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Forever Is A Long Time, Mr Turnbull, Even If “Never, ever” just means until after the next election!

Framing the debate has always been a problem for the left. Part of the reason is that the media always seem to accept the frame that the Liberals place on it. But a large part of the reason is that Labor don’t try to re-frame the debate on their own terms…

For example, I’ve just framed this so that we’re talking about “left” and “right”. And I’ve framed it so that the Liberals are the “right”, leading to people inferring that I think that Labor are the left. In reality, the current Labor Party are slightly more “left” than Liberals but not so much that anyone earning more than half million dollars a year will notice.

In terms of this frame, when we hear that Malcolm Turnbull donated his salary to charity, it becomes a problem for Labor to attack him for accepting a large pay rise. What! You want to stop money going to charity.

And while it can be pointed out that his charitable donations may be another form of tax dodge, this isn’t the best way to frame the news.

It would be far better to run an ad saying:


This would be a much better strategy, because – while nobody would actually be convinced – it would lead to Turnbull complaining, and one thing I’ve noticed is that every time Mal feels hard done by, he says something stupid.

Now, I know that stupid can be really good sometimes. Next time some relative tells you that Labor lied about Mediscare leading up to the 2016 election, just say, “Nah, mate, the AFP cleared them!” If they argue, remind them that Turnbull was going to refer Labor to AFP; he said so on election night, and if he said it, surely he did it, and therefore the Federal Police must have decided that there was no evidenced.

Yep, sometimes you can play stupid to win. It worked for Barnaby Joyce for a long time, but sooner or later, you fall flat on your face. Or some other body part…

As PM, Malcolm has been playing stupid quite well. While there is a case that Barnaby wasn’t playing, one surely has to believe that Turnbull isn’t really as brain dead as he pretends to be. After all, he did manage to lead the Republican Movement to a referendum loss even though most people thought that Australia shouldn’t have an overseas monarch as our head of state. Oh…

Well, he recovered from that and became Opposition Leader where he – very cleverly – attacked Kevin Rudd over the undeclared use of a Ute, which would have been a scandal had it not been for the fact that the email Mal used as evidence was fabricated.

Anyway, whether Mal is just playing stupid or actually likely to be confused when someone points to two shovels and tells him to take his pick, one has to wonder about his latest prognostication.

Apparently – according to our PM – coal-fired power will part of our energy mix for a long time, “possibly forever”.

Now, ok. Philosophy 101 and the nature of what’s real may be able to frame this in a way that makes sad, old Mal seem like he was just speculating about the nature of time and whether in fact it exists outside the present moment.

However, those of us living on planet Earth will be aware that coal is a finite resource. The idea of it being used “forever” sort of seems a bit confusing, given there’s only a limited amount of coal and an infinite amount of “forever”.

Or perhaps, by “forever”, Mal just meant until the human race no longer inhabits the earth, which gives him more credibility than those who argued that by “never, ever”, John Howard just meant that the GST wouldn’t be introduced in the life of his first term. After all, we often use terms like “never” and “forever” when simply mean “in our lifetime”.

If Malcolm meant that coal would be used for power until there were no more humans, then his comment makes sense. After all, burning coal would make that definition of “forever”, potentially just around the corner.



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  1. Lawrence Winder @shanewombat)

    It seems a very, very long time since Truffles displayed his “tin-ear” as effectively as he did with “ute-gate.” From reading this I think there’s about to be a tsunami of such perspecacity as the wheels finally seperate from the faltering vehicle on its downhill run.
    What fun.

  2. ace Jones

    At present Shorten is trying his best to out-do Turdball in saying stupid things

  3. Peter F

    Why is it stupid for Shorten to say what has been their stated intention for weeks? Is it just because this will be misrepresented. He is merely saying that he will reverse the government’s tax cuts. Most of the reports I have seen in the MSM are from businesses which have been successful under the existing scheme. If Shorten says that he will return to that, how can is be so destructive?

  4. mobiusecko

    ace Jones, what did he say that was stupid?

  5. mobiusecko

    Not just weeks Peter F, but their policy for the last two years, as The Drum iterated last night.

    Of course, the ABC being an IPA toady nowadays, still said many times Shorten made a Captain’s Call, and every ABC commentator across their media outlets have emphasised “Captain’s Call” or “Captain’s Pick” as though it’s in large bold letters on their crib sheets and Teleprompters.

    I could not believe when a guest on The Drum, a journalist from the West Australian newspaper, said more than once this was a long standing Labor stance they have openly stated many times in the last two years, but he still ventured it was a Shorten captain’s call.

  6. helvityni

    ….mobiousecho, my thoughts to a tee….

  7. Kaye Lee

    It astounds me how the Coalition have jumped onto Albo’s speech and Bill’s answer as signs of disunity when Tony Abbott and Craig Kelly are openly trying to derail the NEG and any consideration of emissions reduction. And they seem to be winning….again.

    “The Coalition has voted with One Nation in the Senate, backing a motion calling on the government “to facilitate the building of new coal-fired power stations and the retrofitting of existing base-load power stations”.


