Epic Fails

Often I receive emails showing amusing photos of mishaps, and each with the caption Epic Fail.  I thought we might like to embrace that very subject.  I’ll start off with a few.

Over the last week Tony Abbott’s call that people on Disability Support Pension (DSP) should get off their backsides and get a job has received wide coverage and attracted heated debate across all media environments.  It sounded to me that he wants to re-introduce that epic fail of a policy, Welfare to Work (WtW).  It was a failure in the true sense of the word, unlike successful programs such as the education revolution or the insulation program which are prefixed with the word failed by an all too willing media.

But WtW was a dog’s breakfast.  It failed because under this program the Howard Government preferred not to give DSP recipients any incentives to find work, but to take the big stick to them in an attempt to force them off DSP and onto the dole.  After the defeat of the Howard Government, Mission Australia – one of the country’s largest employment service provider – publicly condemned it as a failure:

Figures released today revealing more than 720,000 Australians are on a disability support pension (DSP) show that efforts to both stop the flow of people onto the benefit – and get people off – have failed miserably. Despite the efforts of the previous Federal Government, numbers have increased – 35,000 since 2003.

A major part of the problem has been the failure of the Howard Government’s much touted Welfare to Work legislation – partly designed to ‘encourage’ the estimated 20% of DSP recipients capable of taking a job back into the labour market.

So what went wrong? The answer is simple – too much stick, not enough carrot.

So let me see: The policy was aimed at reducing the DSP population by 150,000 recipients but managed to increase the numbers by 35,000 (and Mr Abbott talks as though it’s time to bring the stick out again).

Verdict: Epic Fail.

In 1961 the Beatles auditioned with Decca Records for a recording contract.  Decca knocked them back saying:

that guitar groups are on the way out and the Beatles have no future in show business.

Within 18 months the Beatles were the biggest band in the world.  While still together they dominated music and fashion for almost a decade.  It has now been 50 years since that audition yet their influence is just as powerful today as ever.

The taxes they paid as individuals helped England clear its war debt.  And oh how they paid taxes.  For each record they produced that say, cost a dollar, they would earn two and a half cents each.  For each dollar they kept (earned) they would pay 95 cents in income tax.  Yet still they amassed massive fortunes.

When Beatle songs were made available through Apple iTunes a couple of months ago it was predicted that from this alone they’d earn more money in the first three weeks than they made during their Beatle years.

It was an interesting decision by Decca to confidently speculate that guitar groups were on the way out and that the Beatles had no future.

Verdict: Epic Fail.

Radio shock jock, hard head and motor mouth Alan Jones likes to think he’s the most important human being on the Australian continent.  To most Australians he is a complete twat, however he has a loyal fan club that includes so many custodians of moral virtue such as John Howard, Barnaby Joyce, Tony Abbott and most of Sydney’s redneck old age pensioners.

They love his verbal bile.  So popular was he at being nasty on radio, some television executives had a bright idea of putting his ugly profile on TV.  “The racist rednecks of Sydney luv ya Alan, now go out an woe the rest of the nation”.  And the good Lord gave us Alan Jones Live, a

nightly Australian current affairs and talk-back television program that aired on Network Ten from 31 January 1994 to 28 April 1994.  Hosted by then 2UE Sydney radio broadcaster Alan Jones, it aired nationally at 7:00 pm each weeknight and was repeated at 11:30 pm.

I never saw the show and I can only guess how it was presented.  If like his radio program I can expect he was a toxic host babbling on with no logic or reason, but brilliantly demonstrating his anger and fury at all and sundry who didn’t fit into his conservative view of the world.

Alas, poor Alan wooed not a soul (and this show sits in his résumé of embarrassing experiences).  On 28 April 1994, it was announced that program would cease production due to low ratings.

Verdict: Epic Fail.

Take this opportunity, dear reader, to tell us about some other epic fails that have amused you.

41 comments on “Epic Fails

  1. Here’s a list of Environmental Epic Fails. The decision to import the following:

    The Scottish Thistle
    Cane Toads
    The camphor laurel
    Feral goats
    Pinus Radiata
    The water hyacinth
    Feral donkeys and camels – good idea at the time but please don’t let them run wild. We now have have situation where the native species such as the quandong and native apricot are facing extinction.
    The House Sparrow – home sick Englishman decided to import the red breasted sparrow and some fool sent the wrong ones.
    The Indian Mynah
    The European Carp
    The prickly pear

  2. If I may be so bold I’d like to point out that the Howard Government, in a nutshell, was an Epic Fail. They only knew how to to one thing, and that was win elections. They won four of them.

