Palmer pursued. . .


Why did they bring this up this week?” Mr Palmer said. “Why is the government, ministers and the departments handing stuff to Rupert Murdoch?”

Quite right Mr Palmer, why is the Abbott government handing “stuff” to Rupert Murdoch?

“The Clean Energy Regulator is currently investigating whether Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd has made any payments towards the debt in the last 24 hours,” a spokeswoman for the Clean Energy Regulator said.

“We have no record of payment having been received at this stage”.

Already well and truly on the public record is Clive Palmer’s objection to the carbon tax with Palmer stating in November last year that, “the Abbott government should sue him if they want to get the $6.17m in carbon tax owed by his company Queensland Nickel“.

However to Clive Palmer’s credit,

Palmer United Party federal leader and Member for Fairfax Clive Palmer will abstain on voting on the Abbott government’s carbon tax repeal legislation package despite the party’s opposition to the carbon tax…

“I’m applying company director standards and stepping out of this debate as there’s currently a potential conflict of interest,” Mr Palmer said.

This being a most refreshing attitude coming from the right of politics where conscience and money are never normally an issue.

The fact Clean Energy Regulators is/was “currently investigating” came as a huge shock. . .  just to know that the CER is still with us.

New prime minister Tony Abbott wasted little time after the swearing-in of his conservative Liberal National Party coalition, delivering immediately on his promise to repeal or dismantle all institutions and policy measures involving climate change and clean energy.

Therefore even more of a shock is Tony Abbott’s statement of yesterday that Clive Palmer should forthwith pay his taxes, taxes which are a direct result of the price on carbon.  Surely there should be some sympathy given Abbott’s endless rants against the carbon tax, including that Whyalla would be wiped off the map.  So incensed was Tony Abbott that he called on Labor and the Greens to “repent”.  However, not to get between a politician, some pre-election rhetoric and a dollar, Abbott has now insisted that Clive cough up.  **Apparently Mr Palmer has paid, but that wasn’t going to stop The Australian running the story anyway.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has insisted that Mr Palmer should respect the law and that his company should pay its outstanding taxes.

But I thought that Tony Abbott was so vehemently against the price on carbon that he will call a double dissolution election should he fail to get a repeal through the Senate.

“. . .if an incoming Coalition government can’t get its carbon tax repeal legislation through the Senate, well, we will not hesitate to go to a double dissolution.”

I would say, bring it on Tony.  If your grandstanding about Palmer not having paid a bill which he has in fact paid is the best that you can currently dredge up, I would suggest that you go back to your knights and dames.

Fairfax gets academia to out-Murdoch Murdoch

Readers of Independent Australia have been full of praise for their recent article by Alan Austin titled “Fairfax’s anti-Government bias is as clear as (David) Day“.  I have been doubly honoured that Alan has contacted me with the offer of also posting his re-badge of this article on Café Whispers and that he looks forward to engaging with our readers.

Alan (pictured) is an Australian freelance journalist currently living in Nîmes in the South of France, but who returns to Australia regularly. His interests are religious affairs, the economics of development and integrity in government and the media. He has been published in many print outlets and worked for eight years with ABC Radio and Television’s religious broadcasts unit. He has also worked as a journalist with the aid agency World Vision and the Uniting Church.

Here is his post; Fairfax gets academia to out-Murdoch Murdoch:

The Fairfax media group has ramped up its campaign against the Gillard Government. It appears now to have abandoned any pretence of reporting fairly on its successes and failures.

It has also copied the Murdoch ploy of enlisting academics to its tawdry anti-Labor campaign.

Monday’s National Times featured a bizarre opinion piece by honorary associate at La Trobe University David Day.

The article was headlined triumphantly ‘Final nail in PM’s coffin’ and sub-headed just to make sure we understand ‘Julia Gillard’s lack of leadership has spurred on her inevitable demise’.

So what is the basis for the academic’s claim that a ‘demise’ is now ‘inevitable’?

Well, there are the polls, of course. The endless feedback loop of bad reporting leading to poor polling leading to more negative reporting leading to poor polling … and so on.

But does Day offer evidence of actual bad government? Well, there’s this:

“  . . . her [Gillard’s] propensity for political stumbles have seen her repeatedly fall flat on her face. The September election date and the resignation of Nicola Roxon and Chris Evans were just the latest of them.”

Really? The careers of two ministers came to an end with plenty of advance warning to the PM, allowing her to determine the timing of their completion. Since when does this constitute evidence of a PM’s “propensity for political stumbles”?

