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John Lord’s Final Election Diary Update No.13

Image courtesy of abc.net.au

Image courtesy of abc.net.au

Tuesday AM August 27

Posted No 12 of my Election Diary. Spent all afternoon preparing the vegetable garden for spring planting. Thoughts of the election never left me.

Wednesday August 28

Thinking

Thursday August 29

I have decided that tomorrow’s diary will be my last post. I have very much valued the comments of those who have taken the time to read my diary however, it has not had the far-reaching influence I had hoped for. With that in mind I think I will throw caution to the wind and abolish my normal ‘’Facts before feelings’’ policy.

Friday August 30

If the polls are correct the LNP will have a comfortable win next Saturday and we will have a new Prime Minister. That being the assumption, I feel free to opine on various matters more vigorously than usual. Or at least in a different manner.

The Coalition will command a vote of around 53% of the Australian people. Of these, a fair proportion will be locked in conservative voters. Some will be last minute deciders or swinging voters. Others will be, what is in it for me voters. A fair proportion will be elderly despite the coalition having never done anything for them. Many will have been victims of Murdoch’s abhorrent version of his future Australia.

All of them will have one thing in common. A blindness to the common good, and an ignorance of virtuous policy.

I have asked myself a perplexing question. If I were voting for a conservative government, what would I be voting for?
This is an impossible task for a dyed in the wool social democrat, so my answers will necessarily be tinged, with ridicule that expresses my compassion for a better society.

And of course, my age of 74 together with whatever wisdom I have, will also influence my answers. I might also add that my desire for a better Australia stems not from a need for comfortable final years, but rather from a deep concern for my grandchildren and the future they might face.

Let me repeat the question and then some random observations.

”If I were voting for a conservative government, what would I be voting for? What are my expectations? ‘’
In case it doesn’t register I’m Just pretending.’’

I know in my heart that my party’s Direct Action Plan is a nonsense but I don’t give a shit because climate change isn’t real. Tony doesn’t believe it and most of the cabinet don’t. Well except for Malcolm of course but he tends to be blinded by science, of all things.

I know the plan won’t work and after three years we won’t spend any more money on it. If the rest of the world decides to do something later on then we can join them. Yes I know Labor’s plan is working but it costs that much and we could be spending that on things that make the wealthy more so. After all, they create the jobs. Tony can even see things that others cannot. Even the invisible.

And as far as those poofters go Tony is absolutely right not to give our party a conscience vote on Gay Marriage. After all, he’s a Catholic and knows all about these issues of morality. No, it doesn’t matter that 70% of people want it. Tony knows what’s right. I trust him.

And speaking of equality I know that Tony will do the right thing and make education more equal. He has promised that if I vote for him I will be getting exactly the same Better Schools program. Oh yes, I know he won’t spend the same amount but Tony reckons it will be the same thing, and I can trust him.

Character, of course, is most important and for three years Tony has been exhibiting it. He has actually invented a new concept in opposition strategizing. You just pretend to be a negative personality, create havoc in the parliament, invent crisis, exaggerate everything and call the government the worst ever. That way you create a perception of catastrophe. Takes a lot of character to do that.

Of course, it helps if your friends with one of the world’s richest media barons. And to top it off you simply transform from negative to positive and present the real you to the electorate at election time. It works a treat. Character, that’s why I’m voting for Tony. I can trust him.

I know the Labor Party are claiming the NDIS policy as their own but it’s not true. We have always been part of it. It is a bipartisan policy. Yes I know we were a no-show in the house when the legislation passed but we fully support it. And we are the best party to make sure it works. We might have to rehash it but I’m sure we can do it a lot cheaper and more efficiently. I’m sure Tony will reshape it in the Conservative mold. After all, we have shown a historical concern for those less well of. Just ask pensioners. Yes, Tony will fix it.

Speaking of concern for others I agree with Tony that if we lower the Tax-Free Threshold to $6000 we can pick up a lot in tax from about 6 million workers on $80,000 or less. And if we abolish the low-income superannuation contribution. This will reimpose a 15 percent tax on superannuation contributions for people earning less than $37,000.

You have to give it to Tony, he thinks things through. This will mean we can have a decent Paid Parental Leave Scheme. I know that there are those in our party who think it’s unaffordable at $5 billion a year but its Tony’s idea and I know I can trust him. There are other ways to help pay for it.
Tony knows this. That’s why he is getting rid of the Schools Bonus. Really who needs it? Not the working class. After all, prospective mothers on $150.000 will need our support. Trust Tony, he knows best.

And I like his idea to abolish the proposed 15 percent tax on income from superannuation above $100,000 a year. The combined effect of these two superannuation changes is that 16,000 high-income earners with superannuation savings in excess of $2 million will get a tax cut while 3.6 million workers earning less than $37,000 will pay more than $4 billion extra in tax on their super over the next four years. This is grossly unfair for the wealthy. This way we can redistribute the money to the people who make things happen. It all adds up if you listen to Tony. You can trust him to put the money where it matters most.

What about the NBN. Yes, I know we had 13 goes to get it right when we were in government but we have it spot on now. It took Tony to get it right. And he had the man who invented the internet to help him. It’s going to cost a lot less and it will work just as well. Ask anyone over 80 and I bet they will agree. When it’s finished they will be able to sell it. Prospective buyers will have to foot the bill for the replacement copper wire and upgrade requirements. That way it avoids the current budget crisis. Shit, it’s in a mess. But a formidable mind has Tony. I know I can trust him.

Then of course if we vote for Tony we won’t have to worry about all the crass morons wanting us to become a republic. Thank God he will never let it happen. Fancy contemplating our own head of state. Where do people get these foolish ideas from? King Charles will serve us well. Even if a large proportion of the country will have to be reminded of who he is. But Tony will fix it. He has character. I trust him.

And Tony is the only one who is capable of stopping the boats. I know this to be true because he has told me so. In fact, I cannot remember how many times he has told me over the past three years. When he says he will stop the boats I believe him because I trust him. He is a Christian man with high morals. The same goes for Scott Morrison. I have come to adore that slogan. ‘’Stop the boats’’ I reckon it should be written into the history of Australian political folklore.

Now I know Joe did say he wanted to end ‘’the age of entitlement’’ but fair shake of the sauce bottle, Tony’s entitled to reward those who vote for him. That’s why he is taking from the poor to reward the rich. I mean fairs fair. Tony knows about class because he’s a Rhodes Scholar. And how much bloody time to people need to check out the costings and savings. Next thing they will expect him to supply everyone with a calculator. Why can’t people just trust him? I do, Tony has impeccable integrity. Ask anyone?

I know all these policies, the NBN, Better Schools, Addressing Climate Change and NDIS are major reforms and are Labor initiatives but Tony will make them happen. I know people will say we are being elected to implement Labor policy, but I wouldn’t trust Labor with their own ideas. But I would trust Tony.

One last thing, and it’s the main reason Tony will get my vote. He is the only one I trust to do something about these silly freedom of speech laws

I mean really. Andrew, Ray Alan, Piers, and others need more freedom to express their reasoned commentary. On top of that, he needs to do something about all these bloggers (including that bald-headed dickhead who writes for the AINM) from infiltrating the internet and imposing their opinions on thinking people. I mean why should all those writers have 100% freedom of expression when Rupert only has 70%? It’s just unfair but Tony will fix it. I can trust him.

After all, 53% of the people agree with me on all these matters.

My final entry

Its 10.30 Friday and my well-worn fingers have no desire to go on. Normally I would post next Tuesday however mid-week postings of my diary, for whatever reason don’t get a huge response. There is little more to add other than (and it goes against my nature) to say I sincerely hope I am mistaken.

That it might turn out like it did in the states where the polls were wrong and the people decided that science was important and that truth mattered.

Before I go please read this excellent piece by Alan Austin.

http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/we-really-must-talk-about-murdochs-tame-economists/

I conclude with this final thought.

‘’A well balanced Aussie is one with a chip on both shoulders’’

Thanks comrades for all your comments and support.

John Lord’s Election Diary Update No. 12

 

aust-votes

Friday PM August 23

Saul Eastlake says that the opposition has a gaping 30 billion dollar black hole in its costings. He is a respected economist whose opinion is not to be taken lightly. Of course, the opposition denies it but we are no further advanced in knowing what the opposition’s costings are. And silly me was of the view that this election was about the economy.

Really, the Australian people (the ones who think it matters) deserve better.

Talking about the economy you should read Alan Austin’s latest piece.

http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/we-really-must-talk-about-what-actually-did-save-australia/

Sit down you’re rocking the boat.

Every time I think it cannot get any worse the Christian assassins of hope, Abbott and Morrison expand on their own version of morality. This time they will buy back boats. Which of the 750,000 known to exist, is unclear.  Their real intent, of course, is to just keep the matter boiling along. Hey, they still have two weeks to go to reach new heights, or should I say lows of absurdity.

Work Place Reform

And I notice that Eric Abbetz continues to freelance on work place reform in direct contradiction of Tony Abbott. All I can say is that one of them is telling the truth and it isn’t Abbott. Beware the hidden agenda.

Parental Leave Scheme.

Abbotts Parental Leave Scheme continues to cop flak from all sides including his own. Nick Minchin joins the throng concluding that it is far too expensive and won’t pass the senate anyway. The question needs to be asked. If on the one hand the opposition is saying that the budget is in crisis. Why would they impose a 5 billion dollar unpopular policy on it? Anyway, it is nothing more than a policy paid for by many to but a few.

Saturday August 24

With only a fortnight to go in the five-week election campaign, the latest Fairfax-Nielsen poll shows the Coalition extending its lead over Labor to 53-47 on a two-party-preferred basis.
On the face of it one would have to say that things do not look good. That of course is if you take things on face value. I am more optimistic than most. My optimism is born from the fact that the polls only reflect a portion of society. Those that rarely leave home and communicate only via a landline. They ignore the vibrant world of social media where research shows that the left are more accurate than the right.

