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Feb 27, 2012

And the winner is ... Smith, Shorten or Crean

Kevin Rudd hasn’t merely lost a vote on Labor's leadership, he has failed to establish himself as the looming replacement for Julia Gillard.

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So who is the winner from this morning’s unedifying events?

Kevin Rudd hasn’t merely lost, he has failed to establish himself as the looming replacement for Julia Gillard. The result isn’t a humiliation for the former prime minister, but it’s getting close. The remorseless assault on his reputation launched by the Gillard camp has damaged him greatly, and possibly terminally. He now goes to the backbench knowing his base for any further bids for the leadership is small and his opponents are prepared to do pretty much anything to stop him.

And Gillard? There’s an old Cold War propaganda story about Pravda covering a two-man race between a Soviet and an American athlete; when the American wins, Pravda reports that the Soviet athlete came second and the American second last. That’s Gillard: she has clobbered Rudd, but she’s only come second last. Today’s polls confirm how much she is distrusted and disliked by the electorate, in a way no amount of invocation of tough decisions or complaints of destabilisation (or laments about misogynist journalists) will repair.

But her problems run much deeper than polling. Her regular misjudgments have led her into this mess; indeed, they’re the reason there was even a contest.

And for all the talk that Gillard has had her reputation enhanced by the events of the last week, try telling voters that. All they’ll see is a leader adept at internal politicking, accomplished in the sort of dark arts that got her the top job in the first place (and which, it shouldn’t be forgotten, got Rudd the top job as well). But the real dark arts needed by Gillard are the sort that involve a satanic ritual that could somehow transfer Rudd’s popularity into her.

The only winner in Labor is one of Stephen Smith, Bill Shorten or, just maybe, Simon (“safe pair of hands”) Crean, who will emerge to replace Gillard later in the year, probably in a contest with a damaged Rudd, after Gillard’s political car-wreck of a prime ministership is brought to an end by party powerbrokers.

Today’s vote gives that person time to position themselves for life-post-Gillard, in a way that, had this contest not been brought on so early in the year, would likely have prevented them from doing so against Rudd. It gives the factional bosses time to arrange a succession. The anyone-but-Rudd camp has benefited greatly from events moving more rapidly than anyone expected.

In the interim, there’ll be much talk of how Gillard and her advisers plan to launch a recovery — specifically by focusing on economic management. That, you’ll recall, was Plan A, before the leadership issue blew up. Now it’s Plan B, with no evidence that the skill and smarts to implement it have yet arrived when they were so manifestly missing hitherto. And not when voters regard Gillard with such cold disdain, and when they’ve had their hopes raised by the leadership contest of an escape from the two least-popular leaders of recent memory, Gillard and Abbott.

Whether the Gillard camp seriously believes this stuff about Rudd being the source of all of the government’s problem isn’t clear. But they’ve acted as if it’s true, pulverising Rudd with what, in the olden days before last Wednesday, were known as cabinet leaks but which are now a sort of water cannon aimed at Rudd and his supporters. If they’ve succeeded in terminally damaging Rudd, at least Gillard’s wrecking crew can console themselves in opposition with the thought that they brought Rudd down with them, along with what’s left of the party.

It’s pro forma to insist that Tony Abbott has significantly benefited. But there isn’t a whole lot more to be gained for the opposition leader: he’s already in a strong position and he already has Gillard’s measure, despite being even less liked than her. This perpetuates the status quo, which is fine for him but doesn’t really change much. Indeed, despite his strong position, some independents still talk about wanting to deal with Malcolm Turnbull to help form a Coalition government.

The spectacle that Labor has made of itself lately can only encourage the sense that anyone who can bring an end to the Gillard-Abbott era would be welcome.

So today marks, to yet again steal a much-stolen phrase, the end of the beginning. For those sick of leadership speculation, the coming months will doubtless continue the slow burn of frustration. But blame Labor: today is a pit stop on the journey to the end Gillard’s prime ministership, as if the party decided to pause on its way and try to end the chances of Rudd as well, the one MP in the party who on current form can prevent a wipeout come the next election.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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233 thoughts on “And the winner is … Smith, Shorten or Crean

  1. 81dvl

    Bernard (if I may);
    When Julia Gillard displaced Kevin Rudd it was an action taken by a majority vote of the Labour MP’s. It was not an armed hold-up, it was democracy, canvassed and precipitated by ALP members concerned that KR had lost the plot. A majority of votes cast in the spill ELECTED Julia Gillard.

    Rudd’s 07 narrow-margin election was only achieved by swinging voters, impressed with his articulate support of real action on climate change. They (we) belived him – He betrayed them. He then hand picked his own Caucus (not democratic) and slowly distilled his Monarchy to a “gang of four” (not democratic). His talent for populism gave him the job in the first place – he could (did) win an election. Thereafter he was corrupted as a needed-to-be-loved star; easily bruised and given to tantrums.

    World leaders were at best bemused by him. For an intelligent and capable man, he could be such a dork sometimes. Who can forget that most nauseating footage of him saluting (of all people) George W. Having voted for ‘Kevin’, his opening line at his acceptance speech sent alarm bells ringing in more heads than mine.

    Today’s outcome is democratic; passed by a significant majority. Democracy is a collective of opinions; opinions which must necessarily differ. Opinions that, as your readers recently said, have been pounded away at by a relentless media, unwilling to let clear and fair assessment get in the way of the situation they have both caused and exacderbated and pressured by the populism they created.

    Once more – this would not have happenned without the media pressure, because it couldn’t happen without media. The question has to be asked; did media cause it? Were the media themselves being played? Some, certainly by appearances, were very willing regardless. We’re here to sell papers!

    In this light it would be very wrong indeed for any journalist to say “I told you there was going to be a spill.” They perpetuated, enabled and conceivably caused this event, and let’s face it, this is not new.

    Bernard your articles are – as they should be – opinion, but your invective, your consistent choosing of (sometimes creative) negative adjectives in your relentless character assasination of Julia Gillard is, even with generous pragmatism, beyond free and fair reporting. It is culpable.

    I gather you are a share-holder? Do you know and support all that your board(s) of Directors do or is that not your problem? Maybe you think that anyone who still maintains any humanism in their thinking should just grow up and see how the world really works?

    Did that hurt?
    Was it fair?
    It was my opinion.

  2. Peter Ormonde

    This tango both sides of politics have been doing with the US Presidential style is deeply wrong-headed… if anything the last few days have underlined that message. A populist president is incompatible with the Australian political system as it stands and operates.

    Rudd’s appeal to the masses – to those “who elected him” – rise up, take to the phones and the T-shirts is an empty farce.

    Rudd was elected by Caucus. He leads a team. The team won the election. Not some Messianic Tin-Tin cut-out with all the personality of a wind-up toy.

    Sure Kevin 07 was young – not John Howard – and seemed rather harmless and efficient – the sort of change you have when you don’t want to change – but here, in this country, the team runs the show….Cabinet and caucus – and now including negotiations with the independents etc…a complex process, usually by consensus and agreement, certainly with consultation.

    Australian politics does not operate as a one-man-band like the US Presidency with its personally appointed administration. The US constitutionally operates with what is essentially an elected monarch who can make war and do all sorts of day to day things, while Congress and the Senate operate very much as houses of review with complex rules and procedures nobbling the President’s authority.

    To have a delusional PM – who sees his “power and authority” arising from the people – who goes beyond parliament to “his people” in some populist tub thumping – to frighten marginal members and the flakey left is a serious challenge to the system of parliamentary politics and the constitution.

    If ever there was a good argument for why a reconstituted republican Australia should NEVER EVER have an elected President, this is a living example of it.

    It is also a damn good reason why Labor at least should stop falling for this Brand Julia sludge. No more personalised election slogans … empty rubbish that they are.

    Labor must start selling it’s strongest asset – its deep competence and talent – a cohesive and coherent team. Today’s frightened hissy fit notwithstanding. No one will be taking any notice of these paper lefties anyway. They’ve handed serious critical policy development to the Greens.

