Monthly Archives: February 2015

Political Commentary: Good Government Starts Today…Not!

Well, the spill didn’t rid us of the cause of our bad government, though with 40% of his backbench voting in favour of spilling him as PM, Tony Abbott has had a big shock…though I fear not big enough! Not only is he extremely unpopular with the voters – he jeeps insisting he was voted in as PM, when in fact it is his PARTY (LNP) that is voted in, and as leader he becomes PM by default – but a large portion of his own party don’t support him! It’s a fiasco of the highest degree!

To make it worse, his Cabinet (Frontbench) have supported him, though in some cases, I would say, reluctantly! If there had been a vote in favour of the spill, it would have been interesting to see who would have pushed him into his grave – where he is toppling anyway – and taken over as PM”. So, we are stuck with an idealistic, ineffective, and unpopular PM, likewise for Treasurer, likewise for Education minister, likewise for Health minister, likewise for Immigration minister, and likewise for Welfare minister! Makes you wonder, doesn’t it! Philip Ruddock, a long serving Liberal minister going back to the Howard era, and who did nothing to halt the spill motion has suddenly been “retired” as party whip. Has Abbott seen him as a turncoat?

Despite not having the numbers to create the spill, it is touted that Abbott will not be around for a lot longer. His inability to be likeable, his low ranking in the polls, the voter backlash against him and his government, his inability to get the budget through the senate without either watering down policies, or dropping them altogether, the lack if support from his own backbench, and accusations of his lack of accessibility to his ministers, and giving his Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin, too much authority are pretty much sounding his death knell. It is being touted that the damage is so bad that this will be yet another one-term LNP government. Pass the poison chalice, please! “Captains calls”, as Abbott likes to describe any motion he independently puts forward ,without advice from his colleagues, have been nothing short of disastrous! Captains calls on the Medicare rebate (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-20/shelving-medicare-rebate-cut-not-captains-call-abbott/6028376), the absolutely ludicrous granting if a knighthood to Prince Phillip – not to mention the actual reintroduction of this antiquated system of honours – which was both farcical and embarrassing (http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/newspapers-nationwide-condemn-tony-abbotts-captains-call-20150127-12yrzy.html), a “phantom” call on Renewable Energy Targets – considering how much international stick he has received on dumping the Carbon Tax, which nit only worked, but brought in revenue (http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/labor-accuses-abbott-of-phantom-captains-call-on-renewables), and the absolutely absurd news today that he wanted to commit 3,500 Australian troops on the ground in Syria to stop ISOS advance, without the combined aid of NATO and US forces, which would have been disastrous for the Australian troops (http://www.pedestrian.tv/news/arts-and-culture/report-reveals-tony-abbott-suggested-a-solo-austra/ab72fdc7-babf-41f7-84da-ee887b87dec9.htm). Please note: this man is currently “running” our country!

Of course, we can add to this his rude and unjust attack on a report into our abuse of the rights of asylum seekers in detention centres released by the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Gillian Trigg, which caused a flood of controversy (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-21/bradley-triggs-and-human-rights-why-attacking-her-is-wrong/6030256) and so it goes on.

After a week of supposed “good government” (Heaven knows what we have had since his election!), Lyn Bender, a freelance writer, wrote a piece comparing Abbott’s blunders to what Sigmund Freud (she is a psychologist herself) would have to say about them. It is humorous….but also revealing;

“1. The suppository of wisdom

“No one – however smart, however well-educated, however experienced – is the suppository of all wisdom.”
Sigmund says: I am totally fixated at the anal stage.

2. Good government starts today

“All of us are determined to lift our game and the fundamental point I make is that the solution to all of these things is good Government, and good Government starts today.”
Sigmund says: My Government has been total crap until now.

3.“We are not the Labor Party”

“I want to make this very simple point: we are not the Labor Party, we are not the Labor Party and we are not going to repeat the chaos and the instability of the Labor years.”
Sigmund says: We don’t have a clue who we are, but we are not them and anything bad is all their fault.

4.Tony Abbott’s “knightmare”

Tony Abbott awards a knighthood to Prince Phillip on Australia Day.

Sigmund says: Australia is a British colony and I am a proud Englishman; I prefer the last century – or, better still, the one before – and want to go back there.

