The forgotten art of political communication

“Julia Gillard is not getting her message out”. “She is not cutting through”. “People have stopped listening”. “Her message is being drowned out by noise”. How many times have we heard that? But how many have pointed out that it is the media that creates most of the distracting noise? How many times have we seen any thoughtful analysis in the media of why this is so? Pitifully few. This piece attempts to fill that yawning gap.

There have been many studies of communication. I won’t attempt to make this a learned treatise but rather will draw on my experience over the years and my more recent observations of politics.

A simple model of communication includes the transmitter, the message, the medium and the receiver, which I shall dissect. It’s much more complicated than that, but let’s start with the basic structure, and apply it to PM Gillard and her Government and Tony Abbott and his Opposition.

The transmitter
The personality and style of the messenger is crucial to getting the message across. We all know how dull and boring speakers put off their audiences. The media accuse Julia Gillard of having a drawl, an ocker accent, and slow speech. Add to that what they often spotlight: inappropriate dress, big earlobes, unusual earrings, red hair, a pointy nose and an ample backside, and any hope that the message she is hoping to transmit might get a guernsey is remote. Distracted by the inconsequential and governed by the media’s modus operandi, the media fails to hear what she is saying, often deliberately, and thereby fails to transmit it.

She certainly does not have the oratory of a Bill Clinton or a Tony Blair, the dulcet tones of Malcolm Turnbull, the lofty words of Gough Whitlam, the acerbic language of Paul Keating, or the scalawag charm of Bob Hawke. She is a Welsh immigrant brought up in South Australia, educated at Unley High School and the University of Melbourne, no doubt attaining her accent and speech from those environments. She seems to be sincere and genuine, although her adversaries would dispute that. So we, and the media, all have a choice: focus on her speaking attributes which we may or may not like, or listen to her message. So far the media has too often chosen the former. The latter might be more edifying for us all.

It certainly helps if the orator has a pleasant mode of delivery, or at least one that does not detract from the message. So if we don’t like PM Gillard’s delivery, we can ignore it and listen for the message, or ignore her, which is what much of the media and possibly the public are doing.

Although it seems to attract little attention from the media, Tony Abbott’s mode of delivery is no paragon. His raspy voice is unattractive, his forced laugh at times bordering on maniacal, his hesitancy off-putting, his but, but, but irritating, his deviousness and slyness unnerving, and his occasional muteness astonishing. But never mind, that’s just Tony!

The receiver
The receiver needs to be considered alongside the transmitter as the latter needs to be geared to the former. There are three common modes of language that people prefer for receiving information: visual, auditory and kinesthetic (or feeling). Those with a preference for visual language respond well to: ‘I see what you mean’; those who prefer auditory to: “I hear what you are saying; and those who like kinesthetic language to: ‘I know how you feel’. People accept messages more readily via their preferred mode, so the transmitter will achieve better results using that mode. It is easy to determine the preferred mode in one-to-one conversations and use it, as those familiar with neurolinguistic programming know, but that is not possible in large audiences.

A public speaker encounters all three preferences, but as visual is preferred by more than the others, that ought to be the mode generally used by the transmitter. However, there are occasions where the other modes are more appropriate; for example in the face of a natural disaster, or a tragedy, kinesthetic language: ‘I feel for you in your tragic situation’, is more suitable.

A good public speaker will mix these modes and use phrases like: “We can see what needs to be done and will find our way through the problem’ and ‘We are listening to what you are telling us, and will respond to your message’, and “We feel your pain, we grasp what is needed, and will carry it through’. Reflect on Julia Gillard’s language. How often have you heard her using kinesthetic (feeling) words: ‘I feel/understand your pain’; ‘I know you are doing it tough’?

Tony Abbott uses a lot of kinesthetic language, as so often his objective is to have his audience feel the pain of rising costs, of ‘toxic’ taxes, of job losses, of businesses closing, of ‘ghost towns’. Sometimes he uses the auditory, usually urging the PM to ‘listen’ to the people. Since he is not heavily into a vision for our nation, visual language does not feature much in his utterances, except of course when he uses the spacer word ‘look’ over and again in tight interviews.

A good speaker will also personalize messages by the use of words such as ‘you’ and ‘yours’, reaching out to the individual elector.

The medium
No discussion of the medium should fail to mention the author of the aphorism: “The medium is the message”, Marshall McLuhan. According to Wikipedia: “Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar – a professor of English literature, a literary critic, a rhetorician, and a communication theorist. McLuhan's work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory, as well as having practical applications in the advertising and television industries.” His 1964 book, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man was seminal and echoes still in the corridors of media studies.

“McLuhan understood "medium" in a broad sense. He identified the light bulb as a clear demonstration of the concept of “the medium is the message”. A light bulb does not have content in the way that a newspaper has articles or a television has programs, yet it is a medium that has a social effect; that is, a light bulb enables people to create spaces during nighttime that would otherwise be enveloped by darkness. He describes the light bulb as a medium without any content. McLuhan states that: "a light bulb creates an environment by its mere presence. Likewise, the message of a newscast about a heinous crime may be less about the individual news story itself – the content – and more about the change in public attitude towards crime that the newscast engenders by the fact that such crimes are in effect being brought into the home to watch over dinner… As society's values, norms and ways of doing things change because of the technology, it is then we realize the social implications of the medium.”

McLuhan somewhat humorously rephrased his famous aphorism as: “The medium is the massage” in recognition of the fact that each medium produces a different "massage" or "effect" on us. Read more about McLuhan in Wikipedia here and here

We know that what McLuhan postulated is true today, intensified by the expansion of older technologies, TV and the Internet, and the advent of newer ones such as Facebook and Twitter. The latter has added a powerful new dimension to political reporting because of its instantaneousness.

In his book Sideshow: Dumbing Down Democracy, (Scribe Publications, 2011) Lindsay Tanner asserts that the way the media now operates conditions the way politicians prepare for media interactions. A medium that is more interested in trivialities, conflict, gotchas, setting traps and creating discord, pushes politicians to behave defensively lest any slip up land them into political trouble or bring them into disrepute.

To elaborate on his assertion, he talks about TV, possibly now the major conduit for information to the public, and quotes media researcher John McManus’ four basic rules of TV news: “prefer images above ideas, employ emotion above analysis, exaggerate, and avoid extensive news gathering”. That does not leave much scope for intelligent statements about policy.

Tanner goes onto quote Robert MacNeil, former executive editor and co-anchor of a major US TV news show, who explains: “The idea is to keep everything brief, not to strain the attention of anyone but instead provide constant stimulation through variety, novelty, action and movement… (assuming) that bite-sized is best, that complexity must be avoided, that nuances are dispensable, that qualifications impede the simple message, that visual stimulation is a substitute for thought, and that verbal precision is an anachronism.” Where is the room for content in that formula?

With the medium dominating the scene and focussing attention on anything and everything but significant content, how can a politician hope to transmit anything at all complex, as indeed some policies of necessity must be? Tony Abbott has grasped this reality with his three word slogans. In his perpetual negative mode, he has the luxury of being able to reduce his negativity to short but memorable sound bites. He exploits too the media’s preoccupation with images by pretending to sell bananas, by cutting up meat or by kissing fish. It’s all too easy for the No, No, No, man and his GBNT.

Referring to the cult of the personality, Tanner quotes American commentator Michael Hirschorn: “Mere logic is powerless against a brilliant projection of personality”. Tanner goes on to say: “Reporting of major events, such as federal budgets, is invariably reduced to a series of stories about aggrieved individuals. Because news executives regard politics as boring, stories are rendered through individual life-experiences in order to make them more interesting. Journalist Dan Gardner suggests that ‘the power of personal stories explains the standard format of most feature reports in newspapers and television’ which in turn explains ‘the freak show that has taken over much of the media’. The ultimate logic of this is that politicians become known for their personal characteristics and behaviour, not their policies.”

So there it is – the real content, the real decisions of politicians on important aspects of policy that affects real people, are overwhelmed by the medium and its need or desire to meet other criteria for appealing to or entertaining its audience, such as human interest, sensation, travail, personalities, scandal, and trivialities that titillate. Tony Abbott exploits this every day through his escapades at shopping centres, factories and mines, or driving heavy machinery. The consistent theme is: be scared, be fearful, the Labor dragon is about to slay you and change forever your way of life. In contrast, the media, in pursuing its own agenda of infotainment, drowns out Julia Gillard’s good news messages with noise.

What do other commentators think about what Tanner asserts?

Jay Rosen, professor of journalism at New York University, interviewed by Tony Jones on Lateline last week, began by saying that ‘political coverage is broken’ and supported that assertion with: “I think we've reached the point where politics as entertainment, the 24-hour news cycle, the fascination with media manipulation and spin doctors, the cult of the insider in political coverage - have gone on for so long they've all come together to the point where I think they're not only distorting politics, but they're actually beginning to substitute for it.”

Rosen went on to say: “I think there was a time when the political system decided what policy was, what their stance was going to be, and then of course consulted their advisers about how to present it. Today, as I think Lindsay Tanner suggested in his book Sideshow, which I have read, it's almost the reverse of that. It is, what's going to work in the media is presented first and then figuring out policies that you can announce that correspond to that comes after.

“It is that sense that this crazy mix of politics and news and manipulation and media and journalism has overtaken the political system that I think we need to register and start dealing with.”

Later Rosen said: “… political actors respond to the intensive systems that are before them. I think what we have now is a situation where journalism isn't just representing what political actors do; it is actually changing what they do. And there isn't really an exit from that system no matter what channel you're watching or what news source you're consulting.” Jones wanted to argue that this was a US phenomenon, but Rosen threw the question back at him: “…tell me, Tony, do you not see any of these things happening in the Australian political system?” Tony was having none of that, and went on to say: “It is not coverage that's broken, rather it is the politicians themselves that are broken and what's broken in them is their ever-increasing use and reliance on spin.” So Tony was sheeting the blame wholly to the politicians; the media was blameless.

But undeterred, Rosen came back: “Well, that's true, they are doing that, and it is not just spin, it's focus groups, it's consultants, the notion of the permanent campaign, as I said before - but I think we're mature enough to recognise that political actors and the producers of news are interdependent at this point.

“Ask yourself this: who would be the most likely actor in that system to be able to change? Who has the most freedom of movement, the most freedom to manoeuvre? I would say it is the people in the news media. They could change their game tomorrow if they wanted to, and I think we're at the point where they ought to start thinking about doing that.”

Tony was still unconvinced: “Change their game in what way? It would be hard to imagine us changing our own game here on this program dramatically. We do long interviews; we do probing interviews with politicians. Hopefully we see through the spin. So what is it that you're suggesting should change?”

Rosen explained patiently: “What I mean by changing the game is first of all abandoning the fascination with "inside baseball" as we call it in the United States, or the media manipulators, and begin to return to journalism as a reality check. A much heavier emphasis on fact-checking - calling out lies and distortions - would be a good start - but I think too much of the political press has begun to look at the public and electorate through the same eyes that professional operatives use when thinking of their next campaign.

“I think this kind of fascination with the mechanics of political presentation, staging, media narratives, appearing before the cameras and the arts of imagery - those kinds of things have become the mutual fascinations of the political class and the journalistic class. Maybe you avoid a lot of that on your program, but I think within the press culture as a whole in the United States and, according to Lindsay Tanner, in Australia, these values have begun to overtake the depiction of the real.”

I’ve quoted at length what Jay Rosen had to say, as it was so germane. But there was more. You may wish to read the whole transcript or view this fascinating and informative interview. Click here.  

You also may wish to read his keynote address Why Political Coverage is Broken to New News 2011, part of the Melbourne Writers Festival, co-sponsored by the Public Interest Journalism Foundation at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne on August 26.  

Is it just slavish adherence of the media to a style of presentation that disadvantages those with a serious message, and assists those with a simple if disingenuous message? In my opinion, there is more to it than that. On any reasonable assessment of News Limited media it seems clear that there is a darker reason for PM Gillard and her ministers ‘not cutting through’. It is the deliberate distortion of the facts through omission, cherry picking and dishonesty that lie at the heart of the problem the Government has. A media organization bent on ‘regime change’, which many believe is the case, can powerfully influence public opinion in whatever way it pleases, and News Limited does this overtly and covertly. In my view it is not just the contemporary behaviour of the media that lies behind the Government’s problem; it is malevolence that descends from a proprietorial and editorial level. To assess the validity of that view, you may be interested to listen to Paul Barry talking today on ABC 24 about Crikey’s ‘megaphone index’. 

The medium needs to be considered on a micro level too. At an intimate interpersonal level in informal situations, such as we see in schools and supermarkets, Julia Gillard seems to be personable, likeable, good humoured and well regarded. She has an infectious laugh and an engaging way of interacting with individuals. She has no problems there. Tony Abbott similarly does well in these environments.

At a more formal level in Press Club events or speeches or in press conferences, the PM comes across as more formal, more deliberate in what she says, and in how she answers questions. She know that reporters are waiting to pounce on any perceived slip up or change of language as they did recently over the projected budget surplus in 2012/13. She has learned that loose talk, or even an off-the-cuff remark, could be used by hostile journalists to beat her around the head. Although she controls questions firmly but politely, she has been branded by some as schoolmarmish. On the other hand, journalists have learned that she will not take nonsense from them and will call them out. Tony Abbott does not do nearly as well in press conferences. He dislikes any challenge to his views, and when the questioning gets too tough or persistent for him, he winds up and walks out.

Both are workmanlike in delivering set speeches, but hardly Churchillian.

In parliament Julia Gillard can be persuasive, but also cutting in rebutting Coalition taunts, accusations and tricky questions. She is Abbott’s superior in repartee, but both exhibit well-honed debating skills.

On occasions when dignity is needed she excels, as we have seen in her motions of condolence and in her responses to disasters, as does Tony Abbott.

Altogether I would give her high marks for communication, but most journalists would scoff at that assessment. I would give lesser marks to Abbott, but acknowledge the success he has had with short memorable slogans.

Another component of the medium is the printed word. This is still used, but to what effect? The booklet recently distributed to all householders: Working together for a clean energy future, was an example of how not to inform the public. Accustomed though I am to reading complex scientific documents, I found this one so confusing in its format, so boring to read, so dull in its layout, that I gave up a short way through. It looked as if it had been produced by an earnest but unimaginative public servant, determined to include all the facts, and answer all the questions, if only readers looked long and patiently enough through its lacklustre pages. It was wholly uninspiring.

I can’t claim to know the answer to producing documents that would appeal to the average voter, but what I understand about such attempts at ‘advertising’, is that ads are more likely to be read and understood if fashioned for consumption by children approaching teenage. Perhaps a comic style format might attract readers. It would be an interesting sociological study to research how many read the document, how much of it, how much they understood, and how much it affected their beliefs. I predict the results would be very disappointing.

The online version was well set out and informative, but devoid of illustrations and graphics, which could have done so much to bring it alive.

The message
It may seem odd that ‘the message’ comes so late in this piece, but the reality is that the message, the content of what politicians say, unless it can be reduced to slogan-like phrases, or bite-sized bits, or snappy TV clips, is of little interest to the media in its contemporary mood. It is only through Government sponsored ‘advertising’ or information pieces that the Government can fashion its message. Unfortunately when it has done so, it has done it poorly.

Where does that leave us?
It is a sad reality that the imperatives of the commercial media to compete and turn a profit and the seeming desire of the public broadcaster to follow the pattern they set, leave us with a media that is not conducive to the promulgation of vitally important messages about policy, plans, budgets or decisions, unless they can be placed in fancy dress that appeals to a largely disinterested and inattentive electorate. Politicians go through contortions to dress up their messages, which is relatively easy if they are negative and derogatory, but almost impossible if they are at all complex and will occupy much more than ten seconds of the audience’s attention. The media, particularly the electronic media, has conditioned its users to short grabs, rapidly changing imagery, startling video, outrageous or scandalous utterances, and of course human interest stories, some heart warming, some grotesque. There is simply no room for serious political content.

The transmission might be improved and the message enhanced, but the real problem seems to be with the medium.

The lost art of political communication seems fated to remain lost until and unless radical changes to media style are forthcoming, at least in the arena of political reportage. As Jay Rosen said: “Who would be the most likely actor in that system to be able to change? Who has the most freedom of movement, the most freedom to manoeuvre? I would say it is the people in the news media. They could change their game tomorrow if they wanted to, and I think we're at the point where they ought to start thinking about doing that.” And so say all of us.

But with media hell bent in pursuing its commercial and political agendas, and with an entrenched ‘We’re alright Jack’ attitude such as exhibited by Tony Jones last week where he laid full responsibility for the current ‘broken’ situation at the feet of spin-obsessed politicians, what hope have we got for change for the better? Buckley’s, unless the Fifth Estate keeps hammering away at the Fourth Estate to change its ways and give us all a fair go in trying to grasp and understand what the Government is trying to do for this nation and its citizens. How else can we thoughtfully cast a vote at the next election?

Unlike Tony Jones, this piece is not attempting to apportion blame, but to assign responsibility for the media mess we are in, and express the fervent hope that there is some way out of the abyss in which find ourselves trapped.

What do you think?

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Michael

29/08/2011AA, hi. Its a bit rough on your excellent article to place here one of the final items from the Comments section of the previous thread, but I reckon it is germane to your theme, and may well, if it has the bombshell effect Glenn Milne clearly thinks that it will, engender a situation in which we will see much of the art of political communication at centre stage. Thanks again to Jason for providing the entire text, and to Norman K for a large section of it, too. The sleaze-meisters are after the PM, big time! PM A LOST CAUSE FOR WARRING UNIONS Australian, The (Australia) - Monday, August 29, 2011 Author: GLENN MILNE Julia Gillard has lost all authority within the broader Labor movement THE real import of the alleged brothel creeping scandal surrounding Craig Thomson has been missed. And it is this: key factions and unions within the Labor movement are now openly indifferent to the fate of either Julia Gillard or the federal government. They simply don't care any more. Gillard has now lost all authority within the broader Labor movement. By their actions in the Thomson saga they have signalled a judgment that she cannot win the next election. Settling internal scores and power struggles is therefore now more important than whatever happens to a lame-duck PM who can't haul her primary voting numbers out of the pathetically fatal mid 20s. The Mafia-style dirt-covered shovel -- code for digging your own grave -- dumped on Friday at 3.30am on the doorstop of Kathy Jackson, the union official who had the courage to refer Thomson's activities to the police, may as well have been delivered to the Lodge. For Gillard it is now that bad. She is simply regarded as collateral damage and large sections in the Labor movement are uninterested about whether she's terminally wounded or not as they go about their internal bloodletting. It is about to get worse as elements of the Australian Workers' Union seek to settle up with Thomson's accusers by demonstrating that Gillard herself was implicated, albeit unknowingly, in a major union fraud of her own before she entered parliament. On Friday, Michael Smith of 2UE contacted me to check the veracity of material in a statutory declaration drawn up by Bob Kernohan, the former president of the AWU, and dealing with the relationship between Gillard and Bruce Wilson, which I outline below. On Saturday, Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph columnist Andrew Bolt wrote on his blog: ``On Monday, I'm tipping, a witness with a statutory declaration will come forward and implicate Julia Gillard directly in another scandal involving the misuse of union funds. Gillard herself is not accused of any misbehaviour at all. I do not make that claim, and do not hold that belief. But her judgment -- and that of at least one of her ministers -- will come under severe question. She will seem compromised. It could be the last straw for Gillard's leadership.'' Big call. But I do have a good deal of knowledge regarding Bolt's claims. On Sunday November 11, 2007, just days before the November 24 election I interviewed Gillard, then deputy leader of the opposition, in my capacity as political editor for News Limited's Sunday newspapers. The interview concerned the embezzlement of union funds -- not disputed -- and later the subject of a court conviction by a former boyfriend of Gillard, Bruce Wilson. I had researched the piece for months. It was the most heavily lawyered article I have ever been involved in writing. The story said that as a solicitor acting on instructions, she set up an association later used by her lover to defraud the AWU. But she has strenuously denied ever knowing what the association's bank accounts were used for. Gillard, then in her early 30s, was a lawyer with Melbourne-based Labor firm Slater & Gordon. At the time of the fraud she acted for the AWU. She met Wilson, then the West Australian AWU secretary, while representing the union in the Industrial Relations Commission. Wilson later moved to Melbourne to become Victorian secretary of the union. ``These matters happened between 12 and 15 years ago,'' Gillard told me. ``I was young and naive. I was in a relationship, which I ended, and obviously it was all very distressing. I am by no means the first person to find out that someone close turns out to be different to what you had believed them to be. It's an ordinary human error. ``I was obviously hurt, when I was later falsely accused publicly of wrongdoing. I didn't do anything wrong and to have false allegations in the media was distressing.'' What the lawyers would not allow to be reported was the fact that Gillard shared a home in Fitzroy bought by Wilson using the embezzled funds. There is or was no suggestion Gillard knew about the origin of the money. We now await the issue to which Bolt refers. If it comes, and if it is powerful as Bolt suggests, it will be further evidence that the Victorian Right represented by the AWU is involved in a life and death struggle with the Right as represented by the Hospital Services Union. Thomson was a senior official of the HSU for 20 years before entering parliament via the seat of Dobell. The HSU split several years ago into two factions. Thomson was supported by Jeff Jackson, Kathy Jackson's former husband. This so-called old guard was the support base for Victorian right-wing power boss, David Feeney. Feeney is now looking for a parliamentary seat because Gillard's abysmal numbers have made his third Senate spot vulnerable. A defeat for the old guard by way of a successful prosecution of Thomson by police, would leave Feeney powerless and without a base or a seat. Jackson himself has been accused of using union money on escorts with enemies of the Victorian HSU boss releasing bank statements showing payments to the same Sydney brothel where federal MP Thomson's credit card was allegedly used. Jackson has denied the claims. Ultimately at issue here could be the succession to Gillard, and I'll explain why. When Kathy Jackson called in the wallopers, the stakes were high. Because a federal defeat for Thomson and his allies would enhance the power base of Victoria's two other factional king makers, Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy who are both aligned with the new guard in the HSU. And we all know what Shorten's ultimate ambition is. What a tangled web we weave especially when you consider Thomson is married to Zoe Arnold, a former Transport Workers Union official and adviser to former NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher. Alex Williamson, daughter of HSU national president Mike Williamson, is an adviser to Gillard. And, of course, as mentioned, Kathy Jackson, who blew the whistle on Thomson, was married to former Victorian state HSU secretary Jeff Jackson. Truly the NSW Disease has arrived in Canberra. Meanwhile amid all this interbred internecine manoeuvring Gillard attempts to adopt the high ground, attacking shadow attorney-general George Brandis for intervening in the course of justice. On Thursday morning Gillard attacked Brandis for speaking to NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher at a time when the allegations against Thomson were being assessed by NSW Police. Unfortunately she got her facts wrong because the NSW police only announced they were conducting an assessment four days after Brandis spoke to Gallacher and in fact only got Brandis's dossier three days after he spoke to Gallacher. A small point but one that indicates the pressure is beginning to show on Gillard as she desperately searches for points of deflection. During the same press conference she also vainly tried to defend Thomson's decision not to make a statement to the parliament on the facts. We all know why; if he lies he's finished as an MP and Gillard is washed up as Prime Minister. Gillard and Thomson are shackled together just as surely as two First Fleet convicts. Oh, and here's a small postscript on which to end. On September 7 at the Wyong Christian School at 2pm there will be the opening of a new hall built with funds from Gillard's time overseeing the Building the Education Revolution. Thomson is scheduled to attend as the local member. My gut instinct is that both he and the Prime Minister will be otherwise engaged.

