most expensive for the insurance industry in Australian history at $1.7 billion, while the current cost of the Brisbane event is slightly over $800 million. (The most expensive event to date was the 2010 Queensland floods at $2.3 billion.) For the actuaries this is not an issue, in the sense that it is a given that must be taken into account, but it does concern them that, in the various climate change scenarios, catastrophic events may occur more often in major urban areas and that cyclones may move further south, bringing them within range of Queensland’s heavily populated and built-up south-east corner.

IAG in Australia is now utilising climate science figures that suggest that a 1°C increase in mean summer temperature will increase the risk of bushfires by 17 to 28 per cent; an increase of 2.2°C will cause a 5 to 10 per cent increase in cyclone wind speeds; that a 25 per cent increase in the volume of rain over short periods will mean that what is currently viewed as a one-in-100 year flood could become a one-in-36 year flood or, at worst, a one-in-17 year event.

The actuaries are also concerned that small changes created by climate change will not cause a proportional increase in damage (and insurance costs) but an exponential increase: for example, a 25 percent increase in a storm’s peak wind gusts from 40‒50 knots to 50‒60 knots does not produce a 25 per cent increase in damage but a 650 per cent increase. (For those who are metrically minded that is an increase from 74‒93km/h to 93‒111km/h.) It means our current housing stock is not well-suited to such an increase in the intensity of storms and that poses major challenges for insurance companies.

Terms like 1-in-100 year and 1-in-200 year will become meaningless as events of that magnitude occur on a more regular basis. In the UK [page 21 of link], it has been estimated that the insurance industry would require additional capital of £1 billion to cover 1-in-200 year flood events if there is a temperature rise of 2°C but £5.5 billion if there is a 6°C rise in temperature (the upper end of IPCC forecasts). To cover costs, it was also estimated that insurance pricing in the UK would need to increase by 16% for a 2°C rise and 47% for a 6°C rise. Those figures illustrate how the actuaries are examining the risk posed by both the high and low range climate change forecasts.

Insurance companies and their actuaries are not concerned merely by the local risks from climate change. The linkages between insurance companies created by reinsurance mechanisms means that they can each be affected by catastrophes anywhere on the globe. For example, the price to insurance companies of reinsurance almost doubled after cyclone Andrew in the US in 1992 (because that one event accounted for about 40 per cent of the then globally available capital for reinsurance) and it was three years before the price began to decline again.

The associated danger is that the cost of insurance becomes too expensive. More and more individuals may not take out insurance to cover their assets. In 2002, $1,500 billion of Australia’s wealth was locked up in homes, commercial buildings, ports and other physical assets. IAG’s Chief Risk Officer has stated:

The insurance industry currently underwrites the risk to the bulk of these assets from weather events but climate change threatens its ability to do so as effectively in the future. Therefore the affect to Australia from climate change is quickly becoming a social, economic and political issue.

The worst case scenario is that insurance companies themselves fail from the increasing insurance ‘losses’ and the rising cost of reinsurance, leaving people and businesses with no market mechanism to protect assets. In economic terms, ‘insurance’ is a means of spreading risk but if premiums become too expensive or insurance companies fail, the government will become the ‘insurer’ of last resort, as the main body able to spread and absorb the risk — but at what cost to taxpayers?

There is already some talk of greater government involvement. Following the 2010 Queensland floods the then Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten announced the Australian National Disaster Insurance Review. The Review’s final report included recommendations for:

    • the creation of a government agency* to manage national coordination of flood risk management and to operate a system of premium discounts and a flood risk reinsurance facility
    • all home insurance policies to include flood cover
    • a system of premium discounts in order that most purchasers of policies in areas subject to flood risk are eligible for discounts against the full cost of flood insurance
    • a government guarantee for claim payments
(* A similar body had been created by the Howard government after the ‘twin towers’ terrorist attack to provide a government guarantee as regards terrorism insurance.)

The government response to most of the recommendations was, however, that it would ‘consider’ them as part of a broader consideration of disaster insurance changes, following a consultation process in 2012. Apart from action on the definition of what constitutes a ‘flood’, I am not aware of other government steps on this issue. One aspect that appears to have held up government action is that many insurance companies continue to operate on neo-liberal market principles and oppose government involvement:

In July 2011 Lloyd’s made it clear to the Review that government intervention in private insurance markets should be kept to a minimum and warned that the creation of insurance programmes or pools limits the effectiveness of the insurance industry, can be hugely costly for governments and hampers the application of sound actuarial and risk-based principles.

It is almost inevitable that in future years (despite Lloyd’s current approach), there will be more discussion of the government’s role in insurance. If the actuaries’ figures are borne out, the cost of insurance could become prohibitive either for the individual or for the insurance companies, or both. Alternately, governments have to be active now in taking measures to adapt to and mitigate climate change that will help contain future costs.

Actuaries are already speaking of the need for adaptation and mitigation. A simple example is ensuring that buildings in cyclone-prone areas are built to cyclone standards. Here in Australia, the actuaries are using the evidence that recent cyclone damage has been greatest to dwellings that were not built to such standards or, in some cases, where such standards were not enforced during construction. Taking action now may help avoid the high range climate change scenarios and the associated higher costs: not only insurance costs, but the construction costs of more stringent cyclone standards to cope with higher cyclonic wind speeds. The draconian alternative is abandoning some of the towns and cities that are subject to cyclones.

IAG has suggested that insurance companies can drive public awareness programs that identify vulnerable areas, can lobby governments to change or enforce building codes, and, in relation to emissions, can offer lower vehicle insurance premiums for those driving fewer kilometres. Insurance companies are also funding research to more clearly identify the risks they face. IAG is funding research into the development of hail storms over Sydney: warmer waters appear one contributing factor, so the risk is, if oceans warm as predicted, that those events will become more frequent.

Despite the need for adaptation and mitigation, last December we saw Queensland minister Jeff Seeney order the Moreton Bay Regional Council to remove from its regional plan reference to a climate change-derived sea level rise of 0.8 metres by 2100. The Local Government Association of Queensland feared that Seeney may enforce that for all coastal councils in Queensland and was seeking legal advice. The concern is that councils may be legally liable, like tobacco and asbestos companies, if it is shown that they knew of the risk but failed to act.

Seeney claimed he intervened ‘to ensure the residents’ rights to build and develop their properties were maintained and not restricted by their local council’. That relates to issues I discussed last year on TPS regarding the Right’s view of individual freedom and individual self-interest. And it manages to ignore completely the growing concern of the insurance industry and its actuaries.

The actuaries are also discussing the risk related to the market value of companies holding carbon (fossil fuel) assets. The argument goes like this:

    • to limit global temperature rise to 2°C we have a ‘carbon budget’ of 886 gigatonnes of CO2 between 2000 and 2050
    • in the first ten years of the century we have used 321 gigatonnes of that budget, leaving 565 gigatonnes
    • but known global reserves of carbon fuels would produce 2,795 gigatonnes of CO2
    • top listed companies represent around 25 per cent of those reserves
    • so what happens to the companies’ value if only 20 per cent of carbon fuel reserves can be used?
In economic terminology, these would become ‘stranded assets’ — assets that can no longer be used. That has implications for companies and the share markets. Insurance companies are particularly concerned because they rely on investments to help build their funds, so they need to reduce such risk in their investment portfolios. Actuaries who provide advice in those areas are starting to factor such considerations into their advice.

