Let the smearing begin

September 8, 2010

Following on from my earlier post and Possums excellent post, it hasn’t been 24 hours and already the nutty conspiracies are emerging.

Whats the latest? Well this government hasn’t even sat yet and already Julia Gillard is guilty of BRIBERY!

Whats that, such a scandal? Already?

Andrew Bolt with the latest.

Rob Oakeshott said yesterday Labor’s offer to make him a Minister of Speaker was “separate” to his decision to put it into Government.

Maybe in his own mind. But Gavin Atkins wonders how close this comes to a bribe:

Thats quite an accusation Bolta. But short answer, NO.

Although Bolt and Atkins further show their ignorance by quoting NSW State , not Federal documents as their basis they ignore this key point.

b.  A Member must not knowingly or improperly promote any matter, vote on any bill or resolution or ask any question in the Parliament or its Committees in return for any remuneration, fee, payment, reward or benefit in kind, of a private nature

Last I checked ministry jobs are hardly private, and if Gillard wanted to keep this deal secret, confirming it to the media was a bad way to hide this offer.

But the charges don’t actually have to stick, if you are Bolt you just want to put “Gillard” and “bribery” in the same sentence as many times as possible and let your ignorant readers join the dots. Just make sure you add a ? at the end of each accusation to avoid any responsibility.

Example. Not acceptable.

Andrew Bolt sells heroin to schoolgirls.

Acceptable

Does Andrew Bolt sell heroin to schoolgirls?

But I’m guessing Andrew Bolt and the rest of the nuts will quietly rest this conspiracy.

ROB Oakeshott has indicated that Tony Abbott made a last-ditch attempt to woo the independent MP by offering him a senior Coalition position.

Will we see Andrew Bolt make the exact same baseless accusations of bribery to Tony Abbott? Not bloody likely. Will we see an apology or retraction of a false accusation from Andrew Bolt? Absolutely not.

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Bastard Government!

September 8, 2010

I have had little interest in blogging of late, life things (got engaged, woot) and an uninspiring campaign meant a big zero posts from the election campaign. I think it was hard for any politically engaged person to be passionate about either side during the campaign. Both were trying to outdo the other in having the smallest target campaign. So much so that it didn’t give enough voters a reason to vote for the major parties and hence neither side could form a majority.

Now that Labor has formed government, News Ltd and the conservative cheerleaders have been running a line that the new government is illegitimate, has no mandate blah blah blah through all sorts of dodgy reasoning.

professional editor and amateur cyberstalker Tim Blair over at the Daily Terror said this.

“Julia Gillard – twice selected, never elected

True, but only in the sense that no Australian Prime Minister is ever elected by the Australian people, but is selected by the group that has the largest number in the house of representatives. So John Howard has never been “elected” as PM and neither has Julia Gillard.

But perhaps Tim was hinting that as government was decided in the end by independents Labor doesn’t have a majority in their own right. Fair enough, but you just know Tim and the other clowns wouldnt dare call Tony Abbott unelected if he had been given the nod by the inds. And he would have been just as unelected as Gillard.

And remember in 2008 when the West Australian Parliament had a similar fate? The decision as to who would form government was decided by the West Australian national party which did not have a coalition with either major party. After long negotiations the Nationals decided to back the Liberals, but funnily enough the conservative clowns who are now calling Gillard unelected were not saying the same thing about a Liberal Premier being selected not by the people but by people holding the balance of power.

Remember, if someone says Gillard was not elected but they didn’t say the same thing about Colin Barnett the Liberal Premier, they are a hypocrite.

This government clearly didnt have overwhelming support and didnt win a majority, but neither did the coalition and any government they would have formed would have been just as legitimate.

Bring you teh trooth

July 19, 2010

Election years bring out the usual list of single issue parties and other various attention seekers, but this new party really caught my eye.

The Australian sovereignty Party, for truth, freedom and justice.