  3. shepherdmarilyn

    The best joke of the week was Laurie Oakes and eastern states morons in the media trying to turn the Stag hotel into a strip clug.

    The Stag might have seen a stripper or two 120 years ago, it might have been bit run down when I drank there 40 years but there were not strippers.

    It is now a first class restaurant from where the festival fringe is staged because it is on the edge of the parklands.

    It is called the Stag because it had some deer horns on the wall for years.

    Honestly, what nonsense.

    And finally some in the media admitted that Rudd was not doing anything much at all about the leadership.

    The character assassination was a complete disgrace and only Peter Brent remembered that the referendum Roxon claimed Rudd just made up was actually party policy at the 2007 election.

    And if Rudd’s support is so soft how come it has remained so much higher than Gillard since 2006 when the spiv’s replaced Beazley again.

    As for Crean, he didn’t actually say anything and Swan only claimed Rudd doesn’t have Australian values and no-one bothers to look at the real cause.

    Rudd said we should vote for Palestine in the UNESCO vote, something the zionists went into over drive over, and he was correct. We cannot as a country simply pretend that our allies in two wars do not exist so we can appease one small group of people.

    He then went over seas and demanded that Israel stop torturing Palestinian children. Again the zionists went into over drive.

    They have been on Rudd’s back since 2008 as the Wikileaks cables clearly show.

    I hope they all choke on their own bile.

    Gillard is and always was dreadful and her only new policy was the dirty Malaysia deal.

    Come on all those who think she is a marvel answer this:

    Rudd got through pension and refugee reforms with the assistance of a few liberal senators. Gillard is getting Rudd’s agenda through after signed agreements with self-interested parties and has a dream senate.

    Isn’t it surely easier to deal with friends than make deals with enemies?

    So effectively her so-called colleagues, all 71 of them, are voting for racist bigotry.

    And the memories are so short in our appalling media that they forget she was screwing Craig Emerson when he was still married.

  4. Apollo

    There is an important message for JG in this spill that requires attention. Rudd governed for all the people (regardless whether he was effective or not) and he made that cle,ar in his election victory speech in 2007, Gillard is seen as a union puppet and her IR policy has gone one step to,o far to the left.

    Roger Corbett on lateline a few weeks ago made the point that whereas the Howard government moved the post two steps to,o far to the right the Gillard government has moved it 1 step too far to the left. Employ,ers should have the option to let go of employ,e,e when things does not work out.
    This is important for business. About fifte,en years ago my fri,end had a shop and he knew one of his worker was ste,aling money, it was difficult for him to fire her because of the law requirement so he just waited till she left. Five years ago when I was managing a small supermarket I found out the shocking truth, business owners whether restaurants or shops all experi,ence theft by the,ir employ,e,es, they warned me to watch out. And to cut the story short, most workers try to get into the door and work hard in the first few weeks then slack off and cause stagnant and empty stock shelves. Worst is when you have to face with the lazy, ly-ing manipulative ones which not only testing your kindness towards them but turn out to be very destructive for your workplace. Unfortunately there is a dark side to human which proves Marx’s ideal never works.

    More than ten years ago I was working for Australi.a Post, the employment agency recommended us to join the union. The conditions was good and I appreci,ate what the union had done for us so I signed up as a member. But everyday in the lunch room the union le,ader was always politicking and complaining, I couldn’t see what he had to complain about, it turned me off from the union eversince. The Unions and the Labor party need to recognise that we live in different times now, whilst Australi,ans do appreci,ate the conditions the unions have fought for workers they do not like it when the union go to,o far and have too much influence on the government.

    There needs to be a balance between the rights for workers and the right for the employ,ers. The di,alogue should be share obligation towards each other and togetherness, what will work best for both sides, not a division aga,inst each other and “what’s in it for me?” If the Labor discourse is all about the workers then don’t blame compani,es for looking after the share holders’ interest only and don’t care about the workers. Employ,ers vary from mean to generous, take Kendra bus owner who rewarded out about 15M I think to his loyal employe,es as appreci,ation. Somebody has to take the initi,ative to change the discourse. The union over influence on policy is doing the workers and the country a dis-service, they are risking the chance for this government to return to power and be in the wilderness for a long time to come, the LNP will take credit for whatever good this government has done move IR back to far right aga,inst the workers’ interest.

    The voter demographic has changed, many Labor leaning workers now have investments in shares and properti,es, there is also an increasing number of home based business and e-traders. The union movement has become irrelevant to them and they swing their votes e,asily. What is important for the government is to reli,ef the cost of living so there will be no need for increase wage pressure. Our rent is so high and business have to pass on the cost to customers. Our wages are also higher than other counti,es and compound with this is the lopsided over valued Australi,an dollar which makes labour cost in the US about 30% che,aper than in Australi,a. If our wages keep rising to.o much as it need to keep up with the cost of living we will be uncompetitive and business will move overseas.

    Study found that many voters pick le,aders on look, so if it re,ally comes to it Stephen Smith could be Labor’s best choice for the electorate assuming he will step up to the plate and stop procrastinating.

  5. DF

    Bernard – before you rush to pick up Rudd’s baton to continue beating Gillard about the head, you might like to consider the fact she will at least henceforth have a Foreign Minister she can trust, which might help her avoid some of the policy pitfalls into which she has stumbled (East Timor, Malaysia solution etc).

    Your comment that “her regular misjudgments have led her into this mess; indeed, they’re the reason there was even a contest” is barely credible. The reason there was a contest was because Rudd has been undermining her since the get-go, leaking against her during an election campaign, and telling the media (according to those journalists who have chosen to be candid with their readers) that his strategy was to launch a challenge to her in the first quarter of 2012. Katharine Murphy in The Age got it right – read this for some sensible and thoughtful comment: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/dogfight-we-had-to-have-20120226-1twdm.html?rand=1330259723613

    Given your willingness to look into the crystal ball, I’ve looked into mine and this is what I see.
    Rudd now knows what the numbers are when he goes head to head with Gillard, and he can now reflect on why this might be so. He has said he will not instigate any further challenges against Gillard, but there was no reference to never seeking the leadership again. Over the weekend he argued against a third, compromise candidate and today he went one further and said he would support Gillard against any other contender. He still wants to return to the mountain top.

    So here’s his script as I see it. He still believes, like Bernard, that Gillard cannot recover, will surely lead the party to defeat, and lose the leadership either before the election at the hands of Caucus, or after the election by her own hand. Rudd also believes, and wants to ensure, that he is the only alternative. He is now waiting in the wings for the day she goes. Given his faith in her demise is so profound and justified, it will now be in his interest to work as hard as he can to make sure she does not lose by too much, so that the 2016 election is not unwinnable due to the losses sustained in 2013. Being seen to support his party and Gillard, and using his apparent popular appeal to that end would also show good faith as a genuine party man and perhaps help to repair some of the damage he has caused since his sacking as PM.

    There are at least a couple of risks – Gillard might actually recover and look like she might win the election, particularly if Abbott is not replaced, and Rudd’s toxicity in the Labor Party may be so irreversible that the party decides to look for a cleanskin.

  6. Liz45

    @MARILYN – I don’t think who Julia is or was “screwing” has much to do with anything. Rudd didn’t get his policies or THEIR policies through re the CPRS or taxing mining profits. In fact, he ran off, scared stiff. My big argument with Rudd is his ego – which I don’t think would fit in Parlt House.

    If we start judging people on their sex life and partners, the mind boggles!

    Barry Cassidy has stated that Rudd did go around de-stabilizing the Govt. And there’s been too many people with reports on his abusive language and his derisive insults to anyone who irritated him on any given day. He reminds me of my ex husband. A total narcissistic person who’s also a sociopath. Rudd is so busy talking me me me, that you’d think he was going for President – not Prime Minister. Too much like the Yanks! No thanks!

