Whingeing with the stars.

Whingeing Australian2

Mandy Vanstone is off and running in the New Year with a whinge about… whingeing.

“Australians used to joke about whingeing Poms but I fear we have adopted that rather unattractive trait as our own. True enough the federal Parliament, indeed most of the parliaments, did not cover themselves in glory in 2012. I am not defending that.

It is just interesting that so many people who are happy to put the boot into parliamentarians do not appear to have tried to excel in their own work. We have a new class of people who appear quite happy to just be critical of others for not meeting the excellence bar.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/stop-whingeing-and-get-up-early-to-beat-the-january-blues-20130106-2cb3k.html#ixzz2HESSRlyr

Yes, it’s the old “Parliament is a disgrace” gambit, and no, Mandy doesn’t ascribe blame. She just has a whinge that the parliament is a joke. By parliament” she means Question Time.

But the truth comes out in her statement: “I am not defending that.”

Why would Mandy feel she owns some of the responsibility for the goings on in QT? She’s not a parliamentarian anymore, so it can’t be that.

But Mandy is still a Liberal, and it’s the Liberals who have gone out of their way to wreck QT and this parliament. No wonder she feels it necessary to – almost – apologize.

Pointless points of order (most of which are struck down); defiance of the Speaker resulting in record numbers of ejected members; heckling and all the rest of it are all played out to a bored Press Gallery, sitting in their reserved box seats like so many indolent Roman patricians, who maintain the fiction that QT is the most important gauge of governance… why?

Because they can. They have the privilege of the ringside seat, so they flog it for all it’s worth. What’s important – and pointedly, exclusive – to them, is what rates in parliamentary and political coverage.

So it’s all QT’s fault that the nation has turned into one whingeing, seething mass of dummy-spitters, says Mandy.

Wrong. It’s the trash-talk about everything – the economy, industrial relations, retail sales, and yes, parliament – that does it.

It is self-evident that a government concerned with re-election, running the country, keeping the economy on an even keel and passing its legislation through the parliament, would NOT wish to trash-talk its own efforts to maintain peace, order and good government (Can-Do Campbell, with his notable “Queensland is the new Greece” ejaculation, being the exception that proves the rule).

So who is doing all the wrecking?

It’s the side of politics that never has anything good to say, that puts out the message to do nothing – sit on your money – until they get into power, that makes up outright lies about the effect of the Carbon Tax, that threatens continuous elections just to restore us back to “Australia, circa 2007”, that says interest rates are always too low or too high, that tells us no matter how good this month’s figures are that next month’s will be the worst on record, that introduces scandal, smear and outright abuse of the Courts in shady efforts to alter the numbers in their favour, that plays with the lives of boat people just to score political points… in short, the side of politics that never stops whingeing and moaning… they are the ones to blame for the depths to which our nation has sunk.

Once upon a time there may have been a point to it. There was a chance that if they could king hit the government early, convince the independent members to switch sides or express “No Confidence” in the government, we might have had to go back to the people (who elected the hung parliament, after all) and sort it all out. That option expired by about mid 2011.

After that it was just a mindless pursuit of bad polls for the government so that their captive journo mates could write up the next election as a lay-down misere. If the result was so certain then there’s no need to talk about government policy because the government won’t be around long enough to carry it out. There would be no need to talk about Opposition policy because Oppositions don’t “do” policy until the campaign. With no need to consider either government or Opposition policy, we could get down to The Vibe, such an easy ride for all concerned.

  • Writing about The Vibe means you can just spew out whatever comes first into your empty head and pass it off as critical analysis.
  • Writing about The Vibe means you can run the next election endlessly, day after day, week after week, quoting the same polling numbers each time, saying there’s no hope for the Prime Minister.
  • Writing about The Vibe means you can fill columns with you personal political biases, your likes and dislikes, and get it into the newspapers.
  • Writing about The Vibe permits you to dismiss the government and to treat the Opposition as the government-in-waiting, or even the co-government, even though the Opposition has never won a substantive vote or passed a serious motion in the House for the entire time since 2010.
  • Writing about the vibe means you can then blame the government for all this, or at worst, not have to blame the Opposition.

Unfortunately, writing about The Vibe has a downside for it purveyors. Your readers lose faith in you, they stop buying your newspaper, you go broke. As for the wrecker-politicians, their approval ratings tank to almost unprecedented levels. The Economy sags due to low confidence levels. The nation stagnates.

