In a reflection in Saturday’s Age (11/5) Merle Mitchell explained that institutionalization in aged care left her without a home. Institutionalized care can mean a loss of social networks and community. In her opinion, there was the feeling that death would be a better resolution for everyone. Fortunately, though, she did not lose contact with…
The Liberals have lost Wentworth for the first time and so the analysis begins.
We’ve already been told that Malcolm didn’t help. He should have been there, campaigning his little arse off out of gratitude that the Liberals made him PM. Ungrateful wretch.
And, in the washup, Sky News was telling us not to draw too many conclusions because Wentworth wasn’t typical of the rest of Australia…It’s one of the wealthiest suburbs and it does have a significant gay population. True enough, I suppose, but is one meant to draw the inference that other electorates have an insignificant gay population?
However, I keep coming back to a point I make over and over again. We only get to vote once every three years or so and we often make our choice based on who we think is the least worst. Our vote is sometimes the lesser of two evils, rather than a ringing endorsement of every single policy of the party we ultimately vote for. And sometimes, an electorate gets the chance to say, yes, you seem more in tune with what we actually think than either of the major parties.
It’s not that Wentworth is out of step with the rest of Australia on something like climate change. Wentworth has pretty accurately reflected the fact that most people think more should be done on climate change. It’s not that Wentworth is out of step with attitudes to LGTBI issues or children on Nauru; it’s more that the loudest conservative voices have managed to make it sound like they are speaking for the “ordinary” Australian. And it’s hard to get more ordinary than some of the people backing Peter Dutton.
Now, I always suggested that Malcolm Turnbull wasn’t all that left-wing. I know, it’s surprising that a Point Piper multimillionaire Liberal Party leader wouldn’t be an extreme socialist pushing for the overthrow of the corrupt system. Yes, we’ve been told about leftie Malcolm, so often that we overlook the fact that most of his progressive views were consistent with the majority. Backing for the Republic, marriage equality, action on climate change. You name it, there was nothing that wasn’t a popular position. He was always positioning himself for popularity. That is, until he became Prime Minister, where his Faustian bargain left him unable to please either his party or his electorate. While it was one thing to paint Malcolm as progressive; it’s quite another to ask us to believe that a Liberal stronghold – one of its safest and most affluent seats – is a hotbed of out-of-touch elites who were simply angry at the dumping of their man.
It’s worth pointing out that they did so with the full knowledge that, unlike so many by-elections, they had the power to make the Coalition a minority government. If anything, this should have chastened them, made them more circumspet. And it’s not as though, this was a surprise like the 1999 defeat of Kennett in Victoria where people made a protest vote without any expectation that it would result in a change of government.
The electorate made a conscious decision to create a hung Parliament. But to hear Scott Morrison last night, it was all about Malcolm Turnbull, it was all about the “price” of switching leaders. But rest assured, the Liberals would rise again. (I’m sure I heard a few “hallelujahs” at this point from the crowd). Ok, perhaps not in three days, but it certainly sounded like an evangelical meeting at times. He went on to repeat his well-worn slogans of “Those who have a go, will get a go”, “The best form of welfare is a job”, “Jesus was a small businessman” and “I stopped the votes” and several other meaningless phrases, as though these had somehow helped deliver an electoral victory rather than the most embarrassing thing to happen to the Liberals in almost a week.
I guess it’s easy to be pessimistic and shake one’s head. We have a governent voting for a motion then realising that they didn’t intend to vote for it, floating ideas which are against all departmental advice, squabbling internally, considering a disgraced Barnbaby for a return to the Deputy PM role only a few months after his embarrassing admissions. And I know some of you will be worried by the assertions that this won’t flow through to the general election because of Rupert Murdoch or because the Liberals will “get away with it like they always do”.
However, I think that it’s always worth stopping and considering how many impossible things have happened. I mean, not only have the Liberals lost Wentworth – unthinkable just a few weeks ago – but they lost to an openly gay Independent. Yes, I know some of you are thinking, so what? But that’s the point. How long ago would it have been unthinkable for a candidate to have called their same sex partner up on the stage during their victory speech? If you go back to the beginning of this century it would have been talked about for weeks.
Progress may feel like two steps forward and one step back. And even, at times, the other way round. But because progress is slow, we often don’t see how far we’ve come. There’s still a long way to go, of course. For example, I was confused as to why the email suggesting that Phelps had pulled out because she had HIV was reported as being a “smear” and a “slur”. I don’t see having HIV is either of those, any more than a suggestion that she was cancelling an appearance because she had the flu. It was a nasty trick, sure, but why a “smear” as though HIV suggested something immoral about the person.
So, before the media starts talking about how terribly the Labor Party performed and tries to start leadership speculation about Shorten, let’s see this for what it is: a massive wake-up call for Scott Morrison. Unfortunately for him, his speech last night suggested he intended to just keep hitting the snooze button.
Yep, I was mightily confused when I saw the headline today:
“SHORTEN’S NEW CLASS WAR!” it blared.
And I really wished that the sub-editor was around so I could ask him when the old class war ended. Surely you can’t have a new war when you haven’t called off the old one.
Of course, the Liberals were a lot more restrained. Scott Morrison accused Labor of “stealing” from retirees…
Before I go on, I guess that should make sure you all understand what’s actually being proposed by Labor.
Ok, companies pay tax. No, really. Some of them actually do. Anyway, the theory goes that if the dividends from any shares you own have already paid tax, then you get a tax credit so that you’re not taxed on this income twiced. I won’t go into all the detail about fully franked and partially franked shares, because it’s enough for you to grasp what’s being proposed by Labor if you grasp the concept that the franking is simply a way of stopping the money being taxed both as income made by the company in which you own shares, and by you personally, as income tax.
While some rabid socialists may tell you that any income earned by companies should be confiscated and distributed to the Society for the Promotion of Non-Trotskyist Communist Thought In Schools, the average person in the street would see that taxing the same income twice is a little unfair.
Whatever your feelings on this concept, however, Labor aren’t proposing to get rid of franking. Under John Howard, people who were earning an income below the tax-free threshold, could convert their franking credits and receive a cash refund from the government. While this is similar in concept, there’s an important difference, and the best way to understand it is to look at how negative gearing works.
You buy a property (or shares) with the idea of producing an income. However, in most cases, when you borrow money to buy a property, the interest you pay on your loan will be more than the income you receive from your investment. Because you are making a loss, you can claim this loss against the rest of your income. Why this is a good investment plan for some people is that they can claim the loss against a high income, but as time goes on, the difference in interest in rental income and interest becomes smaller and eventually the property is positively geared. Not only that, but there’s a capital gain which doesn’t get taxed until one sells.
The important thing to realise with negative gearing is that there’s not much point in doing it if you’re not on a high rate of tax. And, there’s no point in doing it, if you’re paying no tax, because the government doesn’t give you a cash refund for the money you’ve lost. In that case, if you don’t pay tax and you’ve negative geared properties or shares, it’s just bad luck. In other words, it’s completely different to the franking cash refund for people who own shares and pay next to no tax.
Now, some would argue that this is a bit of an anomaly and why should people in similar situations be treated differently. They are not being taxed twice as the Liberals want us to believe. They’re being taxed once. They just don’t have the sort of income to offset the franking credit, like someone with an investment property.
So who would own shares and not be getting a big enough income. Ok, Nanna might miss out on twenty bucks a year from her hundred Telstra shares, but if you add a couple of thousand dollars to the aged pension with the billions you save from the cash back scheme, she should be no worse off. It’s the people with the self-managed super schemes who’ll be most likely to be hit, and given that these people are arranging their affairs to minimise their tax, then who could have a problem with ensuring that they haven’t taken advantage of the system to pay almost none at all?
Well, obviously the Liberal Party could. See, according to them, this is stealing from retirees. I was waiting for an interviewer to ask Scottie if he was going to report the Labor Party to the police and have them charged with theft.
Yep, Mr Morrison was in Michaelia Cash-like form. He was complaining that Labor already planned to tax everybody and that they were the party of high tax and they couldn’t get their spending under control and just when we’ve got the Budget back into… well, anyway, just when we’ve got the Budget back into a position where we can give away $25 billion to multinationals and add $200 billion to Defence, why we can even give an extra couple of billion to schools… Just when we’ve done all the hard work, Labor will come along and tax all these people and so they can spend on things that aren’t Defence related.
I hadn’t seen a performance like his since Barnaby told us about the $100 lamb roasts and we were being asked to say good-bye to Whyalla. It was almost like when Labor proposed asking people to keep a log book to prove that their leased cars were actually being used for work.
That, we were warned, would mean the end of the auto industry in Australia. How fortunate that the Liberals got in, and we had to wait an extra year or so.
Well, thank god those days of dysfunctional government are over and the adults are back in charge. No, really, they’ve told us many, many times that they’re the awesomest government and they’re really good and besides Bill smells and has no friends and nobody likes him and we’re going to call him names until he cries because that’s the way adults do things…
Anyway, I must say that the events of the past few days remind me yet again of why people are rather cynical of politicians. For those of you who haven’t followed the events surrounding Christopher “The Fixer” Pyne, it goes something like this.
Pyne was speaking to a group of like-minded Liberals. An amazing thing in itself. He not only mentioned that he and George had always voted for Malcolm the Magnificent, but that changes to the marriage laws may not be all that far away.
