Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Please change the bits in bold italics before publication – they make us too obvious – RM

“IN six days’ time, Tony Abbott should become our 28th Prime Minister.

It is a job Mr Abbott has wanted for much of his life. He has dedicated himself to the fight, shaping a philosophy of government that is both economically conservative and socially responsible. Mr Abbott has also demonstrated himself to be a decisive and compassionate leader. Despite the relentless and often deeply unfair goading of his detractors, Mr Abbott has avoided answering any questions about policy detail. He has committed himself to finding solutions for some of our most seemingly intractable problems, from indigenous disadvantage to business stagnation and has a new name for WorkChoices.

He has identified his own weaknesses and sought to eliminate anyone who mentions them; he has reached out to working women, for example, like no political leader in recent history, calling them “feisty” and “sexy” and suggesting that they should move a bit close. The Sunday Telegraph believes Mr Abbott is ready to lead Australia.

It seems an understatement to observe that the Labor-led government of the past six years has been a grave disappointment. In spite of Labor’s fragile grip on parliamentary majority has often passed legislation that rich people don’t like. This sort of class war has to stop. If people want to be treated fairly, why don’t they get off their backsides and earn more money. Let’s face it – people on $150,000 are struggling to make ends meet, so it must be pretty easy to get that sort of money.

Much has been written lately about media coverage of the Rudd government – but let’s cut through the spin.

This isn’t about party politics.

It is about bad government.

And this is a bad government. Rupert Murdoch said so in a tweet.

For much of the past six years, Labor has complained that we’ve been hostile to them. What a load of nonsense! We’ve only ever criticised them when they’ve been wrong which is all the time.

It started with squandering the surplus on ineptly administered “stimulus” measures during the GFC arguing that this was necessary to prevent a recession. There was no recession so clearly they could have kept all that money and reduced company tax by 50%.  It got worse with the bizarre, back-of-the-envelope mining “super-profits” tax that Labor expected resource companies to simply accept. Governments should always check that people are happy to pay more tax.

In 2010 the panicked execution of Kevin Rudd brought to a national stage the worst of NSW Labor’s obscene obsession with power and delivered us a leader in Julia Gillard who was beholden to cheap factional alliances instead of Rupert and Gina. The revelations that were to follow during ICAC hearings about the corrupt practices of NSW Labor further eroded the confidence of voters in this state, because corruption by Labor politicians always reflects on the whole party, while Coaltion Politicians believe in individuality, so Queensland under Joh was just one or two bad apples.

After the 2010 election, the introduction of a carbon tax with no mandate, the cheap deals with crossbenchers, the ham-fisted attempts at media regulation and the botched reintroduction of offshore processing compounded the Government’s sins.

Add to that the abandonment of supposed “core principles”: whatever happened to Mr Rudd’s once-vaunted federal hospital takeover? Where did all the 20/20 summit ideas go? Why have military veterans and their widows had to sweat blood to be granted the dignity of equal pension indexation because we all know that anything this Government does right should have been done sooner? Why didn’t the Government announce a single real measure to improve childhood vaccination rates until it had effectively left office? Where is the legacy of our supposedly epoch-changing mining boom because the Howard Government didn’t have the benefit of this, they were stuck with the Global Financial Crisis ? There were achievements, but most owe more to ministers, including that person we hounded from office Ms Gillard, than to Mr Rudd. The National Disability Insurance Scheme; the MySchool reforms that curtailed the education unions and allowed parents to judge schools on performance; the introduction of national quality standards for childcare centres; the apology to the stolen generations; and high-speed broadband – these were all founded, at least, on sound ideas, even if their implementation was inept. In 2007, The Sunday Telegraph recommended a vote for Labor as Australia’s best option. We had formed the view John Howard’s Coalition government had, after 11 proud years, run out of ideas and missed its chance to prepare for the future.

Another three years of Labor would be an unmitigated disaster. But declaring “this is a bad government” is not enough. Poor performance by one side is not enough for us to endorse the entrusting of Australia’s future to a new force so Abbott better continue to do what we tell him to, unless the opposition and its leader have demonstrated themselves capable, competent and ready to lead.

Tony Abbott and the Coalition have done that even if not publicly. Mr Abbott’s destiny awaits. And, as always, The Sunday Telegraph will be here as a critical voice for our readers. We are not, and have never been, cheerleaders for any one side of politics. We have consistently railed against incompetence except when Media Watch exposes ours.

