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Tag Archives: Kevin Rudd

Your vote might just be worth something after all

News.com.au have published an excellent and timely article, Federal Election promises, cuts and what they mean for you by Sarah Michael, which briefly examines Kevin Rudd’s and Tony Abbott’s election promises and how they would affect the average voter. The article deserves exposure. It doesn’t appear to be receiving a great deal by the looks of the Most Read Stories section of news.com where it hasn’t even entered the Top Ten even though it was published some seven hours ago. It is doubtful too, that hundreds of thousands of social media users will know the article exists because of the huge (and justified) anti-Murdoch sentiment: people – again justifiably – are deserting his tabloids in their droves.

Subsequently, for those thousands of readers of this site, I have reproduced the bulk of the article below. Here is what you will get with your vote:

If you have school-aged children…

Under Labor, you would receive the Schoolkids Bonus of $410 a year for each child in primary school and $820 a year for each child in secondary school. But your family would only be eligible for these payments if you receive benefits such as Family Tax Benefit Part A.

Labor would also introduce 137 new trade training centres to 225 schools across Australia.

Labor would also spend $8 million on programs to tackle homophobic bullying in schools.

The Coalition would axe the Schoolkids Bonus. But it would match Labor school funding dollar-for-dollar over the next four years.

If you have children in after-school care…

Labor would give $450 million in extra funding to up to 500 schools, so they can introduce or expand on after-school care services.

If you’re a TAFE student…

Labor would seek an agreement from the states and territories guaranteeing no further TAFE cuts. If the states refused to guarantee funding for TAFE, the Commonwealth would fund TAFEs directly.

If you want to go to university…

And you are from a disadvantaged background, Labor would give $50 million in funding to 17 higher education institutions to boost participation.

If you’re an apprentice…

Labor would boost the completion payment under the Tools For Your Trade initiative from $1500 to $2000. But Labor has already scrapped $3000 full-time and $1500 part-time incentives for employers of workers who undertake a ‘nonpriority’ qualification. The incentives remain in place if the qualifications lead to occupations on the National Skills Needs List or in the aged, child or disability care sectors, or if they are enrolled nurses.

The Coalition would maintain the scrapping of these incentives. The Coalition would also provide apprentices with a Trade Support Loan of up to $20,000 over four years during your apprenticeship. It will be repayable at the same income threshold for university students who receive FEE-HELP loans (currently $51,309).

If you’re a low-income earner…

And you earn less than $19,400, from 2015-16 you would not need to file a tax return because Labor intends to increase the tax-free threshold.

The Coalition would abolish the low-income super contribution, which pays people who earn $37,000 or less per year up to $500 each financial year to help save for their retirement.

If you’re unemployed…

Labor would spend $35 million over three years to provide about 8900 disadvantaged jobseekers with simulated work experience and training in employability skills such as language, literacy and numeracy.

The Coalition would give people who have been unemployed for 12 months or more and are on Newstart or Youth Allowance a $2500 Job Commitment Bonus if they get a job and remain off welfare for one year. People would receive a further $4000 if they remain off welfare for two years.

The Coalition will also provide up to $6000 for long-term unemployed job seekers if they moved to a regional area for a job, or $3000 if they moved to a metropolitan area.

If you work in the public service…

Labor would increase the public service efficiency dividend from 1.25 to 2.25 percent for three years, a move unions say could cost more than 5000 jobs. The dividend is an annual funding reduction for Commonwealth government agencies, designed to reduce operating costs and lift efficiency.

The Coalition would reduce jobs by 12,000. It says the jobs would be lost through natural attrition.

If you’re applying for a 457 visa…

From next month fees will rise to more than $1000. The cost for a family of four applying to the scheme will go from $450 to $5050.

Both Labor and the Coalition would do this.

If you’re a small-business owner…

Labor says it would cut the red tape by administering paid parental leave through Centrelink for businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

Labor would give an upfront tax deduction for small businesses when they buy equipment and assets worth up to $10,000.

Labor would also reduce GST reporting requirements from four times a year to just once a year for businesses with a turnover of less than $20 million a year.

Labor would also extend the free small business superannuation clearing house to businesses with less than 100 employees from July 1, 2014.

The Coalition would spend $6 million to create a Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman. It would also spend $3 million to improve access for small businesses to Commonwealth contracts. It would also spend $1 billion to cut red tape including changing superannuation payment methods.

The Coalition would also spend $1 million to extend unfair contract protections so they cover small businesses as well as consumers.

But the Coalition would axe a $6500 instant asset write off for small businesses with turnover less than $2 million.

It would also axe a tax-loss carry-forward scheme, which allows businesses to claim losses of up to $1 million against tax they have paid in the previous two years.

If you work in manufacturing…

Labor would invest $35.6 million to assist about 6800 new and existing manufacturing workers in upskilling for hi-tech manufacturing.

The Coalition would introduce a $50 million manufacturing transition grant program over two years. Grants would be available to communities, business and stakeholders to help them transition to competitive industries.

It would also restore funding to Export Market Development Grants starting with an initial $50 million boost.

If you work in health or community services…

Labor would spend $30.6 million to support more than 5800 workers to be upskilled in sectors such as disability services, aged care and childhood education.

If you work in the car industry…

Labor would give a $500 million boost to the car industry funding to the end of the decade and $300 million a year beyond 2020. If you work for Toyota, Labor would contribute $23.6 million towards Toyota’s $123 million investment in its local manufacturing operations. The government would also pay $1 million this financial year and $1.4 million per year from 2014 to 2017 in assistance to Ford Australia workers.

The Coalition would cut $500 million from the Automotive Transformation Scheme and would launch a Productivity Commission review into public funding for the Australian car industry.

If you’re working and studying…

Labor would defer and review the introduction of a $2000 cap on tax deductions for self-education expenses.

The Coalition has called on Labor to scrap the cap completely but has not committed to doing the same thing.

If you work for defence…

Labor would introduce measures so all families of Australian Defence Force personnel would be able to receive reimbursement for gap expenses when visiting a general practitioner.

The Coalition would also reimburse ADF families for out of pocket GP expenses. The Coalition would return defence spending to 2 percent of GDP from the current level of 1.59 percent within a decade.

If you don’t like the carbon tax…

Labor would terminate a fixed carbon price from next July. Families would save an average of $380 in the first year, plus the household assistance package linked to the carbon tax would remain in place. Labor would instead introduce an emissions trading scheme with a floating carbon price of about $6 a tonne.

The Coalition would axe the carbon tax. It would instead establish an Emissions Reduction Fund of $3 billion to allocate money in response to emission reduction tenders to projects designed to reduce carbon emissions.

If you’re in a same-sex relationship…

And want to get married, Labor would introduce a Bill into the Parliament to legalise same-sex marriage within 100 days of being re-elected.

If you use the internet…

Labor would roll out the National Broadband Network which aims for speeds of 1000 megabits per second by 2021.

The Coalition broadband would aim for at least 25-100 Mbps by 2016 and 50-100 Mbps by 2019.

If you’re planning on having a baby…

You are eligible to receive Labor’s current paid parental leave. This is 18 weeks’ pay at the rate of the national minimum wage.

The Coalition would give mothers who give birth after July 2015 six months’ leave on full pay, capped at $75,000.

If you are a victim of terrorism…

The Coalition would provide assistance to Australians and their families who have been victims of terrorism overseas since September 10, 2001, up to a maximum of $75,000. Currently, this assistance would be available for future victims but is not available for existing victims.

