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Jul 28, 2010

The sisterhood? Jesus. How about common decency?

The growing media obsession with both Julia Gillard’s physical appearance and her marital status could be dismissed as indicative of both the essential inanity of the press and its casual sexism. But it's more than that.


The growing media obsession with both Julia Gillard’s physical appearance and her marital status could be dismissed as indicative of both the essential inanity of the press and its casual sexism.

That’s certainly enough as it is. The media subjects female politicians to a blatant double standard, requiring them to conform to standards on physical presentation and lifestyle choices that are never applied to men. Moreover, it’s not as if the media perpetuates a single stereotype to which female politicians must conform. Instead, it’s a constantly changing set of requirements that means there’s always something to criticise and the media always wins. Look too good, you’re condemned as vacuous, or reliant on your appearance.

Don’t look good enough, you’re disparaged as unattractive. Don’t have a family, you’re deliberately barren. Have a family, you’re a career-obsessed harridan neglecting your kids.

But it’s more than that. The Australian yesterday launched a series of personal attacks on the Prime Minister, with the clear aim of ridiculing her and delegitimising her as a political figure. It complements an effort by Liberal Party figures to attack Gillard over her childlessness and her de facto marital status.

First was the already-notorious piece by Kate Legge on the Prime Minister’s ears, discussion of which, Legge assured us, “drowned out any serious post-debate analysis of her policies or performance” and which “could derail her ability to keep the electorate focused”. Well, indeed, Kate, that’s why you’re drawing attention to it.

Mockery is an important tool in the political communications arsenal. The Right is particularly adept at using it. Frequently there need be no basis in reality for it; it’s enough to simply reiterate something so often that it becomes part of mainstream debate whether it has any reality or not. Fox News particularly effective at this in the United States. Look at the relentless insistence that Barack Obama is a socialist, or was born outside the US. What a shame Tony Abbott was born in England, or The Oz could have got a good local version of the Birther movement up and running against Gillard.

Cameron Stewart then tried to find a way to turn Julia Gillard’s high ratings among female voters into a problem. Stewart insisted that it wasn’t so much that Julia Gillard rated well with women, it was that she rated badly with men. He apparently arbitrarily mentioned the earlobes, just for good measure. To aid his case, he drew on “previously unpublished” polling data that showed that “men are not necessarily impressed with the more substantial aspects of the Prime Minister’s performance”.

The problem with Stewart’s “analysis”, and that’s being generous, is simple maths. If Gillard has “man trouble”, then why does she have a 16 point lead over Abbott as preferred Prime Minister in the most recent Newspoll? Why isn’t her “man trouble” cancelling out all those women conspiring together to unaccountably elect one of their own? As I explained recently in Crikey, where we’ve been looking at the gender issue rather longer than the mainstream media, the polls consistently show that male and female voters prefer Julia Gillard over Tony Abbott, but women like Gillard more and Abbott less than men.

Until recently that was reflected in voting intention, too – women were leaning more strongly toward Labor, but the parties were neck-and-neck among men.

Then again, the real “man trouble” The Australian wanted to draw our attention to was the Prime Minister’s unmarried status, about which Gillard has been peppered with questions over the last two days. The Oz hasn’t been alone in obsessing about this high issue of state, but has run two stories on Gillard having to justify why her partner wouldn’t be joining her on the campaign trail and how that contrasted with Tony Abbott and her Prime Ministerial predecessors (Hillary Clinton famously “couldn’t keep the dog on the porch”; poor Julia Gillard can’t even get Tim to help her out at work) and the shock revelation that Gillard’s partner would actually live with her in the Lodge.

But The Australian’s smearing of Gillard reached new heights this morning when reactionary lightweight Janet Albrechtsen launched a deeply personal attack on Gillard. Albrechtsen didn’t mention the ears, but that was because her sights were trained somewhat lower on the Gillard anatomy, accusing her of “showcasing a bare home and an empty kitchen as badges of honour and commitment to her career” and not knowing about how to meet “the needs of a husband or partner.”

It was Bill Heffernan’s “deliberately barren” tripe all over again.

And of course needless to say, no male politician was subject to the same withering assessment. But they never are, no matter how many ruined marriages or disappointed kids they leave behind.

None of this is accidental. It’s part of a systematic assault to smear Gillard by an outfit that wants to be the local version of Fox News. And her gender is at the heart of the campaign.

“The sisterhood should stop reading,” said Albrechtsen before attacking Gillard. Sisterhood? Jesus.

You don’t have to be part of any “sisterhood” to find this sort of garbage deeply offensive and contrary to the simple notion that a politician should be judged on his or her performance and on her policies, not on what she looks like or how she serves “the needs of a husband or partner.”


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142 thoughts on “The sisterhood? Jesus. How about common decency?

  1. steven.r.heath

    You are kidding right? How many column inches/pages were spent on Howard’s eyebrows, teeth, smile, lack of hair, greyness, choice of glasses? Then hours of debate on Rudd’s hair, glasses, similarity to Tintin, Keating’s nose, receding hair, clothes, Hawke’s ear pulling, bouffant and even as far back as Gorton’s ugly mug (rather nasty given his was due to war service) and as for McMahon’s ears? they are still being commented on.

  2. Rupert

    You’re right, Bernard. Pretty awful stuff full of gratuitous and irrelevant bilge and a high degree of double standards. It’s hard enough for women to lead fulfilling careers under the glass ceiling and some of these articles show why.

  3. Alexandra Little

    Bravo Bernard! Couldn’t have said it any better.

  4. Jenny

    Excellent, Bernard.

  5. Frank Campbell

    “Mockery is an important tool in the political communications arsenal.”

    Bernard Keane just doesn’t get it. Of course Gillard is being picked over by the mavens of the Right, not to mention those in the tossariat who just want attention: quirk-diggers like Legge. That’s their schtick.

    Pure hypocrisy. Abbott was vilified on Crikey for months. Not least by me. He’s a deeply unattractive, archaic social type. Even he knows it. A failed priest. A rag-bag of crude Catholicism. Naked exhibitionism and self-flagellation. A vulgar, ugly pugilist for an unfashionable God. His ridiculous ears frame a Neanderthal face, bonily exposed by that 1950s haircut. Abbott makes Santamaria look elegant.

    Gillard by contrast can be portrayed as a modern social persona: free of the dead hand of marriage (unlike uxorious Tony), untrammeled by middle-class consumerism. On the face of it, Gillard could appeal to men as much as women. But she’s doomed.

    Nine months ago the sticky circle of the Crikey tossariat opined that the Libs were headed for oblivion. They failed to see that the patronising upper middle class cohort (Turnbull, Wong, Rudd) were in thrall to the absurdity of the global warming cult. They haven’t changed. And neither has Gillard: her Left faction affiliation is meaningless. Merely a conduit for her single-minded ambition. Like so much of the political class, she has no grasp of empirical reality. Gillard and the Gang of Four were fully responsible for the pathetic incompetence in policy management: Green Loans, insulation, school buildings and the renewable energy scams.

    Gillard’s banality is numbing. Her public speaking betrays intellectual and linguistic vacuity. Metronomic tone-deaf delivery. A voice which would drive anyone insane. And I’ve never seen her ear-lobes.

    Bob Brown, Keane and the rest have, by lambasting anti-Gillard sexism, masked not only her ideological emptiness and incompetence but her partner: a failed hair-products salesman, dubious “businessman” and now employee of a CBD developer- as exposed in The Age. Variously described as a “consultant” and “real estate salesman” for this developer, Mathieson’s role appears to be as an agent of influence in the Brumby government planning process. Not only that,l but Gillard and Mathieson have been drawn into the hard-line Israeli orbit: classic ‘useful idiots’.

    If Fairfax can report this on page 1, why can’t Crikey?

  6. Scott

    See I disagree with this.

    The punters tend to vote for people based on shared personal values. If you’re an environmentalist, you vote for those who share your value of the environment. And so it is for those who value family/kids/religion etc. That is why Julia Gillard is taken to task by those who see family/kids/religion as the be all and end all. Just because these values aren’t our highest priority doesn’t mean that they are not someone elses. They are still values. Yes, it’s not exactly fun to watch these attacks, but it is an election for the highest executive position in the land. Politicians play for keeps .

    As for the physical appearance attacks, again, impression counts in all areas of life. How many people stopped voting for Abbott based on his speedo’s? Probably the same amount who will stop voting for Gillard based on her earlobs. And Gillard can’t court the media through spreads in Women’s Weekly and then complain about people focussing on the physical.

    But the funny thing about values is that they work both ways. Some people see a barren, kid hating, atheist when they look at Gillard, but others see a courageous, intelligent, driven professional woman worth voting for. She will gain as many votes as she loses.

  7. Patrick Brosnan

    Er … not very many? Perhaps you have some references. Shouldn’t be hard if there are so many of them.

  8. baal

    The only amazing thing about this is that anyone is surprised by it.

  9. taust

    If this attention is only give to women politicians and particularly to labour females why did Howard have his ears pinned back?

  10. Patrick Brosnan

    “As for the physical appearance attacks, again, impression counts in all areas of life. How many people stopped voting for Abbott based on his speedo’s? ” (sic)
    Yeah but Abbott is flaunting this image, it’s part of his (misguided) attempt to present himself as an every-man, “He’s an open book” A. Robb declared this morning. Yes Andrew and just to prove it I’ll present myself to the public dressed in my briefs. So really you’d have to try and find some evidence that Gillard is seeking to manipulate public opinion by having a tidy kitchen. Then perhaps Planet Janet may be justified in turning this cynical act back on its perpetrator. I doubt that you’ll be successful though.

  11. David

    My intense dislike of Albrechtsen is completely justified after reading her attack on Ms Gillard. Frankly if Albrechtsen was to fall under a truck………

  12. Pete

    Sisterhood of Jesus? JG’s in Hillsong? Does not compute.

  13. steven.r.heath

    Then of course (he does tend to have it ‘out there’) there is the ongoing commentary about Abbott’s physical appearance. P Brosnan questions the commentary on my first post? Jeez mate, what cave do you live in?

    Just to clarify, I cannot understand the interest in the appearance (or a kitchen) of our pollies.

  14. baal

    Come to think of it Tony Abbott’s hair definitely looks like he does it himself.

  15. Brad Sprigg

    I was just saying to a mate last night that I am getting a sickening feeling that the mainstream media and in particular News Ltd are intentionally perverting our democratic system in order to influence the election, and here we are.

  16. Sancho

    The cheapness of the attacks is so obvious that I suspect it might encourage people to vote for Gillard out of spite at Murdoch’s misogyny campaign.

  17. Liz45

    Well said Bernard! As I said yesterday, I get twice as angry with women who sell out other women, than I do with men – they should be ashamed!

  18. Paul_J

    Keep attacking the woman and the ALP will romp home as no one like to see a woman unfairly picked on in this country. Gillards performance at her press conference was brilliant and a few more barbs will fire her up even more … keep em coming.


  19. OBlizzard


    [not knowing about how to meet “the needs of a husband or partner.”]

    An utterly disgusting comment to make.

  20. Michael R James

    It would be much better if everyone, Bernard too, simply ignored Planet Janet. I have a strict policy of not reading her (ok, I skim her first two paras occassionally which is always more than enough to dismiss her–she has the highly consistent habit of setting up her whole (false) argument with a straw man in the first para; why read further?).
    I could be wrong (never underestimate the culpable stupidity of the Australian electorate) but somehow this exceptionally dirty smear campaign between News Ltd and the Liberal Party might backfire.

    Anyway, as a typical Boomer, I say let us get our priorities correct. Of course I mean that appalling red brick monstrosity of a house in La Gillard’s electorate! I mean, she needs to set the tone. It needs to be either a monstrous McMansion with hideous plaster columns and triple garage, or a to-die-for heritage-listed colonial. Never mind the kitchen, it is a scandal of unprecedented outrage that our PM has a post-war plain non-aspirant pile of drab bricks.

  21. zut alors


    Welcome to the world of women.

    Gillard is fortunate she has a partner – imagine how Murdoch Inc would be frothing and fabricating at their keyboards if the PM was single, eligible and ‘up for it’. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

  22. SusieQ

    Well written Bernard. Sounds like the Murdoch media are running another of their tiresome anti government campaigns. Why anyone buys the Australian these days is beyond me, its so biased its almost become a parody of what a good newspaper should be – and to think this is meant to be Rupert’s national newspaper to show off quality journalism!!!!
    Presumably the dirt being thrown at Julia by the media will now turn its attention to the Deputy Opposition Leader? I believe she has similar domestic arrangements to the PM – don’t recall seeing any confected outrage there!
    Mind you, did Julia really have to do the Womens Weekly photo shoot? I mean, really………..

  23. obiwan

    I believe Bernard was only paraphrasing the ridiculous comments of others.

  24. stephen_kaless

    @OBlizzard, then get angry at the Oz, they (Janet) said it, Bernard is merely reporting it.

    Great piece Bernard, to think there is three weeks to go of this digusting tripe served up from the neo cons.


    What is it with all the feminists? Of course it is realistic to question a woman on her status and style. We are voting for the person who will lead our country so we have every right to know a bit about them. And yes a person’s attributes do impact on their policy mindsets, and their presence on the world stage.
    Helen Clarke did not shirk from such issues and deservedly earned respond from all sides of politics for her sheer professionalism and strong leadership.
    Tony Abbott is also scrutinised for his attributes – namely his Catholicism – and voters have every right to pin him down on how this will influence his policies and preferences.
    Man up folks – it’s part of politics and they all have elephant hides so we should never feel sorry for them – they all had to trample and kill dozens of colleagues to get where they are.

  26. David

    @GESCOTT…there is no way Helen Clarke copped the abuse and insults PM Gillard is getting. The NZ media are tame pussycats one snap fram Clarke and they would slink away. If you are justifying the low insults coming from the media, you are no better than them. Why point the finger at feminists? You regard yourself as some type of macho chest thumper.

  27. Damien

    I’ve said it before – the only use for The Australian is garden mulch. I don’t know why you people bother with it. It’s long since given up any pretence of objectivity. It’s clear, however, that Gillard is struggling. She’ll have to go negative – if she’s got it in her.

