Whither the Left: Part 2


A new world for the Left

The break-up of the Soviet Union, the Velvet and Orange Revolutions and the Arab Spring show that mass movements can still achieve social and political change, with or without violence. But the capacity of the State is a key factor in such circumstances — whether it has the strength or will to respond with, and maintain force until the movement is crushed and, occasionally, whether the State’s organs of force will continue to support it or go over to the protestors.

Despite its apparent failure, there was a lasting legacy from the student protests of 1968. Some of its issues, such as human rights, became mainstream issues. The New Left rose in the 1970s, a phoenix from the ashes of 1968. The New Left addressed issues rather than overt political change, an idea that had arisen among some socialist thinkers in the 1950s such as Anthony Crossland in the UK, quoted by Frank Bongiorno on ‘Inside Story’:

Ownership of capital now mattered less than who managed it. In these circumstances, the old preoccupation with nationalisation made little sense. Even greater equality could be achieved through progressive taxation and the education system, while socialists needed to turn their attention to what he called “deficiencies in social capital … ugly towns, mean streets, slum houses, overcrowded schools, inadequate hospitals, understaffed mental institutions, too few homes for the aged, indeed a general, and often squalid lack of social amenities.” In an age of abundance, socialists would also necessarily give attention to what would become known as quality of life issues: the environment, culture and civil liberties, “personal freedom, happiness, and cultural endeavour: the cultivation of leisure, beauty, grace, gaiety, excitement.”

The Old Left and many in the working class, however, saw that as a betrayal. It led to divisions within the Left. Many of the New Left were seen as middle class and lacking understanding of the political needs of the working class. But as alluded to in Part 1 of these articles many became, in reality, a new working class — the college and university educated required by the new industrial order to keep it functioning. No longer just an elite to join the ruling class, university graduates were, as much as the old labouring working class, a new intellectual working class who were also wage slaves, their employment just as precarious.

In Australia, the radical Left was marginalised in the 1970s, including some of the more radical unions such as the Builders Labourers Federation (BLF), which was effectively closed down in 1976 after its successful ‘Green Bans’. While radical Left groups remained (and still remain) in existence they were small and mostly outside the mainstream political system.

Within politics, the Victorian Left of the ALP had been the most radical but in the lead-up to Whitlam’s election it was emasculated by a Federal ALP intervention. It was believed that Labor was not electable while that Old Left philosophy was still being pursued and still existed within some Labor policies. The issues then became more about the New Left agenda drawing in voters who were financially middle class (even if, as I keep repeating, many were actually the new working class). Whitlam’s withdrawal from Vietnam after he was elected removed the single biggest issue on which the radical Left had been able to garner wide support.

It was, in my opinion, the approach of the New Left that allowed mainstream left-of-centre political parties to accept the neo-liberal economic agenda that arose in the 1980s. I say this (not having read any similar analysis) because the focus on issues basically left the political system unchallenged.

It was the two oil crises of the 1970s and the associated economic downturns that contributed to the rise of economic rationalism in the 1980s. Thatcher and Reagan adopted the new economics eagerly. After the economic problems of the previous decade, many voters were also willing to accept the approach. The New Left had little to say on the systemic issues but remained vocal on specific impacts of the approach. The Old Left were marginalised or, like the miners in the UK, crushed by the State. And after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 some remnants of the Old Left also lost the bastion of their faith.

Hence we come to my conclusion in Part 1: that economics has come to dominate the political debate.

Hawke and Keating in Australia, Blair in England, and Clinton in America, as left-of-centre governments, operated in this new context — with the view that equity could not be achieved in the absence of a strong economy. The Old Left’s challenges to the whole economic system (capitalism) were but distant cries from the wilderness. The new approach was put this way by Anthony Giddens in a New Statesman article:

… the architects of New Labour offered a compelling diagnosis of why innovation in left-of-centre politics was needed, coupled with a clear policy agenda. In outline, this diagnosis ran as follows: the values of the left — solidarity, a commitment to reducing inequality and protecting the vulnerable, and a belief in the role of active government — remained intact, but the policies designed to pursue these ends had to shift radically because of profound changes going on in the wider world. Such changes included intensifying globalisation, the development of a post-industrial or service economy and, in the information age, the emergence of a more voluble citizenry, less deferential to authority figures than in the past (a process that intensified with the advent of the internet).

Part of the rationale of New Labour in the UK was that a growing economy would allow extra funding for social issues without the need to raise taxes. As in Australia, UK Labour governments had been accused of being high taxing and high spending.

Globalisation of capital, production and distribution was also reducing the influence governments had on their own economy. Many countries could no longer pressure local corporations as major decisions were being made in Tokyo, New York, Detroit and London (to which we could now add Shanghai and Seoul). International organisations such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were additional sources of decision making that could create havoc with the political and economic choices available to governments. As Lauren Langman wrote, international corporations and agencies were increasingly dictating trade policies, tariff rates, investment laws, copy rights, labour conditions, and so on and this is continuing in more recent Free Trade Agreements.

The internet has increased the pace of globalisation. The almost instantaneous movement of capital can impact national economies with governments having little control. Information guiding corporate decisions is also now available almost in ‘real time’. A government going through its normal checks and balances and relying on cabinet decision-making processes can no longer match the speed of corporate and financial decision making. It has become a case of letting the pack run and hoping to influence how or where it runs.

Globalisation, however, has also changed social movements. The internet has created a new public space in which ideas — from the extreme right to the extreme left, and every opinion in between — can be expressed. It can also be used to organise and mobilise groups of similar views, no longer just locally or nationally but on a global scale.

The Zapatistas in Mexico in 1994 was one of the first movements to make full use of the new technology, fighting the Mexican government not just with arms but with information spread around the world, leading to the creation of solidarity groups in many countries as well as throughout Mexico. Perhaps because of the international attention they generated the Zapatistas have continued to this day to maintain autonomous areas in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

The anti-globalisation movement (Peoples’ Global Action) from late in the 1990s also used the internet to create a global response and mobilised protests at WTO and G8 meetings around the world. At a WTO meeting in Seattle in 1999 about forty to fifty thousand protestors shut down the city centre and disrupted the first day of the meeting. Police eventually responded with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. At the G8 meeting in Genoa in 2001 the total protest group was estimated between 150,000 and 200,000. The first group of about eight to ten thousand marching towards the barricades around the G8 meeting place faced an unprovoked attack with tear gas by police, which started the battle that followed. The police response was heavy-handed, drawing no distinction between the more violent Black Bloc (anarchists) and non-violent protestors. One person was killed. A school where some protestors were staying overnight was raided and people severely beaten. Like the 1968 student protests, it was met with the force and violence of the State and is now called the ‘Battle of Genoa’.

