Letter to Bill Shorten: Part 1


There must be many ardent Labor supporters who would wish to transmit their thoughts to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten about how Labor ought to proceed over the coming months. Ad Astra is one such supporter. Here is a letter he sent to Mr Shorten.

The Hon Bill Shorten, MP Leader of the Federal Opposition

Dear Mr Shorten

I do hope you will find the time to read through this rather lengthy letter from a devoted Labor supporter who embraces the ideals, philosophy, and values of Labor as a progressive political party. I believe it echoes the strongly held views of many Labor supporters. It is written after the disclosure of the findings of the Commission of Audit, but before the Budget.

I believe in fairness and equality for all Australians: equal opportunity in education, universal health, aged and disability care, satisfying employment and income security in a prosperous economy that values environmental sustainability, supported by a safety net for the disadvantaged. I believe in the common good. Thus Labor is my first choice for government.

My background is in family medicine, first as a rural family doctor, then as an educator and administrator. On retirement in 2007, I developed a political website, The Political Sword, www.thepoliticalsword.com which you will see is a pro-Labor site.

It was a great disappointment to me, and to most of the blogsite’s commenters, that Labor lost the 2013 federal election and several State elections before and since. Labor’s recent very poor showing at the re-run of the WA Senate election has enlivened many senior Labor figures, who are now publicly stating that Labor must make radical changes to its organisation and modus operandi if it is to prosper as a political party and offer itself as the alternative government. You have signalled that substantial changes are needed, and specifically you have mentioned loosening ties with the union movement and opening up membership.

Also, Labor must present its message much more credibly, much more coherently, much more convincingly.

With the Abbott Government performing poorly in so many ways, it ought to be possible for Labor to make tactical gains by highlighting the missteps, the lies, the deception, the errors, and the downside to LNP policy decisions and their implementation. Yet, this in itself will not suffice. Labor must present to the public alternative and more appealing policies. So far Labor has failed to do this effectively.

What follows is my assessment of some of the problems that confront Labor, and how they might be addressed.

Membership

There is no disagreement that the Labor Party needs more rank and file members. I was astonished to learn that union membership is a prerequisite for working people to gain membership. As less than one in five workers belong to a union, four in five are excluded by this rule. Part of your efforts to ‘disconnect’ from unions ought to be the removal of that rule. While unions remain important in protecting workers’ rights, to assign to them such authority over party membership is now quite inappropriate.

Moreover, Labor needs to actively encourage everyone who embraces Labor values to join. Some time ago I expressed interest in joining the Party in response to a general invitation. But it led nowhere. After a substantial wait, I received an email suggesting that I should contact the local branch. I do not want to attend local Party meetings, although I acknowledge local activities are important. I want to participate via other mechanisms.

I was delighted to learn recently of your intention to reshape and increase membership.

Recommendation: That urgent steps are taken to remove the requirement that union membership is a pre-requisite for Labor Party membership, that membership be open to anyone who endorses Labor values, policies and programs, and that membership be available other than through branch membership, perhaps through a ‘general membership’ category.

Having contributed to political debate via my blogsite for five years, I would prefer to contribute to Labor via direct communication, emails, the Internet, social media, or its equivalent within the Labor organisation. It ought to be possible for the Party to initiate a series of online forums that address individual policy areas, as well as others that focus on the interaction between policy areas, recognising that policy making is dynamic, complex and interactive. Members would then have a chance to express views about policies, ask questions, highlight potential problems, and make suggestions for improvement. Responses could be restricted to members by way of a ‘sign-in’ process. For some matters, throwing them open to community discussion would be appropriate. While acknowledging the value of face-to-face discussions with the cut and thrust that they involve, soliciting opinion online could be a valuable adjunct. Although I am an ardent Labor supporter, I feel an outsider, isolated from mainstream Labor thinking and debate, unable to contribute in any way.

Organisations such as GetUp come closer to engaging people than Labor has done. Without the intelligence, ideas, questions and solutions that members of the public could offer, Labor has only its inner circle to rely upon. Whilst acknowledging the wisdom and knowledge of the inner circle, it can never be a repository for all the ideas, wisdom and solutions that are possible.

Recommendation: That a series of online forums be set up to address policy areas, and publicised to members and to the general community where appropriate, and that input be vigorously solicited.

Union affiliation

This is a vexed contemporary issue. Since Labor depends heavily on union donations and support, and rightly wishes to continue to associate with those who protect workers’ rights and welfare, disaffiliation seems inappropriate. The optics of this relationship governs the way in which the electorate regards Labor. There seems to be a growing unease, even among Labor supporters, that unions have too much influence, too much control over the parliamentary Party, and that the Party is too reliant on financial support from unions. What seems to be needed is more distance between supportive unions and the parliamentary Labor Party, and less influence of unions at Party conferences. Guy Rundle argues that it is the unions that should ‘divorce’ Labor, since, as he asserts, the Party has become too ‘pro-market’, even neoliberal, thereby distancing itself from the central role of unions – to care for and protect workers.

It is a complex relationship that cannot be easily unravelled, but steadily distancing Labor from unions seems to be in the Party’s best interests. As a past union leader, you have intimate knowledge of the relationship, and a stake in it. You are better placed than most to bring about a new relationship that loosens the Gordian knot. To those of us who stand outside the relationship, this now seems both essential and urgent. It is gratifying that you too are now expressing similar sentiments.

Recommendation: That the Labor Party–union movement relationship be examined without delay, with a view to establishing a symbiotic state of affairs that removes the contemporary dependence and ‘control’ of unions over the parliamentary party, especially at Labor conferences.

Factions

Even casual observers of politics in this country would be aware of the oppressively powerful influence of factions in decision-making. While factions exist in most parties, they are grotesquely obvious in the Labor Party. They result in decisions that reflect power structures and personal ambition, to the detriment of the Party as a whole. There is no more flagrant example than the recent nomination of Joe Bullock to first place on the WA Senate ticket that pushed Louise Pratt, whom many Labor supporters believed was the best candidate, into the second spot. This was a classic example of what has happened far too often in Labor circles. Those well connected to the most dominant factions, the most powerful, the most influential, those with a sense of entitlement to prominent positions, and in this case certain election, have overridden what is best for the Party and the nation, and what is fairest. This episode has inflicted untold damage on Labor in the West and elsewhere.

The membership must have a greater say in the pre-selection of candidates, and the factions less.

Less recently, but burned into the electorate’s memory, is the dismissal of Kevin Rudd as PM, and his reinstatement after the dismissal of PM Julia Gillard. Those events, born of factional infighting, created the image of a party in disarray, torn apart by warring powerbrokers. While rationalists can advance cogent reasons for each event, the public by and large seems to care little about the reasons, noting only the dissent, the chaos and the disharmony, and therefore mark Labor down as being incapable of governing when it seems to be unable to govern itself. And they do this despite the outstanding legislative work done by Labor in the last six years, most notably its world standard response to the GFC.

Recommendations: That Party officials seriously examine the detrimental influence of factionalism on the Party and its electoral prospects, and radically reduce the harmful aspects of factionalism, while retaining the useful.

That the Party membership be given a prominent role in the pre-selection of candidates for the House and Senate.


It is recognised that this will be difficult because of the almost overwhelming tendency for self-interest to trump the common good, but unless some drastic changes are made and publicised widely, the Party will languish and remain a diminished force in Australian politics. The nation needs a progressive party that values fairness, equality and the common weal. Labor is that party.

Corruption

It is unnecessary to underscore the destructive effects of corruption on the Party and its electoral prospects. It is often associated with factionalism. NSW Labor has demonstrated this for all to see. It is unnecessary to labour this reality. Perhaps more than any other in the Party, the highly respected and admired John Faulkner has pointed this out, over and again. He has proposed changes to the rules of the NSW branch of the Labor Party. They seem eminently wise.

Recommendation: That John Faulkner’s proposed amendments to the rules of NSW Labor be fully supported, and that these changes be applied throughout the Labor organisation.

Let me now turn from organisational matters to policy issues.

The economy

It has become almost a mantra that a strong and growing economy is necessary to support the type of Australia in which most wish to live. Whilst there is a powerful element of truth in this, Labor seems to have adopted the mantra as a verity, so much so that now its utterances too often resemble those of neoliberal free-marketeers. This type of talk needs to be tempered, lest the electorate begins to believe that Labor is no more than a pale reflection of conservative belief and action. According to opinion polls, Labor is less competent at economic management than the Coalition, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary. Unless Labor can distinguish itself from the Coalition by demonstrating that its quest for economic strength is for the purpose of providing jobs, prosperity and support for all Australians, not just the corporate elite, it will be seen simply as just ‘Coalition-lite’. The LNP must not be allowed to assume the mantle of savior of the economy – an economy that it deceptively insists has been wrecked by Labor.

Fairness, equality, concern for the poor, the underprivileged, the disadvantaged and the disabled, must be woven into the push for economic strength. It is this balance that ought to distinguish Labor from the LNP, which since its election has shown its ruthless ‘winners and losers’ and ‘winners take all’ approach, and its ‘survival of the fittest’ and to hell with the rest, method of governing.

Labor must be as prepared as the Coalition to tackle the structural imbalances in the federal budget. It is no more than grotesque political spin to suggest that we have a ‘budget emergency’, but we do have structural problems that date a long way back. Negative gearing is one that must be addressed. The Howard/Costello handouts: tax cuts and middle class welfare when there was a revenue tsunami during the mining boom, must be revisited. Labor’s much needed reforms in education, health and disability care, and its productivity-boosting NBN infrastructure, need a sound and completely developed plan to fund these initiatives in the medium and long term. Payments to pensioners will place an increasing strain on the budget, one that would be ameliorated by improvement to superannuation, a superior solution to the harsh recommendations of the Commission of Audit.

Labor needs also to tackle the revenue side of the budget. It must not retreat from a sensible debate about GST, and certainly should avoid the temptation to make political capital out of any suggested change.

Recommendation: That Labor clarifies its economic policies, shows that growth should be balanced against the pursuit of the common good, that raising increased revenue is essential, and then fashions easily understood, appealing, and memorable messages to inform the electorate.

Global Warming

There is no point in arguing the case supporting the existence and extent of anthropogenic global warming. The facts speak for themselves.

Labor has oscillated between triumph and tragedy on this issue. Triumph when Kevin Rudd labelled it “the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time” and commissioned Ross Garnaut to produce a report; triumph when he negotiated an ETS with Malcolm Turnbull; tragedy when Tony Abbott overturned Turnbull and set back that initiative; tragedy when Rudd lost his nerve and retreated from his plan, scared of going to a double dissolution; triumph when Julia Gillard insisted she would put a price on carbon; tragedy when she uttered those fateful words “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead” and the media persistently failed to acknowledge the rest of her sentence; tragedy when Coalition strategists seized upon the word ‘tax’ and created its ‘Axe the Tax’ mantra, one that Labor seemed incapable of countering. Never did we see Labor punch back with ‘Save the Planet – Stop Pollution - Tax the Polluters’, a slogan that is even more appropriate to use right now. Instead we still see supine acceptance of the Coalition’s framing of this issue. Labor must do better than this. It must hammer home the reason for the price of carbon – to reduce pollution, to slow global warming, to save the planet from its devastating effects.

In this and other issues, Labor has not been able to reframe the debate in its favour. It must do this urgently.

Since placing a price on carbon is now being shown to be effective in reducing pollution as well as in generating revenue, I urge you to stick with Labor’s original intent – a price on carbon leading to an ETS – and to vote against the Coalition’s nonsensical Direct Action Plan that economists and environmentalists ridicule as inept – a sham masquerading as effective action. It would be shameful in the extreme to retreat from Labor’s original proposition that a price on carbon and an ETS is the best way of reducing carbon pollution and slowing global warming.

Recommendation: That Labor reinforce its approach to global warming by returning to its initial plan, and vigorously pursue it in the face of opposition from the LNP and vested interests, whose self-centered and ineffectual approach will bring disaster to us all, and will accelerate the deterioration that threatens the planet.

That Labor’s leaders reinvigorate Labor’s media unit with people who can at least match the Coalition in framing the global warming debate. Unless this occurs, the LNP will continue to call the shots, control the media discourse, and leave Labor wallowing in its wake.


There is more to come. You will be able to read the second part of the letter to Bill Shorten next Sunday.

