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Tag Archives: abbott

Day to Day Politics: Abbott admits to being an idiot.

Tuesday April 26 2016   – 69

In a revealing third essay for Quadrant Magazine Tony Abbott admits some of his failings. I haven’t read his work and because I think he is the greatest liar to have ever walked the corridors of Parliament house, I probably won’t.

Adam Gartrell in a critique for Fairfax Abbott admits to making errors and unnecessary enemies. He lists his expensive paid parental leave scheme (PPL) proposal and his decision to abolish the debt ceiling together with his decision on Knighthoods as major blunders.

He stands by his policies on same-sex marriage, climate change, asylum seekers and national security.

He still thinks that the 2014 budget was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

It is commendable that people, especially politicians, admit error. However in Abbott’s case he is simply trying to perpetuate an image of himself contrary to that of those with independent political judgement.

Of his budget he says that there was a “moral purpose” to returning the budget to surplus because it would have allowed the government to create a better society. How offensive is that to those he was expecting to pay for his better society? It was a budget that might have been called “the unfair immoral purpose of inequality”.

The question that arises is this, “a better society for who?” This budget was universally judged as the most unfair ever. If he was looking to a better society then it would not be the rich who would create it.

The utter dumbness of his PPL, his blindness on Climate Change, his infiltration of our schools with Christian Chaplains, and his stupidity on Knighthoods will be cemented in the political history of Australia as amongst the most injudicious ever.

If it were in him he would have listed his ability to lie in all circumstances as his biggest sin but that might be too much to expect. He wasn’t stopping boats he was turning them back.

Instead he says he should have done more media, particularly more long-form interviews so voters could see more of his personality. Personality, I’m lost for words so I will move on.

Two other things he regrets are not proceeding with changes to section 18c of the Racial Discrimination act and curtailing MP’s entitlements.

Leaving aside his attitude toward women I think I will leave it there least I say what I think. I wouldn’t want you to get the wrong impression of me.

Well one last thought. It’s this. How could you possibly on the one hand admit that as a leader you made many monumental errors of leadership and on the other wonder why your party sacked you? And on top of that harbour thoughts of returning to the job.

It takes a certain kind of arrogance to think that way.

My thought for the day.

“Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of politics. But unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibres from which it is woven”.

 

Day to Day Politics: With 17 backflips Turnbull qualifies for the Olympic diving team

Friday 15 April 2016

We can thank Malcolm Turnbull, for ridding his party, and the nation, of the combatant pugilist Abbott. He was rewarded for his effort with election winning polls and a personal popularity rating the envy of any celebrity. Initially with charismatic personality, he seduced and beguiled his way into the hearts of those who wanted nothing more than to see the back of Abbott and some who didn’t.

The punters welcomed, for the time being at least, his sense of reason, fairness, discretion and natural charm, even if these characteristics seemed out-of-place in a party so demonstrably right-wing.

After 7 months of what can only be described as waffle, it has become apparent that he is not the leader people thought he was. I have written hundreds of words, no, literally thousands, about his individual policy backflips but I have never collated them together.

Ben Elthan in his piece for New Matilda does just that and when viewed in their totality it becomes obvious the backflips are worthy of a gold medal. How a new leader could possibly backflip on so many issues is beyond understanding. Well except to suggest that he is incompetent and controlled by the right-wing of his party. Anyway, here is the list, you be the judge. You can read Ben’s piece on New Matilda. But first, here are the backflips Ben writes about:

1) Marriage equality

2) Climate policy

3) Raising the GST

4) Income tax cuts

5) Company tax cuts

6) Capital Gains Tax

7) Simplified tax returns

8) Funding for the Gonski schools reforms

9) University fee deregulation

10) International carbon permits for Direct Action

11) Safe Schools

12) Section 35P of the ASIO Act

13) An Australian republic

14) Tax disclosure

15) The “effects test” for competition law

16) The early budget

17) Income tax for the state.

2 During this week I wrote at length about the need for a Royal Commission into the financial sector. I think those who have so stridently opposed one underestimate public opinion on this one and are already into scare campaign mood. In reality the banks are about as popular as politicians. Here are a couple of small examples of why one is needed.

If one is looking for reasons to justify a Royal Commission into banking here is a small but significant one. The cash rate is 2%. The bank card rate on credit is 21% or there about. A 19% differential.

Here is another: Why is it, if you try to get a $10k personal loan unsecured at around 8% you have a 50/50 chance of being knocked back,  but banks can’t give you a $10k credit card at 20% quick enough.

Here are some bigger ones:

The fact is that on the evidence thus far our major banks are probably (should I use the word allegedly) guilty of insurance fraud, rate fixing and dodgy financial planning practices. They have no conscience when it comes to profit.

The objection to a Royal Commission brings into focus just what sort of democracy we are, or want to be. Are we one where the people are represented by the government of the day or some sort of corporatocracy where the government is just a political appendage of large corporations?

3 A factor we don’t consider when trying to analyse polling is the undecided factor. Lee Mullin. A Facebook friend sent me this:

“As most of the polls have the parties coming together it makes Morgan the standout as they are bucking the trend of the others. With the election getting ever closer, the polls start to take on more significance. I would love to know how they are dealing with the undecideds are they extrapolating them into the numbers or are they excluding them from the numbers and of course what are the raw figures on the undecideds. As that is where the election will be won and lost”.

4 Not often I would agree with the PM but on this he has my wholehearted support:

“I think as we all know, and I say this as a former mediocre rugby player, AFL is the most exciting football code”.

5 Waleed Aly wrote an interesting article this week in which he used a metaphor “The planets are beginning to fall into place for Labor” to explain how the growing discomfort with societal inequality in its many forms was giving Labor a narrative to really differentiate itself with the Conservatives.

They ranged from the wilful horror of Trump, to the right’s defence of the banking sector, into the unfairness of the Coalition’s monetary policy, the fact that major companies and individuals don’t pay tax, and the Panama papers. Notwithstanding the fact that the rich are becoming disproportionately wealthier year by year.

I have written on this subject on this blog before about inequality previously.

Aly is correct though. Both in Australia and overseas there is an acceptance that big business and right-wing governments are cheating. That the ordinary citizen’s rights are not being represented by government. The opposite is true. Governments are representing the interests of the privileged, the rich and big business. Labor has a chance to get back to its grass-roots and represent the common good of the people. I hope they grasp it.

My thought for the day.

“We must have the courage to ask of our young that they should go beyond desire and aspiration and accomplish not the trivial but greatness. That they should not allow the morality they have inherited from good folk to be corrupted by the immorality of evil minds”.

PS: My worst fears have come to fruition. Yes I am regretfully sorry to inform you that Barnaby Joyce is Prime Minister.

Day to Day Politics: ‘Remembering Abbott’s Past’ – 51 Reasons why he should move on.

Wednesday March 30 2016.

Leaders rarely go with good grace. Almost always they feel they have been hard done by. Tony Abbott has joined a long list who stubbornly cling to the past in the hope that they might reinvent a future. Abbott was never a popular leader. He fell into the Prime Minister’s job without the any attributes of leadership.

Here a just a few examples of why he was never suited for the job.

‘Do you really think my chief of staff would be under this kind of criticism if her name was Peter as opposed to Peta?” Mr Abbott asked the ABC’s Lyndal Curtis.’

My words

Do you really think I would be attacking the Prime Minister in the manner I do if her name was James and not Julia.

‘I think people need to take a long hard look at themselves with some of these criticisms.’

The Guardian has judged him as ‘politically incorrect to the point of dementia.’

New Statesman said Abbott represents ‘politics at its most crass, exploitative and disturbing’

UK Labour MP Paul Flynn called him ’a bigoted airhead.’

The LA Times called itself ’scandalised by his prejudices.’

The Sydney Morning Herald said ‘Tony Abbott had plumbed new lows in government decency.’

Le Monde thinks he is ‘sexist and vulgar.’

The influential Huffington Post said ‘he is simply an idiot.’

In the midst of the New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell’s resignation over a bottle of wine a reporter asked a seemingly legitimate question about corruption on the conservative side of politics in that state. The (then) Prime Minister’s reaction was indeed unrepresentative of the highest office in the land. His anger at the mere suggestion of corruption from his side of politics was palpable. Lest we forget.

But then his ability to feign indignation is only surpassed by that of Christopher Pyne. The fact that the journalist in question was a young lady, who he addressed as Madam, did nothing to dim his reputation for misogyny.

You can watch the video here.

There are those who say that blogs of the ilk for which I write are simply going through an exercise in character assassination. Not so. I was never a Howard hater like many people. Hating people is repugnant to me. However I do believe that Tony Abbott was demonstrably unfit for the highest office in the land and therefore open to the most severe examination.

There are three reasons. Firstly he was arguably the worst liar to have ever walked the halls of parliament. A liar by his own admission and by evidence. Secondly he is a luddite of the highest order. Anyone who cannot comprehend science and is dismissive of technology belongs in another time and is intellectually unsuited for leadership in the complex word of today. Lest we forget that he appointed Malcolm Turnbull as the then opposition spokesperson to destroy the NBN. Thirdly he is a characterless man of little personal political morality which has been on display throughout his career. He is and always has been an unpopular gutter politician of the worst kind. Lest we forget.