nasking

29/08/2011So Andy Bolt is stirrin' the pot w/ his wooden spoon again...the man who got a free promotional ride courtesy of the ABC's Insiders. A trip down memory lane: [quote]Bolt from blue sets tongues wagging By Alan Ramsey March 25, 2006 This was an old-fashioned bucket job, a list of 86 "examples" of what Faulkner saw as "10 years of unrelenting ministerial failure". For instance: "This Government and its hand-picked sycophants suffer from the worst case of collective amnesia in political history. What are its bywords after 10 years? 'I cannot recall', 'I do not recollect', 'I wasn't told' and 'I don't remember'. Best of all we had [former AWB chairman] Trevor Flugge claiming the defence of being 'hard of hearing'." But most titillating of all in Faulkner's litany of the Government's political and administrative abuses was example 62: "And what about the Nixonian leaking [in June, 2003] of a classified intelligence document to [Murdoch columnist] Andrew Bolt [of Melbourne's tabloid Herald Sun] in order to politically assassinate its author, [former intelligence analyst] Andrew Wilkie, while not vetoing the leaker from contesting a Liberal Party preselection [my emphasis]." Who could this possibly be? For 18 months the Faulkner/Ray duo pursued this question through the Senate's estimates hearings. Bolt's story ridiculing Wilkie, who resigned as an analyst from the Office of National Assessments in protest at the Government's decision to commit Australia to the military invasion of Iraq in March 2003, was published in the Herald Sun on June 23, 2003. The story quoted from a report Wilkie had written in December 2002, before his resignation the following March. Faulkner set down in the Senate the chronology of what followed, on June 23 last year - the anniversary of the Bolt article. He said: "We have been able to piece together, through committee hearings, what happened to Wilkie's report. It was written in December 2002. It was issued to a restricted list. All authorised copies were later returned and logged in accordance with ONA procedures for classified material. "Then, six months later, on 20 June 2003, Mr Downer's office requested a copy - the only such request during the six months period. Three days later, on 23 June - a year ago today - Mr Bolt published his article. If the ONA handling system is worth its salt, it should reveal which of the original copies of the report were returned and when; and which copies, if any, remain with recipients. "It should also reveal who in Mr Downer's office requested a copy and if and when it was returned. Surely we can establish who that person in Mr Downer's office was." Well, federal police said no, they could not do that. At least, this is what John Howard's junior Minister for Justice, Chris Ellison, told us at the time. Five days before Faulkner's June 23 chronology in the Senate, Ellison issued a one-sentence statement late in the afternoon of Friday, June 18, 2004. The statement said: "The Australian Federal Police have concluded there is no direct admissible evidence to identify any of the recipients of the report as the source of the disclosure to the journalist Andrew Bolt." Full stop, ends. No "direct admissable evidence". What a wondrous phrase. Along the way we'd learnt the Government had referred the Bolt article to the federal police in July 2003 - the month following its publication. It took police exactly 11 months to come back to the Government and say, like Manuel, they knew nothing. That they'd not been able to learn the identity of the leaker - in Downer's office, or anywhere else. All this, of course, occurred just months before the November election that year. And when Faulkner tried to push Ellison in the Senate to learn exactly what was meant by "no direct admissable evidence", he got nowhere.[/quote] http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/bolt-from-blue-sets-tongues-wagging/2006/03/24/1143083983213.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap2 So many mysteries related to Australian politics & media & corporations...so many unanswered questions about their possible unhealthy relationships... what a wondrous job the majority of our press...and some of our top cops have done. Reminds me of the UK. Now, what do we have in common? N'

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011Michael Thanks to you and Jason and NormanK for posting the Milne article, so typical of that dirt-digging man. It does support the contention of this piece that some sections of the media, apart from failing to report the facts truthfully and fully, is campaigning strongly to remove the elected Government by whatever dirty underhand methods it has at its disposal. I will be interested to see the extent to which the apology emanating from [i]The Australian[/i] is publicized. Andrew Bolt has it on his website: “[i] Milne’s story is removed from the Australian’s website and an apology is printed: 
 THE AUSTRALIAN published today an opinion piece by Glenn Milne which includes assertions about the conduct of the Prime Minister. The Australian acknowledges these assertions are untrue. The Australian also acknowledges no attempt was made by anyone employed by, or associated with, The Australian to contact the Prime Minister in relation to this matter.The Australian unreservedly apologises to the Prime Minister and to its readers for the publication of these claims.[/i]

Jason

29/08/2011Michael, Aa The Oz may have taken down the online version of Milne's scribbling, But it's still there on page 14 of their paper edition! No doubt the apology will be in large font on page one lmao!

lyn

29/08/2011Hi Ad Urgent re Glenn Milnes article: Would you mind removing my last post on other thread. It seems Dave Gaukroger has removed his page and Newsbank have removed their page. This commenter below at Oz Politics says there is a legal ban on Publication Re: The un-Australian Newspaper issues apology to PM Reply #3 - Today at 12:23pm Thanks to a post at Crikey, I have tracked down and saved a verbatim quote but they were reluctant to post a link and I'm not sure whether I should do so here... I understand that there are links in the twittersphere too... Apparently, there is a [b]legal ban on publication and re-publication [/b]- but there is at least one high profile journalist who is prepared to risk keeping the allegations up on his blog - he's attempting to do so via the technicality of saying that he's not sure whether it is true... Back to top « Last Edit: Today at 12:29pm by Equitist » http://www.ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1314583565/3 Cheers Lyn:):):):)

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011Hi Lyn Your post on the last piece has been deleted at your request. It seems as if Milne has really put his nasty foot in it big time. I can imagine him writing such a malicious piece - it's his long suit - and I can imagine him doing so without checking his facts, but what is reprehensible is [i]The Oz[/i] publishing it. Heads should roll at an editorial level, as well as Milne's head itself.

Trevor

29/08/2011This is starting to get the feel of "utegate". It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Wonder if Jonathon Holmes will mention it tonight.

nasking

29/08/2011[quote]What do you think? [/quote] A useful post Ad astra...you've certainly put a great deal of work in. When focusing on communication ya have to think about specific audience demographics. Target audiences. Take for instance hairdressers...or contractors/service delivery people working from their vans/small trucks...or factory workers...where do they get their info/news? Often radio. And word of mouth. If the majority of them watch some kind of corporate news in the morn & night before...listen to some kind of corporate radio station...obviously the messages they receive are going to be littered w/ bias based on commercial requirements of those corporate media organs that are selecting, filtering, creating, distorting the news/facts for them. The more corporate media you have...the more competing messages are drowned out. The public interest or public value is transformed into corporate interest. The public are corporatised. If large companies are permitted to merge, take-over and consolidate they can become cost-effective...but also become multi-tentacled creatures that use the corporate media to promote their wares...but also help sustain the corporate media by way of advertising and even owning shares. This leads to infotainment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infotainment But also a tendency for talking heads to focus on news stories that fit the agendas of those who own the main shares &/or govern in the news company/media organisation...or the main editors/gatekeepers. It's important for them to avoid offending advertisers if possible...and promote ways for their organisations to grow & profit. That growth/profit helps reporters & talking heads and other essential behind the scenes staff get pay rises and bonuses and to hold onto their job. It's unlikely that many will buck the system...or be given much latitude. Consequently, corporate news stories oft lean towards criticising governments & unions that want to increase taxes on large companies...make staffing and wage arrangements less flexible...want more regulation of business, including media ownership...push for more focus on top end tax dodgers (unless it's the competition bein' pursued)...and so on. But these media organisations also know their audience demographics...so they will cater to a "workchoices is bad" story if they feel essential target audiences will turn to competition if they don't run it. This does not mean tho they will not incrementally try to shift public opinion towards their profiteering agendas down the road. As we now see happening w/ the new & old guard Libs & think tankers bein' pushed out there to promote the benefits of further IR (industrial relations) reform. And tax cuts. And cuts in spending that don't benefit them and their advertisers/shareholders. Consequently, a rich mining heiress owning part of a TV network and having influence over staff selection can see her & the mining sector's interests being pushed more often than that of a government that wants to tax super profits of mining companies...and if staff resist, they might find themselves out on their arses down the road...unless they attract huge audiences, get good ratings and help bring in the cream. To offset this problem more biased, sycophantic talking heads will be brought in...such as Bolt...to get the mining company message out. Even tho the mining companies and supporters can use ads thruout the year to promote their views...whilst some governments are cornered on trying do do same. This is why it is important to have less commercialised & politicised media, such as public radio, TV & internet. And a generally less commercially driven blogosphere & university media training centres that can be drawn upon by the public media. It's also important that students at school receive a comprehensive education in media & communication analyses. They need to be empowered...the same way individuals need to learn about business, finance & technology...and how to see thru scams/cons...and make educated, informed choices. N'

Trevor

29/08/2011Hi AA Agree about heads at the Oz should roll but would be surprised if it were to happen. Most likely Milne will go to the bench for a while. He is almost as annoying as his namesake Stephen Milne to continue the metaphor. But I also thought, how did this get published? OK if it were someones blog where they simply push a button and "there it is". From how I understand a newspaper like the Oz works there would be Sub Editors checking the material to be published. Surely an inflammatory piece like this involving the PM would set off flags to have some double checks done, check it with legal dept etc. From what I understand there was not a scoop here that had to be rushed out, so they could have waited another day or so to check the facts. That it was published reinforces the impression that the Oz sees itself as a player in politics. It is not interested in merely providing the medium.

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011Trevor I hope that this episode has the same repercussions on the perpetrators as was the case in the infamous Utegate affair. It ought to have. Jason I can see the headline already: [i]The Australian apologizes for its unfounded smearing of PM Gillard – journalist and subeditor fired[/i]. Nasking I hope that Australia’s biggest megaphone – Andrew Bolt – gets his comeuppance very soon.

lyn

29/08/2011Hi Ad Thankyou so much for deleting my post, I got worried, because all the other blogs are not posting links. Looks like Newsbank got told to remove their copy of the Milne story. From Paul Barry: The Power Index this morning, all these right wing hacks are boardering on self destruction, too much rage and hate. Now I will go and read your wonderful new post in peace: Cheers:):):):):):)

nasking

29/08/2011[quote]How does Graeme Richardson have the hide to appear on our TV screens to pass judgement on today's politicians? [/quote] Patricia, thanx for reading the last few comments I left on the previous thread. I feel the same as you. It amazes me that these characters like Richo, Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, Piers Ackerman & David Oldfield are taken so seriously...they're such hypocrites. You'd think they were as pure as driven snow the way some audience members, listeners, readers treat them. But I guess any dirty cab off the rank will do when yer pursuin' yer stankin' dream in the new gilded age...and lookin' for a driver w/ a good score of metaphorical hit n'runs. N'

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011Nasking Thank you for your thoughtful additions to this piece. Of course shock jocks and columnists like top megaphone Andrew Bolt, have a profound influence on their own audiences. They follow the same rules as do TV bulletins and current affair programs – keep the message short and simple, prefer the trivial, the personal, the ‘human interest’ story, and avoid complexity, nuance and rational analysis. Checking factual accuracy is not seen as important – the entertainment value is all that counts. Bolt’s articles are brief and written with the assurance of someone who never doubts his invincibility. Facts and accuracy are irrelevant as Alan Jones and Ray Hadley demonstrate every day. As Jay Rosen says: [i]“I think we've reached the point where politics as entertainment, the 24-hour news cycle, the fascination with media manipulation and spin doctors, the cult of the insider in political coverage - have gone on for so long they've all come together to the point where I think they're not only distorting politics, but they're actually beginning to substitute for it.”[/i] That is what is happening through the MSM, whether via print, blog, radio or TV. It’s a sad but stark reality we have to accept and counter as well as we are able.

lyn

29/08/2011Hi Ad Mumbrella has their say about the Milne article: [i]The Australian offers unreserved apology to PM over Glenn Milne column in today’s edition[/i]Mumbrella [quote]The article – headed “PM a lost cause for warring unions” than goes on to make an allegation regarding her former personal life, which [b]Mumbrella is not going to repeat for legal reasons.[/[/quote]b] [quote]The Australian unreservedly apologises to the Prime Minister and to its readers for the publication of these claims.”[/quote] [quote]However, at the time of posting three hours after the correction was issued, stablemate Andrew Bolt’s blog, attached to fellow News Limited title the Herald Sun continues to repeat some of the allegation.[/quote] http://mumbrella.com.au/the-australian-offers-unreserved-apology-to-pm-over-glenn-milne-column-in-todays-edition-55918 Cheers:):):):)

Ian

29/08/2011Bear with me. About 8 years ago I had the great fortune to gain seasonal employment at a wilderness camp, off the Gibb River Rd in the Kimberley region of W.A. During my time off I would head for one particular billabong. One that was not open to the tourists. It was about a three kilometre slog through some pretty rough country to get there, after a fifteen km drive. What did I do when I got there?...I just sat. I sat there watching the double bar finches squabble among themselves. The crimson, zebra and star finches seemed to be much more refined, as were the pardelotes and purple crowned fairy wrens. The gouldians,a cautious and aloof bird, paid no heed to any. The longer I sat there the more the billabong seemed to absorb me into its tapestry. To hear the dainty slurping of a doe and her joey as they drink, a whistling of the raptor kites wings as it swoops upon a slow hapless finch. The low vibralto honk of brolgas as they tread delicately through the savanah grass. By absorbing all of this, and much more, the billabong made me a part of itself. And it of me. By pure fortunate happenstance I think the Gillard minority Govt. has led us to a billabong. As a country and a people we just need to sit awhile. To tune out from the cacophony of confected outrage and vitriolic intent. We need it. No-one can't force us to look at the billabong. Though we need aware of its existence.

lyn

29/08/2011Hi Ian What a lovely comment, thankyou. I like that Billabong you sat at, it sounds absolutely beautiful. If we become too invoved with the confected outrage we will make ourselves as bad as the other. But my wish is someone would tell Abbott, his cheers squad, his shock jocks, his journalists, all "Just Shut Up". Honestly they have gone crazy, Julia Gillard did everything even got born, what 48 years ago. [quote]As a country and a people we just need to sit awhile. To tune out from the cacophony of confected outrage and vitriolic intent. We need it.[/quote] Cheers:):):):):)

NormanK

29/08/2011Ad astra I wonder if [i]TPS[/i] might not be well advised to follow more experienced heads and remove the Glenn Milne article? To that end and for what it is worth, could you please delete my comment on the previous thread @ 11.12 AM. Like a good many others I have kept a copy but that is not the same as publishing it. Any legal eagles out there with an opinion?

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011Hi Lyn Thank you for the [i]mumbrella[/i] link; there seems to be some who are running scared over the Milne piece. It is in [i]The Australian[/i] in print, so as it is already out there it is not going to be possible to contain the story. There is a difference between endorsing the veracity of the story, as Bolt might be doing, and simply reproducing it without endorsement or comment, as do those who carry it unedited as simply a record of what happened. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. There has been no mention of the piece or the apology in the news that I have heard today. It was Jon Faine on 774 Melbourne ABC radio who first drew attention to the Milne article and when the apology came in he interrupted his program to read it to his listeners. I wonder will the TV news mention it or the current affairs programs, or will there be an attempt to bury it as it is so damaging to [i]The Australian[/i], Glen Milne and to those using it to discredit the PM and her Government. This could backfire badly on the perpetrators, unless of course it is buried by the media, which I suspect is what might happen.

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011Ian What a pleasant image you have painted. You are right. Let’s listen to the birds singing about what this Government has achieved, and block out the howls of the jackals determined to devour the PM and destroy all she is trying to do.

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011NormanK At your request I have deleted your comment at 11.12 am on the last piece. I note that on the Bolt blog the essence of the Milne piece is still there: http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/whats_williamson_so_scared_of It's in the printed version of [i]The Australian[/i], so the story can't be contained. However we must ensure that we on [i]TPS[/i] do not endorse the story or in any way vouch for its accuracy. Who would be imprudent enough to endorse anything Milne wrote?

Trevor

29/08/2011AA "[quote][/quote]This could backfire badly on the perpetrators, unless of course it is buried by the media, which I suspect is what might happen." Does the simple retraction and on line apology prevent any legal redress from Gillard? After she went to their offices, we presume to try and broker some sort peace. This would have to indicate they were not interested, so what else can they do? She and the govt should rip into Chris Mitchell et al. They are certainly never going to get balanced reporting by trying to assuage them.

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011NormanK The link to the Milne piece from [i]wotnews[/i] that I get each morning, now leads to a 404 error ‘Page not found’. http://wotnews.com.au/view/7201148/05d58e6ef989279805c60f5e4e66cbf3/ [i]The Australian[/i] has a ‘Correction’ in the top right corner of the online version. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/ It is the first of six items under ‘Opinion’. When one clicks on it the following correction is seen: “[i] THE AUSTRALIAN published today an opinion piece by Glenn Milne which includes assertions about the conduct of the Prime Minister. “The Australian acknowledges these assertions are untrue. The Australian also acknowledges no attempt was made by anyone employed by, or associated with, The Australian to contact the Prime Minister in relation to this matter. “The Australian unreservedly apologises to the Prime Minister and to its readers for the publication of these claims.”[/i] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/correction/story-fn6nj4ny-1226124242214 [i]The Australian[/i] seems to be running scared. There may be more to come on how this story came to be written and published, unless News Limited buries it, as I suspect they will.

jane

29/08/2011Can anyone now claim with a straight face that all is well with the media in this country and that there's no need for an enquiry into the fourth estate? If I were Gillard I'd be preparing the documentation post haste. Something is rotten in the state of News Ltd. Its corpse should be removed and its habitat laid waste and spread with salt! Wouldn't it be grand if the Smuggles Set could be implicated?

NormanK

29/08/2011Ad astra Sorry if I seemed alarmist but I imagine that those sites which specialise in providing links would have legal advisors and that they seem to have recommended distancing themselves from this whole affair. It certainly has caused a stir hasn't it? At the very least one editor's neck must be on the block.

lyn

29/08/2011Hi Ad Tonight's Q & A panel for you: Tonight's Panel Don Watson - Former speechwriter for Paul Keating and distinguished writer Kate Grenville - Celebrated Australian author Anna Funder - Author, Stasiland Malalai Joya - Former Afghan parliamentarian and writer Omar Musa - Malaysian-Australian rapper and poet http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/ Cheers :):):)

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011Trevor, jane This coincidental episode reinforces what this piece maintains – that not only is the much of the media, particularly News Limited, culpable for misreporting and distorting the facts about the performance of PM Gillard and her Government, it is maliciously attempting to run it out of office through the promulgation of innuendo, outright lies and what it believes is scandal. The Milne article is a flagrantly obscene example of this.

Patricia WA

29/08/2011[quote]Who would be imprudent enough to endorse anything Milne wrote?[/quote] Ad Astra, isn't it possible that it was endorsed by senior management and deliberately published with the intention of attempt at full retraction, apologies etc. The damage would be done. Can't be undone. News Ltd. would wear the cost and find a scapegoat. It's no coincidence that all this is happening as the government's major legislation on carbon pricing is coming up soon. Gillard's success 100% rate more or less guaruntees its passage. As well there seems recently to be a tidal change in the tone of some commentary in other than in News Ltd. outlets. Whether that reflects or leads a shift in the public mood, what better way to stop it developing into a surge of support for the Prime Minister than this?

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011NormanK I’m keeping an eye on this – while Bolt continues to publicize the essence of the Milne missive, and indeed endorse it, it seems as if it is still extant. If it disappears from the Bolt site, we will need to review the situation. Take a look: http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/whats_williamson_so_scared_of Note though that the link in his first UPDATE leads to an 404 ‘Page not found’ error!

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011Patricia WA You may be right. I wouldn’t put anything past the malevolent forces in News Limited.

lyn

29/08/2011Hi Ad You are right the occurrance's with Milne's article is proof of the scullduggery that is being played out in the Newspapers, in an attempt to get rid of the Government. The Herald Sun still has the story up and an Update showing The Australian's Apology, amazing isn't it, what does sorry mean??? [quote]UPDATE [b]Milne’s story is removed from the Australian’s website and an apology is printed: [/quote][/b] [quote]THE AUSTRALIAN published today an opinion piece by Glenn Milne which includes assertions about the conduct of the Prime Minister. The Australian acknowledges these assertions are untrue. The Australian also acknowledges no attempt was made by anyone employed by, or associated with, The Australian to contact the Prime Minister in relation to this matter.The Australian unreservedly apologises to the Prime Minister and to its readers for the publication of these claims[/quote] 92 comments | Permalink Share | http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/whats_williamson_so_scared_of/ Cheers:):)

lyn

29/08/2011Hi Ad Sorry about the above spacing. If I do that one more time with my cursor, I will go to Ian's billabong. Cheers :):):)

Gravel

29/08/2011Ad Astra Thank you for another great article. I have become addicted to Jay Rosen since Lyn first linked to him. With your piece and his advice to the media, you would think someone would listen and take on board what he is saying. Instead the media, just like they did straight after Lindsay Tanner's book, Sideshow, came out they all went on the attack and got worse, if that was possible. Ian What a great little saying. I try to keep myself away from the political scene but am not succeeding. Nas Keep it coming, I look forward to your input. Trevor I can sympathise with your frustration. At least we can come here and vent our frustration and not just let it all build up inside.

nasking

29/08/2011Cheers Aa, [quote]Of course shock jocks and columnists like top megaphone Andrew Bolt, have a profound influence on their own audiences. They follow the same rules as do TV bulletins and current affair programs – keep the message short and simple, prefer the trivial, the personal, the ‘human interest’ story, and avoid complexity, nuance and rational analysis. Checking factual accuracy is not seen as important[/quote] So true. And the problem w/ a media providing news & political commentary that have commercial imperitives is the need to get ratings, audiences and advertising. It means that some of the commentators/talking heads will fear-monger & say controversial things in order to attract attention. Not unlike Tony Abbott. He did work in this industry. Tony Abbott, like Rupert Murdoch, puts opportunism above all else. Definition of opportunism: [quote]the art, policy, or practice of taking advantage of opportunities or circumstances often with little regard for principles or consequences.[/quote] (merriam-webster.com/dictionary) Imagine Australia run by Tony Abbott w/ the assistance of the Murdoch empire. A country run by weathervanes...using the morning newspapers to set the scarey item of the day, OZsterity, union & teacher & youth & Greens bashing, pro-IR changes, luv-in w/ Coalition sycophant of the mth, go police state, Tony is benevolent ruler agenda... the messages amplified by the shock jock megaphones and a few lower key ABC types... drilled further into the public consciousness by SKY NEWS agenda thruout the day...and posters across the city...and fridge magnets, pamphlets, YouTube animation... and by way of church leaders...and business speakers...and other forums including The National Press Club...and panels on late night TV shows... add regular surveys massaged by astroturfing...and polls based on target voters...and right-wing blogs... and before ya know it you've got a country swayed by weathervanes...pushing whatever agendas benefit them at the time...and secures their influence & power. And their main supporters will have a field day. Rampant capitalism w/ spurts of Christian prosperity evangelism & the Pope as pop figure & over-the-top zionism and misogyny & brutal ockerism by way of sports and music... and anti-intellectualism and selfish libertarianism and gay/refugee/muslim-bashing and nuclear power & coal promotion and the "dumbing down" mach whatever will dominate. W/ a preachy approach to the unemployed and Aborigines. Guilt guilt guilt. One for Mum, one for Dad, and one for the country/corporations/wars/taxman. W/ Tony grinning, whooping, chasing kids like an ecstatic 19th century London minister cum industrialist...long coat flowing, skin tight on skull...teeth bared. And the odd TERROR ALERT. And lots of flag waving. Been there, done that. N'

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011Gravel Thank you for your kind remarks. You are right – so much of the media remains in denial about the role it plays in political reportage and how much it influences opinion about politics, instead of it being what it ought to be, a faithful purveyor of facts that voters can use to make decisions at the polling booth. I was gobsmacked to hear Tony Jones say to Jay Rosen: “[i]It is not coverage that's broken, rather it is the politicians themselves that are broken and what's broken in them is their ever-increasing use and reliance on spin.” [/i] What hope is there for change when a prominent journalist like Jones believes he and the media are blameless and it’s all the politicians’ fault?

jane

29/08/2011Ad astra, absolutely right about Ltd News, whose owner's corrupt influence is writ large over every lying distortion about the Labor government printed in the last 2+ years and every sycophantic, sickening fawning free pass given to Sir Liealot (nods to FS). No wonder the PM has trouble "getting her message out" or "cutting through" all the msm bullsh!t, lies, obfuscations and distortions. And his malevolent and corrupting influence has infected every facet of the media, including the ABC. Makes Tony Jones's defensive nonsense look even more nonsensical.

