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Day to Day Politics: Turnbull’s subtle change

No two leaders have done more to enhance the legacy of its opposition than the current Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull and his predecessor Tony Abbott. With the capitulation on Labor’s NDIS and Education they, in effect, have admitted that Labor had been right all along. Now the new Coalition policies might be seen as ‘Labor Lite’ but they are nonetheless embryonic of Labor ideas.

Labor might be a little upset by the blatant theft, and rightly so, but they should accept them and argue that they are underfunded and move on.

On Friday the Coalition will again, well sort of, capitulate on the issue of climate change. It is tipped that the Chief Scientist will offer a couple of options for the Government to consider and if they go for a low emissions target, Bill Shorten might support it. Politics being the art of compromise.

Politics being what it is Turnbull cannot enlist a price on carbon even if recommended by the Chief Scientist. It would cost him his job.

Opposition Shadow Minister Mark Butler, this morning said: ”If we’re going to junk a policy that we took to the election, then we’ll want to be confident this is something that will stand the test of time.”

I think the public has come to the realisation that a price on carbon was the best policy in the first place. This Coalition has a de facto way of saying it without owning up to it.

There are also advantages for Labor. One, it would end the war on climate. Two, it would offer stability to the energy sector, which is what that sector wants. And it would mean no scare campaign on power prices.

It is here that the subtly comes in. So subtle that people may not have even noticed that the Government has reverted to its age-old practice of scaring people about national security.

Turning on the TV Tuesday afternoon, I saw that Turnbull was commenting on the events in Melbourne. I found his manner and his body language a little over the top. His voice was charged with the sort of false agitation that is so easily recognisable:

”How was this man on parole?” he demanded to know. His anger over acted.

”He had a long record of violence. A very long record of violence. He had been charged with a terrorist offence some years ago and had been acquitted. He was known to have connections, at least in the past, with violent extremism. But he was a known violent offender. How was he on parole?”

He has since then been demanding that the states do something about it. Particularly the Victorian Premier.

So with the Prime Minister pilfering much of Labor’s policies no matter how lite-weight he coverts then to, he will now switch back to the tried and trusted Islam and refugee bashing with terrorism the main focus lessening education, health and climate change, thus reducing their importance in the process.

This subtle political change could easily end up more significant, more important, than anything the budget served up, both in substance and politics. Which leads me into the media’s role in all this.

Do people ever stop to think how manipulated we have become? Everything the media does, displays or says is for its own self-interest, not ours. It does so because it gives it influence, power and control. It certainly doesn’t nurture the ideals of truth, justice and the common good.

It never considers that reporting truth alone might give it all the influence it needs. Finding the truth and reporting it should be more important than creating a narrative where controversy matters more.

To borrow from Kaye Lee’s comment on my post yesterday:

”Tony Abbott’s tacit endorsement of ”Islamophobia” this week has annoyed security officials who believe such comments only make it harder to thwart domestic terrorist attacks.

Security sources have told Australian Financial Review that as a former prime minister, Mr Abbott “should know better” and not add to the inflammatory rhetoric against Muslim communities.

For several years, security authorities have been keen for elected officials to desist from generalising about Muslims because it is the Muslim communities that often provide the intelligence to thwart attacks and they are also the frontline in deradicalisation programs.”

That won’t stop the nutters on the right, though.

There is one thing to be thankful for. That is that Turnbull doesn’t do the demonizing with the same venom as Abbott. He doesn’t look authentic. And perhaps the public is just sick of it anyway.

My thought for the day:

“If a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements then dismiss the article as having no cogency.”


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  1. Graeme

    ”It is a pity that fact in journalism cannot be made compulsory and decency legislated”

    I’m really disappointed in the Farfax Age lately. I expect balanced news reporting but they demonstrate an obvious vendetta against the the Andrews state govt. …anyone else notice this?

  2. Terry2

    The government seem to be very reluctant to move ahead on legislation to outlaw foreign donations to political parties and deny that such donations can influence government policy. Why, if not seeking influence, would they make these donations and why would Chinese interests move so quickly to employ a man like Andrew Robb before he has even left politics.

    Even so it appears that the government will, reluctantly, bring legislation to the parliament before the end of this year but strangely they also want to target ‘third parties’ as they call them. In particular they have singled out community activist group Get-Up who have had some success in gaining community support to target some under-performing coalition politicians, notably far-right duffer, Peter Dutton.

    Strangely, the coalition are not targeting other activist groups like the Mineral Council of Australia or the IPA who have had a creeping influence on political decision making and policy formation : in the case of the Mineral Council, largely funded by global mining conglomerates who demonstrated their political muscle with a well funded campaign to overthrow the Gillard governments mining tax which would have impacted their profits [although confusingly they said that the tax wouldn’t generate any revenue].

