Is Australia becoming ungovernable?

As we approach the end of a tumultuous year in federal and state politics and face no let-up in 2011, and consequent upon the arrival of the ‘hung parliament’ in Canberra, the question that demands an answer is how can this country be governed given the attitudes that now exist among voters, politicians, the media, power brokers and those who seek to influence political outcomes?

Any observer of contemporary politics, no matter how dedicated to the need for nation building and reform, would be forced to ask whether entering politics as a parliamentarian is the way to achieve this, whether the political process is still capable of bringing about the needed changes, whether the conflicting forces in the electorate and in our political parties make meaningful change possible at all. Although this may sound nihilistic, if the dilemma continues for politicians where they have to choose between legislating the changes needed or surviving politically, reform and nation building will slow or come to a stop.

This situation has not arisen because we now have a minority federal Government – indeed this is the outcome of a steadily growing disillusionment with the political process, which in turn has its genesis in the conflicts that exist in the electorate that push politicians this way and that, where it is impossible to satisfy all the demands, all the pressure groups, all the voters, no matter which way political parties turn. Have governments an impossible task?

This piece attempts to tease out the factors that seem to be responsible for this state of affairs. It draws substantially on George Megalogenis’s Quarterly Essay: Trivial Pursuit: Leadership and the end of the Reform Era, which was summarized on The Australian website on 20 September in an article titled Greening of the Nation, and amplified in the Wheeler Centre discussion of the Essay moderated by Lindsay Tanner that can be viewed on a video at the end of Greg Jericho’s 25 September piece on Grog’s Gamut: On the QT and now the end is near. This thirty-minute video is well worth the time needed to view it. Megalogenis is a reliable and respected journalist who uses poll statistics to make sound political points. What he has to say deserves careful reflection.

Here are some of the factors that, in my view, contribute to the growing difficulties facing governments that are attempting a reform agenda. They may not be unique or even of recent origin, but their omnipresence ought to be of concern to us, as indeed they seem to be to Megalogenis who has used his Essay to address some of them.

Lies, deception, slogans and mantras
What the electorate thinks about a government and any piece of legislation it attempts is now of crucial importance. If the majority disapproves of a proposed reform it puts pressure on the government to abandon it or water it down. Because the electorate can make proper judgements only when it is in possession of the relevant facts, all of them, the promulgation of accurate and complete information is essential.

Yet lies, deception, slogans and mantras, perpetrated every day, obstruct the process of informing the voters. A piece on this appeared recently on The Political Sword. How can a government govern properly if the feedback it receives from the community, usually in the form of polls and focus groups, is distorted by dangerous untruths?

We have seen this starkly illustrated in recent times. After the toppling of Malcolm Turnbull by Tony Abbott, the Federal Opposition not only abandoned its promised support for the Rudd Government’s ETS, it decided to trenchantly oppose it. Not satisfied with arguing its case with facts and logical reasoning, it began a campaign of distortions of the truth with its GBNT slogan and Barnaby Joyce’s fairy-tale: ‘every time you go to the fridge, every time you do the ironing you’ll be paying Rudd’s great big new tax’. Despite the generous reimbursement built into the ETS to compensate householders for the inevitable rise in electricity costs with the ETS, this was never mentioned by the Opposition, only the cost rises were highlighted – the GBNT . As the Government seemed incapable of countering this, the myth was quickly established, and adverse focus group and internal polling feedback so terrified Labor powerbrokers that, fearful of a severe electoral backlash, they insisted the ETS be postponed until the end of 2012, a move that many believe started the slide in Kevin Rudd’s popularity from the stratospheric heights he had enjoyed for so long, his later removal as an electoral liability, and the eventual near loss of Government by Labor.

The power of lies, deception, slogans and mantras was searingly illustrated by this episode. Truth was irrelevant – perception was all that mattered. How can a government bring about a reform of the magnitude of the ETS when the truth was overwhelmed by mendacity? How can a government govern in the fact of such deceit?

Focus groups and polls
There is now an abundance of organizations that provide political organizations with feedback from focus groups and polls. Some provide data for the public; others provide it privately. Political parties seem to rely more and more on this feedback to fashion their policies and their strategies. The Rudd Government, and particularly its apparatchiks, seemed wedded to their outpourings and used them to modify policy or even change direction. We saw this with the ETS and with the asylum seeker issue. Focus groups and internal polling in the Western suburbs of Sydney revealed what a hot-button issue asylum seekers was in those areas where there is already a superfluity of Muslims and where infrastructure had failed to keep up with the burgeoning population, leading to congested travel and inadequate services. It was this feedback that persuaded Julia Gillard that she had to take a different line on the boat people issue, to look tougher and to reduce as a political issue the arrival of more and more boats.

George Megalogenis comments that numbers resonate with politicians and their advisers, and that if polling is done on an issue and the people approve, the Government is reassured, but if second time around the result is less favourable, the media is soon saying: ‘the Government is in trouble’ on the issue.

Given that focus groups and polls have so much influence on political thought and action, two questions need an answer. First, how valid and reliable are they? How carefully and scientifically are the questions framed? How thoroughly are the outputs analysed and the statistics interpreted? We know that pollsters can fashion questions that evoke the answer they want. There have been some glaring examples of this in public polls. Invalid or unreliable polls are not only useless; they are dangerously misleading. I use those words with their scientific meaning: validity means that the poll actually measures what it purports to measure, and reliability means that it measures those aspects consistently, so that the poll, if repeated with the same group at a short interval, would produce the same result.

The second, and more important question though is the extent to which political parties ought to rely on them in creating or modifying policy. Everyone would agree that listening to what the public thinks and wants is essential in politics, but how slavishly should politicians follow what the people say, especially when what they say varies from place to place and from time to time? How much should politicians be blown about in the breeze, or to use an expression applied to Tony Abbott, be weathervanes? Is there not a time for politicians and parties to say – we have done all the research that is necessary to determine our policy and we intend to stick by our decision?

In developing public policy, a sound review backed by valid research that establishes the need for the policy and the ways it could be implemented, accompanied by consultation with all the stakeholders, ought to provide the background for framing the legislation. After testing it among key stakeholders for flaws, it should be ready for debate in the House. If that thorough process is followed, any government ought to be able to stick to its guns and press on with the legislation whatever the focus groups and polls dredge up. This process was followed with the Rudd Government’s ETS, starting with the Garnaut review and progressing through Green and White papers to the actual legislation, only to be changed after rejection by the Opposition and when polling suggested a fall in public enthusiasm for it after the GBNT slogan began to bite and after business opponents began insisting on concessions, until it was finally postponed. It is now conventional wisdom that that change of tack, that abandonment of what was seen as a core belief and a matter of principle, was very damaging to the Government.

The point that flows from this is that on such important matters of principle governments ought not to retreat in the face of public opposition. The public may complain, as they did about the introduction of the GST and rail about it in the polls, but once in place it soon became accepted as the norm, and John Howard was seen as ‘standing for something’. Governments need to have and to show the courage of their convictions despite public opinion; eventually they will be admired for it. To do the opposite evokes scorn.

Australia will be come ungovernable if governments bend this way and that every time public opinion is whipped up in opposition.

The selfish electorate gene
There seems little doubt that self-interest governs the opinions expressed by most of the electorate. Even accepting that there are still some altruistic enough to be more concerned with the public good than their own self-interest, the vast majority take the ‘what’s in it for me’ approach; or exhibit the NIMBY attitude; or take the view that ‘I’m all for it so long as it won’t cost me’, as was the case with the ETS; or ask ‘who’s offering the most for me, my family, my community, my town, my state?’ The latter may be not unreasonable unless it runs contrary to the national interest. The MRRT is an example. If one can judge from voting patterns, it was only the min ing states that were vehemently opposed, and their opposition almost cost Labor government. Other states could see the advantage to the whole community if fairer taxes were levied from the mining sector – more revenue for infrastructure, as well as lower company tax and better superannuation. The mining states were persuaded that the threat of mine closures and consequent job losses, a story shouted in TV and newspaper ads, was more compelling to them than the national good.

The self-interest of individuals or groups can never be a satisfactory basis for political decision-making. Good governance demands that all the pros and cons of any policy be weighed and that decisions are made for the greater good, rather than in favour of the most powerful, the most well heeled, the most loquacious, the most heart-tugging advocates.

How can governments govern for all when pressured by overwhelming self-interest? How can governments establish priorities for funding when everyone wants everything for themselves and the devil take the rest?

Lobbyists and pressure groups
These exhibit the selfish electorate gene more flagrantly than do individuals. They represent a defined constituency and advocate on its behalf. They are not concerned with any other constituency or for that matter with the national good. They do not ask, ‘if I get all I want for my constituency, who will suffer, what other programs or initiatives will receive inadequate funding?’ For lobbyists representing commercial interests, it is understandable that they are unconcerned with the needs of others; they come from a ‘dog eat dog’ world. But with other groups within the same sector one might expect some concern about how their demands might impact on others. For example when the mental health lobby makes its compelling case for more funds, particularly for the young, no matter how laudable, does it reflect on how full funding of its request might affect funding for disability care, or for emergency care, or for hospital beds? If so, we hear none of it.

There is a more sinister aspect to pressure groups – the way they threaten politicians with electoral damage if their demands are not met. Two recent examples will suffice. The sector of the union movement pressing for equal pay for women, a laudable objective, threatened Julia Gillard with an electoral backlash from unions if she did not support equal pay. Despite her indicating that this was her goal but the current budgetary situation did not permit a rapid move to equal pay, the threat continued. The Christian lobby threatened Gillard with electoral pain from Christian groups if she personally supported same sex marriage; angry as they were that such a debate was on the agenda at all. Moreover, when a government is suspected of being weak, lobby groups feel they can use stand-over tactics to get their way.

The media
As if it is not enough for the Government to have to counter the disingenuousness of the Opposition and the falsehoods they spread with abandon, a large section of the media are complicit in spreading the deception, particularly News Limited outlets and especially The Australian, whose editor has declared that paper to be a conservative one, and has authorized or allowed countless condemnatory articles aimed at the Rudd/Gillard Governments.

If the media was evenhanded and challenged the veracity of the statements the Opposition makes in the same way it challenges the Government’s, what filtered to the public would at least be balanced and fair, and thereby give the electorate the chance to make up its mind on facts rather than fiction. But that is not the way the media operates. Even our ABC fails the test of balance. If you don’t accept this, read the transcripts of Lyndal Curtis’ interviews last week on AM with Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard: Abbott attacks 'do nothing' Government and Gillard trumpets broadband deal. Even the headlines paint the picture. Make up your own mind.

Megalogenis highlights the influence that talkback radio has had, not just on the listeners, but on the rest of the media, which he said felt it ‘had to shout like Alan Jones’. The influence of talkback is immense, and the politicians know it. Tony Abbott knows he can get a good run from the likes of Alan Jones with lots of Dorothy Dixers. He knows too that he can get surrogate support from Jones as he did over the charges laid by a female prosecutor against some Australian servicemen in Afghanistan. Jones used extravagant language to condemn her; Abbott felt he needed to say nothing because Jones was doing his condemnatory work for him.

How can the Government govern this country if disinformation is spread day after day by talkback radio as well as by much of the rest of the media? How can any government get the support it needs to govern effectively if the media is tearing it down incessantly as, for example The Australian did over the HIP, the BER, the Stimulus Program, and is now doing over the NBN? Has the media made Australia almost ungovernable? Megalogenis agrees that the media is making it harder for the Government to do its work. He insists it is not the journalists’ fault – they are swept along by the plethora of media and the 24-hour cycle that needs incessant feeding, and which he says ‘can create a lot of distraction, a lot of noise, and hound a politician out of a position previously taken, making it difficult for the Government to govern with authority’.

So can contemporary governments govern this country? It seems to be becoming harder and harder given the irresistible forces that bear down upon politicians and political parties. The distortions of the truth that are perpetuated by politicians and echoed by the media, the pressure groups that try to muscle the Government to move their way and threaten them if they don’t, the over reliance of political parties on focus groups and polls and their readiness to bend to their influence, the conflict that seems to exist between being courageous enough to take on and carry out tough reform, and saving political skin, and the selfish electorate gene that puts self-interest above the common good, have all contributed to a loss of potency of politicians to effect reform. Like George Megalogenis I fear we may be facing the end of the reform era unless the forces that have made this country less and less governable can be overcome and reversed. That is a big ask.