Sue

29/08/2011I have written to my local member to tell him of my disgust about the Australian and Milne. I have also asked him to take this to the PM to ask for a media inquiry.

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011Nasking The picture you paint is unnerving. The thought of this particular Coalition being in government, with luminaries like Joe Hockey and Barnaby Joyce being in charge of finance, Christopher Pyne running education, Peter Dutton health, and Julie Bishop foreign affairs, is scary enough, but not nearly as frightening and dangerous as Tony Abbott, with all his grotesque baggage, his warped ideologies and his weathervane opportunistic approach to governance, as our next PM.

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011jane I agree. Sue Good on you – we should all do the same.

lyn

29/08/2011Hi Ad Four Corners should be good tonight: 'Bad News', presented by Kerry O'Brien, goes to air [b]on Monday 29th [/b]August at 8.30pm on ABC1. The program is replayed on Tuesday 30th August at 11.35pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 at 8.00pm on Saturdays, on ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners. [quote]This week on Four Corners, Sarah Ferguson tells the story of a key private investigator at the heart of the scandals that have set Rupert Murdoch's empire rocking on its axis. Detailing records of police surveillance and interviews with people who had been targeted by the investigator Ferguson pieces together how he worked.[/quote] http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2011/08/25/3302121.htm

Trevor

29/08/2011The greater fear of Abbott in the Lodge is that he would cease to be a weather vane. With George Pell, who is not shy of interfering in the politics of the country as a virtual cabinet member. I think we could expect adherence to some very strict policies. All that science tosh would be the first to go.

jane

29/08/2011nasking, in the case of Sir Liealot, his minions and Emperor Rupert, I'd amend that definition to [b]no[/b] (Sir Liealot's favourite word) regard for principles or consequences. Ad astra, the thought of Liealot's Coalition even being in charge of a pub meat raffle is frightening enough. To let them loose on a country is truly terrifying. We urgently need Ltd News teeth pulled.Ihope the PM will now e the need for a media enquiry. I rather fancy seeing Virginia Trioli taken down a peg or seven.

jane

29/08/2011Gaah! keyboard trouble. Should read: I hope the PM will now see the need for a media enquiry.

TalkTurkey

29/08/2011Glen Milne eh. These people do not disappoint me. They consistently reinforce my opinion of my opinion of them. And he gives me an opportunity to remind Swordsfolks of my prescience in encapsulating them : - [i]Then from the Murdoch stables all the hustlers made their run: They were breathing fire and brimstone every breath: That Labor’s illegitimate, that Abbott’s mob had won, And that any tryst with Brown and Greens was Death. Bloated with his self-importance was conniving Laurie Oakes, And Piers Ackermann, most bigoted of all, And the first one to throw stones, that loathsome, hateful Alan Jones: They’re three key bricks in the Murdochratic Wall. There was Andrew “Anal” Bolt , and that Glenn Milne, the drunken thug, Grabbing sleazily at any sleazy grab, And that ABC lickspittle, Chris Uhlmann, smooth and smug, And Annabel, the slyly-sidling Crabb. There was sour Red Kez O’Brien, seemingly forever trying To skewer Julia with some cunning stab; And Tony “Look-Me” Jones, interrupting her in tones That show he thinks he holds sole Royal Right of Gab. There was Fran "Ms Jelly” Kelly, Michelle Grattan lacking teeth, And Miss Trivia, Virginia Trioli, And that smartarse Barrie Cassidy, with snide asides and acidy, In ABC alliances unholy. [/i] Ain't that a treat? I'm so proud of that bit of verse. I just wish I didn't have such creeps to write it about. [i]Glen Milne, the drunken thug [/i]eh. Yep. Well said TT! :) Abbortt's excremental mouth and those of his suckhole mates are splurting their effluent all over each other now. When villains fall out . . . ;-)

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011Folks Can you make any sense of the results in this table in today's Essential Report in the face of Labor's poor polling - TPP 56/44 this week in Essential? Apologies for the formatting. How can those polled give the Government a mark of over 50% in every category except sending asylum seekers to Malaysia and the carbon tax, and mark it down so far in the TPP? If the Government is doing so well on 12 of the 14 parameters, why are those polled not giving them a stronger vote? Is the asylum seeker issue and the carbon tax so bad in their eyes that they cancel out all the other good things they are doing? Q. Thinking about what the Labor Government has done over the last few years, do you approve or disapprove of the following Government actions? Total approve Total disapprove Strongly approve Approve Disapprove Strongly disapprove Don’t know Increased funding of health services 89% 5% 42% 47% 3% 2% 6% Increasing the age pension 78% 14% 34% 44% 8% 6% 8% Increasing superannuation to 12% 75% 13% 28% 47% 9% 4% 12% Managing the economy to keep unemployment and interest rates low 70% 21% 21% 49% 12% 9% 10% Spending on new school buildings 68% 24% 19% 49% 15% 9% 8% Introducing a national disability insurance scheme 63% 13% 18% 45% 9% 4% 24% Stimulus spending to tackle the GFC 61% 28% 21% 40% 15% 13% 11% Paid parental leave 60% 30% 19% 41% 17% 13% 10% Introducing a tax on large profits of mining companies 58% 29% 27% 31% 16% 13% 13% Building the NBN (National Broadband Network) 54% 34% 19% 35% 17% 17% 12% Stopping live cattle exports until welfare concerns were addressed 53% 34% 24% 29% 17% 17% 12% Abolished WorkChoices 51% 33% 23% 28% 21% 12% 16% Sending asylum seekers to Malaysia 39% 45% 17% 22% 20% 25% 16% Introducing a carbon tax to tackle climate change 33% 53% 15% 18% 14% 39% 14% Government decisions and policies with highest approval were increased funding of health services (89% approve), increasing the age pension (78%) and increasing superannuation to 12% (75%). Only two of the actions listed received less than majority approval – sending asylum seekers to Malaysia was 39% approve/45% disapprove and introducing a carbon tax to tackle climate change was 33% approve/53% disapprove. Labor voters showed majority approval of all decisions and policies, Greens voters showed majority approval for all except sending asylum seekers to Malaysia (21% approve/63% disapprove). Liberal/National voters approved of half the items listed – increased funding of health services (89% approve), increasing the age pension (79%), increasing superannuation to 12% (71%), managing the economy to keep unemployment and interest rates low (54%), spending on new school buildings (54%), introducing a national disability insurance scheme (60%) and paid parental leave (52%).

jane

29/08/2011TT excellent pome. Ad astra, it's like the polls are suffering from multiple personality disorder. Those results are baffling in the extreme-even Liberal voters gave a big tick to half of the items, including 54% approval of management of the economy. Yet there's that 12% gap in the TPP. I can't believe that the Malaysian Solution and the Carbon price would skew the TPP so much. Could it be that those polled are somehow dissociating the policies they so strongly approve with the government?

nasking

29/08/2011Apparently Tony Abbott in a speech today put a knife in Julie Bishop's back, yet again. He gave a shout out to Josh Frydenberg: "It's nice to have someone in the parliamentary party who understands foreign affairs at last". More from the Alan Ramsey piece I linked to above: [quote]The rub, of course, is Kooyong already has a sitting MP: one of Malcolm Fraser's old staffers, Petro Georgiou, who worked for 20 years for the Liberal Party before he came into Parliament 12 years ago. Frydenberg's is the fourth challenge Georgiou has faced. Alexander Downer has been busy on his former adviser's behalf since well back last year. Georgiou's political mates are now making a lot of media noise to catch up. Radio's Alan Jones took Malcolm and Tammy Fraser to dinner at Melbourne's Crown Casino on Tuesday night, along with a number of Fraser's former prime ministerial staff. Georgiou was among them. So was David Kemp, the former Howard cabinet minister. There was a lot of chat about the Frydenberg challenge. Georgiou is a tough nut but he is under pressure. We will learn the outcome on April 23.[/quote] http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/bolt-from-blue-sets-tongues-wagging/2006/03/24/1143083983213.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap2 Ain't it a small world? N'

nasking

29/08/2011Thnx Gravel. [quote]in the case of Sir Liealot, his minions and Emperor Rupert, I'd amend that definition to no (Sir Liealot's favourite word) regard for principles or consequences. [/quote] jane, couldn't agree more. [quote]The picture you paint is unnerving.[/quote] Ad, I hope the Aussie public wakes up soon. N'

TalkTurkey

29/08/2011 Ian My little furry web-savvy cobber Brucie the Bilby wrote a Big Book of educational ecology called [u]The Breeze in the Blue~Gums[/u]. It's more than 20 000 words in tightly rhymed verse, but you might like the introduction, as I enjoyed your description of your billabong. These are the rhymes Of the lives and the times Of the Fauna of Billabong Tree Where Breezes tell Blue-Gums In murmurs and mimes Of a Wide Brown Land Which was once Free. Where the Rainbow Snake created As the Dreamtime dreamers dreamed: As the patient aeons waited, We Native Fauna teemed: But Our Dreamtime dream was broken By ‘White’ Men, in ships, and hats – And we found we had awoken To Guns, Fire, Dogs – and Cats. To a world of ploughs, and Sheep and Cows; of graziers in khaki collars Who reckon all that heaven allows in terms of dirt and dollars:- But on top of all the loss of native Faunal habitat There’s one who notches a “Gotcha!” Cross each time it KILLS: The Cat! For though many creatures kill to live, from the Blue Whale to the Krill, The savage pet “domestic” Cat is the one which lives to kill: We Fauna of Wide Brown Land must find some means, if we can, To teach Humans to Save Our Species – So, we’ve come up with a PLAN. Ancient Jo, the Mopoke, teaches: “We must reach all the youth!” Whether you surf the Net, or beaches, we must teach you all the Truth. IF SOMEDAY YOU WANT YOUR YOUNG ONES TO SEE US, SAVE US NOW! [HIST! The Breezes in the Blue~Gums are whispering: “Here’s How!”] Let Platypus play! Let Koala-Trees sway! Let Billabong Fauna roam free! Let us strive for the day When Humans will say In Wide Brown Land: “ LIFE – LET IT BE!” The first chapter of the poem proper is called, "The Meeting at Billabong Tree." You'd like to be there. The Fauna hold one every year now.

Ad astra reply

29/08/2011Hi Lyn Thank you for the information about [i]Four Corners[/i]. I’m looking forward to a great night’s viewing. Trevor George Pell’s influence on Sir Liealot could be disturbingly powerful. Patricia WA You really have really gone to town with this very descriptive pome! jane It looks like an electorate dissociative identity disorder. I suspect logic has governed answers to the questions, and emotion, abraded by Abbott’s and the shock jocks constant demonization of PM Gillard and the Government, the voting intention. Will voters be able to discard emotion and get into logical mode in the polling booth? TT Thank you for [i]The Meeting at Billabong Tree[/i]. If only politics was as idyllic! Nasking Do you have a link to the Bishop back-stabbing story. Mind you, this is one occasion when I might find myself I agreement with Abbott.

lyn

29/08/2011Hi Ad This is the link you asked Nasking for. Applicable to Naskings very enjoyable informative comment: Here is the link it's funny I had a laugh out loud: Nasking at 05:44 PM [quote]Apparently Tony Abbott in a speech today put a knife in Julie Bishop's back, yet again[/quote]. [i]Tony Abbott's foreign affairs joke backfires , Ben Packman, The Australian[/i] [quote]TONY Abbott has delivered an unwitting slight to his deputy Julie Bishop by lauding Josh Frydenberg as the only Liberal MP who understands foreign affairs. The Opposition Leader made the gaffe at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia luncheon in Melbourne today.[/quote] [quote]it's understood Ms Bishop, the Coalition's foreign affairs spokeswoman, wasn't amused[/quote] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/tony-abbotts-foreign-affairs-joke-backfires/story-fn59niix-1226124706155 Cheers:)):):)

2353

29/08/2011If Nine News Brisbane sacks two reporters and a producer over their helicopter not being where they said it was (it was either on the ground at Mt Cootha or flying around Mt Cootha when it was supposed to be hovering over the spot at Beerwah where Daniel Morecombe's remains were being discovered), what is the appropriate punishment for Milne, the appropriate editors and managers of The Australian for their apparently far greater misdeed this morning? Whatever it is - bet you it never happens!

Casablanca

29/08/2011Lyn @ August 29. 2011 02:35 PM You query that the PM was born 48 years ago. In fact in exactly a month's time, Julia Gillard will turn 50. She was born on 29 September, 1961. It is not a sitting week so she may disappear for a private celebration. Apart from being the first female PM, I've often wondered if she might not also be amongst the youngest as well.

nasking

29/08/2011Thnx for finding that link Lyn. I was off havin' dinny. And for all the other links & useful comments & quotes. Top job. Per usual. BTW, above I spelt commercial imperatives incorrectly. I noticed on The Drum that author of Compassionate Bastard, Peter Mitchell, also mentioned commercial imperatives...when it came to the running of Villawood Detention Centre post-privatisation. Apparently they did not improve accountability and the whole system was driven by it. People as numbers. KERCHING. We've seen what commercial imperatives have done for livestock, including live exports. And for the public interest when it comes to the media. And for protecting our environment when it comes to big oil (Alaska, BHP oil spill, QLD coast), coal (mine disasters, global warming, nuclear energy (Japan) & gas (Gasland doco). Some companies do a damn good job...but the sharemarket demands can create unrealistic expectations...demands for more and more profits...and cost cutting...and risk taking. A system that keeps blowing up in our faces...Savings & Loans debacle...DotCom boom & crash...GFC 1...recent economic woes. And the right-wing want even less regulation. N'

Ian

29/08/2011When looking at the additional polling figures something becomes quite clear. This Govt. is doing a great job. These figures a precisely why the level of poison by the Murdock Liberal party has increased dramatically. Personally, I think that the MLP has more problems on its plate than Labor has....and both parties know it. Consider this; NBN...will get done. MRRT..will get passed. Carbon tax...will get passed. Superannuation increase...will get passed. Plain packaging for tobacco...passed. And it will be taken up around the world. Asylum seekers..will never be resolved to the satisfaction of anyone, anywhere, anytime soon. The regional program will be implemented, in way or the other, globally. It's a global problem and the only solution would be an unprecedented outbreak of world peace...good luck with that. In short? Everything the neo-cons have instructed Abbott to destroy is going stronger than when the policies were first mooted. All that he has touched has failed. Miserably. The laws have been drafted, passed through, or are about to be passed through the parliament of Australia. They will extremely hard, nigh impossible to rescind. This presents problem another for the neo-cons. When they dispose of Abbott who replaces him? If Abbott can't gain Govt. with toxicity and poison who can? None of his front bench impress. Not even Turnbull. Abtez and Gretch have seen to that. Another leader will have to debate policy and ideology. Never big on policy neo-cons are never going to go down the road of an ideological debate. There are somethings that wont stand up to the light of scrutiny. While the political battle is still raging, the real war, the war of governance, has been won by Labor. Fittingly, the latest poll figures show that. Julia Gillard knows it. Tony Abbott knows it....and so do the people who own him.

Jason

29/08/20112353, There is only one punishment for what Milne done,The Australian needs to go the way of News of the world! Sadly this is unlikely to happen,however if the media in this country find it to hard to act in a proper manner uner their "own code of conduct" perhaps the government needs to re regulate! or better still why not have a body like we have for the construction industry?

Casablanca

29/08/2011Good ole Wikipedia. Where else would you look for the age on appointment of all Australian Prime Ministers! (a question I posed @ 07:09 PM). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australian_Prime_Ministers_by_age Of the 27 Australian PMs, Julia is the 9th youngest at the time of swearing in by the Governor-General. Chris Watson, our third PM was the youngest at 37 years & 18 days. Billy McMahon, our 20th PM, was the oldest at 63 years and 15 days. The eight 'youngsters' in order of age were: Chris Watson, b 1867 (37) Stanley Bruce, b 1883 (39) Robert Menzies, b 1894 (44) Malcolm Fraser, b 1930 (45) Andrew Fisher, b 1862 (46) Alfred Deakin, b 1856 (47) Paul Keating, b 1944 (47) Arthur Fadden, 1894 (47) Julia Gillard, b 1961 (48) So now I know! PS. Ad Astra. Have experienced another Ooops! in trying to post this comment. Lasted for at least 15 mins - possibly much longer.

Jason

29/08/20112353, There is only one punishment for what Milne done,The Australian needs to go the way of News of the world! Sadly this is unlikely to happen,however if the media in this country find it to hard to act in a proper manner uner their "own code of conduct" perhaps the government needs to re regulate! or better still why not have a body like we have for the construction industry?

John

29/08/2011Hi, All Milne gives journalists a bad name. He wants to be the Alan Jones of newsmedia, but isn't that "good". The Australian has largely given up any pretence it once had of being balanced in its reporting. In terms of communication, there are two factors that I consider important: leadership and passion. Julia Gillard is not a natural leader, and relies too much on reason, and shows not enough passion in her speeeches and arguments. It's nice to find a little time to read some news / posts. :)

Feral Skeleton

29/08/2011Ad Astra, In answer to your question about the Essential poll. I think it's a form of political Cognitive Dissonance. When asked about 'the government', people reflected well upon them. However, when asked who they would prefer to vote for, it's certainly not the ALP. When out and about in the car this afternoon I listened to an informative discussion about politics between John Hewson, Tanya Pliberseck, and Wendy McCarthy(and, did you know that Dr John Hewson's father was a Fitter and Turner, and John, like so many children of the Whitlam era, was the first in his family to be able to go to University...So, what does he do? Join the Liberal Party, ungrateful so and so). Anyway, along with Richard Glover, they were all discussing the woeful polling and Julia's poor standing with the electorate and whether it was terminal or not, and, if not, how she may be able to turn the numbers around before the next election. Well, Wendy McCarthy came out with the most rational response. She said that if there were to be moves on a couple of the issues that the polling also says that the majority of the electorate are in favour of, such as Same Sex Marriage and Poker Machine Gambling Addiction Reform, then it may well be a case of quite a fast turnaround in opinion of the PM. Which is in weird contradistinction to the fact of the concerted campaign by the Clubs Industry having what is perceived to be a devastating effect out in the community right now on the government's popularity. The key to the turnaround , which can be made to happen, is that the government has to find a way to break the nexus in the community's mind between the benefit from the Clubs' money on local sport and community enterprises, and what the Clubs are getting away with due to the Hospital Pass they are given by the community for this quid pro quo. Simply, the government has to find a way to plug that financial hole with the money that the Clubs Industry keep threatening to take away if they are not going to be allowed to keep ripping off Problem Gamblers. I think if they can do that they will get a big tick from the community. As far as Same Sex Marriage goes, I think I've been right all along about the solution to this one. Simply, again(and all political solutions need to be simple in this day of the shortened attention span), the government can make provision to allow Same Sex 'Marriage', however, if the Churches decide they do/don't want to sanctify those 'marriages' within the walls of their Churches, then that's a matter for them to decide. Same Sex Weddings in Public places and Registry Offices, there should be no problems with allowing that. However, it shouuld be a Conscience vote for both sides of politics Finally, with the Climate Change and MRRT legislation finally becoming a reality, and no longer the stuff of the nightmares that Sir Liealott is retailing to the electorate(and I note a major plus here with the release of the first Private Enterprise, Multinational Corporation, Feel Good ad in favour of Climate Change action, coming over the weekend to our TVs from GE), then the political blowback will start to blow the Weathervane around instead. Well, I hope so. Finally, wrt the Glenn Milne article and The Australian's response. Well, as there is no true accountability for this sort of thing anymore, I don't think it's going to stop any time soon. Glenn Milne may be sent to Purgatory at the ABC for 6 months again, but probably not. He and The Austrollian will just brazen it out because they know the PM has no real power to force change against them through the parliament. And the Media (Self) Regulator is just a toothless tiger. And they know that too. They need to be taken down a peg or two but there's no way to effect it. And, anyway, the real nigger in the woodpile, Andrew Bolt is still without sanction or control from anywhere, sadly. Anyway, back to the World Athletics Championships(sorry it's an addiction worse than politics for me). TTFN. :)

jane

29/08/2011Jason excellent idea. Such a body should be once or twice removed from the media, have real teeth and the will to use them and NO (Sir Liealot's favourite word) self regulation.

Feral Skeleton

29/08/2011:) http://twentytwowords.com/2011/03/15/a-flowchart-to-help-you-determine-if-youre-having-a-rational-discussion/

Feral Skeleton

29/08/2011Now, this was Peter Garrett's fault because? http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/electrocuted-insulation-installer-may-have-defied-orders-to-use-plastic-staples-court/story-e6frg6nf-1226124627920 Bozo.

lyn

29/08/2011Hi John Thanks for popping in, good to see you. Plenty of good reading here on TPS, some brilliant comments each day. Hope things are going ok for you, we await your blogging again. The Australian has some questions to answer, but I suspect they won't. Bring on the enquiry any enquiry into reporting would be good. Cheers:):):):):):)

jane

29/08/2011<blockquote>Now, this was Peter Garrett's fault because?</blockquote> Sir Liealot says so.

D Mick Weir

29/08/2011Ad, I am puzzled by your comment @ 4:19 PM Before I go on. I did not see or listen to the interview with Rosen. I have only read the transcript which I have no reason to believe is inaccurate. [i]I was gobsmacked to hear Tony Jones say to Jay Rosen: (Let me put that to you, though, an alternative theory.) It is not coverage that's broken, rather it is the politicians themselves that are broken and what's broken in them is their ever-increasing use and reliance on spin.[/i] Jones is putting an alternative. To presume that he firmly believes that theory and therefore he totally believes, as you state, [i]... he and the media are blameless and it’s all the politicians’ fault[/i] illustrates part of the problem. Why is it that, it seems, automatically, because someone asks a question from a different perspective they are presumed to believe that perspective? While I can believe Jones is of the belief that it is more the politician's fault than the journalist's and/or media's fault I can allow that he may also see some fault with the media no matter how miniscule. Is that unreasonable and/or stupid of me?

