We’re all in this together

As human beings we each have a responsibility to care for humanity. Expressing concern for others brings inner strength and deep satisfaction. As social animals, human beings need friendship, but friendship doesn’t come from wealth and power, but from showing compassion and concern for others. [Dalai Lama]

It is common to make a resolution on New Year’s Eve that, if kept, will make us better people in the forthcoming year. It is also a period of reflection, of things we did well, things we could have done better and things that we just should consider — so with your indulgence, and as New Year’s Eve was only a few weeks ago, I would propose that we should all reflect on this quote from the Reverend Tim Costello (Baptist Minister, CEO of World Vision and brother of former Australian Treasurer, Peter), and that we should all aspire to it in 2015.

Ultimately we have got to co-operate for our common destiny.

If you’re reading this site you’ll probably remember that back at the beginning of November, the Memorial Service for past Prime Minister Edward Gough Whitlam was celebrated at the Sydney Town Hall. As you would expect, all the living Prime Ministers attended the service — and the public outside did not greet Prime Ministers Howard, Rudd and Abbott with any enthusiasm. Regardless of our opinions of the three gentlemen in question, it is my contention here that the treatment they received outside the Hall was inappropriate for three past and current leaders of our community. True, once inside, Abbott gave the impression he was there only because he ‘had to be there’, when speaker after speaker was pointing out the legacy left by Whitlam, so he was equally at fault.

Oliver Burkeman, writing in the US version of The Guardian opened a recent opinion piece with the headline ‘We can all get along — and for less than the cost of a Taylor Swift Album’. While Taylor Swift may not be your preferred musical choice (she certainly isn’t mine), the article asks why people ‘hate’ those with a different viewpoint. Burkeman looks at a recent study by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America that set out to look at the reasons for intractable disputes:

Political conflict between American Democrats and Republicans and ethnoreligious conflict between Israelis and Palestinians seem intractable, despite the availability of reasonable compromise solutions in both cases. This research demonstrates a fundamental cognitive bias driving such conflict intractability: Adversaries attribute their ingroup’s actions to ingroup love more than outgroup hate and attribute their outgroup’s actions to outgroup hate more than ingroup love. This biased attributional pattern increases beliefs and intentions associated with conflict intractability, including unwillingness to negotiate and unwillingness to vote for compromise solutions. In addition, offering financial incentives for accuracy in evaluating one’s outgroup mitigates this biased attributional pattern and its consequences. Understanding this bias and how to alleviate it can contribute to conflict resolution on a global scale.

In other words, can people be convinced to ‘see the values of their enemies’? Well it turns out that the answer is yes; people can gain an understanding that the motives of their ‘enemies’ are usually the same as their own motives but they come from a different viewpoint. Where the Taylor Swift comparison comes in is that when interviewing Americans about their hatred of the Republicans/Democrats (as applicable), it only took $12 — less than the cost of the aforesaid Taylor Swift album — for the interviewee to be able to describe the motivation behind those from the other side. Yes, the potential to gain $12 may demonstrate a number of human failings rather than an opening of awareness but maybe some of the interviewees actually did begin to question their rationale that the other side is completely wrong.

Burkeman links in his analysis to the writings of Arnold Kling who wrote The Library of Economics and Liberty and suggests:

The following thought occurred to me recently. Suppose we look at writing on issues where people tend to hold strong opinions that fit with their ideology.
Such writing can
(a) attempt to open the minds of people on the opposite side as the author
(b) attempt to open minds of people on the same side as the author
(c) attempt to close minds of people on the same side as the author
So, think about it. Wouldn't you classify most op-eds and blog posts as (c)? Isn't that sort of pathetic? Here are some more thoughts:
1. The default is (c). If you are not consciously trying to do (a) or (b), then you will almost surely do (c).

Burkeman then acknowledges:

Indeed, an awful lot of opinionating, in the media and elsewhere, just takes the hate-based motivations of the other side as given. The real purpose of such writing — and I’ve done plenty of it myself — is rarely to change opponents’ minds. That kind of project would surely benefit from accepting the possibility that those opponents think of themselves as decent, loving people. Instead, it’s to rally the existing supporters of one’s cause, reinforcing their perception of the other side as driven by hate.

This line of reasoning could support the motives and operations of various media ‘personalities’ and politicians both here and overseas.

Abbott became prime minister through unfailing negativity. In opposition:

They focused like a laser beam on any action by the Labor government that could be effectively attacked. It was primarily a negative opposition, with the biggest promises being the undoing of Labor’s legislative and infrastructure agenda. Abbott opposed the NBN, the mining tax, the carbon price, poker machine reform and much more.

However, in government, this process has now come back to bite them badly.

It’s almost universally agreed by economists and policy experts that a carbon price, through a tax or trading scheme, is the most effective and efficient method for reducing emissions. Julia Gillard opened herself to attack over the carbon price because of her promise during the election campaign that there would be no carbon tax under her government. The Coalition leapt on this broken promise and attacked the Gillard government relentlessly.

Gillard didn’t sell the ‘carbon tax’ well. One could argue that NBN, Disabilitycare and a number of other policies were sold equally as badly by the ALP under Rudd and Gillard. The continual infighting made known to the public through leaks didn’t help promote a sense of unity and purpose. Abbott’s relentless attacks on those policies now puts him in a position where he can’t offer the ‘effective and efficient’ method to reduce carbon emissions, neither can he offer the ALP’s technically superior NBN, the more cost effective ‘paid parental leave’ or any form of increased assistance for those with a long term disability. Hate politics has gotten in the way of good policy — and you and I (as well as our descendants) will suffer. Abbott now calls for mature debate surrounding increasing the GST — something that he claimed was ‘off the table’ while in opposition. When Clive Palmer is literally laughing at Abbott and even NewsCorp is reporting the request with some sarcasm, Abbott has a problem. Kaye Lee discusses Abbott’s conundrum on The Australian Independent Media Network by pointing out some of the other revenue-leaking measures Abbott has promised not to touch, despite being unfair to large sectors of the community.

In November, Senator David Leyonhjelm who is an independent, wrote an opinion piece for The Guardian headed:

‘Dear Bill Shorten: you're the opposition leader, not me. It's time to drop your soft bipartisanship.’

Rather than oppose for the sake of opposing, or donning a hi-vis vest and walking into some unsuspecting factory with a media circus in the manner of Abbott while he was in opposition, is Shorten playing a longer game here? If he is less ‘absolute’ now, he will be more able to determine the best practical policy outcomes in the future, assuming the opinion polls are correct. A search of The Guardian or Fairfax Media’s websites will show a list of items where Bill Shorten is actively and publically differentiating his party from Abbott. Some of his speeches have been (in the words of Yes Minister) ‘courageous’ — such as his speech at the Christian Lobby’s convention that he is in favour of blended families and same sex marriage.

Professor Selena Bartlett from QUT has developed a ‘brain vitality index’, which she hopes will become as well known as the BMI used as an indicator of physical health. Bartlett claims

“Often we are not aware of what we are saying to ourselves or the impact this has on our brain health,” she said.

“Your brain is a massive computer. If you get up in the morning thinking ‘I'm sad’, or ‘I'm worthless’, it's like entering a search for 'worthless'.

“Your brain then sets about finding the evidence to support these thoughts and so the whole negative feedback loop becomes part of your brain's hardware.

“Our brains hold onto negative thoughts more than positive thoughts and if we maintain and reiterate endless negative self-narratives it causes stress.”

Bartlett’s research puts a scientific and peer reviewed foundation to the writings of Kling and Burkeman discussed above. She also has a free ‘app’ on the Apple and GooglePlay download ‘stores’ should you wish to ‘measure’ your brain vitality.

At the end of the day, Tim Costello is right: we do have to co-operate to survive. No one person or group of people has all the correct answers. So why is it that there are a number of people prepared to tear down not only the opinions of those who haven’t come to the same conclusion, but tear down the person as well? Burkeman, Kling and Bartlett all demonstrate from different perspectives that negativity is a dangerous weapon. Bartlett also demonstrates that negative opinions are harder to ‘modify’ than positive opinions.

It is frequently said that people go ‘into’ politics because they have a genuine desire to improve the lives and outcomes for their community. Those who meet a politician from ‘the other side’ also frequently express that they seem to be nice people who are genuinely interested. Why then did it become acceptable for political parties and their acolytes to engender hatred of ‘the other side’ for political gain?

At the end of the day, no one gets off the earth alive and we need to be able to understand that others may have differing opinions developed through a similar reasoning pattern as our own. Surely as a society we have the ability to disagree with a person’s ideas or motives — but not hate the person.

What do you think?