    Someone said today, that the Opposition may start to get nervous re Abbott, IF JG gets a positive ‘boost’ in the polls. With the length of time that the ALP has been ‘on the nose’ Abbott’s personal stocks should be higher. They’re not, and if the people like the policies of Labor and Abbott is still being leader of the ‘No-alition’ then, things may change. If I were them, I’d be very circumspect about their behaviour. I think the Australian electorate has shown over time, that they don’t like constant negativity and petty ads etc.

    On a more positive note – I noticed the article in the weekend SMH and Sun Herald, about the European Human Rights (court?) stating, that ‘turning boats around’ is against Laws that Italy had agreed to. Not surprised, that in spite of this ruling, coupled with the Court awarding damages to the people concerned, Scott Morrison insists, that the Coalition’s policy of ‘turning the boats around’ is still their policy!

    I’d be aiming more bile at this monster than anyone else. I suppose we could always elect them and then start complaining when people die at sea – including naval personnel roped into their disgusting policies – like what happened under Howard! Many of those people resigned in a state of angst over what he forced them to do! I’d be more concerned about this scenario myself!

    @DAVID HAND – People like you always forget to mention one vital point about the present situation. WE VOTED FOR THIS GOVT! Us, you and me and heaps of others. This is OUR Parliament. Just because you don’t like them is not good enough reason to have another election. It’s just really stupid of you to carry on like this! The Parlt also includes the Senate. There’s no point in carrying on because Julia Gillard confers with them and they reach a joint compromise/decision. That is just immature and dumb.

    Two million people voted for The Greens. do you think their votes should be annulled? Are we less Australians, and so our votes should be ripped up? I find it really strange when people carry on about JG conferring with others in both Houses. Abbott had an opportunity to act like a grown up and compromise, but he just shot his mouth off (re Andrew Wilke being offered ??how many Billions for Tassie) and showed how incapable he WOULD BE if he became PM. He would not have lasted. He was incapable. He’s just not leadership material – and he showed that very clearly in the 17 days after the ’07 Election. The Independents stated the same, in fact, they were stunned by his immaturity and lack of negotiating skills. Like a little boy who wants the whole box of Leggo, and anyone who disagrees with him, he just sulks and pouts! Like he does when someone in the media asks him a dicky question! He just seethes and stares, or walks out shuffling his papers! Amazing!

    Even today in his press conference. He just trotted out the same few sentences, and then left! No real desire to converse with us via the media. Scared they’ll start asking for some ‘meat’ on his assertions? Probably! He just can’t do it! And it shows!

  7. Frank Campbell

    “the two least-popular leaders of recent memory, Gillard and Abbott.”

    Abbott is a mere Opposition leader. His polling is average- Opposition leaders struggle most of the time.

    (Abbott is) “even less liked than her”. Just not accurate.

    The remarkable thing is that an intrinisically unattractive politician like Abbott (failed catholic priest, echoes of Santamaria, the all-too-recent Howard past, boorishness…) curbed his coarse blokey gaffiness and presents relatively well (at least when dressed). He’s a far better speaker than Gillard too, which is admittedly saying little more than Abbott isn’t a verbal paraplegic.

    Such short memories…It took a long time for Crikey and the tossariat generally to realise that the derision they heaped on Abbott would come back and bite them. Remember all that crap about the Libs splitting, apotheosis of the Greens, inevitable triumph in Higgins/Bradfield, Turnbull following the true path of climate religion? There was abject failure to realise that the inner-city climate consensus was just that-a low postcode conceit, resting on inflated property and garnished with sanctimony. The rest of the country (and the world) was edging to the exit. The Libs came within an ace of being coopted into Rudd’s Millenarian vision of the Greatest Moral Challenge. If Abbott hadn’t beaten Turnbull, the Libs would have been in trapped in Rudd’s corral.

    And it’s still about The Policy. It’s still about the climate cult- even though devotion continues to inexorably decline. Gillard barked harshly today about the “clean green energy fewcha” …”we wiwl price caahbun”…But we hear little now from the Savonarolas of climate Armageddon- the Hamiltons and Flannerys. The climate-ignorant tossariat has gone quiet too: there’s not a peep from the Crabbs, Simons, Rundles et al who all issued a slab or two of “me-too” waffle on the subject they know least. Even Melbourne’s suburban Moses, Robert Mann, pontificates not about climate catastrophe. Well, not much.

    Rudd last week offered a face-saving way out- an ETS- which would remove the need for a massive new bureaucracy to implement and police a carbon tax – and eliminate the absurd cash carousel: handing out billions to “polluters” and “families”. The “price of carbon” would instantly sink to insignificant levels. Business as usual, with a figleaf.

    No chance. Gillard is a headkicker, a factional thug. She is also rigid and remarkably stupid. She belted the media hounds today with the big carbon stick. All Abbott has to do is to keep attention on the carbon tax and keep his motley crew of Howard survivors from embarrassing accidents. Gillard will do the rest. As she has done since her Faustian pact with the Greens.

    No one is being honest about the decomposition of climate millenarianism. The facile early predictions have proved not only false, but ridiculous. Yet the stentorian, Manichean, bullying chorus continues. Heretics are still hunted down relentlessly.
    Rudd had the right idea: rescue progressive politics from its self-destructive obsession at a stroke by implementing an anodyne ETS. A placebo. Government, liberated from the suffocating burden of the carbon tax, could get on with real policy and the real environment.

    Handing power to Abbott for a decade is the likely alternative. Cattle in the national parks. The snarl of chainsaws in the forests.

    Rise of the Right- Rednecks’ delight.

  8. Steve777

    @GEEWIZZ – I don’t want any refugees to die at sea nor do I want them to undertake such a risky voyage. But the real problem is that parts of the world are so bad that people are prepared to hand over their life savings to people they know to be criminals for a chance to escape to what must seem like paradise. Our ‘problem’ is we’re an attractive destination – not a bad problem to have. The ‘boaties’ are NOT ‘illegals’, although members of the Coalition and their media allies insist on calling them that. We have obligations under the International Convention on Refugees that we freely took on 60 years ago – we should honour them.

    I don’t know what the solution is. Turning back unseaworthy boats will lead to more drownings. Temporary Protection Visas didn’t work – look at the stats for 1999-2000. Malaysia might work, but it is dubious ethically to say the least, although better than turning back the boats. I don’t see how Nauru would be any different from Christmas Island. And unless we make mandatory detention a real hellhole, it won’t be worse than what people are fleeing.

    GEEWIZZ – I don’t question your concern about drownings. But look at some of the comments on any tabloid article about boat refugees, e.g. the disgraceful article in the Daily Telecrap on February 17. And what is said on talkback radio. Not much concern about drownings there, but a lot of vitriol and hatred. Any responsible political party should be speaking out against this and calming things down, not stirring it up as the Coalition is doing.

    OK – I don’t know what the solution is, but I think it would involve some sort of regional framework. Malcolm Fraser achieved this with bipartisan support from Labor. I’m sure it’s not beyond the capabilities of a grown up country, given a bit of common sense and good will, not all that plentiful among our representatives lately.

  9. Warren Joffe

    Call me naive but why can’t Julia have a heart to heart talk to the Australian people (perhaps a regular weekly spot like FDR) in which she tells the plain truth, simply, in ways that most people (with many cranky and rancorous exceptions of course) will accept as probably true because it is common sense?

    To counter all the damage that the last week and quotes from it can do it might be something like

    “Most of us, when we are just being decent human beings, strongly dislike the sort of personal attacks which politicians make on each other, especially like those of the last week against fellow members of the Labor Party.

    “I can hear people saying now and in future ‘what were they doing if all the things they said about Kevin Rudd as leader were true and they chose him continued to serve under him?’

    “Well that isn’t quite as simple common sense as it is simple to say. Kevin Rudd has many remarkable qualities and talents which he has used to serve this country. He had great ability at presenting ideas and policies to the Australian public and that is a most important ability which deserves to be allowed to flourish. Did some find him difficult to get on with? Did some worry about his workaholic ways and sense of priorities in running his office? The answer to that is really ‘So what’ unless the leader has gone mad because no leader is perfect – as my listeners know very well – and who is to say that the team cannot manage collectively while working hard at compensating for the deficiencies we all have? And, let me say without apology, showing loyalty in word and deed and putting a good face on things while there is still reason to hope that we can work with what we’ve got?

