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Are we really that stupid?

John Lord, asked the question this morning in his ‘Day to Day Politics’ column, why would you reward a party another three years in office when they have demonstrably governed so badly?

The answer is simple. We should not.

What sort of message do we send our politicians when we reward poor performance? It is clear that in both politics and the private business sector, poor performance is often rewarded with promotion.

But is that what we should be doing? Should not we, the people, be setting the example? Should not we be saying poor performance is not going to be tolerated? It’s not that long ago that this very government was telling us, in opposition, how poor the performance was, of the previous government.

We recall all too clearly, the debt and deficit disaster, the alleged corrupt nature of the then PM in some obscure dealings she engaged in, prior to entering politics. They railed against a treasurer for inconsistent estimates of the deficit. They promised not to cut spending for education, health, pensions, the ABC and SBS.

No sooner did we agree with them and offer them the opportunity to show us how “adults” conduct themselves in office, that they begin conducting themselves no differently from their predecessors. They cannot control the economy, 14 ministers have been replaced or resigned, some under suspicious circumstances, the deficit is larger and more unpredictable and they have broken a myriad of core promises.

Poor fools us.

Yes, they did make one significant correction. They dumped their leader, a buffoon, an embarrassment, someone who was simply out of his depth. But in their haste to correct this appalling image, they forgot to dump his policies as well.

In short, nothing changed beyond a slap of paint on the front door. But that seemed to do the trick. Six percent of the population thought that was enough and changed their preference. How shallow can we get?

c9d2cd593f0274c34863cae66884229f So now, brimming with confidence, believing they have pulled the wool over our eyes, they are out to deceive us further by cranking up a minor issue that no one rates very highly, so they can go to another election and trick us even further.

We know that if they win they will resurrect all those broken promises they have piled up in the senate. Having lied to us from day one of their tenure, they now want to continue what they originally set out to do.

So, my question is, why would we re-elect a party that has been so dishonest from the very beginning and give them another opportunity to insult our intelligence? Why would we want to do that?

Are we really that stupid?


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  1. terry

    beautiful John , I could print that out and hang it on the wall , good government starts today was the catch phase , after three years we all still waiting . god the truth hurts , ATTACK ON NDIS

  2. Steve Laing

    Cmon John! It wasn’t their fault they got nothing done! It was a) the feral cross bench of the senate, b) the ALP, c) the global downturn, d) any other reason. I know this because the MSM told me so. Fortunately Tony’s back to remind us that Malcolm is simply pursuing Tony’s policies, so we are in with a chance…

  3. wam

    terry, because we are that stupid those words should be on something simple like butcher’s paper the window of every alp politician’s office for walk past – it could be in a continuous TV loop liberally studded with gaffes from the boys providing the laughs.

  4. Jo

    You think they cut funding for fun? With all the debts that accumulated while Labor was in power, they don’t really have a choice. Liberals will always have my vote.

  5. Michael Taylor

    Jo, I suppose you’re happy then that the government has doubled the debt?

  6. John Kelly

    Jo, they cut funding because they think a country is run like a household. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are a currency issuing nation and can afford to buy anything that is available for sale. The LNP cut funding to ensure their masters, the IPA, the business sector and the ultra rich maintain their corporate dominance. The debt Labor accumulated while in power was $278 billion. The debt today, is $413 billion. If it was an issue at the last election, why is it not an issue now?

  7. nurses1968

    Labor needs to come out with a clear policy on the Asylum Seeker issue
    We need to work with the UN to set up processing centres in Indonesia and Malaysia and then, when we know who needs protection and who doesn’t, we take those in need and send the others home

  8. Peter F

    Jo I take it that the debt which has occurred since they came into power is of no concern to you, as it is a result of ‘good’ management?

  9. Brad Adams

    Jo all figures by independent economists show that the highest spending (per GDP) governments in the past 20 years were Howard and now the present mob. Please take a look and you will find this or you’re a fool for believing the biased media. When Labor lost the election the Australian economy was Number ONE in the world and praised by all world leaders and economists for surviving the GFC better than ANY other country. Surely you must remember that! Since then we have dropped through the floor to number 34 with a debt triple what is was and trade deficit the worst in our history. The only reason Howard was able to leave smelling like roses was that he sold off over $70 Billion in assets to show that ‘$20 billion’ in the bank leaving the incoming government less assets to earn money off and the following LNP government in an even bigger hole. They came into power with no plan, no policies and nothing left to sell off and look where we are now.

  10. Gangey1959

    @Steve. You forgot Global warming
    Is Jo Nos’s sister ?

