Oh, how awful

Most of our recent posts have been awful subjects: awful Tony Abbott, the awful prospect of an Abbott Government, awful Joe Hockey, the awful media, the awful prospect of climate change etc etc. Yes, they’ve all been awful.

Trying not to think of awful (in particular) Tony Abbott can only be achieved if something more awful comes to mind. In Abbott’s case it’s extremely hard. We can only have faith in the old adage that “if you want to get your mind of your toothache, then jam your finger in the door”.

After a day long search of the internet I’ve found something more awful than Tony Abbott. Well, maybe it’s on a par. Well, almost. But by sharing it here it gives us the rare opportunity to talk about other awful stuff than our favourite awful topic.

It comes with a word of warning (from me) to our male readers and you may wish to skip this post. It might make you feel somewhat squeamish or uncomfortable. Hmmm.

I introduce to you, courtesy of damninteresting.com, the terrifying toothpick fish by Alan Bellows. If, after reading Alan’s piece (below) you can come up with something just as awful, then please share it with us. Even if it is about Tony Abbott. 😉

Now to the innocent sounding and cute looking toothpick fish:

The vast freshwater ecosystem of the Amazon River is home to abundant animal life, and many of its species thrive by virtue of their ferocity. If one were to ask the locals which of the river’s indigenous species is the most treacherous, a few might describe the roaming packs of  carnivorous piranhas, or the massive anaconda snakes; but based on the general sentiment of the region, the most frequently uttered response would be “candirú.”

The candirú is a tiny catfish which dwells in the depths of the Amazon River.  These fish do not hunt in packs like the piranha, nor are they exceptionally large like the anaconda.  In fact, the candirú is among the tiniest vertebrates on the planet, and it is sometimes referred to as the “toothpick fish” due to its small size and slender shape.  Only a handful of people have had the misfortune of crossing paths with the candirú, but their experiences serve as cautionary tales to any who venture into the mighty river. Though the candirú is a parasite, humans are not among its viable hosts.  It lingers in the murky darkness at the river’s bottom, quietly stalking its neighboring fish.  Light is scarce in the soupy deep, but the candirú does not need to see… it can taste the traces of urea and ammonia that are expelled from breathing gills.

The tiny hunter shadows its prey, almost invisible due to its translucent body and small size.  When the target fish exhales, the candirú detects the resulting flow of water and makes a dash for the exposed gill cavity with remarkable speed.  Within less than a second it penetrates the gill and wriggles its way into place, erecting an umbrella-like array of spines to secure its position.

Unconcerned with the host’s panicked thrashing, the firmly anchored parasite immediately nibbles a hole in a nearby artery with its needle-like teeth, feasting upon the bounty that gushes forth.  Within two minutes the candirú’s belly is swollen with the blood of its victim, and it retracts its gripping barbs.

Though it may seem that the exploited host fish has escaped, its injuries are so extensive that chances of survival are grim.  Meanwhile the victorious attacker slinks back into the river’s dark places to digest its meal.

There are many troubling stories regarding human run-ins with the candirú, though until recent years these were not given much credence by the medical community.  It is not uncommon for people swimming or bathing in the river to urinate in the water, an action which creates tiny water currents that are rich in urea and ammonia.  It seems that the tiny, slender catfish cannot always distinguish a urinating human from an exhaling fish gill, and on occasion it will attempt its trademark high-speed attack on some unfortunate soul.

Silvio Barbossa was one such soul.  He was swimming in the Amazon River when he went head to head with the tiny parasite:

“I felt like urinating.  I stood up, and it was then it attacked me.  The candirú attacked me. […] When I saw it, I was terrified.  I grabbed it quickly so it couldn’t go deeper inside.  I could only see the end of its tail flapping.  I tried to grab it, but it slipped away from me and went in. […]  I was very afraid, because the candirú bites.”

