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Day to Day Politics: What me biased, really?

1 Around this time last year I received a message from a friend on Facebook. It went something like this:

”John, despite me being a lefty, I’m waiting for you to say something positive about the government. Surely there must be something. Try and be more non-biased, please.”

I replied:

Andrea, there was a time when the LNP had some soul. People like Fraser and a few others still carried the residue of true Liberalism. The small  ”L” types. It was a time when I thought that losing an election wasn’t the end of the world. That if you believed in democracy then you had to respect the other party’s right to win.

However Abbott and Turnbull have taken them so far right that I cannot see any redeeming features what so ever. I am sitting thinking about policy areas and I cannot think of anything positive to say. Fact is I cannot think of one positive thing to say about The Coalition. They have governed abominably.

Their denial of climate change appals and infuriates me and their opposition to equality of opportunity in anything and everything simply disgusts me.

I’m sorry to disappoint. I will try harder because I am not generally speaking, biased. At least I don’t think I am. Perhaps it’s just that I love my country too much and it shows.

She replies:

”To be honest I agree with a lot of what you say, but I’m trying to also look for the good in the bad and bad in the good, if you know what I mean. So I guess what I’ve seen of your posts has been looking a little like the flip-side of a Murdoch-type Liberal bias. However like you said you’ve tried hard to find something positive in the Libs and haven’t been able to find anything, so that’s fair enough.”

Well if I were replying to Andrea now, I could manage a degree of positivity in so much as on budget eve the Coalition has developed a liking for Labor Party policy and indeed has adopted many to the point of appearing positively socialist. All of these decisions have been made, not because the Coalition believes in them, but rather to counter Labor’s popularity in them

Now Andrea’s suggestion that I am biased has made me take a longer walk than normal to do some critical self-analysis.

Music has always held a special place in my heart. I have a collection of over 600 CDs and 150 live concert DVDs. I play piano (badly) and have composed a number of songs. I have no bias to any particular genre of music and appreciate it all.

Books are like children to me and I have a family of hundreds. I treat them with a fatherly love but I show no bias or favour to any. I have read the political thoughts of Hasluck, Menzies, Howard and Costello and many others on the right. Again my reading has no bias. Fiction and text books comfortably interchange.

In the AFL I support two teams, so I could hardly be called biased. And I have played a variety of sports.

But of course my friend is referring to ‘political bias’. So It got me thinking about what political bias actually is.

I would say it is either an inability or unwillingness to want to understand an opposing point of view.

In my defence on that count I plead not guilty. I have studied conservative ideology and rejected it. I have studied current conservative policy from Climate Change to the NBN and rejected it all. Not because of any biased view, but rather because I have studied each on its merits. A biased person rejects everything out of hand and is incapable of objective reasoning. Anyway I will let others judge. Who knows, next thing someone will say I’m a communist and that Karl Marx’s grave is a communist plot.

2. In terms of the Budget this is what we know:

Education: University fees will rise and Graduates will have to pay back loans earlier.

School funding will follow the Gonski model with a lot less funding than Labor proposed.

Infrastructure: There will be funding for Badgery’s Creek Airport, roads, rail including the Inland Rail.

Housing: The Government has promised to reveal their answer to the housing affordability problem.

Health: The Medicare rebate freeze is likely to end. Savings on generic drugs.

Welfare: New measures to ensure welfare recipients are looking for work and meeting their so-called “mutual obligations”.

A trial program restricting Centrelink recipients from purchasing liquor, gambling or withdrawing cash.

Legal: Restoration of funding to legal aid. Possible increased funding to family court.

Tax. Petroleum Resource Rent Tax Oil and gas companies to lose generous tax deductions.

Companies with a turnover of $50million to get a tax cut.

We’re likely to see the figures on the so-called “Google tax”, which was passed in April and could recoup $2 billion in revenue.

Media: Gambling advertising to be outlawed before 8.30.

The $130-million annual license fee for broadcasters will be scrapped in favor of a $40-million spectrum fee.

Veterans Affairs: $350million to help prevent suicide among war veterans.

Security: $321 million to fund an expansion of the AFP. Up to 300 personnel are expected to be hired, including negotiators, tactical response officers, bomb squad technicians and forensic specialists.

Industry: $100 million funding package for manufacturing, aimed at Victoria and South Australia which have suffered the brunt of the demise of car-making.

