Foreign Affairs Minister versus Foxtel Prime Minister

First Mademoiselle Mesothelomia got vewy vewy cwoss with The International Embarrassment about being sent to Lima with Andrew Robb as chaperon to make sure she didn’t make any wrong mistakes about climate change and GLARED at him with her trademark death stare:

before singing him

Sometime during the week (Monday, was it?), The International Embarrassment said it had been a “ragged fortnight”, and hit

Oh, what the heck, Tony Burke puts it so much better than I can:

Last week Tony Abbott wanted to scrape a few barnacles off the ship of state. This week he wanted to try and turn the whole ship around – things didn’t quite go as planned.


1. What a year for the Government. Broken promises as far as the eye can see, no Assistant Treasurer for nine months, a Defence Minister on the chopping block and no clear answer to who will be Prime Minister at the next election. None of these things are good, but Bill’s speech summing up the year is definitely the best moment of the week.

2. The week began with Christopher Pyne and the Government telling anyone who would listen, the big victory in the final sitting week of Parliament for the year would be passing its unfair Higher Education changes and $100,000 degrees. Well, they tried and they failed.

3. Joe Hockey’s mini-Budget comes out soon. On Thursday the Treasurer, for now, tried to claw back some of his lost economic credibility in a speech to Parliament. Chris Bowen fired back saying Labor will never accept the false premise that Governments can choose either growth or fairness.

4. On Thursday, just as we were all walking in to Question Time, Terri Butler stood up and tore the government apart for its cuts to education. It’s only 90 seconds to watch, but will be felt by the Government for a very long time.

5. After the Senate Crossbench complained that Christopher Pyne wouldn’t stop texting and begging for their vote on Higher Education, Labor decided to give people the chance to text back. We set up a text only line where all messages get passed on to Christopher Pyne. Well, nearly all, we have had to censor a couple. More than 6,000 people have already texted him on 0477 333 555.


1. Last week was the worst week in the Abbott Government’s history, so far. On Monday Tony Abbott tried to hit refresh by holding a 45-minute press conference. So what’s he changing? Nothing.

2. In the same press conference on Monday, in his first answers talking about the change of Government in Victoria, Tony Abbott made an appeal to Labor Premier Daniel Andrews – what was the appeal? For Premier Andrews to break an election promise.

3. We’d be a better country if books like this weren’t required. The “Little Book of Lies” goes through, policy by policy, Tony Abbott’s year of broken promises. There are a lot.

4. The cuts to Australia’s foreign aid budget continue, with Julie Bishop claiming ‘if the Government keeps cutting, it won’t be the Government’s fault’. It seems like Ministers are starting to wish they were no longer in charge. Click here to add your name to the campaign against foreign aid cuts.

5. The Liberal MP for Gilmore discovered it’s sometimes best to say nothing this week, when Tanya Plibersek referred to 97% of scientists agreeing on the connection between human activity and climate change, Ann Sudmalis interjected “but that’s only climate scientists.” Well she’s right. It’s only 97% of the people who are experts in the field.

This afternoon, Sam de Brito wrote:

Comedian Chris Rock said recently of former US President George Bush: “He was the first president who only served the people who voted for him. He literally operated like a cable network. You know what I mean?

“He’s the first cable-television president, and the thing liberals don’t like about Obama is that he’s a network guy … He’s trying to get everybody.”

Abbott is our first Foxtel Prime Minister. If you’re not a subscriber, too bad.

Can anyone taste blood in the water yet?

Meanwhile, Dan Andrews’ new Victorian ministry was sworn, with a record number of nine women on the front bench:

Maybe it’s time for The International Embarrassment to think on Beyonce’s lyrics:

Enough of this seriousness.

Join in The Pub’s usual amazing Friday evening festivities, help yourselves to drinks until I get there, order your raffle tickets from Maestro CK Watt, put your coins into the jukebox.

And have a good time or

646 thoughts on “Foreign Affairs Minister versus Foxtel Prime Minister

  1. Scorps

    Yeeeeeeeeeeeees.. One Term Tony

    “One Termer Tony” to the tune of Jose Feliciano’s Guantanamera works for me .