When the candirú successfully invades a human, it proceeds exactly as it would with a fish host.  After entering the misidentified orifice, it quickly wriggles its way in as far as possible, often accompanied by the victim’s frantic attempts to grip the slippery, mucus-coated tail.  In the unlikely event that the panicked victim manages to grasp the fish, its backwards-pointing barbs would cause excruciating pain at each pull, and bring a quick end to the dramatic tug-of-war.  Once inside, the parasite inches its way up the urethra to the nearest blood-gorged membrane, extends its spines into the surrounding tissue, and starts feasting.

For the candirú, this misguided journey is a one-way trip; its bloody banquet leaves it too swollen to escape.  The only known retaliation against the invader is delicate and expensive surgery, or failing that, a folk remedy which combines two herbs to very slowly kill and dissolve the fish.  Silvio was fortunate enough to have access to modern medical facilities, though he had to endure three days of profound agony before the fish was extracted by an awestruck urogenital surgeon.

Silvio’s incident was the first officially confirmed report of a candirú attacking a human, but such leg-crossingly horrific tales have haunted the region for generations.  According to legend, many men chose castration as an alternative to a slow, excruciating death back before surgery was an option.

Though such brushes with the candirú are exceedingly rare in statistical terms, it is wise to heed the advice of the locals, and avoid urinating in the Amazon River at all costs.  When the natives of the Amazon speak, one would be foolish not to listen.  They are privy to some of the world’s most horrible truths.

Toothpick

Joe Hockey, Less Weighty, Still Cocky!

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Joe Hockey delivers his post Budget address. Photo: Andrew Meares

Responding to Treasurer Swan’s Budget
To journalists in Parliament’s Great Hall
He seemed so anxious to fudge it
He forgot – pride comes before a fall!

He spoke at length of his sadness
For a cousin who’d hit the wall,
Weighed down by Government madness,
Rules and red tape. (Not that tax after all?)

Not that he was offering tax cuts,
Like Labor to later recall.
The Liberal Party has guts.
They’ll audit, any false hopes forestall.

No dodgy Treasury statistics;
His own will be true, line ball,
Straight shooting like Tony’s ballistics
With Aussies again walking tall.

From reports in that evening’s news
His oratory failed to enthral.
Next day’s media collective views
Seemed to be he’d said bugger all.

NOTES

Sorry this is almost out of date. I almost didn’t bother posting my impressions of Joe Hockey’s BIR speech, so unimpressed was I but as the week wore on I realised I was in good company. No economist myself it was encouraging to read that economists I respect shared my view. By now you will all have read people like Greg Jericho, Stephen Koukoulas et alia who although perhaps not as scathing or funny as Bob Ellis would probably agree with him that we shouldn’t buy a used economy from the man pictured above my pome.

The expression, or lack of it, on the faces of his audience in Parliament’s Great Hall must have told Joe that what he was saying was going down like a lead balloon. Partisan as I am I wondered if they also shared my distaste, so insulting did it seem to Treasurer, Wayne Swan, to Prime Minister Gillard and her government, and to all of us who live in Australia and are proud of the achievements of our country at a time when most of the developed world is doing less than well. But then Joe, Tony Abbott and Co, supported by the might of Rupert Murdoch’s money and his News media minions, have been insulting the intelligence of all us for three years now, so what more did I expect?

This weekend I was encouraged to see that Ross Gittins thinks that Australia’s underlying structural deficit which can lead to debit difficulties for us during times of depression such as the world has been experiencing recently was actually caused by Peter Costello’s lack of foresight and over commitment to tax cuts during the mineral boom years of Coalition ascendancy. So Joe is not only lying about the mess he says Australia is in right now, but also not taking responsibility for his own government’s share in generating some of the problems Treasurer Wayne Swan has been dealing with so effectively. I hope our top star Treasurer knows that in spite of News Ltd and others trying to give a spurious credibility to Abbott and Hockey, there are many people like me and bloggers such as Judd and Frank at Bob Ellis's site who can see how well he has done in producing a

“Strong economy. AAA credit rating by all three agencies. Low interest rates. Low unemployment. Low inflation. Building lots of things (NBN, NDIS, hospitals, schools, ports and roads all at record levels of invesment – and it is investment, not ‘spending’ because it sets the place up for another generation of prosperity).”

