Time for a third force in Ozpol

Australia needs a third, viable, major political party.

This is obvious, to me. At their core, the policies of the two major parties are diametrically opposed. The Labor party is the progressive party that builds the country’s infrastructure and provides welfare programs. The Liberal party is the regressive party that sells the infrastructure and bolsters business in the fond belief that the created wealth will trickle down to those less well off.

The above view is a simple one. Some may argue that the policies of the two major parties are very similar. I have never thought so. I think the claim of ‘similarity’ is easily made, picked up and repeated without being thoroughly examined. Recently, for example, the former LNP Opposition argued against the Labor government’s Better Schools funding (Gonski), but at the last minute agreed to maintain the policy if it won government. This does not mean the two major parties now have the same policy. It means a bone of contention was removed at the last minute to appease certain sections of the electorate.

There is no guarantee the LNP government will keep the policy because it has a strategy of maintaining fears and doubts about the state of the economy and a mania for a Budget surplus. The same could apply to Labor’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Consider also the different approaches of the two major parties to environmental protection and carbon pollution.

I’ll leave it to others to nit-pick over the sameness and differences of the two majors. I’ll simply state that the almost unbelievable arrogance and self-indulgence of the Labor governments of the past six years have given the LNP Coalition a free ride into office. If the people were forcefully rejecting Labor, they were not necessarily voting for the coalition’s policies. Given the nature of the news media coverage at the time, few would be aware of what policies were being offered by either party.

We now have to endure the dismantling of some of Labor’s achievements and the sale of public assets, not because that is what Australia needs right now but because it is what Liberal political philosophy dictates. This will happen because there is simply no choice at present. You either have government by Labor or Liberal, and they are worlds apart (see: Prologue to IPA’s 100-item list to change Australia).

If former PM Kevin Rudd’s party reforms work, there is hope for a more stable Labor government at some future time. But it was Rudd’s opposition to union factionalism (and a decline in opinion polling for a number of reasons) that got him sacked in the first place – by the Right-wing union faction. The Right wing’s man, Bill Shorten, has won the leadership contest over Anthony Albanese, and it remains to be seen if the internal wrangling will continue, with Rudd fiddling away on the back bench, playing the game of sabotage for which he is renowned.

The Liberal party coalition with the National Party of Australia is not as secure as the Liberals would have you believe. There were tensions during the past three years (notably between the WA Libs and Nats over issues related to wheat marketing), but the Liberal PR machine did a good job of largely keeping it out of the news media.

New points of contention are rising. They concern the fate of the National Broadband Network (NBN), the sale of wheat marketing infrastructure and agricultural land to foreigners and the continuing feeling of isolation and neglect in country and regional areas. Liberal plans to cap university places and a disguised attack on university union funding have led to protests from the Nationals and their country cousins. The Liberal’s plans to devolve environmental decision-making to the States in order to speed up mining project initiation will lead to more friction. Farmers and some country townsfolk have for years been concerned about the encroachment of mining and fracking activities and their effects on lifestyles and health. The abolition of the carbon tax, the cutting of red and green tape and moves to fast track mining approvals are causes for concern – creating points of tension.

The Liberals are unlikely to gain government without the support of the Nationals (2013 federal election primary vote ALP 4,311,431 - 33.4%, Liberal 4,134,750 - 32%, Nationals, various forms, 1,748,066 - 13.5%). Is it conceivable that the Nationals could withdraw their support of the Liberals? Is it more likely they would use the threat of withdrawal to force concessions on policies? Their deputy leader, Barnaby Joyce, has achieved stage two of his goal to become the federal leader: he now has a Lower House seat. When federal leader Warren Truss retires, Joyce probably will become federal leader of the National party. When he became leader of the Nationals in the Senate in 2008 he warned the Coalition government it could no longer rely on the support of his party in the Senate. Joyce crossed the floor 19 times during the Howard government era and is a threat to Liberal power. I’ve no doubt the Liberals will use their news media machinery to destroy him if push comes to shove.

The Liberals and the Nationals have an agreement to contest the same seats in some areas. I don’t know how either party finds that situation tolerable. Losing a seat to your ally must create an uneasy situation, especially when there are differences in party policies.

If the Nationals were to pull support, would another party fill the void in the coalition, would Labor govern for decades, or would a third party arise? Neither Katter’s Australia Party nor Palmer’s United Party are yet strong enough to constitute a third, viable, force. Katter and Palmer have their origins in Queensland’s Liberal National Party. The Nationals had their origin in the defunct, or rebadged, Country Party. Given their history and interests today, both men are likely to side with the Liberal federal government, although Palmer’s collection of policies and some of his public pronouncements are hard to reconcile with Liberal philosophy.

Illustration by Kaja Malouf

There are also serious questions about whether Katter and Palmer are stable enough to be taken seriously. In my opinion, Joyce, Katter and Palmer belong in the same silly boat – each of them rowing in a different direction. Why the eponymous party names, in the case of Katter and Palmer? Are they capitalising on the unfortunate trend towards Presidential personality campaigning? The last thing this country needs is another egomaniac pulling the levers and it seems the ALP has recently recognised the dangers in that.

Putting aside the turmoil of WWII Australian politics, there have been few notable attempts to establish a third, viable, political party. Some may remember the split in Labor ranks (1955) that led to the formation of the Democratic Labor Party (1957), with one elected Member today (Senator John Madigan). For that split we can thank the extreme Right-wing Catholic ‘Bob’ Santamaria. His ghost and anti-union rhetoric lives on today in the form of arch disciple Tony Abbott.

Another serious attempt to form a third force was made by the Australian Democrats (1977), a merger of the Australia Party and the New Liberal Movement, led by former Liberal federal Minister Don Chipp. The Australian Democrats had promise and some success in getting Senate seats, before gradually tearing itself to pieces over a 30-year period. It is reorganising, but initially on a States-only basis.

There was also Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party. Its xenophobic stance attracted wide support in Queensland, where the party originated, but attracted anger elsewhere, especially in the federal parliament and the news media. The party won 19 State seats in Queensland – scaring the pants off the Liberal party. The now xenophobic ‘Stop the boats’ Tony Abbott responded by creating and raising funds for the Australians for Honest Politics Trust – money that was used to take Hanson and co-founder David Ettridge to court for ‘electoral fraud’, which resulted in them being jailed for some months. Ettridge is now suing Tony Abbott, claiming $1.5 million damages. Hanson failed to win a NSW federal seat at the 2013 election.

‘Tearing itself to pieces’ seems to be the disease of the Australian Labor Party – and it’s contagious. The Greens caught the bug some time ago and went into severe regression on 26 September, 2013. Numerous staff resigned over the running of the federal election campaign. There is some uncertainty about whether there was a simultaneous attempt to install the party’s deputy leader, Lower House MP Adam Bandt, or Senator Sarah Hanson-Young as national leader in place of Senator Christine Milne.

The Greens need to pull themselves together after the punishing swing to the Liberals, which cost the Greens 4.7% of their vote, along with two Senators (although ‘Senator’ Scott Ludlam has won a rare recount). It would be a shame if the Greens were to destroy themselves as other alternative parties have done. They seem to me to be a natural partner for Labor, although they have had problems aligning policy details on carbon pricing and refugee or asylum seeker policies.

Perhaps the problem with a Greens Labor alliance is that Labor sees itself as the party with all the policies and all the solutions for any given problem. If that’s the case, it’s hard to see how it could cooperate with any other party, even one that was somewhat similar. In that case, it has to find some way to counter the LNP coalition, the future risk of ‘hung’ or minority governments, the trend towards increasing numbers of Independent or non-aligned Senators and the frustration of losing an election due to the distribution of preferences.

There is also a risk that Labor is not strong enough to overcome the powers aligned against it today, especially the commercially owned news media and the persistent effort over the past decade at least to install a Right-wing bias in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). To get off topic for a moment, some way must be found to guarantee the impartiality of ABC News and Current Affairs because its untraceable efforts at ‘balance over time’ make it appear to be always unbalanced in one direction or the other. The balance within its supposedly independent complaints body also warrants investigation.

The September 2013 election was remarkable for the number of new parties that fought for a seat, especially in the Senate. Next July we will have a motley crew of ‘Independent’ Senators, with a bloc of four consisting of three Palmer United Party Senators and Senator Ricky Muir of the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party. Writing in the Business Spectator (a wholly owned News Corp subsidiary), veteran business journalist Robert Gottliebsen claims Tony Abbott has the Senate sewn up and the PUP bloc, including Senator Muir, will support the Liberal government’s policies. That article, written on 9 October, is at odds with what Clive Palmer said the following day, commenting on his deal with Senator Muir.

It’s just possible that none of them will sit in the Senate because the Mad Monk may bring on a Double Dissolution to satisfy his lust for unrestricted power. See Gottliebsen’s first six points below for his thoughts on what might trigger a DD. But Gottliebsen also says Tony Abbott might avoid a DD because the voters hate early elections. I have yet to read or hear anyone ask why Tony Abbott wants total power in both Houses and what he’ll do with it if he gets it (see ‘What Tony Abbott will do’, in relation to the proposals of the Institute of Public Affairs).

Gottliebsen, who might have a reliable source of information within the federal government, has also written about Tony Abbott’s 12-point plan to transform Australia. (See Gottliebsen's first six points of Abbott's 12-point plan and the second six points.)

That 12-point plan is another reason why Australia needs a viable third political party. As stated above, when you get down to it the two majors are not similar – they are very different. When the government changes hands, the country swings wildly to the Left or the Right. The Right believes it must move much further to the Right because the Left will inevitably take the country further Left again (see again IPA 100 item agenda prologue). It’s about as silly as politics can get, with ideology overruling common sense and even the common good. Prime examples are Abbott’s determination to abolish carbon pricing, disband environmental advisory bodies, cut funding to NGOs, install a third rate NBN and introduce an outlandish Paid Parental Leave scheme to replace the one we have.

Gottliebsen’s 12-point plan story and the IPA’s 100-point plan (12 of which points Tony Abbott has said he will adopt and implement) demonstrate the chaotic nature of the Duopoly roundabout.

A third party that can win and govern alone would interrupt these wild pendulum swings. If a third party was occasionally successful in gaining government there would be less opportunity and a longer wait between ruinous bouts of excessive sell-offs and cutbacks or expensive social welfare programs.

Looking way ahead, what is the outcome of the platforms of the two major parties, and where do we go from there? After the Liberals have sold everything and cut taxes, regulations and wages to the bone, what’s next? After Labor has cemented every possible workplace and social welfare program permanently in place, what then? Is this why these two major parties are subtly changing, sometimes appearing to be similar, but always retaining the essential difference of Labour versus Capital? There is, perhaps, only so much political parties can achieve before they become irrelevant, useless or merely tax collection and distribution agencies.

In the meantime, where is the third alternative or even steadying influence? One party that emerged about 12 months before the election was The Australian Independents. It had a decent list of policies and some wholesome middle-class candidates. But it played its cards a bit too close to its chest and seemed to be publicity shy, which is not to say it was secretive. The leader, Dr Patricia Petersen, who I am told is a long-term perpetual candidate, is unfortunately hard to contact.

Katter’s, Palmer’s and Petersen’s parties offer something that was pioneered by the Australian Democrats. They say they are recruiting candidates who will swear to vote for local issues – true local representatives. Revisiting this issue is a reflection on how fed up we are with the majors and the bigger minors*. But how will the practice work out when a local issue clashes with the party’s stated policy?

*See The Sydney Morning Herald editorial of 24 September, 2013: ‘Greens need to win middle Australia - and follow Don Chipp's diktat’.

I’d vote for an Atheists Party. An atheists party can’t simply stand for non-belief in a spiritual being. It must have a raft of policies. One would be getting religion out of schools and focusing on science and ethics instead. I see atheism as essential for the future well-being of ourselves and our planet – especially for the environment and the critters we should be sharing it with. My atheism is about reality, about being grounded in reality and relying on science to understand our world and our place in it. We need to get real about our world, our situation (see IPCC Summary for Policymakers, the 2013 report). Leaving the big outcomes to the good graces of a mythical being is a risky strategy.

I have avoided a detailed discussion of policies and their alternatives. We are not short of political parties or policies. Like many other things in this country, we now have an embarrassment of riches. What we don’t have is a viable third force. But we do have alternatives that do not represent a drastic, even catastrophic, change. We need one of these third elements to gain sufficient support so that we can have change without chaos. Moving back and forth from Liberal to Labor is chaotic – the change is often too great and too disruptive.

I don’t want to overplay the Labor drum, but for its sins of self-indulgence Labor has been turfed and the people have no choice but to give the Liberals another go. They have made that decision without being fully aware of the Liberal agenda, of the changes that will now take place. It is naïve of anyone to think the agenda consists merely of Tony Abbott’s six-point slogans:

  • We’ll build a stronger, more diversified economy so everyone can get ahead;
  • We’ll scrap the carbon tax so the average family will be $550 better off next year alone;
  • We’ll get the Budget back under control by ending Labor’s waste;
  • We’ll create two million new jobs within a decade;
  • We’ll stop the boats with proven policies;
  • And we’ll build the roads of the 21st century.
If you can read between the lines of the above slogans, you will see there is a lot of missing detail. The devil that is the Liberal philosophy is in those missing details of policy implementation and what that means for various classes of citizens.

There’s plenty of room for a strong third party, plenty of people fed up with the chaos of frequent change within the Duopoly. We don’t need a political party that scares industry, business and investors to death, or one that drives pensioners, the disabled and the disadvantaged to an early grave. Because of eternal frustration with the Left Right swing of the pendulum, it is time for a third party with a broad vision and a plan for our future.

For those who are not welded to one ideology, I’ve put links to several parties’ policies on one page on my website. You’ll find a menu under Categories, on the left-hand side.

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TPS Team

20/10/2013Readers of [i]The Political Sword [/i]are privileged to have a discussion starter this week written by someone whose work they may first have come to know through Lyn’s Links. We welcome [b]Barry Tucker[/b], a retired journalist who worked in the profession for more than 40 years – in all forms of news media before producing his own magazines as an early desktop publisher. You will find more details on Barry’s professional life at: http://thesnipertakesaim.wordpress.com/about/ Barry is known to [i]TPS[/i] readers for his lucid and articulate commentary on the state of Australian journalism and for his passionate pursuit of ‘truth in media’. To remind you, he presently runs two blogs: • [i]The Action Front for Truth in News Media Resource Centre [/i](http://bit.ly/Z1XUC0), and • [i]The Sniper: Writing About Writing and the News Media [/i](http://thesnipertakesaim.wordpress.com/about/) In this piece, ‘Time for a third force in Ozpol’, Barry takes a different direction and offers a strong opinion piece quite away from the subject of the media. Here, he raises many questions about the two major-party system and puts a provocative case for a third major party in Australia. Barry suggests that: [quote]There’s plenty of room for a strong third party, plenty of people fed up with the chaos of frequent change within the Duopoly.[/quote] He adds: [quote]Because of eternal frustration with the Left Right swing of the pendulum, it is time for a third party with a broad vision and a plan for our future.[/quote] Are you fed up? Is it time for a third major party? Let us know what you think.

Ad astra

20/10/2013Barry Tucker Thank you for your thought-provoking piece, so well articulated. Although generally-speaking the electorate divides into Labor and LNP camps, there is widespread dissatisfaction with politics and politicians, all the more so since the travel entitlements rorting has come to light. Many voters seek to vote for others, which I imagine is why the Palmer United Party has done so well in its first foray into Federal politics. Even the Greens, who were gaining in popularity prior to the 2013 election, did less well this time, their proportion of the vote falling substantially. Voters seem to have become somewhat disillusioned with them and their politicking. Their future seems less certain than it was a short time ago. The notion of politicians serving first their own electorate, which in my view they ought to do anyway, is sound. This resonates with me much more than slavish adherence to the party line. Independence of thought and opinion ought to be the hallmark of every politician. Of course, each will have his/her own ideology, and set of beliefs and objectives, which will determine what party or group individuals join. Within that broad party consensus though they ought to be able to argue their position strongly and without inhibition, putting their electorate’s needs and wishes first. Parties ought not to force all their members into the party straightjacket, especially around social issues such a same sex marriage and euthanasia. Whether we will see the emergence of a third major force in Federal politics, such as we saw initially with Don Chipp’s Democrats, and then the Greens, is problematic, and should we see such an occurrence, would it be doomed to eventually go the way of the Democrats? The people would need to be convinced that a political system with three or maybe four strong parties, with any of them being able to govern alone, would be preferable to what we have now. The electorate may be the biggest stumbling block to a multi-party system. Old habits die hard!

Catching up

20/10/2013I do not believe that Abbott promise to keep Gonski. He and Pyne were always careful to say, they would keep the level of funding, nothing else. We have Pyne whining on about having to clear up the mess, Labor left. We have NSW, which I believe, reject the Independent schools of Abbot, Pyne, WA and Queensland,. I suspect that Gillard has ensured that they cannot unscramble the Gonski omelet to easily. This morning, I heard once on ABC Local radio that Abbott was preparing to roll out Independent schools across the nation. That they would be rub by the parents. Have not heard anything since. Abbott kept on about getting rid of that toxic carbon tax. Nothing about all the legislation that relied on the price on carbon emissions. Nothing about what the money was being spent on. I believe this made Abbott's promise very dishonest. As was his claim, that it was all about making electricity dearer, so people would use less. Abbott knows that is not the case. It was about making power produced by fossil fuel more expensive, to encourage power to be generated from renewals, not fossil fuels. In the long run, would lead to cleaner and more efficient electricity. We have had many minor parties, but they seem to go nowhere, becoming tools of one of the major parties. Maybe the answer lies in more, good independents. Yes, even the old Communist party added some diversity to politics. This wiping out all that Labor has achieve, I believe is a new development of incoming government. Most where happy to make a few adjustments. Menzies even thought nothing of adopting some of Labor's policies, much to Caldwell's disgust. Was listening to an USA programme talking about happenings in that country at this time. It was said, that the modest Medicare, of Obama's was first muted by the Republicans. Much of what Abbott is turning out to dismantle, was at times, Liberal policy. Maybe it is not another party, but the voter becoming involved at grassroots level, and kicking a few arses. of both parties. Time for people to get back out in the streets. Time for the pollies to start earning our votes.

cuppa

20/10/2013What became of the Democrats and One Nation? The Nuclear Disarmament Party? Katrer's Australia Party? History is littered with the corpses of failed parties. Started (no doubt) with high optimism and stars in the eyes of their founders. There are just two survivors in major-party politics today - Labor and the Liberals. Out of them the Liberals are the upstarts. A third, even a fourth and fifth major parties, is a nice idea with a lot to recommend it as Barry outlined. However I don't see it happening. Australians lack the political sophistication to cope with a female Prime Minister and a hung parliament. They like things "the way they've always been". Status quo reigns supreme.

Catching up

20/10/2013Yes Cuppa, many see more than two parties as not being a democracy in action. The Gillard minority government came closest we have seen as being Democratic in my lifetime. Well it seems we have the DLP back.

