A year in Abbottland




Twelve months into the Abbott government, its misdeeds could fill an entire book. But here I’ll attempt to summarize them, as it’s important we remember them all to maintain the rage. If you think this article is too long, blame Tony Abbott.

For 28 months, they promised to reveal all their policies and budget cuts ‘in good time before the next election’. In reality, they walked away from unwanted questions, hid major policies and cuts until 36 hours before the election, hid others until after the WA by-election, and continue to hide behind a series of reviews stacked with hand-picked ideologues who anyone can see will recommend a radical right-wing agenda.

They promised to govern for all Australians, and not pick winners. In reality, their every decision makes the rich richer, the privileged more privileged, and the powerful more powerful, while finding ever more humiliating ways to bully the poor, disadvantaged, and powerless. Abbott (along with his unprecedentedly powerful chief of staff Peta Credlin) has appointed a cabinet containing just one woman, no non-Christians, and no climate or science minister; surrounded himself with advisors who look, talk, and think like him (i.e. old, male, conservative, climate-change-denying business lobbyists); sacked public servants perceived as disloyal; abolished multiple expert advisory bodies; reinstated knights and dames; and failed to condemn extreme views expressed by colleagues and advisors.

They promised strong, stable, accountable government with a long-term vision for the future direction of the nation. In reality, they are not delivering this because their ideology is to palm off major decisions onto unelected corporate leaders ruthlessly pursuing short-term self-interest. The supposed wisdom of the market is disrupting, among other things, the formerly stable climate that has sustained humanity for millennia.

They promised to address climate change at no cost. In reality, they have approved, subsidized, and talked up relentless expansion of the fossil fuel mining industries driving the problem (including Clive Palmer’s mega coal mine); purged the words ‘climate change’ and ‘renewable energy’ from government communications; misquoted Wikipedia to deny the link between climate change and worsening extreme weather; attacked the Australian Research Council for funding too much climate science; abandoned the upper end of Australia’s emissions target range; snubbed then played an obstructive role at Warsaw climate talks; refused to contribute to a global climate fund; left climate off the agenda of the upcoming G20 conference; scrapped or scaled back their proposed climate programs; abolished most existing policies on climate, renewables, and energy efficiency (cutting total spending by three-quarters); and tried to abolish the few remaining ones (including the Renewable Energy Target, being reviewed by a panel stacked with deniers). These policies are to be replaced by paying polluting companies to do essentially nothing.

They promised household compensation without a carbon tax. In reality, they are trying to increase fuel tax for ordinary motorists while compensating mining companies and repealing the carbon price paid by polluting companies. (There is of course an environmental argument for raising fuel tax, but the inequity in Abbott’s strategy cannot be overlooked.)

They promised to improve the environment. In reality, they have slashed federal environmental programs; turned the Great Barrier Reef into a coal shipping lane; sought to revoke the World Heritage status of Tasmanian forests and claimed loggers are conservationists; suspended all new marine parks; presented redirected funds for tree-planting as new; delegated their environmental protection powers to the states; and granted themselves legal immunity from challenges to past environmental approvals.

They promised to look after rural communities, in particular, to protect agriculture by reining in coal seam gas (CSG). In reality, the Coalition is dominated by the Liberals (who have boasted about hoodwinking the Nationals); their policy is to extract every molecule of gas and they’ve attacked NSW’s CSG restrictions; and they are ignoring the climate crisis threatening the very existence of agriculture and rural towns.

They promised to protect Australia's sovereignty. In reality, they are agreeing to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in free trade negotiations, giving multinational corporations the power to sue a government for any policy that hurts their profits. This will have a gagging effect on the ability of governments to introduce laws to hold corporations accountable. They continue to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which involves ISDS.

They promised to liberate us from big government, and no mandatory data retention. In reality, only corporations and other elites will be freed from regulations which hold them accountable to the voting public, while women are held back, minorities and disadvantaged groups punished, and asylum seekers imprisoned with no right to know why. They’ve stymied the ACT’s marriage equality laws. They’ve cut funding to the Human Rights Commission and appointed as ‘freedom commissioner’ an ideologue who advocated shutting down the Occupy protests and believes corporations have human rights. They’ve withdrawn a grant to the Jewish Holocaust Centre, among others, that they see as pork-barrelling to minority groups. They’ve abolished an advisory body on corporate crime, cut funding to the corporate regulator, and watered down consumer protections on financial advice amid a banking scandal. They’ve abolished the independent monitor of anti-terrorism laws. They’ve announced draconian security policies which would remove a sunset clause on police powers to detain and search people, make it easier to arrest suspects without a warrant, ban Australians from visiting certain countries, allow ASIO to suspend passports, and remove the presumption of innocence for terrorist offences. They’ve defended spying on behalf of fossil fuel companies, and they want the power to routinely spy on every Australian online, a policy even they can’t explain — supposedly to prevent terrorism and crime when it’s difficult not to conclude the government represents a more present threat.

They promised to increase free speech (especially for criticism of powerful people), protect media and political freedoms, and support public broadcasters. In reality, they’ve attempted to promote free speech only for racists; cut funding for research they don’t like; cut funding to anybody who supports a divestment campaign against Israeli apartheid; appointed a blatantly biased Speaker; negotiated draconian copyright laws in TPP talks; secretively courted supposedly independent commentators at parties; intimidated the ABC for reporting allegations against them; cut funding for ABC, SBS, and community radio (and launched a further ‘efficiency study’ into the ABC by a former head of Seven); put right-wing ideologues in charge of public broadcaster appointments; banned Community Legal Centres from advocating policy changes; cut legal aid for Indigenous Australians, asylum seekers, and environmentalists (as demanded by the mining lobby); cancelled all funding to international NGOs; defunded artists who refused sponsorship from a company owning refugee detention centres; defunded the Refugee Council because of its advocacy; forbidden public servants to criticise the government online; demanded a refugee activist remove from their Facebook page a photo of protesters blockading a bus transferring asylum seekers; removed the tax-exempt status of environment groups; replaced secular social workers with chaplains in schools; and established a national curriculum inquiry by two ideologues advocating right-wing propaganda be taught in schools. They are investigating trade unions (a rare voice opposing the present economic system) while ignoring corruption in more powerful institutions; they will reinstate a commission with draconian powers to investigate building unions; they propose to outlaw environmental boycotts; they’ve backed Queensland laws banning G20 protests; and their state-level colleagues are passing draconian anti-protest laws designed to silence political opponents.

They promised transparent government. In reality, they have attempted to shut down the flow of information by axing the Climate Commission; renaming coal seam gas to ‘natural gas’; barring Indonesian journalists from a press conference; requiring ministers to seek approval from the PM’s office before giving interviews (with calls frequently going unanswered); refusing FoI requests for incoming government briefs; claiming Abbott was ‘too flat out’ to talk to the media; deleting pre-election speeches from their website; announcing major environment-destroying policies over the Xmas break; defying a Senate order to release the TPP text; taking down a government website on nutrition; refusing to explain its claim that Edward Snowden has endangered Australian lives; allowing the infant formula industry to oversee its own honesty in advertising; misrepresenting a media release as a ‘Treasury analysis’; refusing to release a budget audit (by a leading business lobbyist) during a by-election; blocking Senate scrutiny of new government surveillance powers; criminalizing whistleblowing; and gagging the media on allegations that senior Australian bankers bribed government officials. On ‘Repeal Day’, they removed 10,000 regulations in one fell swoop without time to review the implications of the changes. They’ve admitted they want sport on the front page.

They promised to save the lives of asylum seekers, and not detain children. In reality, they instructed the Navy not to respond to distress calls, leading to a boatful of people drowning at sea. They’ve employed unlicensed guards; threatened to report gay asylum seekers to PNG police; denied facial reconstruction surgery for gunshot wounds; and scrapped an advisory group on asylum seeker health. Several asylum seekers allege their hands were deliberately burned while in a boat being towed back to Indonesia by the Australian Navy. One person has been killed and seventy-seven injured on Manus Island. They have now been detaining children for a year (and pregnant women), separated a newborn baby from his mother, and sent unaccompanied minors to Nauru. They revoked the community detention status of two children and kidnapped them from school, frightening other children at the same school into running away. They’ve attempted to reintroduce temporary visas meaning genuine refugees won’t be permanently settled in Australia, and eventually gave the Immigration Minister discretion to deny permanent residence based on secret conditions with no right of appeal. They try to coerce asylum seekers into ‘voluntarily’ going home, want to send them home if there’s only a 49% chance they’ll be tortured, have sent some back to war-torn Iraq, handed others (after superficially screening them by teleconference) over to Sri Lanka where they are likely to be tortured, and are negotiating to send detainees to Cambodia which is known for human rights abuses. These policies breach the UN refugee convention.

There is considerable overlap between the broken promises on transparency and saving asylum seekers, with Abbott and Scott Morrison denying media access to immigration detention centres, instructing asylum seekers not to talk to visitors, hiding information about boat arrivals (and justifying this by comparing them to a military enemy), fleeing reporters asking questions about the drowning incident, instructing public servants to incorrectly call them ‘illegals’, defying a Senate order to release documents on the issue, stopping media briefings on boats, refusing to place any credence in the burns allegations because Australian naval officers are above suspicion, making false claims about events on Manus Island, and agreeing with PNG to shut down an investigation into human rights abuses there. They denied the existence of an entire boatful of asylum seekers before detaining them at sea for a month then trafficking them to Nauru — and we would never have known about it if the refugees hadn’t contacted the media. Details are now finally beginning to come out at a Human Rights Commission inquiry, where it’s been revealed that the treatment of detainees is ‘torture’, staff call the detainees ‘clients’ to dehumanise them, guards have sexually abused child detainees, medication was confiscated from a 3-year-old epileptic girl, a psychiatrist was told to suppress evidence of detained children showing mental health issues, children are self-harming and attempting suicide, and generally the place is even worse than where the refugees came from. That shouldn’t be surprising because the entire purpose of the policy is to crush their hope.

They promised a foreign policy based on advancing freedom, decency, and poverty reduction rather than just security and economics. In reality, despite one commendable UN resolution on MH17, let’s not forget some of their less humane foreign policy decisions. They have apologised for (in opposition) having rightly criticized Indonesia, Malaysia, and PNG for human rights abuses; refused to help West Papuan activists against Indonesia’s abuses; banned a Malaysian democracy activist from visiting Australia; were slow to advocate for Australians jailed overseas; condoned torture and war crimes in Sri Lanka because otherwise would mean admitting people fleeing the country are legitimate refugees; gave the Sri Lankan government navy patrol boats to block said refugees; sent border protection vessels into Indonesian waters; authorised raids on an East Timor lawyer possessing evidence of Australian spying; opposed a UN resolution for an inquiry into Sri Lankan war crimes; defeated a UN move to ban use of nuclear weapons; raised the possibility of allowing Chinese troops to train in Australia; praised the ‘skill and honour’ of Japanese WW2 soldiers; and claimed Australia’s involvement in WW1 was in ‘a good cause’. They have cut $8 billion from foreign aid and removed poverty reduction from Australia’s foreign policy goals.

They promised to end class war. In reality, their policies are redistributing wealth upwards.

They promised to improve our country by growing its economy, creating a land of opportunity that would allow everyone to get ahead. In reality, the social health of developed countries like Australia is impaired less by poverty than by the economic, social, and political inequalities (not to mention environmental crises) promoted by an unrestrained market. The Liberals aim to remove all restraints from the free market system that tends to entrench these problems.

