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Matters for judgment for Labor MPs

At some point over the course of the year, the ramifications of Labor’s truly dire political position will sink in to those few remaining MPs who have succeeded so far in putting off deliberation about their fate next August.

There’ll be a Budget on 8 May, then four weeks of sittings, including Senate Estimates, then the winter recess. When parliament returns, it will be one year to go. One year to go to an election at which Labor will lose around 25 seats to a national swing of the kind on display on current polling.

Needless to say, there won’t be a uniform national swing. Queensland, currently, is a disaster area for Labor. Essential’s polling, aggregated across several weeks, suggests Labor’s primary vote in Queensland is around 28%. In WA (using a small sample size even in aggregation) it’s 29%, with the Coalition on nearly 55%. In NSW Labor’s vote is under 32%. The polling is bad enough to suggest the Coalition could take control of the Senate, although against that, the Greens only have three senate spots up for grabs and are polling well enough in Victoria, at over 12%, to be a strong chance of picking up an extra seat.

Barry O’Farrell and Campbell Newman might also wear out their welcome with voters sufficiently by August next year to lift Labor vote off the floor in NSW and Queensland, but that’s straw-grasping stuff.

Much can happen between now and August 2013, of course. Just ask the Liberals about how things looked in November 2009. Much will need to change, for Labor. A very great deal indeed.

But does Labor have until then? Notionally, the government solved that problem when it elevated Peter Slipper to the Speakership, giving itself extra insurance beyond that afforded by its agreements with the independents and the Greens. The defection of Slipper seemed to guarantee stability for the government until the election, even if it lost an MP along the way.

But Julia Gillard cashed that particular insurance cheque in January, when she sent Andrew Wilkie packing, partly because of her concerns about the effect of the poker machine issue on her leadership. It was not, as the sporting types might put it, the percentage play. Not when everyone knew about Slipper, regardless of the conspiracy theories circulating about how he’s been set up.

The net effect was that Labor acquired the problem, well known to all, of Peter Slipper, and lost the support of Wilkie. A lose-lose. Now there’s no insurance. Just a trail of allegations about the Speaker and one seriously p-ssed off Tasmanian.

It brings the possibility of a successful vote of no-confidence closer again, and the resulting election — because while Oakeshott, Windsor and Wilkie would be happy to support a Turnbull government, none of them are that keen on an Abbott government.

Or Slipper might decide he’s had enough and take his monumental parliamentary pension into retirement now rather than at next year’s election, where he’s guaranteed to lose.

But we’ve been here before, haven’t we? With questions about the Prime Minister’s judgment, the one-step-forward-two-steps-back politics, the wondering when the government, which is commendably pursuing a sound reform agenda, will find some clear air or at least some workable tactics to get itself out of the hole it’s in. We’re in the prime pre-Budget season at the moment — the dodgy “alternative Treasury” forecasts are starting to get their usual run in the papers — and yet no one’s talking about what will happen on 8 May. Instead, the press is forensically analysing Cabcharge vouchers, in the exact way they don’t forensically analyse policy.

Reforms are all very well, but if they don’t stick they don’t count. And much of Labor’s legacy — the NBN, the carbon price, the mining tax, FOFA — is scheduled for demolition under the Coalition. It would be as if the Labor years never happened.

All things for Labor MPs to reflect on as the cold closes in in Canberra over the coming months.

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  • 1
    Jenny Haines
    Posted Friday, 27 April 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    What can be said in comment Bernard. It is a bad situation, for Labor
    and I suspect the Greens, as , as you say, a Coalition Government
    will wipe away the progressive reform in this country of the last few
    years and it will be as though those years never happened. I can’t see
    any one event cutting through and changing the situation but it could
    be a long time to the next election if Labor can keep all the balls in the
    air, Craig Thomson, Peter Slipper, Andrew Wilkie, the rest of the Inde
    pendents. You do have to give the Gillard Government some credit for
    getting the juggling act called government this far. There may still be
    change of leaders on both sides before the next election. A week is a
    long time in politics much less a year! O’Farrell and Newman are
    obviously going to remind people pretty quickly how Coalition gov-
    ernments perform when in government, and it aint to look after
    ordinary working taxpayers. Then there may be some unforeseen
    events that may sway political opinion. I think Obama is going to win
    the American Presidency, a cautious progressive mood in the US
    which may infect Oz.

  • 2
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Friday, 27 April 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi Bernard

    Its all over f0r dishonest Gillard. She has been given 30 days according to Richo, who would be in the know.