And if that’s doesn’t do it for you, how about this from John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia?

“When the current prime minister and the treasurer and others tell you that the Australian economy is doing better than most – they are right,” he said.

“We are still fortunate that we have an unemployment rate with a five in front of it. I wouldn’t have thought that was going to be possible a couple of years ago, and I don’t think many people would have. Our unemployment has remained pleasingly quite low.

“And our debt to GDP ratio, the amount of money we owe to the strength of our economy, is still a lot better than most other countries.”

Mr Rabbit Takes Centre Stage, But Will He Regret It?

Mr. Rabbit of Downunderland
Thought that he was in Wonderland.
For one moment it felt truly
As if he, with White Queen Julie,
Were already restored to power,
As he stood acclaimed, man of the hour.

Applause and cheers were long and loud.
His budget speech had moved the crowd.
Up on to their feet as it ended
They seemed to share his vision splendid
Of himself rescuing from failure
This ‘Triple A rated Australia!’

His oratory had been inspired!
Yes, the Gallery audience was hired.
There to test his election theme,
They’d adored his parents leave scheme,
Freely joined his denunciation
Of Labor’s burdensome taxation.

Confirming Newspoll and Morgan
They didn’t want a price on carbon!
Nor tax on mines! These men were workers
Not malingerers or shirkers.
All loathed Julia, despised red Queen!

Then reality intervened…..

Because there she sat. And glared,
As if to say, how had he dared!
A stunt like this? In this Chamber?
A dress rehearsal for September?
In a theatre where centre stage
Was hers? And…..now…..he’d put her in a rage…..


NOTES:

The best critique I’ve read of Tony Abbott’s Budget in Reply speech was from Bushfire Bill at The Pub. You should read it in its entirety, you’ll appreciate it, but his title alone was enough to get me going on this pome on a tangent of my own. As I watched the speech myself I wondered how Abbott could have been so foolish as to try to use that particular convention as an opportunity for a presidential style address, breaking all Parliamentary rules as he addressed, not the Speaker as he should have, but the ‘renta-crowd’ in the Gallery as if they were the ‘people of Australia!’

I was initially surprised that Madame Speaker did not rule him out of order, or rebuke his applauding visitors in the Gallery. Nor was there a single objection from the Government side, which I at first thought was because of shock at Abbott’s ‘chutzpa.’ Now, however, I see it as remarkable restraint and even forward planning on the Government side, anticipating his antics. Because that’s all it was, histrionics, pure theatrics and with nothing much new in the way of policy.

Antics/theatrics……..Gillard/on guard. Too many rhymes here I thought………. particularly once I had him facing ‘the Prime Minister there’ and had to choose between with ‘her steely glare’ and ‘blazing red hair’ when he should have been ‘well aware’ of ‘her rage’ as he took ‘centre stage’. But there wasn’t enough substance to the speech itself to put meat into a pome.

Then I thought maybe something new by way of policy in ‘changes to superannuation’ had potential with the ‘seeds of his annihilation.’ That was new ground that Bill Shorten and the Government could fight on…… Here was when I realized that lack of reaction alone from the benches facing him should have put Abbott ‘on his guard’………..as he faced ‘the enemy Gillard.’ They were giving him plenty of rope. They wanted him to go for broke here, to make a fool of himself, showing his ignorance of Parliamentary conventions and a lack of gravitas. More than anything they wanted him to give them some new bad policy lines to use on the hustings. Arguing the niceties of Parliamentary tradition wasn’t going to achieve any of that.

As a rusted on leftie I think he did a pretty good job of making a fool of himself. Others may disagree. Like Barry Cassidy for whom the BIR held the ‘Sweet Smell of Success.’ For me it was a pretty poor performance in terms of replying to Wayne Swan’s budget presentation. He didn’t give out much in the way of new policy either, as was perhaps hoped, but that wasn’t so much the result of cunning, as his and his party’s laziness and total incapacity for policy development. There was the superannuation, of course, but as these things so often go I didn’t use that in the pome.