Casablanca

21/10/2013CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Monday, 21 October 2013: 25 items ENTITLEMENTS & FIDDLES 1. It’s time, Finance and AFP: Randall’s Cairns claim must be investigated Margo Kingston, OK, we’re starting to get to the pointy end of the political travel rorts scandal. So, we have what on its face is a fraud on taxpayers, the payment of money for a private purpose. What next? http://nofibs.com.au/2013/10/20/time-finance-afp-randalls-cairns-claim-must-investigated/#sthash.XKZE0RC2.dpuf 2. margo kingston ‏@margokingston1 6h I suggest concerned citizens lodge a complaint on Randall to AFP. Grounds http://nofibs.com.au/2013/10/20/time-finance-afp-randalls-cairns-claim-must-investigated/ … Form https://forms.afp.gov.au/online_forms/report_a_crime … 3. Ashbygate at Northwind Ashbygate Trust SPRING is in the air. The Ashbygate Trust’s legal team is enthusiastic..The Federal Court’s decision on Ashby and Harmer’s leave to appeal hangs over the players like the Sword of Damocles. Best of all, Clive is suing Mal. http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/ashbygate-at-northwind/ 4. Ashbygate on Facebook Discussion and news of the Ashbygate affair and the Ashbygate Trust. https://www.facebook.com/groups/585444634841472/ 5. Time for citizen action on MP travel scams: @budget_aus has a go Rosie Williams I have been working to improve Australia’s budget transparency for a year now. I built the first ever implementation of the entire federal budget as an online searchable database at BudgetAus. The database allows you to search across every agency and portfolio, providing a total of spending (with all forward years where given) for your topic. This has never been available before and realising this raises important questions regarding Australia’s maturity in terms of openness and accountability. http://nofibs.com.au/2013/10/20/time-for-citizens-action-in-mp-travel-scams-budget_aus-has-a-go/#sthash.KEN63v5Y.dpuf 6. Citizens Against Rorting of Entitlements - CARE Do you care about politicians using taxpayer funds to attend weddings and sporting events? This is the page to show that you do care and that you want it to stop. Join the Forum if you want to help plan the group response to stop the rorts. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Citizens-Against-Rorting-of-Entitlements-CARE/244247399060027 POLITICS 7. Government limiting recovery funds 'heartless' Judith Ireland The Abbott government has tightened the eligibility requirements for bushfire victims to receive recovery funds in a move that Labor has described as ''heartless'' and ''an absolute nonsense''. People who have been cut off from their homes or who have no electricity have not been deemed eligible in the first round of disaster payments determined by Justice Minister Michael Keenan. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/government-limiting-recovery-funds-heartless-20131020-2vv36.html ABBOTT 8. Tony Abbott: here are your 10 commandments Nikki McWatters So, verily I say unto you, Tony Abbott. If you are the devout Christian you purport to be, let's see you be an honest-to-God Christian Prime Minister. Remember that your Jesus was at various times homeless, unemployed, seeking asylum, relying on welfare, a teacher, a healer and also a great leader. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbott-here-are-your-10-commandments-20131018-2vs3j.html#ixzz2iGyxj4is 9. Abbott's first month - Comments Steve Irons The overall score at this point is a big negative. Abbott has proven himself to be ruthless and secretive, and very willing, even delighted, to turn back the wheels of progress and take us back to earlier days. Some changes that have already happened and some changes that we can look forward to are stupid and idiotic, and will turn Australia into a joke around the world. http://www.bloggerme.com.au/abbotts-first-month-comments LABOR 10. Labor should pick all its scabs Jack Waterford ..it is unlikely that Labor can move forward until it looks back. Just as importantly, the public, and perhaps the party, will not forgive the inner sanctum, or the organisation, until it is satisfied that it has looked critically at what occurred, seen some of the errors of its ways and resolved not to go there again. At this stage, judging by what was said during the leadership campaign, it is not clear that Shorten (Roxon's former lover) has learnt anything from Gillard or Rudd's failures, or his own. He is on course to repeat their errors. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/labor-should-pick-all-its-scabs-20131019-2vtoj.html#ixzz2iEB8vwNs 11. Factions still have 'too much power' Noel Towell Labor's federal caucus has had a "vitriolic and nasty factional brawl over the spoils of defeat", say the former ACT chief minister Jon Stanhope and two of his former senior colleagues...And the chorus of "self-praise" for Labor's recent democratic reforms are aimed at bolstering the continued dominance of the party's factions, the ACT Labor stalwarts say...The successful grassroots revolt that ACT Labor mounted against a factional preselection agreement in 2010 should be held up as a template for the party nationally, they write http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/factions-still-have-too-much-power-20131020-2vvat.html#ixzz2iGtIwiel 12. ALP factions remain a fatal flaw Jon Stanhope, Ross Maxwell and Greg Friedwald. In itself, factional activism doesn't have to be a bad thing. For all their faults, the factions do allow for negotiation within the party and, at times, they have protected it from extremes. But whatever positive influence they wield is seemingly inevitably corrupted by the need for personal power and dominance. The democratisation of the party is vital to its future success. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/alp-factions-remain-a-fatal-flaw-20131020-2vuu1.html#ixzz2iGwHKksT 13. Cursing Rudd Peter FitzSimons The attack by Nicola Roxon last week on Kevin Rudd - ''such a bastard'' - was not remotely close to the most vitriolic outburst about him from a former colleague. As quoted in Crikey, that dubious honour belongs to the retiring Labor MP for Bendigo, Steve Gibbons. Let it rip, Steve. ''Rudd's a piece of filth. I notice that some idiot leaked to The Age couple of weeks ago that they reckoned Rudd was responsible for saving 10 to 15 seats. I say f---ing frogshit, Rudd was responsible for losing 19 seats. That's the reality. Three years of destabilisation - and blatant destabilisation at that. And what pissed me off, the other day Laurie Oakes was interviewed on Neil Mitchell and he tried to pass that off as the norm. Peacock undermined Howard, Howard undermined Peacock, Hawke was undermined by Keating, all this sort of shit. But they all did that with one eye on the main game. And that was their party staying in power. This piece of crap couldn't give a f--- about that.'' Kevin Rudd was that badly hated inside the ALP? Who knew? (This is the complete text) http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/adam-bandt-has-every-right-to-get-fired-up-20131019-2vt3e.html#ixzz2iH0rvJIX EDUCATION 14. PM Tony Abbott's plan for public schools to go 'independent' Samantha Maiden TONY Abbott wants public schools to go "independent", with principals and parents in control under the first rollout of a schools revolution. http://www.themercury.com.au/news/pm-tony-abbotts-plan-for-public-schools-to-go-independent/story-fnj4f7kx-1226743171291?sv=a642902b804e0376b85434981e24456a#.UmNUzcBvS1Q.twitter 15. Class warfare as Tony Abbott's schools plan fails the Tassie test Matt Smith TASMANIA has declared war on Tony Abbott's bold plan to revolutionise the nation's public schools... "It will set school against school, suburb against suburb and town against town," Mr McKim said yesterday. http://www.themercury.com.au/news/class-warfare-as-tony-abbotts-schoolsl-plan-fails-the-tassie-test/story-fnj4f7kx-1226743491469 ECONOMY + BUSINESS 16. Free Trade Agreements and their questionable benefits Matthew Mitchell ... Lateline interviewer Tony Jones indicated that at least one of the sources politicians use is the Productivity Commission. But if we look – not even very carefully – at the Productivity Commission’s 2010 report on Bilateral and Regional Trade Agreements (BRTAs), we see evidence of serious misgivings concerning the claimed benefits of trade agreements (p 292) [IA emphasis]: http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/free-trade-agreements-and-their-questionable-benefits/ 17. Stephen Koukoulas ‏@TheKouk 16h This is the article Barrie Cassidy referred to on Insiders on the lack of a budget emergency: Why isn't Abbott acting on the 'budget emergency'? Stephen Koukoulas, 17 September 2013 As Australia faces the challenges of an ageing population, Tony Abbott's decision to lump aged care and ageing into the Social Services portfolio could spell trouble for the future of older Australians http://www.percapita.org.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=643 INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS 18. Eric Abetz readies for clampdown on building unions Clay Lucas The government is expected to introduce legislation to recreate the Australian building and construction commission as one of its first parliamentary acts, although Labor and the Greens have promised to fight the move. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/eric-abetz-readies-for-clampdown-on-building-unions-20131017-2vpjk.html ENVIRONMENT 19. The ocean is broken GREG RAY IT was the silence that made this voyage different from all of those before it...What was missing was the cries of the seabirds which, on all previous similar voyages, had surrounded the boat. The birds were missing because the fish were missing. http://www.theherald.com.au/story/1848433/the-ocean-is-broken/ GENDER & RACIAL INEQUITY 20. Call to arms: racism and sexual harassment is still rife in science Connie St Louis ...These events have shown how rife sexism, racism and sexual harassment against women in science still is. As it happens, all these events involved a small community of professional science communicators, but highlighted a deeper problem in science. http://theconversation.com/call-to-arms-racism-and-sexual-harassment-is-still-rife-in-science-19353 HEALTH 21. What you can do about the health impact of bushfire smoke Fay Johnston As bushfire smoke can cover very large areas, including major cities, it has the potential to affect millions of people and is a significant public health problem. Smoke consists of a very complex mixture of particles and gases, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds. And increased concentrations of the secondary pollutant ozone have been noted during large fires. http://theconversation.com/what-you-can-do-about-the-health-impact-of-bushfire-smoke-19333 22. Taxing fresh foods could have a big, bad health impact Lennert Veerman Absent from the discussion so far is how broadening the GST base might impact public health. In a letter in this week’s Medical Journal of Australia, my co-author and I reported on the potential health impact of removing the GST exemption for fruits and vegetables. http://theconversation.com/taxing-fresh-foods-could-have-a-big-bad-health-impact-19146 JOURNALISM + CLICKBAIT 23. Headline Headaches Tim Parks In reality, every message, whether in book, newspaper, or blog, is mediated in all kinds of ways, all of which tend to push the text toward two related editorial priorities: melodrama and the received idea....But nothing prejudices the way a reader comes to a piece more than its headline. Nothing is more likely to make him or her believe, even after reading the article through, that the author has said something he has not said and perhaps would never want people to imagine he has said. http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/oct/17/headline-headaches/ 24. Why Pierre Omidyar decided to join forces with Glenn Greenwald for a new venture in news Jay Rosen Omidyar believes that if independent, ferocious, investigative journalism isn’t brought to the attention of general audiences it can never have the effect that actually creates a check on power. Part of the reason he thinks he can succeed with a general news product, .. is by finding the proper midpoint between voicey blogging and traditional journalism, in which the best of both are combined. The trick will then be to combine that with the things technology companies are good at. http://pressthink.org/2013/10/why-pierre-omidyar-decided-to-join-forces-with-glenn-greenwald-for-a-new-venture-in-news/ 25. Guardian, Boston Globe, AxisPhilly, Texas Tribune take home 2013 Online Journalism Awards Coverage of the the Boston Marathon bombings, national security and international elections by news organizations large and small took top honors Saturday night at the 2013 Online Journalism Awards Banquet, which ended the Online News Association Conference. http://journalists.org/2013/10/19/guardian-boston-globe-axisphilly-texas-tribune-take-home-2013-online-journalism-awards/ TODAY’S MAIN NEWS & STATS The Finnigans' Home of the BISONs The Beautiful Inspiring Set of Numbers http://www.thefinnigans.blogspot.com.au/ • ROULE REPORT — Issues of Today http://paper.li/RouleReport/1334728962 • AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGES www.thepaperboy.com/australia/front-pages.cfm • NEWS HEADLINES 21 October 2013 http://www.hotheadlines.com.au/ #################################################################

Gorgeous Dunny

21/10/2013I agree with Ad Astra, that it's very hard to get away from the two major blocs here, even with increasing discontent. I wonder though, if there may be scope for a special interest type of party which couldinfluence the agenda of the majors. My own particular concern has been the running down of the public sector. We have seen some of the consequences of that in the NSW bushfires disasters. Queensland has been dead lucky so far that there has been no major emergency, or there could be disastrous consequences. When the Bali bombing massacre occurred, it was only the brilliance of the emergency departments of our major hospitals that prevented it being much worse, particularly in burns. At the time the Howard government had been about to move on defunding them, fortunately that got deferred. A curious but effective thing about the 43rd parliament, lost amid the noise about Rudd and Abbott stunts, was the remarkable affinity between the independents Windsor and Oakeshott and PM Gillard. It went some way to restoring investment in infrastructure, education and health, not to mention the big ones of carbon pricing, the NBN and NDIS. We have always had a strong public sector throughout our settled history here. It addressed urban poverty on the one hand and regional isolation on the other, and resuled in us having an excellent public education and hospital system. A lot of this value seems to have got buried under the advent of Reaganomics and Thatcherism, but a strong public sector is important to our community. I'm not quite sure how it's done, but the time is long overdue for us to stop brainlessly slashing public spending.

Michael

21/10/2013Here http://www.smh.com.au/business/why-cut-a-nearly-undetectable-tax-20131020-2vuvd.html?skin=text-only Peter Martin explains why repealing the 'carbon tax' is both materially irrelevant and likely to cause more problems than it 'solves'. In short, it displays how Abbott's biggest scare campaign, what is promoted as the core of his 'mandate'/the primary reason for his election, the abolition of the 'carbon tax', is meaningless in any sense of a positive impact for this country and its bills and tax paying citizenry. It also reveals that everything Abbott and co said about "the great big tax on everything" was a lie. The article tells us what it tells us about its own topic. It also 'tells us' that by no great or questionable extension of its logic, the Abbott Government was elected by lies, will govern with lies (and by repealing legislation it lied about, damage Australia), and when called to explain as a government rather than as a mob hounding a government, it will fall back on lies - "we never said 'tow back the boats'" for just one early example. ................... Abbott spent 14 hours helping back-burn around Bilpin yesterday, we're told, with, from what I've seen, various photo opportunities across those hours. I don't know how much of those "14 hours" are lied about, but I do know I was wondering where the leader of the country was over the weekend, why he wasn't seen supporting firefighters right across the vast spread of the fires. Pulling on long-worn emergency worker gear is fine, but he IS the leader of this country. 14 hours off the job for whatever reason is a waste of the power and rousing/supportive impact of the position he now holds, is meant to embody, and most importantly, fill. Falling back to 'Leader of the Opposition' style stunts indicates he's yet to comprehend the first idea about leadership as an iconic presence, not some form of competence asserted by costuming. But this comes as no surprise, and is certainly no excuse.

Frank

21/10/2013I'm not sure this is a great idea. A third party will take a generation or more to take off. Also, the Greens think they are that party. I'd rather that the ALP continue to fight the good fight until they are able to implement progressive policies once more.

Ken

21/10/2013I will readily admit I am in two minds about the idea of a third force in our politics. I can understand the logic of it but am not so sure how it would work. The Westminster system, under which we operate, is a strong party-based system: that is intended to provide stability in Government. The US is not as strong on party-lines but it has an elected Head of State who is also head of the executive government which gives it stability. But if you look at their legislature all sorts of strange things happen. The Executive often has to negotiate with individual members of Congress to get the numbers to pass legislation - that leads to Bills containing strange segments relating to funding of some particular project which has little or no relationship to the main purpose of the Bill. Some years ago I did read an article that examined the number of Bills in Congress that had provisions like this and the proportion was quite high. I'm not sure that I would like that happening here. On one level, I agree that members of the HoR should give priority to representing their electorates but, I fear, that if that operates outside the Party system, we will finish up with the American model of legislation. If a third party was successful, it could lead to minority governments most of the time. That is certainly not something Australia is used to. To my mind, it has both benefits and drawbacks. So, as I said, I am in two minds.

Millie

21/10/2013Well, us simple folk in the country need a third party to represent us. The old country party used to do it but they became the Nationals and now are too lily livered to stand up for country values agaisnt the Liberals. The first thing that Abbott announced was stopping 2.5 billion dollars of rural and regional projects - where the hell was Barnyardaby Joyce and the other nationals when that little stunt was pulled? Not a bloody peep. What a bunch of wimpering namby pambies those National are. They have sold out good country folk. It is a disgrace. So yes we do need a third party - one with a little bit of "country" would roll the Nats back to where all cowed cowarsd go.

Michael

21/10/2013http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-18/senior-abbott-staffers-furious-over-no-pay-rise/5030372 This is an illuminating article for multiple reasons, not least the final two paragraphs where a government MP, Peter Hendy, asserts that Minister's staff are part of the government "running the country", because "they're part of the executive". Lot simpler than getting yourself elected, after all the years of party politicking to achieve nomination, isn't it? Bear in mind in future, according to Coalition thinking, Minister's hired staff are part of this country's government - not just assisting in it's elected members' efficiency in their roles. "Ministers and their staff, they're running the country, they're part of the executive," Hendy said. Which makes Pete Credlin Madame Ceausescu.

Michael

21/10/2013"Peta" not "Pete", of course! And definitely not, in person, or as exemplar, of a beneficial 'third force in OZ politics'.

TalkTurkey

21/10/2013Thank You BARRY TUCKER for this controversial argument, one you plainly hold quite firmly. I'm sure that you won't mind that [i]even more firmly[/i], I cleave to the contrary view. I think that third parties, [i]of which we have already have a plague by-the-way,[/i] have been and are disastrous for good governance. I instance the DLP ("neither democratic, nor Labor, nor truly a party!") whose nasty religious bigotry manifesting as workplace bastardry divided the real Labor Party for so long and effectively meant the sure return time and again of the neo-Victorian-era Governments of Pig-Iron Bob Menzies. Bjelke-Petersen's mischievous appointment of the spuriously-named "Independent Labor" creep Field to a casual vacancy left by the death of a sitting Labor senator brought down the Whitlam Government. Granted this wasn't exactly a 3rd Party in any true sense but it did use the notion of a 3rd Party as a masquerade. And Cheryl Kernot of the Democrats, ceding to the Lying Rodent workplace powers which have effectively emasculated workers' organisations ever since - not that that is enough for Abborrrtt btw! - and her successor after Kernot's ill-starred defection to Labor, Meg Lees, whose claim to fame is that her connivance critically helped Howard impose a GST, whilst preening herself for managing some peripheral exemptions. Australians sorted her and her [i]O-so-naice[/i] mob out immediately they got a chance at the next election, Whoops there goes another centrist 3rd Party! Now there are the Greens, who first successfully torpedoed Rudd's CPRS, not because it was in the wrong direction, but that it didn't suit them exactly perfectly; so that delayed ANY action for years, at the same time giving Abborrrtt free kicks both before and ever since the 2010 election. Great work Greens! They've been in denial ever since, but it's the TRUTH. Oh and weren't they good at preventing any decent strategy to deal with asylum-seekers! Time out of mind they prevented Labor from implementing what then had to be worse-and-worse options, until in the end we got the "PNG Solution", and the whole issue [i]brought down the Gillard Government[/i], Thank You Very Much Greens! And now the Liberals are braying that [i]their[/i] actions are stopping the boats. Labor wore all the pain, Liberals got all the gain, Greens got nothing but kicked in the arse as so they should. Whoops there goes another "further-Left" 3rd Party. Third parties are in my opinion maggots in the body politic, eating at the vitals of decisive government. Gordon Bilney, my late brother, rated his greatest political achievement the defenestration of the saccharine sweetheart of the sycophantic yellow press, Senator Janine Haines, who challenged him in a 3-way contest in the seat of Kingston in SA, trying to weasel her way into the . We knew that if she came in second, with the weak Liberal third, she would easily defeat Gordon on Lib 2nd-preferences, though we also knew he would get most first-prefs. Everybody, his own daughters included, had Gordon gone - all except himself, and I have to say, me too. But he worked like a man possessed, with a [i]wonderful[/i] FEC of True Believers, some of whom are STILL on deck on behalf of the adorable Mandy Rishworth. And in the end he won, thwarting the Democrats' one-shot attempt at getting a toe in the Reps. This resulted in the decapitation of the Democrats, their replacement with a string of weak leaders and their eventual inevitable demise. Har bloody har, right whack. Reducing it to the simplest terms, they are analogous to monomanic little dogs snapping at the heels of a pair of boxers attempting to get a clear result. I despise them. Bugger off Greens, Democrats, DLP, Nats, let's have a knock-down drag-out fight betyween the 2 real parties, the one of action, the other of reaction.

Catching up

21/10/2013I was starting to think, I imagined Abbott's education roll out of Independent schools. One we need to keep a eye on. Thanks for the links. As for Abbott's fire fighting endeavors. I dare him to show us his attendance records at his nearest brigade for the last decade. Why does one believe a new party would benefit the likes of us. It could be more likely to be further to the right, as the Tea Party in the USA.

Catching up

21/10/2013It is not true that Australia in not used to minority government's. There have been many in the states. Are common in other countries with parliamentary systems similar to ours. They are common in other countries with parliamentary systems similar to ours. In fact, our system is not based on parties. That is how the elected MP chose to align themselves. What we see now, Abbott in full demolition mode, is new. Began wit Howard, but taken to a art form under Abbott. When I see Abbott, and his fireman activities, what comes to mind, is not fire fighter, but arsonist. Yes, he is more into demolishing that rescuing or building. One can only say, this is not a mature adult government Abbott is till into slogans and stunts. His, and the governments behaviour is very childish. Read that Hockey has been told that stimulus is necessary, that the economy is sluggish,. Article then went onto say, this is all the fault of Labor, with the regulations that strangle business. What are all these terrible new regulations, that Labor introduced. Morrison just said, that he is not stopping politically correct language. He is going to cal a spade a spade. Marles, says that asylum seekers, should not be demonised for politically purposes. Clouds the debate and works against developing bipartisanship with asylum seekers. They came to seek asylum. That is what they should be called. Well at least it is proven otherwise.

Ken

21/10/2013Catchng up You are right that parties are not essential to a parliamentary democracy but they are a conventional part of the Westminster system. Not legalised anywhere (in parliamentary law or in a constitutional sense) but by convention have become the mainstay of the system. A lot of European countries obviously have parlimentary democracies but not on the Westminster system. Some have proportional voting in their lower Houses and governments are only formed after some haggling. Italy, of course, is the classic example of the instability in government this can cause. Others, like Germany, have just as obviously worked their way through it. I may be wrong but even in the State Parliaments I think it has usually been independents who have supported minority governmets (other than the Greens in a couple of instances). England has a third party and it ended up aligning with Cameron although it is marginally more to the left. As I pointed out at the time, if the UK had preferential voting a majority of the vote actually went to their Labour party and the Liberal Democrats, not the Conservatives, and there could have been a very different result So voting systems matter and our voting in the HoR does work towards having two major parties (the 2PP)

Catching up

21/10/2013TT the answer is not another party. it is taking up the task of reforming what we have. Over my seventy years, I have answered anyone that complained about unions. mostly in the places I worked, to stop whinging about the Union. Told them if they do like the things the way they are, get off their backsides and change things. At the end of the day, unions are made up of their members. The members have final control. Same with the Labor government. There are many more grass root members, than officials, or the so called faceless men, which I believe disappeared in the days of Whitlam. With the membership growing, time has never been better for the rank and file, to show their strength, to take their party back.

Bill Shaw

21/10/2013The suggestion that a viable third party may provide a healthy addition to Australian politics is thought provoking. Attempts by the Greens, the DLP and the personality parties haven't quite had the effects desired by the proponents. The ALP's history of unionism has kept it viable since inception however with the downgrading of their members influence to power brokers, their non compulsory membership base and current civil scandals has many voters wavering with their support. Attempts at reform will enhance the party only if continued and genuine. At this time it would appear the Liberals are not in a reforming mode, dependant on big business (Rinehart, Forrest et al) and the back room influence of the IPA. And of course the power of Murdoch, Fairfax and Stokes with the MSM. To start a third party would require someone with enormous intellect and work capacity. One who could lead witty ideas, not a personality cult like the Hanson's, Katter's and Palmer's. Bjelke Peterssen had ambitions in this area as well before stumbling. (Why are all of these Queenslanders?) I did at one stage think Malcolm Turnbull was the messiah but I got that severely wrong. So if a viable third party doesn't eventuate we are stuck with the Coalition and the ALP. The Coalition will stick despite their differences. As you have said Barry the WA Coalition is fragile but holding together. The rural rail network is another area of dispute here. The Liberals want to dismantle the network, the Nationals to retain it and upgrade. I would like to see major political reforms such as limited terms of office, fixed parliamentary terms,increase in remuneration of MP's, decreases in lobbyists power and full and honest disclosure of political party funding. This will not happen as the very ones who can change this, the parliamentarians, have a vested interest not to do so. A curse on career politicians of all persuasions. Food for further debate is the three tiered government structure. Can we suffice with two, get rid of local councils? Again I suspect this won't happen but a debate could be worthwhile. The current effort to merge smaller councils is a starting point, erstwhile contentious and resisted strongly.