About 2353

As the first ‘official’ post for the year (not counting our ‘warm-up’ or the announcement of changes for TPS in 2015 during the week), 2353 has asked whether we can in this new year be more understanding of opposing views, whether people can disagree with an idea without attacking the person holding it. It is an aim that all should strive for in 2015, including our politicians. Then we might have some genuine public discourse on ideas for Australia’s future rather than political name calling. We can only live in hope! Come back next week for: 'If you doubt the scientists, what about the actuaries?' by Ken Wolff



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1/02/20152353 What a splendid and touching piece you have written. Wouldn’t we all be better off if ‘hate politics had [b]not[/b] gotten in the way of good policy’. How can we learn to filter from our thinking the hate that characterizes so much of political thought and action, and that epitomizes the behaviour of too many political leaders? It is regrettable that our current PM has built so much of his behaviour on an intense hatred of anything Labor, has given expression to his natural tendency towards destructiveness, and has shown over and again his intent to tear down everything Labor has built. It is really difficult to be charitable to such a person, yet I suppose we must. We cannot retreat from our criticism of him, his party, and its actions, but we ought to be able to suggest alternative ideas and actions that might produce a better outcome for our nation, and all its citizens. Your call for us to try is heard.

Ken

1/02/20152353 Your piece gives rise to a related issue about beliefs. I was 'impressed' during the Queensland election coverage last night when someone who was in danger of losing their seat spoke quite passionately, almost emotionally, about the need to follow the Newman neo-liberal agenda. He obviously firmly believed in it. Left and Right can be passionate about their respective approaches. They both believe that their approach is right or, at least, the best for the nation. I just think that demonstrates how difficult it is to have a rational discussion on many issues because even approaches to specific issues are underpinned by opposing 'belief systems'. The underpinning is almost a 'faith' that cannot be changed by argument. I think many, if not most, voters ignore those underlying beliefs and simply take notice of what a government 'does.' So, in a sense, they are following your advice and not attacking the man (nor really even the ideas) but the outward manifestation of the ideas. Perhaps that is the model for political debate (that the voters already know and it is only we 'philosophers' who get caught up in the debate about ideas/ideologies). Fuel for thought, whichever we look at it.

TalkTurkey

2/02/2015AHHHHH.... What a wonderful powerful win in Queensland! Sorry not around much atm. I've been spending too much time on Twitter, in full-on fighting mode to rouse the Comrades in Queensland, and I can't help thinking that, Yes, in tiny ways, a few votes maybe, I may have helped win Anastacia's fight, even from Adelaide. Sounds up myself maybe but if I didn't think that Social Media had the potential to change the society I wouldn't bother. I think it plainly helped in Queensland. And Queensland has shaken the world! Care for the Reef. Respect for workers. Not selling the farm. Maintenance of human services. A window reopened on Solar. Most of all, snotting of the Abborrtt monster. He's buggered eh! We didn't win in (SA) LNP stronghold Davenport by-election where I spent stints on several days at the Pre-Poll, and on Polling Day where there were some really nasty LNP voters. (Even as compared with many other elections.) We needed an 8% swing, our candidate Mark Ward did very well with 6%. In a State with a longstanding incumbent Labor Government that was a Trojan effort. Sad we didn't win it but it doesn't threaten Jay Weatherill's Labor Government,- Mark's non-win dampened his "victory" party only a wee bit, because the overwhelming glory of Queensland meant that the Comrades were glowing and excited. Lots of Young Labor people in gutsy red T-Shirts. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We still haven't found what's happened to Seth, our Hawaiian friend. We've been trying for more than 3 months, even his brother is still meeting stone walls. We've tried so many ways! And I never seem to catch up on my correspondence!

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2/02/20152353 The more I reflect on what you have written the more I endorse your request that in writing we focus on the ideas, the beliefs that drive them, and the policies they gestate, rather than express hate towards the person who gives birth to them. In politics there are concepts, bodies of belief, paradigms, orientations, and life views, all the product of nature, nurture, religious belief and life experience. Some of us who author here have offered our statements of belief, which can be read by clicking [b]‘About our authors’[b] in the left panel. We have provided these to enable readers to see ‘where we are coming from’ when we write pieces for [i]TPS[/i]. What I hear you asking us to do is to consider where those upon whom we comment ‘are coming from’, so that we might better understand why the say what they say and do what they do. That is an eminently reasonable request. If we can do that free of ‘hate’, we ought to be able discuss the issues in a relatively objective and unemotional way. I use the qualifier ‘relatively’ because it is not possible to be wholly objective, to write without the intrusion of emotion – cognition and emotion are inextricably linked. But we can try. Where I foresee difficulty is where we attempt to address issues that are contaminated with personalities, which derive from their unshakeable belief system, and most importantly which are moulded by the deeply entrenched nature of the players. Where a political player is inherently nasty to opponents, is filled with vengeance, even hate; where a political player is hell-bent on destructive behaviour, on demolition of enemies; and when those attributes govern political behaviour, it is not possible to avoid discussion of them, nor should we as political commentators. They are part of what in medicine we call aetiology, the causes; they are part of what we call the ‘diagnostic formulation’, the nature and circumstances of the ‘condition’. So my approach will be to accept the imperative to make such analyses, but what you have written will put me on guard to stay away from hateful words. Thank you.

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2/02/2015Folks If Tony Abbott believes that his NPC address today will lessen the question over his leadership capability he would be even more deluded than he usually is. It was appalling - light in policy substance, lacking vision, repetitive, slogan-ridden, and arrogant. The days ahead will be fascinating to follow. More later.

Ken

2/02/2015'Big Tony' is doing a Rudd. Just think about what he has done and how he has operated. Lots of talk about how his office (through Peta Credlin) actually runs everything with very little delegation of responsibility. He tries yo make all the decisions, not only the 'captain's picks' but going back to the budget when he was present at every meeting of the budget committee (something that most previous PMs have not done). And to top it off today at the Press Club, he adopted the Rudd line that he was elected 'by the people' and only the people can 'fire' him - ignoring the reality that he was elected to parliament by a single electorate and it is the party room that determines who leads the party. Like Rudd, he is claiming a Presidential mandate, not a Westminster-style mandate. Given his past record, I don't see him keeping his 'promises' to his own party about being consultative and collegiate -- not in the long run, but hopefully long enough so that the Libs can't dump him before the next election.

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2/02/2015Folks [i]Abbott's NPC address fails[/i] posted on [i]TPS Extra[/i] at: http://www.tpsextra.com.au/post/abbott-s-npc-address-fails

totaram

2/02/2015the point made by 2353 is very valid. However, you need to distinguish between those who believe certain things "in good faith" and those who do it in a purely cynical way to attain certain objectives, be it simple pay or something more. The "hate" arises when you begin to suspect that the other person is putting forward their opinions "in good faith". In that case the "hate" is probably justified. Just consider the case of the LNP person who genuinely believed that their plan was the best. one would need to engage with this person and argue the case drilling down all the way to the basic assumptions tha this person holds. If this person is prepared to engage and discuss those assumptions, I have no problem. Most of these people will simply keep repeating stock phrases without even acknowledging that you have put forward an argument. That shows a lack of good faith.

totaram

2/02/2015"NOT in good faith" - duh!

2353

2/02/2015Ken - passion is good, so is a belief that you are doing the right thing. I believe that a lot of the LNP have a sincere belied they are doing the right thing. The problem is when people go from hating the concept presented to hating the person presenting the concept. Until last weekend, I also thought that people usually voted for or against what the government did or didn't do. The Queensland election in my view demonstrated that people who have little interest in politics will also look at the 'bigger picture'. While Newman wasn't liked, the ALP's campaign wasn't the traditional glitz and glamour you would expect. If people had bought the line that the ALP got us into this mess in the first place - as pedalled by Newman for his entire Premiership - Palaszczuk would have won the 20 or so seats predicted by Wayne Swan at the beginning of the ABC telecast last Saturday night, be seen as a hero and Newman would not have been shown on TV last night packing up his office. Ad Astra - at times it is very difficult to separate the idea from the person (especially when the person is unrelenting in their bias), at times we all fail. You are correct that at times the person is so intertwined with the idea that the two are inseparable. At the end of the day however the person has feelings and there is probably a better way to express your disagreement than 'having a go' at the person - and trust me I've had plenty of goes in the past as well. totaram - welcome to TPS if you haven't been here before and welcome back if you have. Those that present an opinion in good faith deserve to have that good faith returned by playing the ball mot the player. However a lot of ex-LNP MPs in Queensland seem to have drunk the Kool-Aid and frankly, hitting your head on a brick wall seems a better alternative. It doesn't do anything to change their view but it feels good when you finish! And in the words of at least one of the religious good books - do unto others as you wish them to do to you. While they may display a lack of good faith immediately, you never know if you have accidentally joined the right synapses that ensures that they 'get it' later on.

