“Mirror, mirror, on the wall…”

Turnbull Mirror

Malcolm Turnbull is not a leader. He is a lone wolf.

He has always tended to celebrate his own magnificence, and has done well – for himself and his family – out of it. But the fact remains that while he may be in a team, he is not a team leader. No political team he has ever led has done well. Urbane and sophisticated doesn’t seem to cut it in the snakepit of politics.

Bill Shorten (as I am getting tired of writing, but it has to be repeated) has kept Labor together without the usual rancour and restlessness from the peanut gallery of Labor machine men, time servers and influence peddlers that usually cruels the ground for an Opposition leader from the Left.

Before he was in parliament Shorten led a major union successfully into the 21st century. No wonder the conservatives attempted to pillory him for it at the TURC. It was one of the strongest indications that he was a genuine leader. It seems obvious now that the aim of TURC was to show him up as just another grubby self-server, out for the personal perks.

The TURC failed, and had to exonerate him.

Weak attempts to keep the “Bill Shorten has questions to be answered” issue alive have withered into the mists of time. Who now thinks there’s going to be a “Union Corruption” election campaign? Life’s too short for shit like that.

Abbott and Hockey – the supposed foundation pillars of the new Liberal government are both gone. Was Bill out and about waving him arms and trying-on the 3-word slogans, Tony-style for the two years it took their party to wake up?

No. He judged that it would be better to just block them where they could do real harm, and then to let their petulant overreactions and their thinly disguised ideological obsessions, ever more rabid as time passed, do the rest.

And it worked. The first two years of the Coalition government have gone up in a puff of smoke, exposed as a shallow, policy-free fraud. Even their own people are now pointing this out, if only to take some of the heat off themselves: members of the Abbott government, but strangely not connected to any of its mistakes… in their own estimation, of course. The fact remains that they are equally responsible for the two years of Abbott mayhem as Abbott is himself. God help them if the punters make the connection.

Meanwhile, Bill Shorten has avoided the opportunity to gloat, heckle and kick heads from the sidelines. Instead he got his team working, knowing that schadenfreude is one thing, planning and substance are another.

His calmness and patience got him into a lot of trouble. There was the mockery about zingers. Then the accusations of being bland and uninteresting. There were even taunts from the very people who refused to listen to him that no-one was listening to him! Nice try. Because Shorten wasn’t a thug like Abbott, driven by vindictiveness and destructiveness, and he wasn’t a clown like Hockey, Abbott’s Toltoy punching bag, he was written off as “No Fun”, the human Dad Joke.

A lot of ostensible “Labor” supporters fell for this too. They believed that unless you were a vaudeville showman like Abbott, making noise all the time, you couldn’t “cut through”. Retail politics was what it was all about. There had to be an “announceable” every day, and lots of stunts, or the Opposition leader should go, to be replaced by someone who could cut it. Round up the usual suspects.

Then there were the polls which, if looked at honestly, only snapshotted the political situation as it should have been: a rump of an Opposition, exhausted by past internal ructions, decimated at the last election, barely able to get out of bed each day and fight the good fight in the Parliament and hustings. 53-47 against, post-September, looked pretty close to normal in that situation. The polling excesses of the Abbott years were the exception. The 2013-2015 polls were a bloody miracle for Labor, when you think about it. But they gave Labor confidence, but some of its supporters too much confidence. They forgot that the electoral cycle is three years, not the two weeks between Newspolls, owned and operated by one of Shorten’s (and Labor’s) greatest enemies.

As Churchill said about “ends of the beginning”, so it’s true for Labor. The fight’s not over.It’s hardly begun. The CPG can become just as bored with Bill Shorten again as they seem to be with Malcolm Turnbull at present.

But for the moment they’re seeing Shorten in a new light (for them). Funny how they’ve only just twigged, isn’t it? The new light is an illumination that many here have seen for quite some time. But it can be switched off as suddenly as it was switched on. Don’t rely on the journos for anything that resembles deep thought: they’re still trying to run the line that Malcolm Turnbull making a May 11 DD announcement is sensible, or certain, or even a guaranteed winner with no political blowback. That’s how dumb they are. Kids with toys. Camp followers. Their own echo chamber. Only ever tangential to the curve of history, but not part of it.

Turnbull has been lazy, thinking he has all the time in the world to fiddle while Canberra and Australia burn. It’s an investor’s laziness. Investors put up the capital, and then let others do the work for them.

The problem is that, as Prime Minister, it’s now Turnbull’s job to roll up his own sleeves, and to lead. I don’t think he’s got that in him. Malcolm employs people to do that. Unfortunately, the buck has now stopped rolling and is stuck in crevice: jammed right up the Prime Minister’s fundamental orifice.

