Labor Needs to Remember the Forgotten People

Recently there has been debate around the blogs and in the mainstream media about who and what the ALP represents these days, and whether, because in some commentators' opinions they represent no one and nothing any more, that therefore they are going the way of the Dodo and will soon dry up as a political entity, like a puddle after a sun-shower. Or, on the other hand, after the watershed of the NSW State Election, they will now go on to form some new sort of Rainbow Coalition, no longer tainted by the 'NSW Disease' and the influence of the NSW Right. Who will be supporting the ALP if so?

I thought I'd address this topic because I have recently been peppered with questions by D Mick Weir with respect to the future directions, philosophy, support base and soul of the ALP today. To whit he has put up a link to a new Progressive political outfit, Replacing the ALP and has referred to articles critical of the ALP by Rodney Cavalier similar to this one. Which has the observation: “Where exactly does modern Labor draw from? Once upon a time Labor could draw from all the factories in Australia and all the mines, the railways and ships and trucks, the waterfront, the gangs working in the open air. It could supplement that gene pool with a growing army of adherents in the liberal arts, teaching, the law and other professions, essentially anyone we might have characterised as progressive in a whole range of social issues, foreign policy, nationalism, civil liberties. Either directly or through the ranks of union officials, Labor could draw on the best out there for renewal. Each such source of supply has dried up.”

Now, while I support that assertion in a general sense by Cavalier, I also agree with Trevor Cook who rebutted a lot of what Cavalier so often asserts, in his review of Cavalier's book: Power Crisis.

Even more recently, John Quiggin has opined along similar lines to Cavalier:

Wherein Quiggin quibbles at length around the point that in Julia Gillard's Whitlam Oration, she does not refer to 'equality' as a philosophical aim of the Labor Party, only to 'fairness', whereas the Liberal Party does mention 'equality', and 'living a life in dignity', in their party's Mission Statement. As if these tone words mean more than any action. Which I could not understand as a basis for criticism because, if there is one difference between the parties, Liberal and Labor, which is crystal clear to the objective observer, it is that Labor DOES practice what it does not explicitly preach, that is, employs policies which aim to see the most disadvantaged in our society provided for, so that they may live their lives in dignity; and the Liberal Party merely mouths the platitudes, but by their actions create a life undignified for those on the bottom rungs of our society, such as by opposing pension increases, and encouraging unpaid 'Traineeships', and ‘Work for the Dole’ with no training component attached which aims the unemployed towards a worthwhile job.

Of course there are many others who have contributed commentary to the effect of analysing the current state of and future directions of the Australian Labor Party, and I may refer to some of them later.

Also, I would like, in this piece and subsequent ones, to address the assertion that it is somehow wrong for the ALP to appeal to an expanded base, which encompasses Menzies' 'Forgotten People', of all things. I will address the assertion that it was wrong of the Prime Minister to align herself philosophically in any way with the principles enunciated and encapsulated by Robert Menzies in that famous speech, and reflected in the Prime Minister's Whitlam Oration:

Therefore, what I intend to do is take up the gauntlet thrown down by D Mick Weir and others, and attempt to articulate the triangulation between the PM's 'Whitlam Oration' speech, and the Menzies' 'Forgotten People' speech. My interpretation will go to the connections and commonalities between the two which can be clearly shown to exist, and which may actually benefit the Labor Party into the future in ways which are sympathetic to traditional Labor Party and Australian values. For how could Menzies have been such a successful leader for so long in Australia if he did not realise that he must incorporate strands of Labor Party thinking into his own and which would appeal to demographics that normally identify with Labor?

These ideas can benefit the Labor Party into the future, so as to breathe life and purpose back into the party, and so that it can remain a viable political force and not be swallowed up by the Greens from the Left and the Conservatives from the Right. So that it can become the party of the Middle Way and the Middle Class, whilst continuing to embrace its natural constituency of the Miner, the Railway Worker, the Port Worker and the Shop Worker, plus, of course, the disadvantaged, disabled, and the dispossessed.

Don't forget Malcolm Fraser's words, that the Liberal Party of today, under the influence of Tony Abbott and the Conservatives, no longer reflects the party of Menzies. Also that if you are to represent Australians in government you have to take the middle ground electorally, wherever that middle ground may fall. Whilst I also respect John Quiggin's assertion that a Labor Party must lead the way toward 'The Light on the Hill' so to speak, I feel that it must also take the temperature of the middle ground.

Therefore, I hope to present the case to you that says that a lot of what the PM attempted to articulate in the Whitlam Oration, if somewhat clunkily, and with some obvious missteps with respect to her characterisation of Greens supporters, but nevertheless, in the main, it was a valid appropriation of the middle ground that the Middle Class, and those who aspire to it, have always represented in various incarnations, and which any smart politician, from parties on either side of politics, has always sensibly had an eye on.

I intend to show this by taking Menzies' speech apart, theme by theme, and show how it relates to the places where the ALP needs to go in the 21st century, if it wants to refresh and rejuvenate itself. Not entirely and exclusively, of course, because then the ALP might just as well rename itself the 'Liberal Party', and while there's some validity to that assertion, considering how far to the Conservative Right Tony Abbott and his claque have yanked the Coalition, there are still, to this day, aspects of Liberal Party ideology which will never sit well with the Labor Party, and nor should they ever.

Also, I must stridently assert that, in identifying common threads between Menzies’ and Gillard's conception of ALP values, I am not condoning other aspects of the political road travelled by Robert Menzies during his long stay in power in Australia. He truly did some reprehensible things in government.

As the speech is a long one, and as I have a lot to say betwixt and between the lines, in order to keep it all in a digestible form, there will necessarily have to be a Part 1 and a Part 2 to follow this Prologue.

What do you think so far?

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thenewjj

13/04/2011"there is one difference between the parties, Liberal and Labor, which is crystal clear to the objective observer, it is that Labor DOES practice what it does not explicitly preach, that is, employs policies which aim to see the most disadvantaged in our society provided for, so that they may live their lives in dignity; and the Liberal Party merely mouths the platitudes, but by their actions create a life undignified for those on the bottom rungs of our society, such as by opposing pension increases, and encouraging unpaid 'Traineeships', and ‘Work for the Dole’ with no training component attached which aims the unemployed towards a worthwhile job." This is the sort of unjustified rubbish that enables me to label you as nothing more than ALP show dogs, jumping, rolling and obeying every command of your commanders. Just to point something out to you, both the Labor and Liberal Party's support work for the dole which includes a training component; just as both the Liberal and Labor Party's are on the same page when it comes to traineeships and pension increases (didnt we find out during the last election campaign that it was Gillard that was arguing against any increase during the last election). Your attempts to play the old, Liberals support the wealthy and Labor supports the working class is just not true, and the two political parties are a hell of alot closer together on many issues than what you think. You are sort of attempting above what Gillard attempted in her Whitlam speech, product differentiation when there is little to differentiate from on the issues outlined.

Michael

13/04/2011Apologies for veering off topic, but the article here: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/56470.html is so wrongheaded and dangerous in so many ways it has to be brought to the attention of those who visit the Political Sword. I urge you to visit the site, read the article, and then offer comment. I would be extremely surprised if many of you will find anything of value, but much that is desperately disturbing, in the content and attitude of Bob Ellis' article.

Lyn

13/04/2011Good Morning Hillbilly Well you are definately not just a pretty face, wonderful, well thoughtout, brilliant article. Thankyou, Hillbilly, and thankyou so much for your fantastic contributions to our "Political Sword" you are a wonder woman, I appreciate you very much. Greg Combet is announcing, the Carbon tax compensation today, so I guess, Abbott and Co. will immediately fly into a maniacal frenzy. What was that, Joe Hockey was asked this morning on ABC 24, "Why are you conducting a scare campaign, when the price of carbon has not been announced yet", Hockey replied, we are not conducting a scare campaign, it's the Labor party, notice word use of, Labor Party, not the Government. Have a nice day Hillbilly :):):):):):):)

TalkTurkey

13/04/2011Professor Skeleton, Thank you for Episode One. I remember reading an article once bemoaning the irreverence and the general going-to-pot of the younger generation, which would have had a great deal of resonance with any older person who read it I'm sure. Then it turned out to have been written by some ancient Athenian, and it was as if 3,000 years had passed without a minute's change. And despite the dire predictions by whoever that old Athenian was, still Western society flourishes. Our ALP isn't that old, but it is the OLDEST Labor Party in the WORLD, and it was the FIRST Labor Party to form national government in the WORLD, and you know, as long as there are a goodly supply of goodwilled people in the Wide Brown Land, I'm dead set that the ALP will reinvent itself, wandering a bit maybe but always striving towards the Light. It is always the ALP that makes social progress. Don Dunstan's famous shorts were sort-of pink but also sort-of beige. He had the sense not to wear magenta ones, but he changed forever the trouser-wearing culture in Adelaide, in Australia and in all civilized countries, by wearing shorts at all. (Well I don't mean as opposed to nought.) Politics is the art of the achievable, and Labor knows well enough about 'festina lente', and that half a loaf is better than nothing. FS I look forward to Episode Two. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Michael Bloody well said, and thanks for the link, Dog what's wrong with #llis to write such stuff? How would he like that sort of attention eh? With his missus maybe? With his NOT-missus maybe? See how he likes this: Let us honour our old friend B*b #llis With a title from us good old f#llers: "The Protector of Pervs" Which he richly deserves As Hon. President of Girls' Bike Seat Sm#llers! This is a bloody disgraceful limerick in return for a bloody disgraceful article. In one way I'm sorry to publish such near-filth to the Political Sword, but it is after all for "putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword" and if I can make the nasty bent sneery old man who wrote that article squirm I'm proud. #llis needs castigating, or some similar word. I bet someone draws his attention to this and I hope he hates it. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On a sweeter note: SameOldjj said: "This . . . enables you as . . . ALP show dogs, jumping, rolling and obeying every command of your commanders." We must be pretty clever dogs then eh! But of all clever dogs this must be the cleverest! Swordsfolks DON'T MISS THIS ! It's LOVELY! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0jNC_w1tSw

Feral Skeleton

13/04/2011Michael, I heard about the Bob Ellis article on Twitter this morning but couldn't get a link to it. Thank you. :) Comment made. Wonder if they'll print it?

Feral Skeleton

13/04/2011Folks I'm going to be part of the taping of a new show's Pilot program this afternoon by the Chaser's Andrew Hanson. So, I'll be back later. :) TTFN, have fun and play nice!

Jason

13/04/2011The problem with the Labor party of today is, it's been hijacked by what is known as the political class! These people are professional politicians who have never been on a picket line never been on strike and have never experienced what people they claim to represent go through each day,they went to uni got a job as a staffer became an MP. Chifley was a train driver,I reckon we would be lucky to find a tradesman in our ranks! Labor whilst I haven't given up on them, and for all their faults are still better than the LNP. Labor at all levels needs to purge it's self of the "Faction Bosses" why? it is they especially the "shoppies union" and their hard line Catholic rhetoric that has caused a drift to the Greens. The Greens are now taking what were once"our" voters because we no longer represent them, we're to busy as a party trying to out Liberal the LNP! Labors biggest problem since the 2007 victory was rather than just getting on with doing what we were elected to do Rudd wanted to wedge the opposition all the time, now we have the problem if a sector of society doesn't like something just fund a big advertising campaign and watch Labor fold like it did on the mining and carbon tax. Labor has to make a choice do we want to see Chifleys light on the hill and be inclusive once again? or do we want to be just like the fool at the bottom of the hill in Abbott?