Casablanca

3/02/2015NB Malcolm & Julie: In the NT they do de-capitations with a fair amount of panache. They have just knifed their second leader in a single term. [b]Adam Giles replaced as Northern Territory chief minister[/b] James Dunlevie . 3 Feb 2015, 2:09am Adam Giles has been dumped as the Northern Territory's chief minister after a late night leadership challenge. Willem Westra van Holthe is the new leader and John Elferink is the new deputy, replacing Peter Chandler... There had been concern within the parliamentary wing about Mr Giles's leadership style, his personal judgment, his handling of the scandal surrounding former police commissioner John McRoberts and his ability to communicate the Government's strategy to the public. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-03/adam-giles-replaced-as-northern-territory-chief-minister/6064564

Casablanca

3/02/2015[b]1. Abbott’s wobbly reboot [/b] Kaye Lee. February 2, 2015 His speech was just a collection of all the trite phrases we have heard him repeat ad nauseum. He persisted with counting on his fingers that same old stuff about axing taxes, stopping boats and building the roads of the 21st century. http://theaimn.com/abbotts-wobbly-reboot/ [b]2. What ails Abbott is but a symptom of disease of government today[/b] Shaun Carney, 2 February 2015 If a single speech is regarded as a make-or-break event for an Australian prime minister, then that prime minister faces an uncomfortable future. That’s because the “make” part is a fraud. ... once the make-or-break tests begin, they never stop. Get through this announcement, this parliamentary showdown, this interview and there’ll always be another one. That’s the zone Abbott will now inhabit for as long as he remains prime minister or until the next election, should he still hold the position then. He’s only ever one more blunder away from collapse. So too is his government. The fixation with his leadership – whether he should be replaced and by whom – at the mid-point of its first term of office unfortunately follows a modern, predictable script. http://theconversation.com/what-ails-abbott-is-but-a-symptom-of-disease-of-government-today-37048 [b]3. Abbott’s problems are all Rudd’s and Gillard’s fault[/b] Alan Austin 2 February 2015 Why Abbott's humiliation is such a huge story with the international media. WHY IS the leader of a relatively small country deciding in good faith to honour a long-serving elderly official such a monumental story around the globe? https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/abbotts-problems-are-all-rudds-and-gillards-fault,7324 [b]4. Press Gallery stars in Abbott’s National Press Club match[/b] Martin Hirst. 2 February 2015 The Prime Minister was more wooden than Pinocchio at his National Press Club address today, says Dr Martin Hirst, but luckily the Canberra Press Gallery were there to bowl him a few full tosses. But today was all about Tony. In fact, I didn’t see Peta Credlin in the audience cut-away shots. Lots of mugging ministers with oily smiles tightly painted on their grim visages; a few of Margie looking pretty much as wooden as Tony; and a couple of David Speers sitting next to Finance Minister Mathias Cormann. http://independentaustralia.net/ [b]5. 5 Things That Went Wrong for Tony Abbott [/b] Rob Taylor. 2 Feb 2015 Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott is fighting for his leadership and the future of his conservative government after an election setback in Queensland. This has underscored growing voter disaffection for center-right politics Down Under. Here are five reasons why it has gone so wrong for Mr. Abbott. http://blogs.wsj.com/briefly/2015/02/02/5-things-things-that-went-wrong-for-tony-abbott/?mod=e2tw [b]6. The tweets of Murdoch's self-destruction [/b] Michael Mullins 2 February 2015 Rupert Murdoch's tweets about the Prince Philip knighthood were as bizarre as the knighthood itself. It's clear that the Prime Minister will not comply with Murdoch's wishes because they were expressed so publicly and in such a self-discrediting manner. But if his directions had been issued behind closed doors, they might have been taken seriously and acted upon. Does it anger voters that vested and/or corrupt interests so often call the shots? Often it doesn’t because bad governance has become the norm and people lose sight of what they’re entitled to expect. It is only when corrupt or unelected powers become discredited that alternative possibilities become apparent and proper governance has a chance to flourish. The Fitzgerald Inquiry thoroughly discredited Queensland’s state government and a number of its instruments. It’s possible that Murdoch’s erratic and inopportune tweets will sow the seeds of his fall from power and influence. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=42490#.VM-MCi74hM4 [b]7. Tony must turn to Turnbull[/b] Tristan Edis 2 February 2015 Did they really think the electorate was so dumb, that they’d be fooled that somehow these radical changes were never planned and instead just materialised out of the investigations of a commission of audit – an audit group led not by qualified auditors but rather a group of hand-picked friends of the Liberal-National Coalition? This contrived approach to breaking promises reached comical proportions with the government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2015/2/2/policy-politics/tony-must-turn-turnbull?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=1119295&utm_campaign=kgb&modapt= [b]8. What’s happening in Tony Abbott’s office?[/b] Sophie Morris. 31 January, 2015 Leadership tension has spilled into the Nationals, as the Coalition tries to understand the chaos in the Prime Minister’s Office. Amid the extraordinary clamour this week at Tony Abbott’s follies and monarchist fripperies, what went largely unnoticed is that the leadership chatter was spreading beyond just the Liberals. Its tentacles reached into the Nationals, where some MPs were privately discussing who could be the next deputy prime minister and how the instability at the top of the government could affect their leadership. http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2015/01/31/whats-happening-tony-abbotts-office/14226228001437?utm_source=The+Shortlist+Daily&utm_campaign=b545f20a11-The_Shortlist_Daily_2_February_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_7870ce0889-b545f20a11-302682901#.VM9LzC74hM4 [b]9. Palaszczuk shows Abbott how it's done[/b] Moira Rayner | 02 February 2015 Abbott is still the king, but there’s a Damoclean sword above his head. He has craved respect, and lost it. He’s made so much of his personal leadership and the unwisdom of changing horses in mid stream. Yet confidence in him has plummeted within the party and in the polls. Neither Turnbull nor Bishop wants that throne. Bishop would be a fool to take it, and suffer death by a thousand cuts, like Gillard. Brough and Morrison hover in the wings. All must learn that the right to rule has to be earned, every day, from the people. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=42569#.VM-Sry74hM4 [b]10. NBN and the 'minister of lost opportunities'[/b] Paul Budde. 2 Feb 2015 Malcolm Turnbull's multi-technology mix NBN is likely to leave us stuck with a national infrastructure monopoly that lacks any mandate, funding or plans to upgrade... Rather than championing broadband infrastructure as US president Barack Obama is doing, our minister keeps talking down the need for a first-class 21st Century broadband infrastructure. Initially I thought this was related to political ideology, and for a long time I believed Turnbull stood above that. But looking at his actions, I can only conclude that he too seems to be part of this partisan pettiness and has not been able to look at the NBN from a national interest point of view. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2015/2/2/technology/nbn-and-minister-lost-opportunities?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=1119295&utm_campaign=kgb&modapt=

Casablanca

3/02/2015[b]11. Ten things missing from Tony Abbott's National Press Club speech [/b] Judith Ireland. February 2, 2015 - 3:13PM But while some, such as Coalition backbencher Andrew Laming, had predicted Abbott's speech would be "bigger than Ben-Hur", the Prime Minister's performance was light on fresh material and detail. A few elephants also remained unmentioned. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/ten-things-missing-from-tony-abbotts-national-press-club-speech-20150202-133v7u.html There is a poll at the end of the above article. So far 84% of 21280 voters were unimpressed. Add your vote!

woodypear

3/02/2015Unfortunately, in most political debates, there appears to be a need to 'win' rather than reach an informed position. In striving to 'win' the debate, unfortunately it is known that two inclusions in your argument will sway people to your side of the argument - fear and denigration.

audioio

3/02/2015Members of this government have saiid such utterly detestable things, and attempted to do even worse, and shown such disdain for ordinary people. Evidence is unknown to them and unwanted, and unlike the Liberals of old they cannot be engaged in rational argument. I'm tired of being nice. Now I just want revenge.

Pappinbarra Fox

3/02/2015Abbott spent the last year sending all labor policies to the trash can Now he has started on his own Knows how to destroy not how to build

2353`

3/02/2015Finally, some truth about the Queensland election result. http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/its-not-the-voters-fault-you-idiots-20150202-133tp1.html

Ken

3/02/20152353 Loved the Birmingham article. Newman and Abbott are in the same mould, showing no respect for the voters. Abbott has also suggested that Victoria won't get infrastructure funds that were intended for the East-West link. Birmingham's point about bullying the electorate with such threats is valid - it always backfires. They forget that voters vote privately and anonymously. In that situation they do not cower before political threats but dismiss them, and dismiss the governments that make them. It is also about broken promises, about the 'fair go', and voters reacting to politicians 'taking them as mugs'.

Ad astra

3/02/2015Casablanca Thank you for a fascinating set of links, which I’m now working through. The first link, to Judith Ireland’s [i]Ten things missing from Tony Abbott's National Press Club speech[/i] is a well documented piece. The [i]Brisbane Times[/i] online poll at the end now stands as follows: Of the 35,235 who voted, 82% said Abbott’s speech was [b]awful[/b], that is 28,893 people; only 3% - 1057 people - thought it was [b]great[/b]! That just about says it all!

