After Turnbull

Despite the caution implicit in Mark Twain’s statement about his reported death being an exaggeration, columnists are almost universally predicting Malcolm Turnbull’s political demise.  Here are some of their dire predictions.

Michelle Grattan's piece in The Age yesterday about the press conference to launch the Coalition’s plan to pay off Labor’s debt No one's fooled by false levity says “The Liberals simply can't afford Turnbull much longer” and later “Behind the scenes, Liberal MPs are talking about the macabre mechanics of Turnbull's political death, which many Liberals expect and quite a few are trying to hasten.” [more]

In an article in the SMH by Phillip Coorey Turnbull faces down enemies there is a video by Peter Hartcher where he predicts the end of Malcolm Turnbull as Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott count their supporters.  In it he says that Malcolm Turnbull is “...in a terminal condition as the Liberal leader”, and talks about “...the inevitable collapse of the Turnbull leadership, and about “...Turnbull being in the political killing zone.”

In the Daily Telegraph Steve Lewis and Malcolm Farr write in The Liberal ship is surely sinking “Malcolm Turnbull's hold on the Liberal leadership has been rocked by polling conducted by his own party tipping an election massacre.”

Writing on Thursday in the Herald Sun, A change in the Liberal leadship from Malcolm Turnbull is inevitable and now a question of timing, John Ferguson says:  Whatever gloss the federal Liberal Party puts on the leadership crisis, Malcolm Turnbull is looking like a dead leader walking.” 

Andrew Bolt also in the Herald Sun, wrote yesterday in Party-poopers' decisions leave a Liberal sprinkling of fatalism: “No hope, no real leader, no real successor – could it get any worse for the brawling, broken federal Liberals?”

In the Daily Telegraph, Malcolm Farr writes a piece Liberal support for ETS - an Evict Turnbull Scheme. 

In his House Rules blog Christian Kerr in a piece Brilliant but not made for politics reports that as far back as the debate on the republic there were some who had “...already reached the firm conclusion that Turnbull was absolutely temperamentally unsuited to a career in politics.” 

Today in the SMH Phillip Coorey in a piece Turnbull cruises for bruises reports that there are several in the Liberal Party just trying to get rid of Turnbull: “These people have no alternative candidate, they just want to roll Malcolm, embarrass him out of the job.”   

Of course all these assessments and predictions may be wrong, and Turnbull may hang on beyond the predicted time of his departure – namely, before Christmas.

The purpose of this piece is to canvass the alternatives to Turnbull.

Already Joe Hockey, either by design or out of naivety, let it out that he had been approached to ask if he would take over the leadership, provided of course the position was vacant.  With Peter Costello to resign on October 18 now definitely not a possibility, Hockey is seen as a serious contender.  Tony Abbott too has been positioning himself with regular media appearances as another possibility.

Let’s look at these two.

In yesterday’s SMH, in Just an ordinary Joe? Misha Schubert starts “With Malcolm Turnbull's leadership in decline, the Liberal Party may look to Joe Hockey. But does the affable shadow treasurer have what it takes to lead?”  She reports Brendan Nelson’s view: "Joe is decent, fair, generous, kind and thoughtful. He can also be tough and he can be a thorough bastard if he has to be" and “There are a mountain of such stories about Joe Hockey. Acts of kindness, big and small, often unbidden and many unheralded.” And further “That he has a big heart is without question. Whether his intellect and work ethic are equally colossal is a topic of greater dispute. ...Max Moore-Wilton was heard to describe Hockey as a ‘half-wit”...

“There are two persistent criticisms of Joe Hockey. One is that he speaks before he thinks. The other is that he is not across the detail. On the first charge, his backers concede the point – but argue it works for him....his former chief of staff Matt Hingerty observes. ‘Joe wants to be honest. He wears his heart on his sleeve and the more Machiavellian practitioners of the political arts would say that's a weakness; I'd say that is a strength, it's why the punters like him. He's passionate and prone to saying what he thinks.’"