  2. As far as I can see, Søren Kierkegaard espoused that “we are all individuals” in our beliefs or non-beliefs of a Supreme Being.

    It’s no wonder he was anti-church.

  3. Just thinking, could Tequila be a decent substitute for any Gin?

    A Tequila Sling sounds viable.

  4. This little black duck

    Søren Kierkegaard espoused that “we are all individuals” ………

    The inspiration for renowned Australian philosopher Mark “Jacko” Jackson’s song ?


  6. I’m still waiting for Hartcher’s “sensational new development”…

    If that’s all there is – Abbott didn’t want anyone to attend the climate change conference – all I can say is well DUH! As for “outflanking”, I’d call it one all (Bishop goes, Bishop gets a chaperone.) Let’s see who gets the last laugh: Bishop sides with science, Bishop calls #libspill, Bishop declares check and mate??

  7. The bitchop is, I suspect, taking advice from Rudd on strategy to whiteant the foundations upon which the abbott stands. Who better than her best friend the traitor to set out the steps to follow, and the chief msm fool hartcher to publish the leaks directed to him by a mesmerised coalition idiot who has been promised a reward by a grateful PMbitchop?

    No wonder the abbott is looking somewhat panic stricken – his ‘loyal girl’ aint so anymore.

  8. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Paul Bongiorno asks if the Liberals’ trust deficit already too big to repay? Good question!
    Hartcher on how “Kevin” Bishop rolled Abbott over Lima.
    Hartcher says Abbott must change his attitude to climate change.
    Australia should not go to Lima empty-handed.
    Nicholas Stuart has a very good look at what is the problem with Abbott and his government.
    Hugh White says David Johnston simply isn’t up to the job. He also says the job is a poisoned chalice. And he sheets the AWD blame squarely where it belongs – with DMO.
    Four Corners shows its value again!
    Hockey looks like he is distancing himself from the Murray Report.
    Jacqui Maley on how climate change keeps coming back to bite Abbott on the bum.
    This Senate Committee puts the blowtorch on Abbott’s obsession with roads.–senate-finds-public-transport-is-crucial-20141208-122odb.html

  9. Section 2 . . .

    View from the Street – another good contribution.
    Workaholism – the new workplace danger,
    Abbott’s “reset” of his signature PPL policy hasn’t got any friends yet according to Judith Ireland.
    Surely this advertising campaign cannot satisfy to guidelines. Xenophon as asked the Auditor-General to investigate it.
    Michelle Grattan thinks that it stinks!
    More from Michelle as the government implores Labor to re-engage in the RET talks.
    The Canberra Times shows us what life as a middle manager in Health can be like. It’s not good. Nice work Jane Halton!
    Some governance issues in the Victorian Education Dept come to light.
    Religious groups come out screaming against new anti-discrimination laws. So they must have got the laws right then.
    Julian Burnside decries Morrison’s use of detained children in the TPV legislation “negotiations”.

  10. Section 3 . . .

    More from Richard Ackland on our new data retention laws.
    Cathy Wilcox with a ripper that shows the shallowness of Hockey’s exhortations to spend up over Christmas.
    OUCH! Alan Moir gives it to the Australian visit to Lima.
    Bruce Petty at the Liberals’ Christmas breakup party.
    Stunning work from David Pope! Robb the chaperone. He’s captured Robb’s face perfectly.
    Matt Golding with some introspection from Abbott.
    David Rowe takes us into Abbott’s dressing room where some ghosts from the past make a ghoulish appearance.

  11. Hartcher’s final paragraph…

    The political misjudgment of climate policy has been central to the downfall of the last three prime ministers. Despite the best advice of his ministers, Abbott is flirting with the danger of being the fourth.

    … outlines the great battle of 21st century politics, here and in the US: Climate Change.

    Of course Climate Change is a proxy for the Left/Right divide – with old fossil fuel cartels (and their money) against new startup technology (and its lack of money) in a battle to the death.

