Julia Gillard’s New Job!

Julia Gillard has a great new job with the Global Partnership for Education. With some sixty nation members, supported by many global civic institutions, together contributing to a billion dollar budget administered through the World Bank GPE is the only multilateral partnership devoted to getting all children in the world’s poorest countries into school for a quality education. They have appointed Julia to be the new Chair of its Board of Directors.

Can you think of a more appropriate job for her on the international stage? Read her own thoughts about it on the EDUCATION FOR ALL BLOG at the GPE site.

I have never had any doubts about her strong belief that every child should have access to a high quality education. She knows that education changes lives. It changed hers as it did mine! I was thrilled to be reading about her today and recalling her passion for equality of opportunity. Here are some verses I wrote about that soon after she became our Prime Minister, with some new lines about today’s news.

Chance Is A Fine Thing. Opportunity Is Better!

Another time, another place,
Or if they’d been a different race,
This girl-child’s father and her mother
Had no constraint to smother
Her, or have to run and hide
While waiting for a ride
To hope, across an open sea.

Their littlest one, weak in her chest,
Was able still to pass the test
For passage to Australia.
No risk there of failure –
An ideal migrant family!

That child although so powerful now
Still seems to stop to ponder how
It happened, and what would have become
Of her if, not a ten pound Pom,
She’d been instead a refugee.


Now she’s a famous Prime Minister,
Whose new job is to administer
A fund whose aim is to advance
Her own ambition – to give the chance
To children everywhere for equal opportunity.


J is for Julia and the Joy she gave.
U is for Us, so Useless to save
Labor while staying Loyal to her,
In spite of our Instinct that never
Again could we Australians be so proud of our name.

NOTES: I had thought I mightn’t write another pome and post for the Café now that Julia’s gone! However, I’ve just seen this picture and this paragraph in the accompanying article in The Monthly.

Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party.

So, I have written another pome and even a post, but just to let you know that I’m still in grief, which is why I haven’t had much to say recently. I’m wondering if other people are feeling the same. There seem to be a lot fewer comments recently. Are we all still feeling glum?

“Julia Gillard Has Guts” But You Already Knew That, Didn’t You?

gillard smiling

One paper told the truth today
No matter what the others have to say.
You know, about the PM being dead,
Politically I mean. How often has that been said!

But here she is alive and well,
And with plenty of good news to tell.
This picture says it all dear reader.
We couldn’t have a better leader.

While leakers and gossip writers go to town,
Character assassins bring her down,
And Abbott does his stunts and struts,
She keeps smiling.     Yes!    Gillard has guts!


This weekend Miglo, who has been doing a sterling job at Australian Independent Media Network reposted  this article by Canberra journalist Robert Macklin writing in City News a few weeks back.  The Case For Keeping Julia Gillard lists the achievements of what he thinks is an excellent government run by a Prime Minister who has never been given a fair go.  Three weeks ago he wrote……

It seems I’m the only columnist left in Australia who thinks Julia Gillard and her excellent government have a reasonable chance of winning the September 14 election. Call me quixotic if you like, but I just can’t believe that my fellow Australians would toss out a government that has done us such sterling service for an opposition led by Tony Abbott who threatens to undo so much of what we’ve achieved these last five years; and who wants to set us on a path to “austerity” that has done such appalling damage in Europe and the US.

I wonder if he would be writing in the same vein today?   I hope so.  Had I seen it then I would have remembered this pome posted in Cafe Whispers in early 2011 about just one newspaper reporter commenting on the courage of Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the face of massive resistance from our mainstream Murdoch dominated media.  They ignored most of her activities outside of Parliament here in Australia and even overseas on official business representing Australia amongst world leaders where she was widely praised.  They gave her little if any credit at all for the massive amount of legislative reforms her government has achieved, nor for the sound economic performance of this country compared with other OECD countries.

