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Is Howard a coward?

Hello. My project is done and I'm back on deck. Thank you to Fiona, Richard and David for keeping the show on the road. Before I give you my best guess on whether Howard will stay or go, I must disclose a personal interest. 

On August 3, Penguin's publisher Bob Sessions rang me with a shock request - could I update Not Happy, John! in three weeks? Huh? I said I could if my old Webdiary friend and collaborator Jack Robertson  agreed to come on board. He did, and the book goes to the printer this week.

So, it's hardly in my personal interest for Howard to resign before the election. The book is an indictment of his government, sure, but John Howard is the symbol of that government. And then there's the title!

There's one practical question to be answered in this leadership drama. Would the Coalition led by Peter Costello do better at the federal election than the Coalition led by Howard?

And there's one psychological question to be answered. Would John Howard be prepared to stand down if the answer to the practical question was yes?

The practical question

An eleven year old government has to stand on its record. No choice. Howard's record is Costello's record. Costello's been treasurer since Day 1. He's been a climate change sceptic since Day 1. Just ask Meg Less - in 1999 his jaw dropped with disbelief when she demanded assistance for renewable energy industries as her price fro the Democrats passing his GST. He built his career before going into politics on seeking to crush union power and completely deregulate industrial relations. He's shown sycophancy to Liberal Party donors by appointing Rob Gerard to the Reserve Bank Board knowing the tax office was after him for massive tax evasion and lying to authorities about it (see Nowhere to hide, Peter, on the Libs' million dollar man and  Costello burns Gerard candle at both ends). He lambasted Rebel Libs in their 2005 challenge to the government's compulsory jailing of children in detention centres. He's approved the negation of civil rights through the never ending stream of 'terror' laws. He's been  shoulder to shoulder with Howard in suppressing dissent, his latest trick is using the tax office to withdraw the tax deductibility of donations to charities which criticise government policy. He's been all the way with Howard on Iraq.

The Andrew Bolt led argument for change is that at least people will listen to Costello, whereas they've stopped listening to Howard. Why? They will only do so if he SAYS something different, i.e. changes policies. In today's Sunday Telegraph Matt Price today suggests he could bring on the Republic debate again, sign Kyoto, tone down WorkChoices, and be a little less sycophantic to George Bush. If he does any of those things he's saying the government has got all of them wrong in the last eleven years. Why on earth would the public vote for the bloke who helped get it so wrong? Putting Costello in would tear down the edifice of success the government crows about. It's an invitation for voters to go all the way with a new government. Why on earth not?! Why would anyone vote vote for the bloke with dirty hands, for heaven's sake!

Some people use the Gordon Brown example to bolster their case for leadership change. Tony Blair was unpopular because of Iraq. But on  climate change and all sorts of other policy, the public agreed with Blair. And Blair gave Brown two years to get himself settled. We're talking about giving Costello an election campaign!

To my mind, changing horses now would worsen the Coalition's position going into an election. But just say Coalition MPs thought they were headed for a big defeat anyway, so why not risk all on a circuit breaker? Like Labor did with Latham, then Rudd, albeit from opposition and nearly a year from an election.

The psychological question

I was one of the few journos in the Press Gallery and elsewhere who believed Howard would not stand down when he reached 64. Remember that line? Most thought he'd have his eye on history and would retire in his prime before the 2004 election. I thought he was not only addicted to power, but that he had no life apart from his political one - indeed that there was now no separation between Howard the politician and Howard the person. This is why he can justify anything, however amoral - if it's good for him politically it automatically becomes good for the country. (For memories of the 2003 Howard decision, see Howard plays superman. Yesterday's man, or is there fire in the belly? and Costello's rainy day.)

To me, it is almost inconceivable that Howard would walk away now. His humiliation, as a man and a politician, would be complete. The bloke who held on till it was too late, then walked away from the last great battle. No, I think he'll give it one last try. You never know, he could even win it. If nothing else, this leadership speculation so close tho the election being called has given voters no option but to think hard about whether they really want a change.

There's one factor, though, that would give Howard pause for thought. One reason he's been so cruel to Costello, and it's a big one, is that Costello is a Victorian. Never underestimate the antipathy between NSW and Victoria in the Liberal Party. It goes back a long, long way, to when Victoria was protectionist and NSW was free trade. Howard lives at Kirribilli House partly to show that Sydney rules Australia. He has always wanted his successor to come from NSW, and so he's promoted, at various times, Abbott, Nelson and Turnbull as possible future leaders. Now, if he decides he has to stand down, what better way to end Costello's ambitions forever than by handing him the hospital pass? He'll lose badly, Howard can blame him for the loss - he would have done better - and Turnbull  or another NSW contender - or even someone from anywhere but Victoria - will become leader.  If Howard is thinking that way, there's a chance he'll hand over to Costello. But then, if Howard is thinking that way, Costello will know why.

