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Worse than disrespect

On the face of it, Joe Hockey’s statement that talking about things like “costings” in this election campaign will bore everyone to death seems like run-of-the-mill disrespect for the electorate. After all, we’re in week two of an official election campaign, and spin and mistruths are par for the course regardless of your poison of choice. (Actually, this is not quite true: I cannot find any examples of egregious mistruth or deliberate spin in any statements by the Australian Greens. This may simply reflect that they have such a low proportion of the media coverage.)

An obvious reason that might explain their reluctance to pony up the details is that they don’t want to spend the next several weeks addressing and rebutting the queries and accusations the media and Labor might bring against them. If they had trust that their numbers were robust and correct, this would be about the only legitimate fear, but it’s a short-sighted one. Large swathes of the electorate are tired of continual negative politics, personal attacks, and three word slogans: not sufficient, but a decent proportion of the all-important swing voters. Defending your own policy position with trustworthy numbers could become a very good thing. Hockey’s statement – “…about costings, rather than about policies…” – seems to indicate that they want to keep the focus on their policies at a very superficial level. Naming a policy and giving a one-line abstract of it may be sufficient to get the immediate sugar hit of a positive attitude, but digging into the details and the numbers risks actually finding out the limitations and caveats behind every policy. I can see why they might want to avoid that, when they’re ahead in the polls.

But I think that the Coalition’s attitude towards revealing their costings to the Australian people (and the media) in advance of the election is about more than avoiding contention. Taken in combination with the coalition’s approach to climate change the NBN the carbon price/tax Labor’s budget everything, there’s a repeated and demonstrable pattern here. The real world doesn’t match up to the Coalition’s worldview; the facts are too inconvenient to be borne. So we don’t trust those facts, and we’ll instead rely on (or make up) our own.

As a scientist, I find this thinking to be actively offensive. As a member of Generation X, I find it to be profoundly arrogant. And as an Australian, I consider it to be morally repugnant.

It’s also astonishing that they’re getting away with it. When you’re driving towards a cliff, redefining your reality to insist that the road to riches continues forever won’t save you from a crash. When you’re falling off that cliff, a blind insistence that there’s a truck full of mattresses at the bottom isn’t much help either. So by all means argue about the terms of measurement of the height of the cliff. Have your political argy-bargy about the effectiveness of the brakes and when you need to start applying them. But don’t discount the reality just because it’s inconvenient for your agenda.

In May, Joe Hockey said he didn’t believe the government’s figures in the budget: “they don’t tell the truth“, he said.

In July, Joe Hockey said he didn’t believe the government’s figures in the revised economic statement: “I don’t believe these numbers“, he said. The Coalition would not be drawn into revealing its costings. It needed to see the state of the federal budget – in numbers they could trust, and they didn’t trust anything the government had any involvement in.

Fair enough.

Even though Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson went to some lengths to confirm that the numbers had not been influenced by the government, that the numbers in the Economic Statement (ES) would be the same as in the PEFO, the Coalition reserved their right to doubt the figures. Labor has no input into the PEFO and most analysts feel the revised ES was an attempt to pull the government’s figures into line with the Treasury numbers if had no control over, but the Coalition is within its rights to suspect that governmental interference is at least possible. Still, it’s starting to sound less like a reason and more like an excuse, but OK.

In August, Joe Hockey said he didn’t believe the Treasury’s figures in the PEFO: its policy costings will be based on “a range of other data“, he said.

Now the PEFO is out, and as promised, it’s virtually identical to the ES. And the Coalition has had it for almost two weeks (at the time of writing these words). Mr Hockey, your excuse just ran out of legs.

It’s no longer defensible to claim that the real numbers are not available. So the newest reason given for not providing the numbers is that people are bored hearing about the numbers. (Here’s a little tip, Mr Hockey: the people aren’t bored by the numbers. They’re bored by the continued discussion about the fact that we have no numbers.)

The alternative reason that the Coalition may not wish to reveal their costings is that they don’t believe in their own numbers. That they have no intention of ever putting their election promises into practice. Not trusting the ES and the PEFO is Hockey laying the groundwork, once the Coalition comes into government as they still expect to do, for the time-honoured “The state of the economy is so much more parlous than we had known that we have to go back to the drawing board for our policies”.

