The Rehabillitation

Michael Gordon wrote this morning:

It is a measure of the immense level of faith and hope that is still invested in Turnbull that, each time, there has been a tendency to rationalise the setbacks as part of some cunning plan that will deliver later on

Clear thinkers will notice Mr Gordon taking one step away from “The Media”…  i.e. “that Media, over there”. They may not think we’ve noticed it, but the first stage of the self-rehabilitation of media commentators is to refer – obliquely or directly – to the media, as if they are not part of it.

Hartcher does this all the time. And now many more are doing so in regards to Bill Shorten, the latest being Gordon.

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We all mocked Lenore Taylor (of all people!) saying that the State Income Tax brainfart was so stupid that it MUST have been part of some overarching strategy that Turnbull had in his genius head, which we mere mortals could only begin to guess at. So Lenore guessed, and The Insiders all nodded sagely. It was a brilliantly oblique move to make fools of the Premiers, while making a fool of himself. Something Malcolm must have been been workshopping, honing and mulling over for months.

Except he forgot to tell ScoMo, and the Treasury mob, who presumably were about to be asked to tear up Budget 2016, Draft No. 7 to make it seem like a plan. And all less than a month before B-Day (early B-Day, that is).

Funny wasn’t it? This was the exact spruik that came out first thing next day, this time from the mouths of Liberal MPs at doorstops, as justification for the waste of an entire COAG premiers’ meeting. It was their Talking Point for the day (and that’s about as long as it lasted, such was its brilliance). Oh well, onto the next investment opportunity.

Either Lenore and The Insiders inspired them, or it was the other way round. Whatever, it shows that incest is not yet a dead art when it comes to political commentary.

It was Lenore, reportedly a “good journalist”, still keeping the faith that Turnbull is a tactical and political savant: the person best suited (in view of ScoMo’s comments on Shortens actual suits, literally “best suited”) to govern Australia.

But Lenore is a fading breed. Even Elizabeth Faralley of the SMH – she of “Prime Minister For Life: Malcolm Turnbull” fame – is backing off.

It’s a process of gradual and complete reversal of opinion, that the Press Gallery bozos think the mob won’t notice. Well, I and many others here, noticed straightaway, right from the start.

There was also another column this morning by some SMH numpty called Tom Allard: No more zingers: Shorten finds his voice at last. It was one of the most repulsively condescending pieces I’ve ever read on Bill Shorten, or any other politician.

It lasciviously covered all “the usual suspects” – Shorten’s low personal rating, the almost impossibility of him ever winning a chook raffle, much less an election, the “Albanese Challenge”, “anonymous party sources” talking-down Shorten’s ability to do anything at all, regulation references to Shaun Micallef’s”brilliant” comedy routines lampooning Shorten’s zingers etc. etc – and ascribed his apparent revival path in the minds of the ordinary punters down to conjurer’s tricks: a voice coach (who just happens to be a maddy who sings in funny voices), and slick political salesmen (read “tricksters”) in the background who are pulling the real strings… plus, of course, Turnbull’s inexplicable gaffathon of the past two months.

See? It’s nothing that Bill Shorten did himself: it’s other people… voice coaches, spivs and spin doctors, and the Enlightened One From Point Piper not quite being on top of his game lately.

No credit was given for the very sensible policy of letting your enemy shadow box with himself and slash his own political wrists, rather than deflect attention by the Abbott-like “Lookatmoi! Lookatmoi!” tactic. No reference was made to history, i.e. that Turnbull is known far and wide as a know-all brainfarter from way back who has never successfully led any kind of political movement in his life (as opposed to Shorten, who’s made every post in his career a winner), and that some of the voting class just might be aware, or might become aware of this.

No reference was made to the fact that you can’t just change leaders and dance anymore in the Labor Party, an idea with which the “anonymous party sources” let on to Allard they might be dallying. Gee, it was a close thing! But they let little Billy survive. What good chaps! Maybe later?

In truth, a leadership challenge now would mean a cynical and completely disruptive change of party rules solemnly entered into to even get to a caucus challenge: a challenge that would incidentally play right into the hands of the Tories, and de-legitimize any new leader who benefited from it, immediately, for any number of reasons (not the least of which would be the plonkingly mocking articles that Tom Allard would no doubt write about a “resurgently dysfunctional Labor”). But the journos persist that such a consuming apocalypse might happen. Oh, for the old days of “bring it on” leadership stoushes at 3pm, after a Crean interview at 10am.

They want to write those articles, make no mistake, but at the moment the meal is all potato and no meat. Bill Shorten is annoyingly not conforming to the “Human Dad Joke With The Squeaky Voice” meme. They thought they got rid of him at TURC time, but he just keeps bouncing back. All those “questions that need to be answered”… got answered, and thrown in their collective maws. How “quaint” – as Aguirre puts it.

So, there’s still a way to go in getting a majority of the Press Gallery into line, thinking positively about a Labor victory, something worth considering for more than its novelty value. Far be it from journalists like Allard – who has most likely never led anything more than a soccer team (if that) – to stop criticising Bill Shorten, who has  led one of Australia’s most rambunctious unions, organizing it into an effective and efficient fighting force as a result, and who now has gotten a defeated, decimated and demoralized Opposition ahead in the feted Newspoll horse race against the member for the Cayman Islands, while the Gallery was too busy writing hagiographies to the PM’s magnificence.

