Six years on, and nothing’s changed.

The inimitable BK provided his much loved links today and one of them bears closer scrutiny…

“Jaqueline Maley with a long and reasonable article about the issues that will dominate this election year. Note how thin the Opposition’s stances are.

“Reasonable”? BK is too kind.

It looks like Maley’s spoken to Mark Textor pretty exclusively for her analysis (with Hawker-Britton looking on). It boils down to how things will “play”, from a institutionalized Liberal spruiker’s point of view, written up by the SMH’s “parliamentary sketch writer” as proper “journalism”.

On the Carbon Tax Maley posits that the punters will hold a grudge against Gillard for the “lie”, made in August 2010, even as they realize Abbott has been full of shit about the dire effects of the CT. As droughts and fires take hold over the next ten years, she assumes the punters will STILL vote against the government, even if it means their houses burn down and their water runs dry.

For someone who treats her own readers as if they have no memory, Maley now asserts they never forget anything.

“But that doesn’t mean voters have forgiven Gillard her carbon tax “lie”, and it doesn’t mean they are convinced of the value of the carbon pricing reform on its own merits.”

The same goes for the Surplus “promise”. Millions – amateurs and professionals – have been begging the government for relief from spending cutbacks. Swan, according to the experts with a vested interest in doomsaying, waited months longer than he needed to, just to make sure everyone was on board. He finally did what they were clamouring for him to do. And that’s dumb?

It’s so typical of a “parliamentary sketch writer” to obsess about broken promises, years old and now irrelevant, indeed welcomed in many quarters as sensibly and wisely broken. Yada-yada, I guess Jackie would say “It’s all about perception”.

No, it’s not. It’s a last fling Maley is having before she is forced to wake up and realize the public is concerned with outcomes, not the mindf**ks of political opinionistettes who see everything in terms of Journalists Club rules and regulations.

“Thou shalt not breaketh promises, for parliamentary sketch writers will … um …  houndeth thou for them, even if the public doesn’t… um … give a toss.”

How about this for a possibility? Labor convinces the punters that Carbon pricing is a good thing, is essentially un-repealable (without causing more chaos than it’s worth from something that’s now basically bedded down), that Global Warming is real – which it is, conveniently – and needs to be countered, and that ditching the obsession with Surpluses is not only a good thing as far as outcomes are concerned, but a good thing for the political process, breaking the chain of reflexive calls for a yearly credit balance no matter what. At least if she countenanced this possibility Maley would distinguish herself from the groupthink that passes for “political analysis” nowadays.

On IR, Maley believes (or is it Textor in her ear again?) that the public will welcome a return to Work Choices (in name or nature) because Craig Thomson is alleged to have used hookers nearly a decade ago and a Labor vice-President looks like he’s ripped off the same union.

She confuses the issue de jour of about a year ago, one of those that excited calls for Prime Ministerial resignations (along with Slipper, who I will come to later) and was classified as a government-busting scandal, with the more sanguine point of view that Thomson was only important because of the numbers in a hung parliament. Any attempt to make it bigger than that and to sustain this until, and throughout an election campaign is risky business, indeed.

The two – union power and petty union corruption – only seem to be connected, and that only in Journo World, a theme park where two flies crawling up a wall make it to the front page. If they crawl back down again, Peter Hartcher writes an obtuse leader and Michelle Grattan tells us either one could come out the winner (or maybe the cockroach will beat them both).

One – union power – protects all workers from the Americanization of our places of employment, which, given our stubbornly low jobless metrics and position as just about the world’s best economy, are things to worry about losing, and which are being worried about, even if the (paradoxically, heavily unionized) Journalists Club thinks it’s a trivial matter of what “she said” while “he said”.

The other, union corruption, can be fixed with a couple of court cases, fresh, clean union elections and stricter regulations. Then we can get onto millionaire Point Piper merchant bankers not being prosecuted for stealing the life savings of gullible self-financed retirees. Why one and not the other?

Punish the wicked, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Let’s not get too carried away thinking that scandals only happen to the Labor side of politics. If Textor/Maley think Craig Thomson and AWU are going to bamboozle the people into loving work Choices, begging for its return, over an alleged (but importantly not yet adjudicated and vigorously denied) bit of t’other by Craig Thomson, they’re even further gone than I thought.