I wonder how the media would construct a political narrative in the absence of regular polls.

When I do my morning on line media scan I am appalled at the crescendo of pro opposition and anti-government coverage. There is nothing that can be done about other than try to influence people via social media.
In my last diary I thought I wrote a revealing piece (listing about 50 misdemeanours) about the character of the opposition leader. On the same day I posted it there was an article in the Melbourne Age solely devoted to the PMs terse words (or later said to be no words) to a makeup artist.
Then today the same newspaper had this leading headline.

Head-banging’ Gillard sullied political Standards, says Abbott

Mind you yesterday it had two conflicting headlines. One to the effect that ‘’Kevin Rudd to lose his own seat’ ’and further down the list appeared this one ‘’Can you believe the polls’’ About three hours later they realised the obvious error and deleted the latter.

Where has he gone?

The most mysterious thing about this election campaign is the absence of the mercurial right wing head banger Christopher Pyne.
Here is a clue.

http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/ashbygate-emerging-update/

Another question.

Why with Mr Palmer confirming that Mal Brough did ask him to pay Ashby’s court costs in order to bring down Slipper down why is he still standing for the seat of Fisher?

Alan Austin’s Facebook election 2013 instant quiz.

Mr Saul Eslake, chief Australian economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, has written a detailed report for clients on how a Coalition government would manage Australia’s economy.

Which of the following observations is contained in the 34-page review?

(a) There is a gap of almost $30 billion between the size of the new spending the Coalition has promised so far and the promised tax cuts and savings.

(b)
There are significant and ongoing tensions within the Abbott-led leadership group between genuine economic liberals such as Joe Hockey, Andrew Robb and Malcolm Turnbull and those who are more sceptical about markets including the Nationals MPs and Tony Abbott himself.

(c)
The Coalition will ultimately adapt all Labor’s proposed budget savings measures, except for ending the tax break for cars bought through salary sacrifice.

(d) Given its persistent opposition to attempts to restrain growth in entitlement programs, its commitment to introducing its own big new entitlement program (paid parental leave) and its commitment to cutting taxes, it’s unclear whether and how a Coalition government would deal with the longer-term challenges confronting Australia’s finances.

The answer is at the end.


Sunday August 25

First thing the ABC news informs me of is a Daily telegraph attempt to stitch up Kevin Rudd and a quick look on the webb confirms it. What a crass lot they are.
In his election launch speech Tony Abbott labelled Labor “The worst Government in History.” Here’s some of what Labor has achieved, you be the judge:

National Broadband Network
Disability Care
Better Schools
Carbon Pricing + compensation + falling emissions
Record increase to Pensions
Tax-free threshold up from $6,000 to $18,200
School kids bonus
Record Infrastructure spend
$10b Green Energy fund
7000 more GP’s than 2007
More doctors, more surgeons, more nurses and more beds
Better Aged Care
Better Mental Health
Flexible Child Care
Fair Work Commission
Equal pay for Community Workers
Record spending on Education
My School
National curriculum
World’s largest marine parks
First Murray Darling water plan in a hundred years
Paid parental leave
Plain Paper Packaging
CSG environmental protection
National Sorry Day
National Apology to The Stolen Generations
National Apology for Forced Adoptions
Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse
Seat at the UN
Superannuation to 12%
Support for Manufacturing
Lower interest rates saving the average household $6000 pa
Among the lowest debt in OECD
Low unemployment
Increased productivity
Wealthiest country per capita in the world
Amongst the world leaders in low sovereign risk
21 years of sustained national growth
11 successive years of wages growth greater than inflation
14% national growth since the GFC
3 AAA credit ratings for the first time.
Lower tax to GDP than Howard
Record investment
Record terms of trade
over 900,000 jobs created

Two other things attract me from his speech. Firstly his desire for a better parliament. Goodness, the sheer hypocrisy of that statement has me almost dropping my afternoon tea. I can remember no other politician in my lifetime who has done more to damage the institution of the parliament than he. In his speech he promises to keep his promises and I wonder why it is necessary to mention the fact if one was honest in the first place. No greater liar has ever walked the corridors of Parliament House.

Monday August 26

In three days Morgan, Neilson and Essential reveal their latest findings. I find myself sick of commenting on them. Newspoll is the one most quoted. I offer this thought only. Why would you spend a lot of money compiling these figures on a fortnightly basis if you didn’t want to create an ongoing story to match your own editorial policy?

For the record. Essential has the two parties at 50% 50%, Morgan has the ALP 48.5 and the LNP 51.5 Newspoll is 52.4 and 47.6 meaning the 400,000 people changed their minds in the past week. Believe what you will.

Tuesday August 27

Two things come to mind as I prepare to post this diary on AIMN. One is the obvious parallel between the recent Republican election campaign and that of the conservatives in Australia. Abbott has followed, ably assisted by Rupert Murdoch a campaign of shock and awe tactics. Repetitive slogans designed to create perceptions in the public mind. And of course outright lies. Having 70% of the print media on ones side is of course a help and News Ltd has not let the Tories down.

Just how successful will not be revealed until election night. My hope is that the Australian people will see through all the lies as did America. I have my doubts though.

Number two is a simple one.

STILL NO COSTINGS And the economy is supposed to be a major factor in this election.

I have no idea if my diary mutterings have an effect on anything at all. Perhaps it’s just an exercise in convincing myself that truth matters.

The answer to Alan Austin’s Quiz is ‘’All’’

John Lord’s Election Diary Update No. 8

Image courtesy of the conversation.com

Image courtesy of the conversation.com

“Peoples dissatisfaction with politics and politicians, in general, is largely attributable to their own ignorance of the subject”.

Friday, August 9

Murdoch

Kevin Rudd is intelligent enough to understand what is happening in news media and has seized the opportunity to at last confront this horrible man. He is to be congratulated for being the first Australian Politician to have the guts to do so.

With Murdoch controlling 70% of Australia’s print media, the power of persuasion must be enormous. The intestinal fortitude required to confront it might go unnoticed by many but certainly not me.

We know that Murdoch last week sent out his right-hand man Col Allan to put a rocket under his Australian Publications. Coincidentally, the obscene front pages of his publications appeared a few days later. Then the head of his Australian operation, News Corp Kim Williams quit or was pushed. Another coincidence, I think not.

Press Council executive director Derek Wilding said there had been 77 complaints about the anti-Labor editorial, which led the News Ltd paper’s coverage, making it one of the most criticised articles this year.

And all the editors were summoned to appear at a meeting in Sydney where they were told they weren’t playing the man hard enough.

And of course, the Australian public is kept in the dark about it because 70% were not told.

For a good summation, on bias in the media, read this by fellow blogger Barry Tucker.

https://theaimn.com/2013/08/11/oz-news-media-bias-explained/

People want truth with their coffee

Queensland café proprietor’s lone boycott of Rupert Murdoch newspapers has gained considerable traction via social media, including being shared on Facebook by Rupert Murdoch’s nemesis, Tom Watson MP. Watson is coming to Australia to share a bit about the nefarious Mr Murdoch’s English experience. I hope he lets it all hang out. The truth I mean.

Political High Diving

The most popular and often used is the backflip and today Tony Abbott scored a perfect 10. After he and shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey spent considerable time and effort lambasting the government and treasury for dodgy figures saying that the public could work out the budget bottom line for themselves, he says that he will accept the PEFO figures.

A backflip which would guarantee an Olympic gold medal. Surely this must bring his economic credibility into question.

Digging Dirt

“Liberal Campaign HQ has sent out an email this morning suggesting questions for journalists to ask Kevin Rudd! (Hint: Not a good way to get onside with journalists.) So, I’m always open to spinners on either side offering their views for my consideration but being sent questions to ask the PM is really not cool and actually offensive to professional journalists who are perfectly capable of asking their own questions.” – Bridie Jabour

The Polls

The Fairfax-Nielsen poll shows the Coalition has pulled ahead with 52 per cent against Labor’s 48 percent in the two-party preferred rating, which is a change of two points.

As a supporter of either party, you can be quickly elated or despondent depending on the outcome. Given that they will be coming thick and fast for the next few weeks there are some points to keep in mind.

Take the major Polls for example.

They have a typical margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent, at a 95 percent confidence level. This means that, 19 times out of 20, the true level of party support will be somewhere within a range of three percentage points higher or lower than the poll shows.

Thus two polls that show Labor ahead 51-49 and the Coalition ahead 51-49 amount to the same result in statistical terms. The difference can be entirely due to sampling error – that is, random variation between the two groups of respondents, even if both are equally representative of the electorate.

Most polls only use landlines and we all know that everyone under 35 uses a mobile.

They are taken usually Tuesday to Thursday and don’t always take into account current events. Like Peter Beattie for example.

Anomalies occur like preferring Rudd as better PM but trusting Abbott more. Work that out.

The methodology of the distribution of preferences is sus. Particularly with Reachtel. Anthony Green has this to say:

Reachtel polls has to understand the limitations of its methodology in producing two-party preferred polls. It is using a method that has not previously been tried in Australia.”

There is a Morgan Poll due on Monday. Morgan gathers their data via Mobile, landline, face to face and internet and in my view give a more representative outcome. And of course, we must remember that Newspoll is owned by the very company whose owner is hell-bent on destroying Labor.

Saturday, August 10

Tony Abbott has vowed to launch an inquiry into the home insulation program rolled out at the height of the global financial crisis, in a bid to shine a spotlight on Kevin Rudd’s record during his first prime ministership.

I have written enough about this subject so I don’t intend to add to it except to say that this is just Tony being the Tony. The gutter is where he does politics. What else would you expect?

I suggest the PM should announce a Royal Commission into the Ashbygate affair.

As an aside and not related. Peter Garret lost his mother in a house fire.

Alan Austin has a quiz on the Insulation Scheme.

Tony Abbott has announced that a Coalition government would launch a “full judicial inquiry” into Kevin Rudd’s alleged “failed home insulation program”.

