A Triumphant Return or the Last Hurrah?

 


 

On Friday, Tony Abbott, whom I have already spotted as a serial confessor of sins, made another confession. It was startling in its frankness. To quote the ABC online story:

 “Mr Abbott ... told the Examiner he disliked the ‘Captain Catholic tag’ that had been ascribed to him.  

‘The only one of the Ten Commandments that I am confident that I have not broken is the one about killing, and that's because I haven't had the opportunity yet,’ he said.” 

He lacks only the ‘opportunity’ to kill a fellow human being?  Otherwise that would be on his list of sins?  Can Abbott be serious thinking that this utterance won’t be taken and pulverized by a hostile media?

Unfortunately, the answer seems to be, ‘Yes’.

Go back a few months to Kevin Rudd’s ‘Fair shake of the sauce bottle’ episode. AA wrote a good piece on it: The sauce bottle saga with lots of links.  Journalists went on about The Sauce Bottle Saga for a month or so. George Megalogenis, in an article entitled This bloke act is doing our head in was terribly upset: 

“PM, mate, you made your name in two sets of lounge rooms: the everyday and the elite.  You looked like a cheery quiz show contestant on Seven’s Sunrise and a brainiac on the ABC’s Lateline. Between those two men is the real Kevin. 

Sometime soon you will have to find that person, or risk becoming the punchline to a national joke.  You know, the one about the nerd who pretended he was a bloke.”

So, for uttering a fairly commonplace saying, the Australian College of Political Opinionistas went to town on Kevin Rudd, hammer and tongs.  The clincher in all this was that most of the coverage was derisory, or outright derogatory.

By contrast almost every word of Tony Abbott’s recent pithyisms and off-the-cuff verbal spoutings are accepted as showing that he is ‘the real deal’, someone who ‘tells it like it is’, speaking in plain terms that Everyman can understand.

Abbott, playing up to this depiction of him, has been getting bolder of late.  He has accused the government of bribing free-to-air TV stations (only to refuse to elaborate the next day).   He gave the women of Australia fatherly advice on maintaining their virginity, but was not quizzed at all on his own forays into the virginity (and unmarried pregnancy) business when he was a university student.  He has accused Peter Garrett of ‘industrial manslaughter’ (a crime which Abbott believes should never have made it into law on moral and economic grounds).   And now, as if his accusations against Peter Garrett were a dress rehearsal for The Big One, in his zeal to confess his sins Abbott’s brought out the 5th Commandment: ‘Thou shalt not murder’. His stated attitude towards this prohibition is, ‘There but for the opportunity go I.’

I accept that Abbott was probably a little pumped up by the excitement of the campaign trail.  The compulsive confessor of sins waxed broadly on sex, on penance, and on the Ten Commandments during the same interview.  He quoted his Jesuit mentor, one Father Costello, as telling him that Lent didn’t have to be all gloom and doom. It was ‘much better to do something positive in Lent than to give something up.’  All good stuff.  I suppose then the mood took him over, leading him to go the whole hog and make his homicide statement.

I believe it’s fairly certain that if Kevin Rudd had said he’d broken all the Commandments, except the one against killing a fellow human being (and that only for lack of opportunity) it would signal the end of his political career, and rapidly.  He would be vilified for either the bare words themselves, or for being flippant about murder. We would be told that such statements were un-Prime Ministerial, that they showed ‘a lack of judgement going to character’, that he was feeling the strain, that he was overworking himself.  Victims of crime would be produced, tearfully denouncing the Prime Minister for saying what he said.  Correlations between his words and our policies regarding Afghanistan and the Bali-9 would be exposed.  Sniggering jokes would be made about the four deaths under the insulation stimulus plan. We would be reminded in detail of Rudd’s allegedly foul temper. He would be depicted as unstable, a bomb ready to go off.  Dennis Shanahan’s tut-tutting from his Sydney office would be heard in Melbourne.  If Rudd could be condemned by Dennis for not playing Abbott’s traffic accident near miss correctly, then what would he do with a Rudd statement on not having the opportunity yet to kill people?  By contrast, we would be reminded that Tony Abbott was the Genuine Article, waiting in the wings for his chance.  There might even be a call or two for an early election.

In fact, if Rudd had said any one of a dozen things that have come out of Abbott’s mouth in the past few weeks, he would have been roasted alive by the media. Abbott can’t claim (like Milne does) that he ‘doesn’t want to be the Prime Minister’ in this case, as an excuse, because that’s exactly his goal.  So why are Abbott’s casual pronouncements reported almost universally positively, or at worst neutrally, and Rudd’s reported almost universally negatively?  Do the media think they are so strong and in control of the national agenda that they can spin any utterance any way they like, according to their political agenda?

The history of the past three years in Australian political life has revolved around the public studiously ignoring the most vehement anti-Rudd messages produced by the media. You will all know the long list of ‘Get Rudd’ schemes – the supposed ‘myth’ of his hard-done childhood, Scores-gate, Ute-gate, Long Tan-gate, The Weeping Flight Attendant, the hypocrisy of his wealth, Fair Shake Of The Sauce Bottle-gate, the Stimulus ‘Debacle’, and many, many more. Yet Rudd and Labor have soared in the polls. The last poll Labor lost was in August 2006. Before that it was June 2006. There never has been a run of polling popularity like it, and all of this in defiance of the media’s best attempts to turn public opinion around.

But just recently we have seen a slight trending down in Labor’s figures and those of the Prime Minister. There has been a slight trending up of the Coalition’s figures and an approval rate for their latest leader that is at last not in the teens. A whole legend is being spun around these paltry, few statistics. Rudd has lost the plot. His government is on the way out, a oncer.

Abbott has produced only bullet points and thought bubbles, un-costed wish lists masquerading as ‘policies’. His Finance spokesperson, Barnaby Joyce has arguably been damaging to both the Coalition cause and to the nation’s fiscal reputation. He persists in plugging the line that we cannot repay our debts, yet he is given the merest slap on the wrists by an adoring media (they tell us he needs a little more discipline only). Joe Hockey waxes and wanes between ‘The Rudd Recession’ and ‘The Recession We Never Had’. Greg Hunt excruciatingly tries to sell a dog of a Climate policy that we know he doesn’t believe in. Julie Bishop is the Invisible Woman, rousing from her Shadow Foreign Affairs torpor only to try to scuttle relations between Australia and China.

The media seem to believe that, at last, this is a triumphant return to the status quo, where they tell us what to think and how to vote. The tactic of wall-to-wall Abbott and 24/7 Good News about the Coalition has finally paid a dividend. They’re going in harder and harder, even resorting to boot-strapper interviews with each other!  Rudd is depicted as embattled, tense, making mistakes. These all go to his fitness to be Prime Minister. His ministers are shown up as either bumbling machine men, troglodytes, or trophy ministers, unsuited – any of them, without exception – to their high offices.

An alternative theory - mine - is that the public have built up an immunity to the media's increasingly bizarre attempts to justify both their own antics and those of conservative politicians; that this is the media’s (and particularly the Murdoch media’s) Last Hurrah - and that the media know it. It may well be that what we are seeing now in the polls is just a blip, a minor victory in a backwoods battlefield, bought at high cost both to the media's credibility and to the nation’s political sanity.

In a political world where the seriousness of Climate Change can be passed off as ‘just politics’, where cheap stunts involving pink tou-tous, acres of lycra, hairy ‘man rug’ chests, ‘thinking woman’s crumpet’ statements, and undersized budgie smugglers are depicted as serious indications of the ‘genuineness’ of the Coalition’s senior personnel and their message, where opportunistic TV coverage of a near-fatal traffic incident is presented as ‘proof’ the Prime Minister is disconnected from the people, and where the media are indulging in a witch hunt for yet more youthful corpses to prove that the most successful GFC response in the world was actually an abysmal failure, they have squeezed out just a couple of in-house polling percentage points from a distracted public.

An outdated media losing its grip has been an ugly thing to watch.  If this is truly a battle for influence, a final battle for the ascendency of the Old Media over the minds of what it sees as its bovine readers and viewers, then expect no prisoners to be taken.  Things will only get worse. More and more stunts will be played out. We will be gravely informed of the ‘political symbolism’ of Abbott shenanigans and of the ‘ineptness’ of the Prime Minister and his government. My feeling is that it can’t go on too long, because even now some of the edges are starting to come off the edifice as our media’s Fonzi Fonzarellis prepare to jump the shark

We’ve had allegations of ‘industrial manslaughter’, the Shadow Treasurer in a ballet dress, the Shadow Finance Minister talking down our nation’s ability to pay its sovereign debts, near-miss traffic incidents blown up to national significance, Coalition moles in the Public Service giving false evidence (which was then further faked by the Daily Telegraph), the rantings of Ackerman and Bolt on Insiders, a sexually disgraced Shock Jock brought back onto the air to lecture Rudd on morals, and a seemingly endless series of derogatory analytical articles on the Prime Minister’s every uttered syllable. And now we have the Ten Commandments brought into play (but don’t call Tony ‘Captain Catholic’). 

The circus has truly come to town. But, what do you think... is it really a Triumphant Return, or just The Last Hurrah?

 

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You must be kidding

19/02/2010Such a great piece BB ... so full of facts, although perhaps next time add some links so we can share your research. Outstanding commentary and of course it is the last hurrah. Once the papers don't sell those conservative rags will have to change their absolute bias and begin to see the wonders of the Government. Especially after Little Johnnie. So this year will be full of angst as we go into an election campaign and the last hurrah. Truly disappointed in Minister Garrett and cancelling the insulation program. It wasn't his fault so why give in ... truly disappointed ... maybe a last hurrah. So folks help me out .... who is this profile of a conservative politician and see if you can guess I went to Barker College in Sydney's upper North Shore I am a devout Christian I did law at University Recently I said I loves the rissoles and mash my "dear wife" (sic) makes for me And if I could have dinner with anyone it would be with the apostle Paul. Who am I?

lyn1

19/02/2010Hi Ad Who am I You Must Be Kidding Peter Garrett has introduced a new policy, the very most he could do in view of all the shonky installers, and Abbott's wild statements suggesting Peter Garrett could be charged with industrial manslaughter. Crikey says 2UE forgot who the Prime Minister is this morning, reporting Prime Minister John Howard will take the whalers to court in November. The papers have been on the decline for some time anyway, that is why Murdoch is so upset, hence the Breakfast with Tony Abbott. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/ http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/02/19/peter-garrett-and-the-perpetual-present-of-politics/

Michael

19/02/2010I'd love to say "last hurrah", but I don't believe the Coalition mob even have a cheer in them - just the sound of air hissing from a leaking balloon. I have no idea why the broader media (we know where News Ltd is coming from) is always on Rudd's and Labor's case. Perhaps the luminaries involved believe they actually created the 'times' for the removal of Howard that Rudd merely stepped forward to claim as an unacknowledged 'gift'? So, as a consequence, he needs to be put in his place, made completely aware of just how completely the media's creation he is - could this be it? 'Insiders' who believe themselves to be makers, but can only deliver their point by acting as shakers? "Put you up, pull you down"? Certainly Abbott has been given free pass after free pass, although, post-"bribes" claim, there may be a nose or two out of joint enough to take him to task. Apart from anything else, while he may not have "yet" had the "opportunity to kill", apparently Abbott, ex-seminarian, is quite happy to claim to have committed acts against all nine of the other commandments. Is he admitting to adultery? To coveting his neighbour's wife, let alone the poor fellow's ass? To have stolen? To have taken the Lord's name in vain? Failed to rest on the seventh day,or indeed, not put in a hard six beforehand? I don't believe this fellow thinks before he talks. They call him a "plain speaker", and a man who "says it as it is". He may say it, but is he saying it as he said it last time? More than enough evidence of his hypocrisy in the name of 'politics' is mounting, to the degree that he may well have to abjure "Battlelines", and perhaps even return money to both publishers and readers, since so much of that 'manifesto' for the Conservatives of Australia has been shaved and reconsidered out of the mouth of the same man who put words to paper. But the real underpinning of everything the man says and does is this: Tony Abbott has said over and over that voters got it wrong in 2007, and that Howard's was a good government, a great government shabbily treated by an electorate fooled into removing it. With this basic driving precept in him, he will do anything (re-christen Work Choices is the least of it) to turn back the clock to the time when this country was run by the people who should be running it. Just the way they ran it back then. He has no intention but, if elected, to return to that 'golden era'. He should be seen for what he is, when all the contradictory and just plain whacky 'plain speaking' is flushed away, when you examine what he is offering as policy, be it costed or not, he is 'Re-tread Tony'. Back to the past, every Coalition policy in 2010 a re-tread of 2007. It's lunatic, but then so is blithely telling the world (and incidentally your wife) that you have broken your marriage vows. "The only one of the Ten Commandments that I am confident that I have not broken is the one about killing, and that's because I haven't had the opportunity yet," Abbott was quoted as saying. Perhaps he might like to tell his wife which 'opportunity' he took, and when, to commit adultery? The we might see and hear some real battlelines in the Abbott household. Although, I suspect, the women in Abbott's life have always been classier than him, and a discreet silence will fall. Until the plain speaker rushes forwards to hear the sound of his own voice for its sake alone... again.

Aussieguru01

19/02/2010BB. Thanks for your well written and thought out article. It really cuts thru the BS. Ilook forward to your next one. Cheers

lyn1

19/02/2010Hi Ad and Bushfire Bill Another excellent piece from Bushfire Bill, thankyou so much and big thanks to Michael too. Michael you have provided great enjoyment with your comment, love this paragraph. Perhaps he might like to tell his wife which 'opportunity' he took, and when, to commit adultery? You are so right Michael It is lunatic. Everyone will love this Blog http://www.abbottsarmy.com.au/un-what/

Ad astra reply

19/02/2010Lyn1 Yet more great links, and so relevant to this piece. Thank you. Michael Thank you for your splendid contribution. I agree with your contention that Tony Abbott still thinks the Howard Government was such a good one that it should not have been rejected by the electorate. He ideological drivers will propel him towards restoring Howard policies, ‘because they were so good’ – he won’t be able to help himself. AS BB so eloquently puts it, Abbott is having an armchair ride from much of the media, particularly the Murdoch press, which is enraged at Rudd’s continuing popularity ([i]Morgan[/i] TPP 57.5/42.5 today) and is hell-bent on pulling him and his Government down. Like BB, I think the public is awake to the media’s game, and will disregard it. The press moguls should take care that their anti-Government, pro-Coalition stance does not inflict irreversible damage on their papers. Aussieguru01 Welcome to [i]TPS[/i]/ Come again.

lyn1

19/02/2010Hi Ad I forgot to say welcome to Aussieguru01, I also hope he will come again.

