The question no-one can answer

Will Tony Abbott be a good Prime Minister?

I’m yet to find anyone who can answer that in the affirmative. No-one from the ‘right’ side of politics has been able to come up with a simple ‘yes’ let alone anything of substance to back up the claim. Instead, we hear how bad the recent Labor prime ministers have been.

Why can’t they answer it? Do they have no confidence in him themselves? Do they think he’s a dud, but acceptable purely because at this stage he is the alternate Prime Minister?

Are they satisfied with a politician who keeps raising the bar of stupidity?

The election is around the corner and I’d like to hear from those people who think he will be a good prime minister and of course, from those who think he will not. But there is one simple rule: Tell us why.

In November last year I gave the right-wing loyalists the opportunity to be heard, commenting that:

No doubt inspired by their hero Abbott’s performances (which can be likened to a mad banshee), right-wing bloggers come here imitating his behaviour from the sidelines with the most outrageous comments about how evil and incompetent the Gillard Government is whilst at the same time hoisting Abbott as the new Messiah.

They fail miserably on both counts. All bluster with no evidence.

I’m giving them the opportunity to redeem themselves. I devote this thread to them where they can add some substance to their claims that Gillard is evil, the Government is toxic or why Abbott would make a better Prime Minister.

They failed miserably again:

The post received over 620 comments and the ‘right’ were out in force, however, their responses were merely parrot-fashion repeats of what we hear from the opposition and the media.

But now it’s a different playing field: We are nearing the election, Abbott has the chance to replace Rudd instead of Gillard, and we have a wider variety of contributors to the site now compared to last November.

It would be refreshing if those who think Abbott would be a good PM could attempt – as hard as it might be – to rise above the level of idiocy so evident in the right-wing newspapers and right-wing social media forums that tell us that Rudd eats babies, kills kittens, talks to trees or costs the tax-payer money to simply do his job. If I wanted to hear that you only like Abbott because Rudd can’t comb his hair properly (yes, the media do talk about that) then I might as well just head straight to the Murdoch media and read what people have to say there.

I imagine, going by the history of what the right-wing commenters have been saying on this site, that they might be intellectually challenged to come up with something original and meaningful. Here’s the chance to prove to us you are an intelligent voter or conversely, provide us with further evidence that you simply aren’t.

Another reason I’ve re-visited the opportunity to ask people why Abbott might be a good PM is because he has done nothing to convince me he could be, and because the anti-Rudd brigade has been rather feral in both the mainstream and social media forums. There must be at least one voter out there who can tell us why Abbott would be a good PM. I’m yet to meet him or her. Come on, show us your face.

BTW, I’ve heard some very good reasons as to why Abbott won’t make a good PM and they all have merit. A recap can be found here.

Election 2013

That’s a load of rubbish, Andrew

Following the drowning of four asylum seekers off Christmas Island yesterday, Andrew Bolt had the audacity to comment that:

. . . if these people drowned under Tony Abbott, especially after a boat turnaround, imagine the media uproar. Yet Rudd’s policy has contributed to the deaths of more than 1000 people and a complicit media lays no blame at all.

Well, that’s a load of rubbish, Andrew.


Because only a small section of our community are despicable enough to attempt to draw political mileage out of the deaths of innocent people. Most people are appalled at these deaths, whether they be Rudd supporters, Abbott supporters, or vote for Daffy Duck. And most people are intelligent or realistic enough to accept that no one person can be held responsible for these deaths.

You do not fall into that category.

The condemnation you received over your comment in 2010 that the Gillard Government had blood on its hands after drownings off Christmas Island have done little to thwart your spring-heeled eagerness to use deaths for political mileage. I’ve not encountered any other journalist so keen to do so.

No, the media isn’t complicit like you say it is. It’s just that even they have some morals.

Tony Abbott’s promises

Tony Abbott wrote to a friend. Who that friend is, I do not know, but you can read the letter here.

I’d love to reproduce the letter in full but I note this little deterrent at the bottom of the page: Copyright © Liberal Party of Australia.

It’s  only a short letter, probably only kept short because Tony talks about his promises “during these uncertain economic times”. Hardly worth copyrighting, in my opinion. Rather worth framing though. It’s one for the ages.