It is said that when opposition leaders ascend to the highest office they are judged by their performance in it. That their past misdemeanours are of little relevance. I cannot subscribe to that. Lest we forget.

Trying to convert a lifetime of negativity into motivating inspirational leadership was a bridge to far. To say the least he was totality uninspiring. In fact I can think of no other person in Australian public life who has made a greater contribution to the decline in public discourse, the lowering of parliamentary standards and the abuse of our democracy than Tony Abbott.

But one should not use the aforementioned language without substantiating one’s claims. So, lest we forget these indiscretions from his past.

None of these events are in chronological order. They are just as they came to mind and are listed randomly in order to build a character profile.

1 When the President of the US visited he broke long-standing conventions by politicising his speech as opposition leader.

2 He did the same when the Indonesian president visited.

3 He did the same when the Queen visited.

4 He could not help but play politics with the death of an Australian icon in Margaret Whitlam.

5 He would not allow pairs (another long-standing convention) so that the minister for the arts could attend the funeral of painter Margaret Olley. Another Australian icon. Malcolm Turnbull, a personnel friend was also prevented from attending. There have been other instances of not allowing pairs.

6 He refused a pair whilst the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard was on bereavement leave following the death of her father.

7 Then there were the callous and inappropriate remarks he made to Bernie Banton.

8 At university he kicked in a glass panel door when defeated in an election.

9 Referred to a woman Chairperson as “Chairthing”.

10 He was accused of assaulting a woman at University, and later acquitted. He was defended by a QC and the girl defended herself.

11 Another woman accuses him of throwing punches at her. And hitting either side of a wall she was standing against. He says it never happened but others corroborate her story.

12 He threatened to punch the head in of Lindsay Foyle who disagreed with him on a woman’s right to an abortion.

13 In 1978 a young teacher by the name of Peter Woof bought assault charges against Abbott. Abbott had punched him in the face. The charges never went anywhere. Abbott was represented by a legal team of six and the young man could not afford to defend himself.

14 And he did punch out Joe Hockey’s lights during a rugby match.

15 He established a slush fund to bring down Pauline Hansen and then lied about its existence.

16 He was ejected from the House of reps once in obscure circumstances. Hansard is unclear why, but it is alleged that he physically threatened Graham Edwards. Edwards lost both his legs in Vietnam.

17 In the year 2000 he was ejected from the House along with six others. Philip Coorey reports that he was headed toward the Labor back benches ready to thump a member who had heckled him.

18 Abused Nicola Roxon after turning up late for a debate.

19 Then there was the interview with Mark Riley where he had a brain fade that seemed like it would never end. I thought he was deciding between a right hook and a left cross. Something that I found mentally disturbing and worrying. After all, at the time this was the man who could be our next Prime Minister.

20 Together with Pyne he was seen running from the House of Reps to avoid embarrassment at being outwitted.

21 Being the first opposition leader to be ejected from the house in 26 years because he repeated an accusation of lying after withdrawing it.

22 The infamous “Sell my arse” statement verified by Tony Windsor. Will Windsor ever release the mobile phone transcript?

23 The interview with Kerry O’Brien where he admitted that unless it was in writing he didn’t always tell the truth.

24 And in another O’Brien interview he admitted lying about a meeting with the catholic Cardinal George Pell.

25 During the Republic referendum he told many outrageous untruths.

26 His famous ‘Climate change is crap’ comment and later saying that he was speaking to an audience. This of course elicited the question; ‘Is that what you always do?’

27 His almost daily visits as opposition leader to businesses with messages of gloom and doom about the carbon tax. None of which ever came to fruition. His blatant lying often repudiated by the management of the businesses. The most notable being the CEO of BHP and their decision not to proceed with the Olympic Dam mine. Whole towns being closed down. Industries being forced to sack thousands. The end of the coal industry etc.

28 And of course there is the now infamous Leigh Sales interview where beyond any doubt he lied three times and continued to do so the next day.

29 Then there was his statement that the Aboriginal tent embassy at Parliament House be closed. To call his statement an error in judgement is to kind. It almost sounded like an incitement to riot.

30 He is quoted as saying in the Parliament that Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Albanese had targets on their heads. He later apologised.

31 And of course there is also the lie about asylum seekers being illegal.

32 Added to that is his statement that the PM refused to lay down and die.

I think I have exhausted it all but I cannot be sure. Oh wait. Lest we forget.

33 We should not leave out his insensitive comments about the attempted suicide of John Brogden.

34 And the deliberate lie he told to the Australian Minerals Council that the Chinese intended increasing their emissions by 500 per cent.

35 His ‘dying of shame’ comment.

36 His ‘lack of experience in raising children’ comment.

37 His ‘make an honest women of herself’ comment.

38 His ‘no doesn’t mean no’ comment.

Then of course there were these Tonyisms. Similar ones have continued into his Prime Ministership.

Lest we forget.

39 ‘Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia’.

40 ‘These people aren’t so much seeking asylum, they’re seeking permanent residency. If they were happy with temporary protection visas, then they might be able to argue better that they were asylum seekers’.

On rights at work:

41 ‘If we’re honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband … you find that he tends to do more good than harm. He might be a bad boss but at least he’s employing someone while he is in fact a boss’.

On women:

42 ‘The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience’.

43 ‘I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons’.

44 ‘I  think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak’.

45 ‘What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year…’.

On Julia Gillard:

46 ‘Gillard won’t lie down and die’.

On climate change:

47 ‘Climate change is absolute crap’.

48 ‘If you want to put a price on carbon why not just do it with a simple tax’.

On homosexuality:

49 ‘I’d probably … I feel a bit threatened’

50 ‘If you’d asked me for advice I would have said to have – adopt a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about all of these things…’.

On Indigenous Australia:

51 ‘Now, I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren’t happy with Australia Day. For them it remains Invasion Day. I think a better view is the view of Noel Pearson, who has said that Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage’.

52 ‘Western civilisation came to this country in 1788 and I’m proud of that…’.

53 ‘There may not be a great job for them but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done’.

On Nicola Roxon:

54 ‘That’s bullshit. You’re being deliberately unpleasant. I suppose you can’t help yourself, can you?’

The list is by no means complete and I am sure readers could add many more to it. His ludicrous statement about our navy’s problems with navigation and blatantly lying about turning boats around as opposed to turning them back. Lest we forget.

His lying and nasty ill-founded comments continued unabated further empathising his unsuitability for the job. Take this for example:

When Tony Abbott said this what did you think?

‘You can vote Liberal or Labor and you’ll get exactly the same amount of funding for your school’.

‘There will be no change to school funding under the government I lead’.

Then he said the Coalition would deliver on its education election promises, not on what some people ‘thought’ it was going to do.

Now some time back Tony Abbott told us that the best way to understand the truth of what he was saying was to have it in writing. Otherwise what he was saying was just idle chatter for an audience.

So now I’m a little confused. You see now he is saying that what I thought he said is only a figment of my imagination. That what I think I thought he meant is not what he meant at all. That when he says something and I take it to mean one thing he has the option of saying that what I thought I heard was not what I heard at all. It was only my interpretation of what he meant mean, did he say what he meant or did he mean to say what he meant or was what he meant really what he meant.

I know what I thought and I know what I’m thinking now. Lying deceptive bastard. Lest we forget.

Another example:

When asked in parliament in February 2013 whether he stood by his statement of ‘no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS’ made the night before the election, Mr Abbott responded:

‘Of course I stand by all the commitments that this government made prior to the election. If there is one lesson that members opposite should have learnt from the experience of the previous term of parliament it is that you cannot say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.’

He was still saying the same thing some time later.

Convicted of lying by his own words I would have thought. And not a word of protest from the main stream media at the time.

Something truly remarkable had happened in Australian politics. The Australian Prime Minister who was as opposition leader a person devoid of character, was now attempting a personality conversion to rival nothing hitherto seen in an Australian leader. During his tenure as opposition leader he used colourful aggressive language. He was bullish in his attitude to others, particularly to the female Prime Minister of the day. His negativity was legendary. He held in contempt procedures of the House of Representatives and the conventions it upheld. Lest we forget.

Then a few months into his term of office we were expected to believe that he had transformed into a mild-mannered, cultured man of some distinction. Walking the global stage as a gentleman with noble intent.

We were expected to put to one side the old Tony Abbott and embrace the new one with unbridled fondness. Lest we forget.

Well I am all for self-improvement. I like to think I have practiced it all my life. But in this instance I was not be conned with his nonsense.

David Marr’s quarterly essay “Political Animal” gave an engrossing even gripping insight into the persona of the then leader of the opposition leader. I made many observations as I read it and I cannot of course comment on everything. I must say though (given Tony Abbot’s statement that he finds gay’s intimidating) that I was a little bemused at how Marr even got to interview him. They apparently spent some time together which must have been excruciatingly uncomfortable for the then opposition leader. And given that Mr Abbott only allowed him to use just one quote I should think he probably wasted his time. Another thing that took my attention was the influence of Catholicism in his private and political decision-making. He apparently finds it difficult to make decisions without referral to his faith. Lest we forget.