The reality is that Shorten is refusing to play the media’s game, they way they want him to play it. He actually defends himself. The horror! He actually refuses to stand down when some trumped up minor Age hack demands he does so. He persists when a has-been, harumphing old judge descends to threatening him in public for being too truthful in his evidence (as he also threatened Julia Gillard). Shorten keeps on fighting and trying, and now it seems, is starting to show measurable success that confounds, confuses and contradicts the established Media “line”. He comes up with the policy they’re all demanding he comes up with – even if they mostly call this “running a scare campaign” at this early stage in the Rehabilitation of Bill.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much. As long as they get it right in the end, I for one will take that as a win, even if it is grudging, slow, a bit heckly and somewhat half-hearted. Because, for any Gallery reporter or political commentator to admit he or she was wrong – so often wrong in so many ways – is still something to be talked about, something worth noting, right here.

After all, it’s difficult not to note something that’s up and chewing your arse so hard.

555 thoughts on “The Rehabillitation

  1. Nurofen is facing a $6m headache. And so they should!

    http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2016/04/12/nurofen-facing-6m-headache/

    It’s not only Nurofen. There are so ma many patent remedies that consist of cheap ingredients, relabelled and sold for 10-times their worth… and more.

    My old man was an industrial chemist, and he used to point them out to me as a kid. Ever since, I’ve always read the label.

    ENOs and Alka Seltzer are basically a couple of penneth-worth of bicarb, with enough acid mixed in to make them fizz, but not quite enough to exhaust the bi-carb’s alkaline properties. This means that about 1/20th of its effective weight gets into your stomach to relieve acid stomach. Price: about 300 times what just buying simple bi-carbonate of soda would cost.

    Any ibuprofen product that is flashily packaged, “targeted” or claims to act faster than ordinary ibuprofen. By “faster” they usually mean that it takes 4 minutes inside your stomach to dissolve the protective coating about the active ingredient, instead of 4 and-a-half minutes with the “regular” product.

    “Genuine” just about any medicine, as opposed to “generic”. Cost for the “genuine” product is usually about 50% more. Just ask for the “generic” if you need to fill a prescription. The pharmacist is obliged to provide it to you.

    … and don’t get me talking about pharmacists…

    “Mould Cleaner” (e.g. Exit Mould) is just bleach (sodium hypochlorite), diluted 10 times thinner than ordinary bleach.

    Ditto for “Deck Cleaner”. You can buy proprietary “Deck Cleaner” for $10 a 2 litre bottle in Bunnings, or you can go around to the next shelf and buy “Bleach” for $2 – they’re both the same stuff, only the bleach is more concentrated and better value. Just make sure you use it in a well-ventilated area.

    “Generic products” are all made in the same factory as “Branded Products” – but we all knew that, right? Maybe Aldi is an exception.

    Washing powders are a particularly bad one. There are only a couple of soap makers in Australia. Between them they make most of the dishwashing and clothes washing soap products. They add different perfumes at the last stage of manufacture, and then brand them accordingly in colorful boxes and plastic containers. But they’re all the same goop.

    Any liquid clothes-washing detergent is a scam. You’re paying for water, mostly.

    “Drano”: 2 or 3 times the price of a packet of generic caustic soda, which comprises 99.5% of Drano. Believe me, pour a cup-full of caustic down the drain and stand well back (it splashes and can damage your eyes). That grease ball in your drain will be cleared out in 10 seconds (and just just about everything else revolting in everyone else’s drain for miles).

    Soft drinks, too. What you’re really shelling out for is the expensive advertising campaign undertaken to sell the product to you by differentiating it from another, identical product. You’re paying for the privilege of being conned.

    Vinyl records: they sound like crap. They’re overpriced and they become damaged easily. What they DO offer is a bit of nostalgia for 60-somethings who can’t let go of their glorious, head-banging youth of the Sixties. Those vinyl records get sound better every year you get further away from the day the music died, right? Wrong. It’s something to do with the “sonics”, the “harmonics” your aged ears can’t possibly hear, but they’re there all the time, right? Wrong.

    Hence I present Wank Product Of The Decade: at $92,500 a pop, the perfect way to re-live your days at university smoking dope.

    http://www.lenwallisaudio.com/products/source/turntables/criterion

    • Re vinyl records – it’s a long time since I read up about this, but my understanding is that the digital recording process does compress the sound and leaves everything sounding flatter on CD than on vinyl. But it only pertains to the old vinyl records, the ones that were produced prior to digital CD technology. The new ones – and I’ve noticed the vinyl section gets bigger every time I pop into JB Hi-Fi – are a total rip-off because they’re recorded using the same techniques as everything else. And it doesn’t seem to be a nostalgia thing, it’s more hipster wank. Bearded prats who think they’re cool because they’re tapping into the old, they would say ‘pure’ format.

      The crucial point is that there is a difference, but only at the top end. If you have pristine old vinyl records and a high-quality turntable, you can hear the difference. But for most people the distinction is barely noticeable.

