In Control

To have effective control is to exercise an authoritative or dominating influence whilst having the ability to restrain that control.

Some of our present and recent politicians exercise it in odd ways.

Kevin Rudd was a control freak. Mark Latham was out of control. Tony Abbott has lost control. Julia Gillard is in control.

Let’s briefly consider each one individually.

To the Canberra bureaucrats it was no surprise that Kevin Rudd was whitewashed in the last leadership challenge against Julia Gillard. I use the word ‘last’ reservedly, as I’m sure the mainstream media will convince us that another challenge is only moments away. And another after that, and so on ad nauseum.

Those who work within the corridors of government will attest that Kevin Rudd is a control freak, to the point where working relationships become untenable. Critics had been quick to predict the demise of the Labor Government in discarding Rudd, given his electoral popularity. He was seen as the saviour of the current administration. That the party voted overwhelmingly to support Julia Gillard, despite the media prediction that to do so would result in doom, speaks volumes of their opinion of their former leader.

He is held in such contempt within Canberra’s bureaucratic community that no one wants to work with him because he is widely regarded as not only a control freak but a man possessing an obsessive superiority complex.

Not the qualities of a good leader.

In portraying himself as a victim and quick to blame the world for his woes, Mark Latham provides a stark contrast to Kevin Rudd. Booted from the leadership of Labor he went down in a screaming heap, punching and scratching as he went. In the years since, he has exercised no restraint in condemning the party he once led and who could forget his performance as a reporter in the 2010 election campaign where to observers he displayed all the characteristics of a sore loser and Labor ‘deserved’ to lose because of what the party did to him. His behaviour is not unlike the reaction of a spoiled child who missed out on his favourite lollies. Yet history has shown that if he had a bag of lollies he would never share them. The Prime Minister summed him up when she recently said:

You can’t preach compassion if you don’t show it to those nearest to you.

You can’t argue for fairness if you treat people unfairly.

You can’t stand for honesty, if you aren’t honest with yourself and your own.

A good leader is gracious in defeat. Mark Latham was not, and neither was Tony Abbott.

While his gaze is forever fixed on blaming Labor for denying him the keys to The Lodge, he is unable to notice that sitting directly behind him is the most incompetent, undisciplined, irresponsible rabble ever to occupy the benches of the Opposition. And why are they like that? The answer is simple: They do not have a leader who can provide direction or vision. It’s a two-edged sword.

I recently wrote:

Unable to lure the Government to the early election they have fought so hard for, the Opposition now comes across like a mob of dazed and confused rabbits caught in the headlights of a speeding media convoy. All of a sudden they have nowhere to run. Their incessant gibberish is desperate.

And that’s how they come across. A pack of rabbits running off in all directions with no leader to follow. Every decision contradicted. Lost for ideas.

They need a leader. They need a leader in control. Instead they get Tony Abbott.

He has not one attribute that could hope to inspire them. In order to lead and set direction a leader needs to inspire confidence in others and draw out the best efforts of his or her team to complete their tasks well. A leader who conveys confidence towards their objectives inspires the best effort from team members. Tony Abbott fails. He has lost control.

Consider the first line and a half from Kipling’s timeless poem If:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs . . .

That doesn’t sound like Tony Abbott, does it? Not only has he lost control of his team but he is devoid of any self-control. His media and parliamentary performances attest to that.

He is the opposite of Julia Gillard; a person in total control.

The starkest difference between the two is that Julia Gillard is a person who has a vision, with the drive and commitment to achieve that vision. And also unlike Mr Abbott she possesses the skills to make it happen. You might argue that Kevin Rudd also had that vision and drive, and you will not get an argument from me, but he lacked the ability to lead by example and develop a cohesive team. Successful leaders empower others by managing their control.

Another aspect of Julia Gillard’s control is that she knows her team; what they are doing; what they are saying; and what makes them tick. She knows their strengths and their weaknesses. The former she nurtures, the latter she develops.

On the parliamentary floor they do not makes fools of themselves. They have a sense of self discipline. That is to her credit.