Michael Cusack

19/02/2010Well done BB!! I have been waiting for someone lucid to take on this topic. I think it is pertinent to much of the political, economic and sociological reporting of the last few years. There is no doubt that the print media especially, but also the "serious" TV reporting is in serious, probably terminal decline world wide and not least in Australia. It is in decline as an economic proposition,in it's standards of journalism and in the respect and interest it generates in the general public. When the (UK)Sun is more influential than the Times, or in Australia the Tele over the Australian, you know that the expectations of the readers have reached rock bottom. They arent interested in "news" or opinions, they want Tits and footy. One of the most visible symptoms of the early stage of the GFC was the craven panic expressed by the journalism class. The reason for that of course was they believed they personally were looking over the precipice, a much more serious situation than the normal recession when only the bottom ten or twenty percent of wage earners got that view. Now we have reached a situation where journalists have seen their future, and for many, and possibly most, it is writing advertising jingles or somesuch. Their "news" and opinion is not wanted by the market. A few may struggle on for as long as a philantropist such as Rupert Murdoch is prepared to back a financial loser for political and commercial influence. The Bulletin lived on for several years on that basis, but when Kerry Packer was buried, so was the Bully. When Rupert is looking for the last dozen or so writers left in serious journalism, all the applicants want to have demonstrated their "reliability" in toeing a line. That reliability may be all that prolongs their descent into the advertising mill.

Daisey May

20/02/2010The Canberra press gallery are hopelessly out of touch with mainstream Australia and exist in a awfully sad bubble. As a voter I would like to see clear, concise, unbiased reporting that reflects what is happening in mainstream society without all the flummery. The biggest problem is that the 20 or so journos that matter have been pumping out their opinions for at least 20 years and we all know more or less what they are going to say before they even say it. They are unable to be objective anymore and they deride anyone who questions their tenured authority. All this is most unhelpful. The old hands serve a roll as they remember everything everyone convieniently forgets. Clinging to this outdated view of agenda setting though simply won't do. Like the pollies that swear by talk back radio as a means to massage the message, the old hoofers need to understand that times have changed and that people that need your votes to govern don't listen to people like the Jones girl or even La Bolta anymore.

Bushfire Bill

20/02/2010I've often wondered why a journalism ticket is regarded as essential for a Public Relations gig. Maybe it's because the journalists are so used to writing spin. I've known quite a few journos, and I know for a fact that when they can't do original research, they make things up. Today's excursion into over-hype was the Garrett story. The basic message from the headlines was that the Insulation Stimulus package had been preremptorily wound up, with nothing to replace it. That the original scheme was being replaced with another was not even hinted at in any of the headlines I saw. Once the press gallery decide a ministerial scalp is in play, then nothing much will stop them. It seems to be a rite of passage for them: the Ministerial Scalp. No self-respecting journo should be without one! Or if he or she can't score it for themselves, then at least he or she is entitled to a share of the table scraps. It clearly irks many in the gallery that the Rudd government has been such a meagre source of scalps for them to gnaw on. The Garrett thing has gone on too long. The caravan has passed it by, but still they try to find the killer angle that will get rid of him. What they don't realise is that he's not only done nothing particularly wrong (not to say that he's done everything right, either), but that Rudd will not let him resign, for to do so would encourage them in just wanting more. The political coverage of recent weeks has reached frenzy status. As I wrote in the main post, in my opinion it has become a circus. Call me naive, but I can't imagine that this is particularly entertaining or even very interesting to the public. The first thing the opinion writers have to do is convince their readership that the story about ministerial impropriety is worth reading, and then that it's worth a scalp. Maybe they've made it past the first criterion, by a squeak, but certainly not the second, as the latest Morgan poll shows: business as usual for Rudd and his government. I feel that an impartial obseerver would look at the benefits of the insulation program, both in environmental and employment aspects, and then at its rolling out. They may be able to see where there's been a few corners cut, or perhaps some sloppy paperwork, but a fair-minded person would give Garrett the benefit of the doubt, seeing as he is so far removed from the actual workplace. They would see many other government financial rebate schemes, any or all of which could result in injury or even death, and regard the minister as exculpated from blame, so why not the insulation stimulus scheme? So the media have decided to take on all the schemes, one by one. First we had insulation, then the solar panels, pretty soon we'll see deaths or injuries under Gillard's school stimulus package. According to The Australian not one - not a single one - aspect of any of the government's anti-GFC schemes has been anything but a fiasco. That is what is called "jumping the shark". You could see that each scheme has its problems - greed, injuries, mismanagement, bureaucratic bungling and so on - but to take all of the schemes together and dismiss them all as incompetent in toto, useless and dangerous, is manifestly going too far. The disconnect between the public perception of this bootstrapping campaign (defined beautifully in Wikipedia as "a self-sustaining process that proceeds without external help") and the journalists' own view of it is stark. The media clearly think they are on a winner. The public couldn't care less, except at the margins. I predict the public will tire of it all quicker than the media will. The public wants a quiet life, not one filled with turmoil, innuendo and constant drama. Abbott and his urgers, on the other hand, [i]need[/i] turmoil, innuendo and drama, because that's all they have to stake their case upon (absent policies, which don't appear to be forthcoming anytime soon). I guess the idea was to grab a bounce in the polls and then to bootstrap that into a landslide, or a bandwagon. Murdoch newspapers have been doing this for years. Their bi-annual "Tax Revolts" are a case in point. A story is written about taxes allegedly being too high, picked up by the journalist in the cubicle down the corridor, and pretty soon they're bouncing their stories off each other, trying to give the impression of a groundswell of outrage in the real world, as opposed to a few offices in the Murdoch building. After a couple of days the passive voice is introduced, as in, "a tax revolt [i]has been called for[/i]", omitting to mention that it is their own newspaper which is doing all the calling. Recently a minor speech by a newbie President of the Business Council of australia (BCA) was morphed into a front page call to arms - a phalanx of four strongly worded, prominently displayed articles, calling for the (how very convenient!) scrapping of business taxes substituted for by an increase in the GST (which their customers would pay, as business can claim GST outgoings back every quarter, or more often in some cases). This was couched in "the Rudd government MUST do such and such" terms. "Must" is another favourite word of your hack bootstrapper. It fizzled out, as I predict the Garrett-gate campaign will also do, but not before it was bootstrapped into "The Rudd government has lost the confidence of Australian business". Complete and utter tosh, of course, but idiocy should never get in the way of a good beat-up. My thesis is that the media have made their run too early and have gone in too hard. They're tiring out before they've even entered the straight. This was, to some extent, made necessary by the surprise (and early) elevation of the comprehensively disliked Tony Abbott to the leadership of the Coalition. Tony went out in round one, throwing punches in his pugilistic style. But there are only so many budgie smuggler photo ops, so many hairy chests and so many lectures on sexuality and virginity that the public can stomach (in my case the threshold is zero). Now today we have a breathless recitation of Tony's sex life (or lack of it) [i]on the campaign trail[/i]. Who knew we were in a "campaign" already? Only Tony and his pals at Murdoch HQ, apparently. They have declared it to be so. We were treated to his views on killing his fellow man (implicitly OK if you get the chance), and by impication on adultery, theft, blasphemy and the worshipping of false gods. Don't forget this is a man who sued Bob Ellis who had alleged Abbott had committed adultery. Now Tony's admitted it, at least in a general sense, and he gets a free pass! Bob Ellis was right, only the actual details were slightly out of skew. Look, nobody's perfect, we all know that, but Tony Abbott has turned the sacrament of confession into an art form. In short, Abbott can't keep his mouth shut. It's alright for a few weeks, but the prospect of month after month of Abbott sins made public is, to say the least, daunting, particularly when he seems to relish their commission so lasciviously, without much thought given to contrition. These are the raw materials that Murdoch has to work with. I don't envy him the task. I believe more damage will be done to media credibility as a result than to Kevin Rudd.

janice

20/02/2010Well said BB. In all of this though, it is the slide into the gutter of our National Broadcaster that raises the hackles on the back of my neck. I remember a time when we were able to rely on the ABC to find out the real story behind the headlines displayed in the press. The Howard Government set out to silence the voice of reason and truth by starving the ABC of funds. Now it seems the national broadcaster is incapable of collecting factual stories for its news bulletins and is reduced to reporting, and even using the identical attention-grabbing headlines, the biased beatups coming out of the Murdoch press. Before Howard, the ABC hired and trained its own journalists to such a high standard that they were often poached by their rivals. The ABC was always a thorn in the side of Murdoch who saw our national broadcaster as a threat to his ambition to own the western world's media and thus become the kingmaker or kingbreaker as he saw fit. Such a pity the old scoundrel was blessed with longevity but when he does kick the bucket there will be few who will miss him and many who will celebrate his passing. I agree with you BB that the media have gone in too hard and too early in their promotion of Abbott's leadership. Since the 2007 election that brought Labor to office, the Murdoch press have backed the Coalition and lauded its leaders to the point of sycophancy despite the fact that the majority of voters refused to buy it. They've been proven wrong so many times now that the likes of Shanahan, Milne et al have lost credibility and are now seen as one-eyed old farts pushing an agenda of lies.

Bilko

20/02/2010"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can not fool all the people all of the time." Abe Lincoln speech 1856. However the Mad Monk/retread tony/phony tony/, like the christian god three persons in one, seems to think he can get away with it for at least 9mths and be a shoe in to the Lodge or would he stay at Kiribilli like his mentor (he does have young children and a precident has already been set). The ABC needs to desperately lift its game as others have commented we need ANOTHER source or as SGt Joe Friday use to say "Just the facts ma'am" without the BS bring back the old growler Alan Ramsey. end of sermon for the moment

Bushfire Bill

20/02/2010As if on cue.... Tony Abbott discusses reintroducing the death penalty, in the Daily Telegraph, complete with an on-line poll, currently running at 78% "YES" to 22% "NO"... but you knew that, didn't you? http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/death-for-terrorists-is-an-option-says-tony-abbott/story-e6freuy9-1225832383579 He also reinvents a little history. There's an amusing reference to Gough whitlam's government being a "oncer". Abbott is wrong. Whitlam won two elections, 1972 and 1974. After the 1974 election (a double dissolution) Medibank was introduced in an historic joint sitting.

Amos Keeto

20/02/2010Brilliant as usual Bushfire, one of your best.

adamite

20/02/2010BB - I can understand your frustration with the media bias but, as someone on another blog said, Abbot is just using the only strategy he has - going negative and raising as many issues as possible to smother Labor's fire. He is being assisted by some abysmal performances by a couple of Labor ministers. I think Rudd's perceived caution and conservatism is actually Labor's best weapon. Hopefully the forthcoming budget will contain with some well targetted, fire proof policy initiatives which will blow disemmbling Abbot and his coniving Coalition out of the water.

Northern Roo

20/02/2010Graeme Morris gave the game away this morning on Saturday Extra (ABC Radio National). The bullet point is to say - what has Labor done? If you answer what about the GFC - the line is - anyone could have saved Australia from the GFC & anyway Rudd Labor destroyed our perfect Howard-Costello economy. So Rudd Labor is all committee, no action & the punters will lap up Abbott's mob. The man of action versus the man of la mancha. Bring on the election I say when this highly talented Labor front bench get some airtime ot start talking about all the great work they have done & how they saved Australia from recession. Any Coalition or coalition friendly media success until then is like winning a game in the pre-season competition: pointless and forgettable.

Ad astra reply

20/02/2010Folks Thank you all for your thoughtful contributions – some of the best I have read on [i]TPS[/i]. This site is becoming a valuable repository for reflective comments, adding as they do so much to the discourse. Fortunately, [i]TPS[/i] is relatively free from mindless rants. I’ve almost finished listening to the talking book [i]The Power of One[/i] by Bryce Courtenay. (Talking books are great on long road journeys). A repetitive theme is ‘First with the head, then with the heart’, advice given to the central character PK by his boxing coach. In his many bouts, PK triumphed again and again over the ‘street fighters’ who came out swinging punches wildly looking for a quick knockout. As BB points out, Tony Abbott can’t keep his mouth shut – he is out there every day throwing punches hoping to knock his man down. But Kevin Rudd, like PK, is using his head, watching his opponent, assessing Abbott’s style, working out a strategy to counter him, all the while avoiding a direct hit, the killer blow. Meanwhile, as BB suggests, Abbott is tiring, and the audience is tiring too. Like PK, expect Rudd to wait until Abbott has exhausted himself, until his energy is spent, and then go in for the kill. Daisey May, Amos Keeto, adamite, Northern Roo Welcome to you all to [i]TPS[/i]. Come again.

mick smetafor

20/02/2010i agree that the print media is on the way down but what worries me is the power of the electronic media in the hands of right wing loonies as in "faux"news etc.they seem to have great success in america in promoting a refusal of the conservative side to accept the right of the winner of an election to actually govern.they behave as if they will only play this democracy game if they allways win.they don't have as much influence as yet here,but give them time and who knows?

