Today is your day

The election is here

You look shiny today!


We have great expectations

Our future rests upon it

Triennial amnesia

We all suffer from it


You’ll race to the bottom

With no element of care

You will pander to many

With souls that are bare


You will target the sectors

That need help the most

While preening to pundits

We’ve found savings! you’ll boast


You will go all imperial

On the arse of our neighbours

You’ll then act all wounded

When there aren’t any favours


You will denigrate, malign

You will put down and pester

While our national problems

Like sores they will fester


You’ll both strive to keep

Your true feelings under wraps

And in a moment of weakness

That façade it will lapse


You’ll kiss your constituents

Young bubs will be scarred

Back of envelope policy

When thinking’s too hard


But then you will realise

Three year cycles can’t fix it

As you walk through the door

One eye’s on the exit


You’ll rally against anyone

Who dares to find error

Experts are subjected

To weak minded terror


You’ll put on your best polish

And announce a new way

And then finally, the public

Knows it’s been led astray


Your fate will be chosen

By rich men with much ink

‘Robust media coverage’

You’ll either glow or you’ll stink


So as you make do

With a mandate democratic

If you remember one thing

Just keep it dramatic.


Why didn’t she go early, never had the caucus

Then when Kevin triumphed, he really hit the skids

He started with the fluoros, compared AUs to Euros

The polls went really badly, Libs then got the shits

They said we’re not standing by, to watch us slowly die

So Tony gloved up, and punched the wall, punched the wall, punched the wall

And he said calm down now I’m just punching the fucking wall

He went to all the factories, did a little fruit work

More photo opportunities, still spreading all the fear

Then Malcolm wrote a letter, said I want to see you

He started a petition, get Tony on the scare

Flew to Canberra on a plane, in the pouring rain

They said Tony, there’s no more

There’s no more

There’s no more

There’s no more

He called a special meeting, Malcolm looking peachy

Colleagues looking downwards, Tony packing shit

Did he have a future?

Had he lost momentum?

Where was all the traction? The dream had turned to shit.

Malcolm rose up from his seat a ballot was complete

Tony gloved up and punched the..

Denouement complete, he couldn’t feel his feet

Tony gloved up, and punched the wall

Punched the wall

Punched the wall

Punched the wall

I’m not exactly raising any eyebrows when I say the Herald Sun is an easy target. But even today’s front page gave me a sore neck as I strained to read the front page headline.

BORN TO RULE: Report say rich kids do better because of ‘inherited abilities’

A 246 page report by the Australian Government Productivity Commission, released publicly today, outlines the myriad factors that determine the academic and employment trajectory of a child. The Herald Sun ran a front page article (an exclusive one no less) on one factor, based not on its importance and relevance, but on what would turn heads.

Which inherited abilities? Educational assets such as ‘parents’ cognitive abilities and inherited genes,’ as the report quotes, or the family’s bank balance? Is a financially stable environment genetically inherited? Anyone reading this would know someone flush with funds due to their parents’ hard work and good luck whilst being a bun or two short of a burger. Will their children inherit their abilities?

The report outlines in great detail the factors that go to explain the multidimensional concept of disadvantage, not just in the financial sense but in the context of a lack of opportunities and their effects longitudinally on the ongoing academic and employment performance of a child.

To quote two key points from the report:

Disadvantage has its roots in a complex interplay of factors. Many of these factors, when combined, can have a compounding effect. The probability that any one person will experience disadvantage is influenced by: their personal capabilities and  family circumstances; the support they receive; the community where they live (and  the opportunities it offers); life events; and the broader economic and social

A child’s earliest years fundamentally shape their life chances. Gaps in capabilities  between children from socio-economically disadvantaged families and their more  advantaged peers appear early in life. Starting school ‘behind the eight ball’ can  begin a cycle of disadvantage that sets a trajectory for poorer outcomes later in life.

The amount of print dedicated to the impact of genetics is proportionally small in the report,.I finally found a mention of genetics on page 93:

While inherited genes influence their development, the quality of family environments, and the availability of appropriate experiences at various stages of development, are crucial for building capabilities.

The report confirms what we all know. A child in a financially stable home will have a leg up in many respects. It also says that children subjected to deep levels of social exclusion and disadvantage will likely remain in that state. Yet children do surpass what their financially restricted environments should in theory allow, just as children in financially stable households disappoint with easy access to tutors and significant resources. There must be many well off parents who wring their hands, asking”‘where did we go wrong?”