Insurance companies are recognising that a risk from climate change already exists and, whether convinced by the science or not, are asking their actuaries to assess that risk. They are acting on the precautionary principle — expressed this way by a Swedish insurance company:

Climate change has been a hot topic for a long time now. Global warming is probably contributing to many of the changes in our weather. Whatever the reason, the conclusion is that we have to respond to the situation more effectively. [emphasis added]

It’s a shame that we can’t say the same of our government, although it is likely that the government will be the one left to pick up the tab if the insurance companies can no longer meet the cost of weather events arising from climate change. Someone should ask Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey what sort of debt and deficit disaster that will create for future generations.

What do you think?

About Ken Wolff

This week Ken takes a different look at climate change and suggests that Tony Abbott, and other climate science sceptics like him, should instead consider the risk assessment of the actuaries. The government may be taking no notice of climate change but the insurance industry certainly is.

Next week we start a series of articles on financial matters, starting with another piece by Ken, 'Abbott continues to tell porkies', which examines the detail of the so-called budget deficit disaster and asks why Abbott and Hockey did not also consider other tax changes, particularly regarding 'tax expenditures'. It will be followed by 2353 examining the issue of tax reform and why it is so difficult.



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Ad astra

8/02/2015Ken You have gifted us with an erudite piece that shines a new light on climate change by tapping into the opinions of actuaries, people who, amongst other things, assess risk, and in the case of the insurance industry, financial risk. You set the scene well with these words: [i]“The actuaries do not concern themselves directly with the science but with evaluating the risk and the costs that arise from it. As the actuaries put it: “Our role as actuaries is to help optimize decisions. We don’t seek to prove or disprove the estimates made by the experts but we need to understand what they are saying.”[/i] That insurance companies accept the advice of actuaries and take action to prepare themselves for the resultant payouts resulting from climate change, speaks volumes about how they regard the risks associated with it. It validates your initial guidance ‘follow the money’. Another example of following the money is the advice given by some investment advisers to investors to ‘disinvest in the coal industry’, advice many large investors already have taken. These advisors can see the industry failing, with decreasing sales and profits as more and more coal users reduce their use of coal and turn to other energy sources, prompted by the evidence of increasing global warming resulting from, amongst other things, coal burning. They are advising against investing in a dying industry, an industry being throttled as the evidence revealing dangerous increases in global warming accumulates year after year. Indeed, follow the money.

Ken

9/02/2015Abbott still PM but 39 voted for a spill. A good base for future disruption. I don't expect too much to happen regarding the leadership for at least another two to three months. Perhaps the next showdown could come after the budget, particularly if it is another bad budget. The vote may also be an indication of how the far-Right (neo-cons and neo-liberals)now dominates the Liberals and that small 'L' liberals like Turnbull are now a minority.

Ad astra

9/02/2015Folks A 61/39 vote for Abbott is fatal for him. No doubt Abbott will spin it as a victory, express his intention to reform. Only his deluded state will keep him going.

Ad astra

9/02/2015Folks I've just now posted on [i]TPS Extra[/i]: [i]Spinning the leadership spill[/i] http://www.tpsextra.com.au/post/spinning-the-leadership-spill

Ad astra

10/02/2015Folks Don't miss Casablanca's Cache: [i]LIBERAL SPILL 2015-02-07[/i], a goldmine of interest. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CASABLANCAS-CACHE-LIBERAL-SPILL-2015-02-07.aspx

Khtagh

10/02/2015Thanks for a great article Ken, I do have serious doubts that we can avert the catastrophe that is racing towards us, I have wondered many times if the insurance industry & its collapse due to cost & payouts would be the point of realization of many people. We can only hope it does. I saw this today & it links into your article & should scare the living daylights out of anyone that can successfully add 2+2. https://secure.avaaz.org/en/10_months_to_save_the_world_nd_rb/?bjmhEab&v=53369 Nero, fiddle, & Rome comes to mind.

Khtagh

10/02/2015Ken & Ad Astra Did you watch the parrot on Q&A last night, I was very buoyed to hear him say that he will be campaigning against! the Liberals in the NSW election, due to CSG & coal mines taking preference over farming. He just might be able to do in NSW what he did in Qld, facilitate a swing big enough for them to be turfed out. He is almost sounding half sane these days, turning a light shade of green.

Ad astra

10/02/2015Khtagh That is a frightening article from Avaaz, but not scary enough to stir Abbott from his coal induced daze. The NSW election will be a test of Abbott's toxicity; if a popular premier goes backward, that will be another nail in Abbott's coffin. Today's [i]Essential Report[/i], which lags a little behind [i]Newspoll[/i] shows an 8 point gap 54/46 to Labor, Abbott approval 29%, disapproval 62% (minus 33%); Shorten 33%/38% (minus 5); PPM Abbott 31% Shorten 39%. http://essentialvision.com.au/category/essentialreport

Casablanca

10/02/2015Please read this: [b]They Came For The Abbott Spill, And Missed The Only Real Story In Town[/b] Amy McQuire Canberra often has an air of unreality about it. But it's only when a circus comes to town that the media's impotence is really exposed..the nation’s breakfast hosts assembled on the lawns of Parliament House, expecting an uninterrupted broadcast of the day’s top story: The fate of Tony Abbott, not only the Prime Minister, but also the self-appointed ‘Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs’. What the mainstream media weren’t aware of was that for months, there had been a Freedom Summit sit-in organised by Aboriginal leaders pushing for sovereignty and treaty, to be held to mark the first day of Parliament for the year....The last Productivity Commission report into Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage, released last year, found removal rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children had increased by 65 per cent since Kevin Rudd said sorry to the Stolen Generations. https://newmatilda.com//2015/02/09/they-came-abbott-spill-and-missed-only-real-story-town

Ad astra

10/02/2015Casablanca That is yet another episode in the appealing treatment of our aboriginal folk, Australia's first people. The media is interested in making money though sensationalism, not in working for justice for our indigenous people. Money dictates the media's focus.

Ken

10/02/2015Khtagh Sorry for not responding earlier but I was out for much of the day. Yes, for the likes of Abbott it will take pressure from the insurance companies, or the collapse of some insurance companies, for the message to sink in. Unfortunately, Abbott and co. seem unable to "foresee" such events and will not react until it is too late. We can only hope for a change of government and genuine recognition of the future awaiting us unless acton is taken now.

Ken

10/02/2015Casablanca and Ad Abbott made himself minister for Aboriginal affairs supposedly to give it a higher profile and priority but under his government Aboriginal affairs has all but disappeared. Abbott's visit to the NT changed nothing - as I predicted. Abbott keeps making himself "the news" leaving little room (as far as the media is concerned) for anything else. I do not expect the media to pay much attention to Aboriginal affairs unless the government does.

