Just who DO you trust?

Nikki Savva feels betrayed, poor kid.

Abbott ET Savva

While her old boss, Peter Costello, has ratted on his mates, it looks like he’s not alone.

After writing this, just before Christmas, Savva must be feeling slightly foolish today:

 The government also needs to follow a few other simple rules. First it has to keep its promises. The try-on over Gonski education funding, which fell into the “what on earth were they thinking” category, showed once again how swiftly and how severely voters punish politicians for even looking like reneging on commitments.

And this too, from Nikki’s very own Boulevard Of Broken Dreams:

… with the appointment of Peter Costello as acting chairman of the Future Fund (he will be confirmed as permanent chairman by cabinet early next year), the more rational business observers were again reassured.

Reassured in vain, it seems.

But Tony Abbott, always a cheap chancer, a back alley tout, who loves to push the envelope of credibility further and further, extending it each time he gets away with a new whopper, challenging his audience with his carnival barker laugh,  has finally gone too far. The “bull in his own china shop” image is so apt, I can’t resist using it again (forgive the indulgence).

In the meantime, though, I DID love this by Savva about Costello’s motives, from today’s Murdoch fish-wrapper:

Inside the government, they questioned the wisdom of someone on the commonwealth payroll being paid to write regular newspaper columns and to ­appear often on television on ­political panels (The Bolt Report) to pass judgment on the politics of the week.

Do tell!

I don’t remember seeing Nikki questioning the wisdom of Costello (then a mere board member of the Future Fund, but pissed off he wasn’t in charge of it) writing nasty articles in the Fairfax papers and going on TV to criticise the Gillard government, even though he was on the public tit at all relevant times then, too.

Perhaps she was too obsessed over Julia’s earlobes to notice?

Fair dinkum, these guys and gals have hides thicker than Jesse the Elephant. Like all bullies, they can dish it out, but they start squealing when some of it comes back their way.

Savva also considers that Peter might have an ego problem, and that it might be partly behind Costello’s stated attitude.

Inside the government, there was speculation about Costello’s motives: jealousy, ego, relevance deprivation.

… a telling blow, after they had quoted Costello’s own 1996 Budgetary style – swingeing cuts and mass sackings – as the guideline for their own. How ungrateful of Peter to bite the hand that has fed him with a $200,000 per annum sinecure!

Maybe he’s jealous. Even a hapless gofer like poor Artie Sinodinos scored $200-large. And that was only for 10 days’ work!  But I digress…

I was pretty pissed off myself when Costello went snarky against the Labor government, and for the same reasons Savva has expressed: if you’re in receipt of government largesse, then you shouldn’t go public criticising it.

But I, and many others who shared the outrage, was ruled out of order. This was the new media style: insiders, government employees, and other associated hangers-on, qango lurkers, special advisors and sinecured ambassadors at large sucking greedily from the government udders, were off the leash.

All I can say is that while I don’t like the new paradigm of Costello types going public, I’ve been over-ruled. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander (please don’t expect me to go all pious and mutter about two wrongs not making a right, either).

In other words: serves ’em bloody right!

Savva does highlight one interesting aspect of the Costello Betrayal…

Those in the government more relaxed about Costello ­exercising his right to express himself, in the same way that Monday morning full forwards find irresistible, are not particularly exercised by a levy on the rich.

In other words: there is a significant amount of dissent within government ranks concerning the coming Budget apocalypse. They know what was promised, and they know the Deficit Levy and all the rest – pensions, disability, education – are broken promises. But it’s the Levy that hurts… their pockets.

In answer to this, Abbott does refers to his over-arching promise to get the Budget back into shape (leaving aside the question as to whether it is even out of shape now).

However, he doesn’t refer to the other part of the promise: that to get the Budget ticketty-boo again, would require NO new taxes. That was how Labor did things – tax and spend, indeed gouge and piss it all up against the wall – not how the Coalition would do things.

By some mysterious process that involved eating Magic Pudding, sheer economic competence would see the economy through under Abbott. People would be walking with a fiscal spring in their step simply because Tony and Joe were in charge. They would amble up to strangers and just, y’know… do business… with them, they felt so happy. I’m sure Savva said this, or similar, too, probably on Insiders (I’m not that much of a masochist to go back and check).

