Archive for March 2013


Any sitting ALP MP with a majority of 9% or less.


A budgetary discrepancy between money intended to be spent and money intended to be raised. Curiously, black hole estimates are rounded numbers, always ending in zeros. Usually the consequence of having one’s promises assessed by H&R Block. A term used to indicate suspicion of opponent’s budget figures without bothering to properly understand underlying factors Can also describe a person with no redeeming features. See also Eleventy


BY far the most clever bastards in the world. Able to distill and express scenarios and moods in brilliant fashion with neither regard nor favour to the figures they depict. Like wine, very subjective. For the purposes of this definiton, I list Alan Moir, @firstdogonthemoon, Ron Tandberg & Bill Leak as starting points.


A realigning of Ministers, usually after happy times (election wins), or sad times (see also Circuit Breaker, Spill, Faceless Men, Soft Cock, PSCRs). Spun by the leader as a fresh team while the media do their best to invoke the ‘deckchairs on the Titianc’ euphemism (for the 1,232,000th time). A glimmer of metal in the turdstream of political life for young MPs.


A well intended and altruistic gesture whereby a politician, with no apparent motivation other than the love of his party, calls for the leadership to be decided once and for all. Often ends in ends in tears, offering more questions than answers.  See also Spill, PSCRs.


A misnomer whereby the leaders of the prominent parties strive for definitive one liners and gotcha calls like pensioners yearning for that 5 game free spin at the Casino. Usually hosted by Ray Martin or his stunt double, with viewers able to SMS their views in Australian or Ostrayan. Contributes sweet FA to proper political debate.


A partisan question from a back bencher concocted for no other reason than to tee up the front bencher for political point scoring, The best point in Question Time to make another cuppa or trim those rogue nails.


Just as Pluto was deleted as a true planet, the number eleventy was invented by Joe Hockey in the name of explaining budgets to lay people, who, not surprisingly,  can count and therefore discount the term as a royal fuck up. This man will probably be our treasurer.


Bipeds that roam corridors whispering bitter nothings. Not a new term, but one that 60’s political hack Alan Reid coined to describe a core group of factional heads that told ALP leaders what policy to run on. In the modern day, it describes the same thing.


A collective term for the media/press that report on political events. Contains many self-titled game changers who think that their mutterings are the shit. See also WInd Assistance.


A nebulous term for the ability to say whatever the fuck you want without fear of retribution. Advocated as a core element of a true liberal ethos. Unless of course someone says something a true liberal objects to. eg Bob Ellis v Peter Costello & Tony Abbott. Free speech carries with it the responsibility of using it intelligently and wisely, unless of course you work on 2GB.


A cascading series of events representing the failure of the economic rationalist assumption that the free market is pure and fixes all. Ignored by ring wing pundits and adherents in Australia and placed into the hands of Social Democrats everywhere to clean up while the aforementioned eco-rationalists berate them. A fine mess as Oliver Hardy would say.


A has been or wannabe figure with claims to know the inner workings of a party. In some cases, the best Insider is in fact an outsider for their views are too close to home (eg Mark Latham). In others, the insider has been inside so long, he doesn’t kow which way is north (Peter Reith, Graeme Richardson). Most insiders though are more often than not anonymous assistants who see making coffee for a Minister as the big chance. Held in higher regard by Journos who use heresay in place of proper questioning from the source. (See also Fourth Estate)

MENDACIOUS (Men-day-shus)

An unnecessarily long word for lying. Sounds great in Question Time and usually flows from right to left as you sit in the Speaker’s chair. In Christopher Pyne’s land it would be salacious. Often the cue for a wee tipple for those folks playing at home.


A tool employed during proceedings questioning the non adherence to rules. Or, in the case of Christopher Pyne, an opportunity to preen to the Speaker in the manner of a prefect if he is on thin ice or to simply waste everyone’s time.


A three minute slot in between ads on a commercial TV station that is hard hitting as Xavier Doherty bowling into a gale. Usually handled expertly by Karl Stefanovic or his superior, Lisa Wilkinson. A banana skin for Tony Abbott.


Figures that indicate the collectove hypothetical intention in an artificial setting for an event that is yet to occur. Often has fatal implications, proving that what happens tomorrow can harm you today. See also Facless Men.


A figure lauded by political followers of both persuasions. Does little to hose down any adulation thrown their way, but prefers that his followers stay simmering slowly to keep his ego in a perpetual flux of engorgement.


The inevitable cost of being a soft cock after the anti-climax. Usually the drop is big but the person forgotten.


Prescribed hour allocated to questions to the government from within or from the opposition relating to policy and direction. This strict definition is adhered to approximately 10% of the time. The remainder is regrettably dominated by slur, derision, interjections, inappropriate employment of props and abuses of process. A politicophile’s nirvana. (See also Robust Debate)


Euphemism for harsh and uncompromising debate or nomenclature by the Parliament and the Fourth Eatate, usually in the form of aggressive and belittling the intended target while showcasing it as the reason why free speech exists.


A collective or individual who declares anonymously that they have a new direction for a party and the numbers for their idol (who often thinks they are the Presumed Messiah). Often followed by numerous PSCRs.


The referee, DRS and thried umpire of the collective goat fuck we know as Question Time. A well respected position in Parliament, In cartoon terms, the Speaker is Sam SHeepdog and the MPs are the collective analogue of Ralph Wolf, trying to score advantage by sailing as close to the wind as possible before they are detected and booted. Brought to you by the number 94 and the letter A.


