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Post Election Bananas

Right thats it, I bloody well give up. The left has lost its marbles once and for all. The proof is in the usually reliable Alan Ramsey's column in todays SMH. Instead of bagging Howard and his cronies, he come out with a load of old baba about the Senate. But as far as losing the plot goes, you can't beat the ALP with its insistent rhetoric on "getting closer to businesses". Forgive me for ever so slightly kicking the cat, but didn't the ALP lose because Howard has taken the workers away from the ALP. Well at the very least he won because he got more voters than the ALP. So how will pandering to around 200,000 people going to win the 2007 election? It bloody wont, that's how. Howard must be pissing himself laughing at the moment. Even with his evil IR laws to be passed through the newly unconstipated Senate, he has managed to wedge the ALP into possibly getting them through early. Opposing (not necessarily blocking) these laws is the one chance the ALP has got of getting back the roots of its movement. I have no qualm with passing the laws now so that they have a good run before the next election, but you don't come out and agree with them under the banner of "getting closer to business". If the ALP change their stance on this they will lose far more than they will gain.

Update: Thank fuck for that.

Thankfully there is a balance on the marble shortage. This morning on AM, Tony Abbott completely lost the plot. His faithful underling and most annoying little tit in the Southern Hemisphere Chris Pyne is "opening the debate about abortion". Apparently there is now a "public debate" about funding and timing of the "abortion epidemic". Where the are these public debates that I keep missing out on? I have taken to hiding in a bush at the local village green on the off chance of bumping into one (there rests the case for the defence). Anyway the story goes: Said lackey floats story on abortion funding and timing, Minister says "there is a public debate and we'll see where that goes", Minister does not confirm or deny that there is a change in government policy, Minister is asked whether he has talked to Howard about this, Minister shuts the fuck up. That's right, there was a hell of a lot of stony dead silence as Abbott just clammed up.
MATT BROWN: What's the Prime Minister's view on this? Have you spoken to him about it?
TONY ABBOTT: I have lots of conversations with the PM on lots of subjects.
MATT BROWN: Has this been a subject, this important issue, an issue in which you're trying to build a constituency for change?
TONY ABBOTT: Matt, I don't ask you about conversations which you have with your colleagues and you will kindly return the compliment.
MATT BROWN: Is it too sensitive an issue for you?
TONY ABBOTT: (pause)
MATT BROWN: Minister?
Minister, is there any work being done in your portfolio, in your department, to examine this issue of abortion?
TONY ABBOTT: (silence)
Not a peep, not a drop of vitriol. Just the sound of a marble dropping onto asphalt.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Probing Brains

There has to be a gag in this. Elsewhere: Dave comes to a startling conclusion about Devine, Chris urges Howard on, Psephite goes off her rocker, Adam shows how the ALP factions fared, Rob is pissed off with the ALP. What is it about the left that allows such dissention? Why don't we ever see the right criticising anything that the Howard clan do?

Redundant Human Species Found

A hobbit like long extinct species of human (dubbed homo tenpercentus) has been found on the shores of Lake Burly Griffin (real story here via VM). Scientists have discovered that the creature liked to have the odd day in the sun at the expense of the rest of its tribe, and even near extinction this hominid behaved as if it was still relevant.


Mummy, the unions are going to get me

How did I miss this utter shite from Albrechtsen yesterday in The Ex-Australian. This time it is an attack on unions. We start off with Janet's wonderful metaphorical skills:
HAS anyone noticed the elephant in the middle of Labor's caucus room? Big, grey and seemingly immovable, it's called the union movement. Since Labor's devastating election loss, Mark Latham and the ALP have been skipping around it, looking to lay blame on anything but their ties to the union beast.
I can almost see it Janet, snuffling around like a big grey immovable er beast. Why the monstrous vision of unions Janet? Please, go on....
Let's suppose you own a pub, a bottle shop or a newsagency. A thief walks in, threatens and injures an employee, and steals the day's takings. Imagine that a union can bring a criminal prosecution against you for failing to provide a safe workplace.
Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try. Imagine that a union has arcane powers to summon demons. What is the basis of this legal fantasy where a small shopkeeper gets his arse sued? Well...
In 2002 the Public Service Association of NSW prosecuted the Roads and Traffic Authority over the explosion of an LPG bottle. The RTA was fined $90,000. Half went to the union. The next year the same union sued the Department of Education over attacks on teachers by violent students. The department was fined $160,000. Half went to the union. In the same year the Finance Sector Union prosecuted ANZ Bank over an armed robbery. The bank was fined $156,000. The union received half.
Oh I see, the verdicts went against small time operators, which could be YOU! Where were the thieves Janet? How much was the "day's takings" that were stolen? You wouldn't be just stretching reality a tad here would you? Unions do lose cases incurring losses you know.
Remember that some, though not all, of these unions pump money into the ALP – the party in government in NSW. Since 1995 the FSU has donated $274,540.84 to the NSW branch of the ALP.
Of course unions donate to the bloody ALP. For 2003 total union funding, if you want to get picky about it was $4.9 million. But other funding for the ALP (businesses etc) was $3.3 million less than the liberals. Equity mate, equity. The liberals receive bungs from the shadowy Cormack Foundation, the ALP get wedges from the unions.
Workplace safety is a serious issue. But taking it seriously requires unbiased, independent prosecutions.
Oh dear, don't go defaming the judiciary again Janet. So what would happen in this brave new legal world where an employer breached OH&S laws resulting in the injury of a worker and the worker neither had the skills nor the finance to get through a barrage of red tape razor wire to sue the bastards?
Federal Labor cannot hope to convince voters of its economic credentials until it detaches itself from the union teat and confronts the need for industrial relations reform.
OK, we'll do a trade. The ALP will swap unions if the Liberals get of the fat leprous teat of exploitative corporations that would not give a shit about safety if the unions didn't hold them to account. And so ends another episode of the Scary World of Janet Albrechtsen, a place where hyperbole and fear seep through the oily rag that is The Ex-Australian.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Downer: Eds under the bed

Downer has claimed that the media were tipped off before the bomb blast because they arrived on the scene within minutes. The blast was near the Australian Embassy, opposite which is the hotel where most of the media are staying (you remember - the hot spot that John Martinkus got kidnapped from), but then proximity doesn't get the RWDBs going like a good old media conspiracy. For more info see Suki, and the reasoning behind this later Downerism is explained on Crazybrave.

Monday, October 25, 2004

ALP Frontbench

So Swan got the nod as Shadow treasurer, oh dear oh my. Smith got some weirdo role including IR which will put him up against the charismatic Kevin Andrews, whom my long dead pet rabbit Fluffy could beat in the referential power stakes. On the good side easy peasy Albanese has been promoted to the Environment and Plibersek is looking after the work, play balance. Crean has been moved to trade which also sounds fair enough as he should have easy wins against Mark Vale. Hopefully this will be enough cake for everyone and the squabbling can stop, that includes you Tanner. Fear not, this infighting will be trumped by the squadrons of malevolence as soon as the "few months" apprenticeships expire for Turnbull and Robb. Maybe one of them will signify the end of rampaging Alex Downer's world tour of abuse, bringing peace to the region. As for the other, maybe a shift of Hill from defence is on the cards. No matter what happens, we won't see Red Kez on the 7:30 Report saying, "And now in our Canberra Studio, longserving backbencher, Malcolm Turnbull/Andrew Robb".

Comments to Haloscan

The jury has spoken and I've moved the comments to Haloscan. On a two party preferred system Haloscan got 69% of the votes.