    “We did try and make things work with Kevin Rudd as our leader and mostly we did. When we didn’t and it wasn’t just bad luck we would have been stupid not to recognise that the supporting team weren’t perfect either. The idea that we should have been bagging Kevin publicly doesn’t stand a moment’s thought. Truths should be acted on but they don’t always need to be told, especially when truth and opinion are mixed. What I regret is the harsh things that have been said about colleagues most recently. If you looked for explanation, let’s not talk of excuses, I think you might agree that passions can get fired up when you think people have been talking behind your back or just because the result of something like a leadership ballot can be so important.

    “So I say to everyone of goodwill, let’s get beyond cheap shots. Let’s not exaggerate human failings so that we are totally cynical and unbelieving when most of us, most of the time, are trying to do our jobs and this isn’t always simple.”

    Nitpicking apart, what might that do for Julia’s general acceptance as PM over the next 18 months?


    The Labor Party Sussex Street ‘faceless men’ no longer exist having been displaced in recent years by EMILY’s List the almost secretive ‘feminist’s’ formally registered wing of the Labor Party. Note that their agenda is always to vote as a block based on feminist ideology. The Nation that substantially supports Rudd are not the Labor Caucus and did not get to vote and of course could not persuade the embedded EMILY’s List sisterhood and their ‘heroic’ male white knights to give any support to the National choice of Prime Minister.

    In fact no faceless men exist being replaced by blatant faced feminists and their as obvious ‘white knights” – were was behind the coup displacing Prime Minister Rudd– pure and simple – it is now the epitome of the endless feminist gender war against men for female domination and war on the traditional family unit.

    The Parliament, The Electorates and The Constituents are all only Trojan Horses and Trojan Foals for EMILY’s List as insurgents to hide in and deliver their female sole gender ideology via Government and it Delivery Services. To reduce heterosexual families to ‘women and children’ – they claim it empowers women. Well for one thing it also puts dad denied children especially boys in their teens straight onto the street as UK David Cameron realized as a significant factor in the UK street riots.

    Use the list below and do a head count of the EMILY’s List members in the Caucus spill who vote Gillard and it be proven numerically the highly visible women of EMILY’s List in fact runs the Labor Caucus with the help of their white knights and no longer is it any Sussex Street Peers. Not even predominately males either.

    Attorney General Robert McClelland who abused me when I raised feminism with him via email still got the chop by EMILY’s List to make way for EMILY’s List Nichola Roxon. Often called ‘femme nazis’ they are as bullying and callous with any including regular women who are not their own self interest and self serving cronies and attending white knights. Andrew Wilkie thought he got a win with a Hobart hospital. No, EMILY’s List had the win, with it being a ‘women and children’s’ hospital. He was only a white knight who sold out his male hospital constituents for his own temporary alliance with EMILY’s List forever governing by proxy out of Government. Faceless Men is only another typical feminist ‘male blame’ decoy while the ‘sisterhood’ governs underhanded as silently as possible by proxy.

    May we please have back our democracy and family cohesion over feminism and ‘women and children’ and suicide fathers denied their natural parenting? Broken men as fathers forced to watch their father denied children leave mum and become street kids and junkies? With fathers still being blamed by the misandary feminists for the children’s behavior. We already have a gender divided nation prime for other divisions by a Government more of a Blockade between a top nation and its domestic harmony. Bloody well WAKE UP what a divisive lot you are and others for condoning it in self interest preserving alliances with ruling feminism most definitely not in the best interests of constituents and the nation and especially FAMILIES.

    While this self serving charade of feminist control has run astray with what Australia could be doing better; in the meantime a wealthy industrialist has planned and could build an entire town. With a mine beneath, an airstrip to accommodate Jumbo Jets and fly in and fly out a completely foreign workforce. And rail millions of tons of coal and ore to our Eastern Seaboard to his own country. While Emily’s List and feminism fights its ‘slaughter house’ gender war against men within our Government, Labor and the Opposition inanely also bleating ‘faceless men’ and boat people Australia could be invaded by others from other countries or too it maybe even better run by them. Leastwise better respecting fatherhood and it benefits to children and families.

    All the time blokes and fathers are being herded down the chutes of family destruction like cattle down an abattoir race by more and more feminist sole gender ideology instead of according to laws of The Legislature and their family case facts..

    Make no mistake this Caucus spill is not as superficial as some think. EMILY’s List and Gillard planned the coup and toppled Rudd to get an EMILY’s List woman Prime Minister in with her attending White Knights. Powerful inner men like Rudd and McClelland and now a few other Labor males sticking out their heads are no match for the voting block of misandary EMILY”s List governing them and us by proxy out of their Caucus and OUR government. And finally and importantly by the feminist infiltrated heterosexual service deliveries – so that ‘women win’. Note their slogan and how the ‘sisterhood’ achieves it – mostly by underhand means.

    Wake up the whole lot of you and rid us of this self imposed insurgent voting block with hidden agendas you have allowed to govern by proxy. You allowed it to occur so you get rid of them as your elected duty to your constituents especially your constituents who believe in the traditional family unit and the rights of fathers and their children.

    Below is the current list of EMILY’s List government ministers & senators:

    EMILY’s List Australia – Current Members of Federal Parliament

    Kate Lundy ACT Senator
    Gai Brodtmann ACT Current Member for Canberra
    Sharon Grierson NSW Current Member for Newcastle
    Julie Owens NSW Current Member for Parramatta
    Tanya Plibersek NSW Current Member for Sydney
    Janelle Saffin NSW Current Member for Page
    Jill Hall NSW Current Member for Shortland
    Sharon Bird NSW Current Member for Cunningham
    Justine Elliot NSW Current Member for Richmond
    Trish Crossin NT Senator
    Jan Mc Lucas QLD Senator
    Claire Moore QLD Senator
    Kirsten Livermore QLD Current Member for Capricorn
    Anne McEwen SA Senator
    Penny Wong SA Senator
    Carol Brown TAS Senator
    Julie Collins TAS Current Member for Franklin
    Lisa Singh TAS Senator
    Julia Gillard VIC Current Member for Lalor
    Catherine King VIC Current Member for Ballarat
    Jenny Macklin VIC Current Member for Jagajaga
    Laura Smyth VIC Current Member for LaTrobe
    Louise Pratt WA Senator
    Melissa Parke WA Current Member for Fremantle

  11. Warren Joffe

    Sorry about the delay in finishing the above which, as someone kindly noticed, had been begun much earlier and accidentally sent in unfinished form.

    If I were, with equal straightorward naivety or plain speaking, recommend to the Coalition political planners would be to get a few simple statements repeated often enough in a vivid form to become the essence of pub talk or wisdom over the BBQ. Such as “It’s all very well Julian claiming she’s got things done, but look what those things are!” “Julia’s great triumphs in getting acts passed are all legal dogs bred by the Greens with payoffs to the Indpendents on the side”. “Julian fancies herself as action woman. I suppose the most expensive broadband in the world when it finally reaches you required a bit of push”. “Julia’s got the Greens’ carbon tax through. Great, it is the most expensive in the world and she’s using the money she gets from pricing us out of world markets to try and bribe enough voters to let her keep her job”.

    “Julia’s squandered the money that could have been used to finance the Gonski recommendations on building overpriced and unnecessary school halls”. “Julia now claims credit for the Rudd government’s spending the Howard-Costello surplus and more on overpriced school halls when the danger of receession had already passed”. Etc.

    In my opinion those jibes at Julian would be basically correct but it would be interesting to see if Julia beginning to play things straight as I have suggested above could restore some respect for her as a hardworking level headed quite sensible person who had left the aura of untrustworthiness behind.