It’s Turnbull who has to get himself and his party out of trouble. Don’t expect Bill Shorten to help by attracting too much attention to himself, yet.

Shorten’s strategy is to do what you can do, within your capabilities, while the enemy fritters away their resources preening before the mirror they are trapped inside of, one that tells them, “You are the fairest one of all”.

Until you’re not.

848 thoughts on ““Mirror, mirror, on the wall…”

  1. Judging from the tweets below Ted Cruz’s supporters are jumping up and down claiming that this is proof that the Democrats are infiltrating the Republican primaries and caucuses to get Trump the nomination.

  2. Bushfire and Aguirre reckons it’d be a good idea to release another policy. Pronto.

    I think I agree.

    At least I think I do.

    The enemy is easily confused. So the tactic might be to try a little terminal overload. Send Morrison’s voice into chipmunk overdrive. Make Barnaby’s face explode. Stop Pyne grinning. And the previously thought impossible: get Turnbull to increase spectacle-twiddling.

    Unload the whole policy platform in a steady sound-bite between now and E-day. Why not?

    Now that we’re setting the agenda. What are they gonna do? Steal our policies? Not bloody likely.

  3. Leone,

    Are they trying to cover up their own sexual orientation?

    In probably a small number of cases, yes. In the majority, they have been so brainwashed by their upbringing and “faith” that they really believe all the appalling things they think and say about those particular forms of the “other”.

    Just the way so many racists do about people not of their perceived race do.

    And just the way so many mcps (aka misogynists) do.

    • What really pisses me off is the way these so-called ‘Christians’ ignore the teachings of Christ. He said not one word about homosexuality. Instead they keep quoting a couple of Bible verses of rather dodgy translation written by St Paul, an infamous misogynist, and an unmarried man. It was unusual for a wealthy man (which he was) to be unmarried at that time. He claimed to have the gift of celibacy (1 Corinthians 7:1) and said he was unmarried, (1 Corinthians 7:8) but what if St Paul was a closet gay?

      If he was, where does that leave the ACL nutters and Corgi Bernardi and their hate-filled ranting?

      Was the Apostle Paul Gay?

    • Leone,

      I’ve thought for a very long time that Saul of Tarsus was gay. Also that he was someone with a keen eye for a business opportunity – and here was this nice little movement all ready to be taken over following the death of its leader. After all, m’dear, the moneymaking opportunities! The chance for kudos! What wasn’t to like?

  4. We’ve just been to dinner for oldest son’s 43rd birthday. He is a bit bigger than he was 43 years ago, hard to believe he was only 4 1/2 pounds.

    The grandkids arrived about half an hour after we go there, they had been to footy training, can you believe that, already.

  5. A long read but a good read. Explains a lot.


    The Great Republican Revolt
    The GOP planned a dynastic restoration in 2016. Instead, it triggered an internal class war. Can the party reconcile the demands of its donors with the interests of its rank and file?
    David Frum Jan/Feb 2016 Issue

    The angriest and most pessimistic people in America aren’t the hipster protesters who flitted in and out of Occupy Wall Street. They aren’t the hashtavists of #BlackLivesMatter. They aren’t the remnants of the American labor movement or the savvy young dreamers who confront politicians with their American accents and un-American legal status.

    The angriest and most pessimistic people in America are the people we used to call Middle Americans. Middle-class and middle-aged; not rich and not poor; people who are irked when asked to press 1 for English, and who wonder how white male became an accusation rather than a description.

    You can measure their pessimism in polls that ask about their expectations for their lives—and for those of their children. On both counts, whites without a college degree express the bleakest view. You can see the effects of their despair in the new statistics describing horrifying rates of suicide and substance-abuse fatality among this same group, in middle age.

    White Middle Americans express heavy mistrust of every institution in American society: not only government, but corporations, unions, even the political party they typically vote for—the Republican Party of Romney, Ryan, and McConnell, which they despise as a sad crew of weaklings and sellouts. They are pissed off. And when Donald Trump came along, they were the people who told the pollsters, “That’s my guy.”

    They aren’t necessarily superconservative. They often don’t think in ideological terms at all. But they do strongly feel that life in this country used to be better for people like them—and they want that older country back.

    • Much the same demographic (yes, other times, other ways) as Hitler so successfully appealed to in the 1933 election.

      I’m not invoking Godwin’s law on this one.

  6. Just what we need, an ex-Army right wing nutter in charge of the security committee

    Labor is accusing the incoming chair of a powerful committee of Federal Parliament of “extreme right wing” views that should disqualify him for the job.

