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It’s time to get on with it

To Bill Shorten and the Labor Party,

You are no doubt aware of the growing concern amongst progressive voters about your performance. And by performance, I don’t mean pithy one-liners delivered at Question Time or the meal you cooked for Annabel Crabb.

I mean your failure to hold the Coalition to account, your silence when we should hear outrage, and your refusal to offer a better alternative.

I understand that you have countless strategists planning your moves but they are also failing in their job. We need to hear from you. You need to prepare the road for the way ahead.

Stop beginning every sentence with “Tony Abbott”. The phrase “Tony Abbott’s unfair budget” has become as grating as “Labor’s debt and deficit disaster”.

What you should be saying is “We do not support the Government’s proposal because……Our plan is to……”

You need to delineate clear differences between the Labor Party and the Coalition because at the moment you are being referred to as the lesser of two evils, and not by much, which is a damning indictment considering how badly this government is performing.

You don’t have to pay millions for advertising to tell us how bad this government is – we already know – just go back through the quotes from the Coalition and show their hypocrisy and lies.

You don’t have to pay consultants to come up with ideas – the internet is full of them, many with the accompanying research already done for you. You could do worse than reading the articles and comments here and on other independent sites to get you started.

You don’t have to conduct polls and focus groups to find out what people think – it’s all there on blogs and social media, in letters to the editor and phone calls to radio hosts.

The latest Roy Morgan poll shows Australian electors are not convinced how well Bill Shorten’s handling his job as Opposition Leader; 40% (down 2%) disapprove and 37% (unchanged) approve although a much higher 23% (up 2%) still can’t say how they view the Opposition Leader. After more than a year in the job, almost a quarter of the electorate don’t have a view on how Mr Shorten is going. That’s a telling figure.

It’s time to get on with it – tell us your thoughts. Give us some choices. You don’t have to commit to a detailed plan, just throw up some alternatives. Get the conversation started.

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145 comments

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  1. Tony

    I agree
    either get on with it or move aside for Anthony Albense.

  2. stephentardrew

    Yep get off of your arse Mr Sleepy Man or give it to someone with some bloody fight.

  3. Robyne Chamberlain

    Couldn’t agree more! Step up or step over and let Albo or Doug Cameron get on with it. Time is running out and we are frightened by your invisibility Bill.

  4. pamelac65

    I agree also
    Enough of these mealy mouthed “zingers”
    Tell us what you propose and for our sake change your ‘me too’ offshore policy on asylum seekers.
    It is a bloody disgrace and you know it.Stand up like a leader and acknowledge that it was a nasty move by a desperate Rudd to win an Election. It did not work. It is killing people and causing this nation untold damage. Just bloody stop it.

  5. Damo451

    ” A party of ideas not just personalities ” well he’s stuffed then isnt he ,given he is gifted with neither. This dud isn’t a Labor mans arsehole……….well not a Labor man anyway

  6. Michael Taylor

    He is ethical, but ineffectual.

    Sadly, over the last five years Abbott has dragged Australian political behaviour into the gutter, and I think it is now the norm as far as expectations go.

    I wish I was wrong.

  7. Kaye Lee

    I don’t need Bill to have personality but I DO need him to start talking.

    I’m not interested in the theatrics but when Tony Abbott says well what would you do he bloody well should have an answer. I don’t mean commit, I mean say something like “Our prime aim is to protect universal healthcare in this country. We understand that healthcare costs are going to rise with an aging population. A GP co-payment is NOT the way to go because primary healthcare is cost-effective. We need to have a discussion about what we DO want to do. Whether we increase the medicare levy slightly, or look at the private health insurance rebate, or examine palliative care and voluntary euthanasia….there are many alternatives we want to discuss with the Australian people.”

    You can’t have that conversation if you wait until an election is called. All you can do then is pay marketing people to produce 30 second ads giving us no time to have any input.

  8. David

    While I agree Mr Shorten is riding the crest of a polls popularity wave for the Opposition, and he sits back and basks in that particular sunlight enveloping him…until there is a move in the polls back to the Coalition with any degree of recovery, it is beyond common sense he will change his tactics. No amount of us telling him otherwise on blogs such as this, will change his and his advisers stance.
    Murdoch’s next move is the deciding factor, I am surprised after the last 6 years you good folk ignore that. Abbott isn’t the trump card!!!!
    Never has been since becoming PM, he has fulfilled his side of the bargain, the real masters are in charge now.

  9. selwyn smith

    I have to agree. Labor have sorted the internal discipline so now is the time to stand up and define the viable alternative.

  10. Damo451

    Unless you know something the rest of Australia doesn’t ,Micheal , you are drawing a pretty long bow calling him ethical.
    I think you would find both Kevin and Julia would agree to disagree with you.
    If Shorten had even a sniff of ethics about him ,he wouldn’t have even stood for opposition leader ,and let the party move on from the stench the 3 of them caused in the Labor party. The fact that he even stood speaks volumes about the ethics of the man.

  11. Michael Taylor

    True. I spoke too quickly. If he had ethics he wouldn’t support the locking up of refugees, or the harsh new laws against journalists.

  12. Brad Adams

    This appears to be the format in politics now with policies not released until the 2nd or 3rd week of an election campaign and costings released 48 hours before when they can’t be attacked by the other side because of the blackout time. Both sides have done the same and it only means they either don’t want anybody to dispute their policies or that the policies and costings themselves won’t stack up.

  13. Wandering Dave

    What do you guys want? An opposition leader that actually stands for something? An opposition leader that can articulate a viable alternative to that presented by the incumbent government? A Labor leader that actually understands the concept of Labor values? Let’s be realistic, the only thing these people are even remotely interested in is getting returned to office and they’ll do whatever they have to to ensure this is achieved (including selling their soul to the devil)

  14. Kaye Lee

    Well….yeah

  15. Michael Taylor

    Yep.

  16. Damo451

    I hear you Micheal. Those harsh new laws are having a profound effect over at what was once a well respected news source ,the ABC.
    There was actually a journalistic piece on the Summernats in Canberra the other day ,unfortunately .while scrolling down the page i was not rewarded with any other gems of equal intellectual stimulation ,although i thought i caught a glimpse of an article on frocking up for Australia day , which would have been a fascinating read.
    Just on a side not a side note , is it just me or is it the same 6 – 10 people over on their so called forums posting ,amongst themselves week after week pretending it is actually a public forum open for comment.

  17. Kaye Lee

    One thing that would make a clear delineation between the two parties, and would earn my eternal gratitude, would be for Labor to stop issuing the same script of the phrase du jour to every MP. Is it too much to ask that, if you are giving an interview, you actually read up on the subject rather than 6 politicians all repeating the same phrases over and over. It just makes me want to do a comedy skit about you. It also makes me think you aren’t very bright.

  18. Graham Houghton

    Who is Bill Shorten?

  19. Graham Houghton

    Does he know?

  20. Graham Houghton

    And if he does, what’s he up to? Bill you’re losing, right now.

  21. Damo451

    And that works perfectly for their target audience Kaye Lee.You see Dancing with the Stars ,has an audience …….unfortunately ,and those people struggle to understand much more than a few shiny ,sparkly things in quick succession ,let alone a complex discussion filled with facts and statistics.
    Then there are the great minds that watch A Current Affair and The Block who have to somehow be engaged in the political debate.
    Again something Silent Bob is doing a sterling of doing,

  22. Graham Houghton

    I’d rather not say this, but Bill, you’re Labour’s Tony Abbott.

  23. Graham Houghton

    Stand aside and give this country back a government.

  24. Graham Houghton

    Is it possible to get some statesmanship back into Australian governmen? At the moment, no.

  25. Brian

    How about “f*ck you Rupert Murdoch, your lies and biased reporting don’t impact the vote, so I don’t give a stuff about giving you ammunition”.

  26. Kaye Lee

    It is difficult to trust people whose main motivation is personal ambition when they have signed up for public service. We have basically privatised government.

  27. Brian

    Graham Whoreton, sounds a lot like a Liberal concern troll grasping at straws, so how’s the weather in New Dehli?

  28. Rosemary

    I agree that Labor needs to become more proactive.

  29. revolutionarycitizen

    Bill Shorten comes with so much baggage that if he really did take the fight up to the government he is likely to make his position even worse.

    Playing a small target game is smart. Boring, but smart.

  30. Brett

    Bill Shorten is a good man but unfortunately does not present himself to the World as being a Leader of the Nation. The Labor Party has only one true person that can lead Labor back to Government and her name is Tanya Plibersek. She is erudite and calm when put under pressure and is a woman well suited to the rigours of leadership. Labor should be refreshing their leadership group whilst Abbotts rot over the next six months. This next year could be the most divisive and hostile year not seen since the days of Whitlam(R.I.P). Australia will slip toward recession by June, July, this year. As social unrest starts to rise due to unfortunate policy decisions and people become aware of this Governments intentions, Labor must be prepared to take up the fight with progressive social policies and stop Abbotts delusional regressive ideals from being realised. Bill, Mate! Its time to go. Tanya, step up to the plate. Its time.

  31. CMMC

    Well, I did write “Labor should be saying Hands Off Medicare” and that is what Shorten eventually said, yesterday.

    Keep calm, don’t fall into the Murdochistan trap where they continually ask/infer “He just doesn’t have the ticker” whoever the Labor leader is.

  32. babyjewels10

    You’re a breath of fresh air Kaye. I have long given up on Labor both federally and here in Queensland.

  33. Brian

    I would like more of the Labor Party but I can forsee the future now if Labor began releasing policies too early. It would play into Abbott’s strength giving the opportunity to fall into his attack dog mode and begin reigning in his uneducated red necks. As PM, I have no doubt he would treat Shorten as the government and himself as the Opposition all over again. Aided by his media mates, the focus would move away from the plight of the current government and the attack would be on Labor and Shorten as the future government.

    Labor have never been good at playing politics. If it were, we wouldn’t hear about Howard being the greatest PM and Costello the greatest Treasurer. They would have sold the truth that Howard and Costello were handed a growuing economy aided by Labor’s management of the late 80s early 90s recession and the economic reforms put in place before that. For Pete’s sake, Abbott was recently gloating about Australia’s 24 years of strong economic growth!! How did that growth occur? Labor reforms and Labor management of the economy. How did we sail through the GFC virtually unscathed whilst the rest of the world wallowed and sunk? How did we rise to Number 1 economy in the world? Labor reforms and economic management. You’d never know it though. Labor failed miserably at selling their achievements both Hawke/Keating and Rudd/Gillard.

