My thought for the day
“You cannot possibly believe in democracy if at the same time you think your party is the only one that should ever win.” (John Lord)
I suspect that part of the angst comes from reviews of internal polling, which shows a bleak picture for Abbott in particular. This is a serious repudiation of the hard right of the Liberal Party, along with their backers at News Corp, 2GB, 3AW, 4BC and elsewhere. But it also shows how precarious the position of the cultural right in this country is. They are reliant on favours and iffy government handouts to do business. They are beneficiaries and champions of middle-class welfare and rent-seeking. They are fanatically committed to outmoded forms of power, both literal and figurative. They are openly bigoted and intellectually barren. They have little to fall back on. No wonder they fear the drop. Here’s to giving them the push.
They all downgraded Australia badly during the two years Tony Abbott led the Coalition Government starting in late 2013. That will be no shock to those who have followed Abbott’s dismal 25-year parliamentary career. What may surprise is that nothing much improved under his immediate successor Malcolm Turnbull. Nor under the latest Coalition work experience prime minister Scott Morrison.
I mean, have a look at this latest mob now in power … can anyone for the life of you recall … even in your own workplace or pub … in rumour or frustrated experience … a worse, more hopeless collection of crooks and fraudsters hell-bent on screwing over what should be a healthy (for everybody), wealthy (for the economy), and well educated with excellent communications systems society … and we end up with nothing but the threat of bankruptcy in every aforementioned topic!
Australians said an Emphatic “No” to the LNP’s Drift Back to Abbott’s Right-Wing White Pacific Dream. This was a “No” to Right-Wing Drift of Turnbull’s LNP Policies, Media Influence and intrusion, IPA Lobbying and benefiting of the few who only believe in the “me” and not the collective “we”who make up this multicultural country called AUSTRALIA that was also a proud global team player. (ODT)
Labor has secured a major victory over the Turnbull government in a marathon political contest across five byelections, gaining ground in key seats in a show of strength ahead of the next general election.
Labor held its four electorates while the Coalition failed to regain one of its old strongholds, in an outcome that dashed government hopes of turning the tables on its rivals.
8 I may receive some criticism for my remarks about Victorian Labor but the fact is corruption is corruption, no matter the colour it comes in
9 Over the last two years, wages have grown by only four percent while company profits have increased by a massive thirty-two percent, eight times faster than wages.
10 Cabinet ministers on $400 000 a year talking about the need to reign in welfare. The same goes for penalty rate cuts. It was so important for people on $40 000 a year to take a pay cut. When the Senators discussing it were on $200 000 a year at least.
My thought for the day
“There are real known facts in the world”
Let’s start at the beginning. We knew the Liberals, in concert with their media arm, the Murdoch press, would launch a propaganda scare campaign against Labor’s very sensible, fiscally responsible, wealth-inequality battling policy to no longer give self-funded retirees cash they don’t need. How did we know? Because that’s what the Liberals and their media arm, the Murdoch press, exist to do. The sky is falling. Everyone is ruined. The economy will rise up like an angry god and smite us all for hurting those who have bestowed trickle-down wealth upon us. And so on and so forth.
I must admit, it’s a sad turn of events that the likes of Leigh Sales on ABC’s 730 is also playing this game, seeking out Lyle-we need those dividends to live-Essery, to show their sad sad faces on TV, to tell Labor how naughty and mean they are for hurting Jean and Lyle, who did nothing to deserve this. But that’s the thing. Jean and Lyle did do nothing to deserve this magical cash-back bribe from Howard and Costello, other than possibly considering voting for Pauline Hanson, and no one should be rewarded for that dirty idea.
[Former PM] Tony Abbott and a group of extreme right-wing thugs conducted one of the most vicious and destructive scare campaigns in modern history on deficit and debt — which has since doubled and even tripled, in some years … And they have been aided by the Murdoch press, which has acted as a cheer squad and echo chamber.
Increasing inequality has allowed Labor to start doing something it hasn’t done for decades – articulate a worldview.
- The claim: Deputy Liberal Leader Julie Bishop says the Abbott Government inherited the worst set of financial accounts in Australia’s history.
- The verdict: Large borrowings to finance Australia’s participation in World War I and World War II and the impact of the Great Depression led to much higher deficits and levels of debt than any government has experienced since. The Howard Government also inherited more gross and net debt and a higher budget deficit relative to GDP than the Abbott Government. Ms Bishop is wrong.
Labor heavyweight Anthony Albanese has delivered a stinging rebuke of the Abbott Government in parliament today, describing the Prime Minister as ‘one-trick Tony’, courtesy of his incessant negativity in opposition and government.