Patricia WA

30/08/2011Ad Astra - that [i]'very descriptive poem'[/i] The Breeze in the Blue-Gums was by Talk Turkey! And yes, it was very descriptive! That's why TT is a genuine poet. He sees, he feels and he describes. What I do in my 'pomes' is play with words to bring about what is hopefully a funny or wry comment to satirise what some of our politicians do. But then so does Talk Turkey at times and he has done just that with his vituperative but witty spray on media commentators, inspired that [i]thug Milne.[/i] TT, you're right to be proud of it! Sorry AA I haven't made a rhyming contribution to this thread yet but I am thinking of it along the lines of [i]Who'd have thought it would come to pass That Labor's future would ride on Abbott's 'ass'......[/i]

TalkTurkey

30/08/2011D Mick Weir, I saw the Rosen/Jones interview at the time and commented here too on the 25th. I think it is utterly incontrovertible that Jones was in total denial that journalists ever do anything wrong, it's all the politicians's fault. Ad astra quoted this part of Jones' manifold attempt to corral Rosen into saying what Jones wanted him to: "(Let me put that to you, though, an alternative theory.) It is not coverage that's broken, rather it is the politicians themselves that are broken and what's broken in them is their ever-increasing use and reliance on spin." DMW You ask, "Why is it that, it seems, automatically, because someone asks a question from a different perspective they are presumed to believe that perspective?" I ask you: What "question"? The only questions here are yours of us, and now mine of you. Jones' words as quoted above are [i]statements[/i], he is not asking Rosen's opinion, he is basically arguing unambiguously just what he says. That you characterise this as a "question" - seems you want us to be victims of Abborttian Spin. Funny the different ways the MSM journalists find to slither. Jones says [i]It's not Us journalists it's them politicians.[/i] Crassidy says [i]OOOOhhhh it's not me it's them other rotten journalists.[/i] And them other rotten journalists reckon their body wastes don't stink at all anyway . . . Not one has ever come out and said, [i]I have been disingenuous and cowardly and lazy and partisan and sycophantic and trivial, well I'm going to lift my reportage from now on in the national interest . . . [/i] And indeed why would they bother, when wiseheads like you DMW are prepared to cut them all the slack they could ever use and then some? Finally you ask another question (distinguishable by the ? thing at the end), "Is that unreasonable and/or stupid of me?" Well you only gave us 3 choices . . . :)

lyn

30/08/2011[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [b]Via The Political Sword[/b] [i]The forgotten art of political communication, Dave Gaukroger, Pure Poison[/i] With the medium dominating the scene and focussing attention on anything and everything but significant content, how can a politician hope to transmit anything at all complex, as indeed some policies of necessity must be? Via The Political Sword http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/ [i]Lies, promises and mandates, Max Atkinson, On Line Opinion[/i] one way to raise the present standard of political debate is for journalists and opinion writers to frame their questions and assessments on this premise, and ask politicians like Abbott and Pyne to justify their far-too casual claims of dishonesty. http://www.onlineopinion.com. [i]Milne debacle: how a 16 year old story was spiked by The Oz, Andrew Crook, Crikey[/i] On 2UE early this afternoon, the key portions of a promised pre-recorded interview with Kernohan failed to proceed on legal grounds. Hilariously, Michael Smith said that his talent had been moved to a “safe location” .http://www.crikey.com.au [i]North and South, Ash, Ash’s Machiavellian Bloggery[/i] Well for a start, the Liberal National Party of Queensland is not the National Party or the Liberal Party.They are an entity to themselves. http://ashghebranious.wordpress [i]New News Panel: Australian Media Leaders Held to Account, Kevin Rennie, Cafe Whispers[/i] A highlight was meeting Maxine McKew who chaired the session in her usual professional and relaxing manner.And a special thank you to all the Café Whisperers who encouraged and supported me. It was a hoot! http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com [i]Public Affairs Conference, The Walkely Foundation[/i] Confirmed Speakers, Greg Jericho, blogger ,Date: 5-6 September National Press Club (5 September) and National Convention Centre (6 September),The Walkley Foundation will bring together some of Australia’s top thinkers and strategists for its annual Public Affairs Conference http://www.walkleys.com/publicaffairs [i]Selling climate uncertainty: misinformation and the media,Stephan Lewandowsky, The Conversation[/i] Simply put, the Australian media have failed the public by creating a phoney debate about climate science that is largely absent from the peer-reviewed literature, where real scientific debates take place. http://theconversation.edu.au [i]The Big Question, Wixxy’ Blog[/i] Of course, I don’t really believe this is the case, and while Mary Jo Fisher’s actions were in no way accidental, she may have accidently highlighted the Liberal Party’s ignorance of the plight of small business owners. http://wixxy.wordpress.com [i]Mr Rabbit vows: I’ll sell my arse! Jennifer Wilson, No Place for Sheep[/i] no one can produce any written evidence that he ever proposed the sale of his arse, this casts doubt onMr McGregor’s colourful account of events. http://noplaceforsheep.com [i]Labor leadership: there is no Plan B, Mungo MacCallum, The Drum[/i] The unrelenting hostility from the miners, the clubs and pubs, small business, the farmers and of course the shock jocks and Murdoch press is aimed directly at her: Juliar, Brown's bitch http://www.abc.net.au/ [i]Glenn Stevens: the man from another planet, Richard Farmer, The Stump, Crikey[/i] The Opposition Leader and his jovial Treasury spokesman have been talking for months as if the Labor Governmentis leading us towards economic rack and ruin. Yet this morning http://blogs.crikey.com.au [i]Can The Courts Stop Mandatory Detention?, Julian Burnside, New Matilda[/i] To understand the problem, it is necessary to have a brief look at some of the machinery under the bonnet of Australia’s legal system http://newmatilda.com [i]Poor old methane falsely accused of causing smelly farts by Aussie medical uni lecturer , Sanscience[/i] going around writing articles erroneously accusing methane of causing smelly farts, how am I going fulfil my daft crusade to convince the world that methane doesn’t smell? http://sansscience.wordpress.com [i]What sort of A-G would George Brandis make?, Greg Barns, ABC[/i] remind his colleagues that the presumption of innocence is the bedrock of our legal system and that he and all his colleagues might like to tape their mouths so that Mr Thomson's rights are upheld http://www.abc.net.au [i]Putting the Polls in Perspective, Ben Millington ,Blog ABC[/i] Listen to Carol Duncan's full interview with Andrew Catsaras as he puts the polling data in context and demystifies the numbers: http://blogs.abc.net.au [i]The left-wing crusader with brains and a sense of humour, Phillip Adams, The Power Index[/i] Kevin Rudd, on the other hand, is a close mate and values his advice greatly. Adams was one of the first to spruik Rudd as a future Labor leader and was – so he tells us – the brains behind Rudd's 2006 The Monthly essay http://www.thepowerindex.com [i]Hartsuyker attempts deceive Parliament, Clarence Girl, North Coast Voices[/i] Hartsuyker would have also known that the survey commissioned by Port Paper and conducted across the Federal electorate of Lyne on Tuesday night (23rd August) used fully automated voice broadcast to contact the 448 respondents. http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com . [i]Add Image with Caption Plus Thumbnail using theThesis Theme in WordPress: For Beginners, Peter, Aussie Views News[/i] WordPress is a much used blogging platform. It can be used with many themes, but Thesis in my view isthe best. But neither WordPress nor Thesis have been particularly good at displaying images. http://www.aussieviewsnews.com [i]Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's plan to deregulate the economy ,Malcolm Farr, News Com[/i] The Opposition Leader outlined a far-reaching plan for deregulating the economy - from schools to workplaces - in hismost substantial economic speech this year. http://www.news.com.au [i]NBN will worsen piracy: leaked cable, Josh Taylor, ZDNet[/i]following a meeting with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, that a failure by the then-Howard Government to structurally separate Telstra as a reason why there had been a delay in rolling out a fibre network to Australia. http://www.zdnet.com.au [i]Relics rally against marriage equality, Matt Williams, Independent Australia[/i] protests of relics like Bob Katter MP, Kevin Andrews MP, Barnaby Joyce MP and John Murphy MP, that allowing gay people to marry will not only weaken the institution (if anything, allowing anyone who is in love to declare http://www.independentaustralia.net [i]Being PM: Tony Abbott's Bottom Line .. Mornings with John Faine August 29, 2011 , 1:11 PM [/i] Tony Windsor tells Jon Faine how Tony Abbott begged him for support after the line-ball 2008 election, and promised that the only thing he wouldn’t do to secure the PM’s job is “sell my arse” (and he’d even consider that). The key http://blogs.abc.net.au [i]The Australian and the Prime Minister, John EnPassant[/i] Could it be, heaven forbid, that The Australian is doing Tony Abbott’s dirty work?Again.Well, it is now almost 4 pm on Monday. Where’s the big story Milne predicted would break today? http://enpassant.com. [i]Libya: Gaddafi's private jet becomes leather-lined lounge for rebels, The Telegraph[/i] Yesterday the rebels took turns to be photographed sitting in the deposed dictator's bedroom or on well-upholstered sofas on board the Airbus A340, which Gaddafi bought for £73 million in 2003. http://www.telegraph.co.

lyn

30/08/2011Hi Ad, Principles and faith. What do you think? I think I will keep my opinion to myself. No politics 63 Comments | Permalink Andrew Bolt Blog Andrew Bolt Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 12:01am [b]No politics until further notice. Principles to weigh up. Faith to keep. Sorry.. [/b] http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/no_politics/ Cheers:):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

lyn

30/08/2011Hi Ad Possum has an opinion: @PollyticsPossum Comitatus "Principles to weigh up"? let me suggest using these http://bbc.in/pUTMVn 19 minutes agovia TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply AmosKeeto2AmosKeeto by Deadly_Thoughts [b]Bolts principles.. Odorless, Colorless, Weightless. and toxic[/b] [i]The most-read political blog in Australia[/i]Dave Gaukroger, Pure Poison [i]Gone is yesterday’s post where he quoted at length from Glenn Milne’s article that had been pulled from The Australian. Gone too is the post from Saturday that said: On Monday, I’m tipping, a witness with a statutory declaration will come forward and implicate Julia Gillard directly in another scandal[/i]… http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2011/08/30/the-most-read-political-blog-in-australia/ [i]Shutting Political Dissent, Louis Hissink, Louis Hissink's Crazy World[/i] [quote]Andrew Bolt’s blog has stopped discussing politics – strange for a political blog. Seems the bruvvers are reacting in their predictable way, a hint of which might have been gleaned from Andrew’s Bolt Report last Sunday, from the smirking arrogance of his MUA guest. We are heading for interesting times.[/quote] http://fgservices1947.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/shutting-political-dissent/ Cheers:):):):)

2353

30/08/2011^^^^^ And not all of the comments were of the "poor Andrew" variety, suspecting not a lot of "moderation" going on either. Maybe there is something going on behind the facade to censor Bolt & Milne for yesterday (he says in hope but no evidence what so ever!)

NormanK

30/08/2011Ad astra I can't resist passing this one on since it follows on from your questions over the recent poll results and also speaks to the current headline topic. No coincidence that it is written by one of the few journalists in Australia that I trust. [b]Fixated on carbon and carnal pleasures[/b] by Rob Burgess [quote]If there were any doubts about the effectiveness of Tony Abbott’s near single-issue campaigning against Labor’s carbon tax in past months, they have been dispelled by new data on the popularity of the Gillard government’s wider policy agenda. 

The great irony for the government is that if voters are told about the other reforms – by a polling company no less – they mostly like what they hear. ********************************************************** At [i]Business Spectator[/i] we have a habit of starting our analysis of national affairs from a policy perspective – looking at the machinery that runs our economy rather than the all-singing-all-dancing theatrics that too often distract mainstream political discourse. Our writers, both staff and contributors, often disagree with each other but try to remain focused on policy, not theatre. That, after all, is what will build the Australia of tomorrow. 

 So what to make of the fact that our major metropolitan papers and TV networks spend so much time on brothels and whether or not the opposition leader really wanted to 'sell his arse' to become PM? 

It's only human of course. Sleaze sells. But a fascination with it also ultimately harms the punters who buy the papers, or who lazily slump in front of tabloid TV in the evenings. 

 However, it's not good enough for the Australia that the business community, and many others, would like to build for the next generation.[/quote] http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Abbott-Labor-carbon-tax-asylum-seekers-WorkChoices-pd20110830-L7T4P?opendocument&src=rss P.S. Has the article from [i]The Age[/i] that I put up been moderated?

Michael

30/08/2011AA, hi. My most recent post on Essential polling and what it might mean in terms of the schizophrenia of the Australian electorate seems to keep disappearing from the Comments page soon after being listed. Any idea why? What I have written is not unalloyed genius, but the content does bear some airing.

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011Don't look at me as the phantom moderator. I was out in the car most of this morning buying computer/X Box parts. :O

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011: O

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30/08/2011Hi Lyn Thank you for yet another great set of links. What a compliment that the current piece on [i]TPS[/i] features on Crikey. Thank you too for your additional links about the Milne/Bolt affair. It looks like News Limited operatives are running scared, but I can’t imagine Bolt being out of action for long. Although Bolt had nothing to say on his blog, the comments on his blog were most interesting: http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/no_politics/#commentsmore Possum has an interesting Pollytrend graph: http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2011/08/16/polling-trends-–-spring-session-edition/

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011Nope, that one doesn't work either. :$

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30/08/2011Folks We are having some trouble with disappearing comments. Web Monkey is working on it. Please repost any comments of yours that have disappeared.

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30/08/2011D Mick Weir Thank you for your thoughtful comment to which TT and NormanK have responded comprehensively. So I need not say much more. The preamble Tony Jones’ used: [i]”Let me put that to you, though, an alternative theory."[/i] suggested that Jones was about to propose another plausible explanation of the 'broken' state of politics. Had he followed this with a question: [i]"Could it be that it is not coverage that's broken, rather it is the politicians themselves that are broken and what's broken in them is their ever-increasing use and reliance on spin?[/i], one could have concluded that it was a genuine attempt to explore with Rosen an alternative explanation. To me though, what he said sounded more like a statement of his firm belief. This view was reinforced by his response to Rosen’s suggestion that the media could change: [i]“Change their game in what way? It would be hard to imagine us changing our own game here on this program dramatically. We do long interviews; we do probing interviews with politicians. Hopefully we see through the spin. So what is it that you're suggesting should change?[/i]”. To me, that did not sound as if Jones saw room for change. Moreover, his utterances in other places, and his irritable, interrupting on-screen behaviour have led me to the view that he believes it is the politicians that have fouled up the process with their addiction to spin. But he seems not to have gone the next step and asked: [i]“Why are they spinning?”[/i]

nasking

30/08/2011[quote]Four Corners should be good tonight: 'Bad News', presented by Kerry O'Brien, goes to air on Monday 29th August at 8.30pm on ABC1.[/quote] Lyn, it was indeed. Great job by Sarah Ferguson. My gawd, what a sordid affair eh? A major news corporation putting commercial imperatives ahead of common decency...and using convicted criminals to do its dirty work. I felt like I needed a hot shower afterwards. News International should be ashamed of itself. The way News of the World infiltrated the London Met system goes to show we must always remain vigilant when it comes to the corporate media and its tentacles. The Bolt & Milne stuff mentioned above comes across even worse off the back of this investigation into their sister tabloid across the pond...what stupid timing on their part... but then, as we've learnt time and time again about many who work for Rupert Murdoch, macho brashness, anything goes to get attention, hyperbole and character assassination are characteristics & approaches fostered in the that too oft toxic environment. For those who haven't seen the 4 Corners report on the UK phone hacking scandal: http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2011/08/25/3302121.htm N'

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011lyn, It's my humble opinion that Andrew Bolt has received a quiet word in his shell-like, and I'd imagine a few from News Ltd, like the Editor and Glenn Milne too, from the Commonwealth DPP, that it's one thing to go after a backbencher with fangs bared, but something altogether more risky, shall we say, to attempt to slander the Prime Minister of this country with a matter that has already been before the courts once and in a newspaper opinion piece once before by the same author, and resulted in a legally-binding outcome which stated categorically that the Prime Minister was the love-struck dupe for a very sleazy con man. Now, we must also reflect back to the time when, now, who was it again in the Howard government who took a very public Defamation case to court and won significant damages against Random House? Oh, that's right, these two men: [quote]Ellis, Costello, Abbott Prominent federal politicians Peter Costello & Tony Abbott subsequently sued publisher Random House over Bob Ellis's memoir Goodbye Jerusalem, which featured gossip falsely claiming that they had been 'lured to the Liberal Party' by a sexual liaison. Negotiations about damages and an apology were apparently unsuccessful, with the dispute proceeding to a judgement by ACT Supreme Court Justice Higgins. The Court, reflecting the differentiation between public and private lives, awarded the two politicians and their wives some $277,000. The publisher pulped copies retrieved from retailers, although many copies had been sold by that time and remain accessible through second-hand dealers. [/quote] Subsequent to which the media decided to tread very carefully for a while when it came to making baseless assertions about prominent Members of Parliament. However, as we have seen recently, with the attendant hubris that has come of it's successful campaign to get rid of one Prime Minister through veiled assertions about improper behaviour and a full court press character assassination, and a successful campaign to brainwash the electorate of the suitability for high office of a clearly unsuitable man, and that man's own past history of doing whatever it takes to achieve his political goals, we therefore see that reticence within our media to defame and slander had evaporated with the Editor's decision to publish the Glenn Milne smear of the Prime Minister. No doubt, Milne, Bolt, Mitchell, Murdoch(at a remove), and Abbott the master of political skullduggery, thought that they had timed to perfection their final blow to the political carcass of the Prime Minister, who they no doubt believed was twisting in the wind after the Thomson beat-up, and that it was about time to deliver the coup de grace to her Prime Ministership. And obviously, this Liberal mouthpiece and ex-policeman, Mike Smith, on 2UE, thought that he could again deliver a knock-out blow to the Labor Party, after his pivotal role in getting Craig Thomson to allegedly implicate himself in the Credit Card matter, as it seems that every Union crank with an axe to grind and a chip on their shoulder, is now being groomed by the Liberal Party apparatchiks once-removed, like Smith(and don't try and tell me he doesn't have links to them, if not directly, then indirectly by having a hotline to the party), to spew their guts and bile onto Statutory Declarations, which are then used to bludgeon the Labor Party with in public as they move to enact significant legislation which will cramp the style most definitely of these people(and the mooted Federal ICAC body is a very big factor here), and also the previously unfttered ability for the people who pay these Yellow Journalism pamphleteers and megaphones like Milne and Jones/Hadley/Smith & Oldfield, to push their barrows for them and get 'the mob' onside with them, against their best interests. Which amounts basically to the Club/Gambling/Alcohol/Tobacco and Workplace Industries(and don't tell me that the oily presence and re-emergence of Peter Reith to put oxygen into the embers of the 'Workplace Flexibility' issue isn't a planned attack on another front for the government to deal with, now that it seems that the Industrial Manpower cabal has formulated the form of words to attack the Fair Work Act and the changes it brought about to workplace conditions). No, I am 100% convinced that all these forces are working hand-in-glove to stop the valid and worthwhile initiatives that this greatest government in 20 years is battling to implement. And Tony Abbott sold his arse and soul to them years ago. As have drunken twerps(and I mean that in the strict dictionary definition sense of the word), like Glenn Milne. As for Andrew Bolt, well the word misogyny was invented for a goodly number of Dutch males like him.

nasking

30/08/2011MY QUESTIONS OF THE DAY Taking into account the latest tricky dick attempt to character assassinate yet another Australian Prime Minister by opinion-makers & columnists from News Ltd., should the government bring on a media inquiry? Is it possible that any news organisations in Australia have influence over state & federal police?...and do you think any have infiltrated the police the way News of the World did in the UK? Why did some in News Ltd attack the previous two Victorian police commissioners so intensely by way of their papers? Why do SKY NEWS & the Daily Telegraph keep farting on about the Thomson affair & why are they trying to tar all unions with the same brush? Did Rupert Murdoch's SUN support the Thatcher government's attacks on the National Union of Mineworkers in 1984-85? Can you think of any opportunists in our media landscape? Is it possible for Tony Abbott to wear a FREE TRADE LIVES t-shirt with accompanying GO PROTECTIONISM hardhat without looking like he's selling his arse...and/or acting like a weathervane? N'

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30/08/2011Michael I found your thoughtful comment about the Essential Report posted at 8.46 am (I get an email for each comment), so to save you re-writing it I’m posting it for you. “[i]AA, hi. Your figures from the Essential Poll ratify the facts of the same schizophrenia I've observed with regard to voters. So much support for government policy, so little for the government. It's like rationality kicks in when asked to assess achievements; then Abbott/Murdoch/Jones et al poison rises when considering the government as the people who are driving those achievements. A disconnect driven by spite and spitting fury from the megaphone haters with big mouths and shriveled hearts. It's a schizophrenia that I fear will see this government voted out, and then a dazed electorate will watch as the achievements and innovations are watered down or ripped straight out of Australians' everyday lives. Then, then, as the Coalition's do-nothing approach (AKA, 'the Market knows best') begins and unstoppingly continues to drag this nation's citizens (apart from the very wealthy, well, duhh), into wage slavery and infrastructure failure, at that time government and governing will merge once again. To the destruction of a country not only Down Under, but Left Behind.”[/i]

Michael

30/08/2011AA, hi. Many thanks for the re-post.

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011Nasking, I think that the answer to one of your questions: [quote]Is it possible that any news organisations in Australia have influence over state & federal police?...and do you think any have infiltrated the police the way News of the World did in the UK? [/quote] ...can be found in my assessment of the 2UE broadcaster, Mike Smith's, role in the Craig Thomson affair. That is, it seems that, in this country and probably in others, that the police have gone the other way, from the Police Force, and into broadcasting and politics, from which vantage point they can influence the public debate in ways that suit their agenda. That this agenda is confluent with that of the 'Soft' Police State Conservatives, is no surprise really. All they both seem to want is a compliant and complicit proletariat workforce, that lives and works increasingly-hard for increasingly-less value for their toil, and is mollified by Circus Sideshows, such as Sport and the theatrical side of politics, as opposed to dour policy workmanship, even though, as the Essential poll lays bare, they really actually like the manifestations of all that boring policy stuff.

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011Nas, As far as an Inquiry into media Convergence, which is what it should be IMHO, well, I think it might be safe to say that Senator Conroy might be wise to wait for the Victorian spotfires in the ALP to be put out first before he takes on the Murdoch media and all the other Australian media consigliores. Though, as you say, the media's attitude towards the government can't get much worse, so they should probably just 'Damn the Torpedoes!'. :)

D Mick Weir

30/08/2011Ad @ 11:36 AM I can't see NormanK's response which I have been waiting for. Has it disappeared? Unless you are refering to NK's comments previous to this post. I am not particularly fond of Jones' style. There are times I find his style beyond irritating. It is possibly why I tend to read the transcripts rather than watch/listen. Going back to the transcript and that offending statement. Two questions/statements earlier Jones said [i]What if I said that political coverage is not broken, not the coverage at least ...[/i] Not quite how you suggested he could have said it but similar. Jones then came back to the offending proposition. I agree that the statement/question about what could change showed some arrogance and a defensiveness of his programme. The public Jones not giving ground. Here I think is a bigger part of the problem [i]'not giving ground'[/i] It is being played as a war and the first to blink is beaten. There is no room for difference. Everything seems to be either black or white, I am either on the right side and must see it the way the right side sees it or I am an enemy. We, the observers, appear to have bought into the war and have chosen sides. The media has become the mortal enemy. Having reasonable and reasoned discussions on this and many other topics becomes increasingly difficult the more we buy into the war between the media and politicians. There are no winners in wars. Last night on QandA Don Watson made some observations that lead me toward a view that politicians could also do quite a bit to 'change the game' and assist in leading us out of the media morass we are in. I will find time to watch again to gain a diffeently informed view.