    Try explaining to someone how a government who led their country through the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the only country to escape without a recession and rise to the number one economy in the world with an increased exconomic rating with low debt, record low interest rates and low inflation and passed more legislation in the history of the country, half of it during a minority government, was demolished at the last election?

    As I said, Labor have never been good at playing politics especially mean politics (well, except for maybe mean internal politics) and they need to be very careful before opening themselves up. Especially in light of a aggressive media who are just waiting for something to get behind Abbott on.

    I hope, Labor can deliver without the gutter politics we have seen since Abbott’s rise. Unfortunately, Abbott has shown a highly successful framework for getting elected. I had great hope when Rudd and Turnbull came to an agreement over ETS. It didn’t matter what the policy was, it showed government and opposition can work together to achieve a way forward, Abbott and his supporters destroyed that.

    Maybe in 5 years when Abbott is long gone from the Australian political scene, we can get back to some respect between all side of government and then maybe the public may regain some level of respect for politics.

  34. lawrencewinder

    Plibersek, Bowen, Albanese, Wong & King all are better articulators than Shorten. But it’s so frustrating that none of them come out and slam the selling out of this country for the inept free-market drivil being pushed by Rabid-the-Hun and his rabble….. We really need to march on Canberra remove the GG, declare a republic and terminate parliament prior to new elections for all seats including the Senate.

  35. helvityni

    lawrencewinder, I agree that ‘Plibersek, Bowen, Albanese, Wong & King all are better articulators than Shorten’, and I am angry and upset that none of them has said anything about horrible things happening right now at Manus. The only one I see in the media is the Greens Sarah Hanson-Young. What has happened to the Labor communicators, have they all sawn their lips together too…What about you, Albo, gone all mute…..

  36. Kelvin

    We need the Labor Party to step out and bring forward ideas and policies to suit a changing world. Simply be honest, outline a constructive policy course, stop the stupid one liners, believe me we are all over stupid attempts at zingers. Labor did have good policies prior to the last election, education, the NDIS, NBN, and yes the carbon tax; these need to be re-articulated and developed further.

  37. Patrick

    I get so tired of listening to your whinging AIMN it’s about time you said some positive things about the labor party and its leaders, you are forever moaning about something bill shorten says or does, it’s time we learned to be positive in ourselves, not forever looking to find the weaknesses and the faux pas’ in the labor argument.

  38. Kaye Lee

    Kelvin, I agree. Labor’s performance and policies going into the last election should have seen them romp home but they shot themselves in the foot.

    Patrick, I am sorry if you consider it whinging to articulate what you want from your politicians. You will also find countless constructive suggestions in the articles here. As I have said many times, I love my children dearly but that does not make them immune from criticism or from me wanting them to do better.

  39. Terry2

    Patrick you are so wrong on this.

    We have seen in recent days the fumbling and bungling of the coalition on Medicare policy: we have seen the former Health Minister – now Immigration Minster, heaven help us – identified as the worst health minister ever. We have seen the new Health Minister say, of Medicare, that those who can afford to pay more for medical services should do so : how, by an increase in the levy ? No, she wants to pursue a co-payment from the old and the sick.

    The new Minister has damned her predecessor for ‘misinformation’ and “unforseen consequences” of his sneaky Medicare changes and says that now she will “consult” : for heavens sake why start consulting now when it has never been a priority for this government in the past..

    We are now finding that the downgrading of the NBN by this government has taken us to 41st position in international ratings for connectivity and we will find later this year that we are not going to have the capabilities we need for next generation streaming. This is an enormous failure in forward planning which will cost us as a nation.

    There is so much ammunition for a focused and concerned Opposition to come out strongly and condemn the ideological bungling of this government.

  40. Kaye Lee

    “The numbers are in. The year 2014 – after shattering temperature records that had stood for hundreds of years across virtually all of Europe, and roasting parts of South America, China and Russia – was the hottest on record, with global temperatures 1.24F (0.69C) higher than the 20th-century average, US government scientists said on Friday.

    A day after international researchers warned that human activities had pushed the planet to the brink, new evidence of climate change arrived. The world was the hottest it has been since systematic records began in 1880, especially on the oceans, which the agency confirmed were the driver of 2014’s temperature rise.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/16/2014-hottest-year-on-record-scientists-noaa-nasa

    I want the Labor Party shouting this from the roof tops. We NEED them to emphasise the necessity of urgent action. When you have a PM who says “coal will be the saviour of humanity” as the world burns, SURELY you can find a narrative to press home this clear advantage that Labor has in action on climate change.

  41. jagman48

    Patrick as a long time Labor supporter I agree with you. However we do need a leader that can do more. Albo was my choice but Shorten won. I do hope he either starts being more vocal or steps down. And Graham you could at least spell Labor correct if you wish to comment.

  42. Damo451

    Patrick . if your tired of it ,don’t read it.
    IF and WHEN Labor actually have an argument to put ,and IF and WHEN Labor has something to say , and IF it is actually something positive to talk about ,i’m sure the people here will give credit where credit is due.
    But to praise Silent Bob for being silent ,and to praise him for having nothing constructive to say himself ,would simply be stupid.
    Your comment makes you appear to be the Labor equivalent of a Liberal rusted on.
    Three words Kaye Lee ,nail ,hammer ,head.

  43. Michael Taylor

    We can’t win.

    We’re often criticised for being too left-wing, but when we’re critical of Labor we’re jumped on for doing so.

    Here’s our message: at The AIMN will endeavour to hold both sides of politics to account.

    The main reason we’re more critical of the government than the opposition is in the fact that they are truly horrible. The Murdoch media neglect to publicise that fact. We don’t.

  44. Michael Taylor

    Rossleigh, he’s not even in The Lodge now! 😉

  45. Rossleigh

    Yeah, well, when I said that Abbott would never be in The Lodge, I may still be proven right.

  46. fosterus46

    Given the choice between Shorten and Albanese I opted for the former and have, undoubtedly at times, been underwhelmed by his performance and have harboured doubts about the advice he is seeking and/or taking. Prior to casting my vote, I enjoyed listening to what Albo had to say, as would all rusted-on ALP supporters, but I didn’t feel he articulated our case in a way that would draw back the middle 10% who had deserted us. We certainly need an Albo figure or grouping in our armory, out there and firing, but do we want to make each other feel good or return Australia to a path marked by compassion, fairness and equity?

    I’m not advocating policy by focus groups and polling, that’s just Followship, at a time when we must start activating Leadership – planting our standard on the hill and saying “This is what we stand for. As you think about Australia, you will come and support our campaign.” It is now time for a creative phase of policy development, coordination and articulation. It doesn’t need to be detailed, polished or set in concrete (we don’t want to give the forces of darkness a free kick), but it does need to be apparent

    Bill, and the ALP generally, have had a surprisingly easy run over the past 12 months, watching and sniping at a government far more incompetent and morally bankrupt than many of us would have anticipated. While we have done little to help them as they struggled with largely self-inflicted disasters, our ongoing campaign to weaken their political authority would have neen more effective if a wider range of oppposition identities had chosen to, or been encouraged to, contribute to the attacks. Some senior ALP identities seem to be holding back, perhaps thinking that if they keep their head down they might get their own chance – I just hope this is not the case. It is clear that Bill Shorten is not comfortable in some roles and so at times others need to step up more – they are in a team! He is not a comedian, a messiah or a great orator – get over it!

    Although we have consistently opposed many government initiatives, we have not been anywhere near as mongrel in style as the Opposition under Abbott – and I think the wider community senses this, and gives us credit. They are sick of it and it remains a real dead weight around Abbott’s neck and his desire for legitimacy. As our opposition to government attacks on Australians will only succeed in the Parliament when supported by minority groupings, we have to make our own case against them clearly otherwise we can be easily portrayed as merely acting at the behest of various ‘micro-parties’. I am sick of seeing Nick X interviewed as de facto spokesperson for the Senate. He is following our lead – not vice versa.

    To even contemplate a move against Shorten would play into the hands of our darkest and most brutal enemies and would betray the hopes and needs of millions of Australians. Bill can do better, and I hope those with influence can bring this about, but so can we all. As vintage players we talk, we write and we engage others. We’re still in the battle lines.

  47. Ricardo29

    Another excellent piece Kaye Lee and it has generated some interesting comments. You might have also mentioned the disquiet some of us feel about his allegedly close relationship with the IPA’s Roskam. If he plans to adopt some of their policies then we, and the country, are stuffed. I mean the position on Asylum Seekers is straight from their playbook isn’t it and that needs to be significantly changed. I agree with you KL there is a lot of positive stuff on offer through this site and I will often attempt to refer Bill and Labor to it.

  48. Patrick

    Just Looking at what the liberal coalition is doing lately I think labor is doing right thing in allowing the LNP to continue to shoot themselves in the foot, why should labor help them by saying something which may change media focus from LNP to labor.

  49. Kaye Lee

    Because they are elected to help govern this country….not to just wait for three years. I hate this “hiding your homework” mentality. How do you engage new support if you remain silent?

  50. jagman48

    And to slightly change the topic can we get away from the stooges that stand behind the leader sagely nodding their heads. To me it would be refreshing to see it stopped. Can anybody explain why it is done?

  51. John Kelly

    What matters now, is that Bill Shorten and Labor start acting like an alternative government releasing sound policies and demonstrating superior leadership skills. It is time their best people, Bowen, Plibersek, Clare, Butler and co. took command of the news cameras with articulate messages of direction on the economy, the environment, education and health. It’s time to step up to the plate.

