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Tag Archives: Rupert Murdoch

An Open Letter to the Liberal Party

Dear Liberal Party

Is he worth it? Is Tony Abbott’s Prime Ministership worth it since he’s done such irreparable damage to your brand?

I have no doubt when Abbott won the election, you thought you’d done the right thing. After losing in 2007, I’m sure you were upset. But then losing again in 2010, after Abbott failed to negotiate to form a minority government, must have been torture. You must have been livid that Julia Gillard, a leader you despised, (a woman no less!), was so proficient at getting things done, developing progressive policies and negotiating to make them happen. Policies that filled you with dread that Australians might actually care about each other. I understand you’re all very confused about whether you’re neoliberal ideologues or socially conservative, and sometimes it’s hard to know what you really are because all you truly care about is looking after your business mates at the expense of workers. It makes it hard for you to have a persuasive narrative. Because some of you only care about keeping Australia backward, focussing on destroying socially progressive policies such as marriage equality, while the rest are only interested in your special brand of small-government-neoliberalism which is defined by a quest to increase the profits of those people who finance your campaigns. But you understood Gillard and Rudd, and the Labor Party, were a threat to all of you one way or another and therefore must be destroyed if you were ever going to undo all the progress they made. So you built the Abbott wrecking ball with this mission in mind. With the help of Rupert Murdoch and his flying monkeys in the conservative press, you designed this wrecking ball, this no-machine, this village idiot who spouts three word slogans like an android, in order to scare the electorate into giving the Liberal Party what you feel is your entitlement; power. And it all seemed to be going so well! That is, until the first day in the job when you surely immediately realised you’d made a mistake. And that’s why I ask whether this mistake was worth it. Maybe you’ve been too scared to ask yourself this question, let alone answer it. But now you’re heading towards the next election, surely you have to face reality at some point? How about I try answering the question for you and you can decide if you agree with me?

There are three reasons why Abbott was not worth it for the Liberal Party. He might have got you the term in government that you desperately wanted, but what has this term done to your future?

The first reason Abbott was certainly not worth it is because he’s impotent. Politically, he has achieved very little and made a huge amount of mess in the process. Yes, he got rid of the mining tax and the Carbon Price. But this caused problems for you too since revenue disappeared along with these policies. Yes, you think Abbott’s done wonders in ‘stopping the boats’. But once this promise helped win the election, what good did it actually do for your political fortune? Other than costing a lot of money to keep people locked up in a hell-hole indefinitely, and causing you to have to keep secret anything to do with boats, which you’re no doubt not happy about because you love demonising refugees so you must be sorry you’ve painted yourself into a ‘we can’t tell you what’s going on because you’re not going to like it’ corner. And then there was the promise Abbott made, which you no doubt regret, to not make any cuts to education, health, the ABC and SBS. But what is the point of a Liberal government that doesn’t make cuts to education, health, the ABC and SBS? I do understand that you have to pretend you’re something you’re not in order to get elected. It must be very stressful having to keep up this façade when all you really want to do is bring back WorkChoices. Either way, Abbott’s promises were quickly broken, so even where he has managed to make spending cuts, they’ve not been celebrated as you might have hoped, but rather accurately painted as lies and more fodder for the independents to block much of the ‘reform’ you would have liked to make. If reform is the right word for a hand-break-turn-around-and-go-backwards policy platform. This impotency is surely of concern to you.

The second reason I don’t think PM Abbott has been worth it for the Liberal Party is because he is deeply unpopular and very good at finding ways to increase his unpopularity. I don’t have time to give you the entire laundry lists of Abbott-stuff-ups that have contributed to his terrible polls, which you’ve no doubt noticed have been terrible since pretty much day one. Dodgy scholarships for his daughter, insane ‘captains picks’ such as the Knighting of Prince Philip, biting onions, shirt-fronting the Russian President, choosing only one woman in his cabinet and then making himself, a known misogynist, Minister for Women, a Speaker expense scandal and of course your own leadership spill shenanigans. Sometimes I wonder if Abbott is actually one giant satire comedy routine sent to entertain the lefty-lynch-mob on Twitter. I’m sure you’ve wondered the same thing. The bottom line is, Abbott as Prime Minister doesn’t make Australians proud to be Australian. The last poll I saw was Essential Poll which had the two party preferred figures at Liberal 47, Labor 53. And this is after Abbott’s spent most of the last few months doing his best to whip up fear about the ‘death cult’ with a growing collection of flags and tried unsuccessfully to mount a smear campaign against Bill Shorten. Is Abbott’s poll-boosting bag of tricks empty? This far out from an election and you’ve got nothing? This must be worrying for you.

The third and final reason why Abbott most definitely has not been worth it for the Liberal Party is because his incompetence in managing the economy is destroying your long-relied-on strategic mantle of claiming Liberal governments as better economic managers than Labor governments. Of course we all know this mantle isn’t based in reality. But nevertheless you’ve used it successfully to win power, along with scaring people about national security, for the past 20 years. But how can you possibly think you can keep using this ‘economic competency’ line when Abbott, and his Treasurer Hockey, are making such a mess of business confidence, consumer confidence, growth, unemployment, debt and deficit and pretty much every other economic indicator that Liberal voters apparently obsess over when deciding that they will again vote Liberal. The bottom line is, your wrecking ball, which you used so successfully to wreck Labor’s electoral fortune, has swung back and wrecked your ‘economic competence’ campaign line. What will you do without it? I suspect you’ll lose. And you may not win again until Abbott has been long-forgotten by the electorate. How long do you think that will take? 50 years? Maybe even 100?

You’re probably feeling a bit depressed now that you’ve seen my very valid reasoning as to why Abbott surely wasn’t worth it for the Liberal Party. You’re probably feeling a bit silly for being so short-sighted in your quest to get power that you’ve made such a huge #OneTermTony problem for yourselves. One term of power isn’t really enough to justify all the effort, and money, you put into getting Abbott elected. And this one term will likely ensure you won’t get another term for a very, very long time. I, however, have no sympathy for you. Like a drunk-fool with a horrible hangover, you brought this on yourself. So in the words of Darryl Kerrigan: ‘Hey. Bad luck. Ya dickhead!’

Yours sincerely

Victoria Rollison

 

My Thoughts on the Week That Was

w21 It’s difficult to criticise Labor’s proposal to impose the so called Buffet Tax on the rich when the Australian Taxation Office had found that in 2011-12 75 Australians earning more than $1 million a year had paid no tax at all. In fact combined annual incomes of those millionaires was $195 million, but through elaborate accounting tricks, the super-rich 75 had been required to stump up just $82 in total.

2 Research shows that Federal Coalition member’s annual expenses are on average $90,000 per head more than Labor MPs. Even allowing for the higher costs of incumbency it is an astonishing figure. No one doubts the validity of claiming expenses but this really has to be sorted out. Joe makes thirteen trips to his farm and Bronwyn attends Mirabella’s wedding all on the pretext that they were on government business. “The age of privilege is over” said Joe. “Crap” said Tony.

3 One of the regrets of my life is that in all probability Australia will not become a Republic in my lifetime. But Shorten is right to aim for 2025. And if you could make it sooner I would be immensely happy.

4 Bill Shorten is planning equal representation of the sexes in Parliament. Did he consult with the Minister for Women?

Sunday 26 August.

An observation:

“We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”

w51 Last week at the Premier’s retreat the PM appealed for a calm measured debate on the GST without any scaremongering. Sounds reasonable except he continued his scare campaigns on Asylum Seekers and Climate Change.

An example of this is Dutton’s announcement that if Labor won the next election hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers would invade our shores. We deserve better than these fools.

2 Australia remains the only developed country yet to announce what plan it will take to the global climate summit in Paris. So let’s not have any of these ridiculous scare campaigns. It should be pointed out that Labor has not actually announced a Climate policy and that despite criticising Labor for not modelling its policy-in-progress, the Coalition can’t point to any modelling of its own Direct Action policy because it has never done any – not when it was in opposition, nor when it was in government. During the last election, if I recall correctly, Abbott said he just wanted to have a crack

3 The cost advantage of non-polluting energy is rapidly increasing. Wind is already the cheapest, and solar PV [photovoltaic panels] will be cheaper than gas in around two years, in 2017. Wind will continue to decrease in cost but solar will become the dominant source in the longer term.

4 Speaking of leadership the latest Morgan survey reveals that Abbott is supported as Liberal Leader by only 13% and Shorten as ALP Leader by only 12%. The Libs prefer Turnbull by a whopping margin and Labor prefer Deputy ALP Leader Tanya Plibersek.

5 It just won’t go away. It has now been revealed that TAXPAYERS footed a more than $21,000 bill for Warren Truss to give a speech explaining the virtues of tightening the government belt and reducing expenditure after the controversial 2014 Federal Budget.

It’s our money, folks.

6 All things considered it’s been a good conference for the leader.

w6Monday 26 July

A poem on the theme of domestic violence.

Maria, I called

I awoke with a throaty dankness Of alcohol overindulged Detestable stupidity And unmitigated sorrow

The why of it deserted me Memories vague but real I had committed a sin Of unforgiving evil

Then my conscience Spoke with morose meaning I had hit her a coward’s punch Destroying her exquisite smile

Maria I called to the silence But it prevailed God I said as if to mock my Self hatred

I pissed and staggered Through my regrets To the kitchen The stench of myself hit me

Where was she and The noise that children make Regret insinuated itself On the absence of love

She had written with miseries ink Just three words “The last time” on pristine white I cursed the grog but

Pathetically I sought the Next bottle of my degeneracy And took it to bed Contemplating the me I used to be

John Lord

1 Last week the PM was full of praise for a debate, without scaremongering, on the issue of the GST. It seems however that scaremongering is ok on climate change and it has begun already. An ETS is a tax he insists with the same enthusiasm he had for a leg of lamb or wiping towns off the map before the last election.

We all might ask though just what it is they are using to fund their nonsensical Direct Action plan. Answer: YOUR TAXES.

Then yesterday afternoon Malcolm Turnbull cut through Abbott’s slogans and semantics dominating the climate policy debate – pointing out that all policies to push low-emission electricity generation come at a cost to households, including the ones the government supports, and that the cost of renewables is falling. He went on to correctly talk about the costs of whatever scheme is adopted. The Coalition has never revealed its costings beyond its present scheme.

I repeat: “We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet”.

Remember the “historic and ambitious” climate agreement between the US and China, when Tony Abbott was left out in the ‘coald’?

Asked where the deal left Australia’s climate change policy, the expert adviser to the former government Professor Ross Garnaut said: “Exactly where it was before the US-China announcement – up shit creek.”

2 I do wish someone amongst all those Labor supporters who so detest Bill Shorten and his Asylum Turn Back policy would show me their alternate so that I might gauge the difference. The question always arises. What would you do?

3 Morgan Poll: L-NP support has slumped 3% to 46% cf. ALP 54% (up 3%) on a two-party preferred basis as the travel expense ‘misconduct’ surrounding Parliamentary Speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s incorrect use of taxpayer entitlements continued to impact negatively on the Government.

Tuesday 28 July

1 Bronwyn Bishop’s office claims she has to keep secret her meetings in Albury on the weekend she claimed travel expenses to attend Sophie Mirabella’s wedding. Sniff test, lie detector test, pub test. Take your pick.

2 Goodness, all the talk yesterday about more women in the Coalition ranks. Don’t they realise they have a minister for women and he also happens to be the Prime Minister. Why isn’t he taking some action?

3 This week’s Essential Poll and Survey sees Labor back on 53% and the Coalition on 47%. What can be read into it? Well this far out from the next election so many things can happen that you cannot view it as an indication of how people will vote. It’s only an insight into how people are thinking at the moment. It is a measure of this Governments unpopularity though that they have never headed the Opposition since the election.

This is what they thought of Bronwyn Bishop and the expenses saga.

25% think she should stand down while her expenses are being investigated, 19% think she should resign as Speaker and 24% think she should resign from Parliament.

34% of Liberal/National voters think she should remain as Speaker – 25% think she should resign as Speaker or from Parliament. A majority of Labor voters (59%) and Greens voters (55%) think she should resign as Speaker or from Parliament.

On Electricity costs

51% think their electricity bill over the last 12 months has increased, 33% think it has stayed about the same and 9% think it has decreased.

There were not substantial differences by voting intention or demographics – although Labor voters (58%) were a little more likely to think it had increased.

On the impact of the Carbon Tax.

More than 60% of voters think the former Labor government’s carbon price had no effect, or only a small effect, on electricity bills. Just as Abbott tries to rerun a cost of living scare campaign against Labor’s pledge to re-introduce an emissions trading scheme.

On Tax Reform

There was strong majority support for forcing multinational companies to pay a minimum tax rate on Australian earnings (79%), increasing income tax rate for high earners (63%) and removing superannuation tax concessions for high earners (59%).

There was strong majority opposition to increasing the GST (65%).

Wednesday 29 July

Posted my piece Where Did all his Readers Go?

1 Alan Jones opining about the character of Aussie rules player Adam Goodes. You have to put it in perspective of course. Goods is a champion player, champion human being who does a lot to further indigenous culture and represent his race. He is an ‘’Australian of the Year’’ and a fine one. On the other hand Alan Jones is a detestable human who delights in demining people. And he accepts paid millions to do so. How someone of such little character can judge someone with so much stretches my intellect somewhat.

2  Senior ministers, it seems, are ‘ropeable’ over the Bronwyn Bishop’s scandal saying it is damaging the Government.

Some charity should suggest an admission charge to the public gallery for the next Question Time to raise funds. Pressure is mounting on Bishop to resign but she won’t. Abbott is unlikely to force her instead relishing an all in brawl with the Opposition. In the meantime we can all sit and ponder just how it is we are being governed.

It would not surprise if today she says the dog ate her expenses homework-twice.

Who tweeted this?

After 2 interesting tram trips last night now on the 109 on Collins St to Sth Cross to get the train to Geelong to visit . . .

An observation:

“The simplest way to turn the profession of politics on its head would be to demand they tell the truth”

3 There is something cringe worthy about politicians delaying the inevitable. Abbott is doing everything possible to delay a vote on gay marriage. It’s not like it’s something new that requires more debate. The public has let the public know their feelings and they should act accordingly. All he is doing is making his Government more disliked than it already is.

Thursday 30 July

Bronwyn Bishop’s gratuitous empty apology to the Australian people on the Alan Jones (where else) program was too little too late. It does nothing for the public’s perception that politicians are openly rorting the system. She has further demeaned the position of speaker if indeed that is possible. Her bias as speaker is acknowledged by both sides of the political spectrum, as does all sections of the media. Her behaviour has reflected on all members of parliament and the Prime Ministers failure to dismiss her is yet another example of his lack of qualities as a leader.

