What does Tony Abbott stand for?

As a political exercise, why not begin by jotting down what you are convinced Tony Abbott stands for? It may not take you long.

Don’t feel inadequate if you can muster no more than ‘end the waste, pay back debt, stop new taxes and stop the boats’. But wait, there’s a change in the air. On the last Insiders for the year (which is well worth viewing in full) Tones launched a ‘softer, gentler’ set of slogans: "lower taxes, fairer welfare, better services and stronger borders". Now doesn’t that feel better?

When I wrote a similar piece about Julia Gillard, I looked first at her acceptance speech after election as leader, at her address to the National Press Club and then at her campaign launch speech. I attempted to do the same for Tony Abbott.

First, I searched the Liberal Party of Australia website for his acceptance speech. No matter what search words I used, I couldn’t find it. It must be there, but well hidden.

The best I could manage was an account in the Sydney Morning Herald of December 1 where there was journalist Nadia Jamal’s account of his speech headed I am humbled: Abbott.  Of course newly elected leaders always say they are ‘humbled’, when they are really as pleased as Punch. Read it and see if you can detect the vision Abbott has for this nation; play the video and see if it’s there. Check for the Abbott narrative.

After getting his ‘humbled’ out of the way, he talked about healing wounds, about his ‘stuff-ups’ for which he made a generic apology, and then promised he would be a collegial and consultative leader. He made conciliatory noises about Malcolm Turnbull whom he had just toppled, and then got onto the ETS as this was the raison d'être for his becoming leader, saying ‘‘I think that climate change is real and that man does make a contribution,’’ but added that there was argument about the level of that contribution and what should be done about it. There were several more references to the ETS, the GBNT and Copenhagen, a passing reference to WorkChoices being dead and that while no one would mention it again, Australia needed a ‘free and flexible’ economy, (watch this space!), and still more references to the ETS. He ended with “Oppositions are not there to get legislation through; oppositions are there to hold the Government to account.” The latter reflects his long-held belief in Randolph Churchill’s dictum: “Oppositions should oppose everything, suggest nothing and turf the government out.”

I suppose he was caught by surprise at being elected and that is why his acceptance speech was such a dog’s breakfast, but with his many years in Liberal Party ranks, his supporters might have hoped for passing reference to the Party’s ‘beliefs’. They are there on the website for all to see. To paint a picture of what Tony Abbott might have drawn upon to give his acceptance speech some stature, here they are:

“We Believe...
In the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; and maximises individual and private sector initiative

In government that nurtures and encourages its citizens through incentive, rather than putting limits on people through the punishing disincentives of burdensome taxes and the stifling structures of Labor's corporate state and bureaucratic red tape.

In those most basic freedoms of parliamentary democracy - the freedom of thought, worship, speech and association.

In a just and humane society in which the importance of the family and the role of law and justice is maintained.

In equal opportunity for all Australians; and the encouragement and facilitation of wealth so that all may enjoy the highest possible standards of living, health, education and social justice.

That, wherever possible, government should not compete with an efficient private sector; and that businesses and individuals - not government - are the true creators of wealth and employment.

In preserving Australia's natural beauty and the environment for future generations.

That our nation has a constructive role to play in maintaining world peace and democracy through alliance with other free nations.

In short, we simply believe in individual freedom and free enterprise; and if you share this belief, then ours is the Party for you.”


Note that even in a statement of its beliefs, the Liberals could not resist a derogatory reference to Labor.

Next, let’s look at Abbott’s campaign launch speech

After a couple of backhanders aimed at Labor, he launched his mantra: “I’m asking for your support to end the waste, pay back the debt, stop the big new taxes, stop the boats and help struggling families.” He then went on to say; “Our task is nothing less than to save Australia from the worst government in its history.” After which the well-worn catalogue of Labor crimes and misdemeanours were trotted out, how the government had ‘lost its way’, and I think for the first time he used the word ‘toxic’ to describe Labor, this time in reference to Kevin Rudd.

Then he spoke of the ‘positive’ things he would do: “The public are asking us to do more than just replace a bad government. They are asking us to restore some sense of honour and integrity to Australia’s public life. We must offer the Australian people a better way. So I say again, if elected a Coalition government will end the waste, pay back the debt, stop the big new taxes, stop the boats and help struggling families and we will do that from day one. (We were glad he reminded us of that). From day one under a Coalition government, the mining industry could do again what it does best: creating wealth and employing hundreds of thousands of Australians without the threat of an investment killing, jobs destroying great big new tax. From day one under a Coalition government, everyone who uses energy – that’s pensioners, retirees, farmers, families and young people – could live without the threat of a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme that would raise prices, damage industries and cost jobs.”

You will see that all of these reiterate the GBNT theme. Nothing positive there; only countering what he has decided to portray as a negative.

He announced a Debt Reduction Task Force, an economic statement on the Murray-Darling Basin plan, a National Security Meeting to be convened to ‘take back control of Australia’s borders’ along with a call to the President of Nauru, tougher penalties for people smugglers, the reintroduction of TPVs, and a promise to stop school halls ‘rip-offs’ by giving money directly to ‘P&Cs that wouldn’t waste it’.

He talked fleetingly about an emissions reductions fund and a Green Army, business reforms, health reforms, and prudent and responsible stewardship of the nation’s finances. He repeated the mantra: “Under the Coalition, spending will always be less and tax will always be lower than under Labor.”

He then went on to put a little flesh on the bones of his education, health and water policies, said he would reduce bureaucracy, spoke of his PPL scheme, and vowed to break "the cycle of welfare dependency for young indigenous people and others trapped in intergenerational poverty, provided they are prepared to renounce their welfare entitlement in return for a guaranteed job", and promised to "publish all the modelling associated with all the Henry recommendations to foster the tax debate that Australia needs and now must have".

He finished by assuring us that "...no one will accuse the next Coalition government of being all talk and no action", lambasted Labor for a ‘re-election strategy…based on fear and lies’ and an advertising blitz that ‘will be all fear and smear’. For good measure he concluded: “…let’s start, from day one, repaying the debt, stopping the big new taxes, stopping the boats and helping struggling families.”

The party faithful were ecstatic and gave him a standing ovation. In archetypical pugilistic fashion he was taking the fight up to Labor and that’s what they wanted. But where was the vision? Look carefully at what he said and you will see the bulk of it is about fixing what he characterizes as the mess that Labor has created. In other words, he created a straw man, indeed many straw men, and promised to systematically knock them over. He assumes that everyone sees these straw men, agrees that they exist and need knocking down, so he promises to put a bullseye on them all, and knock them over. But if the premise is flawed, so is the reaction.

What does that speech tell you about what Tony Abbott believes in, what he stands for? What sort of Australia is he promising? How inspiring is his vision? Read it and judge for yourself.

Tony Abbott’s pre-election speech on August 17 to the National Press Club also defied discovery on the Liberal Party website, so we have to rely on a report of it in The Australian by James Massola somewhat ambitiously titled Tony Abbott outlines vision for opportunity society.  It is not the whole speech. It contains some of the same material as his campaign launch speech, plenty of condemnation of Labor, and Massola’s idea of vision: “But it was during his unscripted speech, which ran for about 25 minutes, that Mr Abbott was best able to outline his vision for Australia which would help ‘individuals and communities to better realise their better self’. My vision for Australia is not simply that my dreams will be writ large, far from it, my vision is of an Australia where everyone's dreams can be better realised”, he said. “I don't envisage an Australia where people conform to a vision that government has created for them, I envisage an Australia where government helps individuals and communities to better realise their best selves there is a better way.” So there it is, Abbott Vision with a capital V. If this is the extent of his vision, it is not just laughable; it is tragically wanting for a man who would be PM. Yet Massola gave it a tick.

Finally, there was Abbott’s comment after the majority Labor Government was formed, this time taken from the Liberal Party website: “I now rededicate the Coalition to the task of Opposition. I believe that we will be an even more effective Opposition in the coming Parliament than we were in the last one. We want a strong Australia and we want better lives for the Australian people. To the extent that that is what the confirmed government delivers, we will give credit where it’s due. To the extent that it doesn’t, we will hold them ferociously to account because that is what the Australian people will expect of us. I rededicate the Coalition to the task of being a credible alternative government and that will be more important than ever given the inevitable uncertainties of the coming Parliament.” A slight touch of ‘vision’: “…a strong Australia and we want better lives for the Australian people” and more of “ferociously holding the Government to account.”

So that’s it. That’s the vision. That’s what Abbott has in mind for this country.

Abbott’s plan is much, much more about correcting Labor’s so-called mistakes, and replacing Labor’s so-called incompetence with a supremely competent Coalition which of course will always have lower debt and lower taxes.

Try if you will to find a positive Abbott narrative among those public statements; try to indentify what he would do to make ‘a strong Australia’ and ‘better lives for the Australian people’. You’ll have no trouble finding his negativity and obstructionist intent.

Let’s conclude this assessment of what Tony Abbott stands for by focussing on some specific policy areas.

Climate change
George Megalogenis puts it well on page 48 of his recent Quarterly Essay: Trivial Pursuit – Leadership and the End of the Reform Era where he says of Tony Abbott’s attitude to climate change. “Abbott had been a supporter of the ETS before he was against it. He said the science was ‘crap’ but still felt the undertow of the polls dragging him towards a gesture on climate change, so his first act as leader was to promise $3.2 billion in hand-outs over four years to buy emissions cuts. He ran three fantastically contradictory lines. He agreed climate change was happening, while questioning the science. He said Rudd’s scheme was a great big new tax on everything, even although it was revenue negative. And he had his own budget-draining plan to buy reductions in carbon pollution from industry and farmers, while simultaneously arguing that only a Coalition Government could pay back debt and end the waste.”

Abbott realized that what he was saying did not have to be consistent or even true. He could say whatever he liked, make it up if necessary, and get away with it so long as a compliant media allowed him.

Economics
Even a generous assessment of the Coalition’s credentials reveal they are flimsy, despite polls showing the community’s confidence in its capacity for economic management. This is a myth left over from the Howard era. Let’s look at the facts:

The ‘economics’ team
By his own admission, Tony Abbott is uninterested in economics and not once has he made a substantial statement on national economics. He pushes that to Joe Hockey or Andrew Robb. Joe Hockey, who was left holding the baby after Abbott’s reply to the 2010 Budget, himself failed to detail during his National Press Club address the savings the Coalition claimed it had made, and passed the baby to Robb, who then, in his characteristically convoluted way tried to explain what was essentially a con job.

