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Day to Day Politics: The ABC’s INSIDERS.

Monday February 20 2017

Journalists Malcolm Farr, Mark Kenny and Niki Savva joined Barry Cassidy for last Sunday’s edition of Insiders. Josh Freydenberg was the guest.

With Freydenberg it’s always difficult on reflection to fathom just what he said because he has a remarkable capacity to sound convincing after having said nothing. It’s why you see him so regularly doing interviews. He sounds calm, soothing and reassuring.

And there he was answering questions about Energy and Climate Change, Hunt like in their delivery. By that I mean lying. Security, affordability, energy storage and clean or cleaner coal have become the new buzz words as though the problem had just been identified in the last fortnight.

He managed to blame Labor a number of times for all manner of things while at the same time ignoring the fact that it was the Coalition who were in power. One has to wonder how they can continue to attribute so many blunders to Labor when they have only governed for six of the last 20 years.

Anyway the interview continued on its merry way and one was left wondering how odd it was that this problem of Climate Change had just arisen.

Its complex but we are onto it. Yes we know its urgent, we have it under control. We are waiting for new technology on clean coal and storage. There are a number of reports due to be released.

We might even change the RET rules so as we can invest in a Coal Powered station. Yes we know that no one’s interested in investing but we are looking.

Couldn’t it all be resolved with a bi-partisan Emissions Intensity Trading Scheme. Well yes of course but that would require to admit that we were wrong and we couldn’t do that could we.

In the end I was so exasperated that I was saying under my breath, “Barry, for God’s sake ask the stupid fool what he, Hunt and his party have been doing since they have been in power”. Because I knew the answer I just tried to relax. SFA.

One of the journalists named it “A nothing happens government”.

My suggestion to the Prime Minister, Freydenberg and all Members of the Coalition Party room is that they watch the National Press Club on ABC television next Wednesday when Bob Inglis, Lawyer and former US Congressman will deliver a speech titled.

”How conservatives can lead on climate action in the age of Trump”

His address to the National Press Club comes just weeks after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. He will offer important insights into what is actually at stake in climate politics under the new US administration, which will have major implications for Australia and the world.

Niki Savva was Peter Costello’s former press secretary with a dislike of Tony Abbott. Mark Kenny writes for Fairfax and doesn’t hide his leftish views. Malcolm Farr writes for Murdoch but is also leftish in spirit. He has a devilish sense of humour and is deeper in thought than his writing suggests.

As a panel they covered a variety of topics including the banks’ Royal commission and why they need a tax break, The Coalition is putting its toe into the Capital Gains pool. Labor’s ambiguity on its own RET (they have a reasonable policy but can’t explain it). Trumps news conference, the Omnibus bills and the associated blackmail of the NDIS. The bills in total have been sitting there since 2014 and total 13.7 billion. If they can’t get them passed, surely they cannot leave the savings there indefinitely. If you cannot fund the NDIS how come you can give tax breaks to the wealthiest businesses and private companies.

Barnaby Joyce’s rant about whatever and Tony Bourke’s request to the speaker that he use English. Our AAA rating coped a pounding with Savva suggesting it was about to be lost. They talked about the influence of George Christensen which of course is exactly what he wants them to do.

Benjamin Netanyahu will visit us on Wednesday and there is sure to be a bit of blood left on the dance floor.

My thought for the day.

”Nothing matters in life so much as to live it decently.”



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  1. Jack Straw

    I switched the sound off. It was pointless.

  2. Ella Miller

    Mr. Lord,
    having watched Insiders and many other interviews with J.Freydenberg ,I am still bewildered and confused as to whether he really lacks any insight , or is it just that ,he is very good at spinning the LNP line.
    How blatantly he ignored the fact that the coal industry is NOT interested in his “clean coal’ power generation.
    How, with all we now know , he was able to spin the SA blackouts , as Labor’s fault rather than the fact that ‘let the market decide’ policy
    failed…it all became about money.
    I wish Barry had asked him to explain the NSW blackouts …despite the fact that they have base power generation using coal.
    The LNP appear to be impervious and the reality of climate change is water of a duck’s back.
    Oh dear, the elections seem so far away.