It's Tuesday: Wankers day

The floodgates of wankerdom open every Tuesday. In the SMH its Gerard Henderson (already tackled by Rob Corr), the Daily Telegraph its Piers Akerman, but my pick of the wankers this week is Greg Sheridan from the Australian. The banner looks promising enough, " Family First a sign Lucky Country is going the American way" lulls me into believing that a diatribe against all things Goddy and US is on the way. Not so. First of the bat, he denounces the claim that John Howard is not a cultural Americaphile because his middle name is Winston. Well Greg as you say, maybe Howard had fuck all to do with picking his middle name. Greg then claims that Australia has been "pregnant with a Christian Right for years", implying that we have been screwed at some time in the past. Then onto Family First (who I thought had no link whatsover to Christianity), and a peek into the future with a vision from America:
The American Christian Right is much demonised in the Australian media, but within the US it is a perfectly normal, mainstream force. It has not turned the US into a theocracy nor curtailed civil liberties. It has injected a strong values discussion into national politics.
Beg to differ old stock, the Patriot Act is a curtailment of civil liberites, and when the POTUS bangs on about God at every available opportunity you have a theocracy. It has injected strong values into politics, but are they morally right values. It has banned the education of evolution in certain states (because although while omnipotent, God couldn't have possibly created evolution - it's just too damn tricky)
There are about 50million US evangelical Christians. They are highly committed, with a high church-going rate, and their churches have become centres of social and political as well as religious organisation. Australian Bible-based churches are also committed, evident in the growth of Christian schools. They are a social movement that seeks political expression. That's called democracy.
Which means there are around 250 million non US evangelical Christians, so ipso facto the God botherers should be ignored. Thats called democracy. And now a cracking stat from Sheridan:
Australia's national wealth is now $5trillion, which is $250,000 for every man, woman and child.
Of course this would be more true if we lived in a socialist society where the wealth was distributed fairly, but we do not. I have a wife and 2 kids so where is our cool $1 million dollars? My sister in law's family is 6, so they are obviously wealthier than me to the tune of $500,000. Onto MacMansions (and the right call us elitist). While Sheridan states that:
The McMansion suburbs are now politically detribalised. Labor can never count on them automatically again, nor indeed can the Liberals.
it doesn't stop him from speaking on their behalf and politically pigeonholing them:
They are defined by concern for their homes and their mortgage payments, social conservatism on crime and education, patriotism and support for our armed forces, and interest in local issues.
thus contradicting himself. And to finish off we have a left field statement about cultural diversity:
And here's a point on ethnic diversity. This year's epic NRL grand final, in which the magnificent Bulldogs triumphed over the Sydney Roosters, was a historic first. All the points for the winners were scored by Muslims (Hazem El Masri and Matt Utai). Nobody noticed, and there's no reason why they should. But it's a social indicator nonetheless. Just as in the US, professional sport integrates very fast, in terms of race and religion, because it emphasises performance, not background.
So as sport integrates cultural diversity quickly based on performance, can we see the Christian Right power bloc adopt this philosophy? Or will it be, don't worry Muslims, you have a couple of footy players, leave running the country to us.
Aspirational voters come from everywhere. An idea born in the US, we may produce an even better version of it here.
Like scrap the concept. So according to Greg: Aspirational voter = Evangelical Christian who lives in a MacMansion. Cockhead.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Relax - with Julia Gillard

As a couple of savvy blogs have pointed out (CB and ML, original story here) I like to relax in style.



Now that I have a bit more time on my hands than expected, I thought I'd share another couple of candid snaps with you. After a lie down at the beach I like to relax in the pool (and see how long I can hold Kevin Rudd's head under water).

Then what better way to cool down than to rest your sling backs on an iceberg.


And for evening entertainment, I like to get up close and personal with a bit of arc welding.


Finally, its back to work and another question time.



So remember, don't compromise form for function when you need to unwind.

Priorities, priorities

I was looking at the Hillsong website over the weekend just to get a taste of salvation and even though I was fully expecting to see things that would make my toes curl and my blood boil, I never expected this. Guess who took time out of a busy schedule to open the Hillsong Stadium in 2002? Who was kind enough to rush from a trip to the Bali bombsite the day before, and to find a window while comforting relatives of those recently deceased? I'll give you a clue, the Hillsong MP for Greenway works for him. That's right, just one week after the devastation at the Sari nightclub, John Winston Howard was busy cutting ribbons in the Hills District. No mention of that one on his website

Slow Monday

Its Monday and as usual the news is slow, but I feel obliged to put finger to keyboard anyhow. AM are tipping the coveted Shadow Treasurer position will go to either Kevin Rudd or Wayne Swan after Julian Gillard has pulled out. Wayne Swan? I thought the ALP wanted to get their economic crudentials in order and win the next election, not install another hack from the shelf who's only talent is to scare small chidren and household pets. Perhaps they are relying on this dubious new "econothingy" portfolio that may go to Stephen Smith. Gillard should have been a shoe in for this role, she performed very well going toe to toe against Abbott (the next treasurer). Swan on the other hand had trouble vanquishing that titanic witmaster Kay Patterson. Tomorrow will see the final result, and the beginning of the reign of Stephen "Dodgy Geezer" Conroy as Shadow (of Faulkner) Leader of the Senate. So if Rudd gets the nod as Treasurer, who will fill the role of slapping Downer around the head and stealing his lunch money? I'll put a lobster on Crean down at Conroy's offshore bookies, no questions asked.

The other big news was the $9 million payout to the Hardie boys, triggered by a change of job title last month. Of course the momey was paid out in "everyones best interests". And even though the former CEO has resigned, he will be staying on as a consultant. With business acting as ethically as this, perhaps now is the time to look at the whole IR question. Companies have shown again and again that given free reign, everyone benefits. Wages, employment and productivity go up, everyone is happy.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Indi Panopoulos, I've chundered

Sophie P turned my milk sour this morning as she strutted about on the Insiders. This time it was how voters were not mug punters, able to see the labor "mirage" for what is was. Bollocks Sophie, you and your bile have spoilt my rice bubbles, snap crackle and shite is their cry now as they sink into curdled cream.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Waterfront 2: Qantas

The 7:30 report last night ran the story. Qantas want to relocate staff to London to save $18 million, meanwhile the directors have voted themselves a 66% pay rise (almost enough to cover the saving) and they made a $960 million dollar profit this year. The flight attendants union is on course to strike, and Qantas are training replacement labour. Big business once again is totally ignoring any social responsibility to its workers. Qantas is complaining that Virgin Blue's staff costs are up to 15% less. Two points: Qantas market themselves as a quality airline (Virgin don't) placing their niche in the more exclusive segment - therefore charging more. Second point: Qantas workers are 50-70% unionised, Virgin 30-40% - doesn't that show that unions are responsible for higher salaries AND better quality work?

Sydney GroggBlogging '04

Shit name, as it implies it will only happen once a year whereas all other cities meet up all the time. That aside, it promises to be an interesting night with people from both sides of the 'sphere, good and evil. I hear that there are 300 people showing up so far, and since they're probably all young cool (although my wife reckons it'll be more like a Star Trek convention) whippersnappers I may turn up to add a grumpy old bastard element. For more details have a gander at Ausculture.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Downer, don't talk tough

Alexander Downer has slammed John Martinkus (who through Google is scoring me a few hits for some reason) for his comments about his abductors. Martikus said:
"(From their perspective) there was a reason to kill (British hostage Ken) Bigley, there was a reason to kill the Americans; there was not a reason to kill me (and) luckily I managed to convince them of that."
Now without in anyway agreeing with these people that go around beheading people, surely this is not a statement that justifies their actions. He is simply saying that from their point of view they did not have a reason to kill him. The proof is that if they did, Martinkus would not have a head to issue comments from. It is simply a statement of fact.

