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The decline and fall of the Rudd Labor Empire?

While the public has had its attention focussed on two international disasters, Israel's action against the aid flotilla and America's problems with a massive oil spill, it seems another opinion poll,  a Nielson poll, has quietly confirmed earlier polls indicating a drop in support for the government.

While much of the movement has been leftwards toward support for the Greens, it seems that Tony Abbott's Liberal party has had a phoenix like rise from its absolute nadir of a couple of months ago. It may be that this is just a return to normal, for devotees of the cyclic theory of politics, but it also will require of, therefore, the government a bit of serious soul searching, unless I'm mistaken.

 It will need to decide whether it just wants to keep power and become another Howard or Blair/ Brown government or whether it wants to do those serious things it said it would do last election, particularly on environment and social policy. I personally wonder at what constraints they must be under, to so avoid action on serious issues. I thinkof AUSFTA and other treaty obligations we maybe dont know about, that prevents the current governemt fromnotonly adopting anindependent foreignpolicy, but also their passive acquiescence in the Americanisation of Australia under globalism.

 Maybe , because Labor has throttled left dissent within itself, it no longer recognises an argument, thru lack of debate and loss of the skills, let alone the right way to respond to one.

No argument; no ideas, is the result for both big parties, of a purging of dissent within. 

Certainly modern Labor is no longer the home of critical theorising or any politics of vison, it is there to manage rather than change and improve and gladly no longer questions the system in the way old Labor did. Even if big business is in the wrong on an issue, in a globalised economic and commercial environment that favours big business, governments will not take it on because they are fearful of capital strikes and capital flight, let alone campaigns from tabloid media, as has occurredc ove the new mining rent tax.

 Labor has belatedly exerted itself, against the mining companies, probably in response to its loss of poll support, but the public is now sceptical and they are running into the sort of problem Howard found he had once his credibility had been eroded.

 Too many people in high positions in the (post?) modern ALP are fearful of the left, regardless of what more serious threats exist; they love America and Israel right or wrong and are happy to abide by business as usual, provided they get an invite to the bosses box on footy night.

 These sorts of  people also operate within state governments and Labor state governments are on the nose just now,  for breaking clear election promises on fundamentalissues,  ( no privatisation in NSW and QLD, eg ) and not attempting to do better than just hold onto power. But they are well loved and supported by big business and the media as long as they toe the line and don't disrupt business as usual. Yet another hope of many voters, that  the ALP would somehow get state labor governments back into line, has also not eventuated. In fact it is the smugness of the Labor hierarchy in closing out rank and file and public at large,and dodging its election commitments, that has contributed, I beleive, to the Rudd government's decline in popularity.

We were all glad to see the back of Howard at one stage, but now the People are calling on Rudd Labor, in no uncertain terms, to unpack its alternative and fulfill its promises to Australians, rather than just slumming with those interests whos aims are contrary to the ordinary Australian.

Not that Rudd Labor can yet be written off as incompetent , it did well enough in dealing with GFM and it can't be held responsible for all of the stupidity abroad within the electorate itself; often stupidity increased by the cynical manipulations of press and media operating in the venal interests of the wealthy Few.

But its refusal to stand up on issue s of principle and its evasions concerning some of its policies have led people to question whether it is the right government for the times. I suspect it is a mundane government  but am not being given alternatives to voting Green, exhausting back down to Labor, because the Liberals can't control their right wing, either.

These do not pay even the token measure of respect to civil liberties, equity, etc that Labor does, so that leaves Labor or the Greens. But because we have a preferential voting system, that means, in the end, I still have to in effect, choose between the Coalition and Labor.

I just wish the Labor leaders would realise its not just they who lose thru an abdication of responsibility, but the people who voted them in, in good faith....

 It has baffled me for some time that Australians would prefer a delinquent  Abbott to a dull but more effective Rudd Labor government. I don't they do, so Labor had better react quickly and finally sort its attitude out, so that it gets a fair go-  a second term to as a sort of last chance and also give a chance to the Coalition to have a bit more time that it obviously needs, to rethink itsattitudes and approach to policy and issues they have obviously not come to terms with, particulalry environment and a decent rather than sado social policy.

Maybe polls popularity falls are a language they can finally understand, but am not as optimistic even on this as I should be. But even Rudd Labor can't be estimated to be worse than an Abbott government, surely?

God help us all if a dimwit like Britain's Cameron- Abbott-  gets in and sets about the same sort of policies as Cameron- robbing the poor to pay for the mistakes of the wealthy. But also God help us if Labor can't  (finally) get its attitude right, for the consequences will then be the same as if we voted in Abbott, except that then we will not have the luxury or satisfaction of blaming others, or have Abbott, like howard,  to blame when silly policies go wrong.