Her credibility is now so tainted that she could not possible command the respect of the Parliament and its members.

The Leader of the House, Christopher Pyne, may well seek to protect her, particularly in question time, but an already tarnished, childish excuse for a demonstration of democracy will be further diminished.

There was a time when our Parliament exhibited some collective dignity and personal integrity. Abbott seems to have so trashed the conventions and principles of our Parliament that it no longer conforms to the traditions of the Westminster system.

A midday thought:

Less informed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths”.

 Friday 31 July

1 Has Mike Baird become our de facto PM. Firstly he makes the running on a debate for an increase on the GST. Something you would expect an incumbent PM to do. And yesterday he took on a plea for people to stop booing footballer Adam Goodes. In the meantime the leader of the nation remains silent on the issue.

Midday thoughts

1 Two issues dominated the week. Firstly the Adam Goodes’ saga occupied all genres of the media and many morally unqualified commentators opined their ignorance. It will be the subject of my next piece for THE AIMN.

2 Bronwyn Bishop continued to dominate the headlines and this morning Gerard Henderson was on News24 defending her. The point is this. Her performance as Speaker on any level of judgement has been abysmal. The expenses issue is simple the catalyst in calling for her resignation.

My view hasn’t changed. Bishop should resign and write her memoirs. I’m sure somebody MIGHT be interested.

Even today the PM said this:

“She is obviously deeply remorseful, anyone who saw her on television yesterday would know that she is a very, very chastened person indeed”.

 Can someone tell me the medical term for delayed reaction?

And this is the week that was.

Malcolm Turnbull had the last word without saying a thing.

w10

 

My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday July 18

This is not going to go away. The revelation that Bishop wasn’t prepared to pay back the money for her helicopter flight until the Prime Minister intervened is particular damming.

BRONWWN

There is still the question of the $88,000 two week trip to Europe. Even if she can justify it under the existing rules she is still guilty of extravagance that should not be tolerated. If it cannot be justified, her position is untenable.

And of course she still has to explain how she thought the trip was consistent with her duties as Speaker, an office that requires detachment from partisan politics.

Sunday July 19

PHILIP

Prince Philip is back in the headlines with another “gaffe”. This time, he asked a group of East End women: “Who do you sponge off?” People just dismiss it as another regrettable thought from a man of few redeeming features. If fact a man who has sponged of the public purse all his life. A snob in the true meaning of the word. (Look it up).

Bronwyn Bishop sponges of the taxpayer by using a helicopter to attend a fundraiser for her own her own party and thinks she has done nothing wrong. She will repay the money, reluctantly, under the Minchin protocol which is nothing more than a mechanism to get away with cheating and will probably continue to treat Members of the House of Reps as her subservient beings and humiliate as many of them as possible.

George Christenson will address a Reclaim Australia rally proclaiming his racist white superiority whilst being cheered on by the Prime Minister under the guise of free speech.

Although isolated these three instances have one thing in common. They are each born of a deep sense of establishment where the incumbents believe that a certain right of entitlement has been bestowed upon them and that all others are beneath or subservient to those of privilege.

Monday July 20

If as the Prime Minister says the pursuit of Bishop is a beat up. What was his pursuit of Slipper? A beating?

1 As a well-read lover of language and its power to persuade I intently dislike those who prostitute its meaning. Watching Greg Hunt on Insiders yesterday was an agonising exercise in the destruction of the English language. By that I mean this, when lies are used so blatantly to construct the basis of what seems a reasoned truth and sentences mangled to the point where they become deliberately indecipherable I am appalled. Such was the case yesterday. I said to my wife after the interview. “Do you have any idea what he was talking about? She answered “Why? did you?”

ENGLISH

2 And on the same program Gerrard Henderson’s feeble, flippant attempt to dismiss Speaker Bishop’s misdemeanors as uneventful and unworthy of serious discussion were so typical of someone so biased as to not be able to see the wood from the trees.

To quote John Hewson:

“I just think its pretty bad short-term politics and it’ll end in tears for a lot of people.”

And Peter Costello says:

“Bronwyn Bishop’s interpretation of her parliamentary entitlements, arguing the Speaker can claim taxpayer benefits for attending any function where she speaks about parliament is wrong.”

Who said this I wonder:

“I love her but her bias as a Speaker has made Parliament almost unworkable” one backbench MP said.

3 And before anyone accuses me of bias let me say that in my many years of following politics we have never had a worse bunch morons who seemingly don’t want to govern for the common good. Only for themselves. All of them.

4 An example of 3. Tony Abbott thinks Bronwyn is doing a really good job. That proves it.

5 Organisers of the Reclaim Australia event in Brisbane have announced their split from the organisation to join an explicitly anti-Islam group. That’s what they really are so I salute their honesty if nothing else.

reclaim

A Midday thought

I don’t think anyone has ever uttered words like these that better describe everything that is bad and wrong about the governance of our nation. We have a rotten government and a rotten leader in Prime Minister Abbott. Who else would react to a great wrong by a rotten Speaker by saying this?

“She has been a strong Speaker…she has been a strong servant of our country, she has been a good servant of the Coalition and so she does have my confidence but like everyone who has done something like this, inevitably, for a period of time, they are on probation.

Tuesday July 21

PROBATION

The Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Australia is ON PROBATION. I really struggle to get my head around the implication of that. Has any other Speaker in Australia’s history ever been “ON PROBATION?

Let me repeat this less the ramification of the statement escapes you. The Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Australia is ON PROBATION.

Could the PM tell the public the duration of the PROBATION, its conditions, the consequences of the Speaker breaching any of the conditions of the PROBATION, how any breaches of the PROBATION will be reported to the Australian public and how the status of the PROBATION could be affected by any investigation conducted by the Department of Finance or indeed the Federal Police.

Since Tony Abbott became leader of the Liberal Party and in turn the Prime Minister of Australia he has been responsible for the disintegration of many of the institutions and standards of conduct that used to cement our democracy. He is a disgrace to the very principles that we once thought were necessary for robust, transparent, open and truthful government.

Wednesday 22 July

Posted my short story Confession of an Honest Conservative.

1 This week’s Essential Poll again has Labor in the lead, 52/48.

2 Today in Sydney the PM is having a retreat with the State Premiers to discuss the vexed issue of tax. The premiers will rule out anything that is detrimental to their own state. In the meantime the Federal Government is conducting a tax inquiry but has ruled out any major tax reforms (those that could make any difference) because it might affect its chances of reelection.

Then he says: “We are doing what’s best for all Australians”

Bullshit.

Or to borrow a comment by Stephen Tardrew:

“We are meeting to discuss what we are not going to do just to make it look like we are doing something about nothing. Brilliant act of circular escapism.”

Thursday 23 July

1 Renewable energy: Labor puts forward 50 per cent target by 2030; pledges to introduce emissions trading scheme. This will give the voter a stark contrast from which to choose. It could be described as bold and visionary. The difference is simply that one party is for the future and one the past or that one believes the science and one doesn’t.

2 During the “Copter Crisis” Mrs Bishop said that as Speaker: “I speak to community groups, I’ll speak to Liberal groups, I’ll even speak to Labor groups”.

Well it seems one Labor Branch has taken her at her word and issued an official invitation to speak at a seminar.

“We would like to invite you to be our guest speaker on the topic ‘what role will the Westminster system play in an Australian Republic?”

3 The bye election for Don Randall’s seat will be an interesting test for the Abbott Government particularly as it is in WA. The seat was won by the Liberal Party 52.2 to Labor 47.8. The earliest date it could be held is 29 July. The average swing is 5%.

4 It seems our Speaker has been ripping off the taxpayer for years. Fairfax has disclosed that the taxpayer has even funded her trips to the Opera. I’m guessing she would have seen Call Me Madam, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Beggars Opera, Madam Butterfly, The Cunning Little Vixen, The Taming of the Screw and Carmen of course.

5 Just a reminder to those familiar with the life and work of the person known as Jesus. Yes he was the world’s first socialist.

6 A rarity for me to agree with Janet Albrechtsen but she is correct. “MPs can’t hope to end the age of entitlement and exempt themselves.”

7 “It’s astonishing that the Liberal party can campaign against a carbon tax because it raises the cost of living – and then advocate a tax, the GST, that literally raises the cost of living.”

Friday 24 July

INTERNET

I found myself without any Internet for most of Thursday and it wasn’t reconnected until around midday today. Even in that short space of time I was reminded of just how much the internet had become part of my life. It is somewhat of a shock when the instantaneousness of information (and many other things) is taken away.  I recalled the time when of habit I would venture to the front gate to collect the daily newspaper. The Melbourne Age was my source of news. It had sustained me all my life.

Now at 6am every morning I go on line and suck in the news of the day from as many and varied outlets as time allows. Surely the advent of the internet and social media sites has changed the way we communicate and opine our thoughts irreversibly. Take Facebook for example.

Social media of course receives its share of criticism but I have found it rewarding in the sense that it has given me the opportunity to express my thoughts in a forum that is at times robustly disagreeable but always enlightening. It makes you dive into humanity, hear things you do not want to hear, and defend what you have to say .It is for those with opinions or for those without the courage to share them. And fence-sitters of course. It attracts the reasoned the unreasoned the civil and the uncivil. The biased and the unbiased. It is for people with ideas and sadly those without any. It whispers or shouts dissent. But mostly it’s a society of our own creation. It is also a technology that has given licence to the nutters of society or conversely you could say that it has identified and exposed them.

2 We have had the usual post Premier’s self-praise of their retreat and without wishing to sound negative they made what, in a flourishing progressive democracy should be normal and ongoing attention to reform, sound like for the first time in human history, they had discovered the benefits of civil discourse.

Recommend you read Kaye Lee’s article on this subject.

3 Bill Shorten addressed the issue of that most vexed issue of Asylum Seekers at the National Conference.

John Kelly restated the obvious in his piece for The AIMN.

“The Liberal party hit upon a winner with John Howard sensing and playing to the national mood with the Tampa affair back in 2001. It was never in the national interest to refuse to help destitute people seeking asylum. But he did it anyway.”

“The decision he made on the Tampa was very much in the interest of his party winning the next election. That’s why that he acted the way he did. And suddenly we learned that wedging was the new political game in town.”

Then Philip Ruddock started calling them illegals and Tony Abbott disgracefully demonized them in order to wedge Labor. Clever politics but morally sick. But that’s our Prime Minister.

A pox on both your houses.

And this is the week that was.

Oh, and by the way we did find out that Joe had charged the taxpayer $20,000 dollars to visit his farm 13 times. The expenses saga came and went and by the end of the week we were back to normal.

Was our Democracy advanced? No, not one iota.

 

A Letter to the Editor from Morrie Moneyweather.

I have refrained from writing to this blog for over a year but it has gottin to much for me. Im sick and tied of the constant attacks on the Prime Minister and his cabnet.

I really don’t know where to start. Everyday there is a constant stream of pissweek comantary from writers with little to say and all the time in the world to say it.

Take the attacks on the best Speaker the House of Reps has ever ad. I mean she shows remarkable decorum in the face of so much abuse from Shorten and his mob of fwits. She is always reasonable to the point of being overlyfair. They simply don’t deserve it.

And now they are critising her because she jumps (well not litrally but I bet she could) on a plain for a fund raising event. How bloody stupid is that. How on earth do you expect the best possible government if they don’t have enough money to win elections. Our Bronny deserves a meddle for what she puts up with.

What you people on the left don’t appreciate is that if you want the best educated ministry then someone has to pay.The one we have now is the best ever and it shows in all the ideas and policies it produces. Fairdinkum I was talking to me mate Blind Freddy the other day and he reckoned the country would have gone to the dogs if Abbott wasn’t elected.

Giving the rich discounts on Super was just what was needed to give us more effulence. After all it’s the rich that support the poor. Everyone knows that. That’s Tonies plan. Build up the wealth of those rightfully privalaged and they can then support the poor. We have always done that. They don’t appreciate it though.

Take all the things Joe wants to do for the Country. No one understands his motives. Well Labor doesn’t. All they do is critic. I was talking to my Financial Adviser the other day and he reckons they are all just jealous.I know I inherited mine and I had the best of education. Well all they have to do is get off their collective arses and get a job. God only knows Tony is providing enough of them.

And what about the climate. I mean have we ever had a prime minister so on top of the sciences. While Im at it and this is the mane reason I have written is to comment on the stuppiddy of that fellow John Lord. I told him last time that he needs a manager because hes been handling himself to long. Then he emailed bak to say he was to old to handel anything.

This is what he should have wrote:

Has Australia ever, so wisely, elected a man so positive about the countries future and exprecced it so clearly.? A person with such truth and transparency. So sensitive to those who cannot help themselves. So willing to endorse and foster equality. So knoweggible of technology and science. So aware to the needs of women. That’s why women like his as there minster. So adeptt at policy formation and its implementation. (note the good spelling. That’s what a private education gives you) So on top of good communication. So diplomatic, so ambassadorial, so sensitive, in his attitude toward oth…ers. So accomdating of those who desire equality. And in touch with a modern pluralist society. A man so sophisticated in deep worldly acumen and discernment, yet religiously motivated.

Glad I got that of me chest actually. Might I suggest that the writers on this blog try a bit less bias otherwise they will end up like the ABC. Christ don’t start me on them. I have no malcontent toward anyone. Just try to be more fair and give credit where credits dew. Then we con have some real intercourse.

Thanks again to my son Miles and his mates from Melbourne Gramma year 12 english class for all there help with the composition and proof reading.

Its testimy of what Commonwealth investment in private schools can achieve.

Morrie Moneyweather. Malvern.

PS Say hello to Kaye. She is the only one at the blog who apprecuates my intellect and ability to see through all the shit.

 

My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday 4 July

1 Andrew Robb in response to a question about the Coalition’s attitude to the co-sponsored Private Members Bill on same sex marriage said:

“None of the millions of families out there who are concerned about their jobs and paying the bills will thank us for being preoccupied for weeks and weeks with this issue”.

Conveniently, it seems, forgetting the inconvenient truth that some of those families might – in fact, wait, definitely do – including same-sex couples. And to think he negotiated three international trade deals.

jac

2 Jacqui Lambie’s (the terror from Tassie) comparison of the Greens to Islamic military extremists has left them demanding an apology.

Addressing a mining conference in her home state of Tasmania on Friday, Senator Lambie opened her speech with ‘a little joke’.

“What’s the difference between the Greens and ISIS?” she asked an audience gathered for the third and final day of the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council annual conference.

“Not very much. They both want to take us back into the dark ages.”