If you are an Indigenous Australian…

Labor promises a large number of measures under its Closing the Gap policy, including

$777 million over three years to continue the National Partnership Agreement for health and

$1.5 billion to provide job seekers in remote communities with local support.

The Coalition would spend $10 million to fund four trial sites for jobs training for Indigenous Australians.

It would also provide up to $45 million to support the GenerationOne employment model, creating job opportunities for up to 5000 indigenous Australians. The Coalition would also establish a Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council.

If you plan on buying a car…

Labor would axe the fringe benefits tax break employees receive for buying cars through salary sacrifice.

The Coalition would abandon these planned changes.

If you have a disability…

Labor would invest more than $14 billion for disability services over seven years for DisabilityCare.

The Coalition has also committed to implementing the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

If you require aged care…

Labor would invest $3.7 billion in aged care reform over five years, including more than 40,000 extra home care packages.

If you’re a victim of assault…

… that is sexual assault or domestic violence related, Labor would spend $31.2 million to support victims.

If you have health issues…

Labor would spend $50 million to improve care for stroke sufferers, $10.5 million on emergency asthma training, $3.2 million funding for Arthritis Australia, $21 million for family mental health services and $30 million for STI and blood borne virus prevention.

The Coalition would increase mental health spending by $430 million, spend $35 million to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes and provide a further $200 million over five years for dementia research.

If you have private health insurance…

The Coalition would “fully restore” the private health insurance rebate. The 30 percent rebate is currently means-tested for individuals earning more than $83,000 and families earning more than $166,000. Singles earning more than $129,000 and families earning over $258,000 receive no rebate.

The Coalition would also scrap the means test but has not said when they would do this.

If you’re a senior…

The Coalition would index eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. This would allow more self-funded retirees to access the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme at the concessional rate.

If you run a company…

The Coalition would cut the company tax rate by 1.5 percent from 1 July 2015. But if you run one of the 3200 biggest companies in Australia, the Coalition would impose a 1.5 percent levy to pay for part of its Paid Parental Leave Scheme.

If you’re a smoker…

Labor would increase the smoking tax so a pack of 20 cigarettes would cost you an extra $5.25 by the end of 2016.

The Coalition would increase the smoking tax by the same amount.

If you pay super…

The Coalition will delay increases to the super guarantee. This means it will be frozen at its current rate of 9.25 percent until July 1, 2016, when it will increase to 9.5 percent.

If you’re anything like me, after reading that you’re probably picking yourself up from the floor! A Murdoch article that actually makes Labor look good! Now we just have to get the message across.

Your vote might just be worth something after all.

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And The Winner Is …

This is emphatically not an election campaign about policy. Labor’s are mostly already in place and the Coalition doesn’t have any “big ticket” policies that aren’t frankly a total joke or are heartily rejected by conservative commentators and party members alike. Nor is this campaign about political philosophy or ideology.

It is well-nigh impossible to mount a meaningful argument in contemporary Australia regarding the ideological differences between Labor and the Coalition. The seismic shift to the political right in this country has all but guaranteed its impossibility. It was once a chasm, but it’s been bridged in what is really a quite remarkable feat of political engineering.

Nor again has this vote soliciting boot-sale been about facts. Of course, truth and facts are always one of the first casualties in any political election campaign, but this one seems especially unconcerned with them. Indeed facts are an impediment to most political strategies.

One might suggest, however, that the plethora of media “fact checking” mechanisms belies this assertion, but I’m happy to dismiss such things as little more than media stunts.

Perhaps the only persons who are seriously interested in facts are the Labor supporters who’ve been reduced to wretched despair over the almost complete disregard for them.

There may well be some more moderate members and supporters of the Coalition who also bemoan this facet of the campaign and of the unseemly nature of modern Australian political discourse and debate, but if they exist, they’re not saying much. Or they’re saying it in places I don’t tend to visit.

No, this campaign has been about one thing and one thing only, and thus far it is completely triumphal – the winner is Prejudice.

Mind you, it cheated a little bit and got an early start. Prejudice was the major cultural force in Australia well before the election was even called. It had its pre-selection victory in the Seat of Sovereignty when it saw off our first female Prime Minister. I believe in some places it’s still doing a victory lap.

There was nothing of fact or policy or ideology in any moment of that unwholesome dynamic. It was all about Prejudice and pettiness of mind. It was also about fear, which is the primary fuel of Prejudice. Fear of the new (a woman), the different (an atheist), the unconventional (unwed and childless). Gillard was all those things, but worse, she also knew how to be successful. There can be only one form of response to something like that when it’s feared and it isn’t reasoned argument.

By the time the election was called the cultural dry rot had well and truly set in and bits of our Nation’s political, intellectual and moral integrity had already become flaky. We could not, for example, tell the difference between an actual carbon tax and an industry-based static carbon price, even though they are economically distinct things. We could barely tell the difference between a $100 leg of lamb and the Loch Ness Monster. The mantra of Prejudice was well and truly established and just about set in the Public’s DNA: Labor Brand Tarnished. Never mind that the slogan doesn’t actually mean anything. The great thing about slogans is they don’t have to.

So, why has Prejudice become the front-runner for electoral success in this election? Well, the first thing Prejudice has going for it is that it’s awfully vocal; it tends to shout a lot, though often with the aid of visual and auditory devices.

election

It simply never goes unheard. Its voice may be annoying but it resonates like the piercing call of a Pallid Cuckoo cutting through a still, dark night. You just can’t shut it the hell up and no amount of wishing and hoping can make it so. The second and perhaps most significant trait Prejudice has in its favour is that it’s remarkably contagious. It’s a sort of lickety-split Leprosy. You don’t know it’s affecting you till one day your brain falls out.

This election campaign began life with an already deeply afflicted populace. Its colic was congenital. But it was to become a near piffle pandemic. This is what happens when certain members of the public refuse to immunize themselves with facts and information. They spread their jaundice germs all over the place and infect otherwise innocent bystanders, who subsequently become subject to feverish bouts of irrationality and rancid rodomontade. If you combine the two main facets of Prejudice in their purist, most virulent form you end up with something like Radio Shock Jock Alan Jones.

Another important reason that Prejudice tends to prevail so effortlessly, is precisely because it is so effortless. It requires and expresses a minimum of thought whilst at the same time engendering the feeling of absolute genius in the one who evinces it. It doesn’t require facts, nor consistency, nor logic, nor integrity, decency, humility, reason, literacy, education or a driver’s license or even an 18 plus card. Hell, Prejudice even has anonymity on its side. No wonder it’s so damned popular!

I’m not going to indulge in a repetition of the oft’ repeated observations about who and what has spread this insidious disease throughout our neighbourhoods, and we must remember they are our neighbourhoods. But I will observe that it’s difficult to avoid the flu when significant social forces are happy to cough in your face and feed you a daily dose of bacilli for breakfast.

It’s simply my hope that sometime between now and September 7, even as late as polling day itself, people will wake from the delirium of this distemper and have just enough moments of lucidity to see things for what they are and to consider what they are about to do. I hope we don’t allow Prejudice to prevail in this election. The damage it has already done to our social fabric is serious enough, but if Louie makes it to the Lodge and finds there’s no Mortein, he’ll have a field day.

Careless whispers nothing to dance about

In my years of being old enough to know what an election campaign is, I cannot recall one so inundated with media tales of what unnamed persons have to say.

