‘Post-Truth Politics’



Or, How the ALP Should Play the Game of Political Pragmatism, Just Not as the Hollow Man Abbott Does.

So, you will by now have had seared into your brains the immortal words Tony Abbott uttered to his party room this past week: “In a choice between policy purity and political pragmatism, I'll take pragmatism every time.”

Peter Hartcher meticulously explained the context around that statement in his column on the weekend.  

I was compelled to unpack Abbott's statement and reflect upon what it meant with respect to contemporary politics, and especially Climate Change politics and for the Labor Party.

Let's just start by saying that, in terms of policy, it would be safe to make the case that the Gillard government is in many ways an old small 'l' Liberal government, probably not too dissimilar to one in which Malcolm Turnbull would feel comfortable, except for some philosophical differences around the edges which most governments usually accommodate. In fact, it could be said that because the Labor government has forsaken a more radically Left Wing agenda it has bled votes to The Greens. Except, of course, with respect to the Keynesian response to the economic crisis, which saw a lot of those voters come back into the ALP fold and then drift away again over Asylum Seekers and Climate Change. Other than that the initiatives the Gillard government have worked on have been 'Middle of the Road', veering a little to the Right or Left, as necessary. Such as the Health and Hospitals package which incorporated Case Mix Funding, and localised Community Boards to run Public Hospitals, as opposed to control from a Central Planning HQ. Also the NBN is being built by the government because that is the pragmatic and practical course of action, but it is going to be privatized as soon as the government feels it's right to do so.

The same has applied to Education policy. They do not seek to re-run the real Class War which would see Private Schools asked to rely on their own school-levied fees to educate children and Public Schools funded lavishly at their expense.

They are for Free Trade and the Free Market with light touch regulation.

Even their approach to tackling Climate Change is more pro the market than Tony Abbott's 'Picking Winners and Losers' approach from Central Planning HQ in Canberra.

They haven't even placed any real strictures on Middle Class Welfare entitlements, or massively increased the dole to an amount an unemployed person could comfortably live on. Though that's probably for pragmatic rather than ideological reasons. Or is it?

Thus essentially we can agree that the three biggest initiatives of the Rudd and Gillard governments: the NBN, built by government but then privatised at an appropriate time; the Health and Hospitals package - Local Boards and Case Mix Funding; and the ETS/Cap and Trade model for dealing with Climate Change, are small 'l' Labor government in action.

So, what have we seen as a result of these moves into 'small l' territory from the Liberal Party? Tony Abbott consistently deciding to move his party further to the Right, or to the Libertarian Left if you think about his Climate Change policy, where government picks a few winners but generally stays out of the game and leaves it to Private Industry to decide what to do. Nevertheless, the overriding move has been further to the Right under Abbott, and especially as the ALP government has increasingly colonised the middle political ground, which these days has veered to the Centre Right in the electorate's preference. Whether you and I like it or not.

This move has been made by Abbott to differentiate himself and his party from the Gillard government for reasons of political pragmatism, but also for ideological reasons. Though I'm sure that policies, such as an ETS, which Howard and Turnbull took to the 2007 election were compromises the Liberal Party were forced to accept and take to the people so as to attempt to forestall their inevitable defeat and to keep some skin in the 2007 game of Climate Change policy. I mean, as we are now seeing, the Coalition would more likely be happier to just let their supporters in Fossil Fuel Mining and Carbon-Intensive Industries, carry on regardless of the consequences to the Climate.

However, what I do know is that the positions the Coalition are forced to hold on many issues are just a thin veneer which covers their underlying determination to inevitably achieve their core goals, which they have doggedly pursued for decades: reducing taxes on the wealthy, or 'giving people's money back to them' as the Coalition have styled it, which encompasses Middle Class Welfare as well because they can't get away with advocating a large reduction in Personal Income Tax for the wealthy, as they do in America, so they have exploited the Tax and Transfer mechanism, without Means Testing in the main, as their way of getting the money back into the hands of the already well-off, just by another means. At one and the same time however, the Conservatives argue for the dismantling of the Post-War Social Welfare State. You can see this in Abbott's plans for no more 'passive welfare' which would see all welfare recipients moved on to some sort of unskilled work gang situation in order to be able to get money from the government in order to keep hand to mouth existence going. He has already mentioned sending unemployed young people to work on farms picking fruit for their dole, and with a straight face belying its Dickensian undertones also spoke of sending them to the mines.

Interestingly, as has been observed elsewhere, no such strictures are being advocated by Mr Abbott to be placed upon the well-off in return for their taxpayer-largesse to pay their bills for Private Health, Private Education and Maternity Leave from their well-paid jobs. Quite the opposite. Mr Abbott can't wait to shovel government revenue out the door to them quickly enough, with no strings attached and no questions asked.

Finally, in the Conservative ideological troika, of course, has been their overweening desire to 'free' corporate entities from government regulation, such that they can generate more profit for their shareholders, as opposed to revenue for the State, in order that they may make money at will and without control over how they do it, especially with respect to the effect they have on the environment, or the workforce, along the way.

So, for decades, since the Reagan/Thatcher tectonic shift in the Conservative political paradigm around the world, Conservative parties of the Right have pursued their goals determinedly. Sometimes that has meant short-term compromises and half-measures, for example, the GST compromise with the Australian Democrats, and the belated 'Fairness Test' for WorkChoices. Sometimes it's meant exploiting Culture War resentments, in fact inventing the 'Culture Wars'. Who can forget Howard's exploitation of it and Janet Albrechtsen's infamous quote: 'We're all Conservatives now.' It was a 'War' fought in order to drag the electorate around to their way of seeing the world. Sometimes it has meant a pose of moderation, 'Compassionate Conservatism'. For example, the Northern Territory Intervention, which occurred after a brutish decade of Assimilationist policy by the Howard government based upon his single-minded aim to see the end of the Indigenous Determination agenda left in place by Hawke and Keating, resting upon the foundation of The Native Title Act.

The seemingly-compassionate intervention in the Northern Territory was ostensibly on behalf of the suffering exposed in the 'Little Children Are Sacred Report'. Instead, what we got, when you looked closely at it, was a thin veneerial sham of action in order to advance further Howard's desire to destroy the Native Title Act once and for all, crush the Indigenous Homelands movement, and Indigenous Self-Determination, leave the land free from Indigenous control for the Miners to come into and exploit, and to continue the push of the Assimilationist agenda by forcing the inhabitants out of the homelands by restricting their basic services, and into the big towns and cities to be absorbed. Some compassion. Very definitely Conservative.

So, very often - almost always - for the Conservatives it has meant couching their agenda in other terms, via 'political pragmatism', since the agenda is, if you poll these ideas directly, wildly unpopular with the public. Australians generally still want the rich taxed enough, the Social Safety Net preserved, and corporate entities over-sighted by government to prevent their worst excesses from harming the environment and the little guy.

The Coalition thus talks about 'taxes' and 'spending' and 'regulation' in the abstract, never explicitly articulating their real agenda for those areas, since Australians generally oppose those concepts in the abstract while they support their more specific manifestations. The Coalition talk about cutting the Deficit, even as they propose policies which would increase the Deficit, such as with Tony Abbott's 'Direct Action' Climate Change policy, and his generous to the wealthy Paid Parental Leave Scheme, and with wanting to keep Defence spending unfettered, and, of course, with never wanting to Means Test Middle Class Welfare, and constantly thinking of new sorts of tax churn to introduce to satisfy his core covert desire to see the wealthy contribute as little as possible to the Progressive idea of the Welfare State.

So we hear the Coalition talk about 'Free Markets' even as they subsidise Fossil Fuels – an argument that was had between Nick Minchin and Tony Abbott this last week, and which was the genesis of the now infamous Abbott quote.

In short, the Coalition have mastered 'Post-Truth Politics'. They've realised that their rhetoric doesn't have to bear any resemblance to their policy agenda. They can go through different slogans, different rationales, different fights, depending on the political landscape of the moment. They need not feel bound by previous slogans, rationales, or fights. They've realised that policy is policy and politics is politics and they can push the former while waging the latter battle on its own terms. The two have become entirely unmoored from each other.

So, it's not strictly true that they 'moved Right' when Rudd and Gillard took office. They just adopted a new political strategy, especially when Abbott took over from Turnbull, of total, unremitting, hysterical oppositionalism. Tony Abbott accurately foresaw that it was the only thing that could revive the battered party, who were down in the polls after 'Utegate', and it has paid off handsomely thus far. Also, as a result of their poll success, the Conservatives are becoming less and less reticent about voicing their real agenda because the agenda itself has not changed whilst they have been in Opposition. Just think about how sometimes various Coalition MPs bring the ghost of WorkChoices up and attempt to breathe new life into it even while Tony Abbott keeps declaring to the public it is “Dead, Buried and Cremated”.

The failed political logic, it seems to me, behind the majority of the time of the Rudd and Gillard governments, such as the negotiation with Turnbull of an ETS, then abandonment of it altogether, and the re-negotiation of the MRRT away from the RSPT, to make it more palatable to the vested interests who had turned their guns on the original proposal, is that the failure that lies behind these concessions was the thought that the other side would be made quiescent as a result of the concessions made, and that the government would get credit for acquiescing to popular demand and for being reasonable, 'Centrist', and actually politically pragmatic. As the polls and subsequent election showed, that was most definitely not the case. I think they believed they would get credit for compromising, which would translate into votes, victory and political momentum and capital. That has been their basic approach. Unfortunately, it reflects a naïve policy literalism that is absolutely ubiquitous on the Left. Don't they realise 'Good guys finish last' in politics? Not that I'm saying that you should not aim to be good, but that that is not all you should aim for.

What happened instead? On policy after policy, Rudd especially began with grand, high ideals, but was forced by the Opposition, essentially because of the arithmetic of the Senate, and the Opposition's decision to 'pragmatically' oppose everything, to make magnanimous concessions, in order to have any hope of getting anything through the Senate, which he didn't anyway a lot of the time. So he adopted Centre Right policies, and bled votes on his left to The Greens.

Also, every concession to the Right and adoption of some of their policies was still attacked by them in some way, shape or form, especially post-Turnbull, no matter how many concessions had been made, and which is still the case with respect to the MRRT, where Colin Barnett has rounded on the conceded ground as it has morphed from the RSPT to the MRRT, and attacked it again by raising State Royalties in defiance of the concessional deal. He's also trying it on with the Health and Hospitals Reform Package.

Now, from a naïve, positivist point of view, the media and other elite referees of public debate should be calling foul. The Coalition should have been penalised in the media for opposing and maligning policies that they'd supported not that long ago, for brazenly lying, and for rejecting all attempts at compromise. They chose the strategy; the strategy should have been explained plainly to the public.

But the crucial fact of 'Post-Truth Politics' is that there are no more referees. There are only players. The Right has its own media, its own facts, its own world. In that world the Climate isn't warming, and 'Direct Action' can do its bit to solve the Global Warming crisis. The government can continue to try to craft new 'Centrist' policies all day, but with the media the way it is there is no mechanism to convey that centrism to the broader public. There is no judge settling disputes or awarding points. There is just commentary, which either suggests it's a wrong thing to do from a Right perspective, or from a Left perspective, and thus it is simply perceived as craven concessionalism and not Centrism. The strategy – achieve political advantage through policy concessions – has failed. The government's approval ratings are down as a result. Best stick to some core principles instead and be rewarded for it.

Yet there still seems to be this craving, by many self-styled pragmatic, post-partisan moderates, to take the politics out of politics. To have an Adult Conversation. To be 'Reasonable People', to draw forth other Reasonable People with the power of ideas only and together to transcend petty partisan squabbling and 'Move Forward' with a 'Common Sense Agenda' based on 'Shared Values' (are you tingling all over yet?).

It's a nice idea but it's not how politics works. Just look at the polls since the hyper-politically pragmatic Tony Abbott took control of the Coalition, distasteful as it is to admit it. There appears to not be a huge swathe of uncommitted independently-minded voters out there waiting to be persuaded. Many, many voters, if the polls are to be believed, have fallen in behind the Uber politically pragmatic, Policy Free Zone that is Mr Abbott. Why? He knows how to sell his point of view. The selling points of the Conservative agenda – small government, free markets, jingoistic patriotism – have no motive force on their own. They are not binding and support no intellectual consistency. Which is why the endless, tiresome charges of philosophical hypocrisy from the Left are so fruitless. They are the politics, not the policy, and the two are not connected from the Opposition's point of view.

The policy, the motive force among the conservative elites, the real elites, the ones they NEVER talk about, is a defence of an oligarchic status quo ante, before the Welfare State, and a redistribution of wealth upwards. It is those voices that speak in the ears of our political class and their agenda that commands the assent of one and a half of our political parties. It's not hard to see why our political system is choked with veto points, vulnerable to motivated minorities, lobby groups if you will. It is insulated from public opinion, and it floods the political parties and the media with its money.

It is genuinely difficult to say therefore what, if anything, can rally the Left's diverse constituencies into a formidable political force capable of counterbalancing the influence of the country's oligarchy. The much-maligned Greens have had a pretty damn strong run at it. Environmentalists, from a standing start have pulled together a coalition of businesses, religious groups, unions and social justice groups. In a sane world, that's what success looks like. But in our political system it's just not been enough. Labor is still there as one of the two major political parties, so with the ALP we need to place our trust for Progressive political successes. The Greens are going to be hammered even more by the oligarchs in the future than Labor is. And Labor are the party of government anyway. This is also why The Greens have to know that they must compromise on the new Climate Change legislation. They must learn the art of political pragmatism too.