  28. GocomSys

    It’s just getting too primitive! I’m signing off. Good luck Australia.

  29. Liz45

    @GESCOTT – Are you for real or just baiting? How anyone can live in the 21st century and be as ‘uneducated/ignorant’ as you are is amazing. Choosing the life choices, the size of a person’s earlobes, and the absense of children is a lot different to questioning policies, attitudes etc. And if we use your rationale, why aren’t males scrutinized in the same manner? Tony Abbott is a self confessed non-ironer? Why isn’t he castigated as a lazy, chauvinist bludger? Can he coo -apart from burning sangas on the barbie; do the housework, look after sick kids and sick/ageing parents?

    Tony Abbott’s catholicism would be of no interest to me as long as he didn’t use his beliefs to deny women the right to choose what happens in/to their bodies? His, and too many of his mates catholicism dictate their policies, and impose them on the rest of us. Julia Gillard doesn’t affect anyone by not having kids – there’s more to a woman’s life than being a mother! You don’t have to be a mother to have empathy or compassion with people who are raising kids, any more than I have to have a prostate to sympathise with men who have cancer or other medical problems with theirs! You only need to be a caring, compassionate human being, who is also a good listener!

    Feminists are those women who strive for equality and justice. What is going on in the filthy Murdoch press is in complete opposition to that philosphy. Like SUSIEQ I’m also amazed why anyone would even bother buying any Murdoch papers, let alone read them! Just garbage!
    I’m a feminist, and I object to the behaviour of those who insult my intelligence, by calling themselves journalists!

    Again I say, well done Bernard! A fine example of decency, integrity and a sharp contrast to those who are masquerading as journalists! Thank you!

  30. Jenness Gardner

    Thanks Bernard, telling it like it is. I’m in WA, so our media choices are really pretty limited. Thank god for Crikey!

  31. David

    Meanwhile one of the “recipients” of the so called leak the SMH’s Peter Hartcher, fires it up again in a morning release ….

    I recall these same defenders of our democracy, Oates included, writing only 3 weeks ago about the faceless men of the left who would bring down a PM, shame shame and Abbott and his heavies also cried crocodile tears, shame shame, poor Kevin. Now we have the faceless nameless leakers, those who would not only try and bring down a PM but a Government as well. And the driving force behind this vengance will be one Laurie Oakes with his self perceived importance along with his band of brothers from the msm.

    These scribes deserve nothing but contempt and this may be the start of an awakening by the public at large exposing their sleazy methods.
    Go get em Julia, in the face of attack they will prove to be a spineless lot, cowards always are.

  32. zut alors

    @ Frank Campbell,

    ‘uxorious Tony’ – thank you, that’s made my day. Many other adjectives I have in mind for the Coalition leader are not suitable for polite company but uxorious hits just the right note. Hope you don’t mind if I plagiarise it.

  33. John Bennetts

    Great stuff, Bernard.

    Throw a bit of burley and look at the fish come in. Frank Campbell even links Julia’s ears to the climate non-debate. Goodness knows, my own wife has big earlobes. So bleedin’ what?

    It was good this morning to see La Gillard being interviewed in Adelaide. Not debating rules. Giving a bit back. She is far from done yet. I was disappointed that she didn’t let her dog off the chain during the Debate and maul Tony a bit, after all… he was asking for a mauling.

    Today, however, she showed that the dog is not dead. It snarled. First Dog will, before the polling day, have a bit of a dog-bites-man story yet.

    Perhaps, like Keating, she “wants to do [him] slowly”.

  34. Christine Johnson

    I reckon Janet Albrechtsen’s been writing from her double-fronted brick veneer after a brain snap of Victorian magnitude:

    “Gillard admits she never wanted children or marriage. She has showcased a bare home and an empty kitchen as badges of honour and commitment to her career. She has never had to make room for the frustrating demands and magnificent responsibilities of caring for little babies, picking up sick children from school, raising teenagers. Not to mention the needs of a husband or partner.”
    In other words until the cafe curtains are up, the belly’s bulging and Dad’s got a sherry after a hard day’s work Janet’s women aren’t complete.
    “As brilliant as Gillard’s achievements are, she is no role model for girls who want more than a career”.
    These words in 2010 are a career advisors nightmare. Unless Janet’s been stuck behind the Hoover and Mixmaster since 1960 women are now pilots, Prime Ministers and bank CEO’s.

    Perhaps the bitter, resentful, irrelevant article is really about a journalist who missed out on a bit of affirmative action. Well, you should have joined a Union fifty years ago Janet!

  35. shepherdmarilyn

    I don’t like Gillard and never have, but I wouldn’t like her regardless of sex, hair colour, big ear lobes or anything else.

    I don’t like her because she is heartless.

  36. Patrick Brosnan

    @Steven Heath
    “P Brosnan questions the commentary on my first post?”
    Er … yes again. Sorry Steve mate but I’ve tried to find your qualifications in source of all truthiness and turned up nothing. Found plenty of stuff on you uncanny knack of acting like a tosser though.

  37. my say

    one thing Bernard that males may not realise the more you critise some one a woman cares about the more she stand by her. So i would think julias approval rating will go up
    its something in a womans gene, we look after people we care about.


    Liz – you shoot yourself in the foot – I no more question Tony’s ability to do housework than I do Julia’s – I imagine they are both fairly ordinary around the house.
    Just because you don’t iron shirts doesn’t mean you don’t clean the house, cook all the meals, change nappies, do night feeds and everything else – that’s the way it works in my house – I do those things but my wife irons my shirts as she does a much better job than me, whereas I do a better job in the kitchen and don’t need much sleep.
    Sorry but I regard religion and kids as both lifestyle choices based on strong personal convictions … so it’s all fair game.
    David – you obviously weren’t around in NZ when Helen Clarke was first elected – she was vilified by the conservative and Sunday media for years until they slowly came around. It’s Aussie journalists who are more sheepish – listen to one news bulletin and you know what all the other media are covering except for SBS god bless them.. and CRIKEY of course

  39. my say

    [I don’t like her because she is heartless.]

    so you know her well do you, you have persoanlly spent time in her company

    have y0u

  40. justmeint

    Is this going to be a gender election people? That would be a grave mistake I believe. Issues and policies are the important things here, and not who has the sexiest ankles or the prettiest hair colouring!

    It’s not very long ago that the American People voted in their First African American President – on a platform of ‘change’. I would guess that non white Americans were delirious when Barack Obama was sworn in as their 44th President, praying for, pleading for and dreaming of great changes that would be of immense benefit to themselves.

  41. my say

    [Gillard admits she never wanted children or marriage. She has showcased a bare home and an empty kitchen as badges of honour and commitment to her career. She has never had to make room for the frustrating demands and magnificent responsibilities of caring for little babies, picking up sick children from school, raising teenagers. Not to mention the needs of a husband or partner.”]

    how insulting for us mother and father sisters and brother etc who have a daughter and sister just like Julia.
    the right man never came along as simple as that.
    And if you travell a lot to canberra like Julia why would you have a house full of food and friut in a bowl.

  42. my say

    [hese scribes deserve nothing but contempt and this may be the start of an awakening by the public at large exposing their sleazy methods.
    Go get em Julia, in the face of attack they will prove to be a spineless lot, cowards always are.
    zut alors]

    here here

    there was another famous lady with red hair who had enemies and won through

    Elizabeth the First. go Julia we love you girl

    if i worked for a msm this is one of the first stories i would of told dont they have an imgagine ation at all can some one tell me what is the tce score to get in to journalism

  43. lord lucan

    In today’s “Australian,”(wed,28th, july ) “Gruppenführer Janet Albrechtsen” has a go at Julia Gillard for being a woman “Julia’s gender leg-up”. last week it was her accent whats next? the shoes she’s wearing, the way she holds a pie? how low can they go?come on Tony” Limbo”. Albrechtsens a classic, how did she get her job? good looks,charm.personality,marrying the bosses daughter or just being another right wing religious crank?Janet likes giving a bit of stick but can’t take it, try a bit of criticism of her on her blog and see it printed.(no you won’t). but on a more serious note, if two leprechauns met in the forest who get’s the pot of gold.

  44. Ian

    can some one tell me what is the tce score to get in to journalism

    2+2=Whatever Rupert tells you to write.

  45. Orchardo

    I would have thought Planet Janet’s ‘personal’ approach to vilifying the PM would have suited some people who regularly comment here (looking at you, SheperdMarilyn). Anyways…

    Julia Gillard could live in a ‘free love’ commune for all I care, political debate should be about politics, and the policy decisions made by our elected representatives. Anything else is just useless fluff and should be treated as such.

    Vote 1 Green 🙂


    Exactly My Say – it’s a lifestyle choice based on personal commitement and I applaud both Julia and Tony for being upfront about theirs… you can’t argue that either choice will impact more than the other on the ability overall to run the country… but it’s fair game to put them both under the scrutiny seeing as the person we are electing will be our nation’s figurehead.
    If you ask me personally I believe Tony through his faith shows he cares for humankind – the jury”s still out for me on Julia but I’ll be making up my mind in the next fortnight.
    Sadly we never saw the personal side of KRudd until he was dead and buried – bring it on Julia.

  47. David

    @Gescott…..actually I was living in New Zealand when Ms Clarke became PM. Working for Radio NZ worked in the media for some 33 years. I still disagree the NZ Media reaches the depths the majority here have. Yousay Ms Clarke was vilified!!!! really…….

    vilified – Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

    Vilify \Vil”i*fy\ (v[i^]l”[i^]*f[imac]), v. t. [imp. & p. p.
    Vilified; p. pr. & vb. n. Vilifying.] [L. vilis vile +
    -fy; cf. L. vilificare to esteem of little value.]
    1. To make vile; to debase; to degrade; to disgrace. [R.]
    [1913 Webster]

    Suspect you are taking a good deal of poetic license in your use of the word vilified….the one point we agree on she wouldn’t take any of the crap being dished out by our miserable big noting creeps, hopefully Ms Gillard will start returning fire on these fools. Oakes needs a decent serve and its about time some of the present cabinet started firing back, giving the media some of their own.

  48. leone

    I’m sick of the ‘bare kitchen’ and ’empty fruitbowl’ comments. They came from media remarks following publication of a photo taken of Gillard in her immaculate kitchen in 2005. She had just returned from a few weeks overseas and hadn’t even unpacked let alone had a chance to nip down to the shops for some apples before the media arrived for the photo op. If her kitchen had been untidy instead of immaculately clean she’d have been criticised for that. If the fruit bowl had contained the mouldering remains of fruit abandoned there before she flew off on her trip she’d have been crucified by the media for being a slob. Instead she was picked on for being tidy.

    The media in general can’t get over the fact we have intelligent, powerful, capable women well able to handle the top jobs, so we continue to get trivial sexist stereotyping instead of decent, informed comment.

  49. Liz45

    @GESCOT – I was referring to your assertion that these things are or should be relevant. My whole point is that they aren’t and shouldn’t be. I was drawing a comparison to the attitude in msm about Julia Gillard’s so called suitability to be a PM! It’s just ludicrous! I said nothing about your personal activites but rather agreeing, that raising these types of life style issues is back to the 50’s, unjust and irrelevant. That same scrutiny is not aimed at men!

    When Parliament is sitting, politicians stay in Canberra – away from kith and kin. The women do much if not all of the child rearing, including all those things that you mention that you do. If the family home is in Sydney or Melb or?? and you’re in the ACT, you aren’t doing any of these family chores. My point is, that the questions re doing both jobs aren’t aimed at men. It’s accepted that men with ambition in politics will strive for these positions. The same values are not applied to women. The new parliament house didn’t even have a creche until a few years ago, and look at the hue and cry when a Senator nursed her baby in the Senate, and another member breastfed hers in the parliament! Sexism, that’s what it’s called. What Janet A did was go that step further! Nasty, vindictive,petty and irrelevant!

    There’s also more judgements on how women look, rather than what we do! This doesn’t apply to men. You only have to glance at the magazines to see the emphasis on body shape, looks, having babies, getting your waistline back, etc ad nauseum. Janet A displayed 1950’s sexist rubbish and calls it journalism! I find it objectionable! It has nothing to do with whether I do or don’t like the women treated this way – like a horse or some other ‘owned’ commodity!
    The attitude by some conservatives seems to still be, that women have to be ‘owned’ and ‘controlled’ by a bloke(father or husband) . Shock, horror that Julia is more than able to live her own life; making her own personal choices! She’s 47! Her choice! It’s her business if she didn’t want to have children – and if she felt that way, it was a responsible thing not to bring kids into this world – doesn’t mean that she’s no longer a ‘real’ woman!

  50. OBlizzard

    OBIWAN & Stephen.

    Guys I know, I didn’t wasn’t blaming Bernard, I just quoted him because it came from his piece.

  51. lord lucan

    G E Scott, the choice is very easy about who runs the country for the average person, you are either going to get beaten with one stick or beaten with two sticks. whoever wins you are still going to be beaten. As for Tony Abbott i was going to say one word but i have decided on two, “Catholic Taliban”.

  52. David

    @GESCOTT……”If you ask me personally I believe Tony through his faith shows he cares for humankind “….how quaint, how beautiful, how sooooo very funny, you are a comedian GE…..more more.

  53. Holden Back

    @DAMIEN The Australian can also be used to light fires, and most satisfyingly, if shredded, in a composting toilet.

    Take that, Janet!

  54. donica

    Jeez this is a crap election campaign. The debate was boring and not a debate at all. The pollies won’t stand by, or stand up for anything for more than five minutes. Now we have this sort of personal attack.

  55. zut alors

    Congratulations to Murdoch Inc, they have achieved their goals ie: to waylay the election with sensationalist sexist issues, dumb down discussion/debate and give scant coverage of actual politicies.

    Instead of discussing Abbott’s intention to lift protection on Australia’s marine parks (announced yesterday) here we all are putting energy into dreck published by The Australian. For god’s sake, when will people stop buying and reading Murdoch trash/trivia – it’s only encouraging him.