A semi-coherent mishmash of La Rouche, new world order and climate change denialism all in one delightful package. Just check out their video on youtube.

Curiously that account name is listed as “don’t poison me”.

Times may be tough for the Australian Sovereignty Party with the Citizens Electoral Council nailing the La Rouche vote and the climate change conspiracy nuts being adequately served by Family First, National and Liberal Party. And even more confusingly the Australian sovereignty Party is Pro-Monarchy.

Unfortunately the Australian Sovereignty Party got so carried away in spreading the truth about the gay/commie/jewish/muslim/banking/unitednations conspiracy that they forgot to actually register as a political party.

I guess the truth will have to wait.

Master Debater

July 19, 2010

For a while the Greens have been leading a campaign to have Bob Brown included in the current leaders debate. An argument ensued on twitter and due to the restrictive word length I thought I would express my views here as to why Bob Brown should not be included in the debate.

Firstly, there is only so so much time the public will give to election debates and they should be as relevant as possible so that the maximum number of people in the electorate watch them. In the past we have seen the one election debate in 2004 outrated by Australian Idol, if the format is diluted and expanded further chances are less people will watch it.

The format has always been between the Prime Minister and the opposition leader, the likely leaders of the future government. Bob Brown isn’t running for Prime Minister, the greens wont be forming a government so I don’t think they should be put on the same pedestal in a leaders debate. At best they might get the balance of power and have a big influence on amending and rejecting a governments legislation, but they don’t have the same platform as a major party that is likely to be implemented.

If Bob Brown is let into the debate, then why not other minor players? I dont see how you can include Brown and exclude Steve Fielding, Barnaby Joyce and Nick Xenophon in the debate. What happens then would be each player would have a greatly reduced air-time in order to accommodate the increased roster.

Although the political blogosphere/twittersphere would likely watch any and all election debates we are the exemption, the publics appetite for these things is limited as it is already so I think the debates should remain limited to the Prime Minister and opposition leader so that the format can be accessible and relevant for the largest possible audience.

Not that I think Bob Brown or any other minor parties should be denied a voice, far from it. But any effort to try to be included in the leaders debate would be fruitless. The major parties have everything to lose and nothing to gain by letting Bob Brown in, and as the format of the leaders debate is negotiated between the major parties there is no way he is going to be let in.

If the Greens situation rapidly changes, they start winning large amounts of seats in the house of reps and actually have the possibility in forming government in their own right then of course they should be included in the leaders debate. Until then I think the main debate should be left to just the leader of Labor and the Libs.

A secondary debate or forum between the heads of the minor parties and other independent senators who are vying for the balance of power is a good idea though. And thanks to the increased spectrum on digital TV and fast video streaming on the web, such a debate could gain an audience even if it is ignored by the mainstream television networks, but I dont think any of the minor parties are trying for this, shame.

Mandate shmandate

June 25, 2010

I have mixed feelings about the unceremonious dumping of Kevin Rudd by the federal ALP. On one hand, Kevin Rudd was failing miserably to sell his governments achievements and communicate with the public, on the other the way that a sitting Prime Minister was executed because of a few months of bad opinion polls could set a bad precedent.

Is it possible that internal party strategists and pollsters and bi-weekly opinion polls have killed off Australia ever having a long term Prime Minister like Howard, Hawke or Menzies ever again? Are we heading to a trend similar to NSW where cosmetic makeovers in a leadership change replace any attempt to govern better in the long term?

In the last 3 years the Liberal Party has gone through 4 leaders. The two leaders after their election loss, Nelson and Turnbull were constantly hampered by poor opinion polls. Media analysis of their policies (or lack there of) style and ideology was sidelined for the simple  two party prefered and prefered Prime Minister opinion poll. Politics had become a football game, nice and simple with a score and clear winners and losers.

