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. BK,

    No matter: it will give me an excellent excuse to read your ever-cheerful morning posts again.

    Thank you, as always, for all your work with the lynx …

  2. Thanks, kaffee, though Spiny Norman played his part, big though it was.
    BTW, I though the whole Peta Credlin and her achy breaky biological time clock ticking schtick was the funniest thing I’ve read about all day.

  3. Joe6Pack,

    I’ve been taking screen shots and saving them for posterity!

    Meanwhile: HUGE thanks from me to you for this site, and for letting me moderate and write. Huge thanks also to Bushfire Bill and C@tmomma. It has been great fun working with all of you, and moi think nous make a team formidable


    And yes, stick around folks – you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet …

  4. Some more trucker porn as a thank you to mein host.

    “Road Trains on the track, Northern Territory ”

  5. I’m assuming we won the cricket. I switched off after they went off for tea with 5 runs left to get.

  6. Fiona , you are an absolute champion thank you for your help.
    BTW haven’t forgotten about your daughters move from Perth. may have something lined up.

  7. Adding my thanks to joe6pack and those who have contributed to this site over last couple of weeks. Great effort.

  8. thank you joe for making this possible, and bb for supporting the idea
    and the pbs who watched over the posts.

    i will miss this place and this type of moderation.

    such a shame there was no one to take it on
    thanks again from

  9. kaffeeklatscher

    The ‘truck porn’ makes me wish I had some film of the PBM equipment operators navigating the cab-over Atkinsons loaded with pipes across country on the Moomba to Sydney Gas Pipeline.

    PBM company policy was that women won’t break the gear. In particular twist the tri-axle trailers going through creeks and other obstacles.

    You wouldn’t get away with PBM’s employment policy these days.

  10. I’d also like to join the chorus of crawlers and grovellers.

    Many to joe and BB, fiona and C@tmomma – it was great to have a home over Chrissy.

  11. its actually quite sad,,

    one feels teary actully

    thanks joe,

    l hope and pray this time the baby stays, i have feeling all will be well.

    good wishes
    too you both and your son.


  12. I’ve been reading through the Gordon article, and I can think of a few ways in which it is off the mark:

    1. Abbott isn’t winning any policy arguments anyway. His approval ratings are in the toilet, and a large measure of the turnaround in polling came about as a result of his very public exposure as a sexist. He can take a position – say, pro-IVF – and it wouldn’t make a shred of difference to how he is perceived. I can see that little sleight of hand working for Howard (he was really good at it), but Abbott is too much of a doofus to carry it off.

    2. The crux of the argument seems to be that it forces ‘progressives’ to take a position against IVF, just to oppose Abbott. I’ve seen no evidence of that. In fact, such a characterisation is way off the mark. They may not trust him when he says “I’m all for IVF”. But they don’t take him at his word and say, “Well, if he likes it I’m against it.”

    3. If it works the way it’s described, then as far as I can tell Abbott goes around trashing his image with progressives (plays to his base, in other words), then whips the mask off and says, “I’m not as bad as you thought I was, ha ha!” And everyone sort of follows him around. Is that right? It might fool journalists, who have been taking him at his word for years now (so I can see why Maiden was impressed), but the rest of us aren’t falling for it.

    4. This theory depends heavily on putting the actual news story aside, so we can marvel at the politics behind it. Gordon is upfront about that early in the piece. The trouble with that is that everyone is actually interested in the story. The details of the story especially. And then they move right on to the shamelessness of foisting such a pile of crap on the reading public. The ‘politics’ fall way behind all of that. It also depends, to a smaller degree, on the assumption that journalists are smarter than the rest of us, which is why they understand what’s going on. Again, I’ve seen little evidence of that.

    Journalists have been trying to tell us what a bunch of political geniuses the LNP conglomerate are. After Utegate, Slippergate, Carbon Tax, Gillardgate, the Australia Day fiasco and all the rest (especially the complete balls-up they made of negotiating a minority government), there’s a fair bit of doubt regarding that.