The number of stories quoting unnamed Party sources, primarily on Labor’s side of the political coin has been nothing short of staggering – nameless “ministers”, “senior party officials”, “party heavyweights”, “senior sources”, “powerbrokers”, “spokespersons” and the rest of that particular journalistic nomenclature.

It’s been incredible. For my part, I’ve been deeply cynical and skeptical about it. It was much easier to believe that a biased media was just making stuff up. Mind you, in truth, there’s no way to show they are.

Then came the Gillard leadership spill of June 2013, about which there had been whispers aplenty.

On top of that, we’ve come to learn that Kevin Rudd has a weaker bladder than Julian Assange. The journalists were seemingly vindicated.

But that leaves me, as a Labor supporter, with a terrible reality to face: Labor personnel are actively undermining their own party. It beggars belief but it seems to be the only alternative to media mendacity.

Has the relationship between Labor and journalists become too cozy, too personal, too endowed with self-interest and ambition to be tolerable? Or is Labor just politically inept?

Of course, the relationship between politicians and the media is a complex and important one, but I can’t help but think it’s become something corrosive to our political culture and especially dangerous to Labor.

Generally speaking, Journalists are supposed to report the news, not be part of it.

Brisbane’s Courier Mail ran a story today posing the question of whether it would have been better for Labor to have gone into the election campaign with Julia Gillard.

whispers

Courier Mail Website

Now, the story is pure, tabloid schlock, and goes so far as to use a manipulative photo taken from the funeral of Joan Child (Australia’s first female Federal Speaker), presumably just so they could slip in the Slipper.

It’s not the first time that the Courier Mail, or News Limited generally, have disrespected this sombre occasion in their opinion pieces. But the interesting and pertinent thing about the story is that it contains multiple quotes from unnamed Ministers and “powerbrokers”.

Just two months since the Labor Party dramatically switched its leader, some senior members of the Government are now complaining that Ms Gillard would have performed better than Mr Rudd.

 

The minister said Ms Gillard would have slowly improved Labor’s vote, while under Mr Rudd it soared and then plummeted.

 

“One of the questions that will be asked is would Gillard have met Rudd on the way down? In the end, we’ll never know,” the source said.

 

“She made mistakes, no doubt, and she made mistakes under pressure. But she was much cooler under pressure and she coped with a greater intensity.”

If based on recent history, we’re forced to accept that these quotes are real, one has to wonder out loud: what the hell is going on?

Why would senior Party figures be speaking to members of the Murdoch press in such a fashion at a time when Labor is busily pushing the idea that News Limited is out to get them?

Why would they be saying things to journalists that they know will result in damaging “news” stories? Are they mad? I simply cannot fathom it.

I invite readers to offer their speculations and theories. Heaven knows I could use a theory that doesn’t have me catching flies, mouth agape.

An Open Letter to Journalists at News Ltd

KickthisMobOut Dear News Ltd Journalists,

I’m writing you this letter on behalf of all Australians. That includes everyone who can vote in the upcoming election, as well as those too young to have a say in their own future. I wanted to let you know that your behaviour throughout the election campaign has been appalling. I know you know as well as I do that it’s not the role of a journalist to campaign for a political party. Journalists often justify their bias by saying that opinion pieces can be whatever they want them to be – whether or not they’re biased, unbalanced, untrue, or part of a conspiracy on behalf of your boss to get rid of the NBN, which threatens his business interests. But you’re not just contributing opinion pieces and amateur PhotoShopped front page images, denigrating the target of your smear campaign. You’re also contributing news articles, designed to bring about a certain result, a result you’ve allegedly been instructed to manufacture to help your boss make money. Doesn’t this make you feel dirty? Doesn’t the 17 year old aspiring journalist in you feel even a little bit sad about finding their middle-aged-self behaving in this unethical way? Don’t you care about the impact your work has on the country you live in?

I’m sure many of you justify your blind obedience in the ‘get Rudd’ campaign to the fact that you need a job. You have to do what you’re told so you can keep working as a journalist. I know there’s not many jobs out there for journalists, but this doesn’t justify you doing the wrong thing. There are hundreds of examples throughout history of ‘employees’ doing the wrong thing on behalf of their bosses, and justifying this wrongness by saying they were instructed to do it. That doesn’t make it OK. If Murdoch told you to hit your wife, would you do that too? Where exactly is the line that you wouldn’t cross, no matter what your boss wanted? Is there a line? When you write puff pieces about Tony Abbott, when you do glamorous photo shoots of Tony Abbott’s daughters but don’t actually ask them a question, when you choose not to scrutinise Abbott, and omit news that is damaging to him, when you support Mal Brough’s campaign to destroy Slipper and then ignore the news that you were part of the Ashbygate conspiracy which a Federal Court Judge has revealed, when you cover your front page with blatant propaganda to help Abbott win government, but don’t tell your readers what his real plans are, when you give a candidate a free run and create the misleading impression that the Labor government is unsuccessful, you are failing Australia. Your job is not more important than your responsibility as a journalist. How are you ever going to get another job with this sort of behaviour in your background?

I actually think it’s an absolute outrage that not one of you has resigned in protest during this election campaign. Not one of you has stood up for journalistic integrity and said ‘enough’. Not one of you has said your pay cheque isn’t more important to you than your ethics. And what about all the jobs your readers will lose because of your campaign? You know Tony Abbott has proudly announced that he’ll sack 12,000 public servants. These are people doing important work in our communities. They help people. They support the disadvantaged in society. How is your job more important than their jobs?

No doubt many of you are Liberals yourself, having been hand-picked by your boss to make sure you’re on his side. But even if you think Tony Abbott deserves to win the election, and even if you like his policies and are completely in favour of his plans for this country (assuming you know what these are), don’t you think the Australian people have a right to hear both sides of the story before making up their own minds? Don’t you think it sounds a little bit like Fascism for your boss to decide that he wants an Abbott win, and then for you, his minions, to do his dirty work in the most blatantly dishonourable and immoral media campaign this country has ever seen?

Perhaps you read letters like this, and you are so hardened to the world that you let it roll over you, like water off a duck’s back. But I just hope that somewhere, deep down inside you, there’s a little voice reminding you that you’re doing the wrong thing. If you even have the ability to feel guilty, to feel ashamed, even if it’s just at 3:00am in the morning when you can’t sleep, I hope you feel awful.

It’s also important for you to know that we won’t forget what you’ve done. If your boss gets his way, and you do manage to deliver Australia the most conservative, austerity obsessed, downright mean and selfish government we’ve ever had, it’s very likely most of your readers, especially those in areas like western Sydney who’ve you’ve conned most successfully, will not be very impressed with you. They might ask why on earth Abbott is cutting spending on services they need, like health and education, when they didn’t hear about it before the election. They might be disappointed to hear their work rights are being undermined by the same front bench who came up with Work Choices. And they might be really pissed off when the surplus they’ve been promised is actually a gigantic $30 billion dollar black hole. No doubt you’ll do your best to blame all these woes on Labor, as this is your unthinking knee-jerk reaction to everything. But how long can this work? I know you like your readers dumb, but don’t underestimate how quickly people work out that they’ve been screwed over. I hope your precious job is worth it then. I would have thought your entire industry was in enough trouble without you putting another dozen nails in its coffin through your own arrogance and incompetence.

Abbott v Rudd in the Education Debate

TONY ABBOTT: Leigh, I think the education debate, the school education debate shouldn’t be about funding, it should be about quality, and that’s what we’re on about. We’re on about higher-quality schools. We want to see better teachers, we want to see better teaching, we want to see more parental engagement, more community engagement.