Across the floor sits a disorganised leader who isn’t leading, he’s simply chasing his tail. Disorganisation breeds nothing but more disorganisation. If you’re frazzled and chaotic, so too will your team will be. When you’re organised and in control you’ll be much more productive and so will everyone else in the team.

Even her thoughts are controlled. A person in control has the ability to listen and communicate effectively. She has a vision and can articulate it at all levels. Do Rudd, Latham or Abbott have that ability?

Being in control also manufactures a mental toughness. Nobody can lead without being criticised or without facing discouragement. In this sense, Julia Gillard is a great leader.

She is in control. She has control.

Julia Gillard speaking at the lanch of the Aus...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dazed and Confused

Unable to lure the Government to the early election they have fought so hard for, the Opposition now comes across like a mob of dazed and confused rabbits caught in the headlights of a speeding media convoy. All of a sudden they have nowhere to run. Their incessant gibberish is desperate.

And that’s how they come across. A pack of rabbits running off in all directions with no leader to follow. Every decision contradicted. Lost for ideas.

But enough of the analogies (though they do behave as a dazed and confused party).

Let’s examine this.

Earlier this week Cory Bernardi was critical of the Government for providing assistance to families via ‘carbon tax’ rebates:

They’re sending tens of millions of dollars out to people that are just finding their way into poker machines rather than into areas in which they’re meant to assist families and communities.

That’s right, poker machines! Is he not aware that his party is vigorously opposed to pokie reforms? His ‘alleged’ leader addressed a rally side by side with Alan Jones who told the crowd that:

. . . the proposed pokies reforms would erode the nation’s social fabric.

“What happens when the local club is gone?” he asked.

“The social repercussions of mandatory pre-commitment are enormous”.

Mr Bernardi is confused. His party loves gamblers so he must obey. Oh how it must frustrate him that gamblers are only able to maintain the nation’s social fabric (as Jones would say) if the money for gambling comes from Labor Government rebates.

I can see why he’s dazed.

As a duo, Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey are definitely confused. As I pointed out in my previous post, Tony Abbott was critical of the Gillard Government presiding over an interest rate rise in April by bleating:

The Federal Government’s economic policy is to blame for the latest interest rate hike . . .

Well isn’t it wonderful that the ‘hike’ has been reversed? But Joe Hockey doesn’t find it wonderful, fuming:

. . . the rate cut is a sign the Government has lost control of the economy.

“Again I state that we and all Australians who have home loans and small business loans would welcome this cut from the Reserve Bank but nothing here gives credit to the Government, in fact it’s the absolute opposite,” he said.

“The Reserve Bank is moving because the Government has lost control of the economy.”

One of them is confused, but more than likely both of them are confused. I’m confused as I thought the Liberal Party liked lower interest rates. John Howard told us so.

Mr Bernardi could make the situation even more confusing by nominating lower interest costs as a reason for more pokie gambling. Damn Labor!

The Tony and Joe team dazzle me with their contradictory statements, begging me to ask the question: Do they ever talk to each other? You may ask the same after hearing that Tony Abbott:

. . . gave “a categorical no”, when asked if he would raise the GST.

“We will not change the GST,” he told radio 2SM

Joe must never listen to his boss or 2SM because he turned around and said there was a case for it being raised. This is an issue that has them confused. Joe must be left in a daze.

Tony Abbott may well be confused about many things, but thankfully, climate change isn’t one of those as it’s absolute crap.

Could someone please tell his party he’s not confused? Or could someone please tell Tony Abbott that his party is confused? Because . . . wait for it . . . in the same breath Tony wants a policy to address it and has debated himself on this very issue.

It has left him dazed.

Here’s more evidence.

On January 20 this year he admitted to South Australians he will slash $500 million in car industry grants. On the same day he says there’s “an abundance” of money available to car manufacturers and has committed the Coalition to maintaining $1 billion worth of subsidies for the automotive industry. He really is caught in the spotlight, isn’t he? He doesn’t know which way to run. Just follow his mouth.

