Sunday 28 February 20161
1 Who said this?
‘I am a reformer by nature, very much so’
‘Everything, every single element, is on the table. And I know that always means that someone can then run a scare campaign, but I’m sorry, we’ve got to stop [this]. This is part of the political tradition I’m determined to end. We have got to be able to consider policy options in an unfettered way. We’ve got to have the maturity to have a debate that is not throwing things off the table …’
There’s the problem. Tony Abbott has said on a few occasions that he couldn’t work out why the government had changed leaders when it had not changed any of his policies.
Tanya Plibersek made the point ‘All of those people were sitting in middle Australia thinking, ‘Thank God Tony Abbott is gone.’ What have they been left with? They have been left with Tony Abbott in a different suit’.
’Because what happens is politicians who get intimidated by their opponents or by the media or whatever, they say, ‘Oh that’s off the table, that’s off the table, that’s off the table’ and suddenly there’s nothing left on the table’.
Those who were thankful and delighted in the demise of Abbott are entitled to think they have been let down. Even people of the opposite ideology felt that Turnbull would bring a new era of public discourse.
But today, Turnbull is the man taking options off the table in a piecemeal, panicky kind of way.
I have said it before that new Prime Ministers generally try to make their mark on the party they lead by implementing their own policies. Putting their stamp on their leadership. Turnbull, in spite of saying all the afore-mentioned has chosen to rubber stamp all of Abbotts policies.
He has reaffirmed Abbott’s policies on same-sex marriage, direct action on climate change, his monarchist stance, border protection and foreign policy.
‘We need a style of leadership that explains those challenges and opportunities, explains the challenges and how to seize the opportunities. A style of leadership that respects the people’s intelligence, that explains these complex issues and then sets out the course of action we believe we should take and makes a case for it. We need advocacy, not slogans’.
Peter Hartcher of Fairfax put it this way:
‘Two weeks ago he decided that he would not support raising the GST, that “big bang” tax reform was off the table, and since that moment he has transformed.
From explaining the challenges and opportunities, he has transformed into a politician who instead explains why he is not pursuing challenges and opportunities.
First he explained why he was not going to raise the GST. Then he explained why he will reject Labor’s ideas on negative gearing and capital gains tax. And then he launched into a full-throated scare campaign against Labor’s proposals without advocating any alternative.
On tax reform, he is now heading to exactly where Abbott said he was likely to have been: “At a minimum” Abbott told me last November, “we would have had modest tax cuts based on spending restraints’.
Abbott is right to ask why they changed leaders but is wrong to assume he would have won the next election.
2 The poll aggregate from Crickey moves in Labor’s favour for the fourth week in a row, this time rather sharply in the wake of Newspoll’s surprise result. Coalition 52 Labor 48.
Newspoll’s surprise this week has caused a minor landslip in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which moves 0.8% to Labor on two-party preferred, while delivering only a modest gain of three on the seat projection (one each in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia). The leadership results from the poll have also caused Malcolm Turnbull’s net approval rating to continue its downward trajectory, and given a very slight impression of Bill Shorten pulling out of his slump. Also in the mix this week were results from Roy Morgan and Essential Research, neither of which recorded much movement, although the former found Labor hanging on to a big gain the previous fortnight.
3 A headline in The Australian quoted John Howard as saying that ‘People were afraid to speak’. Without reading the piece (firewall) I assume he is saying that people are afraid to speak their minds because they perceive the criticism they may get is unwarranted or unfair. What he and others of his political persuasion forget is that they have so distorted truth with their lies that the general public distrusts everything politicians say.
His answer lays in the fact that only 13% of people trust politicians.
So badly has the truth been damaged by the likes of Abbott that people immediately recognise the spin and counter it, calling it for what it is. Free speech of the reasoned kind is still alive and well in this country. All they have to do is use it.
‘Free speech does not mean it should be free from ethics. Like truth for example’.
4 It is good to see that Tony Winsor is more than a 50/50 chance of recontesting the seat of New England. Recent polling shows that he has more than an even chance of winning.
5 The fascinating thing I find with George Christiansen’s objection to the very worthwhile anti bullying programme is his obsession with the term penis tucking. I mean isn’t that what he practices himself.
6 So Mal Brough has decided to give the next election a miss. Can he see the writing on the wall? Has he received the nod that charges maybe pending? Whatever, this sordid period in Australia’s political history will not be over until a Royal Commission is held
I am still seething at this outrageous attempt to eject the speaker of the House of Representatives and in so doing attempt to overthrow the government of the day. The case brought by Ashby, and the political involvement of Abbott, Pyne, Brough, Roy and undoubtedly many others, was an affront to our system of government. Our democracy. And the Murdoch media were complicit in the sordid affair.
And the AFP are taking far too long. It needs to be cleared up before the next election.
My thought for the day.
‘Sometimes I allow myself the indulgence of thinking I know a lot. Then I realise that in the totality of things, I know little. One thing I am certain of however is that there are known facts in the world because science proves them’.
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