Murdoch and his media mates were even then backing Tony Abbott to be in the Lodge tomorrow, or at least next week.  That resistance by mainstream media outlets has continued and having failed to oust Julia Gillard from the Lodge after two years of trying they are now overtly hostile to her.   Today even ABC’s Insiders were agreeing with most of the Canberra Press Gallery that it was all over for Julia Gillard.  She should withdraw gracefully in favor of Kevin Rudd in spite of his protestations that he isn’t going to challenge.   Barry Cassidy has even fronted our national evening news bulletin to give a grave faced report on his own opinion and that of other senior Canberra journalists that she will soon be gone, whether by her own decision or at the urging of certain unnamed senior ministers.

Tomorrow will tell how sound their predictions are, but I was encouraged to read this opinion from Andrew Elder about the Canberra Press Gallery and Murdoch journos in particular who…..

can’t believe the Labor leadership thing really is over. The basic facts of Australian politics are clearly different to what they told us, what they demanded we pay them to tell us: Julia Gillard was Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2010, she was Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2011, she was Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2012, she is Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2013, and no amount of increasingly strident Narrative is convincing that she won’t be Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2014, or ’15.

News Corp and its media outlets are the prime movers in all of this Canberra power play as Miglo outlines in another AIMN post where he puts up a feisty defence of our democracy and a challenge to Rupert Murdoch.

How dare Rupert Murdoch tweet: ‘Oz polls show nothing can save this miserable government. Election cannot come soon enough. People decided and tuned out months ago.’ The reason people tune out, Mr Murdoch, is because of the tripe served up in your tabloids and your cross-promotion of that tripe. Everyone knows you twist the political agenda to suit your business agenda and in so doing you crush and corrupt our democracy. We are not frightened of you and we will not surrender to your massive media power encapsulated in your tweet.

There are plenty of writers who agree with him in the blogosphere where there is a sense of urgency about the up-coming election now only three months away on September 14th.   Tomorrow will certainly see a proliferation of  posts from the many individuals, groups and organisations with their own sites who know how disastrous a victory for Murdoch and the vested interests of his corporate allies would be for themselves and the country at large.   Bushfire Bill at the PUB was already on the front foot eloquently defending the Prime Minister so unfairly labelled a failure by the Canberra Press Gallery.

But who are the actual failures? The woman who is still standing and governing, or the claque of paid Abbott spruikers and congenitally mistaken political “savants” who said that what she has done couldn’t possibly be achieved?

I think the latter… they have only polls on their side, polls that have predicted her fall from grace for three years now, but which can only be tested once every three years. No matter how you try to rationalize it, the only poll that’s verifiable is the one taken the day before the election.

Here at Cafe Whispers we’ve had our own writers like Min and Fed up and others who for years have been persistently drawing the attention of bloggers to the malice, motives and machinations of the conservative media backing the Coalition efforts to bring down the government.  Ad Astra at the Political Sword gave us forward notice of his post for today, a few days back, to give bloggers time to think through a reasoned response to the Asylum Seeker issue, which sadly has become disastrously urgent.   As well his strong affirmation of support for the Prime Minister was serendipitously already in the pipeline.  How timely that is in the light of the latest putsch by the media barons to have Julia gone.

Although it is not perfect, I support the Gillard Government because of its ideals of equity, fairness and opportunity, its vision, its narrative, and its policies and plans. I have held this position for years, and nothing I have seen has ever given me any encouragement to abandon PM Gillard and Labor and support Opposition Leader Abbott and the Coalition. I reject the ideology, the policies, and the plans of the alternative government, which are anathema to me.

Because I am in Western Australia I shall soon be privy to the thinking of some of our main stream media commentators as newspapers roll off the press for early morning distribution.    I wonder if any of them will be out there ‘telling the truth today?’     Right now when the latest tragedies on the high seas off our coast really needs our government’s fullest attention let’s hope it is not distracted by more media manipulations looking for a sensationalist headline and a political coup to satisfy their proprietor.

Julie Bishop’s New Vocation?


Julie Bishop’s glare, it is said,
Could knock any man dead.
We know that this power
Was used to devour
Two Liberal leaders.
So, do avid news readers
Believe it’s her eyes
Or her super trim thighs
Which convinced Indonesians
There could be good reasons
To help her win votes
By taking back boats?

