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Tag Archives: Canberra

The job losses Tony Abbott didn’t want to tell you about

Tony Abbott’s pledge to cull 12,000 jobs from the Public Service went down well with the electorate. From the time John Howard took over as Prime Minister, and even slightly before given his pledge to trim the PS in the lead up to the 1996 election, public servant bashing has become one of the Liberal’s favourite election weapons.

There is now a perception in the community that public servants are over paid, under worked, and more importantly, not needed. Nobody seems to care if there are 12,000 less of them.

Defenders of Abbott’s decision argue that nobody will be losing their job as the 12,000 places will be vacated by natural attrition. That still means though, that there will be 12,000 less jobs to be filled from the ranks of the unemployed.

But it is worse than that. ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Andrew Blyth explains the effect in Canberra alone:

About 4500 of the 12,000 redundancies are expected to be in Canberra, although figures are yet to be finalised and the government has said the cuts will be achieved through natural attrition.

Mr Blyth quoted ACT Government figures in his letter to Mr Abbott by stating it would cost the territory economy between $350 million and $650 million.

”A recent chamber survey found a majority of respondents believe both the ACT and national economies will be weaker over the next 12 months,” he said.

The Australia Institute has predicted a plunge into recession for Canberra and up to 5500 job losses in the city’s broader economy if planned Coalition cuts to the public service go ahead.

So that’s a further 5,500 job losses to add to the promised 4,500.

Prior to the election I suggested – and it is worth repeating given the Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s warning – that Tony Abbott’s promise to get rid of public service jobs was nothing more than a vote-winner without considering the consequences. When Howard won office in 1996 he murdered the Public Service in Canberra. The effects were devastating for our capital city which subsequently went into a recession.

But here’s the scary bit: this time, it won’t be confined to Canberra. From the CPSU website we learn that Townsville and Newcastle face the same uncertainty. In Townsville:

One in five Commonwealth public sector jobs and $87 million in wages could disappear from Townsville under a Coalition government, an analysis by the Community and Public Sector Union shows.

The CPSU analysis found 406 of the 2,015 or 21% of Commonwealth public sector jobs were at risk in Centrelink, Defence and Tax.

The CPSU based its calculations on the following:
– Tony Abbott’s policy of cutting at least 12,000 public sector jobs nationally by imposing a hiring freeze which would equate to a loss of 185 jobs in Townsville.
– Broad cuts to public spending needed to fund the Coalition’s election commitments would take another 69 jobs out of the economy.
– And a Commission of Audit to enable the outsourcing/offshoring of public sector work such as payroll, administration and IT which would see a further 152 jobs go.
– By taking the estimated salary for an APS employee of $76,821, the CPSU projects Townsville stands to lose $87 million cumulatively over three years.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “We have already seen what a Liberal government is doing to public services and jobs in Queensland; the last thing that Townsville needs is more cuts under a Coalition government.”

“Remember Campbell Newman promised Queenslanders they had nothing to fear from him when it came to cuts in public sector jobs and services. And then he unleashed savage cuts. “Tony Abbott says he will cut at least 12,000 jobs but those are the ones that we know about. He doesn’t want to talk about the rest because he knows that a vote for the Coalition is a vote for job cuts.”

“The community is going to be hit hard on a number of levels. If one in five jobs go that means there will be hundreds of families living in Townsville with mortgages, kids and commitments who won’t be getting a regular pay cheque.”

“The drop in staffing levels is also going to hit services which will come under increasing pressure to meet the demands of the community,” Ms Flood said.

While in Newcastle:

Nearly one in four Commonwealth public sector jobs and $132 million in wages could disappear from Newcastle and the Hunter region under a Coalition government, an analysis by the Community and Public Sector Union shows.

The full scale of the cuts across the Hunter are laid bare in a report by the CPSU which based its calculations on Coalition policies such as the imposition of hiring freezes, and the launch of a wide-ranging review into the provision of public services. The CPSU analysis found 609 of the 2,551 or almost 24% of Commonwealth public sector jobs were at risk in Centrelink, Defence and Tax, spread across the city, the Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie.

