We are all victims of short term expediency


In Australia, politicians are elected for either three or four year terms. The conventional wisdom is that the first year of their term is working out what they want to change — usually masquerading as ‘fixing up the mess’ left to them by their predecessors. The second year (and third where applicable) is when they implement what they consider to be their ‘mandate’ and the last year is when they try to convince a majority of the voting population that they are better than the other side. While there are various claims that they are making plans for the future, usually the plan is do nothing and hope they won’t have to make the unpopular decision at some time in the future when the need for the policy or infrastructure is urgent due to their previous lack of planning.

In contrast, when you go and get a home loan the usual commitment is somewhere between 25 and 30 years — although the property industry tells us that, on average, loans are refinanced or properties traded on another one within ten years.

Politicians of all persuasions claim they plan for the future. The last ALP Government in Queensland developed a plan for the state in 2020 — known as ‘Towards Q2’. According to the publicity booklet:

Our plan has been framed around five ambitions for our entire state, covering our economy, environment and lifestyle, education and skills, health and community.

The rationale for the forward planning included being better prepared for events such as the millennium drought, that threatened the water supply of a number of communities across Queensland in the early and mid 2000’s, and the subsequent flooding in 2011 and 2012. When Campbell Newman’s LNP Government came to power in 2012, it scrapped the ‘Towards Q2’ document but then created their own ‘Queensland Plan’, which is supposed to guide development, infrastructure and policy in the state until 2030. After the cost of co-ordinating ‘focus groups’ across the state — invariably attended by government ministers and senior public servants — internet sites for comments and other methods of consultation, the ‘Queensland Plan’ developed some foundations:

These foundations are: Education, Community, Regions, Economy, Health and wellbeing, Environment, People, Infrastructure and Governance.

The Queensland Government has recently issued a response to the ‘Queensland Plan’ — responding to a proposal it was instrumental in creating! If you can see large differences between the ‘Towards Q2’ ambitions and the ‘Queensland Plan’ foundations, please leave a comment below the line and educate us all!

In New South Wales, building the North West Rail Link to Castle Hill and beyond is underway. This train line, which was first announced in 1998, was originally to be a branch line from the current system at Epping to service a rapidly growing area of Sydney with inadequate road transport. (Even though buses can run express, they are still on the same roads as the private vehicles.) Wikipedia gives a history of the announcements and political games that have been played out to get to where we are now: and as you would expect, the ‘glossy’ website for the project sings the benefits of the scheme for all.

What the website doesn’t tell you is that the tunnels they are building for the North West Rail Link are too small to fit the existing Sydney double deck electric trains! Effectively it will be a separate network, which may one day go through a second Harbour crossing and continue to Blacktown.

If that’s not enough, while ‘Transport for NSW’ operates the existing rail network, Melbourne’s private train operator Metro will operate the north-west service under a contract — so the chances of co-ordination between the two distinct networks are likely to be pretty remote.

But wait, there’s more. The existing Epping to Chatswood train line is to be converted to take the North West Rail Link to Chatswood! So you have Sydney’s newest rail line being changed so the existing trains won’t fit, taking passengers from the north west of the urban area every four minutes in peak hour to a station requiring passengers to change to trains using the existing double decker carriages and then going across the Harbour Bridge on tracks that are already almost at capacity. Does this exercise in stupidity have anything to do with the ALP originally announcing the plan and the Liberal Government starting construction many years later?

The federal government is not exempt from the theory that we are all victims of expediency. Kingsford Smith Airport in Sydney’s east is Australia’s busiest airport. The Australian government sold it off in 2002 to Sydney Airports Corporation Limited (at the time a subsidiary of Macquarie Bank).

It has been recognised since the 1940’s that the demands on the current airport would outgrow the ability to deliver, as the existing airport is land locked. Over the years there have been a number of studies and promises that would deliver a second airport for the Sydney region — somewhere between Newcastle and Canberra. Wikipedia’s page describing the saga is worth a read for details. When the Howard Government sold off Kingsford Smith Airport, it agreed to a clause in the contract that the operator would have right of first refusal to build a second airport in the Sydney basin. Ben Sandiland’s excellent ‘Plane Talking’ blog on transport issues (predominantly aviation) has discussed this issue on a number of occasions — one of them is linked here. Note the spokesman for the Sydney Airport Corporation is the same Max Moore-Wilton who was Prime Minister Howard’s Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The Abbott government announced on 15 April 2014 that Badgerys Creek would be the site of Sydney’s western airport. The commencement of the negotiation period with Sydney Airport Corporation was announced on 18 August 2014.

