A Soldier of Ill-Fortune

The art of bomb disposal has come a long way since the days of “Dad’s Army”.



Indeed, it’s all high-tech now, which is unfortunate for Tony Abbott, as he has admitted he is “no tech-head”.



So, Tones went to the Australian Army base at Tarim Kowt in Afghanistan to see how the experts do it and, as an added bonus, get in a few good photo opportunities as the all-action guy who would make General Patton look like Dr Smith from “Lost in Space”.



However, as all the senior journalists are back in Australia, getting ready to cover the visit by the President of the USA, the editors have sent a few cub reporters to cover Tones’ Afghanistan bludge.

So, at Tarim Kowt, Tones is being helped into an IED (“Improvised Explosive Device”) Demolition Suit by a few diggers. The blokey banter is in full swing.



Tones: Hey, guys...does my arse look big in this...haw...haw...

Digger 1: Huh....that’s the least of your worries, Tones...with this suit on, you certainly won’t be able to sell your arse and pay off your big fat mortgage ...hee...hee...

Tones: Jeeze...I don’t know about global warming, but it’s really hot inside this thing – my nuts feel like two marshmallows on a stick at a scouts’ bonfire...haw...haw...

Digger 2: Oh...they’ve recovered after your mid-winter swim in Port Phillip Bay, have they Tones ...heh...heh...

Tones: Yeah...it feels like this suit is insulated with Gillard’s pink batts and they have self-ignited as usual ...hee...hee...

Digger 3: But don’t you worry, Tones...an H-Bomb could go off and you would still be safe in one of these...

Tones: Huh...an H-Bomb, mate? The real test is if I’m standing in Whyalla’s main street and I’m still in one piece when fat-arse’s Carbon Tax kicks in ...bwahahahahaha...

Digger 4: Jeeze, Tones...you’re a great joker...it’s fantastic you’re here to raise our morale...

Tones: Well, mate...as I always say, “if old po-faced Gillard can’t stop the jokes, she certainly can’t stop the boats”...heh...heh...

Digger 5: So, Tones...how does the suit feel – comfortable enough?

Tones: Errr...I’m not sure...it feels a bit heavy...which makes me think, mate, it isn’t made of carbon, cos if it was, the f***ing thing wouldn’t weigh a ton, like it does...hee...hee...

Digger 6: Anything else, Tones?

Tones: Well, I’m not sure about the glass visor...When I’m talking, people won’t be able to hear me...can’t I have a retractable visor like the one Sir Bedevere has in Monty Python?



Digger 7: Nah...you won’t need one, mate...there’s a microphone inside the helmet which enables you to communicate with us on the outside...

[However, Tones insists on his helmet being renovated to look more like Sir Bedevere’s. Somewhat peeved at Tones’ ungrateful stance and waste of their valuable time, they concur, but not without a change in the atmospherics. Whilst the changes are being made to Tones’ helmet, the air is a bit restrained between him and the once-friendly diggers.]

Digger 8: Heh, mate...I just worked it out...I know now who you remind me of in this suit – bloody Buzz Lightyear...

[All the diggers guffaw at Tones’ expense.]



[Tones is far from impressed with this comparison. He gives Digger 8 a dirty look.]

Digger 9: Yeah...I know now why you want one of our suits – you’re threatened by homosexuality...heh...heh...[following photo-shopped picture pinched from George at Poll Bludger.]

CLICK HERE.

[Again, Tones looks daggers at this insolent, fatigues-clad, upstart.]

Digger 10: Huh...you call yourself an IED Demolition Man...I reckon Malcolm Turnbull’s campaign against the NBN makes him the real Demolition Man...hee...hee...

[The mention of the name of his arch-rival, Malcolm, is a bridge too far for Tones. He locks Digger 10’s eyes into one of his notorious Mark Rileyesque nodding death-stares. After a few moments, Digger 10 can’t take any more, and collapses, completely stunned, to the ground.]



Tones (menacingly): Okay, punks...who’s next...

[All the Diggers, put completely on the back foot at this manifestation of Tones’ awesome stunning power, back off. Tones, with a self-satisfied, shit-eating grin, then ambles off as best he can in the cumbersome suit towards his digs at the Army base, which is only 100 metres away. However, he finds it so difficult to manoeuvre in the dalek-like integument, it takes him about an hour to cover the relatively short distance.

Once inside his room, he is so knackered, he flops down on the bed, totally unable to summon up the strength to get out of the infernal suit. Within a millisecond, he is in a deep sleep, wracked however, by nightmares about a large rat, with a face like Peter Slipper’s, gobbling up his favourite rodent, Johnny Howard.

Meanwhile, two of the cub reporters, Annabel Crabb and Melissa Clarke, spot Tones staggering into his digs. He was so tired, he didn’t even have the energy to close the door. They have a sticky-beak inside and notice he is lying flat out on the bed, out to the world, still clad in his IED Demolition Suit.]

Annabel: Wow...doesn’t Tones look so sexy lying there...he really is such a spunk, isn’t he...

Melissa: Oh, yeah!! I reckon he’s even spunkier than Justin Bieber!!

Annabel: I know!! Let’s go inside and get a souvenir while he’s asleep...

[The besotted and star-struck Annabel and Melissa creep quietly inside and tip-toe up to the bed. Annabel opens Tones’ Sir Bevedere retractable visor, plunges her hand down the inside of Tones’ suit, confirming their suspicion that he is only wearing his red budgie smugglers. Annabel whispers to Melissa.]

Annabel: Psssttt!! Pass me the scissors from your bag – the ones you use to cut out any good news items about Gillard from your reports...heh...heh...

[Annabel proceeds to slice down the side of Tones’ budgie smugglers. He is so dead to the world, they are able to roll him over without waking him up, thus removing the skimpy garment. Tittering with laughter, they stuff it in Melissa’s handbag, planning to sew it up again later and display their trophy at the girls’ table, the next time they are at morning tea in the ABC staff canteen.

Meanwhile, Tones snores away contentedly. Exhausted by his efforts in trying to walk in his IED Demolition Suit, he is deep in the land of nod for another three hours at least. Suddenly, he wakes up with a jolt.]

Tones (to himself): W...w...w...where am I? What time is it? Shit! The cub reporters will be outside in a jiff, ready to fire questions at me at the press conference! But, if any of the little bastards try to be smart-arses and ask me any tricky policy questions, I’ll just jump out of this friggin’ suit, clad in my budgies, smile for the cameras, and shoot through as usual...heh...heh...suckers...

[Just then, Tones can hear, outside, the brouhaha of the cub reporters all talking over each other, just like it was an episode of “Seinfeld” with all the gang congregated in Jerry’s front-room. He looks out the window. “Jeeze” says Tones to himself, “they look so bloody young – they make Wyatt Roy look older than Rip Van Friggin’ Winkle...”

He staggers out onto the patio, noticing, strangely, that his Sir Bedevere retractable visor is open. So, the first question is fired and it is from Annabel.]

Annabel (gushingly): Hi, Mr Prime Minister...erm...Mr Abbott...[giggle]...Do you think the people of Whyalla should start running for the hills now, or wait until the Carbon Tax has actually been brought in?

Tones: Well...good question, Annabel...ummm....ahhhhh...urgghhh...actually, if any of them are wearing one of these bloody suits, they should have started running about six months ago...bwahahahahaha...

Melissa: Erm...Tones...will it look bad for us...I mean the Liberal Party...if old duck-arse continues to improve in the polls?

Tones: Thank you for your well-framed question, Melissa, but, as you know, the polls won’t get any better from now on in for DEL – Dangly Ear-Lobes, that is – Shanners assures me of that...heh...heh...Next question...

[A wet-behind-the-ears cub reporter raises his hand.]

Reporter: Erm...Mr Abbott...are you not being a hypocrite by mixing in the company of notorious climate-change sceptics such as Andrew Bolt and Lord Monckton and, at the same time, saying your Direct Action Plan is greener than Bob Brown’s veggie garden?

[Tones is totally flummoxed. “Doesn’t this little prick know who I am”, he fumes to himself. Then, another cub raises her hand.]

Reporter 2: Erm...Mr Abbott...again, aren’t you being a hypocrite by wanting to stop the boats and, at the same time, opposing the Government’s “Malaysian” attempt at doing just that?

Tones realises it’s time to rip up stumps. He is just about to exit the suit, so that he is no longer encumbered as he legs it into the sunset, clad in his trademark budgie smugglers.

However, aghast, he looks down and realises he is totally bollock-naked!! “There’s nothing else for it”, he admits to himself, “I’ll have to make a ‘run’ for it in this confounded suit”.

So, closing his Sir Bedevere visor, off Tones trots. However, he is making so little headway, he looks like a slow-motion trailer for a car-crash movie. The cubs smell blood and fire their curly questions at Tones, knowing he can’t run that easily from this particular press conference.

He cops an NBN bazooka shell!!! Kappow!!!

Then a plain-packaging pipe-bomb!!! Bullsye!!!

Luckily, Tones is wearing the IED Demolition Suit, otherwise he would have been as dead, buried and cremated as WorkChoices was supposed to be.

However, he no sooner staggers to his feet, when he is again thrown skywards by the deafening blast of a hurled, over-generous, Paid Paternal Leave limpet-mine!!!

Then he cops a double-whammy with an MRRT missile and a Mandatory Pre-Commitment Molotov cocktail!!

By this stage, Melissa realises that, even if the suit has saved Tones’ life thus far, it can’t hold together for much longer.

She holds her hand up to the cubs, indicating to them that a temporary cease-fire has been called.

Melissa runs over to the stunned, totally-shell-shocked Tones, lifts up his Sir Bedevere visor, and shoves in his now-rent budgies. Tones grabs them gratefully, wrapping them as best he can around his demilitarised-zone and holds them on tight with one hand. Summoning up the last reserves of his energy, he leaps out of the suit and sprints as fast as he can away form this infernal press conference. Within minutes, he is well over the horizon and half way to Kabul, where he hopes that he can arrange a rescue mission by dint of that great aviator friend of his, Alan Joyce, of “Leprechaun Extremely-Low Altitude Flyers Inc.”

Meanwhile, back at the seriously disrupted press conference, two of the cub reporters are dusting off their hands, as if symbolising a job well done.]

Cub 1: Huh...he was very fortunate in the past to have got such an easy time from our more experienced colleagues...Obviously not Prime Ministerial material after all...

Cub 2: Yeah...very fortunate indeed...And, after that performance, it looks like he’s more of a washed-out, has-been soldier of fortune...



Rate This Post

Current rating: 2.5 / 5 | Rated 2 times

Ad astra reply

25/11/2011AC Thank you for your marvellous piece of satire built around Tony Abbott’s recent visit to Afghanistan and his Bomb Demolition Suit stunt, your last piece for 2011. You have been [i]TPS's[/i] regular satirist every weekend all year, and have delighted us week after week with your amusing, witty and cutting pieces. So this is the time to say a heartfelt thank you to you for all the pleasure and good fun you have given us, and to wish you, your his wife and family a happy and peaceful end-of-year break. Thank you so much AC for all you do to lighten the often too-heavy politics we have to endure. We look forward to your return in 2012.

Feral Skeleton

25/11/2011AcerbicC., You are an absolute gem and a diamond geezer! I so look forward to reading your pieces for The Political Sword. Nobody does it better! Please have a safe and Happy Christmas and New Year. I'm sure you'll be keeping the smaller Coneheads amused for the duration but will find enough inspiration to rejoin us all here next year. :)

NormanK

25/11/2011Acerbic Conehead Thanks for all of the great laughs over the year - even if you did give 'Our Sophie' a bit of a hard time. Enjoy your break and I look forward to reading more of your wonderful wit next year.

2353

25/11/2011AC - did you workshop a alternate ending with Abbott not realising he was butt naked (Pun intended), taking off the IAD suit and running for the hills Butch Cassidy style (with Raindrops Falling on my Head playing in the background)? Another well written joy to look forward to on a Friday arvo. Thank you for 2011, have a restful and refreshing break and please come back in 2012.

Lyn

25/11/2011Hi Acerbic Conehead Thankyou for your very humour filled article again this weekend. You will be looking forward to the Christmas holidays, I hope Santa brings you some nice presents. Tones: [quote]Jeeze...I don’t know about global warming, but it’s really hot inside this thing – my nuts feel like two marshmallows on a stick at a scouts’ bonfire...haw...haw[/quote]... Tones nuts toasted like two marshmallows on a stick, would give Jane and I more glee than just Tones' head on a pike. Oh! well if us girls get our way, Tones will care even less about global warming, or anything else for that matter. Compliments flowing in for tones:- judyvw2judy woodman @phbarratt Abbott is mentally unstable Cheers:):):):):):):):):):)>)

Jason

25/11/2011AC, Thanks for all of your efforts this year, tonight's offering is just as funny as your first. Have a good break over the xmas/new year period and hope to see you next year. For late line viewers! Laura Tingle @latingle must.. stay.. awake.@KJBar @Lateline Also tonight on @Lateline: The Friday Night Forum with @latingle and George Megalogenis ABC1 1040pm

Feral Skeleton

25/11/2011Jason, I have been trying to stay awake all this week to watch the Lateline interviews of Paul Keating and Anthony Albanese! Have to do it again I see. That is, watch the first 1/3, fall asleep on couch, wake up for the last 1/3. :)

Feral Skeleton

25/11/2011lyn, I have a request, as you are our font of knowledge wrt all things links. :) I was wondering if you knew how to access a link to the Tony Abbott Press Conference which he gave yesterday after he found out about the Peter Slipper move? I hear his body language said more than words ever could. :)

Jason

25/11/2011November 25, 2011 Sunday morning TV - November 27 #auspol Your guide to this Sunday morning's political and business interviews 8:30am Sky News 601 - Australian Agenda On Sky News Australian Agenda host Peter Van Onselen and The Australian's Paul Kelly interview Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Shadow Foreigh Minister Julie Bishop. 8:38am Ch7 - Weekend Sunrise - The Riley Diary This week on the Riley Diary a look at the week that was and wasn't in Federal politics. 8:40am Ch9 - Today on Sunday - The Laurie Oakes Interview The weekly Laurie Oakes interview is in hibernation until further notice. 9:00am ABC1 & on ABC News 24 - Insiders On Insiders this Sunday, Barrie Cassidy interviews Independent MP Andrew Wilkie. On the panel: the Courier Mail’s Dennis Atkins, SBS’s Karen Middleton and The Australian’s Niki Savva. And Mike Bowers talks pictures with freelance cartoonist Paul Zanetti. 10:00am ABC1 & on ABC News 24 repeated @ 5.30pm - Inside Business This week on Inside Business ... awaiting confirmation of program line up ... As well there’s the regular update of the latest news from the markets and Alan Kohler’s incisive commentary. 10.00am Ch10 everywhere but Canberra at 4.30pm - The Bolt Report - Check local program guides for encore performance timings later in the day This week on The Bolt Report Manager of Opposition Business Christopher Pyne. Panelists: Former NSW Treasurer Michael Costa and former Liberal Treasurer Peter Costello. And Steve McIntyre from the Climate Audit will Andrew from Toronto to discuss Climategate 2. 10.30am Ch10 everywhere but Canberra at 4.00pm - Meet the Press - Check local program guides for encore performance timings later in the day Paul Bongiorno is joined by panelists; Marius Benson from ABC News Radio and Michelle Grattan from The Age. Together they interview former Prime Minister Paul Keating and Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator Penny Wong.

Lyn

25/11/2011 Hi Feral This first video is the one you mean I think, don't know about his body language, but he has an awful looking face. November 24, 2011. Abbott on the speakership. November 24, 2011. Opposition leader Tony Abbott says that any member of the coalition who accepts the speakership will be sacked. (AAP/Samuel Cardwell) http://www.aapone.com.au/SearchPreviewVideo.aspx?media_item_id=20111124000361807885 At the doors before Mr Speaker resigns, about a lousy Government: November 24, 2011. House of Representatives Doors. November 24, 2011. Highlights from the House of Representatives Doors at Parliament House in Canberra. Order of apperance: Tony Abbott - Leader of the Opposition, Wayne Swan - Treasurer, Scott Buchholz - Liberal MP (QLD), Richard Marles - Labor MP (VIC), Christopher Pyne - Liberal MP (SA) (AAP/Peter O'Rourke) http://www.aapone.com.au/SearchPreviewVideo.aspx?media_item_id=20111124000361808691 Cheers:):):):):):):):):):):)

Ad astra reply

25/11/2011Folks As the paywall keeps me out of The Oz, and I could read only te first few lines of what Shanas had to say about the Peter Slipper affair, which I might say was not too complimentary, does anyone have the full transcript of his two articles today? They should be fascinating reading!

