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Day to Day Politics: Him or Him? What do you think?

Sunday 14 January 2018

With the likelihood of an election this year it’s time for the Australian people to seriously decide what it is they want in the way of governance. Do they want a continuation of the sort of politics as expressed by both Abbott and Turnbull or another three years, or do they want to give the other mob a go? Do they want the participation of others on the right or left who have no chance of governing to unduly influence government?

When you look at the current makeup of the government – as I did when putting together my poll for the worst politician for 2017 – it became vividly clear to me just how many people of ill repute fill the government benches.

The fact is I was rather astonished when I “collectively” placed them all together just how many moronic individuals there were in the Coalition. Most of them have degrees from some of the best learning institutes in the world yet their record in governance is one of corruption, narcissism, lying, chaos, self-importance and bad judgement. They have been, and still are, a despicable bunch of cronies who have delivered nothing in terms of social reform. Until that fact hits you on the head your vote is worth zilch unless you take that into account.

And if you do it’s hard not to see a group of people who have no idea how to govern for the country as a whole, who are purely in politics for what they are able to extract from being an MP for themselves, being able to win the next election.

What a disaster it would be, if for whatever reason they were given the reins for another three years.

When a party is in such disarray the need to stay in “power” becomes the overarching imperative. This gives rise to the likes of Dutton to take any short cut to maintain his and the government’s grip on power. The Coalition’s only policy has been the demonising of those who are not white, Anglo-Saxon, and Christian.

So Dutton and others see no reason to deliver good government so close to an election. They see the rhetoric of blame as a “winning formula”.

Dutton’s attacks on the judiciary are not some recently found can to kick, they are long-held views. Most likely formed when he was a policeman in Queensland. This has also become a Coalition mantra when Trudge, Hunt and Sukkar were on the brink of being held in contempt of court some time back, an apology saved them.

If the Victorian judiciary were to hold Dutton in contempt, and his defence was an apology, that apology should be taken with a grain of salt. His views on “Light Sentences” and “Libertarian Judges” are provable long-held views. Just look at his maiden speech in 2002.

Throw the book at him, lock him up and lose the key.

Here is an extract from his maiden speech that addresses his “concerns”:

“Perhaps the most significant challenge our society faces today is the way in which we deal with the issue of national security, and indeed our continued and ongoing response to the terrorist and criminal attacks generally. The fact is that we live in a complex world.

The terrorist attacks and the attacks on our day-today lives by criminals who have complete disregard for common decency must be dealt with in a measured way. At this point in time it is stating the obvious that in my opinion the courts are not representing the views in the large of the broader community.

Time after time we see grossly inadequate sentences being delivered to criminals whose civil rights have far exceeded those of the victim and others in our society. This imbalance must be addressed, and for the sake of living standards and reasonable expectations for all Australians must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

Dutton wears the traits of an authoritarian like a new suit. He seems to thrive on making explicit displays of power. His public speaking record reveals his naked contempt for due process, opposing views, and especially for non-Caucasian Australians. I believe he has been appointed way, way above his ability and is masking his weakness with bravado founded on racism, insult and rabble rousing.

People are once again questioning Shorten’s merit as opposition leader. However, it has to be said that he surprised everyone with a better campaign than Turnbull’s in the 2016 election He came within a whisker of winning.

So much so that he gained much prestige and respect from the people and the media. As it turned out he was the policy wonker I thought he was.

The areas of education, health and social welfare were big winners for Labor and if he is to continue as Labor leader he must promote an activist image on all these policies together with the NBN and climate change.

Having said that, it is fair for people to question his credentials. Many would agree that in terms of charisma he doesn’t have a lot going for him. He is drearily stoic on television, a wooden personality at best. He is at his best when angered by criticism of undeniable Labor ideology. He is Labor through and through whereas Turnbull is supposedly a leftish Prime Minister leading an ultra-right party.

And why would Labor want to change when it looks certain the incumbent is likely to lose the next election or possibly not be Coalition leader anyway. Having said that, if Labor think they can ride into power on the back of a white horse with golden mane is to ignore the lessons of Brexit, Hanson and Trump where the punters expressed in no uncertain way their dislike of conventional institutionalised politics. To do so is to invite a tidal wave of disaffected voters voting for minor extreme right parties and independents.

On all the policies that count Labor has the better credentials. Education, tax, health, climate change, and even the economy which is traditionally the Coalition’s stronghold.