Schubert concludes with an observation by Liberal Ross Cameron: “There are leaders who have the ability to build momentum and those who don't.  One of the magical factors is the ability to make other people want to be on their team — I think Joe has that in spades."

Writing in today’s SMH, in The banter will turn earnest after Hockey's sunrise Peter Hartcher says “Turnbull is in the political killing zone. His polling numbers are at a dismal level from which no leader has ever recovered.  He has lost the confidence of the electorate and the support of his party. Hockey is the obvious successor. Yet neither he nor any other challenger is stepping forward to finish Turnbull off.”... “Hockey, at 44, can afford to wait.  And, apart from anything else, his wife Melissa, the head of foreign exchange trading at Deutsche Bank in Sydney, is expecting their third child on Monday week.  Yet Hockey is preparing to take the leadership nonetheless. He recognises that Turnbull's leadership is terminal. And even though it does not suit him to become leader at this juncture, he has learnt a powerful lesson from the experience of Peter Costello.”

Hartcher asks: “Is Hockey ready?” and answers: “Although he projects a youthfully buoyant image, he has remarkably long experience, with nine years as a minister in the Howard government. Indeed, if he becomes Opposition leader, he will take the job with more experience as a minister than any Liberal Opposition leader since Billy Snedden.”

There are of course very different views of Hockey.  Read what Bushfire Bill had to say on The Poll Bludger (scroll to item 1644) today “While Dennis Shanahan has somewhat ameliorated his anti-Labor/pro-Liberal stance of the past, he certainly hasn’t given up on his Messiah fixations.  It seems like Dennis has made up his mind that Turnbull has to go and is sticking to it through thick and thin. He tells us that there is now someone to fill the gap: Uncle Joe. It doesn’t seem to matter that Joe is a buffoon who will make a mucky-muck of the Liberal Leadership (or any leadership, for that matter). All that’s important is that Joe is more popular than Turnbull and that he’s prepared to take on the role of leader, presumably with guarantees that he won’t be booted out when he loses the election.”

BB concludes “And still, in their delusions of grandeur, the Coalition believes (and the commentators hope) that a triumph of the will and the new secret weapon – Joe Hockey!!! – will defeat the Asiatic hordes at the last possible moment. I’m tempted to say they have a snowflake’s chance in hell, but that would be too close to the mark.”   And in assessing the leadership of the Liberal Party, past and future, he has this to say: “Nelson never had a hope. Turnbull was too interested in destiny (his own). Joe’s not up to it, and never was. Cozzie lost interest when he read the fine print. Dutton didn’t get pre-selected. Howard lost his seat. Downer took off to hector the Cypriots. Abbott thinks Climate Change is crap. Robb’s running from the black dog. I guess whoever the next Liberal PM may be, he’s too busy studying for the HSC to worry about something that far down the track.”  BB's whole piece is well worth a read.

So far no one has written much about Abbott as a prospect, except The Piping Shrike, Tony Abbott: too clever by half.  It's worth a read.  I responded to that piece with these comments: “Tony Abbott is playing a more astute game than Hockey in positioning himself to take over from Turnbull, should the Liberals decide on a change.  A year ago I would have rated Hockey as the best alternative, but he's been disappointing since then.  His economic credibility has taken a dive, following as he has the disingenuous Turnbull line, his parliamentary performance has been substandard, and he's reported as lacking energy, and some say he is lazy...Of the currently touted replacements for Turnbull, despite his relative unpopularity with the public, Abbott might be the best bet.  Although his 'people skills' are suspect, he's well ahead of Hockey on political skills.  He would have appeal to the conservative elements in his party, and to the climate change sceptics.  He could serve as a 'nightwatchman' until after the next election and save some of the furniture that may be lost if Turnbull continues.  Until he became ill, I thought Andrew Robb might be a better nightwatchman.  He still may be if he makes a good recovery.  Crikey’s ‘The Stump’ had an interesting piece yesterday titled Traffic Cones! by Guy Rundle that canvasses who might be 'parked' as leader until after the 2010 election.  It concludes: "They [the traffic cones] retire the post 2010 loss, and Jumpin Joe or The Mad Monk takes over."