All parties in an election will make promises. Most will over-promise and find it difficult to deliver, or will deliver a cheaper/smaller version, or will deliver in tiny chunks that somehow require another term or two to complete. This is par for the course. But if an election is a game of one-upmanship, you need to play by the rules, and the rules include at least pretending to have done the numbers to make your promises affordable. Once you remove the requirement to show that your promises can be funded, you can promise just about anything, and that does not lead to an edifying or fair election.

In an election, the people are entitled to the facts. The parties in contention must be on a level playing field. Once one party starts redefining the facts to fit their own worldview, that playing field is lost. In this case, elections are won and lost on emotion, invective, and the money spent on advertising. This is an assault on democracy, and as democracy is defined as government by the people, you could view it as an assault on the people themselves.

“You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” – attr. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

First posted 15/8/2013 on the Random Pariah.


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  1. John Lord

    Really well expressed.

  2. PeterF

    Joh used to say “Don’t you worry about that” as he governed with 19% of the primary vote.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Coalition economic policy: “Lift the tide and all boats will rise”.

  4. mikisdad

    “As a scientist, I find this thinking to be actively offensive. As a member of Generation X, I find it to be profoundly arrogant. And as an Australian, I consider it to be morally repugnant.”

    Michael, with appropriate modifications to occupation and generation, this so very aptly explains my own feelings that it’s as though you’d been inside my head.

    How pertinently you’ve identified a major, perhaps the *major* deceit in the Coalition’s discourse. Incisive, as always, you’ve “cut to the chase”, (if you’ll pardon my expression) and exposed empty rhetoric and hyperbole for what it is.

    If only the (supposedly) intelligent and discerning Australian public, as a whole, were as disinterested as yourself and so, able to judge on merit, rather than personality, gender, spin or predispositiion.

  5. korstraw

    Nice article Michael and a very polite way of pointing out that the coalition are liars. There are too many on the record examples to link to.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Tony is today spruiking his eugenics program encouraging women of calibre to breed.

    “The scheme will involve a net additional cost to taxpayers of $6.1 billion over the forward estimates after Mr Abbott hits 3000 of Australia’s largest companies with a 1.5 per cent tax levy to pay for the scheme.”

    So he hits big business with a levy which will of course be passed on to consumers and then on top of that we have to come up with another 6.1 billion of taxpayers money. But we can’t afford the schoolkids bonus or the NBN?

    “It proves that the Coalition gets it when it comes to the reality of the contemporary woman and contemporary families.

    “The fact is very few families these days can survive on a single income … So if we are serious about allowing women to have kids and a career we’ve got to have a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme.”

    Could I suggest Tony that you don’t “get it” at all.

  7. Min

    Kaye, that is apart from the fact that “babies of calibre” do not necessarily automatically pop out of these “women of calibre”. :mrgreen:

    I have a better idea..more boat people..

    Frank Lowy, refugee – Gustav Nossal, refugee – Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, son of refugees and spent time as a child at Bonegilla…

  8. cornlegend

    Bottom Line.
    The LNP are a bunch of lying, deceitful bastards with no respect for the voting public, just an insatiable lust for power

  9. Dagney J. Taggart

    This is the first article on this site that I have pretty much fully agreed with. Think I’d better sit down. The only conclusion I can reasonably draw from the coalition position is that their costings won’t stand up to anything other than the most cursory scrutiny. While the bulk of the voting public may indeed be not that interested in the fine details, there are plenty who are. As the party that rides on a reputation as being financially skilled and responsible, one has to wonder what they are really worried about……

  10. Michael Taylor

    Thanks for the praise, people, but all credit should go to the author, ozfenric. 🙂

  11. Heather


    Thanks for you article. I tell you there is something wrong with Hockey. I keep on calling
    him and Abbott the Sydney goons and I am not one to catagorize. There are lots of them around here and it’s why they call Sydney the sleeze city or “Sinny”. How do I cope living here, well! it’s a marvel really.

    The LN Coalition which someone aptly renamed the NOalition, has an agenda to tell “nothing to nobody” all along, for want of a better phrase. They have wanted to keep everybody in the dark about the truth. Lure the zombies in strategy! They have blasted out there with their ugly standpoint though, namely the “Ditch the Witch” demos and their shocking behavior in the parliament. That sort of thing is to shock and numb people’s brains. For those who are keenly watching, one cant help noticing very weird operations. Hockey not telling the costings is all about this.