The Flute Predicts - Update

So far a couple of predictions are coming true (to which I'll add that Saddam will have "an accident" maybe suicide, before he stands trial). As Completely Biased points out, despite losing Larry Anthony's seat there are no signs that Ando is going to stand down. And now to startling news of my prediction on abortion. Tassie Liberal Senator Abetz says he supports the ending of funding for "social convenience" abortions. His definition of "social convenience" includes all circumstances except where the woman's life is in danger. How did this "leader" come to this conclusion? Well he followed the results of a Festival of Light survey. I've seen criticism of Neilsen and Newspoll, but surely the FoL survey of people without opposable thumbs is going to give an ever so slightly FUCKING BIASED RESULT!!! So what other policies can we expect to see from Abetz. Seeing as this lot are into diminishing women's rights, how about: Married women should not be allowed to work!

Source
:
" Women wanting to be home with their children is a good sign, not only of biology, but of moral disposition. It's a good sign, as well, that more and more women are discovering the lies of feminism: that what really matters are those moments with the family - not reaching the next rung on the corporate ladder."

Anyway you get the picture and I'm tired of reading this supernatural kooky crap. Look at FoL if you really want to. Or call (08) 8223 6383 if you want to make a donation.

Religious Amnesia - Harris Style

A while ago on Lateline Tony Jones asked Peter Harris the following:
TONY JONES: You are a prominent member of the Assemblies of God yourself, aren't you?

PETER HARRIS: I don't know if I'm a prominent member, I'm a member of the Assembly of God Church, but you know, Family First established itself to represent family values in Australia and that's how we promoted ourselves and obviously there were other representations throughout the campaign
Well according to the AOG Winter 2004 edition of NOW! magazine you are a very prominent member old son. Harris has his own spread on page 6 detailing his Christian Business Group - BGMI, and it's new program aimed at scizotypals, "Movers & Shakers" (sue him Wil). Scary power and cash grabbing aims of this program include:
"..a stream of unconditionally committed givers and influencers that will lead the next wave of Christian influence in the nation."
Brainwashed people acting as influencers?
"God is stirring the hearts of key people across the nation....He is equipping elite forces who are positioning themselves to influence entire communities and cities for Christ."
Elite forces, does that mean me and other lefties? Or has he managed to find the A-Team? (of course they would have to come up with an amusing ruse to get BA on the plane from LA). Could it be Sandline?
"This is about the future of a nation and influencing it with godly leaders who are passionate about becoming relevant and impacting upon mainstream society"
So get power, then make everyone in your image?
"This is our opportunity to equip ourselves for a time when Christian leaders will have unprecedented influence in our society"
How many more times is this guy going to say "influence". Mummy, I'm scared.
"I have a personal burden that we are to raise 100 Kingdom minded wealth builders and influencers across Australia over the next five years, people who unconditionally sow into their local church and become influencers for Christ at the gates of our cities"
Aha, is Harris alluding to cold hard cash being pumped into the church?
"Imagine a future generation . a Joshua or Daniel generation . that has been fast-tracked to reach their full potential and who will ensure there is a gush of supply to their local church and a capacity to become top level influencers in their secular pursuits to win a generation to Christ"
He sure is. We need rich zombies to give us more money. Oh yes, and influence - especially in "secular" pursuits, I wonder what he could be alluding to. This article was written before the election, so Harris wouldn't be the first one to forget his calling when asked by Antichrist Jones. But wait, there's more. On page 8, there's an exclusive interview with members of the Family First Party. Remember them? The party with no (legal) links to the Assemblies of God? Under the banner of "Families are First, says new political party" we have an article that makes Dorothy Dix look like a mad interrogator in a James Bond Movie. I won't bother reprinting the toss here, read it for yourselves. So if the AOG is not connected to Family First then why is it the only political party to get a mention in their rag. Oh, wait a second, silly me. On page nine there's a nice puff piece on Peter Costello and his visit to Darps favourite hideout "Hillsong".
"We need to return to faith and the values which have made our country strong." Federal Treasurer Peter Costello declared to the 22,000 strong crowd on the opening night of Hillsong Conference 2004.
For a fuller, and perhaps not such a one sided report look at this Lateline transcript for the full Costello Hillsong story. I thought I was stretching it a bit when I suggested that the FFP may be backed by the Liberals, now I'm not so sure.

Just to recap, in the Assemblies of God official newsletter we have the Chairman of the FFP (and BGMI) encouraging programs to gain "christian" influence in secular (political) pursuits, then we have an advert for the Family First Party. And he and others say there is no link? I can pull my own plonker thank you very much.

The rest of this mag contains "cool" stuff for kids and advertising. Perhaps the most surreal of the products on offer is "Mulga Bills Dinkum Aussie Guide to the Bible". Misogynist stories include:
  • If Noah had been an Aussie
  • Why did God create sheilas
  • Samson and delicious
And then the real kicker on the last page. A Smart Saver cash-management account administered by Australian Christian Services (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Assemblies of God). So now they can cream money off you even without the hassle of direct debit. See also my thoughts on why this is a danger. For the rest, have a look at the archives.
I can't wait for the Spring edition!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Gratuitous self aggrandisement

The Daily Flute has just topped 10,000 hits since I started measuring (Aug 31st) with 5000 unique visitors (although as each of the 3 stats things gives a different answer, I'll take the highest). Though measly compared to Backpages 300,000 per month I'm not complaining, especially as I seem to be just about weathering the post election slump. To all who've contributed and given feedback I am eternally grateful. As a thankyou present take a look at Spiderman reviews crayons (via The Fix).

Bling Crosby

Former Australian Liberal Party director Lynton Crosby has "Gone Fishin'" to manage the British Conservative Party's election campaign in the run up to next year's election. For anyone who thinks that the ALP is in disarray, look at the Tories for textbook squabbling. Since being thrashed in the 1997 election (Labour 419, Tories 165 seats) they dumped Major and brought in this weird grown up foetus thing with a deep voice - William Hague. His Yorkshire brogue and "Save the Pound" campaign made huge inroads in the 2001 election (Labour 412, Tories 166). He was dumped in favour of Ian Duncan-Smith or IDS as he was known who was not enough of a puncher in the opposition role and only got the job by a fluke. Enter Michael Howard, one of the last of the Thatcher Bridgade. Old, authoritarian and crap. During each leadership ballot, factions have fought against giving the nod to Kenneth Clarke (who isn't that bad really although he is a lard arse) or Michael Portillo (who used to be gay, but is much better now). Even after the hammering Blair has had over Iraq, it looks as though his personal unpopularity is not equating to Labour Party unpopularity. There is no way Howard can win next year (writing that sentence feels so good), so Lynton is on an easy junket with taking this job. Some tips for Lynton in his new role:
  • The British love Americans, play the Uncle Sam card
  • Revive the memory of Thatcher, she is kindly revered
  • Get closer to Europe, particularly the French
  • Don't worry about the pound, try the slogan "We swapped our pounds for kilos, lets swap the pound for euros"
  • Encourage water companies (that Howard helped to privatise) to hike prices again, the poms can then justify poor hygiene
  • Show some clips of every Ashes series since 1989 to show the UK that winning spirit
  • Make ads "A vote for Blair is really a vote for Brown"
  • Promise you'll never give schoolchildren free milk
  • Bring back the poll-tax, it was fair and popular
  • Use the local lingo, Wog and Paki are scampish terms, just like in Australia
And don't forget to double check the number of zeros on your bank deposits, the UK banking system is pants.

Gittins on Howards Women

I had a go earlier at explaining why income splitting is a bad thing, today Ross Gittins has a stab.

2000 Revisited

It looks as though those dastardly Republicans are back to their old tricks for the upcoming election. For more, see Weezil, Corr, Psephite and feministe. Thankfully we vote in a country with a security measure of, "is this the first time you've voted today luvvy?", and the government can win purely on bullshit without having to resort to voter fraud.