Sophie Mirabella is confused. She is upset that the nation’s 500 biggest polluters will be hit with the evil ‘carbon tax’ but anybody who witnessed her recent appearance on Q&A would be surprised that she has no problem with Tony Abbott introducing a paid parental leave scheme that will be funded by placing a levy on an estimated 2,500 companies. The scheme has been rejected by big business. This must leave Ms Mirabella slightly dazed.

As is Andrew Robb, the appointed spokesperson given the job of fronting his boss to whisper in his ear that the scheme is a white elephant. He is confused as to why his ‘alleged’ leader wants to introduce a scheme that won’t work. This is another issue Mr Abbott shows no confusion:

“I am very, very proud to be the first leader of the Coalition to go to the people with a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme and I’m proud to be the only leader who will be going into the next election with a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme as part of our policy.”

Nobody else in his party wants it. They must all be left in a daze.

Malcolm Turnbull must also be confused.

Nearly two years after Tony Abbott vowed to tear down the beginnings of the national broadband network and to “demolish” it, the Coalition now says it will not roll back or cancel it, if it comes to power at the next election.

Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband Malcolm Turnbull told IT Pro firmly this week: “No, the Coalition will not cancel or roll back the NBN. The NBN will continue to roll out but we will do so in a cost-effective manner in particular in built-up areas.”

He is confused because all of a sudden his ‘alleged’ leader is in favour of it. Or is he?

Which way does Malcolm run? Or does he run? Maybe he’ll be transfixed in the media spotlight like the rest of them . . . all dazed and confused. Continuing to talk gibberish.

Give Tony more rope

I was often bemused as to why the Government has never set out to publicly undermine Tony Abbott. Let’s face it, he offers as much weaponry to the underminer as he does to the cartoonists; his idiocy is as obvious to an observer as are his big ears and lycras.

Then the penny dropped. Nobody needs to undermine Tony Abbott while he’s doing such a brilliant job of undermining himself.

It’s like the old adage give a person enough rope and they’ll hang themselves. Tony is certainly grasping for more rope. He’ll soon be gasping for more air, literally.

He’s going to hang himself. Every time he opens his mouth the noose is tightened.

And just how is he managing to undermine himself?

To speak, and know absolutely nothing about the subject on which you are speaking or have little knowledge of the audience to whom you are speaking, can make one appear ridiculous.

Here are just a handful (of the many) subjects that Tony knows nothing about:

Reality

A soon-to-be released book titled Tony Speaks provides us with a sample of just how out of touch with reality Tony is. By reality, I mean the ideologies held by the wider community; one that is no longer under the trance of Christianity or prisoner to racist and sexist doctrines. Here are those samples:

Tony speaks – on honesty: “One man’s lie is another man’s judgment call.”

Poverty: “We just can’t stop people from being homeless if that’s their choice.”

Climate change: “Absolute crap.”

Divorce: “Come 2020, I’m confident that . . . families won’t break up any more often, because old-fashioned notions about making the most of imperfect situations will have made something of a comeback.”

Female equality: “I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.”

Christian teaching: “Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it is not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”

On the basis of those gems alone, it confirms Tony Abbott is divorced from reality.

Interest Rates

On this subject Tony Abbott appears not only a dill but also the consummate hypocrite. In April he said:

The Federal Government’s economic policy is to blame for the latest interest rate rise . . .

Does the man think we are stupid? Or perhaps he thought Howard and Costello were stupid. After all, they presided over 11 straight interest rate rises before the found themselves out of Government in 2011.

Interest rates have been falling during 2012 and in Tony Abbott’s view this must be a good thing. It surely must be good for the Government. It certainly must be good for home-buyers; many of whom would be keeping a more interested watch on their bank statements that the thoughts of Tony Abbott.

He continued:

The best way to restore confidence and get interest rates down was to ”change the government as soon as possible.”

”As long as we have the current government, we’re going to have bad economic policy and we’re going to have pressure on the forgotten families of Australia.”

Tony, don’t be an idiot.