Even though this was not a public forum somebody leaked it to Andrew Bolt.
Tony Abbott immediately suggested that Pyne’s “confession that he has made to his close colleagues in the Left faction” demonstrated that he’d been disloyal while a member of his leadership team because, well, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote for someone else when you’re a member of Cabinet apparently. (Let’s leave aside the rather strange idea that there is a “left faction” in the Liberals. Ok, there may be some that are less right, but it’s a bit like talking about the intelligent faction of One Nation.)
There are lots of anonymous sources suggesting that Pyne must be replaced because his comments suggested that he wanted to change government policy and that he should support government policy at all times.
Turnbull and Pyne both come out and say that there’ll be no change to government policy, which is nicely ambiguous because the suggestion from some was that a couple of Liberals were going to introduce a private member’s bill and attempt to get legislation through with a few committed souls crossing the floor. That, of course, wouldn’t require a change to government policy.
There is still anger towards Christopher Pyne for suggesting that he supported something that isn’t government policy.
Tony Abbott puts aside his anger to publicly release a manifesto of exactly what the government should do, which is somehow different from Pyne’s sin of saying it behind closed doors, because nobody has a problem with this at all, even though, at face value, suggesting that the government policy needs to change doesn’t seem to be supporting current government policy.
That about catches you up. So now we can carefully examine Tony’s manifesto without being all caught up on whether Malcolm will sack Christopher or whether a whole bunch of Liberals will join Cory Bernardi’s party and bring down the government.
I did notice that the headline on one of the articles about Tony’s plan implied that it was a plan to help the Liberals get re-elected. Now, if he simply wants to help the Liberals get re-elected, I have a very simple one for him. It’s what they told the sheep farmer: “Just shut the flock up!”
However, I’m sure that Mr Abbott would argue that his ideas are not simply about being returned at the next ballot (whether that’s the ballot for Liberal leader or the next federal one), but that they’re real solutions that will take Australia back to its glory days when men were men, the Queen was beloved by all and we all rode on the sheep’s back… in a purely economic sense, of course, because nobody – not even Cory Bernardi – would have even thought to suggest that we were on a slippery slope toward bestiality.
Mr Abbott, as he usually does, covered a range of ideas. Yep, that is a euphemism for saying that the poor man is unable to stay on any given topic for more than a couple of minutes without exhausting his knowledge. Young Tony asserted the need to cut immigration before following up with complaints about political parties surrendering to populism. Now, I guess some will think that this is a bit hypocritical, but let me remind you that it’s only when somebody else does something that a lot of people agree with that it’s populism, when one does it oneself, it’s bowing to the will of the people in line with democratic principles. Along with Mr Abbott’s misgivings about populism and the whole political spectrum moving to the left, he was also concerned about school funding and energy targets. School funding, he speculated, had moved in the wrong direction, although he wasn’t clear about what he meant by that, although he has made it clear in the past that he thinks that private schools should be getting a lot more than they are. And the Senate shouldn’t be have so much power to block the government and he proposed measures that would enable a joint sitting without the need for a double dissolution. Nobody asked him why he tried to block so much government legislation when he was in Opposition, if he felt that the Senate was an unnecessary obstacle. Similarly, nobody suggested that this might be a problem when those silly Labor people get back in. Perhaps, Tony has a plan to ensure that only conservatives can be elected in future; perhaps he’s quite happy to allow Labor to introduce all those things that the Senate has rejected in the past. Whatever, it surely couldn’t be because a man who was once our PM wouldn’t have thought his idea through.
And then, there were his ideas on energy. Listening to Finkel – whom the current government commissioned to work out the best solutions, or at least some solutions, because we’ve already rejected some even if they are the best – would be a terrible mistake. No, it’s better just to make up your own mind because that way you don’t get confused by a lot of nasty facts. No, we should freeze the renewable target at 15% and stop any new wind farms because we may have an energy shortfall and building more wind farms would help reduce this shortfall, but not by using coal and so, therefore, it doesn’t fit the criteria of good energy policy. Let’s be quite clear here, renewables are being subsidised and we don’t like that. We think that the market should decide and if the market doesn’t want to build any new coal-fired power stations then the government should go it alone and build one itself. There now, that’s perfectly consistent, isn’t it?
A spokesman for Mr Turnbull said that he had no plans to change government policy. When asked if he had any plans at all, the spokesman said that he’d check with the PM but he was almost certain that he had been talking about his intention to develop a plan at the first available opportunity.
Is Turnbull just a Mean Girl, or is he a Heisenberg or possibly a Trumbleberg? What has he become? The once suave leather jacket wearing moderate has transformed into the incarnation of Abbott with his sycophant speech. A man full of angry personally abusive ranting and zero policy.
The media seem to really get their rocks off on this type of abusive ranting politician. They love it. They channel Highlander with “There can be only One!” in their writing. They wallow unashamedly in it. As they did with Abbott. For this reason, vulnerable people will always be doomed.
The media (except VanBadham) have missed the mark. The only thing that will be immortalised about the Turnbull Speech is how the media got this wrong. Except Van Badham. Trust Van to be head and shoulders above the rest, standing against the grain.
The media have compared the sycophant speech with Gillard’s misogyny speech. There is no comparison. Where can Turnbull go from here?
The Corruption of the Cutie
A common trope in movies is the ‘corruption of the cutie’. That is, the ‘nice guy or girl turned villain.’ When Turnbull became leader he was seen as the ‘unbeatable good guy’ with 60% plus in the polls. A wide appeal. The nice guy next door.
How Turnbull has transitioned since he stole leadership from Tony Abbott is in line with this trope of corruption of the cutie – it is a slow progression of nastiness, until the transformation is complete and *BAM*! The lead good guy is now the lead bastard and he is a bastard in spades.
This is epitomised in Mean Girls when the good girl character Cady, becomes a mean girl herself.
Walter White, calm, nerdy, good, family loving chemistry teacher, turning into Heisenberg, self obsessed, greedy drug lord, “I am the one who knocks” in Breaking Bad, is another example.
For some, they will be torn between the good guy who they believe is still deep inside, and will be loyal to him, waiting for his return. This is how I was with Walter White. I never got my wish.
I failed to realise the good guy is either dead, or never was. People will realise the same with Turnbull.
The Bullied who Fight Back – Right vs Might
The corruption of the cutie, is the role Turnbull played the other day. This is in stark contrast to the trope of the bullied character, who stands up in the end, in the case of Gillard. The character who is the butt of jokes, picked on, ridiculed by bullies. However, has the personal resilience to stand strong in the face of adversity. Always determined to rise up with a right versus might speech.
Gillard’s speech was about right versus might. It was Gillard insisting that the right of women to enjoy life free from sexism is paramount above the might of the misogynists.
Turnbull’s response to Shorten’s objection to cuts to family payments by calling him a sycophant and a parasite, was all about might versus right. This was Turnbull insisting that the might of the rich and powerful always is paramount above the poor, the worker, the downtrodden who fight against them.
A stark contrast indeed. The media have this, very, very wrong.
Turnbull – Bringing Back the Ugly
Indeed, Turnbull will think people love him for being a bully. His inner circle will tell him so. It worked for Abbott after all. His party members have felt so adrift with not being able to express their true ugliness. They are excited now they can clap and cheer at bullying in all it’s glory, like they did with Abbott on a day-to-day basis. Now again in love with Turnbull because he is bringing back the ugly.
They had no choice but to get rid of Biff from Back to the Future…
But Now they have Steff – the ultimate rich mean boy
Now they can clap and cheer because they have the actual God of all mean rich boys. All the rich kids love this guy. They love him because he is rich, he decides the pecking order, he decides who gets to go to the best parties. He reassures them all daily that they are superior and the poor kids are just scum. That makes them feel so much better. By their clapping and a cheering you can see the meaning of the message. The message is the LNP thrive on ugly politics.
They love Steff-like characters because he is real true arsehole. He picks on the poor kids. They get behind him and stand tall, staking their ‘rightful place’. Feeling strong by the jollies they get from humiliating ‘the working class trash’. They all play a part in reminding them, that even if you turn up to the rich kids party, you will never be one of them. You. Do. Not. Belong.
In 16 Candles, Steff, made sure he let Andie know she did not belong. Just like Malcolm made sure he told Bill that he does not belong at the same table as rich men.
Well I guess we should have seen that coming…….
No Comparison to Gillard
Gillard’s Misogyny speech was a rousing speech. It can be encapsulated as the determination trope. This is brought on through the determination that is required to face daily, sexist slurs and pointed sexist ridicule. It is the determination that is required to get up every morning and face a narrative that talks women down, while she was determined to always talk women up.
Gillard’s message was to everyone – I am a leader. Follow me and say no to sexism and misogyny and make the world a much better place for women.
Turnbull’s sycophant speech can be encapsulated as the evil gloating trope. It is what mean people do. They gloat. It is brought on by a born to rule mentality. A mentality that aims to bring the good guy down. It is brought about when the popular kid or the rich kid sees their perfect world threatened by the inclusion of an outsider. An outsider they consider who does not belong. The threat that ‘the lower class’ may just make it to the place they see as rightfully theirs. A right they inherited, and did not have to *yuk* ‘earn’.
Turnbull’s message was really to his party. As a leader, follow me and I will teach you how to keep the worker trash out of our posh parties and I will make the world a much better place for the deservedly wealthy.