The Sniper

21/10/2013Some interesting comments so far, for and against. I didn't flesh out the third party or its policies, but I did repeatedly use the word "viable". By that I meant one big enough to survive time, big enough to govern in its own right. As I feared, the rusted on will remain rusted on. I've applied some anti-rust since the election because I want to get back to being an objective observer; it allows me to comment more accurately and fairly, to cover more ground more deeply. I'm not there yet. So far no one has dealt with the EFFECTS of chaotic swings from Left to Right, from a Labour bias to a Capital bias. This really is the main point in my argument. The only solution I can see is a VIABLE third party. The AusDems began with a middle-of-the-road approach, but dirty politics eventually got the better of them. It's curious that while the AusDems got many Senators elected (which some say is easier), they failed to get a Lower House member elected during their 30 years as an alternative party. Given that both majors represent mainly sectional interests, I'd like to see some thoughts on why third, alternative parties, have so far had limited success.

2353

21/10/2013Lets look at this from a different perspective. Does Australia need a third party - probably yes. Where would they best target - to the left of the ALP (to take up all those who believe the ALP has gone too far to the right chasing the even further right wing LNP. Will it happen - probably not. The reason is best shown in an analogy. The "big two" supermarket chains in Australia are Coles & Woolworths. Between the two of them they have representation in practically every town in Australia - and are quickly hoovering up the towns they don't have. In the past 20 years or so, there has been a noticeable demise of the independent supermarket and corner store. Most just disappeared - some joined a chain. The most "successful" chain is IGA - which has a large investment by Metcash (who are wholesalers). Metcash in turn has a large South African investor. While IGA is well known, there are large areas without a store - the same area usually has a dominant Coles or Woolworths store. The other contender for the third supermarket chain is Aldi. Aldi is a private company with it's base in Germany. They offer a small range of common supermarket stock (plus some really strange special offers to get people in the door - this week it is apparently mowers!). Aldi develop their supply lines and then open up stores around them - offering mostly "home brand" goods which are vertically integrated - Aldi arrange the contract for manufacture, receive into their system and deliver to the store. Both IGA and Aldi have issues with national coverage and both groups have considerable funds to draw on. While they both have a toehold in the market, neither Coles or Woolworths are going to be knocked off their perch in the forseeable future. It is a similar thing in politics, while voters will complain about the lack of choice a considerable number of them will in the end vote for the lesser of what they perceive to be the two evils. For a third political party to be a realistic alternative they will need the membership and organisation to be represented across the country as well as the money to spend like the major parties for at least 10 to 20 years - as that is how long it will take for the party to be a "household name". Then and only then will the third party be accepted as "mainstream" - giving permission to those who are "afraid of the new alternative" to actually vote for them. Of course the party has to ensure they don't shoot themselves in the foot first by having internal party disputes - which is where the Democrats and (I suspect) Greens have failed so far.

Catching up

21/10/2013Yes, Ken, first past the post is the most unfair system of the lot. I kinda like the system where one has a second round of voting, between the highest two winners from the first round. Then Hare Clarke is worth a mention. I like the idea of multiple members. The NZ one seems to complicated. As for removing a layer of government, especially when one names local council has some merit. I say this, because since the states handed over taxation powers, relying on the Feds for much of their funding, things have become unbalanced. The Feds have used the distribution of money, with tied grants to usurp many of the states roles. Most say, get rid of the states, but there are many negatives here. Looking at the states taking over the roles of councils, and handing over more, completely to the Feds, might just work. I believe we should be reviewing the Constitution on a ongoing basis. Began under Whitlam, but seemed to drop by the wayside. Most changes have occurred by stealth. I believe there are many things wrong. That there is unnecessary overlapping of responsibility. I also believe that any level of government should be responsible for raising the money, they spend. That no longer happens. Just a few, very loose thoughts.

Casablanca

21/10/2013 Putin tackles Russia's bushfires in carefully managed photo op. https://twitter.com/geeksrulz/status/392156416607150080/photo/1

Catching up

21/10/2013"................So far no one has dealt with the EFFECTS of chaotic swings from Left to Right, from a Labour bias to a Capital bias. This really is the main point in my argument. The only solution I can see is a VIABLE third party. The AusDems began with a middle-of-the-road approach, but dirty politics eventually got the better of them. .........." Maybe the problem is, that no Parliament represents what the voter actually voted for. Number of votes per party or Independents, does not represent the number of seats in the lower house. Not so bad in the Senate usually. Multi member electorates might prevent this. I know that many believe this election has thrown up a rogue result, but one would have to break down the number, to see if that is really true. It is more likely arises because of the number of candidates, Whatever, it needs to be researched. The perfect result would be, where a party get 20% off the votes, gets 20% of seats. That does not happen now. Just a thought.

ian

21/10/2013Like most, I see a need for change in the two party system. Once I would have included the Country Party as a legitimate political voice, The National Party... not so much. The dangers, as I see them, lay with the political aspirations of those such as Palmer, Katter and, once, Pauline Hansen. Being an Australian, athiest and republican I find it pretty hard to show obeisance to either God---organised religion version--or Queen. That I would be subjected to governance by a Clive, Bob or Pauline is anathema to me...and always would be. Though, in concession, they probably wouldn’t be any worse than what we now have. Once I always voted Democrats in the Senate. Then the Greens until the last election. I have vowed never to vote for them again. Even if means that the absurdity of filling out a huge ballot paper to ensure they are last on the ticket. So, for me, that means the luxury of having a safe protest or insurance vote no longer exists. Perhaps true independents are the answer? But where do we find them? How do stop the major parties exploiting the ballot process by loading up marginal seats with so called independents to take votes from their rivals? Unfortunately we only get one Windsor and one Oakeshott and their time is done. The choice, for me anyway, is between the ALP and the LNP. At the risk of being pilloried. I think that unions have not exercised enough their power. They have some very serious monetary clout and they should use it as does big business...quietly and ruthlessly. The self employed ‘ tradies ‘ who will soon find themselves up against each other, scrabbling to win whatever contracts are available, will discover the reality of price setting and price taking. If they don’t seek to affiliate with the trade union movement they are condemning themselves to a pretty rough road. Same as IT and just about any other field. Not to mention the casualised workforce. If union officials, just for once, left politics to politicians and endeavoured to put in place the resources to help those who are about to be hit by a neo-con train, that in their idiocy they would have voted for, they would be putting their time and skills to better, more productive use than faffing about with factions and whatnot. Perhaps we do need another political party? I don’t know the answer to that. But I’m pretty sure we need a party that can give the electorate a pretty clear choice….Do you wish to spend your life fighting and scrabbling with each other over what those at the table flick to you? or do you reclaim the seat, along with all others, that you earned and is your right.

TalkTurkey

22/10/2013Does everybody feel a little flat right now? I do. If we thought the election was tough ... well yeah ... 3 years of this bunch of Goths. Ummm. But we have to make sure it's ONLY three years. SO! [i][b]WRITE![/b][/i] Psychological studies strongly indicate that writing for around 5 hours a week significantly improves outlook - and it is a boomerang. With a rousing song in your hearts ... and a rousing Redhead in your face! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Y1UEMU1gBk

Janet (jan@j4gypsy)

22/10/2013Thank you, Casablanca, for another resounding tilt at the ‘piece-by-piece’ construction of an informed polis via the last few days of the ever-more ubiquitous Cache :-) (and the Cache is getting lots of retweets on Twitter, too). It’s good to see some not-seen-for-a-while gravatars popping up again on [i]TPS[/i], and possibly some new ones, too. So it’s a welcome back (or just a ‘welcome’) to: cuppa; Gorgeous Dunny; Frank; Millie; Bill Shaw; and ian! And thank you TT for the cheer-up and the redhead :-).

Catching up

22/10/2013Hockey and Cormann has turned up. ABC 24 Raising debt limit and Commission of Audit.

TalkTurkey

22/10/2013Is anyone watching the woman interpreting Fireman Fitzsimmons' words in hand gestures? AMAZING!

Michael

22/10/2013http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-22/joe-hockey-announces-commission-of-audit-details/5038314 Change the name "Joe Hockey" in this story to "Wayne Swan" or "Chris Bowen" and just imagine the political and media shitstorm that would have eventuated. But Joe says raising the Commonwealth debt limit to 500 billion puts the matter "beyond any doubt", well, that's prudent economic management by the party of business???? Sensible, necessary, measured. Somewhere Dante and Monty Python have merged into one pisstake of a Grendelian monster, and delivered The Abbott Error.

Ad astra

22/10/2013Casablanca I’ve enjoyed reading your Cache each day amid preparations to travel north tomorrow. Isn’t it is extraordinary how ‘invisible’ Tony Abbott and his ministers have become. And isn’t it a laugh that the Coalition is now seeking to do what they condemned Labor for seeking to do; the latest example being the raising of the Commonwealth debt limit to $500 billion, yet they screamed blue murder at Labor’s $300 billion. Once more they are showing themselves to be the disingenuous lot they are. And they think the voters won’t notice. I hope the scales will fall from voters’ eyes, and they will ask: “What have we done?” We will be largely out of touch with [i]TPS[/i] for a few days while in transit.

Casablanca

22/10/2013 Ad, Bon voyage. Stay safe. I knew that you would be checking the Cache amid busy travel preparations and grass-mowing. Janet indicated above that traffic on TPS is building up again. This is reassuring - there are times when I wonder if people are so flat-out reading Cache items that they don't have time to comment. Come to think of it, that in part explains why I haven't been posting comments! Not surprisingly, I sometimes wonder if anyone but a few stalwarts link to articles from the Cache. There are some amazing articles and statistical resources out there. Barry, Thank you for your thought-provoking essay. I read it in draft just before it was posted for all to see and will hopefully find time to comment in the next day. TT, Yes, I was mesmerized by the person signing for the Fire Commissioner. I also enjoyed the video of Lucille Ball. Janet Thank you for your positive comments. You are indeed a wordsmith!

Michael

22/10/2013I Cache-dive, Casablanca, oh yeah, deep and fruitfully. With on my face the passed-forward Grin of Lyn at each of your facilitated discoveries across these last months and years.

Casablanca

23/10/2013 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Tuesday, 22 October 2013: 46 items ENTITLEMENTS & FIDDLES 1. 'Electoral business' behind John Alexander's taxpayer trip to Margaret River Jonathan Swan and Lisa Visentin ..Western Australia's idyllic Margaret River region, is better known for its wine than its traffic congestion. But it was the latter issue among others that appears to have drawn the NSW MP John Alexander and a family member on a taxpayer-funded mission http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/electoral-business-behind-john-alexanders-taxpayer-trip-to-margaret-river-20131021-2vwun.html 2. Tony Abbott could do more to bring MPs to account. Amanda Vanstone There is no surer way to get people riled than raising the apparent misuse of parliamentary entitlements. Misuse makes people mad, and rightly so. He could, however, have made it clear that the door was always open for any sensible reforms. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/make-some-allowances-for-common-sense-20131020-2vusy.html 3. Trust in the nation's government and politicans has fallen to record lows, study finds Clay Lucas Trust in government and the nation's politicians is falling dramatically, a major research project tracking social harmony and Australia's large-scale immigration program has found. Australians' trust in their fellow citizens has also fallen, Mapping Social Cohesion. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/trust-in-the-nations-government-and-politicans-has-fallen-to-record-lows-study-finds-20131020-2vutg.html 4. Is much of the media coverage of Prime Minister Abbott during the October 2013 bushfires accurate, misleading or downright false? clarencegirl Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was apparently ‘discovered’ almost by accident as he anonymously went about fighting NSW bushfires over the last six days: However, it appears that it was not just an onlooker or ordinary volunteer who snapped Abbott – it appears to have been the former Senior Studio Director at Skynews whose efforts were first tweeted via a Canberra-based political reporter at Sky News. http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/is-much-of-media-coverage-of-prime.html POLITICS + SOCIETY 5. Abbott can act directly on carbon reduction policy Mark Kenny Tony Abbott's much criticised Direct Action carbon abatement policy can be introduced without legislation, meaning it won't have to run the gauntlet of a hostile Senate, it has been revealed. Environment Minister Greg Hunt has indicated that the government has been advised that it can introduce the controversial replacement program for Labor's carbon price, through regulation rather than direct legislation. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-can-act-directly-on-carbon-reduction-policy-20131021-2vx7c.html 6. Put the heat on Abbott Andrew Leigh, MP AUSTRALIANS just experienced a winter of discontent; the hottest on record. We are bracing ourselves for a shocking summer. It has been too hot in NSW to even continue property-saving hazard reduction. Climate change is a clear and present danger to the nation. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/put-the-heat-on-abbott/story-e6frgd0x-1226743429095#sthash.uT2qLIF0.dpuf 7. Will Murdoch Close the Ashbygate? johnlord2013 But nothing has approached the stench surrounding the Ashby/Slipper affair. If rares is correct, we have elected a government with some of its members guilty of corruption of the highest order? But where is the outrage? Murdoch made it blatantly clear during the election that he wanted an Abbott led conservative government in power. How far will he go to protect them on this matter? http://theaimn.com/2013/10/18/will-murdoch-close-the-ashbygate/ 8. Childcare workers may not receive pay rise after Early Years Quality Fund (EYQF) put under review Norman Hermant Childcare workers may not receive a promised pay rise after news the Federal Government will review a dedicated fund to boost wages... The fund was intended to provide a pay boost for two years for certified educators and teachers in full-day childcare centres. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-21/childcare-workers-pay/5036510 9. Australians in 2013: happy, confident – but not as friendly as we used to be David Marr The nation revealed in the latest Mapping of Social Cohesion by the Scanlon Foundation is, in so many ways, not the Australia of political rancour and shock jock outrage. No wonder the 2013 survey also reveals new depths plumbed in our distrust of government and politicians. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/australians-in-2013-happy-confident-but-not-as-friendly-as-we-used-to-be 10. A conservative vision of party reform Joff Lelliott Having denigrated Labor's attempt to give party members a greater say, the Liberal Party should consider the alternative offered by its British sister, the Conservative Party, writes Joff Lelliott. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-21/lelliott-a-conservative-vision-of-liberal-party-reform/5035444 ECONOMY + BUSINESS 11. KGB: Arthur Sinodinos Alan Kohler & Robert Gottliebsen His job relies on delivering Tony Abbott’s promise to make ‘no substantial adverse changes to superannuation in this first term of government’. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/10/21/national-affairs/kgb-arthur-sinodinos 12. Why Sinodinos is hanging his job on super Robert Gottliebsen The Arthur Sinodinos KGB interview is full of key revelations for both business and those with self-managed funds. Particularly in superannuation, Sinodinos takes the rare step of virtually putting his job on the line to protect the current superannuation benefits. It is one of the few interviews of substance given by a minister in the new government outside matters concerning refugees and carbon. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/10/21/national-affairs/why-sinodinos-hanging-his-job-super 13. Will Joe Hockey raid the RBA? Michael Pascoe To borrow a Dick Johnson metaphor, it looks like Joe Hockey is down to picking the fly dirt out of the pepper in his effort to make something out of the fiscal policy formerly known as a "budget crisis". So will he follow Wayne Swan's example by raiding the Reserve Bank coffers for spare cash? We'll find out on Thursday. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/will-joe-hockey-raid-the-rba-20131021-2vw1a.html 14. Case grows for corrupt companies to be barred from government work Louis de Koker The Australian government argues existing integrity rules and processes for public procurement are sufficient. This was the position it took in 2006 and again in 2012 when pressured by the OECD to improve its foreign bribery disqualification processes. http://theconversation.com/case-grows-for-corrupt-companies-to-be-barred-from-government-work-19235 ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 15. Abbott's action - direct hit or direct flop? Stephen Bygrave With the Abbott government pinning all its hopes on its 'direct action' scheme to meet its stated commitment to a 5 per cent emissions reduction by 2020, it is worth exploring the past failures and lessons arising from direct action approaches. Because Australia has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, a failure by the government on direct action would not only be failure for the Australian people, but a national failure as well as a failure to meet our international emissions reduction commitments. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/10/21/policy-politics/abbotts-action-direct-hit-or-direct-flop 16. China smog emergency shuts city of 11 million people Choking smog all but shut down one of northeastern China's largest cities on Monday, forcing schools to suspended classes, snarling traffic and closing the airport, in the country's first major air pollution crisis of the winter. An index measuring PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), reached a reading of 1,000 in some parts of Harbin. A level above 300 is considered hazardous, while the World Health Organisation recommends a daily level of no more than 20. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/21/us-china-smog-idUSBRE99K02Z20131021 17. Stand Up For Nature The Coalition intends to ‘streamline assessments and approvals’ processes for major development projects. It says it will set up a ‘one-stop shop’ for environmental approvals to cut what Mr Abbott calls ‘green tape’ (but what most of us call environmental protection). http://friendsofearthmelbourne.nationbuilder.com/stand_up_for_nature 18. NSW Govt accused of climate change research cutbacks KATIE HAMANN: When Greens MP Adam Bandt tweeted a photo of Sydney shrouded in thick smoke last week accompanied by a comment linking the reversal of the carbon tax with the possibility of more bushfires he was roundly criticised for politicising the disaster. But scientists like Professor Andy Pittman, the Director of the Australia Research Council's Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, says it's a question worth asking. http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2013/s3873303.htm 19. California moves to become global leader in energy storage Giles Parkinson California has thrust itself to the vanguard of the global energy storage market after its California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a proposal to bring 1.325GW of energy storage by 2020. It is the biggest regulatory decision of its kind in the world, and will have a direct impact on investor owned utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. Each will be required to install a range of “cost effective” storage options – both at the grid level and behind the meter – and using a range of technologies such as batteries and thermal. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/california-storage-21644 20. Direct Action 404 Jessie Borrelle Today I decided to take a trip to one of my favouite places on the interwebs, the Australian Government's "Clean Energy Future" website. But all I found was a bunch of 404s, more commonly known as the Coalition's Direct Action plan. So your idea of fun might be different to mine, and maybe I'm being a little sentimental, but the clean energy future website – a byproduct of the former ALP government's climate laws – was a pretty nice piece of internet real estate. Blue chip mate. Now it's a ghost town. Tumbleweeds of regressive intentions populate the screens where uplifting anecdotes of innovative Aussies greening their businesses used to reside. http://www.acfonline.org.au/news-media/blog/direct-action-404?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=Carbon%20price%20blog&utm_campaign=Carbon%20price%20facts%20-%20404%20blog 21. Pricing carbon must be a Labor article of faith Felicity Wade A guest post by Felicity Wade from the Labor Environment Action Network, argues that carbon pricing must be an article of faith for Labor if it is to achieve the "good society". http://www.theguardian.com/environment/southern-crossroads/2013/oct/20/carbon-price-repeal-shorten-abbott-repent 22. NSW frefighters warn of climate risk Kieran Adair Saturday, February 13, 2010 February 7, 2009, Black Saturday: you’re glued to your TV watching an inferno devour Victoria’s bushland...When the dust and ash finally settled, the death toll stood at 173: 2029 homes were destroyed; and more than 7500 people displaced. It was Australia's worst natural disaster and forced the addition of the "Catastrophic" rating to the fire danger index — a situation where "even well prepared and constructed homes will not be safe". https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/43215?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter 23. Not Politicising The Fires A state of emergency has been declared in NSW as authorities warn of worsening conditions. There are 56 bushfires still burning, including 12 out of control. It is feared that some of these may join up, with catastrophic consequences. In NSW unfortunately it will be hard to gauge, partly because the O'Farrell government has, says the SMH, largely dismantled the state's ability to investigate and prepare for the effects of climate change, such as more frequent extreme fire weather. http://www.themonthly.com.au/politicoz/latest 24. Climate change action is essential risk management Frank Jotzo While the government is preparing to repeal the carbon price, the fires in New South Wales remind us that it is in Australia's interest for the world to act on climate change - and that starts with a credible effort at home. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-21/jotzo-fires-and-climate-change/5035058 25. Campaign for the Pilliga Iris Ray Nunn It was a restless night for Wilderness Society campaign manager Naomi Hogan last night, after she discovered that Santos Mining had quietly entered the Pilliga State Forest to start exploratory drilling for coal seam gas. http://nofibs.com.au/2013/10/21/campaign-pilliga-iris-ray-nunn-reports/#sthash.4kEyVhkc.dpuf 26. The Greens Support is Dropping – Just Shows that Climate Change Isn’t Real. rossleighbrisbane Ok, I’ve read a number of times about The Greens losing votes in the Federal Election. Then after Saturday’s Miranda By-Election in NSW where the Liberals lost with a swing against them over 20%, Paul Sheehan treated us to this: 'Bushfires should be good for the Greens...Their deputy leader, Adam Bandt, spent last week attaching the bushfires raging across the state, with the destruction of more than 100 homes, to the policies of Abbott'. http://theaimn.com/2013/10/21/the-greens-support-is-dropping-just-shows-that-climate-change-isnt-real/ 27. Climate change countdown Part Two: Time to stand up and be counted Doug Evans By electing an Abbott-led Government, Australians have just collectively delivered an ironical two-fingered salute to our future environmental prospects. http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/climate-change-countdown-part-two-time-to-stand-up-and-be-counted/ 28. Climate change countdown Part One: The last roll of the dice Douglas Evans With the IPCC report now released and a new Government in power in Australia, looks at the state of the global and domestic climate, and where it’s all going. http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/environment/climate-change-countdown-the-last-roll-of-the-dice/ 29. WA Liberals to vote on royal commission into climate change science Oliver Milman There are calls from within the Liberal party for a royal commission into the science of climate change, with the party's Western Australian division set to vote next month amid backing from the federal MP Dennis Jensen. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/21/climate-change-science-politics-wa-royal-commission?CMP=twt_gu 30. Australian wildfires put heat on climate change skeptic Abbott Reuters A long, hot summer looms for Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as devastating wildfires near Sydney fuel opposition to his plans to repeal a carbon emissions tax, one of his basic campaign pledges in the election he won a month ago. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/21/us-australia-fires-abbott-idUSBRE99K03S20131021 ASYLUM SEEKERS 31. Voters Rally Against Coalition Asylum Policy Paul Carson Dozens rallied outside Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's office on Saturday, a day after the Coalition government brought back Howard-era temporary protection visas. Around 150 human rights supporters gathered in Monro Park in Cronulla on Saturday as part of a rally organised by the Refugee Action Coalition. https://newmatilda.com/2013/10/20/voters-rally-coalition-asylum-policy 32. AFP was told doomed asylum seekers were on their way Natalie O'Brien Lebanese community leaders in Australia have said the Australian Federal Police and the Australian embassy in Beirut were alerted to the operation after it was discovered the voyage was being falsely ''advertised'' in Lebanon as a two-storey ship, which had cabins, restaurants and lifejackets. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/afp-was-told-doomed-asylum-seekers-were-on-their-way-20131019-2vtl1.html 33. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison defends use of term 'illegal arrivals', plays down PNG police incident Emma Griffiths Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has defended the use of the term "illegal arrivals" to describe asylum seekers, saying he is "calling a spade a spade". "My first responsibility as Immigration Minister is law enforcement of our migration laws and that's exactly what I'm doing." http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-21/immigration-minister-scott-morrison-defends-use-of-illegals-term/5035552 34. No apology for 'illegal' language: Scott Morrison Rachael Brown Such language is raising the ire of many human rights advocates, including barrister Julian Burnside... Now the fact is that more parliamentarians have been in trouble with the law than asylum seekers. You know parliamentarians are misrepresented in the crime statistics much more than asylum seekers are. http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3873697.htm 35. Liberal secrecy a flawed strategy Michelle Grattan Immigration minister Scott Morrison has embraced secrecy with indecent relish, and it is starting to get him into trouble. “We’re running a military-led border security operation,” Morrison told Sky today. From what we glean, those involved – military and civilian – are doing much what they were doing before. http://theconversation.com/liberal-secrecy-a-flawed-strategy-19406 RACIAL EQUALITY 36. The case for Indigenous self-determination Sol Bellear If we want to shift Aboriginal disadvantage, then self-determination is the only way. Last week, I wrote a story for The Drum about the Bugmy High Court case. It sparked a flurry of commentary, much of it, unfortunately, quite ignorant. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-21/bellear-indigenous-sovereignty/5032294 ABBOTT 37. Tony Abbott's gay sister Christine Forster engaged Daisy Dumas The Prime Minister's sister, Christine Forster, is engaged to her long term partner, Virginia Edwards - but admits that with debate raging over same sex marriage, "It might be a long engagement." The openly gay City of Sydney Liberal Party councillor proposed on a trip to Broken Hill and plans to marry surrounded by close friends and family in her home city, "hopefully under a federal marriage act". http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbotts-gay-sister-christine-forster-engaged-20131021-2vwwg.html 38. Is George Pell a problem for Abbott? John Kelly Now that the dust has settled and Tony Abbott is our Prime Minister, there is renewed interest in his relationship with the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell and some speculation as to how that relationship will develop given that Pell is the man Tony Abbott regards as his spiritual advisor....It is therefore reasonable to ask how we, the voters, can be assured that Cardinal Pell is not going to become a silent partner in running the country and that Tony Abbott won’t become his lapdog. http://theaimn.com/2013/10/21/is-george-pell-a-problem-for-abbott/ LABOR 39. Labor still not listening and is on road to nowhere Nicholas Stuart Did you see the Miranda byelection result at the weekend? The NSW state seat swung to Labor by a massive 26.3 per cent. A Sydney seat that utterly repudiated the party at two previous elections has returned to the fold. Are there federal implications? The state seat is enclosed within the boundaries of Scott Morrison's seat of Cook. Does this mean Labor could yet sweep back to power with Bill Shorten becoming our next prime minister? Don't hold your breath. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/labor-still-not-listening-and-is-on-road-to-nowhere-20131021-2vwwk.html#ixzz2iN7m6s17 40. Labor has changed: Shorten must adapt or perish Mungo MacCallum The tide has turned for the Labor party, and Bill Shorten will find his quest for high office hinges on his ability to sell himself as a reformist leader, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-21/maccallum-shorten-the-odds/5034828 CITIZEN JOURNALISM 41. Emerging democracy and the No Fibs Vision: @stephaniedale22 Stephanie Dale No Fibs – we’re a citizen journalism experiment emboldened by the success of our coverage in the 2013 federal election campaign. And we’re turning our attentions to the robust CSG movement that has emerged along Australia’s east coast. http://nofibs.com.au/2013/10/21/emerging-democracy-fibs-vision-stephaniedale22-reports/#sthash.AcS2dX5G.dpuf NBN 42. Coalition may relax Huawei NBN ban Nassim Khadem The Abbott government could relax the ban on equipment from Huawei being used on the national broadband network even if security concerns over the Chinese telecommunications company are not fully allayed. In an exclusive interview, Communications Mininster Malcolm Turnbull detailed grounds for the review and explained why there may be scope to lift the NBN ban on Huawei. http://www.afr.com/p/australia2-0/coalition_may_relax_huawei_nbn_ban_2wfqUVvrPUqJCfftrAaGfM 43. There Is No Debate Sortius Over the past decade we’ve seen scientific & social debates derailed by anti-intellectuals & denialists. From climate change to technology, from vaccination to affordable healthcare, the march of the morons continues. Nothing exemplifies this as much as the “debate” over which technology is better for a National Broadband Network. http://www.sortius-is-a-geek.com/debate/ 44. Australia Has A Worse Deficit Sortius ... the debate on telecoms, especially when it comes to the NBN, has been framed around what we need now. This attitude has lead to some shockingly poor decisions being made such as the “rural access” programme that gave rural users 2x 64Kbps ISDN lines & called it broadband, or, if you couldn’t get ISDN, a 128k one-way satellite connection with a dial-up upstream. Those were the days, when investment was off the cards, & Ziggy was CEO of Telstra. http://www.sortius-is-a-geek.com/australia-worse-deficit/ 45. Happy ABS Internet Data Day Sortius ABS has released their six-monthly report into Australia’s Internet: Internet Activity, Australia, June 2013. Some interesting data to take away from the report:....Fibre subscriptions are up by 24 000, DSL up by 60 000, Cable (HFC) up by 16 000, Dial-up (still way too high) is down by 55 000 http://www.sortius-is-a-geek.com/happy-abs-internet-data-day/ 46. 8153.0 - Internet Activity, Australia, June 2013 ABS Contains details of internet activity supplied by all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Australia. It includes information on internet subscribers and their type of connection, the type of user (business/household), the volume of data downloaded, the speed of the internet connection and the location of the subscriber (by state or territory). http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8153.0?OpenDocument [NB - Link defective but will work with a cut and paste] SOME HANDY INFO Refugee Boat Arrivals The updates that the Morrison Military Machine want to hide. http://archiearchive.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/refugee-boat-timeline-updated-to-october-21st/ Ashbygate on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/585444634841472/ The Finnigans' Home of the BISONs The Beautiful Inspiring Set of Numbers http://www.thefinnigans.blogspot.com.au/ TODAY’S MAIN NEWS ROULE REPORT — Issues of Today http://paper.li/RouleReport/1334728962 AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGES www.thepaperboy.com/australia/front-pages.cfm NEWS HEADLINES 22 October 2013 http://www.hotheadlines.com.au/ #################################################################