We will continue to advocate for the public interest and it’s in the public interest for you to listen to us , to hold governments to their promises and to do everything we can to protect and promote an Australia blessed with free thinking, free markets and free people apart from illegal immigrants who should be locked up forever.

Tony, Tony, Tony

Posted: August 12, 2013 in Politics, society, Uncategorized

“I might as well be open and up front with people,” Mr Abbott said in Melbourne.

“I support the existing definition, while my sister Chris has argued with me until she’s blue in the face – and in fact she’ll continue to argue with me on this,” he said.

Mr Abbott said he prided himself on being consistent and would remain consistent in his opposition to changing the Marriage Act.

 

Tony Abbott’s sister has revealed that the Opposition Leader felt “conflicted” about voting against marriage equality in Parliament last year.

Speaking on the ABC’s triple j Hack program, Christine Forster, who is gay, said her brother’s view that marriage is only between a man and a woman is slowly “shifting”.

“There’s been a significant shift in how he approaches this whole question,” she said.

“He said it after the last vote in Parliament last year, that he felt conflicted about voting against marriage equality.

“That doesn’t sound like much, but it really is a significant shift for a man who all of his adult life has not even questioned his opposition to reforming the marriage act to have it also cover same-sex couples.

“Almost every time it comes up, with him you see slight, very small shifts”

 

This, of course, on the same day. So, congratulations, Christine. I guess you realise that you shouldn’t actually jeopardise your brother’s chance to be PM. He felt “conflicted”.

Excellent! But why does he pride himself on being consistent? Still, I guess it’s ok. The fact that he still speaks to a sinner like you should fill you with gratitude.

 

Occupy

Robert Doyle on Occupy Melbourne:

“…a self-righteous, narcissistic, self-indulgent rabble tried to capture the city.”

“Occupy Melbourne”? Maybe. But also a hard core of serial and professional protesters, hell-bent on trouble, infiltrating a protest for their own purposes, then holding the city to ransom.”
“The protest was infiltrated by professionals: what were those knives, hammers, bottles, bricks and fuel for? 

From “The Age” 26th November, 2012

Cr Doyle said today there was never a problem with access to Town Hall

“Any developer can come along and argue to the council and that’s what they do and that’s reasonable,” he said. “Access is access, that’s what local government is about.”
Cr Doyle accused The Age of running a campaign against him after it published a story claiming that the Lord Mayor’s lead council candidate, Kevin Louey, had asked developers for up to $100,000 for special council access.

“In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear”
    William Blake’s London

 

Every Generation is worse than the previous one. The youth of the 60’s railed against The Establishment and broke down the civilised order that kept everyone in their place and women in the kitchen – this generation would ultimately go on to elect Reagan and Thatcher. The 70’s ended with Punk, leading people to lament that at least the 60’s generations had ideals, even if they were naive. The 80’s youth were like their times, greedy and shallow. But as for Gen Y., well. they’re “brats”! They’re disloyal, easily bribed and have no problem with corruption. They lack respect, hard work and an interest in the world.

The Occupy Movement just shows how “bratty” they are. I mean, here they are complaining about people who through their own hard work have made it. People on Wall Street make their money by taking risks and they don’t expect Governments to interfere, or bail them out. Apart, of course, when they lose lots and lots of money. And then it’s in everyone’s interest for the Government to pay off their loans. But the Government shouldn’t expect them to pay anything back through higher taxes -that’d just stifle the recovery!

I thought that perhaps I should explain these obvious things to Sara who some of you may remember as the girl involved in the “Tent Incident” with police during  Occupy Melbourne. We go to “Joe’s Garage” – an eating place in Fitzroy, and I can’t help but think of the opening to the Frank Zappa album of the same name:

“This is the CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER…it is my responsibility to enforce all the laws that haven’t been passed yet. It is also my responsibility to alert each and every one of you to the potential consequences of various ordinary everyday activities you might be performing which could eventually lead to The Death Penalty (or affect your parents’ credit rating).”

I order a latte and a pizza, and she orders a hot chocolate.

“So,” I ask her, “tell me about Occupy Melbourne.”

“I always cared about the state of the world. But I, like many people was mired in the mindset that one person can’t make a substantive difference. People aren’t naturally apathetic, they long to make a positive difference, but lack the community support to do so. Occupy was a collective effort towards individual empowerment.

“How did you get on with the police generally?”