The polls have favoured Joe Hockey.  According to Possum on Pollytics in Opposition leadership polling, Hockey still rates above Turnbull 16% to 12% and above Abbott 7% in the 17 August Essential Research poll, and 20% to Turnbull's 16% and Abbott's 10% in July's Newspoll.  As an aside, the sad thing for the Liberal Party is that in the Essential Research poll 'someone else' topped the 'best leader' stakes with 33%.  I guess it's Hockey's geniality that gives him his ratings.  It's certainly not his intelligence or political nous as the events of the last few days testify.  In a less-than-serious ABC News Radio poll the ratings of the listed replacements were: Phar Lap 75.8%, Joe Hockey 13.8%, Tony Abbott 7.4% and Andrew Robb 3.0%.  A special telephone Morgan Poll out yesterday, conducted on the evenings of October 7 and 8 among an Australia-wide cross section of 549 electors showed, amongst other things, that: “For the first time more Liberal Party voters support Joe Hockey (35%, up 9%) ahead of Malcolm Turnbull (21%, down 14%) as preferred Coalition Leader. Turnbull also trails Tony Abbott (22%, up 6%), but is well ahead of Julie Bishop (5%, down 3.5%). No other Liberal rates above 3% support.”

If I was forced to lay bets, although Turnbull's leadership seems fatally wounded, I would still punt on him surviving until the next election, only because the two most favoured replacements, Hockey and Abbott, are so wanting in the necessary skills, and the Liberal Party so impotent in managing the dysfunction it is experiencing.  The likelihood of the party extruding Turnbull seems much less than him walking away.  In that event however, I would now place Abbott as 'the most likely to succeed' Turnbull.  Not a great prospect!

What do you think?

 

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Lyn 1

10/10/2009Hi Ad You have just provided me with the best piece of reading today (After Turnbull), thankyou Ad. Joe Hockey is definately not up to leading, (lower interest rates are more important than jobs), what about his Parliamentry performances in question time, not a very responsible look getting thrown out frequently, nothing short of juvinile. What about the Rudd cardboard cut out absolute rabble. Somebody must have a list of Hockey gaff's. Peter Martin said Joe Hockey is Julie Bishop dressed in different clothes. Sorry can't find the link. This link is worth reading too:- http://petermartin.blogspot.com/2009/09/hockeynomics-at-times-embarrassment.html Thankyou Ad for all your links today it does highlight the Quality writing from the bloggers against the biased nonsense in the newspapers. Thankyou for link: Bushfire Bill's whole piece is well worth a read, it is really an excellent piece of writing. The Piping Strike http://www.pipingshrike.com/2009/10/tony-abbott-too-clever-by-half.html is an excellent piece too. Have you listened to Neil Mitchell on 3Aw 8th Oct. Neil is cranky, http://www.3aw.com.au/

janice

11/10/2009It really is quite amazing that there is such a dearth of sane thinkers in the liberal party. Turnbull will most probably take the party to the next election unless he gives in to his inner voice telling him he's fighting a lost cause or his enemies within give him his marching orders. I don't think it matters much who comes after Turnbull. With Hockey and Abbott it is six of one and half a dozen of the other, but there is always hope that voters will do the cleansing of the party and a few terms down the track a real leader will emerge.

mehitabel

11/10/2009As Minister for Tourism, Joe came to our town after the devastating fires of 2003. Tourism, the town's lifeblood, had stopped dead - half the businesses didn't even bother opening, the others laid off staff. Businesses which usually employed twenty people were back to mum and dad operations. This went on for months. Joe breezed into town. It didn't start well. Meeting with local businesspeople, he made it clear he basically had no idea where he was. He didn't appear to have been briefed at all. By the end of the meeting, however, he had made these desperate people three promises. He left in a sea of well wishes and admiration. He had come, he had listened, he had understood what was necessary and he was going to deliver. He didn't deliver on a single commitment. In one case, this left a community group with a bill of $80k, one they would have found impossible to meet if the State government hadn't stepped in. I'm sure there's a lot of other stories out there - you don't get the moniker 'Sloppy Joe' for nothing.