They promised to protect and create jobs by fighting restrictions on mining, supporting manufacturing industries, and promoting free trade. In reality, unemployment has grown to its highest level in 12 years; they are sacking government employees; they are allowing employers to hire an unlimited number of foreign workers; they dared a company to leave Australia; they are killing the renewable energy industry; and they are sitting back and watching the death of Australian manufacturing, caused partly by the mining boom and free trade which they continue to promote.

They promised to protect workers’ pay and conditions. In reality, they have reduced the wages of aged care and childcare workers and low-paid cleaners, have advised Fair Work Australia to cut penalty rates, will pay Green Army employees half the minimum wage and exempt them from work safety laws, have defunded Ethical Clothing Australia, have proposed to exclude the Northern Territory from labour laws, and are bullying companies (by threatening to withdraw industry subsidies) into cutting wages and blaming the carbon tax for job losses. They are forcing under-30s to wait up to six months before getting the unliveable unemployment benefit, then apply for 40 jobs a month to be eligible for benefits for six months, then repeat the cycle until they get a job. Yet, they are simultaneously cutting programs that would have helped people find work, implying they are trying to drive up demand for jobs so that people will settle for lower wages.

They promised to cut wasteful spending to reduce out-of-control debt and deficit. In reality, Australia’s national debt is smaller than that of most countries, and Hockey’s budget is neoliberalism masquerading as fiscal responsibility: it doesn’t significantly improve the fiscal position, it just transfers wealth from poor individuals to rich corporations. It pays for corporate tax cuts, fossil fuel subsidies, roads, fighter planes, and refurbishing the PM’s house through new taxes and spending cuts that hurt the poor, the unemployed, young people, university students, schools, families, women, domestic violence victims, the sick, the disabled, pensioners, charities, small businesses, emerging and struggling industries, public broadcasters, public servants (thousands of whom lost their jobs), local councils, Indigenous Australians, poorer countries, scientists whose research would advance human knowledge, and the environment which sustains us all. Despite increasing defence spending, it cuts soldiers’ wages by $20,000, and cuts welfare for orphans of soldiers. The only costs for politicians and high-income earners are blatantly tokenistic and temporary.

They promised to not cut education or health funding. In reality, they’ve made massive cuts including the Gonski schools program and National Disability Insurance Scheme. Their budget starves state governments of schools and hospitals funding to force the issue of delegating those responsibilities to them; increases student debt by deregulating university fees and lowers the income threshold for repayment; cuts numerous educational programs (though they somehow found money for more school chaplains, ignoring a contrary High Court decision); introduces co-payments for GP visits, emergency department treatments, diagnostic tests, and prescription drugs; reduces Australia’s contribution to the World Health Organization; cuts preventative health measures (eg. anti-smoking campaigns); and cuts myriad health programs (including for mental health which we’ll probably need more than ever in Abbott’s Australia). And they’ve proposed giving control over GP treatments to private health insurance companies.

They promised to relieve the cost of living for ordinary Australians through tax cuts, no new taxes, and no cuts to pensions. In reality, their tax cuts favour big business (and they’ve watered down Labor’s planned crackdown on multinational tax dodging); they’ve cut a tax break for low-income superannuation; they’ve imposed fees on those who become bankrupt; they’ve scrapped the first home buyers scheme; and their budget introduced several regressive taxes and harsh cuts to welfare. The latter include increasing the retirement age, cutting retiree concessions, cutting various family benefits (illustrating the government’s disregard for unpaid work), suspending welfare payments for parents of truant children, restricting and constantly reviewing access to disability payments while cutting services for disabled people, cutting payments for dementia carers, and a web of technical changes to indexation and eligibility thresholds across all payments. Moreover, they’ve set up a welfare review that is not consulting with community groups, and has canvassed simplifying 75 payments into four and restricting what recipients can spend their money on.

Abbott promised to be a Prime Minister for Aboriginal affairs and spend his first week as PM in an Aboriginal community. In reality, he has gone nowhere near said community, consolidated 150 Indigenous programs into five, paid Indigenous staff in his office less than others doing the same job, and described Australia as ‘unsettled’ before the British arrived.

They promised paid parental leave. In reality, it is nowhere in sight.

They implied by their attacks on Labor that they would not misuse taxpayer money or protect corrupt individuals. In reality, they have been caught claiming expenses for attendance at weddings and suchlike; ministers are now allowed to hold shares in companies; and they’ve redirected funds from one Royal Commission on institutional child sexual abuse to another on home insulation. Abbott, in response to a report exposing the role of his friend Cardinal George Pell in covering up Catholic child rape, falsely claimed Pell was the first senior cleric to take the issue seriously.

They promised hope, reward, and opportunity. In reality, ‘opportunity’ was code for ‘if you’re unlucky you’re on your own’, ‘reward’ meant ‘we’ll feather your nest if you’re already doing well’, and ‘hope’ meant ‘dream on’.

They promised to govern competently. In reality, when occasionally diverted from their script by an intelligent questioner, their ministers reveal a laughable ignorance about even their own policies.

To add insult to injury, Abbott promised to be trustworthy and not talk down to voters but in reality has treated us with thinly disguised contempt. In opposition they blatantly misled us about their intentions, repeatedly assuring us there would be no surprises and no broken promises. Then in government they blindsided us with extreme right-wing policies, breaking too many promises to count. They have arrogantly insisted that they are the adults (particularly disturbing when you recall Abbott endorses smacking naughty children), and expect us all to support their government and everything it does because it represents ‘Team Australia’. They have taken our votes for granted, refusing to even acknowledge that 100,000 Australians marched against their government, and that Western Australia resoundingly rebuked them at a by-election. They have demanded the Senate rubber-stamp policies opposed by the majority of Australians. They feed us a never-ending stream of blatant lies and assume we are too stupid to notice.

Abbott is evidently following the Institute of Public Affairs’ blueprint to transform Australia in three years, like a right-wing Whitlam. Some educated guesses at what’s coming soon: abolition or sabotaging of the Renewable Energy Target; more cuts to the ABC; more welfare cuts; more regressive taxes, such as an increased Goods and Services Tax; more tax cuts and loopholes for the rich; more cuts to corporate regulations and the public service; more restrictions on workers’ rights; abolition of penalty rates; privatisation of public assets; school curricula promoting right-wing beliefs; delegation of more federal responsibilities to the states where Christian fundamentalists and other right-wing ideologues can push their agenda under the radar; and the implementation of as many IPA policies as possible.

When the next election rolls around, Abbott will do whatever it takes to try to lure us into voting him back in — but I reckon it won’t fool anyone. Abbott has shaken Australians out of our apathy; we have woken up to the fact that politicians are not acting in our interests. The rise of the internet means Australia can no longer be governed through the mushroom treatment, because we can all remind each other about the government’s litany of lies and bad behaviour.

The Abbott government represents an extreme version of the neoliberalism that has dominated politics for three decades, an ideology that when put into practice has been described as ‘totalitarian capitalism’. Its rhetoric about ‘individual freedom and free enterprise’ is acted on only when convenient to its true obsession — rewarding the ‘good people’ at the top of society and punishing the ‘bad people’ at the bottom. For all their talk about ‘progress’, they want to drag us back to the 19th century, before the welfare state.

If you’ve been reading this article and congratulating yourself that Abbott has yet to hurt or take rights away from you, how many more groups does he have to attack before you speak out against his government?

If you’ve been reading and nodding along, don’t just sit on your hands. Why not come along to your local March in August this weekend? Let’s show Abbott we know what he and his colleagues are up to, and we won’t stand for it.

Image source

Editor’s Note: Every claim made by James Wight in this piece is backed by reference to news sites and reports. So well researched is James’ original piece that a single paragraph could contain twenty links.

The editors at TPS removed all of those links but only for ease of reading. If anyone wishes to see all the links, James has kindly posted the unedited version with all links on his own blog at http://precariousclimate.com/



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TPS Team

29/08/2014This week's conversation starter is being posted early as it is relevant to the Marches in August being held across the country this weekend. We welcome back James Wight into the authors chair for this incisive look at the (almost) twelve months of the Abbott government - promises made and mostly broken. If you were looking for a reason to get out and protest this weekend, you're sure to find many reasons in this excellent summation of the misdeeds of one the worst Australian governments ever.

Ad astra

29/08/2014James Wight What a catalogue of Abbott-generated disasters you have described. We anticipated such behaviour, but its extent and diversity astonishes even the most avid Abbott despisers. He is more gross than could have been imagined. And he pursures his ideological aims with bald-faced impunity. There is no shame, no regret, no sympathy, not a trace of empathy with those whom he persecutes. This man is a destroyer, an unashamed advocate for his mentors, for those whose enterprises he supports - miners of coal, gas, oil and minerals - the destroyers of our natural environment. How can he be stopped? Let's hope the PUP will combine with Labor and the Greens to thwart him before he destroys our egalitarian nation.

Mick

29/08/2014Will we survive the next 2 years? Those that do will have a big responsibility of repopulating Australia with sensible people. It will come to an end, but what damage will have been done in the meantime. This cartoon is applicable . . . http://cartoonmick.wordpress.com/editorial-political/#jp-carousel-851 Cheers Mick

Catching up

30/08/2014everything in his life is a stunt. Today we listen to his rave on security and terrorism. At the same time, Obama warns the PC not to get ahead of themselves, as nothing has been decided yet. Obama seems more interested in keeping countries in the region on side. Seems to believe it is ISIL that is n the problem, not Muslim countries. Then we here the UK PM say very much the same thing. Yes, there are two issues. First is home grown terrorist. Second the ISIL in Iraq and surrounding countries. Both are saying, now is the time for caution, not jumping in with air blame schemes. Cannot help but feel, Obama's warning was aimed at the likes of Abbott, as well as the media that was present. Then we heard Husic response tonight. Thankfully that was more moderated. I have concerns that Shorten has chosen to support all that Abbott says. I think that Shorten would be wiser to take his clues from Cameron and Obama, give Abbott a miss. Like the post

Catching up

30/08/2014Did anyone notice the body language of Brandis today, when standing beside Abbott. Appeared to be angry, not wanting to be there. Why did Brandis turn up over a hour late for that meeting today. Did not impress the Muslim community once more. Both Obama and Cameron are saying, all success relies on getting the moderate Muslims on side. Not rocket science one would say.

Woodypear

30/08/2014Thank you James. It is important in this rapid news cycle that we remember all of these betrayals and store them for the day of judgement (election). It is also invaluable to gain a clearer picture of the overall direction that this government is taking Australia. When you put them all together, you get a very clear picture of the aim of this government. I will copy this article and hopefully not have to add to this appalling list.

Ad Astra

30/08/2014Mick I'm not sure if you have been here before, but if not, welcome to The Political Sword family. Do come again. Sadly, your comment accurately reflects the disgraceful state of our nation after just one year in Abbottland. Recovery will take a long time after his unremitting frontal assault on fairness, equality and common decency.

Ad astra

30/08/2014Catching up What a quotable quote about Abbott you have given us: "Everything in his life is a stunt". How apt.

Ad astra

30/08/2014Woodypear How right you are. We know how gross Abbott and his ministers are, but when his record is displayed as comprehensively as James has done, it sheets home how mendatious, mean and miserable a man he is. As you say, his behaviour exposes his intent. He is pro-fossil fuel, anti-renewables, anti-climate science, indeed anti-science; he believes in trickle down economics; he is comfortable with increasing inequality; he obsequiously fawns over his mentors, Gina and Rupert; he is an Anglophile for whom all others are lesser beings; he is anti-union, anti-Labor and Greens, and pro-IPA and other extreme right wing positions, such as Tea Party philosophy; he displays all the worst attributes of the ultraconservative political clique. And he is our PM!

