Levy or Tax

Now that the details of the Flood Levy have been officially released, the coalition is on the war path. What did Tony Abbott say?

“As soon as the Government puts on a tax, it is not an expression of generosity.”

Of course the first words out of Abbott’s mouth was that it was a TAX!!!

But wait a minute, hold the horses… what did Joe Hockey tell me when I posed the following question to him on Qanda back in May?

JON HARRIS: Over here. The Opposition will impose a levy on business to fund a paid parental leave. When does a levy become a tax?

JOE HOCKEY: When it becomes permanent.

TONY JONES: So when you propose it it’s not a tax, it’s a levy, but when…

JOE HOCKEY: Well, can I tell you I think…

TONY JONES: …you do it it’s a tax?

JOE HOCKEY: Look there are a vast number of levies. There have been gun buyback levies, sugar levies, Ansett levy. Remember that levy that was in place for a lot of travellers, and you would hope and expect and we have a history of it, that when you get the budget to surplus you get rid of levies. That’s what we do. We did that. We had the gun buyback levy. We had the Ansett levy and we got rid of them. We got rid of them once they had raised the funds necessary.

Oh I see – when the coalition proposes a levy it is just that, a levy, but when the ALP proposes a levy it is immediately labeled a tax. And note the parts that I put in bold.

I trust that Mr Hockey will be correcting his leader. I wont be holding my breath.

275 comments on “Levy or Tax

  1. One thing that I could never fathom was why Abbott’s parental paid leave scheme could be labelled ‘a levy’. Were women suddenly going to stop falling pregnant??? Clearly the answer is that is that it was just a vote buying exercise to up the ante on Labor’s scheme.

  2. Honestly they were in budget surplus with every levy the “levy for everything government” introdcued, except the the East Timor Levy. What on earth is Joe harping on.

  3. Abbott is still going on about who is going to administer the flood levy. This was a question to Gillard from a journo..sorry can’t remember which one.

    Obviously Abbott is yet to listen to Gillard’s answers or is choosing to ignore her answer.

  4. This reminds me of another one that Abbott seems to have missed. In his interview he said, What about the businesses, the farmers.

    And it’s right there on the government’s website under the link titled. “Rebuilding after the floods”.

    “The Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy provides assistance to eligible employees, small business persons and farmers who lost income as a result of the floods.”

  5. I think Abbott’s about to get wedged, especially if Julia starts asking him the questions that the media conveniently fail to ask. Go for his throat, Jules.

  6. Good one.

    I reckon Hockey & Abbott are dead in the water. They’ve opened their mouths too much over the years…and it keeps comin’ back to bite them.

    They, and Barnaby, are liabilities. The Coalition needs to start lookin’ for new leadership.

    No bellowing & negabore antics are gonna save their butts.

    Thought Julia sounded confident, determined & prepared to wage war on the Coalition today to do what she & the party think is right.


  7. Agreed Nas’, Julia got positively feisty there at one time.

    And CU it does get to be silly doesn’t it whingeing about a couple of dollars. If a person is that desperate to keep a few dollars to themselves maybe they could try similar to what our mums and grannies had to do…remember soap savers anyone. In fact consider the absolutely useless things that people buy these days..does loo paper really have to be scented and embossed???

  8. Tax/levy; its all the same. Moneybeing extracted from our pockets – the name is just semantics. IMO, the levy is not required. What IS required however is for BOTH sides of Government to get off the surplus train.

    This obsession with the friggin surplus is ludicrous – Australia has plenty of money and running a deficit a little longer to pay for flood-damaged infrastructure is neither here nor there except as a political football.

    Abbott’s continuing purile obsession with the NBN is almost as irritating as David Koch.

    I’m not so sure on whether Abbott/Hockey are onto a loser opposing this levy however. I’m not hearing much support for it. I think the Sunrise phone poll this morning was 90% against…

  9. Why is it, that when the government gives people money the opposition and the right wingers scream that it’s going to end up in poker machines and the bottle shops, yet when the government takes money the same critics reckon they’re taking food off their table? Ain’t they just so pathetic?

  10. How about Abbott saying why should Queensland floods “donors and volunteers have to pay?”.

    Out of his mouth – you ‘donate as tax avoidance’, you ‘volunteer as tax avoidance’.

    Perhaps he might like to think that one through a little harder, because it seems to be a very nasty take on what he believes lies at the base of anyone’s generosity.

    Of course, he did just say it, didn’t put it down in writing.

  11. “Julia got positively feisty there at one time.”

    Indeed Min. That direct address to the camera & Abbott. I enjoyed that. 🙂

    Abbott sounded like a moronic robot outa Futurama today.


  12. Me too Nas’..just to see Gillard’s back straighten and eyes focussing on the journo was my highlight. Agree absolutely about Abbott being robotic, he reeks of insincerity at the best of times but especially when trying to look concerned and serious.

  13. Why aren’t we able to access replay of the Press Club address? Or does that take time to be available?

  14. Why aren’t we able to access replay of the Press Club address? Or does that take time to be available

    You can get a replay on 21 at 4.30 am

  15. News.com reports that Julia Gillard faces voter backlash over flood tax.

    What on earth makes them think that? The beat-up they’ve made of it perhaps?

    But check this guy out (from the link):

    Furious Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said the tax would further crimp spending in the struggling sector, forcing employers to consider job cuts.

    The timing, coinciding with soaring electricity, water, and fruit and vegetable prices, and predictions of rises in interest rates, was disastrous.

    WTF! Cut jobs because most people will be short by 96 cents a week. I’ve never read such crap in my life. This is amongst the worst media beat-ups that I can ever recall.

    And are these the same retailers who want the government to impose a 10 per cent GST on goods bought from overseas via the internet?

    And predictions of interest rate rises! Earlier this week news.com was predicting no rises this month.

    The media in this country are a bunch of scaremongering right wing thugs. And the people who believe their crap are nothing but redneck morons.

  16. Abbott sounded like a moronic robot outa Futurama today.

    he reeks of insincerity at the best of times but especially when trying to look concerned and serious.

    It’s because he is being very carefully controlled and trying very hard to stay on script.

    The only time Abbott has a natural and free flowing speech is when he is being antagonistic and bullying like when he was Howard’s bother boy in parliament, at most other times he’s a loose cannon prone to terrible brain farts and inappropriate statements.

    The terrible stilting speech mannerism he has taken up since becoming leader of the opposition evolved not long after his first few brain farts and after a time he was taken out of circulation. So for mine it’s not so much that he is attempting to look concerned and serious but because he is a very poor actor and can’t lie well he’s struggling to not ad lib but to keep on script and remember his lines.

  17. This reminds me of the dairy farmers I dealt with who were sent broke and had to sell their land and receive a Federal Government exit payment (my taxes)as a result of de regulation ideology. Yet they still maintained the only party for the farmer was the coalition. Never look at the facts just stick to the same story.

    Joe Hockey says the levy would not be needed if the govenrment wasn’t wasteful. Based on that philosophy the “Levy for everything” Howard Goverment must have been 6 times more wasteful because it imposed 6 levies. Most of those levies were placed on every single aussie, rich, poor and pensioners. No humanitarian considerations there. No thought of using the billions in surplus there. No thought of using the fat in the budget for over spending they talk about now. In addition not one of these levies as a result of a natural disaster, but rather ideology and failed big business.

  18. What backlash Crowey, surely not the News Ltd. and right wing media beat up backlash?

    Going on their record of outright lies, deceits and exaggerations this would mean the backlash is actually against Abbott’s stance.

  19. Damo

    I tend to take the phone polls with a grain of salt for the following reason. You can ring as many times as you like and the rich can afford to make hunderds of calls.

    The total number of respondents was 4,400 odd so you only need a few hundred people to ring 10 times and the vote is skewd either way.

  20. Responses to John Howard’s East Timor Levy:

    Beazley, Kim, MP, House of Representatives, Debates , 23 November 1999, p. 12376: ‘To begin with, let me convey the opposition’s support for the proposals in the Prime Minister’s statement, both those relating to the force structure and the mechanisms put in place to pay for them’;

    Lees, Sen Meg, ‘Ministerial statement: East Timor: Australian Defence Force deployment’, Senate, Debates , 23 November 1999, p. 10421: ‘I wish to put on record the support of the Australian Democrats for those fundraising proposals and for both parts of this initiative – the Government in their actions and the comments made by the Prime Minister’.

    More here:



    Position of significant interest groups/press commentary

    Although there has been widespread support for Australia’s continued deployment of troops in East Timor, a number of business, medical and hospital groups have criticised the use of the Medicare levy to fund the cost. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the Government should have cut spending rather than impose a new tax. The Australian Industry Group also said that the levy was effectively a new tax and that it would ‘affect economic activity adversely. It will slow consumption, it will have an effect on confidence, particularly following on the recent interest rate rise and it could cut in on a slowing economy rather than a growing, faster one’.(18) The Prime Minister responded that he thought ‘the reaction of some business spokesmen on the Timor issue was just unrealistic’.(19)

    Public health groups said that they supported the Timor operation but that the Medicare levy should be used to fund health. They wanted the temporary rise in the levy extended, and the extra funds applied to public hospitals.(20) The Chief Minister of the ACT, Mrs Kate Carnell, also said that the levy should be increased permanently, but the money used for public hospitals.(21)

    The AMA said that the Medicare levy was a misnomer and the title should be scrapped. Dr David Brand, president of the AMA, said that the Government should rename the Medicare levy ‘ the ‘extra tax tax’ because that’s what it is’ .(22)

    Taxation Australia, which represents small business and other taxpayers, said using the levy was ‘questionable’ and ‘just another burden on middle Australia’. They suggested that the Government should have funded the military operation by cutting spending or going into deficit for a year.(23) Ray Regan of the Taxpayers Association said on the 7.30 Report on 23 November 1999 that

    Ordinary taxpayers are paying an additional $1 billion. Big business, who are boasting the highest-ever recorded margins and profits, aren’t paying one cent. So that, where most taxpayers would say, ‘Be fair and reasonable’, but be fair and reasonable to all taxpayers, not just the soft targets, which is in this case, up to two million ordinary Australians.(24)

    16. Michelle Grattan, ‘New tax funds Timor’, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 November 1999, p. 1.

    17. Tom Allard, ‘Levy will hit high earners hardest’, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 November 1999, p. 9.

    Also Ian Henderson, ‘Battlers spared any surplus burden’, Australian, 24 November 1999, p. 4.

    18. ‘Business and doctors oppose levy’, Canberra Times, 25 November 1999, p. 2.

    19. Ross Peake, ‘Business reaction to Timor tax unreal: PM’, Canberra Times, 26 November 1999, p. 2.

    20. ‘Extend East Timor levy to fund health – PHAA’, Public Health Association of Australia Inc., Media release, 23 November 1999.

    21. ‘Make it permanent, says Carnell, but for hospitals’, Canberra Times, 24 November 1999.

    22. ‘Scrap the Medicare levy, say doctors’, Australian, 25 November 1999, p. 3.

    23. ‘Mixed response to Medicare levy increase’, by Mary-Anne Toy, Age, 24 November 1999.

    24. Ray Regan, Taxpayers Association, ‘East Timor: high- earning taxpayers to pay a levy to cover the cost of peacekeeping troops’, 7.30 Report, 23 November 1999, p. 2. This argument was also made by Professor Fran Baum, president of the Public Health Association who said that ‘any new tax for specific purposes, like this one, and the guns buy-back scheme before it, should also apply to business. Business is recording record profits yet will not be required to foot the bill for East Timor.’ (Canberra Times, 25 November 1999)

    More here:

    Very interesting.


  21. The Howard government bought in six headline levies Shane but actually implemented a whole slew of them either hidden in excise arrangements or revenue arrangements.

    Costello went to court and won to stop being made public the difference between his budget projections and the breakdown of the actual revenue used in those projections and the real outcomes of the projections. I suspect one of the reasons he fought so hard on this matter apart from it revealing his and Howard’s lying, was it would also reveal the hidden levies.

    By the way the main request that Costello fought against making public the information was that the Howard government was accused of cooking the budgetary books.

    Howard/Costello would come out with a policy like the baby bonus or first home owners scheme for instance and state they would spend x billions on it. They would deliberately put a lot of onerous and complicated conditions on getting any money from the policy that had the effect of excluding or restricting some from receiving it, or being only able to receive a portion of it. They would also hold up and delay payments.

    The result of this was that not all the money promised was spent and the unspent money was rolled back into consolidated revenue of used elsewhere. But the Howard government would always claim in their budgetary statements they spent the full amount promised, so they would brag they spent x on education and y on health etc. when in reality they did no such thing.

    It was someone in the media, can’t remember who now, that asked for the figures for the budgeted amount on any policy and the actual amount spent on that policy. This information must have been so damning that Costello went to court to have it stopped from being made public on the grounds it was not in the public interest. He won.

  22. Beazley on East Timor Levy:

    KIM BEAZLEY: Now, Mr Speaker, to begin with, let me convey the Opposition’s support for the proposals in this statement, both those related to the four structure and the mechanisms put in place to pay for them. I should say on this that that, of course, is subject to our internal procedures. We’ve only had a couple of hours to view this statement and the proposition, but I don’t believe that a different opinion would emerge from that process.

    We believe the statement to be consistent with Labor’s strong support for INTERFET, for the ADF generally and for the people of East Timor in their hour of need. Can I say about that commitment that has been made by our soldiers to this point, that I agree with the Prime Minister in everything he said on that, and the fact that they are deserving of the admiration and thanks of the Australian people for the task that they have performed.

    The aspect of this statement which will attract the most attention is, of course, the Defence East Timor levy, so I’ll deal with that first. Again, as I said, subject to our internal processes, I’d indicate our in-principle support for that levy. This is consistent with our view that the troops must have everything they need in this deployment and that there are real questions for our Defence Force structure down the track.

    I might add we couldn’t have a better reminder of the need to ensure revenue neutrality in the business tax reforms nor a better reminder for the need to pass the on-going offsetting arrangements for the GST package. The Prime Minister in his remarks referred to the fact that some difficulty had been created in the relevant year of the operation of this levy by the deal struck with the Democrats in the Senate in relation to passage of the GST, some 1.8 billion.