7-30, August 15th 2013

Perhaps, it’s just that I’ve grown too cynical, but whenever politicians make statements like that I interpret them as code for, “We can cut education and it won’t make any difference, because it’s the teacher that makes all the difference.”

And yes, there’s no denying that a great teacher is better than an average teacher, and that an average teacher is better than a bad one. It’s just that frequently the person making the statement seems to then conclude that resources make no difference whatsoever, while arguing that any cuts to private schools would be devastating. While some people have the idea that technology is just for surfing the net or babysitting kids, the reality is that the best education isn’t some teacher holding students spellbound with sheer charisma, while he or she fills their empty heads with everything they’ll ever need to know. Students DO need access to technology at least some of the time. But more than that, they need rooms that don’t leak, heaters that work and spaces that suit the particular learning activity.

Of course, one never hears the same argument when talking about areas like Health or Defence. “It’s the quality of the doctor that counts, I don’t see why the hospital needs all these expensive machines. When I was born, the doctor managed with just a set of forceps and a stethoscope, so why can’t modern doctors do the same?”

And we’ll certainly never hear that it’s the quality of the soldier that counts, so why spend money upgrading the equipment or the weapons? David managed with just a slingshot and he was fighting Goliath.

But that’s what happens in education. Teachers are frequently asked to manage with just a slingshot. Goliath, by the way, was a Philistine. Of course, when it comes to education, he’s not the only one.

Conduct unbecoming?

By now everybody would have seen the widely condemned front page (above) of The Daily Telegraph, but did anybody read the accompanying editorial rubbish?

I was directed to it via the Tele’s Facebook page where they boasted that:

It’s day one of the election campaign. and the Daily Teelgraph (sic) promises the very best, most up to the minute coverage and the hardest hitting opinions. Check out today’s editorial for a taste of what’s to come. http://bit.ly/15vS8er

Here is the editorial – titled Consign Rudd to the bin of history – that their illiterate social media editors encouraged us all to read. I too encourage you to read it, even though it’s a couple of days old now as it gives us an insight from Day 1 of how the Telegraph intends to ‘run’ this campaign:

DAILY TELEGRAPH “OPINION EDITORIAL”: ‘AT last, the power is in the hands of the Australian people to deliver a change of government and to rebuild Australia’s strength and stability.

At last, the opportunity looms to put an end to two terms of political chaos and economic decline.

At last, the time is up for Kevin Rudd and his Labor government.

Announcing the September 7 election date yesterday, Prime Minister Rudd tried to distance himself from Labor’s years of disunity and destruction. He now promises “a new way” and “new politics”. But Australians know that Rudd is absolutely tied to old Labor and its socially divisive and financially ruinous policies.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that confessed just three days ago that its most recent federal budget wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that has somehow turned Australia’s boom times into a massive and ongoing debt.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that punched holes in Australia’s secure borders and cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars by reinvigorating the vile people smuggling trade – one of the few economic sectors that will be unhappy to see an end to Labor’s rule.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that attempted to muzzle the media and to intimidate a free people into docile, compliant silence.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that didn’t keep its word on the carbon tax. A government that didn’t keep its word on delivering a surplus. A government that, in the end, didn’t even keep its word on the 2013 election date. The Prime Minister’s cabinet has already had its say. Fully one-third of the cabinet walked out on Rudd rather than work with him. Several Labor MPs prefer quitting politics entirely to the prospect of serving under Rudd’s leadership.

Now it’s your turn. We agree with the Prime Minister when he says that “the old politics of the past won’t work for Australia’s future”. The problem is, those old politics belong to Kevin Rudd and to history’s rubbish bin.

On September 7, Australia will indeed find a new way – by throwing out a government that has completely lost its way.

In 2007, The Daily Telegraph supported the election of a Labor government led by Kevin Rudd. Our argument then was that the previous Howard government had become weary and unimaginative, and that Rudd represented an opportunity for advancement.

Labor has squandered that opportunity, and is trying now to present itself as the answer to problems of its own creation.

The amount of spin implicit in the Prime Minister’s “new way” rhetoric is beyond anything ever achieved by Shane Warne. It’s a high-rotation insult to an electorate that sees through Labor’s brazen electioneering.

At The Daily Telegraph, we’re not going to cop it. Kevin Rudd and his Labor machine can save their tricks and distractions for the focus groups. We’re not going to play Labor’s game.

At the same time, we will place Coalition policies under exactly the same level of scrutiny. Labor is a known quantity, which is why they’ve lost support. It is up to the Coalition to win those voters.’

Now look at same paper’s published Code of Conduct. We need only be concerned with the sections shown below:

The policy of our publications across all platforms

This policy applies to News Limited and its editorial employees in both print and digital media platforms. It is an update of the News Limited Professional Conduct Policy which applies to editorial employees of News NSW; News Victoria, News Queensland, Davies Bros Limited, Advertiser Newspapers Limited and the regional and suburban newspaper and operations around Australia.

News Limited group publications aim for the highest editorial and ethical standards.

Editorial employees and contributors should be open-minded, be fair and respect the truth.

To this end, all staff need to be familiar with the policy detailed in the following pages, to follow the rules they contain, and to apply their underlying principles.

1. Accuracy

1.1 Facts must be reported impartially, accurately and with integrity.

1.2 Publications should take reasonable steps to ensure reports are accurate, fair and balanced.

1.3 Clear distinction must be made between fact, conjecture, comment and opinion.

1.4 Try always to tell all sides of the story in any kind of dispute. Every effort must be made to contact all relevant parties.

1.5 Do not knowingly withhold or suppress essential facts.

What a joke. Now, if you so desire, read the editorial again. There is not a lot in it that reflects the code of conduct so espoused. To the contrary, it is riddled with impartiality, inaccuracies, and conjecture. All designed, in my opinion, to encourage a vote against the Government. They are of course free to do this, but it would be preferable if the piece was filled with truth and accuracy, unlike the selected sentences from the above editorial, namely:

At last, the opportunity looms to put an end to two terms of political chaos and economic decline.

But Australians know that Rudd is absolutely tied to old Labor and its socially divisive and financially ruinous policies.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that confessed just three days ago that its most recent federal budget wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that didn’t keep its word on the carbon tax. A government that didn’t keep its word on delivering a surplus. A government that, in the end, didn’t even keep its word on the 2013 election date.

At the same time, we will place Coalition policies under exactly the same level of scrutiny. Labor is a known quantity, which is why they’ve lost support. It is up to the Coalition to win those voters.

Let’s look at each of these, starting with At last, the opportunity looms to put an end to two terms of political chaos and economic decline.

What decline? Here are the facts:

Australia is currently experiencing a very fast growth rate of 1.7%. This is the highest growth rate in the OECD and we recently achieved the milestone of 23 million people. That’s 15% growth – or three million people – since early 2004, when we reached 20 million.

Our GDP growth in Australia displayed the full brutality of the carnage being wrought on the world. Many experts and people on the street were convinced that, like the rest of the world, Australia would enter recession.

However, despite all the forecasts, Australia avoided entering recession in 2009. This isn’t to say we didn’t see the impacts. Growth went from above trend, at 3.75% in 2008, to well below, at 1.37% in 2009. Over the last 20 years, trend growth has been an impressive 3.25%.

The next impact was inevitable; with a 10.6% turnaround in revenue growth in the immediate aftermath, government revenue not only completely stalled, it went backwards to the tune of five billion dollars, or 1.5% in 2008. This was followed by a decrease of six billion dollars or 2.1% the following year. These were big falls, especially considering in the last year of John Howard’s pre-GFC government revenue grew by 9.1%.