What do you think?

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Ad astra reply

27/11/2010Folks What with writing this piece today, taking an occasional glimpse at the cricket, roasting a chook, and keeping an eye on the Victorian election results this evening, it's been a long day. So I'm packing it in for the night. I'll read your comments in the morning.

Rx

28/11/2010Ad Astra, Our democracy has come to an unhealthy condition when a policy-vacuum like Abbott can get to within an inch of taking power with the active boosting of the most polarised media in the western world. Someone who stands for nothing but entrenching wealth and privilege, attacking workers' standard of living, and wrecking a good government's nation-building. There can be no doubt that without the invaluable assistance of the virtual one-party media, he'd have suffered a landslide defeat, and been sent to obscurity with his negativity and focus grouped inane three-word slogans.

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010Rx Your comment is apt. Tony Abbott’s and the Coalition’s obstructionism in blocking and delaying legislation at every opportunity has contributed to making this nation less governable. As an example, even when passage of the NBN legislation was inevitable the Coalition used a series of procedural motions to slow progress. There is an account of this on [i]Grog’s Gamut[/i] on 25 September: [i]On the QT and now the end is near.[/i] It makes distressing reading for those who look to the federal parliament for visionary action and nation-building reform. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/11/on-qt-and-now-end-is-near.html

janice

28/11/2010Good morning all. Ad Astra, thank you for this excellent piece. I listened to the 1/2 hour George Meg/Lindsay Tanner discussion which I found on Grog's Gamut. George Meg's analysis of the situation in which this Nation now finds itself is largely spot on and I too question whether this country has become ungovernable. I too fear that the end of the reform era is nigh and we're going to see a long period of instability for governments across the nation. Hung Parliaments will become the norm and all groups, political parties and even the nay sayers, will lose as governments attempt to please them all. George Meg appears to have confidence that the media will get its act together eventually. I'm afraid I don't share his view on this because the media have become addicted to controlling the thinking of voters on whatever issue they care to choose to support or oppose. The reporting of blatant untruths and misinformation is at the core of the problems governments face to provide good governance. Governments have a huge responsibility to govern for all Australians and must listen to the people. A political party must be skilful enough to formulate a set of policies that address the needs and wants of all Australians and be allowed to implement those policies in their elected term of government. IMHO we, the voters, have erred in becoming complacent and gullible. We are too ready to believe and revel in the scandals, innuendos and scare mongering whipped up by bigots, partisans, and the power hungry in our midst. In the main, we do not think for ourselves anymore. We will always have the myriad of pressure groups lobbying a government. The electorate will always have its selfish gene. These are not such a big problem for government if there is truthful and informative reporting by a responsible media. The big problem, and the most dangerous for democracy, is the lies and distortions, the misinformation and blatant manipulation of the thinking of voters to provide news headlines. The biggest challenge for this Nation is to find a way to reclaim our integrity, honesty, sense of fairness and the plain old virtue of compassion towards others. A big ask? Not such a big ask if we set our minds to it and the first step, in my opinion, is demand these values from our media.

lyn

28/11/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]Victorian election: Photo Finishes, William Bowe,The Poll Bludger[/i] Four must-win seats are identified in the table, of which Labor currently leads in three while trailing by 213 votes (0.38 per cent) in Bentleigh. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/ [i]In, Out, and Stuff Shaken All About, Ashghebranious, Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery[/i]After a load of talk and saber rattling, the NBN is on its way to a house near you. http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/in-out-and-stuff-shaken-all-about/ [i]Carbon Pricing: The New Frontier, Ashghebranious, Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery.[/i] More so now the Australian public seem to think that Tony’s position on policy is to just say no. http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/carbon-pricing-the-new-frontier/ [i]Blessed Are The Big Noses, Neil Cook, The Bannerman[/i] I believe the behaviour displays a complete lack of understanding of issues with a bigoted preference to attack the feminine gender. http://www.waddayano.org/blog/2010/11/blessed_are_the_big_noses.php#more [i]Why Reporting Matters, Don Arthur, Club Troppo[/i] Ken Parish points out that "[b]explaining what events mean is exactly what good bloggers do".[/b] What news-oriented bloggers usually don’t do, http://clubtroppo.com.au/ [b]NEWSPAPERS QUOTING BLOGGERS, shows how important the Bloggers are:[/b] [i]Pope hardly the voice of experience , Peter Fitzsimons, SMH [/i][b]GREG JERICHO, in his blog Grog's Gamut[/b], nails the Opposition Leader: "Tony Abbott has spent good portions of the past year running around in a pair of Speedos, http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/pope-hardly-the-voice-of-experience-20101127-18bab.html

TalkTurkey

28/11/2010Rx, why . . . why . . . By Jove, I think you're right! Why didn't I see it before! Only joking Friend. It just seems so damn obvious, so not needing saying, but oddly, now that you have put it into words, it does seem worthwhile . . . It sets it in stone, makes it so clear, the ridiculousness of the situation, the horror of our land in the hands of crooked people, with Murdoch a voluntary non-Aussie at their head, people who will stop at no form of chicanery and bending of the truth for their dastardly purpose. They are really like the dark forces in Lord of the Rings, but this is real. It is also new, at least in its totality. Time not so long ago was that there was some pretence at balance, now how Murdoch must chortle at his maxim, "fair and balanced", isn't it? Like the Liberal Party, where Liberal means exactly illiberal, and so black is white if Rupert but say so. So Yes, where we'd all say " Ye-e-e-es . . ? . ." to what you've said, you're damn right, thanks anyway, for putting it so clearly. Sincerely. WTF we going to do about it eh, though? Abbort is only Gollum, his mob nothing but nasty little Orcs, but if he had gained the Ring in September, then Dark Lord Rupert in his Yankee tower would really have already had the power to bind us all in darkness forever. That's what he's after, an eternal Dark Empire all his own, with his spawn and those they choose as his minions forever. It's really simple scary like that, I'm daunted of course, but what, I lie down face down and let him do me every way he wants? I just wish this was a fight we could take to the streets, but remember 2003, huge peaceful numbers in the street don't even make a ripple. A little red-haired halfling, a woman at that, was all that prevented that happening, Dog we have to be staunch in her defence! There are so many enemies within and without Australia, neo-cons, fascists, fundamentalists, military madmen (oh and women I suppose) and megamagnates like that fat Queenlander whose name happily I can't bring to mind. So many, so powerful. Does hope lie with the Proles? Ungovernable Ad astra? My horror is that again there's an inversion of meaning, I think we're too totally governed, in the sense of controlled, I wish there were many more mavericks, Ned Kelly's heirs, original shoe-throwers, Ark Tribes, whistle-blowers, instead of our obedience to the MSM and its lies. Eternity! That aweful word! I twice saw that written in chalk by that bloke in Sydney, it is indeed a concept to awe, and it's what Rupert is after for his self-aggrandisement and the power to bend the planet's future to his will. Have we indeed lost Victoria? See, in the really-truly new paradigm, I fear that we might never get Labor governments back whenever we lose them. Fed or State. If that don't faze ya . . ! . . PatriciaWA, go www.ozzigami.com.au, jump around the links at top of page to see a bit of my designs and stuff. I'm bruce@ozzigami.com.au, I'll love to send you GRATIS a Brucie Bilby bookie if you forward your postal address. Same for everyone else, especially anyone who has directly acknowledged anything I've said over the last few months, even the Trolls. I'm a bit diffident about not being more diffident - that does actually work! - but if my work is to do any good however tiny for wildlife and for humanity, it has to be seen. One day the CIA will come for me I suppose, as for Winston Smith in 1984, but maybe I'm only being paranoid . . . I wish! Oh and anyone who does contact me, I'll guarantee anonymity if you wish. Cela va sans dire.

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010janice Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I agree with your conclusion. So much depends on the media changing its behaviour. With Murdoch pulling most of the media strings, is a change of media behaviour possible? Folks I’m now off to Melbourne for the annual pre-Christmas gathering with long-standing colleagues. So I’ll leave you to converse with each other. I’ll be back at my computer late afternoon.

Rx

28/11/2010Hi Talk Turkey, Perhaps part of the answer is to keep stating the facts. Keep shouting it out: "Your democracy is being manipulated! Wake up before you lose it." Would most people in the community be aware of the situation and its ramifications? Doubtful. Most people go through life blissfully unaware. So there's everything to gain and nothing to lose from shouting it again and again: "Our democracy is being manipulated by the rich and powerful. Wake up before they take it from you forever." Can we win? Again, who knows. But one thing is sure: we cannot afford to roll over and let them have their way with us.

patriciawa

28/11/2010The problem with the media and the untoward influence of those able and wanting to buy its might has long been with modern democracies. News Ltd, so pro-actively controlled by Murdoch has become a problem of behemothian proportions. I recall the excitement in WA when Robert Holmes a Court and Bell bought into media here in the eighties, simply because he was of a more 'democratic' bent than some. But would that have been any healthier in the long run? Of course he died suddenly, though Bell does continue still to wield influence, rather less obtrusively, personally and pro-actively than Murdoch and his mob, described so brilliantly by one of your talented contributors so very recently as [quote]Bigger than Walmart, bigger than Myers, Friend of Bush's, Howard's, Bliar's, He whom Zion most admires, He who pulls all global wires, He to whom all power aspires...[/quote] Talk Turkey, of course. By the way TT, I had a short term memory lapse yesterday re your website. Then I had an unusual middle of the night wake-up call and reminder about Ozzigami. Couldn't get back to sleep so had a wee small hours chat with you at the 'What Does Julia Gillard Stand For' thread. I'd appreciate you having a look at my ramblings because I'd welcome your comments on the 'Mal' pomes there.

lyn

28/11/2010Hi Patricia WA Brilliant as normal. Just an idea, would be good if you copied your wee hours, comment to Talk Turkey, posted on the previous thread to here, what do you think? I am sure, everyone would love to read what you wrote and Talk Turkey's reply. The Newspapers are confusing the Public, in particular the group that take limited notice. I believe that is one good reason we have a hung Federal Parliament and now looks like the second State to be hung, also the same has happened in the UK, happening in America. I am hoping the soon to be introduced, online subscription will curve their agenda somewhat. Cheers

lyn

28/11/2010Hi Ad Thankyou so much for your perfect piece for us, your writing is just so enjoyable to read, I said it before, and I will keep on saying, "what would we do without you". [quote]How can the Government govern this country if disinformation is spread day after day by talkback radio as well as by much of the rest of the media? [/quote] Your words are so true Ad, the more I watch what is happening, the more I feel, it takes a very special type of person to enter Politics, and to be Prime Minister they need to be born with no nerves, no sensitivity, and more front than Woolworths. Cheers

jj

28/11/2010I agree totally that News Limited has too much control of the media not just in Australian but around the world, that is why we need media sources such as the ABC and Fairfax (more Labor leaning) to balance out the scales. I dont think however you could say the OZ is a Liberal party supporting paper as the evidence just dosent back up that claim. The Oz supported Labor at the 2007 election and Labor at the recent Victorian election. The paper employs many journalists that would never consider themselves as conservatives (Georg Meg, Phillip Adams etc) and never have they complained about being gagged by the editor. I can see that none of you are talking about the Victorian result...good to see that the Brumby government has lost any mandate to lead and that the state will get a fresh start. Cant wait to see what happens next March at the NSW election. The head of the electrical unions has said today that he has approached Liberal members and has asked them to consider the unions supporting them at the upcoming election in return for support on the issue on privatising electricity. Labor party supporters must really be embarrassed.

patriciawa

28/11/2010lyn, oops! This was meant to posted on this thread in response to your comment above! Too little sleep! Can someone delete it from there? I worry about wasted space! 'lyn, you're too kind! Middle of the night stuff there. But you have given me an idea; perhaps I can tidy those three into a sequential post with some dates and brief notes on the events around each, so far and when there is another challenge or Malcolm finally bows out it could be ready to go and with a Version (4) ready to roll. Or maybe while AA is away Feral Skelton could use it. I would also love to see what Acerbic Conehead or TT and others here would come up with in response. I always love their stuff. I started doing these 'pomes' as I call them in January this year in what I guess was the 'silly season' for LP when they ran a political satire verse competition. My very first effort was a shameless parody on a Shakespearean sonnet on Malcolm who had just been ousted by Abbott. It seems light years ago now, but less than 10 months, and he was with Lucy in South America visiting Machu Pichu at the time. That, in view of your encouragement, I will reprint now for a Sunday morning giggle. Malcolm’s Musings (With apologies to W.S.) . When in disgrace with polls and Party eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, Troubling Machu Pichu with my bootless cries, And Lucy cannot comfort me, sweet mate. Wishing me like to Tony, rich in hope, Could surf like him, like him with pecs possess’d, Resenting Howard’s part, and Minchin’s role, When that great wealth I have now helps me least: Yet in these thoughts myself almost despairing, Julie, I think on thee, and Joe’s great weight, With Coalition friends like Barnaby rejoicing, Bronwyn, Wilson, all confident of late, Your joint capacity such comfort brings I smile to know you’ll make a mess of things. Think of all that's happened since then and how Malcolm has changed. Just looking at him and listening to him I don't think he's 'moved forward' or grown at all. Rather he seems much diminished to me.