    It is a very Sydney, and whatever you do you don’t talk money, or you will get attacked. In Melbourne you can rave all you like about your earnings and what you are doing without the attacks. Not so in Sydney.

    If you look keenly, you will notice that Howard had the same reticence. It is bordering on plain meanspiirtedness. Sydney people are one-line expressive types. Took me a long time to learn this. I am ex Melbourne.

    No deep and meaningfuls to be found in Sydney, or very “scarce on the ground” as they say. People are plainly very spikey and move fast. No one seems to tell you what is going on, unless you chance to find a good soul.

    Also people are really scared of others condemning them or gossiping. You get the sense that most people here are living on their instincts and that’s all. Plainly there is not much intelligence going around, or reasoning or appealing to the mental capacities. The swing of Western Sydney is due to newly acquired affluence, but they are not putting it together that Labor has supported this affluence heaps. The Liberal screw down on work contracts hurt them so they voted away. Now they may have had it easy, so the work situation is more comfortable. They suffer terribly from transport difficulties though, so their nerves may be shredded. Also they are hugely paranoid that their new found security might gom with all the immigrants turning up in their vicinity. ie. seeking the cheaper rents. The LNP are plainly appealing to the worst in human nature. That’s not hard to see.

    I see on Insiders there was suggestion that reporters not report any of the LNCoal’s policy lines (ie. slogans) until they get their costings out. Did I see an agreement there.

    Also I do believe that the LNP are very scared that Labor will go in to coalition with the Greens and Independent. Thus their brute tactics trying to tell Labor what to do in last 2 weeks…like intonations of “man up and stand on your own feet, ditch the Greens”, and abuse to be like them. They are going all out to hold everyone back. Control freak activity big time. Very creepy and Bog Carr is exactly right about Abbott hypnotizing people.

    I wish Labor would team up with the Greens. That would be perfect.

  12. Douglas Evans

    Well said but as Heather says – no surprises here. This ‘tell ’em nothing’ attitude has been Abbott’s position for his entire period as opposition leader.

    They can get away with it because a significant proportion of the electorate have decided that come what may Labor will not get another term. LNP costings kept hidden or don’t add up. They don’t care! LNP policy thought bubbles concealed or unworkable. They don’t care!

    Producing costings now can only be a negative for the LNP in that they will have some explaining to do. Why make trouble for yourself when you are floating to a substantial victory on a king tide of ‘I don’t give a rat’s arse’?

    The arrogance goes further than you point out however. On the frequent occasions that somebody nails the LNP on some lie or cock up or other they simply respond that this (the critique) is rubbish or Labor propaganda etc. AND THEY GET AWAY WITH IT!

    Economists disagree with him on the carbon tax? They’re WRONG! Naval men disagree with him on the practicability of turning back the boats? They’re WRONG! In the ‘burbs and the bush the people lap it up. They see it as strength. With a strong man at the helm we can stop worrying can’t we?

    Abbott, by virtue of our peculiar political circumstances, has become a leader. In uncertain, unsettling times, the nation cries out for leadership, for someone to convince us that he – we still can’t quite accept a woman as PM – that HE knows what to do and how to do it, so we can comfortably doze off again.

    Of course, given a united Labor government with a coherent vision of a future Australia, a suite of policies to match and a popular leader in charge, Abbott would either never have risen or would crash and burn. Of course, given a diverse and objective mainstream media and a politically aware electorate, Abbott would never have risen or would crash and burn. We don’t have any of the above. We are not likely to get them in the foreseeable future and the current version of the LNP is simultaneously the inevitable product of our collective civic and political apathy and odds on to deliver its destructive consequences on us.

    But when we complain of LNP arrogance in concealing the truth about their costings are we sure that the ALP in the same circumstances would not do the same? Didn’t they in fact do something like at the 2010 election?

    I think this reveals the awful truth is that BOTH major parties are locked into a double game. They are elected by the voters but their real constituency, the business and industry lobbies and to a lesser and decreasing extent (for the ALP) the increasingly unrepresentative Unions are the financial underpinning of their power. The ‘old’ parties are more and more the political arm of these unrepresentative, unelected stakeholders in the exercise of power.