Governments, aware of these developments, have at different times attempted to create forms of internet censorship which, so far, have been resisted. Recent revelations have shown that, instead of censorship, massive monitoring of the internet has been the response of security agencies. Spying and force remain the State’s main control mechanisms and that hasn’t changed since Machiavelli’s time.

Despite the changes in the world, the vision of the Left retains its emphasis on people and equity. It rejects the purely economic approach and the economic rationalist idea of ‘trickle-down’ economics, which mistakenly believes that if the rich get richer everybody benefits.

It could be said that one difference between the New Left and the more radical Left is that the New Left accepts equity as a goal whereas there is still a stronger element of equality in the radical Left.

Similarly, both believe in the involvement of people but perhaps the New Left believes more in terms of social movements to influence politics whereas the more radical Left still believes in control by the people, that is, the people being in a position to make decisions and not merely influence them.

The New Left tends to be more about human rights and the rights of marginalised groups and minorities. The Old Left often had a more communal focus, with its emphasis on collectives, cooperatives and so on. I believe there is still space for both, or at least space for that debate to continue as new economic models are required for the future.

The New Left focuses on issues of equity and quality of life. The more radical Left still yearns for political change but with the collapse of communist governments has been less certain of the approach until the success of the Zapatistas. The democratic socialism of Venezuela and, to a lesser extent, Bolivia and Ecuador, was also influenced by, among other factors, the Zapatistas. It could be said now that ‘people power’ is back on the agenda.

Some of the more radical Left movements arising in the 1980s had focused on ‘autonomy’, rejecting any political system and creating loosely woven local groups. They did not believe in creating political networks and so also tended to operate independently. The main difference with earlier Left groups was that they gave much greater emphasis to individual self-determination: they rejected the New Left’s emphasis on social issues just as the New Left rejected their individualism.

How the Left should now approach economics is an open question. Other than the three South American countries adopting forms of twenty-first century democratic socialism, capitalism now dominates, including in the former Soviet Union and China (even if in China it is a form of State-directed capitalism). It has become more difficult for the Left to point to any functioning alternative economic system. The effort to challenge the economic system, if it exists at all, often aims more at ‘capitalism with a heart’ rather than open attacks on the system.

One avenue that may lead to consideration of alternative economic systems is in the debate about climate change, although at present much of that debate still takes place in the context of a capitalist market system.

There is, however, also a movement considering ‘Gross National Happiness’ (GNH) rather than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measurement of economic progress, an approach adopted by Bhutan in 1972. This is not a crack-pot movement but includes academics, economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, and the United Nations. Even the OECD has issued guidelines on measuring well-being. The penny is beginning to drop that our current economic system, which relies on perpetual growth, cannot continue indefinitely into the future. This provides fertile ground for a new approach to economics by the progressive and Left elements in politics.

An agenda for the Left in this new world needs to draw on elements from all of these: some aspects from the radical Left, some from the New Left, and some from the social movements that are arising around climate change, anti-globalisation and the GNH approach.

The Labor Party in Australia should also draw on these, although in the chase for government the more moderate positions are likely to prevail. That does not mean, however, that more radical positions should not be debated, particularly on Left-leaning websites and even among Labor party members. As I have pointed out in these articles, a radical stance may not achieve all that it intends but it can create small shifts along the path. Human rights may not have become a dominant mainstream issue without the student revolt of 1968!

Part 3 to follow: Gross National Happiness, people power and Labor

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TPS Team

5/03/2014Last week, Ken Wolff gave us an insight into the political stories and struggles of the 1960s and 70s: a potted history of the revolutionary period and the emergence of the Left from that time. In a mixture of the political and the personal, Ken explored his political ‘moulding’, while reminding us of the game-changing events that shaped the views of a generation. (If you haven’t read the first part of this trilogy then please do so.) This week in ‘A new world for the Left’ Ken builds on that history and develops an analysis of the lasting legacy (not always readily apparent) that came out of those turbulent times. Part of that legacy was the fracturing of the Left and in some ways the loss of direction or sense of cohesion that affected some of its different configurations. Ken describes the genesis of the Left in economic terms and how the view that equity could not be achieved without a strong economy came to dominate Left thinking. This was the way of New Labour. Ken also examines the rise of global corporatisation and the impact this has also had on ‘the new Left’. Part 2 of the trilogy presents a grounding for the vision that will follow in the final part. The trilogy is recommended reading, and we welcome, as always, your comments.

Ad Astra

5/03/2014Ken Your erudite follow-up to Part 1 of 'Whither the Left' makes thought-provoking reading.  You have studiously analyzed the evolution of thought of those on the Left and have drawn a distinction between the thinking of the Radical Left and the more moderate New Left, the 'progressives', to which I suspect many who comment here belong. The debate you encourage is one in which contemporary Labor ought to be involved.  At present, it seems to be struggling to present to a disinterested electorate a unified political philosophy and a cogent narrative.  Having become addicted to the simplistic yet effective slogans of the Coalition, voters want something similar from Labor, something they are unable yet to provide. Labor's 'focus on jobs' is the nearest we have seen to a meaningful mantra, but it needs refining (and made market-ready) so that it intuitively appeals to the masses.  It needs to have the potency of 'axe the tax' and 'stop the boats'.  Other elements of Labor's message, such as 'equity' and 'opportunity' too need development into memorable mantras.  While those interested in political philosophy and ideology need a cohesive 'narrative' to debate, it seems as if the average voter prefers simple messages, even simplistic ones.  If that's what is needed, that's what Labor must provide to counter the Coalition's highly successful use of appealing slogans and mantras. You have given us a foundation to underpin a debate on Labor's core values and intent.  Our readers can take up the discourse, but most of all Labor's key thinkers need to separate themselves from the turmoil of daily politics to rethink and redefine Labor's  core values, to construct appealing frames, and to develop market-savvy mantras to match the tiny attention span of so many voters just as the Coalition has done so successfully, and to market these aggressively and continuously to the public.  We are not talking about the output from an academic retreat of earnest men and women, although this may be a precursor; what Labor needs is the distillation of simple, understandable and most of all attractive  messages from such a gathering, which the people can assimilate into their thinking and action. Labor and it's leaders had better wake up soon.  The caravan is moving fast.  The global economy is influencing us all.  Unless Labor rethinks and considers other models such as 'Gross National Happiness' as an alternative to the growth-obsessed concept of Gross National Product, the caravan may disappear out of sight. Thank you for provoking such an essential debate.  Now we await Part 3.