As I read Bushfire Bill’s article about Abbott’s fear, I agreed that Abbott was indeed afraid to face Prime Minister Gillard without a prepared speech and an audience also prepared to applaud on cue. But even with those props and well rehearsed lines there is still fear there. I have chosen an enlarged image deliberately so that we can see his face more clearly. I like to think that after the speech he realized he had an even more cogent cause to fear. How could he, or his advisors, have forgotten this? when Julia Gillard, enraged by a ‘shamefully’ crass comment from Abbott had given the most powerful extempore speech of her Parliamentary career and drawn admiring comment from all over the world. What heights of eloquence will this outrageous defiance of Parliamentary convention by Abbott assist her to achieve?

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Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech is the first example of the digital age where an expression of passion from a politician was rewarded with numbers that a free press can’t compete with. Picture: Kym Smith Source: The Australian

Have we earned our place in the future?

A few coming events in our planet’s future – some predicted, some certain – will see the human race wiped off the face of the earth, literally. Of course there’s also the unpredictable, such as a rogue comet sending us the way of the dinosaurs or the absurd such as the sky eventually crashing down because of the ‘carbon tax’. There might also be a virus, currently unknown and exposed to life on earth that delivers a catastrophic pandemic and of course there is always a religious loony warning that God will strike us dead with a bolt of lightning if we keep sinning. Steven Spielberg likes to assure us that creatures from another galaxy will one day develop a taste for human flesh and every one of us will end up on a galactic dinner plate; a fate that could have already befallen us if it weren’t for the likes of Flash Gordon or Sigourney Weaver.

But, science tells us we are all doomed unless there is some intervention or miracle to save our battered souls.

Ignoring the unpredictable, we could face our first real crisis in roughly 100 years, according to Professor Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University who has predicted that the human race will be extinct within the next 100 years:

He has claimed that the human race will be unable to survive a population explosion and ‘unbridled consumption.’

Fenner told The Australian newspaper that ‘homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years.’

‘A lot of other animals will, too,’ he added.

‘It’s an irreversible situation. I think it’s too late. I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off.’

Since humans entered an unofficial scientific period known as the Anthropocene – the time since industrialisation – we have had an effect on the planet that rivals any ice age or comet impact, he said.

Well, that’s his opinion, rightly or wrongly. None of us will be here to see if his crystal ball was working, however, I can’t disagree that humanity has played a big part in sending the planet on a downward spiral. It’s up to our generation, to a large degree, to ensure that humanity is still here in a 100 years. Our generation could cause either the demise of the human race or the seed of its longevity. Let’s face reality; we can’t always rely on science to repair what we have broken.

If we survive Fenner’s prediction, and those with similar apocalyptic prophecies, science tells us that the unstoppable forces of evolution conspire to ensure our demise anyway, in roughly 10 million years, unless of course science or nature can discover a way to halt the unstoppable. We males will be the first to go:

Among the more alarming rumors prompted by genetics research was the impending  extinction of the Y chromosome. The classic male marker seemed to be shriveling.  Would the human race become an all-female species? The Y is, after all, just a  tiny nub of a chromosome, having undergone serious shrinkage in the past.

The time frame of 10 million years was heard on a radio show some months back, so it’s only speculation. But I’m not going to argue if it’s right or wrong.

There has already been a significant shift in the gender balance in my life time. In the mid 1960s males represented 51% of the human population. They’re now on the skids, making up 49%. Unless there are sperm banks on every street corner in 10 million years time it will be very hard to find a dancing partner.

Of little interest to any of us is the unavoidable obliteration of the planet from the dying sun. Of this we are doomed:

The sun is dying, and when it finally kicks, it will take Earth with it. We probably won’t be around to see it, though: The sun’s death throes will have taken out life here well before it swallows the planet.

The good news? We’ve got a very, very long time before any of this happens.

A panel of scientists at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science described the situation in 2000, and it still holds true. Astronomers generally agree that the sun will burn up its hydrogen fuel supply sometime in the next 5 billion to 7 billion years. As it does, gravity will force the sun to collapse into its core, which will ratchet up the heat on the remaining hydrogen and cause the sun to expand into a red giant.

