May We Live in Interesting Orwellian Times: Perpetual War Means Perpetual Campaigning

Today’s Guest Poster is Aguirre, whose brilliant comment on Saturday more than deserves republication as a threadstarter. Aguirre, I’m not sure if this is the first time you have been a Guest Poster. If so, thank you, and have a

If not, apologies for my failing memory.

(Image Credit: The Template)

If Abbott loses the next election, that’s it for him. He’ll be persona non grata around the Liberals, and they’ll all run a mile to distance themselves from him. He’d be lucky to survive past his concession speech. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Turnbull given the nod as leader for an interim period, and then have them turn once again to the negative politics 18 months in, this time with Morrison.

Abbott doesn’t do humility, he is a very sore loser, and he is of course a bit of a loose cannon. They simply can’t afford to have him around as a continual reminder of what a mess he made of his only term. It will of course be fun to watch the MSM eating their own BS about what a great leader and statesman Abbott has been. But if the polls don’t shift they’ll start doing that well before the election.

If he wins, however . . . sheesh. He’ll likely start with a purge of his party, demanding public statements of loyalty to him personally, and dumping anyone who’s even half-hearted about it. He will make sure everyone is licking his boots. Possible challengers will be given the worst portfoliios. And then he will attack whoever is leading the ALP personally and endlessly. I don’t even want to think about what he’ll do to the ABC.

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from this term, it’s that the Abbott government is not about policy, and it’s not about governance. It’s about politics-as-warfare. The whole country can go to hell in a hand-basket as far as Abbott’s concerned, just as long as he gets to keep hold of the reins of power.

That said, I don’t think Abbott has the faintest idea how to run an election campaign as PM. A major part of any campaign is standing on your record of achievement. You have to balance that against what you want to say against your opponents. He’s achieved nothing. His focus has been on chasing a lost plane, trying to scare us over terrorism, and throwing money at royal commissions that went nowhere near the denigration of the ALP he was counting on. The only thing he can even talk about is the abolition of carbon pricing, which nobody seems to have cared about all that much. People are about as engaged with its loss as they were with its introduction. It’s just a thing that happened. He can say he stopped the boats, I suppose, but there’s so much secrecy and doubt around that claim that he can’t do all that much with it.

And there has been a constant stream of own-goals from him and his team that not even a compliant press can gloss over. Every time the MSM sheepishly proffers a piece of mitigated bad news to the electorate, the reaction is almost always, “He did WHAT?!” They can’t stop that. Abbott’s front bench can’t stop screwing up, and the press can’t stop people noticing. That’s the main reason the polls aren’t shifting. It takes a supreme effort from all concerned just to keep them at 47-53. I have no idea what they think they can do to get it closer than that. They don’t seem to know.

(Image Credit: 1984 Redux)

221 thoughts on “May We Live in Interesting Orwellian Times: Perpetual War Means Perpetual Campaigning

  1. Wonders will never cease – Broomhilda got caught with her paws in the till and the taxpayer won one. Betcha she has got away with much much more though.

  2. I think we can thank Bill Shorten for Broomhilda’s backdown on her expenses claim. If he had not made such a fuss about it this morning the whole mess might have been swept under a carpet.

    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accused Mrs Bishop of thinking she was better than everyday Australians for ‘shamefully’ spending $5000 of their money flying to a Liberal party fundraiser.

    The federal parliamentary Speaker was under fire for using a charter helicopter to take an 100-kilometre journey from Melbourne to Geelong last year.

    ‘She thinks she is too important to drive down the Geelong road like hundreds of thousands of other Australians,’ Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

    The ‘shameful’ abuse of taxpayer money characterised the arrogance of the Abbott government and the way the Speaker treated parliament during question time, the Labor leader said.

    ‘They are wafting around above our heads in taxpayer-funded helicopters when you could have just driven down the road like the rest of us,’ he said.

    Mr Shorten demanded Prime Minister Tony Abbott explain if he thought Ms Bishop’s use of entitlements is appropriate.