Rx

20/02/2010The media is currently giving Abbott the biggest free ride imaginable. Including the ABC. It's disgraceful to watch, actually, the fawning and patronising of these "news" organisations that should be out there, questioning, digging, pressuring. They talk about this Abbott character as an "alternative PM", a PM-in-waiting, practically. But all the hard questions, the aggressive headlines, the insulting talkovers during interviews - go only in the direction of Mr Rudd. While Abbott gets smiles, free kicks, and his propaganda in every news bulletin around the clock. If you were the media, and you wanted to give someone the "job" of PM (as this biased lot seem to want to do with Abbott), wouldn't you give them some stringent character and policy tests first? Instead, they're virtually saying to him, "We're finishing up the other bloke. We'll get him to clear out his desk and the job's yours. You can leave us our tip in an envelope on the fridge." But it's early days. At some time before the election surely they will have to start asking him the hard questions, putting him under pressure. Surely they will. Even if we Political Swordsmiths have to hound them by letter, email and phone call TILL they do. Then we will see how he is served by a big mouth, hot temper and moralising attitude. I'm waiting to see the media also shine a light on the profiles of his front bench - to show the voters out there just what a tired bunch of old extremists and nasty reactionaries looks like. I've got the feeling the electorate aren't going to be all that enamoured with what they see and hear in the coming months. PS: What's the picture of at the top of the page?

mick smetafor

20/02/2010it's a lynch mob rx

Bushfire Bill

20/02/2010Well, at last we have the position (and extreme frustration) of Dennis Shanahan. From today's Oz: [i]"[b]PETER Garrett is finished as a minister[/b]. The besieged Environment Minister might keep his job out of political expediency but he has lost any credibility and he should be sacked. [/i]" In the Circus World of the bootstrapper if you can't get a [i]real[/i] scalp, you just claim it anyway. Peter Garrett is still a minister, but he isn't. From now on Shahahan seems to be saying that he feels free to ignore Garrett, to deride him at every turn and to constantly carp about hs every mocement, because he is "finished". I suppose that's like the recession we had when we didn't have a recession. Or the recession we didn't have, when we were having one... or something like that. You took both positions. Sorry, Dennis old boy, but Garrett isn't finished and no amount of [i]your[/i] say so will make it any different. How frustrated you must feel that the old fashioned Murdoch beat-up didn't work. You used to fancy yourself as a kingmaker, or breaker, but now you're reduced to ranting and raving that the minister is "finished"... yet he is [i]still[/i] the minister. Score one for sanity.

Rx

20/02/2010A lynch mob. Hmmmm, appropriate, Mick. :(

Acerbic Conehead

20/02/2010Rx, it could be a picture of some of the cuckolded husbands looking for Tones.

Rx

20/02/2010Hahahaha good one Acerbic. Well he HAS committed adultery, by his own admission, er, confession. Wodda silly bugger!

HillbillySkeleton

20/02/2010Almost as good as Bushfire Bill's latest work is this one I read today along similar lines: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caroline-myss/the-republican-strategy-c_b_467728.html I advise everyone to take the time to read it because it may also give you some idea of how Murdoch is employing a tandem strategy in the US and Australia, with his minions in the media aiding and abetting him, in an almost treasonous fashion, as the author outlines, for the sake of corporate takeover of the machinery of governance. Of course, anyone who has kept themselves informed, will no doubt know of the close links between the Coalition, the Republican Party, the International Democratic Union(a pan-national umbrella movement of all conservative political parties, chaired by our very own John Howard, at one stage), the conservative media in the hands of News Ltd. and Clear Channel, organised religion, and the corporate world generally. They have an agenda, and they are going to prosecute it. And to say that they take no prisoners and don't play nice, is an understatement. At this very moment the US Congress has before it a merger request to vertically integrate a Content Provider, NBC/MSNBC, and the company who will deliver that content and owner of the pipes, Verizon. If you don't comprehend the portent of what this merger may mean to us in our everyday internet lives, imagine if the powers that be decided that Bushfire Bill and Ad Astra were cutting a bit too close to the political bone with their 'Political Sword'. Well, if you were with Verizon and they decided that 'The Political Sword' was damaging their 'brand', they would just order 'The Political Sword' to be disallowed a server and to transmit data to you and me through their pipes. QED. Dissent is silenced. Control of the Internet is back in the hands of the owners of the content and the hardware used to transmit whatever the hell they choose because you have no alternative, if you want to subscribe to NBC, or are signed up to a contract with Verizon; and especially if they continue to take over all the smaller providers, who need to use their infrastructure anyway, most of them. That locks you into their pipeline, and if they decide that they don't want their pipeline used by Ad Astra and Bushfire Bill, then how are you going to access it if they, Verizon, are your ISP? It is exactly this 'hand in glove' approach of the Corporations with their minions the Political Opinionistas, getting into bed with the Machiavellian Monk(ew! the horror!) that is going on here. An attempted takeover of the community's ability to think for itself, and come to a reasonable conclusion, based on the facts, because the facts are not being presented to them in an unvarnished way anymore. It's opinion that is being shoved down the gullets of media consumers nowadays. You only have to notice the transmogrification of the Nightly News Bulletin, chockablock, as it is now, with smarmy commenters on the news of the day, as opposed to reporters of the facts of a story. And in their increasingly pusillanimous fashion they sycophantically feed off each other in an almost Circle Jerk fashion(Melissa Clarke and Virginia Trioli on ABC Breakfast I'm looking at you...oh, OK, and Chris Uhlmann too). Whereby they parade their mini sneers as they pump up the volume on the derision of a government just trying to get a good job done under recently extraordinary circumstances in the guise of the GFC. As you may have noticed, I have a problem with the ABC especially as far as this phenomenon goes. Has the National Broadcaster been fatally infected by the malignancy that Howard unleashed upon our body politic and the ABC by his partisan appointments of Culture Warriors such as Ron Brunton, Janet Albrechtsen and Keith Windschuttle? Also, I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of journalists that front the Newscaf shows on the ABC weren't Old Boys and Girls that went to many of the same elitist Private Schools as the members of the Coalition, thus infusing their commentary with that, "We know best what's good for you, and right from wrong", tone to their commentary(I especially place Leigh Sales and Tony Jones in this basket). And an egalitarian government, as opposed to rule by the true elites, those that control most of the money, is not what they think should be the status quo. Just as an example think back to who has been the guest on Insiders since it came back on air for this year...Tony Abbott, Christopher Pyne, and only one government representative, Julia Gillard. Not only is there imbalance from the numbers perspective, but the interviews always follow the line of softball for the Opposition and Hardball for the government, overseen from the couch by the vultures from News Ltd. that are on that week, ready to leap into the fray after the interview has concluded with either fulsome support for the Coalition Talking Points which have just been debuted, or withering scorn for some element of the government's point of view.(Of course I do not include George Megalogenis here, because he is the exception to the rule). It is for these reasons that I am afraid, very afraid, of what the future might hold, if the Memesters Union, of self-interested journalists each striving to be 'His Masters Voice' more than the next one, media barons and multi-national corporations, do indeed get the sort of control over our lives that their constant vampiric craving for our lifeblood, exhibited by their constant carping and undermining of the government, seems to suggest to me as their modus operandi. That being full-spectrum dominance over our thoughts and reason. If that occurs, I guess there's always the underground and communication by carrier pigeon. :)

mick smetafor

20/02/2010abbot really is a piece of work.he is now floating the death penalty for certain crimes,not that he would support it of course.

Bushfire Bill

21/02/2010Shanahan's pique at Garrett not resigning is salutary. Dennis has done all the leg work, written all the exaggerations, made all the tenuous connections, organised his staff at the Oz to back each other up by quoting each other but still the minister won't resign. I mean, what [i]more[/i] does he have to do. Garrett's sacking or resignation should be automatic. Fair's fair Mr. Rudd! Rudd seems to judge that he can resist the irresistable (or what would have [i]once[/i] been irresistable). I suppose he figures that if Garret goes, then they'll pick on the schools program next. Surely there must have been [i]someone[/i] who fell off a roof, [i]somewhere[/i] and whose" young life has been ruined" by an unnecessary stimulus package. It'll be a nice double-whammy when it comes: a pointless exercise on economic grounds, leading to pointless loss of life or injury. Already we are seeing the Sydney Morning Herald sniffing the wind with a revival of the Schools story. "Ladies and gentlemen, we present the $550,000 tuck-shop" http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/the-soaring-costs-of-building-rudds-education-revolution-20100220-ompk.html As one of the professionals asked about it said, [i]"What you probably have is someone with some building experience on a P&C saying 'I could do this for half the cost.' In all likelihood he could but would he meet all the DET requirements?"[/i], but the headline remains: "[b]The soaring costs of building Rudd's education revolution[/b]". Building contractors are responsible for OH&S on-site, but suddenly the same people who were prepared to peddle pretend "Industrial Manslaughter" and "chaotic administration" charges against Peter Garrett are happy to see workplace safety and professional management traded off against "soaring costs". ([i]when you think about it, that [b]is[/b] their actual position, according to Tony Abbott, who thought Industrial Manslaughter would just be another cost slug on business[/i]). The article itself examines management fees - they turn out to be a few per cent of the total cost - but Christopher Pyne thinks its the builders themselves, saying, [i]"There are a lot of builders who will be retiring to their [b]enormous beach houses[/b] on the back of this."[/i] The myth goes like this: [i]Because there was no recession the builders were already busy, so they put in inflated quotes hoping that interfering government and its pissant tuckshop and school hall wet dreams would just go away. Imagine their surprise when their inflated quotes were accepted![/i] So it seems the government can't win: first it wasn't doing enough about jobs, jobs, jobs. Despite what the figures said, we were headed for a terrible employment catastrophe. Then it was doing too much, because the Rudd Recession was overcooked, an excuse for boondoggling. The Schools Stimulus package was a waste of money and wasn't providing what Education and some local P&C organizations really needed. Now it seems the Stimulus is rife with overcharging and carpetbagger builders "retiring to their enormous beach houses" (that they are "enormous" is an essential part of the equation... we all know, or know of an uppity builder who, against expectations for his class, has the biggest beach house up the coast). Alternatively it's the greedy pen pushers and administrators, who cliam they're enforcing the regulations, but we know they're just out to make a quick buck. Nothing, it seems, is ever right about any Labor government project: they're either too hot, too cold, too unsafe, too [i]safe[/i], poorly targeted or just plain unnecessary. There's a condemnation in there covering anyone involved. Take your pick. Every sub-group is accounted for. The whole community should be up in arms after this scattergun approach. When our very society is disintegrating around us, people have a right to be angry. Or, put much more succinctly than I ever could, we have Michelle Grattan's starkly frank explanation today: [i]"Apart from anything else, Abbott's default position on issues is to just say no."[/i] http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/sick-system-offers-pm-healthy-trigger-for-double-dissolution-20100220-ommh.html

HillbillySkeleton

21/02/2010Bushfire Bill, I wonder if you have had the time to read the link to the Huffington Post article that I posted? It also succinctly lays out the tactical basis for the success of the 'Party of No' campaigns? The subtext being that THEY would have done everything differently and better, and journalists let them get away with that premise every time, without ever asking them how. Once pinned down, a very hard task to achieve for a journalist I have to admit, one usually finds that 'The Party of No' becomes 'The Party of We Would Do Exactly the Same As the Government'...just further down the track and spending a little bit less. All I can say is, isn't it about time that the Press Gallery journalists got over their honeymoon with the oversexed Abbott, and started putting the blowtorch to his belly? There's certainly enough fuel for that fire.

Ad astra reply

21/02/2010HillbillySkeleton You paint a sinister picture, one reinforced by the [i]Huffington Post[/i] piece, which is frightening. As Bushfire Bill has pointed out, the News Limited anti-Rudd campaign has started in earnest. It was openly canvassed on [i]Insiders[/i] this morning. David Marr drew attention to Friday’s issue of [i]The Australian[/i] where almost every front page story was anti-Rudd. There was also reference to Dennis Shanahan’s unbalanced treatment of the last [i]Newspoll[/i]; Barrie Cassidy asked why, with the Government’s TPP going up, the headlines indicated the opposite. Fran Kelly started talking again of the Rudd Government being ‘a oncer’. Piers Akerman thoroughly enjoyed himself contemplating a return of a conservative government. Stephen Conroy was upfront about the News Limited campaign, and again ridiculed Shanahan about his [i]Newspoll[/i] pieces. A striking paragraph in the [i]The Huffington Post[/i] is [quote]“As I observe the constant aggressive and non-cooperative behavior of the Republican Senators that is so outlandish as to border on choreographed (if not near-treasonous), it's blatantly obvious that the long term Republican agenda is to sabotage this Democratic administration so successfully as to make it appear responsible for all the failures of the Bush administration while simultaneously preventing this administration from accomplishing anything on its own merit, even to the detriment of the good of this nation.[/quote] Substitute ‘Coalition’ for ‘Republican’, ‘Rudd Government’ for ‘Democratic’ and ‘Howard’ for ‘Bush’, and you have the emerging situation in Australia. One can only hope that blogs such as this can contribute in some small way to countering the negativity of the media and the Coalition by exposing disingenuousness, dishonesty, distortion of the truth and half truths, for what they are. Fortunately in Australia we have not yet reached the stage of Internet censorship by those owning the pipes.

Ostermann

21/02/2010Hi All I found these two articles, http://inside.org.au/rudd-versus-news-ltd/ http://inside.org.au/one-liners/

HillbillySkeleton

21/02/2010Ad Astra, Thank you for taking the time to read the HuffPo piece and to consider its implications for journalism in general and here in Australia, where there are obvious parallels. As is emblematic of so much that is good about America, they have come up with a great new term for this the type of 'journalism' as is also now being practiced by the likes of Dennis Shanahan et al here in Oz: 'Advocacy journalism'. I love it! So apt! Also this morning I was reading an article about how Murdoch, to his own financial loss, is continuing to push the Glenn Beck Right Wing propaganda program onto the British and the American viewing public, even though ~100 advertisers refuse to go anywhere near it anymore. The upshot of the article being that Mr Murdoch is making it very plain by his actions that he is now no longer interested in running a News organisation, but a propaganda machine. http://www.alternet.org/media/145708/campaign_to_pull_glenn_beck_off_the_air_gains_momentum%2C_here_and_abroad/

Kim

21/02/2010It's the last hurrah for traditional newspapers. They've been using all their old tricks to 'set the agenda', but unlike previously, it's not working. People aren't listening to them anymore, or are seeing through them. So they're getting louder and more desperate. The article hit the nail on the head when it pointed out that in-spite of all of the media's (and News Corporation's in particular) best efforts, the only effect is a couple of percentage points on in-house polls. In the next 5 - 10 years, traditional papers will fade away. Australia's newspapers aren't yet seeing catastrophic circulation declines that have been sen in America. But they will. They're now so unbalanced, with such poor fact checking, that random teenage bloggers are as good or better. Why anyone would pay money for any Australian newspaper (except perhaps the Financial Review) is beyond me. I've noticed a phenomenon. It seems to take a few electoral terms for a once powerful party to realise that they're not in government any more. This also appears to apply to the media these days; many of them haven't yet realised how irrelevant the federal Liberal Party have become. Psychologically, they need a few more election losses to drive the lesson home. I think this is why Rudd is keeping a lower profile; he's running the federal government, not playing the daily media game. He's saving his material for the election campaign. I suspect the Liberal Party and their supporters in the media are going to get the shock of their lives. They're convinced that Labor have become complacent, whereas to me Labor's current low profile indicates careful planning and discipline in the federal party.

