Winter winds, wind farms and hot air


About this time of the year the all-year-round residents of Canberra enjoy a reprieve from the hot air produced on Capital Hill. Pity is that this usually combines with winds that come from the Antarctic via the Snowy Mountains to make Canberra shiver through another winter of sub-zero mornings! The politicians usually leave town, return to their offices and try to remind their electors why they should be returned to parliament next time with a thumping majority. It seems to be a bit different this year — government front benchers are hardly to be found.

They could be busy searching for a ‘wind farm commissioner’ who has the similar beliefs to the LNP. You may have seen our esteemed treasurer complaining about the ‘visual pollution’ from wind farm towers last September. While Hockey is entitled to his opinion, did anyone ask him why open cut coal mines, telecommunications towers, or power stations are less visually obtrusive? Abbott is clearly of the same opinion but he claims they are noisy as well!

At least wind tower poles are designed to be aerodynamic — which also brings symmetry and aesthetics to the design. The approved-this-month Shenhua open cut coal mine near Gunnedah will have approval to flatten 771 hectares of endangered local ecology, most of it box gum woodland, and no doubt carve a scar in the ground some kilometres long — clearly a better look than a wind farm in the view of Abbott, Hockey and Environment Minister Hunt.

During December 2014, the government body (in Hockey’s department) that decides which groups are permitted to claim ‘charity’ status and receive tax deductible donations revoked the Waubra Foundation’s ability to process tax deductible donations. While the reasons are not made public, the Waubra Foundation exists to claim that wind farms have health implications. The results of a study of 4000 investigations into the noise from wind farms reported last February that there was no conclusive evidence to suggest that wind farms create any health concerns — despite evidence from a Dr (her speciality is not specified) Judy Ryan:
The slow corruption of science education so that people could be fooled by the oxymoron ‘scientific consensus’ is part of politically driven global agenda orchestrated by the United Nations. We should crawl out from under its thumb and treasure our nationhood and democracy.
And this sterling contribution from Alan Scott:
The time has come for Australian politicians from all warring camps to speak the truth to their electors, rather than mouthing the party lines handed down to them by their United Nations masters.
(The links to the actual submissions are contained in the SBS News article above.)

Perhaps instead of giving conspiracy theorists the time of day, Australia’s Wind Farm Commissioner, when appointed, should start an enquiry into how to harvest the hot air emanating from Capital Hill using a number of wind farm turbines and storing it in available battery technology. S/he could determine if Parliament House could be removed from the National Electricity Grid. Even better, if all the staff and politicians caught buses to work, the batteries could be installed in the car parks to retain the aesthetics of Capital Hill (as well as allowing the ACT government to reduce the subsidy to its bus operations).

Clearly the Wind Farm Commissioner is required urgently and cannot be delayed due to the winter hibernation in Canberra as this clip explains.

The cultural war against the ABC is clearly top of mind for our government. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation hasn’t comprehended it is supposed to be the government’s media mouthpiece in the same way that Pravda was to the old USSR.

It seems that the ABC is a thorn in the side of most sides of the political landscape at times — as Mark Scott (ABC Managing Director) has correctly pointed out in response to the ‘crime’ of allowing a person with a less than impeccable past to ask a live question of a government minister on the Q&A program late in June.

After the ABC followed their normal process and ran a repeat of the show in question during daylight hours a couple of days later on one of their digital channels, Abbott was very quick out of the blocks to demand that heads roll for the gross insult (do you suspect he wanted to use the word ‘insubordination’?). As Scott noted in the same speech to the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs:
"But even for the ABC, things seemed to have been taken to a new level when on Wednesday we scored four covers in one day in the News Limited tabloids, complete with photoshopped ABC flags being waved by jihadi protestors," he said.
Scott went on to question why ‘the question’ was such an outrage when the same person had featured in articles in The Australian and The Courier Mail (both News Corp products) in the past few years with no apparent controversy.

Nevertheless, the Abbott government wants (the presumably lefty pinko) metaphoric head of the ABC on a platter and announced there will be an inquiry. The ABC Board gets in first and appoints Ray Martin (former reporter, tabloid current affairs and chat show host) and Shawn Brown (former SBS managing director) to investigate if there is any bias in the Q&A program. Abbott bans ministers from appearing ‘for a while’ — probably until the inquiry is completed or the Q&A show is transferred into a different division of the ABC that has a different view of balance and equity.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce was the first ‘victim’ of the boycott on 6 July and Malcolm Turnbull also complied on 13 July — John Hewson was invited to take his place as he is not susceptible to Abbott decrees. The ALP has a history of boycotting media as well: in 2012 it boycotted the 2GB radio program hosted by Alan Jones after he made a particularly cruel and heartless attack on the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard. At the time, then Opposition Leader Abbott said the comments were offensive,
But when asked whether he would boycott Jones' show, he said he would not. It was all about the numbers.
"I am certainly not going to ignore an audience of half a million people in Sydney," Mr Abbott said.
Joe Hockey, then the shadow treasurer, agreed.
Ray Martin, in a guest hosting spot on Channel 7’s Sunrise program early in July called the Q&A ban ‘silly’ and almost immediately faced calls from two coalition senators to stand down from the inquiry:
Senator McGrath said: "I think he should step aside. His comments make him appear to be an apologist for Q&A rather than someone who will conduct an independent review."

Senator Macdonald said: "Ray Martin has respect in the community but these comments make you question whether he is the right person to conduct an independent review.”
News Corp joined in the baying for blood by publishing a piece from their well known balanced, considered and independent writer/broadcaster Andrew Bolt, as well as the front pages referred to by Mark Scott above.

Our frontbenchers would probably not be in Europe on a ‘study tour’. You also may have noticed in the news there are economic problems in Greece that may affect the European Community. The Greek public recently voted against further austerity so that the country could start to repay debt to a consortium of banks. The ‘anti-austerity’ Greek government then went into negotiations with the rest of the EU and agreed to harsher restrictions than the public rejected! Regardless of the final outcome of the ongoing story, elected Australian frontbenchers wouldn’t want to be stuck anywhere near the south of Europe while there is considerable instability. Apart from the lack of things to study in a country that apparently can’t pay its debts (remember the ‘debt and deficit’ disaster is ‘so last year’ in the view of Hockey and Abbott), who knows, they may not be able to get back to Australia in time for the resumption of hostilities on Capital Hill next week.

There is continual brouhaha regarding marriage equality? Senator Wong bluntly reminded Senator Abetz recently that the majority of Australians don’t think you need either a marriage certificate or a traditional mother and father role to successfully raise children.
The Labor senator said the debate in the Australian community about gay marriage was currently “much more charitable, much more respectful, much more tolerant and much kinder in many ways on this issue than the members of our parliament”.
Seeing the failure of that particular argument staring them in the face, the government retired Senator Abetz from the play and substituted Barnaby Joyce. Joyce’s argument held even less credibility:
Some parts of south-east Asia could view Australia embracing same-sex marriage as “decadence”.
While news may take a while to reach the north west of NSW, which Joyce now calls home, New Zealand, Canada, and the US, amongst other countries, have marriage equality — in some cases for periods of up to a decade — and South East Asian countries still trade and deal with these ‘decadent’ countries on a daily basis. Regardless, it does take time and resources for government frontbenchers to make such informed comment to the debate that the majority of Australians seem to regard with a ‘meh’.

Are the frontbenchers sitting on the sidelines waiting to make a valuable contribution towards justification of the new Border Force Act? The Act apparently contains ‘secrecy’ laws around the possibly legal offshore detention policy for asylum seekers — a concept supported to an extent by both sides of politics. Apparently if anyone in Australia reports (one assumes unfavourably) on the conditions or treatment of asylum seekers held by the Australian government in Nauru or Papua New Guinea, they can be imprisoned. The government, through the newly named Australian Border Force Agency, disputes this. George Newhouse, writing in The Guardian (based in the UK), however, answers the government’s claims here.

Bill Shorten (Opposition Leader) faced the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption during July. While Shorten didn’t come out unscathed — there is the matter of the $75,000 donation to his election campaign eight years ago that wasn’t declared until early in July 2015 — Katherine Murphy writing for The Guardian reported:
This is how politics works, Shorten told the commission with a resolute tone and nothing approximating a flinch or a flicker of self-doubt. He’s absolutely right. This is how politics works. This conduct, and other conduct like it, is widespread and endemic. If you lack the self-belief to hustle, if you lack the network to fundraise, and if you lack the stomach for inhabiting a universe crafted in a material called grey area and powered on compromise, you really aren’t party or government material.
You could suggest that the strategy to discredit Shorten worked ... until someone looked at Speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s travelling allowance claims.

Bishop the elder should have known better than to charter a chopper at taxpayer expense for an 80km flight above the freeway from Melbourne to Geelong to attend a party fundraiser. The helicopter memes that have appeared everywhere from Facebook to News Corp papers in the last week or so are clever but starting to get a bit obvious.

Now the discussion is turning to who else has their ‘snouts in the trough’. A prime candidate seems to be Treasurer ‘it doesn’t pass the sniff test’ Hockey who is accused of paying rent on a Canberra house where the landlord is his wife and making a number of trips to Cairns while shadow treasurer with time allowed to inspect his (now on the market) property near Malanda on the Atherton Tableland, west of Cairns. Here’s a hint to Hockey: when Andrew Bolt is ‘oh dearing’ a conservative MP such as yourself, you have a problem.

The Premiers and Chief Ministers joined Abbott for a COAG retreat to reinforce our commitment to act against the threats to our community from violent extremists, family violence and the drug ice. New South Wales’ Premier Baird (who doesn’t have to face an election for nearly four years) opened a discussion on increasing the GST rate to 15% — strangely enough you can probably guess the headlines after the press conference which was also notable for the display of nine flags to signify greater importance than other announcements with less flags in the background!

The ALP held its National Conference in Melbourne last weekend. Shorten announced before the conference that the ALP would aim for a mandated 50% renewable energy use by 2030 as well as supporting an asylum seeker boat turn back policy as if they were done deals. If the outcomes are known before the conference starts, why the display of discussion and debate unless the party wants to further the impression that they do not agree on everything. Their media friends also get the chance to use headlines such as ‘Bill Shorten wins freedom to use boat turnbacks, but leadership split on issue’ without having to chase ALP leaders all over Australia for comment.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce did come out of hiding to disagree with the approval of the Shenhua mine (which is inconveniently in his electorate). Abbott claimed that Joyce was speaking as the local member — Joyce disagreed. Maybe Joyce doesn’t really see the difference between the aesthetics of wind farm towers so hated by Abbott or Hockey and open cut mining scars in the ground.

If you’ve got this far, you may wonder why anyone would be concerned what our elected officials do while there are long recesses in Canberra. There is a really simple answer. Towards the end of June, I sent an email to a ‘frontbench’ senator in my state as well as my local ALP MP. At the time of writing this I don’t have a reply from the senator, which I believe I deserve, as effectively I am one of the two million or thereabouts electors in Queensland who employ this senator. The MP has rung me to discuss the email I sent.

Frontbench senators could not be rude enough to ignore an elector’s genuine question, could they? Is the senator so caught up in waiting for instruction from LNP HQ on when he can leave the imposed seclusion to fire the next salvo in the political war, he hasn’t had the time to develop a factual and honest answer to a simple question regarding funding for an enquiry into the ABC? Although he could also just be dusting his bookshelves.

What do you think?
As 2353 suggests there are many issues to talk about but few heads appearing above the parapets, and yet they are so busy they don’t have time to answer his email. Well, next week they will be back in Canberra and will have to show their faces and be accountable.

Next week Ken takes a look at the latest craze, ‘Doin’ the GST-a-rosy-rag’ in which politicians seem to take turns to place changes to the GST back on the agenda.