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Kevin's brother speaks

An excellent Q&A. If only our journalists, left alone our politicians were so honest and clear:  In-blood-sport-honesty-is-bad-policy 

 

Speaking of 

Speaking of  "incompetence", absently mindedly attributed Voyager for the disaster with American ship "Evans"- it was the "Melbourne", of course.

Marilyn Shepherd (if you are about), this is not the place to bring up following; it's a separate topic, but has Israel handed over the medicine etc to the Palestinians yet?

I'd imagine that with the standard of living (?) imposed on Gazans, there must be a fair bit of serious illness about requiring treatment.

 Further hold ups would surely only increase needless suffering, particular amongst mums and bubs.

Oh dear

Is this degenerating back to the old days when it is all about moi?

I don't deserve the fame dear chaps.

Now to address somethings realistically.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/egypt-breaks-blockade-on-gaza-strip/story-e6frg6so-1225874714771

The Israeli military confirmed that the bulk of cargo on the flotilla was medical equipment and humanitarian aid, and no guns or weapons were found.

The Israelis displayed some of the seized cargo, including boxes of medicine, wheelchairs, hospital beds and wheelchairs, but claimed Gaza had enough of these.

"The equipment we found is all equipment we have regularly allowed into the Strip over the past year," said Colonel Moshe Levi, commander of Israel's Gaza Strip administration unit.

 

Here is the wheelchair thing for Alan - anything to distract hey Alan?

I don't think I have ever seen such a vicious attack on a PM in my life, one that is not really deserved.

The BER is excellent if anyone actually wants to see what is being built in the schools or wants to take the time walking around a COLA to understand the scope and value of the things for all manner of uses.

http://www.economicstimulusplan.gov.au/pages/default.aspx

And look what is actually being built all over the country in schools and towns.

It's such a great failure I hope we have more of it.

And the insulation was not a failure.

It was a success with a few shonks making use of the money to rip people off.   

There are wonderful roads being built, bike paths - I saw one being made between two towns in the Barossa in the place of an old railway line, it's a fantastic 6 k ride or walk on a safe path.

 Foreshores are being re-built, things are happening.

Now if Gillard or Rudd continually boasted about them we would soon be sick of it but the reality is these programs saved our country from recession.

Waste of money

 Marilyn , The Israelis displayed some of the seized cargo, including boxes of medicine, wheelchairs, hospital beds and wheelchairs, but claimed Gaza had enough of these."The equipment we found is all equipment we have regularly allowed into the Strip over the past year," said Colonel Moshe Levi, commander of Israel's Gaza Strip administration unit.

So Israel has been letting in Medical supplies all along, it's just that they don't want Hamas to build any more rockets.

The Insulation was a failure, it cost $Billions that's why Rudd pulled the plug on it, and it also took the heat off him for the deaths of 4 Australians.

The BER is another scheme that is costing more than it should because it is being run by incompetants.

In my area alone the Public school is have a building put up for $840,000.00 whilst down the road a Private school is getiing almost the identical building for $420,000.00. Does that make sense to you as a taxpayer?. Or don't you mind what Rudd does with your money.

Stop press

 Just reading papers, etc .

The press seems to be saying the negotiations with the mining companies are coming to a head, will Rudd stare them down or compromise in someway that, particularly, qualitively changes his budgetary objectives to the point, then, of  presenting an opportunity for rivals to complain of a backflip. Bernard Keane at Crikey is a good example of this line of thinking.

 The consensus is that something that resembles a back off  could be toxic for Rudd personally, this might be a risky policy..

nah!

Geoff, you should be well aware of what rats swimming toward and under a sinking ship looks like, after watching the coalition groupings the last few years.

 David Weir's comment interests me because I was growing up in the Voyager era and old enough when it all happened to remember it and for how long it all dragged on, as the press media and government did everything they could to first clamp down on it, then botox it to the gunnels before giving up and admitting what really happened.The truth didn't really come for decades more, while mean time Voyager was able to get itself sadly entangled in another disaster, this time involving an American war ship.

Tea Bagging Australia

 Maybe I'm narrow sighted but from where I stand, the main stream media has become the tea-baggers of Australia.  It's as though the government can not do anything right and the opposition can do no wrong. 

I can't for the life of me understand how the government via the minister could be expected to 'vet' each contractor and sub-contractor in the home insulation scheme.

