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Tag Archives: Australian Prime Minister

Looking Back At My 2015 Predictions!

The loss of Tony Abbott as PM has at least meant that the ludicrousness is over. And while he’s still making the odd appearance to remind us all of how loose his connection to reality was, the fact remains that now he appears a little more like a court jester than the king himself.

Yes, it’s true that Mr Turnbull has kept all of the policies, but one senses that his defence of some of them is a little less strident. He treats his opponents, not as some evil enemy, but as someone who could be talked round to a sensible way of thinking… If only they weren’t so lacking in intellectual fibre because anybody with the right stuff would surely see that Malcolm Turnbull is right. And while I don’t wish to defend Mr Turnbull, his decision not to reappoint Maurice Newman as an advisor to the government at least indicates that the man has some understanding that having an advisor who believes that global warming is part of some gigantic conspiracy is not far removed from having one who wears an aluminum hat to press conferences so that the left wing media can’t control his brain.

And since reading various critics of Bill Shorten I thought about asking for at least a bit of fairness for the poor man. After all accusing him of being “one of the faceless men of the union movement” is a bit ridiculous considering he’s now Opposition Leader. But then I thought that writing about Bill Shorten is a bit like writing about the fourth placed contestant in the first “Australian Idol” – nobody cares. The real problem with Shorten, I suspect, isn’t what he’s done or what he says; it’s his voice. It lacks authority and sounds whiny. Thinking back on all the PM’s, you’ll notice that some of our most popular have had deep, well-modulated voices while our least popular had voices that lacked gravitas. Compare Hawke to McMahon. Ok, Whitlam may be the exception but it’s worth remembering that he started off popular enough to win an election when the convention was that Labor should rename itself the POP or Permanent Opposition Party.

So with nothing much to say on Abbott, Turnbull or Shorten, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my predictions for 2015 and see how I’m doing. (Yes, I know that I keep reminding everyone about my scoop on Turnbull becoming PM written in the middle of last year, but I’m not going to mention that here. This is all about this year’s predictions!)

Rossleigh’s Predictions for 2015 (With Comments in bold)

Ok, my 2015 predictions! Here goes:

  1. Abbott will be asked if he thinks that he should appoint someone else as Minister for Women but he’ll assure us that he’s the only person in his government who trully “gets women” and understands the particular problems some of them have getting pregnant – like infertility or not having a man.Comment: Not aware of it happening so let’s not count it one way or the other.
  2. There will speculation about a possible leadership challenge from Julie Bishop and/or Malcolm Turnbull.Comment: Ok, a tick here.
  3. Speculation will intensify when Bishop says categorically that she has no desire to be PM. Comment: Yep, another tick.
  4. Steve Bracks will make a bid for a seat in federal politics leading to speculation about him as a future PM. Comment: Ok a cross.
  5. Christopher Pyne will suggest that the words “hypocrite” and “inconsistent” should be considered unParliamentary. Comment: Mm, Not doing as well as I thought.
  6. Joe Hockey will claim wages being too high is the reason for high unemployment.Comment: Given just about every Liberal is suggesting this about penalty rates, I’m going to give myself a tick so that the crosses don’t outnumber the ticks at the end.
  7. Joe Hockey will claim a lack of wages growth is the reason for his inability to get the Budget back into surplus.Comment: Ok, I’ll give myself another tick just because I’m the one doing the ticks and crosses. I mean, if Tony Abbott can give his government high praise and suggest that he’d have “convingly” won the next election, what’s a little tick between friends?
  8. Sources “high up in the Liberal Party” will be critical of Tony Abbott, but tell everyone that he is safe because everyone is too scared of Peta Credlin to launch a challenge. Comment: All right this one is so close to the truth that it deserves an extra big tick. It’s just that, in the end, they were more scared of losing their seats.
  9. David Leyonhjelm will announce that we use introduce a “user pays” system when voting in elections, before asserting that if everyone carried a gun, there’d be no need for elections. Comment: Well, given he’s recently suggested that migrants could buy their way into Australia, I don’t feel like giving myself a cross. How about I do what the ABC did when assessing how many of the Liberal’s promises were broken, and just put “In progress”? Mm, that one works for Steve Bracks and Christopher Pyne too.
  10. It will be discovered that Bronwyn Bishop is completely deaf in her left ear, and has only been ejecting Labor MPs after secret signals from the Government side. Comment: Well, I’m counting the helicopter ride. It may have nothing to do with the prediction but surely she wouldn’t have been able to hear over the noise of the chopper.
  11. Scott Morrison will tell everyone that he has a soft spot for people who’ve been on benefits for more than a year. It will later be discovered that by “soft spot” he meant a boggy swamp where they could all be hidden. Comment: Actually this is more accurate if I change it to being about Joe Hockey.
  12. A scandal involving the misappropriation of funds by a prominent Liberal will be headed “Labor Fail To Notice Dishonesty” in the Murdoch Papers.Comment: Ok, even though the Murdoch paper didn’t mention Labor at all, I’m still giving myself a big tick for my accurate prediction on the missing funds based on nothing at all.
  13. Rebekah Brooks will be given a job in Australia leading to some nasty comments that a couple of hundred years ago it was the ones who were found guilty who were sent to the colonies. Comment: Gee, I thought that even Rupert Murdoch wouldn’t have the hide to employ Brooks in Britain when she apparently had no idea what was going on and was apparently signing away large sums of money without asking what it was for.
  14. One of Abbott’s ministers will be praised as one of their best performers, only for it later to be discovered that he/she has been suffering from agoraphobia and hasn’t left their home for the past year. Comment: Ok, wrong. Nobody was praised as one of Abbott’s best performers.
  15. Barnaby Joyce will tell us that the Senate should be abolished as it’s unnecessary, a waste of money and a frustration for democratically elected government. When asked if felt this way when he was a senator, he’ll argue that back in those days the Senate was fulfilling the worthwhile role of stopping the Labor government from introducing an Emissions Trading Scheme. Comment: All right, wrong. But I’m sure Barnaby said something equally stupid. Actually, his comment that Abbott should have been allowed to step down is so ridiculous that it would be like suggested that Lord Sauron should be given the Ring so that he could destroy it himself.
  16. Some readers will attempt to use reason and logic to argue with one of the trolls making comments, when the person making the comment clearly has a limited relationship with the real world, so abstract concepts like coherent arguments will bounce off them like bullets off Superman’s chest. (Like Superman, these trolls will often have a secret identity and feel very sure of themselves, but unlike Superman, they’ll never actually accomplish anything apart from making people wonder whether the education system is failing or whether it’s just a few Queenslanders who’ve spent too long in the sun) Comment: Yep, this definitely happend.