John Howard asked for the resignations of retiring ministers David Kemp and Daryl Williams in 2004 in near identical circumstances. Was that evidence of the PM falling flat on his face? Or was it hailed as an opportunity for renewal, fresh perspectives and youthful energy?

Is Day aware the rate of ministerial sackings and resignations under Rudd/Gillard has been the lowest of any government in any Westminster nation since the 1820s?

Is there any evidence that the ministers left for anything other than admirable reasons? In Roxon’s case, including wishing to parent a 7-year old daughter.

When asked these questions by email, Day responded thus:

“I was referring to the timing of the resignations. I agree with all you say [re ministerial resignations] but the timing gave the appearance of chaos. It was a poor political calculation and nothing was done to hose down the hooha in the press.”

This is further nonsense. It was never poor political calculation when John Howard did precisely the same. And just how can a government ‘hose down’ media hooha? Arrest the lying journalists? Ban the mendacious mastheads?

What else could have been done by whom? Whose responsibility is it in a liberal democracy to report what governments are doing? Could the media release have been any clearer?

And why is calling the election date evidence of the PM’s “propensity for political stumbles”?

Every election year in living memory has had retailers, businesses, traders, investors, state governments, community organisations and others screaming for certainty and an end to the election date speculation. Now we have it. For whom is that disastrous, and why?

Day then criticises the Government for its failure to win support for its environmental initiatives.

“With the carbon price in place, the government should be earning kudos from the many Australians who care about the environment and are concerned about human-induced climate change.”

Again, whose job is it to report the substantial drop in emissions since last July? Positive reports in the mainstream media – brief, down page and rare – are simply drowned out by the constant prominent misreporting on the matter.

Day continues with a spurious attack on foreign policy unbecoming of a political history scholar:

“The Prime Minister has also disappointed many Australians with a foreign policy that is not discernibly different from that of John Howard. She kept the troops in Afghanistan and has thrown Australia open to American bases.”

Yes, some aspects of the previous foreign policy regime were continued. Specifically concerning the US alliance. But actually very few.

Labor’s foreign policy has been worlds away from the previous administration’s in signing strategic international treaties and accords. And in restoring relationships in the Asia pacific region. In these vital areas, just no comparison.

The serious damage done to relations with Australia’s neighbours during the Howard years have virtually all been reversed. Australian embassies are no longer targets for bombing; ambassadors are no longer expelled by friendly neighbours; Australians in nightclubs abroad are no longer being killed; false allegations are no longer levelled against neighbouring allies; official visits between friendly countries are no longer threatened; millions of dollars of aid money is no longer illegally paid to Australia’s enemies in trade bribes; and Australia’s defence chiefs and diplomats no longer condemn the government for its gross ineptitude endangering Australian lives.

Most disturbing is Day’s reference to Australia’s jobless. The article claims that “Julia Gillard has not shown sufficient commitment to protect Australian workers. She seems content to have unemployment at about 5 per cent, to have about 15 per cent of school-leavers without a job . . . ”

Really? Where and when has employment been any better? Here in France the jobless rate is above 10%. In the UK and the US it is above 7.7%. In the Euro area it is 11.7%, more than double Australia’s rate.

In fact, as academics should well know, taking participation rate and unemployment rate together Australia has had a higher proportion of people in work during the Rudd/Gillard years than in any period in Australia’s history. This despite the devastating global financial crisis.

So why imply the opposite? That may be a dopey question to put to Australian journalists. But not to academics.

Finally, to dispel any doubt that Fairfax is driving the Coalition’s election campaign, here’s the opinion poll at the bottom of the article:

Poll: Do you think a leadership change will help Labor’s chances of re-election?

(a) Yes, something has to change
(b) No, it’s the Labor brand that’s on the nose
(c) Not sure

Now, could there conceivably be any other answer to that question than those three?

First Murdoch. Then Fairfax. And now the universities? Such, it seems, is Australia’s doom.

Welcome to the war

Welcome to the war. The media war, that is. Against Julia Gillard.

The way the media reports the results of opinion polls would have one believing that nothing else has happened in the world. Julia Gillard could find a cure for cancer yet we’ll only read about the poor opinion polls against her. I’m not saying that the dissection of the opinion polls are media beat ups, rather, they beat them up out of all proportion at the expense of something newsworthy.

Of course, the media are free to write whatever they want, however, I never see what they write as being in everybody’s best interests.

