Of COURSE it’s wrong! Abbott’s involved.

At last one newspaper gets it.

The Courier-Mail’s headline is blunt:

“Every single thing you have ever heard about MH-370 has been wrong.”

I’ve just been listening to a discussion on ABC-24, where one side says this headline is awful, goes too far, and the other says it reflects the truth, especially the subjective truth for the families. It seems that even the bare truth is being resisted. The families, their hopes raised, should be let down more lightly. To what end?

It is hard to get past the enormity of this debacle.

Other searches were conducted and failed. That’s OK, searches DO fail.

But no search was spruiked as much as the Australian-led version.

Despite Angus Houston’s best efforts it was taken out of his hands by a Prime Minister, hungry for publicity and a boost in his poll ratings, in cahoots with a media looking for an excuse to use the description “Prime Ministerial”.

Abbott had not been in Japan for more than a day before those “Prime Ministerial” tags started to flow. You’d have thought he’d negotiated Peace In Our Time the way the press gaggle along for the ride praised his every diplomatic step.

The Japanese “Free Trade” agreement was a triumph, “historic”. This was despite the fact that rumblings back home made it plain it was anything but. On all the major aspects of the deal Japan got exactly what it wanted, conceding very little and gaining a lot. This was certainly true regarding agricultural products.

But the likes of Mark Simkin and others waxed lyrical about Abbott’s near genius. He had learned so much, had not put a foot wrong, had the Asians swooning with admiration and awe at his talents for negotiation.

What seems to have really happened was that Abbott had declared his hand too early. He set a timeline for the conclusions of negotiations and the Japs played him like a kokoyu. They waited until he had nowhere to go and no time left. They knew that by this time Abbott would have signed anything they put in front of him, so much was at stake.

And so he did. Let us just note that the “Free” Trade deal did not go necessarily to Australia’s advantage.

Next was Korea. Abbott was barnstorming the mysterious East, wrapping those little yellow men around his pinky finger. With his suave new hairdo and his furrowless brow, he presented as the very model of a proper Aussie PM.

The media went wild: two down, one to go!

Then came China, our most important trading partner. Abbott had one big card to play: MH-370. He’d already put Perth on the map, conveniently during a Senate by-election, and now he was about to wow the Chinese Premier.

He went public, telling the world that the search was narrowing. He had information that could only be shared with the Chinese Premier.

Back home, story after story appeared about it. Abbott’s name started creeping closer to the top of the articles, with Houston’s contrasting sobriety sinking deeper and deeper into the body of text.

Abbott Biggles 450

Eventually it had to happen: the search for MH-370 became all Abbott’s, and Houston’s name disappeared altogether. It was as if these stories were written by Abbott’s PR unit, topped and tailed, the by-line changed and then just issued through the various Australian media organs otherwise unedited. Which is probably the case.

So now today comes the admission that we know as much about the disappearance of MH-370 as we knew on day #3 or #4… which is practically nothing.

Abbott, up against his blurted-out ambitions on Free Trade, and unable to announce progress in the search for MH-370, signed the agreements anyway and then made out – falsely – that success in the search too, was imminent.

The hopes of the relatives had been raised to new heights. Abbott’s statements were not those of some cloud-dwelling blogger. He wasn’t a lonely oil rig worker seeing lights in the sky. Nor was he an out-of-work oceanographer seeking publicity by claiming to have “found” the aircraft.

Abbott was the Prime Minister of Australia and (I am sure despite the warnings of Houston) did what he always does: acted first, got himself through the day in Beijing, and the rest can sort itself out later.

Sometimes it’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.

But I fear it will be Houston who is seeking forgiveness, not Abbott. Already Truss had been trundled out to front Parliament with the bad news. There is no sign of Abbott. No sign of the man with the condolence motion in his pocket, or the glad handing arm wrestler of Beijing.

We, the public got done over by the media and by the government. What had started out as a serious search, developed – as it always does when Abbott is involved – into a publicity stunt and a bullshit parade.

And increasingly, like other Abbott stunts, it’s fallen as flat as a SAO.

Abbott - MH370 annotated 550

Someone will have to pay for this, and it won’t be Abbott.

Houston may as well resign now.

The story that was woven – one of ever tightening circles, little clues here and there, random pings, obscure satellite data, a growing confidence, culminating in a summit meeting with the Chinese Premier – has been almost completely wrong.

The same technique used to run the “Budget Emergency” and “Labor Waste” lines – constant repetition until we’re nagged into submission – was used with MH-370. Even when the story turns out to be wrong, it has a momentum that is almost impossible to stop. Even to deny there is a “Budget emergency” you have to use the words “Budget Emergency”, and the meme is thus continued.

Talk about the “search” for MH-370 continues the myth that there is a “search” in progress. There isn’t. They’ve stopped looking. They might start again, but that won’t be for months. And it will probably be in a different place altogether.

However, once Abbott got a whiff of the potential for his involvement – the WA election, big-noting with the Chinese Premier, spivving for the Defence forces and the attention of the world’s media – the result was inevitable.