5. The Minister for Women and the carbon tax

“… as many of us know,women are particularly focused on the household budget and the repeal of the carbon tax means a $550-a-year benefit for the average family.”
Sigmund says: Women’s place is in the home – shopping, cooking and ironing their man’s shirts – while men go out and run the world. And stuff the environment.

6. Prime minister for Aboriginal Affairs

“It is my hope that I could be, not just a prime minister, but a prime minister for Aboriginal Affairs. The first I imagine that we have ever had.”
On the morning of the spill, Abbott ignored the “Freedom Summit” of Indigenous people camped outside Parliament – as did the media – as he strode off to fight the spill. He paid no attention to the Aboriginal grandmothers protesting increasing rates of child removal.

Sigmund says: I said what I said to become prime minister — I’d sell my arse to be PM! The fate of Indigenous people means nothing to me in comparison to remaining in power. Their problems are not my problem.

7. No guilt about children in detention

Responding angrily to a damning Human Rights Commission report on the damage done by Australia to children in detention, Abbott declared:

“I reckon that the Human Rights Commission ought to be sending a note of congratulations to Scott Morrison saying ‘Well done mate because your actions have been very good for the human rights and the human flourishing of thousands of people’.”
When asked if he felt any guilt over the horrifying findings in the AHRC report, including the heartbreaking pictures of young children in locked confinement, Abbott replied: “None whatsoever.”

In fact, said Abbott, it was the Human Rights Commission that should be “ashamed of itself”.

Sigmund says: Thus spake the narcissist, in deep denial, projecting his feelings of guilt and shame.

Repressed denied impulses can break out, in spite of attempts to suppress them. That is why Tony Abbott keeps accidentally showing his true colours despite all his protestations.

The Liberal Party can now barely contain its rebellion, even as it protests its unity. The Party doesn’t need a facelift — it needs a heart transplant, writes columnist Waleed Aly.

Tony Abbott has revealed himself to be self-centred, cruel, mean, petty and concerned only with his own survival.

But he now claims to have changed, overnight. He has declared that the spill motion experience has been a chastening experience and that he has learned and is listening.

But his subsequent actions – such as blaming the Opposition for a jobs “holocaust” and using parliamentary privilege to politicise and prejudice an alleged terror attack investigation – show this up for the lie that, of course, it was always going to be:”

(https://mobile.twitter.com/lynestel)

After the sacking of Philip Ruddock as Chief Party Whip, Bob Ellis from the Independent Australia had the following to say on what nows seems the rapid demise of Abbott as PM

“With Tony Abbott sacking Philip Ruddock as Liberal Party chief whip yesterday, it is certain Tony Abbott has weeks, not months, left in the top job, says Bob Ellis.

In his film of Richard III, Laurence Olivier, felled by arrows, writhes and twitches on the ground while Richmond’s soldiers jeer him. Tony Abbott is now in a similar twitching and writhing.

The numbers on Monday doomed him, but the Ruddock sacking brought forward the day of his execution. It may occur, now, before Chan and Sukumaran’s, in ten or 11 days’ time.

What is going on in the Prime Minister’s head? If the sneered response “brain damage” can be discarded – and maybe it can’t – it has to be to do with his Catholic upbringing and the consequent abiding habits of mind.

Under Catholicism, you ‘wipe the slate clean’ by Confession, and a number of Hail Marys, and all is well. You admit, with words, your sin, and expiate your sin with words and are then, being cleansed, allowed to sin again.

And to Tony Abbott, the words matter, only the words matter, and the deeds that follow can contradict them.

There will be “no more captain’s picks”; yet the meeting was brought forward, Credlin retained and Ruddock removed. He said “good government starts today”, and a shambles ensues. It is revealed that child abuse occurred on Christmas Island, and like the Catholic church, he denies it, says he feels no guilt “whatsoever” and proposes to martyr Gillian Triggs for unveiling the truth: suicidal children, buggered by their guardians and bashed for talking about it.

And now we see Ruddock, past hero of ‘border protection’, auteur of the 2001 win, sacked.

It was almost certainly to do with his expression, and body language, when he revealed on Sunday it was Abbott, not he, who had brought the meeting forward, and it was, though he did not say is, a ‘captain’s call’.

It is likely now that Turnbull has about 47 votes, and five or six more will come across by the middle of next week.

And another spill vote will be put the following Monday, or Tuesday, or Thursday.

And Abbott and Hockey will go to the back bench and an early election occur, if the poll numbers surge, and they will, towards Turnbull, around Anzac Day, on April 30 perhaps; or soon after a well-crafted Budget comes down, and the Coalition’s numbers reach 49.