Feral Skeleton

13/04/2011Talk Turkey, 'the new jj' is simply a bitch, speaking about dogs. :) Talking Points straight out of Menzies House, combined with denigration and smears of good people who just happen to disagree with everything jj believes in, does not a weighty argument in contradistinction make.

Patricia WA

13/04/2011Thank you, Talk Turkey! You can imagine how much I enjoyed that link! Wonderful to see the public enjoying it too, and, for all the hype and the noise, Gin was having a wonderful time too. What a miracle of friendship and empathy between that dog and Kate! And what patience in training him - or do you think it was originally a fluke that she discovered he had rhythm and then enjoyed working up the routines with him?

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13/04/2011H/FS Thank you for your thought-provoking essay. You have whetted our appetite for further instalments. The future of all parties, and indeed politics itself, is in the balance after the hung parliament. Your prologue gives us the motivation to think about Labor’s future direction and dissect PM Gillard’s vision for this party, one that has been in existence longer than any other, around a hundred years. There are those who talk of its decline and ‘replacing’ it. Your piece will counter this talk. Reflect on these words that I read yesterday, written in response to the findings of market researchers: [i]“Australians, it seems – especially middle class Australians who make up the bulk of the population – are feeling remarkably insecure and vulnerable. They are alarmed at the rapid rate of economic, social and political change, bewildered by it, and deeply pessimistic about the future. They are anxiously looking for ways to restore their sense of stability. In all of this, not surprisingly politicians do not fare well. Respect for them is at rock-bottom, distrust at a record high. The research suggests that Australians are starting to take it for granted that politicians from all parties are dishonest. Most important, they believe that governments are merely reacting to events, rather than controlling the changes that are so distressing and destabilizing. Australians are apprehensive about economic developments, rising prices, the way their savings are dwindling.”… “Australians, it appears, are genuinely and profoundly worried about the effects of … immigration. They are convinced there are now simply too many … immigrants to be assimilated without great difficulty, and resentment, anger and hostility over the issue are building. But the research also indicates increasing intolerance of single mothers, seen as ‘bludging’ on the welfare system, and working mothers blamed for undermining the institution of the family and taking jobs from young people. “Pessimism, insecurity, bewilderment, anxiety about the pace of change, economic uncertainty, growing conservatism, intolerance, a new concern with traditional moral values, a belief that Australian society is deteriorating, lack of faith in political leadership – if these are the ingredients of the political mix, the electoral volatility is hardly surprising. The question for political parties is what to do about it.”[/i] Sound familiar? Yet these words were written almost 23 years ago, on 26 April 1988, by Laurie Oakes and recorded in his 2010 book [i]On the Record[/i]. It seems that little has changed. Of course the immigrants were Asian, not Muslim. At a time when the public was recently unable to decide conclusively who should govern the nation, it is appropriate and timely for all parties to reappraise their basic tenets, their future direction and the policies to achieve their vision. But we should not see the contemporary situation as wholly unprecedented, wholly unique, unparalleled. We have been here before. Yet the situation now demands a profound reappraisal of vision, beliefs, policies and programs. It appears that PM Gillard has already embarked on that path. What we write here may have some influence on her thinking; media monitors in the Government do watch what we say.

TalkTurkey

13/04/2011Patricia, That lovely lass (ISN'T she!!!) and Gin appeared several times on Britain's Got Talent (just google kate and gin). Each night Gin performed a different act. And though they didn't win (FOOLS!) she has gone on to train at least one other Dog, and she has a whole life now! The bloody dopey judges seemed to think that they'd be giving Gin, the DOG, the title, and they couldn't do that . . . What they should have focussed on of course was KATE's amazing ability! But that she could do that with a Dog, any Dog, makes one wonder just how clever Dogs really might be if we could communicate better with them - not vice versa - Humans are the limiting factor!

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13/04/2011Michael Bob Ellis’ piece is extraordinary. I’m surprised that he would write such stuff. I doubt if he will get support from any other than those seriously prejudiced against women. It’s best ignored as an aberration.

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13/04/2011Folks Today PM Gillard and Greg Combet announced the outline of the compensation package to households and affected industries consequent upon the introduction of the carbon tax. Details are to come, but the message was clear that householders would not be worse off. Combet said: [i]"...pensioners and the low-paid will be the priority for compensation and...most families will actually be better off under the plan."[/i] Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey responded as expected. This is what Hockey is reported to have said: "[i]Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey says middle income earners and small businesses will be worse off and says over-compensating families undermines the purpose of the tax. "The motivation of the tax was meant to be to reduce climate change." "By talking about over-compensation for people on lower incomes, the Government's effectively saying 'It's not really about global warming - this is really about redistributing wealth in Australia'. "[/i] So Hockey reveals a basic Coalition objection and a point of stark difference between the Coalition and Labor: the Coalition is against redistributing wealth, Labor is for it. This is another example of Hockey's belief in 'trickle-down' economics. Give benefits preferentially to the wealthy and hope that some of it trickles down to the poorer in the community. Whatever you do, Joe believes, don’t over-compensate people on lower incomes – that would never do! http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/04/13/3189805.htm

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13/04/2011TT The dog's name was 'Labor supporter', and as the judges said, a genius. We'll all take a bow, thenewjj.

Patricia WA

13/04/2011Of course it's appropriate that the Labor Party should be doing serious soul searching about its membership and future. At the same time too much breast beating and self criticism can start to become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Federally, I think Labor is still the largest 'party' in Parliament if Libs and Nats are counted separately; they are certainly two separate parties organisationally. In 2007 I seem to recall Barnaby Joyce claiming he saw himself and National members in the Senate as belonging on the cross benches. Are they still there? I see that the Nats are claiming 11 members in the Reps on their site. Aren't there only six if one excludes those who see themselves as independents and are now on cross benches, mainly supporting the government? It's easy to forget that the NSW ALP was re-elected for a fourth time because just four years ago the alternative was so poor. Change of government was inevitable this time round, but have the Libs really improved that much? Time will tell. In WA Labor is now in Opposition because of a poor decision to go to an early election by Alan Carpenter when the Liberals were in disarray. They only squeaked in with a dramatic 11th hour change of leader. There was even plausible negotiation for an alliance between Labor and the Nationals here, who under Brendan Grylls were claiming independence from the Liberals. I think they're doing rather too well with the Libs and Barnett who has turned out to be a surprisingly popular leader to be considering that now. Though federally WA Nationals Tony Crook defeated Liberal Wilson Tuckey and is now a genuine cross bencher. I don't know too much about other states so I may be being a bit Pollyanna-ish here. But isn't it similarly evenly balanced? Jason's point about Labor having been 'hi-jacked' by the political class seems to me true of all political parties these days with communications and the media needing so much professional expertise. The right too has not so much been 'hi-jacked' as gone willingly into the arms of media pros and organisers from big business. The heart of the left is still there and wavering left thinking people will not go along indefinitely with the cynical opportunism of the Coalition.

Lyn

13/04/2011Dear Mr thenewjj Allow me to address some of your comments. “There is a cheaper alternative that allows a much better outcome. You pay for regional broadband losses directly through the government (raised from taxes on all) while allowing urban broadband to have competition and, yes, lower prices. It is an economic no-brainer as one group (regional Australia) is no worse off than they would be under the cross-subsidy scheme while the other (urban Australia) is better off.” In other words, allow private enterprise to generate profits in the profitable sectors and deny that revenue to the government, whilst taxing the population to pay for the non profitable sectors so more money to the big telcos. Fabulous idea.., Especially given the competition in Australian telecommunications has not really generated any savings to the end user, nor has it resulted in much innovation from the telcos. Why should it when they can keep generating billions of dollars in profits from old slow technology. We saw a printing outfit in Glen Innes for which higher-speed broadband would allow better management of the Christmas rush. But who is paying for that? Does a few businesses peak demand require an entire township and all its residents have fibre connections? We saw a school in Tasmania whose digital classroom exercises were enabled by high-speed broadband. Do we need every home in that area to be hooked up to get school to the world connections? We saw a woman suffering from cystic fibrosis and heard of a Year 12 student at home for a couple of months who could benefit from high-speed connections to manage health issues and their consequences. But did their neighbours need to fibre connections to resolve those connectivity issues? Some nice arguments. But missing some important words. "Today", and "Tomorrow". Perhaps the rollouts to the rest of the community are not required Today, but what about tomorrow, the next day, the year after, 5 years from now. The neighbouring business may not need High Speed Broadband today, but what about tomorrow. 10 years ago, dial up would have been acceptable speed. Yet would kill many businesses in today's day and age. Today, the neighbour may not need medical assistance via high speed broadband, but what about tomorrow? Ask our patient – would she rather consultations in her own home or progress towards new treatments for her condition and I wonder what her choice would be. Why cannot new treatments be progressed from consultations at home? I find this statement incredibly ironic given the home consultation in itself is a new treatment option that will be possible following FTTH rollout. So the Government has a point that services need to be provided and that in some cases high-speed broadband is the solution. It also has a point that in proposing and rolling out the NBN, it was correcting past mistakes. Telstra’s privatisation was botched and should never have happened without structural separation. To correct that, the Government needed to prove its seriousness in by-pass. But having done that, surely an optimised plan could be put in place. In effect, the Government is fixing past mistakes by repeating them. It is creating the old cross-subsidy model that itself drove the privatisation that was a disaster. I disagree that the cross subsidy model drove the privatisation of Telstra. This was an action of Liberal Party ideology in order to get their hands on a great big wad of cash that they could then use to claim they were fixing the budget. To be sure, they may not be the same as wired options in terms of connectivity and speed. But consumers choose based on a broader equation – price and convenience too. The Government is betting that they will choose a higher priced wired option over a lower price but possibly lower quality wireless one. Everyday, telecommunications companies around the world are losing that same bet. That said, I'd also like to know whether the Opposition (should they get into power after the NBN is built) will unwind the cross-subsidy model they so oppose. Perhaps you should see the statistics on new wired connections vs new wireless connections. The number of new wired connections is greater than the number of new wireless connections. If you rely specifically on percentages though, it will show the growth of wireless at a larger rate as it has a smaller base. Eg, increase from 4 to 5 (ie +1) is +25%. Increase from 10 to 12 (ie +2) is only 20%. There is money made in the wireless industry because that retail cost is actually higher to the end user than the home network. Forgive me for not providing a link to the latest statistics as I am operating from not my usual computer so cannot use my bookmarks. And on a final note, I viewed the Four Corners program soon after it was broadcast here in the US on a wireless connection that gets me 9Mbps locally and to Melbourne, less than 1Mbps. I watched the entire high bandwidth version without a skip. Thats nice. I’ll see your positive anecdotal experience and raise with my own negative anecdotal experience of having to wait over 10 minutes for emails to download that were only 500kb or less. I was on a wireless network in Washington DC with full coverage that supposedly provided me with up to 10mbps. According to the technical support person I was able to speak to, fiddly things such as buildings and other wireless users were interfering with the network and slowing it down. Can anyone say the words “complementary network”? Thanks Adam copied from previous thread cheers

thenewjj

13/04/2011Lyn, The issue with the 'tomorrow' argument is that it involves the government having to take on huge risks by rolling the stuff out everywhere rather than letting the market (possibly aided by the government) be driven by demand. Sure you can point to the hydro plant and other major infrastructure ideas that have worked out; but a first year economics student would be able to tell you that there have been many, many, many other major government infrastructure projects as well as private ones) that have gone under because of the, 'build it and they will come' mentality. Just look at China, who now have over 60 million vacant apartments because the government has this build it and they will come mentality; which may lead to a housing bubble twice as large as that in the US pre GFC. I, personally believe that the government should construct a fibre back bone around the country, as well as hooking up all schools, universities, hospitals and other major business districts with the technology. I would then allow the private sector to build upon that, reducing many of the excuses the sector has for not delivering high speed broadband outside the major cities (by the way i am using a connection with 54mbs and i live just out of Tamworth, so it is possible already to gain decent speeds).