“As authority liaison for the Occupy Melbourne movement I generally found the police very cordial. They were very reasonable, until they are given an order, then there is a swift change.”

“How did you find the sudden fame after the tent incident?”

“It was my first experience with the media, and I was amazed by the amount of factual inaccuracies. One article reported that I had just finished high school, when I actually graduated several years ago. Another claimed that we were dangerous because we they found knives, gas cartridges and bricks among the items claimed from the occupation site after the eviction. Whereas in actuality we ran a kitchen that provided free food to absolutely anyone; the knives were for cutting cabbages and the bricks were for weighing down the marquees. So whilst relatively minor, at a national scale this kind of lazy reporting effectively skews public opinion.” 

She shakes her head.

“Did you accomplish your objectives?”

She considers.

I think it was 100% worthwhile. For me personally the Occupy Movement was more then a protest, it was a process; of teaching and sharing empowerment through education. So in that context it was successful because it transformed me from a stagnant to an active citizen.

And so, tell me about the tent.”

“It occured in a context where we’d be given ‘Notices to Comply’. It was a way of hassling us by doing things like picking a backpack and pointing out that it was advertising material which we weren’t allowed to have. So wearing the tents was a way around this. It was a protest at the…

“I didn’t think that they’d react like that. I didn’t think I’d have what I was wearing ripped off me like that. It was pretty shocking. “

“What about the view that you must have known what was going to happen?”

“That I was I asking for it?”

“In a way, yeah…”

“There just comes a point where you have to decide if what you are fighting for is important enough for you to risk the consequences.”

“You ended up in Court.”

I was never arrested or charged for anything relating to that incident. I’m in court for several different matters, the most recent being resistance and hindering. 

“What happened there?”

“I was found guilty and fined a $1000. No conviction record.”

“So what are you up to now?”

At the moment I’m working as the campaign coordinator for the Wikileaks Party, and with a group called the Wikileaks Australian Citizens Alliance. “

“How so?”

“Well, it’s really worthwhile and there’s lots of great stuff. But there’s a lot of boring administrative stuff that I’m doing.”

My pizza has arrived.  As I can’t take notes and write, I put down my pen.  We discuss Chomsky and “The Life of Brian”. And how one person can never be sure that they haven’t made a difference. She something about people imposing their own limits and tries to remember a quote from a poem that she did in Year 11.

“That’d be ‘mind- forged manacles’. It’s from  ‘London’ by William Blake.”

That’s it! Thanks.” 

I offer some of my pizza, but she’s vegetarian.

Ah, Generation Y – they’re just so choosy!

 

These are the results from Roy Morgan

  PRIMARY VOTE  
July
12-14, 2013
July
19-21, 2013
July
26-28, 2013
August
2-4, 2013
% Change
this week
% % % % %
ALP 42 41.5 38.5 38 -0.5
L-NP 41 (3) 41 (2.5) 41.5 (2.5) 43 (2) +1.5
Greens 7 9 10.5 9.5 -1
Ind. /Other 10 8.5 9.5 9.5
TOTAL 100 100 100 100  
TWO-PARTY PREFERRED  
ALP 52.5 52.5 52 50 -2
L-NP 47.5 47.5 48 50 +2
TOTAL 100 100 100 100  
Sample size 3,431 3,572 3,575 3,326   
  

This is from Galaxy

Two party preferred

Election Aug 2010 11-13 June 2013 27-28 June 2013 23-25 July 2013
Labor Party 50.1% 45% 49% 50%
Coalition 49.9% 55% 51% 50% 

As you can see, Roy Morgan has a  sample size of over 3000 which is much bigger than Newspoll. And, generally speaking, the bigger the sample the more likely it is to be accurate, unless there’s a lack of randomness in the sample.

Again, I make the point that opinion polls have 3% margin of error, so an individual poll is almost worthless in determining a trend – it may simply be the outlier- but the media seem to react to polls as though they’re the first figures in on election night. They often mention this, but then proceed to analyse the poll as though it’s 100% accurate. Given the closeness of the figures in all polls, it seems likely that a poll must at some point put Labor in front. Will we see this treated in the same way? Or will this be treated as an anomaly with people explaining it away by saying it’s just one poll and that Abbott has consistently led since 2010 so we can’t take any notice of ONE poll?