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011Nasking, Don't you just hate it when these 'Lame,Gay, Churchy Losers' get caught out peddling their lame schtick and tell us what they really think, they are so gutless to admit as much that they fall back on that lamo excuse, "Aw, I was only joking". http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/under-god/post/michele-bachmann-jokes-that-god-sent-hurricane-earthquake/2011/08/29/gIQAUN6QnJ_blog.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics

Trevor

30/08/2011While watching the 4C expose on News corp last night I was contemplating, how can people behave like that & still sleep at night? Not sure I have the answer, they obviously have a different moral alignment to me. But I did think a bit about the News or Ruperts model and I think it is fairly straightforward. That is: 1) Produce loud, trashy, opinionated content with large dollops of sex, gossip, private lives of rich & famous stuff 2) Watch circulation go up as the masses love this crap. 3) Use, nay flaunt influence this brings to intimidate politicians and opponents. 4) Create feedback loop by using influence to increase market share by favorable regulatory decisions. Go to 1) The apparatchiks who successfully prosecute this plan are richly rewarded and become very loyal as a result. Ruperts reward is more the power and influence this brings. Without the this I think he would very quickly waste away, money is no longer important. The interesting times we are going though now is that the model has cracked. The dwindling circulation of daily papers has meant increasingly desperate attempts to keep the old system going. Fox cable news in USA is probably the only initiative that has breathed life into it. But it is becoming clear the Fox News model is not going to get off the ground (Step 4 jammed)in either UK or Australia. Indeed it could fall over in the USA if the dirty laundry now coming out implicates his US business. James looks like he is a shot duck, so the succession plan is now chip wrapper. Without a passion for purchasing influence will the model survive? An outsider who ran the business with a focus on ROI and actually looked after shareholders other than the Murdoch family could not keep this up. Particularly if they had any ethics in their DNA. Past eighty now surely Rupert can not hold on for much longer. My fear is that Rupert will finally reveal himself as Davros and there will be no Doctor to save us.

NormanK

30/08/2011D Mick Weir It seems a few of this morning's posts may have gone to Comment Heaven. My suggestion was that if you have the time, watch the interview because transcripts quite often don't convey the full story. I find that this is particularly true with Uhlmann/Abbott interviews. On paper Uhlmann seems to have asked the hard questions but when you see the limp way in which they are delivered and note the lack of interjection and belligerence that typifies many of his other interviews it tells a different story. Note, I am not necessarily saying here that Uhlmann is biased - just different. I have no doubt in my mind that Jones was being defensive of the Australian media and attempted to portray Rosen's criticisms as being only applicable to the U.S. situation. This is more than adequately exemplified by his "what changes could we make" remark. I'm a bit non-plussed by your comments @ 1.15 PM. If you feel as though you are under fire, perhaps it is because some here believe that the media in Australia is very, very unwell but I can't recall anyone attesting that it is a one-way street. In fact, that is the biggest bone I have to pick with mainstream commentators - the unwillingness of journalists to acknowledge that they are in a symbiotic relationship with politicians and that therefore when they criticise the body politic for being boring or manufactured or overly managed, they are (or should be) criticising themselves as well. The media and politicians are engaged in a dance that goes back 150 years or more. If politicians and their minders find new ways to manipulate the media then they find new ways to counter it - most typically by pointing to the manipulation and crying "look at that!" If the media finds new ways to wedge politicians then they come up with new ways to circumvent that occurring - press releases late on a Friday being a good example. Like any high risk dancing, the two performers are relying on each other for support. If one suddenly stops then it is likely that both will fall over. I didn't see the Don Watson interview but will endeavour to do so this afternoon. It is encouraging to think that there may be ways for politicians to play a leading role in nursing our political media back to health but I am not optimistic when the patient doesn't believe that they are ill. If my comment from this morning resurfaces, you will find that I did give a bit of ground. I can see where you are coming from with regard to projecting our own inferences onto Jones but I reckon if you watch the video you may have a slight change of heart. As I have said previously, Jones is not alone in this. Look at how many journalists came out in attack mode over Tanner's book and yet he was the first to attest that politicians and their minders have to shoulder their share of the blame for the poor state of affairs. So too must the audience - if we didn't give tabloid television and gossip-ridden newspapers the support that they currently enjoy through ratings and sales, that style would fade away. The only reporter that I have seen acknowledge that there may be a problem in Australia is Annabelle Crabb who has sworn to fight her addiction to opinion polls. Apart from her, our journalists seem to believe they are being objective and (worse still) that they exist outside of the political arena and are merely well-informed spectators. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Rosen interview can be found here: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3302557.htm

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011From yesterday's Crikey: *** Milne debacle: how a 16 year old story was spiked by The Oz by Senior Journalist Andrew Crook Glenn Milne has egg all over his face after the re-hired columnist filed an error-filled op-ed reviving discredited allegations that Prime Minister Julia Gillard had somehow been an accomplice to her one-time partner Bruce Wilson's alleged fraud. The piece rehashed 16-year-old claims -- vociferously denied by the Prime Minister whenever they are dredged up -- suggesting Gillard had lived in a house with Wilson bought using illegal cash. Milne had previously written about the saga in 2007. But this morning the Walkleys brawler went further, stating that "Gillard shared a home in Fitzroy bought by Wilson using the embezzled funds." Crikey understands that this sentence, removed by News Limited lawyers four years ago, is false. Now, the entire piece has been deleted from The Australian's website, with the newspaper forced to issue a grovelling apology acknowledging that the "assertions are untrue". Damningly, Milne had failed to ring the PM's office for comment. The Australian's editor, Clive Mathieson, issued the following statement to Crikey this morning: "We’re investigating the Prime Minister’s claim of inaccuracies in the story. As the correction points out, we regret that the PM was not given any chance to respond to the allegations." Asked whether Milne would be sacked, Mathieson said "he remains a contributor to The Australian." But while the article has been removed, the line continues to fester on fellow News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt's blog. Interestingly, Bolt has written the following disclaimer directly after it: "I am not sure that Gillard did share a home with Wilson. My own understanding is that she maintained her own house." Late this morning, the Ten Network talk show host issued an "update", acknowledging The Oz had pulled the story. While a popular topic in the right wing blogosphere, the allegations are rarely taken seriously by professional journalists. The fresh outbreak was three days in the making. Bolt had first blogged about the saga on Saturday, publishing part of a statutory declaration by embittered ex- Australian Workers Union Victorian vice president Bob Kernohan that was quoted by Milne. "It could be the last straw for Gillard's leadership," Bolt hypothesised. The yarn had gathered steam a day earlier when 2UE afternoons jock Michael Smith said on air that he had been contacted by "a number of listeners" who had dredged up the Kernohan claims -- first aired under privilege by Phil Gude in the Victorian parliament in 1995 and then again in 2001 by Liberal MP turned lobbyist Geoff Leigh. Leigh told parliament that former AWU state secretary (and future jet-setting MP) Bob Smith had told Kernohan that Wilson had "spent $17,000 of women's clothing for Gillian (sic) Gillard out of union funds" while Gillard was John Brumby's chief-of-staff. Kernohan's story goes that during her time as a partner at Slater & Gordon, Gillard set up the association Wilson used as WA state secretary to allegedly funnel cash from employers. In a new statutory declaration made last year, he says two houses -- one owned by Wilson in Fitzroy and another by the PM -- had been bought or renovated using dirty funds. Despite the usual legal disclaimers, 2UE's Smith lapped it up to opine that "much of this comes to the heart of the judgement of the lady who runs the country." The factional motivation for the leaks has gone mostly unnoticed. Bob Kernohan was in office when elements of the left took control of the old Victorian AWU in 1989. He has been at war with his internal AWU enemies ever since, alleging financial fraud in 1992 and in 1995 lobbed a kamikaze bid to unseat Bill Ludwig as the union's national president. Bruce Wilson was an ally of Ludwig and former national secretary Ian Cambridge, but was dumped after the financial irregularities emerged. National Crime Authority and fraud squad investigations were initiated but there were never any adverse findings and Wilson never returned any money. On 2UE this afternoon, Kernohan said he was offered a seat in parliament -- presumably by forces loyal to Ludwig -- if he stayed silent. The weak Gillard link has been doing the rounds among the PM's enemies for years. In 2006, Kim Beazley supporters revived them when they thought she was hatching a deal to knife him as opposition leader. And in 2007, The Age's Jason Koutsoukis wrote that he had been summoned to a meeting with a figure who had presented him with a disappointing file that included a "well-worn tirade aired in the Victorian parliament last century." It's worth quoting these lines: "The one skeleton in Gillard's closet is the allegation — first raised under parliamentary privilege in 1995 by former Kennett minister Phil Gude — that Gillard's one-time partner Bruce Wilson, a former secretary of the Australian Workers' Union, was under investigation by the National Crime Authority and Victoria Police over the misappropriation of union funds. "According to Gude, the union funds were used to renovate Gillard's house and buy her some personal items. "Gillard has repeatedly dismissed the allegations as being totally untrue and those who repeat them as 'lying cowards'. On Friday, 2UE's Smith said one of the reasons for the rehash was that Gillard had said (to Milne in 2007) that she was "young and naive". In fact, the PM has consistently shot down the suggestions with supreme force each time they get trotted out. On Australian Story in 2006, she stated point blank that the suggestions were "absolutely untrue ... of course I was angry and anybody whose subject to those sort of allegations under the privilege of Parliament, you are going to be angry and you don't get a fair go in responding ... so once the allegations are out there they are going to be reported and that might lead some people even though you have denied them to think that there's something in them, so I was yeah you know angry but nothing you can do about it except sort of just issue the denials and move on." There were a number of other factual howlers in Milne's article. He referred to the Health Services Union as the "Hospital Services Union", made a hash of the HSU's Victorian factional dynamic (Jeff and Kathy Jackson were hardly friendly with Craig Thomson) and got hopelessly confused over the separation between the national office and the HSU's former No. 1 Victorian branch. On 2UE early this afternoon, the key portions of a promised pre-recorded interview with Kernohan failed to proceed on legal grounds. Hilariously, Michael Smith said that his talent had been moved to a "safe location".

NormanK

30/08/2011Third time lucky. [b]Gillard calls; Murdoch paper sorry[/b] by Tony Wright [quote]THE alarm bells had been ringing in Julia Gillard's office for days, but they really went shrill after the first of the Prime Minister's media staff arrived yesterday, as they do daily, at 4.30am. **************************************** This was one for the Prime Minister's personal attention, her staff decided. Ms Gillard made a furious early morning phone call to John Hartigan, the chief executive of News Ltd, which publishes The Australian. Another call went to The Australian's editor Chris Mitchell. Both calls demanded an immediate retraction and apology amid threats of legal action. Shortly after 9.30am, Milne's column disappeared from The Australian's website and was replaced by a short and sharp apology, headlined ''Correction''.[/quote] http://www.theage.com.au/national/gillard-calls-murdoch-paper-sorry-20110829-1jig6.html

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011NormanK, Up until now I had decided to stay out of the Jones/Rosen debate, believing that ultimately the truth would out about the affront Jones manifested wrt Rosen's comments. I thought that DMW would see the reasoning behind your explanation and eventually concur. because there waas no other way to read Jones' reaction. Unlike DMW, I like to read an interview by the visuals and leave the words to a secondary role in proceedings, although this conversation between two journalists did have a lot of word play that was interesting to listen to and sub-contextualise. However, it was the optics of the interview that hit the point home about Tony Jones' sanctimonious and priggish response to Rosen's statement about the way journalists behave, that said it all to me. Jones was obviously alive to the import of Jay Rosen's words, and you could see Jones' eyes immediately narrow and his butt clench as he bridled at Rosen's implicated assertion, which Jones took personally and which Rosen meant to be a personal observation I am sure. I have seen it too often on Q&A as well wrt Jones always looking after the image that he projects to his audience, and if anyone on the panel ever takes a sly dig at him he peremptorily interrupts and bumptiously defends himself. To say his skin is thin, is not to put too fine a point on it. Hence he appears to be totally unwilling and unable to admit any sort of journalistic character flaw. Which, while he is so concerned about defending his journalistic legacy, he is at one and the same time demeaning and trivialising it because he will not take on board constructive criticism, and so, therefore, enhance his ability, which would then be realised by the sentient amongst his audience. Not that Tony Jones would ever take my advice, he's a Senior ABC journalist after all. ;-)

Sir Ian Crisp

30/08/2011I see the union movement is handing out free spades in the hope of encouraging Australians to become interested in gardening.

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30/08/2011D Mick Weir Thank you for your further comment. We have had ‘disappearing comments’ this morning, so here is what NormanK had to say about the Tony Jones interview of Jay Rosen: “[i]D Mick Weir - If you can spare the time, watch the video. I am under no illusions about where Tony Jones stood during that interview. The other relevant quote (in part): Jones: It would be hard to imagine us changing our own game here on this program dramatically. I can see the point that you are trying to make but you might reach a different conclusion if you watch the vision rather than relying on the transcript, which we know can be deceptive. I say that because on occasion I have thought to deconstruct a Uhlmann/Abbott interview using the transcript and unfortunately on paper they usually appear more balanced than on the video. www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3302557.htm “[/i] You are right though to point out that the combatants do not want to give way in what has become a war of words. Tony Jones does not want to give way, nor do most fellow journalists (Laura Tingle excepted), to the Lindsay Tanner notion that the behaviour of the media has conditioned most politicians to behave the way they do – defensive, spin-laden, non-committal. Yet Tanner never said that politicians were blameless. It’s the old chicken and egg argument, which is now irrelevant as we are clearly in a mess and need to find a way out. It’s somewhat like marital discord where each party blames the other, and where resolution is not possible until both give ground and acknowledge faults on both side. Jay Rosen believes that the media holds the whip handle in that it is the side best placed to make a change towards a more productive interaction with politicians, which he says it could do if it so chose. I am of the view that politicians are unlikely to change and become the open, honest-to-God, tell-it-the-way-it-is real people, for which Don Watson yearns, until they see some willingness in the media to compromise. If the media made even a modest gesture towards rapprochement, which I had hoped may have occurred when Julia Gillard met with John Hartigan and his News Limited editors, it could bring about a more open and efficient process of communication with the public via collaborative journalists. Yet, as we have seen in the last twenty-four hours News Limited is still gunning for PM Gillard in a most despicable way. What encouragement towards openness does that invite? The opposite – battening down the hatches, is a more likely response. In this war, which your rightly indentify as such, if face-to-face negotiation cannot achieve rapprochement, the only move I can see that might work, is for the media, through its various outlets, beginning to give PM Gillard and her ministers a fair go, and refrain from laying traps for them. As trust built, I could envisage politicians opening up and becoming more real, more genuine, more willing to state it the way it is. But it would take only one betrayal by the media to set the relationship back to its lamentable contemporary state. Reflect on who in the media might be amenable to changing behaviour – Andrew Bolt? Glenn Milne? Piers Akerman? Miranda Devine? Alan Jones? Ray Hadley? Not likely. But less radical ones might – Chris Uhlmann, Leigh Sales, Tony Jones, Ali Moore, Sabra Lane, even Neil Mitchell. Regarding Don Watson, I enjoyed his [i]Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: A Portrait of Paul Keating. PM[/i] and his later but smaller books. His hobbyhorse is the words that public speakers, particularly politicians, use. I suspect he coined the term ‘weasel words’. So it was unsurprising to hear him hold forth, somewhat incomprehensively, on this last night on [i]Q&A[/i]. The transcript is not yet available but I’ll post it when it is. So, DMW, as both sides share responsibility for the current state of affairs, who will make the first move towards peace between the media and the politicians? In my opinion it needs to be people in the media. But how likely is that?

nasking

30/08/2011[quote]All they both seem to want is a compliant and complicit proletariat workforce, that lives and works increasingly-hard for increasingly-less value for their toil, and is mollified by Circus Sideshows, such as Sport and the theatrical side of politics, as opposed to dour policy workmanship, even though, as the Essential poll lays bare, they really actually like the manifestations of all that boring policy stuff.[/quote] Feral, you put it brilliantly. And notice who primarily benefits from the sports & "theatrical side of politics"...none other than the Murdoch empire by way of Fox Sports, Foxtel (partial owners) and the tabloids etc. Murdoch has been playin' this game w/ the people for a good long time and it's about bloody time they woke up to it. It's manipulation & setting agendas by way of too much bloody cross-media ownership...and too much influence w/ other authority figures. The rest of the media needs to work a darn site harder...if they had, Murdoch would not have the power he has. [quote]well, I think it might be safe to say that Senator Conroy might be wise to wait for the Victorian spotfires in the ALP to be put out first before he takes on the Murdoch media and all the other Australian media consigliores.[/quote] Feral, there's been far too much waiting...and it's put our politics & media & aspects of society onto a merry-go-round of the damned...damned if ya do...damned if ya don't. Anything will be attacked and transformed into sh*te by that lot...as long as it grabs them attention and brings in the moolah...and/or pleases the gatekeepers and their boss. It makes for an overly-cynical society...suspicious of everything & anything. The Q&A audience & panel last nite was a good, sad example of such. This media Moriarity has spread a vile, insidious disease for 4 decades that has penetrated every organ and artery of our country...and much of the world his empire has touched. It's time to deal w/ it once & for all...waiting will only see more waves of sickness...the attacks on the PM will not stop...nor will it end w/ Abbott...or Turnbull...or Smith...or Combet...each chosen one is eventually sacrificed for the commercial imperative...and to fit the goals of the mastermind himself...if not him, the minions he has set loose on this planet to complete his ugly, vicious, myth & fear-driven plans. [quote]Though, as you say, the media's attitude towards the government can't get much worse, so they should probably just 'Damn the Torpedoes!'.[/quote] Indeed. How many good, useful people must fall before that dam is busted? Good to see so many courageous in the UK...reclaiming their land & dignity...attempting to cure the disease. N'

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011Sir Ian Crisp, I see Sir Liealot and his mates in the media are still trying to lie their way into power.

Ad astra reply

30/08/2011D Mick Weir I see NormanK has added further explanatory comments, which I had not seen when I posted my last comment. Regarding my comment about what Don Watson had to say last night on [i][Q&A[/i], the transcript is still not available, although promised at 2 pm. I’ll keep looking. FS Thank you for your comments on the Jones/Rosen interview. Your assessment of Tony Jones corresponds with my own.

Ad astra reply

30/08/2011Folks I see that there has been an update to Andrew Bolt's blog of Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 12:01am which then read: [i]No politics until further notice. Principles to weigh up. Faith to keep. Sorry.. [/i] Namely: [i]UPDATE Afrer discussions, I now feel free to speak my mind. So I shall. In tomorrow’s column. I apologise for the mysteriousness, but I did not want to act in anger or before matters had been resolved. I had to be fair to my employer and to my readers, and I apologise if you think I’ve had the balance wrong over the past 24 hours. Thank you to everyone who has rung, emailed or commented on this post, here and on radio. [/i] Breathtakingly interesting!

nasking

30/08/2011[quote]Don't you just hate it when these 'Lame,Gay, Churchy Losers' get caught out peddling their lame schtick and tell us what they really think, they are so gutless to admit as much that they fall back on that lamo excuse, "Aw, I was only joking".[/quote] Feral, Michele Bachmann's catering to the loopy 40% who believe in such idiocy. Talking to the base. Ironically, the very same base don't believe a woman should be doin' anythin' but have babies, doin' the nurturin' thing, cookin' in the kitchen and doin' charity work. The job of leading a nation and bein' the supreme commander of the armed forces should be left to a man. Bachmann will be felled by the sword of her own belief system. Her failure to win will be seen as "God's way". You lay in the bed of yer own making. BTW, didn't surprise me that she made the dopey comment as Vermont was bein' flooded. Possible coded language for "God struck down them godless, Obama voting, gay friendly types". Maybe not. But...we know how she feels about gays. N'

Casablanca

30/08/2011Crikey today: [quote]Dear Sole Subscriber, The future of Australian quality journalism took a big hit last week, not that anyone seemed to notice. Buried deep within the annual results released by Fairfax Media on Friday was the astonishing news that three of this country's four quality newspapers are now barely profitable. (The fourth, The Australian, owned by rival News Limited, is almost certainly unprofitable and is run for non-commercial reasons). The figures submerged in the Fairfax accounts reveal that in the first six months of this year the profitability of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review collapsed. Our best estimate of those numbers is that in that period the print editions of The Age and SMH between them are now in loss -- compared to a comparable figure of about $60 million-$80 million just a few years ago. The Financial Review appears to be down to about $5 million-$10 million for the period, half its profit of a few years ago. While Fairfax is hoping this capitulation is the result of cyclical pressures, anyone who watches trends in media knows that most of the collapse is structural and it will continue. What we are now watching is a slow-motion train wreck of the quality fourth estate. Unless someone steps in -- and the only logical someone is government -- we could be within sight of the demise of half of Australia's serious print journalism, The SMH and The Age. The case for a full-scale government inquiry into the Australian media is compelling. Not an inquiry to denigrate News Corp, but one that confronts the reality of a market failure that is killing the viability of the most important newspapers in our democracy.[/quote] Quality journalism about important subjects would send sales up again. Seems like a no-brainer to me but not to the owners and editors. They who live by the gutter shall die by the gutter. ****

nasking

30/08/2011[quote]Not that Tony Jones would ever take my advice, he's a Senior ABC journalist after all.[/quote] Feral, notice that Jones starts the show by picking a questioner who has a go at Gillard or the government...just about each & every time. It's boring. He's done some useful interviews on Lateline over the years...and seems prepared to dig deeper than some on topics/issues...look beyond the established narrative...and some of his panelists on Q&A are illuminating...tho far too many push the lazy & ultimately destructive "a pox on all yer houses" line...and every once in awhile he comes across as a sanctimonious windbag. Power doth create bigheads absolutely. His strong suit is making guests comfortable...but pushing them enuff w/ useful, articulate questions to get informed details from the guest(s) w/out them resorting to a wooden approach, pomposity & robotic talking points...adding substance rather than tabloid nonsense. N'

Jason

30/08/2011"I see the union movement is handing out free spades in the hope of encouraging Australians to become interested in gardening." Sir Ian Crisp Well after reading the bullshit you write is it any wonder why we all need spades?

nasking

30/08/2011Ad astra, I wouldn't be surprised if a plan was hatched a good long time ago to put Bolt on Ch.10 where Murdoch's son has shares...and eventually have him & Milne begin this attack on Gillard (smear)...then Bolt leaves News Ltd which gets his supporters up in arms...but gives the impression News Ltd has some integrity (yea right)... and the smear on the PM is spread far & wide based on the Bolt/Milne saga over the coming weeks. Bolt remains in one Murdoch's hands...and gets more public attention for his crappy show...and the story about the PM goes viral. Remember, they're sneaky buggers in the Murdoch empire. Anythin' to get the arrows flyin' towards the target. Remember the 4 Corner's episode last nite. I could be wrong. But this has to be part of a well thought-out character assassination campaign. Look back over the Rudd era and you'll see plenty of skullduggery. N'

Ad astra reply

30/08/2011Folks I hear on ABC News that Julia Gillard has requested an explanation from John Hartigan and Chris Mitchell about how the Glenn Milne article came to be published. Go Julia!