Ironically, the same New South Wales government that is crippling the potential of the North West Rail Link to operate in conjunction with the rest of the Sydney Trains system is funding the construction of the South West Rail Link, which does connect to the existing system at Glenfield and will pass very close to the Badgerys Creek site — using the same double deck trains that service Kingsford Smith Airport but apparently are not good enough to service the north west of Sydney.

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss made the announcements regarding Badgerys Creek Airport. He is the member for Wide Bay, based on Bundaberg in Queensland. He should be aware that Australia’s newest airport is located 15km west of Toowoomba — known as Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport. This privately built four-engine-jet-capable airport is privately funded by the Wagner family (who have a history in quarrying and construction businesses) and commenced construction in 2013. Qantaslink will operate a service (with Dash 8 aircraft) from Wellcamp to Sydney from November 2014. Badgerys Creek in contrast will commence construction in 2016 and not be ‘fully operational’ for a decade. While there will inevitably be greater design requirements for a capital city airport, such as Badgerys Creek, than there would be for what is effectively a regional airport such as Wellcamp, why is there such a difference in the construction times? The airports are built to the same standards.

So, if there is little difference between the ‘Towards Q2’ and ‘Queensland Plan’; if Sydney’s north west looks like having an ineffective train service which will also emasculate the rail system across Sydney; if Sydney’s second airport is still a decade away despite ‘planning’ being undertaken for over half a century (and the locals can build one in Toowoomba in under two years); are we being well served by our politicians’ ability to plan for our future?

Devising a plan or strategy for a significant period into the future is not an exact science. There will be dramatic events that affect every plan; from personal illness to global financial meltdowns. To suggest for a minute that politicians can ‘do planning’ any better than anyone else and therefore should be exempt from the expectation that plans will change is ludicrous. However, above we have three examples of planning by politicians that fail to build on previous work; rather they seem to be deliberately white-anting previous planning processes, all of which had significant time, effort and cost expended on them.

In a world where governments are telling us they have to make hard economic decisions, sack tens of thousands of staff, cut back on ‘non-essential’ services and live within their means, why do we accept that significant plans are thrown out when ‘the other side’ gets into power?

While there is an ideological difference between the ALP and LNP in Queensland, rather than scrap the ‘Towards Q2’ consultation and process (with its significant public and private consultation), wouldn’t it have been a better idea to suggest that the existing planning cycle be extended?

Building new railway tunnels too small to fit existing rolling stock is similar in action and intent to the various states having different rail gauges in the 1800s through to today. Any economic and practical analysis of the experiences caused by the ‘break of gauge’ issues throughout the 19th and 20th centuries would tell a rational observer that, even if there is a real issue with the operation of Sydney’s train fleet due to the double deck design, creating a separate system and converting parts of the current system won’t fix anything in the short or long term.

Both sides of politics have ignored the problem of the western Sydney airport for too long. The Howard government stymied the development by giving the first right of refusal to the purchaser of the existing airport, who clearly is not in favour of building a ‘greenfield’ site over maximising return on the existing site. The ALP government commissioned another study into the location (coincidentally a number of ALP-held federal seats were in western Sydney) and Abbott’s government announced it will take a decade to build — and, by the way, he won’t fund a rail connection, the most efficient method of accessing the western Sydney site from the east.

All of these decisions indicate short term expediency wins every time. Regardless of the colour of the politicians in power at the time, those who participate in the public input sessions (be they ‘town hall’ style meetings or ‘internet surveys’), collate the documents and discuss the pros and cons of various options with the politicians, almost invariably do so with dedication and commitment to making a better Australia.

That the advice is not followed for any better reason than that’s what the other side did is criminal. That’s why we are all victims of short term expediency.

