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Day to Day Politics: “We will hold them to account”

Tuesday 15 November 2016

1 “Held to account” is an expression often used by the 4th Estate and oppositions to explain their responsibility in the affairs of the body politic.

“We will hold them to account for the decisions they make, and we will make sure they keep their promises”.

No truer words were ever spoken than the following. I have read none better to describe a government’s responsibility to its constituents:

“It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards”.

Well except they were said by Tony Abbott, arguably the biggest liar to have ever entered the profession of politics in Australia. Yet strangely they incorporate the very principles, the standards that all politicians should abide by.

Sadly though, things have changed. As I said yesterday:

“In the US election Republican Donald Trump took lying to an unprecedented level. The same fascination for untruth by conservatives in America has been exported to Australia. We should all remember that when they lie they deny us our right to the truth. It is totally unacceptable”.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that if you embrace all the media commentary post Trumps (or even post Turnbull) election there is this overwhelming feeling that the principle of “Held to account” has run off and hidden somewhere. Perhaps its hiding behind a tree somewhere counting to 100 and waiting for the kids of tomorrow to go searching for it.

2 Speaking of mainstream media, Monday’s Melbourne Age had this to say in a rather good editorial:

“Media around the world, including in Australia, need to be alive to the rising discontent about traditional government rather than dismiss the prevailing mood as intolerance and purely populist. It is not just in France that far-right leaders are gaining ground”.

“Anything, it seems, is possible as the political certainties of the West disintegrate in the face of an unforeseen voter insurgency”.

“And there is a disconnect between perception and reality as the media has struggled to keep up with the change in mood. As people change the way they consume media, newspapers are not as influential in swaying sentiment as they once were”.

“The reality is that the majority of journalists are drawn from a narrow educational and social pool. The media in Britain and the US – and here too – have been unable, or unwilling, to read the tea leaves”.

Indeed, journalists at Murdoch’s media outlet have to tow the party line, but surely there are enough independent journalists and bloggers with enough integrity to ‘’Hold the Government to account’’

Trump may have won but it doesn’t change the things he has proposed and the vile things he has said.

Two observations.

“Confronting bullies and telling them what you think is the best way to approach them. I cannot find any good reason why anyone worth his/her salt should exempt Donald Trump”.

“The Murdoch News Media and large sections of the Australian Conservative parties are to be congratulated for their successful long-term character assassination of those who are different”.

And another from David Ewart.

“That a billionaire who screws his own workers is now the hero of many workers tells us much about the political backwardness of the American people”.

3 Malcolm Turnbull is saying that the transfer of eligible asylum seekers will take some time. He also said that…

“The United States government meets its commitments from one administration to another”.

In light of Trump’s proposal during the election about deporting millions of people it seems to me that he would be hardly likely to accept those from Australia.

This problem is not yet resolved. He would be better off returning them to Australia, then imposing a 5 to 10 year prison term on future boat people. No forget I mentioned that.

And of course we must consider that the US rarely does anything that doesn’t benefit them. Might we see an additional 10,000 troops in Darwin for example?

4 Why is it only the young that understand this?

An observation

“What the world needs is less nationalism and more internationalism”.

5 Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has insisted that the GOP has “a mandate” to reshape healthcare, taxes, regulations and border security.

I can never figure this out when more people voted against you that for you. How does that work?

6 During a debate Trump said that he would to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. He also said she should be in jail.

I wonder, like all of the other crap he espoused, if he will go ahead with it.

7 Donald Trump looks like appointing Myron Ebell to head his attack on the science of Climate Change. Ebell’s heads the Competitive Enterprise Institute which is partly funded by the coal industry and is linked to the Heartland Institute, a group that rejects the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. One Nation is also linked. via Malcolm Roberts. Both are climate deniers of the first order.

My thought for the day

“I think acceptance and embracement of change is one key aspect of what we try to define as wisdom”.


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  1. Terry2

    I’m hearing about a security “Ring of Steel” around Australia, Malcolm Turnbull calls it ” the biggest ever peacetime maritime operation in Australia’s northern waters” standing in front of a battle ship – is that real or a cardboard mock-up?.

    When anybody asks any intelligent questions about what’s going on, they get a rebuff and the dooner of border security is pulled up to the chin : “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH” we are told.