Ad astra

30/08/2014James I'm sure you are aware that no matter when you write such a piece, it will be incomplete soon after it is written. Abbott is able to create and propel political bombshells faster than even the most diligent chronicler can record. This morning we hear that he has nominated the arrival of the first fleet as the most defining moment in Australian history! Our PM, who boasts that he is a PM for our indigenous people, in one sentence ignores 50,000 years of history of Australia's original inhabitants, arguably the most ancient society on our planet. To add insult to injury, he nominated the advent of The Australian newspaper as another 'defining moment'. That tells us who he thinks is most useful to him politically, and it's not indigenous people.

James W

30/08/2014Ad astra, To be fair to Abbott, saying something was a significant event isn't the same as saying it was good. I don't think indigenous people would deny that the first fleet was a defining moment in Australian history.

Ken

30/08/2014James An excellent expose (don't know how to put an acute on that last 'e') of the devastation the Abbott government has wreaked in barely twelve months. He is trying to destroy Australia as we know it and, as you suggest, turn it into a Tea Party paradise. Despite all the evidence that a person's chances in life are largely determined by their parents'income and education, he still believes that he has to do nothing and that everyone has an equal chance. Under this bloke, the 'fair go' is very lop-sided.

Casablanca

30/08/2014This tour de force by James Wight has gone straight into the TPS cache called [b]ABBOTT'S REPORT CARDS: Lies & Unfair Policies[/b] under the heading PERFIDIOUS ABBOTT: ONE YEAR ON http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Abbotts-Report-Cards.aspx

Casablanca

30/08/2014Swordsters Here is an extract of an article from May 2014 where Abbott argues that the polity had been put 'on notice' that he would do what he has done. (apologies James if you have cited this in your article - I have not had time to view all of your links). [b]Tony Abbott: voters should have expected my budget's sweeping cuts[/b] Lenore Taylor,18 May 2014 The prime minister insists voters should have expected the sweeping budget cuts unveiled last week, despite his often repeated pre-election promise that there would be “no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST”. Focusing on a different pre-election mantra, Tony Abbott told the ABC’s Insiders program people had been clearly “on notice” about what was coming. “You might remember the mantra – it was stop the boats, repeal the carbon tax, build the roads of the 21st century and get the budget back under control,” he said. “So people, I think, were on notice that we were going to do what was necessary to ensure that we were not being a burden on our children and grandchildren,” he said, and the Coalition had done “precisely” what it had promised. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/18/tony-abbott-voters-should-have-expected-my-budgets-sweeping-cuts

Ken

30/08/2014Casablanca Abbott has left one thing out of his 'mantra'. There were five 'core' promises at the start of his election campaign launch, not four. The fifth was 'build a stronger economy'. I wonder why he does not mention that? Could it be that he has ended the Oz car manufacuring industry, overseen rising unemployment, falling wages (in real terms), and all in less than twelve months! His recall is somewhat selective. I address this in a piece to appear soon (may 2-3 weeks), 'Words, words, words'.

Casablanca

30/08/2014[b]Failed bid to send 157 asylum seekers to India costs $12m[/b] Australian Associated Press. 30 August 2014 Cost analysis finds the money was spent to ensure Sri Lankan nationals did not challenge ‘stop the boats’ policy...Human Rights Watch said the cost was “outrageous and unnecessary” and Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said the cost could have been avoided if the asylum seekers had been taken straight to Christmas Island. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/30/failed-bid-to-send-157-asylum-seekers-to-india-costs-12m?CMP=ema_632

Casablanca

30/08/2014Ken, Abbott has invoked that fifth 'core promise' that you identified as missing from the Lenore Taylor piece. In particular, all sorts of attacks on the welfare budget have been attributed to the need to 'build a stronger economy'. I look forward to your next article. The last one on "Whose Freedom" was impressive and apposite in a week or so during which sundry freedoms were being threatened by this appalling government.

Catching up

30/08/2014"This morning we hear that he has nominated the arrival of the first fleet as the most defining moment in Australian history! " Why this one. Why not start at the time Captain Cook sighted the east coast of Australia. Maybe a few years later when the British government of the time, needed somewhere to empty their bulging jails, along with it's poor houses. APM of the time suggested I believe New Holland, which was accepted. It is said, they meant somewhere in Canada. Not sure about that myth. What happened thought was not a new country being established, but the setting up as a penalty colony of Britain. It is also a fact that Australia had been populated for 40k or more years. Genocide of these people was quickly carried out. Those in the Sydney basin rapidly disappeared. What Abbott keeps saying, we all descended from British stock. That all our laws and beliefs are the same as the motherland. None of what he says is true. Not even our Constitution is purely Westminster. Some is borrowed from the USA. From the days of the first fleet, many come from other lands, as well as the UK. I am fifth generation Australia, from free settlers stock. Very little can be traced back to England. Many things, overtime, defines Australia. Yes, and most if all, where made by people born or raised in this land. I find it hard to be thankful that England needed somewhere to send their growing criminal class to. People mainly dis-laced by t5hegrowing industrial age. We are not a replica of the British Isles and their laws. We have become our own people. We will become mature, when we acknowledge the role our predecessors, the Aboriginal people have played in this land. From very early in the piece, our young men took up arms, to defend this nation, not some country on the other side of the world. Sorry for rabbling on, but our Tony, the PM does annoy me so. Abbott has a problem with his fifth promise to build the economy Every thing he has done, will undermine it, as time will quickly tell.

Bacchus

30/08/2014Work Choices dead, buried and cremated: Tony Abbott http://www.industrysearch.com.au/work-choices-dead-buried-and-cremated-tony-abbott/n/45766 [quote]Like a horror film villain that won't die, the Work Choices monster still breathes no matter how many times Abbott tells voters it's got no pulse. "It's dead today, it's dead tomorrow, it's dead the day after, it's dead in three years time," Abbott told reporters. "Nothing, whatsoever, will ever be done by any coalition government that brings back any element of Work Choices."[/quote] There seems to be some life left in the monster yet... http://www.australianunions.org.au/stop_tony_abbotts_anti_worker_laws?utm_campaign=senate_fwa1&utm_medium=email&utm_source=actuonline

James W

30/08/2014I actually didn't expect they would attack workers' rights again so soon after the WorkChoices debacle. I should have known they would just do it by stealth. Indeed I've been stunned by how quickly the Abbott government is attacking across every policy area.

Curi-Oz

30/08/2014Highly amused ... couldn't get to the March Australia rally this afternoon in Perth, so contacted the local media to see if they had sent reporters after I got back home . Channel Nine had no-one answering the phone in the newsroom. Didn't bother leaving a message, because it would be all over before anyone got there. Channel Seven thought that the ABC were going to be getting some footage they could share ABC Perth didn't know it was on, and I had to be routed to the Perth news desk from (presumably) Sydney, but said they would send a chap out to see if they could catch someone. They wanted to know why a media person hadn't contacted them though. PerthNow were very polite and said they would make enquiries and follow up. The person I spoke to actually said that it sounded quite interesting, but that she wasn't aware that anybody was objecting to the Federal government. The West Australian were not aware that anything that was happening today, and asked if a media contact person had made the call. I told the young lady that it had been well advertised on the internet for the last few weeks, to which she replied "...in that case it may have been decided not to send anyone...". WAToday was annoyed that March Australia had not provided a media person to provide them the information about the march, and was quite brusque about my enquiry. I probably shouldn't have laughed when he grumbled about the lack of media person, because he hung up on me. Not one of them reacted well to my observation that March Australia had been planning and talking about their marches around the country on social media. I have no intention of becoming the local media person for March Australia Perth, but perhaps I can embarrass our local news media into becoming "Reporters" again?

Ken

30/08/2014Curi-Oz It's a sorry state but with the 24 hour news cycle, most media rely on media releases. They no longer 'waste' resources chasing something they don't already know about - at least know enough to decide whether they think they should chase it. They have become too used to being 'fed'.

Casablanca

31/08/2014[b]The rise of Tanya Plibersek[/b] Tony Walker. 29 August,2014 Julia Gillard all but anointed Tanya Plibersek as a future Labor leader on her way out the door. But if and when the time comes, will the Deputy Opposition Leader have what it takes? http://www.afr.com/p/lifestyle/afrmagazine/the_rise_of_tanya_plibersek_uWB5VK3OJKM8FLTDrW2QkM?utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Outbrain_cpc

Ken

31/08/2014Bacchus and James W on a return to WorkChoices I had intended to respond to you yesterday but it took me until this morning to find the piece of paper I was looking for. It is about the government’s bargaining position in the negotiation of agreements in the public service. Without going into all the detail, any pay rise has to be met from existing budgets and productivity is defined in terms of dollar cuts, not increases in output. The government claims that it is aiming to ‘streamline’ agreements but what this means is removing some conditions from agreements and making them simply ‘policy’ — and, of course, a ‘policy’ can be changed at the whim of the department or the Minister, without any consultation with staff. In those departments that have already made pay offers, they are below the rate of inflation (so a cut in wages in real terms). As a side note, over 110 agreements in the APS expired on 30 June but agencies have been very slow to enter negotiations and the government’s fixed position on the negotiations is that they cannot include ‘sign on bonuses’ or be backdated to 1 July — so staff are losing out and the government is saving money the longer it can delay negotiations. The government’s bargaining policy includes that agreements must include: an individual flexibility term that allows employees to enter individual felxibility arrangements in respec of certain listed matters. Agencies are encouraged to bargain for a broader range of matters over which employees can enter into individual flexibility arrangements. So there is one new phrase for WorkChoices: ‘individual flexibility arrangements’. Abbott claims he is the best friend the workers have had. Well, he has certainly helped the CPSU (Community and Public Sector Union): it has 3,700 new members.

Ad astra

31/08/2014James W Your piece has already attracted much thoughtful comment. Clearly, your subject is of great concern to a deeply dismayed electorate. Regarding Abbott's comment about the most defining moment in Australian history being the arrival of the First Fleet, while the logic in your comment is impeccable, my rejoinder is that Abbott repeated his assertion, as he so often does, and he did not qualify it. If he was sensitive to the fact that indigenous people might have seen the arrival of the First Fleet as the beginning of the devastation of their culture, 'defining' though that might be described, he could have qualified his assertion. But he did not. How can we believe that Abbott, an acknowledged Anglophile, did not mean exactly what he said? Whether saying it that way was a deliberately provocative ploy, or just plain stupidity and ineptitude, is a question we have to ask about many of Abbott's utterances. Finally, why should we be 'fair to Abbott'?

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31/08/2014Casablanca Thank you for the link to the comprehensive and well balancd Tony Walker article on Tanya Plibersek. It shows what an accomplished and sensible politician she is already, and describes in realistic terms her prospects for advancement to leader of the Labor Party and one day, PM. I have been a long-time admirer of her, based on her parliamentary, ministerial, and media appearances. This morning on Insiders she again displayed her calm, considered, logical, sensible, and articulate approach to contemporary foreign policy matters and other political issues. She is top class, a worthy Deputy Leader, and would be a fine successor to Julia Gillard. http://www.afr.com/p/lifestyle/afrmagazine/the_rise_of_tanya_plibersek_uWB5VK3OJKM8FLTDrW2QkM?utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Outbrain_cpc

Curi-Oz

31/08/2014So far this morning I have tracked down the following reports in the MSM http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/30/regional-australia-launches-weekend-of-anti-government-protests The Guardian http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/anti-govt-rallies-held-across-australia/story-e6frfku9-1227042343850 News.com.au, which look remarkably the same ... So far locally I've only tracked down one media article for our local newspapers that referenced the March yesterday, and that was written earlier in the week. http://guardian.inmycommunity.com.au/news-and-views/local-news/Locals-urged-to-rise-up-against-Budget/7664123/ I didn't spot anything on the TV news programs last night, whilst inflicting myself with large quantities of 'sport' masquerading as 'news' I suspect that the Perth march was overwhelmed by the Dockers game yesterday (that and the MSM's requirement to be notified of interesting things going on *snarks*) but that the eastern states marches may get a little more coverage having been alerted by yesterday's efforts elsewhere in the country.