The message to everyone else was – I am a leader, follow me and I will make sure if you ever actually ‘make it’ I will be here to put you back in your place and remind you where you truly belong – with the other working class trash.
Where to From Here?
The media has played this up for all it is worth. However, deep inside so many Australians is the love for the Aussie Battler. Shorten will continue to stand up for the little guy, the worker and the poor.
Turnbull it seems will continue his Shorten bashing from a place of ‘you don’t deserve to be here’.
If Turnbull continues these mean girl rants, he will realise that even those who were once loyal will turn on him. When you become an Mean Girl, not everyone will love you.
He may realise that even though his internal party members love him for being the meanest, nastiest, rich-boy bully; those on the outside, especially those suffering under his cuts to family payment, will not feel the same way.
Stop the Bus!
Now he has started on this trajectory, is there a way back for Turnbull? To get out of this dilemma, and claw his way back to any semblance of decency; he may need to pray that the leader of the right-wing instructing his every move, is taken out by a bus.
It is very clear to us now that Malcolm Turnbull knows his place and we should all damn well know ours. Through his attack on Bill Shorten yesterday, he let us all know that only the ‘real’ rich kids get to sit at the table with other ‘real’ rich kids. If you are the poor kid who gets that invitation to go to the cool rich kids party, then you better not show up, cos the rich kids are waiting to slap you down.
Please Sir Can I Have Some More?
In question time yesterday, Labor Leader, Bill Shorten loudly objected to the Turnbull Government’s harsh cuts on families, pensioners and the poor in general. For those who continuously state that Liberal and Labor are the same; please take note of this stark contrast between the two and please press the buzzer and get off this bizarre unicorn led school bus you are riding.
You know, the cuts that mean sausages and mince some nights and peanut on bread the other nights.
Cuts that mean that even if your kid is a bloody star and you are so proud of them, they have to just miss out, because you can no longer afford footy fees or singing lessons.
The cuts that mean pensioners cannot afford to keep cool or keep warm because it is a choice between meager amounts of food or electricity.
Cuts from an uncaring Government who are threatening jail to disability pensioners, whilst their leader smiles as he protects the big banks and big companies.
Liberals always tout their very loud support for the low paid casualised labour, abolition of penalty rates and high childcare fees. This means that most families need to rely on family payments to simply make ends meet. Yet Turnbull decides it might be fun to cut that too.
The Liberals very vocal advocacy of making it really super easy to sack people, like their mate John Howard did, forces many families to work for next to nothing. They never rise up, stay complacent, never complain. This means a dream of a fair days work for a fair days pay is just a dream. Full time work is not even in the scope of reality. Yet Turnbull decides to cut the one thing that makes up the gap for these struggling families: Family Payment.
Bill Shorten – Real Leadership
Shorten had enough so he rightly attacked the Government and stood up and spoke up for every single parent, child and even the family dog that these cuts hurt. Shorten insisted that these pensioners and families, to please sir, have some more.
Just like in Oliver Twist, when he asked “Please Sir, Can I have some more?” Turnbull, just like the big fat custodian of the workhouse, bellowed at the orphaned worker “Moooorreeee?”
Turnbull yesterday moved through classic literature in one very angry rant. Moving from the Workhouse boss in Oliver Twist and then transforming into Flashman from Tom Brown’s School Days. Shouting at Shorten, “How dare you, you poor person sit with the rich kids!” While Flashy’s mates stood around him smugly laughing.
It is a wonder Turnbull didn’t yell at Shorten:
“You’ll be fagging for me by the end of term, BOY!”
As Rhys Muldoon summed it up yesterday:
I thought Turnbull came off like a school prefect telling a scholarship student he doesn't belong.
Morphing yet again, we have Barnaby this time, in the background. Barnaby is Turnbull’s main Droogie from A Clockwork Orange. He has made his way to parliament yesterday straight from the Korova Milk Bar, where he overdosed on some horrorshow Moloko.
(If you don’t understand any of these examples, I suggest you lobby the Liberal Government to start re-funding the Arts).
Destroying the Liberal Ideology in One Rant
So there we have it. Turnbull destroyed the Liberal Party ideology in one big fat childish rant. The Liberal ideology that tells people who “If you work hard enough, you will make it.”
The way they always tell us that “Everyone is born equal and it is up to you to be all the way up here with us! You can do it. We did!”
The sniveling privileged born to rule ideology that insists that if you haven’t made it, it is all your fault and you should be ashamed.
The stigmatising and derogatory ideology that points to anyone on welfare as a criminal and a cheat. That is while the Liberals sit there and destroy the economy so there are no jobs to be had!
The main point of Turnbull’s rant yesterday was that even if you do work hard like Bill Shorten and end up earning $400,000 a year, and become the leader of a major party, you will never, ever, ever be a real rich kid. The rich kids will be here to push you around to remind you just where you have come from.
Turnbull made the very big point that if you start even hanging around with the rich kids, we will make sure we let the other poor kids know, that now you are rich you have lost your values and you are now one of us. You know, the rich kids who hate and ridicule the poor kids.
It speaks volumes that a strict conservative like Cory Bernardi has jumped ship. Conservatives may have twisted values, but one thing they loathe is uncouth clowns like Turnbull who cannot hold it together.
Just Two Things
Malcolm Turnbull like all self entitled right wingers do when they are lost and backed into a corner did. He spurted a great big lump of psychological projection. As a poor kid of the 70s and 80s, Turnbull only said two things to me yesterday:
Only the real rich kids belong at the table with other rich kids
Rich people never, ever understand poor people. We loathe them and we simply must punish them, so they never ever join our circles.
Considering Turnbull is both in abundance, how is it possible that he can Govern for more than one percent of our people? The truth is, he does not.
For the Common Good
I will end this article with some more of Shorten’s words to show that it will not matter how many rich people he dines with (even if they did die eight years ago), he has stayed true to his Labor values. This is Shorten on why Labor fights to help people with a disability.
As a poor kid of a Father with a disability, these words mean a lot to me, as it is how Dad used to explain it. “On the invalid pension, you never ever get a chance to get ahead. You are punished until the day you die.” he would say.
This is the alternative Prime Minister telling his story behind his involvement in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
This is a narrative you will never ever hear from the Prime Minister Turnbull, even if he is angry and shouting as loud as he can.
Nerds Who Get Stuff Done Unite!
The media are hailing Turnbull a hero for berating the man and attacking the man. They must get super excited over right-wing nut job trolls on Twitter!
That night, the Policy Nerd Shorten smiled through yet another Sales interview on ABC 7.30. Instead of asking more about Shorten’s concerns, Sales tried to excuse Turnbull’s right to have his pointed personal attack on ‘the man.’
The current state of politics as described by the media is:
Angry shouty born to rule elites devoid of policy, just so they can wear a crown and destroy the country?
Policy Nerds who quietly get stuff done in the background. Like say, a national scheme to assist people with a disability. You know, stuff that really matters….
Boring! Bah! Boo!
What Turnbull did yesterday was what every single LNP or nationalist nut job on Twitter does, day in day out. Yells, Screams and personally attacks people because they cannot understand, nor articulate policy. Yesterday, Turnbull was like a real life Twitter Troll come to life. It was incredible to watch.
Heads up to the Media. This is NOT leadership.
Turnbull is right to worry about a stab in the back. He should worry some more. There are literally thousands of idiots on Twitter who do the same ranty personal attack diatribe every day and some are very skilled at it. With Hansonism, every idiot in a clown suit thinks they can now be Prime Minister.
Bill Shorten’s speech at the National Press Club was incredible. Shorten shifted the political narrative and claimed a very large space as his own, in less than one hour. The stage is now his. I see the future as something like this……
Bill Shorten has a very strong advantage over Turnbull. He has clearly denounced Trump’s promises and his policies. Whereas, Turnbull clearly wants to show his commitment and love of Trump and his support for his actions.
Trump is making a very ugly America. Nationalism is not kind, nor gentle and there are always casualties. Australians now have the chance to see nationalism in action. They will see what Hanson wants for us. Hansonism will come to life, and the people won’t like it. They will sit back and watch Turnbull condone it.
Regardless of how loud and proud some people have been or still are, of Trump and Hanson; via media they will be forced to take on the burden of witnessing the casualties of Trump’s nationalism. They will see children handcuffed and hear about people fleeing America in fear. From the freest country in the world, people will be seeking Asylum. It is happening now.
They will see a broken man crying for his brother. “Sending them back to where they came from” and how cruel and inhumane it is, will hit home for many.
They will see the ugliness and fear created by Hansonism and Trumpism as supported by Turnbullism and they will in turn, reject it.
Those of good conscience will see people in emotional pain and distress and they too will feel emotional pain and distress. They will want it to stop. Helplessness will be a normal feeling. The fear it will happen here, will be a huge concern. Turnbull, with his support for Trump and Hanson is setting an agenda that he would encourage it. He would welcome it here. This message will be extremely clear to all Australians.
These people will look to the leaders who endorse the infliction of pain and distress on others and they will turn to the leaders who do not. Turnbull is a supporter, Shorten is not.
Regardless of how far on-board the populist bandwagon people may be; our test is always in crises. During times of flood, cyclones, fires and drought, asset sales and compulsory land acquisition of farming land, that is happening right now in Central Queensland; regardless of our political affiliation, our sexuality, ability or gender we stand united as one Australia. Race, religion and politics no longer matters.