Alas it has all come to nought.

As Latham opines (and as countless writers here and elsewhere warned) Abbott has shown himself to be just another political bullshit artist, good at wrecking, bad at governing, parsing his own words, telling people what they thought they heard him say, or just simply lying. Latham is blunt:

A man who put everything on the line by promising to keep each and every one of his election promises has crashed at the first honesty hurdle.

Abbott hasn’t turned into a bullshit artist, propelled by the irresistable force of events. He was always a bullshit artist. Bullshit and weasel talk are his stock in trade. Always have been.

Bullshit artists thank their lucky stars if they make it to the end of the day, ready to do some more dissembling and outright lying on the morrow.

Meanwhile, back at Nikki’s place, she even uses the “C” word to describe what it’s like inside the Credlin-Abbott bunker:

Externally, the language remains loose, even bizarre, ensuring what is a normally messy pre-budget period stays chaotic.

Gee, Nikki, don’t you think it’s because they’re making things up as they go along, do you?

You’d have thought someone like the savvy Savva would have twigged to that by now: Abbott is all about chaos.

He’s never happier than when he’s in the thick of things, stirring them up. A long term decision for Tony Abbott is one that survives beyond lunchtime the next day.

The entire nation is bewildered and close to up in political arms. The polls are tanking. The natives are restless. The Budget is still a brain fart, not even printed yet, mere days before the Big Day.

They’re still having water cooler arguments in the government wing of Parliament House, and they’re going public about them.

As Abbott has become a disappointment to the public, he is becoming a disappointment to his own mob too.

Abbott Trust

OK, so there’s no excuse for his perennial pop-up dummy, Hockey. Hockey has been Abbott’s punching bag since uni days. Maybe if Joe went and ate a cream bun it’d put a smile back on his face?

But you’d have thought some of the Coalition’s soberer and wiser heads (not hard when Joe’s in the mix) might have cottoned onto the fact that their leader is a penny-ante, common or garden con-man, with a penchant for taking risks with other peoples’ careers, livelihoods and aspirations, in order to further his own, or simply just to save his own hide.

To tell the Australian people – while he is flogging them as if they were dead horse – that they will thank him for the discipline later on is wishful thinking writ large, a kind of BDSM wet dream, a circe-and-hair-shirt Jesuit rapture.

Pretty cheeky too.

Problem is:  the punters aren’t his doting relatives, or Father Costello, or even Bob Santamaria (oh alright… I’ll throw in Greg Sheridan too!)… swooning over how clever he is, telling everyone he’ll be PM one day (Popedom is out of the question by now… George Pell has climbed near to the top and sent word back to his spiritual ward, to quote Kerry Packer… “There’s nothing fucking there,”… for Tony at least).

Well, he is PM now, and he’s making a right, royal botch of it.

Abbott has neither the political nouse of a John Howard, nor the style and grace of a Peter Costello when it comes to selling a message.  Yes, we have a pretty low bar set here, but Abbott still can’t jump it.

Wayne Swan put it well this morning: Abbott is a professional wrecking ball. But you can’t go on demolishing forever. Eventually you have to build something on the vacant lot. And for that you need solid foundations, not smarmy talk, weasel words, arrogance and snake oil. Telling the truth is advisable, too.

A government headed by a narcissistic egomaniac who spends the first part of the day getting himself and his colleagues into the shit, then uses the second half to get himself (colleagues, optional) out of it, is never going to go far in the “trust” stakes.

Matthias Cormann’s pathetic plea to “just trust us” will fall on deaf ears. On the other hand, you don’t need a cochlear implant to hear the nervous rumbling from the peanut gallery, aka “the public”.

Something was needed to break the “Ju-Liar” spell that held the punters in its thrall for three years, and Savva is correct to see (and to report that even some members of the government believe) that this Budget could well be the first pop in a whole bunch of bubbles bursting.

