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Tag Archives: Leigh Sales

Just smile and the world will be a better place

Last night, thanks to our national broadcaster, we got to see the leaders of the two major political parties in action. Turnbull faced questions from a smiling, compliant Leigh Sales. They both smiled and giggled and apologised to each other a lot. Shorten faced a very large audience of the Australian public and the interruptions of Tony Jones, who really needs to learn that people would rather hear from his guests than him. Shorten performed very well, answering all questions calmly and honestly.

The contrast could not have been starker.

Malcolm seems to feel that the mere fact of his elevation to Prime Minister will be sufficient to solve all the challenges we face.

When asked about the economy he said that it wasn’t in bad shape. What that shows is that, as we all know, the last election campaign was run on a lie.

Regardless, we do have rising unemployment and an economy that must transition away from mining. Malcolm’s solution?

“It is absolutely critical that we provide strong economic leadership. And you know, above all, confidence. It’s not just the measures. The government has to provide the leadership, the sense that, you know, we know what we’re doing, that we have a vision, we have a clear direction and that builds up business confidence. So everything I can say to inspire confidence is going to help the economy. One of the things I can do as Prime Minister and my government can do is to provide the leadership and the confidence and you do that not by just talking in an airy-fairy way. You’ve got to actually lay out the facts. You’ve got to describe the situation as it stands.”

Waiting . . .

How silly have we been. We don’t need “measures”, we just need a smile and some soothing words and all will be well.

When asked if he would consider expanding the base and the rate of the GST, Malcolm replied

“Well we’re considering – tax reform is going to be a big part of our reform agenda going forward. That’s why we’ve brought the Tax Minister, the Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O’Dwyer, into the cabinet.”

Don’t ask me specific questions – look I’ve got a young female breast-feeding mum in Cabinet. What more do you want?

When asked if everything was on the table for tax reform, Malcolm said

“This is one of the – this is one of the Canberra games. One of the things I’m trying to do is to change the paradigm so that it’s a more rational one.”

Ummmm . . . does a more rational paradigm ever include answering a question?

When asked about industrial relations reform, Malcolm went into cha cha mode.

“I think the important thing is to seek to explore ways in which we can achieve more flexibility, higher levels of employment, higher levels of business activity and do so in a way that reassures Australians, Australian workers in particular, that this is not threatening their conditions. In other words – in other words, a – the challenge for us is not to wage war with unions or the workers that they – that they seek to represent, but really to explain what the challenges are and then lay out some reform options.”

Uh huh . . . and while you are seeking to explore some way to reassure us, is Workchoices coming back?

When asked about the greatest threat to global security the babbling got worse.

“Well, look, there are – you probably can’t really – you can’t really rank them ’cause they are very difficult. I mean, the – the – clearly the threat of terrorism, the, if you like, militant Islamist terrorist groups like Daesh in the Middle East and its various affiliates around the world, al-Qaeda, that is clearly a very – that’s clearly a big threat. I think at a – in terms of our region, what we need to ensure is that the rise of China, which is happening, it’s – nothing’s gonna stop that any time soon – is, if you like, conducted in a manner that does not disturb the security and the relative harmony of the region upon which China’s prosperity depends. Now – now that requires careful diplomacy, it requires balancing and it’s an issue, as you know, I’ve taken a very keen interest in.”

For someone who has taken a very keen interest he seems entirely bereft of anything substantive to say.

And the role of our defence forces?

“Well our Defence Force has – and this is not a revelation, Leigh. Our Defence Forces have to be able to play a role in a range of different potential conflict situations. But, you know, we’re not – we’re not seeking to, um, ah – I don’t want to – no-one – no-one, least of all the Australian Government, wants to exacerbate situations. We have – we have very good relations with all of our neighbours, including China, but there clearly are some tensions, you know, with the islands in the South China Sea in particular, with the reefs, I should say, and shoals in the South China Sea. And our own – my own view and the Government’s view is that the – you know, China would be – China would be better advised in its own interests, frankly, to – not to be pushing the envelope there and that is why there’s been resistance against that activity.”

By this time I was thinking let the poor man go home to bed, he isn’t making any sense.

And then we finally got to Direct Action, a policy that is completely the opposite of the Coalition’s free market principles.