It seems she is not only unintelligent with a big mouth she also tells jokes in poor taste.

Midday thoughts.

It seems, according to the Fairfax press, that Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s office knew Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had misled Parliament about Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis three days before the government eventually owned up to the mistake.

The delay in correcting the parliamentary record until the end of a sitting fortnight meant the government faced no scrutiny in question time over its handling of the case.

A Senate probe into the blunder had already discovered Senator Brandis knew about the letter late on. However, it has now emerged Mr Abbott’s office also knew about Ms Bishop’s false evidence that same day.

It was a cover up of the highest order.

Misleading Parliament is a grave offence and usually means someone gets sacked. ‘Heads should roll’ as the PM is fond of saying.

An observation:

“When a political party deliberately withholds information that the voter needs to make an informed, balanced and reasoned assessment of how it is being governed. It is lying by omission. It is also tantamount to the manipulation of our democracy.”

Sunday July 5

1 Keep this in mind when the PM is forcing National Security down your throat: Sure there are people in our midst who would do us harm, who despise who and what we are, but the threat they pose, statistically, is far less than any of us being involved in a road accident.

And ask yourself “why it is that The Border Force Act is targeting doctors, nurses, teachers and aid workers employed in our detention centers?” They face a two-year jail term if they disclose whatt is happening in these places.

And while you’re at it ask yourself why Asylum seekers must always be seen as threats, queue jumpers and illegals, and never as desperate human beings, men, women and children.

Ask yourself “why it is under Abbott’s tenure Ministers who mislead the Parliament don’t resign?” It used to be that way when we had a democracy.

When you have thought about this and the many other issues facing the nation ask yourself why he’s been so busy scaring the nation with an overblown terror threats he can’t find time to address them.

Flags

The most pressing issue I see into the future is the shortage of material for the production of flags. Our manufacturing industry is under threat. At the least he should attend to this.

sportsmanship

2 Not on my usual topic but it claws my gut. I just wish some of our young sportspeople would show respect for the sport they play, their peers, its history and its capacity to make them very wealthy. Young intelligent people by comparison in the sciences and many other career pursuits will never earn what they do but do it none the less. Pampered petulant full of their own importance with an expectation that the world owes them.

An observation:

“The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you”.

Monday 6 July

It’s only Monday but I can already hear the sound of heavy journalistic breathing at the Murdoch press. By Wednesday Bill Shorten’s appearance at the RC might bring on a serious case of exaggerated bullshit.

MY OFFICIAL WARNING

“If a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements then dismiss the article as having no cogency”.

Climate

Three observations:

“In terms of the environment, I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today”.

“If we’re not raising new generations to be better stewards of the environment, what’s the point?”

“We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet”.

4 What was I saying most of last week? Well just to confirm my thoughts:

“Poll reveals 76% think family violence is as big or bigger threat than terrorism and advocates call for it to be funded in proportion to the scale of the problem”.

Tuesday July 6

1 The captain of team Australia has chucked a wobbly and decided that its members are unable to play with Q&A anymore. Yes, in a display of childish petulance tough Tony has taken his bat and ball and gone home. Barnaby Joyce was heard to say something like: “Can’t bat. can’t bowl, can’t field, but excellent at sledging”.

The big test will come next week. Will he allow Malcolm Turnbull time at the crease, on a sticky wicket, or indeed, will the ever popular Communications Minister be forced to play with a dead bat? He will need balls though. Either way someone should tell the Captain that one side is playing cricket, the other isn’t.

Anyway, Barnaby Joyce’s appearance on ABC Insiders yesterday confirmed one thing in my mind. When it comes to matters of deep human consideration, matters pertaining to life and relationship he is like so many of the Coalition, simply out of his depth.

Some parts of south-east Asia could view Australia embracing same-sex marriage as “decadence”, the deputy Nationals leader, and possible future deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, has said.

What more can one say except “he is a buffoon of the first order”?

2 Today’s polls confirm that both Shorten and Abbott are on the nose with the electorate. Abbott because he always has been and Shorten because the punters are unsure of him. Wednesday may very well decide for them.

Fairfax has Labor on 53/47 and Newspoll 52/48. A clear lead to Labor.

Things that go unnoticed:

3 The Climate Council tells us that electricity emissions have jumped since the repeal of the carbon tax. The increase of 4.3% has undone part of an 11% fall in emissions during the two years the tax was in place.

“The news that emissions have gone up in Australia will do little to counter the impression that Australia is acting as a ‘free rider’ on the back of other countries’ efforts” the Climate Council chief executive, Amanda McKenzie, said in a statement on Sunday.

q

Wednesday 7 July

1 Do you ever wonder who appears the most on Q&A and how the figures stack up? Well prominent Coalition politicians have appeared 139 times to March this year and Labor 110.

Prominent left leaning journalists 9. The right, 23

Bias anyone?

And might I add that on The Drum one would have to be forgiven for thinking that the IPA has a permanent chair at the desk.

2 New emails show Prime Minister Tony Abbott may have known Parliament had been misled about the Sydney siege gunman three days before the government corrected the record. Is there a smoking gun?

3 It looks like Barnaby was not too happy with the Captains call. Will Turnbull have the guts to hit him to square leg? But look, the fact is that a reasonable captain would just get on with the game. A reasonable leader, however, our PM is not. He hates better than most.

4 At least our two leaders presented a united front at the meeting on Indigenous recognition in the Constitution. Unfortunately it might all come to a sudden end with Indigenous leaders demanding protection against racial abuse together with anti-discrimination protection. Symbolic recognition might be one thing but can you imagine journalists like Bolt having their right to abuse taken away?

Midday thoughts:

1 Amanda Vanstone’s rant on ABC 24 this morning was hogwash. Current affairs programs will always be confronted with accusations of bias if only because they are confrontational. For Amanda to say she couldn’t get a word in belies her capacity to do just that.

Often what influence you have on these panels is dependent on one’s media savvy, quickness of mind and an ability to speak better than others. Some are just better at it than others regardless of ideology.

Hawke and Keating always thought the ABC were biased against Labor.

2 In addition it’s interesting to note that almost universally the PM has been condemned, even by people on the right, for banning appearances.

A thought:

“The exchange and intellectual debate of ideas needs to be re energised and it is incumbent on the young to become involved”.

Thursday 8 July

1 Did you know that the Abbott government ministry is one of the worst in the developed world for gender balance?

Well I expect you did. It’s fairly obvious. A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development says the gap between women and men in ministerial positions in Australia has actually worsened since 2012, despite the government’s reshuffle in December. It says Australia now has fewer women in its highest ranks of government than every OECD country except for Greece, Korea, Turkey, Hungary and the Slovak Republic.

An observation:

“At some time in the human narrative…..in our history, man declared himself superior to women. It must have been an accident, or at least an act of gross stupidity. But that’s men for you”.

3 This week’s Essential Poll has Labor 52 and LNP 48.

4 Nothing gives me greater pleasure than when our young people achieve success on the international stage be it in sport, entertainment, the arts and sciences. Nothing offends me more than when their petulant behavior misrepresents our sense of fair play and societal decency.

Friday 9 July

1 Politicians frequently update things undeclared. Commercial interests etc. Hockey recently did. Abbott is guilty of doing so. Political donations are dodgy on both sides. ICAC in NSW showed that. Everyone would agree that it needs to be cleaned up. But a Royal Commission costing $80 million. Strewth.

2 “The idea that Malcolm Turnbull should not be allowed to appear next Monday night is too ludicrous to believe” (Paul Kelly, The Australian).

Malcolm Turnbull still has views that spring from old Liberalism. In his address to the Sydney Institute all he was doing was expressing them. I could not imagine any other leader, other than Abbott, talking about terrorism in the way he does. Leadership requires character. Politicians on both sides of the divide could do with an injection of it.

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

3 Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says “the world has gone mad” after his own government approved the highly contentious Shenhua Watermark coal mine in his NSW electorate, despite his vehement protests.

“I think it is ridiculous that you would have a major mine in the midst of Australia’s best agricultural land” Joyce said. He obviously doesn’t appreciate coal as much as the PM. They are becoming more laughable by the day.

Midday thoughts:

1 The Royal Commission into Unions that the Prime Minister orchestrated for no other reason than to embarrass Bill Shorten has achieved its aim. But that is all. There has been no knockout punch. However the residue of of mud thrown will hang around until the next election. Its report might conveniently come in at a time beneficial to the Government. The pity is that if Labor had a squeaky clean leader victory would be assured.

2 Tony Windsor, the maverick rural MP who helped Labor keep office during the last parliament, says he is considering running again for the seat of New England after the Abbott government gave its approval for a huge open-cut coal mine on the Liverpool Plains.

I am currently reading Windsor’s book “Windsor’s Way” and I hope he does return. He decides issues on what is best for the common good.

3 Combined polling for the week has 52.2-47.8 to Labor. Primary votes for both major parties have fallen. Both leaders have disastrous ratings. The big winner was the Greens.

4 The collapse in the iron ore price will almost certainly mean a collapse in the budget forecasts. Surely Hockey would have taken this into consideration.

This is the week that was.

Two final thoughts:

1 “The most simple way to turn the profession of politics on its head would be to demand they tell the truth”.

2 Wouldn’t it be nice if Mr. Abbott, instead of spending an estimated 200 million on three Royal Commissions to damage his opponents, spent it on reducing domestic violence?

dom

 

If Dick Smith wants to take on Tony Abbott, he will have Murdoch to contend with

Social media went into meltdown with the news that popular entrepreneur Dick Smith is considering standing as a candidate in Tony Abbott’s Warringah electorate at the next federal election.

The excitement, of course, was that person to person Dick Smith could in all likelihood take the seat. It’s a delicious thought and one widely shared. For many (judging by the comments on Facebook and Twitter) the news provided a glimmer of sunshine in what had been a gloomy political week.

But Dick Smith would have to do battle not just against Tony Abbott and other candidates; his major opponent will be the Murdoch media. Dick isn’t afraid of the Murdoch media and he isn’t afraid of rightly voicing his disgust in their modus operandi. This will put him clearly offside and they will batter him from pillar to post should he decide to stand.

Dick had a ‘run-in’ with the Murdoch media in 2013 when he published Murdoch Censorship Gives the Lie to ‘Freedom of Speech’ Claims (which was republished on The AIMN) slamming Kim Williams, then CEO of News Limited in Australia after he said we do not need to worry about the domination of the Murdoch press because we now have digital media! “Let’s see if it works” asked Dick in a subsequent probing letter to Mr Williams.

It is worth publishing again.

* * *

Kim Williams AM
CEO and Managing Director
News Limited
2 Holt St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Via Email

Dear Kim

Murdoch Censorship Gives the Lie to “Freedom of Speech” Claims

I believe your personal campaign against proposed government media reforms is hypocritical as it is your organisation that is largely responsible for this reaction by our politicians.

You claim, “We are in danger of limiting the full reign of freedom of speech which we cherish and keeps our democracy on its toes.” This is, to put it plainly, claptrap. Your organisation constantly limits freedom of speech and even censors paid announcements when it is in your commercial interests to do so.

You say we shouldn’t worry about your organisation’s dominance of the media as a diversity of opinion can now be had through digital media. Could you be referring to this type of opinion from a popular online site:

“The news industry is failing us; owned by self-interested corporate media barons who put profit before principle. Today’s news is more interested in generating sensationalism and controversy than fulfilling its historic mission of educating the public and our democracies are in danger as a result.”

Never have truer words been said, but where can we read them in print?

Personally, I would prefer that the government’s planned media reforms were not necessary, but I can see why they are being proposed. Many Australian politicians and leaders have told me they are scared of the power of your organisation, and so they should be.

I believe your threats of High Court action are a smokescreen to deflect criticism from the real issue: your organisation’s biased and intimidating reporting. You have one agenda only – the pursuit of ever-increasing profits for your shareholders. You have absolutely no interest in anything other than this and you should admit it, not make false claims implying your prime concerns are freedom of the press and democracy.

I hold the quaint belief it is incumbent on media owners to ensure their papers and broadcasting channels behave responsibly and in the public interest and show leadership on important issues that affect us. And while calling governments to account, they should not so intimidate politicians and public officials that they interfere with the process of rational debate and good policy. Your organisation has clearly failed this test.

I do not need to remind you of the corrupt and criminal activities of many of your proprietor’s employees and their associates in the UK. What is never mentioned is that this has come about as a result of the unwritten “Rupert Murdoch agenda” that if your people don’t achieve ever increasing circulation and profit growth they will lose their jobs.

I must make it clear that I do not blame your journalists; I have found most to be professional and fair-minded. It is obvious that they “self-censor” what they write knowing that if they ever reveal views that are in conflict with your proprietor, then their careers will be brief. This is at complete odds with your claims of ensuring free speech and being concerned about threats to democracy.

And I’m on to you. When friends ask me why your organisation runs such opposing views on climate change – from Fox News’ claims that it’s all bunkum to The Australian newspaper occasionally claiming it’s accepted science – I am able to say, “it’s simple. It’s all about making more money. They have worked out they will get more advertising and make more money on Fox News if climate change is debunked using sensationalism whilst they are likely to get greater circulation and more advertising dollars if The Australian shows a different view, so staff are directed accordingly”.

In effect, your organisation promotes views that meet the prejudices of your audience so as to maximise profits. This is not promoting free speech – it is abusing it.

And it sure works. Your organisation recently declared a 47% profit increase when the people you make most of your money from, the middle and lower income earners in the United States, are doing it tough with record unemployment levels and housing foreclosures. No wonder the “occupy” movement exists.

Of course, I know the pressure you are personally under. If you don’t keep sending ever increasing profits to New York you could suddenly be sacked – just like former Daily Telegraph Editor, Gary Linnell or Herald-Sun Editor, Simon Pristel.

It may not be so serious if your boss, who has so much influence in Australia, was respected and trusted by most Australians. The opposite is, in fact, the case. Just recently he was voted as one of the least trusted. He was placed number 97 on the Readers Digest “Who Do We Trust 2012” list. Only an errant footballer and a foul-mouthed shock-jock were held in lower esteem by the Australian people. Of course, you made sure there was no mention in the Murdoch media of this as all of your journalists worldwide “self-censored” on this issue. Once again, what about your “freedom of the press” claims?

And now to the subject which I am vitally concerned about and that your journalists have self-censored as it is at odds with your “grow profits at all costs” agenda.

That is the need for major debate and planning by our leaders on how to move to an economic system that does not require perpetual growth in population and the use of resources and energy. You are an educated and intelligent person and would know that our present economic system is not sustainable as the earth’s resources are finite and we are clearly heading for challenging times. Yet I have not once seen in a Murdoch publication an editorial which covers this important issue.