Anyway, have a read and you’re welcome to come back here and talk about it, ie, pick it to pieces for the load of crap it really is. 😉

PS: I wonder who is friend is. 😯

Disability Funding Triumph: Progressive Blogosphere Abdicates

A repost from Labor View from Bayside:

This week we saw a major achievement in Australian policy – the bi-partisan acceptance of an increase in the Medicare levy to help fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (DisabilityCare). There was considerable activity on social media before Tony Abbott’s concession but there has been a deadening silence in the progressive blogosphere since.

When you google Oz blogs for the last four days, there are no posts heralding this policy triumph. In fact it seems that many have just accepted it as a political victory for Abbott, not a policy win for Julia Gillard’s government. A lone voice has been Gary Sauer-Thompson at Public Opinion but even his post was titled Perhaps:

The disability people got what they wanted: a secure funding source that will partially pay for the NDIS and bipartisan support. That means the Coalition will find it hard to renege at a later date because they are publicly committed to the national disability insurance scheme.

If the conservatives keep their word, the NDIS  will be a major legacy of the Labor government, whether it is reelected or not. Abbott’s “conditional” support of the levy contained his usual dissembling but once the legislation is passed, he should be locked in.

Yesterday Victoria signed up to NDIS, just as we are abandoning the field to the Liberal National Party policy void. Despondency over the polls and government policy failures must not make Abbott’s austerity a fait accompli.

Schools, climate change and the NBN are just a few reasons to keep up the political fight. If progressive bloggers cannot step up, then it is probably time to archive their blogs and retreat into the twitter ether or a subscription to Foxtel.

Tony Abbott’s super plan

That fine custodian of moral journalistic virtue, Dennis Shanahan, in his article titled Labor fails super test with voters he gleefully tells us that:

Most people do not trust the Labor Party on superannuation and are overwhelmingly opposed to it being subjected to any tax increases after the Gillard government announced pre-budget cuts to retirement concessions for the wealthiest.

Only one in four voters believes the ALP, the party that introduced the modern superannuation system and compulsory employer payments to workers, is best able to handle superannuation. According to a Newspoll survey conducted exclusively for The Australian on the weekend after Wayne Swan announced superannuation changes aimed at saving $1 billion over four years, 55 per cent said they did not “currently” trust Labor on superannuation and 31 per cent said they did.

It’s all over Labor taxing the rich.

I’ll admit that I don’t like to see anyone’s superannuation savings diminished in any way, but given the choice between the rich and the poor being adversely affected, I’d happily settle on the rich. Tony Abbott – who I now introduce to the discussion – sees it differently to me. We need to talk a little about how Tony Abbott sees things. So do journalists like Dennis Shanahan.

Following the Treasurer’s announcement that super pension and annuity earnings greater than $100,000 would be taxed at 15 per cent, instead of being tax free – a move that would affect an estimated 16,000 people – Mr Abbott, in his role as the defender of all affluent Australians, said he:

. . . would “fight ferociously” changes that would play havoc with people’s retirement plans.

That would be admirable, if it weren’t for this:

Mr Abbott repeatedly refused to guarantee to wind back the government’s proposed changes, saying only that the Coalition would not make matters worse.

”We aren’t going to do any more damage,” he said.

That comment certainly makes his threat to fight ferociously appear rather shallow. All bark, no bite. I find it odd that he thinks repealing this would cause further damage. How?

Nonetheless, his opposition to the move has been most vociferous. No doubt you’ve see it headlined – nay, bashed to death – in the Murdoch media. Here’s an example:

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has taken his “hands-off superannuation” message directly to those most worried by reported government changes – older Australians.

He rammed home the message to retirees on Sydney’s northern beaches on Tuesday that superannuation “piggy banks” were not government money but people’s money.

Raiding their piggy banks to fund the government’s “out-of-control” spending was a breach of faith and a betrayal of trust, he told the grey heads at the Dee Why RSL club.

He continues his attack on the LNP website:

The Prime Minister should end the class war and the latest escalation on the class war is the Prime Minister and the Treasurer’s coming attack on your superannuation. I want to say to the Australian people – your superannuation is safe under the Coalition. Your superannuation should be sacrosanct. There is no way that your superannuation should be raided by a bad government to get itself out of a hole. The Government should not be damaging your future to secure its future. The Government should not be raiding your money to get money for itself. It is a sign of just how debauched this Government has got that when it is in a hole, a hole of its own making, it should be seeking to trash your superannuation – trash, in fact, Labor’s historic legacy – to try to fix up a problem which it has caused.