The media class in general still don’t seem to get it. First, forget shills like Kenny and Hartcher, they’re too far gone. But when articles advertising the infrastructure “boom” about to hit us, a brain-fart if ever there was one, start making it to front page status – another Abbott promise about to be kept, no doubt – you know that yesterday’s sackings at Fairfax are, in the end, the most merciful option.

Sure, once again they sacked the wrong people (and isn’t there an irony in all the union bashers going on strike?) and kept the dregs. The artisans are gone while the bum-lickers remain behind. All in all, the spiral downwards of the mass media has to be welcomed.

Those who have lectured governments as regards spending beyond their means, running chaotic administrations, not consulting with stakeholders and generally stuffing things up for the people that they are supposed to be elevating to a higher plane… are going broke themselves. That’s gotta be worth more than a LOL. An ROTFL hardly does it justice.

Savva, of course, is working in a sheltered workshop. News has to stay alive because it needs to be upright when the rivers of gold promised it, prior to the election, come its way. They don’t sell any newspapers to speak of but, barely surviving on a life support machine plugged into old technology like print and Pay TV, but they’ll keep on churning out garbage like Savva’s until there’s no-one else around to claim the goodies.

There is only one thing that gives me hope, and I do admit it is a slim hope.

In among all this turmoil, hokum and spin, and despite all his brilliance, Rupert Murdoch made what might turn out to be a big mistake.

He trusted Tony Abbott, too.

189 thoughts on “Just who DO you trust?

  1. One good journo on this is

    Apparently MP Marie Ficarra's miniature schnauzer Liesl can be quite the "bitch", said a source of Liesl's ankle-biting tendencies. #icac— Kate McClymont (@Kate_McClymont) May 8, 2014

  2. Interesting that the AFR is “doing” Tone.

    Yeeah! They seem to have a bit of a set on him lately. Probably feel neglected owing to his tight allegiance with Rupe!

  3. Scorps,
    Hello to you. Life here continues with its predictable unpredictability, or maybe even a bit more so.

    What with juggling the wide variety of health “issues” for me mum, OH, and moiself, having to do the same with Darling Daughter just added piquancy.

    Not to mention the wide variety of activities that the three Melbournites engage in.

    Anyway, here’s to more of it. At least waking up in the morning is never boring.

  4. All these links to Liberal buddies that all seem to want favourable treatment by their mates in the government which always seems to be at the expense of those lower down the social ladder.

    [ There is a campaign underway to cut weekend and holiday penalty rates particularly in the restaurant and hospitality industries. True to form the Australian Financial Review says that weekend penalty rates are a relic of times past.

    A report leaked to the ABC indicates that the government will ask the Productivity Commission to undertake a comprehensive review of workplace laws. This will include penalty rates, pay and conditions, unfair dismissal, enterprise bargaining flexibility and union activities. It is proposed that this review by the Productivity Commission will consider the performance of the Fair Work Act. The Commission is expected to report to Joe Hockey by April 2015. He is ministerially responsible for the Commission. He makes the references to the Commission.

    What is of concern is the political relationship between Joe Hockey and John Hart, the CEO of Restaurant and Catering Australia who is pressing for a review of penalty rates by the government. John Hart is also the Chair of Joe Hockey’s North Sydney Forum which has featured prominently in Fairfax media in recent days. ]


  5. Scorps,
    The survivors would be in real trouble – I’m the only one who knows where the boodle is hidden 😉

  6. Ducky,
    I’m off to basket now, and please Gaia I won’t find waking up all that difficult tomorrow.

    G’night to you, and to anyone else still in the bar. Remember, (oh) behave 😉

  7. Seems like the Blog is playing up a bit. I tried posting a comment and it wouldn’t post so I opened up the Blog in another window & cut & pasted the comment from the original window & it said “seems like you have already post that”” or something similar.

  8. scorps,

    Try clearing browser data. You’ll have to log in again afterwards.

  9. All these links to Liberal buddies that all seem to want favourable treatment by their mates in the government which always seems to be at the expense of those lower down the social ladder.

    There is a campaign underway to cut weekend and holiday penalty rates particularly in the restaurant and hospitality industries. True to form the Australian Financial Review says that weekend penalty rates are a relic of times past.