It’s even worse than this. Your organisation actively attempts to suppress coverage on the issue, and many politicians have also told me they are not game to mention that our present system of economic growth is unsustainable knowing they will be ruthlessly attacked by your organisation.

Because you fail to show responsibility in this important issue, I prepared a paid “announcement” (see attached) to run in the Daily Telegraph about my Wilberforce Award and the issue of growth and offered a $5,000 reward to a journalist who could get the issue covered in a Murdoch paper.

Almost predictably, the Daily Telegraph refused to run my paid announcement unless reference to the Murdoch press was deleted, and you supported this decision. This was clearly censorship. Of course it was all kept secret and the Australian public never got to hear of your actions. This is just one example of your suppression of ideas that challenge your corporate agenda. How many other views do you censor in order to meet your profit objectives?

Because of this, I have recently produced a magazine and I am printing 2.4 million copies to be inserted in daily newspapers. The magazine is entitled, “Dick Smith’s Magazine of Forbidden Ideas That You Won’t Read About in the Mainstream Media” – a copy of the front page is attached. The magazine is primarily intended to convey important messages that your journalists fear covering because they challenge your perpetual growth agenda.

As you control 70% of the print media in Australia, it’s obvious that 70% of my magazines will have to go in your newspapers. So will you reject my magazine as you did the original paid announcement? Let’s test your commitment to free speech.

Of course, I would normally write this letter to your boss, Rupert Murdoch, directly. However, in his last letter to me of 1 June 2011, he showed how sensitive he was to any criticism by rejecting further communication. This was because he was offended by my criticism of the Daily Telegraph for its front-page attack of Cate Blanchett when she dared to support the carbon tax. Isn’t it amazing – Rupert Murdoch tells people, “Climate change poses clear catastrophic risks” and claims he made News Limited carbon-neutral and he is treated like a hero by you and your colleagues, whereas Cate Blanchett is attacked so more papers could be sold and more profits made!

I am releasing this letter publicly, though I have been warned it is a high-risk strategy to criticise your organisation and that retribution will be swift. I wonder if you will instruct your reporters to come after me, just as News Limited did to its critics in the United Kingdom? But I think it is time to stand up to your bias and bullying and put your claims of “freedom of speech” to the test.

Yours faithfully
Dick Smith

Update: Here is the advertisement that the Murdoch media were too precious to publish:

Extra $5,000 reward for coverage of the Wilberforce Award in the Murdoch Press

The Murdoch press are absolutely paranoid about anyone mentioning that we can’t have constant growth in the use of material resources and energy.

What is even worse is the way our politicians appear to have been intimidated on this subject. Many politicians I speak to agree with the simple fact that we can’t always have growth and we need to move to a more stable system. However, a number of them have said to me ‘Dick, what you are saying is absolutely correct, but if I said it I would be crucified by the Murdoch press’.

I think everyone should be horrified at this. I think Rupert Murdoch himself would be horrified if he knew that free speech was being curtailed because people were frightened of his newspaper clout. My experience with Rupert is that he always wants both sides of an issue to be covered. It seems a pity that his Editors and Journalists in Australia don’t understand this.

The fact is we should be discussing all sides of the issue and acknowledging the fact that the growth we have had over the last thirty years cannot continue indefinitely. I am the first to admit that this growth has benefited people greatly, including Rupert Murdoch and myself. But it’s a simple fact that you don’t have to be a very good businessperson to be making more and more money in such a growth-fuelled environment – and we all know that one day there will be a limit to this growth.

It is very sad and also incredibly serious that we presently have a group of politicians, no matter how small, who agree with the important facts about this ‘growth reality’ but are not game to discuss it because they will be attacked.

Recently Barry O’Farrell, the Premier of New South Wales, stated that we would not have another airport in Sydney. He was attacked mercilessly by the Sydney Daily Telegraph. “How could someone doubt growth?” was basically the attitude of the Telegraph.

I have therefore decided on a special $5,000 prize for the first young person under the age of thirty who can get definitive coverage of the Wilberforce Award in the Murdoch press, including the fact that our present economic system, which requires perpetual growth in the use of resources and energy, is not sustainable.

So go for it! It must be possible. I am hoping that one day there will be a journalist working for the Murdoch press who is able to get the truth out and both sides of the argument will be fairly shown.

Remember, this is not a personal, emotive view of mine – it is a simple fact that we can’t always have perpetual growth in the use of material resources and energy in our finite world.

* * *

So before everyone gets too excited about the prospect of Dick Smith taking Tony Abbott’s seat of Warringah, ask yourself ‘just how much retribution will the Murdoch media have in store for Dick?’

They don’t like being stood up to. They don’t like being told what to do. They don’t like being threatened. They punish those who do. Dick Smith ticked all the boxes with this letter.

So if Dick Smith wants to take on Tony Abbott, he will now have the Murdoch media to contend with. They have long memories . . . and I’m sure they have remembered his attack.

 

The inevitable is almost upon us

The inevitable is almost upon us. The unseating of the Prime Minister is imminent. The phrase “it’s only a matter of time” reflects the state of his prime ministership. Good Government he said would begin again after 17 months of mediocrity and find its way out of the dark hole it had been hiding in. The adults would grow up and all would be right with the political world.

The Captain of Team Australia was fully in command of his game plan and he would present a more collegiate, consultative leadership.

As is the case with this, and past leadership challenges, (of any political shade) they all have a foreseeable death throes. The lingering process that at the beginning sees a fight for survival, but at its end sees a painful or distasteful death.

It isn’t possible to predict with any certainty the time of death but we know it will come.
We can however, witness and record the death throes. It starts with promises of better things. Of new standards and beginnings and develops into blaming others, leeks abound, your friends turn against you, and in Tony Abbott’s case, a heightened aggressiveness.

Since his declaration of a new beginning, what has changed that might alter the public’s view of Abbott and his administration. Well nothing really. He has jumped from one disaster to another.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comments linking Australia’s tsunami aid with a clemency bid for the two Australians on death row in Bali were seen as unhelpful by the Indonesian government.

His words were typical of Abbott. Full of threatening tone and belligerence.
He faced a “cavalcade of complaints” in Tuesday’s Liberal party room meeting, including repeated questioning from WA MP Don Randall about why former chief government whip Philip Ruddock was axed. It was reported as an ugly moment.

The sacking was again typical of Abbott. Never question one’s own judgement just blame others:

“It’s absolutely crystal clear, this inquiry by the President of the Human Rights Commission is a political stitch up,” The PM said.

The vitriol he shows towards Professor Triggs, considering neither he nor Brandis read the report, borders on misogyny. But reading reports seems to be anathema to conservatives. Pyne never read Gonski either.

MPs Craig Laundy and Andrew Laming raised concerns about the attack on the Human Rights Commissioner at Tuesday’s party meeting.

The performance of Liberal members at Senate Estimates was nothing short of sexist and left Senator Brandis with egg all over his face and there are now there is the real possibility of bribery(or corrupt conduct) charges being laid.

The Party meeting apparently heard a “cavalcade of complaints” about “the issues” confronting the government.

On top of that Mr Abbott was also confronted by South Australian MPs Andrew Southcott and Rowan Ramsey about the future submarine project, with Mr Ramsey warning the Prime Minister he would be breaking an election promise “if the hulls aren’t welded” in South Australia.

knivesAnd of course, when the knives are out, you can count on frequent damaging leaks. The revelation that the federal Liberal Party’s honorary treasurer threatened to resign due to unhappiness with the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Peta Credlin and her husband and federal director Brian Loughnane is particularly damaging and just one of many.

Then there was the revelation that the Budget razor gang shelved plans to cut pension payments to wealthy pensioners. Instead choosing to slash indexation of payments for all pensioners, according to the report, a move which Labor said will make pensioners $80 a week worse off.

In the middle of all this The Australian’s reported his plan to unilaterally attack Iraq. The veracity of that leak is doubtful however. It seemed to me that Murdoch was just given instructions. He wants Credlin out.

As if to demonstrate that toughness before diplomacy is the answer to ones problems he unleashes a National Security policy designed to promote division and fear where as a respected leader would be advocating calm, unity, leadership and attachment. All he has succeeded in doing is alienating people.

His calling on Muslim leaders to denounce terrorism when they have been doing so for some time suggests he is playing the race card for his own benefit.

If the PM wants to receive public approval for his new terrorist initiatives then he needs to quantify them against the cost,(in excess of half a billion dollars) the depletion of civil liberties, the possibility of future attacks and the history of deaths as a result of real known terrorism thus far.

We can then ask how he can justify the withdrawal of funds for programs against domestic violence which on average results in the death of one woman every week.
Abbott also said that: “the government would clamp down on organisations that incited religious or racial hatred”. I wonder if he included in that, all Murdoch publications and the likes of Bolt and Jones.

Newspoll came up with a surprisingly good result for Abbott but on reflection and given that his personal popularity remained so low is that the punters have factored in his eventual sacking. My assumption is supported by the fact that Morgan and Essential polls didn’t move.

A typical symptom of a Prime Minister in crisis is when the main stream media smells blood and Abbott with a confrontational personality devoid of any hint of humility is giving them all the ammunition they need.

In the meantime the politician most likely to replace the Prime Minister. Malcolm Turnbull continues to present a public persona of understanding, charm and reasonableness.

On Thursday he directly contradicted Abbott’s scathing critique of Australian Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs, heaping praise on the embattled professor and stressing the importance of getting children out of detention.

Under normal circumstances Abbott should sack him but to do so would further alienate members of his party. It is a shrewd move by Turnbull to dare him to do it. He will continue to do it in the knowledge that he is destabilising Abbott but is beyond criticism.

So the inevitable path to Abbott’s demise will continue down the road of many twists and turns. It may slow down from time to time and go over a few speed humps but it will come to a crashing end.

On the one hand I will rejoice at the possibility. On the other it saddens me that both sides of politics continue to trash our democracy with a politic that seems to never get beyond P PLATES.

The Right think we are Governed by the Left but we elected the Right

image

 

Tony Abbott became Prime Minister of Australia on September 7 2013. His leadership, and indeed his government has been so dreadful that less than half way through his three year term, a spill motion was moved against him. It was an election he won handsomely.

The only obstruction in his way was the appointment of a bunch of senators who in normal circumstances would never have been elected.

After surviving the spill he announced that good government would start the next day.

Since then there has been an attempt by the MSM to absurdly paint Labor as being responsible for the Coalition’s failures. But prior to this ridiculous notion its incapacity to govern with the slightest semblance of authority was blamed on “first term blues” which of course is a nonsense when you consider that most of the ministers are from Howards ministry. They should have been prepared.

And as Miranda Devine pointed out, the most academically qualified government ever. They had all the experience necessary to govern why then do they now blame Labor for all their woes.

On Andrew Bolt’s blog this week one could be forgiven for thinking that the right actually wanted the left to bail them out. To govern for them.

Try these for example.

Bolt:

“There are actually two governments in Australia. The main one controls the House of Representatives and is trying to cut spending – now – before the country gets smashed.’’
“The other government is a loose coalition in the Senate, comprising Labor, the Greens, Clive Palmer’s Senators and Jacqie Lambie. This coalition believes there is no financial disaster to fix and is blocking spending cuts and reforms to our welfare culture.”

Alan Mitchell:

“The Australian public should now demand Labor plays its part in resolving the nation’s fiscal problem.”

“Labor is content to let the Senate crossbenchers exercise the balance of power, but Labor has 25 seats in the Senate. Acting in concert with the government, the Labor senators could pass a package of measures to bring the structural budget back into surplus by the end of the decade…

If Labor can happily announce what it won’t pass, surely it can indicate the kind of measures it would vote for. That, voters might reasonably think, is a pretty basic responsibility of any alternative government that is using its numbers to hold up a significant part of a much-needed fiscal repair program.”

Janet Albrechtsen:

“According to record low polls for the government, we, the ¬people, have told the Abbott government it will be obliterated at the next election for aiming for a budget that spends only as much as it earns….
A modest Medicare co-payment with carve-outs for the needy and the young? No thanks.
A sustainable university funding model? No thanks.
A fairer pension system to better fund those in need as the ageing population grows? No thanks.
Reining in disability payments so those in genuine need are better cared for? No thanks.
Fewer middle-class perks — think baby bonuses, family benefits, childcare rebates — so money can be better directed to the poorest? No thanks…
And if voters continue to rebuff these efforts, what then? … [Labor leader Bill] Shorten will be handsomely rewarded for being irresponsible about budget reform, let alone the economy … “

Are these writers seriously suggesting that the Labor party should put lay long held ideological beliefs to appease a party who created a false economic spending crisis and the when it came to power, doubled it. All in the cause of bi-partisanship.

Bullshitting is bad enough but when people believe their own. That is intellectual dishonesty.

Middle class perks that Howard created every three years to get re-elected. Just forget that the LNP has never done a thing for pensioners and support an ill founded policy that takes from the poor and gives to the rich. A co-payment doctors fee that could be the pre curser to an American style health care system and a University funding scheme that reeks of inequality. In other words give up all that it stands for.

Putting aside the political naivety of all that rubbish for a moment, and the stupidity of it, one is entitled to remind the Prime Minister that it was he that was elected to govern and not Bill Shorten.

We might even remind him that incumbency gives government enormous powers and it’s not necessarily the job of the opposition to always take a bi partisan approach.

There are numerous reasons for the Coalitions inability to govern but the three main ones are, poor leadership, an ideology based on unfairness and a hostile senate. None of which the Labor Party is responsible for.

The first is a result of their own selection, the second, unfairness is anathema to the Australian public and the third is Abbott’s inherent stubbiness for compromise, or persuasion. It’s the captain’s choice or abandon ship. Take your pick.

Compromise or bi partisanship can and has been practiced in this country for as long as I can remember. Very rarely has a government controlled both houses. But not at the expense of the first rule of politics ‘’gain power’’ or indeed the second rule “retain power.”

“There are still people in my party who believe in consensus. I regard them as quislings, as traitors … I mean it.”
Margaret Thatcher.

Too much bi partisanship can negatively result in a blurring of ideological demarcation between the parties, even discouraging agreement between more than one party. It can also prevent people not thinking beyond a two-party system.

Just because a party is finding it difficult having its way, it doesn’t follow, as the media and the government seem to want, that the opposition should, compromise and rescue every situation.

Rightly or wrongly we have an adversarial form of government. The Coalition is the government with everything at its power to form policy and implement it. The opposition is there to hold the government to account.

Abbott as Opposition leader said that “Oppositions oppose, that’s what they are there for”. He was called Dr No because of his blatant hostility to everything proposed by the Gillard and Rudd governments.

