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Bashing Bill Shorten

imageKaye Lee’s piece on this blog It’s time to get on with It received many comments. Nothing unusual about that. She is a much admired and widely read writer. In fact at the time of writing her article had received 131 comments.

What her article implies is that Labor Opposition leader Bill Shorten should just get on with it. Meaning he needs to step up to the plate, take it up to the Prime Minister, release a vision for the future and talk policy.

What was surprising with the comments was the overwhelming dissatisfaction with the opposition leader and more generally the Labor Party. Even allowing for the passion Labor supporters show their party I thought there was a certain political naivety in many of the comments. It amounted to Bill bashing.

My response to her article was this:

“In terms of political strategy I think for any opposition leader to draw attention to himself (other than making rudimentary comments) while his opponent is in self-destruct mode would be political folly. The same goes for the release of policy. Patience is required. The only exception would be commentary on the reform of his party.
Some of these comments are based on premature emotional thinking rather than hard political nouse”.

Kaye replied:

“Your marketing background comes out in comments like” these comments are based on premature emotional thinking rather than hard political nouse.” You are talking strategy rather than vision, timing rather than policy. Gough Whitlam prepared the ground for change for years. He explained his vision and how he would achieve it. We felt included in what was going on. Hanging round for a Christmas release (or an election release) is like giving us a sugar hit when we need protein. Tell us the vision, tell us possible alternatives to achieve it, include us in the process. All this palaver about how they elect a leader is hugely irrelevant to me”.

Some of the points Kaye raises need to be addressed. Firstly, yes I have a background in advertising. At the core of any advertising strategy is an ‘’appeal to people’s emotions.’’ Secondly, yes Gough did explain his vision, but he did so in a vastly different media landscape than today. He had the support of Murdoch in a time when newspapers reported and people read them. A time when people actually took an interest in politics without a 24/7 news cycle.

Today people have lost faith in politics and it is at its lowest ebb. The news is owned by Murdoch and as a result of his editorial policy, combined with popularity of social media it’s only the diehards like us who take any interest. Thirdly, on the subject of leadership I have to point out that the way in which the leader is elected, together with other reforms, have for many years been extremely contentious within the party. Fourthly, we should never underestimate timing in politics.

A little later I commented further:

“I repeat why on earth would Shorten buy into arguments the PM has already lost or looks like losing by himself. There is a point at which the slow drip ideas stream should start but it is not yet. I would be creating an Argument prior to the May budget and be philosophically based on Abbott’s demise of our democracy and his unsuitability for the job”.

Kaye replied:

“I don’t want an election campaign mode. I want that marketing bullshit to stop. I want a frank and open discussion with the Australian people. I want us to decide what sort of society we want and then talk about how we can achieve it. That can’t be done in a two week campaign. I would love to see political advertising banned as it is in the UK.
On the leadership thing, it actually doesn’t matter to me. Sporting teams change their captains but when they run out onto the pitch they are all there for the same reason. Who takes the toss doesn’t really matter though inspiration from your leader is a good thing and having a charismatic front man has certain benefits – not crucial though. Policies and vision should come from the whole team. Know your topic and have a plan for the future”.

Rather than comment on what her reply says and given that we both kick with the same foot allow me to explain my point of view.

What should Shorten do?

I won’t enter into a futile argument about leadership because under the new rules Shorten has been elected and will lead the party to the next election. End of story.

All the latest polls give Labor an unambiguously clear lead over their Coalition opposition. Tony Abbott has proven to be a failure as leader and the electorate has recognised that they elected a dud. He has a trust deficit even worse than the fiscal deficit (which has also blown out on his watch).

The year has just started. The Medicare Rebate has gone. The co-payment looks like it will also go. University fees have met the same fate. The proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act had to be abandoned. A proposed ban on the Burqa had to go and a back down on Paid parental leave reached its inevitable conclusion. What’s next you might ask? Well 2015 will serve up an array of problems befitting a Chinese take away menu.

We are being governed by a party who spent four years in opposition being so negative that they forgot that governance requires thought out policy not ideological implementation.

You might ask then, in light of all this, what then is Bill Shorten doing wrong? In spite of a clear lead in the polls he constantly comes under fire for his inability to cut through as Opposition Leader. Even on the pages of this blog he is criticised for an incapacity to confront his opponent, communicate policy or at least differentiate it.

Leading your Party in Opposition must surely be a job you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. It’s a thankless, powerless task that has few positives but comes with enormous expectations from those who follow you.

Releasing policy is considered precarious until the election campaign begins. Ask John Hewson. He tried it. The media focus on the incumbent and often a 10 second grab on the nightly news is about all one can expect. Often you are damned if you support something with bi-partisan intent or damned if you don’t.

Your followers have a ‘why doesn’t he stick it up ‘em’ mentality that is laced with an unrealistic desire to win every argument along the way.

Try an experiment. Watch the Chanel 10 new at 5pm then 7 or 9 at 6, SBS at 6.30 and the ABC at 7. If Shorten is featured in any story I can almost guarantee his comment will not exceed 10 or 12 seconds.

Labor supporters have an unrealistic, urgent desire to obtain office and they don’t take into account the re-thinking of policy and party structures necessary to win back government, and the planning involved in doing so. They underestimate the task of unseating a government in one term.

Abbott made the mistake of not formulating policy in opposition and is paying dearly for it now.

More often than not opposition leaders are focused on the polls, whilst at the same time, be wondering who might have the knife raised above their head conspiring to unseat them. In Parliament your effectiveness is limited, and you can only ask questions that your opponents are not required to answer. You can appear on TV programs that have little public appeal or talk-back radio, with a daytime audience, but generally speaking your public exposure is limited.

It is all made the more difficult when your own ability is limited by your personal capacity to deliver succinct messages because people have an expectation that you should have the presentation skills of a Barack Obama, Bill Clinton combined with the charisma of Whitlam or Hawke. Shorten has none of their eloquence, instead showing a distinct inarticulateness that is at times depressive. Often he comes over as just another apparatchik or Union boss. As a communicator he lacks charisma and personality. What he does have though is an ability for well thought out policies and ideas. He may very well be the man for the times.

So opposition leaders tend to come over as unconstructive, having nothing good to say, or mere carpers. Abbott of course made a virtue of it. (More later).

Having said that, Australia has not been blessed with charismatic leaders with a passion that excites and inspires. Howard, Gillard, Rudd, and now Abbott have been dour, if not intelligent, individuals who would hardly enthuse one to alight from bed each morning let alone be excited by ideas emanating from enlightened and sagacious minds.

You would have to go back to the period of Whitlam, Hawke, and Keating to experience the exhilaration that might come about with an enthusiasm for what might be possible through the political process.

Brendan Nelson, Kim Beazley, Mark Latham, Simon Crean, John Hewson, Andrew Peacock, Malcolm Turnbull, and Alexander Downer all suffered from the helplessness of opposition and failed as leaders despite their aptitude.

My personal view, as an aside, is that Kim Beazley would have made a fine Prime Minister had he obtained office. And he nearly did.

Tony Abbott it must be said intentionally turned negativity and all the difficulty of opposition into a virtue. But then his personality was suited to it. I doubt that we will ever see another opposition leader like Abbott.

Why? Well only a person of Abbott’s character, or lack of, could do what he did. By the sheer force of erasing all pretense to decency he imposed himself on the Australian people, telling lie after lie, day after day and week after week on a scale hitherto inexperienced by an electorate well and truly sick of politics. He said “no” to anything and everything with propaganda like intensity and the people never realised the wrongs that would eventually be perpetrated on them.

He had the assistance of a newspaper baron equally deficient in decency, in Rupert Murdoch, and a government preoccupied with leadership squabbles rather than good government.

After 15 months of incumbency it is demonstrably apparent that a daily avalanche of Abbott style deleterious destructive opposition might gain you government and give you power, but it makes the task of transposing yourself into a credible statesman-like Prime Minister almost impossible.

So what should Shorten do?

Well for the moment he should sit pat and let Abbott’s self-destruction take its course. At the same time he should not fall into the trap of adopting a small target strategy. As I see it, Bill Shorten, at this time in our political history, has been handed a unique gift.

The opportunity to create a two-year narrative about the decline in our democracy and Abbott’s involvement in it. It’s an invitation to do the same as Abbott did. Redefine what opposition is, and do so, in a resoundingly positive way.

Acknowledge the faults, the corruption on both sides together with the destruction of our parliamentary conventions and institutions. Shout the need for a new democracy as often as Abbott said “Stop the Boats”.

In every utterance say that good democracies can deliver good government and outcomes only if the electorate demands it. He has said that 2015 will be noted for the power of Labor’s ideas. So he needs to deliver a series of headland speeches that are not just noted for the power of their ideas but for the daring of their vision. The scale of their emotional, practicable and logical thoughtfulness.

Messages should speak to young and old alike by appealing to people to participate in a new democracy where all policy is cantered on the common good. I can hear the first sentence of his first speech:

“I speak to all who have a common interest in renewing our democracy regardless of ideological association”.

And create a strategy for the next election with grass route appeal that was so successful in the Victorian state election.

Finally let us not forget that the Abbott government has 90 seats in the House of Representatives but needs only 76 to form government. The point is that it can afford to lose a significant number of MPs without actually being consigned to the wrong side of the treasury benches. This pushes the number of seats Labor needs to win to return to power well up the electoral pendulum.

For further thoughts on the same subject:

Where did all the voters go, and why?


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  1. John Fraser


    I made no comment on Kaye Lee's Article about Shorten …. because there is an election on here in Queensland.

    Pretty sure you Blues would want the same thing come March.

    I have made my thoughts known about Shorten ……. some time ago.

    And being an owner of a 4k Sony tv I was able to look at Shorten cooking with Annabel on Freeview over the weekend.

    Why would anyone do that ?

    heatstroke is my excuse.

  2. patriciawa

    John – I don’t think that’s a fair comment on Julia Gillard’s government, describing it as preoccupied with leadership squabbles rather than good government. More accurate, surely, is that hers was an effective minority government, continuously undermined by a treacherous former leader who refused to put the interests of the ALP before his own.

  3. O'Bleak

    I believe Shorten is simply following the old adage. “Never interfere when your opponent is making a mistake”. Trouble is Abbott’s so bloody inept, there’s rarely a moment when he’s not making a mistake. Shorten would be hard put to get a word in edgewise between the gaffs. And for those who care to listen there has been vocal and on going support for Medicare, carbon pricing, Australian industry, protection of the environment and a number of other causes including education. I for one do not expect Shorten to out “megaphone'” Abbott. I’ve learned to appreciate his quiet methodical approach. It’s certainly a refreshing change from the blowhard under achiever we’ve been saddled with and I feel it demonstrates an approach to politics that the country needs at least for the present. The time for him to turn up the pressure is coming but I see no need to beat him up because he’s chosen to run his race in his own way. There is time yet for he and Labor to turn up the heat people would like to see applied but why waste the energy on a goose that’s busy cooking itself.