He also has the advantage of leading a united party who have learnt the lessons of revolving door politics. At the moment Bill Shorten – despite all his shortcomings – is a better prospect to lead Australia.

Labor however does suffer from an emptiness of explanation that requires attention. What does Labor now stand for in the new political world where traditional politics has been given the thumbs down?

Shorten must convince the lost voters who have left our democracy to return. He has to turn Labor ideology on its head, shake it and re-examine it. Then reintroduce it as an enlightened ideology-opposite to the Tea Party politics that conservatism has descended into.

Somehow the lost voters must be given a reason to return. A reason that is valid and worthwhile. A reason that serves the collective and engages people in the process, and a politic for the social good of all – one that rewards personal initiative but at the same time recognises the basic human right of equality of opportunity.

Shorten needs to promote a robust but decent political system that is honest, decent, and transparent, and where respect is the order of the day. A political system where ideas of foresight surpass ideological politics, greed, disrespect, and truth. Where respect, civility and trust are part of vigorous debate and not just uninvited words in the process.

With the government currently unable to do anything right, internal rumblings, and threats of crossing the floor or forming another party I don’t see that Labor needs to replace its leader. It just needs to sit tight and allow the Government to dig its own grave.

My thought for the day

”The right to vote is the gift our democracy gives. If political parties (and media barons, for that matter) choose by their actions to destroy the people’s faith in democracy’s principles and conventions then they are in fact destroying the very thing that enables them to exist”.

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  1. PjNicholls

    Policies, Policies, Policies…a bit like the Location Location Location.
    Always remember, it is not personality…
    Read political party’s ideological stategy …then read it again.
    Does this tell you which party will govern for big business [freedom] and their mates and where policies will increase inequality and increase unemployment, or which party will govern for the people ..the one which introduced Medicare and NDIS

  2. Cara Clark

    You may have noticed this terrifying meme on Facebook recently:
    IPA #77 of their Manifesto
    “Allow ministers to be appointed from outside Parliament.”
    Dutton could remain Home Affairs Minister without a seat.

  3. Ella miller

    Sadly we have a government without a moral compass. A government who is not governing for the well being of all of Australia.A government that divides our nation.A government which forgets election promises as soon as they are made.A government that lies to its people.

    I have been wondering ;
    using the above points, if we created a petition which 60% of the population signed and supported and gave this petition to the Governor General. Would he be obliged to dismiss the Government?

    I worry about the damage done to our Nation by this unconscionable Government till the elections are finally called.

  4. lawrencewinder

    Cara Cooks notice is interesting… it also points up that the shambles we have is the ruling rabble’s incompetent implementation of the IPA’s regressive ideology by card carrying members of both groups… and that the corruption we are seeing now emanates from the public service too where the head is an IPA member!

    shared 08.12

  5. billie11

    The Coalition are the modern incarnation of the Rum Rebellion- all about making themselves rich.
    It is wrong to say they have not engaged in social reform – they are all about entrenching privilege

  6. oldandoverit

    Labor supports the cashless abuse card. Until they stand for social justice and equality they’re little better than the LNP. Trouble is, there is no viable alternative.

  7. Phil O'Leary


  8. Graeme Henchel

    Much is made of Bill Shorten’s alleged lack of “charisma” but in my view I like his considered and calm demeanour. We have seen enough, too much indeed of the “very stable genius” who epitomises the old saying, empty vessels make the most noise. We have seen the insincere overblown lawyerly waffle of the snake oil man Turnbull with his complete lack of principles and nasty narcissism. We have seen the agressive Thug in Abbott with his vacuous slogans and perpetual opposition mindset. We saw the two faced Rudd able to charm the simpletons who watched morning TV but who could not charm his own caucus.

    Rather than lament the fact that Shorten doesn’t comply with the media’s contrived characteration of what a leader should be Labor should be celebrating that Shorten is not all bluster and bullshit, or a populist popinjay, or a negative Neanderthal. Jeremy Corbyn was similarly painted as a dull “unelectable” leader in the UK and yet in an election campaign his strengths as a man of principles and quiet conviction came through. Shorten likewise was an effective campaigner in the 2016 election.

  9. babyjewels10

    How surprising…a bunch of pampered private schoolboys manifestly unable to govern. Clearly, politics attracts the wrong type. Something needs to change so that we attract people with vision, intellect, honesty and most importantly, with a beating heart, who genuinely want to improve the lot of the population now and into the future.