The reason put forward for Labor to reveal its economic policies is the current state of the budget, and in particular, spending, yet in 2010, in Tony Abbott’s first term as Opposition leader, he failed to produce anything like a detailed plan to curb spending, even in his Budget reply speech attacking debt and deficit just months out from the scheduled election. Abbott told Parliament that shadow treasurer Hockey would unveil measures to reduce spending and increase productivity at the National Press Club the following week. Joe hand balled it to Andrew Robb and the whole thing became a balls up.

The government doesn’t need bi partisanship to resolve these issues. It simply needs to come to its senses and admit it delivered an unfair budget and that revenue is as much a part of the problem as is spending.

I am yet to hear an economist say that the budgetary problems are beyond repair. It simply needs a strategy that takes into account an equitable fairness. Not a lifters and leaners approach that rewards the rich and privileged and condemns all others to some degree of poverty.

As Shadow Treasure Chris Bowen said in the Financial Review on Thursday. The Government could sell its fiscal reform message, but not when they are: (a) dishonest (b) inconsistent (c) flogging ill thought out policies and (d) not up to the task anyway.

The call for bi partisanship in this case is politically motivated and immature.
Having said that, there is a strong case, generally speaking, for less confrontational politics in this country and I have argued the case for openness, transparency and the common good many times.

We saw in the UK a very unique and rare example of bi partisanship when the three political leaders, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, have this month signed a pledge to tackle climate change. The closest we come to this is on National Security where it is in the Oppositions best interests to be bi-partisan.

Our system requires vigorous debate with a better, more civil and open exchange of ideas. But politics by its very nature cannot be devoid of opportunism and the pursuit of power. We can only ever hope for the better practice of it.

If you want otherwise then invent another system.

Bill Shorten has promised that this year will be a year of “ideas”. He will not be taking the small target approach that has been the norm for some time. “We are prepared to work on the big policies that go beyond parliamentary terms”, he told the National Press Club in November.

Let’s hope they are creatively sound, relevant for the times, the future, and economically affordable. That they have public support and don’t require political bi partisanship. The last recourse for bad ideas.

Tony Abbott said good government started on Tuesday 10 Feb. If he’s fair dinkum he doesn’t need Labor to get him out of a hole.

“The whole point about corruption in politics is that it can’t be done, or done properly, without a bipartisan consensus.”
Christopher Hitchens.

“Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.”
George Carlin.

A Month in Politics: January 2015

It is said a week is a long time in politics. A month may be an eternity and with twenty-four seven politics we are apt to forget what happened even the day before.

On Facebook I daily post a Thought for the Day” and follow it up with one (sometimes more) of a political nature. I am hoping that by posting a monthly political list it might refresh the reader’s memory. Or even amuse you.

MY FIRST THOUGHT FOR 2015

Jan 1: “Question everything. What you see, what you feel, what you hear and what you are told until you understand the truth of it. Thoughtlessness is the residue of things not understood and can never be a substitute for fact”.

MY BEST POLITICAL THOUGHTS FOR 2015

Jan 2: Has Australia ever elected a Prime Minister so ignorant of technology, the environment and science. So oblivious of the needs of women and so out of touch with a modern pluralist society.

Jan 3: THE THOUGHTLESS THOUGHT OF 2014:

“It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards” (Tony Abbott).

Former PM John Howard today criticised President Obama for entering our domestic politics with his Climate Change announcement at the G20.

This is the same PM who said this when Obama entered the Presidential race:

“If I was running AL-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats” (he told the Nine Network’s Sunday program).

Jan 4: There is a lengthy article in today’s Australian that extensively explores the problems facing the Liberal Party. It ignores the main problem. Its name is Abbott.

Jan 5: Which pre-eminent Australians do you think our staunchly monarchist PM will select to become knights and dames this year. With the Queen’s approval of course.

Jan 6: The decision by the PM not to allow a “pool” of journalists to accompany him to Iraq smells of a “no more bad publicity” complex.

Jan 7: Received a letter from True Energy in Oct re new pricing arrangements following the repeal of the carbon tax. Rang call center and asked for confirmation of $550 discount as per statement by PM. Call Center person could not quantify so I asked for his supervisor.

“I shouldn’t say this but that was a load of crap” he said. Familiar word, I thought.

After perusing my account he indicated that my usage had gone up for both gas and electricity and I should be paying more anyway. I negotiated an extra discount which meant I wouldn’t pay any more than my current rate.

So much for the PM’s honesty, I thought. Last week I received another letter saying that both my energy bills would be going up because the company had incurred additional costs.

If I hear the so and so say that every family got $550 . . . lying bastard.

* The Queensland Government has given first time voters just four days to enroll. Conservative governments both state and federal do this because they know the young are not likely to vote for them.

A THOUGHT ON PERSPECTIVE

Jan 8: G W Bush made a unilateral decision to invade Iraq based on a lie and with the motive of revenge for 9/11. He is a “born Again Christian” and on the record as saying that God told him to do so. As a result it is estimated that approximately 250,000 innocent people lost their lives.

Jan 9: So our PM is against capital punishment for the Bali 9 but at the same time will do nothing to jeopardise our relationship with Indonesia. Yet he didn’t hesitate entering their territorial waters to turn boats around. It didn’t matter then.

Jan 10: The GST, as a revenue raiser to bolster their unfair budget, continues to raise its head. There are other ways to raise revenue but conservatives refuse to countenance the rich and privileged paying their share.

“The GST burdens the poor and those with the least capacity to pay. It discriminates against the poor and the pensioners who are living a hand-to-mouth existence and spending the bulk of their income on the necessities of life—food, clothing, rent, heating, power etc” (John Lord).

Jan 11: Why is it that indecent men like Murdoch think their opinions on morality should be taken seriously?

Jan 12: Warren Truss took over as acting prime minister on Sunday, as Tony Abbott goes on a week-long break. If they win the next election it will be Barnaby Joyce. God help us.

Jan 13: Now that the Pentagon has officially admitted that Hicks was innocent it is incumbent on Howard, Ruddick and Brandis to apologise, ADMIT THEIR COMPLICITY and for the current government to pay compensation. He was only ever guilty of stupidity.

* Interesting to note that some of the world leaders locked arm in arm in the Paris March were from countries with the world’s worst suppression of press freedom.

* It says something about the moral sickness in our society when the right to abuse each other, in the name of free speech, needs to be enshrined in law. You would think enlightened societies would be, by means of education, be trying to eliminate it.

* A US study has delivered an unwelcome finding about Australian internet speeds, finding that they are well behind the international pack.

One engineering expert said the nation would continue to tumble-down in world rankings if the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) continues in its current form.
Jan 14. Visited my GP for a script repeat yesterday. Should have taken 4 mins. After he unleashed his vitriol toward PM it took 10. There will be 1000s of lengthy consults.

* The government has a fairness problem with its budget. Consider this:

  • The tax breaks on super are costing the government in foregone revenue about $45 billion a year and this is roughly the same amount that is spent each year on the age pension.
  • The dollar value of the tax breaks is growing faster than expenditure on the aged pension, making concessions on super contributions a much bigger threat to balancing government finances in the near-term.

The super tax concessions are skewed to high-income earners: the top 10 per cent of income earners reap more than 36 per cent of the tax concession dollars, while the bottom 10 per cent are actually penalised for making super contributions.

* 11 European countries have agreed to impose a so-called “Robin Hood” tax on financial transactions. Even a very small tax would go a long way to reducing poverty and inequality.

* When our voices are silent against unfair, deceitful and dishonest government we get what we deserve.

Jan 15: Prior to Christmas although unapologetic for his disastrous 2014 the PM did indicate that he would take a fairer and fresh approach to policy in 15. The message seemed to have gotten lost over a few drinks and Christmas dinner.

Having failed to win support in the Senate for his unfair GP Tax, Tony Abbott is now seeking to destroy Medicare via the back door. He has introduced regulation that will mean the end of bulk billing.

And of course the polls reflect the unhappiness of the electorate Essential 54/46 to Labor and Morgan 44.5/54.5 to Labor.

Jan 16: The government has capitulated and scrapped its plans to next week cut the Medicare rebate by $20. Me thinks there will be a lot of backing away from poor policy this year.

Jan 17: If you have reached the conclusion that the government has started the year in the same chaotic manner it finished the old one with many barnacles still attached then you are 100% correct. The ship probably needs a new captain.

Jan 18: The year has just started. The Medicare Rebate has gone. The co-payment looks like it will also go. University fees have met the same fate. The proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act had to be abandoned. A proposed ban on the Burqa had to go and a back down on Paid parental leave reached its inevitable conclusion. What’s next you might ask?

Jan 19: We are being governed by a party who spent four years in opposition being so negative that they forgot that governance requires thought out policy not ideological implementation.

American scientists say 2014 was hottest year on record. Why is it people confuse weather with climate?

Jan 20: In terms of political strategy I think for any opposition leader to draw attention to himself (other than making rudimentary comments) while his opponent is in self-destruct mode would be political folly. The same goes for the release of policy. Patience is required. The only exception would be commentary on the reform of his party.

Jan 21: The Prime Minister continues to struggle. On his first day back from holidays he refuses to talk to the press. Not the Treasurer though. On talk-back radio he tells us that because people might live to 150 in the future justifies increasing the cost of health now. Sarah Palin eat your heart out. Government foot in mouth disease continues.

Jan 22: 1. The PM denies reports that he insisted on the $20 doctor’s fee. The problem is that his record of lying makes him unbelievable.

2. Per chance he is telling the truth it means the three of them were complicit in a stupid political decision.

3. What sort of society is it that jails people for not committing a crime?

Jan 23: President Obama’s best ever put down:

I have no more campaigns to run.

Applause from his opponents.

I know because I won both of them.

An afternoon thought:

When the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing on University funding reform.

Treasurer Joe Hockey was reported on Tuesday as ruling out further compromises to achieve passage through the Senate, before Education Minister Christopher Pyne confirmed on Wednesday that the package was up for negotiation.

Jan 24: 1 Leadership is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life and grow over time. They govern moral choices and demonstrate empathy toward others. Does Abbott qualify?

In my experience once started leadership speculation never goes away and has its own inevitable conclusion.

2. Mr Abbott has to again explain if work choices is dead, buried and cremated. Or at least be transparent about his intentions.

Jan 25: 1. Bullshitting is bad enough but when someone believes their own, that is intellectual dishonesty. An illustration is the PMs Insistence that he has governed solidly and just needed to skite about it more.

2. Any objective look at polling on a national level in Australia will tell you that 47% of voters would vote for a PM and his party despite the fact that it is being led and governing badly. Life is about perception. Not what is but what you perceive it to be.

Jan 26: On this day that has symbolic importance for many (not for others) and for many and differing reasons,

“Have you ever thought about what it is you should be most grateful for?”

Happy Australia Day.

May this day reward you with what you make of it.

I think I will just pretend I never heard it. Prince Philip an Australian knight. The captain of team Australia continues to bat for the other side. Nobody wants to play on his.

The PM with spellbinding cringe worthy ignorance calls social media “graffiti on a wall” while his government spends 4.3 mil on finding out the extent of its influence. Luddite.

Jan 27: Perhaps the PM is just guilty of being himself. You have to be very talented to transform our national day into a joke.

The PM has had a right royal weekend.

ALP support rose to 56.5% (up 2%) on Australia Day weekend, well ahead of the L-NP 43.5% (down 2%) on a two-party preferred basis. If a Federal Election were held now the ALP would win easily according to this week’s Morgan Poll on voting intention conducted with an Australia-wide cross-section of 2,057 Australian electors aged 18+.

Jan 28: Apple paid $80 million tax in Australia last year on a turnover of a revenue of $60 billion. Does the Government have any lifters it can spare or will it continue to hit the poor.

Jan 29: Repeat – Who said this?

“It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.”

Unsurprising how high Newscorp journalists jump when Murdoch commands it.

Jan 30: It is absolutely astonishing that a newspaper mogul living in another country dictates the governance of Australia with such gratuitous authority.

Jan 31: “It takes a good captain to help all the players of a team to excel,” Mr Abbott said. OMG I agree with him.

It beggars belief that a PM whose leadership has been so abysmal-so condemned in the court of public approval, can then suggest that the good performance of colleagues is as a result of his splendid captaincy. That’s arrogance of the highest order.

Yes, a lot happens in a month.

“1984” is dated, but “2084” is here for the reading . . . (apologies to George Orwell)

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him…

Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours  It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week. The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.”

Updated Version

Winston worked in the Ministry of Truth and had been working there since he left High School in 2015, back in the days when people used to wonder where alll the jobs would come from, back in the days when people would retire and spend their final years doing such unproductive things as travelling, gardening or filling the minds of their grandchildren with stories. Thankfully now there was plenty of work. At first, it had simply been correcting the mistakes from the speeches of the Prime Minister, but that had soon grown to correcting the mistakes of the whole government, as well as eliminating from public record things they wish they’d never said. And pretty soon, there was a whole army of people scouring the Internet for mistakes other people had made and correcting them as well.

Why just this week, Winston discovered someone of his age, writing that there had been a time when Melbourne hadn’t been a tropical climate and there were people living in Queensland. Queensland, Winston seemed to remember, had never been inhabited by actual people, and was just one of those mythical places like Atlantis. It was a place that people used as a setting for absurd stories to demonstrate why democracy was such an absurd system where people like the mythical “Campbell Newman” were elected. Using his powers under the law, Winston corrected this person’s recollections, and arranged for the person to be taken to the doctor’s for help.

Last year had been a particularly busy time for the Ministry of Truth, as it marked the seventieth anniversary of Abbott’s ascencion to the role of Imperial Ruler after being chosen by the great god, Rupert. To spoil the occsasion, various people had attempted to spread the idea that back in those days that people had been allowed to vote for their leaders. These anarchists had also suggested that Abbott’s decision to cease making public appearances was because of his refusal to stop writing his own speeches and that he’d been locked in a room, while a group of his associates made all the decisions. They attempted to argue that, if Abbott was actually still Imperial Ruler, he’d be well over a hundred years old. Why that was a problem, Winston couldn’t fathom, people in “The Party” often lived to be hundreds of years old – it was only the workers who died. Mostly, by making a mistake, and usually that meant a risky operation to try and put their brains back into the right position. Apparently an easy operation for qualified surgeons, but there were so few of them, and as this required an emergency procedure, the operations were usually carried out immediately by local managers and security guards, with limited success.

