A government comes of age…

936 days

As of today – January 15, 2013 – Julia Gillard has been Prime Minister for 936 days. That’s one day longer than Kevin Rudd held the same office. For better or worse, Gillard’s Prime Ministership – and her government – have come of age.

They’re on their own now, grown up and ready to make their way in the world.

The passage of time, a result of the deposing of Rudd, has officially eradicated the taint of illegitimacy pervading the government’s tenure. That wound has healed, although it has undeniably left a scar. Despite the injury, it’s become glaringly evident there can and will be no Rudd comeback.

The Coalition is mired in the past. They rely on long distant happenings to keep their spirits alive and their supporters energetic: Rudd’s departure itself, “The Lie” regarding the Carbon Tax, and the so-called “glory days” of the Howard government, now into its sixth year of anachronism.

The Carbon Tax has been legislated and its implementation has begun. It has had virtually no ill effects.

Little Old Ladies and 2GB listeners have not been required to wither in the summer heat or freeze in front of one-bar radiators in winter.

Lurk merchants and business spivs, trying to exploit fear, uncertainty and doubt over the Tax have been shamed, warned off or prosecuted by ASIC.

Whyalla is still there, inflation remains low, interest rates have fallen, unemployment is steady.

Example after example of electricity bills, waved at the government by the Opposition, have finally been tabled and have mostly been found to be the result simply of increased usage. The Opposition has ceased producing them, too embarrassed to have the reality of their misrepresentations discovered.

The polls are improving. Today’s Newspoll shows a steady improvement. Where, as little as six months ago, a 51-49 result would have been regarded as rogue, it is now accepted as a reliable tallying of the two parties’ positions. The days of tsunami-like wipeouts seem to be gone. The political waves of the government’s fortunes have higher peaks and the troughs are not so deep. The tide is rising for Labor.

#Sensitivetony is now openly mocked in the streets, the cafes, on social media and in Australia’s lounge-rooms.

Abbott’s clumsy attempts at suborning the hapless females of his life into validating his SNAG credentials have fallen not only flat, but – importantly – on the progressively deafer ears of the nation’s women. One speech by Julia Gillard, enraged at Abbott’s smartarsed, grovelling reference to Alan Jones’ “Died Of Shame” meme, had him leering at the start of it, and ruined by its conclusion.

What women – and increasingly men – have noticed is that Abbott surrounds himself with females, alright, but only as his adoring housemaids… doing the ironing and carrying his dirt files. When he comes up against a woman he can’t control, be she the Speaker, a political rival from student days, or the Prime Minister in modern times, he resorts to the bully inside that has always given him empowerment and self-esteem.

Coalition stunts, so long a mainstay, are losing their edge. Tony Abbott playing dress-ups in fireman’s suits, skin tight Lycra and red budgie smugglers is now a national piñata.

If he thinks punters will be impressed that he lets his Chief Of Staff keep her IVF drugs in his fridge and use his toilet to self-administer them, then he has another think coming.

This should be normal behaviour for the boss of an organization, common decency, not exemplary or above and beyond the call of office. The more he arranges for these stunts to hit the front page of the Murdoch rags, the more diminishing the return, it seems even into negative territory.

About the only ones left that take him seriously (or pretend to) are the nation’s media, paid to be his friends with the NBN demolition bribe.

But even they have doubts. The “Home By Christmas” campaign of 2011, designed to shoehorn a bragging Abbott into the lodge by Christmas of that year, has not worked. They are doing it by the numbers now, persisting with their demented trench warfare long past the time when it had any chance of success.

As media resources and manpower are frittered away via an orgy of enterprise and confidence-destroying self-harm by the so-called “pundits”, Abbott’s sure fire success which permitted government policy to be ignored and Opposition policy to be archived for future reference, leaving stunts and gimmicks in their place, is now in doubt. Second thoughts and Plan-Bs are becoming more the order of the day in the nation’s newspapers and on its TV screens.

Gillard and her government, from this day forward, can more safely walk past Abbott and his look-at-me routines, and dance to their own tune… of their own composition. The Prime Minister has the keys to the country as well as the Lodge firmly in her grasp.

And she’s not one for letting them go without a real fight.

936 days in office is much more than a milestone… it is a truly defining moment when a government comes of age.