Trump will deliver up a crisis, day after day after day. Hanson will promise to do the same here. The Morrison’s and the Christensen’s will clap their hands and cheer. Turnbull will stand back and give every indication he would never stop these crises happening here, as everyone in parliament is democratically elected.
As the discussion keeps unfolding around Trump, we will be discussing the casualties, like the man in the video above. Turnbull will be standing there in all his pomp and splendour agreeing that the pain of these casualties is right and just. He will wave a flag and and meep about secure borders. He will palaver on about ‘what we simply must remember and something about something and how important that something is.’
In addition, he will elevate high above us “Lucy and me” with a fondness of a Malcolm and Lucy story, fit for a 1980s edition of Woman’s Day. Turnbull and Lucy are his fantasy of Australia’s first royal family. The push for the republic back in the day is now quite clear. He has legitimate status as King and Lucy as Queen now. So, that is why a republic no longer matters.
Bill Shorten will be stating with conviction that these victims are human beings. That they are workers and family people. They are the casualties of an ugly right wing populist nationalism that we don’t need here and that we don’t accept. he will clearly state these actions towards others are unacceptable and he will detail how he will oppose it and condemn it.
It’s About Me. No! It’s About Them
Turnbull will continue with verbose lectures, poli-speak and blaming Shorten, throwing some union bashing in for good measure. Avoiding media questions will become more prominent and he will shrink further into his defensive shell and perhaps get a little angry and remind such journalists of ‘their place.’
Shorten will show more openness, engagement and genuine concern. He will apologise to the people for being part of the out of touch political scene. Shorten will show genuine contrition. He will follow through on the action he sets down to make it right. Shorten will be open and frank with the media and even if a prominent ABC journalist interrupts him 32 times; he will continue to be gracious and respectful, as a leader should. Always appreciating our quality journalism, pro-Bill or not. He will point to the existence of fake news and acknowledge the confusion it inflicts on every day citizens.
There will be more town halls, he will call out the media more on silly antagonistic questions. He will challenge the Government on job creation and also insist on transparency.
Staking Claim on a Space
Shorten will claim back the space of being a worker or union and proud of it. He will bear no shame for it. Others will follow, because there IS no shame in being working class or union. Turnbull’s solutions are all business focused, strongly focused on making businesses richer. Shorten is people focused, strongly focusing on making the lives of the working class and the poor, richer.
Turnbull will prattle on about removing red tape to improve quality of business. Shorten will outline a clear plan to improve our quality of life.
He will claim back the space that has been tainted and attacked by the right and openly slurred, by a taxpayer funded witch-hunt called TURC.
Bill Shorten will own this space because Shorten is the real deal. Turnbull is a fake and it is showing in abundance.
Shorten’s Qualities will Shine Like A Beacon
In a world of uncertainty (and now fear) for many as they watch Trump play God; charisma, fancy suits or pomp-speak are not the traits they will seek. Sincerity, honesty, stead-fastness/dependability are the traits they will seek out. Shorten has demonstrated that in spades for a long time now. As the world gets more uncertain, these qualities will shine like a beacon.
The NPC speech was particularly exciting for me, as I love observing strategy. Bill shifted the political narrative away from the populist rhetoric and delivered a sincere, honest, tenacious and steadfast, reliable alternative to the Prime Minister.
He set himself aside and laid out a clear agenda for jobs, families and Australia. Shorten established himself firmly as the political leader and the leading expert in this space.
There are no other politicians who can claim the space of caring for Australian jobs, putting on our kids as apprentices, giving our kids a quality education and understanding families and the disadvantaged.
Shorten laid claim to this space during his NPC speech and now he completely owns this space. At election time, jobs, the economy and families are always central and are the three biggest issues people care about. The stage is all his.
It’s Getting Crowded in Here
The right wing populist nationalist space is getting very over crowded. Especially now Turnbull and the two Bishops have jumped in there with Hanson and her nutty crew along with Christensen and Morrison and the entire channel seven breakfast crew.
Turnbull’s National Press Club address was gutless, weak, pointing fingers, shallow and evasive. A very stark contrast to Bill Shorten who will be Prime Minister for a very, very long time – very soon.
For those who judge Shorten by his ‘charisma level’ I say this too you:
Would the promise of a Federal ICAC give one of the majors the keys to the electoral mint? Tim Jones urges Turnbull or Shorten to take the microphone.
ICAC – The Keys to the Electoral Mint
In what is evolving into a series of ongoing scandals of rorting and corruption, federal MPs’ expenses are increasingly under the microscope – as they should be. However, scrutiny of use of taxpayer money should be constant. It should not just be a reaction to a particular scandal. Calls have been made to establish a federal version of the state anti-corruption body, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
There is a serious political opportunity here. We are in an age where, according to one recent poll, 80% of Australians think politicians are corrupt. The federal leader who introduces the bill to establish a federal ICAC has the keys to the electoral mint. As the one (seemingly) honest politician, they could win elections for their party in a landslide for years to come. If the other party rejects the proposal, so much the better. You take that fact, and you break them with it. They support corruption, or they have something to hide and so on. The campaign literature writes itself.
Is Shorten Wasting an Opportunity?
The fact that the LNP appears to reject the idea outright gives Labor leader Bill Shorten this very opportunity. However, his support for the idea has been weak, much like his leadership.
This is a consequence of Kevin Rudd’s no knifing clause in the Labor constitution. This was designed to create stable leadership by making it impossible to knife the leader. However, this job security has bred complacency in Mr. Shorten and a marked lack of leadership.
Even accounting for the fact that he was on holiday during the Sussan Ley scandal (and why would you not come back early at the presentation of a half-volley on leg stump?), his silence on this scandal has been deafening. The reason behind this silence is not clear. A don’t ask, don’t tell policy among politicians? A fear at what would be found if his own or his colleagues’ expenses reports were scrutinised, or something else? Whatever the reason, Mr. Shorten’s silence on this issue is deafening.
The ICAC Board
Who would sit on such a board? Naturally, sitting politicians would be banned – foxes guarding the hen-house and all that. Sitting politicians should have no say in who will be on the board, for the same reason.
I wonder if anyone else has noticed that certain former politicians, including Dr. John Hewson, Dr. Craig Emerson and perhaps also Kristina Keneally, offer sober analysis and often criticise their own side of politics. These people are examples of being able to take the politician out of the party and the party out of the politician. Are they infallible? No, and no-one is saying that. But they are outside the current hyper-partisan political battlefield and so are more likely to offer something approaching impartiality.
Other possible appointees would include political science academics, CPAs and other financial experts. For the I in ICAC to mean anything, there would be no government oversight of the board a la former NSW Premier (he has since resigned). Mike Baird, caused trouble for an an ICAC investigator after they uncovered inconvenient truths about him.
There should be no communication between government and board, aside from subpoenas for records and testimony. Any sitting MP or Senator found with falsified records, or who lies to the board, will be terminated and prosecuted. Funds recovered and an immediate by-election called with no appeal. The parliamentarian should, of course, surrender any post-service pensions or entitlements upon conviction.
The time has come for corruption to end. The age of transparency must dawn. All parliamentary expenses, both during and post-service, are paid for with tax dollars. The people have a right to know how those monies are spent.
Yesterday, a heartbreaking tragedy occurred in the centre of Melbourne. Four people are dead including a young child. In times of crisis and tragedy, it is important to reflect on how our leaders respond.
Why are the Words of our Leaders Important?
It is important to reflect on the words of those who seek high office and those who eek to represent the people.
Their words can either unify us in strength and respond with solutions that will protect us from greater harm, or they can divide us and offer us non-practical knee jerk reactions.
The words of leaders should console us and give us the strength to carry on. Their words should respect the lives lost and those who are injured.
These words should pay tribute to those who selflessly put their own lives in danger, whether it is emergency services or volunteers at the scene.
Our leaders should respond with genuine empathy, seriousness and concern. Their first concern should always be about the people.
The public and of course other leaders should outright condemn politicians who make a tragedy all about themselves or their agenda.
I will leave the responses from our various leaders and politicians below for the readers to judge.
Malcolm Turnbull – Liberal Leader. Prime Minister of Australia
The prayers and heartfelt sympathies of all Australians are with the victims and the families of the victims of this shocking crime in Melbourne today. And we thank and acknowledge the heroism, the professionalism of the police and the emergency workers who rushed to the aid of the victims, joined by bystanders who mindless of their own danger sought to help those who had been attacked in this shocking crime. Their love, their selflessness, their courage, is the very best of our Australian spirit.
Bill Shorten – Leader of the Labor Party. Leader of the Opposition
All Australians stand with the people of Melbourne in this horrific moment.
We offer our heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of the lost.
We pray for the injured and the frightened, in particular the very young children.
We pay tribute to the first responders. We give thanks for the bravery of the police, the speed of the paramedics and the skill of those who’ve worked to save the lives of the injured.
We salute those passers-by who rushed to the aid of their neighbours.
But we also know that on dark days like this, words are so inadequate.
Words can’t capture the horror we feel. Words can’t comfort those who’ve lost someone they love. Words won’t heal people who’ve been hurt or banish the fear. Words can’t put back the lives stolen in a few minutes of madness.
