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Breaking out of the Quagmire

Rather than giving more oxygen to the gift that keep on giving for political blog writers, Peter Dutton, for lambasting Woolworths for announcing it wasn’t stocking specific Australia Day items, maybe we should look to the future.

If you want to be cynical about it, politicians in general always have their eye on their future at the next election. At the next election, the same politicians that are goading those easy to manipulate into damaging Woolworths stores because they choose not to stock merchandise for a public holiday at the end of January will turn around and tell us they are honest, moral and decent people. Furthermore, we should entrust them with the government of the country to for the next three years. Dutton has been remarkably quiet since the latest dog whistle was blown. Assuming the potential reactions to his comments were considered prior to them being made, it wouldn’t take Einstein levels of intelligence to consider that the outcome of criminal damage to the retailer’s premises was a likely outcome. And while there is a long list of Coalition faults and failures, they aren’t stupid.

That being the case we all have a problem. Dutton is the leader of the alternative government in Australia. Unlike One Nation and United Australia Party, there is a possibility that at the next election, the Coalition will gain power. One Nation and United Australia Party can blow dog whistles or promise the world and get away with it every time as they know they’ll never have to figure out how to deliver on their pronouncements. The Coalition does have a chance of forming a government. So what do we know about how our alternative federal government would behave and its priorities?

Not much really is the honest answer. We know they will fire up a small vocal minority that deem criminal damage is acceptable when a retailer chooses not to stock a range of products even though they are unprofitable. We know they will not support giving some assistance to a minority of Australians to bring their standard of living up to a similar standard as the majority of Australians. We know that they also happy to blow dog whistles regarding refugees and asylum seekers that were released from illegal indefinite detention.

The thing is that we choose political leaders based on their past performance to make decisions about issues that arise in the future. While every political party will make promises, a promise is worthless. The demonstration of character by the political party’s leaders prior to gaining power is far more important – as that gives us an understanding on how they will manage the issues of the future when they occur.

Economics Professor and former Liberal Party Leader John Hewson is also concerned about the lack of information we have available to determine the behaviours of Dutton and the Coalition, together with the media cheer squad who are happy to assist by making each day about scaremongering, point scoring and creating fear. As Hewson points out

Unfortunately, this is an environment sponsored and fed by much of the mainstream media, especially Sky News and Nine, which have already picked their champions and launched their campaign strategies, as indeed they did with the referendum. So many of their junior journalists and even some of their old guard are obsessed with “gotcha journalism”, compounded by the responses of the ignorant trolls on social media who naively suggest there are simple solutions to our mostly complex social and economic challenges, with little interest in good government – they just want to be players in the melee.

Hewson goes on to list some of the economic risks that have been identified by the United Nations that will affect the worldwide and Australian economies between now and the end of the decade. He rightly wants to know from both political parties that potentially can form a government what they intend to do to minimise the economic risks to Australia and Australians.

At the same time, the Albanese Government has to invest time in creating a narrative around what they have done in the first term. While there has been some positive outcomes, there has been some missed opportunities in policy development, policy implementation and the explanation of why the policy is good for the community. There also needs to be work on a roadmap for a second term together with a sales pitch that resonates with the community.

The Coalition has to flesh out its policy and publicise why it is a better choice than the Government. Continual negativity and complaints is not policy, but it is similar behaviour to the toddler that will hold their breath until their face turns blue if they don’t get what they want. Policy is saying that instead of the Government’s way of doing things, we would do something slightly different with a rational discussion on why the alternative would be a better outcome.

The media also has a part to play here. They are not up for election so they shouldn’t be grinding political axes, rather they should be doing their job – reporting the news in a fair and balanced way. The falling sales of newspapers and people switching to streaming and alternative news services demonstrates that the media are not doing their job.

Sadly, we are stuck with a government that, while apparently competent, couldn’t sell a beer at a Test Match, a Coalition that is too busy sniping to sell any positive outlook for the future and a media that is picking winners rather than reporting what is happening.

Hewson’s final paragraph is:

In commenting on the release of the UN report, Secretary-General António Guterres said 2024 would be a “tough” year, but “it must be the year that we break out of this quagmire”. This should certainly be the case for Australia. It is time to address the hollowness and inadequacy of our democracy and its debate.

How true.


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  1. Andrew Smith

    Interesting, and a point loosely related to grammar (like on another article), or more pointedly communication, is the influence of the ‘gotcha’ media culture in Australia, ‘soundbites’ and economy of words or language, to keep simplified and dumbed down…..

    Manifested more broadly in the lazy habit of people asking ‘closed questions’ that one can only respond with yes or no, at best guesswork and shows little interest in understanding ‘the other’.