  3. Jaquix

    Freydenberg is perfect fir Makcolm’s purpose- full of hot air. Suspect he would like to be delivering different message, but he toes the line well. Savva a waste of time, nothing to contribute but Farrr and Kenny were useful, Barrie needs to sharpen up and not let guests wafvle, blame Labor etc unchecked. He can do it without being rude, but letting them get off scot free is not on. No point in his prigram otherwise,

  4. Phil O'Leary

    I have tried to watch Insiders for the first 2 weeks now.
    First week Sinodis was on so I knew he wouldn’t remember anything. TV goes off and I listen to ABC Jazz.
    Second week and Frydenberg, a larger version of Mike Hunt, was on. TV goes off and I listen to ABC Jazz.
    That way my intelligence wasn’t insulted and I had a calmish Sunday.
    Truly, it isn’t our ABC any longer and Barrie Cassidy is in fear of losing his gig he is so soft.

  5. Harquebus

    A whole week to prepare and that was the best that Barrie Cassidy could do.
    I agree with Jack Straw; Pointless.

  6. Jack Straw

    Yes I’m afraid Barry is weak as piss and Nikki Savva a Conservative’s Conservative should just write novels and go away.

  7. Graeme Henchel

    Shallow Mal was once a climate prince
    He is now the king of coal
    The people know he’s on the take
    As he digs a deeper hole

  8. Johno

    Glad I missed it.

  9. Keith

    I’m afraid I was very disappointed with Insiders as well Frydenberg had a free run. In the past, for a Liberal, I didn’t mind Freydenberg. He says a lot of words that amount to nothing. Energy security is a nonsense when there are power black outs in Queensland, NSW, and Tasmania. There is severe weather in States other than South Australia. Privatisation has made the energy market difficult to manage; something conservatives need to hide.

  10. Terry2

    Josh offered his often repeated mantra :

    “it is called the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, it’s not called the renewable energy corporation”

    Thanks for that, Josh but where is the science and empirical evidence proving that clean coal energy production is actually feasible or affordable. We can’t build the coal power stations and then say ” oh dear, it doesn’t work what a pity, never mind at least we have the power”

    Surely we need to be working towards a target of providing power security based on,say : coal (25%), Gas (30%), renewables (45%) with that balance changing as renewables & storage get cheaper .

  11. helvityni

    The wafflers get the Environment, the fast-speaking ones become the Treasurers, the hardest men inherit the Immigration, the inane smilers are sent overseas as Foreign Ministers, if you can speak ‘proper’ English the Education is yours….

    And so it goes amongst the Liberals, for the Agriculture you need an Acubra hat and a ruddy face…

  12. spiraledi1

    McFarlane i think it was that said something like,I’d like to know how much Cassidy is paid for a couple of hours worth of his time a week.Farr commented in jest.I’d like to know where he got the second hour from? (boom boom).As far as value for money went this week by Cassidy I’d like to know that one too,and NOT in jest. 🙂

  13. Diana Wilde

    I too turned Insiders off, swearing to never watch it again until the LNP are kicked out of government. Tonight I may also swear off Q and A, and prior to that The Drum. I refuse to watch any news as I get so angry at the way this excuse for a government spins the argument or blames Labor. I’m a baby boomer and want our governments to embrace renewable technologies so my grandchildren don’t fry to death when they reach my age. Hopefully the world will still be here by then.

  14. James O'Neill

    To describe Kenny as “leftish” and Farr as “leftish in spirit” echoes the Americans describing Bernie Sanders as a “socialist.” In each case I, like my European friends, simply laugh out loud. You need to meet some true leftists Mr Lord, not the palest of pink Australian variety.

  15. jim

    “If you cannot fund the NDIS how come you can give tax breaks to the wealthiest businesses and private companies”.

    Right, it’s the economy stupid and it’s not going to fix itself thats why, money is more important than some kid in a wheelchair it’s the LNP here, (flags abound) we are better at ruling,….ah…running the economy than stupid labor is bawl…

    Are They?
    LNP (joni Howard) sold 167 tonnes of Australia’s gold reserves at near rock bottom prices just before the price rose spectacularly. According to one assessment, the fire sale returned just $2.4 billion. Had the gold been sold in 2011, when the nation needed cash during the global financial crisis, it would have fetched about $7.4 billion.

    Another disaster was losing more than $4.5 billion gambling in foreign exchange markets between 1997 and 2002.

    Serious failure, was failing to invest in infrastructure needed for future development. The funds were certainly available, especially as the mining boom accelerated.

    According to a Treasury report in 2008, between 2004 and 2007, the mining boom and a robust economy added $334 billion in windfall gains to the budget surplus. Of this, the Howard Government spent, or gave away in tax cuts, $314 billion, or 94 per cent mainly to the top end of town .

    LNP the Better economic managers GO FIGURE ?.

  16. Jack Straw

    Yes Jim it’s pathetic IDEOLOGY 101 They rewrite history and the sheep continue doing what the they do best.The LNP stands for greed .