The ‘savings’ charade
The supposed $50 billion of savings were always suspect. No self-respecting economist ever confirmed them; economics correspondents who were supportive of the Coalition declined to show how they added up; even The Australian conceded they were ‘massaged’. At least half were political smoke and mirrors illusions. The $50 billion of savings were simply not there. The contortions through which Hockey and Robb went to try to justify their ‘savings’ were a wonder to behold. They were just not believable.

The campaign costings
Again we saw a Hockey/Robb duo – Abbott was AWL – trying to convince the public that an ‘audit’, done by Liberal Party-friendly accountants, which took the Coalition’s assumptions for granted, were accurate and believable, while a Treasury assessment found an ‘$11 billion black hole’ in them. Rob and Hockey, who could argue the leg off an iron pot, reasoned this way and that about assumptions, but convinced only those who wanted and needed to believe. It was another charade – everybody with eyes to see knew it. Most of the media looked the other way and tossed the black hole off as inconsequential, a misdemeanour that was OK for the Opposition but would have lead to crucifixion for the Government.

The bank interest saga
Joe Hockey has the well-honed skill of finding a way to criticize the Government about interest rates if they go up, and as stridently if they stay the same. His genius allows him to convert any interest rate situation into a lose-lose for the Government. He takes convoluted logic to a new level.

He opportunistically seized on the banks raising interest rates beyond the RBA rate rise to propose his nine point plan which he rushed to present and thereby paint himself as a champion of the struggling mortgage holder, and in the process gazump the Wayne Swan plan that was in preparation after lengthy consultations with the banking industry and the ACCC. Hockey got a tick from several economists despite its rushed preparation; will Swan get the same for his careful approach? After all the fire and brimstone, Joe’s plan seems to have faded into the background, like so many of his half-baked ideas.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that the Coalition economics team is simply incompetent, and at times willing to pull the wool over the eyes of the public with dubious financial contortions.

Paid Parental Leave
Here is another policy area where inconsistency reigned supreme. When in government, Abbott declared such a scheme would be introduced ‘over the Coalition’s dead body’. Then he had an epiphany and decided it was needed by some female friends with whom he had spoken. He mentioned it in his book Battlelines. After election as leader, despite his post-election assurance that he would be ‘collegial and consultative’, he introduced his PPL out of the blue without consulting the party room, and to everyone’s surprise revealed it was to be funded by a tax on business, having vowed there would be ‘no new taxes’. Caught in a trap of his own making, he then promised to reduce company tax by the same amount.

All of these contortions were regarded as amusing by the media – just another of Tony’s thought bubbles not to be taken too seriously, because, after all, he was only in opposition.

In the face of this and other about-faces he has made, it is breathtaking that he has the temerity to castigate the Government if it changes its mind, when he changes his over and again to catch the prevailing breeze, weathervane-style.

Water policy
Here again we see inconsistency. The Howard Government set up the Murray-Darling Commission (now the Murray-Darling Basin Authority) as an independent body to report on the rivers’ future. The current Government allowed it to complete its work, the Basin Plan, publish it, and hold public meetings to discuss its recommendations with stakeholders, independent of Government. When the report was seen to upset irrigators and rural communities, Abbott leapt on the opportunity to condemn the Gillard Government for carrying out exactly what the Howard Government had set out to achieve – a report for discussion among stakeholders. But did you see the media pointing out Abbott’s inconsistency, hypocrisy and opportunism?

What does Tony Abbott stand for?

So there it is. I searched for evidence of the Abbott vision for this country and found just a few motherhood snippets: “...my vision is of an Australia where everyone's dreams can be better realised”. I searched for the Abbott and Coalition narrative and found mountains of negativity, a tiresome recital of the problems that he insisted Labor had created that he would fix. I looked for his positive plans for the nation should he become PM and found a tiny mound. I looked particularly for his reform agenda for crucial areas such as education, health, industrial relations and foreign affairs and found almost nothing. I examined his contribution to policy matters such as climate change, economic management, paid parental leave and water, and found a confusing set of contradictions and in the case of his ‘savings’ and ‘costings’, ineptitude and deception writ large.

Yet when I sought out the media’s response to this exhibition of monumental incompetence, I could find but a sprinkling of occasions when Abbott was confronted by journalists – in a couple of Neil Mitchell interviews on Melbourne 3AW and in the Kerry O’Brien ‘I don’t always speak the truth’ interview on the ABC's 7.30 Report. The media chose to overlook most of Abbott’s crass statements, preferring simply to echo them as if they were valid beyond doubt – ‘The Opposition leader said this’, or ‘Mr Abbott said that’, or ‘Tony Abbott accused the PM of’ - anything that happened to enter his mind at the time, or ‘The Labor brand has become toxic’ whatever that vacuous statement means. And most, particularly News Limited outlets, pumping for a Coalition defeat of Labor, chose not to highlight the Coalition’s negatives, focusing only on any fragment of positivity they could find, any poll that showed improvement in the Coalition's standiing.

How can this nation be governed responsibly while the media seems unprepared to confront the alternative PM and the alternative government with its inconsistencies, its ineptitude, its deception, its paucity of plans, its lack of a vibrant vision and a coherent narrative, its largely obstructionist and negative behaviour, preferring instead to laugh off all this as the quirks of this sometimes eccentric, but eminently likeable Tony Abbott? It is only too ready to challenge Julia Gillard and her Government, as was evident this week in Kerry O’Brien’s final 7.30 Report interview with her.

When will the media and the public begin to turn around Tony Abbott’s oft-repeated remarks about the incompetence of the Labor Party, insisting with as much vehemence as he does, that the Coalition is the most incompetent alternative government in this nation’s history?

What do you think?

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Ad astra reply

7/12/2010Folks I had said that I had posted my last piece for the year, but Bilko’s suggestion, in response to the piece [i]What does Julia Gillard stand for?[/i], that there should one on what Tony Abbott stands for, after sitting at the back of my mind while on holiday, could sit there no longer after reading George Megalogenis’ Quarterly Essay: [i]Trivial Pursuit – Leadership and the End of the Reform Era[/i] (which BTW is a good read), and watching Tony Abbott on [i]Insiders[/i]. So here it is [i]What does Tony Abbott stand for?[/i]. I will eagerly await your comments, although I will be unable to respond promptly as from tomorrow morning I will be on the road for the next two days returning to the south coast of Victoria.

Sir Ian Crisp

7/12/2010Ad Astra, pardon me when I say you don't look like you came down in the last shower so how could you say: "Note that even in a statement of its beliefs, the Liberals could not resist a derogatory reference to Labor". Since when have the parties not taken aim at each other? This from the ALP manifesto: #The Liberal legacy of neglect on climate change 4 For twelve years in government, the Liberal and National Parties remained in denial about the reality of climate change. While other nations were taking action and despite an overwhelming consensus in the scientific community about the urgent need for action, the Coalition Parties continued to attack those who spoke out on the dangers of inaction, leaving Australia's economy and environment vulnerable to the growing climate threat. 5 The Coalition Parties refused etc etc etc.# While you were at Nowra did you per chance drink from the Lethe River?

Feral Skeleton

7/12/2010What do I think? I think that this is an absolutely brilliant post to cap off a very strong year, AA. As you know, when you actually go into the bowels of the Liberal Party(euurrgghh!), via their website(which is all glossy and hard, like the men and women of the Liberal Party themselves), you find, as you do with Mr Abbott, that it is but a shimmering facade. A mile wide, and an inch deep, as the old saying goes. If you go to their policies, some of which haven't even been updated to reflect the new political reality, post election, what you find is pretence, writ large. What the website of the Liberal Party thus reflects, and which is mirrored in its senior frontbenchers and its leader, is 'Gesture Politics'. That is,action by a politician for motives of publicity or to influence public opinion. Or, put another way, any action by a person or organization done for political reasons and intended to attract public attention but having little real effect. You have to admit, that the backroom boys that make up 'Team Abbott' are brilliant strategists. They know just what to say on any one day about the topic du jour. However, as you have so forensically pointed out, AA, it is essentially political Fairy Floss when it comes to a positive agenda, or any agenda at all other than 'Destroy the Labor Party by whatever means necessary'. I mean, take tonight's syrupy-sweet 'interview'(and I use the term loosely) of Malcolm Turnbull by Kerry O'Brien(and, oh what a stark contrast it was to last night's effort with the PM). Most of the substantial content was, as per usual, contained within the frame of attacking Labor and ducking and weaving and dancing around the inconsistencies of said attacks, especially when it came to trying to attack Labor over the MDB/Water Act placing the environment at the top of considerations, an Act which Turnbull himself drafted. At least O'Brien winkjled out of him that Section 20 is where it says that communities and economic impact must be considered along with the environment. However, when O'Brien pointed out that meant that Turnbull agreed with Tony Burke, he would have none of it. Instead he formulated an attack on the ALP based upon the fact that they haven't wanted to spend billions, that he had provided as Water Minister, giving money to irrigators to cap their irrigation ditches and pay for other water-saving infrastructure. Which I'm glad the ALP haven't done because it was just a big Pork Barrel, at the end of the day, for their National mates. The Farmers should pay for it themselves, then claim the investment back on their tax, like every other business does, with appropriate depreciation, for plant and infrastructure investments. But no, the Liberal Party aren't living up to that promise to support good policy intiatives by the government when they agree with them, such as in this case today wrt the changed emphasis in the plan for the MDB. Instead it's just 'Attack!Attack!Attack!' I don't know if you saw it, but Ash Ghebranious covered Tony Abbott's 'style' after his interview with Barrie Cassidy last Sunday on 'Insiders': http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/the-king-of-spin/ Now, the thing that all of us rational individuals can't seem to understand is, why is it, when all of Tony Abbott's political afflictions are so obviously on show, and the rest of the Coalition seems to be following in his footsteps, is it the case that they are the ones who the polls are showing would win an election now? A political party that lives a lie, day after day, whose policies are a tissue of lies and half-truths, but yet, it is true, have as their one saving grace that they are superior at messaging what they are not actually about? I just don't get it. It's as if the electorate just doesn't care anymore about real political substance or gravitas, just the Reality TV version of it.

Rx

7/12/2010Lying. Backflipping. Doubletalk. WorkChoices. Climate change denial. The Vatican. Religious fundamentalism. John Howard. Oppression of women. Oppression of minorities. 'Guided democracy' (read: incipient fascism). The foreign policy agenda of the Republican Party. Making life easier for the wealthy and privileged at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable. Soup kitchens, workhouses, shanty-towns. Spin, spin, and more spin. Slogans and more slogans. Media concentration. Relentless taxpayer-funded propaganda. Cutbacks to health and education funding. Pork-barreling.