lyn

28/11/2010Hi Ad This is very true, Mumble's column. Remember John Howard, they lost every State and Teritory while he was Prime Minister. [i]A Good result for Julia Gillard, Mumble The Australian[/i]: Federal Liberals will take heart. [b]No one will remember the Howard years included Coalition losses in every state and territory, mostly big ones. [/b] Overall this is actually a good result for Julia Gillard and [b] a bad one for Tony Abbott. At [b]the next federal election [/b]the [u] two biggest states will have no unpopular ALP governments. [/b][/u] http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/mumble/index.php

TalkTurkey

28/11/2010Swordsfolk, Nearly it is the end of the Parliamentary year. Nothing happens in the world between now and well into February. What happens to TPS, A a? Hey? PatriciaWA your sonnets are wondrous, one might think the Bard himself had penned them! Perhaps write a lost WS play over Crispmess? There is so much good stuff written on this blogsite though, just like storm water out to sea, oh well, guess that's the nature of existence . . . we fret and fume but it all comes to nought in the end. Still it feels good saying it, and reading what others have to say. BTW I don't know if you've been able to fire up my site yet, I put a , on the end of the URL, it didn't work for me so here'tis again, see if this does, www.ozzigami.com.au A few people have mentioned TT in the last few overs, have I missed replying to anyone or about anything? Thanks to yous with the comments anyway, it's nice feeling someone is listening eh. HFS where art thou though? Oh yeah Aa, the last thread is still open, not a bad thing really, did you see what I said about Reflections in the Sword? Not a sausage so far . . ? . . (not just from you Aa, from ever'body . . )

Andrew Elder

28/11/2010The 'selfish electorate' section was piffle because people are entitled to more and better. That's the given against which everything else is judged. Political parties promising more and better can't complain when they're found wanting against that very standard. When you're consistently disappointed by government you'll vote against its ability to stuff things up rather than more hollow promises of more and better. To maintain a sneer at a 'selfish electorate', you have to assume that all good things will come all in good time, and that articulating your wants and needs is bringing forward the inevitable with unseemly and undue haste. That's a silly assumption. It's a mistake to assume that all voting patterns in the 2010 Federal election can be judged against the single issue of the MRRT. Show me the infrastructure funded by the MRRT: I'd suggest that most of it is being devoted to debt repayment: you can't be expected to vote for the better angels of your nature if they're actively hiding or have been shunted aside. Would you consider NSW to be a 'mining state'? Mind you, this isn't to say that there isn't venality out there. I am appalled at the baby bonus. I can't imagine why anyone would change their vote on the basis of it. Mind you, here at the PoHo Institute we have taken advantage of it twice, and while I voted against the party that introduced this payment it is simply not possible to vote against it. "So can contemporary governments govern this country?" - yes, but not very well, because the mechanisms for persuading them to lift their game are blunt and they can blame their own inadequacies on "greedy bastards", whose expectations they have fostered but not satisfied.

Gravel

28/11/2010Ad Astra Another excellent and thought provoking topic. My impression is that if/when the opposition gain government, the media will sing from the mountains and nothing they say or do will ever be wrong, like it was for the 11 years with Howard. It will take another "workchoices" type of policy for the public to start to be aware of how bad they are. And then within 3 years forget, after having an excellent government, and vote them back in. Lyn Your link to The Conscience Vote alerted me to the Victorian Liberal policies and I read them in horror. I wonder how many other people are completely unaware of what they plan...... TalkTurkey I think pretty well all of us read and enjoy your input. Many times I have meant to comment on your input and others as well but just run out time after getting to the end of all the comments and then just completely forget. Keep talking turkey, I for one enjoy your input.

lyn

28/11/2010Hi Andrew Elder Thankyou for sharing your interesting opinion with us on "The Political Sword," your view on politics is always quite enjoyable to read, I hope you keep coming back here. Your blog is posted on our "Todays Links" everytime you write a new piece. That doesn't mean I always agree with you, but I certainly enjoy your opinion, and I know that Ad Astra does too. The baby bonus is a bone of contention, certainly a big unnecessary expense, which would be better spent elsewhere. Interesting that you say the Hung Parliament for Victoria is ........, you might be right we will see. [quote]blame their own inadequacies on "greedy bastards", whose expectations they have fostered but not satisfied[/quote]. By this remark, I assume you mean the factions in Victoria, I won't argue with you there, I think everybody is well aware of that problem. Ad Astra is out today, but he will be along soon to give you his opinion. Cheers

lyn

28/11/2010Hi Talk Turkey Oh! dear, you know what, when Ad Astra puts up a new piece, we all toddle over like little ducklings, to relish in the new and interesting words Ad Astra, writes for us, so then you see the late comments, get left behind. I did read and appreciate very much what you said, I would adore to read your "Brucie the Bilby" little book, Ad Astra, has got my address. Talk Turkey I am going to take the liberty of posting your late very welcome, comment last night to here, for those that may have missed it, I hope you and Ad Astra won't mind. Cheers

lyn

28/11/2010[b]REPRODUCTION[/b] By our clever "Mr Turkey" [quote]Victoria's election results now coming in. Not real good. Just gotta wait now. Ad astra, it seems to me that You have hosted quite a remarkable event this year. Never having blogged in this sense before, and only having come into the picture since about the onset of Julia's accession, and acknowledging that many have been posting their thoughts for much longer, and given that the year has been so amazing politically, that the Sword has been so magnetic, the contributors so original if in some cases so strange, all that, isn't it that We(/You!) should put together a Big Wrap of the Year, an Archival Cyber-Capsule for Posterity . . ? . . Either as a collective effort, or otherwise contrived . . . It seems to me to be a history well worth a reflective summary, especially with the wealth of writers comprising this odd community. Looks like Brumby's horse has bolted. No pun on Bolte, but let it stand. Humour, bah! Damn. Can't be helped. Labor will soldier on, whatever. Thank Dog we got Julia. But for Victoria? (Turkey shakes head and gobbles sadly.) So the year is going to end on an Up for the Feds but a Down for Victoria, and a Down for Labor generally. Crisp Almighty, how many States are we going to hold in a year's time? People all eating out of Murdoch's hand, feeding the Packer money-gobblers voluntarily against all logic . . . Seems like, what is the use eh. Never mind Comrades! Venceremos! Damn though. Damn. Gloat now jj, Limpy, Colon, all you *'s, we in the Left understand very well the adage, In Defeat, Malice - In Victory, Revenge! So have your gloat while you can. Labor will always be back. Back to what I was saying, sadder now. Ad, what do You think? It's up to You really. Others might have opinions too? 'Reflections in the Sword?' Before 2010's sun sets? TalkTurkey [/quote]

Feral Skeleton

28/11/2010Talk Turkey, I am still here and thereabouts. :) Actually, I have a few pots on the boil, literally and metaphorically, this weekend. Firstly, I have been studying to take my Car Licence Knowledge Test tomorrow. I never bothered to get my old licence back when I came back from living in WA for 15 years. I let my husband take me everywhere I wanted to go. Now he has passed away, I have had to get my act together and go for it again. Secondly, I have been holed up preparing my next blog, which will surface after this one, and be the 2nd last for the year. The last one will also be mine and come after Wayne Swan releases his Banking Package finally. Lastly, Sunday is my day for watching Trash TV and making a nice meal for my family, one with lots of preparation! So I have been away from my computer Julienning vegs etc., etc., Also, I am addicted to watching 'Wipeout' on Go, and a couple of Japanese Game Shows on SBS ONE called 'Ninja Warriors', and 'Ultimate Banzuke'. It's like a special day therefore when all the family eats together and watches telly together for a few hours. Must away to cook! However, I'll be baaack! :)

2353

28/11/2010AA as usual has given us another well thought out piece. Thanks. It seems to me that our society is becoming more risk adverse. While I wasn't alive when the Snowy Mountains Scheme was first discussed - no one's ever suggested to me that there was opposition to the project except for those directly affected such as those living in Jindabyne. Public servants in Federal, State and Local areas will all tell you of one of the unwritten rules - "What would it look like on the front page/the 6pm News"? test. The problem we are facing at present is whenever "situation normal" changes, all the players jockey for position hoping to gain some advantage in the future. In a company merger or takeover - despite the public announcements - one side always seems to have more sway than the others because they have better connections or more sway with those above them. In short, one "equal partner" in the mrger ends up holding all the Aces and accordingly gains all the power and influence in the "new reality". I believe the days of the "all-powerful" PM have gone, and in my view it's probably not a bad thing. The problem is that Gillard, Abbott, the media, the lobbyists and everyone else (including those looking on like us) don't know how the "new reality" where agreement and engagement works. Gillard seems to have a better handle on it than Abbott as negotiation seems to be the thing to win the Ministerial benches on Capital Hill. The media seem to be in two camps at the moment where they either don't understand how the "new reality" happened (and are exploring how to retain/regain influence) or they see a loss of influence coming and are fighting to return to the "old reality" they understood.

Paul of Berwick

28/11/2010People will believe what they want to believe (ever tried to convince a Ford owner about the merits of a Commodore? What about a Mac user about Windows 7?). In this day and age of multiple media voices, which voice do you trust? Which voice do you want to believe? Which voice is accessible? Well...... Where are Australian's getting their online news from: NineMSN (Murdoch)? - http://toolbar.netcraft.com/stats/topsites?c=AU&submit=Refresh Which papers are Australian's reading: (Murdoch)? - http://www.thenewspaperworks.com.au/go/news/newspaper-facts-2010-report/83acc30c-b895-989d-09cbb0380fe5a6d6 - http://www.mediaspy.org/report/2010/08/13/circulation-newspapers-take-another-hit/ To bring balance, I'd say some form of Getup style advertising the market Australian Blog Sites: - http://australianblogsites.com/ I'd say that its up to us to bring about the balance. Remember Edmund Burke. That 18th Century Irish Statesman who saw the dangers inherent in unbalanced power. The dangers of the machinery of politics without checks and balances (the fourth estate enybody?) To paraphrase him: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of a single voice in the Australian political environment is for good men and women to do nothing" What are we going to do?

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010TT I've posted a reply to you on the previous piece.

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010Andrew Elder Welcome to [i]TPS[/i] You may consider the concept of the ‘selfish electorate gene’ as ‘piffle’, but consider this: Although a clear majority of the electorate wanted something done about global warming, when asked how much extra they would be prepared to pay for action, once the suggested amount rose above the trifling, enthusiasm evaporated. ‘We want, but we don’t want to pay for our wants.’ Everyone wants more hospital beds, less waiting time in ER or for elective surgery, better mental health services, but how many would countenance paying higher taxes for this, or doing with poorer roads or rail to gain these advantages? You assert that ‘people are entitled to more and better’. Are they? And if they are, are they also entitled to contribute to that better outcome? People can have anything they want from governments so long as they are prepared to pay for it. My point is that people want and want and want, but don’t want to pay. That’s natural enough, but economically ridiculous. You are right to criticize governments for creating expectations that they cannot meet. The alternative is to highlight the cost of every expectation they foster. I suspect that if governments did that they would get a tick for openness, but if the public were expected to contribute, governments would fail to get the support they would need. People have insatiable wants, but don’t want to pay for them. So I stick with my ‘selfish electorate gene’ concept until someone can convince me with hard evidence that it is flawed.