Once, someone had tested Winston by telling him that a “resistance” existed, but Winston wasn’t fooled. He knew this would be someone from “The Party” testing him. When this person suggested to Winston that surely he remembered a time before all this began, but Winston just shook his head, and sipped his drink. “Even if I did,” thought Winston, “I’d be a fool to say anything because, at 86, I’m only fourteen years off my retirement age and Chairman Abbott has issued a decree promising that they won’t be raising it again, and all those who reach it will be sent to any of the twelve inhabitable places in the world with enough food to last them a year.”

Winston smiled, remembering how when his memory was questioned, he could assure the person that he remembered everything clearly. How he’d decided against university because of the cost, and how he’d been offered this job after telling the police about a plan to wear unapproved t-shirts prior to the elections of 2015.

“Elections?” the person interjected, “You remember the elections?”

“What elections,” replied Winston, “I was talking about t-shirts. Nobody said anything about elections.”

“You can trust me,” said the person.

“Of course,” said Winston, making a note to erase all records of this conversation just as soon as went to work, and just to be on the safe side, he decided to erase all records of the person to whom he was conversing…

To Be Discontinued, Owing To Unauthorised Use Of Irony.

The year that was

MY TOP 30 POLITICAL THOUGHTS FOR 2014

Author’s note: On Facebook, I post on a daily basis continuous political commentary. Here is a selection. Please vote for one of the following or nominate your own:

1 Scott Morrison has been promoted to Social Services Minister. Start praying for pensioners, the disabled, those looking for work etc. He demonised those seeking a better life. Now it’s their turn.

2 The government’s own Climate Change Authority has questioned the effectiveness of “Direct Action” saying the scheme won’t deliver on long-standing emissions reduction targets.

Can’t be any more direct than that.

3 Has Australia ever elected a Prime Minister so ignorant of technology, the environment and science? So oblivious of the needs of women and so out of touch with a modern pluralist society.

4 The PM continues to tell the blatant and obnoxious lie that households received $550 of their energy bill as a result of the repeal of the carbon tax. Total bull. Now on top of that he sees it as his greatest achievement for women. Words fail me.

5 Today the characteristic that most defines modern Australia is “diversity”. In all its forms, together with multiculturalism it defines us as a nation. People of my generation and later should divest themselves of their old and inferred racist superiority.

6 The murder of three people in Sydney was carried out by a deranged, religious fanatic with a criminal record. It was not by a terrorist organisation. People should keep this in mind.

7 Joe Hockey confirms bigger budget deficit; admits Coalition failures in communicating policies. True, but they still cannot bring themselves to admit it was unfair.

8 Hockey’s current budget dilemma reinforces how stupid it was to curtail the price on carbon. However, he could easily fix the problem by eliminating the 15% tax discount given to high income earners. It is nothing more than a legal tax dodge supplemented by low-income earners. It’s worth $12 billion plus PA. What about it Joe. After that you could look at the billions given to mining companies in subsidies.

9 Do you really think my chief of staff would be under this kind of criticism if her name was Peter as opposed to Peta?” Mr Abbott asked the ABC’s Lyndal Curtis.”

“Do you really think I would be attacking the Prime Minister in the manner I do if her name was James and not Julia” John Lord thought.

“I think people need to take a long hard look at themselves with some of these criticisms” to quote the PM.

10 George Brandis wins a Walkley award for his “what is metadata” interview.

Well-deserved too.

11 The art of international diplomacy.

Our PM plans to “shirtfront” Vladimir Putin. Once a thug always a thug?

12 In an attempt at self-justification the PM is telling lies to defend lies already told. It never works.

13 It is said that truth is the first casualty of war. Unfortunately it is also the first causality of Australian politics.

14 My condolences to all those Coalition supporters who were wetting themselves at the prospect of Julia Gillard slitting her wrists at the Royal Commission. Particularly the Liberal National Chat Page.

15 Ah the law is a strange thing. Ashby brings charges against Slipper. After a long dalliance with legal argument Ashby drops the case. Slipper is left with a huge legal bill and Ashby’s lawyers say “No charge mate” There should be a law against it.

16 You would seriously have to wonder exactly what brand of Christianity it is that Scot Morrison practices. Fancy drinking champagne to celebrate sending refugees to one of the world’s poorest and most corrupt nations.

17 The list of companies avoiding tax is again headed by Murdoch. Others include Frank Lowy’s Westfield. It’s seems that it’s ok for them to lean but we must all lift. Common Joe change the law. Or is it the donations????
18 It would seem that the Abbott Government has given up on their remaining budget cuts. And it should be remembered that they were not opposed on the basis of prudence but unfairness.

19 The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you.

20 The common good should be at the very heart of every political philosophy””When talking about the cost of living I think people get confused. There is a big difference between the cost of living and cost of lifestyle. A recent survey found that 56% of those complaining about the cost of living had taken an overseas trip in the same year. And a further 52% had reduced dining out from three to two times a week”

21 Australia does not, at this time, have a clearly articulated and legislated policy on climate change. Why.

22 Prime Minister Tony Abbott has denied he has broken a pledge not to cut funding to the ABC and SBS, telling Parliament his government had “fundamentally kept faith with the Australian people”.

Lying is wrong but lying to defend a lie is appallingly immoral.

23 Yesterday’s attempt by the PM to legitimise lying is like saying we are no longer communicating in English.

24 The most simple way to turn the profession of politics on its head would be to demand they tell the truth.

25 It may be a good thing that some asylum seeker children might now have a future but I find it chilling that Scott Morrison has effectively used kids as hostages to pass his legislation.

26 Less informed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths”

27 When asked about the Green Fund at a joint press conference with President Hollande the PM said that we already had a Direct Action fund of 2.5 Billion and a Clean Energy Finance Corp 10 Billion fund. The only thing wrong with the answer was that the first won’t work and it is Government policy to abolish the second. His lying knows no bounds.

28 What would an intelligent 18 year old about to vote for the first time think of this statement yesterday by our PM?

“As for Australia, I’m focusing not on what might happen in 16 years’ time, I’m focusing on what we’re doing now and we’re not talking, we’re acting,”

29 The G20 meeting gave Prime Minister Tony Abbott a powerful stage to articulate his vision for Australia. So he spoke about his inability to pass his unfair budget. Now that’s statesmanship for you

30 In 2015, 500 workers who benefited from Gillard’s edict that non-faith-based workers be allowed in our schools will be replaced by chaplains sourced predominantly from big Christian organizations. This in a secular public school system is fundamentally wrong be you religious or not.

A LATE ENTRY
My wife is upset that we didn’t get the carbon tax refund when every other family did. I’m struggling to give her an explanation.

He is Such a Lying Bastard

image

The subject of political lying, since the election of Tony Abbott, has almost become a permanent point of discussion on main stream media, social media and the blogosphere.

Why is this so? It’s because the Prime Minister has set a record of lying both past and present that is unprecedented in Australian political history. If you think I am exaggerating read “Remembering Abbott’s past”.

Lying is so engrained in his political persona that he knows not the difference between fact and fabrication.

More recently his lie about funding the ABC (and all the others) has drawn immense criticism. On Monday 24 November he denied in Parliament that he had broken a pledge not to cut funding to the ABC and SBS, telling Parliament his government had “fundamentally kept faith with the Australian people”.

In saying this he used another lie to justify telling the original one. This is not just wrong but appallingly immoral. To suggest the first lie was not one is to suggest we are no longer communicating in English.

And Malcolm Turnbull’s attempt to do the same thing only served to devalue his own integrity.

More recent examples are the PMs Letter of advice on changes to the pension. What a deceitful document it was. Really his lying knows no bounds. He fails to mention the way the pension is calculated is to be changed (If he can get it passed) resulting in a substantial loss of income. Does he really think we are fools?

Another deceitful lie is the cuts to power bills with the elimination of the Carbon tax. The resulting drops in charges varied across the country and nowhere near the $550 he indicated everyone would receive.

Yet another example was when asked about the Green Fund at a joint press conference with President Hollande the PM said that we already had a Direct Action fund of 2.5 Billion and a Clean Energy Finance Corp 10 Billion fund. The only thing wrong with the answer was that the first won’t work and it is a tax not a fund. And its Government policy to abolish the second.

Unfortunately less informed voters outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths.

People like Bolt and Jones write and comment outrageously on the basis of payment for lying controversy. Freedom of the press may entitle them to do so but it is unjustifiable for the Prime Minister to follow suit on the grounds of a collective desire for honesty in government. It is however, highly unlikely that this Prime Minister has the decency to do so.

“Political Lies and Who Tells Them Revisited”.

November 2013

The issue of truth featured largely in the last election. We the voters were often left to decide who was and who wasn’t telling the truth. Or who was telling more or less of it. So what is a lie? This election was different in so much as we saw the emergence of various “Truth Finder” sites and both sides of the political spectrum were found out telling full-on porkies, or at least using different shades of hue.

This week lying has again been highlighted with the Government’s decision to axe the Gonski Education reforms. The troubling aspect of this decision is that during the campaign Tony Abbot gave a number of commitments. For example:

“This will be a no surprises, no excuses government, because you are sick of nasty surprises and lame excuses from people that you have trusted with your future”.

He also promised a ”unity ticket” with Labor on Gonski funding:

“You can vote Liberal or Labor and you’ll get exactly the same amount of funding for your school”.

“There will be no change to school funding under the government I lead”.

These commitments were totally unambiguous. Unequivocally intentional. So much so that the average voter on hearing them could logically assume that they were being told the absolute truth.

We now know that the Prime Minister and his Education Minister Christopher Pyne were telling blatant lies about this and many other policies. Policy decisions since the election (as listed in other posts on this blog) demonstrably attest to this. Their actions have been universally condemned by all media outlets except those of Murdoch who has a vested interest in protecting Abbott from criticism.

This all gives rise to the question of the value of the words politicians use. I for one wouldn’t believe a word Abbott says. There is ample evidence that he is a liar and he has declared so himself.

But let’s take a look at the broader picture and ask ourselves what is a lie in general and what constitutes political lying.

We know that a lie has three essential ingredients; it communicates some information, the liar intends to deceive or mislead and the liar believes that what they are ‘saying’ is not true. And we call people who use these three principles blatant liars.

When the leader of the then opposition said in July 2012: “The tragedy of this toxic tax is that it will not actually reduce emissions” and six months later they fall by 8.6%. Did he actually tell a lie? One could well argue that he had no facts on which to base his assumptive statement, so it could not be construed as a lie. It might be just an opinion. The same could be said about his statements about towns being wiped of the map and many others. However, if in politics we believe that lies or statements are made either to deceive or manipulate (and has the three principles mentioned previously), then you would conclude that he was telling porkies.

“When it comes to controlling human beings there is no better instrument than lies. Because, you see, humans live by beliefs. And beliefs can be manipulated. The power to manipulate beliefs is the only thing that counts”.

– Michael Ende, The Never-ending Story

“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed”.

– Adolf Hitler.

Conversely, when the former Prime Minister said “I don’t rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism”, “I rule out a carbon tax”, did she actually tell a lie? Clearly she showed an intent to keep her options open. As it turns out we have a market based scheme. She was not trying to deceive. She was being honest within the uncertainty of the circumstances. And the MSM never gave her the benefit of the doubt.

I have always felt that when politicians have in their possession certain knowledge and facts and fail to disclose it then they are guilty of lying by omission. When you withhold information you are denying the other person’s right to the truth. An example of this was when John Howard found out that the children overboard incident was false and withheld the information for two days prior to the 2001 election. It was in fact lying by omission. And of course there is the weapons of mass destruction lie. Did John Howard ever check the facts? If not he perpetuated one of the greatest lies in history.

“When you tell a lie you deny the other person’s right to the truth”.

– John Lord.

On a more personal level there are what we call white lies where we deliberately colour what we say in shades of hue to protect the feelings of others or ourselves, or to avoid argument.

“Clinton lied. A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is”.

– Barbara Bush.

Consider the case where telling a lie would mean that 10 other lies would not be told. If 10 lies are worse than one lie then it would seem to be a good thing to tell the first lie, but if lying is always wrong then it’s wrong to tell the first lie.

When politicians lie over a long period of time, it only serves to denigrate the liar and show contempt for the voter’s intelligence. Especially if the lies are chronic and systemic. The current use of the term “no direct knowledge” is a lie within a lie pretending to absolve a person who is fully conversant with the facts.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave . . . when first we practice to deceive”.
– Walter Scott, Marmion.

Lying is probably one of the most common wrong acts that we carry out (one researcher has said ‘lying is an unavoidable part of human nature’), so it’s worth spending time thinking about it.

Why is lying wrong?

There are many reasons why people think lying is wrong; which ones resonate best with you will depend on the way you think about ethics.

Lying is bad because a generally truthful world is a good thing: lying diminishes trust between human beings; if people generally didn’t tell the truth, life would become very difficult, as nobody could be trusted and nothing you heard or read could be trusted – you would have to find everything out for yourself and an untrusting world is also bad for liars – lying isn’t much use if everyone is doing it.

Who are the biggest liars? The left or the Right of Politics.

Last year on Facebook I shared a post of an interview with Laurie Oakes and Tony Abbott (you can see it on YouTube). It is from 2005 and Tony Abbott is obviously telling lies about the Medicare safety net. At the time I made the following comment to accompany it:

“People who constantly portray the prime minister as someone who constantly tells lies should take the time to read this”.

It was then picked up by former National Times journalist Alan Austin and we had a chat about broken promises, telling lies and the current standard of journalism. He had this to say:

Remember, it was a Senator from his own side who called John Howard ‘the lying rodent’.

And have we forgotten the articles about Malcolm Fraser’s ‘Top 40 broken promises’?

Lies, about-faces and broken promises are as follows:

Gough Whitlam: 7
Malcolm Fraser: 52
Bob Hawke: 4
Paul Keating: 3
John Howard: 41
Tony Abbott (as minister): 17
Kevin Rudd: 4
Julia Gillard: 6

Tony Abbott (as Opposition Leader): 15 and counting. As PM ?

I found this to be particularly revealing so I inquired as to the authenticity of the figures and he replied with the following:

Before your time, John, I wrote a piece for The National Times in 1977 about what were then Malcolm Fraser’s top 25 blatant lies and broken promises. The then editor Trevor Kennedy – later to become one of Rupert’s henchmen – headed it “Malcolm’s battle with the time machine” which I thought at the time was unduly generous towards Mr Fraser.

Later, in 1980, I wrote a piece for Nation Review on Fraser’s top 40 lies and broken promises which then editor, Geoffrey Gold, headed ‘Promises, promises.’ Neither are online, unfortunately, but I have them in my clip file. Since then, I have kept tabs on all Prime Ministers and would love to write about it.