    To complete the picture associated with that, I think I should add another figure, and that is the figure of the cost of the totality of the GST package to the budget in that year, which is six billion. There is a total overall cost to the budget in the operation of the first three years of the GST of 17 billion. There is no question at all that in the absence of putting in place this particular set of proposals, this is a commitment that Australia could have done standing on its head.

    However, that is water under the bridge, that is water under the bridge, and we are obliged to deal with the realities that we now confront, and the realities that we now confront are that there will be a shortfall which will need to be made up in some way, and the mechanism that has been put forward, I would say, is about as fair a way as you could contemplate making that up.

    More here:

    Not just playin’ the “opposition for opposition’s sake” role like Mr. Negabore Abbott.


  23. The difference between the unhinged, hypocritical and logically deficient response by the opposition and their media mates in comparison to the response to the previous GBNT/levies is astounding. It proves once and for all that the opposition is not there to provide a reasonable counter-argument for the best way forward for our country, they are there simply to block and destroy!! Bugger the country.

  24. “It proves once and for all that the opposition is not there to provide a reasonable counter-argument for the best way forward for our country, they are there simply to block and destroy!! Bugger the country.”

    Sadly Tom yer right.

    There are a number of arguments people can make for takin’ an alternative approach to the levy (I disagree w/ them…but only just…Grog & Billy Blog & others can be persuasive…and it’s useful to have real debate, differences, discussion)…

    but so much of the media prefers to go w/ the Abbott negabore & Hockey bellowin’ & Barnaby hotheaded approach…and far too many apathetic, or overly busy, readers/listeners/viewers fall for that reductionist, mean-spirited approach.

    It really is quite depessing.

    I’m hearing alot of MEME ME…”I’ve done my bit…so why should I pay more?” stuff…

    Just undermines the whole altruistic thing…and I’m certain some speakin’ out are just sh*t stirrers, cheapos & some politically-motivated who have really done bugger all.

    Reconstruction & aiding those effected by natural disasters takes many years…it’s not just a few days effort.

    You only have to look at New Orleans to see that.


  25. Tom, such as people who have given donations getting ‘slugged’. It’s means tested..it would take a mean spirit to begrudge a couple of dollars just because you have already donated. Then you could end up with the rorters who think that because they’ve thrown in 10 bucks that they can use this to get out of paying the levy.

    Stupid letters from equally stupid people on Sky of the Why should I pay variety.

  26. Hows this

    Went into the next room and got my lunch out of the fridge and put it in the microwave to heat for 3 mins. Wasn’t hot enough, so got it out of the microwave and put it back in the fridge and put the microwave on for a further minute.

    Went back and opened the micrwave and couldn’t find my lunch. Looked everywhere. Then checked the fridge. Needless to say it is back in the microwave.

  27. Good points Min & Tom.

    “Tom, such as people who have given donations getting ‘slugged’.”

    Min, the ABC QLD newsreader last nite opened the news w/ the word “slugged” related to the flood levy.

    It’s just not on. It’s manufacturing negative perceptions…and/or hopping on the negabore bandwagon…

    and all objectivity is thrown out the window.

    Poor news reporting.


  28. Here we go… I missed what Gillard said but Sky is interviewing Wong and put forward that Gillard is ‘losing it’. Apparently Gillard dared to answer a question strongly.

  29. joni et al,

    check out the comments here:



    I for one have deferred donating to the flood appeal – something I would normally do for a couple of hundred dollars – till I know if the government is going to take the money from me whether I donate or not. I suspect there are many like me out there.

    We gave to the flood appeal whilst I supported the levy.

    How tight-arsed can people get.

    The fact that the government used taxpayer’s money to help w/ the tsunami didn’t stop us from donating as well.

    This is sad stuff.


  30. Shane, it sounds as if you need to fit your lunches with a homing device 🙂

    Nas’, I’m convinced that the media don’t want solutions they only want problems.

  31. It does Min, could not believe ho silly I was.

    Then again they say people with brilliant minds lack a degree of common sense 🙂

  32. “I missed what Gillard said but Sky is interviewing Wong and put forward that Gillard is ‘losing it’. Apparently Gillard dared to answer a question strongly.”


    “The great unhinging resumes”

    That’s the Murdoch-related media for ya. Take passion & determination & turn it into “unhinged” or “bullying”…by using snippets, certain camera angles, out of context material, distortion of voice, biased & BSing commentator’s opinions stated over & over again…

    We’ve seen them do this for years…to Gore, Kerry, Rudd…on & on.

    An evil empire.

    W/ plenty of gutless copycats, kowtowers, lazy-arses & wannabees.


  33. Thanks CU, but You can get a replay on 21 at 4.30 am needs translation for me. 21? 4.30am – any day? E.S.T?

    Sometimes I feel my years.

  34. Did anyone watch Sunrise this morning? Word is that Koch was giving Julia a hammering, with such childish questions as will the government give the money back to taxpayers if the rebuildings costs are less than the levy raised.

    What a great idea. Let’s send every tax payer a cheque for 15 cents as their refund. That’ll help put food back on the table.

  35. Hockey’s theme is feigned anger about being ‘slugged’ for a couple of dollars while having to pay more for fruit and veg. A quick saunter around the supermarket reveals just how many of our fruit and veg are Australian grown.

  36. Am I still jet lagged and jaundiced or have I come back to the wrong country? Where are all the generous, happy go lucky, beer drinking gals and guys who spent freely at the pub and bought lattes on their way to work, happily donating their few coins of change to collectors for a good cause on the street? They were here ten days ago, worrying about mates in Queensland and either sending cash to help or taking leave to go up there themselves to hep with the clean-up. TV news channels and the papers were full of stories about them.

    Now I’ve woken up to intereviews with people earning a thousand bucks a week doing it tough! And reading comments from people who gave a few dollars to flood appeals regretting it because now they’ve got to fork out another dollar a week on the levy! How come I’ve never before met these whinging penny pinchers?

    What happened to this country while I was away? Is it going to stay this way? If it is, I’m emigrating.

    Reassure me. Tell me this is a bad dream.

  37. Patricia, I am absolutely certain that the good people who are still volunteering, still cleaning up the mess, still out there on the streets collecting money and organising cake stalls would be just as appalled to read these comments.

    ‘I wish that I hadn’t bothered to throw in that 50 cent piece because now I’m going to be “slugged” with $1.50. It’s a big kick in the teeth for the army of volunteers.

  38. “Did anyone watch Sunrise this morning? Word is that Koch was giving Julia a hammering, with such childish questions”

    I sure hope Julia can stand up to the head kickin’.

    It was awful what the media did to Rudd.

    Julia Gillard has to reach inside herself & find that tough girl who made it to the top.

    Even Maggie Thatcher, Bob Hawke, Ronald Reagan, John Howard, Paul Keating & Bill Clinton had their tough days…but they kept on goin’.

    Julia can’t afford to let doubt & fatigue & lies eat into her.

    She has to put up a SHIELD. And use her SWORD expertly.

    Make the young girls of this country proud.

    And the ALP need to fully get behind her. No more of this RAT stuff.

    If Abbott gets in…it will be a bloody religious-driven, greedy-arse dominated disaster. HUP HUP HUP!


  39. Found this little transcript between George Negus and Tony Abbott if you can stomach clicking on the Liberal Party’s website. here is a sample


    I guess what I’m saying is, why the gun buy-back levy, the pay-outs for the Ansett workers, the sugar industry, the dairy industry, when your government, when you were in government and those levies were introduced, which must have had an impost on the Australian people, right? Why are they Ok and the levy suggested by the Gillard Labor Government not Ok other than you’re just playing pure politics?


    Because there was no out of control spending under the Howard Government. You never had stuff like pink batts.


    You recon this lot are totally out of control even though at the moment it’s not economics as usual, it’s not the country as usual.


    Well, the point I make, we have seen consistently from this Government that spending gets out of control. Whether it be pink batts or school halls the spending is out of control.


    Let’s leave it at this, at this state. Would you take this so far as an opportunity that you must, in the back of your head somewhere, have? That this could bring down the Gillard Government if you pushed it hard enough. If you could get into the independents’ ears, do you think this is the first real chance that you’ve had to actually roll the Gillard Government ahead of the three years and wouldn’t it be a bit pathetic, a pathetic irony if you like, that it was a thing as awful as the flood that gave you this opportunity?

  40. Choke, choke…”no out of control spending under the Howard government”.

    That’s the 2nd time that I’ve heard of that coming from Abbott, that school halls have been said in the same breath as money being wasted.

    Where on earth is the logic and why on earth can’t a journalist grow a brain and pick Abbott up on it when Abbott speak utter cr*p. Ok, so according to Abbott Australia should never provide schools with important infrastructure such as science blocks, undercover walkways and halls and disabled toilets just in case that sometime in the future there is another natural disaster.

  41. Thnx for the transcript Augustus.

    “Where on earth is the logic and why on earth can’t a journalist grow a brain and pick Abbott up on it when Abbott speaks utter cr*p?”


    It’s enuff to make ya wanna thro the tele out the window.

    You’d think George Negus after doin’ such a useful job on Dateline would know better.

    If those regional rorts, the Iraq War, middle class welfare, baby bonuses weren’t out of control spending then what were they?

    And the costs to implement the GST?

    And WorkChoices?…w/ those bloody mouse pads.

    And political advertising?

    Gimme a break!

    C’mon George…you can do better than that.


  42. Swan is on Sky at the moment, thank goodness..a voice in the wilderness providing factual information instead of the cases of hysteria we’ve been subjected to. Nothing could be clearer, Swan used the example of the self-sacrifice of the lad who was swept away after saving his brother. Now compare this with those who bleat about a couple of lousy dollars.

  43. “Just a thought – could people minimise the effect of the levy by making a tax deductible donation?”

    Joni, the flaw in your argument is that the voluntary donations and the levy money are being spent in different areas.

    What amazes me, that many who claim to made donations, are the ones also complaining about the levy assisting people too stupid or mean to take out adequate insurance. This, when it has been made very clear the levy is to rebuild infrastructure, no private homes.

    I cannot recall so much tripe and hysteria being written or said, that has occurred in the last few days.

    We need to remember we are in the run up to the budget, and those making demands for more cuts just might get their wish.

    I noticed that PM Gillard is at last responding to those who patronise her. Retort on 2UE this morning was well placed.

    A good contribution to how th address the flood problem at this address.


  44. Choke, choke…”no out of control spending under the Howard government”.

    That’s the 2nd time that I’ve heard of that coming from Abbott, that school halls have been said in the same breath as money being wasted.

    How about some journalist throwing this at Abbott.

    Between the 2004/05 Budget and the 2007 election Howard and Costello “spent or gave away” $314 billion of the extra revenue raked off from the mining boom. That’s the biggest cash-splash in Australia’s history! Tragically for the national future, little of that went into physical infrastructure, which stagnated and deteriorated. Investment in “human capital” also suffered. Tertiary education funding (an area of federal responsibility) actually went into reverse under the Coalition. A situation which put Australia at odds to most of our OECD competitors and will have negative repercussions on this economy for decades to come.

    Thanks to the use of bribes and electoral sweeteners to individuals Howard/Costello inculcated a welfare-entitlement mentality in many in the middle to upper income brackets. Weaning them off that ‘addiction’ is fraught with political pain for any responsible government that has and will try.

  45. Excellent post Joni,
    Nas, I heard Negus the week before his new gig started, suggesting that maybe Julia needed a psychologist, what with the “which Julia” an’ all, and haven’t bothered to watch him at all. He’s just another gun for hire these days. Which is the “real George”, the Dateline George or the Ch. 10 George?
    I noticed someone tweeted Joe Hockey yesterday about tax, but when I went looking for it, it seemed to have disappeared! Funny about that.
    The MSM and the Lieberals are in lock-step with their lies and blather, not to mention the commercial TV and worst of all the ABC. Sometime soon, the Govt. has to decide who gets the Australia News Network contract and I don’t feel at all confident that it won’t be given to Ol’ Rupert, given his tactics with the UK govt these days. From various reports, he has a liking for “breakfast” with leaders here and in the UK.

  46. Below is a letter I’ve just emailed to the OO and the Advertiser after reading the letters to the editor and an article about some fat selfish bitch pictured alongside her open fridge, groaning under the weight of all the luxury items inside and her equally appalling children whining about having to pay the levy:

    Mr Abbott seems to have a very short and extremely selective memory when it comes to the imposition of levies. The Howard government imposed at least six levies on the taxpayers of this country, one of which was applied for nine, yes nine years and all but the gun buy back levy were imposed while the budget was in surplus. Not one of the levies was imposed to fund the rebuilding of infrastructure after a devastating natural disaster. At least one levy, the Milk levy, was instrumental in driving a lot of dairy farmers off their farms; a reflection of the Opposition’s attitude to those in need, perhaps?

    It should also be noted that on QandA on Monday 17 May 2010, Joe
    Hockey claimed that a levy only becomes a tax when it is imposed for
    longer than a year, so by the opposition’s own definition, the
    government is imposing a one-off levy not a tax, which will raise
    $1.8bn toward the cost of rebuilding flood ravaged areas of Australia.
    The balance will be raised by cost cutting measures.

    I find it extraordinary that the Opposition, which while in government
    and at a time when the budget was in surplus, was only too happy to
    rip off the taxpayer with extra taxes (by their own definition),
    posing as levies. Yet they now begrudge raising $1.8bn by levy, to
    assist people who have lost everything, including lives, in the
    aftermath one of the worst natural disasters this country has
    suffered! This shows the same do-nothing philosophy they adopted
    during the GFC, the consequences of which still stalk Europe and the

    Their calls to scrap the NBN is beyond belief; infrastructure in
    Queensland has been wiped out in many areas and these Scrooges are demanding that it should be replaced with 40-year old second rate technology! Will they demand that material to replace buildings be sourced from the local tip?

    The carping and mean-spiritedness of this Opposition and their
    strident supporters on purely ideological grounds should be repellent
    to any right-minded person. They should be thoroughly ashamed of
    themselves; they are a disgrace.