Now, many believe that policy differences are at the root of the failure to dethrone fossil fuels. It's just the wrong ideas, the wrong '5 Point Plan'. A different mix with more of this and less of that will bring the Reasonable People out of the woodwork in support. Again that forlorn, undying hope that the politics can be taken out of...politics.

No, the government and the MPCCC have to negotiate a good package of policies and go out and get the politics spot on in order to sell it to the electorate. The Reasonable People will not magically materialise in support of it and Tony Abbott and the Coalition of Fossil Fuel backstops will be using 'political pragmatism', as wrong and offensive as it may be to our delicate sensibilities, to attack it relentlessly. Because the referees in the media have vacated the field for the most part and are unlikely to call it in the government's favour anyway, no matter how reasonable are the policy prescriptions because it is not in their proprietor's interests to do so.

So. Policy is policy. Politics is politics. First you figure out what you want – for example, in my case I, like the government, want Clean Energy, appropriate land and water use, and economic justice – and then you grasp every opportunity with both hands to make progress towards those goals. Meanwhile you wage political war with the tools of politics: money, message, organisation, solidarity, and a healthy dose of ruthless opportunism.

Just like Tony Abbott.

Policy concessions aren't just a poor weapon in that war, they are no weapon at all.

Just ask Kevin Rudd.

I think that the government, if they use these weapons can prove they are hard-core politicians willing to fight to the political death for what they truly believe in, and they will thus be able to cause the political death of the Hollow Man of politics, who fights only with political pragmatism not policy, Tony Abbott.

What do you think?

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David Horton

1/06/2011Terrific Hillbilly, just terrific. The only thing I would add is that the media are determining where "centrist" politics lie, not the people. You say "the middle political ground, which these days has veered to the Centre Right in the electorate's preference" - I think this is only the electorate's "preference" in the sense that the media has told them that this is the only place for legitimate discourse, that everything is else is the realm of the "loony left" (including of course The Greens). So the public, faced with that framing, agrees that of course they don't want to be seen as loony, that all these smart people saying that left wing policies are "loony" can't be wrong, and therefore accept as the middle ground, policies and ideas which are way to the right of any government, Liberal and Labor, from the end of the war to the arrival of John Howard. I don't know how we get around this, unless of course you happen to be the son of a media magnate and can take over a media empire soon Hillbilly, but we do need to keep plugging away, as you have done so well here, and point out exactly what clothes the would-be-emperor is wearing. If/when Abbott gets into power we are going to be faced with a change in economics and society in Australia which will leave us moving to the right of GW Bush's America (or indeed President Palin's). The transfer of wealth to the rich, begun so well by Howard, will be consolidated and enlarged, the poor will be abandoned, the environment despoiled. The fight is certainly worth the effort, but I have to say the odds against success are long. I had a go at this same topic here http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/05/16/great-expectations/ but you have left me looking like a poor simpleton! Well done.

lyn

1/06/2011 [b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]On the QT: One sentence is not a report, Greg Jericho, Gorg's Gamut[/i] If and when Jenkins does again name someone, I seriously doubt if any motions of full confidence will stop him from resigning if the Govt loses the vote. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/ [i]Minority Government My Arse!, Ash, Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery[/i] I sat fixated. You see, if Harry was to go, and if the ALP was able to install Slipper in to replace Harry,then parliament moves from 72 – 72 to 74-71. And that is without the independents. http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/minority-government-my-arse/ [i]The year in politics: 2015, Tim Dunlop, Unleashed[/i] Turnbull’s decision at the end of 2011 to form his own party, the Republic Australia Party (RAP), had paid dividends way beyond the expectations of a cynical media and the desperately http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2738702.html [i]Shooting the Messenger, The Conscience Vote[/i] It’s easy to scream lies at a rally and shout down others in panel interviews.It’s very easy to shoot the messenger and dismiss, rather than discuss, the science. http://consciencevote.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/shooting-the-messenger/ [i]Barry O'Farrell: From modern managerialist to old-fashioned class warrior, Dr Tad, Left Flank[/i] Much worse is the decision to remove the independent powers of the state’s arbitration body, the Industrial Relations Commission. This would effectively remove the right of the state’s public sector workers http://left-flank.blogspot.com/2011/05/barry-ofarrell-from-modern.html [i]Whose Australian? Derek Barry, Woolly Days[/i] an article appeared in the Weekend Australian this Saturday called “whose ABC?” penned by journalist and former Alexander Downer media adviser Chris Kenny. http://nebuchadnezzarwoollyd.blogspot.com/ [i]Real Lives, Real Votes - But Not Real Science, Ben Eltham, New Matilda[/i] the draft plan suggested cuts in the 4000 gigalitres range: because this is the amount of water that will need to be returned if the Murray-Darling is to have a long-term future as an agricultural food-bowl. http://newmatilda.com/2011/05/31/real-lives-real-votes-not-real-science [i]A Carbon Tax Won't Blow Household Budgets, Ian McAuley, New Matilda[/i] Listening to radio shock jocks and Opposition politicians, one may believe that Australians,already suffering runaway inflation, will be crippled by the additional price impact of a carbon tax. http://newmatilda.com/2011/05/31/carbon-tax-wont-blow-household-budgets [i]NOT ONE OF US: Why the Liberal party room is going to slot the brilliant Abbott,[/i]Andrew Landeryou, Vex News Abbott has no interest in economics. He’s a values politician, who wants Australian national decision-making to stay connected with middle Australia not http://www.vexnews.com/news/13424/not-one-of-us-why-the-liberal-party-room-is-going-to-slot-the-brilliant-abbott/ [i]Questions not asked, In the Public Disinterest[/i] It appears that talking shit, engaging in needless obstructionism, spreading deliberate misinformation and possessing a paucity of policy is in vogue. http://inthepublicdisinterest.blogspot.com/ [i]The Australian, the ABC, and Media Bias, Jonathon Oakes, Sponge-ist[/i] Others have put serious effort into this in a way that puts The Australian to shame, such as economists Joshua Gans and Andrew Leigh in 2009. (Guess what? They found the ABC to be biased towards the Coalition!). http://spongeist.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/the-australian-the-abc-and-media-bias/ [i]Oppn attacks independent climate bodies, Trading Room[/i] "The fact of the matter is is that the coalition is fundamentally opposed to any climate change policy which achieves the long-term reductions of pollution that we need to make." http://www.tradingroom.com.au/apps/view_breaking_news_article.ac?page=/data/news_research/published/2011/5/151/catf_110531_180600_9630.html [i]The source of Bob Katter’s independence, Glen Davies, Independent Australia[/i] If he is successful in calling for a referendum in 2012 council elections on a new state of North Queensland will he call for an independent republican state? http://www.independentaustralia.net/2011/australian-history/the-source-of-bob-katter%e2%80%99s-independence/ [i]Drama In The House As Speaker Jenkins Threatens To Resign, Australian Politics[/i] The more interesting scenario would arise if the government could find a member of the coalition willing to be nominated as Speaker. This would deprive the Opposition of another vote http://australianpolitics.com/2011/05/31/resignation-of-speaker-jenkins-averted.html [i]Parliamentary Crises Averted: Speaker Jenkins Decides to Stay, Standpoint.[/i] we come incredibly close to a massive crisis of parliamentary procedure but we also came perilously close to the collapse of the current minority government. The minority government he himself decided to back less than 8 months ago http://standpointau.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/parliamentary-crisis-averted-speaker-jenkins-decides-to-stay/ [i]Carbon Cate (and Michael and Katie and John and Malcolm), IMathison, Political Tarot[/i] Alan Jones, surely Australia’s loudest and most obnoxious Conservative voice, is another extremely wealthy person who spews forth his views on anything and everything political http://politicaltarot.com/2011/05/carbon-cate-and-michael-and-katie-and-john-and-malcolm/#more-2451 [i]Garnaut. The Final Report, Peter Martin[/i] It's on line now http://www.petermartin.com.au/ [b]Newspapers[/b] [i]Ross Garnaut puts Tony Abbott in a spot of bother , George Megalogenis, The Australian[/i] Pensioners would receive their compensation ahead of the introduction of a price on carbon so they would not be caught short when their first elevated power bill arrived after July 1 next year. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/commentary/ross-garnaut-puts-tony-abbott-in-a-spot-of-bother/story-e6frgd0x-1226066792407

Gravel

1/06/2011FS Wow, just wow. You have given us a lot to sort through with this great piece. Again it all comes down to the MSM, that hasn't once called Abbott or the coalition to account. I sense your fears, like mine, that if Abbott becomes PM, what damage this will do to Australia as a whole and Austrialians, singularly. Ross Garnaut talked at the NPC about our politics, re the opposition, going back pre 1983, where large businesses/companies ran the governments. He denounced the puerile 'debate' in Australia re climate change, and totally trashed the 'direct action' plan. I haven't seen any reports in the papers, and the ABC certainly didn't say anything about any of this. Lyn I will keep an eye out for your links in the hopes that something is reported re Garnaut.

Ad astra reply

1/06/2011LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Gravel

1/06/2011Lyn Thanks for you wonderful links. FS Just read the Ashgbranious link, it flowed from your piece very nicely I thought.

lyn

1/06/2011Hi Gravel You make collecting the valuable links worthwhile. I am so glad you are getting much better everyday. I can tell by your wonderful participation on TPS, Gravel I think a lot of reports will come in today on Ross Garnaut's findings. I saw somewhere this morning, Oh! now I know it was George Megalogenis' article. I hope you have a nice day Gravel Cheers

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011David Horton, Thank you so much for your warm compliments. I am truly flattered. I can still see faults with what I have written, but I guess that's always the case. I'd like to start my paragraphs with better words but just can't seem to find them. Still, as long as the ideas are clearly expressed enough to get over to people who read about them then I am happy. If they make our politicians of the Centre Left wake up and smell the coffee, even better still. As I alluded to, this is a 'War' and it's one we need to fight in tooth and claw, because if we don't then the world will be impelled headlong back to the era of the Dark Satanic Mills with a Vassal and an Overlord Class. It's as simple as that. It may sound alarmist but I'm not unaware enough to not be able to see the portents on the horizon. We need to fight smart as a result. Our Industrial Relations battle and our Environmental battles are key battles to win. The Conservatives have poured large amounts of money into researching what are the tools to convince the populace to their way of thinking. They have bought up the media, they have installed lobbying houses. They have a volunteer army of retired capitalists who wage war on a daily basis on the blogs. They have funded Right Wing Think Tanks which are hothouses for up and coming warriors for their cause. They are doing whatever it takes. So must we.

janice

1/06/2011What do I think? HS. Well I think your analysis in this piece is brilliantly argued and spot on. The big mistake Labor have made since winning the 2007 election is assuming that a) the conservative parties would ever play "fair and reasonable" and be open to proper and fair debate, and b) that the electorate, already accustomed to the thought that their government is there to pander to their greed and self interest, would or could be, persuaded to embrace a government that has the national interest at its core. Turning the other cheek when under attack has never worked other than in the minds of religious teachers (all of whom never, ever practice what they preach). Kevin Rudd was somewhat naive in offering "goodness and fairness" when he decided to appoint ex conservative government personalities to top taxpayer funded jobs and no doubt really believed his government would receive recognition for this non partisan approach. Instead, the ruthless and selfish saw only a big weakness in the armour which could be exploited. I wonder if the Government would not be better off now to throw off the shackles of absolute niceness and add a bit of mongrel to the equasion. If the government adopted the attitude that there is nothing to lose in this climate of an anti-labor media (which includes the national broadcaster) and announced the fact that they have no option but to spend taxpayer dollars in order to inform the public. There will, of course, be screams from the opposition that it is breaking an election promise which could be countered in the first instance, by explaining the necessity of paid advertising in the face of the continual mis-information and deceit being pedalled by the Opposition and its one-man media band. The advertising releases should be strictly explanations of policy, the expected outcomes of the policy and its benefits for the nation.

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011Gravel, Thank you. :) What else does one do when it's raining and cold outside? Stay in and write something because the lightning outside has sparked you into action. I must also say I am appreciating the interpolation into TPS of Acerbic Conehead and Norman K, and thank you to Ad Astra for his gentle nurturing of them, they have taken a load off me and given my mind more time to compost itself productively. Well, sometimes I can do good work. I also just woke up on Saturday, and after Tony Abbott had been reported as laying his strategy bare and daily watching the government flounder with its responses to him I just thought that the time had come for them to manifest the same Post Modern approach to politics, which is what I perceived was the approach that Abbott was articulating, and which, of course, is reflected in the approach of the Republican Party in America. It has been successful and I wanted the Labor Party to realise that they have to get on board the bandwagon and realise what the transformation that has occurred in politics is and maybe they'll take it on board and benefit as a result.

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011David Horton, I can't be the son of a media magnate because I would have to undergo a sex change operation. :) Suffice to say I did circulate in their millieu for a time when I was younger but found it entirely distasteful and came away with that dirty feeling you get when you feel you have compromised your core beliefs to accomodate theirs. As I said, they will never be shaken from pursuing their goals, and so we, who wish to pursue our goals, have to be just as resolute and box clever with Mr Abbott.

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011Oh, and I can never be as good as Grog or Ash because they do what they do every day! Well, every day of the working week. As well as working full time jobs! Sheesh! My brain would explode. :)

David Horton

1/06/2011FS - It think it's like the monarchy - son is best, but if there is no option then a daughter will just have to do! But I agree with you - I don't know how News Corp journalists and columnists and shock jocks sleep at night. I guess the pay helps.