  52. Damo451

    Fosterus46
    ” It is clear that Bill Shorten is not comfortable in some roles and so at times others need to step up more – they are in a team! He is not a comedian, a messiah or a great orator – get over it! ”
    You missed another one ,he isnt even an opposition leaders bootlace.
    Probably time you Labor rusted on mob got over yourselves to.
    Today’s politics have given us a stupid ,mean and nasty government , and a weak ,pathetic and insipid opposition.
    Given the money we are paying your useless and ineffective mob of welfare parasites ,and the money we are paying the other tricky ,mean and nasty mob of welfare parasites,i would suggest that they are just plain lucky its just criticism being leveled at them.
    This country and its people deserve far better than the freeloading leeches we have inherited as our political class.
    You see what this country needs is a REAL leader ,not another bludger who cruises into the job because he is not the PM.
    Remember that is how we got this disgraceful mob in the first place.
    A leader leads and can bring a nation and its people with them. I would also disagree that we dont need a leader with charisma.
    We need a leader with charisma like a human needs oxygen.Rudd had it in spades and it got him elected ,it was his people skills that were apparently lacking.
    You would do well to remember the likes of JFK and his government for an example of a real political leader.
    Keating another one ,Hawke another.
    Reading your comment it almost seems that you are a labor politician given the use of the word ‘ we ‘
    If that is correct ,then my message to you is simply this ,Get of your backside ,stop your whinging ,and get out and EARN your overpaid welfare and stop bludging off my taxes.

  53. Kaye Lee

    Oh I so agree on the head nodders. it drives me insane.

  54. Damo451

    One further point ,Micheal ,you and the rest of the admin here do a fantastic job of allowing strong and truly independent voices from all sides of the political spectrum a forum to air them on.
    Keep up the good work

  55. fosterus46

    I think you sell the ALP MPs short Kaye. They have shown that is possible to support the governance of the country while still opposing its government. The Abbott-led opposition used most of its energy finding new ways to oppose the very legitimacy of an ALP government and all its decisions. When they succeeded in getting us out they quickly showed that they had little actual policy in their own cupboard. The so-called Commission of Audit proved to be a political disaster, producing little more than a self-interested wishlist for the BCA, but without actual policy and a poorly conceived and hopelessly inadequate budget they tried to sell it by keeping the election mantra running for a further 6 9 months – and even occasionally still now. I believe that this ongoing chanting is now a vote loser.

    Abbott and the LP/NP/LCP/CLP coalition redefined the nature of opposition and, backed by a venal media, they showed that it was a successful strategy for winning. We, and more importantly the electorate, have been taught that this model is not an adequate preparation for assuming Government.

  56. Damo451

    On the head nodders ,is it true they have managed to get an allowance for it ,and they get paid per nod ?

  57. Kaye Lee

    fosterus46,

    I absolutely agree with everything you said. I hope I am not selling Labor short. I have written many times about the achievements of the Gillard government. They were laudable. Abbott’s lies aided by a complicit media somehow made a majority of voters forget this while they watched the reality show of Labor self-imploding. Do you have any idea of the anguish many of us feel as we watch the legacy of the Labor government (and many before them) wound back and frittered away. This should not have happened. Stand up. Admit your mistakes. Become the party of truth rather than marketing gimmicks. Listen to what people are saying. Stop the repeated phrases, stop the stage-managed photo shoots with head nodders in tow, and remind us that you are the party of social justice. Would it be too much to ask you and the Greens to actually get together and present a united voice on progressive policy because you are going to have a hell of a mess to clean up in a couple of years.

  58. Graham Houghton

    Jagman 48 I am spelling labour correctly – note CORRECTLY is the correct form of the adjective in the context in which you used it. I’m not an American.

  59. Michael Taylor

    Thanks Damo. Some people would argue differently. They think the right to have an opinion is the right to be an arsehole. Arseholes are now blocked from commenting. Life’s too short to spend my time bothering with them.

  60. Michael Taylor

    We enjoy people with differing opinions coming here and sharing them. It’s when they start abusing the author in an attempt to get their point across I think their point is lost altogether. I don’t know why they bother.

    You’d be amazed at the number of people who come here telling us how to run the site and get abusive while doing it. They’d get an ear if they acted without the hostility they exhibit.

  61. Joe Banks

    George Wright could be Labor’s problem if he is steering current strategy (sorry, George). After all, it was George Wright who effusively congratulated Brian Loughnane on a successful election campaign after the LNP win in 2013, using superlatives like “driven… disciplined… team effort… holding back on policy… the campaign that delivered victory”. I don’t know that I can ever get that day out of my memory.

    After years of vicious, vitriolic vilification against the PM and Labor Government from the LNP and its media allies; after lies, distortion and concealment of policy agenda leading up to the last election; the final insult was to hear those tactics praised by Labor’s campaign director.

    A lost opportunity to speak out against the undermining of Australian Values during that deceitful, dishonest, unfair, destructive six year campaign! By failing to condemn the appallingly vicious tactics of the LNP, Labor actually endorsed those low standards.
    Pretending that the LNP election campaign was in any way ‘fair’ or ‘normal’ (by offering congratulations) seriously demeaned Labor.

    So, what are the current tactics being dreamed up in the back rooms of the Labor Party? Stay cool until 3 months before the next election? Don’t give the LNP any ammunition to use against you? Blend into the background and remain a small target? Let the media (that’s a good one) tear Abbott and his team to pieces and do our work for us (the same media that will probably jump to Abbott’s defence once an election is called)?

    Kaye is right: it’s time to get on with it… give us some choices… get the conversation started. But I do believe there is room for a few commitments: repair/restore Medibank… reinstate a mining super profits tax… introduce an ETS… re-established all Labor programs bastardised by the LNP… end superannuation perks… the list goes on. The Greens are rock solid on policy (and their vote is growing) and it is time Labor started having the courage to do the same.

    The time for playing absurd strategy word games to win a few swinging voters is past – it is time for rock solid policy ideals. After all, Murdoch, big business, the miners, and the ‘money end of town’ is never, never, never going to support Labor. I say: Labor, it is time to tell the electorate what you really believe in… and stop playing silly buggers.

  62. townsvilleblog

    The ALP is doing well in Queensland and is set to overthrow the wicked LNP government because of what the public continue to believe that the ALP stands for. Until true democracy arrives at the Queensland Branch that is, one vote, one value of the Queensland Branch members it will continue to be an illusion that the public will believe, instead of the fighting machine for equality that it should be.

  63. slapsy

    Shorten or Albanese ? Other than personality,is there really any great difference between the pair?
    My pick,at the time,was Albanese,but only because he came without baggage.
    The quicker we are rid of the Abottoir the better.Does it really matter who takes their place?

  64. jagman48

    Graham Houghtan. I am a member of the Labor Party but I have never been a member of the Labour Party. I have checked my membership card just to make sure.

  65. DanDark

    Michael said “They think the right to have an opinion is the right to be an arsehole. Arseholes are now blocked from commenting. Life’s too short to spend my time bothering with them.”…….. 🙂

    I prefer to call them time wasters, but if folk cannot put a point of view across without abuse, it’s not a point of view, it’s just a diversion to wate time and derail the thread..

  66. DanDark

    Labor needs to articulate what they want not what they don’t want, they had good policies last election,
    but the infighting and backstabbing for past three years undone them, they couldn’t see the forest for the trees they were blinded by personal power, at least they are united these days and I have to credit to Bill and Co for that giant leap into maturity and acting like adults since being in opposition,

    it’s not all bad, but we need to hear those good policies again, and they need to re access how our asylum seekers are treated, Close down the gulags on Manus and Naru for starters, then I will think about voting for them next election,
    We want a caring compassionate clever United Gov that dosnt make policy on the run like the libs are doing and have been since they have been running the joint….and they still have last years stinking budget hanging around Smokin joes neck 🙂

  67. pamelac65

    While we are discussing the Opposition Leader and by default Abbott, could someone tell us why the leader of the nation cant manage to ensure a timely renovation of the THE LODGE and also why he is living with the AFP? Embedded i think is the word.

  68. mark wells

    I was a “True Believer”, but no more, whether it is Shorten or Albanese, they are both of the right, professional politicians whose only real goal is power. There is very little either of them or their backroom apparatchiks could say to take me back into the fold without some honest rejigging of the party structure and a commitment to other than an overly conservative agenda. Shorten’s connection to that dangerous and frightening man Rosken appalls me.

    Recently I contacted Labors office in Melbourne to ask who is going to stand for them in my electorate only to be told that hasn’t been decided yet and may not be until late ’15 or early ’16. So I asked the hapless young person on the phone, how am I going to get the measure of the candidate, find out where they stand on the things that concern me, which faction they are from? She could not answer and directed me to the Opposition Leaders office. they have still not replied to my email. This is a strategy?

    I want a leader, someone who has a vision, and can carry the electorate with reasoned argument and passion. We had them once, but now all we have are basically student activists who played the game, kissed the appropriate butt and left their passion and beliefs behind so as to rise on the corporate political ladder. To be honest, a Labor government will be jumping to the tune of the conservative ideologues just as both Rudd and Gillard did. I do have a lot of respect for Doug Cameron, but his chances of being leader are nil and I have doubts as to whether he would be a good one anyway, but at least he is intelligent, passionate and articulate. If only there were more of his ilk in the party maybe I could bring myself to vote for them again.

    We as a nation are cursed with colorless, uncommitted parliamentarians who are to misquote Terry Pratchett, people of negotiable ideology, in other words, political prostitutes, and that demeans prostitutes.

  69. Kerri

    I would like to see ALL of the shadow ministers telling the same story about what Labor WILL do not what the LNP are doing wrong. More exposure of the talents within the shadow ministry and for God’s sake stop using The Paid Parental Leave Scheme as the universal BAD for everything the government do!!! Show some innovation and progressive ideas that move Labor away from the right and WELL WELL away from the LNP policies. To encourage the voters Labor need to show thay ARE NOT the LNP. Black and white not pale grey and putty grey.

  70. David

    @Mark Wells…Mark when attacking someone , in this case Mr Albanese it assists your critique if you get your facts correct. You state…”whether it is Shorten or Albanese, they are both of the right.” For your ongoing information ….re Albanese ‘After finishing school, he worked for the Commonwealth Bank for two years before studying economics at the University of Sydney. There he became involved in student politics and was elected to the Students’ Representative Council. It was also where he started his rise as a key player in the LEFT faction of the Labor Party.’ (uppercase mine)….. ex https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Albanese

    Happy to assist anytime.