Casablanca

11/02/2015[b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE: DEAD MAN WALKING[/b]. Abbott’s leadership is on death watch. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CASABLANCAS-CACHE-DEAD-MAN-WALKING.aspx

Casablanca

11/02/2015[b]Bill Shorten Slams ‘Incompetent’ Government For Failing ‘Basic Task’ Of Unseating A Prime Minister[/b] The Shovel on February 9, 2015 Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has ridiculed the Coalition Government, saying its inability to carry out the simple job of unseating a current Prime Minister is further evidence of its ineptitude. “And if they can’t carefully gather support, strategise in secret, count the numbers, and then casually execute a sitting PM, we need to ask ‘can they execute their plan for Australia?’” http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2015/02/08/If-you-doubt-the-scientists-what-about-the-actuaries.aspx#comment

TalkTurkey

11/02/2015Greetings Comrades Sorry for being so long away when I'm not really, I'm right here. But there's this thing called Writers Block, and it walks a black dog... And I'm so angry at what is being done to my country, I am only much good for screaming imprecations and writing (mostly) insulting rhymes on Twitter. I have nothing deep to contribute. I must say Ken You make the case for actuary-led policy well. It's so obvious isn't it, we all know that around the world governments still have their foot on the pedal instead of the brake, and as for intergenerational theft, well, it is now my belief that our few last generations have stolen the future for Life on Earth once and for all. I said a little while back, I believe the time will come when known climate-change deniers like Flint and Abborrrtt and that bug-eyed Lord Thing will have to hide from the fury of the people as the water and food and everything become unavailable, the temperatures soar and the stock and wildlife die. Because the People have been trying desperately for many years to induce Governments to take meaningful science-based action on climate change - and almost none has. I have lived with a sense of dread about Doomsday since my earliest years. At age eight I sat on the back of a tractor pushing a huge roller which flattened acres of mallee scrub on Yorke Peninsula and watching the dispossessed birds and possums fleeing in terror. And I learnt that I would never see a Thylacine ... And I realized with horror that this sort of thing, extinctions and habitat destruction and burgeoning populations, were happening all over the world - and I knew the world was limited. I have always thought that "The end of the world is nigh" but it's not based on religious apocalypsism but on scientific projections. I have never seen any science that goes elsewhere, but I have seen much that reinforces my depressing belief. Until Abborrtt's victory I held a sort of contrary hope that Australia could distance itself from the worst of the coming strife, as the Rudd-Gillard Government kept us from the worst of the GFC. Since that horror event I have trouble finding positives at all, less because of Abborrrtt's insane anti-social actions ever since, than because so many of my countrymen were prepared [i]ignorantly[/i] to slag *J*U*L*I*A* outrageously, and bag a Government which had been superb in handling that GFC by action and with great vision, to evict it on the basis of rantings of a spiteful Media with a right-wing agenda dictated by a treacherous old EX-patriate, who so loved his country that he sacrificed his only-begotten citizenship his God, Mammon. To Hell with Murdoch, I think he is the greatest of all global traitors. To the World, where he foments war and injustice, but especially to Australia, his original homeland, whose Government he wantonly stole. We are now laughing daily, but the sort of bitter exhausted derisive ironic [i]Oh-They're-Getting-It-At-Last [/i]sort of laughter whenever we see any of the pathetic pale silly journalists who now find that Abborrrtt is no hero after all ... the way we on Social Media always warned everybody. Let me make clear, I think that The Political Sword has been pre-eminent in its consistent quality of insightful, sober lead articles and comments. The blog is infected with Ad astra virus which when you've caught it you are forever immune to bullshit antibodies ... Ken's lead this time is a tribute to Ad's own style of writing. And Ken that's my tribute to you! Anyway I'm a bit cheered by being able to laugh that weak form of laughter more powerfully than ever before as I contemplate the amazing self-inflicted chaos engulfing the Abborrrtt Government. But I can't help being Black-Dogged by the overwhelming sadness of the thought that none of this social division and destruction of Labor's best-laid plans need ever have happened. But, we HELD ON in SA, and, we WON Victoria, and, we WON QUEENSLAND, and now we have the chance to WIN NSW! We have a fair wind and all bets are ON. And by the Living Dog, we WILL win back the Wide Brown Land from the clutches of these Vandal hordes, and through the burgeoning power of Social Media we will never be so ignorant again. And maybe just maybe we can whip Australia's singed fat from the fire, thanks to Abborrrttt's EXTREME stupidity. 71% of under-24s intend to vote Labor. Whereas 56% of over 65's vote LNP. Just goes to show, the young are getting their info not from Murdoch but from Social Media. (Heh heh Glad us old farts keep dropping off the twig.) [Not You Ad, [i]Live Forever![/i] :) ] This article I reckon is pretty good: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/blunt-instrument/only-a-flesh-wound-for-abbott-20150209-13a6hp.html And with my Eye of Time open again after being painfully poked by Rudd, I yell again, with all my determination intact and with deep conviction, the best-sounding call to arms I ever heard, Yes Comrades, The old Battle Cry, [i][b]VENCEREMOS![/b][/i]

Casablanca

11/02/2015[b]We want the whole budget story, not just half[/b] Greg Jericho If the Government wants to bring in a budget that keeps shifting us back to surplus, then maybe it is time to admit it's not all about cutting spending, but that revenue also needs to be increased. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-11/jericho-we-want-the-whole-budget-story-not-just-half/6084600

Casablanca

11/02/2015[b]Abbott has failed to make the one promise that could save him: to be fair [/b] David Marr. 10 February 2015 Instead of frank admissions and a fresh vision with equity at its heart, the prime minister gave us mechanical policy tweaks indicating little shift in course. The issue of equity is deep, obvious and unacknowledged by Abbott in the multiple mea culpas he delivered. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2015/feb/10/tony-abbott-needs-to-make-a-fair-point-rather-than-empty-promises?CMP=ema_632

Casablanca

11/02/2015[b]The new Pig Iron Bob: Submarine Tony[/b] Rodney E. Lever 11 February 2015, 11:00am By sending our submarine building industry to Japan, Tony Abbott is following in a rich conservative tradition begun by former PM Bob Menzies... "Pig iron Bob" the Labor party called him because he was selling scrap metal to the Japanese so they could build terrifying weapons for the war they knew was coming. Now we have Submarine Tony. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-new-pig-iron-bob-submarine-tony,7360

Curi-Oz

11/02/2015The thing is not only have we 'shouters against the wind' make our voices heard about the disgraceful way in which the Liberal and National coalition are carrying on, we also have to ensure that the ALP is not seduced and captured by exactly the same forces that have so corrupted the Liberals that even Malcolm Fraser quite their ranks some years ago. Thanks for the article, Ken. I'm finding that TPS and TPS Extra (The Poniard? *G*) are not only providing me pointers to find the evidence, but also useful arguments with which to duel with those who only get their information from the MSM.

Ken

11/02/2015TT You have left me speechless - or should I say wordless. Thank you. Even if governments are still reluctant to act, the insurance industry and some big money (as represented at the World Economic Forum) are starting to plan how they can continue to make money in a world where climate change is a reality. Many governments, like Abbott's, listen to the money so, I think, there is hope for change but I also hope for my grandchildren that it is not too late.