So that's my opinion.  What's yours?

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Individual Negotiation

The one point that I did find interesting in Tim Andrews article was his statement that he is on an AWA which he "negotiated" and that so are many of his friends. He criticises the Labor party as having a "One size fits all" approach. There may be some truth in this.

Consider this: I got a call from the Workplace authority yesterday. I applied for a job as a "Fairness test assessor" thinking it might give me an insight in to an important policy consideration in the coming election. The chick that called me seemed happy with my history (being a law student and having worked in an employment law firm) but negotiations fell down when it became clear I couldn't study full time and work full time hours, especially living as I do, way out from the CBD. According to the workplace authority full-time is "8am-6pm" and with the expectation that sometimes I would work until 7pm. My personal objection is not to the exploitative hours (some people like to work long hours) but in its "One size fits all" approach.

From media reports the Workplace authority has a heavy back-log of cases, is hungry for staff and has taken to employing "English backpackers". This doesn't bother me, since I have no particular prejudiced against the travelling classes or the English, but it would seem to warrant at least some effort to find employment scenarios that suit individual applicants. The public service is much maligned as not being part of the "real world" but I am confident I would have much more luck in negotiating hours and conditions in the corporate world, than here. In fact there is no maybe about it, I have had more success with the corporate world. The Workplace authority was a brick wall. A bureaucracy.

The Workplace authority would suit casual work (if for no other reason that it may no longer exist past the next election), with a heavy pool of casual workers to draw from. This way the expectation of long, perhaps irregular hours (required by the governments political fortunes - a political service if ever there was one), can be applied without placing the burden all on one individual.

Like Tim Andrews, I form such views as a university student, with unpredictable and irregular attendance requirements (sometimes requiring evening classes) from semester to semester, and, the inability to work much more than part-time hours without greatly risking my academic progression and sanity. Individual rather than collective bargaining would suit me (essentially people of my demographic are conditioned to expected to work and study exploitative hours.This is more amongst themselves than by external forces. The chicks love it) for the short-term but not for the long-term, where job security, stable hours and all such desires will increase with my responsibilities.

I struggled with unemployment for a long time and it lead me to the conculsion that de-regulation of industrial relations would be beneficial, thinking even bad pay and conditions would be a way out of the hole I was in. This is short-term thinking, and, eventually I admitted that in the long-term I would want more than just to stay afloat. The debates about the past/present/future are important in this election, it is the foundation on which we make decisions. The last election was a short-term fix, "Now is not the time.." said Howard, but in this one the public are going to demand some resolution of the long-term issues.

And I mean a resolution, not a loss and a victory. All that does is change the faces. It will be no great thing if we can't get some answers, some truth and some real direction out of this process. Don't just think who you want to win, ask yourself what you want out of the party that will lose and the needs of all the people who wont vote as you do. If your interests conflict with theirs, then this election ought to lessen, rather than increase that conflict.

Lib/lab or lab/lib, disaster incorporated

Ernest, perfection is the art of change, there is no change when jumping between the lib/lab, who have clearly failed the future and disenfranchised the people of their assets and resources.

Rudd is a confessed economic religious conservative, who supports current elitist superiority. There's nothing within Labor policies which will help the majority who are struggling with life, just repeats of “me to” and throwing money at brick walls. What is more disastrous than a collapsed ecology, nothing but all out nuclear war, which will become more and more viable as the lib/lab's strive to sell more and more uranium to anyone who wants it.

Rudd fully supports the coal industry, oil cartels, monopoly retail, agriculture and industrial control. As well as global corporate control and providing religious schools with more money that public ones. He supports the status quo of heavily propping up corporate health providers to the detriment of the real people who need health care.

Rudd supports the current tax regime which is heavily orientated to the well off. Name me one policy which adequately addresses and helps anyone but the rich, academic and bureaucratic elite.

Why are people so scared of independents in our parliaments, after all, political parties only elect those who will submit to the will of the part, not for their ability, strength or positive idea's, as we clearly see every day.

The Real Choice is Clear.

If we are realistic about which Party should take our nation into the future, we should consider the following:

There seems to be some propaganda coming from the "New Order" about the possibility of "wall to wall" Labor governments.