    There is NO WAY they will risk her at the next election.

    She is on her farewell tour overseas now and so is probably Swan.

    Good riddens

  • 3
    David Allen
    Posted Friday, 27 April 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Er, it’s ‘riddance’ Suzanne.

    This would be, what, the 403rd time you’ve proclaimed Gillard gone? I guess you’ll be right one day but I wouldn’t be contemplating taking up soothsaying professionally if I were you.

  • 4
    rinaldo hernando
    Posted Friday, 27 April 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    do you think wilkie might be playing the “upper hand” card, so to speak? with the gov in such a precarious position he can afford a bit of bluster to get his reforms through, even though as you say the likelihood he’ll support an abbott led coalition government is low. also noticing abbott pushing for 457 visa’s this morning, wonder how that will look to the thousands of victorians who are now out of work, rather than find them a job (including re skilling) abbott’s saying he’d rather see cheap overseas labour in favour of business increasing their bottom line. i guess it won’t matter, they probably don’t vote coalition anyway….

  • 5
    Pedantic, Balwyn
    Posted Friday, 27 April 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    @Jenny Victoria doesn’t have to wait any longer to find out how a Coalition government will operate. Even the Murdoch press (yes, truly) is throwing barbs over the complete lack of vision, action and general lethargy of the Bailleau Govenment.

    The saga of broken or half baked promises, ministerial incompetance and seeming dis-interest in economic policy goes on and on. The Nationals in the Coalition appear to be running the show; reversing any past policy for sustaining the environment and moving decision making-such as it is - in favour of the rich and greedy.

    The Federal Coalition is well matched to the current Bailleau model; full of populist promises, economically inept (can’t count), and a front bench lacking both wit and wisdom.

    An Abbott Government will no doubt mirror its Victorian counterpart. Beware

  • 6
    JMNO
    Posted Friday, 27 April 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    In terms of what is actually important, that is, governing the country, Labor seems to be doing a pretty competent job, better than Howard really, given he was in power at a time when rivers of money were flowing and he could distribute largesse to keep voters happy. Yet their performance doesn’t seem to cut through and most of the media don’t seem particularly interested in reporting on it. Also some kind of ‘Who Weekly’ crisis seems to get confected each time the Government introduces a significant policy reform and the media predictably go off chasing the gossip and ignore the policy. Why have these Peter Slipper accusations surfaced now when it appears he has been sailing close to the wind for years? OK so he is Speaker, but the abuse of transport suspicions have been around for years. Are these gossip crises being orchestrated? Not a conspiracy theorist but just a bit suspicious.

  • 7
    David Hand
    Posted Friday, 27 April 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    The other period that must be navigated between now and the election is the December killing season. For Labor to have any hope at all in 2013, Gillard will call a press conference and announce that for the good of the party and the government, with no outside influencing or shoulder tapping at all, she has decided to step down as leader.

    Shorten will then be welcomed to the leadership by acclaimation and have about 15 months to create a new brand. If she doesn’t do this, I expect the knives to come out in December.

  • 8
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Friday, 27 April 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    @ David Hand

    The knives will not wait until December, will be this Winter.

    30 days according to Richo, who seems on the mark quite often.

  • 9
    Liz45
    Posted Friday, 27 April 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    I have a question or two? What if the dockets released by Peter Slipper are proved to be as he says - proof that he DID the right thing, then why doesn’t anyone not ask the obvious question. Is this another Liberal set up? Why did Peter Slipper wait until AFTER he became Speaker to botch his dockets? Strange! And why did the accusations re alleged sexual harassment happen AFTER he became Speaker? And why isn’t anyone casting aspersions against the accuser who allegedly has ‘form’ himself? Interesting isn’t it?

    What if we’re looking at a repeat performance of the Gridich affair? Only this time they think they’ve got a water tight case? Where was Senator Heffernan when all this was going on? Uhm? Remember the High Court Judge? Remember how those accusations went pear shape? Whose butt was kicked over that lot? Heffernan was kicked upstairs for a while or three, and then, back in glorious living colour once more?

    The Libs have heaps of form re playing dirty. All the little sanctimonious people are making me ill, both via Crikey, the airwaves and the print media! Pontificating pompous little p**s ants with dirt all over their grubbly little hands! If only Howard had such high standards when he was PM? He’d have lost a third or so of his front bench.

    Incidentally, what role did the Murdoch rags play in the Grenich affair? As opposed to now? Interesting isn’t it?