“It has been very successful so far. It has reduced – it’s cut about 47 million tonnes of emissions at a price of less than $14 a tonne.”

At that stage I realised that Malcolm has actually nothing at all to offer except his smile.

 

The same but different . . .

When Turnbull ‘knifed’ Abbott a week ago after publically shaming Abbott’s terrible government on national television while announcing his intent-to-knife, I wondered how the mainstream media would treat this story. I couldn’t help but worry this would be yet another example of a Liberal story being treated with a completely different narrative to the same Labor story. A sitting PM is replaced by a member of their own cabinet. A late night coup. A first term Prime Minister. Abbott lasted a shorter time than Rudd and had already been challenged 6 months earlier. By my reasoning, the white-anting, destabilising activities of Turnbull and his supporters over the last 6 months was far more bloody and underhanded than Gillard taking the opportunity to lead the Labor government when it was offered to her within hours of her colleagues’ decision that Rudd’s chaotic leadership was not going to improve, second chances or not. However you argue it, overall a fair observer would see great similarities in the two situations. But these similarities are clearly ignored by the media and it turns out my worry was well founded. Low and behold, the Turnbull/Abbott story is being treated completely differently to Gillard/Rudd. Of course everyone in the mainstream media is very busy mansplaining to little-old-us the voters why the two situations are apparently completely different. But I don’t need this situation explained for me, because I can see with my own eyes that Turnbull just did to Abbott the same, if not worse, thing Gillard did to Rudd.

If you haven’t already noticed for yourself the differing tone of the stories about new-PM-Gillard with new-PM-Turnbull, take a look at this apple-with-apples comparison.

Here is a transcript of Gillard’s ABC 730 interview with Kerry O’Brien the evening she became PM on 24 June 2010 and Turnbull’s ABC 730 PR campaign interview with Leigh Sales a week after he became PM, which aired this evening.

If you can’t be bothered reading these transcripts, take it from me that Gillard was interrogated about her ‘knifing’ of Rudd for the entire interview, and framed as the ‘villain’ who couldn’t be trusted, a tone which continued throughout her time as PM. Gillard was also hectored about what she would do about the mining tax policy, not forgetting she had become PM that day. Turnbull, on the other hand, was treated like a ‘hero’ and provided with the invaluable opportunity to outline his vision for the country on an unchallenged soap box where he was allowed to sell his government’s refreshed credentials. He wasn’t even tested when he claimed Direct Action was working to reduce emissions when there was no evidence backing this claim. Two interviews in similar political circumstances, yet chalk and cheese in their treatment and tone.

A simple word count showed Gillard spoke for 65% of her interview with O’Brien. Turnbull spoke for 77% of his interview with Sales. Sales even apologised for asking a question Turnbull might ‘find offensive’ and then again said sorry for cutting him off. Soft doesn’t even come close to describing this cringe-worthy excuse for journalism. But it gets worse. Check out the word clouds of both interviews and see if you notice the same thing I did.

Here is Gillard’s interview, where the most used words were obviously Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. So the main topic of the interview were Gillard’s villainous replacement of Rudd.

Gillard Wordle

Now here is Turnbull’s interview.

Turnbull Wordle

Can you see what is missing amongst all the positive words? Yep, that’s right. The word Abbott. You can do a Where’s Wally search for it if you like, but I’ll save you the trouble and tell you it appeared twice in the interview. Hardly there at all. Abbott’s already gone and the media aren’t dwelling on the part Turnbull played in his demise. Unlike Gillard, who had to put up with the media’s obsession with the Rudd leadership spill throughout her entire tenure as Prime Minister, even after she went straight to an election to prove her legitimacy in the role. Yet Abbott has been erased and shiny-Turnbull-with-a-sly-grin has got off scot-free. See what I mean about same story but very different treatment? How do you even begin to explain this other than to say Labor is always bashed by the media, and the Liberals always excused? Sadly this is the only explanation that makes sense.

The Queensland election was a bit seismic, says Tony

Extract From Leigh Sales Interview with Tony Abbott

Sales: “Who are you?”

Abbott: “Well, Leigh, let’s just focus for a second on the captain’s picks. There have essentially been two captain’s picks …”

Sales: “Can you actually just focus on the big picture there? Because there’s been three different Tony Abbotts. I just want to know, which one are you?”