That seems contradictory to the fact that Howard has, at all of his elections after 1996, stated that the Australian people are not stupid, they know the difference between State and Federal elections!

Was he lying? This was repeated, ad nauseum, by his robots - verbatum of course.

As I understand it, the purpose of Federation was that all States would have equal representation in the Senate to scrutinise the legislation of the more powerful National House of Representatives.

This gave the States the possibility of a Senate which would be guarding the rights of those they represent regardless of the population, provided it was purely a State issue.

Additionally, the Federation provided that the States would have their own legislative bodies, (their own House of reps and their own Upper House) this so that they could function in the best interests of their own State. But, contingent upon the Commonwealth Consititution.

This envisaged in 1901, the distinct possibility that our population would expand significantly over the years.

This is also a critical part of Federation's intent of "shared power" so that the Federal Government could not enforce control of purely State issues by "take-overs" but with the flexibility that agreement could be reached.

Without that shared power, a corrupt Federal Government could emasculate the State powers until there was no resistence at all to whatever they want to do that may disadvantage the States jointly or individually.

The Howard government, who already controls the Senate, ASIO and the AFP, and has remarkable "influence" on the High Court, has betrayed the States under agreements made by them in good faith, and set itself on a course of total power, without even a thought of a referendum.

While claiming they believe that the Australian people are "not stupid", the "New Order" expect us to believe their taxpayer funded ads to the contrary.

No matter how we try to explain it, it seems that our choice is to remain a democracy with State checks and balances or:

A Fascist system with total power and everything run as a Police State.

Since his election in 1996 Howard has demonstrated his objective of complete and unaccountable power - there is no other explanation.

As a member of the Labor Party I would nevertheless welcome a Senate controlled by one of the minor parties - but not an independent. 

The Liberal/Nationalists have used that as a device to obtain some unhappy "New Order" voters' preferences. 

Alga - I believe that this is not an election for a perfect government but rather an election to avoid an absolutley disastrous one.


Time's up, Mr Howard!

The anniversary of Mr Howard's defeat of former Labor leader Mark Latham is set to intensify calls for the prime minister to get on and name a date for this year's poll.

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd is urging the Prime Minister to call the election before the next scheduled sitting of parliament starts on Monday.

Mr Rudd says it would cost millions of dollars in flights and accommodation to bring 150 MPs, 76 senators and thousands of their staff to Canberra next week.

Time's up, Mr Howard. You were elected for three years and it's time to go. Call in the packers, it's time to leave Kirribilli. Why waste more of our hard earned money on those terrible ads?   Why call all your mates back to Canberra? We know you have run out of ideas. Show some courage, and face your judgement day.

Young Liberals, SOS

I hope to high hell that NSW Young Liberal vice-president Tim Andrews is not representative of the rest of the Young Liberal movement. His article is so atrociously written that it beggars belief. Full marks to the ABC for exposing this illiterate ghoul.

An example:

"As an active Liberal-supporter, I shall be voting for the Coalition at the upcoming Federal Election, but not solely because they are the only party that can guarantee a strong and stable economy. Such a statement may seem incongruous to many – after all, the Howard-Costello partnership has eliminated more than $90 billion of Labor’s debt and delivered the lowest unemployment rates in 30 years, whilst keeping inflation and interest rates at record lows."

This sentence makes me want to scream. Incongruous to many? That is to say that you believe that "many people" would believe that we should vote for the Coalition solely because they are the only party that can guarantee a strong economy?

Good God, what happened to poor, sweet, Jonathon Hyde-Page and the kinds of young cynics he depicted in the Liberal party? Christ, what about Alex Hawke who at least had a certain shrewdness and charm to match his ultra-right views?

I find it difficult to believe either would be capable of a phrase like this:

"The success of the Howard Government has been driven not only by its passionate commitment to freedom, nor solely by its exemplary economic management. Rather, it is the commitment to do what is principled and what is right that has ensured its continued success. To say otherwise is mere folly."

Help! Mere folly? Even Alexander Downer is not quite so full of pompous banality. Worst of all he attacks "American election consultants" for no particular reason. Why don't you try starting your own election consultancy firm and see how far you get, little fish. Not even your own party would accept any of this as remotely resembling competent electoral strategy.