The child must want to achieve. You know, like from within.

I can only speak from my own experience in terms of academic and employment trajectory. Genetics are important, but the brain is so infinitely plastic that experience upon experience and encouragement to try, fail and learn are essential. These are not factors that are purely down to money. How many migrant parents created, at great cost, the environment for their children to have access to as many of these interactions as possible? Many.

My main beefs with the article are that it (a) cherry picked a mere paragraph from a 246 page report to fill a void when there are so many factors at play, and (b) confused (or rather likened) financial inheritance with genetic inheritance.

Papers of all persuasions cherry pick, and papers of all persuasions are becoming increasingly irrelevant, lazy and ho-hum in what they spit out.

Mike Woods, the Deputy Chairman of the Productivity Commission, said this morning that “it was unfortunate” that the paper had decided to run with this aspect of the report given its overall significance and multi factorial nature.

A diplomatic understatement if there was ever one.







Dislclaimer: if you don’t like these opinions, I have others

Yesterday’s events were fascinating to watch. Barrie Cassidy called the spill two weeks ago on Insiders. Watch a pair of horses manoeuvring for first place can be more absorbing than watching a field of ten.

Whether a petition was circulated or not, Julia Gillard sniffed the wind and moved to end the saga once and for all, setting absolute sequelae for winner and loser. To Kevin Rudd’s credit, he agreed to the terms set out. The loser would exit this time. No, really.

The spill itself was a slow self-fulfilling prophecy. When Bill Shorten switched camps, it was confirmed. The stakes are so high that he saw fit to torch his short, medium and possibly long term leadership aspirations. To her great integrity, Julia GIllard was true to her word and immediately vacated the post without rancour or the sobfest that accompanied Kevin Rudd’s deposition in 2010. Then again, she had more time to compose herself. This spill had the same slow inevitability of the planet Melancholia contacting earth and destroying all on it.

Anyone who thought that Kevin Rudd was willing time to pass while sitting in the ‘nether regions’ as he termed it was seriously mistaken. His sound performance in Question Time yesterday was an clear message to the coalition that they will actually have to work for this. In the still likely event that we wake up to an Abbott government, the majority will be smaller, their mandate less overwhelming than anticipated in the last 6-12 months.

As the myriad post mortems on the Gillard period fill the web, the following were my conclusions:

The whole misogyny issue over the last 24 months has been overemphasized by the left and predictably dismissed by conservative commentators. Some of the twitter chat (of which I am a sad, sad addict) has brought up some overly emulsified emotional claptrap by blind GIllardistas who fail to see her flaws as a prime minister but instead only the attacks on her on the basis of gender by Alan Jones, Graham Morris, and numerous others. This is not to say that the said attacks were acceptable. Far from it. They were vile, sexist remarks from a bygone era when men were men and men were stupid. However it should always be possible to dissect the latter from the former.

Solely by virtue of her sex, it read like an absolute division by gender lines. I am certain there were feminists who found her decision to address the Australian Christian Lobby or as an atheist, to claim that her strong morals were from her Baptist upbringing as nothing short of bizarre. Did she speak for all women? Of course not, but not all men felt she didn’t speak for them either.

Pledging ongoing support (and tax payer funds) for the National School Chaplaincy Program is something I will never agree with, and logic prevailed with Ron Williams’ successful challenge in the High Court. Whether a believer, agnostic or atheist, placing the mental health of all children in the hands of one religious approach was simply an incomprehensible path to take, unless of course you are rather a fanatic.
Her stance on gay marriage was interesting given her justification of ‘traditional values’ that had roots in a Baptist upbringing, despite declaring herself to be an atheist.

Women are and have been for years ready and able to assume and execute positions of high office, despite Tony’s Abbott’s comical assertions of physiological difference. Australian though, to our detriment, was not ready for a female PM. This backlash from the aforementioned contrarians and others shaped Julia Gillard as much as she shaped the nation during her tenure.