    But in four terms they really only did three things.

    The first was to remove the responsibility of monetary policy from the government to the Reserve Bank. How nice this made them feel whenever interest rates went up. “It’s not our fault because it’s not our doing.” If, however, interest rates were to fall there was the lovely opportunity to take credit for this.

    The second legacy was that lazy piece of tax, the GST. The ill effects this tax seem to have been forgotten, and is there any evidence that it really achieved anything?

    The third was WorkChoices. It was pure thuggery thrust upon an unsuspecting electorate and the electorate responded savagely. The policy was so ‘good’ that it lost Howard his job.

    Yep, in a nutshell: Epic Fail.

  3. When asked what was the Howard government’s biggest achievement the answer from most people is the guns law legislation, but this was in 1996.

    How ironic. Howard frequently said when trying to sell this legislation that he did not want Australia to go “down the American path”. No of course not little Johnny, we definitely don’t want to go down the American path and use firearms to kill innocent people. Now what was that about Iraq?

    Iraq: Epic Fail

  4. Migs

    The GST did achieve one major thing. It made the pensioner, the unemployed and the low paid worse off.

    It shifted the taxation form the rich to the poor. It removed taxes on luxury items and instead imposed them on essential necessities such as Electricity, Gas, Vehicle Services and Repairs, Any Tradesmen Services, Any purchases for reapirs and maintenance of the family home.

    Each and every time a business puts up their fees or costs the GST also rises. The so called compensation for pensionrs and tax cuts for the poor were eaten up within 2 years of the introduction of the GST.

    I is a regressive obscene tax that increases the pain on the poor every single time costs rise as a result of greedy robber barron companies wishing to simply inrease their profit.

  5. The Democrats being a party and seeking relection to the Senate after Meg Lees sells out to the Howard Government on the GST.


  6. The GST also does not appear to meet the economic needs of the states. All the states appear worse off since they have to rely on the GST as their mains means of funding. It did let the Howard government off the hook in this regard.

  7. CU

    I wonder if that is because the middle and poor classes simply stop buying, building or repairing things when they can no longer afford them.

    The removed luxury taxes would have still brought in massive income as the number of mega wealthy grew. In addition the rich still purhcase their luxury items during any economic crisis as they are not impacted the way the middle and lower class are impacted.

  8. And the interviewer on Sky this morning. The Lib was allowed to continuously interrupt, make accusations and when the Labor person tried to put forward an answer the Sky news commentator interrupted saying Times Up.

  9. Tom for purely medical reasons 🙂 Believe it or not the constant drone is the only thing that helps with tinnitus when there is no other background noise. True story.

  10. ‘for purely medical reasons’


    Who’d have thought Sky news had a use for anything. Well there ya go, you learn something new everyday 😉

  11. The WA Liberal Government:

    Two speed economy behind technical recession

    …and the MSM.

    If that had been the previous State Labor government still in power then the media would have been all over this like a rash, yet it comes up as a byline on ABC News online.

    The WA Liberals are a big failure, not just on the economy they promised to make better but also on crime and health, the two major platforms they campaigned on during the election they won, and both have gone backwards under their government. Not a peep from the media yet when Labor were in power every crime statistic released made headlines to condemn them.

    And the really epic fail by the WA government. They are in recession when it was their state that fought the hardest against the MRT and where mining companies spent the most in advertising against it.

    Think WA, if the MRT, and especially the original MRRT as tabled had been implemented, you would be reaping massive windfalls as the mining states were to receive the bulk of the resource tax monies, instead you are in recession.

  12. The day the GST was introduced I was picking out the best looking mushrooms at my local Coles store where the excited fruit and veg manager pointed out that thanks to the GST mushrooms were now $3 a kilo cheaper. He added that this was the price they should have always been.

    Within a week Coles had mushrooms back to the pre GST price.

    During the same shopping spree I headed for the fridge section to collect some iced coffee, which would surely be cheaper under the GST. Pre GST the tax on flavoured milk was at the luxury goods level; either 32.5% or 37.5% – I can’t remember, so I was looking forward to some savings here.

    But the price hadn’t dropped.