  11. diannaart

    @ Jo

    You think they cut funding for fun?

    Actually I do, because they then use the funds for the mega-wealthy and big business and laugh all the way to the bank – that is not how a nation is nurtured nor progresses.

  12. Möbius Ecko

    Indeed Brad. In modern times on a world scale Labor governments have always been higher positioned economically and we have always gone lower on the economic scale after Liberal governments have won power.

  13. Kieran Butler

    Yes. Australians are that stupid. Why do you think they voted for an Abbott government in the first place?

  14. Miriam English

    Jo, I’m not a Labor voter, but I was interested to learn that the World Bank ranked the Gillard Labor government as the most financially responsible government in the world. Australia had the world’s number one most healthy economy during the worst international economic crisis in ages. And then the LNP got into power and what did they do with that? They broke the back of our economy, rapidly taking it down to the worst performing economy in the 34 OECD countries and still rapidly falling.

    Our economy is falling to pieces while all the other developed nations are improving.

    The LNP has more than doubled the debt, but a nation is not the same as a household. Unlike a household, debt and local spending are not directly linked.

    When a government spends on its own people it is not losing the money because it immediately comes back to them in taxes. It raises the standard of living for all so that businesses can buy more and hire more people, improving the economy further.

    Cutting spending has the opposite effect. People can’t buy stuff, businesses can’t sell to people and can’t pay staff, and the government ends up not getting the tax they need either.

    Beware of simplistic slogans from politicians. When they say them you just know you’re being lied to.

    The current government, I’m ashamed to say, is a bunch astonishingly inept people.

    I was never really a fan of Julia Gillard, but you have to admire that she worked with a parliament and media that were largely hostile to her to become the most effective politician our country has known. She got though more legislation than any other and kept our country insulated from the Global Financial Crisis taking us to being ranked best economy in the world after being left by John Howard with a shaky economy down at 10th place in world rankings.

    Why don’t most people know this? Ask Rupert Murdoch and his propaganda network.

  15. Andy

    Jo has just proven to us all here that there are some Australians who are really that stupid.

  16. Möbius Ecko

    Then there’s the fact the draconian cuts to the lower and middle class proposed by this Liberal government, most a blatant lie of their pre-election promises, were not in anyway to pay of the debt accrued by Labor because of the GFC, but were first and foremost to pay for tax cuts and increased subsidies to big business and the wealthy, and second most to pay off the debt that the Liberals had accrued in their dramatically increased and wasteful spending. Even then the cuts they proposed, which would have badly hurt a lot of people, only went part way to matching their increased spending and handouts to the wealthy.

    Then you can add the rorts, some over a million a year, that they racked up as individuals, none more than Abbott.

  17. Lee

    Unfortunately yes, many voters are that stupid.

  18. Lee

    “You think they cut funding for fun?”


    Hell no. They cut funding so that they could provide more corporate welfare to wealthy party donors.

  19. keerti

    will australian voters put the fox back into the henhouse? Almost certainly. Australian voters love negativity (Shouldabeenaborted proved that when he ousted the best economic managers we have had in years! While claiming that all the debt was due to labour. In truth it was the result of wasting the increase in revenue during the mining boom on vote buying increasing the deb later to fund even more vote buying. Australian voters will vote against their own best interests.(any mug could see a GST coming, despite liberal claims to the contrary. Economic rationalism was a certainty under the little —t, but still they voted for the liberals and got “workchoices.” Why did they throw out the two best PM”s australia ever had (Keating and Julia) because the muckduck press told them what to think and vote. So even though under another coaltion government we will see more beating of the disadvantaged, tax reduction for the rich and business combined with highly restrained wages growth, the trashing of more environmental programmes and the promotuion of damaging mining etc the australian voter is more than likely to tick yes for the most ineffective bunch of w——–rs this country has ever seen.

  20. bobrafto

    I’m currently sharing a house with a redhead who has the same narrow mindedness as Jo. You try and counter their argument and they close their ears and walk away in a huff.

  21. keerti

    brain is not necessarily connected to ears in all cases!

  22. Jaq

    I reckon Jo was a plant.

    No body could be that stupid to believe a word these LN/IPA shysters say, or watch what they’ve done these, last, nearly 3 miserable years, and still think they could run a piss up in a brewery.

    Oh wait…bugger…

  23. mark

    yes,an absence of affect,effects stupidity.mark

  24. Wayne Turner

    Of course we shouldn’t. But of course the gullible and ignorant have to stop blindly following the Libs MSM,who ONLY want the Libs re-elected.