Casablanca

3/02/2015[b]Leadership Speculation: Tony Abbott Confident He’ll Lead Liberal Party Until At Least 1959[/b] The Shovel on February 1, 2015 Dismissing the recent leadership speculation as ‘nonsense’, Tony Abbott says he is determined to lead the country well into the last century. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/02/01/leadership-speculation-tony-abbott-will-lead-liberal-party-until-1959/ [b] A Week From Hell: The Tony Abbott Diaries[/b] The Shovel on February 2, 2015 It was a ragged week for the Prime Minister. We were lucky enough to get a peek at his diaries. Monday (Australia Day) 7:15am Wake with a spring in my step. It’s been a tough few months, but if there’s any day to turn things around it’s Australia Day. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/02/02/a-week-from-hell-the-tony-abbott-diaries/

Ken

3/02/2015Today Abbott declared that it was "Back to work Tuesday" for his government. In amongst that he said: "We are now focused on doing the right thing by the people of Australia". That begs the question that if they are [i]only now [/i]focused on doing the right thing, what were they doing before? It is an admission that they were not previously focused on doing 'the right thing by the people of Australia' because, otherwise, there is no point in saying it. (Abbott likes to play with words and that works both ways.:-))

jaycee

3/02/2015Geez!...2353...you should "take up the cloth"...Haven't you ever sat across the table of a smoker who, without seemingly a thought for YOUR wants, continues to draw upon a cigarette and blow smoke toward you as you eat a meal?...What do you "discuss" in such a scenario, 23'..do you debate the pros and cons of the dangers and inconvienence of smoking while someone is eating, or do you simply direct your distaste to the person doing the damage and tell them to ; "go smoke your filthy cigarette somewhere else!"..

2353`

3/02/2015Jaycee - naturally I take your 2nd option as the cigarette itself isn't the problem, it is the smokers respect for those around s/him. Someone blowing 2nd hand cigarette smoke over you while eating is not acting in good faith and a discussion about the pros and cons of smoking can happen later (if there are any pros). Its like if someone is standing on your foot, you don't go into detail over the degree of discomfort or pain, you ask them politely to move!

jaycee

3/02/2015"POLITELY" !!!...Perhaps that's the problem with this "post-modern" left-wing we have these days...it is : too much "talk" and not enough "walk". There is a need for diplomacy and restraint, I agree...but there MUST be reaction time as well...and it worries me that there is a tad too much "understanding" on the part of the left where there needs to be more shouting...The result of that bloody Rudd leaving those LNP. appointed officials in place where they could and DID do maximum damage to Labor's policies..it was not only foolish, it was dangerous ..as the proceeding events proved.I wrote to both Conroy and Albo imploring them, to do something about the ABC. before it got any worse..they didn't...We remember Anna Burke being implored to intervene in the selection of Press Gallery journos' in the case of IA.'s David Donovan seeking membership...she backed off..bad mistake...bad mistake. In assessing the distance of how far down the road of attack one travels, one must understand the human condition in the field of political advantage...to not go far enough is to lose strategic position...and perhaps office...to go too far is to lose sight of what you are there for in the first place and to lose the confidence of the people for being too arrogant as has the LNP. But the clean-out MUST be done and done rigorously but fairly....and in such a situation, sometimes the loud shout gets more attention than the desultory wave.

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3/02/2015Casablanca What a splendid collection you've given us today. If our PM were to read them all, would he still come across as cocky and arrogant?

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3/02/2015Folks You will be interested to read today's Essential Report, especially the 'Leader Attributes' of Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten, and a comparison of the two: http://essentialvision.com.au/category/essentialreport

Ken

3/02/20152353 Slow responding because I have to think about this issue a bit more and the comments by jaycee and totaram. It reminds me of the dilemma small 'L' liberals in England faced after WW2. Their approach was reflected in novels by C P Snow and others at the time. The logical outcome of understanding the other side's point of view or the old quote 'I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it' was, for those post WW2 liberals, a problem because it implied that one should 'understand' the point of view of Hitler and his henchmen. Although not adopted in political circles, the novelists provided their solution by suggesting that liberal forbearance of other views could not extend to 'evil'. Of course, that raises issues of who determines what is 'evil'. Despite that, there is obviously a point at which liberal (and that includes the freedom espoused by the Left 'liberal') tolerance of opposing views breaks down - not only breaks down but MUST break down. No answer yet. but as I said, your piece has much space for thought.