NormanK

25/11/2011[b]Gaining that vital extra vote comes with a high price[/b] by Dennis Shanahan [quote]HARRY Jenkins has had his throat cut as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the name of insulating the Gillard government against sudden electoral death. Pulling out all stops to build on the policy victories of the carbon and mining taxes, the Labor government has squeezed Jenkins out, dealt in Liberal National Party renegade Peter Slipper and gained that vital extra vote on the floor of parliament on the last day of sitting this year. Labor hopes to have given greater security to the Gillard government and stretched its term through to a full three years in August 2013. The fervent hope is that, no matter the cost, now the long-term pressure on Tony Abbott and the removal of the enervating fear of a sudden election will turn Labor's fortunes next year. For now, the gentle Jenkins has gone quietly, as a staunch Labor man of more than 32 years and as the son of his Speaker father of the same name, but his friends were gutted at the price he paid to insure the government against Andrew Wilkie's poker machine reforms and a loss of power. Labor is back where it hoped to be in September last year, with more Labor MPs than Coalition MPs and the government two votes, not just a single vote, away from being forced to the polls. Some within the ALP are cock-a-hoop at dumping Jenkins and enticing Slipper out of the Coalition ranks - an enticement made easy by the blundering Queensland Liberal National Party. They see it as guaranteeing a full-term Gillard government. Others fear the public will see the actions as cynical power politics being practised through behind-the-scenes deals and betrayal that cost Labor so much support when it dumped Kevin Rudd. Labor has the vital extra seat but it has come at great cost.[/quote] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/gaining-that-vital-extra-vote-comes-with-a-high-price/story-e6frgd0x-1226205395476 [b]Speaker overboard keeps ship afloat[/b] by Dennis Shanahan [quote]YESTERDAY the world of Realpolitik collided with the lofty ideals of Westminster traditions and conventions. Not surprisingly, the cold brutality of political numbers won over the ideals, producing in the short term one of the most chaotic days in parliament for decades, and in the long term a vital one-vote cushion for the life of the Gillard government. Political numbers are threaded through the whole dramatic day; numbers in preselection ballots, numbers in factions within parties, numbers on the floor of the House of Representatives, numbers in ballots and the numbers of days the government hopes to have extended its life. How all those numbers have played out and how some will unfold will determine the tenor of the parliament and the tenure of the Labor government. Superficially the resignation of a Speaker of the House of Representatives, while rare, would not seem to shake parliament or the government to its foundations. However, Harry Jenkins's resignation yesterday had that potential and its ramifications may still do so. Julia Gillard has achieved what she had hoped so desperately to accomplish during the 17 days of negotiation with independent MPs and the Greens after the August election last year: Labor now has more seats in the House of Representatives than the Coalition, 72 to 71, which would have boosted its claim to legitimacy; Jenkins, Labor's elected Speaker in 2007, is replaced by a Coalition MP; the government's program no longer stands or falls on a single vote with the working majority extended from 76 to 74 to 77 to 73; the Speaker's neutral vote has been translated into a positive Labor vote with Jenkins on the back bench and Labor can face a by-election loss and not lose government. The Prime Minister is clearly of the view that the Speaker's coup has helped to legitimise and make safer her government after a fraught year involving Tony Abbott's repeated calls for an early election and two late legislative victories in the passage of the carbon and mining taxes. We can take on face value Gillard's words of support for Jenkins and her profession that she had not discussed his resignation with him until yesterday morning when he rang her. However, it was clear there were some Labor MPs who knew what was coming and knew that the reason for Jenkins's resignation was to insulate Labor in the coming, testing year. There was no doubt that Labor MPs feared the appearance next year in parliament of Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie's poker machine gambling limits bill more than the carbon tax laws because of the damage it is doing in their electorates and the implacable promise from Wilkie that he would withdraw support from the government if the bill failed. Now the bill can fail, Labor MPs can escape retribution, Wilkie can withdraw his support and the Gillard government can survive. What's more, if there is a by-election disaster -- either in Dobell, where NSW Labor MP and former union boss Craig Thomson still faces various investigations, or elsewhere -- the government has the cushion of that extra seat. One is the first number -- one extra seat away from the edge of the political abyss. The Liberal leader took the opportunity to declare the loss of a Speaker the final sign of a "government in crisis" and urged the government to resign and call an election -- presumably to be held on New Year's Eve after campaigning through Christmas. Abbott revived all of the images of the betrayal of Kevin Rudd, with knives in the back, and declared that Jenkins had been forced to "walk the plank" to save a Labor ship from sinking. Some Labor MPs, before the calling of the ALP caucus meeting to back the deal to promote the then LNP MP to Speaker, had no doubt: "Harry was pushed and it's all about pokies". The extra insurance against the possibility of charges against Thomson and a shift to the cross bench for him or a later by-election was a bonus. The aim of squeezing Jenkins out of his position of Speaker and attracting the increasingly disaffected Peter Slipper was primarily to sandbag Gillard against a poker machine backlash. For both leaders, the hectic and at times bitter exchanges over the manipulation of the numbers in parliament demonstrate the importance to them of the daily struggle and the victories on bills such as the mandatory poker machine gambling limits. Whether the arcane advantages for Labor in these numbers are appreciated in the wider electorate is subject to discussion in Labor ranks. Some believe that the removal of the gentle Jenkins, who had developed a cult following among those who watch parliament, will be damaging because it resurrects the imagery of faceless men removing MPs from office. Others argue the government's legitimacy will grow as will Gillard's authority after a year in which she finally "delivered". The machinations behind yesterday's resignation of Jenkins and the election of the Liberal-National Party maverick start at the most basic level of party politics -- the numbers in the local branch. Jenkins and Slipper have both been subject to campaigns to remove them from their seats since before the last election. The fractious Victorian Left of the ALP has carved up Jenkins's seat while he has tried to resist being unseated, defiantly saying he would not be told when to go. Unfortunately, for Jenkins the numbers shifted against him. As someone who has been going through Labor preselections for 32 years Jenkins may be disappointed but he's taken it like a Labor trouper. Slipper, likewise, had lost support in his branches -- with Howard government minister Mal Brough to get the nomination in his seat -- and was angry at the way the LNP was undermining him and seeking to expel him from the party. These were the local branch and factional numbers that counted against both long-term MPs. Against these political realities was the all-too-easily dumped convention -- based on constitutional logic -- that the government of the day provides the Speaker. While both sides presented precedent to back their claims, there was really no argument against the numbers; those are what count in politics.[/quote] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/speaker-overboard-keeps-ship-afloat/story-e6frg75f-1226205301569

Lyn

25/11/2011 Hi Ad Here is Mr Dennis for you, he is crying:- [quote]Gaining that vital extra vote comes with a high price [/quote] HARRY Jenkins has had his throat cut as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the name of insulating the Gillard government against sudden electoral death. Pulling out all stops to build on the policy victories of the carbon and mining taxes, the Labor government has squeezed Jenkins out, dealt in Liberal National Party renegade Peter Slipper and gained that vital extra vote on the floor of parliament on the last day of sitting this year. Labor hopes to have given greater security to the Gillard government and stretched its term through to a full three years in August 2013. The fervent hope is that, no matter the cost, now the long-term pressure on Tony Abbott and the removal of the enervating fear of a sudden election will turn Labor's fortunes next year. For now, the gentle Jenkins has gone quietly, as a staunch Labor man of more than 32 years and as the son of his Speaker father of the same name, but his friends were gutted at the price he paid to insure the government against Andrew Wilkie's poker machine reforms and a loss of power. Labor is back where it hoped to be in September last year, with more Labor MPs than Coalition MPs and the government two votes, not just a single vote, away from being forced to the polls. Some within the ALP are cock-a-hoop at dumping Jenkins and enticing Slipper out of the Coalition ranks - an enticement made easy by the blundering Queensland Liberal National Party. They see it as guaranteeing a full-term Gillard government. Others fear the public will see the actions as cynical power politics being practised through behind-the-scenes deals and betrayal that cost Labor so much support when it dumped Kevin Rudd. [b]Labor has the vital extra seat but it has come at great cost[/b]. :):):):):):):):)

Lyn

25/11/2011 Hi Ad Here is the other one,:- [quote]Speaker overboard keeps ship afloat [/quote] YESTERDAY the world of Realpolitik collided with the lofty ideals of Westminster traditions and conventions. Not surprisingly, the cold brutality of political numbers won over the ideals, producing in the short term one of the most chaotic days in parliament for decades, and in the long term a vital one-vote cushion for the life of the Gillard government. Political numbers are threaded through the whole dramatic day; numbers in preselection ballots, numbers in factions within parties, numbers on the floor of the House of Representatives, numbers in ballots and the numbers of days the government hopes to have extended its life. How all those numbers have played out and how some will unfold will determine the tenor of the parliament and the tenure of the Labor government. Superficially the resignation of a Speaker of the House of Representatives, while rare, would not seem to shake parliament or the government to its foundations. However, Harry Jenkins's resignation yesterday had that potential and its ramifications may still do so. . Julia Gillard has achieved what she had hoped so desperately to accomplish during the 17 days of negotiation with independent MPs and the Greens after the August election last year: Labor now has more seats in the House of Representatives than the Coalition, 72 to 71, which would have boosted its claim to legitimacy; Jenkins, Labor's elected Speaker in 2007, is replaced by a Coalition MP; the government's program no longer stands or falls on a single vote with the working majority extended from 76 to 74 to 77 to 73; the Speaker's neutral vote has been translated into a positive Labor vote with Jenkins on the back bench and Labor can face a by-election loss and not lose government. The Prime Minister is clearly of the view that the Speaker's coup has helped to legitimise and make safer her government after a fraught year involving Tony Abbott's repeated calls for an early election and two late legislative victories in the passage of the carbon and mining taxes. We can take on face value Gillard's words of support for Jenkins and her profession that she had not discussed his resignation with him until yesterday morning when he rang her. However, it was clear there were some Labor MPs who knew what was coming and knew that the reason for Jenkins's resignation was to insulate Labor in the coming, testing year. There was no doubt that Labor MPs feared the appearance next year in parliament of Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie's poker machine gambling limits bill more than the carbon tax laws because of the damage it is doing in their electorates and the implacable promise from Wilkie that he would withdraw support from the government if the bill failed. Now the bill can fail, Labor MPs can escape retribution, Wilkie can withdraw his support and the Gillard government can survive. What's more, if there is a by-election disaster -- either in Dobell, where NSW Labor MP and former union boss Craig Thomson still faces various investigations, or elsewhere -- the government has the cushion of that extra seat. One is the first number -- one extra seat away from the edge of the political abyss. The Liberal leader took the opportunity to declare the loss of a Speaker the final sign of a "government in crisis" and urged the government to resign and call an election -- presumably to be held on New Year's Eve after campaigning through Christmas. Abbott revived all of the images of the betrayal of Kevin Rudd, with knives in the back, and declared that Jenkins had been forced to "walk the plank" to save a Labor ship from sinking. Some Labor MPs, before the calling of the ALP caucus meeting to back the deal to promote the then LNP MP to Speaker, had no doubt: "Harry was pushed and it's all about pokies". The extra insurance against the possibility of charges against Thomson and a shift to the cross bench for him or a later by-election was a bonus. The aim of squeezing Jenkins out of his position of Speaker and attracting the increasingly disaffected Peter Slipper was primarily to sandbag Gillard against a poker machine backlash. For both leaders, the hectic and at times bitter exchanges over the manipulation of the numbers in parliament demonstrate the importance to them of the daily struggle and the victories on bills such as the mandatory poker machine gambling limits. Whether the arcane advantages for Labor in these numbers are appreciated in the wider electorate is subject to discussion in Labor ranks. Some believe that the removal of the gentle Jenkins, who had developed a cult following among those who watch parliament, will be damaging because it resurrects the imagery of faceless men removing MPs from office. Others argue the government's legitimacy will grow as will Gillard's authority after a year in which she finally "delivered". The machinations behind yesterday's resignation of Jenkins and the election of the Liberal-National Party maverick start at the most basic level of party politics -- the numbers in the local branch. Jenkins and Slipper have both been subject to campaigns to remove them from their seats since before the last election. The fractious Victorian Left of the ALP has carved up Jenkins's seat while he has tried to resist being unseated, defiantly saying he would not be told when to go. Unfortunately, for Jenkins the numbers shifted against him. As someone who has been going through Labor preselections for 32 years Jenkins may be disappointed but he's taken it like a Labor trouper. Slipper, likewise, had lost support in his branches -- with Howard government minister Mal Brough to get the nomination in his seat -- and was angry at the way the LNP was undermining him and seeking to expel him from the party. These were the local branch and factional numbers that counted against both long-term MPs. Against these political realities was the all-too-easily dumped convention -- based on constitutional logic -- that the government of the day provides the Speaker. While both sides presented precedent to back their claims, there was really no argument against the numbers; those are what count in politics. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/speaker-overboard-keeps-ship-afloat/story-e6frg75f-1226205301569 :):):):):):)

Jason

25/11/2011Gaining that vital extra vote comes with a high price HARRY Jenkins has had his throat cut as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the name of insulating the Gillard government against sudden electoral death. Pulling out all stops to build on the policy victories of the carbon and mining taxes, the Labor government has squeezed Jenkins out, dealt in Liberal National Party renegade Peter Slipper and gained that vital extra vote on the floor of parliament on the last day of sitting this year. Labor hopes to have given greater security to the Gillard government and stretched its term through to a full three years in August 2013. The fervent hope is that, no matter the cost, now the long-term pressure on Tony Abbott and the removal of the enervating fear of a sudden election will turn Labor's fortunes next year. For now, the gentle Jenkins has gone quietly, as a staunch Labor man of more than 32 years and as the son of his Speaker father of the same name, but his friends were gutted at the price he paid to insure the government against Andrew Wilkie's poker machine reforms and a loss of power. Labor is back where it hoped to be in September last year, with more Labor MPs than Coalition MPs and the government two votes, not just a single vote, away from being forced to the polls. Some within the ALP are cock-a-hoop at dumping Jenkins and enticing Slipper out of the Coalition ranks - an enticement made easy by the blundering Queensland Liberal National Party. They see it as guaranteeing a full-term Gillard government. Others fear the public will see the actions as cynical power politics being practised through behind-the-scenes deals and betrayal that cost Labor so much support when it dumped Kevin Rudd. Labor has the vital extra seat but it has come at great cost.

Jason

25/11/2011Speaker overboard keeps ship afloat by: Dennis Shanahan, Political Editor From: The Australian November 25, 2011 12:00AM 25 YESTERDAY the world of Realpolitik collided with the lofty ideals of Westminster traditions and conventions. Not surprisingly, the cold brutality of political numbers won over the ideals, producing in the short term one of the most chaotic days in parliament for decades, and in the long term a vital one-vote cushion for the life of the Gillard government. Political numbers are threaded through the whole dramatic day; numbers in preselection ballots, numbers in factions within parties, numbers on the floor of the House of Representatives, numbers in ballots and the numbers of days the government hopes to have extended its life. How all those numbers have played out and how some will unfold will determine the tenor of the parliament and the tenure of the Labor government. Superficially the resignation of a Speaker of the House of Representatives, while rare, would not seem to shake parliament or the government to its foundations. However, Harry Jenkins's resignation yesterday had that potential and its ramifications may still do so. Julia Gillard has achieved what she had hoped so desperately to accomplish during the 17 days of negotiation with independent MPs and the Greens after the August election last year: Labor now has more seats in the House of Representatives than the Coalition, 72 to 71, which would have boosted its claim to legitimacy; Jenkins, Labor's elected Speaker in 2007, is replaced by a Coalition MP; the government's program no longer stands or falls on a single vote with the working majority extended from 76 to 74 to 77 to 73; the Speaker's neutral vote has been translated into a positive Labor vote with Jenkins on the back bench and Labor can face a by-election loss and not lose government. The Prime Minister is clearly of the view that the Speaker's coup has helped to legitimise and make safer her government after a fraught year involving Tony Abbott's repeated calls for an early election and two late legislative victories in the passage of the carbon and mining taxes. We can take on face value Gillard's words of support for Jenkins and her profession that she had not discussed his resignation with him until yesterday morning when he rang her. However, it was clear there were some Labor MPs who knew what was coming and knew that the reason for Jenkins's resignation was to insulate Labor in the coming, testing year. There was no doubt that Labor MPs feared the appearance next year in parliament of Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie's poker machine gambling limits bill more than the carbon tax laws because of the damage it is doing in their electorates and the implacable promise from Wilkie that he would withdraw support from the government if the bill failed. Now the bill can fail, Labor MPs can escape retribution, Wilkie can withdraw his support and the Gillard government can survive. What's more, if there is a by-election disaster -- either in Dobell, where NSW Labor MP and former union boss Craig Thomson still faces various investigations, or elsewhere -- the government has the cushion of that extra seat. One is the first number -- one extra seat away from the edge of the political abyss. The Liberal leader took the opportunity to declare the loss of a Speaker the final sign of a "government in crisis" and urged the government to resign and call an election -- presumably to be held on New Year's Eve after campaigning through Christmas. Abbott revived all of the images of the betrayal of Kevin Rudd, with knives in the back, and declared that Jenkins had been forced to "walk the plank" to save a Labor ship from sinking. Some Labor MPs, before the calling of the ALP caucus meeting to back the deal to promote the then LNP MP to Speaker, had no doubt: "Harry was pushed and it's all about pokies". The extra insurance against the possibility of charges against Thomson and a shift to the cross bench for him or a later by-election was a bonus. The aim of squeezing Jenkins out of his position of Speaker and attracting the increasingly disaffected Peter Slipper was primarily to sandbag Gillard against a poker machine backlash. For both leaders, the hectic and at times bitter exchanges over the manipulation of the numbers in parliament demonstrate the importance to them of the daily struggle and the victories on bills such as the mandatory poker machine gambling limits. Whether the arcane advantages for Labor in these numbers are appreciated in the wider electorate is subject to discussion in Labor ranks. Some believe that the removal of the gentle Jenkins, who had developed a cult following among those who watch parliament, will be damaging because it resurrects the imagery of faceless men removing MPs from office. Others argue the government's legitimacy will grow as will Gillard's authority after a year in which she finally "delivered". The machinations behind yesterday's resignation of Jenkins and the election of the Liberal-National Party maverick start at the most basic level of party politics -- the numbers in the local branch. Jenkins and Slipper have both been subject to campaigns to remove them from their seats since before the last election. The fractious Victorian Left of the ALP has carved up Jenkins's seat while he has tried to resist being unseated, defiantly saying he would not be told when to go. Unfortunately, for Jenkins the numbers shifted against him. As someone who has been going through Labor preselections for 32 years Jenkins may be disappointed but he's taken it like a Labor trouper. Slipper, likewise, had lost support in his branches -- with Howard government minister Mal Brough to get the nomination in his seat -- and was angry at the way the LNP was undermining him and seeking to expel him from the party. These were the local branch and factional numbers that counted against both long-term MPs. Against these political realities was the all-too-easily dumped convention -- based on constitutional logic -- that the government of the day provides the Speaker. While both sides presented precedent to back their claims, there was really no argument against the numbers; those are what count in politics.

