That was then. This is now.

Australia is finally in a real crisis. It’s not hyped. It’s not beaten-up by the media. It’s real. You can feel it. And it is man-made.

Consumer and business confidence are evaporating. Unemployment is rising. Manufacturing is seriously, perhaps terminally ill. Industries have been closed down after either being taunted to do so, or deliberately, even in the case of growth industries, as a result of ideology.

Parliament is frozen in a state of indecision, with members and Senators still squabbling and bitching as if at the start of a political season, rather than 10 days from its end.

The media is either out of control, in a Cloud-Cuckoo Land of their own, or obsessed with nit-picking and political minutiae, wedges, gaffes and in-jokes. It is locked into a horse race fixation, unable to commentate on public affairs and unconcerned that it cannot.

The problems now are real and serious, not concocted as they were under Labor. The promised automatic resurgence, simply because of the election of the Abbott government, has fizzled out after a false dawn at the end of last year.

In response to its inability to face reality, the Abbott government – 15 months down the track – is still blaming its predecessors, seemingly unable to accept that the Coalition was elected to govern, not to make excuses and not to surprise with either broken promises or secret promises it was too gutless to make.

The country’s most important Minister, Treasurer Joe Hockey, is in hiding, sulking from the effects of being yet again sucker-punched by his childhood nemesis, Tony Abbott, and a bewilderingly rapid decline in public estimation and confidence in both himself and his Budget. It is perhaps a sign of Hockey’s fall from grace that Matthias Cormann is being touted as the in-form Economic minister.

The nation is in a state of impending paralysis. Attempts to revive the government’s fortunes with an increasingly bizarre and desperate bevy of foreign adventures – from the false hopes of MH-370, to confrontations with Indonesia, to the shameless beat-up of a few teenage crazies as an “apocalyptic millennial death cult”, to the stupid and counterproductive shirtfronting incident over MH-17, to the cringeworthy address by Abbott at the G20, to the pitiful attempt to vilify the American President for daring to speak of Global Warming in contradiction to official Australian denialism – have failed. If anything they have worsened the government’s political position.

Even if they had been the masterstrokes of statesmanship that the foot-rubbers of the Murdoch, Fairfax and ABC media have tried to sell to the public, these foreign follies would not have put one meal on one table of one unemployed family. They would not have created one job that has been lost through lazy ideological indifference to the industries that have shed them. They would not have created prosperity or alleviated poverty, or aided any embattled economic sector. They would not have increased the price of iron ore, or revived coal exports to China, because China wants less of both.

The much-trumpeted Free Trade deal with China has not been signed. The document was a mere memorandum of understanding. Oh, but if the deal comes off, I hear the spruikers say… the dairy industry will prosper! Whacko-the-diddlyo! A dairy-led recovery! Just what we wanted: an Australia still relying on its primary production, whether it be mining or farming-based. Problem solved!

The visionary Labor NBN – fibre to over 90% of residences in the country, making every home, suburb and country town a potential hub of communication in ways we cannot yet imagine – has been shut down, and in its place we have a shambles of conflicting media and technical standards. Touted for completion in 2016, the Coalition’s “NBN” does not look like being meaningfully even started for years after that.

Christmas is coming and the Budget is not passed, or even looking like being passed. Abbott has played every trump card, from blame, braggadocio and bluster to terrorists and troops, and none of them have worked. Time, precious and unrecoverable, has been wasted, while this farce of spin over substance has played out between friendly journalists pitching fantasy over fact and touting for favours from an already crippled government… which they helped to cripple through their inability to see that their Emperor was already buck naked.

Under Rudd and Gillard the opening problem was real, and it was faced, squarely: the GFC. When that was, if not beaten, then at least fought off to allow Australia to regroup, both Labor governments turned to the more pressing issues of the day: Climate Change, reform of financial laws, education funding, national disability reform. All of these were monstered by the then Opposition under Abbott and his pals in the media right across the board.