Lyn 1

11/10/2009Hi Ad found the link What if Joe hockey is Julie Bishop dressed in new clothes http://petermartin.blogspot.com/2009/02/what-if-hockey-is-julie-bishop-in-new.html

Bilko

11/10/2009I think we all agree Hockey full of bonhomie is a buffoon, and his gaffs and pure stupidity would need a couple of toilet rolls to get them all written down. Even though some of my family members of the female persuasion quite like him because of how he presents himself always smiling , unlike old sourpuss JWH, not what dribble he spouts, which could carry him through not such a bad chap you see. This brings us to the mad Monk, who is a politician first and foremost leads with his chin and like those little dolls bounces back up after you knock it down, a perfect foil to take them through to the next election. (Followed by a pat on the back well done old boy, now go forth and multiply.) After which they will have three years to come up with the HSC student BB refers to, to slot into a safe seat and be presented prior to the 2016 election. I thought Turnbull had more brains than to make such an early run for the winning post. His reliance on Grech as a Trojan horse fall flat on its face. A wild punt something you could get away with in business but not in politics, but then he is not a politician never has been. So AA where to next

Michael

11/10/2009Tony Abbott has an AA rating as a politician. As an acolyte to Howard, and an assassin of Turnbull. The former we have seen enough of for a decade or more. The latter we saw on last week's 7:30 Report when he high-praisinglyly supported Turnbull on the ETS, but in reality slipped a stiletto into his 'leader' when he spoke of Turnbull "co-authoring" government legislation and what a "great win for the Opposition" it would be in doing so. What government on Earth would accept the idea of hard fought for and capriciously rejected, but finally successfully passed legislation, being presented to the public as only getting up because it was "co-authored" by the leader of their political opponents? What government on Earth would accept being told in advance that if they did decide to accept their opponents' amendments to do so would be to provide "a great win for the Opposition"? Abbott knew exactly what he was doing in his sibilant sycophant assassin mode - just as Hockey did in going public about being approached by colleagues to move for the leadership - both men were shoving their leader into an even more exposed position than he was before they opened their oh so supportive mouths. Neither displayed anything about themselves that suggested the ability to lead a party back into unity, let alone into government.