Nominally, I’d like them to focus more on policies that are important to this country and let the reader make up his or her own mind about how such policies will effect their lives or livelihood. At present they are focusing too much on writing about personalities, such as Gillard versus Abbott. Why not more focus on ALP policies versus LNP policies? And why all the focus on who they are voting against rather than what they are voting for? Their only mentions of policies are that climate change is rubbish and that the price on carbon will ruin us all, and of course, such articles always degenerate into the echo of “it’s all Julia Gillard’s fault”.

In the end it doesn’t matter who is Prime Minister. Sure, some are better than others. Some can be out of touch with ordinary Australians or make fools of themselves on the international stage, but the PM is only a figurehead. What matters more is which party is in Government, not who sits at the head of it.

John Lord provided a list of what electorally significant policies are ignored when readers of the media get sucked into their war against Julia Gillard. While having it hammered into them that Julia Gillard is doomed, and accepting it, they ignore what this Government has provided them and hence:

They overwhelmingly reject the need for a price on carbon. This in spite of the fact that it is bedded down and working well. They are prepared for the opposition to rip it up in favour of a plan that economists and environmentalists say will not work. And they are even prepared to go to a double dissolution.

They overwhelmingly reject the need for a broadband network of the standard the government is building and would be happy with a Mickey Mouse network that the experts say is inferior.

They overwhelmingly reject the need for a better and more equal education system for their children and think that the Gonski report is not worthy of implementation despite it receiving loud applause from academics and the public. Remember the Coalition had said they are happy with the current system.

They overwhelmingly reject the need for an NDIS and are happy with the status quo. Again this policy has received widespread community support. The Coalition while supporting it say it is not in their immediate plans.

They would overwhelmingly forgo any possibility that gay folk would ever achieve marriage equality.

They would overwhelmingly forgo any possibility that Australia might ever become a republic with its own head of state. Not even a plebiscite.

They overwhelmingly think it’s fine for families to lose their school hand outs that help to pay for school fees etc.

They overwhelmingly accept that a large portion of the population (3.6 million and mainly women) will have their taxes increased.

They overwhelmingly say that they are not interested in a 3% increase in their superannuation.

They overwhelming think its fine for the Opposition to rip up the Murray Darling agreement.

They overwhelmingly reject the Government’s handling of the economy which most observers believe to be amongst the best in the world. If not the best.

They overwhelmingly want to get rid of the mining tax despite it having the potential, repeat, potential to spread the wealth of the nation.

They overwhelmingly could not care less that between 13,000 and 20,000 public servants will lose their jobs.

So they have decided overwhelmingly to reject all this even without an Opposition card on the table.

Now I could probably go on and some might also add some other policy areas but these suffice to make my point.

And of course we have a judge finding that members of a political party (The LNP) conspired with James Ashby to use the courts to bring a false claim against the speaker of the house with the eventual intent of bringing down the government. Do I take it that this means nothing to the electorate?

None of those important issues ever make it to the front page, unless the old “it’s all Julia Gillard’s fault” tag can somehow be twisted into the story.

To give you an idea of how focused the media is on the latest poll results, I have been provided with a list of the most viewed articles across the Fairfax media sites. The results speak for themselves.

Most viewed articles on Brisbane Times

  • Beware knives of March
  • Rudd resurrection is no fantasy: just ask Walt
  • Poll a ‘wake-up call’ for Labor
  • Final nail in PM’s coffin
  • PC WCs no wee matter

Most viewed articles on WA Today

  • The discount fuel docket illusion
  • Fighting the stigma of mental illness
  • Final nail in PM’s coffin
  • Poll a ‘wake-up call’ for Labor
  • Beware knives of March

Most viewed articles on The Sydney Morning Herald

  • Beware knives of March
  • Final nail in PM’s coffin
  • Poll a ‘wake-up call’ for Labor
  • Bully-boy Malaysia immature and Australia’s reaction so limp
  • Rudd resurrection is no fantasy: just ask Walt

Most viewed articles on Canberra Times

  • MP says legal costs no threat to keeping his seat
  • Beware knives of March
  • Obama-style fight ‘could save PM’
  • Stalemate as queen bluffs all
  • Och aye, PM could be on a hiding to nothing

Most viewed articles on The Age

  • Poll dents faith in Gillard
  • Poll a ‘wake-up call’ for Labor
  • Final nail in PM’s coffin
  • Beware knives of March
  • Rudd resurrection is no fantasy: just ask Walt

And that’s just the Fairfax group. Do we dare look at what the Murdoch media are writing about? Probably its usual anti-Gillard tirade with splashings of trivia about a reality TV show or a woman born in Borneo with three nipples.

