The curse of the leading question

It is often the nature of the question that determines the answer. Moreover, no matter what style of question is posed, the authority of the question is conditioned by the power relationship between the questioner and the questioned. People in a submissive position are more inclined to give the expected answer – a school child in front of the schoolmaster, the suspect being questioned by the police, the bullied confronted by the bully.

Journalists, particularly TV and radio ones, use questioning as their prime method of eliciting information and opinion. How they question, how they control the interview, the level of aggression they exhibit, and the authority they bring to the interview, either because of the setting or because of their own status and gravitas, combine to determine how the interviewee will respond.

Senior journalists such as Laurie Oakes and Kerry O’Brien bring such authority and gravitas to an interview that it renders the average interviewee more cautious, more circumspect.

Then we have the political journalists that inhabit Sky News, whom we know are Coalition leaning and therefore likely to give Coalition interviewees a better run than Labor ones. Politicians respond accordingly. Shock jocks such as Alan Jones and Neil Mitchell bring to an interview a capacity to be aggressive, persistent and rude to anyone they dislike, whose views or policies they despise, but are just as able to be sycophantically pleasant to their favourites. We expect them to do what they do, and at times to be unbalanced, unfair and downright rude.

But there are some journalists that we expect to be balanced, unbiased, or at least to hide their biases; those journalists are at our ABC. Yet we are often disappointed. Biases show through particularly in the way they question, and the way they interrupt if the answer does not suit their purpose. Tony Jones habitually interrupts on Lateline and even on Q&A. Leigh Sales and Chris Uhlmann are learning fast to do the same. But let’s begin with the nature of the question.

Doctors know how careful they have to be when questioning patients. They are taught that there are several types of question:

The open-ended question: ‘Tell me about your headache.’ or ‘How do you feel about the treatment you are having.’ The open question gives the patient the opportunity to say whatever he or she wishes. No words are put into the patient’s mouth.

The direct question: ‘Where do you feel your headache?’ or ‘Have you had any side effects from your medication?’ Here the doctor is seeking further information, but leaving it to the patient to fill in the details.

The closed question: ‘Is the headache severe?’ or ‘Has the medication given you nausea?’ Here the doctor is seeking the specific information he needs in diagnosis or management.

The leading question: ‘The headache is severe is it?’ or ‘The medication made you nauseated?’ Here the doctor is confirming salient features of the situation, but the patient has less freedom in answering, and is less inclined to give an answer at variance from what the doctor is suggesting in the question.

Doctors know that there is a time and place for all these types of question – all are valuable and necessary. But they also know that asked in the wrong sequence, they can result in misleading answers. A closed question asked early in the interview may suggest to the patient the answer the doctor wants to hear, and elicit just that answer. To say early in the interview to a woman complaining of headaches, before the necessary details have been elicited, ‘Don’t you think your husband’s heavy drinking is giving you your headaches?’ is hazardous as it may deflect thinking in that direction so that other causes are overlooked. Alcoholic husbands often do evoke headaches in their spouses, but women so afflicted may also have migraine or even a brain tumour. These more serious complaints need to be considered and excluded before the doctor can be confident about settling on the psychological diagnosis.

Despite the hazard of leading questions early in an interview, TV and radio journalists often use them. Let me illustrate this phenomenon by reference to an interview by Ali Moore of Michael Stutchbury and Peter Hartcher on Lateline on May 10.

ALI MOORE: Michael Stutchbury, if I can start with you. Is the Government too optimistic here? It's looking for a $25 billion turnaround in just 12 months to make its surplus.

That is a direct question. Stutchbury answered:

MICHAEL STUTCHBURY, ECONOMICS EDITOR, THE AUSTRALIAN: I think it could happen. I heard Warren Hogan on before and I'd have to say I'd agree with a lot of what he says.

She could have asked an open question: ‘Tell me what you think about the Government’s promise of a surplus in 2012/13?', and left Stutchbury to answer as he saw fit. 

To Ali’s question Stutchbury offered a conclusion about the projected surplus and he followed that with explanation of the pros and cons of that possibility.

So far little harm done.

Ali then addressed Peter Hartcher:

ALI MOORE: Peter Hartcher, do you agree, and if you do, do you also agree that those sorts of structural changes that Warren Hogan was talking about are not being made?”

This is a leading question. Ali is expecting him to agree not just to Stutchbury’s answer, but agree that structural changes are not being made.

She could have asked the same open question of Hartcher as I suggested for Stutchbury: ‘Tell me what you think about the Government’s promise of a surplus in 2012/13?’, so that instead of answering in agreement, or disagreement, he could have answered in whatever way he pleased. But he answered:

PETER HARTCHER: Yes, I do. I agree absolutely that we are not making the most of our situation. I also think that the Government at least, sort of on the Hippocratic principle, has done least amount of harm tonight. There was no spending spree, they've exercised some constraint and the budget will be mildly contractionary and they're setting the budget back on course for surplus….

He agreed, but felt it necessary to qualify his answer. Had an open question been asked he would have been free to answer as he wished, without having to agree or disagree, without having to qualify his agreement.

Then later she asked this closed question:

ALI MOORE: But we were promised a tough budget, and what we've actually got is a total of $5 billion [savings] according to Penny Wong, on my calculations on the budget numbers $3 billion over four years. Is that really tough?

And later still another closed question:

ALI MOORE: Michael, that might be the case, but this is the first budget after an election. I mean, if we were ever going to make a tough decision and a nasty cut, wouldn't it be now?

Then, in the context of the Government’s ‘optimistic’ reliance on China for its surplus, she asked:

ALI MOORE: But I guess the question is then what will break that optimism because of the mere political realities of a minority government and a very unpopular minority government.

Here we have a closed question that expresses her opinion.

Later, in the context of Hartcher suggesting that Abbott had set the agenda – the carbon tax and asylum seekers, Ali used a classic leading question:

ALI MOORE: But is that because they weren't brave, they weren't gutsy because of what the polls are saying, because of the political position in Parliament, because they rely on the independents?

Hartcher answered:

PETER HARTCHER: Partly, but I think we also should give them some credit on this angle: this the weakest and most fragile federal government we've had since the last time we had a minority government, which was in the 1940s, yet they've managed to hold their nerve on spending, not hand out tax cuts and bring down a mildly contractionary budget.

Forced to answer a leading question, Hartcher was pushed into a qualified answer where he gave credit to Labor after Ali had demeaned it in her question as not being ‘brave’.

She could have said: ‘Do you think Tony Abbott will use the carbon tax and the asylum seeker issue to fight the Government?’ and given Hartcher the opportunity to answer as he preferred.

The whole interview is here. You may care to view it in its entirety.

In case you think I’m singling out Ali Moore, reflect on some of the questions Tony Jones asked of Andrew Robb on 13 May on Lateline after Tony Abbott’s Budget speech in reply.

He began with a closed question:

TONY JONES: Now there was more detail in Tony Abbott's speech about what the Coalition government - what a Coalition government will undo, rather than what it will do. Are you worried about the overall negative impression that might give?

Later in reference to the carbon tax he asked a leading question:

TONY JONES: You can't put it in the budget before you work out the details, can you?

Then another leading question:

TONY JONES: But the problem is, I mean, you're reduced, when talking about the carbon tax, to making up your own figures, so that you can justify your argument. I mean, Tony Abbott's hypothetical carbon tax was $26 per tonne, he claims it'll result in 16 coal mine closures, 68,000 lost jobs, but it's all speculation.

Later on the subject of the skills shortage, a direct question:

TONY JONES: OK. But do you disagree with the assessment of Skills Australia, who claim that the booming resource economy is going to require an extra 2.4 million workers over the next four years? 2.4 million required new workers.

Later, and getting exasperated at the automaton-like answers Robb was giving, as if programmed to emit whenever he could the spiel his minders had given him, in the context of the temporary suspension of indexation of family benefits, Jones asked another leading question:

TONY JONES: But if it is a relatively small number of families in percentage terms that are affected, do you think you might be on the wrong side of the argument?

This was such a painful interview that Jones might be excused for asking mainly direct and closed questions and a few leading ones, as open questions with such a stilted and cagey interviewee might have been fruitless in getting salient information. But these excerpts do illustrate the style of questions that TV journalists ask.  The whole excruciating interview is here.

But while Tony Jones might be forgiven for using the questions he did with the wooden and evasive Andrew Robb, Ali Moore does not have the same excuse with two facilitatory interviewees in Michael Stutchbury and Peter Hartcher.

What this piece is contending is that the nature of the questions asked by political journalists has a large influence on the answers that are given. When interviewers inject their own biases and opinions into the questions as they do with leading questions and also with some direct questions, they often predetermine the answer, or at the very least place the interviewee in a position of having to agree, or more uncomfortably, disagree with the questioner. This is a poor questioning style. It cannot elicit the true feelings and opinions of the interviewee, forced as they too often are into the Procrustean bed into which the questioner is trying to wedge them.

In other words, leading questions are a curse because they introduce the questioner’s own views in a way that inhibits the way the question might be answered. While a bold, confident interviewee might disagree without hesitation, one more timid might be inveigled into a softer response, a lesser degree of disagreement, or as we saw in the Ali Moore interview, a felt need to qualify the agreement: ‘I agree, but…’

Open questions have the potential for eliciting genuine opinions free from the pressure that closed or leading questions inflict upon interviewees. Journalists may be disinterested in employing these open questions though as they may not meet their need to pursue a predetermined outcome based on biases or the journalist’s opinion, or the ever present need for gotchas or ‘exclusives’, or as Lindsay Tanner would have it, sheer entertainment.