    It not only precludes elaboration, detail and learning, but can be used to threaten and intimidate the target on a topic or issue of the day, while keeping the ‘noise’ fast and furious.

    Not only does it make Australians sound glib or shallow and impatient, but according to a German friend it’s quite authoritarian….. conform to talking points and ‘follow orders’….. like boiling frogs….

  2. New England Cocky

    At every election VOTE ANYONE BUT LIARBRAL$ OR NOtional$ and get a government capable of representing Australian voters rather than foreign owned multinational corporations.
    Do you want an adulterous, alcoholic, self-serving misogynist to represent your best interests, then move into the New England electorate.
    Do you want a competent person with a successful professional career behind them before entering politics, then vote for the TEALS.

  3. andyfiftysix

    the only way out is for the liberals to lose at the next election with a bigger margin than last. This will send and reinforce the message that they are on the nose. Anything less will mean the circus goes on and we meander down the road….again.

  4. RosemaryJ36

    We need a better educated electorate AND set of journalists!
    We risk going down the same path as America.

  5. Heather

    Hubris, illusion and fantasy!

    What does that say about us, those who roll up to vote?

  6. Hans

    Gee, I wonder who walked Australia into a quagmire.
    Would that be successive Labor & LNP governments?
    Who destroyed local manufacturing and encouraged the movement of jobs to Asia on the promise of cost of living improvements? How’s that working out? Who gave China a 25 year fixed rate export price for LNG as oil prices surged? Who sold off most of our public utilities and much of our farmland to offshore large-scale corporations? Who gutted affordable housing with their CGT discount and negative gearing? Who won’t go near that topic because they will end up being interrogated by some nonce in a TV studio? Who promised and who has never tried to rescind the promised Stage 3 tax cuts later this year? Who ignored and continues to ignore the plight of Julian Assange?
    Why are people focusing on Dutton? Albo is in charge, what do you want him to do? Cancel Stage 3 tax cuts? Invoke a oil & gas reservation policy that keeps 15% of resources for local industry? What?
    What positives do the public want from Labor now, not the LNP in some fuzzy future?
    Looking at Labor is frustrating, I rarely bother these days.
    I can’t wait to vote them and LNP out.

  7. 2353NM

    @andyfiftysix – logically you’re correct but it seems that some in the LNP believe in the theory that the beatings will continue until morale improves.

    You would have thought that losing a number of previously ‘safe’ seats to Independents (who historically retain seats until they decide to retire) at the last election would have sent the message!

    @NEC – if only the Teals ran in every Coalition seat, especially the one based around Armidale in NSW!

  8. Phil Pryor

    Comments here usually show that the (relatively) few want fundamental and improved change. Yet many are reduced to observer roles like backward peasants. Faced with candidates that are, figuratively, a poo roll vs. a shit sandwich, with a possible minor candidate of a dung wrap, people just cop it and seriouisly consider the subpoints of choice. It is much the same in media, and social comment. We grew up in times where “ordinary folk” would redface over Holden vs, Fords, Bushells over Kinkara, Bex over Vincents, one shit radio yabberer over another, without any serious thought, real thought. Rosemary is correct, as usual, and we will wait, breath held, for better thought everywhere. (dies of asphyxiation soon) Back to Peter Duckwit-Futton, he is so empty, hollow, deficient, repulsive, halitosistic, that he should attract no votes… Hmmnn?

  9. GL

    When the LNP rule –

  10. Clakka

    From the article’s penultimate observation,

    “Sadly, we are stuck with a government that, while apparently competent, couldn’t sell a beer at a Test Match …”

    An interesting line to be broken down. Firstly, ” … while apparently competent, …”, seems to be saying that although it ” … couldn’t sell a beer at a Test Match …”, that information on its good and competent works are in fact leaking into the public discourse. Second, is it important that the msm and public see that it must be able to ” … sell a beer at a Test Match …”?

    The second matter seems to go to the stupid and arrogant attitude of profiteering and dwindling integrity of the msm and its sold-out flunkies and pumped amanuenses. Having dragged the fourth estate to extinction in their shifty and shady swamp of conspirers, they and their accountants, lawyers, craven and unaccountable dodgers remain in their gollum-vaults. There, borrowing from Holywood, they opt for breeding up crass celebrities and celebrity wannabes, rent boys, hustlers, tarts, mobsters, bounty hunters and outlaw sheriffs, throwing them into the limelight to invade our living rooms our minds and souls.

    Hewson is wrong. It’s not especially Sky News and Nine, it’s increasingly the entirety of Oz broadcasters and msm press, in a circus of collaboration, payola and hysterical mimicry with social media barons and their feckless desperate advertisers, bots, trolls, screeching juveniles, nihilists, anti-socials and craven invisibles.