    Clearly the robber barons had increased the profit margin on these items which kept the retail cost unchanged. As Shane said, GST was good for the rich only.

  13. If that had been the previous State Labor government still in power then the media would have been all over this like a rash, yet it comes up as a byline on ABC News online.

    Indeed, Mobius. Reading the latter half of the article would have one believe that nothing is wrong and the State has a rosy future.

    And being an ABC article did you notice there was no “the opposition says”?

  14. ‘And being an ABC article did you notice there was no “the opposition says”’

    Lets sack that journo.

    Oh, wait, the opposition over there is what party??

    Carry on regardless 😉

    I had the unforunate experience of listening to joyces opinion this morning on ABC national radio about his opinion of Swan turning down the takeover from Singapore. Intersting, that when a major event like that happens, they go to the opposition for their opinion. Not hte Government, not the Stock Market, joyce, the billions/millions fuddler.

    Although, it was comical to here him say how the most pathetic, incompetent treasurer we ever had has made a great decision lol

  15. Abbott’s People’s Revolution was going to challenge the Melbourne Cup as a nation stopper. But it barely made a rumble.

    Promoted by that failed TV presenter Anal Jones and funded by his employer, there were expectations that as many as 22 million people would turn up on the steps of Parliament House in Canberra to overthrow the government. Free buses were made available by the Jones mob to carry his pensioner rebels to Canberra.

    Oh how they would have had fun singing songs on the trip such as Roll out the Barrel or Goodnight Irene; ever so popular with the over 80s.

    According to the police a whole 1500 people took part in the revolution. Half of them were age pensioners while the other half were the dregs of society who carried offensive banners that Liberal politicians liked being filmed under.

    The revolution was a rabble and members of Abbott’s own party seek to distance themselves from the occasion.

    Verdict: Epic Fail.

  16. Migs

    This is why I mantain the rage over the GST. Most people tell me to move on. But why should I. It was wrong then it is wrong now and it is regressive and debilitating for the poor.

    I am not the poor. I am a supporter of those struggling because the statistics are just crap.

    The avergae wage is apparently over $60,000 now. I challenge anyone in any town or city to walk down their main street and ask working people if they are earning above or below $60,000. A few millionaires skew the figures to make people think that $60,000 is the norm.

    From my clients and what I can see, between $35-$40,000 would be more than likely the average figure. A completely different ballgame. All of these low income earners slugged more GST everytime the big power companies increase their bills to make more profit.

    Income tax only increase when the person actually earns more income.

    GST goes up constantly and has no bearing whatsoever on a persons ability to meet the increase by way of increased income.

  17. For almost a century, until 1972 when Whitlam came to power, Australia’s policy makers embraced the belief that full-blooded Aborigines should be left alone to die out and that by assimilating half blooded Aborigines into white society there was the expectation that Aboriginal blood could eventually be bred out of them too. The forced removal of children from their families took place under the regulations and guidelines of the subsequent Assimilation Policy.

    At the 1937 Native Welfare Conference the agenda of this policy was proudly disclosed by Mr A O Neville, the Chief Protector of Aborigines, WA:

    We have power under the act to take any child from its mother at any stage of its life . . . Are we going to have a population of one million blacks in the Commonwealth or are we going to merge them into our white community and eventually forget that there were ever any Aborigines in Australia?

    The conference concluded that the Commonwealth and all Australian States promote the philosophy that:

    The destiny of the natives of Aboriginal origin but not of the full blood lies in their ultimate absorption by the people of the Commonwealth, and . . . all effort should be directed to that end.

    Fast forward to 2011 and we have an Aboriginal population heading towards a half a million people and the number continues to grow at a faster rate than the wider population as more and more people are no longer fearful of declaring their Indigenous heritage.

    The designers of the Assimilation Policy would no doubt be horrified that so many Aboriginal people roam our countryside, walk our streets and work with us in our jobs. There weren’t meant to be any left.

    Thankfully, I declare this policy an Epic Fail.

  18. Miglo,2 4.12pm that is really chilling, and the worst part of it is the absolute certainty of the speaker.
    Words fail me.

  19. And yet, Pip, so many still claim that the Stolen Generation are just a bunch of pretenders. It didn’t happen.

    After Kevin Rudd’s apology Andrew Bolt asked if anybody could put together a list of at least 10 people who were stolen. An academic from one of the Melbourne universities sent him a list with 1400 names on it.