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31/08/2014Curi-Oz Thank you for the links to the articles on the Perth rally. I suspect the football final round affected attendance and news coverage. After all, the media knows what's really important! We have just now watched the Melbourne march assemble in front of the State Library and proceed down Swanston Street. The numbers appeared large, but it's hard to estimate numbers in a march. Let's see what the media make of this and other rallies in this evening's news, when the bulletin ought to be not cluttered with AFL news. One amusing aspect of the Melbourne march was a huge walking effigy of our PM, which swaggered in Abbott style among the adoring throng!

2353

31/08/2014March in August got a reasonable coverage tonight on 7's Queensland news. They actually got footage from high above.

Pappinbarra Fox

31/08/2014Tony Abbott is a post modern anarchist. He is not a Conservative. Conservatives are genuine people who basically believe that the past should be maintained. Conservatives do not make radical changes to the system. Conservatives do not trashed the system. Conservatives do not denigrate society that they are leading. Tony Abbott is not a Conservative. Tony Abbott is an uber- anarchist. Thank you James For your clear and excellent piece. It is very important that we keep in the front of our minds all of the things that have been done to our society to our economy and to our country during this period of this anarchist government. If the current trend continues the list will be same massive that we will need a person of your intellect to period down to the most important pieces. Tony Abbott is an anarchist and his fellow travellers in the liberal country party don't have the courage to recognise what use and to stand up to in. Cowards one and all.

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31/08/20142353 I missed the Melbourne TV news this evening, but the 9 pm radio news reported that an estimated 40,000 had marched around Australia, with 5,000 in Sydney and 3,000 in Melbourne. So there is still a lot of the electorate that is dissatisfied enough with the Abbott government to give up weekend time to demonstrate against the unfairness of its policies and the inequity of its budget. That is encouraging. The rage is not dissipating, which must be of concern to Abbott's minders.

jaycee

31/08/2014Cross-posted from The Pub. I trust by now we all realise where this “leadership” has taken us as a nation?….if you think about it, this govt’ (as accepted) is by far the worst govt’ this nation has ever had. So where do we go from here?…I mean, do we accept this as the low-bar of politics and refuse to go lower with any next govt’, or do we now turn a blind eye to a lower-level beast than this PM. and Cabinet?…By any past measure, we have now got an absolute oaf of a PM., leading the most obtuse and oafish ministry in our history..as a matter of fact, this govt’ is sooo bad, that if I was the regal head of state, I would instruct the Governor General to bring in the troops and one by one give the “Bum’s- rush” to each one in turn….the disgrace of them ruling in my name would be that bad! So either the next govt’ (pray it is Labor!) must pass legislation to insure that we never have another govt’ this awful, by constructing some constitutional legal framework that allows the democratic eviction before an election or we have the possibility of descending even lower, if that could be imagined, in status and competence than where we are now! Because what we are in possession of, in regards to the parliamentary leadership of the LNP. , is a concubine of ministers that if you were to line them in single file, their collected personalities wouldn’t even get you a “charity shag” from one ; K. Jackson and their collective intellect wouldn’t be equal to enough points on a fly-buy scheme with Uganda Air to get you from Kinshasa to Kampala………ONE WAY!!! Something must be done!

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31/08/2014PF I have pondered your description of Tony Abbott as a 'postmodern anarchist', have read around those terms, but still can't fit Abbott into that description. When you have time to elaborate on your characterization of our PM, I for one would be interested to read what you have to say.

Curi-Oz

1/09/2014Australia goes to “not-war” … again? http://wp.me/p3xJZ6-7A A letter to my Federal parliamentarians

James W

1/09/2014Abbott is certainly no anarchist. Anarchism is defined by its opposition not only to the state but also to social hierarchy, which Abbott strongly supports. Abbott is only anti-statist wherever it is convenient for preserving old hierarchies: rewarding those at the top of society and punishing those at the bottom. That is clear from his expansion of the police/security state, his increasing restrictions on rights to protest and free speech, his government's lack of transparency, his contempt for human rights in his immigration and foreign policies, and his attacks on everyone who isn't rich and powerful. I can see what PF means about him not being exactly conservative, if conservative means supporting the status quo. His agenda is radical in the sense that he does want to change the country. However, instead of moving us forward he wants to move us backwards, to dismantle the welfare state. Thus his radicalism is reactionary rather than progressive. A more accurate description of Abbott's ideology is, as I say in my article, "totalitarian capitalism".

James W

1/09/2014Oh, and my point about Abbott's hypocrisy on freedom applies to his free market views too: he only supports the free market when convenient for rewarding those who have reached the top of the capitalist system (eg. fossil fuel industry, Murdoch media, and other IPA donors) and punishing those at the bottom (emerging industries like renewable energy, struggling industries like manufacturing, and workers trying to bargain for good wages and conditions). Abbott believes in a neoliberal theory of virtue: if you're at the top of society it's because of your entrepreneurial spirit; if you’re at the bottom it’s your own fault because you didn’t try hard enough.

Catching up

1/09/2014Agree James. One that would love to be a dictator. Many signs of this today within Parliament.

Ken

1/09/2014I think I started this debate when I recalled John Howard saying he was economically liberal and socially conservative. I still think Abbott is similar but as James' says, it is now a neo-liberal agenda. I also find it strange coming from someone who is Roman Catholic. The catholic church in Oz does have its Bishops' Social Justice committee in which, I think I am right in recalling, the Jesuits play a prominent part. They are fairly strong on welfare issues and helping the poor and unemployed (won't go into arguments about whether their approach is good but at least, unlike Abbott, the committee recognises the issues). I say it is strange, because Abbott's views, as James points out, are based on virtue which is more akin to a Protestant view. There was a protestant group (can't remember which - some offshoot from the Calvinists) who believed that nothing we did on earth would influence whether or not people got into heaven: that was already decided by god. But worldly success was taken as a sign that god was looking after you and that you were one of the 'chosen'. So Abbott's approach to the successful is more like this. Politically, conservatives have become more reactionary because of the progressive advances made in the 1960s and '70s, set back in the '80s, and continued in new ways more recently. As Abbott has indicated, he still thinks his daughters should remain virgin until they marry, and that women should be at home doing the ironing. His conservatism is based on the classical conservative institutions, with the family as its core institution - and it is an old style family. His view appears reactionary because society has moved on but he would wish to take us back to those conservative values and institutions. I recall in the Howard years in Aboriginal affairs, we weren't allowed to talk about Aboriginal 'communities', only individuals and families. The conservative view does not recognise social issues as having 'social' solutions but only 'individual' and 'family' solutions, and society is just a sum of those two. I think for the conservatives sociology doesn't exist. All sociologists are leftists anyway according to Howard and Abbott - not to mention most academics, which may be another reason they don't trust/believe climate science.

Casablanca

1/09/2014[b]TONY'S WARS[/b] [b]The War on a Fair Australia[/b] 1. The Abbott economy at one: open for business, closed to real reform Richard Holden. 26 August 2014 Treasurer Joe Hockey has told us there is an imminent debt crisis, but can’t persuade parliament to pass his budget. The trade minister, Andrew Robb, has said budget blocking puts Australia’s credit rating in jeopardy. The confidence of those receiving family tax and other benefits has been shattered, as has the confidence of those of us who are happy to see our tax dollars spent to make real the promise of opportunity for those less fortunate – a promise that has always been at the core of Australia’s social compact. http://theconversation.com/the-abbott-economy-at-one-open-for-business-closed-to-real-reform-29778 2. The year of ruling dangerously Nick Feik. 1 September, 2014 "It was a testament to how badly Tony Abbott’s government was faring, as it approached its first anniversary, that even its most strident ideological supporters were starting to sheer off in anger and disappointment." http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2014/september/1409493600/nick-feik/year-ruling-dangerously 3. Freedom Abbott David Marr. September, 2014 The brief life and quiet death of Tony Abbott’s love of liberty.. No Coalition leader has ever talked freedom as Abbott did [in August, 2012]. The passion, the rhetoric and the undertakings he gave were new in the politics of this country. He might have been an American on the stump. Angels sang and trumpets sounded. He was promising to do more than stop the boats, axe the tax and end the waste. As prime minister, he would restore our lost freedoms. http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2014/september/1409493600/david-marr/freedom-abbott 4. In case you missed it . . . here’s what Tony Abbott promised Michael Taylor. 31 August, 2014 We could write a book about that pack of lies and gross failures. And leading up to the next election the lies and failures will no doubt snowball. Please, let’s do whatever we can to stop people from being conned again. http://theaimn.com/case-missed-heres-tony-abbott-promised/ 5. Oh, what a lovely culture war! Team Abbott’s ideological battle Dominic Kelly 27 August, 2014 Labor prime minister Paul Keating’s famous warning on the eve of his 1996 election defeat – “when the government changes, the country changes” – was only partly correct. Reforming governments have attempted to transform Australia’s political culture and have occasionally succeeded, but certain elements seem impossible to dislodge. http://theconversation.com/oh-what-a-lovely-culture-war-team-abbotts-ideological-battle-30475 6. Tracking Abbott’s Wreckage (September Update) John Lord. 1 September, 2014 http://theaimn.com/tracking-abbotts-wreckage-september-update/ [b]The War on Terrorism[/b] 7. To prevent homegrown Islamist radicalism, drop the media hysteria Kavita Bedford. 1 September 2014 ...tabloid hyping of the threat of IS and the lure it has to young Muslims in western nations actually maximises the transgressive appeal of the militants. The disproportionate attention given to “radicalism” on TV screens and front pages of newspapers feeds into ongoing misrepresentations of Muslims living in western nations. Although the government has assured us the latest measure does “not intend to demonise Muslim Australians”, there is no denying “radicalisation” is treated in the public debate as though it were exclusively bound up with the menace of Islamism. It’s a dangerous game fuelled by the media. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/01/to-prevent-homegrown-islamist-radicalism-drop-the-media-hysteria?CMP=ema_632 8. ISIL and Abbott Rodney E. Lever. 1 September 2014 Tony Abbott is using the atrocities of the Islamic State (ISIlL) to justify a warlike foreign policy, but ISIL did not emerge from a vacuum. http://www.independentaustralia.net/article-display/isil-and-abbott,6843 9. Abbott's 'Team Australia' has a tinge of Howard about it Michael Taylor. 18 August, 2014 'Don't migrate to Australia unless you want to join “Team Australia”', declared our chest-beating Prime Minister. "Everyone has got to be… http://theaimn.com/abbotts-team-australia-tinge-howard/ [b]The War on the Environment[/b] 10. Warburton's strange affection for ageing power Tristan Edis. 1 September, 2014 The Warburton Review's position on old power stations is akin to people keeping their antiquated TVs, despite the emergence of flatscreens on the market. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/9/1/policy-politics/warburton-why-buy-iphone-when-your-nokia-still-works 11. Fossil fuels must be demonised Michael Mullins. 31 August 2014 Even if the report’s recommendations do not make it through the Senate, it’s likely that it has landed a fatal blow on the renewable energy industry by destroying investor confidence. It’s the ‘sovereign risk’ effect was used as the major argument against the mining super profits tax. The findings of the report support the prime minister’s stated wish to see the fossil fuels industry ‘flourish’ and environmental approval hurdles minimised. ‘It’s particularly important that we do not demonise the coal industry’, he told an industry gathering in May. The fledgeling renewable energy industry, it seems, is expendable. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=41887#.VAP8rWOIiSo 12. Abbott’s environment agenda is even harsher than he promised Ian Lowe. 29 August 2014 Before the 2013 election, Tony Abbott gave us fair warning that he would turn the clock back on the environment. As promised, his government has devoted itself to short-term economics and the sort of hardline ideas peddled by the Institute of Public Affairs. The result is that environmental protection is being given a lower priority than it has by any federal government since the first environmental legislation was introduced some 40 years ago. http://theconversation.com/abbotts-environment-agenda-is-even-harsher-than-he-promised-30796

James W

1/09/2014Yes Ken, that is strange now that I think about it. Abbott was originally influenced by the Democratic Labor Party, which was obviously an offshoot of the Labor Party, socially conservative but economically centrist. I remember when he was Opposition Leader there were jitters from the business press about this, but in government his economics have proved to be extremely right-wing. It may be that Abbott personally doesn't really believe in anything but power. What we're really discussing is the ideology of the Liberal Party. I think they have been very influenced by the US Christian right, as well as obviously the Australian business lobby, IPA, and Murdoch media.