The punters want to believe, despite headlines like the one above, and despite the comprehensive rebuttal of just about all evidence. But, as Kerry Packer once famously put it, when asked about a near-death experience (did he see Heavenly lights?): “There’s nothing fucking there.”

They’re looking in the wrong place. They’ve admitted it.

There has been no progress since the plane first disappeared. It was all a media and spin charade. We weren’t close – “within days” as one spruiker told us – to finding “the final resting place” at all.

Most likely someone DOES know. Huge airliners just don’t disappear nowadays. But whoever that person is, it clearly isn’t Abbott, or sadly, Angus Houston.

Of the two, Houston is the disposable entity, drafted to add gravitas to Abbott’s relentless spin machine, and will soon be discarded, perhaps even in disgrace. A fine career ended ignominiously.

Another career will be saved, for the moment, on the back of Houston’s coming public humiliation, not only yesterday, but also while Abbott was grandstanding in China.

Then Houston will become the next person to learn the ugly truth about Abbott’s “legendary loyalty” to his mates. There’s nothing fucking there, either.


444 thoughts on “Of COURSE it’s wrong! Abbott’s involved.

  1. Some trivia –
    Clive Palmer has taken to tying his tie with an Onassis knot. Is he developing even grander delusions of grandeur?

  2. Abbott ask a question about the amount of Medicare rebate to doctors. Seems unable to answer.

  3. I’m watching QT, but there’s absolutely nothing worth commenting on. Abbott has his mantra on script payments and he’s just going to apply it to whatever he can, relevant or not. The others are all doing set-pieces which barely differ from their previous set pieces. Bronnie has reined herself in a lot – I think maybe recent events have given her a massive shake-up and she’s treading carefully.

  4. Backbenchers not even rousing themselves for a Turnbull rant. Still sitting there looking like stunned mullets. Turnbull is of course reprising his tired out Conrovia set-piece.

  5. What was all that about. McFarlane just said that it’s not subject to an interest rate although maybe the ALP might see it as an interest rate and even if it was an interest rate…. WTF? Then it’s an interest rate, isn’t it?

  6. Abbott ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with Turnbull at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute on Saturday, allegedly selling the budget. Turnbull’s face says so much. I don’t think he was thinking about selling anything, unless it was flogging Tony off to a passing white slaver.

  7. Clive Palmer is having difficulty staying awake in QT, and has abandoned his Onassis knot for a mess.

  8. eonetwo

    Drug-testing for welfare recipients ruled out by Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews

    Just more LNP policy Hokey Cokey.

    You put your proposal in,
    Your proposal out:
    In, out, in, out.
    You shake it all about.
    You do the hokey pokey,
    And you turn around.
    That’s what it’s all about!

  9. Cathy Wilcox sells the budget

    John Shakespeare is trying to sell us a leaky boat

    Letch on Fraudband?

    Petty on the Noalition L-platers

  10. Dealing with children … I’ve got a post it note on my forehead inscribed ‘I’m mad’. That seems to be my lot for today.

  11. CTar1

    Just so long as you are merely mad rather than ‘mad , bad and dangerous to know’ 🙂

  12. Excellent artcicle from Renai LeMay for Delimiter on the ABC’s censoring of coverage on the NBN.

    The ABC must now deal with its NBN problem

    Over the past month, the evidence has become overwhelming that the ABC is actively censoring coverage of the National Broadband Network issue in a way that runs counter to the public interest. The broadcaster must now face the issue squarely and deal with it head-on, or run the risk of losing credibility with its highly informed and vocal audience……………………………………….
    At a certain point in late April, however, the evidence that the ABC was actively censoring the NBN topic from being discussed on some of its shows became overwhelming. Behind the scenes and on the night, commentator Van Badham made every attempt possible to ensure that Turnbull would face questions on the 28 April episode of Q&A about the NBN. For her efforts, she was shut down live on air — twice, in front of a stupefied audience which wanted the discussion to progress.


  13. I picked up on one of the sneaky little things the Liberals are doing the other day, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet. They’ve been attacking the ALP over HECS, using the argument that the ALP introduced Uni Fees under Hawke. The argument goes: the ALP introduced the fees and now they’re against a rise in the fees – what hypocrisy!

    Yeah, well, uh, hang on just a moment there, Libs. The ALP aren’t asking to have the fees abolished. That might be characterised as hypocrisy (though I do note that, when it suits them, Liberals reserve the right to change their minds at the drop of a hat). But the ALP aren’t asking to have the fees abolished. They’re just asking that the whole thing be sensible and affordable. There’s no hypocrisy there at all.