She says she wasn’t misled.
Yes, there were things unsaid
But their meaning was clear,
As we’ll all see next year.
Perhaps Julie’s born to be
A latter day Mata Hari.
She could put on a burqa,
Be an undercover worker.
Even without a disguise
She can still mesmerize.
She just has to stare.
Not turn back boats? They wouldn’t dare!


This article in the Guardian by Lenore Taylor says it all, particularly this contradiction of Julie Bishop’s latest denials of her Indonesian gaffe.

Paraphrased plainly, we think Bishop said that notwithstanding what Indonesian officials may say in public, on the basis of private discussions with Indonesian officials she was convinced that the Coalition could work in co-operation with Indonesia to achieve the Coalition’s policy aim.

There’s an even stronger and more detailed confirmation of the above paraphrase of our aspirant Foreign Minister’s statement in today’s Guardian (06/06/13) by Lenore Taylor in her story on our current Foreign Minister, Bob Carr’s response to Julie Bishop’s confidence in a Coalition governments ability to work with the Indonesian government to turn back boatx

“In the interview published on Monday, Bishop was asked whether Indonesia would take boats back. She replied: “I am confident we would be able to achieve what we did in the past. The fact is they are Indonesian boats with Indonesian crew and I am sure we can work co-operatively with them and … one thing you understand about diplomacy and others do as well is the professional diplomats are paid to present particular views but what goes on behind the scenes can be quite different. What people say privately can be different to what they say publicly, that’s why I am devoting my time to quiet consistent diplomatic messaging and relationships.”

And her conviction seems sincerely held. If indeed she has succeeded in persuading the Indonesians to cooperate with an incoming LNP government on this she will have had more success than Tony Abbott whose boat plan is not only unpopular with the Indonesian government. Not much seems to have changed in the eighteen months since he had to……….

defend his party’s renewed policy of turning back all asylum boats at sea as the approach was attacked by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Indonesian authorities and a former (Australian) naval chief as dangerous and breaching international law.

So, is Bob Carr right to be highly critical of Julie Bishop’s comments to Guardian Australia about her confidence that Indonesia would co-operate with the Coalition’s border protection policy? Could Bishop’s saying that diplomats often said different things in private than they did in public – despite the country’s stated opposition to turning back boats cause a diplomatic incident? Or does Julie Bishop have hitherto unappreciated skills in the area of under cover negotiation? Has she missed her vocation in that Canberra location?

Joe Hockey, Less Weighty, Still Cocky!

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.


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…..


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?


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

Belt Tightening for Oz? By Surgery or Dieting?

Can anyone explain to me
Joe Hockey’s drive for austerity
When Australia had seemed to be
Enjoying great prosperity?

But he says that’ll soon be ending
If Gillard keeps up her spending.
A dreadful fate for Oz is pending
As we’re deeply into debt descending.

All these reforms are not required.
The public servants she has hired
When Tony’s PM he’ll have fired.
Those more senior will be retired.

Canberra businessmen are crying,
Say uncertainty underlying
Everything means no-one’s buying,
Fear the city could be dying.

Not if our Swannie has his way!
Creating new jobs every day,
Hoping people will spend their pay,
Promising more on Budget Day.

He’s told he risks popularity;
With concern for the economy
Not really a priority
For the great, silent majority.

For them Joe sees belt tightening
Perhaps as not so frightening?
One op, no pain or dieting?
Will September be enlightening?

Who knows the answer? What are the facts?
If more lose work and can’t pay tax
So Government revenue contracts
Won’t national debt shoot up to max?

NOTES I know nothing about economics but I have been trying to learn a few things, reading articles and by watching Treasurer Wayne Swan and Joe Hockey at press conferences. I was immediately struck by Joe Hockey’s new svelte appearance and was impressed, initially thinking he had taken himself in hand in the way he talks about this government needing to take our economy in hand and to restrain what he and Tony Abbott insist is catastrophic over spending. Remember Tony Abbott’s comment about a government that can’t manage itself, not being able to manage a country. I’ve always thought the same applied to him and his own household household mortgage debt as well as to his Shadow Treasurer’s obvious over over spending and self-indulgence on food and being unlikely to cope well with our national budget.