      I’ve still got my old vinyl and a turntable from the eighties, and I like to play the old stuff now and then. But I haven’t bought a new vinyl record since about 1990 (I have picked up some cheap second-hand records since then).

      All that other information is really valuable to me, BB – thanks. I often forget how much we pay for packaging and advertising instead of content, and I need reminding all the time.

    • Maan…you’re wrong about those vinyls, BB..Mine were so booze soaked into those grooves, that I could lick the surface to get my “taste of the sixties / seventies” nostalgia BEFORE I listened to the music !..

      F’rinstance, here’s a touch of “dreamland” when I can re-live those Annette Funicello moments..

  2. Beautifully put:

  3. The comment about the intelligence of shoppers in that Fairfax piece is spot on. How many people know that Nurofen is just ibuprofen? How many know what ibuprofen is and what you should use it for, or know when paracetamol is a better option?

    Anyone who pays good money for Nurofen when generic ibuprofen is exactly the same thing, does exactly the same job and costs a fraction of the brand name stuff is an idiot.

    Supermarkets always devote a lot of shelf space to Nurofen. It’s always given the prominent, right-in-front-of-your-eyes spot. If you want the generic stuff or the house brand you have to almost crawl on the floor to find it. Plenty of us must be doing that. In Coles, for example, the house brand stuff is usually sold out or down to the last couple of packets while the Nurofen is untouched. Same thing at my local IGA.

  4. On that topic – it’s funny, I was thinking along similar lines this morning. When you’ve got a pharmaceutical industry that’s relentlessly pushing product at the market, and in cases inventing needs for people that don’t exist, and continually researching ways to rip off the public through branding and packaging, then it’s probably not surprising that there would be a backlash in the form of the No Vaccination brigade. It’s easy, once you feel you’re being ripped off by one segment of an industry, to imagine you’re being ripped off by all of it.

    There’s a very murky nexus between pharmaceutical corporations, governments and medical practitioners that needs to be exposed if we’re going to get any clarity and sense on the issue. Pharmaceutical giants wield an enormous amount of power and influence.

  5. Yesterday Dennis Jensen’s book went on sale on Amazon. It’s for Kindle only, which is good, because I’d hate to think even one tree sacrificed its life so this drivel could be printed.

    I haven’t read the thing, I won’t be reading it, but others have kindly reviewed it so I have a good understanding of the plot and the writing style. Let;s just say if one of the ten year olds I used to teach had handed in this sort of work it would have been returned covered in red pen corrections.

    So far there are no Amazon reviews for this – er – ‘work’, but it shouldn’t be long before they appear. Meanwhile all I can say is no wonder Jensen was upset when details of the book were leaked, he was worried it might damage his political career. He should have been worried about becoming a laughing stock.

    A Very Serious Review Of Liberal MP Dennis Jensen’s New Erotic War Novel ‘The Skywarriors’
    http://junkee.com/liberal-mp-dennis-jensen-has-self-published-his-erotic-war-novel-here-are-the-wildest-bits/76075#BpU3RsGiyTs2JHEY.99

  6. Aguirre, re old vinyl records (as opposed to new vinyl records…

    I can understand that “new” ones are most likely recorded on digital equipment. It has to be remembered, of course, that digital origination equipment oversamples many more times than the CD sample rate.

    CD sampling rate is clipped at 44kHz, while digital recorders in studios often sample up to the equivalent of 96kHz and 192kHz (maybe more, for all I know) and at 24 or even 32 bits, too. So you get your “sonics”, even in new vinyl records.

    The thing with old vinyl records is that by now they’re probably full of scratches and other, inaudible damage that clips the “tops” off any advantage you may have had from the old analog recording techniques.

    Speaking of old analog recording techniques… the recorders in those days were pretty hopeless, compared to today’s. They had a lot of tape hiss (which has only gotten worse over the years, in the case of re-mastered editions of old favourites, as it’s at least partially a product of crosstalk between layers of tape kept on spools for a long time), and had pretty strict limits on what we would now call “sampling rate”, i.e. bandwidth. So, while the potential for “better sonics” may have been there in the old vinyl records, the recording equipment was not up to the job of capturing it. It’s a case of what you gain on the swings, you lose on the roundabouts.

    There’s a lot of hoo-haa in audio. I was at a trade show a couple of years ago. During set-up the audio guys were stringing out some cable to carry a coaxial SPDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format) digital signal to some speakers that had their own digital receivers. Coaxial SPDIF is an electrical signal, not optical, although the data format is the same (i.e. SPDIF can be converted into optical, and vice versa, through a simple interface, with no data processing or buffering).

    Being a coaxial electrical signal, of course it degrades over distance transmitted along a cable. The digits may leave the transmitter as pristine square waves, but arrive at the other end (the receiver) looking rather ratty, at least on an oscilloscope. But that doesn’t really matter, as long as the electrical signals don’t degrade so much that they can’t be recognized as “Ones” or “Zeros”. If they haven’t degraded, they can be regenerated, re-clocked and input into the rest of the receiver circuitry as if there had been no degradation at all. That’s the beauty of digital signal transmission.

    In my own set-up I use $1 per metre Dick Smith cable, and 50 cent RCA connectors. I never get any exceptions or errors at the receiver end.