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1/08/20152353 What a catalogue of comical events! Yet they emanate from Abbott's 'grown up', 'adult' government, the one that was going to fix the mess left by Labor. Every day another grotesque scenario bursts into life. It's no wonder that so many front benchers have ridden off into the sunset. Take windmills! Aesthetically, wouldn't we all prefer vast open cut coal mines, especially when they catch fire, and smoke-belching coal fired electricity generators to those ugly, noisy, health shattering wind turbines? Would anyone be stupid enough to give any credence to the dozens of carefully crafted scientific studies that show no definitive health concerns resulting from wind turbines, when there is anecdotal evidence that they are making people feel crook, and scientifically erudite organisations such as the Waubra Foundation insist that this is so? Even Joe Hockey's Finance Department gives the latter no credence, and has revoked its status as an organisation that can process tax-deductible donations. If this was the only bizarre attitude Abbott has exhibited; if he had not insisted that a Wind Farm Commissioner be appointed to investigate 'wind turbine syndrome', it may not have attracted a lot of attention. I recommend readers play the You Tube video; it's hilarious. But there's more, much more. On the issue of climate change, public opinion is steadily swinging against inaction towards strong action and the use of renewables as the preferred energy source. Abbott is languishing in a past era of dirty coal and pollution, still clinging to his so-called Direct Action Plan that is costly yet can't and won't reverse CO2 pollution and global warming. The people have left him behind with his dirty mines, still tilting at windmills. He's on a loser. His reaction to the Q&A episode featuring Zaky Mallah is another example of his aberrant judgement. His ban on frontbenchers appearing on the show has resulted in poor quality LNP people appearing, to wit Ron Boswell, and Liberals ready to criticise the LNP, such as John Hewson. He is on a another loser. He's on yet another loser with his obfuscation over same sex marriage. The people want it; he loses ground with every obstruction he places in the way of an open parliamentary debate. And when the best the LNP can muster to oppose such a balanced advocate as Penny Wong at the NPC this past week was Cory Bernardi, it is clear they are scraping the bottom of the barrel. It looks too that any advantage Abbott might have had on the asylum seeker issue, might now be largely neutralised with Labor adopting a somewhat parallel, but more humanitarian position. Another lost cause for Abbott, especially after he threatened whistleblowers with prosecution if they went public. Sounds like Soviet Russia. Much of the public is becoming increasingly concerned about how our government is treating those in detention centres, but Abbott is deaf. Then there's the Shenhua mine. Abbott and Hunt are running contrary to public opinion on open cut mining on prime agricultural land, a view held by none other than Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce who so colourfully dismissed it as 'silly'. Abbott's on another loser here amongst his farming constituency. Finally, if we are looking for a mega-loser for Abbott, we need look no further than the Bronwyn Bishop saga, where a lethal mixture of arrogance, stubbornness, and shameless rorting by Bishop is countered with a slap on the wrist with a limp lettuce leaf through misplaced loyalty by a sycophant Abbott, who regards Bishop as his 'political mother'. Meanwhile Bill Shorten looks stronger by the week. Abbott is backing a stable of horses that are at long odds of losing him what little credibility he has left. Which explains why this media hungry fellow has ridden off into the sunset on his rickety nag, and is nowhere to be seen. Stiff winter winds are blowing hard into his weather-beaten face, and he has lost his Driza-Bone oilskins. Thank you 2353 for an absorbing tale of Abbott's woes and the disappearance of his front bench.

Casablanca

1/08/20151. Stringent Conditions Will Minimise Risk Of Unsightly Wind Turbines At New Open Cut Mine, Greg Hunt Says The Shovel Environment Minister Greg Hunt has reassured farmers in the Liverpool Plains region that the strictest conditions have been put in place to ensure ugly, noisy wind turbines do not blemish the new 35km2 open cut coal mine planned for the area. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/07/09/stringent-conditions-will-minimise-risk-of-unsightly-wind-turbines-at-new-open-cut-mine-greg-hunt-says/ 2. Abbott’s Solar Compromise: “We’ll Support Using The Sun’s Energy, As Long As It Involves Mining It” The Shovel Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made a partial back down from yesterday’s solar investment announcement, saying today that he would be supportive of using the sun’s energy, as long as it involved mining it. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/07/13/solar-compromise-abbott-to-allow-mining-on-the-sun/ 3. Abbott Announces Compromise To Move Wind Turbines Inside The Shovel Prime Minister Tony Abbott has tabled a plan that he hopes will placate supporters of wind turbines, while removing the ugly, noisy devices from view. The ambitious strategy will see the turbines removed from roadsides and windfarms, and placed inside unused storage sheds in regional Australia. Some new sheds may also be built if enough existing space cannot be found. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/06/18/abbott-announces-compromise-to-move-wind-turbines-inside/ 4. Abbott Confident He Can Balance Prime Minister Responsibilities With New ABC Programming Role The Shovel Tony Abbott believes his new role as ABC TV’s Head Of Programming won’t impact on his other role as Australian Prime Minister. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/07/11/abbott-confident-he-can-balance-pm-responsibilities-with-abc-programming-role/ 5. Greek PM Asks Hockey For Advice On How To Make A Budget Emergency Disappear The Shovel Tsipras described the phone call as ‘confusing’. “He [Hockey] asked me to imagine a fire burning out of control, and then a fire brigade coming to get things under control. I’m not exactly sure what he meant. Maybe he’s offering to donate water to Greece? Maybe it’s a cultural thing”. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/07/01/greek-pm-asks-hockey-for-advice-on-how-to-make-a-budget-emergency-disappear/ 6. Hockey’s Wife Forced To Raise Rent To Pay For Defamation Legal Fees The Shovel A night in Melissa Babbage’s Canberra home will rise from $271 to $850,000 today. The price hike was necessary after Babbage’s husband – Treasurer Joe Hockey – was ordered to pay 85% of his own legal costs for his defamation case against media outlet Fairfax. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/07/23/hockeys-wife-forced-to-raise-rent-to-pay-for-defamation-legal-fees/ 7. Choppers & Champagne: The Bronwyn Bishop Diaries The Shovel 1:00pm Floyd, one of my personal assistants, comes running into my chambers rather frantically, and asks me if I remember taking a helicopter flight from Melbourne to Geelong last year. “Well of course I remember it!” I say. “The seat didn’t recline and they had run out of Dom Perignon. It was something of a nightmare. Certainly not something one forgets quickly”. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/07/19/a-week-of-scandal-the-bronwyn-bishop-diaries/ 8. Bipartisan Support For Extensive Cosmetic Changes To Parliamentary Entitlements The Shovel Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced today that they will work together to deliver sweeping tweaks to the rules governing political expenses. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/07/29/bipartisan-support-for-extensive-cosmetic-changes-to-parliamentary-entitlements/ 9. Buzz Aldrin filed expense claim for Apollo 11 trip to the moon Tom Cowie A parliamentary speaker might claim $5000 to make a short chopper ride to Geelong, but the travel expenses for a trip to the moon are a little more austere. Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, has revealed a fascinating piece of memorabilia on social media: the travel voucher he billed NASA for his historic journey into space. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/technology/sci-tech/buzz-aldrin-filed-expense-claim-for-apollo-11-trip-to-the-moon-20150731-giov2m.html

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2/08/2015Casablanca What a delectable collection of 'Shovels' you have presented to us. Most amusing reading.

Ken

2/08/20152353 Thank you for a comprehensive overview of the inanity of this government. Barnaby Joyce is often seen as a laughing stock but compared to your list of woes, he appears downright sensible. Casablanca I enjoyed the humour. Helps brighten the day. But this government opens itself to such satire at every turn. And good to see the Bishop has fallen on her mitre and intends resigning from the Speakership. I think once News Corp turned on her she would have been told (by Abbott) she had no choice. News Corp want to keep Abbott in power and could obviously see that the Bishop saga was distracting from all the good work they were doing supporting Abbott - they couldn't allow that!

Casablanca

3/08/2015#CHOPPERGATE 1. oneplanetmikey @oneplanetmikey I miss Bronnie. Twitter was heaps of fun during #Choppergate. 8:04 PM - 2 Aug 2015 2. Social media sends off Bronwyn Bishop in style August 3, 2015 - 1:30AM In the end, it came down to the helicopter. The mode of transportation that led to Bronwyn Bishop's downfall also led - perhaps inevitably - to digitally-altered pictures of the former Speaker standing on the steps of a helicopter doing the iconic Richard Nixon salute. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/social-media-sends-off-bronwyn-bishop-in-style-20150802-gipx32.html 3. Bronwyn Bishop resigns as Speaker – as it happened Calla Wahlquist Scandal-hit Speaker quits after weeks of controversy over expenses as Tony Abbott announces a full review of entitlements http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2015/aug/02/bronwyn-bishop-resigns-as-speaker-politics-live 4. Bronwyn Bishop Resigns Amid A Great Prime Ministerial Silence Chris Graham BREAKING NEWS: Bronwyn Bishop has resigned this afternoon as Speaker of the House of Reps. IRONY is a beautiful thing, but it doesn’t get any more beautifully ironic than the Prime Minister’s dodging of media over the past week. https://newmatilda.com//2015/08/02/bronwyn-bishop-resigns-amid-great-prime-ministerial-silence#sthash.sLX7aOXI.dpuf 5. Bye Bye Bishop TurnLeft2016 Machiavelli had some advice for leaders, It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both. When you… http://theaimn.com/bye-bye-bishop/ 6. She's Gone John Lord It remains debatable who was the worst offender. He [Abbott] or she [BBishop]. http://theaimn.com/shes-gone/ 7. Coalition MPs demand proper say on next Speaker as Bronwyn Bishop quits Shalailah Medhora and Lenore Taylor Party room ballot could decide successor to Bishop as Tony Abbott tries to draw a line under the damaging affair by launching a ‘root and branch’ review of expenses http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/02/coalition-mps-demand-proper-say-on-next-speaker-as-bronwyn-bishop-quits 8. It wasn't Bronny. It was the system. Seriously, Prime Minister? Laura Tingle His prime ministerial authority has been emasculated by an apparent inability or incapacity to take on an ideological and political patron... His response casts further doubt on his political judgment and political management skills... the sudden call for a root and branch looks for all the world just what it is: another pathetic attempt by a government in trouble to squirm its way out by holding a review. http://www.afr.com/news/politics/it-wasnt-bronnie-it-was-the-system-seriously-prime-minister-20150802-gipuh6?stb=twt 9. Bronwyn Bishop resigns as Speaker Latika Bourke August 3, 2015 - 12:44AM Mrs Bishop and Peter Slipper are the only two speakers to be forced to resign in disgrace. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bronwyn-bishop-resigns-as-speaker-20150802-gipry2.html 10. Parliamentary Expenses Reviewer Well Placed To Cut Through Scandal Chris Graham One of the men chosen by the Prime Minister to review the parliamentary expenses scandal knows a thing or two about controversy. http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=5400c9b7fe&e=0a1e2bdeb8 11. Abbott Fronts The Media, New Matilda Provides The Translation New Matilda Tony Abbott has announced the resignation of Bronwyn Bishop, and tried to dress the gaping wound that is a growing expenses scandal. http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=e1e074618c&e=0a1e2bdeb8 12. Bronwyn Bishop's spending 'not unreasonable' says Barnaby Joyce Primrose Riordan, Misa Han Mrs Bishop was compelled to attend many events as she was seen as a crowd-puller, Mr Joyce said, and getting chauffeured there was part of doing her job and avoiding drink-driving. "Bronwyn is a lady, who when things are busy, it's not unreasonable that she will have someone help her drive her to what ever job she's got. http://www.afr.com/news/politics/bronwyn-bishops-spending-not-unreasonable-says-barnaby-joyce-20150801-gipkqg 13. Speaker Bronwyn Bishop bows to pressure, leaving Tony Abbott to clean up the mess Mark Kenny August 3, 2015 - 12:30AM Timing, they say, is everything in politics and Tony Abbott's just lately has not been good. Waiting several days to weigh into the Adam Goodes racism sinkhole came at some expense to a country suddenly faced with a threshold challenge to its social cohesion. Worse still was the likelihood that this studied prime ministerial indifference served no other purpose than to minimise Abbott's embarrassment at the excesses of his hand-picked Speaker, Bronwyn Bishop. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/speaker-bronwyn-bishop-bows-to-pressure-leaving-tony-abbott-to-clean-up-the-mess-20150802-giptzv.html 14. Bronwyn Bishop, Liberal warrior, female trailblazer Anne Davies August 2, 2015 - 10:06PM When Bronwyn Bishop arrived in Canberra as a newly minted senator in 1987 to fill a casual vacancy, she already enjoyed a formidable reputation. With her trademark up-swept blond hair, killer heels, red lipstick and power jackets, Bishop stood out in the Liberal Party, not just because she was one of the few females, but because she wore her ambition like a tiara. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bronwyn-bishop-liberal-warrior-female-trailblazer-20150802-giputy.html 15. No Prime Minister, Bronwyn, not the system, was the problem Michael Gordon August 2, 2015 - 9:42PM http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/no-prime-minister-bronwyn-not-the-system-was-the-problem-20150802-gipv03.html 16. Abbott blames the system. Bishop is its victim. Oh, that’s… Jennifer Wilson Prime Minister Tony Abbott today absolves his “political mother” Bronwyn Bishop from all wrong doing: What has become apparent, particularly over… http://theaimn.com/abbott-blames-the-system-bishop-is-its-victim-oh-thats-so-funny/ 17. Why Tony isn't pointing fingers Kaye Lee With all the furore about Bronwyn Bishop’s ever growing list of expense abuses, little attention has been paid to those… http://theaimn.com/why-tony-isnt-pointing-fingers/ 18. Abbott the Dragon Slayer: The art of making scary… Kate M Unless you’ve been on a desert island or in a coma, you’ve heard Tony Abbott boast over and over and… http://theaimn.com/abbott-the-dragon-slayer-the-art-of-making-scary-mountains-out-of-molehills/ 19. Bronwyn Bishop finally resigns as Speaker Michelle Grattan, August 2, 2015 6.17pm AEST Bronwyn Bishop has finally quit the speakership after weeks of revelations about her extravagant claims. https://theconversation.com/bronwyn-bishop-finally-resigns-as-speaker-45559 20. Abbott’s attempt at damage control brings inquiry into MPs' entitlements Michelle Grattan August 2, 2015 10.24pm AEST One snippet sums up Bronwyn Bishop’s disconnect with the real world. Her spokesman was quoted at the weekend saying she had often preferred limousines because they could travel in bus lanes, thus getting her to places more quickly. https://theconversation.com/abbotts-attempt-at-damage-control-brings-inquiry-into-mps-entitlements-45560 21. After Bronnie: The next Speaker Andrew Elder Disclosure: my forecasting skills are rubbish. I thought Abbott was so bad he’d lose the 2013 election! That said, keep an eye on long-serving deputy whips Nola Marino (Lib, WA) and Mark Coulton (Nat, NSW). Buchholz and Ruddock aren’t out of the running, but former whip Warren Entsch would be too independent of the PM’s office. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-next-speaker,8011#.Vb2xz7NOD84.twitter 22. Why Bronwyn Bishop is a disaster of Tony Abbott's own making Phillip Coorey Abbott, who has been forced into hiding all week to avoid being asked about the Speaker, has decided to tough it out, even if it means he and the government ceded control of the national political conversation. http://www.afr.com/news/politics/why-bronwyn-bishop-is-a-disaster-of-tony-abbotts-own-making-20150729-gimqf4?stb=twt 23. Tony Abbott’s Taste for Chartered Flights Frances Jones Posted on October 13, 2013 It was a wedding which triggered an avalanche of questionable expense claims being investigated, from a country music festival to various sporting pursuits in marginal seats. Which is cheaper for taxpayers – Tony Abbott’s “charity rides” or his chartered flights? Abbott and co have been projecting across parliament for years about corruption and waste of taxpayers money. This list of Parliamentarians’ Entitlements has been sitting online for years, yet it is only now that people are discovering it. http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/parliamentarians-reporting/ https://francesjones.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/tony-abbotts-taste-for-chartered-flights/ 24. Bishop's only choice was to resign AFR Editorial http://www.afr.com/opinion/editorials/bishops-only-choice-was-to-resign-20150802-gipujb?eid=cpc:nnn-14omn2224-optim-nnn:outbrain-outbrain_paid-dom-displayad-nnn-afr-nnn&campaign_code=15caf010&promote_channel=sem&utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=paid%20outbrain 25. Millions at risk in Mathias Cormann’s govt travel contract Sophie Morris Amid the travel expenses furore, the government stands to lose tens of millions of dollars on a decision to switch to a single travel manager...The so-called travel rorts of 1997, just 18 months after the Howard government came to power, involved secret repayments of wrongly claimed travel allowances. The ministers had already repaid the money, but they still lost their jobs. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2015/08/01/millions-risk-mathias-cormanns-govt-travel-contract/14383512002197 26. Shorten picking up the Bill Paul Bongiorno Labor has begun to show a political adroitness many thought beyond it. And maybe Shorten’s political luck has returned. [b]Who would have thought the Abbott government’s first year would be the hash it was,[b/] and now he has the Bronwyn Bishop saga. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2015/08/01/shorten-picking-the-bill/14383512002186 27. Bronwyn Bishop had to be forced out – but some good may come of the scandal Lenore Taylor There’s every reason to be cynical about Bronwyn Bishop’s resignation and Tony Abbott’s sudden concern about the rules governing politicians’ expenses. But good could still come of both. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/02/bronwyn-bishop-had-to-be-forced-out-but-some-good-may-come-of-the-scandal 28. Bronwyn Bishop: formidable political warrior who walked a rocky road Shalailah Medhora Australia’s longest-serving female politician was once touted as a potential prime minister, but her career has been dogged by miscalculations and scandals http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/02/bronwyn-bishop-formidable-political-warrior-has-walked-a-rocky-road