    For all the whingers who are so mean-spirited they begrudge paying
    between $24.96-$1,250 for one year, I say shame on you as you sit
    secure in your houses with refrigerators full, all your clothes,
    multiple television sets, cars, pets and memorabilia intact. You
    should reflect that you could also be the victim of a disaster, lose
    the lot and have to rely on the government to raise funds to finance
    the rebuilding of your lives. In that case you’d better hope to God
    that the people being asked to pay a levy to help you, don’t have your appalling attitude.

    In fact, I think the government should scrap your levy payments and
    instead send you to help with the reconstruction at your own expense, carrying a big sign around your necks announcing that you were to mean to pay a few paltry dollars to help out.

    The levy will be imposed on my family and we will gladly pay it. And
    we also donated to the Premier’s flood relief fund, in case anyone
    tries to take a cheap shot.

    I doubt it will be published; it’s too long, but will have another crack when I’ve cooled down a bit.

    Patricia, welcome home to this ghastly selfish mob, snivelling about paying at the least $24.96/year and at the top end, $1,250 all up. This is what 11½ years of Rodentochracy has done to this country!

    I will return for another rant when I’ve cooled down a bit!

  47. I didn’t think George Negus did a bad job there. What’s astounding is that the Liberal Party have published that transcript presumably unvarnished or censored and thinking Abbott did a good job with the interview! What a threadbare case he has! And he keeps repeating it!

    Money spent on school halls wasted? With a 97% success report card? The insulation scheme has been done to death, quite literally. Its usefulness at the height of the GFC has never been properly exploited by the government.

    We need a ruthlessly honest rebutter out there countering him every time. Sadly though the Murdoch media is so all pervasive even they would not get the exposure.

  48. I am stunned! The two of the commentators on Sky have estimated that Julia’s performance as – found her feet, found her voice. Broad support for Gillard’s proposal. Feisty effort this morning selling the plan.

  49. Sorry, I meant the abc 1 at 4.30 am this mornig. Sometimes but not always, they repeat the day before programme. I do not know why the Press Council does not allow access on the web like most others do today.

  50. I refused to believe that the majority of Australians have become narrow minded, self centred and ignorant as the anecdotal evidence seems to imply.

    The comments on many sites seem to indicate this. There are many letters that are just plain wrong, they cannot be read any other way. They are screaming blue murder about a levy, which a large number will only be paying a dollar or two or nothing a week.

    These same people are alleging that if a family has a couple of dollars less to spend a week, the economy will collapsed. The worse outcome of their attitude is to talk the economy down.

    They are making nasty and spiteful comments that are not based on reality of what is happening in our community.

    There is other anecdotal evidence that suggests otherwise. We have seen hundred of thousands of Australians dig deep in their pockets to help the same people. Many thousands have travelled long distances and donned work clothes and spent their free time wallowing in filthy mud to be of assistance. Firms have donated their equipment to remove the same rubbish, I would not be surprised in some instances, their staff.

    I do beg Australians not to let themselves to become the tools of the rich and powerful in their endeavour to protect the position they hold in society. They will try to convince you what is good for them, makes your life better. This is not true, the needs of most Australians does not depend on or are related to what the rich and powerful want.

    Which vision of Australians is correct. I do hope it is the latter.

    I know many of us are attempting to use the web as a way of bypassing the MSM. We must not forget that all sides have access to this process. I suggest that the right are at last getting their act together. We just have to work harder. I spent many wasteful hours trying to get comments on their sites, some do slip through, to make it worthwhile.

    I am glad that most of the sites with a slight, very slight leftwing tilt to the left, do not appear to filter out comments to those who think alike.

  51. CU, youngest was saying that one chap travelled from FNQ to provide his landscaping gear so that a job which would have taken her and friends days took about 2 hours. Daughter is still out there helping others which has put her way behind with her aim and that is to finish her PhD thesis by July. My own little local heroine.

  52. Min, that is the anecdotal evidence I am talking about. The two pictures of I have of Australian people just don’t gel.

  53. I am still interested in creating a list, similar to the one on Coalition levies. What I would like to investigate how many of our institutions such as health, childcare, education, welfare, age pensions and many others that were better when Mr. Howard left office than when he became PM. Maybe some on this site can assist me. I am not interested in deficits or surpluses but outcomes for the money spent.

    The first:- item for my list. It appears the outcome for The Extended Medicare Safety Net belongs in the Waste and Failure column.

    The second:- Please help me.

  54. I would also like to know how many of Mr. Howard’s Technical High Schools were built. Does anyone have any information of how successful they are. Do they offer more that the normal high school or the TAFE system?

  55. How much did it cost to put flag poles in every school play ground. What was the benefit of this to education standards. Do the schools still use the flag pole regularly. What did they fly their flags from before this Commonwealth outlay

  56. Well done jane. You speak to truth.

    Sometime soon, the Govt. has to decide who gets the Australia News Network contract and I don’t feel at all confident that it won’t be given to Ol’ Rupert, given his tactics with the UK govt these days. From various reports, he has a liking for “breakfast” with leaders here and in the UK.

    It seems noone can say NO to this man’s ugly ambition.

    In the future, people will look back on these days and wonder how one man could have such influence over & ownership of the mainstream media in so called “democratic societies”.

    Every foolish politician who kowtows to him & his empire minions is slapping in the face every independent journo, blogger & commentator across our countries…and everyone who expects their news to be delivered w/out lashings of political bias.

    News Ltd, w/ the aid of a number of shock jocks & corporate swines, includin’ some resource/energy magnates, has managed to divide our communities and bring out mean streaks this past decade the likes of which many haven’t experienced since the Vietnam War.

    You would’ve thought that the lessons woulda be learnt from those tragically friend & family-dividin’ years…

    but in fact these sh*t stirrers have pulled on not only that history to develop their techniques and tactics…

    but even reached into the ugly bowels of history…the worse aspects of the Reagan/Thatcher years, segregation battles, reds under the bed & McCarthy era, various propagandists from both communist & fascist regimes…even the American Civil War & American Revolution…and various fundy religious icons.

    Berlusconi’s no better.

    They have exploited their ownership & influence over TV productions (including animated shows), advertising, magazines, radio, fashion, movies, social network sites, PayTV, sport’s teams, celebrities, blogs, musicians, politicians & 24 hour news networks…and so on…

    to implant their cynical, negabore, narrow-minded, insatiable greed for power-driven, too oft backward thinkin’, mean-spirited, contradictory based on profit motive, confusin’, sewer-dwellin’, anti-intellectual, covertly elitist, politically biased messages in the heads of the many.

    Consequently, rather than people responding to issues in a generally rational fashion…we have hysteria, confusion, bellowing, hate and an undermining of government as too many of the populace present contradictory arguments & demands…

    not knowing whether they are Arthur or Martha.

    And people like ourselves, who could be gettin’ on w/ our lives are forced, like ragtag armies & guerillas attemptin’ to break the siege of their towns…occupation of their countries…to stand and fight…and resist…and empower…and enlighten.

    It takes its toll…because it seems like so many who could assist if they had the courage…don’t.

    The slack cross-media ownership laws a case in point. Too few pollies w/ guts & grit.

    Afraid bad guys are gonna run ’em outa town. Or shoot ’em down in their rags.

    Media barons…runnin’ rampant w/ their mob, scarin’ the folk into obeyance…takin’ whatever they want…like land barons of old.


  57. Thanx, Min. I blame my fellow mean-spirited citizens for enraging me. This country has too many Neil clones.

    I am more concern as the damage that can be caused by massive cuts.

    Me too, CU. Sod the surplus, let’s put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

    The levy payment will amount to .48c/week for those earning over $50,000pa up to $24.04/week for those on $200,00+pa, which amounts to $24.96/year for the bottom of the levy payers up to $1,250/year for those at the top end.

    They seem able to afford an extravagant lifestyle, but not a few bob to help people who have lost their houses, all their possessions and in some cases, loved ones. They sicken me, the selfish, greedy sods!

    I bet they’re always the first ones elbowing everyone out
    of the way if they think there’s a cent in it for them, because it’s all about them isn’t it?

    ME @8.56am, this is the stuff the government should be shouting from the rooftops and demanding an explanation from the hypocritical, corrupt Smuggles Set!

    Tom R @9.42am, couldn’t agree more.

    I’m hearing alot of MEME ME…”I’ve done my bit…so why should I pay more?” stuff…

    This is exactly what I’m hearing and the very thing Patricia commented on. We seem to have turned into a nation of petty, mean, grasping, greedy hypocrites devoid of empathy thanks to 11½ years of Rodent rule.

    It’s no wonder they lack empathy for asylum seekers.

    It makes me wonder how flood victims and volunteers feel when they hear and read this vile, mean spirited, spiteful gimme, gimme, gimme invective from people for whom the greatest tragedy is if the supermarket has run out of their favourite brand of coffee.

    I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ashamed of this country. And I really hope the victims let the Smuggles Set know how disgusting they find their behaviour at the ballot box.

  58. Nas’ re Emperor Rupert; perhaps he’ll have the good grace to pop his clogs and they’ll bury Dolt, Pies, Shanahan, Albrechtson and the remnants of the Rodentochracy with him. One can only dream!

    The Seasprite debacle should be mentioned at every opportunity as an example of wasteful spending by the Rodent and his acolytes.

  59. Jane, I agree absolutely there is that sort of person around (sadly far too many of them) who wouldn’t lift a finger for anyone unless they see something in it for themselves. Who base everything in their lives on the basis of ‘what’s in it for me’.

  60. I sometimes wonder about the people who endlessly repeat Abbott’s label that ‘pink batts’ are proof of government waste yet these people also took advantage of the scheme. A bit hypocritical don’t you think, one puts one’s money where one’s mouth is in my book.

  61. I believe we were turning selfish even before the “levy for everything government’ came to power.

    It started with the removal of salary levles being available for all to see, to the secretive world of competitive employment which pitched employee against employee, while management salaries sky rocketed. It was all about breaking the collective in the workforce.

    Once broken the next step was to dispose of as many government owned enterprises to break unions and free up assets for private control.

    With asset sales came tax cuts for the rich and a few morsels for the middle class and a plethora of welfare which created the greed mentality.

    Then came the outsourcing of employment with most companies forcing many of the their employees to become self employed contractors to avoid obligations such as Holiday Pay, Superannuation Contributions, Long Service Leave, Sick Leave, Payroll Tax etc etc.

    As a result many people are now forced to look after number 1 because no one else is.

    Unfortunately we cannot outsource politicians who continue the gravy train of salary, super and benefits which far exceeed the standard.

    Now it has become every man for themselves which plays straight into the bosses and corporations who now have previous emplyees compete against each other by providing quotes. Lowest quote wins. Other previous employee has no income. Divide and conquer.

    The latest one is outsourcing of valuations to a dominating company which dictates the price paid to a valuer. The dominating company takes the valuation from the Bank and then faxes the valuer of their choice. For this they now pay the valuer almost 1/4 of what they used to be paid by the Banks direct.

    I think the next businesses type to be outsourced will be accountancy. A big company will offer a discount and there will be a domino effect like has happened to the valuers.

  62. Well said Shane.

    Great contributions this week ALL.

    Highly informative. Some great researchin’…and links & quotes/transcripts.

    Many thnx from the Café. Your café.

    Drinks all round:


  63. It seems that I’ve arrived just in time…I believe that I still have the key to the Café’s extensive cellar.

  64. Great contributions this week all

    Gotta 2nd that Nas – an exceptional week by contributors at the Café with a special mention to Shane – his work on the “levy for everything government” was outstanding!

  65. “Once broken the next step was to dispose of as many government owned enterprises to break unions..” or any of their potential supporters such as by demolishing University Student Unions and so in many cases goodbye to student services such as discounted meals, haircuts, child care, book exchanges, accommodation services and counselling. Even the Nats foresaw what the results of Howard banning student union fees would be.

    But of course these things were very low on Howard’s priority list compared with wanting to defang the Leftie “radicals” who cause such a stir on campus, plus as a bonus it also helped to keep the working class in their rightful place.

  66. Migs

    I haven’t got any step by step instructions to post yet. Did you send them. And I do need them simple and step by step 🙂

  67. Thanks all for the kind words regarding comments.

    I had planned to post my levy for everything as a post on here at the time. As you know I comment here and GT and it was just that GT took my comment and made it a post (not that I minded).

    Julia needs to stand firm. Maintain the attack just like Abbott does.

  68. Bacchus will be thirsty

    Yes Migs, it’s been an exhausting week reading all the wonderful contributions here – and coping with the rising anger from all those mean, tight@r$ed commenters on Ltd News sites who regret making a donation because now some of them will have to pay less than $1 week to help with infrastructure reconstruction – GRRRRRR (Bacchus’ impersonation of the bear 😀 )

    To help cope, I’ve made an extra contribution to the Premier’s Flood Appeal and added a donation to the Salvos’ appeal as well, and I’m more than happy to pay the levy – perhaps Mr Windsor has it right when he suggests it become a permanent tax – bushfires, floods, and cyclones are guaranteed to happen again, and more frequently.

    Now about that drink Min, my friend 😉

  69. When I get home Shane I’ll send you the instructions.

    I’ll also add that the comments here this last week or so have been outstanding from one and all. Indeed, the comments across the blogosphere in general have been fair and balanced. Even those with differing opinions have put forward good arguments.

    As outstanding as the blogs have been, their passion has not matched the shrill of the mutants that contribute comments on news.com. The ugly Australian has been truly exposed and given leverage by the spiteful Murdochracy.

    But this will change. We will find our voice. I’ve only just started to clear my throat.

  70. Bacchus sorry to leave you sitting there thirsty. Migs you mean that you trust me with the key again after the last time 😯

  71. OMG Bacchus clearly not, but that’s even worse than I expected! Perhaps we could head off to the cellar and act as each other’s chaperones 🙂

  72. “I believe Bacchus knows his way around the cellar quite nicely thank you very much.”

    Since I gave him a lantern Migs. Might help if ya paid the electricity bill. 🙂


  73. They astound me. One young lady at the club livid about the flood levy, claiming that in a single income family every cent is precious.

    I wonder if she thought that as she was filling up a poker machine.

  74. “Augustus
    Found this little transcript between George Negus and Tony Abbott if you can stomach clicking on the Liberal Party’s website. here is a sample”

    Anyone that visits this site, should go to the bottom of the page and look at the previous and next interviews. I find it hard to believe that they are proud to have these interviews anywhere near the Liberal site.