Cowardly lib/lab coalitiom

I doubt anyone with half a brain couldn't now see, there's no difference between Howard/Turnbull the cowards and Rudd/Garret the cowards. In this time of impending ecological disaster, we have the corporate/union slaves fully supporting an industry which will clear fell 200000hectares of some of the last temperate rain forests in the world, as well as hundreds of thousands of hectares of regrowth and dead monoculture plantations. This mill will pump 60000 lt of effluent a day into an area of Bass Strait which has seal, scallop and penguin breeding grounds. To add to this brilliant decision, the mill will get its energy from a wood fired power station. Then you have to add the massive amount of precious water (which we don't have up there), the huge increase in the number of trucks destroying already narrow fragile roads, air pollution in a place which already has a big air pollution problem, the damage to the wine and tourism industry and the smells associated with this debauchery. One can only concede we are doomed under this failed duopoly of these moronic ideological despots. World's best practice, yes world’s best practice as to how the lib/lab coalition has railroaded again the passive enslaved ideologists and gullible people. This is an example of their world’s best practices and environmental guidelines:

 “VALDIVIA, Chile - After the death toll of black-necked swans began to surge by the dozens at the Carlos Anwandter Sanctuary, a wetland on the lower Cruces River near this southern Chilean city, thousands of residents took to the streets.

Hoisting placards such as ''No More Poison, No More Cellulose,'' last November residents began directing their fury at a wood pulp mill, located 20 miles up river from the sanctuary. Owned by Celulosa Arauco y Constitución (Celco), one of the world's largest producers of pulp and a unit of the Chilean conglomerate Empresas Copec, the mill went on line in February 2004.

The protesters blamed the die-off of this city's signature swans, which once numbered in the thousands, on the mill dumping its waste in the river.

A government-sponsored scientific study released in mid-April confirmed their suspicions: The $1.2 billion Valdivia mill was, indeed, at fault for the ecological devastation, it said. “

If you need any more evidence of the cowardly complicity and brother-in-arms connection between these two factions, then you live within a fatally flawed delusion and are probably just as cowardly as they are in your approach to the future.

Unions (again)

Almost all union members these days are in state unions. It is the union movement that has created decent working conditions for most Australians, it is a right to join a union, and the bloody politicians are in their own unions.

If you are not a member of their union you cannot stand for parliament.

There is another small issue. They are Australians and not creatures from outer space and I have never yet come across a union that wants to make the life of workers worse but I have come across many bosses in their own union who do.

a question of balance?

 Alan Curran in a candid moment earlier admitted that employers are not saints and we who support the existence as part of a civil society should have no problem admitting that workers can be delinquent and ( some) union officials  can be overbearing and arrogant; even corrupt.

Is there a Labor supporter alive who isn't fed up with the faction system, cronyism nepotism and opportunism  interfering with the real job of Labor which is as advocate of the majority. Neither Labor or the Coalition parties are remotely acceptable as to best practice, the only thing we do gain is an occasional  choice of throwing one lot or the other out when they become too lazy and cheeky. Still, better a hand brake than no brake at all.

The question with IR must be how to ensure genuine fairness for workers and bosses. IR outcomes swing from one extreme of the pendulum to the other and always seems to need fine tuning or compensatory action. The federal government has acknowledged a problem and made changes ( through gritted teeth?  ). Do these go far enough?

If, like myself, you think not,  you may entertain a Rudd government overhaul as the next step, should the ALP win government. But then you will hope, should this eventuate, that  Alan Curran and other employers are not subjected to similar unfairnesses as many workers appear to be now subjected to now , because it will only continue the conflict and put a drag on small business participation in the economy.

What if we contemplate that the major problems with IR "reform" came after the  Howard gained control of the senate and felt it finally had carte blanche to do as it and its supporters pleased as to IR.

Alan, do you think there are parts of the current IR system that employers could forgo that might have workers feeling a little more secure? What would those be?

How far would be too far as to any roll back of  Howard IR in the future?

Like wise, do any ( pro union )  people feel that there are good or necessary components to  Howard's IR? Does  Howard IR address the changing structure of the workforce and economy or  not?

Most reasonable people would admit that the situation Alan described as to himself- if taken at face value as accurate- is no more acceptable than a worker being booted out without appeal because a boss was in a lousy mood on Monday morning for no better reason than bad bets at the races, say.


Paul Walter, You ask me if there are any parts of the current IR system that employers would forgoe, I honestly cannot tell you. For the past 8 years I have not had one employee who was a member of a union, this was not a condition of employment it was just that they saw no need for any union involvement. The great majority of small businessmen that I speak to at various trade shows all feel that they have the right to sack their employees if they are not doing their job properley. I pride myself in the fact that all my employees work under conditions that give them no cause for concern.