But to Mr Abbott it’s more than just a fiddle with people’s retirement plans; it’s also a cash-grab from the Government:

“On balance, this is a $1 billion hit on people’s retirement savings,” he told the media in Melbourne.

“It is a $1 billion hit on savings that belong to the people, not the Government, and it shows that this is a government which is prepared to tax the people to fund its own spending.”

And it will only get worse, he warns:

If they get away with attacking the so-called rich today, they’re going to come for you tomorrow. That’s the truth about this government. If they get away with this, they’ll think they can get away with anything.

The man must be an emotional wreck; all that caring, all those concerns. Well, yes, he certainly has put on a sad face. He bleeds for those poor people raking in over $100,000 a year. The whole 16,000 of them.

And thanks to people like Dennis Shanahan we’ll always get to hear Tony’s side of the story.

Have a look at the Newspoll that Shanahan gloats about. What do you see? I see questions that are designed to elicit as much negativity about the Government possible.

Now let’s have a look at what Tony Abbott really thinks about superannuation.

It’s a con job, he once said, while on another occasion he savaged it as nothing but a gravy train for union officials. He even opposed an increase in the Super Guarantee – changes that would see 8.4 million Australians receive an increase in their retirement incomes. In effect, he opposed:

  • An additional $108,000 in the retirement income of a 30-year-old on average weekly earnings.
  • An additional $78,000 in superannuation for a women aged 30 on average weekly earnings, who has had an interrupted work pattern.
  • Australians who are over 50 and have low super balances, the opportunity to contribute up to $50,000 a year into superannuation at a concessional tax rate.

The latest ‘policy’ of Abbott’s confirms his apathy towards superannuation. Here it is in a nutshell:

Opposition leader Tony Abbott confirmed plans to axe a super tax break worth up to $500 a year for 3.6 million low-income earners.

And significantly:

. . . his plan to axe the $500 superannuation benefit for low-income workers will hit more than two million women, including 11,000 female voters in Tony Abbott’s own electorate.

It’s safe to say that in total, more people in his electorate will be effected by this measure than the number of people effected Australia wide by Labor’s plan. In total, it will effect 3.6 million Australians.

Wouldn’t it be good to have a Newspoll that asked questions about Tony Abbott’s super plan?

Perhaps they could try asking the very people who will be affected, such as the grey army.


Libs to axe Abbott after poll shock

Following the success of his article of the same name on Independent Australia, Alan Austin has kindly offered it for publication at Café Whispers.

Today’s horrific opinion polling for Tony Abbott has forced moves to replace him as federal Opposition leader.

“We have no choice,” a prominent Coalition power broker told journalists in a private backgrounder. “We must act now. Going to an election with Tony would be suicide.”

Newspoll today shows Abbott’s personal approval still only 39 per cent despite having risen 11 points since December.

This continues the run of negative poll results since Abbott narrowly beat Malcolm Turnbull for the Liberal Party leadership in 2009. That vote was 42 – 41.

Turnbull’s approval remains above 60 per cent.

“Tony’s numbers are disastrous,” a senior Liberal Party strategist admitted. “Never been above 40 per cent. And that’s with all the media constantly pumping him and bagging Julia.”

The strategist concedes that on current polling the Government would win the September election if Abbott remains Opposition leader. “Keating won in 1993 from a worse position than Gillard’s now,” he said. “And the little lying rodent won in 2001 from even further behind.”

“Abbo is a nice bloke,” said a Coalition frontbencher who declined to be named. “He got Fairfax in lockstep with Murdoch by promising whatever media laws they want. And the ABC is giving us an incredible run. God knows what he promised them. So kudos to Abbo for that. But we can’t expect the media to conceal the fact forever – the guy has no policy clue.

“Sooner or later, someone’s going to read his book,” the frontbencher said. “Talk about falsehoods and fantasy! I don’t know who wrote it. But he didn’t get a fact right.”

“If Laurie Oakes or Paul Syvret found it, they’d rip it to shreds. We’ve begged him to take it off the website.”