  75. Candles and wine and Bacchus! The first two are appealing. Perhaps you wouldn’t mind taking his place, Min. Not that I don’t mind Bacchus, but I wouldn’t take him on a date. 😕

  76. but I wouldn’t take him on a date.

    I’m sure Min’s taste in dates is a little different to yours Migs 😀

  77. Lol, Migs @10.56pm. It’s like the stupid tart in today’s Advertiser. There she was standing alongside her open fridge bulging with stuff, crying poor-mouth when she obviously has an affluent lifestyle butbegrudges a few dollars a week to help rebuild flood ravaged infrastructure.

    The very most she’ll pay is $1,250 if her income is at the top of the range. If her income is 50,000+, she’s only looking at 48c/week, which amounts to the princely sum of $24.96 for the life of the levy. Yeah, that’ll send her to the wall, alright.

    I can’t help hoping her house burns down around her ears. then she would have a something to whine about.

  78. Very precisely put by Peter Hartcher..

    The opposition, in short, is playing pure, unadulterated, 100 per cent politics with the recovery from a national, natural disaster.


    He and his team are persisting with it (truculent oppositionism), failing to see that this is not a moment for partisan politics, not a subject for angry oppositionism, and not the right time for tricky campaigning.

    This is a real-world disaster, not a Canberra parlour game.


  79. help I cannot open up the comments field in the new TPS blog site is anyone else having a problem and I have no email address for it to contact them direct. If this keeps up I will be suffering acute withdrawal symptoms shortly. Peter Hatcher was spot on Julia needs to come out baseball bat in hand and crack a few Libs and journo’s head asap

  80. According to the news last night Bilko, Giilard is already going off the handle. They played a sound bite of her telling some radio interviewer not to try and put words in her mouth (or some such) and this was their evidence of her unhinging. They then proceeded to tell us that people directly affected by the floods were against this levy. To support this, they played a clip of tabot having his whinge. Funnily enough, I have not seen a replay of the case Gillard made for the tax at the press club played anywhere. The only clips I have seen from that were short bursts highlighting her saying ‘mateship’, and making their point from there about the government playing on peoples emotions

    FWits one and all

  81. What is wrong with Julia Gillard, she is an extremely poor communicator her robotic appearances and the way she expresses herself, are a major downfall not only for her but for the Labor Party as a whole.

  82. Catching Up, you should add the failure of the howard in respect to childcare to your list.

    Yes, it started under Keating, but it got out of control under howard. In fact, one could argue, he pushed it that way.

    Another massive rort and wastage of the previous government, completely ignored by our media.



  83. Bilko, I think that Ad astra has been getting his son to add some updates to the TPS site and some minor interuptions were expected. So keep trying.

  84. Crowey,
    I thought Julia sounded good this week…firm, determined…gettin’ on w/ the job. Vast improvement I reckon.

    You really are startin’ to sound like someone from the Liberal’s PR firm.

    “Funnily enough, I have not seen a replay of the case Gillard made for the tax at the press club played anywhere.”

    Tom, I noticed the same. It’s why leaders should give important speeches at night on the main TV channels…like they do in America. So the public get all the information rather than the snippets & distorted bits.

    Gawd Abbott’s a bad performer…he comes across like a fish that’s just learnt to live on land and talk.


  85. nasking, I am not a bloody conservative never have been and never will be. that an insult to my integrity, I only express it the way I see and hear it.

  86. Crowey,
    startin’ to sound like somethin’ doesn’t mean you are that.

    Just an observation on my part.

    Feel free to criticise Gillard all ya want. If I agree or disagree I’ll tell ya so.


  87. Min, great comments from Peter Hartcher and I was encouraged to read them.

    Crowey, I do remember you being very critical of the right wing of this country on many occasion. Feel free to keep it up. 😀

    A lot of people have been critical of Julia at the moment, however, I reckon her performances are brilliant compared to Abbott’s.

  88. Folks, I’ll be engaged for the next 48 hours (unless I get the chance to lurk from my iPhone). I’ll be back with a new thread on Monday arvo/evening about why I dislike Rupert Murdoch.

    Min’s holding the cellar key in my absence. Can the next person who goes down into the cellar please look for Bacchus?

  89. I agree with comments here and I have said the same myself, that some of Julia’s performances have been wooden compared with the Julia of old. However, several members of the media have agreed that her performance at the NPS was excellent. Maybe a reason why the media haven’t replayed it…maybe the media choose to broadcast only select part where Julia does sound wooden. Imagine if they did they did the same with Abbott.

    Not to go unmentioned are the performances of Rudd and Swan..both are at their best.

  90. Christopher Joye has a fantastic article up at the moment. Unfortunately, reasoned debate like this is way past. The rabid have run, and, going on the ltd news stables today, and what I witnessed on the television last night, this will make the anti-BER campaign pale into insignificance as they mis-represent and outright lie about the Governments response to this issue.

    For the last few years every man and their dog, including the Opposition and a Reserve Bank board member, have called on this government to tighten its fiscal belt given the original stimulus was sized for a recession that never materialised.

    So the Prime Minister prudently does exactly this. Instead of allowing the deficit to blow-out, which was what most economists expected, she surprised by funding two-thirds of the Commonwealth’s $5.6 billion tab via spending cuts or deferrals, and the remainder through a tiny, once-off levy on higher-income earners unaffected by the floods. She also liberated stretched labour supply by expediting the processing of 457 visas and doubling the number of places in the job seeker relocation program. This all sounds like sensible stuff.

    The response of financial markets was emphatic: the probability of future interest rate hikes was instantly cut. Investors with real cash in the money markets decided that the government’s package was anti-inflationary, and would relieve some of the monetary policy burden on the Reserve Bank.

    Yet Gillard and Swan have been pummelled by the pundits.


    As somebody at PP just mentioned, those paying the LEVY (not Tax) will probably save more from the interest rates not being put up because of this move.

    F^~K I wanna swear

  91. At last a labor politician has come out swinging the cricket bat, Wayne Swan has told the media this morning, Tony Abbott is not interested in the well being of flood damaged Qld,NSW,and Victoria, it’s all about the Mad Monk’s one ambition, and that is to get the keys to The Lodge(Kirribilli House).

  92. One thing that is really beginning to give me the irrits is the whingers who say I’ve already donated, why should I pay the levy (whinger stamps foot).

    The donations collected go directly to the victims the levy is to be directed towards rebuilding the infrastructure: roads, bridges, rail. It is essential that work commence on this asap for the economy’s sake, not just the economies of the flood effected areas, not just of that particular state but of all of Australia.

  93. The average family with 2 kids was charged around $850 for the life of the ideological milk levy when we had massive surpluses and tax cuts.

    The average wage earner will pay $50 for a 1 of levy for 1 year to repair infrastructure as aresult of a natural disaster.

    Can people not see the hypocrisy from Abbott. Why are they not asking him about the milk levy or the sugar levy. Why only the East Timor Levy.

    Better money managers or not they cannot claim the moral high ground when they screwed the public over 6 levies at a time when they had cash coming out of their ears.

    It seems Julia and Wayne have finally grown some and they need to attack and keep attacking. Abbott is happy to attack and cannot seem to respond when his own crap comes under fire during the attack.

  94. Crowey,
    Yes, Swan was hitting well today:

    “This levy has been designed to reflect people’s capacity to pay,” he said.

    “Six out of 10 Australians will pay less than a $1 a week for the flood levy.

    “If you are on $80,000 it’s … $2.80 less than the cost of a cup of coffee.

    “The reconstruction doesn’t stop at the front gate of the flooded house, it has to extend to the community infrastructure, that’s why the need is great.”

    Mr Swan said he was sickened by what he said was Mr Abbott’s scaremongering over the flood levy.

    “There is absolutely no choice,” he said.

    “In economic terms we have had the biggest disaster in Australia’s history.

    “We’re putting people first.

    “As we work to rebuild infrastructure and homes, the only home Mr Abbott has his eye on is The Lodge, and I think frankly that’s disgusting.

    “Communities have been shattered, there’s been enormous loss of life.

    “Mr Abbott is using this event for his own political gains.

    “He’s playing politics at a time when there’s families here in distress.”

    More here:

    Perhaps Abbott could do a “cycle around the world” charity event to make it up to the people of QLD & Victoria?

    I can recommend a few shortcuts thru Afghanistan, Iraq & Egypt.


  95. Nicely picked up on Shane. Just when does Abbott ever reply to an attack by stating his case in logical and practical terms. He doesn’t. He responds to an attack by changing the subject to one of his favorite eg “Yeah, but what about..” [insert whatever is his current talking point].

  96. Nas re “I can recommend a few shortcuts thru Afghanistan, Iraq & Egypt.” With Abbott preferably in his budgie smugglers, isn’t the punishment in strict Muslim countries for wearing such scant attire death by stoning or similar.

  97. Another point of interest is the Western Australia Maritime workers six day strike with Patrick stevedoring in their dispute over new working contracts and safety requirements, all this under the watchful eyes of a Conservative State Government, interesting times ahead.

  98. ……..isn’t the punishment in strict Muslim countries for wearing such scant attire death by stoning or similar.

    Can I cast the first stone, huh huh? Then I promise I’ll go back and work on the gravel stall.

    I am so glad that the government is starting to take the fight up to the Smuggles Set. Thanks for that Nas’.

    Swan is absolutely right. Smuggles is campaigning; he clearly doesn’t give a toss about the flood victims and he needs to be called on the levy.

    I read the letters in the OO this morning and on the whole I was disgusted at the pathertic, mean-spirited, selfish attitude taken by the respondents.

    They have lost all proportion, which of course the urgers and touts in the MSM and LIEberals intended to happen.

    You’d think they’re being asked to pay hundreds a week instead of the real impost-ranging from less than a stamp a week to one cross lotto ticket a week at the top end.

    There were some sensible letters pointing out that most would be out of pocket less than a cup of coffee per week.

    I have now dashed off 2 letters to the OO and the Advertiser, neither of which has been published, but I won’t give up.

  99. Another top link via Eddie…this Australian Observer was spot on back in August last year:

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    The real Tony Abbott

    (3) During his time as a Minister in the Howard Government, Tony Abbott had a reputation for submitting sloppy and poorly thought-through Cabinet Submissions, but being indulged by his mentor John Howard. I have no doubt that the costings he is so anxious to protect are dodgy in the extreme, cobbled together for the purposes of the election, but never intended to see the light of day or withstand any professional scrutiny. If he were defeated they would go into the shredder. If he won, they would likewise go into the shredder, and any blow-out would be based on a confected “budgetary black hole” left behind by the departing government.

    (4) Tony Abbott has a short attention span and is bored by detail. He loves combat and needs constant excitement. In an op-ed piece in today’s edition of The Australian Financial Review, senior political columnist Laura Tingle says that Abbott’s behaviour reeks of the intent to force another election, and she is probably right.

    If Abbott does win government, it will be, like the Howard Government, a government of alarums and excursions, a government of constant confected crises. It will not be a period of the sort of stability the regional independents are looking for. If Abbott does not win government this time around, expect behaviour like that of the Coalition during the Whitlam Government – intent from day one on causing such disruption that the Government is forced back to an early election.

    More here:



  100. “Thanks for that Nas’.”

    No probs jane…but it was Crowey who reminded me of Swan’s stomp on the rabbiting on Abbott.

    “I have now dashed off 2 letters to the OO and the Advertiser, neither of which has been published, but I won’t give up.”

    Frankly, I don’t think they deserve yer attention.

    Ignorant swines oft catering to characters w/ paranoid delusions and the irritability of the hemorrhoid-inflicted.


  101. I read the letters in the OO this morning and on the whole I was disgusted at the pathertic, mean-spirited, selfish attitude taken by the respondents.

    I was actually surprised by the letters to the editor in the Courier Mail (our local Ltd News rag) this morning. Of the 11 letters dealing with the levy, 7 were supportive of the government’s position, including 4 at the top of the page. The heading of the page also surprised me: “Happy to help the recovery

    Are Rupert’s minions in the colonies getting a little bolder in going against Ltd News’ policy? shirley not!

    Some snippets:
    I am disgusted at the reaction to this small (in comparison to the tragedy) flood levy. People who were unaffected by the floods should be extremely thankful and enthusiastic about participating in the recovery. This means happily making private donations, paying the levy and helping with the clean-up… (David Bycroft, Scarborough)


    ….The Henny Pennies will now start saying that the sky will fall in because they have to pay a levy of 0.5 per cent or 1.0 per cent to rebuild vital infrastructure after the floods. Grow up. (Jim Lazzarini, Morayfield)

  102. And a letter in response to Abbott’s speech under the heading, Negative reaction to speech:

    “I listened to the speech by Opposition leader Tony Abbott about the levy to help the reconstruction of Queensland and Victoria and found his negativity overwhelming.

    It’s awful to think that a leader in this country could take the stance that he did by saying “it’s all going to fail anyway”. This is a time to be positive – a time for people to put their heads together and devise a way to bring our country back to life.

    What use to this country is anyone who doesn’t want to pay less than $1 or even$5 a week to help in the reconstruction of our country?” (Iris Ashton, Kallangar)

  103. Please have a better think Kristina..’struggling Sydneysiders’? For example, how far is it to the local supermarket? A 5km drive? Have a think about country people who have spend $$$s for a 60km drive just to reach their local Woolies. The cost of living might be high in Sydney but there are other towns and places whose costs are worse. Try living in a remote NT township and having to pay $8.00 for a punnet of strawberries.

    NSW Premier Kristina Keneally is continuing to push for the national flood levy to be adjusted for struggling Sydneysiders, despite Prime Minister Julia Gillard ruling out any special treatment.

  104. Perhaps Bacchus actually has it with him

    Shhhh Tom R – don’t give away all my secrets 😆

    walk into the light.

    The dark tastes better Nas 😉

    I’ve left a shopping list for you Migs – you’ll need the following to replenish the cellar:

    2 x cartons Penfolds Bin 28
    1 x carton Bethany Shiraz
    2 x bottles Penfolds Bin 707
    1 x bottle Penfolds Grange 1997
    2 x bottles WT Rare Breed


  105. Bacchus, I wonder if it’s an Us verus Them thing, that many Qlders might see it as people in other States being penny-pinching when their State has gone through a major natural disaster and is still in the very early stages of recovery.