What do you think?



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TPS Team

12/10/2014This week 2353 highlights problems with the way our politics is played - the inefficiencies and waste caused by new governments dumping work already done by their predecessors, the short-termism, and just bad decision making.

Ad astra

12/10/20142353 Thank you for yet another informative piece. It is mindboggling to read what you have written about the inefficiencies, incongruities and mindlessness of some of the decisions made by bureaucrats overseeing public utilities, often made because it is expedient to do so in the short term. Your piece gives authenticity to the decisions of the [i]Nation Building Authority[/i], or the absence of them, as portrayed in the ABC TV series [i]Utopia[/i]. On the face of it, the sick satire in that series seems fanciful. How could people behave like that, one asks. Yet at the local Council office last week we saw behaviour resembling an episode of [i]Utopia[/i]. Now your piece confirms that ‘Utopia-like’ decision-making does occur and produces the incongruous, strange, even bizarre outcomes you describe. In a world where schoolchildren are taught that factual information is valuable, indeed indispensable, and that logical reasoning is necessary to make informed and rational decisions, how is it that these essentials are overlooked, even abandoned in decision-making about the management of public utilities? Is it lack of information? Is it ineffective transfer of information? Is it that all the relevant information, although available, is not considered? Is it that some information is disregarded because of political considerations? Is it that budgetary considerations sometimes rule out certain information? Is it laziness among decision makers who deem seeking adequate information to be too hard? Is it simply incompetent decision making? Is it plain stupidity among some decision makers? Is it, as you suggest, too often just short-term expediency? Or is it all of the above? Whatever it is, it needs attention. Wasted resources, inefficient use of resources, inadequate resources, and high costs of maintenance are the legacy of the inept decision making you describe. Do we have to endure this state of affairs forever? Are there no educational programs that might improve decision-making? If so, why are they not being used? Does real ‘Utopia’ have to continue?

Catching up

12/10/2014I understood that Abbott said he is the infrastructure PM. He went on to say, his roads, which is the only thing that seems to be involved in his infrastructure plans, will be built by private investment. Seems there will be very little taxpayers money involved. In other words, it will be the public that pays, I suspect through the nose. I have seen written, that government investing in roads, paid back by tolls is the most efficient and cheapest way for the government to go.

2353

12/10/2014But toll roads aren't cheap or efficient CU. Toll roads are an admission by government that the funds you and I pay in registration fees and fuel excise - which was originally quarantined for road construction has been absorbed into the general revenues of the council/state/federal governments. Again that is short term expediency. Rather than raising sufficient money for the provision of services and leaving the 'roads' money alone; it is politically popular to redirect the money and shout from the rooftops that they aren't increasing taxes and charges. Governments are not a business and they should be all about creating as close to equal opportunity for all as possible. The two major political parties in Australia need to stop 'mee tooing' each other and look back at their origins. Thanks you for your kind words Ad Astra. I'm not surprised the local council finds expediency is a solution. Wait until the political parties come and openly play - like they have in Brisbane City.

Ken

13/10/2014One thing that contributes to the problem 2353 raises is that when there is a change of government the bureaucracy is required (by convention) to close all the files of the previous government. In relation to big projects, the external reports are still available, and the bureaucracy may well provide the same advice, although now coloured by the new government's approach and policies, but the decision-making process starts over. It is part of the convention that a new government should have no access to the decision-making processes of its predecessor (which Abbott flouted with his inquiry into the 'pink batts'). And of course governments are reluctant to make 'courageous'decisions. The second Sydney airport is a classic example. No matter where it was built a whole new group of voters was going to be under the airport's flight paths: so, successive governments were reluctant to be the one that put the voters off-side. Hence, delay upon delay. And as 2353 points out, new governments don't want to be seen to be doing what the previous government did (after all that mob was voted out for what they did!). Even when a new government decides to proced with a project formulated by the previous government, it will change it in some way so that they can claim 'ownership'. And there are the odd decisions like the north-west rail in Sydney. The reasons why a stupid decision like that can be made can be very murky. If it has been done by Tender, it very much depends on the criteria included in the Tender (and note that a Tender can be written so that your preferred provider wins - I won't go into the details of how to do that). If too much emphasis is placed on saving money (picking the cheapest tender) then all sorts of strange outcomes are possible. And, of course, there is the network of politicians and business people that influences decisions.