The euphoria and popularity of Rudd was never going to be sustainable in the long term, and the ALP should have known this. Politicians are not naturally “popular” and shouldnt be expected to be, they are there to govern. Even long term governments, such as most recently the Howard government were very rarely hugely popular. Howard rode high in the prefered PM stakes when he was against ineffective Labor leaders like Beazley and Crean, but this soon changed when he faced a stronger opponent like Latham and Rudd.

Credit to the Liberals, they showed that you can turn votes around and win elections from strong oppositions by more than just a cosmetic change of leader. The Labor Party should have come up with a plan to work out why people were disenfranchised with the government, worked to appease their concerns and communicate the governments successes more effectively. Instead it gave up, treated the electorate as mugs that would change their votes purely because of a different face in the top job.

Governments should govern for the sake of improving the country, not as a game just to stay in power. If governments continue to dump unpopular leaders then no long term reform would ever be achieved, the hit in opinion polls would scare them off ever making necessary but unpopular decisions.

For what its worth I like Gillard much better than Rudd and I hope she leads Labor to victory this year, but like many I have a sour taste in my mouth at the way our democratically elected Prime Minister was dumped because of ALP power brokers, mining executives and Newspoll.

IF Labor do lose the upcoming election, a saving grace could be that it would scare future governments from the short term poll driven musical stairs style leadership we have seen recently and think long term even if it means being unpopular.

rant over.

What I saw at Bookfest

June 13, 2010

Enough crappy Dan Browns to build a cliched, bloated house.

I look forward to next years bookfest where I can buy a hundred copies of The Lost Symbol.

A grand left-wing conspiracy

May 26, 2010

We are well into an election year yet I find it increasingly hard to care.

Today was pretty amusing and did a fait bit to re-spark my political interest. In the morning the shadow foreign affairs Minister Julie Bishop was spreading a hair brained conspiracy that the measured expelling of an Israeli diplomat was an evil plot to get UN votes from the wicked Arabs. By the afternoon she had upgraded her stupidity to directly attacking our intelligence agencies by claiming “well we forge passports too”.

This hasn’t been an isolated event but a key tactic of the coalition just to report, spread or create any wacky conspiracies and yell them from the rooftop. This is fine for bloggers or journalists, but the opposition should at least make sure their political attacks are at least based in reality.

Where did it start? Well whilst they were still in government and continued in opposition. I’ll try and list all that I can remember.

1. Rudd lied about being kicked out of his family how when he was a kid.

Rudd was accused by Tony Abbott of lying about being kicked out of his family home after his father died. Like the birthers it presents a grand conspiracy of Rudd that goes back decades to before he was even interested in politics. Also promoted by News Ltd nitwits Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt so you know its quality bonkers.

2. Rudd is a puppet of Brian Burke.

When Rudd openly declared he had dinner with convicted criminal Brian Burke it didn’t just show bad judgement. Peter Costello proved by the power of insinuation that Rudd was now compromised and corrupted. A Prime Minister Rudd would be under control of Brian Burke all because they once shared a dinner table in 2006! Makes perfect sense.

3. Rudd is a puppet of China

Not actually based on anything apart from Kevin Rudd speaking Chinese. Several Libs used the term “Manchurian Candidate” to describe Rudd, tried to create tension with Japan by suggesting Rudd was ignoring them in favour of China and so forth. Nothing more than thinly veiled race baiting.

4. Some Chinese woman controls the defence Minister

The former defence minister had a friend who was, get this CHINESE. Cue more race baiting that somehow this woman was an evil spy who had corrupted a governement minister based on nothing more than her race.

5. The entire Kevin Rudd Primeministership is just to add to his cover letter when he’s applying for UN Secretary General.

Plays up to conservatives hatred of the UN. Illogical as a political attack because even in the unlikely even that it is true you will only be vindicated many years from now when it doesn’t even matter. First spruiked by The Australians Greg Sheridan then repeated like an annoying parrot by Julie Bishop.