TalkTurkey

23/10/2013 Here's the link to this article, which I've included in full to draw attention to one little phrase of this man, but you really must check out the accompanying photo, urgh, this is the sort of man (gender specificity intentional) into whose hands Australians have given themselves like unto lambs to slaughter. http://www.smh.com.au/national/2day-chairman-plays-down-royal-prank-20131022-2vz9p.html?rand=1382451014776 •British MP says 2Day FM chairman must apologise for comments The chairman of Southern Cross Media - which owns the radio station responsible for the infamous royal prank call - played down the controversy to shareholders on Tuesday, saying ''shit happens''. ''These incidents were unfortunate, no doubt about that,'' Max Moore-Wilton told shareholders when asked if there was a cultural problem at the station responsible for the prank and other incidents by star presenters such as Kyle Sandilands. [i]''But in the immortal words of someone whose identity I cannot recall,[/i] shit happens.'' [Not the latter phrase, the suckholing pissinginpockets smartarse former one, see? TT] He did not shy away from the comment after the meeting. Advertisement Southern Cross was forced to suspend all advertising on 2Day FM after a scandal involving the suicide of a British nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, who was taken in by a prank call by presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian in December last year. The pair phoned the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for a pregnancy-related illness, pretending to be the Queen and Prince of Wales. Last month, 2Day FM said it would submit its phone records to the British inquest of Ms Saldanha to prove it sought permission to air the now-infamous prank call. ''I think it was a one sentence comment, wasn't it,'' he said when asked by Fairfax Media if he regretted the statement. In May last year, the Australian Communications and Media Authority found 2Day FM had breached the ''decency provision'' of the broadcasting code when Sandilands called a female journalist a ''fat slag'' and a ''piece of shit'' on air. The authority made decency a condition of 2Day FM's licence for the next five years. It is not the only Southern Cross station to run into trouble recently. In May, Collingwood president Eddie Maguire was forced to apologise for suggesting Adam Goodes be used to promote a King Kong musical, just days after he apologised for a racist taunt directed at the Sydney star by a Magpies fan. The comment was made on his breakfast radio show on Southern Cross-owned Triple M. Mr Moore-Wilton - nicknamed ''Max the Axe'' from his time as prime minister John Howard's top bureaucrat - has never shied away from controversy. In 2002, he halved staff numbers at the newly privatised Sydney Airport after taking over as chief executive. Shortly after taking the job, he described then federal transport minister Joe Hockey as a ''galoot'' for suggesting the airport should fund its own security costs. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/2day-chairman-plays-down-royal-prank-20131022-2vz9p.html#ixzz2iT1RqQAa

Casablanca

23/10/2013 Most of the links on Casablanca's Cache for Tuesday, 22 October were broken. I have repaired all links and re-posted the Cache @ 1.47am on 23 October 2013. Apologies for the inconvenience. The Cache for today, 23 October 2013 is below.

Casablanca

23/10/2013 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Wednesday, 23 October 2013: 40 items ENTITLEMENTS & FIDDLES 1. It’s Not A Policy Problem Sortius Prime Minister Tony Abbott has painted himself as a man of the people, a strong, vigorous individual that is willing to stand up & fight for what’s right. Well, at least that’s the image. It doesn’t stop with candid photos of the PM grovelling to billionaires, but continues at breakneck speed past beating up anti-refugee sentiment for Alan Jones & his flat earth gang, past “destroying the NBN” for his mate Murdoch, resting finally at wholesale expenses rorting being “administrative errors”. http://www.sortius-is-a-geek.com/policy-problem/ 2. Can you run an ironman and run a country? John Quiggan What strikes me about this is not only the expenses issue (although that obviously irks me) as the training time that must be involved, and the implications for the rest of Abbott’s commitments. Preparing for a marathon or a 70.3 while working full time, even in a flexible job like mine, requires putting most other things, like social engagements, on hold. If he’s training for a full ironman and managing the commitments inherent in being a politician, it’s hard to believe he can have any significant amount of time free to study policy issues and consider the best responses (as I know, you can’t think about these things while you’re running an endurance event – there’s not enough blood flow to the brain to think about much more than keeping your legs moving). http://johnquiggin.com/ 3. Special PACs Spent Money at Resorts, Book Says: New book highlights huge sums spent by members of US Congress on meals and resorts, calls for reform Jeremy W. Peters Mr. Schweizer hopes his new book, titled “Extortion,” will help push Congress to address loopholes in the campaign finance system, including banning “Leadership PACs,” which allow politicians to spend and solicit money without many of the restrictions they face when using their dedicated campaign committees. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/22/us/politics/questions-about-politicians-use-of-leadership-pacs.html?_r=0 POLITICS 4. Beware PM, CEOs don’t get politics Mark Rolfe The recent demands of business leaders for prime minister Tony Abbott to immediately reform the industrial relations system, rather than wait three years, should serve as yet another reminder of why corporate leaders make lousy politicians. http://theconversation.com/beware-pm-ceos-dont-get-politics-19385 5. Moving forward and moving on: Rudd, Roxon and the future of the ALP Shaun Carney As Paul Keating told Julia Gillard not so long ago, every prime minister is carried out of the job in a box. His fatalistic advice was meant to be comforting, indicating that the party room or the public will inevitably dispose of each prime minister, regardless of how popular they once were. http://theconversation.com/moving-forward-and-moving-on-rudd-roxon-and-the-future-of-the-alp-19331 6. Hockey boosts debt ceiling by $200 billion and announces inquiry into everything Michelle Grattan The government’s Commission of Audit will look at extending “user pays” and encouraging individuals to provide for themselves, in an inquiry directed to achieving a sustainable surplus within a decade... It will examine every area of federal government and the “architecture” of federal state relations. http://theconversation.com/hockey-boosts-debt-ceiling-by-200-billion-and-announces-inquiry-into-everything-19446 ECONOMY + BUSINESS 7. Beware Joe Hockey's commission of cuts Wayne Swan Treasurer Joe Hockey is continuing to throw rocks from the cheap seats rather than manage a huge structural transition in our $1.5tr economy. His hyper-exaggeration of a "debt crisis" and a "budget emergency" continues. Australia faces no such prospect. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/22/beware-joe-hockeys-commission-of-cuts?CMP=twt_gu 8. Australia aims to cut spending, charge more and shrink bureaucracy Lenore Taylor 'We have to fix the budget,' says treasurer Joe Hockey in announcing once-in-a-decade commission of audit http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/22/australia-cut-spending-shrink-bureaucracy ABBOTT 9. Are you qualified to criticise Tony Abbott? Mark Fletcher Never trust a person who tells you that something should be ‘apolitical’. Prof Phelps is incorrect because discouraging discussion prevents us from unpacking what the image of Tony Abbott in firefighting gear means to us socially and symbolically. If we don’t interrogate it, we end up swallowing a diet of whatever ‘default rational’ ideology is most beneficial to politicians and the press. http://ausopinion.com/2013/10/22/are-you-qualified-to-criticise-tony-abbott/ LABOR 10. A Rocky Start John Quiggan That means treating the Abbott government as a temporary interruption to a program of reform that includes carbon pricing, the NBN, NDIS and Gonski reforms. The only big gap in Labor’s program is the absence of a credible plan to finance these policies in the long run, while allowing state governments sufficient revenue to do their work. Labor needs to use the time in opposition to break with the low-tax rhetoric of the past, and work out a coherent plan to increase revenue. http://johnquiggin.com/ ENVIRONMENT + POLITICS 11. The political anatomy of a fire David Holmes In the past week, prime minister Tony Abbott has been backburning bush outback in New South Wales, while at the same time nursing a policy to plant more trees. And with the unproven techniques of soil sequestration looking very shaky, and the abandonment of any kind of carbon reduction policy, planting trees is the Coalition’s current solution. But according to the analysts, if planting trees is the best the government can throw at climate change, we really do have a problem. http://theconversation.com/the-political-anatomy-of-a-fire-19383 12. Why we need to politicise the bushfires Tim Hollo The refusal to make the link between the fires and climate change will condemn more people to the inferno. "Politics" is about society coming together to debate and decide our common future. In that noble sense, no issue is more desperately in need of politicising than our rapidly degrading climate. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/21/greens-bushfires-climate-change 13. There’s no place for politeness when you’re fighting a fire Will J Grant It’s worth having a brief glance at what we know about climate science and climate change mitigation: Bandt’s tweet was pretty much on the money. Climate change in Australia means bushfires are likely to be more frequent and more intense. Carbon markets (such as the existing carbon price) are likely to be much cheaper than direct subsidies (such as the Coalition’s Direct Action plan) in bringing about a switch to a low carbon economy. http://theconversation.com/theres-no-place-for-politeness-when-youre-fighting-a-fire-19370 14. Fire and climate change: don’t expect a smooth ride Roger Jones Climate science has been playing with a paradigm that long-term changes are gradual, and that short-term changes are simply natural climate variability. But there’s another hypothesis that climate change and climate variability actually combine. http://theconversation.com/fire-and-climate-change-dont-expect-a-smooth-ride-19391 15. Living with fire: deciding where to build Jan McDonald, Andrew Macintosh and Anita Foerster ...it is time to look beyond emergency responses and controlled burning. The calls for a broader perspective on bushfire management are mounting. Bushfire risk is both a spatial planning and an emergency management challenge. http://theconversation.com/living-with-fire-deciding-where-to-build-19377 16. The Cost of Carbon Climate Reality Project This is a living documentation of the price we are all paying for carbon pollution. Find out how you are paying, add your cost, and share with those who can help to end climate denial and put a price on carbon. http://www.thecostofcarbon.org/ 17. Action on climate is a duty above politics Editorial The Age believes Mr Bandt has a valid point. Rather than politicising on his own behalf, his criticisms draw necessary attention to the Abbott government's own politicising: the swift fulfilment of its election promises to downgrade the prominence of science in general and the effects of climate change in particular. http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/action-on-climate-is-a-duty-above-politics-20131021-2vx71.html#ixzz2iRXOUZqz 18. Record hot year causes fire emergency in Australia Michael Slezak Climate models predict the worst fire weather will be increasingly common in NSW, but the ferocity of the current fires was not caused by particularly bad fire weather, says climate scientist Andy Pitman from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Instead, it was the result of a very warm winter..which was probably caused by climate change. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24440-record-hot-year-causes-fire-emergency-in-australia.html#.UmZUiLeqrX4 19. Nicholas Stern: 'I got it wrong on climate change – it's far, far worse' Heather Stewart and Larry Elliott Sunday 27 January 2013 07.24 AEST Author of 2006 review speaks out on danger to economies as planet absorbs less carbon and is 'on track' for 4C rise. Lord Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the risks. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jan/27/nicholas-stern-climate-change-davos 20. Is the Ocean Broken? Carlos Duarte Yes, Ivan Macfadyen is right, there are plenty of problems in the ocean, but it is not yet broken.. Depicting the ocean as broken, draws a problem that seems boundless and eventually deters society from engaging, giving up to an ocean portrayed as already broken. 21. You are being greenwashed Rebecca Cleaver ...we—that is, consumers—are being fooled into supporting big polluters who spend millions on advertising campaigns that push their green cred. In Australia, brands including Coca-Cola, IBM, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Toyota have embarked on a powerful and deliberate ‘greenwashing’ agenda. http://www.ethics.org.au/ethics-articles/you-are-being-greenwashed 22. Business, power and moral hazard Ian Dunlop In the early years, Australia was well served by forward-thinking leaders in both politics and business. They were statesmen in the true sense of the word, prepared to take a long-term view in the national interest, irrespective of short-term personal considerations. This was a time of vision and nation building... Mainstream politics today has little interest in anything beyond the immediate electoral cycle. In business, the long term is one to two years if you are lucky. http://www.ethics.org.au/ethics-articles/business-power-and-moral-hazard 23. UN climate chief Christiana Figueres calls for global action amid NSW bushfires The United Nations says the New South Wales bushfires are an example of "the doom and gloom" the world may be facing without vigorous action on climate change. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-22/un-climate-chief-warns-of-nsw-27doom-and-gloom27/5036814 ASYLUM SEEKERS 24. Protection visa sequel worse than the original Kerry Murphy The first version of the temporary protection visa (TPV), introduced by the Howard Government, commenced on 20 October 1999 and was repealed by Labor on 9 August 2008. The new TPV, which commenced last week almost 14 years to the day since the Howard version came into being, is harsher than the original, mainly because it has no pathway to a permanent visa — once granted, it is likely that the best you will ever get in Australia is a TPV. The good news is that it does not apply to all asylum seekers, only to those who come without a visa. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=38395#.UmYeYLeqpZY 25. 'Illegals' – Australia's latest smear on refugees David Marr “People who have entered Australia illegally by boat have illegally entered by boat,” [Morrison] declared the other day..So what’s the law they break? I’ve asked Morrison’s office and had no reply. I’ve put the same question to the first law officer of the nation, the Attorney-General George Brandis. Again no reply...And I’ve had no luck with the prime minister’s office either. Morrison isn’t speaking the language of the law this week. It’s the language of fear and hate, the official language for now of Australian politics. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/22/iillegals-refugees-immigration-australia 26. Calling a boat person a spade: Australia’s asylum seeker rhetoric Tom Clark Immigration minister Scott Morrison is new to government, but he is a seasoned campaigner on Australia’s response to boat people. He knows how to get attention on this issue and he knows how to use the attention he gets. http://theconversation.com/calling-a-boat-person-a-spade-australias-asylum-seeker-rhetoric-19367 SAME SEX MARRIAGE 27. Attorney-General Brandis wants High Court to act fast on gay marriage challenge Michelle Grattan But the Abbott government is determined to try to thwart the ACT move. It will commence a High Court challenge ASAP. http://theconversation.com/attorney-general-brandis-wants-high-court-to-act-fast-on-gay-marriage-challenge-19451 28. Explainer: can the Commonwealth override the ACT on marriage equality? Anne Twomey The ACT’s Marriage Equality Bill..has revived the controversy about who can legislate for same-sex marriage, with the Commonwealth proposing to challenge the territory’s law. http://theconversation.com/explainer-can-the-commonwealth-override-the-act-on-marriage-equality-19130 SOCIAL MEDIA + ONLINE JOURNALISM + PUBLISHING 29. BLOGGERS BEWARE: SOCIAL MEDIA and the COURTS boeufblogginon On July 1st this year the NSW Government’s amendments to the NSW Court Security Act (2005) became effective as law. It is the Government’s first real attempt to come to terms with the growth of social media and its impact on the law. http://boeufblogginon.com/2013/08/07/bloggers-beware-social-media-and-the-courts/ 30. eBay founder pledges millions for journalism, recruits Greenwald Bill Birnbauer News that eBay founder Pierre Omidyar was planning a new online journalism venture with The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald was leaked last week. After failing to buy the Washington Post Company earlier this year, Omidyar committed $250 million to a project he hoped would combine independent journalism and Silicon Valley know-how. http://theconversation.com/ebay-founder-pledges-millions-for-journalism-recruits-greenwald-19336 31. The death of the academic book and the path to Open Access Roxanne Missingham Is publishing academic books a dying trade? And if so, are free e-books from universities likely to deal the final blow? http://theconversation.com/the-death-of-the-academic-book-and-the-path-to-open-access-19153 32. Alice Munro Nobel a victory for the neglected short story Beth Palmer The announcement of Alice Munro as 2013’s winner of the Nobel Prize for literature marks the high point in the 82-year old writer’s long career, but also a significant recognition for the form with which she is so closely aligned, the short story. http://theconversation.com/alice-munro-nobel-a-victory-for-the-neglected-short-story-19086 33. Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era (IP 43) Australian Law Reform Commission This Issues Paper was released on 8 October 2013, signalling the first stage of public consultation for the Serious Invasions of Privacy Inquiry. Submission close on 11 November, 2013. http://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/invasions-privacy-ip43 34. Now anyone can find you on Facebook Jennifer Van Grove The social network kills off a privacy setting that allowed members to prevent themselves from appearing in search results. Users can still block individual users from seeing their profiles in search. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57606950-93/now-anyone-can-find-you-on-facebook/ HEALTH + SCIENCE 35. 10pc rise in new HIV cases across Australia: Kirby Institute report There has been a sharp increase in the number of Australians contracting HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS. Every year the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales releases a report on sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in Australia. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-21/10-pc-rise-in-new-hiv-cases-across-australia/5034742 36. Scientists discover DNA body clock Ian Sample Newly discovered mechanism could help researchers understand ageing process and lead to ways of slowing it down http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/21/dna-body-clock-ageing?CMP=ema_632&et_cid=53565&et_rid=maurene.grundy@gmail.com&Linkid=http%3a%2f%2fwww.theguardian.com%2fscience%2f2013%2foct%2f21%2fdna-body-clock-ageing 37. Mental health vital in all health Cate Swannell MENTAL health researchers have a clear message for the federal Minister of Health, Peter Dutton — treat mental health as central to all health, and outcomes will improve and money will be saved. https://www.mja.com.au/insight/2013/40/mental-health-vital-all-health 38. Food folly Stephen Leeder The relentless transition from unprocessed basic foods to refined and processed products has occurred through a massive and highly articulated industry connecting paddock and plate. Mechanised farming and the impressive gains of agricultural husbandry have brought huge global benefits... Wastage has fallen dramatically — in comparison, up to 50% of produce in India is still wasted because the supply chain is primitive, unrefrigerated and chaotic https://www.mja.com.au/insight/2013/40/stephen-leeder-food-folly 39. Laughter is the Best Medicine Lou Pollard We practise open-heart humour; our core values are kindness and compassion. As humour therapists, we work inside the health system and yet we are not part of the health system...We also believe there is nothing wrong with leaving our patients in stitches. http://www.ethics.org.au/living-ethics/laughter-best-medicine 40. Skating on thin ice (15 pages) Public Interest Advocacy Centre Difficulties faced by people living with mental illness accessing and maintaining Social Housing http://www.piac.asn.au/sites/default/files/briefing_paper_mentalillness_socialhousing.pdf SOME HANDY INFO Refugee Boat Arrivals The updates that the Morrison Military Machine want to hide. http://archiearchive.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/refugee-boat-timeline-updated-to-october-21st/ Ashbygate on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/585444634841472/ The Finnigans' Home of the BISONs The Beautiful Inspiring Set of Numbers http://www.thefinnigans.blogspot.com.au/ TODAY’S MAIN NEWS ROULE REPORT — Issues of Today http://paper.li/RouleReport/1334728962 AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGES www.thepaperboy.com/australia/front-pages.cfm NEWS HEADLINES 23 October 2013 http://www.hotheadlines.com.au/ #################################################################