Ad astra reply

21/02/2010Ostermann Nice links – thanks. It illustrates how long the News Limited vendetta has been going. And they still show no shame at their misreading of the fake email, and their promulgation of it in deliberately distorted fashion. We can expect no [i]mea culpa[/i]. HillbillySkeleton The link to the ‘Pull Glenn Beck off the air’ campaign is interesting as it show that determined blogging can achieve something useful, to wit the deserting of advertisers. Your last sentence rings true: [i]The upshot of the article being that Mr Murdoch is making it very plain by his actions that he is now no longer interested in running a News organisation, but a propaganda machine.[/i] I fear that applies here too. Kim I think this may be your first visit – if so, welcome to [i]TPS[/i] I agree with your last sentence [i]I suspect the Liberal Party and their supporters in the media are going to get the shock of their lives. They're convinced that Labor have become complacent, whereas to me Labor's current low profile indicates careful planning and discipline in the federal party.[/i] Like BB, I believe that instead of a triumphant return for the conservatives, history will show that this year was the last hurrah for media outlets that take on the role of kingmaker through distortions of the truth, biased reporting and, as HillbillySkeleton puts so nicely puts it, ‘advocacy journalism’. The thinking public won’t buy it. It was stated several times on [i]Insiders[/i] this morning that the readers of [i]The Australian[/i] are ‘very intelligent’, which makes them unlikely to swallow the biased material that paper promulgates. I thought David Marr said it all when he mentioned that he “takes articles in [i]The Australian[/i] with a grain of salt”.

Bushfire Bill

21/02/2010Many thanks for the links.... to HSk for the Huffpost and Ostermann for the Inside Story references. It was openly canvassed today on [i]Insiders[/i] (to majority agreement) that The Oz is running a "Get Rudd" campaign. David Marr said that on one particular day he couldn't find one story that was not highly dismissive of the government. Akerman's weak response was that this was [i]because[/i] nothing positive could possibly be said about the government. Fran Kelly, in the Naughty Corner today for her opinion that the government is in deep trouble and is looking like a oncer - based on just two Newspolls - exhibited ambivalence on whether the OZ was in fact biased. She agreed that many of its stories, most of them actually, are heavily weighted against the government, agreed that the government had done little to deserve this comprehensive trashing, and then told us that they looked like a oncer anyway. I suppose she can't help herself. It's a bit like the pea-and-thimble trick. She knows the Oz is running a confidence trick, a major bootstrapper operation, but falls for it every time anyway. She didn't quote any other polls in her reasoning as to why the government was looking beaten, only Newspoll (the other polls are far less negative for the government, although they do show some slight fall in its polling position), and then she got into the "a-percent-here-a-percent-there" navel gazing that has rightly dropped Shanahan into so much hot water with his readers in the past. At The Oz they totally ignore other polls. They have a vested interest in pimping for their own Newspoll (because they own it!). Around Newspoll they have constructed a Fantasyland of fortnightly ups and downs, blips here and there, whispers on the breeze, statistical nuances and false correlations that other pollsters dismiss as noise (when they're being polite) and bullshit (when they're not). We have now come to the position where a mere landslide 2PP position for the government (contrasted with their previous mega-tsunami numbers of last year) somehow or other means they have hit the skids, and are in desperate electoral trouble. The trend points down for a couple of polls and at Murdoch HQ they're dancing in the streets. Shanahan is a firm believer that polls can and do of themselve influence public opinion. He believed (or at least claimed to believe) that good polls for the Rudd Opposition had a bandwagon effect, making Howard's position towards the 2007 election look even less tenable than it was. He had this to write in October 2007, just prior to the election: [i]"Rudd and his advisers have succeeded in building a polling and media bandwagon that has created the impression that the Labor leader is invincible and an ALP victory inevitable."[/i] http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/dennisshanahan/index.php/theaustralian/comments/the_unlosable_election/ See? It's all just "an impression". So it is hardly surprising that Dennis and his pals at The Oz believe "a polling and media mandwagon" for the Coalition in the leadup to this year's election could do the same for them. Shanahan seems to ignore the salient facts of the 2007 election campaign and the months leading up to it: Rudd was genuinely popular and the polling figures didn't need to be workshopped to within an inch of their lives to show him clearly in the lead (if anything it was the other way around, in Howard's favour). Murdoch journalists still believe they can manufacture a victory for the Coalition by the tried and true methods of making stuff up and then printing it as truth, indignantly replying to all criticism that [i]they[/i] are the impartial professionals and it's everybody [i]else[/i] who's biased. The lesson of the 2007 election bootstrapper campaign was that bootstrappers of such breathtaking cheek and national ambit don't work any more. They might get a scalp here and there (although this one even failed on Garrett), but on the colossal scale of [i]chutzpah[/i] that they are based, they're no longer as potent as they used to be. As the present one runs out of steam more and more expect Murdoch journalists to resort to ever more provocative and crazy headlines, nit-picked story angles and selective filtering of facts to get their point across. And when those tactics dont' work, they'll just make stuff up, like the reproduction of the Godwin Grech "email" that never was, and the fact that Peter Garrett is "finished as a minister. Facts don't matter, good governance doesn't matter very much to these people. Fran Kelly could list the achievements of a government this morning without the slightest indication that she was prepared to do anything at all to write them up. Instead she seemed to say, "It's just politics" and leave it at that. [i]Political[/i] commentators don't need to inform the public, it appears, about anything except their personal opinions.

lyn1

21/02/2010Hi Ad What excellent comments are coming in today, everbody on here is keeping me enjoyably busy. Hillbilly Skeleton Thanks for your link to Glenn Beck and the Huf Post. It is terrifying what is going on. The paragraph below certainly rings true here: after observing their behavior and their policy of, "Just Say No" -- sometimes to their own suggestions, one can only surmise that they long ago left the business of governing and have instead agreed to a covert game plan of destruction while simultaneously playing an overt game of seduction with the American public. The seductive part of their plan is the one more familiar to the public -- constantly talk about what the people want to hear. No more taxes. Defend the country. Go Conservatives. Minimal government. Ostermann thankyou for your links, as Ad said it proves how long this vendetta has been going on. Kim we have also noticed a phenomenon. I hope you are right about the Liberal Party and their supporters getting the fright of their lives. My husband has been saying all week the Labor Party is carefully planning their attack. Ad now that the Insiders have disgussed the biased reporting by MSM and we have your wonderful blog, which is definately contributing, today is an excellent example. Did you see Joe Hockey on meet the press this morning, free to air tv has gone from being an election bribe to Kevin Rudd has not explained, also I see where Joe Hockey has gone to the moguls and told them the Coalition will not be supporting the lifting of licensing fees. Ad I am sending you all a link to mumble it certainly shows a detailed measurement of the polls, I am pretty sure Dennis doesn't read Mumble's blog http://mumble.com.au/?p=1698

lyn1

21/02/2010Hi Ad Thankyou Bushfire Bill for your fantastic comments, as usual.

HillbillySkeleton

21/02/2010Thank you Bushfire Bill for your comments about today's Insiders. I certainly agree with you about Fran Kelly. She has gone from being a 'Speak Truth to Power' journalist crusading to get the truth out of government, to just another cipher for the News Ltd. line, even though she works for the ABC. I must say that I even detect this influence filtering through to other journalists whom I once respected, such as Michelle Grattan(though I will admit that sometimes she sees through the Coalition bs, and the government's too, to be fair!). On the other hand, and I don't know if anyone knows her personally and thus I may be wrong, but I have detected a big change in Fran Kelly since the formerly commercially-employed, Alison Carabine, came on board at the ABC. I listen to her daily political report on the Deb Cameron show in Sydney, and I often detect a bias in her political prognostications at variance with the facts as I know them, and how I would expect an unbiased political reporter to have reported them. It's like, you listen to the ABC for an unvarnished pov on Australian politics, but more and more that seems not to be happening, as the political journos and program presenters seem to feel the need increasingly to tabloidise their reporting. I can only hope that the new 24/7 Newscaf channel on the ABC doesn't fashion itself after its commercial cousins, and that finally, with a budget that will allow them to do all their own investigative reporting for their stories, and not have to rely on talking points put about by the political parties and angles adopted by other networks, we will go back to a fearless but fair ABC. I won't hold my breath though, as I heard one journo from the West Australian opine the other day that the Coalition are always in his office pestering him to adopt their latest talking point. Well, at least he seems to be resistant to it. Maybe I'll have to start reading the West instead of listening to the ABC! No. I'll probably hold out hope for the ABC. Sigh. At least Barry Cassidy appears to have pulled his socks up lately. The interview with Stephen Conroy on Insiders today was first class. I also thought David Marr has honed his Akerman furphy deconstruction technique. Not as vitriolic towards PA anymore, just gently mocking. Bravo! No Paul Kelly oracular pronouncements from the 'Jovian' temple of Oz political punditry in Hunters Hill(PK's home base), either. I wonder if that will be a permanent change to Insiders? Probably not, sadly, in this election year, and especially with JA and KW still on the ABC board. It's interesting to also note how subtle can be the messaging which changes people's minds. I especially like to watch the 'Your Shout' segment because it allows you to see how the general public are thinking, but it also informs me of the way leading questions containing memes are presented to the interviewees by the allocated ABC presenter for that segment. Too many times have they adopted that new smarminess I am finding more and more, as I said before, the de rigeur position being adopted by ABC journos. They should stop sniggering at the government, asking leading questions, and generally looking for the 'Gotcha' grab. I can only assume it is adding to the cynicism of the electorate. 'Just the facts mam.' I'm craving it. Otherwise, who can tell what the ultimate consequences may be, as we keep getting geed up by these journalists, day in, day out, up until the election? Maybe a competent if unglamorous government could be replaced by what would be a clearly incompetent one, focused on politics over good policy. Btw, has anyone else notived that Tony Abbott has been given carte blanche in News Ltd to write newspaper articles at will? How is that right?

Ad astra reply

21/02/2010Lyn1 Apologies for the slow response - I've been on the road again. Thanks for the [i]Mumble[/i] link. Having read the comments, I'd be pretty sure Dennis would not be able to make head nor tail of the dialogue. Besides for Dennis the [i]Newspoll[/i] results mean whatever he wants them to mean. Sound statistics don't count. HillbillySkeleton It’s been an interesting day with lots of cogent comments. I can’t fathom Fran Kelly. She seems to flutter from one position to another. She fancies herself as a political pundit whose opinions are eagerly sought after. She lost me several weeks ago when on [i]Insiders[/i] she castigated Kevin Rudd for protesting about media bias, and with breathtaking arrogance insisted “he should just sit there and take his medicine”. Tony Abbott is a welcome guest writer in [i]The Australian[/i]. I’ve just borrowed from my local library his book [i]Battlelines[/i]. It should be fascinating reading, not mind you that it will give me insight into his policy positions which seems to change almost daily.

Bushfire Bill

21/02/2010A great post, well-written HBSk. I particularly liked your point about how the ABC regularly sniggers at the government. They don't have a commercial audience, so they don't need to sell papers, or attract ratings (and I can't see how they'd do either with their current approach). They are the "country cousins" to the "city sophisticates" at News Ltd. Just about every political show, or commentary piece starts off with something the Murdoch press has originated. The ABC sources its inspiration from them. Part of this, I think, is the (still) overhyped position the print media are held in by the poorer relatives at the electronic media. The days starts with "the papers" being read by TV journalists and from the papers the junior takes their cues. Thus we have the likes of Dennis Shanahan deciding the political agenda of the nation, day after day. For those who may not know his precise job description, Shanahan is not just a reporter at the OZ, he is the Political Editor... what he says, goes. But also I've heard it seaid a few times recently out of the mouths of ABC reporters that they feel they have some kind of duty to confront the government in a form of "keep the bastards honest" operation. This duty is not in their charter. It is somethig they have arrogated to themselves. I would have thought their entire duty lay in reporting the news fairly and accurately, without emotion and definitely without apparent bias. I believe its eminently possible for a journalist to question the government critically, even harshly without going for the jugular and letting opinion infiltrate their reportage, but apparently the ABC does not. It is like they have a collective cringe, a crisis of self-confidence that tells them they have to go in just as hard (or in some cases, harder) than their commercial counterparts to establish their bona fides. Their commercial bretheren do not have to adhere to strict rules of non-bias (although to a man and woman they will swear they are just reporting the facts, mam). It is commonly heard that commercial media "have a right to their opinions" or to their owners' editorial lines. But this is no excuse for the ABC to ape them, as some sort of poor relations who are striving to be just like the "big boys" and self-styled "kingmakers" over at Murdoch's rags. To me, the ABC has a solemn duty than to inform the public, filtered by common sense, as to what is happening in the daily news. That they routinely go much further than that is a disgrace. They seem to have fallen for the taunts of commercial journalists (particularly News journalists) that they are not "proper" reporters unless they crack a few ministerial skulls and break a few political eggs. In many cases they are worse than their commercial counterparts, seemingly to prove they are fair dinkum reptiles of the media. Today, however, on Insiders we saw a refreshing change. May there be more of it! For the first time there was open mockery of Piers Akerman, surely one of the worst, most transparently biased columnists in the country. There was a somewhat serious discussion of the evident campaign the Oz is waging against the government. The was less guffawing and more reason in the presentation. I assume the absence of Kevin Rudd from the show might have something to do with this. Rudd, in my opinion, is not asking for rose petals to be strewn in his path on Insiders, but (I think) is asking for at least a fair go, without the chortling and sniggering that we have become so used to. It will be interesting to see whether Insiders continues to improve, perhaps even morphing into a serious discussion program that is respected by both sides of politics and by their supporters. As I said above, it [i]is[/i] possible to be both simultaneously critical of and respectful towards a government minister. Let's hope the Insiders see this too.

adamite

22/02/2010A possible idea for the Abbot's next event to attract media attention? Hot tempered celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay almost died this week while filming his British cooking show The F Word. Ramsay was filming a segment on a cliff in Iceland when he lost his footing and fell 280 feet into the icy waters below.

Rx

22/02/2010I hereby vote for Hillbilly Skeleton to join Ad Astra and Bushfire Bill as a 'staff writer' on The Political Sword. Very important in an election year that we have as many insightful, lucid articles as possible on the blog. How about it please, guys?