    But then they let the cat out of the bag and start talking of their silly lifetime visa bans for former asylum seekers, the slogan of the day is trotted out :

    All together now, repeat after me LABOR ARE NOT SERIOUS ABOUT BORDER SECURITY

    We are being played like an old violin folks !

  2. Try Seeing The Truth

    “That a billionaire who screws his own workers is now the hero of many workers tells us much about the political backwardness of the American people”.

    No it tells us much about the shite that people have to choose from. It tells us much about people’s desperation to find someone to fight for them. It tells us much about citizens who have had their only means to survive taken off them by their ‘government’. Just like in Australia. Choices to vote for? Shite. Shite. More Shite. Wake up.

  3. Neil Hogan

    A question for Mr Turnbull that the MSM never ask – “If your policies have stopped the boats & secured our borders, why do we need to add ‘Never to step foot on Australian soil’ to your policies?’

  4. helvityni

    I was pleased to see that Leigh Sales asked some hard questions when interviewing Turnbull last night. She basically got the same answer, no matter what she asked: I’m for improved economy, jobs and growth, border protection…

    Abbott had to be removed after three bad polls, Turnbull, our saviour, does not believe in polls anymore. See, they got it all wrong in even in America…

    Not a happy camper, I thought. In his own words he’s one happy PM.

  5. Anti-establishment

    The only people who are ever ‘called to account’ are those who dare to question the establishment i.e. the likes of Pauline Hanson and Donald Trump. Like the days of old under the rule of the vicious, brutal Roman Catholic Church, question the establishment and you would be publicly mocked, scourged and roasted over a slow fire. Some even say that we are ruled by the same people today.

    The ‘establishment’ are the ones who continuously rape and thieve from the citizens under the slogan of ‘caring’. ‘ObamaCare’ for instance. Do they care when they steal the citizens’ only means to survive? No. Do they care that the citizens die in hospital hallways, or even, can’t get into the hospital hallways? No. Do they care that the citizens have an education? No. What they care about is arriving in style so that all can see how magnificent they are. They care about showing mummy that they’ve made it. “Look at meeee mummy. Look at meeee.” They care about chauffeuring their dogs around in style. Oh they care about so many things but definitely not the citizens of the country.

    Question this establishment and THEN you will see a calling to account and a rising up of the country’s sycophants to support the ruling elite.

    Yes…it does all sound very familiar.

  6. Keitha Granville

    Turnbull is being a good boy, smiling a lot, looking positive. The party has already dumped one leader, they are unlikely to go down that path again, and he is doing everything they want so nothing to see here, move along.

    They have told us with monotonous regularity that they want to save lives at sea. Can we be reassured please that any boats which have ventured out ( cos we don’t believe they have actually stopped completely) are safe when they are turned around ? How de we know ? How do they know ? Do they follow them all the way ? For all we do know, thousands may have perished.

    Just as Donald Trump has no mandate (stupid word) to do all the things he espoused, neither do the LNP. It’s time for some leadership in this country, for someone who actually wants to improve the lot of every Australian and to care for our country. Come out come out wherever you are.

  7. Matters Not

    She basically got the same answer, no matter what she asked

    Indeed! Turnbull insulted Sales and the viewing citizens. The sad part was that Sales just copped it sweet. She didn’t protest at any time. Just proceeded to ask the next question and in turn was insulted again. A slow learner.

    So sad.

  8. helvityni

    MT, these days I’m happy with small mercies, at least there was no smiling , no flirting…

    I’m also made to feel very safe and secure when I see our Mal interviewed , and see huge destroyer boats behind him…
    We’ll leave no stone unturned in our efforts to keep those cheeky Muslims out of this country.

  9. Harquebus

    I think that this is one of the better postmortems that I have read.

    “In this gentleman’s world view, it was not black versus white, rich versus poor, feminism versus patriarchy, illegal versus citizen; rather, it was those who produce nothing believing themselves entitled, without appreciation, to the goods produced by others versus those who actually produce.”

    “It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.” — Joseph Goebbels

    “Deception is a state of mind in the mind of the state.” — James Jesus Angleton

  10. Terry2

    Disturbing trend : the PM has been critical of two senior female journalists who have interviewed him in the last two days, Lisa Wilkinson and now Leigh Sales.

    Turnbull has been vague, posturing and wishy-washy in recent days yet he has chosen to criticise the messengers, the journalists who are not prepared to give him soft and simpering interviews.