  56. Lucy

    The worst part is, when we are going through our next round of navel-gazing about why there aren’t more women in politics, you can bet your bottom dollar these no-hopers will be the same ones trotted out to reassure us that women don’t thrive in a combative environment, or prefer to pursue other vocations, or maybe they just don’t like working long hours. You see? They just can’t hack politics! Nothing to do with the fact that we make it systematically difficult for them, is it?

    As for everybody arguing the line about the amount of attention paid to Howard’s eyebrows/Abbott’s Speedos… the difference is that nobody ever, ever, ever suggested that discussion of Howard’s eyebrows was threatening to derail policy discussion during one of his election campaigns, because, oh wait… because it never did. Nobody has ever inspected Tony Abbott’s fruit bowl for signs of life and, finding it wanting, suggested that this had some kind of bearing on his fitness as a public figure. Nobody ever asked Howard or Abbott if they were making a policy announcement to pave the way for a new role for their spouse in government. Nobody ever suggested that any of these things were remotely connected to either man’s ability to govern, because THEY WERE NOT.

    PS Dear Crikey ed, Bernard is killing it this election campaign, he may even be its saving grace.

    PPS Shoutout to Bob Brown, who correctly recognised that this stuff is disgusting, and said as much.


    Yes David – Tony’s original career path was religion. I am not a religious person myself but work with them regularly in my community service occupation. I know all the jokes about priests and little boys but I have found that 99% of those faith-based workers I know have a deep and genuine compassion for humankind, and are happy to work 70 hours a week for SFA because they believe in what they are doing. I firmly believe Tony has a commitment to the greater good based on my personal meetings with him. I have also spend time (only a few hours though) with Julia and did not see that care coming through.
    Neither one particularly excites me from a political perspective – I was a Beazley fan until he wimped out like all the others on illegal immigration…
    But no-one come close to Lange or Clarke by a country mile — not even Keating in his heyday.
    That is funny – I worked at RNZ also in another life ! !
    Liz45 – sorry you think that everything I say is an attack – it’s not – I agree that the bureaucrats who run our system are still catching up on what’s happened overseas 20 years ago … but I repeat the point that it’s only fair and reasonable to examine someone’s personal mindsets when you are about to put them in a position of ultimate power (and I don’t mean captain of the first 11) — and for goodness sake I think that media and cartoonists have put all our male and female politicians under the microscope for their dress sense, eyebrows, sartorial elegance or over-elegance (think Paul Keating and Jeff Kennett), glasses, hair or lack of it, speedos, etc etc … you are being a little one-eyed me thinks.

  58. Flower

    “If you ask me personally I believe Tony through his faith shows he cares for humankind….”

    Humankind? Ha ha – love that one G E Scott – particularly when the budgie brain/Godbothering Tony humiliated a fine young man on the national airwaves, where he squealed to all and sundry that the young man was his son from a liaison decades ago.

    “Umm….ahhhh…um…ahhh….yeah…but.. but.”

    Gillard cried when her cat died so she’s compassionate. She’s also got balls and resilience – traits the petty media find threatening. Hey Julia – you go girlfriend!

  59. Liz45

    @GESCOTT –  and for goodness sake I think that media and cartoonists have put all our male and female politicians under the microscope for their dress sense, eyebrows, sartorial elegance or over-elegance

    Oh! for goodness sake! I wasn’t referring to cartoonists or other light hearted bits of trivia! The discussion is about the ‘opinion’ pieces in the major newspaper/s of the country. Petty, nasty, sexist and disgraceful journalism – that’s the issue! You go off on a tangent and try to pass it off as either legitimate scrutinising of Julia Gillard as though this rubbish is the same as a person who draws cartoons for a living, and puts them forward in the media as such! The garbage put forward by Janet A is just that – garbage journalism!

    Funny how feminists are either accused of;
    not having a sense of humour;
    taking things too seriously or
    being ‘one-eyed’?

    Well, how would you ‘label’ Bernard’s article, and how is my response more biased or serious or frivolous than his? I think you need to rethink your attitudes to what’s blatant revolting and sexist journalism, and what is just an opinion based on fact/s! Would you think the same if Julia Gillard was a black woman, and the same type of language was used? That would be both racist and sexist wouldn’t it? If you can’t put yourself into a woman’s shoes for a second, that’s your problem!

    It was unnecessary; unjust and demeaning – gutter journalism?

  60. Rena Zurawel

    It is probably because we have never had a bachelor candidate.
    It is not her looks that I don’t like about Julia. With her status she could have afford a better fashion designer.
    There is something not quite OK with the way some female politicians choose to wear. Unlike European/Asian women politicians, who are not ashamed to show their femininity and feel comofortable in dresses, sari or kaftans.
    Julia is, otherwise, quite an attractive woman. Why to pretend to be a lady in… trousers. Like Hillary.

  61. John Bennetts

    Oh dear, Rena. Your comment resulted in a fleeting image of Julia looking fine, both with her trousers on and without them.

    OTOH, isn’t it all a bit nonsensical for ladies to be judged as though they were cattle? She can wear whatever she likes and my opinion of her will still be based on what she and those allied to her achieve, rather than how they look.

  62. PoliticalTarot

    Totally agree. Leave her alone already. She dresses appropriately for her job, so let’s leave it at that. Disgraceful effort on the part of the right-wing ‘Australian’ to demean her. Bet she looks a damn sight better than any of that lot would as PM.

  63. 44fx290

    Bernard, nice one. My only additional observation is to note that Fox News, of course, is Rupert’s doing, as is The Australian. Let’s not quibble about the origins of these horrors. If only someone had shot off Sir Keith’s nuts, then we would have been saved considerable irritation.

  64. whoknows

    Sooooo, why haven’t the media commentators who are critiquing Mr Gillard’s looks, dress sense and martial status giving the same space to Bob Brown for instance?

  65. sickofitall

    Arguments against free speech (which I am generally a supporter of): Janet Albrechtsen, Lenore Taylor, Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt, Piers Akerman, Greg Sheridan, Laurie Oakes.

  66. karldoh

    It’s been years, I’m sick to death of reading about Gillard’s barren fruitbowl. I just wish my kitchen was that tidy.

  67. powerisnotstrength

    An amazing barrage of personal attacks on Janet Albrechtsen today, starting with Bernard Keane calling her a “reactionary lightweight”. That’s great Bernard. Criticise personal attacks by showing us all how it’s done.

    Albrechtsen quotes Gillard saying, “the things we [women] have in common, experiences, choices, fears and hopes that our male colleagues may sympathise with but will never share.”

    She goes on from there to question how many of those “experiences, choices, fears and hopes” Gillard has a right to claim in calling for the sisterhood’s sexist vote.

    And as you acknowledged, Albrechtsen didn’t even mention the ears. What was it you said about Kate Legge, Bernard? “Well, indeed, Kate, that’s why you’re drawing attention to it.”

    Those who remember the appearance-obsessed media snow job which buried the career of Senator Stott-Despoja, will recognise the profound shallowness of Australian political journalism. But Bernard, that doesn’t mean two wrongs make a right.

  68. David

    @SICKOFITALL…on that thread on the ABC State wide morning programme hosted by former jurno Geoff Hutchison (In 1998 joined the ABC as a senior reporter on the 7.30 Report. A Walkley award nominee in his first months, he continued with the programme until 2001 when he became the ABC’s Europe correspondent for both television and radio, based in Brussels.) A caller asked why the ABC used mainly News Ltd Journalists as political commentators such as Bolt, Shanahan and Kelly. The response was, because they were long standing reputable experts.
    However Hutchison assurred the caller he would cast the net wider in future!!!!
    This morning at 6-40am ABC TV’S 24/7 News Channel gave a virtual 15 min free commercial to the Coalitions Andrew Robb by way of a very soft chatty i.v about Coalition financial policy. Nothing too severe just a friendly get together.
    Then on the ABC am current affairs programme at 8am Hockey enjoyed another friendly little plug for coalition policy for 5mins followed by Lyndell Curtis giving Swan the 3rd degree, full on
    attack .
    Anyone who has any doubts about where the ABC are directing their preferences in friendly fire merely need to listen over a variety of their news and current affairs offerings. It is so blatantly
    against their charter, they must be brought to account.
    Just what benefits the ABC staff in general imagine they will receive from an Abbott led Government defies logic. Howard decreased their budget time and again.Labor has increased it. I can only summise somewhere in the mix the number of Catholics on their staff is a factor. I cannot see any other reason, but others here may.

  69. Liz45

    @PINS – Albrechtsen quotes Gillard saying, “the things we [women] have in common, experiences, choices, fears and hopes that our male colleagues may sympathise with but will never share.”

    I agree with Julia Gillard re this sentiment. It’s interesting to read the attitudes of some men who can’t see anything wrong with using sexist language and behaviours whenever women ‘move outside’ their perceived realm. Women are more aware of prejudice and pre-conceived attitudes and opinions than men – it could be due to the rules being laid down by men in the first place? Black and coloured women have to put up with racism as well. If English is their second language also, they often lead a miserable and challenging life!
    How many women made the laws that so adversely affected us for so long, and the continuing struggle to remove those chains of injustice? Quite franksly, I’m disappointed that this conversation is still happening. I was naive to believe that most peoples’ response to Bernard’s article would’ve been to be in agreement, and reaffirm their non-sexist beliefs, and that would be the end of it! Sadly, not so! However, it is heartening to read comments from men who are angered by this bs!

    @RENA – I’m disappointed that you fell into the sexist habit of discussing and disagreeing with how one woman chooses to dress! Sigh!!!!!

  70. Oscar

    Given the poor Liberal party polling, it was easy to predict this was coming – the only surprise is how brazen the attacks have become so soon. No more devious or oblique references, no more “off-the-record” or “deep background”. No more dog whistling. No more pretences to journalistic integrity, the public interest or even the public’s “right to know”.

    One of the few times I have ever believed Abbott was when said he expected this was going to be a very dirty campaign – because he knew exactly who he could rely on to make it so.

    It seems we’ve reached the “tipping point” very early. As we get closer to election day, we can expect both the press (especially one particular segment of it) and their political affiliates to unleash anything and everything – true or not, relevant or not.

    Anything to keep people’s attention away from the Liberals complete lack of policy or principle or vision, or (most of all) from their leader’s sickening mysogyny.

    Does anyone except me remember his stance on RU486? Or Gardasil? Or his comments on women’s virginity being their “greatest gift? Or about women’s place being behind their ironing boards? If no-one else can see the links between these things and the current incarnation of ‘Uxurious Tony’ (thanks to Frank Campbell for that one!) then they should brush up on their psychology – with special emhpasis on Greek society in general and Euripides in particular.

    However, while the electorate may be scandalised, disgusted or amused by these antics, I don’t believe it generally votes on the basis of them.

  71. Oscar

    Oops – typo – I mean’t ‘Uxorious Tony’.

  72. John Bennetts

    Liz45 writes of “the attitudes of some men who can’t see …” as though it is only males who are blind to the opinions and needs of others.

    She justifies this anti-male bias by stating “Women are more aware of prejudice and pre-conceived attitudes and opinions than men”. Are they? I submit that the contemporary male has grown up adopting and respecting EEO policies, has seen women rise through the ranks of academia and management and whose mothers and sisters would stand for nothing except equality, both socially and ethically. Contemporary male (and female) may not be perfect and there are certainly issues still regarding the closes men’s club of public company directorships, etc, but the basic rights and opportunities are much closer to equal than ever before. Can we not, therefore, live that much more harmoniously together, setting aside past differences?

    Methinks this contributor is locked into a mindset of about half a century ago, still fighting the old wars and chanting the same, tired slogans.

    But wait, there is a ray of light, in the form of “I was naive to believe that most peoples’ response to Bernard’s article would’ve been to be in agreement, and reaffirm their non-sexist beliefs, and that would be the end of it!” So, Liz was optimistic for the cause of non-sexism, ready to accept that the world has moved on from the old battle grounds.

    But.. “Sadly, not so!” Oh dear, she has detected a few unbalanced and plain ratbag comments which do not pass her filter, whilst not perceiving her own extreme anti-male bias. Liz needs to lighten up, smell the roses and enjoy the beauty of life more and put the old wars back where they belong – in the past.

  73. Liz45

    @JOHN BENNETTS – As I live inside a woman’s body, please give me the courtesy of knowing what that has been and still is like. Yes, there’ve been positive changes re the law and other areas; but sadly too many cases, there is only lip service. Changing ingrained attitudes takes much longer, sadly!

    This article is about the sexist language engaged in by some people who call themselves journalists. Bernard took them to task! In fact, his “Jesus” utterance proves his frustration, that in 2010 this sort of crap is still going on. I write, partly in agreement with his frustration. Read his article again John! That’s if you read it at all!

    As for your assertions that I’m still living in a bygone era, I draw your attention to an article in the SMH on May 1 this year. “Rape of woman in skinny jeans ‘not possible’? Go online and read it! I then invite you to read a recent Victorian report about a recent survey into attitudes re domestic violence and sexual assault. This was undertaken by the Victorian Dept of Health. You could access it there, or perhaps on the White Ribbon Day website. You may then like to read an account of a journalist in a variety of situations including a men’s room, a conversation with a well known entertainer and other comments and conversations he’s observed. Then you may like to take note of the news items for a week and count the number of crimes involving violence towards women. Then watch last weeks 4 Corners about the growing use of rape in war. After that you could do some reading re the more subtle areas of discrimination, that is still flourishing!

    Bernard Keane wrote this article which displays, that he was obviously disgusted, frustrated and angry at the sexist rubbish written by Janet A and others. This is what I responded to. It is ridiculous for you to accuse me of living in the past, when this article was only written a couple of days ago. IF THINGS HAD CHANGED, SUCH CRAP WOULD NOT BE WRITTEN! And it wouldn’t even be necessary for Brendan out of frustration and disgust to respond to it! He gets it – the fact that you do not is more to do with your own attitudes of what sexism is and how destructive and unjust it is!

    You need a dose of reality. Or at least, the realisation, that upon perusing life in a woman’s world through a woman’s eyes, life is not as privileged as yours. If you’re also a black woman, it’s worse. Listen to women in the NT (like I did last night) and ask them about non-sexist language, attitudes and paternalism – combine these with racism, and life is real and unjust!

