Posts Tagged ‘LNP

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



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.

A simple analogy.

A family live in what was once an exciting house. It functioned well and seemed a right fit at the time.

Then little things start to stop working. The weatherboard panels have begun to rot and the water goes cold when you want hot and vice versa.

The area changes as your street becomes a major thoroughfare and you start to question your purchase with every intake of smog concentrated air.

The decision’s made easier when some of the local stoners take up residence on your nature strip.

A new estate offering an escape from this chronology of annoyances presents itself. New and safe, green and serene, but with few details beyond this attractive shopping smell.

When you chip away with some questions, you are simply told you won’t be sorry and asked if you really want to stay where you are.

You commit to an unknown change of circumstances simply on the promise that at least it’s not what you have now.

As we count down the 199 days before we decide whether to vote out the Gillard government, Australia is presented with a similar choice to the scenario above.

Phase one of Operation Abbott has fulfilled its objectives of discrediting and delaying the ALP’s legislative process through destructive, combative and often frivolous means. I have lost count of Opposition Managerial abuses of points of order and how many times the Member for Cook has been booted from Question Time. Quite apart from bad behaviour, it would have been redeeming, if only a little, had the Shadow Ministers for say Education and Foreign Affairs asked questions relevant to their portfolios instead of the latter consuming all of 2012’s final Question Time fixated on the PM’s AWU involvement and the former had asked a question relating to Gonski.

Phase Two sees a supposed change in the LNP MO. Primarily through a cuddlier and less combative Tony Abbott who at times looks like paid Sam Newman a visit for botox advice and then rolled in a barrel of Cheezels. There seems to be no accompanying slow drip of policy details, other than the repeal, reverse, rinse and repeat mantra. 

The Government has, to quote the PM, lost its way. Numerous articles have canvassed this and the polls reflect just how on the nose it really is. Despite steering Australia through the GFC, they remain destined to a slashed representation in the Lower House, with many good minds set to be wasted in a two to three term opposition. Stay with Julia Gillard and things stand as they are. Rewind to Kevin Rudd and the contempt will only boil over more. As Tony Strangio writes, this Messiah worship and a shift from leader-centred politics (as opposed to politics-centred leaders) has only weakened the ALP’s chances of a shock win on September 14.

So if we then move to the estate in the analogy above, what do we expect? If the LNP are on track for a landslide, is it any less important that we ask the strong favourites to outline their vision? They have relied heavily on the anyone but the ALP rote message. They owe us more. Tony Abbott is obliged, if not by any political or legal imperative, but by his contract with the Australian people to outline what he intends to do.

After dismantling the Carbon Price mechanism and the farcical MRRT, what then in terms of raising the revenue to backfill the void?

What tax measures does he see as appropriate in this landscape, both direct and indirect?

What educational measures will he implement from the Gonski report?

How does this Direct Action measure we first heard of 3 years ago work?

How fast will our broadband be?

Is Workchoices under that or another name really dead, buried etc? (ie what does a flexible labour market really mean for those in it?)

Many, many questions. For every day that the LNP play the small target game, the media will slowly speculate, only making the job of selling the message more difficult. Since Tony Abbott’s double spook effort with Leigh Sales and Lisa Wilkinson, he has been reluctant to appear anywhere. Or rather, Peta Credlin has told him not to.

The ALP’s best  media strategy would be to play the numerous Abbott moments on a loop, and God knows the man has been generous in his contributions. And for everyday he remains under cover, on Peta Credlin’s tight leash, these are the things we will associate with him. It is time for him to stand in the spotlight and provide either more LOLs or some leadership and vision. If he is as equipped with Economics/Law degrees and a Rhodes Scholarship, then this should be the minimum requirement.

All yours, Tony and friends.

I posted my resignation to the ALP’s electoral fate last July. One writes these things often with fingers crossed that fortunes will change and that the LNP and all that comes with it will not prevail. The Gillard led government would perhaps, largely on the back of deep unpopularity of Tony Abbott, earn a second chance it hardly deserved.

The LNP has had some degree of wind assistance via the mainstream media and some success in lying low post AshbySlipperRaresGate. While its AWU attacks failed to bear fruit, the Obeid NSW fiasco has provided enough public scorn of the image of unions and ALP corrupted, and that with little effort on behalf of the Shadow Foreign Minister (Julie Bishop in case you had forgotten).

When Paul Keating trailed John Hewson in 1993, he had some good fortune in watching the latter tangle himself in a purist economic vision that failed to translate past a chook or birthday cake, and with persistence and luck came the ‘sweetest victory’ of them all.