NormanK

30/08/2011Ad astra Thanks for another great piece. We have a crisis on our hands here in Australia with the steady demise of quality political journalism and the inability of our politicians to adapt to it or to counter it where possible. One other aspect of the steady evolution (devolution?) of political journalism was highlighted during the Jones/Rosen interview. That is the blurring of the line between being an interviewer and being a commentator. We canvassed this subject earlier in the year when discussing Ali Moore's post-budget round-table discussion where she wanted to be a player. This exchange between Jones and Rosen are what I am referring to: [quote]TONY JONES: [b]I'm[/b] wondering if you're (sic) perspective is peculiarly US-centric; in other words, it doesn't take into account the differences when there's an independent public broadcaster as there is here in Australia or in Canada or in the UK, for example. JAY ROSEN: Well, the strength of the ABC is certainly an advantage Australia has over the US, but you tell me, Tony, do you not see any of these things happening in the Australian political system? TONY JONES: We could do this by you asking me the questions, but it is probably better to do it the other way around.[/quote] Bear in mind that this came after comments such as this from Jones: [quote]TONY JONES: Take it back to a golden age of political coverage, if such a thing ever existed. What was it like when it was better? [b]I[/b] can't really remember a time when it was much better than this?[/quote] Jones has drawn himself into the discussion so that it now has the appearance of being a conversation between peers but as soon as Rosen behaves conversationally i.e. asks a question, Jones cuts him dead. This is one of the shortcomings of contemporary interviewing techniques and presentation - the insertion of contentions, premises and opinion into questions and commentary. Imagine, if you will, an exchange between myself and a sibling. I ask: "Given that it is most likely going to rain tomorrow, do you think it is wise to plan a fishing trip?" If this were a conversation, the response would very likely be: "What makes you think it's going to rain? The weather man says clear skies and no wind tomorrow." I might respond: "Nanna's bones are aching and you know she is very rarely wrong about these things." The conversation is likely to proceed down these lines where my contention becomes the focal point and the viability of a fishing trip ultimately hangs on its credibility. If this were an interview where the respondent is unable (by convention) to ask a question, the response is likely to be: "I don't agree with the contention in the first part of your question. I am relying on experts for the forecast and they say it will be fine". How often have we heard 'I don't agree with the contention/premise in your question' from our politicians - in particular, of late, from the PM but it is certainly not exclusive to one side of politics. As a result the politician looks recalcitrant or retreats into obfuscation or diverts the question around to grab hold of a talking point in order to not appear reluctant to answer questions. Yes, this is an example of a loaded question but it goes further than that - the interviewer wants to show that they are a player, that they know what's going on but they never place themselves in a position where they have to defend their opinions/contentions. This is just one example of how contemporary political journalism paints politicians into a corner from which they can't escape. Occasionally, one of them will get frustrated and fire a question back at the interviewer but then of course this is portrayed as them losing their cool under heavy interrogation. Jones could have worded the question above as: "Is your perspective peculiarly US-centric .........?" but then he wouldn't have been a player. Similarly he could have simply left out "I can't really remember a time when it was much better than this?" My response to that was: "Who bloody cares what you think Tony?" This blurring of the line between interviewer and commentator is taken to its extreme in programmes like [i]Insiders[/i] where there is no demarcation and it becomes a free-for-all where unsubstantiated opinion abounds and there is no effective moderator to question the veracity of some of the claims that are made. Ultimately, that's just gossip. Something journalists could do to raise the standard of political debate is to disengage themselves from the game and actually be the disinterested observer that they so often claim to be.

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011Nasking, But didn't that God-fearin' State, Virginia, cop the full brunt of the storm? :D Also, I noticed the other day that Michelle Bachmann was one of the first fulsome supporters of that vile, anti-female empowerment movement, 'Quiverfull'. Hence the "I have had 5 children and fostered 23 more". Groan. Not adding, of course, that the reason she did it was not out of pure altruism towards the kids but to indoctrinate them with her particular brand of Right Wing Religious Extremism. Bet they were all 'Home Schooled', which, of course, is just the mealy-mouthed euphemism of the Religious Right for their own 21st century brand of segregation of children from the wider community, who may, shock! horror! expose their tiny minds to those evil thoughts of 'Religious Tolerance', or 'Multiculturalism", or, the mmost evil of all in the Bachmann's eyes, 'Atheism'. :) Of course, as with the Palins, the Bachmann pater familia realised early on that he was best advised to be the brains behind the operation because he was essentially unelectable. I mean, have you heard him speak and seen him dance with Michelle? So, out of the 'Respect', or, actually the 'Obedience' that the religion which Michelle follows demands of her, she does what he tells her to and functions as the spigot through which he pours his political aspirations. Yes, she wouldn't mind being President, just like many before her haven't minded the idea of being President of the PTA, but every decision she would make would be run by the 'Head of the Family' first.

Gravel

30/08/2011Feral Skeleton Thank you for the 'Sir Liealot', it will be used by me from now on. Oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we practice to deceive. That quote from whomever, is all I can add to the latest stuff from The Australian and all who sail with her. Please Julia, et al, bring on a media inquiry now. They can do no worse than they are doing now, and make sure you include the bloody ABC.

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011As for Andrew Bolt's column tomorrow, I fully expect that he has spent the day crafting an apologia which will reaffirm the essence of his conclusion from Saturday that, 'the PM lacks judgement', plus some sort of mealy-mouthed faint praise meant to give the impression of a concession to the PM, merely to mollify but not to show any contrition. Then it will be back to 'Business As Usual' from the day after that.

nasking

30/08/2011Feral, will respond to yer comment later. Storm coming. Don't want lightning hitting modem. Must be God thankin' me for doin' good work. BWAHAHAHA. Thnx to Lyn for the great links today, per usual. Casablanca, useful editorial from Crikey. N'

BSA Bob

30/08/2011F.S. at 12.01 Good stuff, what a bunch they are. I remember (on a show whose name I forget) a then fairly junior minister Tony Abbott delivering a heartfelt lament about the increasing lack of tolerance & growing litigiousness in this country & wishing we could all be a bit nicer to our fellows. Another participant (Mungo McCallum) gave a contemptuous snort & demanded "How much did you get out of Bob Ellis?" Abbott put on his finest shit-eating grin & as I recall sat mute for some time. More seriously, this latest affair stinks to high heaven & definitely appears to be a coordinated final blow. All the withdrawals & apologies will count for nought as the story's out there & media legal departments will effortlessly work out ways to keep it alive if they think there's mileage in it.

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011Heartachingly beautiful and sad, written as only a great artist could: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/08/28/ai-weiwei-on-beijing-s-nightmare-city.html?om_rid=NsjkFB&om_mid=_BOW$G1B8c61T5g

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011Trevor, Doctor Who will be back soon, and I have seen exerprts. You won't want to miss it. :D

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011Ad, I thought you might be interested in this Health angle about the new Victorian Government(from today's Crikey): [quote]Unhealthy appointments in Victoria. Health insiders in Victoria are bemused at some of the senior board appointments the new Liberal minister David Davis is making. Apart from the now traditional knocking off of previous government appointees, however qualified and competent, and replacement by political mates, our tipster claims the less-than-stellar form of some of the new appointees has been ignored: "Two recent appointments are head honchos who were sacked by the hospitals they previously served while another, more worryingly, rorted the hospital system to the tune of $1 million by being paid out for accumulated, untaken sick leave. In the latter instance, the gent even persuaded hard-headed businesspeople on his board that this was standard CEO contract practice (it may be in the private sector but certainly wasn't in health)."[/quote]

Ad astra reply

30/08/2011NormanK What an insightful contribution you have made at 4.14. Thank you for your comments. You put your finger on an important point – to what extent do journalists, particularly those on radio or TV, want to be part of the discussion as against being simply interrogators seeking information and answers from politicians. The examples you give are apt. It seems to me that Tony Jones and Ali Moore want to be participants, and to a lesser extent Leigh Sales and Chris Uhlmann. Of course Alan Jones wants more than that – he wants to be the lead player who calls the shots, and if you disagree with him, watch out for his acid, bullying tongue. How do we know which role they intend to play? It would make it clearer to the audience if at the outset they gave us a preamble such as: “I have a number of important issues to discuss with X as I have a great interest in this area. I will pose questions and add my opinion as we proceed.” It’s the old problem – the inextricable mixing of facts and opinion. So often journalists mix them, and thereby confuse the audience. News Limited journalists no doubt take their cue from Uncle Rupert who believes ‘opinion is news’. It is perhaps idealistic to believe that journalists might give us a clue as to their role in any interview, but we are allowed to dream.

Ad astra reply

30/08/2011FS Who are these appointees? It is common practice for politicians to look after their mates. You scratch my back… Folks The latest in the Gillard/Hartigan clash is that Hartigan has described Julia Gillard’s request for an explanation of the Milne missive, as ‘pedantic’. Isn’t that pathetic, especially from someone who ought have a better grasp of the English language?

Trevor

30/08/2011FS You may have missed my earlier post but I have one significant fear & that is: Rupert Murdoch finally reveals himself as Davros and the Doctor is not around to help us. Somehow I cannot get the image out of my head of Rupert, whirling around, sitting in the base of a Dalek with his one functioning eye searching out enemies to exterminate.

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011Ad Astra, I was thinking that with your knowledge of the Melbourne Medical scene you might be able, by a process of deduction and a few phone calls, to figure out who they were. It can't be too hard to find out the scuttlebutt about failed Hospital Administrators in recent times in Victoria. Then marry that info with the names of recent appointments by the Baillieu government. Then just keep a Watching Brief over them and wait for the shenaningans to inevitably start all over again. Or, you could simply get a list of donors to the Liberal Party who are also Doctors and friends of Michael Wooldridge. ;-)

lyn

30/08/2011Hi Ad Look what has happened, excitement plus, they have put us up on "The Wall" , only one thing wrong I can't find us: dratts [quote]The Political Sword The Wall LYN'S DAILY LINKS are to posts of interest to the contemporary political debate. They are updated daily. 9 June 2011 But just remember the first thing Tony ... thewall.com.au/topics/51662-the-political-sword[/quote] Cheers:):):):):):)

lyn

30/08/2011Hi Ad Oops! the link didn't work, here is the Wall again: http://thewall.com.au/ Cheers:):)

Trevor

30/08/2011AA Are these the same folk who demand Gillard answer questions about Craig Thomson? "Just don't write crap, it can't be that hard" may well become one of the more memorable quotes. I get the feeling that an element of this will go back to the meeting Gillard had with News a few weeks ago. Some expectations from that meeting may have just been trashed

Ad astra reply

30/08/2011Hi Lyn I couldn't find reference to [i]TPS[/i] on [i]The Wall[/i].

Ad astra reply

30/08/2011Trevor I think you are right. News Limited is still determined to demolish PM Gillard.

lyn

30/08/2011Hi Ad Looks to me like the link to "The Wall" is listed, but I can't find us either. So excitement turned to "Oh! well" they have thought of us, or in the process of posting us. Cheers:):):):)

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011Now I am convinced of the need for an Inquiry into Media Convergence(anything else would look like a witchhunt), in this country. John Hartigan is reported to have said of the Prime Minister's mild rebuke of The Australian at a Press Conference today, "The Prime Minister's remarks were disapponting and pedantic." !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who made him Queen of Australia? What a hide that amn has, and with those remarks you can see encapsulated exactly what is wrong, so very wrong, with the culture at News Ltd. Someone needs to wipe the smirk off their collective mugs.

Ad astra reply

30/08/2011Folks I'm having an early night.

Von Kirsdarke

30/08/2011Brilliant article again, AA. I wish I had more time to read through the very informative links also provided in the comments, but sadly a combination of work and university don't spare that sort of time. I think the point was put across nicely by Lindsay Tanner. The truth simply has lower ratings than emotional hyperbole. The truth that Pink Batts and the BER were magnificent infrastructure investments that helped keep the economy afloat during the GFC will always have lower ratings than some Coalition MP screaming that Pink Batts will gain sentience, fly out of your ceiling and eat your children. The truth that the Carbon Tax is a very fair and worthy policy designed only to reduce pollution and not to harm households (achieving this by balancing off consumer losses with massive tax breaks) will always have lower ratings than a group of Coalition Senators led by Mary Jo Fisher dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller singing about how you'll be fighting for your life from Killer Gillard tonight. And the truth that this government is probably the most effective and competent one we've seen in a generation will always have lower ratings than the amazing Tumbling Tony who is allowed to say anything he likes, even if it is outrageous or completely contradicts something he said under a minute prior. Going off on a tangent here, that's another thing that I can't stand about Abbott, that he's allowed to say anything without evidence. As a Bachelor of Science student, I can't write a single paragraph in a report without citations. But not even a "How much will that policy cost, Tony?" is uttered by the adoring journalists around him that are supposed to be the 'arbiters of morality and justice' or something as they so pretentiously name themselves. And when Tony ditches them when the questions get a little too hard, they happily totter off to paraphrase every bit of rubbish that he said in their articles, conveniently leaving out the bits when he couldn't stand the slightest inkling of scrutiny. Well, I hope the media are happy that they've bet every shred of credibility they have on Abbott's Coalition, because it looks like the tides are starting to turn. The Government seems to be winning in this whole stoush with the media firing their guns at them over Thompson and now the lies they tried to peddle about Julia Gillard. They would hope that Australia will forget their blatant campaign to try to get the Lunatic Nasty Party onto the government benches, because I certainly won't.

jj

30/08/2011Whilst you are all going on about the tiny little issue of Milne and Bolt, whose comments have been retracted and have been given a flogging by the PM, more important issues have been occurring. Today the ACCC announced that they will not be signing off on the NBN deal due to competition concerns among other things, and have said that major changes need to be made for the agreement to be able to be passed: THE competition regulator has raised "serious" concerns about the critical agreement between Telstra and the company building the National Broadband Network, in a shock blow to the $36 billion project. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has indicated that Telstra's plan to structurally separate its retail and wholesale arms - a key plank of Labor's NBN policy - faces being knocked back and Telstra required to make "important" changes. Among issues worrying the ACCC is an agreement that will prevent Telstra from actively promoting wireless services as an alternative to the NBN network - a measure critics claim is an attempt to stifle competition and prop up the NBN business model. Telstra submitted its separation undertaking in late July, outlining its plan to migrate to the NBN as it gradually ceases to supply fixed-line voice and broadband services over its copper and HFC networks. However in a paper discussing Telstra's undertaking, the ACCC says it cannot accept the telco giant's separation plans in their current form. Its objections could delay reforms essential to the rollout of the NBN. “The ACCC's preliminary view is that the particular structural separation undertaking that has been provided could not be accepted, and hence Telstra will need to resubmit this document in a form that fully complies with the legislative requirements,” the watchdog said in a statement. The ACCC has highlighted concerns about provisions against Telstra promoting wireless services as a substitute for NBN Co's fibre services, and the limitation on the telco's ability to provide cable internet services to customers, as among issues that would prevent its approval of the plan. The ACCC is also concerned that the $11 billion deal between the NBN Co and Telstra for the telco giant to migrate its customers on to the new fibre network could potentially be exempt from competition laws without undergoing further ACCC scrutiny. “The ACCC has serious concerns about arrangements between Telstra and NBN CO that include the parties' ability to vary the arrangements without further scrutiny by the ACCC,” the regulator said. In its discussion paper the ACCC is pressing for more safeguards around transparency and equivalent access for competitors in the lead-up to the rollout of the National Broadband Network. “The ACCC's initial view is that there needs to be a clear and enforceable commitment to an 'equivalence of outcomes' that enables wholesale customers and Telstra's retail businesses to gain access to key input services of equivalent quality and functionality,” Mr Sims said. Telstra said it had been in “productive” discussions with the ACCC for some months and was aware of the issues the commission has raised. “Telstra believes these issues can be resolved in a way consistent with our principle of protecting shareholder value, and the company will continue to work closely with the ACCC to address its concerns,” a Telstra spokeswoman said. A spokesman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told The Australian Online the issue was “entirely a matter for the ACCC”. “The government welcomes the release of the discussion paper and encourages all interested parties to participate in the ACCC's consultation process,” the spokesman said. “I look forward to the ACCC making a final determination on this matter in due course.” UPDATED Annabel Hepworth and Mitchell Bingemann http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/accc-concerned-at-telstras-agreement-not-to-promote-wireless-as-a-substitute-for-the-nbn/story-e6frgakx-1226125493744 If this gets into the media and the deal falls apart the government is stuffed. This is the only area in the community's mind, where the government actually has something positive going for it. This decision today throws another spanner in the works for a government which really cannot afford any more self inflicted wounds. What did Gillard say again before the 2010 election, "I believe in evidence based policy", well if only they had got the evidence and the regulatory backing before they started to spend millions of our dollars!

Sir Ian Crisp

30/08/2011AA, your clarion call to bloggers to rise up and bypass the MSM is proving to be a huge success. Some bloggers have acquired the Robert Kernohan stat dec and have released it thereby thwarting attempts by the MSM to conceal it. More power to the bloggers and let's send a message to the MSM that they shouldn't publish that which they think we deserve to know. [quote] EXCLUSIVE: Robert Kernohan Stat Dec Alleging Severe Misconduct Leaked http://networkedblogs.com/mjQtZ [/quote]

lyn

30/08/2011Hi Von Kirsdarke Thankyou for your excellent comment, also thankyou for popping back into see us at TPS. [quote]They would hope that Australia will forget their blatant campaign to try to get the Lunatic Nasty Party onto the government benches, because I certainly won't[/quote] No I won't forget either Von Kirsdarke, in fact I can remember very clearly the shocking hard time they gave Kevin Rudd, in 2007 they stripped him naked. We have bad Abbott saying anything, doing anything, his lies are going up and up and up. Funny though today: Abbott has spent 12 months walking of in the middle of a press conference, today he said "anymore questions" not one journalist had a question. Funny how karma works. Best wishes to you with your Bachelor of Science studies, we appreciate your comments. Cheers:):):):)

Jason

30/08/2011jj& Sir Ian, The nation breathes a collective “Oh FFS!” then Yawn As One.

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011Jason, Isn't it amusing how the 'Born To Rules' suddenly find it within themselves, when convenient only, to throw their support behind a couple of 'Union Thugs'? Firstly, we had Droog Number 1, Sir Tony Liealot, commending Kathy Jackson for her 'courage' in standing up to the government. Now, we have Sir Ian SICalot making sure we know just what a wonderful human being that Jack Kernohan is, and he is prepared to link to the toilet paper smeared with merde that JK calls a Statutory Declaration about dealings the PM had with a convicted conman. How kind. I imagine though that SICalot washed his hands thoroughly after he typed in the link. Wouldn't want to get up too close and personal with the doings of the hoi polloi now, even at once remove over the internet. Finally, Junior j woodchuck, fresh from his Tamworth National Agrarian Socialist Party meeting, comes loaded with his latest batch of talking points, making massive conceptual leaps with a single bound of youthful enthusiasm for the cause of poking his tongue out metaphorocally at the Gillard government, to impress who here, I wonder? Maybe he cuts and pastes his contributions here back to Menzies House for their amusement. I don't know, I never go there to find out the answer to that question, as I've never been taken with playing virtual games of 'Who can make the Menzies House Sao biscuit the soggiest?', such as jj seems to delight in, or so it seems to me anyway. ;-) Anyway, contrary to jj's assertion that this ACCC/Telstra clash of heads could(he hopes, he hopes) see the NBN fall over, instead, what it seems to me is that Telstra and the ACCC have been in discussions for months and are amicably working together to resolve the issues. One of which appears to relate to equivalence of access of wholesaler competitors to the same things Telstra has access to. Which, if you were a true Conservative, and not an Agrarian Socialist and CINOI, as jj is, you would actually applaud as a means by which a level playing field could be created in the wholesale telco market. However, silly me, I forgot that Latter Day CINOs, like jj, whom I'm sure wears a mean pair of Chinos to reinforce the fact that he is a Conservative In Name Only, well, they're actually centralised, Command and Control Monopolists, and don't actually like competition and a level playing field, instead preferring to use the levers of power to unfairly advantage their mates.

D Mick Weir

30/08/2011NormanK @ 2:00 PM I have been out around the traps until near nine tonight so am catching up with todays comments. Don't know what is going on as I can't find your earlier comment what time was it at? Back to catching up with the rest of today's comments. Will respond further after.

Feral Skeleton

30/08/2011[quote]"Tony Abbott is Australia's first free-trading protectionist". - Craig Emerson on #730Report[/quote]

NormanK

30/08/2011D Mick Weir We had some bother on [i]TPS[/i] today with comments playing hide & seek. Ad astra has very graciously reproduced my earlier one to you and in the mean time I had recomposed it to include some reference to your remarks @ 11.36 AM. As a consequence nothing of mine of any consequence is floating around without a home. I hope you had a successful day.