Even without getting Textor’s imprimatur, I could think of another scandal that may provide some light relief for the punters: an LNP plot to bring the government down by dropping Peter Slipper, the Constitution’s highest parliamentary officer, into a homosexual honey trap that everyone in Canberra to the left of the Chair seemed to know was coming, at the same time as having no “specific knowledge” of it. This was followed by the wall-punching, Mr. “Sell Your Virginity Dearly” Abbott getting up in parliament to ask Madame Speaker-Thing to allow him to have a motion passed condemning… misogyny. After that came The Speech, something an insouciant Maley assured us needed to be taken in context… hers, of course.

I wonder where the pugilistic Abbott learned to lead with his chin?

Ashby-Slipper has already survived an almost impossible legal test: a successful accusation of abuse of process, an often argued but so unlikely an outcome for a court case that it makes hens’ teeth seem about as rare as an IPA talking head on The Drum, i.e. not.

If the Libs – including Textor/Maley presumably – believe a Federal Court finding that the fix was well and truly in re. Slipper is going to just disappear – has already disappeared – while 20 year old allegations that Julia Gillard had an intra-office tiff with her partners and was encumbered by a boyfriend with dubious (although as yet, again, unadjudicated) connections is going to get a guernsey as Scandal Of The Century, they may have to find their thinking caps, place them on their bobble heads, and use Velcro to keep them on in the storm that’s about to come.

A common way to cut a policy off at the knees is for a journo at a presser to yell, “Where’s the money coming from?” If there’s no money, then they don’t have to examine policy or do any serious analysis. They just shake their heads and waffle on about how “The Polls” say the voters reckon the government isn’t as good as Joe Hockey – he of “Interest rates will always be {too low|too high|out of control}  under Labor” – at managing the economy.

So Textor/Maley today throw out the tired line:

“But there will be natural voter scepticism around funding for the reforms. The review recommends increased funding of $5 billion a year (based on 2009 figures, which amounts to $6.5 billion in today’s terms) and no agreement has been reached with the states.

Textor says the Gonski review might be a talking point among Canberra’s press gallery, but it adds up to just that – talk.

“It’s seen by many as a bunch of recommendations and things they say they’re going to do . . . Have any changes resulted?” Meanwhile, he says, the Coalition can campaign on its “practical approach” to education and “proven ability to negotiate with the states”.

Note how Maley quietly divorces herself from “Canberra’s press gallery”, using Textor’s words? They’re the journos over there, those other ones, the ones who reckon Education is important, not the ones who know the Coalition has a “proven ability to negotiate with the states.” Presumably Textor/Maley are referring to John Howard’s stunning achievements with … um … let’s see… the Murray-Darling, for example? That was a brilliant success, eh? Unlike the miserable Gillard failures of actually passing the MDB legislation through the parliament, shaming the states into agreeing to co-fund the NDIS and her egregious lack of accomplishment at getting NAPLAN testing up and running. What a miserable record of “negotiating with the states” Labor truly has!

I could go on, but I have to go out into the garden and complete the breaking of my lower back shovelling compost for Her Indoors, so that it’s nice when she comes back from a zesty swim at the pool.

Suffice it to say this: before the 2007 election Jason Koutsoukis wrote weekly articles in the Sunday Age telling his readers in great detail how the Coalition had Rudd just where they wanted him: on a slab, prepped for vivisection without the anesthetic. They also had a dirt file on Gillard that proved beyond doubt she was guilty… of something. Never mind, the smear would do.

In 2007 it was scandals and meta-politics that were going to win the day for the Howard government. The Coalition’s default position was that their policies didn’t need to be considered because, well, everyone knew what they were. Jason eventually broke out of the thrall he had been in – for all I know a spell woven by the same Mr. Textor that has today been at Jacqueline Maley – and wrote the truth: the Coalition were on a hiding to nothing, and they relied too much on smear and innuendo.

Today, in 2013, little has changed.

They continue to run on sensational headlines that come to nothing. they continue to cling to the belief that John Howard – who not only lost office, but got chucked out of his seat as a bonus – is on the comeback trail. Not the man himself, but his successors – Abbott, Hockey, Robb, The Puff Adder, Mesma, The Poodle, that bloke from Queensland who’s never asked a question, the stylish Truss, the Human Caricature, Barnarby Joyce, and of course the glamourous Lady Bronwyn Bishop – will stage the revival.