In my opinion, while there may be a place for direct and closed questions, it ought to be only after open questions have failed to elicit the information or opinion the journalist is seeking, particularly if the interviewee is being evasive or circumlocutory. Leading questions, if they have a place at all in political interviews, ought to be questions of last resort.

Should we press the ABC to encourage the use of open questions instead of the closed and leading questions that are stock in trade of too many of their journalists?

What do you think?

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NormanK

22/05/2011Ad astra Superb! Simply superb. I have no doubt that I will be reading this article quite a few times - until such time as I have taught myself to recognise the use and misuse of each type of question. To answer your question about pressing the ABC, you would be pushing the proverbial uphill with a forky stick on a rainy day. All that you are likely to elicit is more of the defensive self-justification that we have seen in response to Tanner's book and Bob Brown's press conference. The politician's made us do it, Your Honour. There are two things which could be overlaid on your observations here. The first is that the question is being given greater importance these days. It is not uncommon to hear a question reported as part of a sound bite and the answer rendered irrelevant. It might be my imagination, but there are times when I reckon I see a self-satisfied look in the eye of an interviewer when they feel they have executed a particularly well-crafted question. Unfortunately, they're not interested in the answer. The second is one you've touched on and that is that the interviewer wants to be part of the conversation. No longer just the questioner (all-be-it informed by careful research and education) some journalists now want to be part of the conversation. For this I blame the rising use of one journalist interviewing another journalist. Cynically, it might also be described as wanting to be a player.

Feral Skeleton

22/05/2011There are leading questions, and there are journalists who lead the conversation away from where you, the viewer, would want it to go, as this comment from PB exemplifies wrt Insiders today: [quote]Think Big Anyone in denial of ABC bias only needed to watch Insiders this morning. The first 5 minutes were running defense for Abbott & ridiculing recent statements from the government.[/quote]

lyn

23/05/2011Hi Ad Thankyou for writing us another fantastic article. As Norman K said simply superb! Ad your work is appreciated very very much. Journalists wanting to part of the conversation, that explains why interviewers are not interested in the answers to their questions, the questions are designed to make them part of the conversation, so then when the interviewee starts to answer they are immediately interrupted.

TalkTurkey

23/05/2011Feral, Yesterday you said wtte that Lopsiders was living down to its reputation, and I said I disagreed with that - because I had been watching from the beginning. Dog, when I saw the early part of it, Right! Right! Yer bloody well right! Such stuff on the ABC still shocks me! Ad astra, that song BAD ABBOTTS I posted yesty at the end of that last thread, would it be OK I repost it here? I do want that song to get a chance to grow with input from others, and I haven't finished on Misterabbott myself yet. RSVPASAP, ta. I think that was a LEADING question n'est-ce pas?

lyn

23/05/2011 [b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]Journalistic$ Principle , Mr Denmore, The Failed Estate[/i] telling evidence of this self-interested pantomime is that journalists themselves cannot bear the slightest scrutiny of their own behaviour without squealing like stuck pigs . http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com/2011/05/journalistic-principle.html [i]Fault lines, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless[/i] make the opinion cycle spin on its own axis while you pursue your ends by other means. A self-referential opinion cycle is, at the risk of mixing metaphors like Lachlan Harris, digging its own grave http://andrewelder.blogspot.com/2011/05/fault-lines-more-one-of-most-popular.html [i]Australia’s barbaric judicial and political system, David Donovan, Independent Australia[/i] In Australia, we have a system of strict party discipline in which decisions are made behind the scenes in the party room and all party members will vote the same, in blocs. http://www.independentaustralia.net/2011/democracy/australias-barbaric-judicial-and-political-system/ [i]Gillard Defends Carbon Tax, John, True Politik[/i] Tony Abbott does not argue policy deliberately – he doesn’t want any policy scrutinised. His campaign is based almost exclusively on negativity. He does not want public debate, he http://truepolitik.blogspot.com/2011/05/gillard-defends-carbon-tax.html [i]Window for climate action closing fast: report, Sarah Clarke, ABC[/i] The report has also taken a blowtorch to the Opposition's direct action policy http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/05/23/3223717.htm?section=justin [i]Onya Bob! Peteringtime, North Coast Voices[/i] It's not news. It's not what you would read in other countries around the world," was the pitiless Brown verdict. "I think the Murdoch media is doing a great disservice to this nation." http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/2011/05/onya-bob.html [i]Why Abbott scares them, James Allen , Quadrant Online[/i] at least in part, may be why so many of the ABC and Fairfax commentariat go ballistic at the thought of a Tony Abbott government. They fear he actually may legislate in the way he says he will. http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/allan/2011/05/why-abbott-scares-them [i]Impossible to be popular Lachlan Harris, The Telegraph[/i] opinion-based political coverage will be nasty, narky and negative, is a good rule of thumb. Forget about hitting the panic button because the Budget, or the carbon tax, or the pokies http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/impossible-to-be-popular/story-fn6b3v4f-1226060245883 [i]Time Out, David Horton, The Watermelon Blog[/i] Email communication, twittering, threads shared on other blogs (hail fellow well met), are all so transient that we seem to make and lose new friends in the flicker of a modem light. http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/05/22/time-out-2/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheWatermelonBlog+%28The+Watermelon+Blog%29&utm_content=Twitter [i]That’s great, it starts with an earthquake… Adam Brereton and the unexamined secularism, Only the Sangfroid[/i] Do we want churches to be a safe-haven for extremist views (SoCS works both ways, after all)?Atheists like Brereton need to sharpen their analysis beyond ‘religion bad/secularism good’ http://onlythesangfroid.wordpress.com/2011/05/22/thats-great-it-starts-with-an-earthquake/ [b]Newspaper[/b] [i]In Australia, a Tempest With Echoes of a Tea Party, Matt Siegel, New York Times[/i] Mr. Tiffen and others have said that the opposition to the scheme has drawn inspiration from the success of the Tea Party movement in the United States. Although Mr. Andrews denies http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/23/world/asia/23australia.html

Gravel

23/05/2011Ad Astra I really enjoyed this piece. I, like NormanK, will have to read it a couple of times to absorb and listen better to questioners. It is not something that I have thought about other than the "gotcha" questions that most reporters rely on. As a side note, I now understand why I feel so well looked after my doctor, he always knows what to ask me, for which I am exceedingly grateful. I bet you were just like him when you were practicing.

janice

23/05/2011[quote]For this I blame the rising use of one journalist interviewing another journalist. Cynically, it might also be described as wanting to be a player.[/quote] Entirely agree with your post NormanK, especially the quote above. Ad astra, excellent piece. I think the ABC is a lost cause at the moment and will remain so unless, and until, we can get a full and complete enquiry into the whole organisation which has morphed into a "private" tabloid instead of keeping to its charter of being a public broadcaster reporting the goings on in the nation. Journalists employed by the nation's people wishing to bring their partisan opinions to us via our national broadcaster, is not on. Aunty is there to serve the whole of the nation and Australians deserve to be sure that reporting by its National Broadcaster is reliably truthful and untainted by personal partisan opinions.

Ad astra reply

23/05/2011LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

TalkTurkey

23/05/2011Whoops! I said @7.54 AM ". . . because I had been watching from the beginning. . ." Make that hadN'T . . ! . .

Steve

23/05/2011I would like to add two more question types that often crop up at the National Press Club: 1. The South of France question as in "Yes but how does that apply in the south of France?" Groan! and 2. The Matthew Franklin special, where he rises to his feet talks about nothing for ten minutes and thinks he is impressing everyone with his vast knowledge.

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011Has everyone seen Alan Moir's cartoon today? http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/opinion/cartoons/alan-moir-20090907-fdxk.html

TalkTurkey

23/05/2011Abbott said . . . (if the world were to end, he would ) . . . "head off to Cardinal (George) Pell to have him hear my confession". Last night I said (In BAD ABBOTTS) Well I can't get power My expression's sour And religion's got A hold on me And Archbishop Pell Says I'll go to Hell If I stop my Bad Abbotts Synchronissimultaneity ! But if the world were to end it would be too late for that anyway. Typical Abbortt unthinking.

debbip

23/05/2011Great article Ad Astra An insight into 'questioning the question' or the 'questioning [i]OF[/i] the question' :)

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011Aaaarrrggghhh!!! I am seriously getting very close to switching all ABC Radio News bulletins off permanently. They started off the 9AM News Bulletin, first story up, first words, with, you guessed it, "The Opposition said today that Manufacturing jobs would go overseas as a result of the government's Price on Carbon." Then they followed that with a quote from the Coalition's female Grub-In-Chief, Sophie Mirabella! All that she had to say was spurious assertion based upon no factual basis at all as the federal government is yet to announce any detail on the Climate Change policy. However ABC Radio 702 Sydney at least were reporting it as fact in their News Bulletin via an Opposition mouthpiece who has an agenda to run. Purely and simply. Not only that, but further along in the news bulletin they again quoted "The Opposition is today saying that they will move for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the problems the government is having in Immigration." Then we got the Opposition's viewpoint and The Greens viewpoint. Then, "We asked the Minister for comment but he was unavailable." Wonder if they asked for anyone else but the Minister for comment? No mention, of course, that the Minister already has two inquiries on foot into the same subjects the Opposition want to milk for all they're worth, and especially in light of the seeming success in resolving the Boat Arrivals issue meaning that the Opposition have cooked up this fishing exercise to distract from that and get the focus back on the 'failures in Immigration'. Yet the Abbott Broadcasting Corporation meekly follows where the Coalition leads.