    If you put Sexual Harassment into your search engine, you’ll probably come up with 11,400,000 different sites! Hardly an indication of it not existing!

    The 2008 survey found that 22% of women and 5% of men aged 18-64 have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in their lifetime, compared to 28% of women and 7% of men in 2003. I suggest that you read the whole survey results!

    Sexual harassment in Australia – Just two of the articles!
    On 3 November, Commissioner Broderick released Sexual harassment: Serious business, the results of the 2008 national telephone survey on sexual harassment. …
    http://www.hreoc.gov.au/sexualharassment/index.html – Cached – Similar

    Court upholds record sexual harassment payout – ABC News …
    27 Jul 2010 … A record sexual harassment payout has been upheld by the Full Court for a South Australian woman who was unfairly dismissed from her …
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/27/2965290.htm – Cached

  74. David

    @OSCAR…points well made and pleased you have brought it to our attention. It should never be forgotten Abbott was the chief head kicker and with Minchin instigator of Howards dirty tricks brigade. It is well documented in Hansard and TV his disgusting verbal attacks from the despatch box, jaw thrust forward, eyes bulging, screaming at fever pitch (not an exageration), arms waving like an out of control windmill. His personal attacks and final demolishing of another red head Pauline Hanson were shameful, I didn’t agree with her politics, but she did not deserve the public humiliation she received from Abott and Howard.
    Abbott used David Ettridge and David Oldfield as his path, under privledge in the House of Reps, to accuse Hanson of allowing Ettridge to launder donations off shore in Vanuatu. Plus the $500.000.00 One Nation would receive after the Queensland election. Claims dismissed in the Court.

    Tony Abbott on One Nation
    House of Representatives – Adjournment Debate
    July 1, 1998
    Mr ABBOTT (Warringah–Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs) (7.05 p.m.)–As the member for Werriwa (Mr Latham) well knows, politics sometimes makes for odd bedfellows, and even the best of us get saddled with our own personal Judas. I do not judge the Labor Party by Mal Colston. Years ago it would have been quite improper to judge the Nationalist Party by T.J. Leahy, and the member for Werriwa should not judge me by David Oldfield.

    Today the member for Oxley (Ms Hanson) released her party’s immigration policy. The first question that she faced at the subsequent press conference was the use of a tax haven by One Nation Ltd’s part-owner and national director, David Ettridge. She refused to take any questions on this subject, but these are the questions which One Nation’s supporters across Australian want her to answer. How can the party which claims to be against tax avoidance and which claims to be against get-rich-quick scams by white shoe brigade spivs have as its national director someone who does not pay his tax and uses tax havens?

    It was also noteworthy in today’s press conference that David Oldfield chose to keep a low profile. The puppet master might have withdrawn behind the curtains, but he is clearly still pulling the strings, as more and more One Nation members are realising. People are getting the message that Pauline Hanson is being used by the two Davids and that David Oldfield is using Pauline Hanson as his personal Trojan horse to enter the Senate.

    More and more One Nation members are getting the message. Peter Archer, their former regional director in New South Wales, said that Oldfield is in it for power, Ettridge is in it for money and Hanson is in it for ego. What is happening is that people are understanding that Oldfield, Ettridge and Hanson are engaged in a strange menage a trois. But where is it leading the nation? What type of people are running One Nation?

    It is typical of David Ettridge and David Oldfield that they will use a half-truth to conceal a big lie. World Vision did in fact pay David Ettridge’s company, Global Communications, but today made clear to my office that all the cheques went to PO Box 775 in Manly. World Vision did not send cheques to Vanuatu and World Vision did not know they were in some way or form paying Ross Boland. This is typical of the web of deceit woven by David Ettridge and David Oldfield.

    The big question is: what is going to happen to the $500,000 in taxpayers’ money that they are entitled to after the Queensland election? The registered agent of the One Nation party is presumably David Ettridge, and there is nothing at all to stop David Ettridge using this money to travel to Vanuatu, presumably to visit Ross Boland, to collect the cheques which he reckons went to a one-roomed house in a village without any electricity.

    This is not a time to mince words. I say in this parliament that Oldfield and Ettridge are chronic and habitual liars, and I again call on the ASC to investigate whether David Ettridge has used the incorporation of a company in Vanuatu as a device to get around Australian bankruptcy law.

    All said under protection of the House. All proven to be wrong.

    Abbotts speeches in the House are worthy of reading. Then ask if this the mild mannered catholic god fearing person he would have us believe!!!!!!!!!
    Is Abbott capable of organising the leaks if they are real? Dont need to be a brain surgeon to come to a conclusion.

  75. powerisnotstrength

    LEONE: “The media in general can’t get over the fact we have intelligent, powerful, capable women well able to handle the top jobs, so we continue to get trivial sexist stereotyping instead of decent, informed comment.”

    When I mentioned in passing what the media had done to Natasha Stott Despoja – the constant references to nothing but her clothing, footwear, hairstyles, love life, and attendance at social functions, which completely buried her as a political identity – I had forgotten something.

    It had to do with a media publication suggesting Senator Stott Despoja was “more interested in social climbing and mass media exposure than serious reform”, and eventually nominating itself for a Walkley for the following achievement:
    [The demise of the Democrats remains Crikey’s biggest contribution to Australian politics …]
    If you can believe that, then you have Crikey to thank for the downfall of the most female-dominated political party in Australia, and its relentless attacks on a party leader for “social climbing”, a leader whose political views were almost never printed in the media, you had to go to her website or to Hansard.

    More importantly, it was the only party that could be relied on to inject some rationality into policy debates – the hard ones on complex issues, not just the easy political candy that the Greens indulge in – whenever the major parties descended into me-too-ism or bidding wars for pork barrels. Now the only third voice left is the Greens, who have all the political creativity of a fortune-cookie factory.

    Thanks Crikey. A real blow struck for government accountability, rationality, and women in politics. And now you complain about the demise of quality politics.

  76. baal

    @LZ45, JOHN Bennets

    FYI there is a substantial pair of articles in today’s Australian Financial Review about the seriousness of sexual harassment – in general – and in particular a case brought by female air traffic controllers accusing their colleagues of serious breaches.

  77. leone

    @ Oscar – I remember all that. I also remember all the fuss about Abbott’s supposed love child and the comments made by the mother of that child in explaining how she came to believe Abbott was the father when he wasn’t. She said that in the accommodation she shared with Abbott and other students it was common practice to come in at night and fall into any bed, regardless of who might already be in it, and to then have sex with the other occupant. She excused her mistake on the grounds it was dark and she didn’t know who she was bonking. Charming! At the time Abbott was thinking about joining the priesthood and so was out for all the sex he could get before he committed to lifelong chastity. Two thoroughly unsavoury characters, supposedly in a relationship but happy to bonk anyone and anything that fell into their clutches. I have no reason to believe that Abbott has changed his attitude to women since those days. His preoccupation with sex and the virginity of his daughters despite his earlier, much publicised williness to have sex with any female available tells me that he is a misogynist of the highest order. His denigration and continuing carping about Gillard’s single, childless status adds to that conviction.

  78. EngineeringReality

    Anyone with half a brain or more will listen to what the PM and her government are saying and doing and vote accordingly.

    Any mentally deficient halfwits below that might either be swayed to vote for someone because they don’t like the shape of their earlobes or write for one of Rupert’s slimerag papers.

    The first group will vote according to the issues and policies.

    No one can really change the votes of the latter group.

    Hopefully Australia’s population is composed of more of the former with the later still absent from the electoral role.

  79. CliffG

    “The Australian”? Isn’t that the bunch that so stridently wanted the nation (which pinched its name) to become a republic that it drove the nation back to monarchy and a rejection of the referendum?
    They’ve been backing the Libs for ages, providing them with the contexts they need as well as their daily worksheets. Just look at the blistering attacks they orchestrated on climate change. And a day hasn’t gone by for months now when we don’t get our next chunk of B.E.R. news (even when it was administered by the states and most of them have been very successful). And when interest rates don’t rise, it’s a “Rate Reprieve for Gillard”. No credit due of course to the Labor Government, when we are told daily by their Liberal mates that the economy is in disarray. No “Government wins on economy” headline!
    It’s just a big daily yawn from a bunch of journos who are too gutless to stick up their hands and act on all the home-spun political advice they dish out to others and stand for a seat. And Albrechtsen is the worst of the lot. Ms Know-it-all-from-my-word-processor!
    Bob Brown (remember him…he defeated climate change action in the Senate) was right, at least, when he said Twiggy Forrest should go for broke and become a politician rather than attempt to do it from under a business cloak. The same goes for “The Australian”. These small men with big money who dribble over the power they mistakenly think they exercise.
    But it’s so easy to ignore them. Just keep your eye on the game and see. Malcolm Turnbull will, quite soon, be the new Leader and not long after we’ll get a change on action against climate change. And when the 2010 Senate vote takes effect it will improve radically.
    How many times have you heard the utter contradiction from the lips of Tony Abbott, that Labor has no climate change plan, but that Labor will introduce a price on carbon with the “Greens”?
    Those who want it only have to see to it that Abbott loses! And that’s the best way of teaching “The Australian”some humility as well.

  80. Venise Alstergren

    It is wish fulfilment of the basest kind to see the commentariat suffering from an extreme case of Shadenfreude about Julia Gillard. Silly me, I thought everyone was going to be adult about the hapless Julia and criticise her government, or lack of it.

    Because one of Rupert Murdoch’s hired help has yarped on-in the negative-about Gillard’s personal habits (not married!!!How shocking! Kitchen too clean, also empty????How mortifying. No children!!!!!!!! Shock, horror, dismay) I fail to see why Crikey readers have descended to that scribe’s poor white trash level.

    Why does the scribe, and all her ilk, bear Julia Gillard such ill will?

    It’s quite elementary really. The planet’s personal gossip writer, would go down on her knees to be in Gillard’s place.

    Thus does colossal envy reveal the hatred of any woman who dares to succeed.

    The day Julia Gillard became Prime Minister I predicted that her worst enemies would turn out to be other women.

    Thank you Janet for illustrating my point.

  81. PoliticalTarot

    I am actually embarrassed to read the papers. She’s not married! She has no kids! She doesn’t believe in the Christian God! Her fruit bowl is empty! (well, at least it’s not full of sugary snacks to make the kids fat).

    Why are these idiotic irrelevancies even being debated?

    Oh that’s right. Because the media caters to Conservatives!

    How about we time-travel from Victorian England or some other such time in the past – fast forward to 2010 already.

  82. Venise Alstergren

    POLITCALTAROT: The Murdoch media caters to people living in the 1960s. Whereas today we live in the 1970s. Pity about the rest of the world which believes we live in the year 2010 AD!?

    In my opinion, the only use for a tabloid is to glance at while having coffee. It doesn’t take up too much space.

    It’s just a great big waste of non renewable native forest which is sacrificed to provide the Oz with blather.

  83. Liz45

    @VENISE – Envy? I think you have it! The attitude displayed by Janet A is totally foreign to the group of women I meet with – just have, at the board meeting of a womens’ health centre. The whole idea of this vital safe space for women is structured from several vital beliefs – the main one, recognising the the needs and struggles, and applauding the talents and achievements of all women and girls! It’s a shame, that in 2010 the ugliness displayed by the said article is still in operation, and what is even sadder, that some people feel the need to sanction it or at least, make excuses for it! It should be called by its ugly name, sexism and discrimination, and repudiated by all who believe in decency and integrity!

    As I’ve said earlier, I’m twice as angry with women who sell out other women – they should know better and be more supportive!

  84. baal

    The right wing commentariat is paid to do one thing: get up the noses of the Left. They don’t believe in anything (that’s what being right wing is) so best to ignore them and they will go away, eventually.

  85. powerisnotstrength

    BAAL, how would you know what various kinds of right wing do or don’t believe in – did you ever ask them?

  86. Flower

    Oh we don’t need to ask Righty what he believes in – it’s volunteered. One sexist buffoon comes to mind – the gossiping Joe Hockey:

    “Wayne Swan is to surpluses what Paris Hilton is to celibacy – they remember it once existed but they’ll never see it again,” spruiked the buffoon.

    And head acolyte heard this and was pleased and after much fumbling said:

    “Umm….ahhh…ummm….I think Joe is a master of the colourful turn of phrase. He is a great man for getting the message across, and I think that’s what he’s done this morning.”

    Yeah right…….resurrect those chastity belts girls!

  87. baal

    Are yu suggesting that it isn’t obvious what they (don’t) believe in from what they write? Mischief is their motivation. Just read Bolt, Devine, Hednerson carefully and see the way they misrepresent, gloss over details that donlt suit and make stuff about people they don’t like. If you can’t see it, them perhaps you’re part of it.

  88. powerisnotstrength

    BAAL, yes I do suggest that. The political right wing is a collection of various attitudes. What you described are those who sometimes label themselves “realists” and whose philosophy amounts to little more than “I’m doing OK in the status quo so bugger the rest of you.” It was these “realists” that you described.

    Then there are idealists like those who wrote the American Declaration of Independence. And a whole range besides that, like the Girondist faction of the French Revolution, who started out on the radical left (up on the “montagne” of the Assembly) wanting a fair go for all, but who later found themselves in the centre as the prevailing orthodoxy shifted further and further towards ultra-democracy and “might is right”. Given time the Girondins would have come to be seen as right-wing, had most of them not been guillotined in 1793 and the remainder fled.

    So there is a lot of variety on the right, but all of them, when outnumbered by the left, tend to give some of the same answers to some of the same questions, and you may find it hard to tell them apart. But FLOWER, if you think making a Paris Hilton joke marks Joe Hockey as an amoral “realist” then I question whether you’re even trying.