NormanK

25/11/2011Ad astra What a hoot! See how your faithful servants jump when you put in a request? :) By all means delete my post of the Shanahan articles - I don't think we need three copies of them.

Lyn

25/11/2011Hi Ad Aren't we all just the best would you delete my 2 posts on Mr Dennis's pieces of opinion please. Cheers:):):)

Ad astra reply

25/11/2011Hi Lyn, NormanK, Jason I go off the watch Midsomer Murders, and after the three obligatory killings, I return to my iPad to find my request for the Shana articles responded to three times, one for each murder! Poor old Dennis. He writes as a shattered man, his hopes for an Abbott government crushed by a dastardly plot by Labor's Sussex Street assassins. The plot is spelt out in such detail you would swear he was party to it, or was the proverbial fly on the wall. The fantasy he weaves is no less extravagant than we read in his poll interpretations. Poor Dennis. Will he recover? Many thanks to you all. I'll leave all three as testimony to the warm collegial relationship that holds us together on TPS.

Patricia WA

25/11/2011Thanks,for the link to Abbott's presser, Lyn. I thought Julie Bishop looked as if she was about to cry in spite of the fixed smile! Have had a visitor through all this - imagine my frustration! Just caught up with everyone's posts and jubilation. Still not finished your daily Links, Lyn! TT and Jane - fantastic comments, as were many others. I particularly liked NormanK's tribute to Speaker Jenkins - well deserved and well said. Some great cartoons among all the spin in the media about Julia Gillard's cunning and guile, some real acknowledgement of her leadership skills. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/gallery-e6frfhqf-1226185610653?page=1 I was at Cafe Whispers earlier where they are equally jubilant and I tried to come up with a few verses but haven't yet managed to inject any real humor into them. I guess not having been in the moment, as it were, my perspective is a bit more sober. As usual AC, you had me smiling with your post on Tones - soldier of ill fortune. [i]"Does my arse look big in this?"[/i]!!! If this really is your last for the year, I look forward to your take on politics in 2012

Feral Skeleton

25/11/2011lyn, Simply the best! :)

Feral Skeleton

26/11/2011[quote]The latest Morgan poll, covering last weekend’s regular face-to-face survey round from a sample of 864, shows Labor gaining two points since the previous poll (which combined results from the two weekends previous) on both two-party preferred measures, with the Coalition now leading 54.5-45.5 on respondent-allocated preferences and 51.5-48.5 on the more reliable method which distributes preferences as per the result of the previous election. Labor is up two points on the primary vote to 36.5 per cent, with the Coalition down 1.5 per cent to 45.5 per cent and the Greens up half a point to 12 per cent. [/quote]

TalkTurkey

26/11/2011Comrades What a smorgasbord of delight to me has been the response on the Media and from the politicians! Most of all I savour the impotent fury of such as Abetz and both Joneses. I wish I could bottle it and just sip it like nectarino to brighten the rest of my life, but I think even the aftertaste may be enough. Especially since this is a gift that will keep giving, e.g. every time PooPoo or Vampirella misbehave. I do not think this Slipper is a softie. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Acerbic Conehead What a fertile space it must be inside that mind of yours. Thank you for your mind trips through the year, separating the workaday weekday threads with the weekend picturebook images of your strange Adventures in Pollieland. Anything in the universe and then some is likely to find itself suddenly thrust into the frame in your fantasies, and it could even e.g. explode at any moment, but it isn't [i]us[/i] who need fear the NBN Bazooka and the like; that one in particular Abbortt better look out for because sooner or later Turdball is going to fire it straight at him, MT can't be so dumb that he keeps flogging his dead horse to keep faith with the man who rolled him by one vote, and whose leadership has taken the Liberal Party far from the centrist position Turdball pretends to, in both senses I suspect. Probably just as well you are taking a break over Crispmess, (hot weather + satire) would present serious brain-melting risks I reckon. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We have come through this difficult year pretty well eh, everybody helping in whatever capacity, but this week in special has been brilliant. Funny, now the main policy planks have been painfully but faithfully screwed down in the statute books, *J*U*L*I*A* finally has the numbers which would have made the process rather less traumatic. Never mind, against all odds she and her Government have done it now. Thanks and praise to all the IndependAnts, (plus Adam Bandt of the Greens), good-hearted brave men who have so sensibly supported Labor through what would have otherwise been an impossible period. The shape of our society has hung by a thread for over a year, but now that thread is high-tensile steel for two years, and you know what?, even if the Coalons won in 2013 (as if, now!) they would be unable to undo the changes made in the last year. The Greens would not let them, and anyway a Coalonic government wouldn't be able to fund its crazy undoings. I don't know if Wilkie will get [i]everything[/i] he wants, but I have great faith in the determined goodwill with which the ALP and its allies are tackling the problems and challenges of the times and the society, and I very much want to see Wilkie at least content that he has achieved at least most of his agenda. His contribution has been critical, and he has kept faith with Labor, and his cause is not only just, it is urgent imo. I am not involved or associated in any way with gambling myself, so my attitude is disinterested, but I am [i]very[/i] interested insofar as I think it is a gross and deadly disease that I wouldn't wish on anyone, and that it should have been allowed in the hands of privateers like Packer is beyond all reason. Four AM, might be time I go bed. Grinning inside. [b][i]YAY TEAM![/i][/b] :)

Gravel

26/11/2011Acerbic Conehead Thanks for your great tale of A Soldier of Ill-Fortune. As I have said, I can see it all in my mind as I read it, giggling in anticipation at the punchline. Have a great break and will look forward to reading more great stuff in 2012. Well done everyone for responding so promptly to Ad Astra's request. You are all just so good and clever. Talk Turkey You sure were up late, I only missed you by 'that' much, hope you are having a great sleep. Totally off topic and a bit personal so please scroll past if you are not interested. After many weeks of stress and worry, we got a phone call yesterday to say we have been granted a loan to buy the house that has been in the family since the 1960's. Now, I must add a little fact here. I am heading for my 60th year, and really didn't think we'd be successful. I woke up at 3am and it had finally hit me what has been accomplished and am waiting for daylight to start making lists of things to do in the 8 weeks we have before moving. First thing is to establish what sort of internet is available. No such thing existed in that country town when I left in 1988. I am hoping not to miss too much of The Political Sword, or any at all if I can help it. Recaptcha: succeeded, how appropriate for both Julia and myself.

Feral Skeleton

26/11/2011Gravel, Oh, how absolutely brilliant for you and your husband! You both must be truly special people to have got the loan for the house in these financially-straitened times. Well done! How calming and reassuring it must be to be going into your 60s secure in the knowledge that you will have a roof over your heads. And one which has so many fond memories attached to it. As for the Internet, the NBN is coming to 98% of Australia eventually! So, even if you have to make-do as Ad does down there in Inverloch, for a short while, eventually you will be able to receive world-class broadband from your caring, sharing federal Labor government. No wonder Murdoch wanted the Coalition to demolish the NBN. It's going to make us all better informed, he won't own it, and we won't be able to be FUDed. :D

2353

26/11/2011TT's post above made me realise that Gillard got the majority of her program through without the cushion of an "extra" vote - wonder what she could have done if the country had elected a majority ALP house of Reps in 2010. Gravel, congratulations on the house, it sounds like a wonderful opportunity. If I can offer you one tip without being rude - take your monthly repayment, divide it in two and pay the "half payment" fortnightly. You end up making 13 months payments a year (12 months versus 26 fortnights). I did learn a few things about banking and finance before becoming one of the hundred thousand or so bank staff who were told they were no longer required in the mid 90's! This advice is one of the more useful ones :)

Ad astra reply

26/11/2011Patricia WA What a delightful cartoon by Mark Knight – so apt. It is an image I shall relish. FS Thank you for the Morgan Poll results. Although the value of polls two years out from the scheduled election are virtually meaningless, the trend towards improvement in Labor’s position, and it’s only a trend, is better than one going the other way in that it quietens the extravagant predictions of electoral annihilation that journalists love to pen. TT You are an inspiration to us all. Your optimism, now more and more in tune with events unfolding on the Canberra scene, is infectious and buoys our spirits, especially when the going’s tough. We are in agreement with your assessment of our PM. She has achieved much this year, and already next year is looking brighter. In contrast, we see Tony Abbott’s destructive strategy, his use of FUD, and his lies and deception beginning to unravel, leaving him bare of policies and positive contributions to public life. The Mark Knight cartoon captures his frustration so well – checkmated by Julia Gillard, and what is even worse for him, losing a parliamentary seat to his female nemesis. Gravel How pleasing it is to read that you are now able to move back to the house that has been in the family for so long and obviously greatly valued. You will have a busy end-of-year time, but the reward will be great. 2353 Your advice to Gravel is very sound.

Feral Skeleton

26/11/2011PatriciaWA, The Queen is still standing in the Knight cartoon. And as sanguine as ever. :) Being a visual person, I love to see things in pictures and cartoons of the PM. So, I see in her a 21st manifestation of Elizabeth I. I can just imagine her with a high ruffle collar, commanding all she surveys. An expert in strategic political game-playing, maintaining her empire and expanding it! Also, on the other hand, her more puritanical side, her pale skin and simple bob hairstyle, brought images to my mind of the woman in the famous American painting of a rural couple standing outside their farmhouse, with the husband holding his pitchfork, and the wife looking steadfastly on-just as much a part of the strong bond between them which has seen them carve a farm out of the Wild West of America. In just the same way that Julia is making sense of the mess she was left with, after 3 years of Kevin Rudd chaos(love him to death that we all do), and 12 years of hard-man Howard upending of the natural order of things which had come to prevail in the Australia of the 'Fair Go' that Julia had grown up in and come to love. As she has said so many times before. She is determined to make her mark as the 'Light On the Desk' Prime Minister, where opportunity for all is her legacy. Instead of cartoons, someone should be offering to paint her portrait. I know she'll get one to be hung up in Parliament House eventually, and won't that be a symbol forevermore of her potency? Our first woman Prime Minister. No one can take that away from her ever. Tony Abbott certainly tried, and failed. Oh, and another painting of Julia standing by her man, Tim, would be nice. Maybe in front of one of his Men's Sheds? ;-)

Sir Ian Crisp

26/11/2011[quote]The latest Morgan poll, covering last weekend’s regular face-to-face survey round from a sample of 864, shows Labor gaining two points since the previous poll (which combined results from the two weekends previous) on both two-party preferred measures, with the Coalition now leading 54.5-45.5 on respondent-allocated preferences and 51.5-48.5 on the more reliable method which distributes preferences as per the result of the previous election. Labor is up two points on the primary vote to 36.5 per cent, with the Coalition down 1.5 per cent to 45.5 per cent and the Greens up half a point to 12 per cent. Feral Skeleton [/quote] AA, we have some very eldritch noises emanating from the bowels of TPS but at last FS has posted about the Morgan poll. The news might be better than the Morgan poll suggests. Apparently each poll carries an error rate of about 5% so the real figures might be ALP 53.5% compared to the Lib-NP 46.5%. However, the 5% error rate might go the other way meaning the Lib-NP figure is 59.5% compared to the ALP 40.5%. Those figures might cause rusted-on ALP myrmidons to change their soiled underwear. Jason, stop reading Dennis Shanahan. Read this instead: http://www.costumes.org/classes/fashiondress/16thcent.htm

NormanK

26/11/2011Gravel Congratulations on securing the loan that you were after. Exciting times ahead I suspect. I am confident that you will be able to procure some form of internet connection such that you can keep in touch with [i]TPS[/i]. I certainly hope so.

Acerbic Conehead 2

26/11/2011AA, It’s been my pleasure to have been able to contribute to [i]The Political Sword[/i] this year. Thank you so much for the opportunity. And best wishes for the upcoming holiday period and a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year to you and your family. FS, I’ve really enjoyed reading your pieces, links and commentary. Best wishes to you and yours for the Festive Season and New Year. NormanK, Apologies for giving ‘our Sophie’ a hard time. However, you have to give it to her, she’s a tryer. As you can see from the photograph above, her and Tones are trying very hard to find a policy in that factory they’re visiting. Thank you also for your good wishes and I hope you have a great Christmas also. 2353, Yes, I did consider having Tones running “butt naked” (lol) around the Afghanistan countryside. However, haven’t those poor blighters suffered enough? And what about the children? They would have been scarred for life in the face of such a horrible manifestation. We gotta think of the children! And I hope Santa is good to you also. I wonder does he wear red budgie smugglers under that red suit of his? Lyn, Thank you again for all the effort you put into making us the best-informed members of the blogosphere. I don’t think I’ll look at marshmallows in the same way again. Actually, I’ll be happy if my Christmas stocking is a marshmallow-free zone this year. Have a great break over the Festive Season. Jason, Best wishes to you also for the upcoming season. And thank you especially for the politics programs’ TV guides. PatriciaWA, Thank you again for your kind words and for all the clever and humorous verses you have penned for us. Keep ‘em comin’ in 2012. TT, [quote]What a fertile space it must be inside that mind of yours.[/quote] That’s a wonderful compliment coming from a great wordsmith such as yourself. Have a great break and keep up the good fight in 2012. Gravel, Thank you for your kind and appreciative feedback this year. I hope your move to the country town is as smooth as possible. And don’t worry if the internet doesn’t work there – just get two empty baked-beans tins and a length of string. Tones reckons it’s far better than that useless NBN anyday! Have a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. 2011 didn’t start that well, Swordians, but it is certainly ending in a far better shape. Onwards and upwards in 2012!!!!!

Jason

26/11/2011Could someone tell me why this man isn't on the Noalition's front bench? Halal meat converting Aussies: MP A WA Liberal MP has claimed Australians are unknowingly being converted to Islam by eating Halal meat. In a speech to Parliament yesterday, backbencher Luke Simpkins said most Australians did not know that most of the meat they ate came from animals killed in accordance with Muslim law. “By having Australians unwittingly eating Halal food we are all one step down the path towards the conversion, and that is a step we should only make with full knowledge and one that should not be imposed upon us without us knowing,” Mr Simpkins told Parliament. “What is happening is wrong. Too often the minorities in this country are looked after without regard to the majority.” Mr Simpkins said he had carried out an unofficial survey in his northern-suburbs electorate of Cowan and had discovered that most meat at major chains such as Coles or Woolworths had been killed under Halal conditions, but had not been labelled as such. He tabled a petition demanding that all Halal meat be clearly identified, complaining people could not buy meat for their “Aussie barbecue” without the influence of the “minority religion”. Mr Simpkins said that Mohammed the prophet of Islam had talked of how the religion could be expanded around the world by getting people to eat Halal meat. “He reportedly said, ‘The non-believers will become Muslims when, amongst other things, they eat the meat that we have slaughtered’. This is one of the key aspects to converting non-believers to Islam,” Mr Simpkins said. The petition tabled by Mr Simpkins had been organised by the Barnabas Fund, an organisation that supports Christians living in Muslim countries. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said Opposition Leader Tony Abbott should pull Mr Simpkins into line. “All members of Parliament should be looking to promote understanding and harmony between religions. Mr Simpkins has done the complete opposite,” he said. http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/12032577/halal-meat-converting-aussies-mp/

Ad astra reply

26/11/2011Sir Ian From someone with such elegant linguistic skills, your interest in statistics and margins of error comes as a surprise. You may be interested in this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margin_of_error which has an informative graphic, along with the table at the foot of the Morgan Poll page that gives margins of error for different sample sizes: http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2011/4725/ I think it might be the Speedos that are being soiled rather than those of the ‘rusted-on ALP myrmidons'.

Jason

26/11/2011Sir Ian, "Jason, stop reading Dennis Shanahan" Yes I know I should, but I had a bet with TT who says you're a better writer than "Shanahan" and on the evidence so far I'm not convinced.

Feral Skeleton

26/11/2011Sir Ian Crisp, I suggest you change your name to 'Desperate Dan'.

Feral Skeleton

26/11/2011I feel I must confess...............I have had the heater on at home the last few days. Only on very low, and only to dry out a few things......like the house!.......It has been raining here for the last 7 days!!! We have only had 45 minutes of sunshine in those last 7 days!!! I have my fingers crossed that we will get more sunshine this afternoon, there's a street party on! :D

Jason

26/11/2011This is funny! AlboMP | 47 minutes ago RT @davidbewart: "@geeksrulz: Exclusive behind the scenes footage: Abbott Reacts to Slipper Defection http://t.co/cRjPAWeY #auspol #down ...