Ken

11/02/2015Curi-Oz Glad to be of help.:-)

Ad astra

12/02/2015Folks I have posted [i]The lessons Abbott will not learn[/i] on [i]TPS Extra[/i]. http://www.tpsextra.com.au/post/the-lessons-abbott-will-not-learn

Crowey

12/02/2015I don't know you bloggers have read this, if not it's worth reading Kathy Jackson fails to persuade the court that a suspicious fire ate her homework and is set down by the Federal Court to face allegations she defrauded the HSU for $1.4 million. Peter Wicks from Wixxyleaks reports. They say “everybody has their day in Court”, however most of us have lost count of Kathy Jackson’s days. Today, however, was another one to add to the tally as the matter of the $1.4 million of allegedly misappropriated member funds was once again due before Federal Court and another attempt was to be made for Jackson to answer the questions of her accusers. Along the way, in this case there have been numerous breaches of court orders from Jackson, changes of legal representation, an admission to a psychiatric facility and last week a fire at Jackson’s residence. However, that is just the events related to the Federal Court case. Since the Federal Court case commenced, almost two years ago, there have been some other significant events in Jackson’s life. There has been a Royal Commission where she claimed she was ambushed. There has been the recommendation by Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission that she be deferred to the Department of Public Prosecutions for criminal investigation and charges. There has been the exposing of her $250,000 NHDA private bank account care of cancer workers. There has been the flaunting of her sex life all over the media. There has been the decision from her own union to report matters to Victorian Police for investigation. She was portrayed as a crook in an election campaign by the Victorian Liberal Party and the Federal Liberal Party have all but deserted her — tossing her aside like yesterday’s garbage. Today the question on everyone’s lips was: Would Jackson use last Friday’s small fire as a means to further delay proceedings? The answer to that question is that, yes, she attempted to — however she completely and utterly failed.

Ad astra

12/02/2015TT You are an inspiration to us all. It is good to see you in such fine fettle. Your words strike both fear for our planet and everything on it, yet hope that finally sanity, science and the commonness of ordinary people will rescue us from the insanity, the anti-science and the lack of commonsense of our politicians led by the denialist Abbott. indeed [b]VENCEREMOS![/b]

Ad astra

12/02/2015Casablanca Again, thank you for your links. The article by David Marr inspired me to write the piece just posted on [i]TPS Extra: The lessons Abbott will not learn[/i]: http://www.tpsextra.com.au/post/the-lessons-abbott-will-not-learn

Ad astra

12/02/2015Folks The Greg Jericho article is well worth a read. As usual his piece is enriched with telling graphs. He begins: "[i]If the Government wants to bring in a budget that keeps shifting us back to surplus, then maybe it is time to admit it's not all about cutting spending, but that revenue also needs to be increased."[/i] This is what balanced economists have been saying for some time. But Abbott, Hockey and Cormann don't want to hear this, as it would necessitate going after lost revenue resulting from, for example, superannuation and negative gearing perks that mostly benefit the wealthy. Greg concludes: "[i]And that means throwing out the talking points and the tired and now ignored blaming of the ALP."[/i] Aren't we sick and tired of hearing the tired old mantras: 'Labor's debt and deficit disaster' and 'cleaning up Labor's mess'. It's time for the Coalition to stop this because it's putting voters off, but Abbott's finance ministers won't, because they know nothing else. They are like daleks, robotically repeating their boring messages. It is noteworthy that the designer of the daleks, Raymond Cusick, made a final modification, which was to remove their ability to feel pity, compassion, or remorse; indeed he removed every emotion except hate. Sound familiar? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-11/jericho-we-want-the-whole-budget-story-not-just-half/6084600

Ad astra

12/02/2015Curi-Oz I’m glad you are finding [i]TPS Extra[/i] a useful source of debating points. There is certainly plenty to write about. Crowey Thanks for the information about Kathy Jackson. It will be fascinating to see how it all turns out. It looks like a case of ‘the biter bit’.

Casablanca

12/02/2015[i]Both the Foreign Minister and her Shadow Minister delivered powerful speeches in Parliament today calling for clemency for the two Australians on death row in Indonesia.The Drum has published the text of the two speeches:[/i] [b]A plea to Indonesia: don't kill these changed men[/b] Julie Bishop 12 Feb 2015 In this address to Parliament today, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop urged Indonesia to show the same mercy to Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran that it seeks for its own citizens in the same situation abroad. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-12/bishop-chan-and-sukumaran-dont-kill-these-changed-men/6088014 [b]Criminals can be redeemed - my husband is proof[/b] Tanya Plibersek . 12 Feb 2015, 1:40pm Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek, whose husband was charged and convicted of a similar crime to Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, delivered this personal speech to Parliament today. What would have happened if he had been caught overseas? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-12/plibersek-these-men-deserve-restorative-justice-not-execution/6088334

Casablanca

12/02/2015I knew that Tanya Plibersek's huppy, Michael Coutts-Trotter, had done time but I did not know the nature of the crime. I was also aware that he is a departmental head in NSW as I recall the fuss/scandal surrounding his appointment to head Department of Education & Training. His first appointment came under Labor's Premier Iemma but he was reappointed by Liberal Premier O'Farrell. BTW he attended the same school as Abbott (ie Riverview) but at a later time. Here is his Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Coutts-Trotter. [b]Tanya Plibersek: my husband's life after drug conviction shows what Bali Nine pair have to offer [/b] Shalailah Medhora. 12 February 2015 Deputy Labor leader joins Julie Bishop in heartfelt speeches urging Indonesia to spare Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/12/tanya-plibersek-my-husbands-life-after-drug-conviction-shows-what-bali-nine-pair-have-to-offer?CMP=ema_632

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12/02/2015[b]DAY 3 OF TONY'S GOOD GOVERNMENT[/b] [b] 1. Tony Shoots the Messenger.[/b] Tony Abbott calls report on children in detention a 'transparent stitch-up' Shalailah Medhora and Ben Doherty 12 February 2015 The prime minister intensified his criticism of the Human Rights Commission, after saying it ‘should be ashamed’ for publishing the Forgotten Children report...The 15-month span of the report takes in the last nine months of the Labor government and the first six months of the Coalition government. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/12/tony-abbott-rejects-report-children-detention-blatantly-political?CMP=ema_632 [b]2. Tony Invokes the Holocaust[/b] Tony Abbott apologises for 'holocaust' remark made under pressure over submarines contract Emma Griffiths. 12 Feb 2015, 5:09pm Prime Minister Tony Abbott has apologised for using the term "holocaust" in response to a question in parliament about the future of Australia's multi-billion-dollar submarines contract. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-12/prime-minister-tony-abbott-apologises-for-holocaust-remark/6089396 [b]3. Tony in contempt of Court - 'No' (Parliamentary privilege); Prejudical remarks - 'Probably'[/b] Abbott reveals details of alleged Sydney Islamic State video Rachel Olding. February 12, 2015 - 4:28PM The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, told Parliament on Thursday that security agencies showed him the video in which the alleged pledge is made. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-reveals-details-of-alleged-sydney-islamic-state-video-20150212-13d2c6.html

Ken

12/02/2015Casablanca Yes, I found Plibersek's remarks truly heart-warming: a politician willing to tell the truth, even about personal issues. She will be a great Prime Minister. And I like your Abbott Day 3 links. Not bad for Abbott for one day. Plenty more to come before they roll him. But the one that fascinates me the most is about the alleged terrorism threat in Sydney. Yes, the AFP may have been involved but it is basically a NSW police and NSW court matter and nothing to do with Abbott. One way to overcome such "terrorists" is to treat them as common criminals, not to give them the grandeur of "terrorism" through statements by the prime minister. I don't know who is advising him but it is certainly not a terrorism expert: more likely a political adviser telling him he can make some mileage out of it.