NATSEM Report damns Howard

The SMH is running an "analysis" (via AAP) of the NATSEM report on low income families. Read the SMH for the positive spin, read my rant for the negative (there you go - balance). This report deals only with the bottom quintile of income earners in Australia.

  • The report only covers people with children. Hence anyone who does not qualify for FTB is not included. Self employed workers or people with zero or negative income are ignored. In short, this is the best case report for the lowest quintile.
  • Unsurprisingly, the job growth in this sector in part-time (growing from 6.4% in 1997 to 10.6% in 2004)
  • The number not in the workforce has increased (growing from 43% in 1997 to 48.8% in 2004)
  • The number of full time employees has fallen from 19.5% to 17.5%
  • The average (and remember - beware of means!) income of the bottom quintile is $554 compared to the national median of $972 per week.
  • The real mean income of the quintile has increased by $87. The CPI increase for food and education are significantly higher than the combined CPI used to calculate the "real" figures in this report (Combined = 20%, Food = 27%, Education = 44%).
  • The percentage of increase of the lowest quintile was 18.5% - including the 5% average increase following the 2004 budget. I.E it really was 13.5%. The total median increase for Australia was 18% with obviously less impact of the 2004 budget.
  • The gap has not closed between poor and middle income families.
  • "...confirm that the income gap between middle families and the poorest families has remained fairly constant between the late 1990s and today. The modest gains made by the bottom quintile between 1997/98 have mostly been eroded by 2004/05."
  • Incomes from employement fell for the bottom quintile in relation to the overall mean.
And some tasty nuggets from the conclusion of the report that the SMH writer obviously didn't read:
While average real incomes for the bottom quintile rose between 1997/98 and 2004/05, the average incomes of bottom quintile families have not moved closer to the incomes of all families.
The fall in real incomes of hypothetical families with older children (where those older children are not in the labour force) provides some evidence that low income families not targeted by improved transfer payment arrangements are at risk of falling behind.
In addition, increases in average income for the bottom quintile do not necessarily translate into improved standards of living for this group, especially in light of the increases in indirect taxes associated with the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July 2000. 1 Because low income families often spend all of their income (or more, if they are drawing on their savings), price increases are likely to have had a greater proportional impact on the types of families focused on in this study than on more affluent families. Increased expenditure has the potential of eroding some of the benefits of improved transfer payments to lower income families.
Many children continue to live in families with no wageearner, and rises in real incomes for the families of these children have not brought them any closer to the economic well-being enjoyed by average Australians.
Even allowing for the assumptions on "real" income growth or the test unit, this report is damning of the last 8 years and clearly shows that economic growth is not translating into prosperity for the poorest Australians. They are being left behind, while the top earners run away with the cream. The government's policy seems to be to run down the poor, then provide a quick boost and run them down again. Meanwhile move them from full-time to part time work and reduce their wages. Trickle-down does not work. Read the report for yourself an then try to understand how the hell this can be reported as "Incomes: the poor get richer".

Update: Even ACOSS is swallowing this one. The late catch up provided to some in the 2004 budget will erode over time and does not address the real issues.

Again Alex, this time with feeling

Doddering Daiquiri Dickhead Downer is at it again. This time it is the appaling unconcern shown when an Australian journalist was kidnapped in Iraq and held for 24 hours before being released.

ALEXANDER DOWNER:
In any case, he's been released and he's in perfectly good condition.

Obviously, we're concerned about the safety of Australians and we do ask that Australians don't go to Iraq. Some do. When they're in Iraq some of them take risks.

In this particular case, the journalist went out to investigate a story, I understand, and went to a part of Baghdad that he was advised not to go to, but he went there anyway, and journalists do do that sort of thing, but he was detained, but just for 24 hours and subsequently has been released.
The words only paint half the picture. The tone provides the other half. I can only describe it as the voice of someone who was a near neutral in a footy match who wanted one side to win in a half arsed way, and that team lost. It was disgraceful. And, it was bullshit. SBS reporter John Martinkus was kidnapped outside a hotel that was opposite the Australian Embassy. John spoke on AM this morning and I'll put down his version when the transcript becomes available. So remember, Citizens of Australia, next time you go abroad, if Downer doesn't agree with you (on matters such as East Timor - in case you forgot, that was the one where Downer and Howard insisted on waiting for a UN request before taking action, how times have changed), he won't give a toss about your safety.

Update: The grab I was waiting for from AM was actually on Lateline last night. Here is John Martinkus' version:
MARK WILLACY: Alexander Downer tells us you were in a place you were not supposed to be and that's why you were taken.

JOHN MARTINKUS: Well, that's ridiculous, because I was in the street outside the only hotel in Baghdad occupied by journalists which is directly across the road from the Australian Embassy. I was nowhere dangerous, I was doing nothing dangerous, I was not putting myself at risk. I was grabbed by insurgents, who are very well organised and know exactly what they're doing.
SMH has the story here

Where's my Lithium: Costello

It's not only bi-polar Pete that is forecasting tough times ahead (weren't oil prices high before the election too?). BIS Shrapnel is predicting a recession in 2007/2008 due to lack of business investment and skilled labour. One cannot believe the credibility of this report as it also estimates that interest rates will rise to 8% by late 2006. As you have been told (and told and told), this is an impossibility under a coalition government, especially as this would be higher than the 7.5% (on a downward trend) that Howard inherited from Keating.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Not rocket science 1

Government flags unconditional medicare rebate increase, doctors flag fee rises.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Conservativism is cool zzzz

Tim Blair practically soils his dacks over this pap. Is the right so desperate to appeal to the youf because they realise their base is dying off. Rest assured oh vampires of the right that the youf are living with mummy and daddy longer than ever thanks to affordable housing, and thus do not even give a shit about interest rates, let alone the rantings of Devine and Albrechtsen.

By the way I hope I spelled conservativism right, otherwise Weezil will get narked. Remember kiddies, fuck the policies - it's cool to like John Howard.

Oh God - The Senate!

God restores the balance

FFP are confident of winning an upset Tasmanian Senate Seat. By the way does anyone know of a way of letting people who are reading this in a news reader that there is a piccy in this post?

Lies, Damn Lies

So Australia has $250,000 for every man, woman and child does it? That must mean we are all happy and loaded. But hang on a minute, the top 200 individuals in the BRW wealth index account for $71.3 billion of that which uses up the "average" quoata for a mere 285,364 people (1.4% of the population). In other words, if we discount just 200 people the "average" wealth for each person drops to $246,435. I don't have the figures to hand but can you imagine what the wealth would drop to if we discounted the top 1,000,000 (5%) of the population? Are you getting the picture that these averages don't mean jack howard? The problem with this economic boom is that the distribution is lousy, debt funded and underpinned by inflated house prices (refer to very scary graph and discussion on income growth under Howard). Australia is apparently ranked at number 14 out of 104 countries (a slip of 4 spots in one year) for global competitiveness. Now which bastion of capitalism would be flying the flag at number 1? Finland! The US is second, and another low taxing dog eat dog country is at number 4 - Sweden! Verging on commie countries Denmark and Norway are are 5 and 6. So why is the American system always held up to be the best? Sure, taxes are low but demand outstrips supply for razor wire so you need all the money you can get. Done properly, high taxes, fair distrubution of wealth and quality education all add up to global competitiveness. What more could you want?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Flight DJ802: Utopia

Thankfully this is turning out to be better than my last flight. No jokes and japes from the flight crew on this early morning Sydney to Melbourne express. Perhaps the poor souls had a late night out at the Bourbon & Beefsteak. So with no "entertainment" I reach for the inflight magazine, "Voyeur". Geddit? Sounds a bit rude doesn't it? Sounds a bit like peeping through a keyhole to see a couple of flight attendants at it. Well open the covers and there is no keyhole, no flight attendants. Just reviews where there are no crap books, no films that should never have been green lighted and assorted Virgin Blue agitprop. In fairness to Voyeur it was voted inflight magazine of the year 2003, so it might have gone downhill (I hear the current holder is Aeroflot's "Aarrgh!"). But wait, behold on page 11 there's an interview with Hollywood starlet Christina Applegate (I must be getting old as I've never heard of her). Amongst plugs for her new film "Anchorman", there is a gem:
Do you remember when women had to struggle to get recognised in the workplace?