  4. John Lord

    patriciawa. An oversight on my part. You are correct.

  5. John Kelly

    All in all, a pretty good wrap on where matters stand today, John. I suppose our frustration with Bill is that with Abbott looking so bad, a more presidential looking Shorten would place further pressure on the LNP and likely result in more mistakes. While the Coalition will lose control with the loss of just 15 seats, Labor must win 21 seats to rule in their own right or face another messy round of negotiations with independents. A more forthright, vigorous and outspoken Shorten with strong policy ideas will be needed to avoid that.

  6. EdH

    I agree with John Lord, that Bill Shorten should sit pat for the time being. The last election was just 16 months ago. There will be a time to speak about what Labor will do in government; for now, recognize the harsh political reality of Labor being in opposition. Move only when the time is right. Shorten has said that 2015 will be noted for the power of Labor’s ideas. I await them with great interest. For those who would prefer a sugar hit now, eat more sugary cereal.

  7. Lee

    I agree with O’Bleak. One thing that really irritates me is the constant negativity we are subjected to by Liberal parties in opposition. I can’t be bothered listening to them and it is refreshing that we don’t currently have to endure it from the ALP. I’ll enjoy watching Abbott being hoisted on his own retard….er, petard.

  8. Jexpat

    John Lord wrote: “The media focus on the incumbent and often a 10 second grab on the nightly news is about all one can expect.”

    That’s certainly a constraint on Labor opposition- but it didn’t apply to the Liberal Party in opposition- and especially didn’t apply to Tony Abbott.

    I reckon it would be good fodder for an enterprising grad student to pour over whatever broadcast logs and lineups exist and put together an objective comparison.

    I’ll bet wine to water they’d uncover similar results to what’s been found in the US media with respect to the Republican and Democratic party.

    Namely that, whether “in the wilderness” or in government, Republicans (and their “opinion leaders,” their issues, and their framing) garner the lion’s share of the coverage.

  9. Ian Sprocket Muncher Parfrey

    Kaye Lee is spot on.


    Because, keeping the “Small target – Low Profile” strategy tells me NOTHING about who or what the challenger stands for.

    Just because Abbott is a dickhead of First Class, is NO REASON to vote Shorten.
    I want reasons.
    I want policies.
    I want to know WHY Shorten deserves my vote – not just because he is “not the other idiot”.

    Does this make ANY sense at all??

    And to treat my vote like some supermarket shelf item to be “marketed” insults me and the value I put on my vote.

  10. John Lord

    Ian did you actually read what I wrote?

  11. Florence nee Fedup

    I agree with Patricia, Gillard at no time allowed herself to be distracted by party squabbles. At all times she applied herself to good governance. In spite of a hung parliament, got all through that she sty out to do. Cannot recall any that was against Labor Party policy. Gillard, after finishing off Rudd’s failed efforts, got on with putting in place, policies to take us into the Asian future. Was all about building both human and physical infrastructure for the future. At the same time. she kept a tight rein on keeping the public service efficient. Yes, and also has the guts to take essential but unpopular actions. She ran a tight ship. So tight, that the fat this government was relying on, does not exist. Not if that stopped them cutting, leading to as PS that no longer can deliver the goods. Example ABS. Cannot publish reliable or creditable unemployment figure because of lack of staff.

    If HM Ley is going to work with doctors and community, she is going to have revive the bodies that gave advice top government. No mechanism now exists.

    No Gillard did not allow herself to be diverted from running the government. Sadly many others, both on front and back bench did not follow her example. They allowed themselves to be used by Rudd. Why, one will never know. What was worse, others who got on with their job, supporting Gillard choose to ignore what was going on. Maybe they thought he would go away. This was a great mistake. Such problems must be addressed as they come up. Must be addressed in the open. I wonder who was responsible when Rudd was first deposed, not to reveal why? No one or most at that time were willing to support Rudd.

    Yes, PM did make mistakes. She is human. Did not make as many as some believe, or even as many as one would suspect. History will treat her well.

    Back to this article. One cannot based ones actions on what occurred in the past. Cannot work, as we live in a different world, especially when it comes to communication.

    Looking back to my young days, to the days of Menzies, I believe the press did not play the role it does today. I say press, as radio was on the background. TV did not exist.

    The workplace was entirely different. We had a big manufacturing industry, where most learnt or took their clues from the union movement. Then I believe the bush telegraph worked well.

    With Whitlam, we seen the TV up it’s involvement, along with the birth of current affairs programmes, which had influence on what one thought. In fact, in those days, these programmes did ask questions, expecting answers. Three word slogans and news events were not repeated over ad over for hours. Most looked at the nightly news.

    Whitlam’s methods would not work today. Sadly, basing ones campaign on giving facts does not either.

    When Menzies delivered horror, what I call stop go budgets, one opened the pages of the paper the next morning. One would find pages of graphs, showing in black and white how it affected ones pocket. This does not occur now. In fact, the graphs could not even be fond in budget papers.

    At this moment, Shorten on ABC 24, talking very direct, giving facts and figures. Suspect not many are listening. At least, at last, he is being asked questions, which he has no trouble answering. He is not yelling, just quietly giving facts.

    With the growth of the WWW and social internet, people are moving away from relying on MSM for their information. I believe they are losing their influence on political outcomes. No good looking back to the past for answers. Labor values, as some say need to reflect the needs of people for today.

    We now live not in a country or nation. We live in a global world, where the importance of national boundaries are disappearing.

    We are a part of a global economy, which is rapidly relying on a global workforce. If we ignore this, we will become the poor white trash of the Asian century.

    Capitalism and what drives it, no longer owe alliance to any nation. We, as the workers, labour of this global workplace have a bigger fight on our hands than ever before. The only hope we have, is democracy is made answerable to the people, not corporations. Yes, we cannot afford the policies of this neoliberalism government.

    In my 73 years, I have seen both arms of the Labor movement change and evolve as needed. Will do so again. What is true, as voters and members of an democracy, we must become active partners. Active, no matter the ideology you follow. Cannot keep blaming parties, politicians or MSM. At the end ot the day, it is votes that count, not money or power. This can only happen if we allow it too.

    No party or politician or party have all the answers. Sometimes their is more than one.

    It depends on what type of society you want for yourself and those who come after.

    No leader can do anything, unless the public comes in behind them. We scream about what is happening to asylum seekers. We scream, keep your dirty hands off Medicare.

  12. john o'callaghan

    I think Bills doing OK at the moment,yes he is a bit dour and comes across as a wet letuce type sometimes ,but after years of Labor in fighting and Abbott screaming like a banshee, the last 4 to 5 years in Federal politics has been like a permanent pub brawl and Shorten is smart enough to realise that people want some peace and quite for a change.

    We all know that this Govt is in self destruct mode,and Shorten knows that we know that as well,he doesn’t have to keep reminding us of that fact,and voters also have not forgotten Rudds apology or the achievements of the Gillard Government.

    At the moment Bill is taking if you like a ” drovers dog” type of approach and is going about his business in a softly softly methodical method,and at his time of choosing,and when he and his team think the time is right they will strike,and i think thats exactly what the majority of people want.

    As in most things in life,timing is everything,timing and patience will win in the end and we all just have to have a little faith and patience,and hold our nerve,and we will win,i have no doubt at all.””””

  13. Florence nee Fedup

    Back in the 1980’s as a mature age student, and in the workplace, where we attended many training sessions, I was amazed at how the young assessed lecturers and those who led training sessions.

    All were condemned if they did not have outgoing and exciting personalities. Seem to be, these co-workers and students expect to be entertained, not taught.

    I seen the situation different. I believe I was there to learn, and it was up to me to get all I could out of the experience. I seen content the most important. How it was delivered came a long second.

    Many that came across as boring, also had the most to say, hat made sense. Many that stood before, making one laugh, entertaining one, had very little of interest or value to depict.

    I am impressed with much of what Shorten has to say. Then I find that ones personality, unless wanting to be entertained of little importance. If we look at what he achieve, not as an union leader but as a minister, one can be impressed. Yes, he is responsible for NDIS. Yes, very little took place in the public limelight. Maybe he is a doer, not a talker. If so, I like that. Same as Gillard was. Did not spend much time talking. Was to busy doing.

    We all know that Abbott’ brain fart of changes to Medicare rebates could not have gone ahead today. Mostly because they forgot to put the mechanism in place. Maybe that was his plan. One has to be careful.

  14. Steve Piening

    The Abbott Government would really love to hear what Labor plans for this country are. They have no vision themselves other than to redistribute wealth to their rich friends, so why should labour give up their vision before an election campaign?

    I think it is a bit early to be showing their hand, so why not sit back and attack them quietly for a while longer.

  15. Florence nee Fedup

    “Shorten with strong policy ideas will be needed to avoid that.”

    Agree, but what is important as mention in the article will be timing that dictates when that happens. Must be very hard, for the many outspoken Labor MPs to hold their tongues so long. Not normal for any Labor MP.

    I believe Labor is now slowly upping the ante. I think we will see the heat turned up slowly, cooking them without them being aware.

    What is true, Abbott and Co have not laid a hand on the Opposition. Not for lack of trying. He desperately needs the focus move away from him, onto Shorten and Labor.

  16. Andre Poublon

    Sunday’s experts.

  17. stephentardrew

    John Kelly: I think that sums it up beautifully.

    Great article John. We do need to do a lot of naval gazing.

    It’s good just to look at different perspectives.

  18. Di Pearton

    I understand the problems of the ALP getting coverage of their policy. Even when the ALP was in government, the ABC continued to invite LNP to discuss issues when it would have been nice to hear from government ministers. At the moment, the overwhelming response out there, to Abbott, is that they are all the same.
    It is my opinion that ALP needs to provide clear, detailed and costed policy, and we need to hear from shadow ministers, who appear to own their ministries, and are clearly ready for government.
    I doubt that Bill Shorten is electable, even his appearance on Kitchen Cabinet was cringeworthy.
    But then, how was Howard electable??

  19. Lee

    “I doubt that Bill Shorten is electable, even his appearance on Kitchen Cabinet was cringeworthy.
    But then, how was Howard electable??”

    How is Abbott electable? I’d rather poke myself in the eye with a fork than listen to him. He’s so negative, always blaming the ALP, has no vision and speaks to us with his slow, repetitive style like we’re all stupid and struggling to keep up with him. As soon as I hear his voice I switch off.

  20. listohan

    @Ian Sprocket So you don’t hold with the (previously) observed wisdom “governments lose office, oppositions don’t win them?

    The only thing I want Bill to do is promise a federal ICAC. That would be Whitlam-like statesmanship. I think I would have to vote for him for life then.