The critical 5% of punters who make up the difference between a vibrant economy and one in the doldrums are too miserable to get out of bed in the morning – Mandy uses this exact “Get out of bed scenario”. They don’t go shopping, or get to work. What should have been an optimistic, energetic place to live becomes a dull ache somewhere in the backs of people’s minds.

Funnily enough, I agree with Mandy, at least half agree with her.

There does need to be a resurgence of confidence and a cessation of whingeing. But it has to come from a recognition of the causes of the nation’s ennui. Australia needs to get a grip on itself and recognize that its salvation is in its own hands.

Confidence is highly under-rated as an economic output. We talk of prices and supply, taxation and industrial relations, market forces and government stimulus, but rarely do we consider confidence as anything more than some kind of waffly feel-good/feel-bad indicator, a product of an economy.

Confidence is not just a product of an economy, it is also equally its driving force. None of the other indicators matter unless the punters have enough confidence to literally get out of bed in the morning and believe their efforts will make a difference, and that their participation in the economy and society will benefit them, their families and ultimately, their society.

When conservative politicians continually trash-talk the economy for no good reason other than political advantage, a spike in the polls, a quip they can make about Pink Batts on Q&A, and when this results in too many people taking them at their word and staying in bed, the consequences can be serious indeed. We’re seeing that now.

A media that’s suffering decline seeks to spread its own misery to the rest of the country. Conservative – Liberal and National in particular – politicians continue a bad habit of negativity whose chance of success expired years ago. Economists, congenitally conditioned to never saying “Bet the house on this” take the easy option and tell their clients and readers, “Put you money under the bed, and then lie in that bed and stay put.” Here’s why: no economist ever got sued for advising their client to be cautious, even stupidly cautious.

Sound familiar?

Our economy is among the best in the world, our dollar is a reserve currency, our life style is rated No. 1, our debt is low, interest rates, taxes and unemployment ditto, we are on the Security Council doing good work around the world, our Treasurer wins prizes for his accomplishments, our Prime Minister is lauded all over as a Boadecia-like figure in the cause of women’s rights, big initiatives – the NDIS, Health and Education reforms, the NBN, anti-tobacco measures and many more – are either in train, or planned in a professional manner with proper consultation and hard bargaining… yet we are told we may as well stay in bed because Craig Thomson looks like he may have used hookers ten years ago, or the PM had a shoe malfunction, or her arse is too big.

Sound familiar?

The commentators are continually wrong about almost everything. Their predictions are laughable, and their errors are grievous. The government will fall, Rudd will come back, the states will never agree, the money can’t be found.

Sound familiar?

It’s not just Question Time or the parliament. It’s a national malaise, infectious and malignant, spread by political and business forces that have a vested political interest in maintaining their cosy pasts, to the detriment of their own present and future self-interests.

Working an extra hour and a half a day – Mandy’s suggestion – should not be the cause of recovery from this illness, it should be the result of it. But it can only become a reality if the conservative political forces that have so far been spreading it start helping to clean it up.

And to do that we first have to face the reality of where this disease is coming from, keep the carriers and spreaders of it from office, and drive a stake through the cesspits they have in place of human hearts.

663 thoughts on “Whingeing with the stars.

  1. Thanks to msadventure for that info last night.

    Confessions – I won’t have the modem this week. They’ve sent it to my old address – even though all my addresses with them are updated as I confirmed twice with them yesterday and checked myself online – so I’ve just spent half an hour untangling that mess. Had the same problem when I got a new mobile through them last year. They sent it to my original address (haven’t lived there for four years), didn’t inform me, then returned it when it wasn’t picked up. They did at one stage quote me that first address when I called them yesterday. It seems no matter how many times you repeat it, one of their departments doesn’t get the memo.

    I’d like to say it’s Kafkaesque, but to me it’s much more like that scene in Spinal Tap when they can’t find the door to the stage.

  2. jaycee,
    I think you are aiming your fire in the wrong direction. More likely than not it is the case that it is the Opposition who are using all the tools at their disposal to go after their enemies. The AFP investigation being just one.