    But at this trade show the audio guys told me that their “digital” cable cost $140 per metre. The connectors were gold-plated XLRs (Cannon connectors), at $60 a pop. Each cable was worth thousands of dollars, if you were buying it.

    I took issue with them, telling them about my cheap set-up, because all that counted was the 1s and 0s, not the analog quality of the carrier signal.

    They shook their heads, sadly. I didn’t understand. Their expensive cable had “better sonics”.

    “Better sonics for an analog signal, maybe, but sonics were irrelevant to a digital signal,” I retorted.

    They looked at each other and smiled inwardly, too embarrassed and too polite to try to correct someone who was so obviously wrong. I was just another mug who didn’t understand “quality” when he saw it (or in this case, heard it).

    Later on, I met the bloke who made the cable. This was his firm: http://www.vandenhul.com/

    It was Mr Van den Hul himself (his old man had started the company). I asked him about the discussion I’d had with the audio guys.

    He told me “You are right, of course. Exactly correct. The digits don’t know the difference.”

    And then he said, “But for people who think they do, we make this cable. Look at our motto.”

    When I finally looked it up, I saw what he meant: “The link between technique and emotion.”

    His working thesis was that if someone felt emotionally better by buying his unnecessary product – not so much a scam, but rather a hundred times over-engineered for purpose – who was he to tell them they were wrong? His stated specifications were exact and not misleading. His cable did what his performance sheets said it did. It’s just that what it did was irrelevant to signal reproduction.

    When I took issue with him, he just said, “I’ve become very rich from this. So why would I stop now?”

    You couldn’t ask for a more honest answer. He didn’t lie to anyone. He just let them make things up in their minds, and provided the solution to their emotional needs.

    If I hadn’t made so many emotional decisions in my life myself, I might have continued the argument. But instead we had a beer.

    He paid.

  7. My goodness, a plan A and a plan B at the same time. They must be really confident of their negotiating skills.

    On Wednesday the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the employment minister, Michaelia Cash, formally announced the government would bring on two bills: one to abolish the tribunal; and a second bill to delay its minimum pay order as a fallback.

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/apr/13/labor-and-greens-battle-government-over-minimum-pay-rates-for-truck-owner-drivers

  8. Things must be getting tough for the government. They have dragged out the good old ‘bludgers on DSP are costing us millions’ rubbish – again. No mention of the billions that would boost the economy if all Malcolm’s Mates paid their fair share of tax though.

    Those forced off DSP on the say-so of some under-employed moron in a back room at Centrelink are now trying to survive on Newstart. Quite an achievement, Mr Porter.

    Tough new laws see 33 000 drop off disability support pension
    http://tenplay.com.au/news/national/april/tough-new-laws-see-33-000-drop-off-disability-support-pension

    Despite what Porter days (and his language is extremely derogatory and discriminatory) it’s damn hard to get DSP. It’s a long, humiliating process in which every private, personal detail of your disabilityhas to be told again and again to Centrelink staff and to doctors who do not know you and don’t understand your problems. There is no ‘doctor shopping’, there never has been, there has always been a strict requirement for a visit to a government-appointed doctor.

  9. Re vinyl records – it’s a long time since I read up about this, but my understanding is that the digital recording process does compress the sound and leaves everything sounding flatter on CD than on vinyl. But it only pertains to the old vinyl records, the ones that were produced prior to digital CD technology.

    This isn’t a limitation of digital CDs – it’s a deliberate choice made by the studios to maximise the “loudness” of the recording at the expense of dynamic range – even to the point of clipping the signal:
    https://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb14/articles/loudness-war.htm

    The new ones – and I’ve noticed the vinyl section gets bigger every time I pop into JB Hi-Fi – are a total rip-off because they’re recorded using the same techniques as everything else. And it doesn’t seem to be a nostalgia thing, it’s more hipster wank. Bearded prats who think they’re cool because they’re tapping into the old, they would say ‘pure’ format.

    It’s anything but “pure”. The analogue signal is fed through an RIAA equalisation circuit that cuts the bass and boosts the treble before the track is cut; the opposite occurs at playback:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization
    If you’re lucky, the resultant signal may resemble the original…

    One thing that CDs are inferior to LPs is album art. You can do clever things with cardboard “digipaks”, but there’s no substitute for real estate.

    • This lack of sub-editing at Fairfax is really starting to show.

      “…….Lilli Pilli, on the NSW south coast”

      FFS! Lilli Pilli is a suburb of Sydney, it’s in the Sutherland Shire. Scrott Morrison lives there.

  10. Some, but not all, re-issues of old albums go to the original analogue tapes and remaster from them for a new pressings. If that’s what they do, the sound is as *warm* as possible (it would be AAA if they still used that old analogue or digital rating system) and as close to how it sounded at its best upon original release. These can be worth buying. Nirvana’s 1993 In Utero album was recently re-issued on vinyl that way, and with additional remastering & loving care by the original engineer, Steve Albini. Definitely one for the purists. But to know that sort of thing you’ve really got to read the reviews first. Its cheaper and easier to re-use the most recent CD master, perhaps with a bit of tinkering, which after it goes on to vinyl gives you the worst of both worlds, in my view. For new stuff, If I know a recent album was digitally recorded to start with, I wouldn’t consider an LP, better off with a CD if you want a hard copy.