You must be kidding

22/02/2010Thank you BB and Lyn1 and indeed all your contributions are brilliant and as AA absolutely nailed ... it's with the head rather than the heart first. You contributions reflect an unbelievably brilliant and magnificent view about politics ... I am totaly enarmoured with how you are all so brilliant to get to the balanced point and cut through the BS from the bias media ... I mean how dare they report the scheme has failed of our fantastic Peter Garrett ... just last week the PM and Garrett were saying how wonderful it was. I mean he is a brilliant man and someone we should all look up to .... I mean it is not his falt he didn't read a report that was done for him in April until 11 February this year. I mean what are the biased media suggesting? And as for that media flake Abbott ... gee wizzy it just drives me insane to here him cracking through the clutter and then the biased press reporting it ... Now Barrie Cassidy who even worked for Hawke is now attacking the Government ... and for David Marr to suggest the Rudd Government has no courage is outrageous ... I mean what would he know. And as for that Fran Kelly suggesting Rudd will be a oncer ... just because she has been in ploitics for 20 years does not mean she knows everything. This week should be good for the government ... the parliament is back and look out Abbott in question time our PM will masacre him with all the programs he has completed and the good work he has done. Shame on the biased media

HillbillySkeleton

22/02/2010adamite, Phoney Tony would just scale it back to having all the cameras come out with him and the Bondi Icebergs in the lead up to the election. :) I have noticed that he is a bit of a wuss though. When he was for action on Climate Change, before he was against it, one of his Tarzan Tony photos set up with the Murdoch Press had him surfing in winter, in a wetsuit, as opposed to the too tight budgie smugglers. So maybe he might ditch the Bondi Icebergs photo op after all! Anyway, it's all just an updated refrain of the 'Vital' John Howard meme, with bicycle shorts and budgie smugglers replacing tracky dacks. Actually that's one very good reason never to vote for Tony Abbott...imagine unleashing him in all his ports of call as PM, in all his glory, clad in nothing more than the lycra.

HillbillySkeleton

22/02/2010Rx, Thank you for the vote of confidence, but I'm not in the league of Bushfire Bill or Ad Astra. I'm not even in the ballpark! They are serious and considered thinkers, with an intellectual rigour I am incapable of. Tho' if you like reading what I write, I'd be pleased to continue. :)

janice

22/02/2010Hey there BB, your fame is spreading far and wide (as it should). There were a couple of links to PS in Jack the Insider's blog and JTI says he knows the site well. So, just maybe the articles put up by Ad astra and yourself will make a difference and provide some balance to the overwhelming bias coming out of the Murdoch press. My thanks to Hillbillyskeleton for her? excellent contributions and to Lyn for all those links which are always of interest. Much appreciated. I must say Sunday's edition of The Insiders surprised me and left me with a glimmer of hope that the ABC and Cassidy are trying to present a more balanced programme. I don't think Fran Kelly has changed Hillbillyskeleton - I think that during the Howard years she was more able to keep her bias in check. Just like the Coalition itself, she has been unable to come to terms with the fact that voters not only threw out the government but kicked her beloved Howard out of his seat and since the rise of Abbott she sees a messiah. I know one shouldn't point to a person's unfortunate looks but as well as finding Piers Akerman's bias irksome, I can't help but think he looks like a cane toad. His conservative bias has always been thus but his beauty or otherwise was of no consequence until his TV appearances sort of connected the two.

Bushfire Bill

22/02/2010YMbK in attack mode: [i]And as for that media flake Abbott ... gee wizzy it just drives me insane to here him cracking through the clutter and then the biased press reporting it ...[/i] How is appearing in budgie smugglers "cracking through the clutter". It looks more like a circus stunt to me. [i]Now Barrie Cassidy who even worked for Hawke is now attacking the Government ...[/i] Yes, and Mark Latham used to be Labor leader, too. Past allegiences or employment are no guarantee of continuing fealty. In any case, the comments re. Barrie Cassidy in this thread have been mostly positive. We are not asking for fawning, "Labor can do no wrong" treatment, just a reasoned debate without the sniggering, which Insiders is now showing signs of achieving. [i] and for David Marr to suggest the Rudd Government has no courage is outrageous ... I mean what would he know. [/i] Was there a mention of this in comments above? Marr's is a valid point to argue and he echoed what a lot of Labor supporters suspect: that Rudd's government exhibits disconcerting signs from time to time of lack of self-confidence. In a way it can be understood. The slightest blip in the polls, or a downwards trend is turned into "Rudd on the slippery slide", "oncer" headlines. Shanahan is on record as believing that talking up a party's prospects giving it a "dream run" in the media can boost its electoral prospects (the "Bandwagon effect"). It seems that he is putting this into practice with Abbott, who in reality has no chance of ever being Prime Minister (as Shanahan admits in his darker moments of the soul) and is applying a complementary [i]negative[/i] media process in Labor's direction. News Ltd journalists have used this trick - the Bootstrapper - for decades, first here and then in the UK and America to promote "their man" or "their cause". You get everyone on-message, all spouting the same theme. The process is self-referential, seeking to engender an impression that the whole world is against their target, when in reality it's just a few offices in a small building all feeding off each other. At some point the passive voice is used, as in, "allegations have been made", without reference to the fact that the writer, or a close colleague is usually the one who made them. The same technique was used by Erich von Daniken, in [i]Chariots Of The Gods[/i] (I use this example because I am re-reading it right now) who in one chapter would ask, "Did aliens visit Earth?" and by the next was referring to "alien visitors" as established fact. The transition from proposition to fact over a short period is another essential element of the bootstrapper, e.g. "the Schools Stimulus is beginning to look like a farce" morphing into "The farce of the Schools Stimulus", all based on a tiny sampling of complaints (less than a quarter of a percent), most of which had been resolved by the time they were listed. This has been applied to every single one of the Stimulus programs, from the $900 cheques to the insulation program. According to the Australian, [i]not one single program[/i] has been anything other than a terrible failure. The entire Stimulus program is not only wrongly targeted, but poorly executed. Yet, judging by its stated aims - saving Australia from high unemployment and economic recession - it has been an amazing success, the envy of the world. The Australian (in concert with Joe Hockey) has also run the line that, magically, Australia, [i]and Australia alone[/i] was untouched by, indeed immune to the GFC, presumably in order to attach the very reasoning behind the Stimulus packages. These exaggerated responses show how the Australian has jumped the shark: in overdoing the criticism, condemning [i]everything[/i] the government has done, it requires too much cognitive dissonance for most people. The public has seen the benefits of the Stimulus package, many have jobs because of it, yet the Australian insists it has been, not only flawed, but a [i]total[/i] failure in intent and execution. It's crazy, and flies in the face of reality. Of course the other side of the coin regarding bootstrappers is that their perpetrators sometimes start to believe their own publicity: "The Boy Who Cried 'Wolf!' Syndrome". It's a natural human response - to be fooled by your own spin - but can negatively affect the credibility of the self-believer. Ultimately no-one (excpet like-minded rusted-ons) takes any notice of what they say because they are so wrong, so often. That the Insiders, last Sunday, openly canvassed the Australian's (and other Murdoch publications') patent bias shows that even their colleagues are now laughing at them. The "Rudd wouldn't buy a raffle ticket" hilarity was a clear case in point, as was the Telegraph's reluctance to mention that the price of a day-pass at the Colorado resort where Conroy met Stokes was [i]well under[/i] the disclosure guidelines in value. [i]And as for that Fran Kelly suggesting Rudd will be a oncer ... just because she has been in ploitics for 20 years does not mean she knows everything.[/i] Fran Kelly has very little to base her prediction on. I wish I had a dollar for every fearless prediction that she and other so-called experts - from political to economic experts - have made in the past year that have turned out to completely and utterly wrong. Two polls, maybe three (if you count the one before Christmas) have shown a slight trend towards the Coalition (which now seems to have reached its conclusion). Tony Abbott is in the 20%s... ground that usually results in a lynching by the leader's own party in normal times. Labor is catching up, even on "Best To Manage The Economy" (they are almost neck and neck with the Coalition on this lagging indicator), despite the primary and 2PP polling blips, yet Kelly has staked her reputation on the government being "a oncer". It's clearly preposterous at this early stage to say that with any certainty. 20 years' experience or not, Fran has also jumped the shark on this one, turning a series of two or three mildly disappointing polls (actually [i]News[/i]polls) for Labor, plus a few media trick shots (budgie smugglers, virginity comments etc.) and a couple of half-baked thought bubbles (an uncosted Carbon Tax scheme, Hospital Boards and so on) all cemented together with a determination to be aggressive and negative to anything the government wishes to carry out into a "one-term government"? I suspect she simply wants to be able to say, "I was the first to predict it," a fairly common conceit among journalists and people in general.

adamite

22/02/2010You must be kidding - I like your sense of irony. The Government has obviously stuffed up on the insulation program and some people (both inside and outside of parliament) dont want to admit it. Every government makes mistakes. Its how they deal with them that ultimately determines the electorate's view of them (aka John Howard and hios behaviour despite his code of ministerial conduct). Rudd should bite the bullet and address the issue head on if he wants to keep the voters' confidence.

lyn1

22/02/2010Hi Ad and Bushfire Bill and all I have to remind YMBK of what Alan Ramsay wrote in 2006 2 Paragraphs below, I can't find the link at the moment Howard's cronies should join him in the wilderness Alan Ramsey November 26, 2006 As for this last election, the one that kills Howard off politically, along with the nastiest, meanest, most miserable, self-absorbed Commonwealth government to blight Australia in living memory, Rudd out-campaigned him, with discipline and immense energy, like Howard has never previously been thrashed in his 33 years in political life. And for many of us, as Howard and his strategists pulled on every ugly negative they could come up with, not just in these past six weeks but over the past year, it was a delight to see him flounder so badly and fail so completely. All that remains to sweep him out of sight is to get rid of the more obscene remnants of his governance in the months ahead.

Bushfire Bill

22/02/2010Gidday, adamite. You wrote: [i]"Rudd should bite the bullet and address the issue head on if he wants to keep the voters' confidence."[/i] The insulation program has been temporarily canned with a view to substituting a more rigorously structured one in the near future. That seems to me like a fair semblance of "biting the bullet", for which action the government will have to wear potential electoral damage. The the rollout was flawed is virtually undeniable. That people died (although we have no coronial evidence on what caused their deaths) is unfortunate. That the program needed rejigging is admitted by the government. Balanced against the good that the program achieved the question as to whether the price was too high is one for the electorate, most of whom who participated in the scheme benefited measurably from it: employers, employees and customers alike (not to mention the downstream benefits to the environment). The media's obsession with a "ministerial scalp" - and their clear disappointment when they did not get one - is more a funtcion of their view of how things should proceed in politics nowadays. First you have an alleged stuff-up. Then you have questions. Yhen you have calls for the minister's scalp. Then the minister resigns. That's how things are [i]supposed[/i] to happen, with unelected, unrepresentative [i]opinion writers[/i] calling the shots. A "ministerial scalp" is almost a traditional rite of passage. Denied it, the media are throwing a tantrum ([i]viz.[/i] Shanahan's "Peter Garrett is finished as a minister.") and getting ever more ridiculous in their claims and theories of why the government is supposedly destined for the scrap heap. It's good in a way, as it draws out the government's enemies (and make no mistake... they [i]are[/i] enemies) into the open, exposing them to ridicule not only from the public, but also from their peers (as on Insiders last Sunday). It also healthily opens the government to appropriate criticism and examination. The one thing that hasn't happened so far is the actualy lynching. This [i]used[/i] to go like clockwork, but now has failed. I think it's important that this continues to be the case, as I value the ascendancy of government - [i]elected[/i] government - over the biased, agenda-driven baying of Murdoch's paid jackals and their pet politicians any day of the week.

lyn1

22/02/2010Sorry You Must be Kidding and everybody else it should read 2007 on Alan Ramsays piece

wilf herweg

22/02/2010BB REGARDING THE NEAR ROAD ACCIDENT, I'M SURPRISED NO ONE INTERVIEWED THE DRIVER OF THE TRUCK TO GET HIS VERSION OF THE EVENTS.

adamite

22/02/2010BB - I agree Rudd has gone some way to addressing this issue with the abandonment of the scheme, although I'm not sure this is enough. The principle of ministerial asccountability and responsibility is fundamental for democratic politics because it underpins the legitimacy of government. In the eyes of a lot of people Howard's government had lost its legitimacy well before it was voted out, largely because it ignored this principle. The judgement about what consititues a sufficient reason for the minister to resign is always a matter for debate, but, in my mind Rudd should, at the very least, be severly reprimanding Garret and putting him on notice.

HillbillySkeleton

22/02/2010I just hope the voters realise who they have to thank for now having to pay for the home insulation themselves and then claim the rebate back through Medicare. The Opposition. If they hadn't beaten up the teething problems so much(and, yes, I realise workplace fatalities are no trivial matter), we all could have taken advantage of a very good, 'Direct Action'(which is what I thought the Coalition were putting about as the only solution to global warming) scheme. The new scheme naturally disadvantages the poor, who don't readily have the readies in the bank to pay for the insulation, but are the ones who are most positively benefited from lower electricity bills as a result of not having to heat or cool their homes so much. Good one, Tony. Such a man of the people. Not. I'll just add that I have just come back from my morning walk, and it seems as if the yoof of Australia, and the radio stations they listen to, haven't yet abandoned Peter Garrett. Midnight Oil songs are still being played. If he was ratings poison as a result of the insulation imbroglio, his band's songs would have been disappeared from the playlist by now.

HillbillySkeleton

22/02/2010You know what's really sad about Fran Kelly? She is a sell-out. I have a friend who used to work with Fran Kelly soon after she came out of the Melbourne Punk Music scene and into journalism. She was avowedly anti-establishment then and refused to accept anyone's party lines. I know we all become more conservative as we get older, but I came out of the Sydney Punk Music scene, and I admit I am more accepting of other people's aposite points of view these days, but I will never abandon my principles of standing up to speak truth to power.

HillbillySkeleton

22/02/2010adamite, I agree with you, up to a point. If the new measures that Peter Garrett seeks to implement are inadequate and don't solve the identified problems, then he should go. However, he should be given the opportunity, at least, to have a go at rectifying the situation, and hopefully successfully continuing with what is still a very good 'Direct Action' on Climate Change scheme.

adamite

22/02/2010Hillbilly - 'She was avowedly anti-establishment then and refused to accept anyone's party lines' some people would say that Garret did the same thing.