    If he did not repudiate her actions, he was effectively endorsing Ms Bishop’s arrogance, Mr Shorten said–too-arrogant–to-drive.html#sthash.XvM961Yo.dpuf

    Shorten dumped all the responsibility onto Abbott. Very smart move. Did The Idiot order Madame Kero to pay back the money? Or did she do it all of her own accord?

    While Shorten was in the spotlight telling us how arrogant this government is, the usual fools on Twitter were asking why Shorten was not asking for her resignation. Derrrrr – he can’t demand that, he’s not the PM. But he can – and did – make Bishop look like a grasping, arrogant pig.

  3. thinking she was better than everyday Australians

    like hundreds of thousands of other Australians,

    when you could have just driven down the road like the rest of us,

    Those lines always seem to work for Shorten, bringing in the ordinary people.

  4. It all puts me in mind of Abbott’s stated philosophy earlier this term, something like: “It is better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.” It sounds like Bishop’s got the same idea – rack up any old extravagance on expenses, brazen it out if you can and if not, just pay it off. There’s not a chance she bothered to check if it was a legitimate claim beforehand. Not a chance. They’d all think the same way about rorting. Do it all you can, you’ll hardly ever be challenged on it, and even if you are on some of it you’ll end up well ahead.

    It’s also the reason Slipper was nailed over expense claims. Everyone does it, so it was a dead cert they could find something to hold against him. It’s a surprise that they could only dig up $900 to work with. He must have been one of the cleanest politicians around if that’s all he did.

  5. She would have, Janice. Andrew Elder has the issue in his latest

    The important thing, which the Press Gallery won’t ask and are probably not even curious about, is who leaked from within and why. Because of their mutual interdependence, somebody’s worked out that leaking against Bishop is a way of damaging Abbott without having to fully declare your hand. She may well have to go if the heat keeps up for a while longer. Abbott needs her, but almost nobody else does.

    My guess would still be Morrison, who was also very coy at the previous near-death experience.

  6. Leaks – again, I don’t know if anyone had to leak Broomhilda’s helicopter charter. The report of parliamentarians entitlements for July/December 2014 was released a little while ago. Anyone who cared to spend hours trawling through it in the hope of finding something juicy could have come up with the charter costs. Then it was just a matter of getting that information revealed by the media, and finding out just why she had to travel from Geelong to Melbourne, easy enough to do with a bit of googling. Someone did that, it went public and bingo! Bishop in the firing line.

    The same sort of forensic investigation by journalists and alert members of the public uncovered the rorting of Don Randall and many others, including Abbott’s now infamous trips to weddings and triathlons. Now it has caught Bishop. It’s become a sort of sport – every six months, when the reports are made public, people start going through them very, very carefully. The amazing thing is pollies are still being caught out.

    Click to access P35_BISHOP_Bronwyn.pdf

  7. “The Speaker had a number of meetings during her visit to Victoria and always seeks to fit in as many meetings and events into her schedule as is possible,” a statement read.

    “It [is] because of her concern for the country, she works as hard as she can and wishes she could do even more

    Errr. No thanks Bronnie. Most of us think you have done more than enough already.

    You don’t want to put poor Hockeys budget under even more pressure, do you? 😉

  8. That Andrew Elder article is really good. It’s changed the whole way I view the Bishop issue. Having read it through pretty closely, I’d only question the fact that her trip was leaked from within the Liberal Party. And then only whether ‘leaked’ is the right way to describe it. Obviously, the claims of all MPs are a matter of public record, so any journalist at any time can put a story together. There’s an embarrassment of riches there. So it’s not like someone was privy to the information and then passed it on.

    The more I meditate on it, the more unhealthy I find the ties between the Right and the media. We all know about News Corp, but it looks increasingly as if Fairfax and the ABC are also taking directions from the Right – they just go about it in a more subtle way than News Corp – and let’s face it, it’s impossible to be more blatant than News Corp.