    The AFP are duty bound to investigate matters if a complaint is filed. So…the Liberals, who have all the data on their enemies in one of their many ‘Dirt Files’, supply it to the AFP with a covering letter saying, ‘Investigate this and get back to us.’ Then they monitor the situation closely until it gets the result they expect.

    The only matter which makes me think there is some sort of complicity between the Liberal Party and the Coalition in this instance is in the timing of the release of the results of the investigation. Very suspiciously it came out in the first week of the new year.

    One thing I might add is that they put Labor down for the solidarity it ‘enforces’ upon it’s Members, but that is as nothing compared to the virtual blood oath of solidarity until the day you die that the Liberal Party appear to enforce upon their own MPs. Or else, watch out for the full force of the backlash to hit you.

  3. Aguirre,
    I gave up getting modems from my ISP ages ago. Now I just by the one I want and then ring up the Tech Dept of my ISP and get them to run me through a Factory Install. 🙂

  4. That may be my next move, C@tmomma. The thing I’m using is about 4 or 5 years old – it’s just one of those portable USB stick modems – and they didn’t seem surprised that it was acting up.

  5. you maybe correct there mark. its peacful here it is has feel of
    flowing water over big and small stones, ripping water and tides going in and out,
    no gotchas

  6. jaycee,

    find it hard to comment as i am not sure if one is supposed to comment on this type of going on,
    till later,

    so ithought i would ask b b

    as he knows what can be said and cannot be said,

  7. CTar1,
    Snap! Guess who my son was on at me about the other day to have a listen to?

    Mark Lynas! 🙂

    Better go do it then. 😳

  8. while doing what we do first thng in the morning, the necessary bits to make our homes happy for the day, i was thinking,
    do this opp. and abbott think this is a presedential election, do they think they can offer the country, just gotchas, and stunts, running around in trucks and going to shops fishing and kissing fish for photo opportunities,
    is this what being in opp. is all about, or do they think this what maketh a
    prime minister[ or president].

    they must, as i see no policiy on the table that i can remember, so remarks here and there, something about highway and billions of dollars,
    nothing costed, so what, a highway, ok it may be needed for some in that area, what about the rest of us.

    this is the big difference, i feel, ndis, NBN, pension increases, and threasholds of tax area up. and so many other policies done or nearly done, from a gov. that cares about all of us,
    even liberal voters get to enjoy these policies{ must admit sometimes i wish i could say no you cannot come in here} but we cannot after all we all australians,, i just hope , the soon its recognised this one horse race the opp are trying to run , nothing for us the people no vision for the future
    that i have noticed

  9. we mothers have to be all things, so we cannot be angels
    \
    all the time,
    actully i think children like kind disceplain they know where they are

  10. Let the battle begin:

    Nicola Roxon’s discrimination laws draw flak from media

    by: Annabel Hepworth, National business correspondent
    From: The Australian
    January 09, 2013 12:00AM

    THE nation’s media giants have slammed Labor’s plans to make it unlawful to offend or insult people under the proposed overhaul of discrimination law, warning it could encourage audiences to be unnecessarily thin-skinned and outlets to restrict contentious or complex material.

    In a rare united submission, the media companies say that with the exception of the section of the Racial Discrimination Act used against newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt, no existing federal law deems conduct that is simply insulting or offensive to be discrimination.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/nicola-roxons-discrimination-laws-draw-flak-from-media/story-e6frg996-1226549911052

    Needs the google trick.

  11. victoria,
    Good morning! 🙂
    Sad about that Historic House being burnt to the ground near Ballarat. All because of some farm hand’s spark from his equipment setting the Chepworth blaze going.

    You know, that’s the sad, unintended consequence of Global Warming really. Tinder dry earth no longer able to withstand human mistakes.

  12. I reckon a largely unknown benefit (to the public anyway) of this government is that the nation has a high amount of international respect.

    Julia Gillard is popular overseas, and Australia’s international reputation has recovered very well since Howard soiled it with the Iraq War. And ministers like Swan have also received praise too. Our respect is such that we easily got a seat on the UN security council.

    We stand to lose all this respect if Abbott becomes PM. He is clearly disliked by a lot of foreign presses, he’ll put our alliances and relationships with our neighbors at risk, especially with Indonesia. I doubt someone like Barack Obama would get along well with this arsehat, and almost every leader he meets overseas are clearly embarrassed to be seen with him.