I wonder if he ever stops to think what might be the consequences of his actions or words before he performs or delivers them. Those little moments when most people pause to consider the ramifications of what they are about to say, are lost on Mr Abbott. He just opens his mouth and talks, and in doing so, reveals himself again and again to be the consummate hypocrite.  Or two-faced.  Make your own call on this example below.

Citizenry

A surf lesson turned into a political dialogue when Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott took an Afghan refugee for a paddle at Sydney’s Manly beach.

Mr Abbott had donned his infamous budgie smugglers, but they were soon covered by a wetsuit when he gave the organised surf lesson to Riz Wakil.

The lesson was sponsored by advocacy group GetUp! after it raised $16,100 to bid on the surf lesson prize at last year’s Canberra press gallery’s mid-winter charity ball.

Mr Abbott made no bones about the fact Mr Wakil had arrived in Australia by boat in 1999.

“He’s an Australian now,” Mr Abbott told said today. “To my way of thinking he’s no longer an illegal boat person.

“He’s an Australian, and he’s entitled to all the rights and all the courtesies that Australians are entitled to.”

Yes, that right, he said:

“He’s an Australian now. To my way of thinking he’s no longer an illegal boat person.

“He’s an Australian, and he’s entitled to all the rights and all the courtesies that Australians are entitled to.”

Let’s consider those statements.

“He’s an Australian now. To my way of thinking he’s no longer an illegal boat person.

Yes, he’s an Australian, but he has never been an illegal boat person, unless of course he was fishing in restricted waters, which I’m sure he wasn’t.  But to Abbott’s way of thinking he once was an illegal boat person even though legally there is no such thing.  As a lawyer Mr Abbott should have known that, but don’t let the lawful truth get in the way of immoral politics.  To my way of thinking he’s an Australian now, full stop.

“He’s an Australian, and he’s entitled to all the rights and all the courtesies that Australians are entitled to.”

So even though Mr Abbott was quite happy to have the boats turned back, those people who manage to make it here are (eventually) entitled to the same rights as all Australians.  So why consider blowing ships out of the water if they are filled to the decks with future Australians? But haven’t the opposition been telling us that these boats are packed with undesirables not welcome in this country?

Did you notice the year Mr Wakil arrived by boat in Australia?  Yes, 1999 when Howard was Prime Minister.  Maybe in Abbott’s view it’s OK for those that made it to this country under Howard (the man legendary for stopping the boats).  But from the time he won government in 1996 up until the eve of the 2001 election, 221 boats with refugees were welcomed in this country.  Mr Wakil was on one of them.  Had have he been on boat number 222 he would have later found himself on the Tampa, and from that day on be known as an illegal boat person.

I’ve picked three subjects where Tony Abbott so beautifully undermines himself by simply opening his mouth. There are dozens. His idiocy on subjects such as economics should alone provide him with enough rope to hang himself. Those few above are just a teaser.

Canberra Connect

Whenever there’s very little happening around the country – that we haven’t already talked about – we can always rely on Canberra to provide us with something to sizzle over. Today I turn to Canberra to see what happening.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is in the news and despite the scheme expected to benefit 400,00 Australians, the Liberal states are more interested in what’s in it for them ahead of what’s in it for the people who actually need it. Now who in their wildest dreams would have thought the Liberal State Premiers would want to play politics on such an important issue? Their political tackiness and the cost of such has been recognised:

Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Steve Hambleton said his body wanted the state governments that have not signed on to the NDIS to overcome their opposition and put the interests of people with a disability ahead of ‘political squabbling’.

That’s a fairly big ask. It’s asking the Liberals to act against their political grain. Good luck.

Labor leadership speculation again boiled to the surface this week and for the record it was for once not media driven, with Federal Government Chief Whip Joel Fitzgibbon providing the drive. Mr Fitzgibbon said that:

. . . if leaders stayed unpopular for long enough, they would inevitably stop leading the party.

And naturally the media had to chime in with this bit:

Speculation has mounted about Ms Gillard’s time as leader as the federal Labor Party’s standing in opinion polls remain in electoral wipeout territory.