It is certain now Abbott has weeks, not months. He has tried the patience again of those who doubted him already and lost their regard forever. And now he is done and finished.

And writhing on the battleground.

(https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/tony-abbott-the-termination,7371)

The Sydney Morning Herald summed it up very nicely in this piece from the 15th February 2015

“That being said, Abbott’s ploy makes good political sense: in the face of terrible polling, rising unemployment, slowing growth, parliamentary incompetence and internal discord, the only card Abbott can play is the one marked “I’m keeping you safe from the scary things!”

The message ends with an assurance that part of that safety hinges on the successful passage of the government’s still-unpassed suite of laws forcing internet service providers to retain information on what their users do online – which, as attorney-general George Brandis has made clear, is an unfortunate but necessary step for our national security.

And to be fair, he’s half right: it’s definitely unfortunate. Luckily, it’s also definitely not necessary!”

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/view-from-the-street/view-from-the-street-tony-abbott-declares-no-more-mr-nice-guy-20150215-13fa8y.html?utm_source=social&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=nc&eid=socialn%3Afac-13omn1676-edtrl-other%3Annn-17%2F02%2F2014-edtrs_socialshare-all-nnn-nnn-vars-o

But there us worse to come yet with the potential signing of the TPP – Trans Pacific Partnership, which will, inevitably, prove disastrous for Australian business, manufacturers and consumers as the big countries boss us around. There us currently a big hue & cry over it (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-25/multi-lateral-trade-deal-inches-closer-with-sydney-meeting/5840762).

Details if the trade agreement have been kept secret from the Australian public, and The Greens have raised the issue in the Senate and requested the papers be made available for scrutiny (http://peter-whish-wilson.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/greens-continue-seek-end-secrecy-over-china-free-trade-deal)

So, I have waited two weeks for good government to start. It hasn’t! Nor, in my opinion, will it! We have a dud PM, and a good-as-dead government! Flogging a dead horse will not save it! It’s time for the voters to say enough is enough! Call another election and let true good government rule!

Tim Alderman
(C) 2015

P.S. Cartoons are too numerous to count, but here is an example:

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If you put lipstick on a pig it is still a pig.

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Political Commentary: The Spill

I always try to keep politics out of my blog – considering religion and sex are there, a bit pointless really – but considering the current circus in both Stare and Federal politics in Australia, it is impossible to remain indifferent. Also, as a writer, it frustrates me to have articles in my head that are not being committed to hard-copy.

So a run-down on current events. The conservative right-wing LNP(Liberal National Party) have been ousted in both Victoria and Queensland recently, and are pretty well on the nose in other stares, and likely to be voted out at the next elections held. The Federal LNP government is in total disarray at the moment. It is a mess that is slowly being cleaned up, and the lessons learned are many!

Australia tends to be a bit of a laconic country, the people easy-going, not tending towards great political experiments, but rather politicians who will just do what they are supposed to do…run the country without corruption or ridicule, with fairness and equity for all. The era of “the fair go for all” is not over yet! In my own state of Queensland, this hope of fair, equitable government was destroyed by the recently ousted Newman government, headed by Premier Campbell “Can Do” Newman, who swept into power three years ago on a massive swing against the Labor government that effectively left us without an opposition party, opening the doors to excess and self-indulgent government in the LNP almost unparalleled. One of their first actions – granting themselves massive pay increases, while regaling us with tales of what an economic mess the state was in. This was followed up – not in order – by destroying both health and education systems, trying to force doctors onto contracts, the disassembling of sexual health clinics, disability services, cuts to arts funding, withdrawal of funding to support services, the instigation of new laws without consultation, the dismantling of the state corruption watchdog, increasing police powers, proposed legislation to allow mining near our protected Great Barrier Reef, proposed dredging in the reefs to allow ships to cross the reef, and the promised drop in our electricity bills that never happened etc etc.The list goes on and on! However, the sale (jokingly referred to as renting out) of our public assets was the straw that broke the camels back! The Premier himself was an arrogant, bullying man, full of his own self-importance. Three years was enough. We gave them a hammering two weeks ago that it will take them a long time to forget. His party not only lost power, he lost his own seat of Ashgrove. An instance if kharma at work! The second one-term government to be flushed down the toilet!