Feral Skeleton

26/11/2011I think we could all say that we suspected the following was true, but now they have a name, 'social bots': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15869683

D Mick Weir

26/11/2011Whoa what is going on? [b]Gillard softens on refugees[/b] Kirsty Needham @ The Age http://www.theage.com.au/national/gillard-softens-on-refugees-20111125-1nzc0.html#ixzz1elxqhLRD [i]The Gillard government, in a major reversal, will end the discriminatory treatment of asylum seekers arriving by boat as it begins to unwind its network of detention centres, which have drawn international condemnation on humanitarian grounds. Asylum seekers who risk their lives to reach Australia by sea will have access to the Refugee Review Tribunal from next year - currently accessed only by asylum seekers arriving by air. [/i] ... and one could hardly call Gillard or Bowen of being [i]blissfully ignorant[/i] of the potential for people drowning getting here by boat. There is hope yet for a sane and sensible policy on Asylum Seekers.

Feral Skeleton

26/11/2011D Mick Weir, No, the PM and Minister Bowen would prefer the sensible option of Asylum Seekers being processed in a rational and sensitive way BEFORE they make perilous boat journeys on unseaworthy boats, by engaging in a Regional Solution with other nations in our Region, following the precepts of the Bali Process. They are certainly not willing to behave irrationally and irresponsibly, like The Greens do, with their 'All Care and No Responsibility' attitude, that sees them crying crocodile tears for their plight, only once they have successfully made it to the mainland of Australia.

Gravel

26/11/2011Wow, thanks everybody for your best wishes. We are looking forward to every moment of it, and will be almost across the road from a couple of the grandkids, now that's what I call a Christmas present. 2353 Thanks for your advice, I was having a little smile to myself when the bank manager was explaining the monthly repayments, little does he know we've been there and done that and know the fortnightly trick. Also on our calculations we can pay more than they have stated, we want to get it paid off as soon as possible. Gotta go and have a nanna nap now since I've been awake since three and need to be alert later in the day.

D Mick Weir

26/11/2011I have never been a great fan of this bloke but at times have hade some respect (if somewhat begrudgingly) of him. He has a very interesting and apposite post today on his blog of the speech he gave at the launch of Troy Bramston’s [b]“Looking For The Light On The Hill”[/b] [i]So why would I come to launch a book like this that has more than a few harsh words, as well as a few kind words, to say about yours truly’ s record as the eleventh Labor Prime Minister of Australia? The reason is simple. I have never believed that the Government that I led was somehow infallible. That is palpable nonsense.[/i] Some humility and a clear if hindsightful view And the he moves onto some thoughts about Labor Party Reform: [i]Because if this Party cannot reform itself then over time it cannot reform the nation.[/i] And what it is to be a member of the ALP [i]To be a member of the Labor Party is to be an optimist. Optimistic about the future of Australia. Optimistic about the ability of government to make a difference.[/i] Interesting and thought provoking stuff and I will need a fullsome second read to take it all in For more go to: http://kevinruddmp.com/

D Mick Weir

26/11/2011FS, [i]... the PM and Minister Bowen would prefer the sensible option of Asylum Seekers being processed in a rational and sensitive way BEFORE they make perilous boat journeys on unseaworthy boats, ...{/i} There is nothing stopping them from doing that. They may even be working on that at the moment but, if rumblings I have heard, that the department may suffer some cuts in staff numbers, then it may be a hard slog. And no matter what this, or any government does they will never [i]Stop[/i] (all of) [i]The Boats[/i] So better to admit that [i]Reality Bites[/i] and work on minimising the flow of boats and deal humanely with those who wish to risk their lives while escaping from greater perils whether real or perceived.

D Mick Weir

26/11/2011bu@@er misplaces a [/i] or two FS, [i]... the PM and Minister Bowen would prefer the sensible option of Asylum Seekers being processed in a rational and sensitive way BEFORE they make perilous boat journeys on unseaworthy boats, ... [/i] There is nothing stopping them from doing that. They may even be working on that at the moment but, if rumblings I have heard, that the department may suffer some cuts in staff numbers, then it may be a hard slog. And no matter what this, or any government does they will never [i]Stop[/i] (all of) [i]The Boats[/i] So better to admit that [i]Reality Bites[/i] and work on minimising the flow of boats and deal humanely with those who wish to risk their lives while escaping from greater perils whether real or perceived.

Lyn

26/11/2011Hi Gravel I have been out and have just read your exciting news. Your absolute delight comes across clearly in your words. Congratulations, everything is perfect for you, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family. 2353 had some excellent advice as did Acerbic Conehead. I wish we could use :- [i]And don’t worry if the internet doesn’t work there – just get two empty baked-beans tins and a length of string. Tones reckons it’s far better than that useless NBN anyday[/i]! Cheers :):):):):):)

Ad astra reply

26/11/2011Jason That YouTube clip is magnificent - thank you. Everyone should take a look and enjoy, especially the last few seconds!

Ad astra reply

26/11/2011FS Thanks for that fascinating link to the article about fake comments on blogs. I thought the conclusion was pertinent to someone we know so well: [i]“Fakes are more likely to start new comment threads, make inane comments rather than add to a debate, and repeat former comments with minor changes...”[/i] Leave out reference to threads and there are no prizes for the correct answer. And it’s no one posting here!

Feral Skeleton

26/11/2011D Mick Weir, Thank you for the link to Kevvy's speech. :) The sooner the media get over their fixation with his replacing the PM, and realise that he is having a ball now that he is Foreign Minister, the better. Why, he even had time to enjoy the company of Peter Slipper recently, which he would not otherwise have had the time to do as PM. And look what that bromance resulted in!

Ad astra reply

26/11/2011D Mick Weir I think the Opposition has seen this change too. Otherwise why would Scott Morrison be out this morning taunting the PM to ‘bring on the vote’ re the Malaysia arrangement. Does Morrison see that while the Government’s more humane stance toward asylum seekers will appeal to many, PM Gillard can still wedge the Coalition over its refusal to endorse her border protection legislation, and blame it for any new boat arrivals? Whereas if she agreed to reintroduce the legislation and looked like carrying it in the House, the Coalition would move its amendment to make Nauru and PNG the only options, which when defeated, would give the Coalition the wedge. Every move has its hidden, and sometimes not so hidden play.

Lyn

26/11/2011 Hi Ad and Everybody, All the journalists want to talk about Mal Colston and compare Slipper to Colston, can someone tell me why is this. I don’t know the true story about Colston. Is there a genuine comparison ????????? Below are the links to Journalists comparing Colston to Slipper:- Here are some carefully selected tweets for your pleasure to read, you could say boutique tweets: markjs1Mark Shove Bushfire Bill takes on St Paul of the OO.Make a cuppa...put your feet up....and enjoy!!: http://bit.ly/tBYj7F #auspol #Abbottfail #Mediafail Bushfire Bill Posted Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 11:00 am comment 754 (Google this: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/labors-costly-gambit/story-e6frgd0x-1226206520826 St. Paul Kelly goes all purple prose: Not Paul, of course, he merely sniffs the rose water as the nasties go about their unpleasant “wet work” at the Daily Telegraph and 2GB. It’s all so regrettable that things should have come to this. But there you go: Life’s not a bowl of cherries, after all. Paul also forgets to tell us that Abbott, in reneging on the Speaker-pairing deal, being a biffo smartarse into the bargain (if Paul can use “debacle inferno” I can use “biffo smartarse”), and in failing to contain the enthusiasm of his Queensland LNP colleagues, brought this mostly upon himself. He got so nasty, believed so much of his own publicity, that he thought he could king hit the referee and get away with it. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2011/11/25/morgan-face-to-face-54-5-45-5-to-coalition/comment-page-16/#comment-1097126 ThefinnigansTheFinnigans天地有道人无道 While time is Gillard's friend it's Abbott's enemy - yeah like 2 years 104 weeks 730 days 17520 hrs 1,051,200 mins, 63,072,000 secs #auspol 57 minutes agoFavoriteRetweetReply sprocket___sp rocket It's pathetic that Abbott is so beholden to NewsLtd. Would sell his arse, but he's already sold his soul. #auspol http://lockerz.com/s/159459212 amanda meade |meadea Who is this leaving News Ltd headquarters yesterday? http://lockerz.com/s/159459212 Andy_DownundaAndrew Watson #auspol This is the face of biggest political loser of 2011. http://yfrog.com/nvy5onhj Outmanoeuvred & outplayed by our wonderful woman PM. ThefinnigansTheFinnigans天地有道人无道 The NoNation of the Noalition led by Dr. No is catching fire. Mike Carlton joins ALP (Abbott Lynching Party http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/dr-no-coming-to-a-workplace-near-you-20111125-1nz1j.html #auspol [i]Abbott's positively negative , Peter Hartcher[/i] It was Abbott's 34th attempt to bring a censure motion against this government. And for the 34th time, it failed. Gillard is increasingly likely to be able to run the full term of Parliament, meaning almost two years more. Abbott has ridden his horse of populist anger to exhaustion. A smart leader would spend the Christmas break thinking hard about how to look more like a credible alternative. http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/abbotts-positively-negative-20111125-1nz5j.html#ixzz1emFrNQZk [i]Abbott must take care that history doesn't repeat, Peter VanOnselen [/i] Abbott was outmanoeuvred by Labor on Thursday when the government plucked one of his own MPs from his ranks and installed him as Speaker. It was a tactical victory, but it is far from clear whether it will turn out to be a strategic masterstroke http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/abbott-must-take-care-that-history-doesnt-repeat/story-fn53lw5p-1226206467548?sv=a4122a8cb91f187cf0130ef2bef6d70 [i]Slippery tactics rule in the corridors of Federal Parliament , Laurie Oakes, Herald Sun[/i] When Abbott learned about it, he invented a new parliamentary convention. "Under a Westminster system it is the responsibility of the Government to provide the Speaker of the Parliament," the Opposition Leader said. "And a Government which cannot provide the Speaker should no longer expect to remain in office."Nonsense, of course. The British House of Commons happily elects Speakers from the non-governing party. State parliaments have had independents as Speakers. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/slippery-tactics-rule-in-the-corridors-of-federal-parliament/story-e6frfhqf-1226206598487?sv=4d9cac1525302a3a93eab23497fc8ef4 [i]Howard learnt danger of a rat in the ranks,Lenore Taylor, Sydney Morning Herald[/i] The Coalition leader sees things differently. Last year he told a media Christmas party he was planning to hold this year's event at the Lodge. This year he conceded his ''war of attrition'' hadn't quite worked, yet. But he clearly still believed it could. The shadow treasurer, Joe Hockey, joined in. ''Peter Slipper is Julia Gillard's man,'' he said. ''Peter Slipper was sacked by John Howard from the ministry, the Liberal Party was in the process of removing him from the Liberal Party.'' http://www.smh.com.au/national/howard-learnt-danger-of-a-rat-in-the-ranks-20111125-1nz7t.html#ixzz1emOARoup [i]Speaker Peter Slipper's spendthrift habits facing renewed scrutiny , Steve Lewis, Adelaide Now[/i] Right now, as Slipper moves his belongings into the Speaker's spacious office in the Parliament, the Department of Finance is examining whether there are grounds to conduct a "full audit" of his expenses going back a decade. The push to expose his excessive spending was triggered by a petition signed by nearly 3000 of his local constituents on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. It was presented and tabled in Parliament before being passed to the Special Minister of State, Gary Gray. He then forwarded it to the department, which is considering whether there are grounds to act. An answer should be known next month. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/speaker-peter-slippers-spendthrift-habits-facing-renewed-scrutiny/story-e6frea6u-1226206577676 [quote]Gillard must speak up on the real Slipper deal , Editorial, The Australian[/quote] JULIA Gillard's account of Peter Slipper's ascension does not pass what politicians call the pub test. It is not a version of events that seems plausible to mainstream Australians. Two days on, this is the Prime Minister's immediate problem. What some Labor barrackers refer to as a masterstroke and critics condemn as a sordid deal, is portrayed by Ms Gillard and her team as neither. Labor would have us believe that Harry Jenkins's sudden retirement and Mr Slipper's compliant availability were a happy coincidence -- synchronicity on Capital Hill. Now, instead of capitalising on her growing prime ministerial bearing after what had been her best month or so in the job, she chose to gamble on Mr Slipper. At the very least a good and loyal Speaker has made way for a man prepared to turn his back on his party and the voters who elected him. At worst, Ms Gillard has played a role in an unseemly deal to consolidate power. Either way, the public is not impressed. And the damage is compounded every time a smug politician pretends it was simply all good fortune. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/gillard-must-speak-up-on-the-real-slipper-deal/story-e6frg71x-1226206485594 :):):):):):)

Feral Skeleton

26/11/2011Ad Astra, As I have said repeatedly, if Tony Abbott gets thrown under a Coalition bus, I believe Scott Morrison will step up to take his place. He has been possibly the most effective campaigner for the Coalition in his designated area of Asylum Seekers. A lot of the Coalition's rise in the polls can be put down to his deft prosecution of the Coalition's case. We may not agree with the substance of his argument, but he has convinced many.

TalkTurkey

26/11/2011Ad astra I am a sook, and unseemly effete for a male. When I read your post of 8.45 AM I got a huge rush, a [i]tingle[/i] that wriggled me from head to toe and back again like an electrified eel,7 and then I went all misty . . . It moves me like you wouldn't believe to think I might raise the spirits of the Comrades, even a little, because in the end it is morale that determines outcomes. That is of course why the MSM works so hard to bring us down. A working class hero would be something to be, But just raising spirits sounds groovy to me! Well they can do their worst, well they already have, and they have failed, and we are the ones doing them now. Not long ago a mere handful of us gave Labor a snowflake's chance of seeing out the term let alone winning the next election, now thanks to wondrous own goals by Murdoch (generic term) and now by the Coalons wrt Slipper, and great scores on our own part wrt carbon price, NBN, MRRT and more, we are now very close to parity with them! We are ahead of the game, some think we are in some danger of peaking too early, Oh woe. One month today since Qantas! An absolute [i]implosion[/i] by the Forces of Dimness! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Gravel how terrific for you that your House dream has materialised, especially since it was almost against your expectations. It will help you in every way to feel fulfilment and security, and should put you in the frame of mind to take the fight up to the Enemy in the future! Well done and best wishes, your cup runneth over eh. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (Ath tho dothh ourth alththo but yourthh motht of all!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ let me remind us: [i]We are still not nearly at half-time! [/i] (Aussie Rules or any sport metaphor here will do.) Think of it as a horse race (a la [i]Lass from Yarralumla) - the call goes like - "- And the bolter [i]Phony Tony [/i]has already shot his bolt! . . . [u]He seems to be winded![/u] [i]Our Ranga Lass [/i]moves up on the outside . . . She is catching him with every stride! . . . Now she tucks in beside his offside flank . . . slackening pace now because she's in the sweet spot. She can take him any time she wants to now, but she can afford to wait her moment . . ." and so on. Less than halfway through the race! And you can have them playing Aussie Rules, or Boxing, or Wrestling, (not please Dog cricket nor wimpball) but especially Chess!!! and it is always the same state of play. [u][b][i]Smokin'![/i][/b][/u] :) Ad astra you are the real inspiration, and there are many more both inspired and inspirers here. I am proud of us all.

TalkTurkey

26/11/2011Jason said, 'Sir Ian, "Jason, stop reading Dennis Shanahan" Yes I know I should, but I had a bet with TT who says [u]you're a better writer than "Shanahan"[/u] and on the evidence so far I'm not convinced. Jason' Geez Jason you sure got that #*cked up. What I said was, "Limpy is better at [u][i]shaggin his hand[/i][/u] than writing!" Fun :) with :) Sous-les-Ponts

Michael

26/11/2011I don't buy the Scott Morrison is competent argument. Anyone can prosecute a 'kick the asylum seekers' argument in this country. Probably in any country, if the sad truth be known. Scott Morrison is to Coalition immigration policy what Greg Hunt is to Coalition environment policy - a rider on Shouldabeen's coattails. That 'coat' is starting to look very tatty in a much wider world than those of us who always saw it as threadbare and patched from more suits than the tailor himself remembers. And it was cut to leave the seat out of his pants from the word go (if only to allow glimpses of the budgie smugglers and to let the wind... out). There's no-one, not a one, on the Shadow frontbench (and I MOST DEFINITELY include Malcolm Turnbull amongst this coterie of hopelessly inadequate wannabes, which is John Howard's real legacy to the Liberal party, by the way) capable of matching the minister he/she currently trails. From the 'top', which isn't very elevated at all in the person of Tiny Abbott, to whomever admits being even lower than Sophie Mirabella, down, this Coalition line-up fails every test of political nous. And while the non-nousers are chasing dirt on Peter Slipper, perhaps someone can tell us just how Shouldabeen spent 28,000 dollars on phone calls in six months. Does Archbishop Pell do telephone confessions 'on the meter'? Or is TA constantly calling the Missus to reassure her he's not anywhere else, or with anyone else, than he's told her about over breakfast?

Feral Skeleton

26/11/2011Michael, Yes, 'interesting' isn't it, that the Coalition are saying, "look over there!" at Peter Slippers profligate ways, while Tony Abbott spends more on phone calls than the PM.