At this point, the sun will swallow the Earth.

“Earth will end up in the sun, vaporizing and blending its material with that of the sun,” said Iowa State University’s Lee Anne Willson. “That part of the sun then blows away into space, so one might say Earth is cremated and the ashes are scattered into interstellar space.”

By then, the sun will be hot enough to burn all its stored helium and the sun will fluctuate in size. The sun isn’t quite massive enough to explode in an awesome supernova, so it will merely collapse into a relatively cool white dwarf.

Perhaps a moot point, though, because we’ll most likely be long dead before this occurs. As the sun revs up to its red giant phase, it’s getting about 10 percent brighter every billion years. At that rate, scientists estimate that all the water on the planet will evaporate in the next billion years.

That gives us a mere billion years to find way of getting off this rock and re-establishing our species on an Earth-like planet orbiting a distant star. Not everyone can go. If the human race was to survive past this point then it would be with thanks to a handful of intergalactic pioneers.

In a billion years the human race will find a way of ensuring it survival, subject of course, to having survived every other uncontrollable threat to it extinction along the way.

But I want to go back to the more immediate threats and our immediate future. Do we really deserve to be a part of it? Just look how we’ve shamed ourselves over the last 100 years; killing ourselves with war, turning a once fertile planet into an infertile lump of rock, wiping other species off the planet at an alarming rate, and choking the life out of every waterway, paddock or city.

We have a poor record. Since the beginning of the last century we have killed an estimated 200,000,ooo fellow humans in wars alone.

We have polluted the planet so badly that it is estimated that 40% of all deaths worldwide are caused by the damaging effects of pollution. And that’s just us humans.

Pollution is one of the primary ways in which humans have caused drastic modifications of wildlife habitat. Historically we have regarded the air, water, and soil that surround us as waste receptacles and have given little consideration to the ecological consequences of our actions. As a result, wildlife populations are confronted with a bewildering array of pollutants that we release into the environment either by intent or accident.

Not content with wiping ourselves out, we are also intent to wipe out all life.

The planet would be better off without us. Have we earned our place in the future? Unless we can evolve into a higher level of consciousness we’d better start looking for another planet about a billion years earlier than expected.

But as it is, the earth is a very dangerous place. Nobody gets off alive.

SJ2

Is the ‘carbon tax’ the reason for the PM’s low popularity, or is it Murdoch?

The Australian Independent Media Network

Claims that Julia Gillard’s unpopularity were linked to her introduction of carbon pricing in 2012 don’t stack up, says Alex White from the UK Guardian. White points the finger at Rupert Murdoch and the people he controls in our country. Tony Abbott sits high on that list of puppets.

White’s article is reproduced in full below. It’s the type of truth in reporting we’ll be seeing more of in our country when the Guardian opens its doors here. What a relief that will be from the biased Murdoch bile we are currently force-fed.

I hope you enjoy the article:

Since the disappointment of Copenhagen in 2009, Australia has witnessed a concerted scare campaign against action on global warming. The scare campaign has been led by senior commentators in (Murdoch owned) News Limited papers, by conservative radio shock-jocks on the airwaves, and in parliament by extremist opposition party leader Tony…

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Budget reply, or much ado about nothing

Photo: news.com

Photo: news.com

Much Ado About Nothing, Great Expectations or might it be Oliver with a Twist.

So far we have from ABC News,

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is expected to use tonight’s budget reply speech to explain how he would pay for tax cuts in a first-term Coalition government.

This is indeed Great Expectations given the fancy footwork employed by Abbott’s Opposition to avoid anything resembling answering that very pertinent question, how are they going to pay for anything whatsoever. So let’s hear loud huzzahs for Her Majesty’s Opposition who tonight will reveal in their entirety how they’re going to pay for tax cuts.

Oh damnation, for a moment there I got all excited because…he’s not going to do that at all. 😦

The would-be prime minister has warned he will not spell out his full list of spending and cuts, but will instead wait for the pre-election economic and fiscal outlook to be released after the start of the election campaign.