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TPS Team

25/05/2014In a number of posts on TPS this year we have refrained from attacking Abbott and his government — it has become too easy to do that — and instead suggested approaches for Labor that we believe will help ensure Abbott’s is a one-term government. This week and next we continue that approach. The Master and Keeper of the Sword, Ad Astra himself, has taken our approach to the next level and actually written to Bill Shorten suggesting some steps and some approaches that he considers necessary for Labor’s resurgence. Part 1 of a slightly edited version of that letter appears this week, focusing on Labor’s structural problems and introducing policy issues. Let us know what you think. There is much to talk about and much to be debated. And, come back next week to read Part 2.

Ken

25/05/2014Ad A well-argued, lucid account of the problems and issues confronting Labor and excellent recommendations. Like you, I was surprised to learn that union membership was a prerequisite for membership of the Labor Party. Not that that would be an issue for me - I was a union member all of my working life and have retained my union membership in retirement - but I agree that with union membership having fallen so low it is now a hindrance to many good people who may otherwise wish to join the Party. I like your concept of a "general" membership that does not necessarily require attendance at local Branch meetings. When I was a young adut in western Sydney I had a number of friends who joined the local branch but were disillusioned by entire meetings spent discussing local street lighting - remembering that this was in the days of the Vietnam War. While it is important for a Branch to address local issues, your concept of a wider membership would allow people to contribue to bigger issues, like global warming. While reducing union influence over the Parliamentary party is important, it needs to be done in a way that recognises the role of unions. After all, the Labor Party emerged from the union movement. The trick, and it will be a good trick if someone can pull it off, is to find the right balance between the influence of unions, Branches, and your 'general membership'. There should be a role for each and some better brains than mine should be able to work something out. In this part of your letter, you have raised the two big policy issues, the economy and global warming. You know from my own posts here on [i]TPS[/i] that I strongly endorse changing the tone of the conomic debate so that more is said about the role of the economy in achieving well-being. and I strongly agree that Labor needs to put climate change back on the political agenda. They may be helped with another El Nino projected for the coming summer and quite a strong one based on current observations - another drought will bring climate change back into people's thoughts.

Ad astra

25/05/2014Ken Thank you for your encouraging comments. It will be interesting to read Bill Shorten's response to the suggestion of a general membership category, one in which individuals could be engaged without being connected to a local branch. As the letter was sent from our South Coast home, from which I have been absent for a couple of weeks, I will look with interest to Bill Shorten's reply. I hope too that he will acknowledge that although there is no budget crisis, let alone an emergency, there is a need for budgetary adjustments to correct the structural anomolies that exist in the budget. While now is the time to begin the adjustments, rather than urgent, radical actions we need carefully planned gradual changes that will enable the budget to give Australians what they need in education, health and disability care and infrastructure. I hope Bill Shorten will develop a plan to do this soon, get started, collaborating with the government where appropriate, and include all options, including revenue raising moves as well as expenditure cuts. I hope he will go positive, and stay positive.

Catching up

25/05/2014Shorten has said, in a strong speech, and I suspect with a little bit of guts, that the two arms of Labor are still important. Where the challenge will be, is getting the balance right between the two arms. We need to keep in mind, the workplace, and the roles that unions play has changed dramatically over the last few decades. I think be might be right. I know that this is not so, in many similar countries. We do have, I believe one of the oldest Labor parties in the world. The political are, I believe arose out of the unions. back in the late 1880's. We also know, that through the last century, Labor is also capable of picking itself up, adapting to new circumstances. I believe that Labor has played it right by keeping a low profile over the last t few months. We now have something worthwhile to fight for. Was impressed with Wong, when she said, Labor will be priorising its attack,. Will be picking fights worth fighting. We cannot do as Abbott did, say no to all That is stupid policy that harms the nation. I have my fingers crossed, that Labor has not been sitting idly by, but have burnt the mid night oil coming up with revised policies and strategies to take this mob on. The need to be ready from day one. There is plenty of ammunition in this budget. Yes, show passion and emotion, but do not waste time with petty fights with Abbott. He sods a good enough job of putting his own feet in his mouth. It is going to be a challenging time, I suspect with some of the dirtiest politics this country has seen. What is important, if Labor keeps it's cool, if can win. In fact, for the good of Australia, has to win. Abbott seems very confident things are going to change this week. The likes of Nikki Savva and others are suggesting that there is great revelations coming, regarding the HSU, that lead to Shorten. We see trolls bringing up on twitter all those old allegations against Shorten. We see what they dealt out to Tim today. It is not going to be nice. What we did learn during the Gillard, that she and her MPs when it came to legalisation were thorough. I suspect this is not so of this government, I expect the legislation to be very sloppy, as the budget is proving to be. One can only hope Labor keeps if's focus on Abbott and what goes on in the houses. Not get side tracked with his stunts and what ever else he serves up. Sorry for such a rambling response. Good post.

Catching up

25/05/2014Yes, global warming will increase in importance in the next few months. There is no way, Hockey will keep it off the agenda at the October G20. Also, there is the Indonesian elections, after which I expect to see Morrison so called asylum seekers policies, back centre stage. There are many sleepers. The MRRT and CEF are not the toxic taxes that Abbott believes. If handed properly, could backfire on Abbott. Same goes for NBNCo. they seem to be making a mess of their plans there. I firmly believe this government is incompetent, The likes of Farr this morning was hinting this to be so

Bacchus

25/05/2014Ad, This is a most important letter at this point in the electoral cycle. It seems, to the non-engaged person, that Labor is sitting back and relying on the many stuff-ups of the government rather than taking a positive, proactive approach to opposition. Hopefully your thoughts are resonating through the minds of the Labor heirarchy as we speak. I note that the prolific Kaye Lee over at AIMN has also posed some ideas, as a response to the budget, to Labor: http://theaimn.com/2014/05/25/horse-trading/ Hopefully Bill Shorten and Co. are listening...

Woodypear

26/05/2014Your letter is most important. A 'real' response to it is even more important. I believe you have covered much of the structural and political dilemma that Labor faces. Personally, I would suggest two areas that Labor needs to concentrate on: 1. Destroying the neo-liberal philosophy that has framed debate in recent years (unfortunately Labor has been seduced to a large extent). Firstly, get rid of the term 'neo-liberalism' (call it 'Thatcherism' - that should conjure up enough fear). Add to that the 'market's' inability to self correct (the GFC!, large corporation's power) and it shouldn't be too hard to point out that the model driving debate is flawed. 2.The media 'message' is the key to alerting the public and winning the debate. Unfortunately, a large proportion of the public is not interested in politics. It is only interested in how policies affect them. It is ignorant of the nuances of most of the proposals that politicians put forward. Equally unfortunate is the fact that Labor has allowed the MSM to frame Labor's message. I don't believe it is simply that we have a compliant media that espouses Liberal views. I really think that Labor doesn't realise we have a lazy, uninformed group of journalists who are incapable of analysis. Realizing this, I believe Labor needs to do the work for the journalists. Rather than attack LNP policy, which only confuses the public, give the media the questions that need to be asked of the LNP. 'Doorstops' should be full of "Have you asked the minister what/why/when/how ..." questions. Maybe this might embarrass them into asking some of the questions that need to be asked.

Patriciawa

26/05/2014Bacchus says.....[i]Hopefully Bill Shorten and Co. are listening[/i]... Which for me asks the obvious.........Are ALP policy wonks in there at Head Office reading what we bloggers have to say back here? A lot of good ideas and commentary are written up about Labor and its doings. The feedback could be invaluable if absorbed and used appropriately. Great letter, Ad. I'll be interested in the response. I'm sure Bill Shorten will appreciate your thoughts. Pity he has to wait a week for the next part. Australian Labor Party membership being limited to Union members does surprise me. Although I've long been a Union member I don't recall any request for documentary proof of that when I retired to WA years back and applied to join my local ALP branch. I see from our HO website that we state very clearly... ......[i][b]Membership of the Australian Labor Party is open to all residents of Australia who share our objectives [/b]...... [/i]

2353`

26/05/2014A well argued letter Ad and I hope it resonates with those who determine how policy is implemented within the ALP. I also hope that there is a reply. Shorten does have an opportunity to be PM in 2016 or earlier. He has to stay positive and come to an agreement with the majority of the population that he won't preach three word slogans, won't have the answer to everything and will at times make unpopular decisions. He also has to keep his agreement. I'm sure that the ALP has a number of market researchers, statistics wonks and policy writers. Now is the time for them to do their best work, with use of alternative media and some generalisations being promoted through methods such as a reply to this letter to demonstrate that the ALP is inclusive, listening and ready to try for the high moral ground. I'm sure a response from the ALP generally and Bill Shorten in particular would be published on this site (assuming the ALP allowed it to happen). Interestingly, the (Brisbane) Sunday Mail yesterday was suggesting that Abbott could be Australia's George W Bush and promoting Malcolm Turnbull as a safe bet should Abbott be pushed during the current term of Government. I wonder if there is an acknowledgement there that Abbott was only meant to be a 'care taker' and the ALP's fighting over their leadership produced a result even the LNP really didn't want.

Michael

26/05/2014Ross Gittins has also written a form of (advisory and arming) letter to Bill Shorten, (admonitory and shaming to) Hockey, and (clarifying to) all of us, in an article titled "Hockey's Budget applies a cleaver, not a brain", here http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/hockeys-budget-applies-a-cleaver-not-a-brain-20140525-38wq8.html?skin=text-only

Ad astra

26/05/2014Catching up Thank you for your pertinent comment. You are right, there needs to be a sensible balance struck between the influence unions have on Labor and the influence assigned to the general membership. As Labor arose from the union movement, and as there remains as much as ever the need for organizational protection of workers against exploitation, union involvement is necessary and useful. But it must not be the dominant force. Bill Shorten attempted to lessen union influence at the ALP Victorian Branch Conference, but had limited success. There are still those in the union movement who place self-interest above the common good of the Party. It will take time to shift rusted-on attitudes. I thought Shorten did well in his reply speech to the budget and in his address to the ALP Conference. He showed passion and resolve. He negativity was moderate and well targeted. He is picking fights on issues that offend Labor principles, ones for which he has public support and can win. The Coalition is trying to pin the ‘whinger-in-chief’ label on him, so he needs, as he and other ministers are saying, to ‘pick his fights’. It would be a bad mistake to replicate the Abbott negativity of the last term, and it seems as if he know that. Like you, I believe this government is incompetent. Not only has it been driven down untenable tracks by free market and economic rationalist ideology, but it is making errors on the way. When the PM and the Treasurer both make mistakes in describing budget measures, such as the time when new university course fees kick in, and how co-payments will operate for medical services, they show us that they have not done their homework on matters that they ought to have known would evoke community response. If these errors are symptomatic of deeper problems in understanding what they are trying to do, the credibility of the government will soon be eroded and lost. From there, there’s no way back.

Curi-Oz

26/05/2014I'm coming out of the woodwork to 'fess up to joining the ALP this year (much to the amusement of my family about being a "card carrying member" &c). I have never been a member of a union, because there have never been 'unions' that covered me where I worked, although I did belong to a professional organisation until I could no longer pay the fees - being unemployed, I would rather pay my bills! I am currently assigned to the "central branch" of the WA Labor Party, but have tried to find out if there are local branches I could attend. At this point in time, I haven't been invited to a branch meeting yet. Perhaps they are afraid of what I, and others like me, might challenge their comfortable situation with?

Ad astra

26/05/2014Bacchus Thank you for your comment and the link to Kaye Lee’s excellent advice for ‘horse-trading’. I hope Bill Shorten reads and re-reads the suggestions offered in that piece, which on quick analysis seem eminently sensible. They are consistent with Labor’s principles of fairness, equity and equal opportunity for all. I hope that Bill Shorten, and his advisers particularly, are reading blog pieces and listening to what the people are saying. Some advisers are ‘too smart by far’ and too disinclined to listen, as we saw with some of Kevin Rudd’s youthful advisers. We are now witnessing the failure of Abbott’s advisers to cut through with the Coalition’s messages in government, after very successfully doing so in opposition. His advisers’ management of the budget message has been poor. We are seeing their flawed strategy reflected in the polls – clearly, the public have not ‘bought’ their messages or their mode of messaging. Shorten must avoid the mistakes Abbott, Hockey, Cormann, Pyne [i]et al[/i] are making, no doubt ‘advised’ by Peta Credlin.