Ad astra reply

28/11/20102353 Picking up on your comment about Julia Gillard’s superior skill in negotiation compared with Tony Abbott’s, something Abbott concedes, it seems to me that this skill is the key one for success in contemporary politics. Everyone wants their own way; skilful negotiation can leave everyone satisfied, albeit not always totally. That is what Julia offers and is why she is PM and Tony is not, something he acknowledges. The media is floundering adapting to the ‘new paradigm’ where negotiation, compromise and mutual agreement is the norm. The media relies on conflict and dissonance to ‘sell’ its stories; the new paradigm is foreign to it. Can it adapt?

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010Paul of Berwick I like your Edmund Burke quote: [i]"The only thing necessary for the triumph of a single voice in the Australian political environment is for good men and women to do nothing".[/i] The Fifth Estate IS doing something. Our voice is small but persistent. We will never give up.

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010Gravel Thank you for your kind comments. You are right - it is so easy for journalists to couch their words in a friendly way when referring to the favoured side, and to be caustic towards the out-of-favour. The Lyndal Curtis interviews illustrate this nicely.

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010jj Although less certain than calculated during last evening, it seems likely that the Coalition will get the 45th seat it needs for government. We won’t know until later in the week. If the sides end up with the same number of seats, no one is sure how to mange this. It would be easier if one side got a majority.

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010Patriciawa I enjoyed your ‘Ode to Murdoch’. It’s a sad reality.

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010Hi Lyn Thank you for your kind words and for keeping up the dialogue while I was away. It’s a two-hour trip to Melbourne, but it was worth it to catch up with dear colleagues for a few hours, all the more so as we are all ageing and diminishing in number. I hope I have caught up now with today’s comments.

Feral Skeleton

28/11/2010And then there's Tony Abbott, who happens to be a politician leading a political party in Australia, every abovementioned subset all in one malevolent man, whose aim is to make Australia as ungovernable as possible, for so long as he is not Prime Minister. He is the Master of empty, loaded rhetoric. Which sounds like a non sequitur, but he has made it manifest. Take today's par example, when making his commentary for the daily media cycle about the result of the Victorian State Election: "There is a lesson here for Labor. Labor's brand is becoming toxic." Followed by a snide remark about Julia hiding away today, as a result of the outcome of the Victorian State Election, in her home State. All this while attempting to aggrandise himself to the electorate at large, by appearing with the RFS Volunteers, functioning as his psychologically dystopian, if you listen to what he is saying, picfac backdrop. All in order to bring about, hopefully, the following outcome, as conversations are had around the dinner table tonight while people eat their dinner and watch the News: "Oo, Bert, he's such a nice man, that Tony Abbott, helping out with the Rural Fire Service volunteers on his days off from parliament. I reckon he's right too about that Julia Gillard. Where is she today after the Labor Party got defeated in Victoria? I bet Alan Jones has a go at her tomorrow, too." I can hear their gormless, wheedly voices clearly in my Mind's ear. And, you can guarantee, that Tony Abbott will, indeed, not take one day off over Xmas and the New Year, as he sows the seeds of doubt and discontent about this dilligent government, who are only trying to govern in the best interests of the country and the people as a whole. Not just one economically-elite sub-section, with their faithful camp ('ello, Alan!), followers, who are connived into voting against their best interests by the plutocrats, such as the Mining and Media magnates, and the Churches. They who seek to use and abuse this country like their personal fiefdom. Who, under the cloak of 'Values', and via their ciphers, such as Tony Abbott in this country, and Sarah Palin in the US, who use their manic political performance art to mesmerise the electorate, advance a cause that merely exemplifies the hollowness at their core. Their soulessness, if you will, promulgated by those who are advancing religiosity, not Christian Values, per se. And a religiosity that marries itself seamlessly with the Devil from Delaware.

Sir Ian Crisp

28/11/2010Gobble, I note with interest your concern for wildlife and the habitat to support that wildlife. How can you reconcile your concern for wildlife with your support for a political party, any political party, that brings in large numbers of people each year. Haven't you noticed that machine that knocks down wildlife habitat and spits out suburbs? The former ADI site at St Mary's highlights the problem. A person can now buy a neat McMansion (thank you ALP for that slogan) at Dunheved Circuit now that the bush has been cleared and the kangaroos have been moved. It's amusing to watch you prattle on, blissfully unaware of your own cognitive dissonance. I suppose in your view we are helping wildlife by destroying habitat.

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010FS The amusing side of the Abbott propaganda is that despite all the venom he has spread, despite all the talk about the incompetence of Labor governments, despite all the lies, deception, slogans and mantras, despite his talk about the Labor brand being toxic, the best the Coalition could do at a Federal level was to draw level and then lose because of incompetence in negotiating with the Independents, and at a Victorian State level to draw level or just get its nose in front by one seat, hardly a ringing endorsement for the Liberal brand. Looks like it’s toxic too. It’s time Labor hit back with talk of Liberal incompetence: in negotiation, in policy formulation, in costing its policies [i]sans[/i] black holes, in parliamentary conduct, even in convincingly winning elections.

Sir Ian Crisp

28/11/2010AA, your post at 9:46pm encapsulates perfectly why you need to reword TPS's banner. You should remove the notion that TPS is unbiased. It's obvious that you lean to the ALP and that is not the problem. The problem is that you insist on conveying the fact that TPS strikes without fear or favour. We know that is not so. I strong urge you to reword the banner.

lyn

28/11/2010Hi Ad Look what Ash has posted on his blogroll,thankyou Ash, isn't that so good of him: Blogroll ABC The Drum Blogotariat Crikey Blogs Grogs Gamut's Blog I'm Not a Ninja, I'm Not Your Ninja [b]Lyns Daily Links [/b] Peter Martin Social Scapegoat The Conscience Vote The news with nipples [b]The Political Sword [/b] Wixxy's Blog http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/carbon-pricing-the-new-frontier/

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010Sir Ian I presume you are referring to the strapline: [i]For putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword.[/i] That's what we do here. There is no implication in that strapline that 'we strike without fear or favour', whatever those words of yours are meant to convey. We call it the way we see it. You may see it differently.

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010Hi Lyn It is great that your links get special mention on Ash's blog. They deserve it. Congratulations.

Ad astra reply

28/11/2010Folks I'm packing it in for the night.

Rx

28/11/2010Sir Ian Crisp, Who the heck are you to "strong urge" someone to change the banner on their own website? If you want a website tailored to suit your own "requirements" dig deep into your own pockets and pay for your OWN website. When you're enjoying the hospitality at somebody ELSE'S website, remember your place and who's paying the bills around here. The cheek.

lyn

28/11/2010Hi Rx Thankyou for telling of Sir Ian Crisp, good on you. These people taking high handed liberties and bossing other people around, need bringing down to earth. Cheers

Sir Ian Crisp

28/11/2010Pull your head in Rx. I addressed AA not you. for putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword. That's what we do here. That's not true. You put some politicians and some commentators to the verbal sword. You should remove the bias or acknowledge the bias.

Rx

28/11/2010Hi Lyn, It's a bit like a guest coming into your house and saying, "I don't like that piece of furniture. Replace it with this. I hate the colour of the carpet. Rip it up and put in new stuff. Your food tasted awful, cook me another meal." Some people think they can enter another person's website property and carp and criticise the owner again and again. Ad's got a lot more tolerance than I have, that's for sure.

Rx

28/11/2010<i>Pull your head in Rx. I addressed AA not you.</i> We're all guests at AA's website. (Remember that.) We're all here at his pleasure. (Remember that, too.) Around here we're all equal. We may address whoever we wish. Deal with it, comrade.

lyn

28/11/2010Hi Rx Yes I know exactly how you feel. I made these (I think) lovely green voile curtains with green rose silk trim, for my kitchen, anyway my neighbor came in, and said "oh! I see you have put up new curtains" "I hate green". You know really, incredible audacity isn't it, no accounting for some people. You are right, Ad Astra really is such a wonderfully tolerant person. Cheers

Feral Skeleton

28/11/2010I wish that there was a 'Sir Ian Crisp' blogsite that we could all go to and throw criticism around at him with the same sort of nonchalant insousiance that he brings here. Except there isn't , as he doesn't have the wit or the wisdom to put one together, the way that Ad Astra has here. :) You gotta smile at the way conservative barrackers live by the maxim, "Do as I say, not as I do.'

Sir Ian Crisp

29/11/2010I agree Rx, it is a bit like someone entering your house and making demands. Much like asylum shoppers who enter our house and make demands (legal representation, culturally appropriate meals, outings, cultural and religioius segregation, etc) and offer opinions - why aren't you people more religious, why do you celebrate Xmas, etc). TPS and its owner/operator and members of his choir have no trouble with asylum shoppers making demands and offering opinions. Just pretend I'm an asylum shopper.

Sir Ian Crisp

29/11/2010Wong gay push 'will hurt ALP'. Disunity in the dream party. Any Trotskyites want to give it the 'Turnbull', 'Joyce', or Hockey treatment?

2353

29/11/2010FS Abbott's a self professed Christian of the Catholic brand. A Catholic service (called a mass) lasts around one hour a week - which leaves 167 hours a week where the Christianity needs working on.

Ad astra reply

29/11/2010Sir Ian You accuse [i]TPS[/i] of bias. ‘Bias’ is defined as ‘an inclination to present or hold a partial perspective at the expense of (possibly equally valid) alternatives’, or ‘an inclination or prejudice in favour of a particular person, thing or viewpoint’. You claim that the site strapline: ‘For putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword’ precludes any expression of ‘a partial perspective’ or ‘an inclination to favour a particular person or viewpoint’, and should be changed. Your logic escapes me. Are you saying that those who comment here shall not have ‘a partial perspective’ or ‘favour a particular person or viewpoint’? It is clear that many who write or comment here are largely but not totally supportive of the federal Labor Government, and are opposed but not totally antagonistic to the Coalition. That should not come as surprise – many political blog sites have a similar orientation, many are the opposite. Moreover, there are some who comment here who are supportive of the Coalition and critical of the Government. So what do you expect here Sir Ian? You seem to use more of your comments to criticize the management of the site than actually addressing the issue under discussion. The strapline will not be changed because there is no logical reason to do so. People who comment here will remain free to express their views provided they do so politely, so long as other opinions are respected even if not agreed with, and so long as personal abuse of others who comment is avoided. One would also hope that comments would be based on verifiable facts and well-reasoned argument, but for some that appears to be an unreachable objective. You are welcome to continue to comment here, but please spare us your overbearing admonishments. Let’s turn over a new leaf for 2011.

Jason

29/11/2010Sir Ian Crisp, I was at the convention on Saturday when the same sex motion was put! we rolled Senator Don Farrell and his right faction who pretty much run South Australia! As for "Wong gay push 'will hurt ALP'." I can't see how? the subject needs to go to National Convention, and be thrashed out there! We can't wish it would go away it wont!

lyn

29/11/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]Reading the Tea Leaves, The Notion Factory[/i] This is the nature of the media – needing something to report before it truly exists – that’s fine, I recognise that, so long as it is measured http://notionfactory.net/2010/11/28/reading-the-tea-leaves/ [i]Gillard the big winner if Victorian Labor falls Richard Farmer, The Stump[/i] Long serving state governments are normally a vote loser for their federal colleagues. Losses in Victoria, followed by New South Wales and Queensland, would probably be worth half of a percentage point or so when Gillard next goes to the polls. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2010/11/28/gillard-the-big-winner-if-victorian-labor-falls/ [i]Vicvotes 2010 - the count semi-live, John, The Conscience Vote[/i] Unlike Brumby and Hull, Baillieu is full of nothing but self-congratulation. To hear him talk, you’d think that the Liberals have already won in a landslide http://consciencevote.wordpress.com/ [i]Mayne could hold balance of power in Victoria, Andrew Cook, The Stump[/i] On the latest counting, the Coalition has won at least 19 upper house seats, Labor has 16, and the Greens have at least two. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2010/11/28/mayne-could-hold-balance-of-power-in-victoria/ [i]Victoria 2010 - the next day, Ben Raue, The Tally Room[/i]. we are talking about a tied parliament, not a hung parliament. The Victorian Legislative Assembly has an even number of seats, and after Craig Ingram’s defeat and the failure of the Greens to win any Assembly seats, there are no crossbenchers at all. http://www.tallyroom.com.au/7827#more-7827 [i]Wake-up call, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless[/i] Even if Labor win absolutely all those seats that are now undecided, it will be 44-44 (which it won't be). http://www.andrewelder.blogspot.com/ [i]Copy, Patse and Curse, Don Arthur, Club Troppo[/i] But I’m much more impressed by Tracer’s backend, which allows publishers to see which pages — and, even better, which parts of those pages — are most frequently copied. http://clubtroppo.com.au/ [i]Time to bury the zombie economics that led us into the crises and produce more realistic, socially useful ideas, John Quiggin, LSE[/i] Yet at the core of the financial and intellectual institutions that created the crisis, the meltdown of 2008 is already a distant memory. http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/?p=5660 [i]Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us,John Quiggin,Left Focus[/i] John Quiggin is amongst Australia's most accomplished economists; and a long-time critic of the dominant neo-liberal ideology. http://leftfocus.blogspot.com/2010/11/zombie-economics-how-dead-ideas-still.html [i]Krugman on the breakdown of the consensus, Peter Martin [/i] This is brilliant! In the end, then, the era of the Samuelsonian synthesis was, I fear, doomed to come to a nasty end. And the result is the wreckage we see all around us. http://www.petermartin.com.au/ [i]Two of the funniest paragraphs on Aussie Politics you are likely to read, Christopher Joye,Aussie Macro Moments[/i] Tony Abbott does all the time, turning his back on the PM to confer with his colleagues – especially when she is speaking, a gesture of contempt http://christopherjoye.blogspot.com/2010/11/two-of-funniest-paragraphs-on-aussie.html