Rudd mangled his legacy by refusing to accept that he lost a party room ballot – three in fact – and in an act of unparalleled, lunatic bastardry set out to wreck Gillard’s government. The aim was a magnificent return of the Absent King, Rudd himself. Instead of this pipe dream we got Abbott, who cruised into power with the easiest of rides, unencumbered by policy, possessing no ideas and demonstrating no talent, except for destruction and negativity.

Abbott was able to get where he got because the nation was essentially well governed under Labor, at least in a technical sense. Politically it became a disaster, true, and it could have been avoided. That has to be admitted, and never repeated. But the underlying prosperity was there, as was the confidence, now all gone. The nation could afford to party and indulge itself in personality politics and Reality TV-like trivia, because things were going so relatively well here, especially when compared to the rest of the world. Labor, in effect, became a victim of its own success.

But not content to merely criticise the Labor government, Abbott and his media mates trashed the country: its economy, its governance and its traditions. In a sense they made their beds, and they should be made to lie in them, as they will. But, tragically, they made our beds too. In their zeal to destroy Labor, they wrecked a nation by tricking it into believing that gossip, heckling and spin were more important than Reality. Stunts overrode substance. Gaffes were more telling than governance. Shoe malfunctions became as important to the national discourse as the meetings of nations and the welfare of citizens.

They will surely all get their come-uppance. Traditional media is rapidly going broke. There is an air of guzzling champagne on the Titanic, but nothing of serious journalism and analysis. It’s too late for the few remaining survivors to alter the Fourth Estate’s course.

Abbott, it seems, has terminally tanked in the polls and will almost certainly be a oncer (if his own party doesn’t get rid of him first). He’s played all his cards and there are none up his sleeve, except perhaps some dubious findings from an increasingly discredited Royal Commission into Trades Unions, and the odd potential sex scandal or ICAC finding. They’re not enough: not enough to rescue to Coalition and, far more vitally, not enough to rescue the nation.

If we weren’t a laughing stock before the G20, we certainly are after it. Tax receipts are way down. The legislature is in a limbo of despair. Industry is drying up. Unemployment is at crisis levels, and there is no end in sight to the government’s ideological stubbornness. Meanwhile, drought borne of El Nino is on the way, while our government agrees (at least for today) the Climate Change is a serious, terrible thing, but that it has no weather consequences worthy of remedial action.

The Australian’s editorial the other day suggested a media “reboot”. This is amusing, coming from the very designers and purveyors of Abbott’s media strategy. Suddenly it’s a case of “What you mean ‘We’, Paleface,” where , playing “tonto” to Abbott’s “Lone Ranger”, the Murdoch media realizes that being a redskin has its advantages after all… when you’re surrounded by redskins. The Australian’s editorial virtually sacked Peta Credlin and Joe Hockey, being careful not to ascribe blame to Abbott himself. But they needn’t have bothered, because Abbott is gone too. He has to be, or there’s no hope at all. And hope is what keeps a country going in adversity, not slick bullshit and not screaming headlines.

That was then. This is now.

Labor was in power, and made mistakes, but primarily mistakes that erred in favour of saving then nation, not wrecking it, not destroying faith in it and its governance, not stagnating it in Tea Party quicksand, standing by while it drowned. That was then.

The Coalition is in power now, and they’re not doing anything with it. Nothing’s happening, besides excuse-making and blame-shifting. It’s not Sydney Uni SRC anymore where punching a hole in a wall solves all problems. They have a country to run… and they’re not running it. They’re not even trying, preferring cheap kudos from overseas follies whose poll bounce potential has worn off by now, in any case. This is the “Now” of the Coalition, and it’s a living hell.

Leadershit is back in vogue. Media chatter is as inane and frivolous as it ever was. Issues are not being addressed, or even acknowledged. Governance has gotten down to back room deals with crazies who hide out in Tasmanian log cabins, musing about big cocks and changing hairdos as a solution to the nation’s woes. We simply cannot afford this obsession with triviality any longer.