  11. This is worth reading, in a know your enemies sort of way. Indirectly, it kinda vindicates those left of centre who always pegged Turnbull as not really progressive, but also finds reasons for a purist right-winger to be critical of Abbott. Interesting that Miranda hasn’t been pining for Abbott or slagging Turnbull, unlike Bolt & a thousand nutters on twitter. I didn’t realise this until today. Even the hard right commentariat isn’t united.

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/abbott-lovers-call-me-the-wicked-witch-of-the-left/news-story/d1c6ec25d2a89597a9614ac64bbae84c

    Miranda Devine: Tony Abbott lovers call me the Wicked Witch of the Left
    April 13, 2016 12:00am
    Miranda Devine The Daily Telegraph

    I AM a conservative pariah. I have been dis-invited to dinners and given the cold shoulder at conservative functions. Twitter followers once my most ardent fans abuse me as a “leftie”. I am accused of being either paid by or in “love” with Malcolm Turnbull.

    Elder statesmen of the Delusional Conservative (Delcon) movement send me more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger missives accusing me of gross naïveté.

    All because I have resisted the delusion that Tony Abbott was a conservative warrior cut down in his prime by leftie treachery, and that he will return to reclaim his throne once Malcolm Turnbull fails.

    The Delcon movement is tiny but viciously punitive to those it regards as heretics. It was empowered last week by its first taste of blood; a Newspoll showed the Coalition falling behind Labor for the first time since Turnbull ousted Abbott as PM.

    Of course, the collapse of Turnbull’s support is not among Coalition voters, but among Greens and Labor voters disappointed Turnbull has not turned out to be their progressive hero. The joke is on the Delcons, carrying water for the Left.

    I was sorry Abbott was ousted and argued against it. But I was not surprised. After a 25-year association, my fondness for him softened criticism of his failings.

    But since his demise I have been told by friends that he is going around town blaming me (and Janet Albrechtsen) for not being sufficiently supportive.

    So here we go. In the tradition of “defending my legacy”, here are some of the reasons for conservative disillusionment with Abbott.

    1. Safe schools

    Labor might have legislated the homosexual propaganda program for students, but it was the Abbott government which funded and launched it, in June 2014. Early last year Nationals senator Barry O’Sullivan raised concerns in the party room about the so-called anti-bullying program, wanting funding to be axed. Abbott, as prime minister, spoke in favour of the program, saying that times had changed. By then, problems with Safe Schools were abundantly clear. I had even written a column and front page story about the NSW version in October 2012.

    2. Same sex marriage

    Under pressure from his advisers to get the issue “off the table”, Abbott was preparing to allow a conscience vote before furious conservatives revolted. With numbers in the party room running more than two to one against changing the definition of marriage, Abbott was forced to promise a plebiscite.

    3. Taxes

    The deficit levy, a centrepiece of the first budget, was a hike in the top marginal rate of income tax to 49 per cent, from the PM who had promised no new taxes.

    4. Spending

    Before taking office, Abbott promised to match Labor’s unfunded multi-billion dollar promises on the NDIS, Gonski and health spending. He also promised no cuts to the ABC, which continued its cultural jihad during the Abbott years, a time of extreme austerity in media companies paying their own way. Paid Parental Leave (later dumped), a medical research fund, infrastructure projects, and the NBN were big new spending programs which contradicted the narrative of a government elected to fix a busted budget.

    5. Climate change

    The $3 billion Direct Action was another green scheme pretending to lower the global temperature. Abbott also pledged $200 million to the international Green Climate Fund.

    6. Family tax benefit part B

    Cutting help for single income families was seen by conservatives as a betrayal of traditional families, ­especially when childcare subsidies for double-income families were increased.

    7. 18C

    Abbott abandoned changes to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act because he didn’t want to get offside with Muslims.

    8. Islam

    Abbott described the Lindt café siege as a “brush” with terrorism which had nothing to do with Islam. “The ISIL death cult has nothing to do with any religion, any real religion.” He changed his tune later.

    9. Prince Phillip

    There was nothing conservative about enlivening Australia’s dormant republicans by giving the Queen’s husband a knighthood. It crystallised disquiet about Abbott’s judgment.

    10. Losing his job

    Echoing the dysfunction of the Rudd-Gillard years, Abbott refused to heed warnings to take reasonable measures to save his prime ministership.

    11. Defence force cuts

    In wartime, pay and benefits of armed forces were cut.

    12. Changing the constitution

    Abbott infuriated conservatives with support for referendums to recognise indigenous Australians and local government in the constitution.

    13. Natasha Stott-Despoja

    One of the first acts of an Abbott government was to appoint the avowed leftist and former Democrats leader to a bogus job as Australia’s Global Ambassador for Women and Girls. Former union leader Greg Combet also was awarded a cushy post.

    14. Cory Bernardi

    Abbott exiled the most prominent conservative Liberal. Bernardi was forced to resign as Abbott’s parliamentary secretary over statements opposing same sex marriage. When Bernardi published his Conservative Manifesto, in defence of traditional families and Christian values, Abbott said his “views do not represent the position of the government”.

    Today, Bernardi finds Turnbull more inclusive.

