Train Wreck

So this is the week where the rubber hits the road, where the going gets tough (and the tough get going), where talking-the-talk becomes walking-the-walk, where the shit hits the fan and the kitchen gets hot, where we run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.

Reality Meets Slogans

This is the week where we find out just how big a train wreck the new Abbott government has become.

It’s the week where Reality meets Slogans.

For a supposedly natural diplomat, one who uses charm and blokey bonhomie, a hearty hand shake and a pat on the back to change the fates of nations, who (according to himself) has a netball team’s worth of Best Friends stretching in a magnificent geopolitical crescent from Jakarta to Japan, Tony Abbott sure looks lonely today.

Even his fawning hagiographer, Mark Kenny, the man who told us that in one hot Jakarta afternoon Abbott had single-handedly turned the tide of Indonesian skepticism into a tsunami of co-operation and love, allowed himself some doubt in this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald.

Gone was the first flush of passion for a new government doing new things in brilliant and exciting ways. Instead it was revealed that:

Abbott’s super-simple boats fix convinced some, but it was always too easy.

Who knew… until Mark told us?

Thank God for our perceptive Press Gallery. It’s stuff like Mark’s stunning observation that should silence any doubters, those who reckon the Gallery is a bunch of scribbling, nodding hacks, obsessed with color and movement and who wouldn’t know a policy if one crawled into their underpants and bit them on the kahoonies.

Mind you, it took him a while to work it out… three years to be precise; three years of ceaseless, relentless heckling from Mark and his mates, directed at the Gillard government for being unable to Stop The Boats when it really wasn’t so difficult at all. All they had to do was turn a couple around (when safe to do so, of course), sweet talk the darkies into recognizing that our problem was their problem as well, rant a little about the bamboo cane torture and corrupt police forces and Voila!

Although we were told everything was sweetness and light between Jakarta and Canberra (and sorry for that klutzy Gillard stuffing things up), it seems the REAL story was this:

Lone Ranger Tonto

It’s not Indonesia that has the problem.

It’s Australia that has the problem.

Oh dear, all those huddled millions in Western Sydney who thought all we needed to do was wave the Big Stick, threaten to reduce aid (and megaphone it loudly all over Shock-Jock Radio), utter a few Hail-Fellow-Well-Mets and then have the Daily Telegraph (and Mark Kenny, let’s not forget him) write it up as a “Diplomatic Triumph”, “The-Adults-Are-In-Charge” etc. and there we have it: “Peace In Our Time”.

(Plus an instant solution to traffic jams on the M4… and all credit to the sexy piece who pointed that out).

But there is one small other problem… the more the Abbott-Loving Murdoch media and the Ray Hadley crowd keep insulting the Indonesians, the more the Indonesians will be convinced that not only does Abbott talk out of both sides of his mouth, but that he hasn’t learned his lesson yet.

The brazen denial of a connection between the Indonesian hating media and Tony Abbott, the plonking dismissals of even the possibility of it, may go down a treat locally, here in Australia, but the Indonesians are entitled to have their own opinion of the truth of that (laughingly called) “argument”. And their opinion, in the matter of Stopping The Boats, is the only one that matters.

UPDATE: Editorials, like today’s in The Abbott-Lovin’ Australian won’t help:

For domestic political reasons, the Indonesian government played upon the knowledge that we value human life more than they do, and was praised by local commentators in the Indonesian media for taking a “stern stand”.

– See more at:

“See more”? I think the Indonesians will have seen enough.

What a disgusting piece of Australian exceptionalism. This is what is at the heart of our attitude towards Indonesia, and theirs towards us: we think we are better than they are.

And then there’s Jolly Joe Hockey…

Jolly Joe Hockey

…the man who reacted to the Budget Emergency by doing nothing about it; the man who’s in charge of talking up our economy, but can’t stop whingeing and moaning and forecasting doom.

Yes, I know, you have to fight fire with fire (ask Tony about back-burning), so why not borrow even MORE money ($24 billion at last count, since the election), and raise the credit card limit (Joe’s words, not mine) by 67%?