Pretty soon it will be MYEFO time, then Christmas, then the pre-Budget sittings of Parliament. Then Budget 2015… Another year’s worth of time and opportunity wasted, while nothing gets done except posturing, preening and leadership positioning.

Not only does this government have no clue. It doesn’t have a clue that it has no clue. It’s not about who told lies, or who’s ready to stab who in the back. They are distractions, and perhaps symptoms of the malaise. It’s about who’s running the country, and if it’s not the government, then who is it, and why are they fucking it up so badly?

I don’t have much time for the average Australian voter. They do not take a mature approach to politics. They are too easily led astray by the antics of student politicians who have never grown up.

But for the rest of us, the ones with some sense and some modicum of judgement, I do have time. And unfortunately, even for those whose judgement I disdain, they have to do well too, or else we all go down the toilet.

This pathetic, laughable, international joke of a government needs to get out of the nation’s way, urgently. Hold a Double Dissolution if necessary, so that those who have woken up can chuck them out on their ears, as they deserve. Something. Anything. But please, just go.

Whether you do or not, the rest of us have real work to get done.

It seems the public agree. According to Galaxy, 67% of voters want a snap election to sort out the Senate. According to the Daily Telegraph however (where the Galaxy poll is reported) the voters want PUP out of the way so the government (i.e. the Abbott government) can just get on and govern.

VOTERS in NSW have demanded a snap federal election to end the ­senate soap opera and allow the ­government to govern.

It has taken less than six months of chaos but an overwhelming majority of voters now believe it is time to send Clive Palmer, Jacqui Lambie and their oddball independent senate colleagues packing.

“Whoa there, Silver!” said the Lone Ranger. Galaxy did not say the voters wanted the government to be able to get on and govern. They just wanted some old fashioned governance.

Even back in September , when all the Zombie Apocalypse palaver was in full swing, Galaxy still said that the voters wanted the government gone (God knows what a Galaxy poll conducted today would say, if Newspoll, Reachtel and those little trickles of warm yellow water running down the legs of Coalition MPs are anything to go by). One would assume that the two polls – one on Senate obstructionism and the other on Federal voting intentions – should be read together, not one forgotten and the other made up.

The punters don’t want the PUP frisson fixed so Abbott can get his way slashing pensions, cutting ADF pay, reinstating spivocracy to its rightful place in the Finance industry, gutting education, the ABC, the car industry, alternative energy and the English language. They want someone to do something.

If Abbott called a snap election and if such snap election booted Palmer’s mob, I doubt whether the Coalition would be the main beneficiary. Praying for an election may be a case of needing to be careful not to pray too hard. They might just get what they asked for.

Which would be fine and dandy by me.

We do not need elections. We had one. It’s time now for the lazy bastards that won it to do their job: govern. Time’s running out. There’s a nation at stake.

626 thoughts on “That was then. This is now.

  1. Update. Dan Andrews was still there after the news and took callers for 15 minutes. Mind you bar for the first caller they were all Libs, and Faine didn’t once ask them if they were on the calling tree or were they Lib/Nats like he does for people ringing to support Labor.

  2. I think that the ABC needs to realise that it doesn’t matter how easy they go on the Libs, they will still think that it’s run by rabid lefties.

  3. Janice

    And to prove your point they had Peter Ryan, the head Nat in Vic. He had me laughing at his stupidity. Nappytime, appeared to be yelling, he would call it forceful, whereas Dan Andrews spoke in a calm social inclusive voice. Explained Labor won’t be able to fix everyone’s problems, but will do their best. It was very refreshing.

  4. Goods morning all,

    Great piece once again by Elder. Thanks for the link.

    The MSM in Australia are living in the past and refuse to admit or are just too stupid to realise that the political landscape in this country has changed forever,

    Just as the British army generals in WW1 continued to use 19th century over the top tactics against.20th century weapons and refused to see that they were fighting the first modern war the MSM continue to look to the past and are steadfast in their belief that because it hasn’t happened before it will not happen now. The past will repeat and repeat and repeat as far as they are concerned and what worked before will continue.