  8. Peter F

    Sucking up to Hanson on the subject of coal fire power stations is nothing more than trying to get PHON preferences in the five elections. She will fall for it.

  9. diannaart


    Worthy of The Shovel.

    @ Kaye Lee – projection much by Turnbull & cronies? Or just an auto-response dog whistle? Or combination – if Bill Shorten so much as smiles he is painted as sneaky.

    As for when a politician says, “forever” they mean until the next election – time moves differently in parliament, hence the saying “a week is a long time in politics.”

  10. Stepheng

    I would love to see the LNP totally wiped put this next election but to be honest I think it will be a close thing and actually I think that the LNP just might get it back.

    Why you might ask, well the media are on the LNP side and the ABC are in damage mode, so favour the LNP too.

    I look at social media a lot and see the level of self interest, bigotry, and pure ignorance, spoken by the Right Wingers that I fear for the future, not for mine as I am in my twighlight years, but for my younger family and their children.

    Self interest , greed, xenaphobia, war mongers, and bully boys, thats the governments of today, dog help us!

  11. guest

    It is interesting, is it not, when a commenter claims the ABC is favouring the LNP, while the LNP/Coalition claims the ABC is biased to the Left.

    From my observations, the ABC most often includes people clearly of the Right on its programs discussing political matters.

    When matters not favourable to the Right are mentioned, it is difficult to find a positive side in order to “balance” the matter. Of course the Right would prefer that the embarrassing matter were not mentioned at all.

    In matters such as Climate Change it seems the ABC should not appear to approve of warnings about its dangers. Whereas the Murdoch media has journalists who write articles claiming to prove the IPCC view of Climate Change is a “scam” with no attempt to balance that claim with counter arguments.

    Perhaps we could claim that the ‘fake news’ outweighs the real news. Jut look at the bullying of the ANU and the way Shorten is portrayed as being friendly with those on a “higher” social status.

  12. Kaye Lee

    Gerard Henderson’s wife Anne was on the Drum (God knows why) and she said “we have always had droughts” so apparently that means we don’t need to do anything about our emissions.

  13. iggy648

    Should be interesting to see how a Newscorp journalist handles hosting Insiders on Sunday. Wonder who her guests will be? Hopefully for balance, we’ll get Virginia Trioli hosting the Bolt Report.

  14. Oscar

    Who’s hosting The Insiders?

  15. Zathras

    It’s too late now but the public shouldn’t get too excited about Turnbull’s apparent charity largess from his salary.

    He doesn’t donate all of his salary to charity – he diverts it (tax-free) into the Turnbull Foundation – a Private Ancillary Fund.

    All the Tax Office requires is that at least 5% of the fund is donated to non-profit organisations annually. The remainder can be used for such matters as Director’s Fees (which can be sent directly into Superannuation Funds tax-free) or “other purposes”.

    Historically only about 8% of funds from these foundations seem to make their way into charities and the ATO classifies such funds as tax-avoidance strategies. Only some donated amounts from Turnbull’s fund to certain charities have ever been disclosed but because it’s a private fund he doesn’t have to open his books to public scrutiny.

    As a bonus he gets a $550K tax deduction for himself that can be used against other sources of income.

    You can choose to believe that he’s doing this at some degree of personal financial loss but chances are he’s coming out way in front.

    People in this privileged layer of society have little empathy with those PAYE battlers they claim to represent beyond lip-service and platitudes but are ultimately inward-looking and self-serving – like their political party.

  16. diannaart

    @ Zathras

    Turnbull demonstrating how having more money than he’ll ever need means never having to he’s sorry.

  17. Michael

    In response to your opening sentence, “Framing the debate has always been a problem for the left.”, it occurred to me that our representative democracy as it is is being played, if not to the wrong rules, then to rules borne and inherited from the gradual erosion of the English monarchical system to what is today at the centre of which is, the sacred debate.

    From Wikipedia = Debate is a process that involves formal discussion on a particular topic – opposing arguments are put forward to argue for opposing viewpoints – occurs in public meetings, academic institutions, and legislative assemblies – is a formal type of discussion, often with a moderator and an audience, in addition to the debate participants.

    And is practiced as the basis for parliamentary decision making – disagree –> debate.

    A format of word war, opposition, right and wrong, limited time, based on eloquence of speech, presentation, mannerisms, voice control (oration), pushing the boundaries of respect and has its base on one’s thus bombarded understanding of what is said and one’s own (limited) knowledge with no/limited time to research/explore and verify logic and veracity of claims and statements before being forced to make an uninformed decision.

    This debating form of governance process is borne from eloquent arrogance as to what is good for all of us and ignores the collaborative and participative process which is the providence of those being affected by decisions having the right to participation in its formulation.

    The mechanism allowing us to effectively exercise our participation (which seem to be those faithful followers of this site), I contend, is the missing link waiting to be filled in the iteration of our representative democracy – if disagree –> explore/learn/understand/accountable/ground up. (#1page)

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