    The contempt that LNP (and ALP) arrogance over costings reveals is simply a reflection of the reality of where the power lies and which masters must be served. What I am saying is that this contempt for the electorate (‘arrogance’ as Michael puts it) is not just a function of a particularly bad bunch of opposition politicians but is systemic, a true reflection of political realities. That being the case we can expect more of the same from both LNP and ALP in future elections.

  13. Rob

    They won’t listen to scientists, economists, international experts or their own treasury.

    God won’t help us.

  14. Kaye Lee

    One thing that has changed drastically in recent times is the concentration on image and spin and that has been to the great detriment of our democracy and society.

    I think of Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Emmeline Pankhurst, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks.

    I long for passionate concern for the world and commitment to making it a better place and people with the strength and courage to do what’s right regardless of polls or headlines. Helping others should be the aim for all of us.

    I have met many people who are doing just that – sadly none of them are politicians.

  15. korstraw

    Ozfenric, great article thanks! Apologies for not seeing your nom there in the first place.

  16. Fed up

    One cannot make an inform decision, without the necessary facts.

    Slogans and motherhood statements tells us absolutely nothing.

    Maybe Abbott believes, if he does not give us details, that means, we cannot call him out as a liar.

    Must say, it beats core and none core promises.

    As for the costings, it is clear, from what is coming out of the mouth of Hockey, he will have managed to muddied the waters so much,, anything he now releases will mean little.

    The truth is, no matter how clever, Abbott and Co believe they are, Treasury will quickly inform them, of what is achievable. They, like all governments, at the end of the day, will be relying on the data they gather.

    If they insist on doing it their way, as Morrison has said he will direct PS, the economy will quickly fall in a heap. Maybe that will save us in the long term.

    Maybe the Australian people need a short, sharp shock to bring them out of their stupor, they seem to be embroiled in,

    I still believe that one cannot fool all the people all the time, which seem to be the case now.

  17. Dianna Art

    Thank you for this article. One of the best – certainly better than anything to be found in the MSM.

    Speaking of which, I can’t believe Abbott has a lead in the polls, still 3 weeks to go a long time in politics.

  18. Kaye Lee

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the polls Dianna. I live in one of the marginal seats that is in the news as do many of my family. I also own a small business here. There are 4 voters living in this house and between us we speak to a LOT of people in the electorate of all ages. My poll, which has a far greater sample size and allows people to answer as they please, says that what they are saying in the media is BS.

  19. diannaart

    Thank you, Kaye Lee, I needed that.

    I too live in a marginal seat, although you rarely hear about it – a bit of a well kept secret; used to be Liberal, since 2007 switched to Labor and can go either way this election. I don’t feel we residents are being courted nearly as much as, say, Western Sydney.

  20. salt

    joe hockey – a meat pie with eyes

  21. Kaye Lee

    As Age columnist Tim Soutphommasane presciently observed, ”class warfare” has become the catchcry of a new conservative political correctness.

    The truth of this assessment is made clear by an analysis of the competing policy platforms of Labor and Tony Abbott’s Coalition. What it shows is that both parties have policies that result in a redistribution of resources from one group in society to another.

    This is not surprising. With only finite revenue, a decision to give to one individual or group means, by definition, that another will miss out.

    What is surprising is the extent to which Coalition policies will result in a significant redistribution of wealth upwards rather than downwards. Consider the following Coalition policies:

    ■ Lower the tax-free threshold from $18,200 to $6000. This will drag more than one million low-income earners back into the tax system. It will also increase the taxes for 6 million Australians earning less than $80,000.

    ■ Abolish the low-income superannuation contribution. This will reimpose a 15 per cent tax on superannuation contributions for people earning less than $37,000.

    ■ Abolish the proposed 15 per cent tax on income from superannuation above $100,000 a year. The combined effect of these two superannuation changes is that 16,000 high-income earners with superannuation savings in excess of $2 million will get a tax cut while 3.6 million workers earning less than $37,000 will pay more than $4 billion extra in tax on their super over the next four years.