Steve

23/05/2011The headline for the end of the world: "World to End Tomorrow, Wealthy Australians to be Worse Off" says Tony Abbott.

Ad astra reply

23/05/2011NormanK, FS, Lyn, TT, Gravel, janice, Steve, debbip Thank you all for your kind remarks and your pertinent comments. I’m glad you found it interesting. There is more to questioning than mentioned in this piece, to which I’ll return later. Steve, I enjoyed reading your additional questions, and know exactly what you mean about Matthew Franklin’s questions. Of course questioners get their kudos from their scholarly preamble, the erudition and ‘penetration’ of their questions, the discomfiture they cause, and the ‘gotcha’ count they attain. Matthew likes to score on all counts. By all means TT, repost BAD ABBOTTS on this thread. I see several of you feel that the ABC is probably beyond redemption. I hope that is not so, because there’s nothing much left on the ether. Your cartoon FS is so apt. This morning, and I guess this is why I still hope the ABC can recover, Jon Faine returned on 774 radio Melbourne after a trip to Turkey and Europe expressing amazement at the difference between the debate on climate change here and there. He said there is no debate there any more about the reality of global warming, and so they are getting on with the job of doing something about it. Even the Conservative British Government has set very strong targets for emissions reduction. Faine’s contention is that through our reluctance to accept the veracity of the findings of climate scientists the world over, we are lagging behind in action and missing opportunities for developing clean energy. The advent of the Government’s Climate Change Commission Report this morning reinforces the need for action now as the window of opportunity narrows. Yet while all this is going on you have Greg Hunt panning the carbon tax yet again and bleating about ‘pain without gain’, despite the flimsy support Abbott’s DAP has garnered from economists and businessmen. He resembles Abbott in your cartoon FS predicting the end of the World as we know it, and it’s all Julia’s fault. Folks We’ll be getting on the road soon for the South Coast. I’ll be back later this afternoon.

NormanK

23/05/2011Steve [quote]"World to End Tomorrow, Wealthy Australians to be Worse Off" says Tony Abbott.[/quote] Brilliant! A proper laugh-out-loud moment. Cheers.

TalkTurkey

23/05/2011FS MORE Synchronissimultaneity ! I didn't know when I posted my bit @ 9.42 AM that you'd posted that one at 9.00. But I had seen the classic cartoon, someone on PB pointed it out. Hockey is just a BLOB!:) Did you grok that Pyecraft story? It ends up with Pyecraft eating more than ever, in the vain hope that he will regain his lost weight . . . Nope . . . He just inflates and floats in limbo . . . Same as happenin' with poor old Joe! I keep telling everyone, Humour is OURS! How's about a BAD ABBOTTS verse or fifty?

TalkTurkey

23/05/2011Sorry if I told you the ending already . . . Don't forget that this story is now about his doppelganger Joe! The Truth About Pyecraft H.G.Wells 1903 www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/l_pyecra.htm

NormanK

23/05/2011Ad astra Congratulations. Your analysis set the gerbils to running last night and they had exciting news to report this morning. First up they took the opportunity to chide me for posting a comment last night when their ideas were only half-formed. Oh well. What my furry friends did last night was to pull together a number of different strands of thought and coalesce them into a single whole. If we stay with the Ali Moore post-budget interview, it will serve as a good example. Criticism directed at the ABC would likely bring back the response that it was a 'discussion' of the budget - just three experienced journalists sitting around discussing the implications of the 2011 budget. This has become a common format in today's media. However, if it was a discussion there would be a moderator throwing a topic on to the table (say, welfare cuts) and commanding them to "discuss". Each of the participants could then speak to the topic unencumbered by the contents of leading or closed questions. Moore could legitimately express her own opinions. Each of them could ask any of the others a question to keep the conversation going. They could dispute and debate the opinion of a fellow panellist. Once the topic had exhausted itself, the moderator would throw another one on the table. Moore would indeed be a player and quite rightly so. That's what a discussion would entail. But what we see is a discussion awkwardly crammed into a traditional interview format - two interviewees on one side of the table answering questions but not asking them and one interviewer on the other side asking questions but not answering them. In order to join in the conversation, Moore has to include her opinion in the question because otherwise she won't get to have a say. This is a mongrel crossbreed of two formats and it has been going on for long enough now that it has influenced the interviewing styles of many journalists. Uhlman is a good example. Because Leigh Sales regularly throws to him for his analysis (opinion) of what happened today on a particular subject, he has got it into his head that every interview he conducts is a normal conversation where his opinion is just as valid as that of his interviewee. Imagine if the Bob Brown interview was billed as a conversation between two equals. Much of Uhlman's behaviour (interjections and contrariness) could be understood (but not forgiven) as a normal part of human discourse. But the social contract between interviewer and interviewee preclude it from being a normal conversation. Brown can't interject or ask Uhlman a question - look what happened when he did that in his press conference - cries of 'what about the rules? You're on that side, we're on this side, we ask the questions'. Perhaps some of our politicians are questioning that social contract. Julia Gillard's 'pop quiz' on the highest taxing government is a good example. Journalists want to have their cake and eat it. We will express our opinions and question yours but the reverse can never be the case. This is what Brown was alluding to when he said one rule for you and something different for the rest of us. A good interview should be a conversation because the questioner should be reacting to what is offered in the reply and changing their line accordingly but it will never be a 'normal' conversation because of the social contract. We are seeing a rearrangement of this social contract and what we have at the moment is a mongrel crossbreed which does not serve the public interest of providing informative discourse. Interesting times.

NormanK

23/05/2011A fairly objective analysis of the Climate Commission's first report. [b]Bursting our carbon budget[/b] by Giles Parkinson [quote]Given the obsession with budgets in this country, and their deficits and surpluses, it seems only reasonable that we should view our carbon emissions in the same context. In the end, it might be the only budget that counts.[/quote] http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/bursting-our-carbon-budget?utm_source=Climate%2BSpectator%2Bdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Climate%2BSpectator%2Bdaily

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011I have just seen the PM's latest Press Conference after the release today of the Climate Change Commission's latest report and she is honing her defence of her government's actions and attack on Tony Abbott. Today, she said, that denying the veracity of the Climate Scientists' research and conclusions about Climate Change would be like having Professor Ian Fraser come into her office to tell her about the results of his Gardasil vaccine research, which has led to the reduction in women and girls getting Cervical Cancer, and then scoffing at it and choosing instead to believe what a radio personality has to say about it instead. A radio personality that does not believe in the results of his Peer-Reviewed research. Sums it up pretty well I thought. She also made the point of saying, without overly focussing on it/him, that Tony Abbott was again this morning in another factory preaching doom and gloom(my words, not hers, but she would be well advised to take them up because Mr Abbott does behave like a Holy Roller about Climate Change, and I wonder why the media never asks this question of Mr Abbott: "Is the reason you don't believe in man-made Climate Change or Man taking action to deal with Global Warming because of your faith in God?" Simple question deserves an honest answwer from Tony Abbott. Don't forget that Tony Abbott's position, with his tricky dick turn of phrase, is that, "The Climate IS changing, the Climate is always changing, the Climate is different now from what it was like in Jesus' day." Which is not the same as believing in Global Warming-induced Climate Change. It is no longer simply an economic argument, as Barnaby Joyce is wont to colourfully characterise it, such as he did today, by saying, "I can't see how making you poorer is going to change the Climate." However, to put the hip-pocket nerve argument another way, if we don't take action on Climate Chnage now, in the future, as electricity prices soar because companies are unwilling to take a price signal and invest in clean Green, new technology to produce power, less and less people are going to be able to afford to run the air conditioners that will be the only line of defence between a hotter world and a comfortable life. Only the very richest, in a couple of generations time, and, perversely, the Mining magnates and suchlike, who are profiting handsomely now from digging up the Greenhouse fuel, will be able to insulate themselves from the consequences of their actions now. As my children's surname is not Rheinhardt, or Forrest, or Palmer, I want to therefore take action now, or I want my government to make the significant moves now on my family's behalf, in order that the future generations of my family are not left outside the tent baking in the sun, being buffeted by cyclones, bushfires and floods, and not able to go to The Great Barrier Reef anymore for a family holiday. We must not let 'The Hollow Men' of the Coalition, the Fossil Fool Industry, and their shills in the media win this war on our way of life and take our global environment hostage to their short-term, greedy self-interest.