    “Bipartisanship is put at risk by Mr Nikolic, who has made his political career out of being a highly partisan, highly aggressive battler for extreme right wing views,” he said.

    The ABC understands Mr Nikolic has been anointed as the committee’s new chair and that it will meet this morning to formalise the appointment.

    Mr Nikolic served for 31 years in the army before entering Parliament, including as an officer in Afghanistan and Iraq.


    Absolutely on the money

    Mr Dreyfus is accusing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of “pandering” to Mr Abbott’s supporters to help salve the wounds of last year’s leadership change.

  7. Talking about Tasmania. The bikini men.

    The outspoken Burnie-based Senator has ridiculed key leaders in a press release about the possibility of a double-dissolution election.

    The release shows a photoshopped picture of three lingerie models with the faces of Greens Leader Richard Di Natale, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and National Party Leader Barnaby Joyce.


  8. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Peter Martin says Turnbull has all but walked away from tax reform. Is it clearing the decks for the mother of all scare campaigns he wonders.
    Martin goes on to say Turnbull will squib tax reform because he’s terrified by it.
    More on this theme from Mark Kenny.
    The property industry’s mining tax style negative gearing campaign will be a test for democracy.
    Nick Xenophon goes in hard against the owner of the Wendy’s franchising outfit for bring a “corporate cannibal”. (Google the string below).
    “Days of Our Lives”, sorry “The Margaret Cunneen Story”. continues apace. No wonder she didn’t want the contents of the intercept tapes released.
    If the graphs in this article on the housing bubble don’t appear as props in QT today I’ll be surprised.
    Andrew Denton asks why we are so scared of euthanasia.
    Tony Wright on the Bernardi/Shorten clash.
    Here’s “View from the Street” on said slap down and several other topical issues.

  9. Section 2 . . .

    Judith Ireland tells us why the Safe Schools program is in place.
    Meanwhile The Guardian calls out Abetz for lying on the extent of concern in schools about the anti-bullying program. But that’s Eric isn’t it.
    The Supreme Court rules that Father John Fleming is a “criminal, moral coward” as it dismisses Fleming’s defamation suit against The Advertiser.
    How will the proposed senate voting rules affect your vote?
    A lawyer who represented a victim of clergy abuse in Ballarat says that Pell must provide answers to the questions that will be asked of him.
    Now Immigration wants to arm it’s officers with stun guns!
    This is what happens to your food before you eat it.
    It’s now down to Rubio to trump Trump.
    Trump is surfing in on waves of anger in the electorate.
    Paul Sheehan with a standard-setting apology piece.

  10. Section 3 . . . with Cartoon Corner

    How stupid can some mothers get?
    Ron Tandberg knows how to put a simple cartoon together.

    John Spooner (judging from the style) takes us into the bedroom at the lodge with Malcolm and Lucy.

    Alan Moir continues his fun at the expense of Turnbull’s tax policy woes.

    Ron Tandberg on the Freudian misuse of a particular word.

    David Pope readies us for the Defence White Paper.
    Mark Knight with a rather graphic cartoon on the Melbourne bus crash.
    There’s a lot to see in this effort from David Rowe!

    And in this one that appeared late yesterday.

  11. “Martin goes on to say Turnbull will squib tax reform because he’s terrified by it.”
    Well of course he is. The times are such that real reform may set the ball rolling for his class losing some of their tax privileges , rorts and evasions. Heaven forbid the investment banksters, property “investors” and off shore tax haven set lose permission to bludge on the rest of us.

  12. ONE-third of landlords will sell some or all of their investment properties if negative gearing is abolished, new res­earch reveals.

    With both sides of federal politics putting changes to the tax deduction strategy on the table, negative gearing is firmly back in the spotlight.

    In LJ Hooker’s 2015 Investor/Tenant Survey, most landlords said negative gearing was vital for their investment strategy, ticking either the “very important” or “important” opt­ion. Only 16 per cent said it was not important.


  13. Can some politician please just say the bleeding obvious? Negative gearing is tax evasion, a device used to create a lower taxable income. All those taxable incomes Morrison keeps quoting as ‘proof’ nurses and teachers need NG are artificially low because those people use negative gearing to reduce their taxable incomes.

  14. Paul Sheehan with a standard-setting apology piece.

    A low standard. The really important bit was left until the end and was not addressed.

    In the story recounted to me by Louise, she made insulting references to rapes committed by Middle Eastern men. I had wrongly amplified this insult by including her words in the column.

    Sheehan has a history of going rabid over various (insert non white immigrant group ) gangs. This is the obsession that drove him to his error. Obsession ? There are far uglier words to describe it and the motivation behind it.