    “The PM has been very receptive, he’s been very respectful about some of the views I’ve put to him and some of my colleagues have,” Bernardi said two weeks ago.

    “We’ve had some … significant wins. The Safe schools coalition for example, when I raised that in the party room, the PM was among the very first people to recognise there was an issue here.”

    Abbott was no conservative prime minister. I don’t know whether that was because he wasn’t a genuine conservative or because it was too hard to combat anti-conservative forces once he took office. Either way, appeasing the left cost him the support of the party room. No one is under any illusion about Turnbull’s ideological leanings, but so far he is not making the same mistake.

  12. From over the road.
    boerwar’s Bluey the blue-ring octopus report.

    Boerwar
    Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 7:41 pm | PERMALINK
    Bluey Bulletin No 24 Only 99 days to go

    KOWTOW TIME
    Bluey notes that our Prime FIGJAM is off to China. Bluey trusts that FIGJAM will take it up to XI on the Unilateral Grand Larceny South China Sea, China’s massive military build up, the casual use of military force by the PLA against Vietnam and Indonesia, the increasingly despotic treatment of civil society in China, and the raft of new non-tariff trade barriers the Chinese have just whacked on Australia’s manufactured exports to China under Genius Robb’s Co-Prosperity Sphere Chinese Take Away. But Bluey reckons that Banker Turnbull will only want to do money stuff.

    BLACK SWAN EVENT- GRANNY BASHING
    So, Nine gets involved in some sort of granny bashing event in Beirut. And who is the Chairman of Nine? Hammock. Bluey reckons that this mob cannot take a trick.

    BLACK SWAN EVENT – MANAGEMENT CORRUPTION
    Bluey notes yet another management corruption shitstorm. Mindful of Bilbowe’s legal exposure, Bluey reckons that this time around it is alleged that the alleged assets of the alleged manager of an alleged organisation allegedly called Seven Network Operations have allegedly been frozen. Add this to 13 banking scandals, 7/11, PizzaPayGate, the chronic and systemic bastardisation of the contract labor system, 47 cents an hour or $10 a week, take your pick, the despoliation of the Fijian seasonal labourers and it all sort of adds up to corruption being a blow-back sort of election meme.

    BLACK SWAN EVENT – LUNATIC HOTEL
    Acting Prime Minister Joyce. Bluey reckons that there will be a bit of footage of Joyce being prime ministerial and that thereafter he will be sent off to the Lunatic Hotel at Drake to keep him out of sight and, preferably, out of mind.

    BLACK SWAN EVENT – TURNBULL DESTROYS MORE JOBS
    Bluey notes that the last white goods manufacturer in Australia shuts its doors in yet another victory for Australia’s greatest ever national Robber. Bluey does not mind as long as the city of Orange understands that it is destroying itself for the good of the nation’s spivs.

    THE CAYMANS CUT OUT – CONE OF SILENCE
    Bluey reckons that the only reason he can think of that the Caymans are not on the Agenda is that senior Labor figures are in it up to their necks. Bluey reckons the Caymans silence is spooky. Bluey also notes that Cameron, desperate, is going to change the tax rules in British Overseas Territories like the Cayman Islands.

    Bluey reckons that the Australian Banking Association implied threat to run a mining tax campaign against exposing bankers’ rorts is a gift to Shorten. Bluey reckons that the obvious response to this is so powerful that even the stupid, self-interested, greedy and grasping reactionaries are going to shut their flaps on this brainfart. Pronto. Doomed.

    WELL HUNG BUT OVERCOOKED
    Bluey reckons that the more talk there is about possible hung Senate and hung House outcomes, the less likely such outcomes are likely to be. Bluey reckons that people are soooooooooooo sick of the instability and uncertainty that goes with that sort of thing. Bluey reckons that the combined majors’ share of the total vote will be larger than it was in the last two Fed elections.

    LET THEM EAT SENTIMENT
    Bluey reckons that Turnbull is killing consumer sentiment which has dropped below the magic 100 mark. Bluey notes that Westpac is blaming the high dollar. Crap.

    FREE REIN OR FREE REIGN?
    Bluey knows that occies can count to eight better than anyone but wonders whether humans have spotted the correct usage when forced to choose between giving the ABC ‘free reign’ or ‘free rein’. Bluey blames Shakespeare in ‘Richard 3’ for opening the stable gate on this one.

    TRUCK STOP
    Bluey notes that Shorten & Co were slow to respond to reactionaries’ Greed-based Assault on Road Safety but are making reasonable progress on retrieving the situation. Shorten was gazzumped on this one by an agile Turnbull presumably guided by Cash’s Inner and Outer Voice.

    Bluey reckons that all Turnbull has to do to win with a landslide is to promise to debark Cash if re-relected.

    PAT DODSON
    Bluey reckons powerful speech today. Nice to see that Bill does good Captain’s Picks. That said, the stats are a huge indictment on Australian ‘civilization’. Abbott tried tents and cutting half a billion from Indigenous programs. Pearson tried to turn Indigenous people into cappos. Giles made swingeing cuts to NT Indigenous programs but, facing electoral oblivion, is changing his tune. Barnett, wanting to be thorough on destroying Western Australia, gave his best shot at destroying remote Indigenous communities. Bluey reckons that Scullion is nothing much more than a rapscallion. Nyunggai’s Advisory Council is a hand-picked crew of mainly urban Indigenous people. Remote Indigenous people are, quite simply, completely absent. And it shows.