Where are the important issues? Where is the policy debate? And in regards to the LNP, what are their policies? Can we please see them, or do the media just want to continue their war against Julia Gillard?

The Liberal Strategy

542266_561465487196876_588072260_nOf the multitude of political posters flooding social media – humourous or profound – this is one of the better ones. It really does sum up the Liberal Party.

What have we heard of them since 2010? Every policy or piece of legislation introduced by the Gillard Government will either ruin us, blow our town off the map, leave us unemployed, leave us destitute, unable to afford to feed ourselves, frail and unhealthy, pay exorbitant power fees, have our street over-run by illegal boat people, see our mining companies relocate offshore and maybe, see the sky fall in.

But we can all be saved by voting out this incompetent government, to shouts of “hear, hear” from the media fan club. Then they fall silent. They’ve scared us so they’ve done their job.

Tony Abbott’s ‘mandate’ to scare every Australian half to death about the consequences of the ‘carbon tax’ was a classic example. He has visited every business in the country and predicted with fear and smear how the carbon tax would destroy their respective industries and how he was likely to be the last person to walk through their doors. Butchers, bakers, candle-stick makers; there’d be none left after the carbon tax annihilated them.

Whilst Abbott’s performance was annoyingly desperate and overly passionate, it was not unusual behaviour from a Coalition leader.  I have witnessed this code of conduct from Liberal leaders with monotonous regularity over the last couple of decades.

They have generally been powerful enough to win elections for them.

Malcolm Fraser provides an exception.  During the election campaign in 1983 he stridently attacked Labor’s financial integrity suggesting that the banking system would be ruined if the Commie Labor Party was elected and thus peoples’ money would be safer kept under the bed than in a bank.  There was no substance in this claim.  It was a failed attempt to scare the electorate.  In 1983 the electorate wasn’t as ignorant as they would later turn out to be.

Future attempts have been more successful as the average IQ of the electorate plummeted.

Opinion polls in 2001 showed that the Howard Government was facing massive defeat.  The terrorist attacks of September 2001 changed all that, but not enough to Howard’s satisfaction.  He was able to terrorise the gullible electorate into believing that terrorists were hopping onto any rickety old boat heading to Australia and only he could protect us from the murderous intentions of these alleged evildoers.  Abdullah the Butcher and his mates were coming to sacrifice us all.  Oh how different it might have been if an election wasn’t around the corner.  From 1996 to that point of time 221 boatloads of refugees sailed unhindered into Australian waters.  Number 222 – just after the September 2011 attacks –  ran into a bit of trouble and running to its aid was the Norwegian vessel the Tampa.

I’m sure that most readers here will have fresh in their mind the stench surrounding the politicisation of the Tampa incident and how it was the turning point for Howard’s fortunes so I won’t recap it here. Dissecting individual incidents is not the intention of the post but will be welcomed in reader’s comments.

Howard didn’t need any more scare campaigns until 2004, and incidentally, during his calling of an election.  Electing a Labor Government, he warned, would cost you the family home.  Interest rates would go through the roof and as a result his little Aussie battlers would lose the roof over their heads.  He was very effective in pushing this message across, taking aim at Labor’s historic spending patterns and Mark Latham’s record as Mayor of Liverpool, both of which were irrelevant points in this election.  Didn’t he look stupid when he rode us through eleven straight interest rate rises over the next three years?  But it mattered not. We had been saved from the merciless Abdullah and on that point we needed to be reminded.

Dr Haneef helped him.

Howard had to convince the dumbed down electorate that his unpopular counter terrorism legislation was for the good of the country.  It protected us from the likes of the despicable and ill-intentioned Dr Haneef.  It would protect us from every body and every thing that Howard saw as a threat to his battling Aussies.  We were saved by his fridge magnets.  Terrorist alerts were upgraded every five minutes and I have it on good advice that these always coincided with political maneuvers. They were not real. Howard only wanted us to be afraid. Very afraid. The only thing he wanted to protect was his job. The terrorists, to him, were the Labor Party.

So were Aborigines, in particular the Stolen Generation.  Saying sorry to them would send the country broke.  An apology to the Stolen Generations would have legal ramifications and pave the way for huge compensation bills. And that was the unproven basis of his argument, which was rabidly supported from those loyal battlers who didn’t mind the interest rate rises.  It didn’t matter if you lost the family home, just as long as those Aborigines didn’t get any money. During Howard’s gloating about the healthy state of the economy he had the complete morons fearful that we couldn’t afford to pay some Aborigines compensation for the mistreatment they had received at the hands of the State.  You can read about his hypocrisy here.