    Sure it’s only up to citizens of a nation to elect their leaders, but that comes with a price if their leader is unpopular internationally. Look what happened to the USA from 2004-2008 after re-electing Bush. Anti-american sentiment was enormous in this period, and the damage from it may last for many years to come. I fear the anti-Australian sentiment that would be directed at us if Abbott wins.

  13. c@tmomma
    Let the battle begin:

    For once I agree with the OM on this. A lot of comments on this site, the “other” one and elsewhere could very easily run afoul of this proposed law.

    The very post that these comments are on could be construed as an insult to Vanstone, not to mention the previous one about Maley.

    One man’s constructive criticism is another man’s insult.

    A very stupid law.

  14. VK

    You make a salient point. What will our fellow Australians do. Will they buy the propaganda being posited by the coalition and their cheersquad?

  15. Dan Gulberry,
    I do agree that the new mooted Discrimination Laws could see us end up with a Lawyer’s Picnic and actually chilling debate.

    It’s a fine line you have to tread to see flat-out villification via media stomped on but constructive criticism flourish.

    And, of course, what we do here, by way of criticising public figures, is always constructive. 😀

  16. c@m

    And, of course, what we do here, by way of criticising public figures, is always constructive.

    My point is that someone with deep pockets and the ability to hire slick lawyers could very easily convince a judge/jury that this “constructive criticism” is deeply insulting to the person(s) it was aimed at.

    A very stupid law, that even if it doesn’t achieve its desired effect will have a more profound effect on the 5th Estate (limited funds) than it will on the 4th (big money).

    A very stupid law.

  17. I hope they won’t fall for it, Victoria.

    Another example is Silvio Berlusconi in Italy. While I’m sure the international community don’t deal with Italy as much as they would with the USA, he was a national embarrassment there and I’m sure he has done lasting damage to that nation.

    The international community saw him as an arrogant corrupt sex fiend that made himself above the law and brought the nation to near financial ruin.

  18. http://tinyurl.com/b9mm9km (click google link)

    Tony Abbott faces internal industrial relations push
    by: David Crowe, National affairs editor
    From: The Australian
    January 09, 2013 12:00AM

    TONY Abbott is being urged by his allies to commit to major workplace reform and encourage the use of individual agreements, as the Coalition’s internal debate on the key election issue escalates despite fears of a political backlash.

    Howard government adviser and rising Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg has reignited the industrial relations debate by calling for a crackdown on union power as well as changes to make it easier for employers and their staff to use individual contracts instead of union awards.

    http://tinyurl.com/a4c4v6g (click google link)

    Abbott must seize the mantle on industrial relations reform
    By: Josh Frydenberg
    From: The Australian
    January 09, 2013 12:00AM

    INDUSTRIAL Relations reform is the classic Labor wedge.

    Labor believes there is a trade-off in the workplace between flexibility and fairness, and a contest between a greedy employer and a helpless employee.

  19. Good morning, fellow drinkers.

    So sad about Gweneth. I wish her a gentle passage.

    Has anyone heard from Rummel (btw, CTar1, his roster ended at 7pm yesterday, though whether that would have held given the state in your/his neck of the woods who knows?)

    BB, delighted with your news. Long may your pain-free state continue.

    I am settling into my new quarters nicely – even though my bedroom is a shrine to the Collingwood FC …

    Today I have to focus on some work work, so I won’t be around much. But first things first: Madam Barmaid, does this joint do coffee?

    😉

  20. Dan,
    I did mean my last statement to be somewhat ironic. 🙂

    The point I’m trying to get at is how DO you ‘reign in’ a media which is pushing the envelope of character assassination of a democratically elected leader and his/her government? No matter which one it is, Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard. Or just about anyone who goes in to bat for them and their government and their programs?

  21. fiona,
    We are your modern hostelry. We’ll make a buck out of any sort of drink. 🙂

    Would you like a Latte? You are a Latte Drinking, Chardonnay swilling Lefty, aren’t you? 😀

  22. C@tmomma,

    Nah, I don’t do drinking hot stuff from glasses. Mine is a long, strong black …

    (which reminds me of the time in Washington DC when I asked the gorgeous African-American waitress for a flat white …)

  23. vic at 9 04 yes very good read and could be spot o n.

    the time has me doing things in qld time

    gosh i m late

    very late to day
    and i am not even a white rabbitt

  24. Well, that’s the election won then. ‘FlexibilityChoices’ is back, or will they take the Orwellian terminology employed by their Brothers-In-Tory Arms, ‘WorkFair’, as the nomen?