NormanK

1/06/2011Feral Skeleton Very well written. Unfortunately, as a 'warm and fuzzy' idealist the main effect it has on me is to turn me off politics. It seems we have no word to describe the following of policy formation without referring to it as politics. Politics, as it is undertaken day after day in the House and Senate disgust me. I recoiled in horror to hear Mr Abbott say, as part of his vote of confidence in the Speaker yesterday, that; [quote]All of us in this House are trying to make political points, as we should, given that the job of this House is to determine the great questions before our nation.[/quote] Yes, making political points has a place if the intention is to bring someone to account for deplorable conduct, unethical behaviour or even illegalities. Trying to prevent legislation which one side genuinely believes might cause real harm will involve political posturing. But to say that the day to day debate over [i]great questions[/i] involves making political points rather than engaging in sensible helpful debate is fundamentally wrong. The function of the parliament should be to implement policies which are to the betterment of all Australians and should be undertaken by all politicians. Instead we have point-scoring. I can think of very few things which have been said during the QT parts of this sitting that have in any way contributed to the advancement of policy discourse. I might enjoy some of the wordplay but I am dismayed by the antics and posturing. What this means for me (and people like me) is that we just have to sit in the grandstand and watch this farce unfold while matters of great importance are sidelined and just hope that the party that seems most likely to fulfil our ambitions for the future somehow win this stupid contest. There was a brief moment when Turnbull and Rudd faced off when I thought perhaps they had risen above this gladiatorial posturing but the ascension of Abbott saw that smashed. With a one-eyed referee this contest which rewards immoral behaviour has descended into farce. Perhaps I had better go and put on some nice soothing music.

Paul

1/06/2011One of the things feeding into the shrillness of political debate is, I believe, "segmentation". On the premise that we like to keep company with like-minded people, we will keep to like-minded blogs. Thomas Schelling postulated this in 1969. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Schelling#Models_of_Segregation And, people congregating to their side & shouting to the other. Sigh!

Ad astra reply

1/06/2011FS Thank you for yet another thought provoking and challenging piece. You ought not to compare yourself with Grog or Ash. They write on different subjects. What you write is profound. It demands serious thought. It addresses core issues with which we must grapple. [i]‘Post-Truth Politics’[/i] lays bare the grizzly skeleton beneath the budgie smuggler exterior on the beach, beneath the populist hard-hat wearing rabble-rouser in the factory, beneath the ranting pugilist dressed in a nice suit and tie we see every day in QT. We have seen and felt the reality of what you describe since Tony Abbott became Leader of the Opposition; you have exposed the sinister cynical process that is going on under the exterior, so well captured by Abbott’s admission: [i]In a choice between policy purity and political pragmatism, I'll take pragmatism every time”[/i], a stance that dismayed even his hard-nosed mentor Nick Minchin. Like NormanK, I would have hoped that politics could have been otherwise, that national interest would always trump personal or party interests, but I guess that’s a reflection of my background, far from the battleground of politics. You have worked there; you know it well. I am grateful for your exposé. It is revealing that policy has been so divorced from pragmatism that holding a policy position can be dressed up in any sort of claptrap that suits the purpose, that truth and integrity is irrelevant in pursuit of a partisan political outcome. The examples you give, the veracity of which I have no reason to question, reveal how perverted the political process has become. The pursuit of a political objective by doing and saying things that appear to pushing in the opposite direction, as you assert, for example, was the case in the field of indigenous affairs, starkly highlights the cynical motivation behind those moves. The fact that similar strategies are being employed by conservative forces the world over, particularly in the US, suggests that this is carefully and consciously planned, that this is the result of war-gaming by political strategists. I guess I could have more comfortably accepted the reality of what you describe if it could have been demonstrated that these strategies were intuitive, spontaneously used by smart political operatives, but what you suggest is that they are planned in the most cynical and sinister way. Is that how you see it?

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011NormanK, Whilst I agree with your sentiments what I must say in my defence for this blog is that I am advocating that we, who have a solid policy core, which is what I was alluding to when I used the term 'hard core', are the ones that will have might as well as right on our side if we learn the lessons of politics as it is practiced by our opponents. They do it for the wrong reasons, we should learn how to do it for the right reasons. Then we will be able to advance the better agenda in the arena of public opinion, which is where these battles are won or lost no matter how idealistic we are and how correct we think our point of view is. Al Gore gets it. He brought the Climate Change issue to worldwide attention with a wildly successful movie. He has started a Cable TV station with a Progressive point of view to counteract Fox News. He has trained community activists to spread the word he wants spread. I advise you to read the Rolling Stone article I linked to about Roger Ailes and Fox News. He gets it too, but in order to support all the wrong causes. We on the Progressive side have to get on the front foot and stop playing footsie with the electorate before we are swamped by the Conservative warriors the world over. Who will barely pause for breath in their campaign to turn us as an electorate away from the Social Democratic Post War social compact. We do not have a minute to waste. We have to learn some hard lessons and we have to put them into practice. Btw, did you hear the rumour that Rupert Murdoch can't wait for the NBN to be privatised?

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011Paul, I read far and wide. That's how I know about all the tricks of THEIR trade.

Ad astra reply

1/06/2011FS Today’s QT illustrated vividly the stark disconnect between truth and tactics. All the questions (in the first hour I saw) from the Opposition front bench contained gross misrepresentations of some specifics of the Garnaut Report, which I can only presume, especially in the light of your piece, were quite deliberate. As you maintain that this is part of an overall strategy, it moves these misrepresentations from the level of simple misunderstanding or incompetence to rampant malfeasance.

Michael

1/06/2011Today's Bad Abbott: The same as every day's Bad Abbott, actually, as could be observed in Question Time this June 1 2011. "The truth be damned" seems to be his personal motto, and he's infected the Coalition with it. This is not even 'opposition for opposition's sake' - this is the mutilation of a political culture that, for all its flaws and openness to grandstanding, has served this country well since Federation. Conservatives go on and on about the core sturdiness and fairness of "the Westminster system of government", and yet, embedded right at the centre of that system, this Australian Federal Opposition seems to have nothing on its mind but to destroy it. Australians need, as do the members of any responsible democracy, leaders and followers of all political persuasions to embody their philosophies and policies. To represent them so that they can represent like-minded citizens in the governing of this nation. A fair contest of ideas, philosophies explored and expanded on their merits and their flexibility to respond to changes in the wider world, should exist at the heart of political engagement. Instead, a manifest intention to TAKE government's role without any indication of understanding government's responsibilities has gripped the Coalition since they were ousted. But only under Tony Abbott has this intention been fueled by mercenary disdain for truthfulness or any indication (except by lip-service) that this 'alternative government' has genuine interest in the citizens it would serve. In fact, as an Opposition of elected members of parliament, it is already meant to be serving all citizens of this nation. Why then does it seem to have nothing intended than to serve its own thwarted ambition? Or did we see yesterday, when Harry Jenkin's place as Speaker wobbled, that Tony Abbott actually does not dare grab the baton when it's offered? That a bully became all cold and clammy at the base of his spine, and baulked at a moment of destiny.

Ad astra reply

1/06/2011Folks This is a follow up to the last two posts: [i]Julia Gillard’s Fireside Chats – Your Health[/i] Mark 1 and 2. Here’s what you had to say: [b]Suggested names for the ‘chat’:[/b] [i]Julia Gillard to address nation 

Julia Gillard to talk to Australia 

 PM talks turkey to the populace Julia Gillard talks to (or with) the nation Julia Gillard’s conversation with the nation Address to the Nation National Report Report to the Nation Gillard Dumps on Rudd (to attract attention!) The PM's Informational Conversationals Between you and me[/i] [b]The setting:[/b] [i]A cosy informal setting rather than an office A pub with a carefully selected audience[/i] I would add: A community forum prior to the question time A community setting appropriate to the subject (a healthcare setting when health was the subject, or a school when the subject was the NBN) [b]The medium:[/b] The most comprehensive response was from 2353: “[i]Maybe the concept could be updated for the 21st century (either by agreement with commercial TV stations or legislation if necessary) so the Government can explain what its doing and why. The TV spot could be backed up with a text version on a dedicated website and maybe in the SMH, Age, Courier Mail etc. If it is acceptable for Government Service Providers such as Health Districts, Public Transport operators to have a regular media spot to advise of service alterations and changes - surely it's not a great leap to allow the Government to explain policy and programs. “[/i] Although social media were mentioned as more up-to-date than a fireside chat there has been no specific advice forthcoming about how YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or any of the others might be employed. As I’m new to these, some suggestions about how they might be used would be helpful. I can see that these media might be valuable as a supplement to a main event. I am still of the view that these exercises in communication need to be devised on a national front and broadcast on TV and radio, augmented by posting on a Government website, by an email from the PM, by cooperative blogs, in newspapers and via social media outlets. Thank you to those of you made suggestions. Any further ones, especially about alternative modes of communication, would be welcome.

Ad astra reply

1/06/2011MIchael I heartily endorse your words.

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011Ad Astra, As you say yourself, when you view Question Time through the prism of the tactics that I have rung the alarum about, you can easily see the game the Opposition are playing. It is sad to see but disruption and distraction are their aims, especially when you observe that every single question put to the government has its answer interrupted at least once by either Christopher Pyne or the Opposition questioner, or that old fogey Granny Bronny Bishop, in order to bring up the point of relevance of the answer because that answer simply is not of the "Yes" or "No" variety, and only for the reason of disrupting the flow of the answer from the government Minister as it may potentially be so good as to be able to be used on the news that night, or somesuch, which is truly a sad sight to behold in the nation's parliament. Now it's even got to the plainly ridiculous point that Christopher Pyne is objecting to the answers given by government Ministers to their own MPs questions, on the basis of his assessment of how relevant the answer is. Or how effective the answer is, more likely than not. It truly lays bare the cynical exploitation and abuse of our parliamentary processes for all who are watching to see. Which is the point, really. The Opposition knows that not many people actually watch their Question Time antics, but they do watch the 6PM News, and if they can disrupt a good government answer or get their carefully crafted stunts onto the news, that's all they care about anymore. Getting through to the punters. Not taking a blind bit of notice of the rules and procedures of parliament because, in the era of Post Truth Politics and Sideshow politics, it is the transmission of their message that is important and moving the debate around to being on their terms.

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011Ad Astra, I still believe that the PM should be using the Live Blog format to conduct her interaction with the electorate after she has delivered her Webinar address. Simply, the electorate could be alerted to the timing of it by e-mail, as people are now who subscribe to these things, and so, when the time approaches you are sent an e-mail or text reminder and then you get to a computer or use your iPad or Mobile phone to log in and view the Webinar. After the speech has been delivered then the PM should stick around to answer questions from the electorate for about half an hour via the Live Blog format. If she did this weekly, like the old time MPs did via their radio chats, except that nowadays you can have the added interactive experience afterwards via the Live Blog and the visuals via the web, then I think she'd be onto a winner. If you're not aware of the Live Blog tool, it is called 'CoverItLive'.

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011Michael, As Tony Abbott is a fan of 'Guided Democracy, I don't think he has the slightest bit of respect for the Westminster tradition'.

Patricia WA

1/06/2011Thanks, Michael, your comment on Hillbilly's piece echoes my own thoughts. That was a really insightful article HS/FS and cut through recent developments brilliantly. Got me thinking about 'pragmatism' as interpreted by Tony Abbott. He lacks any understanding of its wider potential implications for the country, or even his own party, and simply applies it to his own self-interest. As well, Michael, can I slightly modify your comment about the Opposition? My sense is that more of them are becoming aware of how they are failing themselves with their current shenanigans and realise that Abbott <i>seem(s) to have nothing intended than to serve (his) own thwarted ambition.</i>

Ad astra reply

1/06/2011FS Thank you for your mention of ‘CoverItLive’, which I have not seen before. For those like me, the link is: http://www.coveritlive.com/ from which the details can be ascertained. I played the demonstration, which seemed to be mostly text comments, but I presume visuals can be placed at the beginning or during the blog. This would be necessary to get the blog discussion going. It’s an interesting medium. The question is though: “How do you get a large chunk of the population engaged in the blog? You mentioned ‘Webinar’, but again how do you get the general population involved in a Webinar presentation? For those who don’t know it, the link is here: http://www.gotomeeting.com/fec/webinar You mention an emailed notification of the Webinar address, which would certainly reach some, but how many? I realize that in time the newer media may well become the preferred conduit, but while even those of us who live on the Internet all day are as yet unfamiliar with them, I am still of the opinion that conventional media would need to be a starting point unless there is some way of engaging the electorate [i]en masse[/i] with the newer ones that I don’t know about. I’m all for innovation, but we need to be able to bridge the gap between where people are now and where we hope they will travel.

Patricia WA

1/06/2011 [b]Doesn't Pragmatism Begin At Home, Tony?[/b] Tony Abbott’s made it very plain. He doesn’t want a policy list, In which he thinks there’s not much gain. He’d rather be a pragmatist. This response to his one time mentor, Nick Minchin, urging sound policies, Not cheap populism, seems therefore To dismiss his other prophecies. At least two years from now must pass Before the Party gains victory. Can he stay ‘in’ with boss and working class Till then, without seeming contradictory? Already thought a weather cock, Whose views from day to day will differ, Judging what’s best for his own stock. He’s the consummate wind sniffer. Checking his electoral chances As natural to him as breathing, Anything which his cause enhances Is on. Who cares who else is seething? Even members of his own party, Like climate spokesman, poor Greg Hunt, Left to defend his leader once again After one more climate sceptic stunt. Significant others in the team Resent his ever spiralling spin, Hell bent on realizing his own dream Of an election he’ll sacrifice anyone to win. And that’s nine hundred days away, When one day alone can be too long! How pragmatic will his colleagues be Before they call time for his swan song?