It’s difficult for all of us to comprehend how, why and what has happened. Harder still to understand that it happened here, in a country and a city that prides itself on being such a welcoming, safe and peaceful place.
Victoria Police have made it clear this was not an act of terror, it was an act of murder. A cowardly, senseless, destructive crime that has claimed the lives of innocent people.
We wait for answers, we wait for justice and tonight we hold all those in sadness and pain, close to our hearts.
People who are concerned about loved ones can call the helpline on 1800 727 077.
Daniel Andrews – Premier of Victoria. Leader of Victorian Labor Party.
Our hearts are breaking this afternoon.
People have died in the heart of our city.
Others are seriously injured. Young and old. And all of them were innocent.
All of them were just going about their day, like you or I.
Some families are just starting to find out the news about their loved ones, and right now, our thoughts are with each and every one of them.
I’m so proud of all the Victorians who reached out and provided care and support to strangers today.
I’m so thankful for all our police, paramedics and emergency services workers who launched into action, and will now be working around the clock.
And I hope that everyone can be patient and cooperative, so we can let these professionals do their job.
This was a terrible crime – a senseless, evil act – and justice will be done.
Richard DiNatale – Leader of the Australian Greens
My heart goes out to everyone affected by the horrible scenes we’ve seen in Melbourne’s CBD today.
Adam Bandt – Australian Greens. Member for Melbourne.
I’ve stood on those Bourke Street corners many times, including with kids. My heart goes out to everyone suffering today. Big thanks to emergency service workers, especially those trying hard tonight to save lives.
Pauline Hanson – Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party
I have just been told that there has been a terrorism attack in Melbourne.
People don’t look right. That they are not going to assimilate into our society, have a different ideology, different beliefs, don’t abide by our laws, our culture, our way of life, don’t let them in. Make this country safer for future generations.
All terrorist attacks in this country have been by Muslims. (Journalist: No they haven’t).
It is up to us to accept, revere, reject, condemn & shame
Australia is not immune to tragedy. Our tragedies are from the actions of other human beings or forced upon us by nature with fires, floods and cyclones.
Regardless of our politics, we should always seek to reject those who do not put others first. This is an automatic indicator that the inherent requirement to represent others is simply not a driver for that person and their motivations for public office are disingenuous and self-serving.
It is up to us to accept and revere Leaders who stand with us, comfort us and guide us in times of tragedy. Our existence as human beings, as community members, as families and as individuals is above all else.
It is up to us to reject, condemn and shame those who are not genuine in their desire to serve the people. It is up to us to demand that the media and other leaders do the same. However, trusted and true Leaders should need no encouragement from the people to do so.
A Very Stark and Dark Contrast
There is a very stark and dark contrast between the words of Pauline Hanson today and that of other prominent leaders. As someone who the media promotes as a potential next Prime Minister; it is really important to frame Hanson’s words as the central to her motivations in public life.
Will the media continue to give a free rein and a supportive kid-glove approach to someone who believes they ‘say what Australians are thinking’ yet puts herself before others, even in times of devastating tragedy?
Well Pauline, yesterday Australians were thinking about the lives lost, the people injured and those who were left terrified and the work of our emergency services and volunteers. Australians were not thinking about where your next vote will come from.
The media is constantly giving the Pauline Hanson One Nation Party an absolute gamut of free advertising and promotion in the media, through their reporting, radio and TV shows. The media should take responsibility and cease this free promotion of this self-serving right-wing nationalist immediately. They are not oblivious to the power of influence they hold over the voting public.
Clearly, the contrast is in the video of this interview, where Hanson actually smirks as she turns away from James Ashby back to the media, before she went into her tirade about blaming terrorism and Muslims for this absolutely devastating tragedy.
Not once did she show empathy, compassion, concern or horror at what had occurred. Not once did she want to know more. The scale of the attack. How many injured. Was there still a threat?
Instead, Hanson smirked, turned to face the media and with smug satisfaction she announced there had been a terrorist attack in Melbourne. Hanson used the death of others and the serious injuries of others to promote her populist ideology.
Considering Populism is the stark contrast between the corrupt elite and the will of the people; for Hanson to completely exclude any concern for the people from her rant, really reeks of blatant hypocrisy. It is time to put Australia first and reject this charlatan.
Clearly Hanson is all about the conversion of votes into cash and the luxury the power that public office brings, because clearly, no one but herself was her concern today.
Imagine Hanson leading the country in a time of war? No thanks.
It no longer saddens me that Hanson’s popularity is increasing. It absolutely distresses me.
The Media need to take some Responsibility
The media is a very, very powerful being and it can and does shape the minds of the voting public. They media are very aware of their own influence. It is time the media took some responsibility for their role in the promotion of politicians.
We can no longer afford to stand by and to continue to allow the media to promote politicians who are disingenuous and self-serving and this is always very evident in times of crisis and tragedy. I thank the media who have called her actions out.
Let’s hope Channel Seven responds with a blanket ban.
Our country and our people are too precious to waste our faith in those who do not stand with us, but stand for themselves.
I know along with everyone reading this, my heart goes out to the people who have lost their lives and were injured yesterday and also to their families.
I would like to end this article by directing readers to another very good article on this topic by Jennifer Wilson: Giving a Damn Still Matters.
Indeed it does. Let’s not lose that anymore than we already have.
With so much of the same old, same old meeps about the Lib-Lab monopoly/duopoly and the clatter of mismatched voices who want something new, but can’t articulate what that is; the question is “have you actually taken the time to notice what Bill Shorten is about?”
Is it possible that for some, the inner voices of cynicism and pessimism developed by participating in the mob culture of screaming against a two party system, automatically disregard even the most progressive and positive reforms from Shorten’s Labor, just because they are a major party?
Is it possible that some are so fixated on the decisions of leaders of the past they did not agree with? Is it possible that due to this, they are not yet ready to notice Labor in 2016 and view them with a clean slate? Turnbull has been afforded this opportunity, but I do not notice this being extended to Shorten.
Is it possible that this is just a rant by someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause? Possibly. That is for the reader to decide.
However, all I can talk about is what I have noticed from my own perspective. So I will outline a few things that really strike me about Bill Shorten and his leadership and the direction he has been taking Labor thus far.
I will do this as counters to two distinct areas of the narrative I have noticed in the context of myth breaking, of “Both Parties are exactly the same” as I see it – “Underpinning Values” and “They are selfish and out of touch and just don’t listen.”
Myth: Both the Major Parties are exactly the Same
I personally always find this statement extremely confusing. I will begin with the underpinning values of both parties, as I see them.
Liberals – The Liberal’s values are underpinned by individualism. In terms of public social policy, they believe that everyone is born equal and it is up to the individual’s inherent propensity to ‘make it in life. They believe, this in turn this develops the country as a strong and prosperous country. Liberals believe in small Government intervention as they see Government intervention makes individuals lazy and reliant on Government and this weakens society.
Government intervention is usually paternalistic with punitive measurements seen as a guiding hand, that is required to motivate those without an internal propensity for self-development.
They believe in low taxes and favour a user pays system instead of major investment in Government funded services. The Liberals are semi anti socialism of the public sector and favour privatisation and outsourcing of the public sector where they can achieve it.
They believe in the free market and the balance of power in favour of the employer is the best result for the economy. Liberals have a disregard for the value of a person’s labour and believe low wages and low cost to employers create more jobs and are drivers for the economy.
Liberals do not promote Government intervention in high unemployment as a large surplus labour force drives wages down, as opposed to a tight competitive labour force.
The Liberals believe in maintaining the status quo through conservative and nationalist values.
Malcolm Turnbull and his predecessor Tony Abbott, continue to champion their commitment to these values. Abbott being more vocal and committed to these values than Turnbull, who is committed to these values, but remains largely silent on the intent or values which underpin his policies.
Malcolm Turnbull’s reason for going to a double dissolution election, was a policy which has star chamber type elements and strips away the civil rights of the worker, including apprentices. He saw this as so important, so vital to the progress of the nation.
Malcolm Turnbull continues with Tony Abbott’s abhorrent budget cut regime progressed and championed by Turnbull, with all the pomp and ceremony of an entitled King.
Labor – Labor’s values are underpinned by a form of collectivism and solidarity. Their valued are based on democratic socialism, egalitarianism and laborism. Labor recognises that not everyone is born equal and that it is the Government’s duty to intervene and provide assistance to those who need a hand up to achieve equality. They believe in a Welfare State to provide protection and social and economic benefits to the nation’s citizens.
Government intervention is incentive based and with a propensity towards proactive rather than reactive measures. (Such as investment in preventative health measures and needs based education funding).
Labor believe in the socialism of the public sector as opposed to the privatisation of the public sector to provide the best services to the community. They believe the right assistance can develop individuals into strong, productive citizens, able to engage in the community, and break down the hindrances that were preventing them from doing so. Labor’s values consider external factors to the individual’s inherent drive and personality, and do not seek to place blame on the individual, but seek to address these hindrances and strive to provide an egalitarian society.
Labor’s overarching philosophy is Laborism, which values the labour of the working class. Laborists believe in the protection of safe work, rights and wages. They also believe this drives productivity and keeps the economy strong. They strongly believe that everyone should have equal access to work and a fair days work for a fair days pay. They believe in the Fair Go for workers.
Laborism is consistent with Government intervention in job creation projects to bring equal opportunity to everyone through the ability to access secure work, self development and career progression. They strive for low unemployment as this also creates a better standard of living though higher productivity and higher wages.