    This belief is their safety net and suits their lazy and spoiled style of “journalism ” to a tee.

    The MSM continue on and on about the lack of vision in modern politics but refuse to even contemplate their own lack of vision in modern political ” journalism ”

    For months they have refused to even contemplate that the Napthine government could lose. Their reasoning ? It has never happened before therefore a first term government just will not be defeated. Nothing deeper than that. Most have continued to believe that the coalition in Victoria will be returned even in the face of poll after poll telling them otherwise. Their reasoning ? It has not happened before therefore it will not happen now. It now appears that the MSM may just be coming to the realization that it is just possible the impossible will happen and Napthine will be turfed out, Their whole world is on the brink of collapse and they may well be dragged into the realization after tomorrow that in fact the world is not flat even though history tells them it is. Time will tell.

    The same thought process can be seen with the Canberra press gallery. No matter how bad Abbott has been it will all be ok because a first term government just does not get turfed out. They have been comfortable with that bit of history as their security blanket. However the blanket may well be fraying around the edges as the MSM start to ponder whether history is in fact a good guide book for modern politics as it now stands.

    Abbott himself with the enthusiastic support of the Murdoch headed media has been the prime driver of this huge change in the Australian political landscape.

    For the past five years Abbott has run riot driving uncertainty and disdain for politics, politicians and any convention that stood in his way. The MSM were active participants or at the very least stood back and cheered. What was the result ? A landscape pillaged and left burned and desolate. A populace that hates politicians, does not believe a word they say and looks upon them as nothing more than muck on the bottom of their boots.

    This is the landscape Abbott has created and it is this landscape he must now deal with just at the MSM must deal with it.

    People will not tolerate lies or the perception of lying. People have had a gut full and will not give any more second chances to politicians they believe have let them down. No more will people give pollies the benefit of the doubt. If politicians give the voters the shits they are gone,

    This is the legacy of Abbott and the MSM. And in this modern political landscape less and less will history be repeated and more and more will new history be written,

    Politicians and MSM be afraid, be very afraid.

  5. doyleym

    For months they have refused to even contemplate that the Napthine government could lose. Their reasoning ? It has never happened before therefore a first term government just will not be defeated.

    Silly sausages not realizing that the longer an unlikely event has not occurred the more likely it will happen next time.

  6. Something about Abbott’s manic desire to get so much done so quickly always struck me as his admitting to himself that he’d only ever get one term. He had to get it all out before the public had a chance to turf him.

    In a strange, Bizarro World sort of way, he’d have listened to the eulogies in Sydney Town Hall that day about Gough Whitlam and thought to himself that he had the same kind of reforming zeal. Gough only lasted three years, but – they all said – Gough changed the country forever. Abbott would do that too, changing the country in a different way, back to the conservative approach.

    Abbott has always gone for the quick KO. He’s always been someone who comes out swinging, looking for the king hit before his startled opponent realizes what’s happening. Next thing they’re on the deck, out for the count.

    Doyleym is right. Abbott’s naked aggression, his Whirling Dervish approach has damaged our polity. He must seethe with frustration when he has to behave himself, as he has had to do in his endless quest to look “Prime Ministerial”. But he always stuffs it up. He’s just too impatient. He knows that a quick haymaker works better than persuasion. Quick haymakers suit his personality.

    Now that its coming back to bite him he hates it. Shorten’s Labor and the cross benchers in the Senate are sending him crazy with pent up rage. Apparently his performance in Parliament yesterday was reminiscent of the old Abbott, out of control and throwing his weight around, refusing to budge, believing the old shibboleths written about him being a conviction politician, sure that if he just sticks to his guns he’ll prevail.

