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Day to Day Politics: Shorten’s proving his critics wrong

Monday June 6 2016

1 It was my intention to give my post a miss today but over the weekend a few things caught my eye. Nothing more so than Bill Shortens Child Care Policy announcement. The announcement itself was nothing remarkable and all the, ‘’how will you pay for it’’ questions followed and will need to be answered. There are many, including myself at times, who have doubted Shortens capacity as a leader. Many have been scathing about him. In my own defence I always said that he would be judged as a policy wanker rather than some sort of Whitlamish charismatic figure.

In this press conference what impressed me was his, stunning ability to draw a philosophical line between the two parties and his obvious passion in doing so. It has been some time since a leader has so impressively made a distinction between the two parties.

You can vote for the party who supports those who have or the party that supports those who have not. Throughout the campaign he has gradually built on the theme of inequality and fairness. If he can continue to build it into a rising crescendo he may well prove his critics wrong. Those who thought he would never make a leader..

An observations about leadership.

A Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of politics. But unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibres from which it is woven.

B In the recipe of what makes a good leader there are many ingredients. Self-awareness is one. The innate ability to know who you are and what your capabilities and limitations are. The need to have the aptitude to motivate people with your vision. Often the art of leadership is the ability to bring those otherwise opposed to your view, to accept it. It is also about delegation, empathy and understanding. It can also require from time to time the making of unpopular decisions. Decisions like going to war. However when they consistently imply the leaders own morality and spiritual beliefs they are more akin to autocracy.

2 I have always had mixed feelings about the sport of boxing. Although I never missed a fight of Muhammad Ali, I at the same time I felt it uncivilised. But Ali seemed to transcend all of my misgivings. At his top he was undoubtedly the best fighter of all time. In the ring he had the feet of Fred Astaire and hands as quick as a bolt of lightning. Outside of it he politically touched my every sense of social justice.

3 We have Royal Commissions into Union corruption. The media reports on it as though they are in a frenzy of doing the public a service. Compared with corporate crime theirs is often benign in comparison. Conservatives go to any length to protect the Banking Sector who have ripping off their customers for years.

Now we hear that the Federal Court has ordered Woolworth’s to pay penalties totalling $9 million for its involvement in a laundry detergent cartel.

It lasts a day in the media and that’s the end of it.

On recent and historic evidence corporate crime in Australia far outweighs that of the Union Movement.

4 In Adelaide Malcolm Turnbull turned his attention to a hung parliament saying that:

“Now is not the time for a protest vote or a wasted vote”.

On Insiders Sunday a considerable amount of time was spent on this very subject.

I think the bookies should look to shortening Labor’s odds. Pardon the pun.

My thought for the day

“If you think positively that’s what you will become and the same applies to negativity. As we think so we become“.


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  1. Wayne Johnson

    when i saw bill shorten at the site that the miners were killed i knwe thhia is a man to believe in and im might say not one person from the liberal party turned up

  2. Terry2

    At a time when the coalition government is trying to put the pension beyond the reach of many retirees the Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens has warned that the retirement savings of a generation are under threat from extreme low interest rates. This is leaving retirees without enough to live on and forcing self-funded retirees to turn to the pension to make ends meet.

    This could be one of the biggest challenges to any incoming government going forward.

  3. Peter F

    As part of a small group who just happened to be in the same place as Bill Shorten recently, I was amazed by his readiness to listen to us and express specific support on a subject we were all interested in. There was an element of risk in his doing so, and I respect the way he showed the human side of politics in our discussions. I, to, had seen him at Beaconsfield, and thought then that he was a future leader of this country.

  4. Lord John

    Unfortunately many seem comforted by Turnball so called business acumen. And he seems to be using all of the Tony Abbotts great fear tactics.I think it is time for many of the erudite poster on this web site to take their philosophy out onto the streets.It is time to have that discussing with the butcher, baker, dentist,carpenter,geek,barista,barrister and the good candle stick maker. You could alter someones voting pattern.

  5. John Kovac

    Go straight down to your local TAB and have what ever you can, on labor at $3.75, then have the best election night party ever!!! Simples.

  6. Möbius Ecko

    Well Shorten is really up against it if what I heard on ABC Radio National this morning is anything to go by.

    They had a piece on the election with some political commentator whose name I didn’t catch. The entire piece on every point was positive for the Liberals and especially Turnbull, whilst it was completely negative for every point on Shorten.