On the evidence that she managed to oversee 485 passed bills (87% of these bipartisan) in a hung parliament speaks volumes for her tenacity in the face of the nauseating behaviour of Tony Abbott, Christopher Pyne et al who have spent valuable time with points of order, suspensions of standing orders and other means to simply enforce an early poll. The consumption of Question Time in the last sitting of 2012 by Julie Bishop’s wild goose chase on matters AWU was a blatant abuse of parliamentary resources, as were the almost comical volumes of electricity bills illustrating the carbon price’s immense adverse effect. Clive Palmer’s revelations on his meetings with Joe Hockey and Mal Brough show how intent the Liberal Party was to destroy the GIllard government by whatever means.

Should the ALP, as is likely, lose with an admirable swing (whatever that equals), or pull off a Keating, they can thank Gillard for tenacity in navigating through hostile waters. They can also thank her for committing to infrastructure, education and most importantly the NDIS as a worthy legacy. It is a great shame that both herself and her party could not sell those positive messages to the people. How much of that is mainstream Murdoch media and how much is the ALP’s doing is an argument that will never be won.

From here we are faced with a government that should have been returned on the sole achievement of positive jobs growth, avoiding a recession and achieving triple A ratings. But along the way there the disasters of pink batts and shall we say, rather non-selective approach to stimulus cheques. They have failed to address the highly complex problem of people smuggled to our shores. It has spent an ostentatious amount of time looking at itself rather than managing the ‘economy in transition’ that seems to be the line of the moment. If anything, the move to Rudd will hopefully refocus those remaining MPs who haven’t resigned or who are not resigned to defeat to put in one last effort.

But we have an opposition who has expended much of its intellectual and parliamentary resources trying to knock a house down instead of outlining how they would design it better. SInce Kevin Rudd PM v 2.0, Coalition MPs have been swift to outline policies released thus far, with Malcolm Turnbull at pains this morning to outline the Coalition’s vast roll call of policy announcements. A slower NBN, repealing  the carbon price and mining tax and a paid parental leave scheme that has business folk unsettled hardly sells as an array of policies. Nor does saying ‘we are not them’.

What we have now is a coalition that will have to work for the right to govern instead of the three columns of no, a pamphlet of aspiration and an as yet unknown algorithm to manage the economy. Given that Australia votes out governments (with the exception of Whitlam), this will probably suffice on polling day. The only worse in prospect than a hung parliament is a massive mandate for either party.

Yep, we get it Tony. We’re a bloody big brown land that is crying out for exploitation. Especially north of Cameron’s Corner. Ore to be dug up, gas to be fracked, and all the infrastructure to support it. But even Johnny had the sense to see how zappydoo crazy the idea of a separate and distinct tax zone sounds. And he was no slouch as a populist.

Your White Paper estimates a possible $150B in clean efficient energy exports from measures to develop Australia’s ‘next frontier’. Hmmm I don’t see Gina liking that last sentence with the word clean in it. Don’t forget the soundtrack from any of the Duke’s movies to give us that ‘next frontier’ feel while you’re at it. It’ll go well with the low wages Gina has decreed for the ‘special tax benefit zone’, so special in fact that you don’t pay tax in peanut wages. And with peanut wages there’ll be little GST revenue flowing in from discretionary spending. But you and Joe have crunched all the numbers haven’t you? Goodie gum drops.

I can appreciate your desire to satisfy economic rationalists everywhere, their jowels dripping with anticipation and impatience for a reverse Gough change. Wasn’t Ju-Liar going to be bumped off early Tony? Why are we waiting? I mean, the country is just crying out for greater productivity (shit wages) and efficiency gains (shit wages + longer hours).

If you are so keen to plunder the virgin north, why not solar panel a prescribed area where the solar energy could supply the north, or even beyond? Hope you’ve explained to land owners how you’ll stop foreign companies from exporting the produce their capital creates. But you’ve got the balls to stand up to owners of foreign capital don’t you Tony? You’re a rugger-ride all day-physical sorta bloke aren’t you?

Listen, the ALP givernment has been a mess and is clearly on the way out. They have tried to maintain jobs and fund infrastructure your last government seemed reluctant to get involved with. Goodwill generated in guiding Australia through the GFC (yes we know it was 5 years ago, thanks Joe) has been replaced by derision at their internal bullshit.