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011Here's another way of looking at a number of issues that are being discussed here today. Firstly, it will help you understand why some journalists take the line of questioning and use a particular style of questioning; second, it will show you just how hard it is to change people's minds once they have been made up, or have had them made up by the Shock Jocks etal., and, thirdly, it will explain why Tony Abbott's Holy Roller style of politicking is successful, especially with those mentioned above: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011Pining for the fjords(well, Bushfire Bill, actually). Here's his comment on PB today which has relevance to our own blog topic: [quote]Penberthy doesn’t get it about Uhlmann. It wasn’t the interview questions so much as the rudeness and the hectoring that put people off. I realise they only have a fixed, limited time to get the interview done, but that doesn’t mean they have to cram a lifetime’s worth of gotchas into 5 minutes. Not having paid much attention to Brown’s position on the coal industry, I was interested to find out more. Listening to that interview did not achieve that end. All I came away with was a combination angry/frustrated feeling that Uhlmann’s virulent style had wrecked yet another chance to inform the public. On the most basic level, when two people are talking over each other and the camera’s only on one of them, it’s virtually impossible to comprehend either of the speakers’ words, the one attacking or the one defending. But Fox News has a stock market program where each raving looney gets a window tiled within the image space. You can see all 9 of them shouting at each other, but that doesn’t work either. The only solution is to ask questions and then let the interviewee answer them, as Tony Jones did with Malcolm Turnbull. It was a textbook case of polite, but persistent interrogation and how coaxing out an answer from a reluctant interviewee can be achieved. Smart-arsed gotchas don’t cut it, from either a technical or a social angle, especially from one so un-telegenic as Uhlmann who most definitely has an overly trumped up view of himself as kingmaker, and breaker. Indeed, the very idea that interviews have to be punchy and aggressive in order to pass as “worthwhile”, that the interviewee is there always to be hoisted on his own petard, hung by his own words in a very public execution, to my mind is wrong. all you end up with from this approach is an interviewer with a certain gift for thinking on his feet ripping to some hapless bod who’s volunteered for the slaughter. Very often (and Red Kerry used to do this a lot, too, towards the end) we see the interviewer pointing fingers, accusing, lecturing and hectoring the poor sod opposite. the interview becomes about the interviewer, not the subject matter at hand.[/quote]

Jason

23/05/2011FS, I sent an email to my senator Cory Bernardi an email about what the Vatican said a few weeks ago about climate change and did he believe what they were saying! http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g10NglmvY5S--196nMSfug79L3BQ?docId=e80362e575554118aa3fabbc3f725c8e Here is his detailed response! Are you saying that governments should obey the teachings of the catholic church?

Jason

23/05/2011FS,Patrica WA, From the subscriber section of Crikey of which I might have to subscribe again to get the whole story! Senior Left sources inside the Victorian ALP have accused conservative forces aligned to the Shop Assistants union of "breathtaking hypocrisy" for shutting down debates on gay marriage and asylum seekers at Saturday's state conference, vowing swift and bitter revenge when the issues shift to the federal arena later in the year. In scenes reminiscent of the worst of student politics, representatives of the so-called "shoppies" are alleged to have staged a co-ordinated walk out on Saturday afternoon, following addresses from Prime Minister Julia Gillard and state Labor leader Daniel Andrews.

NormanK

23/05/2011FS In a month which has seen some truly stellar links posted here, I am going to nominate the one above for [b]Link Of The Month[/b]. Of course, its content only confirms what I already knew. :) http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney Patricia WA - if you haven't followed the link, you should. It's almost as good as my colour perception comment. :) Jason The more I see of the tactics of the hard Right, the more convinced I am that they are studying the tactics of on-line trolls (or is it the other way 'round). Bernardi's response is classic deflection and deliberate misrepresentation.

Jason

23/05/2011NormanK, Thought this might be of interest! From the New York Times on our debate on climate change. In Australia, a Tempest With Echoes of a Tea Party http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/23/world/asia/23australia.html?_r=3&ref=global-home

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011PatriciaWA, Talk Turkey, You guys will love this: [quote] I love a sunburnt country / A land of sweeping plains / Of ragged mountain ranges / PS. Stop climate change[/quote]

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011Big lulz: http://yfrog.com/h69a9ddj

NormanK

23/05/2011Jason I was going to rip into that article. I wonder what the many contributors here who marched in anti-Iraq war rallies make of this statement. [quote]A call in February by the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, for a “people’s revolt” against the plan has incited [b]one of the most raucous protest movements the country has seen in decades.[/b][/quote]

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011NormanK, I was constantly surprised at the quality of that link. I was envious actually at its breadth and depth. It made me want to give up blogging because I know I could never do as well. Thankfully the surfeit of poor conservative blogging has made me keep going. I need to balance things up. :)

Jason

23/05/2011AA, How timely for this post as I fear it will be on display tonight! leighsales Leigh Sales Tonight Political Editor @cuhlmann talks to Barnaby Joyce. Plus Paul Lockyer reports on Murray Darling reform. #abc730.

Jason

23/05/2011CUhlmann | 1 minute ago Barnaby Joyce WAS to be interviewed on 730 about the climate report. We asked because Greg Hunt said he was too busy. Now he has pulled out.

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011Jason, I cheekily Tweeted to Chris Uhlamnn: Wonder how many times Chrissy boy will but in on Barnaby? Will he be bringing his limp lettuce leaf?

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011Jason, I cheekily Tweeted to Chris Uhlmann: Wonder how many times Chrissy boy will but in on Barnaby? Will he be bringing his limp lettuce leaf?

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011NormanK, I don't know what it was like in Queensland, but in NSW pre-Iraq War, I and my children were part of a very well-behaved Protest Movement. :)

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011NormanK, This may also blow your mind for different reasons: http://ramblingsdc.net/ElecGenProsCons.html#Solar_thermal

Ad astra reply

23/05/2011Folks We’re back on the South Coast – wet, bleak, windy, with a big tide flooding the wetlands. What a contrast to last week’s sunny stay in Harrietville and surrounds. Thank you for your many comments and links. The link to Mother Jones is valuable. Thank you FS, NormanK. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. It shows why even today, in the face of the Climate Commission Report, Nick Minchin is still in climate change denial and because he sees the Report a Labor-initiated one, has discounted its findings. Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt see it as supporting their DAP because it said that tree planting and carbon sequestration in the soil can be effective, but they ignored other findings that say that cannot be enough to achieve the emission reduction target. NormanK, you have made an astute observation about discussion versus interviewing. You are right, if Ali Moore had said: ‘Let’s have a three-way discussion of the Federal Budget’ and had kicked the discussion off with ‘Let’s talk about how the Government intends reach its surplus target’, she could have thrown her two-penneth worth of opinion into the ring quite legitimately. But to do so when she was controlling the interview as interviewer was poor journalism. Thank you for that telling insight. Thank you Jason for the link to the Vatican view of climate change. Cory Bernardi’s reaction is a reflex diversionary tactic. Now that I’m back into TV-land, I’ll look at [i]7.30[/i] tonight with great interest Thank you FS for the summary of PM Gillard’s presser and BB’s contribution to PB, which is so relevant to this piece. Tomorrow I’ll post a comment about some more sophisticated communication techniques that journalists ought to consider. I’m looking forward to a good night of political TV.

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011With the Cutting and Running of Barnaby Joyce from the 7.30 Report tonight(yes, I know, but I can't bring myself to call it '7.30'), the release of The Climate Commission Report, Malcolm Turnbull's volte face wrt Coalition CC policy last week, and the Essential Report today recording a 7% swing towards putting a Price on Carbon from the last time they asked the question, might we be seeing the high water mark of the Coalition vs the Gillard government having been reached?

janice

23/05/2011FS, We won't be graced with Barnyard on our 7.30 report tonight - he pulled out and Hunt was 'too busy'. Therefore Uhlman will be interviewing Flannery.

Jason

23/05/2011darrenlaver Darren Laver @CUhlmann you know they must be in trouble if they cannot even face a friendly interview! #itstheirABC #abc730

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011Jason, Love that Tweet! Wonder if Chrissy Boy is feeling the heat of reduced expectations wrt his interviewing 'skills' yet? :)

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011Tony Abbott has a hide thicker than Jessie. How he could mug straight-faced into the camera and say, "The Climate Commission has given a big tick to the Coalition's Direct Action policy today." It's a bleedin' fig leaf that doesn't add up to snuff. It can only ever be a small part of the answer.

Ad astra reply

23/05/2011Folks I thought the Chris Uhlmann interview of Tim Flannery turned out to be inconsequential. I wish Tim would be more assertive about climate change, He comes across to me as too wishy washy. The science is clear - why not say so with authority. It seems as if he is not permitted to comment on party policies, which is a silly restriction as we need him to tell us which policy is most likely to be effective. What is most telling though is that Uhlmann had to enlist him as no one from the Opposition was prepared to front - not a good look.

BSA Bob

23/05/2011F.S. at 7.16 I've been terrified of Abbott for as long as I've known of him (a while now). What's always struck me has been what I think is a complete amorality, allowing him to say this sort of thing.

lyn

23/05/2011Hi Ad I agree the interview with Flannery was useless. Uhlmann did say in the introduction that Tony Abbott has siezed on one small section of the 72 page report "The Critical Decade". I wish we were told which page the words were on, or at least, tell us which tiny piece of which sentence, or what line or word, Abbott is referring to. Cheers

Michael

23/05/2011Today's 'Bad Abbott'. The Opposition Leader tries to co-opt the Climate Change report given to the Government today by claiming it endorses the Coalition's so called direct action plan to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. It doesn't. It suggests that the practice would be next to useless in addressing the escalating wider damage caused by climate change in this country. Feel free to bulletin 'Bad Abbott's as they arrive. They are not hard to find. You might say, every time Tony Abbott opens his mouth...

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011BSABob, Narcissistic sociopath is the terminology I think you were referring to wrt our man Abbott. I have tracked even closer to the man than you probably have. I was at Sydney Uni when he was. He was so infamous that the student body felt overwhelmingly compelled to pen commentary about him on the toilet walls. Where they thought his behaviour belonged. :)

Ad astra reply

23/05/2011Hi Lyn, Michael The congruence between the truth and what Tony Abbott says and claims about climate change, is, as they say in fictional movies, purely coincidental.

Ad astra reply

23/05/2011Folks I'm packing it in now to watch TV and read more of Lindsay Tanner's book.