  21. Harquebus

    I repeat. All Prime Ministers and their governments that pursue growth will fail. It is a mathematical impossibility and we are only now just starting to pay the price for this “fatally” flawed ideology.

  22. Phi

    Although I read Kaye Lee’s report I refrained from comment. Due to their inherent negativity I thought that quite a number of the reader comments may have been either LNP or other conservative trolls in drag.

    It seemed odd to me to expect Shorten to adopt the pugnacious manner of Abbott in opposition (equally so in government) i.e. a shirt fronting, aggressive bully with only gristle between his ears.

    Rupert Murdoch is a dirty and corrupt power broker who has captured the majority of the press and media – he would destroy Shorten in a nanosecond given any opportunity. Any statement from Shorten can and will be corrupted and used to attack and discredit him – lies and deciet are the Murdoch weapons of choice – and even when they are eventually shown to be lies they will have done the harm intended.

    Bill Shorten is doing what is necessary – staying low, letting Abbott implode and letting the media and the narrative stay focussed on the fool at the helm. Alternative policies will come in due course. In fact if progressive minded readers have so much passion about Bill Shorten, why not communicate directly with him and his party rather than sink into the very same negativism that is killing Abbott.

    I enjoy Kaye Lee’s writing very much, she makes us think and that is a rare skill in todays media offerings – but in this particular matter I agree with John Lord’s summation.

  23. la_lasciata

    I like this so much that it’s helped decide me on the direction of a new blog !
    Btw: I’m not a fan of Shorten’s, but that’s because he was the person responsible for BOTH spills that caused the ALP to lose the last election.
    Not a fan of Albo’s, either: don’t trust a man who’s bullet-proof.
    In a perfect world (for me) it’d be Chris Bowen leading the ALP.

  24. DanDark

    I am not going to choose one article over another,
    I think both Kayes and Johns articles brought something to the table.
    There is a fine line between a passionate debate, differing opinions and a “bashing”

  25. Damo451

    Good article John ,as was Kaye’s.
    I would have to disagree with Shorten and well thought out ideas ,given my comments on other articles regarding his 2 assaults on sole parents when in government.
    One thing Shorten could at least come out with ,and be on a win win footing ,is support for a Federal ICAC.
    This would remove any doubts about cleaning up any corruption in both parties and provide a strong platform to bring integrity back to government for the voters.
    At the end of the day while i detest Abbott ,if Labor are to get my vote even based on preferences ,then i ,and many others want to see that they are prepared to clean up any corruption in all parts of government ,end of story.
    As corvus boreus said on Kayes article ,if they are not prepared to have one ,then they obviously are corrupt too.
    Harquebus also is spot on about sustainability ,however that needs someone who is a real leader to prosecute the case for that one ,and that aint Shorten.
    Australians ,and the world in general have long been conditioned to believe growth is good ,and any restraint on growth is bad.
    As far as Shorten saying 2015 is the year of Labor ideas ,well i bloody well hope so ,and if they dont start moving back towards the left of center again ,well ,then at least 7 votes from my family will not be returning any time soon.

  26. diannaart

    John Lord,

    Agree with some of what you have to say and, as others have noted, Labor doesn’t need to give the Abbott gang any ammunition – although there are plenty of consistent messages Shorten can offer, such as the renewal of democracy as you suggested. However, surely Shorten can persistently raise issues such as ‘when will Hockey pursue the big end of town for taxes like he promised’ and keep on about the broken promises without giving too much of policy strategy away..

    Of course we don’t want Shorten to do an ‘Abbott’ – we are all heartily sick of that B/S. However, staying too quiet for too long is not the answer either.

    Sure and steady should do it for Shorten. (I might then forgive him for Rudd – both times)

    The nation needs hope – well, we’ll know for sure soon enough, next year is 2016.

  27. Patrick

    It’s good to read your comments on bill shorten, John Lord, they leave me with a self satisfied smirk.

  28. Loz

    I hope that behind the scenes Shorten and his shadow ministers are discussing future policies and that they are biding their time before their onslaught on the Abbott government. I find that there is discipline in the Labour party that was not seen before and their silence will, I think, be to their advantage.

  29. listohan

    I also hope that when asked, Bill answers interviewers questions much more succinctly and frankly instead of the usual cotton wool we have been hearing from him. Not that most others are any better.

    But he should make it a point of difference. We wouldn’t know what had hit us if he stopped speaking in polly speak.

  30. Damo451

    That makes one of you Patrick

  31. Maureen Walton (@maureen_walton)

    Very good article John. Bill shorten is learning and he is doing very well at it he is learning from all of LNP MPs. There is no need for Bill to come up with Policies just at this time. Abbott will not get any of the LNP together now to much HATE going on. Bill is doing what he should do and that is sit back and enjoy the mess Abbott is making of Australia sad though it is for our Beautiful Country….

  32. mark delmege

    When Tony Abbott said he liked the latest crying Charlie cartoon – I doubt that he or many understood just what a stupid thing he said. I don’t recall any admonishment from Shorten – who as usual backs the PM on the most stupid positions.

    What Abbott did and I assume also Shorten (directly or through ommission) was to add insult to injury. It’s a bit like saying a little rape is ok as it wasn’t a gangbang. WTF you say. Well our PM is supposed to represent all Australians not just a Christian redneck minority or even the ignorant middle ground. He shouldn’t be insulting significant groups in our community or even our most significant neighbours whether or not he agrees with the Indonesian death penalty ( you can draw your own connections to that one).

    It is in case you missed it an affront to Muslim people to depict their prophet as a caricature – whether or not he is crying, throwing bombs or lying facedown with some object up his arse. It is an insult to Muslims and he shouldn’t have said he liked the cartoon. He could have said a lot of things but not that. I don’t recall Shorten correcting him or attempting to explain why maybe a little respect for other peoples religion is a necessary corollary of a multicultural society.

    I didn’t read Kaye Lee’s piece but I have heard Shorten on other matters like the MH17 and his general support for American wars of empire – so what ever Kaye said I reckon Shorten has a long way to go before he will get my support.

  33. Bilal

    That Shorten had John Roskam of IPA infamy as his best man and that he wrote that smarmy letter to the US Embassy, exposed by Wikileaks, finished him with me, forever. I used to be a rusted on Labor voter.

  34. Anomander

    The phrase commonly goes: “Parties don’t win elections – governments lose them”.

    Quite rightly this phrase could well be attributed to the last election, where the ALP’s factional white-anting and the relentless onslaught of a biased media, turned the tide against a functional minority government that was actually doing a bloody good job.

    I fully comprehend Shorten’s strategy of standing back and allowing this government to self-destruct – a job they are easily accomplishing because of their lack of vision, their contempt for the majority of the Australian populace and above all – their corruption and hubris.

    However, that doesn’t stop me wanting another Gough or someone like him. A true visionary leader prepared to stand-up for the people and do what is right for our nation, rather than for a select few.

  35. Di Pearton

    I totally AGREE Lee, but I guess people did not elect Abbott, but rather could not elect Rudd, do you think?
    Also a very high percentage of Australians did not vote.

  36. Kaye Lee

    I am not sure how to take this article John.

    “I thought there was a certain political naivety in many of the comments. It amounted to Bill bashing.”

    Personally I thought people were expressing their dissatisfaction with the performance of the Labor leader and the silence of the Labor Party. You obviously consider that “Bill bashing” – I do not. When my children need to lift their game I tell them so…am I a child basher for doing that?

    “As I see it, Bill Shorten, at this time in our political history, has been handed a unique gift. He has said that 2015 will be noted for the power of Labor’s ideas. So he needs to deliver a series of headland speeches that are not just noted for the power of their ideas but for the daring of their vision. The scale of their emotional, practicable and logical thoughtfulness.

    Messages should speak to young and old alike by appealing to people to participate in a new democracy”

    That was exactly the point of my article. The electorate are in shock, they feel lost and betrayed. They NEED to hear from Labor. They need to open a dialogue now. Forget Tony Abbott, tell us what YOU think. Give us some hope. Challenge the Coalition refrain that our society is unaffordable.

    I also have a different idea about what a politician’s job is. It seems everybody thinks it is to get elected. To me, getting elected is being hired. You then should get on with the job you were hired to do which is to come up with the best ideas you can to run this country in the best interests of its people and to ensure we fulfil our role as global citizens. Somewhere along the line, this idea has been lost. Whichever major party is in the minority seems to have a three year holiday and their only obligation is to come up with a strategy to win the next election. To me, that is a total abrogation of your responsibilities, replaced by self-serving personal ambition.

    “He’ll steal our ideas” is often said. I find this unfathomable as an excuse. Do you want kudos or results? Hansard will show who brought up bills and amendments if you really need congratulations but surely it is the job of every elected politician to use their term in office to make this country and the world a better place.

    I think the “political naivety” comes from politicians and strategists who think an election is the end game and focus all their energies on that. The Labor Party may as well stay at home for three years and save us a shit load of money if that is their attitude. Why not, from day one, come up with good ideas. If the government takes them on board then well done you. if they do not then make the case of the merit of the idea to the public and get their support to help push for it. You don’t have to wait until you have a majority in parliament to actually participate.

    But it isn’t about doing a good job is it. It’s about wearing a crown. And people will do anything to get that crown.

  37. trishcorry

    100% agree with this article. I have said from day one that Shorten is being strategic. I have been slammed for it time and time again. I do get annoyed with Shorten bashing. To me, Shorten bashing only serves to turn people away from Labor and it is nothing but an insidious passive aggressive undermining of the Labor movement. That is my own personal opinion on that. I watched it happen with the Rudd movement against Gillard and all it did was divide people in the party and help to give us Abbott.

    I voted Albo and Albo said very clearly that unity is the way forward. That was good enough for me. I vowed from that second those words came from Albo during his speech after his loss, that I would not be disgruntled the person I voted for lost, but united in a new way forward.

    I think Shorten is being strategic. Abbott is like a leech. He needs something to feed off of. He has nothing of his own. By Shorten not being aggressive, it is essentially removing a host for the Libs to feed off of and basically they just start eating themselves. I think it is a very good strategy and it has worked great guns.

    I met Bill Shorten when he met with local Labor here in Rockhampton. He was a very convincing speaker, (much taller than what I expected on a side note) and he was genuinely interested in what we had to say for our town in Regional QLD. I truly believe that in the next year, we will see things ramp up progressively. The media does not give him enough airplay. He comes across is really switched on and very compassionate and highly intelligent. I think a few stints on Qanda would also do him good, so people get to see more of him.