  71. stephentardrew

    AMIN is awesome. Nuf Said.

  72. paolo soprani

    I blame Kim Beazley totally for Labor’s present position. The day he capitulated to Howard with The Tampa Affair sealed their fate and compromised their ethics for a generation.

  73. Michael Taylor

    Thanks Stephen. I presume you meant AIMN.

    We like you too.

  74. Wayne Turner

    Certainly NOT personalities with Bill Shorten.Because he has no personality.Boring Bill could bore people to death if we heard from him.

    If the next federal election is leaders Abbott vs Shorten.It will certainly be the WORST leaders debate EVER.I’d rather stab my eyes out with a fork,than watch these two.

    I think Shorten and Labor are NOT publically saying anything for a few (pathetic) reasons:-

    *The BIASED anti-Labor MSM don’t and would NOT report what they would say anyway.
    Or
    *GUTLESS Labor are scared of the MSM.The anti-Labor MSM,who frighten Labor,and Labor are scared of the MSM.Case in point the MSM helped to destroy Julia Gillard because she NEVER got Murdoch and the MSM’s permission to govern.Labor are worried the MSM will paint in a negative light whatever they say.Labor are GUTLESS.

    A combo. of both from the MSM – NOT report anything good Labor says,and at times publically bad what they do report what Labor says.

    OUR MSM ARE A BLIGHT ON OUR SHAM OF A DEMOCRACY.

    It’s sad Labor are so scared of the MSM 🙁

  75. stephentardrew

    Damn Michael that brainy leaky thing strikes again.

    Go to the corner and write one hundred times AIMN, AIMN, AIMN…

  76. Kaye Lee

    “Australians, in particular, are going to have to hold their government to account. In the past twelve months, our government has abolished a carbon price which was working to cut pollution, and replaced with a $2.5 billion subsidy scheme for polluters. The Government has not been able to point to any independent modeling which shows its so-called “Direct Action” policy can reach our 5% target, which the Climate Change Authority thinks is inadequate.

    At the same time, our government has played a blocking role at recent UN climate conferences in Lima and Warsaw. We only reluctantly offered a contribution to the Green Climate Fund. And now, in 2015, when the UN is asking all countries to place our new targets on the table by March, we have come up with our own deadline and will announce three months’ late.

    We know what is causing climate change, and we know how to solve it. We need to cut pollution. We need to move as quickly as possible from dirty energy to clean energy. Paris is about making sure every country in the world is on board, and playing its role, in the solution.”

    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/01/16/comment-global-warming-here-and-australia-feeling-impact

    Come on Bill. Get the climate change ball rolling and talk to us about education, research and the industries of the future.

  77. John Lord

    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.
    Some of these comments are based on premature emotional thinking rather than hard political nouse.

    I repeat why on earth would Shorten buy into arguements the PM has already lost or looks like losing by himself. There is a point at which the slow drip ideas stream should start but it is not yet. I would be creating an Arguement prior to the May budget and be based philosophicaly based on Abbotts demise of our democracy and his unsuitability for the job.

  78. diannaart

    Great work Kaye Lee.

    With the bar set so low by the Abbott gang, one would expect Shorten to rise high – but he has not. So many areas of potential difference, so many opportunities lost – what is preventing Labor from taking some real action? Much to be suspicious about.

  79. hforward22

    Much as I like Bill Shorten as a person, I think you may be right Kaye.
    Hopefully, he will come out fighting harder this year. He can be passionate (and even funny) at times. He just needs to be heard more.

    I’m actually impressed with Daniel Andrews in Victoria. He speaks very clearly. He articulated simple, straightforward messages during his campaign and is now getting on with the job with no fuss and bother.

    The Federal ALP could certainly take a leaf out of his book. Also the campaign run by Noah Carroll in Victoria was a very good one.

  80. John Lord

    Has anyone mentioned the best barometer we have on how we are being governed?

  81. Kaye Lee

    John Lord,

    Your marketing background comes out in comments like ” these comments are based on premature emotional thinking rather than hard political nouse.” You are talking strategy rather than vision, timing rather than policy. Gough Whitlam prepared the ground for change for years. He explained his vision and how he would achieve it. We felt included in what was going on. Hanging round for a Christmas release (or an election release) is like giving us a sugar hit when we need protein. Tell us the vision, tell us possible alternatives to achieve it, include us in the process. All this palaver about how they elect a leader is hugely irrelevant to me.

  82. Robert W Gough

    I am not entirely convinced that the comments against Shorten are entirely justified. I am convinced that neither Australia as a nation nor the Australian people can afford another term of a government which has gone against almost everything that it promised prior to the election. I feel that Shorten has performed reasonably well in pointing these things out and reminding the Australian community of the government’s lies. I believe that somehow the Australian people should be able to insist upon a double dissolution of both houses of Parliament at some point when a government does what the Abbott Government has done.

    It is important that Labor begin to show it’s credentials now as a compassionate and progressive political party and to lead the community in the sensitive issues that are currently facing this nation. They must now prepare their political platform to reflect the current views of Australians and of other civilised countries of the world and forgo the bigotry and discrimination of some of its own leading members and constituents.

    At the same time, however, it is a terrible thing to yet see Australia going into another election campaign mode six months after a change of government or when a new Opposition Leader is appointed. This is what Abbott did when he took over the leadership of the Opposition after the Rudd government was elected and it is a sad thing that Labor is doing the same thing in following Abbott’s example.

  83. John Lord

    I think I alluded to that Kaye.

    There is a point at which the slow drip ideas stream should start but it is not yet. I would be creating an Arguement prior to the May budget and be based philosophicaly based on Abbotts demise of our democracy and his unsuitability for the job.

  84. Kaye Lee

    I don’t want an election campaign mode. I want that marketing bullshit to stop. I want a frank and open discussion with the Australian people. I want us to decide what sort of society we want and then talk about how we can achieve it. That can’t be done in a two week campaign. I would love to see political advertising banned as it is in the UK.

    On the leadership thing, it actually doesn’t matter to me. Sporting teams change their captains but when they run out onto the pitch they are all there for the same reason. Who takes the toss doesn’t really matter though inspiration from your leader is a good thing and having a charismatic front man has certain benefits – not crucial though. Policies and vision should come from the whole team. Know your topic and have a plan for the future.

  85. Kaye Lee

    The timing should be dictated by current events. Now is the time to talk about Medicare and climate change and education. Get into detailed policy later but start showing us there are alternatives.

  86. Patrick

    Hear!hear! Robert it’s nice to see someone else offering practical support to the alp leadership. I’m so tired of reading the negative comments toward the labor party, on this supposedly left leaning rag. And don’t forget we all voted in fair election, so don’t express sour grapes if your candidate lost, and another thing I voted for albo as well.

  87. Kaye Lee

    As far as I am aware this site has no affiliation with any party. I must admit my focus is more on finding ways to make this the country we want it to be rather than on parties or individuals winning elections.

  88. Damo451

    Patrick ,here is something you can do then ,bugger off ,if you are such a sook ,that any criticism of the Labor party leaves you in tears ,don’t read it.
    This forum is far from a rag ,there are some very well informed/educated people who post on here.
    You lost any argument you could have progressed by using the words left leaning and Labor party in the same sentence.
    In case you haven’t heard the ALP has been a center right party for quite some time ,it is this selling out of basic Labor party integrity and values as well as Shortens so called leadership that is the issue.
    If you want to play ostrich and stick your head in the sand that is your perogative ,but don’t whinge about people making some extremely well justified and valid points.
    As a lefty ,i can also assure you i dont agree with the Lefts ideas all the time either ,one example being open borders ,any more than i agree with the Rights idea of mandatory detention.And i admit i dont have a clue as to what the solution may be ,but at least here , i get to read different views on the subject and judge them by their merits as i see them.
    You do appear to be of the same ilk but the opposite end of the spectrum of Andrew Bolt ,Alan Jones etc

  89. stephentardrew

    Patrick:

    The left is a broad church and this is one place where you can disagree to disagree and still remain friends and fellow travellers. If any political party had the solutions we would not be in this mess today so a good dose of lateral thinking is absolutely necessary. For those of us who have a deep commitment to social justice the treatment of refugees, by both parties, is abysmal. There is always more we can learn and do to better the political landscape. As far as I am concerned anyone can criticise me and I will not be offended. Without mature interaction we are lost.

    Looking in the mirror is often the hardest thing to do.

  90. Matters Not

    demise of our democracy and his unsuitability for the job.

    My problem isn’t with Abbott. Rather, my problem is the IPA agenda that so many in the Coalition (LNP) advance with some passion.

    Abbott is a problem for the LNP. He is not a ‘problem’ for the ALP but rather a ‘blessing’ and if I had any say in the matter, I would choose to ignore him. Shorten (and other Shadow Ministers) shouldn’t put Abbott front and centre in almost all of their pronouncements. Instead, speak of the Government’s failures. Leave Abbott in the wilderness.

    My fervent wish is that no group within the LNP develops the courage to challenge the leader who led them to victory. Surely they don’t want the tag of internal disloyalty to be applied to them?

    As I say, Abbott is not the problem because he can be easily replaced while the ‘ideology’ still remains in place.

    Abbott deserves to be in the exact position(s) he is currently in, and in all senses. Long may he remain there, at least to the next election.

  91. Robert W Gough

    Yes, but at the same time Kaye, we would want the Labor Party to be that “Light on the Hill” for the country. The conservatives in opposition and in government have demonstrated what a bunch of rat bags they really are. Having recently visited Cambodia and seen a history of the dreadful things that a mad man did in the brutal killings of some 3 million people, it is impossible to conceive that any compassionate political government would disallow the arrival of refugees by boat to our shores. Were I, or my family, in such a position I would move heaven and earth to find a people smuggler to take me and my family to a safer land, no matter how dangerous the passage may be.

    It was the conservative John Howard, who made the boat people a political issue when he said, “We (John Howard and his opportunistic compatriots) will decide who comes to Australia”. That wonderful liberal Malcolm Frazer said his government and Labor had an determination in his day that the boat people would not be allowed to become a political issue and that there was an agreement between the two parties to shut up about these matters. John Howard changed that, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard had to confront the problems Howard and the Tampa incident caused as controversy, and Abbott perpetrated the issue and became “Australia’s salvation – we will stop the boats and we have stopped the boats”.