    I don’t sanction dishonesty or sexual harassment by anyone toward anyone for any reason. But, I really object to people taking the high moral ground on their opponents while having very slippery standards themselves. I hope someone has pointed out to Abbott, that if he DOES become PM(yuk yuk) then we’ll all be watching very, very closely! I give him no more than 6 months before something hits the fan!

    I predict that Abbott will make Worstchoices look like a stroll in the park by comparison. He’ll state that he has a mandate for almost everything! And, of course, like O’Farrell in NSW, Newman in Qld, and the Bailleau in Victoria, he won’t tell us what he’s going to do. There’ll be no maternity scheme anywhere remotely like he’s spruiking now; or payment for Nannies; or any other social justice programs that are happening now, such as the support for education/eradication of DV and sole parents, mainly women will feel the full force of his misogynist attitudes!

    @JMNO - My understanding of the accusations against Peter Slipper in the past proved to be BASELESS! I’m no supporter or non-supporter of Peter Slipper, I just have a queasy feeling about this lot! I wouldn’t trust Abbott out of sight in a blackout. By his own words, he’d do just about anything to live in the Lodge - including the sale of his a**e! Or so he said!

  • 10
    Liz45
    Posted Friday, 27 April 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, I think his name is Grinich? Or similar!

  • 11
    zut alors
    Posted Friday, 27 April 2012 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    LIz, it’s Godwin Grech. And I agree this smells similar.

  • 12
    lilac
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    The ‘Matter for Judgement’ is on you BK not the ALP.
    Today Tony Abbott announced that if he were PM that he will absolutely without question or protest, bring in skilled migrant workers on 457 visas as opposed to investing in re-skilling Australian citizens!
    Where is your accountability as a journalist and a voice for the people?
    I speak of the thousands of Australians who have lost their jobs in all states due to the two speed economy and who are struggling to pay mortages and support their family. for them there is no hope under a coalition government.
    The real issues facing this nation are lost in the sordid mire that is tabloid journalism, trial by media and the refusal of the rest to hold Abbott & Co accountable during their time in opposition.
    This nation will only wake up & they realise how duped they have been by media incompetence to report on real issues when the reality of an LNP government is upon them, by then it will be too late.

  • 13
    Jenny Haines
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Go Liz 45. Give it to them straight!
    And Lilac, yes, where is the reporting of what Abbott’s 457s will mean
    to the Australian workforce, the unemployed, skill standards and
    professional standards of care in this country, wage levels, conditions
    of work, hours of work…. What has been proven time and time again
    with workers brought in on 457s is that they have no idea how
    exploited they are!

  • 14
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Bravo Liz 45. Ashby has form and displayed a neurotic tendency in
    his responses to anyone that rejects his criticisms as evidenced by
    his Newcastle spray.
    I also find it intriguing to notice he has the resources to engage
    senior and undoubtedly expensive counsel on a parliamentary advisers
    salary.

  • 15
    JMNO
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    More from JMNO

    Abbott has form as a dirt-digger. He was Howard’s attack dog. Every time Labor got a new leader, it wasn’t long before Abbott starting launching nasty smears, digging into their distant past to find something to discredit them with. Go back and have a look at the dirt he tried to dig against Rudd. It wasn’t successful against Rudd when he became leader of the Opposition because he proved to be a better campaigner that Howard and Abbott anticipated. And Abbott has never explained his central role in getting Pauline Hanson gaoled and it doesn’t appear as though anyone has spent much time trying to find out.

    So why should Abbott have changed now? Now he has a staff to orchestrate the smears instead of doing it personally - although he still manages to be totally ungracious when talking about anyone not in his army in the war to win power (for example, if the media reports of his comments about Bob Brown’s retirement are true, then he quite simply couldn’t bring himself to acknowledge Brown’s achievements or even his essential decency).

    I have noticed that ever since he was leader (or possibly since Gillard became PM, can’t remember exactly) that anytime there is good news from the Government that Abbott can’t launch a diatribe against, some sideshow issue will be whipped up knowing that the press is far more interested in who did what to whom than in evaluating what the government is actually doing. So the good news story never gets covered. It is an extremely effective if unethical media strategy.

    The media must take some of the blame. I remember finding about the Godwin Grech story whilst on holidays. I went into the local town and picked up Saturday’s Age and Australian and saw this story splashed in big headlines all across the front of both papers. Some major disaster, I thought and read on.

    When I got to the end I realised it was a complete non-story - no-one had asked the government for a favour and no-one in the government had considered giving someone a favour. In the end it destroyed Godwin Grech and made Malcom Turnbull look silly. The story ended up being about these two. But the original story never warranted the coverage it got.