    Bolt ignored it. The next day he stated on his blog that he’s still to see a list of at least 10 people who were stolen.

    Idiots like him need a history lesson.

    Epic Fail.

  20. Oh Julia, now I really won’t be voting Labor if you want to copy the Lieberals.

    Fewerpeople should be on welfare.

    People on disability pensions could be made to join the workforce to help fund flood recovery efforts, the Prime Minister says.
    How will they decide which of the disabled will be chosen and what will they be required to do?

    I don’t buy the Lieberal/Laberal Lite idea at all.

  21. I really won’t be voting Labor if you want to copy the Lieberals.

    I’ll agree with you Pip, IF she’s planning to use a stick rather than a carrot and requisite support services…

  22. Epic Fail.
    Peter Anderson head honcho of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
    The Chamber of commerce and industry surveyed 550 people about the governments’ policy and the impact it might have on business.
    PETER ANDERSON: 59% of people opposed the proposed carbon tax. 70% of people believe it willbe bad for jobs;
    and 65% of people do not believe that jobs should be traded off in pursuit of carbon. ……..
    NAOMI WOODLEY: But the other survey released today paints a very different picture.

    A Galaxy poll of just over a 1,000 people commissioned by the Greens shows majority for a carbon tax.

    The Greens Deputy Leader is Christine Milne

    CHRISTINE MILNE: 58% are saying that we should tax the big polluters; and only 17% thought that we should pay them to reduce pollution.

    But interestingly, when people were told that the revenue would be used to compensate household and businesses and provide investment in climate change programs such as renewable energy, the support for the carbon tax rose to 66% and opposition to 23%.

    NAOMI WOODLEY: You don’t think the questions were loaded to get that sort of result?

    CHRISTINE MILNE; No I don’t, because we’ve made the questions public. We have said all sides of politics agree there’s a need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help address climate change.

    Do you believe the best way is to tax the big polluters or pay money to polluters to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions?

    So it’s clearly in that context, and I think that it’s time that the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry actually released the questions that they asked, because the question you ask does influence the outcome.

    Well said Christine, and EPIC FAIL to the ABC’s Naomi Woodley for not asking Peter Anderson the same question, “You don’t think the questions were too loaded to get that sort of result.

  23. Pip and Bacchus, I thought the PM made it very clear to Uhlmann this evening that the carrot rather than the stick was her preferred m.o. He worked very hard at putting words into her mouth on this one, without success.

    Budget imperatives aside we do have a serious problem with so many of our population on disability pensions when some of them could be in gainful employment. It can even become a generational attitude.

    Miglo probably knows more about this than I do, but some twenty years back I ran a training and job creation program in Fremantle here with some funding from the CEP. Easy to get migrants working on anything they could turn their hand to. Aboriginal people, particularly women were Okay if their work produced something of cultural significance even if via run of the mill tasks. But some long term marginally disabled were really hard going even on ‘sit down’ jobs. Essentially that first medical certificate declaring them unfit to work seemed to set up an entitlement frame of mind and they did their darndest to retain that sense of entitlement both to themselves and to others.

    I also came across other people with a greater level of impairment or disability than some of these hard core ‘refuseniks’ and who worked their butts off determined not to be classified as disabled but who none the less had problems getting jobs in the work force at large because of employer perceptions about their evident handicaps. They are the group I think government should target and work with small business and others to find niche employment opportunities for.

    I know things have changed a lot since then but in those days encouraging self employment in a whole range of ways was seen as innovative. I think it’s pretty commonplace now and a lot of severely disabled people are generating income from home in a variety of ways, particularly with the support of family and friends. Work force participation is something most psychologically healthy humans want to enjoy. Physical and intellectual impairment should not disqualify people from that.

  24. patriciawa, there may be some on disability pensions who could do some work, but it takes more than that “first” medical certificate” to be on the disability pension in the first place.
    A person may look fine to observers and be able to look after their own basic needs, but not much more than that. It depends entirely on what is wrong with their health.
    What the PM appears to be planning in the next Budget may play well to certain parts of the electorate, but it will worry many disability pensioners who have no choice in the matter.l

  25. People on disability pensions could be made to join the workforce to help fund flood recovery efforts, the prime minister says.

    So says your link anyway Pip

    But does the PM say that? Does she even imply that?

    Well, decide for yourself.