TalkTurkey

14/10/2014Greetings Comrades, Well we are a bit of a sad rump at the moment here on TPS eh. I've been a bit in the doldrums myself, finding it hard to keep up with reading and writing it's true. I'll go into that a bit more in another missile soon. Mmm. Right now (partly to ease my conscience)I am reposting - not for the first time! - one of my first posts here, almost exactly 4 years ago, in happier times, just after the 2010 election. Wish I had something like that feeling now. But I've thought my character assessments of the LNP and especially the MSM have stood the test of time remarkably well, only mostly they're worse. We had so many contributors during that turbulent time. Does anyone ever check The Political Sword's magnificent Archives? Just check this thread for example! So many, so fired up and delighted! It's in the thread called [i]Grog! Please come back [/i]... and it starts on 10/10/2010 But anyway, I reckon as history October 12. 2010 10:42 AM TalkTurkey HiHo Swordsfolk, I been away in the Flinders, looking at my State Floral Emblems, the fantastickest flower of all, Sturt Desert Peas, BRILLIANT! No Optus Wireless of course, so I spent some time recording in feelgood verse the drama of the election. I really did it for you jj, hope you love it. heh heh. The Maid Of Yarralumla [A Parody on A.B. (Banjo) Paterson’s “The Man From Snowy River”] There was panic in the parties as the poll results came down, For Left and Right dead-heated on that day; The Government’s survival stood on very slippery ground And the hacks and experts all had heaps to say. All the journalists and politicians came from near and far To add their sound and fury to the fight, And all you heard on ABC was Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah While the Murdoch Press screamed Right is Right is Right! There were Liberals like Joe Hockey, a fat and lazy blob, Who had fallen at the first jump when he’d tried, Malcolm Turnbull, once-and-wanna-be, and poor old Andrew Robb While Phony Tony Abbott ran and lied. There was an effete mincing poodle, known as Whining Chrissie Pyne, Creepy Kevin Andrews, washed-out Warren Entsch; Token female Julie Bishop, who thinks plagiarism fine; That about exhausts the Liberals’ front bench. They were confident of victory, and hubris they suffused, And they claimed that they’d won power by a nose; They squealed that they weren’t guilty of what Treasury accused: Multi-Billion Dollar Holes, and things like those. They claimed they had the better of the pan-Australian vote; They called themselves the Government-in-Waiting; They said they’d stop invasion of Australia by boat, While the Media pitched in with Labor-baiting. And on the Left was Kevin Rudd, who’d won the last time ’round, But fallen at a hurdle months before, With Wayne Swan on Economy, a stayer well-renowned, And of Labor fancied runners, many more. Stephen Smith, Nicola Roxon, Combet, Albanese, Crean, The list was long of talents deep and broad: They were clever and committed, and experienced and keen: A well-matched team compared with Abbott’s horde. And one was there, Our Ranga Lass, of feisty fighting breed, Like a Queen Boadicea, well-advised, Flashing wit and Gaelic glamour, with Crow-Eater in her creed, And Makybe Diva fire in her eyes. She had led the charge for Labor, but she’d very nearly failed, (Though equally, she’d very nearly won), But Julia Gillard held her nerve while lesser beings quailed, And stayed the course while Abbott made his run. There was one Sandgroper National, a new bloke, Tony Crook, And no-one really knew which way he’d vote, But he seems so undetermined, even bookies won’t make book, Though he’s travelling in the Coalition’s float. Andrew Wilkie, (Independent), and young Adam Bandt, (a Green) Pledged on certain terms to join with Gillard’s crew, And not bring down the Government, for both of them were keen Not to support a Coalition coup. And the way that Gillard wooed them was a credit to them both, From decent forthright dealings to a mutual binding oath; So though Abbott now claimed 73, Gillard had 74 - But she really needed 76 – She had to score two more! There were three more Independents, no-one knew how they might jump; Robert Oakeshott, Tony Windsor, and Bob Katter: And the way the hurdles tumbled, all the Force was with that rump, And the Fourth Estate was full of Twitter twatter. Those three were ex-Nat mavericks, from effin’ FNQ, Where brumbies weird as unicorns abound: Would they jump together? - Left or Right? - Split 2-1? Or, 1-2? This whole race was on entirely unknown ground! Then from the Murdoch stables all the