  12. shepherdmarilyn

    From: Laura Tingle
    Sent: Monday, 27 February 2012 10:00 AM
    To: Jonathan Holmes
    Jonathan, I’m sorry I haven’t got back to you before now. I’ve been busy.
    Frankly, it has taken me a couple of days to get over my astonishment that I would be asked, by
    Media Watch of all people, to reveal my off the record conversations with anybody.
    Further, your questions are such a jumble of what I believe to be a completely wrong set of premises
    about events in Canberra and questions that are answerable and unanswerable, that I have found it
    hard to work out how exactly I can try to shed some light on these issues.
    I’m doing so lest my silence be regarded as somehow confirming the dark conspiracy you suggest.
    I will not even go to the imputation in question about ‘truthful’ answers.
    What can I tell you?
    I can tell you that neither Kevin Rudd nor his supporters have briefed me in the last six months that he
    intended to mount a challenge for the leadership.
    I can tell you that in the last month, possibly earlier, I can’t remember, the idea of a two stage
    challenge has been wargamed amongst politicians of all persuasions, all parties, all factions. Not
    even necessarily about Rudd. Just because once something happens in politics, people tend to go
    back and look for repeats.
    Are politicians rude about each other? Of course they are. Do I report it when it is important for my
    readers to know about it? Yes. I point you to pieces I write in 2009 and 2010 which reported the
    internal problems in the Rudd government and similar ones I’ve written about the Gillard government.
    However, as I said earlier, I believe the whole premise of your questions is wrong.
    That’s because the only way Rudd was ever going to get back into the leadership was if Labor
    became so desperate it drafted him. This would have required the ‘faceless men’ to have to admit
    they were wrong, which was always a big stumbling block.
    Rudd was always being told to sit back and shut up if he wanted to come back and, in general, he did.
    Whatever happened in the 2010 election campaign, I find it hard to think of any example of a bad turn
    of events for the government since the campaign that can be sheeted home to Rudd. That is, unless
    you count the fact that he lived and breathed and was therefore a reminder of the fact Labor had a
    What has happened in the past couple of months has been a result of Julia Gillard’s missteps – which
    caused some of her supporters to peel off but not necessarily move to the Rudd camp – and then the
    Gillard supporters doing whatever they could to provoke Rudd into acting in a way which would allow
    the prime minister to either sack him or otherwise bring this issue to a head earlier rather than later.
    Don’t get me wrong. Kevin Rudd is not angelic or without flaw or fault. But the idea that he has had a
    secret strategy that he was waiting to implement, akin to a raid on the armoury, overlooks the basic
    fact that he has not had the numbers to do over Gillard in a leadership contest.
    Should journalists ‘out’ people who have spoken to them on the presumption that journalists actually
    adhere to their code of ethics? Of course not.
    Having said that, our first obligation is to our readers. The balancing act of political journalism in
    particular is telling people things they need to know without revealing our sources. This is the very
    reason we spend so much of our lives under attack from people who think we make it up.
    This only increases the responsibility on journalists – particularly in these days of a crazy news cycle –
    to be responsible in reporting things like media speculation.
    The fact that some people in the gallery have made an imminent leadership challenge an almost
    weekly event has brought criticism and ridicule on our heads.
    Laura Tingle
    From: Jonathan Holmes [mailto:Holmes.Jonathan@abc.net.au]
    Sent: Thursday, 23 February 2012 4:10 PM
    To: Laura Tingle
    Subject: Media Watch questions
    Hi Laura
    I know it’s a busy time, but we’d really appreciate it if you could find time to answer the
    following questions. Most require only one word answers.
    Media Watch is exploring some of the issues arising out of the current ALP leadership ballot
    and events preceding it.
    We are sending this email to several senior political reporters and commentators. Any
    answers you may send will be treated as on the record and may be posted on our website or
    used in the program.
    At his press conference in Washington this morning Australian time Kevin Rudd said: “Ours
    is a democracy, in the open spaces, not behind closed doors, not governed by faceless men.”
    At his resignation speech a few hours earlier, he said: “The truth is that the Australian people
    regard this whole affair as little better than a soap opera, and they are right. And under
    current circumstances, I won’t be part of it. It is also, I believe, a distraction from the real
    business of government…”
    And later: “But I can promise you this, there is no way – no way – that I will ever be party to
    a stealth attack on a sitting prime minister elected by the people.”
    We have the following questions:
    1. Have you at any time in the past 6 months been personally briefed on an off-the-record
    or background basis by Kevin Rudd, or by MPs claiming to represent Mr Rudd’s interest,
    about his intention to challenge Julia Gillard for the leadership of the Parliamentary
    Labor party, and the tactics he intends to employ? Have Mr Rudd or his supporters
    disparaged Ms Gillard’s performance as PM to you?
    2. If the truthful answer to question 1 were “yes”, do you agree that in normal
    circumstances you would be obliged either not to answer it or to answer “no”?
    3. If the truthful answer to question 1 were “yes”, hypothetically, would Mr Rudd’s explicit
    declaration that he has not been a part of “this whole affair” absolve you of the
    obligation to honour whatever agreement you came to about the confidentiality of those
    4. In 2007, the ABC’s Michael Brissenden, and others, “outed” Peter Costello and revealed
    details of an off the record conversation they had had with him years earlier, because he
    had specifically and publicly denied the content of that conversation. Would you in
    similar circumstances have taken that course of action?
    5. How do you respond to Michael Gawenda when he says in his piece on the ABC’s Drum
    website today
    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3847892.html that “On the evidence so
    far, there are reporters and commentators – as well as editors and broadcasting bigwigs –
    who have allowed things to be said and reported that they know not to be true”?
    6. In her press conference this morning the Prime Minister absolved reporters of any
    obligation to maintain the confidentiality of any conversation in which she disparaged
    Kevin Rudd while he was Prime Minister. Hypothetically, if you had been a party to
    such a background conversation, would you now feel free to report it?
    Do you think that political reporting in Australia – and especially in Canberra – is over-
    reliant on unattributable sources and off-the-record briefings? If so, is that over-reliance
    avoidable? In present circumstances, do you believe it has been possible for you to report
    what is really going on to your readers/listeners/viewers?
    Because of our production deadlines we would very much appreciate responses before 5pm
    on Friday. If you do not intend to respond to any of the questions we’d appreciate a quick
    email to that effect.

  13. Karen

    @shepherdmarilyn – interesting reply from Tingle. Its not Tingle who have been briefed by Rudd, its been Hartcher – has he answered Media Watch – I bet not.

    I know you’re angry at Gillard’s Malaysia solution – I was too – in fact, I support the complete dismantling of mandatory detention. However, we now, thanks to Abbott, have a situation where people are being processed on shore, a system that worked perfectly well before Keating changed it. Yes, we all know that for political reasons she decided not to, because she would have been excoriated even more by the press, had she done so. Instead, she’s now wearing our anger on the left. That said, I don’t see Gillard showing any real appetite to go back to the mandatory detention policies of the past, especially if political circumstances allow.

    In the meantime, Gillard has won a comprehensive win in caucus, unlike Abbott who won his party room by 1. The media has not touched that story, because the media prefer Abbott ahead of Turnbull who has always been considered a suspect pinko.

    In fact, the media’s behaviour towards the ALP has been an utter disgrace. Rudd’s electoral approval fell into free-fall before 2010, after the media trashed him over the super profit mining tax and his deferring the CPRS. The media treated Rudd in the same way, back then, as they are now treating Gillard. Then, when Gillard got in and decided to resuscitate the climate change agenda by pricing carbon, they attacked her and used and manipulated Rudd who was more than happy to brief his preferred journalists because of his hurt and fury over his dumping.

    The press have pushed, and pushed, and pushed this leadership issue in the interests of unseating Gillard. Rudd, who was still angry and believing his own hype, had a brain snap overseas and decided to resign, again forcing Gillard’s hand into a ballot, this time. I wish Therese was with him overseas at the time; I really do wonder whether, if she were there to counsel him, he would have done this. Now he has nothing. Foreign Affairs is one of the most coveted portfolios you could ever have. If Rudd felt emasculated in his role in Foreign Affairs, imagine how he would feel now, once the dust settles.