Question: How many inquiries have been conducted into the scheme already?

(a) None. That is why this is such an important initiative by the caring leader of the Opposition.
(b) Two: an auditors’ report and a coronial inquiry.
(c) Five. a Senate inquiry, two auditors’ reports, a coronial inquiry and a risk management assessment by Minter Ellison.
(d) Nine or more.
(e) Not enough. Every inquiry gives the mendacious media a chance to castigate the Government all over again – even though every investigation so far has found the scheme fundamentally sound.

For a bonus point: If your answer is other than (a) none, what question does Mr Abbott want answering that has not yet been comprehensively answered already? Quiz answer is at the end.

Today the ALP also lost two endorsed candidates. It happens every election on both sides and it does really bring into focus the importance of the quality of people selected. I suppose the most famous one would be the fish and chip lady.

Cost of Living

“When talking about the cost of living I think people get confused. There is a big difference between the cost of living and cost of lifestyle. A recent survey found that 56% of those complaining about the cost of living had taken an overseas trip in the same year. And a further 52% had reduced dining out from three to two times a week”

‘Never confuse what you want with what you need.’

Sunday PM

Bloody hell, now we find that Mr Abbott’s Twitter account has received a boost of almost 70,000 in followers in the past 12 hours. The Liberal Party, via Facebook, said it had become aware that someone on Saturday night started buying fake Twitter followers for Mr Abbott’s account. Even with the inflated numbers Mr Abbott, who has 188,000 followers, still lags behind Mr Rudd, who was 1.4 million people following his tweets. And on Facebook, they are buying ‘’likes.’’ I am reminded again of that word invisible.

Then in the afternoon with little else to do I decide to do a little web surfing and come across an article by Miranda Divine in the Daily Telegraph. I have never read any of her work. The piece was headed ‘’Kevin Rudd’s Nightmare comes to life on his home turf’’. The only reason I suggest you read it, is, as an academic exercise in the decline of journalistic standards.

I write for nothing and I hope I make a bit of sense. Why do journalists write drivel and get handsomely paid for it?

http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/mirandadevine/index.php

Then I tune into “Meet the Press” to find another Murdoch journalist Janet Albrechtsen asking questions, and I wonder if being so blatantly sarcastic is natural to her or if indeed she attends drama classes.

Monday, August 10

I awake and my daily ritual of headline surfing serves only to confirm that the sickening war on Labor is still being waged by the Murdoch Empire. Then I search for some analysis of who won the debate.

Twitter has it 73-29 to Rudd. Channel 9 has Rudd 59-41. Chanel 10 also gives it to Rudd 61-39 and the ABC 73-27 for Rudd. The odd one out is Chanel 7 which has Abbott 68 and Rudd 32 which is a reflection of their bias.

For me, this was not a debate, but a televised journalist’s question time. Devoting such little time to highly complex issues resolves very little. There should be a series of serious debates on major issues and the deputy leaders should also debate.

Last night Abbott got of lightly on his inability to give any assurances on his policy costings. Rudd’s answer on Sydney Airport was weird but he scored favourably on gay marriage. And Abbott’s attempt to explain direct action on climate change was pathetic. All in all the public deserve a better explanation of the comparative policies. Although having said that at this stage it looks as though (other than his Parental leave Scheme) Abbott is running on Labor policies.

Bloody Polls again.

Today sees the release of two polls but only one gets any traction in mainstream media.

Morgan has it all square after the first week of the campaign. ALP & L-NP locked at 50% two-party preferred. But of course, Newspoll has it 52 percent LNP to Labor’s 48 percent. Again, remember there is a 3% margin of error. In the Australian, these results are accompanied by a misleading headline (What else would Shanahan do?) and an array of unsympathetic articles.

In some democratic countries, Polls are banned for the duration of the campaign. Perhaps we should do the same.

Journalism

There is something seriously wrong with journalism in Australia. On insiders, on Sunday one panelist said that one of the Daily Telegraphs front pages was funny. When they talked about a supposed Murdoch conspiracy the conspiracy became why they were loath to criticise. There was a time in my life when if I missed reading the Melbourne Age I felt my life would be greatly diminished. Or I would suffer withdrawal symptoms from information deprivation. Now I couldn’t give a stuff. I get my information from where I choose.

Victorians will love this especially if you live in the La Trobe Valley.

Today Mr Abbott said this.

I think that a lot of people look back on the Kennett era and say it was a golden age of development so all credit to Jeff Kennett for the work he’s done.

Jeff Kennett sacked 50,000 public servants. Jeff Kennett closed 300 schools and sacked more than 9,000 teachers. Jeff Kennett closed 17 hospitals and made 3,500 nurses and 10,000 health workers unemployed. Jeff Kennett sacked 16,000 public transport workers. Jeff Kennett made Campbell Newman looked restrained. Yet, Mr Abbott says: “all credit to Jeff”. You are now officially warned.

Whoops, another Abbottism.

Quoting Stuart Whitman.

Abbott’s speech today: “No-one, however smart, however well-educated, however experienced, is the SUPPOSITORY of all wisdom, and I believe that we will be a much better government because we have a very strong team.”

Ironic given he was talking about education and wisdom.

Dictionary definition: “Suppository – A solid medical preparation in a roughly conical or cylindrical shape, designed to be inserted into the rectum or vagina to dissolve.” Basically, equivalent to the same level of discomfort Abbott has been inducing in the nation for over 3 years now.

Alan’s Quiz.

The answer is D. There have been more than nine inquiries.

Tuesday, August 11.

Early AM. Today is PEFO day and pressure will be on the opposition to release its policy costings. My view is that the longer they hold out the more they will highlight their budget difficulties.

Gotta zip. I’m still exhausted from the Pyne show last night. I’m tossing up as to who is the most nauseating man. Reith or Pyne. I think I’ll give it to Pyne. I have never known anyone to feign indignation like him.

One last thought.

“With Barnaby Joyce gaining preselection for the seat of New England and Tony Windsor not standing it is highly likely Joyce will win? This will mean that when Warren Truss retires, Barnaby will become deputy Prime Minister of Australia if the LNP wins. NO THIS IS NOT A JOKE”

John Lord’s Election Diary Update July 30 2013

diary

The week that was.

I’m a little confused. On the one hand, Tony Abbott says it is an opposition’s role to oppose everything. And over three years he has done just that. And very well some would say. Well, until now. I’m looking at the Government’s policies trying to figure out from the opposition’s point of view what’s a NO and what isn’t.

It seems he agrees with Labor’s NDIS policy although I think that’s probably because of its public popularity. He has little choice.

Now it seems he agrees with the Better Schools (Gonski) reforms. And if I add in the coalition’s version of the NBN (remembering that Abbott wanted to destroy it in total) it would seem he agrees with an NBN even if it’s a watered down version. So it means that if Mr Abbott is elected he would be implementing major Labor Party reforms. Now that’s rather ironic for someone who believes in opposing everything. All very amusing I should think.

I’m inclined to the view that Tony Abbott believed Labor wouldn’t last the distance and as a result neglected any major policy discussion. So I don’t believe they have anything major to present. That’s why they printed that booklet of ideas that aren’t policies.

They just believed they would at any time during the past three years walk into Office. They may have made a huge mistake by playing a prominent role in the demise of Julia Gillard.

Editorial in ‘Crikey’ last week: This took my eye because it rather sums up the man. Tony Abbott says Labor can’t be trusted in office, which is a fair point.  But eventually, Abbott will have to start trusting people smarter and more knowledgeable than he is if he’s going to put forward good, rigorous policy for the nation’s future. Like economic policy, we can really believe in’.

Crikey says: Abbott has to trust someone:

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey says he doesn’t trust Treasury — the nation’s non-partisan economic experts — to cost his policies.

Just like the Coalition doesn’t trust the overwhelming consensus that its emissions reduction plan is too expensive and inefficient.

And the scientists who say deeper action is required on climate change.

And the communications experts who say the NBN needs fibre-to-the-home technology.

And the advice from an independent panel of experts on asylum seeker policy.

And the pleas from business that the Coalition’s maternity leave scheme is too expensive.

And all the school principals who like the Gonski funding model.

And the economists who argue that tightening up the rules on fringe benefits tax will prevent rorting.

And on the Oppositions decision not to trust treasury.

The Government described it as “unprecedented” the Coalition’s stance not to use Treasury’s pre-election economic and fiscal outlook (PEFO) as the basis for its costings.

Now back to Gonski and I believe The Melbourne Age summed up the opposition’s attitude rather well:

”In the last fortnight, Christopher Pyne has said the Coalition would scrap Gonski unless a majority of states were on board, then later on the same day Tony Abbott said they’d rip it up unless every state was on board. And now, [there is] a letter saying if elected, they’ll keep it only for a year if forced to do so by Labor and the Greens.”

In a letter to principals sent on July 22, Mr Abbott and his education spokesman, Christopher Pyne, conceded they might not be able to overturn the legislation as hoped.

‘‘If Labor and the Greens use the Parliament to stop our plan to delay the new model, the Coalition will allow it to operate for one year [until 2015] while we work out how to get the model right,”

And on the Governments PNG Solution Mr Abbott after hearing its release and fundamentally accepting it has gone from “it’s already unraveling” to “It won’t work, cos you can’t trust this government to implement it”.

And Greg Jericho tweeted this.

“@GrogsGamut: If you were wondering if the Libs were panicked by Rudd’s PNG policy, their military response pretty much gives the game away.”

And my Facebook friend Brendan J Kelly had this to say.

Under Abbott, we will not have a foreign policy. We will have a military Operation: Operation Sovereign Borders. It will be led by “a three-star military officer”, the reference clearly demonstrating Abbott’s total lack of knowledge regarding OUR military ranks. The Opposition’s policy, announced today in Brisbane shows the zeal of the LNP to Stop the Boats by force.