It really wasn't that long ago. I mean it was in my lifetime that women were treated this way and not all the doors were open for them.
Thus proving that Hollywood starlets have memories that make Tony Abbott look like Dr Cognita - The Human Hard Drive (for more see Sedgwick). Either that or she is an embryo and has yet to be born. Maybe she is referring to blokes literally holding doors open rather than the figurative glass ceiling type of door. Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe during this flight we have encountered some turbulence that has catapulted us into a parallel Earth. Not the Twilight Zone sort of plane struck by lightning parallel Earth with crappy stop motion dinosaurs. An Earth where all really are equal. A world where people don't pay over $100 for a t-shirt that advertises CK jeans just to show that they can afford to spend over $100 on a t-shirt (I think I'll go into business making personalised t-shirts with your bank balance written on them, it sort of takes the guesswork out of who to mingle with). A world where all have the means to acheive greatness.

Nah bollocks, when this plane lands I'll still be in Howard's Australia.

Lucifer Jones

Tony Jones squarely took the piss out of Family First the other night on Lateline. Interesting reading.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

ALP back on track


Thanks to Rob Corr for getting me the right Michael Costello.

Sword prices soar

Simon Crean has joined John Faulkner on the backbenches. Somehow I don't think there will be the same plaudits as these in tomorrow's papers. By the way and I got an indication of how shite the NSW ALP factional system can be when to my amazement Faulkner was number 2 on the ticket. Being an anally retentive below the line voter allowed me to stick him at number one, where the then Leader of Opposition in the Senate should have bloody well been.

Meanwhile Janet Albrechtsen says, "Conservatism is cool." Thanks Janet, now go and finish the dishes love. Just in case you are a new reader here is my previous rant about the women's champion.

Betting Tip

I have suggested to political pundits Centrebet that they open a book on whether interest rates will rise in November. If they do, you could gamble a months repayment on your mortgage at say $1.20 and if it comes off, you'll have enough winnings to service the increased burden for a few months.

Wind and Sedgwick have moved

I thought something was amiss. Sailing Close the Wind and There Aint No Sanity Clause have suffered a server loss. Their new addresses are http://scttw.uni.cc and http://sedgwick.uni.cc respectively.

The Fall and Rise of Community

Humans are social animals. Yet today, through decades of targeted American style marketing, people place more value on consumer products than they do on each other. Gone are the days where social capital was the major currency of life, it has been replaced by the cold hard greenback. Now a persons capacity to function in an unspoken reciprocal relationship with their communities is less of a factor of perceived value than their bank balance, what car they drive, and how many plasma TVs they own. It is only natural, after all we have been bombarded with "Buy this, feel good" messages for years. People have become insular, focusing on their own immediate needs and the needs of their family in a materialistic sense, rather than looking at the gains that can be made from socialising with others. But deep down, people need more than this. Reality TV was the first stop gap, why talk over the fence to your neighbour when you can watch them on TV. You can even relate to them by voting them off if you don't like them. And boy, if there was a 24 hour channel of neighbours fighting and police beating up black people then sign me up straight away. But people need more than this. Somehow this Coca-Cola Sony Big Brother lifestyle is not enough, particular in areas where a sense of community used to exist. People need to be reaffirmed and made to feel good about themselves, so what better way to exploit this than for a government to espouse divisive policies. You with your two kids and a dog, you are right, that single parent is less right, the unemployed woman without a DVD player is a bit iffy, and that dark skinned poofta fella is just plain wrong. Don't condone their actions as they are a threat to your way of life. But these policies only satisfy self-esteem, not social instinct. Enter American style evangelistic organisations such as the Assemblies of God! Now people can satisfy that missing urge to be part of a community. What is more, this community reaffirms that your way of life is not only right, but others will burn in hell for eternity. The congregation can gather and get their quick fix of old time community, sing some songs, praise the lord, and if they're lucky maybe that prayer to pay off the mortgage and buy a new dishwasher will be answered. So now everyone is happy, big business is happy because their consumerism has the gold seal stamp of approval from God Almighty, people are happy that they belong and they are right, politicians are happy because they now have an easy to read block of society to peddle their wares to. But unlike traditional communities, membership is highly conditional. First, you have to believe that Jesus is the saviour and that the bible is the word of God - suitably twisted to suit your lifestyle which makes the pill easier to swallow. Second, membership comes at a very high financial price, both at the collection plate (by the way if you're sitting down, let the person next to you sit down if they want to sign a cheque - actual quote from good old Sydney Channel 31 RIP) and through various merchandising that allows you to get closer to Jesus. Once you are in, you are in, and the fear factor of being ostracised from this new home and lose part of your identity makes you buy more. This is not quite the same as the community my dad lives in where he happened to mention a manhole cover was cracked in the driveway, the next day a new one magically appeared! So who are the real beneficiaries of this non-reciprocal arrangement? The people that run the organisation, the pastors, the boards, big business and of course those who inhabit the dark recesses of the market forces political right. And now the "preachers", not satisfied with having a sympathetic ear in the conservative politics, have taken it further by exploiting their one way social-capital to gain political power in the form of Family First. The wave of consumer lead religion and political myopia that has crossed the Pacific from our special relatives, the United States of America, is truly the most frightening phenomena that is occurring here, and in the Western world today. It is a potent force that will not be spent until victory or defeat, there is no room for compromise or collaboration.

In the spirit of balance, read Jim Wallace, an article which has the critical acclaim of both Tim Dunlop, "Jim Wallace should just fuck right off", and Ken Parish, "...fanatical bunch of sanctimonious, narrow-minded, sexually-repressed, god-bothering arseholes who want to impose their stupid, ignorant values on the rest of us decent, tolerant, pleasure-loving Aussies. They should piss off back to the Bible Belt of America, where all this ignorant wankery originated".

Towards 2007

Harry Hindsight speaks. The right define leftist elitism as the view that "we know best", that "people are stupid" and that this leads to policies that are out of touch. However the number one tag line for the election came from Howard - "Interest rates will always be lower under the coalition". Despite all major economists disagreeing with this, and a wealth of historical data to show this was false, Howard knew that voters would not check out the facts, and would tag along for the ride. On the other hand, Labor did nothing to counteract this spurious statement, perhaps relying on the media and voter's intelligence to see it was hogwash. So who thought who was stupid? The question is, do labor adopt this tactic in the future? Do they come up with a scare, that cannot be dissolved in a five second soundbite, and assume that people are dumb enough to swallow it? Would that make the ALP as "bad" as the coalition? Perhaps the policies just need to be simpler and on message. The handling of the tax policy with its weekly and annual tables was arcane. A simple tax cut for people earning less than $52,000 would have sufficed for the time being. Message: "Howard forgot you, we wont". Add to that a rejigging of Centrlink handling to reduce the family debt problem and you would have a simple policy that ensured everyone was better off. No income splitting, no retrieving the $600 Harvey Norman vouchers (which according to labor will disappear with indexation anyway), no complicated tables, and it would have costed roughly the same. On childcare, Howard's 30% rebate on expenses was a very easy pill to swallow. Compare that to Latham's one day free from 3-4 year olds plus a few books and some extra places - message lost. How about a 30% rebate and an increase in places to satisfy demand and say that without the extra places, the cost of childcare will simply rise. On education, they should have publicised and mailed the private schools that stood to make gains under the ALP. Get the teachers and parents on your side. The ALPs policies were not a small target this campaign, they were "noodle nation" on steroids. I could go on, but that would be insulting your intelligence.