    A line has been drawn in the sand and more Prime Ministers, Presidents and other politicians will go down before this fight is finished. It’s the old versus the new. The new will win, as they must and always do, but there’ll be a lot of bodies on a lot of battlefields in the meantime.

    Abbott’s statement that coal is good for humanity is already being shown up, as price signals indicate not as many buyers want the product anymore.

    We can’t wait around forever for the good old days to return. Our economy is on hold while the stoush of the century continues.

    We have an abundance of two resources: coal and natural energy from the sun. We have idle scientists, put of out work in a spiteful manner, told to rack off somewhere else where their intelligence and their research is appreciated, while the old energy cartels continue to feverishly dig holes in the ground. Anyone who naysays our traditional ways is ostracised or banished to unemployment.

    As the oil runs out the oil producing nations of the Middle East hold an end-of-model runout, flogging everything off at near half price, and their part of the globe devolves back to its constituent tribes based on religion, murder and payback.

    In all this Hartcher sees only a political riff, a nuance. It’s a shame our political journalists see Climate Change purely in terms of who’s up whom, and leadershit… endless leadershit.

    I haven’t heard one of them, anywhere, especially Hartcher, talk about the fundamental issue. He says Tony Abbott must shift his stance on Climate Change, bu tonly for political reasons, not fundamental ones related to what’s happening to our Climate. Political commentators are like derivatives dealers, marginal traders who score fraction of a cent profits on some kind of weird futures market. They don’t really care whether the product is pork bellies, the Dollar or Climate. All they’re interested in is the by-play. They’ll be extinct soon, so no bother.

    Watching BK’s TED video on 3D Printing yesterday I was struck by how the man delivering the talk emphasised that 3D printing was bringing back the day of the cobbler: individual manufacturing for individual needs, tailored for an exact fit. His grandfather had been a cobbler.

    It made me think about modern technology in general.

    Modern technology is doing this everywhere. Sure we can 3D print parts and widgets, but we can now also publish our own books. Every web site can be a newspaper, a club house or a banner ad. Any domestic roof can be an electricity generator, and with new advances in solar cell efficiency, the day is coming sooner rather than later. The old restrictions of scale and cost are fast disappearing.

    New technology is challenging old technology. New ways of doing things are subverting the mass produced solutions that made billionaires what they are. No wonder Abbott is floating nuclear power again. It’s just a way of keeping the little guy out of the equation in favour of the industrial Usual Suspects, used to telling us what we are to do and how we are to do it. It won’t succeed.

    THAT is the big story: everything is becoming local again and there are powerful forces out there trying to stop that.

    It isn’t whether Julie Bishop snookered Abbott, or whether Gillard died nailed to the Climate Cross. Global Warming is a problem that may not be able to be dealt with, but we have to try. The likes of Hartcher and his fellow opinionistas, lurk merchants and tip-off junkies repeatedly miss that story. Eventually some sense has to come into it. We can leave Bolt and the other deniers to wither on the vine. The proxy issue will eventually become the central point, not only of our politics, but of our existence.

    The first politician with some clout to really understand this will go on to lead the world. It’s going to be a big story but at the moment there doesn’t seem to be anyone willing to write it.

  12. BK, thanks for the links, especially this one:

    The Canberra Times shows us what life as a middle manager in Health can be like. It’s not good. Nice work Jane Halton!

    “Evidence before the review indicated that much of this workload was attributed to inefficiency of systems and processes, duplication and rework, which all lead to significant resource and capacity waste,” they wrote.

    The scrutineers from the commission were also worried about the level of bullying and harassment they were told about and the reluctance of public servants at Health to make formal complaints.

    And a “Capability Review” of the key department has found it is beset by a culture of “inappropriate behaviour” including bullying and harassment, a command-and-control approach by top bosses and an environment where mistakes are not tolerated.

    Hi works in NSW Health, but this is a perfect description of her own workplace. It’s nice to know you’re not alone.