The CPSU based its calculations on the following:

  • Tony Abbott’s policy of cutting at least 12,000 public sector jobs nationally by imposing a hiring freeze which would equate to a loss of 217 jobs in the Hunter.
  • A Commission of Audit to enable the outsourcing/offshoring of public sector work such as payroll, administration and IT which would see a further 392 jobs go.
  • By taking the estimated salary for an APS employee of $76,821, the CPSU projects the Hunter stands to lose $132 million cumulatively over three years.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said:

“The community is going to be hit on a number of levels. Over 600 jobs are to go, almost one in four Commonwealth public servants could be out of a job; that’s hundreds of families living in the Hunter with mortgages, kids and commitments who won’t be getting a regular pay cheque. By our calculations the region stands to lose $132 million in wages over three years.”

“The drop in staffing levels is also going to hit services which will come under increasing pressure to meet the demands of the community.”

The CPSU’s report follows a similar one launched in June by the Public Service Association of NSW which estimated that under NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell 1600 state public sector jobs will be lost.

Ms Flood said: “Given the depth of cuts under the O’Farrell government the last thing Newcastle needs is more cuts under Abbott.”

It says something when the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a union agree on the same issue.

It could be even more frightening if the jobs are made redundant through the cancellation of services. While researching for a Public Service report a few years ago it was discovered that for every Public Service job lost when a program is cancelled or completed, up to three private sector jobs are at risk. Tony Abbott’s promise to cut public spending fires a warning shot that this might very well happen.

These are the job losses that Tony Abbott didn’t want to tell you about.

 

Class Warfare?

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Photo: memegenerator

The following quotes are just a few ideas from Abbott and Rinehart:

“TONY Abbott has proposed banning the dole for people under 30 in a bid to entice the unemployed to head west and fill massive skill shortages in the booming resources sector.” The Australian, April 21, 2010

“Mr Abbott advocated all welfare-dependent families with children should have half their income held back for food and essentials.” The Sydney Morning Herald February 24, 2010

‘I was in Canberra last week and had the opportunity to ask Opposition Leader Tony Abbott whether a government under his direction would continue with the Rudd government’s goal of halving homelessness by 2020. His answer was no. In justifying his stance, Abbott quoted from the Gospel of Matthew: ”The poor will always be with us,” he said, and referred to the fact there is little a government can do for people who choose to be homeless.’ National Times, February 16th 2010

“Mrs Rinehart also suggests the government should lower the minimum wage of $606.40 per week and cut taxes to stimulate employment.”  The Australian, August 30th, 2012

But when Swan criticises Rinehart, Forrest and Palmer over their opposition to the mining tax, that’s class warfare. When it’s suggested that maybe schools who have better performance facilities than the Melbourne Arts Centre may receive less funding in the future, that’s class warfare. When it’s suggested that people earning more than $150,000 a year should be means-tested for any welfare payments, that’s class warfare, because people on that sort of income are “struggling”, but anyone on the minimum wage doesn’t need a rise because they’re already being paid too much.

We don’t need class warfare rhetoric. What we need is a little consistency.

Witnesses wanted

These are serious allegations.

A number of independent journalists have been approached by a source for help in making public an incident they witnessed in a Canberra restaurant recently. This source is believed to be credible, however, the incident is yet to be confirmed. The incident is being made public in an attempt to encourage more witnesses to come forward.

The incident is alleged to have involved offensive behaviour from a prominent member of the Liberal National Party.

This member recently dined with associates in a restaurant where it was customary for diners to remove their shoes.

Apparently a lot of wine had been consumed and this person urinated in a friend’s shoe; an action he thought was quite hilarious.

It is also alleged that a witness was informed that to make this public would result in their ‘ruination’. It was said that this alleged threat was made from a member of the mainstream media.

We cannot and will not reveal the name of the politician until the incident can be fully confirmed.

What is equally disturbing about this alleged incident, are the threats made against the witness. This witness is extremely afraid yet needs to be assured that threats of this nature are illegal and support is available. All witnesses need to be assured this.

Only by making this alleged incident public and encouraging witnesses to come forward, will we know the extent of its validity.

We do, however, believe this story to be true, hence our decision to publish it. It will be spread widely across independent and social media.

It is in the public interest that these allegations either be verified if true, or dismissed if they are indeed untrue, because of the prominence of the person who is the subject of these allegations, and the high office he is likely to hold.