Ad astra

26/05/2014Woodypear Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Part 2 of the letter to Bill Shorten covers other areas of policy and strategy. You are right. Labor has to discredit the flawed neo-liberal ideology that puts all its trust in free markets, small government and ‘light’ regulation. We saw in the GFC what that combination did for the world economy. As Ken has so eloquently described in the two previous articles, unfettered economic rationalism leads to widening inequality with all its adverse social consequences, which are anathema to progressives. The Coalition has been so successful in framing the debate on a number of issues, and Labor so poor in proposing alternative frames, that Labor itself has sounded almost neo-liberal when it repeatedly asserts that ‘a strong and growing economy’ is a necessary pre-requisite for the sort of society we desire. It has failed to insist that there [b]must[/b] be a [b]balance[/b] between economic growth and the other social and economic attributes that people desire: equal opportunity and fairness. When the pursuit of economic growth overrides all else, no matter what the cost, the people suffer. We see this starkly in the current budget. You are right also about messaging. Labor must begin to frame the messages it wants to transmit, and avoid being caught up in the spider-web of the Coalition’s framing. The issue of framing is addressed towards the end of Part 2 of the letter to Bill Shorten that will be posted next Sunday. I like the ideas you express at the end of your comment. If only journalists had the perspicacity and the courage to ask the penetrating questions that desperately need to be asked, and then faithfully publish the answers!

Ad astra

26/05/2014Patriciawa It is good to see you again; thank you for your comment. We all hope Bill Shorten is reading and listening, and that his advisers are doing the same. They are the ones who fashion messages and frame debates. I hope they will emerge from their cocoons and take note of what ordinary people are saying, instead of falling back on their ‘media management skills’, often learned in a sheltered workshop environment in academia. It’s a savage world out there. Bill Shorten already has the full letter; we are publishing it in two parts only because it was too long for one. When I return to the South Coast tomorrow, I hope to read his response. I’m glad to read your comment about Labor Party membership. I hope it can be opened for online members. Many of us are not interested in local branch activities, having been put off by many anecdotes of questionable behaviour there.

Ad astra

26/05/20142353 Thank you for your kind words. I hope to have a response from Bill Shorten tomorrow. We will have to see whether it is suitable for publishing. I agree with you about three-word slogans. They are sickeningly simplistic. For Abbott, they have been winners in an electorate that seems disinterested in the detail of politics. I hope though that Labor can fashion messages that similarly are easily understood, plausible and memorable. They don’t have to follow the three-word pattern that has nauseated us for the last six years. Perhaps a more artistic approach could be taken; if only Labor’s advisers had the required skill and discernment! I would not be averse to Labor using a counter slogan to the three-word mantra, provided it was clever, catchy and cutting. Your comment about Abbott is important. On his election as Opposition Leader Abbott he said himself that if he guided the Coalition to victory, he would be considered a ‘genius’, but otherwise would be seen as ‘road-kill’. So far he is lapping up the ‘genius’ appellation, but the way things are going since he became PM, and particularly since the budget, the ‘road-kill’ tag might be applicable, and soon.

Ad astra

26/05/2014Michael Thank you for the link to Ross Gittins’ piece in the [i]Canberra Times[/i] this morning. As he does so well, Gittins has exposed the ideological imperative that has driven the Abbott/Hockey budget. He questions the assertion that Hockey’s structural reforms will bring about economic growth, the foundation of the Coalition’s economic rationalist agenda, and goes onto say that all Martin Parkinson said the budget measures might do is to increase ‘fiscal resilience’ over the coming decade, which we all acknowledge is what is really needed. What the Abbott/Hockey/Cormann rhetoric of a budget ‘emergency’ is about is destroying Labor by laying on it full responsibility for the ‘debt and deficit disaster’, spuriously conjured up to support the Coalition’s radical cuts that affect disproportionately the poor, the sick, the disabled, unemployed youth and students. [b]We know there is no emergency or crisis; no economist that is not in the Coalition’s pocket says there is. Even the Review Commission chair Tony Shepherd admits this.[/b] If one can judge from responses to poll questions, neither does the public buy this charade. The budget wizards have over reached and have thereby imperiled their credibility. Gittins reiterates what we already know – that the ones favoured by the budget are the Coalition’s natural constituency: the big end of town; and the ones most viciously targeted are Labor’s constituency, those on struggle street. The budget is an extreme manifestation of cruelty and studied disinterest in the needy and the poor, oh so consistent with economic rationalism, which cares nothing about increasing inequality despite its harmful social consequences. As I see it, the Coalition had three budget objectives: to permanently destroy Labor as a fiscally irresponsible and incompetent rabble; to hit hard the less well off, while favouring the wealthy by leaving in place virtually all the perks and benefits they enjoy; and to put in place a budget that matches its ideological position and its corresponding rhetoric of ‘living within our means’. Today Cormann’s quipped that [b][i]“This is the budget Australia has to have”[/b][/i]. Will that resonate and be repeated endlessly as was Keating’s famous: “The recession we had to have”? Gittins lays bare many of the nasty drivers, and many of the nasty consequences of the Abbott’s [b][i]“good budget”[/i][/b].

Catching up

26/05/2014There have been strong statement by Labor ministers within the lower house tody. Tanya, alone has made two speeches. Thanks astra Kathryn King, now on ABC 24. Pointed out that many are already paying co payments. In fact all that are not bulked billed do. The amount of money is not small.

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26/05/2014Curi-Oz How interesting that you have succeeded in joining the Labor Party’s ‘central branch’! It will be fascinating to see how this pans out. We will be interested to read progress reports of your experience. I hope you will be able to speak out and be heard, no matter how uncomfortable your questions might be to the Labor establishment.

jaycee

26/05/2014I crossed the Murray this morning...the Mighty Murray...on the ferry at Swan Reach and I picked up a stone from the one side, carried it across on the ferry and placed it on the other side. I did it because of a story my mother told me years ago that I just remembered as I arrived at the ferry...My mother grew up near the river. She worked as a house-maid at both Punyelroo and Portee stations near Swan Reach. She told me of an old German hand there who, whenever he had to cross the river, he would pick up a small stone, a pebble, carry it across and place it on the other side....my mother asked him why he did it....he was at first reluctant to tell her..but she persisted... “Well, girlie”...that’s what they all called young women out there....”it is my own little thing...I tink of the stone as my soul,...you see, I cannot swim..and so I take the stone, carry it, and if or when I reach safely the solid ground on the other side, I leef it dzair....when I come back, I do the same” “What happens if the boat sinks?” my mother asked. “Dzen I will try to throw it wif all my might, to the other side....and if it reaches , then I feel I too will reach there...” “And if it doesn’t?” “Dzen, I tink I vill be lost in the waters...” This morning I crossed the river and I picked up a stone and carried it across and placed it on the other side...I thought of that old man and I thought of my mother,in hospital now, on palliative care for pulmonary fibrosis...she will never again come to the river...so I thought of it as me, her bloodline, carrying HER soul safely across the waters...I don’t know what made me think of it after all these years...but I just did...must be a pagan thing I suppose and since she carried my burgeoning soul for nine months, could I not at least carry her soul for a couple of hundred metres? We arrived safely...

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26/05/2014jaycee What a touching and poignant story you tell - one from the heart.

Michael

26/05/2014"We missed the GFC bullet. Will we get hit by a home-made bullet fashioned by our own neo-cons to give credibility to their debt lies?" The conclusion of an article by Kenneth Davidson for the Fairfax Press. Entire (chilling) article here: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/debt-the-big-lie-on-which-abbott-built-a-budget-20140523-zrlxl.html

Ken

26/05/2014If the LNP is so big on investment tey shold read the Bloomberg report referred to here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-26/abolishing-renewable-energy-target-could-cost-billions/5478476 No company will want to invest in Oz unless there is some consistency in policies. When a neo-con government like this steps in and wants to tear everything down, they are also destroying the 'certainty' that business investment requires. So, in reality, they are not even helpiing future investment, just trying to save their old mates in the old industries that probably do not have a future. As those industries fade, and nothing has been done to encourage their replacement, Oz will go downhill. That will be a product of this supposedly 'pro business' government.

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26/05/2014Michael That is a powerful article by Kenneth Davidson, whom I am surprised had become stirred up enough to write such a condemnatory piece. He confirms that the 'crisis' was fictional, and used as a cover for a harsh ideologically-driven budget. As you say, the article is chilling. We have been grotesquely misled and deceived by a government relentlessly pursuing its economic rationalist agenda.

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26/05/2014Ken Isn't it astonishing, as the Blomberg report shows, that this strongly pro-business government has embarked on moves that will result in greater uncertainty for business and less investment, the opposite that its ideology promotes.