TalkTurkey

1/06/2011H'mmm, well OK, here's a bad hypothetical: - Say the Coalons have already convinced Slippery with sticks and apples to stay with Them rather than accepting the Speakership . . . (Jason doesn't reckon that's possible, Don't you worry about that! but I'm not at all sure.) Likewise they have iron-clad assurances from all/any other of their coven who might think of defecting and taking on the job of (government-supporting) Speaker . . . Right, they now goad Harry to the stage where he names, say, the Poodle, and then there's a vote on that, and Oakeshott votes No as he did yesterday . . . . . . Windsor votes with Government, Katter with Coalons, or they both again absent themselves, either way as before cancelling each other out. . . what numbers does that make? 74 Us, 75 Them (or 73/74) - yes? Speaker can't vote, division is lost, Harry finally and necessarily spits it and resigns(and I would cheer him in one way!) - well, then there has to be an election of a new Speaker . . . What then? ? BEDLAM?! Because Labor would've lost control of the House, but the Coalons couldn't form a Government either, unless the IndependAnts (2 of them) then allied themselves with Them. But hang on . . . They said they wouldn't bring down the Government didn't they? Or . . . hang on, what did they say ? They would never deny Supply? But hang on . . . They actually wouldn't be denying supply . . . But hang on, that would mean the Indies would be facing a new election which they'd both probably lose . . . But then Oakeshott does seem to be sort of unpredictable isn't it? So the scenario then could be an unworkable Parliament! Q.E.D. a la Abbortt! Couldn't it? Then what? RECAPTCHA: resignie materials I forget the exact numbers - I know that's slack but I think I'm right thinking that if

augustus

1/06/2011Feral Skeleton, Thankyou, these are toughts I have been searching for, although I have no comments add I would like to leave you with a classic R.E.M. song "Hollow Man" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6liExGgLhY "Hollow Man" I've been lost inside my head, Echoes fall off me. I took the prize last night for complicatedness For saying things I didn't mean and don't believe. Believe in me, believe in nothing Corner me and make me something I've become the hollow man, Have I become the hollow man I see? Mmmmmm I see...This echoing. You have placed your trust in me. I went upside-down. I emptied out the room in thirty seconds flat, I can't believe you held your ground. Believe in me, believe in nothing Corner me and make me something I've become the hollow man, Have I become the hollow man I see? I'm overwhelmed, I'm on repeat, I'm emptied out, I'm incomplete. You trusted me, I want to show you I don't want to be the hollow man. Believe in me, believe in nothing Corner me and make me something I've become the hollow man, Have I become the hollow man I see? I see...

NormanK

1/06/2011lyn Next time you do a smiley try a capital 'd' instead of the close bracket. Or if you're feeling naughty you could try this one :P

Glorfindel

1/06/2011Abbott has to go down as one of the most appalling opposition leaders in history. That he's even remotely electable in the polls is the strongest testimony to the ineptness of the Gillard govt. The carbon tax debacle, The East Timor - wait no - The Malaysian solution - the idiotic set top box for pensioners program. About the only decent thing this government has going for it is the NBN and the health of the economy. Both of which it inherited from the Rudd government.

lyn

1/06/2011Hi Norman K I wonder what will happen, I am trusting you 3 times NormanK. :D:D:D

NormanK

1/06/2011Glorfindel Great to see that your compassion extends as far as old age pensioners who may not be able to afford making the transition to digital. Or can't afford to upgrade their television and need help to connect this newfangled do-hickey to an old RF TV. Or can't afford and don't know how to upgrade and redirect their antenna to optimise reception. Or all of the above. Not everyone has a relative who can perform this task for them (even if they could afford it). The federal government decided to phase out analogue television and it has a duty of care to provide assistance to those who are unable or unwilling to make the change on their own. Curiously enough, if we now had an LNP government they would have the same obligation and would be undertaking a similar scheme. If it hasn't already been pointed out to you, Nick Minchin warned the Rudd government that it had better look after pensioners during the switch-over or he would want to know why. More reading: http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2011/05/nick-minchin-set-top-box-warrior.html As for the carbon tax debacle - one person's 'debacle' is another person's 'it ain't over yet'. This was always going to be a difficult policy to implement and Abbott was always going to run a scare campaign but as it stands each new bit of information as it is released is going to chip away at his credibility. He already looks like a fool swearing black is white in the face of the Garnaut Report. On asylum seekers, Heaven forbid that we find a solution in South East Asia that might actually serve as a model for other countries, push Malaysia and other neighbours into a more humane treatment of their own irregular arrivals and stand Australia in good stead for decades to come. Better to play the short game like Abbott.

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011Hello! Back again. PatriciaWA, You know I reckon your pomes are brilliant. How are you enjoying your few days of rain per year? :) augustus, Thank you for bringing that REM lyric to the table, it reminded me of how a Hollow Man can twist themselves inside out and no one notices because they are a shell of a human being, but if you have a solid core and substance it is impossible to perform such twists and turns.

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011Glorfindel, 'The Carbon Tax debacle'. Please explain? All I can see is a lot of blood, sweat and tears and bloody hard work going on behind the scenes by all the concerned parties trying to work on an outcome on the Climate Change issue. You must have a different definition of debacle to me. A very superficial one.

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011Ad Astra, You would have to have the Web address first, which people would watch, then follow it with a Live Blog between the PM and anyone who was interested in asking her a question about the topic. You would have to subscribe to her addresses and wouuld be notified by e-mail each time one was to be webcast. They could also go out over ABC24 for those without an internet connection. As most will have a Set Top Box all should therefore be able to access the PM's Chats. Maybe that's what they could be called: 'Have A Chat with the PM' ? ...On Health ...On Education etc.

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011NormanK, You said it a lot better than I did. :D

NormanK

1/06/2011FS I hope you didn't imagine that I was having a go at your blog. For someone who is already disgruntled with the 'politicking' of politics at the moment it was just one more reason to be annoyed. I imagine that there are several more layers of deception (back-room and boardroom deals for example) which would further add to my disillusionment. I'm just a country boy and the good guy should always win. How was the King of the Trolls form today? His first question to the PM calling on her to 'repudiate Professor Garnaut's proposal for an unelected, unaccountable body to set emissions reductions targets?' is shot down inflames as the misrepresentation that it clearly was and he comes back like The Terminator with basically the same question in a Supplementary as though her answer didn't exist. How do you combat that? He's a robot.

augustus

1/06/2011Feral! my old skeleton, how true, "if you have a solid core and substance it is impossible to perform such twists and turns" as is goes against your own nature, something I struggle to teach my children, the one thing nobody can take away from you is your integrity, stand up for what you believe in, don't be a "hollow man/woman", don't chase the brass ring. As Paul Keating once said in an interview, "why would I send myself into the political wilderness if it wasn't for the good the country. Keating's vision was for the next 20 years, my view, any politician worth his salt is prepared to back his seat for the future of the country, not his/her super payout.

Patricia WA

1/06/2011FS, The rain is wonderful! If it weren't that my family is here I wouldn't stay in WA with the dry that seems to have set in here so determinedly. After so many years of drought in WA I can't understand why this government, unlike its predecessor, is not taking drastic steps to provide for long term import of water supply supplementing our wholly inadequate rainfall. This year's is predicted to be light again. It would take many years of more than average falls to re-fill dams and underground reserves to earlier levels. One senses that's never going to happen.

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011NormanK, A Robotic Randy Rabbit. :D

Feral Skeleton

1/06/2011NK, You mean like this sort of Robot: http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2011/05/31/3231495.htm

augustus

1/06/2011NK, FS, re link of Ferals' Unlike a lot of politician's these days

NormanK

1/06/2011FS Not at all like that sort of robot. Those particular ones are learning through interaction with their peers not blindly charging down a hallway with no other thought than the door at the end. What a great experiment though. The implications for linguistic analysis is very exciting - what sort of grammar are they devising, do they find that they have to refine their words to allow for better understanding? Very exciting. By the way, I really enjoyed [i]The PM's Informational Conversationals[/i]. Catch you tomorrow.

janice

2/06/2011[quote]I still believe that the PM should be using the Live Blog format to conduct her interaction with the electorate after she has delivered her Webinar address.[/quote] FS, this is an excellent idea but I can't help but worry that it would expose the PM to the rabid right brigade who have no respect for her or the office of Prime Minister. Would like to hear your thoughts about this worry of mine and/or how you see it overcome.

lyn

2/06/2011 [b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]On the QT: No blog.. sort of , Greg Jericho, Grog's Gamut[/i] I don’t think Penny Wong needed any help. Her response to Bushby (and then to Brandis with his weak attempt to fudge the issue) was perfect: http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2011/06/on-qt-no-blog-sort-of.html [i]Cost of Living meets The Twilight Zone and IT, Ash, Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery[/i] If you believe Tony Abbott, you and I are skint. We barely live from week to week. We live off credit and the good will of the salvos. http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/cost-of-living-meets-the-twilight-zone-and-it/ [i]In the red room, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless[/i] they are rude to public servants (who increasingly give their own back). Eric Abetz must be the most useless Senate Leader of any party since Federation. He has nothing, nothing to show http://andrewelder.blogspot.com/2011/06/in-red-room-this-column-comes-to-you.html [i]Changing the Frame , Mr Denmore, The Failed Estate[/i] The pearls she wore in a protest in Perth last year against the super profits tax are reportedly worth $20 million on their own - enough to feed, house and clothe 200 families comfortably for one year. http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com/2011/06/changing-frame.html [i]Garnaut goes hard on compensation in final report, Bernard Keane, Crikey[/i] Garnaut also throws in another political hand grenade by suggesting a significant reduction in transfer payment compensation to groups such as pensioners over what was proposed in the CPRS, to reflect the pension increase since then, http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/05/31/garnaut-goes-hard-on-compensation-in-final-report/ [i]Can we move to a low carbon economy without a carbon price?, Ben Rose, On Line Opinion[/i] ‘No carbon price’ alternatives would mean that all taxpayers (whether they are polluters or not) will pay the cost. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=12119 [i]Final Garnaut climate change review: the experts respond, Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation[/i] About 55 per cent of the revenue should go to low and middle-income households to offset price increases for the first three years of the carbon tax, with a higher proportion of help going to the poor after the ETS starts operating http://theconversation.edu.au/final-garnaut-climate-change-review-the-experts-respond-1585 [i]Garnaut summary and responses, John Quiggin[/i] a summary and some responses to the final Garnaut Review as I read it. Comments welcome,but may become obsolete as the text changes. http://johnquiggin.com/2011/06/01/garnaut-responses/#more-9848 [i]Garnaut review favours carbon price over direct action, Derek Barry, Woolly Days[/i] When the political game is expediency above everything and the media game is primarily about conflict, a reasoned document such as this will get short shrift. The future seems very far away when there is so much shit-stirring to do in the present. http://nebuchadnezzarwoollyd.blogspot.com/2011/05/garnaut-review-favours-carbon-price.html [i]Garnaut Review 2011 Update, Brian, Larvatus Prodeo[/i] Abbott pathetically cherry-picking a line from page 17 of the report to support his policies.The second says that the report seeks to reclaim the economic reform mantle http://larvatusprodeo.net/2011/06/01/garnaut-review-2011-update/ [i]Australia lags in worldwide phasing out of coal production, Ted Nace, Independent Australia[/i] While the rest of the world seems to be phasing out coal production due to environmental concerns and aggressive anti-coal campaigning, Australia is rapidly increasing its coal mining capability. http://www.independentaustralia.net/2011/environment/australia-lags-in-worldwide-phasing-out-of-coal-production/ [i]A carbon budget to favour households, Giles Parkinson, Climate Spectator[/i] he largely dismisses the case for direct action, or a buyback of emissions that forms the basis of the Coalition policy, and may be part of the discussions in the multi-party committee http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/CLIMATE-SPECTATOR-A-carbon-budget-to-favour-househ-pd20110601-HDU6V?opendocument&src=rss [i]Crisis averted - for now, The Conscience Vote[/i] Debate and challenge can be respectful and rational. It requires discipline, and a willingness to set aside opposition for opposition’s sake. Our Parliament has been given another chance.It should make the most of it http://consciencevote.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/crisis-averted-for-now/ [i]Hey, Dick Smith: if Carbon Cate can take Murdoch’s ‘lies’ then surely you can too, Rod Lamberts, The Conversation[/i] We should support acts of courage in the face of abusers like Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones and the myriad Murdoch minions. Even the largest of foes can be felled by the weight of the multitude. http://theconversation.edu.au/hey-dick-smith-if-carbon-cate-can-take-murdochs-lies-then-surely-you-can-too-1609 [i]GDP Negative. The damage here at 11.30am, Peter Martin[/i] Australia's economy has been clobbered by a stunning collapse in export earnings in the March quarter, all but ending any prospect of interest rates rising in the next few months. http://www.petermartin.com.au/ [i]Household incomes boomed, up 3.4% in Q1, Christopher Joye, Aussie Macro Moments[/i] The household savings rate unexpectedly rose to 11.5% in the March quarter (from 9.7% in the last two quarters). Retail sales volumes had been flat over the quarter http://christopherjoye.blogspot.com/2011/06/household-incomes-boomed-up-34-in-q1.html#more [i]JOKESHOT: It’s a shame we can’t live export Rob Oakeshott, Braemar Sefton, Vex News[/i] The panicked scenes of high farce that followed Oakeshott’s stupid call were amusing yet ultimately just another reason why the public could think less of the leaders they elect. http://www.vexnews.com/news/13437/jokeshot-its-a-shame-we-cant-live-export-rob-oakeshott/ [i]Cheap shot lodges in Independent's foot, Ross Peake, Canberra Times[/i] He has a vested interest in keeping the minority Labor Government in power until the next election. His powerful position as one of the queenmakers has delivered millions of dollars to rural electorates. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/cheap-shot-lodges-in-independents-foot/2181116.aspx?storypage=1 [i]Do you want waffles with your crisis?, Judith Ieland, Canberra Times[/i] Abbott's tactic yesterday was to get up and quote an out-of-context line from the 244-page Garnaut Review (gotcha!). Gillard responded with the suggestion he read the whole report (der!) http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/do-you-want-waffles-with-your-crisis/2181114.aspx [i]Catfight brews after senator's meow call, ABC[/i] Treasurer Wayne Swan says some in the Opposition are behaving like "ferals" and it is unacceptable behaviour http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/01/3232901.htm [i]How mining and media distort Australia's carbon tax debate, Guardian Co. UK[/i] Aside from opposing the resources and carbon taxes, Rinehart has grumbled at how Australia "drowns" in environmental regulations and has called for an influx of cheap foreign labour to the country's sparsely populated northwest http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/may/31/mining-media-australia-carbon-tax?CMP=twt_gu [i]Coalition takes credit for saving Speaker,ABC[/i] The Federal Opposition has taken credit for saving the House of Representatives Speaker Harry Jenkins. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/01/3232209.htm?section=justin [i]Abbott chases the working votes even Menzies forgot, Chris Berg, The Drum[/i] But by chasing the votes of the industrial left, the Coalition risks abandoning its own base, and the affinity to economic liberalism which makes it distinctive. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2739860.html [i]Broadband: for love or money?,David Braue, ZDNet[/i] If Turnbull's contention is correct, we should see a correlation between internet speeds and personal income, with poorer areas showing less broadband because they can't, as he suggests, afford it http://www.zdnet.com.au/broadband-for-love-or-money-339315921.htm [i]NBN Co inks wireless, construction deals, Renai LeMay, Delimiter[/i] The first contract is with construction firm Silcar, a joint venture between electronics specialist Siemens and construction giant Thiess. Worth $380 million over the next two years, http://delimiter.com.au/2011/06/01/nbn-co-inks-wireless-construction-deals/ [i]Abbott's tender NBN bruise, Robert Gottliebsen, Business Spectator[/i] About one fifth of Brisbane and Canberra will have the NBN by the time of the next election,assuming there is no early poll. The remaining 80 per cent of those cities, as well as those http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/NBN-broadband-tenders-Telstra-Conroy-Silcar-pd20110602-HES6Z?opendocument&src=rss [b]Reading[/b] [i]Unfinished business’ — Keating calls for reversal of native land rights laws,,Crikey, The Stump[/i] Paul Keating delivered the annual Lowitja O’Donoghue Oration at Adelaide University last night, persuasively arguing for the reversal of laws requiring Aboriginal title claimants http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2011/06/01/paul-keatings-lowitja-o%e2%80%99donoghue-oration/#more-4541