  10. Jack Russell

    How many times do people have to be dudded by “charisma” before they finally come to understand that it is a most worthless attribute … a warning sign … something to be avoided?

    Once? Twice? Never?

    < sigh >

  11. Arthur Falconer

    We are in an awful position. A government determined to attack the poor and vulnerable and dedicated to the rich and privaliged or an opposition led by a man few people trust regardless of policy. The balance of power will most likely be held by conservatives who have hate as their basis.

  12. Peter F

    ‘Emperor’ Dutton has no clothes.

  13. Clean livin

    Bit of luck, Getup will take care of duds Dutton, and in my humble opinion, that’s half the problem gone.

  14. wam

    Loved your thought, Lord.
    At the end of a thoughtful piece, it fits perfectly with, sitting behind the lines waiting for the government to convince the electorate that what is written in the paper, heard on the radio and at the bbqs and seen on the tv is wrong. Thereby suggesting a change to a union man who stand aloof is the replacement.
    Ooopps, no show without punch and billy, unless he dons the gloves has all the chance murdoch and fairfax will give him.

    As for dutton have you not spoken to the police socially and heard the stories of preparation from prosecution to have judges devalue your efforts and slap a wrist time after time?

    ps the texts in hawaii missiles on the way followed by a drill followed by this is a mistake all preceded by examples of hacking. Now that is confusion do you believe the first, the second or the third. Is the news fake or??? Perhaps the wrong button was pushed hope trump doesn’t follow??

    Graeme shorten’s lack the qualities that have led to the success of those who have them both here and overseas is not really the point. Leaders need to do things to highlight the team who need to be doing things! QED??? The modern election is won by exciting the centre waiverers. In Australian this is done by innuendo or outright lying to the media in a way that provides excitement, illusions of exclusive stories and headlines..

  15. stephengb2014

    Sorry Mr Lord, but I do not believe there will be an election this year, turbull is going to stretch it out to the wire, they the LNP, still want that massive tax cut and I cant see them doing that anytime soon.

    Having said that If I were turnbull I would be pushing a successfull tax cut to business and middle income earners as proof positive that LNP were worth re-election, because there is nothing like giving the electorate a few dollars to get elected.

  16. Ross

    Totally agree John Lord. The law of averages tells you there is at least one decent human in federal parliament but he/she is keeping their head well down and mouth tightly shut for fear of being seen to be different.
    When looking at federal parliament all you see is a pack of grossly overpaid, useless, inept incompetent, lying, rorting, thieving, grasping and probably illegal professional politicians.
    And they are the good ones.
    Australia is rapidly heading for third world status under the Coalition, Labor could not be any worse but may be able to slow the inevitable downward slide.
    And maybe, just maybe good government will start after the next election.

  17. Anne Findlay

    Shorten at least listens to people and is good in a town hall setting or where people can come up and speak to him. I’ve seen him at two public events and he impressed me with his ability to talk to people whereas Turnbull is good only at waffling at or speaking at a party function where ‘normal or ordinary people’ are not likely to try to make contact with him.

  18. James Cook

    I’ve really tried to follow Wam’s ramblings and, although I recognise most of the words as standard English, the structure of the sentences makes the arguments unintelligible. Am I too thick?

  19. Rob

    Thick james cook

  20. Rob

    MSM are making value judgements on Bill Shorten’s character and guess what, the misinformed public believe what the msm print. Second level reporting and questions that dance politely around the real facts are becoming the norm. opinion pieces tarted up as fact. We know this. Yet the self regulating media are not questioned by anyone other than For EG: Dutton and his new dog whistle

  21. Jaquix

    Bill Shorten is no Flash Harry. Thank goodness. Media don’t give him a fair go. And now I notice lots of aggressive troll accounts which dive into any Facebook post in his name. Libs must be behind this, trying to besmirch his character and decency. Dutton said to have 22 social media pal on payroll. Going to be a long and dirty 0-18 months, til election time. If they haven’t abolished elections by then. #77 IPA is a worry. So is possibility of Dutton being moved to safer seat. I agree with Graeme Henschel. Turnbull will be hanging on for longest time. Lots of dirty tricks to come. Don’t think a tax cut will reverse the polls. Qtly Newspoll Dec. had 5 major cities Labor ahead 55-45%. They only need 10 seats off Libs but on track for more. Got 14 last time. There will be 151 seats now. PS it’s “policy wonk”. Happy New Year to all at and on TheAIM.