Now we have prophet Abbott as the pedlar of fear.  Most of it has been over the ‘carbon tax’, which by the time of the election will have been proven to not be as damaging as he had squawked it would. Actually, there has been no damage. He’ll have to move onto something else. Between now and the election what will it be?  My money’s on boat people. It worked for Howard.

Tony Abbott and the Great Debate

Tony Abbott will get his wish one day; there will be an election. Let us assume that he’ll still be leader of the Opposition going into the election (perish the thought) and there will again be the customary Great Debate between the leaders of the major political parties.

Those are quite easy assumptions. Now comes the hard bit; working out what he’ll say on the night. Everything he has bellowed over the last 18 months has proven to be dead wrong or simply unachievable and I doubt he’ll cover a lot of old ground. God forbid, he might have to pull a new rabbit out of the hat. We await such a miracle.

Let’s look at his old arguments and assess whether they still have any credibility.

The ‘carbon tax’

Nothing to see here. He has visited every business in the country and predicted with fear and smear how the carbon tax would destroy their respective industries and how he was likely to be the last person to walk through their doors. Butchers, bakers, candle-stick makers; there’d be none left after the carbon tax annihilated them. Even whole towns were predicted to be wiped off the map.

Whyalla, I am pleased to see has survived as have his favourite butchers, bakers and candle-stick makers. The damage repeatedly predicted by Tony Abbott has failed to deliver its destruction. In fact, it has been quite the reverse. Consider the following:

The data flow covering the time period since the carbon tax started on 1 July 2012 are coming through thick and fast.

The numbers, quite unambiguously, point to the economy doing very on just about all fronts.  Share prices and house prices are both rising, business confidence and consumer sentiment is rising; jobs are being created and the unemployment rate ticked lower.

Indicator      Change since end June 2012
Market Indicators


Official cash rate

No change

Australian dollar (vs USD)


10 year govt bond yield

+0.30 percentage points



    Change in market cap of ASX

+$53 billion

Economic Indicators


RP Data house prices


      Change in Housing Wealth

+$28 billion

Westpac Index of Consumer Sentiment


TD-MI Monthly Inflation


ANZ job ads




Unemployment rate

-0.1% to 5.2%

NAB Business Confidence

+7 points

NAB Business Conditions

-2 points

Mr Abbott would be wise to consider some facts if he intends to continue with his fear and smear. Without them he is open to attack from every economist in the country as well as a Government ready to pounce with a few armed facts and figures themselves.

He may promise to repeal the legislation but in doing so he knows he’d be telling a big fat lie. And in a public debate the Prime Minister could put him to the task on exactly how it could be done. She won’t let him off the hook like our compliant and incompetent media.

I’d suggest that his argument on the ‘destructive’ carbon tax has no credibility left in it.

The National Broadband Network (NBN)

He has been all over the shop with the NBN since Day 1. He flaps around like a stunned mullet. The more he opens his mouth the more he demonstrates his idiocy. To boot, anyone with half an idea about broadband is amused at how he exhibits himself as a complete primitive in today’s modern world. I doubt he’d know what a gigabyte is.

To a compliant media he has been able to shield his incompetence by uttering untruths, be it about the costs of the NBN or trying to convince us that he’s a actually a computer nerd. But speaking recently on 2UE he:

. . . demonstrated either a lack of knowledge about the subject which he was discussing or a willingness to mislead the public about several of the underpinnings of the NBN project and the recent debate surrounding it.

It is a worthwhile link to follow. Those who do will be convinced of both.

It would also be fruitless to partake in the Great Debate with threats to destroy it as the man he appointed to do just that, Malcolm Turnbull, suggests otherwise:

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.

So that argument is now dead in the water too. Over twelve months of condemnation of the NBN has amounted to zero. It’s funny that when public opinion gets behind a Government initiative how quickly an Opposition discard any thoughts of wrecking it.

He’ll say nothing of it during the debate.

Industrial Relations (IR)

This is the great unknown (as recently addressed on this blog) but I doubt Abbott will give it much oxygen. He’s chimed in early about returning to Howard’s Golden Age and whilst this is ambiguous, it is equally as threatening. His biggest trap is his belief that the voters were sleepwalking in 2007:

Mr Abbott’s vision for the next Coalition government, as outlined in his speech, made it seem as if the two terms of Labor government were no more than an inconvenient blip on the radar of political history.