And by the way, no minister  was sacked when the HMAS Melbourne sliced through HMAS Voyger and 85 men were lost, yet the howls of protest directed at Peter Garrett were deafening. 

The ABC is no longer fair and balanced and spends a lot of time running down the PM and his team.

The media and the voters has forgotten the wheat-gate affair, the children overboard  lies, the WMD lies and seem to think the Mad Monk is heaps better.

Is it a sign that the media  has been successful in following the USA trend of 'dummying' down a small majority of the public?

You are spot on

The morons are still whining the same old debunked nonsense about refugees, they have forgotten the massacres and mess in Iraq and Afghanistan and the disaster that occurs when you lock up refugee claimants.

Forgotten AWB (except Leonie Wood), forgotten the GFC, collective stupidity now rules.

The problem

The problem for the government is that Rudd embodies that arch criticism of Hewson by Keating many a year back: "a shiver looking for a spine to run up" as I recall.

Of interest will be whether Rudd makes a stand against the miners over the "super profits" tax. Some of the rhetoric from the minig colossi and their reps is up there with the best hyperbole of recent decades... 

Father Park

A stroll in the Park.

Michael Park, I found your comments interesting, this morning.  Thinking about the mining rent tax jogged my memory: wasn't Alan Kohler, the finance journalist, extremely critical of Xstrata a while back?

So I went to Kohler's site and found he'd recently put up a Bernard Keane article utterly scathing of both XStrata and the NT government, concerning more recent events with Macarthur River.

 And  I thought, this in the economic rationalist deregulated environment of commercial in confidence, etc,  and realised that the neolibs have succeeded in making it virtually impossible for governments to operate effectively on behalf of their communities (even if they DID have the will) because of a system imposed virtually  from without, as Australia's autonomy has been chewed away by instruments like AUSFTA and earlier GATT treaties, skewing a balance of power toward big TNC's.

 And not in the interests of some abstracted free trade theory, but to suit Wall St and the City of London; the people who gave us the GFM that the Rudd government has had to cope with, Rudd dealt with problem thru fiscal stimulus, but following the new Tory leader Cameron, Abbott wants a horror budget to recoup the financial sector's gambling losses through tax cuts paid for by service cuts.

 No thanks- even "incompetent" is better than "vindictive dishonest", altho I concur with John Pratt that the tentativeness of Rudd has not been an attractive sight, or the willingness to fudge on real issues to please vested interests.

"Howard lite" is not a faultless individual, any more than his predecessor,  and all of us agree on this, but I still feel Rudd should be salvagable if he would "settle down" and avoid getting to a state where he "chokes" on tricky issues.

Alan Curran, I think you you're right

Alan Curran, I think you are right about the weather, it's biting down here in Adelaide and it looks like a throwback to those winters we used to have in younger times. I remember we had more than a few camping out die back one winter in the early eighties. A good night for counting blessings, including company..

 Have you come over here to get away from the "Israel" thread, now that its getting a bit noisy over there?

No,  Am not going to swipe at you, you know I think most of your points are dry conservative, altho it's more a question balance,to me. I('m not inlove with any of them. That's why I welcomed John Pratt's comment and why I welcome yours- sometimes it good to know others care also even if their views and solutions on subjects maybe different. How else can we get a consensus unless as many different views as possible are present and presenting for a given issue?

 Maybe, "A People gets the Government it Deserves" is true and also in both ways?

 

Paul is kidding

 John , Paul must be kidding when he says "Not that Rudd Labor can yet be written off as incompetent", look at the millions they wasted on Copenhagen, it's funny you never hear from Penny Wong these days, and Climate Change is on the backburner.

What about the Home Insulation scheme, this is going to take Billions to fix, even more now that it has been handed over to Combet to manage. How do you put a price on 4 deaths through incompetence.

What about BBN, any sign of it in your area yet?.

What about the Billions rorted in the BER, it is mind boggling that Gillard has no idea what has gone on.

What about the much talked about Dental Scheme, nothing much happening there.

Remember the stunt when Rudd had his MPs sleep out for one night to highlight the problem of the homeless, nothing much is happening there neither it is worse now than 2 years ago. I was delivering some clothing to the Mathew Talbot Hostel in Sydney and was told that this winter is going to be murder.

Can you imagine how many shelters could have been built with just the money that has been ripped off in the BER.

Then there is Indigenous Housing, 3 homes built in 2 years, well done Jenny Macklin, must have really got her finger out on that one. The unions must be annoyed about her working so hard.

No Paul, the word Incompetence is not strong enough.