Ad astra

23/10/2013Folks We are now off on our Queensland trip. Will catch up later.

2353

23/10/2013AA - Safe travels & welcome to the Sunshine State Casablanca - thanks for the links yet again. Some of them are going to be very useful ;-)

Janet (jan@j4gypsy)

23/10/2013Barry (Sniper :)), you are stirring the possums thoroughly at TPS, and making me, for one, think hard again about party structures and the way their systems of values shape and drive political ideology in Oz. The two most provocative parts of your piece for me relate to: • The sheer difficulty of achieving a viable third, and even a fourth force (able to gain a ruling majority), this clearly being an instance when size (membership, available and willing candidates, and enough ‘roused voters) matters, as does devising and ‘selling’ the sustainable ‘vision’ (translatable into evidence-based policy) that you cite; and • The perception or argument that the round-about swing from ALP to LNP values engenders ‘chaos’ whenever the changeover from one of the two major parties to the other occurs. While noting the ‘dissatisfaction’ in the electorate with both major parties in the last several elections, Ad Astra at (October 20. 2013 06:45 PM) said: [quote]The electorate may be the biggest stumbling block to a multi-party system. Old habits die hard![/quote] Both he and Catching-up (October 20. 2013 07:22 PM) refer to an apparent need for political energy at the ‘grassroots level’. Catching up said: [quote]Maybe it is not another party, but the voter becoming involved at grassroots level, and kicking a few arses of both parties. Time for people to get back out in the streets.[/quote] Is it habit, or lack of political literacy, or complacency (or, as cuppa noted at October 20. 2013 08:26 PM, ‘lack of political sophistication’) that prevents sufficient ‘back-in-the streets’ anger and energy to build a third force? Is it that as Frank (at October 21. 2013 09:38 AM) suggested ‘it would take a generation to take off’? Or as Bill Shaw (October 21. 2013 02:49 PM noted: ‘To start a third party would require someone with enormous intellect and work capacity’ and we can’t see a ‘someone’ like that anywhere … yet? Is it concern that, as Ken implies (October 21. 2013 10:00 AM), it might ‘lead to minority governments most of the time’? or that third parties are as TT (October 21. 2013 01:05 PM) states: ‘maggots in the body politic, eating at the vitals of decisive government’? [b]Or is it, in fact, the absence of sufficient ‘chaos’ as fall-out from the ideological pendulum swing, as in not nearly enough chaos to drive the will of the polis to ‘a third way’?[/b] Might it be that we could do not only with the engendering of infinitely more chaos, but also with ways of measuring it and promoting and participating in it it before the discontented citizenry gets ‘off their arses’ and if not heading for a third ‘stabilising party’, at least starts to sort out the two biggies it already has (a point by Catching up at October 21. 2013 02:20 PM, and others)? Barry provides some key indicators of the consequences of the recent pendulum swing: ineffective changes to and even loss of major programs introduced by Labor, with all of its budgetry merry-go-round. Gorgeous Dunny (at October 21. 2013 07:36 AM) adroitly lamented another ‘KPI’ or measurement for chaos: ‘brainlessly slashing public spending’ and the instability and hardship it causes (we’ve all watched Qld with hearts in mouth, and still do). But who really gets to hear about and be affected by this enough to act – unless working within a state or federal public service, or a city like Canberra sustained in all its public and private works by its public service, or a public servant who loses a job or is moved into an unsatisfactory one, or watches their own work of years shredded for unutterably vicious ideological reasons (think Anna Bligh’s husband!)? What might we define as other ‘chaos measurements’? Impacts on any sectors of the community or demographic that directly experiences income cuts (think single parents) …? We could come up with close to endless lists. (But our scattered and tatty media don’t.) If there is ‘chaos’ in falling from capital to labour and back again it may be a bit hard for the average citizen to discern holistically and define precisely. Might that be because, say, the propensity in the LNP for ‘secrecy’ and rigidly controlling media reporting on their activities will occur in a Government that knows precisely how much chaos the people all on their own could cause, and might, if they were as fully informed as many are clamouring to be? I’m for more chaos, much more overt chaos as a consequence of the government we now have. More might just mean … one more viable party.

Michael

23/10/2013Stating the bleeding obvious, in The Australian, even! But will Turnbull and Absent Abbott listen? For Australia's sake. For Australia's economy's sake!? Their supposed purview of 'adult expertise'? Pigs they will! http://www.theaustralian.com.au/technology/google-fibre-general-manager-kevin-lo-torpedoes-broadband-myth/story-fn4iyzsr-1226744980769 Why would a political party actually set out to ruin a nation? This may well be the core question, now and historically, in addressing The Abbott Error. (I suspect the answer is a melding of ignorance and fear, two things which are always at the cankered heart of second-hand Conservatism.)

jaycee

23/10/2013We already have a "third party" playing in Aust' politics...it is the MSM.; self-appointed, self-annointed, self-oppinionated and playing the role of trice ; judge, jury and executioner, not of the two biggies body politic (though they will shoot down individuals within the parties...witness Slipper, Gillard etc.)but of what THEY deem the important TO THEMSELVES public policies. The MSM. has voted itself in as "rep'/shop-steward for the voting public" and exercises it's right to claim outrage against or give blessing to prefferred policy programs...mostly those that suit the principles and bottom lines of the media moguls that own them. The idea of the general public "taking to the streets" sounds revolutionary and would be a great achievement..if only the time of the street-march could be slotted in between (metaphorically)"Funniest Home Videos" replays of "Coronation Street" and sporting channel spectaculars...and most importantly, start and finish somewhere in close proximity to a "Macca's ! Until such "essential needs" are met, for our "fix of democracy", it's sadly ; Q&A all the way!

BSA Bob

23/10/2013Jaycee's right that we already have a third major political force & that it's the media. Accountable only to itself, it decides the issues & those issues' lifespans. The waving through of Hockey's increase in the debt ceiling's the latest & biggest example since the election. The media presents itself through the image of newsreaders, commentators & journalists but these people are fronts, taking their orders. The debt issue will be managed by trotting out economic commentators to tell us it's a good thing. Once they've served their purpose they'll be securely locked away again. And they won't be needed long as the issue will be swiftly terminated. Meanwhile history gets a rest, no need to point out the LNP's previous statements on the issue as that's a (very) different country of no interest. History can be brought back on line to be selectively used against the ALP as & when necessary. My contempt for this lot continues to grow daily.

Catching up

23/10/2013Janet, I think we need more than need for political energy at the ‘grassroots level’. We need to reconnect the general Australian public back to political activities. The young have said to me, we do not know what it is about. What they are really saying, we have had no contact with any political activity, outside casting a vote every three years. In my youth and early working life, most come in contact with unions, or other street protest, such as the Vietnam wars. We had a little, when it came to opposing WorkChoices, and was very successful, it getting rid of Howard. Since then, there has been very little activity. We seen what occurred, when the young in Indo picked up the cudgel. Yes, got rid of a lady, that none will miss. I think the firies brought change in the recent Miranda by-election. I suspect, that this Abbott government will upset enough people bringing more out onto the streets. Many that the young in particular will take offence to. What comes to mind, is same gender marriage, NBNCO and CEF. None of these issues are going to go away for Abbott. He knows it, and sees keeping in hiding as way of avoiding unpleasant reaction from the public. I believe Labor might just be better, when they have something to fight for.

Catching up

23/10/2013http://wixxyleaks.com/2013/10/23/parasite-the-other-side-of-the-nsw-fire-disaster/#comment-13942 Nails it,in MHO.

jaycee

23/10/2013I,ve said it before and I'll repeat it again for it's salutary truth...Quote from Edward Gibbon (off the top of my head wtte;)" A nation of slaves will view as magnanimous, the tyrant who, in witholding his hand from supreme cruelty, dispenses pain in small, measured lots". Until the Fifth Estate has a patron with the measure of wealth to influence, corrupt, employ legal representation and still remain an active player in the dissemination of news and views, it will always be the "poor cousin" railing at and ineffectual in changing adverse policy decisions by ALL authorities in our political sphere of influence. The likes of Murdoch, who seem to be able, with only a "humble regret" both thoroughly corrupt, then apologise for administrative governance of the major nations in our political sphere, goes beyond absurdity and beyond the capacity of these humble blog-sites to change. Well could Rupert laughingly turn the Henry Lawson quote back on us..: "...and until your voices go further than your college walls, keep off the tracks we travel"

Catching up

23/10/2013 [quote]The PM displays blatant hypocrisy in expecting Labor to back his carbon 'mandate'.[/quote] Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/abbott-is-benefiting-from-selective-amnesia-20131022-2vz1y.html#ixzz2iUu6OECE

Catching up

23/10/2013Those soldiers are literally walking from the courts, with on slap over the wrists. No mention of the woman, who life and careers has been ruined. Twelve months good behavior bonds. One finds it hard, that a ACT court could come to this decision. It appears that the inflation rate is OK. Where is the evidence that the toxic tax has destroyed the economy. Pushed up slightly by housing and fuel costs. Naught to do with the toxic tax.

jaycee

23/10/2013What I find bitterly dissapointing, is where the MSM. get these "dog's-body" journo's and commentators from, who are willing to sell their nation's interests out for little more than the bling-cred of a "sound-stage news front-person" or the "good address" in a street full of like minded suckoles! ONe has to ask ; Is the novelty of signing one's autograph worth the perfidity of "signing away" one's country?

Catching up

23/10/2013It appears that those men had good upbringing, leading to as lesser sentence. Does not having a good upbringing, lead to not committing the crime in the first place. I would be giving more sympathy to an offender, who had a bad upbringing, not realizing the extent of their crime. It appears that is not the case. Abbott has told us, he has to do many things we will not like. Why not tell us before the e Hockey now on ABC 24, telling us about how bad those figures are. Funny, the experts gave a different spin.

Catching up

23/10/2013Is Abbott focused, or just plain stubborn and pig headed? I go for the latter.

42 long

23/10/2013Tiny Abort appears to be seriously compromised by some aspects of his upbringing. It's called mental "Baggage" Some concern might be appropriate for him personally in different circumstances but Our concern should be on the effect he will have on our outcome(s). I have no pity for this appalling person. I cannot overlook his basic lack of honesty and decency evidenced frequently in his quest for a job he can't possibly do justice to. He is not a big enough MAN for that. He won't GROW in the job either.

Curi-Oz

23/10/2013Considering that our considered aggregated opinion of Mr Abbott is such that we are now wondering about his personal mental baggage, I would be intrigued as to how his parents would reflect on their other children's choices in life. I find it interesting that Mr Abbott has this 'win at all costs' attitude, but once he has won doesn't really know what to do with it. He doesn't seem to win FOR some reason, he just has to win. Given that he also harks back to an historical set of social beliefs, also makes me wonder just how insecure he really feels.

Michael

23/10/2013Does it seem at all surprising to you that Abbott seems to already know some of results of his Commission of Audit? http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/people-wont-like-budget-cuts-tony-abbott/story-fn59nsif-1226745103478 Surprising if you've been under a rock for the last 4 years, I guess. A Commission of... tissue-thin validation of his whacking Australia's forward-looking economy under Labor back to the Dark Ages of ingrained privilege and corporate boardroom nods and winks as the 'government' of this nation.

jaycee

23/10/2013With Morrison now shipping those refugees around in secrecy...has HE now become a "People Smuggler"? Who guards the guardian?

Michael

23/10/2013John Howard would never have been as stupid as this. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-23/abbott-defends-randalls-taxpayer-funded-cairns-trip/5041364 A Prime Minister providing a worked up alibi to 'explain' taxpayers being robbed!!!??? Abbott's arrogance will throw him down faster and further than he can clearly comprehend possible. Can he comprehend anything?