  15. Y’ know..
    I go outside in the mornin’
    Pause..take in th’ weather..; yawnin’,
    Mark how the dawnin’ sun
    Gives the silver’d branches a dun
    Coloured sheen…nice ‘n clean.
    Matching the wing of a galah
    Tight-cling’d there…..on a spar.
    An’ I’m thinking..
    In this quiet, morning haste
    That one oughta’ feel some poetry
    Whilst in such a place..
    But then…ah..it’d just be a waste…

    • ” Fatbergs: One tonne balls of wet wipes and fat block sewers”…oh ‘allo!..who’s Verandah Vanstone been consoling?

  16. Leonetwo,

    During the break up of Yugoslavia there was a joke going around.

    “How do Serbians play Russian Roulette?”

    A bullet in each chamber.

  17. Cliff

    It was a very bad omen for Yugoslavia that in peace talks before it all blew up one of the delegate leaders was General Panic and the venue chosen was the port town of Split.

  18. i have suicidal dogs. first the bitch runs onto the road and she has hip surgery from being hit by a car,
    now the dog Sammie ate part of a ratbait wax block.
    after treatment he is perfectly ok,
    i thought i had put them all out of reach. he s wagging his tail and acting as if nothing happened. i, but for goodness sakes, enough enough.

  19. gigi

    INFO LE FIGARO / GRAPHICS – dogs died in preclinical trials and four of the five surviving people suffered profound brain damage that resulted in impaired coordination of movements.

    Bloody Hell. This just gets worse and worse.

    What could have the Cowboys running this trial been thinking?

    • Yes, I’ve read the article this morning but was too upset to put it up. You’d think that after the poor dogs had died, they wouldn’t have trialled those chemicals on humans.

      Testing on animals is cruel, testing on humans could be seen as even more cruel.

      Chemicals frighten me and yet I depend on them.

    • they should have known these chemicals were dangerous long before they were given to dogs and giving them to people has to be criminal, surely?

      there are ways of testing stuff that does not require animals (ok rats i understand, that is standard) but the dogs etc, that is done only to create a defence in court, not to prove or screen out anything. The animal testing is a smokescreen and that is probably why they still used the stuff on humans.

  20. Joe Bullock –

    Louise Pratt lost her No 1 spot on the senate ticket so this dinosaur could have it. He was elected, she wasn’t. A real loss to the senate and a loss to Labor.

    What is it with these old Labor men? Why are so many of them such complete and utter morons?

  21. Why is Bill Shorten being accused of bullying Cory Bernardi?

    Bernardi behaved like an oaf, interrupting Shorten’s presser with a stunt. It’s the sort of thing Bill Heffernan has done a few times, but Heffernan never seemed to have the malicious intent Bernardi showed yesterday. Shorten just responded to Bernrdi’s rude interruption.

    That’s ‘bullying’? FFS MSM, get a grip.

  22. Oh good!

    Significantly, the white paper seeks to break the link between defence spending and GDP, saying that while the spend has been estimated on the 2 per cent base, the actual spending figures will now be a firm commitment, no matter what happens to economic growth.

    That’s a hooley dooley moment, that one – particularly when we think of the current state of the budget. If you feel slightly faint, do sit down before you fall down.


  23. It makes you so confident when the Chief of Defence has NFI about how much his new toys will cost us.

    Here’s the cracker comment, Binskin, being asked about the ongoing costs of the new submarines –

    Q: Generally the rule of thumb is sustainment is two-thirds of the cost of a program – does that rule of thumb not apply?


    I don’t know boats, I know aeroplanes


    When you read the whole thing it’s scary. Turnbull has NFI about costs, Binskin has NFI either.

  24. Bloody great!!..it worked!!..You remember those glory days of the China boom, when the hardware chains would offer two for the price of one? you know , like you’d buy a drop-saw and get a electric paint stirrer as well..I bought an industrial vacuum cleaner (the blow-in dirt builds up a tad in the corners after a while) and they offered a pressure spray-cleaner with it…Why not? I thought..I’ll use it one day!…
    Well two years on, I got it out to try on cleaning the clear cafe-blinds..bunged a bit of the ol’ washing powder into a bucket of water and pow!..Bob’s your aunty..it worked!…bloody beauty…with little or no effort from yr’s tru’l…another job well done…:

    “Honey!!..I’ve cleaned the blinds!”


    hey…nudge, nudge…know what I mean?

  25. No money for school, no money for health, no money for projects to enhance employment but we will have plenty of stuff to blow people up. All these low life military consultants are in heaven as the expenditure is quarantined out to 10 years. They have their priorities right just like the Yanks: Biggest military in the world and the most homeless and dearest medical expenses.

  26. Bananas really should manage her shoulder pads better. Her left one is threatening to leave.

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