Bushfire Bill

11/10/2009[i]"So far no one has written much about Abbott as a prospect..."[/i] And right on cue... beware The Curse Of The Dapper Dwarf. Reverse-Midas Glenn Milne raises the flag for Abbott this morning in the Sunday Telegraph with an amusing article that tries valiantly to superimpose logic on the prospect of the nation's least people-skilled politician taking over from Turnbull. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/abbott-appears-the-right-choice/story-e6frezz0-1225785317783 Abbott, says Glenn, is [i]"now also making it clear that if the Coalition party room does allow Turnbull to go forward with ETS amendments to negotiate with the Government, Labor must ``substantially'' accept the amendments or the Coalition will vote the ETS down in the Senate. Privately, Abbott has defined "substantially'' as 90 per cent. Given Climate Change Minister Penny Wong's current intransigence, the likelihood of that would appear slim. In which case, Abbott would have the perfect opportunity to demonstrate his credentials to the two key groups looking to him for leadership: those sections of the Right opposed to the ETS and the now rudderless Costello group."[/i] The thing that seems to impress the Abott whisperers inthe Liberal Party is that Tony is making accommodating noises about negotiating with the government on the ETS, while reassuring true believers on the Right with his conviction that Climate Change is "crap". It seems Tony's job is twofold: to [i]not[/i] be Malcolm Turnbull, and to negotiate in bad faith on Climate. I presume they hope the public won't twig to this clever taxctic, despite Tony's denialism being written all over his face like a cheap tattoo. I guess it all looks good on paper, if you interpret Liberal assurances that they are fair dinkum about getting a negotiated ETS through before Copenhagen in a legalistic way. I mean, they never said they'd negotiate [i]honorably[/i] did they? They only said they'd negotiate, which in reality means put up such an impossible ambit claim that the government won't accept the terms. Tony will turn up to the table, plonk a few pages of emasculating propositions for change down upon it, get it rejected by one or other of the toxic bores on the government side and walk away a hero to the party and its supporters. The public, softened up first by the Murdoch media, will nod sagely and say to themselves, "Well, I suppose that's [i]sort-of[/i] negotiating," and then trot off to blame Rudd for nothing happening. Don't be surprised if Pies throws in a "Rudd has humiliated Australia at Copenhagen by going there empty-handed" piece or two when the time comes. The logic is unassailable, if you accept the premiss that Abbott and his party are being straight about getting a deal, which of course they are not. The Libs still believe in the inconvenient truth that they can say one thing in one place and the opposite in another and keep their two-timing a secret from the voters. If, by some chance, their deception is revealed, they just deny it, bald-faced, outright and looking straight into the camera. Tony's a master at this. It used to work for Howard too. Why not again? "People Skills" Abbott is just the person to carry that one off. Honest, earnest and forthright, everybody loves Tony. They'll swallow it whole. Turnbull solved. ETS solved. Night-watchman leader in for a year and Joe kept fresh for after the election. You gotta admit, the pieces fit together nicely. Except, if a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then Tony Abbott is the Liberal Leader dreamt up in a looney bin. So obsessed are the Libs about preventing a physical punch up within party ranks that they have connected the dots and drawn up an Abbott leadership. The public seem to have been forgotten in all this, that is the 70-odd per cent of them who want ETS action because the climate's gone all to hell lately. Reality? That Climate Change is coming to change the way we do everything? That we have to act now, globally and soon? Nah, when the Libs get back into power they'll repeal the laws of nature if they have to. The little problem of the Liberals being electorally unpopular is blithely ignored. Many on the Right have convinced themselves that there is a groundswell of public opinion turning in favour of Denialism. Thank God it's only Milnesy who's promoting a People Skills-led recovery for the Liberal Party. If anyone else was spruiking for Tony I'd be worried.