    Not a good look.

  11. david1

    The Sales/Turnbull interview exposed Sales total inadequacy in prosecuting her ‘professiolnal talent’ as an interviewer, yet again. As a past trainer of Radio and TV on air news and current affairs personnel, one of the golden rules i insisted be followed was listen and engage followup.questions. If the interviewee was avoiding an answer, ask it again, stick with it, the interviewee will either answer or by refusing look totally embarrassed and shifty. Then move on with we will take that as a yes or no as applicable. Doesn’t take long for word to get around.
    It is all about thinking as you go. It’s all very well having a list of questions and just moving on if there is an answer or not, as Sales does almost habitually, the result is as is happening with her, she comes across as out of her depth. The coy little girl look and fleeting half smile should be saved for when the camera is turned off.

    Sadly either the ABC no longer employs an expert in the field to advise C & A and News journalists on their good and bad points, or it is someone who lacks the necessary authority to tell front line staff directly where they are going wrong. Probably a combination of both.
    I did attempt to offer advice and was blocked. Ms Sales and a couple of her colleagues are somewhat thin skinned when it comes criticism.

  12. king1394

    A bit more ‘keeping to account’ before elections might do some good. When ridiculous promises are made they should be pulled to pieces, not left out there by the media etc. thus indicating that these are acceptable ideas. The very recent US election showed many quite incredible (literally) statements made which were taken as given. The voting public were apparently expected to analyse these matters for themselves without guidance from those supposedly in the know. When a substantial number of these voters will follow their chosen party’s line, while the ‘swingers’ rely on a quick glance at headlines and the occasional Facebook meme it is hardly surprising that more extreme views become popular. Reports of the surveys and polls further reinforce the views being put by the media, whether or not they represent reality.

    Now suddenly, following the election, there is a desire to make the liars and false prophets stand by what they said before election when truly there was no possibility that these promises would be adhered to. Unfortunately, those politicians who have courage to say that they have changed their mind in the face of new information are few and far between, most preferring to blame unexpected financial problems, or some foreign war / invasion of refugees, or the previous government for any failure to the program they offered. ‘Jobs and growth’, Mexican walls, making America (insert country of your choice here) great again should be torn to shreds before the election. Meanwhile the serious intentions of these politicians and their parties, which have been masked in the anodyne and populist promises have not been considered in any depth.

    In the last NSW State election we were promised buckets of money from the sale of the ‘poles and wires’, which would be used to fix hospitals and better fund schools. How nice we all said. No one suggested that the Liberals would privatise anything and everything, including the hospital systems they were supposed to be fixing. Nor do I remember anything about the new Biodiversity laws or the Crown Lands Bill or the amalgamation of Councils. Call them out before the election and maybe voters will not go sheep-like into the polling booths.

  13. Kyran

    “We will hold them to account for the decisions they make, and we will make sure they keep their promises”.
    The basic question in response is, ‘How?’.
    Having never been a proponent of ‘self-regulation’, it seems to me that is the only regulation applying to our politicians and our media.
    Our politicians set their own standards of behaviour (and recompense) and stand to be corrected by themselves. How’s that going for us? The likes of slipper, thompson, dastyari, can be vilified with little regard for the facts. Whilst I do not excuse their betrayal of the trust given to them, for a second, I can’t help but note that the transgressions from the likes of tiny, talcum, the bishop’s (both of them), pine, brandy, scummo, dutton, etcetera, make them pale into insignificance.
    We get to hold them to account every few years. Good for us. How’s that going for us?
    Other than every few years, they are self regulating.
    Paraphrasing the words of Don Chipp, who ‘keeps the bastards honest’ in the meantime?
    That would be the fourth estate. The media. Another institution reliant on ‘self-regulation’. How’s that going for us? Not so good.
    The Australian Press Council regulates the Australian media. Just have a look at their principles;