What won’t happen? University deregulation, borrowing on super for house deposits, changes to negative gearing and no reform of GST.

Whoops almost forgot. Pensioners are to get a few dollars to help with a large increase in energy bills.

So the question is, where is all the money is coming from? All the sweeteners have been revealed (I think) but what cuts will be made to pay for them. How is the proposed $50billion in tax cuts being funded?

Here we have a government who when in opposition had the audacity to say that Labor had given the country the worst debt and deficit problem the country had ever faced yet in office have doubled the debt. And now after rejecting any form of large scale infrastructure spending have had a change of mind and yet again are borrowing Labor policies.

Albeit clayton images of them. They seem to be in an awful hurry to show that fairness is in their political DNA. And all this debt. There was a time when conservatives wouldn’t countenance spending of this sort. They would be shaking their heads in horror.

All in all they have governed appallingly, achieved nothing yet are asking the people to take them in good faith. They still haven’t recovered from their ill-fated 2014 world’s unfairest budget. Meanwhile the country has just drifted on with a bunch of incompetent, yet well-educated fools running the place without knowing their right foot from their left.

My thought for the day.

”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.”

PS: I will be glued to the ABC at 7.30 tomorrow. If I’m biased let me know.

 

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19 comments

  1. Pappinbarra Fox

    Don’t you mean something positive to say about the government – in your friends quote para 1?

  2. John Lord

    Thanks. Fox.

  3. Möbius Ecko

    It’s telling that everything the L-NP does is about getting their opposition, with Labor their main target.

    Little is about the nation or its people, unless those people are the very top centile, but nearly everything is about destroying the opposition in an attempt to ensure continuous unquestioned rule. Even when the L-NP does what on the surface are good things for the nation, they are done as a tactic to take ground away from the opposition with rebadged inferior facsimiles of Labor policies.

    You can see it with their supporters, where almost every response to a L-NP failing is Labor. You can see it in the responses of the L-NP, where nearly every question is answered at some point with a blaming or faulting of Labor. This is constant and relentless, and also taken up by the media.

    It’s done because the L-NP cannot stand on their own merit, and haven’t been able to for a long time now. So to cover their incompetence and quell legitimate criticism of them, they seek to destroy oppositions over national policy, remove any accountability and transparency, and to have the MSM and powerful on their side.

    Take the mountain being made of Shorten’s ill formed Australian First ad. Yes it was bad, and he has stated so and pulled it. The right of Labor, who first endorsed it, have now also withdrawn that endorsement. But the media for two days now have persistently attacked Shorten over it, and none more so than the ABC. Here you can see the L-NP through their media support at work.

  4. havanaliedown

    Conservatives don’t view the ABC s being “on side” – but the complete opposite. Many want the ABC sold or defunded by 90%.

  5. Kaye Lee

    Michael,

    That is utterly ridiculous. I am already paying top dollar for stupid FttN that drops out all the time. We are in a mobile black spot so have to have a fixed line. And now they want to charge me more because they chose to pork barrell country seats first without thinking about the consequences? Lucy Wicks and Mitch Fifield will be getting a call from me!

  6. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, I’m paying $30 a month more for the Turnbull NBN than I did for the Conroy/Rudd NBN.

    That’s a big difference. But the download speeds are an even bigger difference: 98.5 with Rudd’s (when I lived in Canberra) compared to 3.5 with Turnbull’s. (My ADSL2 was 4.5). It’s that slow now that the gravatars under ‘recent comments’ don’t even load.

    Now they want $7 a month more!

  7. helvityni

    I’m trying hard to think something positive to say about the Libs..

    I detest Dutton ,I’m disappointed in Mal, I don’t understand why Michaelia is always shouting, Tehan put me to sleep last night, Pyne is silly…

    Oh, here’s something positive:

    “The foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, has refused to sack Yassmin Abdel-Magied from the Council for Australian-Arab Relations”

    WOW !

  8. Wayne Turner

    They are doing NOTHING about underemployment and unemployment. Instead they going by the fraud and failure of “trickling down economics” with tax cuts to some businesses.

    Then they do their usual “bash the unemployed” by blaming the victim,with being “tough” on unemployed people.

    Where’s the tough new laws on rorting of workers,by businesses such as 7 11,Caltex,Dominos,etc……..?