    In a bastard tango of usury and beguilement, they ply their algorithms to brutalize and steal from the generations of injured and oppressed cannon-fodder and their progeny afraid to venture into the daylight without arms – the dingy back-room and bedroom circadian masturbators with the concentration span of seven minute voyeurs and the comprehension and oral skills of full time burger eaters. Try as they might to rise above the fetid tide of manufactured scum, the poor wretches remain bombarded by the msm’s two-way ‘gotcha’ system.

    To what end? A siege of greed by disruption, a cowardly punching down, an extradition to hell, a genocide and a deconstruction of the ordinary. So that they through their paranoid manipulations can construct a comparative grandiosity by which to toady with wealth.

    It is this to which the msm and the Dutton / LNP & Co conga line hitch their wagons. But the whole caboodle is coming apart. The youth are becoming more awake (woke – properly) – they have deeper sources than the msm and social media, and they understand the algorithms. The people have shocked themselves with the 60-40 Voice outcome, and the rusted-on falling apart. Dutton’s wedges are scorched and hollow, and the courts have seen money pouring out of their death-cult eco-system.

    Everyone knows the pleasure of a beer (or cuppa) at a Test Match, it doesn’t need to be sold. The news of good and the competent still leaks out, and the punters will be paying close attention as Labor elucidates its mechanisms in and approaching this year’s budget. As everyone knows, one of the most important in many years, and a rudder to steer us from running aground like so many others across the world.

    With any luck we won’t have to be continually turned off by any further irrelevant bs about the royals – Danish or hospitalized English bloaters, or the long-winded discordant trumpeting of the American primaries.

  11. andyfiftysix

    rosemayj36. Your may be wrong but you maybe right……

    Education as we know it is an experiment that has been running for over 100yrs. Just look at the results.
    30% of us are still dumb as dog shit. In america, it could be as high as 45%.
    I was “well” educated but still dumb as dog shit till i hit my 40s. yea sure i could spew forth any anti establishment crap i could hold on to. But i never stopped to think too much about it.

    My lived experience says education is usefull but it has no ability to make the dumb think smart.

    Dont get me wrong, i think education is usefull but its not the panacea you may think it is.

    One of the solutions is to stop the dumb from voting…….but good luck with that project.
    The next best option is to tightly control the money flow to politicians. No money, no honey equates to no career politicians. In fact, the level of the dole is about the right compensation they should get.
    My next idea is to put professionals in charge of departments of government. No fish and chips experience required but a technical level of experience to run a science and technology department for example.
    that way you wouldnt get a deal clincher from a commercial bank running the internet to the ground.

  12. leefe


    Education should not be about only teaching facts but also teaching people critical thinking. That is the most important abiliity anyone can have/learn.

  13. andyfiftysix

    Leefe, show me the money… Teaching critical thinking is good as far as it goes but most 18yr olds aint going to embrace it with hunger and desire. If your going to use politician’s promises as examples, you still aint going to create a mass movement of angry ants.

    Its always assumed education will empower us. I call it BS. Its but a tool with limitations.

    30% of us are still going to be dumb as dog shit.

    Show an example of anywhere in the world where it works ………. You cant……..i rest my case.

    You have a choice, purity of idea….one man one vote with the consequences or you push the system to deliver beyond partisan narcisism. Make it hard for politicians to screw us over with heavy penalties if they do. Fraud band should have lead to jail time for abbott and turnbull. Robo debt should have seen morrison in jail. Wilful criminal neglect for ideological purposes only. No rational person could have fucked us over so completely.

  14. wam

    Albo could sell tons of beer but the journalists have all the cups and they believe they can only sell papers by labor bashing, sex, violence and controversies. There are plenty of lnp controversies but labor is reluctant to use them.
    How easy is it to mix up education with schooling? The former is essential for life and the latter is not. ps I hate reading ‘hewson’ because I wouldn’t have missed keating for the world but that ^@^@^^ cake gave us the lying rodent.

  15. Max Gross

    “And while there is a long list of Coalition faults and failures, they aren’t stupid.” ??? I seriously beg to differ!

  16. GL

    Hooray! The biggest stench laden corrupt corpse in parliament is finally leaving.

    “…to take on new challenges in the global corporate sector…” meaning I’m going to go grovelling and crawling and hope that someone might feel sorry for a vile useless backstabbing stack of oozing pile of excrement and give me a job.

  17. GL

    I see the new chairman of the ABC is going to be yet another bloody ex-Rupertite!

    Former News Corp CEO Kim Williams.

    Way to go Albo, give the Murdoch Media Mafia even more control…well done.

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