Thomas

2/09/2014Interesting collection of people with bias. Where were you when gillard defended slipper’s comments about molluscs and female body parts and rudd was sending young people to be killed installing pink batts

TalkTurkey

2/09/2014Re Thomas, at 8.41am: Hatred of this kind doesn't get a run here. If there are any further spits like this I'll take pleasure in deleting them myself. This one can stay just so Comrades know of it. Fie!

Catching up

2/09/2014I believe that all Gillard did, was to defend the principle that one has the right to be considered innocence until proven guilty. By the way. allegations made against Slipper at the time,. by Ashby were thrown out by the court, that Slipper did not have a case to answer. Is not that what you are basing your allegations on what Slipper had said. Was not Gillard's action prove to be the tight coursed of action to take.

Ken

2/09/2014TT Good to see you still on the job. The previous comment actually reminded me of a song by Kieran Halpin: Where Were You? It’s not easy to look in the eyes of such men It’s not easy to say where it’s all going to end It’s not easy to know what we can’t comprehend It’s not easy to look in the eyes of such men Where were you where were you? Jesus Christ on the cross - where were you The Knights Templer and the crusades – where were you Burning witches at the stake – where were you The First Nation peoples of the Americas – where were you Passchendaele and the Somme – where were you Auschwitz and Dachau – where were you Bergen Belsen and Buchenwald – where were you Hiroshima and Nagasaki – where were you The purges of Stalin – where were you Bloody Sunday in Dublin – where were you Enniskillen and Omagh – where were you Bloody Sunday in Derry – where were you Birmingham and Guildford – where were you Bosnia and Kosovo – where were you September the 11th in New York – where were you Israel and Palestine Israel and Palestine – where were you The CIA in Nicaragua – where were you The CIA in Panama the CIA in Cuba and Peru – where were you Israel and Palestine Israel and Palestine Israel and Palestine I couldn’t find that on YouTube but did find ‘Letter to America’ which was about the second invasion of Iraq under George W. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5Bp3_HAYeg&index=43&list=PLyoh5ULIF0_gsoKNrWzaF0L0QcigT7NC3

TalkTurkey

2/09/2014James Wight, thank you for this grand expose of Abborrrrt's record to date, a teeth-gritting exercise just to read it! So many things to infuriate fair-minded people! I am not surprised by any one of Abborrrtt's individual actions as chronicled in your article, - they are all what I would expect of this yobbo Tea-Party/IPA mob - but seeing the extent of their misdeeds in one year really is boggling. As Ad observes, it's impossible to stay abreast of Abborrrtt's outrages. They are Legion. But your article is valuable in doing that necessary boggling. I wish there were some way of making every voter aware of what you have said. In the absence of that, we must work harder (in the immortal words of Boxer the Draught Horse in Animal Farm) and more creatively to spread the sense of dread and alarm we ourselves feel. And it isn't dread of Islamists but of home-grown Fascists. Thanks again James. Your article is an important record for the Political Sword Archives.

Pappinbarra Fox

2/09/2014Ad & James About anarchy. Actually I was not thinking of the traditional movement of anarchy that sort of believes that the state should disappear. Rather I was thinking of the experience of chaotic anarchy - where deliberate decisions to reinforce the chaos of the spoken word are taken to further an agenda of destruction of core elements of society. This to advantage the haves at the disadvantage of the disadvantaged. People who called themselves anarchists at the turn of the last century had many interpretations of the meaning of the word - and used their positions (some within recognised political systems) to espouse their aims. Some included moving towards stateless or government-less communities. But those were more theoretical positions than practical positions. Perhaps I should have called Abbott a post modern chaosist. That would be closer to what I was intending. Trouble is that there are very many erudite readers of the PS who naturally view any word's meaning through their own experiential prism. I am not sure that [i]anarchist[/i]'s meaning has really settled as yet. And when I say post-modern I am trying to draw attention to thoughts of what happens next. What is post Abbott's destruction of our society and how do we respond in a meaningful way to make our society sane again? Because out of chaos comes insanity. Mass hysteria, that sort of thing. Reminds me of Doris Lessing's [i]Memoirs of a Survivor[/i].

Bacchus

2/09/2014Perhaps "Thomas" should sit down with someone, maybe Christine Lewis might be a good choice, and watch the famous speech again (although I reckon it would be the first time - he seems to have no idea what she said!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOPsxpMzYw4

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2/09/2014PF Thank you for taking the trouble to elaborate on your description of Tony Abbott as a ‘postmodern anarchist’. Your alternative to anarchist – ‘chaosist’ is close to how I see him. The Urban Dictionary defines a ‘chaosist' as: “[i]One who adheres to the political theory of Chaosism. In the current political climate, these are generally Tea Party activists. Those chaosists are far more willing to make a commitment on completely untested economic solutions than they are to think through the implications of their proposed actions.”[/i] That definition seems to fit Abbott like a glove. I have always struggled with the concept of postmodernism, and no matter how much I read about it in Wikipedia and the like, I am never much the wiser. One definition of postmodernism I recently came across while browsing the Internet made some sense: “[i]A general and wide-ranging term which is applied to literature, art, philosophy, architecture, fiction, and cultural and literary criticism, among others. Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal. “Postmodernism is "post" because it is denies the existence of any ultimate principles, and it lacks the optimism of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth which will explain everything for everybody - a characteristic of the so-called "modern" mind. The paradox of the postmodern position is that, in placing all principles under the scrutiny of its skepticism, it must realize that even its own principles are not beyond questioning. As the philosopher Richard Tarnas states, postmodernism "cannot on its own principles ultimately justify itself any more than can the various metaphysical overviews against which the postmodern mind has defined itself."[/i] Because of his propensity to be skeptical of science and disrespectful of well-argued positions, and because [i]“reality only comes into being through [his] interpretations of what the world means to [him] individually”[/i], Abbott does warrant the tag of being ‘postmodern’, but that’s about as far as I can take it. Where it falls down for Abbott, as it does for postmodernists generally, is that he, and they, avoid the challenging proposition that “[i]…even its own principles [of postmodernism] are not beyond questioning”[/i]. Even if he understands ‘postmodernism’, his doctrinaire approach to politics would prevent him accepting the proposition that his principles are not beyond questioning.

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2/09/2014Ken Thank you for posting that poignant poem, and Kieran Halpin’s ‘Letter to America’. As his lyrics underscore, we do indeed ‘need some help to understand’ lots of things in the geopolitical arena.

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2/09/2014TT, Bacchus, Catching up Sadly, the Thomases of this world are a political reality. Even Julia Gillard's 'misogyny' speech, applauded by millions around the world, would likely bring forth the same disagreeable response from Thomas. Knowing one's enemies is uncomfortable, but wise.

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2/09/2014Casablanca I'm still working through your set of interesting links - they're great reading.

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2/09/2014Casblanca I've now completed reading your links - all interesting. To me the most frightening were those about the environment and the vandalizing of it, already well in train by the Abbott government. Can no one stop its assault? Where is the business lobby, which vigorously promotes free enterprise and entrepreneurship, when billions of dollars of investment in renewable energy is threatened? Where are the parents who can see a bleak future for their grandchildren if global warming is not halted? Where is Greg Hunt, who calls himself an environmentalist, who has promised the RET will be preserved? Why are we so blind to the threat of global warming, so unable to stir governments to act now? This government is hell-bent on preserving the fossil fuel industry, and the devil can take the environment. Short-termism in support of their fossil fuel mates is their aim, and nothing except community revolt and the threat of political oblivion if they persist, will stop them. These three articles evoke a depressing sense of helplessness and inevitability. The global warming disaster is racing towards us, but we seem transfixed, powerless to move, even to shout a warning, unable to pull our children out of the path of the impending train smash we know is coming.

jaycee

2/09/2014Postmodernism is nothing more than a rhetorical word, an absurdity...ie; it can only exist as a proposition...not as a reality. For to "prove" it's existence, you have to prove, through empirical method it's right to exist, it therefore negates itself as a principle. The truth of scientific modernism however is easy to confirm...: Take a bog-standard loaf of bread (let us, for the sake of sanity, exclude fantasy and existentialism from this discussion). For such a basic food to exist, certain principles such as ; ingredients, and heat must have been applied...there is NO escaping that reality....the same could be said for a multitude of situations and products...and THAT is the simple proof that analytical science exists to prove structure and method....it's just sad that we are now lumbered with fools who lack the most simple cognitive skills to follow through with stable governance.

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2/09/2014jaycee I'm glad you understand postmodernism. Thank you for your helpful comment.

Curi-Oz

2/09/2014Many seasons ago I was introduced to the word "ennui" with relation to sociological theory (Durkhiem, I think?). A lovely French word that translates as "boredom" into English. But like many French words relating to emotions the difference is in the sound, which I think suggests so much more about where the 'sufferer' is both physically and spiritually/psychologically. A great deal of "post-modernist" art, literature or theory has always suggested to me an elevated desire of the PoMo artiste involved to be 'more suffering than thou', because that would make them 'better than ...' What they would be 'better than ...', I have no idea but the few official PoMo types I've come across more recently have had more brass than brains and connections in all the 'right' places. *amused* Art that has to have explanatory labels seems to be trying to take it into places that might be better explored with words anyway. But a big price tag will get one all sorts of attention that one wouldn't get otherwise! *ever slightly cynically*

2353

2/09/2014Although late to the party - it seems that there is some concern about progressive blogs again based on the words of Thomas above. This can only be a good sign for those that believe in equality, fairness and justice.