Perhaps they missed that Mr Fitzgibbon actually said leaders, not Prime Ministers. Honestly, someone could suggest that the Collingwood captain is unpopular and the media could be relied upon to turn it into a Julia Gillard story.

In money news, Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens says Australian governments are enjoying their lowest borrowing rates in more than a century and there are now suggestions that the Government should consider taking this as an opportunity to go into deficit to fund infrastructure projects. As wise as that idea might seem, the current Government is committed to returning a surplus which in my humble opinion is only driven by the need to keep the Liberal monkey off its back.

Opportunity lost, unfortunately, with Economist Chris Richardson from Deloitte Access Economics saying that with the government borrowing money at rates barely above the inflation rate, in real terms it was was getting its money interest free.

What a pity that everything is so poll driven.

A jet lagged Tony Abbott, in the meantime, has made a big hit in China with his talk on tougher investment guidelines. Here’s the reaction:

Some in the Chinese system have laughed off Mr Abbott’s tougher investment guidelines as the empty talk of an opposition leader.

”I never take seriously what politicians say,” said Lu Bo, the deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce’s World Economy and Trade Research Department.

The empty talk of an opposition leader! Goodness, our Chinese cousins are very perceptive?

Parliament House Canberra, Australia

Parliament House Canberra, Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Julia only the best

A thought came to mind.

What strange days are these.

We are in a situation where Tony Abbott is widely perceived as having little to offer by way of a vision for Australia’s future.

We are in a situation where even staunch Liberals struggle to find redeeming features, and when they do it is not based on what Tony Abbott will do, but rather it is based on that which he won’t do. It is based on either fallacies such as that Tony will rescind the Carbon Tax or on dangerous propositions such as turning back the boats, or on a fictional Green Army.

On the other hand we have been instructed by the media that a hatred of Julia Gillard is what everyone does. Yet when pressed to provide specifics, nothing other than trivia is forthcoming. A proviso here, there are some alternative lifestylers who don’t believe in the existence of climate change, but otherwise this hatred consists of:

..a Welsh/Aussie accent, a big bum, large earlobes and no dress sense..plus she wore the same jacket twice…take the poor girl into the back paddock immediately, how can we cope with such a wretch or is that wench as Julia.

Isn’t hatred a rather harsh word for a lass who has busted her gut in service of her country?

Does this not say something about the Aussie ethos, that one can do 1,000 things right but get it wrong once and you’re dead meat.

To my way of thinking Julia’s problem is that she refused to grovel, but stood tall and proud.

That when people sniggered and played the secret whispers game, she ignored it.

About now I could speak about the many accomplishments of the Gillard government, indeed the extraordinary accomplishments in being able to navigate her way through a minority government. I believe that the NBN will take it’s place in history alongside the Snowy Mountain Scheme. But who would bother considering these, because Julia’s got a big bum, large earlobes, has worn the same jacket twice…

Ironic isn’t it, that Tony Abbott’s policies are fluffed over by the media yet the media concentrates only on the fluff when it comes to Julia Gillard.

Who would want a person such as Julia Gillard in to bat for them. The answer is, I would.

BTW, as a piece of trivia Julia was born exactly one decade and 1 day after me. We Libran females can be fearsome when roused. 😉

Note: I haven’t been able to find a photo credit for the above, therefore if anyone knows the author it would be appreciated so that I could acknowledge same.

Addendum: Damn it, I’ve had this song going around around and around. For you, simply the best.

Who’s taking Tony’s job?

I can only assume that the reason the Coalition is doing so well in the polls whilst Tony Abbott maintains the popularity of a fart in an elevator is that those polled must surely expect him to be replaced before the 2013 election.

It is obvious no one wants him in the top job (bar his billionaire friends).

He can bemoan as often as he wants about the Prime Minister, the Government, the economy or the falling skies but one thing is inescapable: he is toxic.

How often have I read in comments across social media or heard in conversation “I’m a Liberal supporter but I don’t like Tony Abbott”?  Hundreds, to be honest. And it’s not often I hear or read someone thunder “I like Tony Abbott’.  I’m sure that if I mixed with bogans or rednecks (or billionaires) I’d hear it more often.