  13. Did I forget to mention that Hartcher’s column this morning, beside missing the real point, reads an awful lot like a jilted lover spilling his guts on the erstwhile object of his devotion.

    I am Hartcher. Hear me squeal!

  14. Another ‘achievement’ for the International Embarrassment.

    Well done Tony!

    Australia named worst-performing industrial country on climate change
    Performance index released at Lima climate talks puts Denmark in the best-performing slot, followed by Sweden and Britain

    The report states: “The new conservative Australian government has apparently made good on last year’s announcement and reversed the climate policies previously in effect. As a result, the country lost a further 21 positions in the policy evaluation compared to last year, thus replacing Canada as the worst-performing industrial country.”

  15. L@

    And look at the illustrious company we are keeping.

    Australia was second bottom overall, above Saudi Arabia…………..the bottom six countries in the ranking – Russia, Iran, Canada, Kazakhstan, Australia and Saudi Arabia

  16. Just imagine where Australia will rank if Abbott ever manages to gt rid of the RET, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (which actually brings in money for the budget, another revenue source facing the axe) and the Renewable Energy Agency. There will have to be a whole new ‘worst ever’ ranking just for us. What an ‘achievement’ that will be.

  17. You’d never be able to tell that Kiwis are doing the Fairfax’s subbing for them, would you?

    The government has also been attempting to win Senate support to cut the Renewable Energy Target, set at 41 tarawhata-hours a year by 2020.

    For those interested in just whata a “tarawhata” is:

    A dog that ate a cliff. Sounds reasonable.

  18. You should read this – it’s a long and heartbreaking read, but very important, and it brings up a lot of questions.

    Last Friday my wife Heather and I flew up with Alan Jones to attend the Farmers Last Stand drought and debt meeting in Winton. And after what I saw being done to our own people, I have never been more ashamed to be Australian in my life.

    What is happening out there is little more than corporate terrorism: our own Australian people are being bullied, threatened and abused by both banks and mining companies until they are forced off their own land.

    So we must ask: is this simply to move the people off their land and free up it up for mining by foreign mining companies or make suddenly newly empty farms available for purchase by Chinese buyers? As outrageous as it might seem, all the evidence flooding in seems to suggest that this is exactly what is going on.

    What is the role of Government in all of this? Why have both the State and Federal Government stood back and allowed such a dreadful travesty to happen to our own people? Where was Campbell Newman on this issue? Where was Prime Minister Abbott? The answer is nowhere to be seen.

  19. bushfirebill

    The Tarawhata hot pools are literally just down the road from my great great aunt !!!!

  20. I have a lot of sympathy for those people in Queensland and NSW whose farms are rendered worthless by drought, but I fear that relying on Alan Jones – one of the chief climate science deniers in Australia is going to end up in more tears.

    The article mentions that the rains always come back, but indications are that they’ll come back less and less frequently as global warming takes hold.

    The basic strategy of global warming deniers – those that don’t outright reject the science, I mean – is to acknowledge it’s real, even that it’s a looming world catastrophe, a terrible thing… but that there are no consequences of it to speak of: not fires, or floods, or cyclones… or droughts.

    Anyone nowadays who ascribes a natural disaster to climate change is pooh-poohed and sometimes even vilified for associating mere local weather with a global phenomenon. It’s regarded as slightly tacky to blame any consequences of global warming on … global warming. It’s like someone farted at a dinner party. Even US Presidents are not exempt from the pack of attack dogs that go around policing impure thoughts that contradict the Prime Minister and the clowns he calls his ministers.

    Jones and the writer of the article think that giving the farmers cheap loans will tide them over until the rains come again. It may this time, but it can’t do that forever. Barnarby Joyce was there too. Remember how cocky he was back in 2009 just before Abbott made his move on the leadership? He openly mocked climate change and those who wanted to act on it. I can still see his sweeping gestures – encompassing green gras and healthy vegetation, fat cattle and prosperous cattlemen at a stockyard – telling 4-Corners that if this was global warming, bring it on!.