Meanwhile, Howard takes the humble approach, dampening suggestions of a coalition controlled Senate. This new found humility will have to be watched as it might just be a front for some strong legislation from July next year. I would suggest to the ALP that they start passing the blocked legislation straight way. These coalition bills need a good three years in action to take their negative effect on the population. Blocking until the second half of next year may well hand the government another term come 2007. Surely the ALP would have made more ground this time had they passed the 30% PBS increase, hence "allowing the government to do its job" while promising to scrap it if elected to government.

These bills include:

Family and Community Services Legislation Amendment (Disability Reform) Bill (No. 2) 2002 [No. 2] - scrapping disability payments for those who can work over 15 hours a week (currently the threshold is 30 hours)
National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits—Budget Measures) Bill 2002 [No. 2]- the 30% increase in PBS pharmaceuticals. A bill that the ALP should never have condoned, but should have passed straight away.
Trade Practices Amendment (Small Business Protection) Bill 2002 [No. 2] - an ongoing 25 year tussle over secondary boycotts and remedies.
Workplace Relations Amendment (Fair Dismissal) Bill 2002 [No. 2]- scrapping unfair dismissal laws for small businesses, thus giving workers unequal rights depending on their employer.
Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2002 [No. 2]- handing the media to Packer and Murdoch. OK, maybe hold off on passing this one.

For a starting point to research other blocked bills take a look at the Daily Bills list and go from there to the Bills Digests for the appropriate year. Let the bills flow!

The Flute Predicts....

Despite the strong interest rate crudentials of the Howard Government, the RBA will raise them in November.

The Senate will be renamed Synod, and a collection sack handed round at sittings.

Howard will be leader for the 2007ish election

John Anderson will stay on despite losing Larry Anthony's seat (oh no, what will happen to childcare? He was such a champion)

Draconian "anti-terrorism" laws will be passed during this term

Packer will own Fairfax by 2006

Medicare will become no more than a second rate system for the poor

The household debt problem will become a crisis by 2007.

Telstra will be sold (not that I really give a stuff anymore about that one)

Changes to how a non-profit organisation is defined will target non-Christian and anti-government rather than Christian and pro-government bodies.

A voucher system for education will be on the cards.

ABC funding will be slashed again.

Medicare funding for abortions will be reduced.

Saddam will have an accident or "commit suicide" before standing trail - Added 21/10/04

Some of these predictions are realistic and I hope some turn out to be scaremongering barmy old cack. In short, the means by which people can in a position to question the government will be reduced. With a reduced diversity in media, quieter voice for NGOs, education at a price, a friendly Senate, next time Howard bulldozes democracy (such as when Bush visited last year) - stories will be stifled, no question will be asked, and the elecorate will be in the dark. The Christian-Right influence (already in the coalition, and now coming to a Senate near you) will reduce peoples freedoms, and discriminate in the name of "family values". Working conditions will be reduced even more for people whilst being brainwashed with the message, "You've never had it so good" - (cut to commercial).

Elsewhere: Sheil considers jacking it in (don't be an arse), Lefty Hack Rob Corr is dismayed over the balls up in Victorian ALP Senate preferencing, Psephite ponders the autopilot now proesent in Australian democracy, SCTTW give advice aplenty for the major parties, Slattsnews highlights some gloating prose from the dark side. Thank Christ that the Spin Starts Here still makes me laugh with a totally our of order Idol wrap.

Back to Usual Business

In today's SMH Alan Ramsey summed up the way I feel about this dismal result today (via Counterspin). Meanwhile the infighting is about to erupt in the ALP with former Beasley advisor Michael Costello blaming Mark Latham for the "train wreck" result. I hope Latho comes out of this scrap intact, there is no denying that this result is an absolute disaster, but if he's given a united party behind him for a clear run to 2007, the ALP should make inroads. If there is any indication that he should stay or go, Abbott ironically says Latham has a God complex. Given Abbott's predication for forgetting meetings with men of religion, I am surprised he didn't say, "Mark who?".

Why all the sportsmanship?

Elections are not games of cricket or footy. They decide the future of the country, the cultural climate, the agenda for the future. Politically active people are usually passionate, they do what they do because they genuinely believe that their philosophy will make a positive difference, and the alternative will make a negative one. If after the results are in, we sit back and congratulate the opposition as if we have just lost a game of scrabble, then what were we advocating all along? Are we now saying that our principles would not have changed a thing? Yet the immediate reaction by the pollies, commentators and bloggers of the left is to to say "Well done Howard, well done Howard supporters you won the game". Bugger that. This is more than just a game. Pressure must be put on this administration from day one. No let up, no looking at the entrails. The opposition only has only July next year to be on message and be prepared to make the government accountable. Now that the Senate will be a mere rubber stamp the scrutiny that Senate debates and committees performs, and occasionally makes the headlines with, is gone. The opposition has to be stronger and more in your face than in the last 25 years. So stop the back slapping of the foe, the feeling of quitting, the crying, the relief at not being completely annihilated, and do your job.

Bob's Right - That Hurt

That really hurt. Not just like stubbing my toe. Labor were destroyed by an interest rate lie. I shouted at the telly during Howard's acceptance speech. How the hell could this happen? The low points of the night:
1) Howard increased his majority
2) Looks like a coalition + christian nutter majority in the Senate leading to family fun in July 2005:
  • IR laws sailing through
  • Cross media ownership laws going
  • Telstra sell off
Make no mistake, within 3 years Murdoch or Packer will own Fairfax, the ABC will lose even more money. By the time of the 2007 election the only "voices of reason" will be Red Kezza and Tony Jones shouting with a paper megaphone from a bus shelter. Even Anthony Green will have to work out his stats on an abacus. This is such a bad result for the country I cannot put it into words. Good points:

1) Howard will not go anywhere after this win, putting pressure on Costello and Turnbull to topple him.

Thats it, no more. Last night put 2007 in doubt as the coalition have increased their margins in the marginals. It is all so bad. Hopefully blogs will be onto these bastards, watching every move and revealing every lie, I know I will.

Howard's End: T -1095 days

And the fuckers have got the Senate too.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Flight DJ266: A knocking shop with wings