  89. baal

    I seem to recall that it was the Neo-cons in and around the Bush administrations who cynically told the ‘realists’ on the liberal side of US politics that they were irrelevant because now was the time of the believers. They turned out to be fantasists – they imagined that the USA (still?) had the clout, energy and moral right to impose its view of world order on other nations (although usually in the name of protecting the US from existential or potential threats). This was how they saw the invasion of Iraq – with as Paul Wolfitz admitted – the search for WMDs a ‘bureaucratic’ justification (to hide the true motivation from the public). Post facto it was further justified in terms of removing a vicious dictator – an ends-justifies-the-means argument now swallowed by a lot of people. Now, it seems, popular culture is steadily infecting us with sympathy for the poor US grunts fighting wars in appalling conditions without the right moral framework or logistical backup. That group of Neo-cons devised their strategy out of the ruins of the Soviet bloc and as a way of purging the perception that they had ‘lost’ the Vietnam war because of liberal squeamishness. So, unless I misunderstand you, I think the label ‘realist’ is a furphy. The right will do anything to undermine, circumvent and manipulate democracy – and that includes rightists who reside on the left. Their instincts are authoritarian and their slippery rhetoric devised to conceal that and characacterise the left as totalitarian.

  90. powerisnotstrength

    BAAL, yes I recall the same thing. You may not like my answer, but it’s one of the oldest political tricks simply to adopt your opponents’ favourite label to put yourself back in fashion. Thus the realist Bush brands himself as an idealist and the idealists as realists; Stalin brands himself as a socialist and the opposite of what he really was, a fascist; Soviet principalities are named “Autonomous Republics”; Kim Il-Sung calls his country the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Alexander Hamilton calls his unionist reforms “federalist” in order to get the old federalists to vote for it (leading to a civil war the next century because the old federalists felt tricked); Roosevelt calls himself a liberal, henceforth changing “liberal” from a right wing label to a left wing label in America which it still is today; anticommunist reformer Deng Xiaoping wears the cover of a communist and declares Mao to be “70% good and 30% bad” when what he really means is the only good thing Mao ever did was to unify China and it was all downhill from there … and so on. In short, just because somebody says something for effect doesn’t make it true.

  91. powerisnotstrength

    MODERATOR, I’m repeating the above post so it can be deleted.

    BAAL, yes I recall the same thing. It’s one of the oldest political tricks simply to adopt your opponents’ favourite label to put yourself back in fashion. Thus the realist Bush brands himself as an idealist and the idealists as realists; St@lin brands himself as a s0cialist and the opposite of what he really is, a f@scist (a s0cialist state exists for the people; in a f@scist state it’s the other way round); S0viet principalities are named “Autonomous Republics”; Kim Il-Sung calls his country the Democratic People’s Republic of K0rea; Alexander Hamilton calls his unionist reforms “federalist” in order to get the old federalists to vote for it (leading to a civil war the next century because the old federalists felt tricked); Roosevelt calls his s0cialist reforms liberal, henceforth changing “liberal” (which had gone from relatively left to relatively right as times changed, see above) back to a left wing s0cialist label in America which it still is today; antic0mmunist reformer Deng Xiaoping wears the cover of a c0mmunist and declares M@o to be “70% good and 30% bad” when what he really means is the only good thing M@0 ever did was to unify China and it was all downhill from there … and so on. In short, just because somebody says something for effect doesn’t make it true.

  92. Venise Alstergren

    Nearly all countries which have the word Democratic in their title are precisely the opposite.

  93. RedCrikey

    Albrechtsen usually takes a tack that is abhorrent to me but you have just validated everything that is wrong in your debative “essay”. You justify your argument with a line from another writer totally out of context. You use the line about “lack of housekeeping” etc. to show that Albrechtsen was criticising Julia not showing appropriate “womenly” qualities. The article was absolutely nothing about that. It was about Julia’s duplicity – her wish to be the “woman” when it is advantageous ( “they are informed by being women”, because women “do not think the same way as men”) but asexual when convenient (“her governance style is straight out of the ALP’s gender-neutral poll-driven playbook of power for power’s sake”). So put forward your argument if you wish but don’t utilise a line of argument that is out of context. It falsifies the rest of your piece.

  94. Venise Alstergren

    LIZ: Sorry to be so long in answering your comment.

    Yes, it is envy.

    Another example apart from Albrectsen is my next door neighbour, who is just about the most self-centred, jealous woman on this planet.

    She invited herself in for a drink the other day. To make conversation I mentioned Julia Gillard. The reaction was extraordinary. “That vile woman! I’m sick of hearing about her. She’s not even a Christian. She’s just a manipulating bitch. I can’t stand the creature.”

    She went red in the face and was visibly upset. Yet a month ago she hadn’t even heard of Julia Gillard.

    It was an extreme case of rabid hatred, fear, and jealously. How many other women like my next-door neighbour are there out in the electorate? Christ, I hate my own sex when I hear garbage like that.



  95. Venise Alstergren

    MODERATOR: It’s OK. My next-door neighbour despises women who can use computers, wouldn’t be seen dead owning one, thinks the only people worth thinking about are the Poms. And regards Australians as vermin.

    In short, The chances of her reading my comment are zero. Unless my evil-minded stalker takes the trouble to drop her a line. Go on A*******, go for it.

  96. Flower


    Making a Paris Hilton sexist joke does not mark Joe Hockey as an amoral “realist,” in fact to the contrary.

    In addition, I have an aversion to the Coalition exploiting politics for religious purposes or is it the other way around? Either way, it sucks. Hockey claimed his ‘In Defence of God’ speech was to stimulate debate about religion but shouldn’t religious indoctrination be restricted to the home or church?

    Am I alone in perceiving an attack on the Principle of separation of church and state? Peter Costello, addressing a 16,000 throng of happy clappers at the Hillsong Church asked “What is it that makes a society strong?” The enthralled happy clappers shouted: “Jesus!” Liberal, Louise Markus, a prominent member of Hillsong now holds the seat of Greenway.

    There is compelling evidence showing the religious right has become disproportionately influential on public policy in Australia. There has also been a significant increase in clerics pontificating and issuing press releases at the drop of a hat on political issues.

    This week, Perth’s Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey suggested Julia Gillard’s atheism could cost her votes. But he says Tony Abbott’s “strong Christian faith” could benefit him.

    The archbishop said he was simply “sounding a caution about the rise of secularism in politics.” Secularism? Is he joking?

    Of course there are all sorts of groups lobbying the public (and politicians) that I suppose the public find acceptable providing they’re taxpayers but the Churches are free loaders and as early as 2004, the five biggest religious groups in Australia turned over $21.6 billion with the Roman Catholic Church making more revenue than the other four put together.

    Little wonder the churches and their mouthpieces have so much influence when they have such large tax-free bucks to promote their ideology – not least those religions in denial of climate change and their surreptitious support for those who are causing it!

    They say that the Christian right is the largest social movement in the United States, and the biggest voting bloc in the Republican Party. Perhaps we need to have a squiz at Marion Maddox’s “God under Howard – the rise of the religious right in Australian politics” to better understand if Australia’s influential religious right intends treating all citizens equally regardless of religion.

  97. baal

    @VENISE – she calls herself a Christian? A lot of people do who are strangers to its truth and probably say it because they think it makes them seem respectable.

  98. powerisnotstrength

    FLOWER, I think there are many people perceiving church contamination of state. But I’m not one of them. Separation of church and state does not mean that elected officials must be atheist. In fact, requiring them to be atheist, or to behave like atheists when governing, would violate s116 of the Australian Constitution.

    When you look at the history of the Latin church before the Reformation, there was one monolithic institution with the power to make or break kings, to proscribe books, to define heresy and take whatever means it saw fit to expunge it, to grant or withhold forgiveness of sins – i.e. access to paradise or damnation – and to be beyond question by mortals in everything it did. That was enough power for them to enslave the whole of western society and wage war on a global scale, for entirely cynical reasons.

    No other religious authority ever had that sort of power. Not the Muslim Caliphs, not the Chinese Emperors, not the Pharaohs (Akhenaten seems to have tried, but it cost him and Nefertiti their lives), nobody except the Pope. It made the church a magnet for ambitious men, some of them decent, some rotten with evil. How lucky we are to live after the Reformation and not before.

    Today we live in a republic where all sorts of groups openly influence government. Unions, chambers of commerce, the National Farmers Federation, the Australian Medical Association, special interest groups, and so on. Why should churches be excluded? Better to keep everything in its place, and make sure there is some transparency to lobbying and campaign donations.

  99. baal

    @power is strength: they don’t have to be atheists but people using ‘Christianity’ as a vehicle to peddle their own repressive prejudices are even less appealing. All prosletysers are dangerous.

  100. powerisnotstrength

    Yes LAAB, and the point is you have a choice. There’s no gun to your head – either spiritual or physical – to vote for them or to support them. Even when Pope John Paul broke Soviet power in Poland and helped bring down the whole USSR, he was only able to do it by giving people a choice they hadn’t had before, between their religion, their Solidarity movement, and their secular overlords. That makes all the difference.

  101. baal

    I think you might be exaggerating the quality within the ‘choice’

  102. powerisnotstrength

    Choice of spirituality you mean, or choice of politics? You’ve got loads of choice in the former.

    For choice of politics, I’d have to agree with you. Voting is overrated because at a central government level, your vote doesn’t count for squat unless seven million others agree with you.

    In my opinion, the decline of political quality is related to the decline of the range of choice. We used to look to the state for most functions of government. The states would try different approaches to things, and compared outcomes. Bad government outcomes in one state and good outcomes in another are not so easy to blame on external forces. And populations shifting from one state to another give a very blunt verdict. State politics during the early years of federation kept the central government on its toes.

    But states no longer manage their own revenue, so they’re not responsible for their own infrastructure, economies, healthcare … nothing really, except learning to beg and blackmail Canberra for grants. And convincing voters that the state opposition won’t be able to beg or blackmail Canberra as well as they can. These days, federal politics is the only show in town where anything can get done.

    That seems to be want people want. But as a population, it limits our choice of government to just two parties. As an individual, it limits your choice to just one. With odds like that, the gang in power can do pretty much whatever the hell they want to.

  103. Liz45

    @PINS – What? The pope brought down the whole USSR? Are you joking or what? How on earth does this have anything to do with Bernard’s article? Fair dinkum! What is it about men that they have to reassign topics that don’t engage them – totally? This is amazing!

    JOHN BENNETTS raved on about my so-called lack of recognising, that all sexism has gone long ago, and the only person with any problem in this regard is me. Then I point out, that I didn’t write the original article; I didn’t respond to it in the only manner a person of any semblance of decency or sense of justice would – and it was a man who did it – thank you again Bernard? What was his response when I also pointed out, that if he put ‘sexual harassment’ into his search engine, guess what? He’d get 11 million 400 thousand separate articles/essays etc. His response? None! Total and absolute silence – up until this time, of course!

    Then, some blokes on here just cannot cope with anything that doesn’t put them in the centre of all the importance and discussion, so they deviate from the original script, and end up telling us of the pope’s one man war against the USSR, and guess what? Yes, he won, single handed, on his own? Hail to the pope and all who support him. Which of course, for the benefit of this moment is another way to hail, Tony, king of supporting goodness and god! Of course, we’ll all forget all the kids whose horrific stories of abuse came out at that time, and every year since, culminating in a war by ordinary people around the world against brutality, depravity and those who covered it up, and those who never refer to it, such as Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey, Christopher Pyne, Kevin Andrews etc? Gee, you’ve got a bloody cheek! Absolutely amazing gall!

    @VENISE – Hi Venise! Don’t worry about your neighbour – some of us have had people with similar views in our own families! Making breaks for the architects of human misery; deaths of how many via their obscene dogma re condoms/contraception in general, not to mention those women who died wearing themselves out with too many pregnancies? If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about that woman again. I just don’t forgive them their banal, dangerous and destructive bs when they’re just too damned lazy to educate themselves. If she hates us so much, why does she stay here? Tell her to piss off and go home! I’ve come in contact with racists, against aboriginal people. People from the UK who made their home here, living and enjoying life on aboriginal land; totally ignorant of Australian history – are too stupid to realise, that this country was black for 60-80,000+ years before it was white! Amazing! What else is there to say?

    I’m becoming very concerned about ‘your stalker’? I wish there was a way I could swap email addresses with you, without advertising it of course! You do know, that if you are concerned for your safety you should contact the police – seriously! I find ‘gut reactions’ pretty reliable – hope you do too! Please take care!

    Incidently, I hope nobody ever accuses me of going ‘off topic’ ever again! How the pope and all the comments above for ?????comments have anything to do with Janet A’s revolting article, and Bernard’s response to it, beats me!

  104. Flower

    “FLOWER, I think there are many people perceiving church contamination of state. But I’m not one of them. Separation of church and state does not mean that elected officials must be atheist.”

    Indeed not Powerisnotstrength. Wherever did you get that notion? But please direct me to a majority constituency in this nation that has directed their elected member to publicly promote religion and their supernatural deities.

    Seems you are unaware too that in attempts to control political life, churches are speak publicly, not only for its obedient members, but for others who do not agree with their religious doctrine . Archbishop Hickey’s insult about the PM’s atheistic beliefs (and I suspect her gender) reveals the Catholic church’s theocratic intentions for this country and beyond.

    It ‘s common knowledge that the Vatican’s attempts to establish a theocracy in the United States are succeeding, bolstered by a wide range of religious politicians who agree with papal directives on patriarchy, government funding for religious institutions, bans on contraception, divorce, homosexual practice, abortion, euthanasia, climate change action and church-state separation. You call that a democracy?

    Additionally, the Vatican’s attempts to prey on the vulnerable and the uneducated is once more gaining prominence in developing countries including Nigeria. With a burgeoning population of 155 million and the ongoing oppression of the ‘sisterhood’, a priest in a single mass, preaches to some 2,000 parishioners who eargerly part with money they can’t afford, to receive an edict not to practise contraception. Is this the ‘democracy’ you endorse for an outraged planet?

  105. David

    Liz the only connection I have found between that disgusting spreader of bile Albrechtsen is that she and the pope are catholics. Also her surname and the former member of the hitler youth the former Cardinal Retzinger, currently the the leader of her church and her mate Abbott’s, the pope , who is now shielding child molestors, share a similar region of origin. I can just see her marching in jack boots, whip flaying across the backs of terrified inmates.
    Incidently Abbott is very very quiet on the topic of some of his fellow catholics in the clergy not being turned over by the church to the authorities. The Irish catholic bishops are a leading example. Wonder why a journalist has not brought that up to his face.