Speaking to an almost empty parliamentary committee room, the Opposition spokesman on Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism delivered a speech that was clearly pitched at the party faithful. Although this is one of those occasions where you can actually pick your party – both Labor and Liberal appear to be heartily sick of Abbott.
As all good ageing hippies should, Albanese began his speech with a reference to the Rolling Stones.
“Those great philosophers Jagger and Richards wrote and sang in 1965 ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’. Australian voters might be reminding themselves of this today as they consider the disappointment known as the Abbott Government,” Albanese said.
And then he got nasty.
“This is a government defined by disappointment, deceit and incompetence. The opposition leader who promised so much has morphed into a confused Prime Minister, a man rapidly sinking into the quicksand of his own negativity.
“Not only can he not lead the nation, he cannot even lead his own government, which is desperately split on policy and political direction and crippled by internal power struggles.
“The source of this government’s dysfunction is the cynical opportunism of its period in opposition.
“Most parties in opposition focus on holding governments to account and rebuilding their credibility by developing new ideas. That’s what Dan Andrews did in Victoria in the past few years. He made himself a participant in the battle of ideas and now he is Premier of Victoria.
“When the Abbott Government was in opposition its only focus was attacking the former Labor government.
“As Opposition Leader the Prime Minister transformed the Coalition into the Noalition, building his entire case for power on anti-Labor hatred and three word slogans.
“Everything about politics, and nothing about policy.
“That’s why the Tories have retreated to their comfort zone today. Without positive ideas, they’ve been forced to lean heavily on Tony Abbott’s regressive and punitive personal ideology, one that values individualism ahead of equity and opportunity.
“The Prime Minister’s negativity did make him a formidable opposition leader, but they make him a pretty bad Prime Minister.
“We now see that negativity is all he ever had. It is his only weapon. He is a one trick Tony.”
And you’ll note Albanese hasn’t even got to the part about Abbott’s broken promises yet. Or the budget.
“You can’t win the battle of ideas if you have no ideas. You can’t run an economy on three word slogans. You don’t create jobs by saying no to everything. And you don’t inspire people by misleading them.
“Before the election, the Prime Minister promised no cuts to health, education, pensions, the ABC or SBS. He promised no new taxes.
“In government he has cut $80 billion from health and education, slashed funding for the ABC and SBS and created new taxes, whenever people visit a GP or fill up their car at the petrol bowser.
“Rubbing salt into the wounds, he has since insulted the electorates’ intelligence with Monty Python-esque claims that he hasn’t broken any promises.”
And at this point, Albanese really got started, zeroing in on the Coalition’s real weak spot – virtually everything it’s done since it got in office.
“The Prime Minister is on the wrong side of history, his place defined not by leadership and forward thinking but by a sad yearning for a less equal and less progressive past. A place where average Australians pay a Medicare levy every week, only to be told they have to pay again to visit a doctor. A place where education is about entrenching privilege not spreading opportunity. Where climate science is derided and where a visiting US president’s praise for the splendor of the Great Barrier Reef is attacked by those opposite as an affront to our national sovereignty.
“It’s a place where our renewal energy target has been so successful that it has to be scrapped, where we have only one woman in the cabinet, where radio shock jocks and partisan newspaper columnists set the government’s political agenda, where bigotry is a right, where people communicate over ageing copper wire rather than 21st century fibre, a place where the long-faded trappings of our colonial past are revived through the re-introduction of the British honours system.
“The Abbott Government has misread the egalitarian nature of Australian culture. Australians care about the fair go. Part of what defines us is a generosity of spirit, one that embraces a sense of community and common interest.”
Which is all, of course, true.
But you might equally argue that the parliamentary wing of the Australian Labor Party has misread the electorate too, by installing Bill Shorten to the leadership position, rather than Albanese.
You might also wonder why this sort of parliamentary theatre is delivered to an empty committee room.
Either way, Albanese’s stirring speech suggests that Labor senses there’s more than a few drops of Prime Ministerial blood in the water, and they intend to finally start turning up the heat.
It’s the final sitting week of parliament for 2014… expect things to descend from here.
You can watch the full 10 minute speech on Albanese’s Facebook page here. Albanese moves onto transport and infrastructure, and a brief tirade on the G20.
Demonstrators hold a large Palestinian flag during a rally in Rafah
Australian Parliamentary Friends of Palestine group says international recognition is the only way to end deadlock and bring peace to Middle East
Australia must recognise Palestine as a separate state to help facilitate international peace, a Labor MP said.
Maria Vamvakinou tabled a motion in parliament on Monday calling for the government to support Palestine, in response to the UN international day of solidarity with the Palestinian people, which was on Saturday.