jaycee

5/03/2014Very well developed arguement, Ken...I have to agree with your slant, which being more in sympathy with the "old Left"..for while the New Left seems to be playing populist catch-up with a kind of cosmetic humanist approach, it also seems all too ready to ditch some core principles if the going gets too tough. The Old Left, which I see as a Marxist Left, being more prepared to strengthen the foundations to build a stronger / fairer society. I do suspect China, in going down the "capitalist" path is responding somewhat to the failures of the Soviet Union in holding too tight a grip on the populace. By letting off some slack, but keeping control of the rope, I suspect they are hoping for a highly regulated capital-based growth society, that will economically enrich without creating oligarchs aplenty.....I don't like their chances though! Well done..I look forward to the next installment.

Ken

5/03/2014Ad Yes, the point is that Labor needs to take a new direction, going back to its left roots. Labor once had more radical left elements as well as progressives and its right. Along the path from the '80s, the right has ascended to dominance, the radical left has almost disappeared, and New Left elements, while still there, were somewhat pushed aside by the politicking of the right (which they thought was essential to be elected). Labor still needs an element of radicalism to keep internal debate honest. They may not go to an election with radical policies but it is more likely to mean that the policies thay do have genuinely come from a progressive or left perspective, not from a right perspective. And yes, framing of the message will be necessary. But that's what they have political advisors and public relations firms for. I will admit that I was always somewhat worried about the advice and pr advice that Gillard had - so the quality of that advice is vital and that is something we can't control.

Ken

5/03/2014jaycee thanks for the comment. As I replied to Ad, there is a need for radical views to still be around within Labor thinking - to keep it honest from a left perspective and not go to the dark side (the Right). I refer to the Old Left or the radical left, rather than the Marxist left because there were also the Moaists and, early on, the Trotskyist left. Part of the problem in those days was that the left bogged itself down in debate about the philosophical merits of the different approaches. That was where the students of 1968, and even the New Left, moved forward. But the radical views, by whatever name, still have a role to play in influencing policy. I think the Old Left was most effective when it worked with people, as the BLF did with the Green Bans, as communist union leaders did. My father, as a life-time union member, always used to say that it was the communist union organisers and leaders who did most for their union members - partly because they weren't concerned about being elected to government. Labor arose from the unions so getting Labor elected was, and is, a continuing issue for many union leaders, sometimes to the detriment of the workers.

Casablanca

5/03/2014 Senator Ludlam welcomes Tony Abbott to WA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtqrfiEV8Gs This 7m video has had 107,000 hits so far. The Australian Greens 1 hour ago After the amazing response to this speech, Senator Ludlam will be having a Reddit AMA tonight - 6pm in WA, 9pm EDT www.reddit.com/.../ Scott Ludlam blasts Tony Abbott in final speech before WA byelection Oliver Laughland Greens senator attacks ‘blundering and technically illiterate’ government in seven-minute speech to almost empty Senate. Greens senator Scott Ludlam has used his last speech in the Senate before the Western Australian upper house byelection to deliver a stinging rebuke to the Abbott government. Ludlam’s address, sardonic at times, straight at others, and delivered to the senate at 10.08pm on Monday in a near empty house, lasted only seven minutes but covered a broad range of policy areas. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/05/scott-ludlam-tony-abbott-speech-wa-byelection

jaycee

5/03/2014I posted this as comment in The Guardian on the Ludlum speech..I posted it here in the end of the last thread..I suppose it won't hurt to post it in this thread. For three years we, the public, witnessed the Abbott oppn's frenzied passions of impotence thrash and trash our parliament , blind hate and anger in the face of moderation in Labor governance...finally gaining power after a gluttony of media feeding and inflaming. The cruel irony of now having to view the sneering, vicious vengeance of such impotence from the LNP. ,as it enacts it's owner's demands, again greedily assisted by the same owner ; Murdoch in the MSM.... showing the disdain they feel for NOT being excised from their favoured position in the press-gallery, that now allows them to pursue even MORE vigorously their campaign of absurd hatred against what was a perhaps too lenient Labor govt' .

Patriciawa

6/03/2014Ad Astra - thank you. I tried to say something like this to Bill Shorten on his phone hook-up here in WA this evening, as did another woman. He seemed not to understand our questions to him about Labor developing more 'sensitivity' around issues like asylum seekers which really do pre-occupy a lot of us life-long lefties. It's heart-breaking to see senior ALP people on media panels saying nothing, or even agreeing with government speakers on the Manus Island scandal. [i]Unless Labor rethinks and considers other models such as 'Gross National Happiness' as an alternative to the growth-obsessed concept of Gross National Product, the caravan may disappear out of sight.[/i] What's wrong with facing up to having made bad decisions and now needing to re-think our position on things like border protection?