Jason

13/04/2011Patricia WA, I should have added that in my own sub branch we have a "staffer" who I think is about 25 to 30, is a factional numbers man of the right and the only work he has ever done was giving his mother labour pains, he is also on the local council! No life or work experience at all and most of what he knows about "Labor" comes from books or word of mouth,Yet he will be given a safe seat or a senate position so the catholic jihad of the right can be maintained to the detriment of us all.

Jason

13/04/2011thenewjj Any chance of a link no matter how dodgy to back up your claim that China may have a housing bubble twice as large as that in the US pre GFC? You spend all your time calling us socialists and communists and the first chance you get you dream up some rubbish from a communist country to back your claims. I look forward to your reports from North Korea and Cuba on how their housing bubble is going as well.

2353

13/04/2011I suspect (and I think I have said this before here) that both major political tribes are heading to the right. Witness Malcolm Fraser's comment that the Liberal Party of 2011 is not the party of Menzies, and Gillard's implication that the Labor Party of 2011 is not the party of Whitlam. The Democrats essentially failed in my mind because they tried to be the middle ground that the ALP was effectively undermining. Also witness the rise of the Greens who are seen to be to the left of the ALP. Their clientele (for want of a better word) seems to be comprised of a number of disaffected ALP voters. I would love to see a train driver or a storeman or a bus driver become PM - however it is up to the party machines to create the opportunity. Those of you that are in political parties (even JJ) need to demonstrate to the respective party machines that intelligence, ability and leadership potential is not limited to those that have "faithfully" served the party's interests since leaving Uni (after recieving a degree in either law or accountancy) as the current powerbrokers like Hawes and Minchen have done.

Lyn

13/04/2011Hi JJ Look the market cannot build the NBN, Howard left it to the market and nothing happened, that is why we have such poor reception. You say you operate ok on 54mps, gee I say, how lucky are you, the big question is, what do you use your commuter for, not much at a rough guess, you must not be receiving any emails, if you are happpy with a lousy 54mps. Telstra Bigpond Wireless have me on 64mbp at the moment, and I am battling to open a web page,the page won't open at all, if there is an imbeded video, or is graphic intense. 64mbs will not even show the gravatar pictures on "The Political Sword". I, for the life of me, would like to understand your argument, but it's so useless, because the NBN has been passed and is being built, I can tell you, they are not going to discuss your alternative that is for sure. By the way, NSW is in so much trouble, in Sydney because roads, and railway were not built with the future in mind, as a result, they cannot cope with the increased population, most of their infrastructure was built for the here and now, back in the dark ages. What did someone say "build the Harbour Bridge with one lane" that would be fine for then, and cheaper. In closing, I would really love, hate, to tell you what you can do with your 54mbs. cheers

Patricia WA

13/04/2011Jason - I'm not familiar with pre-selection processes but isn't the sort of example you're giving exactly the kind of grass roots feedback that the Labor Party review is looking for? Pre-selection is a major concern of people like John Faulkner. Why not make a contribution to that discussion? I know it's a slow process but being a squeaky wheel does ultimately get attention, particularly if you are an active and valued local party member. Knowing how you think and how well you express yourself, I imagine you are.

thenewjj

13/04/2011Jason, Well when the government is going along a socialist path in re-nationalising our telecommunications network then i think it is relevant to use countries with governments embarking on similar programs. The Chinese government has a 'build it and they will come' attitude but they also control who lives where as well as what they produce and consume. Our government also has the 'build it and they will come' attitude towards this project, however, unlike China our government cannot control demand, therefore it is highly likely that such a scheme in a capitalist economy will go flop.

thenewjj

13/04/20112353, I am not a member of a political party and never have. I agree that the political parties of today, especially the Labor Party, have become too inward looking, only sourcing recruits from ministerial advisory staff lists. The Liberal Party is also heading down that road to a certain extent, however their parliamentary team is far more varied in terms of previous professional experience before entering parliament. I believe for the ALP to gain greater relevance they have to not only stop the current process of recruitment, but also make sure that they do not go too far back toward recruiting from their Union base. The ALP needs people that have worked and gained experience in all different sectors; which will lead to better idea creation and a better parliament.

Jason

13/04/2011Patricia WA, I/we turn up at the end of election reviews such as the last one,let them know our thoughts, it then goes off to national convention where the vested interests vote against it and we are back to where we started! the only time I as someone who doesn't belong to a faction is heard is at election time when I'm asked to hand out how to vote cards etc!

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13/04/2011Adam What a breath of fresh air you have brought to TPS with your well reasoned comment that so elegantly answers Joshua Gans' assertions, promulgated here by thenewjj  Facts and well argued positions are the life blood of this site, needed to counter the paucity of facts, misinformation and illogical reasoning in which some who comment here indulge.  I hope you return often to contribute to the dialogue here.

Lyn

13/04/2011Hi Ad, Did you see the Hockey interview? I know, you guessed, it was woeful. An interesting article from the abc on Hockey's comments: [i]Opposition 'missing the point' on carbon compo, ABC[/i] Mr Hockey questioned why the tax was being introduced if households were not forced to change their behaviour, saying the tax and the compensation scheme would just redistribute wealth. "If a lot of people are better off, what's the purpose of the tax?" he said. Climate Institute chief executive John Connor says the Opposition is "missing the point" of the scheme, which was about making large carbon-emitting industries take responsibility for their pollution. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/04/13/3190746.htm?section=justin Cheers to you and family Ad, hope you had another nice day.

BSA Bob

13/04/2011Just saw Oakes on 9 News, heaping sarcasm on Gillard & pouring cold water on the Government's announcements of the day. Mention of Gillard in "yet another hard hat"? whilst affording space to Mr Abbott uncharacteristically not dressed as a cyclist, bricklayer, truck driver, fishmonger, lifesaver, delicatessen owner. Anyone else think that with Oakes it's quite personal about Gillard?

Lyn

13/04/2011Hi BSA Bob Drycleaner, bulldozer driver, quad bike rider, surfboard rider, witchetty grub eater, banana eater, roll in the paddock stunt, Highway near crash causer, outback aboriginal bbq, sand bag filler, broom washer of flood damaged walls, machine gun operator, ironer, ironman marathon winner. There would be heaps more, Laurie Oakes is sarcastic.

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13/04/2011FS Among the several points PM Gillard made in her Whitlam oration, there was a deep emphasis on ‘fairness’ for which John Quiggin chides her for not using ‘equality’, a word he says exists in the Liberal Party platform. Is ‘equality’ the right word? Social equality may be nearer the mark. According to Wikipedia, “[i]…social equality is a social state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in a certain respect. At the very least, social equality includes equal rights under the law, such as security, voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, and the extent of property rights. However, it also includes access to education, health care and other social securities. It also includes equal opportunities and obligations, and so involves the whole of society.[/i]. Wikipedia goes onto say: “[i]Perfect social equality is an ideal situation that, for various reasons, does not exist in any society in the world today.”[/i] As this is so, perhaps ‘fairness’ is a more suitable word. Fairness has been described thus: [i]"Fairness means that everyone gets what he or she needs."[/i]. Note ‘needs’, not ‘wants’. Abraham Lincoln said: [i]”These men ask for just the same thing, fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have.” [/i] 'Equity' is another possible descriptor. It is described in Wikipedia thus: [i]"…fairness in economics, fairness in education, fairness in relationships between people of different ages, fairness in distributions of resources within social and professional situations, or equality in health and healthcare."[/i] The PM used the word ‘opportunity’ over and again. It’s pretty hard to misunderstand that word in the context in which she used it: ‘fair distribution of opportunity’, ‘creating opportunity’, ‘fair access to opportunity’, ‘a party/government for opportunity, and ‘share opportunity’. So I think it is quibbling to caste ‘fairness’ as less worthy than ‘equality’. While clarity of speech is essential for politicians, pedantry like that distracts from what is meant, from what PM Gillard meant. If we are aggregating an ‘ideal’ statement of Labor beliefs, we will have to decide which word is most appropriate. For my part ‘fairness’ sounds right – it certainly harmonizes with the traditional Aussie concept of ‘a fair go’. ‘Opportunity fairness’ too seems pretty right. As you are building for us a picture of what Labor ought to be, this is my two-pennyworths. I hope others will also toss their ideas about Labor ideals into the ring.

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13/04/2011Hi Lyn Thanks for the link to the ABC News item about the carbon tax announcement. As expected, Tony Abbott is in full condemnatory flight, no doubt worried that the punters will be attracted to the compensation offered, and the rent seekers, Mitch Hooke, Graham Wolfe and Co are out in force trying to bully the Government once more. They are nothing if not completely predictable. I hope PM Gillard and Greg Combet ignore them all and press on.

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13/04/2011Hi Lyn Thank you for your good wishes. Today I attended a most enjoyable midday concert at Ross Memorial Uniting Church in West Perth where a choir, ‘Spirit of the Streets Choir’, the Perth equivalent of Melbourne’s ‘Choir of Hard Knocks’, sang a medley of delightful songs. Several of the singers spoke of their mental illnesses; many are sellers of ‘The Big Issue’. To me the most poignant song was Phil Collins ‘Another Day in Paradise’. Here he is on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qt2mbGP6vFI I hope you too have had a happy day.

Patricia WA

13/04/2011BSA Bob - I think it is personal. Isn't he fond of Kevin Rudd from way back when he was a student or something? In that case, isn't it likely that Kevin has said a lot more to him than he can reveal? Not that I think that he's likely to have had an objective account! But we do get very personal, angry and one-eyed when mates are hard done by.