And, unsurprisingly, I now find that Joe Hockey has not really taken himself in hand nor has plans for a rigorous diet and lifelong self discipline. No, over the long Christmas break he went into some nice comfy private hospital bed for gastric by pass surgery and after a while on a liquid diet he has returned to solids, and soon he’ll be allowed to return to more fibrous solid food……such as steak, sausages and bread………Not much self denial there now is there?

And like most retired people on a limited income I try to pay off my credit card and stay out of debt, so Joe’s grim expressions and frowns as he warned about the size of our national debt might have alarmed me more if I hadn’t read this article about the Coalition’s plans to slash thousands of Canberra public servant jobs.

Public servants have been an easy target for the Coalition for some time, with both Abbott and his shadow treasurer, Joe Hockey, happy to talk about slashing as many as 20,000 jobs from the sector. For many Australians, Canberra-bashing is a good spectator sport and the opposition knows there are few votes to be lost – and possibly quite a few to be gained – by being seen to be tough on fat cat public servants.

Just how real a threat the mass axing is remains questionable, but the good citizens of the ACT still remember how their community was thrown into recession for some years following Howard’s public service clean-out between 1996 and 1998.

Yes, I remembered John Howard’s public service clean out but most of the damage was confined to Canberra businesses after the downsizing of so many government departments, except defence. Back then too there wasn’t this obsession with debt and deficits amongst both state and federal politicians. So thinking about Joe and austerity, and that of other Liberal premiers, and the debate about Oz being able to afford Labor’s reforms at a time of great prosperity and low unemployment, this jingle started through my head. I really would like to read your answers too, especially now that John Howard has given the thumbs up to the Australian economy, and agreed with the Treasurer and the Prime Minister! We are in good shape it seems and not on the brink of catastrophe!

“You Son of a Gun, Tony!” Or “What Has That Bastard Said Now?”

Tony sticking to his guns! Thanks to Alan Moir for permission to use his cartoon

While throughout Australia most folk are in bed,
Tony Abbott is fretting over something he said.
Not “When you deliver, you’ll be fully paid.”
That is a promise he’s knows can’t be unmade.

Journos are crowing over lines they’ve been fed.
There’s even a ‘libber,’ not easily led,
Loves his planned six months paid maternity leave.
His polling’s improved like you wouldn’t believe.

The Labor scheme – for rich, poor, married, unwed –
All the same, even career gals powering ahead.
What Gillard has given they think no big deal
Because Abbott’s offering has far more appeal.

But those on the right think his plan’s far too red,
A shiver of doubt through some Liberals has spread.
They’ve told their dear leader that he must facts –
For businessmen levies are worse than a tax.

His IPA ‘mates’ want the policy shed.
“Close to Rupert now, Tony! Watch how you tread!”
Peta’d said firmly, with her usual advice,
“ Before you open your mouth, please, please, think twice!”

In Canberra now, wide awake, not abed,
Tony paces his room, feeling all muddlehead.
What had he been thinking of earlier today,
That some inner compulsion forced him to say?

He can’t remember; was it something he’s read?
He knows he’ll regret it till the day he’s dead.
That’s it! One word! C A L I B R E! All about guns!
Not women and babies – unless they have sons!



In the past that phrase ‘son of a gun’ was considered a term of abuse since it initially described the bastard sons of shipboard whores born beneath the gunwales and destined like their parents for a lifetime at sea. My sense is that nowadays there’s more than a touch of grudging affection in it much as the term ‘bastard’ can be used with a grin, meaning ‘old rascal.’ But ‘bastard’ can be used in an unequivocally abusive way too. Tony Abbott, with his many admitted failings, but obvious assets (ie the backing of Rupert Murdoch, MSM and big business) and uses to the Coalition is probably more often seen by them as ‘a son of a gun,’ who seems to get away with near murder. But to Labor and the left generally he is an outright ‘bastard,’ with no redeeming features.