Michael

6/03/2014Labor is in danger of thinking they can coast back to government on the evidence of a manifestly ultra-conservative and essentially incompetent Abbott gumnint. They appear to think the same vocabulary that coined "illegitimate government" and "bad government" and put Abbott into power in apparent voter despair at Labor's in-house shenanigans can be turned around (to the Left a smidgin?) and have Abbott and co dumped for ineptitude, 'surprise' policies and turnabouts, and daily re-writing of events (see Fiona Nash remaining a Minister of the Crown). Well, beg to differ, guys. Labor was rolled by a more efficient public-gulling machine in September. That can happen all over again next time around unless the gumnint hits a really huge, historically relevant, wall. If the current 'not very good, but not desperately bad' (in the wider public eye, not mine) plays out over three years, then the 36 months of 'the devil you know' familiarity will most likely return the Coalition to government. Trimmed, I expect, but still with a Lower House majority. This gumnint is crap. The current polls suggest a majority of Australians share this view. But there are still 2 and a half years to go for all the levers to be pulled and the powers behind Abbott to remain at work and keep him in office. We've seen this often enough in Australian politics (FFS, how many times was Howard re-elected?) to know that an Opposition has to fight to win government, for all the nostrums about "Oppositions don't win, governments lose". Abbott fought dirty, Abbott fought vile. And he won. Labor need not emulate (should never emulate) his lies and vicious sanctimony, but as the major party in opposition, it needs to gear up to take government and be a government. Abbott's taken government and has no idea, nor the personnel (including himself), to truly be a government. But that won't necessarily see his gumnint voted out, not with all the powers and influence that want Conservatives in control. Labor has to work to be what Abbott's mob could never be all the years they claimed they were "'election now' ready" and have shown since the election they are not - an alternative government that can do the job from Day One even if Day One is tomorrow. The Coalition won't fall over far enough for them to do the job for Labor to coast back into power. Maybe after 9 years, or 12, yes, just because governments get old and electorates get bored. But not in 3. As bad, as self-enamoured, as self-congratulatorily incompetent as Abbott's mob are, they have the numbers to shore against only being there one term. Unless Labor convincingly brings Australians on board to kick them out.

jaycee

6/03/2014Agree, Patwa....surely that is why you change leaders..to go in a new direction...even this Thomson affair..it seems Thomson was found guilty of fraud for $6250.00..not the half million or whatever claimed!...talk about a pogrom!.... God it's horrible!..these post Gillard days...bloody horrible.

jaycee

6/03/2014Has anyone else noticed that leaders of LNP. govt's adopt a persona of "bumbling fool"?....could it be that they are playing to their voters..: their audience?....Howard projected (along with a rubbery bottom lip) a look of "I'm going to cry" petulance whenever he delivered some bastardry...Abbott has the look of controlled demetia as he repeats his opening sentence or words, interspersed with nodding head or open-mouthed-glassy-stare... The question is : Have they been coached or does it come natural...oh, hang on...there's Warren Truss!!?..........nah..must be natural !

Ken

6/03/2014well said Michael Yes, oppositions can also lose elections, eg Hewson and Latham both lost elections that were there to be won (leading to bigger swings against the government the next time - but that's another story). Even going back to Whitlam. Yes, the Liberal-Country Party government had been in office too long but the ALP then didn't just wait for it to die, they took a raft of new policies into the election that would take Australia in new directions and began implementing them immediately they were elected with the two man Whitlam-Barnard ministry. Labor needs to understand their own past and that the voters generally will accept change when it is good change or they can understand the need for change. And as you say Labor will have to work to win the next election; it won't just fall into their lap.