Casablanca

26/05/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. 27 May, 2014. 62 items [/b] LIES, DAMNED LIES AND ABBOTT 1. PM Abbott’s top 40 broken promises and blatant hypocrisies — so far Alan Austin IA's running tally of hypocrisies and broken promises by Australia's most mendacious ever prime minister — Tony Abbott. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/pm-abbotts-top-40-broken-promises-and-blatant-hypocrisies--so-far,6512 2. I make this pledge to you the Australian people. Kaye Lee The following is an excerpt from Tony Abbott’s 2013 election campaign launch speech with an interactive report card on how he is going so far. Click on the links to read further. “This election is about making a great country… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/24/i-make-this-pledge-to-you-the-australian-people/ 3. Fool me once! Tony Abbott's litany of lies and broken Budget promises Peter Wicks Abbott promised lower taxes and a better standard of living, but he's now taxing us [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/fool-me-once-abbotts-litany-of-lies-and-broken-budget-promises,6505 4. Captain Abbott steers into choppy waters Paula Matthewson Even if voter angst over the budget does subside, the real concern for Tony Abbott is the extent to which his perceived competency has taken a hit. With an ill-judged budget, errors on its detail and ongoing political missteps, Tony Abbott is losing what's left of his colleagues' respect http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-26/matthewson-captain-abbott-steers-into-choppy-waters/5476900 5. Abbott has Many Good Qualities… Just Ask Him. Or Megan Saker rossleighbrisbane “This is a watershed moment, when a bold new government does what has to be done to set the nation on a better course.” Tony Abbott. Say what you like about Tony Abbott, he doesn’t lack confidence. But then, neither http://theaimn.com/2014/05/24/abbott-has-many-good-qualities-just-ask-him-or-megan-saker/ 6. Debt: the big lie on which Abbott built a budget Kenneth Davidson The truth is, the Commonwealth doesn’t have a debt problem. Estimated net debt in 2013-14 is $197.8 billion, or 12 per cent of gross domestic product – one of the lowest of the mature industrial countries. If Australia was a corporation, the directors (cabinet ministers) would be likely to be accused of running a ‘‘lazy balance sheet’’ and booted out by shareholders (voters). http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/debt-the-big-lie-on-which-abbott-built-a-budget-20140523-zrlxl.html#ixzz32nhIEv2o 7. All Tony Abbott wants is everything Tony Abbott wants Adam Brereton The Coalition has struggled to convince Australia that their budget is the only way to reform the nation. What does the prime minister want now? Mostly for his critics to leave him alone...In the prime minister's world, there are never options, just wants: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/23/all-tony-abbott-wants-is-everything-tony-abbott-wants DAUGHTERS OF MERIT + WOMEN OF CALIBRE 8. Parliamentary rules and Tony and Frances Abbott Bill Mavropoulos Is Tony Abbott ‘in serious contempt of the House of Representatives’ by not declaring his daughter’s scholarship?... he probably is. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/parliamentary-rules-and-tony-and-frances-abbott,6507 9. Whitehouse Denies Lobbying, PM Can't Recall, and 400 People Saw It Chris Graham 'Whitehousegate' just got a whole lot messier. The design school denies lobbying, and the PM can't recall. But lots of other people can, https://newmatilda.com/2014/05/23/whitehouse-denies-lobbying-pm-cant-recall-and-400-people-saw-it 10. Whitehouse Staff Register Reveals No Role For Frances Abbott Chris Graham Prime Minister Tony Abbott with daughter Frances, pictured with Whitehouse Institute owner Leanne Whitehouse, at the school's 25th anniversary celebrations in December last year. First it was a secret scholarship. Now it appears to be a job with no role. https://newmatilda.com/2014/05/23/whitehouse-staff-register-reveals-no-role-frances-abbott 11. Leaked Documents Cast Doubt On Abbott's $60k Scholarship Claims Chris Graham and Max Chalmers The PM is tonight under fire over a scholarship awarded to his daughter Frances. New Matilda can reveal that the Prime Minister’s daughter paid just $7,546 for the $68,182 degree. https://newmatilda.com/2014/05/21/leaked-documents-cast-doubt-abbotts-60k-scholarship-claims 12. Design College Boss Was ‘Teasing’ PM, Not Lobbying, says Whitehouse Chris Graham The Whitehouse Institute has responded to claims published by New Matilda overnight. https://newmatilda.com/2014/05/24/design-college-boss-was-%E2%80%98teasing%E2%80%99-pm-not-lobbying-says-whitehouse 13. Frances Abbott Chosen ‘On Merit’ To Help Lobby Fed Govt Regulators Chris Graham Leaked documents obtained by New Matilda reveal that late last year, Ms Abbott was one of just a handful of students from more than 400 put forward by Whitehouse to be interviewed by assessors from the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency. TEQSA is the federal government regulator responsible for approving or denying an application from Whitehouse to launch a new Masters of Design course, and the re-accreditation of existing courses. That application was ultimately successful. https://newmatilda.com/2014/05/24/frances-abbott-chosen-%E2%80%98-merit%E2%80%99-help-lobby-fed-govt-regulators 14. Frances Abbott scholarship: Corner PM for answers or his daughter? Noely Neate It is pretty obvious the PM’s daughters have benefited from ‘who’ their father is. The question is, have they benefited more than would be considered the perks of being the progeny of a successful person? In this case, the more that comes out about this Whitehouse story, the worse it looks? http://yathink.com.au/article-display/frances-abbott-scholarship-corner-pm-for-answers-or-his-daughter,124?cachebreak=1 15. Invisible ink Kaye Lee If you are looking for Tony’s signature PPL policy in the budget you will need “a scanning electron microscope” according to John Daly of the Grattan Institute. It only appears in one paragraph. We are told that the government will… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/23/invisible-ink/ 16. Paid parental leave is 'friendless': Liberal MP Lisa Cox and Gareth Hutchens Coalition MPs heading to Canberra for Tuesday's first party room meeting since the budget will push for changes to key measures, among them Tony Abbott's signature paid parental leave scheme as well as scrapping the proposed increase to the pension age. As MPs started gathering, they said the government's disastrous budget sales pitch had made it difficult to explain tough measures to voters in their electorates. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/paid-parental-leave-is-friendless-liberal-mp-20140525-38wvw.html 17. Paid parental leave and childcare: It’s worse than 'either or' Georgina Dent To say the Abbott Government's paid parental leave policy has few friends is an understatement. Critics have far out-numbered supporters, whose apparent reluctance to sell the policy hasn't helped boost its popularity. The government is planning on freezing the income eligibility thresholds for the Child Care Benefit. http://womensagenda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=30f81b85614c4a46de129a5d6&id=9c5dd44970&e=87e80a7b7d 18. Tony Abbott updates interests register, including gifts to wife and daughters Lisa Cox Prime Minister Tony Abbott has updated his pecuniary interest register, listing gifts and hospitality for his wife and daughters, including a lace dress and an invitation to the opening night of the 2014 Melbourne fashion festival. But the $60,000 chairman's scholarship to the Whitehouse Institute of Design, which Mr Abbott did not declare at the time it was awarded in 2011 and became public last week, was not included on the updated list submitted last week... They included tickets to fashion shows and the gift of a dress from designer Johnny Schembri to daughter Bridget, which she kept and paid $20 to the Collector of Public Monies. Mr Abbott has kept the gift of a set of Shimano bicycle gears and wheels from Japanese leader Shinzo Abe and paid $2475 to the Collector of Public Monies. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-updates-interests-register-including-gifts-to-wife-and-daughters-20140526-38y8p.html ROYAL COMMISSIONS + INQUIRIES + WITCH HUNTS 19. Gillard’s accuser blew his chance Mark Latham When carrying out a political stitch-up, it’s wise to stick to a single set of claims instead of thrashing around with conflicting statements that expose the true nature of one’s strategy. As Australia’s right-wing fanatics look back on the wreckage of Ralph Blewitt’s evidence at last week’s trade union royal commission, they must be cursing their inattention to detail. On each of the key allegations concerning a 1990s slush fund (the Australian Workers Union’s Workplace Reform Association) Blewitt exposed himself as an unreliable witness. He spent most of his testimony contradicting his earlier accusations in the smear campaign against Julia Gillard. http://www.afr.com/p/opinion/gillard_accuser_blew_his_chance_d5HMNHeCOrjqG0dh5mXHhM BIGOTRY RIGHTS vs HUMAN RIGHTS 20. Outcry forces Brandis to reconsider Racial Discrimination Act changes Katharine Murphy Attorney general who argued Australians have the right to be 'bigots' now says core priority is protecting 'freedom of opinion'.... The government’s original proposal to amend sections 18C and 18D of the act prompted an almost immediate outcry from a range of community groups, who said it would effectively allow hate speech. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/25/outcry-forces-brandis-to-reconsider-racial-discrimination-act-changes?CMP=twt_gu 21. The Powerful Already Have Free Speech Helen Pringle and Shakira Hussein What do Shane Warne and Christopher Pyne have in common? Both can enjoy the luxury of using 'offensive' language, unlike members of marginalised groups https://newmatilda.com/2014/05/26/powerful-already-have-free-speech CLASS +CULTURE WARS 22. It Was Class Warfare. And it Sucks. johnlord2013 Many pages have been written about the budget and as one bled into the next one thing became abundantly clear: It was about class warfare. It was about who should pay in the long-term for the necessary corrections to budget… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/23/it-was-class-warfare-and-it-sucks-5/ 23. The Australian Tories and the Currency Lads and Lasses David Horton Australia is the only country founded with a deliberately imposed class system and the Liberal Party's budget shows the battle is still on in earnest for equality. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-australian-tories-and-the-currency-lads-and-lasses,6484 INDUSTRY WARS 24. Letting Australian industry die promotes workplace slavery elsewhere Michael Mullins We variously marvel at the cost-effective manufacturing processes in these [Asian] countries and express alarm at the knock on effect on manufacturing here. The federal government’s lack of will to subsidise local manufacturers is built on a conviction that workers here enjoy conditions that are unsustainable and our work conditions must be downgraded to ensure local industry is more competitive with overseas counterparts. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=41457#.U4J3TU5zBZY POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 25. Abbott government spends $85,000 on videos to promote infrastructure spend Daniel Hurst Senate estimates committee told that main promotional video viewed just 2,358 times – at an average cost of $37 per view http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/26/abbott-government-spends-85000-on-videos-to-promote-infrastructure-spend?CMP=soc_568 26. Slackers, Slouch Hats, Slaves, Sex Workers and Salacious Winks. rossleighbrisbane Well, I’m appalled. Apparently there are more people on Disability Support Pensions than war wounded. What’s wrong with our soldiers? Weren’t they trying hard enough? Gees, no wonder we lost at Gallipolli. http://theaimn.com/2014/05/25/slackers-slouch-hats-slaves-sex-workers-and-salacious-winks/ 27. A Note To Joe Bob Ellis There is no way back from Evil, Joe. Trust me. Some tips for your next life. If you’re hurting everybody at a time of semi-wartime emergency don’t smile as you say you are. Churchill saying ‘Blood, sweat, and tears’ was not wreathed in smiles. If you are calling for sacrifice, do not charge anybody twenty thousand dollars to hear you talk about it, and not spend the money on healing lepers. If you own two farms and four houses, do not talk about ‘the age of entitlement’ applying to old sick women seeing a doctor for free. Sell one of the houses, and donate the money to diabetes research, and say you are doing this. http://www.ellistabletalk.com/2014/05/26/a-note-to-joe/ 28. Rob Oakeshott's book: Extract No.1 Rob Oakeshott's book: Extract No.2 Port News A combination of circumstances in 2010 meant Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott was at the heart of Australia's first hung parliament in 40 years. He has written a book about what went before, what happened during those 17 days, the political climate during the 43rd parliament and some of the backroom machinations. http://www.portnews.com.au/story/2303169/rob-oakeshotts-book-extract-no1/?cs=257 http://www.portnews.com.au/story/2305062/rob-oakeshotts-book-extract-no2/ THE BUNGLED BUDGET 29. Let’s be absolutely crystal clear about this. Kaye Lee If you click on the official Prime Minister of Australia government page the first thing you will read is “Over six years, Labor ran up a $667 billion debt on the nation’s credit card.”... it is a bald faced lie and that isn’t a good way to convince people to trust you. http://theaimn.com/2014/05/25/lets-be-absolutely-crystal-clear-about-this/ 30. HECS, lies and video tape Mark Kenny Selling the positives of a budget weighed down by breaches of trust such as new GP payments and higher university fees can be an expensive undertaking, both politically and economically. But before we fret too much about the added drain on the government's debt-heavy wallet, remember, in this as in all things Canberra, we're paying for it. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/hecs-lies-and-video-tape-20140526-38y7e.html 31. Budget inequality is bad for business Claudia Perry-Beltrame If Joe Hockey's Budget is implemented, Australia is heading for more inequality as more people battle to cover their basic needs. C http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/budget-inequality-is-bad-for-business,6508 32. Has the Government doubled the budget deficit? ABC FACTCHECK The claim: Chris Bowen says Joe Hockey has doubled the deficit by changes to Government spending and changes to Government assumptions. The verdict: Since the election, the official forecast deficit has doubled. The economic assumptions are different from those used before the election, and spending decisions have been made that were not in the previous forecasts. Mr Bowen's claim checks out. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-06/has-the-government-doubled-the-budget-deficit/5423392 33. Australia — no home for the homeless Matthew Mitchell Abbott's first Budget will only add to the problem of homelessness. How to house all these people? Perhaps we can learn from Occupy [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/australia---no-home-for-the-homeless,6501 34. The Real Debt Danger Ian McAuley Ignore the noise about government debt, it's the borrowing of individuals and households that should have us really worried - especially as the mining boom fades https://newmatilda.com/2014/05/26/real-debt-danger 35. Deficit levy will hit CEOs, managers, surgeons and, above all, men Greg Jericho The ATO's latest tax statistics show women are hugely overrepresented in those occupations earning less than $37,000 http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2014/may/26/deficit-levy-will-hit-ceos-managers-surgeons-and-above-all-men 36. Budget spending on roads tipped to send states off the rails Jonathan Swan, Jacob Saulwick Prime Minister Tony Abbott's insistence on funding only roads and not public transport will encourage state governments to prioritise highways at the expense of railways, the Commonwealth's top infrastructure adviser has said. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/budget-spending-on-roads-tipped-to-send-states-off-the-rails-20140525-38wwz.html 37. Budget blueprint stuck in a bygone era Ian Verrender As a potential budget solution, the Invalid and Old Age Pension Act of 1908 is an absolute corker. Since we're heading towards greater inequality anyway, maybe the Government should bring that back http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-26/verrender-budget-blueprint-stuck-in-a-bygone-era/5476790 38. Co-payment will hit “working poor”, says new AMA chief Michelle Grattan New Australian Medical Association president Brian Owler has warned the budget’s $7 co-payment will particularly hit the “working poor”, while the squeeze on states' hospital funding will affect “frontline clinical services”. http://theconversation.com/co-payment-will-hit-working-poor-says-new-ama-chief-27150 39. GP Co-Payment: Policy Analysis Victoria Rollison Even Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey seem confused about their Great. Big. New. Tax on doctor’s visits, as announced in their horror budget two weeks ago. It’s still not clear exactly how this policy will be applied and who it… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/25/gp-co-payment-policy-analysis/ 40. The Medicare co-payment will be a hard sell for the government and here is why Samantha Maiden TUCKED away in Peter Dutton’s office is a plastic replica of former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton. It’s a nutcracker. The gag is you put a walnut between her legs and voila, she’s such a ballbreaker, that Clinton cracks the nut. The Health Minister’s wife, Kirilly Dutton, who ¬clearly has a sense of humour, gave it to him as a joke. Cracking the Senate, if the Abbott government is serious about introducing a $7 co-payment to see a doctor, will be a far more complex operation. http://m.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/the-medicare-copayment-will-be-a-hard-sell-for-the-government-and-here-is-why/story-fni0cwl5-1226921777076 41. Joe Hockey's medical research fund is nothing more than a distraction Christopher Mayes, Jenny Kaldor, Stacy Carter, Miles Little ,Ian Kerridge If we health and medical researchers do not stand up now, we will be left with the moral blight of having silently colluded in the destruction of universal healthcare http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/23/joe-hockeys-medical-research-fund-is-nothing-more-than-a-distraction 42. WorkChoices has made an insidious comeback in this budget Adam Brandt The Liberal party has learned its lesson: rather than mount a second frontal assault on Australian industrial relations, they're tipping the balance through cruel cuts to welfare http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/26/workchoices-has-made-an-insidious-comeback-in-this-budget?CMP=soc_568 43. What even is #estimates Scott Ludlum On Tuesday May 13, our carnivorous Prime Minister and his cigar-chomping Treasurer laid out their attack on our country in the form of several thousand pages of portfolio budget statements. This coming fortnight, we will take their measure. To be any good at it, we will need your help. See you in #estimates. http://fieldnotes.org.au/2014/05/25/what-even-is-estimates/ 44. Budget spending on roads tipped to send states off the rails Jonathan Swan, Jacob Saulwick Prime Minister Tony Abbott's insistence on funding only roads and not public transport will encourage state governments to prioritise highways at the expense of railways, the Commonwealth's top infrastructure adviser has said. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/budget-spending-on-roads-tipped-to-send-states-off-the-rails-20140525-38wwz.html NBN 45. Abbott was unmovable on 'shocker' NBN policy: Oakeshott Josh Taylor Then-opposition leader Tony Abbott was unwilling to budge on the Coalition's 2010 broadband policy during minority government negotiations, according to former Independent MP Rob Oakeshott http://www.zdnet.com/au/abbott-was-unmovable-on-shocker-nbn-policy-oakeshott-7000029836/ 46. Labor targets appointment of NBNCo chief amid US court proceedings Katharine Murphy Bill Morrow, hired by Coalition to replace Mike Quigley, is being sued over gas explosions, Guardian Australia has revealed. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/may/25/labor-targets-appointment-of-nbnco-chief-amid-us-court-proceedings?CMP=ema_632 NATIONAL SORRY DAY 47. Why I chose to quit my job in Aboriginal child protection Debra Swan I have worked as an Aboriginal worker within the child protection system in north west NSW since 2001. At the start of this year, I quit my job. I couldn’t bring myself to go to work any more with the way this department is mistreating Aboriginal people. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/26/why-i-chose-to-quit-my-job-in-aboriginal-child-protection?view=desktop 48. How the “Prime Minister for Indigenous affairs” slashed health spending Melissa Sweet Spending on health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples has been slashed in the Federal Budget, according to a health policy analyst who writes under the pen name of “William Foggin”. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2014/05/25/how-the-prime-minister-for-indigenous-affairs-slashed-health-spending/ GENDER INEQUALITY 49. Budget 2014 will hurt no matter what kind of woman you are Treasurer Joe Hockey's first federal budget looks set to hurt women from all walks of life, according to analysis by the National Foundation for Australian Women....And will contribute to a decline in workforce productivity. http://womensagenda.us5.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=30f81b85614c4a46de129a5d6&id=d3957c8fc6&e=87e80a7b7d SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY + IDEAS + ACTIVISM 50. Can we make a difference? Kaye Lee A quick look at the stats shows that, 4 months after that email, we look like going over 4 million views sometime this week, or even today if Victoria writes another blockbuster. Her last story has had well over 400,000 views in two days. That is over 2% of the adult population of Australia (and yes I realise some were repeat views but still, that’s a lot of people considering we only need to change 30,000 votes in marginal seats, or get young people to enrol, to change the government). http://theaimn.com/2014/05/26/can-we-make-a-difference/ 51. Hockey; wealthy complacency Carol Taylor If there was any stand-out from Joe Hockey’s performance on Q&A it would have been his ability to permeate the studio with an overwhelming odor of wealthy complacency, with weasel words thrown in for good measure. It was with considerable… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/26/hockey-wealthy-complacency/ 52. Catholic Schoolboys Rule: Neo-Conservatism and the Sociopathy of the Religious Right Sean Stinson Is this country being run by right-wing Christian fundamentalists? And if so, are they representative of the wider society? ...“Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission”. – Tony Abbott, http://theaimn.com/2014/05/25/catholic-schoolboys-rule-neo-conservatism-and-the-sociopathy-of-the-religious-right/ 53. People ‘cost too much’: the Abbott Government and Neoliberalism Strobe Driver Where will our Conservative government take this country, if allowed to do so? What to do, what to do . . . The current non-acceptance of… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/24/people-cost-too-much-the-abbot-government-and-neoliberalism/ BRAND LABOR: REFORMING THE ALP 54. Letter to Bill Shorten: Part 1 Ad Astra There must be many ardent Labor supporters who would wish to transmit their thoughts to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten about how Labor ought to proceed over the coming months. Ad Astra is one such supporter. Here is a letter he sent to Mr Shorten. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2014/05/25/Letter-to-Bill-Shorten-Part-1.aspx#comment 55. Horse Trading Kaye Lee Abbott and Hockey have made their opening bid and guardedly indicated their willingness to negotiate. Instead of being ready to roll (publicly at least), all I hear from Labor is reaction with no positive alternatives offered. They are missing a… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/25/horse-trading/ MEDIA 56. Murdoch and corruption Rodney E. Lever Former Murdoch right hand man Rodney E. Lever says Australians do not seem to have grasped the dangers of the money-losing, tax-evading, propaganda-feeding [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/murdoch-and-corruption,6511 ENVIRONMENT 57. Abbott’s Green Army a Trojan horse? @e2mq173 comments David Marler There are many reasons for criticising PM Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey’s first budget – it is brutal, short-sighted and mean-spirited. One of the few budget themes commentators have not discussed widely is the impact on Australia’s environment. Landcare was established in the 1980s in regional Victoria and is regarded as a successful model http://nofibs.com.au/?wpmllink=1270c730e1b3d50252b42d00179301c2&history_id=3&subscriber_id=877 58. A nation where Miners are Government: #Pilliga farmer @nocsg predicts a Liverpool Plains revolution Rosemary Nankivell ...a farmer, and one of many women of the NSW Liverpool Plains who have fought long and hard for years to stop the food bowl she loves being turned into industrial gas fields and coal mines. http://nofibs.com.au/?wpmllink=941198f0c3bd78c4d28941374f50d4a4&history_id=3&subscriber_id=877 59. Abbott's RET review compromised by conflict of interest Tristan Edis The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association has called for the Renewable Energy Target to be scrapped using economic modelling work they paid for from a firm owned by Dr Brian Fisher. Dr Fisher has been appointed by the Federal Government as one of four members of its panel in charge of reviewing the Renewable Energy Target. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/5/23/renewable-energy/abbotts-ret-review-compromised-conflict-interest ASYLUM SEEKERS + THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HATE + REFUGEE RIGHTS 60. Border control shake-up takes Australia into dangerous waters Tony Kevin Scott Morrison has announced the formation of a powerful new paramilitary force with its own ideology, training and rank structure, answerable only to an immigration minister. There is a disturbing comparison that may be drawn between this new agency, apparently with no legal or constitutional checks and balances outside itself, and the Schutzstaffel security service established by Hitler and answerable only to him as leader. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=40395#.U4LLPPmSySo 61. Is Cambodia engulfed in a human rights crisis? ABC FACTCHECK The verdict: According to independent evidence, Cambodia is still suffering from the fallout of a flawed election and the violent protests that followed. Opposition MPs are still refusing to accept the result of the election and there are real concerns about violence perpetrated by armed forces largely controlled by the ruling political party. Mr Manne's claim checks out. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-26/is-cambodia-engulfed-in-human-rights-crisis/5446002 62. We’re being conned on ‘illegal’ arrivals policy, says human rights lawyer Julian Burnside Julian Burnside Australia’s policy of deterrence is designed to keep boat people away. Deterrence involves making one choice look less attractive than the alternative. Our Government is trying to make coming here look worse than facing down the Taliban or the genocidal regime in Sri Lanka. I am not sure how many Australians actually want this country to look worse than the Taliban. http://m.ntnews.com.au/news/opinion/were-being-conned-on-illegal-arrivals-policy-says-human-rights-lawyer-julian-burnside/story-fnk0b216-1226930953142 OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Casablanca