    He also has a very partisan speaker to deal with, which is an anomaly as far back as my mind will take me (others may know otherwise) and he also cannot be portrayed as a sore loser in Parliament. I’m sure the Libs have already strategised that if Shorten does try to ‘chuck an Abbott’ in parliament, he would be ejected under 94a or worse. Pyne would effectively keep interrupting anyway in his stupid pompous whiny voice and it would just risk Labor looking like a shambles or sore losers if they protested, with the help of the Murdoch press. Australians don’t like sore losers. They like the underdog and a fair go. If Shorten was aggressive like Abbott, there could easily be finger pointing of ‘union bully tactics’ and effectively try to make Abbott look like a targeted victim. No thanks!

    Shorten has said that this will be the year of ideas for Labor. I will be listening, contributing where given the chance and sharing, sharing, sharing the positives for Labor. Abbott needed to convince people that the Gillard Govt had harmed them and they were worse off. No one needs to convince anyone of anything this time and that is a good thing. Shorten will come out with great policies when the time is right. My old boss and co-author, colleague and friend (A professor of Marketing I might add) used to always say “Trish, Timing is everything.”

    I will end with three points: Australians always underestimates the quiet achiever, being the loudest does not make you right and Shorten does not want to lose to Abbott. There is no way he will be lackadaisical about it.

    I see what Shorten is doing is like a Symphony, We started out with Adagio or larghetto, currently we are andente and moving into animato (zinger animato lol???) and am waiting in anticipation for the allegro and crescendo and triple fortissimo and the trionfale and finally the sweet sorrowful dolore of Abbott’s loser’s speech ||Fine.

    I truly believe Shorten knows the timing of his symphony, right down to the last hemi-semi-demi quaver.

  38. John Fraser


    Kaye Lee

    My first comment explains my position.

    I'm glad that Shorten is here in Qld, along with, Albanese Plibersek and Catherine King.

    And at every opportunity I ask that Abbott, Hockey, Pyne, Dutton and others do not wait 150 years before they visit Queensland.

  39. Paul G. Dellit

    John, since your background as an advertising man has been outed, I think I should preface my comments by a similar confession of past sins. I was a Canberra public service for some 21 years, at the end of which I was a Senior International Policy adviser. I provided dispassionate advice to Governments of both colours. I was also an Associate Member of the National Press Club and occasionally had too much to drink in the company of members of the Press Gallery.

    There is much I would agree with in your article and much I would like to canvass from a different perspective. The Essential Report quotes comparative LNP/ALP and Abbott/Shorten polling as at the 13 January 2016. It shows, on a two party preferred basis, the ALP leading the LNP by 8% and Shorten leading Abbott by 2%. These two results by no means lay the foundations for an ALP win at the next election. It would take a 4.5% swing away from the ALP, Greens, etc. and a 1.5% swing away from Shorten to place the LNP and Abbott in the lead.

    As your article says, the Abbott government is remarkable for many things, all remarkably bad and most very unpopular. But the electorate is much more volatile today than it has ever been, the more so because both the LNP and the ALP have moved to the right, away from the old verities that saw many more rusted-on supporters of both the major Parties, with swinging voters around 10% of the electorate. The ALP led by Shorten, for example, sits to the right of the Menzies, Gorton and Frazer Governments on many issues.

    So, what events might arise to cause the reelection of the LNP? The problem is we can think of so many. The ALP relies upon the Greens and Independents to win. What if one of them causes public consternation at the same time as the LNP dump Abbott in favour of a much more electorally sympathetic leader, all of which happens during the run up to the next election while the new LNP leader is in his/her honeymoon period. The votes that might usually have come back to the ALP might instead leak in sufficient numbers to the LNP and its new leader to produce an LNP victory. (Ahhgg – the very thought! I need to pause for a moment while I have a stiff drink to steady my hands for further typing.)

    Okay, the problem, as I see it, is the fact that so many traditional ALP voters have been lost to the Greens and Independents because they believe the ALP stands more for winning than the principles for which it was originally created. Under Rudd and now Shorten in particular, we have the sense that the ALP is much more concerned with polls than principles. The ALP, along with the LNP, are prepared to pander to the racist vote in marginal seats to the point of creating the ‘Pacific Solution’ and torture as an instrument of policy administration. No Government, of either stripe, would have entertained human rights abuses on this scale before the Howard Government.

    I believe that the role of government is to lead on the basis of principle, not to follow in spite of it. The electorate has demonstrated, time and again, that it is prepared to be swayed by the facts. Howard won an election with a new tax, the GST, as the centrepiece of his platform. He lost some support because of it, but soon won it back. There is scarcely an LNP policy that can stand up to the glare of logical analysis. There is scarcely an LNP policy which would not ultimately cause more harm to the majority of the electorate than any good it feigns – if only open minded LNP/swinging voters knew.

    Shorten is a weak leader, but as you say, he is all we have at the moment. In my view, Shorten has to do much more than coast along to the next election largely on the basis that the ALP is a shoe-in to beat the Abbott Government, because he may not be up against an Abbott Government.

    Whichever way Shorten decides to play the game from now on, I would submit his strategy should include: wining back the ALP heartland, those who have defected to more left-leaning offerings as well as those who continue to support the ALP while living in hope – this will reduce exposure to the Greens in and out of government and also reduce the number of disaffected informal voters; showing that he is no longer the kind of person who would boast to members of the Press Gallery that he would be the next leader of the ALP contemporaneously with engineering the ousting of two sitting ALP Prime Ministers; demonstrating some backbone in the way he espouses policies that give the lie to the self-interested propaganda peddled by the Murdoch press and his political acolytes – letting the electorate know that the ALP is prepared to take risks for what it believes to be their best interests; and that the ALP is no longer a centre right party but has returned to its centre left roots.

  40. John Fraser


    @Paul G Dellit

    Winning back the States gives the ALP another platform to fight Abbott.

    Abbott won because he wasn;t Gillard.

    Shorten hopes to win because he isn't Abbott.

    A risky strategy but as time goes on the Electorate more and more associates all the Coalition with Abbott.

    2 young tech heads (M & F) that I was talking too the other day are getting more and more pissed with Turnbull and Fraudband.

    Pretty sure that's spreading across Gen Y, X and Z.

  41. Michael Taylor

    I think we should be at liberty to express dissatisfaction with Bill Shorten if we see fit. I really don’t think our opinions are meant to undermine anybody. I’m sure there are many Liberal voters dissatisfied with Tony Abbott, and yes, all sides fight amongst themselves, but in the overall scheme of things it means zilch.

    Bill Shorten is the preferred prime minister according to the polls. That is certainly a better prospect than the pm we have now.

    But in a perfect world I’d like a pm who didn’t support offshore processing. I’d also like a pm who supported same-sex marriage. Neither the pm or the alternate pm support either.

    However, of the two, I know who I’d like to see at the helm. So yes, it is possible to be critical of someone yet still want him to lead the country. I don’t think that anybody here who has had a go at Shorten would like to see him lose the next election.

  42. Anon E Mouse

    Odd that the Gillard-is-good and the Rudd bashing continues by posters who then want others to lay off Shorten.

    Careful analysis, rather than msm and short shots on the tv, would show there is a lot more behind the Gillard Rudd issue, and that includes the closet Libs, Arbib, Bitar, Howse, Fergeson (1 of the brothers) et al. and Shorten according to Wikileaks.

    Gillard told me face-to-face that she supported Howard’s Tampa hard line on refugees, that polls were all that mattered, that she admired Howard, and that she could not see why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders weren’t treated like any other ethnic minority. She was shadow minister for immigration and Indigenous affairs at the time. Gillard did not, I believe, support Rudd’s heartfelt apology to the stolen generation. Gillard was ruthless in grasping power from Rudd – it was not a last minute thing – as Shorten’s conversation telling the Americans about the shafting of Rudd months earlier thanks to Wikileaks) demonstrates.

    From careful analysis I believe that Rudd will go down in history as a great leader. Before I am howled down, it is worth considering how long it took for even the true-believers of the ALP felt comfortable to say in public that they liked Gough.
    I do not want to start another Gillard/Rudd discussion here, but the Gillard camp keeps dropping it into the threads.

    I would like to see Shorten resign – after the qld election – and finally the Labor party can start to heal.

    Shorten seems to be too much of the Lib-lite camp.

  43. Annie B

    Totally agree with your article, John. … and personally, am very glad that you raised the subject.

    @ Trish Corry …… your post rang a great many good bells. Particularly :

    …..” I have said from day one that Shorten is being strategic. I have been slammed for it time and time again.”

    Have said the same thing many times myself and also have been slammed. …. He IS being strategic, standing by while the LNP hangs itself from higher and higher branches. I have also heard him speak in interview ( and in Parliament ) … and he does not falter, he knows what he is talking about, does not need an ear-piece ( hasn’t got a Credlin feeding him lines ) does not have to endlessly refer to notes … and makes very good sense when he does get the chance to speak. …. Media cut him off at the socks on most occasions, like they do so many others.

    AND –

    ……. “Abbott is like a leech. He needs something to feed off of. He has nothing of his own. By Shorten not being aggressive, it is essentially removing a host for the Libs to feed off of and basically they just start eating themselves.”

    Yes, Abbott is leech-like – an opportunistic grub – who would delight in any strategies put forward by Bill Shorten at this time, so that he could return to the position he knows and loves best – that being an aggressive monster on the attack. … And attack he would – anything and everything that Bill Shorten might put forward. …. Abbott would be so happy to be able to divert some attention from his own ineptitude. …. Bill Shorten is not about to give Abbott those opportunities.

    It must be irritating to Abbott, and be of great puzzlement to him, to not have something to ‘have a go at’. ….. Perhaps that is also part of the strategy being played out by Bill Shorten. ……

    And yes Trish – timing IS everything.

  44. Annie B

    Michael ….

    Unless I have mis-read the report shown on the link I am posting, I believe that Bill Shorten in fact DOES support same-sex marriage. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-25/bill-shorten-says-he-supports-same-sex-marriage/5841236

    …..” Mr Shorten, who voted in support of gay marriage in 2012 in Parliament, said he would continue to push for marriage equality in Australia, even though for many people of faith it is a vexed issue.”

    It is an interesting report.


    The ‘offshore processing’ issue might be a bit hazy …. I cannot find where Shorten absolutely acknowledges it … and these particular comments date back to October 2014 … reported by the Australian newspaper.


    It was Richard Marles who did all the waffling about off-shore processing being a good idea ( to the National Press Club ) and I believe he was taken to task about it by Bill Shorten – according to the above link.

    However, previous to this date – back in June 2014, there was a ruckus in the ranks of Labor over the off-shore policy … and caucus was debating it. It was then that Bill Shorten said off-shore processing would be supported by Labor…… He apparently changed his mind 4 months later.

    I stand to be corrected on the off-shore processing situation. ….but I cannot find any recent statements by Bill Shorten, wherein he / the Labor party, supports off-shore processing.
    We know that it is a vile process and practice, as it is being forced at this time.