Joe’s got some splainin’ to do about just why he’s reneged on and reversed just about everything he spoke about and promised before the election… except for his glib line of patter about how dreadful everything is. At least that hasn’t changed.

I thought there weren’t going to be any excuses?

Greg Hunt

So I guess Baby-Face Greg Hunt has no excuse for not turning up to the UN Climate Summit in Warsaw?

I mean, it’s not as if Australia can achieve much… we’re only the world’s richest per capita country, and its biggest per capita polluters – by a factor of three times our population – who supply the other Big Two – China and India – with polluting fossil fuels… but thank the Lord for The Polls. They tell us that because we think we’re poor, and don’t care much about the Dreaded Carbon Tax, then Global Warming will probably just go away. There won’t be any of those bolshie CSIRO scientists, talking through their hats, left to tell us otherwise (Tony has taken care of that, too).

Hell’s bells… why don’t we have a poll on cancer? Maybe that will “just go away” too?

After all, we’ve not only had bushfires and cyclones before, but life itself has gone extinct on this planet lots of times. It’s no biggy, really. Ask Jesus. Christ! Was it HOT in his day!

What’s important is the touch-feely stuff, the kind of thing Conviction Politicians do so well…

“Climate Change: we feel in our guts that it’s just not that important.”

(cf. J. Howard)

As to other matters, there is a veritable grab bag of potential for the new parliament. So many promises made and then broken. Mark Kenny knew all about a couple of them. It’s just that he didn’t bother telling us. Neither did Haystacks Laurie Oakes. Or Man-Love Peter Hartcher, or Saint Paul Kelly, or the well-connected Phil Coorey.

Where to start on “other matters”? There are so many of them, one suspects the new government is deliberately telling lies of such gargantuan proportions and such panoramically wide scope that they’re hoping we won’t know where to start.

OK, so let’s try a few: the NBN, the NDIS, superannuation… oh stuff it, there are too many.

A few months ago I did the Twitter graphic below, predicting some of the issues that would be front and centre at the “September 15th” [sic] election. I present it here unchanged.

dogs rotated3 small

Seems I got just about everything right except the date.

I’m sure youse all can fill in a few other blanks as the Hard Reality Special hurtles towards the All Stations to Sloganville.


UPDATE: Day #2 of Parliament, debate begins.

The Australian voting public (including the rural voting public) have been comprehensively swindled by the Coalition: committments on debt ceilings, debt itself, boats, international relations, policies ready to go, parliamentary procedure, coal seam gas, the NBN, global warming, education, the NDIS, tax policy, open government, “No surprises, no excuses”, rorting entitlements… the list is long and shameful… all changed, forgotten, ignored, reversed, manipulated and battered to within an inch of their political lives.

We could see it all coming, yet somehow one “lie”, half a statement in an obscure interview, taken out of context, gave birth to a festival of sexism, nastiness, vindictiveness and base hypocrisy. It was a kind of mass hysteria.

The voting public (or enough of them) trotted off to the polling booths and voted with the emotional maturity of a lynch mob. Even when it was against their own interests, they willingly complied with their shock jock and tabloid media urgers.

Our relations with Indonesia are in tatters. Our reputation as a responsible international citizen is a joke. The huddled masses of tradies, forkies, pensioners, lefties who felt they had been left out, battlers and assorted aspirationals have dug the hole for themselves, and then jumped in gleefully, crowing at their own self-imposed misfortune.

Each and every one of them thought they had outwitted Tony Abbott and his gang of wreckers, and that only other mugs would be disadvantaged. It was what every con man dreams of, but rarely sees: a nation in denial.

What a farce.

1,034 thoughts on “Train Wreck

  1. Aguirre

    I might be way off here, but it seems to me that the reason we’re going about rescuing vessels close to Indonesia is to get hold of AS before they reach Australian waters and become our problem.

    Exactly . Also being so close to Indonesia means the area they need to patrol is smaller. How we’d feel if a bunch of foreign warships and custom’s ships were patrolling just off the Northwest.

  2. scorpio6to2

    Looks like Turnbull’s verbal jousting gene came from his mother. From her wiki entry.