Miglo

7/12/2010Hi Ad astra. What a great post. I nodded my head after every sentence, but in particular loved this: "When will the media and the public begin to turn around Tony Abbott’s oft-repeated remarks about the incompetence of the Labor Party, insisting with as much vehemence as he does, that the Coalition is the most incompetent alternative government in this nation’s history?" Pure wisdom.

Ad astra reply

7/12/2010Sir Ian So what is your point – that Labor takes a swipe at the Coalition in its manifesto, as does the Coalition take one at Labor in its? So what? Both are statements of fact. That both parties do the same does not make such behaviour less culpable. As the River Lethe has dried up around here, I couldn’t partake of its legacy of forgetfulness. I’m sure there is no River Lethe near you. FS Thank you for your kind words, which make worthwhile the effort of putting the piece together in between excursions. Malcolm Turnbull exhibited his usual ‘smooth as silk’ style tonight as Kerry O’Brien gave him an easy run. Compare though his plausibility with that of Tony Abbott. He is light years ahead, yet the Coalition chose Abbott over him! Compare tonight’s interview with that of Tony Abbott by Barrie Cassidy on [i]Insiders[/i] that Ash so forensically analysed. The contrast is striking and frightening – we have Abbott in charge and Turnbull in the background. Oh dear! Rx You have summed up the situation in a few words. What have we got in front of us? More of the same I suppose. Oh dear! Miglo Thank you for the compliment. The question is germane – when will the public realize that the Coalition is the most incompetent alternative government in this nation’s history? With the media barracking for Abbott and Co, sadly it may take quite a while.

Rx

7/12/2010Feral Skeleton, That's a most worthy post at Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery about Toxic Abbott - the King of Spin. May there be more and more voices to speak out about this flakey, dissembling right wing zealot. For someone who invites so much criticism the so-called "mainstream" media are strangely reticent. More power to independent blogs that aren't afraid to publish the truth, including The Political Sword.

Feral Skeleton

7/12/2010Rx, Loved your list! It would make a great lot of t-shirts for ALP supporters to wear. With 'Toxic's' fizzog on the obverse. :)

Ad astra reply

7/12/2010Folks After lunch at Huskisson and a visit to the beach at Vincentia, I'm ready for bed and an early start from Culburra Beach in the morning, heading for Boydtown. Good night.

TalkTurkey

8/12/2010NormanK Thank you, and thank you again. You done it! Got my gravatar up. PatriciaWA, thank you for liking my design, but bless NormanK who is solely responsible for its appearance here. Just wanted to say that, next post I'll say more about Abbott and more importantly Julian Assange who has now been arrested. And I'll write down the verse that accompanies the Floral Emblems design. But right now I want to see it come up here! And again Norman, thanks very much, I feel a lot more at home with my own design to keep my posts company.

Bilko

8/12/2010AA when I made my tongue in cheek comment I never expected this amazing response. Well done now if we can spread the message via wickieleeks or some such media outlet even better. I have always maintained that Abbott is unelectable and a policy free zone but sadly only us here seem to realize that. It amazes me that the polls still show the balance they do when on one side a good government working with the national interest in view and the other side a bunch of no hopers visionless but with a marvelous PR outfit who could make a visit to hell in summer a good thing. I can only conclude that Joe public has switched off and not responding. When one realizes that we have almost had a 12 month election campaign one can see a parallel with the USA where they go through this every two years no wonder the people there are apathetic and it could end up like that here if we are not careful. Keep up the good work.

Sir Ian Crisp

8/12/2010"...that Labor takes a swipe at the Coalition in its manifesto, as does the Coalition take one at Labor in its?" That's eggzactly the case AA. You still seem to be under the impression that Australian politics somehow can transcend the grubiness, the cheapness, the vileness that is part of big business. Have a look at the characters who are amusingly referred to as MPs. They wouldn't be out of place in a police line-up. It's like I often say...Al Capone must be green with envy. Why didn't he register his crime empire as a political party?

Ad astra reply

8/12/2010Bilko It shows that even a tongue-in-cheek suggestion can bear fruit. I think you're right - the public has largely switched off. Polls will be of little value until Christmas/New Year is behind us and the next parliamentary session begins. Sir Ian With your cynical attitude to politicians, I wonder why you bother following the political scene at all. Folks I'm getting on the road now, so will be out of contact until this evening.

Feral Skeleton

8/12/2010I have just listened to an absolute gem of an interview between Deb Cameron and Tony Windsor on ABC Local Radio in Sydney. If you can track down a podcast, please do so. They talked about the Murray-Darling Basin situation, and the politics around it. He called a spade a shovel, and called out the Coalition in clear and easily understandable language for the way they have cynically politically manipulated the issue. If I can find a transcript, I will put it up.

Feral Skeleton

8/12/2010Lol, Bilko: 'the other side a bunch of no hopers visionless but with a marvelous PR outfit who could make a visit to hell in summer a good thing.' Also, I take your point about the constant campaigning. Mainly on the Coalition side. You can see it in the constant photo opportunities, more befitting an election campaign, that he is orchestrating, on a daily basis, as he 'engages in a conversation with the community', or, in other words, just keeps campaigning, until he blows the Labor house down!

Feral Skeleton

8/12/2010Sir Ian Crisp, You don't have to look back into the past to see a criminal syndicate that has realised that politics is the way to go if you want to stamp your enterprise with an air of legitimacy. You just have to look over the seas to Italy and Russia.

Feral Skeleton

8/12/2010Talk Turkey, I think your Gravatar is absolutely beautiful, as is NormanK, who helps us all get our Gravatar act together. :)

Mobius Ecko

8/12/2010This question of what Tony Abbott stands for and it not being asked or audited by most in the news media has always galled me because when Howard ran his faux election campaign starting it more than 12 months away from the election date, Rudd was continually held up as an alternate PM and questioned on his capability. I lost count of the number of times Howard said "alternate PM" and/or "alternate government". Yet the same is not being done with Tony Abbott or the current opposition. Worse, they are barely being held to account as a credible opposition let alone as a plausible alternate government. Abbott only gets away with his blatant contradictions, misdirections and utter nonsense because unlike Labor when they were in opposition, the MSM is not holding him or his party to account in any way, and as you stated report his nonsense statements, almost exclusively negative, as indisputable fact and eminently quotable voxpops. I don't know what can be done to bring the MSM spotlight onto Abbott and make him and his opposition accountable for their statements and policies but at least I see a widespread online community doing it.

Patricia WA

8/12/2010Do I live in an alternative universe where no one thinks it strange that Malcolm Turnbull was 'invited' (no expansion on this)to be interviewed by Kerry OBrien last night as balance to the PM interview the previous evening. Why not Tony Abbott, and if he had refused the oportunity why was there no comment on this. Have I missed something? I know he had been avoiding his sort of scrutiny for a while, but he had appeared on Insiders on Sunday and surely there was an expectation he would front O'Brien this last time. Explain to me why I am the only one asking this here and at other sites. It must be that I have somehow lost touch with political reality.

Feral Skeleton

8/12/2010PatriciaWA, I'll just repeat my response to your similar query on Cafe Whispers. It's quite obvious to me Malcolm was merely the warm-up act for Abbott, who will, I predict, be the ultimate interview at the end of the week. Such is the level of O’Brien’s sucking up to the Coalition at the end of his career. He didn’t survive and prosper during Howard’s reign for nothing.

Patricia WA

8/12/2010FS, O'Brien was quite specific that he had invited Turnbull as balance to the PM. How could he justify an Abbott response today or tomorrow, without interview with another senior ALP figure? What surprises me is how little surprise has been expressed here, at Cafe Whispers or at Larvatus Prodeo where attention is focussed almost entirely on Wikileaks and Julian Assange. Important as that issue is to freedom of expression my own sense is that we are still entitled to clarity and objectivity from the national broadcaster on the willingness of the opposition leader to accept scrutiny.

NormanK

8/12/2010Ad astra Thanks for coming out of semi-retirement to pen this article. I can't remember you writing with such fire in your belly and can well imagine that this piece insisted on being written. To answer the question of what Abbott stands for : two mutually exclusive groups of policy. Nothing which is currently being handled by the Labor government. Anything that will increase his electoral chances. And never the twain shall meet or at least not until he is in power when everything will be up for grabs again. Example of the first group is the Water Act//MDBA which once had bipartisan support and strictly speaking belongs to the Howard government and the Liberal Party but now that it is being implemented by Labor it no longer deserves his support. Should they so wish, the Coalition could take positive steps to assist in the process of bringing a vexed (nightmarish) policy to fruition. Instead, Abbott & Co would sooner see the whole process go down the drain than have the ALP claim a positive outcome (which incidentally might actually be for the national good). The second group is best exemplified by Abbott's approach to climate change. We all know that he was famously a weathervane on the subject but what did it take for him to firm up his view. Was it a learned article which clearly spelled out the folly of believing that the science was settled on the subject and that a more cautious approach was required? Was it an inspirational speech by a world-renowned skeptic? Answer to both - no. It was as a result of an experiment he conducted in a small country town to see what the reaction would be if he came out strongly against climate change by declaring the science to be "absolute crap". From the response of the audience he could see that he was on to a winner electorally and as a consequence adopted a stance which displayed a desire to garner votes rather than acknowledge a monumental dilemma facing us all with implications for many generations to come. I share your anger and dismay that this level of political duplicity is not coming under scrutiny by our (supposed) gatekeepers who have a responsibility to point out the inconsistencies, lies and complete absence of ideas for the future prospects of this nation. (Poor ol' "vision" needs a bit of a rest.) I hope you had a safe journey.