All I can tell you is that if I ever go back into business again, and the unions regain their strongarm powers (as they will under Rudd) I would not employ a union member, and I would not let a union official any where near my business.


Akkimoto-sama and I would not let a union official any where near my business... Hiss, snarl, piss up the wall, preen in anticipation of the Howard-Andrews victory over the organised workers from the Dark Continent and Rudd in general. But how positively Burman and spiffing of you to exclude or sack them, Allan old boy! However you are aware, aren't you, m'old junta, that it is officially the Union of Myanmar? Woodforde, OAM

Big business thugs

Alan Curran, while you whinge about union snouts in the trough you are forgetting the big business thugs who have put contracts to tens of thousands of workers that actually breach the law, the $2 billion of our money this government has spent trying to smash the unions, the $300 million AWB stole from the Iraqis to give to Saddam Hussein, James Hardie ripping off dying workers until Greg Combet stepped in, Alan Bond, Chris Skase, the HIH crooks, McArthur trucking who just sacked 700 people and nicked off.

Get a grip you foolish man.

Get a grip

Mary j Shepherd, don't you ever call me a foolish man.. I know there are crooks on both sides of the fence, I was only relating my personal experience with the unions to John Pratt.

Howard's policies economically incoherent. Its all about power!

You won't hear Howard admit this, but one of his key motivations for the Work Choices reforms is the tangible prospect that the new rules will hurt his Labor opponents by crippling their financial backers in the union movement....so far, Democrats senator Andrew Murray has been the only significant political figure to point out the obvious: "There is a political motive in play … Given that unions are one of the ALP's largest donors, reduction in union membership will impact financially on the ALP."

From his first days in government, Howard wanted to reshape Australian universities. His first budget contained dramatic cuts to higher education, and he has since gradually starved universities of public funds.

By gutting the nation's arts faculties, Howard will successfully stunt the development of the next generation of Australian intellectuals.

Howard's health-care policies have contributed to the decline in the quality of the public system and produced a colossal waste of money on "business class" hospital accommodation.

The same is true for schools policy, where more funding for the private system, especially for "low cost" private schools, will attract the children of aspirational voters away from public schools.

In each of these policy areas, Howard's record seems almost incoherent from an economic point of view, but clinical and logical from a power perspective.

Andrew Charlton is right on the money, Howard is all about power, his policies have done nothing for the economy. Australians are now paying the price of a broken public health system and a second rate education system.   

All about Unions

John Pratt, at last you have pointed to what this election is all about, Labor wanting to prop up the failing unions and give them back their power. 

"It is no secret that the electoral strength of the Labor Party is dependent on the financial strength of the unions. Unions make a massive contribution to the ALP, bankrolling the party's operations through donations, loans and affiliation fees totalling about $7 million every year. (not to mention the millions that TWU have ripped off their members)And that doesn't include the considerable support in kind regularly provided to Labor candidates, including paid staff and materials for campaign offices".

"Union membership has shrunk by a fifth since the Coalition came to power and the most recent data shows that WorkChoices has considerably accelerated their decline. Since the legislation was introduced, unions have lost another 126,000 members — an alarming 6.6 per cent fall in a single year".

What's alarming about that? it is only alarming to the union ripoff merchants (TWU): they are finding it harder to dip their snouts in the trough.It is obvious that the workers no longer need the unions. Now if Rudd wins the election this money will have to be paid back, Burrows will see to that.

Trade unions are an essential part of civil society

Australian law is the most stringent in the world in its control over trade union finances and in its requirement that unions be democratically controlled by their members. The ALP supported the Government in further tightening those laws in 2002, and its industrial relations policy includes no proposal to change them.

The key thing that the ALP policy would do is to give workers the right to choose, by a democratic process, whether they want to bargain collectively with their employer. It would also create a mechanism to require an employer to respect their workers' choice by bargaining with them in good faith. One result would be that unions could better represent workers in collective bargaining than under the current law, which denies workers these rights.

Trade unions are an essential part of civil society in a modern, vibrant democracy. Talk of "union bosses" is apparently supposed to frighten small business owners and those who aspire to run their own business. But the Government and business campaign to demonise "union bosses" says more about the poverty of the terms in which we debate the quality and nature of our democracy than it does about unions, their members or their leaders.

Alan Curran, I have no idea why you fear the trade union movement, but for many they are the only protection we have to keep us from descending into slavery. The are a key part of any democracy. Only potential tyrants try to destroy trade unions.