Fantastic I thought, my connecting flight from Brisbane is not delayed. No hilarious antics from Virgin Blue ground crew to put up with. I march across the tarmac whilst being alert for any suspicious lurkers, union reps, teenagers and terrorists and approach the plane. Ignoring, as usual, the soft porn logo on the front of the plane ("Syndey Slapper" I think the name was on this one) I march up the stairs. Before I continue, let me dwell on the soft porn aspect of the plane. What would be Bransons opinion if it was suggested that it was a sex object? "Tasteful", I imagine his reply would be. "Tasteful" is usually a word used to hide an embarassed woody, or an excuse given if your wife/girlfriend/fluff on the side finds a hidden stash of pornos, as in "But they're tasteful Jeanette". What would be the arguments against having a semi naked bloke on the front of the plane called "Darwin Diggler"? "Well its a bit poofy", or "Women are more beautiful". Now what gender would come up with these arguments? Anyway, I board the red throbber and take my seat. As usual my boss rings me, hence announcing to the other passengers that I am a dickhead who was not turned his phone off. Much shaking of heads and tutting. Forget JI, the real threat are those Scandinavian fundamentalists Nok i Ah. SPECTRE like genius has made sure that everyone carries a device that can blow up petrol stations, make you drive like you've sunk a keg, and crash planes. And if that doesn't work, you'll end up with a brain tumour. Then the fun begins, "Let me introduce my crew, Megan is from Salt Lake City. She has lost her accent but is still into polygamy. Any intersted blokes should approach her". Cue raucus cheering from majority male passengers. Oh I stand corrected, Virgin Blue are not sexist there's something for the ladies too, it appears that the male crew were former members of Manpower so we are going to be treated to Shannon clenching his bum muscles. No cheer from the blokes for that one, but I heard a squawky titter a few rows back. Give me strength. I've tried striking up a conversation with the blokes next to me, one who looks the result of an unholy union of Christopher Shiel and Tim Blair, and another who looks like he's going to give his wife a bit of rougher than normal treatment when he gets home. The sort who says, "Oh go on, your sister did". "So, what do you reckon will happen tomorrow?" is my opening gambit. Wife basher says, "Who knows, but at least the media have been impartial". Tim Sheil says, "I don't know, it will be close but Howard has a good record." Fucking magic I think, not only have I stepped on board a flying Rooty Hill Leagues Club, I'm sitting next to two brainless sheep. (Pause as I turn my laptop and dim the screen so that Chris Blair can't see what I'm typing.) Still they have come a long way since I left my book on a plane and had to go to the wittily named "Luggage Blues". The conversation went like this:
"What was the book called?"
"Baudilino by Umberto Eco"
"Albert who?"
"B-A-U-D-I-L-I-N-O U-M-B-E-R-T-O E-C-O'
"Ok, (on the walkie talkie to the gate) We have a passenger who's left a book on the plane. It's called Bodyline by Albert Cow"
other end of walkie talkie
"Bordello by Englebert Humberdinck?"
etc etc.

Shit, I better stop as this guy next to me has finished reading the job ads in the Fin Review and his eyes are wandering. Anyway, I'm sitting here waiting for my scotch and coke and I'm looking forward to the next act "Bendy Wendy".

Howard's End: T -2 days

I'm on the run at a webpoint kiosk at Brisbane airport, so nowt much to say. I'll probably be a tad busy tomorrow during the last day of the Howard government. Counterspin did a good summarisation of the Howard years, so have a read. Good luck to all leaflet droppers and booth manners and may the better man win. Good luck even to my MP John Murphy, I couldn't bear having that Sidoti geezer as my local rep, worse than Zammit by a country mile. Final observations and predications: ALP by 11, Nationals to lose 3 seats and Eden-Monaro to relinquish its status as bell(end)wether capital. Money running out. Bye folks.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Costello in Opposition Leadership Bid

The treasury has announced that the ALP tax policy will cost $500 million less than the ALP estimated. Costello said there was a $700m black hole. Now let me see if I can add this up (abacus whirring). Econoguru Prince Charles was only out by $1.2 billion! So not only do all major economists think Howard is having a tug over interest rates, his own treasurer has buggered up policy costings. Surely Costello can't be this incompetent? He is the best treasurer we have ever had isn't he? Methinks this is part of a last minute bid to lose the election to get the lib leadership, saddle the ALP with an economic crapout in the next term, and ride into power in 2007.

The "New" Post 11/9 World

Let me give you a personal perspective on terrorism. Half of my family are from Northern Ireland "bandit country". Go there now and you would be amazed by the degree of fortification of police stations. Think yourselves lucky that your local cop shop may be nothing more than a portacabin. In a small town of around 10 pubs, 5 catholic, 5 protestant the fireworks always flew on a Friday night. The violence spread to London and a pub I used to frequent in Ealing was bombed. This threat of dying from the indiscrimanant terrorism from both sides was very real. Yet somehow, people got on with their lives and were not afraid. Despite the many wrong doings of the Thatcher government, conjuring fear was not one of them. There was no "Vote for us or die" campaign. Contrast this to Australia where no attack has occurred on the mainland (although I'm not saying it wont) and we are scared shitless. Why is this? The rubbish bins have been removed in train stations (is this because governments think Osama "bin" Laden is a nickname for incenduary penchance? I hope there isn't a Mohmed Pub Falah out there). We are told to be alert, not afraid while the government is frightening the bejesus out of us. Howard wants us to feel secure as Australians while sticking a fire cracker up our clackers. The only reason I can think of is that the fear of America has spread here just as all other cultural exports, I wish I could offer something more intelligent. But then I wish the government could too.

Suspicious Device Destroyed at the ABC


Finally a crack team of graduates from Howards Spy School have destroyed the "arsehole" chair from the Insiders. Found within: a bottle of chardonnay, a bible and a mysterious butt clenching device.

As this is swiped from a work of art, here is the original context of the image which just seems to further its inexplixable power to render humans into pawns.

Gloves off from Latho

I'm just watching Brissenden on the Red Kezza report. At last, Latho has brought up Howards anti Asian stance in the 80s. I know plenty of "new Australians" that like Howard until I point out that he doesn't like "them". Hopefully this message will have an impact in Western Sydney. As I migrant myself I always have a bit of fun on polling day with the anti-immigration party hacks, who despite being "not-racist" will accept my pale pommy arse as an exception. Latho is now being grilled (under a Red lamp if you get my drift) and has just grown and matured during this campaign. Unfortunately the less learned of the population will probably be watching Inside Idol. Just as Bob Ellis said (paraphrasing) "Tony Jones destroyed Howard on Lateline over the children overboard affair, but no one was watching". Elsewhere: Backpages and Completely Biased out optimisticises me with the overseas voting figures. John Q misses John's calls. Look at the blogroll on the left hand side of the page (thats the side nearer the ESC key for the navigationally challenged visitors sent here by Tim Blair) for more blog gold (not blog safety net).

Howard's End: T -3 days

Howard claims there is a "whiff of the behavioral policemen about my opponent in this election campaign". Well there is a real stench of a desperate divisive prat about someone else in this race. And it will just hang around like the last little bit of dog poo you can't quite get off your shoe after treading on a liberal policy. Once again he trumpeted the "Policies will change, importantly in the area of industrial relations, the clock will be turned back perhaps 20 years." line, while not mentioning he has set back womens standing in the community back, well read a couple of Jane Austen novels and get the picture. Now if he'd have said "Labor will set pop music and fashion back 20 years" I'd be worried as I've lost my piano keyboard leather tie and Flock of Seagulls LPs. But industrial relations back to 1984? So is he seriously saying that after 8 years of a Fraser-Howard government they didn't get that right? Did the Silver Fox managed to screw up IR in one short year?

He also said "I don't hide behind false statements,". No, he hides behind the politicised beaurocracy that he will leave behind either on Saturday or in one year's time.

Meanwhile Latham says he'll reduce paedophilia by increasing jail terms. How about outlawing organisations that harbour these people?

Bugger me, my electorate of Lowe (you all know John Murphy MP don't you? The ALP pollie who writes me letters saying how he has tirelessly asked a couple of questions on notice in the House of Reps.) has been at the centre of a scandal involving a Liberal pamphlet falsely claiming that they have upped bulk billing rates to 100%. I can't wait to get back home tomorrow and use it to clean my shoes, I think I've stepped in something.

I'm still optimistic comrades - ALP by 13.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Brief, crap but quick recap of Insiders Special

Good things comes to he who waits, but crap turns up straight away, so here is the Insiders recap:

Good intro:
Children overboard
GG
Heffernen

Paul Kelly biased as fuck Akerman impression

Howard slams Fraser government on financial regulation. Same old negative crap.

Latham slams Hawke economic forum. No killer blow but positive.

Cut to swingers:
Get off my fucking telly

Cut to hacks: Crabbe, Price and Twat
Much coverage of betting odds: Note for ALP pessimists - remember the "smart" money was on a September election.
Twat: Vote for Howard
Crabbe: Bollocks
Price: Vote for Latham
Cassidy: Fancy a pint?

Cut to Talking Pictures:
Pictures of Latham being a lovable bloke, Howard being a knob. Latham looking like a fish, big signs. Bartlett bungie jumping into obscurity. As usual photohacks sit on the fence.