    Someone has simply given the go-ahead to run the story – or given a nudge in that direction. As Elder says, going someone as close to Abbott as Bishop is can only mean one thing – shape up Abbott, you’re letting the team down.

    I also think Abbott would be ok in QT without Bishop as Speaker. It’s not that hard as a government to stonewall when asked uncomfortable questions. He’d find it a bit harder, but it wouldn’t wound him. Having his captain’s pick for Speaker kicked out would cut him personally though. And probably make him feel more exposed within his party.

    Pauline Hanson’s plane to take flight for Fed Up tour
    July 16, 2015 – 10:20AM

    And a couple of old ones as a reminder…


  11. “NASA will hold a media briefing at [3am AEST, Saturday 18 July], to reveal new images of Pluto and discuss new science findings from Tuesday’s historic flyby.

    The briefing will be held in James E. Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, located at 300 E St. SW in Washington. NASA Television and the agency’s website will carry the briefing live.”

    Close-Up of Charon’s ‘Mountain in a Moat’
    Release Date: July 16, 2015

    This image of an area on Pluto’s largest moon Charon has a captivating feature—a depression with a peak in the middle, shown here in the upper left corner of the inset. The image shows an area approximately 240 miles (390 kilometers) from top to bottom, including few visible craters.

    This image gives a preview of what the surface of this large moon will look like in future close-ups from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. This image is heavily compressed; sharper versions are anticipated when the full-fidelity data from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) are returned to Earth.

    The rectangle superimposed on the global view of Charon shows the approximate location of this close-up view.

    The image was taken at approximately 6:30 a.m. EDT (10:30 UTC) on July 14, 2015, about 1.5 hours before closest approach to Pluto, from a range of 49,000 miles (79,000 kilometers).

    Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

  12. Emma’s story:

    Ms Murphy, who posted a tribute to all fathers on her Facebook page just last week, went on to reveal she had confronted her partner on Friday.
    “He punched me in the face, and it wasn’t the first time,” she says.
    “Last year he split my head open at an event and prior to that he punched me as well an I had a black eye. And for the last year and a half, I’ve been told that I’m paranoid, I’m a psycho, I’m nuts, my insecurities will kill me one day.”
    The young mum goes on to explain that the reason she endured such torture and took so long to do something about it was because she only just gained the courage to realise that what was happening to her was unacceptable.
    “I finally realised that no, this is not acceptable. No man has the right to put his hand on a woman. No matter how big, how small, no matter where you’re from. It is not right to raise a hand to a woman and it’s only now that I’ve realised that,” she says.

  13. Pentaquarks Have Physicists Psyched—And Baffled

    The Wikipedia page has more information on the two pentaquark states found so far.

    The two pentaquark states were both observed decaying strongly to J/ψp [J/psi meson + proton], hence must have a valence quark content of two up quarks, a down quark, a charm quark and an anti-charm quark (uudcc), making them charmonium-pentaquarks.

  14. P.S. “uudcc” should have a bar over one of the c’s indicating an anti-charm quark.

  15. Jaeger

    The two pentaquark states were both observed decaying strongly to J/ψp [J/psi meson + proton], hence must have a valence quark content of two up quarks, a down quark, a charm quark and an anti-charm quark (uudcc), making them charmonium-pentaquarks.

    Speaking a language I don’t understand!

  16. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Well fancy that!. 9 of the 10 suburbs worst affected by Abbott’s budgets are Labor. But it was done by NATSEM who will be called “clowns”.
    Bernard Tomic seems to be in great form.
    Academics and police say that right wing extremism is at least the equal of Islamic radicalisation.
    The ATO is digging in with getting money out of the Obeid family at large.
    This has to stop!
    The new Medibank is showing the “value” of privatisation.
    Another incident for the NRA to wax lyrical about.
    Bronwyn Bishop – universally respected. Ha ha!
    Michael Gordon says that paying back the cash won’t make the Speaker’s problems go away. She has given no credible explanation.
    Katherine Murphy has a similar view.