    After leaving Australia, Lansbury worked as an academic in the United States. Her major interest was Victorian literature. Between 1975 and 1984 she wrote four books on Anthony Trollope and other Victorian literary figures. She served as president of the Victorian Studies Association and of the Victorian executive committee of the Modern Language Association.

    She was the Professor of English at Rutgers University and first dean of the Graduate School at the Camden Campus of Rutgers University
    A professor of English, she was the Dean of Women at Rutgers University at the time of her death

  3. kaffeeklatscher

    Looks like Turnbull’s verbal jousting gene came from his mother. From her wiki entry.

    After leaving Australia, Lansbury worked as an academic in the United States. Her major interest was Victorian literature.

    I understand he is related to Angela.

  4. scorpio6to2

    She also looked like she had “a brain the size of a planet” .

    She was a distant cousin of actress Angela Lansbury.
    Lansbury graduated from North Sydney Girls High School and entered the University of Sydney at age 15, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts.

  5. They don’t make em like Paul Keating anymore. I was in the audience when he gave his soaring 1993 address for the Unknown Soldier. In my view, the finest speech ever delivered by an Australian politician. Credit also to Don Watson. Today’s effort was also extraordinary. Its messages, it cadence and it’s elegance stand like a beacon. No contemporary politician could get close.They are all so small.

  6. Verbal jousting is not all that far off the mark!

    Malcolm T and a couple of others, including a good friend of mine, represented NSW in debating at both school and university level.

  7. If anyone was wondering what Bolt thinks re. the Boats fiasco…

    “Once again the Abbott government has needlessly antagonised Indonesia,” declared the Fairfax paper’s national affairs editor.

    “Attempting to return a vessel laden with asylum seekers to Indonesia at a time when the country is furious about Fairfax Media’s revelations of Australian spying activity across the archipelago was dumb.”

    Pardon? Fairfax actually boasts it spread a damaging leak by American traitor Edward Snowdon, a US National Security Agency contractor who revealed our Jakarta embassy helped the US to spy on Indonesian politicians.

    That forced Indonesian politicians to pretend to be shocked…

    That’ll do it Andrew. Abbott speaking through you – about Indonesians pretending to be upset – is guaranteed to chalk up another couple of weeks of aggro from Indonesia.

    Fair dinkum… Abbott’s own worst enemies are his supposed friends. They just can’t shut up.

  8. About Turnbull’s sporting qualifications –
    I can’t give any links for this, apart from Wikipedia, and if that’s good enough for Grunt it should be good enough for youse lot, so………sporting skill isn’t the only qualification for becoming a Rhodes scholar. According to Wikipedia
    Rhodes’ legacy specified four standards by which applicants were to be judged:
    – Literary and scholastic attainments;
    – Energy to use one’s talents to the fullest, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports;
    – Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship;
    – Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.

    Abbott had sporting ability of an average sort but he had the backing of a powerful, priestly promoter, so his complete failure to fulfil any of the other criteria was overlooked.

    Turnbull said somewhere that he played rugy union at Sydney uni and was into surf life saving with the Bondi club, but admitted he was no great sportsman. Maybe his lack of sports stardom was overlooked because unlike Abbott, he actually had a brain.

  9. Fiona

    I went to one of those schools where debating was compulsory and competition fierce. You cannot believe how many times the antics of Abbottabad and co remind me of all the debating tricks we were taught. Total bullshit but the point was whatever the moot and how totally wrong the notion you had to defend being “clever”, well more smart arse actually , is what countered. Your being correct or even believing what you say counted a fat zero.
    First rule we were taught is that whatever the moot title you start off the debate by defining what those words actually mean. The judges gave points for creativity. Come on down “carbon tax” vs “carbon price”.

  10. Hey guess what? Razz and I have solved the riddle of where blood Oaf and the Oafs got their stupidity from. As I said the other day, my Mum is visiting (dropping her home Friday on our way to Melbourne for a Pain Clinic visit), and we are suffering through The Bold and Beautiful. It was amazing, it was just like watching the Coalition in action.