Labor believes in collective progressive policy which seeks to challenge the norms of the status quo. They are the leaders of every major positive reform contemporary Australia has ever had, such as: Medicare, Superannuation, Collective Bargaining, Fair Work Tribunal, Gonski, NDIS and NBN
Under Bill Shorten’s leadership, his message is clear that he has returned to the true Labor values ingrained in Laborism which distinguishes Labor as a defiant opposition to the conservative alternative.
His very vocally championing egalitarian values and laborism as progressive solutions. His rejection of the increase to a GST as it would hurt the most vulnerable, his damning rejection of changes to Medicare and tenacious protection of our universal health system, his rejection of the removal of penalty rates and his submission to the Fair Work Commission to protect same. His endless counter attacks on the Government to protect pensioners and families from harmful cuts and to stop the Liberals making the unemployed starve for six months!
His policy for protecting workers from underpayment, from exploitation and ensuring clarity of the term “Internship” to separate this from an essential learning or training activity from one of exploitation of the working class. In addition to policy for mandatory quotas of apprentices in Federally funded projects and investment in upskilling and training in new technologies. There many more examples of this differentiation between Shorten’s Labor and Turnbull’s Liberals, and they can be found here.
Both parties are selfish and out of touch – they just don’t listen to the people
Liberals – The Liberals view of “the people” traditionally focuses big business as centric to their policy development. A key focus of economic policy management is built around the rhetoric of welfare bashing of ‘lifters and leaners’ or ‘taxed and taxed nots’ so cuts will be met with little resistance from the public, through the stigmatisation of this group.
As described in the section above, the attacks on families, welfare recipients and workers are a testament to how out of touch the Liberals are with the every day Australian and their families.
Turnbull’s “look at moi” empty verbose rhetoric, where he talks at people and not to them. An example of this is, his common phrase of, “We simply must remember….” in my view is a clear indication of class separation where the ‘people (a forgetful and unintelligent lot) need a gentle paternalistic guiding hand from those who need to remind us of our place.”
Labor – The Labor movement invests in grass roots activism. Under Bill Shorten engaging with the public has been a central focus. Community Cabinets in QLD were introduced by the Labor Government and Shorten’s personal style is community forums, where he openly takes questions from the floor and answers questions in an open public forum.
Shorten has done about 150 public forums in the last 18 months and numerous live Facebook feeds direct to anyone on Facebook who cares to subscribe to his live posts.
As for if Shorten is in touch with the people. I will leave you with his budget reply address for you to decide.
My personal view on Shorten
I have had the personal opportunity to attend one of Bill Shorten’s community forums.
In my own experience, he fielded a huge variety of random questions and answered them in detail. He was relaxed and open and quite focused on the night being about the people and their questions and not about us listening to a speech about him or Labor.
I had the opportunity to ask a question. He approached me after the event and asked me to write to him in more detail with my concerns and expressed genuine interest in speaking to me further. I saw him openly engaging with others with genuine interest as well after the event.
He did not have to do that. He did not have to seek me or others out. He had enough people around him to purposely avoid me, if he wanted to. It speaks to his genuineness as a leader. I wish everyone could meet Bill Shorten because until you meet him up close and speak with him, you don’t realise that much of the negative media portrayal and other people’s negative perceptions are so very wrong.
I have not been truly excited about the vision of a Labor leader in a long time, but I truly connect with Shorten’s vision and leadership. In my opinion Shorten is the real deal. His ability to remember names, faces and detail of questions at community forums is phenomenal. You kind of need to see this in action. He is a highly intelligent man with great compassion and a great passion for people and their concerns, which is truly visible at a community forum.
I truly believe he will win the next election outright and will go down as one of our greatest Prime Ministers in our history. I have 100% faith in him and the direction he is taking Labor.
It is such a shame that for many engaged in ‘left politics social media commentary’ disregard the shift in direction under Shorten’s leadership. It is disappointing that those on the ‘left’ who oppose Shorten’s Labor discuss him as if he has evolved from some 1980’s mindset where neo-Liberalism was forging it’s place across the world and judge him on the decisions made by former leaders, which really should be critiqued in the context of that time. It is also frustrating that the progressive policies and Laborist solutions he is putting forward, fall on already made up closed minds and deaf ears.
Whether you think this post is just a rant from a someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause, or a genuine attempt to implore people aligned with the left to view Shorten and his modern Labor party with a fresh open mind and really critique his current direction which is ingrained in the values of laborism and truly engaging with the the people. As well as a plea to not to continue to compare and contrast with the decisions and leadership of Hawke, Keating, Rudd or Gillard, which many say they have issues with, then that is up to the reader to decide.
Labor’s policies will not suit everyone, nor are they perfect with no room for improvement. However, it is very, very evident that Bill Shorten making a dedicated effort to meet as many people across as many communities as possible and he is really listening and is open to positive and progressive ideas for change and he has already led substantial policy development as a testament to this shift to the left and laborism.
For those who genuinely and fiercely arguing to topple both of the major parties from power and who are insisting Shorten does not have ‘Leftist’ values – have you really truly taken the time to noticed what Bill Shorten is about?
1 The Crickey BludgerTrack analysis of combined polling this week has it 50.8-49.2 to the Coalition.
After a few weeks where it appeared the trend to Labor had tapered off, the BludgerTrack poll aggregate records a solid nudge to Labor this week on the back a Newspoll result crediting it with a 51-49 lead. BludgerTrack doesn’t go quite so far, but it does have the Coalition losing a full point off the primary vote since last week.
There is much happening on all social networks. The fact that things are not going well for the government is reflected in the angriness of the right-wing commentary. Even The Australian has been giving the Government a bit of stick.
I myself have taken a bit of a battering this week on some Facebook pages that purport to be discussion pages.
Every day I write my opinions on a variety of subjects. They are my own thoughts based on my political philosophy, many individual and collective influences, and my world view based on 75 years of living experience.
On some Facebook pages it’s astonishing just how many on the right of politics swear blind they never read, would never contemplate reading my work, so abhorrent it is to them. Then they go on to opine about it.
Whatever intelligence I might have affords me no understanding of this.
Here is an example after I questioned an individuals civility.
‘Far from it John, I am being very tame given it is social media. You should see the real me when it comes to people like you. You represent everything that caused over 100 million deaths last century. I think it is funny the very thing that allows me to tolerate you is the very thing you are trying to destroy. You seem so proud of what you are. Don’t be :-)’
And for the things they say about this blog. Well I’ll leave it there.
2 It has now become apparent that the future of the Government sits with the budget. A budget that has two competing requirements. Firstly one that addresses spending.
This is a budget that is critical to the future of Australia. The Abbott/Turnbull government have blamed Labor for all manner of things and promised to fix everything. The have said that revenue is not the problem, spending is. They have committed to cutting spending without raising revenue.
Everything that was once on the table and presented as a grand plan has been swept from it. The budget has become the plan.
A leading player on the right, Cory Bernardi said the Government’s priority was ‘getting the budget back in the black and making government sustainable’.
No we cannot continue to spend more than what we earn.
Bernardi went on:
‘This is a critical budget for the future of the country. It’s a critical choice for the future of the country because we cannot continue on spending 50 or 60 billion a year more than we have in income and taking further income in is not the answer.’
The Government has placed itself between a rock and a hard place. Its ideology demands that it doesn’t hurt its own constituency. That is why it won’t address the revenue issue. It’s called votes.
Barry Cassidy in an article for The Drum makes my second point with this comment.
‘But can the Treasurer fashion a budget that does all that and also serves as the political document that saves the day? Can it be both economically tough and politically pragmatic?
I don’t think so. And I might put this question.
How can the Government, given the unscrupulous behaviour of the corporate world possibly argue for tax breaks for business in the budget and at the same time ignore the ordinary punter.
3 The Governments main thrust of attack has been centered on Union corruption. Parliament is being recalled at an enormous cost to debate the ABCC legislation.
The waters of this debate have been muddied this week with the release of the Panama papers, serious allegations of corporate cheating globally, and the atrocious behaviour of some of our banks.
And of course the appalling management of Arrium reminds us that the corporate world has taken an almighty hit this week. The government on the one hand cannot be seen to be Union bashing whilst on the other be seen to be condoning the behaviour of their corporate mates.
A strong banking system is vital for the Australian economy but it shouldn’t be a licence for corporate economic immorality.
4 The Labor Party has taken the lead with an announcement on Friday that there will be a Royal Commission into the financial sector if it wins office.
The Government throws a tantrum saying there is no need. That ASIC and other regulatory bodies have adequate powers to deal with the issues.
Which of course raises the question that if they are doing their job of regulating why are we seeing scandal after scandal relating to financial services.
A friend, Russell Green, on Facebook posed this question.
‘At the risk of harping on a well-worn record. Given the events of the past few months with regard to companies and individuals not paying any tax, regardless of its legality, and the subsequent release of the “Panama Papers”, the time has come for governments to give up on income taxes and pursue transaction taxes instead. Income Tax has become optional in the eyes of many. Whereas transaction taxes are in fact very collectible. As it is the institutions themselves that collect and pass on the tax. This form of taxation would be extremely difficult to avoid. In simple terms get rid of all income and company tax. And replace with a percentage, whatever is able to replace that lost revenue, of each transaction. Keep the GST at 10% but make it on everything. This would have the effect of destroying the tax avoidance industry; stop the need for negative gearing; the cost of doing business would be that; and Australia would become a tax-free haven. There would be so much to gain. The only people who would be fearful of this are those that stand to lose what they currently avoid by devious means.’