This period, 2008 and 2009, is where all the damage was done and today’s budget still suffers from it. It was nothing government did. It happened the world over. We were fortunate we avoided recession, our unemployment peaked nowhere near expected and we kept growing.

This didn’t happen by accident. It required government to act to secure bank deposits and implement a world beating stimulus package that filled the hole in demand and kept us insulated from world events. It was a significant package of $52B, but we faced a significant problem and the response by the Australia Government was hailed by the IMF, OECD, World Bank and many economists as being a model response to the crisis.

We continue . . .

But Australians know that Rudd is absolutely tied to old Labor and its socially divisive and financially ruinous policies. And the evidence is where? Where are they socially divisive? How are they financially ruinous? See above: see how well our economy is doing.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that confessed just three days ago that its most recent federal budget wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. Did they really say that, or are those just your words?

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that didn’t keep its word on the carbon tax. A government that didn’t keep its word on delivering a surplus. A government that, in the end, didn’t even keep its word on the 2013 election date. But hasn’t your newspaper condemned the ‘çarbon tax’ from the day it was planned? Hasn’t your newspaper fanatically promoted Tony Abbott who has continuously threatened to repeal it? Hasn’t your newspaper been screaming for an early election since Abbott was defeated in 2010?

At the same time, we will place Coalition policies under exactly the same level of scrutiny. Labor is a known quantity, which is why they’ve lost support. It is up to the Coalition to win those voters. Oh, please, are we to believe that? Show us where you have ever applied any scrutiny to the policy-free Coalition. For three years you have been promoting Team Abbott but not once have I ever known of your newspaper to apply the blowtorch.

Why bother with having a Code of Conduct. Just be honest and openly declare your support for the Coalition, and perhaps try telling us why they’ll provide us with a better government. Or don’t you know?

We certainly don’t. Strangely, we rely on newspapers such as yours to provide us with facts that are reported impartially, accurately and with integrity. Otherwise you are wasting our time.

And this was only Day 1 of the campaign!

I’m guessing that your paper is going to lose thousands of readers, but is that important to you? Another guess: No. What appears to be more important is your desire to influence the political landscape of this country. Do you assume that that’s want your readers want?

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Abbott loves Murdoch: a reminder

Within hours of my post “Murdoch hates Rudd: a reminder”, where I predicted that the Murdoch media would turn even more feral towards the Government as the election nears, this front page from the Daily Telegraph is splashed across the internet:

Courtesy of the Daily Telegraph

Is this typical of the Murdoch media?

Tony Abbott was quick to kick it along:

For his part, Opposition Leader Abbott, speaking just minutes later, pointed to our “robust and diverse media culture” and said some would be in his corner, some wouldn’t, and one had to “take the rough with the smooth.”

Was he smirking at the time, I wonder? After all, we all know who’s in his corner. Someone he loves deeply, apparently. Thanks to AIMN reader Kaye Lee, here’s a reminder of how deep that love is:

TONY ABBOTT’S ADDRESS TO THE IPA APRIL 5 2013

“John Howard has said that Rupert Murdoch has been by far Australia’s most influential international businessman; but I would like to go a little further. Along with Sir John Monash, the Commander of the First AIF which saved Paris and helped to win the First World War, and Lord Florey a one-time provost of my old Oxford College, the co-inventor of penicillin that literally saved millions of lives, Rupert Murdoch is probably the Australian who has most shaped the world through the 45 million newspapers that News Corp sells each week and the one billion subscribers to News-linked programming.

Rupert Murdoch has sometimes changed his political allegiance but he’s never changed his fundamental principles. At least since the mid-70’s, those have been greater personal responsibility, smaller government, fewer regulations and support for open societies that don’t build walls against the world.

For our guest of honour, as for anyone deeply steeped in reporting, experience trumps theory and facts trump speculation. His publications have borne his ideals but never his fingerprints. They’ve been skeptical, stoical, curious, adventurous, opinionated yet broad minded. He’s influenced them, but he’s never dictated to them – as I happily discovered myself in 1989 while writing editorials in favour of the pilots who were trying to ground the airline that he then half owned. As a transgression, this turned out to be far less serious than spelling his late great mother, Dame Elisabeth’s name with a ‘z’ rather than with an ‘s’!

Rupert Murdoch is a corporate citizen of many countries, but above all else, he’s one of us. Most especially, tonight, he’s a long-serving director of the IPA, as was his distinguished and celebrated father, Sir Keith.”

Political brown-nosing of the highest order, don’t you think?

 

Murdoch hates Rudd: a reminder

Rudd

Image courtesy of abc.net.au

The Fairfax media and the social media have seized on the ‘rumour’ that Murdoch wants to wipe away Kevin Rudd’s chance of electoral success, in favour of Abbott; a win to Abbott would be a win for Murdoch, financially.

The barrage of frenzied attacks on Rudd from Murdoch’s News Limited media over the last few days gives this rumour some strength.

But this isn’t new. The Murdoch media is well oiled when it comes to attacking Rudd.

Let’s go back to September 2009, courtesy of Mungo MacCallum who wrote the following (reproduced below) in his article Rudd and the Murdoch Press.

“The most powerful man in Australia does not actually live in Australia. This, for many, is just one more reason to fear and loathe him. Much of Australia has never forgiven Rupert Murdoch for putting wealth and power above patriotism and deserting his country of birth to become an American citizen.

Political leaders find it particularly irksome. It was painful enough to be called into the media mogul’s Sydney headquarters, worse still to be invited to his rural estate – ‘Cavan’, near Canberra – to don gumboots and compliment him on his livestock. But to be summoned halfway around the world – to New York or, the ultimate humiliation, to one of his executive bonding retreats at Aspen, Colorado – is almost too much to bear.

Almost … but not quite. Those unwilling to undertake the pilgrimage have only to cast their minds back to 1975 to recall the terrible consequences of offending the Sun King.

The campaign waged by the News Limited press against Gough Whitlam during that year’s election was so brutal and single-minded that a number of Murdoch’s own journalists went on strike in protest. It was also overkill; in the somewhat hysterical atmosphere of the time, Whitlam was going to lose anyway. But the Dirty Digger’s Blitzkrieg undoubtedly made the result more dramatic than it might otherwise have been.

No sane politician, let alone prime minister, is going to invite an encore. For this reason, various Labor strategists are starting to worry about the simmering feud between Kevin Rudd and the Murdoch empire, concerned that there is a risk of eruption into open warfare.

Rudd and his colleagues have never tried to hide their distaste for the News Limited style of journalism, more than once accusing the corporation of deliberately distorting reports to favour Labor’s opponents. They have long since given up on some of News Limited’s columnists; you might as well try to convert Alan Jones. There is a particular contempt for what insiders describe as the Axis of Evil: Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun, Piers Akerman in the Telegraph and Janet Albrechtsen in the Australian.

When Mark Latham called Albrechtsen “a skanky ho who would die in a ditch for the Liberal Party”, he was accused of bad taste, but he was actually just summarising the general sentiment of the Labor Party. And Dennis Shanahan – working within the press gallery itself – became a standing joke at the close of the Howard era, thanks to his heroic attempts to read hope for the coalition into a long series of disastrous opinion polls.

But all this is par for the course, what Rudd himself might call the “normal argy-bargy of politics”. In recent times, though, the to-and-fro has become more particular and more serious. Rudd has been able to brush off many of the attacks against his ministers and the policies of his government, but when the concerted forces of the Murdoch press moved against his integrity it hit him where it hurts, both politically and personally.