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3/08/2015Casablanca I read your links with interest. The theme was consistent. Bishop is an arrogant serial rorter, perhaps even a fraudster; Abbott has been her long time protector, and is a weak leader. Was there even one article that supported either of them? When virtually the entire MSM could find no excuses, no virtue in their actions, they both reached rock bottom in credibility. There they are stuck. Bishop has gone in disgrace. While Abbott clings on, he is a much-diminished leader in the eyes of his colleagues, and in the opinion of the public as evidenced by his and his government’s standing in the opinion polls. Yet another Abbott’s ‘Captain’s picks’ has come unstuck: first his PPL scheme, then his knighting of Prince Phillip, and now his hand picked Speaker. How many more? Mark Kenny writes about Abbott: [i]“…his tawdry, willful mismanagement of this issue raises serious questions over his political judgment.”[/i] Michelle Grattan writes: [i]”Bishop was Abbott’s captain’s pick. Will the Liberal members of the House of Representatives want a say this time? Certainly consultation will be expected.”[/i] There is no way Abbott will try his hand at another ‘Captain’s pick’. The only question is: “How far down the slippery slope has Abbott already descended.”

Ken

3/08/2015Ad and Casablanca The issue of Abbott's 'political' judgment has raised its head again. How often does this have to raised before someone realises he doesn't have any! It was said of the re-introduction of knighthoods, of the knighting or Prince Phillip, ,even of him continuing to pursue his PPL scheme when it was obvious he had a budget problem. There were a couple of other occasions I can't recall at the moment, but it has been said repeatedly. But he is still there. More luck to him, I say. He is Labor's biggest asset. If Turnbull was to return, Shorten could be in a bit of trouble. Turnbull would be able to take the wind out of Labor's sails on issues like renewable energy, marriage equality, the republic, to name a few, because he would (if his party lets him) follow a similar course. At the moment, Shorten has been able to differentiate Labor on some key issues and show how 'out of touch' Abbott is. Labor would need to change tactics if there is a leadership change in the Liberals before the next election - and it might require a change in Labor's leadership.

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3/08/2015Ken Abbott's poor political judgement is so entrenched that recovery to sensible balanced judgement is not possible. He is lost and hopeless, driven as he is by ideology, misplaced loyalty to mediocre colleagues, hatred of all things Labor, and pugilistic vindictiveness. You are right. If Turnbull were to replace him, Labor would have an almost insurmountable task to wrest government from the LNP. We can be comforted though that the LNP will never restore Turnbull to leadership. He is detested by the hard right conservatives, and his subtle condemnation of Bronwyn Bishop though his media comments will have further angered them. He is just too smart for them, just too clever in showing them up in a poor light. They would not be able to cope with someone of his intelligence and adroitness. So we will see him contained, while those who can be controlled fight for the spoils of Bishop's departure.

2353

3/08/2015The way I see it, Bishop (the elder) is gone as speaker and gives Abbott even more problems. Abbott now has demonstrated (some would say yet again) his doubtful judgement in supporting Bishop for so long. If the independents, ALP and Greens can make the case - there should be questions asked why Bishop was ever given the Speakers Chair. Don't forget, she was the Minister for Aging that tried to defend kerosene baths in aged care facilities - and some of the travel claim abuse seems to go back for years. I don't think Turnbull will make a comeback - he is too left wing for the Minchins, Bernardis, Andrews, and Brandis that seem to have considerable pull in LNP circles. Evidence is that Bishop is also an ultra conservative and the party didn't withdraw their support for her. The media - including News Corp - have made it known far and wide that Bishop (and others apparently) behaviours were not in accordance with community standards and expectations - the story is even getting a run in [i]The Guardian's[/i] UK/USA sites. Abbott now has to make the pretence at least of appointing some one to the Speakers Chair that has some independence of thought and is clearly following the rules both in the Chair and on the road. In doing so he has weakened his own position and that of his government - they won't be able to silence the 'difficult' question so easily without the media claiming the rorting is starting afresh. Shorten's recent 'errors of judgement' referred to above have been forgotten. Abbott can't bring up any dirt in Parliament as it has been demonstrated that his side is just as bad - if not worse. The guy should by a lotto ticket.

2353

3/08/2015And to make it even harder for Abbott . . . http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bronwyn-bishop-speakers-resignation-tweet-comes-back-to-bite-tony-abbott-20150803-giqg1l.html

Casablanca

4/08/2015 1. Prime Minister Abbott’s probation: A progress report Michael Galvin 3 August 2015, 4:30pm In February, after narrowly surviving a leadership spill, PM Tony Abbott asked for six more months to bring good government.... the results are in and they don't look good... we have just witnessed a stuff-up of gold star proportions. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/abbotts-probation-a-progress-report,8015 2. Mr. Abbott – These People Had a More Difficult Day… Trish Corry Tony Abbott, Prime Minister, told Australians that “it had been a ‘very difficult day’ for Mrs Bishop.” I’d like to take this opportunity to share with Tony Abbott the range of people who have also had a ‘very difficult day’ today because of the cuts and broken promises and poor decisions of the Prime Minister and his Government. http://theaimn.com/mr-abbott-these-people-had-a-more-difficult-day-than-bronny/ 3. Bishop resignation won’t end impact on Coalition Rodrigo Praino, August 3, 2015 3.18pm AEST Combined, the nature of the controversy, Bishop’s behaviour as Speaker, and the way she and her party dealt with the issue created the perfect storm for a damaging scandal. https://theconversation.com/bishop-resignation-wont-end-impact-on-coalition-45589 4. Standing by Bronwyn Bishop: How Tony Abbott's stubbornness could have prompted his second brush with political death Peter Hartcher and Mark Kenny. August 3, 2015 - 1:25PM The loss of any Coalition votes for Mrs Bishop on the floor of the House would have been interpreted as an insurrection against the authority of the Prime Minister. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/standing-by-bronwyn-bishop-how-tony-abbotts-stubbornness-could-have-prompted-his-second-brush-with-political-death-20150803-giq7vl.html#ixzz3hlsuUUQS 5. Wallets out for Bronny: Twitter reacts to Speaker's resignation with hashtag Elle Hunt Australian Twitter users respond to Bronwyn Bishop’s resignation as speaker with glee, tweeting photos of their wallets and purses with #putyourwalletsout http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/03/wallets-out-for-bronny-twitter-reacts-bronwyn-bishop-resignation?CMP=soc_568 6. These are the 15 trips Bronwyn Bishop claimed when hearings were not held Lenore Taylor and Shalailah Medhora. 1 August 2015 10.46 Bronwyn Bishop claimed $3,723 in travel allowances as chair of a committee for times and places when records indicate the committee was not conducting hearings. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jul/31/these-are-the-15-trips-bronwyn-bishop-claimed-when-hearings-were-not-held 7. Coalition MPs demand proper say on next Speaker as Bronwyn Bishop quits Lenore Taylor and Shalailah Medhora. 2 August 2015 10.46 Party room ballot could decide successor to Bishop as Tony Abbott tries to draw a line under the damaging affair by launching a ‘root and branch’ review of expenses http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/02/coalition-mps-demand-proper-say-on-next-speaker-as-bronwyn-bishop-quits?CMP=ema_632 8. The Speakership: a prize out of nowhere for - who? Michelle Grattan. August 3, 2015 9.25pm AEST The glittering prize of the speakership is dangling in front of the eyes of several backbenchers whose careers are becalmed. They have a rare chance. Almost all advancement in the government is in the gift of the leader... The last time the Liberals elected their speaker was in 2004, when David Hawker beat Bronwyn Bishop and Bruce Baird. That contest is a lesson for those making predictions. https://theconversation.com/the-speakership-a-prize-out-of-nowhere-for-who-45620 9. Abbott's expense inquiry looks to double down on Bishop Choppergate style rorts Noely Neate 3 August 2015, 11:30am PM Tony Abbott has set up an inquiry that looks to legitimise publicly funded jaunts to party political fundraisers like Bronwyn Bishop's Choppergate joyride [...] https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/abbotts-entitlement-inquiry-looks-to-double-down-on-bishop-choppergate-style-rorts,8014 10. Bronwyn Bishop resigns as Speaker Michelle Grattan. Aug 03, 2015 8:55AM As pressure intensified on Bishop in the last few days, it was reported at the weekend that she had spent more than A$260,000 on cars in recent years including $1000 to attend the opening of Yes, Minister, to which she and her staff had free tickets. Liberal sources said there was more as yet unrevealed about her expenses. http://www.womensagenda.com.au/talking-about/top-stories/bronwyn-bishop-resigns-as-speaker/201508026093?utm_source=Women%27s+Agenda+List&utm_campaign=93755f87f9-Women_s_Agenda_daily_07_11_201402&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f3750bae8d-93755f87f9-30634093#.Vb-Oi_n4hM5 11. Bronwyn Bishop: The ego has landed David Leser. 3 August, 2015 One of the mysteries of recent times has been trying to work out exactly what Bronwyn Bishop stands for. Obviously her politics are conservative but beyond her mantras to the flag, the crown and the rights of the individual, there's little to put your finger on. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/good-weekend/gw-classics/bronwyn-bishop-the-ego-has-landed-20150803-giqec6.html 12. Bishop's end game: the untenable became unbearable, from A to Z Paul Sheehan. August 2, 2015 Q. Queen. Bishop's image as a diva ceased to be amusing when it was revealed that her lifestyle was costing $400,000 a year in parliamentary allowances, in addition to her $341,477 salary and the cost of maintaining her offices and staff in Canberra and Sydney. She costs taxpayers about $1 million a year. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/end-game-time-for-abbott-to-move-his-bishop-20150801-gipjzn.html 13. Forget the carbon tax - politicians are killing commercial airlines Kaye Lee According to the Telegraph, during the height of Choppergate, Warren Truss got a private charter flight from Port Macquarie to Sydney after a sod-turning ceremony last week as NSW MPs at the same event boarded a commercial flight. Tony Abbott chartered a flight from Port Macquarie to Sydney on 24th of… 14. Abbott blames the system. Bishop is its victim. Oh, that’s… Jennifer Wilson Prime Minister Tony Abbott today absolves his “political mother” Bronwyn Bishop from all wrong doing: What has become apparent, particularly over… http://theaimn.com/abbott-blames-the-system-bishop-is-its-victim-oh-thats-so-funny/