    ■ Abolish the means test on the private health insurance rebate. This will deliver a $2.4 billion tax cut over three years for individuals earning more than $84,001 a year, or couples earning more than $168,001. People on lower incomes will receive no benefit.

    ■ Introduce a paid parental leave scheme that replaces a mother’s salary up to $150,000. To put it crudely, this means a low-income mum gets about $600 per week while a high-income mum gets close to $3000.

    ■ Abolish the means-tested Schoolkids Bonus that benefits 1.3 million families by providing up to $410 for each primary school child and up to $820 for each high school child.

    These policies will result in low- and middle-income earners paying billions of dollars more in tax while those on higher incomes receive billions in tax cuts and new benefits. Rather than take from the rich and give to the poor, the Coalition policies are a case of take from the poor and give to the rich. And this remains the case even taking into account the flow-on effects of the abolition of the carbon price and the funding of the Coalition’s paid maternity leave through a tax on big companies.

    Read more:

  22. Terry2

    We know that the coalition will sell off Medibank Private and that they will eliminate the means testing for the private health rebate in addition to those areas covered by Kaye Lee.
    It has also been rumoured that they will sell off the profitable areas of Australia Post (principally parcel delivery services).

    We should not have to speculate on these matters, it is the key reason that the charter of budget honesty was introduced by the Howard government.

    For Joe Hockey to trivialise and delay his formal disclosure of coalition savings to fund their policies is not only arrogant but also deceptive.

  23. doctorrob54

    It is unbelievable that the opposition,those that want to govern this nation refuses to release there costings and policies with less than three weeks before the election.
    They have no credibility what so ever.

  24. Kaye Lee

    doc they don’t want to tell people they are going to cut the tax free threshold back to 6000 is my guess.

  25. mikisdad

    Doc, I know what you mean (I think) but is it really incredible? Isn’t it just what you’d expect from a set of self-centered and turgid ideologues who put profit in front of people?

  26. dave the brickie

    I am sure I listened to eleventy Hockey call Penny Wong the worst finance minister ever, and a liar.Having watched the inept display from Andrew Robb on tv last week,one can only imagine that if the Penny Wong comment had any merit,it is with fear and trepidation that we can look forward to an idiot in control of finance.To think this fool put his name up for the vote on the Lieberal leadership.I heard a caller to a Fairfax controlled radio call a prominent Liberal a liar and was immediately cut off.They are pretty thin skinned if they can’t see,or don’t understand what a lie actually is.This lot are unreal the way they lie through their teeth and are not brought to account by the MSM.

  27. Fed up

    “I am sure I listened to eleventy Hockey call Penny Wong the worst finance minister ever, and a liar.”

    Yes, you did. Hockey then went on to day, that Labor would mount the most negative and dirty campaign ever, demonising Abbott in every way, or words to the effect.

    Yes, his condemnation of Penny Woning, was sure laced with hate.

    One thing for sure, the Coalition has no respect for any woman that makes it, or that are superior to them.

  28. John O'Callaghan

    I remember Bob Hawke when he first became Prime Minister saying that the biggest obstacle that Australians faced is apathy and when you combine that with a gutless media that panders to their own survival and keeps the general public uninformed and not thinking for themselves and making sure the majority of funding for education goes to elite private schools to produce future Tony Abbotts John Howards George Pells and the like.”” The Republicans in America have been employing this tactic for years and up to 2008 it was working,but even the Americans are waking up to this right wing bullshit and have twice voted for Obama and the Democrats but it seems we Australians are a bit slow to recognise that the right wing are brain washing us to vote against our best interest. Why would any parents with school aged children vote for a party that will take away the school bonus,why would any parent with a teenager working their first part time job or low wage full time job vote for a party that will tax a young person who earns over 6000 dollars as opposed to 18000 dollars,why would a person vote for a party that will force them to spend 5 to 6 thousand dollars to get fibre to their home instead of fibre to the home for free? Why ?,is there someone out there in cyber land that can answer my questions? . I don’t have the answers but is their someone out there who has ? I get the feeling from reading the posts from sites like John Lord,Independant Australia Café Wispers and all the rest Wixxy Leaks and the like are just frustrated people who like me just want their voices to be listened to.but until we become united as one we will never be heard so I suggest we join forces as a united voice ,if you like something like a union. And don’t forget the Truth Seeker and his brilliant poems and political musings as well,all this talent just going to waste because we are preaching to the converted and we are so smug and empowered by the power of the internet and feel we have done our bit by voicing our opinions,but we have to be pragmatic and realise that our opinions do matter but nobody is listening and unless we get our message out to the general public we are a lost cause. I remind all you good people that when Independent Australia tried to lodge an application for membership of the Canberra Press Gallery it was rejected by David Speers. ””’ I have raved on enough so I will go to bed with the hope that all the independent on line publications will form a union to fight the good for the good of all Australians.
    ps”” I will support you all the way.