26/05/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. 27 May, 2014. [b]There are lies, damned lies and Abbott's brazen lies[/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CC-2014-05-26.aspx

2353

26/05/2014Abbott's achievements in dot point style, http://thesauce.co/achievements-of-the-abbott-government/

Casablanca

27/05/2014 [b]2014 Sydney Peace Prize.[/b] Australian barrister, human rights advocate and author, [b]Julian Burnside[/b] has been selected to receive the 2014 Sydney Peace Prize. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/05/26/julian-burnside-selected-receive-sydney-peace-prize

jaycee

27/05/2014Just heard a coalition person on AM. saying that the public will give the govt' some leeway if they can see some light and advantage at the other side on the delivery of these policies....well f#ck me sideways!...didn't the previous Labor govt' design, fund and deliver many, many good policies in their time in office?...yet "the public" didn't give them ANY leeway...but wait..here's the rub...it wasn't the public that railed against Labor and it's policies...it wasn't the LNP. coalition who did the hard attack against Labor..THEY were notorious for their useless silence on policy criticism and policy construction..we didn't hear from many of them for three bloody years!!...no..it was the MSM. that delivered the blows against what can now be seen was an excellent PM. and govt' ministry AND financial control....those effing traitors in the MSM. framed the "context", manufactured the unrest both within and without the party and spread rumours, accusations and false economic data to break the morale and the confidence in the Labor govt'....the MSM. and those players went from journalists to protagonists to treasonous.....THEY were the guilty culprits who undermined the Aust' political system and delivered the nation to foreign citizens for their pleasure and plunder...the worst of them were no better than "Lord Haw Haw"..and he was hanged!...the MSM. journos' are the traitors of this nation...the filth deserve to be spat on, culled out and proscribed from the benefits of a safe, stable society.....hunt them down like the dirty dogs they are! NEVER FORGET...NEVER FORGIVE !

Ad astra

27/05/2014Casablanca Julian Burnside is worthy recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize. jaycee Many would be in accord with your diagnostic assessment.

Ad astra

27/05/2014Folks We are on our way back to the South Coast today.

Casablanca

27/05/2014Three terrific recent articles by Andrew Elder. http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/ [b]Budgetary assumptions[/b] The past fortnight or so has seen a fundamental failure of judgment on the part of the politico-media complex. The government, and the press gallery that facilitated it, assumed that the country would sullenly accept the budget-crisis assumption, with only protesting students and bellyaching pensioners offering token resistance before the inevitable capitulation. What happened since the Budget was delivered has taken the entire political class by surprise. [b]Us and them[/b] It might never have occurred to you to put Miley Cyrus and Jonathan Holmes in the same sentence, but think again. Holmes seems to think that the Australian public and its government are locked in some mutually destructive and co-dependent relationship like that described above, with the media looking on benignly and simply reporting what they see. Holmes' piece, and his work for Fairfax generally, will only improve once he recognises that the current political situation is due to the failure of effective reporting on Australian politics, and that mere reportage is not the solution but part of the problem. [b]Looking for a second chance[/b] Before last year's election Tony Abbott not only had the gall to not only make promises for this term of parliament but the next, or what he called "our second term". He assumed he would win government because the press gallery waved him through, and also polls. He assumed his government would get a second term because every government since Scullin has, and because there has traditionally been a residual loyalty to political parties that has limited the size of swings against them.

Casablanca

27/05/2014*J*U*L*I*A* (TT - stunning photo of *J*U*L*I*A* alert). The Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration was delivered by Julia Gillard yesterday. http://www.gsnv.org.au/events/the-2014-joan-kirner-social-justice-oration.aspx The Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration was introduced to the Communities in Control program in 2011 to shine a light on the people, groups and initiatives pushing social reform uphill - to inspire those who care about equality to keep on pushing. I did not see any reports in the MSM but I expect that a video will be released following the Conference. Communities in Control CONFERENCE 2014 THE LUCKY COUNTRY CONFERENCE “Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second-rate people ..." Reflecting on 50 years since Donald Horne’s seminal book Melbourne, Australia Monday & Tuesday, May 26 and 27 ourcommunity.com.au Communities in Control One of the 16 Knowledge Centres of Our Community. Where not-for-profits go for help http://www.ourcommunity.com.au/control/control_article.jsp?articleid=5869

Catching up

27/05/2014Matthias, we will have a ad campaign selling the budget. Tony, no we won't. When will they begin talking to one another.

Casablanca

27/05/2014 [b]First Dog on the Moon on ... Bronwyn Bishop[/b] First Dog on the Moon proudly presents ... Bronwyn Bishop's greatest hits (most of them shameless) http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cartoon/2014/may/27/first-dog-bronwyn?CMP=ema_632

Michael

27/05/2014Interesting political party identification attendance numbers on Q&A last night. In my experience the Coalition aligned audience numbers have always been much higher than Labors', usually in the order of 45-48 Coalition, 34-38 Labor, with Greens 10-13 percent of the audience. Year in, year out, those rough numbers have held. Last night? Labor 37%. Greens 13%. Coalition 37%. The plummet of Coalition support is on with even this 'grassiest' of grass polls applied. However, those numbers don't add up to anywhere near 100%, which suggests, perhaps even worse for the Coalition, not that audience members have shifted their votes, but that they are too ashamed to identify as Coalition supporters. When a party/government loses people through not wanting to be identified with them, the loss of numbers is not speaking of something simply numerical occurring, it speaks of moral removal of support. It speaks of shame.