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11/10/2009Lyn 1 Thank you for your kind remarks and for the great links. The Peter Martin link exposes how little Joe Hockey knows about economics, or if he does know the rudiments, how willing he is to distort the truth to suit his political purpose. The attempts by Hockey, Turnbull, Coonan and even Julie Bishop to link the stimulus to rising interest rates is the height of deception. Because that seems a superficially plausible argument, people tend to accept it without question. Talking about this last night to some sensible people, I found they had accepted the proposition that the stimulus was pushing up interest rates and suggested that they could go to the 18% levels of the Keating era. Hockey [i]et al[/i] know that they can spin this story and get away with it, although the steadily falling economic credibility of the Opposition means that fewer and fewer will accept what they say unquestioningly. The ‘Joe Hockey in Julie Bishop clothes’ link shows how embarrassingly little talent in economics there is in the Coalition. The Neil Mitchell link was a revelation to me. Although a Victorian, I never listen to him. So I was surprised to hear the vehemence of his condemnation of Turnbull. He broadcasts to a different demographic from 774 ABC, so his audience was given a good earful about Turnbull, something one would not hear on the ABC. BB’s contributions are always insightful and entertaining. janice I keep asking myself whether Turnbull, despite his propensity to ‘keep punching’, will eventually find the scene so distasteful that he gives the Liberals the flick and returns to business, with frequent holidays in Tuscany. Next Sunday may reveal what he will do. But you’re right, no matter who is in charge the result is likely to be bad for the Coalition; I guess they have to install as temporary leader the one least likely to suffer the most catastrophic outcome. I think BB is right – the definitive leader likely to guide the party to electoral success is probably only now doing his or her HSC. mehitabel I imagine if Hockey does get to be leader, plenty of such anecdotes will emerge. Glenn Milne is chief purveyor of such stories, and as he’s decided to be an Abbott advocate, he’ll be hungry for them. Clearly, in anticipation of a change in leadership, the Government has used the ‘Sloppy Joe’ mantra, which of course also applies while he’s Shadow Treasurer. Bilko ‘Where too next’ is a troubling question for the Opposition. Turnbull is increasingly being seen as one who will lead them to electoral calamity, Hockey is a genial fellow without much political substance, and Abbott, while politically more experienced and adept, is much less popular with the people than Hockey. Only Julie Bishop rates more poorly than Abbott. Whichever way the Coalition jumps, the electoral outlook is poor; they need to select a leader who would be least damaging. If Robb became available, it could be him. Michael I found that Abbott comment intriguing. Your interpretation of it is plausible – setting up Turnbull as a clever co-author of an ETS policy, but if he can’t achieve Government acquiescence to the Coalition party room amendments (which now seem likely to be too tough for the Government), he will be seen to have failed. If that was Abbott’s intent, it is very subtle, almost subterranean politics. We’ll all wait with great interest to see what the party room forces Turnbull to offer the Government, and how much Turnbull fights to keep the amendments within the realm of reasonableness. Will he readily accept harsh amendments that are likely to be rejected by the Government and leave him voting the Government ETS down, which he says he doesn’t want to do? Or does he insist on reasonable amendments that would constitute a responsible contribution to the ETS? If he fails to get his way, will that trigger his walking away as leader with some semblance of dignity and honour? Let’s see. BB Thanks for the Milne link. I’ve just come to my computer this afternoon, so I’d not seen it. Abbott might regret ‘kiss-of-death Milne’ being his advocate. Abbott would certainly appeal to a sector of his party, and the Nationals too, if he continued his climate change denial noises, and then while seeming to negotiate ‘in good faith’ gives the Government impossible amendments that are rejected, it would allow the storyline: ‘we tried but the Government was too stubborn to accept our amendments; we’re the good guys, but Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong are recalcitrant’. Of course, as you point out, with such a large proportion of the voting public wanting action on climate change, particularly among the younger demographic who heavily support Labor, any Coalition attempt to thwart this will have serious consequences electorally. Barnaby Joyce has convinced himself he’s on a winner opposing the ETS, but since he operates mainly in an anecdotal environment short on hard data, he may be deluding himself and his colleagues into thinking there’s mileage in it for them. Reality will eventually catch up, even with Barnaby.

Bushfire Bill

12/10/2009It's easy to be a conviction politician when you're winning elections. It's stupid to be one when you're about to get walloped. Death wish, pure and simple. Trouble is, the best of the Liberals will die electorally, and the worst - the lazy seat-warmers in safe seats - will survive. There, in a nutshell, is why the Deniers in the Liberal Party are doing what they are doing. There are no consequences to their idiocy. They keep their seats. It's a pity that Climate Change has become a Left-Right dividing issue. I know many onthe Left see it as "pure science" but I think they're just as politically nobbled as the Denialist side. It's just lucky that, this time, reality is on the side of the Left. Even if it wasn't I suspect many Lefties would still be Climate Change believers, and would be prepared to die in a ditch for that conviction, just as the Old Farts brigade in the Libs is doing for <i>its</i> conviction. The only way forward is for the Tuckeys of this world to retire and only then can change come about.

Bushfire Bill

12/10/2009Apparently it's a "high-stakes game" to assume the Liberals will lose the next election. Just ask Glenn Milne. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,26195542-33435,00.html Henry has been pegged as a Labor hack because in the recent Senate hearings he refused to condemn the government's (and largely his own) Stimulus package. Yet, two years ago in 2007, Henry apparently DID condemn the [i]Howard[/i] government's reckless spending. So a refusal to condemn the government of the day and a willingness to condemn another government of the day are both evidence that Henry is nobbled. Henry has, it seems, finally gone public on his distaste for the Coalition's economic policies because he thinks they will lose the next election (and several more after that), so he won't ever have to serve under a Liberal PM again. This is what the Dapper Dwarf calls "a high-stakes game". At the risk of disagreeing with a Liberal opinion, and therefore shown my partisan view of things, I would call it a dead cert. "Fair and Balanced" apparently extends beyond the ABC, and now includes the Treasury building. If a senior public servant does not agree with the Liberals (who in turn [i]dis[/i]agree with just about the rest of the world), then he is partisan. Of course this Golden Rule does not apply to any News Ltd. outlet. The Liberals are being "blunt" about this, which is why they don't say so out loud, in public, but rather have their captive weasel, their "journalist of choice" say it for them, via the back door. Joe Hockey is "appalled". That one of Ken Henry's wombats has a better chance than any of Joe's lot (including Joe himself) to be PM in the near future does not seem to have crossed Joe's mind. It is certainly not permitted for this novel thought to cross Ken Henry's mind. [i]That[/i] would be biased.