Lyn

26/11/2011Hi Ad and Everybody Tony Abbott has put his foot in it here, last year defending Peter Slipper. You will see the Sunshine Coast Daily must belong to Murdoch, check the right hand side bar of the below story:- [i]Abbott defends Slipper's travel[/i]Kieran Campbell and Bill Hoffman | [b]20th August 2010[/b] Sunshine Coast Daily .[b]Mr Abbott yesterday said it was “fair and reasonable[/b]” that travel expenses be paid for Mr Slipper’s travel between the Sunshine Coast and Canberra. [b]“Members of parliament are entitled to travel from their place of residence to Canberra for sittings of parliament,” Mr Abbott said[/b]. “I’m satisfied (Mr Slipper) has acted within his entitlements. My understanding is that he’s acted within his entitlements.” http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/story/2010/08/20/abbott-defends-mps-travel-peter-slipper-bills/ The Sunshine Coast Daily: Most Popular:- Slipper worst Speaker: Somlyay Slipper's finances on show Peter Slipper the only winner Apparatchiks bucket Speaker Slipper planned to ruin state push Pressure on ALP to act on petition 'He should just slip away quietly' Check ABBOTT's little yellow book of "NO":- http://www.scribd.com/doc/73619569/Tony-Abbott-s-The-Little-Book-of-No Kevin_RennieKevin_Rennie Tony Abbott's Little Book of No http://scr.bi/vQn0Bj Will he regret running longest election campaign/standup comedy act in history? #auspol mmechomskiLiv Tony Abbott's Little Book of NO #auspol http://www.scribd.com/doc/73619569/Tony-Abbott-s-The-Little-Book-of-No gordongrahamGordon Graham Tony Abbott's Little Yellow Book of No http://scr.bi/vQn0Bj #auspol Cheers:):):):):):):)

Jason

26/11/2011Aa, Not sure if you're interested! but here is Abbott's Address to NSW Liberal Party State Council Annual General Meeting, Sydney on Saturday, 26 November 2011 Now I know I wasn't there! but just reading it I think it would safe to say that those who endured his rant walked away saying "Thankfully that will be his last address as leader". http://www.tonyabbott.com.au/LatestNews/Speeches/tabid/88/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/8476/Address-to-NSW-Liberal-Party-State-Council-Annual-General-Meeting-Sydney.aspx?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Catey

26/11/2011AC I enjoyed your quirky story about our LOTO. It's quite sad to think that his days now seem to be numbered - I'll miss that maniacal cackle, the terrifying head nodding and the clever, clever construct of the three words slogans. Who can do all of that for us when poor LOTO falls spent and exhausted? I don't think Scott Morrison is the whole package and I think they will go down the populist route and go back to Malcolm Yurnbull. I am no fan (think utegate etc) but they have no-one else.

Jason

26/11/2011Aa, Here is a summary of Abbott's speech! Pollytics | 1 minute ago Shorter Tone: We'll deskill the economy to fit a 70's outlook, fabricate a budget estimate & , er.. look - "productivity"!

Lyn

26/11/2011 Hi Jason Thankyou for your link to Abbott's speech. [quote]those who endured his rant walked away saying "Thankfully that will be his last address as leader[/quote] The Australian has copied every word Abbott said of course:- [quote]Peter Slipper's 'squalid' rise to backfire: Abbott The Australian at [/quote] [b]November 26, 2011 4:10PM [/b] Mr Slipper becoming Speaker would cost the Coalition a vote in the House of Representatives, Mr Abbott admitted. "Yes, for a little while we have lost a vote in the parliament," he continued. "[b]But we have not lost our integrity."[/b] And while Ms Gillard might have gained a vote in parliament, she had also gained a problem, Mr Abbott said. Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison [b]denied the Coalition was leaking against Mr Slipper.[/b] "No, what we're seeing is the prime minister will now have to take responsibility for the Speaker that she had elected," he told reporters at the AGM. "The Speaker is a matter for the prime minister," he added. Mr Morrison said the Coalition had been in the process of getting rid of Mr Slipper when he became Speaker on Thursday. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/jenkins-resignation/peter-slippers-1100-in-daily-expenses/story-fnb6rfr5-1226206883649 Cheers:):):):):):):):)

Ad astra reply

26/11/2011Hi Lyn Thank you for your great set of links to the MSM, and the tweets. I enjoyed BB’s comment on Saint Paul. It amazes me how Kelly can pontificate so assuredly. There are seldom any caveats. He just knows. His article this morning was archetypical, the sandwich approach. First take a blast at Julia Gillard and all the recent ‘shonky’ things he believes she has done, without a skerrick of evidence advanced (after all, supposition or hunch will do); then have a go at Tony Abbott over his negative approach and being wrong-footed over the Speaker switch; then end with another blast at the PM and dire prognostications about her future. Like all experienced journalists, he know people read the headlines and the first few paragraphs, and some will look at the end for conclusions, but few will read the article right through. So most would miss his admonishment of Abbott, but certainly pick up his condemnation and pejorative labeling of the PM and his predictions of doom. Mind you, what he writes seems to reflect his views and his heartfelt wishes.

2353

26/11/2011DMW said [quote]Whoa what is going on? Gillard softens on refugees[/quote] Dunno - but it can't be too soon. Why is it those that choose a leaky boat rather than a 747 are persecuted? Surely the leaky boat is enough! Off topic but here's another "Hitler's Downfall parody on last weeks "Qantasluxury" foul up (discretion advised) -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTCwPlWzZnQ

psyclaw

26/11/2011FS, Michael. I'm with Michael re SMorrison. I think that he's too smart and cocky by half and I doubt that there's any real evidence of political acumen required by a leader. When you look at his ministerial performance he's basically just emulated his leader over and over ......... Labor can't stop the boats! ..... Labor should use Nauru! ..... The PM is pee weak because she can't set up the Malaysian deal! etc etc. Nothing original or requiring great (any!!!!) thought. IMO just as the refugee issue made the Minister for Immigration job so very difficult, it conversely made the shadow job a breeze. Also IMO Morrison's perpetual smirk does not make him easy to market. Generally though, their front bench is very bare vis a vis a leader. If I was forced (under pain of death) to choose one it'd probably be JBishop. I don't particularly like or admire her but when she's not being a cat she is capable of reasonable and rational presentation of herself. I like the fact that she's a woman (they make better PM's) but she is a lightweight and that's a factor. FS Thanks for the link about fake bloggers. I have no doubt there are organised "coups" here too. Sometimes on the Drum, especially on articles by ABC journos, 300 comments come up in an hour. Many are inane, repetitious, and initiating side stories as your link suggests.

BSA Bob

26/11/2011I don't usually do this sort of thing, but I read a couple of articles in the Oz today, reckon it'll take a week or so to get rid of the taste of sour grapes. I was going to take a swipe here at the Paul Kelly article, but it's been done better by others. I think the Australian's editorial quoted by Lyn at 3.37 is an indication of what the Abbott forces will do, a relentless focusing on the "grubbiness" of the "deal" taken out of any context & repeated over & over. I noted something in Kelly's article about this not playing out well with the voters. They will of course have their opinions on the matter guided by the Murdoch press, & others.

Ad astra reply

26/11/2011Hi Lyn Thanks for yet more links and Tony Abbott’s Little Book of No, a very clever publicity move. Jason, Thanks for the link to Tony Abbott’s speech today. More of the same! And thanks too for the agenda for tomorrow’s political fun. 2353 Another amusing take, this time Alan Joyce – very clever satire.

D Mick Weir

26/11/2011From the Letters To The Editor pages in today's Canberra Times [b]LEADERSHIP SPLIT[/b] [i]So Anthony Albanese gave Tony Abbott a ''history lesson in Robert Menzies''. He did not mention the obvious difference between the two Liberal leaders: one was a shining wit; the other is a whining shit.[/i] Ken Maher, Ainslie http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/letters/general/the-speaker-shift/2371656.aspx No more need be said

jane

26/11/2011[quote]Gaining that vital extra vote comes with a high price[/quote] Yeah, for Liealot. Hilarious post, as usual, AC. Jason, halal meat turns everyone into moslems. Almost as hilarious as AC's post. Where do these cretins get these ideas? Gravel, great news for you; an early Christmas present, well deserved. Michael, Scott Morrison is just another Liealot look alike, but younger, imo. You and I are singing from the same hymn sheet wrt Liars Party (lack of) talent and who should shoulder the blame. And for all the non-nousers, Slipper's misdeeds were hashed over when he and Somlyay were in the Speaker's race after the election. However, they were brought to heel, although Slipper did get the Deputy Speaker's hat. If I were Liealot's missus, I'd be ringing to make sure I didn't have to put up with the stare, nodding and lycra tonight. Let some other silly sod like that simpering idiot Crabbe cop it!

BSA Bob

27/11/2011My wife's a vegetarian. Does anyone know what the plans are for her unwitting conversion to Islam? One has to be prepared for these things.

D Mick Weir

27/11/2011Jack Waterford in Saturday's Canberra Times (Dead-Tree Version) had an excellent summary of the current state of play in federal politics that only got read part of, and I can't find it online - bu@@er. In my searchings though I found Crispin Hull with an interesting and thoughtful piece on Media Regulation: [b]Watch out for traps in controls on media[/b] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/watch-out-for-traps-in-controls-on-media/2371611.aspx?storypage=0 [i]W e can regulate unsatisfactory professional conduct of chiropodists, dentists, chiropractors, doctors and lawyers. ''So why should journalists be exempt from that?'' Stuart Littlemore asked the federal inquiry into media independence. Good question. Complicated answer. Littlemore, barrister, former journalist and former frontman for the ABC's Media Watch, answered his own question by saying, ''There is no rationale except the power that newspapers have always enjoyed.'' Yes, but we must ask why have the newspapers always had that power? And do they still have it?[/i] Crispin dissects it with his usual 'forensic skill and comes up with some valid points that had not occured to me. Also found a piece that shed some light on the dilemmas facing ACT Labor over pokies. [b]Pokies losing appeal for big players[/b] Noel Towell http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/pokies-losing-appeal-for-big-players/2371638.aspx?storypage=0 [i]Who'd invest in pokies right now?'' someone around here asked recently. The Eastlake footy club, that's who. ... But two outfits in this town that are most definitely heading out of the pokies business: the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and ACT Labor. ... there's a feeling that it's not cool to be a left-wing union philosophically and then make, let's see, more than $10million bucks this year from gambling.[/i] ------- With all the discussions we have had here about the PM's leadership 'qualities, abilities and style' this piece is a must read for those that like to delve into the deep end of the discussions. [b]Power at pleasure of the pack[/b] Glyn Davis http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/power-at-pleasure-of-the-pack/2371613.aspx?storypage=0 [i]The end arrived swiftly. On Thursday, November 26, 2009, Malcolm Turnbull reminded a media conference he was leader of the Liberal Party, and planned to remain so. When the blow came early the following week it recalled the legendary executioner, so expertly severing the head it seemed attached still to the victim's neck, while the swordsman wiped a tiny speck of blood from the razor-sharp blade. ... Such is the fate of many Australian leaders. There is a terrible but predictable rhythm to these regular assassinations - first hints in news stories of party dissatisfaction, then talk of private polls showing the game is up, before corridor shots in Parliament House. Once the contest is called, leader and challenger phone evasive colleagues, while journalists wait for the first text messages from the closed party room. Media conferences follow, the victor claiming to be humbled by the result, the loser magnanimous in defeat. ... Hasty endings are made possible by a parliamentary system in which office is held by party room consent. American presidents enjoy guaranteed four-year terms regardless of sentiment within their party, but an Australian Parliament offers no fixed terms, no sinecures. The parties exist only to win and retain power, and the parliamentary memberships retain absolute control over the selection of their chief. A leader who stumbles is at risk. Few other leadership roles in our society are so fragile.[/i] In this extract from [b]Leader of the Gang[/b] Davis weaves around some interesting similarities about how and why gangs and political parties choose their leaders. There is some insight for me into why many journalists fail to understand what leadership of a political party and/or a government is really about.

D Mick Weir

27/11/2011... and now for something for greater edumification of all around economics. [b]The curse of public economic illiteracy[/b] George Megalogenis @ The Oz http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/the-curse-of-public-economic-illiteracy/story-e6frgd0x-1226206506049 [i]THERE are bad budget surpluses and good deficits. Paul Keating's last surplus in the financial year of 1990-91 was clearly in the former category because it added to the burden of the "recession we had to have". Peter Costello's last deficit in 2001-02 was in the latter because it helped Australia dodge the US recession of 2001. In a perfect fiscal world, where the politics and economics are aligned, voters would understand the need for temporary deficits. But this is Australia, where both sides of politics have spent the many years since Keating was booted out of office wilfully reducing the community's basic understanding of economics. Costello is more responsible than most for dumbing down the debate. He had done so well with the "Beazley black hole" slogan in the late 1990s that he refused to countenance the possibility of cyclical deficit at the 2001 election. The nation's economic literacy has fallen ever since.[/i] As usual Greorge informs the discussion and has some timely warnings.

D Mick Weir

27/11/2011BSA Bob @ 12:10 AM I dont know of any plans ... yet In the meantime watch out for Halal Halapenos on the vego pizza.

D Mick Weir

27/11/2011and for the real late nighters something spooky @latingle (Laura Tingle) tweeted: Given a new round of conspiracy theories about the speaker's job, here is a cautionary tale about conspiracy theories http://video.nytimes.com/video/2011/11/21/opinion/100000001183275/the-umbrella-man.html Yep nothing like a good conspiracy theory to save a journo the time of having to search out 'the real story' btw Laura has an excellent (and long) piece in the print edition of the Weekend AFR that is unfortunately probably paywalled (I haven't looked) - Still reckon the Weekend AFR is wort three bucks (and often more) most weekends.

Jason

27/11/2011BSA Bob, If I were you I'd steer clear of that well known Scottish Restaurant "Mcdonald's" lest you wish to "sack" the current Monarch lol!

Ad astra reply

27/11/2011Folks Thank you all for your overnight comments. I agree with you DMW about Mega’s piece in [i]The Oz[/i]. It was by far the most worthwhile reading among a motley collection. While Saint Paul and Shana huffed and puffed with indignation and dire predictions about the ‘Slipper affair’, and PvO and Richo wrote more moderate pieces, George was, as usual, the epitome of good sense backed by factual evidence – now isn’t that a novel approach for writers at [i]The Oz[/i]. What he says is so true. To use a Lindsay Tanner phrase, the public has been ‘dumbed down’, about the basic facts of economics. I’ll be on the road early today for Melbourne and will be out of range most of the day. I’ll be back this evening.

Lyn

27/11/2011Hi Ad and Everybody At last comes a sensible, honest, genuine article, of course from Laura Tingle: Leroy_LynchLeroy The Slipper’s in! Updated report today on Speaker by Laura Tingle. Great analysis. #auspol #noalition #harryresigns http://www.afr.com/p/national/the_slipper_in_pSc3ud18NntG2YqY7ipLsN [i]The Slipper’s in!, Laura Tingle AFR, PUBLISHED: 26 Nov 2011 00:04:22 | UPDATED: 27 Nov 2011 05:01:20PUBLISHED: 26 Nov 2011 PRINT EDITION: 26 Nov 2011 [/i] The Coalition has to live with more than the cost of that decision. This time last year it believed it was only weeks away from office. It now faces the prospect of two more years in opposition. That will require a complete change of political tactics by Abbott and his team. His sprint into office has become an unsustainable marathon. And this too will change the tenor of federal politics in 2012. http://www.afr.com/p/national/the_slipper_in_pSc3ud18NntG2YqY7ipLsN Cheers:):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Ad astra reply

27/11/2011Hi Lyn Thank you for the link to the Laura Tingle article - such quality writing. We're off now to Melbourne.

Lyn

27/11/2011Hi Ad Hope you have a nice day. Cheers:):):):):)

TalkTurkey

27/11/2011Happy Day Swordsfolks Lopsiders Did my eyes deceive me, or did Crassidy's mob - in showing Slipper's 'unwilling dragging' to the Speaker's chair - DID THEY PULL THE LAST SECOND OR TWO [i]showing Peta Credlin's face [/i]? I think I'm right and if so it seems to me a very telling thing! Here's a point I haven't seen mentioned (and it's loovly!):- Come the next election campaign, the IndependAnts [i]must[/i] effectively be campaigning for Labor, they obviously can't pretend, and surely wouldn't want to, that they are equanimitous about who wins, because they have everything to lose from a Liberal win, and everything to gain from a Labor one. Wilkie this morning was full of praise for *J*U*L*I*A* and her government, and Windsor and Oakeshott have both been strong for us too inthe last little while. And that my friends will be a BIG thing: the Media, however grumpily, will have to give them free kicks out of all proportion to their numbers (partly because their actual influence is also out of proportion, of course) and coming from 'independent' individuals their words of praise for Labor/the Government carry much more clout than if they are speaking on from the pov of actual Party members. Will Labor preference Slipper in his seat? against Brough? Fun you bet but possibly seen as triumphalism &/or cynicism . . . but I'd preference him if I had the Labor say . . . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A sad thought for WA fire victims. [i]Beware South Australia, Victoria, NSW! And Tassie![/i] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ See that delightful cheeky wink by Stephen Smith re POOPOO's idiotic proposals from Labor of an alternative to Slipper? Albo is on fire, he relishes the down-and-dirty as no-one else in the Parliament. I'm a bit astonished that there are not more fire-breathers in Labor, but perhaps now that most of the agenda is achieved . . . Now we can have virtually total confidence in our short-term survival . . . perhaps a few more will arc up now? There was great cartoon on lopsiders of Abbortt as Popeye, and Mesma as Mesma, and Abbortt going ballistic wtte "Has the sky fallen in?" and Mesma with tiger claws and hatred writ large across her face and fingeranils. Well the point is, that was WEDNESDAY, Abbortt was apoplectic about the MRRT, little did he know the sky really [i]was[/i] about to fall in on him next day! I have a satisfyingly disgusting mental cartoon for you Folks: a pair of hairy male buttocks, red budgie smugglers at one-sixth mast at bottom of frame, buttocks showing a kick mark and a couple of band-aids on one side and sporting the sign [b]FOR SALE $70 Billion[/b] with the word Billion crossed out amd then the 0 crossed out with a different pen :) PJK on MTP atm, (tx Obelix).