    INKY

    Bluey had to take some time out to rescue a Kiwi cuz from the humans. Bluey and Inky are working on an aquarium exhibit in our rock pool. Stage one of the project plan is to teach humans to breathe water.

    D’OH WRONG SPINEBILL
    Bluey understands that Sandgropers are up in arms because the $5 bill has an Eastern Spinebill on it and not a Western Spinebill. Typical East Coast hegemonist arrogance, apparently. Bluey reckons that the Sandgropers should have a careful look at what the artyfarts did to the Eastern Spinebill. This done, the Sandgropers would understand that the $5 bill is a tongue-in-cheek slap in the face to all East Coasters.

    Verdict for the day: evens

    Cumulative: Labor 18 Liberal 6.

  13. Their ABC just had Bolt on the The Weekly (Pickering). Can you imagine Bolt on a comedy show.
    I switched off too much for me.

    • Charlie had a few good digs.

      Suggested he and Bolt do a comedy skitch together at the Melbourne comedy festival. The bolter said he didn’t do comedy. Charlie said bolt could do the talking and Charlie would do the comedy. Plenty of scope there.

  14. 2gravel,
    I am quite happy with it. At least I can play ytubes with only a little bit stuttering. I lost service when there were lightning strikes around but it rebooted in a couple of minutes.

    What I am finding is that some sites have slow or overloaded sevrers because they are slow to load.

    My next door neighbour had his grand kids here for their school holidays and I gave them the wi-fi password so that they could watch Netflix. I did not notice any slowing of speed with me using it and the kids watching movies. So that is a fair test.

  15. “The government will likely be able to abolish the tribunal that sets minimum pay rates for truck owner-drivers after a sixth crossbench senator gave support for the plan.

    On Tuesday evening Guardian Australia reported the government would bring forward legislation to abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal in the week parliament is recalled on 18 April, instead of attempting to abolish it after the election.

    On Wednesday the Palmer United party senator Dio Wang told Sky News he was inclined to support the abolition of the tribunal. Wang met with the employment minister, Michaelia Cash, on Wednesday morning and asked for assurances savings from the scrapped tribunal would be spent on safety.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/apr/13/coalition-clinches-crossbench-support-in-battle-over-truckies-pay-rates

  16. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    The situation is becoming more dire for the Channel 9 crew in Beirut.
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/60-minutes-crew-and-mother-sally-faulkner-face-judge-in-lebanon-20160413-go5sg6.html
    Clive Palmer now pulls out of a scheduled Q&A appearance. I wonder why.
    http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/clive-palmer-pulls-out-of-qa-appearance-but-it-is-not-his-best-tv-interview-snub-20160413-go5pis.html
    What a mob!
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/scots-college-documents-highlight-divisions-between-presbyterian-church-and-school-20160413-go5232.html
    Heath Aston outlines the 20 seats that may fall to lead to another hung parliament.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2016/federal-election-the-20-seats-that-could-fall-to-cause-a-hung-parliament-20160413-go5gml.html
    A good examination of Arrium’s woes. For Google.
    /business/mining/why-arriums-banks-lost-patience-20160413-go5lf0
    How bad behaviour is tolerated in the banks.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2016/federal-election-the-20-seats-that-could-fall-to-cause-a-hung-parliament-20160413-go5gml.html
    How we are being misled in the company tax debate.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/public-snowed-by–tax-debate-20160413-go5hn1.html
    Michelle Grattan on the tax debate and the banking RC. In it she refers to the BCA calling for a “balanced” debate – that’s a laugh!
    https://theconversation.com/budget-company-tax-cut-a-hard-sell-politically-57764
    Tony Wright on the exciting prospect of Acting PM Barnaby Joyce.
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/barnaby-joyce-is-running-the-country-what-a-time-to-be-alive-20160413-go5bl9.html
    Stephen Koukoulas on what surging commodity prices mean for our economy.
    https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/what-surging-commodity-prices-mean-for-the-aussie-economy-234024921.html

  17. Section 3 . . . Cartoon Corner

    A good dig at Turnbull from Alan Moir.

    John Spooner and high speed politics.

    Matt Golding on the reception of the new $5 note.

    John Shakespeare takes us to the Great Barrier Reef and a dangerous species.

    Pat Campbell doesn’t think the VFT will get off the ground.

    Mark Knight is a little concerned about Prime Ministerial arrangements.
    http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/60d58922295259e7b413994b27f6c77e?width=1024&api_key=zw4msefggf9wdvqswdfuqnr5
    Bill Leak lines up Clive Palmer nicely.
    http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/c4821791111ec6bb42b47547487f07d5
    David Rowe goes to town on Clive Palmer. Ir says a lot.

    First Dog on the Moon on free range eggs.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2016/apr/13/what-to-do-about-free-range-eggs-ask-ken-the-hen-gender-ambiguity-chicken-and-poultry-ethicist

  18. “Turnbull’s delicate balancing act with China”
    Since when has Turnbull ever been ‘straight talking’? He’s going to bore the Chinese with his incessant waffle, most likely offend them with his arrogance and he’s not going to mention the dumping of Chinese steel in Australia at all.