hustlers made their run: They were breathing fire and brimstone every breath: That Labor’s illegitimate, that Abbott’s mob had won, And that any tryst with Brown and Greens was Death. Bloated with his self-importance was conniving Laurie Oakes, And Piers Ackermann, most bigoted of all, And the first one to throw stones, that loathsome, hateful Alan Jones: They’re three key bricks in the Murdochratic Wall. There was Andrew “Anal” Bolt , and that Glenn Milne, the drunken thug, Grabbing sleazily at any sleazy grab, And that ABC lickspittle, Chris Uhlmann, smooth and smug, And Annabel, the slyly-sidling Crabb. There was sour Red Kez O’Brien, seemingly forever trying To skewer Julia with some cunning stab; And Tony “Look-Me” Jones, interrupting her in tones That show he thinks he holds sole Royal Right of Gab. There was Fran "Ms Jelly” Kelly, Michelle Grattan lacking teeth, And Miss Trivia, Virginia Trioli, And that smartarse Barrie Cassidy, with snide asides and acidy, In ABC alliances unholy. So Our Ranga Lass was targeted by jibes and sexist jokes: Her Titian locks were tweaked, her finely-chiselled nose took pokes From those of the moral wee-ness of a teensy flaccid penis – And unkindest cut of all came from that wimp-out by Megalogenis! Thus was Julia besieged: just Laura Tingle stood her friend, And challenged Abbott on her comments page; In chivalry and courage she was loyal to the end: The one fair Australian journo of The Age. But still the Fascist minions, led by Phony Tony Abbott, Went a-raging and a-fulminating on: How they’d really won the Government, and they were gonna grab it, Until many in the Left feared we were gone. But while Abbott fumed and fretted, bumbling bully through and through, Trying bribery and histrionic threats, In attempts to win the Indies (and he needed at least two), Julia Gillard was as subtle as it gets. She was thoughtful, diplomatic, in conciliatory tone, And the Indies saw that what she says she means, Until even weird Bob Katter, mad as Alice’s mad Hatter, Said he’d found some common values with the Greens! So we waited, hopeful, fearful, as the weights were counted in: Were we losers, were we winners? Would we wince, or would we grin? We were hanging on the numbers, on the comments, on the hints - If not a gleeful grin, then an excruciating wince! But throughout 16 long days, while all us Aussies held our breath, Our Ranga Lass ne’er wilted from the hate: She fought to win the issue as if it were life or death: It was grand to see that Lass negotiate! But still, no-one knew the outcome, until on Day Seventeen, When Bob Katter called a conference at one: And when he did, he voted (as some said they had foreseen), With Abbott – Just one more seat, we’d be done! For the parties now were neck-and-neck, three-score-and-14 all: The margin must be minimally thin; If those last two Independents split, the Government must fall, For Labor needed both of them to win. Now all the weight of government was held in two men’s hands, And never had the balance been so fine; Would they take a national view, or yield to parish-pump demands? We held our breath, and waited for a sign. And at last just two hours later, those two last men made their move: Our hearts in trepidation wildly throbbed: One party would be jubilant, as winners they would prove, While the losers all would scream that they was robbed! First to speak was Tony Windsor, and he gave his solemn word He’d faithfully support the Labor side; Effectively he said that Tony Abbott was absurd - The Coalition cause was now denied! But that still left Robert Oakeshott: if he went the other way, The parties would be deadlocked, which would mean There would have to be a new election, and without delay, The likes of which this land had never seen. So still we waited, heart in mouth, while Oakeshott took his time To explain in full his reasons for his vote; Though the media was furious, as if it were a crime They had to listen first before they wrote. And seventeen minutes later, as the almanac will show He gave Julia the seat she sorely craved; And after all the arguments, at long last now we know: - HOORAY! The Labor Government is SAVED! Now up at Yarralumla, where the diplomats may raise Their glasses of Chateau Lafitte on high, Where the chandeliers of crystal through the frosty evenings blaze, And the VIP jets streak the azure sky, And where around the Parliament the votes of aye or nay Decide the laws by which we must abide, The Maid of Yarralumla holds the Vandal hordes at bay, And we Lefties hail Our Ranga Lass with pride. TalkTurkey

Patriciawa

15/10/2014That's brilliant, TT!