Ad astra reply

22/02/2010Folks Thank you for your extraordinary contributions to what has become one of the most informative debates ever on [i]TPS[/i]. HBSk, as BB has tagged you in the interests of brevity, your thoughtful and details comments are much appreciated. You indicate a preference for continuing to contribute in the same way you have been since you joined [i]TPS[/i]. We all hope you will. Lyn1, Your links add a valuable dimension to [i]TPS[/i]. You must have a great filing system. I had not seen the Alan Ramsay’s comment that you quoted. It’s a pity he has left the scene. janice, I have not see the [i]Jack the Insider[/i] links to [i]TPS[/i]. If you have them handy I’d like to see them. I respect JTI’s pieces and opinions. He is one of the most balanced columnists at [i]The Australian[/i]. One gets the impression that [i]TPS[/i] is attracting increasing attention by political commentators. This would be welcome as the views expressed here often challenge the facts, the conclusions and the opinions expressed by them. That a view alternative to much of the MSM, particularly to opinions expressed by columnists at [i]The Australian[/i], can be expressed here, and perhaps read by some of them, is gratifying. That [i]TPS[/i] can give expression to the views of those who comment on the site is rewarding to them and to the site. Visits to [i]TPS[/i] are increasing, especially since Bushfire Bill became a regular original contributor. Apart from those who leave comments, lots of people are looking at [i]TPS[/i]; it would be good to know who they are. wilf herweg, welcome to [i]TPS[/i] It is curious how little has been said in the press about the propriety of staging a photo opportunity for Tony Abbott at that dangerous spot. There’s been plenty of video of the incident, and media comment about how lucky Tony was to have escaped injury, but little about what casualties might have occurred in the minibus and the truck. The only comment I have read came from the Mr Ryan who owns the trucking business involved. He was not happy with the situation his driver faced. If there had been a casualty or a death, what would Tony have said – another mea culpa, another plea for forgiveness? If Kevin Rudd had organized the event, I wonder how the media would have handled it then. Finally, I won’t attempt to address YMbK’s heavily sarcastic comment; BB has done that with his usual flair.

Colen

22/02/2010AA, BB, HBSk Only 4 deaths is it. If it had been deaths on the road all sorts of "hell" would be breaking loose. We have a single stabbing or racist attack on an Indian in Vic and the Press is up in arms and Mr Brumby is jumping up and down. How are these deaths no different. In fact very little was mentioned about them until this shambles of an insulation scheme came out. Very little said about the cost to inspect 1,000,000 homes already insulated to determine if the work done satisfactorily. But no worries the cost can be covered as part of our GFC contribution and employment of electricians. While Tony has his Budgie Smuggler moments, KRudd has his cheappie Channel 10 interviews. Whats the difference. Publicity is the name and Politic's is the game. Atleast the "Monk" is willing to where the hard questions. The "Arch Bishop" hides away on talent time. The driver of the Truck and the Mini bus obviously need some defensive driving lessons. The TV vision I saw indicated a road on the right that the driver of Abbott's vehicle was turning into. I am sure that Commonwealth driver would have indicated that he was turning, so someone was not paying attention?????? Speed limit on a single lane road? HBsk The oppostion did not decide that the scheme should be paid for directly and reimbursed by Medicare. Since when does an opposition manage government policy. Time to take off your blinkers. I am sure that they could find some other way to manage the financing with a little bit thought.

bilgedigger

22/02/2010What more can be added about the hypocrisy of the media, the leader of the Opposition and particular members of the Opposition? Having heard Peter Garrett answering all the questions put to him, watching the Senate inquiry this morning, Parliament this afternoon and to cap it all Sky News at 4 p.m. I'm left wondering if I inhabit the same planet as these people. I am filled with admiration for Peter Garrett and his courteous responses to all the confected outrage and questioning which has fuelled this matter. I think he is also well served by his Department who answered carefully, consistently and with dignity the questions and deliberate obfuscations by the Committee. The qualifications of members of the Committee to serve as parliamentarians should also come under scrutiny - from the strident questions from Senator Milne who chose to ignore the fact that her questions had been answered more than once during the time she was present, to the ignorance of Senator Barnett who persisted in referring to the debacle about the "insulin program". To her great credit Senator Troeth while pursuing answers to her questions which she put politely did appear to rebuke Senator Barnett who sought to place words in her mouth by stating that her questions did not include the point Senator Barnett was trying to verbal her with. To hear Mr. Abbott talk about ministerial responsibility under the Westminster system was particularly breathtaking because we know that sitting on the front bench and behind him were people like Kevin Andrews and Philip Ruddock who personally and directly had a hand in great injustices during their term in Parliament. Incidently on the Bigpond home page which I use to launch my browser, when following the newslink to Garrett, after the news item (parrotting The Australian newpaper article) there are three adverts under "Ads by Google" for home insulation services - "Insulate Your Home Today & Save. $1200 Govt Rebate Available. Melb."

janice

22/02/2010Ad astra, I'm not too good at providing links. It is all in the comments on Jack The Insider's blog which I've copied and pasted below: (I hope this isn't against the rules LOL) Amos Keeto Sat 20 Feb 10 (11:26am) Jack, when you’ve got the time, tack a look at this blog by Bushfire Bill. I think it’s outstanding. http://tinyurl.com/ybm6rwm Jack the Insider Sat 20 Feb 10 (12:28pm) I know it well, AK. Very good it is, too.  Penny Sat 20 Feb 10 (03:52pm) Amos Keeto....I took a look at the blog and was pleased to see that someone at last is commenting on the medias ridiculous adoration of all things related to Tony Abbott. Everything I read is on-line and as we are 8 hours behind Australia I can’t watch or listen to the ABC (which I miss greatly) and the only people stopping me from throwing my computer out the window is Crikey (and you of coruse JTI). I might now start reading this Bushfire Bill victoria Sat 20 Feb 10 (09:33pm) Johnny Rotten and Trivalve, If you haven’t already taken Penny’s cue, here’s the link to the Bushfire Bill blog: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2010/02/19/A-Triumphant-Return-or-the-Last-Hurrah.aspx#comment He’s on fire! Take a bow Bushfire Bill.

HillbillySkeleton

22/02/2010colen, Sorry, I should have written 'the new government scheme...'. I was merely pointing to the similarities between the government scheme that the Opposition are attacking and their own stated Climate Change policy of 'Direct Action' on Climate Change. That is, you can't get more direct than putting insulation in people's ceilings. Yet the Opposition hypocritically lampoon it. Also that the Opposition refuse to acknowledge the employer's duty of care, the employees' legal responsibility to personally make sure their workplace is a safe one, the State Governments who have legal responsibility for OH&S, and the fact, as stated by the head of the Environment department today, that if your standard is a totally mistake free implementation of a program, then you are never going to be satisfied, or achieve that goal, as it is an impossibility. To tell you the truth, if I were the government, I'd be going through Tony Abbott's record as a Minister, in all his portfolios, to find evidence of his undoubted hypocrisy.

Bushfire Bill

22/02/2010[i]The judgement about what consititues a sufficient reason for the minister to resign is always a matter for debate, but, in my mind Rudd should, at the very least, be severly reprimanding Garret and putting him on notice.[/i] Adamite, there's nothing to say this hasn't happened already. Probably has, in fact. Colen wrote: [i]Very little said about the cost to inspect 1,000,000 homes already insulated to determine if the work done satisfactorily. But no worries the cost can be covered as part of our GFC contribution and employment of electricians. [/i] I guess that having an electrician on duty during the whole of the installation would have cost more, as the time spent by the sparky on site (much of it twiddling his thumbs waiting) would have been greater. So we're down to inspections immediately after the installation versus inspections ome months after... both would cost roughly the same. If a fault is found it would then be up to the insulation contractor to correct it. In any case, attendance by an electrician during installation is not and has never been part of any OH&S requirement for insulation contractors, so I think your argument on the cost of electricians' audits being more costly if conducted now rather than immediately after installation doesn't hold water. You further wrote: [i]The driver of the Truck and the Mini bus obviously need some defensive driving lessons. The TV vision I saw indicated a road on the right that the driver of Abbott's vehicle was turning into. I am sure that Commonwealth driver would have indicated that he was turning, so someone was not paying attention?????? Speed limit on a single lane road?[/i] You are wrong on the circumstances of the incident. Abbott's Commonwealth vehicle was NOT turning into another road. It was not an intersection. The Commcar was turning across traffic into a layby - a rest stop - where a large mobile sign on a trailer ([i]a la[/i] the Debt Truck) had been positioned as a prop for TV interviews. In this case it would be at least equally up to the Commcar driver to make sure this unexpected turn would be done safely. If he was being pressured by Abbott to make the turn there and then, this is a much clearer direct connection to the potential incident than Garrett's is to the deceased insulation installers. If someone had been killed Abbott might well have been guilty of Industrial Manslaughter, as Abbott was in a proprietorial role (that of directing the driver). You'd have to admit that the distance from the back seat to the front seat of a Commcar is a lot shorter than that from Garrett's office to a ceiling cavity in Queensland, and that the connection between Abbott and his driver is a lot closer as far as chain of command is concerned then between Garrett and insulation installer. I think you can thank your lucky stars that this incident didn't go the way it might have gone, or else Abbott might well have been in deep water for giving an unlawful or dangerous instruction to his driver, resulting in death or injury.

Bushfire Bill

22/02/2010[i]Take a bow Bushfire Bill. [/i] I dips me lid. Now I know why Jack is so nice to me when I comment there.

lyn1

22/02/2010Hi Ad Big applause for Bushfire Bill. (he's on fire) Janice you thankyou for putting those comments up from Jack the insider's blogg great stuff, fantastic. What I do is on any page, click on file at top of the page, when the drop down menu comes down go to send link by email, send link by email to yourself. Thats how come I have so many links. I file all links in emails in My documents. This is a good place to get the morning headlines http://politicalowl.blogspot.com/ This is an awful nasty piece exactly what we have been talking about http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/how-rudd-the-dud-dropped-australia-in-the-alphabet-soup-20100221-ontz.html this is a good blog for measuring the polls by Anthony Green http://www.abc.net.au/elections/federal/2010/calculator/?swing=national&national=1.3&nsw=0&vic=0&qld=0&wa=0&sa=0&tas=0&act=0&nt=0&retiringfactor=1 This is interesting: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=10085

Ad astra reply

22/02/2010Colen, every workplace death brings tragedy to family, friends, workmates, employer and all associated with the death. No one is minimizing their import, their sadness. Regrettably workplace accidents and death occur regularly despite WorkSafe’s best efforts, and are reported in the media. But do they receive the attention that has been afforded those that have occurred in the ceiling insulation program? Do you give any credence to the view that the attention given to these deaths has been politically motivated, that it might be more about embarrassing the Government, Kevin Rudd and Peter Garratt, and part of the process of getting Garratt’s scalp? Is it fair and proper to use these tragic deaths in pursuit of political advantage? Regarding the near-accident, you seem to be suggesting that it was not Tony Abbott’s stationary car attempting to turn right with a clearly visible camera crew filming that was the problem, but rather the drivers of the minibus and truck who you indicate need “defensive driving lessons”. (I thought the truck driver was brilliantly defensive.) Alternatively, you suggest they were “not paying attention”, or maybe speeding on a single lane highway. You draw a long bow. bilgedigger, it’s good to read something positive about the performance of Peter Garratt and his departmental officers in answering questions about the insulation program amidst all the condemnation, denunciation and censure that has been heaped upon them in the MSM. I caught only a fragment of Garratt’s response in QT, and felt it was responsible and plausible. Of course his opponents will disagree. This matter has just about its course and has probably had its effect in the polls, as seen in Essential Media Report today, but the longer the Opposition flogs what is looking like a dead horse in pursuing Garratt’s scalp, the less the public will notice.

Ad astra reply

22/02/2010janice Thank you for the links - so complimentary. BB's piece has been a hit, and appreciated by visitors to JTI's site as well as by Jack himself. Lyn1 Thanks for still more links. THe Paul Sheehan article is typically nasty - that's his style when he writes about the Rudd Government.

HillbillySkeleton

22/02/2010I can't believe what I have just seen on the ABC News. A report on the Insulation story that was more sensorious, more tabloid, and more openly vicious than anything on the commercial news bulletins tonight. They have gone out and found an Insulation supplier who has had to lay off staff due to the cancellation of the government scheme. They interviewed the female proprietor of the company who has relayed a story about how she had to let a man go today, and how it was the most horrible thing she has had to do in her life because he has a 3 week old baby! Thereupon the ABC kept the cameras rolling on her crying at the thought! How is this in any way, shape or form, complying with the ABC's Charter to inform the Australian Public about the issues of the day? This is just a flat-out display of the most vile and vindictive type of journalism. No doubt it will be amped up on The 7.30 Report. Gee the ABC don't like it when they don't get their man. No angle is too scurrilous to employ in order to take their 'advocacy journalism' to new lows, so that they might exert their control over the direction an issue is taking. It's about time the government took the ABC on. This is becoming ridiculous. IMHO they are just getting too big for their boots. Just like the Public Servants who think that governments come and go, but they are there forever. If only a complaint could be lodged with someone that would see the situation redressed. However I am not so stupid as to think that is at all possible. I'm almost starting to believe that the ABC is actively working to see the government brought low too. I'm still in shock at the brazness of their attack tonight on the government. Brazen and hand in glove with the Opposition.

HillbillySkeleton

22/02/2010"Isn't this a humiliating backdown for you and an acknowledgement that the scheme was dangerous?" Guess who? Fran Kelly

Kim

22/02/2010From the ABC: "Mr Garrett announced on Friday the Government was scrapping the $2.5 billion insulation program and planned to replace it with a similar scheme. Today about a dozen angry insulation installers gathered outside Mr Garrett's Sydney office in Maroubra to demand compensation." This really is becoming absurd. The term 'media frenzy' comes to mind. I wish the government would start pumping money into the industry I work in for a year or so. Then I could feel indignant if they took away 'my' money too. If I were really lucky, it would be reported on by journalists who smell blood. HillbillySkeleton: You're spot on about the ABC news. They're chasing headlines.