Casablanca

13/02/2015[b] TONY'S DAZE OF 'GOOD GOVERNMENT' [/b] 1. Coalition's first day of 'good government' but the message hasn't changed Lenore Taylor, 10 February, 2015 The fact that the talking points haven’t changed even as the Abbott government back-pedals furiously on its major policies is an insult to the intelligence of the electorate http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/10/coalition-first-day-good-government-but-message-hasnt-changed 2. Strong leadership misses the mark Andrew Hamilton. 11 February 2015 Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman prided themselves on strong leadership. They assumed voters would think the country was in good hands if it was ruled by a strong-willed leader who gives priority to pushing through programs rather than signalling, explaining and defending them. A more effective way forward in politics could be to forget slogans and will-power and instead give priority to communication and action that is based on reason... The present crisis gives space to imagine a better way. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=42443#.VNvaGi74hM4 3. Abbott has failed to make the one promise that could save him: to be fair David Marr. 10 February 2015 Instead of frank admissions and a fresh vision with equity at its heart, the prime minister gave us mechanical policy tweaks indicating little shift in course. The issue of equity is deep, obvious and unacknowledged by Abbott in the multiple mea culpas he delivered. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2015/feb/10/tony-abbott-needs-to-make-a-fair-point-rather-than-empty-promises?CMP=ema_632 4. US think tank asks 'Is Tony Abbott the most incompetent leader of any industrialised democracy?' Nick O'Malley. February 12, 2015 - 7:01AM A leading United States think tank has published a piece posing the question, "Is Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott the most incompetent leader of any industrialised democracy?" and answering, quite comprehensively, in the affirmative. Published on the Council on Foreign Relations website before Mr Abbott survived a spill motion on Monday, the piece argues that he has proven so "shockingly incompetent" that he deserved to lose his job. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/us-think-tank-asks-is-tony-abbott-the-most-incompetent-leader-of-any-industrialised-democracy-20150211-13cda6.html 5. Abbott 'a strikingly poor politician' (Video, 02:26) Tony Abbott seems to be the least competent leader of any rich democracy and appears unaware of how poorly he comes across at world events says Joshua Kurlantzick from US think tank Council on Foreign Relations. 12/02/15 http://media.canberratimes.com.au/video-news/video-national-news/abbott-a-strikingly-poor-politician-6250476.html 6. Tony Abbott's submarines remarks take good government down to the depths Lenore Taylor. 11 Feb 2015. The prime minister muddies the water with claims about Labor’s position to shift attention from confusion over $20bn contract..On day two, good government seems to have slipped further from our grasp. The prime minister claimed, out loud, that Labor wanted an open tender process for the $20bn contract to build Australia’s next generation of submarines so that Russia and North Korea might bid... But there was no mistaking his intentions in making silly claims about Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-someone as a little firecracker to distract attention from the fact that he either a) changed the way the submarine tender would be handled to win the vote of a South Australian backbencher in Monday’s leadership ballot, or b) misled the South Australian backbencher to think he had done so. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/11/tony-abbott-submarines-take-good-government-down-to-the-depths 7. Tony Invokes the Holocaust Tony Abbott apologises for 'holocaust' remark made under pressure over submarines contract Emma Griffiths. 12 Feb 2015, 5:09pm On day three of good government the Prime Minister Tony Abbott has apologised for using the term "holocaust" in response to a question in parliament about the future of Australia's multi-billion-dollar submarines contract. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-12/prime-minister-tony-abbott-apologises-for-holocaust-remark/6089396 8. Abbott Compares Drop In Defence Job Numbers To The Holocaust Chris Graham. 12 February, 2015 Good government begins now. No wait, Now. No wait… NOW! https://newmatilda.com/2015/02/12/abbott-compares-drop-defence-job-numbers-holocaust 9. Abbott And Co All At Sea Over Submarine Fiasco Ben Eltham. 12 Feb 2015 Good government apparently began earlier this week. An articulate defence spending policy appears to be another thing altogether. https://newmatilda.com/2015/02/12/abbott-and-co-all-sea-over-submarine-fiasco 8. Only a flesh wound for Abbott John Birmingham. February 10, 2015 The breach of trust is so great, the perception that these guys govern for themselves and the wealthy is so deeply entrenched that no amount of story telling is going to wipe it away. John Howard had a problem with being perceived as mean and sneaky. Abbott has maxed that out to being thought of as cruel, dishonest, deceitful and stupidly arrogant in a pair of confronting budgie smugglers. Not bad for a year and a half. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/blunt-instrument/only-a-flesh-wound-for-abbott-20150209-13a6hp.html 9. The mark of a man Adam Gibson. February 4, 2015 As a young cadet journalist in the late ’80s/early ’90s at News Ltd’s Sydney newspaper HQ, I was assigned to work on the Foreign Desk at The Australian newspaper. There were a variety of interesting characters on the paper at that time, all sorts of pleasant and not-so-pleasant eccentrics hanging on from an older era of Australian newspapers. But to this day, I remember the mark of the man from those days. In an unvarnished view, with no sense of hindsight, just a raw impression of his ungilded character, I knew for certain back then that he was a dickhead, and I have never wavered in such an opinion. It’s the small things that tell the greater whole about people. That bloke was Tony Abbott. http://adamfgibson.com/2015/02/04/the-mark-of-a-man/ 10. Tony Abbott is in trouble because he never let the junkyard dog go David Marr. 6 February 2015 17.49 AEST This week has proved that unlike his political hero, Churchill, the Australian prime minister did not grow once he had the power he scrapped and fought for. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/06/tony-abbott-is-in-trouble-because-he-never-let-the-junkyard-dog-go 11. The rise and fall of Tony Abbott: The man from yesterday Lachlan Barker. 11 February 2015, 8:00am So, Tony Abbott has survived the spill — but even having a spill seems to have truly mystified the PM, so how did it get so bad so quickly? https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-rise-and-fall-of-tony-abbott,7352 12. Tony Abbott spins out of control Laura Tingle. 08 Feb 2015 19:15:00 Outright lies might be the thing that makes voters outright angry. But the thing that often gets politicians into the most trouble are the statements they make that aren't lies as such but are such extreme assertions of political spin that you dismiss them with a presumption that "he/she can't actually believe that". Because it turns out that, every so often, you discover that politicians actually do believe their own spin and have been lulled into a state of delusion about the power of politics and government. http://www.afr.com/p/national/politics/tony_abbott_spins_out_of_control_SwZNiJckt5qaYay58NNxDK 13. Leadership turmoil may prove an economic disaster Alan Kohler. 12 February, 2015 The awarding of a knighthood on Australia Day to the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, may go down in history as one of the truly great disasters of Australian fiscal policy. It triggered this week's spill motion, which in turn may have destroyed any chance of a decent budget for two more years....In successive interviews on the ABC's 7.30 program this week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey were an incoherent mess. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-12/kohler-leadership-turmoil-may-prove-an-economic-disaster/6085706 14. Budget may never get back to surplus, says Joe Hockey Peter Martin and Mark Kenny. February 11, 2015 - 11:28AM So big is the hit to the budget from commodity prices and the measures held up in the Senate it may "never get back to surplus", Treasurer Joe Hockey has told the Coalition party room. The embattled minister made the claim as an independent assessment of the damage to the budget since May put it at $46 billion to $56 billion. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/budget-may-never-get-back-to-surplus-says-joe-hockey-20150211-13b2aq.html 15. As our economy suffers, cue the clowns Ian Verrender 9 Feb 2015, 1:34pm The pantomime being played out in Canberra has only served to divert attention from the grim reality facing the economy and the absence of any cogent plan to restore the nation's fina http://insidestory.org.au/a-place-to-call-home 16. Abbott government rocked as unemployment hits highest rate since 2002 Mark Kenny, Gareth Hutchens. February 12, 2015 - 11:38PM Australia's highest unemployment rate in over a decade has jolted the Australian economy, rocked the Abbott government, and increased the pressure on the Reserve Bank to orderyet another interest rate cut when it meets in coming months. Australia's jobless rate jumped from 6.1 to 6.4 per cent in January making it the highest unemployment rate since 2002 and, with 800,000 people now officially out of work, the highest aggregate jobless number since 1994. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-government-rocked-as-unemployment-hits-highest-rate-since-2002-20150212-13d9lr.html 17. The nonsense about Free Trade Agreements John Menadue. 11/02/2015 In his tormented defence of his government’s performance, Tony Abbott highlighted some of his so-called achievements. They included the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Japan, ROK and China. ‘Most of the work in preparation for these agreements had been done by the Rudd and Gillard Governments, but the Abbott Government was so politically driven to get some achievements on the board that it eagerly signed up to these three agreements.’ http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=3226 18. Coalition MPs stage walkout after Bill Shorten raises budget in Closing the Gap speech Michael Gordon and Dan Harrison. February 12, 2015 - 12:38AM If the Government wants to bring in a budget that keeps shifting us back to surplus, then maybe it is time to admit it's not all about cutting spending, but that revenue also needs to be increased http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/coalition-mps-stage-walkout-after-bill-shorten-raises-budget-in-closing-the-gap-speech-20150211-13bla7.html 19. Tony Abbott's Close The Gap Report Card: A Roadmap For Destroying Black Australia Amy McQuire. 12 Feb 2015 Yesterday's Close The Gap report card, delivered by the Prime Minister, lays bare the unmitigated disaster that is Aboriginal affairs policy today. https://newmatilda.com/2015/02/12/tony-abbotts-close-gap-report-card-roadmap-destroying-black-australia 20. Children in detention: A government without compassion Joshua Dale 12 February 2015, 3:00pm Prime Minister Tony Abbott dismisses a damning Human Rights Commission report into children in refugee detention, saying he feels no guilt about their plight [...] https://independentaustralia.net/australia/australia-display/children-in-detention-abbott-feels-no-shame,7366 21. Coalition Attacks On Kids In Detention Report Are Irrational And Wilfully Blind Max Chalmers. 12 Feb 2015 Neither of the major political parties come out unscathed from the immigration detention report. Indeed both are damned. https://newmatilda.com/2015/02/12/coalition-attacks-kids-detention-report-are-irrational-and-wilfully-blind 22. Tony Abbott calls report on children in detention a 'transparent stitch-up' Shalailah Medhora and Ben Doherty 12 February 2015 The prime minister intensified his criticism of the Human Rights Commission, after saying it ‘should be ashamed’ for publishing the Forgotten Children report...The 15-month span of the report takes in the last nine months of the Labor government and the first six months of the Coalition government. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/12/tony-abbott-rejects-report-children-detention-blatantly-political?CMP=ema_632 23. Abbott government resorting to 'grubby accusations' over terror suspects: Labor Mark Kenny . February 12, 2015 - 4:53PM An embattled Abbott government has risked damage to long-running political bipartisanship on national security by accusing the former Labor government of having allowed terrorists to enter the country. In a fiery question time at the end of what was unquestionably its worst week since being elected, the government used a pre-arranged "Dorothy Dix" question from its own side to draw attention to the fact that two alleged terrorists arrested this week in Sydney had entered Australia during the term of the most recent Labor government. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-government-resorting-to-grubby-accusations-over-terror-suspects-labor-20150212-13d2hm.html 24. One of the World's Worst Climate Villains Could Soon Be Booted From Office Australia: Your long national Knightmare may soon be over. James West. Feb. 4, 2015 Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is terrible on climate change. He has gutted his country's historic cap-and-trade carbon pricing system, has called climate science "crap," and has spoken out against strong international action to fight global warming. He praises coal as "good for humanity." But there might soon be good news for critics of Abbott's climate policies: It looks like Australia's skeptic-in-chief could be coming to the end of the road as prime minister. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/02/australia-tony-abbott-climate-change 25. How Australia Became the Dirtiest Polluter in the Developed World Will Oremus and Ariel Bogle. Sep. 26, 2014 Once a leader in green initiatives, Australia's become the Saudi Arabia of the South Pacific http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/09/how-australia-became-dirtiest-polluter-developed-world 26. The prime ministerial promise to change: can it work? Dennis Grube, 12 February 2015, 2.04pm AEDT “Is it me?” That was the question John Howard reportedly asked his cabinet colleagues as his government remained stubbornly behind in the polls in 2007. One of those colleagues, Tony Abbott, now confronts the same question as he attempts to recover from a “chastening” leadership spill motion on Monday. https://theconversation.com/the-prime-ministerial-promise-to-change-can-it-work-37415 27. Labor Seizes Double Digit Poll Lead Adrian Beaumont. 12 February 2015, 10.04am AEDT We have had five polls released since last Friday night, and Labor leads by at least 55-45 in all of them except Essential, which has a well earned reputation for being slow to change. The previous Newspoll was taken in mid-December, while the other polls were previously taken in the last two weeks... Since Abbott knighted Prince Philip, his approval ratings have crashed, and his net approvals are currently -33 in Essential, -38 in last week’s Ipsos, -42 in ReachTEL and -44 in Newspoll. 28. ‘New politics’ announces itself in Queensland and beyond Randal G Stewart. 11 February 2015, 1.23pm AEDT The “new politics” of 21st-century Australia is much clearer after the extraordinary result in the Queensland election on January 31. Australia’s new politics consists of three elements that they will re-write the textbooks. These elements are: • the franchise business model applied to political party processes; • the community development model applied to political and policy decisions; and • the central role of gender politics, replacing the class and interest-group politics of the past. This lesson will be hard to swallow in editorial offices and interest-group boardrooms, but the lesson is clear. The ALP has found a way to win in the 21st century that does not involve top-down party autocrats’ single-handedly running the campaign from head office. https://theconversation.com/new-politics-announces-itself-in-queensland-and-beyond-37101 29. Popularity matters for the Prime Minister John Warhurst 11 February 2015 The question of popularity often comes up during leadership contests, like the one going on in the Liberal Party... In lay terms, public opinion polls are often said to measure the popularity of political leaders and governments, but they don't really do that. What they do is measure, in the case of political parties, who respondents say they would vote for and, in the case of individual leaders, how satisfied voters are with the job they are doing. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/popularity-is-important-for-the-prime-minister-and-liberals-20150211-13ao3o.html 30. Turnbull: why the left is so in love with him Julie Szego. February 12, 2015 - 8:31AM The Liberal minister exudes a charm that progressives lap up because their faith in him rests on an intriguing paradox...For years left-leaning voters have harboured a fantasy of flipping Turnbull to lead the ALP, figuring it wasn't so far-fetched given he had briefly contemplated joining the party when he was young. That fantasy shelved, these voters now contemplate flipping themselves: embracing the man, even as they throw a metaphorical paper bag over his party. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/turnbull-why-the-left-is-so-in-love-with-him-20150211-13bd9t.html

Casablanca

13/02/2015[b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE: TONY'S DAZE of 'GOOD GOVERNMENT'[/b] (makes Billy McMahon look good) http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CASABLANCAS-CACHE-Tonys-Daze-of-Good-Government.aspx

Ad astra

13/02/2015Casablanca What a splendid feast you have laid out for us today. I have enjoyed the entree already, but as I have to get on the road now to the south coast, I'll have to leave the mains and desserts until later. Thank you. You run a splendid restaurant that keeps on giving.