Feral Skeleton

2/06/2011janice, From the Crikey Live Blogs I've taken part in there has always been a Moderator who filters the comments, very quickly, before they are posted to the Live Blog. It eventually gets a nice flow going with a moderately small delay. I have also observed that some abusive commenters are blocked. Though the trolls always call this 'Censorship'. :)

Ad astra reply

2/06/2011LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

janice

2/06/2011FS, thank you. I've never taken part in a live blog :) And so, with careful moderation this may well be the way to go. A couple of suggestions for the blog title - One on one with PM Julia Guillard. PM Julia Guillard takes your feedback. An informal chat with PM Julia Guillard. Talking with PM Julia Guillard about policies. Someone might be clever enough to come up with a 3-word slogan that is catching and positive (unlike the Abbott negatives) :P:

Adam

2/06/2011Hi NormanK Re your observations [quote]"His first question to the PM calling on her to 'repudiate Professor Garnaut's proposal for an unelected, unaccountable body to set emissions reductions targets?' is shot down inflames as the misrepresentation that it clearly was and he comes back like The Terminator with basically the same question in a Supplementary as though her answer didn't exist."[/quote] Is there an excerpt/transcript somewhere? Am a little behind news as our financial year ended 31 May and have missed QT for the last few weeks. (Yes, I have a Tivo, but exhaustion wins over instead of viewing QT recordings)

Gravel

2/06/2011Lyn Thank you for your lovely comments and all the wonderful links. As I spend a few hours at the computer now, I can catch up on many of the links you provide. Patricia WA Another great pome (as others seem to spell it, I wonder why?), you certainly put into those poems a lot of good thoughts too.

lyn

2/06/2011Hi Ad This is a very interesting article by Renai LeMay at Delimeter : [i]Australia’s ICT industry is fierce and strong, Renai Lemay, Delimeter [/i] It’s CeBIT week in Sydney, and Australia’s technology industry is tremendously excited. [quote]Across the hall, grizzled telco veteran Paul Budde is expounding his views on the National Broadband Network, waving his arms around excitedly as his eyes light up with his vision of the future. In a conference room, Department of Human Services deputy secretary for ICT infrastructure John Wadeson’s voice is filled with passion and wry humour as he shows how Centrelink used a room full of laptop PCs and a 3G mobile broadband connection to distribute close to $1 billion worth support payments during the Queensland floods[/quote] [quote]Now is the time when fortunes will be made and billions of dollars spent. There has never been a better time to be an IT professional, a tech startup entrepreneur, a technology-focused politician or an IT industry investor. In fact, there has never been a better time to be interested in technology in general. [b]For Australia’s second technology boom is upon us, and things will never be the same again.[/quote][/b] http://delimiter.com.au/2011/06/02/australias-ict-industry-is-fierce-and-strong/

Feral Skeleton

2/06/2011Adam, The Australian government website www.aph.gov.au would have Question Time transcripts or downloadable vodcasts of each day's Question Time, off the top of my head. Also ABC News Radio always transmits parliament so would probably have an accessible archive.

NormanK

2/06/2011Hi Adam You can find the full transcript on Hansard (linked below) on Page 49. The relevant quotes: [quote]Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Leader of the Opposition) (14:26): My question is to the Prime Minister. I ask the Prime Minister: will she repudiate Professor Garnaut's proposal for an unelected, unaccountable body to set emissions reductions targets? Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (14:27):[/quote] [i](in part)[/i] [quote]Professor Garnaut did not say what the Leader of the Opposition put into his question. That did not happen. What Professor Garnaut talked about was the kind of climate commission they have in the United Kingdom where a body makes recommendations to government, which then performs its democratic role in the way that governments do. Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Leader of the Opposition) (14:31): I ask the Prime Minister a supplementary question. Can she recall one of her senior colleagues saying earlier in this parliament, in response to a question from the member for Lyne: … such an important decision— namely, the decision and the recommendation on emissions targets— should be taken by elected officials of this parliament and should be subject to parliamentary scrutiny. I ask the Prime Minister: does she agree with the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency or does she endorse the recommendation of Professor Garnaut? Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (14:27):[/quote] [i](in part)[/i] [quote]Professor Garnaut said the independent committee would not set targets or price but would make recommendations to government. Under his proposal the setting of targets and scheme caps is something that would remain firmly under the democratic control of the government of the day.[/quote] http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/reps/dailys/dr010611.pdf

TalkTurkey

2/06/2011Lyn Betcha I can getcha to need a hankie. Anyway this is for your Golden Folder and I'm speaking for all of us who read your Links. You hafta first read the following excerpt from THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame. The Mole waggled his toes from sheer happiness, spread his chest with a sigh of full contentment, and leaned back blissfully into the soft cushions. `WHAT a day I'm having!' he said. `Let us start at once!' `Hold hard a minute, then!' said the Rat. He looped the painter through a ring in his landing-stage, climbed up into his hole above, and after a short interval reappeared staggering under a fat, wicker luncheon-basket. `Shove that under your feet,' he observed to the Mole, as he passed it down into the boat. Then he untied the painter and took the sculls again. `What's inside it?' asked the Mole, wriggling with curiosity. `There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; `coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscresssan dwichespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater----' `O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: (sic!TT) `This is too much!' `Do you really think so?' enquired the Rat seriously. `It's only what I always take on these little excursions; and the other animals are always telling me that I'm a mean beast and cut it VERY fine!' ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now Read This! The Turkey waggled his toes from sheer happiness, spread his chest with a sigh of full contentment, and leaned back blissfully into the soft cushions. `WHAT a day I'm having!' he said. `Let us start at once!' `Hold hard a minute, then!' said the Tweetie Bird. She disappeared into her study, tapped some keys on her laptop, and after a short interval reappeared with a staggering post called Lyn's Links. `Shove that into your head' she observed to the Turkey, as she passed it down onto his screen. `What's inside it?' asked the Turkey, wriggling with curiosity. `There's Grog's Gamut inside it,' replied the TweetieBird briefly; grogsgamut.blogspot.com/.../...o-blog-sort-of.html ashghebranious.wordpress.com/.../ andrewelder.blogspot.com/.../...-comes-to-you.html thefailedestate.blogspot.com/.../...ing-frame.html www.crikey.com.au/.../ www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=12119 theconversation.edu.au/final-garnaut-climate-change-review-the-experts-respond-1585 johnquiggin.com/.../#more-9848 nebuchadnezzarwoollyd.blogspot.com/.../...ice.html larvatusprodeo.net/.../ www.independentaustralia.net/.../ www.businessspectator.com.au/.../CLIMATE-SPECTATOR-A-carbon-budget-to-favour-househ-pd20110601-HDU6V consciencevote.wordpress.com/.../ theconversation.edu.au/hey-dick-smith-if-carbon-cate-can-take-murdochs-lies-then-surely-you-can-too-1609 http://www.petermartin.com.au/ christopherjoye.blogspot.com/.../...-34-in-q1.html www.vexnews.com/.../ www.canberratimes.com.au/.../2181116.aspx www.canberratimes.com.au/.../2181114.aspx www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/01/3232901.htm www.guardian.co.uk/.../mining-media-australia-carbon-tax www.abc.net.au/.../3232209.htm?section=justin http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2739860.html www.zdnet.com.au/...or-love-or-money-339315921.htm delimiter.com.au/.../ www.businessspectator.com.au/.../NBN-broadband-tenders-Telstra-Conroy-Silcar-pd20110602-HES6Z blogs.crikey.com.au/.../#more-4541 . . . `O stop, stop,' cried the Turkey in ecstacies:(sic!TT) `This is too much!' `Do you really think so?' enquired the Tweetie-Bird seriously. `It's only what I always send everyone on The Political Sword: and the other bloggers are always telling me that I'm a mean birdie and cut it VERY fine!' NOT. We hold you in awe. Hankie, Lyn? :)

TalkTurkey

2/06/2011The :( above happened by accident ! :)

Feral Skeleton

2/06/2011Talk Turkey, You have accidentally figured out how to do something new! Bravo! :D

lyn

2/06/2011Hi Talk Turkey Magic or what. Oh! you amazing adorable Turkey. Illuminating TPS with wonderful gobbles everyday. Looks as though I will have to organise a golden vault. I did get a tissue to wipe my mascara, running from so much laughter. Love your links, brilliant work Talk Turkey. Cheers :):):):):):D:D:D:D

Michael

2/06/2011Today's Bad Abbott. Tony Abbott treating everyone around him as a mug again, both by lying to their faces, and by treating them as background for his own little dance. Addressing a room full of mining executives yesterday, he told men and women who are investing billions of dollars into their industry over the next few years that a carbon tax will destroy them. They know it won't, they know Abbott won't stop one coming in whether now or down the track, and they are putting great piles of their investors' money where their business acumen is. Abbott knows that, so he enters into the charade of warning people who have no need of being warned and no real fear that what he's saying will bring the end of existence as they know it, because... He's seeking footage to run on the audio/visual media which will suggest to the general public that what he's saying is accepted as true by a knowledgeable group he's addressing. So, instead of talking to the miners about what a Coalition government has as real policy for their industry, he uses a roomful of people as window-dressing. They are cast as extras so the star performer can trot out his regular shtick. They should be insulted by that, and tell him so. The bigger lie to the wider world is that his 'death of civilization' rant is shared by his immediate audience in that room, and that therefore everyday 'forgotten families' should take their lead from such experts, and shudder too with apocalyptic fearfulness. Once politicians gave speeches to enunciate social visions and political philosophies. Tony Abbott speaks to hear himself and provide minimum-time grabs for the TV news. The real 'toxic tax' in Australia today is the unending toxicity with which Tony Abbott taxes the minds and hearts of concerned citizens.

TalkTurkey

2/06/2011Only laughter tears Lyn? You're a hard bird. Mmmmmm Tweetie with running mascara . . ? . . :) "Yellow Bird Up high in banana tree Yellow bird Eyes running mascara see . . . . . . Black and yellow you From mascara too . . ." erm can't think of clever last line.

NormanK

2/06/2011Harry Jenkins: "The Member for Sturt (Christopher Pyne) will resume [b]her[/b] seat." Thank-you Sigmund Freud.

Jason

2/06/2011AshGhebranious | 18 seconds ago #auspol re the climate science. If you doubt it, why do you even step into a plane? Same science makes them fly. Physics, maths, chemistry

TalkTurkey

2/06/2011Gravel said "Patricia WA Another great pome (as others seem to spell it, I wonder why?), you certainly put into those poems a lot of good thoughts too." Reminds me of the famous dunny wall graffiti: "I Like Grils" Underneath it in a different hand "Don't you mean 'Girls'?" And in yet a third hand below that : "HEY! WHAT ABOUT US GRILS?!" :) We wright pomes round here. What are "poems"?