Ken

15/10/2014TT Excellent parody and, for me, a good history lesson. I missed the 2010 election - was touring the UK and Ireland. Was in Hastings when we discovered Julia had become PM. Read in Edinburgh that Julia may go to an early election. Saw on TV in Bath that Australia was going to the polls that day. Arrived back at Mascot to headlines that Julia had reached a deal with the independents. Your poem actually fills in some background. But the point of your re-posting the poem is relevant. Yes, things are a bit quieter at the moment which gives us the opportunity to address a range of issues that are relevant to our longer term political approach. To address issues that Labor needs to address, because we know Abbott and the LNP will never address them. Also to address issues about what sort of society we want to live in. I take every opportunity to attack the current economic approach and I will keep suggesting that Labor needs to start considering how it can shift the economic debate and not just blindly operate in the context of the 'free market' that the neo-liberals want. People seem to respond more with comments, when Abbott is being attacked. But at this stage of the electoral cycle, attacks on Abbott are only a part of the approach. They will likely move back to centre-stage some time in 2015 when we are about twelve months out from the election.

Catching up

15/10/2014This from the mail out today, from Liberal Party. Does not fit in with what is occurring today. Nor does anythno else in the letter. [quote]The Liberal Party is not a party of big government, or vested interest, but one that stands for the citizen over the official, the community over the state and the family over everything.[/quote]

Ad astra

15/10/2014TT I enjoyed reading once more your 'Maid of Yarralumla'. How accurate your assessments were then and now! Thank you for reminding us of that exciting time so stylishly captured by your elegant verse.

Pappinbarra Fox

17/10/2014Hello all, not contributing much- too damn busy trying to help older disadvantaged folk, but I always find a couple of minutes each day to check, so keep blogging and keep up the spirits. [quote][i]Illigitimus non carborundum[/i][/quote] Cheers to all and keep up the poems TT.

Ken

18/10/2014An interesting piece in 'Common Dreams', a progressive US news site, showing how the neo-liberal approach is actually contributing to the problems dealing with the Ebola outbreak in Africa. http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/10/16/assassination-public-health-systems-driving-ebola-crisis-experts-warn

Ken

18/10/2014Another one: this time from 'Pro publica' about how businessmen in the US are making money from government education funding to 'charter schools' (which as the article explains are private run but publicly funded). http://www.propublica.org/article/charter-school-power-broker-turns-public-education-into-private-profits Seems like this is the model Abbott would like us to follow with his push to have more 'independent' schools. But when you can see the problems that can arise, it is as usual just an ideological push and has little or no educational merit.

TalkTurkey

18/10/2014Greetings Comrades I've seen a parallel to this dramatic implosion in The Political Sword's following once before - when the boom in CB radio suddenly collapsed. It's happened with yo-yos and dance crazes too. Social Media keeps changing in unpredictable directions, and who can say what's to happen now. But these Abborttians are directly to blame for TPS current low ebb - Everybody's low ebb really. It seems to me that we are all in a state of shock. No-one thought they could be this extreme. One thing is vital, and that is that we find effective ways to engage and fight the Fascist foe now rampaging in our midst. I know everyone is sad, but hang in Comrades. We need us all. It's less that 2 years to the election!