Rudd is jealously protective of his image as a sincere prime minister.

The Opposition, of course – with the help of its cheerleaders in the media – has tried to portray him as a shallow, malleable politician, lacking both principle and conviction: all spin and no substance. But it is clear that the public does not see him that way. Indeed, a recent letter-writer to the Sydney Morning Herald explained Rudd’s longstanding ascendancy in the polls with one word: Integrity.

So when News Limited threw its considerable resources behind what became known as the ‘Utegate affair’, Rudd cracked. The accusation that he had given special favours to the car-dealer John Grant in return for – of all things – a beaten-up truck, was simply unacceptable and, when the email on which the charge was based was proved to be a forgery, he hit back.

Asked during a press conference for his reaction by Matthew Franklin, who had helped to drive the story in the Australian, Rudd responded in terms rather more measured than he had been using in private:

I think, what a number of people have said to me, Matthew, around the place is where have we kind of got to, when you have major papers like the Daily Telegraph, the Courier-Mail and the Adelaide Advertiser running on their front page that the prime minister of the country is corrupt, and then secondly the editors it seems not having sighted any original document in terms of this email, and thirdly, it turns out that, that email is a forgery, I would have thought a few people would want to know how all that happened, what sort of journalistic checks were put in place for that to be the case, or is it simply being sort of airbrushed from history?

 

I think the other thing which sort of comes up is, I mean, the usual accusations when political leaders respond to factually inaccurate reporting in the media, in this case in those papers that I referred to, is to accuse the political leaders in question of having some sort of glass jaw. It may simply be that what people want is just some basic answers as to how that might have happened, that’s a pretty basic thing.

 

The other thing I saw the chief executive of your own news organisation do yesterday was, in responding to this, indicate that somehow the deputy prime minister was raising these matters because she’d felt set upon by your newspaper over the coverage of the Building the Education Revolution stuff. Well, all’s fair in love and war, I mean, you guys will take whatever editorial position you want on the Building the Education Revolution and that’s been the case.

Rudd described this treatment of Gillard as “journalistic retaliation”. In other words, it had gone beyond Utegate: Rudd now saw it as a concerted campaign.

The Australian immediately struck back: one of its less scrupulous hit men, Glenn Milne, devoted an entire column to vilifying Rudd. And the paper’s dedicated sneer column, ‘Cut and Paste’ (which seems to exist purely for the purpose of trivialising or denigrating views to the left of the soup spoon), redoubled its attacks on Rudd and his defenders.

One of the constant accusations was that Rudd did indeed have a glass jaw: he could dish it out but he couldn’t take it. It is true that, since becoming the leader of the Labor Party, he and his staff have seemed both clumsy and overreactive in their dealings with the media. One explanation may be Rudd’s background in the Queensland arena, where the journalists (“the chooks”, as Joh Bjelke-Petersen once called them) are rather less aggressive than the Canberra press gallery.

The current stoush between the PM’s office and what is arguably the most forceful and influential constituent of the fourth estate is not a good sign. Rudd began, as quoted above, by referring specifically to three of the Murdoch tabloids, but later widened his attack to include “the Murdoch press” generally, perhaps implying that the campaign was being led by the man himself.

This is unlikely: these days Murdoch regards his Australian operations as pretty much on the fringe and allows his editors the kind of independence that their predecessors only dreamed of. An obvious example of this, is Murdoch’s support of the use of short-term stimulus packages to combat the global financial crisis, while his Australian economics writers (Michael Stutchbury in the Australian, in particular) have been highly critical.

Also, Murdoch declares himself a true believer in climate change, but the Australian has become a haven for sceptics and deniers. The anti-Rudd push, if it is coordinated at all, is almost certainly locally driven.

This may not give Rudd much immediate solace, but at least he is unlikely to suffer the kind of vendetta that was the fate of Gough Whitlam. Murdoch may well have disapproved of many aspects of the Labor government of 1972–75, but the ferocity of his onslaught was driven at least partly by a desire for payback.

The Murdoch papers had campaigned vigorously for Labor in 1972; indeed, their bashings of the incumbent prime minister, the hapless Billy McMahon, were almost as ruthless as their monstering of Whitlam three years later. And shortly after Whitlam took office, Murdoch appeared on the doorstep, claiming his reward: he wanted to be appointed to the plum diplomatic post of high commissioner to London, with the proviso that he be allowed to continue all his business operations – including running his media empire – from the official residence on the Strand.

Whitlam, outraged by the demand, refused point-blank and shortly thereafter cancelled a coal mining project that Murdoch had underway in Western Australia, on the grounds of “national interest”. The rest is history.

Kevin Rudd may find it inconvenient to have to make the trek to the United States to pay his respects, but he has reason to be thankful that Rupert Murdoch now pursues his insatiable ambitions from somewhere a long way away.”

Author’s comment:

Did Mungo provide a crystal ball for his readers to gaze into the future: September 2013. Unwittingly, it appears he has. Conversely, he has given us some history to reflect upon. History, that over the next month, will be repeated . . . with venom. We won’t need much reminding that Rupert Murdoch does indeed hate Kevin Rudd. Just keep an eye on his Australian media over the next few weeks if you have any doubt.

Making generalisations is always dangerous!

Making generalisations is always dangerous!
In Bob Ellis’ article, he predicts a landslide by Rudd and a wipeout for the Liberals.
http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/ellis-the-coming-rudd-landslide-explained/

Bob Ellis may be considered slightly eccentric by some. But I remember on the night of Kennett’s defeat, Ellis was being interviewed as to why he’d come to Victoria. He predicted that it’d be a hung parliament and that he wanted to be there to see the end of Kennett. The tone of the interviewers seemed to suggest that although the man was insane, it was at least some entertainment on what was to be a boring election night with Kennett being re-elected in a landslide according to some polls.

I turned to my wife and commented that they shouldn’t mock too much, because on the early figures coming in, Ellis could be right. At an election night party, I kept checking the result because I’d noticed that nothing was happening to prove Ellis wrong. Every time someone came up to me and asked how it was going, I’d tell them that Labor might win. They’d nod as though I’d had too much red wine, and then tell me exactly why Labor had stuffed up the election, which shadow minister was an idiot or why Bracks would never be Premier. Suddenly, sometime after ten, people began to crowd around the TV. “Told yas,” I said, in between singing, “Ding, dong the witch is dead” and explaining that I was perfectly capable of standing and that I didn’t need a chair just some red shoes so I could get back to Kansas.

Needless to say, neither Bob Ellis nor I got much credit for being right.

Bob’s gone out on a limb here with a bold prediction. I put $10 on Labor to win more than 70 seats at 10-1 a few weeks ago on Sportsbet, and $5 to win between 61 and 70 seats at 7-1. I suspect I’ll wish I’d put on more.

 

Abbott Tells Another One

abbott-lies

What Tony Abbott tells

A few days ago I posted a piece titled Political Lies: Who tells Them.

Independent Australia’s Alan Austin followed up with Tony Abbott’s Latest 15 Lies.

This was followed by another article from fellow blogger Michael Taylor at The AIMN, Keep Lying, Mr Abbott.

Another blogger who goes under the name of Truth Seeker also posted on the subject, with Tony … Stop the LIES, and Stop the RORTS!

I dealt with the general topic of telling lies with an emphasis on politics. Alan Austin did some fact checking and Michael Taylor addressed Abbott’s lying on the issue of Asylum seekers and Truth Seeker honed in directly on Abbott’s blatant lying.