    The MSM has praised Tony Turnbull’s BS balckmailing for a possible DD.Plus,of course notice no headlines of this government in CHAOS,and IN FIGHTING with Abbott’s latest BS.More of the Libs MSM clear BIAS.

    Sadly,we are that stupid. That the public ever voted for a party misled by idiot Abbott proves that.

  25. Graeme

    John, I agreed wholeheartedly with the thrust of your excellent article. The Turnbull/Abbott mess is about winning office and giving their benefactors a big payday – very little about governing for the country or the people.
    One point I’m at odds with you about though is this. You said LNP was “…conducting themselves no differently from their predecessors.” In my view, the Gillard Labor govt. was untidy. They made mistakes, in the end they let us down but please, don’t compare Labor’s approach to government to the LNP/IPA national treachery. They have no intention to govern just to rule and destroy.

    Agree Graeme. But I was referring to the way Labor conducted themselves internally; the leadership wrangling, the squabbling, the lack of discipline.

  26. Fred Martin

    Yes most Australians are that stupid to be fooled that the Government can “mend” the economy by cuts in expenditure.
    I will put it simply :-

    Surplus = Government taking out of the economy, in taxes etc, more than they put in, in expenditure and investment. therefore private sector deficit. Economy shrinks.

    Deficit = Government putting more money in than they take out. Therefore private sector in surplus. Economy grows.

    Or in even more simple terms :- Government surplus BAD, Government deficit GOOD.

  27. Zathras

    If you consider how ill-informed and gullible the average voter is then by definition half the population is even worse.

  28. gee

    the answer to your question “are we really that stupid” is yes, we are really that stupid, obviously. Otherwise the LNP would never have been elected in the first place. Anyone that bothered to look could have told you what a clusterf*ck it would be before September 2013

  29. jim

    You cannot tell me the IPA rule the Liberal Party as they have just too much in common; The IPA is disproportionately represented on the ABC’s tv shows The Drum and Q&A, although the ABC denies it and quibbles about who’s who. You may never have heard of the IPA. Before we go into the remainder of this article, here’s an episode of the ABC’s Media Watch, dated 09/04/2001, presented by Stuart Littlemore. It mentions what the IPA is, who some of its members are, its activities and where its main financing comes from.

  30. paul walter

    Good column and half a dozen of you shot down Jo in flames, saving me the trouble of ridiculing that comment. Ta.

  31. jim

    The media is falling over itself with praise for Malcolm Turnbull’s double dissolution move and is asking us to believe his months of dithering and being beholden to the right was just some ploy. Give me a break, writes Tim Dunlop. Oh Turnball thou are so great with your statesman like voice O’great one writes the MSM 1,Malcolm Turnbull has transformed his prime ministership at one stroke. The picture emerging from his first six months was that he was wasting his time. We now see that he has been biding his time.
    …Turnbull silently endured weeks of dismissive commentary branding him a hopeless ditherer as he arranged the plan he unveiled on Monday.
    From hopeless ditherer to decisive leader in a moment, Turnbull has now staked his Government on a challenge and put all the other political parties on the defensive. O’ great one only a Liberal party member could do it,This is why we should boycott all MSM they are ruining this country shame on them;'t-decisive-he's-desperate/7265720 Boycott MSM

  32. Anzac Bikky

    Anyone who either has, or hasn’t, been hurt by this vile government also knows, and/or cares about someone who has, or will be. That’s a LOT people, in my estimation. I seriously doubt that the upcoming round of pre-election cunning stunts by these creeps will be any kind of bandaid for the millions of wounded who will shortly have the power, and the focus, to say NO!

  33. brickbob

    I am still waiting.””””

  34. jamesmoylan

    Wonderful commentary of a blunt and forthright nature that (for some reason) seems to be entirely missing in the mainstream press.

    I could not agree any more. But who the eff do we vote for? If we are not going to reward drear and less than adequate performances is it possible to vote for Labor? Or the Greens? And where else is a progressive modern person filled with angst and platitudes going to run?

    Our choices are diminishing rapidly. Our meagre pool of candidates seems to be ever shrinking – sometimes even as we watch. But what can a common bloke do? It makes me feel so anguished and apathetic that sometimes I just feel like abandoning a comment mid sentenc

  35. Pingback: Are we really that stupid? | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  36. John

    RT reports that Abbott unexpectedly popped up in the Ukrainian capital on Monday in a story titled “Tony Abbott latest foreign politician to join Poroshenko’s ‘int’l advisory council’ ”

    Maybe he’s looking to recruit the Azov battalion to take care of us.