  22. guest

    John Lord has made some suggestions here about what Shorten must do. “He has to turn Labor ideology on its head, shake it and re-examine it. Then introduce it as an enlightened ideology – opposite to the Tea Party politics that conservatism has descended into.”

    It reminds me of the song “Hokey Pokey”. “You do the Hokey Pokey. And you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about.” Well, good luck with that. We see it with biscuit and chocolate manufacturers (and others). They change the packaging, reduce the weight, and still charge the same price.

    I agree with Graeme Henchel when he says Shorten is a “man of principle and quiet conviction” who nearly won the last election.

    However, Arthur Falconer does not agree. He says: “We are in an awful position. A government determined to attack the poor…an opposition man few people trust regardless of policy”.

    So for Arthur, policy does not count. It is a matter of trust and “few” people trust Shorten. Is that because he was a union man? Is it because he was grilled in a Royal Commission for hours, yet no glove was laid on him, except the innuendo that he has questions to answer but no one could say what they were? Is he one of the “faceless men” who helped to remove Rudd at a time Murdoch was ruthlessly attacking Rudd and destroying his credibility – which is the Murdoch modus operandi?

    wam has the same opinion of Shorten: “…a union man who stand [sic] aloof is the replacement…unless he dons the gloves has all the chance murdoch [sic] and [fairfax] will give him…Leaders need to do things to highlight the team who need to be doing things! QED???…In Australia this is done by innuendo or outright lying to the media in a way that provides excitement, illusions of exclusive stories and headlines”.

    Is wam really advocating these Coalition/Murdoch tactics? Or is it some kind of irony? Like James Cook, I find wam sometimes hard to follow.

    wam also seems to support Dutton on his comments about judges being too soft on criminals. wam needs to know that judges are guided by rules in their judgements – and tough penalties (such as gaol for children) are not always the answer, as Victorian police and judges have pointed out.

    Besides, the Coalition has employed judges to attack Labor politicians in Royal Commissions and has been softly penalised with regard to the mistreatment of refugees on Manus and Nauru.

    Then we have Ross criticising all of Parliament: “When we look at federal parliament all you see is a pack of grossly overpaid…and probably illegal politicians. And they are the good ones.”

    A nice bit of gross exaggeration. And he goes on: “…heading for third world status under the Coalition…inevitable downward slide”. Not even Labor will do more than slow the slide down.

    So what should we do? Vote in any old Joe Blow – or Trump – and show them we do not like politicians? As happened in the UK with Brexit, now with much regret and suggesting there could be re-vote.

    Democracy can make big, big mistakes if we do not pay attention.

  23. diannaart

    Jack Russell January 14, 2018 at 9:33 am
    How many times do people have to be dudded by “charisma” before they finally come to understand that it is a most worthless attribute…

    Sitting here wondering where the charismatic pollies are… Penny Wong and Tanya Plibersek present well, even display emotion, but charisma we should be wary of?

    As for the charisma quotient of the entire LNP? All I hear are crickets – which, at least, are endearing little critters.

    Sometimes people are charming or charismatic simply because they are warm, compassionate, empathic. Then, maybe, I see charisma differently. Some people find the odious Trump charismatic – he certainly knows how to be the centre of attention.

    However, back in Australia, Clive Palmer is no more. Are there any misogynistic, greedy, bullying authoritarians in parliament we need be wary of?

  24. Andrew Smith

    The sceptic in me suggests that Australia, like the UK, follows the US political and media ‘architecture’ which seems more about bypassing parliamentary democracy, encouraging disassociation and cynicism, while precluding grounded policy making and gridlocking legislature (eg. cultural and nativist issues) hence it’s about PR, personalities, beliefs and values.

  25. silkworm

    Bring back Julia.

  26. @RosemaryJ36

    If we are about to face a general election, commonsense says that one of the major parties will be called on to form a government. So it is not the person leading the party but the policies of the party which is the critical factor. And to continue with the policies of the Coalition would, in my view, be insane.