Was it just coincidence that we all wrote on the subject at around the same time? I think not. No, it’s more likely that we just become frustrated and aggravated by his consistency of untruth. If this means I am saying he is a pathological liar then so be it. It’s not a nice thing to say about anyone but we are dealing with truth here. It’s not so much that he is a serial offender, he is. I think the electorate knows that and factors it in. It shows up in the ‘’Better PM’’ polling. It is why his polling is so poor. The fact that he lies and is easily supported by volumes of readily available irrefutable evidence. (I can provide it if need be). However, what is of equal concern is that the main stream media (the so-called forth estate) who are supposed to be the people’s custodian of truth, condones it.

In a democracy that prides itself on the basics of fair and reasonable expression it is hard to know why we accept his lying. Of course it is perpetuated upon us by a media who believe that truth has a lessor value than the need of its own survival. Where in order to survive it has (across all mediums) sought to become more outlandish-more tantalising-more seductive-more flirtatious-more provocative-more stunning and more enticing. But above all, more manipulative.

The media has enormous power. So much so that it can to a large degree determine who can govern and what their policies should be. And while most of it is owned by a few that is unlikely to change.

Do people ever stop to think how manipulated we have become? Everything the media does, displays or says is done so on the predication that it is doing so for its own self-interest, not ours. It does so because it gives it influence, power and control. Certainly not for the ideals of truth, justice and the common good. It never considers that reporting truth alone might give it all the influence it needs. Finding the truth and reporting it should be more important than creating a narrative where controversy matters more.

We inherit all this of course from the United Stated. The neo-conservative parties in Australia have adopted the principles (or lack of them) as practiced by the GOP and its Tea Party affiliates. Like the Republicans in the US the coalition’s political strategy appears to be to, block, discredit and confuse. On a daily basis the negativity of Abbott spreads like rust through the community. He seeks to muddy the waters with the most outlandish lies. Hardly a day passes when he is not distorting what is said while at the same time telling the most outrageous lies himself. And with a straight face I might add. He has hampered (as do the Republicans) all legislation with a pre-determined NO. Often without even reading it. Abbott has (as have Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan did) taken lying and the frequency of it to a level in political discourse we have never experienced.

Daily on Facebook and other social media, questions are being asked about the truthfulness of Mr Abbott’s statements. They are more often than not devoid of facts. At least Kevin Rudd calls him out on them. Bill Clinton did so with great effect during the last election. During that election and during the first debate commentators were of the view that Obama lost it. I watched it and my view was that he was completely thrown by the amount of lies Romney was telling and the adjudicator’s unwillingness to pick him up on them.

In the end the American people saw through all the lies. Let’s hope the Australian people do also.

 

Keep lying, Tony Abbott

The hypocrisy of the Abbott adulators is apparent in their fervour to go on and on about a single lie that wasn’t a lie whilst ignoring major lie after major lie from Tony Abbott.

If telling the truth for the leader of the country is so important to them why are they so ardently adulating Tony Abbott who avidly prevaricates on major issues of importance in just about every instance. This is his latest effort:

Abbott stated that since Rudd took office, “Over 48,000 people have arrived on almost 800 illegal boats”

Where did he get that figure from?

According to data provided by the Australian Parliament, the number of refugees arriving by boat between 1976 and 2012 was 31,654. And not withstanding, they aren’t illegal as he and Morrison keep stating even after they are pulled up on it and accede that point.

Abbott then went on to say that since 2008, “more than 1000 people have perished at sea.”

Yet another figure plucked out of thin air.

No official records are kept by any government agency as to how many people trying to reach our shores to seek asylum are dying en route. The most reliable open source data is kept by the Monash Australian Border Deaths Database which “maintains a record of all known deaths associated with Australia’s borders since 1 January 2000”.

According to the data, during Howard’s Pacific Solution there were 746 reported deaths.
363 died at sea.
350 were presumed dead at sea (listed as missing at sea)
22 died in detention, most suicide.
11 returned to country of origin were murdered on their return.

Between 2008 and July 2013:
877 have reportedly died.
15 died of natural causes or suicide in detention.
862 died trying to reach Australia’s mainland.

Keep lying, Tony Abbott. We love it when we we catch you out.

Now if only the mainstream media could also catch on.

Thanks to contributors Mobius Echo and Lulu Respall-Turner for providing the information and dialogue to this post.

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Apparently Australia is full

Bugger off

Australia is full

“We can’t take all these illegals, Australia is full!”

“Full of racists, you mean!”

OK, we know where this dialogue is going. The words “Nazi” and “bleeding heart” will be tossed around, but rarely do people ever go beyond abuse once a dialogue starts this way. Personally, I try to focus on the issues rather than simply resorting to abuse like those fascist bastard right wingers do! (See, Andrew Bolt, two can play at that game.) But every now and then it’s fun to bait the angry.

Of course, a lot of things are fun. It doesn’t make them right. We all need to demand higher standards of ourselves – except for Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt who always rise to the highest standards. (No-one can accuse me of lacking balance!)

And so, I write this in a state of some confusion. I’m no Julia Gillard groupie, but I admire her courage and toughness, and I do think that she’s been harshly treated. And I suspect that if I’d gone to school with Rudd, I’d have eventually been so annoyed by him that I’d have rubbed his face in the dirt, until someone pointed out that I’m actually a pacifist, and that I actually agreed with the first statement he made.

Having been on social media, read the paper, listened to the radio, watched TV and, generally, heard the forces of Abbott gloat as though they’d actually won the last election, I must confess: I like watching Rudd restore some sense of reality to these wanna-be “Tea Party” losers. They may still lose! Ha!

Of course, the whole asylum seeker issue disturbs me greatly. So let’s start with the things we agree about.

1. It would be better if people didn’t travel to Australia on unsafe boats.

I’m pretty sure that no-one will disagree with that. The “Stop the Boats Nazis” and “The Bleeding Hearts” and everyone in between.

The question is what is our second point of agreement. Can we agree that a strong deterrent will work? Well, if the strong possibility of drowning isn’t a strong deterrent, what is? So I doubt that will be the second point of agreement. From this point of agreement we spread off in different directions. Some complain that Rudd is no better than Howard. Others gloat that he’s removed an electoral positive from Tony. Yet others say that he’s admitted the Liberals were right. And finally, we have Abbott’s: It’s a good policy, but we think he’ll muck it up, because that’s all we’ve got now.

Will there be number two?

I’d like to think that we could agree to find the best solution possible. That people will be treated humanely, that we won’t resort to slogans. And that something better is possible, providing we think about it.

I mean, actually think, and not resort to emotive language, whichever side you’re on!

2. _________________________

Good luck and good wishes.

 

That Was Then; This Is Now!

Libs

Then

‘Thursday, 11 April 2013

Tony Abbott is abandoning his promise to ‘stop the boats’, refusing to say if a Coalition Government would be able to fulfil their commitment.

Mr Abbott has previously said he would stop the boats within months. Yesterday he ran away from that commitment, saying he would only be able to ‘make a difference’ in the first term, should the Coalition be elected to government.

He refused to say when, or if, he would stop the boats.

When asked by Howard Sattler on 6PR on Wednesday, Mr Abbott would not confirm the length of time a Coalition Government would take to ‘stop the boats’.

SATTLER: Is it going to take three years to stop the boats?

ABBOTT: Well, we will have a term of parliament in which to make a very substantial difference and then we will, as is right and proper in a democracy be judged on our performance.’