  29. cornlegend

    John O’Callaghan
    + 1 more

  30. doctorrob54

    What makes me really wild apart from a total ignoramus like Hockey showing complete
    contempt for a brilliant Finance Minister in MP Penny Wong,but on the Insiders ABC we
    get Gerard Henderson blubbering the Australian people are not interested in the release of coalition costings report earlier than the Wednesday before the election.
    “What does he think we are interested in”?.It is the only think that matters.
    Not only will the Coalition of cruelty smash the tax free threshold,which will affect mainly
    low income earners but also repeal the $500 superannuation supplement again to low
    wage earners.This is a grab of over $3000 a year from those that can afford it least.
    This is how they plan to pay a large part of their new PPL scheme,steal from the poor
    and give to the richer.
    How is it morally just to give a person on $150,000 a year $75,000 to care for their child yet give someone on $35,000 a year $17,500.Would not a woman on low income
    need more assistance than another on a higher income,or am I in a parallel universe.
    Runaway Rabbott says this scheme will not cost the taxpayer one cent,as he will tax
    the bigger companies an extra 1.5% to cover the cost,yet in the same breath says he
    is to reduce their payroll tax by 1.5% to offset their burden,”am I missing something here”?.
    This is only part of the reason why Abbott/Hockey coalition of the cretins refuse to
    release costings report and allow people to scrutinize,I will elaborate in future posts,health inc.mental health,negative gearing but best sign off for now as
    I am getting angry and Barry Tucker has convinced me that getting abusive and
    swearing won’t score me extra brownie point.Cheers Barry.

  31. mikisdad

    Well said, Doc. Here, however, posters are generally “preaching to the converted” so how *do* we get to those who would never come to a forum such as this? How do we get the message – the actual facts – out there to the mass who seem unphased by any rational argument and actually appear to be about to vote *against their own interests”?

  32. doctorrob54

    Really don’t know mikisdad,and it does worry me that we are just running around in circles and at times appear to be talking to ourselves(converted).But what makes me
    real sad,is the team that run this forum,and several main contributors have far more journalistic sense and qualities then those employed in the MSM,yet they don’t get a hearing in public forums.Yea sorry mate I realize that is what you are saying.But after all said and done I really can’t and even know don’t believe that when push comes to shove a majority of Australians will vote for an Abbott lead Government.

  33. mikisdad

    Doc, I sincerely hope that you’re right (Pun most definitely not intended) but very much fear that you’re not – and the thought of a TA government appalls and disheartens me as much as did the Howard years – I expect the reality to be even worse.

    One comment I would make about discussion here as well as in other places is that of the agenda. It seems to me (and I hope that I have it wrong) that most of us have accepted and argue just the populist agenda upon which both major parties seem to be focused.

    I wonder, where is the “big picture” – the comprehensive vision and argument for how our country should be?

    We discuss the merits or otherwise of two paid parental leave schemes yet as good as ignore the unpaid workforce, care-givers for the infirm and disabled, the elderly, the mentally ill and those who choose to raise their own children rather than put them into child care.

    Isn’t there something strange about giving paid maternity leave to someone who gets paid for looking after other people’s children and yet we give nothing to someone having a baby who looks after their own children for nothing?

    Isn’t it strange that we focus on same sex marriage and yet never mention poverty; homelessness; aged manipulation and exploitation; wastage on defence purchases that don’t work; roads that kill, year after year; support for illegal wars; increasing medicalisation of normal human experience; etc.?