This delusion can only lead to complacency. If he intends a return to Howard’s Golden Age, which I an only assume also means a return to Howard’s IR policies he will be quickly reminded that this was the single biggest issue that lost Howard the 2007 election. It’ll be a gift for Labor, which is something I think that the Liberals are certainly aware of and why Abbott is playing his cards close to his chest. He has publicly stated that he backs Howard’s old IR laws without actually stating he will reintroduce them. For once in his life he appears to have thought about what he was going to say before engaging the mouth.

When pushed on their IR policies even Joe Hockey was quick to go defensive:

We will release it well before the next election. The next election is scheduled for the 2nd half of next year.

Personally, I don’t think the full details of their policy will ever be made known until after a possible election victory. The return to Howard’s Golden Age will begin with a kick in the guts as was the case in 2004. An election victory will be a mandate to do as he pleases.

But on the night of the Great Debate he will be mute on IR. He would be well advised by his minders to say nothing of the policy that could again lose them an election, however, we know what complacency can do and the man simply oozes complacency.

He may find it too difficult to engage the brain before engaging the mouth twice in one decade.

Delivering the largest surplus in the history of the planet

He will definitely kick to death the boring meme that Labor are reckless spenders and we’ll hear about ‘pink batts’ and school halls every second sentence. He will camouflage his own team’s economic incompetence by constantly referring to Howard’s Golden Age. As much as I question whether the economy under Howard was a good as Howard kept telling us, his name is certainly a better one to drop than the economic goose Joe Hockey (who Abbott is more than likely to entrust as Treasurer).

Not too deep into 2013 he’ll ramp up the attack on Swan’s first budget and how it produced a record deficit. The impact of the GFC may be long forgotten but the deficit is still there in black and white and he’ll wave it around like he’s swatting flies. Certainly not a credible argument but it is one where he’ll have some traction given the public perception that the Liberals are sound economic managers, rightly or wrongly. Naturally he’ll promise a surplus of unimaginable proportions.

But I’m sure that the Prime Minister will remind the audience that Howard’s Golden Age delivered 11 straight interest rate rises. One for Howard’s battlers to chew over.

Stopping the boats

This will definitely get some air, not only during the Great Debate but at every opportunity beforehand. As each vessel enters our waters Tony Abbott’s sign will go up: “Stop the boats”.

It’s his only weapon in what he sees as a war instead of a human rights issue. It is inconsequential if the Opposition work in unity with the Government as a result of the recent expert panel recommendations as it still means boats are coming our way. Tony Abbott, like John Howard, is the only man who can stop them. Superman wouldn’t be able to do a better job.

Tony Abbott will tell anybody with a microphone that would-be refugees tremble at the sound of his name. He is the imaginary road block that prevents people from even considering Australia as a destination for a better life.

Expect him to go full-on on this issue.

The mining tax

Has he forgotten about this? He has gone awfully quiet. Maybe he’s realised that the average Aussie doesn’t like the mining billionaires as much as he does.

Smaller government

If he has been keeping an eye on what’s been happening in Queensland since their State election I wouldn’t be surprised if he toned down his call for smaller government. By cutting government services and decimating the Public Service Campbell Newman has seen his popularity plummet:

Nearly half of Queensland voters believe Premier Campbell Newman’s cuts have gone too far, with support for the Liberal National Party plunging 12 percentage points since last month, a new opinion poll suggests.

Despite all his complacency Mr Abbott will be prudent to take note. Thanks to Campbell Newman there may be a surge in Labor’s support in Queensland. It could turn out to be the crucial state at the next Federal election.

John Howard was successful in selling his model of a smaller government to the electorate even though he failed to deliver on the promises. This is one of his promises I’m glad he didn’t keep. I doubt whether Mr Abbott will make such promises.

Over to you, dear readers.

The Fool on the Hill

Tell me that the Beatles weren’t singing about Tony Abbott when they recorded The Fool on the Hill back in 1967.

Day after day,
Alone on a hill,
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him,
They can see that he’s just a fool,
And he never gives an answer,

But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning ’round.

Their fool on the hill bears an uncanny resemblance to the fool on Canberra’s Capital Hill. Day after day the foolish grin, day after day never gives an answer: classic Abbott.

Poor Tony. He looks the fool when he never gives an answer but it is when he does talk that a bigger fool emerges. That old saying credited to Abraham Lincoln certainly rings true for Tony Abbott: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Just how much of a fool is he, or more precisely, how much of a fool does he make of himself?