Regardless of what political persuasion you are I believe we like to see character in our leaders. Now how do we describe character?

“Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of a presidential campaign, but unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibres from which it is woven.”

When looked at in isolation the lies and indiscretions of Tony Abbott, his problems with women and even his negativity could perhaps all be written off as just Tony being Tony. Or that’s just politics. However my focus here is on character and whether Mr Abbott had enough of it to be the leader of our nation. My contention is that because we are looking at a litany of instances of lying, deception and bad behaviour over a long period of time he simply didn’t have the essence of character which is one of the main ingredients in the recipe of leadership. On the evidence the former Prime Minister fell a long way short.

Lest we forget.

It is however, it’s the area of truth that shows the worst aspects of his character. The future of this country is of vital importance. Given his performance of late he would do well to consider these words.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. It was always easy to understand what Abbott said because he only ever spoke in slogans. The difficulty was always knowing what he means.

‘As he spoke I expected the very essence of truth but his words came from the beginning of a smirk, or was it just a sneer of deception.’

John Lord

If politics is fundamentally about ideas it is also about leadership. In this piece I have deliberately steered clear of policy argument in order to concentrate on character. On numerous occasions I have invited people on Facebook to list five attributes of Tony Abbott that warranted his election as Prime Minister of Australia. I have never received a reply. And when you look at the aforementioned list, is it any wonder. He is simply bereft of any character at all. He has been described as the mad monk and many other things but essentially he is a repugnant gutter politician of the worst kind.

My thought for the day.

‘It is better to be comforted with the truth than be controlled by lies.’

John Lord

Author’s note.

The phrase ‘lest we forget’ is generally used as a mark of respect for those who have died in war. It does however have other meanings. One of which is a warning against lying and the perils of self-pride, exaggeration and bad leadership that eventually leads to an inevitable decline in power. It is in that context that I use it.

Day to Day Politics: Reducing tax for those who don’t pay any.

Thursday 24 March 2016

1 My headline doesn’t make any sense but then not much does with the Abbott/Turnbull Governments. The tax office tells us that a third of large privately owned businesses didn’t pay any tax in 2013-14. It went out of its way to say that a degree of legitimacy may have been involved.

Really. Let me repeat that. ‘A third of large privately owned businesses didn’t pay tax’.

So my answer to that is that if it was legitimate under existing rules, then change the bloody rules. How on earth, in an election campaign, which will also involve a budget, can you expect people to accept tax cuts for businesses who don’t pay any?

In addition we have dozens of multi nationals who don’t pay together with hundreds of public companies who don’t pay either. They of course aren’t breaking any laws because business only salutes the God of capitalism. The CFMEU might be continuously in court for good reason but it makes one wonder how many tax evaders should be fronting the courts.

It may be the case that if companies paid their fair share of tax the budget might be brought back to surplus.

Let’s face it. Giving Australia’s most wealthy companies a tax cut is simply unjustifiable on many levels. And he might face a revolt from the State Premiers.

Jay Weatherill:

‘If the commonwealth is to pursue cuts to company tax when we think the first call on the nation’s resources should be health and education funding, then they should expect a fierce campaign to be run against them during the federal election.’

Conversely, it is a time to get tough with our tax laws and get rid of the unfair tax breaks. Then we could start on unfair subsidies.

Speaking of courts read this from Bernard Keane:

‘The rich irony of yesterday is that while the Prime Minister was declaring that he was prepared to go to an election on the issue of “criminality in the building and construction industry”, the CEO of the Australian Stock Exchange, Elmer Funke Kupper was resigning in response to allegations relating to a massive bribe to the head of the Cambodian regime, Hun Sen. And then there are the continuing revelations about the scandalous behaviour of the Commonwealth Bank in relation to insurance, and the open clash between business figures and the head of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission over toxic corporate cultures’.

2 The Safe Schools program continues to draw headlines. Cory Bernardi sends an email to a concerned mother.

The point he makes about links in his email is a furphy. Anyone with any internet experience will attest to the fact that if you type in the words boy-girl into Google you are likely to be taken to the most outrageous pornography. I’m sure Cory and George have taken a peek otherwise they are relying on hearsay.

What is missed in all this nonsense from the Bernardi/Christensen camp is that the schools involved could select in whole, or different elements of the program relevant to individual needs? The right often argues for more independence for schools. Here was an opportunity. Having said all that I read yesterday that the program will be defunded in 2017.

3 In an effort to place a demarcation line between him and Abbot the Prime Minister will retain the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Abbott of course sought to abolish the two agencies in line with his belief that Climate Change was a Socialist plot. Regardless of motive this is a good decision.

He might further try to differentiate himself from Abbott by reinstating some of the health and education spending cuts in the 2014 Budget.

4 Tuesday’s Essential Poll came in at 50/50. The combined major Polls have the parties neck and neck.

5 Every day I write my opinions on a variety of subjects. They are my own thoughts based on my political philosophy, many individual and collective influences, and my world view based on 75 years of a living experience.

On some Facebook pages it’s astonishing just how many on the right of politics swear blind they never read would never contemplate reading my work, so abhorrent it is to them. Then they go on to opine about it.

Whatever intelligence I might have affords me no understanding of this.

It is an endless fascination as to how people can have an opinion of something they have never read.

6 Senator Eric Abetz a rabid supporter of Tony Abbott now reckons Turnbull is showing leadership and has a plan for Australia’s future. Begs the question as to why he’s been hiding it for so long and is reluctant to share it.

7 Presidential aspirants respond to Brussels.

Donald Trump.

‘We have to be very careful in the US, we have to be very vigilant as to who we let in this country’.

‘If they could expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding’.

You have to get the information from people.’

 He means waterboarding.

If I were being tortured I would disclose whatever people wanted to know. I would even embellish with all the believable creative flair I could muster. I would become the world’s greatest story-teller, or bullshitter.

Ted Cruz:

‘Our European allies are now seeing what comes of a toxic mix of migrants who have been infiltrated by terrorists and isolated, radical Muslim neighbourhoods.’

‘We will do what we can to help them fight this scourge, and redouble our efforts to make sure it does not happen here. We need to immediately halt the flow of refugees from countries with a significant al-Qaida or Isis presence.’

‘We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighbourhoods before they become radicalized. We need to secure the southern border to prevent terrorist infiltration. And we need to execute a coherent campaign to utterly destroy Isis.’

The days of the United States voluntarily surrendering to the enemy to show how progressive and enlightened we can be are at an end. Our country is at stake’

Bernie Sanders:

‘We offer our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in this barbaric attack and to the people of Brussels who were the target of another cowardly attempt to terrorize innocent civilians. We stand with our European allies to offer any necessary assistance in these difficult times.’

Today’s attack is a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy Isis. This type of barbarism cannot be allowed to continue.’

Hillary Clinton called the attacks ‘deeply distressing’ but said closed borders were not the answer, and the ‘dream of a whole, free Europe … should not be walked away from’.

She opposed torture. Security officials ‘do not need to resort to torture, but they are going to need more help’, she said.

Same old black and white solutions to highly complex problems.

Bernie Sanders came closest to the answer with this sentence:

‘Today’s attack is a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy Isis.’

 An observation.

 It is only when the world seriously combines its international strengths, be they monetary or military, with a commonly sought desire to rid itself of this threat to world security will the problem be resolved. To do so would require the laying aside of deep-seated, often historical grievances. But it has to be done.

My thought for the day.

‘Any meaningful resolution to the problems in the Middle East (and elsewhere for that matter) cannot be resolved without the transformation of the minds of men and consideration of the effect religion, any religion, has on people’.

PS. I am away until Tuesday.

 

Day to Day Politics: A letter to the editor, from Morrie Moneyweather.

Wednesday March 16 2016

Author’s Note: From time to time we receive letters from people. Morrie hasn’t written for a while so given our policy of openness I thought I would share his latest effort.

Dear Lord.

I sword I would never write to this blog again after the way I was treated last time but events of the past few days have left me angry. That old fart John Lord who writes for yous needs another kick up the arse.

He really has become embrassassing. I mean that article criticizing Americia’s great white hope, Donald Trump was pretty crook but this time I’m going to forget my breading, my manners, and my education and tell the old prick what I think of him.

I mean there is just no limit to how far he will stoop, no gutter to low to slide into, no sewer to murky for him to loose himself in.

I mean I’m not sure what’s the biggest. His immature heart he wares on his sleeve or the chip he has on both his shoulders.

We had a great leader in Tony Abbott. If you don’t think so look at these remarkable insights.

‘There is a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.’

‘Bad bosses, like bad fathers and husbands, should be tolerated because they do more good than harm.’

‘We have to get this straight: euthanasia is not about the right to die, it is about the right to kill.’’