Casablanca

24/10/2013 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Thursday, 24 October 2013: 30 items ENTITLEMENTS & FIDDLES 1. 'Very important discussions': Tony Abbott defends Don Randall's Cairns trip Jonathan Swan Prime Minister Tony Abbott has provided the first explanation from the government for West Australian MP Don Randall's taxpayer-funded trip to Cairns, saying Mr Randall had ''very important discussions'' with the then Coalition whip. Mr Randall, who also took possession of an investment property during the overnight stay with his wife, has refused on seven separate occasions to answer questions from Fairfax Media on the issue. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/very-important-discussions-tony-abbott-defends-don-randalls-cairns-trip-20131023-2w0aw.html POLITICS 2. The Coalition won on positives, Liberal party director Loughnane says Michelle Grattan Winners write the history. Well, sort of. In politics there are always history wars. http://theconversation.com/the-coalition-won-on-positives-liberal-party-director-loughnane-says-19490 3. Mandate mantra is mumbo jumbo Ray Cassin What exactly is it that a defeated government loses and its successor acquires? The question is typically answered by using the word 'mandate', which doesn't amount to much more than saying that in a constitutional democracy the elected government is, well, the elected government. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=38398#.UmdrebeqpZY 4. Expertise and public policy: don’t just ask the experts Matthew Thomas Members and Senators often find themselves in a difficult position—one that is shared by other non-experts: that is, that their ability to understand and reach a considered, informed judgement on the technical aspects of many debates is either limited or non-existent. http://parliamentflagpost.blogspot.com.au/ ABBOTT 5. The second time as farce Andrew Elder Tony Abbott is Kevin Rudd. Yes, I'm serious; bear with me. Both men have played the most dangerous game you can play in politics: irritating your friends and appeasing those who care little for you, while being distracted by the realities of government from which not even a control-freak chief of staff can fully protect anyone. http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/the-second-time-as-farce.html LABOR 6. Bob Carr leaves, regretting the Labor government’s lack of cunning and canniness Michelle Grattan Carr, whose criticisms embraced both the first Rudd government and the Gillard government, said Labor had lacked caution, cunning and canniness. http://theconversation.com/bob-carr-leaves-regretting-the-labor-governments-lack-of-cunning-and-canniness-19467 7. John Howard warns Liberals frail Labor will rise again Mark Kenny Bill Shorten's beleaguered Labor MPs should not despair at being banished to the electoral wilderness, says no lesser authority on Australian politics than Labor's arch-enemy, John Winston Howard. The fiercely partisan former Liberal prime minister said Labor would bounce back. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/john-howard-warns-liberals-frail-labor-will-rise-again-20131022-2vz5x.html ECONOMY + BUSINESS 8. Joe Hockey morphs from fiscal Scrooge into Santa Michael Pascoe A caterpillar emerging from its cocoon as a butterfly has nothing on the metamorphosis of Joe Hockey. The Hockey of "budget crisis" fame, the government debt warrior, the dry who never met a deficit he didn't hate, has turned into the half-trillion dollar man, spent all the $7.1 billion in policy savings he was trumpeting just five days ago and blown out this year's deficit by some $7 billion beyond Labor's best efforts. And the financial year is young. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/joe-hockey-morphs-from-fiscal-scrooge-into-santa-20131023-2w12i.html 9. Australia's economic lead appears to be slipping Greg Jericho Australia significantly outperformed other advanced economies over the past five years, and not just because of China. But with lower growth forecast, the challenge has been set for Joe Hockey, But now it seems we're all Keynesians again, as on Monday it was reported that the Treasurer is contemplating a stimulus to cope with slowing growth of the coming years. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-23/jericho-australias-economic-lead-appears-to-be-slipping-away/5039754?WT.mc_id=newsmail 10. Commission of Audit must bring up the bodies Alan Kohler The Commission of Audit must deliver specific and politically doable ideas for improving the way government is run. A bloated public service and messy means testing are good places to start The best thing about the Abbott Government's Commission of Audit is the inclusion of Peter Boxall and Tony Cole: these two former heads of Finance and Treasury know where the proverbial bodies are buried http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-23/kohler-commission-of-audit/5039646?WT.mc_id=newsmail 11. The Commission of Audit has begun Matt Cowgill We’re already on track to hit the surplus target that the Government has set for the Commission of Audit. The Treasury also projects that we will have a small structural surplus by then. Given this, it is difficult to understand why additional cuts in government spending (which it’s widely expected the Commission will recommend) will be necessary to meet the target. http://mattcowgill.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/the-commission-of-audit-has-begun/ 12. Joe Hockey will blame it on predecessor Peter Martin If you are appointed when things look dodgy, you act as if they are even more dodgy: you write off losses (in this case, lift the debt ceiling) by more than you need to, knowing you can blame it on your predecessor. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/joe-hockey-will-blame-it-on-predecessor-20131022-2vz9t.html 13. How many people are employed in small businesses? Matt Cowgill Saturday’s AFR ($) featured a discussion with anti-union campaigner Ken Phillips, included the following snippet: Large firms – “bureaucracies” captured by senior staff – employ far fewer people in aggregate than small business, yet dominate economists’ thinking, he argues. This claim is not supported by the data. http://mattcowgill.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/how-many-people-are-employed-in-small-businesses/ 14. Why an Australian FTA with China has never stacked up James Laurenceson Despite trade in goods and services between Australia and China exceeding A$125 billion in 2012, negotiations between the two countries for an FTA that began in 2005 have been so unproductive that both sides appeared to have largely lost interest. http://theconversation.com/why-an-australian-fta-with-china-has-never-stacked-up-19299 ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 15. Bushfires demand response-ability Bronwyn Lay I've never felt the earth move but have sniffed smoke, ashes and the aftermath of bushfires. The fright of inferno is akin to the world being taken away in an instant. It makes bodies tremble and language vanish. In front of violent nature, who are we but helpless and mute? http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=38396#.UmdtsLeqpZY 16. Gambling with Civilization Paul Krugman Book Review: The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World by William D. Nordhaus. Yale University Press, 378 pp., $30.00 For if one looks back at “The Allocation of Energy Resources,” one learns two crucial lessons. First, predictions are hard, especially about the distant future. Second, sometimes such predictions must be made nonetheless. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/nov/07/climate-change-gambling-civilization/ 17. Shenzhen firms sweat as speculators push CO2 price to global high BEIJING, Oct 23 (Reuters Point Carbon) - Big emitters in China’s Shenzhen fear the city’s emissions trading scheme will cost far more than anticipated after carbon permits hit 130 RMB ($21.37), making them amongst the most expensive on earth. http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2676969 [Paywalled] 18. Anti-politics 4: Discrediting neoliberalism James Wight This is the fourth part of a series about the Australian “anti-politics” attitude and how the green left should respond to it. Part 1 lays out evidence for the attitude and speculates on its causes. Part 2 argues the green left needs to distance itself from political elites. Part 3 discusses how we should communicate about climate change and what policies we should demand. This part discusses debunking the neoliberal ideology of the political elites... http://precariousclimate.com/2013/10/23/anti-politics-discrediting-neoliberalism/ 19. What firefighters say about climate change Michael Howes You do not find many climate change sceptics on the end of [fire] hoses anymore… They are dealing with increasing numbers of fires, increasing rainfall events, increasing storm events. http://theconversation.com/what-firefighters-say-about-climate-change-19381 20. Bushfire hazard reduction: the sword or the shield? Ross Bradstock There are two methods, which we can think of as the “sword” and the “shield”. The “sword” is offensive: prescribed burning throughout the landscape. The “shield” is targeted, defensive hazard reduction close to properties and infrastructure. So which is better? http://theconversation.com/bushfire-hazard-reduction-the-sword-or-the-shield-19393 21. Climate change ‘unprecedented’ by 2050: study James Whitmore, Ryan Longman, Sarah Perkins, Stephen Williams and Sophie Lewis We have some idea of what the future may look like under climate change, and now, thanks to new research, we have a better idea of when. The research, published today in Nature, shows that the world’s climate will have fundamentally changed by 2050 if we do nothing to slow greenhouse gas emissions. http://theconversation.com/climate-change-unprecedented-by-2050-study-19000 GENDER EQUITY 22. Stand by your woman: shareholders should demand more balanced boards Alice Klettner The lone lady in a suit is always a matter of interest, whether on a listed company board or in Tony Abbott’s cabinet. Not only does it seem inequitable that women are underrepresented in these influential positions, but there is now considerable research to suggest that organisations perform better and more efficiently if there are women at the top. http://theconversation.com/stand-by-your-woman-shareholders-should-demand-more-balanced-boards-18909 ASYLUM SEEKERS 23. A deafening silence: the media’s response to asylum secrecy Denis Muller It is remarkable how complacent Australia’s media has been in response to the federal government’s brazenly cynical suppression of information about asylum seeker boat arrivals. There were a few indignant editorials and then the circus moved on. http://theconversation.com/a-deafening-silence-the-medias-response-to-asylum-secrecy-19322 MARRIAGE EQUALITY 24. Standing in the way of national marriage equality Peter Norden While same-sex marriage has now become law in the ACT, the minority view of some church leaders is being allowed to hamstring Australia-wide equality...In this article, however, I would like to consider some aspects of the second possible path to the approval of same sex marriage throughout Australia, and why the Prime Minister may act to ensure there is insufficient parliamentary support for any future Amendment to the Marriage Act that would extend the definition of marriage to include same-sex partners http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-22/norden-standing-in-the-way-of-national-marriage-equality/5037832?WT.mc_id=newsmail 25. Liberal Attorney-General George Brandis vows to quickly quash same-sex law Heath Aston Attorney-General George Brandis said on Tuesday he would ask for an expedited hearing in the High Court - in part to minimise any ''distress'' that the hundreds of gay couples expected to marry in the national capital from mid-December onwards might experience if the court sides with the Commonwealth. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/liberal-attorneygeneral-george-brandis-vows-to-quickly-quash-samesex-law-20131022-2vzc5.html HEALTH + SCIENCE 26. Here comes the sun: how the weather affects our mood Nick Haslam The weather supplies many metaphors for our changeable minds. Moods can brighten and darken, dispositions can be sunny, futures can be under a cloud and relationships can be stormy. Like the weather, our emotions sometimes seem like fickle forces of nature: unstable, enveloping and uncontrollable. http://theconversation.com/here-comes-the-sun-how-the-weather-affects-our-mood-19183 27. Health Check: high-intensity micro workouts vs traditional regimes Nigel Stepto and Chris Shaw When it comes to health and fitness, there are rarely any quick fixes. But if you’re struggling to get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day, micro workouts might be just the thing you need to start improving your fitness. http://theconversation.com/health-check-high-intensity-micro-workouts-vs-traditional-regimes-18617 28. Daydream believer: why your brain is wired to wander Muireann Irish We are usually told that daydreaming is a waste of time and mental power, but the ability to daydream offers us tremendous flexibility in our daily lives. http://theconversation.com/daydream-believer-why-your-brain-is-wired-to-wander-18881 29. Delayed gratification – how the hippocampus helps us hold off Michael Valenzuela How we consider small, short-term gains versus large long-term windfalls has long been of interest to psychologists and economists. In fact, these mental trade-offs are described in the neuroeconomic literature by the term “hyperbolic decay function”. http://theconversation.com/delayed-gratification-how-the-hippocampus-helps-us-hold-off-19418 JOURNALISM 30. ‘Democratising’ journalism: should we have more of it in Australia? Brian McNair Is properly-resourced investigative journalism now to be replaced by the free labour of well-meaning amateurs? Was this another nail in the coffin of professional journalism? No, it wasn’t. On the contrary, the vast resource that the internet represents to journalism requires user-generated content if it is to be fully made use of. http://theconversation.com/democratising-journalism-should-we-have-more-of-it-in-australia-19487 TODAY’S MAIN NEWS Refugee Boat Arrivals The updates that the Morrison Military Machine want to hide. http://archiearchive.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/refugee-boat-timeline-updated-to-october-21st/ Ashbygate on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/585444634841472/ The Finnigans' Home of the BISONs The Beautiful Inspiring Set of Numbers http://www.thefinnigans.blogspot.com.au/ • ROULE REPORT — Issues of Today http://paper.li/RouleReport/1334728962 • AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGES www.thepaperboy.com/australia/front-pages.cfm • NEWS HEADLINES 24 October 2013 http://www.hotheadlines.com.au/ #################################################################

Janet (j4gypsy)

24/10/2013This piece by Tim Dunlop is a really significant contribution to the discussion Barry's piece has kicked off here. Don't miss it. [b]The future of Australian electoral politics[/b] by [i]Tim Dunlop[/i] [i]... When neither major party really has a base to speak of - that is, when neither party is able to articulate a vision of the common good that can unite in a sustainable way a reasonable majority of people - and when the media can no longer do much more than obsess about the horserace aspect of modern politics, then we would expect to see rising levels of voter dissatisfaction and electoral volatility. And we are. I don't want to exaggerate the change that is going on, but at the very least, we are in a period of transition, where 'the old is dying and the new is struggling to be born', a process that is hardly limited to Australia. From the European Union to the United States, democratic institutions are failing to properly reflect life as it is now lived. We continue to be bogged down in old battles about economic management, scientific knowledge, religious belief, the distribution of material wealth, and the rights we hold as individuals (not just against states but against corporations), re-litigating matters long settled instead of creatively reinventing our institutions and fixing stuff that really needs to be fixed. The notion, in amongst all of this, that three-term governments will remain the norm in Australia, the standard by which success or failure is judged, seems quaint. Or rather, antiquated. I mean, seriously, does Tony Abbott's government really look to anyone like it will be in power until 2022? What seems more likely is that, thanks to the mechanics of our voting and parliamentary systems, which are structured to favour the major parties (the expenses scandal is a legacy of that favouritism), the two major parties will continue to dominate, even as their ability to generate much real support in the community diminishes. Meanwhile, more independents and small parties will emerge as voters grope desperately for alternatives. ...[/i] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-24/dunlop-future-of-politics/5041314

jaycee

24/10/2013The notion of “Twiggy” Forrest (a silver-spooner if EVER there was one)coming on Lateline and coming over as the ‘concerned citizen of the world” is a bit rich! His borrowed cloak of social conscience for the enslaved and dispossed, delivered with the “bonhominie smile” of a “MacLeans Girl” ,partnered with Mr. Palmer’s “small-change” goodwill toward a “fairer Aust’ ” AND Ms. Rinehart’s depressive attempt at “fatticide” delivers a new image of the radical individual rising above their “low-born” status to dedicate their “hard-won” wealth to the benefit of humankind! The fact that the MSM. gives any amount of leisurely broadcast time for these “cuddly rebels” to deliver their inane insanities and borrowed moralities, demonstrates the power of preference our national broadcaster bestows upon such worthies! Heaven forbid that such “self-made” battlers were not given the chance to amuse us with their benevolence and scattered largesse that would , in all probability be much more appreciated if only they would cease with the throwing of loose-change and just pay their fair taxes…like everyone else!

TalkTurkey

24/10/2013From Twitter: Denise Allen ‏@denniallen 2m Pity Hugh Mackay didnt write this during the last 3 years....... http://fb.me/1CB37GOR6 You can say that again Cecil! Pity virtually none of them did, though we - and they - all knew it. It has all just been a game to Trivioli and Crassidy and their ilk.

Ken

24/10/2013I find it intriguing that Abbott can justify Randall's trip to Cairns on the basis that some discussions require face-to-face contact. I agree entirely but then have to ask why Public Servants' travel is now so limited (it started happening in the last years of Howard and continued under Labor and continues still). In meeting the 'efficiency dividend', one of the first cuts to be made by Departments was to travel. In the '90s I was running a major project that required negotiations with each State and Territory's agencies responsible for Aboriginal affairs and training, also with ASIC and the, then, Australian National Training Authority. Luckily I was able to talk my boss into allowing me to undertake those negotiations face-to-face. It saved a lot of time and proved beneficial in making contacts who were later able to give me advance warning when potential problems were emerging. My point is that if politicians can claim the need for face-to-face meetings, they should extend that to the Public Service. It may cost more in the short term but will have often save future costs. Sorry but this is a bit of a personal peeve!!

KHTAGH

24/10/2013Barry a very good read. TT [i] Well Barry reckons basically that Defence personnel aren't trained/equipped to help fight fires and they'd only be in the way. [/i] Maybe not soldiers, but I can tell you for a fact that the Navy personal are trained to an even higher degree of firefighting competence than the RFS. A fire at sea is a nightmare as you cant just leave, so sailors are highly trained in all aspects of fighting fires. They also have refresher courses every 3-6 months on both fire & medical training, burns,breaks,cuts, CPR,etc, I still remember all my training some 30 yrs after leaving the RAN, that how well it is drummed into you, at sea you only have each other to rely on in an emergency.

Ken

24/10/2013TT, KHTAGH I seem to recall the Army being used at bushfires in the past. Not actually fighting the flames, but using Army heavy machinery to help in clearing fire breaks/containment lines. That, at least, would free up a few more firies to do the front line work.

Jason

24/10/2013Ken, Has Abbott come up with an answer as to Why Don Randall's wife needed to fly at the "Taxpayers" expense to Cairns so he could have his face to face with Entch is she employed in her husbands office?

Ken

24/10/2013Jason The dress-maker may have needed to take some measurements!!!!

Janet (jan@j4gypsy)

24/10/2013Passing this on from a Get Up email on a National Day of Climate Action on November 17. [quote]Fires continue to ravage NSW as the world's top scientists, and Australia's frontline firefighters,[1] say the link between extreme weather and climate change has never been clearer. Yet at the same time, our leaders march blindly on, determined to undo everything we've fought for. Why? They want our permission to turn their back on the greatest challenge of our time. Are we going to give it to them? Hell no. We have a plan. It starts with huge mobilisations. It starts in Melbourne – but we need your help. On November 17, people all around the country are stepping up to host and attend the largest, most diverse National Day of Climate Action our country has ever seen. Are you in? www.getup.org.au/melbourne What: National Day of Climate Action When: 11am Sunday 17 November Where: Treasury Gardens, Treasury Place, East Melbourne, VIC It's never been more urgent to hit the streets and show our leaders – visually and audibly – that Australians won't stand for going backwards on climate action. We're talking about a climate events in every major city. We're talking about rallies in hundreds of rural towns and local communities around the nation. Grandparents, young people, firefighters, lawyers, bankers and teachers – standing side by side, wearing orange and red, holding our leaders to account on climate action. It will be massive. Colourful. Loud. Unignorable... and of course, a lot of fun. The stage has been set, and it's time for us to step up. Will you make history with us? Find out more and RSVP now: www.getup.org.au/melbourne See you there, the GetUp team PS – This generation will be remembered for how it responded to the challenges that climate change poses. What legacy do you want to be part of? It's up to you: www.getup.org.au/melbourne [1] What firefighters say about climate change, The Conversation, 23 October 2013 [/quote]

Catching up

24/10/2013https://soundcloud.com/bbc-world-service/newshour-could-australian-bush

Catching up

24/10/2013[quote]As this site notes (one of the few to regularly discuss these matters): The Coalition's political agenda is a vulnerability because it is redundant. It's an agenda that is a legacy of the right's historical role in opposing organised labour. It carried on long past its sell-by date as tedious "culture wars" under Howard and then came back for a gruesome swan-song under the Gillard-Abbott duet. The vagueness of the Coalition's policy platform in the lead-up to the election was indicative of this redundancy. They were left with nothing to say except to oppose Labor's policies while cleaving to the whims of their business base. Labor's instability gets all the attention, but the Coalition's is there for anyone who cares to look. It is there in the divide between the Abbott and Turnbull wings of the federal parliamentary party, o[/quote] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-24/dunlop-future-of-politics/5041314?WT.mc_id=newsmail Some yearn for the old Labor. Could the truth be, that both parties are beyond their used by date. That there are very few, that are rusted onto either party. Could it be, that there needs to be a new Labor culture to arise. One that deals with present day realities. As for the Coalition I suspect we could be seeing the end of them, not a strong party at all. This could be why much feels surreal, that all is just a joke. I believe that Labor has a long history of being able to reform itself, and will do again. If there is going to be a new party, it will be from the ashes of the Liberals. This has occurred ore than once, in their history. We need to stick to the values of Labor, that is basically a fair go for all, but it is time to let old Labor go. It belongs to the past. Many of the battles of long ago have been won. The battle now is, to ensure what has been achieved is not lost. In many ways that is a harder fight. Time for Abbott and Defence Minister to show their face.

Catching up

24/10/2013Sorry Janet, I should have read through before making my comment. Could be a important post of Dunlop.

TalkTurkey

24/10/2013 From our dolphinny Comrade TheFinnigans天地有道人无道 ‏@Thefinnigans 52m Oh dear, me and my shadow pic.twitter.com/FQud9VUYeG To which the nasty TalkTurkey ‏@TalkyTurkey replied @Thefinnigans Oh! Dear! What can Koala Bear?! Peta's eggs locked in Tony's Frigidaire! So she follows him everywhere Hoping her soufflé will rise! This bloody Abborrrttian mob has really coarsened this Turkey. I used to be pretty respectful before Them. Poor Peta. Well I hope she bloody does get pregnant. Get the *itch our of our faces for a while I guess. Oh wait, she's your Alpha Female, she'd have twins as she drove to work, chuck em in a crèche and not miss a second of trailing after Him to tell him exactly what not to say.

TalkTurkey

24/10/2013Ohhh that link doesn't work, what have I done.

TalkTurkey

24/10/2013Try this then Mes Camarades! http://t.co/FQud9VUYeG

Catching up

24/10/2013It appears the BBC did the interview with Hunt, that the ABC should have done. Getting a good run on ABC Local Radio 702 Drive time, this afternoon. It appears that the present Fire chief knows what he is talking about, Had a father that never returned from a burn back. Unlike those on the Breakfast shows, ridiculing the Fire authorities for over blowing the dangers. No acknowledgement of the work, those same authorities have carried out, to bring about yesterday's result. Did not they watch the massive areas of burn back, that was shown on TV. Even with that, it would have only taken one breakout, to be back where we were last Friday. One fire chief, said rhis morning, in matters of minutes, he was made aware of five fires erupting in the Wollemi region. All caused by lightening. Why is it, in this country, we see precautions taken, then the public saying, they exaggerated the dangers. Same argument seems to be used for some, in that we did not suffer from the GFC, means that Labor wasted the money. No acknowledgement that it was the work of the firemen and the stimulus that delivered such food results. Appears that they will not be selling Medibank before Christmas. What is getting more attention today, and I believe from now on, is not getting rid of the MRRT, but getting rid of the benefits that is was to fund. Both families and small business will suffer. Many thousands a year. Penny WOng now on ABC 24.

Catching up

24/10/2013Talk Turkey, I think she is safe. Might have left it too long. She is running out of time, but getting Abbott into power was more important for her. Could say she choose Abbott as her baby.

Casablanca

24/10/2013Wikipedia's verdict on Greg Hunt: 'terrible at his job' Tony Wright http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/wikipedias-verdict-on-greg-hunt-terrible-at-his-job-20131024-2w34y.html Greg Hunt, Minister for Wikipedia, has been pilloried following his statement to the BBC that according to Wikipedia 'bushfires in Australia are frequently occurring events during the hotter months of the year due to Australia's mostly hot, dry, climate'. This obviously supported the Minister's contention that there is no link between bush fires and climate change. Peta, I presume, has now ensured that no one can edit Hunt's page on Wikipedia.

Casablanca

24/10/2013 [b]PM’s department quadrupled in public service reshuffle[/b] Exclusive | About 1700 public servants will move into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from nine departments – as part of the Abbott government’s machinery-of-government changes. http://www.afr.com/Page/Uuid/457dccc8-3b7d-11e3-85ad-f423b978d243 [paywalled]

Casablanca

24/10/2013 [b]Contract riches for audit chief[/b] Tom Allard and Mark Kenny Tony Abbott's hand-picked auditor charged with assessing government spending and advising on outsourcing runs a company that has won contracts from the federal government worth more than half a billion dollars. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/contract-riches-for-audit-chief-20131023-2w1w7.html

Michael

24/10/2013I posted above that John Howard would never have been stupid enough as PM to enunciate a "worked-up alibi" for one of his members as Abbott did for Randall. Here's why: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/mps-expense-scandal-don-randalls-account-of-his-expenditure-differs-to-tony-abbotts-20131024-2w49b.html Randall and Abbott's stories don't match. Dumb dumb plain dumb, and dumbass arrogant, PM. The Abbott Error stumbles on.

Casablanca

24/10/2013Michael & others That article is also at The Canberra Times which at this stage, unlike the SMH is not paywalled or restricting free access to 30 hits. [b]MP's expense scandal: Don Randall's account of his expenditure differs from Tony Abbott's[/b] Jonathan Swan [quote]Mr Randall told a Perth suburban newspaper, the Armadale Examiner, he flew to Cairns in his capacity as shadow parliamentary secretary for local government. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Mr Randall flew to Cairns to have "very important discussions” with the then opposition whip, Warren Entsch.[/quote] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/mps-expense-scandal-don-randalls-account-of-his-expenditure-differs-from-tony-abbotts-20131024-2w49b.html

42 long

24/10/2013Abbott should be ripe for accusations of misleading at QT.. Bronny Bishop will be flat out protecting him from Questions. ( But she WILL) Impartial . It's not in their DNA. The LNP. (Liar's Normal Performance) are consistent, if not inspiring.

Michael

24/10/2013Casablanca, you are quite right re SMH paywall, my apologies. I was directed to the SMH version from Google News, and should have bailed out halfway and gone Canberra Times. Still, I and others each hit 'our' own paywall at 30 hits, so perhaps the lesson will individually settle in for each of us at that point of denial??? Do you know if the Mobile SMH version is paywalled? The Mobile home is here: http://m.smh.com.au/ The Randall Tales of Two Twats story is Mobile-addressed so: http://m.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/mps-expense-scandal-don-randalls-account-of-his-expenditure-differs-from-tony-abbotts-20131024-2w49b.html if anyone would like to view the 'difference' on a PC/Mac. SMH Text version, which I've not hit a paywall on with regular heavy monthly use is: http://www.smh.com.au/text/index.html

Casablanca

25/10/2013 [b]Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard: You Can Have a “Crap” Rest of Your Life or Move On[/b] By Carly Findlay on October 23, 2013 Julia Gillard is smart, warm, engaging, open and very funny. Gosh she was funny. And she is caring – her heart is set on improving the lives of our nation, especially for women. She firmly believes she has paved the way for women in leadership, particularly in parliament: “Now I’ve smashed my head through the glass ceiling, it should be easier for women to enter parliament,” she said. I really do love her. http://www.the-broad-side.com/former-australian-prime-minister-julia-gillard-you-can-have-a-crap-rest-of-your-life-or-move-on

Casablanca

25/10/2013 Michael, Short answer is 'I have no idea if the Mobile SMH version is paywalled? The non-paywalled text version of SMH is sometimes useful for getting some salient details of a story which I can then track down at the Canberra Times. Yes, It's a pain when an encrypted link from Twitter takes you to the SMH, and the first you know about it is when you are dumped back at the SMH. GRRR Ditto when people at TPS leave a brief comment such as 'Terrific article at www.smh.blah,blah'; It would be more helpful if people would name the article and its author, and add the link. Sometimes, it will be an article that you have already read and so you don't waste time or incur paywall problems if you have more details. Thanks, Michael for your response. With the pre-paywall quota of 30, it is very easy to exceed that half way through the month.

Casablanca

25/10/2013 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE will not be posted today, 25 October, 2013.[/b] A perfect opportunity to catch-up on some unread items from the last couple of days at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CASABLANCAS-CACHE-2013-10-22.aspx See also the left panel for earlier articles.