Ok, I’m warned. Tony is waiting for a report to be released before he makes a commitment to anything at all.

Greg Hunt: “We’ll have a package of tax cuts for families without a carbon tax,” he said.

Yep, ok we’ve got that. Tax cuts without a carbon tax.

This is going to be good! We’re all going to get much moolah, plus do away with the big polluters having to pay for anything much at all. Money for nothing and chicks for free..to quote the poet, who at the time was in Dire Straits.

Wayne Swan: “He’s a man for three-word slogans, I think the three-word slogan that will lie behind Mr Abbott’s approach tonight is secret, savage, cuts.”

You would think that the reason why the Opposition are doing the fancy shoe shuffle on this question is because they don’t want to answer the question, that perhaps the Australian public will not like the answer.

But Abbott hath spake. He will reveal all tonight, about how he would pay for tax cuts.

Watch this space.

In the light of the Budget, the NDIS and Gonski…

The Australian Independent Media Network

school

We can’t afford it? How many times will we hear that? Our debt is now the equivalent of $14,000 for every working Australian. (I read this in the Murdoch Press, so it must be true!) At the rate of interest the Government would be paying, that means it’s costing every working Australian nearly $2 a day to service that debt. $2 a day! That’s more than Gina wants to pay us…

Anyway, click the play button in the picture and listen to this guy on education in the USA!

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The enemy within

A couple of articles have appeared over the last 24 hours that suggest all may not be well in the Liberal National Party. They are reproduced below for your amusement and discussion.

The most recent article – hot off the press – is about John Howard giving the thumbs up to the Australian economy. This, naturally, flies in the face of what Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey have been trying to scare us with. Vivienne Kelly, in her article Ex-PM praises strong economy writes:

Former prime minister John Howard believes the Australian economy is in “good shape”, especially in comparison to the rest of the world.

Speaking at the MFAA conference in Sydney on Friday, Mr Howard said that while many people believe the Australian economy is “running on empty at the moment”, it has actually shown an unexpected resilience.

Mr Howard said he is optimistic and bullish about the future of the country.

“When the current prime minister and the treasurer and others tell you that the Australian economy is doing better than most – they are right,” he said.

“We are still fortunate that we have an unemployment rate with a five in front of it. I wouldn’t have thought that was going to be possible a couple of years ago, and I don’t think many people would have. Our unemployment has remained pleasingly quite low.

“And our debt to GDP ratio, the amount of money we owe to the strength of our economy, is still a lot better than most other countries.”

That said, Mr Howard said it was important for Australia to be constantly striving for growth and betterment, so that our competitors don’t overtake us.

“In an international environment, in a globalised world economy, you have people who are in that economic foot race who are trying to get past you. And the problem about slowing down in that footrace, even if you can’t ever get to the finishing line, is that if you slow down, other people are going to go past you,” he said.

“And that is a bit like what’s happening at the present time. We’ve been doing well in that footrace for about 25 years, but we’re now starting to slow down.”

Meanwhile, at the Sydney Morning Herald Paul Sheehan’s piece A Liberal undermining his leader suggests there’s more than one enemy within the LNP. Sheehan writes:

When Julia Gillard called a federal election seven months in advance, her greatest hope of survival was that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott would step on a political landmine, or his own party would undermine him. After all, it was a group of NSW Liberal factional obsessives and vengeful ex-Nationals who saved her in 2010.

As if on cue, one of those factional obsessives, Liberal federal backbencher Alex Hawke, has openly confronted Abbott’s credibility and authority in an election year. Last week he portrayed Abbott’s core policy on paid parental leave as ”unaffordable”, ”unsustainable” and ”unnecessary”.

The same can be said about Hawke. His political career is a civil war without end. His obsession with his own self-advancement has in effect destroyed it. He may sit in Federal Parliament, he may hold a safe seat, he may pull factional strings, but in the Canberra caucus he is indelibly marked by episodes of treachery, scorched earth tactics and backbench Siberia.