    CHRIS UHLMANN: Now, the devastation in Queensland will have an effect on your Budget. You’ve seen revenues collapse through your company tax receipts. You’ve made it quite clear that this is going to be a tough budget. Are you going to target welfare in this budget? Do you think that there are too many people on welfare?

    JULIA GILLARD: Well, we are committed to rebuilding Queensland and around the nation, so money has been allocated for that. I announced our $5.6 billion package to do just that and we’ve spent almost a billion dollars here in Queensland on individual payments already. And there is a tough environment in many senses, apart from natural disasters here, with all of the economic loss of revenue that that causes. We’ve had implications for our economy from Japan. And whilst the mining sector is booming, other parts of the economy are quite flat, and that’s hit into company tax receipts.

    But my purpose in talking about participation for the Budget is really a purpose about spreading opportunity in this country. I wanna make sure that Australians who can work do have the opportunity to work and that we get people into work.


    JULIA GILLARD: That’s about giving life chances.

    CHRIS UHLMANN: Certainly, but one of the things that you’re going to have to do is move people off things like disability pensions, aren’t you?, and you intend to do that. How many people do you intend to move off and what do you intend to save by doing that?

    JULIA GILLARD: I’ve talked about participation consistently; this has been a theme of mine, and I’ve said we face some formidable challenges. There are around two million Australians who are not in the full-time workforce, above and beyond those who are officially registered as unemployed. Now I understand that there are a whole set of individual circumstances for those Australians, but for Australians who can work, I believe we should have those Australians working. It’s going to take a lot of policy innovation to do that. It is a formidable policy challenge. As a government we’ve made a start and in the Budget I want to do more.

    CHRIS UHLMANN: Sure. Can we put some flesh on the bones about that though? Are you talking about disability pensions? Are you talking about moving people off disability pensions?

    JULIA GILLARD: Well, I’m talking about creating a circumstance where we’re building a bridge to employment for people through more training, more skills and making sure that people are motivated …

    CHRIS UHLMANN: And fewer people on welfare?.

    JULIA GILLARD: Well, inevitably, that would cause fewer people on welfare, because given the choice, I wanna see people in the workforce, not on welfare. We do have to build those bridges into the workforce, give people the skills and training they need to get a job opportunity.


    When you say ‘but it will worry many disability pensioners who have no choice in the matter.’ yes, I am sure stories like that reported on 9 news will worry them. The actual words from out of the PM’s mouth should offer them some comfort though.

    I find it interesting that one of the few times I recall that ulman wasn’t less than truthful when talking to the PM, the media do it for him.

  26. Note the slight at Gillard in that transcript where they put down “want to” as “wanna”.

    I’ve seen this raised in other places where they literalise transcripts for Labor leaders such as Rudd and Gillard, and especially Gillard, but put down the interpreted word or syntax for the Coalition interviews thus altering their mispronunciations and leaving out their gutterals, stutters etc.

  27. CHRIS UHLMANN: Certainly, but one of the things that you’re going to have to do is move people off things like disability pensions, aren’t you?,

    Pathetic. Why didn’t he just say “Abbott will be able to get people off the disability support pension so why can’t you?”

    It reminded me of the ‘nya nyaing’ by Howard and Costello the week before the 2007 election. “We’ve shown our wonderful tax cuts, where are yours?”

  28. Mobius, clearly this literalisation is an attempt to downgrade the message because it makes people focus on the pronunciation ‘error’. Bogun accent, bogun message.

  29. Here’s one for you Migs. Collingwood offloading Russell Johnston to Port Adelaide. Epic mistake.

  30. Russell Johnston captained Port Adelaide (the original Magpies) through some wonderful finals campaigns. The same cannot be said for the bloke we were later to give you: Nathan Buckley.

    Me trying to type on an iPhone while traveling on a bus: Epic Fail.

  31. In the last match of 1988 (which Port lost by a point) Russell Johnston was reported a received a three match penalty. Port finished minor premiers and for Russ to play in the grand final – assuming they made it – they’d have to lose the 2nd semi final before winning the 2nd elimination final and the preliminary final. They let Russ down by winning through to the grand final in two games.

    Russ missed out, so it must have been sweet for him to hold up the premiership cup the following year.

    Epic Fails: Whoever played grand finals against Port Adelaide during that golden era.

  32. Russell Johnston’s pub went bust and he’s now working as an electrician. But he’s a good one and doing well.

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