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4/08/2015Casablanca What a collection! I wonder what Bishop and Abbott think and feel when they read such condemnatory articles. Perhaps they avoid them. Perhaps thinking and feeling on this matter is beyond them. Denial is likely their default emotion - it's the system that's at fault, of course. And it'll all blow over! And the people have short memories! Abbott may not wish to accept that he is in the same position as in February. Unless he changes his approach and genuinely avoids his 'wink, wink, nod, nod' behaviour to point his colleagues to his preferred candidate, his 'Captain's pick', he may precipitate yet another 'near-death' experience for himself. As you suggest 2353, Abbott is hanging on only by the skin of his teeth.

Ken

4/08/2015What seems to be being lost in the BB saga is not that it was just a misuse of entitlements but that it was 'excessive' or 'extravagant'. I think most people accept that senior politicians do have some entitlements that are required to attend public functions. But using a helicopter for an 80km trip was just pure extravagance. And there also appear to be other occasions on which BB used chartered flights and high cost chaffeured limousines. If she had taken a Comcar to Geelong we would never have heard of this (even if it was a party fund-raiser). It is symptomatic not just of a sense of entitlement but of entitlement to extravagance; of a sense of the grandiose. It is expression of an attitude that 'I am so important I deserve this grandeur'. I think that is what is p...sing people off: when voters are being told times are hard, we had a politician behaving with all the extravagance of Marie Antoinette. It really was a 'let them eat cake' moment.

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4/08/2015Folks Here is the text from Bernard Keane's appraisal of this week's [i]Essential Poll[/i]: [i][b]Strong backing for Labor's renewables goal[/b] Bernard Keane, Crikey politics editor "Labor's decision to commit to a dramatically higher renewable energy goal has drawn strong support of voters -- despite the view that it will lead to higher electricity prices, today's Essential Report shows. "Nearly two-thirds of voters back Labor's goal of sourcing 50% of Australia's electricity supply from renewables by 2030, while just 16% oppose it. While support is, as expected, very strong among Labor and Greens voters, it is also surprisingly strong among Liberal voters, who approve of the proposal 45% to 35%. And of the 65% of voters who support the proposal, 25% "strongly approve" of it, including 8% of Liberal voters and 20% of "other" voters. "As data from Essential has shown in the past, voters strongly support renewable energy and believe governments should provide more support for it. The Abbott government has gone out of its way to attack renewable energy and laud coal as the future of energy production and has reduced the Renewable Energy Target. At its recent national conference, Labor adopted a goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030. "Significantly, there is strong support for Labor's proposal despite voters believing the goal may lead to higher electricity prices. Just over half of voters say it will lead to higher prices, including 24% who say it will lead to much higher costs, while just 18% say it will lead to lower costs. However, it does little to deter support: while 84% of those opposed to the proposal believe it will lead to higher costs, 48% of those who support it believe it will lead to higher costs as well; 24% believe it will lower costs and 14% believe it will make no difference. "Whether a much greater reliance on renewables will lead to significantly higher costs is unclear, given the dramatic downward price curves of solar PV and wind turbine systems that already make them competitive with fossil fuels even without a carbon price. Modelling conducted for the government's own review of the RET found that the then-current target would have led to lower electricity costs for consumers in coming years. "However, the numbers are bad news for the government and News Corp media outlets, which have already tried to attack Labor's proposal as threatening household energy bills. The problem the Coalition and its supporters face is that voters don't disagree that it might lead to higher prices, they simply support renewables regardless -- even people who believe it will lead to "much higher costs". If Labor can lift the number of people who believe the renewables goal will make no difference to prices, or perhaps even lower them, it will completely neuter an already weak scare campaign by their opponents. "Essential also asked voters to rank the importance of the asylum seeker issue in how they vote. Only 7% of voters rank it as the most important issue in determining how they vote -- and that figure is relatively consistent across voting intention; 29% say it is "one of the most important issues". For Labor voters, 23% rate it "one of the most important", much lower than Liberal voters (35%) and Greens voters (38%). Another 37% of voters rate it as "quite important but not as important as other issues", while 19% rate it as "not very important" or "not at all important". The numbers are virtually unchanged since 2013. Asked who has the best policy for handling asylum seekers, 37% say the Coalition, 12% say Labor and 8% say the Greens -- although the results tend to flow with voting intention. "And 26% of voters say terrorism is the biggest threat to Australia, just ahead of global economic instability -- although the latter is also frequently nominated as the next biggest threat. Overall, 55% of voters nominate economic instability as the biggest or second biggest threat to Australia, ahead of terrorism (47%), climate change (38%) and a slowdown in China (36%). Greens voters are far less worried about terrorism and more worried about climate change, while Coalition voters are the reverse."[/i] The TPP remains at 53/47 in Labor's favour. If you can access Crikey, you can view the tables; the link is: http://media.crikey.com.au/dm/newsletter/dailymail_6ffb90c6a70030bddb76a00346333f68.html#article_36538 [b]It looks like Abbott's scare campaign about renewables and energy bills, as well as his carry on about asylum seekers is wearing very thin with voters.[/b] Where is Newspoll? The last one was on 21 July when the TPP was 53/47. There should have been one today. Has the BB saga prompted a postponement for fear of an awful result?

Casablanca

5/08/2015NOT BRONWYN 1. We don't know who we want as PM anymore - and this isn't good Peter Lewis If polling questions on preferred leaders are anything to go by, then "Don't Know" and "Someone Else" are an unbeatable duo in Parliament. And this creates all sorts of problems http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-04/lewis-we-dont-know-who-we-want-as-pm-anymore/6670670?WT.mc_id=newsmail 2. Is Tony Abbott's regime the worst federal government ever? Sally Young Its inability to pass meaningful legislation is just one of many areas where the government has substantially failed. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/is-tony-abbotts-regime-the-worst-federal-government-ever-20150803-giqtnx.html#ixzz3hrUt01RY 3. Should Labor break ties with the unions? John Warhurst | 03 August 2015 The formal link between trade unions and the Labor Party is sacred in many quarters, and has sustained both sides of the relationship for 120 years. The revelations of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, despite its anti-Labor political origins, may eventually generate change. But the question has been around for decades, and any move to break the link would be vigorously opposed. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45270 4. The unmaking of the Australian working class – and their right to resist Dennis Glover Something similar to E.P. Thompson’s story of England in the first three decades of the 1800s has happened in Australia between the mid-1980s and today. https://theconversation.com/the-unmaking-of-the-australian-working-class-and-their-right-to-resist-44781 5. University fee deregulation: Coalition's $20,000 fight to keep modelling secret Daniel Hurst Government also reaffirms plan to bring higher education bill back to parliament before end of year despite being blocked twice by Senate http://gu.com/p/4b7gh/stw 6. Goodes, Gillard, and Australia's sick culture of victim-blaming Megan Graham 03 August 2015 Being victimised is not only a horrible thing to experience — it's also not going to win you any friends. On top of being initially mistreated you can generally expect further discrimination for speaking up about it. Don't expect the Australian public to sympathise with you — or even believe you. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45301#.VcDaS_n4hM4 BRONWYN + HER 'POLITICAL LOVE-CHILD' 7. A presentation on Bronwyn Bishop's legacy from Fiona the Unemployed Bettong First Dog on the Moon 'I like how it was just a torrent of abuse'. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2015/aug/03/a-presentation-on-bronwyn-bishops-legacy-from-fiona-the-unemployed-bettong?CMP=ema_632 8. Bronwyn Bishop: child of the Uglies felled by her own excess David Leser. August 4, 2015 - 8:06AM The irony is exquisite. Nearly a quarter of a century ago Bronwyn Bishop rose to national prominence on the issue of public accountability. Her forum was Senate estimates and joint public accounts committee hearings, and her quarry, public servants who had the misfortune to appear before her....the early warning system for today's karmic events was well in place long before her "ideological love child", Tony Abbott, made her Speaker of the House. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/bronwyn-bishop-child-of-the-uglies-felled-by-her-own-excess-20150803-giqhld.html#ixzz3hoWUgZ9X 9. Bronwyn Bishop's greatest hits (or misses) as Speaker of the Parliament Judith Ireland. August 3, 2015 - 4:02PM Fairfax Media photographer Alex Ellinghausen has created a mind-bending mosaic of Bishop - made up of photographs he and Andrew Meares took of the MPs Madam Speaker kicked out of the House of Representatives during her 20 months in the chair. Ellinghausen began with a list of all the MPs that had been booted under standing order 94a. He entered their pictures into a program, that used an algorithm to make the final image, which is based on a photo of Bishop at the Press Gallery's Mid Winter Ball. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bronwyn-bishops-greatest-hits-or-misses-as-speaker-of-the-parliament-20150803-giq25m.html 10. Bishop Imbroglio Highlights Uncomfortable Patterns In Tony Abbott's Leadership Ben Eltham A bad situation has been made worse by the Prime Minster’s own dubious entitlement claims. Tony Abbott has claimed travel expenses for appearing in the annual Pollie Pedal charity bike ride. He has already racked up a higher entitlements bill than Julia Gillard, despite spending less time in the job. And he has done so at the helm of a government that has run massive budget deficits while lecturing Australians on being “lifters, not leaners”. - See more at: https://newmatilda.com//2015/08/04/bishop-imbroglio-highlights-uncomfortable-patterns-tony-abbotts-leadership#sthash.2XQK1JFS.dpuf 11. ImpUte: Abbott’s age of entitlement: Tony's Top Twenty-five That’s over $84,000 in work-related travel entitlements Abbott claimed while “volunteering”, running, swimming, cycling and attending major sporting events. http://imputeation.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/abbotts-age-of-entitlement-tonys-top.html 12. Disorder in the House of Representatives: restoring the speakership William Maley Not only had she been a shamelessly partisan occupant of the Speaker's chair, but her avarice proved profoundly embarrassing to the government. Her subsequent attempts to display "humility" simply reminded one of the role she once played as the sneaky, simpering baroness in an amateur production of The Sound of Music. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/disorder-in-the-house-of-representatives-restoring-the-speakership-20150803-giqddh.html 13. We need an independent umpire to rule on MP entitlements Allan Fels The 2010 parliamentary entitlements review, of which I was a member, made a number of recommendations around transparency that weren't adopted. Now is the time for a proper overhaul of this system that includes an independent entity to both monitor and enforce the rules http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-04/fels-we-need-an-independent-umpire-to-rule-on-mp-entitlements/6670198?WT.mc_id=newsmail 14. Wanted: an independent umpire to set and enforce clear parliamentary entitlement rules Allan Fels. August 4, 2015 6.08am AEST Setting up an independent body would involve considerable expense and heavy use of regulation. But it is probably the best means of restoring faith in the parliamentary entitlements system. https://theconversation.com/wanted-an-independent-umpire-to-set-and-enforce-clear-parliamentary-entitlement-rules-45571 15. Bronwyn Bishop: 'Speaker's resignation' tweet comes back to bite Tony Abbott Michael Koziol August 3, 2015 - 8:16PM The internet is an unforgiving beast. It makes fact-checking simple, scrutiny constant and history impossible to erase. In such circumstances words can easily come back to bite you, as Prime Minister Tony Abbott is discovering thanks to a four-year-old tweet in which he chastised the then-Labor government over the resignation of then-Speaker Harry Jenkins. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bronwyn-bishop-speakers-resignation-tweet-comes-back-to-bite-tony-abbott-20150803-giqg1l.html 16. Tony Abbott denies Bronwyn Bishop offered inducements to quit as Speaker Gabrielle Chan Prime minister says ‘there has been no offer’ of another job and it is up to the party room to decide who will be the next Speaker... Liberal sources said Bishop had a “North-Korean like grip” on her local branches and members had assumed her chief of staff, Damian Jones, would have the numbers to win in the event of the former Speaker’s retirement. But given Jones’s link to the travel scandal, Liberal members now believe his chances have diminished. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/03/tony-abbott-denies-bronwyn-bishop-offered-inducements-to-quit-as-speaker?CMP=ema_632 17. Bronwyn Bishop resigns as Speaker Jessica Marszalek, Samantha Maiden. August 02, 2015 6:24PM Over the past five years, taxpayers have spent $260,237 on chauffeured cars, limousines and private-plated vehicles to drive Ms Bishop around Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and other capital cities. Her spokesman revealed she has often preferred Royale Limousines, that offers chauffeur-driven BMWs, because unlike Comcars they can drive in bus lanes allowing her to get around faster.... But these costs were comparatively modest... http://m.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/bronwyn-bishop-resigns-as-speaker/story-fnn8dlfs-1227466315876 18. Bronwyn Bishop is Tony Abbott's latest 'captain's pick' failure Peter Reith Just about every one of his picks has been a disaster for him, including paid parental leave, knighthoods and local government recognition. And although he has been better at managing the backbench since February, the Bishop saga has been a win for Labor. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/bronwyn-bishop-is-tony-abbotts-latest-captains-pick-failure-20150803-giq74q.html