Bilko

12/10/2009Milne's blog is being very selective in the allowed responses mine failed some are getting through ho hum the other reality holds sway at ltdnews bring on the Murdock pay barrier asap and watch them join the titanic, it is still down there isin't it??

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12/10/2009BB Well, Ken Henry’s popularity should now rise after Milne’s censure. I note that in typical Milne style he quotes ‘one senior Liberal’, twice – presumably the same one. A reliable data set is not one of Milne’s prerequisites. The Coalition has had a problem with Henry since his comments about the way Treasury was virtually ignored by Howard in developing his $10 billion water plan. As there has not been much love lost between the Coalition and Henry since it was in power, it’s not surprising that this still pertains, especially with Henry’s involvement in the design and implementation of the stimulus plan, and defence of its continuance. It’s comical that at the same time that they question Henry’s judgement and disagree with it about the danger of withdrawing the stimulus too quickly, they quote him when he utters words that seem to support their position, such as when he said that expenditure cuts would be necessary to repay debts (incidentally, something the Government has said from the beginning) and that increased taxes may be necessary. He can hardly be unreliable when he disagrees with them and reliable when he does. Bilko [i]The Australian[/i] has a curious policy about responses. I have submitted adverse comments, sometimes several times, that were never published. Milne doesn’t want too many rebuttals; it’s damaging to his psyche.

Bilko

12/10/2009aa yep spot on

Sir Ian Crisp

12/10/2009Ad Astra, are you feeling ill? Fancy Andrew Bolt getting a mention here at TPS. I thought you were trying to guide us away from ratbag, right-wing, ute-driving, beer gutted, neo-liberal worshipping, hate filled journos. I'll bet the gang over at Crikey are very upset with you for mentioning his name. Isn't there another Kevin Rudd essay we can comment on? How 'bout his essay on the interior of FJ Holdens covering the period when he and his siblings were forced by that nasty carpet bagger to take up residence in that rusty FJ. Please lift the tone of TPS.

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12/10/2009Sir Ian Bolt got a mention in this piece about the Coalition’s dilemma only because if he writes an anti-Coalition piece, the situation [b]must[/b] be dire. On [i]Insiders[/i], he even categorized the Liberals as ‘cactus’. Of course he was a Costello supporter, and no doubt is frustrated that Costello never put up his hand to save his beloved Liberals. Far from them being upset at [i]Crikey[/i] at the mention of Bolt’s name, they had a mocking piece on their new blog [i]The Stump[/i] titled [i]Sunday talk: return of the Bolter[/i] http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2009/10/11/790/ I’m waiting for the next Rudd essay to critique, but at the moment the Coalition is so filling the airwaves and the papers with their shenanigans that there’s no shortage of material. [i]TPS[/i] comments on the political scene and maintains a dignified tone; it can’t set the tone for discourse among politicians.

monica

12/10/2009Am really enjoying your 'round up', A.A.

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13/10/2009monica I'm glad you're enjoying the site. I'm now preparing "The curse of the electoral cycle".

Carolyn

13/10/2009Maybe it should all be something more like this – http://bit.ly/41uVyG – Spotted in a shop window in Perth but not such a bad idea I think...... I am so sick of it all!

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13/10/2009Carolyn Welcome to [i]The Political Sword[/i] Nice graphic. Many thanks.
How many umbrellas are there if I start with two and take 2 away?