Lyn

14/04/2011 [b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]Don't bet on the joys of the Pokies, Greg jericho, Grog's Gamut[/i] I don’t think Governments need to always tell us what to do (but I have no problems with say seat belt laws or road speeds) but Governments should help the helpless. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2011/04/dont-bet-on-joys-of-pokies.html [i]Women in uniform, Jeremy Sear, Pure Poison[/i] I’d like to draw readers’ attention to a piece published by The Australian by an insider on the sort of culture those opposing change are defending http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2011/04/13/women-in-uniform/#more-9736 [i]State Polling: WA, NSW, VIC, William Bowe, The Poll Bludger[/i] http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/ [i]Department of Defence: nowhere to hide, Bruce Haige, On Line opinion[/i] the inability of senior officers to understand and respond to basic issues of morality, ethics and bullying. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11895 [i]Towards an economics of unhapiness, John Quiggin[/i] I took off from this point and made the case for unhappiness as a driver of economic activity and particularly of economic change (including ‘growth[2]’). http://johnquiggin.com/ [i]Labor’s three choices, Jeremy Sear, An Onymous Lefty[/i] It’s an utterly moronic strategy, and if Gillard keeps it up, she’s very likely to put Tony Abbott in government. http://anonymouslefty.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/labors-three-choices/ [i]The Clubs Fight Back, John, True Politik[/i] Mr O’Farrell seems to have issued a press release, but then has not been available for questioning. Why? http://truepolitik.blogspot.com/ [i]Hot Slots, In the Public Disinterest[/i] State Government make millions in taxes for these machines, and Tony Abbott's position has more than a whiff of hoping that cultivating opposition to this may get him into the Lodge. http://inthepublicdisinterest.blogspot.com/ [i]Joe Hockey Still Supports WorkChoices, Reb Gutter Trash[/i] fresh calls from Liberal Senator Erica Betz to have a new debate on the nation’s Industrial Relations laws, claiming the Julia Gillard had “gone too far.” http://guttertrash.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/joe-hockey-still-supports-workchoices/ [i]Andrew Bolt's reality Meltdown, Darryl Mason, The Orstrahyun[/i] How many times can pro-nuclear wacko and alleged journalist Andrew Bolt show himself to be grotesquely ignorant, wrong and ill-informed in the space of just one week? Five times? Ten times? More? http://theorstrahyun.blogspot.com/2011/04/andrew-bolts-reality-meltdown-by-darryl.html [i]Tony Abbott, big tobacco and the “astro turf” organisations, Barry Everingham, Independent Australia[/i] Which way will Tony jump?,Tony Abbott and his health spokesman Peter Dutton are tap dancing around the question, refusing to give straight answers.http://www.independentaustralia.net/2011/business/tony-abbott-big-tobacco-and-astro-turf-organisations/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tony-abbott-big-tobacco-and-astro-turf-organisations [i]Bob Ellis, you can't possibly be serious, Michael Brull, The Drum[/i] Mr Ellis: do you think your column today was constructive? Do you think, bearing in mind the above, that it helped the situation facing women today? Or do you think that you have contributed to Australia’s disgraceful sexist culture of trivialising http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/56610.html [i]Households 'better off' under ETS: Combet, Trading Room[/i] The companies - including GE, AGL, Linfox, Fujitsu, BP, Better Place, IKEA and Pacific Hydro - said in a joint statement a price on carbon was critical to providing business certainty and unlocking http://www.tradingroom.com.au/apps/view_breaking_news_article.ac?page=/data/news_research/published/2011/4/103/catf_110413_111000_1698.html [i]Are carbon taxes (another) Australian 'magic pudding' policy?,Geoff Carmody, On Line Opinion[/i] If emissions are reduced because higher-cost, lower-emissions, technology is used, carbon tax revenue will be reduced to that extent. If emissions are not reduced at all as a result of the carbon tax, http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11893&page=2 [i]Oh my. For some it'll be a tough budget. From tonight's Gillard speech:[/i] Julia Gillard's speech: http://www.petermartin.com.au/ [i]Work for the Dole doesn’t work, so why is it Coalition policy?, Jeff Borland, The Conversation[/i] this program found that – far from improving outcomes for the unemployed – Work for the Dole caused participants to spend longer amounts of time on welfare payments http://theconversation.edu.au/articles/work-for-the-dole-doesnt-work-so-why-is-it-coalition-policy-885 [i]Catching up with George Negus. Patrick Ashforth, The Sporadic Rager[/i] George Negus lends the program a credibility and gave us hope that maybe, just maybe, we were turning a corner to a world where commercial journalism isn't almost entirely trash. http://sporadicrager.blogspot.com/

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14/04/2011LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Lyn

14/04/2011Hi Ad Tony Abbott displays his tech head ignorance again, it must be most embarrassing. This morning on ABC24, during a broken transmission, of a speech by Tony Abbott in Sydney. Tony Abbott was obviously dicussing Labor waste, he said "Spending x amount of dollars, wait for it, on "running A WIRE to households to download movies". Surely someone must tell him, and surely he must know at least, that downloading movies is illegal, also see, optic fibre is a wire, Abbott just gets more amazing every minute, every hour, every day . Tony Abbott started to introduce Paul Kelly from The Australian, as a good friend, a former work mate, praise and more praise, then the transmission was broken again. Ad, see how our assumptions about biased journalists, are eventually exposed as true. It is a gorgeous day today, and I hope it is for you too Ad. I will go now and read some of the Abbott frenzy.

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14/04/2011Hi Lyn But it’s OK for Tony Abbott to not be a tech head. He’s admitted that, so that exonerates him from even getting the simplest technical fact right. Since he’s no good at technical matters – his talk confirms that – and he’s not interested in economics and seldom makes any comment about matters economic, and he’s not interested in IR matters any more – he said so – and he’s no whiz kid on education – when did you last hear him make a coherent statement on that subject – what is he good at? He has honours in three word slogans, is top of the class scaring the daylight out of the public on a variety of matters – the carbon tax, the mining tax, even the flood levy – is a graduate with first class honours at smear, innuendo, and disingenuous rhetoric directed at PM Gillard, her ministers and the Government, and is able to survive for long periods in a policy-free atmosphere, devoid of the oxygen that facts, figures and logical reasoning might bring to his thinking. The man is a genius – why is he not already in The Lodge running the country? He thinks that’s his role, but who else does? I hope you have a happy day too.

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14/04/2011Folks For those affronted by Bob Ellis’ article in [i]The Drum[/i] yesterday, there is a well-written rebuttal today by Michael Brull at http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/56610.html

Adam

14/04/2011newjj, [quote]I, personally believe that the government should construct a fibre back bone around the country, as well as hooking up all schools, universities, hospitals and other major business districts with the technology. I would then allow the private sector to build upon that, reducing many of the excuses the sector has for not delivering high speed broadband outside the major cities[/quote] Most schools, universities and hospitals are in residential areas. If the government is already installing the fibre network in those areas to these institutions, wouldn't it make sense from a cost perspective to use the same people and equipment already in place to install the fibre network in the neighboring residential areas. If individuals need to engage with Telco's to install fibre connections on a property by property basis, then the sum of the individual costs to each property would far exceed the cost of rolling out as one project. [quote]Sure you can point to the hydro plant and other major infrastructure ideas that have worked out; but a first year economics student would be able to tell you that there have been many, many, many other major government infrastructure projects as well as private ones) that have gone under because of the, 'build it and they will come' mentality. Just look at China, who now have over 60 million vacant apartments because the government has this build it and they will come mentality; which may lead to a housing bubble twice as large as that in the US pre GFC[/quote] My understanding is the research into the vacancy rate is due next week. Not withstanding, to compare the NBN to the chinese government investing and encouraging residential building growth, of properties that are not affordable for the current population, nor in areas that are desirable to new populace is stretching comparisons. I would welcome some of your "many, many, many" examples of failed government infrastructure projects within Australia. Off hand, I can think of some Toll Roads, although those risks were borne by the Private Operators, not by the governments who commissioned the projects. Thanks

Jason

14/04/2011Adam, Don't waste your time with old jj! jj isn't interested in logic, facts or benefits of the NBN. jj comes on here to parrot the opposition lines, and hopes we might agree that the inferior system the opposition keep on banging on about is the best for the country.

thenewjj

14/04/2011Adam, No it wouldnt make sense to use the equipment that would build the backbone to do all other premises because it is not in demand, and is therefore a waste. All of you seem to be forgetting that this project has to be financially viable, as the government wishes to sell it off in the not to distant future. So this project is very different to that of other major government infrastructure projects carried out in the past as it has to do well, it cant make losses even if there is a possibility in the distant future that it will improve all of our lives. The NBN is thus misplaced; it is a socialist style project situated in a country that adheres to a capitalist way of thinking... no matter how good it may be it has to make a profit to succeed.

TalkTurkey

14/04/2011Ad astra wrote "Michael Bob Ellis’ piece is extraordinary. I’m surprised that he would write such stuff. I doubt if he will get support from any other than those seriously prejudiced against women. It’s best ignored as an aberration." Ad astra I don't disagree with you often and when I do it's more in the nature of agreement. In this case I agree with you all except the last sentence. I think that a man of Ellis's years and experience and profession supporting what those witty laddies did is not less reprehensible than what the witty laddies did. No question but what he'd have been jostling for a spot at the computer screen! He might even have been Lover Boy himself to score Hercules v Hippolyte Points from his mates if he'd had the chance. But as it is he's an old (in both senses) journalist, keeps such excellent company as our Premier Rann here, (choke!), is a self-styled "leftist intellectual" by self-styling and the circles he makes himself shabbily visible in. It's not as if it could be really an aberration. One might - or might not! - wish to excuse him this once, but it was a longish and entirely deliberative article, poorly argued and scatty as it was, and I would rather treat as aberrant the actions of the man who drove his kids into the dam than Ellis's misogynistic rave. The dam incident might have been a spur-of-the-moment stupidity, but not Ellis's article. I have read the fine Brull article, and some of the many comments thereon, which thank Dog are at least mostly castigulational of the young boors and of Ellis. But a point I don't see anyone making, it's such an always-been-there elephant in the bathroom that no-one's even noticed or anyway noted it, is this: the implicit blackmail that would in most cases prevent the woman making a complaint at all, even were actual rape involved. 'Fraternising', remember, is notionally proscribed to members of the Defence Forces, so any complaint involving sex acts carries repercussions anyway for any woman so unsporting as to point a finger at those men who behave in sexually inappropriately ways. She will be ridiculed and her decency impugned, the acts will trivialised or denied, and the males nudge-nudgedly exonerated of any real wrong-doing, even of course become the victims and the heroes all at the same time. Their own fitness to continue in the armed forces will not usually be questioned - after all some would argue that the attributes that make you an ( * ) in civvy street might be useful in a theatre of war. Yeah right, we need bullies and misogynists and sadists as *Australia's Finest*. Not! But what would the whingeing woman get? Her character terminally besmirched, her career terminally capped at a low ceiling. The situation made so intolerable that she will probably resign, or quite likely, suicide - as some have done. Raped males too. There is no way for her to win, at best she might hope that she takes the main protagonist/s down with her, but as just noted, that is almost unachievable. At least until now, and Mr Smith, to whom I wish More Power. Ellis is about as despicable as it gets in his rant. He misrepresents the woman's situation as if it were just being peeked at in the shower. He bewails the possible suicide of the protagonists, while ignoring the actual suicides of actual victims. He draws weird long bows from biblical history, oh thanks Bob, that's pretty rich coming from you. So just how commonplace is sexual misconduct of the victimising kind? Probably, for the above reasons, very, as appears to be the case from the number of personnel now forwarding complaints, in the hope that at last the *culture* of misgyny in the Defence Forces might at last be addressed.