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011This article knocks Malcolm Turnbull's advocacy of Mobile Wireless Broadband as the superior alternative to the fixed-line NBN, into a cocked hat: http://www.arnnet.com.au/article/387470/analyst_mobile_broadband_up_1333_times_more_expensive_than_fixed-line_broadband/

Feral Skeleton

23/05/2011Early Grog: http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2011/05/on-qt-seen-it-all-before.html

TalkTurkey

24/05/2011Michael said "Today's 'Bad Abbott'. "The Opposition Leader tries to co-opt the Climate Change report given to the Government today by claiming it endorses the Coalition's so called direct action plan to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. It doesn't. . . . " Here's another pair of verses to the song BAD ABBOTTS based on your today's Bad Abbott! (That is a good one btw a very good example of what you mean. Cool! Abbortt will squirm like an eel any way he can on climate change.) (You gotta sing this first verse like the third one in the song where it goes "Well it just - ain't - right . . . ") Now this cli- mate - change - Well my pol - i - cy is strange: I really reckon climate change is crap! I'm a climate change denier But I'm even more a liar In the twinkling of an eye I can adapt! When the science shows Lots of ice unfroze In the hottest year - the world has known It’ll all - re - freeze If we just - plant - trees! No questions please! Bad Abbotts! :) Ad astra Thanks; I haven't reposted my first go at BAD ABBOTTS yet. It's on the last thread Swordies right near the end so I will, I will repost it but not yet. Don't want to use up too much cyberspace! But anyway here's another pair of verses (My first 4 paralleled precisely Billy Field's Bad Habits, there were just 4 in that too.) What I'll do, while Michael and I await the multitudes of other entries either in the Bad Abbotts Suggestion Box (a la Michael's, above) or the song-verse parallel, the BAD ABBOTTS CHALLENGE :) , is just post a few more of my own as they might happen . . . and put them together later on, with all those others' others. Here's an observation -(not a Bad Abbott really sorry Michael) - I've made of Abbortt: it is not possible to write the way he says - a - in between each little blb blb blb blb blbl of 2 or 5 syllables . . . it's not a really, and it's not uh, nor ugh, nor argh, nor ah, it's really u as in cup, but if I write that it makes you think I mean the sound yew. Anyway, it sounds brutish and stupid, true to its maker. Like he can only think 2 or 5 syllables ahead, just barely Neanderthal in apprehension eh. (What was it Keating called him? I forget but it was spot-on I remember. Someone remind me please? ) His squirming ability will be on overload by now. He is under increasing pressure on how many fronts? I think he's pretty nearly aghast now, Turnbull has rattled him, well it would hey! and Hockey hates him hee hee hee and Mr Bowen has sunk Morrison's kite in a boat-free Arafura Sea, and Australians can't wait to get the NBN even if they don't know it yet (and does anyone think the Kids won't demand it?), and the overall economy they tell me is so bright we really should be wearing shades, and Brown is being helpful in some ways, and oh then there's Laura Tingle, and I couldn't be more sincere about that. The government has been determined and is determined to carry its legislative program through and I think it will. But the thing that will characterise the Coalition now is squirming, in an effort to muddy the waters and pretend that they have an alternative (better!) agenda and, yeah, you know. And Abbortt will be the squirmingest of all, because he's got to justify his position now. He will fail. Who's next? Some say Morriscum. That says it all eh, that he could even be in contention, ugh. The only thing that's keeping Abbortt there now is there's no-one any good at all to replace him. The Coalition is grinning through gritted teeth now. :) But a killer line is worth so, so much in this big game. THIMK!

Feral Skeleton

24/05/2011Talk Turkey, How does one THIMK!? :)

Feral Skeleton

24/05/2011Hello all from cyberspace! I'm tempting fate here I know, but my modem hasn't chucked a wobbly for days! Darn electronics, they can get gremlins in them that just pop up at will. Oh well, enjoy it while I can. It produces a strange form of Attention Deficit Disorder though. That is, it gets all your attention when it normally wouldn't because you fear its deficit. :)

lyn

24/05/2011[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]On the QT: Seen it all before, Greg Jericho, Grog's Gamut[/i] The report is good reading – intelligent reading. But will the report change anyone’s mind? Sadly this is unlikely. Will it improve the debate? Doubtful. Will it improve Question Time? Not a chance http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/ [i]Katter's vote of no confidence, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless[/i] Katter can smell the loser-smell that Tony Abbott reeks of - even though press gallery generally, and the Murdoch press in particular, can't pick it http://andrewelder.blogspot.com/2011/05/dennis-shanahan-says-here-that-bob.html [i]The @latingle-shaped hole in Australian Political Debate, Tim Dunlop, BSides[/i] A paywall that stops people linking drapes a cloak of invisibility across the work of those to whom it applies and reinforces the top-down approach that many us object to http://tjd.posterous.com/latingle-and-the-clash-of-good-ends [i]Bob Katter flags new political party, Jeremy Thompson, ABC[/i] Mr Katter says the independents, who hold the balance of power in the House of Representatives, have failed "hopelessly and miserably" to change Australia. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/05/23/3224439.htm?section=justin [i]Unelected News Ltd editor tells his "constituency" what they believe, Jeremy Sear, Pure Poison[/i] We at News Ltd have a CONSTITUENCY! Who voted for us and our political views by buying the Herald Sun to check what’s going on in the footy. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2011/05/23/unelected-news-ltd-editor-tells-his-constituency-what-they-believe/#more-10237 [i]Treasury to retailers - You'll force up rates, Peter Martin[/i] The Treasury has rubbished calls from high profile retailers for a tax on on-line imports saying it would shield them from competition and help force up interest rates. http://www.petermartin.com.au/ [i]It's the end of the world as we know it, Ben Eltham, The Drum[/i] This astonishing feat of human ingenuity will see the excavation of a kilometre of rock in order to mine an ore body with the chimerical value of $1 trillion. Just getting to the ore body will take four years of digging, http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2725060.html [i]First Royalties, Then Secession?, Sarah Burnside, New Matilda[/i] "almost a Tea Party situation where Western Australia … will just simply engage with Asia" and "simply not deal with the rest of Australia". http://newmatilda.com/2011/05/23/first-royalties-then-secession [i]When too much money theory is barely enough, Nicholas Gruen , Club Troppo[/i] The ALP could be out there taunting the Opposition saying that only the Opposition thinks that the internet should be regarded as a private rather than a public good http://clubtroppo.com.au/2011/05/23/when-too-much-theory-is-barely-enough/#more-15832 [i]The Critical Decade ,Gary Sauer-Thompson ,Public Opinion[/i] Australia's Climate Commission has just released its The Critical Decade is an update on what natural science is now telling us about climate change, and with regard to the underpinning it http://www.sauer-thompson.com/archives/opinion/2011/05/the-critical-de.php#more [i]Abbott tries to calculate a carbon on goods produced by a church-owned health food company, Peteringtime, North Coast Voices[/i] (trading as Sanitarium) is owned by the very conservative Seventh Day Adventist Church, a charitable institution operating on Christian based principles. http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/2011/05/abbott-tries-to-calculate-carbon-price.html [i]Fix climate by 2020 or face huge costs. Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation[/i] Professor Steffen said inaction would lead to more heatwaves, extreme bushfires, water shortages, storms and sea level rises that would flood coastal areas. http://theconversation.edu.au/articles/fix-climate-by-2020-or-face-huge-costs-2090 [i]Doubt behind the aggression, Stephen Luntz, ABC[/i] Having missed the chance to change direction and endorse the approach to climate change adopted by the UK Conservatives it seems unlikely the Coalition or their cheer squad will find a way to back off their positions. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2726830.html [i]The Critical Decade’: expert views on the Climate Commission’s first report, Jane Rawson, The Conversation[/i] We asked Australia’s climate science experts to review the report’s findings. Some of these comments are courtesy the Australian Science Media Centre.Professor David Karoly, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne http://theconversation.edu.au/articles/the-critical-decade-expert-views-on-the-climate-commissions-first-report-2103 [i]Another dirty coal plant approvedJohn Hepburn, Rooted[/i] Julia Gillard. In the leadup to the election, she promised that “We will never allow a highly inefficent and dirty power station to be built again in Australia http://blogs.crikey.com.au/rooted/2011/05/23/another-dirty-coal-plant-approved/ [i]Climate Commission, The Critical Decade, PDF full report[/i] http://climatecommission.govspace.gov.au/files/2011/05/4108-CC-Science-Update-PRINT-CHANGES.pdf [i]How to get your home ready for the NBN, David Braue, APC[/i] while it may be years until the fibre-to-the-home project passes your house, it’s not too early to modernise your home network and get ready for the higher speeds the network will bring http://apcmag.com/how-to-get-your-home-ready-for-the-nbn.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+apc-all+%28APCmag.com+-+All+Articles%29 [i]Innovation in journalism: the age of the search engine, Margaret Simmons, Crikey[/i] How many journalists do you know who can tell you about what is happening under the Government 2.0 agenda? My bet is, none or not many. Yet this reform movement sweeping http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/05/23/innovation-in-journalism-the-age-of-the-search-engine/ [b]Newspapers[/b] [i]Tony Abbott welcomes global warming report , Herald Sun[/i] What we have seen from the Climate Commission is actually a tick of approval for direct action as a rapid way of getting our emissions down," he told reporters in the southern NSW city of Queanbeyan. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/tony-abbott-welcomes-global-warming-report/story-e6frf7kf-1226061214989 [i]Liberal powerbroker Nick Minchin attack Climate Commission report 'nonsense' , Joe Kelly, The Australian[/i] Senator Minchin is retiring in July but he remains a close confidant of Tony Abbott and his views as a party elder are widely sought. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/make-carbon-tax-hurt-julia-gillard-advised/story-fn59niix-1226061007488

janice

24/05/2011http://www.smh.com.au/national/gg-goes-from-pomp-to-parsimony-in-style-20110523-1f0ve.html Nice little story.