Make any sense or just food for thought.
5 Finally. Even after yet another report and subsequent findings into parliamentarian’s expenses we still find politicians feeding themselves from the public purse.
Barnaby goes one better than Bronny chartering two $4000 helicopter rides to visit a village near his electorate office.
Then today we find it’s actually four.
On top of that we find that other are paying off their Canberra homes on the public purse using their travel allowances..
These are some of the culprits.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Social Services Minister Christian Porter, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and Assistant Defence Minister Michael McCormack.
They stay in houses or apartments they own and claim the travel allowance when in Canberra, which can work out at a minimum of $1000 a week or $18,000 a year. That’s it I have had enough.
1 Slowly the media in general are coming around to the realisation that for the past two and a half years the Coalition have been sitting on their backsides doing nothing about tax policy.
Morrison even admitted it saying:
‘Those issues were not under consideration before September last year’.
‘It was not like they were beavering away on them for two years before that. Those issues only came into consideration in September last year’.
Actually a case can be put that no policy work was done for the four years they were in opposition.
‘We will oppose everything. That’s what oppositions do.’ I seem to recall Abbott saying.
I could even make a case that it’s rare for them to take on major reform at any time. If you were asked to nominate five Coalition major reforms that addressed the common good you would be hard pressed to nominate any.
In fact why don’t you try? Name five major reform policies in the past 50 years of the Coalitions specifically designed to benefit the common good.
You might say Costello’s GST was a major reform but it favoured the rich. It burdened the poor and those with the least capacity to pay. It discriminates against the poor and the pensioners who are living a hand-to-mouth existence and spending the bulk of their income on the necessities of life—food, clothing, rent, heating, power etc. And of course since its inception Coalition governments have sought to further erode it by increasing the eligibility age and raising the assets test. By eliminating further concessions the pension will decline in value by $3000 over the next few years. It is remarkable how Labor has managed to become the de facto government. Or so it would appear the way the government is being forced to attack its policies. I have said previously that Labor cannot win this election with a traditional campaign. By releasing policy early Shorten has badly wrong footed Turnbull who says he won’t release tax reform policy until the budget.
I have never seen this before. A government having to attack an opposition who is delivering sound economic policies 7 months before an election.
When the top 10% of wage earners are the ones who benefit most from negative gearing it is a policy relatively easy to defend.
Yesterday we had the best retail politician in Australia, Barnaby Joyce, saying Labor’s Negative Gearing policy would reduce the value of a million dollar home by a third. Rather reminded me of the $100 dollar roast. Honestly, the most educated Government in Australia’s history are acting like they don’t have a collective brain in their heads.
On top of all the talking and retracting over the past few weeks yesterday they had a thought bubble on low-income earners getting their super payments as wages. Expect they will back down today.
Turnbull and Morrison’s problem is that the areas ripe for tax reform are the very ones that would affect it constituency most.
Whilst Bill Shorten is not the most charismatic person around he might just be the policy wanker people say he is. And a strategist to go with it. In any case he is getting all the favourable media.
2 Goodbye Harper Lee. As a young boy you changed my life.
3 How dreadful, how disillusioned those good Catholic folk who have their faith at the core of their being must feel. I know our local Parish Priest does. But having committed the sins it has, it is difficult to see how the church has any right to cast moral judgement on others.
The indignation it is showing over accusations about Cardinal Pell is outrageous given the deaths it has caused. So many children abused, lives destroyed and families devastated. To this day I don’t think they fully comprehend the damage they have done. The Vatican still won’t release documents in their keeping. As an institution the Church is morally bankrupt.
‘We can sometimes become so engrossed in our own problems that we can easily overlook the enormity of the suffering of others’.
4 On the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement people should understand that the Republicans, Clinton, Sanders and half of the Democratic Party are against it. Oh, so am I, by the way. So Andrew Robb might have wasted a lot of time.
5 I don’t have a prize but can you identify these people:
Mr Angry, Mr Smiley and Mr Waffle.
6 Yet another one goes. Liberal senator Bill Heffernan will bow out of politics at the next federal election.
The outspoken 72-year-old farmer is well-known for smuggling a fake pipe bomb into parliament. He also falsely accused, under parliamentary privilege, former High Court judge Michael Kirby of picking up rent boys.
What a grubby individual he is. He will not be missed.
My thought for the day
‘Nothing matters in life so much as to live it decently. And you don’t need any form of religious belief to do so. Be as humane as you can possibly be’.
What does the Year of the Monkey have in store for 2016? Since it’s an election year I thought it would be fun to check out the Chinese horoscopes for our political leaders. Our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was born in the Year of the Horse; the leader of Her Majesty’s (for now) loyal Opposition Bill Shorten was born in the Year of the Goat; and the unofficial leader of the disloyal opposition Tony Abbott is a Rooster. Your Girl Reporter had little choice but to investigate.
The key to understanding Chinese astrology is to think a little about the characteristics of the animal in charge. In February 2016 we are leaving the sedate, sure-footed pace of the Goat and embarking on the wild ride of the Monkey. So in a Monkey year we should expect the unexpected.
Next, think about the animal of your birth year. How would those two animals interact? And from there it’s a simple matter – well, incredibly complex if you do it right actually but simple will be good enough for our purposes – of working out what characteristics of the year ahead will suit you, and what negative characteristics you need to be prepared for.
Of course the greatest monkey of them all is Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, and the embodiment of all the characteristics of the year ahead. If you want an idea of how 2016 is likely to flow you could do worse than make the time to reacquaint yourself with some of his adventures.
It’s going to be a great year for the risk-takers and the rebellious, for wild schemes and bold new enterprises. Fortune favours the brave in the Year of the Monkey but take nothing for granted! In the spirit of irrepressible Monkey, let’s turn our piercing gaze to the year ahead.
Malcolm Turnbull – Year of the Horse
John Howard famously said the times would suit him and current prime minister Malcolm Turnbull will no doubt be hoping for similar luck. He might just get it too.
A Monkey Year is one in which “agile, inventive minds, sheer guts and bravado will win out,” which came straight off the Astrology Club website but could easily have been written by our loquacious PM himself.
You could say there’s never been a more exciting time to be an Australian prime minister and thoroughbred Malcolm is certainly starting the race as firm favourite. But watch out! Fancy riding will take you only so far.
This is not a sprint and Malcolm is so heavily handicapped by party room division and the Abbott legacy that he can scarcely raise a trot. He’s going to have to do more to keep Monkey and the nation onside than toss his mane coquettishly.
There are hard yards ahead but prizes for the horse who can stay the course. Sorry, but I have to ask: Can Malcolm stop the Goat? Or is he just a show pony after all?
Bill Shorten – Year of the Goat
The Goat, also referred to as the Sheep in Chinese astrology, is ruler of the year just ended. Incidentally in Chinese astrology your birth year is not likely to be a good one, so props to Bill for getting through it in one piece.
The Goat is patient and stoic through adversity and is also known for being incredibly sure-footed. Monkey is said to get on well with the Goat and can inspire our unassuming ungulate to leap for glory. According to Master Tsai at Chinese Fortune Calendar, when Sheep meets Monkey a shy sheep will prepare to get in the spotlight.
The coming year is not one for plodders – but if Shorten can keep calm and trust his instincts he may yet find that Monkey has led him, via a merry dance, to the higher ground he seeks.
Tony Abbott – Year of the Rooster
Yesterday’s rooster is today’s feather duster but it’s clear that our former PM is not ready to be consigned to the broom cupboard just yet.
Those born in the Year of the Rooster are said to be sticklers for rules and regulations and it’s true that Abbott is at his best when he’s defending the status quo from what he regards as unnecessary change.
Rooster tends to dislike Monkey’s anarchic nature which means Abbott will probably find a Monkey year stressful with its chaotic twists and turns but if he can overcome his undoubtedly wounded pride and spend the year on some personal growth work he could yet become more of a leader than even he might expect.
A Rooster open to the lessons of the Monkey could brush up on the skills of teamwork, diplomacy and the art of compromise – all important attributes for success in the turbulent year ahead – and all famously lacking in the Abbott toolbox.
It’s never too late to learn and if we know one thing about a Monkey year it’s to expect the unexpected.
Australia – Year of the Rat
Yes, our great nation was born, on 1 January 1901, at the tail-end of a Rat year making us clever and affable, good natured and gullible but unlikely to make the same mistake twice (sorry, Tones, still not looking great for you).
Rats and Monkeys have a lot in common and we can expect more playfulness and fun in 2016. With our innate cunning we should do well in a Monkey year of agility and inventiveness, finding opportunity in challenge.
According to Master Tsai, when Rat meets Monkey that is a sign of the blessing of God and really who could argue with that? Over at the Astrology Club, Rats are advised this year to go with Goats and treat Horses and Tigers with caution. Which brings me neatly to…
Sally Baxter – Year of the Tiger
Most texts will simply tell you that monkeys and tigers don’t get on, but every so often you’ll see something startlingly contradictory – “the monkey is best friend to the tiger,” was a comment I heard once and have never forgotten.