Ad astra reply

29/11/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx

Ad astra reply

29/11/2010[b]A tribute to our Lyn[/b] Tomorrow will be the last set of links that Lyn will post for 2010. So it’s a good time for us to thank you Lyn for the thousands of links you have given us since you began your links service in April. I started to count how many, but had to give up as the total soared. In the month of July alone there were over 400 links, so if we extrapolate to the eight months you have been supplying links, it amounts to well over 3000. We know too that these are a distillation of many more articles that you peruse from your database of blog sites. It is a time consuming process to check scores of sites, select around ten to twelve interesting items, copy the title and the link, add a brief excerpt to give an idea of what the piece is about, and copy the items to [i]TPS[/i] on time early every day of the week. Those who visit here are saved countless hours through your efforts Lyn, and we are deeply appreciative. We know too that other blog sites appreciate being selected by you Lyn as they receive visits from those who visit [i]TPS[/i]. Many of these are now easing back in preparation for the end-of-year break. And it’s not just the quantity of links, but their quality. You have the skill of selecting high quality material relevant to the contemporary political scene. We also acknowledge Lyn that throughout the day you are scanning blog sites and the online MSM looking for new items and ‘breaking news’ that have just been posted, and posting them on [i]TPS[/i] to keep us up to date. You are a gem Lyn, you have fed us day after day and have brought countless visitors to [i]TPS[/i] who come here for your time-saving links. We enjoy too your delightful comments about contemporary politics and the contributions of others, and the way you welcome each new poster. Apart from offering our heartfelt thanks, we feel an appropriate reward is to give you a well-earned break from the constant contribution you make to this site. You and I have agreed that you should have off the whole of December and January to have time with your family and enjoy the Christmas-New Year period, and resume your links when parliamentary sittings return in February. We wish you and your spouse, who has been so supportive of your work for [i]TPS[/i], a Happy Christmas and New Year and an exciting and rewarding 2011 as the Gillard Government pursues its reform agenda.

NormanK

29/11/2010There is a smart tweety called Lyn Can't wait for each day to begin She brings us the links To what everyone thinks To miss them would be a great sin. Have a wonderful well-earned break Lyn. Your contribution to TPS is immeasurable. I look forward to your return in the new year.

Damien

29/11/2010Fantastic article - couldn't agree more though I suggest that most of what you reveal is to a large degree a problem of politicians' own making. There are no conviction or even strong politicians, simply too many weak, 'professional' politicians with little real world experience, guts or stamina. Its time for change thats for sure.

Gravel

29/11/2010Lyn May I also say a HUGE thank you for all your time and effort. I, like many, will miss you terribly, but also I do hope you enjoy your break, and don't let your daughter work you too hard while you having your well deserved break. Yippee the Separation of Telstra bill just went through without a vote, but after much waffle by the wrecking party. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.......broadband here we come. :-)

nasking

29/11/2010[quote]Other states could see the advantage to the whole community if fairer taxes were levied from the mining sector – more revenue for infrastructure, as well as lower company tax and better superannuation. The mining states were persuaded that the threat of mine closures and consequent job losses, a story shouted in TV and newspaper ads, was more compelling to them than the national good. [/quote] Top post per usual Aa. The question for me is whether we can have a fuctioning democracy in the midst of corporate wars...and corporate collusion...where corporate aristocrats walk tall, noses held high and accumulate money & assets like there's no tomorrow...with little accountabilty...even for failure. Even unions bosses become lackeys for this lot. And the vertically integrated media are propaganda machines for them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertical_integration N'

nasking

29/11/2010[u]Tomorrow will be the last set of links that Lyn will post for 2010. [/u] Yer the tops Lyn. Two thumbs up for yer brilliant efforts...the links are so valuable & have helped to inform & widen debate...and of course strengthen the blogosphere. Yer one heckuva positive asset for this blog. I'm sorry ya didn't get to see most of the music vids I put up recently at The Cafe. Darn slow computers & crappy internet eh? I have a similar problem after 20 vids or so. Isn't it frustratin'? Anyway, have a well-deserved & relaxing, fun-filled break. Cheers N'

nasking

29/11/2010[u]I'm sorry ya didn't get to see most of the music vids I put up recently at The Cafe.[/u] I should add, HillBilly put up some top tunes too...great contribution HB, thnx. I dig Cap'n Beefheart too. Nice choice. N'

nasking

29/11/2010My latest post at Cafe Whispers: The Corporate Aristocracy – Us & Them http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/the-corporate-aristocracy-us-them/#more-1881 [quote]They have no allegiance to nations…they oft sprout up wherever they can make a quick, easy buck…exploit less rigid workplace regulations…they expect vast rewards for their efforts…even though they usually don’t expel any more energy than the average worker. They expect to live & retire in luxury & splendour…and support political parties that tell us we all need to work harder, longer…and accept less entitlements…but they seem to have little problem accepting bailouts if need be…and chopping down the loyal worker’s pension tree if it suits their business plan. ..and ambitions. There is one law for them…another too often for the worker. They are THE CORPORATE ARISTOCRATS[/quote] N'

TalkTurkey

29/11/2010Swordsfolk, Gravel in particular, Lyn got it right months ago when I thanked her warmly for her astounding contribution to this amazing site. (It is largely so because of Her Links.) She said, to the effect that we do like being told we are appreciated. Yep, well I sure do. So thanks for the several pleasant comments, folks, I love the writing if I know someone wants to read it. And I love all Your points of view, the satire, the verse, the odd thrust at trolls, and chadenfreude like we can’t feel about Victoria. It’s a friendly thing this blog. It’s a bit like a functioning creature, Head Ad astra, spine Lyn’s Links, limbs and muscle and organs and circulating blood HFS and NormanK and Jason (and and and and), with lame foot Limpy, jj the toothache, occasional migraine CALLIGULA . . . And it must feed on intelligent viewpoints expressed in good writing. Especially, I love writing rhyming verse, when it works well anyway. I love English, it has so many words, so nuanced, it has rhymes for nearly everything, and it amazes me how one can bend it around to say what you want it to. I really don’t like tortured turns of phrase, I want verse always to sound like ordinary conversation but with rhyme and meter and natural cadence and emphasis: as Deep Thought, the supercomputer in Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe, remarked . . . “H’mmm . . . Tricky!” But to my surprise I can usually find a way to say what I want in the way I want to. English. My first love. Here’s the opening 2 verses from NEW WORLDS!, one of my 2 BIG books of verse: Once upon a time: One small, left-handed, red-haired boy: Words were such a joy to him – More fun than any toy; His folks loved jests: they’d joke with guests – He’d test words they’d employ – You’ve guessed – (I guess you guessed I’d guess you’d guess) - I am that boy! I’m not that little boy no more though – ’fact I’m ‘getting on’ – Well, a little past the middle – going – going – but not gone! I used to be a classroom teacher, but I lost my class But I don’t spend every arvo simply sitting on my Grass . . . And that was quite a few years back so I’m well “past the middle” now. Political verse is a challenge, it needs to be done fast usually, generally has a short use-by date, but it does set in a sort of time capsule the way things felt at the time. PatriciaWA’s Mal Poems are perfect examples oh and patois I love the last two lines. The last line - ten single syllables - is hilariously mellifluous, with the stresses exactly comme il faut! “Your joint capacity such comfort brings I smile to know you’ll make a mess of things.” It’s often surprising, looking back at such little gems, just how passionately we felt at the time, and how things move on. As PatriciaWA Herself says: “Think of all that's happened since then and how Malcolm has changed. Just looking at him and listening to him I don't think he's 'moved forward' or grown at all. Rather he seems much diminished to me.” And yes, it’s true. So it’s great to cue into a place where verse is liked, and where others do it too. I often read my verse at the monthly meetings of Friendly Street Poets here in Adelaide, and yes they like it, even though it’s not “poetry” which it seems almost must NOT rhyme and mete, but really, I get more appreciation and impetus to write here. Not always on subject, but writing is actually as much of TPS as politics afa I can see. I've just read Ad astra's tribute to Lyn. "You are a gem Lyn." And so say all of us. Well all of us of goodwill anyway. How we gonna manage without our daily diet of links? Thanks Lyn.

Ad astra reply

29/11/2010Nasking Thank you for your kind comments. Your piece [i] The Corporate Aristocracy – Us & Them[/i] on [i]Café Whispers[/i] made interesting reading; it dovetailed with this piece. It highlighted the pressure that corporate entities place on governments to achieve their aims. They constitute yet another pressure group, replete with an abundance of well-paid lobbyists, who bear on governments to achieve their aims. They are not concerned with the larger good, only with what they can get for themselves. They add to the difficulty governments have in governing this country. I did not see your music videos; I must watch for them in the future.

Ad astra reply

29/11/2010Damien Welcome to [i]The Political Sword[/i]. Do come again. Thank you for your kind comment. Politicians are made to look weak when they allow themselves to be intimidated by pressure groups or focus groups and polls. I hope the Gillard Government will throw off this yoke and tell these pressure groups that their intimidation and threats will no longer be tolerated.

lyn

29/11/2010Hi Ad Thankyou Ad, so much for your lovely kind, appreciative words. You pay me a great honour, honour in your words and most of all you give me the biggest honour to be part of 'the wonderful world of' "The Political Sword". Next year will probably be another busy year for us all, trying to get out message out there, may be in a small way, but I think we are all very effective, "The Political Sword" is a very well respected blog in the blogosphere, how do I know, I have copies of readers comments from other blogs, collected in my travels, also from other blog owners. NormanK you are marvellous, your talent is fantastic, thank you for your good wishes and wonderful delectable comments, forever enjoyable, I think I told you before, you are a lump of gold. Gravel the Sweetie as always, thankyou for you lovely words, you have such a sweet kind opinion on everything you mention, your contributions are very valuable to "The Political Sword'. Talk Turkey you are another valuable asset to "The Political Sword" talented and clever. I hope you will stay here for a very long time, I enjoy your work, and so look forward to everything you have to say each day. Thankyou so much for your kind and and generous comments, I appreciate all your comments very much. Nasking thankyou for your appreciative comments, I love your opinion, and your incredible loyality it shines, not only true to your own beliefs, but so loyal to "The Political Sword", we need you. I will enjoy my break, but I tell you what, I will be looking forward, to getting back on here in my comfort zone, feeding my "Political Sword" addiction, with all my friends again, as soon as my holiday is over. Love and Cheers to all my TPS friends.

Feral Skeleton

29/11/2010lyn, How you have earned your break. It is shown by the bald fact that, as AA said, regular as clockwork your links appear when we sit down at our computers in the morning and click on 'The Political Sword'. They're like that satisying and refreshing first cup of tea. Which, if it's missed makes you feel somehow something ain't right about the day from there on in. As has been the case on those 1 or 2 days when your links haven't appeared(very rare I know),and I don't know about anyone else, but when they're not here I have to keep coming back until they are. It's part of my daily ritual now. So, thank you, and enjoy the festive season and a well-earned rest. You've more than earnt it. Only a selfless devotion to the cause, by the pure of heart, motivates people such as you. They are as rare as hen's teeth. Or should that be Tweety teeth? :) Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, lyn, to you and yours. See you around the way in 2011, fired up and raring to go at it again! You will be missed for my last two blogs.