    These are marginal lands, in a marginally productive country, and they’ve returned to the margin at the beginning of a climate disaster that everyone recognizes – or pretends to recognize – but which, ironically, no-one in power, or who has influence over power, wants to do anything about. And that includes Alan Jones, the National Party, the Banks and their bizoid mates.

    It’s the same for fracking. I heard a farmer whose farm had been invaded by coal seam gas miners telling ABC TV what a terrible thing it was. When asked what he would do if the Greens offered to help him, his answer was that he’d shoot the first one he saw, on sight. He hated “greenies” more than he hated the miners. Well, tough tits to him. He had his chance.

    Jones is also against fracking, as much as he is against the way the farmers are being treated by their mortgage holders. There’s nothing he can do about it as long as he continues to deny what’s happening to our climate. He’s as useless as tits on a bull to those farmers. And they’re fools to believe he can give them any assistance, other than a band-aid.

  21. At last – someone says the bleeding obvious.

    Paul Bongiorno on Abbott’s PPL, from BK’s link –

    He then went on to gild the lily: “… [I]t will still particularly advantage small business that will for the first time have access to a universal parental leave scheme.”

    Well, they have one already – the less generous one legislated by the Labor minority government that runs for 18 weeks at the minimum wage

  22. BB
    Jones did an interview with David Pascoe this morning, but I didn’t link it, too much ‘why won’t Hockey jump on the banks’ and ‘the Chinese are coming to steal our land’ stuff and and other right-wing nuttery. If the Chinese want the land why don’t they buy it now, when prices are at rock bottom?

    I think the snapper-upper of the land vacated by debt-stricken farmers is much closer to home. Gina Rinehart is very busy buying up cattle properties in WA and dairy farms in Queensland. I’m sure she has her piggy little eyes on more land for her new ‘let’s get rich thanks to the Chinese FTA’ dairy and beef empire. What she can’t use for food for export she will use for mining. At least Gina is thinking ahead and looking to new opportunities to increase her wealth. Why can’t farmers do the same? Why stick with the same old wheat/sheep/cattle thing even though the land can’t sustain that any more? There must be other crops, other animals, better farming methods that suit the land and the changing climate. Why aren’t they being developed, used?

    If you leave out the problems caused by the drought and the stupidity of farmers insisting on relying on crops and grazing that is not and never was suitable for their land there is still a huge problem remaining. The point Dr Pascoe makes is valid, mining companies are supported by government (Labor included) and are riding rough-shod over all opposition. We are destroying what remains of our viable farmland for the enrichment of mining companies. Just look at what has happened to the Hunter Valley, in NSW. Prime farm land destroyed and lost forever by vast open cut mines. The Baird government will allow open slather for CSG if/when they win the next election. The Liverpool Plains are next in the firing line for coal and gas mining. And there’s the thing. Will the farmers there vote anything but National in a last-ditch attempt to hang on? Not on your nellie, the turkeys will, again, vote for Christmas and National MPs state and federal will cave in and support whatever the big money wants.

    One more thing –
    I have every sympathy for farmers forced out by banks, even though their financial plight may be of their own making. I had a similar experience many years ago, but with a business, not a farm. I understand what it’s like to lose just about everything. My problem is understanding why these people don’t ask for help, why they prefer sleeping in the back of a ute and living on noodles to asking Centrelink for a benefit. Why starve yourself and ruin what remains of your health out of pig-headed pride and arrogance? Why stay in a tiny country town that offers nothing in the way of work or anything else when you could move to a bigger town with more opportunities? Why don’t they ask for help, take everything that is on offer? Human nature is such a puzzle. How can you explain why farmers continue to vote for the party that has screwed them for a century, or why being ‘too proud’ to ask for help, preferring to put their families through needless misery is thought of as a virtue?

  23. There must be other crops, other animals, better farming methods that suit the land and the changing climate. Why aren’t they being developed, used?

    I think a lot of it is politics. That farmer who said he’d rather shoot a Green than trust him was a case in point.

    As to why they don’t move… I don’t know. Probably because they have nowhere else to call “home”.