  • 16
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I might add to my above post that Ashby apparently has also engaged
    a PR company to attend to the press’s interest . That wouldn’t be cheap!

  • 17
    Jenny Haines
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Smellier and smellier. There has got to be Coalition money behind this
    guy.

  • 18
    Karen
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Agree with other posts above re Ashby. Ashby’s timing for his complaint is interesting and because of the timing, in my view, politically motivated. He also sounds like an unprofessional flake, given his Newcastle spray and displays of his own familiarity and/or manipulation of Slipper, on the basis of his emails. Honestly, who would say “I care for you” etc or words to that effect to an employer after barely being in his employ for 3 months. It will certainly make for interesting cross-examination.

  • 19
    Karen
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Now that the Slipper saga has sent the hares running amongst the media, perhaps the MSN can do its job and start refocussing on Ashby and who’s bankrolling him. After all its his complaint and the man hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory either. These issues are all relevant to his credit.

    On a wider topic, its tragic how the LIbs and their coalition partner, the media have been so successful in distracting the public on confected or exaggerated meaningless political trash that would have no consequence for the ordinary lives of the polity, as opposed to the extremely positive policy agenda that has already and will see further redistribution of wealth to the wider polity. Its extraordinary, as it is despicable to see how the wealthy who have been grabbing the lions share of the nations transfer payments have been using their considerable connections with access to government and their blunt instrument, the media to make sure it doesn’t happen.

    And the stupid public will vote the Libs in, have Labor policy that actually serves their interests reversed, and will be stuck with nothing…

  • 20
    zut alors
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    If I was a litigant in a case (backed by evidence) against an employer I would have no need to engage a PR agent. What possible use would a PR agent be in a matter putting facts before a court?

    But PR agents aren’t about facts, they are principally about public perceptions.

  • 21
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    @ Karen

    did you focus on Kristy in the Mark McInness David Jones sexual harrassment?

  • 22
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Karen;
    I notice Harcher of the SMH has shown a passing interest in Abbott
    lack of vision and policy at long last in this mornings press.
    Let’s all hope for the sake of the nations future he can show the same
    forensic attention to the shallowness and vacuousness of Abbott
    he has displayed in his writings of the Honourable Ms Gillard Prime
    Minister’s dress and personality with little attention to policy and
    the alternatives on offer.

  • 23
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    @Mike Flanagan

    Honourable Dishonest Ms Gillard you mean”

  • 24
    Karen
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    @ SB - I have paid attention to the Kristy/Mark McInness case. Totally agree with Zut Alors - keep your claims before a court out of the public domain. Not a good look.

    @ Mike Flanagan - agree - lets hope the press start showing some residual integrity and start backing away from meaningless political distractions and re-focussing on policy, which actually impacts on peoples lives. I am so over this hopeless media being deliberately ‘asleep at the wheel’. It just depresses me too much to see the papers in the Eastern states being used to sweep the Libs into power.

  • 25
    Karen
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    @ SB 11.58am - while we are on the subject of media, it would be refreshing to see you level your ‘dihonesty’ attack against Murdoch instead of Guy Rundle who has done a comprehensive job of exposing him. What a joke!

  • 26
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    @ Karen

    If you watched the Leverson enquiry you would have seen that Murdoch supported both Labor and Conservative oppositions and Government. His media supported whom they believed deserved to win.

    Like they supported Blair, Kevin 07 and did not support John Major (Conservative).

  • 27
    Annitsa Amistad
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    It is very easy to sort out. Slippery gave Abbott the one vote he needed now Abbott turns against him. Slippery can just resign from the Speaker Chair and use his balance of power like the rest of the independents to negotiate deals for the betterment of the constituents and vote with Labor, just pay Abbott back in kind.

  • 28
    Annitsa Amistad
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Labor handled Wilkie poorly. They should have said look there’s not enough number to pass pokies reform the way you want to, if you still want it go ahead and introduce your bill you will see not all of our MPs and the independents will support it. Should it fail then we will still pursue pokies reform and work on an alternative bill which will get enough supports to be able to pass the house and the senate.

  • 29
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Jenny H;
    I am not sure that anyone will find Ashby’s funders in the Liberal or
    National Party books.
    It is more likely to have been structured similar to the US Super PAC’s
    model I suspect, with the likes of Gina’s or Clive’s money. Here comes
    the US model of the abuse and undermining of the democratic process
    and principles . It will make ‘push polling’ look like a kindergarden
    exercise if that’s what Korman, Abetz, Abbott and co have in store for
    us over the next eighteen months.