  45. Brian

    I WANT to live in Kaye’s world where political disscussion is mature and informed and ongoing. Unfortunately, we don’t and I don’t know how, under this current politcal climate, we get there. John’s strategy is no doubt the successful one in this climate, but I don’t think it’s good for us. As an electorate, we are largely uninformed and largely have no voice. The media and large business have too much control and policy is driven by them but not for the people. I am a rusted on Labor supporter but am disallusioned with the entire system, and both parties can claim fault.

  46. corvus boreus

    Rust can be almost as bad for a boat as a thick coat of barnacles.

  47. John Fraser


    All should be free to express dissatisfaction with Shorten.

    But would ALP supporters do it during a Federal election ?

    With the Queensland election currently on I prefer to cheer Shortens presence here in Queensland.

    I also applaud both this Article and Kaye Lee's Article.

    Just don't expect me to join in …. now …. when the N.S.W. election is on …. or when the Federal election is on.

  48. Damo451

    ” That Shorten had John Roskam of IPA infamy as his best man and that he wrote that smarmy letter to the US Embassy, exposed by Wikileaks, finished him with me, forever. I used to be a rusted on Labor voter.
    Thanks for that bit of information Bilal.
    Well now i fully understand why Shorten is such a rat ,given the company he keeps.
    I thought the John Roskams bestie comments in other articles meant the were SEEN to be to close in ideology , i was completely unaware of the wedding thing.
    O.k ,that does completely change the slight appeal of Shorten for me whatsoever.
    I would rather swim in my own toilet than see Labor get even a preference vote from me at the next election ,so it looks like its the long and tedious voting below the line again for me.
    This just proves to me that he is a Liberal stooge planted into the Labor party to cause the problems he did with Rudd/Gillard.
    Trish you say ” I do get annoyed with Shorten bashing. To me, Shorten bashing only serves to turn people away from Labor and it is nothing but an insidious passive aggressive undermining of the Labor movement. That is my own personal opinion on that. I watched it happen with the Rudd movement against Gillard and all it did was divide people in the party and help to give us Abbott. ”
    Well Shorten bashing is well deserved in my opinion ,and why shouldn’t people turn away from the Labor party given Shorten is the dirty little white anting grub he is and keeps the company of an insidious little grub like Roskam.
    That and his past behavior while in government and his lack of support for a federal ICAC ,speaks volumes about who he is and the sort of party Labor are these days by electing him as LOTO.
    The LNP got into power because they were not Labor and you think Shorten and his Liberals should skate into power because they are not the LNP ?
    We are judged by the company we keep ,and rightly so.
    I have no interest in handing my vote to a grub to replace a grub.
    There seems to be the small minded political idea that has been going on for decades ,that red and blue are our only 2 choices come election time.Wake up ,the Greens ,and past Indies like Oakeshott and Windsor ,have more integrity and honesty in their little toes than either major
    The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

  49. Paul G. Dellit

    Used to be that Governments lost elections, Oppositions didn’t win them. That was certainly the case at the last election because the ALP imploded, with the active involvement of Bill Shorten, rather than making any serious attempt at persuading Rudd to change his ways – no one gave him the option. Shorten is certainly the only game in town for the ALP’s next tilt at government, but with the swinging voter cohort now exceeding 30% of the electorate, he will certainly have to do more than coast his way to the next election, particularly given that it is becoming increasingly likely that the LNP will change leaders to suit their strategic advantage. It would be extremely risky to take current voter intentions polling seriously, with over 30% of the electorate undecided, and to assume that the toxic Abbott will be Shorten’s opponent.

  50. Florence nee Fedup

    I could be wrong, but under impression that Labor would =be supporting Federal ICAC at next Conference this year.

  51. John Fraser


    The one who is coasting is the next leader of the conservatives.

    At each and every opportunity Turnbull should be attacked for Fraudband and being one of Abbotts "Team Australia".

  52. rikda

    I don’t think Bill Shortens problem can be fixed with policy. He lacks passion. The lights on but nobody is home.
    He parrots the bleeding obvious of opposition which contributes to his lack of appeal.
    It’s just stale politics Labor is about as vibrant as the LNP.
    I recall the issue with the Telstra asbestos boxes. While they loaded up Gillard with 3 portfolios, it took 3 ministers (Combet Ferguson & Shorten) to explain nobody bothered to follow through with the extraction work.
    With Gillard gone it’s like killing the Queen Bee, you’re left with Drones.
    Labor is so gray we only know Albo & Bowen.
    Mark Dreyfus won a resounding victory in the International court but was put back in his box, & so on.
    They don’t want to popularise anyone else for fear their selection would be challenged. They just want to be right.
    It’s the same principle that got Abbott elected. It’s old party politics in a new technological era. It’s stale.
    Bill simply can’t paint a picture of vision in an egalitarian society.
    A change of leadership in the LNP & a shift to quick fixers like One nation, PUP, of Nick Xenophones group etc, & Labor is brought back to the field. It’s plain silly.

  53. Michael Taylor

    Thanks Annie, I stand corrected. I’m glad he supports same-sex marriage, although I admit it isn’t a great an issue with me than offshore processing is.

    Florence, Bill said a few months he doesn’t see the need for a federal ICAC. He may have changed his mind since, but I haven’t heard anything. It might just be me, but I wondered why on earth he was against it.

  54. corvus boreus

    Lack of passion in performance is not my main beef with William Shorten, Anthony Abbot could be described as a man of passion in his beliefs and actions, and I do not admire Tonys’ conduct.
    I really do not like the fact that Mr Shorten often displays a conspicuous lack of transparent integrity in his behaviors and associations.
    This may cost him, his party, and the nation.

  55. Florence nee Fedup

    Michael, Shorten would not be on my short list as leader if up to me. Neither would Bowen or Albo for that matter.

    What is a fact, that thanks to Rudd we have a leader that was elected, and being so is the leader that takes us to the next election,

    Yes, sometimes his reaction to current events are too slow. Too inclined to be too careful. he has promised more this years, and does appear to be taking a more aggressive stand when it comes to important issues.

    Labor, I hope is about more than a leader. I am hoping that more will come forward, especially at Federal Conference and new policies be formed for asylum seekers. Sadly there are too many that have no problems with events in Manus and to lesser extent Nauru. Until the party revisits what has occurred, it ties the hands of any Labor leader, we might hate it, but politics is the art of the possible.

    Yes, Shorten is the leader, who under new rules cannot be deposed. he is not pleasing many, that is for sure. What is also true, the focus, the first time for years is focussing the actions of Abbott. The polls seem to be saying, he is doing nothing wrong.

    Shorten did achieve much as a minister in the Gillard government when one recalls he is responsible for NDI|S, Seems to be a person that does not seek limelight in the public arena but quietly gets on with the job, This is not playing in his favour at this time.

    Now is not the time to attack the man, but to question Labor policies and where they are heading. Yes, I want a stronger stand taken on asylum seekers., Yes, Labor did set up Manus and Nauru. If the likes of Burke were still in charge, would Labor be acting as Morrison did. I suspect not. I would hope, they would be working directly with all ink the region, including PNG to get better outcomes for these people. I do not think we would see the armed forces and billions wasted that has occurred under this government., We need the Opposition to get their act together so they are in an position to attack Abbott.

    I hope that Shortens delivers on what he promise this year us about, That is the formulation and selling of policies. We can damn well let this government know loud and clear what we want.

    Yes, Abbott will not last much longer. One only had to listen to the attack on him on the Ch 10 news and lesser extent Ch 9 last night. When a new leader comes in, there will be a honeymoon period, that just might carry them through to an early election, leaving Labor and Australian worse off. I not talking about as DD election. That is an option the Coalition cannot afford to take for many obvious reasons.

    We are in a completely new political climate if we do vote out a one term government. would mean, I suspect, that there are many fewer rusted on party followers. That many no longer see themselves as Labor or Liberal. That the terms left and right mean little.

    I wait eagerly for the research, that must come, into why people vote the way they do today. If not along party lines, why?

    One only has to listen to the bizarre words that came out of Hockey’s mouth yesterday. At least he is getting the attack in the MSM he deserves,

    I see shorten has come out, saying under his government there would be cuts. I hope this is the start of the debate on where they should be. Bowen has supported Shorten, in saying their will be changes that lose us votes Maybe the real political war is beginning,

    Just heard on ABC radio local,, that the Labor government under Gillard did try to changes Medicare structure but was howled down. (Melissa Clarke)

    Interesting times ahead.

  56. Florence nee Fedup

    Abbott in Western Sydney with Baird making announcement about second airport. Stunts back on. Announced on radio local in a bored tone of voice. Probably getting ready for March State election.

  57. Kaye Lee


    Someone earlier posted the link to Doug Cameron’s explanation of what happened with the Federal ICAC bill.

    “What had happened was that a majority of Senators including Labor and the cross-bench had stood in the way of a Greens stunt to gag debate on what is a very important issue, one which Labor takes very seriously and one in which over a quarter of the Senate had expressed an interest in debating before the Greens attempted to shut it down.

    I support the creation of a ‘federal ICAC’ and I am looking forward to the Senate continuing the debate on the bill.”

    Fine sentiments indeed but the comments section below Doug’s explanation raise some very good points.

    1. “Forget the politics. Join forces with others who want a Federal ICAC and make it happen. This sort of sniping does no good whatsoever, and just confirms people’s suspicion that we don’t have a Federal ICAC because the parties have something to hide. They are not interested in the “he said I said” nonsense. They are becoming increasingly frustrated by what seems to be pure self-interest, and losing faith in the entire process of government.

    This country’s fabric is being ripped asunder because of our loathsome government. Please, focus on the real enemy, the Coalition, and save us from the ideologues crippling our nation. The Greens are not your enemy, and you are not theirs. ”

    2. “It would be really satisfying if the Greens and Labor could work out a strong coalition relationship. To bring Labor back to the left would restore my belief in their intentions and to give the Greens a better voice AND call them to account also is not a bad thing. ”

    3. “Both Labor and the Greens want a Federal ICAC, but haven’t come to an agreement about the Federal ICAC.

    The Labor point of view is that the the Greens wanted to gag the debate. From the Green point of view Labor helped the coalition engineer a filibuster which meant the Federal ICAC was delayed.

    Again, further evidence for Labor and the Greens to work together beforehand.”

    4. “This bill has apparently been discussed twice before this particular event, so it’s a bit rich to say that not enough time / debate has been allowed. How long does it take to shred all the evidence and take a vote?”


  58. Florence nee Fedup

    Definitely needs to happen. Will, because like gun control after the Port Arthur shootings, is beyond the control of politicians,

  59. corvus boreus

    Does anyone know if Mr Anthony Albanese has any evidential suggestion of indiscretions in any of his prior conduct or associations?
    He looks OK on wikipedia.