    Whatever comes of the foreshadowed legislation on political donations it is imperative that all such donations be revealed in real-time and with absolute transparency of who the true source of the donation is : looking at you Parakelia.

    Parakelia : A Liberal Party-owned company that bills taxpayers for computer services, Parakelia, made its biggest-ever cash transfer to the Liberal party, sending it more than $900,000 in 2016.

  3. Hettie Lynch

    Yep. So called journalists have for decades now been setting themselves up as clairvoyants, as makers of the news, as fomenters of controversy and discord.
    They used to be called reporters.
    Their job was to seek the facts and to report them accurately.
    Commentary was to be found in editorials, regular columns and letters.
    News stories were mostly devoted to reporting what had happened.
    Now, “news stories” consist almost entirely of speculation about what might happen.
    We are very ill served.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Turnbull’s subtle changes are more like a u-turn done at speed and without looking.

    Soon after his election in October 2004, in an email to a Greens Woollahra councillor in February 2005, Malcolm Turnbull wrote that he believes “no political donations should be allowed unless they are: from citizens and/or persons on the electoral roll (ie, no companies, unions, associations etc); subject to a cap; and donors should certify that the donation is either their own or their spouse’s money and has not been given to them by a third party”.

    After the Liberals lost the NSW and Federal elections in 2007, then shadow federal treasurer, Malcolm Turnbull, joined the NSW Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell, in calling for changes to the laws on political donations, and a ban on corporations or unions donating money to parties.

  5. helvityni

    Graeme, how could anyone have missed the meaning of Mal’s words; he spoke slowly, very slowly and very clearly; now we ALL know who is the baddie…

    And of course our journalists KNOW that everything is , as Mathias says: all ‘Laybor’s’ fault…

  6. Graeme

    helvityni …Quite right. In the case of The Age v Andrews Govt though I can’t put my finger on their motive. The paper is struggling. Are they trying to appeal to Murdoch readers? Are they doing it for their (real estate) advertisers? I’m happy to support balanced news but I guess I’m not who The Age are writing for anymore.

  7. Kronomex

    Turnbull – the epitome of the method acting school of LNP politics.

  8. Mick Byron

    I continually find myself gobsmacked at thre relative closeness in polling 2PP and it wouldn’t come as a shock if the Turnbull Government were returned at the next election and have a supporting number of State Governments and the possibility of almost wall to wall Federal/State Consevative Goverments
    I often wonder if I live in some parallel universe as I personally think that they should lose in a landslide but
    The Queensland State election indicates The Palaszczuk Government will be replaced by a LNP Government with One Nation holdong the balance of power
    31.9% for Labor, 35.3% for the Liberal National Party, 17.0% for One Nation and 9.4% for the

    In Victoria the government of Daniel Andrews seems to be on borrowed time with a ReachTEL poll showing that Labor now trails the Coalition 46 to 54 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis

    In South Austraia Labor also looks to be gone
    Polls taken across the state, shows the Liberals leading Labor 53-47 on a two-party preferred basis.
    The results show Labor’s primary heading toward an 80-year low while Mr Weatherill’s personal rating is also in decline.
    Xenophon candidates could hold the balance of power

    What is it the general public are seeing and I’m missing?

  9. Freethinker

    Have someone told Mr Turnbull that the Victoria parole board was not aware of the records of this individual and that the Federal agencies did not reported them?
    Who is the responsible about this Mr Turnbull?
    Why the parole board it is frustrated with Brandis?

  10. Matters Not

    The definition of political ‘donations’ will be crucial. Will it be defined purely in terms of ‘dollars’ (in the form of money transfers), will it include ‘services’ (in the form of free advertising space), will it include ‘endorsements’ (in the form of editorials), will it include ‘coverage’ (in the form of column inches), and so on and on?

    As always the devil will be in the detail. Will it allow for super pacs or their equivalents? … ?

  11. Matters Not

    Still on political donations. In the last Federal election Gina located some of her employees in Joyce’s electorate. Paid for ‘everything’ – accommodation, meals, uniforms, the whole box and dice. How would that ‘contribution’ be costed? Would it include the cost of flying them in? Vehicles used while on the ground? Will such expenditures be tax deductable? When they are touring around are they doing so using (untaxed) diesel meant for off road use? (After all, many farmers who travel around Australia use that lurk.) How serious will they be? Where will the loop holes be?