Once again they used highly inflated figures regarding the number of asylum seekers arriving here by boat to fuel the fear they generated about asylum seekers. Scott Morrison cited that in November 2007 only 4 people sort refuge in Australia by boat and now the figure was 3,000 per month.

It is not clear to me whether this figure is accurate but accepting there is a marked increase, Morrison would have you believe the increase is the direct result of the Government’s policies. To do this he is ignoring the dramatic changes that have occurred in the world during the intervening 6 years.

Mr Morrison went further, to paint a picture of the total number of asylum seekers in Australia as 12,000 in detention and 15,000 in the community. Again I don’t feel comfortable about the accuracy of these figures, particularly the latter.

If, as he claims there have been 45,000 asylum seekers come to Australia, and there are a total of 27,000 in the country, where are the other 18,000? In detention centres offshore? It seems too high a figure for that. Mr Morrison claims less than 5 people have been returned to their country of origin by the Government (Curious expression “less than 5”).

Both Abbott and Morrison stated the main problem was that the government did not understand the problem. It became clear very rapidly from the Opposition’s approach that their view of the problem is an entirely inward-looking one.

It is not how our nation meets its obligations under international Treaties to which we are signatories, but rather how we keep everyone we don’t want out. The answer, apparently, is a military operation.

The figures quoted have since been repudiated by Michael Taylor at AIMN “Keep lying, Mr Abbott”.

Kaye Lee, another Facebook friend added:

So Tony announces “Operation Sovereign Borders” – our military will defend our nation from attack by asylum seekers. General Molan (retired) has keenly endorsed the plan which was lauded in an article in the Herald Sun, surprisingly printed before the policy was announced. Now that’s investigative journalism at its finest! The only fly in the ointment is that pesky General David Hurley, our current Chief of the Defence Force who tweeted:

General David Hurley @DavidHurley_CDF 8m

Contrary to media reporting I have not provided advice or recommendations to the Coalition on asylum seeker issues.

We also have the Indonesian leaders saying no to turn back the boats and now the PNG leaders are very angry with the Coalition about being misrepresented and belittled. In other words, everyone the Coalition purports to have spoken to and struck deals with have called bull shit. Nice regional negotiating Team Abbott!!

And Steven Probert weighed in with this from Mr Morrisons’ maiden speech. When I read it I thought he had the wrong Morrison but it is the same person.

Scott Morrison s maiden speech to Parliament is, to put it politely, slightly hypocritical “From my faith I derive the values of loving-kindness, justice and righteousness; to act with compassion and kindness, acknowledging our common humanity and to consider the welfare of others; to fight for a fair go for everyone to fulfill their human potential and to remove whatever unjust obstacles stand in their way, including diminishing their personal responsibility for their own wellbeing; and to do what is right, to respect the rule of law, the sanctity of human life and the moral integrity of marriage and the family. We must recognise an unchanging and absolute standard of what is good and what is evil.

Desmond Tutu put it this way:

. . . we expect Christians . . . to be those who stand up for the truth, to stand up for justice, to stand on the side of the poor and the hungry, the homeless and the naked, and when that happens, then Christians will be trustworthy believable witnesses.

These are my principles. My vision for Australia is for a nation that is strong, prosperous and generous: strong in our values and our freedoms, strong in our family and community life, strong in our sense of nationhood and in the institutions that protect and preserve our democracy; prosperous in our enterprise and the careful stewardship of our opportunities, our natural environment and our resources; and, above all, generous in spirit, to share our good fortune with others, both at home and overseas, out of compassion and a desire for justice.

But the last word should go to the Canberra Times:

Apart from its pledge to turn boats around and to re-introduce temporary protection visas, little now separates the Coalition’s policy from Labor’s. An opposition leader more attuned to a longer game than Mr Abbott might have used the opportunity of this “crisis” to explore a bipartisan approach with Labor. That would have boosted Mr Abbott’s credentials as a reasonable and constructive politician – and possibly spared him the political grief that would come his way if the tide of boats continued under a Coalition government. But Mr Abbott has rarely opted for a softly-softly approach when a hairy-chested one was near at hand.

Or perhaps the last word should go to Prime Minister Mr O’Neill who said he was unimpressed by the political debate:

”I don’t particularly appreciate being misrepresented by others for their own political interests,” he told the ABC in an interview on Wednesday night.
”I am disappointed with some of the debates put forward by some of the leaders in the opposition in Australia, in particular statements that I am alleged to have made to them which are completely untrue.”

Here is some selective reading from the 5th Estate. I particularly recommend the last one which is a critique of the latest Newspoll. They are all worth a read.

http://fairmediaalliance.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/making-sense-of-the-latest-opinion-polls-good-luck-with-that/

http://www.politifact.com.au/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jul/24/kevin-rudd/rudd/

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/07/23/2340411/the-rich-feel-poor-if-they-make-less-than-5-million/?mobile=wt

http://nofibs.com.au/2013/07/21/the-battle-joined-in-bennelong-preciouspress-reports/

https://theaimn.com/2013/07/22/joe-hockey-and-the-announcements-every-day-for-the-plans-for-australias-future/

http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2013/02/17/When-will-Tony-Abbott-fill-the-gaping-void-in-his-latest-slogan-Hope-Reward-Opportunity.aspx

I laughed ’til I cried

http://wixxyleaks.com/2013/07/20/here-we-go-again-craig-thomsons-trial-by-media/

https://theaimn.com/2013/07/19/free-election-policies-form-guide/

http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/life/satire/malcolm-in-the-middle/

http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/business/media-2/coming-end-of-the-murdoch-empire/

http://archiearchive.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/the-dont-look-at-me-newspoll/

http://m.guardian.co.uk/world/the-swing/2013/jul/25/newspoll-polling-election-influence?CMP=twt_gu


My Thought for the Day

“You cannot possibly believe in democracy if at the same time you think your party is the only one that should ever win” I used to honestly believe that until neoconservatism came along.

Better Schools ‘’Latest’’

The Catholic education sector has signed up to the Federal Government’s “Gonski” Better Schools funding plan, saying it will “deliver significant increases” in funding for every child in the Catholic system.

The National Catholic Education Commission says it is confident that “no school will be worse off” and is “appreciative of the constructive way” the Federal Government has resolved any concerns.

“The arrangements will progressively deliver increased Commonwealth funding to each state’s Catholic education system based on common measures of student need across all education sector,” the Commission said in a statement.

The agreement will affect one in five, or 735,403 students currently enrolled at 1,706 Catholic schools across the country.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the agreement means “a big slice” of Australia’s education system is now covered by the plan.

“We now have almost two-thirds of the kids in Australia benefitting under the Better Schools plan, which will deliver extra funding and extra resources to government schools, Catholic schools and independent schools in most of the states in Australia,” he said.

Today’s Quiz Guess who said this?

‘’I’d rather slash my wrists than subscribe to any of Murdoch’s bullshit-filled newspapers’’

The response to my Diary has not been remarkable, however, I think it is a worthwhile idea. I do want to include other people’s thoughts and ideas so any support would be appreciated.

At the time of writing, we still have no election date and the August option seems to have been discarded. My new tip is September although I say so with little conviction.

One last word. Collectively (adding in the latest Galaxy) the polls are not showing the decline in Labor’s vote that some expected.

We can now win.

‘FREE’ Election Policies Form Guide

abbott policies

I was an admirer of Julia Gillard. What I liked most was her devotion to sound progressive Labor policies that were forward looking and would serve the common good. In her short stint as Prime Minister she oversaw more policy reform (in a minority parliament) than most long serving governments. By any standards her policy legacy stands unique among any of her predecessors. And surely that is what governing is all about. Good policy that improves the wellbeing of every Australian. The fact is that regardless of whoever wins the forthcoming election the winners will find themselves implementing some Gillard policy.

As a political strategist she out positioned the leader of the opposition leaving no big ticket policies for him to pursue and I might add no funds anyway. Therefore in commenting on policy in general this conversation concentrates itself mainly on the government’s proposals. Having said that it might be unfair on the opposition given that the campaign has not yet started. Who knows they might pull a policy rabbit out of the hat. After all they have had three years to develop them.

When we vote a number of factors come into play. A particular allegiance to one or the other parties and its ideology. A like or dislike for one or the other candidate can persuade us. A leader’s character. A hip pocket ‘’what’s in it for me’’ mentality. Or even a one policy agenda such as ‘’Marriage Equality’’.

However policy is important to most people. In this election they are confronted with a number of policy proposals that will determine Australia’s future. Mr Abbott has vowed to oppose everything so the voters have a clear choice. Traditionally the areas of economy, health and education have been of major importance to the electorate but from time to time nation changing or indeed moral issues are added to the mix.

This election is significant in the policy sense because some of the election policies being proposed will have far reaching consequences for the nation and its future.

Now let’s look at the election policies that are on the table and way them up as best we can. I don’t propose to be long winded about each one. Just too randomly list each one and make a few comments.

• Education funding: The opposition education spokesman, Christopher Pyne, has had some conflicting things to say on his party’s policy. The one certain thing is that they don’t have one. He has said that they would repeal Labor’s Gonski funding package. His leader has stated that it would go ahead if Labor could get all the states to sign up. Pyne has also said that they are happy with the current funding arrangements until something better comes along. The Gonski proposals offer equality of opportunity and have wide public support. In the absence of any policy from the opposition it’s a one horse race.

• Climate change: The Prime Minister has pulled the rug from under Tony Abbott’s feet by dumping” the carbon tax and bringing forward a floating carbon pricing scheme. You can argue whether that is good for the environment but it is smart politics. Abbott can no longer shout his carbon tax slogans. But a bigger problem for him is his own policy. Or lack of one. What he has now has been thoroughly discredited by all and sundry. To quote Lenore Taylor in The Guardian.

‘’Business is desperate to know how the 2009 Direct Action policy will actually work, but usually emerge from meetings with the Coalition spokesman, Greg Hunt, with few answers. Hunt has promised a white paper after the election to flesh out the details, with legislation to be finalised within six months of a Coalition term.’’