746 thoughts on “A government comes of age…

  1. Potatoes

    Well, a Girl Potato and Boy Potato had eyes for each other, and finally they got married, and had a little sweet potato, which they called ‘Yam’.
    Of course, they wanted the best for Yam.
    When it was time, they told her about the facts of life. They warned her about going out and getting half-baked, so she wouldn’t get accidentally mashed, and get a bad name for herself like ‘Hot Potato’.
    Yam said not to worry, no Spud would get her into the sack and make a rotten potato out of her!
    But on the other hand she wouldn’t stay home and become a Couch Potato either.
    She would eat properly so as not to be skinny like her Shoestring Cousins.
    When she went off to Europe, Mr. And Mrs. Potato told Yam to watch out for those hard-boiled guys from Ireland and the greasy guys from France called the French Fries, and when she went out West, she must watch out for the Indians so she wouldn’t get scalloped.
    They sent Yam to Idaho P.U. (that’s Potato University ). So that when she graduated she’d really be “in the Chips”.
    But in spite of all they did for her, one-day Yam came home and announced she was going to marry Richie Benaud.

    “Richie Benaud!!!!”, they cried.
    They were very upset and told Yam “You can’t possibly marry Richie Benaud because he’s just ……..

    Are you ready for this? Are you sure?
    OK! You asked for it: Here it is!
    … just a COMMONTATER!”

  2. If Jacqueline Onassis had married Frank Hyde she’d have been Jacqeline Hyde. And if Frederick March got divorced and married Tuesday Weld, she’d be Tuesday March the Second.

    Thank you very much. I’ll be here till Tuesday. Try the veal…

  3. A message from a real firefighter to Tony Abbott

    There’s been a lot of tweeting about Abbott’s fake fire fighting, with some saying that in his13 years with the Davidson RFB Tony the Hero has fought just one fire – at Lane Cove.

    Also claims that he now has staffers working on ‘adjusting’ his fire fighting record.

  4. Roy Orbison,

    Try the veal…

    The saltimbocca, the schnitzel, or the veal and pork terrine interlarded with chicken fillets and subtly flavoured with grated orange zest? All on today’s meenyou.

  5. Fiona,
    Sounds lovely. When are you going to get Toohey’s New on tap?

    More to the point, I’d like to see Abbott on toast…

  6. Hell it is depressing listening/watching the hell fires burning all over. The temp here is already 44 and by the feel of the heat in the norwester that is blowing out there, it’ll be a damned sight higher before the expected “change” arrives late evening.

    Who was that bloody fool who said climate change is crap?

  7. Nice shot.

    Hockey looks like his usual angry about not being in government self, Robb’s definitely been taking his pills and Christopher is smiling in case the ‘children’ see him.

  8. fiona – ‘Smelling rain’.

    Along with 38c and a wind the relative humidity is 17% here.

    Not nice.

  9. Any party dumb enough to put Abbott in charge is dumb enough to put any of those photographed into the big chair. That is one shallow talent pool.

    Except Oprah. She is currently taking Lance apart – and doing it with a big smile.

  10. Roy Orbison,

    When are you going to get Toohey’s New on tap?

    Done – your wish is our command, when humanly possible.

    Hence I have some problems with your last request. Where would we find a slice of toast large enough, among other minor difficulties?

  11. I’ve got to say I’m enjoying swapping backwards and forwards between here and the other corner.

    Well done folks!

  12. Muttley, that was hilarious, thanks 🙂

    Kezza, thanks for clearing up location for C@t, couldn’t have answered it better myself.

    Okay, cousin has disconnected Mum’s water tank, ( she’s on town water, but uses tank for drinking and cooking.) My son just come over and disconnected ours in case we also get ash and stuff, once that stuff gets into tank water you have to empty whole tank and start again, and who know when we’ll get any decent rain.
    Had to go into town, it was 40c at 10.00am, but has cooled down a fair bit, not quite cool enough to open house, but hopefully won’t be long before we can.

  13. Queanbeyan RFS CAT1 ‏@QBNCAT1

    A number of our 2003 fire veterans will be stood up at station today 10 years later, ready to go again into the smoke if required.

    Rummel must be glad he has some experience to hand as it’s just cracked 40c and the wind has picked up.

  14. Afternoon guys

    Been offline most of the day.


    There was a wonderful smell of rain here in my neck of the woods, but alas not a drop so far. My dad calculated that we have not had a decent shower for months now. Boy does it show. We really do need some rain soon.
    My sister and her OH are in Sydney for a friend’s funeral which is about to take place. Very unexpected etc. anyhow, they are roasting with 40 plus degree temperatures.

  15. 42.5 in the shade here at Beecroft. Fern trees wilting.

    52.7 in the sun. That’s RIDICULOUS!