  13. This was my response to Gordon’s blog post.


    I think the main thing is that the govt isn’t biting. Roxon was spot on today. The only backlash I’ve seen is on twitter by anti LNP tweeters, possible some blogs. The public won’t see anything. So Gordon I don’t expect the trap you identify (which is worth pointing out) to become an issue. I also note that the original articles didn’t seem to feature in the “most read” lists on the News Ltd sites.

  14. The crux of the argument seems to be that it forces ‘progressives’ to take a position against IVF, just to oppose Abbott. I’ve seen no evidence of that. In fact, such a characterisation is way off the mark. They may not trust him when he says “I’m all for IVF”. But they don’t take him at his word and say, “Well, if he likes it I’m against it.”

    Spot on Aguirre. The comments I’ve seen from people who can’t stand Abbott have said nothing about IVF, just a) how transparently desperate the Libs are to pull this, or b) that it’s a sign Credlin is seeking to abandon a sinking ship.

  15. Christ! I go off for a sleep for an hour and a half because of a bad back, wake up and HI has rescued another cockatoo, and is off to the vet with it, and everyone’s sobbing over having to go back to PB because PBX is closing down. It’s as if somebody died.

    Nobody tells me anything.

    Who said we were closing down?

  16. So far, not a word about Tony and Peta on the channel 7 news.

    Thanks to J6P for the blog by the way

  17. This blog has been a happy place, but I’d be sad to see the PB threads split between two places. Can’t keep up with two conversations at the same time.

  18. BK
    what will next weekend’s advertorial expose of Abbott’s gentle side be?

    My money would be on a balancing stunt; he would not want to be considered a “girlie-man” afterall

    Tuesday in Sydney is forecast to be a hot 38 degrees. Do you think Abbott would be above having a photo opportunity with his local bush fire brigade? I don’t

  19. spinebill4
    Mr Denmore ‏@MrDenmore
    Why does Tony bother employing media advisers and spin doctors when News Ltd’s sandpit of supine hacks performs the dark arts for free?

    I suspect it will not be free

  20. Yep. Thank you so much, Joe, BB, Cat, Fiona, BK any I missed and all the commentariat. The sanity!

    Reiterations, probably missed my earliers:

    Thank you Rummel and BK, for your exemplary service and dedication.

    Thinking of you and your community, Denese, KB, any Tassies I may have missed.

    Fiona, I am perversely pleased that your Act 11 kept you inside. A New Year intervention should have cancelled the three times omen. Maybe that little escapade on the highway did the trick.

    Good luck all in fire zones, in the coming weeks and probably more.

    May this New Year bring promise, hope, successful babes etc.

    Thanks again

    aka Crikey Whitey.

    (stage name was an homage to the blog title)

  21. BB, c@t, Joe & Fiona

    I think you should keep think this blog alive, maybe even with comments closed, just to allow longer posts a home on their own as a standalone article. I’ve linked to a couple of Bill’s articles here, and I find it works better than linking to a permalink comment on PB (I’m told that it doesn’t work for some people, not sure why).

    Just one thing, maybe change the Xmas look & theme at the top?

    On the Credlin thing, I have a feeling the story will sink like a stone after today, unless a mainstream opinion writer does in fact write really dumb or offensive in reply, thus turning it into a “debate”.

  22. Evening All

    Thanks to all those who put the effort into running the blog to help us get our hit over the Xmas break, it would be painful to make it through without it!!!

    I hope if you do decide to keep it going it doesn’t become a case of here or PB for some. More importantly, I hope it doesn’t become a place, like another that will remain unnamed where it seems they spend half their time bagging out comments and commentators on PB. It would be sad to the festive spirit that’s been here, in the main, lost.

    Either way, you all have wiser heads than I and I’m sure you’ll make the right decisions.

    Thanks again

  23. BW – Agree. Which is what I think J6P is saying. An occasional post on here as an alternative comment on the press and other goings-on rather than Williams poll dissections/posts.