If I get a publisher, I will let you know. (I am tentatively titling the piece ‘Lies, damned lies and I support the elected leader of the party’). Point being that there is simply no comparison whatsoever between the falsehoods and about-faces of the Conservatives and Progressives. The ratio is about 8 to 1. Which is why the current perception that Ms Gillard is ‘Juliar’ is so bizarre from this vantage point. (I am in France. Which means I read other media than just Rupert Murdoch’s).

I replied:

Well I do hope you get to do it, Alan. I have been following politics for around 50 years and it is time we had more honesty and the standard of reporting is deplorable. However, do you think there is at times a fine line between a broken promise and a change of mind? And of course changed circumstances can necessitate a change of mind. I would also be interested in what you think of the standard of political journalism in Australia today.

Again, quoting Alan Austin:

Excellent questions, John.
Re standard of journalism in Australia:
http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=27274
Regarding categories of deception, there are at least seven.
Staring down the camera bare-faced lies are Class A falsehoods, like this one satirised here:

This is Tony Abbott lying about a meeting with George Pell.
Promises broken for political expediency with no external factors forcing their abandonment are Class B Examples are Ms Gillard duding Mr Wilkie recently. And Mr Howard’s no-GST-never-ever which he abandoned before the 1998 election.

A Class B broken promise may, of course, be ratified by an election. If this succeeds, as indeed happened with Mr Howard’s GST, then it becomes less offensive. Say Class C.

Commitments made in good faith but prevented from being implemented despite the government’s genuine best efforts – by a hostile Senate or the High Court or a hung Parliament – are Class D.

Promises prevented from being implemented by changed economic conditions – such as Paul Keating’s L-A-W-law tax cuts – are Class E.

Promises deferred by changed economic or political conditions – such as Labor’s no carbon tax – are Class F. (Keating’s L-A-W tax cuts also turned out to be F eventually.)
Assurances of loyalty to the leader by putative challengers deserve a special category. Say Class I. (I for inevitable? Unavoidable?)

‘Telling the truth should not be delayed simply because we are not sure how people might react to it’.

John Lord

In the US election Republicans Romney and Ryan took lying to an unprecedented level. Fact finders alerted the public to 2019 lies by Romney alone. It is my contention that

President Obama lost the first debate not because he was off his game, or that he was under prepared, but rather he was taken by surprise by the willful lies that Romney was telling. The same fascination for untruth by conservatives has been exported to Australia.

In my view Australians faced the most important election in living memory. Liberalism no longer existed so what we were faced with was a political decision between a very sharp turn to the scary right. Or a party (in spite of its faults) that had the common good at the centre of its ideology. In our ignorance, or perhaps our naivety we elected a cohort – an all-male club who insisted they were adults but instead turned out to be juvenile liars.

“Do you shape the truth for the sake of good impression? On the other hand, do you tell the truth even if it may tear down the view people may have of you? Alternatively, do you simply use the contrivance of omission and create another lie. I can only conclude that there might often be pain in truth but there is no harm in it”.
John Lord.

Further reading: Abbott tells another one.

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The Gospel According to Bolt

The Abbott Government must now change or die.

Following on from the grilling Alan Jones gave Tony Abbott on his talkback program. Andrew Bolt decided on Tuesday to weigh into the discussion about the poor performance of the government. At first glance one might say, fair enough. Putting aside the fact that Bolt and Jones write on the basis of payment for controversy, Bolt does make some valid points. He covers a wide range of topics from foreign policy to media bias. I think I agree more often than not. Did I just say that?

But there is one glaring omission. The Prime Minister seems to be responsible for nothing. It’s everyone’s  fault but Abbott’s. How can this be?

What follows is a transcript from Bolt’s blog. My comments are in italics.

The Abbott Government falls further behind in Newspoll:

In two-party-preferred terms, based on preference flows from last year’s election, Labor leads by 55 per cent to 45 per cent. The ALP’s third consecutive rise in two-party terms means the opposition has been in front of the -Coalition on this measure for 14 successive Newspolls.

I still believe this overstates the margin, and the reality is somewhere between Newspoll and Essential Media’s 48 to 52 per cent. But there is no disputing the Government has a serious problem.

At this stage in the election cycle polls are meaningless as to a pointer to who might win. However as a current form guide of performance they are illuminating. Why all of a sudden Newspoll is shadowing Morgan is a mystery. Perhaps they are calling mobiles. Given there will not be much joy in any LNP future announcements these figures will continue for months to come.

So to repeat:

– the Government’s foreign policy successes don’t much impress voters. They are important, some critical, but they will increasingly look to voters like evasive action. A smokescreen from what they’d consider their most immediate concerns.

Bolt is correct here. Abbott has looked as though he has vacated domestic policy in favour of the perception he is some sort of international statesman. Which he aint. THE G20 meeting gave him a powerful stage to articulate his vision for Australia. So he spoke about his inability to pass his unfair budget. Now that’s statesmanship for you.
And what intelligent Prime Minister PM would say.

“As for Australia, I’m focusing not on what might happen in 16 years’ time, I’m focusing on what we’re

doing now and we’re not talking, we’re acting,”

 

What would an intelligent 18-year-old about to vote for the first time think of this statement by the PM.

 

As Malcolm Farr said on insiders. ‘’He shouldn’t be left in charge of his own mouth’’

the domestic issues, especially Budget cuts and broken promises, continue to kill the Government.

In trying to sell the perception that the budget was in crisis while adding to the deficit (they are still doing it) themselves only served to highlight Abbott’s capacity for lying. If things continue the deficit will double by the time of next year’s budget. Whatever spin Abbott and his ministers put on it, he told lies to gain power and is now suffering credibility deficiency syndrome.

– weak economic growth and Budget blowouts undermine the Government’s entire argument for being.

There are reasons for the weak economic growth resulting in a drop in revenues. These could be addressed but for Abbott’s blind ideological political philosophy. Its better that the poor should pay.

– a ferocious onslaught by the media Left, especially the ABC behemoth, against the Government generally and Abbott personally, means the Government struggles to sell even its strengths.

What a ridiculously incoherent argument. The right control the vast bulk of media influence. The left have no shock jocks like Jones, Hadley, Smith and others. They have no journalists of the venom of Piers Akerman, Janet Albrechtson, Miranda Devine, Dennis Shanahan, Paul Kelly, Chris Kenny and Tom Switzer.Gerard Henderson Paul Sheehan, Miranda Divine.
They control 70% of the distribution of newspapers in the major cities. The ABC is not biased. It has a charter to uphold and is always under scrutiny to do so. Commercial stations don’t have one. It is but one TV channel against many. Given that the commercial media has vacated truthful reporting in favour of biased opinion. It is a bit rich for the most biased journalist in Australia to accuse the ABC of anything let alone bias. In any case 70% of Australians think it trustworthy. Ever watched the Bolt report?

– the Government’s media strategy is poor, too often defensive and reactive. Abbott still lacks a senior media strategist in his office – a critical and telling absence.

A media strategist will not resolve the issue of Abbott’s lying directly and by omission. Here is an example from Wednesday. When asked about the Green Fund at a joint press conference with French President Hollande the PM said that we already had a Direct Action fund of 2.5 Billion and a Clean Energy Finance Corp 10 Billion fund. The only thing wrong with the answer was that the first won’t work and it is Government policy to abolish the second. His lying knows no bounds.

– the Government has bought the myth that deeds speak for themselves and playing nice wins respect. A cameo: Tony Abbott in welcoming President Xi Jinping to Parliament yesterday praised Labor leaders Gough Whitlam and Neville Wran for fostering China ties; Bill Shorten in his welcome praised Whitlam, noted Labor leaders had worked on the free trade deal before Abbott and praised China for its global warming “deal” and the sending of doctors to treat ebola patients – all digs at bipartisan Abbott and his policies. The Government is getting killed in bare-knuckle politics.

What gratuitous nonsense. Trying to make out that Abbott is the personification of niceness when in fact he is a gutter politician of many years standing. A political thug who the pubic, it would seem, have finally woken up to. A man who has broken every parliamentary convention when it comes to the niceties of diplomacy. For a person such as Abbott, with his record, to solicit bipartisan cooperation is hypocrisy in the extreme.

– Treasurer Joe Hockey isn’t getting cut-through in the most important portfolio. A Treasurer who can’t dominate the agenda leaves a Government fatally weakened.

Totality correct Andrew. What a terrible indictment of the Treasurer of the country. Of course when he said that Global Warming and Economics don’t co-exist it was like saying blood has nothing to do with bodily function .He has no creditability what so ever. On the plus side you have to give him credit for owning up to the fact that the GFC did actually happen.

– the Government doesn’t have an effective headkicker. It lacks mongrel. Another cameo: Barack Obama won huge and positive coverage in the media for belting Abbott over global warming. The Government looked properly reprimanded, a punching bag, when it should have blasted back and won points for at least seeming tough.

The headkicker they had as Opposition Leader was good at it. As PM it is now not the done thing. All Obama did was to raise an issue of vital importance to the world. He was supported by the President of the world’s most populous nation. I think they made their point. Is Andrew suggesting our PM should have shirtfronted both of them.

– internal jealousies mean the Government’s most successful minister, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, has been given not a single new problem to solve since stopping the boats, while strugglers are pushed in front of the TV cameras week after week.

(a single new problem to solve) Is there a daily list? Morrison’s appeal is to those in the community who are sympathetic to the demonization of people and would probably favor no immigration at all. There is nothing to suggest he would be popular in another ministry. Maybe Tourism, or perhaps I’d better not go there.

– the Government’s second most successor minister, Julie Bishop, is in a portfolio which lets her shine but does not win the government any votes.
True. Remember she had another portfolio once and got the sack for incompetence.

– the minister most admired by the Left-wing media, Malcolm Turnbull, is in a portfolio in which there is little call for him to use his undoubted influence and charm to sell the Government to its media critics. Instead, as Communications Minister he is more likely to protect the media critics from the Government.
Malcolm might have made a decent Treasurer but he is unlikely to be given the job because it comes with too much influence and power. Consequently it would make Abbott vulnerable.

– the Government has not developed a moral message – an inspiring cause – other than the constitutional recognition of Aborigines, which will actually prove marginal and divisive, not least with its own base. That agenda will also be thankless: witness Mick Dodson’s mean-spirited attack on Abbott last week. Where is the evangelism?

There he goes on the aboriginal thing again. The rotating writer. Global warming, asylum seekers, Muslims and Labor in whatever order. Abbott was the most successful Opposition Leader this country has ever seen.(depending on your mode of measurement) He won office by lying and barking negativity like a mad dog for four years. During that time he never ventured into the formulation of good public policy. As a consequence he came to power with a zeal for undoing, not doing.

– the Government has been poor in developing the “Greek chorus” effect that collectivists like Labor do so well. Too often it seems friendless. Business is slow to support it, and too rarely are the Prime Minister and his ministers seen surrounded by happy supporters. Obvious example?: the Government couldn’t or wouldn’t find hundreds of scientists and medicos to even back its huge medical research fund.

The ‘’Greek Chorus’’ or collective voices saw the total unfairness of everything conservative. Why would you expect scientists to support a medical research program while he was denouncing science with a vengeance and ridiculing it in terms of the Climate? A determination by government to limit the amount of sugar, fat and salt in processed food would achieve a similar outcome as a research fund.

– the Government can’t or won’t even energize its base with some signature campaigns and successes. It gave up the free speech fight, gave up on workplace reform and dares not challenge the global warming hysteria (indeed, its lacks the people, conviction and strategy to even attempt it). Where are the inspiring reforms – ones that its supporters will gladly man the election booths to defend?

1. Why is it that the Murdoch Press is the main agitator for more free speech? They are the pedlars of verbal violence and dishonesty .The most vigorous defenders of free speech because it gives their vitriolic nonsense legitimacy. With the use of free speech, the bigots and hate-mongerers like Bolt seek to influence those in the community who are susceptible or like-minded. 2. workplace reform is happening. Wages are in reverse. 3. You can believe the likes of Abbott and Bolt on Climate Change but I will stick with the evidence. 4. If Andrew can name a conservative reform in the name of the common good then do so.

– the Government too often radiates a lack of conviction. It often dares not dare name the cause in which it fights: it cuts (barely) the ABC without explaining that it’s too big and biased; it slashes at global warming programs without explaining why they are a useless fix to a non-problem, it resists Obama’s global warming evangelism without explaining he’s a fraud.

Perhaps the facts get in the road and are difficult to move.

– the Government has picked too many fights it cannot win, not just with the Senate but more especially with the public. It must ditch the undoable, argue only for what it can win and avoid the Senate bloc wherever possible. Bye-bye Medicare co-payment and parental leave scheme.

It was only Tuesday that Abbott told the Indian PM that he, Abbott, was a ‘’can do’’ person. And yes he should consign the co-payment and PPL to the rubbish bin. But there will be a residual price to pay for his ineptness.

– the Government seems out of synch with the times. Younger and fresher faces – women particularly – are needed in the lineup. Some of the Coalition’s most appealing talent is not in the Ministry.

Ah women. That’s always been the problem. Hasn’t it. The polls show that women and young people loath the man.

– the Liberals have never prospered without senior ministers in Victoria arguing the case, leading the charge, imposing themselves on the debate. Where are they?

That’s true. Victorians seem to have always been the more level-headed and of the ‘’small L’’ variety.

– a small point now, but why do Ministers go onto big set-piece interviews, especially with the ABC, without something new to reveal or announce? Why sit there passively while the interviewer asks the gotcha questions they’ve been working on for hours, hoping to have found the weakness?

What a silly question. The answer is obvious. There aren’t any.

Enough.

True, I have listed here the Government’s shortcomings but not its strengths and virtues. And if I were to list Labor’s failings, the list would be much longer.

But the Government cannot just motor on as Julia Gillard fatally tried, arguing that voters will eventually come around and see the gain for the pain, or see through the Opposition’s alleged failings. The polls today have a reality. Something is not working and must be fixed.

Labor lost the last election principally because of its leadership problems but the Gillard minority government never defeated on the floor of the house while at the same time passing some major reforms. Gillard could negotiate, Abbott cannot.

That fixing must start over the Christmas break. The planned minor reshuffle must be expanded. A new start must be signaled with new faces and an act of repentance. An aggressive, positive and confident media strategy must be adopted.
Get sharp. Get tough. Get assertive. Get confident. Offer inspiration. And fight.

One could argue that the damage has already been done. The electorate has labelled the Prime Minister a liar.

As I said at the start. Andrew Bolt raised a number of issues that are relevant to the LNP’s current predicament. He does not seem to apportion blame for anything to the party leader.

Actions speak louder than words

Joe Hockey has been making noise about tax avoidance.