The political landscape has changed. Once upon a time we gave a governing party – irrespective of what doubts we may have had – two, even three, terms to get it right. Not any more! We are all so aware of the bullshit now, that all politicians are tarred with the same brush, they never keep their promises, and they are not to be trusted! But then, we have the two-party-preferred model here, and it is rapidly proving ineffective!

So the current circus with our Federal LNP government in Canberra comes as no shock to us! Also coming into power – by a VERY small majority – after a backlash against our Rudd/Guillard/Rudd Prime Ministerial fiasco (whereby our OM changed three times in six years due to party infighting and power-mongering, and as the result of some badly to instituted policies early on after their election, due to a rush to fulfill their electoral promises. Kevin Rudd himself, though popular, was a bad choice as PM, as he loved to micro-manage, and took more portfolios upon himself than he could manage. He also liked to spend a lot of time outside the country! Julia Guillard was a hard, pragmatic woman who stood up for herself against misogyny, and an unbreakable glass ceiling) has proven himself the class clown – though on an international stage! Being leader of the opposition for a long time, he has always been hungry for the position, and having been handed it on a silver platter, he is not willing to let it go. An ultra-conservative right-winger, a Roman Catholic, a climate change denier, anti-social justice, misogynist, a follower and idoliser of the philosophies of the (nut case) B.A. Santamaria, inept, stumbling and mumbling his Speedo-clad torso from one – embarrassing disaster to another on the world stage, disliked and alienated by other world leaders (who else could have a G20 Conference for world leaders in his own country, and in his opening address complain about local policy issues that are just that…local!) he has managed to lead his Cabinet (consisting of one woman, while making himself Minister For Women) and backbench almost back to the 1950s, an era he feels very comfortable in.

So far they have managed to disassemble our Carbon Tax policy (despite the fact it worked), our Mining Tax policy (pleasing no one except mining companies), we have no Minister for Science, no Minister for ageing or Disabilities. Funding has been slashed to the CSIRO (our internationally recognised science and research institute), our public broadcasters the ABC & SBS, funding to arts and cultural groups, medical and educational funding etc etc. in their first budget, they tried to dismantle Medicare (our “free” health care system that is actually funded through an income tax levy) by introducing a $7 GP co-payment, increasing costs of PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which gives us subsidised medicines), decreasing pensions (thus leaving many in dire poverty), changing how Centrelink and the dole works, the proposed deregulation of university fees (opening the doors to students loading themselves with $100,000 degrees and huge, unpayable HECS debts), a Paid Parental Leave Scheme tagged as welfare for the wealthy, unsustainable child-care costs, the supposed Stop-the-Boats…Operation Sovereign Borders policies, which has seen us treat asylum seekers like third world “illegal immigrants” and again the list goes on and on. Most of this stupidity has been stopped by a strong opposition and cross-bench. Their pandering to mining and big business has been truly out of control! Of most recent repute are Abbott’s reintroduction of knighthoods (the cause of much hilarity online), and his ludicrous, humiliating granting of an Australian knighthood to Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh! Talk about breaking the camels back! In the face of a neverending string of farces that have reflected badly on all of us, there has finally been a backbench revolt. In recent polls, the Labor party lead (in two-party preferred) 57 to 43. As preferred PM, Bill Shorten (the Labor leader) leads by 44/27. This could not be worst for the LNP government, so a change of PM and Cabinet is strongly on the cards!

Though that it will make any difference in the polls…I doubt it! Even if he wins the spill, his name is still mud, and it is highly unlikely he will go into the next election as PM. And whether they like to admit it or not, they are highly likely to be our next one-term government. I have never seen a worst performing PM, or government, in all my 43 years as a voter! I have never seen Australia more abused or humiliated, our reputation for equality and fairness in tatters, our belief in looking after those less able – low-income, homeless, disabled, elderly, indigenous – badly eroded, our cost-of-living rising while all the time – 18-months into their election – the LNP still like to bleat on about it all being Labor’s fault, that the national deficit is all Labor’s fault despite the LNP having more than doubled it. There us one thing they have taught us for sure – when it comes to fixing budgets, you make the elderly, disabled and low-incomed pay your way out of it, as the upper and of town – banking, big corporations – and mining companies get richer and richer. A car industry…we no longer have one! Whatever they choose to do, it is never going to put money in my pocket!

So bring on the spill, though what we really need is not a change of PM, but a change of government!

Tim Alderman
(C) 2015

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