The first time I met Hawke was during an interview with state Liberal MP David Clarke, in Clarke’s office in the NSW Parliament. Clarke is one of the most eccentric men in politics and Hawke was his right-hand man, his protege. Clarke has since come to despise Hawke, for reasons that are infamous within the party.

On September 30, 2009, Hawke called the police to a branch meeting in his electorate office in Castle Hill. It was a desperate ploy, and a black mark against the party, but Hawke’s local power base was under threat. The Liberal Party later produced a detailed report about the incident. Although the party bans its members from discussing internal matters with the media, the past president of the Mitchell Federal Electoral Council, Tim Abrams, who lodged a complaint about Hawke’s actions, is on the record as stating: ”I have now received the ruling confirming that the behaviour of preventing members from entering the meeting and calling the police was inappropriate … The decision accurately sets the record straight and notes there was no basis or reason to stop the meeting by Alex Hawke MP or indeed his calling for the police to attend.”

I checked with Abrams to make sure his published comments were correct, which does not breach the party’s suppression rule. He confirmed they were accurate: ”Yes, he used the police to close the meeting.” Hawke, too, has claimed the party report vindicates him. I disagree.

This ugly tactic was critical to a wider stealth campaign Hawke was waging to build his factional base and end the career of his mentor, Clarke. Having been elected to Federal Parliament, and having ministerial ambitions, Hawke now regarded Clarke as a liability. Clarke, unaware, had assumed Hawke was an ally, not realising that Hawke had organised a carefully planned attack to have Clarke lose his preselection in 2010 and thus his seat in Parliament in 2011.

On January 28, 2010, Barry O’Farrell wrote to the NSW Liberal Party state director, Mark Neeham, supporting Clarke’s re-endorsement for the upper house ticket, adding: ”I am especially grateful for David’s support in my efforts to reform the NSW Liberal Party and put an end to the antics that have so damaged our electoral prospects in the past.”

Hawke defied his state leader. He moved against Clarke, opening a fissure within the party with exactly the sort of ”antics” O’Farrell was condemning.

On February 4, 2010, Abbott wrote to the NSW state director: ”It’s important for the stability of the NSW Liberal Party, and for the party’s success at the upcoming state and federal elections, that David Clarke remains in the Legislative Council.”

Hawke, in defiance of his federal leader, moved against Clarke, and almost succeeded. On June 28, 2010, Hawke’s key factional ally, Nick Campbell, was forced to resign as president of the NSW Liberal Party, after he tried to stop a vote to curb the frequent use of special powers, a tactic which Campbell, Hawke and another factional warrior, Michael Photios, had used frequently to build their factional numbers.

The use of these special powers, meant to be invoked only in emergencies, had affected the outcomes of numerous preselection contests. Campbell, Hawke and Photios were part of the majority factional alliance in the state executive which failed to have key marginal electorates ready because of factional manoeuvring.

This blew up on July 17, 2010, when Gillard announced a federal election for August 21.

The Liberal preselections for the key marginal seats of Greenway and Parramatta had not even been completed. No candidates were in the field. Preselection for a third crucial marginal seat, Lindsay, had only just been completed. All three seats are expected to fall to the Liberals this year. But in 2010 the Liberals were not ready, Labor held all three seats, and this turned the election.

During the past year, Hawke, with no prospect of advancement under Abbott, has been cultivating Malcolm Turnbull.

Last week, Hawke mounted a frontal attack on Abbott’s authority with a piece for the Institute of Public Affairs calling for Abbott to scrap his paid parental leave scheme. Last Monday he gave a series of radio and TV interviews elaborating on his opposition to this signature Abbott policy. Whatever misgivings Liberals may have about this policy, the place to air them is the party room, not the media.

Having chosen to undermine his leader, again, during an election year, again, Hawke is burnishing an inedible association with division, delusion and disloyalty.

Two very revealing articles. BTW, don’t expect to see them given any oxygen in the Murdoch media. The only place you’ll get a chance to talk about them is on social media sites, such as here.