  11. I would like to send out a big thank you to the kind hearted boaf and his crew of tight fisted rorting whangkers who couldn’t lift their snouts out of the trough long enough to notice that one of the largest donors to the catholic church has suffered at the hands of their benevolent gaaaawwwwwddddd…………. clap hand and praise the lllllooooooorrrrrddddd.

    Our government cares so much for those little brown christians that they very generously donated $0.45 for each Australian man, woman and child to the people of the Philippines, such generosity will be well remembered at the gates to their glorious afterlife pleasure palace.

    Well, this heathen atheist thought he might reduce his holiday trip by two days and donate the cost of accommodation to the Philippine people. When I rang the motel to change my booking and told them why, they invited me to stay at a reduced rate, because of their kindness I have doubled my donation to $1000.

    Some of us don’t care what colour, race, religion, sexuality or ability another human being is, in times of troubles we help unlike our right wing bags of faecal matter government.

  12. Thanks to William Bowe for mentioning this – today’s editorial in The Oz, amongst a load of drivel about the rightness of Abbott’s boats policy and praise for his understanding (????) of the importance of Australia’s relationship with Indonesia,, contained this little gem of racism –
    “…………the Indonesian government played upon the knowledge that we value human life more than they do,”

  13. The main post has been updated:

    UPDATE: Editorials, like today’s in The Abbott-Lovin’ Australian won’t help:

    For domestic political reasons, the Indonesian government played upon the knowledge that we value human life more than they do, and was praised by local commentators in the Indonesian media for taking a “stern stand”.

    – See more at:

    “See more”? I think the Indonesians will have seen enough.

    What a disgusting piece of Australian exceptionalism. This is what is at the heart of our attitude towards Indonesia, and theirs towards us: we think we are better than they are.

    I no longer read this Murdoch rag, and so missed the reference. I don’t know whether to be happy or sad. Whoever wrote that editorial should be fired immediately, and a(nother) grovelling apology offered by Abbott.

  14. I don’t think Mesma looked well in that presser. Bags under the eyes, skin saggy and pale.
    The gig’s not as easy as she thought it would be.

  15. Late last week I went to a funeral of an uber bogan from Blacktown in Sydneys west. Why is a long story I wont bother you with. After the graveside service, we were invited to a local hall where an afternoon tea/wake was held.
    I have always known that there is something of a fantasy among many Australians that we could and indeed should declare war on Indonesia for many murky reasons. This fantasy is based on two main premises, both demonstrably false. The first premise is that somehow Indonesia poses some kind of existential threat to Australia and our supposedly unique way of life. The second premise is that Australians possess a unique personal capacity to be super warriors capable of superhuman military feats that certainly cannot be matched by Jungle Bunnies from our north. Basically this fantasy has it that we should take absolutely no shit from our dodgy neighbours, and if they don’t like it we should just blow them away.
    At the wake I was buttonholed by a group of the Uber Bogans mates, knowing that I was from Canberra. They wanted to know how long Abbott would take this shit from the Indons. They were convinced it would not be for long and were salivating at the thought that our Navy would soon just blast their way to the Indon coast to forcibly deliver not just the current group of refugees but in fact empty all our detention centres and hopefully even deport some of the undeserving wandering our streets.
    I tried to be polite (cowardly?) for some time, and made attempts to explain the realpolitik and military/strategic reasons why such things could not be done. I was a failure, and several of them got very aggressive about the subject. Soon I was a lone voice in a group of about fifty angry people. Talk about a lynch mob! The only people who needed stringing up more than the Indons were those who advised caution.
    I think my moral from this experience is that the current diplomatic stuffup being executed by Bishop, Abbott, et al is a two edged sword. Whilst the educated and reasonable are horrified at the potential cost of the buffoonery being paraded as diplomacy, the bogans are loving it and wishing for more. For them there is no cost, just an opportunity to finally put the Indons and their mates in their place.

  16. Kambah – It’s a fact of life that the very ignorant and dumb as are out there.

    I’ve had this sort of experience out in the country where I grew up.