  106. Venise Alstergren

    PINS: Your comment at 9.01 pm, 30 July, is astonishing. “””Even when Pope John Paul broke Soviet power in Poland and helped bring down the whole USSR, he was only able to do it by giving people a choice they hadn’t had before, between their religion, their Solidarity movement, and their secular overlords. That makes all the difference.”””

    You don’t hesitate to demand that people you are arguing with should stick to the facts and not to indulge in hyperbole. Yet you come out with a whopping exaggeration such as the above.

    FACT: Pope John Paul was a brave man who when he was a young man, displayed both physical and moral courage when he was fighting in the anti-Nazi Resistance of his native Poland. As an older man he did much to to ensure the same country’s emancipation from the Soviet Union.

    When he was dying he made several apologies for the behaviour of the Catholic church. Including one to the Jews for the centuries of anti-Semitism of the Catholic church. Another apology was to the countries of Eastern Europe and the way the Catholic Church had behaved to these unfortunate people. Also he made an apology to the Muslims for the barbarous treatment handed out, gratis, by the Crusades.

    However, he failed to apologise for the over a million Rwandans knocked off by the local Christians.

    To solemnly assert that he personally broke the Soviet nexus has me wondering what you were smoking at that time of night.

    I hope you have read FLOWER’S excellent post.

    Finally, in your 9.01 pm post you state, on the basis that everyone else does it, so why shouldn’t the Church be a lobby group. To which I would say. Why should they be allowed to be a lobby group? Upon what moral an intellectual grounds should the Churches be allowed to have a say in Government?

    Under John Howard the ‘Exclusive Brethren’ gained a monopoly on water rights.
    Are you happy about that? I am appalled.

    Religious apologists tend to come out with grandiose statements which are too remote for other people to bother checking.

    So when I read you bringing the Pharaoh Akhenaten, and his glorious wife Nefertiti, coming to grief in the name of monotheism. I detect A) Some showing off. B) Pulling a long bow. C) Not really knowing your subject.

    Just for starters Nerfertiti, after bearing Akhenaten six daughters, she just faded from male dominated history (as stunningly beautiful women tend to do)

    Akhenaten himself was not a well man. Constant in-breeding of the Pharaohonic blood-lines, brothers marrying their sisters, aunts, etc had to have an ill effect at some stage. Akhenaten had both female and male characteristics, including pronounced boobs, a pear-shaped body, and ill-formed bones. None of which appeared to affect an excellent marriage.

    Now, I would like to ask if you approve of your hard-earned taxes going to support religious schools, or can you think of a better way for your money to be spent? Do you realise that two earthworms who, as long as they purport to be believers in God could start up their own religion, and their own government funded church school?

    What would be your ethical, moral, and intellectual grounds in supporting the “Earthworm Holy Roman Xanadu School System?” No you wouldn’t like that at all. Yet you don’t mind the Catholics, the Mormons, the Seventh Day Adventists, The Ring of Fire? Danny Naillah’s mob. (I can’t think of the exact title). Hill Song (Steve Fielding) and all the rest of the lunatic hard right-wing clods. Who bludge on the electorate. Why?

    I’m sure, given your obvious intelligence and your fine education, you are aware that religion is merely an extension of man’s superstitions over thousands of years of evolution. And that man is by nature, a fearful, and none too bright creature, who would huddle together and mindlessly count beads whilst seeking to be led by a stronger person than them selves. And haven’t the priests and leaders of religious groups been stunningly successful at preying on the weak, the confused, the illiterate, the sick, and the dying?

    And to top the whole sorry charade off they install their unfortunate beliefs onto their children, via parental help and Government- funded church schools. Thus ensuring the children to be brain-washed into their parents’ beliefs.

    I am so glad you find this scenario worthy of being paid for, out of your taxes.

    I do not.

  107. Venise Alstergren

    LIZ: Hi there! I just hope that her kind of mentality is dying out. I have told her all the things you mentioned, but she is so totally concentrated on herself she just doesn’t hear what anyone else says.

    She’s the sort of woman who, if suffering from a headache, tells everyone she has brain-cancer. I kid you not!

    Almost as bad as someone in these pages who believes Pope John Paul single-handedly (sic) brought down the Soviet Union. (?) 😈

    I forgot to tell this person that this was also the case in Oz when the DLP had so much clout. And how it will again if Tony Abbott gets into power. Which is tending to look to be the case, if the MSM is correct.

    When the stalker business and the whole damned charade is finished I will let you know, in one of my posts, then you could send me your email address via a Crikey email. Or send it anyway. 🙂

    I am going to get something to eat. Look after yourself.


  108. David

    Venise…I believe the mongrel and attack is about to be unleashed on Abbott and his pretenders of the faith….all signs are that todays poll is the firing of the starting gun and the weaponry that has been stored ready for battle is rolling out.
    A little wee bird in the party whispered to me today Abbott was given the first 2 weeks to do his thing…the machine is now about to rumble.

    That personal contact in the Union also tells me they (the combined unions) haven’t started yet. In her words “watch us go”

  109. powerisnotstrength

    FLOWER, if you want less Catholicism or whatever religion in politics, then you’re free to campaign against it as you are now doing. You can even stand for election yourself on a secularist plank to oppose bills which you see as religiously motivated. That’s the whole point of freedom, and that Reformation which I mentioned earlier.

    But it’s not very credible to go crying “failure of democracy” or “betrayal of the separation of powers” just because the democratic process doesn’t always favour your values over someone else’s.

    Personally, I’m a bit taken aback when people elect to government a party that’s 60 per cent controlled by unions, even though we get higher wages and lower unemployment when we have a government not controlled by unions. So we have unelected power brokers able to topple two NSW state premiers and then a prime minister. I find that a bit hard to take, but people do have a choice and they keep on choosing that party to govern, so I have to accept it.

    As for Tony Abbott, many bloggers here have written him off as a both a Church lackey and a Howard Workchoices “attack dog”. Strange how he could have been both of these things at the same time, since the Church vehemently opposed Workchoices.

    In fact, he was neither. Abbott opposed Workchoices privately in Howard’s cabinet, while at the same time defending it publicly against Church criticism.
    [To believers, the priesthood gives men the power to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. It does not give priests any unique power to convert a poor argument into a good one … Today’s workers are much more capable than their forbears of standing up for themselves. In this respect, at least, the world has moved on but the church has not. In any event, the church’s infallibility when making certain pronouncements on faith and morals does not extend to judgments about politics. “Preachiness” does not turn a dubious political argument into a compelling moral one. I am not saying that bishops should stay out of politics, just that their political judgments should be capable of withstanding scrutiny. There are many who regard bishops’ statements on the way we live now as an impertinence.]
    For that, he copped a lot of flak from Church members for his
    [“ability to ignore Catholic social teaching, and in particular formal statements from the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference”]
    Still, the fanatical loyalty of many Australians towards the Labor Party sometimes reminds me of the sort of religious rapture you see in evangelist prayer meetings when members of the congregation start “speaking in tongues”. And makes about as much sense to me. But I’ve learned not to expect too much rationality from people.

  110. Liz45

    @PINS – You make the mistake of asserting, that just because people oppose the conservatives, via the coalition,they(I) automatically support the ALP. I’ve said previously, that the ALP lost my primary vote when Bob Hawke gave ALP members the middle finger and allowed another uranium mine to start operating in contravention of ALP policy, that lots of people had worked hard for. I said, right, that’s it! I’m not working my guts out on polling booths, going to ALP meetings, conferences etc and have you treat me like shit! That was in 1984!

    I’m disappointed and disgusted that the ALP has moved so far to the right. However, the conservatives, those who think they have the divine right to rule are ruthless and have the morals of an alley cat – in every sense!

    As for the Unions running the ALP? Who runs the Coalition? Big business; msm; mining companies etc. Peter Hendy/Henty?? wrote the Legislation for Worst Choices. At one stage he worked for Peter Reith. He knew his way around Parliament House, and it was his ideas that went into IR Legislation. He was head of the Australian Business Council(or some such body) at the time! No media outrage over that, or big business ads etc?

    Every wage increase, your holiday pay, the 8 hour day, sick pay etc came via the union movement. When workers are educated about OH&S by their union, injuries and deaths are less! It was my Union that supported me when I contracted RSI (preventable if bosses spend money on prevention and decent equipment and ergonomical workstations etc); they paid my court costs and provided me with barristers etc. I in turn helped other women who were also crippled by their job! Who did I sue? A NSW govt department? Almost 27 years later I am in pain every waking minute. I’m a passionate supporter of Unions, and I believe that the workers would be better off if they disaffiliated. While we have the ABCC, that’s proof of the fact, that Unions do not ‘own’ or ‘run’ the ALP – that’s bullshit! I’ve been on picket lines, and was proud to be there! The last one? MUA dispute, Port Kembla 2007!

    It was July 2005 when Howard announced what we all knew – that his govt was for business people? He admitted it! He also maintained, that businesses had the right to be open 24/7! Too hell with workers having time with their families, or leisure time -some didn’t/don’t get enough sleep?

    I’ve learned not to expect decency and integrity from most conservatives – they believe, that anything goes, and behave accordingly!

    @DAVID – Oh wow! I hope you’re right! I don’t believe that the ‘leaks’ came from ALP politicians. I believe the culprit is either a public servant still loyal to the Libs, or made up by a person/people in the media! I believe that it’s been part of the ‘grand plan’! When Abbott said this campaign was going to be dirty – he knew why? The PLAN! The more I think about it, the more it makes sense! What Labor politician would be that stupid? The person has leaked stuff that can’t be proved without Julia Gillard breaking Cabinet solidarity. I just hope that it turns out like that ’email affair’ that Tunbull initiated with the help of Abetz? etc & and that public servant – GG!

    If people are stupid enough to elect Abbott, they deserve what they get! Trouble is,lots of innocent and vulnerable people will suffer too! I’m depressed now! Sick even! I hope you’re right, I really do! Fingers crossed!

    @VENISE – My parents (both deceased now) were supporters of the DLP! Fixated on anti-communism etc. I’m somewhat of a black sheep in my family – not that it bothers me these days. Be true to yourself is my motto – regardless! Some still practice catholicism? I’m probably doomed in their eyes! Sad isn’t it? I insisted that my kids go to state schools, and not be subjected to the bullies/nuns, unlike most of their cousins. They benefited from not being brain washed! They exhibited more self confidence and received a better education than they would’ve from the local catholic schools – my mother didn’t approve, but it wasn’t her choice! As much as I loved her, I told her she had no jurisdiction over my kids! Sometimes you must do what’s right!

    I hope you’re OK! Avoid the self possessed neighbour! Take care now!

    g’night all!

  111. David

    Liz…my informant was 100% accurate. Following her excellent press conference this morning Ms Gillard responded in the positive when asked if the Labor Party’s advertising would be directed more towards Abbott. Her response YES. Not the dirt attacks Abbott declared would happen but a selection of some of his public statements and how they stack up. Hardly a smear campaign if it is Abbotts own words. Later on ABC TV 24 Andrew Robb was quickly called in by that “unbiased transparent ABC”!!! for a 10 min cosy chat about how he reacted to the news of the Labor Ads. And to defend the Libs and Downer.Yet another free Coalition commercial courtesy of the National broadcaster. They have no shame.

    Incidently there is a rumbling about Abetz and his registration, not sure yet what is about, will be keeping an ear open. Meantime all will have noticed Abetz has been locked away from public view. Something in relation to his utterances on the dead and buried workchoices. The unions advertising hasn’t forgotten him.

  112. Liz45

    @DAVID – That’s good to hear! Abetz? I heard his comment -to the effect, that there’s no guarantee that they won’t introduce legislation????I also heard Abbott say that he will dget rid of unfair dismissal laws for small business! No journalist has challenged him – of course! It was on a radio news item during the day! With a bit of luck Abetz will have stuffed up! Now wouldn’t we miss his melodious? tones in the Senate? Can not stand him – at all!

    I’ve heard about Downer’s assertions this morning, then his belly-aching at being “misquoted”? This after Rudd threatened him with legal action – from his hospital bed. Trust Downer -gutless bastard! Waits until he’s crook to get filthy! Real brave isn’t he? Should’ve been charged with contempt re the AWB Inquiry! Couldn’t lie straight in bed Wouldn’t know truth if it bit him on the bum! His grandfather? Great grandfather, allegedly shot aboriginals in his day – great family ‘tree’ he has!

    ABC – Sickeng aren’t they? I notice that AM is going around the country from tomorrow! We’ll see how that goes!I may have to tune out to protect my sanity!
    Look forward to more of your ‘predictions’? Gives me a bit of hope! I hope they really take the gloves off now! With facts not hearsay? Unlike the Libs!

  113. powerisnotstrength

    LIZ: “I’m a passionate supporter of Unions, and I believe that the workers would be better off if they disaffiliated.”

    I like unions too. I also like Sea Shepherd and Amnesty International. That doesn’t mean I want to be governed exclusively by any one of those. Too much power corrupts.

    “@PINS – You make the mistake of asserting, that just because people oppose the conservatives, via the coalition,they(I) automatically support the ALP.”

    Not everyone, true. But look at what DAVID writes – there’s the mark of a foaming-at-the-mouth fanatic.

  114. Venise Alstergren

    PINS @LIZ:

    There you are PINS, you question nothing that you hold dear.

    “”As for Tony Abbott, many bloggers here have written him off as a both a Church lackey and a Howard Workchoices “attack dog”. Strange how he could have been both of these things at the same time, since the Church vehemently opposed Workchoices.””

    Just so you can read it again “” since the Church vehemently opposed Workchoices.””


    We are a secular society. And although the freedom to believe in a god of one’s choice, or not to believe at all is written into our Constitution, we have had an endless fight to preserve that Constitution. WHY?

    Because religious people like yourself support the Church in its many depredations against a free people. And the last time the Church, via the DLP, had, via it’s surrogates, a stranglehold on Australian mores.

    Books, magazines, movies, art, theatre, poetry, sexual practices were all heavily censored, cut, removed, and/or made to conform.