  106. That could have something to do with it Min – what happened and what is required is perhaps more easily seen in large areas of Qld, so to hear the partisan crap from Ltd News sources and TV “news” doesn’t ring true here?

  107. Caught the latest Abbott brain fart on ABC24 earlier – seems he’s demanding Ms Gillard to dump the levy and if she does that, he’ll graciously work with her in a bipartisan manner to find the necessary savings in the budget – yeahhh rrriiiggghhhttt – pull the other one, it plays all the tracks from Come In Spinner…

  108. Min, hate to say it, but I sometimes think with Keneally she really likes a TV interview or two. What could there possibly be for her in a comment like that, apart from alienating the hard core of true believers in NSW who’d want to vote ALP no matter what. For them this would be almost the last straw. It won’t win her a winning swing in the state at large, that’s for sure.

  109. … the original stimulus was sized for a recession that never materialised …

    From TomR’s quote @ 12:58

    This is the sort of ignorance (or blatant misinformation!) that really annoys me … the recession did not materialise in Australia, BECAUSE, of the stimulus!

    Most of the rest of the Western economies are still reeling from the shock!

    I won’t have to pay the levy ’cause I’m a SFR and don’t earn enough to pay tax at my age – however, The Minister and I didn’t receive the $900 stimulus handouts for the same reason … what goes around …

    I think we are seeing the effects of American Uber Kapitalism at its worst … our society has become “individualist” and selfish … just what The Robber Barons want … divide and conquer …

    I compare the1974 floods with 2011 and see a few days of help and “I’ve done my bit” attitude, rather than realising that life is not a media soundbite … the “mateship” and “we can do it” was palpable in Brisbane … but it has quickly withered … and the recovery will take many months if not years …

    I must say I was impressed with the number of people who ventured forth for the clean-up and particularly the younger generations …

    … what a destruction (waste) of national bonding … by the Opposition … but I also think that the Prime Minister’s, obviously “tailored”, “cool calm and collected” image was poorly advised and badly executed … she needs to be “herself” … if that doesn’t “work” then she needs to find another career … or new advisors …

    Honesty, truth, being real, demonstrating real feelings and saying it like it really is, will clobber Tony Abbott and his Flock any day!

    As for the levy – maybe a 1% increase across the baord might have been better … even Gerry Harvey would have to pay then … noticeably absent during this national disaster … very unAustralian, Gerry … but then he doesn’t believe in “charity”, if memory serves me?

    (… I also confess to more than one moment of watery eyes during the flood drama unfolding here … and it brought back the memories of ’74, swimming out of my workplace in Butterfield St below the Royal Brisbane Hospital at six at night and then driving through the flood to my sister’s home where my wife and two kids had been evacuated to, … and of course the clean-up afterwards … yuk!)

  110. Patricia, I thought that Keneally was doing a good job in difficult circumstances previously, making the NSW government seem reasonable being a task in itself. I agree with you I doubt it will win her any votes as many voters could interpret it as being just as opportunistic as Abbott.

  111. “Tom R
    Catching Up, you should add the failure of the howard in respect to childcare to your list.”

    The first:- It appears the outcome for The Extended Medicare Safety Net belongs in the Waste and Failure column.
    The second:- The Super Seasprites Saga
    The third;- The selling out of children’s services
    The fourth:- Auslink infrastructure planning
    The fifth:- Regional Partnerships Programme.

  112. CU, to me the most important failure of the Howard governement is as below:

    There was an overwhelming response to the tabling of the Bringing them home report. Members of the then opposition read stories from the report into Hansard. Some parliamentarians were moved to tears during their speeches. There was extensive media coverage and tremendous public debate. Unfortunately, the overwhelming public response was not matched by the Howard government’s response. As Lowitja O’Donoghue reminded us in her speech marking the 10th anniversary of the report, 35 of the 54 recommendations in the Bringing them home report were ignored.

    The Howard government did not act on most of the recommendations when the report was delivered and still had not acted on the recommendations when the Australian people voted it out of office last year.

    Tabled by Mark Dreyfus as part of the Rudd government’s Apology to Australia’s indigenous peoples.


  113. I have a notion that might be silly but might explain the behaviour of the MSM over the last week. I noted the shocked looks on the journalists that attended Thursday’s Press Club. To me they looked stunned and appeared to be shaking with anger when interviewing.

    The over the top angry behaviour of many of the radio jocks and morning TV hosts seemed to be contagious. One come close to threatening PM Gillard she would suffer if she persisted with the levy, a little more than patronising. Maybe I am imagining or reading the wrong thing into what I am observing.

    I do not believe that PM Gillard is too concerned about the deficit but at this time it is the MSM that is setting the agenda. PM Gillard realises that if Labor does not rein in the deficit, they will be unfairly crucified for being poor managers and not keeping promises.

    Only a fool fights battles that they cannot win. Politics after all is the art of the possible.

    My opinion is that PM Gillard hit a home run and they know it and are lashing out, not knowing what else to do.

  114. “4) Tony Abbott has a short attention span and is bored by detail. He loves combat and needs constant excitement”

    I have been saying this about Abbott for years. Why has it taken so long for the media to pick it up. If I was assessing him in my previous tole at docs. I would label him:- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

  115. “work with her in a bipartisan manner to find the necessary savings in the budget”

    Surely he has not woken up that he is in a hole and it is now time to try and crawl out.

  116. ‘My opinion is that PM Gillard hit a home run and they know it and are lashing out, not knowing what else to do.’

    I reckon we have ourselves a winner. Migs might even be able to offer a prize, if Bacchus left anything behind that is 😉

  117. CU @ 7.33pm “To me they looked stunned and appeared to be shaking with anger when interviewing.

    The over the top angry behaviour of many of the radio jocks and morning TV hosts seemed to be contagious. One come close to threatening PM Gillard she would suffer if she persisted with the levy…”

    This could well be CU. The stunned bit I got too, maybe journalists are talking themselves into believing what they have written/heard from other media types about Gillard. So the journalists having found themselves on the back foot then went about trying to regain their power base by trying to bully Gillard back into what they perceive is her rightful place. Aggression all about power and control.

    Re Abbott being ADHD…worse I think, he certainly has illusions of grandeur eg the prime ministership is going to be mine, mine all mine, all I have to do is to wish it. Can you imagine Tone’s prayers, Gimme gimme gimme.

  118. Good to see The Drum poll results on flood levy.


    Also, all three pro comments I posted at Fairfax and others were published. I was particularly pleased with the Laurie Oakes column and the comments there which were generally pro the levy.


    There seems to be a sea change in the MSM on this, or am I overly optimistic?

  119. “Re Abbott being ADHD…worse I think, he certainly has illusions of grandeur eg the prime ministership is going to be mine, mine all mine, all I have to do is to wish it. Can you imagine Tone’s prayers, Gimme gimme gimme”

    Min I was trying to be kind, I am not making a joke about my diagnosis.

  120. …….the irritability of the hemorrhoid-inflicted.

    Nas’ caused by Smuggles being firmly wedged in their backside, do you think?

    TB @6.25pm, I heartily agree with your assessment. If Gillard boots out the clowns who are currently “advising” her and is her natural self, Smuggles will be history.

    patriciawa, Laurie Oakes has been one of the very few journalists who has given the government some very positive write-up since it was elected in 2007. However, he’s also written some very mischievous stuff.

    Congrats on being published, btw.

  121. Mr. Abbott does look very confident, I wonder why. I have come across two sites that puzzle me a little.

    I believe as a politician and a leader he is hopeless but no one should under estimate him. He is a excellent head kicker, dirt collector and devious operator. His history shows that he is capable of taking any action to win.

    Does anyone have knowledge of the following sites.


    They are similar but I do not know if there is any connection. Gina Rinehart is connected to one. She appears that she is not going to stop at having a share in Ten. I do not know who Timothy Andrews is at the other site. Both sites appear to be well organised and I suspect not short of cash.

    Are we having our own TEA Party? Are we in for a period of dirty politics that was last seen in Whitlam’s day.

  122. Patricia I cannot believe some of the comments in that Drum article and it’s also happening in some other pieces that have appeared on ABC online lately.

    The ABC and some other news outlets including mostly conservative ones have posted a couple of articles giving the facts on the flood relief and the government’s response, and there’s a flood of posters everywhere claiming the media is biased and the ABC is a left wing Labor mouth piece.

    This is too orchestrated to be just individuals and shows just how warped the right’s viewpoint is in this country. There’s just no winning with them no matter how much they are pandered to or how much leeway they are given, it’s never enough. I’ve seen complaints against Fox News because it didn’t go hard enough against something they perceived being progressive.

    Put this in the context that during the 2007 election it was revealed that the Liberals had organised to have the blogosphere and innertubes flooded by commentators putting down Labor and praising the Liberals at every turn. I think the Young Liberals are in action again and there are others like the Menzies Institute at it as well.

  123. Mobius, it makes me wonder what’s at risk – why now and why choose the levy and the Brisbane floods as the issue.

    Abbott could have grabbed this as an opportunity to look prime ministerial much as he did before the last election in an effort to take the limelight away from Gillard, however he chose to stay in attack dog mode.

  124. “This is too orchestrated to be just individuals and shows just how warped the right’s viewpoint is in this country. ”

    agree that there is something in the wind. Mr Abbott is just too cocky without apparent reason. We have two sites that are pushing petitions, that I know of and the number of letters are unbelievable. I believe we are witnessing a highly organised attempt by the Coalition to gain power. Mr. Abbott appears to have some powerful backers. When you have 400 or 500 comments on single sites that are very focus on the same theme, you have to wonder, especially when a levy is not a big item.
    I do think that they counted on PM Gillard not taking the decisive action she did and it has caught them off guard. Maybe the operation they planned was unable to be halted,
    The big story is in what PM Gillard is cutting from the budget, this hardly getting a mention, except for Annabel Crabb.
    There has been talk of Mr. Abbott trying to convince the Independents to change sides. We know from history that the Coalition will stoop to giving bribes to gain the numbers they need. (Mr. Fielding in Whitlam’s time)
    We are in a run up to the budget and getting closer to the Senate changeover, which gives Mr. Abbott very little time to make his run.

  125. crabb continues in her recent mode of superfluous examination of issues, and again appears to try and run with the pack rather than try and evaluate issues on the facts. Her latest effort runs with the ‘I’ve already given, stuff the GBNT’ line.

    ‘There is a reason, though, why this levy has been more divisive than some of its predecessors (the federal gun buy-back levy, the proposed East Timor levy, or the levies aiding Ansett employees or dairy farmers).

    This levy was announced after an extraordinary bout of unforced national generosity.’


    You are kidding me aren’t you. Is she trying to say that after the Port Arthur Massacre, there wasn’t an outpouring of community emotions? Or that There was not a feeling of community about East Timor? Perhaps not in exactly the same way as the floods, but there was community emotion around it. And its not like this is the biggest reaction to a disaster we have had. Couple that with the relatively small size of the levy, and I really don’t see how this stab at amateur psychology could hold any water, and yet it is the basis of the entire article. Interesting that is simply follow the story being run in our MSM at the moment?

    What differed the most between this levy and the previous ones mentioned, and what is definitely missing from her ‘analysis’, is that none of these previous levies had such an anti everything campaign run against them. I wonder, how many people would have used the ‘I already gave’ excuse, if this excuse had not been well and truly reinforced on them before the levy was even hinted at? The continual ‘find another way to pay’ campaign that was run from the time that the size of the disaster was beginning to become apparent?

    This is simply more of the our journos making their own narrative, while they ignore the elephant in the room, which, surprisingly enough, is our journalists running their own narrative

  126. Yes, Nasking, I also have a sense of an army of willing ‘voters’ out there on any poll run in the media on any issue. The numbers of nay sayers by far outweigh the positive sentiment which sometimes gets through in the comments. Though even there, of course, there’s time delay and selectivity which suggests bias in the editing. That’s why I was surprised my few positive comments on the levy went through, they rarely do on other issues. Though one keeps trying, of course.

    Jane, thanks, but I see no kudos in having a few lines of positive comment published amongst what it is a lot of negative dross. It’s just that I feel we need to keep being seen out there, having some sort of impact.

  127. Tom R. The reasons about generosity do not hold water as it has been made very clear that the money for donations goes to the people. The money from the levy is to be spent on government facilities and infrastructure.

    It is no excuse to say that PM Gillard has a communication problem as the information could not have been explained anymore forcibility or clearer.

    It is clear that there is a movement of misinformation that is deliberately ignoring the truth.

    I refused to believe that many people are confused about the matter.

  128. patriciawa, at least you got published; a voice of reason in a wilderness of arrant stupidity and spite.

    I think this is Smuggles’ last stand. Do or die, so to speak, because he will be pretty much irrelevant come July. That’s why the hounds are baying; if he doesn’t force another election now, he’s buggered!

    Julia’s just got to hang on until the changeover. I hope she and the rest of the party continues their assault on the Smuggles Set and their cohorts of evil.

    I’m not surprised that Gina Rinehart is involved in anti-government skullduggery; she doesn’t like the idea of the RSPT any more than those men of the people Twiggy and Clive Palmer.

    Laurie Oakes’ article has been a shining beacon, as well. Only a small handful of “I already made a donation” and families will be rooned if they have to pay 48c a week stuff. I posted a comment, but haven’t checked to see if it was published.

    In my comments I push the line that all but one of the Rodent levies were imposed when the budget was in surplus, but they gouged the taxpayers anyway, and ridicule the idea that someone on $50,000/year will go broke handing over 48c/week; a total impost of $24.96.

    At the top of the impost ladder, the contribution only amounts to one xlotto ticket a week, so they’re not giving up too much!

    I don’t think we need worry about the Indies support. They know how this mob operates and they will have been out and about in their electorates reassuring voters and telling the truth, something the COALition wouldn’t recognise if it bit them on the bum!!!