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5/08/2015Casablanca What a fantastic collection of links you have fed us today. Was there even one article that was supportive of Dame Bronwyn??? (I'm anticipating Tony Abbott's next 'Captain's pick' to reward this woman's distinguished contribution to the parliament and the people of Australia, whom she adores.) How must she feel to have so many writing derogatory articles about her personal and professional performance? How does she feel when in an online poll only one in ten believe she should re-contest her seat of Mackellar; and nine want her gone? Is it possible to dent her ego, her aura of self-assurance? For sheer effrontery, have we ever seen the like? And how must Abbott feel as he sees another of his 'Captain's picks' crash and burn? When someone as partisan as Peter Reith is moved to write such a sarcastic article about Abbott's 'Captain's picks', what future has this hapless incompetent got? When Abbott goes AWL rather than face awkward situations, how can this gutless bully have the temerity to carry on? Only a hyper inflated ego buttressed by shameless stubbornness and misplaced loyalty to incompetents and miscreants could sustain him through this crisis of his own making. When columnists rate him and his government the worst ever, even worse than the McMahon government, (something we have been saying for years), how can he continue to pretend he has the capacity to be PM? As several writers have said: 'You can't make this stuff up!' [b]We are living through a political nightmare, a horror movie where the observers, both professional and lay, are astonished, gobsmacked, stunned, aghast and horrified, but the key players press on with a 'move along, nothing to see here' flourish of the hand? It's unbelievable, but it's our ghastly reality.[/b]

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5/08/2015Folks I've just now received this message from GetUp: "[i]We just won in court. "About an hour ago, Adani's Carmichael Mine approval was ruled invalid by the Federal Court! "Faced with overwhelming evidence, both Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Adani have conceded defeat and withdrawn the approval for the largest coal mine in Australia. Minister Hunt must now make a new decision to accept or reject the mine. "The case, run by the incredible Mackay Conservation Group, was funded by thousands of GetUp members across the country. It leaves Adani without an approval for the monstrous mine, no approval for dredging in Great Barrier Reef waters at Abbot Point, and no investors. It's not over yet, but we just landed one almighty blow. "This is an historic, landmark victory. It couldn't have happened without GetUp members like you. Thank you. "The Mackay Conservation Group fought the mine on three fronts. They argued that Minister Hunt didn't consider the impacts of the mine on climate and the Great Barrier Reef, didn't consider Adani's poor environmental record, and didn't consider the impact on vulnerable species. It was a rare, stunning victory that will reverberate across the country."[/i] It will be fascinating to see how will Hunt will react. We can expect Abbott to be AWL again, unprepared to face this embarrassing reversal.

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6/08/2015Ad, It is also excellent news that CBA has pulled out.... Adani Carmichael mine: Commonwealth Bank walks away from financial adviser role for $16 billion coal mine project in central Queensland Updated about 2 hours ago The Commonwealth Bank has pulled out of its role as financial adviser to the controversial $16 billion Adani coal mine project in central Queensland, after the Federal Court put development on hold because of a bureaucratic bungle involving a skink and a snake. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-05/cba-terminates-adviser-role-for-adani-carmichael-coal-mine/6675722