All sorts of theories have been floated about Tony Abbott’s fitness for the office of Prime Minister. The other day I realized that none of the theories about his misogyny or bullying character are valid arguments are relevant right now. Nor his limited intellect. Nor suggestions that he is racist, or wanting to wage class war. Even that he has fantasies about conducting eugenics experiments if he does get into government. This last was suggested when he talked about his paid parental leave plan being really aimed at women of calibre. Although he hadn’t initially explained that to Joe Hockey or to the businessmen who run the corporations he plans to levy for the funds to pay for his plan. I understand now why he hasn’t been able to do that adequately and also why he hasn’t explained how he came, almost by himself, to espouse a scheme which is thoroughly approved of by a strong feminist like Eva Cox, and likely to find support amongst the Greens.

This contradiction of his plan being approved by feminists and conservationists on the extreme left and much disapproved of by his traditional supporters on the right in the big business lobby is surely what has led to unhappiness in his own party and resulted in near mutiny in the ranks led by a back bencher, Alex Hawke. This resistance to his leadership may or may not be unexpected for Abbott but no doubt has caused him considerable stress and even more so as it emerges that the Institute of Public Affairs has been encouraging Hawke and now Mal Washer and Dennis Jensen, both of WA, to oppose the PPL policy. And, I submit, added to what must be an already confused mental condition.

Imagine his state of mind. There are other pressures on him all the time, apart from leadership issues, and this week particularly so with the gun control issue being such big news in the United States and the conflict in Syria becoming so critical. At the same time he is expected to be across the economy, the looming Budget, Reserve Bank decisions and god knows what else! Right after he’s had to meet so many disabled people and their parents while listening to Julia Gillard go on about the NDIS and reminding everyone that what has happened to these poor souls could happen to any one of us. Does she think he doesn’t know that? He suddenly realised that this week! He could fall off his bike and suffer brain damage in the blink of an eye! The Polliepedal, always a great pleasure for him, could suddenly have become a thing to dread at the start of a week when he’s expected to smile and kiss dozens of babies while having tea and bikkies with their mums!

I think we should lay off Tony Abbott for a while and help him to find his way out of what is obviously a confused state of mind. Give the man a break! So what if calibre is a word he’d normally use when talking about guns to other men. Guns are headline news right now in the States, after all. He knows you wouldn’t normally talk about women of calibre! That was just a slip of the tongue, a mixed metaphor, from a man under enormous pressure. If he were a Public Servant he’d be eligible for a year’s sick leave! Think about that, Peta!

On Yer Bike, Tony!


Does Tony Abbott deserve a medal,
Riding on the Pollie Pedal,
When what’s really in his head’ll
Likely cause a major scandal?

While all along the cyclists’ way
The media scrum’s there every day
Recording what he has to say
What he really thinks he hides away.

Like – how to get more and more votes?
Keep counting those illegal boats!
That should bring in some headline quotes
And keep the Greens at Labor’s throats.

Talk about our coast’s defences
As the main event commences,
Keeping up PR pretences,
While calculating his expenses.

He’ll claim each night for a motel,
(Not like Craig Thomson in Dobell!)
No chance our Tones will go to hell.
He’s cleared that with Cardinal Pell.

He’s not increasing his own wealth!
He is helping the nation’s health,
Not by preaching, but more by stealth,
A good example, like himself!

So it goes on, mile after mile!
The ALP daren’t be so vile
As to criticise, swallow bile.
Peta Credlin is one big smile.


Pollie Pedal, the well known national annual charity bike ride started in Adelaide on 28th April, and participants are riding some 1,000 kilometres through South Australia and Victoria to finish in Geelong on 5 May. When Carers Australia proudly announced the launch of their much publicized, and dare I say it, exploited, fund raiser by Tony Abbott they also told us that

Since its inception fifteen years ago Pollie Pedal has raised over $2.5 million for a range of charitable organisations.

which Mr. Abbott himself happily repeated on his own blog.