    Have the days gone of comprehensive discussion both between and around elections? Did they never exist and is my memory just playing tricks on me? It seems that the agenda is very restricted right now and that, although it is easy and many are quick to lambast Abbott for suggesting that same sex marriage is “fashionable” – isn’t there just a little truth in that – in the sense that I’ve suggested above? Are we not in the age of “fashionable” politics rather than real politics – isn’t that, indeed, what populism really is?

    Excuse me, please, but frankly, the thought of anyone “winning” the next election, to me, is somewhat bizarre. Perhaps I am too cynical but, despite my instinctive horror at the thought of another LNP government; will it really matter to those who most need help and support? Will it really matter in terms of the nation? Will it really represent any form of triumph of vision over self-serving mediocrity? I doubt it.

  34. Terry2

    Abbott’s approach to Paid Parental Leave tells you something about him and a very stubborn streak which prevents him from listening to common sense from those within and without his party.
    Already we have the states (WA) saying they will not contribute, the National Party are asking for a better deal for mums in the country and there is still the odd situation where mums already at home get no support whatsoever.
    Abbott’s proposal is full of flaws and wide open for rorting; I heard of a local electrician, whose wife does the clerical side of the family business and who are expecting to grow their family, who will be increasing her pay to $150,000 as soon as she falls pregnant after the scheme comes in.

  35. diannaart

    Excellent work Kaye Lee.

    I need reminding that there is an atom of difference between the 2 majors. As much as I am disturbed by Rudd’s white-anting of Julia Gillard, there remain her policies in spite of renaming and/or distancing by Rudd. Small comfort, but I will take what I can from the most appalling decade of Australian politics.

  36. Fed up

    The trouble with Abbott’s PPL, it is taking money from women in many other fields. Money that is ongoing, over the life of their child.

    It appears the biggest loser is going to be self funded retiree. Some say to the extent of 1.7 billion being taken out of their pockets.

  37. cassilva48

    All I can say on the costings is that ‘ if you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing.’ So therefore, there are going to be some costings which may cause a gag reflex and must be withheld until the last possible moment.

    It was clear from last evenings Q&A (Bowen/Hockey) that the Libs continue to underestimate the intelligence of the general public. Justifying paying the PPL to high salaried women was on the basis that there are very few women earning that salary! Joe quoted around 1% of all employed women, and backed it up with the falacious argument that it is in line with their Annual/Sick leave entitlements. There is no comparison between annual / sick leave entitlements and the cost of having a baby these days. $75,000 would go along way to providing a nanny, whereas $8000 dollars would hardly cover the diapers and formula. So how can this scheme be equitable when those that don’t need assistance get 7/8th more than those who need assistance.
    Then Joe went on about us having to save by cutting spending. In my world, If households stop spending this will result in more job losses not more jobs. We avoided the global recession because we kept people working and yes this meant government spending, a far better scenario than mass unemployment that Europe has experienced over the past 2 years. Yes there were some managerial stuff ups but this doesn’t change the facts that more jobs were created.
    All of us have mortgages, a point made by Bowen, and rather than looking at it as a debt most of us look at it as a saving in dead (rental) money and long term security. Nobody knows what the future holds, recent discoveries have found that the north may have vast untapped oil fields. If this and other discoveries are found we may find ourselves back in another mining boom and all these scare tactics were for nothing!
    As a byline, full marks to those in the audience that posed such relevant and succinct questions showing up the level of 99% of journalists in today’s media whose questions are aimed at an audience of 10 year olds.
    As far as the Polls go, how can Rudd (3 weeks ago) go from being preferred Prime Minister to now Abbott becoming the preferred PM. Seems to me that the Labour policy, since Rudd, has been publicly accepted as workable policy, which suggests there is something fishy about the whole Poll thing.

  38. korstraw

    Not entirely on topic (but sort of) I thought those of you not on Twitter might be interested in this delightful Tweet from our Sun King:

    Rupert Murdoch ‏@rupertmurdoch5h
    Conviction politicians hard to find anywhere. Australia’s Tony Abbott rare exception. Opponent Rudd all over the place convincing nobody.

    A humble observation (edict to Col & Co?) from a humble man.

  39. Kaye Lee

    Jessica Rudd tweeted back to him “Thanks for taking the time each day to tell us what to think”

  40. Pingback: Yes, we are frustrated | Café Whispers

  41. Pingback: Yes, we are frustrated | PNCAU

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