    And he’s only there for 36 hours. Hardly long enough for one of his droning speeches.

    Once again a journalist offering advice to Waffles in the desperate hope he will take some of it and not stuff things up too badly.

    Here’s a better piece.
    Five things you need to know about Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to China
    http://www.afr.com/news/economy/trade/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-turnbulls-visit-to-china-20160412-go4dav

    • Bananas was very helpful about the Fake Islands. Not

      In February, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was criticised in China for recognising the right of the Philippines to seek arbitration to resolve its territorial dispute. Canberra’s official position is that it doesn’t take sides but once a court ruling is out it might come under pressure to get off the fence.

      He’ll waffle the FTA

      This signals the start of a difficult period for some Australian food exporters.

      That’s awkward for the Coalition government which is trying to sell the free trade agreement with China as one of its signature achievements of the last three years.

    • The government has been conned, and they didn’t see it coming. The Chinese plan has been to set up huge dairy farms in Australia so fresh milk can be shipped to China. One there it can be sold as fresh milk, or processed into cheese, baby formula, powdered milk, whatever. The Chinese don’t need the dairy products we produce, they produce their own, here, ship it back to China and get around China’s new import restrictions by doing that. The FTA has simply opened the way for the Chinese to buy up dairy (and other) farms with the intention of having Chinese-produced goods to send back home. Meanwhile our own national food security is being put at risk. The government sees only dollar signs and photo opportunities, there is no understanding of future food security at all.

      Australian companies hoping to make huge profits by selling Australian dairy products and baby formula via the internet to China are going to be very, very disappointed.

      A year ago – no-one noticed this warning.
      Chinese dairy company wants to build milk processing facility in Gippsland

      Even though Yo You have been operating here for a few years they have put this plan into action since the free trade agreement was signed, so that has encouraged them with their planned investment,” he said.

      “They have chosen Gippsland as their first one mainly because of their proximity to the airport where they will be flying the product out to China.”

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-04/chinese-dairy-fresh-milk-exports-from-gippsland/6069030

      This week – just the opening salvo.
      China tightens regulations on foreign goods
      http://adf.farmonline.com.au/news/magazine/industry-news/general/china-tightens-regulations-on-foreign-goods/2752184.aspx

      And –
      Govt hopes China will loosen new laws
      http://adf.farmonline.com.au/news/magazine/industry-news/general/govt-hopes-china-will-loosen-new-laws/2752225.aspx

      The Chinese have what they wanted, they now own huge areas of valuable farm land, purchased on the pretext of the FTA opening up investment opportunities, their facilities are staffed by Chinese workers, all product is flown back to China and our producers are not going to be better off.

      Then there’s this – will the Chinese hogging our dairy production mean we all pay more for scarcer milk and cheese?
      http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/fears-chinese-dairy-farm-grab-will-send-milk-cheese-prices-soaring/news-story/0f433ad146b3cb17f2a0933ec6b994ec

  19. Cliff

    Thank you so much for your response. I’m not moving to it just yet, but you have assured me that at least it will be stable. We are starting to get junk mail from all sorts of providers, so at least it is creating some competition in this area. I will stick with our present ISP unless there is a great variance between the prices. So far they are all pretty much the same.

  20. Nice.

    Manus Island’s newest “detainee” may have been on the island hundreds of thousands of years.

    Rattus detentus, an ancient, isolated and previously unknown species of the genus Rattus – a rat – has been so named for the Latin “detained”, “in reference to the isolation of … Manus Island and to the recent use of the island to detain people seeking political and/or economic asylum in Australia”.

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/apr/14/manus-island-giant-rat-rattus-detentus-detainees

  21. Was going to post something like this last night, but was distracted.

    Anyway, I was just going to say that Labor might be in with a chance this election, but its weakness in NSW is going to make it very difficult.

    The swing away from the Coalition in that state is very low at the moment. That plus it’s where the coalition won the most seats from Labor in 2013, so the sophomore surge effect would be real there.

    Even if it wins the 2PP vote, it seems it might end up being a repeat of the 1998 election at this stage, unless of course Turnbull absolutely messes everything up. I’d say Labor needs to win at least 10-15 seats combined in NSW and Queensland to win the election, the remaining 5-10 seats are probably going to change in WA, SA, NT, Vic and Tas (but there’s not really enough for a big landslide without the other 2 states, as there’s not that many marginal seats in the others.

    Ah well. It’s still early days and Turnbull has every chance of screwing up. And Shorten has consistently been presenting himself as electable, I’ve noticed. Calm and commanding, and also not frightening.

    I’m hoping some pollsters might have a look at how things are going in the NSW/Queensland Marginal seats soon. As inaccurate as they might be, they ought to paint a picture at how things are going.

  22. However I should add that the sophomore effect won’t be a factor in Queensland. The LNP only won 2 seats from Labor there last time and it’s coming up from a very low base, so that’s where Labor has the most to gain this time around, hopefully.

    Here’s hoping the repulsive George Christensen, that useless clown Ewen Jones and that nasty little Wyatt Roy are shown the door. And while Clive Palmer will hopefully lose, Fairfax will be a likely LNP gain so there’s that.

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