Ken Fabian

13/02/2015I suspect the insurance industry has some ongoing conflicts of interest, including the ideological leanings of it's investors and CEO's. Whilst the actuaries may indeed be pointing the right direction I suspect there's another side to the insurance business that involves the investing their own money and insuring the invested money and businesses of others. It would be heartening to learn that they are leading the way on divestment but is there any indication that that is the case?

Casablanca

13/02/2015[b]SACK BRANDIS NOT TRIGGS [/b] 1. [b]The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention (2014)[/b] HRC Website with links to the Forgotten Children Report. Foreword. Australia currently holds about 800 children in mandatory closed immigration detention for indefinite periods, with no pathway to protection or settlement. This includes 186 children detained on Nauru. Children and their families have been held on the mainland and on Christmas Island for, on average, one year and two months. Over 167 babies have been born in detention within the last 24 months. This Report gives a voice to these children. https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/forgotten-children-national-inquiry-children-immigration-detention-2014 2. [b]MPs push to oust ‘partisan’ Triggs [/b] Stefanie Balogh. February 13, 2015 12:00AM GILLIAN Triggs’ position as Human Rights Commission president has become untenable, Coalition MPs said last night, echoing Tony Abbott’s broadside at her children in detention report as a “stitch up’’ and a “blatantly partisan politicised exercise’’. A day after The Forgotten Children report was released a chorus of Coalition backbenchers ratcheted up criticism of ¬Professor Triggs, expressing a loss of confidence in her and ¬questioning her impartiality. http://m.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/mps-push-to-oust-partisan-triggs/story-fn59niix-1227217891493 3. [b]Brandis asked Gillian Triggs to resign before critical child detention report[/b] Lenore Taylor & Shalailah Medhora. 13 February 2015 17.28 AEST The attorney general sent the request to the human rights commission head in a move Labor called a ‘disgraceful attack’ on a statutory agency http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/13/brandis-asked-gillian-triggs-to-resign-before-critical-child-detention-report 4. [b]Children in detention exposed to danger, Human Rights Commission finds [/b] Ben Doherty. 11 February 2015 19.30 AEST A six-year-old child’s drawing: under international and Australian law, children are supposed to be detained only as a measure of ‘last resort’. Self-harm, hunger strikes, sexual assault: Gillian Triggs’ The Forgotten Children report finds prolonged detention ‘profoundly negative’ http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/11/children-in-detention-scathing-criticism-in-human-rights-commission-report 5. [b]Children in detention doubly forgotten, as politicians respond with pointless bickering [/b] Ben Doherty. 12 February 2015 16.30 AEST A decade after the first Australian Human Rights Commission report into children in immigration detention, more than 120 still face an indefinite future http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/12/suffer-the-little-children-in-detention-for-they-are-in-political-limbo

Ad astra

14/02/2015Folks Abbott’s anger at the events of the last week was visible and palpable in parliament this week. Witness the way he lashed out at Bill Shorten and the Opposition in an exaggerated way using florid language, even unwisely using the ‘holocaust’ word. His anger is now manifest in his sacking of his Party Whip Phillip Ruddock, the most senior member of parliament; its so-called ‘father’, presumably on the grounds that he did not perceive, or did not transmit to him the alarming level of discontent with his leadership among the backbench, or that he did not muster support for him sufficiently. Whatever the reason, Abbott is angry with him. While some Abbott sycophants, such as Steve Ciobo, have applauded the sacking, Andrew Laming has described it as ‘scapegoating of Godzilla proportions’. Chris Uhlmann sees it as possibly the beginning of a 'night of the long knives. We ought not be surprised at Abbott’s anger and his vengefulness. This behaviour goes way back to his university student days. Remember the Barbara Ramjan episode. Abbott is a nasty, vindictive man who hates losing as much as he enjoys winning and leaving his opponents lying bloodied on the canvas. He is badly wounded, and predictably is lashing out. And this man is our Prime Minister!

Deena Bennett

14/02/2015Dear Ad Astra, I have just returned to Australia, after an absence of nearly two years and I am most pleased to find 'The Political Sword" still in operation, and still providing excellent information to those who care to look. Please allow me to heartily congratulate you, and long may you continue in your endeavour. There were no words suitable to express my dismay at the election of Abbott some months ago now, suffice to say that upon returning here, I find his and his tribes reign is far worse than it appears when viewed from a distance. His election, and the manner of his gaining office, left a most bitter taste in my mouth. What a queer confluence of personalities and occasions put all this together for Australia to enjoy. In a few weeks I must return to my place of work and unfortunately lose contact with you again.( The government of the country is most cautious in its control of the internet). Please allow me to wish you all the very best and long may you provide this service to this Australians who care to look.