Casablanca

2/09/2014[b]Ian Hanger roof insulation inquiry missed most of the targets[/b] Jack Waterford. September 2, 2014 Ian Hanger has delivered yet another reprise of facts already well known, added nothing of substance to general but overstated allegations of ministerial or bureaucratic incompetence, shot a few of the wrong targets, missed some major ones, and generally had a damn fine time presiding over a $20 million lawyers picnic for no net gain to anyone...One could not hang a federal dog, let alone a minister or administrator, on the evidence now in view. One could not even found a common law action for negligence. Not to the Coalition, obsessed by the idea that supposed government negligence may amount to industrial manslaughter; not to the victims, nor to their families, still being encouraged to blame evil people in Canberra rather than silly people closer to home for their personal tragedies. And of little value for money as a review of political or bureaucratic management theory either...If Labor politicians have been abject in their apologies and empathy, and if reparations are paid, it is for political, not legal reasons. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ian-hanger-roof-insulation-inquiry-missed-most-of-the-targets-20140902-10bdwd.html#ixzz3CAA9aB8s

Casablanca

2/09/2014[b]Tony Talks[/b] [b]Tony Abbott’s breathing, and it’s a presentation problem [/b] Rachel Nickless. 28 August 2014 If you want to know what not to do when presenting, start with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Treasurer Joe Hockey, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and former prime minister Julia Gillard. So says Louise Mahler, a former opera soloist who coaches politicians and global corporate leaders on “vocal intelligence” and body language. http://www.brw.com.au/p/leadership/tony_abbott_breathing_and_it_presentation_mDIx3Af0TW1QJ49quEartJ?utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Outbrain_cpc [b]The Prime Minister's speech shows Abbott needs a bit of the old Tony back[/b] John Warhurst. August 21, 2014 Hearing the Prime Minister speaking about “no terrorism tourism on the taxpayer” last week when he was announcing new controls over welfare payments to Australians overseas convinced me that my topic this week had to be the Prime Minister’s speech. He’s not fighting stuttering, like George VI in The King’s Speech, but he does have a delivery problem. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/the-prime-ministers-speech-shows-abbott-needs-a-bit-of-the-old-tony-back-20140820-105q9l.html [b]Tony Abbott becomes a slow-talking PM [/b] Ewa Kretowicz. 19 January, 2014 Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks 100 words a minute slower in media interviews now than in opposition and is also speaking in a more monotone voice, according to a study of his speech patterns. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-becomes-a-slowtalking-pm-20140118-311s7.html [b]Is Tony Abbott Retarded?[/b] (Video 4.35m) Shaun Micallef. 8 May 2014 Comedian Shaun Micallef's makes fun of Tony Abbott's slow speech and repetition of phrases in his TV series on ABC "MAD AS HELL" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLEx-cf6Jdw#t=19

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3/09/2014Casablanca Jack Waterford's article on the Hanger inquiry into the home insulation program made interesting reading. He is an incisive and fearless journalist. I was taken by a couple of sentences that for me rang true, applicable as they are in many other areas of political activity: "The post-mortems of the affair contain many continuing rent seekers, special pleaders, people with nutty ideas about federalism, and people whose opinions never change even when the evidence proves them wrong over and over again. There is also a body of people who heed only evidence that confirms grumpy old opinions they have long held."

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3/09/2014Curi-Oz I note your proposition that some postmodernists have more 'brass than brains'. That fits with the suggestion that Tony Abbott is a postmodernist.

Ken

3/09/2014Casablanca Loved each of the links about Abbott's speech. With a bit of luck he is being overtrained, is over-compensating, and shooting himself in the foot -- turning more voters off. So perhaps we should encourage this change and write to Abbott saying we like his new style and he should stick with it, despite what some are saying. :-)

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3/09/2014Casablanca What a nice collection of comments about Abbott-talk you have assembled. But as Alan Parsons says in the Shaun Micallef's satirical piece: 'It's not how long you take to say it, it's what you actually say'. That's Abbott's real problem, as we now know all too well

jaycee

3/09/2014The White and the Blue. Something has gone awry. There must needs be time to consider…and if I can pinch a line or two..: “Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer…” . Every time I listen to an interview by a journalist from the MSM. , mostly from the ABC. , with a politician or some other notable person , I am finding myself getting more and more frustrated at the direction and the (depending on the interviewee) aggression or the soft-soap tone of the journalist. I listen carefully to ascertain if it is just a prejudice on my part…I have done this for quite a while now, doubting my capacity for objective analysis….But after seeing and hearing several interviews lately, I have to make the judgement that those regular journalists who do the interviews ARE leaning in an obvious bias toward the conservative side of politics. Is this just opportunism or cowardice? Also, from my own memory of events alongside the judgements brought down against the accused in these several recent “Royal Commissions”, along with the excellent listing of actual facts concerning the HIP. Royal Commission, published on The Independent Australia, I have to conclude that there is a “reservoir” of qualified judicial people who seem willing to let themselves be a “gun for hire” to deliver for the “payer” a judgement script straight from “head office”. There also appears to be a willing participation from many higher education academics to just go along with or vehemently support that politics most destructive to expansive or less expensive education for the people…in face of the fact that their own education may have been as a result of the free tertiary education system in place at the time of their own advancement into higher learning.….one has to wonder if they deny even the success of their own capacity as an academic ? And , of course , there are the many lesser professions that are too willing to toss their lot in with whoever will accommodate their personal pecuniary peccadilloes….one expects no better from these. Which brings me to the nub of my argument..and to pinch a line from the erstwhile Jason..”There’s too much White Collar and not enough Blue Singlet.” And this is the problem..and this is the thing that has gone awry..and this is the falcon that no longer hears the falconer. Where it has become obvious to the suburbs that the political argy-bargy, the pecuniary exchanging of brown bags of money, the consideration for the “Privileged Parental Leave” as against the struggling single mother in the ‘burbs, the lawyers and the litigants, the judiciary and the journalists are become so far removed from the everyday concerns of us plebs that it is almost irrelevant to even bother thinking about it….and it is a shame. And yet we curse those “stupid people” who voted one way or the other , without considering their position in the here and now…because, if we think about the above examples, where it seems the many “enlightened and highly educated in society” are – apparently - taking the money and running…why on earth would a low-income, lower educated downwardly mobile peon not reconsider their loyalties and simply follow ANY money?....Why do we expect those with the least clout , the least capacity for risk, do what those of greater wealth and better position do not even stop to consider before tossing their lot in with the destroyers of social order for a grubby “thirty pieces of silver”? And THAT is why the MSM. In conjunction with the LNP. has manipulated the policy interpretations and truthfulness of “promises” put forward by the LNP. before the last election. That is why I see those crappy “interrogations” of the PM. There is no doubt there is regret in the suburbs, there is anger bubbling under the surface so now we have “Tony /Conan” the “deliverer of justice” being cynically promo-ed…They are low..but they know every trick and they just tweak it here , tweak it there…but the biggest disappointment, is the lack of leadership from the higher strata of society…Those of the Judiciary. Of the Legal Fraternity and the Academic Fraternity…from the professions that have established networks that reach up into the high political circles…THEY need another “Weary Dunlop”..while WE already have many a “Joe Hill and Rosa Luxemburg”..we need to witness some gumption from these people to set example and yes!..to “cop it sweet” when the filth move against them..as they have moved against individual workers ,and the unions..for it is from such example the greater mass of citizenry take the lead and then the natural decency that is at the moment dormant in us all will break in a wave over these low-bred parasites that will have all our shoulders bent under their yoke and all our necks crushed under their jack-boots! Damn their eyes!

Casablanca

3/09/2014Well put jaycee. Some of the points that you make are picked up in the following brace of articles. [b]The internet can deliver better journalism, not just clickbait[/b] Kellie Riordan. 3 September 2014 In a research paper published by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Accuracy, Independence and Impartiality: How legacy media and digital natives approach standards in the digital age, Riordan argue the internet provides many new ways to improve the quality of journalism... Amongst her many conclusions is her observation that a third form of journalism is emerging; one that combines the best of legacy standards and the new approaches of digital natives. Such a hybrid form, she argues, requires a more streamlined set of editorial standards that fit the internet era. http://theconversation.com/the-internet-can-deliver-better-journalism-not-just-clickbait-30897 [b]Tony Abbott's wonderful war and the cynical politics of fear and loathing[/b] Sophie Love. 2 September 2014 Tony Abbott's war-time posturing isn't real, but rather a concocted political spinfest — those who know real fear can tell the difference. [b]Tony Abbott: as offensive as they come [/b] The AIM Network 2 September, 2014 It’s News Time. The one hour that I dread above all others, especially these days. Headlines are broadcast, and then it starts . . . a murder or two, traffic accidents, what someone said outside a court room, flooding in the city, and occasionally a delightful story (only one a night mind you – can’t have too much of a good thing ) . . . about animal antics . . . zoo cuties, the latest baby elephant capers, dog bravery etc... And somewhere in the middle of all this it happens. The Abbott appears. Displaying the oft-used ‘ready for a punch-up’ position, hands already outstretched, and fingers pointing in all the wrong directions (someone is really going to punch him in the beak one day for giving them the victory sign backwards) he is ready. The first word is sometimes OK – followed by the inevitable ahs and ums, which is maybe a nervous trait, or else he’s waiting for his next cue. I look away, use the microwave which is noisy, and hope I don’t actually hear anything. But I do. Heaven help me, I do. Because I am inextricably drawn to watch whatever gaffe he might deliver next. And I am rarely, if ever, disappointed. http://theaimn.com/tony-abbott-offensive-come/ [b]Disruption and renewal[/b] Andrew Elder. 31 August, 2014 On the few occasions when the Coalition would be pressed - or even asked - for policy detail before the last election, the response was that detail would be released "in good time". Our fearless press gallery failed to bristle at this patronising attitude, and explore whether or not there is aught but bluster behind it. http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/ [b]An open letter to Tony Abbott [/b] Damian Smith. 28 August, 2014 Independent journalists are finding it difficult to keep up with the supply of stupidity this government has been feeding us. If Tony Abbott could only keep himself and his Ministers away from a microphone – even for only a day or two – we could all draw breath. http://theaimn.com/open-letter-tony-abbott/

Casablanca

3/09/2014[b]Dick Warburton’s 10 minutes of woe[/b] Tristan Edis. 2 September, 2014. Dick Warburton, chair of the government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target, had a horror interview with Fran Kelly of ABC’s Radio National a day after his report was released. In just under 10 minutes, Warburton found himself tied up in knots as he tried to justify his recommendation to shut the renewables scheme. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/9/2/policy-politics/dick-warburtons-10-minutes-woe?utm_source=PoliticOz&utm_campaign=101ec323d3-PoliticOZ_3_September_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_673b6b002d-101ec323d3-302949185

Catching up

3/09/2014So we have a national flag day. What a farce.

Casablanca

3/09/2014[b]This isn't their first superannuation betrayal [/b] Paul Keating. 3 September, 2014 Yesterday's decision represents nothing other than the wilful sabotage of the nation's universal savings scheme. And sabotage for reasons only of prejudice. The Government's connivance with PUP to spike superannuation at 9.5 per cent has little to do with the budget balance this year, or in the early out years, and everything to do with cheap ideology.The Liberal party has always opposed universal superannuation, and as it revealed yesterday through its deal with the Palmer United Party, it still does. www.abc.net.au/.../5717070 [b] Low-income earners hit hardest by Abbott super changes [/b] Peter Martin and Gareth Hutchens. 3 September, 2014 Low income earners will be hit the hardest by changes to superannuation pushed through parliament this week after an agreement between Clive Palmer and the Abbott government, a new analysis shows. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/lowincome-earners-hit-hardest-by-abbott-super-changes-20140903-10by18.html [b] Super delay would 'almost inevitably' mean higher wages: Treasurer Joe Hockey defends deal with Clive Palmer [/b] Latika Bourke. 3 September, 2014 A delay in increasing the superannuation rate will "almost inevitably" mean higher wages, federal treasurer Treasurer Joe Hockey has said, while also conceding employers could pocket the saving... http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/super-delay-would-almost-inevitably-mean-higher-wages-treasurer-joe-hockey-defends-deal-with-clive-palmer-20140903-10bp2g.html [b] Joe Hockey: Coalition did not want seven-year superannuation freeze [/b] Australian Associated Press. 3 September 2014 Treasurer blames Labor for forcing Abbott government to negotiate with the Palmer United party.. As a result, Labor claims that a 25-year-old Australian earning $55,000 a year will be more than $9000 worse off by 2025. Industry sources say the impact over a 40-year working life could be as high as $100,000, taking into account compound interest.

jaycee

3/09/2014am haveing a lot of trouble viewing the page....all running into eachother....damn difficult ..