Casablanca

6/03/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Thursday, 6 March 2014: 32 items ENTITLEMENTS + FIDDLES +RORTS + SUBSIDIES 1. Furnival affair exposes the advisers' 'accountability black hole' as a myth Richard Mulgan The recent case of Alastair Furnival, the former chief of staff to Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash, raises interesting issues about the role of ministerial staffers and the nature of conflict of interest. The Health Department published a healthy food ratings website that was developed by state and territory health departments and approved by their ministers. Nash and her office then intervened: Furnival instructed an official in the department to take the website down. The official refused but the website was later removed and the official was relieved of responsibility for that area http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/furnival-affair-exposes-the-advisers-accountability-black-hole-as-a-myth-20140301-33t5g.html INDUSTRY WARS 2. Qantas can bleed now or later, but capacity war must end Richard Holden Tony Abbott has thrown a curve ball at Qantas in refusing to offer up the debt guarantee it wanted, but seeking to abolish Part 3 of the Qantas Sale Act in its entirety. This opens the door to foreign… http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-phtijiy-trhltityg-f/ 3. Nothing short of a debt guarantee will save Qantas Sam Wylie Imagine that Virgin Australia was majority owned by a Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE). Then, if the owners of Virgin tipped A$350 million of new equity into the company to sustain Virgin through a… http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-phtijiy-trhltityg-z/ CULTURE WARS 4. Income and wealth inequality: how is Australia faring? Peter Whiteford Australians like to think of themselves as egalitarian, and for much of our history we believed our income and wealth was spread around evenly. For many years, the world also shared that view. As early as the 1880s, visitors remarked on Australia’s relatively equal distribution of wealth, the lack of visible poverty, the country’s generally comfortable incomes and its relatively few millionaires... The most recent figures for OECD countries, from around 2010, show that Australia is the 11th most unequal of the 34 OECD members. Australia has only ever briefly been below the OECD average Gini coefficient: just as the mining boom started in 2003..... So, was Australia actually never particularly equal? Or have we become more unequal more rapidly than other countries? http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-phtijiy-trhltityg-k/ 5. Students' own low expectations can reinforce their disadvantage Nicholas Biddle Where do you expect your life to be in a year’s time? Will you still be in the same job? Will you have completed that PhD? Will you be in the same house or even have the same partner? Your expectations are likely to be formed in part by aspirations or what you would like to occur and the constraints that might get in the way. Constraints may be internal or external and all are assessed with a fair degree of uncertainty, which increases as the time horizon expands. Tying expectations and aspirations together is the concept of self-efficacy or “people’s beliefs in their ability to influence events that affect their lives”. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-phtijiy-trhltityg-u/ POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 6. Scott Ludlam blasts Tony Abbott in final speech before WA byelection Oliver Laughland Greens senator attacks ‘blundering and technically illiterate’ government in seven-minute speech to almost empty Senate. Greens senator Scott Ludlam has used his last speech in the Senate before the Western Australian upper house byelection to deliver a stinging rebuke to the Abbott government. Ludlam’s address, sardonic at times, straight at others, and delivered to the senate at 10.08pm on Monday in a near empty house, lasted only seven minutes but covered a broad range of policy areas. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/05/scott-ludlam-tony-abbott-speech-wa-byelection 7. Senator Ludlam welcomes Tony Abbott to WA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtqrfiEV8Gs This 7m video has had 107,000 hits so far. 8. Welcome to WA, Tony Abbott Senator Scott Ludlam Transcript of Senate address http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/welcome-to-wa-tony-abbott,6246 9. The TPP explained: Why Abbott and Robb will happily sign away our rights Dr Matthew Mitchell Despite the Trans Pacific Partnership almost certainly being against Australia's interests, Tony Abbott will still sign it just for an ego [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-tpp-explained-why-abbott-will-happily-sign-away-our-rights,6245 10. Tony Abbott has that rare ability to be incredibly stupid Carol Taylor Tony Abbott keeps raising the bar of stupidity. His speech last night at a timber industry dinner lauding timber workers as “the ultimate conservationists” brings home the gold medal. Corinne Grant provides a wonderful take on this superb performance: It’s… http://theaimn.com/2014/03/05/tony-abbott-has-that-rare-ability-to-be-incredibly-stupid/ 11. Abbott is the Most Moderate Prime Minister In the History of Australia. rossleighbrisbane At first it was easy. Bernardi, Joyce and Pyne have always been a satirist’s dream. You just have to repeat what they’re saying and most people laugh and tell you that you have a marvelous control of irony. And since… http://theaimn.com/2014/03/05/abbott-is-the-most-modest-prime-minister-in-the-history-of-australia/ 12. Abbott gets a little help from his sister in the family debate Michelle Grattan Tony Abbott has moved on from John Howard when it comes to the family...As Liberal MP Ewen Jones walked out of the Coalition parties meeting, Tony Abbott gave him a pat on the back and some praise. “Well said,” the PM told the Queensland backbencher. Jones had just delivered a strong defence of non-traditional families, after right wing South Australian senator Cory Bernardi commended a weekend article by Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews. Andrews' article stressed the importance of keeping marriages together and defended the government providing couples with a $200 voucher for marriage and relationship counselling. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-phtijiy-trhltityg-yu/ 13. Why Abbott must rethink penalty rates Peter Strong If the government honours its election promises, there could soon be a major change in workplace relations in this country. As part of this change, a cut to penalty rates is needed to breathe life into small businesses and communities across the country. When Tony Abbott and Senator Eric Abetz announced their workplace relations policy in May last year, Abbott said: “These are incremental, evolutionary changes to improve a system based on practical problems not on some kind of ideological preoccupation”. This is what small businesses need: A system that is practical, not one based on the ideology of the Left or the Right or the needs of big business and unions. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/5/australian-news/why-abbott-must-rethink-penalty-rates 14. Those scary DSP numbers aren't so scary after all Greg Jericho The record number of people receiving disability support seems alarming ... until you take into account Australia's growing and ageing population. For a long time equality and growth have been treated as opposite. To have more of one you needed to sacrifice some of the other. A recent study by the IMF challenges this notion, and instead argues that sustainable long-term economic growth needs equality. Ironically, this was released the same week that the Government announced it would to be targeting the most vulnerable in order to cut the budget. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-05/jericho-disability-support-pension/5297540 15. Qantas and job losses: the reality of union decline must be faced Elizabeth Humphrys and Tad Tietze The social weight of unions is a pale shadow of what it was for most of the last century, when they were a central part of Australian life. What went wrong - and what next for workers?... As Alan Joyce announced the cuts, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) was holding a major organising conference. Summing up the message from top union leaders, ACTU president Ged Kearney told delegates, “we want all Australians to live in a country that has a strong economy that works for everyone, not just big business, a country where you can have a secure job and make a decent living”. To win such a society unions must redouble their current efforts, because “together and united — and organised — we can achieve great things”. Step back a moment from such lofty sentiments, said by hard working union officials deeply committed to improving the lives of their members, however, and the problem becomes apparent. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/05/how-relevant-are-australian-unions?CMP=ema_632 16. An Act of foreign ownership trickery Michael Janda While the Government grapples with Qantas, it should also look at tightening a loophole in the Air Navigation Act that Virgin has been more than happy to exploit http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-05/janda-an-act-of-foreign-ownership-trickery/5299048 17. Much at stake in Western Australian senate election John Warhurst The West Australian senate election will be staged again on April 5. There has never been anything like it in Australian political history and it is like having a senate by-election. The result will be important for several reasons. Yet the emphasis on the recount, followed by several inquiries into the 1370 lost votes and then the Court of Disputed Returns, has distracted attention from what actually happened in this part of the federal election last September. In short, the conservative side of politics, though fractured, did very well as it did just about everywhere else. Labor and the Greens did badly. The Coalition had three candidates elected but, decisively, a fourth centre-right seat went either to the Palmer United Party (first count) or the Sports Party (second count). Labor won two seats first time around but only one in the second count when the sitting Greens senator, Scott Ludlam, was re-elected. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/much-at-stake-in-western-australian-senate-election-20140305-347e6.html 18. Rupert’s reporting instructions on Abbott's disastrous first six months Alan Austin Alan Austin is endeavouring to verify the authenticity of a leaked internal News Corp's memo, believed to have been sent from Rupert Murdoch’s chief of news [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/memo-on-abbotts-disastrous-first-six-months-ruperts-reporting-instructions,6247 ECONOMICS + BUSINESS 19. Public hospital efficiency gains could save $1 billion a year Stephen Duckett Public hospital spending has been the single fastest-growing area of government spending over the past decade. As governments, policymakers and economists put health spending under the microscope, it’s… http://theconversation.com/public-hospital-efficiency-gains-could-save-1-billion-a-year-23779 20. Abbott's still dancing on Labor's grave Rob Burgess The government's apparent lack of action on Qantas is part of a broader strategy to wedge Labor at every turn and continue to lump it with blame for the nation's economic woes... The Abbott government is nothing if not ambitious. Day by day, as commentators scratch their heads over the government’s economic plans, a deeper political strategy is emerging that would make Robert Menzies blush. The small coterie of MPs and advisers comprising the Abbott leadership team seem to be laying the groundwork for an epic run in office. That strategy begins with an extended period of fixating on the Labor Party rather than the economy.... This strategy is rewriting the political rules. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/5/national-affairs/abbotts-still-dancing-labors-grave?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=601643&utm_campaign=kgb&modapt= 21. Six months on, it's time Labor got off the floor Jack Waterford Leaders and members are not noticeably taking stock, analysing what went wrong, or working to develop new policy or positions more likely to appeal to voters. Nor are they bothering to defend old positions, or even continuing ones. Occasionally, one or so can be roused to try, fairly unavailingly, to take advantage of some carelessness by the new regime, by asking a question or making some facile point before subsiding again. When the response is some slogan, or reminder about Labor's fall from electoral grace, no one in Labor seems to know what to do next. The malaise can be seen in the apparent lack of conviction accompanying a host of tactical positions - short or long term - that the Labor leadership has adopted. It has decided to resist (with the Greens) efforts to abolish the carbon tax. But it makes no effort to explain why. Nor is it involved in any continuing dialogue with the public (or the Parliament) about the need for action to do something about climate change. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/six-months-on-its-time-labor-got-off-the-floor-20140304-345dl.html 22. Politicians must change if they are to earn our respect John Fien Instead of using anger and hubris, politicians should be respectful, dignified, and fair-minded if they want to win back disillusioned voters. There is a chronic leadership malaise in Australia, with many voters disillusioned by leaders who seem to put party interests and the wishes of their close supporters ahead of the wider social good. We have just lived through a decade of negative politics in which playing the man or woman, not the ball, and black and white (rather than informed) debate are the norm. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/politicians-must-change-if-they-are-to-earn-our-respect-20140304-343f6.html#ixzz2v4FBPLDS 23. Facts are futile in an era of post-truth politics Gay Alcorn February 28, 2014 A few days ago, columnist Andrew Bolt was furious about the abuse of Tony Abbott...This bile was horrific and ''must end'', Bolt wrote. ''Much of the abuse of Abbott is brutal, threatening, crude … and too often licensed by the Leftist media.'' It was hard to know whether to laugh, cry, or slump in despair.... But Bolt - and he's far from alone - is so one-eyed that for him to reflect without a partisan swipe that Julia Gillard was subjected to demeaning, sexist, brutal abuse for much of her prime ministership - not just ''licensed'' by some in the media, but perpetrated by highly paid conservative media personalities - was impossible. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/facts-are-futile-in-an-era-of-posttruth-politics-20140227-33m70.html#ixzz2v4GBly3F GENDER ISSUES 24. Forget Oscar Pistorius – what's really on trial here is misogyny Zoe Williams It is not just South Africa that has a case to answer when it comes to pathetic punishments for men's crimes against women... there is meaning in this trial: misogyny is on trial; violence against women is on trial; guns are on trial. Drawing a comparison with the killing of Trayvon Martin, the Nation journalist Dave Zirin makes a subtle, thought-provoking point about gated communities themselves, the way they have "become throbbing pods of paranoia and parabellums"; in which reading, even if this is judged accidental, inequality itself is on trial. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/04/oscar-pistorius-misogyny-trial-south-africa?CMP=ema_632 ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 25. China can't smother growing public demands to clear the air Yanshuang Zhang Beijing has once again experienced extremely poor air quality, in what is becoming a regular event for the Chinese capital and other parts of the country. But has anything changed since the last “airpocalypse… http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-phtijiy-trhltityg-p/ 26. The rise and fall of polluter villains Tristan Edis With the release yesterday of the 2012-13 National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting data we now have five years worth of history on what’s been happening with various corporate groups’ greenhouse gas emissions....the vast majority of corporates have experienced little change in their emissions but there are some notable tails at each end where some companies have experienced a large increase, and also a number that have seen large decreases. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/4/energy-markets/rise-and-fall-polluter-villains ASYLUM SEEKERS + THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE 27. Hate is not a dirty word Michael Gawenda It is strange and unsettling to be in the position where it is possible to be accused of defending racists and neo-Nazis, but so be it. Tim Soutphommasane, the Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner, has delivered a spirited defence of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, warning that the elimination of section 18C could license racial hatred and could “unleash a darker, even violent side of our humanity which revels in the humiliation of the vulnerable.” These are serious possibilities and they cannot be dismissed out of hand. There is ample evidence to suggest, not just in terms of history, but in the contemporary world, that there is indeed a darker and violent side to human beings that in the ‘right’ circumstances, can lead to unimaginable evil. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/5/politics/hate-not-dirty-word MEDIA + BIAS + GROUPTHINK 28. Media tell only what they think we can handle Sally Young The relationship between the media and power is wonderfully encapsulated by the front-page headlines that appeared in Le Moniteur, the official French government daily, in the month of March 1815. During that month, Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from his exile on the island of Elba and launched an extraordinary campaign that began with recapturing France, and ended on the battlefield at Waterloo. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/media-tell-only-what-they-think-we-can-handle-20140304-343fa.html#ixzz2v4I3kdkD OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Casablanca