I might add that Mr Abbott’s own goal statement ”what an emission trading scheme is all about, it’s a market, a so-called market, in the non-delivery of an invisible substance, to no one.” Follows his previous similar statement where he dismissed carbon dioxide as an “invisible, odourless, weightless, tasteless substance”. Statements such as these conclusively but him in the climate change official nutter’s category. We can only conclude that the LNP has no policy at all.

Dr Harley Wright Principal at Climate Sense put it rather succinctly:

I plead to the Coalition to come to its senses and deal with this serious issue seriously. Stop playing political games with our descendants’ future. A return to a responsible, bipartisan approach would be welcomed, possibly respected, all-round.

NBN: If we go back to when Abbott appointed Malcolm Turnbull as opposition shadow communications minister it was, if I am not mistaken for the purpose of “destroying” the NBN. That’s what Abbott in his Luddite naivety wanted. When exactly the realisation took place that the Internet has a vital place in our world took place, is unknown. But apparently it did. And so they made their policy announcement in the studios of Murdoch’s Fox Studios.

The next morning I did my early morning scan of on line MSM and it is fair to say that the LNPs policy had met with universal condemnation. Although I must say the Melbourne Herald Sun couldn’t find any room for it at all amongst its daily drivel. But then it is the newspaper where the truth goes to die so I wasn’t surprised. The Age ran an online poll of around 27.000 people and around 75% gave the policy the thumbs down.

A quote of mine:

“On the NBN. “The problem with designing a network to meet the needs of today is that it denies you the ability to meet the needs of tomorrow”.

NDIS: The opposition has said it supports this policy. It is however so popular that they could hardly say otherwise. But it is Labor policy and how ironic it would be if the conservatives had to implement it. And there is no guarantee that they wouldn’t re hash it in some way.

The Economy: We should not under estimate the difficulty the LNP will have framing an economic policy for the next election. With the downturn in revenues the government has had much difficulty in costing its own initiatives. The opposition will have more so. Despite pressure from the government it has yet to say where all its savings measures will come from. It has said it will eliminate the school kid’s bonus scheme and super will be cut from lower paid women but they will need a lot more than that. And of course they will take around 12,000 jobs out of the public service. The government has a record of outstanding economic performance and with Rudd at the helm should be able to sell it more vibrantly.

The opposition intends to have a “commission of audit” after the election, to review government spending “top to bottom”, rein in waste, identify where taxpayer funds should be spent and start “with a clean slate” on government spending. That’s a pretty broad brief and I would interpret it to mean a repeat of the Queensland experience.
Now cast your mind back to the last election and remember that Abbott was not capable of presenting LP Economic Policy himself so he hand balled to Hockey who in turn passed it on to Robb. It then became a total balls up and the accountants they hired to verify their figures were fined for dishonesty. The policy they presented would not get past a first year economics student. It will be interesting to see if Abbott has the guts to present this time around remembering that he has said that the subject bores him.

Asylum Seeker-Immigration Policy:
Both sides of politics should hold their heads in shame for the politicisation of such a human crisis that is not only one of national importance but one the international community is trying to come to grips with. But Tony Abbott who despite having had numerous opportunities to join a bipartisan approach has chosen together with Scott Morrison to tread gutter filth in the hope that they may win a couple of redneck seats in Western Sydney. These two have done more to demonise legal asylum seekers that any other members of parliament. Some of their comments have been founded in racism. And they are both practicing Christians.

My view is that in all its complexity there is no solution to this dilemma. It can only ever be a ‘’manageable problem.’’

A people smuggler in Indonesia has told the ABC that none of the domestic policies being considered in Australia can stop the boats. As the Federal Government looks for answers leading up to the election, the people smuggler says proposed measures like turning boats back or making it harder to get refugee status are not enough. The smuggler says there are now too many people fleeing death and persecution and that factor outweighs Australia’s attempts to stop them. And while more boats reach Australian waters, some former refugees who have lost family members on the dangerous journey say the immigration system is oppressive.

At the time of writing Kevin Rudd seems to be coming up with some fresh proposals and we can only live in hope that Tony Abbott might come to his senses and adopt a more humane and bipartisanship approach. Lies and shouts of ‘’stop the boats’’ will resolve nothing.
• Maternity Leave: The Liberal Party does have a policy. It will increase company tax by one and a half per cent. Most economists say the policy is unaffordable and caters for women with high incomes. No costing’s have come to light.
• Marriage Equality: Tony Abbott is totality against it because of his Catholic beliefs. Imposing his own morality on everyone. Kevin Rudd is in favour and has indicated that he will legislate. And so he should. Meanwhile the rest of the world moves on.

An Australian Republic: The Labor Party would support a plebiscite as a first step. Mr Abbott is a devout Royalist and led its campaign at the last referendum. In doing so he told some atrocious lies.

The following Liberal Party policies are taken from an article in The Guardian by Lenore Taylor.

• Renewable energy: The Coalition has promised a review of the 20% renewable energy target in 2014, even though it was already reviewed by the Climate Change Authority just last year. Some in the Coalition are demanding that it be scrapped altogether. More likely, say senior sources, it will be wound back a little, because its promise to deliver 41,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy by 2020 is working out to be more like 25%, due to falling electricity demand. Bottom line: the renewable energy industry is not sure what will happen to the target under the Coalition.

• Federal state relations and COAG: In his budget-in-reply speech, Abbott promised that within two years of a change of government, working with the states, the Coalition would produce a white paper on Coag reform, and the responsibilities of different governments, to ensure that, as far as possible, the states are sovereign in their own sphere. The objective will be to reduce and end, as far as possible, the waste, duplication and second-guessing between different levels of government that has resulted, for instance, in the commonwealth employing 6,000 health bureaucrats even though it doesn’t run a single hospital.”

• Northern Australia: The absence of a northern Australia policy would not normally be notable, but Abbott recently released a “vision” to have a white paper on the development of the north. The “vision” said the white paper would look at most of the ideas being vocally advocated by mining magnate Gina Rinehart and the Institute of Public Affairs, but in terms so vague and non-committal it is unclear whether the Coalition intends to actually do them, or was just trying to appease its powerful backers.

• Industrial relations: The Coalition’s policy promises only minor changes to the fair work laws, but will ask the Productivity Commission to undertake a “comprehensive and broad” review of industrial relations policy – with the results to be taken to the next election

• Car industry assistance: We know the Coalition will cut $500m from the budgeted car industry assistance between now and 2015. It says it will have another Productivity Commission inquiry into what assistance should be provided after that and how it should be spent. Given that the industry says ongoing assistance is essential for its survival, that leaves a large question mark.

. Childcare policy will be the subject of yet another Productivity Commission review. The terms of reference ask for policy to be assessed against the working hours and needs of modern families, and leave open the possibility of government rebate being extended to in-home nannies. That all sounds good, but we also know spending will be constrained so the results remain unclear.

• Competition policy: The Coalition has given mixed signals on competition policy, saying both that the existing laws are too onerous and that small business needs more protection against large competitors. Competition law will be the subject of another “root and branch review” after the election.

• Tax policy: Abbott has said he will repeal the carbon and mining taxes and promised a “modest” company tax cut, with the size and timing still uncertain. He has also said he will have a white paper, a full review of the tax system, with any subsequent decisions to be taken to the next election.

Authors note: The Labor Party intends to scrap its carbon tax in favour of a floating price so Mr Abbott can no longer campaign on a repeal the tax policy.

There may of course be other policy areas that would interest people. Predominantly in their own electorates. I think however I have covered the key issues. This election should be about policy and who has the best to serve the nation. Of course the personal character of the opposing leaders will hold some sway with the punters. One is a negative individual and the other sees a positive future for our country. But I do hope policy determines our fate. Hope all this helps you in your decision making.

What is an Opposition?

opposition

Tony Abbott, leader of the Opposition

On July 2 Lenore Taylor wrote an article in The Guardian titled Tony Abbott’s policy gap: what’s on theCcoalition’s “Figure it out later” list?

In it she summarises LNP policy”. Or more accurately as the title suggests tells us that in reality it consists of a miss mash of uncosted plans and thought bubbles that really just ask the electorate to elect us and we will “Figure it out later”.

When I finished her piece I was a little alarmed. No perhaps I was a little angry and I asked myself. What do we expect from an opposition or indeed what is opposition. Tony Abbott is on the record as saying that the function of opposition is to oppose. I fundamentally disagree with that proposition. An opposition’s job is to hold a government to account but just as importantly is its duty to show that it is a worthy alternative. Mr Abbott is also said to be the most effective opposition leader the country has ever had. If by definition this means that by being negative about your country and having little regard for the common good then those who embellish him with this title are probably correct.

On the other hand I would judge him on his alternativeness”. We the taxpayers of Australia pay our politicians to do a job. Mr Abbott has been opposition leader for some four and a half years now and an election is upon us. We have been paying him all this time to formulate policies that the people could reasonably consider as alternatives to the governments. Thus far he has not delivered. Not one costed policy is before the people for their perusal.
For a moment let’s look at Mr Abbott as the CEO of a Public Company who had been charged with the re structure of his company. He has been given three years to complete the task with recourse to adequate resources to complete the mission. What progress do you think he has made? Are the shareholders entitled to question his work ethic and those of his subordinates? He has to face a shareholders meeting soon. Is the business plan in a reasonable condition taking into account the common good of all the stakeholders? Will the costing’s stand up to the most rigorous inspection. After all the future of the company is at stake.

As Lenore Taylor points out:

“We are spending a lot of time talking about Kevin. But we also need to talk about Tony’s policies – the ones we know about, but particularly the ones we don’t know about, and probably won’t when we cast a vote.’’

“Real Solutions for all Australians” plan, which looks reassuringly like a big book of policies, all chunky and nicely bound, but is actually a much less definitive collection of goals and priorities, with very little detail.”