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6/08/2015ENTITLEMENTS + REVIEWS + ETHICS 1. OK skeleton, out of that closet Sean Kelly "..everyone in public life has something to hide. Who goes down in the flames of scandal? The politicians we decide to go after.” https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/14efc9775bcb62d1 2. Top Entitlement Claiming Federal Politicians in Australia (2H 2014) Dan Nolan. Top Spenders: OVERALL; Travel Allowance; Overseas; Domestic; Chartered; Cars; Office expenses; Office Fitout; Office Admin; Telco; and Family Travel. https://gist.github.com/dannolan/719b7ae77f0e710a79dd?utm_source=Today&utm_campaign=aece4e42b1-Today_5_August_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_673b6b002d-aece4e42b1-302949185 [i]NB. Sean Kelly was an adviser to prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. He is currently the Monthly’s politics editor. It's alarming that he does not seem to be aware that a list of entitlements claimed by politicians is published every six months by Department of Finance. This has been the case for several years now as a result of the high number of FOI requests received from journalists. Since 'choppergate' emerged as an issue on 15 July, I have provided links on TPS to data sources - I haven't time at the moment to go back and locate them for you. Kelly claims that 'data has been difficult to mine effectively' and gives high praise to his friend Dan Nolan for producing a very basic list of top spenders for the second half of 2014. This just brings into question again the competence and skills base of many working journalists. Kelly also states that 'It is a problem that parliament hasn’t produced something like [Nolan's list] itself, but what amazes [Kelly] more is that nobody, in or out of parliament, has done it before'. [/i] SHEESH! 3. Our jaded country's lost faith in democracy, and how to fix it Stephen Bartos. August 3, 2015 If voters are to trust public institutions, ministers must to cede control to independent agencies and open themselves to scrutiny. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/our-jaded-countrys-lost-faith-in-democracy-and-how-to-fix-it-20150730-gio9mk.html#ixzz3hxhJ3VZ4 4. Jane Halton missed her choppergate chance to set public service's ethical bar high Public Eye. August 3, 2015 Halton’s precise words don’t really matter. Few would argue that her comments at the cocktail party render her incapable of investigating Bishop objectively. But that’s only partly relevant. The reporting of Halton’s comments created a perception of bias, regardless of whether that perception is fair. And for a year now, since the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act came into effect, the Finance Department has had some authority over public servants’ obligations to avoid and disclose conflicts of interest (real or perceived). http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/jane-halton-missed-her-choppergate-chance-to-set-public-services-ethical-bar-high-20150802-giq1vm.html#ixzz3huMwlah8 5. Bronwyn Bishop would retire on a pension of $255,000 a year, plus free flights Latika Bourke. August 5, 2015 - 3:10PM Political perks: generous or justified? http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bronwyn-bishop-would-retire-on-a-salary-of-225000-a-year-plus-free-flights-20150805-gis178.html 6. Tougher rules: the MP entitlements facing scrutiny Lisa Cox. August 4, 2015 Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said improved transparency is a change that could be made immediately. "The Scottish system really should be adopted," she said. "You click on your MP and you can find out what allowances they're entitled to and how they have spent the money in great detail." http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tightening-the-rules-mp-entitlements-facing-scrutiny-20150803-giqjea.html 7. Entitlements review: this is a problem of definitions Chris Berg Yes, a helicopter to Geelong, or charging taxpayers for attending a wedding, clearly crosses the unacceptable line. But what about arranging meetings in Melbourne to justify attending a party function the night before, as Tony Abbott did in August last year? I challenge you to write a rule that prevents tricksy scheduling..... In fact, parliamentarians are much more like sole traders, who, through an election, win contracts to represent us - to act as our agent in the legislature. This is a distinctly unromantic vision of the work of a politician. But if we're trying to figure out what politicians are "entitled" to we should first figure out what their job is. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-04/berg-entitlements-review-this-is-a-problem-of-definitions/6669902 8. The PM's indecison has again called his authority into question John Warhurst. August 5, 2015 - 11:11PM Some political issues develop such momentum and public interest that they crowd out everything else in media reportage of public affairs. That has happened with the twin sagas of Bronwyn Bishop and Adam Goodes over the past two or three weeks.... But the consequences of the two controversies are still playing out, especially in the case of the Prime Minister. Tony Abbott has been hurt by both controversies and it is amazing how quickly political attention has returned to his judgment and even to his security in the job... Abbott is better at campaigning that in dealing decisively with difficult issues. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/crowding-out-abbott-20150805-girtmz.html#ixzz3hxPFkdAL 9. 'A personal price for me': Tony Abbott lucky to survive Bronwyn Bishop affair Mark Kenny. August 4, 2015 - 6:55PM Prime Ministers strain credulity as they conflate the national interest with their own political goals, but history shows when they predict a backlash from voters, they usually know what they are talking about. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/a-personal-price-for-me-tony-abbott-lucky-to-survive-bronwyn-bishop-affair-20150804-girdni.html 10. New Speaker must lead the way in restoring parliamentary ethics and trust Ken Coghill August 5, 2015 5.36am AEST The new Speaker must act decisively to end perceptions that the chair of the House had become an instrument for the government rather than the guardian of the rights of all MPs – no matter what their party – and of the House’s integrity. http://theconversation.cmail1.com/t/r-l-fmkrlk-trhltityg-o/ 11. Christopher Pyne cautions against 'Salem witch trial' over MPs' expenses Latika Bourke. August 5, 2015 - 9:49AM Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne has hit out at his "cowardly" colleagues privately briefing the media urging former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop to retire and cautioned against a ludicrous "Salem witch trial" of MPs over entitlements as further questions about the use of taxpayer-funded expenses swirl. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/christopher-pyne-cautions-against-salem-witch-trial-over-mps-expenses--20150804-girppp.html 12. Why Tony Abbott has been reluctant to criticise Tony Burke over MP entitlements Mark Kenny August 5, 2015 - 2:33PM Malcolm Turnbull doesn't like the term "MP's travel entitlement" - especially the entitlement bit. The communicationally gifted Communications Minister is a former journalist and barrister, so he knows a thing or two about the power of poorly chosen words in conveying the wrong meaning. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/why-tony-abbott-has-been-reluctant-to-criticise-tony-burke-over-mp-entitlements-20150805-girwbs.html 13. Voters still prefer Malcolm Turnbull over Tony Abbott as leader, poll shows Lenore Taylor Essential poll reveals Tony Abbott’s popularity has gained since February, with 17% of voters preferring him as Liberal leader, but he still sits behind Turnbull http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/04/voters-still-prefer-malcolm-turnbull-over-tony-abbott-as-leader-poll-shows?CMP=ema_632 14. Queensland Liberal Ross Vasta joins race for Speaker Michelle Grattan Vasta joins a field that includes South Australian Andrew Southcott, Victorians Tony Smith and Russell Broadbent, and Philip Ruddock from NSW. Smith and Southcott are considered frontrunners. https://theconversation.com/queensland-liberal-ross-vasta-joins-race-for-speaker-45710 WORKPLACE RELATIONS 15. 'Take it or leave it' workplace proposals sound worryingly familiar John Buchanan At first glance the Productivity Commission's draft report on workplace relations has a few good suggestions, but a closer reading reveals a strong WorkChoices flavour that is cause for concern http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-05/buchanan-take-it-or-leave-it-concern/6673576 16. Enterprise contracts echo ‘take it or leave it’ world of WorkChoices John Buchanan August 5, 2015 5.36am AEST The Productivity Commission’s newly released draft report into Australia’s workplace relations framework must be treated with great caution. Prima facie, it appears supportive of “the Australian way” to developing and enforcing labour standards. http://theconversation.cmail1.com/t/r-l-fmkrlk-trhltityg-i/ ALP ASYLUM POLICY 17. The ethical consequences of making the ALP electable Andrew Hamilton | 29 July 2015 It is not surprising that Mr Shorten wanted the freedom to adopt the Coalition’s policy of pushing back boats and maintaining punitive off shore camps. Nor was it surprising that the Labor Party approved. After all it was a Labor Government that introduced mandatory detention and opened Manus Island. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45109 18. One Positive To Take From The Labor Conference Max Chalmers While the party’s position on refugees hardened, one voice calling for more humane policies managed to leave an impression - Michele O'Neil...leader of the textile, clothing and footwear union.... Before the ‘debate’, the Left faction had caucused, with the emotional meeting failing to reach a consensus. Sources said Michele O’Neil had been the most effective speaker putting the case against turn backs, and for the amendment. https://newmatilda.com/2015/08/02/one-positive-take-labor-conference#sthash.VFKXgMrp.M9yBZZzu.dpuf 19. Spot the difference: Labor vs the Coalition on asylum seekers Emily Darling and Sara Davies. August 5, 2015 1.57pm AEST Following the Labor conference's decision to leave open the option of turning back asylum seeker boats, are there any differences left between Labor’s asylum policies and the Coalition’s? https://theconversation.com/spot-the-difference-labor-vs-the-coalition-on-asylum-seekers-45581 20. The problematic 'saving lives at sea' argument Kerry Murphy | 28 July 2015 When refugee advocates criticise harsh policies such as boat turnbacks, they are confronted with claims that the measures are necessary for saving lives at sea. This justification has dominated the debate to the extent that any policy which further restricts refugee rights becomes justifiable on this ground. Imagine a proposal to ban cars because there were too many people killed and injured on the roads. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45271 CLIMATE POLICY 21. Obama takes ‘biggest step’ on US climate policy: experts react John Quiggin. August 4, 2015 1.59pm AEST The policy has been hailed as a crucial step towards reducing US greenhouse emissions, around one-third of which come from electricity generation. It sends a potentially decisive signal to other nations ahead of December’s United Nations climate talks in Paris. Our experts react to the news, with more updates to follow. http://theconversation.cmail1.com/t/r-l-fmkrlk-trhltityg-d/ 22. Coal warriors targeting Pope Francis Neil Ormerod | 15 July 2015 It is not surprising that The Australian should be leading the local pushback on the environmental encyclical Laudato Si'. What is surprising is that a Catholic priest - Fr James Grant - should be joining the chorus against the encyclical, initially in an IPA media release. His more recent contribution to The Australian is right out of the briefing notes supplied by the coal industry in its global public relations efforts to shore up its waning reputation... Cheap coal, in fact, costs the earth. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45228 23. Australian academics right to resist respected global warming skeptic Andrew Hamilton | 02 August 2015 The spat over the Government's attempt to find a place in a university for Bjorn Lomborg's Australian Consensus Centre is a story that keeps on giving... Lomborg has long trailed clouds of ideological controversy... In this affair, Bjorn Lomborg has been made a victim by his supporters as well as by his opponents, and perhaps most of all by the government. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45127#.Vb8IJvn4hM4 24. Bjørn Lomborg consensus centre was to have up to $800,000 in public funds for marketing Lenore Taylor FOI documents also show centre rejected by University of Western Australia was planning to spend up to $2m of its $4m budget on events... The grant agreement identified very ambitious, but somewhat vague, global goals for the three-and-a-half year project at UWA. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/04/bjrn-lomborg-consensus-centre-was-to-have-800000-in-public-funds-for-marketing?CMP=ema_632 25. The Government's inconsistent ethical argument for coal Andrew Hamilton In dealing with this argument I would argue that the effect of mining on poverty stricken people must also consider all the other salient effects. These include the effects on the health and welfare of people in the vicinity of the mines and electricity generating plants. These must be weighed against the damage caused by not exporting coal... The effect of coal mining and electricity generation on the environment with its fragility, diversity and beauty must also be taken into account. Human beings and many other species can survive only in a tightly defined environment. They have a duty to refrain from activity that would put the environment at serious risk. This duty binds nations and corporations as well as individuals. Associated with care for the environment is the duty of care for future generations. If continued coal mining will put at risk the health and welfare of future generations in Australia or elsewhere, it cannot be ethically justified. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45112#.Vb8JtPn4hM4 26. Obama unveils sweeping cuts to power plant emissions: 'We have to get going' Dan Roberts ‘We are the last generation that can do something’ about climate change says president in announcing requirement of 32% reduction on 2005 levels by 2030... “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/03/obama-epa-carbon-emissions-cuts-power-plants-climate-change?CMP=ema_632 27. Clean Power Plan (US) Obama Administration Takes Historic Action on Climate Change/Clean Power Plan to protect public health, spur clean energy investments and strengthen U.S. leadership http://www.epa.gov/ 28. Australia's leaders 'wilfully blind' about climate change, says former NAB chief Oliver Milman Cameron Clyne says he doesn’t think anyone has ‘grasped quite how revolutionary’ the emergence of renewable energy will be http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/03/australias-leaders-wilfully-blind-about-climate-change-says-former-nab-chief?CMP=ema_632 29. Without a carbon price, we need a fairer price for solar Dylan McConnell The recent uncertainty around the renewable energy target has had a significant impact on large-scale projects, with investment down by 88% in 2014. https://theconversation.com/without-a-carbon-price-we-need-a-fairer-price-for-solar-45368 30. Biggest polluters able to increase emissions under Direct Action – study Lenore Taylor ‘Safeguard mechanism’ in Coalition policy is lenient and ineffective, says RepuTex analysis firm, making Direct Action ‘untenable’ in its current form http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/03/biggest-polluters-able-to-increase-emissions-under-direct-action-study?CMP=ema_632 TAXATION 31. Why raising the Medicare levy is much fairer than hiking GST Stephen Koukoulas It’s much easier to implement, but above all a flat increase in the charge is the most progressive way to provide a much-needed boost to federal revenues http://www.theguardian.com/global/2015/aug/05/why-raising-the-medicare-levy-is-much-fairer-than-hiking-gst?CMP=ema_632 32. The Tax The Government Can Never Truly Axe Thom Mitchell After years of dismissive rhetoric Greg Hunt has left himself with almost nowhere to turn on climate action, aside from a range of measures his government has derided as taxes http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=e7e5fa1e58&e=0a1e2bdeb8

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6/08/2015Casablanca While there is much media talk about the skink and the snake, it seems that the snake in the grass is the questionable viability of the whole Adani Carmichael coal mine project at a time when big world players are moving away from coal. When the CBA gets cold feet, it may not be long before other potential lenders do also. While both sides of politics express regret that a $16 billion project that promised lots of jobs (probably an overestimate) may be going down the drain, environmental groups are delighted, and I suspect Labor too may welcome this, although it would not dare to admit it. I'm looking forward to reading your other links.

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6/08/2015Casablanca Your links uncover such a lot of the detail we need to understand the convolutions of the political process in which politicians are focussed more on stabbing opponents in the back and protecting their own back than on policy issues. Take the Jane Halton case. This public servant has form as pro-Coalition and anti-Labor. Perhaps her most noteworthy performance in this regard was her involvement in the scandalous ‘Children Overboard Affair’ when working with the People Smuggling Taskforce. Crikey insisted she should have been sacked over this. She was later made Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing and is now Secretary of the Department of Finance. Her central involvement in investigation of the BB affair is therefore problematic, especially after her public statement, reported by journalist Chris Wallace, that "[i]Halton used media coverage of choppergate as an example of sexist double standards: she dismissed its significance, suggesting that had Bishop been a man the helicopter claims would probably not have been a story.”[/i] Don’t be surprised if a whitewash is attempted. It is reassuring that if indeed BB can be prised away from attempting pre-selection for Mackellar again, she will retire on a taxpayer-funded pension of $255,000 (almost $5,000 per week) plus 10 free domestic return flights a year, (presumably in fixed wing aircraft), she should be able to maintain her pearls, dress standards and coiffures. When someone as hard right at the IPA’s Chris Berg concludes his assessment with: “[i]Tony Abbott has been eager to blame the vagueness of the rules about entitlement use for the scandal. But all that means is the current system rests largely on individual judgment. And if our parliamentarians are unable to exercise their individual judgment in a way that accords with the expectations of voters, then we have a serious problem. Politicians are expected to make some of the biggest decisions affecting our lives. We place them in positions of great trust to act on our behalf. What does it say about representative democracy if our politicians don't even have enough judgment to prudently and responsibly arrange their own travel? Nothing good.”[/i], you know that BB and her ilk have very few apologists.

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6/08/2015Casablanca A couple of your links point to the resurgence of concerns about Abbott’s judgement among the public and with his party colleagues. John Warhurst says: “[i]…the consequences of the two controversies (the BB affair and the Adam Goodes storm) are still playing out, especially in the case of the Prime Minister. Tony Abbott has been hurt by both controversies and it is amazing how quickly political attention has returned to his judgment and even to his security in the job. Within the community his judgment has again been called into question and within his party the damaging "spill" controversy has been revived. Once again, in reference to the new speaker, his mantra is now: "The party room will decide." So no more "captain's picks".[/i] In [i]A personal price for me': Tony Abbott lucky to survive Bronwyn Bishop affair[/i], Mark Kenny says: “[i]Abbott has slowly wound up his outrage meter as "Bronny" disappears from the rear-view mirror and he finds the bead of voters. Yet his colleagues can't believe he would have stuck with her indefinitely had they not begun their own march away by threatening to abstain from a planned no-confidence vote. “Make no mistake, this was morphing quickly into a full-blown leadership crisis for Abbott, amid growing concerns about his judgment every bit as dangerous for him as the same doubts were to Rudd and Julia Gillard. As one MP asked on Monday, "Who was he listening to when he went into the weekend believing she could survive?" “It seems he came closer than many realise to transforming that "little personal price" into something much less manageable.”[/i] Add to that the fact that this week’s [i]Newspoll[/i] is overdue. What will it show? Jon Faine hinted on 774 Melbourne radio this morning that it might show ‘a precipitous fall in support for the Coalition’. Who knows if he has any insider information, but with the BB affair in play when the poll would have been in the field, it is unlikely to reveal a surge in support for the Coalition. Why has it been delayed? Was it so awful Murdoch’s outlets could not bear to publish it? I guess we’ll know soon enough. But whatever it shows, there can be little doubt that Abbott’s colleagues are scratching their heads once more, wondering how their leader could have such a tin ear, such appalling judgement, such hesitancy in taking obviously necessary action, such a chronic propensity for putting his foot in it over and again. The fact that his colleagues have made it abundantly clear that they will not tolerate another of his ‘Captain’s picks’ for the new Speaker, indicates that they are close to being fed up, and edging towards another challenge to his leadership. How long will it take for them to finally accept that, as PM, Abbott is a dud? They lauded him as Opposition Leader and he banked a lot of credit for winning in 2013, but his credit balance must be now close to zero. His political capital is virtually spent with his colleagues and with the public. Abbott ought not to expect loyalty from his backbenchers threatened with loss of their seats. They will not hang onto him as he unwisely did to Bishop. It might take only a small event, such as a disastrous opinion poll (more disastrous than the current 53/47) to precipitate panic and, as Mark Kenny hints, render his tenuous position ‘much less manageable’. We have interesting times ahead!