    Labor must become that “Shining Light” again in regards to the refugee issue and to other issues like same sex marriage. It is indeed time for them to show their colours but not time to fight another election. It is the party,that must insist on a more compassionate platform and to espouse it’s policies. Hopefully, once the Labor Parties policies become clearer, Bill Shorten will be able to promulgate them more forcefully and we will all become happier. Until then, I will continue to put in a protest vote by voting Green.

  92. eli nes

    not short kaye little billy avoids any reference to gillard and swan because he knows that their achievements and, the farsighted windsor and oakeschott, require thought and understanding beyond the electorate.
    Abbott’s royal commissions will force Shorten onto the commercial channels and that is too risky without a well prepared script but he could begin the process of winning and display one labor achievement a day in large writing on every labor party politicians office window state and federal and next to it a lie or gaff of the coalition so that everyone who walks past can’t miss it.
    He could attack abbott for his gaffs, for his character faults, for his avoidance tactics, for his vindictive pursuit of gillard and the lemon and for his economic failures in FTAs(it is sad robb fell to depression but that should not prevent labor from questioning his agreementS??? but labor has been as silent as robb who has been very tight lipped)
    He could suggest questions to the non-ABC media that need answers from the nationals or from women or defence or above all on FTA????
    ps he could be a little less ‘subservient’ in photos.
    pps labor problem bullock replaced pratt why?

  93. Matters Not

    The interesting political question at the moment is the issue of who is driving the LNP bus? It’s apparent that Abbott isn’t. Or he has a gun to his head.

    The back flip on the ‘rebate’ is monumental. Who wrote the words delivered by Sussan (sic) Ley, given they were in total contrast to the comments made by Abbott 24 hours prior and in contradiction to reassurances made by a Minister Bruce Bilson only hours earlier.

    In her speech she mentioned that it was a ‘we’ decision. It wasn’t hers alone and it would have been ‘unique’ if it was.

    Was Hockey involved? Mathais Cormann? Did the ‘economic group’ get shafted? Did Ley threaten to resign? Was Bishop leading the charge? As I understand it, Credlin and her husband are away in the US. How influential was the ‘polling’?

    Some know what happened. Who spoke to whom and when? How was it organised?

    Fascinating!

    This is a government in total disarray.

  94. Robert W Gough

    The questions raised by “Matters Not” are indeed fascinating and I heartily agree with his comments.

    It is sad, however,that an Australian government is in disarray because it will all cost us in the long run and it will also reflect on us as Australians in the bigger world picture. I find it hard to rejoice in this governments ineptitude

  95. stephentardrew

    John:

    I do want Shorten to speak out but you may be right. I think Kaye has a good point about non policy priorities that would demand more of an ethical affront to the LNP. Different strokes for different folks. Still I would like a bit more oomph.

    Matters Not:

    Would love to be a fly on the wall. They cannot possibly be unified with so many backbenchers looking down the barrel. Alliances are shifting and factions moving while the numbers men are doing the rounds. Point is if that’s all they got they are in deep merde.

    It appears no one is really in control as the ship flounders with no sign of righting itself soon. The fools didn’t realise that your very first act is what you will be known for regardless of shifting sand or moving the goal posts. The real message was loud and clear.

    If you are rich you get off. If you are poor or middle class you get shafted.

    Sort of like once bitten twice shy.

    Be prepared as the comedy of errors rolls on as the IPA watch in horror as their hero’s go down with Good Ship Titanic.

  96. David

    Matters Not..indeed it does matter, as you pointed out. I tweeted along those same lines the same night Ley suggested she had rushed into her office in Canberra to announce to the country she had decided she could no longer ignore, that is she and she alone could no longer ignore the protests of her constituents, the medical profession and her conscience. So then came the ‘we’ have decided to drop the $20 proposal. An attempt to show initially how she is a caring, concerned Minister, not like her mean predecessor dud Dutton but finally to show a sense of unity throws her lot in with her desperate front bench mates.
    I concluded the lady is just another liar, treats us supposed mere mortals as ignorant fools who can’t see through their pathetic attempts at deception.
    If that effort was attempted in even a small business board room it would have seen the business laughed out of existence. I believe the back down was preconceived as plan B, if it appeared there was too much opposition to the $20 debacle. Ley was told exactly what to say when. Contrived do gooding doesn’t sit well on a Tory shoulder, they would do well to remember that. Mere mortals observe, deduce, remember and decide for themselves.

  97. Carol Taylor

    John Kelly and,

    What matters now, is that Bill Shorten and Labor start acting like an alternative government releasing sound policies and demonstrating superior leadership skills.

    Yes. I seem to remember almost the same thing being said about both Rudd and Gillard once Abbott became the LOTO. Why do they let Abbott get away with it? I believe that one has to consider the msm and especially the Murdoch media’s part in it all – what does a Labor leader..any Labor leader need to do in order to have one’s opinion publicised. Does one have to don a banana suit and run around throwing peanuts to the msm journos in order to get anything published at all?

    I remember we left wing blogs tearing our hair out, why is Julia giving us so little information, so little amunition to fire back? But the truth was we would have a full page, full colour, heavily photoshopped picture of Tony holding a dead fish whereas a major Labor government policy announcement would be relegated to 2 sentences on page 11. How to get the msm to publish anything except “Tony Abbott says….”.

  98. Carol Taylor

    David, I consider that Ley was given the Health portfolio much like Howard gave Hockey (Jovial Joe) the poisoned chalice of WorkChoices, to put a ‘family friendly’ face on it all.

    As an added bonus, by promoting another woman to Cabinet it takes considerable shine of a major threat to Tony and Peta..the ‘only woman’..J. Bishop.

    Ley’s telling point is that she still insists that there must be A Price Signal to visiting one’s GP. A price signal? To whom? And why? A price signal of a lousy $5.00 or even $20.00 is no price signal to you, me or to most people we would know, but it certainly is a price signal to those who can least afford it. So are the Libs and Ley saying that it is the poor and the elderly only who should be discouraged from receiving medical assistance? And why? Are the Libs trying to kill off this demographic that much quicker?

  99. David

    Carol ditto ‘our’ ABC. Bulletin after bulletin, day after day for 3 years ,,,The Leader of the Opposition says…..lead item particularly breakfast time when their audience is largest. Scott had the troops that mattered well trained. The jurnos led by Mark Simkin then chief political correspondent for ABC News in Canberra. now media advisor for Abbott, Lyndal Curtis, escaped the reduncancies!!, Marius Benson News Radio, blatantly openly biased. Former TV’s Uhlmann now Scotts head of political news, the list goes on all missed the cuts and among the highest paid. i haven’t forgotten Radio Nationals Fran Kelly who with the fossil Michelle Grattan for 18 months tore Julia to shreds
    I haven’t forgotten Mr Scott or your regular meetings with Abbott leading up to the 2013 election

  100. daren

    It’s interesting to see the views here. Many comments based on personal on individual traits. Abbot is nothing more than a figurehead for a party with no idea, no long term vision and no idea on how to run/govern the country. Tell me how long the libs have been in and still its, bla bla last government …. ffs take a spoonful of cement and harden the f@#k up. A party is more than just the front man or woman. Its a group if ideas and vision of which we have none at present. Regardless of who leads labour ( personally I love the way Tanya conducts herself ) . I would hope that moving forward labour can push the country in a postive direction. Libs love rich, and care little for the poor. Labour has tried to balance. As the great divide widens between the rich and poor it’s getting harder. Media doesn’t help either. Murdoch has done more damage with his skewed bias. I live in hope that someone will step up in a party that has positive views and the countries best at heart. We have so many issues and do little to resolve.

    I distrust the media these days as much of what we see is only a view and lacks the truth.

    Would the real labour party please stand up ?

  101. Matters Not

    Robert W Gough said:

    It is sad, however, that an Australian government is in disarray because it will all cost us in the long run and it will also reflect on us as Australians in the bigger world picture. I find it hard to rejoice in this governments ineptitude

    Beg to disagree. And at so many levels, with an emphasis on the ‘domestic’.

    It seems to me that a government determined to redefine political ‘common sense’ so that it conforms to an IPA ideology ought to be in ‘disarray’. That ‘ideology’ is neither ‘good’ nor ‘right’ in my view. (Won’t go into philosophical differences at this point re ‘good’ versus ‘right’. Deontological versus Teleological perspectives and the like.)

    What would cost ‘us’ in the long term would be a successful pursuit of the IPA Agenda.

    Long may Abbott rule!

    As for the international performance, it’s been hilarious. And embarrassing.

  102. olddavey

    Shorten needs to stop saying “Tony Abbott” and “Abbott government” in every second sentence, as well as a few other annoying phrases
    he constantly uses.
    It is incredibly annoying to the committed Labor voter (me and my family), so imagine how it puts the non-committed off, the ones that are needed to get rid of the Kindergarten Kops.

  103. Matters Not

    daren said:

    Abbot is nothing more than a figurehead for a party with no idea, no long term vision

    Let’s make no mistake, this government is not devoid of a ‘long term vision’. It may be a ‘vision’ that you and I dislike but it’s evident.

    While the Abbott government is politically incompetent in terms of ‘delivery’, that shouldn’t be taken as a lack of ‘vision’.

    They, broadly defined to include the ideological ‘thinkers’ know exactly how they want to reshape the social ‘common sense’.

    stephentardrew said:

    Would love to be a fly on the wall.

    The point is there were ‘flies’. There were ‘operatives/advisors’ who know the detail. And there are political ‘insiders’ who thrive on their reputation as people who ‘know’.

    Yet they never ask relevant questions.

    Here’s a challenge, what questions would you ask? And given that all politicians know how to give a ‘non-answer’ what series of questions would you and your colleagues ask?

  104. Matters Not

    Here’s a possible scenario. A Press Conference with ‘substance’. LOL.

    Sussan Ley (Minister for Health) you said/claimed that the decision to take to the rebate reduction off the table was a ‘we’ decision. Can you tell us whether the ‘we’ decision included the Prime Minister? If not, then why not?

    If so, how was he consulted? By phone? Was he present? Was there a formal, minuted meeting? When and where was it held? Were you yourself present? Or was it ‘decision making on the run’?