Feral Skeleton

27/11/2011BSA Bob, Your wife better not eat Arnotts biscuits then. I seem to remember they have a note on the back that they are Halal. Kosher too. So I don't know how her body will resolve being torn between 2 religions like that. And all for the love of a Tim Tam. :)

Feral Skeleton

27/11/2011D Mick Weir, ...And then Gough came along and outwitted Menzies. :)

Feral Skeleton

27/11/2011Morning all! Ouch! Women of my advancing(too swiftly) years should not be made, by the quality of the music played at the street party the night before, to dance uncontrollably. I am paying a price today. Still, the endorphins will get me through. :D Bleedin' ReCaptcha...age brewen ;-)

2353

27/11/2011TT thanks for the mental picture of the red budgie smugglers, something I [i]really[/quote] needed on another lovely SEQueensland day! My thoughts are that Slipper won't contest the next election. I read something in someone's link to the Sunshine Coast paper that suggested it as well. He's been a politician for quite a while and he's not exactly popular on the Sunny Coast - so probably needs the backing of a party to get in (so all the sheep that vote the party line get him the green leather seat - not any people skills or ability to relate to his community). In short, the Queensland LNP screwed Howard's first attempt at PM with "Joh for Canberra", forced Howard to go bigoted by pre-selecting Pauline Hanson and have now shot down Abbott's dream until at least 2013. With friends like the LNP - who needs enemies?

Feral Skeleton

27/11/2011I thought I had put up this photo yesterday, but on going through my contributions, it appears I hadn't. It is important that it is on the record, as it is very telling that the first place Tony Abbott went to after the Speaker stepped down and was replaced by Peter Slipper was...: http://lockerz.com/s/159459212

jane

27/11/2011DMW, George Mega's article is one of the first sensible articles on the subject of surplus worship and the sleight of hand involved in convincing Joe and Josephine Public that the budget must be in surplus no matter what the circumstances, I have read. Even clowns like Anal Jones should be capable of comprehending it. TT, @11.16am, I think Crassidy was hoping for a Wilkie meltdown and got what he least wanted; an endorsement of the PM and the government. It must have been very disappointing when Wilkie scotched the idea of her being dishonest in her dealings with him. Pity we couldn't see the look on his mug! What a brilliant, inspired idea for a cartoon!!! Sheer unadulterated genius! It must be made flesh for all the world to fall awestruck at your feet. Please. FS, loved the link.

Feral Skeleton

27/11/2011Don't ever forget this about Mal Brough(plus the rest): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_D-_8xUyQw&feature=youtu.be

BSA Bob

27/11/2011Thanks to all those who advised on my wife's dietary requirements. It's all getting a bit much, we might have to plant some spuds & tomatoes in the backyard & get by on that. On a less personal note, I agree with those who praised George Mega's article yesterday. It certainly stood out from the rest.

NormanK

27/11/2011Lyn It seems that no-one else has answered your question about Colston so I'll give it a shot. TalkTurkey no doubt has strong views on these incidents and would be able to provide a more in-depth analysis. From what I recall and have recently read, comparing Slipper to Colston is a bit like comparing a flying fox with a parrot (because they both fly and eat fruit) while conveniently ignoring their manifest differences. From [i]Wikipedia[/i] (edited): [quote]Colston indirectly played a role in the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. On 30 June 1975, Queensland ALP Senator Bertie Milliner died suddenly. The Labor Party nominated Colston to fill the casual vacancy in the Senate. The Constitution provides that a Senate casual vacancy is filled by a person chosen by the relevant state parliament. Although it did not become a constitutional requirement until 1977, it had been long-standing convention that the state parliament choose a person nominated by the departing Senator's party. However, the Premier of Queensland, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, claimed that Colston was a "dangerous socialist" and refused to appoint him. Officially though, Bjelke-Petersen expressed doubts over Colston's integrity and instead appointed Albert Field, who was a member of the Labor Party but was staunchly opposed to the policies of the Gough Whitlam Labor government.[2] The ALP challenged Field's appointment in the High Court, and he was on leave from the Senate almost from the day of his appointment. This gave the Coalition a greater advantage, and it was therefore a crucial event in the events leading up to the dismissal of the Whitlam government. At the ensuing 1975 election, Colston was elected as a Labor senator. He continued to serve in that capacity until 1996. After the 1996 election, the Labor Party refused to nominate Colston to become Deputy President of the Senate. In a bid to win him over, the Howard Coalition government offered to support him. Colston resigned from the Labor Party by fax message at 11:30 a.m. on 20 August, and he took his seat as an independent that afternoon. In the evening, he was elected Deputy President, on the nomination of the Coalition. Whilst he opposed the Coalition's industrial relations package, he voted for the sale of a third of Telstra and some other government initiatives. Colston subsequently sat as a "Queensland First" senator. In 1997, Colston was charged by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions with 28 charges of defrauding the Commonwealth by allegedly misusing his parliamentary travel allowance.[/quote] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mal_Colston The differences between Slipper's and Colston's defections are that Colston's was unexpected, as I recall he was not under pressure from his own colleagues regarding his position on the Senate ticket. Arguably, his defection was for personal gain alone. Slipper was hounded out of his party because the Qld LNP believe they've got a future PM in Mal Brough and want to install him in Slipper's seat. This is an own goal. As Windsor said: "They kicked this guy to death and then wonder why he dies ... extraordinary." Even a political illiterate like me could see that Slipper was either going to jump ship or drill holes below the waterline of the Queensland LNP before the upcoming QLD election. Whatever else we may choose to think of Slipper, he was left with very little choice with regard to his future and anyone who has observed his past actions should not be surprised that he opted for a scenario that feathers his nest in the short term and adds substantially to his retirement entitlements.

Feral Skeleton

27/11/2011NormanK, 1. If Mal Colston was such a "dangerous Socialist", why did the Coalition nominate him for Deputy President of the Senate? 2. If Peter Slipper was so bad, why did the Coalition Preselect him for the election last year? 3. If the LNP were in the process of getting rid of Peter Slipper, mid-term, as Joe Hockey laughingly suggests, how is it that they are so inept to have allowed him to run last year in the 2010 election, but not wanted him this year,his alleged indiscretions being from a time before last year's election? 3. Finally, what does it say about the Coalition/LNP that they are prepared to tolerate fraud and corruption from their MPs, until it suits them not to? Plus, how is it that they are again preparing themselves to tolerate the proven fraud and corruption associated with Mal Brough, from his years in the Howard government, simply because they have decided that Tony Abbott doesn't cut it anymore and they want Mal Brough to step in and take his position as Leader of the Opposition?

BSA Bob

27/11/2011Norman K et al A bit off topic, but in the Colston history I note that as of 1977 it's a constitutional requirement that a replacement Senator be of the same party. A classic case of the Liberals "having done what we did & got away with it, but now faced with the prospect of retaliation in kind, perhaps it's time to change the rules so this sort of unfortunate incident can't happen again."

NormanK

27/11/2011Feral Skeleton All very good questions. I am intrigued by the way in which people like Joe Hockey are able to declare that Slipper was on the way out (pushed by his own party) and that Labor did a grubby deal with him. To my way of thinking it was either a 'grubby' deal where Labor persuaded (enticed) him to defect OR he jumped before he was pushed. Honestly, they can't have it both ways and yet as we've seen time and time again, the Coalition want to have their cake and eat it too. Once again the senior commentators ignore this blatant contradiction in the Liberal rhetoric. For what it's worth, I can't for the life of me see how this was a 'grubby deal' - any more than I can see the negotiations with the Greens over the final stages of the MRRT as a 'back-room deal'. Slipper was almost certainly going to jump or fire a torpedo. It would have been interesting if he had gone to the cross-benches before Harry resigned and only then been elevated to Speaker. To my way of thinking, only the timing was slightly different - Harry got in first. I bet there are a good many LNP members who are having kittens at the moment over Slipper. After all of those years involved with the Qld Nationals, then the Liberals and finally the LNP he must have a considerable dirt file on them which he can now unleash with impunity. I can't see him standing at the next election, his electorate don't want him enough to vote in an independent so what has he got to lose? The LNP in Qld is, as usual, one scandal way from imploding before the next election because the Liberals and Nationals just can't settle their differences. Queensland will have a much closer election than the polls currently suggest.

Jason

27/11/2011In politics, moral outrage is a slippery slope JACK WATERFORD 27 Nov, 2011 01:00 AM A GOOD many people, including bishops of the lesser denominations, expect that politics will provide ongoing miracle plays and morality lessons that can be the stuff of Sunday sermons. More experienced players are interested in the effects of politicians' actions, but a good deal less interested in day-to-day pontifications about the dirty deals that politicians actually make. If they are not, they will be sooner or later obliged to attack someone they like. All the more so, if they have any sense, the permanent commentariat. I have lots of opinions, but usually spare loud expressions of my outrage about deals of the sort by which Vincent Gair, or Malcolm Colston, or Peter Slipper are, in effect, inveigled into taking a bribe for the partisan advantage of their supposed enemies. That's what politics is about. I am cynical enough to be certain that ''a shocking abandonment of principle'' by a ''wicked and unscrupulous politician'' will be followed, in due course, by a very similar ''masterstroke'' by some ''practical'' politician I vaguely admire. Heaven forfend that I should have to be consistent and condemn him, or her, out of hand, proclaim them morally unfit for their offices, or deserving of the boot. By much the same token, I have always been careful of making absolute pronouncements about political or constitutional, as opposed to moral, principles. I was not, for example, in favour of Sir John Kerr's dismissal of Gough Whitlam in 1975 (in part because I think Kerr acted before a political crisis had become a constitutional crisis) but I never doubted or disputed that Kerr had the power to do so. Many who insisted on maintaining the rage denied that Kerr could, let alone should, have done what he did. Likewise, I was snorting on Thursday when the ridiculous and ludicrous Christopher Pyne insisted there was a sacred and immutable Westminster principle that a Speaker must come from the government party. Pyne had every reason to be angry about the betrayal by Peter Slipper. Yet Slipper's sin was political, not moral, and even then somewhat less distasteful than the sins of Malcolm Colston. Synthetic outrage by Pyne invariably lacks scale. And, by virtue of karma, it served the purpose of reminding us that in politics what comes around goes around. And that while the ambition and self-righteousness of Mal Brough knows no bounds, his political judgment remains suspect. Peter Slipper is, peculiarly, yet another Liberal own-goal in the history of Brough's manifest destiny of leading the Coalition over a cliff. We have more or less canonised Abraham Lincoln, but some of his actions in buying and selling venal politicians would not pass modern muster. I wonder if Pontius Pilate knew the truth. But political morality is for Caesar, not God, even if the outcomes (as opposed to intentions or methods) are supposed to serve both. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/in-politics-moral-outrage-is-a-slippery-slope/2371890.aspx?storypage=0

Feral Skeleton

27/11/2011NormanK, Good points yourself, sir. :) Was it not said in despatches before the Slipper slipped the bonds of the LNP that he was, himself, preparing to go to the crossbenches before the Queensland State Election, so that he might tip a bucket on the State LNP? Which is why the machinations had, indeed, begun to find a way to shut him up? I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when 'Telephone' Tony was on the blower to the LNP in Queensland, trying to head this off at the pass in the last few weeks. I can only imagine what inducements may have been offered to Peter Slipper, and deterrents canvassed with the LNP & Brough. :D

Jason

27/11/2011THIS is the story of a political rodent, Labor's political Pied Piper and a leader who stepped in his own rat trap. Details on how Liberal National Party double-crosser Peter Slipper was groomed by the ALP to take on the role of Speaker in the nation's Parliament can now be revealed. The spade-work by Labor tactician Anthony Albanese began on the afternoon of May 31 after a heated battle in Question Time. At the time, Speaker Harry Jenkins lost a vote on the floor to suspend Liberal MP Bob Baldwin from the House of Representatives. Usually, a Speaker would resign under these circumstances, and indeed, Jenkins said, "After Question Time, I will be taking the time to consider my position". Opposition Leader Tony Abbott jumped to his feet, almost begging Jenkins to stay, knowing that if the MP moved to the backbench, Prime Minister Julia Gillard would benefit from an extra voting number. But it jolted Albanese - Labor's Leader of the House - into action. Albanese already had a good relationship with Slipper, who was serving as deputy speaker. So while the Coalition was slamming the PM on her carbon tax and weak leadership, Albanese held a private meeting with Slipper. He asked if he would be willing to take on the Speaker's role if Jenkins ever pulled the pin. Albanese and Slipper both knew it would lead to the Queensland MP being thrown out of the LNP. But Slipper was already considered a pariah and was labelled a rat for switching from the Nationals to the Liberal Party earlier in his career. He also knew the LNP would not support his pre-selection at the next election and was ready to dump him for former Howard government minister Mal Brough. Slipper agreed, and the waiting game began. Over the months, Albanese maintained a good relationship with the ostracised Coalition MP while Slipper's colleagues publicly rebuked him and leaked stories about alleged rorting. The perfect storm headed the ALP's way early last week. Jenkins had become tired and frustrated. But he wanted to introduce US President Barack Obama into the House of Representatives in mid-November before making his move. Jenkins, a social MP who is very close to Ms Gillard, was unable to attend as many functions because of the burdens of minority Government. So on the morning of Thursday, November 24, he made up his mind to resign. For Jenkins, losing $100,00 from his paypacket was not that much of a concern. Earlier in the week, the LNP executive in Queensland was getting ready to dump Slipper. On November 22, Slipper returned phone calls by LNP president Bruce McIver, who was becoming worried about rumours the MP was threatening a curve ball just before the state election. McIver told Slipper there were three options: do nothing, bring on an early pre-selection or be disciplined. Slipper replied, "That's up to you, Mr President". That night McIver and his team scheduled to meet about what to do about "Slippery Slipper". But McIver got an ominous phone call from a non-party member hours later, warning that Slipper was acting strangely and was up to something. McIver was hoping Slipper would resign, saving the executive from taking action. But the next morning Jenkins threw a bomb. Before Jenkins told the Parliament of his decision, Slipper was advised at 7.30am of what was planned. Albanese and Slipper had a private conversation. Slipper reaffirmed his commitment and his own team, that had treated him so shabbily, was none the wiser until hours later. At 10am, the ALP held a caucus meeting where Albanese revealed he would be supporting Slipper's bid for the job. Albanese had war-gamed any potential problems about the plan and determined it was worth the risk. Caucus agreed. Now, for the first time, the Gillard Government could suspend standing orders and bring on its legislation. The political manoeuvre cannot be underplayed. Abbott was left blindsided by one of his own, the Government has an extra vote in the house, the power of the Independents has been reduced and the threat of an early election has been lessened http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/how-alp-lured-slipper-to-speakers-chair/story-e6freon6-1226207034200

Roswell

27/11/2011I'm appalled that some of you people have been jumping over The Australian's pay wall. It was put there, you must remember, to keep the level headed people out. It is far, far better on this side.

NormanK

27/11/2011Roswell You have far too high an opinion of us. I, for one, have been down on my hands and knees burrowing UNDER the wall to steal gems of wisdom from Shanahan et al. Like a good many greedy thieves before me, I have discovered that this accumulation of wisdom has not made me any happier. Perhaps it is time to back-fill the holes and stop giving in to the curiosity that afflicts me whenever I hear strange mutterings coming from the other side of the wall. Now what am I going to bitch about? :(

Feral Skeleton

27/11/2011NormanK, I'm sure 'Austrollian Anonymous' have a 12 Step Program for what ails your psyche. :)

Lyn

27/11/2011Hi NormanK I appreciate you answering me on the question of Steve Colston, and I value your reply very much. You are worth your weight in gold NormanK.1 As somebody mentioned recently, it's a funny medium on here. Ad Astra always answers me but mostly my posts constantly go unanswered day in and day out. Thankyou very much NormanK, your reply is as usual well researched and incredibly interesting. [quote]Lyn It seems that no-one else has answered your question about Colston so I'll give it a shot. TalkTurkey no doubt has strong views on these incidents and would be able to provide a more in-depth analysis. From what I recall and have recently read, comparing Slipper to Colston is a bit like comparing a flying fox with a parrot (because they both fly and eat fruit) while conveniently ignoring their manifest differences. [/quote] I found a few worthy comments on this page :- [quote]'My way or highway' will flounder in Senate[/quote] THE ascension of Peter Slipper to the Speaker's chair shows how the Coalition has been outflanked again; and emphasises the ineptitude of their parliamentary leaders, Tony Abbott, Christopher Pyne and Eric Abetz. We have to ask why Abbott was unable to get the support of the conservative independents after the last election. The Coalition's stance to oppose everything and not horsetrade has forced the government to horsetrade with the Greens and independents; they alone have received the lollies and the concessions. http://www.theage.com.au/national/letters/my-way-or-highway-will-flounder-in-senate-20111125-1nze2.html#ixzz1esRUqsiw http://www.theage.com.au/national/letters/my-way-or-highway-will-flounder-in-senate-20111125-1nze2.html#ixzz1esRB9JyZ Cheers:):):):):):):):):):):)

Ad astra

27/11/2011Folks Back in Melbourne, I've now read all your interesting comments. What a fascinating behind-the-scenes story is emerging. Tony may think he's smart and politically astute, but clearly he has been seriously caught short, and exposed as being asleep at the wheel, politically slow on the uptake, and impotent to avoid any Slipper problems he may have seen coming. His loss is not just a vote or two, not just the reduced possibility of an early election, but perhaps most importantly any aura of invincibility he may have fostered, and any aura of political nous his colleagues may have afforded him. He is now a seriously diminished politician.