As for Bob Brown and the Greens, God help us if they ever hold the balance of power they are snakes.

Where would we be if Howard had won?

Alan, you make some good points, but where would we have be if Howard had won the last election?.

If the Rudd government had not used the surplus to create jobs we would be seeing unemployment soaring into the mid teens.

What would have been the cost to our country if we were suffering the same employment as seen in the US or Europe?

The GFC has limited the ability of the Rudd government to keep many of its promises but we still have one of the best economies in the world.

Who knows what sort of mess we would be in if Howard had stayed in power.

Where indeed

John, I know you live up north somewhere but you must still be able get newspapers and TV and must know whats happened to broken promises or scams that Rudd must have known would never get off the ground..

Any idiot can blow a surplus and then tell the true believers that it will be back in surplus soon.

You mention the GFC (Gillards favourite words), can you imagine what could have been done for hospitals if Rudd & Co. would not have wasted billions on BER and Insulation schemes.

Who knows what mess we will be in if Rudd stays in power?.

Paul, Have you come over here to get away from the "Israel" thread, now that its getting a bit noisy over there?.

No sorry mate you are wrong again, it only gets noisy when Marilyn open her foul mouth but she will not answer questions. Funny that, as Justin seems to think she is an expert on genitilia (. I thought she meant Distinguished Service Order, but she mumbled something that sounded terribly like: Dick Shot Off).

Paul see if you can get her to tell us about the wheelchairs.

JO - DSO RNM

Don't worry Alan I've got letters after me name too;

RNM?

Nah I've never been in the Royal Navy...

Right Nut Missing of course - now Ms Sheppard has got a set - sort off.

But I must admit the thought of my boy with your boy ....oh shit sometimes one's mind is its worst enemy....give up before you make youself sick..

 Reeeeeeaaachhh.. too late..reeeee...

Time to rethink the two party system

Paul, an excellent piece which highlights the dilemma many former Labor and Liberal supporters find themselves in. Who do we vote for at the next election?

The two party system is asking us to choose between dumb and dumber.

The major political parties are not generating statesman, or new policies for the new century they are not coming forward with ideas offering solutions to the problems of global warming or the crash of the world financial system.

Should  we turn to the Greens perhaps a party willing to try some new ideas?

This lack of leadership is global as we have seen recently in the UK election and we are witnessing with the fall of popularity of Obama in the US.

Democracy is not giving a voice to the people who are urging change.

Maybe it will it take more global disasters before we recognise the desperate need for change?

The greatest moral challenge? Not!

Rudd's a dead duck!  The nerd from Nambour's days are numbered.

 His credibility has been shot to pieces. (no one to blame but himself!) 

Their (Labor's) only hope is to dump  the dead duck and  install  Julia Gillard  in it's place.

She'll romp it in!

Gillard is vile

If you think that hard arsed bitch would be good for the country...

She is a cold blooded monster who makes Maggie Thatcher look warm.

Maybe its time for the Democrats

I am still thinking about who to vote for this election. Can't bring myself to vote for Liberal or Labor, the Greens maybe.

Then I thought I would give the Democrats a rethink. I was a founding member way back in 1977  I have strayed back to Labor and last election I voted Green.

I liked the way the Democrats gave members the vote on candidates and policy. Power to the people rather than hidden faces in the capital cities.

Anyone else interested in real change?

Check out Democrat policies.

The Democrats?

You do mean the Australian Democrats?

No offence, John, but while I've heard of a rat swimming towards a sinking ship before, this would be the first ever case of one diving down after a sunken ship. 

Australian Democrats truly democratic

Yes Geoff, the Australian Democrats,  the only Australian political party that allows its members to vote for their political candidates. Also the party that lets its members vote on each and every policy. The only truly democratic party Australia perhaps the world has ever seen.

The rats are swimming away from the two party system looking for alternatives.

Things are crook in Tallarook...

Thanks John, sometimes I wonder if anyone else sees what I see.         Mercifully, thanks to people like Margo Kingston, it is possible to see how many ordinary people, like us, also do take the effort to think things over and would gladly participate the more, if only for  this barrier erected by media and power groupings.

 The notions of all Australians as "apathetic " or "self absorbed" is not necessarily true at all, it is just a story spun to explain why there seems to be no "voice" on real issues from Australians.

 Quite simply, it's not encouraged and it doesn't take a lot of wits to understand the probable reason why. I sometimes marvel at how ordinary Aussies break through this conditioning to learn to think for themselves and not be dissuaded from having a viewpoint because some newspaper editor will mock you for your impertinence and silliness.

 Thanks, mate.

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