‘Abortion is the easy way out. It’s hardly surprising that people should choose the most convenient exit from awkward situations.’

‘We just can’t stop people from being homeless if that’s their choice.’

What a remakable man he was.

How fortunate the country was when the opportunity arose to give a better man a chance to lead.

And all Lord does is criticise. Ask yourself this question.

Has Australia ever, so wisely, elected a man so positive about the countries future and expressed it so clearly? I mean there’s never bean a better time to be an Australian.

Malcolm is a person with truth and transparency. So sensitive to those who cannot help themselves. So willing to endorse and foster equality. So knoweggible of technology and science. So aware to the needs of women.

That’s why women like him as there Prime minster. So adeptt at policy formation and its implementation. So on top of good communication. So diplomatic, so ambassadorial, so sensitive, in his attitude toward others. So accomdating of those who desires equality.

And in touch with a modern pluralist society. A man so sophisticated in deep worldly acumen and discernment, yet religiously motivated.

What Lord wrote yesterday was just unadulterated crap. That’s the word Tony used to describe Climate Change. Malcolm agrees with him that it’s all a socialist plot. So much so that he intends to impliment the Direct Action plan that Tony invented. It’s just the best plan ever and we all share the cost. Why should business pay all the time? They have enough tax to pay.

Just like the NBN. Malcolm invented that too. I can’t work out what people are complaining about. It’s fast enough for me to follow. You would reckon people would be grateful for all the education the Internet provides. I know my son Miles and his classmates in year 12 at Melbourne Grammar do. I mean the amount of homework Miles does every night with his bedroom door locked is astonishing.

Now another thing. All this talk about Peta and Tony has got to stop. She was never in Foreign Affairs anyway. That Nikki Savva has a lot to answer for starting all those rumours.

John Lord just keeps hurling insults every day. Never a fact to back up his lying. Just wild claims about anything that suits him. I mean he thinks he has some sort of influence over people.

Fancy saying that Malcolm doesn’t have a plan. His words have a wiff of effluence about them. His plan is to stay in power so that the rich can support the poor with whatever is left over after all our expenses are catered for. After all there are a lot of costs associated with being rich.

And, don’t let me get started on that bloody safe schools program. If the kids can’t take a bit of bullying then they should just change schools. Miles gets bullied about our family wealth every day. Doesn’t worry him.

Now when Peter Dutton says if Labor is elected the stock market will crash and the economy will collapse and we will have a recession you have to believe him. After all he was a policeman.

I don’t mind telling you that with that sort of insight he should be treasurer.

So after you have all red this I expect yous to pick up your game and start printing the facts about things instead of all the commo clap trap yous print. How about printing the truth like the right does.

Yours Faithfully.

Morrie Moneyweather.

Toorak.

As usual me piece was proof read by Miles mates in the Melbourne Gramma final year English class.

My thought for the day.

 ‘There’s nothing like the certainty of a closed mind’

And another thought

‘Good grammar is vitality important but is secondary to the expression of a valid well-constructed point of view’.

 

Day to Day Politics: Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

1 Tuesday’s Newspoll sees both Labor and the Coalition on 50/50 confirming that the poll a fortnight ago wasn’t a rogue one. There is no doubt the polls are tightening.

The Morgan Poll remains virtually unchanged with the Coalition on 53% and Labor on 47%

Essential is also unchanged from last week at 50/50.

This leaves the risk averse Malcolm Turnbull with a dilemma. Does he go to an election in July or wait until August/September?

If he chooses July it has to be following a budget where he said he will reveal his Tax Reform Policy. A policy that must be so diluted by now that there will be little to present. It will also be a budget, if savings are the objective that hits social services, health and education hard. Other areas won’t give them the required savings for budget repair.

Whichever way you look at it he cannot deliver an election year budget full of goodies. Having said that, any budget delivered immediately before an election campaign wouldn’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.

If he elects to wait then he risks a further deterioration in the polls. Now if it were me I would, given I have nothing to lose, take it up to the right-wing of the Party. Shirtfront them. Even a little headbutting wouldn’t go astray.

Tell them that if they want to win it’s my way or the bush. Grow some balls and be your own man, Malcolm.

The honeymoon, however, does appear to be well and truly over with Turnbull’s performance rating slumping to 44% – a fall of 16 points since November. He does, however, remain preferred PM with 55% to Bill Shorten 21%

2 Whilst I understand the ABC’s desire to have a diversity of views on its panel, for the life of me, given his past, I cannot understand how having Alan Jones opining about the Catholic Church, boys, and morality, was appropriate.

3 A Royal Commission into the banks and the financial advice industry is long overdue. Conservative governments are loathe to investigate the big end of town for ideological reasons. Last night’s Four Corners program should ensure one is implemented. It also highlights the need for a national ICAC.

4 Nancy Reagan has passed away. I don’t carry fond memories of her. The one I do recall was her simplistic naïve answer to America’s drug problem: ‘Just say no’.

5 I have read many political books in my lifetime both biographical and scholarly. My favourite in terms of insight into how government works has always been Don Watson’s masterly study of Paul Keating; ‘Recollections of a Bleeding Heart’. Yesterday I began reading the book of the moment – Nikki Savva’s ‘Road to Ruin’. It gives promise of an insight into all that is wrong with the way we are governed.

6 The IPA gains a voice in the Senate with the selection of 28-year-old James Paterson to the top of the Liberal Victorian ticket. Paterson has strong libertarian views on issues like free speech. Together with the right, the IPA have had a victory.

7 In the words of former Opposition Leader Dr John Hewson, speaking about Tony Abbott:

‘I suffered from his disloyalty because he was a constant channel from my office to John Howard’.

‘He did go down in history as probably the most effective leader of the opposition in the sense that he made negativity an art form, but from the point of view of good government and reform processes and so on, it was a pretty disastrous period’.

 My thought for the day.

‘We dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that we can make permanent that which makes us feel secure. Yet change is in fact part of the very fabric of our existence’.

PS. I’m 80 pages in to ‘Road to Ruin’. My conclusion: If all is true and I have no doubt it is, Tony Abbott is guilty of not seeking help for the lady in question.

 

Day to Day Politics: For Christ’s sake tell the truth.

Friday 4 March 2016

It is said that in war ‘truth’ is the first causality. Lying is probably one of the most common wrong acts that we perform. In fact lying as we understand it is an unavoidable part of human nature. Therefore it’s worth spending time thinking about it.

Whilst it might be true that truth is the first causality of war, I would contend that over the past ten or twenty years it has become a major causality of our public discourse. If I were asked to pinpoint it I would date it at around, or post, Ronald Reagan’s appointment as president of the US.

It was a period that saw the beginning of the Religious Right’s involvement in Politics and of Neo Conservatism.

In the last US election Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan took lying to an unparalleled level. Fact finders alerted the public to 2019 lies by Romney alone. I watched the first Presidential debate and became fascinated with how Romney could present fiction as fact. It is my contention that President Obama lost the first debate not because he was of his game, or that he was unprepared, but rather he was taken by surprise by the wilful lies that Romney was telling.

Political lying in Australia since Tony Abbott’s appointment as opposition leader reached unprecedented levels and insinuated itself into our public dialogue, including the media. So much so that it is now almost impossible for the average punter to know just who is telling the truth.

Which brings me to my point. What resources does the average punter have to accessing the truth? If we have the time we can do some research? Look up the facts presented by fact checkers. Pay for FOI documents. Who has time for all that?

The truth is that in the absence of readily identifiable evidence we all use what is generally called ‘the pub test or common sense test.’ In other words we digest all the available information and ask ourselves the question ’is it plausible?’ Does what I am being told have the ring of truth about it. We make judgements based on our life’s experience. Unless your personal bias clouds the ’Pub test’ your inner conscience dictates your judgement.

Two observations.

‘I don’t judge people but I do form my own opinion of course’.

‘Life is about perception, not what is but what we perceive it to be’.

Let’s take two current items currently making headlines.

Firstly, there is a National Security leak. There is nothing more serious politically. The story appears in The Australian Newspaper which is a known supporter of former Prime Minister Abbott. The journalist in question, Greg Sheridan is also a personal friend of Abbott. Abbott is also quoted in the piece thus giving the leak credibility. To adhere one’s own words to a leaked document is dangerous.

Everyone knows that our former Prime Minister is a liar. He might even be the worst in our political history. He is certainly the worst this nation has ever seen. Many of our most respected journalists and media commentators have said so. He has even admitted he is a liar himself.

The evidence is so abundant, so overwhelmingly copious that it is beyond contradiction. It is fair to say that in general the populace accepted his lying as a fact. I and many others have listed them, quoted them, itemised, analysed them and exposed them in crystal clarity. Even members of his own party have accepted that he is a liar of nefarious intent.

And his sheer indifference to the fact that he lies together with his lack of conscience about it I found sickening. The list is as long as a toilet roll.

Secondly, Cardinal George Pell gives evidence at the Royal Commission into Child Abuse. Despite at all times being but a breath away from all the vile conduct of the church, the suicides, molesting, families destroyed, he denies everything and blames everyone else pleading that he was told nothing.