    As much as I hated the way Rudd behaved, I think in the end, Rudd was a victim of the press and his own personal failings, what a waste because, like any complex human being as he clearly is, he had real talent in the role he best served, Foreign Affairs.

  14. Frank Campbell

    “the two least-popular leaders of recent memory, Gillard and Abbott.”
    Abbott is a mere Opposition leader. His polling is average- Opposition leaders struggle most of the time.
    (Abbott is) “even less liked than her”. Just not accurate.

    It’s remarkable that an intrinisically unattractive politician like Abbott (failed catholic priest, echoes of Santamaria, the all-too-recent Howard past, boorishness…) curbed his coarse blokey gaffiness and presents relatively well (at least when dressed). He’s a far better speaker than Gillard too, which is admittedly saying little more than Abbott isn’t a verbal paraplegic. “We are us”.

    Such short memories…It took a long time for Crikey and the tossariat generally to realise that the derision they heaped on Abbott would come back and bite them. Remember all that crap about the Libs splitting, apotheosis of the Greens, inevitable triumph in Higgins/Bradfield, Turnbull following the true path of climate religion? There was abject failure to realise that the inner-city climate consensus was just that- a low postcode conceit, resting on a bed of inflated property, garnished with sanctimony. The rest of the country (and the world) was edging to the exit. The Libs came within an ace of being coopted into Rudd’s Millenarian vision of the Greatest Moral Challenge. If Abbott hadn’t beaten Turnbull, the Libs would have been in trapped in Rudd’s corral.
    And it’s still about The Policy. It’s still about the climate cult- even though devotion continues to inexorably decline. Gillard barked harshly yesterday about the “clean green energy fewcha” …”we wiwl price caahbun”…But we hear little now from the Savonarolas of climate Armageddon- the Hamiltons and Flannerys. The climate-ignorant tossariat has gone quiet too: there’s not a peep from the Crabbs, Simons, Rundles et al who all issued a slab or two of “me-too” waffle on the subject they know least. Even Melbourne’s suburban Moses, Robert Manne, pontificates not about climate catastrophe. Well, not much.
    Rudd last week offered a face-saving way out- an ETS- which would remove the need for a massive new bureaucracy to implement and police a carbon tax – and eliminate the absurd cash carousel: handing out billions to “polluters” and “families”. The “price of carbon” would instantly sink to insignificant levels. Business as usual, with a figleaf.
    No chance. Gillard is a headkicker, a factional thug. She is also rigid and remarkably stupid. She belted the media hounds yesterday with the big carbon stick. All Abbott has to do is to keep attention on the carbon tax and avoid his motley crew of Howard survivors from having embarrassing accidents. Gillard will do the rest. As she has done since her Faustian pact with the Greens.
    No one is being honest about the decomposition of climate millenarianism. The facile early predictions have proved not only false, but ridiculous. Yet the stentorian, Manichean, bullying chorus continues. Heretics are hunted relentlessly.
    Rudd had the right idea: rescue progressive politics from its self-destructive obsession at a stroke by implementing an anodyne ETS. A placebo. Government, liberated from the suffocating burden of the carbon tax, could get on with real policy and the real environment.
    Handing power to Abbott for a decade is the likely alternative. Cattle in the national parks. The snarl of chainsaws in the forests.
    Rise of the Right- Rednecks’ delight.

  15. Karen

    @Ralph Becker – Glad that you, after a shaky start, ended up agreeing with me Ralph. Yes, I’m fascinated how the press build up and tear people down all the time. Just imagine if the press started focussing on JG’s massive policy achievements over the last 12 months (including all 269 pieces of legislation to boot) – wow, she would be cast as a doer, a political genius in this hell of a parliament she has to pick her way through. And the punters will all be running off thinking she was f’n God.

    @ Jimmy – you must realise by now that SB is never going to tackle you on Abbott policy because (a) you would defeat her on this because Abbott’s policies as you have articulately pointed out are either stupid or completely lack financial buttressing (unless he goes down the massive public spending cutting program route, which I suspect this crazy extremist will do given half the chance) (b) she has admitted she’s attracted to leaders and votes on that basis – she said she voted Howard out because he had been in too long – which is fair enough (he was like the last guy at the party you can’t wait to leave because its 4am, you’re drunk and you want to go to bed), but I agree with you shouldn’t be the only basis of voting , (c) she’s sensitive to the ol’ hip pocket and doesn’t want to have to put up with any imposts that she can’t pass on (like the GST), as a self-employed consultant or small business operator that she says she is. She is unhappy with the carbon signal, for example, but like Bruce Hawker said, people out in voter land have to realise that the punters are going to be fully compensated and the impost, in fact, will be slapped on the big emitters who can’t all pass it on anyway; (d) she’s ideologically worried about how slapping taxes on big business will affect business confidence generally and consumer confidence – she needn’t, because big business can more than comfortably afford the $23/tonne C02 emission price and big mining can more than afford the MMRT – in fact governments around the world are taxing miners – there is a tax bonanza going out there in the wider mining world – we are, thankfully, no different.

    And as for consumer confidence, she needn’t worry because this Govt has been obsessed about keeping people in jobs and the unemployment rates down, which it has been doing a fantastic job under the stimulus spending program, not to mention going in hard, going in fast at the time it was needed.

    If Abbott gets in, there will be massive spending cuts and the GST may well be increased (if he can manage it) to fund his wealthy pork barrelling spending programs. But this will not affect SB so much because she is in business, can pass on GST, and use her business vehicle to write off as much tax as she can.

    So, in anticipation of an Abbott victory, perhaps, we should all set up our own E-businesses (bit like Wizz/Troofie) and do the same. Can you really bear the thought of Abbott transferring punter tax money to the big end of town? And with the money that is saved in tax, put it toward your favourite causes and charities, which you can claim a tax deduction for. Bargain.

  16. Ralph Becker

    @ Karen, why ‘shaky start’?

    A spade is a spade, and if Labor had been a better political party (policy, character and integrity go together, not just the amount of legislation put through, and some of it is very good, but that’s policy, a much healthier debate), they would not be leading a minority government and equally and independently, Ruddgate wouldn’t have happened. Broken promises are broken promises and I for one am not at all happy with Slippery Pete or the Pokie Reform back-flip. Labor’s ‘house was not in order’ and it showed. (Let me add, that in my view the Coalition’s house is currently more akin to a redneck shack in some swamp) And no-one in any party is above using the press, so please, let’s not cry foul. Their internal machinations (aka Arbib) fell apart in plain view. Now they’ve fixed it. Whether we like the fix or not is irrelevant until the next election.

    As for the whole press conspiracy theory: Yes, too few have too much influence. Yet I do not believe that we as a society are that devolved that we can’t discern between spin, press and reality. Lets not forget: We get to choose what we read and we get to influence others in what the read. If nothing else, we can try. Yet it won’t work if we p*ss people off. That’s what, irony intended, p*sses me off about some of the contributions on this forum.

    Labor would do well to openly acknowledge recent developments in a factual manner. JG should openly state why she will rid her cabinet of some of those who supported KR: There is nothing wrong the gov’t needing to be workable and that loyalty is deemed a fundamental requirement. Yet to say these members will be replaced on ‘merit’ – please. It only perpetuates the sense of a lack of integrity. Labor has a unique opportunity to clean house, regroup and be recognised (!) to stand for something, but I am not holding my breath.

    I too, am fascinated by the press et al building up and tearing down people. I am more fascinated by why people read rubbish – and believe it. I am even more fascinated by how that same approach is represented in varying degrees in forums such as this one.