Catching up

19/10/2014TT, maybe we are a little tired at this time. Will pick up as time goes on. We need to be ready for that. Can I make a suggestion. I feel that we must not judge what works in the past, will work today. We are in a completely different ball game. One we have not seen before. What I do feel, this situation will not last much longer. Something or someone will in implode Labor and it's followers have to hold their faith, not rock the boat. We must keep the focus on this government. Let them gain one diversion, the game could be lost. ] ]Please do not help the likes of Cormann and Co own Shorten. Labor has to hold it's nerve, no matter how we might wish for change. It does not matter at this time where Labor is.Back in Whitlam's day, it was time for change. Now is the time to keep faith. Blind faith. That is hard. I feel that Labor is at a better place, than any could have expected after the last election. Voters are not5 incline to vote any government out after one term., We need to change that mindset. It seems they voted Labor out not caring what Abbott was about. We could still be in the same climate. I do not believe the voter is listening to politics full stop. It is still all about perception. What Labor and it supporters have to do, is be ready when the implosion comes, It must, because all that is happening now is surreal and has the feeling of unreality. Saying that, I feel that there are many lurking, not saying much. Slowly making up their minds. Yes, I am a optimist. Always have been.

Ken

19/10/2014TT Agree that it is early in the electoral cycle and people will take more interest as the next election approaches. I think, as you say, that people are shell-shocked at the attack Abbott and his cronies have launched on Australia. But as Catching Up said, people didn't vote for Abbott so much as against Labor (for which much of the blame can be sheeted home to the 'rat' Rudd). But no point now in whinging over spilt milk. We have to continue the fight against Abbott and particularly the underlying philosophy driving his side of politics. Labor has to wake up to the fact that it cannot continue blindly following the so-called 'free market' without also succumbing to that philosophy. Obviously it can't abandon it overnight, but it must develop a long term strategy that leads towards a new approach to the economic health of this country that doesn't put profits above people.

Catching up

19/10/2014Ken, I feel c0omforted by the fact Shorten and the Opposition is not rushing out, condemning this government at every opportunity. I feel that they realise we need a new direction, but it must fit in with reality. Fit with where the global economy is at. Under Rudd, they were clever enough to do this during the GFC. When Gillard took over, she continued this practice. Yes, when conditions change, they changed. I do not believe this government is capable of moving the same way. They seem obsessed with putting their ideology/policies in place, regardless of the economic conditions, now and in t5he future. They appear not to understand, their actions influence the direction the future of the economy takes. Labor has been badly let down by the government, when they have attempted to act in a bipartisan manner. First on Ebola, now on Iraq. There are cracks appearing in the bipartisan action on security. It is because the government has not delivered what Shorten went along with. Labor is now in a strong place to disagree, disagreed strongly as Plibersek did today. She is right, when she says, one cannot back them, when they are wrong. We need to keep the faith. We have no choice. We are in a brand new political game. Most conventions and procedures has been trashed by Abbott. Labor cannot add to this crisis. They need to establish and act by new values, hoping the public catches on. A mild mannered leader maybe the best equipped to do this. Sadly we will have to wait and see. That should not stop us, those that care putting out well though out and argued ideas on what is needed for the future. Most of all, Labor and supporters have to hold their nerve. Focus has to remain on Abbott. The diversions they are coming up with, to now are not working. In fact bringing Abbott and Co more derision. In fact, they are becoming more outrageous at every attempt. They say that Twitter is still trending against Abbott6 since May. In fact, the trend is increasing. More over the top.

Catching up

19/10/2014Yes Ken, it is about whether people are here to serve the economy or the economy the people. Clear difference for the first time in decades. We are now learning fast what Abbott and Co mean by wasteful spending. It includes anything spent on people. To him, government has one role. That is to serve industry. Big industry at that. Society role is prepare themselves with the skills to serve industry. Industry and government does not accept any responsibility for this. They see any welfare as weakening the moral fibre of the poor. It is not their responsibility, but failure of the individual We are now finding out what Abbott's motherhood statements and slogans really mean.

Bacchus

19/10/2014Oh to have the talent to string words together in such an eloquent manner as the likes of TT and other regular commenters, our regular authors 2353 and Ken, and of course the mentor for all of us, Ad Astra. You all have me in awe of how you do what you do! It's one thing to "know it all" ;-) when it comes to the etymology of words (which of course I don't come near, hey TT?), but quite another to put them together into coherent, entertaining and informative phrases, sentences, paragraphs and articles like you lot do. Amazing!
How many oranges do I have if I have 3 oranges and take ONE away?