    A report leaked to the ABC indicates that the government will ask the Productivity Commission to undertake a comprehensive review of workplace laws. This will include penalty rates, pay and conditions, unfair dismissal, enterprise bargaining flexibility and union activities. It is proposed that this review by the Productivity Commission will consider the performance of the Fair Work Act. The Commission is expected to report to Joe Hockey by April 2015. He is ministerially responsible for the Commission. He makes the references to the Commission.

    What is of concern is the political relationship between Joe Hockey and John Hart, the CEO of Restaurant and Catering Australia who is pressing for a review of penalty rates by the government. John Hart is also the Chair of Joe Hockey’s North Sydney Forum which has featured prominently in Fairfax media in recent days.


    Scorps, you have been released, and updated. And definitely goodnight from moi.

  10. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    There will be an interesting assortment of weasel words accompanying this announcement.
    And Coalition MPs are riled by the proposition.
    And the powerful motoring associations threaten action on it.
    At yesterday’s ICAC.
    Some constitutional barriers in from of the deficit tax?
    A sign of market failure?
    About Malcolm Fraser’s book on our American ally.
    Greg Jericho unpacks the effects of mooted family benefits changes.
    They’re lining up to nail you. Mr Morriscum.
    Gay Alcon makes some interesting points in this article on trust in politics.
    More on the schools chaplains HC case.
    Not a high cost for an ideology the Libs would think.
    And the piper is about to get paid.

  11. And from the Land of the Free –

    This is what happens when you start permitting religious sculptures in a public place.
    FoxNews mental midgets on climate change.
    Another Repug candidate wants to skewer the poor.
    The US people have lost faith in the Supreme Court. Nice work Dubya!
    Mike Malloy cuts loose on this SCOTUS decision.

  12. The political graphs are interesting. The graph of 2PP clearly shows that the Coalition had a honeymoon – if you could call it that, it certainly wasn’t a boost – of about six weeks. They managed to hold most of their election lead for that long. I believe that was because they didn’t do anything in that time and the ALP was mired in that massive leadership issue. But as soon as Parliament resumed, their figures dived. It took two more months for the ALP to take the lead, and by the end of January they’d established a comfortable lead – somewhere just above 51-49. They kept it about there until the start of April, which was about when Budget talk started, and in the past six weeks the gap has doubled.

    It looks to be a combination of Coalition PV falling and Greens/Others rising. ALP PV jumped late last year, and has wobbled around the 37-38 area since. The Coalition have fallen from about 45% to about 39%. Current projections have the ALP winning 80 seats, and the Coalition at about 65, with the rest scattered about independents and Greens.

    Approval ratings are interesting too. Both Abbott and Shorten were in positive territory late last year. But whereas Shorten fell to about -6 in March then stabilised and improved marginally since, Abbott’s in freefall. It’s like the downwards bit of a rollercoaster – fall, flatline, fall, flatline, fall. And the PPM graph is two steady lines heading towards convergence. Shorten keeps gaining on Abbott

  13. The Age of Entitlement is not over for some – another Liberal taking advantage of generous expenses. Perhaps Joe might like to take the scissors to parliamentarians entitlements.
    Member for Ryan Jane Prentice claimed $14,039 for her husband to fly 24 times between Canberra and Brisbane

  14. Calls for Mike Baird to resign after just one week – for electoral fraud.

    This week in NSW Parliament the new Premier Mike Baird failed in Parliament to explain some donations to his campaign after he was grilled by the opposition.

    This is exactly the type of thing that ICAC has been flushing out and exposing, and precisely what has seen many in his own Party resign over.

    It is often known as electoral fraud.

    Amongst those things Baird has failed or refused to explain were a donation that breached the electoral funding cap and comes from companies associated with Roger Massy-Greene.