  129. Useful list CU w/ aid of Tom R. & Min above.

    I’d add Public Housing:

    Australian Centre for Economic Studies research shows that funding for public housing fell by 11 per cent between 1996-97 and 2004-05, 19 per cent in per head terms. In 2006-07, Commonwealth expenditure amounted to $280 billion, of which only $1.1 billion was used to support public housing. Between 1996 and 2006, about 23,000 houses were lost to the sector. The number of houses now amounts to 306,696. This suggests it is time for a wake-up call and a strong commitment by government to act more effectively.



    …the Liberal Party’s failure to invest in public housing was a major factor – particularly at a time when the housing market was booming.

    “Over the 11 years of the Howard Government, the Commonwealth contribution to public housing in Tasmania fell significantly.

    “In their first year, the Liberals slashed the allocation from more than $38 million in the final year of the Keating Government to less than $30 million.

    “They then proceeded to run it down even further over the next 10 years – with the Commonwealth contribution falling to just over $25 million in the year to June 2007.

    “The Commonwealth investment in public housing did not improve until the Liberals were thrown out.

    “The change now is that the need for more affordable housing has been recognised as a national priority and Tasmania now has a housing capital program of $135 million.

    “The partnership agreement between the State and Australian Governments will deliver more than 1200 new affordable homes across Tasmania under the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Program and the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

    “In addition, under the Housing Affordability Fund, we are improving the supply of new housing and making it more affordable for home buyers entering the market.

    “By subsiding critical infrastructure costs, previously unused land is being made available to create 193 new vacant lots with the savings passed on to the purchaser.

    “This is the biggest investment in social housing in decades and will significantly improve access to affordable housing for all Tasmanians.



  130. “I think this is Smuggles’ last stand.”

    You could be right jane…but I think he will die a slow death as leader…the Liberal party are a shambles and noone has the guts to take on this Machiavellian moron.

    I hope he stays…and keeps openin’ that NEGABORE mouth of his. He really cracks me up. And he’s a gift to political cartoonists.

    Key Independent Tony Windsor is impressed w/ Abbott’s antics:


    RURAL independent Tony Windsor has lashed out at Tony Abbott, accusing him of playing a ”petty … game” with the tragic circumstances of flood victims and trying to use them as a ”skateboard to government”.

    Mr Windsor told Mr Abbott to ”mind his own business”.

    Mr Windsor favours a permanent disaster fund.

    A number of cross-benchers, including Mr Bandt and independent senator Nick Xenophon, will be briefed by the government this week.

    Mr Windsor said Mr Abbott ”might be able to order his underlings in the Liberal Party around, but he’s not my master. I’ll make up my own mind about what happens.

    ”This is an issue of tragedy that we’re talking about, tragic circumstances, and to try to use that as a skateboard to government of itself vindicates the choice we made [to support Labor],” Mr Windsor said.

    ”I find it quite extraordinary that he’d be running that sort of line; it’s a gross misjudgment.

    ”People need help. And to play a petty individual game on this vindicates our choice. We’ll deal with the government with any issue that we have in terms of the details of the proposals. Tony Abbott is not one of my consultants in better government.”

    I respect Windsor…he seems like a sensible character to me…the fact that the Coalition lost the support of ‘down-to-earth’ characters like him tells me everythin’ about the extremism that exists in the Coalition these days…particularly under Abbott’s leadership.

    And the fear that wise politicians have of him ever takin’ the PM role.


  131. Sanqween & I have just signed this GetUp! petition & contributed money to the upcoming newspaper ad:

    Safeguard our future

    Climate change is increasing the severity and prevalence of natural disasters which is why we need long term solutions like a natural disaster fund in addition to pollution reducing policies.

    Sign the petition to tell all Australian politicians that we won’t stand for short term thinking.

    To the Australian Parliament,

    Paying for climate events of today by cutting climate change programs doesn’t make sense. Instead lets create a permanent Climate Natural Disaster Fund and pay for it by reducing fossil fuel subsidies, which cost the taxpayer over $10bn a year.

    (Go here to sign petition):


    The three Independents in the lower house all support a permanent natural disaster fund. The Government will have to negotiate with them to get its flood levy through, so we have a real chance to preserve the renewable energy programs the Government wants to cut and to set up a permanent disaster recovery fund paid for by ending polluter handouts.


  132. Nas’ @12.19pm, yet more evidence that the Rodentochracy could be one of the worst and most miserly governments this country was stupid enough to elect.

    Any journalist worth his/her salt should have been making this stuff public. It appears that there are barely enough to count on the fingers of one hand. So I guess it’s up to us citizen journalists to try and get the message out there.

  133. Let’s hope Abbott can hang out a bit longer and pull the Coalition vote down a bit more. I fear the reaction if voter sentiment is still 50:50 when Turnbull gets his job. He might benefit from a huge sigh of relief across the country and scrape in to win at an election on the rodent’s rotten parting shots at Gillard.

  134. Hi everyone, the name of the orchestrated campaigning is called ASTRO TURFING.


    http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Astroturfing _in_Australia


    Abbott is looking and sounding very cocky, probably with good reason.

    However he hasn’t impressed Tony Windsor.


  135. CU @ 11.56am. I’m not as certain that people are not confused about the issue as Abbott has gone about deliberately confusing the facts such making statements that people who made donations will be paying twice – Hockey saying that the flood levy will cause economic grief for households – Abbott saying that people shouldn’t have to pay a levy but that the $s can come from cuts in government spending, while giving absolutely no indication of what he wants cut.

  136. Hi Pip, no luck on that lead, nor in a search of TPS archives – no comments posted on 25/10/2010. But many thanks because I now have a very clear grasp of ‘astro-turfing’ as a political tool, which I seem to have missed before. It helps me understand these MSM poll results which simply can not reflect real opinion out there in voter land, as shown in actual election results. I am sure however they do sway the uninformed and so have an unfairly distorting impact. e.g. on Sunrise today David Koch quoted some 93% of their audience as opposed to the Flood Levy.

    What unfair and biassed interviews those were with Joe Hockey and Julia Gillard! So many rude and ignorant interruptions of the PM. While Hockey was given a pretty free run to argue his case, Koch had the PM bogged down in argument over the use of the Contingency Fund. Can he really be that stupid or ignorant? Or doesn’t he care, so long as the PM isn’t able to make her point?

    And how about his suggestion that we cut back on Overseas Aid ‘cos now we need that money here!’ What sort of people watch that program? I am amazed that the PM kept her cool.

    Am I perhaps a bit over the top in imagining that the camera and lighting adjustments in those telecasts were deliberately overset during Julia’s interview?

  137. Pip, great link to the Tony Windsor story. Having been shat on from a great height by the LIEberals, I don’t think any of the Indies will feel disposed to jump ship, particularly as it was Smuggles who was the chief bully in Andrew Wilkies’ case.

    Katter has said he’ll support the levy with conditions, so if he’s on side, I don’t see much hope for the Smuggles Set’s plan for world domination.

    I also think they’re becoming desperate as evidenced by the increasingly shrill, strident and unbelievable crap pouring from them and their idiot supporters-they’ve only got 5 months to try and force an election or it’s curtains.

    We just have to remain calm and weather out the Smuggles Set swansong. I will be happy to dance on their graves singing “Hallelujah!” Hopefully, they will be exposed for the charlatans they are in the near future.

  138. Patricia, nothing would surprise me. One that I can think of is the town hall meeting where Julia was propped on a stool alone in the middle of a very empty stage whereas Abbott ‘chose’ to mingle with the audience. While I was watching this happen, it suddenly came to mind that this was a deliberate setup.

  139. Min & patricia, imo these are signs of an increasingly desperate opposition making a last ditch attempt to win power. Their time to force an election is rapidly running out; after July 1 they’ll sink into irrelevance.

    We just have to hold firm.

  140. I like that one Jane and so I’ll happily repeat it: after July 1 they’ll sink into irrelevance. Gives you a kinda warm and fuzzy feeling doesn’t it.

  141. Mr Denmore, thank you for the link to your article and I would like to recommend this article to other Café readers.

  142. Nasking have added your suggestion.
    The klist as it stands noe.

    The first:- It appears the outcome for The Extended Medicare Safety Net belongs in the Waste and Failure column.
    The second:- The Super Seasprites Saga
    The third;- The selling out of children’s services
    The fourth:- Auslink infrastructure planning
    The fifth:- Regional Partnerships Programme.
    The sixth:- Bringing them home report.
    Bringing them home report.
    The seventh:- Public Housing:


  143. CU, here is a current article about the consequences of Howard stopping student union fees.

    The impact of the Howard government’s VSU legislation is still being felt now, with the University of Ballarat’s Student Union collapsing earlier this year. At Southern Cross University, in regional NSW, students lost their textbook loan scheme, dental service, and all but five student clubs.

    On top of a decade of serious underfunding of tertiary education by the Howard government, universities then had to divert their funding from teaching and learning to provide services needed and used by students.


  144. It is sad that one who sees himself has the right to rule has managed to change the mood of Australia from one of pulling together and helping your neighbour positivity . to one of fear and selfish negativity.

  145. Cu I’m a bit busy at the moment to chase around sources but do a search for Howard’s apprenticeship scheme(s) and Technical Colleges, utter expensive failures and the more galling because Howard was warned about a looming skills shortage early in his stewardship and then regularly and stridently until the 2007 election. He and his government can not claim they didn’t know nor can they claim they didn’t have the funding.

    One of Rudd’s greatest achievements and managed very early in his term was his government’s apprenticeship scheme. A success by any measure.

  146. Mobius, I was always of the opinion that Howard’s aim re the apprenticeship scheme and Tech Colleges was to undermine the unions. Skills shortage? Solution introduce 457 Visas to yet further undermine wages and conditions which of course earned Howard an additional big pat on the back from the likes of Twiggy Forrest.

  147. “Mr Windsor said Mr Abbott ”might be able to order his underlings in the Liberal Party around, but he’s not my master. I’ll make up my own mind about what happens.”

    The rumours that Mr. Abbott is putting pressure on the independents are obviously true.

  148. Thanks Min, have added your suggestion. The sad thing about this is that it was mainly removed because it had union in its name. Also the Liberal Party over the years have had no success in student politics. The needs of the students was not considered.

  149. Thanks Mobius, that was one of my main concerns. Probably done more damage with this action than any other.

  150. “Howard’s apprenticeship scheme(s) and Technical Colleges, utter expensive failures ”

    Can anyone tell if they have any experience of the Technical Colleges and how many were built. How is the Apprenticeship scheme performing today.

  151. I have noticed that sites similar to this one are not being bombarded. If anything there appears to be less comments that differ with what is being said. At the moment it is like talking t the converted. Shame, I miss the challenge. Is the game to isolate these sites.

  152. “was to undermine the unions. ”

    Min, that was Mr. Howard;s agenda in most of what he did over 12 years. That and destroying the black armband of history. Political Correctness was another that he could not stand. It limited him from saying what he liked. To be against the so called political correctness, can only indictate that we have the right to say anything no matter how much harm it does to people.

  153. “One is forced to conclude that the impetus for this “controversy” is an alliance of convenience between the Liberal Party noise machine – staffed by the frantically facebooking and twittering haters of the Young Liberal fraternity – and popular talkback radio. The demi-gods of that medium, with their audiences of angry oldies who have never voted Labor in their lives, live for moments like this – an excuse to paint the progressive side of politics as social engineers and wasters; in other words, to continue the narrative of 2010 – the lazy narrative of pink batts, school halls etc;”


    Could not put it better.

  154. CU, there was also the Tutorial Voucher Initiative (National Literacy & Numeracy Vouchers…via brokers)

    The $457.4 million over four years for the National Literacy and Numeracy Vouchers is nothing more than an extension of its $700 literacy voucher scheme announced previously. This scheme has been underutilised by parents and has been poorly promoted by the Government. In addition to this, it poses huge problems for students and parents in country areas in gaining access to a qualified ‘tutor’ in order to use the voucher. Principals and teachers in country areas have reported that parents in their towns are at a loss at what to do with the voucher as there is no one suitable in the town to provide the tuition and so the voucher goes wasted and their child doesn’t receive the additional assistance they require simply because they reside in a small country town.

    The scheme was mismanaged:

    So let’s get this straight… government contracts were awarded to
    organisations that were not actually equipped to carry them out. Seems like a pretty major bungle. And it’s not the first time
    the department, formerly with Brendan Nelson at the helm, has
    mishandled the voucher scheme. We rang the Department of Education,
    Science and Training for their response to Hanlon’s claims.

    Minister for DEST Julie Bishop was unavailable to answer our questions
    but her department’s press release on the issue certainly reads as if
    there were stuff ups somewhere along the line, even if the government’s
    not admitting fault…

    more here:

    Yep, yet another bungle from the “perfect” Howard government.


  155. “Today I heard Abbott’s latest cavalier statement that the Coalition should be prepared to take government at a weeks notice. ” http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2010/10/25/Of-Grassroots-and-AstroTurf.aspx
    Is there any truth in this rumour. Does anyone know where, if Mr. Abbott said this.

    After reading the links giving information on AstroSurfing or as it is all so called astro turfing. I have come to the conclusion that we need to learn how to the same ourselves. This in spite that I do not have much love for the social media.

    There are links on this and sister sites to some very good articles that have no chance of being taken up by the MSM. We need to get these links into social media such as facebook etc.

    We do not have much money but many of us do have the time. What we need is guidance. Can someone teach us illiterate in this use of the web, show us how.

    We should remember an old saying which I still believe to be true today. We can fool all the people for some of the time. We can fool some of the people all the time. We cannot fool all the people all the time.

    People that have been fooled can be very angry when they wake up to the fact that they have been be taken for a ride. We need to wake these people up.

  156. CU,
    there was also the billion+ that Costello as Treasurer apparently lost in currency swaps:

    On February 22, 2002, the Treasury was claiming it had made a realised profit of $43 million on its cross-currency swaps in the first eight months of 2001-02. On the same day, Treasurer Peter Costello said in relation to the cross-currency swaps: “I’m saying that there are no realised losses; no losses have been realised, full stop.”

    But the then shadow finance minister, Steve Conroy, last month established the loss to the taxpayer had been at least $812 million and is close to $1 billion for 2001-02. The record of transactions shows it was impossible for all this loss to have occurred in the final four months.