Abbott: “Well Leigh, I will let the Australian people form their own conclusions, but let’s just go back to the captain’s picks. There’s been two of them. There’s the paid parental leave scheme, which we took to two elections, but I accept that good policy though it would be in different circumstances, now is not the right time for an expansion of paid parental leave. And then, of course, there was the knighthood. Now, all of these awards in the Order of Australia are now being handled by the Council of the Order of Australia.”

Sales: “How about my point though, that there’ve been … you know, we’re up to Tony Abbott 3.0? Do you accept that you’ve thoroughly confused the public about what your government is and what you stand for?”

Abbott: “Let’s look at the situation that we inherited, Leigh …”

Sales: “Can we just look at the big picture about you?”

Abbott: “I’d rather have a conversation rather than an argument, Leigh.”

Sales: “I think it’s a reasonable question, and one that voters would be asking themselves, and it would be remiss of me not to put to you.”

Abbott: “And let me answer it by saying, going into the last election, the then-government was saying that the deficit would be $18 billion. It turned out to be $48 billion, there was a $30 billion budget black hole that the Labor Party had created, should have known about, and wasn’t telling us about. Obviously, when the circumstances change, there are some things that have to change with them. Now I absolutely accept Leigh, that I said the night before the election, that there’d be no cuts to the ABC. But let’s face it Leigh, that for 18 years, the ABC had no efficiency dividend, and when there are spending restraints across a whole area of government policy, surely under those circumstances, it is possible to revise a particular commitment.”

Sales: “But it’s interesting that you’re not able to answer the question to me. Who are you, what do you stand for? Which Tony are you?”

Abbott: “Well obviously, we stand for a government that believes in smaller government, lower taxes, and greater freedom. We are a government that believes in values and institutions that have stood the test of time. Above all else though, we are a pragmatic government which wants to do what works. And if we try to do something sensible one way, and it doesn’t work, we’ll try to bring about the same sensible outcome in a different way. And there are challenges Leigh. We at least accept that there’s a serious fiscal challenge, that intergenerational theft has been going on, that the former government started, and that we are determined to fix. The Labor Party is in denial about all these things. You can embrace a government which is not perfect, but is at least fair dinkum, or you can go with the people who gave us the problem, and are now trying to say that it’s not their fault, and they’re not going to address it.”

“Thanks, Mr Abbott, and congratulations on nothing happening yesterday.”

“Good evening and thank you. I’ve listened, I’ve learned and today is the day after good government has re-started, it’s back to work Tuesday, it’s a brand new day, it’s an exciting opportunity, it’s the first day of the rest of our lives, it’s a dream come true, it’s the beginning of the end of the age of entitlement or rather the beginning of the age of hope, reward and opportunity, it’s a…”

“Excuse me, Mr Abbott, but can I pursue the question which you seemed reluctant to answer in your interview with Leigh Sales, who are you?”

“Now, I think the question was pretty much dealt with last night, and I’d like to move on, because it’s not all about me.”

“So, who are you?”

“Well, the most important thing is that I’m not the Labor Party. In particular, I’m not Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard, but I think it’s also far to say that I’m not Bill Shorten. Neither, I think it fair to say, am I … ah, Dexter, or Charles Manson, although Manson certainly knew how to inspire loyalty, which I obviously have, because all the traitors who voted against me have agreed to back me..”

“Excuse me again, but the question was ‘Who are you?’, not ‘Who aren’t you?'”

“Now… If you’d stop throwing all these rapid fire questions at me, like when I said I hadn’t read the BHP thingy, which I obviously had, because I said that I had the next day. If you keep interrupting and don’t give me the chance to finish then, of course, I’ll be misunderstood.”

“Ok. Go on.”

“Well, the thing is … ah… we inherited this mess from Labor… ah…, where the Budget doesn’t…um, balance… look, I’m not Treasurer, so he’d be better at explaining these things, but we abolished the Carbon and … ah, Mining Taxes which has left people a lot better off… and … ah, we need to cut spending so that we can afford to keep our standard of living… like, I mean, I’ve made all the households better off to the tune of “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” … no, not that to the tune of $550, which is helping to get us all back on track… Joe’s better at all this number’s stuff. So, I don’t know why you’re asking me an economic question.”