    You can ignore me if you wish. However, I would make one literary criticism.
    When speaking from the heart, it’s a bad idea to drag the allegories and the quotes of history into one’s writings. Invariably, in the heat of moral outrage, or the lust to put one’s views across, the retelling of history gets bungled.

    BTW: I have been informed by others who blog/post that Web etiquette requires that a person who is addressed in a post, should reply to a post.

  115. powerisnotstrength

    VENISE, it’s not a question of whether I answer you, it’s a question of how many times I’m expected to keep on doing so. You want to exclude some groups from having a say – that makes you the same as old mediaval catholic church in your own way, declaring heresy and wanting it silenced. Fortunately we have, as you say, a secular republic and s116 of the Australian Constitution to protect everyone from that kind of thinking.

    You seem to be confused on the meaning of that Section even though it’s probably the most well-known section in the entire Constitution Act, so here goes:
    [The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.]
    OK? That means you cannot require any Commonwealth official to adhere to any given religious orthodoxy, either Catholic or atheist or anything else. If you don’t like the religious beliefs of your elected officials, then don’t vote for them! If you don’t like being outvoted by others, then you’ve got a problem with democracy. Take a number and stand in line.

  116. Liz45

    @PINS – You misunderstand. I didn’t say I “liked” Unions – I said I was a passionate supporter of Unions.

    “Too much power corrupts”? Indeed! And under WorstChoices, bosses had too much power and were corrupt. I tell you what else happens – workers die, or they end up requiring slow release morphine twice daily, in order to look after themselves – do their cleaning, cooking, shopping etc! Oh yes, and medication in order to sleep at night! If the Union had’ve been able to work with the Education Dept., people like me would not have been crippled. My condition was totally preventable – I know all about bosses/insurance companies/barristers/husbands who are corrupt and are bullies. Mind boggling! Perhaps you’ve led a charmed life – good for you, but if you wish to remain ignorant of the real world, then don’t deny my reality, or David’s? Or Venise! You don’t know what you’re talking about. What is the rate of injury and death in workers between 16-25? Do you know? Do you care? Do you even want to know?

    I agree with just about eveythng David says. I don’t think he’s a fanatic! You only think so because you’re ignorant of his reality!

    Incidently, I take it,that when you say the church opposed workchoices you meant the catholic church? In my area (2 cities adjoining?) the only person ‘of the cloth’ who spoke out against WorstChoices was a Uniting Church minister. A wonderful, compassionate and caring man who came to anti-Workchoices protests, rallies pro Palestinian, against the invasion of Iraq etc! Not a catholic priest or C of E person in sight! Ever! Nor on the radio or TV? So much for their care and concern for the people?

    Abbott would impose his religious beliefs on the rest of us. He already did when he was in the Howard govt! Abortion, RU486, the removal of the Euthanasia Bill in the NT and ACT? Supported the killing in Iraq/Afghanistan, the Exclusive Brethren and other right wing religious groups? Didn’t give funds overseas for health needs if they promoted contraception let alone the right to choose a terminaton? There are several other important things that I’ve left out! He doesn’t have that right as part of a secular government. How does he cope with all the death that he’s responsible for, and would be again? Bloody hypocrite! He mut go to confession each day – and then the next day – it all starts again. Perhaps his mate Pell has given him a dispensation – the killing spree in Iraq & Afghanistan is OK?

    I also support Sea Shepherd and Amnesty International – not in the same hypocritical manner as Phillip Ruddock? Abbott as PM brings back Ruddock as ???Attorney General? Minister for Immigration? Abbott’s racist views re aboriginal people? Thinks that acknowledging the traditional owners/elders is over-rated “political correctness”? hasn’t a clue about decency, history and respect I don’t care how much ‘good work’he does in the NT every once in a while! He’s a patronising, paternalistic racist!

    Since when has Australia had a “secular republic”? must’ve been having a sleep when that happened! People have to keep on insisting re their point of view, as you won’t accept it!

  117. powerisnotstrength

    Well it’s just as well the Coalition have ditched Workchoices then, isn’t it. And Abbott is no longer in a Howard cabinet so he can now say what he feels about it, which is that he liked some aspects of it which raised wages and lowered unemployment, but there were some aspects of it that were draconian which he never liked at all.

    Are ALP supporters and Julia Gillard ever going to criticize what the Coalition is planning if they win government? Because all I hear is Julia Gillard saying “they are going to repeat Workchoices” and “they are going to cancel their parental leave program”.

    Well guess what? The Coalition have ruled out bringing back Workchoices and they are going to implement parental leave. So, come on Gillard, what else have you got to say?

    It’s not a very convincing way to campaign. It’s like Gillard is saying, “As long as the Coalition do what they say they’ll do, then I can’t find anything wrong with them.”

  118. Liz45

    @PINS – The trouble is, that we don’t trust the Libs – not one bit! Howard went to the 2004 Election saying, that he’d remove unfair dismissal rights for workplaces of 20 employees or less! Then he removed that right for workplaces of 100? A BIG FAT LIE!

  119. baal

    @LIZ45 The right will always lie because they think they have a right to – they know what’s best for us and will do whatever it takes to regain and retain power. Born to rule slightly modified in John Howard’s case by the belief he’d earned that right by sheer persistence. There aren’t many country’s where a (cunning and cynical) fool is rewarded but this is certainly one of them.

  120. powerisnotstrength

    Yes and he lost not only the Prime Ministership but also his seat in Parliament. Howard’s history. You’re fighting the last war. Move on.

  121. baal

    Please avoid instructing people to move on – it’s a hideous term, very insulting and total crap

  122. powerisnotstrength

    Very well, go on fighting the last war to your heart’s content. The rest of us will move on.

  123. Liz45

    @PINS – Don’t know what happened then? (my keyboard has reverted back to ‘sticky keys’?) Eric Abetz had something to say about WorstChoices that gave me the creeps? ABBOTT himself has said that he’ll ONCE AGAIN get rid of unfair dismissal for small business. Here we go says I?

    Not until the main protaganists of the old Howard govt are gone, will the threat of workchoices, perhaps, maybe be gone! We’re not stupid We know who their masters are and what they want? WORSTChoices in full swing – perhaps to the extent that Minchin etc wanted. When Howard lied to us so many times, where was Abbott’s voice of outrage? Abetz? Minchin? Brandis? Payne?Kevin Andrews? Who’s asked this fine upstanding catholic person been? I don’t recall him protesting about any of the ‘unchristian’ policies? He introduced WorstChoices? LIED about Dr Haneef, as did Ruddock? They’re all as bad as each other. The only ones with any guts or a semblance of decency were Petro Giorgio, Judy Moylan, Judith Troeth and the bloke from NSW whose name escapes me! Damn!

    There’s too many of them standing again! We/I don’t trust them as far as I could throw them! With my short stature and bung arms, that is not very far!

    How many catholics are still there? Most of the architects/supporters of horrific human rights abuses are standing again! These people introduced too many of these polices against their own compatriots for god’s sake? Youngkids, women with kids, men who only wanted to see their child born, support their wives – threatened with the sack. Men whose wives had cancer, sacked- favoured permanent employees for casuals, so they didn’t have to be responsible employers, just arseholes! Read the inquiries!They’ll be on the net!The Fascist ideals ofthe conservatives/neo-cons are still there! Fool me once, perhaps – twice or thrice? NO WAY!

    How many people at Coles and Woolworths are permanent employees, entitled to sick leave, holidays etc? How many are under-employed? How are workers with RSI treated these days? The same as 20 odd yrs ago – like shit! Stand and watch how they have to lift? Who designed their work stations? An ergonomist? Take a look at the fast isle at W’worths? Awful! Nowhere for shoppers to sign their Eftpos docket? Who designed that? A shopper? A worker? Hardly bloody likely! The SDA is a rightwing union, run by blokes! Ireckon I’ve helpd more people with RSI in recent times(spints are a sure giveaway) – just by observation and subtle advice. Don’t want them to get the sack, just want them to be looked after with care and decency,not treated like they’re bludgers and malingerers!

    Vote for the Libs? NOT on your nellie! Not in 2 lifetimes!

  124. Venise Alstergren

    @LIZ: The AWB scandal was not only tolerated by little Johnny Howard but he made sure no one got indicted.

    As the bulk of the present members of the Liberal Party were in power, and devoid of speech when the little, halitosis-laden breath of their beloved leader, John Howard, gave them permission to lie, cheat and steal their bloody heads off. Thus did occur AWB’s crookedness, and other scams too numerous to list.

    @DAVID: I too hope you are right. All the MSM seem to think the Coalition has got it made. I’m disturbed that Michelle Grattan (Age) has got the bit between her teeth-for the Libs. Usually she is more even-handed.

    Gotta go


  125. Liz45

    @PINS – Move on to what?Most of the bastards are still there! Maybe when they all shuffle off or die, perhaps? Funny thing about fascists, bullies and thugs – always some bastard/s to replace them! Faces change – script remains the same! Profits! Profits! Profits+ before people!

    @VENISE – Absolutely right about AWB? Only a matter of months ago the head blokes at AWB admitted that they knew all along what was happening re the$300 milliondollars to Saddam? Howard/Downer/Vale arrested? Nope!

    I think that their internal polling is not good, and that’s why they’re resorting to these disgusting tactics? Lies and grot! And their Liberal journalist mates are helping them! I hope they get flogged!
    I don’t even know if I’ll watch the ABC V News at 7pm? Perhaps!I can’tbear to watch but I can’t bear not to???I agree about Michelle Grattan? Not a (real)journalist among them! Where’s Andrew Ollie, Paul Lynham, Richard Moorcroft & ?????Jennifer Byrne perhaps?

  126. baal

    Strength is power – I’m not sure what you’re on about but I expect you think you do, but spare us the patronising tones will you?

  127. powerisnotstrength

    BAAL, as I said here, the ALP campaign is trying to write Liberal policy on its behalf just so that it has something to criticize. In much the same way that it amuses you to change my nickname to say the opposite of what it does. Good luck to them – and to you – if they think they can win an election that way. But it’s a poor defence of such irrational methods to whine about “patronising” just because someone points out how weak it is.

    Meanwhile, earlier the question came up what people on the right believe in, and while looking for something else I found this speech by Tony Abbott a year ago which talks a lot about what he believes in. I think it’s quite interesting.

  128. Flower

    That’s some nifty footwork you’ve employed Powerisnotstrength – throw in the red herrings thus evading the issues I’ve addressed to you in my last post.

    I’m particularly intrigued with the ambiguity of your assertions where you imply separation of church and state is enforced by the Australian Constitution’s s116.

    You then advise: “if you want less Catholicism or whatever religion in politics, then you’re free to campaign against it as you are now doing.” Yeah – right but why can’t s116 do it for me? Huh?

    Alas there are several experts on constitutional law who contradict your assumptions on s116 and one Michael Hogan of the U of Sydney states:

    “Let’s get one point clear at the beginning: Australia does not have a legally entrenched principle, or even a vague set of conventions, of the separation of church and state.”

    Canberra academic Max Wallace writes:

    There is no separation of church and state as a matter of course. We thus have flawed democracies. We did not separate church and state like the Americans and the French …….

    “There is no law separating church and state in Australia. To my knowledge, there is no constitutional expert in this country prepared to argue otherwise. (The) Australian High Court’s 1981 decision allowed federal funding to non-government schools. But the price paid for this decision was the scuppering of the principle of separation of church and state in Australia.”

    Michael Hogan writes:

    “In Australia, Federal Minister Tony Abbott drew attention to this issue in giving preference to church-conducted employment agencies in the new Job Network over the government’s own long-established Commonwealth Employment Service. Then he vigorously defended the churches against critics who suggested that the employment policies of the churches themselves gave cause for concern, and that there might be some religious bias in the provision of services.

    “Was this a denial of the proper separation of church and state in Australia? It seems very similar to the concept of promoting ‘faith-based organisations’ seen in America at the same time. More recently, the nomination of Anglican Archbishop Peter Hollingworth as Governor-General prompted another set of accusations that the Howard Government was playing fast and loose with the principle of separation of church and state.”

    In 2007, Julie Bishop announced that a consortium of Australian universities has been selected to host a centre for Islamic studies to meet the learning needs of Imams and other Islamic religious leaders and teachers. My…..and in an election year too! Seemingly these politically motivated decisions do not conflict with the Constitution’s s116 which somehow renders your persistent waffle on the ‘legal’ enforcement of clause s116, null and void!

    Of course selectively providing a place of learning for Imams and Islamic leaders should justifiy every other religion in Australia shouting: “Discrimination!” shouldn’t it?

  129. powerisnotstrength

    You may disagree with me, but I haven’t evaded anything and you know it. Maybe nothing will satisfy you except some kind of pogrom.

  130. baal

    POWERISNOTSTRENGTH sorry you missed the joke but perhaps you’ve forgotten referring to me as LAAB. Not to worry, I’m sure you can continue to make points that seem relevant to your own great vision irrespective of their complete divergence from topics raised by those to whom you claim to be responding

  131. powerisnotstrength

    Reversing your was my little good-humoured acknowledgement of having my nickname rewritten as “power is strength”. Relax, it’s not as if my mother gave me this name. It just came in useful as an analogy for the way Julia Gillard behaved in the recent debate. She didn’t know how to counter what Tony Abbott was saying, so she pretended he was saying, “I’ll bring back Workchoices,” just to give her something to attack.

    The column here is about Julia Gillard as a woman and a politician. At some point you offered the view that right wing people don’t believe in anything by definition, and I made the point that the left doesn’t have any monopoly on principles or morals. Others brought in religion, church and state, for some reason I don’t know. It always seems to come up in these Crikey threads.

    I answered that point as best I could, even though quite frankly I’m not all that interested in religion and the catholic church means nothing to me. I’m interested in freedom. Catholics being everybody’s favourite punching bag around here, it’s a good test case to see how consistent you all are about human rights, when it’s the right to believe and practice something you personally don’t like. If I substitute “J*ws” in place of “Catholics”, this might all start to sound like deja vu.

  132. Liz45

    @PINS – The column here is about Julia Gillard as a woman and a politician.