    Since coming to office, Costello has presided over realised losses of $1.9 billion between July 1996 and July 2003 on currency swaps.

    What has happened under Costello’s watch is a major financial disaster. Even so, the Government has failed to provide a proper account to Parliament explaining how the losses occurred.

    Common morality as well as parliamentary convention require that once the $1.9 billion of taxpayers’ money was known to be lost, a full and open accounting of the losses should have been made. But the Treasurer still continues to deny the losses and, like a compulsive gambler, continues to assert that the losses can be recouped in the future.
    Despite Costello’s 1998 charter of budget honesty, the losses are not reported in the budget, nor is the budget outcome audited. But major Australian and foreign banks have walked away with a fortune as a result of the Treasury’s failed attempt at picking currency winners.

    Journalists at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian have written in recent days that the break-even point for the swap transactions is a $A-$US exchange rate of 60.5 cents.

    This is simply wrong. The reality is that Costello has already lost $1.9 billion, which the banks are not about to return. For the Government to break even on the swaps still to mature, the $A-$US exchange rate would need to be 70 cents – which would be disastrous for exporters, our current account deficit and the domestic economic growth rate.

    The truth is the 2003-04 budget is built on the assumption of a $A-$US exchange rate of 60.5 cents and, based on this assumption, buried in the Treasury portfolio statement is the prediction that the unrealised losses on currency swaps still to mature is $1.1 billion.

    For how long can the Treasurer go without admitting the truth?

    (We want the truth about the currency losses:
    Kenneth Davidson – July 24, 2003 The age . com)


  157. Thanks nasking, that is my tenth entry. I knew there were many instances of inefficiency of the Howard government but it is coming evident that most of what they touched they made worse. Sometime deliberately I believe.

  158. Thanks nasking for the eleventh entry. It has surprised me that no one has challenged the list. That is disappointing.

  159. Wow! This has been one active blog. 🙂
    I’ve just finished reading all 200+ posts, and, to answer Catching Up’s question re One Trick Tony’s statement that the Coalition should be prepared to take government at a week’s notice, well, I haven’t got the link to that post-election bit of narcissistic claptrap, but I do have a link to his latest bout of braggadoccio at the Qld LNP Conference last week:

  160. I also agree to the proposition that we, at the Progressive end of the political spectrum, need to organise our contributions to the political debate into a form that approximates ‘The Huffington Post’. It will take commitments of time and resources, but will be necessary to counteract the agit-propaganda coming from the vested interests.

  161. Btw, if you look at the picture(how could you miss such an obvious puff photo of Abbott?), you can see his yucky yellow teeth, jug ears, lazy eye and, what looks to me like, his use of Botox to smooth out the wrinkles he should also have in his forehead if the rest of his face is any guide. 🙂

  162. Right as usual, Mr Denmore. Do you think you could offer your services to the PM as her media adviser?

    The needs of the students was not considered.

    Well, who cares about them, CU? Bunch of commos!

    CU @7.37pm, as above Mr Denmore is so right.

    I still think the increasingly shrill and desperate noise machine of the Smuggles Set’s urgers and touts is because 1 July is rapidly approaching and if they can’t unseat the government soon, all is lost; the Rubbish Bin of Irrelevance is waiting.

    That is why Smuggles is doing everything he can to make the government look unsympathetic, wasteful and untrustworthy. Sod the flood victims; his lust for power is more important.

    What a fine protege he has been for that appalling creature the Rodent.

  163. I really should have posted this on the Assange/Wikileaks blog, but I don’t think anyone is going back there anymore, so, anyway, here is something that will make your hair curl. It is to do with the links between Howard’s government and the new Deputy President of Egypt & Mubarak’s pathetic attempt to cling onto power:

    I was hoping, as a result of my undying faith in both Karma and the Laws of Physics, that the truth about Howard’s ‘Regime’ would eventually start leaking out into the public realm.

  164. I also agree to the proposition that we, at the Progressive end of the political spectrum, need to organise our contributions to the political debate into a form that approximates ‘The Huffington Post’. It will take commitments of time and resources, but will be necessary to counteract the agit-propaganda coming from the vested interests.

    Hi Feral, we already have the ball rolling in that regards. Over the next couple of weeks you should see it all start to come together. Little Miglo has been busy rounding up some patriots.

  165. Migs,
    Hmm, I was hoping as much. 🙂
    I would have offered to contribute more myself to the incipient enterprise but I suffer from a crippling lack of self-confidence, and only found my voice at TPS because Ad Astra is so gently, but effectively, encouraging of us shrinking violets.

  166. Feral, you’ll find your voice soon enough. 😀

    BTW, don’t underestimate your fine contributions to the cause. You’re a leader and people look up to you as one.

    Cheers for now. I’ll be back tomorrow.

  167. I cannot wait until the Astro turf or whoever they are, take to the streets. It will be interesting to see their age and what level of society they come from.

    In all past protests, the first allegations made from the press, were that they are only professional protesters or hired bullies. I wonder if the label can truly be made from now on.

    The emergence of the fake protest movement might be the prod in the ribs for a real grass roots movement to emerge. I think that is happening in the increasing numbers of positive comments being made on the MSM sites.

    Listening to the morning shows, I could not but be concerned for some of vocal cords of the anti Labor/levy brigade. When you have to raised your voice to such a height to get your point across, I would say you are losing.

    What the anti Labor is mistaken about is the number of grey and balding oldies out here can actually navigate the internet very well. We have more time and less alternative attractions of young Liberal uni students. Some oldies do it as I do to keep the grey matter alive.

    The positive tool we have is our long life store of memories. We are lucky it is our short term memory that goes first, not the long term memories. We do not have to be told what to think.

    The likes of Mr. Abbott also does not appear to appreciate the simple concept that for every action there is a reaction.

  168. Nas’ @8.29pm, I’d forgotten about that little lot. Mr Costello and the world at large needs a little memory jog, methinks.

    CU, you’ve really been burning the midnight oil to compile your list. Fantastic work by you and everyone else. Now we just need the electronic rooftops courtesy of Migs.

  169. Jane, I am a night owl, always have been and years of shift work entrench the habit.

    As for the work, everyone else is doing it. I am just pulling it together. I have no love for the Howard years but my great hate that no one seems to care what he did.

    Whether he was right, I have little interest.. I will leave that to others.

    I will be missing for the next week.

    My daughter needs me, while the little girl gets use to using the bus to go to school. Her big brother is going to high school.

    My daughter has moved into a small house with no Internet connected. She relies on her wireless Internet which is very limited.

    I do not know the long the kids will endure this situation, even if they have good access when with their father.

  170. Just to add to your list Catching Up, lets not forget how the gold reserves were sold off under the watch of Costello, the worlds laziest treasurer. I recall the glee with which they claimed the cash (not sure where it all went), but, in retrospect, it didn’t appear to be such a bright move. Of course, the MSM blame the Federal Reserve for that, but lets remember, the government of the day has the final say. Funny how these days, everything is the governments fault, back then, it was the Reserve?


    ‘Reserve Bank’s gold sale cost us $5bn’

  171. Will add your contribution. I have to go away for the next few days. Th list as it stands now.

    The first:- It appears the outcome for The Extended Medicare Safety Net belongs in the Waste and Failure column.
    The second:- The Super Seasprites Saga
    The third;- The selling out of children’s services
    The fourth:- Auslink infrastructure planning
    The fifth:- Regional Partnerships Programme.
    The sixth:- Bringing them home report.
    Bringing them home report.
    The seventh:- Public Housing:
    The eight:- student union fees.
    The ninth:- Howard’s apprenticeship scheme(s) and Technical Colleges
    The Tenth:- Tutorial Voucher Initiative (National Literacy & Numeracy Vouchers…via brokers
    The eleventh:- the billion+ that Costello as Treasurer apparently lost in currency swaps
    Kenneth Davidson – July 24, 2003 The age . com)
    The twelth:- Natural Disaster Mitigation Program
    The thirteenth:- Howard government’s failure set scene for ASX-Singapore debacle

  172. Can anyone tell if they have any experience of the Technical Colleges and how many were built. How is the Apprenticeship scheme performing today.

    Sorry I no longer have that link in my link manager but I know that up until around 2007 only one Technical College had fully opened, was fully staffed and was delivering a full curriculum. Most of the others were way behind or not even started yet with a handful opened but only delivering a partial service like the one in Nowra I’m familiar with.

    As well as the program being behind schedule it’s main problem was the very one it was supposed to solve, and that is the delivery of targeted courses to demographics. The idea was that a Technical College in Armidale for instance would have courses targeted to the rural industries and businesses in that distract whilst one in Wollongong would deliver courses to the heavy and engineering industries dominating in that city. For the few TCs that operated even partially that didn’t happen at all and students found that they had to travel long distances, sometimes interstate, to get the course they wanted.

    A report was released at some stage, and sorry I can’t find the source anymore, that stated that Technical Colleges were poor value for money costing far more per student than TAFE for an equal or worse outcome.

    I think on just about every measure the TCs are a failure yet if this had happened under a Labor government the MSM and opposition would have been screaming blue murder and calling for the PM’s head. For some reason as happened for his whole tenure, Howard could stuff up as often and as costly as he liked and rarely be held to account for it. And it’s not as though the Labor opposition didn’t attempt to bring attention to the failures, they did, but were always ignored or put down in their attempts.

  173. While we’re on failures I want people to contemplate on this: Further bad economic news for the UK

    Remember our Coalition wants to more or less head down the same path of cutting social and other major government programs with the major difference being that the Coalition wants to bring in tax cuts that heavily favour the wealthy and not increase the GST as the government has in the UK.

  174. The only memory I have of an Australian Technical College up here on the Central Coast of NSW is that it eventually fell over in a heap, a result of our ever-present Skills shortages, combined with the fact that they were Private Enterprises being run as businesses, as opposed to learning institutions, so they thus became fraught with disputes about the lecturers being employed by the owner of the ATC under AWA’s and WorkChoices, as Sub-Contractors, thus not becoming eligible for Long Service Leave, Holiday Pay, Super, Overtime Rates & Sick Leave. So no one wanted to work for them in the end, and, as I said the Skills shortages only exacerbated this, plus the fact that Tradies could get more money working on Building sites, and the older Tradies could get more benefits working at TAFE.
    This all seemed to culminate in the ATC wanting to import Trade teachers from overseas, but the local tradies would have none of that and refused to work on the building that was chosen to be the ATC, so construction fell way behind in converting the chosen building into an ATC. Also, at the time we had a Labor Mayor, and he was putting his foot down about the rezoning the Libs wanted him to put through to allow the project to go ahead.
    It was all good fun to watch it happening at the time, actually. One of those small but significant victories against the Howard regime. 🙂

  175. Mobius Ecko,
    I heard, before the last election in 2010, that Tony Abbott had a secret plan to increase the GST to 12.5% if he got elected. His justification would probably have been the old Liberal saw of ‘Labor’s Black Hole’ that the Coalition always miraculously find upon coming to power. The plan was to decrease the top rate of Income Tax(what else?) and increase the GST because the Regressives are wedded to the idea of income earners paying as little of it in tax as possible, and inequitable tax-paying substitutes, such as VAT/GST being substituted instead.

  176. Hi, FS, can’t seem to access TPS comments.

    Re. GST I was amazed in the UK how little grass roots reaction or media interest there was to the VAT increase and its negative impact on lower end consumer confidence and the economy as whole. It will be interesting to see if that increase does in fact help the government ‘reduce Labour’s debt.’

    Mind you the cutbacks in health services and the huge rise in fees for tertiary education were being strongly objected to. I was astonished to see the level of tertiary fees. What happened to this wonderful society which had introduced free education and health care for all just over fifty years ago?

  177. Feral, one thing that I remember about the Technical colleges is that there were never going to be enough teachers. That although some, I believe about 23 colleges were eventually built that they could operate only on a very limited capacity. Again from memory, when this was put to Howard he said that he would get retired tradies and train them to be trade teachers. I shouldn’t imagine that anything ever happened.

  178. News.com, who have been very vocal in their opposition of the floody levy “which will take food off the table of Australian taxpayers”, are suggesting they give up more of their food by encouraging them to make further donations to the Flood Relief Appeal.

    Give generously. Give freely. Show us your good heart.

    But remember to kick up a fuss about your 97 cents a week levy.

  179. CU, you’ll find more here:

    Senate Estimates Reveals The Cost Of Howard Government Incompetence And Extravagance

    Date: 01 June 2007

    John Howard’s taxpayer funded extravagance

    John Howard ordered work to expand the dining room in his Parliament House suite – at a cost of $540,000. Once the cost was exposed by Senate Estimates, the Prime Minister rushed out with a statement that the project had been cancelled. Taxpayers still have to pick up the $65,000 already spent on architect and consultant fees for the extension.

    The Government spent $180,000 to replace 64 chairs in the Cabinet Room, with the claim that IKEA furniture was not good enough. John Howard has now spent $700,000 on Cabinet Room refurbishments in three years.

    John Howard has spent $110,000 on alcohol at the Lodge and Kirribilli House in the past four years.

    John Howard has committed $350,000 of taxpayers’ money to the construction of a gem encrusted horse drawn coach for the Queen. It was revealed that taxpayers may have to pay up to $100,000 to have the coach shipped to Britain. Unlike most Government grants, which are provided under strict conditions, the funding for coach was handed over as a lump sum with no requirement to acquit the funds and officials admitted that they have not even inspected the coach.



  180. It was all good fun to watch it happening at the time, actually. One of those small but significant victories against the Howard regime.

    My point on this FS is the complete lack of a media investigation and campaign into this expensive fiasco that if it had occurred under Labor would have made headline news for months.

    Yet I still read dozens or more comments just about everyday from the wingnuts complaining the media is biased against the Liberals and pro-Labor. Heaven help the ABC if it publishes just one piece, as it has recently on The Drum, that is even remotely balanced or even worse slightly pro-government, the outpouring of scorn and hate in the comments is terrible to behold.

  181. ME @9.07am, interesting isn’t t that the MSM has ignored yet another example of inefficiency and waste under the Rodentochracy.