    There was no hiding that they were following a management ordered script, it was that obvious, including the reiteration of Liberal campaign talking points, and effusively gushing over Turnbull’s video on his father.

    What was hammered the most was the point raised in this topic, where is Labor getting the money from. What is very much missing in this piece and ignored by the ABC and the MSM in general, is where are the Liberals getting their money from?

    So far in hundreds of targeted small packages, all pork barrelled in marginal electorates, the Liberals have promised around $1.5 billion in spending, and according to the ABC this is working. What they didn’t ask as they did with Shorten, is where this $1.5 billion and growing coming from?

  7. helvityni

    Yes John, Muhammad Ali could teach Turnbull about agility, compassion, and show him how many great men and women have come of most humble origins, there might even be possible new Muhammad Alis rotting on Manus…

  8. Terry2

    I’m not a voter in Indi but what Cathy McGowan is saying makes a lot of sense. In particular she is proposing a legislated time limit for refugees held in detention.

    This is potentially the only way that we can confront this political and ideological stand-off on offshore detention.

    We need Independents who can voice opinions and propose policy without the strictures of the Party line.

  9. Wun Farlung

    When the budget was released there was a $ lazy couple of billion set aside for ‘to be announced policy funding’
    No questions were asked, just casually mentioned in budget analysis.
    Gotta agree with you on Their ABC.

  10. cornlegend

    Be a bit careful with Cathy McGowan MP
    Since November 12th 2013 the LNP Government passed 441 Bills
    Cathy McGowan voted with them on 409
    Also voted with them in support of Bronwyn Bishop as Speaker

  11. Kaye Lee

    I feel duty bound to point out that Labor sided with the Coalition about a third of the time too on some pretty significant legislation – metadata retention, bombing Syria, offshore detention and boat turnbacks, watering down the RET.

  12. cornlegend

    Voting with the LNP close to 90% of the time would have Cathy Liberal lite don’t you think?

  13. Matters Not

    If you want more detail on Cathy McGowan’s voting record, then go here.


    The 44th Parliament commenced on 12 November 2013, since that date and including 5 May 2016, 547 Government Bills have been presented in the House of Representatives.

    •Since 12 November 2013, 475 Bills have been passed in the House of Representatives

    •Of these I voted with the Government on 443 occasions and with the Opposition on 32 occasions

    •On 9 occasions I voted against the Government and the Opposition

    •(Figures correct as at 5 May 2016.)

    She makes no attempt to hide how she voted. Indeed she puis it on the public record

  14. Matters Not

    try ‘puts’

    I would have thought that Cathy would be preferred over Sophie. And by a significant margin.

  15. Jaquix

    Shorten has clearly united his party, and they have done their homework, not sitting idle for the last 3 years. Their policies are well thought out, and costed. They have not been seriously challenged by economists or anyone else, except the Murdoch press. Coalition “policies” seem to be cobbled together on the back of envelopes, dont bear close scrutiny, designed to impress the 20%, at the expense of 80% of the population. Bill Shorten is genuine and authentic and you can see how people react to him. He also answers questions which Turnbull brushes aside. Laughed yesterday at the sight of Turnbull in a bomber jacket at the Firefighters protest “We will Protect You.” Michaelia Cash gleefully smirking. After that performance a journalist asked Malcolm a poertinent question, which he deftly didnt answer (except with spin of course), and when the journalist persisted, the PM just said “Thank you very much” and pushed past him. Shorten may not have “charisma”, but in my experience charisma is a quality held by self-centred narcisstic people, such as Turnbull, for instance. Newspoll figures out today show that 60% of voters are not intending to vote for the Coalition, so the tide is definitely turning. Despite the ABC continuing its election campaign for the re-election of the moribund, out of touch, Abbott policy driven dinosaurs.

  16. Kaye Lee

    The Nationals candidate in Indi, Marty Corboy, doesn’t believe in evolution

  17. helvityni

    Jaquix, it looks to me too that Turnbull has truly charmed ‘our’ ABC, it does not matter that Shorten is promising more funding to them.

  18. King1394

    Shorten’s slow and steady approach to policy development and image development is not something the mainstream media or even many people on this page have been able to cope with. Particularly after the fireworks and entertainment provided by a number of leaders over the years including Latham and Abbott, there has been an expectation that making headlines is essential to political leadership. Turnbull also has been a fizzer because he hasn’t lived up to the image he developed. Shorten may be lacking in charisma, but he does not lack substance

  19. Peter F

    ‘The Nationals candidate in Indi, Marty Corboy, doesn’t believe in evolution’ – Was he taught creation ‘science’? First question I would ask creation ‘scientists’ is which particular ‘creation’ story from Genesis they prefer: the one starting with water, or the one starting with soil?