  37. margcal

    Jim …. thanks for the Stuart Littlemore link.
    We should have taken more notice back in 2001.
    Rather answers John’s question …. yes, we really are that stupid.

  38. Florence nee Fedup

    I am not so sure this government doesn’t find it fun to make cuts. They definitely believe it is clever to do so. All in the name of neolliberal ideology and economics.

  39. Richard Schmidt

    What . . . you’re being conned again??? Good thing that nevers happens here in that land of good and plenty, the US of A. Look at all these fine young men who are seeking our attention so as to show us how to be great again. We are so lucky, Oz. Don’t you wish you had it so good???

  40. John Kelly

    Yes Richard, I want to move there right away…….not!

  41. braindrainers






    the brutes now all
    wear fancy suits
    they strut about
    deep in cahoots
    with all the
    A list gentry
    they’re born to rule
    they’re no-one’s fool
    that much seems
    you know their sort
    at least you ought
    their hands are in
    your pockets deep
    what’s yours is theirs
    for them to keep
    and so they should
    we hear them say
    for your own good
    they steal your
    very lives away
    you must do more
    and more for less
    and do it without
    it’s all about economy
    which doesn’t include
    you and me
    to them we’re little
    more than cattle
    fit to be milked
    and die in battle
    fodder in the
    rich man’s war
    like every other
    time before
    and still we take
    them at their word
    our protests banned
    unmarked, unheard
    and this is how
    it’s always been
    does not this strike
    you as obscene?
    but we are many
    they are few
    if we unite
    what could we do?

  42. cuppa

    Liberals will always have my vote.

    Then you really are that stupid.

  43. Mercurial

    “Are we really that stupid?” A good deal of us not so much stupid, but disengaged. So we take our lead from the media of the day. And that usually means Rupert Murdoch.

    I suspect the effect of Murdoch on this coming election will be substantially reduced from the last. During the last election campaign Murdoch’s tabloids screamed murder against the ALP. The voters dutifully obliged and turfed them out. No doubt there will be another scare campaign in 2016, but newspapers don’t have the clout they used to. Even so, how many people see those screaming headlines on the posters when they walk past a newsagent? Aren’t those posters advertising? Why are they allowed?

    But then there’s the mainstream media, most of whom take their lead from Murdoch. And how do we stop the ABC from fawning over Turnbull, which they seem intent on doing?

  44. jimhaz

    The LNP wants to grow the economy by regressing the masses – lowering wages, conditions and making training for work purposes entirely payable by the prospective employee as well as immigration levels that are far too high. They seek to force total workforce compliancy to the desires of employers and clearly have achieved that to a very significant extent already.

    In growing the economy the debt to GDP % reduces, so that is their way of trying to alleviate the obvious budgeting problem and the globalisation problem, without affecting the ruling class via increased taxation.

    This is not what I call growth but feudal redistribution. As we have seen in the US, where wages of most have not risen in real terms for a couple of decades, economic growth is totally meaningless unless additional income from productivity changes are socially distributed to those whom are making and paying the cost of the changes.

  45. Michael

    We are one of the few (?) democracies not to fight (except for Eureka Stockade – more of a rebellion) for what we have – as inherited centuries of complacent vested interest (hand me down or designed democracy) – has systemically, calculatingly with ever increasing sophistication deceive my fellow citizens to vote for the chosen local member who graduated from the university of political corruption as the epitome of “stupid white man” – a political virus – easily wiped out in the 4 minutes it takes to complete a ballot paper – that monumental feel of the only real power a citizen has as pencil touches paper (I am thankful for that), which alas is systemically designed to last but 4 minutes, (surely this is screaming for systemic accountability) whilst angrily recalling they, also systemically, will not give a shit about you from that time until next time – aghhhh

  46. Diane

    @Mercurial “And how do we stop the ABC from fawning over Turnbull, which they seem intent on doing?”

    Have you noticed how the ABC slogan has changed from “It’s YOUR ABC” to “It’s OUR ABC” recently?

  47. cuppa


    ‘It’s OUR abc, and if you don’t like the anti-left bias, tough shit.’

  48. mark delmege

    Diane the media are embedded in a Stockholm Syndrome kinda way and wont jump ship till the writing is on the wall.

  49. totaram

    “Diane the media are embedded in a Stockholm Syndrome kinda way and wont jump ship till the writing is on the wall.”

    Why would they jump ship? Their livelihood depends on sticking with the “ship”, because their employers tell them what not to write.