  • 30
    AR
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Goblin Wretch, hefferlump’s rent-boy allegations, truth overboard, dirt & smears are all the tories have. Unfortunately that is all the Mudorc meeja publishes.

  • 31
    Karen
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    @ SB - don’t be naiive - its good ol’ self interest that is at work here. Evidence at the Leveson inquiry revealed (as if we didn’t already know), and inspite of Murdoch’s denials, that the SUN was used to help instal Cameron for the purposes of securing the BSKyB deal. Now that the deal has fallen through because of the phone hacking scandal, surprise, suprise, the SUN has now turned against Cameron. I’m no Tory as you well know, but I think wielding influence to instal and depose governments, is frankly despicable because it is anti-democratic. And it wouldn’t matter who was in office. Why should we have a government in power that serves an individual’s greedy bottom line at our expense.

  • 32
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Which ALP member on TV this morning called Shorten a “Moth”? The man who is attracted to cameras.

    Well he screwed up last week with his Gillard Slipper backing, that has gone viral around the World and is seen as funnier than Yes Minister.

    The ALP member also said that Shorten had been calling HSU members asking them to lay charges against Kathy Jackson.

    Looks like Shorten is shooting himself in the foot in his bid for Prime Ministership, to replace dishonest Gillard

  • 33
    Jenny Haines
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Starting early eh SB, on Shorten? Try to destroy the man before he
    even gets a foothold. Shorten is only doing what Tony Abbott is
    doing, keeping his profile up there in front of the cameras. Talk
    about Abbott and cameras, he would jump ten fences and run
    ten miles if there was a camera around, just so he could be in
    front of it. No doubt Shorten like everyone else knows he
    stuffed up, but that is not career ending stuff! Everyone makes
    mistakes. We are all human. I remember when Tony Abbott was
    in Opposition and kept opening his mouth at the wrong time
    on the wrong subject. One of his former opposition colleagues
    said recently something to the effect “we had to keep taking him
    out the back to beat him up, to shut him up.”
    Mike Flanagan - I am sure you are right, Ashby would not appear in
    the Coalition’s financial records but they have ways of funding
    these things.

  • 34
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    @ Jenny Haines

    Dishonest Gillard, Incompetent Swan, Bumbling Abbott and Spin Merchant “Moth” Shorten are all incapable of leading the Country.

    We have really poor representation in Canberra.

  • 35
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Now we have Thomson about to resign the ALP and sit on the cross benches and still vote in a block with Labor, cause he needs them to pay his legal bills.

  • 36
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    What a con dishonest Gillard is, saying that she formed her view on Thomson an Slipper since she came back from overseas on Friday night.

    She was at the AFL match with her beloved Western Bulldogs yesterday. So much for being worried about the “dark clouds over Parliament”

    The Thomson matter has been around in the media for 9 months, why now?

    Has she been briefed on the report?

    Has she now heard that there are more leadership question and wants to draw a line before that batter starts?

    On Slipper, all that broke BEFORE she went overseas.

    She is simply dishonest and is trying to manipulate the voters

  • 37
    David Hand
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I know this is a difficult time for all you left green supporters but even you have to admit that the disarray in the ALP we see today is probably not Tony Abbott’s fault. I know you think he is the source of all evil and the orchestrator, with the support of a compliant press gallery which is only interested in the show and not the substence, of all the government’s woes

    But even you must conceded that the bad judgement shown by Gillard can’t be Tony’s fault. If there’s any strategy at all in this, which I doubt, Julia is cleaning the decks for her successor, taking the hits before stepping down. I can’t see any other rationale for her hanging Albanese and Roxon out to dry.

  • 38
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I understand the matters concerning Mr Thomson and Mr Slipper have caused Australians to become concerned about standards in public life today,” Ms Gillard told reporters.

    Who came up with that spin, must be someone junior, it is pathetic.

    She has either seen or been briefed on the HSU report, which makes sence as Thomson has also changed his tune, from wanting its release to having its lawyers (paid for by Labor) block its release.

    It is a comedy.

  • 39
    Karen
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Big picture, SB - parliamentary standards are a total sideshow compared to the policy agendas of the parties. The media are not focussing on that because the ALP’s social policies are actually serving wider community interests. And this is EXACTLY what the the reactionary forces on the right are trying to prevent, in part, because big business is being asked, for once, to put their hand in the till and cough up and pay for them. And this is what is so depressing for this country because it is becoming apparent that we are never going to have a decent social policy agenda, certainly while we have media concentration in this country to the extent we have.