    This is significant because Mr Baird then awarded Roger Massy-Greene a lucrative consulting contract and he was also appointed to a Government board


  15. I’d say the ALP is in a pretty good place right now, and Shorten’s in no danger as leader, despite the gripes of some observers. It’s quite clear that, while Shorten isn’t toxic, the party’s fortunes are not riding on his popularity by any means. And that means Abbott hasn’t got a target to attack, which robs him of his only strength. If ALP popularity depended on Shorten’s personal standing, Abbott would simply attack Shorten. And it would probably work. But it’s very clear that the poll shift is because of things the Coalition are doing. Changing their own image is their weak point. They’re no good at it. But that’s what they have to do if they’re going to arrest the slide. There’s no vulnerable point in the ALP to go after. And with the Greens and PUP gaining a bit too, the targets are even more diffuse.

    Abbott has to improve his personal standing, and somehow create a positive image for his party, or both are stuffed. I can’t see him doing either.

  16. I like the way the MSM. suddenly “awakes” to the idiot’s chikanery….as if!….I hate to harp on, but i do believe the nation needs to re-access it’s legal wording around the charge of treason…in light of cross-border international corps’ and individual billionair “players” using their wealth to buy strategically placed media people to undermine and bring down a democratically elected govt’……I mean, these shock-jocks and MSM.”players”…it’s absolutely now no different than the behaviour of “Lord Haw Haw”…ie; to demoralise and depress and cause distress in the citizens.

  17. First the PM announces his government will not fund better public transport, then he says he wants to be an infrastructure PM, ‘infrastructure’ meaning more roads and freeways in cities. The budget will provide $10 billion for roads and other infrastructure. Then, in the same budget, the government increases fuel excise and even worse, brings in twice-yearly indexation so the tax slug keeps on increasing. So the more you use your car on those lovely new roads the more tax Tony and Joe will rake in. Brilliant! What a clever revenue-raising plot.

  18. I can see the govt’ waiting for the quiet in the budget dialogue to then bombard the airwaves with justification data for the levies, taxes and taxes and levies….of course their claim to be hitting everybody equally is bullshit….those above 150,000 will get the equivalent of a bitch-slap, those below 60,000 , a coward’s punch!

  19. jaycee
    The problem is us, we the people, the voters of Australia. We are just plain stupid. Instead of laughing these traitors out of business too many of us accepted every word they said, without question. Instead of saying ‘Hang on a minute, that’s not true’ when some clod on Their ABC came out with yet another biased piece of Murdoch-provided lunacy we said’ Oh, OK then, the ABC is always right’. What a bunch of morons we are, Idiots who think Alan Jones tells the truth and cares about each and every one of us when all he really cares about is his wallet (and maybe his butler, but let’s not go there….). We are fools who still buy Murdoch newspapers and listen to talk shows on the radio. Dimwits who believe all the lies and none of the truth. Lazy sods who can’t be bothered finding out what politicians really promise. Losers who think voting is a chore and can’t be bothered thinking about who and what we vote for.

    What happens to us as we grow up? What happens to all those bright, shiny, intelligent, inquiring little minds we see in our schools? How is it so many of them turn into morons when they reach adulthood? Is there something in the water? In the beer? Are they putting more than a few vitamins in the bread? There has to be an explanation.

    It’s all our fault, we allowed the con-men and the traitors and the power-crazed to manipulate us. If we follow your calls for traitors to be dealt with then everyone who voted for this lousy government should be in jail awaiting execution.

  20. bbbf
    Thanks for your input re my question about Hyundai Santa Fe’s the other night. The other half is seriously considering the purchase of one.

  21. What happens as we grow up? We leave our childhood with only half an education….that is, we may have excelled in maths or science but we fly off into the adult world with absolutely no idea about how democracy works, or is supposed to work. We are let loose to spread our wings and fly but are not armed with the necessary knowledge of our system of government and how politics is played to manipulate and control. We have not been grounded in such things as budgets, revenue and taxes.

    If we included in our education system a basic grounding in politics, governance and psychology, our young people might not be so susceptible to being conned by weasel words.

  22. I know everyone gets asked to sign online petitions but this one is important so that bankers and the financial crooks and schemers get to pay some tax for a change.It is the Robin Hood Tax of 0.05% on all share market and the rest derivatives etc transactions. Germany and France will have it up and running end of May and of course UK is stumbling because Cameron is so dependent on London city bankers.