Catching up

27/05/2014It is on for one and all in lower house at this time. Appears Mcleay back in the dark ages, held a fund raising in the office. Pyne is unbelievable, is threatening Burke with the privilege committee, ids he does not apologise in the words Pyne outline. Albanese now on his feet. Serious matters being discussed. Motion made by Pyne. Have just tuned in They are now trying to shut Albanese up.

Casablanca

27/05/2014[b]Abbott’s End: The Last Nine Days[/b] Bob Ellis It’s likely Abbott will be overthrown in the next nine days and his successor Dutton, Hunt or Turnbull will rapidly and brutally excise Hockey from the Treasury; not certain, but likely....I predicted his arrival, and I was alone in doing so, correctly doing so; alone in the nation. I now predict his going. Thursday or Friday next week. http://www.ellistabletalk.com/2014/05/27/abbotts-end-37-the-last-nine-days/

Casablanca

28/05/2014 PERFIDIOUS ABBOTT! The Abbott government redirected funds from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to meet a third of the cost of its royal commission into the former government's home insulation scheme. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/child-sexual-abuse-inquiry-funding-shifted-to-pink-batts-probe-20140527-392hl.html

Casablanca

28/05/2014 I tweeted the PERFIDIOUS ABBOTT message to Tony Windsor & he re-tweeted it & responded as follows: Tony Windsor @TonyHWindsor @twitACTION If you ever needed an indicator of where Brandis and Abbott were coming from this may be a shining light - disgraceful 07:09 PM - 27 May 14

Michael

28/05/2014How long will individual GPs currently working in bulk-billing practices be able to stand the anguish, the despair, the anger, the vitriol, the potential for physical violence, that will follow their being asked to decide who has to stump up $7 per visit and who doesn't? Tell such patients that the GP gets $2 out of the $7, which makes it look like the payment is going straight into the pocket of the doctor refusing 'you' bulk-billing, and it looks to me like the Abbott government has set out to destroy what should be at the intimate heart of the general practitioner/patient relationship - continuity, respect, confidence in medical treatment not dollars driving their one on one contact. In short, Abbott and co are shafting GPs every bit as much as they are patients by forcing the therapy to be personally compromised by (and inextricably intertwined and identified with) the monetary. The 'family doctor' will be transformed into yet another tax collector.

Catching up

28/05/2014Not only a tax collector, but once againdecides who is worthy to be given assistance. I thought this is why Medibank, then Medicare was created for, to take that power from doctors.

Catching up

28/05/2014Why does the government sound so desperate today., Yes, there seems to be anger, that no one believes what they are saying. Gee, for the second time. Madam Speaker has pulled the government into line. Burke raised an objection, she agreed with him. Looks like the pension supplement is to survive. I believe this government has got at least one message from the public.

Catching up

28/05/2014An old bloke said to me, this morning, why do hey keep raising Hawkes name., He was never a great PM. Has been mentioned at least three times today. Desperation raising it's ugly head???????

Catching up

28/05/2014Bishop has just reminded another minister. Yes, things have changed.

Casablanca

29/05/2014CASABLANCA'S CACHE. 28 May, 2014. 40 items LEADERSHIP SPECULATION 1. Abbott’s End: The Last Nine Days Bob Ellis It’s likely Abbott will be overthrown in the next nine days and his successor Dutton, Hunt or Turnbull will rapidly and brutally excise Hockey from the Treasury; not certain, but likely. I predicted his arrival, and I was alone in doing so, correctly doing so; alone in the nation. I now predict his going. Thursday or Friday next week. http://www.ellistabletalk.com/2014/05/27/abbotts-end-37-the-last-nine-days/ 2. Abbott's Lost Some Skin, But It's Far From Terminal Ben Eltham A week is a long time in politics. For Tony Abbott, last week was an eternity. Ben Eltham looks at the longer-term fortunes of one of Australia's most unpopular PMs. http://newmatilda.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=bcde3b960b33e25d0c003ebc8&id=c2a0beb7c7&e=0a1e2bdeb8 3. The Abbott Form of Social Engineering (Reposted) johnlord2013 In recent weeks I have written on three subjects relating to what I shall loosely call “The Psychology of Politics”. The first was titled Hidden Persuaders, the second You’re Being Manipulated and the third Political Lies and Who Tells Them… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/27/the-abbott-form-of-social-engineering-reposted/ 4. David Marr on the budget of a hidden man David Marr Right from the start, building a credible political persona was a problem for Abbott. The bits and pieces didn’t fit together. He talked convictions, faith and principles. But what the public saw was an attack dog of remarkable determination, a favoured protégé of John Howard and a young man capable of making the most heartless faux pas... He has lost the caution, the instinct for fairness that made him warn against WorkChoices. This budget is WorkChoices for the young and the poor. http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/topic/politics/2014/05/24/david-marr-the-budget-hidden-man/1400853600#.U4SV8k5zDX4 5. Tony Abbott Said... Russell Marks What exactly did prime minister Tony Abbott say, and when did he say it? Here for the first time is what aims, eventually, to be a comprehensive list of Mr Abbott's promises and commitments, and what happened next. It's the traditional 4th estate ideal – holding the powerful to account – repackaged in internet form. http://www.themonthly.com.au/blog/russell-marks/2014/05/27/1401138538/tony-abbott-said#prom 6. The romance of the retro PM Ricky Pannowitz The more we see of Tony Abbott the more we see of a person to dislike and distrust. And what we see emerging is a Prime Minister who would be more suited to leading a country in the 1950s – not the 21st century. http://theaimn.com/2014/05/27/the-romance-of-the-retro-pm/ BIGOTRY RIGHTS vs HUMAN RIGHTS 7. Who Is The Ordinary Reasonable Person? Alice Pung The trouble with repealing section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act...While you were studying law and politics as a young man, Senator Brandis, Pol Pot’s bigotry directly led to the deaths of half our extended family in Cambodia http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2014/may/1398866400/alice-pung/who-ordinary-reasonable-person 8. IPA urges Tony Abbott and George Brandis to stick with 'flawed' race law changes James Massola Conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs has warned the Abbott government it risks breaking an election promise if it abandons plans to repeal and re-write race hate laws. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/ipa-urges-tony-abbott-and-george-brandis-to-stick-with-flawed-race-law-changes-20140528-394o1.html POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 9. This is what privilege looks like John Birmingham  A Prime Minister who uses your money, taken from your pocket, by the Tax Office he controls, to party hard at weddings, surf carnivals, anything. A Prime Minster who warns about the dire need to tighten your belts, who forces working people to work longer, to pay more tax so that he can keep putting in expense claims that would see you prosecuted by the Tax Office. http://cheeseburgergothic.com/show/5924 10. Pyne may take HECS from the dead Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has opened the door to collecting HECS debts from deceased estates, a policy move which would boost government revenue by an estimated $800 million a year. Mr Pyne said he had no “ideological opposition” to collecting debts from the estates of former students who died still owing money to the government’s student loan scheme. http://www.afr.com/p/national/pyne_may_take_hecs_from_the_dead_2ONA2LAA8ND77YKjcVtZYK 11. Millions of dollars in funding for child sex abuse royal commission redirected to home insulation inquiry New documents reveal millions of dollars of funding for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have been re-directed to the home insulation inquiry. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-28/the-attorney-general27s-department-has-confirmed-millions-of-d/5482568 12. Will Abbott's economic negativity become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Stephen Koukoulas The election of the Abbott government gave a boost to Australian economic activity and confidence. That goodwill is rapidly fading due to the prime minister's negativity http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/28/will-abbotts-economic-negativity-become-a-self-fulfilling-prophesy?CMP=soc_568 THE BUDGET FALLOUT 13. Single parents face sudden-death tax slug of 80% Gareth Hutchens Single parents will soon have a huge disincentive to earn more than $48,000 a year due to a design quirk in the Abbott government's cuts to family payments. http://m.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/single-parents-face-suddendeath-tax-slug-of-80-20140526-38znu.html 14. No clear winners in budget, says Small Business Minister Bruce Billson Latika Bourke Small Business Minister Bruce Billson has told voters there are "no clear winners" in the Government's recently announced budget. It follows unrest among Coalition MPs about both specific budget measures and the Cabinet's efforts in explaining them to the community. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-28/small-business-minister-critical-of-budget/5483742?WT.mc_id=newsmail 15. Another Liberal MP attacks Budget Houses and Holes Yesterday it was an MP defection to Labor, today it’s caustic criticism from within the Coalition ranks: In a speech delivered in Parliament on Tuesday night, West Australian MP Dennis Jensen described the government’s science policies as “foolish” and incoherent. Dr Jensen, a former research scientist and defence analyst, criticised the government for cutting funding to [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail1.com/t/i-l-vljqk-dtyueir-jk/ 16. Letter to all Coalition MPs Kaye Lee Dear Coalition MP, On the Prime Minister of Australia government page it states “Over six years, Labor ran up a $667 billion debt on the nation’s credit card.” In the budget it quotes the total CGS on issue (gross debt) in May as $319 billion. It predicts net government debt for 2013-14 of $191.5bn... The PM’s page also states that Labor left $123 billion in deficits with “no surplus as far as the eye could see” yet PEFO shows a cumulative deficit of $54.6 billion over the forward estimates under Labor policies with a surplus in 2016-17. http://theaimn.com/2014/05/28/letter-to-all-coalition-mps/ 17. Maths is a marvellous thing Kaye Lee Like climbing mountains, maths is a marvellous thing. It is objective rather than a matter of opinion. It can’t be argued with. A fact is a fact. But like many other powerful tools, maths can be used for evil in http://theaimn.com/2014/05/28/maths-is-a-marvellous-thing/ 18. CSIRO closes sites and cuts research as result of budget Tom Arup and Nicky Phillips CSIRO is closing several research sites, including relocating world-renowned climate research from its long standing atmospheric laboratory in Victoria, following the federal government’s budget cuts. An annual direction statement, written by CSIRO chief executive Megan Clark and obtained by the organisation’s staff association, details significant internal changes to research as CSIRO enacts the cuts and offsets lower expected commercial revenue. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/technology/sci-tech/csiro-closes-sites-and-cuts-research-as-result-of-budget-20140527-zrq1h.html 19. OK, let's talk about this regressive GST Mungo MacCallum Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey have ruled out changes to the GST, but that hasn't stopped the chatter. And the first thing to be said is that the GST is a cop-out - was, is and always will be. But in Australia, over the last 40-odd years at least, a contrary attitude has taken hold, both among individuals and governments: regular tax cuts have become the expectation and tax increases political suicide. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-26/maccallum-ok-lets-talk-about-this-regressive-gst/5477338 20. Abbott’s plutocrats lash the budget bludgers Houses and Holes The AFR has a lineup of corporate plutocrats bewailing the Budget schmozzle today that leaves a bit to be desired: “I think the budget was very sound, in particular because it addresses some of the structural changes we need in our economy if we are able to provide an adequate standard of living for future [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail1.com/t/i-l-vljqk-dtyueir-tt/ 21. The Budget: 1974 versus now Leith van Onselen Commsec has released some interesting analysis comparing the 1974 Budget to the latest Budget: Was the 2014 Budget too tough on recipients of pensions, payments or benefits? To a large extent that is a judgement call. Most believe it is right and proper for the Government to provide assistance to the [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail1.com/t/i-l-vljqk-dtyueir-td/ 22. Peppa Pig may not survive ABC budget cuts Emma Griffiths Popular children's show Peppa Pig may not be safe from ABC budget cuts, it was revealed in Senate estimates hearings today. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-28/peppa-pig-may-not-survive-abc-budget-cuts/5484212?WT.mc_id=newsmail BEWARE THE AMERICAN FOLLY 23. Are we witnessing the emergence of the United States of Australia? Warwick Smith Australia can have its cake and eat it too, because a healthy and materially secure population will repay enormous economic dividends. Instead, we're going further down the US path http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/26/are-we-witnessing-the-emergence-of-the-united-states-of-australia?CMP=ema_632 24. Why tough love on US unemployment isn't working Callam Pickering The failure of Congress to extend emergency unemployment benefits is another hit to the long-term unemployed and could have considerable impact on US economic growth. http://click.email.businessspectator.com.au/?qs=afaf5f5d1fd561804322ac6eb8486bb9d0e1552bb37b02ec3b20017e3d7ca2cb827c59e28df1deb1 25. The trigger warning we need: “College is a scam meant to perpetuate the 1 percent” Thomas Frank The trigger warning we need: "Borrowing to attend an American college may be hazardous to your dreams"...It’s a never-ending saga of privilege run amok, which of course allows our op-ed moralists to completely overlook the real scandal on campus—the corporatization of the university, a development that has plunged an entire generation into inescapable debt but that is somehow less visible to the columnist than the latest political-correctness fantasia. http://www.salon.com/2014/05/25/the_1_percents_college_scam/ NBN + WiFi 26. The real reason Telstra's building a public Wi-Fi network Harrison Polites All of this is rather good news for Telstra, Australia’s largest telco operator. Last week, Telstra rocked the sector by announcing it would partner with Fon build a nationwide Wi-Fi network by 2019. As with all of Fon’s networks overseas, it will operate on a network sharing arrangement: consumers and businesses will open up part of their Wi-Fi network to public access and, in return, will be able to access other Fon-powered networks around the globe. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/5/27/technology/real-reason-telstras-building-public-wi-fi-network?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=768725&utm_campaign=pm&modapt= GENDER INEQUALITY 27. Tara Moss on Q&A: Why I'm talking about sexual violence Women's Agenda As a panelist on Q&A last night she explained that her story is part of a broader attempt to tackle the idea that speaking out about violent crime and sexual assault is still taboo, and shatter the "toxic silence" that protects perpetrators of violent crimes and silences the victims from speaking out. http://womensagenda.us5.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=30f81b85614c4a46de129a5d6&id=4c40bbc4f0&e=87e80a7b7d SOCIAL CONSCIENCE + POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY + IDEAS + ACTIVISM 28. Does it matter that citizens aren’t always proud of their country? Antony Loewenstein No country is perfect, after all – so should I be more grateful for what we have here in Australia, and stop the leftist self-loathing? http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/27/does-it-matter-that-citizens-arent-always-proud-of-their-country?CMP=ema_632 29. Whatever Happened To The Working Class? Christos Tsiolkas The left has forgotten where it came from. http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2014/may/1398866400/christos-tsiolkas/whatever-happened-working-class 30. Did Alan Jones' Dad Turn In His Grave At Promotion Of Rogerson? Chris Graham Alan Jones’ past lauding of Rogerson as a “grass roots man” and someone who “if we had a few more of them… we’d have few problems in society” could come back to haunt the Sydney radio host, with questions from New Matilda to Mr Jones’ office this morning drawing a hostile reaction. In 2009, Jones launched Rogerson’s book, The Dark Side. https://newmatilda.com//2014/05/27/did-alan-jones-dad-turn-his-grave-promotion-rogerson 31. Picketty is right about inequality Leith van Onselen Thomas Picketty’s arguments about massive inequality in the US and Europe has received some support from World Bank researchers, Christoph Lakner and Milanovic Branko, who argue that inequality in rich countries has worsened significantly since 1988; although poorer Asian countries have fared much better. From VOX: A ‘quasi non-anonymous’ growth incidence [...] http://macrobusiness.cmail1.com/t/i-l-vljqk-dtyueir-jl/ 32. Weak logic beneath Australia’s biggest gamble Rob Burgess Australian homes are full of technology; usually have more than one car parked out front; and house well-educated English-speaking citizens who live under the strong rule of law and enjoy good health and longevity. As noted previously, these and other factors put Australia at the top of the ‘human development index’ published by the United Nations (okay, second only to Norway). This top position is what is at risk if the government gets radical reform wrong -- and the May 13 budget is a blueprint for radical reform. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/5/27/politics/weak-logic-beneath-australias-biggest-gamble 33. Medical research funds should be given now argues analyst Phillip Lasker The fund will grow to $20 billion, generating $1 billion in annual income by 2022, with that money distributed to support medical research. This year the Government will tip $1 billion in savings into the fund for a payout of just $20 million. The Grattan Institute think tank says medical research would benefit more if the Government ditched the fund and simply allocated the billion dollars in savings now, instead of waiting for eight years until the fund has grown. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-28/medical-research-funds-should-be-paid-now-says-analyst/5484394?WT.mc_id=newsmail 34. The Internet as we know it is dying Andrew Leonard How Facebook and Google are killing the classic Internet and reinventing it in their image...All is not well on the Web. While the particulars of each outburst of consternation and anger vary significantly, a common theme connects them all: The relentless corporatization and centralization of control over Internet discourse is obviously not serving the public interest. The good stuff gets co-opted, bought out, or is reduced to begging for spare change on the virtual street corner. The best minds of our generation have been destroyed by web metrics, dragging themselves across a vast wasteland in search of the next clickbait headline. http://www.salon.com/2014/05/26/the_internet_as_we_know_it_is_dying/ 35. Abbott, Hockey and Pyne – A Satirist’s Nightmare! rossleighbrisbane Well, for a few months it was easy to send up this government. You only had to repeat what they said and exaggerate it slightly, or, in many cases, just juxtapose it beside something else that they were saying. Tony criticising the Opposition for having no alternatives, for example. http://theaimn.com/2014/05/28/abbott-hockey-and-pyne-a-satirists-nightmare/ BRAND LABOR: REFORMING THE ALP 36. A Confidential Open Letter To Bill Shorten! rossleighbrisbane Dear Bill, You don’t know me, but I’m about to give you some really, really good advice. In case you haven’t noticed, Mr Abbott has labelled you a “whinger” and said that you haven’t come up with any alternative to… http://theaimn.com/2014/05/27/a-confedential-open-letter-to-bill-shorten/ ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 37. Big banks see bleak future for coal Tristan Edis Commodity analysts at Citi and Goldman Sachs argue that coal's investment outlook is horrible, with it under siege from three global forces that Australian governments seem to believe don't exist. http://click.email.businessspectator.com.au/?qs=afaf5f5d1fd561808b4c173cb2e53edc72a76288194660a6169241565880a7a027b083ae64acd0c1 38. Mining’s multi-billion-dollar black hole Mike Seccombe As the boom ends, poor oversight and lax bonds leave governments stuck with an enormous bill for mining’s clean-up.... the Mount Morgan debacle dates back decades, to the days of the corrupt conservative government of Joh Bjelke-Petersen. It couldn’t happen now, could it? Miners can’t still abrogate their responsibility to rehabilitate mined land?...Well, actually they can, and they do. Often. Maybe not to the same degree as at Mount Morgan, but regularly and in all Australia’s states and territories. The costs of dealing with the messes left by mining companies fall on others – governments, landholders, private citizens – all the time. http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2014/05/24/minings-multi-billion-dollar-black-hole/1400853601#.U4SfevmSySo ARTS + LITERATURE 39. How one sexy gay novel derailed Gore Vidal’s literary career Andrew O'Hehir A new movie paints a loving portrait of the ruling-class rebel -- but the great critic's real legacy is complicated... Every intellectual who tries to crack wise on television is emulating Gore Vidal, whether or not he or she knows it. Nicholas Wrathall’s documentary “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia” is an unabashed love letter to its subject that captures how and why Vidal became one of the dominant public intellectuals of the 20th century, an heir to the tradition of Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken, http://www.salon.com/2014/05/22/how_one_sexy_gay_novel_derailed_gore_vidals_literary_career/ 40. Alice Walker: 'Me and Jane Eyre were tight' Alice Walker meditates, and it was from her meditation cushion in Mexico that Walker, then 60, suddenly rose with a particular conviction to help those bearing greater burden than herself. The renowned poet and author, who became the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize with her novel The Color Purple in 1982, is now 70, and her most recent book The Cushion in the Road is a collection of meditations on Walker's expansive history of activism and her place in the world. http://www.theguardian.com/books/australia-culture-blog/2014/may/22/alice-walker-me-and-jane-eyre-were-tight OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Ken