  17. Section 2 . . .

    A tale of two Speakers – Slipper and Chopper.,7951
    Jess Irvine previews the big heavyweight rematch – GST vs the carbon tax. She’s not looking forward to it.
    The shirtfronting PM has vanished.
    Michelle Grattan says that politics is being consumed by the politics of demolition. (And who can we thank for that I wonder?)
    Will Abbott’s overreach on the ABC cost him votes?,7944
    Why small iron ore producers should be scared.
    “View from the Street” has some fun with Bronny and the sniff test and other things.
    Hockey’s big speech was just the same old motherhood and class warfare effort.
    The 33 worst things the Liberals did yesterday.
    Why will Abbott let the ridiculous George Christensen speak to the Reclaim Australia rally but not go on Q and A?

  18. Section 3 . . .

    The Australian’s campaign against wind farms continues but the research just doesn’t stack up. It’s a travesty of journalism.
    Too much training for too few jobs.
    Michael Pascoe on what the RBA really said about housing. It was much more than just negative gearing.–much-much-more-than-negative-gearing-20150716-giea2p.html
    It’s time to tackle Australia’s big mental health problem.
    Alan Moir peeks in at Abbott giving Potato Head his report card.

    Ron Tandberg takes us to a stump speech from Abbott.

    David Pope seems to suggest that Greece is in a bit of trouble.

    A cracker from Mark Knight with Chopper Bronny.

    MUST SEE! David Rowe goes berserk on Bronny’s helicopter trip. There’s lots of detail.

    Rod Clement has a good dip at her too.

  19. Well, Broomhilda had her few minutes of displaying her importance and power – no doubt she felt like the President of the United States of America as she stepped down from the helicopter. She would not have given a passing thought to the fact that it was a high price for Australian Taxpayers to pay for her feel-good moment.

    The vanity and arrogance of this woman is boundless and she needs to be pursued as relentlessly as she and her mob pursued Slipper for his measley $900 rorting of taxpayer funded entitlements. Strip the old bag of every cent of taxpayer money she has spent, I say.

  20. The shirtfronting PM has vanished.

    What a sickening piece of arse-licking from – who else – James Massola. If anyone else had written it i’d believe it was satire. Why not just crawl on the ground and lick Tony’s boots next time you meet him, James?

    Whenever the election is called one thing is certain – it is going to be a ‘we adore Tony’ festival at Fairfax and Massola will be leading the rose-petal throwing.

  21. No snow in Canberra yet.

    But a couple of weeks ago my nephew mentioned that he used the


    (Winter / Summer)
    Button in my car.

    He thought it had to do with heating …

    It actually moves the car off in 2nd gear and stops acceleration and changes gears up early.


  22. So – now Broomhilda has decided to pay back the $5000 plus the 25% fine can the MSM go back to beating the government over the head about the Liverpool Plains?

    It was a fun distraction, but there are more serious things we should be looking at.

    I suspect a plot – not a leak to attack Bishop, anyone could have come up with the information about her charter flight, but a deliberate distraction from a very bad situation for the government. I think the information was there, ready to go, but on hold for a time of need, and someone gave the go-ahead to run with it as a much-needed distraction.

  23. Leone,

    The way things are going for abbott & co they will need a distraction a day. Today abbott has the MH17 rehash. Thankfully TV reception is bad here so I am saved from having it in my face.

  24. That James Massola article is actually critical of Abbott – though you wouldn’t know it by the way he pussy-foots around the issue. The first two thirds of it could a Liberal press release. Or worse, the first couple of pages of a badly written political thriller. The point of the article comes here:

    Or as another close observer of the Prime Minister puts it: “A year ago, with MH17, he cut through the bureaucracy, he appointed Angus Houston, he sent Julie Bishop overseas, he trusted his diplomats and he stayed home as anchor and chief.” But if MH17 happened now, “he would be more interventionist and involved”.