UPDATE: The use of the term ‘LNP’ was an error on my behalf, as has been pointed out. I should have said ‘federal coalition’.

It has also been pointed out to me by the source that the threat wasn’t actually made personally by a member of the media, but rather, that the member of the media had said that the coalition would ruin her and she was advised to remain silent.

Finally, if anyone is prepared to publicly announce who the politician was then I suggest that they have a sworn statement to back up their claim. If not, comments that name a person without supporting evidence then those comments will be deleted. It is not our intention to encourage speculation.

“See this front page story on Labor’s leadership tensions?”

Image by en.wikipedia.org

Stephen Conroy – the front page story  (image by en.wikipedia.org)

“See this front page story on Labor’s leadership tensions?”

“Yep!”

“Well, I heard from a guy down at the pub that his brother-in-law knows somebody in Canberra who empties bins and he heard from another bin emptier that the guy who empties Kevin Rudd’s bin had a look at what was on one of the scrunched up bits of paper, and do you know what he saw?”

“No idea, mate!”

“There were numbers. So I can confirm this article about Kevin Rudd looking at the numbers is 100% correct.”

“Gees, you reckon that guy’s the ‘unnamed source’ quoted in the article?”

“Nah, he had a name. I think it was Barry, but I probably shouldn’t say that.”

“So there really is going to be a challenge to Gillard’s leadership this time.”

“What you mean, this time.”

“Well, they’ve been saying that Gillard won’t last the month since 2010.”

“Have they?”

“Yeah.”

“First time I heard anything was from the guy at the pub.”

“Rudd’s probably going to challenge her over this media thingy.”

“What media thingy?”

“Well, apparently the Government’s trying to shut down free speech by subjecting the media to some sort of regulation.”

“Probably to stop them publishing stories like the one about Rudd doing the numbers.”

“And also to hide the fact that Conroy’s related to Joseph Stalin.”

“Whose that?”

“He was a Russian dictator that killed his political opponents!”

“No, who’s Conroy?”

“He’ s the guy trying to stop free speech:”

“And how is he related to Stalin?”

“Don’t know exactly, but I heard someone in the ALP saying that relating Conroy and Stalin was just ridiculous. You know when they deny something that it has to be true.”

“Yeah, like when they say that the leader is safe. You know that they’ll be gone within the week. So how are they actually going to stop the press from publishing articles they don’t like?”

“They’re going to introduce some sort of standards thing that the press have to sign up to.”

“And if they don’t they’ll be taken out and shot?”

“Nah, they’ll lose some of their protections.”

“And then they’ll be shot.”

“Nah, they’re not going to shot at all.”

“Oh, so how is Conroy like Stalin?”

“Well, the stifling free speech thing. Like with Andrew Bolt.”

“Yeah, I remember that front page article by him where he said he wasn’t allowed to say anything ever again. And all because he’d suggested that some aborigines were pretending to be white.”

“No, what he said was that these Aborigines were pretending to be black, and they shouldn’t because they weren’t dark enough, and that they were doing this to get some of the enormous benefits that go with being an aborigine, such as getting an acknowledgement that they used to own the land before a lot of events. Anyway, the court decided that they were actually aborigines, and that Bolt wasn’t allowed to say they weren’t because that was incorrect.”

“That’s ridiculous. You mean, people can’t write things that aren’t true?”

“That’s right. My grandfather was a digger and he fought so that we’d have the right to say whatever we liked about any group of people whether it was true or not. That’s what freedom of speech means.”

“You’re grandfather must be turning in his grave.”

“Yeah … Well, he’s not actually dead, but he would be. He’s very upset about this Government and how they’re taking away his rights.I mean, he doesn’t mind that Gillard’s a woman, he just objects to her being prime minister. He says that if God had meant women to be in charge, he would have made them men.”

“Exactly, I mean, I’m not sexist, but I was expressing the same view the other day, and my daughter told me that I was wrong. I said that it’s a free country and I can say whatever I like. Then she told me I was stupid bastard. So I said if she was going to talk that way, she could get out of the house. I won’t have my free speech stifled like that!”

“Yeah, if I was in power, I’d make sure that those teachers and uni didn’t indoctrinate our kids.”