John Pratt, you say you have no idea why I fear the trade union movement, perhaps the following will give you some idea.

Twelve years ago the unions almost brought my business to its knees because of absolute bastardry. I could not get containers off the wharf, this started in September and went on well into January. I could not fill orders for the Christmas trade and had to lay off over 20 staff. All this happened because I sacked a driver who was drunk and smashed up one of our three trucks. It just so happened that this creep was a union delegate, and he got the full weight of his union behind him and this led to two other unions becoming involved. His defense was that he only drank on his lunch break and it had nothing to do with me. Things got nasty when I tried to explain to this moron that it was my right to expect that he would be sober when he got into the cab of my truck, a reasonable request I thought.

It looks as though Labor will win the election and the unions will run rampant again.This is why I have sold my business and trademarks to two Chinese gentlemen who will run it from a town about 75km. from Beijing. I don't think the unions will worry them there.

 "Only potential tyrants try to destroy trade unions". I think this should read "Only potential union tyrants try to destroy small business".

I hope this gives you some idea why I fear the unions, and I think I am justified. Just you watch if Rudd wins, how small business starts to shed staff.

Two sides to every story.

Alan Curran, I would like to hear the other side of your story. My experience of unions has been quite different. From my perspective,  the bosses hold most of the cards, the unions just help balance the power.

With out unions we would still have kids down coal mines, and many more work related injuries and deaths.  Nearly all the conditions  we  enjoy  today  have been won by  union  action.  Human rights, workers rights,  are only ever won  from a position  of  strength.

2 sides

John Pratt, what more do you want to know? The moron that I sacked was drunk during working hours and smashed up a truck. I believe I was within my rights to do that. However, I was not ready for what the unions did to my business, all this from creeps that have never done a day's work in their lives.

Kiwis and boeing to test biofuels on 747'S

Costello's been treasurer since Day 1. He's been a climate change sceptic since Day 1. Just ask Meg Lees - in 1999 his jaw dropped with disbelief when she demanded assistance for renewable energy industries as her price fro the Democrats passing his GST.


AIR New Zealand will start ground-breaking aircraft testing of biofuels as early as next year and believes the technology could become commercially viable for airlines sooner than expected.

The airline is partnering with aircraft manufacturer Boeing and engine-maker Rolls-Royce to test a biofuel blend on one of its Boeing 747s. It will be the first real-world test of biofuels for the Rolls-Boeing combination.

The test will be aimed at determining the commercial viability of blends and how they affect existing jet engines.

It will also help validate on a real engine predictions emerging from laboratories.

The Kiwi flag-carrier said yesterday the Boeing 747 test flight would originate in Auckland but not carry passengers. Only one of the plane's four engines would run on a biofuel-kerosene mix.

Howard and Costello's scepticism on renewable energy have denied Australia many opportunities. The Kiwis are way in front of us. This partnership between Air New Zealand ,Boeing and Rolls Royce is a great example of the opportunities that renewable energy will create.

We must get rid of these troglodytes.




A potential tsunami threat has been dropped for the coast of south-east Australia but maintained for Tasmania following an earthquake in the Southern Ocean.

"At this stage a threat is no longer expected for the NSW and Victorian coasts," the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said in a bulletin issued at 6.06pm AEST. "But there is still a possibility for a tsunami to affect coastal regions about south-east Tasmania."

I'll bet Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle will blame this on Howard and Climate Change. I just hope this useless duo are out paddling on the beach when it hits.

Plate tectonics

Surely it would be for Janette to pronounce whether or not the earth had moved, L.Ferguson? Brown and Nettle would, therefore, hardly be inclined to blame Mr Howard for any subsequent tsunami. And ... I don't think I should extend this metaphor to embrace climate change ...

Plate tectonics and trajectories

These theories of plate tectonics that you investigate, Fiona, appear more to do with the trajectory of crockery moved with great impetus from one location (the bench?) to another, the wall (just above John's head!!). This force an expression of disappointment from Janette at not detecting the earth movement so evident to, and transfixitive of, John?

Much thunder and lightning, though. First as a consequence of Janette's response to John's "experience" and then from John in reaction to that saucer latterly bouncing half-smashed off the side of his skull!

Pitney and ideological insanity

Paul: "I hate to do this to you, but I love somebody new, what can I do, I can never ever etc”. Yes he was a bit dry, but at my age then he was kool as my older sisters were into him. I've played quite a bit of his stuff in bands over the years, hence the albums. I think he released it in 1961.