TalkTurkey

8/12/2010This is the verse that accompanies my design Australian Floral Emblems, now deployed by the grace of NormanK as my Gravatar. You may sing it to the tune of Click Go The Shears. It’s self-explanatory, but note that each line mentions one flower, its dominant colour/s, and the State which claims it as its own. The chorus verse concerns our national floral emblem, the Golden Wattle, not included in this version of my design, but which in another version bracket the floral map festively. The originals, about a meter long, I did painstakingly with coloured pencil on drafting film. I would love it for eco-sensible schools to start teaching this little ditty, - pipe dream? – It would be a key little bit of awareness, you never know, some little kids catch onto good ideas and enthusiasms with just the right key at just the right time, if there’s anything I’d like to achieve with what’s left of me it’s to raise awareness of the need to protect biodiversity. [ H’m . . .. . .... . . . ... . .] Anyway Swordsfolk it feels good to have my own design as company for the stuff I write. Please, if you didn’t already know all the Aussie flowers, (might be a question at Quiz Night, but anyway we should know them, noblesse oblige), then do what the introductory verse tells you, sing it, get it on your mind, sing it again tomorrow, suddenly you’ll have pretty much the same pretty image in your mind’s eye as is herewith. I believe in the power of verse as a mnemonic – (Thirty days hath September . . . etc) and all you have to do is sing it. Sing it at Crispmesstime. Sing it with your great grandchildren. Sing it to yourself. ***************************************************************************************** Australian Floral Emblems The wildflowers of Australia grow glorious and free: In each State people chose just one, their emblem for to be; So rich! – So rare! But - which go where? – Our picture illustrates – Rehearse our verse, you’ll always know which flowers with which States! The Cooktown Pink Orchid comes from Queensland’s Gold Coast; Taswegians love Blue~Gums’ fringed blossom’s Gold the most; Red-and-Green Kangaroo Paw is the Wonder of the West, While New South Welsh folk think big Crimson Waratahs the best. Canberra’s Right-Royal Blue-Bell is such a lovely sight! Common Pink Heath’s Victorian – So common, yet so bright! For North- and South-Australians – One surnamed both of these – Sturt’s Pink Desert Rose, and Red-and Black Sturt Desert Peas! Chorus: Dusty old Acacia, dull Deep-Green; Plainest of plants on the bushland scene - But in early Spring, the Wattle is a splendour to behold: Australia’s emblem, radiant, in Emerald and Gold! ********************************************************************************* BTW my offer to send you all, well up to the first 30 shall I say, a free copy of Brucie the Bilby still applies. Only you just have to trust me with your postal address I guess. If this is considered risky, (well Ad let me know your thoughts) well i don’t know what else to suggest, but several people have graced me with a request for one, and some should reach those people today. You can have no idea how good it makes me feel to send them. Brucie just loves to get his message out to as many as possible. You’ll understand when you get one. *********************************************************************************** I'm so glad to have a Gravatar at last. Ta NK.

Gravel

8/12/2010Ad Astra "that the Coalition is the most incompetent alternative government in this nation’s history?" also applies when you think of the previous Howard government. What did they do in 11 1/2 years? What was their mantra, vision.....etc. I guess the media like a government to do nothing and praise it to the hilt. There has been a progressive government for three years now, they have done many many good things, the number one being saving Australians from a huge recession when the GFC hit. I ask what more can Labor do to help Australia. I often wonder why they are bothering to try. TalkTurkey When I saw your Gravatar I thought we had another commenter, but after a couple of sentences I realised it had to be you and I was right. After seeing your Gravatar I was wondering if this was going in some way to be what the Bilby book was going to be like, then on reading your comment I am excited and pleased to find that I may possibly be right. I will be watching the mail box for the next day or two.

nasking

8/12/2010Another excellent & informative piece Ad astra. I'm convinced that Tony Abbott believes he has been CHOSEN by GOD to be the leader of this great country. There is somethin' so FANATICAL about the way he pursues power. And his over-the-top fitness regime. I think Abbott is another, just like Bush, who will allow the donating corporations & influential corporate aristocrats & dynasties to run roughshod over our democracy...or what's left of it. I do not believe him when he states that "WorkChoices" is dead & buried. His eyes & tight jaw tell different. As does his allegiance to John Howard & some of the mining & media barons. As does their habit of poppin' up to come to his rescue each time his popularity looks shakier. I do not trust leaders who have too much GOD in their lives...not during volatile times...where religious wars are bein' conducted...who use religious references either consciously or sub-consciously just about everytime they open their mouths. Recently Abbott commented on Insiders that "The Labor party has lost its soul". I wouldn't blink if this came from many other leaders...but this man? Worrying. Bush was just as religious. He took America off the cliff...and allies w/ him. Mr. Gospel just doesn't sit right w/ me. And no matter how often he changes his tone, mannerisms, policies, smiles, jokes...I can't get beyond seein' a mean-spirited, fanatical opportunist...driven by things we can't even imagine. Nor hear. N'

Feral Skeleton

8/12/2010PatriciaWA, I think we need to hold our fire against the ABC and Kerry O'Brien wrt an Abbott interview until the end of the week. If by that time Abbott hasn't fronted then we would be well within our rights to question the 'balance' that the ABC has demonstrated in not allowing K O'B to put his blowtorch on, erm, tickle the belly of, Tony Abbott. Still, it would be obvious for all to conclude that Abbott is avoiding proper scrutiny if he doesn't front. Especially if he could be found instead at a picfac setup, or taking softballs at one of his 'Town Hall Meetings' with a stacked crowd of Liberal Party members, oh sorry, local community members. :)

nasking

8/12/2010I have a NEW POST up at the Cafe: Assange in prison...whilst war-mongers roam freely http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/assange-in-prison-whilst-war-mongers-roam-freely/ [quote]The likes of John Pilger, Ken Loach, Noam Chomsky, Julian Burnside, and many others who support Assange & Wikileaks in their endeavours, have been standing up to them for a good long time. And for the rights of the individual. And free speech. The right to know what the hell has been going on in our governments during these war times...these economically wobbly, volatile, too oft mismanaged & rigged times...these days where war criminals roam free...but the speakers for the dead are put behind bars.[/quote] Cheers N'

adelaidegirl

8/12/2010Patricia, from last blog, I see I used your name wrt "secrets". Many apologies. I was confused by roses! I would hate to be perceived as rude and lumped in with some of the less pleasant contributors to this blog. TT, lovely lovely gravatar. I note that you designed it - very talented! AA, excellent article. Do you feel though, sometimes, like you're pissing into the wind? Sometimes I feel quite dispirited and then I can't think of a single thing to say to add to the conversation. Thanks to everyone for being more eloquent.

Feral Skeleton

8/12/2010adelaidegirl, You know you're always welcome to say whatever you want. :) Sometimes, as with my own contributions, it might lean a little to the light and fluffy side, yet at other times it is deep and meaningful.

2353

8/12/2010Well said AA. You'd have to wonder how long Abbott can keep up the oppose everything mantra. Sooner or later everyone has to get fed up with the whinging and carrying on.

Ad astra reply

8/12/2010NormanK Thank you for your kind comments. I was fired up when I wrote this piece, exasperated with how the media allows such an incompetent potential PM get away with the nonsense he utters every day and the disingenuousness he displays almost every time he opens his mouth. I could have added more to the piece, about the Coalition’s ineptitude at foreign relations, but it was long enough already. Take Julie Bishop’s performance. It was she, along with Malcolm Turnbull, who insisted Kevin Rudd lift the phone and demand the Chinese Premier release Stern Hu immediately, clearly in retrospect the very worst thing that could have been done. It was she who stupidly spilt the beans over the forging of passports by our authorities, and as recently as yesterday she was demanding Julia Gillard spell out whether her approach to China was the same as Kevin Rudd’s as portrayed in the WikiLeaks revelations. Grog had an acerbic comment to make about that: [i]” Seriously do people in the Liberal Party let this person go near sharp knives? Do they let her use scissors without proper adult supervision? What idiocy. Yeah Julie, it really would be a good thing for the Prime Minister of Australia to publicly comment on the use of force against China.”[/i] http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/ She failed as Shadow Treasurer and is dangerous as Shadow Foreign Affairs. Here is another sign of gross incompetence in the Coalition. Gravel Judging from the last two years, I believe that we cannot expect the media to exhibit fair play in its assessment of politics. Most, but not all of the media, is a partisan political player. nasking Thank you for the compliment. I think many may share your apprehension about Tony Abbott’s God connection. George Bush believed his decisions were consistent with God’s will, and we all know where that landed America, and Australia along with it.

Ad astra reply

8/12/2010adelaidegirl Thank you for your kind comment. Yes, I do feel sometimes the way you describe, but I am not dispirited, as every time we bloggers expose the Coalition, we chip away at what seems to be an impenetrable wall around it, guarded by most of the media. Even the Berlin Wall eventually came down. TT I do like your new Gravatar. It’s easy on the eyes, soothing and benign, and beautifully described through your verse.

Ad astra reply

8/12/2010Folks I'm in Boydtown now, near Eden. I'll be back after dinner.

Patricia WA

8/12/2010Sometimes I can understand Sir Ian Crisp and Calligula. Commentators here are so unfair to Tony Abbott. Our Mad Monk stands for many things:- Monarchy - Morality - Monsignor Pell- Manliness - Motherhood - Man Made Climate Change.....no, that doesn't work. Even so, that's a mighty list and if A E Housman were living here today he would be churning out scores of poems in praise of this heroic Australian. Something like - [quote]An Aussie Lad![/quote] When from Mal to Tony preference turned The Libs were in much pain. From north to south, no longer spurned They’re feeling strong again. Look left, look right, their future’s bright, As if no loss there’d been. Tony will win next time, then plight Our troth to the English Queen. “God save the Queen” he’ll have us sing, Our national song not heard. Even William could be our king, Now he’s marrying that bird. And when the flames of climate change Burn Australian bush and sod, Remember, Catholic friends of his Will intercede with God. Good girls who know their place a’right, Whose mothers taught them brave Will wait until their wedding night, To do that thing all crave. They’ll have sons like their fathers got; Men like him, inspiring awe, When bronzed and bared for photo shot, Muscular, without a flaw. Forget those doubts on policy That’s a job for anyone. Or if the party can’t agree. He can do it, on the run.

Feral Skeleton

8/12/2010Speaking about Tony Abbott and his Foreign Affairs Shadow(of a human being, lol), Julie Bishop, did anyone else hear Abbott on the News tonight, when he said, "If I was Prime Minister"(in your dreams, Tony, and in our nightmares), "I certainly wouldn't have Kevin Rudd in my Cabinet." Well, apart from the fact that Kevin is a Labor politician, so that would make it virtually impossible for 'Toxic' to have him in his Cabinet, I think he forgot to take his latest line in yammering to its logical conclusion. That is, if not Kevin Rudd as Foreign Minister, then... Which only leads to one conclusion about the quality of an Abbott Cabinet.

Jason

8/12/2010FS, " That is, if not Kevin Rudd as Foreign Minister, then..." well may you ask? Mirrabella,Bronny, on second thoughts I can't see much wrong with the burqua?