  24. All those things point to people who are completely unable to cope with change. In hard reality, they are fundamentally incapable of dealing with the modern world.

    Country life suits them because change is always slower in the bush. So they stay as the brightest of their progeny move on to the cities, further cementing the fossilisation of attitudes and actions.

    The only thing they have left is a misplaced pride in themselves as being the ‘real’ Australians and having an endless store of common sense that the rest of us have forgotten.

    Sad and doomed.

  25. Mark Kenny doing his job: asking about policy. The words must have looked strange as he punched them into his laptop.

    “Policy? Oh yeah, that’s right… ‘policy’. How do you spell that?”

    Does Bill Shorten really deserve to become PM?
    It will take no time at all … for someone to note that Shorten has been propelled to a winning position more by Abbott’s betrayals than by any genius the Labor leader has demonstrated.

    And that right there will frame the debate. What does he really stand for? What are his core values and where, pray tell, are the detailed policies that express them?

    In football it is often said that you cannot win the game in the first quarter but you can certainly lose it. The trick therefore is to be there or thereabouts much later on when victory is up for grabs.

    That is Shorten’s game plan. Stay in the race and don’t stuff it up. Unquestionably, it is going better than expected.

    Yet Labor’s fear is a pre-eminently human one: that their man has peaked very early. Leading Abbott by eight points as preferred prime minister and well ahead on key criteria like approval, trustworthiness, competence, and capacity to get stuff done, Shorten is one lucky dog.

    You dummy, Mark. It’s horses for courses. It’s a horse race, remember?

    Abbott flapped his hands and heckled at the top of his lungs. He had no policies – no positive policies that is – but he got the swingers in the middle to believe that we were being poorly governed. He got them to believe (with a little help from the Mark Kennys of this world) that knife’s edge majorities, even {shudder} minority government was some kinds of strange, aberrant thing that somehow tainted everything that government did. He didn’t point out that minority government was exactly what he tried to gain, too, but he couldn’t negotiate himself out of a boiler suit made of toilet paper.

    Suddenly we need policies. Suddenly Shorten is being lucky/lazy… whatever.

    Shorten is just doing what is necessary. He’s not out every day gutting fish, wearing hi-viz vests and so on, because he doesn’t have to be. That’s the kind of thing a wrecker who’s decided wrecking is sufficient to gain government does. The wrecker doesn’t need policy. The wrecker just wrecks and brags about it.

    Abbott should never have been Prime Minister. A Prime Minister builds, includes, stays positive. A Prime Minister doesn’t tell lies and when he says the buck stops here… he means it. He doesn’t blame others or accuse them of not parsing his words correctly.

    Abbott has never been the leader of anything much more than a gaggle of SRC thugs who thought he was cool. He’s always been a follower after that.

    Shorten has at least led one of the powerful unions in the country, and knows that you can’t always expect to get your way, so leave off with the tantrums when you don’t.

    Shorten’s way is to stay calm, let his enemies do his work for him, keep his head down, and keep his thoughts focused. It’s such a novel idea to Kenny that Kenny thinks it’s dumb luck.

    What? Dumb luck to take advantage of Abbott’s failings? Failings that Kenny – master political guru – never pointed out to us when he had the chance to?

    Shorten is a different person to Abbott. Shorten plays a long game, where Abbott goes for the knockout in the first round. If you know the haymaker’s coming, then you step out of the way. Just like Shorten has done. He even got Abbott thanking him for his support on… what was it now? I forgot. It was that important.

    OH yes… war… remeber how we went to war, and are still at war, apparently? Half a billion dollars to keep a few FA-18s in the air and send a company or SAS to run around the desert in Iraq. Remember Kenny telling us there was no graver burden than on a Prime Minister who had just ordered our brave troops into harm’s way yada-yada-yada? What happened to the effing WAR we were at?

    Remember the dozens of times Kenny told us that “this has been the government’s best week so far”, only to see it tie its left bootlace to its right boot and trip over its own arse the next day?