In the first instance, the leak, an investigation is being carried out. Leaks of course are not uncommon in politics. John Howard famously leaked to Andrew Bolt at the time of the Iraq war to discredit the outspoken Andrew Wilke. It wasn’t successful because Wilke had too much integrity.

History shows that enquiries reveal nothing. I therefore in the absence of hard evidence I conclude that my common sense tells me that Abbott is still upset with losing the Prime Ministership and is intent on undermining Turnbull’s position. The same as Rudd did to Gillard.

In the case of Pell I conclude, again in the absence of proof, that he could not possibly have been that close to the action, and not be aware of the unmitigated evil being carried out. Time and time again he pleads ignorance. I didn’t know I wasn’t told. Even when he pleads the greyness of the context of the time I deduce that time doesn’t diminish the crime.

An observation.

‘The standards we walk past are the standards we accept’.

Despite a tendency inherited biologically by all to lie. Truth in politics and society in general matters enormously. It is not a trivial matter in any democracy. Our whole system is based on the assumption that truth prevails over all else and that it is the people who judge its veracity.

Without truth the people cannot give informed accent to office and democracy fails. There are ethical obligations of integrity and coherence upon which society depends. Our leaders when they lie fail the highest standards of social morality.

At this time in our history we are experiencing a toxic tide of leadership mistrust. No other politician has contributed to it more than Tony Abbott. Is he the most dishonest, the most cynical and pathologically perverted liar to ever lead our nation?

Pell may indeed be found to be the worst religious liar this country has seen. A blight on the very essence of the teaching of Christ.

I will leave you to ponder the question. Use your common sense and ask yourself is what they are saying plausible. It’s the pub test.

Two thoughts for the day.

Humility is the basis of all intellectual advancement. However, it is truth that enables human progress’.

‘Question everything. What you see, what you feel, what you hear and what you are told until you understand the truth of it. Faith is the residue of things not understood and can never be a substitute for fact’.

 

Day to Day Politics: The Evil Priest

Wednesday 2 March 2016

1 Cardinal Pell in giving evidence to the Royal Commission into the abuse of children uttered two of the most debauched sentences ever spoken by an Australian cleric.

“I didn’t know whether it was common knowledge or whether it wasn’t,” he said. “It’s a sad story and it wasn’t of much interest to me.” “The suffering, of course, was real and I very much regret that but I had no reason to turn my mind to the extent of the evil that Ridsdale had perpetrated.”

The audible grasp from those listening summed up the pent-up vacuum of abhorrence the victims feel for this man.

He evoked the ‘I didn’t know, I wasn’t told’ defence that sounded as hollow as a burnt out log in hell. It beggars belief that he didn’t know what was going on.

The good and faithful of the church must be greatly offended by the leadership that represents them.

It seems the words compassion, contrition and empathy have been lost on this priest who purports to represent the word of God.

An observation on the lost lives.

‘In the cycle of life people we care most about are taken from us too soon. We struggle to come to terms with the why of it and there is no answer. It is only by the way we conduct our living that we salute the legacy they leave behind‘.

2 Is John Howard seriously suggesting that people such as these don’t speak out because of some sort of fear of political correctness? That’s the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard.

Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, Piers Akerman, Janet Albrechtson, Miranda Devine, Dennis Shanahan, Paul Kelly, Chris Kenny and Tom Switzer. Gerard Henderson Paul Sheehan, Miranda Divine. Ray Hadley, Michael Smith, Judith Sloane, Terry McCrann, Chris Berg, Miranda Divine and Rupert Murdoch.

I think they would feel highly insulted by his words.

3 The Safe Schools programme has the blessing of high school principals and parents. It is objected to by the Australian Christian Lobby and Tony Abbott and his loyal gang of Christian acolytes.

The same people are gradually merging this argument with marriage equality. Pamphlets of misinformation are beginning to appear. It’s becoming like the Republican Referendum where Tony Abbott and Nick Minchin told the most outrageous lies.

Abbott has already called the Safe Schools programme “social engineering”. That’s a subject he would know a lot about. And bullying I venture to suggest.

The pamphlet in question says, among other things, that children of gay and lesbian parents are more prone to “abuse and neglect” and more likely to be unemployed, abuse drugs and suffer depression.

It is authorised by a former John Howard parliamentary secretary. So you can see the ‘NO’ campaign is drawing up its lines of engagement.

Tony looks set to head the ‘NO’ case and it will divide the community. Why are we spending $160M on a plebiscite to find an answer already known? It’s to raise the voice of a Christian minority. A voice that is doomed to oblivion in the next decade or so.

4 During John Howard’s tenure the LNP had 13 tries to get their Broadband policy right. They never did, mainly because they didn’t understand its purpose. Luddites of the calibre of Howard, who didn’t know how to send an email, George Brandis who can’t use a computer and Tony Abbott who thought it was only used to access porn, or entertainment as he described it, thought it was a load of nonsense.

Abbott, when he became Prime Minister commissioned Turnbull to destroy it. Turnbull to his credit saw its true value. He did say he could do it at half Labor’s cost and in half the time. The opposite is the truth. It’s taking twice as long and costing twice as much.

Worse still is that the majority of us will get old technology. A technology that within ten years will have to be replaced. At the end of it our internet speeds will be ranked 46th in the world.

We’ve moved from Labor’s state-of-the-art fibre to the premises (FttP) strategy to the so-called Multi-Technology Mix (MTM), which heavily relies on using the ageing Telstra copper network and the not so old, but not very modern, Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) networks originally built for pay television. Both will require considerable remediation work before they are fit for purpose and there is a solid argument to be put that in the end we’ll have to replace much of them at some point anyway.

Tony Abbott originally said:

“The Government is going to invest $43 billion worth of hard-earned money in what I believe is going to turn out to be a white elephant on a massive scale”.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Turnbull tells us that our future rests on innovation.

5 The Essential Poll yesterday has Labor and the LNP on 50% and Labor on 50%. A trend has begun. Do the odds shorten for a July election?

6 Who is leading the Liberal Party? It looks like Tony Abbott is doing all the leading at the moment shirtfronting, the PM telling the party room what the Government should be doing.

Everyone seems to be telling the leader how to lead. Might I remind everyone that the Abbott/ Turnbull Government, by the time of the election will have been in power for a full term and they are now getting around to formulating an economic plan? Still a lot of talking going under the bridge.

My thought for the day.

Truth is pure yet fragile and requires delicacy in delivery. There are however times when it needs some diplomatic force to make it register’.

 

Day to Day Politics: Random thoughts on many things.

Monday 29 February 2016

1 Tony Abbott said he wore his 2014 Budget like a ‘Badge of Honor’. Veteran economics journalist Ross Gittens put it this way at the time:

The first and biggest reason the government is having to modify or abandon so many of its measures is the budget’s blatant unfairness. In 40 years of budget-watching I’ve seen plenty of unfair budgets, but never one as bad as this’.

2 I do wish writers, even those on this blog would use the term ‘Abbott/Turnbull’ government.

3 And I do wish that writers would empathise the fact that the Abbott/Turnbull government has been in power for two and a half years.

4 Are the often outlandish statements from the likes of Cory Bernardi, George Christiansen and others about the Safe Schools programme just a forerunner of what we might expect in the plebiscite debate on marriage equality?

Some of what they are saying isn’t even in the programme.

This plebiscite might unearth, without quality leadership, some unwanted social disharmony.

Turnbull is only pursuing his expensive $160m plebiscite as a delaying tactic to satisfy the right of his party — extreme Liberals like Christensen. The fact is, if he were a strong leader, Turnbull would allow a free vote in the parliament on marriage equality next week.

5 I notice ‘The Fixer’ is saying that he is responsible for the defence policy announced last week.

6 Roy and The Fixer are helping police with their enquiries. Found this on Facebook. Can’t name the source.

‘My sources tell me the AFP is acting on a complaint made by the Federal Court that, at the least, Brough, in collusion with Ashby and Harmers Workplace Lawyers, set out to to subvert the court process.

How Harmers has gotten away with its patently false claims in the Originating Document beggars belief. They said they had a sworn, detailed affidavit of Slipper romping indecently with another male when they simply did not. It was total bullshit, but included the precise details of a lurid sick mind.’

7 How could George Pell possibly not have known about the child abuse happening all around him? Those who say there is some sort of vendetta against him are wrong. All they want is for him to tell the truth.

8 My reference to George Christianson and penis tucking yesterday seems to have gone over the heads of those who read my posts. George is indeed an obese man.

An observation.

It is the misinformed who shout the loudest. The rest of us are content with the truth we enquired about.

9 Thank goodness the latest series of ‘House of Cards’ commences Friday. Back to some reality at last.

10 To quote Paul Kelly: ‘Malcolm is starting to sound like Tony Abbott’.

11 There are some truly some excellent comments on my post yesterday. We are blessed to have some who make a virtue of responding.