“How would you do that?”

“I’d make it illegal for them to comment on anything political!”

“I’d vote for you. Well, do you want another drink, or do you have to get going?”

“I have to get going. My radio program starts in a few minutes, and the producer gets upset if I can’t read the screen.”

 

Tony Abbott in the Lodge: Never

David Marr’s quarterly essay “Political Animal” gives an engrossing, even gripping insight into the persona of the leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. I made many observations as I read it and I cannot of course comment on everything. I must say though (given Tony Abbot’s statement that he finds gays intimidating) that I was a little bemused at how Marr even got to interview him. They apparently spent some time together which must have been excruciatingly uncomfortable for the Opposition leader. And given that Mr Abbott only allowed him to use one quote I should think he probably wasted his time. Another thing that took my attention was the influence of Catholicism in his private and political decision making. He apparently finds it difficult to make decisions without referral to his faith.

What did catch my eye was this short paragraph: “Josh Gordon of the Sunday Age saw the parallels early. Like the Republicans in the US the Coalition’s new strategy appears to be to block, discredit, confuse, attack and hamper at every opportunity.” Do we see any similarities here? Well of course. On a daily basis the negativity of Abbott spreads like rust through the community. He seeks to confuse with the most outlandish statements. Hardly a day passes without referring to the Prime minister as a liar while at the same time telling the most outrageous ones himself. And with a straight face I might add. He seeks to hamper (as do the Republicans) all legislation with a pre-determined NO. Often without even reading it. Abbott has (as have Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan) taken lying and the frequency of it to a level in political discourse we have never experienced.

In the US the Republicans with all this propaganda have sought to create a fictional President who is the opposite to the one known outside the States. Twenty five per cent of the population still believe he is a Muslim and a large percentage still believe he was born outside the States even though the facts prove otherwise. Such is the power of the right-wing media (Fox News) and an accumulation of feral shock jocks. The GOP (the Republicans – the “Grand Old Party”) is even accused of deliberately not passing bills in order to make the economy worse.

In Australia, for two years the Prime Minister has been demonised by a right wing (Murdoch) news media pack intent on creating a false profile and bringing her down at the first opportunity. She has had thrown at her the most vile misogynist ravings un-befitting of the fourth estate but the tabloids and the shock jocks seem to thrive on it.

At this point (since we are talking in part about truth) let me say that I would describe myself as progressive social democrat. Centre-left on some issues and further left on others. I confess this so as not to be accused later of any preconceived bias. I am the originator of this quote “to be a true democrat one has to concede that your opponents have as much right to win as does your side”; I wrote that prior to the advent of this nefarious thing called neo conservatism or neo capitalism. I wrote it at a time when the political divide (despite the ideological differences) had some respect for the common good; when we in Australia admired America’s bi-partisan approach to its politics. The decline of bi-partisan politics and the rise of neo conservatism can be traced back to a third rate actor and a women with a bad hair-do. And in time respect for public office has gone out the window.

Regardless of what political persuasion you are I believe we like to see character in our leaders. Now how do we describe character. I came across this in the New York Times; it is a direct reference to Mitt Romney, however, it suffices as a general observation:

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

When looked in isolation the lies and indiscretions of Tony Abbott, his problems with women and even his negativity could perhaps all be written off as just Tony being Tony. Or that’s just politics. However my focus here is on character and whether Mr Abbott has enough of it to be the leader of our nation. My contention is that because we are looking at a litany of instances of lying, deception and bad behaviour over a long period of time he simply doesn’t have the essence of character which is one of the main ingredients in the recipe of leadership.

The evidence for this assertion follows. None of these events are in chronological order. They are just as they come to mind and are listed randomly in order to build a character profile.

When the President of the US visited he broke long standing conventions by politicising his speech as Opposition leader.

He did the same when the Indonesian president visited.

He did the same when the Queen visited.

He would not allow pairs (another long standing convention) so that the Minister for the Arts could attend the funeral of painter Margaret Olley; an Australian icon. Malcolm Turnbull, a personnel friend was also prevented from attending. There have been other instances of not allowing pairs.

More recently he refused a pair whilst the Prime Minister was on bereavement leave following the death of her father.