Cut to hacks:
Twat: Latham is a sectarian bastard.
Crabbe: Stuff of no consequence
Price: ALP has a good education policy
Cassidy: Shut up Piers.

Cut to adjournment debate:
Turnbull: Dodgy blue shirt, upstaged by sun reflection in car wing mirror and jogging couple in background
Patch: Plain blue shirt, upstaged by Bondi background
King: Fucking bullshit red shirt and navy blue blazer with Vote King badge, upstaged by suddenly changing his principles. Wanker.

Cut to hacks for final observations and predictions:
Twat: Vote Howard
Crabbe: 5 seats to coalition
Price: Waffle
Cassidy: Fence sitters, watch us on Sunday.

Cut to Lateline for some intelligence.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Howard's End: T -4 days

What a surprise, a Liberal hack supporting John Howard. Come on SMH is this really newsworthy? What's next? Bob Brown says, "Vote Green"?Also, despite John Howard's dislike for grubby preference deals, the saintly squeaky clean deal with Family First has been signed off.
And just in, Howard says he'll protect the Tasmanian Forest, but not at the expense of logging industry jobs. How so Mr H? Will they take more tea breaks or are they going to cut down imaginary trees with magic axes? Visit Tasmania and see the weird burly mime artists. Dickhead.

Update: I don't believe it, ABC News has just aired the Packer "bombshell". What a load of Ackerman.

Tipping Update

The tipping comp didn't exactly set the world on fire so it is gorn. Anyway, Tim Blair has summed it all up on Predict-o-Rama. ALP by 13.

I am Flute, and I am an Elitist

Inspired by MPL in a comment on BP, I am proud to announce that I am a leftie elitist. I am a rich, well educated bastard and I know more than you about what makes sense for Australia. Add to that, I've only been in this country 10 years, and I still know more about the economic and political landscape than you, the average schmo who votes, but for some undefinable reason I don't believe that at a human level I am better than you, you are just dumber. I don't fall for scare campaigns, I don't blindly agree with everything that one party says. But you, you are willing to vote for education you can't possibly afford, an IR policy that will reduce you to tears, and healthcare cover that will wipe out a year of your piddly earnings if you have a sniffle. I don't know why I bother caring about the populace when you constantly put your tackles in a blender. I pay more taxes than you and would love to pay more in the cause of universality. I am economically risk averse, hence I won't be fucked over like most highly geared twats. Just face it, I know more than you. And the scary thing is, we are all born the same, yet somehow I have succeeded where you have failed. Why is this? Is it genes? Hell no. Is it environment? Yay brother. So your only chance of you or your kids being as "gifted" as me is to vote for the equalizer, but no, you lot are such dimwits that you can't see its your only chance. You vote for the people who make people like me overlords over people like you. A vote for Howard only makes me stronger.

If interest rates are scary then....

surely the government must take claim for the fact that the electorate is more concerned about this than any other economic indicator? Doesn't this imply that the current economy is built on net household debt rather than net household assets? If the latter were true, people would be crying out for higher interest rates. But in this volatile government funded housing boom, the merest tweak in rates will wreak far more havok than under Keating. Despite record low rates, more income is spent in real terms on mortgage repayments under Howard than under Keating. It does not matter that the rate is low, more money is going to the banks than ever before. Interest rates are low, because the economy is stagnant. Banks are not dumb. If you can return at a significant margin over the borrowing rate, the banks are losing out, therefore rates rise. This is what happens when the economy is worth investing in. At the moment it is not, so rates are incredibly low. When this situation changes rates will rise, Howard's IR policy will keep wages low and everyone will be stuffed. Economic management is amongst other things, a question of balancing rates, inflation, wages and taxes and this government has done nothing whatsoever to provide economic stability for the many in the long term.

By the way, what happened to the thing that Howard devoted so much time to, the FTA?

Howard's End: T -5 days

Since I last ranted a fair bit has happened that has been covered enough elsewhere. The need for an election night booze up has been squashed as it's my nephew's birthday. Hopefully there enough die hards there to sneak off and watch events unfold in one of the spare tellies.

FFP Update

I got an email from a blogger with an extraordinary post. Not only is this guy a Christian, he's a member of the Assemblies of God, and he thinks Family First have got a lot to answer for. Well worth taking a read for an insiders point of view. Last night on the 7:30 report there was a rather weak expose on the connection between FFP and the AOG. With the amount of ammo flying around at the moment, I am surprised no one in the mass media has gone in hard yet. The report left us with the picture that we should almost feel sorry for these minnows. By the way the FFP have refused to give preferences to another rampant lezza. John Lewis (FFP Senate candidate) said:
"People have a right of choice of lifestyle, however we are not going to support these people because we don't agree with that lifestyle"
Not homophobic ay? Well talk about bucketing up an entire persons principles into one box (mixed metaphor week on the Flute) because of one "defining" trait - isn't that what prejudice is all about? Next on the list "No we're not going to make an Asian Minister for Transport because they're shit drivers".

Forestry Report in the Fullness of Time

Straight from the pages of Yes Minister, comes the ALP strategy on the Tasmanian old growth forest. The policy: To commission a report in due course that will make recommendations to a committee to present findings to a review panel to publish a white paper. In other words, yes we will keep the forests, but we are too scared to say that outright. And who could blame them, this issue will probably sacrifice two Tasmanian seats in the hope of getting more on the mainland. Personally I couldn't give a stuff about a few trees. What does matter is the long term viability of logging. The end will come sooner or later, so bringing this date forward and taking the opportunity to retrain employees, as well as leaving a few trees left for the tourism industry can only be a good thing. $800 million is a fair whack to throw at the employment redistribution and should be enough to generate new employment for anyone currently in the industry.

The Polls of Doom

All major polls are pointing towards a Coalition victory. While I still maintain that the ALP will win by a surprise landslide (I'll take 11 seats at this point), and I would love to see Howard concede, the future is still bright. The Liberals will be in disarray after this election (Costello, Abbott, Turnbull and don't forget Howard all vying for the leadership), win or lose. Labor should go from strength to strength under Latham.

Bellwether

Is there an anti-Eden-Monaro seat? One that has consistently picked a lemon for several successive elections? Also, if Eden-Monaro loses its mystical status as the bogan swinger club of Australia, which electorate is next in line?

More Choice in Schooling and misc.

True to the Coalition ethos of providing more choice for education, John Howard has announced the establishment of a new Spy School. I'd be laughing if it wasn't so pathetic. John Howard is that last dribble of milk that justifies putting the bottle back in the fridge only to piss the next person off who wants to make a cuppa. Contrast this bell-end of a policy with the ALP "throw shit loads of spondulicks at higher education". Surely this mogadon administration can't get returned now.

To finish off with a couple of whinges: When I fly, I prefer to fly without "fun" as prescribed by Virgin Blue. When I am stuck at an airport and want to get home as soon as possible I am not in the mood for the wacky and zany antics of ground crew. You are not performing at a comedy club with a paying public. You are being dickheads in a departure lounge, filled with a captive and hostile audience. Then you get on the plane and they come out with the same fucking tired old lines, "anyone caught smoking will be asked to step outside to explain their actions". Just shut the fuck up and let me rest. I fly because I have to, not to listen to you for 2 fucking hours. Whinge 2: I am a big fan of telesales people calling me (particularly when I'm feeding and bathing two kids) because I get the chance to drop a load of excrement on them from a great height. It makes me feel like a better human being. Sometimes I string them along, sometimes I blast them straight away. Now, companies (and political parties of no principles) can't even be arsed to employ a backpacker who's read one too many Anthony Robbins books. Now a fucking machine calls me up. Whoever can ban this tomorrow will get my vote. Give me back my therapy.

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