  17. Alan Baird

    I channel Phil O’Leary’s view utterly except I head for classical. As the coalition spokesperson rabbits on testing your tolerance of stupidity, it’s that feeling of having someone lean close and piss into your pocket that causes the remote reflex to move yourself away quickly before violence a la Elvis occurs and the TV suffers from your six-shooter. When you’re listening to Frydenberg (& really ANY coalition knob) you know before the first syllable you’re gonna get the usual serve on Labor being the author of all Oz’s misfortunes even if out of govt for aeons. Note well: the cross bench never causes problems as they will come in handy, only Labor, and I’m no Labor hack. Not for decades!

  18. stephengb2014s

    Every time I get called a ‘Lefty’ in that ‘spat at’ derogatory way, I know I am being addressed by a Right Wing Extremist. I have discovered over a snort time that any rational discussion with this sort of person is pointless, they are incapable of rational discussion.
    Perhaps Barry Cassidy has come to the same conclusion and just doesn’t bother anymore, he knows that any straight question will be ignored and the answere will be the latest jingoistic slogan.

    I like to think that the Barry Cassidy’s of the ABC are merely towing the new ABC line in a he that these idiots are exposing themselves as mere puppets of neoliberalism. I like to think that I am drawing out the nonsensical ma tra of the Right Wing Extremists on facebook, but then I may be just dreaming I am exposing their stupidity!

  19. Steve Laing -

    Savva trying to rationalise the endorsement of One Nation here in WA, and then suggesting a moral equivalency with preferencing the Greens by Labor truly reveals the character of many Coalition supporters in this country (i.e. inherent suspicious of “others”, but too polite/cautious to say so in public though more than happy to do so when they think they are in like-minded company – I’ve met many, who have incorrectly made that assumption about me when I told them I used to run my own business). But she keeps dissing Tony, because she is, and continues to be, a Turnbull shill, and clearly more than happy to spread fake news if required.

    The program, like so many others that their ABC now offers, is largely watered down, but it is highly revealing in that it gives an insight into the highly incestuous relationship between politicians and their cheer squad.

  20. jim

    Cont….Sales of businesses yielded another $72 billion. And yet Australia’s cash in the bank when Howard left office was a pathetically low 7.3% of GDP.

    Several other countries were much higher: Chile 13.0%, Sweden 17.4%, Finland 72.5%, United Arab Emirates 100.8% and Norway 138.8%.

    Constant crowing by the cocky Coalition about the strong surplus it left is laughable. Even Algeria [20.9%], Bulgaria [10.2%] and Kazakhstan [14.4%] had better books.

    Peter Hartcher summarised the disaster succinctly in 2009:

    Yet the truth is that tax revenues were gushing into the Treasury so powerfully that the vaults were bursting — Howard and Costello could deliver surpluses and still spend rashly and irresponsibly. The Media branded Mr Howard ” a Brave Man) for his tax breaks for the rich,

    Howard spent $4 billion on his own ‘cash splash’ in his final budget, and promised another $4 billion in his election campaign, in the middle of a boom. In other words, there was no economic rationale whatsoever. On the contrary, Howard’s handouts were helping to overheat the economy. These payouts were economic vandalism and political bribes designed to buy votes.

    The Coalition will continue to declare: “You can trust us with the economy. We ran things well before.” with the assistance of the Australian media. GO FIGURE!.

  21. jim

    The program, like so many others that their ABC now offers, is largely watered down, but it is highly revealing in that it gives an insight into the highly incestuous relationship between politicians and their cheer squad. Too right Steve,too right.

  22. kerri

    I live in Frydenberg’s electorate. I have emailed him a number of time and his replies are much the same as they are in interviews. Waffles on about how they are working for all of us and are doing their best yada yada yada and never answers your question. Many Libs describe him as a future leader. Maybe because his electorate was once held by Menzies and Peacock and has never been out of Liberal hands.
    If it is any consolation the local lamposts are beginning to sport a number of posters declaring
    “Josh Frackenberg” and other critical comments. He may be fooling the rusted on voters but hopefully the youth are on to Josh.
    Diana Wilde. Watch tonight’s Q&A? Julian Burnside is worth listening to. I am hoping he will smack down Piers Ackerman.

  23. Egalitarian

    Jim: And the positive discrimination of the LNP sycophants Hijacking of the ABC continues in a subterfugel manner.

  24. Michael

    The ABC is sliding down the “disappointing slide” – shaky backbone or light on principles of journalism – expertly wrong footed – almost choreographed interviews – oh so nice – squandering interview control out of “(bullshit) respect” – avoiding potential embarrassingly yes/no answers – ignoring right/wrong, correct/incorrect.