  17. Great idea, send our navy, and then sit back and watch them get wiped out by the might of Indonesia.

    Here’s some handy ammunition for the next time some bogan tries to tell you our magnificent navy could blow the Indonesian navy out of the water before morning tea.

    The Royal Australain Navy has 57 commissioned vessels, not all of them (in fact not most of them) suitable for combat –
    four guided missle frigates
    fourteen patrol boats
    eight frigate helicopter vessels
    six coastal minehunters
    one heavy landing ship
    one dock landing ship
    three heavy landing craft
    two surveying ships
    four coastal surveying ships
    two support ships
    six guided missile submarines
    six ancilliary vessels which include the admiral’s barge

    We have arouind 16,000 naval personnel, including desk jockeys.

    The Indonesians have about 150 ships and 74,000 active personnel, their navy is the largest in South East Asia. It’s not exaclty going to be a fair fight.

  18. And I bet those gung-ho bogans would be the first to run and hide if Abbott was moronic enough to start a war.
    Even Abbott isn’t quite that thick, and if he is I would expect the ADF to tell him to pull his head in very quickly.

  19. Listening to the vomit inducing Fran Kelly and Michelle Gratton this morning and almost punched the radio when I heard Kelly say words to the effect of that if we are to have a more civil and respectful parliament that it is the oppositions responsibility!!!
    I’m sure that would of been her opinion during the last parliament too eh?
    Like fuck, this liberal suck hole spent the last three years blaming the alp for the state of national politics but somehow, now it is the oppositions responsibility!
    Give it up Fran, we don’t need fat, ugly liberal hacks clogging up the national broadcaster, we now have Amanda Vanstone to fulfill that role.

  20. There is growing frustration in senior Government ranks about Indonesia’s handling of asylum seeker boats, with Immigration Minister Scott Morrison saying “there’s no real rhyme or reason to it”.

    Are you really that dumb, you dumb bastard?

  21. Tone’s got everything under control
    “When I was up in Jakarta a few weeks ago I was able to tell President (Susilo Bambang) Yudhoyono a very good friend of our country, an outstanding president of Indonesia that we utterly, totally, completely respected Indonesian sovereignty,” Mr Abbott told the West Australian Liberal party conference.

    “And if any boat ever set out from Australia to Indonesia to enter that country illegally, we would do our damnedest to stop it.”
    – See more at:

  22. This little black duck

    ” Are you really that dumb, you dumb bastard?”

    Some famous bustard noted that the supply of stupid in the universe is infinite. Methinks they are right.

  23. A mole has taken a photo inside Morrisons’ wardrobe, the one where he keeps his dress-up outfits. Well, why not? PMBO has a stash of fireman outfits and fluoro vests that make the dressing room for the Village people look meagre. Scott wanted the same sort of thing.

  24. I hope Peta has stocked up on tranquillisers and Xanax for PMBO, he’s going to need them.

    Labor has signalled it might back a Greens push to disallow the Abbott government’s plans to re-introduce temporary protection visas (TPVs) ahead of preliminary Senate consideration of the issue on Tuesday.

    The public hint, which followed a still unresolved debate in the shadow cabinet on Monday, came as the prime minister and the immigration minister expressed public frustration with Indonesia’s recent refusal to accept would-be arrivals rescued in Jakarta’s search and rescue zone.

    And from Tony Burke, Labor’s new manager of oppostion business in the House (sorry, it’s from Mark Kenny) –

    The new manager of opposition business in the House, Tony Burke, hinted to Fairfax Media that Labor planned to exploit some of the percussive tactics pioneered by Mr Abbott from opposition.

    ”Now that the government is effectively closed to the media, question time will be more important in calling ministers to account,” he said.

  25. I just checked outside for the existence of elephants. Didn’t see any so they don’t exist

    “The Higgs quest teaches us to be patient with these painstaking experiments and, of course, to try harder”.

  26. This little black duck

    My elephant repellant pebble wot I keep on my property works a treat. Not an elephant in sight. like EVA. 🙂

  27. Tlbd

    Didn’t see any so they don’t exist

    They’re chowing down at my place tonight. Your place tomorrow.

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