“They’re stealing from us and our community,” he told the Nine Network on Friday, labelling tax cheats as “thieves.”

Tony Abbott told us we should judge the Coalition on their actions rather than their words – sound advice considering their words bear no resemblance to what they actually do – so it would be timely to consider what they have done to address this growing problem.

While other countries are closing their tax minimisation loopholes, the Abbott government has spent the past year opening them up.

One of Treasurer Joe Hockey’s first acts in office was to roll back Labor’s measures to tackle profit shifting and improving tax transparency – effectively handing back $1.1 billion to big global firms.

As it pushes for a G20 summit agreement this weekend to crack down on corporate tax evasion, the Abbott government has set a timetable for action that is about one year behind the biggest European economies including Britain, France and Germany.

The “early adopters” in the global program will begin exchanging information in September 2017, however, the exchange of information with Australian authorities will not take place until September 2018.

In March this year, the ATO announced an amnesty for offshore tax cheats.  For those who come forward before the end of the calendar year, there is a guarantee of no prosecution and only four years of offshore income is assessed with a maximum shortfall penalty of 10 per cent.

“For lots of people, their forebearers came from war-torn Europe”, tax lawyer Mark Leibler told the ABC’s AM program.  “They wanted to keep nest eggs overseas, not primarily in order to avoid or evade tax, but just as a measure of security.”

So these people and their families have been avoiding tax since they arrived here after the war but let’s not worry about that.

Around $150 million worth of assets is the most declared by one person so far. The money has come from 40 countries including Switzerland, the UK, Hong Kong, Israel and Singapore.

Australian Tax Office deputy commissioner, Greg Williams, said new migrants with limited knowledge of Australia’s tax system and people that have deliberately sent money offshore are also among those coming forward.

“You’ve got that whole gamut from old money, new money, recent migrants and people sending the money offshore,” he said.

These ‘people’ include our own government.

Australia’s Future Fund has revealed it has invested more than $20 billion through offshore tax shelters, including the Cayman Islands, warning of lower returns if it does not minimise its tax bill.

The $77bn fund for federal public-servant pensions has revealed that 14.4 per cent of its assets, worth about $11bn, are invested in subsidiaries based in the Cayman Islands (a tax haven in the Caribbean) and a further 1.3 per cent is in its subsidiaries in the British Virgin Islands and Jersey.

On top of this, the fund has tipped 12.6 per cent of assets, about $9.6bn, into private market vehicles based in these tax shelters and a small fraction is invested in a vehicle based in Luxembourg.

Answers to a Senate inquiry revealed that, at June 30, the fund held stakes in 15 tobacco manufacturers including a $55.4 million stake in British American Tobacco in Britain, $44.5m in Lorillard and a $44.9m investment in Philip Morris in the US.

Individuals within the government also embrace the benefits of tax “minimisation”.

In July, it was disclosed that Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s second-richest parliamentarian, has invested in a ”vulture fund” based in the tax haven Cayman Islands.

Mr Turnbull, who has divested himself of shares and switched his investments to managed funds and hedge funds since being elected, updated the register of members’ interests on June 18.

The IPA, not surprisingly, is against any moves to tighten up the laws.

“Inspired by the sensationalist headlines, the emerging policy agenda for a clamp down on tax avoidance should be seen for what it truly is: a ploy by indebted countries, with overgrown public sectors, to hoover up more cash from productive people and enterprises, stifling tax competition in the process.”

You have to give them credit for never letting morality or ethics interfere.  They were no doubt impressed when their much-loved patron, Rupert Murdoch, single-handedly blew an almost billion dollar hole in our budget when the ATO chose not to appeal a court ruling condoning Murdoch’s tax avoidance practices.

In a 1989 meeting, four News Corp Australia executives exchanged cheques and share transfers between local and overseas subsidiaries that moved through several currencies.

They were paper transactions; no funds actually moved. In 2000 and 2001 the loans were unwound. With the Australian dollar riding high, News Corp’s Australian subsidiaries recorded a $2 billion loss, while other subsidiaries in tax havens recorded a $2 billion gain.

By last July that paper “loss”, booked against News Corp’s Australian newspaper operations, had become an $882 million cash payout.

Under a legal arrangement when the company was spun off last June, News was forced to pass all of the tax payout to Mr Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.

News Corp said it had retained $A81 million because it faced income tax charges on the interest payments by the Tax Office. However it seems unlikely to actually pay these funds: News Corp Australia carried another $1.5 billion in tax deductions from a separate paper shuffle that it made when News reincorporated in the US.

The Australian Taxation Office says its $882 million loss to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan and deputy Neil Olesen told a parliamentary inquiry the Tax Office has recently lost even more valuable cases against individual taxpayers.

“There are others bigger than this one,” Mr Olesen told a parliamentary hearing in March. “There were significant amounts at stake that we were also unsuccessful with through the courts.”

In a current case, Australian tax authorities allege multinational oil giant Chevron used a series of loans and related party payments worth billions of dollars to slash its tax bill by up to $258 million. The claim is now being heard before the Federal Court of NSW.

Despite growing pressure to crack down on multinationals reaping massive profits in Australia each year and paying little tax, the ATO has been scaling back its technical ability to force the “transnationals” to pay up.

After cuts of $189 million in the May budget, the ATO announced that they had to cut staff by 2,100 people by the end of October.

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) deputy national president Alistair Waters said “The tax office has provided evidence to the Senate that for every $1 spent on resources by the tax office, that collects $6 in tax revenue.  Obviously if you are pulling resources out of the tax office that makes it easier for people who might want to avoid paying their tax.”

Public servants with hundreds of years of combined technical know-how have left the ATO’s “Internationals’ Group” in recent years, with the process accelerated by the present massive cuts to the agency.

Private advisors hired by “transnationals” to minimise their tax payments know too much about internal workings of the ATO and are using their insider knowledge to profit their clients.

Case deadlines of 90 days imposed on audit teams by ATO bosses eager to increase the number of cases covered have allowed transnationals to simply “wait out” the Taxation Office or to have low-ball settlements accepted.

Swedish furniture giant IKEA paid just $7.7 million in tax in Australia in 2013-2014, despite banking an operating profit of $92 million for its Australian activities that year.

Even the government’s domestic decisions belie their stated willingness to crack down on tax rorting.

Repealing the legislation regarding novated car leases and FBT cost us $1.8 billion in revenue and the only people to benefit are those who fraudulently claim business usage of their car, and the salary-packaging industry that has sprung up to service this perk.

But what can you expect from a Prime Minister who keeps caucus waiting for an hour – his excuse being “he had to schedule an early morning visit to a cancer research centre in Melbourne on Tuesday so that he could justify billing taxpayers to be in the city for a “private function” the night before”.

Or a Treasurer who defended “his practice of claiming a $270-a-night taxpayer-funded travelling allowance to stay in a Canberra house majority-owned by his wife” as did the Communications Minister who “rented a house from his wife Lucy when in Canberra.”

In Canberra, MPs are not required to show a receipt to prove they stayed in a hotel because the blanket $270 rate applies whether you stay in a hotel or a house owned by yourself or another person.

Because of the rules, many MPs purchase property in Canberra to provide a base during parliamentary sittings and use their travel allowance to pay off their mortgage.

We also have our Prime Minister, Attorney-General, Foreign Minister and Agriculture Minister defending their practice to claim travel and accommodation costs to attend weddings whilst grudgingly refunding the money only after it was exposed in the press.  Attendance at sporting events apparently still constitutes official business.

Tony Abbott had promised to lead an honest government that would respect taxpayers’ money and end the age of entitlement.

Joe Hockey has “vowed to give the Tax Office whatever laws it needs” and is “determined to use all available resources to close tax loopholes.”

Sorry boys – your actions make me doubt your sincerity.

Abbott a Prime Minister with a Very Bad Coal’d

Power-stations“The G20 summit is a major economic conference, it is the world’s premier conference….. I certainly expect the focus will be on economic reform, economic growth, how we drive growth and jobs. That is my constant preoccupation. We’re not talking about what might hypothetically happen 15, 20, 25, 30 years down the track”

 

“As for Australia, I’m focusing not on what might happen in 16 years’ time, I’m focusing on what we’re doing now and we’re not talking, we’re acting”

There is a certain melancholy, a sadness, in these two statements. The first appeared in the Melbourne’s Herald Sun and the second in The Age.

Melancholy because of what they reveal. If people are not already convinced that were are being led by a Luddite of the highest order, they should.
What would an intelligent 18-year-old about to vote for the first time think of these statements yesterday by our PM? If I were a young person I would not only be appalled, but alarmed.

I think the answer to that question can be determined by a close analysis of any poll. The technologically savvy young loath Abbott with a vengeance.

To say that he is not interested in the future and what might hypothetically happen is to admit to not only a gross incompetence in understanding the problem of global warming. But also an admittance that he is lying and only interested in the expediency that political power gives in the short-term. To declare that you can’t see beyond a couple of years in forming public policy is deplorable. Boards of large companies do it all the time. It does however match his negative demeanor.

The fact is we are being led by a technology Luddite Prime Minister who doesn’t even understand the reason for the internet or indeed its value to society. Remember he wanted to destroy it. He has no grasp at all on the subject of Climate Change and refuses to heed the mountains of evidence that is peer tested year after year. Instead he offers often contradictory glib observations about it being some sort of socialist plot.Or we have always had droughts and always will.

But worse is the deplorable lie he tells when he says he believes in climate change but only differs on the methodology in approaching the problem. So unbelieving of the science is he that he is busy undoing all research and other institutions within the framework of government. Even the science ministry itself.

Tony Abbott is a climate denialist of long standing.

He says he takes the question of Climate Change seriously but his actions and words paint a different picture.

Before addressing action and words it’s good to remind ourselves of the words of Malcolm Turnbull.

“First, let’s get this straight. You cannot cut emissions without a cost. To replace dirty coal-fired power stations with cleaner gas-fired ones, or renewables like wind let alone nuclear power or even coal-fired power with carbon capture and storage is all going to cost money.”

 

“We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet”

JL

 

“Second, as we are being blunt, the fact is that Tony and the people who put him in his job do not want to do anything about climate change. They do not believe in human caused global warming. As Tony observed on one occasion “climate change is crap” or if you consider his mentor, Senator Minchin, the world is not warming, its cooling and the climate change issue is part of a vast left wing conspiracy to deindustrialise the world.”

 

His alternative is a so-called direct action policy where taxpayer’s funds are given (repeat “are given”) to the polluters to clean up the mess they have created without any guarantees they will do so. And no penalty if they don’t. This method has no credence among professionals.

 

Words

“Coal is ‘good for humanity”. “It’s a socialist plot”.

“Human-caused climate change is “crap”. “The carbon tax is socialism masquerading as environmentalism…”

“The world should do something to cut greenhouse gases emissions, but this shouldn’t be done with policies that “clobber the economy”.

“It doesn’t much sense, though, to impose certain and substantial costs on the economy now in order to avoid unknown and perhaps even benign changes in the future”.

“In Roman times, grapes were widely grown in Britain” and how “in medieval times, Greenland supported agriculture”.

“Of course these climatic changes had little or nothing to do with human activity,”

“Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has had some effect on climate, but debate rages among scientists over its extent and relative impact”.

“Cold weather in Europe and North America had made “the concept of ‘global warming’ less plausible”.

“The climate has always changed”.

“I am, as you know, hugely unconvinced by the so-called settled science on climate change”.

“UN official talking through her hat. Fire is a part of the Australian experience”.

“We should do something to cut greenhouse gases emissions, but this shouldn’t be done with policies that “clobber the economy”.

The list is endless.

ACTIONS

Abbott’s claim to take climate change “very seriously” is at odds with his actions. If he did why would he terminate the portfolio of science so soon after becoming Prime Minister?

If he took Global Warming seriously why would he appoint a well-known climate denier in Maurice Newman as his business advisor?

In a column published in The Australian newspaper he wrote that the “climate change establishment” (whatever that is) is intent only on “exploiting the masses and extracting more money”.

Why would he appoint another denier in Dick Warburton to head a review into the country’s target to generate 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020.

Why would you propose axing of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, “saving” $1.1 billion, places about 190 renewable projects worth $7.7 billion at risk, according to the agency’s chief executive?

Why would you implement a “nonsense” Direct Action plan that has no scientific basis, no modelling, no economic rational and no environmental credibility?

Asked where the America China deal left Australia’s climate change policy, the expert adviser to the former government Professor Ross Garnaut said: “Exactly where it was before the US-China announcement – up shit creek.”

And why on earth would you invest Australia’s future in coal in the knowledge that the world would sooner or later turn away from it. It simply doesn’t make long-term sense.

But as the Prime Minister says. He is not interested in the future.

In any case for coal to become viable it would have to prove beyond doubt that Carbon Capture and Storage Programmes are scientifically viable. Hunt said on Q&A last week that they were. The CSIRO countered by indicating that the science was far from being proven and that the government had slashed $459 million from the program.
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In short “clean coal” technology like carbon capture remains the same pipe dream it’s been for a decade or more.

To quote Crikey, “Coal is finished”.

The risk level on coal investment has stepped up significantly with the announcement of a historic climate pact between the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, the United States and China.

For a long time investors have placed their bets on the basis that, for all the talk, the world’s leaders would do nothing about climate change. Quite suddenly, those bets are less safe.

A quarter to a third of Australia’s coal mines are already losing money at current prices, and only a weakening dollar is putting a floor under the industry’s prospects. Growth in demand for Australia’s coal exports is going to be increasingly hard to come across.

Tony Abbott’s obsession with coal is but a sad reflection on his leadership and the damage he is doing to this great nation. To think that I, at 74, am more interested in what the world might look like in 15 years’ time says more about me than he.

Predictably the ratbags of the Murdoch media have come out with all power stations burning on all 8 cylinder octane but the world is changing and science will have a well-earned victory. Whether is too late will be something I will never know.

Next year the Abbott Government will be compelled to make a decision to commit to more than a 5 per cent reduction (on 2000 levels) by 2020. Until now, the Abbott government has used what it claims has been the inaction by the world’s major polluters to justify its own unwillingness to do so.

The much maligned Direct Action scheme – that won’t work – doesn’t lend itself to higher targets: more ambitious targets require greater investment. The Emissions Reduction Fund draws from the budget to pay polluters (unlike the previous carbon price, which provided market-based incentives for companies to undertake their own reduction projects).

But the biggest question now is what happens after 2020, and on that, neither Abbott nor Direct Action has anything to say.

The US-China agreement represents what should be a game-changer for Australian policy.

The pity is that Abbott is a Prime Minister with a Very Bad Coald.

 

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