Continue reading

Tony Abbott will never be Prime Minister

Sometimes a contributor here will leave a comment about the incompetency, nastiness or deceitfulness of Tony Abbott that is so profound that it strikes me as being worthy of a topic in itself.  That is precisely how this new topic will be framed.  I’ve scrolled through our pages and randomly selected a handful of gems from the hundreds that have graced our site that sum up why I hope Tony Abbott will never be Prime Minister.

They only scratch the surface but they expose so much.  I hope you are enlightened as much as I was.  They provide a great read and a springboard to more discussion as to why we all hope Tony Abbott will never be Prime Minister.

From Mobius Echo:

Seems all the talk and opinions of Abbott’s one track negativity and talking down the economy whilst being a policy free zone must be biting, he’s now attempting to elucidate policy, very badly mind you, but still it’s talking about policy.

Yet his current brain farting illustrates the problem for the opposition and his minders. The moment he moves to policy he’s all over the shop, sprouts very expensive nonsense and adds billions in unfunded liabilities to the Liberals budget bottom line whilst not being in anyway believable all while alienating one group or another, often groups that are traditionally conservative supporters.

From Cuppa:

While the miserable Liberals, with their putrid allies in the hate media, raise all hell about what is essentially a levy on fewer than 300 polluters, they themselves plan a Great Big New Tax on 3300 businesses, in order to pay rich mothers up to $75,000 per year.

From Jane:

Laugh away, (name removed). I predict you’ll be laughing out the other side of your face when Liealot hits you up for an extra $1,300/ year to pay for his actual carbon tax plus another $600+ when he lowers the tax free threshold to $6,000.

And then there’ll be all the extra revenue he’ll need to raise to fill his $70bn black hole as well as the increases in energy charges so the energy companies can update their infrastructure which they’ve neglected for decades.

And I guess the companies Liealot is going to hit for the rich mothers club, will jack up their prices to claw back another one of Liealot’s GREAT BIG NEW TAXES, so yuck it up while you can. You’ll be sobbing when he rips another few grand out of your sky rocket.

I predict you and your fellow barrackers will be imploring the ALP to get rid of the Liars after they lay waste to your hip pocket. It will certainly bring a smile to my face listening to the tales of woe from the barrackers.

It will almost compensate for being robbed blind by that mob of incompetents.

More from Mobius:

Or Abbott brain freeze or running away whenever asked a question he doesn’t like.

Someone on ABC saying Abbott was good for saying how important our relationship with Indonesia was but his talk about sending back the boats is for domestic consumption only to win the next election. He will not do it when he is PM as it would destroy relationship with Indonesia and make a liar of yesterday’s speech, which the Indonesians won’t forgive.

So more evidence that Abbott is a liar, and a far worse one than any other leader, even worse than Howard and he was the greatest liar we had.

From lunalava:

For some time I have suspected that Abbott does have mental health issues. By way of evidence you have to go back to the time he was Minister for Health in the Howard government. As it became clear that Howard would lose office, Abbott fell into a “heap” cutting himself off and not doing his job. I remember complaining at the time because he had just been granted a pay rise (pay increase for poor performance, try that in the real world).

He is definitely a “type A” personality (not that there is anything wrong with that, most ambitious men are) but he goes even beyond this to exhibit more “extreme” mood swings. His over the top anger (refer Mark Riley Interview) shows he has anger management issues in spades.

He has serious issues associated with women, in particular “powerful” self confident women who do not agree with him. Women pick up on this (sometimes unconsciously) hence the extra work needed by his spin team. He can not help himself in the spontaneous put down of certain women (just on the basis of their gender) and is a loose cannon in this regard. This shows a lack of personal control and this is a paradox because he thinks he is in total control of his emotions and reactions.

It is this false belief in his ability to control himself which is the scary bit for any leader, let alone one who believes he is ready for the top job.

Any switched on person (most women) would cross to the other side of the road if you met him on a dark night.

From yours truly.

The man just makes things up as he goes along. No logic. No strategy. Just put the boxing gloves on and throw punches in any direction. As long as he collects someone on the chin his ego is massaged.

From Nasking:

I think the difference is that Abbott sounds like an outraged One Nation/Tea Party protestor . . . combined with a religious zealot…add a corporate opportunist and victim . . . libertarian sceptic . . . muck-raking tabloid reporter . . . loud mouthed shock jock . . . compassionate conservative missionary with a beef . . . raging old time pugilist . . . scary Scrooge . . . finger pointing Senator McCarthy . . . and B.A. Santamaria’s bitter love child . . . all rolled into one.