Casablanca

4/02/2015[b]1. Tony Abbott: Leadership drama heightened 3 key backbenchers break ranks against Prime Minister[/b] Chris Uhlmann, Eliza Borrello and Melissa Clarke 4 Feb 2015, 12:49am A backbench revolt in the Liberal Party could unseat the Prime Minister within a week. "I don't think that Tony appreciates that support in the membership [for him] has collapsed across the country," one Victorian said...the rebel MPs are convinced that the public feeling against the Prime Minister is personal and visceral and the shape of any new team matters less than getting rid of Mr Abbott. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-04/mps-break-ranks-against-tony-abbott-as-spill-talk-heats-up/6068030 [b] 2. It's all in the execution of Tony Abbott[/b] Jack Waterford. February 3, 2015 - 11:30PM Players do not even need to consciously "play with the head" of rivals, with leaks from left field, mysterious bad luck, and a relentless campaign of chatter about Abbott's latest gaffe, misstatement or prevarication, of breaking of his solemn vows about consultation and collegiality. Most of the talk comes from the backbench, and from political staffers... Most likely, Abbott will continue to shoot himself in the foot when his enemies have perfect alibis. It is of the essence of Abbott's problem that he is his own worst enemy... Abbott is uncommonly able to delude himself about his standing with the electorate, or why. But he must know that he has exhausted his party's patience, is on his last chance, and lucky to get it. The electorate appears to have long made up its mind about him, and is unlikely to be charmed back, if only because it has stopped listening, particularly to that stock of cliches and slogans which are repeated over and over again, including in his supposed rebooting speech on Monday. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/its-all-in-the-execution-of-tony-abbott-20150203-13571c.html [b]3. The Smell of Blood [/b] John Kelly. February 3, 2015 It’s in the air right now. You can actually taste it. The knives are out. The phones are running hot. How many more clichés can you fit in one paragraph? Politics can be a savage sport, a blood sport. And it generally is when opposing parties face off in parliament. But when the fighting starts within a party, when friend becomes foe, that’s when the blood starts to flow. http://theaimn.com/smell-blood/ [b]4. Abbott is losing the competence contest[/b] Peter Lewis and Jackie Woods 3 Feb 2015, 12:49pm The problem with Tony Abbott's attempt to recast himself as competent, if not likeable, is that voters don't particularly see him as either... This week's Essential Report reveals a sharp fall in the perception that Abbott is a capable leader... Before Christmas he was at 43 per cent, already significantly lower than his peak of 52 per cent after taking office. Now his "capable leader" rating stands at just 34 per cent... During the same two-month period, Abbott's rating as "erratic" jumped a hefty eight points. Rounding out the trifecta "out of touch with ordinary people" is also up six points since December and a full 21 points since Abbott took office... The tricky reality is that politics is a popularity contest and a competence contest. Ideally, you have both. Having neither is unlikely to go well. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-03/lewis-woods-abbott-is-losing-the-competence-contest/6066056 [b]5. Conservatives turn their critical eye on Abbott[/b] Chris Berg. 3 February, 2015 And once a party's stone-faced loyalty has been broken - as it has been, with seemingly every backbencher opening their hearts to every journo that calls them - it's impossible to get back. There's something else that's blindingly evident when we compare the Labor crises to this one. Much of the conservative leaning commentariat admired Tony Abbott in opposition. He talked about the right things. He offered (many of) the right policies. But a year and a half in, their critical floodgates have opened. Now every significant conservative commentator has offered brutal assessments of how things are going. And they're not just repeating Abbott's "blame Labor" explanation. See, for instance, Andrew Bolt, Janet Albrechtsen, Piers Akerman, Grace Collier, Chris Kenny, and Miranda Devine. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-03/berg-conservatives-turn-their-critical-eye-on-abbott/6064708 [b]6. Abbott Wedged Between Small Govt Ideology And An Electorate Wanting More[/b] Ben Eltham. 3 February, 2015 In a strange twist of fate, Tony Abbott appears to be the one all at sea, stuck between a party that wants cuts and voters who worry about welfare. https://www.newmatilda.com/2015/02/03/abbott-wedged-between-small-govt-ideology-and-electorate-wanting-more [b]7. Tony Abbott's threats, scare tactics only dig him a deeper hole[/b] Peter Hartcher: February 2, 2015 The mood for change is overwhelming. The NPC speech was premised on the idea that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the government or its program, only its communications. This is deeply frustrating to his backbench. Most of Abbott's time was spent reiterating previous themes, justifying old decisions and promising to consult his colleagues more. "There was no forward agenda at all," said an MP critical of Abbott's leadership. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tony-abbotts-threats-scare-tactics-only-dig-him-a-deeper-hole-20150202-1349o4.html [b]8. ‘Strong’ men in peril: PM hangs on amid NT and Qld shake-up[/b] Todd Winther. 3 February 2015 Updated Tuesday 11pm AEDT: A state premier gone, a chief minister fighting off a coup, and a prime minister struggling to avoid the others' fate. Australian politics is suddenly all about consultative… Australian politics is suddenly all about consultative rather than “strong” leaders. So what’s been going on behind that swing away from self-declared strong leaders? What are the lessons from the Queensland election and the power struggle in the Northern Territory? And has Tony Abbott shown any sign of learning what the true definition of a “strong leader” is? http://theconversation.com/strong-men-in-peril-pm-hangs-on-amid-nt-and-qld-shake-up-37058 [b]9. A day of rest: the costs of removing penalty rates[/b] Lucas Walsh. 3 February, 2015 Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently commented that if employees “don’t want to work on a weekend, fair enough, don’t work on a weekend … But if you do want to work on a weekend — and lots of… and lots of people, particularly young people, particularly students, would love to work on a weekend — you want the employers open to provide jobs…”.. But many don’t love working weekends. Those who do are probably working more out of necessity than by choice. The physical, social and community costs of forgoing a day or two of rest are significant. Consequently, it is argued that after-hours workers should be compensated fairly for that cost. http://theconversation.com/a-day-of-rest-the-costs-of-removing-penalty-rates-36911 [b]10. Cabinet ministers back Abbott while they wonder how events might change their fortunes[/b] Michelle Grattan. 3 February 2015, 11.43pm AEDT Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was dispatched on Tuesday night to announce there’d been unanimous support for Tony Abbott in cabinet, which is meeting for two days. But it’s not hard to guess some of their thoughts. Those of Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop must turn to the golden prize; Treasurer Joe Hockey knows that if Abbott were to fall he would be toast; others wonder whether a new leader would promote or demote them. http://theconversation.com/cabinet-ministers-back-abbott-while-they-wonder-how-events-might-change-their-fortunes-37123 [b]11. Bring on a leadership vote next week: Liberal backbencher [/b] Michelle Grattan. 3 February 2015, 7.25pm AEDT Abbott had been “an extraordinarily effective opposition leader” but he “is not capable of making the transition to prime minister”, Jensen said. “Abbott was a good wartime leader but he is not a good peacetime leader – and it’s time to win the peace.”... Jensen said the Abbott government did not have a strategic plan for growth – “consumer and business confidence are down the toilet. We just continue to bag the opposition.” The public had reservations in 2013 when voting the Coalition in, Jensen said. “It was not a great love-in vote – it was a vote to turf out the Labor Party.” http://theconversation.com/bring-on-a-leadership-vote-next-week-liberal-backbencher-37113 [b] 12. Tony Abbott at the National Press Club[/b] John Menadue 02/02/2015 In his speech today, Tony Abbott recycled many of his one-liners that we heard at the last election. Let’s examine several of them.... One liners may be effective in opposition and at election time but they don’t usually make for good policy. http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=3170 [b]13. Joe Hockey is either a hypocrite or incompetent, or maybe both [/b] The AIM Network. February 3, 2015 It is a different Mr Hockey now that he’s Treasurer. Under a Labor Government interest rate cuts were considered bad, bad, bad. http://theaimn.com/joe-hockey-either-hypocrite-incompetent-maybe/ [b]14. At All Costs: The Dark Psychology Of Abbott Government Climate Policy[/b] Lissa Johnson 2 February, 2015 The folly of linking our future to coal as the market abandons fossil fuels is plain. The wackiness of pronouncing coal “good for humanity” ahead of the latest Intergovernmental Panel Council on Climate Change (IPCC) report is plain odd. Undermining the renewable energy industry as its global market gathers momentum makes no sense. In a number of studies, Right Wing Authoritarianism has been found to correlate negatively with various measures of environmentalism. According to Inhofe’s worldview, for instance, climate scientists are rebellious reprobates seeking to insolently challenge the will of God. However, as authorities on the will of God go, the Pope probably comes up trumps. In his letter to Tony Abbott ahead of the G20, Pope Francis called on G20 leaders to address the “vital issue” of climate change, saying that “there are constant assaults on the natural environment, the result of unbridled consumerism, and this will have serious consequences for the world economy”... Like Right Wing Authoritarianism, Social Dominance Orientation correlates with conservatism and right leaning political views. Unlike Right Wing Authoritarianism, however, Social Dominance Orientation is unconcerned with authority and the status quo. It is fearless, ruthless and bold, driven by a view of the world as a competitive jungle, where life is dog-eat-dog. These two characteristics are considered distinct psychological pathways to ideological views. While their ultimate ideological positions are often similar, their motivations diverge. https://newmatilda.com//2015/02/02/all-costs-dark-psychology-abbott-government-climate-policy [b]15. What we need now Abbott's PPL is gone[/b] Catherine Fox. 3 February, 2015 So it's RIP for the enhanced paid parental leave (PPL) proposal after five long years of talk about a signature policy that was probably most notable for generating so little enthusiasm from so many. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-03/fox-what-we-need-now-abbotts-ppl-is-gone/6066300 [b]16. Bad reporting, bad decisions[/b] Andrew Elder. 01 February 2015 If you believe that Anna Bligh led Labor to defeat with a huge swing in 2012 over asset sales, then you must also believe that Campbell Newman led the LNP to defeat last night for the same reason. Policy matters in political analysis. Only the analysis about what state government is actually for, the focus on schools and hospitals and law-and-order, makes any sense of why Queenslanders voted as they did. http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/

jaycee

4/02/2015Ken..: " No answer yet. but as I said, your piece has much space for thought."....Too long!...sorry, the conversation and the politics has moved on! You see, Ken..that's the problem with analytical deliberation as against gut reaction..if you haven't a "what if" scenario already in place in your decision making intellect, to counter ANY reaction to your action, then you are already on the back foot. In this new game of politics, you have to come "armed' with a 'utility-belt" of political tools at the ready...there is no longer time to send for analysis once the manoeuver has commenced.

Ken

4/02/2015sorry jaycee, not quite sure what your point is. Analysis and action are separate things and there is no fixed rule that one should precede the other, nor even that they must go together - in an ideal world, perhaps, but we know we do not have an ideal world. But I was coming here to point to some more word games by the Liberals. Note that Turnbull and Bishop have said they will not 'challenge' Abbott. That does not mean they will not run if the party room moves against him, which is what is now being floated by some members of the back bench. If there is a motion for a 'spill', then all previous promises are void. Of course, it makes one wonder who is encouraging the back benchers to move. Bacchus pointed to a tweet by Windsor (who obviously knows what he is talking about) that we have stalking horses for stalking horses and that is now being shown to be true. Who are they stalking for?

2353

4/02/2015Ken - your comment above regarding a 'challenge' are interesting. Windsor certainly would know how the system works - and it is clear that there are moves afoot. . . Meanwhile in Queensland it seems that there might have to be a by-election in a seat that hasn't been decided yet. It seems that the Palmer United Party didn't get the memo about those standing for Parliament can't be undischarged bankrupts.

Ken

4/02/20152353 I've heard about the PUP bloke. Your electoral commission said he had signed a form declaring that he was eligible to run. I assume that is some sort of 'stat dec' so if his declaration is false that is an offence in itself.

Casablanca

5/02/2015[b]A Greek Morality Tale.[/b] Joseph E. Stiglitz. FEB 3, 2015 Seldom do democratic elections give as clear a message as that in Greece. If Europe says no to Greek voters’ demand for a change of course, it is saying that democracy is of no importance, at least when it comes to economics. Why not just shut down democracy, as Newfoundland effectively did when it entered into receivership before World War II? One hopes that those who understand the economics of debt and austerity, and who believe in democracy and humane values, will prevail. Whether they will remains to be seen. http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/greece-eurozone-austerity-reform-by-joseph-e--stiglitz-2015-02#EQMu5Eetc4olRruO.99

Casablanca

5/02/2015One of First Dog's best [b]The thoroughly humiliating and extremely satisfying demise of Tony Abbott[/b] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2015/feb/04/the-thoroughly-humiliating-and-extremely-satisfying-demise-of-tony-abbott?CMP=share_btn_tw

Casablanca

5/02/2015[b]Tony Abbott's political deficiencies go on spectacular display[/b] Jack Waterford. January 27, 2015 - 11:45PM But there's an additional problem. Abbott's colleagues, whether in the Cabinet, ministry or the party, have by now seen enough to know that his judgment is rotten, his instincts are bad, and that much of the promise he once showed has its other face. Inevitably, by now, this means they distrust him; that they fear that he cannot find short or long-term fixes for the government's problems, and that they cannot simply support him by reflex. Abbott needs a short leash from his party as much as he does from his advisers. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbotts-political-deficiencies-go-on-spectacular-display-20150127-12yu96.html

Casablanca

5/02/2015[b]Tony Abbott Has ‘Complete Support’ Of Malcolm Turnbull’s Leadership Ambitions[/b] The Shovel on February 3, 2015 Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he stands ‘right behind’ the Prime Minister’s strategy to make a total tit of himself. “As long as Tony Abbott is being weird, he has my total support,” Mr Turnbull said today. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/02/03/tony-abbott-has-complete-support-of-malcolm-turnbulls-leadership-ambitions/

TalkTurkey

5/02/2015Good Morning Casablanca. What a gazetteer you are!