6/03/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Thursday, 6 March 2014 http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CASABLANCAS-CACHE-2014-03-03.aspx

Ken

6/03/2014thank you Casablanca I found the Burgess and Waterford articles*, in particular, of relevance to what we are discussing on this thread - how Labor digs itself out of the hole it is in. * items 20 and 21 in today's Cache.

jaycee

6/03/2014Surely, the poverty of human intellect lies blatantly displayed in all it's foolishness with this govt'.....Is this parliament a parody of history, or is history a time-warp parody of today's tomfoolery? In a nation that had the almost perfect government...a Labor government, led by a capable woman, triple "A" credit rating..low unemployment..minimal govt' debt owing, good neighbourly relations and a stable economy in a healing environment....to be wasted, wrecked, wracked and ruined by utter, utter infantilism. In a govt' headed by a delusional Svengalian mimic, overseeing a rabble of putresent idiocy, in whom no description of the basest depths of sheol could better...we have the epitome of all that is grossly regressive in human genetics. It goes to prove that there is no God, for if there were, HE would have the capacity to decry with the perfect adjective ; 'le mot just', such beasts where we, mere humans, struggle in weeping despair.

jaycee

6/03/2014You know..it is coming to a head, this caricature of a govt'...I can feel it in my waters...the idiot and his gang of four dozen can't keep pouring out the blinding stupidities without drawing the wrath of laughable comedy and satire being heaped upon them...the ludicrous claims by all and sundry in the LNP. has reached stratospheric heights...: Abbott..."I'm a feminist !"....cue ; ROFL... "We liberate Qantas from Aust"...cue...: more ROFL..." Foresters are conservationists, not vandals"...cue..; ROFLMAO !...and so it goes...and then take Truss...PLEASE!? Can there be ONE MSM. journo who is not by now trembling and quivering with frustration at not being permitted to make a laughing stock of the idiot / s ?...the MSM. journos must be rattling with Zoloft and Mogadon pills trying to suppress the "urge to purge", knowing that NEVER in the history of Aust' politics...NEVER!.. has such a gift for comedy-column yards come along...and the harrowing fear, the etching anguish that with the passing of this govt', the like may never be seen again!!!