Ad astra reply

24/05/2011LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Tom of Melbourne

24/05/2011Most here really enjoy making partisan comments in endless support of the ALP, or simple anti-conservative sloganeering. Just for once and in advance of the speaking notes provided by the ALP, would Ad Astra or Feral Skeleton or Talk Turkey etc be willing to state a position on the following- • Do they think fuel should be part of the carbon tax? • Is there a specific environmental difference between emissions from fuel and agriculture and those from fixed industrial plant and power generation? • Should people continue to be compensated for price increases as carbon trading increases its price beyond the initial carbon tax price? • If there is to be continuing compensation, how will it be funded? • If there is not a mechanism for compensation for future increases in the carbon price by the government, will it be appropriate for unions to make wage claims that include a component for such price increases? • Would these wage claims be inflationary? I think these questions are entirely reasonable to pose to those that wish to push the community on a specific policy path.

TalkTurkey

24/05/2011FS Dom't you kmow? BAD ABBOTTS Continued (There had to be at least one Abottabad verse.) Well it's just - not - right When I'm jetlagged from my flight I should be made to work instead of sleep! In Iraq with a gun I made a comment on the run And the way shit happened to me makes me weep! When my great grand-dad Named Abbottabad No idea he had I'd be me But he would - be - sad That his great - grand - lad Would turn out mad! Bad Abbotts! :)

janice

24/05/2011[quote]• Do they think fuel should be part of the carbon tax? • Is there a specific environmental difference between emissions from fuel and agriculture and those from fixed industrial plant and power generation? • Should people continue to be compensated for price increases as carbon trading increases its price beyond the initial carbon tax price? • If there is to be continuing compensation, how will it be funded? • If there is not a mechanism for compensation for future increases in the carbon price by the government, will it be appropriate for unions to make wage claims that include a component for such price increases? • Would these wage claims be inflationary? [/quote] If you really want to know what I think, I will tell you that I am absolutely certain that there has to be a price on carbon, and that people need to stop thinking that it can be done at no cost to them. And, people should get it into their thick heads that the longer they put off pricing carbon, the more it will cost. The rest of the world is moving to take action and if Australia doesn't pull its finger out and keep up with our trading partners, it isn't going to be long before our exports will be slammed with a 'downgraded price' because we refuse to do our bit to reduce our polluting ways. Those companies who are threatening to 'go offshore' will find themselves at sea without a boat because no other country will be willing to put up with their polluting ways. And, those who are uninformed enough to back Abbott's "direct action" might like to chew on the gristle that Malcolm Turnbull has outlined about the cost of that little scheme. Just one tiny little aspect of it - the 15,000 strong "green army". Where are these to come from, at what cost and for what purpose? To plant millions of trees perhaps. Trees need water to grow and survive, farmers don't wish to give up any of their land to devote to trees and every drop of water is precious to grow our food crops. The "Direct action" policy will be a great big new tax DIRECTLY imposed on each and every Australian, each and every day of each and every year so that, according to Turnbull, will cost $18 billion out of the budget in 2050.

lyn

24/05/2011 Hi Janice Thankyou for your link to the SMH nice story. Janice isn't Quentin Bryce just lovely, the photo in the link you sent us is just gorgeous in the beautiful watermelon coloured suit. Janice you are doing well with your links, see we can do anything, us girls. GG goes from pomp to parsimony in style , SMH THE Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has tightened her belt in sympathy with people facing budget cuts, slashing her spending on flowers, dry cleaning, food and drink http://www.smh.com.au/national/gg-goes-from-pomp-to-parsimony-in-style-20110523-1f0ve.html

janice

24/05/2011Good morning Lyn, It appears I've now got the hang of doing links :) The GG does a stirling job as GG. If Abbott ever get the keys to the Lodge he will install the odious rodent and Hyacinth in Larralumla. The very thought is sickening.

Ad astra reply

24/05/2011janice What a sensible answer you have given to Tom of Melbourne. His expectation that we might be in a position to answer such detailed technical questions could be seen as a compliment about our grasp of this highly complex issue. Perhaps we should return the compliment by asking Tom of Melbourne: What is the evidence that planting trees and sequestrating carbon in the soil will achieve the target of 5% reduction in emissions by 2020? How many trees will need to be planted and how much carbon will need to be sequestrated in the soil to achieve the target? What are the logistics of this plan? Who grows the seedlings; how are they distributed? Who plants them – the Green Army? Where? How many hectares of land will be needed? How will the land be acquired for this purpose? What happens to the trees eventually? Will they be allowed to grow into ‘old growth forests’, which the report says are the best natural carbon sinks? While this method is said in the report to produce a ‘quick result’, how is it intended to manage the eventual escape of the carbon sequestered in the soil that will increase atmospheric CO2 levels in the future (as stated as a drawback in the report)? To what extent does the DAP reduce the need to reduce carbon emissions from coal, oil and gas? What is the projected annual cost of the Green Army, the trees and the processing required to produce the bio-char that is to be sequestrated? On a wider front, what will be the cost to the budget of paying the polluters to reduce pollution – so-called incentivizing them to not pollute? What evidence is there that this method of incentivizing big polluters not to pollute will result in significant reduction in emissions? Since the money to be paid to the polluters is taxpayers money taken from the budget, is this not just another name for a Great Big New Tax, but by stealth? How will householders be compensated under the DAP for the inevitable rise in energy costs and other household expenses?

TalkTurkey

24/05/2011ToM the Typo said "I think these questions are entirely reasonable to pose to those that wish to push the community on a specific policy path." I think these questions are entirely motivated by a cynical ill-willed wish by a close-minded individual who if I TT were to respond to him now would make him as happy as a leaky boat with hundreds of asylum seekers in peril off Christmas Island would make Morriscum. It's called disingenuity, and it's as low as thinking comes. Just in my opinion, of course.

TalkTurkey

24/05/2011Gee Ad astra, You're a helluva lot nicer to that ToM the Typo than I would be! It's almost as though you take him seriously!

Michael

24/05/2011Today's 'Bad Abbott'. This is actually a retrospective Bad Abbott as it so clearly displays the bald hypocrisy of the man. Check the details here: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/little-to-salvage-from-a-week-of-stinkers-20110522-1eyqj.html but it boils down to Abbott shaking the hands and hugging close workers that Coalition policy would very likely see unemployed. At a car plant in Geelong, Mister Good Guy trots out his manic laugh and straight-talking grin, without a single word about what he will do to the workers there once he's in government. There's not a worker in this country who shouldn't have a quick squizz at how Coalition policy affects their industry once they get word that TA is visiting their worksite (is there one in Australia he won't get to???). The man is prepared not only to lie to peoples' faces, he'll hug and jolly them along while he's doing it.

Ad astra reply

24/05/2011Folks Several of you have commented on the technique of questioning, and Gravel related this to the clinical context. I thought you might be interested to learn of some other techniques used in communication. The question types listed in this piece are the basic ones taught to medical students. There are more sophisticated ones that medical graduates learn during their vocational training, particularly in the field of family medicine. A number of eminent psychologists have added to our understanding of human relations and how we might most effectively communicate with those with health problems. Carl Rogers’ person-centered therapy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Rogers, Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis, TA for short http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transactional_analysis, Fritz Perls Gestalt Therapy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Perls, Milton Erikson’s Hypnotherapy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Erickson and Virginia Satir’s Family Therapy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Satir are well known. These were leaders in the field. Less well known might be Bandler and Grinder’s Neuro-Linguistic Programming, NLP. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuro-linguistic_programming While some of the claims of NLP advocates about its psychotherapeutic value have been disputed, its communication techniques have been used with effect in clinical settings. NLP theory proposes that humans communicate using three different forms of language: [b]visual[/b]: “I see what you mean”; [b]auditory[/b]: I hear what you’re saying”; and [b]kinesthetic[/b] (feeling): “I grasp what you mean”. Communication between two individuals seems to work best if both are using the same verbal language. So doctors who ‘mirror’ the patient by using the same language are more likely to elicit relevant information, especially sensitive information. If the doctor also mirrors the patient’s posture, that improves communication still further. A doctor talking with a despondent patient who is leaning forward and looking pleadingly at the doctor will respond more meaningfully if the doctor mirrors that posture, than if the doctor is sitting back in an inclining chair with legs crossed, hands in the ‘cathedral position’ under the chin and looking imperiously over the top of half glasses. Those who developed NLP also noted that the patient’s mode of communication could be anticipated by watching eye movements – looking upwards usually heralded visual language; looking sideways, auditory language; and looking down, kinesthetic (feeling) language. Harmonizing both with the patient’s verbal language and body language, together with empathic listening, seems to bring benefits in communication and therapy. Similar benefits have been experienced in business and educational settings. I suppose the question is whether these NLP techniques might improve communication between the interviewing journalist and the interviewee. Would it improve the quality of communication if journalists set about mirroring the interviewee’s verbal and body language? Perhaps they sometimes do, but I have seen TV journalists leaning back somewhat arrogantly, a posture hardly likely to facilitate good discourse. I have not been aware of journalist’s attempting to mirror verbal language, but will look more carefully in future. Yet if journalists prefer confrontation, cutting across, interrupting, disagreeing and entrapping their victims, not only may NLP not have anything to offer to them, but it may be antipathetic to their intentions. What do you think?