At university he kicked in a glass panel door when defeated in an election.

Referred to a women Chairperson as “Chairthing”.

He was accused of assaulting a women at university and later acquitted. He was defended by a QC and the girl defended herself.

Another women accuses him of throwing punches at her. And hitting either side of a wall she was standing against. He says it never happened but others corroborated her story.

He threatens to punch the head in of Lindsay Foyle who disagreed with him on a women’s right to an abortion.

In 1978 a young teacher by the name of Peter Woof bought assault charges against Abbott. He punched him in the face. It never went anywhere. Abbott was represented by a legal team of six and the young man could not afford to defend himself.

And he did punch out Joe Hockey’s lights during a rugby match? Yes, he did.

He established a slush fund to bring down Pauline Hansen and then lied about its existence.

And let’s not forget the role he played also in the jailing of Pauline Hanson. After One Nation shocked the Coalition by winning 11 seats in Queensland in June 1998, Abbott was determined to dig up every piece of dirt he could on Hanson. In his own words, on her demise he boasts this was:

“All my doing, for better or for worse. It has got Tony Abbott’s fingerprints on it and no-one else’s.”

Yes, even after saying that, he still lies about its existence.

He was ejected from the House of Representatives once in obscure circumstances. Hansard is unclear why but it is alleged that he physically threatened Graham Edwards. Edwards lost both his legs in Vietnam.

In 2000 he was ejected from the House along with six others. Philip Coorey reports that he was headed toward the Labor back benches ready to thump a member who had heckled him.

Abused Nicola Roxon after he had turned up late for a debate.

Then there was the interview with Mark Riley where he had a brain fade that seemed like it would never end. I thought he was deciding between a right hook or a left cross. Something that I found mentally disturbing and worrying at the same time. After all this was the man who could be our next Prime Minister.

Together with Christopher Pyne seen running from the House of Representatives to avoid embarrassment at being outwitted.

Being the first Opposition leader to be ejected from the house in 26 years because he repeated an accusation of lying after withdrawing it.

The infamous “Sell my arse” statement verified by Tony Windsor. Will Windsor ever release the mobile phone transcript?

The interview with Kerry O’Brien where he admitted that unless it was in writing he didn’t always tell the truth.

And in another O’Brien interview he admitted lying about a meeting with the Catholic Archbishop George Pell.

During the Republic Referendum he told many outrageous untruths.

His famous “Climate change is crap” comment and later saying that he was speaking to an audience. This of course elicited the question: “Is that what you always do?”

His almost daily visits to businesses with messages of gloom and doom about the ‘carbon tax’ (a scare campaign best described as fraudulent). None of which have come to fruition. His blatant lying often repudiated by the management of the businesses. The most notable being the CEO of BHP and their decision not to proceed with the Olympic Dam mine. Whole towns being closed down. Industries being forced to sack thousands. The end of the coal industry etc.

And of course there is the now infamous Leigh Sales interview where beyond any doubt he lied three times and continued to do so in Parliament the next day.

Then there was his statement that the Aboriginal Tent Embassy near Old Parliament House be closed. To call his statement an error in judgement is too kind. It almost sounded like an incitement to riot.

He is quoted as saying in the Parliament that Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Albanese had targets on their heads. He later apologised.

And of course there is also the lie about asylum seekers being illegal.

Added to that is his statement that the PM refused to lay down and die.

And the deliberate lie he told to the Australian Minerals Council that the Chinese intended increasing their emissions by 500 per cent.

I think I have exhausted it all but I cannot be sure. Oh wait.

We should not leave out his insensitive comments about the attempted suicide of John Brogden. I used to think that John Howard was a mean-spirited, nasty piece of work, but in comparison to Tony Abbott he appears as kind, caring and compassionate as Mother Teresa. Tony Abbott is far, far more mean-spirited. He demonstrates this in the way he ignores human misery and the way he belittles those who are suffering from it. He is, in a nutshell, nasty to the core. Stories surface that he’s been inherently nasty for as long as people have known him, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I first took notice of his extreme level of nastiness and lack of compassion for human misery when it was hoisted onto the national stage. It came only hours after the NSW Leader of the Opposition, John Brogden, had attempted suicide. The Age reported at the time that:

The day after Mr Brogden was found unconscious in his electorate office with self-inflicted wounds, Mr Abbott publicly joked at two separate Liberal Party functions about the disgraced leader’s career-wrecking behaviour . . . Mr Abbott was asked at a fund-raising lunch about a particular health reform proposal and reportedly answered: “If we did that, we would be as dead as the former Liberal leader’s political prospects.”