DMW

7/03/2014Hi Ken, interesting and thought provoking A couple of other articles that may add further 'fuel' for part three. This one is more on leadership than the left/right divide but is germane to the idea of a 'better' politics. [b]Politicians must change if they are to earn our respect[/b] John Fien @Canberra Times [i]Instead of using anger and hubris, politicians should be respectful, dignified, and fair-minded if they want to win back disillusioned voters.[/i] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/politicians-must-change-if-they-are-to-earn-our-respect-20140304-343f6.html This one covers some of what you have and some other angles on the [i]whithering left[/i] [b]Railing against a 'left' that no longer exists[/b] Jonathan Green @TheDrum [i]The conservative commentariat seems to be in the grip of a nostalgic yearning. A hankering for a time when ideological divisions were rich, clear and meaningful, when a clear sense of what separated the left and the right gave a certain rhythm to the cut and thrust of mainstream politics.[/i] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-06/green-railing-against-a-left-that-no-longer-exists/5300948 I don't usually delve to far into the comments on Drum pieces but there was some informed commentary following the article

TalkTurkey

7/03/2014Greetings All, First Ken, let me apologise for not having hitherto given to your [i]Whither the Left?[/i] Parts 1 & 2 my share of the applause they deserve. Never do I read a crisper history, in this case of the passions and problems of, and prognostications for, our poor darling [i]Left[/i]. Every paragraph rings memory bells for me, often introducing much more knowledge of the situations and movements you mention than I ever had at the time. I had only pretty dim notions of most of those global movements: I am ever more aware of my unworldliness these days. You have given like a fresh coat of overview to the delapidated* edifice of my mind. I think your Part 3 will be the most interesting read (and most difficult [i]write[/i]) of all. A proper trilogy, worthy of the noble traditions of Ad Astra's blog! Many of TPS's estimated 2 billion readers will be familiar with Ian Parmenter's cooking shows on ABC. They were great short shows, which he ?always? ended by tasting the featured [i]chef du jour's [/i]cuisine and then, absolutely gobsmacked by the experience, falling over backwards in an ecstasy of pleasure. The thing was, having done it once, he had to [i]keep[/i] doing it, or the [i]chef du jour [/i]would've felt slighted by comparison with those who had occasioned this remarkable paroxysm of delight. It was like a shark that he [i]had[/i] to [i]keep[/i] jumping, and it did sort of pall after a while ... After all it was not quite credible that they could [i]all[/i] be that good ... So then it seemed like he was exaggerating you see. Well that's the way many of the writers here and on the other best blogs make me feel I might be perceived, like Parmenter lauding every dish too loudly. But I am, I'm gobsmacked at how bloody good you all are. Ad Astra is the only one I will ever give a 10, but every thread on TPS scores in the 9's. This of yours Ken is bumping its head on the 10 line. Thank you kindly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Parmenter *This programme [i]mis-[/i]corrects the word [b]delapidated[/b] to [i]dilapidated[/i]. Cheek! [b]De-[/b] away from, [i]lapida[/i] stone! (So a wooden house, car etc technically cannot be delapidated!) Oh, and [b]A[/b]d [b]A[/b]stra capitalised BOTH words of his name for the first time I've ever seen, so I'll follow suit now Ad OK?

TalkTurkey

7/03/2014Good limerick. Bad TalkTurkey! :) There is a young scribbler named KENNY Whose Girlfriend won't give him ANY. To make up for this There's his POODLE, named CHRIS & 'tis said with CHRIS, KENNY gets PLENNY!

DMW

7/03/2014Ken it seems you have presaged the topic of the moment. Across many fora, in both the fourth & fifth estates articles of a similar vein are popping up. I point to this one not only because of this line: [i]... it has hardly unleashed the kind of [u]withering[/u] attack that leaves the nation's ears ringing.[/i] it also has variations on the theme of how Labor does/does not work. The last paragraph is a killer that neatly summarises the problem that Labor must confront. [b]Tony Abbott's plan is to have no plan at all[/b] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbotts-plan-is-to-have-no-plan-at-all-20140306-349xa.html

Ken

7/03/2014TT I was going to thank you for your praise, and I do consider it high praise coming from you. But then I saw the limerick!! Ironic that you chose a poodle because that was one of my nick names at one time. It was explained like this: wolf(f) is a dog and a dog with curly hair (I have curly hair) is a POODLE. But back to the thank you. I am glad that it has reminded you of much of what we older ones lived through. I think it is worth remembering and also something younger readers need to know about. I have another piece I'm working on which looks a little at how the Right and the economic rationalists came to rule the roost - but I also think their time is on the wane, so it becomes more important for the Left (and Labor)to get its act together and be prepared to fill the gap.

Ken

7/03/2014DMW Glad to be a leader! Yes, I have also noticed such articles but I can claim to be first because my pieces were written a few weeks before they were published, not just in the past few days. It is obviously an issue for Labor. They have lacked a narrative for some years and have been too busy reacting to Abbott and the LNP instead of leading. But to lead, as the article you linked to, says, they need to know where they are going. Labor needs to look back to its philosophical roots.

Ad astra

7/03/2014Ken, DMW Thank you for the links. The article by Waleed Aly was particularly pertinent, as were the ones by Rob Burgess, Jack Waterford (in Casablanca’s Cache) and by John Fein and Jonathan Green. Isn’t it fascinating how several articles on the same theme have emerged since you wrote this piece Ken? Is there a connection? I have always believed that journalists peruse the Fifth Estate, and although they would never acknowledge it as a source of ideas and inspiration, I’m convinced it is.

Ken

7/03/2014Ad Sometimes just coincidence but I think you may be right. When you ran [i]TPS[/i] on your own, I sometimes used to think the same thing about some of your posts. What's the old expression: once is happenstance, twice may be coincidence, but three or more times and we have a pattern!

Patriciawa

7/03/2014Although they don't acknowledge their sources I think many journos look to blog sites for ideas for articles and leads to follow up. Does it matter though, as long as more progressive thinking finds its way into the national psyche?