Jason

14/04/2011jj, What rubbish! So now that O'farrel is in I take it all state schools, hospitals, roads, courts ,electricity generators gaols and any other socialist left over, will be sold so they can make a profit? Your local council, police, fire men, abulance, Then once that is done no need for a State premier either. As you said " no matter how good it may be it has to make a profit to succeed."

John

14/04/2011Hi, All I have enjoyed reading Part 1 of Hillbilly's piece, and the comments. My 2-bob's worth is as follows: 1) the Labor Party has lost its mojo partly because of the rise of the centre-right. It has become a conservative party, with some elements further to the right of the more moderate Liberals. This has resulted in soome people beleiving that the Liberals would be just as good. 2) the NSW Palriamentary Labor Party of the last NSW government displayed all the traits of a party & government that was rotten from the inside out. The factionalism and lack of ethical behaviour were the food of that rottenness. 3) some of the traditional Labor voters now identify as John Howard's "aspirational australians", and have turned their backs on the Labor Party. Tax cuts that were designed for purely personal political advantage, and to promote personal wealth at the expense of social wealth are truely a poison. 4) the Federal Party, in government, has been too often inept at communicating with people. eg the still current messages about the carbon tax, although Greg Combet's speech this week has been somewhat better than the others. The government's message must be short, crisp and showing determination to achieve, like Abbott's sloganeering. Try these: 'A carbon tax: to benefit our environment'; 'A carbon tax: to compensate the poor and middle income families' OK - I don't like the second one much, but it's something the unthinking populace can latch onto, as they do with Abbott's & Hockey's slogans. John :)

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14/04/2011H/FS I suppose you are beavering away on the next part of your current piece. Your project is exciting as it’s attempting to put together the way forward for Labor and the ideological base on which it should build. Here are some more thoughts on what Labor might include in its manifesto. Yesterday I canvassed which of ‘fairness’, ‘social equality‘ or ‘equity’ was the most appropriate word to describe an overarching principle, preferring ‘fairness’ because of its simplicity. Today, I want to suggest that the driving force behind fairness is ‘a caring and just society’. Without concern for our fellow citizens, no matter what their status, and a sense of justice, how can fairness exist and thrive? If most of society believes in ‘survival of the fittest’, ‘winner takes all’, and ‘power over principle’, fairness cannot thrive. Yet while it is easy to embrace the concept of ‘a caring and just society’, how can it be ‘operationalized’? How can it be more than a platitude? There is wide variety of opinion in the community about the concept. While most would accept the need for a caring attitude towards those less well off, while most would insist on justice for all, there are the hard-nosed who have no empathy for the unemployed, no concern for the poor and underprivileged, no understanding of addiction whether it be substance or gambling, no sympathy for the disabled. These hard-headed sceptics see them as bludgers, dole cheats, welfare dependent lazy layabouts who should not get benefits but be forced into work, or left to rot. While almost no one would applaud deliberate avoidance of available work or training to equip for work, differentiating between the deliberately indolent and the many others who cannot work, cannot find suitable work, are untrained for any sort of work, and who have no access to training, is difficult, at times almost impossible. So to lump them together in condemnation is not just unfair, it is demeaning for all except the deliberately indolent. Yet that is the message that emanates from politicians, mostly on the conservative side of politics. Today’s debate about getting people into work differs between Labor and the Coalition. While both sides want this outcome, the process of achieving it seems different. Labor places great emphasis on giving those who are able to work the opportunity for training to equip them, while the Coalition seems more focussed on the punitive, ‘work for the dole’ being a prominent part of its program. The difference may be viewed as subtle, but it portrays a marked difference in philosophy, which ought not to be overlooked as it goes to the heart of the two party’s core beliefs. My suggestion that we add ‘a fair and just society’ to Labor’s manifesto, will do for now – I may be back later with more suggestions. I hope FS that this is not making your writing task more tedious.

D Mick Weir

14/04/2011Go away for a day or two and look what happens. I have become an inspiration. Hmm, more likely a 'hero in little lunch time'. Oh well we can all aspire to granduer :) FS, it is with pleasure that I was able to act as a catalyst for your thoughts and writings. :) Interesting too that you are versed in the art of basic political communication and you are using the three step tango: 1. Tell 'em what you are going to tell them; 2. Tell 'em what you want to tell them; 3. Tell 'em what you told them. I look forward to steps two and three.

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14/04/2011john I enjoyed reading your comments. Do come back to [i]TPS[/i] often. I too have wondered why Labor has been so slow to develop simple slogans that capture its messages. I like your suggestions. Here are some others: Carbon tax hits the polluters Carbon tax compensates households Carbon tax compensates small business Carbon tax will clean our air Carbon tax will protect our environment Carbon tax will help us all Now they are not quite Tony Abbott’s infamous three-worders, but they are short, and even if some are not pristine in accuracy, that is not as relevant as whether they work. Perception is what’s important.

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14/04/2011D Mick Weir That 'three step tango' always works.

Adam

14/04/2011jj, [quote]All of you seem to be forgetting that this project has to be financially viable, as the government wishes to sell it off in the not to distant future. So this project is very different to that of other major government infrastructure projects carried out in the past as it has to do well, it cant make losses even if there is a possibility in the distant future that it will improve all of our lives. The NBN is thus misplaced; it is a socialist style project situated in a country that adheres to a capitalist way of thinking... no matter how good it may be it has to make a profit to succeed.[/quote] I think you should read up on an accounting concept called "sunk cost". It refers to past expenditures not effecting future revenues / profit. The profit requirement of the NBN for it to be a viable private enterprise would come from having revenues in excess of operating expenditures. Also, any excess revenues would need to be used to cover future capital expenditure. If the FTTH rollout has already been completed by the government, then such capital expenditures do not need to be factored into a private enterprise valuation. They will simply look at the amount of profit to be generated, and base a value of the organisation on that. The risk to the government is that when selling (if that happens - legislation requires govt approval) the NBN sale price may not exceed the cost of building. As such, the government may make a net capital loss. This would fit with your expectation that governments are able to run infrastructure at a loss, yet the subsequent private enterprise operation of the project can be run at a profit.

thenewjj

14/04/2011Adam, No but the point is that the business its self without taking into account capital outlay is likely to make a loss. This is a national network with huge costs, with the full benefits of the scheme not in demand... which is therefore a waste. If everyone wants faster download speeds than why is the take up rate in the NBN trial areas so low? It is 14% in some towns in Tasmania.

thenewjj

14/04/2011Jason, No, you are missing the point. The NBN is different to all other government infrastructure in that it is a business built to be sold off. The government needs to sell it off to prevent being left with a massive amount of debt. I believe that government has a role in providing 'free rider' infrastructure, as the private sector will not provide such services; but i am a great believer in the private sector running things much more efficiently and reliably as there are goals that have to be achieved.

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14/04/2011TT Somehow I missed your comment. You may be right, that Bob Ellis’ rant is not an aberration, but a considered statement of strong beliefs, long held. If that is so, it is something he has kept hidden. Not that I’ve read a lot of what he has written, but I’ve not picked up on that attitude previously. He should read your appraisal. No doubt he’s read the many similar comments made on his piece. Perhaps he’s suffering relevance deprivation, and needed such an article to put him into the spotlight again.

Adam

14/04/2011jj, [quote]No but the point is that the business its self without taking into account capital outlay is likely to make a loss. This is a national network with huge costs, with the full benefits of the scheme not in demand... which is therefore a waste. If everyone wants faster download speeds than why is the take up rate in the NBN trial areas so low? It is 14% in some towns in Tasmania.[/quote] The project requires a takeup rate of between 6% and 12% to be viable (according to Sen Conroy). 14% > 12%. http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2010/10/22/249665_latest-news.html (report October 2010) Furthermore, across stage 1 of the rollout, reports indicated that takeup was now at 50% in Mar 2011. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/03/11/3162150.htm

NormanK

14/04/2011thenewjj Now you're just making it up as you go along. The sale of NBN Co, if and when it occurs, will be after the government investment has been repaid (including interest on loans). NBN Co may still have outstanding debt on its books but that will belong to the company and presumably travel with the company should it be sold. The government is not going to sell NBN Co to cover its debt or cost of building. I'm not sure what you regard as the not-too-distant future but 2025 looks a fair way off to me and that is the rough proposed sale date. If uptake is slightly less than the business case used for its forecasts, then the government will have to hang on to it for a couple of more years - no big deal. Personally, I hope the government of the day hang on to it, keep the playing field level and make a modest profit from it. As for Tasmania's take-up rate, as you no doubt heard Conroy say the other night, the estimates were that if Tassie came in at 11% after the first year it could be regarded as a success - which means 14% looks pretty good doesn't it. Bear in mind, the roll-out in Tasmania and the mainland trials are just that - trials. They are trialling the roll-out procedures not the system itself. NBN Co deliberately chose areas with different demographics and geography so that at the end of the trials they can establish what is best practice in the various scenarios. At this stage it is not actually about take-up or performance but if they want good PR they will make sure that they have a modest number of very satisfied customers. Again, this was pointed out on [i]4 Corners[/i].

Lyn

14/04/2011JJ [quote]If everyone wants faster download speeds than why is the take up rate in the NBN trial areas so low? It is 14% in some towns in Tasmania.[/quote] They don't own computers. duh

thenewjj

14/04/2011Lyn, So how is the damn thing going to work then!? Duh

Ad astra reply

14/04/2011Adam Your response to the assertions of thenewjj are well argued. Where imagination is lacking about the enormous potential of the NBN, as is the case with the Opposition spokesmen and thenewjj, it is natural that the here and now will dominate thinking, and that financial considerations will outweigh long-term benefits, some of which are not yet known. When mobile phones were invented, who anticipated the thousands of applications that would soon be available? No one! But who argued that the mobile phone venture was fraught because we all had access to fixed line telephony when we needed it and after all it was good enough for our parents? I suppose a few might have, but they are silent now. In my opinion the same will be the case with the NBN, and that its cost will pale into insignificance when the benefits are obvious. Personally I’m prepared to risk my money, my taxpayer’s money, on this venture. I have faith in it, as I indicated in a piece I wrote last year [i]Would Tony Abbott be stupid enough to trash the NBN?[/i] http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2010/08/04/Would-Tony-Abbott-really-be-stupid-enough-to-trash-the-NBN.aspx If the newjj read it, he/she might find the potential of the NBN exciting. To take the conservative ‘wait and see if customers come’ approach and insist on ‘the venture must make a profit’ imperative would threaten it with suboptimal performance and likely result in duplication of effort as the places that could have been connected are bypassed, as thenewjj suggests, later realized that the NBN is a valuable asset with a lot to offer. thenewjj uses the 14% uptake in Tasmania to date to cast doubts on whether the public will embrace the NBN at a level that will make it viable. The NBN planners anticipated that the uptake would be low in that area in Tasmania where many homes do not have a computer. The anticipated uptake of 10% in the first year has already been exceeded and the NBN people are delighted. I note that thenewjj did not mention the 87% uptake in Armidale. In response to jason, thenewjj says: [i]”… I am a great believer in the private sector running things much more efficiently and reliably as there are goals that have to be achieved.” [/i] That is a commonly held belief of conservatives, but debunked by John Quiggin in his book [i]Zombie Economics[/i] in his section on ‘Privatization’. If thenewjj has not read that piece, it might be informative for him/her. My invitation to him/her to comment on that piece has not yet been taken up, but is extant.