Nasty. To the core. And to a mate.

He also claimed that Bernie Banton was a mate. Not that he acted like one.

When Abbott was the Minister for Health, the dying asbestos disease sufferer Bernie Banton obtained a petition containing 17,000 signatures of those who supported the listing of the mesothelioma drug Alimta on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This petition was to be presented in person to Tony Abbott. If it wasn’t disrespectful enough to snub the petition, then his verbal response certainly was.

Yesterday, Mr Abbott was quick to dismiss the petition.  “It was a stunt,” Mr Abbott said on the Nine Network.

“I know Bernie is very sick, but just because a person is sick doesn’t necessarily mean that he is pure of heart in all things.”

He loves making fun of dying people. Does he expect we’ll all laugh along with him?

He even has a go at deceased people. Margaret Whitlam wasn’t even in the grave before Tony Abbott used her death to score cheap political points.

The death of Margaret Whitlam caused such an outpouring of saddened fondness that comments by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, linking her passing with the sins of the Whitlam government appear to have struck an extremely wrong note.

He said she was a ”woman of style and substance” and ”a marvellous consort to a very significant Labor leader and an epochal Australian prime minister”.

”There was a lot wrong with the Whitlam Government but nevertheless, it was a very significant episode in our history and Margaret Whitlam was a very significant element in the political success of Gough Whitlam,” Mr Abbott said.

Nasty. To the core.

If politics is fundamentally about ideas it is also about leadership. In this piece I have deliberately steered clear of policy argument in order to concentrate on character. On three occasions I have invited people on Facebook to list five attributes of Tony Abbott that would warrant his election as Prime Minister of Australia. I have never received a reply. And when you look at the aforementioned list is it any wonder. He is simply bereft of any character at all. He has been described as the Mad Monk and many other things but essentially he is a repugnant gutter politician of the worst kind. In following the American Republican party’s example his shock and awe tactics associated with perpetual crisis has done nothing but degenerate the standard of Australian politics and the Parliament generally. In the public eye he is most effective in attack dog mode. However he is found wanting when he needs to defend himself and simply reverts to stuttering hesitation and lies. Or just walking out on press conferences when he stumbles over tough questions. This is particularly noticeable when he tries to explain the complexity of policy detail.

The future of this country is of vital importance. So much so that its leadership should never be entrusted to a politician of such little virtue and character. A man who has failed to articulate a narrative for Australia’s future other than a personal desire to occupy The Lodge. Given his performance of late he would do well to consider these words: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. It’s easy to understand what Abbott says because he only speaks in slogans. The difficulty is knowing what he means.

I have used this line in one of my short stories and it aptly sums up the character of Honourable Leader of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition.

As he spoke, truth came from the beginning of a smile or was it just a sneer of deception.

Please note, this was written prior to the Prime Minister’s now famous ‘sexist speech’ and does not include these snippets of Tonyisms.

His dying of shame comment.

His “lack of experience in raising children” comment.

His “make an honest women of herself ” comment.

His “no doesn’t mean no” comment.

  1. “Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”

  2. “These people aren’t so much seeking asylum, they’re seeking permanent residency. If they were happy with temporary protection visas, then they might be able to argue better that they were asylum seekers”.

On rights at work:

  1. “If we’re honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband . . . you find that he tends to do more good than harm. He might be a bad boss but at least he’s employing someone while he is in fact a boss”.

On women:

  1. “The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience”.

  2. “I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons”.

  3. “I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak”.

  4. “What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year . . .”

On Julia Gillard:

  1. “Gillard won’t lie down and die”.

On climate change:

  1. “Climate change is absolute crap”.

  2. “If you want to put a price on carbon why not just do it with a simple tax”.

On homosexuality:

  1. “I’d probably . . . I feel a bit threatened”.