Mick of Kambah

29/11/2010To Lyn and the other swordsters, thanks for your efforts over the past year. Lyn, your links are invaluable and I never miss looking them up. To AA, thanks for your ever polite mediation of the site. To all, a happy christmas and I hope you all return refreshed for the battle in 2011.

Feral Skeleton

29/11/2010Nasking, I have given that man a new nickname, which you may have noticed above. From here on in, Rupert Murdoch will be referred to by me as 'The Devil from Delaware'. His business is headquartered there because it is where he pays least tax. Such is his level of altruism and public spiritedness. Not.

Feral Skeleton

29/11/2010I note 'Toxic' Tony was at it again in federal parliament today, like a performaing seal flapping his flippers together and making barking sounds as he tried to make defeat on the Bill to structurally separate Telstra look like a glorious victory. Also the Liberal Party of Victoria limping over the line to victory seem like an overwhelming mandate from the people and an endorsement of the Liberal 'Brand'(and since when have political parties, who are supposed to succeed in elections and politics based upon their policies, become akin to a box of Cadbury's chocolates?). Maybe we should just call him, 'Tony the Tailor', from now on? He always seems to be about making a silk purse out of the Liberal sow's ear.

patriciawa

29/11/2010Well done, Norman K, you've said all I wanted to say. Our day here begins with those listings of lyn's. Ad Astra's words matter and then comes our chatter, Which everyone thinks is better informed by Lyn's Links.

lyn

29/11/2010Hi Mick of Kambah Thankyou for your very welcome comment, and thankyou for your appreciation of "the Political Sword. I am so pleased to hear you look up the links, each day, your comment gives me inspiration, it is a pleasure to read your words. cheers

lyn

29/11/2010Hi Feral Hillbilly Thankyou so much for your kind and thoughtful comments, I appreciate your words very much. You are an amazing person, with you admirable, dedicated, devotion to "The Political Sword" and all our dear readers. Your comments are fantastic, and like you with Today's Links, I look for your comments everyday. I love and admire you staunch, untiring loyalty to your beliefs and to "The Political Sword". Cheers

Ad astra reply

29/11/2010MIck of Kambah Welcome to [i]The Political Sword[/i]. Do come again Thank you for your kind words. I'm pleased you have enjoyed [i]TPS[/i]. We look forward to another frantic political year in 2011. And a Happy Christmas to you.

Ad astra reply

29/11/2010Folks I'm packing it for the evening. Tomorrow we leave for the NSW South Coast for a break. I'll post Lyn's last links for 2010 to her special page in the morning and then we'll be off.

lyn

29/11/2010Hi patriciawa Hello little Poppy Girl, that is just the nicest, sweetest, thoughtful little verse, thankyou, very much Patricia. Your poems and words are worth a bullion of gold to "The Political Sword" they are absolutely delightful to read and enjoy. So we have Patricia, NormanK, Talk Turkey, Conehead, you are all consigned to "Political Sword's" mint, our very own bank. Love this line: [quote]Ad Astra's words matter and then comes our chatter[/quote], Cheers

Feral Skeleton

29/11/2010It's amazing where you find the most informative articles. If you have time to read nothing else about the geopolitical reality that seems to be focussed around Korea atm, and its wider ramifications wrt the Obama/China relationship, then this article from HuffPo, by a North Asia director of an advertising firm(!) is it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-doctoroff/standing-up-to-china-the_b_788704.html

Acerbic Conehead

29/11/2010AA, thanks for another great political analysis. Have a great break and we look forward to you coming back refreshed. I was intrigued by the suggestion by someone that you change the blog’s strapline. I’m sure you will give the suggestion some thought when The Australian changes its to “The Black Heart of the Nation”, and the National Broadcaster reflects its editorial line by describing itself as, “Their ABC”. And I would also like to take this opportunity to thank lyn for the marvellous service she provides to readers of The Political Sword. Without her labouring away in the background, we would not have the time or doggedness to track down the many valuable articles she provides. And, moreover, the crucial role she is playing has not gone unnoticed by Rupert Murdock himself. Just listen to Tweety Pie lyn giving as good as she gets from the nasty Puddy Tat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38aDWDUjlOY :- ) TWEETY: I am a little, tiny, bird. My name is Tweety Pie On AA’s blog, I sift all the links, as they go by I like to do the business and serve The Political Sword But there's a tat that's after me and won't let me alone :- ) I taut I taw a Rupie tat a creepin' up on me I did! I taw a Rupie tat as plain as he could be! :- ) SLY RUPIE: I am that great big bad old cat, Sly Rupie is my name I only have one aim in life and that is very plain I want to catch that little bird and gag her right away But just as I get close to her, this is what she’ll say :- ) I taut I taw a Rupie tat a creepin' up on me You bet she taw a Rupie tat, that Rupie tat is me! :- ) TWEETY: That Rupie tat is very bad, tries to smack me on the snoz Comes up behind me with a rolled-up copy of the Oz I have a strong suspicion that his plans for me aren't good He would infect my ‘puter with viruses if he could :- ) SLY RUPIE: To stop that birdie before she cranks up her machine I’d need to gum up her keyboard and smash her lap-top screen You bet I'd mute that little bird if I could just get near But every time that I approach, this is all I hear :- ) TWEETY: I taut I taw a Rupie tat a creepin' up on me I did! I taw a Rupie tat as plain as he could be! :- ) And when I sing that little song, Ad astra knows he's back So he lifts up his sword and whacks Sly Rupie with the flat So listen you bad Rupie tat, if you don’t sharpen up your act You’ll have to spend your time with Dennis and all the other hacks :- ) SLY RUPIE: Yikes! Not that! Sufferin' Succotash!

Ad astra reply

30/11/2010FS Thank you for the Huffington Post link – a well-written and informative piece on China that is worth filing.

Ad astra reply

30/11/2010AC Thank you for your kind words about this piece and about [i]TPS[/i], and for your tribute to our Tweety Bird Lyn. Your genius is in full display with ‘I Taut I Taw a Puddy Tat’. How apt. Thank you. What delightful memories the YouTube clip brought back. The last few seconds of the clip were a warning – never trust the Puddy Tat – no matter how benign he might temporarily seem to be.

Feral Skeleton

30/11/2010Well, Victorians, say goodbye to Super Fast Broadband. I note that new Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu, has stated on Day 1 of his Premiership that he is out to wreck the NBN on behalf of the Liberal Party. Don't remember 'genial' 'Big Ted' saying that was one of his policies in the just completed election campaign...

lyn

30/11/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]Surely you can't be serious ? part one-Sheehan and the Greens, Greg Jericho, Grog's Gamut[/i] But then a friend informed me that, no, I was wrong – Sheehan actually was being serious (and don’t call him Shirley). http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/11/surely-you-cant-be-serious-part.html [i]The Bunker Mentality, Mr Denmore, The Failed Estate[/i]. ABC managing director Mark Scott - who originally drew the wider public's attention to Grog's criticism of the media's federal election coverage - made the astute observation in a speech last week that The Australian seemed to be objecting more to Grog's authority than his anonymity http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com/ [i]Gillard’s welcome show of strength on Telstra, Mungo MacCallum, Crikey[/i] business ambitions of his own that the NBN might impinge on? Is he after a piece of it or would he prefer a network of his own? http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/11/29/mungo-gillards-welcome-show-of-strength-on-telstra/ [i]Getting a bigger slice of the 22/7., Ashghebranious, Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery[/i] Coalition costings is now going to get the treasury to do this new lot of cost benefit analysis studies. I wonder if his mate from that group that did his costings will get a job? http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/getting-a-bigger-slice-of-227/ [i]Labor's technocrat moment has passed, The Piping Shrike[/i] phoney populism of Abbott’s climate change scepticism. In short, the Victorian result gives relief to the Liberals, but not to Abbott. http://www.pipingshrike.com/2010/11/labor%E2%80%99s-technocrat-moment-has-passed.html [i]All of Epirus Wept, Neil Cook, The Bannerman[/i] Australia's first high-profile Twitter defamation case is set to be launched, with editor-in-chief of The Australian Chris Mitchell saying he will sue journalism academic http://www.waddayano.org/blog/2010/11/all_of_epirus_wept.php#more [i]A question about #twitdef, Tim Dunlop, BSides[/i] My point is, it would be an odd circumstance where you can report something someone might have said openly and get sued http://tjd.posterous.com/ [i]An unremarkably large amount of coverage of an‘unremarkable’ story. Mumbrella[/i] So unremarkable, that the newspaper has today dedicated a remarkable 20 paragraphs to explaining why it is unremarkable. Unfortunately, within those 20 paragraphs, http://mumbrella.com.au/julie-posetti-chris-mitchell-twitter-australia-36861 [i]B#gger, b#gger, b^gger!Our Tony just won't shut up, Petering Time, North Coast Voices[/i] Strewth, Tones, you live in a weird and dispiriting world! http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/2010/11/bgger-bgger-bgger-our-tony-just-wont.html [i]C is for crappy., Dave Gaukroger, Pure Poison,[/i] Now here is an art-ic-le,Lame as can be.It’s Mr Paul Sheehan’s, Green ABC.It’s light on an-aly-sis,and dripping with fear, So please come and take,A look at it here. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/11/30/c-is-for-crappy/#more-8224 [i]Essential Research: 51 - 49 to Coalition, William Bowe, The Poll Bludger[/i] It has the Coalition maintaining its 51-49 lead for a third week running, though down a point on the primary vote to 44 per cent with Labor steady on 38 per cent http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/ [i]Whether you like it or not – looks DO matter in politics, DragOnista's Blog[/i] Would Tony Abbott have won more female votes this year if he had not paraded around in his sluggoes and licked his lips during interviews? http://dragonistasblog.com/2010/11/29/whether-you-like-it-or-not-looks-do-matter-in-politics/ [i]Happy Budde faces a hostile NBN crowd, Renau LeMay, Delimeter[/i] ‘Buddha’ of Australia’s telco sector appeared to celebrate a bit too enthusiastically last week following Labor’s drawn-out Senate victory, in a column on Business Spectator http://delimiter.com.au/2010/11/29/happy-budde-faces-a-hostile-nbn-crowd/ [i]Lib State Governments Could Hinder NBN Roll Out,David Richards, Smarthouse[/i] deputy premier in a Victorian Baillieu government, has already refused to support an "opt-out" approach to the NBN, http://smarthouse.com.au/Wireless_And_Networking/Broadband/X9N6P9V5 [i]Telstra split bill approved, Ry Crozier, ITNews[/i] The passing of the bill capped a morning of failed attempts by the Coalition to delay the vote by seeking a suspension of standing orders http://www.itnews.com.au/News/240083,telstra-split-bill-approved.aspx [i]After the blast, William Bowe, The Poll Bludger[/i] Hats off to Peter Brent of Mumble. His pre-campaign post of October 21 was outstanding in its prescience, and his post-mortem from yesterday said it all in 278 words. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2010/11/29/after-the-blast-2/ [i]#Vicvotes mythbusting 11" Labor's "brand" is toxic, Kim , Larvatus Prodeo[/i] “Oh, I’m thinking better of Mr Abbott because the Coalition won the Victorian election in November”. It’s a pure instance of press gallery/political class bulldust. http://larvatusprodeo.net/2010/11/29/vicvotes-mythbusting-ii-labors-brand-is-toxic/ [i]Labor's gone in Victoria ,Gary Sauer-Thompson , Public Opinion[/i] The Greens had failed to gain any seats in the House--and Labor would have had to provide a speaker. http://www.sauer-thompson.com/ [i]Ambivalence at the ballot box: polling station observations from a regular voter, Crikey[/i] Voters are attempting to make a decision based on news headlines, announcements made by politicians to garner their votes, and bullet points on policy announcements. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2010/11/29/ambivalence-at-the-ballot-box-polling-station-observations-from-a-regular-voter/#more-2647 [i]PM accuses oppn of acting like toddlers, Brisbane Times[/i] Minutes into the start of the Monday sitting, the opposition leader attempted to bring on a debate about the state of the Labor Party across Australia, pointing to the disastrous election result for the ALP in Victoria on Saturday. http://news.brisbanetimes.com.au/breaking-news-national/pm-accuses-oppn-of-acting-like-toddlers-20101129-18d3u.html This is very funny: [i]Tony Abbott will have to adjust more than just his 'budgie smugglers' in 2011, The Blowfly[/i] The Blowfly always finds it easy to read Tony's mind because his larger ears seem to act like thought-amplifiers and what goes on in his brain comes through crystal-clear. http://www.theblowfly.com.au/2010/11/tony-abbott-will-have-to-adjust-more.html

Ad astra reply

30/11/2010LYN’S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx As Lyn is taking an end-of-year break, the next update of LYN’S DAILY LINKS will be in early February. Have a refreshing and relaxing break Lyn, and again thank you for your wonderful contribution to [i]TPS[/i] during 2010.