NormanK

8/12/2010Patricia WA Points awarded for sucking me in. I thought you'd been kidnapped by aliens but by the time I'd rustled up a posse the ship had landed and chucked you out. Thank-you for that poem and please take it as read how much I appreciate all of your poems. They really are wonderful. FS I hate it when you're right. Kerry O'Brien may have only had the Best Man instead of the Groom last night but what a disgraceful Boys Own Chucklefest it turned out to be. And as light and fluffy as some of your comments. "Light and fluffy?" Good Dog! Jason, what is the right term for that? The intervention into the Rudd debate by Kurt Campbell, US Assistant Secretary of State was a welcome relief tonight and will no doubt dominate tomorrow's headlines. Or not. Abbott's comments may have had a bit of the shine taken off them.

Ad astra reply

8/12/2010Mobius Ecko I think you are right when you say "[i]I don't know what can be done to bring the MSM spotlight onto Abbott and make him and his opposition accountable for their statements and policies but at least I see a widespread online community doing it."[/i] We just have to keep hacking away. The MSM is aware of the blogosphere and although it despises much of it, it gets into defensive mode when attacked, which is a good sign that it is noticing and feeling the heat. nasking Thank you for the link to your article on [i]Café Whispers[/i] which is absorbing reading. The establishment hates exposure and will kill the messenger when the going gets too hot for it. 2353 Thank you for your kind comment. Maybe people are tiring of Abbott’s whining, but you’d never know this from the MSM, which paints him largely in a positive light. Patricia WA Thank you for [i]An Aussie Lad[/i]. Folks It’s been a long time on the road today – time for bed.

Jason

8/12/2010NormanK, "Light and fluffy?" Good Dog! Jason, what is the right term for that?" Liberal staffer I think you'll find!

Feral Skeleton

8/12/2010'Light & Fluffy'=Christopher Pyne, doesn't it? :)

Feral Skeleton

8/12/2010NormanK, I,too was dismayed at the Chalk and Cheese difference between one night's interview and the next. Surely, Mr Kerry O'Superior Intellect knows that Turnbull will lay on the faux bonhomie in order to smarm and disarm journos? I mean, he was back to his worst again tonight in his interview with Kurt Campbell, constantly trying to put his words into Campbell's mouth about Kevin Rudd and what was said about him in the leaked cables. The most salient point, that no journo was smart enough, or willing, to point out, was that the cable in question was written after Kevin Rudd's election, but BEFORE the 2008 US Presidential election. That is, still in the time of George W.Bush, whilst his Ambassador and Consular staff were in Australia. Thus, the whole thing smells awfully fishy to me. Hence, if Kerry O'Brien was half the journalist he thinks he is, then he would have picked that point up for his audience's edification. Instead, all we got was kerry's mangy underdog stance(in his chair, if that makes any sense), as he conducted his interview, in order to lure the interviewee into agreeing with the line O'Brien was trying to reel him in on. Thankfully, Kurt Campbell is smarter than that. Which wouldn't be hard, really, to outwit the old dog, O'Brien. Problem is, O'Brien's been living in Mosman too long, with all the other condescending wan*ers.

Feral Skeleton

8/12/2010A very smart take on the message that Wikileaks is sending us, if only we'd listen: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-jarvis/transparency-the-new-sour_b_792213.html?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=120610&utm_medium=email&utm_content=BlogEntry&utm_term=Daily+Brief

Jason

9/12/2010AA, Way Way of topic but the Mouth Mundine KO'd in the fifth against the fellow who won the TV show! YOU Beauty!

Ad astra reply

9/12/2010FS Thank you for the Huff Post link – it’s salutary reading. Jason Perhaps the Mundine episode shows that even big ‘mouths’ can be silenced. Folks I'm getting on the road soon on the final leg of out trip. I'll be back this evening.

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010Anthony Mundine thinks he's all that and more, and he just isn't! Anyway, Boxing is bad for your brain health. :(

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010I'm glad kevin Rudd is batting away the Gossip Politics reporters in the media who think that the storm in the teacup that is Wikileaks(well, the Oz end of it), is some big deal. It's not. Well, so far anyway. Also, where is the material from the Howard years? Sounds of crickets chirping... Stuff from when Kim Beazley was Oppositiion Leader, but nothing about Howard. Why?

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010Best comment of the day from someone who e-mailed into ABCBreakfast: 'Kevin Rudd may be a Control Freak, but he's our Control Freak.' :)

TalkTurkey

9/12/2010What does Tony Abbortt stand for? PRIVILEGE He stands for the Queen, God and Tony Abbortt. In ascending order. I often find myself thinking about something so trivial I can't help thinking, What a waste of brain space! I do think that of Abbortt. He is a simpleton, and really not worthy of our attention. The only problem is, birds of a feather flock together, and there are many simpletons who want simple takes on things, and they are all entitled to vote. For them, it's easy to explain things really: God made the world, and the Queen is the best way of ruling the plebs, and Tony Abbortt is anointed of God and Queen both to fight the good fight on behalf of the Right. Dog he makes me sick. Yeah I don't really want to spend much time on Abbortt. A waste of space. But he is going down, gradually it may be, but the whole Coalition NO program is wearing very thin and threadbare, they can keep yapping as much as they like, the more the better, but people are going to want more than Delenda! Delenda! Delenda! eventually. (delenda = destroy btw, in the language Dog prefers) Here's a nice convertible 3 worder for Abbortt T-shirts: Just Say NO! For those who find it too complicated it can be abbreviated: Say NO! And ultimately NO! ************************************************************************************** I love to see my gravatar come up now. (Narcissississist that I am!)Thanks for you kind words AA and others. Glad you like it, I do think our floral emblems are superb. BTW NormanK, your gravatar if I'm correct is a Double Delight rose? If so I call 'em Triple Treats instead, 2 colours plus a perfume made in heaven, an argument for Dog if ever there was one. I gave one DD bush to some friends in Sydney who put me up and put up with me for a week or so, the rose has given them endless pleasure. Perhaps the nicest pressie I ever gave. Reckon Broadband will ever be able to send scents by email? Boronia . . . Freesia . . . Daphne . . . ************************************************************************************* Light and fluffy Skelly? Yeah, about as light and fluffy as your gravatar's sword I'd say.

sawdustmick

9/12/2010Sorry Ad, this question required me to use too many of my limited brain cells so I will give it a miss. Happy Holidays to you and all the TPS contributors and keep up the good work. SDM

Rx

9/12/2010Speaking of Tshirts, as Feral and Talk Turkey have been ... there are some very insightful and funny mock-up posters about what Abbott 'stands for' here: http://www.tonyabbottisright.com/gallery.aspx

nasking

9/12/2010Rx @ December 7. 2010 09:13 PM Well said! N'

nasking

9/12/2010[quote]Best comment of the day from someone who e-mailed into ABCBreakfast: 'Kevin Rudd may be a Control Freak, but he's our Control Freak.'[/quote] Feral, I dug that too. N'

Sir Ian Crisp

9/12/2010Yet another disclosure today about the Byzantinesque workings within those dysfunctional organisations known as Australian political parties. Up to six months prior to Rudd being pushed under a bus his 'friends' were issuing the usual "Kevin Rudd is our leader and he has our full support" statements. Little did Kev know that a plot was being hatched which would see him dumped. I'll bet the yanks loved it when Arbib popped into the US Embassy for a cuppa and scones. "Anything interesting happen in the office today Mark?" At that point Arbib spilled his guts about the machinations going on in the ALP. Ad Astra, do you still hold that belief that only the finest make it into politics?

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010Talk Turkey, I agree with most of what you say, and might I also add that AhhhBut also seems to me to be possessed of, if not a 'God Complex', then a Moses Complex. Listening to NewsRadio this morning, as the ABC feels compelled to report every brain fart that AhhBut gives out to the world, I heard a report of him from his latest Circus Tent/Caravan Sideshow and all-round Holy Roller Experience in Darwin yesterday(wonder if he's still dragging the missus around to 'soften' his appeal?). The ABC breathlessly reported 100-200 turned up, and they had a soundbite of AhhBut answering a question from the audience. Now, if anyone has been to darwin lately, they would know that there is an accomodation shortage. Hence the question from the audience about what would AhhBut do about it? Well, guess what? Tony has the solution! 'Stop the Boats!' That's it! If you just 'Stop the Boats' there'll be less houses needed! Not, 'Have I got a Housing program for you!', like the ALP. With all the attendant jobs and infrastructure that would come with it. Nope, Tony is personally going to stand in Darwin Harbour with his hand outstretched, palm up, and, like Moses, he will 'Stop the Boats!' Not enough money in the kitty to pay for his wildly overblown(or, should that be 'Fly Blown'?), Paid Parental Leave Scheme? 'Stop the Boats!' The surefire way to get out of 'Debt & Deficit'? 'Stop the Boats!' Ah, it's so easy when you're a 'Policy Free Zone'. :) (Just don't mention the Convicts).

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010Here's Grog's final blog of the year: http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/12/time-for-break.html

2353

9/12/2010Thinking about this topic over the last few days I've realised that Abbott has mastered something in the past 12 months - the 30 second sound bite. "Digestible" 30 second sound bites make it to the TV news (and are followed by the press) because the story editor doesn't have to think about where to cut it so it fits the TV News 3 minutes per story formula. Next time you see him on TV observe the behaviour. It's also probably why Abbott won't do the 7.30 Report as it's format is not suited to the 30 second answer - as demonstrated by Abbott and his "gospel truth" comments last time he did appear on the ABC.

adelaidegirl

9/12/2010Another interesting Radio National breakfast with Frank Elly interviewing Hugh White, whereupon Hugh speculated on the conversation between Kevin and Hilary re China, in which he invented a little dialogue between then in which she called him "little man"! Man! Frank did try and say that this was speculation, but not very convincingly.

Grog

9/12/2010I actually gave Insiders a miss. Can't believe I missed the unveiling of the new slogans. Liked Cassidy's response - "You're, not stopping the boats anymore?"

Rx

9/12/2010Missed 'Onesiders', Grog? No loss. You'd have to be pretty hard up for entertainment to tune into the Liberal Luvvers session. Same goes for "News"Radio, for that matter. Half-hourly "updates" on Abbott and his brainfarts? - no, thank you very much, I'd rather listen to fingernails down a blackboard.

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010However, when push came to shove, like a naughty little boy, 'Toxic' couldn't resist giving his Darwin audience one more "Stop the Boats!". Sad, pathetic little man.