Adam

14/04/2011AA, Thank you for your comments. I recall reading your earlier NBN post (having just refreshed my memory now) and can only say I agree 100% with each point you make regarding the NBN and it future identified benefits as well as the unidentified benefits that are yet to be seen. Also, thank you for the Armidale take-up rate. I regret to say that I had totally forgotten about Armidale, especially as my family is from the NW of NSW and is one of the reasons I am a supporter of the NBN plan. With respect to thenewjj not commenting on your informed piece, I also noted he has not yet taken the time to provide any examples of his many failed infrastructure projects that his first year students could easily advise of. Thanks again for your blog and keep up the good work. Regards

Ad astra reply

14/04/2011FS I hope I’m not driving your writing brain crazy, but here’s another set of thoughts about Labor remembering PM Menzies’ ‘Forgotten People”. There is so much in his 1942 essay, the first of his radio broadcasts that is applicable today, that I am salivating with anticipation of your comparison of his precepts with that of PM Gillard. There seems to me to be much in common. Extending my previous contribution where ‘fairness’ and ‘a caring and just society’ were emphasized, it seems to me that PM Gillard in her Whitlam oration emphasized ‘opportunity’ over and again, and ‘fairness of opportunity’. It seems again that in her announcements about reducing welfare dependency, opportunity for work and opportunity for training for work were prominent, and her belief in the value of work for one’s esteem was again made clear, as was her belief in the value of saving and frugality. There is much similarly there with Menzies’ views, yet her conservative critics seem to find her ideas quaint, focussing sarcastically on the ‘clock’ as her signal to get going – to work. Of course the conservative Opposition is no longer the Liberal Party of Menzies, as Malcolm Fraser so often points out. It has lurched to ‘the right’, all the more violently since Tony Abbott took over. So maybe we are witnessing a dramatic change in the basic ethos of our main parties. We look forward FS to you spelling this out for us.

Ad astra reply

14/04/2011Folks I'll be out for a couple of hours having a coffee with Acerbic Conehead, then I have a dinner party at our daughter's home. I'll be back late this evening.

Feral Skeleton

14/04/2011Oh look, I'm just going to have to put up the white flag and admit defeat here. It's school holidays where I am and I have just spent the last couple of days running around like a chook with my head cut off trying to keep my children entertained, or driving them to where they may be entertained, and then picking them up, or going on long train journeys to see entertainment with them...As well as fitting in the weekly shop...As well as taking my son to the Orthodentist Friday. Holiday!?! I have more time to myself when it's not the holidays! Anyway, I must therefore be brief, and will not be able to address everyone's specific contributions, but only instead offer general comment. Ad Astra, I agree with your scoping out of the fallacy that lies at the heart of Quiggin's criticism of the PM. I believe you have gotten to the nub of the problem with respect to his predilection for the word 'equality' over 'fairness', and your own, well-argued predisposition towards 'fairness' over 'equality' in the word wars, when you quote from Wikipedia thus: “Perfect social equality is an ideal situation that, for various reasons, does not exist in any society in the world today.” In other words, Quiggin is arguing for the PM to strive towards a Utopian ideal that is essentially, in all practical senses, unobtainable. Therefore, possibly our PM has also cottoned onto the hollowness that lies at the heart of expositing such an unobtainable ideal? Thus preferring the more practical 'fairness', as her totem? What's the point of striving for something you know can never be realised? As opposed to striving for the more practical fairness dividend. This also goes to the debate the PM has started wrt the long-term unemployed and what to do about them. Again her prescription for this problem goes to trying to give them a 'Fair Go' at getting a meaningful job. Not the Mickey Mouse type of employment Tony Abbott is advocating for the long-term unemployed and the disabled. This 'new paradigm' that the PM is trying to fashion wrt the long-term unemployed and disadvantaged and disabled also harks back to 'The Forgotten People'. For are they not just that? People who have been put into the 'Too Hard Basket' called, 'The Long Term Unemployed'. Now, Part 2 of my magnum opus is on its way. Part 3, it seems, will have to wait until the weekend. When I hope I don't have to go anywhere, or do anything! Oh, and I forgot to add, I and my sons have been digging out the silt from our drainage ditches this week. Phew! :)

Feral Skeleton

14/04/2011Lyn, Thank you again for being the backbone that supports this skeleton. :) I see 'the new jj', in classic troll style, has led many here on an NBN Gish Gallop. Sigh. As I said previously, I prefer not to feed the trolls. However, I am glad that Adam had the time and the forebearance to deconstruct jj's tightly-woven web of deceit. Thank you for that, Adam! The thing that I often wonder is whether the rest of the electorate can see the Coalition's arguments against just about any topic that the Gillard government is attempting to deal with and implement a solution to, are just a series of threadbare arguments built upon a tissue of lies and half-truths? For example, Greg Hunt has been peddling as 'fact' something that Greg Combet is supposed to have said on March 7, that is, that families would get 100% of compensation from the Carbon Tax, but which is now a 'Broken Promise'(obviously one of the Focus Group-tested 2 word memes that they believe will be their pathway to electoral success), because Greg Combet is now only promising just over 50% of C Tax monies to families. Well, someone from the ABC, I think it was Lyndall Curtis, actually ferretted out the footage of the interview with Greg Combet that Greg Hunt keeps referring back to, and, surprise! surprise! Greg Hunt has been found out to have selectively misquoted Greg Combet in order to give his sensorious declamation legs. That is, Greg Hunt has chopped off the end of the sentence Greg Combet uttered at that particular time, in order to make real his assertion! As Greg Combet actually said, wtte, "And 100% of money derived from the Carbon Tax will go to compensate families...and businesses and for clean energy R&D". I put the break in the sentence where Greg Hunt did the snip. What utterly reprehensible behaviour! However, it is why Greg Hunt can stand their with a straight face and say to camera that, on March 7 Greg Combet said that 100% of money derived from the Carbon Tax would go to families. He did. But. He said much more besides. And that's what Greg Hunt and the Opposition are not telling the public. And Greg Hunt isn't the only one in the Opposition who is doing this to the Gillard government. Julie Bishop has been recently caught with her political pants down doing the same thing, as well as plagiarising, again, arguments put forth as fact on a Climate Sceptics website, which were subsequently fact-checked and found to be false assertions and misrepresentations of the actual facts. Isn't that reason enough to not want to give the keys to The Lodge to Tony Abbott and his band of mendacious carpetbaggers?

Feral Skeleton

14/04/2011john, You are correct to assert that the Labor Party has co-opted the worst of the DLP with no obvious benefits. However, I am hopeful that with some of the leading lights in the ALP now coming from the Left, people such as Nick Martin and Luke Foley, and with the NSW Right, and the Right in general, split, as evidenced by the failed attempt to get their chosen one up as new federal secretary and the PM's man, George Wright, who is factionally-unaligned, up instead, that they are now in the twilight of their influence on the direction that the party takes. I am going to a conference in a couple of weekends time, put on by 'Progressive Australia' and the Chifley Centre(Ad Astra et al, maybe you might like to come along as well?), at the Law School at Sydney Uni, and the future of Progressive politics in Oz will be discussed. I shall surely get back to you with the results of that. 2) On many occasions before this I have mentioned how I was part of the push to rid my own electorate of the influence of one of the prime causes of the 'NSW Disease', Belinda Neal, and her seemingly nice, but underhanded husband, John Della Bosca. After she was gone, the electorate rewarded us by voting for the ALP again because we had chosen an 'unrotten' candidate to replace her. 3) Which brings me to my final point. That is, I think that those 'aspirationals' still have heart enough to want to vote for a party that isn't absolutely morally bankrupt, as the Coalition are.

Lyn

14/04/2011Hi Hillbilly Thankyou for your as usual, informative comment above. Glad to see you are ok, and survived the busy day happy, I hope you manage ok tomorrow. [quote]I see 'the new jj', in classic troll style, has led many here on an NBN Gish Gallop. Sigh. [/quote] The new JJ is acting old, I thought. I have enjoyed all the fantastic replies today, those brilliant, interesting comments from Adam and NormanK on the NBN. DMWeir and John also very interesting and appreciated. You would have seen Ad entertain us as well, with his well thought about, valuable replies and careful interesting thoughts. NBN Gish Gallop love it. cheers

Lyn

14/04/2011Hi again Hillbilly I meant to mention Talk Turkey and Jason's interesting comments today, who are always entertaining,interesting, and informative,lucky us on "The Political Sword".

Feral Skeleton

14/04/2011lyn, Thank you for your kind comment. Yes, I think I'll survive tomorrow. Can't wait for the weekend though. :) Now, I don't know if you are aware of what a Gish Gallop is, you probably are, you are very well-read! however, if you, or others, are not, fyi: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gish_Gallop

Ad astra reply

14/04/2011Folks I'm packing it in now. We had a delightful meeting this afternoon with Acerbic Conehead. We have now met in person all the original contributors to [i]TPS[/i]. Tomorrow afternoon I'll be posting another piece of stylish satire by AC: [i]Blackadder Bolt.[/i]

Feral Skeleton

14/04/2011The following You Tube clip is a must watch for those wanting to know how the Mining companies in WA are behaving towards Indigenous Australians: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w_fB7e0WCY&source=cmailer

Ad astra reply

15/04/2011H/FS Do take your time preparing your next episode in the series [i]Labor Needs to Remember the Forgotten People[/i]. You have whet our appetite, but we can wait.

Patricia WA

15/04/2011Acerbic Conehead do you live here in the West? Surely not Freo way -I would have recognised you from afar in that hat!