As a Tiger it’s in my nature to enjoy complexities and the relationship between these two creatures in Chinese astrology is particularly complex, which may be why I look forward to a Monkey year.
The monkey and the tiger are diametrically opposed on the wheel of the zodiac and they do say opposites attract. There’s a legend that sums up the relationship as I see it: When they first met Monkey pulled Tiger’s tail and ran up a tree – not realising that Tiger could also climb trees.
As long as we approach each other with mutual respect, a great friendship can indeed be had between Monkey and Tiger. But this is Monkey. If there’s a tail to be pulled, it will be.
Kung hei fat choi, from my household to yours. Wishing you good health, happiness and prosperity in the Year of the Monkey. Here’s to a wild ride!
Once I was a Girl Reporter, working in newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and the UK. Now I’m an interested observer covering the past, present and future of journalism and anything else that takes my fancy. Read more Baxterhere.
1 Hypothetical I know, but what about if next week, when Parliament resumes, Bill Shorten moves a non-binding vote on the subject of marriage equality. Those who agree go to the right of the chair, those who don’t to the left. If the yes vote is carried then have a real vote, pass a bill and the matter is concluded. If the no vote is carried then have a plebiscite and carry out the will of the people.
Conservatives want a plebiscite for two reasons. Firstly to delay in order to propagate more Far Right Evangelical Christian propaganda and secondly to gain access to half of the $150 million to support their cause.
It seems obscenely immoral to me to be spending that amount of money on something that surveys and polls have for a number of years shown overwhelming support for a yes vote.
If politicians are not there to carry out, or reflect the will of the people what are they there for?
Having spent a major part of my life in the Church environment I am fully conversant with the Biblical argument on this and other issues of social justice. They helped form my rejection of regressive religion.
I wrote an argument in support of gay marriage.
Having said that many surveys suggest that people of faith in main stream churches are in favour of marriage equality.
We should not underestimate just how influential Abbott, Andrews, Bernardi and others are in the Coalition parties.
Warren Entsch said: “It makes you wonder why we would spend millions of dollars on a plebiscite if you’re not going to respect the result. I find it rather bizarre.”
The $150 million would be better back in the program against domestic violence where it probably came from.
2 Health is set to become a major issue in the lead up to the election.The Australian Medical Association’s 2016 Annual Report into Public Hospital Funding show that Public Hospitals are in big trouble. AMA president Brian Owler, is quoted as saying that ‘public hospital funding is about to become the biggest single challenge facing state and territory finances’.
3 Quoting Scott (Gunna) Morrison on the Tax Debate: ‘We’ve advanced the debate I think a lot more effectively over the last four or five months than a green paper ever would.’
What absolute drivel. All they are doing is continuously repeating the same lines over and over saying that they are thinking about and talking about the issues.
Doing something seems to be out of the question. There surely will come a point in time when it will occur to a journalist, or someone, to ask just when decisions will be made. I mean for God’s sake what have they been doing for two and a half years.
Malcolm Turnbull’s interview with Neil Mitchell last Friday was laughable. Malcolm just sat there being, well-being Malcolm, smiling, talking being nice, talking, being calm, patient, polite, reassuring and tolerant, repeating himself, blaming Labor for everything. Yes everything’s on the table repeating it’s on the table, and all those other things Malcolm is good at.
Did I mention everything’s on the table. I did, did I say except Climate change, Marriage Equality, the Republic and Asylum Seekers. Well they aren’t. Tony’s still looking after them which of course means they will be incarcerated for life. No we are not thinking of putting any new policy on the table.
He was charming of course. White papers, green papers and toilet paper, even confetti if there’s a gay marriage. Even copy paper if you want an FOI request. OH and I forgot. Using public transport.
But where was the Prime Minister?
‘Life is about perception. Not what is but what we perceive it to be.’
4 Thus far it is shaping up to be a historically typical boring election year. There will be all the usual claims and counter claims. The where is the money coming from questions. Politicians will say that they never underestimate the Australian people while at the same time treating us like idiots. In short it will be like every other election. Negative, negative.
Sorry, but Bill Shorten and Labor will not win this election with a traditional run of the mill campaign.
5 This from Tony Abbott’s speech to the Alliance Defending Freedom in New York on Thursday:
‘So I’ve been good on the theory of family but, like so many of my parliamentary colleagues, I’ve relied on a supportive spouse to put the heart into the home’.
That to me sounds like the view of a failed father. Or one who never tried.
And this paragraph grabbed my attention.
‘In today’s world, we need less ideology and more common sense; we need less impatience and more respect; we need less shouting at people and more engagement with them.’
He never stops giving.
6 Only in America.
This comment from the Guardian about the Trump organised Trump debate:
‘Both as a vaudeville show and a political rally, Trump’s event was lacking. There were no musical numbers nor were there any jugglers, although Trump certainly tap danced around addressing any substantive issues of policy.’
As I said. Only in America.
My thought for the day.
‘When you think you have no more to give and someone cries out to you. Find the strength to help’.
After putting in some hard yards I think I can say I’m up to date with the daily ebbs and flows of our politics. The conservative Government has used the festive season to underhandedly implement some unpopular policy initiatives and whilst at it, continue to insult women along the way. Maybe in a silly offhanded way they thought they were gifting us with their benevolence.
Now after all the controversy of the season of good will to all men and women is over we can brace ourselves for ‘the calm before the storm’
1 In case it hasn’t occurred to you it’s an election year. Well the readers of this page of course will be aware but most Australians won’t give it much thought. Some, given their ignorance, will give it very little consideration until election time. Others will give it no thought until they enter the polling booth. A lot won’t even vote. Three million didn’t at the last.
Forty percent will vote for the Coalition and the same for Labor. Twenty per cent, sometimes called the swinging voter, the unaligned or undecided will determine the outcome. It used to be ten percent but I reckon it’s now twenty because ideology has become less important. Leadership has though.
It’s the 20 percent that are policy minded, sick of old style politics and want policies and leadership that address the common good who will decide who governs.
Most however, don’t realise that politics affects almost everything they do. They should be more aware and take more interest but are largely apathetic. Who can blame them given the corrupt, unscrupulous unpalatable behaviour of some politicians? On the trust scale they can only manage 13% recent surveys tell us.
“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”
So who will win? What are the chances of each party? What will the makeup of the Senate be? Will Xenophon be a wild card? There are many questions.
The year will be a tough one complicated by the need for tough decisions. Decisions that need to be balanced with the politics. There is no money for grandiose promises.
Will there be an early election that insults our intelligence but catches everyone by surprise.
This is an election year that promises many twists and turns. I propose over the next few day to address some of the issues. Stay in touch and please feel free to disagree if that’s your want.
2 Nick Xenophon on Sunday announced that Manly psychologist and counsellor Marie Rowland would take on Tony Abbott in his safe seat of Warringah. A women contesting the seat of a sexist former Prime Minister. Now that’s interesting. Will it come to pass? Will he stand or will he not? I hope he does. I would love to see him beaten by a women. And don’t anyone underestimate just how unpopular Abbott was. Even more so now. A psychologist……now that’s interesting.
3 Liberal backbencher Dan Tehan is leaning on the Prime Minister to back the Royal Commission’s recommendation that Unions be banned from paying the fines of its members.
“We cannot have people breaking the law with impunity in this country, we must do something about it,” Mr Tehan told the ABC.
I’m wondering if newspaper proprietors should be banned from paying the fines of journalists who deliberately defame people. You know who I have in mind.
4 Perception is a strange thing. What we think is often the construct of others. Take for example the perception that the Gillard Government was the worst in history. It’s a perception that Murdoch created. The reality is that it was extremely productive and reformist. Was Julia Gillard the most productive prime minister in Australia’s history? According to research by The Guardian she may very well have been.
Julia Gillard had the highest rate of passing legislation with a rate of 0.495, followed by Bob Hawke at 0.491: Malcolm Fraser was the highest-ranked liberal party prime minister on the list, at 0.481.
5 The report into MPs rorts is due early in the year but I have already concluded regardless of its findings that it is becoming more difficult to support the Government in the lavish style it has become accustomed.
Life is about perception. Not what it is but what it appears to be.
6 For those of you still concerned about our trade agreements and particularly provisions for companies to sue governments while disregarding our law should read this.
Canadian pipeline company Transcanada announced it is suing the Obama administration under NAFTA provisions for the U.S. decision last November to reject the unpopular Keystone XL pipeline.
‘With a single press release, TransCanada has proven what concerned citizens have argued for decades—that the primary purpose of ISDS is to subvert democratic processes and the public interest, in the name of private profit’
It can also happen under our agreement.
7 I think something may have escaped my attention. Have I mentioned that in December Scot Morrison announced $1 billion cut to aged care? That’s in addition to the pension cuts.
There has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian senior. Frankly I find the minister so mean that if you paid him a compliment he would probably ask you for a receipt.
8 Its fast reaching the point where, under this conservative government applying for FOI documents is becoming futile. This time we have Communications Minister Mitch Fifield releasing a version of the ‘Blue Book’ incoming ministers receive from their department when they become Ministers, with the sections relating to the National Broadband Network heavily redacted. What’s the point of freedom of information if there’s nothing to see?
My thought for the day. What is bias?
“It is an opinion that in the absence of objectivity, is prejudiced and unbalanced. Its foundation is untruth and therefore cannot be impartial”