Correct me if my sums are wrong but after my very generous rounding out, after all expenses relating to its promotion are costed, acknowledging that the hundreds of participants meet their own expenses and appreciating all the work by thousands of local volunteers along the way, I make that an average raising of a paltry $165,000 each year. I use the word paltry advisedly because I know how careful one should be about belittling the work of charitable groups and their volunteer helpers, particularly one like Carers Australia who do such worthwhile work in the community. But I feel that they could be achieving a great deal more if so much of their energy were not taken up in promotion of the Pollie Pedal each year and they focussed instead on their real work and other less high profile fund raising efforts. Donations from 2GB and the Liberal Party alone, forget about the Labor Party and their other high profile sponsors, so prominently named on participants’ brand new spandex outfits could mount up. Even personal donations from many of the prominent citizens who participate in this event could very quickly raise 2.5 million dollars in one year, but over fifteen years?

There are, of course, other benefits than financial from this event. But last year journalist Malcolm Farr seemed to think that most of them accrued to Tony Abbott,

the first and major one being that he got to personally meet and chat with the locals in some of the country’s most marginal electorates.
The other two benefits are to help charity, and, he says, to set a fitness example for those who should have healthier lifestyles.

Tony Abbott himself acknowledges all that. As he told the Herald Sun

“For 15 years now, travelling through small towns, stopping at pubs and cafes and staying at caravan parks, Pollie Pedal has enabled me to engage with people in ways that are rarely possible through politics-as-usual,”

He went further to say that

“The other nice thing about the Pollie Pedal is that travelling on bikes and staying in caravan parks suggests to those who are familiar with it that politicians are not quite the creatures of luxury or the indulgent people that at least some of our critics like to think.”

All of which would be quite acceptable had Tony Abbott, like many riders, stayed with the original commitment to meet their all their own expenses. But it seems that many of his personal expenses like that expensive new spandex outfit each year and other equipment are met by sponsors. As well, he has always claimed from the Commonwealth a daily entitlement for accommodation which this year is over $350 a night. This, in spite of his firm statement that

“every rider, politicians included, pays $100 a day to cover expenses and is expected to raise at least $500 in personal sponsorship.”

Because this has always been billed as a non-political and charitable event, like many people on the left, till now I’ve followed the Labor Party line of not criticising or commenting on Tony Abbott’s efforts even though media coverage has always been more about Abbott than Carers Australia. This year this has been even more so than before, despite promises from a fellow Liberal party participant, candidate for the federal seat of Barker, Tony Pasin, that the fundraiser is not part of a campaign, saying

“We’re encouraging all members of the community to come and introduce themselves to Tony and the other politicians on the ride. This is not a Liberal party event, the politicians that are riding are from all political spectrums.”

I have yet to read or hear about who these “other politicians” are, but I see plenty of newsreel shots of Abbott either on the road on his bike, or at wayside stops meeting locals in his spanking white promotional outfit, or even being a “knight in shining armor” when one participant had a fall and both he and a cameraman were conveniently to hand to film footage for the evening news bulletin. I have to agree with Möbius Ecko of our own Cafe Whispers that

This has to be the most put up cringe worthy media setup stunt of the lot.

That comment confirmed the sense of outrage I had felt listening to Barry Cassidy, Adele Taylor and Gerard Henderson all agreeing that Pollie Pedal was ‘campaigning genius’ as he cycles through so many marginal seats, and how it has become a huge fund raiser! That really stuck in my craw, having read in past years about how Abbott milks his Commonwealth expense allowance for this event and when travelling for his own book launches and the like, particularly when I think of Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson being crucified over travel claims. Which is how this pome and post emerged. If my outrage has muddled my thinking so that my quotes, facts or sums are wrong, I am open to correction.