The last straw seems to be the recent underwhelming return on the MRRT. A paltry $126M return in its first 6 months seems to indicate that the forecasted $2B return over its first 2 years is, to put it mildly, unrealistic. The loophole of credits to mining companies for state royalties paid against any MRRT money has upset the independents and Greens (Rob Oakeshott in particular) to the point of a mooted amendment to the tax to close this loophole. Hardly an ideal scenario for the ALP heading into the never ending election campaign. Factor in more pissing in the tent by former PM Kevin Rudd and you have more ammo for an opposition that has done little heavy lifting in attacking the ALP’s execution of policy. I even found myself agreeing with George Brandis (yes, read it again it’s true) on Q and A last night as he reminded Chris Evans that ‘it was you that designed it’. Nowhere to run. And just quietly, when I agree on anything said by Brandis in criticism on the ALP, it is game over. You could even argue, as Rhys Muldoon tweeted cheekily, that the MRRT was effectively whatever number Marius Kloppers wrote on the back of a napkin. To change the MRRT now though appears to concede poor original planning (while keeping the Rudd fires burning), while staying put appears pig headed. It’s either a shit sandwich with white bread or one with wholemeal.

For all the discontent, scaremongering and protests the watered down version created, it would have been worth the opposition and vitriol to ram the Rudd version through to at least generate some return to shut the opposition up and limit their arguments to partisan policy lines.

This government has passed many good pieces of legislation under difficult conditions. It reacted quickly and appropriately to the GFC which the LNP remains amnesiac to, maintained sound economic KPIs that still makes other OECD nations envious only to fluff their lines again and again. Poor economic KPIs, with interest rates and unemployment high mean your hands are tied. To not navigate through the electoral period with what Joe Hockey described as  ‘good numbers’  is the real tragedy of this government.

There seems no other path than mutual scare campaigns, with the LNP afforded enough momentum to issue costings late in the process and without due consideration and scrutiny.

I only hope that there is a birthday cake, 2013 style.

One of the more infantile pieces of cinema that marked the futile attempt of mainstream America to execute slapstick was 2001’s Dude Where’s My Car? The drive through scene sticks in my mind the most. You know, where the boys order Chinese  only to be infuriated by the annoying ‘And then?“, resulting in the destruction of the speaker box.

My link? Well, as I have previously written, the ALP at the Federal level is headed for at best a hearty paddling. It really is just a matter of degrees, a 2 or 3 termer. But what of the incumbent Abbott government? Only recently do I detect some degree of analysis of what Abbott would bring  to the job of PM.  A great analysis of what he has hinted at, both through his interesting acts of diplomacy in the USA, China and Indonesia are dissected expertly by Dr Tim Soutphomassane ( I’ll let you read this and decide for yourself.

Beyond this, what would Tony Abbott do with a large mandate? Surely he will not be able to resist imposing his forceful will and his own vision of what Australia should be on all of us. The key word being should. Most certainly he will reward big business antagonism towards the ALP by dressing Workchoices in different clothes, citing changing circumstances. Climate deniers will also be acquiesced, with the blood oath enacted in repealing the carbon tax. The MRRT will go with the same fervour to strip back the previous government’s reforms. What will stay untouched though is the 18K tax free threshold, as such a move would represent the first scaling back of tax cuts in Australia’s history, an act of bastardry a bridge too far even for Tony Abbott.

In the light of the above changes to tax revenue, just how would Abbott, Hockey et al conjure the fiscal prowess they claim is the hallmark of Liberal governments? Will “eleventy” be able to magically produce more tax revenue? The simple answer is no. Unless of course the GST is augmented, which appears an obvious option despite Abbott’s assertions otherwise. If either party was serious though about tax reform, they would show leadership and tier the GST to reflect the necessity of the taxed item (a discourse too voluminous and complex to flesh out here in this humble rant).

Basic services like health & education, foreign aid, welfare (whether merited or not) and education will be trimmed to the necessary degree, and the area of immigration will again return to the demonic practice of housing the statistically insignificant number of asylum seekers on boats on Nauru. To be fair though, the ALP have fluffed few issues in a worse manner than this human one. The one issue that could have defined the ALP as clearly distinct from the Coalition has been ruined by the me too approach from the start, with Abbott & Scott Morrison able to fan the lowest common denominator racist sentiment with ease.

So we have an opposition leader who has had a prolonged period of little or no scrutiny due to the chronic malaise of the ALP, even if you account for whatever degree of media wind assistance you care to believe in. He has wielded the drill bit that has worn enough bricks in the wall to ensure it comes down for the Coalition to take up residence. But once the house has changed owners, it takes a person with a clear vision that relates to Australia’s future and not with its roots firmly in the Anglophillic past. Tony Abbott is not that man. And while the ALP can have no complaints when it is sent from office, those frothing at the mouth about Ju-Liar this and Ju-Liar that will need to think ahead of their next slab.

And then?