Ad astra reply

30/11/2010Folks This is to inform you about activity on [i]TPS[/i] over the next two months. As you know, Lyn posted her last links today. I have written my last piece for 2010 [i]Is Australia becoming ungovernable?[/i]. Feral Skeleton is preparing a piece on the NBN, which will posted later this week. She will later prepare one on Wayne Swan’s paper on banking. [i]TPS[/i] will therefore continue, but at a reduced pace, over the end-of-year period. I have some repair work to do, so although the site will be open throughout, there may be short periods when it is down and offline. I’m off now to the NSW South Coast for a break with family, so I won’t be contributing much for the next ten days. I’ll keep an eye on the site, but will spend most of my time enjoying the family, reading, and soaking up the warmth. If there is a desire from you to have an open thread running over the end-of-year period to enable comments about what the site has achieved in 2010 and what it might do in 2011, or simply to comment on contemporary politics, I would be happy to set that up.

Ad astra reply

30/11/2010Hi Lyn You have finished your links for the year with a flourish, over twenty great articles! The ones that lead your list are essential reading. Enjoy your break – you’ve earned it.

janice

30/11/2010Lyn, Thank you for the work you've put in supplying the daily collection of links - you deserve a break and I wish you a very happy and relaxing R & R so that you return all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in February. Whilst I'm here, I also thank you Ad astra and wish you and your family the compliments of the season. To all Swordians, I also wish each and every one of you an enjoyable and happy Xmas.

Feral Skeleton

30/11/2010This is one vote for a loosely open site over the holiday period. Who knows what might happen? It looks like the manic Abbott will be dragging his political carpetbag and sideshow around the traps over the break to a series of community 'Town Halls', which, if yesterday's affair at Avalon on Sydney's Northern Beaches is any guide will just be forums that have the local Liberal Party membership shanghaied along to make up the numbers, while 'Toxic' does his best George W.Bush impersonation, 'jockingly' taking off his coat and laying it over the back of the bar stool, which has been 'casually' placed down with the Homies on the floor, as he takes questions, which are just there to serve as springboards for him to launch into an attack on the Labor government for whatever the topic du jour is. All faithfully recorded with Abbott camp following cameras in tow and quickly uploaded to the MSM for the nightly 6PM News which he knows more people will have the time to watch over the holiday period. Very calculatedly about Tony Abbott the hopefully transformable media-friendly/electorate-friendly Prime Ministerial aspirant. I think we at TPS also need to remain vigilant therefore and track his every malevolent Machiavellian move. I noticed also that he is still dragging the missus around to soften his aggro image. Sorry. That leopoard will never be able to change its political spots.

Feral Skeleton

30/11/2010Now here's an ideal gift for the activist in your family, from the maker of 'OutFoxed': https://bnf.actionkit.com/cms/donate/bnf-boxset/?akid=1340.1241391.-iw0Ek&rd=1&t=12#order

TalkTurkey

30/11/2010Wikileaks "declared terrorist organisation" This is both true and false at the same time. It is true that it is a direct quote from any number of search results. Just google the four words in the headline. So if Murdoch wants to quote it verbatim, he's not actually lying. Yes he is. It's not true. What is true is that some bloody Republican in the USA has called for Wikileaks to be declared a terrorist organisation. Crims have an unsympathetic saying to other crims "If you can't do the time don't do the crime." If the military madmen don't want appalling truths to come out, stop the appalling actions. Crims also have another saying: "Right whack!" . . . meaning . . . You had that coming.

Ad astra reply

30/11/2010janice Thank you for your kind words and good wishes, which I reciprocate. You have been with us since the very beginning back in June 2008 when I first posted on Possum Box. Thank you for your loyalty. I'm closing down now and getting on the road to Lakes Entrance tonight and the NSW South Coast tomorrow. I'll try to get online this evening - Telstra willing.

patriciawa

30/11/2010[quote]'Manic Abbott' [/quote]- Feral Skeleton you are reading my mind! Or maybe it's just two great minds thinking alike! As you penned that I posted this at Larvatus Prodeo. When Abbot talks of ‘toxic’ infection, The shrinks would say that’s just projection Of his own, dark, inner reflection. Gillard, guilty of lies, deception? No! He’s the one who needs correction! So clearly lacking circumspection In his manic drive to win election, Spewing bile in every direction! In some psychiatrists’ perception He’d be an ideal candidate – for section.

Jason

30/11/2010AA, Lyn, and FS, Thank You for your efforts this year and I wish you all the best for the festive season! In also second FS call for a " loosely open site over the holiday period."! To my sparing partners jj and Sir Ian Crisp I extend the wishes of the season to you as well, As I do to the voice of reason NormanK! Merry Christmas and a happy new year Comrades

lyn

30/11/2010Hi Acerbic Conehead Did I tell you before "Your are valuable Magic" I did, I did, I did. Thankyou AC for such a magical, wonderful, superb song just for me, I am clever escaping that Rupie tat, thankyou to Ad Astra, I am safe in " The Political Sword" for my golden cage. Your work Acerbic Conehead is enjoyed by all, I love seeing that red cone, each time I scramble off and read with glee. Cheers

lyn

30/11/2010Hi Dear Janice Thankyou so much for your lovely words, and best wishes to you, you are a wonderful,loyalist to "The Political Sword". We admire your work Janice, you are very clever. Your comments are always enjoyable and your opinion, so genuine, fair and measured, another magic writer in our collection at "The Political Sword. I don't have a favorite Janice, all your writing is brilliant: [b]Poems and Stories, by Janice[/b] http://www.anzwers.org/free/janice/

lyn

30/11/2010Hi Jason You know all the girls love you Jason, loyal and genuine contributor simply the best. Thankyou for your appreciative words, you are an asset to "The Political Sword" Jason, a very valuable part of the TPS's success. Your conviction to your principles are second to none, your knowledge of Politics is outstanding, obvious in every comment you make. I wish you a Happy Holiday and Christmas , and I hope Santa brings you a fantastic present. Cheers

Gravel

30/11/2010HS What are you saying about the Vic Liberals interfering in the NBN? Even though we probably won't get it here at least they have to give us faster speed on the satelite. TalkTurkey I love your description of The Political Sword, it is very apt, thank you. Oh and HS I too will read, and maybe put my 2/- worth in on an open thread. Lyn Thanks once again, and I did enjoy the blog about the Blowfly.....a very apt description, I'll make that my knickname for Abbott. Ad Astra You also enjoy your break with your family. You are certainly very wise to go early up the coast, they are doing a lot of roadwork, maybe finished now, as you leave Traralgon, and then it's all single lane from there, it is a pain when I have to go up there regularly.

Michael

30/11/2010Australia, along with much of the Western world, is no longer a democracy. It's a whinge-ocracy.

NormanK

30/11/2010Jason What an awkward medium the printed word can be. When I first read "voice of reason" I was quite chuffed because I do at least try to find a middle path which displays a bit of empathy for opinions different from my own. Can't say I always succeed though. Then I saw that I was lumped in with jj and Sir Ian and I thought "well, I never!" Not being of a paranoid bent, I'll stick with the former interpretation. Cheers. Ad astra On the subject of an open thread, I am still inclined to think it would be a good idea but it must be borne in mind that you would feel obliged to pop in on a regular basis to reassure yourself that we weren't running amok and potentially ruining the site into which you have put so much work. That in itself would diminish your chances of a well-earned break. So, Swordians, with that in mind, if AA leaves a thread open, might I suggest a pact amongst us all that we ignore any attempts to provoke us and that we limit ourselves to discourse with a high level of decorum. This might come at a cost to our self-esteem by not forcefully rebutting inflammatory comments from trolls and malcontents but I can't see any type of happy outcome if war breaks out here in Ad astra's absence. Yes, I am looking at you TT since you have stated your penchant for a bit of invective. Not to say we shouldn't have some fun but only that interpersonal interaction be kept polite and where that is not possible, refrain from responding at all. Really, it's the only way that it could work because a slanging match is the last thing the boss wants I'm sure. What do you reckon? FS You're probably right about Abbott remaining active over the coming months and I do wonder if he will not be doing himself a disservice by dragging politics into the news bulletins at a time when most Australians are accustomed to a bit of relief from it? It will be interesting to observe what happens.

nasking

30/11/2010Thnxs Lyn & Ad astra for yer kind comments...you've had a marvellous year, deservedly. You have many wonderful, informative contributors too. And Hillbilly's posts are always enlightenin'. I've just linked to yer post at the Cafe Aa. On the comment section of my new post: Howard’s always there for Tony...and the free market http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/howards-always-there-for-tony-and-the-free-market/ [quote]This man from a little old fashioned world…or as they say in Italian, piccolo mondo antico…is really quite clueless…and in his pursuit of a grand legacy didn’t realise how much his pride, envy & old-fashioned ideas allowed the rich to stomp on this country…whilst so many of the public remained ”dumbed down” & exposed to toxic industries.[/quote] Cheers N'

Ad astra reply

30/11/2010TT Thank you for your kind remarks about TPS several posts above. I thought I had responded, but I see I haven't. You are obviously a lover of words, and adept at verse. Your presence here enriches TPS. We look forward to your contributions in the year to come.

nasking

30/11/2010[u]So clearly lacking circumspection In his manic drive to win election, Spewing bile in every direction! In some psychiatrists’ perception He’d be an ideal candidate – for section. [/u] LOL. So apt Patricia. You've done it again. S' & I were watchin' Abbott blow off steam in parliament yesterday & thought similar. He can be quite a loop sometimes. I imagine he gets so hot-headed the hair sizzles. :) N'

nasking

30/11/2010[quote]Wikileaks "declared terrorist organisation" [/quote] TalkTurkey, when it's goss & leaks courtesy of the Murdoch empire it's in the "public interest"...but when it's Wikileaks it suddenly transforms into criminal acts. Strange days indeed. N'

nasking

30/11/2010"Very calculatedly about Tony Abbott the hopefully transformable media-friendly/electorate-friendly Prime Ministerial aspirant." Feral Skeleton, will he be handing out blowup Tony dolls...for the Liberal who wants to get closer at Christmas to their messiah? People can take them to their local...drape their arm around them & say "He might be full of hot air...but he's my Tony". N'

nasking

30/11/2010[quote]I have given that man a new nickname, which you may have noticed above. From here on in, Rupert Murdoch will be referred to by me as 'The Devil from Delaware'. His business is headquartered there because it is where he pays least tax. Such is his level of altruism and public spiritedness. Not.[/quote] I like it Feral. Not unlike the Media Mogul from Mordor. :) N'

Feral Skeleton

30/11/2010Nasking, Yawn. There was Tony Abbott, in full-blown, fly-blown campaign mode on the 5PM Channel 10 News, at a building site, in his hard hat and High Vis Fluoro Vest, laying bricks. Does he really think that he is not being as obvious as dog's balls, and looking as useless as tits on a bull? Must we be subjected to this every day during the holidays? Doesn't he remember those two time-honoured homilies: 'Familiarity breeds contempt', and 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder'? Next thing you know, he'll be fighting with Warnie for the mike at the Cricket, and getting us to follow him in his latest Reality TV Show, a la 'Sarah Palin's Alaska', 'Tony Abbott's Fairy Bower'. :) (For those not in the know, Fairy Bower is the headland surf break at Manly, Abbott's home suburb).

Feral Skeleton

30/11/2010NormanK, It appears my Gravatar problem is indeed linked to my primary e-mail address which is registered with the Gravatar site. I did a little experiment the other day where I went back to Twitter and posted a Tweet. It came up with my sweet little Hillbilly Skeleton avatar. So, I might just cancel my Gravatar account under the old e-mail address, start with the new one and see what happens.