“I asked you who you were.”

“Look, let me make it absolutely clear that I stopped the boats. It’s only because it’s operational matter that I haven’t been able to tell you exactly how many boats I’ve stopped…”

“Let’s try this another way, how old are you?”

“Let me assure you that Kevin Andrews is absolutely right when he says that we shouldn’t be dictated to about how we choose to describe a competitive evaluation process.”

“And Joe Hockey has your full support?”

“Of course, but that’s got nothing to do with what we’re discussing. I’d like to be able to finish one answer before you change the subject.”

“So who are you, Mr Abbott?”

“Rupert Murdoch is a great Australian and I think that he said it best when he said that the Labor Party’s opposition to 457 visa holders was racist and disgusting.”

“Mr Abbott, I’m sorry but your time is up.”

“No, they gave me until after the Budget and then I’m going to call an early election, that’ll stop those backbench bastards…”

“I meant for the interview.”

“Oh, well, it’s been a pleasure.”

Tony Abbott’s problem with the truth

Image courtesy of smh.com.au

Image courtesy of smh.com.au

People lie for a number of reasons: sometimes it is accidental that through the person’s own ignorance, statements are made which gives the appearance of being deliberate; the aim being to deceive.  However, and of course, all is forgiven because it is abundantly clear to the reader/listener that the “lie” was purely accidental and its consequences unintended.

People also lie as a defence mechanism, that via that person’s emotional and mental immaturity they are incapable of providing an honest answer, but must resort to a simplistic lie.  Ego also comes into play with the person incapable of accepting responsibility for the fact that they have made a mistake.

Revenge is also a motivator for lying.

However, with the exception of revenge, such behaviour can fall within the confines of what is considered normal.  It is not a pattern of behaviour but something which occurs in response to exceptional circumstances.  The abnormal is when lies are told by a person with a personality disorder, and an example is morbid narcissistic complex disorder whose traits include:

A sense of entitlement – an unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable treatment or conditions.  Good examples in Tony Abbott’s case being; “I was robbed of becoming Prime Minister”.  “It’s all the Independents’ fault”.  “I want another election, and I want it now!” Ad nauseum.

Blaming – the practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.  I have never known of Tony Abbott to do other than blame the person, using even formal occasions as an opportunity to attack others.

Impulsiveness – the tendency to act or speak based on current feelings rather than logical reasoning.  This is known in some circles as Abbott “brain farts”.

Lack of conscience – individuals who suffer from Personality Disorders are often preoccupied with their own agendas, sometimes to the exclusion of the needs and concerns of others. This is sometimes interpreted by others as a lack of moral conscience.  Turning to Tony Abbott, does he even recognise the hypocrisy of his alleged rorting of the travel allowance scheme, yet all the while expecting low paid child care workers to return money already paid to them?

Pathological Lying – persistent deception by an individual to serve their own interests and needs with little or no regard to the needs and concerns of others. A pathological liar is a person who habitually lies to serve their own needs.

Consider that in 2010 Tony Abbott said, “The statements that need to be taken absolutely as gospel truth are those carefully prepared, scripted remarks”. This was quite an extraordinary admission from Tony Abbott who was promptly dubbed “Phoney Tony”.

It is not the exaggerations which although not entirely acceptable, come under the general heading of “what else do you expect from a politician”, but rather the instances where Mr Abbott seems completely oblivious to the fact that he is telling an untruth.

Examples of Tony Abbott’s failure to be able to address the truth are numerous and no doubt inspired by any of the motivators provided above.  Here are but a few of the much publicised instances which come to mind:

The Indonesian government consistently told both Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop that should the Coalition be elected and if they persisted with their Turn Back The Boats policy, that they, the Indonesian government would find this unacceptable.  Abbott went to the election promising the authenticity of his statements and with the blatant lie that he had the full support of the Indonesia government.

In August 2012  Laurie Oakes wrote:

Abbott’s own truthfulness came under the microscope, however, after a blundering performance in an interview on ABC TV’s 7.30 program on Wednesday evening.