I see Howard has done the coward act again by now saying he may not stay in office if the libs are defeated and he is elected, but he would do the right thing by his electorate. He could do that now and withdraw from the election on the grounds of ideological insanity. Actually, all political party candidates should do the same.


Alga:: Howard could  ... do the right thing by his electorate".

I'd like to help him, if he liked. All he'd have to do is front and I'd give that ten foot piece of rope in my back shed to him for nothing. And the footstool. And  I'd point him in the direction of  a good tree or lamp post too, were he a little amiss as to his location and future direction...

Howard's 1920's thinking gives us 1920's infrastructure.

An eleven year old government has to stand on its record. No choice. Howard's record is Costello's record. Costello's been treasurer since Day one.

AUSTRALIA is losing up to $360million in coal exports a year because the federal Government has failed to spend just $5million to upgrade a "Third World" signalling system on train tracks between the Hunter Valley and the Port of Newcastle.

The system, dating back to the 1920s, is helping to make the port one of the biggest infrastructure bottlenecks in the country.

This is the record of the Howard and Costello partnership: one of neglect. We have 1920's infrastructure, but don't worry, we have $17 billion in the kitty for pork barrelling.

AFP orders bag searches at MCG for OUT HOWARD banners.

With John Howard at the AFL Grand Final to consider his future, an opportunity for 65% of the occupants of the Great Southern Stand to help him make up his mind.

Two hours wait, try ten

Having a miscarriage must be dreadful but a two hour wait is nothing. I have had to wait up to ten hours on the verge of bowel collapse from Crohn's disease.

Least objectionable party

I do recall one Liberal party ad that was ruthlessly effective. The one with the footage of Keating berating students with the line: Go and get a job! I was very young then and politically oblivious but it still thunders through the decade in my memory. In fact it makes me wish I could vote him out of office. Why can't we have something of that desperation in the modern Liberal party? Why this sterilised and dehumanised pap? I really hope the ensuing election campaign will give us something with more bite to it than "Least objectionable party" style advertising, that we've seen in the last few elections.

I correctly tipped the way the NSW government would approach industrial relations, using nurses and similar professions to win people over. Admittedly this a continuation of Carr's technique of praising certain professions as inherently noble, as if they were special interest groups. I hated Carr more than I ever hated Howard and, again, I wish I had the opportunity to vote him out of office. The last NSW election gave me nothing to vote about and so I didn't bother. I crave an election with teeth.

Party advertising

I watched an Ad on Tv put out by the Nurses Union, where an elderley women was standing in the hallway calling out "Nurse,nurse". This was trying to imply that it was Work Choices fault, when in fact the nurses come under a State Award, so the whole thing is a lie.

Tonight on the news we see a story of a young women who went to one of the largest hospitals in Sydney. She waited for 2 hours in Emergency with no attention, and finally had a miscarriage in a toilet. She was then found a bed, but it was another hour before she received any medical attention. Labor's Health Minister said they will hold an enquiry (copying Rudd) into yet another disaster in the NSW hospital system.

Despite all this we being asked to vote for Rudd (Dr.Death) and his Star recruits and union hacks. so that he can run the hospitals. As Ern would say "Struth".

Howard is underfunding our hospitals and age care facilities

Alan: hospitals are in crisis because the federal government is underfunding hospitals and aged care facilities.

The Tasmanian Minister, Lara Giddings, has welcomed the doctors' lobbying, saying it'll hopefully force the Commonwealth to match State funding on a 50/50 basis.

She says the Federal Government under funds local hospitals by $70m a year, and is now trying to exploit the anger that has generated.

Mr Hill claimed figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicated the Federal Government is now under-funding public hospitals by $1.1 billion a year. The report said an extra 350,000 patients a year could be admitted to hospital if they were adequately funded.

Ms Kearney said Mr Howard had contributed to the nursing shortage by cutting university places when he first came to power in 1996.

Alan as you can see it is the Federal government that has been underfunding the states and Howard is to blame. He brags of a $16 billion surplus, while Australians die. 

Thought-bubble advertising

Eliot, I have yet to find a bank or an insurance ad that I approve of. The closest is the one with the baby that gives the other baby a dummy. The weakness is that I can't, off the top of my head, remember the brand. This can often happen with otherwise effective advertising. I think "Not Happy, Jan!" was for paper but I am not 100% sure. It is not enough to say: great line, though!