Bushfire Bill

22/02/2010From the sounds of it the ABC has crossed the fine line dividing critical reporting and pushing an agenda. There is now no doubt that the media feels deprived of their rightful "scalp", in that Peter Garrett has not resigned. what may amount to a couple of dozen journalists (if that) have assumed the right to decide who stays in ministerial office, and who goes. Abbott this afternoon in Parliament was close to hysterical. He has amplified the number of "dodgy" installations to over 100,000, by simplistic extrapolation. He was not saying the number [i]might[/i] be 100,00 or [i]is possibly[/i] 100,000. He stated categorically that the number of death trap homes [i]is[/i] over 100,000. From HBSk's report it seems the ABC has swallowed this whole, representing Garret's and his departmental officers' answers to questions in the Senate today as some kind of "weasel words", and has elevated Abbott's hysteria to the level of gospel truth. They are like dogs deprived of a bone and one can only hope the public sees through the hysteria which at the moment amounts to not much more than a collective hissy fit.

HillbillySkeleton

22/02/2010Kim, Thank you for reminding me of that apt descriptor, 'media frenzy'. Now they've started on the Green Loans scheme. Let's see how far they pump up the volume on this one. No doubt, now that the Opposition have been fed their lines by the 7.30 Report tonight(we'll see if Lateline pushes the issue further later on), all of the QT questions tomorrow will be about it. Not only does it appear that Tony Abbott has his political operatives stationed in every media outlet in the country, 24/7, pestering them to run his lines, as I commented on recently when one of the West Australian journos exasperatingly admitted it, but now we are seeing various media outlets lose their objectivity and become part of the Killing Machine. Also, does anyone else think it strange and improper that Tony Abbott has been given his own blog at The Daily Telegraph to spew his bile against the government and suck people into his vortex, day in, day out, until the election? With no right of reply offered to anyone from the government, and especially the PM.

Kim

22/02/2010Many media outlets seem to be caught up in the frenzy, but they won't maintain it until the federal election. The 'Abbott has the government on the run' meme is simply their shiny plaything du jour. Remember, they have a short attention span. I actually wonder if the government is deliberately giving the Libs room; it certainly seems that way. I wouldn't be surprised to see Labor running an election campaign of advertisements showing Liberal high-ups making contradictory statement after contradictory statement (self-contradictory within the scope of the ads). Some have wondered why the government aren't taking the Libs to task on their obvious hypocrisy; I suspect it's because they're currently giving them enough rope to hang themselves, and in the election campaign proper, they'll use it as ammunition. If I were Mr Rudd, I'd portray the Libs as being against everything, but standing for nothing. The most amusing thing is, the 'Killing Machine', for all its ferocity, doesn't actually seem to be killing anything much, except perhaps Peter Garrett, and even that's doubtful. All sound and fury, signifying nothing.

lyn1

22/02/2010Hi AD What an excellent conversation, at the moment I am tuned into between Kim, Hillbilly Skeleton and Bushfire bill. Ad thankyou for hosting this blog for us and your informative pieces, also lovely thoughtful replies to our comments. I am enjoying all the newcomers too aren't they great. Ad and everyone please read this link http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/02/on-qt-minister-for-doing-nothing-but.html

janice

22/02/2010More like a pack of hyenas fighting over a carcass BB.

HillbillySkeleton

22/02/2010Quel surprise! Lateline "piles on the pressure" alongside the Opposition tonight in the direction of the luckless Peter Garrett. Hayden Cooper(ABC Lateline political reporter), has started a new meme: "Expect the government to make major policy announcements in the coming days to attempt take the pressure off Peter Garrett." Not a positive word is able to be uttered from the mouths of the sanctimonoious ABC hacks these days it seems, possessed as they seem to be with the smell of blood in their nostrils. This after a generally positive and informative Q&A tonight.

Ad astra reply

22/02/2010BB is right – a clutch of self-opinionated journalists, including some from the ABC, will decide who governs this country and which minsters will do the governing. They will decide if a minister is to be sacked, and when. And if their foot-stamping yields no results they will intensify their attack, tabloid-style. After all, they know best. Who else could judge better who should run the country? I missed the ABC News and the 7.30 Report tonight, but I imagine what I saw on Lateline was just recycled 7 pm News. On Q&A there seemed to be little sympathy in the audience for the ‘sack Garratt’ line. Malcolm Turnbull demolished the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan for carbon mitigation more effectively than Labor ever could. He also quietly shafted Tony Abbott on homelessness and on the danger of mixing one’s religious beliefs and politics. I doubt if the Coalition will be happy about what happened on Q&A tonight. As BB has pointed out, the public has stopped listening to these self-appointed kingmakers (and destroyers), which makes them even more angry and heightens their invective. They are a spent force and they resent it. Ignore them, like the rest of the people. Lyn1, You're right - everyone, including every journalist reporting on this issue should read the GrogsGamut piece - very informative. But of course they won't because it would disturb their preconceived notions.

HillbillySkeleton

22/02/2010lyn1, Thankx for the link to Grog's Gamut. What I constantly wonder is, with lucid voices such as Ad Astra, Bushfire Bill and Grog, why are we stuck with hacks and agenda journalists in the MSM?

Ebenezer

23/02/2010On the subject of anti Rudd/Labor stories. ABC Online headline, [b]Coroner probes Yothu Yindi death after Rudd visit[/b] Does anyone else think the ABC headline and following story is insinuating the PM is involved in this in some way or am I being over sensitive. Either way I have lodged an official complaint to the ABC about this story. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/22/2826349.htm?section=justin Cheers Eb. :)

HillbillySkeleton

23/02/2010Ebenezer, Could you please link me to the mechanism for making a formal complaint to the ABC? Thankx, HbSk

HillbillySkeleton

23/02/2010Eb, Casting aspersions appears to be the name of the game at the ABC, doesn't it? What Kevin Rudd's presence has to do with a celebration gone obviously wrong AFTER his visit, I don't know.I seem to remember at the time that this incident occurred that that was the explanation. The Yunupingu and the Pearson mob really seem to have it in for the Rudd government. Methinks it is because the government is getting in the way of their perceived 'business opportunities'.

Bushfire Bill

23/02/2010Classic bootstrapping from Dennis Shanahan: [i]"Given that the Environment Minister faced a censure motion in parliament yesterday over a scrapped scheme under which 160,000 homes have been given shoddy ceiling batts, 80,000 homes have been installed with potentially dangerous insulation, 1000 roofs have been electrified, 93 houses have caught fire and four people have died, it may seem hard to believe things could get worse. But there are almost a quarter of a million households adversely affected by the mishandled scheme, which has put roofing insulation into one million homes, and the government is unable to say whose house is at risk, when the risk will be assessed and when it will be fixed."[/i] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/bad-likely-to-get-worse-for-minister/story-e6frg6zo-1225833212109 When something's bad, use numbers, lots of numbers, the bigger the better. [b]INTERPRETATION HINT[/b]: if a number is rounded out, he's guessing... [i]160,000 homes[/i] Not a bad start, sounds like a lot of homes. [i]80,000 homes[/i] How do they know this? The audits haven't been carried out yet. Dennis is guessing, or at best his figures are based on [i]local manufacturers' estimates[/i] of the number of imported batts, and also assumes that [i]all[/i] imported batts are dangerous and sub-standard, which has not been shown, only claimed by competitors of the importers. [i]1000 roofs have been electrified[/i] This is an extrapolation, based on a survey of about 700 homes, during which 15 were found to be "electrified". http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,26706031-3102,00.html Shanahan has simply extrapolated this percentage out, based on 48,000 homes with foil insulation installed and come up with [i]what can only be an estimate[/i] of homes affected. [b]Yet he states [b]as a fact[/b]: "1000 roofs have been electrified."[/b] Later on in the article he produces a quote from Greg Hunt which admits to the extrapolation, but this does not stop Shanahan from turning Hunt's initial [i]estimate[/i] into a proven fact. In the bootstrappers' lexicon this technique of turning estimates based on extrapolation into solid facts is termed: [i]Doing a von Daniken[/i], with the dodgy fact itself termed a [i]Chariot Of The Gods[/i]. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chariots_of_the_gods (Interestingly in the Courier-Mail article linked above, from February 10th, a figure of "$200" per electrician's audit is listed, resulting in an estimated total figure for audits of "$9.6 million". This is clearly at odds with the "$50 million" figure bandied about in the Australian and other Murdoch papers subsequent to February 10th. $50 million is now the bootstrapped figure. The actual $9.6 million amount has been quietly buried. $50 million for the audits would mean $1000 per roof, which even at electrician's rates is ridiculous. Yet the larger amount persists.) [i]93 houses have caught fire[/i] As this figure is an exact number we can assume it is relatively accurate. [i]four people have died[/i] Ditto for this figure, but here are some other figures (of mine): * ONE of the deaths was due to heat stroke, not in any way related to dodgy batts or electrified roofing. * NONE of the deaths has been in any way investigated by appropriate coronial or OH&S assessors. [i]...it's hard to believe things could get worse[/i] But you know Dennis will tell you how, don't you? [i]almost a quarter of a million households adversely affected by the mishandled scheme[/i] This huge figure comes from nowhere. There are no facts to back it up. It is a Shanahan assertion. When you quote an unsourced figure, the bigger the figure, the better. But this phrase is also interesting in that it reveals the classic bootstrapper technique of [i]Repetitive Reinforcement[/i]. Note the words "mishandled scheme" at the end of the quotation. The more often you assert that the scheme is "mishandled", the more likely your reader is to get your drift. [i]which has put roofing insulation into one million homes[/i] Another standard bootstrapping technique, [i]The Negative Positive[/i] (not to be confused with its inverse, [i]The Positive Negative[/i]). The fact that roofing insulation has been installed into one million homes [i]should[/i] be something good for the government. It would have provided jobs, economic and environmental benefits on all sides of the equation. But because the "one million homes" is preceded by "mishandled scheme", it makes the [i]positive[/i] aspects of the scheme look decidedly [i]negative[/i]. Dennis' idea here is to make us quake in fright at the huge number of homes ("one million" of them) involved or potentially involved in "electrified roofs", "shoddy ceiling batts", "deaths", "dangerous insulation" and "fire" in a situation in which "it may seem hard to believe things could get worse." ************************* Note: the one bright spot in all this is that, after saying the other day "Peter Garrett is finished as a minister", Dennis now tells us that Garrett's future career is merely "tenuous". Here we have another aspect of almost every bootstrapping campaign (albeit one that the perpetrators do not like, and which was not intended): [i]The Break In The Clouds[/i].... a post-tempest ray of sunshine, a first sign that the campaign is running out of puff. This piece is basically just a rehash of all Dennis' previous articles, a summary of the arguments against Peter Garrett (and ultimately the government). My confident prediction is that within a day or so the skies will be blue and the bootstrapping storm will be forgotten. Unless more "shocking" facts come to light, this could be classed as, if not Dennis' [i]Last Hurrah[/i], at least his [i]First Kiss Goodbye[/i], another essential element of any failed bootstrapper.

Ebenezer

23/02/2010You should be able to get there from this link. http://www.abc.net.au/contact/complaints.htm Cheers Eb. :)

Ad astra reply

23/02/2010Eb, HBSk What an appalling headline. I have just emailed a complaint to the ABC. The link to use is http://www.abc.net.au/contact/contactabc.htm where you will find a form where you can lodge a complaint.

Ad astra reply

23/02/2010Eb Your route to complaints leads to the much the same place as mine. I hope those visitors to [i]TPS[/i] who are as offended as we are by that headline will send in a complaint. If the ABC gets several on the one subject, it might take some notice.

Ad astra reply

23/02/2010BB An incisive appraisal of Dennis Shanahan. It looks as if he’s ‘going for broke’ to ‘get Garratt’, no doubt angered by Garratt’s and Rudd’s resistance to the strident calls from the Opposition and the media for him to resign. How dare they ignore what the Chief Political Editor of [i]The Australian[/i] says. His tone is almost as exaggerated as was Tony Abbott’s in parliament yesterday, which reached hysterical proportions. They remind me of small boys in a supermarket screaming at their mother insisting she buy their favourite sweet, only to be completely ignored by her.

Rx

23/02/2010I tried a little perception test on Abbott's censure motion in Question Time yesterday. The trick is to let the wording pass you by, while paying special attention to the tone and meta-signals of the 'delivery'. What I heard was a noisy and nasty little man, blustering with faux rage, in a voice that sounds like it's barely broken. I would have thought that with all the much-hyped 'manliness' of this fellow - stories about his sex drive, pictures of his virtually naked body pasted all over the media - that his voice might sound more mature than that of a wound-up adolescent on hate pills ... but alas, it was not to be. Prime Ministerial? Hardly!

HillbillySkeleton

23/02/2010Hi guys, The best get as far as the media goes on this incident came today on ABC2 Breakfast when Joe O'Brien(methinks at heart he is a good Irish Australian Labor voter who hasn't forgotten his family's roots), got Senator Simon Birmingham, after much wriggling to try and get away from the question, to mouth the words that, if in government again after the election, the Coalition will adhere to the same standards of Ministerial accountability and responsibility that they are holding Peter Garrett to now. Of course, pigs might fly, but good on Joe for having his wits about him at that time of the morning in order to finally put one of the Coalition cabal of carpers and harpies on the spot and to get them off message. As far as I can tell, the Coalition are being well-schooled in some new messaging techniques of late, and that is part of the raeson that they have been winning the spin wars. I detect a more concerted effort to, as BB has described Shanna doing above, employ a number of different words for the same thing, repeated one after the other, a hinging of a unifying concept at the end of each sentence, as in 'mishandled scheme' above, and a new halting cadence with effort put into emphasising certain words common to the whole statement. The work of Republican message guru Frank Luntz comes to mind. Thank goodness the PM is a fast learner. I just noticed him starting to employ a similar messaging method this morning on the News when announcing the Counter Terrorism White Paper initiatives. QT should be interesting because the Opposition jumped the shark on the insulation issue yesterday, when the ham actor Abbott laid it on with a trowel during the censure motion. I'm wondering where they could possibly go from here. Tho' no doubt they'll try to take it somewhere with more sensorious questioning of the Minister and confected outrage. Maybe they've been getting advice from Alexander Downer's new PR outfit. :) Thank

Ad astra reply

23/02/2010Folks Thanks for all your comments, a record for {i]TPS[/i]. Getting on the road now. Will delete spam when I get home.