Ken

6/08/2015Ad I don't usually take any notice of Chris Berg (even when he is a regular on The Drum) but as you say, he makes a telling point. If our politicians cannot even make a decent judgment about their travel in accord with community views, how can we trust them to make important judgments about the future of our country in line with community views. They are elected to represent the people but give the impression that once elected that no longer matters. And then they have the gall to question why we are so critical and cynical of their performance - a classic case of 'mote and beam'.

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6/08/2015Casablanca It is impossible to read your links about climate change without asking what on earth the LNP is about. Surely there must be some scientifically literate people in the party that can see the threat we face as climate change accelerates, who can acknowledge that the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan is a fraud, who understand that Australia will be not just a laughing stock, but an international pariah if it goes to Paris with a paltry emissions reduction target, or one that cannot be met by the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan. The LNP’s state of mind defies explanation. It amounts to a degree of blind faith that characterizes some religions. Is it that the Coalition’s obsession with coal and other fossil fuels blinds it to the damage burning these fuels is causing, which if left unchecked will destroy life on our planet? For the scientific mind that uses evidence and reasoning to reach conclusions, such blind unsupportable faith is ridiculous, the stuff of religious fanaticism. The Coalition talks of Direct Action, yet every commentary on this plan questions how it can possibly work. We know trees are carbon sinks, but where is the much flaunted15,000-strong Green Army that was going to plant 20 million trees? The Liberal Party website says: [i]”The Coalition’s Green Army will begin with 250 projects in 2014-15, building up to 1,500 projects in 2018-19. By 2018-19, it is estimated that there will be a standing force of 15,000 people who will be taking part in the Green Army each year. The Coalition’s Green Army will cost up to $50 million in the first year starting on 1 July 2014 and $300 million over the forward estimates period (with total costs capped at a maximum of $300 million). It is expected that this will provide for over 1,500 Green Army projects over the forward estimates period.”[/i] An Australian Government website reports: “[i]The Australian Government has engaged three service providers to deliver large-scale tree planting projects across Australia. The service providers are: CO2 Australia Greening Australia Landcare Australia”[/i] If you want to look at what is proposed, here is the link: http://www.nrm.gov.au/national/20-million-trees/service-providers Do take a look and you will see laudable organizations and pictures of a few enthusiastic young people planning a few trees, but, one year into the project, where is the 15,000 Green Army? Where are the 20 million tree plants coming from? Where are the trees to be planted, 20 million of them? How will they be watered, cared for and protected from bushfires? What are the logistics of enrolling, housing, feeding, and paying the Green Army? How come we never hear any news of this vast Army and its planet-saving efforts? Is this tantamount to a fairy tale? Are we being conned? Please enlighten us all if any of you knows what going on with the Green Army and its tree-planting extravaganza. We know Abbott and Hunt are accomplished con-artists, but do they think the public is able to be suckered so easily? It feels like we are floating around in a dream world where fantasy is represented as reality. Fairy tales might be OK for kids, but we are adults.

Ken

6/08/2015Ad As regards coal, as much as I hate 'the markets', they are working - as are the actuaries - and big investors are seeing the writing on the wall and beginning to pull back from investing in coal. So a government that is so strong on 'the markets', is ignoring what the international markets are saying and bowing to local pressure. Local investors will not be happy when the majority of these coal mines fail to make money over the next decade. Power companies also know that they require new business models and Abbott's reluctance to fully support renewables means they are not being given opportunities to diversify their investment in power generation. If they are stuck with ageing coal-fired power stations, they will not thank Abbott over the medium term. What I am really emphasising is that Abbott's stance is not just against the science, and the will of the people, but is working to undermine his beloved 'markets' and the big end of town.

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6/08/2015ABBOTT 1. Method in the madness: Tony Abbott’s surprises keep coming Don Watson August 2015 “The surprising thing is that we find ourselves so regularly surprised by Tony Abbott. Why wouldn’t a tabloid politician make decisions that satisfy the tabloid media? Why wouldn’t a rather weird man say and do rather weird things, like make Prince Philip a knight, or stay silent and unblinking for 19 seconds in response to a journalist’s question, or recommend his grocery code of conduct as a solution to the crisis in Greece?” https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2015/august/1438351200/don-watson/method-madness?utm_source=Today&utm_campaign=74eb71e303-Today_6_August_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_673b6b002d-74eb71e303-302949185 2. Abbott in trouble again as Leadership speculation re-surfaces John Kelly As one pores over the plethora of MSM articles written by a number of political editors since the Bronwyn Bishop resignation, one gets the feeling that Tony Abbott might be facing another leadership spill motion before Christmas. http://theaimn.com/abbott-in-trouble-again-as-leadership-speculation-re-surfaces/ 3. This is Australia – um…isn’t it? Trish Corry. August 6, 2015 the Abbott Government has cut funding to the Jimmy Little Foundation’s Programs. Once again the Abbott Government reinforces that they are not serious about funding Indigenous programs or services in Australia. http://theaimn.com/this-is-australia-umisnt-it/ 4. Ok. I'm convinced. Terrorism is THE BIGGEST threat to… Kate M I have to confess that it's taken me a while to get here. A few months back, when Tony Abbott said: “Daesh is coming, if it can, for every person and every government…..”…..I scoffed. Then Julie Bishop said that terrorists pose the biggest threat to civilisation since World War II. But still I was skeptical. http://theaimn.com/ok-im-convinced-terrorism-is-the-biggest-threat-to-australia-right-now/ 5. Forget Q&A: the ABC is likely to surrender its independence, and Media Watch is next David Salter | Aug 06, 2015 1:13 If the government gets its way and moves Q&A to the news division, Paul Barry should start updating his resume. http://www.crikey.com.au/?p=508386 6. ABC board caves on Q&A shift Ebony Bowden, Neelima Choahan 10:09PM Besieged ABC program Q&A will be moved to the broadcaster's news division after a board meeting. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/#ixzz3i2bCROuQ 7. Rhys Muldoon ‏@rhysam 4h4 hours ago This govt is not about governing. It is about petty, student politic, ideological war. It is merely what they burn that lights their way. 56 retweets 45 favorites 8. Tim Archer ‏@Subversion13 3h3 hours ago @rhysam The government is an existential threat to the ABC. 9. Rhys Muldoon ‏@rhysam 3h3 hours ago Will the ABC feel free to hold the government to account, whether it be on travel claims or other topics? That they fear this govt is clear. 58 retweets 32 favorites 10. Bronwyn, the captain's pick Warwick Elsche Tony Abbott's mismanagement of the crisis in thinking he could ride it out as poor judgment that contrasts with that of Labor's Gareth Evans decades ago. ''Evans remarked of Bishop, then a relatively new Liberal Senator, that the reason people often took an instant dislike to her was that it saved them time. The Australian Electorate was only slightly more tardy than the prescient Evans.' ... But Tony’s latest misjudgement was that together they could successfully ride out the crisis, keeping his protector in the Chair. http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4341 11. Tony Abbott attends Liberal Party fund-raiser near Geelong Royce Millar, Ben Schneiders. August 6, 2015 - 10:44AM The event appears to have been a hastily arranged money-spinner for local Liberal MP Sarah Henderson, who holds the marginal seat of Corangamite. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-attends-liberal-party-fundraiser-near-geelong-20150805-gismxl.html 12. How Tony Abbott's stubbornness could have prompted his second brush with political death Peter Hartcher and Mark Kenny. August 3, 2015 It could have seen the Prime Minister's hand-picked Speaker humiliated or even tipped out of the chair as a result of his not being able to command a simple majority on that question on the floor of the chamber where government is formed. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/standing-by-bronwyn-bishop-how-tony-abbotts-stubbornness-could-have-prompted-his-second-brush-with-political-death-20150803-giq7vl.html 13. Bronwyn Bishop is still Speaker and on the Speaker's $341,000 salary Adam Gartrell Bronwyn Bishop is technically still federal Speaker and still getting paid the generous $341,000 Speaker's salary. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bronwyn-bishop-is-still-speaker-and-on-the-speakers-341000-salary-20150806-gisz4h.html 14. Tony Abbott 'a pointless prime minister' (07:03) The government has lost its appetite for reform, says Peter Hartcher, rendering Tony Abbott 'a pointless prime minister'. http://media.canberratimes.com.au/video-news/video-national-news/tony-abbott-a-pointless-prime-minister-6741160.html 15. Canberra has become a parallel moral universe Michael Bradley While the MP entitlements rules are generous, they aren't nearly so vague as is being made out. Therefore, we need to make rorting politicians aware of the consequences of their actions, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-06/bradley-canberra-has-become-a-parallel-moral-universe/6676000 LABOR 16. Polls have Labor increasing lead to near 53-47 Adrian Beaumont The highlights of the last two weeks have been the Labor national conference, and more revelations of Bronwyn Bishop’s expenditures, culminating in her resignation as Federal Speaker last Sunday. All polls taken in the last two weeks have Labor leading by 53-47 or more. https://theconversation.com/polls-have-labor-increasing-lead-to-near-53-47-45557 17. Labor expels branch stacker who had worked for Richard Marles Ben Schneiders and Royce Millar. August 6, 2015 - 8:43PM http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-expels-branch-stacker-who-had-worked-for-richard-marles-20150806-git84v.html 18. Julia Gillard apologises for 'very hurtful' claims about Nick Xenophon in memoir Australian Associated Press. 6 August 2015 Senator Xenophon has dropped a defamation action against the former prime minister over a claim in her political memoir he says was ‘completely wrong’. Julia Gillard says she accepts her recollection of the event in contention was flawed. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/06/julia-gillard-apologises-for-very-hurtful-claims-about-nick-xenophon-in-memoir?CMP=ema_632

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7/08/2015Casablanca As we are returning to the south coast today after a couple of months away, I have had time only to glance at your enticing set of links. The one that attracted my attention immediately though was the YouTube video of Peter Hartcher being interviewed (item 14). How telling was it when Hartcher, who had an intense disregard for Julia Gillard and often lampooned her, said that Tony Abbott is worse than Julia Gillard? And when he labelled Abbott 'a pointless prime minister' and argued why he felt that way, it was obvious that he has lost confidence in his ability to fill the PM role. Abbott cannot escape from such an assessment by a senior political commentator. Those of us who pointed out that Abbott would be a dud PM as far back as when he was Opposition Leader wonder why it took Hartcher so long to see the obvious. As the evidence of Abbott's incompetence, poor judgement and stubbornness steadily accumulates, more and more journalists will reach Hartcher's conclusion. Abbott is a pugilist. He knows nothing but aggression. His policy credentials rest on paltry three word slogans, and his judgement lets him down over and again. He cannot learn. [b]The big question over Abbott's leadership remains in the minds of his colleagues and an increasing number of journalists, and among the public. Politically, he is a dead man walking. How much longer will he be allowed to stumble along?[/b]

Pappinbarra Fox

7/08/2015catalogue of comical events Yes if one did not laugh one would be crying bitter bitter tears of anguish at the way our country is heading.

Casablanca

7/08/2015Ad, You certainly get the koala stamp for the most assiduous reader and commenter on articles for this week. (Not for the first time, of course!) It has been an extraordinary week, nay three and a bit weeks, of bad coverage for Abbott. Today is the end of his self imposed probation following his 'near death' leadership scare and journalists have been lining up to give him a D minus. Paul Bongiorno gets the Biggest Git award for his statement [b]Who would have thought the Abbott government’s first year would be the hash it was,[/b] www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/.../14383512002186 Well any half sensible voter would have picked Abbott's lack of necessary attributes to be an effective PM. Pity that political editors in the MSM were not so astute. I agree with you about Hartcher's awakening. For him to call Abbott 'pointless' means that a few more in the MSM will follow his lead media.canberratimes.com.au/.../...ter-6741160.html The Don Watson article is a good read: https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2015/august/1438351200/don-watson/method-madness?utm_source=Today&utm_campaign=74eb71e303-Today_6_August_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_673b6b002d-74eb71e303-302949185. Sally Young's approach was a little more forensic in its analysis of legislative achievements or more correctly, the lack thereof: Is Tony Abbott's regime the worst federal government ever? http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/is-tony-abbotts-regime-the-worst-federal-government-ever-20150803-giqtnx.html#ixzz3hrUt01RY I look forward to a few more articles marking the end of Abbott's six month probation.