NormanK

30/08/2011Ahhh. [i]The Australian[/i] newspaper bullied by a politician - who'd a thunk it? [b]Prime Minister Julia Gillard's hand overplayed[/b] by Andre (sic) Bolt [quote]PRIME Minister Julia Gillard's improper pressure to kill a story of public interest has raised questions about her judgement. THE Prime Minister overstepped the line when she called the chairman and CEO of News Limited, John Hartigan. Calls that [b]look like an attempt at censorship[/b] have many sinister overtones, with threats of inquiries and forced sales left hanging in the air.[/quote] http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/prime-ministers-hand-overplayed/story-e6frfifx-1226125924173 If you are in two minds about whether or not to give Andre your click, don't bother. It is standard Bolt - apparently he considered resigning because he felt News Ltd ([quote]this company that I love[/quote]) had caved in to Prime Ministerial pressure by withdrawing Milne's article and thereby had jeopardised free speech in Australia. The article is full of innuendo and outrage. [quote]You may blame News Limited for being weak, but never has it felt so politically vulnerable. Gillard had for weeks exploited Britain's News of the World phone hacking scandal to threaten News Limited with inquiries that might force it to sell some of its papers or address what the Greens called its "bias". Like the News of the World, News Limited is part of the Rupert Murdoch empire, and Prime Minister Gillard, long seething at the critical coverage of her performance by The Australian and The Daily Telegraph, now claimed the Australian papers also had "serious questions to answer". I have not the slightest doubt that Gillard's suggestions of an inquiry greatly worried News Limited, and influenced its overreaction to the Prime Minister's fury these past days. Whether Gillard specifically mentioned the threat of an inquiry in her "multiple" calls to News Limited executives [b]I do not know[/b]. ************************************** Instead, it [b]appears[/b] as if she pulled strings and, with threats of inquiries and forced sales left hanging in the air, sought to shut down a debate.[/quote] Andre sure do love 'is free speech.

psyclaw

31/08/2011Having been computerless for a few days I have just read yesterday's and today's comments....very enjoyable and illuminating....thank you all writers. Ian Your billabong scenario was fantastic. Without construing it in terms of the billabong metaphor, I have been thinking for a month or so now that JG should just focus on bedding down into legislation those tasks that are now well under way. She has introduced more than enough reforms to secure her place in history as a great PM. The NBN, the ETS, National Disability Insurance, MRRT, and the Health and Aged Care reforms are all major renovations and improvements to our infrastructure and life styles. I think it is time just to use a judo approach to Abbott (not necessarily PJK's suggestion...... "he needs a judo chop to his neck" but the thought of that sounds exciting and welcome). By this I mean that she should limit the debate to just allowing Abbott to dig his own holes, (as he continues to do nearly every day), and give him a passing shove of assistance to convey him to the bottom of each hole i.e. by letting Abbott's gaffs be the only thing she gives media attention to. As to her positive agenda, she should now just let the parliamentary processes quietly take care of it; consider the debates over. And as far as further policy development/implementation is concerned, she should just take a holiday at the billabong.

lyn

31/08/2011 [b]TODAY’S LINKS[/b] [i]Branded News , Mr Denmore, The Failed Estate[/i] Real journalism should not be a commercial endeavour at all. It is about the truth. And its value lies in the trust that is engendered between the journalist and his or her audience. Go back to THOSE values http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com [i]Swallow it up, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless[/i] Firstly, The Situation might get photographed in his sluggos again, and secondly when he spenta week away the press gallery realised what a vacuous dickhead he really is and he's been battling http://andrewelder.blogspot.com [i]What a political crisis looks like – 2011 edition, The Piping Shrike[/i] unsurprisingly, involves stunts and media moments and not much else. Over the last few months, this marketing campaignhas taken on an extra momentum, as it becomes less about maintaining the Coalition’s brand but maintaining Abbott in hisleadership role, as the Coalition realises http://www.pipingshrike.com [i]Where is Andrew Bolt?, Matthew Knott, The Power Index[/i] The megaphones power lister and prolific blogger -- Bolt posted 18 entries yesterday – upoadeda cryptic message this morning that read: "No politics until further notice. Principles to weigh up.Faith to keep. Sorry." http://www.thepowerindex.com. [i]News Limited bias — again, again and again. If it’s anti-Gillard, it’s big News…Bugger the truth, Barry Everingham, Independent Australia[/i] Milne is like that blithering idiot in Sydney, Alan Jones, who steadfastly refuses to let the facts stand in the way of making up any story that makes the Prime Minister look incompetent or small or foolish. http://www.independentaustralia.net [i]Scandal, John Quiggin[/i] if the falsehood of the allegation can be proved, the case that News Limited in Australia is playing the same dirty tricks as its UK and US operations becomes all that much stronger, as does the case for treating the entire organisation as a political propaganda/lobbying operation rather http://johnquiggin.com [i]The False Australian, Min, Café Whispers[/i] I was thinking that this was worthy of a topic unto itself.Headline: False Australian article leaves Gillard seeing red http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com [i]Andrew Bolt gets back to politics, Mumbrella[/i] But this afternoon he posted an update saying: “After discussions, I now feel free to speak my mind. So I shall. In tomorrow’s column. I apologise for the mysteriousness, but I did not want to act in anger http://mumbrella.com.au [i]The sweet sound of silence as Bolt gunned down, Clarence Girl, North Coast Voices[/i] UPDATE:The disappointment is profound - Bolt promises to be back tomorrow ;-) http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/ [i]Rare Days Well Received, Neil Cook, The Bannerman[/i] The beauty and/or damnable aspect of the internet being that once published, it remains in the ether forever.For those of us who despise the scribbling of the poison dwarf, today is surely an even better day thanthe one after the 2006 Walkleys. http://www.waddayano.org [i]False Australian article leaves Gillard seeing red, Jeremy Thomson, ABC[/i] But Mr Hartigan this afternoon returned fire, saying Ms Gillard's comments are "disappointing" and "pedantic http://www.abc.net.au [i]The Clash - Paul Howes v Andrew Bolt, 2GB[/i] Ben Fordham presents 'The Clash', between National Secretary of the Australian Workers Union, and the recentlysilenced Daily Telegraph columnist Andrew Bolt. http://www.2gb.com [i]Barrie Cassidy, will offer his suggestions tomorrow in a guest lecture at La Trobe University. Upstart[/i] He is also a past president of the parliamentary press gallery in Canberra, was press secretary to former Prime Minister BobHawke and worked as Washington correspondent for The Australian newspaper during the Clinton era. http://www.upstart.net. [i]The Feral Coalition, Evan Jones, New Matilda[/i] the shadow ministry is replete with airheads, headkickers, crackpots and malevolent (readers can fill in the boxes). Some shadow ministers are competent but are either invisible or content to function as party hacks. http://newmatilda.com [i]Why the debt crisis matters, John Addis, Crikey[/i] Sovereign or public debt is the term used to describe money owed not by a nation but bya nation’s government. It’s the source of the current debt crisis. http://www.crikey.com.au [i]Jones @2GBNews gets it wrong http://t.co/EqGBkM7 #mediawatch #fool, Darin Sullivan, My [R] evolution[/i] he trouble is, Alan that you relayed rumours and falsehoods instead, publicly abused those who were telling the truth, and then for days afterwards insisted that you’d been right all along. http://darinsullivan.wordpress.com [i]Selling the political message: What makes a good advert?, Andrew Hughes, The Conversation[/i] The speed, backgrounds, edits and timing were all good, but if the message itself doesn’t have any credibility then thevarious components will not work for the viewer, regardless. This is because consumers would have stopped paying http://theconversation.edu.au [i]mapping today's journalism, Gary Sauer-Thompson, Public Opinion[/i] An example.. Climate change is real, and anyone who denies it is a liar or wrong - but journalists don't call them on it. The journalist merely reports that x denies climate-change even though they understandthat this a political game being played. http://www.sauer-thompson.com [i]Drowning out the truth about the Great Barrier Reef, New Anthropocene,[/i] Why is it then that commentators in the media such as Andrew Bolt and Jamie Walker consistently take a different view and posit, either directly or indirectly, that all those leading experts are fraudulent, http://newanthropocene.wordpress.co [i]Tony Abbott trips on industry protection, Chris Roubis[/i] A few minutes later, Mr Abbott said: “The Coalition’s instinct is always to defend and extend the role of markets. Protectionist sentiment can’t be shouted down or asserted away — it has to be argued against patiently, rationally http://www.chrisroubis.com [i]Tony Abbott vs. Tony Abbott on manufacturing,Robert Merkel, Larvatus Prodeo[/i] But, hey, it’s Tuesday, it must be manufacturing, and suddenly Tony Abbott is heavy industry’s friend. http://larvatusprodeo.net [i]HELP! Abbott’s fear campaign hits Marrickville!, Climate Action Newtown,[/i] The NO carbon tax protesters are targeting our Federal member Anthony Albanese at 12 noon this Thursday after his comments that last weeks under-attended rally in Canberra was a “convoy of no consequence”. http://climateactionnewtown.org [i]ACMA says telecommunications and media laws in Australia are broken, Derek Barry, Woolly Days[/i] “The constructs for communications and media that worked 20 years ago no longer fit present day circumstances, let alone the next 20 years,’ Chapman said. “These ‘broken concepts’ are symptoms of the deeper change of digitalisation breaking those now outdated http://nebuchadnezzarwoollyd.blogspot.com/ [i]Murdoch expands internal inquiry of UK papers,Mark Hosenball and Georgina Prodhan, Reuters[/i] Lawyers are also examining emails and financial records that might relate to matters under investigation by police, including phone hacking and questionable payments to police officers or other government officials. http://www.reuters.com

lyn

31/08/2011Hi Ad Would you mind putting Greg's article on top of "Today's Links' it just came in. Thankyou Ad. [i]Our media! They couldn't report a PBO in a brothel, Greg Jericho, The Drum[/i] We have for one of the few times in our political history a Government giving up some of its advantage, we have an Opposition that disagrees with aspects of the policy, and we have a policy http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2863372.html

lyn

31/08/2011Hi Ad Here is Laura Tingle today, it is not behind the paywall: [i]Cabinet holds war briefing over News[/i]Laura Tingle, Financial Review [i]Cabinet is considering ways to deal with News Ltd after the publication of a column in The Australian. News Ltd printed a grovelling apology to the Prime Minister[/i]. http://www.afr.com/p/national/cabinet_holds_war_briefing_over_lG8jve06caY71sDgWJOirN

Ad astra reply

31/08/2011LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx Hi Lyn Greg's piece added at the top of the links list.

Ad astra reply

31/08/2011Hi Lyn Thank you for the Laura Tingle link - do you want me to add it to today's links?

Feral Skeleton

31/08/2011Morning all! I hear Andrew Bolt thinks the Prime Minister of this country 'has overstepped the mark' by picking up the phone to Chris Mitchell and John Hartigan in order to alert them to the fact that a slanderous article written by Glenn Milne had gone to press in their newspaper, The Australian? I mean, words fail me. To think of the unalloyed gall of the man who thinks he can use his paper pulpit to pass a character assessment on the Prime Minister of this country, after all she has had to put up with in the last few weeks from this media company wrt Craig Thomson, to say that HE thinks(I mean, at the end of the day Andrew Bolt is just a journalistic grub and low life parlaying his handsome features and way with words into the power to shape the political discourse...which at no time has stopped him being a grub), HE thinks the Prime Minister of this country has 'overstepped the mark' in seeking to get a slanderous story pulled from a Murdoch media outlet, is just the height of arrogance and condescencion. This man, and Tony Abbott, whom they say is the one behind the scenes getting the Murdoch media to do his dirty work for him, are both just getting too big for their boots, and it's about time they were taken down a peg or two hundred. They are not, along with those other 'DitchtheWitch'ety grubs, Alan Jones, Greg Smith, Mike Smith and Ray Hadley, the arbiters of the direction of our democracy, they should merely be players in the field-a level playing field. So, all I can say is, thank goodness for Dr Bob Brown, and reluctantly but at long last, the Gillard government, for finally growing a pair and deciding to stand up to these bullies and launch a parliamentary inquiry into the grubby media (wood)worms that have infected the planks and foundations of our democracy. Let the Opposition and Tony Abbott's bumboys in the Murdoch media do their worst between now and the next election and whilst this Inquiry is being undertaken because they should rightly fear what can be done back to them once Pandora's Media Box is opened and given the best disinfection of all. Sunlight.

Feral Skeleton

31/08/2011The Prime Minister has to remember SHE runs this country NOT the Murdoch media and their bumboy, Tony Abbott.

Feral Skeleton

31/08/2011I found this statement in Laura Tingle's article very troubling indeed: 'While The Australian acknowledged no attempt was made to contact the Prime Minister's office, comment is rarely if ever sought in relation to opinion pieces. This is a widely understood and accepted practice in journalism.' So THAT'S why Murdoch has fostered the cult of the 'Opinion Piece'? No one accountable to no one, no how.

lyn

31/08/2011Hi Ad I think Laura's article may be worth adding, for later reference. This story has a long way to run. Cheers:):):):):)

Ad astra reply

31/08/2011Hi Lyn Laura's piece added to your links.

Feral Skeleton

31/08/2011Gee, the new Liberal Senator for South Australia,Sean Edwards, with his Entitlement Mentality, is a real piece of work: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/sa-liberal-senator-probed-on-use-of-chauffeur-driven-cars/story-fn59niix-1226124867815 http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/ipad/red-faced-over-email-dirty-tricks/story-fn6bqpju-1226124944421

Feral Skeleton

31/08/2011Another 'oops' message, unrelated to anything in particular, 10.20am-10.35am. :(

nasking

31/08/2011[quote]It is standard Bolt - apparently he considered resigning [/quote] Really?...what's stopping Andrew? Too risky? Show might flop? Worried he won't make enuff moolah in the future for the politically biased, dog whistling garbage he spews? Bloody drama queen. As sincere as an Amway salesman. And as big a snore. N'

Ad astra reply

31/08/2011FS Thanks, I caught that too. We will have to do an upgrade in the next few days now that a new version of the blog engine is available. We'll let you know when this is to occur

D Mick Weir

31/08/2011Good Morning NormanK, the dreaded lurgy has come back with a vengance and I don't know if I am Arfa or Marfa today - still checking. I have to ask tho' do you have a special room you go to after you visit the BoltA site? Even I don't go that far down into the sewer. I dips me lid to you and thank you for undertaking dangerous journey's on our behalf.

nasking

31/08/2011Speaking of coded language & dog whistling...it's the Return of John the Font of All Knowledge & Pragmatically Sycophantic: [quote]CHRIS UHLMANN: Which is why you were so keen on the alliance with the United States? JOHN HOWARD: Yes, I believe very strongly that what brings countries more closely together than anything else is our shared values. That is why, despite the economic significance of China - and it is very significant - America and Australia will always be closer than China and Australia because we have shared values.[/quote] Yep, screw the many Chinese Australians here...stuff the fact that many Aussies eat Chinese food, watch Chinese films, shop at various Chinatowns, buy Chinese goods, and like me have a number of Chinese friends, are interested in Chinese news, have tutored students from China, Taiwan & Hong Kong, have shared meals w/ Chinese university students in our unis, know and read comments of plenty of Chinese background social media contributors...or like Rudd actually speak Mandarin...and read occasionally Chinese papers to get a different slant on things, including seeing how the housing boom is going, their policies on climate change & the types of disasters they have to deal with...not to mention reading books from Chinese & Chinese-related authors... we will always be closer to America...according to the Font. Well, won't that please Pauline Hanson & One Nation. And some of the military hardware manufacturers/shareholders & "Gawd! I make can make a ton of money in this private armaments company outa Coalition & Neo-con think tank fear-mongering over China" types. We're on to you Johnny boy. BTW, I reckon China will evolve into a functioning democracy down the road...and only feel the need to go berserker if we get more sh*t stirrers in America like the clown you played deputy dawg to...and cowboys who treat them the way Texans did Mexicans a good long time ago...and sometimes still do. When America has dealt appropriately w/ its neighbours...and created an EU style structure w/ Mexico, Central & Sth America & Canada & Cuba etc...as it eventually must do...then we might see what you call "America" strengthen its reputation & help secure its overall economy...and provide its workers & other participants w/ a real "fair-go"... the EU may seem wobbly at present...but it will adapt and the transition to a cleaner greener, more diversified economy will spread benefits far & wide... until America stops being parochial & stubborn & scared (Fox News?), tears down its walls...and integrates w/ its neighbours, it will only be a shadow of what it could be. Relationships w/ shadows are odd, to say the least. Yes, I watched Lateline too...and the fella from the London School of Yawnenomics. Ali Moore is also good at making guests comfortable. N'

Ad astra reply

31/08/2011Von Kirsdarke Thank you for your kind comments. You are right – the media generally doesn’t demand that Abbott produce any evidence to support his contentions. Unfortunately this is not science; it is raw politics where anything goes, particularly with a media that lacks objectivity and eschews scrutiny of political statements, except of course when it is pursuing its enemies, where the scrutiny is intense and obsessive. It was interesting though to read Paul Kelly’s short piece in [i]The Australian[/i] this morning [i]Doubts increase about Tony Abbott's economic grasp[/i] that opens with “[i]Tony Abbott has intensified doubts about his economic credentials and policy beliefs by leaving open all possible options for solutions to the manufacturing industry crisis.”[/i] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/doubts-increase-about-tony-abbotts-economic-grasp/story-e6frgd0x-1226124930809 It’s a pretty week slap on the hand from Kelly, but it does suggest emerging unrest with Abbott’s weathervane, back-the-horse-both-ways approach, and his ignorance about, and lack of understanding of economics. All strength to your arm with your BSc studies.

nasking

31/08/2011MY QUESTIONS FOR THE DAY If John Howard had served as PM from 2007 rather than 1996 onwards, and tried to pull off the Tampa & children overboard scam now, do you think he would survive nigh on twelve years taking into account the 24 hr news cycle now and the amount of blogs & social network sites & polling & petitions out there compared to the late 90s/early 2000s? Having learnt from Wikileaked documents that some of his Liberal caucus colleagues set him up in the leadership "because they wanted to put him in a position to fail" should Malcolm Turnbull go to the back-bench?...or even transform into an Independent? Can Turnbull in the future win the confidence, or even leadership again, of his colleagues?...or have the Howard, Abbott, Minchin forces ensured that he will always play the part of mistrusted extra? Why did Tony Windsor & Rob Oakeshott decide to back Julia Gillard over Tony Abbott & his party? How much longer will Julie Bishop be shadow foreign affairs minister? Why does Tony Abbott enjoy putting pins in her doll? Turnbull-related link: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/turnbull-plays-down-wikileaks-jibe-20110831-1jkx7.html N'

Ad astra reply

31/08/2011FS, NormanK Thank you for having the strength to visit the Bolt site and report on it for us. My guess is that he is blindingly livid because he thought he had a scoop that would bring down the hated PM and her Government with her; he was salivating at that prospect and all the excitement and juicy copy that would generate, then News Limited executives got cold feet and pulled the plug, leaving him dangling without a story. No wonder he savages them for running scared from a Gillard onslaught. They have let the great man down. They have silenced Australia’s top megaphone from squeezing every last drop from the Milne story. No matter that it was factually inaccurate, who cares about the truth – certainly not Bolt. I imagine this episode has been one of Bolt’s worst moments – mega anticipation of a mega drama as a despised PM falls, mega praise for him for anticipating this mega scoop, mega gloating about his prescience and mega satisfaction at the destruction of a loathsome PM, and what does he get – none of the above and an abundance of egg all over his face. Is it any wonder he is fuming on his blog and laying off the blame for the death of his mega story? His ego is damaged; there must be a therapist somewhere for bruised journalistic super-egos.

Feral Skeleton

31/08/2011Nasking, What about 'The Little Genral Mk II's' self-serving political statement, which sycophantically got a run on the ABC this morning, that Windsor and Oakeshott will both lose their seats at the next election? This from the man whose backside was so Araldited to the PM's chair he thought he could go on winning his seat at election after election forever. 'Cept he didn't, and he took his party down and out in Bennelong all the way to the Opposition benches with him. I mean, has he ever thought that Windsor and Oakeshott's electors might just be sentient enough to be able to see and feel the difference that their support of the present government has made to their lives, and then compare and contrast that with the way their vote was ritually taken nowhere and given nothing in return by the National Party for decades before that, and why, therefore they would want to rush back into that sort of setup? All politics is flux, sure, but that sort of behaviour would exhibit no more in the common sense department than the sheep that they farm for a living. I just don't think a case of the 'Warm and Fuzzies' over being a 'Conservative Electorate' will cut it somehow.

Feral Skeleton

31/08/2011Another new name for Tony Abbott: 'Howard 2.0' :D

nasking

31/08/2011[quote]This from the man whose backside was so Araldited to the PM's chair he thought he could go on winning his seat at election after election forever. 'Cept he didn't, and he took his party down and out in Bennelong all the way to the Opposition benches with him. [/quote] Feral, I have to say I had a good chuckle last nite when Howard made his prediction...remembering how The Font managed to get so much wrong at the end & lose his own seat, and power for the Coalition, as ya aptly mention. Howard is a stubborn fella desperate to create for himself a brill legacy...even if it means he has to throw a truckfull of manure the public's way: [quote]CHRIS UHLMANN: We stand now less than a fortnight away from the anniversary of September 11. Do you think it was a mistake to invade Iraq? JOHN HOWARD: No. CHRIS UHLMANN: What about the fact that we bled then-forces away from Afghanistan? JOHN HOWARD: Oh, that's not a theory I accept because the initial task in Afghanistan had been completed and the Taliban had been routed, and there had been an alliance formed behind Hamid Karzai, so there was reason to believe that the task in Afghanistan had been substantially completed. CHRIS UHLMANN: But clearly it wasn't. JOHN HOWARD: No, but I don't think you can blame the commitment in Iraq for that.[/quote] http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2011/s3306091.htm "Task completed" eh? Sounds to me like "mission accomplished". I imagine another reason Howard wanted people to believe the task had been completed was so they could throw plenty of asylum seekers back to Afghanistan...and say "Look, we stopped the boats". N'