12 Changes to Media Rules. This is how Fairfax puts it. Whatever the outcome Murdoch will be the big winner.

‘The reach rule currently prohibits television networks from broadcasting to more than 75 per cent of the population. The two out of three rule bans media proprietors from controlling a newspaper, television and radio station in the same market. Scrapping the two out of three rule is the more controversial change because of concerns about media diversity. Labor MPs are concerned about the change because it could allow a proprietor such as Rupert Murdoch to extend his control in major markets’.

13 Talking about Fairfax, if ever there was an illustration of how journalistic standards have slipped it has to be Paul Sheehan’s recent story ‘Louise’. It was just an unsubstantiated Islamophobia beat-up in an area in which he has substantial form. How he is still in a job is the bigger mystery.

14 John Howard says he shudders at the thought of Donald Trump becoming America’s next President:

‘In part, his success is emblematic of people’s frustration with political correctness. What people like is he seems to call it as it is’.

Does he mean that he agrees with the manner in which he conducts his public discourse?

15 The conservative objection to political correctness it seems to me is in large part sour grapes. I don’t see the right or the extreme right not having a voice or indeed the capacity to use it. What I hear is an incoherent voice that cannot get its point across.

16 Did you know that current wages growth at 2.2% is the lowest ever recorded?

17 Someone emailed this to me without leaving a name:

‘If the Catholic Church was a corporation, or a charity, it would be shut down and its assets sold off. All Catholics are now disenfranchised apologists for an organisation that has utterly betrayed their faith and the god they love. Pity the faithful. They don’t deserve the harm the men within the church have inflicted on them. A new reformation is needed. A revolution in thinking is required’.

18 The Prime Minister was out and about yesterday spruiking his scare campaign against Labor’s Negative Gearing policy. There was not a hint of the explaining he said he would do.

19 Sydney radio station 2GB is conducting a Poll on this question:

‘If you voted Liberal in the last election, who’s your preferred Prime Minister now?’ At 4pm yesterday the count was 96% for Abbott and 4% for Turnbull.

20 Donald Trump has the support of the KKK and Jean-Marie Le Pen. Only in America.

My thought for the day

‘There’s nothing like the certainty of a closed mind’.

 

Day to Day Politics: Was Abbott right?

Sunday 28 February 20161

1 Who said this?

‘I am a reformer by nature, very much so’

‘Everything, every single element, is on the table. And I know that always means that someone can then run a scare campaign, but I’m sorry, we’ve got to stop [this]. This is part of the political tradition I’m determined to end. We have got to be able to consider policy options in an unfettered way. We’ve got to have the maturity to have a debate that is not throwing things off the table …’

Malcolm Turnbull.

There’s the problem. Tony Abbott has said on a few occasions that he couldn’t work out why the government had changed leaders when it had not changed any of his policies.

Tanya Plibersek made the point ‘All of those people were sitting in middle Australia thinking, ‘Thank God Tony Abbott is gone.’ What have they been left with? They have been left with Tony Abbott in a different suit’.

’Because what happens is politicians who get intimidated by their opponents or by the media or whatever, they say, ‘Oh that’s off the table, that’s off the table, that’s off the table’ and suddenly there’s nothing left on the table’.

Malcolm Turnbull.

Those who were thankful and delighted in the demise of Abbott are entitled to think they have been let down. Even people of the opposite ideology felt that Turnbull would bring a new era of public discourse.

But today, Turnbull is the man taking options off the table in a piecemeal, panicky kind of way.

I have said it before that new Prime Ministers generally try to make their mark on the party they lead by implementing their own policies. Putting their stamp on their leadership. Turnbull, in spite of saying all the afore-mentioned has chosen to rubber stamp all of Abbotts policies.

He has reaffirmed Abbott’s policies on same-sex marriage, direct action on climate change, his monarchist stance, border protection and foreign policy.

‘We need a style of leadership that explains those challenges and opportunities, explains the challenges and how to seize the opportunities. A style of leadership that respects the people’s intelligence, that explains these complex issues and then sets out the course of action we believe we should take and makes a case for it. We need advocacy, not slogans’.

Peter Hartcher of Fairfax put it this way:

‘Two weeks ago he decided that he would not support raising the GST, that “big bang” tax reform was off the table, and since that moment he has transformed.

From explaining the challenges and opportunities, he has transformed into a politician who instead explains why he is not pursuing challenges and opportunities.

First he explained why he was not going to raise the GST. Then he explained why he will reject Labor’s ideas on negative gearing and capital gains tax. And then he launched into a full-throated scare campaign against Labor’s proposals without advocating any alternative.

On tax reform, he is now heading to exactly where Abbott said he was likely to have been: “At a minimum” Abbott told me last November, “we would have had modest tax cuts based on spending restraints’.

Abbott is right to ask why they changed leaders but is wrong to assume he would have won the next election.

2 The poll aggregate from Crickey moves in Labor’s favour for the fourth week in a row, this time rather sharply in the wake of Newspoll’s surprise result. Coalition 52 Labor 48.

Newspoll’s surprise this week has caused a minor landslip in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which moves 0.8% to Labor on two-party preferred, while delivering only a modest gain of three on the seat projection (one each in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia). The leadership results from the poll have also caused Malcolm Turnbull’s net approval rating to continue its downward trajectory, and given a very slight impression of Bill Shorten pulling out of his slump. Also in the mix this week were results from Roy Morgan and Essential Research, neither of which recorded much movement, although the former found Labor hanging on to a big gain the previous fortnight.

3 A headline in The Australian quoted John Howard as saying that ‘People were afraid to speak’. Without reading the piece (firewall) I assume he is saying that people are afraid to speak their minds because they perceive the  criticism they may get is unwarranted or unfair. What he and others of his political persuasion forget is that they have so distorted truth with their lies that the general public distrusts everything politicians say.

His answer lays in the fact that only 13% of people trust politicians.

So badly has the truth been damaged by the likes of Abbott that people immediately recognise the spin and counter it, calling it for what it is. Free speech of the reasoned kind is still alive and well in this country. All they have to do is use it.

An observation

‘Free speech does not mean it should be free from ethics. Like truth for example’.

4 It is good to see that Tony Winsor is more than a 50/50 chance of recontesting the seat of New England. Recent polling shows that he has more than an even chance of winning.

5 The fascinating thing I find with George Christiansen’s objection to the very worthwhile anti bullying programme is his obsession with the term penis tucking. I mean isn’t that what he practices himself.

6 So Mal Brough has decided to give the next election a miss. Can he see the writing on the wall? Has he received the nod that charges maybe pending? Whatever, this sordid period in Australia’s political history will not be over until a Royal Commission is held

I am still seething at this outrageous attempt to eject the speaker of the House of Representatives and in so doing attempt to overthrow the government of the day. The case brought by Ashby, and the political involvement of Abbott, Pyne, Brough, Roy and undoubtedly many others, was an affront to our system of government. Our democracy. And the Murdoch media were complicit in the sordid affair.

And the AFP are taking far too long. It needs to be cleared up before the next election.

My thought for the day.

‘Sometimes I allow myself the indulgence of thinking I know a lot. Then I realise that in the totality of things, I know little. One thing I am certain of however is that there are known facts in the world because science proves them’.

 

Day to Day Politics: Lies and other misdemeanours

Monday 8 February 2012

1 It’s all but confirmed. If didn’t know already, Tony Abbott is the biggest liar ever to have walked the halls of Parliament. Border Force officials told a Senate committee last week that 23 vessels have been turned around since Operation Sovereign Borders commenced after the election of the Abbott Government.

The most recognized slogan in Australian political history, used by Tony Abbott to perpetuate a myth that his policies had ‘Stopped the boats ‘has been blown out of the water. He had not stopped them at all. They continued to come and according to the commander of, Operation Sovereign Borders Maj Gen Andrew Bottrell there remains a persistent number of attempts, all of which have failed over the last year and a half. In other words they are still coming we are just paying the people smugglers to take them back. The boats have never been stopped.

An observation.

‘Do you shape the truth for the sake of good impression? On the other hand, do you tell the truth even if it may tear down the view people may have of you? Alternatively, do you simply use the contrivance of omission and create another lie .I can only conclude that there is always pain in truth but there is no harm in it’.

2 On Insiders yesterday Malcolm Turnbull appeared sartorially splendid (take note, Bill) with his debonair demeanour and voice of velvet fog to discuss things of a taxing nature. He sounded reasonable and balanced. I for one could not disagree that all that is being discussed should be done so in a calm and considered manner. The PM told Barry Cassidy that all would be revealed at Budget time and prior to the next election. They are looking, talking, examining, discussing etc etc. Everything is on the table. Not as repetitive as ‘stop the boats’ but records are made to be broken.

The problem here is not the need for taxation reform, the debating of it, or its timely consideration. It is the fact that is a few short months we will be going to an election. An election where we get a chance to mark the Government on its performance. The media is ignoring this in favor of judging a new Prime Minister.

Cassidy should have asked ‘Why has your Government been sitting on its arse for two and a half years?’

Why did your party change to you. Was it just to change its image to gain favor in the polls?