  14. I can’t seem to find the video, but South Park covered what seems to be standard right-wing philosophy back in the late 90s. It was referred to as “Gods and Clods”, explained to Kyle by his lawyer father, when Kyle wanted to know why they were rich and his friend was poor. I’ll attempt to explain:
    Society is divided into two groups: Gods and Clods. Kyle’s family are “Gods” because Kyle’s dad was smart enough to go to law school and become a lawyer, meaning he can earn more money. But they still need people to do the menial jobs for less money-the so-called “Clods”.
    Kyle, being a kid, decides that he would rather live in a world of only “Gods”, and proposes his “final solution” (the Nazi allusion is quite deliberate, especially since Kyle and his family are Jewish): All the poor people should be put in camps, which would mean there would be no more poverty, because all the “Clods” would be dead.
    I hope I explained that well enough. I haven’t seen the episode for ages, so I’m going from memory.
    So, so much of the policies of this Government brings Kyle’s plan to mind for me. A world, or at least a country, of only “Gods” . A world in which the unworthy no longer exist, because they’re all dead.

  15. The trouble is, even if Labor say that they’ve been misrepresented – as Macklin did – Abbott simply ignores the correction and goes on with the lie.

  16. kk

    so long as you are merely mad rather than ‘mad , bad and dangerous to know’

    all of the above it seems.

  17. I saw the Abbott video earlier today. Yes, it’s a bloody disgrace for him to politicise D-Day like that, but maybe the more pertinent take-out from it is that he seems desperate to drum up some international investment. I think it might be stalling. He certainly wouldn’t be feeling the need to bang on about that domestic stuff if he felt things were going along smoothly.

    Far from readying themselves for a spill that will ‘fix everything’, I get the feeling the Liberals are crapping themselves, and have no answers at all. There are various reasons why a change of leader wouldn’t help them, prime among them being that nobody could sell this absolute dog of a budget. The questions on nearly every policy area it covers have been coming thick and fast, and the holes in it are multiplying. Nobody even remembers the ‘Labor Waste’ pamphlet and the government MPs certainly aren’t referring to it any more. The CoA that was supposed to ‘sell’ the necessity for radical changes was a bust. The new leader would cop the same questions as the old leader, and would have no better answers to offer. And as I’ve said before, these are their economic settings for the next year. You don’t get two goes at a budget. They’ve all got to stand behind it, no matter who they choose to lead them.

    They seem to be completely out of unicorns for the moment as well. And confidence out there is falling badly.

    There’s no front foot for them to get onto. And they know it.

  18. Looking forward to watching the spin off from Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show tonight. John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight apparently has a feature on PMBO. PJK even gets to comment.

  19. I’ve not quite caught up with everything over the past day, so sorry if this has been posted earlier:

  20. socksfullofsand

    It is a video that needs linking on every possible occasion. 🙂

  21. Abbott’s video posted on Daily Motion alone has had 15,000 views in the last half an hour.

  22. Another “Embattled” for Tony: Perth Now’s reporting of the John Oliver video says

    Satirical US news program Last Week Tonight with John Oliver today aired a segment ruthlessly collating our embattled PM’s most embarrassing moments.

  23. http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/06/02/the-prime-minister-goes-on-manoeuvres-for-d-day/





  24. Tony is as Tony does.

    There is no rhyme or reason.

    His minders have cast him lose.

    He is not in charge of policy. I haven’t a clue who is.

  25. Ducky,

    Sometimes I wonder. If I learned tomorrow I had a terminal disease, what would moi do next?

  26. The UK’s The Independent has been running a series called “A History of the First World War in 100 Moments”. Part big picture part very personal. This one is a real tear jerker. The wife of a Welsh poet writes of the last couple of days of her husband’s leave. He died. So terribly sad and so well written by her.

    A very interesting bit at the end is “I heard his old call coming up to me: “Coo-ee!” he called.“Coo-ee!” I answered, keeping my voice strong to call again.”

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Helen Thomas’s final farewell to her husband, the poet Edward Thomas – ‘I stood at the gate watching him go. He turned back to wave until the mist and hill hid him…’


  27. Juliet:
    ‘Tis almost morning, I would have thee gone—
    And yet no farther than a wan-ton’s bird,
    That lets it hop a little from his hand,
    Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
    And with a silken thread plucks it back again,
    So loving-jealous of his liberty.

    I would I were thy bird.

    Sweet, so would I,
    Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
    Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
    That I shall say good night till it be morrow

    Sometimes …

    Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
    That I shall say good night till it be morrow

  28. Kaffeeklatscher and Ducky,

    I’m beginning to behold a grey army – not the disgusting Alan Jones’ grey whatever-they-are – but a grey army that will hold Blood Oaf and his mini-minions to account, as we will all those who twiddle his strings.

    I doubt very much they have any idea about, let alone the extent of, the resentment, the anger, and the spirit they have awakened.

    Let ’em suffer in their jocks (I include the two Bishops in that category advisedly).

  29. I’m not facing “The End”, but my best friend was diagnosed with cancer three weeks ago. She has surgery & therapy starting this week.
    Her reaction? Cut and coloured her hair bright purple (so when it falls out she can find it); updated her will; speaks regularly to her children; researches all her options; and plans to have too many things to finish to have time to die.

    She is so not going ‘quietly into that good night” but “raging against the dying of the light”.
    On the other hand, her take is that it is not so scary to face as the PTSD she had to deal with after being assaulted at work some years ago.

  30. curioz

    coloured her hair bright purple (so when it falls out she can find it)

    Love that sense of humour.

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