Is Whyalla Burning?

Whyalla was meant to be wiped off the map at midnight this morning. It wasn’t.

Tony Abbott lied.

The place is a shit hole. For once I hoped Abbott would be right. I’ll never trust him again.

Anyway, Hollywood is going to make a blockbuster about the obliteration of Whyalla and they’ve asked the good people of Cafe Whispers to come up with a name.

So can anyone think of a title?  Here are a couple to kick us off:

Is Whyalla burning?

The day Whyalla stood still.

Carbon Price Countdown: Moving an economy

This post was first published on my personal blog and is part of a series of posts about reasons for why I support the Clean Energy Future package negotiated by the Greens, independents and ALP; read the first post and second post in the series.

The price on pollution is an important step forward. One of the ways it is an important step forward is how it will help move our economy to a lower polluting economy. It’s already happening in other countries with economies that are far larger than ours, and ones that aren’t nearly as stable or ‘robust’ as ours.

Yet the howls of  how the economy will be ruined have recently become louder.

The screams of economic terror are getting more blood curdling as major polluters and their political lap-dogs, the Coalition, become more frantic about the price on pollution.The major polluters know that the government’s Clean Energy Future package will mean a change to our economy.

The major polluters also know that the price on pollution, moving to an emissions trading scheme, will force them to change their corporate behaviours and will have to cut their emissions. However what is quite telling is that Coalition Members of Parliament continue to buy and trade shares in mining and energy companies. Indeed, various modeling done by some of the major polluters show that they will have to reduce their emissions to ensure continued access to a growing number of markets that are penalising imports with high emissions attached to those imports.

There already exists billions of dollars of investments in infrastructure in the mining and energy sectors.

But this is not about the existing investment in the ‘pipeline’, this is about the future investment in cleaner energy options and measures to reduce our total emissions. It’s also about  developing more sustainable means of producing and distributing energy; the power our first world economies need to continue, and help the third world develop futures to support their countries’ endeavours and aspirations.

Much misinformation has been spread about how jobs will go. Yet if our state governments stopped retreating from renewable energy investment and development the growth in jobs in renewable energy can grow. Investing in renewable energy and transforming our economy will grow jobs. It needs people to transform an economy.

We’ll still need electricians, construction workers, engineers, boiler makers, technicians and raft of other existing jobs to make it all work. There is still going to be a need to service the renewable energy systems and for people to work on more efficient and effective means of producing and distributing renewable energy. It also means that we have opportunities to transform our economy in other ways.

Ultimately though you only need to look at the softening rhetoric from business about the impact of the carbon price. Take today’s article “Carbon pricing spurs business on” in The Age; while it’s clear there are still some underlying concerns business is getting on with preparations for the carbon price and the eventual transition to an emissions trading scheme.

I support the carbon price to help shift from a high polluting economy to a low polluting economy.

I look forward to hearing your reasons for supporting the Clean Energy Future package. Leave your comments below.

Carbon Price Countdown: It takes a first step

This post was first published on my personal blog and is part of a series of posts about why I support the Clean Energy Future package negotiated by the Greens, independents and the first post in the series.

One of the biggest reasons I support the Clean Energy Future package negotiated by the Greens, the independents and the ALP is that it is an important step forward. Everything to date had been nothing else but talk and conjecture. There had been plenty of statements about time running out. In fact ‘time is running out’ has been a favourite phrase for a few decades and was most recently uttered again during the Rio+20 conference.

However Australia is embarking on the first step, and it’s the first step that’s always the hardest, to taking action on climate change. It might seem like a bitter pill to some but personally I’m happy to see Australia’s largest polluters having a price put on their pollution. Sure some of these companies have immediately used the carbon price as an excuse to pass on the full cost of the price on them. But this was to be expected. No-one was denying it but that’s why the federal government has been rolling out compensation packages for Australians as energy prices rise.

It’s important to remember as Tony Abbott and Senator Brandis blame everything on the coming price on pollution that many energy companies are also passing on significant costs of their failure to properly maintain and upgrade their networks and infrastructure; among other reasons.

The price on pollution is not going to see the sky fall in.

I support the price on pollution and I’m more than happy to pay for my emissions footprint. There is so much more that needs to be done. And it certainly doesn’t help having four states of Australia actively working against our commitment to action on climate change.

The Clean Energy Future package is an important first step in the right direction.

I look forward to hearing your reasons for supporting the Clean Energy Future package. Leave your comments below.