    He is a very nasty man, with major character flaws. The Australian voters gave him the one night stand he’d been after, and next morning – that’s today – they realize he was all talk and no action, a dud root. I doubt whether they’ll trust him again.

    Shorten’s job is twofold: to restore trust in politics first and then to deliver policy, bucketfuls of it. I believe that’s why Shorten is doing so relatively well inthe polls: he’s not prone to violence and hyperbole. He’s calm and measured, the way a leader should be. Abbott is a ventriloquist’s dummy, mouthing words he doesn’t believe in, and prepared to reverse them as and when the occasion merits. It’s unseemly, and definitely not Prime Ministerial.

    I am hoping for a oncer for this mob, and the past week has convinced me there’s a good chance of that happening. Abbott has clawed his way to the top. He stands on a pile of political bodies that he has personally laid low. A lot of people – from both sides of politics – hate him, and would be glad to see him get what’s coming to him. There are a lot of scores to settle with Abbott. He has had a lot of victims, and the knives are coming from every direction.

  7. Time to tick a few boxes and consider future action.

    I have railed long and loud on blog sites with accusations of treason leveled at certain members of the MSM. I have been deadly serious about these claims and I do believe action must be taken against the most egregious culprits who sought to demoralize and destroy the Gillard govt’ in the eyes of the public. I am still serious about the action needed to bring these culprits to a court of law to plead their case. Others have been more reticent, some to the point of dismissing such a charge as delusional or frivolous. I hope to argue the case here for due consideration to action for the future security of our democratic country.

    As for the legal definition of treason in Aust’..see : “ Treason: Defunct
    There being so many loop-holes that a whale could swim through, let us take the common accepted meaning, ie: “An act of betrayal to a foreign interest against the interests of the nation and it’s peoples” as accepted and argue the rhetoric. Of course, there is “High Treason” in a time of war and what I see as “common treason” in a time of relative peace. I am not interested in seeing those MSM. Journos’ charged being hung-drawn-and quartered and their carcasses being strewn to the four corners of the country for “High Treason”…pollution is already a major problem! But, there will come a time after Labor regain office [ which I expect them to next election, unless of course and I fully expect, some sort of election delay tactic from the present incumbents, after all, when has it ever been otherwise that a swarm of locusts or a plague of vermin do not proceed to the “hardwire” instructions in their DNA.? is a truth of historical experience that certain personality types should not be left in charge of a bladed letter opener blade, let alone the ship of state!…but THAT is topic for another article.] that a judicial inquiry must adjudicate on the behaviour of members of the forth estate in the time of the Gillard govt’…This MUST be done.

    Let us proceed..: I doubt very much that a law could be found anywhere to convict a foreign national operating in their country of citizenship to use what ever tools at their control to demonise, disrupt or bring down a foreign government. If there were, many oligarchs would by now be languishing in extradition prisons or worse all over the world. The actions of individuals and corporations toward the Sth American nations are a familiar example…In the same breath, I would have to doubt there is ANY NATION that DOESN’T have laws against it’s own nationals using the tools and finance of a foreign national or corporation to demonise, disrupt or bring down their own democratically elected government…for if there were, there would never be any sort of stable government at all..

    So considering the blind-freddy logic of the above, I want someone to tell me the behaviour by certain members of the MSM. Toward the elected govt’ of Julia Gillard leading up to AND including the “Rudd reincarnation”, was NOT an act of treason against both the state and it’s people. I want someone to tell me that receiving payment from, acting with instructions and tactics from, in a wholly owned media platform from and at the behest of a foreign national , in the personal interests of that foreign national, for the vested interests of that foreign national for the sole purpose of profit for that foreign national …is not treason. ….not so hard, as simple as that!…take away the offended spluttering, the cautious coughing, the old school tie loyalty and the “drinking mate” camaraderie and you have the nub of the charge….; treason, pure and simple.