    That’s about the level of believability that Mark Kenny has. Bill Shorten had something to say about that too, in his Christmas Speech to Parliament:

    “And to the Press Gallery… That’s for all the hindsight, guys.”

    As my father used to say, Mark Kenny’s character and political appraisals aren’t worth a stamp.

    He still can’t see how Shorten has played all the sensation seekers, spivs and horse race junkies in the media for fools. The days of The Wrecker are over. We got rid of Rudd, and Abbott to shall pass. It’s time for someone with a little common sense, a dose of sanity and the intelligence to know when to fold and when to hold to step up and take the top office.

    THAT is why Shorten is leading Abbott in the PPM stakes: for a start, he’s normal.

  26. The International Embarrassment, now so despised by the rest of the world and thought so stupid and destructive that no-one wants to invite him to their parties. Will some journalist ask the PM why he is not wanted in Paris? Of course not, they will all be too busy yelling ‘Show us your poilcies’ at Shorten.

    LIMA: The French government believes it has found a way to avoid the train crash of the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009 and maximise the chance of success in Paris in 2015 – keep global leaders right away from it.

    And that most certainly includes Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his terrible carbon twin, Canada’s Steve Harper, whose countries were overnight named as the two worst supporting industrial countries on climate change. Only Saudi Arabia was worse. It should be remembered that Australia and the Saudis were the big hold-outs in the lead up to the Kyoto agreement in 1997 – so little has changed.

    In a little-reported speech to French ambassadors in Paris in August, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius singled out Australia and Canada as two of the biggest obstacles to attaining a climate deal in December next year.

    “It will be easy to convince a country already on board, but the task will be difficult for our ambassadors in Australia and Canada,” Fabius told the cream of France’s diplomatic corps

  27. Abbott’s employer has given him his second written warning. He’s on his last warning.

    How The Oz belled the cat on Tony Abbott five months ago

    FIVE months ago, The Australian warned Tony Abbott that he was still behaving as if he was leader of the opposition, locked into the daily tactic rather than a long term strategy with a team characterised by zealous centralised control.

    As the Prime Minister ends his first year with discouraging polls and dissent among his MPs, our original article is well worth re-reading. We have reprinted it below.

  28. The one thing Abbott has going for him is that the LNP alternatives are all scarred or woeful

    Not a bad analysis. I’d agree that he’d probably stay until it becomes obvious he cannot win (in the run up to next election). Trouble is, he’ll keep poisoning the well over the next year so that the whole government will be despised. Karma.

  29. Also from Crikey, on the farce that Abbott has made of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. Abbott had to allow Flanagan to win an award, but he was never going to be open-handed about the rest. Once he made Gerard Henderson a judge we knew what would happen.

    Paywalled, so……

    Mike Carlton: the shoddy, anti-union fiction that won the PM’s top history award

    The infamous culture wars sank to a sorry new low last night. At the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, handed out in Melbourne, the prize for history went to a right-wing rant against Australian trade unions, an ideological tract that includes errors, hearsay, exaggeration and in some cases, sheer fiction and fantasy. History it is not.

    The book is Australia’s Secret War, subtitled How Unionists Sabotaged Our Troops in World War II, by Western Australian writer Hal G.P. Colebatch and published — no surprise here — by the right-wing Quadrant magazine. It was a joint winner of the history award with Broken Nation, Professor Joan Beaumont’s splendid book about Australia in World War I. Prize: $40,000 each.

    It’s hard to know where to begin on this travesty, but here are two examples. In his introduction, Colebatch claims that a strike by wharf labourers in Sydney kept soldiers returning from Japanese prisoner-of-war camps away from their families. In October 1945, he says, these men were held penned-up on a British aircraft carrier, HMS Speaker, which had brought them home. The wharfies would not allow them ashore to meet their loved ones for 36 hours.

    This is untrue. It simply did not happen. Newspaper accounts of their return report the men were greeted by cheering crowds the day they arrived. The history of HMS Speaker, written by one of the ship’s officers and available online, makes no mention of this supposed scandal. There was no wharfies strike that day. Colebatch gives his only source for this nonsense as a letter from one W.S. Monks, dated 1995, 50 years after the event and 20 years ago. He does not reveal who this Monks might be, but there was no soldier or POW of that name in WWII.