‘’But Abbott has also said clearly there are a long list of policies he will not announce in detail before this poll, but will think about afterwards. Having attacked Kevin Rudd in 2007 for “hitting the ground reviewing”, the Coalition has a “figure it out later” list easily as long.”

As chairman of the board I would be entitled to say that a “figure it out later’’ policy is not policy at all and I would be entitled to sack him. All he is doing I would argue is trying to foist upon the shareholders an inadequate plan in the hope that they are gullible enough to accept it. And in doing so obtain a position of trust he is unworthy of. And together with that all the perks that go with the job without putting in the hard yards.

Below is a list of policy arrears itemised from Leonor Taylor’s article. I am sure after reading it that you will agree with me. This is simply not good enough. The opposition has had three years to piece together and put before the Australian public policies as an alternative to those of the ALP. If the public accepts this nonsense and takes Mr Abbott on trust they must truly have rocks in their heads.

• Education funding. The education spokesman, Christopher Pyne, has said the Coalition wants to repeal Labor’s Gonksi funding package, roll over the existing system for two years and in that time strike a different funding agreement with the states. It is difficult for the Coalition to develop an alternative policy while details of the government’s policy continue to change and it remains unclear how many states will sign funding deals, but nevertheless, it seems parents will vote at this election without knowing how much money the Coalition is promising to spend on education beyond its first two years in power.

Tax Policy. Abbott has said he will repeal the carbon and mining taxes and promised a “modest” company tax cut, with the size and timing still uncertain. He has also said he will have a white paper, a full review of the tax system, with any subsequent decisions to be taken to the next election.

• Climate change. Business is desperate to know how the 2009 Direct Action policy will actually work, but usually emerge from meetings with the Coalition spokesman, Greg Hunt, with few answers. Hunt has promised a white paper after the election to flesh out the details, with legislation to be finalised within six months of a Coalition term.

• Renewable energy. The Coalition has promised a review of the 20% renewable energy target in 2014, even though it was already reviewed by the Climate Change Authority just last year. Some in the Coalition are demanding that it be scrapped altogether. More likely, say senior sources, it will be wound back a little, because its promise to deliver 41,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy by 2020 is working out to be more like 25%, due to falling electricity demand. Bottom line: the renewable energy industry is not sure what will happen to the target under the Coalition.

• Federal state relations and Coag.
In his budget-in-reply speech, Abbott promised that within two years of a change of government, working with the states, the Coalition would produce a white paper on Coag reform, and the responsibilities of different governments, to ensure that, as far as possible, the states are sovereign in their own sphere. The objective will be to reduce and end, as far as possible, the waste, duplication and second-guessing between different levels of government that has resulted, for instance, in the commonwealth employing 6,000 health bureaucrats even though it doesn’t run a single hospital.”

• Financial system. The shadow treasurer, Joe Hockey, has said he will have a “root and branch review” to improve competition in the banking sector.

• Spending. The Coalition will announce savings in the lead-up to the poll but it has also promised a “commission of audit” after the election, to review government spending “top to bottom”, rein in waste, identify where taxpayer funds should be spent and start “with a clean slate” on government spending. That’s a pretty broad brief.

• Northern Australia. The absence of a northern Australia policy would not normally be notable, but Abbott recently released a “vision” to have a white paper on the development of the north. The “vision” said the white paper would look at most of the ideas being vocally advocated by mining magnate Gina Rinehart and the Institute of Public Affairs, but in terms so vague and non-committal it is unclear whether the Coalition intends to actually do them, or was just trying to appease its powerful backers.

• Industrial relations. The Coalition’s policy promises only minor changes to the fair work laws, but will ask the Productivity Commission to undertake a “comprehensive and broad” review of industrial relations policy – with the results to be taken to the next election

• Car industry assistance. We know the Coalition will cut $500m from the budgeted car industry assistance between now and 2015. It says it will have another Productivity Commission inquiry into what assistance should be provided after that and how it should be spent. Given that the industry says ongoing assistance is essential for its survival, that leaves a large question mark.

* Childcare policy will be the subject of yet another Productivity Commission review. The terms of reference ask for policy to be assessed against the working hours and needs of modern families, and leave open the possibility of government rebate being extended to in-home nannies. That all sounds good, but we also know spending will be constrained so the results remain unclear.

* Competition policy.
The Coalition has given mixed signals on competition policy, saying both that the existing laws are too onerous and that small business needs more protection against large competitors. Competition law will be the subject of another “root and branch review” after the election.

It can be seen that there is very little policy in all this. Plenty of reviews that will take another three years. And of course no costings. Oppositions have to be more than opposition for opposition’s sake. More than just endless negativity and suspensions of standing orders. We must demand more from them. Otherwise what are we paying them for? We deserve better.

Incidentally Lenore Taylor is to be congratulated for being one of the few journalists in mainstream media who focuses on policy areas.

 

The Lying Christopher Pyne

Did anybody watch the 7:30 Report last night? If not, you wouldn’t have known that Christopher Pyne told a bold-faced lie about Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, a lie that was promptly exposed and quashed by host Leigh Sales. You can watch it here, in the first few minutes of the show:

http://www.abc.net.au/iview/?series=3152075#/view/39542

It was a lie. Full stop. It was not anything he can be misquoted over; it’s not something he meant only at the time and changed his mind later. It was a calculated, pre-meditated lie delivered with a straight face. The face, I might suspect, of a person quite artful in speaking with a forked tongue.

It’s not the point that he lied for some political traction that infuriates me. The point is, he lied on the 7:30 Report and by 8:00 all was forgiven and forgotten. Where is the outrage? This was a lie on national television and he knew he was telling a lie. He knows he can lie through his teeth and get away with it. Well I’m sick of him getting away with it.

Christopher Pyne lies, and the issue dies.

I have scoured the web today in search of outrage from the Opposition or the mainstream media (MSM) if they suspect that the Prime Minister or any member of her party had lied, regardless if it was a lie or not. To the Opposition and the MSM, anything she says is a lie, and the ferocity of their attack is breathtaking. I need not tell you that the internet provides us with millions of instances where the Opposition and their media allies screeched like banshees over alleged lies, but I have selected three from the usual suspects. Here they are:

Julia Gillard should stop telling lies to the people of Tasmania (Eric Abetz).

Julia Gillard made more dishonest statements in Hobart today about the GST.

The Coalition’s position on the distribution of the GST to the states is clear: we will not support or implement any proposal that disadvantages Tasmania.

In respect of GST allocations, neither Tasmania nor South Australia will be worse off under any future Coalition government.

Despite the Prime Minister’s falsehoods that she repeated today, the government still hasn’t announced its response to the Greiner-Brumby report.

Does your national leader lie? (Andrew Bolt).

The question we now face: Is the Prime Minister of Australia a liar?

Her Four Corners disaster on Monday night is part of a pattern.

Julia Gillard deceives and, I suspect, lies. And what’s killing her is that she does it so badly.

Gillard’s great carbon lie (Piers Ackerman).

The sweeping scope of Julia Gillard’s breathtaking lies in defence of her broken promise on a carbon tax should bury her political career.

Her first lie was to repeatedly claim in the immediate lead-up to the August 21 election that there would not be a carbon tax under a government she led.

That was clearly her biggest lie, but not her only lie by any means.

Now I ask those three moral crusaders, where is the outrage over Pyne’s lie? Where is the outrage over any of his lies? And what about Tony Abbott’s history of lying? And what about your own?

Let the outrage begin.

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Why Labor must not win the 2013 election

In a nutshell, we have a Government who have hoisted us to the top of the international economic tree; who have delivered policies that will drive us into the future; and yet who trail the Opposition badly in the opinion polls. In nutshell number 2, we have a mainstream media who clamber over each other in telling us how incompetent this Government is while instilling in our minds that only Tony Abbott can deliver us from the burning fires of hell.

What if it were the other way around? What if the much-loved Tony Abbott (media loved, that is) had guided us through the global financial crisis (GFC) and safely out the other side; had a raft of policies on the table that held Australia high as a country willing to embrace social and political change, and yet were facing a wipe-out in the September election?

Not only would the Abbott Government be fighting for survival, but the media will be standing with them, shoulder to shoulder, fighting too. What would they be saying about the likely election result?

I’ve candidly put together a number of hypothetical examples. My responses might appear somewhat absurd, but it’s only absurdities that we’ve come to expect from our pathetic media. Let’s play along.

The falling dollar: The dollar is in free fall because the market is nervous about the prospect of Labor taking charge of the economy later this year. They don’t have a good history of economic management and the market is jittery in anticipation. Australian overseas travelers will also be hit hard. Forget those annual trips to Las Vegas taking in shows and shopping. Labor will ruin that for you. Forget too, the annual pilgrimage to Anzac Cove. Labor will ruin that planned holiday as well. Our dollar will sink into irrelevance.

The economy: Joe Hockey not only guided Australia through the Global Financial Crisis but his sound economic management has seen Australia receive AAA credit ratings from the world’s three major rating agencies. This is a first for our country. Nobody before him has been able to achieve this feat. He has also seen interest rates, the unemployment rate and inflation all fall below 5% at the one time. This has not been achieved in over 40 years. Euromoney awarded him with the prestigious Finance Minister of the Year in 2011. Australian voters want to award him with a seat on the Opposition benches.

If Labor win the election and Wayne Swan gets his hands on the savings of hard working Australians then we might become the next Cyprus. Best to keep your savings under the bed.

Refugee boats: How much longer can Julia Gillard promise to ‘stop the boats’ without laying a plan on the table? How much longer can she get away with calling asylum seekers ‘illegal immigrants’? She has been given a free license to scare and to lie and the average voter believes her. And the threat to tow them back to Indonesia could not only create an international incident, put put the lives of Navy personnel at risk.

Julia Gillard’s rudeness: Not even the holder of the highest office in the land commands her respect. Her disgraceful shouts of ‘he’ or ‘him’ when addressing Prime Minister Tony Abbott make one wonder that, given that her arrogance towards the Prime Minister is appalling, how must she then hold hard working Australians in lowly contempt. She’d think she’s even too good to kiss President Obama.