    “They need to get back to doing a few things well. It comes back to the narrative. At the moment they are exposed on the ideological front; that is what the fights about Q&A and climate change are about. He is still domestically vulnerable.”

    The ubiquitous shady unattributed somebody passing comment. Usually that’s a way for a journalist to pass of his own opinion without having to be responsible for it. Massola hasn’t said that the ‘close observer’ isn’t himself,.

    The second paragraph is basically saying, “Abbott’s in trouble”. The rest of the article is saying, “Thank God that plane came along when it did; we could make Abbott look like a statesman with an international incident for him to comment on. But he’s been a goddamn gormless idiot all this year and there’s no way to make him look good.”

  25. Aguirre
    For me to accept that I would also have to accept that Abbott’s behaviour (and Bishop’s) a year ago was strong. It wasn’t. Abbott leapt in, without waiting for facts and made an arse of himself with his ludicrous claims and stupid behaviour. He’s damn lucky he didn’t cause a serious international incident. If that’s what Abbott looking statesmanlike is like then thank goodness it has not happened since then. Abbott has always been a gormless idiot, something the MSM ignored for years. Even now they are very reluctant to admit it, everything is dolled up with ‘but Abbottt handled xxxx so well….’

  26. Fiona…In the past there have been some brilliant political pieces by BB.. and others…perhaps if you could find the time (yes, yes..I know and fully sympathise) one day to go through them and plonk a couple on The would be a good reference point to once again view and reflect.

  27. You don’t see this sort of thing very often.

    It’s very cold here, 14.3C and falling, with a strong wind adding to the chill. We get a few July days like this most years. No snow here, of course, but the Oxley Highway was closed earlier on because of snow between Walcha and Bendemeer. That’s not all that far away, and something else that doesn’t happen very often.

  28. I take it all back, this Chopper Bishop thing not just a distraction, it is worth keeping alive. It might be the end of Madame Kero’s time as speaker, and even bettercould bring on the end of her time in parliament.

    Now, youse all might as well have an update, because it’s getting very juicy –

    Labor to demand Bishop resign if forms show flight claimed as official business
    Tony Burke says Bronwyn Bishop will have to resign as Speaker if it is shown she signed documentation claiming $5,000 helicopter charter as official business

    Man who arranged Bronwyn Bishop’s chopper flight is best friends with Speaker’s top adviser

    This might be a beat-up, bit I’m so hoping it is true.

    LABOR are considering referring Speaker Bronwyn Bishop to the Australian Federal Police over a taxpayer-funded helicopter flight to a Liberal Party fundraiser.

    A Labor source told the Herald Sun the party believes an offence may have been committed if Mrs Bishop declared the event as official business

    What a Shame parliament is in recess. Would Chopper have to excuse herself from the chair while her behaviour was debated? Will we have the first time a Speaker has to be physically dragged out of the chamber?

  29. The Australian Labor Party is holding its National Conference next week, and we need to convince them to endorse a gas reservation policy. You can help by telling your local MP to Reserve Our Gas:

    Tony Abbott and the Liberals are allowing foreign companies to ship our gas overseas, and then sell it back to us at higher global prices. Average gas bills are set to double, and 235,000 jobs are at risk. We need to raise the pressure on our elected politicians by telling them to Reserve Our Gas.

    The Australian Workers’ Union campaign for a domestic gas reservation policy is incredibly important in changing the national dialogue about our domestic export policy to make sure Australia isn’t left behind. Want to understand why this is such a critical issue? This short video explains it all.

    Email your MP and tell them you won’t accept this betrayal.

    This is our big chance to save Aussie jobs and keep the cost of living down. Supporters of the Reserve Our Gas campaign have been crucial to building up momentum around the country. So far it has gathered over:

    * 15,000 petition signatures;
    * 3000 emails to local politicians; and
    * 150 resolutions passed in Labor Branches.

    Thanks for standing up for the national interest. Tell your local MP to Reserve Our Gas.

    In unity,

    Dave Oliver

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