Earlier that day he had claimed BHP’s decision to put the Olympic Dam mining project in South Australia on hold was partly due to the Federal Government’s carbon and mining taxes.

That was porkie number one. BHP CEO Marius Kloppers had blamed such factors as the eurozone financial crisis, the slowdown of growth in China and weakness in commodity markets.

And:

When Abbott stuck to his claim despite what Kloppers had said, interviewer Leigh Sales asked: “Have you actually read BHP’s statements?”

Abbott replied: “No.” The next day he claimed he had read the BHP announcement after all – soon after it was made.

He attributed the damaging answer in the 7.30 interview to a misunderstanding of what Sales had asked him. But her meaning could hardly have been clearer.

Just in case there was any doubt, she had gone on to say in her next question: “You haven’t read their statements today but you’re commenting about what they’ve announced.”

The conclusion is inescapable that, in trying to explain away a dreadful gaffe, Abbott resorted to another falsehood.

Tony Abbott lies about the impact of the Carbon Price on a new car:

During a doorstop interview in Geelong on April 11, 2013, Tony Abbott claimed:

First and foremost we are not going to hit the motor industry with a carbon tax and the carbon tax is adding $400 to the cost of every car manufactured in Australia.

Where was the evidence that the carbon tax added $400 to the cost of the car?  And if the carbon tax was such a killer, why is he not blaming it as one of the reasons behind Holden’s closure?

Tony Abbott lies on Radio about not doing deals:

On February 20, 2013, Tony Abbott was interviewed by Neil Mitchell in the studio of 3AW.

Neil Mitchell: Will you talk to the Greens about cooperating with you?

Tony Abbott: Look, I think that’s been part of Julia Gillard’s problem. She embraced the Greens. This turned out to be a fatal embrace and I don’t do these sorts of deals with people. I mean, I wasn’t prepared to give the independents, I wasn’t prepared to give the Greens what they wanted. Julia Gillard was and I think her government, from the beginning, has been fatally compromised.

Neil Mitchell: So no deals to get into power?

Tony Abbott: I don’t do deals, Neil.

Neil Mitchell: You tried to.

Wednesday, 11th December 2013:

Holden did not make a bid to replace Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s “C1” car and the existing eight-year-old fleet of nine armour-plate caprices for the government, The Daily Telegraph reported. According to the report, it was only Audi and Mercedes and two other car companies with submitted bids.

And today:

Holden angered by media reports it did not submit bid to supply ‘blast-proof’ vehicles for Australian government VIPs. 

The revelation appears to contradict reported Abbott government sources as saying Holden had not even submitted a bid in the tender because the car maker simply ”was not interested”.

These extraordinary events give every indication the government pursued a vendetta against Holden

Kim Carr

Holden viewed that claim – which appeared in a News Corporation newspaper on Wednesday, just hours before the car maker announced its withdrawal – as part of a deliberate negative backgrounding campaign by Coalition ministers designed to make the company look uncommitted to Australia.

Tony Abbott will continue to say anything and do anything regardless of whether he believes his statements to be true or not.  Why in this instance did Tony Abbott simply not tell the truth, that BMW were given the tender as the Holden model was not up to the standard expected, and for security reasons?  As reported by news.com:

The only options of a semi-local built car was believed to be a newer version of the retrofitted Holden Caprice offered by British Aerospace at a cost of $800,000 each, or a “ground up” model based on a Holden chassis, which cost $1.2 million for just one vehicle.

However, neither option is believed to have been able to meet international standards for protection against attacks.

The Federal Government is now expected to sign a contract to buy cheaper, off-the shelf BMW High Security 7-series vehicles, at a cost of $525,000 each, which meet higher international standards of protection against ballistic and gas attacks – and which can be serviced in Australia.

When lying becomes a compulsion (and a pointless exercise) one must consider that the person should not be in any position of authority or where they might do harm to others.  A compulsive liar is defined as someone who lies out of habit who will bend the truth about everything large and small.  For the compulsive liar, telling the truth feels awkward and uncomfortable while lying sits well, giving the person a sense of empowerment and confidence.  Often when confronted with the absolute necessity to tell the truth, the person will enter into a state of panic, perhaps unable to speak, or physically fleeing.

Does this perhaps offer us an insight into Tony Abbott’s problem with the truth?

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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