Foreign Affairs: In Julie Bishop Australia has a Foreign Minister we feel proud to represent us on the international stage. Can you imagine Bob Carr attempting dialogue with foreign governments and dignitaries as equally as commanding and gracious than Julie Bishop? Of course not. Do we want a Foreign Minister who just stares at people? One who couldn’t even find Indonesia on a map? One then, who would just stare at maps?

Interest rates: Home buyers have never had it so good under the Abbott Government. The last Labor Government presided over 11 successive increases. No wonder the market is jittery. Oh how easily people forget.

Infrastructure: There will be none. Simple.

Education: Shadow Minister Peter Garrett hasn’t asked one question to his counterpart, Christopher Pyne in two years. Does this display any ounce of interest in his portfolio? He is more interested in glaring at the Speaker or attempting to burst blood vessels in his neck than he is in education. His only comments on education have been to the adoring media that teachers are incompetent which he’ll fix by sacking 43,000 of them across Australia.

The Budget: Labor want to return to a surplus at the expense of jobs and infrastructure. Joe Hockey saved 230,000 Australian jobs with his gutsy move to spend money during the GFC and now Labor want to take those jobs back. Do we really need a surplus if it is going to cost jobs and services?

Those are a few reasons why Labor must not win the 2013 election.

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Six of the best

Image by dailymail.co.uk

Image by dailymail.co.uk

We are at that moment in the election cycle (and given that we have a Labor Government, much to the consternation of a compliant right-wing mainstream media) that we can expect the said media to ramp up its attack on how hellish the Government is while promoting Tony Abbott and his team as political deities. Nothing is more certain. Their efforts to date – as toxic as they are – will pale in comparison to the venom we can expect over the coming months.

Those of the Fifth Estate (social and independent media) are also ramping up an attack, collectively, but with the opposing message: the Labor Government has performed extraordinarily well and the possibility of an Abbott led government will deliver dire social and economic consequences, the likes of which this country haven’t seen for many decades. And may themselves take many decades to recover from.

Those people wise enough to follow the writings of the Fifth Estate at the exclusion of the Fourth Estate (the mainstream media) could not have helped but notice the flood of articles holding the current opposition and their media mates to account. Only the Fifth Estate are providing a true picture of what an Abbott Government would mean to most Australian families, while themselves being gobsmacked at the media’s reluctance to actually ask a simple question of Abbott for fear of the (half-hearted) answer deterring the nurtured voters.

Over the last few days some brilliant articles about the reality of the incompetent media and the prospect of an Abbott Government have been published. I have picked six of the best from sites other than those on The Australian Independent Media Network site that deserve, nay, demand wide coverage. They are all a MUST read. They are all a MUST share.

Here they are, in no particular order with some selected, and hopefully, enticing quotes:

The Political Sword: Political hatred: its genesis and its toll by Ad astra who writes:

Abbott has always maintained that he should have been PM, that the Gillard Government is illegitimate, and that he would do everything in his power to bring it down, something he envisaged would be easy and swift, and The Lodge his by Christmas. That was two Christmases ago, and with each passing day his anger heightened and his campaign of vilification intensified.

Before any of you tell me that politics is a rough and tumble business, that conflict is at its very centre, that such hatred is the norm, reflect on when you have previously seen such intense hatred. We all remember the unpleasant things that were said about some of John Howard’s policies, about some of his statements, about some of his ideological positions, about some of his reversals – ‘core and non core promises’ – even about his eyebrows, but can you recall such a level of hatred, such vitriolic hatred, being expressed? Older readers will remember some of Paul Keating’s colourful language, but can you recall him emitting hatred such as has been directed to Julia Gillard?

I have not witnessed such hatred as we now hear in the language that Opposition members and some commentators use, and see in the angrily contorted faces of Tony Abbott, Christopher Pyne, Joe Hockey, Julie Bishop and other Opposition members in parliament and in interviews.

The Failed Estate: Damned Lies and Journalism by Mr Denmore:

The sheer volume of this muck prompts one to ask where journalists stand. For instance, we constantly see  deceitful scare stories about public debt, devoid of context. In the case of this boogeyman, the News Ltd scribblers conveniently leave out that to ensure a liquid bond market, gross debt will rise if government  issuance is kept at a set ratio to the economy (as requested by APRA, the RBA and other key institutions). They ignore that our net debt is among the lowest in the OECD, and they will ritually overlook that, in the eyes of bodies like the IMF, our debt is of no concern at all. These are facts. They are not ‘left-wing’ facts. They are facts.

Independent Australia: The polishing of Tony Abbott by Clint Howitt:

The intrusion of religion into politics runs counter to the traditional separation of Church and State in modern democracies, but Abbott’s statements and actions have already made it clear that his strong sectarian convictions do encroach on his political role.

Given the controversial positions he has taken on the sensitive matters of the status of women, abortion and gay relationships, it must be of great concern to people affected by these issues that the hard-won gains are likely either to freeze, or worst still, wind them back, under an Abbott government.

Again on Independent Australia: Tony Abbott’s 12 biggest budget reply porkie pies, a gem by Alan Austin:

Observers aware of Australia’s extraordinary economy were stunned to hear Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s budget reply speech on Thursday.

Never so many implied falsehoods, bare-faced hypocrisies and blatant lies in the one presentation since … well . . .  since Abbott’s speech at the IPA dinner in April.

Would this be the end of Phoney Tony? Could any leader survive the media onslaught after a hubristic homily with such huge hypocrisies?

Well, not only was media reaction completely devoid of fulmination against the fibs, but it seemed none had even been detected. Somewhat bizarre.

Politically Homeless: Manufacturing Base by Andrew Elder:

This is the point where companies are starting to make investment decisions about the next financial year, and to make long-term decisions for the rest of the decade. We’re at the point where the Coalition should start looking like a confident alternative government, rather than like a bunch of chancers riding their luck. Late last year, The Australian‘s Paul Kelly declared that the Coalition had fifty fully-costed policies ready to go: it’s increasingly clear this isn’t the case, and could well be for Kelly what assertions about Iraqi WMDs were to Colin Powell.

On Turn Left 2013: Tony Abbott announces the Oprah Winfrey of budget replies: You can have free money and You and You, the author writes:

What we witnessed from Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott was the Oprah Winfrey of campaign launches. You can have free money, and you, and you, and you…

Unfortunately Tony was pointing to the Gallery, where his family were watching from, and Gina Rinehart, who was also watching.

Tony’s speech was designed to satisfy only 3 people: Gina Rinehart, Rupert Murdoch, Tony Abbott.

[Correction: Thursday night was a budget reply, not a campaign launch]

The feedback to the Budget Reply was a little like an episode of Orpah – a buffet of everything.

Tony’s plans to scrap the carbon “tax” to save families up to $300 a year in exchange low-income Australians will lose the low-income super contribution as well as the supplementary bonus paid to people on benefits. Makes sense? Perhaps to a Coalition voter. Although, as NSW Senator Doug Cameron points out, the Liberals are far from economic geniuses.

Six great articles among dozens to choose from, and my apologies to those great social media authors and their articles not included – this time. Your turn will come. To all, keep up the great work. You’re all brilliant. You really do give the mainstream media – dare I say it – a caning.

 

Mr Abbott Stark Raving Naked in Collins Street!

Peter Costello, May 24th 2013: “Unless Tony Abbot gets caught stark raving naked in Collins Street, I think it’s over and even then he might win.”

Tony Abbott, Budget Reply Speech: ”We won’t back a so-called national education system that some states don’t support, especially as this government has a history of spending more while schools’ performance actually goes backwards.”

This was Tony Abbott’s response to Gonski in his Budget Reply Speech. Part of the difficulty with looking at education is that nearly everyone agrees that the system could be improved, so that it’s easy to say that anything that’s actually being done is a failure. It’s easy to suggest that we’re going backwards, but the data is nearly always ambiguous.

Someone I spoke to – a person in their seventies – assured me that when he went to school everyone could read and write, and that spelling was taught much more effectively than now, leading to everyone being able to spell. The fact that he himself was a poor speller seemed to be completely irrelevant to the discussion.

The subtext of what Mr Abbott and Mr Pyne have been saying is quite terrifying for anyone in education. Whenever I hear things about it being the quality of the teacher that’s the most important thing, I shudder. Of course, an excellent teacher can overcome enormous obstacles and still have success, but a well-resourced excellent teacher will have even greater success. No-one suggests that a clever CEO doesn’t need to have access to technology, or that air-conditioning is just a needless expense for the company.

Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps this suggestion that increased spending doesn’t actually improve the quality of teaching and learning isn’t code for: “Let’s ignore Gonski and keep the current model.” I certainly hope so. When Liberals say that education isn’t about money and cut funding, I notice that it’s never private schools that have their funding cut. That’s class warfare.

(The mining industry can spend millions saying that they shouldn’t pay any more tax, that’s free speech, but when Wayne Swan says that they aren’t paying enough tax, that’s class warfare. Or to put it another way, when a country starts sending missiles into another country that’s ok, but if the second country says that they’ll fight back, they’re the ones starting a war.)

Of course, the media has been telling us about Mr Positive, but when it comes to education, Mr Abbott has told us what he won’t back. When does he plan to tell us what he will back? Closer to the election has been the refrain from the LNP for the past three years, but how much closer can you get?

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A Clarification – not a backdown on the PPL!

“Earlier this week, a Labor backbencher, Michelle Rowland, was denied a ‘pair’ in spite of having a sick child. We have in the studio, Mr War-on Inch explaining this decision. Good afternoon, Mr Inch”

“Good afternoon, I’d just like to point out that we have since given her the pair and now Ms Rowland is home where she should have been all along.”

“This is being used by the Labor Party to suggest that you’re out of touch when it comes to the needs of the working mother.”