TalkTurkey

25/10/2013Good morning Casablanca I know that right you are burning the small-hours oil somewhere. On behalf of others, and of this blog, and its ongoing archive, and most of all the future of Australia and the world. Which in the end is what the struggle is all about. I see you there mouse-whipping your Computer ... Poor little thing, there it is panting, struggling to keep up with you ... rolling its eyecons ... smoke coming out its little ports ... Thank you, such dedication is the face of true heroism.

Bacchus

25/10/2013Casablanca et al. You may find this article on getting around the Fairfax paywall useful. Another method that may work is to browse in 'Incognito' mode. In Google Chrome, select 'New incognito window'. Cookies received during a browsing session are deleted when you close the window - worth a try anyway :)

Bacchus

25/10/2013I guess a link may have been useful too... :$ http://indolentdandy.net/fitzroyalty/2013/07/08/how-to-get-around-the-fairfax-paywall/

TalkTurkey

25/10/2013Casablanca I'm gonna hafta stop saying "I know ..." anything ! It's like this is the one morning the sun [i]didn't [/i]rise! :) Sweet dreams if you are dreaming.

jaycee

25/10/2013Brandis shafts Bazz Cazz!....Now, how does it feel, Barry? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-25/brandis-asks-cassidy-to-quit-old-parliament-advisory-council/5044882

Bacchus

25/10/2013I just tried this one, and it works well: "[quote]Method 1 – change ‘theage’ in the URL of any article to ‘smh’ and you can then read the same article on a different newspaper’s site. This also works with ‘brisbanetimes’ etc. The Fairfax network shares articles from the same centralised platform, so each article has a unique identifier, but the firewalls appear to be domain specific, so there is a separate paywall for each domain.[/quote]" I gather that the Canberra Times isn't paywalled yet - use 'canberratimes' to replace 'smh' or 'theage' in the URL and you should get through every time...

Ken

25/10/2013Catching up 24 OCTOBER @3.33PM re rusted on voters From what I have found there are still around 30% rusted on to either of the major parties. This has fallen in recent years - earlier it was more like 40%. If we add the way the other voters tend to lean, we do end up above 40%. Elections are won and lost on only a small percentage of the vote. I think I'm right in recalling that Anthony Green has pointed out that the biggest 2PP in modern times was Holt's 56% in 1966 (or around then??). Usually the winning vote is between 50% and 55%, and more often in the mid to lower levels of this range (50-53%). In that repect, Abbott's win is at the upper end of the range of normality. I also found that both sides have 30 odd seats that have not changed hands since the 1970s. I think (without checking) the LNP slightly more than Labor. So almost half the seats in the HoR are pretty safe, barring major electoral boundary changes. And as others have pointed out, the seats won can often be on quite slim margins - the just under 30,000 votes required for Abbott to lose 18 seats!

jaycee

25/10/2013And NOW we have The LNP. "Malaysian Solution"...and not the sign of a blush of hypocracy! http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-25/morrison-says-malaysia-on-board-with-asylum-solution/5046228

Casablanca

25/10/2013 Janet has advised another way of skirting around the 30 article limit: For 'the newspapers who now have 30 articles per month limits, you can get 30 in each browser? I have three browsers, Firefox, Explorer and Chrome, and dot about in them at will to pick up Fairfax pieces. Firefox and Chrome both downloadable for free'. Bacchus Yes, I should have included that substitution of brisbanetimes/theage/canberratimes in the url for the smh. However, in my experience that method does not work every time As a protest against the paywall, I would still urge TPSers to go first to the Canberra Times, the Crimes as it is known locally. Here again is the excellent link provided by Bacchus on skirting the Fairfax paywall: http://indolentdandy.net/fitzroyalty/2013/07/08/how-to-get-around-the-fairfax-paywall/

Casablanca

25/10/2013 I missed this last week: Abbott's mentor Emmett Costello sj died on 17 October, 2013: http://www.sydneycatholic.org/news/latest_news/2013/20131017_1648.shtml

Bacchus

25/10/2013Have you tried 'Incognito' browsing in Chrome Casablanca? I know it works for those online polls that normally only allow you to vote once. As long as Fairfax are using cookies to track visits, this should work...

Casablanca

25/10/2013 Bacchus Actually, I stopped using Chrome about 12 months ago. Shall have another look at it. I'm currently using Mozilla's Nightly.

Bacchus

25/10/2013Casablanca, Firefox has a similar feature - 'New Private Window.' I haven't tried this out, but in theory it should work the same way - it should forget the cookies associated with the browsing session. Internet Explorer calls it 'InPrivate Browsing', but once again, I haven't tried it out...

The Sniper

25/10/2013A summary of some comments Ad Astra agrees there is “widespread” dissatisfaction with the major parties and points to the initial success of the Greens and the Palmer United Party (PUP). He feels party politicians should represent their electorates first and they should be allowed a conscience vote on such social issues as same sex marriage and euthanasia. He says: “The people would need to be convinced that a political system with three or maybe four strong parties, with any of them being able to govern alone, would be preferable to what we have now. The electorate may be the biggest stumbling block to a multi-party system. Old habits die hard!” Catching up says: “We have had many minor parties, but they seem to go nowhere, becoming tools of one of the major parties. Maybe the answer lies in more, good Independents. “Maybe it is not another party, but the voter becoming involved at grassroots level, and kicking a few arses of both parties. Time for people to get back out in the streets. Time for the pollies to start earning our votes.” Cuppa says: “A third, even a fourth and fifth major party, is a nice idea with a lot to recommend it, as Barry outlined. However, I don't see it happening. Australians lack the political sophistication to cope with a female Prime Minister and a hung parliament. They like things ‘the way they've always been’. Status quo reigns supreme.” Gorgeous Dunny thinks the answer lies not in another major party but a minor party that could influence policy [the Greens?]. His concern is the continuing running down of the public sector. “We have always had a strong public sector … It addressed urban poverty on the one hand and regional isolation on the other, and resulted in us having an excellent public education and hospital system,” GD says. “A lot of this value seems to have got buried under the advent of Reaganomics and Thatcherism, but a strong public sector is important to our community. “I'm not quite sure how it's done, but the time is long overdue for us to stop brainlessly slashing public spending.” Millie showed us how the existing parties are failing some sections. “Well, us simple folk in the country need a third party to represent us. The old Country Party used to do it but they became the Nationals and now are too lily-livered to stand up for country values against the Liberals. The first thing that Abbott announced was stopping $2.5 billion of rural and regional projects -- where the hell was Barnyardaby Joyce and the other Nationals when that little stunt was pulled? Not a bloody peep. What a bunch of whimpering namby pambies those Nationals are. They have sold out good country folk. It is a disgrace. So yes, we do need a third party -- one with a little bit of ‘country’ would roll the Nats back to where all cowed cowards go.” Talk Turkey definitely does not like the idea. “Third parties are in my opinion maggots in the body politic, eating at the vitals of decisive government,” he writes. Bill Shaw’s response deals with areas of reform, in addition to some thoughts on third major parties. I won’t include a brief summary of it because it is worth reading in full. See: October 21. 2013 02:49 PM Some other responses also deal with reform rather than a third choice. 2353 thinks it will take 10 to 20 years to establish a third, viable, party. I don’t agree. It didn’t take Pauline Hanson’s One Nation anywhere near that long to win 19 Queensland seats. Clive Palmer’s PUP has a Lower House Member, three Senators and one Senate ally after a campaign of less than a year. But 2353 is right about something else: any new party will have to avoid “shooting itself in the foot” as he believes the Democrats and the Greens have done. You could include Labor in that too. Here, and in other places, discussions about a third major party often raise doubts or fears about what it might be like. It might be like the Tea Party, for example. What I proposed was a middle-of-the-road party, not a party further to the Left or Right. The party would be what it says it is. It would not survive for long if that suddenly changed. Digressions to other countries and other systems are irrelevant. I was not writing about adopting another country’s system. There is nothing to suggest that a third major force would suddenly take us into the realm of the system of another country. There is plenty of scope for a third party. Of the 14-odd million who voted on 7 September, some 42,000 are Labor party members and some 80,000 are Liberal party members. Leaving the minor parties aside, how many of the remainder could a new party attract? The opinion of many commentators is that voters are fed up with the two majors, both of which seem to have lost their way. Tim Dunlop deals with this in an article for The Drum http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-24/dunlop-future-of-politics/5041314 If a third major party did arise it would be at the expense of one of the two existing majors in terms of seats. The outcome could be that we end up with two major parties again, and the rump of one of the old ones – much like the position the Nationals find itself in. See also Janet’s summary and further thoughts at October 23. 2013 09:24 AM

Curi-Oz

26/10/2013A few day's old, but I think Word#5 has a perfect exemplar in several of our current government members? http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/oct/09/mark-forsyth-the-horologicon-top-10-lost-words

TalkTurkey

26/10/2013Lisa Wilkinson gives Olle lecture http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/10/25/3876439.htm

TalkTurkey

26/10/2013Some of Abborrrtt's party guests tonight: http://m.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/guess-whos-coming-to-dinner-abbotts-round-table-20131025-2w76k.html You can tell a man's a creep By the company he'll keep ... And now the piggies all will have their day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctus5ZMTL6M

Ad astra reply

26/10/2013Folks We have finally arrived in Mackay after a long drive from Maroochydore. The weather is warm in contrast to the cold of Victoria. I will catch up with your comments over the weekend. Barry's summary was most helpful. Another piece is scheduled for tomorrow. Now for a relaxing fortnight in the balmy tropics.

Michael

26/10/2013http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/operation-enhanced-screenings/718/ If this story doesn't disgust and frighten you, both in and of itself, and as a vanguard exposé of how Abbott's Australia will shape under this government, then I don't what it will take to do so. People are being sent back to the very real likelihood of death or excessively punitive treatment (for going public) not acceptable either in Australia or under the international obligations covering the seekers of asylum arriving here, however they do so. Morrison seems to believe only those fleeing persecution in the full knowledge of the authorities they are escaping, with all the exit and entry travel documentation rubber-stamped by those same authorities has any claim to asylum. The victims have to have been ratified as victims by the perpetrators of acts that make them victims in their home countries before Morrison will accede they might BE targeted victims. He seems to expect those fleeing to contact the authorities they are fleeing to both inform them they are fleeing and secure the appropriate paperwork to do so! What weird Kafkaesque circularity does Morrison have for a mind to even begin to demand such 'proof' of legitimate fear of persecution or ill-treatment by asylum seekers? "Have your home authorities confirm you are a target for ill-treatment, have those same authorities provide travel documentation for you to escape such ill-treatment, and we'll accept your claims for asylum"???? Watch Morrison at his press conferences - he has a smug look on his face, the hubris of the condescending victor as he addresses and sidesteps reporters' questions, allows smirks to creep onto the corners of his mouth when he pulls off a 'good one' of comment to leave a reporter both uninformed and patronised. This man is living the wild dream of unqueried diktat over others' lives. There is nothing more certain than that lives will be claimed amongst those Morrison sends away from Australia, that this smug, smirking monster (yes, "monster") of a man will stain Australia's history as a facilitator of the slaughter of innocents. But the paperwork will be in order for the return trip. This approach, these procedures, will filter right through every level of government in this country, affecting natively-born citizens every bit as much as those who travel here to become citizens. Forget the Nanny State, get ready for the Retributive State.

Ken

26/10/2013Sniper Your summary is good and useful and your conclusion most important. You dismiss comments about overseas experience on the grounds that you are only proposing a third force within our system. No problem with that, except the [u]practical effect[/u] of that third force may be to introduce some elements that already exist in other systems and I think we need to be aware of that. As you conclude, it could lead to the withering of one of the current major parties. I disagree that a third party could become a 'force' in a short period. The Democrats and Greens have failed to do so. I think in relation to the Federal government the best case scenario is at least 2 elections, probably more like 5 or 6 which could lead to a period of minority governments (which takes me back to the practical effects actually causing changes to our system). Thinking as I write, has caused me to reflect that a third force may have to start at the State level (or even the local government level) to establish itself, and hopefully win at least one State government and establish its credentials that way. It will all take time. But thanks, Sniper, a thought provoking article.

42 long

26/10/2013Shaping up as the "meanest" government of all time Cuts to foreign aid. Charging low income people more to deposit funds in super than their normal tax rate. No small tools right off for business. Tax people from 6000 dollars, no school kids right off for books and uniform. All reforms to be subject to a "BCA based audit" Fake thing like Costello's deal for Can Do. Are you being HAD? Well and truly.(unless you are Gina Reinhart or a few others). A lot of people voted AGAINST their own interests this time around. Perhaps next time you will tell Murdoch to stop telling bare faced lies, and use your own brain a bit more. Anyhow as far as the real politic goes the more that get involved, the better. Grass roots involvement is the most refreshing and innovating. young Liberals and Young labor come up with good ideas often. Later the vested interest groups take over The key word in the PUP is PALMER'S . The Raison d etre is to look after CLIVE. Be amused at your own cost because YOU will pay for the show. The rest of the SENATE is a CORRUPTION of an ill conceived voting structure. Serious and could easily have been anticipated. Table sized ballot papers that take about 25 minutes of intense thought and you have to vote for people you wouldn't vote for in a FIT.

Catching up

26/10/2013Enjoy that trip. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/swan-took-treasury-advice-not-to-shore-up-rba-fund-20131025-2w7d8.html#ixzz2imp8vR6I http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbotts-soiree-has-the-right-stuff-20131025-2w7cz.html#ixzz2imnqM1Ta http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/hockey-has-promises-to-keep-in-budget-battle-20131025-2w723.html#ixzz2imfOsUjk

Ken

26/10/201342 long agree the Senate voting needs some amendments. I'm not a fan of optional preferential but I think a limited form of it could work and attract more people to vote below the line for who they actually want. I would like to see a minimum set for a valid vote - anywhere between 8 and 12 for a half-Senate election. I think we need more than 6 to allow the system to work properly. I also think we need a change such as all parties that achieve less than 3% of the primary vote are eliminated from being eligible for a quota but their preferences are still counted for other parties above that figure. That retains the possibility of parties like Palmer's and Katter's still being in the game but would stop someone who started with about 0.3% of the vote somehow gaining the 14-15% required for a quota.

Catching up

26/10/2013"................It’s highly likely that 2013 will turn out to be the hottest calendar year on record for Australia. The frequent occurrence of record highs like this is a predictable consequence of climate change. Abbott had better get his spin doctors working on a form of words to handle the inevitable questions. fn1. I’ve decided to abandon “delusionist”, my own coinage, in favor of the more standard term “denialist”. I’ll write more on this later. fn2. In fairness, this statement was presented as a view his audience might hold, rather than as Abbott’s own. But since he’s held every possible view on this topic, and some that seem impossible, fairness can only go so far.............. http://johnquiggin.com/2013/10/24/falling-off-the-tightrope/#comments

TalkTurkey

26/10/2013Well, We've had the Democrats. A centrist party, anaemic, vacillating, riven with factionalism, eventually prostituting itself in the service of the LNP, and ultimately imploding to virtual non-existence. We've had Hansen's One Nation. A far-Right party, which attached itself to Howard like a tick on a pig, until that equally far-right but less-honest pig himself, and present Pig~Thing himself, managed to get Hansen and Ettridge gaoled, while adapting and adopting their attitudes and much of their policies. One Nation too was fragmented before long, and it too has for all intents and purposes died. And we've got the Greens, supported by nice caring Leftish people on the whole, zealous for justice and conservation, yet whose leadership so delayed and obstructed any action on carbon pollution, so obstructed and negated all Labor's attempts at any humane rational strategy for dealing with asylum seekers, that in the end we got the worst of everything - and lost Government too. Thanks a bunch Milne et al. And now, belatedly, the scales are falling like autumn leaves from the eyes of their former supporters, who in huge numbers are realising now that only with Labor Governments will any progressive action ever happen. Greens always talk, Labor always works, simple as that. And I do say Labor [i]always[/i] works, [i]even in the lousiest of Labor Governments[/i]: some few may have snouts in the trough, but overall Labor Members - and I've known quite a lot -are sincere diligent and honest. That's why we say the worst Labor Government is 'way better than the best Liberal one. Now we've got this PUP, Pig-Dog Palmer's plastic party, little p because that's all it is, a mob of jerks on the Titanic whose passage is being paid by Pig-Dog himself, but who are all going to yahoo it up, at everybody else's expense, careless of the iceberg we're all headed for. Oh great. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwu6NrxVVFk Has anybody on this thread actually considered the [i]benefits[/i] of a TWO-Party system? - Well I have, it's implicit in all I've written here, but I've never explicitly made the argument for it. I'm not going to make the case here neither, but I will say that of the best things about it is that it's NOT a THREE-party system! Nor any other number btw. There are only two sides to any proposition, ask any computer, it'll tell you 0 or 1, No or Yes. In [i]Nineteen Eighty-Four[/i] Orwell hypothesizes a world divided into 3 super-states, Eurasia, Eastasia and Oceania. Each is too big for any other two to defeat entirely, so they are able to maintain a perpetual state of war, with no resolution ever possible on matters of serious conflict. Of course that is the way Oceania's beloved "benevolent" dictator Big Brother really wants it -( "War is Peace") - and presumably each of the other zones has its own equivalent semi-mythical leader who also wants the status quo - perpetual conflict - to continue. That's what you get with 3 parties, perpetual shifting of alliances and frustration of any decisive action. It's all over Australia at the moment. Australia is like unto a flyblown sheep now because of minor parties, and the maggots are those of the blowflies that have really done the most damage, the Primary Greens. http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/pests-diseases-and-weeds/pest-insects/ag0081-sheep-blowflies-in-victoria Never mind about trying to develop a viable third party - how about we opt for sanity and try to get back to a strong two-party system?

Catching up

26/10/2013[quote]Pretty predictable right now – “good ally”, “everything I humanly can” – plus “supported former government’s”. Do you plan to come to the U.S. to visit President Obama? He’s a very busy man, and I don’t want to make his life more complicated by demanding an early meeting. He was good enough to take a phone call from me after the election. I expect to visit the United States sometime next year. Makes me wonder whether Obama’s people have fobbed Abbott off. Or maybe it is just because Obama is busy trying to make action on climate change and other important matters. It’s hard to imagine what the two leaders would have in common. Plus, I can’t imagine the NSA trying to bug Abbott’s phone. There would be only so many three word phrases a spook could endure. Do you feel it will be diffic[/quote] http://ausopinion.com/2013/10/26/wackothediddleo/#comments

Catching up

26/10/2013Not to sure what we gain by focusing on parties, I suspect, the answer might lay, in developing a voting system, that ensures all votes are equal. It will be up to the electorate, what is delivered. The makeup of the Parliament, should reflect what the voters, vote for each MP.

Pappinbarra Fox

26/10/2013I make this prediction now: NO Minister will RESIGN or be asked to resign or be SACKed under Abbott no matter the offence!!!

42 long

26/10/2013IF we are trying to sell the concept of democracy around the world would the latest shenanigens in the USA and our performance here for the last few years by a good example? Of course not. The mob Abbott thought they could dispense of the Labor lot (imposters) quicktime and their efforts were directed to that end. Nothing in the way of a consideration for truth or reason was permitted. It was all spin and pillory or character assassination and LIES. Abbott says we play it pretty "ROUGH" in this country. Sure you can when you have a complicit MSM and friends in high places. Abbott and a few (perhaps more than a few) of his mob have probably broken the law. They have also bent due process till it is unrecognisable. What a shocking example to set in the Parliament of the people. As far as resignations go the Lieberals and Co have many more expelled from office than Labor. That is serving Ministers while in office. They have a great tradition. NOT. .

DMW

27/10/2013Thanks Barry for an interesting and thought provoking article. There have been many interesting thoughts generated and it is a delight to have read many of the contributions. There are a number of things that mitigate against the rise of a third force in Australian politics some of which have been touched upon by commenters. We need to go back to the beginning and understand more of what our founding fathers were aiming for when they set up our federation of six states. While we look at that we also need to remember that much of our constitution was based on protecting the existing interests of the six founding states ahead of promoting the larger interests of the commonwealth of states and territories. Our electoral systems, particularly single member electorates in the lower house tend to favour the current duopoly. It is interesting to note that most commenters have assumed that the 'third force' would be another political party. I suggest that when (not if) a third force rises it is more likely to be a grouping of unaligned and independent members of parliament that coalesce around particular issues that will shake up the system. Despite the supposed angst surrounding the previous (hung?) parliament and the alleged traitorous independents more people are beginning to see the benefits of having a strong independent as their representative than some party hack from either of the Coles 'n' Woolies parties.

TalkTurkey

27/10/2013Reposted from Twitter Lynlinking ‏@lynlinking 14m Inaugural Top Abbott Toadie and Sycophant Trophy @geeksrulz these people call themselves journalists excerpt http://stopthestunts.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/inaugural-top-abbott-toadie-and-sycophant-trophy/ …

Catching up

27/10/2013Listening to Bolt. The label, electricity Bill, according Minchin is defending his actions on governments expense. According to him, it is all in the open. At least Bolt is disagreeing with Minchin. Fairfax is getting it. Talking about old news. That was response to Howard's outrageous spending on fares for ministers during his reign. Howard cabinet ministers who prefer VIP air http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/senior-mps-vip-travel-cost-2m-20131026-2w8pm.html Budget office deems billions in savings unreliable http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/budget-office-deems-billions-in-savings-unreliable-20131026-2w8h2.html Senior MPs' VIP travel cost $2m http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/senior-mps-vip-travel-cost-2m-20131026-2w8pm.html PBO admits to cost doubts http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/pbo-admits-to-cost-doubts-20131026-2w8qp.html Tony Abbott's private function an affair for the conservative media faithful http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbotts-private-function-an-affair-for-the-conservative-media-faithful-20131026-2w8wz.html

Catching up

27/10/2013Well, maybe we have a budget emergency, but knifing the former Labor government, especially Mr. Rudd, is top of their list. There was daily contact with installers, by text messaging and email every day. The results from the roof installation scheme, was that industry had regulation for the first time. That the injury and fire rates are now lower. There are now over a million and quarter homes that are now benefiting from lower power costs. Chris Bowen on Meet the Press. We had Abbott once again yesterday, mouthing off, calling names and making threats and stupid comments, from behind closed doors. When is he going to front the media, to answer questions, about much he has to say. One could call him a gutless wonder, could they not.