  60. Florence nee Fedup

    Why the question. The man is now on ABC 24. Answering questions on Manus. Yes, attacking this government. Today we have had Shorten, Bowen and Albanese out, condemning this government strongly. Yes, I believe the fight back is on, I hope this is the way it continues, that all the Labor Opposition front bench is seen, that the fight is not left to Shorten.

    Sensible questions being asked by media for once are asking sensible questions.

    What we will see until march state elections, is Abbott out each day campaigning for Baird. there will be a stunt a day. Question is, will he be allowed to get away with it, or will the focus, much to his disgust remain with his chickens that are coming home to roost. Albanese just focus on Manus, fronting the real issue, not the policy but how one must treat these people. Attacking the secrecy and all that goes with it.

  61. Lee

    Late last year Tanya Plibersek appeared on Q and A and said, and I paraphrase, that there is data indicating that we’re worse off when the gap between rich and poor widens. In that format it goes over the heads of the conservatives but it’s an important message that the ALP needs to get out there. Surely the spin doctors can weave it into a format that conservatives understand and the ALP can point out that when most of us have no money to spend, this harms businesses. They can do this without the nasty, aggressive style of Tony Abbott. They can inform the public that they are working on costing project x without revealing details that can be plagiarised by the LNP.

    The ALP has also backed itself into a corner by perpetuating the federal debt and income tax lie. They cannot effectively stand against the demonisation of poor Australians unless they call out the LNP for this outrageous lie. The taxes and levies that do actually fund public works are being paid by the poor.

  62. hforward22

    Both articles have raised some very interesting debate and some brilliant responses. So bravo, both John and Kate, for getting such a passionate debate going. Have enjoyed reading it all.
    PS I think both make some very good points. I think Bill Shorten is on the right track and I agree with his timing. But on the other hand he needs to start ramping up the hard questions and articulating a vision (devised by the Labor group). But I’d like to see those things coming from the whole team, not just the one person.

  63. Geoff Andrews

    Anon E Mouse’s comments are spot on: stop bashing both Rudd & Gillard. They were both successful.
    Kaye Lee was not “bashing” Bill in her original article – she was urging him to get his finger out and impose himself on the electorate. When Shaun Micallef’s “Mad As Hell” can have a regular Bill Shorten “zinger” segment, Shorten must surely be either looking to himself or his speech writers.
    The polls show that Abbott and Shorten are as unpopular as each other.
    Neck & neck!
    Wow, this tactic of sitting on our hands and presenting a talking silhouette on tele is really working, eh?
    Even the promise of a big 2015 for policy could be seen as an admission that the strategy hasn’t worked.
    My fear is that what we are seeing now is Bill at his best.

  64. AndrewL

    John Lord, I get the feeling that you are trying to hijack Kaye Lees excellent article by softening the message she had for Bill Shorten.
    I agree with Kaye that the Labour’s thunderous one-hand clapping technique in Parliament over the past 15 months has been ineffective. Labour is basically leading by default only, not through the merit of their actions or policies.

    I also disagree with you that “Releasing policy is considered precarious until the election campaign begins……. Often you are damned if you support something with bi-partisan intent or damned if you don’t.”

    If you release good policy and embrace public feedback prior to implementation, it will work and be worthy of media and voting focus.
    My car radio can only receive one channel which happens to be the ABC Parliament and as such, I am forced to listen through some appalling debating in the Senate. Labour’s general performance in the chamber has been a massive disappointment considering the opportunities that have fallen into their lap.

    It seems only the Greens and Independents offer any substantial and sensible policy alternatives to the LNP. Labour appear to no longer have any long-term vision for the future of all Australians and prefer to be reactive rather than progressive in their policies. They have also seemingly adopted similar ethics to the LNP when it comes to public commentary by having rehearsed lines to read on limited subjects rather than presenting comment that would reflect their own morals and ideals.

    There is plenty of room but very little time for Labour to be more than the default alternative in the next elections. Let’s hope that they don’t continue with this coat-tail ride into government with the same level of energy and enthusiasm they have shown so far.

  65. Di Pearton

    I agree with you AndrewL, it does not seem that hard. If you google the Greens policy on anything you get a policy. It seems like that is what you should be able to do, in 2015?? Maybe that is why young people are so wary of politics. The old parties act so secretive and fluid about their policies.

  66. mark delmege

    Here is the thing – The US still arms trains and funds terrorists – the so called good rebels in the ME as they have done for decades. Inevitably these fighters and their weapons end up in the hands of the bad terrorists (as if there was ever any difference anyway) and the fighting goes on. Not only that but these sorts of policies create an environment of death and killing and it spreads like a cancer to ordinary people who see hopelessness all around them and then for whatever reason many chose violence as a course of action to end the madness. Of course it only descends into more violence and the killing goes on.
    Any intelligent person would know this if they took the effort to understand just what is happening. And they would recognise this as the basis for what happened in Paris Belgium Sydney (and every where else) and today here with an upgraded security alert for our WA police.

    This is madness and clearly our media and our representatives are blind to history and/or effectively puppets of empire. This will only get worse unless things change. If the media doesn’t – boycott them. And if our representative don’t acknowledge the cold hard reality – get rid of them. Meanwhile arm yourself with the facts and spread the word.

  67. Florence nee Fedup

    Many on this site are not alone in their opinion of Shorten. Listening to the launch, he is definitely no great speaker. Whether this is a negative or positive in this political climate.

    Maybe one, that comes across as one of the crowd will do better, as I suspect polls have shown them, spin is out. Even Cando has pulled back. After the launch, the Queensland Premier using facts and figures, come across as boring.

    Dutton given hard time tonight on 7.30 ABC.


  68. Harquebus

    Rudd and Gillard were both failures. John Howard was failure, Peter Costello a failure, Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey, all failures. Bill Shorten, destined to fail. Growth was and is their mantra. The era of economic growth is over. Peak oil mates, peak oil. The banks can not survive energy depletion and neither will governments unless they wise up which, is unlikely so, get ready for a rough downhill ride. Economic, social and infrastructure decay are now unavoidable.

  69. John Lord

    I do wish the Greens were a little more clever and not make it so obvious.

  70. Annie B

    @ Florence NFE …. I have heard Shorten speak on many occasions ( I have made it my business to do so ) – and while his intonation is not what we might like – or are used to listening to – softly spoken, almost apologetic in stance, the words he utters makes absolute sense. ….

    He doesn’t need to thump podiums and wave his hands around, dart his eyes about or lick his lips, to get the message across. He doesn’t have to stare down a camera – hoping everyone is titillated by the mere emergence of ‘the face’ on TV. …. No. …..

    Thing is …. is anyone prepared to actually LISTEN to what he has to say. Admittedly, he doesn’t get much air time, but I have a hunch that all that will change – beginning about now.

    Eventually, I hope everyone does listen – when the Labor party believes it is time to bring forth something to listen to. …… I am not ( although it may appear that I am ) … a huge fan of Bill Shorten. …. Shorten has his shortcomings and I am not blindly faithful !!! . Don’t we all have shortcomings ??? But hell – I do think he knows how to play the game – and is doing so as we speak. … Also think the Greens have much to offer …. but they too will ‘time’ their advance.

    And yes ….. Dutton was given a hard time on the 7.30 pm report tonight – but he did exactly what I expected – avoided Leigh Sales questions, obfuscated back and forth, threw in ‘ it’s Labor’s fault ‘ …. as an addition to his waffling. But did NOT answer the questions asked of him ……. perhaps because he couldn’t – or shouldn’t !!!. …. I would imagine he would be watching his own back at the moment, considering the confrontations going on ( dismissed by Abbott as nonsense – what else would he say ? ) ….. at the front bench. …… There’s no smoke without fire.

  71. John Fraser



    "How Cory Bernardi voted on key issues since 2006:

    Voted moderately against same sex marriage."

    Seems a bit hard to believe.

  72. Annie B

    To la_lasciata …….

    I didn’t know about the existence of this website ………. but I do now.

    I would have to know more about its’ origins, pursuits and much more, before forming an opinion on its validity. ……. Not saying it’s not valid …….. would just have to make sure.

    Makes for interesting reading — but not at all sure about the wording used – e.g. “voted strongly against’ … does that relate to just Bill Shorten or the entire Labor Party ? Because the link you provided only applies ( apparently ) to Bill Shorten himself. i.e. How Bill Shorten voted on key issues since 2006: as quoted before the list attributed to him and ( his ) voting.

    Interesting ……….

  73. Annie B

    @mark delmege ( at 7:03 pm )……..

    Great comment ……. and agree with 99.999% of what you have said ….. particularly about the funding and implementation for decades, by the U.S. to terrorist factions – and others bent on hell. …. and the roll-on effect it is having in the every-day world around us.

    Victoria also has upped the terrorist threat today, to ‘ high ‘ …… arming all police to the teeth, and making it mandatory to wear protective clothing at all times. …. Being that the police have been ‘targetted’ I have a horrid suspicion that could perhaps be a diversion, by any jihadist bent on destruction in our State.

    Hope I am totally wrong.

  74. Hello

    the problem with shorten is that he is just another right wing zionist submissive. the whole mob of them should be lined up against the wall.

  75. corvus boreus

    So, apparently Mr Shorten, along with all others who are of right wing persuasion and submissive to the ‘zionist agenda’, should be ‘lined up against the wall’ (To what purpose? Accurate measurement of height?).
    Thank you for the ‘rational’ analysis and ‘practical’ suggestion.

  76. Hello

    cb.. so, apparently, you believe we should all be submissive to the zionists. are you really so mentally sluggish i have to explain why they should be lined up against the wall, if so, then too bad, ill not waste my time. i admit i was probably not too clear on who i thought should be lined up against the wall, but that would be, all politicians. simply having a labor government after this one will not solve all our problems, they are all the same ( politicians )

    you think doing israels bidding is ‘practical’ ? pffft. there are good reasons there should be a distance between israel and us. a recent poll put their global popularity on par with that of north korea. there are reams of UN resolutions against them, that are ignored, they go around assasinating people with impunity, .. they have a demonstrable history of being bad news. israel was a supid idea to start with, it should be wiped off the map.

    anything else you dont understand, go ask someone who gives a damn.

  77. Hello

    cb.. heres a few reasons of why it is ‘practical’ to not be a suppoter of israel.


    to support israel, is criminal, immoral, disgraceful. thats not my opinion, thats the facts.

  78. corvus boreus

    Not so much a mentally sluggish as charitable naivety in wishing to give you an opportunity to retract from what could be seen as a veiled endorsement of political violence in the form of massed summary executions.
    Lining up large numbers of people ‘against the wall’ has proved a problematic ‘solution’ throughout history.

    As for zionism, it encapsulates an irrational, fundamentalist mentality that claims divine sanction for imperialistic expansion, and should receive no international support for its’ claims of godly approval for legislative discrimination over the rights of generational land-occupants of differing faiths or cultures.
    I am just unwilling to endorse the implication that tactics of mass-murder should be an approved policy to combat its agenda.