  16. Parts of the world where the fire risk is rising can learn from Australia’s experience, says John Handmer, director of the Centre for Risk and Community at RMIT University in Melbourne. A good place to start would be “uninhabitable zones” – places where the fire risk is so high no homes should be built.

    Such zones became a reality after “black Saturday” in 2009, when fires killed 173 people and destroyed over 2000 homes in the state of Victoria alone. A royal commission recommended a “retreat and resettlement” strategy for areas of “unacceptable fire risk”. Under a voluntary buy-back scheme, the state bought more than 100 properties destroyed in the fires, and new buildings in high-risk areas now require a special permit.

    Handmer says Australia should be mapped based on fire risk, and the government should buy up the spots that are too dangerous for houses. North-facing ridges or gullies, where we know fires tend to funnel, should be considered out of bounds for housing development.

    Many of these areas have been developed in the absence of such policies, he warns. “They’re setting us up for the catastrophes of the future.”

    There is little doubt that climate change is already making fires more likely in Australia, says Andy Pitman of the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Australians were warned that they faced the highest ever risk this year. A couple of wet years led to extra growth in forests and grasslands, then a record heatwave dried everything out, turning it into a tinderbox.

    The heatwave smashed records and Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has called it “consistent” with climate change. The average temperature across the country reached 40.33 °C last week, beating a 1976 record of 40.17 °C. In 1973 the average maximum temperature sat above 39 °C for four days. Last week, it stayed that way for seven days. “We are absolutely annihilating records,” says Pitman.

    Such records are made more likely by rising greenhouse gas emissions (see graph). Additional factors that help fuel fires will also worsen as the climate continues to warm, says Pitman. Elevated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will fertilise plants during moist periods, creating more fuel. Increased variability means wetter wet periods will boost plant growth, and be followed by drier dry spells – a perfect storm of conditions for fires to break out. So fires are more likely, and likely to be bigger, says Pitman.


  17. I was wondering yesterday what happened to Richo. Low and behold he writes a piece for the Oz today


    “And what of Abbott? He looks like a one-trick pony. The relentless negativity served him well but it has run its course. Merely attacking Gillard won’t be enough this time. He needs to introduce policy ideas and detail.

    I’m just not sure if he can”

  18. The Guardian is coming to Oz soon. As being posited elsewhere, will they be the ones to investigate the Ashby conspiracy?

  19. PA

    I know Mr Acland wrote something today in Fairfax. Point is will the Guardian be the impetus for some real investigation into this affair?

  20. It’s about 24C here now, quite comfortable, but very windy.

    Started spitting about an hour ago, but that was it.

    feel sorry for all you guys in the ghastly heat.

    sounds like you have had a lot less rainfall that we have had here over the past couple of months.

    Sept 123.8mm
    Oct 62.7mm
    Nov 47.6mm
    Dec 90.3mm

    But, so far for the first 18 days of January 0.6mm
    (av for Jan is 57.9mm)

    Here’s a link to climate data online for Victoria. Just plug in the name of your town or area, then follow the prompts. i.e. plug in the year 2012. It will show you the local rainfall.

  21. It’s about 24C here now, quite comfortable, but very windy.

    Started spitting about an hour ago, but that was it.

    feel sorry for all you guys in the ghastly heat.

    sounds like you have had a lot less rainfall that we have had here over the past couple of months.

    Sept 123.8mm
    Oct 62.7mm
    Nov 47.6mm
    Dec 90.3mm

    But, so far for the first 18 days of January 0.6mm
    (av for Jan is 57.9mm)

    Here’s a link to climate data online for Victoria. Just plug in the name of your town or area, then follow the prompts. i.e. plug in the year 2012. It will show you the local rainfall.

  22. CFA Updates ‏@CFA_Updates
    Update: Aberfeldy fire in Gippsland now expected to impact Licola between 4pm and 6pm today. Emergency warning issued http://ow.ly/gUOwm

    And CFA still giving emergency warnings for Glen Maggie, Seaton, Heyfield, etc. Must be shit out there.

  23. And total rainfall so far in january 1.2 mm. Therefore in almost three months barely 60mm of rain. No wonder it is so parched!

  24. I was looking at the BOM to see what our temperature is at the moment, I can only find the forecast. Any suggestions will be gratefully received. 🙂

  25. I had 8mm last week, enough to top my tanks.

    When we had 45°C early this month my rock melons looked pretty sick, copious amounts of seaweed extract and a bit of Charlie Carp and they are fine and growing well now. Love my Charentais rock melon, you can’t buy anything anywhere near as sweet and fragrant and delicious as a Charentais melon!

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