TalkTurkey

31/08/2011With Thanks and a very comradely nod to Burgey on Poll Bludger, here's the link to Andre BumBolt's breathlessly-antici- [b][i]P[/i][/b]ated! farticle: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/prime-ministers-hand-overplayed/story-e6frfifx-1226125924173 A bumbling whinging whimpering rant by a nasty cynical creepy bully, being called at last, by someone (*J*U*L*I*A*) who is his superior in every desirable aspect of humanity, including her hair colour. (K) There are lots of fun comments about BumBolt's nuts coming unscrewed on PB this morning, and meanwhile the Government is at last nearly ready to take on the [i]Merde[/i]och Media's excesses. HOOORRRRRAAAAAHHH! BRING IT ON! It is [i]IGNORANCE[/i], of course, which allows BumBolt to command such a following. Ignorance of Australians on a massive scale, ignorance deliberately nurtured by [i]Merde[/i]och. Educated people just don't behave like Anal Jones or Pigs Ackerman, or Abbortt ftm (See, now they got me doing it. :) )* Educated people? - I don't particularly mean University-educated, just people who have learnt proper manners. Proper manners? Manners maketh Man. It's not a truism. It's a great Truth. Respect others. Hear them out. Expect and if necessary demand that you yourself be heard until you make your point. A principle if necessary to die for. Don't rudely interrupt. Check out Pyne in Parliament! Clever, or witty, or helpful, or germane, or telling interjections are one thing. Pyne's are pathetic. Ignorant people interrupt without ever acknowledging the validity of others' points of view. Then they say "You interrupt too!" when you call them on it, when it isn't true. By the time people are out of their teens, it seems to me, they are either already civilized, or already committed ignoramuses. The latter are thenceforth forever incapable of recognising validity and fallacy in reasoning. That is a great problem. But there are some who, [i]knowing[/i] all that, consciously, maliciously, mischievously and cynically use that knowledge to blind and deafen the masses to the stark realities that are leading to every form of ill on this planet, from famine, through war, to global hotting-up and mass extinctions. BumBolt and Drunken Thug Milne are prime examples. But their Supremo is an Adelaide-born alien-by-choice whom I hope will finally get his reward soon. He's done real well, I guess you'd say. He has dumbed-down the world, and using the ignorance he has created, fomented wars and created misery throughout the world to feed his ego. He is the nearest thing ever to a true-life Satan. He stands counter to all truth. That's why good education is so vital, and why Religious schools are so poisonous, and why Abbortt in particular is so deadly a threat to Australia in particular. What's the Dialectic about? er . . . hypothesis >>>??? antithesis <<<!!! . . . resolution in a new and higher synthesis ^ ! . . . something like that. Well you can't have synthesis if all one side is doing is shouting down those who would create progress. They are Vandals and Goths and Huns, would-be (and [i]actual!) [/i]destroyers of civilization, but these ones do not come from beyond as did the originals, they come from within, though their ideas come from even more sinister sources which are truly global. This is not merely about niceties. It is about conflict resolution (but Abbortt wants to foment conflict of course, as do the others). It is about Truth, because while the loudest sounds around are BumBolt's bum-bolts (gee I'm funny) the quieter voices of good sense can barely be heard. It is about informed public policy. Upon civilized behaviour, based on goodwill and science, depends our beloved planet's survival. Anal Jones, Pigs Ackerman, Andre BumBolt, your deliberate obfuscation of truth and fomentation of hatefulness makes you in my opinion global menaces. I hope my insulting but oh-so-apposite names stick to you like Aralditic poo, and I hope the same stuff gets on Archbigot Pell's knees, and on Abbortt's Opposition bench, until he's finally prised off just at the time *J*U*L*I*A* chooses, in time that is to leave the Coalons running around like headless chooks. With nothing left. *My first preference would be that there were no such hate-spitting ill-willed horrors in the world, but they really do merit my pet names for them, in fact I'm bloody proud of their aptness! Archbigot Pell, good eh? Oh yeah there's a lot that I am not to blame or praise for, Mesma, Puff Adder [ :) !] Sloppy Joe,(I preferred Snotty after one of his TV appearances, but Sloppy it is). They're all good, though they mostly lack the visceral grunt which tend to distinguish mine . . . ;-) but anyway today I proudly announce The Rechristening of Christopher ("The Mincing Poodle") [b]Pyne[/b], ta-daaa!!! [b]"POO-POO"[/b] Pyne (All caps, in recognition of his sterling service to Parliament, in particular Points Of Order.) Swordies might wonder why I'm so nasty. One word: Coalons. Swordies might also wonder what good can come from such as this post. Me too, but one thing, it makes me feel better about the fact that such people exist, and another, I reckon the higher the feelings run now, the more toxic the boil, the sooner it will come to a head and the governemnt can lance it and squeeze the pus like BumBolt out and get some effective antisepsis happening. Well before next election, I hope the Government will have brought the poisoners of our society under the control of decency rules. Won't you just love that, Andre my dear? :) - When the People's freedom to snot you overides your freedom to slander People? This is a bit of a rave, so what, I'm doing a war dance around people such as these, It's Time. Go, the Lass from Yarralumla! Swordsfolks, bloggers elsewhere, do not under-estimate your power. You were better to [i]over[/i]-estimate it if anything. Your single idea or expression (e.g. "the convoy of No Consequence :)) might turn a whole issue around, turn it to mush. And you know of the Horse-Shoe Nail parabolic pome I guess, and right now, on the issue of media concentration and bias, we are the very next line of defenders back from the Gillard Government itself, so though our enemies outgun us as the Israelis outgun the Palestinians, our strength is as [i]more than[/i] the strength of ten, because our cause is just and our hearts are pure, and Truth is our Light on the Hill, and we got the Internet now, nyahh nyahh [i]MERDE[/i]och. :P Hell this post is huge, I got carried away. At least you don't gotta read it. . . though I guess maybe by now you [i]have[/i], if you regret that use of your time, well tough. :) War Drums across Lake Burley Griffin . . . [i] . . . the die is cast, The Hand is on the Blade . . . [/i]

nasking

31/08/2011Something that really annoyed me about Chris Uhlmann's interview last nite: [quote]CHRIS UHLMANN: All the evidence that we have so far is that the Greens are on the rise and certainly they're taking votes from the Labor Party. Why wouldn't that continue? JOHN HOWARD: Well, they've made a couple of fundamental mistakes which have revealed their extreme nature. They have a deep anti-Israeli streak in them which frightens and concerns a lot of people. I mean, we saw the reaffirmation by Senator Rhiannon on her views on that. They have some very way-out foreign policies and way-out social policies. Australians don't like extremists. They don't like extremists in any spectrum of politics, and I think the Greens are increasingly seen as extremists. They didn't do so well in the last New South Wales election, and one of the reasons for that, of course, was this absurd attitude many of them have about Israel.[/quote] Notice how Howard paints all Greens w/ the same anti-Israel brush. He deliberately misrepresents The Greens... we know in fact Bob Brown does not support Rhiannon's Israel boycott. Nor do others. (interesting that Rhiannon was invited on SKY NEWS for a News Ltd ambush this weekend prior to Howard's comments) Anyway, notice how Chris Uhlmann fails to correct Howard, nor mention Brown's view. Suss. Notice that Howard & Uhlmann both ignore the fact that The Greens have taken many stands & come up w/ policies popular w/ many in the electorate...related to: - gas exploration & coal mines on farms...give the farmers power. - DentiCare - fast trains between cities - no to detention centres outside of Australian territory. - examine the failures & cost of the War on Drugs. - have a media inquiry. From their site: - increase funding for services and education for the prevention and early detection of mental illness. - health funding that meets the increasing demands resulting from climate change. - increase incentives for GPs and medical specialists to bulk bill. - increase the number of salaried GPs in order to increase access to GP services. - increase the number of well funded multipurpose community health care centres and services in regional, rural, and remote areas. - increase student places in medical, dental and nursing schools, and allied health courses, to address the shortage of health professionals with commensurate funding for staffing and facilities to ensure high quality training and mentorship programs. - increase the age pension. - reinstate the Commonwealth Dental Health Program to provide free public dental care for older people on low incomes. - increase funding to enhance the numbers, skills and salaries of community health nurses and workers in the aged care sector. - establish a funded scheme to undertake minor home renovations and installation of communication technologies to enable older people to remain in their own homes. - reforming the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) to more accurately address the ability to pay, including substantially increasing the amount paid to low and middle income families; - increasing funding for children with special needs; - expand the Job Education and Training childcare scheme to assist parents who are studying. - provide incentives to workplaces which offer not-for-profit childcare in house and flexible childcare, including ‘childcare credits’, where workplaces assist parents to place children in childcare close to home. - public education infrastructure to be adequately funded for capital works and maintenance to meet the highest environmental sustainability standards and remain in public ownership and control. - invest the money saved from ending public subsidies to the very wealthiest private schools into a national equity funding programme for public schools. - allow full tax deductibility for any aids, devices, special equipment or services which directly assist people with disability in finding and maintaining employment. - provide parents, partners, relatives and friends who act as carers with eligibility for registration as professional carers and adequate support, including income and respite. - provide increased respite care services and facilities, in-home and emergency support, crisis accommodation and a range of supported accommodation options. - adequately resource pathways that support school leavers with disability to make the transition from school into meaningful employment, educational and vocational programs or other community-based activities. - reform the national transport plan and its funding mix to take account of environmental, social and economic goals. - major airports located to minimise social and environmental impacts. - fair compensation paid to those adversely affected by transport infrastructure development. - train services that are competitive with road transport – reliable, safe, fast and inexpensive. - more cycle ways and footpaths to encourage walking, cycling and public transport use in towns and cities to reduce the need for private car ownership and use. Seems pretty non-extremist to me. Short & selective memories on the part of Howard & Uhlmann I guess. And some usual suspect media. But I guess Howard would be embarrassed about his record when it came to age pensions, lack of affordable dentalcare, lack of mental health services & no appropriate disability insurance scheme. Too busy paying for Bush's wars I guess...and political advertising, including WorkChoices mouse pads. N'

TalkTurkey

31/08/2011Nasking, Your ref to Howard's Aralditic relationship with the PM's seat, and mine wrt Abbortt's (plus poo) with the LOTO's, were absolutely unrelated except through the ether! :) Me t'ink it 'MAZING!

Michael

31/08/2011Wednesday Bad Abbott The man who said "never ever" last night gave the man who says "circumstances change" a free pass to reintroduce WorkChoices, though we know from this same man that "the name WorkChoices is dead". John Howard passed the ball to Tony Abbott one more time for good luck. http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/abbott-says-fair-work-laws-unbalanced-20110831-1jl2a.html But you will notice from the last paragraph of that story, above which Shouldabeen pays lip service to workers' conditions, that he says: 'But Mr Abbott said the coalition's policy would be "based on solving problems and not ideology. I think what it will aim to do is solve the problems that businesses have got," he said.' "...problems that businesses have got". Having to actually pay workers reasonable living rates of pay is one 'problem' businesses clearly have had for a long time, or we would never have had unions in the first place. When the Coalition takes government again, whenever that is, we will see the people of Australia punished for ever having elected a Labor Government, and then, perhaps, those same people will realise just how fooled they have been by conservative politicians. Too late, of course.

nasking

31/08/2011TalkTurkey, I think you'll find Feral used the word "Araldited"...I quoted her. You & Feral have experienced synchronicity. :) Enjoyed yer post, keep up the good work: [quote]Swordsfolks, bloggers elsewhere, do not under-estimate your power. You were better to over-estimate it if anything. Your single idea or expression (e.g. "the convoy of No Consequence ) might turn a whole issue around, turn it to mush. And you know of the Horse-Shoe Nail parabolic pome I guess, and right now, on the issue of media concentration and bias, we are the very next line of defenders back from the Gillard Government itself, so though our enemies outgun us as the Israelis outgun the Palestinians, our strength is as more than the strength of ten, because our cause is just and our hearts are pure, and Truth is our Light on the Hill, and we got the Internet now, nyahh nyahh MERDEoch. [/quote] So true. N'

nasking

31/08/2011One last comment re: The Font interview: [quote]CHRIS UHLMANN: You write at the end of your book that Australians are longing for a return to normalcy. JOHN HOWARD: Yes. CHRIS UHLMANN: Why? JOHN HOWARD: Because the experiment of a new paradigm - this hung parliament, this cosmopolitan Coalition - hasn't worked, and I predict at the next election - and I've made this prediction for a long time now - that there will be a clear outcome. I don't think they want the indecision and the influence of minorities that we've had over the last year.[/quote] So, I presume normality for Howard is when one party dominates, such as The Liberals...w/ the help of another party that spoons them, The Nationals. A Coalition of free traders, religious moralisers, war-mongers & social agrarians. Nice. Stuff the fact the present government coalition is made up of a diverse range of people & views...passing useful health, disabilities, education, technology, defense, superannuation etc. related bills... screw the influence of minorities reckons The Font...unless of course they can be opportunistically used & copied for election purposes... One Nation under Howard & Abbott anyone? N'

TalkTurkey

31/08/2011JOHN HOWARD: " . . . this hung parliament . . . I predict at the next election - and I've made this prediction for a long time now - that there will be a clear outcome." TalkTurkey: " . . . that tied Grand Final last year - I predict that this year - and I've made the prediction for a long time now - that there will be a clear outcome." Seems the Lying Rodent and I both have crystal balls. (But his are all cracked and crazed). Recaptcha: PROPHETS xciarri Heyyyyy . . . [i]Wha' ? . . .[/i] :)

NormanK

31/08/2011BMW I hope you manage to shake off the dreaded lurgy in double-quick time. Traipsing over to Bolt's place was my one altruistic act for yesterday. A quick stroll around the garden to admire the first roses of the season and to whisper sweet nothings in the ears of the annuals who are starting to reappear in anticipation of Spring clears the toxins from my system. I did spend some time musing over how Bolt keeps up his level of outrage day after day, week after week. Perhaps he slaps himself around the face with a wet fish before sitting down to his keyboard. Or maybe he puts on Tom Waits' [i]Bone Machine[/i] and attempts to hum along while keeping time by bashing his thumb with a hammer. All the while staring at his screen-saver of Julia Gillard saying 'moving forward' with seventeen different inflections. Whatever his secret is, it certainly seems to work for him. I'm not sure how he clears his mind afterwards though. Perhaps a whale-song CD. Or [i]Nana Mouskouri Sings Donovan[/i]. Maybe [i]The Tabernacle Boys' Choir's Homage to Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage[/i]. That would certainly lift my spirits.

D Mick Weir

31/08/2011NormanK good afternoon, I have just come back from the garden myself after fitful sleep. No roses yet but the the Johnquils are adding a cheery and bright note. The sad news. I have been given by others is that this jurgy hangs around for six to eight weeks. But NK my spirits have been lifted; [i]Frank Zappa[/i]; just the mention of the name of a genius brings joy. Live at Filmore East, Shiekh Yebutti, many in between. Bliss

Ad astra reply

31/08/2011Folks The High Court has ruled against the Malaysia arrangement: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-08-31/high-court-rules-on-asylum-seeker-challenge/2864218

nasking

31/08/2011John Howard thinks The Greens are extremists. Does he think the High Court is extreme too...considering The Greens got the asylum seeker call right? I'm pleased Scott Morrison & Joe Hockey came out and blurted their usual NAURU NAURU NAURU IS THE ANSWER stuff. Words often come back to haunt cocky politicians. Will Tony Abbott be forced to vote w/ the ALP at some point on this issue? N'

psyclaw

31/08/2011As announced an hour ago, the High Court has confirmed the injunction preventing asylum seekers being sent to Malaysia. The full judgements of the HC are at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2011/70.html There are three separate judgements which in essence get to the same conclusion by different paths. The HC said that: • The relevant section by which the Minister is able to assert that asylum seekers can be transferred is s 198A of the Migration Act • The ‘protection’ spoken of by s 198A(3)(a) of the Act refers to protection from refoulement i. e. asylum seekers being sent back to whence they came (at 63) • That protection must be continuing protection, not merely current or transient protection (at 61) • That whether (Malaysia) ‘provides access to protection’ and fulfils ‘human rights standards’ can only be assessed by reference to (Malaysian) domestic law (at 64, 66) • That there must be an OBLIGATION (for Malaysia) to provide access to protection (at 135) And because......... • (Malaysia) is not a signatory to the UNCR convention, and • (Malaysia) is not bound to recognise refugee status by domestic law, and • (Malaysia) does not do registration, documentation, or determination of refugee status (at 132, 249) ..........then there is no obligation for Malaysia to provide continuing access for protection. As a result, the Minister’s s 198A affidavit that (Malaysia) will provide access to protection, which is obligatory under the Act, is invalid. Mere hope, belief, or expectation that (Malaysia) will provide access to protection is insufficient (at 62). It probably remains open for the injunction to be lifted if a new affidavit by the Minister can cure the faults described above.

Feral Skeleton

31/08/2011NormanK, This one's for you: http://soundcloud.com/antirecords/tom-waits-bad-as-me

Feral Skeleton

31/08/2011Can I just say, wrt the High Court's decision today, 'Bugger!' Might I also add that we should be prepared to be swamped by Asylum Seekers of a particular stripe yet again. And no, just because the High Court has upheld David Manne's suit on behalf of the Asylum Seekers, doesn't make him right and the government's attempted solution for the farce that Asylum Seeker boat arrivals to Australia has become, wrong. Sorry, I like my refugees to be all the different nationalities under the sun that are suffering at the hands of their tormentors, not just a select few who have set up a well-functioning network to funnel them into Australia. And no, I do not approve of the Opposition's policies of Temporary Protectiojn Visas, Towing Boats back out to sea, and banishment to Nauru for a Kafkaesque period of Waiting for God(ot), or Tony Abbott's pleasure, on Nauru. All I really want is for our asylum seeker programme not to be abused by the hard of heart Conservatives, or the Bleeding Hearts that seem to support open slather, and definitely not the People Smuggling Business network. That's all. Is that too much to ask people to agree to? And as Recaptcha is my guide, it has reiterated just exactly what has gotten up my nose the most about the whole thing, 'Business'. That is, Asylum Seeking has turned from a cause for compassion into a People Moving Business, whether they be genuine refugees, or no, as I think that is beside the point that is at the heart of this whole murky affair.

jj

31/08/2011Now Swords-men/women, is this latest disaster for the government able to be blamed on the media or opposition? I am sure you will come up with some sort of spin that will either lay the blame on someone else, or put a positive light on it. This is an absolute disaster for the PM! Her credibility is now totally smashed!

NormanK

31/08/2011Feral Skeleton You're a legend! As a bonus, is that Dr John guesting? Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait!! On Malaysia - you took the word right out of my mouth - bugger! Might this be a catalyst for a major re-think? Otherwise they have to go back to the parliament for new legislation. Or convince Malaysia to change its laws - not much chance in a suitable timeframe. jj Gloating is very unbecoming and it will age you prematurely.

Feral Skeleton

31/08/2011NormanK, Very perceptive,NK. Yup, the inimitable Dr John himself, helping his old mate, Waits, out. I can't wait either, just quietly. So much so I have followed Mr Waits on Twitter. Which is where I got the download from. :D

Feral Skeleton

31/08/2011NK, re the Malaysia Asylum Seeker decision. I have just now listened to an interview between Kim Landers and Paul Power from 'The Refugee Action Collective', and something very interesting was said, over and above the usual bromides of 'We love 'em all', and 'Suffer the little children, come unto me(even if they are shaving ;-) ). Mr Power lamented that he thought that the government's aim to seek a Regional solution to the Asylum Seeker problem might now also see a slow down in his group's aim to bring about improved conditions for all refugees in the Asian region. That is, I think he could see a chink of light with the Gillard government's deal with Malaysia that would have seen a start to improving their attitude to refugees in their country, in general. Now, with the decision of the High Court, that has been put in jeopardy. So, now I don't think that I am as much of a hard nut as some have tried to make me out to be because one of the groups intimately involved in this area, and, it seems, without a barrow other than humane and fair treatment of all refugees in the region to push, is on my philosophical side wrt the way I have viewed this issue and the government's attempts to deal with it and find a solution to it. As Chris Bowen himself just said, wtte, "I was proud of the fact that I had designed what I thought was an elegant solution which would have broken the People Smuggler's Business Model, and had given the opportunity for 4000 genuine refugees who did not have the money or the inclination to take a perilous journey on a boat, the opportunity to settle in this country." And so says all of me! :)

Feral Skeleton

31/08/2011jj, Is that the best you've got? Verbally poking your tongue out, schoolboy-style. Oh, I forgot, you're not long out of short pants and we shouldn't expect anything better than that. I suppose you almost wet yourself with joy when you heard the High Court Ruling? Not that you were happy for the refugees, mind you, as I'm sure that 'Tug Boat' Tony's mantra of 'Turn Them Back Out to Sea', is more up your alley. Can't have the supremacy of the Man on the Land upset by these ne'er do wells who may pollute Godzone, huh?

jj

31/08/2011FS, And dump em in Malaysia without any legal protection whatsoever was the policy you supported! I suggest the Government just hand over the reigns to the opposition on this policy, and if they fail, well then there will be no political points to win on both sides. After East Timor and now Malaysia, the public's perception of Gillard's personal ability to get things done that were of her own creation (Mining tax, hospitals, carbon tax all Rudd initiatives) is in total tatters... i think i can hear Shorten swinging some sharpened instrument in the backkground!

BSA Bob

31/08/2011I bang on about this, but one of the most hypocritical aspects of all of this is that once this has died down & Prime Minister Abbott has stopped the boats, the refugees will have to go elsewhere, to places like Malaysia, but that of course will be their business, nothing to do with us. In a less frenetic vein of discourse, what does this mean for the prospect of sending these people to other destinations? Nauru perhaps?

Jason

31/08/2011jj, "This is an absolute disaster for the PM! Her credibility is now totally smashed!" So says some anonymous coward from the seat of New England.

D Mick Weir

31/08/2011I can't wait [b]The Chaser to skewer Australian media on The Hamster Wheel[/b] http://mumbrella.com.au/the-chaser-to-skewer-australian-media-on-the-hamster-wheel-56145 [i]The team behind The Chaser is to put the media under scrutiny in their next ABC project The Hamster Wheel. The Hamster Wheel – consisting of eight half hour shows – is to be a news analysis show, the ABC revealed. It said: “The Hamster Wheel will examine the contemporary media landscape, where everyone from journalists to political fixers is perpetually at risk of spinning out of control.”[/i] Hat Tip: Peter Martin (peter's shared items in Google Reader) kinda like Lyn's Links on Steroids http://feeds2.feedburner.com/PeterMartinPicks

2353

31/08/2011Bottom line on the High Court judgement today - from my point of view - is that the Courts seem to be speaking for the majority of Australians (as per a number of opinion polls) that want to see refugees processed in Australia and only kept in Prison Camps while their quarantine status is checked. I still don't get that the Australian Government can tell where and when the boats leave other countries - but those same countries can't find those responsible for the horrible trade of people smuggling. I also don't get why those that are desperate enough to make the risky trip are the ones punished while others are making a squillion out of the process. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of the policy of both sides of politics to treat humans inhumanly solely on the basis they couldn't afford to arrive here on a 747.

Michael

31/08/2011The regional hub concept for dealing with refugees who arrive in South East Asia from the West and North West of this region of ours, divorced from short-sighted preoccupations about Australia and Malaysia only, IS an elegant solution as Chris Bowen says of it. A hub that takes all refugees that end up in this region, processes them in an humanitarian and respectful manner, and then finds places all around the world where duly processed asylum seekers are seen to be in the 'queue' by the simple fact of their having passed through the hub, is precisely how the situation of displaced people should be handled. Everywhere, actually. The model, successfully established, could have set up mirroring hubs for Africa and Europe, for the United States and Central/South America. Instead of 'edge of town', middle of the Indian Ocean detention sites, the seeking of asylum process could have been streamlined, placed into a set of international conventions, and stripped of danger and abuses. As I have always understood the expressed intentions of Prime Minister Gillard and her government, this was how the "regional hub" to be located in Malaysia would operate upon its full development. That possibility has been derailed, which will more than likely simply return us all, Australians, Australia, refugees, and people smugglers, back to an ad hoc non-process for handling asylum seekers' legitimate search for safety and freedom that puts lives at risk. Did I see an instant's concern for refugees on the 'told you so' smirk across Scott Morrison's face when he was interviewed about the High Court decision? Not so much as a whisker, even though sending refugees to Nauru was just as comprehensively rendered unacceptable by the same decision. In his hurry, and that of other Coalition spokespeople, to score political points over the lives of real people fleeing oppression and danger, there was nothing of compassion, nothing of a real alternative solution, nothing but oneupmanship. Hollow, vicious, dismissive. Rather like the Coalition's Pacific Solution itself.

NormanK

31/08/20112353 It is my understanding that Australian authorities rarely know when a boat leaves Indonesia and certainly never know the point of departure. Sometimes the Indonesian Coast Guard (whatever it is called) spot a boat as it enters international waters and pass the information on. Sometimes the boat itself sends a message to Australian authorities in order to ensure that they are tracked and met. Sometimes, as in last December one gets through the net and makes it all the way to Christmas Island undetected. There are many problems in detecting departures and arrivals. Because they are small wooden boats they don't show up on radar and have to be spotted by direct line-of-sight. An item on one of the current affairs programmes recently highlighted the problems Indonesian authorities face in trying to prevent departures. Since the Indonesian task force was established about six months ago, charged with the job of stopping boats leaving the coast, not one boat has been detected and stopped. It is not as though they chug out of an established harbour , trailing streamers behind them. Helicopter footage shows that the coastline is covered in heavy foliage with a myriad of small creeks that are so numerous that it is almost impossible to police. The smugglers move the point of embarkation all of the time - hiding in the mangroves until dark to depart. The only interventions that have been successful have been those based on informants or surveillance and the venture is brought to an end while they are still on the mainland. In terms of who gets punished, Indonesia has only recently made people smuggling illegal in that country and a large part of the Bali Framework involves tracking the money and punishing the people who are profiting from these enterprises. It is reasonable to assume that more convictions will occur as the teams gain experience and data and warm to their task but as with all black market enterprises as soon as you take one trader off the street, two more pop up to take their place. As for the asylum seekers being 'punished', you and I might have very different views on that. I saw the sending of them to Malaysia as being in the same vein as fining speeding drivers, both for their own good and others who share the same environment with them. I am open to suggestions but as far as I can see the only way to Disincentivise Unsafe Maritime Excursions is to dissuade people from 'wanting' to embark on a boat trip. The alternative is that we welcome them with open arms and turn a blind eye if hundreds of them drown at sea every year. On-shore mandatory detention is one aspect that I have a completely open mi