Feral Skeleton

30/11/2010Testing. Testing. :)

Feral Skeleton

30/11/2010Bummer. :(

Feral Skeleton

30/11/2010I just tried to add a new Gravatar under a new e-mail address, and it hasn't worked. :(

2353

30/11/2010[quote]AA, Lyn, and FS, Thank You for your efforts this year and I wish you all the best for the festive season! In also second FS call for a " loosely open site over the holiday period."! To my sparing partners jj and Sir Ian Crisp I extend the wishes of the season to you as well, As I do to the voice of reason NormanK! Merry Christmas and a happy new year[/quote] Couldn't say it any better myself Jason, so I hope you aren't offended by me seconding your comment. I'll be around over the silly season - someone's got to work - so will pop in and see whats happening.

Feral Skeleton

30/11/2010Whacko! I'm back with my new Gravatar! It was just taking a while to load onto the site. :) I chose this one because it shows me with my 'Political Sword'. Thank you, NormanK. Your words of wisdom worked wonders.

Jason

30/11/20102353, I'm not offended! and whish you well for the festive season! Normank you know what mean sorry! FS Abbott was here in Adelaide today, he wasn't at "Ark Tribes site" as strange as it may seem!

NormanK

30/11/2010Dame Hillbilly Feral (aka Black) Skeleton Brilliant! You look ready for a bit of jolly blood-letting. More strength to your arm. By the way, you can't bowl a cricket ball can you? Now we just need to sort out Talk Turkey's Gravatar. Jason Only gammin'.

Feral Skeleton

30/11/2010Jason, Abbott is doing a Sarah Palin. In your face, every day, in every way imaginable to the collective tiny mind of the Liberal Party. Pity that was the template Ted Baillieu used, so people will be awake up to it now from Mr Abbott(well, I hope so); and it's taken all of one day for the facade to slip and reveal just the sort of ideological zealot and wrecker he is of any worthwhile Labor project that is in his way. Just exactly the way it would turn out if Tony Abbott pulls the wool over enough of 'the mob's' eyes to get them to vote for him in the next election. 'Getting Down to Work' allright, overturning all the good policy that Labor governments enact and implement. Not only that, but we have the spectre of WorkChoices past, Old Codger No.1, John Howard, popping up on 'Their ABC' to start the softening-up process on 'the mob' so that they can slip the WorkChoices shiv into the employee class again. Oh, but just no 'No Disadvantage Test' this time. Also no Enterprise Bargaining, back to AWAs, 457 Visa workers from other countries being paid a pittance and keeping jobs away from our own citizens, and, don't forget, the 6 month Training Period for our kids, after which the unscrupulous employer can sack them and get another one to exploit. Yep, that's what Abbott really meant by, "The phrase 'WorkChoices' is dead, buried, cremated." Just not every other bleedin' thing about Liberal Workplace Relations policy. I suppose that's where Abbott was today. At a building site of a Master Builder who's just itching for him to get back to work on Industrial Relations policy as Prime Minister. :(

TalkTurkey

30/11/2010From Normank "I can't see any type of happy outcome if war breaks out here in Ad astra's absence. Yes, I am looking at you TT since you have stated your penchant for a bit of invective." Aw gee NormanK it's all in fun . . . 's only words . . . jus' sharpening me vorpal sword . . . They started it! . . . But a keen observer might have noticed that I didn't respond to Limpy's unspeakable gloat about wildlife destruction. I think he's beneath my contempt and comment. But I didn't put him there. I have repeatedly proffered an olive branch to Them, (on presumptuous behalf of most of Us) but you know how some folks are. I too hope that TPS can run on a Skeleton staff, ha ha, over Crispmess. We're addicts eh.

TalkTurkey

30/11/2010Feral Skeleton! Your new gravatar sure works on me! It took a while to work, but it's fine now.

Ad astra reply

30/11/2010NormanK, Jason, TT, Nasking, 2353 Thank you for your kind comments. It looks as if there are sufficient interested in an open thread to keep one open over the end of year break. NormanK's advice is sound; if we are all courteous to each other, it will spare me the trouble of intervention. FS I do like your new Gravatar. So apt. I'll be leaving Lakes Entrance early tomorrow, so won't be back on air until tomorrow evening when I arrive on the NSW South Coast. I hope it's warmer than here, where it's cold, wet and windy. Good night.

Ad astra reply

30/11/2010Gravel You were right about the road works outside of Traralgon. But after that OK. Thank you for your good wishes. We look forward to a bit of warmth on the NSW South Coast after the cold Victorian winter.

Jason

30/11/2010FS, Although on building sites etc! we now have allow scabs and the like! you might have thought just for the sake of it, that if Abbott thought the ABCC went too far he would have loved to have been amongst the workers saying the laws went too far!?No such luck! As for "Honest John"? and his usual shtick he put on last night! nothing has changed? it was Costello's fault that Howard never stepped down,come to think of it did "Honest John" ever take the blame for anything? Adelaide look out "Honest John" will be here tomorrow thanks to the tax payer to flog his book! .... me!

Rx

1/12/2010Ad Astra, Thanks for keeping an 'open thread' for the Christmas season. As has been pointed out Abbott is likely to use the quiet time of year to blitz the media, as he did last year. Not that he needs to get the media onside, for he's already got that, but I guess he wants the exposure, though why he wants that is anyone's guess. His polling performance usually improves when he makes himself scarce...

Gravel

1/12/2010HS Even though I miss your 'skeleton', the new one is just great, glad you had success. Thank you Ad Astra for allowing the open thread, I'm sure as we are all adults you will not have to monitor it too much. If it does go bad, may I suggest everyone just stop commenting until we are back in the 'working' mode for Ad Astra.

TalkTurkey

1/12/2010fligns bur

TalkTurkey

1/12/2010Hillbilly Skeleton, cute little drawing, Always waving, never boring . . . But Hillbilly Skeleton all go black! Hillbilly Skeleton never come back! But Hillbilly Skeleton still undead! Come back Feral Skeleton instead! Leading charge for Lefty horde, With Vampire Shield and Polly Sword! [Sorry about that previous post Folks. I know what happened but it's not worth explaining.]

NormanK

1/12/2010Where's George Pike when you need him? No doubt gnashing his teeth if he saw the 6.30 news on SBS. Apparently the ALP is "bickering" over nuclear power, rent by divisions with left and right at each others' throats, on the verge of factional war and deeply at odds with the ACTU. Ricardo Goncalves' interview with the ACTU President was straight out of the New Journalism 101 Handbook - loaded questions meant to draw out the deep animosity brewing between unions and Labor. Unfortunately Ged Kearney didn't want to play and even managed a few words of praise for Julia Gillard. I don't know if someone new was calling the shots tonight but I've watched SBS News faithfully for a great many years and this was easily the most sensationalist effort I've seen. Apart from Karen Middleton's spiteful digs, normally they are very careful about reporting only the real news and not hyperbole. Tonight deserved George's full treatment. Tony Abbott must be a wonderful husband and father. He certainly is reliable. Right on cue he managed to bag the government for modest growth figures last quarter, conveniently forgetting that last week according to him the economy was overheated due to stimulus spending. The man is a reprehensible scum-bag. Ah, that's better. We'll see if it extends into December but last month's question on every reporter's lips was "Is anybody angry yet?" Gotta love contemporary media priorities.

TalkTurkey

2/12/2010WHERE IS EVERYONE? apart from me'n'NormanK?

Jason

2/12/2010TT, I'm stll here! I think?

Feral Skeleton

2/12/2010Hola! y'all! I'm finally back after dotting all the i's and crossing the t's on my latest blog. Wow! The words 'gargantuan effort' come very readily to mind. :) I imagine AA will peruse it and be posting it either later today, or tomorrow morning. Until then let's just spend some time kicking 'Toxic' Tony and 'Scabrous' Scott and their thought bubbles around, huh? That latest Asylum Seeker 'Policy'(and I use the term loosely where Mr Morrison is concerned), is one for the gullible rascist rubes, is it not?

Feral Skeleton

2/12/2010Jason, What do ya reckon about the Nuclear Power debate? I've already had a motion passed at my local branch in support of it, and we have the NSW ETU Pres. as our Branch Pres.! Though I will admit I plumped for Thorium-powered Nuclear Reactors. :)

Rx

2/12/2010No one can exercise 24/7! http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/julia-gillard-attacks-upset-tony-abbott/story-e6frf7l6-1225964246064 [i]... Mr Abbott said daily exercise was his secret to staying sane in his busy and stressful lifestyle, even getting up at 4am on some days. "My wife keeps telling me I'm absolutely neurotic about exercising," he said. "For me regular exercise is an important part of my mental health routine ... If I didn't get regular exercise I'm sure I'd drink more, I might be popping pills, I might be going slightly round the twist." [/i]

Jason

2/12/2010FS, I don't have a problem as such with the debate, I think it should be discussed, and yes I'm all for it, but if the right are now trying to wedge the left of the party because same sex unions will be on the agenda at the next national convention they've stuffed up. The very little I know about Nuclear power is they need lots of water to keep cool,so the plants can't go in the dessert,look out coastal areas! plenty of water,The other problem in my state is we dig it up at Roxby Downs and a few other smaller mines but our Premier took the Howard government to court to stop the national Nuclear waste dump being set up in South Aurtralia and won! So I doubt we as a state would even get on board!

NormanK

2/12/2010FS & Jason As insiders, what's your take on the amount of heat the nuclear debate could generate within the party? It seems like a reasonable topic for discussion every 10 or 15 years as the technology advances and surely it can do no harm to talk about it. Just to be clear, I'm not asking for the pros and cons of nuclear plants but rather whether the issue could be as divisive as SBS would have had us believe last night.

Feral Skeleton

2/12/2010NormanK, I was wondering what had happened to George Pike too recently. Come back, George, all is forgiven! Not that I believe we said anything naughty to him. )

Ad astra reply

2/12/2010Folks After eighth hours of driving on winding roads much of the time through pelting rain, we arrived at 7 last night at our holiday destination on the coast east of Nowra. Fortunately the cool rainy weather of yesterday has give way to warmer air and no rain, although it's still overcast. We are settling in to a lovely house to enjoy our week up here. I was delighted to receove this morning anothe piece from Hillbilly/Feral Skeleton titled: [i]They huffed and they puffed, and they haven’t blown the NBN down...yet[/i] which I'm sure you will find informative and entertaining. As I can see that some here are becoming restless for more political food for thought, I'm processing it now and will post it sometime this afternoon.

Jason

2/12/2010Normank, Not sure what was said on SBS, but I think the issue could cause deep division within the party! Even here in SA whilst we are happy to dig the stuff up, we only do that thanks to a man called Norman Foster who was a member of the Labor party and crossed the floor (a labor rat)! I'm not sure about the eastern states but Labor are having to fight the Greens in inner city seats for hearts and minds and this whole issue would be just a gift to the opposition parties! As you said with the changes in technology etc who knows? It needs to go to a referendum,as it's in all our interests to start looking at our future energy needs and how best to deliver.

Jason

2/12/2010Paul Keating on Lateline tonight! Tonight on Lateline: former Prime Minister Paul Keating. ABC1 1030pm. http://twitter.com/leighsales

Ad astra reply

2/12/2010Folks I've just posted: Hillbilly/Feral Skeleton's piece [i]They huffed and they puffed and they haven't blown the NBN down...yet[/i. Enjoy. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2010/12/02/They-huffed-and-they-puffed-and-they-havene28099t-blown-the-NBN-downe280a6yet.aspx

Feral Skeleton

2/12/2010NormanK, Do not believe an SBS reporter, or Tony Abbott, bearing hyperbole. :) If you want my honest take on it, then I believe the way is being prepared for a change in policy eventually, but not necessarily next year. Baby steps. Ambit claims. That sort of thing. I presented my argument as one of jobs and Climate Change action. Though Jason is correct about the water aspect. Which is why I heard talk about these now seemingly useless Desal plants having another function.

NormanK

2/12/2010FS & Jason Thanks for that. You pretty much confirm my first impressions that the SBS story was a beat-up which is somewhat out of character for them. What I didn't know was that they thought they had an exclusive so no big surprise that they wanted to run with it. I was more concerned about whether this was the start of a trend at SBS (which would be lamentable) rather than some major upset in the party. The full interview shows that the backbenchers were only expressing a desire to get the subject back on the agenda not a desire to start building one tomorrow. A bit of tit for tat, as Jason suggests. Cheers.
How many umbrellas are there if I start with two and take 2 away?