On the one hand we could say that the GST has gone to an early grave. On the other, Turnbull might just be signalling to his backbench that he is giving it earnest thought before making a decision. Given that the remaining options like, capital gains, superannuation and negative gearing are conservative no go zones the options for reform are limited.

3 In the same interview the PM was asked about asylum seekers being returned to Nauru. He appeared to adopt, or parrot the same hard-line as that of Tony Abbott. I have always thought that we should be immeasurably thankful to him for relieving us of Abbott but to be making a bad impersonation of him is unforgivable.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is giving nothing away as to when the people might be returned simply saying.

‘We are not going to put children into harm’s way,” and “we are going to work individually through each of the cases.’

And just when you think there might be a glimmer of hope a leaked document suggests that further draconian measures might be introduced to monitor asylum seekers, even after they have become citizens.

4 Peter Credlin’s name has been put forward by Tony Abbott to fill the vacant Sex Discrimination Commissioners job. Don’t worry it’s only a rumor … or is it.

5 Barnaby Joyce’s odds on the National Parties next leader has become a bit shaky. Although it has to be said that the contenders resemble the Republican line up for President of the US.

6 The one thing to be gained from last week is that Malcolm Turnbull is not a Liberal leader. Respectable Liberal leaders would never allow themselves to be dictated to by neo conservative forces.

7 Anyway I hope you all approved of the garden party hosted by Malcolm at The Lodge yesterday for all 300 or so parliamentarians. After all you paid for it.

 My thought foe the day.

‘It is better to be comforted with the truth than be controlled by lies.’

 

Day to Day Politics: Only in America.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

1 As if to illustrate the influence far right Christianity has on American politics, Ted Cruz garnered about a third of the evangelical vote in winning the Iowa caucuses on Monday night. Donald Trump says he is proud to have finished second and will fight on. Iowa also reveals the dearth of leadership talent in the Republican Party. Australians taking the time to examine the contender’s internal and international policies would wonder at the intelligence of the American people. These characters make the likes of our future Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce a genius in comparison.

Ted Cruz. OMG Only in America. Look what happened the last time they had a ‘Born Again Christian as President.’

With 95% of votes counted Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were in a virtual dead heat. Too close to call.

On the same subject here is a comment on my post yesterday:

‘On the US point in whipping up the evangelical nut-jobs, the problem with the US is voting is not compulsory. In order to get people to vote AT ALL, you have to whip them into a frenzy so they feel compelled to get out to the polling booths and cast a vote. So you see highly emotive issues driving the debate. Abortion, gay marriage, gun control, race relations, and all the stuff that doesn’t make a huge difference to the society’s lives or the economy. Just stuff people feel strongly enough about so they get to the polls.

It’s the biggest argument against abolishing compulsory voting in Australia you’ll ever see’.

2 Speculation is rife about the timing of the Australian election. Apparently the PM told his party room yesterday that he expected to be campaigning within 6 months. Why we cannot have a set date every 3 (or 4) years remains another oddity of Australian politics.

3 I’m in bed last night watching Q&A thinking why it is all the brains, or people with compassion and brains, are outside the parliament.

Earlier while watching The Drum I was thinking about an answer to a question by John Hewson and it occurred to me just how much wiser people are when they throw off the shackles of partisan politics.

4 Josh Frydenberg was everywhere yesterday defending the Government against internal disunity.

“We are getting on with the job of governing in this election year,” he told ABC TV on Tuesday.

He made no mention of the previous two or why they didn’t require any.

5 Tony Abbott visits the US and casually runs into Barack Obama at a function. Murdoch press reports it like a pre-arranged meeting of international importance between two heads of state.  More importantly, who is paying his expenses?

Yes the Climate is still an issue. An analysis by Repu Tex of two recent government reports say that our emissions will rise by as much as 6% by 2020. So we are really only meeting our target because of “carry over” carbon credits we had received for bettering an earlier target under the Kyoto Protocol. “Meeting Australia’s abatement task is largely just a victory in accounting terms,” Repu Tex CEO Mr Grossman said. A LOT TO DO YET Mr Turnbull.

6 The gravy train continues with Liberal MP Luke Simpkins taking a tax payer funded trip to Europe. The purpose he says was to “Examine the bilateral relationship, including economic opportunities for Australian businesses”.

The trip cost $5000 and he just happened to visit a coal mine he had invested in. Strange that. “When will it all end?” you ask.

7 Two things from yesterday’s question time. Firstly the member for Dobell, Karen McNamara asked the PM about the Government’s plan to grow the economy. I was somewhat flabbergasted at that. I mean I follow Aussie politics closely but I have never heard of such a plan. Does anyone know where I can find evidence of such their plan?

Two seemingly innocuous questions from Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus toward the end left me wondering if the Ashbygate had indeed reopened.

Other than that Question Time served its usual purpose of adding nothing to our system of government.

8 Tuesday’s Essential poll has Labor on 49% and the LNP 51%.

9 As a friend reminded me yesterday. The 1998 GST election was won by Howard, but it was hardly a resounding victory Labor won the popular vote 50.98 to 49.02% and nearly won the election. So the LNP would do well to remember that, but I hope they don’t.

My thought for the day.

‘We all toy with the idea of changing the world but never consider changing ourselves’.

 

Day to Day Politics: ‘Knighthoods going cheap. No good works needed’.

Monday 25 January 2016

1 Lynton Crosby’s Knighthood for assisting the Tories with a victory in the last British election was nothing more than political cronyism. To anoint him Australian of the Year in the UK is nothing short of ridiculous. To suggest people are worthy of top civil honours for assisting with political strategies to win elections says everything about why such awards should be discarded.

Reminds of what my wife said to me when I was honoured. Darling, once a knight always a knight but once a knight is enough’.

2 In Australia we have a saying, ‘Only in America’. It’s a phrase we say when something outrageously good or bad happens, as though such excesses can occur only in America. It might be violent racism, another Columbine, kids being slaughtered – any preventable, tragic loss of life that repeats time and again for which no remedy is forthcoming.  All of this is beyond the average Australian’s capacity to understand.

For example when the Republicans put forward a candidate like Donald Trump for the Presidency who says:

   I could ‘shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters’.

We are apt to say:

‘Only in America’.

3 Gunna Morrison was out again yesterday doing what he does best ‘Talking.’ Yes talking about what taxation reform proposals they are gunna put to the voters at the next election. Now given that won’t be until September I suggest you get ready for a talkfest. Now they might come up with some good proposals. Of course they have the budget in May to also put us on the right track towards a surplus but the Senate is yet to pass legalisation from the previous two. Surely carrying over revenue not yet raised must amount to fudging the books.

And the proposal to take more money from the taxpayer by virtue of a raise in the GST and then dropping the tax rate for business must be reverse Robin Hood economics.

But of course the voters should be asking what happened. Did good government ever start or was it just one of many lies.

4 Google at long last has decided to pay some tax.

‘The Guardian reported that Google’s attempt to counter criticism of its tax arrangements by agreeing to make a back payment of £130m in the UK unravelled after claims that the internet giant had effectively paid an annual rate of corporation tax of just 2.77% over the last decade. Most British businesses currently pay corporation tax on 20% of their profits. But even after the extra payment, the internet giant is said to have paid just £200m in tax since 2005, on estimated profits in the UK of £7.2bn.’

Chancellor, George Osborne, celebrated the move as a “really positive step”. His statement from the World Economic Forum in Davos was received coolly.

When Governments are unable to dictate the rate of tax businesses pay in their country, they cease to function.

5 History, long after I have passed will record the destructive influence former Prime Minister Tony Abbott had on the social structure and the democratic institutions of our nation. However, nowhere was he more devastatingly untruthful than when speaking about the science of climate change.

6 So appalled by his lying was Sophie Lewis, from the Australian Research Council’s centre for excellence in climate science that she has done dissected statements about climate records made by the former prime minister in 2013.

‘It drives me mental that these sorts of statements go unaddressed’

An observation about the NBN.

‘The problem with designing a network to meet the needs of today is that it denies you the ability to meet the needs of tomorrow’.

7 Mike Carlton said it.

Honestly. I think this Stan Grant speech will one day be viewed as a Martin Luther King moment.

You should watch it

My thought for the day

‘Never allow racism to disguise itself in the cloak of nationalism’.

 

Day to Day Politics. The ‘C’ word. The ‘F’ word but never a nice one.

Sunday January 10 2016

1 Three days back from my short break and I’m still catching up on all the news. I’m reflecting on Jamie Briggs and Peter Dutton and wondering why we tolerate men of their ilk.

The fact is that Dutton’s highly offensive text to Samantha Maiden is no different to Jamie Briggs deplorable behaviour. Now it is the nature of politics to be combative but these two don’t seem to have a modicum of human decency. It’s not only them. Others in their party seem to have a tendency for elitism, superiority and sexism.

Turnbull is starting the year popular with the punters but underlying it is internal tension, disunity and ministerial incompetence. Adding to the Brough, Briggs, Dutton controversies you might also add the name Sinodinos. Arthurs name might figure prominently in the imminent release of a NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption report bound to mention the cabinet secretary.