PS I am pleased though that today, 01/05/13, Tony Abbott’s Pollie Pedal has been upstaged by the Government’s announcement of its planned levy for its National Disability Insurance Scheme. I’ll leave it to leone over at The Pub to explain how she saw that happening………

Do you know what the best thing about PMJG’s announcement today was? Her superb timing. Slap bang in the middle of Tony’s Grand Triumphal Photo-op Tour. He thought he had a week off to do nothing but swan around on his bike, have dinner with Mormons and tweet lots of pictures of himself in different coloured lycra every day. He wuz wrong, so very wrong.

There was Abbott, out on the road in the backblocks of SA as she spoke. It took Abbott a couple of hours to get to wherever he was going, get gussied up, have a briefing and finally, hold a presser. Brilliant!

Now he has to come up with a response by tomorrow, and all his minders and shadow front benchers and advisors are far, far away. If only he had reliable high-speed internet access out there that would allow him to have an on-line conference……

I don’t believe for one moment that Prime Minister Julia Gillard planned it that way! Do you?

Tony Abbott Defends His Position!

I’m Popeye the Sailor Man,
I’m a big tough palooka,
Who hates all gazookas……….
And here is my master plan.

I’ll push conservation
So most of this nation
Has clear new contour lines
To protect precious mines.

So it’s cheerio, NBN!
I’ll start it over again,
Making sure it employs
All our special good boys.

My parental leave dream
Is a great part of my scheme.
Soon gals won’t get chosen
For jobs with promotion.

I’ll remove the vexation
Of all Labor’s taxation
To ensure that the wealthy
Stay happy and healthy.

Then with hospitals empty
There will be beds aplenty,
So the poor near old age
Need no pension or wage.

Though I am happy to say
That my dear sister is gay,
I agree with George Pell;
Real queers all go to hell.

Same for that witch Julia!
She’s got no right to rule yer!
Get her out! Let’s shove’er!
And her live-in lover!

What’s up, Robb? ‘Course we can’t sink!
My policies do not stink!
And this boat’s got no holes!
Just read the bloody polls!


As is pretty obvious this pome, well jingle really, was inspired by Alan Moir. His Popeye, rolling out that jingle, with its immediately recognisable beat, is so obviously Tony Abbott! Particularly now when he needs to reassert his authority. He must be aware, after all the ALP shenanigans over the past weeks that there are murmurings of challenges to his own authority. Here’s my take on how he might defend his position against possible challengers. He wouldn’t mention the names we’ve heard – Malcolm Turnbull? Joe Hockey? – but simply stand his ground and boast his credentials.

His and the Coalition’s ‘policies’ have not changed an iota in the year since Alan’s drawing first appeared in spite of those rumors that business leaders and others are concerned about the LOTO position and his low personal rating in the polls. They make no reference to a rapidly changing world’s environmental problems or Australia’s real economic status. This brilliant cartoon says all there is to say about Tony Abbott and I found the jingle irresistable so I just had to carry on with it. Alan has forgiven my slight modification of his rhyme. Tony Abbott is indeed a big Palooka, and he probably does hate all gazookas, but he’s all washed up ashore, on an unsailable boat full of holes and he is so punch drunk on his ‘spin’ that he doesn’t know or care what he’s saying! The polls are all he cares about – what have policies got to do with anything?

For those who may not know, a gazooka is another word for a kazoo, a flute sized tin whistle type instrument which adds a “buzzing” timbral quality to a player’s voice when the player talks or sings into it. The flute shape perhaps explains how the term being gazooka’d came to mean having a “torpedo like” object shoved in your anus forcefully!!!! It has the additional colourful connotation of things like big hooters or big titties, e.g. “Look at those huge gazookas!”

Whether Alan Moir wanted us to think Tony hates big busted women or the thought of a big sharp instrument shoved up his arse is unclear, but I think we all understand his allusion to palookas who are incompetent or easily defeated athletes, especially prizefighters. The name derives from Joe Palooka a one time comic strip figure. The word “palooka” has now become somewhat of a negative term usually preceded by the word “big” and it describes a large man, a clumsy man, an oaf, a fighter, a bully, a brawler.

Having explained all that, I think the cartoon and the pome speak for themselves!