Given his electoral toxicity I actually find it incomprehensible that the Coalition will go into the next election with him at the helm.

How could they possibly have faith in a leader who regularly embarrasses himself on the international stage? How could they have faith in a leader who they know won’t be able to keep the promises he is making? How can they have faith in a leader who lacks one progressive brain cell in his body? How can they have faith in a leader who is content to fill his front bench with a pack of dumb-wits who have no instinct for their portfolios? And how can they have faith in a leader who must surely embarrass them with his public support of their stupidity?

It is obvious that the electorate recognise his incompetence. He’s even run out of ‘three word slogans’.

Has he run out of time?

If he maintains his poor polling as preferred Prime Minister some eye brows will need to be raised in his party. After 18 months in the top job in the Opposition the electorate is trying to tell him they don’t want him in the top job in Government. Will the penny drop within his party though?

And what if the Government experience a lift in the polls? All his efforts would have been wasted. He would have achieved very little during his toxic term.

I am certain he will be dumped before the election and I’m looking forward to him becoming the Mark Latham of the Liberal Party.

He won’t be able to keep his mouth shut.

Keep talking, Tony. You’ll soon be talking yourself out of a job.

I wonder who’ll take it.

Tony Abbott don't risk him

Tony Abbott don’t risk him (Photo credit: haikugirloz)

Digital Activism, Social Media, and the Tunisian Revolution

Be inspried. Sami Ben Gharbia, outgoing editor of Global Voices Advocacy addressed the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Conference on 20 July 2012.

He spoke about the role of digital activism in the 2010 Tunisian revolution and the Arab spring. He shared some of the strategies used to expose government corruption and nepotism and to combat its censorship, both online and offline.

In addition he touched on the involvement of Wikileaks and Anonymous in assisting the campaign.

Professor Sarah Joseph, Director of Monash University’s Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, chaired the question time that follows the presentation.

Sami was also interviewed on Friday night’s Lateline. The video and transcript are here: Tunisian campaigner discusses online uprising

Say something, Tony

From the paper I hardly ever read comes this little hidden-away snippet.  (Excuse the obvious spelling mistakes. It is, after all, The Australian).

Australian authorities have performed a tense rescue north-east of Christams Island.

An asylum seeker has been brought ashore on a stretcher wrapped in silver thermal material following the intervetion of the authorities

HMAS Glenelg intercepted the vessel, thought to be carrying 144 passengers, after someone onboard called for help this afternoon.

HMAS Glenelg and ACV Triton provided assistance to the vessel at the request of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Two children are among the asylum seekers brought ashore at the Australian territory so far this evening.

Does Mr Abbott know about this? If so, I’m wondering a couple of things.

  • Given that he is quick to blame the Government for the deaths at sea of asylum seekers, will he now give it credit for preventing some deaths?
  • Will he condemn the navy for rescuing asylum seekers from a perilous situation whilst his publicly announced preference is that they turn back boats?

Just askin’.

 

 

Victorian TAFE cuts will suffocate state’s productivity

The Ted Baillieu Victorian government appears hell bent on dragging the state down in the short term and in the long term.

By attacking the technical and further education (TAFE) institutions in Victoria, the state government has illustrated scant regard for the state’s economy or future capacity to meet the growing need for technical and trades people. While there might be a mining boom happening in some states and plenty of opportunities for people with technical and trades training, the state government of Victoria is failing to see how it can respond when the boom comes to an end.

It would seem that for all the supposed ability to manage an economy, the Baillieu government is failing abysmally. Yet the breathtaking stupidity of attacking TAFE is there for all to see.

Within days of the state government announcing wide-ranging cuts to the TAFE budget because of private sector blow-outs and largesse, various universities that provide TAFE courses announced the closure of courses. It didn’t take long for established TAFE institutes announced they would have to dramatically scale back their offerings and ability to meet student demands on future course offerings. Not content were the current conservatives with the hikes in TAFE fees from the previous Labor state government, it was determined that slashing technical and further education would help the budget.