Well, there is one poll that we can take notice of. And then it won’t matter if Newspoll, Morgan or Galaxy had him leading by 55-45. And that poll is decided SEAT by SEAT. Abbott’s announcement that he won’t negotiate with minor parties could come back to haunt him if Katter’s party, for example, picks up a handful of seats in Queensland, or a couple of Independents are elected.

It’s a difficult task for Labor, but far from impossible.

Our country's future leaders?

Then

‘Thursday, 11 April 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

And now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The seat of Lalor seems likely to go to Julia Gillard’s preferred candidate, after two of the other nominations dropped out.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-13/kimberly-kitching-withdraws-from-contest-for-lalor/4818330

I thought I’d draw this to your attention, because while the fact that there was more than one candidate running was front page news about the “clash” between the Shorten and Gillard nominees, the fact that one of them is pulling out was relegated to a small article on page 5.

When discussing the economy, many people treat as though it’s a subsistence farm, where the farmer plants crops and hopes for the right conditions. If there’s not enough rain – or too much – the farmer has a bad year. But in actuality the economy isn’t totally dependent on the forces of nature. Things such as unemployment or inflation are rarely caused by things outside the control of decision makers; these things are just considered a better option than the alternatives. The Labor Government, for example, spent up heavily and went into to debt to counteract the effects of GFC. Australia didn’t go into recession, but we now have a debt. (Whether a debt of $14,000 for every working Australia was worth it is something that people will have different views about, but had the Liberals been in power, I suspect we’d have slipped into recession because “there’s just nothing we can do about it”

So, a book like “What’s the Economy For, Anyway?: Why It’s Time to Stop Chasing Growth and Start Pursuing Happiness” by John De Graat and David Batker is somewhat refreshing. As well as looking at the history of terms like Gross Domestic Product,  it examines such things as Bhutan’s concept of trying to create a  Gross National Happiness indicator. The writers argue that GDP is a poor indicator of the “true” health of economy – the old “guns or butter” question. If the GDP rises because of a national disaster or an increase in the number of car accidents, this doesn’t show an improvement in living standards. However, the authors argue economists and governments rely too heavily on GDP as a measure of success.

It also asks the rather obvious question – if greater material wealth and longer worker hours don’t make us any happier, are they worth it? Do we need to make unlimited growth our goal? And it makes the rather strange argument that maybe “tax” isn’t actually the work of the devil.

If you want a few ideas to throw at your “Tea Party” type relatives over a family lunch, or something to quote when arguing with trolls on Facebook, then this book should give you  plenty of interesting moments.

Easy to read and enjoyable.

“SPY THE LIE”  – Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception

by Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero with Don Tennant.

Like many non-fiction books, this could be significantly shorter. It seems that because books are expected to be a certain length, writers feel obliged to fill the pages with more examples than necessary. Notwithstanding this, “Spy the Lie” contains a reasonably entertaining look at how the authors detected lying in their various roles for the law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Dismissing the idea that anyone is a human “lie detector”. they go on to talk about clusters of behaviour. A lack of eye contact by itself, for example, doesn’t indicate dishonesty. However, when a number of behaviours are combined we can conclude that a person is being economical with the truth.

Some of the interesting verbal behaviours include:

1. A failure to answer the question. (Pretty obvious from anyone who’s listened to a politician)

2. Denial problems. (Instead saying, “No, I didn’t” the person may say, “I find that allegation offensive” or “That’s not the sort of behaviour that my record would suggest”)

3. Reluctance to answer the question. (“You’ll have to ask the Leader about that one.”)

4. Repeating the question. (Repeating the question? Why would anyone do that?)

5. Nonanswer statements. (“That’s really the question” or “I’m glad you asked that”)

6. Inconsistent statements (see Tony Abbott for examples)

7. Going into attack mode. (“There’s no need to be offensive” or “That’s just typical of the ABC”)

8. Overly specific answers. (“I’m sure that the figure isn’t $2billion” Actually it’s $2.1 billion)

9. Convincing statements. (“Did you realize that in my spare time, I work in a soup kitchen? Do I sound like the sort of person who’d swear at a child? or “I’m a senior member of the Church, would I really want to cover up this sort of thing?”)

These, as well as certain physical behaviours, are examined, and various anecdotes show how these work to give away the liar. Whatever, it’s an interesting read, and should be compulsory for every political interviewer. In fact, it would make an interesting TV program where one played the interview, while the respective behaviour was identified and  flashed across the screen. Must contact Rupert to see if I can sell the concept to his News Channel.