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010adelaidegirl, That would be Hugh 'Of course there are Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq!' White. The very same Howard lickspittle(my word of the year :) ), who used to front up repeatedly on The 7.30 Report with the Petit Bourgeoisie Coalition lickspittle host, Kerry O'Brien, and assorted other apologists for Howard's Iraq bloodlust, so that he could bitchily put down from on high, 'the mob', who were out in the streets trying to speak the truth to the anally-retentive camp followers, and so-called 'experts', such as Hugh White, to cool their jets and take another look at the 'evidence' they were basing their conclusions upon. As, goodness knows, Howard was certainly turning his deaf ear to us. That would be Hugh White, from the cosy little insiders club, that is the Canberra 'community' of Defence and Foreign Policy analysts, centred around the ANU, and in ASIS, the ONA, the DSD, and ASIO. The same Hugh White who was on ABC24, after his turn on 'Frank's' show this morning, retailing his bitchy insights to Melissa Clarke. Oh, but he's an 'expert', so we have to swallow whatever bilgewater he spews forth. Not that any of it has ever been correct. It sure has been Right, though. NormanK, that's why I don't trust Kerry O'Brien to do the right thing by his audience any more. I can still remember, as if it was yesterday, how he bent over forwards to facilitate Howard's drumbeat for War in Iraq. His stacked little panels, that were in no way sceptical or inquisatorial, but like the ABC quisling that he is, he was His Master's Voice.

Patricia WA

9/12/2010Feral Skeleton, I'm wondering if you still have your doubts, perhaps not about the motives of Assange, but the value of his Wikileaks work right now. My own sense is that his fans, mostly from the left, are kicking an own goal right now. I read at Crikey.com just now that Murdoch with vocal support from Howard has decided to editorialise on his behalf! At the same time of course they're exploiting the sex scandal for circulation and slanting their political take on the leaks to maximise damage for Labor here. I know that Nasking at Cafe Whispers and I this once aren't quite singing from the same song sheet, though of course he deplores the Australian's spin on the material. [quote]Publish and Be Damned?[/quote] So, has Julian Assange Begun to understand How ‘freedom of the press’ Is now licence to oppress? News Limited’s “The Times” Is exploiting his crimes As an alleged ‘raper.’ With every other paper They own. These juicy bits Will get millions of hits; Does his Wikileaks fame Give protection from shame? Will what’s considered a crime Not be thought one this time? Is he really at fault In this case of assault? Can the Swedish vice squad Nab this man who played God? Any hope for this story To be headlined with glory By the heir of his hero, Sir Keith, would be zero, Except Rupert wants blood From Obama and Rudd In his media war On all they stand for. Assange should be wishing All that dirt he’s been dishing Was leaked – not from a democracy But from the dark heart of Murdochracy.

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010These are the sort of Wikileaks I've been waiting for: (which show the utter hypocrisy of the American government not repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' btw). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/08/wikileaks-reveals-that-mi_n_793816.html

Sir Ian Crisp

9/12/2010I would like to warn all people here at TPS to be very guarded in what you say because senator Arbib may be watching. What I love about this leaking caper is that it confirms what I have been saying: Australian politicians are dysfunctional types without any redeeming features or characteristics whatsoever.

NormanK

9/12/2010Ad astra As a medical man you know it is not good for your general well-being to suppress strong urges and you must eventually give in to the desire to profile Julie Bishop. I look forward to that particular volcano. Feral Skeleton Now we are seeing the true worth of Wikileaks, it's just a pity that we had to sit through so much gossip and unnecessary publication of dubious material. To be fair, the media houses responsible for putting some of this stuff into the mainstream have a lot to answer for with regard to public good. I begin to see why you have such a set on KO'B but unfortunately the times you most recently referred to were 60-80 hour weeks for me (sucking at the government teat as an artsy-fartsy bludger) so I have no clear recollection of that period. Are we running a book on seeing Abbott tonight? The link you provided to the Huff Post article and the Jay Rosen link which it contained certainly had some interesting comments attached as well as reasoned argument in the main body. If I never read "disconnect" (aaaarrgh) again it will be far too soon. A bit like a poll question the four stances seem to be : Unqualified support for Wikileaks. Qualified support depending on public good. Qualified condemnation depending on public good. Unqualified condemnation. TalkTurkey Its lovely to see your Gravatar come up. Yes, mine is currently Double Delight. I get bored easily (ADD) so my image will change quite often. Mark Arbib - light & fluffy? Mmmmm.

Ad astra reply

9/12/2010Folks We're back home on the Victorian south coast after a long trip from Boydtown near Eden, So I'm going to leave responses to your comments until tomorrow.

TalkTurkey

9/12/2010NormanK Ranga . . . ADD . . . You're not a mollydooker like me too? Rx re that Dec 7 post of yours, I think, like Nasking, you got Abbortt dead to rights. Well sprayed! Lyn We miss you every day. The other Swordsfolks are keeping the Sword burnished though. **************************************************************************** They say it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good. I think poor Julian Assange has been a Dogsend for political bloggers, Aussies in particular since the federal politics finally went off the boil. But I'm truly sad and worried for Assange, and pretty suspicious of how the MSM will use the issue to try to limit the Internet. There's the rub. PatriciaWA is right, there could be serious crackdowns by the Right in the future, but in any case I don't see how We can avoid a full-on battle over the issue. It might well be a defining moment in freedom of speech. I have wondered how far one might have to go to call down a charge of SEDITION on one's head, (didn't sedition get a sabre-rattling from Howard a few years ago?) I'm a bit tempted to actually try taunting THEM somehow, but the Chaser boys pretty well gazzumped anything I might be game to do. Seems to me Freedom closes in like shrinkwrap when people don't constantly push the envelope in all directions, it must be fought for to begin with and it is always in the interest of the Right to reduce freedoms. They know now they can't stop the NBN (or the WBN for that matter) but they are obviously not going to roll over, they will try every way to turn it to their own nefarious purposes.

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010PatriciaWA, The Murdochracy are dirty, double-dealing pond scum. So what's new? Their enemy, as you say, are social democrats. Assange is but a pawn in their larger game, which is to turn the world Conservative blue, or, as Janet Albrectson hopefully opined, to the point where, "We're all Conservatives now." They will stop at nothing to enable their corporate plutocracy to prevail over egalitarianism and the 'Fair Go'. Sadly, it seems, Assange has been blinded by a devotion to one Murdoch, whilst being taken advantage of by another. Actually, what I find interesting here is how someone from Assange's generation has bought the Gallipoli myth that Howard retailed for the dozen years he was in government. That is, Assange hasn't cleaved to the futility of war angle, that Gallipoli was a glaring example of, or the abuse of the plebs as cannon fodder for the aristocrats. Instead he has taken the angle of defending and supporting the 'Brave Diggers'...who were cannon fodder for the British aristos...and taken sides with Keith Murdoch who exposed the situation they were in. Whilst not mentioning the futility of the war they were in. That is, he has taken the Howard line that the First World War was a just war to fight, and solving problems militarily is the way to go. When, instead, it was a war, for the Aristos, by the Aristos, and Australians, as part of the Empire, had no choice but to go and lay their bodies on the line for these people. Anyway, as Psyops, it's working perfectly. Assange, as the Golden-haired boy defending the right to Free Speech, actually acting as the conduit to both destroy governments of the Centre Left, and finally enable stricter control by governments of the internet. No wonder Murdoch and Howard support Assange to the hilt. They couldn't have hoped for a better perfect storm.

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010NormanK, Looks like, as PatriciaWA correctly predicted, Abbott slipped the Kerry O'Brien, final week dragnet. Without a word of condemnation from Kerry. Abbott is practising the Sarah Palin method. Only do the media you want to do and can control.

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010Sir Ian Crisp, Another pointless interjection from you. Ho hum. Rather obvious as well. I think you might be losing your touch.

NormanK

9/12/2010Leigh Sales and Chris Uhlmann ... aaaaaaaaagggghhhhh!!!!

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010NormanK, I know, I know. Leigh Sales, or 'Miss Prissy' as I have nicknamed her. Also, Chris Uhlmann, who is a close runner-up to Abbott when it comes to inserting Biblical references into his work. One interesting thing happened tonight. As per usual, after K O'B signed off I rabbited on about how biased he had become. My eldest son would have none of it. He said that, "Isn't it true that Liberal supporters say Kerry O'Brien favours the Labor Party? And you say he favours the Liberal Party. Therefore that must mean that he is actually pretty balanced". Oh boy.

Michael

9/12/2010Tony Abbott stands for the national anthem of the United Kingdom. The rest is silence.

Rx

9/12/2010[i]Abbott is practising the Sarah Palin method. Only do the media you want to do and can control.[/i] He'll be a weekly if not nightly fixture when Uhlmann slips into the chair.

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010Rx, They can exchange Alter Boy stories. :)

Feral Skeleton

9/12/2010Come back Andrew Olle, Matt Price and Richard Carleton, all is forgiven.

NormanK

9/12/2010[i]the Sarah Palin method[/i] - that's conjugal sex in the presence of a Mama grizzly bear isn't it? Nothing like a bit of encouragement to get it over and done with. "God said I had to procreate but He didn't say that I had to like it." I imagine we'll have plenty of opportunity to dissect Uhlmann in the months ahead. To date I haven't got past supercilious, condescending, puritanical and fiercely ambitious but I'm confident that I can find something to dislike about him. Miss Prissy - do you think she'd let me clean the blackboards? What a truly wonderful surprise it would be if they both turned out to be competent in their new roles. Breath, do not expect to be held. On a more serious note, since it was me who recently criticised SBS news over their handling of "factional war breaking out in the ALP over nuclear power", I'd have to say that it has been a one-of. Their treatment of Rudd/Wikileaks/China was quite fair in my opinion and even tonight they didn't pursue the negative angle of the Arbib thing too far. Dolly Downer to the rescue. I bet he's quaking in his stilettos.

2353

10/12/2010SIC said "[quote]I would like to warn all people here at TPS to be very guarded in what you say because senator Arbib may be watching. What I love about this leaking caper is that it confirms what I have been saying: Australian politicians are dysfunctional types without any redeeming features or characteristics whatsoever.[/quote]" Not only Senator Arbib but his pair in the LNP as well. You can't tell me the US Government hasn't "infiltrated" the party of Bush's "Man of Steel". However your 2nd paragraph is probably the first thing I've ever seen you write that I vould agree with.