    Did it include the Treasurer? Did it include the Finance Minister? Was Peter Dutton involved? If not, then why not, given it was Dutton’s idea(s) to proceed down that path? Did it include (whoever)?

    What recommendation did you as Health Minister make?

    Ley’s answer, given that she is an experienced politician, would be along the lines that it was a Government/Cabinet decision.

    One could go on but one needs to understand that political reporters these days have to fill column inches rather than provide any serious analysis.

    Perhaps ‘blogs’ rather that offer ‘criticism’ of a ‘bad’ government (and there’s plenty of that) could provide ‘guidance’ as to how MSM journalists might proceed?

  105. stephentardrew

    Good Heavens Matters Not I would take a folder of the factual information presented by Kaye and others and go through them systematically and point by point. I would introduce MMT and have Bill Mitchell along for the ride and maybe Steve Keen.

    In fact I would take Kaye with me as the number ones six shooter head kicker.

    Now I am not naive enough to think that they would believe us but the act of doing would be a great catharsis.

    Means justify the ends or ends justify the means can be resolved through the introduction of empirical evidence which would require hard headed engineering solutions and introduction of complex systems based upon the constraints imposed by evolution and evolutionary theory including the causal nature of material change in time.

    OK so let’s go the whole hog and include Peter Singer some physicists and mathematicians and environmental scientists to deconstruct beliefs and see if they are commensurable with the facts.

    By this time I hope they would have committed sepuku but I don’t think there is much hope of that.

    I would not imagine that all the empty Degrees, Masters and Rhodes Scholarships will save them form their ignorance and yet, and yet?

    I have no doubt we will have achieve nothing of any profound significance.

    Just kick the bastards to the wall.

  106. Matters Not

    Miglo, here’s a thought, and it’s only a thought.

    Thread derailing is a problem, and I am guilty of same on any number of occasions. Perhaps an ongoing ‘thread’ on ‘breaking news’ might be useful?

    I should add that when you changed the whole technical ‘format’ I was somewhat sceptical. Now I am in admiration. A ‘gamble’ that paid off. A belated congratulations, given my prior experiences re technological promises..

  107. xiaoecho

    For Labor to start articulating policy now would be suicidal. Ask yourselves why Abbott and crew keep demanding to know what Labors position is? The Liberals desperately need and want to take the media’s focus off its policies. For Labor to put their policy position out there for scrutiny is to play straight into the Libs hands, allowing Abbott to shine doing what he does best – oppose Labor. The media will inevitably shift straight back into their comfort zone, behind Abbott.

    That said, Kaye Lee is right on the money, we need to hear more vociferous opposition from Labor to the Abbott wrecking ball. There is absolutely no reason not to be out there expressing the outrage voters feel at the bait and switch perpetrated on them. They can articulate this satisfactorily by repeating ‘motherhood’ statements such as ‘Medicare is one of the core pillars of our social democracy’ or ‘We will not stand by and see a generation of Australian’s locked out of educating themselves to a higher standard of living’ These sort of statements give a clear idea of what the party ‘stands for’ without giving any detail to focus on.

    It is not only Shorten though. If Labor really do want to come across as a ‘team’ rather than promote a ‘messiah’ then King, Plibersek, Albanese, Wong, Cameron, Bowen, Burke, Ellis and Conroy need to be out there doing much much more press than they are – pulling ‘stunts’ if you will, with, one hopes, a little more subtlety than the Liberals in opposition.

    Why this is not already happening is utterly baffling considering the gift that is Abbott and his clownish government. One has to wonder if their strategists are fifth columnists for the conservatives?

    Or is it as a lot of us suspect? – That there isn’t much difference between the two parties?

  108. Kaye Lee

    I don’t need to hear detailed policy from Labor but they need to attack the narrative from the Coalition of “We have a crisis and we have no choice but to do this”. When they say health and education and welfare are unaffordable I want to hear Labor calling bullshit. I want them very firmly stating the facts about our comparative spending on these things which is not high and not unsustainable. And then I want to hear them saying it isn’t this spending that is a problem. I want to hear them saying they will crack down on corporate tax evasion. I want to hear them reeling in some of the concessions for the wealthy and subsidies to mining companies. Take Gina on. She can hire actors to do ads about employment in mining – counter them with the facts that mining only employs about 2% of the workforce. Point out how much is given to the mining companies in handouts and government funded infrastructure. I want to hear about investment in research and the industries of the future. Make Tony Abbott look silly with his “coal is the saviour of humanity” rubbish by using facts and having plans for a new direction for the country away from the reliance on fossil fuel mining.

    I do concede that it is very difficult for Labor to get their message across because let’s face it, Tony gives us endless headlines with his embarrassing ineptitude. Shirt-fronting and suppositories and sleazy winking make better headlines than economic theory.

  109. corvus boreus

    I accept that through pragmatics there is disincentive for Labor to clearly articulate alternative policy choices as these could be gleefully plagiarised or pecked at relentlessly.
    There is also a cynical validity in the tactic of ‘hunkering down’, observing the shambolic fiasco of current mis-governance crash into reality and fall into messy pieces, then ride in on a ticket of “I’m not Tony”.
    It will satisfy current electoral herd expectations of being content with voting reactively against perceived problems with the incumbent, rather than voting for clear alternative policies based upon articulated vision of outcomes.
    Vote 1 ‘inoffensively amorphic and indistinct blur’.

    This approach does not, however, deal with any existing problems within the functions of either federal governance or internal problems within the Labor party structure.
    If Labor is unable/unwilling to state their overall strategies for governance, the least they could do is make a clear and principled stand upon obvious issues of ethics.
    An undeniable community wish (based upon numerous polls) is for a clean-up of corrupt dealings, both in terms of personal conduct and policy influences.
    Despite this, the LOTO pronounced himself well satisfied with the integrity and honesty currently being displayed, in language that was nauseatingly cynical quasi-legalese(vowing to “defend against perception”[ie ‘conceal’] rather than actually address the issue).
    This rhetoric matches the universal actions of Labor senators in voting down a Members’ bill calling for a federal ICAC, then failing to propose any measures of redress themselves.
    With these actions I lost any confidence in the basic integrity of Bill Shorten (aka John Roskam’s besty) and with it any faith in the desire of Labor for honest conduct in governance.
    The only reason to oppose a crack-down on corruption is to protect the corrupt.

    Vote 1 the sketchy dude with suspicious stains and bulging pockets, surrounded by seedy characters, whose platform consists of a pitch of ‘trust me, I ain’t as bad as the other bloke(wink)’? No thanks.

    Ps A note on the spelling of Labour/Labor/labor/labour.
    “Labour” refers to the English Labour party(maybe also the same party in some other nations).
    “Labor” refers to the Australian Labor parties, federal and states(American spelling chosen[anecdotally] for affiliation and solidarity with the US labor movement).
    The act of (usually physical) work is labour(UK and Australia) or labor(US).
    Whilst the Australian Labor party continues to spell its’ name “Labor” I will continue to spell it as “Labor”, despite my own lingustic objections, the same as I will spell ‘Daren’ as ‘Daren’ and ‘Biylyndah Jaiydhe’ as ‘Biylyndah Jaiydhe’ if that is the spelling they choose to employ for their own nomenclature.
    When I talk about work, I will continue to call it ‘labour’.

  110. Kaye Lee

    “TONY Abbott defied Treasurer Joe Hockey and the former Health Minister Peter Dutton to impose a “crazy’’ $20 cut to GP rebates before backflipping on the policy he had demanded.

    In a highly damaging leak from the powerful expenditure review committee, senior ministers have confirmed they were told Mr Hockey and Mr Dutton opposed the move during a “heated’’ exchange with the Prime Minister.

    The warnings included concerns that rolling out new changes to GP consults in the lead up to the Queensland and NSW state election was “crazy’’.

    Mr Hockey argued that the Prime Minister should simply stay the course on the $7 GP co-payment. The Prime Minister was advised to put the changes to the Senate – despite the likelihood they would be voted down – to deliver the government a clean start to the year. The $3.5 billion blow to the budget could also be blamed on Labor.

    But the Prime Minister instead insisted on changes including the $20 cut the Medicare rebate for short GP consults. These changes were developed by the Prime Minister’s Office and then costed by the Department of Finance and Health.

    Senior ministers including Mr Hockey and Mr Dutton, who are political allies, did not support the measures concerned they would than confuse voters and anger GPs with a new policy to cut rebates to doctors. Doctors immediately warned the changes would be passed on to patients, raising fears of even higher charges than the original co-payment.

    As the backbench continues to question the Prime Minister’s political judgment and the “command and control’’ approach of his office, MPs insist that the original advice of the Treasurer and the Health Minister was overruled.

    However, stung by a grassroots backlash to the policy by his own Liberal MPs, a campaign by GPs and the prospect that the measure was doomed in the Senate, Mr Abbott formed the view that it must be dumped while “taking soundings’’ as he drank beers at the cricket on Thursday.

    These “soundings’’ included a threat by senior MPs that they would go public in their opposition to the $20 rebate cut. Mr Abbott then discussed the problem with the new Health Minister Sussan Ley who was forced to disembark from a cruise ship to announce the changes after they were rubber stamped by the leadership group on Thursday morning.

    The Abbott Government announced a $20 cut to the Medicare rebate paid to doctors for consultations of less than ten minutes late last year. It was argued that the change would address “six minute medicine’’ and encourage GPs to spend more time with their patients.

    The rise of “six minute medicine’’ and bulk billing clinics that churn patients through and cost the taxpayer more was one of the original arguments for imposing a $7 co-payment for previously bulk billed visits in the first place.

    Within hours of new Health Minister Sussan Ley announcing the $20 rebate cut for short consultations would be dumped on Thursday, several Queensland MPs released statements praising the decision to dump the Prime Ministers policy. Liberal MPs Warren Entsch, who launched a blistering attack on the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Peta Credlin late last year praised the decision.

    “I congratulate the minister for having the courage to stand up against something that wasn’t going to work,” Mr Entsch said.

    “I acknowledge that something needs to be done as Medicare in its current form is not sustainable, but there are other ways.