And now

‘But Opposition Leader Tony Abbott attacked Mr Rudd’s plan as an ”election fix” that won’t work and vowed to never use another country to solve Australia’s domestic problems.

”The only solution to Australian problems is found here in Australia,” Mr Abbott said.

”I will never subcontract out to other countries the solution of problems in this country.”

The Opposition Leader said Mr Rudd’s PNG plan should be considered a failure unless every new asylum seeker arrival was sent to Manus Island and the rate of boat arrivals stopped ”from today”.’

Of course, someone has wondered what the Pacific Solution was, if not “subcontracting out to other countries”, but I guess we’ll be asked that and we’ll hear a perfectly reasonable argument as to why sending them to Manus wasn’t sending OUR problems elsewhere. Just as I’m sure Abbott will be able to explain why he said this

“Jesus didn’t say yes to everyone,” Mr Abbott said on ABC television’s Q&A program, according to the Herald Sun. “Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”

Still, it was on Q&A, so it was obviously a long, long time ago!

 

Rope A Dope – Is Rudd Ali to Abbott’s Foreman?

Image by servatius.blogspot.com

The ‘invincible’ Ali (image by servatius.blogspot.com)

Briefly, a recap on history. Muhammad Ali was almost invincible, but he was stripped of his medal for his refusal to be conscripted into the army. He fought the decision in the courts, and – after four years – was allowed to return to the ring. The time out of the ring meant that he was past his peak, and after losing to Frazier, he eventually defeated George Foreman, regaining his heavyweight title. I won’t go through all the fights, but I want to briefly mention the “Rope-A-Dope”.

Ali taunted Foreman in the lead-up, and Foreman fought the first few rounds as though he wanted to hurt Ali. Boxing, I know, is like politics – you are meant to hurt your opponent – but this seemed personal. And for much of the fight, Ali looked beaten. He wasn’t laying a glove on his opponent and he was absorbing punches to his body, but protecting his head and face, which is the scoring area. I can’t remember if it was Round 7 or later, but Ali danced out and started to fight back. Foreman was exhausted from all the body punches. It took a few simple blows, but Foreman went down. Ali had won.

I can’t help but think about this fight in the context of the current political situation. Rudd has been resting; Abbott has been trying to knock out his opponent, but he hasn’t succeeded. Abbott may have appeared to be great while on the attack, but does he have a defence against a fresh opponent?

Yes, there are things that trouble me about Rudd – I do think that he is a “whatever it takes” sort of man – such men are dangerous. But in terms of just looking at the “match”, I feel that he is dancing round the ring while Abbott asks the referee to make him stand still. Rudd’s latest asylum seeker move is designed to appeal to a particular part of the electorate – which it will. It will, of course, annoy another part. But I suspect most of us who aren’t sure that PNG is the answer will feel that it’s Abbott who’s mainly responsible for the politicisation of the issue. Abbott’s response: It’s a good idea, but it won’t work because we’re not the ones doing it! … Strangely, I don’t see that as a vote-winner whatever you think of the issue. If you think that boats are a bigger threat to Australia than almost anything you can name, well, you probably already vote for Abbott. If you don’t, and feel that this is obscene, then Abbott hasn’t won your vote back from the Labor Party, and when allocating preferences you’ll hardly preference a Cory Bernardi type ahead of a Doug Cameron.

Ali’s theme this fight was to hang a nickname on Frazier as he had done to many of his opponents throughout the years. The name he chose was “The Gorilla”, and he rhymed out the singsong chant “It will be a Killa and a Thrilla and a Chilla when I get The Gorilla in Manila.” while punching an action-figure sized gorilla doll. “

“Debate me,” taunts Kevin, “you’re the boxer.” Abbott insists that he won’t get in the ring with Kevin until an election is called. Perhaps, he’s worried. Or maybe he’s just saving his energy for the next round.

Will the election be called on Monday? Or is this part of the Rope-a-Dope? “Let’s keep Abbott punching to the body, wearing himself out, but doing no real damage.”

Whatever – Abbott looks tired and devoid of strategy. Rudd looks ready for the main bout!

 

Carbon Tax Axed – sellout or smart politics?

Image from atlasnetwork.org

Image from atlasnetwork.org

From the Age we learn that Rudd dumps Gillard’s carbon tax. Then Treasurer Chris Bowen confirms Government will scrap carbon tax for floating price.

Ok, the headlines are telling us that Labor have “dumped, “scrapped”, and many other words which mean that it’s gone. Predictably the Opposition is outraged. No, it’s not really gone. It’s still a MASSIVE cost to you all. And, BTW, this decision will cost the Budget $15 Billion.

Um, so let me see if I have this right? It’s still too much, but we can’t afford to scrap it. I’m a little confused by the message from the Opposition, but never mind, I’m sure they’ll get their act together and tell us exactly why this decision was wrong.

In the meantime, let’s have a look at what’s actually happening. Rudd is bringing forward the date of moving toward an emission trading scheme from July 2015 to July 2014. This will mean that the price paid drops to around $6 a tonne. Of course, we can’t say exactly what it’ll drop to, because the price will be determined by the market. At the moment, because Europe is still suffering the effects of the GFC (Yes, Tony, I know that the GFC finished in 2007), the price is low, but in twelve months time, this price could be slightly higher than the current $6. Or lower. The price will be determined in a year’s time and as Yogi Berra said, “Predictions are hard, especially about the future.”

Will this decision make a big difference to the overall impact of climate change action? I suspect not. For example, people and companies who’ve installed solar panels on their roof aren’t going to rip them off. Institutions that have found ways of saving energy aren’t likely to say, “Wow, let’s leave the lights on overnight, just so we can waste electricity because it’s so much cheaper.” The Carbon Tax has had some effect on people’s behaviour, and while the incentives won’t be as strong from July 2014, we were always moving to an emissions trading scheme at some point. One year earlier isn’t significant when compared to the Opposition’s policy of no disincentive at all.

I’m sure that some will argue that this is a “backdown” and that Rudd is selling out, but given that an emissions trading scheme was the policy that he took to the electorate in 2007, he can certainly argue that this is HIS policy and that he’s moving from that “awful” carbon tax to a plan that we voted for – only to have it blocked by Abbott. In fact, the Liberals went to the 2007 election promising that we’d get an emissions trading scheme, only to block it in Opposition. Where were the complaints about broken promises and lies then?

So, will this prove smart politics by Rudd? He’ll cop some flak from the Greens and those of us who genuinely want to see action on the environment, but politically, that won’t necessarily be a bad thing. In the end, most of those voters will drift back to Labor via preferences. And the part of Australia who’ve been listening to Abbott’s mantra about the Carbon Tax being too expensive and that Labor is captive to the Greens (Ha!) will get the impression that Rudd has taken decisive action. The Liberals are saying that this just proves that they were right all along, but claiming credit has rarely meant much in politics. Abbott complained for three years; Rudd came in and “fixed” things. And that’s the problem for the Liberals now: They’ve spent three years ruthlessly attacking Julia Gillard, and when most people think of Abbott they think of the “Dr No” persona. Turning the attack to Rudd creates the impression that all Abbott does is whinge.

Being a winning Opposition Leader is hard. We’ve only had five successful in the last fifty years. None since Gough Whitlam were Opposition Leader at the previous election. And he had a positive agenda, and a promise to end an unpopular war. Abbott had a promise to end an “unpopular” tax. Now he has a booklet and a scowl. It may not be enough.