    I see the ABC as having been corralled into submission – ignoring the rape of any and every public asset (the world began with everything being public – privatisation of assets is a human construct process) and its consequences.

  25. Egalitarian

    I cannot believe they will have Piers Ackerman on the show? Whats the use ?

  26. John L

    Turned it on…Frydenburg was on waffling on, with no effective input from Cassidy…again. What’s the point – it turns into yet another policy waffle for the LNP!
    Turned it off!
    Might try and watch Q&A, but, it’s sliding deep into the morass as well………………..

  27. silkworm

    “If you cannot fund the NDIS…” That was Malcolm Farr’s point, or rather, question: How is the government going to fund the NDIS? As soon as he asked that, I immediately recognized his economic ignorance, from the perspective of MMT. The government does not have a fund of money to spend. It simply creates money when it spends. Then it mops up the excess money in circulation through taxation (whose purpose basically is to control inflation). But where are those familiar with the principles of MMT in the media to counter these misunderstandings? As long as the political commentators remain ignorant of MMT, they will continue to push the Neoliberal line that we will need to cut spending in one area in order to fund spending in another.

  28. helvityni

    Egalitarian, I used to not watch the Insiders when I found out that Ackerman was one of guests… They are digging deep there at the ABC, the lower the better.

    I’ll watch it for Burnside…

  29. guest

    Steve Laing, re the WA govnt. preference deal with One Nation, I was appalled when Barnett said it is not a matter of policies, it is all about the arithmetic.

    Do these goons have no principles?

  30. Sam

    Guest : Do these goons have no principles?

    Ah No !

  31. jimhaz

    Like Hunt, Frydenburg’s body language always gives me the opinion he doesn’t like lying, though he’d just view it as political mutton dressed up as lamb.

    Mark Kenny ‘leftish’ – not on your nellie.

  32. guest

    Elsewhere, as in The Australian today, the Murdoch scribblers continue their jaundiced view of the world.

    Chris Mitchell, suffering “attention deficit” or “feather duster” syndrome, preaches about “A price to pay if we prop up populists”. He says:

    “The values of the ordinary voters never were the social media values of Left environmentalism, feminist fundamentalism, asylum seeker advocacy and anti-business hysteria…They want a better life for their children and their children’s children.”

    Mitchell does not seem to understand that those things are the very things which are important; ie, environment (clean air, water, food, etc), women (Turnbull spoke on violence at the Parliamentary International Women’s Day Breakfast, while cutting $100m from women’s refuges), refugees (large numbers of people support refugees and immigration – pace hanson – and reject Turnbull’s treatment of refugees as cattle, the issue clouded by claims of terrorists being among Muslims) and anti-business sentiments (inflamed by gouging, fraud and tax avoidance).

    He says that politics is about “the betterment of the nation”. But I cannot see where the Coalition has in any way introduced anything which people regard as for the “betterment” of the nation, despite the efforts of himself, of course, “Paul Kelly and a few others”, his champion opinionistas.

    He blames both big political parties for not committing to “high levels of renewable energy without knowing what they would do to power prices or the conventional electricity industry”. But did the Murdoch press know all about these things? Did they know about the effects of privatisation? Or of climate change (not mentioned here)? What future for coal does Mitchell see?

    Well, he makes this claim: “Progressives are regularly allowed to claim the world is way ahead of us in greenhouse gas reduction targets”. But a perusal of information about coal usage as against renewables and the introduction of coal-powered electricity tells us that Oz is backward-looking, waiting as it is for carbon capture and storage a hoping to avoid its coal resources becoming stranded assets.

    Yet, according to Mitchell, politicians “need to use the media to advocate “good policy”. But I beg to differ, if Mitchell’s effort, so jaundiced and ideologically cherry-picked, is anything to go by.

    So also with Maurice Newman’s “Our heritage is worth he fight”, where he includes Christmas and Australia Day and Anzac, etc. But then he gets to Trump:

    “Within hours of his inauguration, President Trump ordered a regulatory freeze, the removal from the White House website of Barack Obama’s climate action plan, and US withdrawal from the TPP, He plans spending cuts of US$10.5 trillion over 10 years to dramatically shrink the bureaucracy. The National Endowment for the Humanities will be scrapped entirely. The public broadcaster will be privatised.”

    Newman believes that leaders around the world will make adjustments, and such things as immigrants, climate change, trade agreements, a working public service, the arts and a public broadcaster are merely “costly, fashionable diversions” – ” a united culture and self-belief” along with “national pride and economic prosperity” are more important.