    And nice to see the enormous success of Smuggles’ new economic mentor. Still, his policies won’t hurt Smuggles’ voter base, so he would have no hesitation in introducing them if he ever got the reins of power. Mind you, he might find it a bit hard to push the legislation through the Greens controlled Senate.

    Tom R @10.03am, another fine example of our former government’s efficient use of funds.

    Min @11.13am, how did this reptile stay in power so long?

  182. CU,
    cost of the Packer funeral:

    Taxpayers spent more than $73,000 farewelling Kerry Packer, a man who famously paid as little tax as possible.

    The media tycoon’s lavish state funeral in 2006 at the Sydney Opera House at a cost of $73,223.63 was by far the most expensive of the past eight years, federal government figures show.



    State Memorial ServiceAn offer of a state memorial service was extended to, and accepted by the Packer family, which was held on 17 February 2006 at the Sydney Opera House.

    Close friend Alan Jones was MC at the memorial service, which featured speeches from son and heir James, Russell Crowe on behalf of daughter Gretel Packer, Prime Minister John Howard and Richie Benaud. Attendees included Tom Cruise (a friend of James Packer) and his partner Katie Holmes, Greg Norman, members of the Australian cricket team, and past and present figures from both sides of politics.

    The granting of this honour was widely criticised as it was funded by taxpayers, and Packer was famous for his tax minimisation.

    Can ya imagine the money Abbott & the Libs would spend on Rupert Murdoch?

  183. “how did this reptile stay in power so long?”

    he was an inspirin’ & magnetic bloke…& the women couldn’t get enuff of him.

    And the media did their best to bring him down by way of intense scrutiny & negabore campaigns that ran from ALP headquarters…

    using cock jocks & newspapers in the early morn as the first wave of attack…

    followed by SKY NEWS…current affairs…the evening news, and on into the night…and brill Sunday shows that were merciless bombers…

    but Howard was such an agile performer, awesome tactician and compassionate leader who knew how to roll up his sleeves and slum it w/ the regular folk that he won their hearts time & time again.

    God luv him. He shoulda become President.


  184. Don’t forget how much it cost Taxpayers to ferry His Howardness & Hyacinth to and fro from Canberra to Kiribilli House due to their revulsion at the thought of living in the Lodge?

  185. I’ve put Mr. Denmore’s brilliant blog ‘The Failed Estate’ on our Blogroll.

    Can’t believe we didn’t have it on there already.


  186. Also added John Quiggin.

    Longtime Aussie blogger who provides useful insight into many issues/topics.


  187. Feral, and remember the time that Howard decided to use his VIP jet to drop himself and Hyacinth off for a romantic interlude at Cable Beach. He did pay the $s back as a donation but it also come out that he to use the VIP jet for his own personal use on regular occasions.

  188. Min & Feral…I have such fond memories of John Howard…

    this rare footage from the 1950s gets my heart racing…

    seeing him surrounded by all those men & women of progress:

  189. Re. A Murdoch Funeral – Well, Nasking, it depends on how soon that happy event occurs! If it is soon while Labor is in power we could have a national holiday to celebrate the occasion. I guess that could cost about the same as a national day of mourning which Abbott would have to declare, though since he’s not an Australian citizen what could really be expected of us? Certainly not a state funeral.

    I hear poor old Rupes is depressed! Well, claiming to be, anyway. Myself I think it’s just a ploy and an opportunity to disclaim responsibility for the phone tapping in the UK.

    We did discuss earlier that he might now be reaping the whirlwind on all his earlier shenanigans. It would be lovely if 2011 could be the year of his come-uppance.

    So Rupert Murdoch is depressed!
    Poor man, he must be very stressed.
    So many ways is he hard pressed.
    Where next his billions to invest
    Without arousing huge protest……….

    Now that could become a ‘pome’….who’d a thunk it! Rupert an inspiration…….well, the idea of his dying……yes! I’ll get back to you!

  190. “A Murdoch Funeral – Well, Nasking, it depends on how soon that happy event occurs! If it is soon while Labor is in power we could have a national holiday to celebrate the occasion.”

    LOL Patricia.

    Spot on.

    Min & Feral,
    wasn’t Howard a man for his time?…as in, the 1950s.

    Abbott also seems to be workin’ on the time goes in reverse principal…trashin’ the NBN…relyin’ primarily on bikes for transport…usin’ religious phrases and metaphors to get points across…that haircut!…

    roll on late 20s – 1930s.

    Would suit his political economic policies.

    The Depression era. 🙂


  191. Nas,
    Women would be barefoot and pregnant, without contraception or abortions, which enables them to plan their careers and family, faster than you could say, ” Holy Cardinal Bishop Abbott!”

  192. Feral, and I say verily unto thee thus the rightful order of the world shalt be restored. It wouldn’t surprise me one little bit if Abbott is one of those who believe that the evils that you have mentioned are the reason for the delay in The Ascension.

  193. Nas’ the Rodent was one of the least inspiring and most vomit inducing corrupt politicians it has ever been my displeasure to witness.

    It’s like saying Maggie Thatcher was sexy; you might as well say a pile of dog vomit is sexy! Only people who are seriously demented would think that woman was sexy.

    patriciawa @2.55pm, a funeral for Emperor Rupert eh? could we be that lucky?

  194. I don’t think that Bill Shorten’s statement that “a disaster fund would be a disincentive to people taking out insurance” is a good enough reason to do nothing. To me an easy and obvious solution is to have any Disaster Fund means and assets tested.

    Clearly people who are wealthy enough to pay for insurance themselves should have no disincentives to do just this, however there are a lot of people such as the long term unemployed and the disabled who struggle to put food on the table much less able to afford ‘luxuries’ such as insurance.


  195. The way I understand it a disaster fund would not pay for private loss but would give an initial emergency amount to the individuals and families affected as always happens in disasters, and then only pay for infrastructure rebuilding. The rebuilding of homes and replacing things like furniture and cars would still require insurance.

    Actually cars are a good example as surely government don’t pay for cars to be replaced, the affected person either has comprehensive insurance or wears the loss.

  196. Mobius, maybe this is where people are getting confused as Shorten did say that it would be a disincentive for people to take out insurance. If a disaster fund is for infrastructure then why should this act as a disincentive?

    Or maybe Shorten’s statement has been taken out of context.

  197. Or the plan is to use a disaster fund to pay for private loss in which case he is right and then it should not be contemplated for that use.

    We’ll see what comes out of the meetings with the indies who are pushing for this.

  198. Or maybe Shorten’s statement has been taken out of context.

    I wouldn’t mind betting that’s the case, Min. I think a disaster fund or something similar is a good idea and hopefully the government and the indies will be able to thrash something out.

  199. To add to CU’s list, failure to invest in Australia’s future security. This result is evidenced in today’s story:

    AUSTRALIA will have virtually no capacity to mount a military operation by sea later this year when the navy will have no landing ships and just one supply vessel able to put to sea.

    That means the Defence Force would be incapable of managing emergencies such as the Solomon Islands intervention without help from allies such as the US.

    Heavy Landing Ship HMAS Tobruk for example was supposed to be pensioned off years ago but Howard was too busy on his boy’s own adventures.


  200. will add when I go home, Funny I remember Mr Menzies leaving a similar poblem for Labor to sort out.

  201. CU, it’s actually worse than this. At least one of the patrol boats out of Cairns is out of commission perhaps permanently due to a warped hull. The blokes took her out to sea (or tried to) and all that she would do is to go around and around in circles.

    Abbott of course has this information which makes him doubly hypocritical when he talks about ‘border protection’ as it was government that caused the acute running down of the ADF not just in major equipment but in personnel. Anyone remember ‘The Ready Reserve’..one of the first things that Howard got rid of.

  202. This is in the context that Beazley had a policy to purchase and build Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) that are eminently suited to the task of border protection, yet he was attacked by the Howard government and his media mouthpieces from every angle.

    Instead we got Howard using 200 man frigates with air, surface and sub-surface war fighting capability looking for leaky wooden boats and too few patrol boats that were stretched to their limits and didn’t have the on task patrol times needed.

    I want to launch into a tirade of counter points every time I hear someone saying “but the Howard government was great for Defence and Security.” Utter crap, the Howard government was all chest thumping and loud noise but when you looked beyond that there was little of substance there.

  203. And Mobius, who can forget the Sea Sprites. This wasn’t just the $$$$s wasted but the personnel and training wasted. Son joined the Navy to get a trade, Aviation Technician Aircraft and spent 13months studying at Wagga Wagga only to be told that those recruited wouldn’t be needed. He never did get to graduate.

  204. In discussion on the other site I have found that Costello by several sleights of hand took $9 billion from the Future Fund so you can add that to the list of Howard government stuff ups and waste.

    Also remember Costello’s $5 billion currency swap debacle.

    When the Howard government screwed up they certainly did it in no small way and it was nearly always in the billions.

  205. ME, there’s also the “little” matter of the $5 billion loss due to the sale of 167 tonnes of our gold reserves in 1997…

    THE Reserve Bank sold most of the nation’s gold reserves more than a decade ago because the board believed its price would remain flat

    They believed also the commodity would not play a role in a future financial crisis.

    The decision to sell 167 tonnes of the bank’s reserves has cost the nation about $5 billion based on today’s soaring price of almost $1400 an ounce.

    The RBA revealed in July 1997 that over a six-month period, it had sold 167 tonnes, reducing Australia’s reserves to just 80 tonnes. At this time, the value of its gold assets fell from $3.6bn to about $1.1bn.

    The RBA’s sales pushed the world gold price down to an 11-year low, returning just $2.4bn for the gold that was sold via a single broker engaged without a tender.

    The same amount of gold would be worth about $7.4bn today.

    The decision to sell the reserves was approved by then RBA governor Ian Macfarlane and then treasurer Peter Costello.

    And this was from the OO 😯

  206. It’s unbelievable isn’t it Bacchus, here we are easily unearthing billions in waste and lost revenue under the Howard government, and that doesn’t include things like the illegal invasion of Iraq, yet the MSM and opposition rant and rave on about rorts in programs perpetrated against the government by individual businesses by blaming the government?

    Where was all the outrage back then under Howard about the government losing and wasting all these billions? Yes the failures made the papers, sometimes only as a byline, and on the odd occasion they made the TV news, but not once did any of these direct government failures that cost us billions entail the sort of constant and long running headline news as the bashing of the current government because of business rorting has.

  207. “Also remember Costello’s $5 billion currency swap debacle.”

    was between 1-2 billion…see my comment above @ January 30, 2011 at 8:29 pm.



  208. $5 billion is the figure mentioned in many places Nas and was stated by Costello himself.

    Peter Costello 7:30 Report 04/03/2002

    As for the amount of the losses, $2 billion or $5 billion, it sounds like a lot, but it depends when you value the portfolio and what exchange rate you use.

    Costello trying to justify the amount by saying it only sounds like a lot but isn’t really depending on what foreign exchange rate you use.

    A bigger load of bullshit I am hard pressed to remember.

  209. Fair enuff ME.

    “A bigger load of bullshit I am hard pressed to remember.”


    Poor performance all up.


  210. Well, there’s $10bn in waste to add to the Seasprite debacle and all the other instances of mismanagement and waste by the Rodentochracy. Just how much of our money did that mob waste? It must be getting close to $20bn when you start totting up the figures.

    Something else for the government to ferret into, imo and broadcast whenever the Smuggles Set opens its collective gob. Starting in parliament.

    God knows why they didn’t wheel those figures out when little Chrissy Whynne started whining about BER.

    It can certainly be trotted out as a counter to Smuggles’ claims that the Rodentochracy were great economic managers.

    Costello trying to justify the amount by saying it only sounds like a lot but isn’t really depending on what foreign exchange rate you use.

    I’ll try that line on our bank manager the next time he chips me about the overdraft, ME.

    You have to laugh or you’d slit your wrists. And this mob got away with this shite and has the gall to claim economic management as their greatest achievement ffs!!!!

  211. Bullshit management as their greatest achievement, and they only got away with it because of a very compliant MSM, yet I still read many right wing posts stating the media was harsh on Howard and are nearly all left wing.

    Want to know how low Abbot can go?

    We can do better than Labor’s flood tax

    That is Abbott trying to raise funds to launch a propaganda campaign against the levy that is going to rebuild infrastructure damaged by the floods.

  212. ME, will people never wake up to what this creep is up to? He has absolutely no shame whatever. I don’t think even the Rodent would have stooped as low as Smuggles has. He is a maggot and that’s an insult to maggots!!

  213. Pingback: I’d be Lying if I said the Price on Carbon wasn’t Taxing me too « Café Whispers

  214. Pyne says it all. Wants the PM to confess but nit able to say what the crime is. Looking across the media, yesterday’s effort of the PM’s is received with open respect.

    The Federal Opposition says there are still questions that need answering over allegations about Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s behaviour as a lawyer in the early 1990s, but will not say what those questions are………

    THE Gillard government and Julia Gillard herself place too much faith in media manipulation and intimidation and don’t show enough faith or expertise in communicating good policy and positive achievements.

    One of the charges the Prime Minister laid against her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, was that there was too much attention being paid to the 24-hour news cycle and too much time being spent on short-term media spin.


  215. The PC yesterday is more impressive when one reads the transcript. When one compares this with Abbott’s 7.30 effort, they are not in the same ball park, not in the same universe.


    Today Minister Bowen and I are announcing we are actioning Mr Houston’s recommendation that the number of humanitarian places be increased to 20,000. This is important because we want to send two messages to asylum seekers. Message No.1, if you get on a boat you are risking your life, you are paying a people smuggler your hard-earned money and you are at risk of being transferred to Nauru or PNG. But Message No.2, if you stay where you are and you have your claim processed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees then there are more resettlement places available in Australia. That is the purpose of announcing the 20,000 places – that is the purpose that Mr Houston identified.

    Mr Houston also identified the need for some capacity-building in our region and we are making available as an initial step $10 million for such capacity-building.

    I’ll turn now to the Minister for Immigration who will speak about these matters but also give you a general update on the work that is happening on Nauru and PNG………………..


  216. Migs can you transfer what I have said to the right thread. This one is too important to muck up.

  217. Miglo, I thought that might have been the case. I do not know how I got to that site. My mind elsewhere I would say.

    Do have a good day. That is an order from me.

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