Bacchus

5/02/2015I have it on good authority that a highly respected and very valuable member of the [i]TPS[/i] family has a special birthday today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ken Wolff!

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5/02/2015Ken Happy Birthday to You from an admirer.

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5/02/2015Folks As leadership change is now in the air on every front, I've posted [i]The pathology of forcibly changing leaders[/i] on [i]TPS Extra[/i]. You will find it at: http://www.tpsextra.com.au/post/the-pathology-of-forcibly-changing-leaders Your comments will be welcome.

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5/02/2015Folks In Queensland, the independent, Peter Wellington, has just announced that he will support the ALP. Annastacia Palaszczuk will now be able to form government. The KAP independents, Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth, will indicate who they will support when all the results are in. The rout of the Campbell Newman government is now complete.

2353`

5/02/2015Happy birthday Ken - hopefully the day's political news helps you celebrate.

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5/02/2015Casablanca Thank you again for your informative links. The article by Joseph Stiglitz is worthwhile reading, not just for those of us interested in the economics of austerity, but for all who believe it is the answer to national debt. Joe Hockey needs to read what Stiglitz says, and moderate his austerity approach to debt reduction. But would he understand what Stiglitz is saying, and if he did, would he take any notice? http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/greece-eurozone-austerity-reform-by-joseph-e--stiglitz-2015-02#EQMu5Eetc4olRruO.99

Ken

5/02/2015thank you Bacchus, Ad, 2353 for the birthday wishes. And yes, the news from Queensland makes it a good day politically. Ad, agree about the Stiglitz article. I like his point that if austerity is still forced on Greece then that amounts to a repudiation of democracy. It will be a genuine test of which philosophy prevails.

Casablanca

6/02/20151. The Abbott image: renovation or replacement? Toby Ralph . 5 February, 2015 Unwarranted or not, his [Abbott's] rating as a leader flounders somewhere between asbestos and Ebola, causing some parliamentary colleagues to question if replacement might be more prudent than renovation. The truth is that image, once damaged, is formidably difficult to repair. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-05/ralph-the-abbott-image-renovation-or-replacement/6071620 2. Hockey-Abbott partnership looks shaky against treasurers past Alex Millmow. 4 February 2015, 6.03am AEDT For a number of reasons, now is not a good time to be Australia’s federal treasurer. The resources boom has lost its mojo, the economy is faltering and the dollar is falling along with the terms of trade. Business and consumer confidence is subdued and unemployment tipped to rise. Internationally, Greece’s reluctance to bend to austerity could trigger more economic turbulence. http://theconversation.com/hockey-abbott-partnership-looks-shaky-against-treasurers-past-36589 3. Could a spill reset our fractured political cycle? Jonathan Green 5 Feb 2015, 8:17am (Abbott's speech) unfolded in the chandeliered bowels of a "press club" where the lunching press seemed outnumbered by the PM's parliamentary praetorian guard and assorted tory shills, spooks and spivs. The answers were oblique and evasive, the speech could be whittled to its central message, a bold, defiant, declaration to the PM's own backbench: And here we begin to get to the heart of the matter, of a PM elected - in spite of his historically poor stocks with the electorate - as leader of a party in internal ideological crisis. A man who would never have been public choice as prime minister, and a man, had he been true to the ideological hardline he was internally elected to protect would have struggled to win public favour. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-05/green-could-a-spill-reset-our-fractured-political-cycle/6071390 4. Even without candidates, Coalition spill coming David Crowe. February 06, 2015 12:00AM FEDERAL Liberal MPs have a simple way to force a decision on Tony Abbott’s future even as cabinet ministers defend him and potential rivals refuse to challenge. While this has been a leaderless revolt so far, those who seek to bring down the Prime Minister are engineering a decisive moment to make change unavoidable and give candidates the conditions they need to declare their hands. Everything turns on the number of MPs who could vote yes in a secret ballot to spill the party’s leadership positions. A substantial vote would make it impossible for Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop and Scott Morrison to ignore the calls from their colleagues for a contest over the government’s direction. http://m.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/even-without-candidates-coalition-spill-coming/story-e6frg72x-1227209617914 5. Voters’ feelings of uncertainty have come back to bite Abbott Carol Johnson. 3 February 2015, 6.04am AEDT In 2012, then-opposition leader Tony Abbott gave a speech that set out his agenda for winning government and indicated the policies he intended to implement. He argued that one of his key aims was to make voters feel secure again...[rather] Abbott sought to heighten voters’ feelings of fear and anxiety by emphasising the chaotic and dysfunctional nature of the Labor government and the economic threats posed by Labor’s claimed debt crisis. http://theconversation.com/voters-feelings-of-uncertainty-have-come-back-to-bite-abbott-37028 6. Abbott, Murdoch, Credlin and the point of no return Rodney E. Lever 4 February 2015, 7:30pm Abbott's name will appear in Australia's history as the leader who could not lead; a man who is untrustworthy, unreliable and dishonest; who shamed himself and the country he should never have been allowed to lead because he was totally unqualified by birth and by incompetence. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/when-tony-abbott-crossed-the-line,7334 7. Labor MP asks PM Abbott to prove he's not a British dual citizen Ross Jones 26 January 2015, 5:00pm Kevin Rudd's replacement in the seat of Griffith, Terri Butler, writes to Tony Abbott asking him to put to rest speculation he is ineligible to sit in the Australian Parliament due to never having renounced his British citizenship. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/terri-butler-mp-asks-pm-abbott-to-prove-he-is-not-a-british-citizen,7299 8. Exits of the politically damned Norman Abjorensen February 6, 2015 - 12:00AM If, as might happen, Tony Abbott is dumped as prime minister, what lies ahead for him? Already, there has been speculation that the situation unfolding resembles an ominous reprise of the Rudd-Gillard struggle, in which a deposed leader retreated quietly for a time, only to plot his revenge and organise the numbers for a comeback, destroying a government in the process. But this won't happen again. The Rudd and Abbott situations are very different. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/exits-of-the-politically-damned-20150205-136mt9.html 9. Malcolm Turnbull confronts Tony Abbott in secret meeting James Massola. February 6, 2015 - 12:00AM Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull directly confronted Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a crunch meeting about the government's woes before Wednesday's cabinet meeting. Fairfax Media has spoken to several sources familiar with the discussion that took place between the pair and can reveal they sat down, at Mr Turnbull's instigation, in an unscheduled meeting that canvassed the future direction of the Coalition government. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/malcolm-turnbull-confronts-tony-abbott-in-secret-meeting-20150205-137gng.html 10. #LibSpill and the shifting middle ground of aussie politics. Sean Stinson. February 4, 2015 Politics is by nature adversarial. For all the noble talk of compromise, it is not about consensus, but conflict. It’s not about finding a point of balance, rather a push toward ideological extremes. In a two party system such as ours you can think of this dynamic as being something like a see-saw. http://theaimn.com/abbott-shorten-shifting-middle-ground-australian-politics/ 11. Liberal Party Redux, or What Were They Smoking? Paul Dellit. January 31, 2015 No treatise upon the evolution of Liberal Party philosophy, no eminence grise in tweeds delivering weighty history laden insights as he taps the ashes from the bowl of his pipe, no long-winded reminiscences from an aged pub seer – none of these are required to understand how the Liberal Party came to be flailing about in sick dog’s breakfast. http://theaimn.com/liberal-party-redux-smoking/ 12. Why the government would have us pay more for poorer health John Attia and John Duggan. 5 February 2015, 2.58pm AEDT The Coalition government has been claiming that Australia’s public health system is unsustainable since the 2014 budget. But its plans for the health system actually reflect the underlying belief that user-pays health systems are better – despite evidence to to contrary. http://theconversation.com/why-the-government-would-have-us-pay-more-for-poorer-health-30887 13. Why more and more Australians are voting before election day Nathaniel Reader. 5 February, 2015 As counting for the Queensland state election continues, the Electoral Commission of Queensland has reported a record number of pre-poll votes. More than 200,000 Queenslanders cast their vote early. This result once again confirms early voting as the fastest-growing trend in Australian electoral participation. http://theconversation.com/why-more-and-more-australians-are-voting-before-election-day-37159 14. Shaping 2015: Social services need more than short-term fixes Peter Whiteford, Australian National University Scott Morrison’s appointment as minister for social services in late December 2014 has been seen as an important step for the Abbott government as it moves towards its second budget. The tasks he faces have been variously characterised in the media as “stopping the welfare” and “stopping the bludgers”. http://theconversation.com/shaping-2015-social-services-need-more-than-short-term-fixes-36009 15. Hockey-Abbott partnership looks shaky against treasurers past Alex Millmow. 4 February 2015, 6.03am AEDT Usually when conservative governments are elected to power the times are good. Not this time. If that was not enough, the Senate still has not passed Treasurer Joe Hockey’s first budget and he is about to bunker down to prepare his second. http://theconversation.com/hockey-abbott-partnership-looks-shaky-against-treasurers-past-36589

jaycee

6/02/2015God is GREAT!!...seriously...Karma is great!!..and there's the best to come!!...Oh, Oh, Oh,...thank GOD for the LNP....But there's more!...what are the Nationals going to do??...Truss! Truss!...bring on Truss...we want Truss, we want Truss!!...or Barnaby...jeeezus!..there's a whole marquis of comedy yet to play this gig! BRING IT ON!!