29/05/2014thanks Casablanca Some very good pieces. I particularly liked Christos Tsiolkas's piece - a very good and 'reality grounded' account of the dilemma of the left.

Casablanca

29/05/2014 [b]AMATEUR HOUR[/b] Russell Marks After more than a fortnight of fury from the electorate, prime minister Tony Abbott last night found a friendly audience at the annual Minerals Council of Australia dinner. The mining industry is one of the few groups to have benefited from the May 13 budget, so it's perhaps unsurprising that BHP Billiton's CEO, Andrew Mackenzie, agrees that the budget is "fair". But Abbott's speech, which focussed on the proposed $7 GP co-payment, seemed merely to highlight the government's hopelessly mixed budget messages. He argued that the co-payment is necessary to "send a price signal" just one day after rejecting the idea that it would deter anybody from seeing a doctor. He argued its policy merits by comparing it with the PBS co-payment, ignoring the fact that it breaks his pre-election pledge that voters should expect neither taxes nor surprises. He confirmed that the co-payment was a necessary saving, despite the fact that most of it is to go to the creation of a new fund for medical research. And the speech came just days after Abbott incorrectly explained the policy's detail on radio. Similar confusion is repeated across the policy spectrum. Voters are increasingly unimpressed by the amateur politics on show. That Abbott's speech was received well by its audience, however, emphasises what seems to be a deep disagreement running through the body politic. Business groups applaud the budget's necessary "toughness", pointing to big problems with Australian debt, wages and productivity. But evidence shows that debt is relatively low, wages growth has almost flatlined, and productivity is relatively high. Even if the case can be made for the need for a fiscal fix in the longer term, the question remains: why are the poorest hit hardest while concessions to the wealthy go relatively untouched? No wonder Coalition MPs are finding the "budget sell" difficult. http://www.themonthly.com.au/politicoz?utm_source=PoliticOz&utm_campaign=dd0b19a578-PoliticOZ_29_May_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_673b6b002d-dd0b19a578-302949185

Casablanca

29/05/2014 Malcolm Turnbull launches Parliamentary Friends group to defend ABC Matthew Knott Politicians from all major parties have joined a new parliamentary lobby group to advocate for a well-resourced and independent ABC. The group, Parliamentary Friends of the ABC, was launched on Wednesday afternoon following ABC Managing Director Mark Scott's appearance at Senate estimates. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull gave a passionate defence of the public broadcaster in a speech to the 50-plus attendees, who included Senate powerbroker Clive Palmer. Mr Scott and ABC Chairman James Spigelman also attended the event. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/malcolm-turnbull-launches-parliamentary-friends-group-to-defend-abc-20140529-3963d.html#ixzz334Q2gX1b

Michael

29/05/2014In talking about Clive Palmer and Malcolm Turnbull meeting in a Chinese cafe last night, Hockey said the following: "Obviously, Clive might have more than one meal a night, so it's quite possible you'll bump into him at a restaurant," Mr Hockey said. Ex fat guy takes a shot at a fat guy. Did Hockey engage mind before mouth? Why now when he never usually does??? Sloppy Joe knows how to make enemies, doesn't he?

Catching up

29/05/2014When it comes to pensions, it is not beyond their ability to send the cost of living up. I wonder what economists think of Hockey's lecture to Palmer, on how our economy works. Did not ring truer to me, then I am no economist.

Casablanca

30/05/2014 [b]Tony Abbott is a liar: It's a mathematical truth[/b] Burkard Polster and Marty Ross Do politicians lie? Of course they do, including, of course, Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Whether it's the manufacturing of a budget "crisis", or the systematic trashing of election promises, or pretending that taxes are anything-but-taxes, or lying about spying, or lying about lying, Abbott has demonstrated his disdain for the truth. There is no need to go into detail here since Mike Carlton has already documented much of the fibbing, ably assisted by Annabel Crabb and Laurie Oakes and Bernard Keane and ... well, pretty much every political commentator who isn't a Liberal Party shill. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbott-is-a-liar-its-a-mathematical-truth-20140529-zrs5h.html#ixzz339a62w63

Casablanca

30/05/2014[b]"Petty & vindictive"[/b] Scott Morrison has tried to fly under the radar by waiting until after the Budget to cut funding to the Refugee Council. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison accused of taking 'petty, vindictive' axe to Refugee Council's budget funding Latika Bourke The Federal Government has decided to axe its funding to the Refugee Council of Australia, a fortnight after allocating it in the budget. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/tony-abbott-is-a-liar-its-a-mathematical-truth-20140529-zrs5h.html

TalkTurkey

30/05/2014Greetings Comrades, I'm not dead, I'm on holiday. In breathtakingly-beautiful much-abused-by-Europeans Tasmania. I did write a post on Monday, but I touched the Vanish nerve of my computer and Fwwwwtt! gone. I got dispirited after that and haven't felt to write, but anyway I haven't had the time or energy left after the day's relaxation and a lot of driving our hire car round this big little land. It sure isn't Australia in the usual sense! We're seeing it at cold-&-wet time, which we are loving, we're driving not backpacking. There was a good thick layer of ice on the windscreen this morning! (We're in Hobart now.) We've been from Launceston to Cradle Mountain in the Central Highlands, to west-coast Strahan and not-so-moonscape-as-it-used-to-be Queenstown, and down the roller-coaster skinny road to this delightfully-situated little city. And today we went to MONA, the Museum Of Old & New Art. Weird but definitely wonderful - or equally the reverse. Australia as a whole has a population growth rate of 1.6%. Tasmania's is [i]0.2% ![/i] In more than half the land area the population is actually [i]decreasing[/i] ... Yet this land is so rich, so WET! (J**** are Croweaters!) And tomorrow our second-to-last day here we will got to the famed Salamanca Market. Anyway. Politics. Ad I commented on your needle* in my lost post on Monday, but anyway I didn't have anything too clever to add ... As you know I [i]always[/i] agree with you in [i]everything[/i], as I do in this first half of the manifesto I knew you were working on. May BS take it all on board! *Needle: Pulls Thread! When I say I always agree with you, Ad, it must sound like either sycophancy or BS (not Bill Shorten) but it really isn't either. All the best writers on the Fighting 5th Estate do too, for a start. It doesn't take rocket science to work out why this is: when every one applies simple logic, tempered with humanity and distanced from self-interest, to any given social problem, general agreement should be the outcome. But of course there's the rub ... Anyway I look forward to the second half Ad, Sorry this isn't more worthy as an offering but when I lose an original post I can never recapture the spirit or feeling of the original. But we know that even if Labor is not doing a lot of winning in its own right, Abborrrtt and his thugs [i]are[/i] doing a great deal of [i]losing[/i], and though I have no illusion as to Clive Palmer's ultimate altruism, he is certainly in a position to make things very uncomfortable for Abborrrtt. We do live in interesting times. Goodnight all.