The PM has to very shortly re arrange his ministry. If Dutton (and perhaps Sinodinos) survive it will only reinforce the ‘’poor judgement’’ impression people have of him. And it also underlines the problem conservatives seem to have in their treatment of women. It will take some leadership though.

Liberal Member for Murray Dr Sharman Stone said.

‘The interesting activities of the past number of weeks demonstrate that some of our male colleagues still don’t get it in terms of treating all women with respect,’

If you thought Turnbull and Abbott had little in common think again. They both disappear when controversy raises its head.

Turnbull has issued a press release condemning the publication of the photograph of the women in question and whoever leaked it. And in the first instance Briggs, in distributing the staffer’s photo, is guilty of invading her privacy.

Later in a live interview he ruled out an inquiry and by inference any condemnation of Dutton’s action.

An investigation into who leaked would be relatively simple. Why doesn’t Turnbull do it?

Sorry but it’s not good enough. Dutton’s offence merited the same response as Briggs. Not punishing him simply illustrates the hold the right of his party have over him.

The PM in excusing the bad behaviour of men in his party has perpetuated the sexism of it.

 These things usually just fade away leaving a residue of public disenchantment but Labor is determined not to let the Government of the hook. Labor’s Gary Gray has written to the Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd wanting the full facts of the matter.

It has not been a great start to the New Year for men. Independent Libertarian senator David Leyonhjelm has labelled someone a “c—” on Twitter

Not much in it you say. After all Chrissy Pyne used the same word in Parliament last year.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale suggested the PM should lead a cultural change within the LNP by ridding it of its ‘rampant ‘sexism. Sacking Dutton would be a good start. The Prime Minister is guilty of, after all his grandiose words in the defence of women, of practicing powder puff politics. It’s make up without any foundation.

And then our next deputy PM Barnaby Joyce jumped into the debate saying he hoped Australian politics doesn’t become “sterile”. What does he think it is now? It is bereft of charm, wit, decency, ideas and sincerity. In other words sterile. It means “unable to produce”

They just don’t get it. Why do they think they are so superior to other workplaces that they should be treated differently? That they can rort the system and behave as they want while at the same time calling each other honourable.

Why do they think bombastic stupidity and moronic I’ll disciplined gutter morality triumphs intelligence, transparency and representing their constituents in a manner that reflects representative democracy.

Amazing what they get away with while the consciousness of the world around us is suspended.

2 Alan Austin in his latest piece for Independent Australia asks.

Over the last 31 months, since May 2013, 23 state or federal parliamentarians have been forced to resign from their party or the executive (government or parliamentary) following allegations of misconduct. How many were Labor Party MPs?

(a)     All 23. (b) Eleven, fewer than half. (c) Only six. (d) Three.

Can you answer? For a surprise answer click this link.

3 There you are I think I’m up to date with everything now. Well not quiet. I received an email from a reader who gave me a serve about what he saw as my bias toward the left of politics.

It got rather heated. He told me I was opinionated. I agreed which shook him a bit but I assured him that what I know was only surpassed by what I don’t. This had no effect on his abuse so I told him he needed a manager because he’d been handling himself too long. His comprehension deserted him and I haven’t heard from him since.

I tell you this because I don’t believe I have any ownership of righteousness. I try to place facts before my feelings but at times I lean on what I hope have been 75 years of objective life experience to evaluate issues.

MY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

‘Often our opinions are based on our values rather than our understanding and the difficulty is separating the two’

 

Day to Day Politics. We have two Prime Ministers. Get used to it.

Friday 11 December

1 Tony Abbott as opposition leader was considered by many commentators as the best ever. What criteria they used for making this judgement is beyond my comprehension. He was however, successful at grabbing headlines with slogans.

How anyone could be judged efficacious by being constantly negative, sexist, ill-mannered and devoid of any policies is difficult to understand.

For me his negativity and lying made him unfit for public service.

That said, he did become Prime Minister. Then something truly remarkable happened in Australian politics. The Australian Prime Minister who was as opposition leader a person devoid of character, attempted a personality conversion to rival nothing hitherto seen in an Australian leader.

During his tenure as opposition leader he used colourful aggressive language. He was bullish in his attitude to others, particularly to the female Prime Minister of the day. His negativity was legendary. He was a repetitive liar by evidence and by his own admission. He held in contempt procedures of the House of Representatives and the conventions it upheld.

Prior to becoming opposition leader his reputation was of someone with a gutter mentality determined to obtain power at any cost.

One month into his term of office we were expected to believe that he had transformed into a mild-mannered, cultured man of some distinction. Walking the global stage as a gentleman with noble intent.

We were expected to put to one side the old Tony Abbott and embrace the new one with unbridled fondness.

We now know the attempt was an abysmal failure.

So lacking in leadership skills was his performance that his party did something it had never done before. They sacked him.

In his farewell speech he indicated that there would be no recriminations, no back stabbing or gossip. In true Abbott style he was just telling more lies. Just laying the groundwork for a future comeback. Well in his eyes anyway.

Every utterance since gives every indication that rather than exit the door of public service with dignity and grace, he plans to hang around, write opinion pieces, make speeches and generally make life as hard for Turnbull as he possibly can.

He intends to be himself, offering an alternative, probably negative view on everything. It almost seems like he has elected himself as the de facto PM in waiting for a bunch of weird right-wing supporters whose world view is a relic of a time long past.

From now on we should become used to Turnbull promoting his and his government’s views followed by Abbott’s conservative version of the same thing.

And I don’t think it will be just the occasional comment. He will adopt his opposition style of gutterish, in your face politics. He will say that we play our politics hard and in his own deluded way pretend that in some strange way it is legitimate.

Should make for exciting times. Andrew Bolt will of course appoint himself to the position of media advisor.

2 Australia wins ‘fossil of the day’ for Julie Bishop’s coal speech at Paris climate talks.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has told a sideline event at the climate talks in Paris that there is a long future ahead for fossil fuels.

At an Indonesian event on transitioning to a low-carbon economy, Ms Bishop indicated long-term change would come not through immediate action, but through as-yet-undiscovered or undeveloped technologies.

Technological breakthroughs and innovation will drive much of the change that will underpin the transition to a low-carbon economy.

That means coal-fired power generation is here to stay,” she said.

Ms Bishop went on to underline the importance of fossil fuels for economic growth.

Fossil fuels will remain critical to promoting prosperity, growing economies, alleviating hunger for years to come,” she said.

It is a fact that energy is a mainstay of our respective countries’ export markets and underpins economic growth.

3 As if to empathise the so-called ‘Broad church’ absurdity of the Liberal Party,  Bronwyn Bishop says she will recontest her seat of Mackellar, telling Liberal Party supporters on Sydney’s northern beaches that the “threat of terrorism” had convinced her she needs to remain in Parliament.

The 73 year-old former Speaker told guests at a Christmas drinks party at her Newport home on Tuesday evening that she had been “exonerated” over the “choppergate” expenses scandal and was energised to serve another three-year term as an MP.

4 Diagnosed with early onset dementia young Wyatt Roy says he can’t recall asking Peter Slipper’s staffer James Ashby to illegally copy his official diaries.

5 In Victoria the acting Auditor-General Peter Frost found the business case for the East West Link:

. . . did not provide a sound basis for the government’s decision to commit to the investment.

Key decisions during the project’s planning, development and procurement phases were driven by an overriding sense of urgency to sign the contract before the November 2014 state election. Signing the contract in these circumstances was imprudent and exposed the state to significant cost and risk.

6 I quite liked these lines, amongst others from Bernard Keane on the Abbott prescription from Islam:

“Islam never had its own version of the Reformation and the Enlightenment,” Abbott wrote in the Telegraph.

“It’s commendably broad-minded of Abbott to suggest that the two signal anti-Catholic events of the last 500 years were such good things that Islam should ape them. But perhaps Muslims in the Mediaeval era were too busy developing algebra, inventing effective surgical techniques, revolutionising optical theory, understanding that the Earth revolved around the sun, trading with China, discovering coffee and keeping key classical texts that the West had lost so they could be rediscovered in later centuries, to fit in a Reformation.”

“Oh, and the Reformation had a death toll in the millions as Europe tore itself apart over nuances in superstition, including perhaps 11 million casualties in the Thirty Years’ War, during which the population of many German states was reduced by up to 40%. Is that what Abbott has in mind for Muslims?”

And on that subject the Grand Mufti says Tony Abbott’s call for Islamic Reformation plays into extremists’ hands by conflating Islam with terror. He is correct of course.

7 The unemployment rate fell to 5.8 per cent in November after the jobs market added another 71,400 positions to October’s extraordinary gain of almost 60,000.

The only negative is that the ABS is still working on its methodology. These don’t add up.

Read this summary by John Kelly.

MY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

“Our lives should be subject to constant reflection, otherwise the way forward is locked into the constraints of today’s thoughts”.

PS: IT REALLY DOES HELP IF YOU SHARE. Thanks.

 

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