    PS Disendorsement of extremist aspects of one agenda does not automatically confer pliant acceptance of all radical aspects of conflicting viewpoints.

  79. John Fraser


    @corvus boreus

    Exceptionally well stated.

  80. Kaye Lee

    I don’t think wiping each other out is the way forward but, thanks to Australia, any solution to the occupied territories has once again been thrown away. The slaughter will go on because both sides have so much justifiable hate that revenge is their way of life.

  81. khtagh

    I wanted Bill Shorten to get the leadership of the Labor party, unfortunately as stated by some others here, he needs to get some passion in his public appearances, speak like he actually cares, not just mantra. Don’t go over the top like Abbott did in opposition, but keep bringing up & countering the constant lies that everyone in the Liberal party say on a daily basis now. Labor & Shorten have been given a complete arsenal of ammunition by Abbott, he must! start using it, this might be what is giving the impression that he is a weak leader, imagine what Hawk or Keating would have done with it all.

    I do hope I’m wrong on this count, but I have a sneaky suspicion that the Abbott crowd have full intentions of pulling Bill Shortens past history ( the sexual assault charge, denied by Shorten & the police, no evidence) out closer to the election to try to make him look sleazy. I really do think he should find a way to step down & allow Tanya to take the reins, because this one fact could do more damage to Shorten & labor than anything else & don’t put it past the Liberals & Murdoch to do it either. A desperate Abbott will pull extremely desperate acts.

    Federal ICAC would be a hands down winner, Labor must! do it, especially seeing there was nothing of any gravity uncovered in the political witch hunt union RC Abbott setup to do nothing other than damage Labor, hence the reason to delay the report until just before the 2016 election. Also take hold of the reins as far as the crack down of multinationals & the supper rich avoidance of tax in this country. Both would make the Liberals look like the corrupt bunch they are if they spoke out against both policies. Labor should be announcing the very policies that they know Abbott won’t touch with an extended barge poll, asking why they would oppose them, for what reason. A policy to stop private donations, only allowing a predetermined publicly funded election campaign.

    labor should throw it right back in the face of the Liberals, calling for a RC to cover the last 16 months of the Abbott government, look into the Scholarship for Abbott’s daughter, Abbott’s expenditure claims, sponsorship deals, donor payments & favours done as repayments for said donations, Abbott’s legitimacy to actually be an MP or PM due to his dual citizenship, interference of the judiciary by Brandis over the 2 DUI charges of Peta Credlin, the overt & covert influence that Rupert Murdoch has in this countries politics & why, the list is endless.

    Bring the greens back into the fold by making large investment in renewables, there are 20,000 jobs that could be reinstated within months of being re-elected, as well as the massive investment that goes with it. Take up the opportunity that is currently up for grabs with the new ground breaking development of the game changing liquid metal batteries now being developed in the US, they are asking for Australia to be a part of it, with both factories & ingredients(all available in great abundance in Oz). The solutions are there, we just have to do it, this current government definitely wont do it.

  82. Hello

    CB we, through our politicians, and our taxes, are endorsing violence on a grand scale, through the illegal immoral invasions of iraq, and afghanistan, and elsewhere, we create the problems in the first place ( al-cia-duh – isis etc ) and then we ( we being the usa+israel+allies ) fund them, train them, all the while pretending to be at war with them. thanks to our efforts in iraq lately, isis have gained control of about 3 times as much territory since air strikes were announced, so we have done nothing but help them.

    i dont need your charity to withdraw anything i say, even if i wanted to, and far from it being thinly veiled, i thought it obvious what i was saying, but if there is still any doubt, i believe all war criminals, political liars and traitors, should be lined up against a wall… AND SHOT! REPEATEDLY!

    if you agree that zionism is unworthy of any support, why the hell does shorten deserve not to be bashed for his zionistic brown nosing.. or lined up against a wall as he is full of support for these illegal wars based on lies.. pretending it is to keep us safe.. if its ok for these people, in our names, to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent men women and children – who were never a threat to anyone – based on lies.. well.. people face firing squads these days for much lesser crimes.. ( our allies saudi arabia publicly behead people in the streets for much less too, but theyre our friends, so thats ok )

    so really, my original comment was in fact, entirely rational, and indeed practical, and by comparison, not radical at all… also it will save a heap of money in all the lifetime pensions we pay them once they leave office.

    @ john fraser… pfffft

  83. Lee

    “so really, my original comment was in fact, entirely rational, and indeed practical, and by comparison, not radical at all… also it will save a heap of money in all the lifetime pensions we pay them once they leave office.”

    Oh it will save a heap of money in the long run, by a lack of people willing to be politicians. If something unexpected happens which leads to a broken promise…. bang! A political opponent wants to frame someone….bang!

    I could suggest lining up those who express daft ideas and shooting them repeatedly, but that would eliminate the live entertainment.

  84. Hello

    aaaaaand another lumpen jumps on the bandwagon. there will still be plenty of entertainment provided by those circle jerkers that think we can not do without politicians.

  85. corvus boreus

    Glad you clarified. For a moment there I thought you might be some kind of irrational and impractical extremist making public pronunciations justifying murder and violence.

  86. diannaart

    Indeed, lining up and shooting people (repeatedly?) to stop violence has always worked so well in the past, hasn’t it? Nothing beats doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

    I guess it is different if you are one of the goodies.

  87. mark delmege

    ‘both sides have so much justifiable hate that revenge is their way of life’ Thats rather naive of you Kaye Lee. It wasn’t after all the Palestinians who took land from Europeans. Hello – being a peaceful kinda guy I gotta agree that lining up people serves little purpose – it would be cheaper and less messy just not to support them being elected. Though I agree with you about much of what you say – and in my opinion war is the ultimate crime and the sooner those supporting it are held to account the better.

  88. Kaye Lee

    May as well shoot the asylum seekers too. That should provide a deterrant.

  89. Lee

    “May as well shoot the asylum seekers too. That should provide a deterrant.”

    Hell yeah. Shoot the conservatives too.

  90. corvus boreus

    Holy shit! I just thought of a really simple solution to that whole over-population thingy!

  91. Lee

    It’s a darned good way to revive manufacturing in this country too!

  92. Tony Rabbit

    I fear a New Labour coming on!

    That would be a bad outcome too! Just look at the UK.

  93. Kaye Lee

    “Thats rather naive of you Kaye Lee. It wasn’t after all the Palestinians who took land from Europeans.” This fight has been going on for centuries mark. If my child was blown up by a suicide bomber or kidnapped and executed or killed by “retaliatory missile fire” I do not think I would be logical about who started it. It is impossible for me to understand why they continue this horror. Both sides have no qualms about indiscriminate killing. Both sides have suffered unspeakable horror. Why is it so hard to live together peacefully? If we keep revisiting the past what hope is there for the future?

  94. diannaart

    Yup, CB, the winner is Violence

  95. diannaart

    @John Lord

    ***I do wish the Greens were a little more clever and not make it so obvious.***

    Still no fish, John?

  96. mark delmege

    Kaye if you don’t understand the recent past you will have no chance with the present.

  97. Damo451

    Here come the fish.
    I would love to understand the meaning behind your comment John.

  98. hicom

    When Shorten was chosen I was disapointed but as John points out a confrontational opposition leader would be just what Abbott wants.

  99. hicom

    Kayelee re your post at 5.39 if people were left to their own devices they could probably get along, assuming resourses weren’t too scarce. It is expansionist motives of the leaders that are the problem. Particularly amongst the monotheists.

    Al quaeda in Iraq was almost a spent force until a few years ago when All Bagdhadi having just been released from American custody took over. Now they have over two billion dollars worth of money and gear where do we think that came from?

  100. mark delmege

    You gotta wonder hicom who is buying all that oil that was supposed to be making them 3million a day – its shows what a scam this whole war really is – especially as IS now commands more territory in Syria than it even did – despite uncle samuel and us (and others) bombing them. My guess is they are just slowly destroying Syrian infrastructure for the benefit of … you guessed it. SEYMOUR M. HERSH gave the game away somewhat 7 years ago and most of it is coming true. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

  101. Paul G. Dellit

    Dear Fellow Commenters,
    Amazing how ‘Shorten Bashing’ touches upon such a wide range of interests, but thank you because I now know that the meaning of life isn’t 42.
    Getting back to topic, the LNP is working itself up into taking the Hobson’s Choice of dumping Abbott to save seats at the next election and if possible retain Government. Shorten really does need to give the the electorate a choice. The old ‘small target’ strategy worked in the past but never works when you have 30% of the electorate undecided. Bill needs to find his cajones and give us all a market differentiated alternative based upon the ALP’s core principles.

  102. stephentardrew

    It is maddening this idea of a confrontational opposition leader. That is not what is being asked for. What is required is the presentation of Labors foundational principle since they do not reflect the Labor of old. Labor does not have to bash on like a rad dog it simply has to be inclusive of its members and voters.

    Shadow boxing is going to get you nowhere and may well turn out to be the worse possible strategy against Abbott. One thing Abbott is good at is lying and being unpredictable so watch your back when you try the small target approach.

  103. Paul G. Dellit

    Agree, Stephen. The last thing we want is direct confrontation. As you say, we need a contest of ideas with ALP core principles clearly, persuasively out there for the electorate to assess in contrast to the lying nonsense peddled by the LNP

  104. diannaart

    Paul G. Dellit & stephentardrew

    Surely by now, Labor has learned that being a pale imitation of the Libs simply doesn’t work. Now, Bill can offer a true alternative based upon Labor’s core beliefs – that is if these beliefs are about people and their well-being. This may not sound like much but fighting for the well-being of people encompasses climate, pollution, living wages, refugees, indigenous autonomy, respect for all, life, the universe and everything – which may or may not add up to 42.

  105. Lee

    “Now, Bill can offer a true alternative based upon Labor’s core beliefs – that is if these beliefs are about people and their well-being. ”

    Perhaps this is the real reason why Bill isn’t telling us anything. The ALP really is the Alternative Liberal Party and they don’t have anything different to offer us. They’re complicit with the federal budget surplus lies, they mistreat asylum seekers, they support actions that are not in the best interests of the environment, they support irrational fear mongering at home and support the supporters of terrorists in the Middle East, they don’t support a federal ICAC. Mmmm……

  106. Paul G. Dellit

    diannaart & Lee

    Always an optimist, when push comes to shove I really hope that we don’t discover that all the Shorten ALP stands for is the direction the latest polls are leading them. If that were the case, better they lose so that there can be genuine reform of the ALP post Shorten.

  107. Florence nee Fedup

    Maybe if Abbott refrained from creating a new disastrous fiasco every day, Shorten might get a look in As Tanya said today, why would we point out Abbott’s faults, when he is doing a good enough job himself. or words to that effect. I would add, why would one divert attention from him.