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6/02/2015Folks Predictably, at 3.30 pm today, in a 90 second press conference, Abbott told his party and the public: bring on the spill motion. He still argues that the people hired him and only the public can fire him, which anyone who understands the Westminster system knows is wrong. It's just more Abbott obfuscation, if not studied mendaciousness. I image Bill Shorten and the ALP will hope that the spill motion fails, and if it succeeds, that Abbott wins the leadership election. Because they know, just as we know, that such a result will not solve the Abbott problem. It will fester on and erode the LNP, speculation will continue, and eventually will bring Abbott down, perhaps too late for a successor to establish himself.

Casablanca

6/02/2015Check out #libspill https://twitter.com/hashtag/libspill?src=tren

Ken

6/02/2015Abbott has come out and said that he and Julie Bishop will stand together to defet the spill motion but if you read the statement put out by her office that's not quite what she said. Bishop said: "I agreed with he Prime Minister that due to Cabinet solidarity and my position as deputy there should be support for the current leadership in the spill motion." Read those words very carefully. It is not her position but an agreement with Abbott's position and only due to Cabinet solidarity and her position as deputy (which leaves open the question whether Abbott threatened her position if she did endorse Cabinet solidarity). And note especially that she only supports the current leadership team "in the spill motion" - which means if the spill motion passes, or even simply after the spill motion is dealt with, support for "the current leadership team" no longer applies to any other motion. This is hardly a ringing endorsement by Bishop - far from it. And the way Abbott has tried to play it up may even convince a few more people how unreliable he is. On the other hand, one big issue he has in his favour is that the motion could be decided by a show of hands, not a secret ballot. Even if Abbott remins after Tuesday, the tone of Bishop's words suggest this is far from over.

Ken

6/02/2015oops! ... if she did [u]not[/u] endorse Cabinet solidarity ...

Casablanca

6/02/2015Hilarious Freudian slip from Andrews: 'I believe that the team of Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard is the best leadership team for the Liberal Party' http://instagram.com/p/yv79vhjhbm/

2353

6/02/2015Oh - hasn't the federal government had a wonderful day. First Pyne gets in the gutter on national TV and then Andrews can't remember the name of the deputy leader.

Ken

6/02/20152353 Don't you love these days.:-) It's wonderful to see the boot on the other foot after the Libs spent so long gloating over Rudd undermining Gillard. As I suggested above, I think this will be like the Rudd process. It is almost a move to test the water and even if the spill motion fails on Tuesday, enough bad blood has been generated for this to fester. If Abbott remains, it will be interesting to see what he does - whether he considers removing one or two people from Cabinet or whether he won't be game to do that. If he doesn't remove people, it will only be because he is following the old adage about 'keeping your enemies closer' and considering that he can control his enemies best by locking them into 'Cabinet solidarity'. Because no one has openly declared a challenge, they are making it that much more difficult for him to react. I love all this intrigue and expect it to continue on and off over the rest of the year - I will actually be disappointed if Abbott gets rolled on Tuesday.:-)