    Fact of the matter is: We can not abdicate responsibility for the press being the way it is, nor government and opposition. Indeed it’s easy to do the same, slag one another – but I for one believe doing that removes a large chunk of credibility from one’s argument. As I said, this forum is rife with myopic diatribes that are in no way different from what the politicians, press, interest groups (pokies reform anyone…) et al spew forth. Having said that, I will consider anyone’s pov. Yet I have no time for antagonistic, personally tainted critique. Literally; it’s a waste of time. Especially when it’s done from behind the veil of the internet.

    Case in point: I appreciate what you write and do not concur with SB, nor do I want to see Mr. Speedo as PM, (shudder), yet with all due respect, tell me, your comments on SB, how do they differ from the press tearing someone down?

    What do you really want to achieve: P*ss SB off, or change her mind?

  17. Karen

    @RB – go back to your first lines on one of your first, if not first, post as a new subscriber – you immediately came out and said this:

    “Interesting. Having just signed up to Crikey, trolling through the comments, crikey indeed. Yet there is hope: Reading the odd Marilyn comment makes up for many of the myopic diatribes. (Funny lot, those voicing their opinion on her voicing her opinion).”

    So, I can sum up your lengthy complaint to me as this: Pot. Kettle. Black.

    You don’t think your opener was personal and insulting? I have to admit when I read that and, yes go on admit it, you were making a veiled attack against me and others, I came out and gave it back.

    I can tell you what my opening lines were when I joined the site – it was on the Poll Bludger site where I praised the insightful comments of the posters and their comments were enough to tip me over the line in subscribing to Crikey. Unlike you, I did not single out or spray a single poster or group I disagreed with.

    And as for SB – SB’s position is an entrenched one – if you were on this site for any length of time, you would realise this. There have been many posters who have engaged her and attempted to debate various issues to no avail (Jimmy being one, on the economy). In fact, one of the things that makes people so frustrated is that SB is so personal and repeatedly says abusive things like: ly ing Gillard, incompetent Swan and extreme Greens.

    And what I have said in my post above is not untrue – she has actually said all of those things. So much for tearing her down.

    In the interests of fairness and justice I will praise SB for her apparent commitment to volunteer work – she is to be commended for that selflessness.

  18. Dogs breakfast

    Costello says Rudd will brood and fester! Well he ought to know, I suppose. boom boom!

    I have been inclined to think that the media have a much different (higher) set of standards for Gillard than for Abbott, and every other politician that walked the corridors.

    But it goes deeper than that. It is reasonable to suggest that the general public also hold these latent misogynist points of view, based on the polling.

    As badly as you might like to paint the Rudd downfall, knives in the back, scheming vicious woman thing, it is pretty obvious that in the skullduggery department Gillard is a mere amateur.

    And yet she seems to get on as well with the public as Lucrezia Borgia.

    Meanwhile, Rudd, the political equivalent of the corporate psychopath, walks the land as the humble messiah, lapping up the veneration of the crowds who seem to adore him.

    Did we enter bizarro world and nobody told me? When did Australians become gullible morons? Is it just that Gillard has reminded every dim-witted male of that woman what done them over all those years ago, and perhaps women think she is too much like a bloke and are cold towards her.

    No doubt she could present herself much better, principally by firing anyone within cooee who has the title of PR, Spin, Media Adviser or anything like that. God forbid, if she were genuine she would clean Abbott’s clock.

    And for all those who think this is a done deal for Abbott, hold your fire. It beggars belief that anyone who is over 25 years of age would imagine that there aren’t any more twists and turns between now and the next election.

  19. Liz45

    Those who are against Julia Gillard but hate the attempt to off shore the Govt’s responsibilities should be over the moon. This way, the Opposition is NEVER going to agree to the offer by the Gillard Govt re Nauru and/or Malaysia. This way, there’ll be no repeat of the awful Siev X tragedy and vulnerable people sent back to sea in rust buckets – no more dead babies or pregnant women or kids or men or ???? I feel so appalled by both policies – no, sickened would be a better word, I’m quite relaxed about the status quo.

    A recent decision in the European Court of Human Rights, stated that

    “Italy must pay compensation of $18,700 to 24 Somalian and Eritrean asylum seekers who were on three boats carrying 200 people pushed back to Libya in 2009. Amnesty International called the judgement historic. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said it was “a turning point”.
    The opposition’s immigration spokesman, Scot Morrison stood by the policy yesterday. ”

    Excellent news.

    I’ve seen enough, read enough to believe that at best Rudd was a great campaigner but not too good on his people skills or how to make decisions and get things done.

    @MARILYN – I have too much respect for you to argue the toss, but, whatever decisions Rudd made at the UN (and I certainly agree with the ones you mentioned – Palestinian kids etc) then he wouldn’t do it off his own bat – it would’ve been a govt decision? Wouldn’t it?

    I enjoyed the Press Conference today about Telstra/NBN etc. Good stuff, bring it on!

  20. Liz45

    An added thought! To the Coalition supporters. You all forget that Abbott only got his leadership through one vote – HIS! He was the only one out of all his colleagues who thought he was just a tinsy winsy bit better than Turnbull. That was over 14 months ago. If he’s so great, and the Coalition is sooooooooo much better, why is his personal rating similar, the same, less than, Julia Gillard? Ahem! What does it say?

    IF he had the guts to talk about policies, or answer any of the questions re HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? their preference would probably take a very big nose dive. Like O’Farrell in NSW, who operated along the same lines – do nothing, say nothing except a half dozen sentences/slogans/drones etc? Even his Press Conference yesterday? A great example to start acting like an alternative PM? The same few well used lines that mean nothing and tell us less. The Media is letting him get away with it, while JG almost has to stipulate what her next meal is going to be – and she must look good, smell good while she does it! Amazing!

    I tried to warn people in NSW prior to the election last March. O’farrell will whip workers around the head, go back on promises blah blah blah? Guess what? No surprises, except the time factor – he’d been in less than 2months before he said, that public servants, including nurses, teachers, and police (he gave in to them) would NOT receive a pay increase over 2.5% per year. Not bad. Not a word of this BEFORE the election> Surprise surprise!

    Same will happen with Abbott. OK for middle/upper middle income people, too bad about schools, kids, hospitals and those people with disabilities etc. Pell will govern via the Lodge! too bad about women’s issues too!

  21. Liz45

    AND – If I hear or see one more word about the Labor Party and its factions, as though the Coalition is distant from all that low class nonsense – I’ll SCREAM! Perhaps I’m older than most on this site, although I doubt it. The Libs have factions, left, right, wet dry, exreme right, like the Opus Dei catholics in NSW upper house. It’s just ridiculous.

    There’s no faceless “men”. All those involved have their faces out there for all to see. This is the technological age. We know who they are, and now we know how they all voted. To call them “faceless” is to treat people like me with disdain. It’s insulting!

    The other mob are as bad if not worse. We’ve all read about who hates who and how they barely rise to being civil. This is as much part of the No-alition culture as it is of the ALP! Can we please stop the bs and start recognising that people like me who oppose SB and others, are not stupid!

    I think Julia Gillard has done a great job, probably better than a lot of men could – or have done in the past. 269 pieces of Legislation in about 20 months. I think that is amazing. Her skills and ability to communicate, negotiate with all parties(except the noalition) has been amazing. I think the media’s role is disgusting, and all the sexist focus on ‘tits and bums’ demeans those who engage in it. Enough already.

    As a senior citizen I’m exited about the NBN and the positive future for not only my grand kids, but myself as well. It’s great. Bring on a good school funding policy; start winding back the awful reality about dental health in the country, plus a myriad of other positives, and I’ll support Julia Gillard and her govt. More so because of all the bs on this post. I’m disappointed with Bernard’s tone too. Barry Cassidy doesn’t appear to me to be a liar. He has an opposite position re Rudd’s behaviour and abilities!

  22. Peter Ormonde

    Aaaw jings Richard,

    I’m sorry if you feel my telling Bernard to draw on a wider range of sources than his navel when putting together his astrological projections, to get up from his chatting with his Press Gallery colleagues and actually go and ask politicians some questions was harsh or abusive.