Feral Skeleton

2/06/2011Michael, Very fine point which goes to the heart of the theme of my blog, 'Post Truth Politics'. Tony Abbott doesn't care whether what he is saying is truthful to the audience he is saying it to, although I guess he always holds out hope that he can persuade all who are in attendence for his daily diatribe of the rightness of his cause, the more the merrier that join his crusade, however, it is the meta audience that is his real target, the ones who will be watching the 6PM News. This is why I think he constantly refreshes his message around his core theme and meme, as he knows that the 6PM beast needs to be constantly fed with fresh meat, otherwise they will soon tire of the same old song and dance. Which is why the Right have employed an army of message crafters to keep supplying 'The Leader' with his zingers. I don't know if you read that transcript of Tim Wilson from the IPA in Senate Estimates the other week, appearing on behalf of the Food and Grocery Council, another Conservative Front Organisation led by a former Liberal MP, Kate Carnell, but it was instructive to observe how he danced around the point that the Labor Senator was trying to get at, which was obvious to a casual observer but which he didn't want to concede. Thus do the Right Wing Spear Carriers earn their stripes and do their time for the cause, as they get the opportunity to do it over and over and over again, as they flit around from Conservative media outlet, to Op Ed page in the Conservative newspapers and magazines, to Conservative blogs, to The Drum, and to conferences of Conservative associations and the Conservative political party's gatherings too. So, by the time they get into parliament, which is the pathway that the best of these go down eventually, they get to hone their message even more as a result of all the speeches they have to give for and against legislation. If they are really good at it, they end up as Shadow Ministers and Opposition Leader, able to convincingly craft a verbal campaign based upon a tissue of lies, confected outrage and manipulation of all the fora at their disposal. Like Tony Abbott. Truth doesn't come into it. What effect the words will have does.

Feral Skeleton

2/06/2011Michael, You might enjoy reading this, if you haven't already: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/role-reversal-as-liberals-belt-labor-with-class-war-rhetoric-20110601-1fgjv.html

TalkTurkey

2/06/2011Tony Abbortt never tells lies! This is true, though it's quite a surprise: 'cos he said "Yes I lie!" So he can't, though he try! Who'd'a thunk Phoney Tony so wise!

Patricia WA

2/06/2011I think Gravel was away when I explained why I call them 'pomes' and how [quote]polliepomes.com[/quote]was born. I don't think many politicians worthy of poetry, particularly not Tony Abbott and Co. Writing 'pomes' is an enjoyable way of criticising them and takes the edge off my rage. I must admit though that I would like to write something worthwhile about Julia Gillard whom I find genuinely deserving of admiration. It angers me that the MSM and the Coalition have denigrated her so effectively amongst Australians generally. The 'liar' bit is particularly unfair. I am astonished that she keeps her temper, seems calm and is more often seen smiling than not in her public appearances. She is a very attractive woman and I understand that most people when meeting her warm to her. That's all before one considers her considerable intellectual powers and conciliation skills. It's no mean feat holding Labor factions together, let alone a government which depends on support from Greens and several Independents. None of which takes into account that she is determinedly herself, a non-believer living openly with a partner who has accompanied her without affront as the guest of overseas heads of state. In fact, far from affronting anyone she seems to make friends everywhere. When is our media going let Australia know what a treasure we have as PM?

janice

2/06/2011[quote]When is our media going let Australia know what a treasure we have as PM? [/quote] That is question I ask everyday, Patricia. Then again, I fail to see how people can allow themselves to be so hoodwinked and succumb so easily to lies and distortions as though they've been hypnotised.

NormanK

2/06/2011Patricia WA & janice I am (hopefully) in the process of putting together an original piece on perception which might go some way towards answering your questions about Ms Gillard. Briefly, the opposition and the media have sown seeds of doubt about the PM's reliability, pointed out perceived physical shortcomings, questioned her motives as being anything other than self-serving and painted her as being outside the norm. A few examples - far from exhaustive. Item 1: reliability. Despite numerous assurances that she would not do so she 'stabbed her boss in the back'. She lied about a carbon tax. She coined the term 'real Julia' implying that there was a 'fake Julia'. Item 2: physical appearance. Her earlobes are huge. Her dress sense is appalling therefore close observation should be made of her body shape. She doesn't look good on morning television (for whatever reason) and can be criticised for it. Item 3: self-serving politician. Easy enough to do to any politician especially if they do something which is vaguely unpopular. All politicians can be shown to be feathering their own nest regardless of whether they are actually doing so. Item 4: the outsider. Ms Gillard is unmarried. She is childless. She doesn't believe in God. She is 'wooden' and lacks empathy. She is therefore out of touch with 'ordinary' Australians (not that any such animal actually exists). Think of a sitcom that decides to run an episode where the husband becomes jealous of his wife even though we know it will be unfounded. Some small piece of evidence sets the ball rolling - "was that your wife I saw in a bar downtown last night?". Other little bits of behaviour which might otherwise be overlooked grow in stature - a mysterious entry on a credit card account, new perfume, an old high school flame turns up. Once it reaches tipping point even extraneous bits of information can be dragged in to suit the new reality - unusual mileage on the car, a new hairdo, cooking from a new recipe, a wrong number, singing in the shower. Once his eye and ear start to search for material that fits the new reality, miraculously more and more evidence will appear until ultimately nothing will convince the husband that his presumptions are wrong. Of course in the sitcom it's all about their upcoming wedding anniversary and he feels foolish. In this case, I have no trouble imagining that some people can no longer stand the sound of her voice (because she's lying), the sight of her on TV (because she is ugly), the appearance of something she has said being quoted in a news article (because it is all about her) and won't tolerate positive discussion of her (because she has no idea what [i]we're[/i] going through). They probably don't feel this way because of any one thing but like in the sitcom the evidence seems to build up until their perception reaches tipping point and after that everything that she does can be squeezed into the mould of the new reality. Maybe.

Jason

2/06/2011latikambourke | 15 minutes ago First sexism, now racism. Govt Senator Doug Cameron takes offence at a 'Scottish' jibe. http://twaud.io/rTPQ

Ad astra reply

2/06/2011Hi Lyn Sorry I've been slow to respond to your delimiter link; I've been busy all day doing a lot of other things. It's such an exciting report on developments in the IT world. And to think that Tony Abbott has commissioned Malcolm Turnbull to 'demolish' the NBN! Incredible.

TalkTurkey

2/06/2011Have you ever had the pleasure of watching a small-pea-sized bit of sodium placed in a bowl of water? It's a very active light soft white metal and when it meets water it zips around the surface (a bigger bit will explode mark my words!) getting smaller and producing heat as it forms sodium hydroxide. It goes running around madly getting faster and faster as it gets smaller and smaller and hotter and hotter. Finally it gets infinitely tiny and crazier and crazier and disappears and it's gone. Get the picture, Tony Abbortt? :)

TalkTurkey

2/06/2011When is our media going let Australia know what a treasure we have as PM? Patricia WA said "When is our media going let Australia know what a treasure we have as PM?" Janice replied "That is a question I ask everyday, Patricia." Why do you think I write her name *J*U*L*I*A* ?! On anything like fair territory she knocks spots off everybody else. In parliament she is the best since Keating, and everybody knows it. And her job is incredibly difficult, unprecedentedly so. But she is staunch and young and determined, and she will see her agenda through. What we can do for her is steadfastly to form part of the wedge behind her at the point. What else is there? She is the Leader and she's had just a year, she's on a perpetual knife edge and she's not wavering, she's doing good. Just don't talk her down Folks!

Feral Skeleton

2/06/2011I'm here to speak up for Chris Bowen. Under extreme duress he is doing amazing work in trying to find a GLOBAL framework and solution to the Asylum Seeker problem. A Herculaen effort in order to break the People Smuggler's business model which will be a template for other countries around the world in time to come. With great forebearance he also has to put up with the "pissant"(my word of the week thanks to Prof Garnaut), antics of the Lateline team, who think they have a Walkley Award-winning scoop tonight wrt the Regional Framework Agreement being nutted out between the UNHCR, Malaysia, and Australia, from which they draw all sorts of spurious deductions about finalities which are entriely spurious because the mischievously-leaked communications appear to refer to a few days communications along the way of an arduous but fruitful negotiation. Sheesh! Anyway, chukas to Chris Bowen because, even though Tony Jones was doing his best Buttinski impression, not happy to let the Minister finish his answers, Chris Bowen patiently explained all the many ways from Sunday that Tony Jones and Steve Cannane, who ferreted out the leaks(probably from some old JJJ fan, desk jockey in Immigration), were both misleading in the inferences they drew from the leaked documents. As did Richard Tole, the UNHCR Representative engaged in the negotiations. Also, one of the firm conclusions I drew from the interviews is that this Caning beat-up that Scott Morrison and The Greens are engaged in atm, is on track to be resolved in the agreement to be struck between the countries. Another load of hot air that will go out of the Opposition upon the 'Decision & Delivery' of the government.

Feral Skeleton

2/06/2011PatriciaWA, Do you think Colin Barnett's 'wacky' idea of a pipeline from the Far North West of WA carrying water to Perth is such a bad idea now? Especially considering the SW of WA will be so badly affected by Climate Change, and also the fact that the Mining Boom will make the State flush with the sort of cash that could pay for it? I wrote this post just for you because the ReCaptcha was: 'linguists' :)

lyn

3/06/2011 [b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]Drop kick and punt, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless[/i] To know Tony Abbott, and still project your hopes for a positive agenda onto him, is simply dishonest http://andrewelder.blogspot.com/2011/06/drop-kick-and-punt-souvent-pour-samuser.html [i]Political Canary, David Horton, The Watermelon Blog[/i] So Barnaby seems to believe that the federal government, presumably Julia Gillard personally, takes money away from people and keeps it for herself, http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/06/02/political-canary/ [i]Mee-yowww!, Neil Cook, The Bannerman[/i] Distasteful, bigoted and hateful. Not in the national interest, nor in the public interest as representatives in our Parliament. In my view, Wong is right to carry the ideal forward, http://www.waddayano.org/blog/2011/06/meeyowww.php#more [i]The ‘C’ words – a week in review, Ash, Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery[/i] No one is telling you to not use a censure when you actually have a good point to make Tony, but this willy nilly use of it has to stop ) http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/the-c-words-a-week-in-review/ [i]Conscience: The ripple of hope, Andrew Catsaras[/i] The attacks on Cate Blanchett this week have been a disgrace, and those making the attacks have behaved contemptibly - both in the media and in the Parliament. http://andrewcatsaras.blogspot.com/ [i]Reminding us why ALP inactivity is preferable to Liberal Party destructiveness, Jeremy Sear, An Onymous Lefty[/i] Seriously, whenever there’s a terrible Labor government and you’re thinking “the Liberals can’t be any worse than this”, please remember – YES, THEY CAN http://anonymouslefty.wordpress.com/ [i]What happens to News Corp newsrooms when Rupert goes green?, Barry Everingham,Independent Australia[/i] What will be the reaction of the Gillard haters in News Limited’s newsrooms when Rupert finally gets the message about Tony Abbott? http://www.independentaustralia.net/2011/media-2/what-happens-to-news-corp-newsrooms-when-rupert-goes-green/ [i]For richer or poorer: The delicate art of messing with middle class welfare, Peter Whiteford, Club Troppo[/i] The Opposition Leader signaled he may oppose these cuts, saying they are a form of “class war” that hammers everyday households. http://clubtroppo.com.au/2011/06/02/for-richer-or-poorer-the-delicate-art-of-messing-with-middle-class-welfare/ [i]By any means necessary, The Conscience Vote[/i] if you pass this bill, you will be condoning discrimination and enshrining bigotry.Is that the legacy you wish to leave of your time in public service? http://consciencevote.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/by-any-means-necessary/ [i]Hawke joins carbon tax battle, Jeremy Thompson, ABC[/i] Bob Hawke has labelled Liberal leader Tony Abbott "as mad as a cut snake" for his opposition to the Government's climate change proposals. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/02/3233669.htm [i]Gillard Celebrates The Mining Boom, New Matilda[/i] Would Gillard’s "let’s be friends" speech have given Johnston hope that the two fronts could move beyond name calling? MCA chief executive Mitch Hooke had these words for Gillard: http://newmatilda.com/2011/06/02/gillard-celebrates-mining-boom [i]Right-Populist monopoly media attempts to ‘deprive carbon debate of oxygen'Tristan Ewins, Left Focus[/i] reveal the ‘convenient fictions’ propagated by the conservative parties in attempting to build up pressure for an early election. http://leftfocus.blogspot.com/2011/06/right-populist-monopoly-media-attempts.html [i]Economists' open letter calls for carbon price, Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation[/i] Revenue raised from the price scheme should pay for compensation to low-income households, while aiming for budget neutrality in the long run. http://theconversation.edu.au/economists-open-letter-calls-for-carbon-price-1639 [i]Why the global carbon price should probably be around $50/tonne ( nerdy/wonkish, but not too difficult, I hope), John Quiggin[/i] The best we can hope for in the short run is a collection of national policies that mostly give an effective price around $25/tonne, about half of what we ought to have. http://johnquiggin.com/2011/06/02/why-the-global-carbon-price-should-probably-be-around-50tonne-nerdywonkish-but-not-too-difficult-i-hope/#more-9860 [i]The Economist: libertarian leftism + neo-English pan-European sensibility, Christopher Joye. Aussie Macro Moments[/i] Thus the most "admirable and capable" federal political figures nominated are Malcolm Turnbull,"the impressive" Penny Wong and Greg Combet. http://christopherjoye.blogspot.com/2011/06/economist-libertarian-leftism-neo.html [i]NBN BUZZ: Risky Quigley hits the volume, Alexander Liddington, Technology Spectator[/i] and reduce the chances of a destructive NBN cost blowout. And, although the Liberal’s Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull don’t recognise it yet, this deal will put unexpected pressures on them.” http://technologyspectator.com.au/nbn-buzz/nbn-buzz-risky-quigley-hits-volume [i]Forget strategy, Conroy needs a reason, Stilgherrian, Technology Spectator[/i] But, alas, the NDES is a political document, and at its heart is a political disconnect. Turnbull spotted it on day one. Now there’ll never be any discussion of the merits of the strategy’s goals because Turnbull http://technologyspectator.com.au/nbn-buzz/forget-strategy-conroy-needs-reason [i]A GDP one-off? You'd want to hope so, Peter Martin[/i] Mr Swan said the caution was “partially a result of what people read about the international economy,and partially a consequence of the fact that our two most significant trading partners had very significant natural disasters.” http://www.petermartin.com.au/ [i]A further iteration of the ABC complaints saga - I have turned off but others may still have some arrows in the quiver, Mark Thomson, Seeking Asylum Downunder[/i] News24, which is dominated by journalists such as Melissa Clarke, Virginia Trioli, et al, who wear their political predilections on their sleeve. Trioli rudely demands accountability http://seekingasylumdownunder2.blogspot.com/

lyn

3/06/2011Good Morning Ad Re your comment 10:40 PM, don't worry Ad. As much as we all love TPS, I am sure everyone realises our other life has to come first, those everyday chores must be done. You know the other people in our life demand bits of attention too, funny about that. The article from Delimeter was very interesting and I thought so exciting. I would have loved to have gone the to see the display. They reported Paul Budde was there waving his arms around in excitement. Paul is a loyal supporter of the NBN and I enjoy his enthusiasm very much. Have a nice day Ad