The question that seriously needs to be asked about the next election is: “Are they serious?”

Continuous polling snapshots show the Coalition still in the lead, yet the gap is narrowing. To any reasonably sentient observer that would mean the government is gaining. Yet the Gallery continues to frame its blather around a conservative lead in the polls that is dwindling, the smug spruikings of hired guns like Textor, and an Opposition leader who is about as popular as a fart in a knife drawer, and who has never, ever been popular.

They are up against a party and their leader who have accomplished so much, given the incessant harping, whingeing and moaning from the media and political opponents alike, plus the millstone of a hung parliament strung around their necks.

The media see no future for themselves as they sit in their empty offices, working double shifts to meet the 24 Hour News Cycle. So why not bring everyone down to their level?

The Opposition, stenographed through the media, mindlessly trash-talk the economy into near-recession, then seek to blame the government, without producing alternative policies, except gimmicks like subsidized nannies and more highway bypasses.

A lot can happen in 8 months and it doesn’t necessarily have to be all in the Coalition’s favour, no matter how hard the media push that barrow. Abbott leaves us with a picture of… sameness. Same faces, same policies, same tactics, same telecommunications infrastructure, same negativity. They, and their supporters, have made the fundamental mistake that the Republicans made in the recent US elections: they believe their own publicity.

Also believing the publicity is Jacqueline Maley, who would be better off finding a new career as a waitress, rather than in her chosen, but dumbed-down profession. After all, they say Hospitality is the new boom industry.


463 thoughts on “Six years on, and nothing’s changed.

  1. A quick thankyou Joe, BB, C@tmomma and Fiona, the awesome foursome.

    I”ve dipped out on going for a walk with guests to sneak a chance to log on and say it’s been a relaxing place to retreat to. Many thanks

  2. To Joe, Bushfire, Fiona and C! Thanks a lot for the opportunity to post here, and it is great that it will continue in some form, because PB has never run as smoothly as this one has, due to the moderation that goes on here. It has been refreshing to see that no one has been bullied for having an opinion different to someone else’s.

  3. Ross Bowler ‏@BowlerBarrister
    Do Not Mention The #AshbyGate Diary Stealing Scandal @denniallen @GeorgeBludger @randlight @mbstewart
    Hide photo Reply Retweeted Favorite

    By Ross Bowler @BowlerBarrister
    TwitPic @TwitPic · Follow
    So clever

  4. Sounds vaguely familiar …

    “A Forbes article analyzing spending under Obama with particular emphasis on the disaster W. Bush created.

    The bottom line is that Republicans flogging this debt Chimera are playing on the ignorance, gullibility, fear, and anger of the American public to help their obscenely affluent pals finish looting the United States.

    They tell the world they are looking out for American workers, but they are too evil or too stupid to do anything but twist the vice on America workers ever tighter.”

  5. My regard for PvO increased after reading this tweet from him. He reflects what many Libs must be thinking. More than anything this tweet has convinced me Abbott’s days are numbered. A pity, 3-6 months earlier than I would have liked. Turnbull is tweeting like mad at the moment, and linking approvingly to sites critical of the Tea Party repubs. Not subtle at all, but the message is pretty clear.

    @vanOnselenP: Who’s next? Tony Abbott’s cleaner (so long as it ain’t a bloke) telling us what a great guy he is…I mean seriously!

  6. Anyone still around with any Mac knowledge. Something went wrong with my Mac Mail function, when i was trying to delete duplicated items and the whole function seemed to disappear. I could live with this, with my emailing now on Gmail anyway, but …

    My Mac Book Pro refuses to shut down because it says I have to quit the Mail application. The problem is that I can’t get the $#% application up to quit it. I’ve tried escape quit and as with Command Quit I just get that noise more or less implying I can’t do it.

    How do I shut down the thing? Is there a way of force quitting ? Or alternatively actually getting the Mail application back and visible so I can quit it? Help gratefully received, as seems I have to get through a labyrinth to get to the Mac help people.

  7. Go up to the Apple menu in the top right hand corner and drop it down. There’s a force quit option there.

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