    Such an introverted, narrow nationalism, with an oligarchy of rich business men (mainly) working hard in their own interests, seems to be a recipe for a disaster, started and enlarged by cartels of business men globalising the world economy and wreaking war as a methodolgy in order to maximise their profits at the cost of everyone else.

    They blame Obama, but the rot goes well back in US history.

  33. Max Gross

    An empty armchair would have more credibility than Nikki Savva

  34. Rossleigh

    Interesting that some people use Trump’s rejection of climate change action as justificiation for us following suit, but when it comes to protectionism, we need to think for ourselves!

  35. Matters Not

    Yes Savva was embarrassing but what would you expect from someone who has extremely close ties to the Liberal Party. Why, ever her husband, Vincent Woolcock, has been a long-term Liberal political staffer who currently works for Turnbull. But:

    She insists she will subject Turnbull’s prime ministership to the same scrutiny as Abbott’s.

    “You’d look stupid, you would sacrifice your own credibility otherwise. I will call it as I see it.”

    Well she looked stupid and she sacrificed her credibility as well. She should declare her ‘conflict of interest’ whenever she speaks on the subject of Turnbull.

  36. helvityni

    Max Cross, your comment gets my top-post of the day award…

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  37. helvityni

    Another excellent post from guest !

  38. Jeanette

    I agree with all comments but the one thing that will bring this pack of useless waste of money brainless idiots to heel is when industry start to pack their bags. Industry doesn’t care what it’s made of as long as it is constant and keeps the fire going. The very one thing that Cassidy who seems to be losing his puff could have hammered home and why he didn’t repeat the question in different formats at least 4 times amazed me. We all know industry do not pay the going rate for power it is the poor citizens like you and me who pay the loading for them, the deals that a struck eg that lot in Victoria? BUT if their fires and lights go out it doesn’t matter how less they pay for… power! This is the only thing that may get this mob into action. They do not care a brass razoo (spelling) about Australians. I am really over it. Insiders was once a good programme but I switched to ABC Classic FM ha! that had so many disruptions to their broadcasting I was wondering about their power deal.

  39. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    When is Barrie Cassidy going to get Christian Porter and Alan Tudge on to explain the Robo Debt Disaster? While Cassidy is at it, he can ask both frauds, when they plan to raise Newstart to over the level of the poverty line.

    My questions are simply rhetorical since we have all seen how gutless Cassidy has become.

  40. helvityni

    Jennifer, lately they have all become gutless at their ABC, oops, Quentin Dempster spoke to my liking on the Drum tonight… happy with small mercies..

  41. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Yes, Dempster has not lost his integrity.

  42. silkworm

    Piers Ackerman just compared refugees to ants. Let the scorn begin.

  43. silkworm

    What we had on Q&A tonight was flat out nastiness from Ackerman and flat out lying from Brandis, forcing Plibersek to interrupt him on several occasions to set the record straight. The ABC, however, loves this sort of thing, because it creates controversy and therefore ratings, though why the ABC should be concerned with ratings at the expense of truth is beyond me.

  44. helvityni

    …and of course Tony gave Brandis plenty of time, and hardly any to Burnside….as for Akerman, I’m not wasting my words on him….

  45. Michael


    – you NAILED IT!!!!

    Why is there not a ratings index for truth seeking, dogged followup questions, proof seeking, supporting evidence (?), etc? surely this coul dbe a human construct?

    Cut Tony a little slack – his raison d’etre are is probably tied to a long string to top office – shame, not his own profession anymore – what we get for lack of transparency and non declaration of interests by all.

  46. crypt0

    Freydenberg is like all Liebrals …
    i.e. a pathological liar.
    Can anyone name even ONE who isn’t ?

  47. crypt0

    Freydenberg. Slug Akerman et al are representing the LieNP, true to character., the ABC has lost it.
    40% of large companies and wealthy individuals pay ZERO tax.
    Therefore Australia cannot afford to fund all manner of welfare programs, but spends billions on submarines (which by the time they are in the water will be easily eliminated by cheap and affordable drones) and Stealth fighter jets, yet to be proven as viable.
    I wonder where/when the LieNP intend to get “value” out of these uber expensive purchases ?
    Bottom line …
    Australia is heading down the skids at a rate of knots.
    Not far to go now.

  48. Alan Baird

    As noted above, Mark Kenny leftish… not on your nelly! The article in today’s Herald quickly dispelled that broad brush assumption. He runs a mile when talk turns to inequality of income. He then pulls the old politics of envy trick and falls back to protect his employers’ folding stuff.

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