    Former Howard Government minister Mal Brough, who had threatens to go public with his own opposition also welcomed the backflip.

    “I would personally like to thank the doctors I consulted with over the past week for their valuable input,’’ he said.

    The Abbott Government remains committed to introducing a co-payment for previously bulk billed GP visits. However, protections would be offered to low income Australians.
    The Prime Minister continues to privately insist to colleagues that the GP co-payment is still on track to pass the Senate early this year, but has not suggested a deal is in place with Clive Palmer. As a result, MPs remain in the dark about how he hopes to acheive this.”

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/tony-abbott-insisted-on-20-cut-to-medicare-rebate-in-heated-clash-before-backflip/story-fni0cx12-1227188083875?nk=910c3c17e2f94c97c83a02e52a56ef1d

  111. Terry2

    There is a streak of perverse recalcitrance that dominates Tony Abbott’s character and we see it time and again, from his stubborn refusal to drop his excessive PPL ‘enhancements’ to this example of the constant tampering and interference with Medicare seemingly driven by an ideological belief that poor people use the doctor too much and must have a bloody ‘ price signal ‘ to deflect them.

    Sussan Ley said that it was her position that those who could afford to pay more for medical services should do so ; this does not fit with the PM’s co-payment narrative as clearly the wealthy in our society already pay more through the levy and they would, I imagine, not be queuing up for bulk billing doctors.

    So, it seems that we are in for a new round of fiddling.

  112. Tony Rabbit

    Kaye,
    the $20 cut was just a rouse! It was abbot’s plan all along to impose a $5 fee as admitted during his “reboot” press conference before Xmas.

    The $20 fee, and it’s subsequent scrapping was just to cause us to sigh a collective sigh of relief. That’s why the $5 remains policy and is still set to kick in in July.

    On Labor’s performance, I am truly scared that they will not have changed since their last stint in government. I’m not talking about the leadership changes, but the corruption that has been seen in NSW. This time out of office is the time to go through their list of sitting members and candidates to make sure they are squeaky clean.

    The slightest hint of corruption, once in office, will kill them. The next election will see the liberals decimated and I sincerely hope that the power bestowed on Labor will not go to it’s proverbial head. They must govern for all Australians – end the super perks, get multinationals to pay their fair share of tax, increase the Medicare Levy, remove trusts (or at least their low tax status), increase the unemployment benefit, get rid of their atrocious refugee policy and any other unjust policies.

  113. Damo451

    corvus boreus
    ” This rhetoric matches the universal actions of Labor senators in voting down a Members’ bill calling for a federal ICAC, then failing to propose any measures of redress themselves.
    With these actions I lost any confidence in the basic integrity of Bill Shorten (aka John Roskam’s besty) and with it any faith in the desire of Labor for honest conduct in governance.
    The only reason to oppose a crack-down on corruption is to protect the corrupt.

    Vote 1 the sketchy dude with suspicious stains and bulging pockets, surrounded by seedy characters, whose platform consists of a pitch of ‘trust me, I ain’t as bad as the other bloke(wink)’? No thanks. ”

    The trust factor is a huge issue for me as well.
    If Labor were not corrupt ,then they would have no problem with a federal ICAC ,it really is that simple ,therefore voters can have no doubt whatsoever ,that Labor are just another bunch of corrupt pigs ,waiting for their turn at the trough.
    As far as Shortens integrity goes ,i have a friend who is a retired teacher ,through her network of retired teachers there is a story about the Shorten families integrity when it came to their education.
    Apparently Bills brother made it into a prestigious private school ,Xavier college based purely on his merit ,Bill did not.
    When Mrs Shorten heard this she had a meeting with the school and said ,that if her little Billy wasn’t allowed to attend the school as well,then Bills brother would not attend either.
    So basically Bill was accepted ,on his brothers merit not his own ,which apparently ,was not up to scratch.
    Sort of like his lack of merit as LOTO.
    This teacher and her friend are both long time Labor voters and have no axe to grind ,but see the injustice of it.

    And that is exactly why i will continue to vote for the Greens.

  114. stephentardrew

    Corvus you hit the proverbial nail on the head.

  115. daren

    Corvus the pun on words were obvious lost on you. Labour => as in ” workers ” party.
    Irony not your strong point.

  116. corvus boreus

    Daren,
    I stopped doing irony when it became too expensive because of the carbon ‘tax’.

  117. AndrewL

    Damo451, you share my sentiments exactly. Labour are owned by corporations and on the take. Why otherwise would they not agree to a federal ICAC? I also cannot forgive them for getting Australia involved in another oil war in the middle east. Haven’t we learned anything from the last one? Their agenda is certainly not being driven by voters. I liked Labour when individual senators could cross the floor if they had a strong opinion on an issue without having to worry about getting stabbed in the back by the faceless members. Now Labour MP’s are schooled in what to say and have to tow the party line regardless of their own morals.

    It really is sad that Labour are adopting these tactics of not committing to anything and staying out of the public domain to win the next election by default. Aren’t they better than that? I guess not in the eyes of Shorten.

    A good commentary asking the question of what does Labour represent was the article by Mark Rolfe in April last year.
    http://theconversation.com/identity-crisis-who-does-the-australian-labor-party-represent-25374
    It is still relevant and shows how little ground Labour has made in politics in the last 12 months.

    And Kaye, keep up the good work. It is fun and inspiring to follow your articles and the commentary emanating from it.

  118. corvus boreus

    AndrewL,
    Agree entirely.
    Labour shouw oubvious signs ouf courruptioun and ouften seem tou ouperate soulely four the courpourate dounours.
    The ‘counservatives’ are even wourse.
    Federal ICAC nouw!
    ps Thanks four the link.

  119. stephentardrew

    AndrewL:

    Great post. Could not agree more. They seem to be in nether land neither here nor there.

  120. Jexpat

    Corvus Boreus wrote: “The only reason to oppose a crack-down on corruption is to protect the corrupt.”

    Or perhaps, to avoid being snared in one’s own net:

    Second Reading Speech of the ICAC Act

    Excerpt from Hansard, Legislative Assembly, 26 May 1988

    Mr Greiner (Ku-ring-gai), Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Ethnic Affairs: I move:

    “…No government can maintain its claim to legitimacy while there remains the cloud of suspicion and doubt that has hung over government in New South Wales. I am determined that my Government will be free of that doubt and suspicion; that from this time forward the people of this State will be confident in the integrity of their Government, and that they will have an institution where they can go to complain of corruption, feeling confident that their grievances will be investigated fearlessly and honestly.

    Let me make it absolutely clear that this initiative is a component of the Government’s program to restore the integrity of public administration and public institutions in this State. Nothing is more destructive of democracy than a situation where the people lack confidence in those administrators and institutions that stand in a position of public trust. If a liberal and democratic society is to flourish we need to ensure that the credibility of public institutions is restored and safeguarded, and that community confidence in the integrity of public administration is preserved and justified. This is not just empty rhetoric. We have a program of reforms that we will carry through.

    More here: http://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/about-the-icac/legislation/second-reading-speech

    Followed by:

    REPORT ON INVESTIGATION INTO THE METHERELL RESIGNATION AND APPOINTMENT
    June 1992

    “…The conclusion reached is that the conduct of Mr Greiner and Mr Moore – respectively the Premier and the Minister for the Environment – was corrupt within the meaning of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (the ICAO Act) in that it involved the partial exercise of official functions, it also involved a breach of public trust, and could involve reasonable grounds for dismissing them from their official Ministerial positions.

    “…There is no call for criminal proceedings. Indeed neither Greiner nor Moore believed he was doing anything corrupt. But viewed objectively, in terms of the ICAC Act, their conduct must be so categorized.”

    Full report: http://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/dmdocuments/pub2_22i1.pdf

  121. guest

    There are quite few people here claiming to be Labor supporters but seemingly doing their best to provide ammunition for the Coalition. So why have the marches against Coalition policies stopped? Because in the end no one listens when it just goes on and on…

    There are complaints against Shorten being Leader. Remember that Labor devised a process to elect the Leader. Now we criticise the result and the process.

    We ask for ‘action’. Remember how Rudd was criticised for conducting interviews on the church steps.How Abbott in debate asked “Does he never stop!”

    Gillard was criticised for not explaining the ‘narrative’ clearly enough, yet we saw her often being questioned at length and answering clearly and strongly. Shorten is speaking up at the appropriate time and making clear the Labor position

    And when elements of Gillard’s ‘narrative’ were mentioned in the media, it was but briefly. The Big Lie arose mainly because only half a statement was quoted; the rest was denied.

    When Shorten is quoted it is often just one or two sentences which are quoted. So that was all that was said at an interview? No, but that is all the time allowed on the 24/7 new cycle. It is just another sound grab.

    So what action do we want? A revelation of Labor values, repeated ad nauseam? Rivetting. A complete policy outline? Ammunition for the Coalition and the anti-Labor media? Or perhaps dozens of Suspensions of Standing Orders and a prolonged rant, an imitation of Abbott?

    Perhaps a display of colour and movement, perhaps along the lines of dressing in lycra, riding a bike and dressing up in trades clothing and claiming to be the workers’ best friend. Nah, it has been done before. .

    I am with those who say Shorten should bide his time. Have various MPs speaking up against Coalition idiocy. Go out into the electorate and speak and listen…

    But let us not panic and be rushed into rashness. That kind of panic is what undid Labor when it deposed two PMs of its own.

    Meanwhile, Abbott is being hoist on his own petard.

  122. Kaye Lee

    I agree with much of what you say guest but, as John Lord pointed out, timing is important. The electorate are feeling abandoned and lost right at the moment. Some general reassurance would resonate. The burden for this should not fall to Bill alone and I agree that ministers should be out there speaking against coalition policy but I would also like them to be reminding the electorate there are alternatives and stressing that the economy should provide for the society we want rather than us sacrificing our society for the sake of an economic term. They must move away from this fixation on a surplus and describe deficit spending as an investment that will provide a positive return. That sort of change of thinking will take time to convince the public.

  123. Kaye Lee

    AndrewL,

    ” It is fun and inspiring to follow your articles and the commentary emanating from it.”

    For me, writing here is like inviting over a whole heap of people for dinner without having to clean up or cook (Yay!)