    Publications are free to publish as they wish by reporting facts and expressing opinions, provided they take reasonable steps to comply with the following Principles and the Council’s other Standards of Practice:
    Accuracy and clarity
    1. Ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading, and is distinguishable from other material such as opinion.
    2. Provide a correction or other adequate remedial action if published material is significantly inaccurate or misleading.
    Fairness and balance
    3. Ensure that factual material is presented with reasonable fairness and balance, and that writers’ expressions of opinion are not based on significantly inaccurate factual material or omission of key facts.
    4. Ensure that where material refers adversely to a person, a fair opportunity is given for subsequent publication of a reply if that is reasonably necessary to address a possible breach of General Principle 3.
    Privacy and avoidance of harm
    5. Avoid intruding on a person’s reasonable expectations of privacy, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.
    6. Avoid causing or contributing materially to substantial offence, distress or prejudice, or a substantial risk to health or safety, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.
    Integrity and transparency
    7. Avoid publishing material which has been gathered by deceptive or unfair means, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.
    8. Ensure that conflicts of interests are avoided or adequately disclosed, and that they do not influence published material.

    Their complaints mechanism is, quite possibly, the shoddiest I have ever seen. Having seen many shoddy complaints mechanisms, I cannot explain how any of the newscorpse opinionistas (they haven’t employed journalists for years now) have survived such rigorous standards. Oops, my bad. newscorpse owns the APC.
    Now we need self regulation to oversee the ‘free market’ theorem. We can let the ‘wankers’ oversee the ‘bankers’, just for starters.
    Eh, Houston, I think we have a problem.
    Thank you, Mr Lord. Take care

  14. Jaquix

    David, I agree with you re interviewers (eg Sales) who just basically stick to their list of questions, going from one to the other without pulling the interviewee up. Malcolm is very good at being patronising and waffling, and Sales (and others);seem to find it hard to stem the flow. Very irritating. The blonde lady who was interviewing Trump recently was good, she questioned his answers (sweetly), didnt just move onto next question on the list.

  15. helvityni

    Sarah Ferguson is pretty good, but ABC is not too keen having her on as the front person for programs like like 7.30…

    I suppose the women like Sales are careful because they don’t want to lose their jobs. Today’s ABC is not what it was some time ago. I’m nostalgic for Kerry O’Brian…and others…

  16. margcal

    David1 – Leigh Sales is not incompetent, needs no tips. She has been an excellent interviewer in the past.
    What she is doing now is giving a soft ride to whomever she has to in order to keep her job while the LNP is pulling the strings at the ABC.
    Sales and Turnbull are peas in a pod: “whatever it takes” to keep the job.
    She’s contributing to her own vicious circle. You wonder how she can live with her own lack of integrity and for how long. But then, if Turnbull can do it ……

  17. david1

    margcal…hi, you included a very important word in your post…’integrity’. I have no doubt there is pressure on these highly paid frontline presenters and interviewers when every 6 or 12 months they re-negotiate their contracts. Being on a contract, depending on the small print, is usually beneficial to the holder over and above the general staff who are permanent employees and rely on ‘union’ negotiators for salary and working conditions. Of course not only Union members but every permanent staff member not on a personal contract is covered by any increase and alteration to working conditions. That in itself can lead to bad feeling and peer pressure.

    Ms Sales and her other contracted ABC colleagues need to put integrity and professional pride into the mix of their duties, sadly there is plenty of evidence they do not.

  18. jimhaz

    [Their complaints mechanism is, quite possibly, the shoddiest I have ever seen]

    I recently tried to log online a complaint about service at a KFC store. I could not log the complaint until I had ticked the following consent!

    “By ticking this box, I give my consent for my health information to be collected by Yum! Restaurants Australia Pty Ltd and Kentucky Fried Chicken Pty Ltd and used by and disclosed to Kentucky Fried Chicken Pty Ltd and/or KFC employees and franchisees in Australia or overseas who are directly involved in handling your enquiry or complaint, our advisors and government authorities, if required, for the purpose of investigating, managing and responding to my enquiry or complaint.”

    Clearly they do not want complaints. I wonder who they might collect the information from anyway.

  19. jimhaz

    [If the interviewee was avoiding an answer, ask it again, stick with it, the interviewee will either answer or by refusing look totally embarrassed and shifty]

    Fair enough if the question is actually reasonable and in context. Sales did the above with Triggs even when Triggs actually answered what was reasonable. It was like she was acting as a propaganda agent for the LNP.

  20. david1

    jimhaz..fair point. Sales confirms my long held opinion, she is not up to current affairs interviewing, Doesn’t have the skill to handle the big jobs, be just fine on a magazine programme. Politics is not her game.

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