  2. “If you’d asked me for advice I would have said to have – adopt a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about all of these things . . . “

On Indigenous Australia:

  1. “Now, I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren’t happy with Australia Day. For them it remains Invasion Day. I think a better view is the view of Noel Pearson, who has said that Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage”.

  2. ‘”Western civilisation came to this country in 1788 and I’m proud of that . . .”

  3. “There may not be a great job for them but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done”.

On Nicola Roxon:

16: “That’s bullshit. You’re being deliberately unpleasant. I suppose you can’t help yourself, can you?”

I could go on. History is filled with examples of how low this man is; of how nasty he is.

I fear that we may not yet have seen the full extent of his nastiness. We might have to wait – God forbid – for the day he ever becomes Prime Minister.

It’ll be nasty for all of us.

Trial by media

Image source: en.wikipedia.org

Image source: en.wikipedia.org

In the heart of the nation’s capital, in the heart of its Parliament, we have the Canberra Press Gallery and, in its private alcove, the National Press Club. It appears to be the beating heart of the political news media bias that is driving at least half of the country nuts.

The National Press Club has a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NationalPressClubofAustralia?ref=stream and when you start looking around you don’t have to go far to see obvious signs of bias.

What’s obvious is a single announcement of guest appearances by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and, on the following day, the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. Further down the page there’s a separate notice for the appearance of Mr Abbott. No sign of a separate notice for Ms Gillard, so that looks like favouritism.

What’s not so obvious is a complaint by Neil Spencer, on December 16, 2012. Mr Spencer questions the relatively poor coverage of the outcome of a court case which has become known as Ashbygate. The hearing created sensational front page news. The verdict was buried in the back pages.

Instead of replying directly to Mr Spencer’s post, the FB page administrator referred him to another story in The Daily Telegraph relating to action being taken against the former Speaker, Peter Slipper, by the Federal Police. The administrator makes the rather snide remark: “We thought you would appreciate this one.”

Clearly, the administrator is of the same mind as the Opposition Leader, Mr Abbott. In three separate and long-running attacks on the government Mr Abbott has chosen to ignore the rule of law, the assumption of innocence, and demand that the government leap into a guilty verdict that would advantage him politically and damage our legal and parliamentary process severely (see Lies, damned lies and sour grapes http://bit.ly/UBgzNm).

Mr Spencer’s post, the administrator’s response, and my comment appear in full (so far January 18, 2013 12.45 pm) below.

Neil Spencer

To all you journalists please read the following:

I am very disillusioned with the media response to the Slipper/Ashby verdict. The whole issue is being played down by most media outlets. I don’t know why. Here is a story that any investigative journalist would love to get their teeth into. But yet there is this apprehension from the print media and on air media alike. The Daily Telegraph reported the verdict of the case on page 17 on 13th December. That in itself is an admission of reporting bias. [Right-wing News Limited commentator] Chris Kenny stated that [Prime Minister] Julia Gillard shouldn’t get involved in this muck raking. My god. After what she has been subjected to from the Opposition and, in particular Tony Abbott, she has every reason to ask Mr Abbott for a full explanation. The Australian people deserve a full explanation.

The Australian people deserve to have balanced reporting on all issues, especially those of a political nature. Is there not one journalist out there who is in the MSM who is prepared to investigate the story of possible conspiracy by Brough and other members of the LNP? Are they afraid there might be repercussions from their employer if they did so? If that is the case, then they are being accessories after the fact by assisting in concealing the truth. The employer would not be the type of employer that a professional journalist should be associated with. Regardless of the outcome of investigations our country will be the better for it.

I just don’t know how reputable journalists can be instructed on what they should or should not investigate. If a story comes to light then a journalist should find out the facts by investigating until such time as the story can go no further. Under the present climate of investigation a Watergate could be carried out in this country and the perpetrators would be able to get away with it. God help Australia.

Like · · December 16, 2012 at 8:28pm

National Press Club of Australia

We thought you would appreciate this one: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/vintage-peter-slipper-accused-of-fraud/story-fndo28a5-1226549859639

January 10 at 9:54am · Like

Barry Tucker

Neil Spencer raised a valid point. You didn’t address his complaint. Instead, you referred him to another Telegraph story about Federal Police charging Mr Slipper with fraud (their first attempt to charge him fell through, so they went back further in history to find another one).