Paul of Berwick

31/05/2014Who would have thought. There have been links found between LNP donors and higher-ed policy changes. Sigh! https://newmatilda.com/2014/05/30/chief-liberal-fundraiser-linked-private-college-donations

Ad astra

31/05/2014TT I'm glad you and J are having a great holiday in the Apple Isle. Thank you for your comment - always supportive. Australia is about to be an Abbott-free zone as he travels overseas. That is a relief. I suppose his ministers will have to pick up the task of selling an unsaleable budget. What a poor performer he has turned out to be, exactly as predicted. Paul of Berwick Welcome back to [i]TPS[/i]. That was an interesting article - another illustration of the stark truth, that with the LNP, influence can be bought at a price. Now, influence on education policy is for sale!

2353

31/05/2014Paul of Berwick - whoda thunk it. Paul Syvret in the Courier Mail this morning was interesting. [quote]THE single biggest problem with the federal Budget – and yes, if voters are still talking about it heatedly nearly three weeks later you can be sure it is a stinker – is the amount of political capital incinerated in return for not a huge amount of fiscal gain.[/quote] http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-abbott-government-suffering-much-political-pain-for-little-fiscal-gain/story-fnihsr9v-1226937692500

Ken

31/05/20142353 Yes, Keating spoke about political capital quite abit in the interviews with Kerry O'Brien. He explained that he used up his own political capital making some of the 'tough' decisions that had to be made. But, usually, political capital is used up over time. Abbott must have set some sort of record to use up his in less than nine months.

Casablanca

1/06/2014 UNFAIR, UNEQUAL, UNCONSCIONABLE Peter Hartcher is starting to show some signs of a shift from mindless barracking for Abbott to a bit of musing about the inherent unfairness in the 2014 Budget. He begins: 'The Abbott government’s first budget inevitably will increase inequality in Australia. This has been at the centre of its hostile reception'. Hartcher has framed his article around the views of several influential academics and it is not mere name dropping - he appears to have read the books and talked to local academics. The referenced books are: The Creation of Inequality, Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus; The Lessons of History, Will and Ariel Durant; The Spirit Level, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett; and Capital in the Twenty-First Century; Thomas Piketty. Hartcher also draws on the work of Professors Ross Garnaut and Peter Whiteford, ANU, Ben Phillips, NATSEM and Professor S. Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois. It sure beats the pap that Hartcher has served up over the last few years. Joe Hockey's budget beyond the Australian concept of fair Peter Hartcher http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/joe-hockeys-budget-beyond-the-australian-concept-of-fair-20140530-zrt8i.html#ixzz33GWDsAeg EXCLUSIVE! READ ALL ABOUT IT! Mark Kenny, Chief political correspondent, SMH, has shown some signs of weaning himself off the LNP Media teat over the past few months but he has regressed this week-end. The article, with little change, has had 3 different titles over a couple of days and now carries the 'EXCLUSIVE' headline. So, clearly, Mark Kenny has been chosen, this week at least, to be the standard bearer for LNP propaganda. The trio of almost identical articles read like an LNP Press Release which Kenny has agreed to publish under his name without analysis or explication. The structure is standard for this sort of non-story. It starts out with the ever quotable 'Sources in the Abbott government say' followed by the positioning of the LNP message..'The move to cut income taxes a year earlier represents the second half of a staged political strategy to give voters a ''pay day'' for the sacrifice of spending cuts and tax increases in education, health, petrol and income taxes for the rich'. Next we have 'A senior government figure said the Prime Minister and Treasurer...' and of course, 'a senior MP confirmed.' Finally, the real clinchers: 'Economists say'; 'BT chief economist Chris Caton said'; 'Economist Stephen Koukoulas warned'; 'Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson said taxes would need to be trimmed'; and 'However, former finance minister Penny Wong said' The named economists have not been interviewed by Kenny, just quoted. In the final flourish for his 'Exclusive' Kenny declares that [i]The prospect of tax sweeteners offers a potential lifeline for Coalition MPs in marginal seats after a voter backlash to a budget that has made life harder for many households.[/i] This guy is Chief political correspondent for a major newspaper - we would expect better from a first year under-graduate journalism student. Pre-poll tax cuts planned to woo disaffected voters May 31, 2014 Mark Kenny. Chief political correspondent http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/prepoll-tax-cuts-planned-to-woo-disaffected-voters-20140530-399v1.html Abbott government plans pre-poll tax cuts to woo voters May 31, 2014 Mark Kenny. Chief political correspondent http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-government-plans-prepoll-tax-cuts-to-woo-voters-20140530-39a5j.html#ixzz33HW972hF Soothing tax cuts to follow budget pain May 31, 2014 Mark Kenny. EXCLUSIVE http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/soothing-tax-cuts-to-follow-budget-pain-20140530-399v4.html BEWARE THE FRIDAY BEFORE THE LONG WEEK-END Andrew Elder has been very active and, as usual, incisive over the last couple of weeks. Today he has posted an article that probably won't galvanise the Press Gallery or the MSM but should put lesser mortals and the Fifth Estate on red alert with this call to arms: [i]On the Friday before the long weekend - next Friday, 6 June - it is very likely that the government will make announcements that have to be made, but which reflect badly on them in various ways. Regardless, those announcements will still cover issues that will affect us, whether this is a general matter of our tax money being spent or more specific and direct impacts.[/i] Next Friday Andrew Elder http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/ LIBERAL DISPENSATIONS Chris Graham, the new owner and editor of New Matilda has the bit between the teeth over 'Whitehousegate'. The latest articles delve further into the machinations of the Liberal Party fund raising stratagems with the promise of more disclosures. His first article for today, co-authored with Wendy Bacon, opened up a can of worms and in a later article he reports that Senator Lee Rhiannon has referred the revelations to ICAC and called on Abbott to 'halt changes to the higher education sector until this matter is fully investigated' Chief Liberal Fundraiser Linked To Private College Donations Wendy Bacon and Chris Graham https://newmatilda.com/2014/05/30/chief-liberal-fundraiser-linked-private-college-donations Greens Call In ICAC After Group Colleges Link Revealed Chris Graham https://newmatilda.com/2014/05/30/greens-call-icac-after-group-colleges-link-revealed

2353

1/06/2014Casablanca - wonderful connecting of the dots above and you would wonder how Mark Kenny can justify his actions to himself. The 'leaks' about future tax cuts demonstrates that the LNP just doesn't 'get it'. You have a 'budget emergency; that justifies a budget that is still being discussed weeks later (even on Saturday Sunrise I notices yesterday). The reason the budget is still being discussed is its inequity despite the claim prior to the event that all will feel the pain - clearly not the case in reality. So how do you fix it - suggest tax cuts in the future. The reality is that (predominately) LNP tax cuts to buy votes got us into this situation in the first place. Its also nice to see that the link between the LNP and private colleges has got into the budget reporting prior to the budget being passed in its entirety by the Senate. Maybe its time for the LNP to stop developing three word slogans and start discussing equity and fairness to all in a society.

Michael

1/06/2014"Budgets get passed, that's what happens to Budgets." A 'pearl of wisdom', suppository-whiffy, from our esteemed and delusional Prime Minister, The Man Who Misled China over the missing Malaysian airliner, the man who apparently believes non-Government forces either in or out of Parliament are only there to wave through Government policies... Oddly enough, not a position he was noted for while Leader (sic) of the Opposition (schtick). Perhaps he might consider another more likely verity from Australian history - 'Bad governments get dumped, that's what happens to bad governments'.

Ad Astra

1/06/2014Casablanca That is a nice collation of similar articles. It is some comfort that journalists who have enjoyed being LNP cheerleaders are now rethinking their allegience in the face of a hostile budget that will increase inequality and bring about its social downside.

Pappinbarra Fox

1/06/2014A group of men who, in their 50s have to declare themselves an adult group, are doing two things. First they are drawing attention to the maturity of their approach to decision making and by doing so immediately make it suspect. It is trite knowledge that a person or group that needs to assert a character trait about themselves almost definitely lacks that trait. Secondly they show that theory are indeed the hollow men lacking in substance. Adults are supposed to make wise decisions, adults are supposed to know the difference between reasoning and bullying, adults look after those who are unable to look after themselves, adults set up the conditions that the vulnerable in our society can make decisions for themselves that make them less vulnerable not make them more vulnerable. So if we are going to boast about how we are adult then maybe a quick look to see if we have the attributes that most people would see as being adult would be in order. An adult, having looked and found not one adult attribute would hesitate to start boasting about some trait that just was not there. The fact that the boasting proceeds apace is proof of the very opposite that the boast is about. Please god make this nightmare stop and I might start believing in you.

Cathcing up

1/06/2014Latest is Mr Andrews introducing drug testing of welfare benefices. Yes, and Mr Abbott saying no. Wonder what he thinks he will achieve. I am sure that very few druggies rely on benefits for their drugs. Another fact is, that many workers take drug for much of their working life. I wonder if alcohol will be among what he would like to test. More money given back to agencies that try to deal with these people would be more worthwhile. Once, when applying for casual work such as shut downs, drug testing was rife. Seems to have dropped off over time. I wonder if it is because, it was not worth the effort. All this effort, in thinking up ways of denying people benefits is a little futile. Same as work for the dole, another wasteful effort that seems to make those from the right feel better. Why? At the same time, they education supplements away, something to allow people to get back to work. Even c9ounselling services would help./ Not for keeping marriages and toxic relationships together though. Put the link between school and TAFE back. Curtail many of the shonky courses that are now available. Leave drug addiction where it belongs, with Health. Give them the funds to deal with the problems. If one really wants to simplify the welfare system, give such things as guaranteed income a look. Yes, there are better ways. Trouble is, the mob are not interested. What they want, to prevent as many as possible from assistance. They want people to be in a position where they have to take any job, at the lowest wages and conditions. Bringing in drug testing, will only lead to more crime. I believe that those with drug addictions, now commit the greatest proportion of crimes. This mob are not our loving parents, handing out tough love. They are MPs elected to act on out behalf. They are not there to build a society in their image, in liner with their ideology and personal prejudices.

Cathcing up

1/06/2014Political capital. Did Abbott ever have any to lose. As for tax sweeteners leading up to the election, Are we really that silly. Tax reductions always help those at the top more. Not much use to low income earners. Is not the big problems,hrinking revenues. They intend to shrink them further. Saying that, one can expect to see tax reductions in the very near future, as Abbott continues to try and get himself out of the hole he has placed them all. As the year goes on, man made climate change is going to come back to haunt him, in a way6 he will not be able to ignore.

Cathcing up

1/06/2014Is this what our soldiers died for. I believe not I wonder why some of those returned men were looking at him so queerly yesterday. Did no hear the story. \\\http://www.pm.gov.au/media/2014-06-01/message-prime-minister-70th-anniversary-d-day-landings

Cathcing up

1/06/2014http://www.pm.gov.au/media/2014-06-01/message-prime-minister-70th-anniversary-d-day-landings Sorry miss some of the URL
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?