Ken

3/09/2014I have been putting the pieces together (sort of :-) )and decided that Abbott really wants to make a mark on the international stage, à la Rudd. But Rudd was a diplomat and tried to play diplomatic games. Abbott is a militarist and almost every international step he has made has been on a military level. Now we are going to link to NATO. This is taking us back to the First World War, where we face getting caught up in European conflicts. Will it be Labor again who has to bring the troops to face more local unrest? We always knew his military propensity, just from his language, but now he is making it real, thinking he is a great military leader. Perhaps we can declare war on Nauru - then we won't have to pay them to keep the asylum seekers.

Catching up

3/09/2014I must be mad. I always seen the super contributions as part of my wage packet. I also seen myself as making joint contributions, along with the employer and government. After all did not Keating's L.A.W tax cuts, end up being converted to being paid as super contributions. What I do know, there is trillions dollars now in the economy as savings. Seems this mob want to only see the private sector laden with debt, no savings. One thing for sure, Abbott cares not what we think. We can like it or lump it, he does not care.

Casablanca

4/09/2014OOPS! I left out the links for a couple of articles above. Here they are: [b]Joe Hockey: Coalition did not want seven-year superannuation freeze [/b] Australian Associated Press. 3 September 2014 Treasurer blames Labor for forcing Abbott government to negotiate with the Palmer United party.. As a result, Labor claims that a 25-year-old Australian earning $55,000 a year will be more than $9000 worse off by 2025. Industry sources say the impact over a 40-year working life could be as high as $100,000, taking into account compound interest. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/03/joe-hockey-coalition-did-not-want-seven-year-superannuation-freeze?CMP=ema_632 [b]Tony Abbott's wonderful war and the cynical politics of fear and loathing[/b] Sophie Love. 2 September 2014 Tony Abbott's war-time posturing isn't real, but rather a concocted political spinfest — those who know real fear can tell the difference... I marched in the UK's biggest ever peacetime demonstration in February 2003. Over a million people who could see that Bush and Blair's considered oratory and fear mongering was a web of lies, masking simpler and more sinister political and private industry needs... Wake up, my friends, this is just the last ditch efforts of a floundering government to win friends and influence people. Don't be a patsy to their political bravado. Watch what the other hand is doing. I am not negating the political power of ISIS or their tool of terror. I've seen it all before with the IRA. http://www.independentaustralia.net/article-display/tony-abbotts-wonderful-war-and-the-cynical-politics-of-fear-and-loathing,6851

Casablanca

4/09/2014[b]Can Shorten do the hard yards to bring Labor back?[/b] Michael Gawenda 3 September, 2014, If Labor MPs have managed to cure themselves of the political pathology of searching for a leadership messiah, a pathology that began to infect the Labor Party when Keating lost office in 1996 and blossomed into a full-blown disease under Rudd and Gillard, then it has taken a major step towards repairing the damage done to the party during its two terms of government... If the Abbott government doesn’t recover from its poor start, Shorten might lead Labor to an unlikely election victory. But, unless he can do the hard yards and lead the process of redefining what the Labor Party is about, what it stands for and where it wants to take the country, the question is whether Labor will be fit and ready to govern. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/9/3/national-affairs/can-shorten-do-hard-yards-bring-labor-back?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=891702&utm_campaign=kgb&modapt=

Ken

5/09/2014Casablanca I've been lurking yesterday and today and have read all your recent links (which I will admit I only got to this morning) but there's not much happening here, is there? Where is everyone? Abbott is pretending he likes cricket (with Tendulkar in India). Have never seen that before (although Howard was a cricket tragic) and all a prelude to selling uranium to India. He continues to think Australia is nothing but a quarry. We obviously don't need any 'smart' industries when we can keep just digging up the place.

Casablanca

5/09/2014Ken Nice to find a sign of life here again!. I was beginning to wonder if it was something that I had said or done that was keeping people away from TPS. Abbott also said something in the past 24 hrs that made me think that he was suggesting that we could outsource manufacturing to India. It would fit with the Work Choices mentality of the LNP and the IPA and also with his disdain for Australian workers despite using them as bit players in his performances as Opposition Leader. [www.businessspectator.com.au/.../can-shorten-do-hard-yards-bring-labor-back ] Which of the articles did you find most interesting? For me, the profile of Tanya Plibersek was a good read. It was significant that the AFR decided to profile a Labor politician so favourably. I have been a long term admirer of Ms Plibersek but I have been underwhelmed by her performance in the Shadow Foreign Affairs portfolio. From a strategic point of view for Labor, I think that she could land more blows on the Government from a shadow domestic portfolio. [www.afr.com/.../the_rise_of_tanya_plibersek_uWB5VK3OJKM8FLTDrW2QkM] Michael Gawenda's article did not inspire confidence that Bill Shorten can reform Labor and lead the party to victory in 2016. [www.businessspectator.com.au/.../can-shorten-do-hard-yards-bring-labor-back ] Sophie Love's piece 'Tony Abbott's wonderful war and the cynical politics of fear and loathing' was powerful because of her personal story of growing up in the shadow of the IRA and later coming to an Australia that '27 years ago was one of hope, open hearts, open minds and welcoming arms. She asserts that 'The current Government seems to want to close our open and generous hearts with all the rhetoric about the threat to our shores, the terror threat, the budget emergency... fear and loathing in Australia'. Her closing plea was 'Please don't change... those who know real fear can tell the difference'. I had a nightmare last night wherein ASIO and the AFP broke into my house on several occasions and ransacked it and removed documents. Without claiming any powers in interpreting dreams, I imagine that my nightmare had its genesis in the ramped-up fear & war mongering that has become the stock in trade of the Abbott Government. Tristan Edis has been a consistent critic of the Government's environmental policies (or lack thereof). I did not hear Fran Kelly's interview of Dick Warburton so it was informative to read Edis's damning account of Warburton's Report and recommendations on the RET. [www.businessspectator.com.au/.../dick-warburtons-10-minutes-woe]

Casablanca

6/09/2014[b]The strange and suspicious case of Tony Abbott’s citizenship[/b] Ross Jones. 4 September, 2014 Why is the PM's chief of staff so desperate to prevent proof emerging about whether Tony Abbott is eligible to sit in Parliament? Was Abbott eligible to stand for office? http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-strange-and-suspicious-case-of-tony-abbotts-citizenship,6859 [b]Was Abbott eligible to stand for office?[/b] Lachlan Williams. September 2, 2014 A Queensland blogger looking for proof that the Prime Minister has renounced his British citizenship has raised the possibility that Tony Abbott may be ineligible to run for office in Australia. The blogger, who goes by the name Tony Magrathea, submitted freedom of information requests to the Prime Minister's office and the British Home Office seeking a copy of the RN form that British subjects use to renounce their citizenship. Both requests were refused, according to documents on his website. http://www.9news.com.au/national/2014/09/02/17/35/tony-abbott-may-have-been-ineligible-to-stand-for-election#kT8iRAVGG7aoUvPG.99 [b]Petition:[/b] Tony, Show the public your British Citizenship renunciation form, proving you were not elected to our Parliament illegally. http://www.change.org/p/tony-abbott-show-us-your-papers-renouncing-your-british-citizenship-before-you-were-elected

Casablanca

6/09/2014[b]One year of some not so adult Government[/b] The Guardian has judged Abbott as “politically incorrect to the point of dementia”. New Statesman said Abbott represents “politics at its most crass, exploitative and disturbing”. UK Labour MP Paul Flynn called him “a bigoted airhead”. The LA Times called itself “scandalised by his prejudices”. The Sydney Morning Herald said “Tony Abbott had plumbed new lows in government decency”. Le Monde thinks he is “sexist and vulgar”. The influential Huffington Post said “he is simply an idiot”. 1. Abbott unmasked: ideological warrior marches to the right Peter Hartcher. September 6, 2014 Abbott has set out to resume the Thatcher-Reagan revolution where Howard left off. He intends to advance it to a new apogee... Abbott and Hockey intend not just to end the "age of entitlement" but to intensify market forces in Australian life and to shrink the government. The Prime Minister intends to move Australia decisively to the right. The government promotes this project as pro-growth; it also carries the unspoken social cost of being pro-inequality. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/abbott-unmasked-ideological-warrior-marches-to-the-right-20140905-10d0tl.html#ixzz3CShlsrjb 2. Mixed report card on Tony Abbott's first anniversary as prime minister Mark Kenny. September 6, 2014 - 12:15AM His promises of no new taxes, no excuses, no surprises, have been broken wilfully, repeatedly, and without adequate expression of remorse. Rather, there has been a resort to lawyerly slipperiness. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/mixed-report-card-on-tony-abbotts-first-anniversary-as-prime-minister-20140905-10cug8.html 3. Happy birthday, Prime Minister? Michael Gordon. September 6, 2014 So what happened? How did the Abbott government end up having the worst start of any new government in 40 years? And what prospect is there of the tentative recovery of recent weeks transforming its fortunes? There have been no fewer than 89 opinion polls since the last election, an average of almost two a week. The Coalition has been in front in just 26 per cent of them and has not been ahead of Labor since April. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/happy-birthday-prime-minister-20140905-10cvt6.html#ixzz3CSm002sj 4. The 30 most "Onion"-like headlines of the Abbott government’s first year Evan Williams. 5th September 2014 Say what you will about the Abbott government, but for only one year in office it sure created a lot of Onion-like headlines. Cigars, bookcases, winks – there was no shortage of news moments that felt like they’d come straight out of the American satirical newspaper, The Onion. After all that discipline they showed in Opposition, the Coalition appeared keen to let their gaffe flag fly once again. http://themonthly.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=04a8a28afded33a63164e316f&id=337c2afbbb&e=ca60273192 5. The 'adults' have been in charge for a year (but… John Lord Come Sunday 7 September the 'adults' as they are want to call themselves will have been in government for a year. How do we assess their performance? What have they done that progresses our nation? What policies have they implemented that serve the common good? http://theaimn.com/adults-charge-year-happy-birthday/ 6. Tony Abbott’s year of living ideologically Michelle Grattan. 5 September, 2014 Tony Abbott promised a government of no surprises but has delivered a year chock-full of them. A prime minister expected to lean to caution has thrown it to the winds. A leader without a cushion of popularity has taken big political risks. A man who campaigned on trust has squandered much of that precious political commodity. Tribal, ideological, arrogant and over-centralised – these have been Abbott government faults in its first 12 months. It has often presented an unattractive canvas, desperately needing more subtle hues. http://theconversation.com/grattan-on-friday-tony-abbotts-year-of-living-ideologically-31312 7. Tony Abbott’s first year in power in 18 quotes The New Daily. 4 September, 2014 With Mr Abbott’s first year as Prime Minister drawing to a close, it’s time to revisit the good, the bad and the ugly of it through the words of the playmakers. http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2014/09/04/tony-abbotts-first-year-power-18-quotes/ 8. Tony Abbott’s first year as Prime Minister: Report card on Canberra’s politicians Malcolm Farr.5 September, 2014 ON its first birthday the Abbott Government will be pondering its most painful lesson: Voters grateful for removal of the Labor turmoil don’t stay grateful forever. Prime Minister Tony Abbott — and in particular his Treasurer Joe Hockey — have been chastened by this crash course in the difference between Opposition and Government. The Coalition changed roles without changing behaviour. http://www.news.com.au/national/tony-abbotts-first-year-as-prime-minister-report-card-on-canberras-politicians/story-fncynjr2-1227048882106 9. Promises, protests and planes: Tony Abbott's first year as PM Stephanie Anderson. 5 September, 2014. It’s been a year of both triumph and trouble for the Abbott Government. SBS looks back at Tony Abbott's first year as prime minister. www.sbs.com.au/.../promises-protests-and-planes-tony-abbotts-first-year-.. 10. Tony Abbott one year on: how the trust was won and lost Lenore Taylor. 5 September 2014 Even when he knew he would win the election, Tony Abbott refused to risk telling voters the truth. Then came the overreach, the backtracking and the deferred decisions. The question now is whether voters will accept untrustworthiness as a given. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/04/-sp-tony-abbott-one-year-on-how-trust-won-and-lost?CMP=ema_632 11. The panel: Tony Abbott, one year on Andie Fox, John Quiggin, Celeste Liddle, Oliver Milman, Oliver Laughland. 5 September 2014 The prime minister campaigned on climate change, jobs and infrastructure, while promising to oversee women and Indigenous issues. How did he fare? http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/05/abbott-one-year-on?CMP=ema_632 12. Report card: strong ambassador, dud budget Barrie Cassidy. 5 Sep 2014 One year into his first term in office, the Prime Minister has been typecast as strong on national security but weaker on protecting the standard of living of ordinary Australians. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-05/cassidy-tony-abbotts-one-year-report-card/5720332 [b][/b]