Ok, so as you can see I’ve done extremely well as a predictor of events. All right, I only got one or two completely correct. But as Tetlock’s work (see below) showed, just being wrong never stopped anyone from continuing to make predictions.

Or as someone so eloquently put it, “An economist is a person who is paid to explain why his or her forecasts were wrong.”

So to keep up my forecasting record, let’s look forward to the election in March. Failing that, I’m predicting it’ll be sometime later in 2015. That way, I should still have at least a fifty percent success rate.



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When the PM normalises lying

“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.” Tony Abbott, August 22, 2011

Every time Abbott lies to the citizens of this country we become increasingly disaffected, and not only from our Prime Minister, but from the institution he represents. Abbott has normalised the discourse of lies. He has taken the dishonesty of politicians to a whole new level. We barely expect anything else from him, and from his fellow politicians. Under the leadership of our mendacious Prime Minister, we have increasingly abandoned hope of fairness, straightforwardness, belief and trust. Our Prime Minister doesn’t think we are worthy of the truth.

One of the many unpleasant effects of being lied to is that the liar insults and patronises me by creating a false reality that I have to inhabit, until I discover I’m the victim of deception.The liar denies me the right to know the truth, a serious offence against me, because truth is something no one has the right to deny me.

Whether it’s on a personal or a political level, lying to me signifies the liar doesn’t consider me as entitled to the truth as is he or she. This infantilises me, is disrespectful to me, and denies me the knowledge I need to make informed decisions about my life. There’s little more insulting than being lied to, kept in the dark with lies of omission, and intentionally misled because the liar doesn’t consider you capable of handling the truth, or is acting entirely in their own self-interest because you knowing the truth will in some way threaten them.

The Prime Minister of our country, Tony Abbott, has never made any secret of his ambivalent relationship with truth. There is his notorious assertion that nothing he says is “gospel” truth unless it’s written down.

There’s his prescriptive declaration that “It is better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.” While this isn’t necessarily an endorsement of lying, it is a ruthless and callous prescription for relationship with one’s fellow humans. It recommends that one do that which one desires and if it backfires apologise, but it isn’t necessary under the terms of Abbott’s prescriptive to negotiate with or communicate intention to others, prior to taking an action. This has a similar effect to lying, in that it assumes an inferiority of some kind on the part of another that doesn’t require Abbott to enter into an equal, respectful relationship in which another’s opinions and wishes count for the same as his own.

We have a liar for a leader. When the lies start at the top, there’s little hope truth will ever see the light of day. Abbott is leading us into an abyss of normalised deception that will damage every one of us, because when dedicated liars are in power, the country will inevitably lose its way. If you don’t think this country is losing its way, you’re dreaming.

First published on Jennifer’s blog No Place for Sheep

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