    How quickly the Tories think we have forgotten how Individual Contracts became a ‘Take it or leave it’ affair. With job security being the Damocles Sword held over the head of an employee if they were wavering about signing their contract.

    How quickly the Tories think we have forgotten that, no matter how much fine-sounding verbiage they cloak their intent in, or how many times they say they have learnt the lessons of ‘WorkChoices’, that we know they never will because they will always want more ‘flexibility’, the more they get.

    How quickly the Tories think we have forgotten about those employers who wanted to behave the right way to their employees wrt Pay & Conditions, and even presence of a Union on the Shop Floor or the premises of a building site, only to have to admit that because their competitors in the game were not respecting these things, and that meant that they could offer their services cheaper and so were getting all the work, so it was that the good-hearted guys had to go down the same path, just to stay afloat. And so it went on in a that perennial ‘Race to the Bottom’, where such Bottom Feeders are located, with all the rest of the pond scum.

    No way have I forgotten. No way will I ever forget that fairness for all in a workplace who combine to create the profits in a business that the shareholder class feed off, is the Olympian goal of Workplace practice.

    Not this, sick, mean and nasty striving for more ‘Rights’ for the Employer Class to treat their workers as just another ‘Input Cost’ to be shaved away to it’s barest skeletal presence on the bottom line of their Balance Sheets.

    There is no ‘Union Power’ that needs to be cracked down on. The bastards have pretty much destroyed Unions after 12 years of Howard/Reith & Costello. They are a shadow of their former selves merely seeking to represent the most powerless workers in our society.

    What there is though is the might of the Capitalist Class seeking, yet again, to flex their financial muscle so as to revisit Serf Choices upon us again.

    Over my dead body they will.

  25. Dan,
    You don’t reign them in. You give them enough rope, and let them hang themselves.

    A Utopian ideal that, in the breach, does not mirror reality. There has to be a line across which they know they cannot step. Like flat-out making things up that bare the flimsiest and most tenuous link to the reality of the situation, or which turn half-truths & ‘facts’ fungibly on their heads.

    ‘Truthiness’ I think George Bush called it.

  26. for some reason lap top does not [ and i bet it does ] link sites

    can i suggest we do more linking

    that s the way to keep people interested in the blog and what going on

    i do notice they do more of it over there, and i do notice some from here are over there

    so thats ok , but to keep this vibrant we have to keep adding news
    all day

    i was trying to link the chat last night from the gentlema n at the weather bureau

    its on the 7.30 report and its the last segmant

    as i watched it all last night
    and thought this should be discussed by the abc 24 today

    but i bet its not.

    hope this suggestion is taken in the spirit its given

    after yesterday flurry of new posters we dont want them to lose interest

  27. fiona,
    I loathe and detest Chardonnay.

    You’re a good woman with your head screwed on the right way, fiona. 😀
    I’m a Red person myself. 🙂

  28. trying to link turn left 2013

    good things on there

    i will have to have talk to my technical export s i l

    a very short part of the area i am reading only shows
    so i cannot get the whole web site to link to

  29. can i suggest we do more linking?

    I suggested it to the ‘Powers That Be’ the other day, but they haven’t got back to me yet about it. I think one of them was preoccupied with a bad back, or something. Shirker! 😀

    However, I do agree with you and I am just waiting to get the nod, so to speak, to do it.

  30. no i wouldnt be able to sleep at night if i

    did twitter

    i say something i should nt

    but hope you consider linking

    i notice the other site does not link
    much NEW media

  31. gosh i didnt realise that, i suppose one hs to be careful

    have a look at the turn left 13

    i didnt know abbott did a press con on the fires

  32. Abbott quietly and anonymously going about his volunteer work ….Makes one’s heart swell with pride!! pic.twitter.com/qo4C97Q8

  33. Let’s recap

    Abbott is a swell guy because he “allowed” his COS to store fertility drugs in the office fridge. He is also great because he is ready to fight fires, and Make sure media is at the ready to film him doing so.

    Am I too cynical??

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