TalkTurkey

10/12/2010Oh Oh Oh o'Brien. He got the gong but thank Dog he's gone. A disgrace to red hair. ************************************************************************************** Are the leaked documents only from the last few years? I've seen nothing to incriminate anybody of the Right, well nothing to incriminate anybody really but nothing to even reflect on, like, Downer and Howard. Or are the leaked documents pre-pre-filtered? Whence and from whom come these records? What is their scope? Why aren't we finding out more about the whole lot? Who's controlling their release? What's the story really? As I said at the time, Julia shouldna been such an precipitate loudmouth on Assange. Bloody redheads, fiery tempers . . . (It's a myth . . . I think) . . . but I think she called it 'way wrong. Rudd is handling his exposure very sagely, and firmly too. Julian Burnside, Geoffrey Robertson, (?Michael Kirby?), it's reassuring to have real legal gravitas to support one's initial view. The Government should at least offer Assange assured asylum in Australia, he is an Australian citizen, and the rights of ALL Australian citizens overseas, druggies and child molesters and all, should be defended by the Australian Government. Even if the Government wants any prosecution of Australian nationals to go ahead, it is its responsibility to see that the procedure accords with Australian notions of legal procedure. We really do have an interest in this issue, not just for Assange, nor just for the content of the information he has revealed, but for the future of FOI on the Internet.

BH

10/12/2010AA - I will reread again over the holidays. With FS's piece on Gillard and now this one you've both given us a lot to dwell on ready for the onslaught again in 2011.] Have a relaxing Christmas and New Year. Cheers to all

Ad astra reply

10/12/2010Folks There has been so much interesting dialogue while I have been in transit that I will need to be selective about the items upon which I comment. Sir Ian I don’t recall saying that I believed that only the finest make it into politics; what I have often said is that I believe that most politicians, certainly at a federal level, enter politics hoping to make a positive difference to our nation. I believe they have good intent, but that is sometimes perverted by adversarial politics, and in some instances self-interest, incompetence and corruption. We live in an imperfect world. But I cannot go to the extreme position you take – [i]“Australian politicians are dysfunctional types without any redeeming features or characteristics whatsoever.”[/i] If you are right and I am wrong, what value is there for any of us attending to politics at all? The ‘types’ you describe would not be amenable to any contrary opinion or view; they would be immune to any suggestions for change, unwilling to do other than what they always intended to do. Political discourse would be useless; the direction of the ship of state could never be changed, except at election time. Political commentators in the Fourth and the Fifth Estates would be redundant, except at election time. Day by day blogs would be valueless. I cannot accept that nihilistic attitude to politics and politicians. The evidence is that no matter how inept some may be, they do notice what people say and write, and do change. [i]The Political Sword[/i] continues on the assumption that this is so. What astonishes me is that you continue to comment here when you hold such extremely skeptical views about the political system. What’s the point?

Ad astra reply

10/12/2010Rx, Patricia WA, FS, NormanK, TT The Walkley Awards give us insight into what the journalistic world values: leaks (Laurie Oakes and WikiLeaks style), abrading senior politicians (Kerry O’Brien vs Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott), and in some instances, fine documentaries. What the future holds with Leigh Sales and Chris Uhlmann on [i]7.30[/i] remains to be seen. It seems to me that groupthink and journalistic competition demands that newcomers be as ‘hairy-chested’ as their predecessors; so we may see more of the same. It’s a pity the vicious circle of abrasive interviews, which in turn cause politicians to be defensive and evasive, seems unlikely to be broken. Why can’t we have more of the Hugh Riminton approach where courteous interviewing engenders informative statements from politicians? Interviews don’t have to be gladiatorial contests – it’s information and opinion we want, not a fight to entertain the audience where the winner takes all.

Sir Ian Crisp

10/12/2010Ad Astra, I am in search of a drug that can be used by dentists, doctors, surgeons and other people who need an easy to administer drug that puts people into a trance and while in that trance they feel no pain...they suspend hurt and agony...they are impervious to things which would otherwise present pain and fear. People who are enamored by our politicians and our political 'system' are people who have found this new drug. I am trying to discover what it is.

Ad astra reply

10/12/2010Sir Ian You still have not answered my question - why do you bother following politics and commenting on it? Clearly you have not discovered the mind-numbing drug that would anaesthetise the pain politicians give you, so why not remove yourself from the source of the pain by ignoring politics?

Rx

10/12/2010Ad Astra, I'm cynical about Uhlmann's appointment to the 7.30 Report. The perennial, hidebound critics of the ABC from the right will claim that because his wife is a Labor MP he naturally favours Labor, which will be his (and the right wing critics') escape clause for the bias I'm expecting he'll continue to show in favour of Abbott and the Coalition. Worsening times ahead for the national broadcaster, as the core justification for its existence - news and current affairs - continues to be deligitimised by bias and humbug. Howard's stacking of the Board of Directors with right wing wreckers was like putting a plague of Draculas in charge of the blood bank. And you can bet he knew full well what the upshot of that action would be (and we're seeing it now): the slow degradation of the ABC's credibility, going hand-in-hand with the erosion of public support for it as an organisation. 'How to Whiteant a Priceless Cultural Institution To Which You Are Opposed on Ideological Grounds' - that stinker Howard wrote the book.

Gravel

10/12/2010Ad Astra You have hit the nail on the head with regards to 'journalists' and 'journalism'. After the outing of Grog we all hoped that it may get better but if anything it has got worse. TalkTurkey I have just received the copy of Brucie the Bilby, it is just wonderful, I totally recommend it to all who visit here on The Political Sword.

NormanK

10/12/2010I meant to post this the other day. An article on Grog. http://www.citynews.com.au/

nasking

10/12/2010[quote]Tony is personally going to stand in Darwin Harbour with his hand outstretched, palm up, and, like Moses, he will 'Stop the Boats!' [/quote] LOL. Feral, what an image! Be funny to watch a boat sail straight over him. He stands up in the water, drenched...tryin' to speak but lookin' more like a water fountain...a fish emergin' from his gob...a miracle offerin' for his flock perhaps? BTW, Patricia & Feral...as for Assange...I think he chose to send that piece to The Australian because the Murdoch empire had been so tough on him and he knew they couldn't resist the exposure...especially mentionin' Keith Murdoch. Nice touch. If he & WikiLeaks were in w/ the Murdoch types then why would most of the leaks go to Fairfax, Reuters & The Guardian? I'm not discountin' yer theory...it's quite possible this stuff will be used to screw over nought but the Left of politics (if ya can call them that these days)...and yes, I'd like to see more on the Oz Libs & Republicans (it is a bit odd that we've seen stuff all considerin' the years of cables they apparently have)...but I'm thrilled that at least people are gettin' a renewed interest in global affairs...and some who had little or none before. Enjoyed yer poem Patricia. As ever. Shame we didn't see Abbott front up to 7:30 Report...turns out he was the chook we thought. Afraid of Kerry. And his own mouth. Oh Feral, I noticed you were on the Cafe's Summer 3 music blog yesterday...unfortunately I didn't have my wife's laptop to access it (my computer doesn't accept too many vids)...I'll check it out tonite. Enjoy yer contribution. You know a great deal of music. Good stuff! Best to Ad astra & the rest of the contributors on here. Have a chillaxing time. :) N'

Feral Skeleton

10/12/2010It's almost enough to make you believe in God, almost, but not quite. That is, was 'He' protecting 'Us' when he organised for another 'Abbott' in the Northern Territory, to come along and stand for the CLP in Solomon, and draw Tony Abbott into an act that would see him expose himself as unfit for high office, again, and see him fall short by this one seat in realising his dream of becoming Prime Minister? Read on: 'Terry Mills -- a politically dead man walking trashes his own brand Bob Gosford, blogger at The Northern Myth, writes: Terry Mills is undoubtedly a nice bloke. But in the Northern Territory, as elsewhere, nice isn’t enough and Mills won’t be leading the NT opposition Country Liberal Party at the next general elections due by August 2012. And his party knows it -- as one of his backbenchers told me in Darwin last week, Mills is a political "dead man walking". That he will be "knocked" is a matter of when, not if. Two years ago Terry Mills and the CLP were on a roll. At the August 2008 NT election, Mills led a resurgent CLP back from the political wilderness to take six seats off Labor and come within a few hundred votes of a hung parliament. With four years to the next election and an ordinary-at-best Labor government riven with internal dramas, Mills and the CLP looked set to seize power sooner rather than later. But over the next year, Mills couldn’t lay any wood on Labor and he and the CLP were little more than spectators while Labor tore itself apart in the crisis of mid-2009 that left a hapless Paul Henderson as leader of a minority government held together with string and gaffer tape and a fragile deal with ex-chook farmer and independent MLA but-don’t-call-me-a-kingmaker Gerry Wood. But the CLP let Labor off the hook. The Henderson-Woods deal is now stronger that ever and it is the CLP that is suffering its own very public leadership crisis. The latest miserable chapter in Mills’ political decline has its roots in the March 2010 pre-selection of Leo Abbott as the CLP’s candidate for the federal seat of Lingiari, held by Labor minister Warren Snowdon. Abbott’s candidacy was a rolling train wreck for the CLP. On Friday August 13, one week before the election, the NT News revealed what was at the time an open secret in Alice Springs -- that in December 2009 Abbott had entered a guilty plea in the Alice Springs Magistrates Court to a breach of a domestic violence order. Following these revelations Mills, backed by Tony Abbott and the CLP’s successful candidate for Solomon, Natasha Griggs, called for Leo Abbott to be disendorsed as candidate for Lingiari. But the call by Mills and others for Leo Abbott to be dumped got him well offside with the CLP’s executive wing, and more importantly the Alice Springs rump of the party, both of whom supported Abbott’s candidacy. I interviewed Terry Mills a few days after the NT News broke the Abbott DVO story. He stood by his call for Leo Abbott to be disendorsed and threw out a challenge to his party: "…there was an order of the court and that order was breached. Full stop. That should have been the end of the matter … [A]nd I would never compromise that. I can’t devalue my currency... Someone is going to have to change here and it is not me." What we now know is that two days before Mills spoke to me he had a conversation with Leo Abbott on substantially different terms. In mid-November the Alice Springs News ran a brief piece based on information from "well informed sources" that alleged Mills and federal opposition leader Tony Abbott had offered Leo Abbott a government job if he withdrew his candidacy. This offer was, of course, conditional on the Liberal Party winning the federal election. It soon got worse for Mills, with rumours circulating about a transcript of a telephone conversation between Abbott and Mills in the lead-up to an urgent meeting of the CLP executive on the weekend of August 14-15 to reconsider Abbott’s candidacy. Yesterday Tony Abbott told the ABC in Darwin that he "had no involvement in this matter". Leo Abbott has said nothing. And Terry Mills -- for reasons that have just about everyone scratching their heads in wonder and amazement -- kept schtum rather than just saying "Yeah, we offered him a job. So what?" While Mills stood mute, Labor made merry hell with the issue, first inviting an investigation by the Australian Electoral Commission into possible breaches of federal election law and running fast and loose with speculation about Mills’ political competence and increasingly tenuous grip on the CLP leadership. A week ago the NT News published what Mills has begrudgingly accepted as an accurate version of his conversation with Leo Abbott. That transcript records Mills telling Abbott that: "If you were to step aside ... and then we would come out then, completely in support of you, and say there was nothing to this. This man's good name has been brought low as a result of the dirty tactics of Labor. Now, just bear with me on this. You withdraw. We reinforce your good name and say that is more important than anything... "I have polling that shows that Tony Abbott is within reach of winning government. But we have to win Solomon... "There are 17 seats and they reckon they are all now in play if we can win Solomon. And Tony Abbott is then the Prime Minister. Tony Abbott says he can't be part of this and he can't condone it in any way. So you got an issue there. However, I have it. "I have his word that if he be (sic) the Prime Minister, we will be in a strong position to look after you. In any event, secondly, by having a tactical retreat at this point, your good name being protected."