  24. Seriously, I thought the Peta Credlin story was just laughingly stupid. Seriously, she keeps her IVF meds. in Tony’s fridge, and he’s O.K. with this, has a little cry with her when it doesn’t work. It might only work if Abbott wasn’t such a known quantity. He’s known for who he is, a man so hungry for being PM, he would consider selling his a**e for the job.
    Julia’s speech went viral around the world and was applauded by many not in the OM for good reason. He and his ilk are known. In fact, maybe he’s overdone the publicity stunts in the fluoro vest, budgie smugglers and lycra. We know him.
    I do hope Tony Windsor is keeping his phone close. Can’t wait to see what is revealed and I have no doubt it will be revealed.
    As others have commented, it looks either desparate or Peta is going to exit stage left.

  25. Magickle (aka CW),

    I think that the x3 thing was beaten either by New Year or by OH’s setting the house on fire while stripping paint on Thursday. Fortunately, the tap and hose were only about 1 metre from him 🙂

  26. “I do hope Tony Windsor is keeping his phone close. Can’t wait to see what is revealed and I have no doubt it will be revealed.”

    Oh please yes! Although i suspect Windsor will keep that under wraps unless Abbott tires to go him for something. Maybe it is Windsor’s equivalent of crosses and garlic that will keep Abbott from campaigning in his seat??

    “As others have commented, it looks either desperate or Peta is going to exit stage left.”

    Certainly desperate. Peta going?? Not so sure of that, unless the Libs to a big clean-out at the top levels. Still, she probably realises she has no future post Abbott whenever that is.

  27. Duck – Next storm looks to be out around Weethalee, Rankin Springs and Yalgogrin.

    5 hours away.

    Abuse terms of reference expected soon
    January 06, 2013 6:46PM

    THE federal government is poised to reveal the terms of reference for the royal commission into child sexual abuse.
    Abbott has long-held views on IVF: Roxon
    Andrea Hayward
    January 06, 2013 6:46PM

    OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott will be judged on his long-held views on abortion and IVF access despite his chief-of-staff going public about his support for her IVF attempts, says Attoney-General Nicola Roxon.

  29. I hope somehow the terms of reference and the way the Royal Commission is set up are fireproofed such that, in the unthinkable event of Abbott getting in to power, it cannot be watered down or neutered.
    Never forget that George Pell is still hovering around.

  30. Thanks To Joe, BB, Fiona and C@t for this site and their contributions, it has been a pleasure lurking and making the odd post. Hats off to those of you fighting fires, and I wish everyone here a good year. I am confident it will be a happier one for ALP supporters than most in the MSM are predicting.

    Unfortunately I am banned over at PB (My fault, I told William to ban me, but I thought it would be temporary. I don’t want to try on a new user account). I was too easily baited by the repetitive one’s anyway, so it’s probably a good thing 🙂 

    I will be lurking as the polls turn against the best efforts of the MSM (although Ch7 news seems to be quite kind to Gillard in recent times). 

  31. Honestly, the Credlin thing just causes me a headshake. Courageously looking through the (giveaway) Adelaide Sunday Mail.
    Page 2. Abbott, my IVF confidant, plus blurb. Photo of Credlin. Sam Maiden.
    In red banner, beneath “The Real Tony Abbott” Insight Page 31.
    Turn pages. Page 9. PM’s car caught 8 times. Blurb. Plus insert photo of Julia at cricket, in pink Akubra, entitled No pink bats, just hats.

    The dreaded Page 31, lovely huge photo of Credlin and Abbott. Looking for all the world like a Hollywood celeb couple (confusing possibly, for those who may not know the name of Abbott’s wife) then full pages 32, 33, large glam photo of Credlin, Another with Abbott’s minders incl Loughnane, identified in small print. A head to head smiling exchange Credlin and Abbott. And another, someone I thought initially may be her father, or even grandfather, but was Scobie Breasley, taken in 2004 (!)

    Finally, Credlin on the phone, doing serious work stuff.

    No fridge photos.

    Can’t be bothered reading the blurb.

  32. OMG, Fiona!

    I believe you said some time ago that your OH was a little tardy about house maintenance stuff. Best leave him at the computer stuff.

  33. Leroy, I been twittering not about the article, but Samantha Maiden, trying to tell us that Tony never said the immortal words “easy way out”, when it on his own website in a speech he gave about abortion back in 2004.

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