Ad astra

7/03/2014Patriciawa How good it is to see you on [i]TPS[/i] again. Like Ken and me, you can see a pattern, but as you say, acknowledgement of source is much less important than having the message spread. The greatest compliment for an author is having his or her work replicated, even plagiarised!

TalkTurkey

8/03/2014I believe in Dog! Laugh till you cry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub1Dc3NHZ3s

TalkTurkey

8/03/2014Re the 5th Estate's influence on MSM, Comrades, I have never doubted, since first I started blogging, that not only do we in nearly all cases lead the genuine debate on any given subject, we also have some [i]reverse[/i] effects on the cluckerati, in that almost to the last syllable they hate giving any credit to the 5th's level of intelligence. Both meanings. So that often they seem to take a contrary or naysaying or niggardly stance towards the general opinions expressed on social media. They're mostly not real bright, and nearly all jealous of being scooped. It's obvious that we are going to be on the leading edge. It's what we do, to inform ourselves, and to inform others. For example, ask on Twitter for just about any media record, any political history, somebody'll come up and help. We're all learners-and-teachers here, TPS most especially because that's how Ad led it and it's the reason we who are here are here. Sober, considered opinion - You don't find better thinking and writing anywhere, though many elsewhere are as dedicated to truth and justice as we are. That's the thing, there are so many of us, not the fatted few on Murdoch's tit, and with nobody else's barrow to push but our own. And we freely link to and from others, and even when (or rather [i]if[/i]) one of the fatted few comes up with something insightful, ten seconds later it's on Twitter and down the Pub anyway! We encompass and absorb the MSM. They can never do that to us. When better opinions are had, we will be the ones having them. Thanks Ad for providing the domain through which I became and remain certain of this. And to all the Comrades that are dedicated to keeping it so. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ #MarchInMarch Adelaide, or name your city, is one week tomorrow, 16th, except for Canberra, on the 17th. Who's going? Casablanca - a local - I'm sure, but who else?

Bacchus

8/03/2014"[quote]Re the 5th Estate's influence on MSM, Comrades, I have never doubted, since first I started blogging, that not only do we in nearly all cases lead the genuine debate on any given subject, we also have some reverse effects on the cluckerati, in that almost to the last syllable they hate giving any credit to the 5th's level of intelligence. Both meanings. So that often they seem to take a contrary or naysaying or niggardly stance towards the general opinions expressed on social media. They're mostly not real bright, and nearly all jealous of being scooped.[/quote]" TT, a classic case of that was a story (about former Sri Lankan military officer Dinesh Perera acting manager of Manus Island detention centre) that Asher Wolf spent 100s of hours researching. To cut a long story short, she had an agreement with ABC for a byline on the story, but when it was published, there was not even attribution of any of the work she'd done. Not a happy camper! https://twitter.com/SouthernWaters/status/437827417495711744

Patriciawa

8/03/2014TT, Yes, I did find the dog's dinner film funny. Very clever too. I normally don't like making fun of our canine friends, but it seems this one enjoys the game and the audience attention. Re Manus Island. It's important we all keep telling Abbott how unacceptable it is. Sheer volume of opinion at home should surely wear him down on this, to say nothing of the feedback he's getting from the international community? It won't be popular with many in his own party. Re-opening it was, after all, a Labor decision

Casablanca

9/03/2014TT, you said.. [i]For example, ask on Twitter for just about any media record, any political history, somebody'll come up and help. We're all learners-and-teachers here, [/i] I'm here to help Peter Hartcher, Esq, Sydney Morning Herald political and international editor and a journalistic treasure of inestimable value. In his weekend article 'PM Tony Abbott will be forced to horse trade with the Senate's motley crew' http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/pm-tony-abbott-will-be-forced-to-horse-trade-with-the-senates-motley-crew-20140307-34chk.html, Hartcher stated that [i]Reg Withers was a Senator for TASMANIA:[/i] He wrote: [i]"Senators have a long history of defying their party leaders: In the 54 years from 1950 to 2004, 245 members and senators crossed the floor to vote against their own party, or 24 per cent of the parliamentarians who served, according to the parliamentary library. The record holder, [u]Tasmania's Senator Reg Withers[/u], crossed the floor a remarkable 150 times". [/i] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/pm-tony-abbott-will-be-forced-to-horse-trade-with-the-senates-motley-crew-20140307-34chk.html Anyone in or around politics during the past 40 years knows that Senator Reg Withers, aka "The Toecutter" was a West Australian Senator. (I guess that New Zealand editors cannot be expected to know that and so Hartcher could not be saved from himself). Interestingly, in the context of the current imbroglio in WA electoral matters, Senator Withers was dismissed as Minister for Administrative Services on 7 Aug 1978 after a Royal Commission finding into electoral redistribution allegations. Shades of plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. (See http://australianpolitics.com/executive-government/ministerial-resignations-and-dismissals-since-1901).

2353

9/03/2014TT - ROFL!!! That is brilliant and the dog seemed to be enjoying it as PWA pointed out. Although I'm not sure if it was one of genuinely funny things, or a 'what were they smoking' moment. Casablanca - maybe TT's clip has put me in a good mood or I'm feeling generous this morning but Harcher could have Harridine and Withers mixed up. Harridine did represent his state (Tasmania) very successfully as a Senator and at one stage of his career had the power to get almost anything he wanted. While I'm here can anyone think of a reason the Sunday Mail (Brisbane) has a 2 page article (admittedly on page 38 & 39) describing how inmate 982 at Curtin 'Detention' Centre 10 years ago is now a world renowned orthopaedic surgeon? It's hardly an argument for the usual 'stop the boats' tirade.

2353

9/03/2014Morning all. Can anyone think of a reason for a two page article in the Brisbane Sunday Mail this morning describing how inmate 982 at Curtin 'Detention' Centre became a world renowned orthopaedic surgeon? It's hardly the usual 'stop the boats' tirade you would expect from NewsCorp. While I'm here TT - ROFL and as PWA suggested the dog seemed to be enjoying it. You do have to wonder what the people were smoking however! Casablanca - lets be generous and say that Harcher was getting Withers and Harrine mixed up (although Harridine was an independent). Harridine did represent his state - Tasmania - well; often to the detriment of the rest of the country.

Bacchus

9/03/2014Is there an echo in here? in here? :D
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?