Tom of Melbourne

24/05/2011Odd that Ad Astra would just avoid answering a few basic questions about a policy he apparently supports. But it is quite simple for me to deal with your questions. I have no idea of the number of trees to be planted, the logistics involved, whether trees are planted as seedlings or simply sown from the air, or the amount of land required. [b]I’m not a supporter of the opposition or their policy. [/b] I’m simply seeking some details from people that are apparently supporting a political policy position. I think the questions I have posed are reasonable, particularly to a group so aligned and partisan. Do you think wage earners should be compensated if there are increases in the carbon price beyond the initial rate that the government determines? Should self funded retirees be compensated? I’d be interested to know why the contributors here don’t like deailing questions such as this. ------------------- And I note that Talk Turkey (as is his practice) just lapses into disparagement. What a sad individual.

Jason

24/05/2011Tom or is it Harold Camping? Why would it matter to you what anyone thought? partisan or not, it would be wrong anyway.last I heard from you was! that you were going back to gutter trash where your apparent intellect would be stimulated. Tom why don't you come back and ask once the policy has been released and we can base our answers on the facts before us? not some half arsed game you want to play.

janice

24/05/2011Ad astra, I'm chuffed that you think my answer to T of M is sensible but obviously he has either ignored it or is just spoiling for an argument. Tom of Melbourne, If you really want answers to your questions, you have exactly the same access to the released information on the government's policy-in-progress as anyone else. Like the rest of us you could be a little more patient and await the full details before you decide to start debating the nitty gritty. In the meantime you can use the time to mull over what the Coalition is proposing to foist on the electorate should it win the keys to the Lodge.

Tom of Melbourne

24/05/2011You misunderstand Jason. I’m not asking contributors here to detail the position of the government. We all await the statement from the government. It may or may not provide some answers. I’m only asking some apparently well informed people, some questions about [i]their own[/i] opinions on a significant policy issue. I’m posing a few questions now, before the ALP announces its preferred position because I’d imagine well informed people would have an opinion on those types of issues. But maybe it’s easier to wait until the government provides the speaking notes for everyone to repeat.

TalkTurkey

24/05/2011ToM da Typo said "I note that Talk Turkey (as is his practice) just lapses into disparagement. What a sad individual." Yup. :) Here's a general answer to all such "questions" as Typo's: I believe that what is really required is genuine goodwill and the determination to create good outcomes, in which respect and fairness are front and centre. That's a motherhood statement if you like but if there are those attitudes the rest can follow. What I have seen of ToM's posts thus far don't convince me that decency is front and centre with him and it's not worth anyone's time of day to talk positives to dedicated and unfriendly naysaysers. That's it.

Tom of Melbourne

24/05/2011Janice, I read your answer. I just didn’t think it went anywhere near the issues I posed. It was simply spirited defence of the government’s policy and criticism of the opposition. And you may be right. But I think the questions I asked are ones that should be considered if a policy is serious about dealing with longer term issues. ------------------- Talk Turkey though just avoids any alternative perspective.

lyn

24/05/2011Hi Ad Looks like Malcolm Turnbull continues out of his portfolio. The Coalition front bench look very glum in question time today. Joe Hockey has asked all the questions, all to Wayne Swan and every question about the WA Barnett increasing royalities, I haven't counted but must be 11 questions by Joe Hockey. I think there is a censure motion coming from Mr Abbott, seeing that is how he cheers himself up, yelling insults for night time TV. Here it is a censure motion by Abbott before I could press enter. Malcolm Turnbull's climate change stance at odds with Liberal Party , Malcolm Farr, News Com IT was billed as a conversation with the Climate Commission and today some big political names helped pack the Parliament House Theatrette for the chat. And right up the back of the raked seating, almost in the last row, the section where the lighting isn't as bright as elsewhere in the room, sat Malcolm Turnbull. http://www.news.com.au/national/malcolm-turnbulls-climate-change-stance-at-odds-with-liberal-party/story-e6frfkvr-1226061884020

Crowey

24/05/2011The only time you get any commonsense from ToM, is when he does his weekly summary over at Gutter Trash on winners and losers in the AFL footy fixture.

janice

24/05/2011[quote]It was simply spirited defence of the government’s policy and criticism of the opposition. [/quote] I was simply telling you what I think and because I think action on climate change is urgent, I do support the government's policy. I am critical of the Opposition's scheme because it will cost billions of taxpayers money while doing nothing to reduce emissions. My position on this issue is a matter of what is the right thing to do for the country, the people and the environment. Again, the questions you asked are premature at this stage.

Tom of Melbourne

24/05/2011Janice, how can those questions be premature? How can any thinking person support carbon pricing or trading without contemplating– • How will it affect pensioners once the price is determined by a market? • Will there be compensation for SFRs in a carbon market? Should there be compensation? • Should the price increases feed into wage negotiations? Or should wage earners feel the pinch of the price changes as a result of the market price carbon? Why on earth would a thinking person (who supports the government policy) not bother to develop their personal thinking around these quite important issues? It is as if people just want the government to come up with some the answers (or not) and then they’ll just defend the government position. ------------------------------ And thank you for the plug for my intellectual and incisive football analysis Crowey.

NormanK

24/05/2011Tom of Melbourne What a curious individual you are. You are asking us to firstly hypothesise on what the legislation might contain, then offer our hypothetical opinion of that hypothetical legislation and then, presumably back up our opinion with some sort of verifiable facts. What a nonsense. We choose not to hypothesise in the first instance because there are no verifiable facts. I might have a personal opinion on some of these subjects but that opinion is not worth the breath that I just exhaled. You are correct in asserting that [quote]the questions I asked are ones that should be considered if a policy is serious about dealing with longer term issues.[/quote] They do deserve consideration by a well-informed committee created to do just that. Any consideration by ill-informed individuals is just pub talk. Asking whether fuel should be included is as bad as asking what level we think the cost per tonne should be at the outset. I don't have access to Treasury modelling or any of the other documents to which the MPCCC has access. I don't have to live with the political consequences of my opinion. You seem to think that a single person's opinion has merit simply because it exists. On esoteric matters that might be true but on an extremely complex philosophical, economic and political topic like a price on carbon it is just hot air. I can only assume that you are looking for an argument or you are looking for another soap-box from which to spout your wisdom or both. If you're looking for an adversarial debate on this subject you've probably come to the wrong place, at least until such time as more detail is released. If you're looking for a soap-box, spruik away.

Ad astra reply

24/05/2011NormanK Thank you for your sensible answer to Tom of Melbourne. You have saved us the time and effort of rejecting his pointless request that we provide answers to questions that even those working on this matter with all the facts at their disposal are still addressing. I have just now sent you an email.

thenewjj

24/05/2011On the whole issue of the media, and the way it interacts with the political sphere, i have a little comment to add. The word 'DIVISION', i hate it! It is used by political commentators on both sides. If Julia Gillard holds a different position to Penny Wong on gay marriage it is labeled a DIVISION; if Malcolm Turnbull takes a different tact on climate change to the rest of his team it is labeled a DIVISION etc, etc! I would like to tackle this on two fronts: 1. Political commentators are continuously whinging and whining about how dull our politicians are these days. Barnaby is a Maverick, Doug Cameron is a divisive lefty, Nick Minchin is a climate change denier, Martin Ferguson is a skeptic, Corey Bernady is a racist... you get my drift. These are all interesting politicians who dont listen to the taunts and jabs that the media spray at them as insults from time to time; however they are exceptions to the rule. On the whole, our politicians no longer really seem to represent the various cross sections of society, because, if they do they will be labeled, and then be accused of being divisive. What the media needs to recognise is that by continuously trundling out the 'D' word they are reducing politics to just politics, and nothing more substantive than that. If journos want policy debate, throw away the 'D' word! 2. What does divisive mean? Does it mean that one person disagrees? Two, three or four? Or are these people just detractors (another favourite 'D' word of the media). Politics is about the battle of ideas, to call disagreement or a difference of opinion division is just plain wrong, and is offensive to all that want to see politicians think for themselves, as much as for the political party from which they are affiliated with.

Patricia WA

24/05/2011Ad Astra I found your comments on NLP and other questioning techniques interesting relative to journalism. My sense is that even unsophisticated but empathetic humans do all of those things in one combination or another, echoing phrases, facial expressions, body language and touching the other person. That 'human touch' too often gets lost before the TV camera, which is the great tragedy of modern day political interviewing. True, touching the interviewee is not prossible on 7.30. but other body language and eye contact are possible and Chris Uhlman certainly doesn't come across as an empathetic interviewer, much less human being. He is far more concerned with his own appearance, opinions and performance. Even Tim Flannery, by whom he is by far outranked in intellect and knowledge, if not perhaps in savvy TV tricks, he was dying to catch with a loose ended answer at least. One sensed he had poured over select parts of that report trying to isolate an issue or two to use for this "Gotcha!" Didn't happen. Tim looked like an aimiable, smiling absent minded Professor type in contrast with the posey, stuffed shirt, smart alec interviewer, who somehow couldn't win a point, no matter how he tried. And that's all it was. Not a useful interview for anyone. And it could have given us all a lot of information which we need on this vital issue.

janice

24/05/2011[quote]How can any thinking person support carbon pricing or trading without contemplating– • How will it affect pensioners once the price is determined by a market? • Will there be compensation for SFRs in a carbon market? Should there be compensation? • Should the price increases feed into wage negotiations? Or should wage earners feel the pinch of the price changes as a result of the market price carbon? [/quote] Well, so far as I'm concerned my contemplation is centred on how we will get on if we do nothing, the polluters go on polluting so that we find ourselves without clean air to breathe and our food sources disappear along with enough water to drink. Most who worry about compensation for "pensioners" are being a bit disingenuous imo because what is really meant is "what about me?" For me it is a matter of 'you can't have your cake and eat it as well,' so if compensation can be given to those who need it most then that is a good thing. If we all do our bit to contribute to reducing our carbon emissions in order to succeed in using clean, green energy, the economy will benefit along with employment opportunities in the new technology and we all get to enjoy a better environment in the knowledge that future generations inherit a planet that can sustain human life.