Casablanca

7/02/2015[i]In his 2011 book, Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class, Owen Jones describes how, in his final year at Oxford a decade ago, he heard a senior member of the party (widely believed to be David Cameron) speak with blunt candour at an informal gathering: “What you have to realise about the Conservative Party is that it is a coalition of privileged interests. Its main purpose is to defend that privilege. And the way it wins elections is by giving just enough to just enough other people.” The Liberal Party of Australia is not very different. The self-appointed role of any conservative party in a liberal democratic system like Australia’s is to represent its class interests, and protect the privileges of that class, while making concessions to other classes to garner their support. And because Labor is seen to threaten those interests, whether by direct intervention in the economy or by such measures as mildly redistributive progressive taxation, the major raison d’être of the Liberal Party and its predecessors in Australia has been to keep Labor out of office.[/i] 1. Tony Abbott, prime minister? Norman Abjorensen. 8 February 2012 Can the opposition leader Tony Abbott maintain momentum. The gulf between ambition and its realisation may yet be a bridge too far for Tony Abbott. http://insidestory.org.au/tony-abbott-prime-minister 2. Conservatives in crisis Norman Abjorensen. 3 February 2015 Australia’s conservative parties have always struggled to balance their priorities with the need for broader electoral appeal. Once again, the cracks are showing http://insidestory.org.au/conservatives-in-crisis 3. More time would suit new Malcolm Turnbull Annabel Crabb 6 Feb 2015, 5:56pm If the motion to spill the leadership of the Liberal Party leadership succeeds, the main prospect as a challenger is and has always been Malcolm Turnbull, who has transformed himself to a milder, more patient and less pushy political figure http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-06/crabb-more-time-would-suit-new-malcolm-turnbull/6076474 4. Motion to spill: it's survival time for Tony Abbott Malcolm Farnsworth 6 Feb 2015, 7:06pm That the Liberal Party has come to this, after less than 17 months in government, is remarkable enough. That it could revisit 2009 and vote again on Turnbull vs Abbott is even more remarkable. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-06/farnsworth-its-survival-time-for-tony-abbott/6076860 5. The public still wants an end to the chaos Barrie Cassidy 6 Feb 2015, 8:59am Liberal Party MPs have to make a simple judgment - is Tony Abbott right or wrong when he says changing leaders will make their bad situation even worse? And if he's not the best leader, then who is? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-06/cassidy-the-public-still-wants-an-end-to-the-chaos/6073600 6. A Liberal PM can't ignore the conservative base Tom Switzer 6 Feb 2015, 9:35am Liberals aren't after the next Thatcher, Reagan or Howard, they just want someone to turn the polls around. Still, if Turnbull ousts Abbott he should remember he's leading a party that is the custodian of the centre-right tradition in Australian politics. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-06/switzer-a-liberal-pm-cant-ignore-the-conservative-base/6074710 7. How PM Turnbull could act on climate without an ETS Tristan Edis 6 Feb 2015 | 12:12 PM | Turnbull could be our next prime minister but he'll have to sacrifice his commitment to an emissions trading scheme. Here are five things he could do to curb carbon emissions without igniting a coup against him... There’s plenty more tricks to lowering carbon emissions than just putting a price on carbon pollution, although most involve less free-market oriented approaches. Rather strangely, even though such approaches are more interventionist than an ETS, they seem to be strangely more acceptable to the hard-core climate sceptics, in spite of their paranoia about climate change as a cloak for socialism. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2015/2/6/policy-politics/how-pm-turnbull-could-act-climate-without-ets?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=1126469&utm_campaign=pm&modapt= 8. Abbott should step down in favour of Turnbull Michelle Grattan 6 Feb, 8:01 AM Turnbull dodged around but he was particularly anxious to stress one point. Tony Abbott had had “more consistency and loyalty from the frontbench than any other Liberal leader in our lifetime”. The subtext was: the crisis in which Abbott is engulfed is not because he’s been undermined by colleagues -- it’s his own work. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2015/2/6/national-affairs/abbott-should-step-down-favour-turnbull 9. Abbott says he and Bishop will ‘stand together’ against motion to spill leadership Michelle Grattan 6 February 2015, 4.59pm AEDT Tony Abbott declared he and his deputy, Julie Bishop, will “stand together” to oppose a motion to spill their positions at next week’s Liberal party meeting. The prime minister announced his stand-and-fight position in a brief media appearance in which he took no questions. https://theconversation.com/abbott-says-he-and-bishop-will-stand-together-against-motion-to-spill-leadership-37282 10. Liberals do a fine imitation of Labor chaos Michelle Grattan. 6 February 2015, 8.23pm AEDT Liberal MPs will confront a stark choice next week between propping up a deeply wounded prime minister or trying a fresh start. They know each course is fraught with big risks. With the crucial vote not until Tuesday, anything can happen in this extraordinary volatile situation. https://theconversation.com/liberals-do-a-fine-imitation-of-labor-chaos-37287 11. Leadership crises turn short-term thinking into long-term failure Todd Winther. 6 February 2015, 7.32pm AEDT As the public awaits the result of a motion to spill the Liberal Party leadership next Tuesday, MPs, political observers and the public alike should seriously consider what the never-ending spill culture means for long-term policy development. https://theconversation.com/leadership-crises-turn-short-term-thinking-into-long-term-failure-37283 12. You're fired Kaye Lee February 6, 2015 When Tony Abbott says that the people voted for him to be Prime Minister it’s important to clarify. When Tony called a spill motion to challenge Malcolm Turnbull for the leadership of the Liberal Party in 2009, 35 of the 85 Liberal MPs voted for him in the first round. He won the second round by securing 42 votes which is, once again, less than half of the party room. Those 42 people are responsible for Tony holding the top job. http://theaimn.com/youre-fired/ 13. Liberals must elect new leader on Tuesday Torin Peel. February 6, 2015 The Liberals must select a new leader on Tuesday, or stick with Abbott until the next election. Any later attempt for a leadership change would be disastrous. We know that from the past. If there is going to be a leadership change before the next election, it needs to happen now. http://theaimn.com/liberals-must-elect-new-leader-tuesday/ 14. Barrie Cassidy and Jonathan Green are wrong and this is… Kay Rollison. February 6, 2015 Abbott’s main argument against those in his party who want him out is that to get rid of him now… http://theaimn.com/barrie-cassidy-jonathan-green-wrong/ 15. But Enough About This Nonsense, We're All United Apart From… Rossleigh. February 6, 2015 Perhaps the most absurd thing I heard was the Liberal who spoke to the press to inform us that the… http://theaimn.com/enough-nonsense-united-apart-dont-count/ 16. How to use women to get you out of the deep excrement other women got you into Jennifer Wilson. February 6, 2015 Are voters are so gullible as to be swayed by Tony Abbott wheeling out his wife in his time of political need, while tucking away controversial Chief of Staff Peta Credlin in a cupboard? Some in the media certainly believe so. http://theaimn.com/use-women-get-deep-excrement-women-got/ 17. Don't laugh. This is serious. John Kelly. February 6, 2015 With all the talk of a leadership spill deflecting attention from the job of governing the country at the moment, it is not surprising that some issues central to the Coalition’s problems are being overlooked. Don’t look now, but one of them just happens to be our economic future. http://theaimn.com/dont-laugh-serious/ 18. The Age of Entitlement: What are our pollies worth? John Lord. February 6, 2015 When Joe Hockey decided that the Age of Entitlement was over he was of course not referring to politicians. In his May 2014 budget he set about cutting the entitlements of those least able to afford it. There needed to be more cash for those more entitled and privileged. He set about attacking those out of work, family payments and pensioners. http://theaimn.com/age-entitlement-pollies-worth/ 19. The Queensland 'shock': Viva Gary Morgan and down with corrupt polls Bob Ellis. 6 February 2015, 12:05am Why did Newspoll and Galaxy all wrongly predict a comfortable LNP win in last week's Queensland election, while Morgan Research had it spot on, saying it was too close to call. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/viva-gary-morgan-and-down-with-corrupt-polls,7342 20. One morning with Malcolm Turnbull Robert Manne He is the leader the Liberals rejected, but plenty of voters still want him, on both sides. http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2012/april/1337744204/robert-manne/one-morning-malcolm 21. The inside story of how the Liberal leadership duo of Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop cracked Peter Hartcher. February 6, 2015 - 11:39PM Abbott, apparently suspicious of Bishop's motives, brushed aside her offers and a tense and sometimes angry conversation followed. Abbott rejected his deputy's help. Trust seemed to have evaporated. This phone conversation is analogous to the moment when trust between the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, and his deputy, Julia Gillard, broke... But after rebuffing Bishop's spontaneous offer of unity last week, Abbott next tried to engineer a forced one this week. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/the-inside-story-of-how-the-liberal-leadership-duo-of-tony-abbott-and-julie-bishop-cracked-20150206-13884m.html 22. Malcolm Turnbull's date with destiny Matthew Knott. February 6, 2015 - 5:44PM http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/malcolm-turnbulls-date-with-destiny-20150206-1387gq.html 23. Spill motion: Tony Abbott's leadership enters the killing zone Mark Kenny. February 6, 2015 - 9:46PM http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/spill-motion-tony-abbotts-leadership-enters-the-killing-zone-20150206-137ygj.html 24. Coalition needs a heart transplant, not a facelift Waleed Aly. 6 February 2015 The public has been focused on policy and that's precisely why the Coalition's in trouble. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/coalition-needs-a-heart-transplant-not-a-facelift-20150205-136hjx.html 25. Exits of the politically damned Norman Abjorensen. February 6, 2015 http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/exits-of-the-politically-damned-20150205-136mt9.html 26. Tony Abbott's errors have cost him support of his colleagues Mark Kenny. February 6, 2015 Leaders can weather periods of unpopularity, as long as they enjoy the respect of their colleagues. Tony Abbott has lost both. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbotts-errors-have-cost-him-support-of-his-colleagues-20150205-136t06.html 27. Malcolm Turnbull awaits the leadership Sophie Morris 7 February 2015 Turnbull is in pole position to replace the prime minister. But how has he overcome doubts within the Coalition? https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2015/02/07/malcolm-turnbull-awaits-the-leadership/14232276001470#.VNTkFi74hM4 28. Hockey an exploding cigar Editorial. 7 February 2015 There is one version of events that says Joe Hockey was leant on to step aside partway through last year, when it became clear what a disaster his budget had become for the government and how badly it needed to be reset. Hockey, in this account, threatened to “blow up the government” if any move was made against him. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2015/02/07/hockey-exploding-cigar/14232276001460#.VNTjjC74hM4

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7/02/2015Casablanca What a feast you have laid out for us. I'll have to wait until after a family birthday party this afternoon to enjoy the meal.

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7/02/2015Folks I've just now posted on [i]TPS Extra: Why is anyone surprised that Abbott is failing?[/i]: http://www.tpsextra.com.au/post/why-is-anyone-surprised-that-abbott-is-failing

Ken

8/02/2015Abbott is playing games by bringing the spill meeting forward to early Monday morning. He is deliberately giiving the Liberal members no time to talk together. While the heavyweights may be ringing other members, I would guess there is less contact between the backbenchers, particularly between those from different states (except where personal relationships have already been established). But if they had flown into Canberra on Monday and spoken to each other before the original Tuesday meeting they would have a better feel of what other backbenchers were thinking. Abbott has deliberately reduced that opportunity. Interesting that Sinodinos seems to have indicated that he will support the spill motion. As an ex-Howard strategist, that is a significant development.

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8/02/2015Folks Read this article by Rob Burgess in [i]The New Daily[/i] and you will learn a lot about how Abbott/Hockey/Cormann got it so wrong about the economy. In my view they are driven by their neoliberal ideology, constained by their distorted understanding of economics, and disingenuous in the intent and application. A lethal triad. http://thenewdaily.com.au/money/2015/02/04/rate-cut-exposes-abbotts-bigger-mistakes/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The+New+Daily+Saturday+7215

jaycee

8/02/2015Interesting article there AA. In all truth, it does but reiterate the suspicion many had before the election in social media and on blog sites like this one. The real agenda behind the LNP. policies was there for all to see..and see it we did...anyone with a goodly number of years under their belt and with a good bit of study on their bookshelves could see their devious objective a mile away. It was sad and very frustrating that the MSM. deliberately failed to examine this objective and brought this melange of gross incompetence upon the nation. Their god-dammed awful stupidity in continually confecting a leadership crisis in the Labor govt' has inflicted cruel dishonour and grating dishonesty onto our media screens every day and night. Finally today on Insiders, I saw Bazz Cazz confront the automaton Corman about them doubling the Labor debt...finally!..it has taken years of denial, obfuscation, blind, stubborn refusal to acknowledge the MSM. role in dirtying our country's politics. It will be a red-letter day when the many obsequious MSM. "superstars" get pensioned off to while away their time on park-benches and deserved obscurity..If I don't see a Tony Jones, Chris Uhlmann, Leigh Sales or the bleedin' Bazz Cazz anymore in this life, it will still have been too bloody much for me!..I don't give a rat's arse if they now expose the entire crooked lot of the LNP. ,IPA. , or Kathy Jackson and Co. to the last dirty deed!...I have had the bloody lot of them up to my eyebrows...may they go rot in Sheol !

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8/02/2015jaycee Like you, the only explanation I can muster to explain the MSM's unwillingness to lay bare the economic incompetence of the Abbott/Hockey/Cormann team is that they deliberately avoided doing this. I can't believe that mainstream economics writers were unaware. If they were, they ought to have been reporting fashion.
How many oranges do I have if I have 3 oranges and take ONE away?