“That’s just typical. Tony Abbott is introducing the Parental Leave (PPL) scheme to enable mothers to stay at home. And he has a wife and daughters, not to mention the fact that his mother was a woman. He certainly understands women far better than the PM.”

“So why didn’t you give her the pair earlier?”

“We didn’t know that her child was sick.”

“But she’s produced a letter where you talk of her child being unwell. before saying that the pair won’t be granted.”

“Yes, but she didn’t say ‘sick’. I mean, people in the workforce get sick leave, they don’t get unwell leave.”

“That seems to be splitting straws.”

“No!”

“No?”

“I think you’ll find the expression is ‘splitting hairs’. No-one says splitting straws.”

“But the point is surely that you should have given her the pair earlier in the week!”

“No the point is that she shouldn’t have waited until Thursday. She should have been home with her child and not even come to Parliament.”

“So you’d have given her a pair if she hadn’t turned up at all?”

“No, I’m just saying that it just shows what sort of parent she is. Leaving a sick child.”

“Surely she has an obligation to represent her electorate. I mean would you stay home if you had a sick child?”

“I’m not a mother!”

“That’s a matter of opinion …”

 

Going, Going . . . Gonski!

Christpoher Pyne (image by news.com.au)

Will Christpoher Pyne kill off Gonski? (image by news.com.au)

INTERVIEWER

Tonight, we’ll be talking to the Opposition Education Spokesman, Mr  Christopher Whine. Good evening, Mr Whine.

MR WHINE

Good evening.

INTERVIEWER

So, is the Coalition going to commit to implementing the Gonski Report?

MR WHINE

Well, we’re not in Government, so we’re not the ones you should be asking.

INTERVIEWER

Well, let’s for the sake of argument imagine you become the Government in September. Will you commit to implementing the Gonski Report?

MR WHINE

We have to wait and see if there’s any money left after all Labor’s spending, but I suspect that a lot of the things we’d like to implement will be just too expensive given the enormous black hole that Labor will leave us.

INTERVIEWER

So what is your education policy then?

MR WHINE

We’ll release it closer to the next election.

INTERVIEWER

How close to the next election? It’s only five months away.

MR WHINE

About two weeks from the election date.

INTERVIEWER

Couldn’t it be argued that releasing a policy two weeks before the election doesn’t leave enough time to analyse it?

MR WHINE

No, two weeks AFTER the election. People will have plenty of time to analyse it.

INTERVIEWER

So you won’t be releasing your education policy until after the next election? That seems a bit odd …

MR WHINE

Why should education be any different? It’s not as though people don’t know our broad position on things.

INTERVIEWER

Which is?

MR WHINE

We think that rather than throwing money at things, we should all tighten our belts and do the things that can improve our education system without costing too much. This is not a bottomless pit and people just need to make do.

INTERVIEWER

So you’ll be cutting funding to the wealthier private schools?

MR WHINE

No, that’s the sort of class warfare that Labor indulges in.

INTERVIEWER

So, why shouldn’t they have to have cuts as well as the public system?

MR WHINE

Because they need the money. Otherwise they’d have to raise their fees and less people could afford to go there.

INTERVIEWER

So what’s your plan to help the poorer schools?

MR WHINE

When we are, we’ll have loads of policies. Like improving teacher quality.

INTERVIEWER

And how will you do that?

MR WHINE

By telling teachers the best way to teach. Which is standing out the front of the class telling them things in an interesting way. We’ll also make it easier to remove underperforming teachers. And by rewarding the good teachers. At the moment we have the absurd situation where the best teachers are paid the same as the worst. Everyone knows a really good teacher when they see one.

INTERVIEWER

And how will you determine which teachers receive performance pay?

MR WHINE

I just told you – by looking at them. Everyone knows a good teacher when they see one.

INTERVIEWER

Aren’t you afraid that performance pay might disrupt the teamwork and the sharing that’s an essential part of a good school?

MR WHINE

No, I expect it’ll make all teachers try harder.

INTERVIEWER

So how will you know who are the best teachers?

MR WHINE

They’ll be the ones getting the performance pay.

INTERVIEWER

Then wouldn’t it be easier to raise the salaries of all teachers?

MR WHINE

No, then we’d be rewarding the underperforming ones as well.

INTERVIEWER

But I thought you said you’d get rid of the underperforming teachers …

MR WHINE

Yes, but that’s just the really bad ones, not the ones who just aren’t as good as the really good teachers which we’ve identified through a totally fair process.

INTERVIEWER

Any other broad concepts for education?

MR WHINE

Well, after we’ve sold Medibank Private, then we’ll look at selling the school system.

INTERVIEWER

Selling the school system?

MR WHINE

Yes everyone agrees that private schools are the best so it makes sense to privatise the whole system.

INTERVIEWER

Well that’s worked well with Public Transport …

MR WHINE

Yes, now if something goes wrong, the State Government can just blame the private operator. And look at how much money energy companies have saved on basic maintenance since they were privatised.

INTERVIEWER

But has it improved the system?

MR WHINE

Sorry, I don’t understand the question.

INTERVIEWER

That’s all we have time for. Good night, and thank you.

MR WHINE

Always a pleasure.

 

Christopher Pyne gets it wrong again

Media release today from the Hon Peter Garrett MP (Minister for School Education; Minister for Early Childhood and Youth). Worth repeating.

Christopher Pyne has shown once again that he has no idea about how the school funding system works or what our plans are – and he has no interest in finding out.

His latest claims show a complete lack of understanding about the National Plan for School improvement and follow a succession of ridiculous positions on the important issue of school funding:

  • He dismissed the Gonski Report within 20 minutes of it being released.
  • He said he would repeal any legislation we introduced before he had even seen it.
  • He has consistently said he will keep a broken funding model that will see schools across Australia lose up to $5.4 billion in coming years.
  • He continues to pretend the Opposition would index schools at 6 per cent when he knows the current indexation rate is 3.9 per cent and is estimated to fall to 3 per cent from 2014.
  • He claims the Coalition cares about teacher quality when his real plans are to slash $425 million from our Teacher Quality National Partnership.

He has also confirmed he doesn’t even think it is his job to come up with a better way to fund schools, even though the most comprehensive independent review in 40 years found conclusively a new model is needed.

How does he expect anyone to take him seriously on education when he doesn’t even think it’s his job to come up with a plan to fix a broken school funding system?

The National Plan for School Improvement includes a new fairer school funding model. We want every child’s education to be supported by a new nationally consistent Schooling Resource Standard.

This would include a base amount per student and additional ‘loadings’ to address school and student disadvantage. These loadings would support Indigenous students, students with a disability, students with limited English language skills and schools in regional and remote areas – exactly what was recommended in the Gonski Review.

We have always recognised the important role of education authorities, including government, Catholic and independent schools, and the need for them to retain some flexibility to address local need. The Gonski Review also supported the role of system redistribution noting that it would need to be more publicly transparent.

This approach is exactly what we are negotiating with the states, territories and non-government education authorities. It represents the biggest change to school funding in 40 years.

Mr Pyne clearly opposes both transparency and needs-based funding and has said that he will not sign up to the idea of Australian schools being amongst the best in the world.

We are prepared to make significant additional investment but we also expect the states to pay their fair share. We can’t do this if some states continue to cut funding to their own education budgets.

That’s why we’ve asked states to commit to at least 3 per cent indexation and not cut further funding.

If Mr Pyne had spent more time reading the Gonski Review and less time dismissing it, he would know what we are proposing is consistent with the core recommendations of the review.

Mr Pyne’s latest claims do nothing but confirm that the Opposition simply don’t have a plan for the future of our schools – and are clearly not bothering to develop one.

The Coalition’s only plan for schools it to slash funding, sack one in seven teachers and squeeze more kids into every classroom.

Cutting funding from education is what Liberals do. Only Labor can be trusted to deliver the best results for schools across Australia.

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Oh please, shoot me now!

Anybody who watched – sorry, laboured through the ABC’s QandA last night could not have helped to notice that, despite the multitude of tweets begging for a question to Christopher Pyne on the Ashbygate affair … it was definitely off limits. The ABC, in their wisdom, preferred to direct the discussion about a Labor Government who is apparently out of touch with the electorate (and quickly gave the floor to Amanda Vanstone), or the lack of public transport in Western Sydney. It was about as gripping as an episode of Basil Brush.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only viewer to tune in to watch Pyne face a few curved balls. I guess we know the ABC’s agenda: Go lightly on the Opposition. Somewhere up the hierarchy someone is pulling a few strings.

Last night the public might have thought it was given its first real chance to pursue this important electoral issue. We’ve sat by and watch our media do nothing, say nothing. And last night they shut the door on their viewers.

The media has an agenda. Today on news.com another side of the agenda was on pathetic display. We read:

Mr Abbott is expected to have a wealth of material to draw upon from over summer since parliament last met last November.

Ms Gillard’s leadership has been dogged over the past week by speculation about a Kevin Rudd return, more poor opinion polls, the mismanaged Cabinet reshuffle and the charging of suspended Labor MP Craig Thomson a day after announcing the election date.

So in less than 24 hours I’ve learned that the media wants to kill the real stories and replace it with opinion, speculation, and outright lies.

I want to dissect the second sentence of the above quote and ask the writer some questions:

  • I’d like to know a bit more about the leadership speculation about a Kevin Rudd return. To my knowledge the only speculation has been generated by our mainstream media in search of another unsubstantiated story, yet one that will tarnish the Government. Can you thus substantiate that claim?
  • How much poorer are the opinion polls for Labor compared to their showing over the past 12 months? And have you bothered to look at the latest Morgan Poll which shows Labor only one point behind the LNP?
  • How was it a mismanaged Cabinet reshuffle? Is that a fact or is that just your opinion? Can you tell me how it should have been conducted?
  • Yes, Craig Thomson is a suspended Labor MP but he is now an Independent MP. Why not state that? Oh that’s right, it would be less harmful to Julia Gillard to do so.

If this is the best our media can perform, then please, shoot me now. I don’t want them deciding who runs this country.

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