    Even Cando cannot divert attention from Abbott.

    Tonight, WorkChoices truly back on the table.

  108. Annie B

    @stephen t ………..

    ….. “Shadow boxing is going to get you nowhere and may well turn out to be the worse possible strategy against Abbott. One thing Abbott is good at is lying and being unpredictable so watch your back when you try the small target approach.”

    You can say that again, stephen.

    It is this form of response ( with aggression ) that Abbott understands … and WANTS. He is extremely uncomfortable without it. …. He is pugilistic by nature, to his core – and cannot deal with soft approaches. ….. they would bother him no end.

    His head would not lie easy on the pillow this evening – after his own LNP followers had a go at him on talk-back radio.. One ( former I believe !!! ) Liberal follower, in his opening remarks said ” I have been a Liberal voter for years” … to which Abbott replied prematurely “thank you” ( big smile ) ………. but then was knocked back on his haunches with the rest of the anti-Abbott commentary that followed. …. The smile quickly faded.

    I admit to laughing out very loudly – in watching that discomforture by the Abbott.

    He’s made his bed – now he has to lie in it, or lay in it – ……. actually – both.

  109. Douglas Evans

    I guess this discussion is about over by now but nevertheless I think you are right John. To be fair I think the credible media agrees – all the reports I read warn that sometime in the next year Labor must start to roll out policy. No-one worth reading is screaming blue murder because they’re not laying out their vision already. It is unheard of for any Opposition leader to start offering policies at this point in the electoral cycle. It can do no good. It can only do electoral damage. On the other hand the polls are hardly a ringing endorsement of Shorten’s qualities as a leader by the electorate. Quite the opposite really. I share the concern about Mogadon Bill. Those hoping that the ALP under Shorten will deliver us from the nightmare of the last five or six years should remember that he is both a major player in and a product of the anti-democratic Labor factional system that is so widely decried. Little Bill is owned lock stock and barrel by the factions. Although Labor will certainly be, must be light-years ahead of this ridiculous rabble Australia needs good government not just government that is not as bad as Abbott and his clowns.

  110. Annie B

    @Douglas Evans ……

    This discussion will never be over – while the LNP is in power, and while Labor and Bill Shorten exist. !!

    I personally believe that Shorten is playing the smartest, most cunning political game, possibly in all of his career. … Allowing Monster Features to hang himself – and he’s pretty much done that …….. this time round. He might get a bit more of a tilt at the leadership, but a growing number of LNP backbenchers ( and a few front-benchers as well ) are sick and tired of the lack of direction, lack of leadership, lack of discretion, and lack of any policy that could EVER be taken seriously — ( as has been put forward ), beginning with the May 2014 budget. Meanwhile he regulates or de-regulates anything he damned well pleases.

    There’s been a fair amount of “Bill bashing” … on this post and others, which surprises me somewhat.

    If nothing else, TIMING is essential – and I think Shorten is playing this card very well. Besides which he and his Party have no obligation whatsoever, to deliver anything into the hands of a drowning man … ( politically speaking ) by revealing policy so that Abbott can once again focus attention on something other than his own ridiculous and draconian ideologies and ‘thoughts’ about making a better Australia, …. which is frankly a load of BS. Abbotts’ only intention is to keep Abbott in the box seat – bugger the country, damn us and our fair go attitude, to hell with the best for our country. ……. As long as HE is seen to be head sherang.

    His days are now numbered.


  111. Annie B

    Going back a couple of weeks : mark delmege – January 19, 2015 at 8:44 pm … said :

    “When Tony Abbott said he liked the latest crying Charlie cartoon – I doubt that he or many understood just what a stupid thing he said. I don’t recall any admonishment from Shorten – who as usual backs the PM on the most stupid positions.”

    Frankly Mark … I don’t see any correlation between lack of admonishment from Shorten, and any alleged ‘backing’ of the PM ( by Shorten ) on ‘the most stupid positions’. …They don’t ‘compute’. They are not hand in hand.

    The best way to put a stop to ridiculous public statements by Abbott, is to pour cold water on them – by ignoring them altogether. …….

    Bill Shorten would have lowered himself to Abbotts level, if he’d said anything about the cartoon comment … and he is not about to do that. …. Which makes for common sense, and a feeling that Shorten is capable of knowing what to reply to – – – or not.

    This makes me think we just MAY have a viable alternative to this chaotic rabble that calls itself a government. … And when the time is right, Shorten will come out with policy. Can’t make a guess as to when that might be, as the prospect of a new leader of the government has to be factored in. And if that IS indeed Turnbull – the Labor party will have to do a bit of a rethink ( maybe ) on how to deal with the new kid on the block.

    Time alone will tell. !!!

  112. Douglas Evans

    @Annie B
    You write “His days are numbered.” Well that’s certainly true but I think the number might not be as small as some think. The Libs have this dilemma of ‘what then’ If they chuck Abbott out. What can they offer Abbott to placate him and keep him out of the way? Minister for the Arts, Minister for the Ageing? Hardly. Minister without portfolio (and without a voice) and a promise of well paid directorships to come post Parliament? Perhaps but would he accept? I doubt it Abbott doesn’t know how to step back. What would Abbott do if they kneecap him? Resign and bring on a bye-election? Not likely to go well for the Libs. Go to the Back bench, fume, sulk and start leaking (like Rudd)? More pain for the Libs. Of course they are pretty stupid and arrogant (much like the string pullers in the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd farce) and they just mightn’t think through what’s ahead. If they do terminate Abbott who can do the job for them? Bishop and/or Turnbull both ministers in the government Abbott led and part and parcel of the mess he created. Plenty of gold for Labor in that one. On the other hand: Can they find a formula to leave him in place, muzzle him, send Credlin to the guillotine? Not likely. He wouldn’t accept and while the people can still see him the polls will languish. The media, which has now turned on him pretty well universally, would pursue him relentlessly. Can he really avoid doorstops for the next 18 months? How would that play for the Libs? All of this discussion about the persons ignores the steaming heap of ‘you know what’ that passes for policy from this sorry lot. As Mogadon Bill said on ‘Insiders’ its not the salesman that’s the problem its the crap he’s trying to foist on us. Both Bishop and Turnbull would have the same trouble as Abbott with this. What chance do they have of reinventing themselves on the job? None. The right wing clowns that make up the Parliamentary Liberal Party currently, simply won’t wear the sort of changes that would make it all good with the voters. Neither would the funding masters looking over their shoulders. Irrespective of who fronts the Party there can be no substantial changes in their policies while they are in power and they are in power for the next eighteen months at least, come what may. Nothing but pain ahead for the Libs – wonderful isn’t it? I hope and expect that Abbott will kick and scratch, hanging on by his fingernails as they attempt to lever him out of the Lodge. I’m looking forward to seeing the nervous tics and rapidly greying hair when he fronts the cameras. I’m looking forward to the reports of stress induced health problems and family tensions as his world implodes. Abbott is a man who richly deserves (as Paul Keating might have said) to be done slowly.

  113. Florence nee Fedup

    Agree, will hang on but be terminally damaged. Best outcome for those who care. Abbott cannot put genie back in bottle. Peta has been quarantined leaving Abbott high and dry.

  114. diannaart

    @ Douglas Evans

    Spot on.

    As for Bill Shorten – just because he is playing a game of ‘enough rope’ doesn’t mean he has changed his position on many of Labor’s views on mining, refugees, welfare and so on. He and his party are still the “least worst”.

  115. Annie B

    @Douglas Evans ….

    You are right – no-one could guess just how long Abbott will remain ‘in the chair’. The Liberals are between a huge rock and a very hard place at this time, as you have pointed out. Add to this the real possibility that Abbott is ( I believe ) of very unstable character; he will hang on to this PM seat as long as he can. …… and is capable of doing or saying just about anything to achieve that end. Leaving him right where he is, might be the only way they can keep him relatively quiet, and under some form of control.

    @Florence Nee …

    It was presumed that Peta has been sidelined. It is also possible that she side-lined herself – to get out from under the glare of unfavourable comment from Murdoch, and most likely away from a very ungrateful bloke who she has put her time and effort into – to assist. … I doubt he’d be capable of saying too many kind thankful words to anybody. She just may have gone on her own volition ? Perhaps “enough is enough” ?… And I think that’s something the Liberals would want to keep well under wraps. …. But – it’s early days yet.

    Just sayin’ ~

    @diannaart –

    We don’t yet know what Shorten and the Labor party has in mind. …. there is nothing to stop them doing a 180° on those issues. …. we will just have to wait and see. ….. I am not saying I think he will or he won’t … but his record in being a wheeler and dealer – with his Union background, his involvement in the moves from Rudd to Gillard and back again, makes him most likely a much tougher, even ruthless, political character than the one he publicly presents.

    It’s the quiet ones, ya have to be wary of !!

  116. diannaart

    @Annie B

    LOL “It’s the quiet ones, ya have to be wary of !!” – Indeed.

    I believe that the more odious of Labor’s policies have been to attract the more conservative voters – which is hardly new. Perhaps with the strong results in Victoria and now Queensland, Shorten will find a little more spine to produce policies that are more faithful to the party’s ideology. Who knows? But would love to see the refugee plan hit the dust – primarily for humane reasons but also for the fact it is so freakin’ expensive – doubly stupid.

    Agree with you that Abbott will hang on like a limpet – add to this a reluctant cabinet not wanting to appear like Labor – I must say I find this hilarious; a sumptuous feed of schadenfreude – a shame it is so critical to our nation’s future and well-being.

    Overall, yes, we have reason to hope.

  117. Florence nee Fedup


    Site worth visiting. Turnbull bull shitting live on it now, Heard interviews earlier from Shorten and Hockey. Also Bowen.

  118. diannaart

    @Florence nee Fedup

    Thanks for link.

  119. Annie B

    Florence ….

    The link didn’t work for me … no matter what I did. So will take your word for it. ….

    Not a hard thing to do considering who was talking – … Turnbull – who is full of shmarmy parmy bull shit. …. It is his trademark con artist trick.

  120. Pingback: If it’s about Politics I’m not interested. March 13, 2015 Written by: John Lord | winstonclose

  121. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    What if Bill Shorten said “Within a month of gaining government, we will release into the community on temporary visas all those currently in detention who claim refugee status. Within 6 months, all claims will have been investigated, all genuine refugees will be offered 3 year temporary visas and all not found to be refugees will have the choice of being returned to their country of origin or sent to another country willing to take them.”
    I know it is not that simple really but we are destroying people, many of whom could have contributed to our community. And we need lots of willing workers to engage in the business of developing renewable energy resources to make up for lost time during the incumbency of the present government.
    Above all he MUST commit to immediately remove from detention all children and their families.

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