“On this day, we need to acknowledge and understand that the prospects for a two-state solution are increasingly dissipating and we are left with very few options,” Vamvakinou said in tabling the report.
“We are, potentially, embarking on a road map that leads to nowhere. Such a prospect will have horrendous implications not only for the Palestinians and the Israelis, but for the international community. Essentially there will be no peace for any of us.”
Vamvakinou, who co-convenes the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Palestine group, said international recognition was the only way to end the deadlock.
“Australia and indeed this parliament must now recognise the state of Palestine and Australia must vote yes at the UN for Palestinian statehood,” she said.
The motion had bipartisan support, with Vamvakinou’s co-covenor the Liberal MP Craig Laundy, speaking for the motion.
“The people of Palestine, for the last almost 60 years, haven’t had a fair go,” he said. “Imagine if you will, coming home this afternoon to your home, going to put your key in the door and it didn’t fit.
“You knock on the door. Someone you don’t know opens the door and they’re in your home. That’s what happened here, that’s what happened all those years ago. And a people have been displaced and fighting for an identity ever since.”
He accused lobbyists of hijacking the debate. “The things we discuss in this chamber should not be influenced by the lobby. They should be influenced by what’s right.”
Laundy told Guardian Australia that he is using his position as co-chair of the friendship group to “continue the discussion with my colleagues and try to progress the debate towards a meaningful, two-state solution”.
A number of countries – most recently, Sweden – have formally recognised the state of Palestine in a diplomatic push to get UN backing for a resolution on ending some Israeli settlements.
Three state branches of the Labor party – New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland – have adopted positions recognising Palestine, a move the head of the Palestinian delegation to Australia, Izzat Abdulhadi, calls encouraging. “We need international support … We’re not asking for the moon,” Abdulhadi told Guardian Australia.
He said he has regular dialogue with the government over the issue. “We’d like to have a Palestinian state based on negotiation [with Israel] … but it is impossible now,” he said.
Guardian Australia contacted the Israeli embassy for comment.
Relations between Australia and the Palestinian delegation have been strained for more than a year, since Australia softened its stance on Israeli settlements.
“This shift reflected the government’s concern that Middle East resolutions should be balanced,” the foreign minister, Julie Bishop, said in November 2013.
“The government will not support resolutions which are one-sided and which prejudge the outcome of final-status negotiations between the two sides.”
Supporters of Australia’s policy shift see it as vital for a more fair and frank discussion on the vexed Israeli-Palestinian issue within the UN, which they say is biased towards Palestinians.
What I’ve learned this week is that Labor leaders will always be more popular after their time in office. I think we’re already seeing this in the way that the public admire Gillard not very long after her opinion polls were as low as Gough’s. Because Labor reforms are enduring. They might not be perfect at the time, they might not go as far as the Greens would like them to, which is irrelevant when you consider the Greens don’t actually have to fight to turn ideas into policies. And of course Labor governments and oppositions will make mistakes and will be lambasted by their own supporters amongst others and will hopefully stick to their values in the end.
One thing I’ve learned about politics is that, like life, it’s complicated. I’m proud to stand by Labor while they keep fighting the good fight. Implementing good public policy isn’t about ideological purity. It’s about outcomes. Outcomes can be messy, ugly, and usually less than perfect and can make enemies of powerful people. Progress doesn’t often come about in a revolution – it can be just a preference over something worse. But any progress is better than no progress. And of course it’s preferential to be going forwards, however slowly, rather than backwards like we are under the Abbott government.
My support of the Labor Party isn’t about aligning my identity so closely to the party that the minute they do something I disagree with, my faith crumbles irrevocably and I turn my back forever on the movement and become bitter and twisted, and likely to lash out. I don’t hold the unobtainable expectation that the Labor party will be everything I want them to be all the time without fail. How is it even possible to be everything to everyone when everyone has different opinions about what this ideal looks like? Being a Labor supporter is about supporting progressive policies that align with my values. This means taking the good with the bad, disagreeing when you disagree and giving credit when credit’s due – all in equal measure.
I don’t think Gough got enough credit for his brilliant political career while he was in power, just as Labor gets no credit for their previous two terms, nor for the work they are doing in opposing Abbott. People always wait to say the nicest things about people after they’re dead – when it’s too late for them to appreciate the compliments. I keep this in mind while I watch in frustration modern Labor deal with the exact same situation. Gough supported Labor to the end. I’m happy to wait 30 years for Labor to get credit, as long as in the meantime, they keep reforming. Because it’s the progressive outcomes that are important. Far more important than what haters say today.