  12. amethyst3009

    Mick Byron, I feel your pain as I scratch my head wondering what it is that people see in the lnp and One Notion. When people say: “oh, they are all just as bad as each other” I sigh and wonder how they could have missed the horrible things that the right advocate and do. On further conversation, I find that the same people say: “I’m not really interested in politics.” As a result, I believe that these people are being brain washed by the easy slogans of the Right .

    So much easier than thinking and reading.

  13. helvityni

    LOL, Kronomex, well observed, but sadly the method shows, only the ‘looking down on the hoi polloi’ comes across as genuine….

  14. Terry2


    Full front page pitches fro the coalition in the Murdoch tabloids : that’s a massive donation.

  15. Terry2

    Mick Byron

    the question I’m asking is, who is being polled . I’ve never been polled have you ?

  16. Mick Byron

    I actually must be one of the rare ones as I get polled regularly as does my sister in Nth Queensland

  17. Klaus Petrat

    too many comments already but I try anyway.

    Turns out that the Asio or some other agency (I don’t have the exact agency name) needed to ask the Victorian Parole Board for the Melbourne “Terrorist” phone number, as they have lost track of him. This was about a month ago.

    So, it is all the Victorian Labor Governments fault. The feds are clean as always.


  18. Mick Byron

    I live in a marginally held Liberal seat {Gilmore, hopefully only ’til the next election} and I seem to run into the same type of people as you do with the same responses, A worrying thing in my electorate seems to be the number of people now looking favourably at One Nation and if that continues it may be enough to save the totally incompetent Ann Sudmalis with their preferences

  19. Matters Not

    Terry2 re

    who is being polled

    Been polled a few times myself and I’ve also commissioned a few from different companies over time in a past life. It’s quite a ‘scientific’ process, but even then there will always be a margin of error (MOE). The first trick is to identify the ‘population’ you want to survey. (It’s no use polling people about voting intention in the immediate future if they are currently too young to vote. Or polling people like me about sky-diving companies when I am now somewhat outside that ‘population’.)

    The second trick is to select a ‘sample’ (within that particular population) that are representative of the characteristics that you believe (based on other research over time) which ‘determine’ behaviour. When it comes to voting intention, things to consider might include: age, gender, occupation (often use 7 categories), income, marital status (sometimes), education level, geographic location, and the like. A really good poll will contact a lot more people than they need so that they can then discard those who are over represented in their desired sample.

    That’s the guts of polling. In reality, it can involve a fair bit of mathematical calculations with most big polling companies keeping those details a closely guarded secret. Always worth remembering a couple of things. First, there’s always a MOE. Second, polls are just a snapshot at a particular time. How often have we seen ‘late swings’? Third, sometimes they just get it so very, very wrong. Perhaps it’s a bad sample, or a bad methodology or … or … or.

  20. diannaart

    I guess Mal T. missed the Jill Meagher case where a predator on parole stalked, kidnapped, raped and murdered a young woman who was walking home.

    Jill’s killer had no Islamic or terrorist connections – I guess that makes ALL the difference.

    Mal is outraged for some but not for others – AKA political expediency.

  21. Frank Smith

    In the USA attempts to restrict direct donations to political partys resulted in the huge rise and influence of Super PACs (Political Action Committees). These have had an enormous influence on recent elections there and I would certainly not want to see such funding mechanisms become prominent in our electoral system. There is an urgent need to protect our democracy against the corrupting influences of political donations and lobbyists, but we must also guard against “back-door” style influences like Super PACs.

  22. Terry2

    In 2008 Malcolm Turnbull called for changes to the laws on political donations, and a ban on corporations or unions donating money to parties.

    Turnbull said the democratic system was not working properly when there was such a disparity between what government and opposition could muster for election advertising.

    Under his proposals, only “individuals” who were Australian citizens or on the electoral roll would be able to donate and those people must “certify that the funds contributed are from their own or spouse’s resources”. Caps should also be placed on individual donations, he said at that time but he didn’t say what sort of a cap.

    Then in 2016 Malcolm Turnbull donated $1.75 million to the Liberal Party for his 2016 election campaign : it was said to be a personal donation but we didn’t know about it until well after the election. Had Australian voters been aware before the election, would they have voted for him or would they have seen him as trying to buy the prime ministership ?

    When the coalition’s legislation is finally presented to parliament it is going to require some very close scrutiny as our democracy can and has been corrupted by wealthy men and so called Think tanks in the past and we may only have one go at getting this right.

  23. Michael Taylor

    Well isn’t tomorrow going to be an exciting day? First the British election, and then from across the Atlantic we have the testimony from Comey.

    Could the world change for the better tomorrow?

  24. Terry2

    In the meantime Andrew Bolt has said that Melbourne is not friendly to Conservatives after he was hassled by some youths.

    Question is Andrew, is Melbourne the problem or are you ?

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