    Sure, there are those journalists who are now singing a different tune..seeking to evade the charge of “cowardice under fire”…and didn’t Judas first accept the offer of silver before planting the kiss of betrayal?…They will claim in defence that they too acted as they did because they believed the same principles as their paymaster…nothing to do with it..nothing at all…I am certain “Lord Haw Haw” felt similar toward HIS paymasters..Any of us could claim sympathy with a foreign power, and with levied moneys from that power set up and promoted the overthrow of our democracy…Many of us do have sympathy with different politics or ideologies. THAT, is the beauty of maintaining our we can express our beliefs without fear or favour…but we do not have the right to inflict personal bigotry or ideological preferences upon at least half the population, to the detriment of the population by using a mainstream media platform to demoralize, plain lie and collude to bring down that democracy. We do not!..not ANY of us have thats right!..

    If those journalists were the “innocents abroad” that they like to portray themselves as, we could forgive them..indeed, some are nothing but bumbling buffoons armed with a thesaurus and a vocabulary. but of the others…no..Well we remember the “curled lip” of scorn in their commentary, as equal in vicious drop the sourness of their personalities…well we remember the repetitive mockery and obfuscation of the serial liar in their “on-air” voices and well we recall that soul-less “mark of Cain” in their eyes as they sunk to the depths of depravity requested to please their paymaster and instructor…cowards who feared more the ‘woe betide” repercussions of their slave-master than the metered justice of their fellow citizens!

    So the bringing to court and making those members of the MSM. who worked for , received payment from and colluded with that foreign national, whilst sheltering under the protection of their own national passport, explain their actions to their fellow citizens is an imperative for the next Labor government. The free-press commentary, indeed the entire forth and fifth estate depends upon it , for with this shadow of fear of media harassment, false accusation and condemnation way beyond the bounds of reasonable criticism, the nation will ever be at the mercy of any grudging mogul and his obsequious employees, seeking to destroy any govt’ not personally approved and no nation can nor should operate under such a tyranny.

    Let the scales of a justice “that must be seen to be done” weigh their actions.

  8. But it looked so decorated –

    The Tower of London has been accused of “crass insensitivity” by hosting a £240-a-head networking dinner for arms manufacturers days after its hugely popular sea of poppies made it the focus of the First World War commemorations.

    (Admission – I’ve paid 200 for some of the porcelain roses)

  9. Geez! give you the shits! go over the article before you put it up and it seems ok..and then when it’s up you see glaring mistakes and typos!!!
    Oh well..I s’pose you get the gist.

  10. Ptmd

    I wish I had bought one.

    The downside is that each one has a number on it.

    I hope the Barbican two and those coming here stay on a shelf and don’t get dropped.

  11. An anniversary. On this day in 1893 NZ women voted for the first time in a general election. Not a bad turn out 90,300 out of 109,000 eligible voters turning out.

  12. Utopia Girls: How Women Won The Vote was on ABC1 just a little while ago. SA women won the right to vote a year after NZ—but they also got the right to stand for Parliament. At Federation the SA womens’ franchise was extended to all of Australia. The US did not have a womens’ franchise until 1920.

  13. I just had one of those annoying calls about “your phone line”. Did my occasional response of “OH is a senior executive with Telstra”, to which the subcontinental voice responded, “Well, I’m the chief director” . . .

  14. Trouble at t’mill

    Asylum seekers held by Australia in detention on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea have taken the extraordinary step of writing to other countries, begging for asylum there.

    Guardian Australia has received copies of letters sent by asylum seekers to US president Barack Obama and to the Canadian immigration department, asking to be resettled in those countries.

    The letter to Obama, signed by 10 Pakistani asylum seekers and written in English, pleads for American intervention in their cases.

    “You are the only hope for us to give us a new life … we beg for your help to take us out of this miserable situation.”

    The asylum seekers mention the deaths of detainees on Manus this year, of Reza Berati, who was beaten to death in a major disturbance between asylum seekers, guards and local Manusians, and of Hamid Kehazaei, who died from an infected foot that turned septic.

    The whole article is worth a read.

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