Lyn

15/04/2011 [b]TODAYS LINKS[/b] [i]Labor PM in Favour of Jobs ("Oh, the betrayal") Greg Jericho, Grog's Gamut[/i] The media fall head first into this every time – it’s easy, and means they don’t need to bother with analysis or details. A word is said – and we all rush to assume we know that word is code for something else. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/ [i]Bob Ellis &the Hot Lips Houlihan Affair,Dickhead Frenzy[/i] twitters were in a frenzy after Bob Ellis wrote a piece of unintentional satire for ABC's the Drum on the current ADF scandal, which could best be described as the work of a dickhead. http://dickheadfrenzy.blogspot.com/ [i]How Steve Fielding helped billionaires dominate media ownership, Stephen Mayne, Crikey[/i] one of his lasting legacies will be the continuing flow of media deals triggered by John Howard’s liberalisation of foreign and cross-media ownership laws in 2005. http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/04/14/how-steve-fielding-helped-billionaires-dominate-media-ownership/ [i]Oh! What a tangled web we weave: Part2, Andrew Catsaras[/i] If prohibiting misleading and deceptive conduct can be made to work in the commercial world - as it does, as it must - then it can be made to work in the political world - as it should, as it must. http://andrewcatsaras.blogspot.com/ [i]Trollday: Welfare bashing, Jeremy Sear, Pure Poison[/i] Prime Minister Julia Gillard says budget will be tough on welfare cheats”, “PM declares war on the idle”, “Time is up for welfare cheats, says Gillard”, “PM takes aim at welfare”. And you can bet the tabloid commentariat http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2011/04/14/trollday-welfare-bashing/#more-9743 [i]What's Good for the Goose, In The Public Disinterest[/i] I've tried to understand it, but I can't. Personal debt is through the roof, people live well beyond their means. Why do you care if the Government has to borrow more money? I certainly don't. http://inthepublicdisinterest.blogspot.com/2011/04/whats-good-for-goose.html [i]The ETS and CPRS: Neoliberalism by any other name, Liz Beths, Left Flank[/i] reallocation of wealth to global elites, the great suffering of the global poor and starving, and deal effectively with the climate crisis, it is about time be said Ya Basta! to neoliberalism. http://left-flank.blogspot.com/2011/04/ets-and-cprs-neoliberalism-by-any-other.html#more [i]Abbott's five-year carbon sentence, Rob Burgess, Business Spectator[/i] For the psephologically minded, from July of this year the Senate will look like this: Liberals (including LNP) 28, Nationals 5, Democratic Labor Party 1, Greens 9, ALP 31, Country Liberal Party 1, Family First 0, Independent (Xenophon) 1. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Greg-Combet-carbon-tax-Tony-Abbott-pd20110414-FVSJ7?OpenDocument&emcontent_Burgess&src=rot [i]Just pathetic, Massive Sprray, Spray of the Day[/i] they needed to fill their daily oppositional journalism (ie the Opposition says…) quota so they interviewed that paragon of clear thinking Tony Abbott. His response to http://sprayoftheday.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/just-pathetic/ [i]The backdrop to Gillard's carbon price compensation announcement, Robert Merkel, Larvatus Prodeo[/i] The idea of households receiving compensation for the impact of a carbon price has been around since the Shergold Report on emissions trading, http://larvatusprodeo.net/2011/04/13/the-backdrop-to-gillards-carbon-price-compensation-announcement/#more-20751 [i]Mandatory limits on gambling, Gary Sauer-Thompson, Public Opinion[/i] The Liberals are opposed as is the NSW state government. That leaves the Independents who currently look as if they have cold feet, http://www.sauer-thompson.com/archives/opinion/2011/04/mandatory-limit.php#more [i]The Sounds of Silence?,Ash, Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery[/i] And so Clubs Australia have decided to go to war. How this will all play out is going to be intriguing. http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/the-sounds-of-silence/ [i]Nowhere to go:unions and the ALP, Trevor Cook,Unleashed[/i] ALP’s reliance on union financial support is much less than it was; down from about 80 per cent a few decades ago to about 15 per cent now. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/56622.html [i]Time For The ADF To HTFU?, New Matilda[/i] Like Bob Ellis, Andrew Bolt sees the whole affair as a "wild over-reaction" — and he’s not happy with any prospect of changes to the military. "I certainly don’t see in this an excuse for Smith declaring war on our military, http://newmatilda.com/2011/04/14/time-adf-htfu [i]Changing Defence culture will take time, Stephen Bartos, The Drum[/i] Defence has a history of outlasting its ministers - wait long enough and any demands for change will be overtaken by events. If Stephen Smith stays the course, http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/56642.html#comments [i]Andrew Dawson, the “bushie” defence minister, and the British Major-General, Glenn Davies, Independent Australia[/i] The boy from Charters Towers, who became federal Minister for Defence, had stood up to the aristocratic British chief of Australia’s armed forces and won. http://www.independentaustralia.net/2011/australian-history/andrew-dawson-the-bushie-defence-minister-and-the-british-major-general/ [i]The Australian Climate Action Summit 2011, Alex Schlotzer, The Angle[/i] gained an insight into what others are doing around Australia. There was a very positive vibe and looks like there will remain a strong on-going campaign for action on climate change. http://theangle.org/2011/04/14/the-australian-climate-action-summit-2011/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+theangleorg+%28theangle.org%29 [i]Failing to act on climate change costs us billions, Anna Sharbeck, The Conversation[/i] Figures from the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency released last month indicate that the projected emissions for 2020 have increased from 664 to 690 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. http://theconversation.edu.au/articles/failing-to-act-on-climate-change-costs-us-billions-941 [i]Is Tony Abbott a closet sociopath who has declared War on the Impoverished? That is the Whistle Blower’s Big Blog Question of the Month, Ronald's Space[/i] Tony Abbott’s antipathy towards unemployed people (and now disability pensioners) appears to be based upon the misconception that these people are completely marginalized and totally powerless http://yadnarie48.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/is-tony-abbott-a-closet-sociopath-who-has-declared-war-on-the-impoverished-that-is-the-whistle-blowers-big-blog-question-of-the-month/ [i]What We Really Knew About East Timor,Clinton Fernandes, New Matilda[/i] I wanted information from the period from 1 October to 31 December 1975, when the Indonesian military destabilised and then invaded East Timor, to establish how much the Australian government knew about the impending invasion http://newmatilda.com/2011/04/14/what-we-really-knew-about-east-timor

Feral Skeleton

15/04/2011Grog is a joy and a wonder to behold. The way he can encapsulate the essence of an argument despite the torrent of information to the contrary in the media. Such as his piece on the PM's Sydney Institute speech lyn has linked to above. Long may he reign! And Ad Astra too! And lyn, for hooking us up with such sages. :) Anyway, so energised was I about this topic in general that I spent what little spare time that I had yesterday morning defending the PM against the naysayers about her intentions for the unemployed, which she outlined in her speech, on Twitter. And, as is increasingly the case these days, the most demeaning and vitriolic criticisms of her were being made by those nominally from the Left, such as Jeremy Sear. He attempted to humiliate and denigrate me into submission, but as I have mentioned here previously, I have copped flak elsewhere from the best that the Right have to offer, and survived with my integrity intact because I always like to base my opinions on a sober reading of the facts, like Grog, AA, and others do. Anyway, if you're interested in what I have had to say to Grog about it all, I left a comment on his blog.

Feral Skeleton

15/04/2011PatriciaWA, I wonder if you also have been lucky enough to meet up with our guru, Ad Astra, while he has been holidaying in the West? :)

thenewjj

15/04/2011Ad Astra, Your comparison between the NBN and the mobile phone is ridiculous. There was huge demand for mobile phones around the world, nothing like that existed before and so the private sector (driven by demand) went about to invest in providing the capacity for mobile phones to work across the country. Actually, your example of the mobile phone contradicts your argument about wireless broadband and aids mine. There are many people today that do not even have a fixed line telephone and only mobile phones. Now apply this trend for consumers to want mobility even over cost (mobile calls are usually more expensive) and reliability (at first service was patchy) and apply this to wireless broadband. Sure speeds may be slower and sometimes more expensive, but as we have seen, mobile phones services improve as take up rates increase due to money made available for greater research into technical improvements. But according to the government, this trend in mobility is non existent, well at least it will be now that the government has drafted legislation to block any future technologies from entering the market to compete with fixed line broadband services.

Ad astra reply

15/04/2011LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Jason

15/04/2011thenewjj, Nothing supports your argument! The legislation has been passed in both houses,and the roll out is happening. If you talking points had any merit they would have been enacted and that's what we would be getting! The LNP dogs maybe barking but the caravan has moved on jj!why don't you?

D Mick Weir

15/04/2011H/FS, re your comment over at Grog's Gamut:[i] ' ... she wants to help people like me get a job and a bit of dignity back. Because I sure as hell know the bitter taste of rejection that comes with applying for job after job in your chosen field of endeavour, and being told you are too expensive to employ because you are an adult with a degree ...'[/i] Given your passion and dedication to the cause and your obvious skills and caring demeanour might I humbly suggest that the people of the electorates of Gosford or The Entrance are now in need of someone like yourself to represent them when thier local Liberal can't/won't. Take some advice from Trevor Cook: [b]Comeback: What NSW Labor needs to do now[/b] http://trevorcook.typepad.com/weblog/2011/03/comeback-what-nsw-labor-needs-to-do-now.html It may well be a four to eight year 'apprenticeship' but you would have a well paid job at the end of it that would suit your talents and skills.

Lyn

15/04/2011Hi Hillbilly I have enjoyed reading your comment on Grog's Gamut, I would love to have your permission to copy and post your comment here. Also Patricia of WA, your comment is excellent as well. Hillbilly one of the commenters made reference to the Billy Blog, I read his blog yesterday, but didn't appreciate much of what he said, so didn't post in today's links. Grog thinks Billy Blog, is worth a read, and I am positive, sure, Grog has made a far better assessment than me. Putting the Billy link up to see what our dear readers say: [i]Australian Labor Government abandons its roots, Billy Blog[/i] [quote]The Labor Party, now in federal government, formerly the political arm of the trade union movement and formed during the 1890s when there was massive industrial turmoil, is now a neo-liberal organisation that demonstrates by its actions that it only seeks to manage the 24-hour news cycle and dance to the tune set by the constant opinion polling with [b]one goal in mind – to remain in power.[/b][/quote] [quote]So by following a neo-liberal path, the Labor Party are guaranteeing their demise as a party that can govern in its own right. Unfortunately, it hasn’t come quickly enough for my liking.[/quote] [quote]It is sickening really how far this lot will go to revise history just so they can run their narrative that they are the party of the workers and equity.[/quote] http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=14161

Patricia WA

15/04/2011D Mick Weir - took the words right out of my mouth, or something similar! I reckon the ALP, like all political parties, needs good policy analysts, speech writers and press officers, H/FS! That seems a good way start to a political career and get pre-selection these days. Ask Jason about it! I particularly agreed with your comment chez Grog about [quote] the vitriolic attack,......................., from the Naysayers of the Left, who appear to be getting even more caustic in their assessment of the PM than those from the Right, who will always find an angle to attack the ALP government from.[/quote] It's true elsewhere. I've found Larvatus Prodeo particularly 'bitchy' of late about the PM, not simply her policies but her person. LP's supposed left of centre perspective certainly isn't very clear when discussing Julia Gillard. I'm not enjoying my visits there these days. Nice to come back here and CW where good humor and good manners are no barrier to feisty debate.