Ad astra reply

24/05/2011Patricia WA Thank you for your comment about NLP in a political context. You are right - Chris Uhlmann's demeanour was not empathic and therefore did not invite a strong response from Tim Flannery, who is a little timid but who can tell it the way it is if he's encouraged to do so. Uhlmann did not provide that encouragement, because I suspect he was hoping to trip up Flannery. He failed to do so, but the interview was less informative than it might have been with a different approach from Uhlmann.

lyn

24/05/2011Hi Ad Here is another report further to above post, about Turnbull attending the Climate Change Forum today: [quote]Most Libs skip forum - but not Turnbull, Channel 9 Once Mr Turnbull got the microphone in his hand he joked he'd been sitting quietly up the back of the Parliament House theatre because he was "a very low-key kind of guy".[/quote]http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8253034

Jason

24/05/2011Well folks just watched the most excruciating interview between Chris Uhulman and Tom of Melbourne!Rather sad really!

Ad astra reply

24/05/2011Jason It was wasn't it. Chris Uhlmann let Greg Hunt get away with his non-answers, his non-commital statements about the costs of the DAP, and his anti-Labor rhetoric. Uhlmann never got the answer to his questions about cost and did not persist. Another wet-lettuce interview of a Coalition spokesman by Uhlmann. And another characteristically obfuscatory performance by Hunt.

Ad astra reply

24/05/2011Folks Tomorrow you will enjoy a pleasant surprise. I will be posting NormanK’s initial original piece. It is the first in a series titled [i]Julia Gillard’s Fireside Chats[/i], examples of how PM Gillard might inform the electorate of the Government’s actions and plans. The concept is explained in an introduction to his subject: [i]A Price on Carbon[/i]. You have enjoyed his thoughtful comments on [i]TPS[/i] for some time; now you can enjoy his first piece. Lyn, I suggest you post your links after NormanK’s piece has been posted.

Ad astra reply

24/05/2011Hi Lyn Malcolm Turnbull intends to be a thorn in Coalition's flesh over climate change, while Tony Abbott slinks away and doesn't bother to even turn up to inform himself. Of course he doesn't really want to know lest his fragile DAP is seen for what it is - a fraudulent attempt to convince the electorate that it is a legitimate long-term plan to reduce emissions and reach targets.

Jason

24/05/2011AA, On the climate change forum I found this!http://consciencevote.wordpress.com/ She suddenly turned up on twitter and seemed quite good.

Ad astra reply

24/05/2011Jason It is a pity the Climate Change Forum did not reach a wider audience. NormanK's piece tomorrow addresses this very problem. I'm packing it in now for the evening.

Feral Skeleton

24/05/2011And when Chris Uhlmann interviews the naturally shy & reserved Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet, probably in the near future, he'll be back to his peremptory best. I wonder if Chris and Leigh realise they are bleeding viewers away from 7.30 with the obvious bias they are showing towards Coalition MPs? No one expects them to be biased towards the government, however, to be biased towards an incompetent Opposition, whose only talent lies in the politics, as opposed to policy, is verging on the reprehensible. No wonder that recent study found obvious bias towards the Coalition at the ABC these days. And I mean that the Opposition are truly an incompetent alternative to a government that has not, and it seems, will not, focus too closely on the politics, and thus is perceived poorly in the public arena as a result. However, when you watch Question Time, you see the carefully-constructed public facade of the Opposition slip away to reveal this shambolic farce. Take Question Time today. It's been obvious from the get-go that Tony Abbott, Chilla Porter's son, Christian Porter, the WA Treasurer, Julie Bishop and Colin Barnett, cooked up the Mining Royalty increase scam to try and leave the government flat-footed on the MRRT and deep-six their carefully-constructed path back to Surplus in 2 years time. I'd hazard a guess that it's a scam that was hatched just after Abbott failed to con the Independants into supporting him into power. Abbott, Barnett & Co. no doubt carefully planted the 'evidence' which they would dredge up today to 'prove' that Wayne Swan had 'lied' about not being told by Barnett that he was going to put the royalties up on the Mining Companies. As if it was some big deal. Hence the questions all going to Swan in Question Time today and the Censure Motion against him. Just another pathetic Coalition attempt at a Utegate-style stitch-up if you ask me. Because. They. Have. Nothing. Else. To. Offer. Except. Politics. Sure ain't policy.

Jason

24/05/2011Grog on QT today! http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/

Feral Skeleton

24/05/2011Jason, Are you going on strike?

Jason

24/05/2011FS, Sadly No!Sympathy strikes are no longer allowed! and we here in Adelaide or SA seem to have different barganing periods to our brothers on the eastern sea board.

Jason

24/05/2011FS, Other than the fact Uhlmann gave a "friendly" interview, the magic pudding of their "$50 Billion" in savings that got done over last week at the press club seemed to pass him by! But then again he did have little to work with as you could be forgiven in thinking the interview was about Labor's election promises at the last election! Mr U perhaps could've said we are dealing with the here and now!

Feral Skeleton

24/05/2011Jason, I prefer to watch Masterchef. :)

Jason

24/05/2011FS, I'm with Margret Fulton "I've seen enough bad cooks in my life I don't need to watch them on television"

Feral Skeleton

24/05/2011Jason, I've seen enough good journalists in my life that I don't need to watch bad ones.

Jason

24/05/2011FS, Touche!

Patricia WA

24/05/2011Can anyone break the code If I write Chris Uhlmann an ode? You must find the right rhyme For this man and his time. For his surname of Uhlmann Between 'bullman' or 'pullman' Which rhyme should I choose? Let me give you some clues. Watch and you'll see his pen is Ready in hand; known as Venus Complex reflective In other words We love our own - NO! - all the birds! I hope that last verse you stumbled, Then re-read lines you had mumbled. Of course it got dirty! The program's 7.30!

Feral Skeleton

25/05/2011Thought of the day. Hopefully the Coalition read it: Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. -Stephen Hawking

Feral Skeleton

25/05/2011PatriciaWA, Uhlmann rhymes with Tool Man, as in, the man's a tool, of course. :)

Feral Skeleton

25/05/2011This is what Julia Gillard should say when asked about the polls: [quote]Leaders are elected to lead. I don't consult polls to tell me what my principles are or what our policies should be. Leaders change the polls.[/quote]

Ad astra reply

25/05/2011Patricia WA What a nice poem. FS I see you're into rhyme too. Uhlmann is not popular!

Crowey

25/05/2011Notice how Abbott and his born to rule mob are having nothing to say or do about Patrick Stevedore & The Maritime Union pay dispute, it wouldn't have anything to do with the memories of Peter Reith and his hound dogs of 1998.

Feral Skeleton

25/05/2011Crowey, Which is not to say that the Coalition's fingerprints aren't on the Patrick Stevedore/Maritime Union contretemps. Notice how it blew up pretty soon after said Mr Reith came back to Australia?

Ad astra reply

25/05/2011Folks I have just posted NormanK's first piece on [i]TPS[/i]. It is titled: [i]Julia Gillard's Fireside Chats - A Price on Carbon[/i]. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com. NormanK has taken the concept of the 'fireside chat' and has fashioned a sample speech that PM Gillard might give to a nation-wide audience via TV and radio. He has chosen the contentious subject of 'a price on carbon'. We laud and thank him for taking this initiative and hope that it will encourage others to create sample fireside chats on other subjects for publication on [i]TPS[/i].

Feral Skeleton

25/05/2011Have we also noted the news today that BHPBilliton are actively undermining the Union and Union membership at all their mining sites? Just holding the fort and biding their time until the Coalition get back into power federally.

Feral Skeleton

25/05/2011Oh yeah, and Barry O'Farrell in NSW freezing Public Service Wages, which cannot be offset by Productivity gains. I knew that it was only "the phrase WorkChoices" that was dead in the Coalition's eyes. Be afraid, be very afraid of what they would do in power federally with supportive Coalition State governments.

Jason

25/05/2011FS, The modern thinking of the shoppies! "And union heavyweight Joe De Bruyn warned that Labor - and civilisation itself - could cease to exist if the party overhauls its platform later this year to accept same-sex marriage." http://www.theage.com.au/national/labor-in-crisis-as-disenchanted-desert-the-party-20110524-1f2jz.html

Patricia WA

25/05/2011Thanks FS and AA for being so 'nice!' That piece was rude and rued the moment I pressed the final key. Knowing you, AA, I am sure you are aware of the range of meanings for 'nice' outlined in the SOED, my Bible. Word play is irresistable sometimes and Uhlmann really is a tool!

Patricia WA

25/05/2011Jason, let's hope that the Patrick strife doesn't play out badly for unions in the media and amongst so many of the now self-employed tradespeople. The unions were a mighty force for Labor in the past, and still should be, particularly now that government has limited funding for stating its case on issues like labor regulation. We need them strong and effective not just for funding support, industrial power and and voting numbers, of course, but for the life blood of our leadership pool. I've been concerned about that as I watch membership numbers dwindle within the ALP itself.

Jason

25/05/2011Normank, That noted tech head Alan Jones was telling his listeners how bad the NBN would be based on this http://www.news.com.au/technology/shock-jock-impressed-by-laser-speed-breakthrough/story-e6frfro0-1226062824273 "Jones said the announcement was proof that the NBN would be outdated by the time it was built, without realising the network was based on exactly the same technology."
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?