    We engage in a robust debate here and prophets and pundits reading omens are given short shrift. We expect a reasoned argument – not idle speculation and conjecture. We have Suzanne Bleak for that.

    I just reckon that if journalists are going to inflict their unsupported personal opinions on their readers, to sketch out scenarios for the next challenge against Gillard before anyone has said a word to him or before the ink is dry on the ballot results, then they should provide something like a basis for their assertions.

    But there is only one basis for their assertions – opinion polls, or to be more accurate, market research in Bernard’s case. Who has “the best chance” of beating Abbott…. as set out by Essential Market Research 18 months before the ballot. That and the atmosphere of secrecy, conspiracy and gossip that periodically rages through the Press Gallery like the plague.

    Now Abbott may well not be there in 6 months -a week in Canberra, as you’ve just, seen can last a lifetime. New candidates, new options, new issues, new circuimstances will apply and to be extrapolating from this dodgy data to an unkowable future is simply guessing. Or worse.

    A lot of us have been around far too long – have been watching this stuff far too long – to let Bernard slide along on lazy speculation. We expect him to work. It would be nice if others in the press gallery felt the same way. But our expectations on Bernard and Crikey “with its extra source” are somewhat higher than they are for Murdoch’s minions.

    I do not call people idiots, morons, dolts or other pet terms of abuse. But neither do I beat around the bush when asking someone to write their stories with two hands on the keyboard.

    Writing isn’t work. Finding out – that’s the work.

  23. Dogs breakfast

    “But there isn’t a whole lot more to be gained for the opposition leader: he’s already in a strong position and he already has Gillard’s measure, despite being even less liked than her.”

    This quote really flummoxed me.

    In what way does Abbott already have Gillard’s measure? In parliament? You would have to be on some serious whacky tabacky to think that.

    In popularity? Give it up. He is just as (un)popular as Gillard, but that must surely be a count against him given that his party has maintained favoured party status the whole time. Surely if Abbott’s party is way ahead in the polls but he isn’t, that would count against him.

    In policy? Laughable.

    In politics? Well, wonder of wonders, BK has got one area of political life where Tony has her measure.

    But this has to be counted against the fact that for all her errors, not much has gone her way and she has been given no credit for the substantial reforms that BK seems not to love. History will show BK wrong in his assessments there.

    So BK’s sweeping statement about TA’s relative position is based on what exactly?

    @Karen – I know what you are saying, but I’m not so sure any more. Gillard is really hated by quite a few people. The question then is did the press create that, or was the press reflecting popular opinion. It’s chicken and egg, with no real answer, but I can’t be sure that the Press were leading that merry dance.

    I have found a real visceral response to Gillard from some people who wouldn’t know Parliament from a sand castle. She evokes strange emotions, particularly from middle age males of a certain education and political interest level.

    It’s real, and while it is easy to say that it is the press that caused it, a lot of these people, most people in fact, don’t read the papers much and don’t realy care about politics! ?

  24. Liz45

    @GEE WIZZY – There’s a dispute re SIEV X as to what waters it sunk in. It was the largest maritime disaster since WW2, and yet Howard behaved like the insensitive bastard that he was/is? He wouldn’t allow survivors to attend the funeral. If they left Australia they wouldn’t be allowed back in. There was at least one woman who suffered a miscarriage in those waters. There is a strong view that the boat was in Australian waters, and anyway, regardless of where it was, we have a responsibility to save lives at sea. Like the TAMPA did when REQUESTED by Australian authorities to go to their aid. David Marr wrote a book about this tragedy, and also interviewed survivors who insisted that they saw/heard at least one boat and plane in the vicinity of the area – who just went away.

    Read “A Certain Maritime Incident” and/or “Dark Victory” by David Marr.

    Funny how it’s only OK for people like you to go back in history, when you want to attack. When you don’t want to acknowledge horrific acts by Howard or other Tory Govts in Australia, you use history to gloss over it. You probably don’t even remember the exact number of deaths, and you obviously don’t care. Howard refused to allow people to install a permanent memorial to the deaths of those people. He also stated that there was no way of recording the names of those who died. Funny how Kate (Julian Burnside’s wife whose surname escapes me – sorry Kate) made a mural that depicted every person who died, by NAME!

    As for SIEV 36. You point to any time where I’ve condoned violence by anyone! There was a lot of evidence that came out of that horrific situation. It’s typical of you to ignore the facts. To my knowledge, nobody has asserted that they deliberately set fire to that boat. Let’s wait for the court case!

    @MESKI – With news coming out of the resumed Inquiry, it amazes me (still) that nobody with the surname ‘Murdoch has been charged? Who signed the cheques, or gave the go ahead for people in high positions to pay out so much money to the police and as the next stage of the Inquiry will probably reveal – to politicians? Like Geoffrey Robinson QC, I’m just stunned.

    Anyone who even attempts to assert to the high quality of any Murdoch media outlets (take FOX News? etc) are just as dirty as he is, and has always been!

    I now predict that Abbott continues with his agenda. It will not surprise me if the Coalition repeats its practice of ’10 Election. Like Howard did with WorkChoices and other policies/legislation. Fob off for months; tell journalists to wait for the Legislation, and then when the Legislation comes out, tell people to read that! (as opposed to him answering journalists’ questions?) I also predict, that msm will let him get away with it! Shameful!

  25. Warren Joffe


    That the Coalition (meaning basically Abbott and his inner circle presumably) don’t have sense is not evidenced by their not making funded promises at this stage. Instead of opening themselves up to criticism for getting their sums wrong – and, even if they haven’t got them wrong, making themselves the target and talking point – they have left it open to go to the next election with a radically novel “no promises – only honest statements of what we will work towards subject to finding the money without borrowing (unless for infrasctructure which pays for itself eventually)”.

    If, and I think many Labor leading commentators and MPs too are unduly pessimistic, Gillard can’t recover another 5 or 6 percentage points for herself and for the party’s primary vote over the next six to eight months, Abbott will have a unique opportunity to say that her government has left such a deficit of trust that he is going to take the radical step of making no definite promises of particular action within the next three years. He would of course say that he won’t take away anything, including the promised handouts from the carbon tax, without full and proper compensation which should leave him a bit of fudge room when he argues that people due to receive, say, $1000 a year for three years can be bought out by giving them $2000 immediately.

    Apart from the political opportunity he is likely to have to use such tactics the likelihood that he will do it is a reasonable inference from the impossible budgetary position that what are now taken to be his promises would put him in.

  26. Liz45

    @WARREN JOFFE – Yes, there’s no dispute that he’ll do that, but what many here including myself have been pointing out, that a compliant media will allow him to get away with it. The Murdoch press in NSW did with the Election last March.

    They didn’t pop their jugular when O’Farrell went back on his word about the Solar Power rate for selling back to the grid. Then, when O’Farrell changed his mind (did a back flip) still no outrage. When they proposed cutting payments to parents of foster children, hardly a word of condemnation. THEN, they did another back flip on this, and in fact, far from cutting it by $200 per week or fortnight, they announced an increase.

    The first week of first term saw kids in NSW with disabilities with no transport to school. This went on for at least two weeks. No outrage by the media – outrage by parents, yes, but not by the msm. They just ‘calmly’ reported these things.

    Imagine if a Labor Govt had done these things. The shock jocks would be screaming. There’d be rallies with ugly names on posters. The Opposition then would be ‘very understandable’ of people who were almost ready to ‘take the law into their own hands’?

    The now Govt, in Opposition stated clearly, that they’d exchange unflued gas heaters in all NSW schools for safety/health reasons. They stated yesterday that this will not happen. New schools, yes, but even if unflued heaters need replacing in the future, they’ll be replaced by unflued heaters.

    These are just a few examples of how msm, particularly the Murdoch rag in NSW responds to the Conservatives and Labor. It’s disgusting. It’s blatant, and it’s incessant! The ALP isn’t without blame either. I get very angry by the quality of journalism in Australia. It’s a joke!

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