Ken

6/09/2014Good morning Casablanca Looks like it's only you and me. Yes, the piece on Tanya Plibersek was interesting, particularly, as you say, that it appeared in the AFR. I'm not quite so concerned about her having foreign affairs at the moment, as some foreign affairs experience is often (but not always) seen as essential for a future leader - as is experience in an economic portfolio. I like Hartcher's article on the Abbott anniversary, largely because ir does emphasise the ideological agenda that is being pursued. As usual, Australia is running behind the times. When the rest of the world is beginning to question (but it is only a beginning) the neo-liberal economic approach, we are suddenly going gung-ho on that agenda. If Abbott isn't stopped, in ten years time we will be left behind as the rest of the world moves into new economic models and we are left with Abbott's neo-liberal econmic structures and have to start again to rebuild our society and economy.

Catching up

6/09/2014Abbott is not about fixing a broken budget. Abbott is abut creating the perception the budget is broken, to put his doctrine in place. Yes, doctrine not ideology. If the budget was broke as he claimed, his actions since 18/9/2013 would have us now facing recession. The fact we are not, shows how strong our economy was. Abbott started off at the knees of Santamaria but moved on during his days in oxford, to fall hopelessly in love with Thatcher, taking time off, to tour Africa in support of Apartheid. What Abbott needs now is an diversion, yes one cloaked in khaki would fit the bill. As Hocky and others said, when bringing the budget down, this is just the beginning.

Casablanca

6/09/2014 [b]Federal Parliament on track to become most disorderly in history[/b] James Glenday. 5 Sep 2014. The nation's Parliament is on the way to becoming the most disorderly in history, almost a year after the federal election. Speaker Bronwyn Bishop has booted out MPs on nearly 200 occasions - almost all of them Labor...Both sides of politics are guilty of yelling insults across the chamber, but in this 44th Parliament, Opposition MPs have been disciplined 193 times and Government MPs just four. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-05/current-parliament-on-way-to-becoming-most-disorderly-in-history/5721496

Casablanca

6/09/2014Hi Ken You, me and now Catching Up - the momentum is building! The Hartcher piece is a welcome surprise from one of the Group Think Team that allowed Abbott to slither into office without any challenge to his lack of policy and his right wing ideological fervour.

Ken

6/09/2014Casablanca Yes, I thought it was the same Hartcher but couldn't quite bring myself to believe that it was. Perhaps his doppelganger. Catching up Yes, you are probably right that in Abbott's case it is more of a doctrine than an ideology, with all the religious fervour that that implies.

Casablanca

6/09/2014[b]Australia after one year of Abbott: How did it come to this?[/b] Alan Austin 6 September 2014 With the Abbott Government celebrating the anniversary of its election victory, Alan Austin provides a frank appraisal of his time in charge. Reports on the Abbott Government’s first year are rolling out. Overwhelmingly they are negative. Only Rupert Murdoch’s paid liars and Michelle Grattan have a kind word, it seems. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australia-after-one-year-of-abbott-how-did-it-come-to-this,6865 [b] New Ashby scandal could ‘rock’ Abbott Government [/b] John Lord September 5, 2014 60 Minutes (Channel 9′s) current affairs program will on Sunday night air an interview with James Ashby. The promotional teaser doing the rounds of social media suggests that the program will reveal a secret plot that will “rock the Abbott Government”. The language used in the teaser is provocatively inviting for those, like me, who have followed the case closely, and have been appalled by the alleged plot to dismiss an elected government. In the teaser there is combined image of Liberal MPs Mal Brough, Tony Abbott, Christopher Pyne and Wyatt Roy and the voiceover saying “what happened behind closed doors” before a cut to journalist Liz Hayes saying to Ashby “This is dynamite, you agree?”. Ashby says “yes”. http://theaimn.com/new-ashby-scandal-rock-abbott-government/ [b] Global inequality will be fixed with action, not rhetoric[/b] Nicholas Stuart September 6, 2014 Compulsory super was a great idea, providing a savings bank for Australia and income for people in retirement. But exemptions created a gaping revenue hole through which the wealthy have plunged. This week the Bureau of Statistics revealed that our national income's actually shrinking. This at the same time that, quite legally and courtesy of our tax laws, money is redistributed to the wealthy. This is the real outrage. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/global-inequality-will-be-fixed-with-action-not-rhetoric-20140905-10cv3j.html#ixzz3CVNAxsJp [b]Tony Abbott's IS intervention bluster muffles civil unrest in Australia[/b] John Birmingham. September 6, 2014 Senator Sue Lines was happy to comment, though. Almost alone among her Labor colleagues she had the courage to call Abbott's pompous bluster for what it is, a desperate diversion. She didn't excuse or minimise the atrocities of IS. She didn't even argue against a military response. She merely pointed to the way the increasingly unpopular PM was using the prospects of military action as a shield against domestic criticism. She was, of course, traduced and belittled for it, by friend and foe alike. But she was right, and she was right to speak up. What she did took more courage than anything Abbott has yet done. She is the sort of politician who really protects her country. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbotts-is-intervention-bluster-muffles-civil-unrest-in-australia-20140905-10cgc3.html#ixzz3CVLEciyH [b]Saved by security as Coalition asks what's next[/b] Jonathan Green 4 Sep 2014. So what's next for a government that finds its narrow pre-election agenda largely, and so quickly, fulfilled? In steps national security...We might also ask ourselves, reflecting both on the Howard years and the sudden grave dignity and purpose that conflict and fear have granted this Abbott government, how it is that our politics could be so routinely rotten and ludicrously contemptible that only the threat of war and violence can save it. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-04/green-saved-by-security/5717304 [b]Tony Abbott's statesmanship neatly beheads cowering Labor[/b] Jack Waterford. September 5, 2014 Tony Abbott took only a week to break his promise about not going into Iraq without a military strategy. But he has a political strategy of selling the war at home with himself as a great national leader and international statesman. And it beheads Labor, the supposed opposition too scared to offer Australians an alternative. An opposition which, it seems, can only loyally pledge to follow his path. One can see the slogans for the next campaign. "Strong decisive Abbott. Weak flailing Shorten."..... It distracts attention, not least on the first anniversary of his election this coming Monday, from his economic failures and want of control over his political environment. It has him looking resolute, and proud, entitled to demand the support of his subjects. And it has Labor cowering in foxholes, even further than Abbott from any risk of actual engagement with collision with enemies with swords in their hands. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbotts-statesmanship-neatly-beheads-cowering-labor-20140905-10cdx7.html#ixzz3CRumeXD3

2353

6/09/2014I'm here too! On a commercial FM station news this morning, the 1st year of the Abbott Government was mentioned. Interesting that they chose a quote from the Finance Minister that suggested that they were 'on track' but were dealing with a 'difficult' senate. Strange that when Gillard had to deal with similar groups, she was accused of running a disorganised government. Also interesting is the media are making the comparison between "Kevin 747' and Abbott's overseas travel - with Abbott not coming out all that well. I actually think that Shorten is offering an interesting alternative to Abbott. While he isn't playing the 'strong man' or turning up on our TV screens every night in a freshly ironed hi-vis vest at some poor unsuspecting factory, he is offering comment [i]which is being reported[/i] on issues as they arise. The 'strong man' act goes back to Bolte and Bjelke-Petersen and seems to be skewed to the conservative side of politics and doesn't wash well with a large group of Australians. For confirmation - look at Newman's ratings in Queensland. For a Premier to reduce the opposition to 7 seats out of 89 at the last election to be having concerns about holding his own seat in 2 years shows that the 'strong man' doesn't always work.

Ken

6/09/20142353 Poor old Campbell doesn't have a 'war' to fight but now Abbott does. 'Stopping the boats' is on a war footing. He has the 'war on terror' and is making that real in Iraq. And he has the Ukraine and a fight with Russia. It is only in 'wars' that the strong men may tend to win out and, at present, Abbott is playing that for all its worth. And by the way, welcome.:-) It's been a quiet couple of days.

Ad astra

6/09/2014Casablanca It has been quiet, but judging from my own activity, people are visiting without commenting. I've been busy with family affairs but reading your links with interest. After one awful year of Abbottland, we have the MSM journalists forced to acknowledge how poor this government has been, but doing so softly so as not to get offside with the side they supported through the Gillard/Rudd years. The MSM is as pathetic as ever.

Casablanca

7/09/2014 Ad Astra You have earned a break after all the extra writing and commenting that you have done over the past few weeks. Happy Father's Day!

Ad astra

7/09/2014Casablanca Thank you for your Father's Day greetings. I wish all of our visitors a Very Happy Father's Day, for which the weather looks good in most of the country.

Ken

7/09/2014Just for fun. [quote]Moot Points Those who have had so often inwardly to acknowledge — and who hasn’t? — the truth of the brutal aphorism that one always finds a certain amount of pleasure in the misfortunes of one’s neighbours must not be too hard in condemning us if we avow that, mingled with our keen sympathy for the victims aboard the Hongkong steamer Greyhound, there was a certain resuscitation of boyish interest (which, we may whisper in parenthesis, was almost pleasurable) in the thought that the dear old race of pirates was not extinct after all. The world was becoming very stale, flat, and unprofitable. Every fresh invention was pressing it into a straighter and straighter groove, with less and less room or chance for the beautiful curves of aberration. But for the first time for many a day one feels a certain sense of expansion, elasticity, potentiality of outburst. Pirates! We have felt for a long time that something or other was bound to come down and redeem us from virtue, but we would as soon have looked for redemption from the Cave Men as from pirates. We have felt for along time that the protracted process of disillusionment with life was bound to turn back upon itself, but we really had not dared to hope that it would roll back to the romance of piracy. And yet such seemed to be the case. [/quote] While the quote is very tongue-in-cheek, I like the sentiment in the piece, that life needs some ‘aberrations’ to remain interesting. That the control that all our inventions exercise over us has reduced the spontaneity of human nature. As you might have guessed from the reference to ‘steamer’, this is not a modern piece but appeared in [i]The Queenslander [/i]on 28 November [b]1885[/b]. I think I like that bloke whoever he was.

Casablanca

7/09/2014To borrow a greeting from The Conversation: [i]If you are a dad, know a dad, have a dad, had a dad, all the best for Father's Day. [/i] :-)
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?