  27. Rob

    The L-NP election campaign is on. A new media director, malcolm on brekkie central and FM radio. aiming for a reversal in the court of public opinion polls. Popularity politics is the all the go. Does kochie love malcolm. Will malcolm beat up on the banks, so as he ‘appears to be doing something for the rest of us? Yes, No & No

    In recruiting land aka employment. The good talkers, good lookers have been winning the race for a long time. Nice tie, nice eyes. he’d look nice in the team. bet the guys would be rapt to have her in the team. etc etc

    The L-NP charm offensive. telling all of us the last 5 yrs of L-NP saying No, No and NO have been replaced by a simpering sycophantic ex banker cum lawyer, with no spine and no idea what on earth he is doing, except save his own skin, at our expense. The real menace is unseen. The papers can’t all be wrong,?? the right wing opinion setters miranda devine, rita panahi, andrew bolt the unsmilingly arrogant gerard henderson and ray hadley, c’mon maaaaate, they can’t all be wrong can they?

    If all of these come together and their richly decorated Royal doulton ducks aline, watch the liberals jump and head to the polls and claim the high moral ground. Australia we’ll save you until you elect us then we lied again and you’ll be sorry…. again !!

  28. Cool Pete

    If charisma comes into it, as well as being useless, politically, abbott must be said to have the same attribute as Billy McMahon, “looking like a Volkswagen with the doors left open.” When this government is turfed out, one of the first things Shorten must do is disband the “home affairs” nonsense portfolio and return it to how it was before. He must also restore an emissions trading scheme (direct action is bollocks) and restore the government to what it was under Labor.

  29. Cool Pete

    For wam, dutton is talking out his backside. Judges are not “trendy lefties” as Ronald McDonald’s girlfriend suggested, rather they have to consider many factors in sentencing options. The best slap in the face to dutton was the magistrate who gave those brave young women a $100 fine for scaling the roof of the idiot’s office and then he went and had a big cry to Brandis about it.

  30. Rob

    The longevity of this post is interesting, but by no means surprising. As January unfolds and Parliament closer to resumption. The rabid chest beating (extreme) right. whom turnbull cannot control are unveiling their master plan for Election 2018 and “how they won” Book and film of the same name. Another 3 yrs of the extreme right, no thank you.

    The lengths dutton and his new dog whistle will go to are still untried. tonight Jason of Bronia was on ABC’s 7.30 Report. His claim to fame, ex copper with the Vicpol Counter Terrorism Unit, (As Was) Canberra aka FedPol wanted to take over the CT reins and did so. Jason was duly rolled out and pouted fourth Leigh Sales put her serious mum face on and.asked Jason for his observations.

    Meanwhile malcolm and the Deputy Vic Premier Merlino had a run in, then malcolm went to 2GB and his unca Ray…maaate for whinge and blow the whistle on crime in Victoria. (State election in Nov 2018, malcolm wanted a dog whistle of his own to blow… ahh poor malky

    The shame of it all. Turnbull, his right wing minders and the prince of darkness aka special agent dutton. Are still in denial on so many fronts of their own. Carry over from 2017, you bet it is and of their own making. More distraction politics and more classroom antics from malky. “Miss Miss, daniel is running a naughty government down there, I’m not naughty am i miss?” cries malky

    Australia’s simpering sycophant PM in name only malky turnbull. Turnbull undisputed prince of potts point, he has his solar panels and battery and his NBN running at the correct speed. Stuff the rest of us and go and tell Miss, about the problems here in victoria, malky. Thus avoiding the many problems untouched by the LNP. “MIss, Miss now the other kids are writing nasty things about you malky”.

  31. amethyst3009

    I would like to see the ALP put forward the other members of the team to address the public, if the charisma is a problem (I don’t think it is, but it gets a lot of currency in Right Wing press, social media and TV)

    So, not just Shorten, but others such as Plibersek, Wong, Albanese, Tony Burke, …. Maybe get Tony Burke on Sunrise playing his guitar, talking about music…

    The problem is of course, that the TV stations are in thrall to LNP (sadly).

    Yes, yes, I know, it’s sad that the message of their policies is not enough, but they have to ‘look’ human and if that’s what it takes…

    Also, the ALP have to show some spine about the refugee issue, and change their policy on this issue to not be a version of the odius LNP’s. The LNP will of course, scream that they will be letting in the ‘terrorists’, so ALP have to be ready for that.

    The ALP need to show that they are not just Lib-lite.

    One more thing: the public are very tired of the ‘snouts in the trough’, so a policy confirming their intention(within 100 days) of setting up an ICAC (with teeth) would be a big time winner.

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