  20. my say

    Our ABC hasbeen bought off by the Liberals ,why don’t they ask Turnbull where he is getting his money from to fund his promises,
    Tony Jones has sold us out on Q&A to ,he lets the liberals rave on and on and cuts the Labor members off before they finish their comments,
    The ABC is owned by the Australian people NOT the Turnbull government ,I for one am sick of there bias reporting

  21. Terry2

    I was speaking with a committed creationist recently and he said ; “if evolution was true, how come it doesn’t happen now ?”

    Now there’s a powerful argument, right there 🙂

  22. Kaye Lee


    Perhaps you could tell him about the story of the moths in England that used to be white but gradually changed to black to match the soot caused by the industrial revolution and are now changing back again.


    I studied astronomy one year at uni and my lecturer was a creationist. It still does my head in.

    Corboy also home schools his 6 (soon to be 7) children and can’t see how mankind could change climate. I feel for those kids.

  23. Möbius Ecko

    To continue off topic for a little if I may.

    In the court case the Creationists lost in the US, one of the things that defeated them was watching evolution take place in real time as bacteria changed in response to external stimuli or changed environments. Bacteria colonies evolve in days, and some in hours, in response to things that take higher order life aeons to respond to.

    It was that and the evolution of a flagellum that undid them.

  24. diannaart

    Regarding Indi & voting preferences:

    I notice Labor representative, Robyn Walsh gave second preference to Cathy McGowan in the 2013 election, followed by the Greens, Jenny O’Connor – Sophie Mirabella was placed second last; the Rise Up Australia Party’s, Robert Dudley, was appropriately placed last.

    Robyn Walsh didn’t see Cathy as “Liberal-Lite”… just sayin’

  25. Kaye Lee

    McGowan is the churchgoing Catholic daughter of a Liberal Party branch member who, ironically, helped preselect Mirabella in 2001 over now health minister Sussan Ley.

    McGowan claims she can’t be pigeonholed on the political spectrum. Yet her views are largely consistent with those of a classic moderate, or “wet”, in the old-fashioned Liberal tradition.

  26. diannaart

    Does that mean McGowan is, in fact Lib-Lite?

    And does it matter? She is a major improvement on Mirabella.

  27. Peter F

    Kay, I will have to update my story about the moths – I was convinced when they had turned black: I did not know they were turning back again. As for creationists, they are a perfect example of the theory of evolution. They are dying out, and struggling in their death throes.

  28. Matters Not

    If you watch the video here, McGowan made clear, before she was elected, that she would support the government of the day on ‘substantive’ motions (but not necessarily on ‘procedural’ ones). Seems to me she’s been pretty true to her word. Nevertheless she faces a real fight this time around because (as I understand it) there will be both a Liberal and a National in the contest with an expectation of tight preference exchange(s).

    Better a Cathy than a Sophie.


  29. Kaye Lee

    I agree that McGowan is far better than Mirabella or Corboy. One thing that disappointed me was her support for the Adler gun but it was, apparently, what her constituents wanted.

  30. Kaye Lee

    Peter F,

    Among my many and varied studies at university, I did a year of genetics. I loved it. My laundry became the breeding home for drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) whose chromosomes don’t cross over during meiosis making them ideal for genetic studies. Genetic variations due to mutation can be shown to be dominant or recessive – white eyes, curly wings. It’s fascinating.

  31. Arthur Graves

    But there are no preferences at this election. That’s part of why we have an election now.

  32. Kaye Lee

    I thought we were having an election because corruption in construction unions was so bad that the government could no longer function?

  33. poli

    Shorten, a product of the union movement, was at the centre of the amoral power and leadership struggles that ripped the party apart. Now it is up to him to unify Labor and lead it back into power.

  34. Jack Russell

    With a hand-picked Governor General ready to act when whistled up, all they needed to do was lucky-dip a piece of confectionary out of a panama hat. Turned out to be the ABCC, wrapped up in shiny foil.

  35. johnlord2013

    ‘Generally people assume that a theory (for example the theory of evolution) is something unproven. In the scientific world, a theory is something that has evolved to fit known facts’

  36. Peter F

    kaye: And yet these fools will ask “Why has evolution stopped?”

  37. Don A Kelly

    They could ask; ‘if man evolved from apes, how come there’s still apes’?

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