But is this the best you have for us Tony? A Travelling North type feel good recipe that satisfies Gina and creates tax inequities by geography? (not to mention a de facto Workchoices at work)

Add this to your risible and comical NBN and yet-to-be-confirmed turn-back-the-boats-to-a-country-we-haven’t-discussed-it -yet policy and we feel, well, a tad uninspired. No amount of pamphlet branishing and declaring át least we’re not them’ BS will convince me otherwise. God knows you’ve had long enough to develop policies. Instead you’ve devoted untold resources to destroying a government that was doing a pretty good job on their own. Pretty dumb Tony.

Paul Keating was right Tony when he asked ‘is that all there is?’

Shock Jock (with apologies to blur)

Sung to the tune of blur’s Parklife

Arrogance is a preference for the habitual business of what is known as..(shock-jock)
And morning rage can be arranged if you listen and blindly agree to what is known as..(shock-jock)
Jonesy’s a misanthropist he abuses those he don’t agree with
He loves a bit of them (shock-jock)
Who’s that knoblord ranting?
You should cut down on your hatred mate..try to empathise (shock-jock)

All the people
So many people
They all nod heads agree
Agree with me says their shock-jock

Y’Know what I mean

I say whatever I want
except when I’m rudely interrupted by a pinko caller

I set the agenda
the rules that I work by
and screw anyone else

I feed the fears I sometimes feed the chooks too it gives me an enormous sense of self importance

And then I’m happy for the rest of the day safe in the knowledge there will always be a rant around the corner

All the people
So many people
They all nod heads agree
Agree with me says their shock-jock

It’s got nothing to do with logic or human decency you know
And it’s not about my callers just me and me and me

All the people
So many people
They all nod heads agree
Agree with me says their shock-jock

Well it’s been difficult keeping up with the journos asking questions while sniggering, Clive beaming after announcing a Rose or Jack (or both) are on the way, and Tom Waterhouse ringing for inside info on the possible names. You’d think the prat would have more pressing concerns.

Add to this Peter Slipper being in then out, accepted then resigning but no he was rejected because Clive thought he was a mole.

I’m getting about as much sleep as a Catholic priest on his fourth parish.

Clive has declared his appearance on Q&A ‘a fucking success’, and much credit must go to the big man. After his demands of Janet Albrechtsen hosting, only him and BobKat on the panel and a strict rider of Chiko Rolls and M&Ms were left unmet, he soldiered on. It’s a pity he forgot to switch out of campaign filming mode to say what he really thought, to show some fire and soul. I’ve personally seen more grunt from a Kia Cerato. His self appraisal is shall we say different.

Clive did get quite animated though when it came to registering the UAP with the AEC. Who knew that the Uniting Australia Party had already registered in March? Undeterred, Clive went left-field and humble, and as of now we are the Palmer United Party (PUP). I’m hoping no smartarse extends the acronym to PUMP for any of his MPs should they get in. But then as Clive says, names aren’t important, it’s ideas that matter.

Ah yes. Ideas. Clive has an alternative asylum seeker policy. Quite rightly, he wants to take the business model out of people smugglers’ hands by flying asylum seekers into our airports where their refugee status is assessed. If they pass, they would be integrated, and if not, they would be flown back on the next plane. I’m curious to see how much of the $5B saved by not chasing boats around the Indian Ocean & dehumanising camps would be eaten up by these airport based processing facilities. I’ve asked Clive how he intends to house that many people, to which he touches his nose and winks. ‘All up here luv.’
Oh Gawd.

Running parallel with the gestational timeline is Clive’s desire to be PM. It will come as no surprise to hear that he believes the centre of power should be shifted away from Canberra further north, specifically Coolum. ‘The Kirribili of the fucking north luv!’ He booms. ‘Question time followed by 18 holes!‘ Yes Clive, I’m certain the Federation Fathers would approve.

Clive has raised the idea of me running for a seat. Playing dumb, I insist that I am happy in my current role. I admit though that I would relish the chance to run for Sturt, just to see the Poodle’s eyes pop when I debate him. Clive boasts that there sitting MPs ready become PUMPs, but I’m skeptical. The phone’s not exactly running hot with applicants outside of QLD.

So we plod on. Clive has already requested (demanded) a tripartite debate series with the PM, the ‘knob’ as he calls him and Clive.

No prizes for his preferred host.

Please direct PUP related questions my way via my twitter handle @PAforClive