    It is an international petition and at the moment they are up to 700,000 signatures.


  23. “The Age of Entitlement is not over for some ”

    Could it be the age of enlighten that is over. We seem to be slipping further back into the dark ages, each day.

    Abbott promise he could easily fix the broken government. Yes, he told us, it was all about getting rid of Labor waste and bloated PS.

    Yes, there would be plenty of fat to cull. Would mean lower taxes and no cut in benefits or services.

    I seem to recall hearing eacj day, all that had to happen, was for the so called carbon tax and MRRT to go.

    Shame that Abbott got it wrong about Labor. No fat to cull. No bloated PS.

    Yes, it seems all the waste that Labor created was a reasonable pensions for the full pensioner, and yes handouts to the average family. Yes, this is the waste they are talking about.

    Yes, we now hear them saying, they have broke no promises, as one promise was supreme, to fix the budget, which in their eyes they are doing. According to them, anything else said, does not count.

    We can ignore that Abbott said he could perform this miracle, by lowering taxes, and not cutting benefits to the poor.,

    Not Abbott’s fault that he got it wrong about the previous government, beating him to all the lower fruit thwart was available to pick.

    How was Abbott to know this. Why, he was too busy saying no, and condemning the Labor government to know what they were doing. He assume that they were incapable of prudent government, and waste was their norm.

  24. Scrot is empire-building

    Customs and immigration border operations are to be merged into new agency called the Australian Border Force.

    Scott Morrison will announce the plan in a speech at the Lowy Institute on Friday.

    The immigration minister said a commissioner appointed to lead the agency would report directly to him. The border force would “pick up where Operation Sovereign Borders leaves off”.

    “The Australian Border Force will encompass not only those who staff the air and sea borders at airports and ports but also those involved in investigations, compliance and enforcement in relation to illicit goods and illegal visitors,” Morrison wrote in the Australian on Friday.

    “This includes management of detention facilities and removal activities.”

    A series of reforms will be implemented before the new agency starts operating in July 2015. A college will be created to train officers.

    “The reforms are focused on employing an intelligence-led, mobile, technology-enabled force, operating under a Strategic Border Command, ensuring our assets and resources are deployed to greatest effect,” he wrote.

    The announcement is in accordance with one of the recommendations of the Commission of Audit, which said the border control functions of both agencies should be merged to remove duplication of services.

    On Friday morning Morrison gave an update on ABC radio about the status of the investigations into the death of Reza Barati on Manus Island. A review by the former public servant Robert Cornall was scheduled to be completed in April but the minister said it was ongoing.

    “The police investigation is also progressing well,” he said. We have handed over all of the material that our independent review has been able to collect and that is all now with the Papua New Guinea police.”


  25. TLBD

    So, he’s building his own government army, we can see where this may end up. I so hope that average Aussies wake up soon, or we will be in the real poo.


    You certainly are a busy little bee. Don’t forget to allocate a bit of time for yourself once DD leaves.

  26. 2gravel,

    They are calling it the SS (Schutzstaffel = Protection squadron). Way too close to reality.

  27. Tlbd – If Scotty’s new ‘force’ needs an extra dog Ficarra’s is probably available.

  28. Cricket in Germany:

    Robin Williams once called cricket “baseball on valium.” Sure, for some, cricket appears to be a rather sedated sport, with the long form of the game taking up to five days – that’s five full days, with play from 11am to 6pm.

    But it’s the relaxed rhythm of the sport, along with its particular code of behaviour, countless intangibles and relative air of mystery (people play for decades and never quite figure the game out) that so appeals to players and aficionados.

    Those same factors are also what flabbergast people who see cricket for the first time.

    And then you’ve got the jargon – the silly mid-offs and fine legs, the backward points and first slips, the yorkers, bouncers, googlies, flippers and cover drives.

    It’s like learning a new language, or even trying to grasp a unique culture, one with a long and storied history. What kind of sport features a pause in play for afternoon tea? Why does the guy in the lab coat sometimes raise his finger when everyone shouts at him?


Comments are closed.