David Horton

3/06/2011FS - the WA pipeline proposal has quite a lot of obvious things against it (I am no expert and there are probably a lot more): You would be bulldozing a massive scar across several thousand km of landscape, most of it fragile semi arid country. You would be building a solid wall of pipe across the same extent of country, forming a physical barrier for many animal species. The cement production to produce the pipe would cause a massive production of greenhouse gases. The energy needed to pump the water from the top of continent to the bottom would also be a massive producer of ghg unless they can find a way to do it with renewable energy, which I doubt. Taking the water out at the top end is going to affect the water balance and ecology of those waterways and wetlands. Putting the water in at the bottom end will also affect water budgets. There will be a transfer of potential pest and disease species of all kinds in the water. The water supply for Perth is a major problem - climate change deniers should note that this is really the first major city and region that is already coming to grips with climate change in Australia. Another solution proposed is to start extracting water from the SW Yarragadee aquifer - an earlier proposal for this was stopped after massive protest from ecologists and conservationists pointing pout the ecological damage that would be caused by depleting this aquifer. Now it is back on the table. As is desalination, probably the best option, but it must be done with renewable energy, and some solution to the salt produced must be found that doesn't involve pumping it out to sea. All of that also needs to be done in the context of after saving measures by public, industry, agriculture. The idea that doing something about climate change is too costly has to be put against examples like this where trying to deal with the effects of the change are going to be very costly in all kinds of ways.

Ad astra reply

3/06/2011LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Michael

3/06/2011Today's Bad Abbott. 'Boofheads first'. This is not a quote from Abbott, this is a definition of his political thesis. I will never forgive Howard and Costello for, all the time talking about the 'country of the fair go', actually turning Australia into the nation of "me first". But Abbott, leader of a party who does not admonish a fellow parliamentarian for calling out "Who cares?" in the House of Representatives about what unattended-to climate change will do to Kakadu National Park (and by extension, right across Australia), and who can't wipe the smirk off his face when asked about one of his Senators saying "miaow" to a female fellow-parliamentarian, has reduced politics to a level only seen otherwise in the kindergarten playground. This man has no concern for the national interest - he has it only in his party's interest, and by unbroken logical extension to the leadership of the Coalition, his own. Howard was only ever concerned about winning and retaining the Prime Ministership, whatever bribes or lies it took. But Abbott makes him look like an idealised altruist. But worse than his own bust-whatever-it-takes-to-get-there political style ("pragmatic politics" he calls it), Abbott's real sin, and ultimately his Achilles Heel, I sincerely hope, is that by not keeping a rein on his own behaviour, he has set such a low standard that his followers, feeling free to emulate, in fact expose themselves as crass, incapable, and hollow vessels. Which reflects upwards at Abbott himself. I was sent a perfectly apposite quote this morning, which offers comment on what I see as Abbott's self-conviction he is playing such a smart game of pragmatic politics, smarter than the Government will ever be able to counter. The man clearly sees himself as so much more intelligent than anyone around him. "The primary difference between intelligence and stupidity is that there are limits to intelligence." Abbott lets his party boofheads run loose, sets them no limits because he sets none on himself. Truly stupid.

janice

3/06/2011[quote]the WA pipeline proposal has quite a lot of obvious things against it (I am no expert and there are probably a lot more): [/quote] You may not be an expert, David, but you present a very rational argument against this whacky notion. Taking the water out of the top end will definitely affect the water ecology and threaten the health of wetlands, and all the other points you have made are valid and enough to put the kybosh on such a scheme.

lyn

3/06/2011Hi Janice and Patricia WA This is a lovely photo of Julia Gillard, also the article is a refreshing, positive change: Gillard down the mine no longer , SMH [quote]In this parliament time is not on the opposition's side: it will lose its dominance of the Senate next month. After a long winning run in the polls, the opposition is looking overconfident and undisciplined. When it has attempted to set out an alternative agenda to the government's the result has been either platitudinous (such as Abbott's budget reply) or incompetent (the Coalition's climate-change policy). With little concrete to offer, its relentless negativism is starting to sound hollow.[/quote] http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/editorial/gillard-down-the-mine-no-longer-20110602-1fiqh.html Cheers

janice

3/06/2011Good morning Lyn, Thanks for the link. Yes, it is refreshing to find the occasional piece of "nice" media about our PM. I must say I notice these are not so rare as they were a few months ago, so I feel there is a definite shift in voterland.

TalkTurkey

3/06/2011David Horton and Michael, Your writings are an adornment to TPS. David yes the thought of all that water "going to waste" up there is so seductive to simplistic thinkers but the practicalities of it just don't add up. I suggest flying icebergs in bombers from Antarctica instead. I'm sorry Michael not to have kept up the BAD ABBOTTS pomes but I've done 13 verses and only wanted to do 14 (somehow that seems a good number) so I'm waiting for a good thought on a Bad Abbott. Not a sausage from anybody else, pikers. BTW I think MAD Abbotts might be more appropriate. He's obsessive/compulsive and hyperactive and in every way a denialist and that is to say crazy.

janice

3/06/2011[quote] I suggest flying icebergs in bombers from Antarctica instead. [/quote] Or perhaps, relocate Perth to the Kimberley?

Feral Skeleton

3/06/2011It was actually a tongue in cheek comment about the pipeline because it was made in the knowledge that that is what lost Colin Barnett the WA State Election first time around. As I lived in WA for 15 years I know that the pipeline idea has been around the block a million times,, originally starting with a Labor MP for the Kimberly, Ernie Bridge. The Liberals laughed him out of town for it, but it's interesting that they would seek to ressurect it as a proposition when it suited them. Such is politics. And as I have said, in these days of 'Post Truth Politics', what can be laughed out of town by a particular political party one day, can be taken up by them the next and, with a new spin on the idea, be spoken of with a straight face. Only if the referees decide to get on the field will the idea be given fresh scrutiny. Otherwise it can be sold to the electorate as a brave solution. Thus was I hoping to draw out from a West Australian, PatriciaWA, whether the pipeline Kool Aid had been put into the water supply by Barnett yet, especially after a long, hot, dry Summer.

NormanK

3/06/2011janice & Patricia WA I hope I didn't leave the impression, with my comment last night, that I share the negative interpretation of Ms Gillard. This is something to which I have been giving considerable thought and your comments prompted me to put some of them down. As further reinforcement for my thesis, I find the converse to be true with regard to my attitude to Mr Abbott. Try as I might to view him objectively in order to understand why he is popular in some circles, I just can't see it. Partisan bias to one side, I can not see anything in his words or actions which suggest a 'straight-talker', 'honest broker' or 'strong leader' and yet for some people he does give off those signals. The only charitable thought that I have managed to conjure up is that if you believe that the media is out to get him then when he walks away from press conferences he is showing great forbearance by not tearing strips of these stupid journalists by focussing his superior intellect on them. Beyond that I am at a loss to see what other people see.

Granny Anny

3/06/2011Hi everyone. There is another way of looking at how impractical the pumping of water from the Kimberly to Perth would be. In Kalgoorlie and in communities on the way we have a population of around about 50,000, along with industry, mainly mining. Also lets not forget the lawns and European gardens that most of the 50,000 want to enjoy. We pump water 600Km from Mundaring. These days it takes about 30 electric pumping stations and associated infrastructure to do this. The Kimberly is 5 or 6 times further than Kalgoorlie and in Perth we are looking at about 2,000,000 people along with industry and of course the lawns and European gardens. If you scale up the infrastructure required for 50,000 people 600Km away to the Perth situation the infrastructure required is prohibitavely expensive to provide and then operate. No one could afford to buy the water. If we need more water, desalination is the only logical and much cheaper option. Perhaps also we need to move towards living in an Australian environment, not a manufactured European one.

Ad astra reply

3/06/2011Folks I need to get out on the mower for a few hours before the heavy rain arrives. I'll be back sometime this afternoon.

Gravel

3/06/2011Patricia WA Thank you for your explanation, I must have missed it first time around, I like the satirical pome's you write. Talk Turkey You certainly have your funny hat on in the last 24 hours, I have done a lot of giggling because of your great posts. NormanK I, for one, look forward to your piece on perceptions. The opposition, even when in government, are very good at making it appear that Labor, and the Greens, bad, even when they aren't. The do also get the help of MSM. If anyone in this Government had done a fraction of what Abbott had done they would have been hounded out of Australia.

NormanK

3/06/2011A science fiction solution to our water problems which I have been regaling friends and relatives with for the last few years deserves a bit of refutation in a forum such as this. Build a series of strategically-placed desalination plants along the coast - strategic to the application of this hypothesis not to population centres. Use some of the fresh water to satisfy towns and cities. Major industries which are water intensive should be made to build their own desal plants to take the pressure off natural sources. Use solar operated pumps to pipe the water to 'header tanks' at the headwaters of major creeks and rivers. Look back at the data for rainfall patterns in each catchment area and perform controlled releases which best reflect these patterns. In other words don't just dribble water down a river as soon as it is produced and thereby alter the life-cycle of the watercourse. By dumping water in a way that best reflects historical records we could bring dry and semi-dry watercourses back to life. Let the water follow its natural course until such time as we harvest it for human use in the way we are already. Bite the bullet and let some of it 'go to waste' by evaporating, sinking in to the aquifer and flowing out the river mouth thereby maintaining the biodiversity that relies on regular but intermittent flows. There will come a time when we ask ourselves 'what price fresh water' and the answer will be 'any price just so long as we have it'. Along with so many other resources we can't just keep using more and more water and kid ourselves that Mother Nature will continue to provide. We need a technological solution not some half-baked rob Peter to pay Paul scheme where we pinch it from some other watercourse and pump it into the desert for our gardens and toilets. Desalination is what we will be doing in 100 or 150 years' time so why not start now and get some environmental benefit as well? Tell me I'm dreaming.

janice

3/06/2011NormanK, [quote] hope I didn't leave the impression, with my comment last night, that I share the negative interpretation of Ms Gillard.[/quote] No such impression left with me :) I'm willing to dream with you about your sf solution to our water problems. I agree that de-sal will most probably be forced on us, like it or not.

Patricia WA

3/06/2011FS, I'm sure you've noticed I am careful not to be drawn into debate on WA issues, even with Barnett so clearly making a mess of the money here, like the need for steep increases in utility costs, shortfalls on public works like hospitals and rail infrastructure, as well as the the outrageous collusion with Abbott and the Coalition on the royalties hike. Royalties for regions is proving an expensive commitment, not that we're getting any clear idea of costings on the many regional infrastructure projects. Public debt has escalated scandalously under this state government, just to meet on-going state administration. Barnett is as free and impractical with commitment to other projects as he would have been to that pipe(line) dream of his. I understand it would have been three to four times as expensive as any desalination project. Labor built the first desal plant here and the second was well under way before Barnett got in. But I don't care who is in power. Water should be a bi-partisan issue. I'm frustrated that there is no sense of that, or even urgency, as day after day and year after year we seem to live in hope of rain. Surely after a decade we should all be involved in this at emergency pitch.

nasking

3/06/2011All bow before Saint Tony & Saint Scott...blessed are the unaccompanied minors who will be saved by their callous, yet caring & compassionate hands. It is indeed a miracle that such vile & venomous men w/ their hands on the boatphone & STOP THE BOATS naval artillery should suddenly transform into HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH. Like all good Christians of the Deceived we should ignore the inconvenient facts that Saint Tony & Saint Scott's previous "nasty" approach has helped keep many a child asylum seeker stranded in the hellholes some refer to "civilised" Indonesia & Malaysia - developing nations that happened to forget to grab their moral attitudes & codes on the way out the door...in their frantic desire to join the ranks of gluttonous consumerist societies w/ a twist of dynastic corporate corruption up the derriere to help control the populace nerve centre - yes, how convenient that many a media jerkwad & temporarily reformed xenophobic are now crying foul over the Malaysian deal... forgetting of course it was FOUL KING HOWARD who stamped the Tampa DISEASED & PEST RIDDEN... and led Australians on a merry trip into BileLand. And who happened to cup at such darkened times the Foul King Howard's shrivelled nuggets in his hands and spoke of them as tho they were sparkling jewels that provided guiding light for this great nation? ...indeed, Tony Abbott, Lord of the Mad Frontier. All kneel now before the reformed, softly spoken scumbag Saint Tony...practitioner of heroic virtue. Speaker of the Howard. ...and we wonder why Aussies drink so much. N'

nasking

3/06/2011As for the brutal Syrian regime... terminate with extreme prejudice. N'

Ad astra reply

3/06/2011Folks I beat the rain and got a lot of mowing done. Now I'm preparing Acerbic Conehead's latest piece:[i]The Waltons get the willies[/i]. Then I'll complete something I'm writing for Monday as a follow-up to FS's current piece. The title is not finalized but it will be something like [i]What have we done to deserve an Opposition Leader like Tony Abbott?[/i]. So with that and shopping, I'll be off the air for a while.