Ad astra

27/11/2011Hi Lyn Thanks for the additional comments from the Fairfax Press; do you have a link to MIchelle Grattan's piece? She sounds quite nasty. Also, while Roswell is not looking, could you please sneak behind the paywall of [i]The Oz[/i] and paste here George Mega's piece on the dumbing down of the public on matters economic in full. I read it in the print version, but would like to save it a file in my Bookmarks. NormanK's information on Mal Coulson was informative - it brought back my dim memories of that affair. Jason's account of the Slipper affair too was fascinating. What a source of useful information [i]TPS[/i] has become.

Feral Skeleton

27/11/2011D Mick Weir, Thank you for your exotic links today. :) And I mean 'exotic' in the nice way, not in the 'exotic dancer' kind of way. ;-)

Lyn

27/11/2011 Hi Ad Glad you are back and hope you had a nice day. Here are the 2 articles you mentioned and yes NMichelle Grattan is quite nasty, very annoyed as a matter of fact. [quote]while Roswell is not looking, could you please sneak behind the paywall of The Oz [/quote] Ad I haven't been sneaking behind the wall, I've been bulldozing holes in their wall, just to compare their so called "well sourced", factual, the public needs to know gossip. They really do have themselves all tied in knots over the Slipper Speaker. The narrative has been shattered. [quote]Slippery figures and surplus truths to ride out the year , Michelle Grattan, The Age[/quote] Peter Slipper's spending on travel at home and abroad is getting a fresh airing now he is Labor's new best mate. If ministers look embarrassed defending him, what the hell. They will just shut their eyes, hold their noses and think of those safer House numbers. http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/slippery-figures-and-surplus-truths-to-ride-out-the-year-20111126-1o015.html#ixzz1esd3MB3L [quote]The curse of public economic illiteracy , George Megalogenis The Australian[/quote] THERE are bad budget surpluses and good deficits. Paul Keating's last surplus in the financial year of 1990-91 was clearly in the former category because it added to the burden of the "recession we had to have". Peter Costello's last deficit in 2001-02 was in the latter because it helped Australia dodge the US recession of 2001. In a perfect fiscal world, where the politics and economics are aligned, voters would understand the need for temporary deficits. But this is Australia, where both sides of politics have spent the many years since Keating was booted out of office wilfully reducing the community's basic understanding of economics. Costello is more responsible than most for dumbing down the debate. He had done so well with the "Beazley black hole" slogan in the late 1990s that he refused to countenance the possibility of cyclical deficit at the 2001 election. The nation's economic literacy has fallen ever since. That Costello budget slipped into the red anyway because he wasn't going to cut into a downturn. But the deficit wasn't confirmed until many months after the government had been returned for a third term. This is where he, and on his behalf the nation, lost perspective. Instead of saying, "Yes, that is what the budget is supposed to do in a downturn", he made excuses. "Are you embarrassed to run into deficit this year?" he was asked in the budget lock-up press conference on May 14, 2002. "We think that there will be a deficit of $1.2 billion in cash terms in 2001-02," Costello said. "The principal reasons why it's changed are that we had additional expenditure in relation to the war against terrorism and tax receipts in the early part of 2002 were weaker than expected. We are still running a very, very strong fiscal policy." Like the children overboard affair, it was an unnecessary fudge with unforeseen consequences still being felt today. The public, in its wisdom, insists that Labor return the budget to surplus for 2012-13 even though the global economy is in danger of a double-dip recession. Why a surplus for the next financial year is non-negotiable has never been explained by either side. It is easier to blame the politicians than the people when a nation trafficks in comic-book absolutes such as "stop the boats", "no, send them to Malaysia". But the electorate must share culpability for the notion that a budget must always be in surplus. Seriously, what rational citizen demands handouts in good times and a surplus in bad? Wayne Swan will announce a surplus for 2012-13 when the mid-year review of the current budget is released in the coming days. The surplus will be backed up with real cuts to cover for any slippage in revenue. As ministers explain privately, the electorate will not permit anything else. Next May, when the actual budget for 2012-13 is released, the surplus will still be there, on paper. Whether it survives what the global economy throws our way may not be known until the second half of next year. If there is, indeed, another global financial crisis, the public may tell pollsters they want more cuts. But any treasurer who says "Sure" at this point would not warrant the title of the world's greatest. [b]Nor would an opposition leader who calls for such cuts deserve to be treated as a serious alternative prime minister.[/b] [b]Tony Abbott is himself a victim of the Costello curse, where no nuance in fiscal policy can be countenanced[/b]. As one economically literate Liberal explained it this week:[b] Abbott opposes Labor taxes, but supports the spending that is[/b] [b]attached to them. And when Labor does announce cuts, "he cries class warfare[/b]". It has been one of the many bizarre subplots to this long, strange political year. Abbott asserts to be the superior economic manager, and must surely have a focus group report to tell him this is so. But he has a Swan-like tin ear on the bigger forces at play. The actual level of cuts required [b]to meet every commitment Abbott has on the table, including the promise to deliver a surplus even larger than anything Labor offers, would provide a unwarranted shock to the economy at any point in the cycle.[/b] Some perspective is required on how much belt-tightening is already under way. In the five years before the GFC - from 2002-03 to 2007-08 - real government payments increased by 3.7 per cent a year on average. That was, by any measure, slack given the context of the mining boom. During the GFC and its immediate aftermath - 2008-09 and 2009-10 - the figure jumped to 8.4 per cent a year, according to data in a speech by Treasury official David Gruen this week. "Over the subsequent three years, 2010-11 to 2012-13, (payments) are forecast to grow at an annual real rate of 0.4 per cent," Gruen said. Virtually no growth off a higher base may not seem much of an achievement. But it is better than what Costello could do in the first phase of the boom. To go even harder, as the Treasurer and Opposition Leader seem to think we must, regardless of what happens in the rest of the world is ridiculous. Of course, neither man has actually said they will cut in the event of a meltdown in Europe, but you wouldn't know it from the chest-thumping. One final piece of information worth mentioning. Before the world froze in the second half of 2008, the budget projections for the financial year we are in now - 2011-12 - assumed revenue at 25.5 per cent of gross domestic product and spending at 23.9 per cent for a surplus of 1.3 per cent of GDP after removing the earnings from the future fund. The post-GFC reality, as revealed in this year's budget, is that revenue is lower by 2.3 per cent of GDP while spending is 0.6 per cent higher for a deficit of 1.5 per cent of GDP in 2011-12. [b]To blame government waste for the deficit, as Abbott does[/b], and to accept the sledge as Swan does by offering to keep cutting, is to miss the point of the real structural weakness in the budget. It's the tax base. But, like spending, it can't be repaired too quickly because the pursuit of more revenue from a slowing economy would increase the danger of a self-defeating recession. Here's the rub: Labor has no flexibility in its carbon tax for the next three years. A fixed and rising price on carbon will, other things being equal, force Labor to increase its compensation package on a temporary basis if the global economy interrupts our boom for a second time. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/the-curse-of-public-economic-illiteracy/story-e6frgd0x-1226206506049

TalkTurkey

27/11/2011Lyn said Ad Astra always answers me but mostly my posts constantly go unanswered day in and day out. Lyn you make me proper shame job. We not so good longa you and Ad. My not think mostly you bin got-em nofella reply but? Sometimes might be I no know answer anyway. Anyway nofella bin answered me question me bin I yell this morning: "Did my eyes deceive me, or did Crassidy's mob - in showing Slipper's 'unwilling dragging' to the Speaker's chair - DID THEY PULL THE LAST SECOND OR TWO showing Peta Credlin's face ? I think I'm right and if so it seems to me a very telling thing!" Might-be somebody bin send smoke signal?

Ad astra

27/11/2011Hi Lyn Thank you for the Grattan piece. Curiously she mentioned the LOTO once only: [i]The summer will be punctuated by Tony Abbott making tactical interventions via a mobile phone, even as he snatches a bit of holiday time.[/i] Perhaps she now regards him as unworthy of a meaningful comment. She was focussed on demeaning Labor, so Tony was let off the hook. Perhaps she has given up trying to hook him; he slips off the hook so easily and often. Thank you too for the Mega piece. TT I was so busy getting ready for the trip to Melbourne this morning that I had only passing glimpses at [i]Insiders[/i]. So I can't answer your question. In any case I never did see the look on Peta Credlin's face during the 'struggle' to install Peter Slipper as Speaker; in fact I don't know what she looks like. I'm sure someone will have her look captured on Facebook or YouTube.

Casablanca

27/11/2011[b]Real Julia gets unreal conference. Mark Latham [/b] AFR: 26 Nov 2011 00:04:22 | UPDATED: 26 Nov 2011 11:37:12 The same right factional chiefs who delivered Gillard the prime ministership will deliver her a series of token victories next weekend. The rugby league super coach Jack Gibson had a simple but highly effective way of guiding his teams to victory. Whenever they led at the half-time break he would urge them to concentrate on their defensive effort. “If the other team don’t score”, he explained, “we can’t lose.” Gibson’s philosophy mirrors the way in which Labor’s Right faction sees its task at next week’s national conference in Sydney. It has a defensive role in blocking the excesses of the party’s socialist Left faction. If each of the Left’s initiatives is defeated then the Right will regard itself as having had a winning conference. It might not have put forward a policy of its own or in any way advanced the power of Labor thinking, but around the lazy susans of Sussex Street’s Chinese restaurants on Sunday night this will be hailed as a grand final victory. The founding fathers of the national Right grouping are Graham Richardson and Robert Ray. During the first term of the Hawke government (1983-84) they formalised the factional system, creating a disciplined Right bloc that ensured cabinet decisions were carried through caucus. Their goal was to support the party leader and avoid the chaos that had marred the decision-making of the Whitlam government. This control-and-support model was also applied to national conferences, ensuring no leader over the past 25 years has been humiliated by the non-parliamentary Labor Party. Thus the theatre of these conferences has followed a familiar pattern. Labor’s leader stakes out his or her key issues, the Left responds with an ambit list of so-called progressive policies and then the Right delivers the numbers for the leader, voting down the socialist Left on the conference floor. It is a tightly stage-managed process, scripted by the factional system for maximum electoral impact. In recent times the Left has become so shop-worn and subservient it has not even called for the counting of votes. This year’s gathering will be no different. Julia Gillard will carry the conference on her nominated issues of uranium exports to India, a conscience vote on gay marriage and limited internal party reform. There will, however, be a public relations twist. A decade ago the Right operative John Della Bosca observed that “the gig is up, the mob are onto us” – meaning the public was starting to see through Labor’s media spin and sophisticated campaign techniques. This is a particularly sensitive issue for Gillard, given the way the “faceless men” organised her coup against Kevin Rudd. In Della-speak, the mob are onto her contrived media image, what she herself has defined as the dichotomy between the fake and the “real” Julia. More than any other Australian prime minister, she has a legitimacy and authenticity problem. Gillard needs to have a “real” conference, the appearance of genuine debate and fiercely contested voting. This is why her office has been briefing the press gallery on the unpredictability of conference processes. Do not believe a word of it. The same Right factional chiefs who delivered Gillard the prime ministership will deliver her a series of token victories next weekend. For Labor’s 46th national conference, conflict is the new black. The Left’s outspoken organiser, Doug Cameron, will play the role of Snidely Whiplash to Gillard’s Sweet Nell, with Paul Howes of the Australian Workers Union cast as Dudley Do-Right. As the pantomime unfolds, the conference audience will hold its breath as Cameron ties Gillard to the train tracks, only to heave with relief when our heroine is saved by the forces of righteousness. Only the gullible will fall for the trick. It is inconceivable that the conference will be unscripted. Gillard’s leadership is fragile enough without the risk of voting down her policies. Once more, Labor’s spin-doctors have miscalculated, inviting a deflated media response to Gillard’s agenda. An obvious sleight of hand is the PM’s position on gay marriage. When this issue was last before the Parliament in 2004 Gillard supported a binding caucus vote. She saw the matter as one of policy principle rather than conscience. In effect, the adoption of a conscience vote at this year’s national conference is a cop-out. It guarantees that any bill to legalise gay marriage will be defeated in both houses of Parliament. By simple calculus, there are more Catholic Labor MPs opposed to gay marriage than progressive Liberals in favour of it. A free vote is a doomed vote. A lively point of interest at the Sydney Conference Centre will be the antics of Rudd. A month ago he would have had this event pencilled into his diary as a prime opportunity for the further destabilisation of Gillard’s leadership. Whenever the Labor tribe gathers in large numbers, treachery and rumours are bound to circulate, an ideal environment for Rudd’s networking skills. In late 2003, for instance, when Rudd and others were working against Simon Crean’s leadership, the veteran Labor senator John Faulkner feared this destabilisation would turn the national conference scheduled for January 2004 into a farce. Faulkner’s response, in what he thought were the best interests of the party, was to tell Crean to resign. That’s how I got the leadership against Kim Beazley – the one ballot in politics I wish I had never won. Now, with Newspoll on Tuesday recording a spike in Gillard’s approval rating post US President Barack Obama’s visit, Rudd’s strategy is less clear-cut. My feeling is that he won’t be able to help himself. He has been briefing journalists and their editors so vociferously about his leadership prospects that to back down would be to lose face. Most likely, he will look to Newspoll’s primary vote numbers (Coalition 48-Labor 30) as evidence of Gillard’s unelectability. The same outlook applies to Labor’s coup in recruiting Peter Slipper as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. While ostensibly it looks like good news for Gillard, Rudd will endeavour to twist it to his advantage, arguing that Labor now has greater freedom to change leaders without losing the support of the key independents. In short, the man is irrepressible. Having sabotaged Labor’s campaign in 2010 with his leaks to Laurie Oakes, it is a relatively small step for Rudd to make mischief at a national conference. The most difficult issue for the conference is organisational reform. In his autobiography Whatever It Takes, Richardson neatly described the power relations of modern Labor: “To last the distance, any faction has to have union support.” Thus the party is based on an organisational contradiction. While trade unions have lost members and relevance in the broader economy, their influence in the ALP has steadily grown. Forty years ago local branch members had an expectation of influencing the policy deliberations of Labor conferences. The party’s parliamentary leader, Gough Whitlam, took the national conference so seriously he set about rewriting its platform. Today the only voices of influence in the party are parliamentarians and union officials – the hollowing out of its rank and file base. Many Labor MPs, far from rewriting the platform, have never read it. Their primary interest at national conferences is to remove restrictions on their policy-making power. This has reduced the platform to a series of vague concepts and motherhood statements. Party reform offers only Hobson’s choice. If Labor maintains its traditional union-based structure, it will further entrench the factional system and concentrate power in the hands of the machine men. If it abandons the unions and embraces membership-based democracy, it will empower a cadre of radical inner-city activists, leaving Labor indistinguishable from the Greens. This is a dilemma for left-of-centre parties internationally, creating a mass movement for reform that remains in touch with the values of suburban middle-class voters. These tensions were evident in the Bracks/Faulkner/Carr report earlier this year, the findings of which will be debated at conference on Saturday afternoon. The report recommends a compromise model of change, simultaneously giving union officials greater power while also expecting the public to get involved in primary-style preselections. This is the problem with reforming an organisation top-heavy with powerbrokers – every progressive idea is counter-balanced by concessions designed to pacify the old guard. The result is a blancmange of contradictory and ultimately self-defeating proposals. Whether Labor likes it or not, a growing number of people want nothing to do with trade unions, in the workplace and at the ballot box. http://www.afr.com/p/national/real_julia_gets_unreal_conference_eBB3LEhH1l3nzkiFDkDAGO Mark Latham is a former federal Labor leader.

Gravel

27/11/2011Again thanks to all that have wished us well. Lyn Yes we are thrilled. I now have to get my to-do lists sorted. I done the budget, now to start cleaning out the rubbish and work out what to keep and what not. Then onto the packing. Luckily you wonderful people will probably slow down a bit so I can fit in a small amount of reading. I laughed at the tin can and string solution for the internet, but then thought, hang on did I include it in the budget. Swanny I need your help to sort this damn budget out, things keep cropping up that I hadn't planned. Damn, damn, damn...........