Unfortunately, the Liberal National coalition are simply running on ideology not on any practical policies supported by research and discussion. Like their federal counterparts, the state conservatives sense that they have a mandate to attack the institutions that make sure there is the ability to meet the growing demands for skilled labour.

Unemployment has gone up and is continuing to rise as more jobs are lost in manufacturing and Qantas’ plans to continue to off-shore maintenance work. And this is on top of the job losses in the public sector. The faux austerity measures are not improving the conditions of the state and are certainly not prompting an increase in business investment and growth. There definitely hasn’t been a cut in the cost of living; a key election promise of Baillieu’s campaign in 2010.

By limiting and restricting the growth of wind and solar energy, the state is losing out on growing a manufacturing base for renewable energy projects. This base can be developed relatively quickly given the potential of the existing manufacturing base. It can even spur some manufacturers to re-open plants and operations. However, because the state government is refusing to grow the economy, the state is losing skilled workers to other states or overseas.

As unemployment rises, people will seek to re-train or update their skills through institutions like TAFE. But with the state government’s slash and burn approach, courses are being dumped and fees are sky-rocketing. There are dwindling options available for re-training or career development while pricing more people out of the ability to pursue further education options; options like TAFE which used to be affordable. The ability to access affordable vocational and technical education has ensured people have employment options and to make available to the labour market skilled, educated workers. TAFE used to help produce the very workers being sought after in the mining boom; and the subsequent growth of regional areas.

The Baillieu government’s own employment and procurement practices have to be more closely scrutinised. Rumours abound that the government will continue to gut the public sector but then re-employ some of the same people through short-term contracts and labour hire firms. These kinds of practices lead to a shrinking corporate knowledge and stagnation in policy development; and more importantly stagnation in policy execution and follow-through.

Attacking our TAFEs is another example of the Baillieu Liberal government’s failure to develop a long-term vision for the state. The inability to meet Victoria’s need for skilled labour means that more businesses may end up leaving the state, costing more jobs. It’s clear there are no plans to improve the level of productivity through education and development and help improve the conditions for local businesses to innovate and continue to compete in the global economy. By attacking TAFEs the state government is effectively suffocating productivity.

The Baillieu government tinkers at the edges without a thought for the ramifications and calls it reform; after telling Victorians it’ll cost more to the taxpayer.

Victorians should think long and hard before giving the Baillieu government another term. It’s clear they are incapable of taking care of the state’s economy; or ensuring the state is capable of taking full advantage of the growing renewable energy industries.

Standing up for Julia Gillard

Standing up for Julia Gillard comes at a price in this country, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay. Most of us have to wear some cost for defending what we believe in.

And what exactly is that cost?

Well that depends on how public your support is. Mine is public, as it is with most supporters who are into social media.

The cost for standing up for Julia Gillard?  Sustained vicious, malicious, abusive, denigrating and threatening public attacks from the nastiest dregs in our society. They attack and threaten personally on blogs, Twitter or Facebook.

But do we care? Absolutely not.  They can throw the mud but it’s not sticking. And don’t they squeal like stuck pigs when it keeps falling off. They can continue with their chest-beating show of ‘heroics’ but nothing can hide the obvious fact that they collectively have the IQ of a moron.

The ferals across social media are tending to look more sinister lately and we have seen a number of attacks being removed from social media by order of the sites involved, in particular Facebook. I thought that some of the bile from the hate-filled Neanderthals I’ve seen on the blogosphere was bad enough, but they are little angels compared to what’s now emerging on Facebook.

When they’re not swinging in trees they are banging on the keyboard spewing out bar room profanities in our direction. The mere word “Julia” sets off the “must act like idiot” button in their tiny, unhinged brains.

Yet I have no idea what they stand for. They never get around to mentioning it. They’re too busy spitting venom.

Just like their hero.

Like it or lump it, I’m standing up for Julia Gillard.

English: U.S. President Barack Obama practices...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)