Casablanca

14/02/2015[b]ABBOTT PLUMBS THE DEPTHS[/b] 1. Tony Abbott ripe for the knockout blow Peter Hartcher. February 14, 2015 - 12:35AM All Malcolm Turnbull has to do is wait patiently and the prime ministership will come to him. The spontaneous Liberal backbench revolt against Tony Abbott this week marked the fastest implosion of any postwar prime ministership, according to political historians. It was not any external crisis, not a result of any opposition manoeuvring in the house, and unprovoked by any rival for the leadership. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbott-ripe-for-the-knockout-blow-20150213-13e6ox.html 2. Tony Abbott ... meet Sigmund Freud Lyn Bender. 13 February 2015, 7:00am Psychologist Lyn Bender analyses the increasingly erratic behaviour of Prime Minister Tony Abbott from a Freudian perspective. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/tony-abbott--meet-sigmund-freud,7367 3. Tony Abbott's language problem is a big part of his leadership woes Judith Ireland. February 13, 2015 - 5:51PM We have long known that Abbott had a "woman problem" with some voters. To this list we now add his issues with consultation, cabinet, communicating policy decisions and Credlin. But as the new good government took its first faltering steps, we also came face to face with one of Abbott's other Achilles heals: his language problem. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tony-abbotts-language-problem-is-a-big-part-of-his-leadership-woes-20150213-13e490.html 4. Sinking feeling for PM under fire Graham Richardson. February 13, 2015 12:00AM THIS column is usually written on Thursday morning and I always read The Australian before I begin. I have just read the columns by Niki Savva and Greg Sheridan...when two people from the Right of our nation’s politics can each write two columns in two weeks belting Tony Abbott, you know he is in deep trouble... On Monday, Abbott said there had been no secret deals. I am reliably — very reliably — informed there are documents in existence that will disprove this. Whether they are revealed by leak or Freedom of Information ferreting, this would be the end of Abbott’s prime ministership — it would be a broken promise too far and one denial too many. I am not sure who is the bigger mug — Abbott for promising the tender or Edwards for believing him. Forty-three votes would have looked a great deal worse than 39. http://m.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/sinking-feeling-for-pm-under-fire/story-fnfenwor-1227217765671 5. Tony Abbott in tricky terrain as Kevin Rudd regains the spotlight Jacqueline Maley. February 13, 2015 - 7:30PM There was a harpist, who lent a calming and celestial air. There was a clutch of politicians, spear-headed by the Prime Minister, who was safety-padded by a large entourage. There were dignitaries and journalists. And there was Kevin Rudd. At this delicate juncture of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's career, the presence - the beatifically smiling, glad-handing, silver-mopped presence - of the former prime minister could have been seen as an ominous visitation. A ghost-of-Christmases-past kinda thing. A stinging reminder of the ills of party disunity. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/tony-abbott-in-tricky-terrain-as-kevin-rudd-regains-the-spotlight-20150213-13e8oa.html 6. Tony Abbott's horror week is now news in Indonesia Michael Taylor American think tank the Council on Foreign Relations made the headlines in Australia this week when their scathing report on… http://theaimn.com/tony-abbotts-horror-week-now-news-indonesia/ 7. Abbott's terror comments could prejudice trial Greg Barns. 13 February 2015 Mr Abbott, no doubt for political advantage purposes, used material given to him by the AFP to paint a picture of these two men as guilty before any court has had an opportunity to test the allegations. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-13/barns-abbotts-terror-comments-could-prejudice-trial/6091644 8. Tony Abbott: The Termination Bob Ellis. 14 February 2015, 10:00am With Tony Abbott sacking Philip Ruddock as Liberal Party chief whip yesterday, it is certain Tony Abbott has weeks, not months, left in the top job. And to Tony Abbott, the words matter, only the words matter, and the deeds that follow can contradict them. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/tony-abbott-the-termination,7371 9. It's a matter of trust. Why confidence is our biggest economic problem Peter Martin. February 13, 2015 - 10:40PM The one thing that's broken is the one thing our leaders can't easily fix. It's confidence. The treasurer said so on Friday: "The problem in the economy is not a shortage of money, it's about confidence and jobs and growth." Joe Hockey believes there's little point in injecting more money into the economy if people and businesses aren't prepared to spend it. Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens said much the same thing before the parliament's economics committee while Hockey was speaking. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/its-a-matter-of-trust-why-confidence-is-our-biggest-economic-problem-20150213-13e787.html 10. Freedom Abbott David Marr. September 2014 The brief life and quiet death of Tony Abbott’s love of liberty http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2014/september/1409493600/david-marr/freedom-abbott 11. The Elephants in the Press Gallery Victoria Rollison. February 14, 2015 The Press Gallery have been busily, emphatically, excitedly making the most of the new leadership tensions story that Abbott has gifted them over the past few weeks. But amongst the innumerable number of articles about what’s gone wrong for Abbott, how he got to this point so quickly in his first term, and what he plans to do to fix this mess, there are some massive elephants in the Press Gallery who are being consistently ignored. In fact, there are enough elephants to build a pretty decent circus, if you throw in the journalists as the clowns... Here are some of the most obvious elephants who have been ignored in the leadership crisis coverage, the 16 months of Abbott’s government and in some cases, his entire 6 years in Opposition: http://theaimn.com/elephants-press-gallery/ 12. Debt and Deficit Duplicity Kay Rollison. February 14, 2015 Once you’ve seen through the ‘debt and deficit’ mantra, (which incidentally is all Labor’s fault, according to leaked government speakers’ notes) you can’t go back to believing in the sort of economic analysis that underpins it. But the mantra is everywhere. Whoever is leader of the Liberal Party, you can be sure a promise to ‘repair’ Labor’s debt and deficit will feature in their rhetoric. http://theaimn.com/debt-deficit-duplicity/

Casablanca

14/02/2015Check out these good articles CASABLANCA'S CACHE: ABBOTT PLUMBS THE DEPTHS http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/ABBOTT-PLUMBS-THE-DEPTHS.aspx

Ad astra

14/02/2015Deena Bennett What a lovely compliment you pay me and other writers and commenters here at [i]The Political Sword[/i]. It is feedback like yours that gives us the motivation to continue. We too were dismayed at the election of the Abbott government. We knew what to expect, we wrote about it, we warned that the Abbott style would be vengeful and weak, and it has turned out as predicted. One need look no further than the 2014 budget to see his vengefulness, and not look beyond his unwillingness to take action where it is needed to see his weakness. Ever since this so-called 'adult' government took over, there has been mistake after mistake, error compounding error, and such monumental economic mismanagement that the economy is slowing and unemployment is rising. Compared with the present LNP, Labor's economic management looks so much more efficient, as the public is now realising. The daily missteps give us much to write about, and to this end we have added [i]TPS Extra[/i] to accommodate the day to day events that demand attention. http://www.tpsextra.com.au I'm disappointed that you can't read [i]TPS[/i] when working abroad, but look forward to hearing from you when you return.

DMW

15/02/2015Hey Ken, I have been flat out living the adage [i] All politics are local, all politics is personal [/i] & haven't had a lot of time to keep up with The Sword and the shenanigans in the federal sphere. I am glad that I took e few minutes at this early hour to drop by and catch up. Extraordinarily excellent article that I would mark at eleven and a half out of ten if stars would let me. [i]Magnifico Comrade[/i] Keep up the great work Swordsters and comrades let it be known: [i][b]It's time ... ... for the people to take democracy back[/b][/i] PS my time here debating and discussing has served me well in my latest role as a community activist. Thanks Ad and all the brilliant people you have gathered around you at the Sword

Curi-Oz

15/02/2015There is a part of me that wonders why all these stories of the way Mr Abbott was raised, how he has behaved, how he has been cosseted all his life, are only appearing now in the more main stream papers (I haven’t noticed too many of these comments on the radio or TV as yet). But then I recall that it is not because the MSM press want to actually report what is happening, they have got to the point where they want to direct the action, shoot the movie, and play the parts themselves. They crave “the narrative”. I wonder what sort of Oscar nomination we should offer people like Mr Hartcher, Mr Bolt, Ms Crabb or even Mr Murdoch for their development of the current script/performance the Australian audience is being offered?

Ken

15/02/2015DMW Good to see you back and thank you. It's also good to see another swordster putting words into deeds. It appears Labor is getting the message that politics is about talking with (not to) and listening to people, not just about 'sound bites' and advertising. The successful Queensland campaign was based much more on grass roots campaigning (see 2353's piece on TPS Extra). So, I think there is hope that even political parties may recognise that democracy belongs to the people. Good luck with your community activism.

Ken

15/02/2015Curi-Oz Agree that the media seems no longer satisfied just to "report" the news, they try to make it. Or think they do but then succumb to the self-interested "leaks" that they are give "off the record". Without the media's apparent naivety, Rudd could not have kept up his campaign against Gillard. Rudd supporters kept leaking, kept "briefing" journalists but it wasn't always true but in Rudd's interest. It's about time that journalists went back to checking stories, not just passing on whatever they are fed.
How many umbrellas are there if I start with two and take 2 away?