Tom of Melbourne

3/06/2011When the Malaysian solution was announced, a number of contributors suggested that it was entirely different to Nauru because Malaysia had “provided a commitment on human rights”. Most of the previous defenders are now completely silent, they should hang their heads in shame. Though not at TPS - the barrackers have posted several comments suggesting that this is “clever politics that might just work” As long as the politics works, I suppose we don’t really need to worry about the actual people.

nasking

3/06/2011"But the crucial fact of 'Post-Truth Politics' is that there are no more referees. There are only players." Well said HBSkeleton. Just about everybody wants to be a player...but few want to be the party poopers...be the ones who say: "Now hang on!...are we taking this rampant capitalist, market casino, commodity gluttony, animal mass production, gambling inspired, stoke the fires of the earth furnace, company CEO & shareholder conveyer belt of toxic products & profits from birth til ya drop system...just a wee bit too far?" Ya said Feral that we need a more "adult conversation" (American politics luvs referring to such the past year...it's gone viral...adult conversations w/ a big Mac as elephant in the room)... anyway...I've met plenty of "adults" who have conversations and put on a real serious tone...yet continue to be bigoted no matter how much evidence is given regarding the damage their views and votes do to others... I know plenty of "adults" who conveniently shut their minds but open their gobs and shovel in as non-carniverous animals are whipped, kicked, dragged, stunned like death row criminals, stripped of longevity. We know that most "adults" drive and do stuff all to change an automobile & petrol driven transport system that sees hundreds of thousands upon thousands of humans & other species killed, crushed, injured each every year. Frankly, I have little confidence in adult humans to do the appropriate thing. They have demonstrated time & time again that "convenience" & the "dosh" & "addictions" & "conformity" & "apathy" come first. Usually they need a good kick up the arse to do the right thing. Or some highly inspiring & gutsy & passionate people who know how to lead by example...and sacrifice the crap & addictions in their lives in order to reveal the path to enLIGHTenment...& useful reform. And it wouldn't hurt "adults" to sometimes listen to their children before they become propagandised good little consumers & conveniently politically, theologically narrow followers of the HERD. BTW, Hillbilly, good work...bit essayish & pontificatin'...minus the referencin'...but I did get the gist of what yer sayin'...pollies need to listen and in their collision mutate into something different that is less conflict & negabore and more compromise useful. But the population get what they deserve...when led by media & resource & other corporate moguls who act like selfish pirates w/out a cause but for treasure & power accumulation... Unfortunately we also get what they deserve. (Recalls OZ band Sea Life Park's album 'We Get What You Deserve'...2003) Keep up the good work Skeleton. At least you give a sh*t. Unlike too many. Here's hoping (w/ more than a wee bit of help from the give a damns) the next 7 mths will open the doors to sanity land. 2012 might be better than we ever imagined...and the burrower's beneath who have dominated since the mid 70s see the light...or melt like evil characters at the end of a certain Spielberg film. I reckon I saw the face of two melting right before my eyes on today's Australian Agenda. They could use more LIGHT. N'

TalkTurkey

3/06/2011Ad astra said "The title is not finalized but it will be something like What have we done to deserve an Opposition Leader like Tony Abbott?" When I was "doing Politics" long ago - before Gough Whitlam -we had a visiting Yank bloke give us a lecture, only thing I remember was he claimed to be The Very Guy who originated the term "A country gets the Government it deserves." He said the term had gone viral, well wtte, there were no viruses in those days of course. But he said then "But since I've been in Australia I've changed my mind, NOBODY could deserve a Government as bad as yours!" That help?

NormanK

3/06/2011Tom of Melbourne So you're blowing the whistle for Full Time even though there is still time on the clock? Chris Bowen on [i]Lateline[/i]: [quote]The documents that you have which purport to be working draft documents are not necessarily reflective of the state of discussions between Malaysia and Australia which are very well advanced, done in the spirit of good will and which we have received feedback not only from Malaysia, but also the UNHCR.[/quote] [quote]I accept we'll be judged on results. Both the results of the final agreement and the results of the implementation.[/quote] http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3234302.htm Funnily enough judging according to the contents of the final agreement and the results of the implementation is what we will do here. I can tell you that I have been following this closely and I still have high hopes for a humane regional outcome. Of course, if you want to go off half-cocked and gloat ...........

Feral Skeleton

3/06/2011Nasking, 'Essayish'? :) I like to think of it as a million thoughts raging around in my brain and I make my best effort to siphon them all off in a semi-coherant fashion onto the page. I dare'st not leave one out lest it be the one that means the most to our readership.

Gravel

3/06/2011Janice I saw your comments today on Poll Bludger. It was like you had heard the conversation we had this morning. I am glad you could see the situation as I did. I can't believe the lines the opposition are running this afternoon. They have turned things around and are now complaining that this policy is going too hard!! Oh the hypocrisy. And I can see and hear the media now rounding on Labor, backing the lying opposition to the hilt on this........oh someone please stop this lying hypocritical mob......they are doing my head in.

nasking

3/06/2011Feral, ever considered applyin' for a reasearch or lecturin' position at Uni? You should. Yer a knowledgeable & articulate individual. Tho, doesn't mean ya can't still be a blogging star. :) "I like to think of it as a million thoughts raging around in my brain and I make my best effort to siphon them all off in a semi-coherant fashion onto the page." I know where yer comin' from...tho, I think I fail on the "semi-coherent" aspect stometimes, unlike yer good self. :) I think "politics fatigue" has something to do w/ it...there are only so many times ya can watch the same old ping pong game played by the major party head honchos on various big giant head news & "make the talkback scumbag rich & listeners stupid & enraged" shows before ya start to believe yer living w/in an insane asylum... and start feeling & acting like Jack Nicholson's McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. We need a giant nth American indian w/ great strength... or at least a carbon price & a compensation plan. :) And no more Abbott please...for pity's sake. Have a gute nacht. N'

nasking

3/06/2011Oh yea, useful petition: No F1 in brutal Bahrain http://www.avaaz.org/en/no_f1_in_brutal_bahrain/?cl=1096619530&v=9290 N'

lyn

3/06/2011Hi Granny Anny Good to see your worthy comment on TPS. Sorry I can't answer you, as I know nothing at all about the water Kimberly to Perth, maybe someone else that knows about the water will come along later and reply to you. [i]If we need more water, desalination is the only logical and much cheaper option. Perhaps also we need to move towards living in an Australian environment, not a manufactured European one.[/i] Cheers

janice

3/06/2011[quote]I saw your comments today on Poll Bludger. It was like you had heard the conversation we had this morning. I am glad you could see the situation as I did. [/quote] Gravel, I am just tired of hearing and reading tripe and finding so many are swallowing it all. It seems to me that too many people are incapable of logical thinking. Take care Gravel and keep posting to brighten up our day.

Adam

3/06/2011Thanks Norman K for the excerpt (a couple days late). I know its in the hansard, but running through all the fluff in there, whilst trying to manage work and sleep is not in me this past week or two. @Tom of Melbourne (or anyone else who has limited time to review the news of the day). Forgive me, but I have been missing a lot of news. Has Malaysia now gone back on their assurance of "providing a commitment on human rights". Is not the UNHRC still going to have input on the process? This time of year is hectic. And it comes at a time when we almost lose a Speaker in the House, senators forgetting how to speak and reverting to animal noises, the world economy apparently crashing and the sky about to fall in. And all because I am stuck in an office for two weeks!

Adam

3/06/2011oops. above should have read [quote]"(or anyone else who has[/quote] [u]time to help a person who has [/u][quote]limited time to review the news of the day)[/quote]"

Jason

3/06/2011Adam, Guru Tom, comes down from on high every now and then to give the great unwashed the benefit of his moral inferiority!

NormanK

3/06/2011Adam It depends on whose version of the Malaysian deal that you want to follow. If ToM replies it will be to condemn the government, based on leaked documents which are over a week old and no longer relevant. Links to [i]Lateline[/i] last night who thought they had a great scoop but it turns out it was only a teaspoon. [b]Malaysia edits rights out of refugee deal[/b] by Steve Cannane http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3234297.htm [b]Children part of refugee swap: Bowen[/b] with Tony Jones http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3234302.htm [b]We will judge the final standards: Towle[/b] with Tony Jones http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3234311.htm The level of self-confidence that Chris Bowen is displaying today suggests that the deal is approaching completion and that it is going to be acceptable in terms of human rights. Or you can go to any mainstream media house and read about how deceitful and uncaring the ALP is about asylum seekers.

Adam

3/06/2011Thanks Norman K. Yep, I understand the quality of the MSM, and am always reluctant to believe what I read there as a single source. I like the blogs as I get both sides (usually). Sometimes the extreme views, and other times the well thought out opinions. Thanks again

Tom of Melbourne

3/06/2011 Yeah. Sure. Malaysia is keen on humanitarianism. Please deny that comments such as “this is clever politics that may just work” on several occasions were made here, and went uncontested. No testing, no challenge, no argument about a callous and hypocritical decision. The partisan barracking here is really quite pathetic. The attitude on this issue is particularly shameful, for so called progressive and compassionate types. Blaming Howard for this, bizarre.

Jason

3/06/2011Tom, So what is it you're saying? that since the red necks in this country and in the opposition can't see their way clear to have a regional processing center here in Australia, of which I would like to see! We have the choice of Malaysia or Nauru! So what are you doing about it? Tom more people are horrified at live cattle exports than what "might" happen to "boat people" in Malaysia!But despite this you worry about someones post, good to see that you're on top of the big issues.

macca

3/06/2011Given that the dreaded cane toad is approaching the Kimberley the mooted pipe or as once was discussed, a canal, we will see a cane toad super highway directly to Perth.

NormanK

3/06/2011Tom of Melbourne Just in case you think you are the only one who is keeping an eye on the Malaysian deal, you might be reassured that the following countries and organisations are looking over Chris Bowen's shoulder. [b]Bali Process Steering Group[/b] Australia Thailand Indonesia New Zealand Thailand IOM UNHCR [b]Bali Process Countries[/b] Afghanistan Australia Bangladesh Bhutan Brunei Darussalam Cambodia China Democratic People's Republic of Korea Fiji France (New Caledonia) Hong Kong SAR* India Indonesia Iran Iraq Japan Jordan Kiribati Laos PDR Macau SAR* Malaysia Maldives Mongolia Myanmar Nauru Nepal New Zealand Pakistan Palau Papua New Guinea Philippines Republic of Korea Samoa Singapore Solomon Islands Sri Lanka Syria Thailand Timor-Leste Tonga Turkey Vanuatu Viet Nam [b]Other Participating Countries[/b] Austria Belgium Canada Denmark European Commission Finland Germany Italy The Netherlands Norway Poland Romania Russian Federation South Africa Spain Sweden Switzerland United Kingdom United States of America A little bit of light reading which might give you a slightly different perspective on the subject. [b]Flashes of ASEAN Brilliance[/b] by Luke Hunt [quote]Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced Canberra had reached an agreement with Kuala Lumpur to combat people smuggling. It was a clever deal, and to quote one seasoned analyst, it looks like ‘the boffins in both countries had actually thought about it.’ With an eye on its own shores, Australia desperately wants a regional solution to people smuggling, but it’s a blight that has plagued Southeast Asia for decades, and this needs to be taken into account. A comprehensive response to illegal immigration in Australia was improbable unless it dealt with illegal immigrations at a regional level. The Malaysian-Australian agreement appears to have done just that, and could form the basis for a much wider pact within ASEAN on people smuggling in future.[/quote] http://the-diplomat.com/asean-beat/2011/05/11/flashes-of-asean-brilliance/ [b]2011 Regional Operations Profile - East Asia and the Pacific[/b] [quote]In Australia, a strong resettlement program continues to provide durable solutions for refugees from the region and around the world. While asylum issues, in particular, the arrival of asylum-seekers by boat, are likely to continue to generate public debate, in 2011, UNHCR will continue to work with the Australian Government and other concerned actors to pursue effective regional solutions to the mixed migration phenomena and to search for improved protection conditions in the subregion.[/quote] http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/page?page=49e487af6 If you're still hungry for knowledge, I've got plenty more.

Ad astra reply

3/06/2011Folks I have just posted another lovely piece by Acerbic Conehead [i]The Waltons get the willies[/i]. Enjoy.

Tom of Melbourne

4/06/2011Obfuscate all you like, duck and weave, avoid the point. But the fact is that you lot endorse in the ALP what you condemn in the Liberals. The commentary here tends towards intellectually weak and morally bankrupt.
How many umbrellas are there if I start with two and take 2 away?