Lyn

27/11/2011Hi Talk Turkey Our best friend from the nofella tribe. [quote]Anyway nofella bin answered me question me bin I yell this morning: [/quote] You have made me laugh so much, now I can't even read. [quote] DID THEY PULL THE LAST SECOND OR TWO showing Peta Credlin's face ? [/quote] Talk Turkey I did glimpse Peta Credlin , I could post a link for you but suspect you wouldn't want to watch the show again just to see her. [quote]Talk Turkey did you read what NormanK told me TalkTurkey no doubt has strong views on these incidents and would be able to provide a more in-depth analysis. From what I recall and have recently read, comparing Slipper to Colston is a bit like comparing a flying fox with a parrot (because they both fly and eat fruit) while conveniently ignoring their manifest differences. [/quote] love this bit: [quote]comparing a flying fox with a parrot [/quote] Here is meet the press in case you missed it; Meet the Press panel interviews former Prime Minister, Paul Keating and current Finance Minister, Senator Penny Wong http://australianpoliticstv.org/2011/11/27/meet-the-press-20/ This video is funny:- The Bolt Retort [i]Channel 31 airs The Bolt Retort[/i] Channel 31 Melbourne last night aired a satirical piece aimed at TEN presenter and News Ltd. columnist Andrew Bolt. The Bolt Retort is a Colbert-style five minute response to Bolt’s TEN programme, The Bolt Report. Presented by Shannon Marinko from ABC2′s The Bazura Project, it probes the editorial of the TEN show and its outspoken presenter, Andrew Bolt. Marinko tells TV Tonight, “It’s about time another ill-informed white man took to the TV screens to talk absolute rubbish and draw impossibly-thin conclusions about issues much better explained by actual journalists. And that time was a five minute bracket last night. http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2011/11/channel-31-airs-the-bolt-retort.html This video is worth watching really , they are mixed up and getting in a mess. The serious Bolt Report:- Putting a bit on Christpher Pyne:- Peter Costello and Michael Costa. Peter Costello likens Slipper to Colston. Goes all funny trying to say Tony Abbott is not to Blame and Slipper is a loose cannon. http://ten.com.au/video-player.htm?movideo_m=144195&movideo_p=44795 Cheers:):):):):):):):):):):)

Casablanca

27/11/2011[i]Budget cuts that tackle middle-class welfare will test the maturity of our debate and demonstrate that we are capable of identifying our national interest and acting on it, rather than playing small-minded minority politics. This is Labor’s task.[/i] [b]Time for Labor to rise to the challenge. [/b]Editorial. AFR: 26 Nov 2011 00:04:22 | UPDATED: 26 Nov 2011 11:37:12 The shenanigans over the election of a new Speaker of the House of Representatives this past week and secret late-night deals to secure support from the Greens for the minerals resource rent tax highlight once again the shortcomings of minority government. The Gillard government’s grip on power has been strengthened. It will still rely on some independents to have its legislation passed, and remains beholden to Bob Brown’s Greens in the Senate. Which means we are in danger of seeing more of the type of dubious deals and questionable compromises that Labor undertook to get the mining tax through the lower house in the early hours of Wednesday. The mining and carbon tax wrangles are further evidence, if any were needed, of how Labor’s minority government is consumed by the struggle to hang on to power rather than leading a national debate over how we manage what senior federal Treasury official David Gruen described on Thursday as a “once-in-a-lifetime” surge in our terms of trade, and the strains that come with it. Given the complexity of the policy challenges now facing the Australian economy, that’s a grave concern. Having squandered the rewards of previous resources booms, Australia needs to not only take advantage of the opportunities thrown up by the present one, but also respond decisively to the challenges of a multi-speed economy. But the Labor government has not set out a convincing story of how it plans to harness the resources boom to secure long-term national prosperity. And on the global stage, US President Barack Obama’s visit last week brought into sharp relief the geopolitical conflict and vast economic opportunities that Australia will probably face in coming years, as our most powerful ally, the US, harnesses itself more closely to growth in the region, and at the same time tries to impose its influence and values on a bristling China, which is by far our most important economic partner. We have yet to reconcile those tensions. Managing Australia’s mineral wealth and the structural changes to our economy that are being wrought by the resources boom is a long-term policy challenge. The economy’s speeds are rapidly diverging, with mining and mining-related sectors forecast to drive the bulk of Australia’s economic growth in coming years and the non-mining sector – which is 70 per cent of the economy – just limping along. All elements of economic policy, including structural reform, need to be tightly focused on how best to enable the shift of resources to fast-growing sectors. A series of compromises has instead rendered the mining tax a “dog’s breakfast”, as one of the government’s own economic advisers has said. It has introduced more distortions into the economy, and with its carve-outs and limited coverage the tax will likely collect less than the $14.3 billion in spending already promised. The shambolic mining tax process also meant that as a nation we failed to investigate and thoroughly debate the issue of whether a sovereign wealth fund is needed. Queensland this week took the step of placing its gas royalties into an education fund. But nationally we have, so far, pocketed the proceeds of the mining boom in tax cuts and increases in middle class welfare. We are not in favour of a Norwegian style sovereign wealth fund which preserves the fruits of their resources boom for future generations, as we are in need of investment in infrastructure now in order to ensure that we fully exploit the mining boom. The boom in commodity prices may have peaked, and we should be debating, as Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens has suggested, the need for a Chilean style stabilisation fund which builds a buffer in the event of a downturn. At the very least we need to have a more extensive debate about what we do to preserve the benefits of the boom. With the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook to be released this week, the government now faces a big test. Labor has made the right call in recognising that showing budget discipline now will secure our national interest even if it will cause short-term political pain. Returning the budget to surplus will help rebalance the economy by taking pressure off interest rates and the dollar. It will also prove to the world that our budget is in shape at a time when the European sovereign debt crisis is worsening. Australia is standing out as a beacon of economic health and this week Commonwealth bonds benefited from a flight to quality with 10-year yields falling to unprecedented levels, even as terms for corporate and state government debt on global markets are becoming more expensive. With its extra vote the government’s immediate challenge is to make headway in digging the budget out of structural deficit by cutting wasteful spending. Restoring budget integrity would give the government flexibility to respond and the RBA room to cut rates further if the world economy deteriorates. Budget cuts that tackle middle-class welfare will test the maturity of our debate and demonstrate that we are capable of identifying our national interest and acting on it, rather than playing small-minded minority politics. This is Labor’s task. http://www.afr.com/p/opinion/time_for_labor_to_rise_to_the_challenge_wgyQTYG8G8lk5jG9rK1iWK

Casablanca

27/11/2011[b]Slippery figures and surplus truths to ride out the year. Michelle Grattan[/b] Opinion. November 27, 2011 [i]Frustrating ... Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan are not getting the political marks for the economy that they might deserve. [/i] WELL, Julia Gillard has better parliamentary numbers, thanks to last week's dubious deal with Slippery Pete, the House's new Speaker. This week, Wayne Swan needs to do the trick with another brand of numbers. When the Treasurer unveils the budget update, the government will be under tough scrutiny. The figures need to show it is on track for that much-promised 2012-13 surplus. Presumably, they will do so. Swan lately has said so often the government was determined to keep its promise of returning to surplus next financial year that if the update suggested anything else he would be trashing his and Labor's economic credentials. But the savings it has made in the quest of the surplus - which would still have to materialise in the May budget, then be realised in practice at the end of the 2012-13 year - have to be credible. No sleights of hand, dodgy assumptions, questionable changes in budget parameters or other tricks of a treasurer's trade. Despite media hype, the update won't deserve to be called a ''mini budget'' but the government has indicated it is looking for some serious savings and that's what we need to see. Advertisement: Story continues below It is frustrating for Gillard and Swan that they are not getting the political marks for the economy they might expect, or deserve. It's true that it is the mining boom delivering the gains but you would expect some of the gold dust to rub off on the government. Instead, there is that economic ''patchwork'' problem, with many people feeling left out of the good times. How the budget update is received will be important to whether Gillard maintains what has seemed some momentum, though whether that is real or faux is unclear. The latest Newspoll had the PM doing better but the ALP primary vote going backwards, from 32 per cent to 30 per cent. At the end of this week, the Labor Party will be looking for a strong leadership performance at the ALP national conference. Yet another set of numbers here - and they will fall entirely or mostly Gillard's way. On the most important issue before the conference, the party will scrap its ban on uranium sales to India, as Gillard has urged it to do. On gay marriage, it will give her the conscience vote she has called for, though it's too early to say whether it just might be bolshie enough to reword the platform to favour marriage equality. The PM says she prefers a noisy conference - but she has to have one where she is seen to prevail on almost everything. Her numbers men of the Right will be diligently seeing to all that this week. After the conference and barring something extraordinary, the political year will wind down. The summer will be punctuated by Tony Abbott making tactical interventions via a mobile phone, even as he snatches a bit of holiday time. No one will be properly resting. Come the new year and poll numbers will again preoccupy Labor. If Gillard can't lift the primary vote to the mid-30s in the early months, the leadership talk will start again. In the meantime, there are yet other numbers confronting the government. Peter Slipper's spending on travel at home and abroad is getting a fresh airing now he is Labor's new best mate. If ministers look embarrassed defending him, what the hell. They will just shut their eyes, hold their noses and think of those safer House numbers. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/slippery-figures-and-surplus-truths-to-ride-out-the-year-20111126-1o015.html#ixzz1esw2acKv

Ad astra

27/11/2011Casablanca Thanks for the AFR editorial. I note the editor says: [i]...the Labor government has not set out a convincing story of how it plans to harness the resources boom to secure long-term national prosperity.[/i] Still searching for the Holy Grail - 'the narrative'. Is this Michael Stutchbury writing? He joined the AFR recently; I thought as editor. It sounds like something he would write. When will these searchers for 'the narrative' ever offer one that might fill the bill?

Ad astra

27/11/2011Folks I have just posted my last piece for the year; [i]Julia Gillard’s Vision for the Asian Century[/i] http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2011/11/27/Julia-Gillards-Vision-for-the-Asian-Century.aspx It was inspired by a comment made by NormanK following my last piece: [i]Julia Gillard’s Light on the Hill[/i]. He suggested a more forward-looking approach would be fitting; I hope this piece fills that bill. As always, your comments will be welcome.

Lyn

27/11/2011Hi Ad and Everybody Here is a picture of Peta Credlin,she is beside Abbott in every picture, every move he makes. Peta Credlin http://www.google.com.au/imgres?q=peta+credlin&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&rlz=1W1GGHP_en-GBAU436&biw=1280&bih=544&tbm=isch&tbnid=fbPwU- [quote]THE people behind the scenes in politics are often as interesting as those in front[/quote]. And backroom machinations, almost without exception, are more fascinating than the politics played in public. Political fixers and staffers often prefer to stay out of the media, but Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s chief of staff Peta Credlin has such an aura of influence that writer Kate Legge decided to take a closer look. You probably haven’t heard of Credlin, although [b]you may have noticed her shadowing Abbott, [/b]but what has emerged is the story of an intriguing woman - and definitely one to watch. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/hail-the-chief/story-e6frg8h6-1226182904994 Cheers:):):):):)

nasking

27/11/2011Thnx for all yer contributions AC, I've had some good chuckles. Have a great time off. And super hols w/ yer family. Enjoy the break...relax & float downstream. Ya deserve it. Cheers N'

Ad astra reply

27/11/2011Hi Lyn Thanks for the Peta Credlin photos - I must say, I've not seen her previously.

Feral Skeleton

28/11/2011Casablanca, Many thanks for bringing to our ever-hungry eyes the Editorials and articles that we would otherwise miss in the maelstrom of words and images that fly past us each day. I am grateful for the effort that you make on our behalf.

Feral Skeleton

28/11/2011lyn, It should go without saying that I am in awe of your efforts with the links on our behalf at The Political Sword. You are even becoming better at witty repartee, something I don't do very well myself. It has a lightness of touch and whimsicality that I find hard to manifest myself. My words have always worn boots for kicking, while yours wear shoes for dancing. :)

Feral Skeleton

28/11/2011Might I also just add that I have just finished watching the Walkley Awards on TV. They have served to reinforce the clubbiness of journalists and the fact that they like nothing more than wilfilly misrepresenting the nature of realpolitik and diplomacy. My reason for saying that is that they decided to give the Walkley for Investigative Journalism to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Yet again they sprung a fairly dishevelled-looking Assange, via videolink, on the viewing public, who prompmtly used the platform given to him to issue forth with a tirade of personal abuse directed at Julia Gillard and the government she leads, for persecuting the leader of the Right Wing 'Free Speech' Revolution, Julian Assange. A Revolution which, curiously, only ever seems to be interested in the machinations of Centre Left governments around the world. Such that this man, and his Australian doppelganger, Andrew Bolt, have seen to it that they arrogate unto themselves the roles of Crusaders for this thing they have misnomered, 'Free Speech', but which seems starkly to me to be more like the 'Right' to 'Free Reign', or 'Free Range', against the governments of their despicable choice. Anyone would think, the way they, and others who have seen fit to conveniently assume the mantle of Crusaders for 'Free Speech', go on, that the governments they rail against vituperatively, have committed crimes against humanity. One of which appears to me to be that they wish to be able to conduct government business in confidentiality and behind closed doors, when necessary. Which, of course, equates to High Treason to journalists. And didn't the Mini Potentate of revealed pointless political prattle(with the odd informative piece of information, like a diamond amid the crap), spit chips that his God-given authority to usurp governments was being questioned by our national government, even in the ever-so-slightest way? So, basically, the whole thing just reinforced my suspicion that Julian Assange is an egomaniacal & arrogant prig(modesty prevented me from saying anything more salacious ;-) ).

Feral Skeleton

28/11/2011Here's another one of those dreaded Australian opinion pieces that I refuse to give them my details so as to harass me at a later date, but I would like to read it: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/did-i-say-that-kevin-rudd-fumbles-the-party-line/story-fn53lw5p-1226207503213 :K to anyone who can stomach going behind the paywall to put it up.

Feral Skeleton

28/11/2011: K ?

Feral Skeleton

28/11/2011OK, I've forgotten how to do the kiss emoticon. :$

jane

28/11/2011FS, @12.44am, confirming my opinion that Juliian Assange is nothing but a Liars Party stooge and crapagandist. If he had been a genuine whistle blower, we should have seen shitloads on the Twig Regime and the Rodentochracy. I have doubts about the rape charges because he wouldn't be able to look take his hand off it long enough to do anything like engage in any way shape or form with a woman. Nor would he be able to tear his eyes away from his reflection long enough to actually select a victim, let alone molest anyone, the self involved heap of guano. As for the msm, awarding that wanker anything but a gaol term and a solid boot up the kyber, says it all. They've now trashed the Walkley Award. There isn't enough disinfectant to clean the thing up enough after that! And for your delectation and anyone else who doesn't want to get shit on their blogging shoes and go bankrupt buying disinfectant: by: Peter Van Onselen, Contributing editor From: The Australian November 28, 2011 12:00AM YESTERDAY on Australian Agenda Kevin Rudd (perhaps) unwittingly delivered a simultaneous message about party reform and the parliamentary leadership of the Labor Party. In mounting his case for party reform to empower the lay membership to elect party officials across the spectrum of the organisation, Rudd let slip that such reform may also be part of his argument for a change of parliamentary leadership. Only he is prepared to deliver control of the Labor Party to the members who have historically been shut out by the unions, the factional warlords, indeed the parliamentary executive of which he is a part. Rudd would go further to get members participating in the Labor Party than any other senior figure in the party. That was his message. While Julia Gillard focuses on a conscience vote on gay marriage and opening up uranium exports to India ahead of the ALP national conference, Rudd wants members to use the week leading up to the conference to consider party reform because "unless we undertake some serious organisational surgery we (will) end up being a third party in Australian politics". Free trial Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar. Recommended Coverage Rudd calls for Labor Party reform End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar. It's a big statement. Asked would he implement his ideas if given the chance, Rudd was categorical: "Absolutely." But it was what followed that will have profound implications for federal politics: "My recommendation, if elected . . ." He paused mid-sentence. "If I was in a position in the future . . ." Paul Kelly quickly asked the question viewers must have been thinking: "You mean if elected prime minister again?" Rudd began the necessary hosing down: "No, no, no, I'm going to your question, that you said if you're ever in a position to do something about this." The cat was out of the bag. The exchange with Kelly was brief, but the message was clear: Rudd views party reform as both Labor's strategy for political survival and his ticket to political revival. This has implications beyond the influence of powerbrokers or even what it means for a return of Rudd to the leadership. If reforms such as Rudd is proposing were to be enacted, the power and influence of the Labor Right would risk being replaced by the party's Left. The unions are powerful in the factional Right, however the lay membership always elects a left-winger as party president. It would likely do the same across other leadership positions if given the chance. Empowering the members and disempowering the unions would change the Labor Party's fundamentals. A power shift inside the Labor organisation would inevitably lead to a policy shift as well, moving the party leftwards over time. Following yesterday's interview, cabinet ministers were quick to privately condemn what Rudd had to say as little more than rabble-rousing, and by someone with a less-than-stellar track record when PM of seeking the input of others along the lines he now wants implemented. But that doesn't make the reforms Rudd proposes any less real. And there is always the possibility that he has seen the error of his ways and hopes to now get the opportunity to do things differently a second time around. Either way, Rudd's reformist zeal is sure to be an unwanted distraction for the Prime Minister in the lead-up to the conference, if not the parliamentary year ahead.

jane

28/11/2011Sorry, forgot the [quotes].
How many umbrellas are there if I start with two and take 2 away?