Miglo

10/12/2010NormanK, thanks for the link to the story about Grog. I fell off my chair when I saw that he lives in the same suburb as me. And now that I know what he looks like I'll keep an eye out for him at the local supermarkets. I'm sure he wouldn't mind a chat. The article also reminded me of the issue of public servants blogging/reading blogs, especially in working hours. Many public servants probably do this as part of their jobs. Looking at reader's comments to news articles or reading blog sites are useful in gauging public opinion to proposed policy changes or government initiatives. These are public forums that unwittingly provide the government with community feedback. I have known of initiatives being abandoned well before their intended implication purely because of the online reaction.

jj

10/12/2010Great selective quoting, AA, glad you are not an actual journo. Nobody knew/knows what Kevin Rudd stood for (i have looked through all of his speeches and then have compared his words with his actions and i am perplexed) Nobody knows what Julia Gillard stands for... what is she, a trade unionist, a left winger, a pragmatist, or a right winger? She believes in climate change and yet she opposes the governments stand to do anything about it. She believes in greater equality...helping the poor, and yet she opposes pension increases? She believes in, "letting the sun shine in" and yet she tries to prevent any attempts for there to be proper scrutiny had of the biggest infrastructure project in the nations history. She believes in a great education, and yet she is failing to create a workable national curriculum. She believes in off-shore processing, as long as it is not on Nauru. She says she has plans for a regional processing center, but cant yet tell us what she defines as our region (the catchment for the center) WHAT DOES JULIA GILLARD STAND FOR! You really would have thought that if she wanted to take over the reigns of the Labor leadership she would have had some big policy reasons for doing so?

jj

10/12/2010i see you have all been going on about how biased the 7:30 report is towards the coalition and that things are only going to get worse under the new hosts, i wonder, could you please tell me who you think would be better suited? Leigh has done a terrific job on Lateline. Can you please point to where, or why she has ever lent towards the conservative side of politics? Can you give me an example of where Chris Uhlmann has been subjective in his interviews? You seem to make all of these generalized statements that the ABC is a conservative broadcaster, that The Oz is biased towards the coalition (actually you claim that all News Limited media), that the seven o'clock ABC news always favors the Liberal party; and yet you never have anything to back your claims up. To most of you the only good journo is a Labor loving journo (David Marr for instance)

Sir Ian Crisp

10/12/2010I'd like to see Uncle Phil host the 7:30 Report.

Feral Skeleton

10/12/2010Nas, Thankx for the kind words. :) I'll suspend judgement about the Murdoch/Assange 'Alliance' until the whole saga has played out. Which could take some time yet, of course.

Ad astra reply

10/12/2010jj You are predictable. You say [i]Nobody knows what Julia Gillard stands for[/i]. Wrong. I do and I quoted several speeches she has made to back that. Others too know what she stands for - read their comments. You don't because you don't want to know. You put up straw men so you can knock them down. Look at your list - straw men for jj to knock. Please favour us with some evidence to support your assertions. For example you say [i]She believes in a great education, and yet she is failing to create a workable national curriculum.[/i] Show us how she is [i]...failing to create a workable national curriculum.[/i] Let's have some substance instead of hot air.

2353

10/12/2010JJ, Howard believed in a "relaxed and comfortable Australia" yet presided over Workchoices (which like it or not caused a considerable amount of grief and trauma to a lot of Australians), sent Australians to war and treated refugees that arrived here by boat rather than 747 as sub-human. And don't get me started on Abbott and his 30 second sound bites, "gospel truth" comments, peusdo-religious practices while advocating treatment of the poor and homeless on lesser term than others in our society and so on. Contradictions can be identified on their opponents by both red and blue tribes. They are not arguments that may demonstrate to others the need to change their opinions. In short - they mean nothing. Some time ago I suggested that you and SIC needed to come up with reasons and justifications for a number of contributors to TPS to (in your view) see the errors of their ways. Clearly neither of you have done that, or in my view, even made an attempt to do so. My hope for this blog in 2011 is that both of you actually contribute to the discussion instead of taking cheap shots or playing the person such as the "contributions" of yourself and SIC on this thread.

Feral Skeleton

10/12/2010Migs, Canberra IS one big suburb that all you Public Servants live in together. :)

Sir Ian Crisp

10/12/20102353, read the banner at the top of the page. It says: The Political Sword For putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword Before you take yourself too seriously you should know that the game here is to make observations both real and imagined. Sometimes people might tether their comments to reasons and justifications even though they be mere chimeras. Not all of us are drawn into their fantasy world and we remain free to post our observations and comments.

Jason

11/12/2010jj, So come near the end of the year? Your like Mundine! Promise the world! deliver an Atlas Yawn! If Talk turkey can out him self and I have never had a problem with who I am! Whats yours?

Acerbic Conehead

11/12/2010AA, that was a very courageous attempt to discover the “vision” of Tony Abbott. You have shown that it is as tangible as a will o’ the wisp. Your quest also reminded me of the resurrection story when the visitors to the empty tomb were asked, “why do you seek the living among the dead?” Anyway, I believe that Tones’ vision is a combination of what’s in it for him, and what’s in it for the class which he champions. A lot like his mentor, John Howard, to whom he still looks up to, even though he claims he is not his “identikit”. Here is Tones singing his hymn to the things that matter. It’s to the melodies of the Ben E King classic, “Stand by me”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7P5jWu9JLo&feature=related :- ) When daylight has come, and no longer dark And the sleep-walkers have found the light to see No, I won't be afraid, oh, I won't be afraid Just as long as you stand, stand by me So Johnny, Johnny, stand by me Oh stand by me Oh stand, stand by me, stand by me :- ) If the Indos see the light, and ensure Gillard’s fall And to Kirribilli’s door, I’m given the key I won't cry, I won't cry, no, I won't shed a tear Cos then I’ll be able to pay my mortgage fee So Johnny, Johnny, stand by me Oh stand by me Whoa stand now, stand by me, stand by me :- ) If the lot of those we look down upon should tumble and fall When we resurrect WorkChoices with glee I won't cry, I won't cry, no, I won't shed a tear Just as long as you stand, stand by me And Johnny, Johnny, stand by me Oh stand by me Whoa stand now, stand by me, stand by me :- ) If the shills at the Oz should continue with their spin And their parrots flap their gums at Their ABC I won't cry, I won't cry, no, I won't shed a tear Cos they will always stand, stand by me So Johnny, Johnny stand by me Oh stand by me

Acerbic Conehead

11/12/2010Yeah!!! Got the ton!!!

Gravel

11/12/2010AC You have triumphed again with your wit, it was wonderful. Feral Thanks for that link on Grog, it was a great read.

Ad astra reply

11/12/2010AC Thank you for yet another delightful piece of verse. Tony Abbott and John Howard have had a close relationship for a long time – Abbott was Howard’s attack dog for years, so Howard will always ‘stand by him’. It’s almost like Howard sees Abbott as a continuation of the Howard dynasty. Sir Ian I think I now understand your approach to [i]TPS[/i]. Your cynicism about politics and politicians seems to extend to those of us who comment about them. You see our attempts at assembling facts and using logical reasoning as ‘mere chimeras’. You imply that we indulge in impossible, foolish or hard-to-believe fantasies. While you see what we write as drawn from our fantasy world, you feel free to post your observations and comments, presumably without the need to resort to factual evidence or logical reasoning to support them. Perhaps your comments are from your fantasy world. Or is it just our comments that are from ours?

Feral Skeleton

11/12/2010Bleedin' Liberal, or 'LNP' politicians, they're like bleedin' cockroaches. When the light shines on them they scurry away into the shadows, and when they think the coast is clear, up they pop again to try and eat our lunch leftovers and regurgitate their excreta all over our property. And so it has come to pass that we see another one of them coming out of the hole he had scurried into after having been defeated in the 2007 election because, as I said before, 'They Don't Know the Meaning of Wrong'. Yes, it's Mal 'Practice' Brough, who didn't know a pork barrel that he couldn't get his chompers into. It's not enough that the electors of Longman have repudiated him, as did the electors of Bennelong repudiate John Howard in 2007. No, for the Conservatives of the world these days all that is merely a 'bump in the road'. Of course you know that in the Stockholm Syndrome that manifests itself as politics in the 21st century, wherein you just beat people about the head until they give in and realise the error of their ways and vote for you, the Conservatives are kings and queens. I mean, you just have to look here in Australia at the 'Seconds' that are being served up as supposed viable alternatives to Labor. Tony Abbott being chief amongst them. He has a litany of mistakes and political faux pas that would normally see anyone else laughed out of the building. Same with Joe Hockey, Peter Dutton, Julie Bishop, and the list goes on. However, what he does have is that relentless drive and self-belief, backed up with a bunch of backroom, 'Take No Prisoners' political operatives who craft soundbites like they are going out of fashion, plus, as I showed above, are willing to do 'Whatever It Takes' behind the scenes to stitch together a victory. And the Queen, of course, is Sarah Palin. The biggest, most devious, most exploitatative and manipulative politician and expert user of the tools of propaganda available to her, and her backers, since that guy back in the 1930s in Germany.
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