6. Kevin Rudd like totally went bonkers when he couldn’t find a hairdryer.

This rumour is quite possibly true, and who really gives a shit that it is. It’s just disturbing that coalition MP’s think their job is to relay unreliable gossip they here in army barracks and somehow think it’s political attack.

7. Our aid money and expelling a diplomat is just an evil conspiracy to get the scary muslims and scary dark people to vote for us at the UN.

8. Kevin Rudd went bonkers at newspaper editors.

It’s understandable that oppositions would stretch the truth to attack their opponent. It’s another to believe any rumour no matter how ridiculous as fact as long as it makes the government look bad, it makes you look deceitful, naive and foolish. Malcolm Turnbull staked his credibility on the claims of a government staffer called Godwin Grech. It turned out Grech was lying and the price Malcolm paid was the loss of his credibility within the electorate. If the Liberals continue to waste political attacks on innuendo and gossip it just makes it harder and harder to look at them as a credible alternative.

Either that or the Arabs/Chinese/Brian Burke have gotten to me too!

Gay People Hate Children

May 21, 2010

When I first heard about the former NSW Minister for Transport resigning in disgrace I didn’t have much sympathy. Being caught using a government vehicle to visit a gay sex club looked like a pretty clear-cut misuse of government property and the latest in a long line of fuckups by a pretty incompetent government.

But then it came out that Campbell was driving the car himself and that using the ministerial car for private duties is fine. He didn’t actually break any rules and the use of the car was just a cover to out a gay man.

Soon most stories completely ignored the car angle and quickly looked for another reason to discuss this rather extraordinary public case of gay bashing. Peter Meakin, the head of 7 news tried to justify the outing by saying Campbell had somehow been hypocritical.

“In the case of Mr Campbell, here was a guy who had been minister for police, which is a very sensitive portfolio, who had been presenting himself and gaining re-election as a happy family man – sending out Christmas cards with his wife and sons pictured on the card and portraying himself as a loving father and husband.

“Now all this time and apparently for the last 25 years he has been acting otherwise. I think the electorate have the right to know that.”

That must be news to many in the gay community. Apparently being gay means you don’t love your children and can’t be a loving member of a family. Who knew!

Thank god we have thrice convicted drunk driver Peter Meakin to tell us about these important morals.

After all, putting lives at risk by driving whilst intoxicated is forgivable, but driving sober to an entirely legal club that caters to homosexual men is not.

Devine Misconception

May 15, 2010

Miranda Devine had an interesting piece about the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill. She argued that although it gave women greater freedom it would be the cause of a great demographic shift that will cause severe imbalances in our society.

Basically she argues that because of the decreased birth rate since more dependable contraception, this declining birth rate will lead to the old rapidly outnumbering the young. The facts generally support her, the average age in the Western world is rising, not just because of the pill but because of increased life expectancy.

What could this mean? Well I have long feared when people my parents age start retiring. They still more or less control the business and political system and are used to getting their way. The increase in the age pension is just the beginning as this voting bloc starts to wield its power. As an age group they whinge better than any of us.

Regardless I’m not so sure the world would be a better place without contraception?

Whereas in 1979 the average woman on the planet had six children, today she has 2.8, and declining, according to the United Nations World Population Prospects publication of 2006.

If these numbers continued, would the world really be in a better place if the population was double or triple what it is now?

Miranda then goes on to praise Abbott as being a rare maverick who has foreseen the danger of ageing population.

Abbott seems to be rare among his colleagues as a politician who understands the dangers of the Demographic Winter.

With respect to Devine, Abbott’s generous and economically ludicrous paid parental leave scheme is clearly little more than a cynical vote buying excercise. If Abbott was really concerned about shifting age demographics then he wouldn’t have been banging on about cutting the migration intake and he wouldn’t be promising a smaller population than current demographers are predicting.

Miranda has a point when she brings up Japan in her article.

Japan, at 1.21, has lost 24 per cent of its people in 20 years. By 2050 there will be two senior citizens for every child.