    The second example is worse, if anything. Colebatch alleges that a flight of 16 American Vultee Vengeance dive bombers returning from a raid on Rabaul crashed into the sea off New Britain because the radar station at their base on Green Island was not working. He claimed — with no evidence at all — that the valves for the radar had been stolen by wharfies.

    This is sheer fiction. The Americans did not fly the Vultee Vengeance in combat, so they made no raid on Rabaul. Significantly, Colebatch doesn’t give a date, but there is no American record, official or unofficial, of 16 of these aircraft and their 32 crew members lost in this way at any time, as there surely would be had it happened. He also gets the number of the Green Island radar unit wrong. Again, he relies on rumour and hearsay for this nonsense. No official documents, nothing, just two individual reminiscences by old soldiers decades ago.

    The only vaguely comparable incident in the area was the crash of seven Royal New Zealand Air Force Corsair fighters — different air force, different aircraft — in 1945. But that was nothing to do with faulty radar. They simply ran out of fuel when they were caught in a sudden tropical storm.

    I could go on, but you get the picture. Page after page, chapter after chapter, the book is an egregious exercise in union-bashing with little or no display of original research or historical scholarship.

    Colebatch, a Perth lawyer and self-styled poet, has long been a spear carrier for the hard Right. His publisher, Quadrant magazine, is holy writ for that ever-diminishing band of geriatric self-styled culture warriors still bewailing the departure of the late B.A. Santamaria.

    Naturally, when the book came out, it was ballyhooed to the skies by Quadrant’s editor, the ever-contentious Keith Windschuttle, and the usual Tory gaggle of Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine et al. Writing as if she actually knew what she was talking about, Devine banged on in the Sydney Daily Telegraph about “union bastardry”, branding the non-existent HMS Speaker strike as an “obscene act”.

    “You will read this book with mounting fury,” she huffed.

    Indeed you might, but only because it is so downright awful.

    Which might lead you, gentle reader, to ask how on earth it got the gong. No surprises there either. The chief judge of the non-fiction and history awards for this year was none other than our old friend Gerard “Gollum” Henderson, ringmaster of the right-wing Sydney Institute, long-time culture impresario and an Abbott confidante. His right-hand man on the judging panel was a former Quadrant editor and Liberal MP, Peter Coleman. Ho hum. Nuff said.

    Naturally I’ll be accused of sour grapes. My book First Victory, about the Australian navy in WWI, was a short-listed finalist in the same category. (In fact, it won this year’s NSW Premier’s Prize for military history.)

    But I don’t care. Colebatch is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts. Australia’s Secret War is a farrago. Perhaps worst of all, it’s badly written, too. Cliche piled upon cliche. Its selection as a co-winner devalues the Prime Minister’s history award, leaving it a bloodied casualty on this ideological battlefield

  30. I’m really glad Carlton explained about that. I’ve been curious about this “union workers were traitors that got our diggers killed” crap that rightwingers have been spouting, and it all came to a head when they made that filthy book a prizewinner.

    Another interesting thing about Colebatch is that he’s the grandson of a Liberal party WA premier, and he ran as a Liberal candidate for Perth in state elections in the 70’s-80’s. Hardly a neutral source, other than just another lying nasty person trying to make up history to suit his party’s ends.

  31. The abbott doing a presser to put up his revised GP co-payment policy. As usual he begins his spruik with the lie that Labor said the ‘deficit was $18b and it turned out to be nearly $50b’ …this lie gets bigger everytime they tell it.

  32. And there goes the $7 copayment for all excepth those not on concessions. Will save the same money as before but will include some “quality control measures”.
    Stand by for the pushback from the medical profession.
    Another backflip where he breaks a promise and then breaks his broken promise commitment.

  33. I have never been a proponent of bookburning, but using it for cocky cage liner is acceptable. That filthy book should line bird and rodent cages nationwide.

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