    I read or hear something I find interesting, write a story (the invitation), and then enjoy a stimulating conversation with people who have similar interests (if not opinions). I learn so much from the discussions here without having to tolerate the vitriole that often rears its ugly head on facebook.

  124. Jexpat

    “…ministers should be out there speaking against coalition policy.”

    And some are from time to time.

    See, e.g. Catherine King on about the Medicare lies in the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/16/the-facts-on-medicare-dont-lie-its-affordable-and-effective-without-a-gp-tax

    Part of the trouble is that, unlike Abbott in opposition, the corporate media and the ABC (especially on its hourly radio “news” feeds) Labor isn’t granted a pulpit. Triple J would run 90 seconds to 2 minutes of “Tony Abbott sez…” after every 15 seconds of any Labor government announcement. Neither Shorten nor his shadow ministers are afforded such luxuries.

    They, and to a far greater extent the Greens, have to “make news” in order to be broadly heard.

  125. David

    The marches have not stopped, another March in March is being planned and has been since the last huge success. These are big undertakings and take more than a quick note on social media a couple of days beforehand to organise. There are Twitter and Facebook links to the organising committee, I suggest you look them up.

  126. corvus boreus

    guest,
    What action do I want?
    How about a meaningful display of public honesty, like proposing or supporting a federal ICAC (as I have previously stated)?
    I universally detest corruption in politics and suspect the motives of those who deny measures of transparency and accountability.
    The only Labor dialogue upon this thus far has been Shortens’ weasel words and a bunch of piss-poor excuses from Labor senators about why they voted down the last proposal(in spite of having ‘in principle’ support for the notion), then a very conspicuous subsequent silence regarding the subject.
    Have a look at the reasons/excuses offered by senator Doug Cameron on his website and then note the number of general responses along the lines of; “then propose your own version if you support the idea so heartily”. Senator Cameron offers no response.
    http://www.dougcameron.com.au/greens_federal_icac_stunt_exposed
    My own local Labor candidate, whilst speaking at the last ‘march in..’, beamed at me and my hard-hat, then suddenly looked very surly and refused to look in my direction again after he noticed my big red ‘ICAC’ sign. I will be highly unlikely to help with campaigning on his behalf for the next federal election.
    I am not alone in this.

    Ps, Jexpat,
    In this case, I suspect “to protect the corrupt” and “to avoid being snared in ones own net” mean pretty much the same thing.

  127. Jexpat

    “In this case, I suspect “to protect the corrupt” and “to avoid being snared in ones own net” mean pretty much the same thing.”

    Yep.

    Oddly enough, The Greens don’t seem to be concerned about such a result.

    “Senator Lee Rhiannon has called for the establishment of a federal corruption watchdog and a ban on corporate donations.
    Senator Rhiannon said: “A federal ICAC needs to be urgently established so a systemic investigation into the corrupting influence of political fundraisers and donations can be quickly initiated.”

    http://nsw.greens.org.au/news/nsw/call-federal-icac-ban-political-donations-–-solution-political-corruption

  128. Michael Taylor

    Some people needs to get their facts right.

    With the government screaming that Medicare is unsustainable, the right-wing brigade have been quick to jump on board. Here is their latest email doing the rounds:

    “Below is a young physician by the name of Dr. Starner Jones. His short two-paragraph letter to the Parliament House , Canberra , accurately puts the blame on a “Culture Crisis”
    Instead of a “Health Care Crisis”.

    It’s worth a quick read:

    Dear Prime Minister:

    During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cell telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone.

    While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her Medical status was listed as “Health Care Card”! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer.

    And, you and our Parliament expect me to pay for this woman’s health care?I contend that our nation’s “health care crisis” is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a “crisis of culture”, a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. It is a culture based in the irresponsible credo that

    “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me”.

    Once you fix this “culture crisis” that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you’ll be amazed at how quickly our nation’s health care difficulties will disappear.

    Respectfully,
    STARNER JONES, MD”

    Sorry guys, but no cigar. The letter was written in 2009 . . . in Mississippi! Like I said, get your facts right.

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/starner.asp

  129. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I agree with Andrew L, Corvus and stephentardrew.

    I wish I didn’t have to, but Labor has disappointed me over the past few years when I finally woke up to the fact that they don’t care about our hearts and minds. They just want our votes and if they don’t get our dissatisfied votes, it don’t matter, they’ll chase the swinging ones in marginal electorates.

    I like Catherine King because I think she advocates for Health strongly, but that’s not enough.

    Although I’ve lost my philosophical belief in modern Labor, we need them as the bulk portion of The Alliance that must be formed with the inspiring up-and-coming The Progressives, the worthy Greens and some sane Independents.

    Labor needs to remember it needs the other parties to The Alliance, if they are to be taken seriously any more and to realise this is the way to kick the LNP Degenerates out of power for a very long time.

    (Please note the LNP are in power but not government. They have abused the right to call themselves a government due to their regressive, anti-democratic political agendas.)

  130. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Please note. When I referred to “the inspiring up-and-coming The Progressives” just now, ofcourse I’m referring to The Australian Progressives, who you can find at:https://www.australianprogressives.org.au/

    Let me know if you want more info. Cheers!

  131. ace

    Australia desperately needs a clever, wily politician leading the Party, NOT an elevated pre-programed union organiser. But for that to happen Labor must stop fawning to the union movement or face irrelevance in Australian politics.

  132. Damo451

    Guest ,although i am relatively new to this site ,i don’t think anyone here is claiming to support any party ,well except myself ( Greens )
    Instead ,what i think what you will find is most of the people who post here are from the Left side of politics with their views.
    The only connection i have found between posters here and the Labor party is they are on same side of politics Labor used to support.

  133. diannaart

    @Damo451

    I think you have covered that quite well. I haven’t voted for Labor since they turned to the dark side many years ago, although until their policies on refugees, continued support for coal/fracking/mining projects and too little for the environment ,I had been giving them my second preference after the Greens, now I give that honour to small parties and independents who are humanitarian and environmentally sound.

  134. Bryce

    I really don’t know what you’re listening to. Every day Bill Shorten & Labor are out their scrutinising the Government. You just have to check out the Australian Labor page.

  135. mark wells

    @David, Thank you for your correction, it is appreciated. Perhaps what I should have said was that my personal belief is that Labor have been promoting and enacting a very conservative ideology for some years, that appears to me at least to be much further right than left, certainly pandering to the oligarchs and corporate elites over the needs of the “average” working voter.

  136. stephen jones

    as a rapidly aging alp supporter and member i am consistently aghast at the amount of control and influence exerted on the alp at all levels by the right faction. although another old leftie once sais to me” they’re ok we need them sometimes to get re-elected”! I guess that makes sense, the humanity and ethos of the alp comes from the left, perhaps sometimes we get too soft? the money making, marketing driven mob are of the right, put into context Whitlam was probably a leftie Keating certainly of the right.

  137. jagman48

    And it was his birthday yesterday. Happy Birthday Paul.

  138. DanDark

    Kaye this is an excellent article with a great range of comments, keep up the good work 🙂

  139. Robert W Gough

    Yes, I would like to see the Labor Party get its act together also while they are in Opposition. I would like to see a Labor Party which is up-front with the Australian people about things like same sex marriage and the refugee question. The Labor Party needs to show leadership in these matters and not be silent. I appreciate that it is a struggle towards the light on the hill but sometimes I think they make the struggle just a little harder for themselves. There is no place for rat bags within the Labor Party. This is the domain of the conservatives and Labor should be checking the credentials of their sitting members and also of those seeking pre-selection now so that they are ready for the election.

  140. Kaye Lee

    This isn’t just about communicating with us as this comment from Ricky Muir shows.

    ” I think Nick Xenophon is right, we need to pause and look at this carefully and I’d like to see the alternative policy Labor has said it will unveil later in the year.”

    He was talking about the Coalition’s higher education changes. They have done their advertising campaign, Christopher Pyne has been actively wooing crossbenchers, and I dare say the vote will be upon us shortly. Unfortunately Ricky Muir et al have not been presented with a sensible viable alternative – they have only heard from the Coalition and lobbyists. Yet another reason to at least get some ideas out there so the Senators can try and save as much as they can over the next 20 months.

  141. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Spot on Kaye Lee.

    However, how do we know that Labor has not been making representations to Muir in the background? Maybe Muir wants public declaration, so that his perception of what Labor is offering, can’t be dishonoured by Labor going back on its word?

    Nonetheless, you’re right. Labor needs to convince the electorate it is working on reform agendas that will not only reverse the LNP Degenerates’ destruction, but advance on what was there before.

    If they can’t create the conversation with us, the voters, then how do they expect to win government without the assistance of the likes of Ricky?

  142. Robert W Gough

    Ace, I think your opinions about Labor people associated with the union movement are uninformed. Some of Australia’s best Labor prime ministers have been people who have come from within the union movement. Ben Chifley is a particular hero of mine. Bob Hawke was a fantastic prime minister who was able to unite the Australian people together and take the country forward. Jenny George should have been recognised by the party because of her tremendous intellect and because she has concern for working class people.

    There is no place within the Labor movement for ratbags because Labor people should be those most concerned about the welfare of others. Union people have fought for the poorer people in our country for many years and there is no reason why future great Labor Prime Ministers should not come from among their ranks again. I think it is high time for Labor people to be proud of the long association with the union movement and to remind the electorate of what the Union movement has achieved for them. The world was a much worse place before Unions demanded a better deal for the “lower classes”.

    As a Green myself, I think your views on the Union movement are blinkered, biased and small minded. I would like to see Labor stand up for what it really believes and be proud of is its involvement with the Union movement.

  143. Sir ScotchMistery

    At some point people, we have to remember, that every single Australian has within them, the capacity to choose, based on what they know, as opposed to what they are told are the facts, without seeking supporting documentation.

    Australians who don’t use their vote properly, should be punished for it, as we all are being punished by having Abbort as the current occupant of the chair normally used by the sitting prime minister. Naturally, since the sitting prime minister wasn’t elected, but rather speaks through his common law “wife” Peta Credlin, that can’t happen, but we are being punished.

    Remember Indi. http://westender.com.au/indi-shares-independence-recipe/

  144. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear, Robert W. Gough.

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