Adam

15/04/2011It must be the cold / flu i am suffering from that it provides me with time to read and respond yesterday and today, as once again, I see subjective out of context arguments and I feel I can't let them go by. http://xkcd.com/386/ JJ, you stated [quote]There are [b]many[/b] people today that do not even have a fixed line telephone and only mobile phones. Now apply this trend for consumers to want mobility even over cost (mobile calls are usually more expensive) and reliability (at first service was patchy) and apply this to wireless broadband.[/quote] I have bolded the word that causes me to have a fit (well almost). Many. In comparison to what? The size of a class room? Because if you compare the number of landline connections to the number of houses in Australia, then the number of people without a landline connection would no longer be described as "many". In fact, it could easily be substituted for "some". Yes, Some people are choosing to only have a mobile phone connection. Yet not all of those choose to drop the landline purely because they prefer the mobility. I choose not to install a landline as I am happy with my VOIP over my fixed broadband connection as a substitute for landline. Although it runs over the same fixed telephone network, it is not classed as a fixed landline. And I come back to words I used previously for wireless internet. "Complementary Network". Mobile Telephone is a complementary network to the fixed network. It has to be as the cell phone towers all connect into the fixed telecommunication network. The next reason why it must be complementary is based on the laws of physics. There are only so many frequencies that mobile calls (and wireless data) can communicate on. I am sure everyone has experienced call failure on New Years Eve when a large population is trying to use cellular network at the same time. Imagine if mobile broadband and mobile phones are the only network. As such, mobile communication is a complementary function to fixed networks. [quote]There was huge demand for mobile phones around the world, nothing like that existed before and so the private sector (driven by demand) went about to invest in providing the capacity for mobile phones to work across the country[/quote] Please correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't Telstra a government agency when the Australian mobile network was first built? I agree that other countries around the world had private enterprise drive this investment, but the centralisation and/or size of their population made them significantly different investments than investing in such networks in Australia.

Lyn

15/04/2011Hi Adam Don't blame the flu, we need your informative, well thought out comments, so therefore, we still need you here, after the flu has long gone away. [quote]I have bolded the word that causes me to have a fit (well almost). [/quote] I agree with you regarding the mobile phone, as against fixed line, where does that figuring come from, not anything I have ever read. Cheers

Lyn

15/04/2011Hi Patricia WA I agree with you too, regarding: [quote]Larvatus Prodeo particularly 'bitchy' [/quote] Lately, I have been just passing them by, until recently they were a must daily read. Maybe they are just getting frustrated with the distorted media reporting, and the continual "the Opposition Says", sometimes one would think, there are two Governments and two Prime Ministers. Seems like bitchy is overcoming people, except on "The Political Sword" of course. United we stand.

Ad astra reply

15/04/2011Jason What I was attempting to illustrate to thenewjj with the mobile phone example was that applications follow in profusion the development of technology. They developed not because of demand, but because software developers saw great opportunity to enhance mobile phones. Were users saying – I want a time app, or a weather app, or a Google Maps app, or the football scores, or any of the thousands of others, please invent them? No. In fact even the developers did not know what was ahead. So to describe the illustration as ‘ridiculous’, as thenewjj chose to do, was inappropriate. The illustration was simply saying to thenewjj: this is what happened when mobile phones came along; expect the same when lightning fast NBN technology comes. thenewjj then talks about mobile technology as if it is competitive with the NBN. Has not mobile technology always been part of the NBN proposal? In fact a small proportion of Australians in remote areas will have to rely on it, and satellite. And mobile phone use will continue unabated for those who need mobility in communications. In fact it is because this is anticipated that the FFFP technology is needed. There is simply not enough spectrum for mobile phones and all the other users of the same spectrum to meet the needs of mobile users AND all those who will use the fixed line FTTP technology. In New York mobile phone users are suffering drop outs and inability to connect because of an overloaded spectrum. Aggravating that overload with computing requirements reduces mobile capacity and renders computing slow and inefficient. thenewjj asserts that mobile services improve with technological developments and to some extent that is true, but the simple fact is that the more users, the slower the service – we all know that – and the more is the need to build more highly visible towers to service the need, further disfiguring the townscape. So I hope thenewjj will accept that it is a mixture of technologies that is needed, and that is what is planned. Finally, it would be informative if thenewjj could tell us of ‘drafted legislation to block any future technologies from entering the market’ that is mentioned at the end of his/her comment. I agree with you, the caravan has moved on but thenewjj seems determined to convince us that the NBN is everything terrible the Coalition says it is.

Feral Skeleton

15/04/2011DMW, Nice idea, but as I have no 'power base', and am up against this: [quote]'Della's still wielding power in NSW. John Della Bosca is busy trying to gain control over more of the failed Central Coast ALP branches...'[/quote] My chances are approximately zero to none. Anyway, as I don't have a great CV, as in no work for years, and no outstanding exploits in local community groups, my chances thus reduce to less than zero. :)

Feral Skeleton

15/04/2011PatriciaWA, Depressing, isn't it? :(

Feral Skeleton

15/04/2011'The new jj' , even though they say they are not a member of any political party, appears to have close links with the Cinservatives nonetheless when they speak of legislation drafted to exclude new technologies, etc. It's not the sort of thing that your average shopkeeper in Tamworth, which is what they purport to be, usually gets their head into by way of debate around the issues, especially wrt the NBN. Sounds to me like they are a Nationals-linked, if in fact they do live in the country, political operative. Who appears to be in the US atm for some further indoctrination, and sees fit to try their new lines of attack out on us. It'll all be denied vociferoulsly, of course, but, as lead Conservative Troll, Tony Abbott says, never believe anything he says unless it is a signed affidavit. :)

Adam

15/04/2011Ad astra, I have assumed newjj is referring to the anti cherry picking measures which prevents carriers such as telstra using their HTC / cable networks in very specific, high revenue locations in direct competition to NBN co. My understanding is this does not block [b]future[/b] technology, but helps to ensure the wholesale network is not undermined by carriers seeking to provide service in only the profitable areas. Such private enterprise profits seem to be acceptable to thenewjj as per his previous posts.

Feral Skeleton

15/04/2011lyn, Those such as Billablog, LP, and Quiggin, as I said, are falling for the Conservatives lines. Silly irriots. :) They are finding evidence to justify the Cons anti-Gillard talking points. Fools. As Grog said to Billablog, you can use evidence against JG any which way you want if you try hard enough. Grog prefers to see it the other way.

D Mick Weir

15/04/2011H/FS dare I say this without sounding to paternal :) [i]'Young Lady, you underestimate yourself to your detriment'[/i] :) You may think you have [i]a snowballs chance in Hades[/i] My guess is that there are maybe, two hundred party members in your area so already you have [i]'half a chance in a hundred'[/i] As you have mentioned, you played your part in the elevation of the new Federal Member in your area, no matter how small you claim it to be. There is a start for your base. I suspect that you have attended more than one of your childrens' parent meetings. There you have the start of your community involvement. If 'a humble train driver' can do it, so can you. BTW I don't fall for the 'humble train driver' description as, in those days, train drivers were an aristocracy of sorts; looked up to and even revered in their local communities. They even went went to work in three piece suits!!!!

Jason

15/04/2011Patricia WA, The party would well served with FS in the Parliament state/federal, however no matter what FS could bring to the party with her thoughts wit and her many other skills, and is also unaligned with any faction I think, they would rather an idiot like Paul Howes to get a seat and then be fast tracked into the ministry even though it would beyond his skill set.

D Mick Weir

15/04/2011tnjj, how remiss of me not to welcome you (back) to this humble hangout. I have missed your alter ego jj and am filled with joy that you are here as a replacement. I must ask this: Are you doing [i]a Julia[/i] by having a 'new you' and an 'old you'?

Lyn

15/04/2011Hi D Mick Weir You make me smile. Actually, come to think of it, I would like to be new too. :):):):)

Paul

15/04/2011Thenewjj, There is a world of difference between providing mobility for an application that only requires a bandwidth of 4kbps (voice) and an application that requires around 100MHz (computer data). A little bit of physics would tell you that, in order to provide the same degree of mobility for computers as you do mobile phones, you would need a greater number of "mobile computer towers" than you do "mobile phone towers". Paul

Feral Skeleton

15/04/2011Paul & Adam, Thank you for knocking 'the schizo jj' into the proverbial cocked hat. :) I'd also like to add that in the US, which jj seems particularly enamored of wrt their broadband and mobile phone systems, consumers are hamstrung by overly-complicated contracts between them and the Service Provider which gives them very little choice. As in, if you want an iPhone, you have to sign with Verizon, as opposed to our system here where, if you want to buy an iPhone unlocked, you can, and then shop around for the best deal. Same with other brands. Also, as has been pointed out, the service is slow and patchy. Which is what the NBN is hoping to avoid. I wouldn't rely on Tony Abbott for any sort of sensible argument about the NBN either, as he believes fibre to the home involves wires.

thenewjj

15/04/2011FS, Yes your right you are just too sensible! Look i am just going to give up on this one, you are all so very attached to this program and no matter what i say you will always love it. Anyway, you wait and see, the cost blowouts (have a look at comments made by Wal King) being talked about are just the start of the issues we will be seeing in coming years. I found an interesting article from the drum...take a read. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/56670.html

Ad astra reply

15/04/2011Adam, Paul, FS Thank you for your helpful contributions to the NBN debate. I need say no more. I think you’re probably right Adam that thenewjj is referring to the anti-cherry-picking provisions of the legislation. In fact, it is the phenomenon of cherry-picking that make Government involvement essential if we are to have fairness in the distribution of the NBN service. The Rural Independents feared that left to private enterprise, the lucrative markets would be cherry-picked, leaving rural and regional areas, and some metro areas with the same lousy service they have always had. BTW, the link provided by thenewjj to the article on [i]The Drum: Green China? You'd better believe it [/i] http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/56670.html is well worth a read. It confirms what the Government has been saying, namely that China is well advanced in the greening process in the knowledge that it will continue to pollute; this is its way of compensating to some extent. FS The YouTube video was revealing of the extent to which miners will go to get their hands on our minerals. The presence of Twiggy’s lawyers and sundry henchmen should have alerted the indigenous owner at the outset.

Ad astra reply

15/04/2011FS, Lyn Grog's piece was excellent, exposing as it did the sheer incompetence and I suspect malevolence of most of the media in reporting PM Gillard's speech. In fact she may not be displeased at some of the headlines that would no doubt appeal to Alan Jones' clientele. Labor supporters, dismayed at her apparent lurch to the conservative right, have only to read what she actually said to understand what she is attempting to do. For once, she may have got the best of both worlds.

NormanK

15/04/2011For those who may be interested, the Wal King comments referred to above can be found here: [b]Wal King's NBN warning[/b] by Rob Burgess [quote]In an important speech yesterday, former Leighton boss Wal King raised a dire warning for the government's NBN plans – but in virtually the same breath he also provided some solace for embattled Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.[/quote] http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Leighton-NBN-Wal-King-pd20110415-FWSY6?opendocument&src=rss As usual with Burgess's work, it is a balanced and useful insight into the ongoing NBN roll-out.

Ad astra reply

15/04/2011Folks I’ve just posted [i]Blackadder Bolt[/i] a piece of clever satire by Acerbic Conehead. Enjoy. You will also enjoy the YouTube clip that features Rowan Atkinson - Mr Bean, Stephen Fry of contemporary[i] QI[/i] fame, and Hugh Laurie of the series [i]House[/i].

macca

15/04/2011Patricia WA, I agree with you about LP. It used to be quite an interesting discussion over there. But the unrelenting pretension, absurd waffle and cerebal, and I use that word very loosely, debate over everything Gillard has lost me. In time, perhaps, they may just come the conclusion that a navel, even after considerable gazing, is still just a navel.
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?