Callous and cowardly figure who heckles a member opposite with the belief that they a true ventriloquist. Can never understand why they should withdraw a slur that raises the ire of the Speaker.


A motion requesting the abrupt halt to porceedings in Question Time to discuss a matter of great urgency to the opposition. SSOs are motivated either by a genuine need, or, as is usually the case, by a narrowly outnumbered opposition to stifle debate and offer unhindered negative commentary on the government of the days. See also POO, Mendacious


Nasty pieces of work of all political persuasions who literally sit under the bridge (often anonymously), waiting for a comment to pass their way so they can pounce and respond disproportionately. The distinguishing characteristic of the foul troll is the combining of  foul language with the grammar of a 3 year old. See also Twitter


The medium and messenger for our hate, aspirations, opinion, like mindedness and media sharing. Will be owned by cats. One day.


The practice of internal destabilisation from within. Requires more deception than Machiavelli and better time management than Tiger Woods. Often ends in a farcical anti-climax. This term has replaced the rather quaint euphemism ‘Pissing In The Tent‘. See also SOFT COCK.


Vested interests masquerading as freedom of the press urging for a change of government or dropping of policy they find disagreeable through emotive and inflammatory means.



The Daily Telegraph’s now viral front page juxtaposing Senator Stephen Conroy with Stalin, Mao, Mugabe, Castro, Kim-Jong Un and Ahmadinejad was ironically an argument for and against free speech. Going in this hard on the man would not occur in most countries around the world, yet its crassness and overt sensationalism puts in question the Telegraph’s judgement. 

The Telegraph has shown lateral thinking by putting its cartoon on the front page but loses points for being sloppy and not including Hitler. One imagines the response if Sen Conroy had taken the harder line advocated by the Finkelstein Review.

That gold mine I call twitter provided two gems by way of response, from @geeksrulz and @firstdogonthemoon:



The reforms announced by Senator Conroy include:

  1. stronger self regulation via a Public Interest Media Advocate (PIMA)
  2. a new public interest test for future media mergers via a reach rule
  3. an incentive to increase Australian content
  4. an update to the ABC and SBS to factor in their online content

The PIMA would be a single person sitting above the existing Australian Press Council to ensure that complaints are appropriately managed, in addition to assessing whether any future media mergers are in the public interest. Given that News Corp already owns 68% of the Australian newspaper circulation, it could hardly be argued on an objective basis that some ownership restriction takes place. Malcolm Turnbull argues that the Hawke Government opened the doors for media ownership grabs when they allowed the HWT merger to proceed. Well, that was 22 years ago, and no internet.

The other question that lingers is why is print news remains unregulated where television and radio is?

The fact is that the proposed reforms represent a three pronged attack on the Murdoch and Fairfax interests. The body overseeing the body that oversees the media is seen as a threat to executive media operations and would seek to subject them to closer scrutiny. It could be argued however that the ACCC’s powers could be boosted to avoid unfair competitive advantage. Secondly, the PIMA would, in the media companies’ view, restrict market opportunities and hence trade. Thirdly, shock horror, such a person would demand that all reporting be  balanced and fair minded, not just a mouthpiece for its owner’s market fundamentalism and unashamed Americaphilia.

The News Corp publications have done a fine job in directing traffic in this way, starting with unwavering support for the Iraq War that resulted in anywhere up to 400,000 deaths for an invasion predicated on at best hopeful evidence of WMDs. More recently, the campaign against the ALP’s response to climate change has been sustained and, as Robert Manne calls it, ‘intellectually incoherent’. It has provided the Opposition with the wind assistance that has supplemented its feral negativity since the ALP formed government with cross bench support. The News Corp media have also made the portrayal of the changes as an attack on free speech almost too easy. It has employed tactics like the above front page to convey to its readers this fallacious and sensational message. So we have idiotic symbiosis where the media provides a dog’s breakfast and the reader digests it.

The Reach Rule proposed by Sen Conroy prevents a City based television broadcaster from purchasing regional interests where they would be able to broadcast to more than 75% of the population. How measurable this is remains unclear. Muddying the waters even more is the increasing uptake of digital content. When was the last time you recorded a program when you knew it was available online the next day?

Providing incentives to television stations by halving their licences in return for 1,490 more hours of Australian television in 2015 is a welcome one that surely must be the piece which does attract the most bipartisan support. The updating of the ABC and SBS charters in the digital climate is also logical.

So will these reforms  impact heavily on the way that journalists work’ as Malcolm Turnbull suggests?  It is an attempt to address concerns that the media can be too concentrated in the power of a few. There are doubts about its rushed timing and execution (an unfortunate characteristic of this Government), and it has attracted the inevitable criticisms of ‘changing the media when you don’t like the message.’ If that were the case, these reforms would have been announced long ago.

The impression I get via twitter is that some News Corp contributors feel that these reforms are a severe check their ability to produce factless diatribe and not be scrutinised. I await the snide IPA tweets with interest.

There will be some heavy lifting to convince those cross bench MPs who are upset that the reforms do not go far enough. If it causes angst to the MPs whose support it needs as well as the interests it is serving notice to then it seems to be somewhere close to an unhappy medium.

Writing this has served to crystallise in my mind what the media is. Jonathan Holmes makes the point that it is hard to believe the media anyway, let alone in their treatment of these reforms. Find out for yourself by reading seems to be the take home message. Read widely, follow people whose views challenge you and your opinions, not just those you unreservedly agree with .

These next two weeks will be fun reading and viewing.

Thanks to @geeksrulz and @firstdogonthemoon for their images.