But what she declines to mention is that one of the reasons Japan is in such a big hole is that they have next to no flexibility in changing their demographics because they have a political system and culture which will never accept a large amount of migration into their country. Yet this is the way Abbott and other conservatives want to go.

Abbott says he wants to cap the population (How the hell do you cap a population anyway? Annual bogan cull?) at around 29 million people. In reality this is little more than an empty sound-bite he is using to try and win an election. But even in magical Abbott land where we could keep the population stable we would still see the demographic winter Devine fears. Even with a stable population we would still see a rise in the average age because of increased life expectancy. That is why even with the population increasing in recent years the average age has still been increasing.

Not that any politician has all the answers to all these problems, but if we let lunatics like Tony Abbott, Andrew Bolt and Kevin Andrews set the migration levels our society would have the same problem as Japan. Increased government debt to pay for the welfare of pensioners, a shrinking work force and an economy falling backwards.

For all his dog-whilsting and whinging about brown people John Howard actually had the foresight that Abbott lacks. Although he talked tough on “boat people” he increased migration because he realised that trying to increase the birth rate is only one way to tackle demographic problems. Abbott is so backward he makes Howard actually seem kind of sensible.

Anything for a headline

April 18, 2010

The Herald Sun behaved irresponsibly, inadvertently led to someone being killed and most importantly messed with a major police investigation.

The major media organisations and the police used to have an understanding that when the release of a story would jeopardise a major police investigation the media would either delay or not report on a story, in return the media liaisons in the police force would ensure that the media would get other juicy news stories from them in exchange for playing ball.

You may scream “censorship” at such an arrangement, but it was entirely voluntary, served both parties and most importantly allowed the police to do their job. The speed of news on the internet and rushes to deadline have changed this arrangement.

One of the most notable fuckups of this arrangement happened last year when the Australian leaked news of federal police conducting terror raids hours BEFORE the actual raids had taken place. Luckily the raids were conducted successfully, but the Australians irresponsibly looking for a front page scoop put the lives of AFP officers who conducted the raid under unneccessary risk and it could have fucked up a major police operation that was a long time in the making.

What does this have to do with Carl Williams death? Well this morning the Herald Sun had a story about the school fees of Carl Williams daughters being paid for by the police. It’s a typical once-sided Hun story to appeal to their simple-minded readership. Corrupt Labor government paying evil gangsters kids to go to posh private school, put up an internet poll asking “Should your taxes pay for convicted killers kids school fees?” and enjoy the controversy you create.

The police and the government couldn’t comment on the story because obviously a deal had been done. Whilst I can only speculate there is a good chance that Carl Williams gave information to police officers in exchange for what is likely to be school fees for his daughters. If that is the deal Carl Williams gets nothing, his daughters which can hardly be blamed for having a murderer for a father go to a nice school and the police get more information and evidence to pursue criminals. A good outcome by anyones standards, but no Andrew Bolt and the Herald Sun had to cause an outrage.

This was Andrew this morning.

”I think it’s a disgrace,” he said of the payment of the school fees of the murderer’s daughter. ”The best way to get information from him is to deny him privileges, not to extend his privileges. Tax dollars going to reward a low-life like this, I’m just staggered.”

Andrew just like being a complete non-expert in climate science also knows sweet fuck all about police interrogation.

This morning before Williams was killed I predicted this would cause trouble.

Bloody irresponsible reporting from the Hun on the yarn about Carl Williams kids schools fees. Let the police do their job.

And surprise surprise the likely reaction at the prison was other prisoners took it to mean that Williams was a snitch and beated him to death. A convicted killer dying isn’t a big tragedy, but it makes it harder for the police that were collaborating with Williams to do their job now that a valuable informant is dead.

And no surprises but it looks like the death is related to the Herald Sun article.

Melb reporters tell me Carl Williams was accused by fellow prisoners of “doing deals with the cops” after they read the school fees story.

Herald Sun, a round of applause for being irresponsible fucktards. Bravo.