A source close to the Shadow Treasurer agrees. “If you think Joe Hockey is an economics moron – don’t quote me on that, will you? – just look at what Abbott says. I mean, everything about tax is wrong, everything on growth and productivity is wrong. It’s like he’s never read a briefing paper in his life.”

“Eventually someone’s going to notice the economy,” the source said. “We can only lie about that for so long. Reality will dawn – Australia’s books are the best in the world. By a street. The media all keep trying to credit Costello. But the punters won’t buy that forever.”

A National Party shadow minister in a marginal country seat confirmed the move is on. “Gotta face it,” he said. “We can’t win with Tony. He’s not just a policy buffoon but a compulsive liar. Switch now, and we have a chance.”

The frontbencher said the continual falsehoods were a central problem to conservative rural voters. “Like when he denied meeting George Pell. Stone the crows! And denying he organised the anti-Pauline Hanson slush fund. Geez, that’s going to bite us on the bum. His crazy claim he won’t do deals to gain office. Strewth! His lies about the carbon tax. His insane idea that China’s CO2 emissions would increase 500 per cent. His stupid porkies about why he didn’t visit the troops in Afghanistan with Julia. The ridiculous claim that BHP deferred Olympic Dam due to taxes. His absurd insult to all our allies that ‘the rest of the world was not going anywhere near emission trading schemes.’ Calling asylum seekers ‘illegals’. And his lies about Government spending. Fair dinkum! They just keep on coming.”

“Tony’s a good mate,” the shadow minister said. “Just no integrity. This is all off the record, by the way.”

According to another Coalition insider the move could come as early as next week. “We are just waiting for Tony to go overseas. Like the Country Libs in the Northern Territory.”

Asked if he believed the switch to Malcolm Turnbull would be a positive, the insider said, “Anyone but Abbott. But you didn’t hear it from me.

“Look, we gave him a go. Got in front in the polls for a while. But let’s face it. There’s only one reason for that – the media continually concocting stories about the Gillard Government with fabricated quotes attributed to anonymous sources.”

Alan (pictured below) 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.

Tony Abbott: high anxiety


It seems that politics in Australia exists in some sort of parallel world. Is it that the Australian media is completely disconnected from reality, or is it that it chooses to be so?

From reading or listening to little but mainstream, it would seem that the media and the Liberals would prefer the impression that nothing has changed since the last election. The rhetoric remains stagnant: the Gillard government it is repeated, is in deep trouble. Julia Gillard’s hold on power is tenuous we are told; and we have been told the same thing since 2010. As Rossleigh so ably put it in his topic at The Australian Independent Media:

A leadership spill is speculated to occur tomorrow, and on Thursday . . . Friday at the latest. If not Friday, certainly sometime before or after the next election.

Yet strangely, little is forthcoming from the Opposition to enlighten us as to why this is “a bad government”. Where is the rhetoric, the photo ops, the hard luck stories to back up the imagine which Tony Abbott wishes to convey?  It seems that it exists in this parallel world, in the imagination of Tony Abbott and the media.

If The Master (and I do not use this term as a compliment) John Howard was in charge today, then by God we Aussies would know we were in strife as not a day would go by without pictures of Howard’s “Battlers”; photos of Aussies “doing it tough”. Mums, Dads and kiddies would be out there on the streets displaying their ragged and torn Nikes while mum sobs into her somewhat bedraggled pure silk Ralph Lauren hankie. The headlines would read: This is what has become of Howard’s Aspirationals under a Labor government.

Yet where is Tony Abbott? Tony is on the beach with a daughter or two, Tony is hard-hatting it with the workers, Tony is downing a cleansing ale. Empathy with Howard’s Battlers does not exist for Tony.

Tony (not) empathising with workers and unhappy domestic situations, and yes he managed to do this all in one brief sentence:

Bad bosses, like bad fathers and husbands, should be tolerated because they do more good than harm…

Tony (not) empathising with the gay community:

Well, there is no doubt that it challenges, if you like, orthodox notions of the right order of things…

To me, this is a WTF moment on indigenous issues:

Racism used to be offered as the complete explanation for Aboriginal poverty, alienation and early death. Racism hasn’t disappeared. Still, if racism caused poverty, why hasn’t poverty declined as racism diminished.