    So much for “jobs and growth” from Mr Advocacy and NOT slogans Turnbull.

  9. Keitha Granville

    How can anyone say anything positive to say about the government, when everything they do demonstrates that in spite of their education and intelligence they choose to do things that show them to be so incredibly foolish and unprincipled.
    I cannot begin to fathom how Malcolm can sleep knowing he is denying every vestige of common sense and reasoned decision making that he once had.
    And let’s not even start on his opinion of Trump.

  10. seawork

    If the country is in such a poor financial position, then if the $50billion tax let off for the very rich and the $50billion for a fleet of submarines was cancelled, you could do a lot with that $100 billion.
    As far as I know no terrorist have been shot from a submarine.

  11. stephentardrew

    John as usual we are in agreement. I think it is worse than most people realise. The pressure to not be biased can make one feel a bit guilty however when the hard facts are brought to the light of day it is glaringly obvious that the L-NP are beyond reprieve.

    Add the state of the media and the poor alternatives to neoliberal endemic greed and things take a decided turn for the worse By trying to find some balance between the L-NP and Labor it is easy to miss the fact that capitalism is not a well regulated democratic market economy directed towards reasonable justice and equity it is a dog eat dog free for all.

    Turnbull’s fawning over Trump, as humiliating for this country as it was, says it all as the club of elitist superior narcissists, like birds of a feather, flock together. I really have seen nothing like the current mob of political crooks.

    The terrible price we pay for the incursion of religion into politics and the dystopian paradigm of victim judgement, blame, and retribution. Causation and science be buggered. Without reason and facts we are lost to this type of subjective theocratic self-justification for cruelty and brutality while blaming the victim.

    We are being ruled by subjective opinion left and right rather than demonstrable facts. How the hell are we to get rational solutions with this nonsense implicit within a largely dysfunctional cultural paradigm.

    I see your and Kaye’s sound reasoning standing completely outside of the current jumble of incoherent beliefs and actions.

    The rot is deep and we must, on honest reflection, not make swine into angles.

  12. thebustopher

    It’s always been the case that the Libs help people who don’t need help, but don’t help people who do need it.

  13. Keith

    The LNP talk about a hostile Senate, PM Gillard also had a mixed Senate; but, PM Gillard was able to manage to negotiate. The LNP with their hideous omnibus bills; displaying damaging legislation, along with what might be good, cannot be trusted. The LNP cannot expect bills to be passed in the Senate if the bills are rotten, ideologically driven garbage.

    Four Corners (8/5/’17) was interesting in relation to Energy, some blame was apportioned to the Greens and Labor for past actions, Abbott created a cesspit through his continual pushing against costing carbon, even Industry now supports carbon being costed. Politicians now are too scared to push for pricing carbon which is accentuating Energy problems.

  14. helvityni

    …am I supposed to be proud of our PM when he congratulates Trump for repealing Obamacare…???

  15. Michael Taylor

    helvityni, of course you’re supposed to be proud of our PM for congratulating Trump. We all are.

    I would have congratulated Trump myself if Malcolm had not done it.

    I might even send an email to Malcolm expressing my gratitude.

  16. Michael Taylor

    It shall begin as such:

    “Dear Malcolm,

    Thank you for showing the world what most Australians already knew: you’re an embarrassment.”

  17. stephengb2014

    Well said John

    Ditto Stephen Tardrew

    I awoke this mrning to see a statement that scomo will be reducing the pensions of those with homes valued more than $500,000.

    I hope this not true, because it will be devastating to so many pensioners who purchased houses at $10 to $12000, and have retired whilst their homes leapt in value because of the policies of successive neoliberal governments both Left and Right.

    S

  18. paul walter

    They tried crash through or crash with Abbott and Turncoat until a month or two ago with the right faction seemingly forcing Malcolm to go along with the crankery to the extent that the polls went south for them.

    A year closer to an election and now they try to make with a little nice, but the welfare horrors remain and the ABC becomes more pitiful by the moment.

    A snake keeps its distance from its prey after striking it. It waits till the toxin has worked before eating the immobilised victim.
    Turnbull has convinced the hard right to back off for just a moment, until the venom of dumbing down has worked, the next election is salvaged , then, like Trump after last US elections, the weird stuff can is then unleashed on an unsuspecting public.

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