    I think you’d better go back to the top and read it again. The “column here” was about one Janet A at that toe rag of a newspaper writing a sexist heap of shit! Thats what it’s about? AND Bernard wrote a very critical response! Perhaps you could read the title again, and it might remind you! Amazing! Do you always do this? Carry on with a heap of nonsense; ignore comments that are a little close to the bone, and then go off on a tangent? What are you on?

    You’re interested in what? Freedom? What type do you believe in? The freedom for politicians to lie, cheat, commit crimes with our money(AWB? $300 million?)the freedom of employers to rip off their workers? the freedom to lie in Court?(Dr HANEEF?) the freedom to make laws so that you & your mates help themselves to the ‘public purse’ (the $2million that Howard & Costello will get extra, thanks to their changes to super and tax laws?) or just the everyday use and abuse of taxpayers money that they channelled into middle class/wealthy welfare, while carers of disabled kids and sick parents etc, drove themselves into early graves due to govt neglect? Perhaps the freedom to ensure, that 70% of students that go to state schools only get 30% of education funds, while 30% of students at private schools get 70% of those funds? How are those freedoms sounding so far? I haven’t even started on the $1 billion ripped from health care; 12 yrs neglect of aboriginal poverty and misery/early deaths/deaths in custody etc etc etc???Those the freedoms you value? How about infrastructure? Rail, roads, bridges, public housing????Wow! That sure was some legacy they left behind! It’ll take years if ever to correct it. Shortage of doctors, due to looking after rich doctor’s cosy lifestyle, and to hell with training doctors/specialists for the future, Wasted a whole 12 years -it takes abou 10+ to be a GP Gross neglect – pure and simple Lack of tradespeople.Unions were warning of this while Keating was still in govt! I remember it vividly!

    Oh yes, but those politicians that you support say The Lords Prayer before they start acting like out of control yobbos? Abbott, 1st class performer, probably only out performed by the visitor to Hillsong, with a minister of religion as a brother, Costello? Inciently, when do you ever hear Tim speaking out against his brother’s govt’s inhumane and unchristian treatment of asylum seekers, young workers, traumatized kids? Silence!! Silence!I’djust like to know how they ‘square’ it off at the end of each day?How do they live with that sort of bastardry?How do they live with the lies/deaths/maiming/homelessness/destruction/cancers/genetic deformities of Iraq & Aghanistan?
    AS Bernard so eloquently put it – “Jesus. How about common decency”?

    YOU’ll have to forgive me – I get very confused about this! You see, I know many unionists and atheists and ???the’ve never done anything remotely like these awful deeds, but they’re the ones who are held up to ridicule and derision by you and your mates. DAVID doesn’t sound to me like one of the people YOU admire, but you call him a “fanatic”? VENISE has no time for religion, like me, but I have no doubt that she is also a good person, who has never condoned any of the actions of the politicians that you admire! Most confusing! No wonder young people have trouble knowing what ‘the right path’ is, when they see the double speak of those who claim they hold ‘traditional and family values’ as important. What the hell do they mean, exactly?
    I used to tell my kids that being an adult didn’t give me the right to have a ‘do as I say, not do as I do’ policy! They’d challenge me, and I’m glad they did!

    I remember my then 8-9 yr old gorgeous grand-daughter asking me what those little kids had done(news/protests/Woomera detention centre), I answered, ‘nothing’. She said, ‘well nanny, why are they in jail’? Perhaps you can answer that, being a supporter of fine upstanding principles – not to mention, freedom!Of coure I told her that they shouldn’t be there, and why! About a yr later, she and her friend put tape over their mouths at school, and kept it there for most of the day, as a protest. I was very proud of her, and told her so! She’s 17 now!

    The Labor govt is trying to address some of these drastic issues, and are being abused for it! The so-called debt will be gone in a couple of years. People borrow more money %wise, when they buy a house – more if they buy a mcmansion, credit cards etc etc. People are so ignorant that they believe the crap being drip-fed every day by Murdoch and the rest of msm!!They’re (Labor gov)not perfect, and I disagree with Iraq/Afghanistan etc, but they’re trying! I will always put the coalition absolutely last! The end – the bottom – last! And never condone acts of bastardry, regardless of who commits them!

  133. powerisnotstrength

    LIZ, the policy towards asylum seekers is bipartisan. Kevin Rudd is the one who tried to impose a minimum six months’ detention (i.e. a nonjudicial jail term) on asylum seekers from Afghanistan or Sri Lanka. But I agree, in general the Labor ministers have their hearts in the right place and they would be good social workers, or good social justice advocates. I just think governing – the way they do it, applying quick fixes to every social problem – is beyond their competence. Actually, beyond anyone’s competence, Labor or Liberal.

    When you say, “They’re (Labor gov) not perfect … but they’re trying!” – trying may be good enough for school kids, but it’s not good enough for government. I know their hearts are in the right place, but the way they’re trying will always fail. That kind of trying is what has broken the state of NSW. I don’t want to see the same thing happen to the whole country.

    It’s taken me a long time to see that clearing away obstacles to economic prosperity, and fostering a fair legal justice system, is about the limit of what a federal government can competently do. And that’s enough – given those things, in time most people can solve most of their own problems most of the time. We can reserve social welfare for those who can’t. The rest is up to the state governments – who need to solve their problems with a minimum of federal interference.

    A few things. “The so-called debt will be gone in a couple of years.” No, it won’t. Wayne Swan says the budget will be back in surplus in a couple of years, i.e. the debt will stop increasing. For now, the debt is still growing at about $100 million per day.

    “70% of students that go to state schools only get 30% of education funds, while 30% of students at private schools get 70% of those funds.” I think you’re talking about direct Commonwealth funding there, leaving out the bulk of funds which go through the states. Altogether, in 2004-5, 79 per cent of taxpayer education funding went to government schools. Here’s the full breakdown.

    Some exploitation of workers still goes on, but these days more and more workers have somewhere else to go, so they don’t have to put up with exploitation. More and more workers these days can just leave and go to another employer and demand, “Pay me properly, and don’t treat me like the last one did”. It’s not perfect yet, but bad employers are increasingly having trouble keeping hold of staff. The strongest position the workers can be in, is when labour is a seller’s market and the workers are the sellers.

  134. Venise Alstergren

    @LIZ: I’d back off face-ache if I were you. He is a complete waste of your strength and your loving heart.

    His arguments are one sided. He doesn’t bring an open mind to anything. He is set in his ways. If someone points out his mistakes, he merely avoids them.

    He has all the marks of a rabid believer in religion, I suspect it’s catholicism. He spews forth words like a volcano spews forth larva. He is devoid of humour.

    As with all people who are rabid believers in something, he cares not for one’s opinions. He waits just long enough to skim through a person’s posts, so that he can launch his next broadside.

    He is the sort of person, if you met them at a dinner, would barely be able to wait for a person to finish what they are saying, as the minute they shut their mouths he would launch into his set piece. No one could succeed getting through to him as all he wants to do is to give the person his own opinion.

    If you enjoy writing to him that’s different. But he is a taker, not a giver. And these wretched inhabitants of planet earth are to be avoided.

    Love V

  135. baal

    POWERISNOTSTRENGTH you;’re a funny one. You wrote my name backwards BEFORE I did the same to yours, so how come you were making the joke about what I did when it was the other way around. And BTW nobody’s laughing. Or even taking any notice.

  136. Liz45

    @VENISE – I know you’re right! My last contribution hasn’ been ‘passed’ by the moderator yet? I typed it 5 hours ago? Anyway, I don’t have anything further to discuss with PINS. We have nothing in common – poles apart!

    I watched Q&A tonight, and thought that Tony Jones was so obvious in his favouritism? It was blatant in my view – pro the Coalition! I kept on watching it as I thought it might be discussed tomorrow!

    I won’t be responding to PINS – I have nothing to add! As you say, a waste of my time – and arms?

    Thanks for your insight and wisdom. Take care!
    Love Liz

  137. James McDonald

    @PowerIsNotStrength – I agree with much of what you espouse in the way of principles and values. You’re also correct about the debt and the education funding. Although 20% of taxpayer funding going to private schools is still excessive – and it is aimed neither at “middle-class welfare” nor choice in education, it is simply a pork barrel for property prices near those schools.

    While I agree with the values you espouse, the problem is that Tony Abbott does not. In his book “Battlelines”, he sneers at idealism and describes himself as a “pragmatist”, which is similar to the “realist” position you described as the most ideologically barren on the right wing of politics.

    Abbott describes, in roundabout language, a sort of “me-too-ism” aping Labor which is needed to win the election, combined with a pragmatic espousal of whatever works — economically and electorally. Giving people what they want. He has little in the way of recommendations to make to the public about what sort of government might help them realize their aspirations.

    Abbott says his paid parental leave is “not middle class welfare but a tax cut for kids”. Fair enough. But paying six months’ salary which matches whatever the recipients was previous earning … Why do you suppose a mother in Vaucluse really needs more than a mother in Wagga? There is only one reason, and that is to keep making mortgage payments.

    That’s right, Tony Abbott’s salary-continuance parental leave scheme is really just another home prices boost, even bigger than anything ever done by Kevin Rudd or John Howard. Me-Too-ism at it’s most extreme — Abbott has learned that PMs who please the banks and the property speculators will always get lots of support, so he plans to give them the biggest pork barrel ever.

    Finally, Abbott is an anti-federalist, and I see you’ve had a bit to say on federalism. About a quarter of “Battlelines” is about the failure of the states and of Cooperative Federalism, the chapter is entitled “Australia’s biggest political problem and how to fix it”. According to him, the states were just a necessary evil, the “price of federation”. He sneers at any constitutional conservatism, and he wants to call a referendum to amend the constitution so that the Commonwealth can overrule the states on anything at all. He sees the future states as mere agencies of the Commonwealth.

    In this speech he summarizes much of what is in “Battlelines”. Take a look, and tell me whether he is a right-wing idealist or what you described as a right-wing “realist”.

  138. James McDonald

    Also take a closer look at this salary-continuance parental leave scheme. The income matched will be that of the mother, regardless of whether the father or mother takes the leave. (A clumsy attempt to say “the lower of the two”, with a built-in sexist assumption that the mother’s income will always be lower than the father’s.)

    Now you should be able to see the problem. Fathers who are small-business proprietors will start giving their wives directorships of their companies, with a salary of — oh, let’s say, $150,000 — regardless of whether they ever turn up to work. Or if the mother actually works for a salary of say $50,000, in the years leading up to their baby, she will also be a silent director of the father’s company, with a bogus salary of $100,000 to make it up to $150,000, while the father on paper earns nothing at all.

    Voila! The mother is entitled to $75,000 over six months while she has a baby, and all of a sudden the father raises his own director’s salary to $100,000 (which he has actually been earning all along, but transferring it to his silent-director wife). In fact, the mother has only taken six months off from a $50,000 job, so was really entitled to only $25,000. So the couple have tax-cheated a windfall of $50,000 more than they would have earned if they didn’t have the baby. That’s quite some baby bonus for a couple who were earning $150,000 to start with.

    And as I said, its real aim is at property prices. Banks lending money to a couple factor in that they might be having a baby at some stage. Under Tony Abbott, they’ll no longer need to worry about that, so they’ll lend more. The result is clear from the FHOG: property prices simply rise to soak up the additional borrowing capacity of home buyers. Couples who buy a home and use the parental leave honestly will in fact never get to spend that money. Only those who cheat, those who already own their home, or those selling or borrowing against a home, will benefit. All compliments of the taxpayer.

  139. powerisnotstrength

    Thank you, I had a read of Battlelines last night. As you say, he extols pragmatism and populism over principle. In fact, the widespread belief that he has few or no policies (i.e. is conservative) doesn’t seem to be true, he just doesn’t talk much about those policies to the papers. he and Gillard are converging, both display astonishing hubris, but one of them is without principle, while the other is without restraint in borrowing money for white elephants, then waving it all away later as a mistake and a learning exercise.

    Disappointing. It means there is no hope of good government in the next three years. The election is simply a question – a pragmatic question, no less – of which gang will do less damage.

  140. baal

    POWERISNOTSTRENGTH: I think you are probably right. However given the tendency for conservatives to use economic crises (perceived or real) to slash public spending and cut public services (which after all is their ideological position – private good, public bad) I can see an austerity package (to pay back debt) coming very quickly if an Abbott government is elected. There has already been a statement to the effect that there will be a mini-Budget if they win. If that’s what voters want, all well and good. If they know that’s an issue. I think by continually presenting the struggle as bland or featureless the media is re-inforcing the view that it is a popularity contest which the most convincing and colourful protagonist should win (sorry that’s not very original but a major reason why it’s boring is boring journalists who keep saying its boring).

  141. powerisnotstrength

    I don’t have any party axe to grind. I don’t detest all Labor governments, just the current one. And it’s not for lack of talent; they have lots of talent but they never consult that talent in decision making.

    I was a Labor supporter during Keating’s time, and again when Simon Crean was leader. What was the problem with Crean? “Too boring,” according to some; “too disloyal to the unions,” according to others. I always thought loyalty and integrity were mutually incompatible in a national leader, but what would I know. Boring? For f***’s sake people, if you want entertainment go and watch Sean Micallef or have a drink with your mates. I like Micallef but we don’t ask him to run the country; why do we have a problem with a PM not being a laugh a minute?

    When Beazley and Rudd stuck the knife into Latham (a Crean supporter himself) while he was sick with pancreatitis – exploiting the Boxing Day tsunami tragedy to do so – I recoiled from Labor in disgust, and I’ve never seen anything good come out of the ALP ever since. My defence of Abbott is not so much out of great admiration, so much as a desperation to be rescued from this Kitchen Kabinet government, the worst I’ve ever seen, and at this point I’d settle for almost anyone this side of Attila the Hun.

  142. powerisnotstrength

    At times like these I always used to put the major parties last and vote Democrats. But what’s left of the Democrat party is not so much a ghost of its former self, as a parody of its former self – a bad parody, which is not the least bit funny. I haven’t been able to see any merit in the Greens since I passed the mental age of 12. What does that leave? I think I need a holiday.

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