Tony yet again (not) empathising with the indigenous community:

There may not be a great job for them but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done.

Tony (not) empathising with the difficulties facing Australian businesses:

To be honest, I think that Australian-made campaigns are feelgood campaigns at best.

Tony (not) empathising with mental illness:

…we just can’t stop people from being homeless if that’s their choice…”


We can’t stop people drinking; we can’t stop people gambling; we can’t stop people having substance problems; we can’t stop people from making mistakes that cause them to be less well-off than they might otherwise be.

Is this the picture of public anxiety which the Liberals wish to convey? If there is community anxiety, it should be that a person with these opinions might become Prime Minister.

However, onward Tony Abbott hastens all a’flurry on a road back to nowhere in particular, and all the while providing constant visual images that just perhaps Australians aren’t doing it all that tough after all. Yet again and all the while, glossing over and trivialising the many important issues which Australia has been facing, and will face in the future.

So here is our parallel world where Whyalla, the government and our society are about to collapse in chaos and despair we remain where we started, with a photo op and little else.

It is with some gratification that an article in the Herald Sun announces that:

TONY Abbott’s budgie smugglers have been replaced with ”stopping the boats” and ”people smugglers” in an analysis of the most used political words in mainstream media.

Revealed! The media conspiracy against the Government

If you think there’s been a media campaign to discredit the Gillard Government, then you’re on the mark. It has not been your imagination. A source, a senior media executive I cannot name but for the sake of this article I will refer to as ‘Peter’, has revealed the strategies used and the motivation behind them.

“The Murdoch media has been leaning to the right since the Whitlam days but the anti-Labor meme was really ramped up just before the 2010 election. The catalyst was Murdoch’s luncheon with Tony Abbott, where the NBN (National Broadband Network) must have been the main talking point as the very next day Abbott publicly announced that he’d rip up the NBN”.

“He pissed a few of us off by jumping too soon, thinking that people might tie the announcement to the meeting with Murdoch, which luckily they didn’t. The NBN will effect Murdoch’s profits, and let’s be very clear on that, so the reason to back Abbott was clearly motivated by money for the media empire”.

“Tony Abbott is hard to sell as a politician, so we sell him as a person. He looks the goods as a loving family man or a fire fighter, but hopeless as a politician. He can’t control his mouth. For example, yesterday he announced that he wouldn’t rule out an alliance with the Greens. It’s going to be hard for us in the media to sell this after a couple of years of trying as hard as possible to discredit the Greens”.

“Our main focus though is to try and unsettle the Government. Leadership spills are always a winner. You’d have noticed that the Rudd factor has been our agenda (again) since the Prime Minister announced the election date. Anybody with half a brain would know that a PM wouldn’t announce an election date while there are leadership rumbles in their party. There weren’t, so we had to create them, and it is working”.

“We are under instructions to hammer the leadership woes at every opportunity. When the results of a poll hit the press we take any opportunity to throw in a paragraph of how the results will add to speculation of a spill”.

“It’s all because the emperor wants more money”.

I asked Peter what he knows about the ABC’s sudden right turn. “Not a lot, but I’ve noticed that Tony Abbott is the first person they run to whenever they want to hear something about the Government, but that’s about all. Oh yes, they seem to treat him as off-limits when it comes to any scrutiny, just as we do. Has Mark Scott whispered in his ear about funding should Abbott win? I don’t know. Murdoch certainly has. Don’t underestimate the power of money”.

“And Fairfax?” I asked. “Probably the same motivation; money. We’re not privy to what Tony Abbott has negotiated with the power brokers”.

“It’s just our job to bring about a change of Government. It helps the boss so it helps us”.

Peter and I chatted a bit longer, about such things as the Ashbygate outcome failing to incite the media, but from what he’d already told me, the answer to that is quite simple.

Shocking, isn’t it, that the election outcome is for the benefit of a few wealthy individuals?

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.

Election Talk

I don’t have the impression that any contributor here is undecided as to who they will be voting for in the September election. Perhaps one or two among us might be swinging voters, and I’m about to find out. So I ask:

  1. Do you know at this stage which party you will vote for in the House of Representatives and/or the Senate?
  2. What is likely to change your mind (if it were possible)?
  3. What are the issues that are important to you and why are they worth your vote?

Over to you.

English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)