Catching up

27/10/2013DMW. yes going back, and looking at what the Founding Fathers where about, is a worthwhile exercise. We need to keep in mind, that they were all protecting there own turf.

Janet (j4gypsy)

27/10/2013Morning all, and popping back in to pick up some of the responses to my comment of October 23. 2013 09:24 AM before this thread closes. But first, delighted to know that you’ve arrived safely in Mackay, Ad. Relax and enjoy :-). And DMW, welcome back – it’s been a while :-). Barry, thank you for such a thorough pulling together of the thoughts responding to your piece this week. It’s a very helpful way to conclude a thread. And I hope you will guest back at the Sword again. Jaycee (October 23. 2013 09:48): sorry I missed you the other day, and I wanted to pick up a few of your points in response to my thinking on ‘not enough chaos’. You said: [i]We already have a "third party" playing in Aust' politics...it is the MSM.[/i] I’d agree with BSA Bob (at October 23. 2013 10:18 AM) that we have one hell of a third force here in Oz in the right-wing media, but I’d say again that force is not a party (or even as DMW argues more recently a bunch of useful Independents). That there has been no ‘democratic election’ of the fourth estate is the most troubling of all its aspects. And jaycee (at October 23. 2013 10:33 AM), I agree with this point, too (and appreciated the Gibbon reference :-)): [quote]Until the Fifth Estate has a patron with the measure of wealth to influence, corrupt, employ legal representation and still remain an active player in the dissemination of news and views, it will always be the "poor cousin" railing at and ineffectual in changing adverse policy decisions by ALL authorities in our political sphere of influence.[/quote] The guy who is currently investing in both [i]The Global Mail[/i] and [i]Guardian Australia[/i] is perhaps the only patron of the left-wing who springs to mind, but with not yet enough power against the Murdochian – true. I’m a lot more positive, though, about the power inherent in the accumulation of many individual voices in the blogosphere and on social media, regardless of how much the fourth estate pushes back (even, markedly, in Lisa Wilkinson’s Andrew Olle lecture). I think we are not at all at odds in your comment about a citizenry too comfortable in its daily existence to rise up and rebel: while I wasn’t really on about a revolution, not enough are hurting yet and in the one place to undertake any kind of action against what might really hurt them in the future. I agree with Barry’s initial point – the swing from left to right as government changes hands creates a measure of chaos, but I still think … not remotely enough to create wide-spread energy and action. Catching up (October 23. 2013 10:25 AM), I couldn’t agree more with you on this point, too: [quote] We need to reconnect the general Australian public back to political activities. The young have said to me, we do not know what it is about. What they are really saying, we have had no contact with any political activity, outside casting a vote every three years.[/quote] I tend to argue in other places that we don’t teach ‘political science’ in schools, and we don’t make it a compulsory subject in a basic liberal arts degree, for example. And we suffer the consequences. But you’re dead right about Indi and mobilisation of the young. If it can be done once in one electorate, it can happen elsewhere. One other place we see the younger-than-us mobilising is in [i]Get Up[/i]. On any voting day in big cities bunches of youngies identifying with [i]Get Up[/i] are handing out. They’ve had some terrific successes, and they’re attempting a ‘nationwide’ walk/march on the 17th November around the issue of Climate Change (I put up the email from [i]Get Up[/i] on this, earlier in this thread). I intend to see if Broken Hill is undertaking some action and to join in, if so. I hope others on the Sword might do likewise, health permitting. Catching up (at: October 24. 2013 03:33 PM): found this comment from you fascinating: [quote] If there is going to be a new party, it will be from the ashes of the Liberals. This has occurred more than once, in their history.[/quote] Don’t know if you caught up with these two pieces from Preston Towers on [i]AusOpinion[/i]: • Forget the Tea Party, we need a new Party in Australia – The Link at http://ausopinion.com/2013/10/17/forget-the-tea-party-we-need-a-new-party-in-australia-the-link/ • The Link – Not the Party For Me at http://ausopinion.com/2013/10/18/the-link-not-the-party-for-me/ There’s also a fascinating response to these two pieces titled ‘Quick Post: On how @prestontowers’ ‘The Link’ shows what’s wrong with politics #auspol at http://onlythesangfroid.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/quick-post-on-how-prestontowers-the-link-shows-whats-wrong-with-politics-auspol/ Am now back to chewing over Barry’s final point (at October 25. 2013 09:41 PM): [i]If a third major party did arise it would be at the expense of one of the two existing majors in terms of seats. The outcome could be that we end up with two major parties again, and the rump of one of the old ones – much like the position the Nationals find itself in.[/i] and one of TT’s most recent points: [i]That's what you get with 3 parties, perpetual shifting of alliances and frustration of any decisive action. It's all over Australia at the moment. Australia is like unto a flyblown sheep now because of minor parties, and the maggots are those of the blowflies that have really done the most damage, the Primary Greens.[/i] and one of Ken’s more recent ones: [i]Thinking as I write, has caused me to reflect that a third force may have to start at the State level (or even the local government level) to establish itself, and hopefully win at least one State government and establish its credentials that way. It will all take time.[/i] It’s been a good discussion guys. Thank you.

Catching up

27/10/2013Tony Abbott likens carbon tax to socialism in speech to Tasmanian Liberal Party conference http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-26/abbott-attacks-shortencarbon-tax-socialism-labor/5047758?WT.mc_id=newsmail

Michael

27/10/2013The "third force" in Australian politics is being shaped before us day by day of the Abbott Error. It is the witch-hunt as arm of government supposedly at arms-length from government, entitled 'commission' or 'committee' or 'investigation', and by the use of those style of words, drawing in public involvement/participation so as to assert 'objective' distance from the Government. The Commission of Audit, for example, will not be about how the Abbott Government will best budget its economic responsibility to the nation, it will be presented as a retrospective exposé of the 'failure' of the Labor Government. The mooted 'pink batts commission' will be all about excoriating Labor and individual Labor politicians, and bring nothing new after previous inqiries to the public about the specific failings, incidents, and (most definitely not) positive outcomes of the scheme. We can expect Abbott to proceed with the pursuit and legacy-shattering negative personalisation of Julia Gillard through some form of quasi 'official' exploration of the AWU and Slater and Gordon rats-nest of innuendo and character-besmirchment. From Day One after the September election Abbott's Credlinisation of Australian politics has been all about the absolute neutering of Labor as a viable contestant for the NEXT election. Their template is what was done for the entire period leading up the LAST election. The witch-hunt is designed to reduce the credibility of Labor's currently elected representatives and future candidates, to assert that the people Labor brings to Australian voters for election next time around are exposed as unreliable at best, and 'revealed' abusers of public trust and position, at worst. In short, not electable in any acceptable sense, as displayed to the Australian people by the commissions, committees and investigations that will run up to/fuel comment and assessment of the Abbott Government's opponents right up to the next election. In doing so, the witch-hunt does precisely what the 'illegitimate government' argument against Labor did for Abbott in Opposition. It requires him to do nothing, to actually have no forward-moving policy, to devote all his time to deracinating Labor, so that government involves no positive action on his part, requires no more than constantly enunciated and strip-mining legislatively enacted repudiation of what Labor did. This is government by stripping out the involving input of government, it is a method to shape 'small government' by actually being no-government except to act against political opponents (in order to stay IN government) rather than to act for the people of Australia (and thus earn the return TO government by citizens' endorsement at the ballot box). Abbott appears, for all his blather about 'mandate' to be fearful of Australians' votes, our individual power to assert political opinion and choice. Rather than build on the positive reality of his victory, to nurture and expand the base of those Australians who voted for him, he is using the witch-hunt to reduce further the votes given to his political opponents. It is the politics of gangsterism. Characterise your opponents as legally, morally, personally, not suitable for public office and trust, then that, in a largely two party polity such as Australia has developed, leaves only 'you' to stand against the revealed crooks and shysters opposing you, and also implies your greater rectitude (you have nothing to "repent" of). We have entered a period of national government that will not be about Australia at all - it will be about the embedding of the Coalition into the organs and institutions of government: not because of proven greater ability, but because the 'other guys' are crooks. How will we know Labor are "crooks"? Because 'independent' commissions, committees, and non-Federal government investigations will 'prove' it. Riding above, a 'more in sorrow than anger' Abbott government will arms-length lament that their opponents are so impossible to consider as legitimate alternate claimants to the responsibility, the duty, the uncompromised morality required of high office. The problem, of course, is that the frenetics of attempting to assert illegitimacy of the Labor government from Opposition, shifted to determination to gut the effectiveness and (again) legitimacy of Labor as Opposition, will mean the Federal Government of Tony Abbott will not be about government of the nation (there won't be time), it will be about assuring continued occupation of the Government benches in Parliament as the only priority of government. One crisis, one demand on this Abbott government to react to events imposed from outside the bubble of party-politicking/witch-hunting, will find Australia utterly exposed to those events. Nobody will have been governing, simply seeking advantage over an 'enemy' it has already beaten, and the crisis will find the government of this nation not so much asleep at the wheel as driving another vehicle altogether. Executive, legislature, judiciary. The three inter-balancedly firm supports of Western democracy. Teeter, tilt, wobble, each and all may do, certainly, but ultimately, the tripod is sturdy. But add 'witch-hunt', and coherent balance is gone. And I believe it is not drawing too long a bow to assert, so is democracy.

TPS Team

27/10/2013Just to let you know that Casablanca is taking a little break from Casablanca's Cache. It's a big strain on the eyes to pursue and read political work online as extensively as Casablanca does each day. In the meantime, if regular Swordsters are able to post links from their own daily delving and reading, that's wonderful for all of us. And we hope you will be back with us soon, Casablanca.

Catching up

27/10/2013http://stopthestunts.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/inaugural-top-abbott-toadie-and-sycophant-trophy/ The Top Toadies – The Inaugural Abbott Toadie and Sycophant Award

Catching up

27/10/2013Prime Minister Tony Abbott tells the US of the wacko Rudd-Gillard government http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/prime-minister-tony-abbott-tells-the-us-of-the-wacko-ruddgillard-government/story-fnii5s41-1226747452833

Catching up

27/10/2013Abbott's version of truth backfires http://www.smh.com.au/comment/abbotts-version-of-truth-backfires-20131026-2w8d2.html

Catching up

27/10/2013When it comes to "electricity Bill", add a word, "clean electricity Bill".

Catching up

27/10/2013http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2011/04/24/the-csiro-gets-hip-to-debunking-media-hysteria/ The CSIRO gets HIP to debunking media hysteria Need to get in quick. Reports are disappearing quick from the web.

Ken

27/10/2013Michael A brilliant comment. Agree with Janet that it is very astute and an expose of how Abbott/Credlin is thinking. (singular verb is deliberate) I think Labor can counter it by continually pointing out that this is not governing, is not addressing education and health (particularly those two for they always rate highly in voter polls of issues and are seen as Labor strengths). And as Abbott did in Opposition, keep hammering them. Of course, Labor must then come up with a decent policy on the issues before the next election - not a poll driven policy but a visionary one!!

Catching up

27/10/2013http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/prime-minister-tony-abbott-tells-the-us-of-the-wacko-ruddgillard-government/story-fnii5s41-1226747452833#ooid=R3bWdjZzqCg293oTLm2DYFBRahGpzgOU

Catching up

27/10/2013Abbott has also promised inquiries into the twenty year old, alleged AWU scandals and into the HSU. My advice to Abbott, when he loses the next election, he flee the country. Abbott will be top of the picking order, when this occurs.

Catching up

27/10/2013Abbott needs to spend less time getting even, and begin governing the country. Needs to come out of the bunker to do so.

TalkTurkey

27/10/2013Not bad for a Yank cartoon This week's KAL's cartoon http://econ.st/HfL2AS pic.twitter.com/GlrKnolxWB

Catching up

27/10/2013The draft of terms of reference into the Pink Batts have gone to the families. The question I asked, why are they acting on behalf of the families. There are courts there for that. If one looks at the employers of those who died, they are all experts in the field. Yes, they were old businesses, run by those with trade qualifications. In fact, were electricians.

Catching up

27/10/2013We see the Danish Royal couple turning up at Winmalee. No sign yet of Abbott.

Catching up

27/10/2013http://pandora.nla.gov.au/tep/22487

Janet (j4gypsy)

27/10/2013Michael (and Ken), My comment on your last one Michael has quietly disappeared into the ether. Trying again :-) Yours is the most astute comment I have read anywhere, since the 7th September. And it is frightening analysis. My question was, how does Labor counter this strategically? Not to mention across three years. For the record, I have linked to your comment on Twitter, Michael, and intend to do so several times. This really should be a blog piece. And it should be an email sent directly to Labor politicians and even some journalists.

The Sniper

27/10/2013All of what Michael (October 27. 2013 11:12 AM) wrote may be true and may happen. Only one thing can prevent it happening, or having the outcome he predicts. That one thing is a more honest and professional news media. But I've given up on the traditional Fourth Estate. Revealing Abbott's strategy and mistakes is now up to Social Media and on-line sites like this one. If it's to survive, Labor should adopt a grass roots strategy to recruit and build membership to around 200,000 (yes, that's a very ambitious number). The facts are that the Liberals have it all over Labor on present membership (80,000 v 42,000), fund raising and corporate donations, mass media coverage, news media manipulation and PR generally. Given the "government by inquiry" that Michael mentions, Labor will be flat out countering the Liberals' negativity let alone moving ahead.

Catching up

27/10/2013Sniper. True. We have the means to do it now. Yes. the social media and fifth estate can be powerful. A grass roots campaign is the only means that is available.

Catching up

27/10/2013http://nofibs.com.au/2013/10/08/will-media-finance-afp-handle-evidence-pm-cheat/#comments

jaycee

27/10/2013Gypsy Janet.... As to what the progressive side of politics can do to counter the rise of right-wing politics is now almost becoming too big an issue to encompass within one discussion. I have noticed whenever I attended environmental workshops, there is a disconnect between what I would call ; "the Collegiate" and "the Fellowship"...; the collegiate being those with academic qualifications and the Fellowship ; the lay enthusiasts with little more than anecdotal experience...the first find it difficult to incorporate non-scientific evidence in their research and the second find it difficult to connect such fine-tuned research to their "on-the-ground" observations. So while there is mutual sympathy for the ideal of the subject, there is a disconnect from each other on the approach. I am finding a similar thing in the evolving 'Fifth Estate"....If I may use an analogy?..: Here in the mallee there is a feral goat problem...it is attacked using what are called "Judas goats"...the Judas goat is a sterilised female with a tracker attached, which is released in the vacinity of feral goat herds and it will find its' way to one of those herds and attached itself...the tracker is then used to find the herd and shooters are sent to cull them...I can't help but in some ways feel sorry for the other goats, but do realise they have to be dealt with as pests for the damage they do. The idea of the "Judas goat" is, I believe, now in use amongst the Fifth Estate blog sites. Many have become little more than fiefdoms of a domineering moderator / owner or now little more than an outlet promoting "a cry of outrage" that is absorbed into the general hubbub of human cacophany and complaint and "culled" or dispersed in the illusory smoke of dissent, like the magician's BANG and THUNDER, fire flash and smoke that at first suprises, then almost as swiftly vanishes . They are now in danger of becoming the "man bites dog" story! The discussion must move on from "what is wrong" ( we ALL know what is wrong ) and what we ought to do (we ALL know that too ) to how we are going to do it and THAT involves the "collegiate" talking vernacular with the "fellowship" and taking a few, perhaps unhealthy risks with subversive writing. Have we the capacity to absorb the certainty of litigious accusation? Murdoch has been "sued" more times than an Irish bailiff by the family dog! Which brings us back to my comment earlier that until the Fifth Estate has a patron wealthy enough to absorb such legal nasties, are we forever doomed to be the "poor cousin"?

Ken

27/10/2013The Sniper and Catching up My recollection of things written and said in the recent election was along the lines that, at least in many electorates, Labor was more successful in activating its members and supporters and literally doing the door-knocking and letter drops. That was certainly the case in some of the western Sydney electorates they held onto. I take the view that many Liberal members wouldn't dirty their hands with the menial work involved but will atend the fund-raising dinners and be seen in the right places and with the right company (sorry, just my westie background showing through). But I do agree with boosting membership, not necessarily to 200,000 but even 60,000 Labor members will outperform more than 80,000 Liberals. The difference in commitment is between pursuing a dream of a better society or ensuring the economy is suporting business and I know who I would put my money on to work harder.

Janet (j4gypsy)

27/10/2013jaycee: love your metaphors :-). Apologies, no real time today to reply properly to your last comment. But this thought: no, we (the fifth estate) probably don't have the someone who can financially mop up litigation if subversive pieces are written and published in the blogosphere. But we do have many a good lawyer, even amongst Swordsters, who can tell us precisely how close to the wind we're running so that we might just avoid litigation. Hang on that thought.

42 long

27/10/2013the LieBerals and NP are more likely to be well funded. This is a World wide phenomenon. They tend to represent those who are well off and want to be MORE well off. Obama did it by sheer weight of numbers. IF it is money you want You will need a much higher contributory base A small amount from a lot equals or exceeds large lumps from a few. Newman has sought to close off the funding for Labor from the Unions- One of their traditional sources. Doubt if he will treat his side with such restriction. Labor has more chance of broadening it's appeal as it's policies tend to be more FAIR and provide more opportunity for the part of society that has trouble with surplus cash and funds PUBLIC services. It's a more innovative government. Logically Labor has to broaden it's "involved" base. All it has to do is allow more participation in policy formulation and the rest will follow. what's to fear with that?

TalkTurkey

27/10/2013Ken said [i]Michael A brilliant comment. Agree with Janet that it is very astute and an expose of how Abbott/Credlin is thinking. (singular verb is deliberate) [/i] Gypsy Janet echoed him. I'll just be the faint next echo, it is a brilliant and frightening image you project of the future Michael. And Ken, your singular verb is hilarious - or would be if not so patently scarily true.

42 long

27/10/2013Of course Liberal is what the Australian Tea Party is NOT. They have migrated to the ultra right wing NUT territiory and anybody left of them is a communist/atheist pinko schoolteacher dole bludger. Lackeys they are, for BIG.... poker machines tobacco coal oil monopoly media untaxed churches private everything ( except private parts which they have NO idea how to handle) They say they believe in SMALL government but they get involved with things like who you marry and picking winners and funding them and also middle and upper class welfare. They are all over the place when you think about it. I think it is something like the HR Nicholls Society expanded. A private club for those with the right connections.

Michael

27/10/2013I appreciate all the positive comments re my earlier post. The ideas underpinning the thesis are still forming, but the fact is I don't have to actually have "the ideas"... Abbott and crew are enacting the process, and providing the 'evidence'. What's being done merely has to be recognised as real-world unfolding, not any (my) commentator's take on the likely underpinning of Conservative strategies. Grab an example, any example... Abbott bad-mouths Labor in the Washington Post, using phrasing that extends in seamless linguistic shaping from his comments at the Tasmanian Liberals' get together. (Interesting, with all the entitlement wrangles ensnaring Libs, he appropriates the word "trough" in his Tasmanian comment about where Labor 'left' the country - he's setting out to make 'trough' signal incompetent governance by Labor instead of inappropriate entitlement gouging [snouts in the trough] from his side.)http://www.skynews.com.au/topstories/article.aspx?id=918767&vId=4204356&cId=Top%20Stories You think I'm drawing way too long a bow targeting individual words? Listen to the Conservatives, listen to how they hammer particular words in particular situations, so that they actually re-shape comprehension of the particular situation by constant use of the reassigned particular word. Too subtle for the likes of Abbott and co???? Subtle concepts brutally applied lead to manageable results. Three word slogans did it to get elected, redirecting single words that denature controversies will do it it government. Abbott doesn't have to be smart, he just has to be targeted. The only upside is that because he isn't smart with the way he is allowing his vituperative motivation excessive rein, his preferred 'windmill' boxing style, he WILL hit "shit happens" reduced-to-silence and neck-wobbling situations, he WILL tangle himself in his 'too smart' strategy to apply words in such a way as to redefine words. In short, he'll burn-out forget his lines sooner or later, and because he must deliver those lines in public for them to be of any political use at all, that burn-out will be in public. For all to see. Once, twice, someone will manufacture (Credlinise) the 'free pass', the "dignified silence" or "that's just Tony" 'explanation. But there will be third, forth, fifth times. William McMahon became parodic and pathetic right before the eyes of the nation. Abbott will do the same. McMahon shuffled his way there pushing an invisible Zimmer Frame. Abbott will sprint, swim and cycle... to the same place.

Ken

27/10/2013Michael Don't know whether you have seen Derren Brown on the teev (think I have his name right) but he is an "illusionist" who focuses on psychological techniques to get the responses and answers he is after. At times he has explained how he dies some of it by implanting words in the mind of the audience with his constant patter. I also recall the articles that the LNP campaign headquarters had a psychological profile of Rudd, so knew what to expect and what buttons to push. It is becoming scary that politics is being managed by subtle psychological ploys. In this game, policies no longer matter. It is as you say about words, about implanting transposed meanings, hidden emotional responses, etc etc. (And of course Murdoch also does his best in this regard, but luckiy doesn't seem to know how to be subtle!!) That is not the politics we need for a nation. It is pure advertising techniques. What will be the pointof policies if one only needs to manipulate the electorate with hidden trigger words. Sorry, this is becoming too scary for me.
How many umbrellas are there if I start with two and take 2 away?