  50. Michael

    It is in the media’s interest to keep us in stupid suspension – so we keep questioning why so many of us are stupid – the only business model left for them – until the revolution ……

  51. Ted Smith

    Julia’s (one of Australia’s greatest prime minister) only mistake was to make Rupert and his mates her enemy. It was easy for them to change public opinion so much the lesser Labor politions were afraid of loosing their seats. She had no chance because her defences were never properly reported in commercial media. Labour wasnt disorganised and dysfunctional as it is claimed, just destroyed by a single spiteful rejected has-been bent on revenge who seized the opportunity.

  52. Miriam English

    I can’t understand how Rupert Murdoch gets away with it. If someone hatched a plan to blow up Parliament they would be tracked down, imprisoned and lose everything, never to see the light of day again. If someone was hiring hitmen to assassinate all the politicians of one party or the other no expense would be spared in getting him into prison where he would spend the rest of his life. If it came to light that someone was defrauding the election by “fixing” the vote on a grand scale –altering millions of votes — he would likely be fined millions of dollars and spend years in prison. Yet here we have Rupert Murdoch, the greatest danger to democracy in the world… he prints complete fabrications and embarks on vicious smear campaigns, convincing millions of people to vote against their own interests based on absurd lies, yet nobody lifts a finger!!

    He is incredibly dangerous to democracy. He needs to lose all his media. They should be nationalised, then broken up and sold off to responsible owners. Murdoch has shown how incredibly dangerous he is. We can’t risk him tampering with our country again.

    And selling off the Murdoch media would bring in billions of dollars to Australia. Of course, it would barely begin to pay for all the damage that revolting creature has done here, but it might start to cover all the tax he’s been avoiding.

  53. mark delmege

    He wouldn’t exist with out the backing of big money big war and the other elites that run much of the world. Thats why he does what he does.

  54. nurses1968

    “”And selling off the Murdoch media would bring in billions of dollars to Australia”
    can you tell me how that would be possible?

  55. Miriam English

    nurses1968, there are many cases of governments nationalising companies or breaking them up and forcing the parts to be sold off. Often big companies will be too important to the national economy for the greedy rich to be allowed to send them bankrupt so they are saved by nationalising them. Personally, I think Murdoch’s genuine threat to the integrity of our democracy has been so clearly demonstrated that it is in the interests of national security that his media in Australia be nationalised.

    I was just talking this morning with an old Pommie friend who was telling me about how the Brits had nationalised the North England rail line a while back, then sold it off to Virgin recently.

    In the USA anti-trust laws were used to break up Bell Telephone and sell off the parts to many other companies (they should have nationalised it, because ATT and many of the other beneficiaries have caused big problems ever since and all the incompatibilities have made the US phone system one of the worst and one of the most expensive in the world, although ours is worse and even more expensive).

  56. nurses1968

    When was the last time that happened?
    Rupert is not an Australian citizen, his assets and wealth are overseas and he is virtually untouchable.
    Really, when was the last time in Australia anything was Nationalised? we privatise
    With the North England rail line, private enterprise had run it into the ground and it was at the point of collapse and in this case nationalising it, whilst a good thing, was to bail out the crooks who had almost wrecked it.
    We once did own Banks, phone companies , electricity grids , etc, all things that should be in Government ownership but our indecent haste to privatise continues unabated.
    Do you really think there will be a 180 turn

  57. Lee

    The Brits have done it a lot but it doesn’t happen in Australia.

  58. Miriam English

    nurses1968, No. I agree with you, it is unlikely to happen. The LNP definitely won’t. They’re not really interested in democracy anyway; they’re too busy thinking up ways to disenfrachise voters. And I think Labor are too timid. But it doesn’t change the fact that we should cut off Murdoch’s influence. We desperately need to. He has already taken our democracy away from us. Does anybody seriously think Labor will be elected this year if Murdoch decides against it?

    When will Australians wake up to the fact that we need a mix of private and nationally owned industries for a healthy economy and a healthy market? We really need to start nationalising badly run industries.

  59. nurses1968

    “Does anybody seriously think Labor will be elected this year if Murdoch decides against it?”
    No, that is why Turnbull is a certainty for re election.
    As usual there will be a blanket ban on ALP, unless paid adverts, and misinformation and outright lies about ALP policy.
    As a unionist I must say I found it very difficult to support the Fairfax journalists/workers sacked recently.
    They were appealing for Labor and other Union help,but seem to forget they spend the last years peddling lies and pro LNP propaganda.
    Be ready for an onslaught of MSM/Foxtel/ABC attacks on Labor as the election nears

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