Your failure to address Mr Spencer’s complaint is pathetic. Referring him to another story (in which Mr Slipper is a defendant and not proven guilty of anything) is even worse. It is worse because your actions in this matter amount to Trial by Media. Your actions tell me that you believe Mr Slipper is not entitled to natural justice, that in the view of the National Press Club he is guilty and must remain so, regardless of the outcome of the Ashby/Slipper court case and the comments and judgment of Justice Rares.
41 minutes ago · Edited · Like · 1

If there are any further developments, I will add to this article.


Further comment: The Daily Telegraph article that Neil Spencer was referred to was written by News Limited journalists Steve* Lewis and Patrick Lion. Steve Lewis was liaising with James Ashby before he filed his sexual harassment claim against Mr Slipper in the Federal Court. Mr Lewis was summonsed to appear before the court.

[*Steve Lewis was elected to his second term as vice president of the National Press Club in 2009. I did not know that when I wrote this story yesterday.]

The judge ruled that matters related to cab charge documents had nothing to do with the allegations of sexual harassment and were introduced in an attempt to damage Mr Slipper’s character in order to strengthen Mr Ashby’s claim.

The Lewis/Lion story acknowledges Mr Slipper’s court victory. It then refers to Mr Ashby’s allegations re the cabcharge dockets, which the judge has ruled are irrelevant:

The allegations are a major setback for the former speaker, who three weeks ago secured a victory when allegations of sexual harassment were thrown out in the Federal Court. His accuser, former adviser James Ashby, alleged he saw Mr Slipper signing blank Cabcharge dockets on visits to Sydney in early 2012. Those allegations are not the subject of the court action.

Note carefully the last sentence above. If Mr Ashby’s evidence re cabcharge documents has been ruled irrelevant, and “Those allegations are not the subject of the court action.” then what is the point of including the last two sentences in italic above?

In his judgment, Justice Steven Rares said Mr Lewis ”was motivated by the opportunity to obtain newsworthy stories”. He also noted there was ”nothing unusual in a symbiotic relationship between members of the media … and persons involved in politics”.

It may not be obvious to the casual reader, but it is clear to me that Mr Lewis, at least, is continuing his campaign to damage the former Speaker, Mr Slipper — a campaign that began with his liaison with Mr Ashby and is continuing in spite of the Federal Court dismissing the allegations of sexual harassment. Mr Ashby and one of his legal advisors are appealing the judge’s decision and comments on the case.

The judge also was of the opinion that Mr Ashby’s case against Mr Slipper was a conspiracy to bring down the federal Australian government. It has been pointed out by news media commentators and members of the fifth estate (the new, alternative, news media) that while Steve Lewis had his head down feeding stories back to his newspaper he somehow missed one of the biggest political scoops of the past decade.

A story about a conspiracy to bring down the government would not serve the agenda of Mr Lewis’ employer, News Limited, in the same way as a series of stories alleging sexual and other misconduct by Mr Slipper. That’s why this story is being referred to as Ashbygate.

[Additional information, January 19, 2013]

While News Limited media maintains its campaign against the federal government, the Fairfax owned press, notably The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) and Melbourne’s The Age, have softened their approach since about the time of the Prime Minister’s so-called “misogyny speech” (see Pennies drop and the balance shifts http://bit.ly/13N69RS).

SMH columnist Richard Ackland in his column yesterday (January 18, 2013) said the investigative bloodhounds of the press have let “Tony Abbott and other leading Coalition ornaments off the hook”.

“There are still so many loose threads dangling off the James Ashby case it is amazing that those dedicated to holding politicians to account have let this one pass.”

Read Mr Ackland’s column here:

http://bit.ly/Wa5ZyE

Veteran investigative reporter Margo Kingston (a former SMH journalist) also commented on the sudden lack of interest in the Ashbygate affair in her story for Independent Australia yesterday. See: http://bit.ly/ScavyA

Are the actions of Mr Lewis in investigating and reporting the Ashby case as squeaky clean as Justice Rares seems to think they are? Here’s a view by The Global Mail’s Bernard Lagan:

http://bit.ly/VGnc0N

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