Bushfire Bill

23/02/2010Now we have the [i]Sob Story[/i] aspect of the bootstrapper. Wearing their hearts on their sleeve, the hypocrites at the OZ take the cake: [i][b]Debacle puts decent men out of work[/b] RUSSELL Browning was determined his building services business, operating from the heart of Kevin Rudd's Brisbane electorate, would do everything right by the government's home insulation scheme. At his insistence, his staff sourced only Australian-made insulation material, steered away from problem-plagued foil, made safety the priority and went out of their way to deliver value for nearly 2000 customers. But yesterday morning, as federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett clung to his job and the Prime Minister continued to defy opposition calls to sack him over the $2.5 billion insulation program debacle, he called together his people at Loyastar to break the news that 14 of them were losing their jobs. Similar scenes played out around the country."[/i] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/debacle-puts-decent-men-out-of-work/story-e6frg6n6-1225833209416 NOTE: [i]Bootstrapper Bonus Points[/i] here for the proprietor living in Rudd's electorate, but I digress... After several weeks of calling for the Insulation Scheme to be scrapped and the Minister to resign, saying it was a waste of money because it used batts that either poisoned the homeowners, burnt their houses down, or that just plain didn't work, and foil which electrocuted them, killed workers and ruined Australian manufacturing businesses, and did not create many jobs (Hockey thought none) etc. etc. they have the hide to run a headline: [i]Debacle puts decent men out of work[/i]. Let's look at the logic a little closer, by paraphrasing the Oz's arguments over the past little while... * The insulation scheme killed good men for no economic or environmental benefit. * It burnt people's houses down. * It killed workers * It encouraged carpetbaggers and scam artists * It was poorly managed * It will cost $50,000,000 to audit (up from $9.6 million in the first couple of articles) * It should be closed down immediately. * Australian manufacturers of foil insulation also call for its closure. * Now that the government has done what they demanded, the people who they said didn't get jobs (because the scheme was a con and a boondoggle for dodgy operators) have been sacked... presumably from jobs they said did not exist. The inescapable conclusion? [u]The Oz has gone barking mad.[/u] They have attacked a scheme which did good environmental, employment and economic things and have, by their carping and whingeing at the edges, caused it to be replaced by a second scheme which, with all due caution being taken, will take a few months to get up and running (another demand they made), but now are blaming the government for people - "good men" all, no doubt - who otherwise would not have had jobs (which didn't exist anyway), losing them. And all this as a result of a hissy fit over Garrett not resigning when they said he should. We have not seen one story about the details of how dodgy operators scammed the system, although these dodgy operators were the basis of their calls for the minister to resign. Only [i]now[/i] are we being offered stories about the good operators, and how much they depend on the scheme [i]the OZ wanted shut down[/i]. Where were these "good men" stories until yesterday? They were forgotten or ignored, in the Oz's rush to grab aministerial scalp. And somehow or other, [i]the minister[/i] is to blame for all this? Absolutely crazy.

john Ryan

23/02/2010There is a very good cartoon at on line opinion today which to me sums up Abbott and the Liberals to a T. So far as the Australian goes like NEWS LTD over IRAQ,they do what their master tells them,one day a smoking gun(E Mail) will turn up but I do find it funny how all NEWS LTD papers sing the same song

HillbillySkeleton

23/02/2010Bushfire Bill, I actually think that it's the ABC, hand-in-glove with News Ltd. that are the progenitors of much of the nonsense that The Oz runs with the next day. If you read the post I made last night after the ABC 7pm News, you'll find I mentioned the aggressive and declamatory line that they continued to take about the Insulation imbroglio, even as it had been shut down temporarily by the Minister. They came up with the angle to go after those affected by the shutdown, interviewed the same couple that The Oz tracked down, and got the sleazy footage of the woman proprietor crying because she had had to sack a man that very day who had a 3 week old baby ferchrissakes! How tawdry and tabloid can you get? If this is what Mark Scott envisions for his new 24/7 News ABC then I will be by turns alarmed and saddened.

HillbillySkeleton

23/02/2010I also think that a humiliating backdown by these journalists is never allowed to be on their radars. Instead of admitting a degree of responsibility for fanning the flames, and barking up the wrong tree, they go harder in order to hopefully at last succeed in their avowed task of bringing a good Minister down. What irritates me the most about all this is that, OK we have no control, unless we are shareholders , of the commercial media, but as taxpayers and direct funders of the ABC, we should have some way of having our say about the editorial direction the National Broadcaster takes. The way things stand atm, it appears that it has been taken hostage by a self-interested crew of snarky, small 'l' Liberals, determined, by their actions, to see the restoration of a Coalition government, by hook or by crook. With the latter, that is, by crook journalism, being the most obvious tactic as we go through this election year.

HillbillySkeleton

23/02/2010Now we have this: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/abbott-leads-mps-into-battle-of-ideas-at-menzies-research-centre-forum/story-e6frgczf-1225833484538 An 'intellectual debate', as long as it is with like-minded conservative 'intellectuals'. Sheesh! Oh well, at least these outed men and women will no longer be able to style themselves as 'impartial commentators'. They have had the conservative stripe painted down their backs forevermore by Mr Abbott.

mick smetafor

23/02/2010yeah just read it hbs,for christsake someone throw a bucket of cold water over him.he's starting to believe the fantasy rupert spinning about him

Bushfire Bill

23/02/2010HBSk, I liked that: "Warrior Intellectual". That's the Jesuits down to a "T". Combine a Riverview Jesuit education with a compulsion to be a naughty boy, and there you have Tony Abbott. Interesting to see the Round Up The Usual Conservatives line-up: Peter Cosgrove, Neil Pearson and Peter Shergold (among others). Abbott's "intellectual" credentials include dressing in budgie smugglers, giving the phrase "The Emperor has no clothes" a new life. He lectures the women of Australia on virginity and ironing hubby's clothes. He muses on homicide and adultery as part of the Ten Commandments (of which he cheerfully confess he has broken nine). He uses intellectual language, like "Crap" (to describe Climate Change science) and "Shit eating smile" (to describe a facial expression). His shadow ministers sport hot pink tou-tous, and rave about how bad our economy is. His "warrior" credentials are less ironic, but no less embarrassing. He has instituted a policy of blocking most government bills in the Senate. He changes his mind according to the audience to which he is speaking, sometimes more than once per day. He indulges in clandestine meetings with Cardinals and media moguls ([i]de rigeur[/i] for your genuine secret agent). This is the sort of "intellectual rigour" Abbott in his, and The Australian's fantasy world of "Culture Wars", brings to the table of national politics. That he gets away with it is entirely down to the easy run he has received from the media, because for the life of me I can hardly see any other way he'd get past kindergarten level when we're discussing TOny abbott as an "intellectual".

Rocket

23/02/2010I have read these excellent blogs before, but it is somewhat ironic that today I have come here from "H of S" link on Tory Maguire's article on "The Punch". If News Limited realise they are redirecting people here they will be horrified! Yes - I think Abbott is a "bit" like Latham. Rattling the sabre, seducing the media with a "new paradigm of politics", but in the end elections are not really just yes/no referenda on Governments - people are forced to choose between two leaders and theri "teams". In this Abbott will be found wanting. I am most looking forward to the debate(s), as I think Abbott will lose his cool. And I also look forward to people like Nick Minchin and Bronny Bishop (Julie remains invisible) defending the spending of billions to prevent climate change!

Acerbic Conehead

23/02/2010Hey, AA, you seem to spend a lot of time on the road. Are you the truck driver who nearly wrote Tones off?

Ad astra reply

23/02/2010Rocket Welcome to [i]TPS[/i] Please tell me how to find the "H of S" link on Tory Maguire's article on "The Punch". Acerbic Conehead No I'm not a truck driver. I've had some interstate trips by car recently, and live in two places. Thus quite a lot of time on the road. Can't connect to the Internet on wheels.

Kim

23/02/2010On <i>The Australian's</i> <b>Debacle puts decent men out of work</b> headline. There are clearly many levels of 'jumping the shark'. The Oz seems to be going for the highest. After this, I'm convinced there is nothing that they will not say to further one of their attacks. The headline was worthy of a red-banner socialist worker newspaper; it's the stuff of multiple-personality disorder. The weirder they get, the more I'm sure of their demise. Surely anyone with a reading level high enough to actually read their articles will stop paying attention after this. It's truly bizarre.

Rocket

23/02/2010In "Coalition's own goal in the insulation shoot-out" comment at 4:55 pm, 23/02/10 - H of S says:04:55pm | 23/02/10 Wow Tory, We are having a Romulan mind-meld moment (I’m not a Trekkie btw, Wars over Trek every day) My exact thought when I read about Mr. Birmingham’s comment was “own goal” Also the concept of jumping the shark has been on my mind today due to Bushfire Bill’s interesting piece on the politcal sword site: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/

Bushfire Bill

24/02/2010And as I proudly write the 101st comment on this edition of TPS, I have great pleasure in reporting to youse all that Dennis Shanahan has started his latest article with the thrilling words: "[b]PETER Garrett now appears likely to survive as Environment Minister.[/b]" http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/standards-sacrificed-to-save-position/story-e6frg6zo-1225833635697 The rest of the article is full of sour grapes and "should'a-beens", but at last Dennis has admitted defeat. The "explosive" second Minter-Ellison report was a fizzer (as explained so brutally here by Grog http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/02/on-qt-no-smoking-gun-to-help-this-dead.html ). Peter Garrett is still araldited to his seat (even perhaps with a fresh dollop of the sticky substance, since he has handled himself so well in the face of relentless enfilading political fire - and his colleagues have noted it well). First we had the faux outrage, then the demands for resignation, then the screams for resignation, then the Claytons Resignation (where Garrett was dead but wouldn't lie down, according to Dennis), then this morning we had the magic word: "tenuous" to describe Garrett's "hold" on office... a [i]Break In The Clouds[/i] signalling the imminent demise of this tacky little bootstrapper. All the [i]Negative Positives[/i], the [i]Chariots of the Gods[/i], the hissy fits and the [i]Repetitive Reinforcements[/i] have culminated in an inevitable [i]Last Hurrah[/i]. Another defeat for the Murdoch forces and a most satisfying one, too. G'night all.

Bushfire Bill

24/02/2010I've deleted both the spam comments and those made in response to them. There is no future in feeding the trolls.

janice

24/02/2010Thanks BB. It is a satisfying defeat for the Murdoch forces but I suspect we'll be seeing much more of this between now and the election. I suspect as well that Shanahan will come out of it with more egg on his face and even less credibility than he has now along with the Howard dinosaurs who are keeping the Liberal Party in the gutter. I found Kerry O'Brien's interview with Malcolm Fraser interesting. I was never a fan of Fraser and it took me a long time to forgive him for the manner in which he gained office. However, he and old Gough managed to bury the hatchet and that gave me cause to look deeper and see that he has more good in him than bad. I think I'll have to get hold of his book.

Ad astra reply

24/02/2010Rocket Many thanks. Kim I looked for the piece you mentioned but couldn’t find it in [i]The Oz[/i] online. Do you have the link? BB Dennis is stamping his foot in annoyance. Having failed to have Garrett resign or be sacked, he grudgingly concedes defeat, but determined not to be denied some political gain, he ends by declaring, with the same authority that he declared that Garrett was finished as a minister, that [i]“Garrett will live but Rudd's ministerial accountability is dead.”[/i] If you say so Dennis!

BH

24/02/2010[What I constantly wonder is, with lucid voices such as Ad Astra, Bushfire Bill and Grog, why are we stuck with hacks and agenda journalists in the MSM?] HBY - A good question but thank goodness for sites like this. Absolutely a must read for those who want more factual reporting. Thanks to all here who have the ability to cut through the journo's nonsense and make sense of it for the rest of us.

lyn1

24/02/2010Hi Ad and Bushfire Bill This column is an absolute must read for everybody http://rumcorps.net/mangledthoughts/2009/12/17/liberal-party-news-the-right-is-selling-out-australians-to-the-hard-left/

Bushfire Bill

24/02/2010Apparently Possum has done some number crunching and claims to have verified that fires under the Garrett insulation scheme [i]dropped[/i] by a factor of [b]15[/b]. Sounds unlikely to me, but he's said he'll be posting the raw data in the near future, so then we can make up our own minds.

Ad astra reply

24/02/2010Folks Following up from BB’s comment, those of you who can access [i]Crikey[/i] will find interesting Possum’s two pieces on [i]Pollytics[/i]: [i]Risk and Incompetence in an Insulated Media[/i] http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/02/24/risk-and-incompetence-in-an-insulated-media/ and [i]Did the insulation program actually reduce fire risk?[/i] http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/02/24/did-the-insulation-program-actually-reduce-fire-risk/

Ad astra reply

24/02/2010Folks Did you notice that in QT Kevin Rudd quoted the number of house fires after insulation was installed in 2008 and compared them with the numbers under the Home Insulation Program? Was he quoting Possum? (see links in the previous comment immediately above) BH Thank you for your kind remarks - they make the effort worthwhile. Lyn1 Another interesting and extraordinary piece. Thank you.

lyn1

24/02/2010Hi Ad Yes I did see and hear Kevin Rudd quote those house fire numbers, I thought exactly the same as you. Was he quoting from Possum, Kevin Rudd has some pretty switched on young advisers Lauchlin Harris and Alister Jordon. Thankyou Bushfire Bill for the alert about Possum's research, he is so cleaver. Possum, column is excellent also comments interesting. I am glad you enjoyed Mangled Thoughts link above, he has taught me a lot about the left and the right beliefs. Ad in case you haven't read New Matilda, it's well worth the time to read by everyone. http://newmatilda.com/2010/02/24/beware-shonky-operator.

HillbillySkeleton

24/02/2010Ad Astra, I know it can be tedious to do, but after last night's effort to get us to buy psoriasis remedies(even if we probably don't have it), might I suggest including an antispam, word recognition tool?

Ad astra reply

24/02/2010Lyn1 Amusing link - thanks.

Ad astra reply

24/02/2010HillbillySkeleton I've investigated if it's possible to intercept spam before it contaminates [i]TPS[/i], but with the off-the-shelf blog engine I'm using, that is not possible. So I guess I'm going to have to wear it and delete it as soon as I see it.

Ad astra reply

26/02/2010Folks All we're getting now is spam so I'm closing comments.
How many umbrellas are there if I start with two and take 2 away?