Casablanca

7/08/2015Trump More Heinous Than Previously Thought Andy Borowitz CLEVELAND (The Borowitz Report)—The billionaire Donald Trump shocked the American people Thursday night by proving to be considerably more heinous than they had previously thought, an instant poll taken after the debate shows. According to the poll, viewers who went into tonight’s debate thinking that Trump was one of the most horrible people that they had ever seen were still totally unprepared for the depths of awfulness he displayed during the televised contest. When presented with the descriptors “loathsome,” “appalling,” and “monstrous,” viewers who witnessed Trump’s interaction with Fox News’s Megyn Kelly said that none of those words did justice to how odious Trump was. Partially as a result of his debate performance, the poll shows, Trump is now the first choice of seventy per cent of Republican voters. http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/trump-more-heinous-than-previously-thought?mbid=nl_080615_Borowitz&cndid=28625459&mbid=nl_080615_Borowitz&CNDID=28625459&spMailingID=7966687&spUserID=NTUzMTQwMTg3MzgS1&spJobID=740871958&spReportId=NzQwODcxOTU4S0

Ken

7/08/2015A story I heard on our local news: not about politics but the dangers of using the automatic word creation/recognition feature of some programs. At the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra they offered for lunch today a 'Moroccan Aborigine and Rocket Salad'. It was meant to be aubergine. The hotel claim that it was done quickly only an hour before the menu went out for the lunch session. I can just see some poor soul sitting there trying to spell aubergine and when the program threw up Aborigine they either just went with it or failed to notice. So much for computers making life easier!!!

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8/08/2015Casablanca There certainly is a rising swell of derogatory articles about the Abbott man. As you point out, Paul Bongiorno concluded his article of August 1 in [i]The Saturday Paper[/i] with: “[i]Who would have thought the Abbott government’s first year would be the hash it was, and now he has the Bronwyn Bishop saga.”[/i] https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2015/08/01/shorten-picking-the-bill/14383512002186 In the August edition of [i]The Monthly[/i], Don Watson says about Abbott: “[i]The body image thing, the swagger, the narcissism, the belligerent undercurrents, the tribalism, the weirdness: all this we knew about and had no reason to think that it might change.”[/i] How very true. Referring to the period of the Presidency of George W Bush, “[i]…when even an idiot might rule”[/i], Watson concludes his piece “[i]Though it is true that we will follow any idiot the United States throws up, it’s yet to be seen if we will follow one of our own. It’s not that our prime minister is an idiot, but rather that he would have Australians as fearful and shallow, and just as assured of their own merits, as the Americans who elected Bush. The political culture that he goads into being leaves us no less dejected and vulnerable than we would be with a true idiot in charge.[/i]” https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2015/august/1438351200/don-watson/method-madness? Sally Young concludes her article in [i]The Canberra Times: Is Tony Abbott's regime the worst federal government ever?[/i] with “[i] Abbott's personal judgment has been regularly called into question. His own use of travel entitlements, the knighthood debacle, his doomed paid parental leave promise, his elevation of only one woman to cabinet, and his misplaced loyalty to Bronwyn Bishop, have dismayed or angered the public, and often led his own colleagues to question his leadership. Abbott escaped a leadership challenge this year only 17 months into his prime ministership. “Of course, the worst thing a leader can do is to be ineffective, unpopular, have no coherent policy program, a lame legislative record and then lose office. This final election test will be the one that determines whether Abbott is remembered as the 21st century's William McMahon.”[/i] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/is-tony-abbotts-regime-the-worst-federal-government-ever-20150803-giqtnx.html Maybe Peter Hartcher picked up on the ‘pointless prime minister’ theme after Bernard Keane’s article on May 13 in [i]Crikey: What is the point of the Abbott government?[/i] Keane concluded: “[i]Neither fish nor fowl, neither Labor nor Liberal, neither economic stimulator nor stern fiscal taskmaster, what exactly is this government? What purpose does it serve, beyond keeping Labor out of power? If the budget’s goal was to ensure Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey kept their jobs, it prompts the question of why exactly they want their jobs and what they want to achieve in doing them. What is the point of an Abbott government, if the best it can do is just a fiscal parody of its opponents?”[/i] http://www.crikey.com.au/2015/05/13/what-is-the-point-of-the-abbott-government/ In his August 7 article in [i]Crikey[/i]: [i]Abbott labouring in his own valley of death[/i], Keane refers back to his May 13 article: “[i]Back in May, as the nature of Abbott's recovery strategy became clear, we asked what the point of the Abbott government was in his post-brush-with-death mode. It's a question now being much more widely asked: having abandoned virtually any reform efforts - this week the government even distanced itself from the mild recommendations of the Productivity Commission's industrial relations report - what is the point of being in power for Tony Abbott, other than to merely be in power? But the question is more pointed now, because even when Bill Shorten was in deep trouble, Labor still led the government easily in the polls with a persistent four-point lead; courtesy of Bronwyn Bishop, that lead is now six points.”[/i] Keane concludes: “[i]But the question for Abbott's colleagues isn't just about his political judgment any more, it's about why they are in government at all. It used to be said of the Rudd and Gillard governments that no one knew what Labor stood for. That question now equally applies to Abbott.”[/i] http://media.crikey.com.au/dm/newsletter/dailymail_329879f7e3be99eb2f86f57770b765ff.html#article_36603 Writing in [i]The Monthly Today[/i] in an article: [i]Safety not guaranteed[/i], Sean Kelly, commenting on what might be described as ‘contagion’ between news outlets, beginning with a reference to Peter Hartcher, writes: “[i] Peter Hartcher had a fine article on expenses a week ago that touched briefly on Tony Abbott’s performance, and in particular included this sentence: “Abbott's leadership was ‘finely balanced’ in the Liberal caucus, one of his more supportive MPs said privately this week.” “Nice detail, tuck it away for later. But then you discover, in a Dennis Shanahan article focused largely on Bronwyn Bishop’s failings, that “an element of threat to [Abbott’s] leadership was beginning to creep into Liberal discussions [before Bishop was removed]”. In a different paper, Mark Kenny made a similar point: ‘this was morphing quickly into a full-blown leadership crisis for Abbott, amid growing concerns about his judgment every bit as dangerous for him as the same doubts were to Rudd and Julia Gillard.’ “There was more. Peter van Onselen: “Were an empty chair allowed to run the country, Tony Abbott’s prime ministership might be in trouble.” Michelle Grattan: “There are mixed views among Liberals about whether Abbott’s leadership is secure for the next few months.” Phil Coorey: “The Bronwyn Bishop expenses scandal has left Tony Abbott exposed to a fresh whispering campaign about his leadership.” Niki Savva: “Absent improvement, pretty soon [Liberal MPs] could again be asking themselves why they have someone in the top job they think can’t do it properly. It will not be ­rhetorical.” “This is not a simple roll-call of anti-Abbott journalists.”[/i] The article, with links to the articles of all the mentioned journalists, is well worth a read: https://www.themonthly.com.au/the-monthly-today/sean-kelly/2015/07/2015/1438928301/safety-not-guaranteed? [b]No, it is not a ‘simple roll-call of anti-Abbott journalists’. Many are Coalition supporters, but clearly that does not equate with them being Abbott supporters. It follows that if they concluded Abbott was a threat to the LNP’s re-election, politically speaking Abbott would be a dead man. Right now he is a dead man walking inexorably to the edge of the precipice. The only question now is when he will fall over it.[/b]

2353

8/08/2015Somewhere up there ^^^, Ad suggests that BIshop (the elder) should step aside at the next Federal election. I disagree, solely because I suspect that she won't get elected if she runs. There are two positives to this - 1) she gets to feel the full wraith of her electorate and 2) the ALP would presumably win the seat and hopefully help form a better government than this poor excuse. Maybe I'm particularly nasty and vindictive today - but I suspect I'm not!

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8/08/20152353 I agree that it would be better if Bronwyn Bishop were arrogantly to contest Mackellar again, lose to Labor, bring further disrepute to the LNP, and push its hapless leader right over the precipice!

Casablanca

8/08/2015Hartcher expands on the 'pointless Abbott' riff: Reform adrift in pointless politics of Abbott government Peter Hartcher. August 7, 2015 - 11:11PM In the week before Bronwyn Bishop's career-ending exposure for abusing the public purse, Tony Abbott issued a warning to some of his ministers. It was not a warning about travel expenses or about any impending disaster. Rather, it was about the absence of disaster: things were going so well for the government, the Prime Minister said, that they needed to guard against the danger of complacency. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/peter-hartcher-reform-adrift-in-pointless-politics-of-abbott-government-20150807-giu7mq.html#ixzz3iCLTiR4G

Bacchus

8/08/2015You'd like to think Ms Bishop would lose, but there's an awful lot of unthinking, rusted-on Liberals on Sydney's northern beaches! http://www.abc.net.au/news/federal-election-2013/guide/mack/ John Howard only just lost in 2007 from a starting point of 49.9% of the first preference vote at the 2004 election (54.1% TPP.) Ms Bishop starts with 62.4% (68.8% TPP.)

TalkTurkey

9/08/2015Greetings Comrades If I didn't write something now, it would be the first time I hadn't written anything here for a full week since I started. I love this site and I feel I'm letting it down when I don't contribute but if I haven't something insightful or helpful to say I'd rather shut up. But 2353 I enjoyed your medley of musings this week, it's sort of the way I feel, so many subjects I feel strongly about - most of them despairingly though, while we have this despicable and incompetent Government. The list of negatives, from economic performance through humanitarian issues to global ones, is absolutely overwhelming, yet the Poll figures show Labor stuck stubbornly on 53%, while Abbbortt is far more unpopular than Bill Shorten - (and I think it needs to be couched in those negative terms, unpopularity ratings rather than popularity. Still I do think Shorten has won a measure of respect in recent months, and I can't but think that as long as Abbortt remains PM the contrast should become starker as we approach The Election. One shudders to think how the situation might turn if the execrable Morriscum should roll Abbortt though. Just 3%of voters need to change their minds(according to Polls anyway) and that would see our lead vanish like morning mist. Casablanca you are so staunch, your Links so well-chosen and logically grouped, I feel 'shame I don't engage with them, and You, as much as previously. Be sure though Swordsfolks, I have lost none of my rage! I'm in the seat of Hindmarsh, whose once-and-future MP is Steve Georganas. We will oust the oncer who ousted him in 2013, and we will get Pyne too. Xenophon, whom I despise btw but who is a phenomenon in SA, is entering a candidate there and that has Pyne's nappy very pooey, especially since the Bishpig is no longer there to change him and soothe his tanties. We must start supporting Bill Shorten unequivocally from now on. He's not Gough or PJK but he is steady and it's not about him anyway, it's about Labor and Government. We don't have Ruddmaggots this time. So be of good cheer - Abbortt's out in a year! VENCEREMOS!

Casablanca

9/08/2015TT Good to see you posting here again. I have a new list posted on Ken's new piece 'Doin’ the GST-a-rosy rag'. Funny that you could post here on 'Winter winds, wind farms and hot air' this morning and I could not do so last night. Anyhow some more good news for us and bad polling for Abbott. I agree with you that ... [i]We must start supporting Bill Shorten unequivocally from now on. He's not Gough or PJK but he is steady and it's not about him anyway, it's about Labor and Government.[/i] The new solidarity in Labor following the leadership rules change means that we won't see Albo replacing Shorten. Such is the new democracy. Abbott is in trouble as we can see from both the Fifth & Fourth Estate viewpoints. Do at least read the short blurbs in the lists posted already under our latest piece by Ken. Even Abbott's Slogan's for Bogans are losing their effectiveness. Victoria Rollison calls for a campaign of hope from Shorten. 'what Labor needs to do is forget about facts and appeal to emotions..http://theaimn.com/the-election-hope-versus-fear/ Keep up the good work in SA. VENCEREMOS!
How many oranges do I have if I have 3 oranges and take ONE away?