    Frankly, I couldn’t give a fig about Thomson, Jackson, Williams and Slipper. The slight problem I have with Slipper is if he’s rorted the taxi/limousine claims because its tax payer money, but even that is looking difficult to prove against him at the moment. And Ashby is looking like a nasty little t* t - I can foresee a great cross-examination on the text messages, which shows an unusual familiarity on the part of Ashby as well (if you’ve read his statement of claim/affidavit), not to mention that awful Newcastle radio spray he made. No, this man hasn’t covered himself in glory. And to use a PR firm to help his case is just appalling.

    And what a backstabber Abbott has turned out to be. Slipper voted for Abbott and gave him that crucial vote to topple Turnbull for the tory leadership, not to mention invite him to his wedding. And lets talk about Abbott’s hypocrisy, shall we - he goes on about Slipper’s alleged harrassment and peccadillosbut and yet says hands off when it comes to investigating and hauling the Catholic church over the coals in the face of ongoing complaints from the Catholic flock. Abbott is a ghastly human being and his policies are even worse.

  • 40
    Jenny Haines
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Interesting. SB is in a frenzy to defend Abbott today. I tell
    what it will be in an Abbott Government SB if it happens - Bumbling
    Abbott, Mumbling Turnbull, Whacky Barnaby Joyce (Deputy Leader
    no less!) and Drown them All Morrison. What a lovely bunch!

  • 41
    izatso?
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    and we acknowledge the difference between your briefing und your input, Ms Blake

  • 42
    David Allen
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    David Hand

    I can’t disagree with most of what you say but I’m not at all sure that Gillard will step down.

    Julia Gillard 29/04/2012
    “…,in this parliament, in the building in which I’m standing now…”

    Who writes this sh*t?

  • 43
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    @ David Allen

    Julia Gillard 29/04/2012
    “…,in this parliament, in the building in which I’m standing now…”

    Who writes this sh*t?”

    Answer: The same spin merchant who organised the Australia Day Race Riots out of the Prime Ministers Office

  • 44
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    @ Jenny Haines

    Yes. The Parliament is full of no hopers, many of who would battle to get a job on half the pay elsewhere.

    Our system attracts them

  • 45
    David Allen
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Hope you’re listening to Abbott’s breathtaking hypocrisy Suzanne. Think Howard, think Colston.

  • 46
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Abbott displayed at the IPA luncheon speech his ignorant understanding
    of foriegn policy and diplomatic protocols with his megaphone
    diplomacy towards Indonesia.
    They would hardly feel ingratiated by his underlying threat that his
    government would send a boogey bag of dope to Bali for every boatload of
    refugees they allowed to pass into Australian waters and responsibilities.

  • 47
    Jenny Haines
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Wow, that’s a conspiracy theory and a half!! The PMs office staff org-
    anised the Australia Day race riots? Do you have proof of that?
    If I remember correctly, Howard was PM. Which particular spin
    merchant went from Howard’s Office to Gillard’s Office?

  • 48
    David Hand
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Well David Allen,
    If she’s not planning to go, I can’t see any strategy at work on the ALP side apart from short term panic about opinion polls, focus groups and media coverage. This myopic ineptitude has been their downfall ever since they took office in 2007. They simply don’t know how to engage with voters.

  • 49
    David Allen
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    David, I can’t argue with a word you say above. Disappointing, is to grossly understate.

    Incidentally, a response to your Flannery post, on another thread, has been in moderation since 6am. I think my mistake was to mention, in passing, Andrew Blot without this alteration.

    See you tomorrow, perhaps:-)

  • 50
    David Hand
    Posted Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Jenny, I don’t know what Howard era Australia Day race riot you are talking about but Suzanne is clearly referring to the rowdy group of aboriginal protesters banging on the windows of a restaurant in Canberra. This was in January of this year.

    If you followed the news coverage at the time, one of Julia’s spin doctors told a union organiser at the tent embassy a lie. Or if he didn’t lie, the union organiser did. The tent embassy was told that Abbott had said he believed it should be torn down when he had not said that at all..

    The ensuing ruckus was so alarming to Gillard’s security detail that they carried her and Abbott out a side door for their safety.

    I do agree with you that Gillard’s office didn’t “organise” the riot. They don’t seem to be able to organise chook raffle.

    I can also understand your failing memory. So much ineptitude has surrounded Gillard since that the Australia Day riot had faded for me as well.

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