It also irritates me when ads use popular song but undermine their meaning. There is an ad containing babies and the song "You're gorgeous" which omits the parts of the song which appear to be about homosexual sex. Alternately there is an ad that uses "If it makes you happy" by Sheryl Crow, the chorus of which concludes with "Then why the hell are you so sad?", which is perhaps a fitting enough response to financial institutions.

The worst advertising in the world, if you ignore fascist propaganda, comes from the Federal government. The ads on being "climate clever" are an example of what I would call thought-bubble advertising, whereby whoever drafts it is so bereft of ideas that the best they can come up with is to decide what they want the audience to think and to put it in to the mouths - or brains - of stereotyped depictions of who they think their audience is. It is highly generic, in that you could put anything in the thought-bubble and it would have equal persuasive weight.

"Kill the Jews? I can do that!"

It's a roll

Gene Pitney was the son of an oil tycoon? Was sure I used to listen to Pitney singing it on my old "Radiola" valve radio as a kid, when Pitney was "on a roll" ( Alga!!).

Paul, was that a pianola “roll”? I remember Pitney from when I was a teen, so can't be sure when he recorded it, I could look at the albums. I remember playing the desert song on a pianola, but don't think Gene would fit into a roll.

Am thinking about '62 or..

Am thinking about '62 or '3,  Alga. Only a pup then. For me everything is pre or post  Beatles, which swamped top 40 during (late) '63. Must have been before the Kennedy assassination; surely no later than '64 or '65 at the extreme. As  Richard said, a bit "dry" for a "roll"

"Ahhh, only

24 hours from  Tulsa.


One day away from your heart

( forgot next line ).

I can never, ever ever

 go home again".

The  Fonz and Travolta tried to recapture this sincerity, but never came within a country mile any more than they could reinvent the  Chevrolet  Biscayne or Marlon Brando.

Hands off  Ellis,

Hands off  Ellis, cads!

Hey, who is the dark haired, dark eyed sheila who usually sits next to or behind  Ellis, who always stares straight at the camera? That is, right through the viewer, causing you to avert away from the politician speaking.

Gambaro and Draper on the Tory side, also have this obnoxious habit . As  Gary  Sauer Thompson at  "Public  Opinion" says, parliament is "all theatre". But the artificing of  tTV parliament is a truly a weird thing. Gary thought the main rthing was to try to salvage question time.

Gene Pitney was the son of an oil tycoon? Was sure  I used to listen to Pitney singing it on my old "Radiola" valve radio as a kid, when Pitney was "on a roll" ( Alga!!).

Re Richard's comment, Leak,  I think, has Gillard as a small, dark, solemn raven, prophetically consigning   W...........s.  "Shred it, tear it, rip it ...". As to  Rudd, perhaps a bush baby as much as a rabbit. Don't forget the sheilas apparently think  Rudd is cute (polls), which is what  Queenslanders thought of him before his public service razor work.

Bereft PM pleads for advice from strangers in street

If you’ve got a bit of advice you want to give me about running the country, you please go right ahead and give it to me.

Prime Minister John Howard, addressing his constituents in Bennelong.


Fiona, Gene Pitney recorded "down in the Boondocks", I have it on a couple of his albums. Billy Joe Royal did a cover version of Pitney's take. 

I think there's very little difference between the definitions of, “boondocks” and boondoggle, when you relate them to politicians. They all eminently fill those definitions to a tee.

Fiona: Thank you for the correction, Alga.

Snack attack

Fiona says: 

But heaven help us all if you, Eliot, as an apparently intelligent individual, are basing your voting decision on style ahead of substance. On an entirely different matter, by the way, how's that Halle Berry lunchbox going?

Well, there's no practical or significant philosophical difference between Labor and the Coalition at the Federal parliamentary level, so I don't really see there's a choice to be had.

And generally speaking, I don't mind either of them too much.

But as far as personalities go, name two?

Rudd's mob look like the cast of a reality television series based on a boatload of NSW Teachers Federation members being marooned on an island somewhere. At tribal council, the first person to mention the 'republic' is voted off.

We have a very large fruit bat in my back yard at home called Peter Costello, which is unfair given the fruit bat has at least a bat's chance of becoming prime minister some day. Costello has as little personality and charm as a dead child's doll.

What's with the Halle Berry lunch box? Did I say that?

I wouldn't mind being Halle Berry's lunchbox, come to think of it.

Fiona: I'm almost certain that you are not the first person to have said that, Eliot.

The Political Menagerie

Kate Ellis (member from Adelaide and "the pretty one" behind Latham and then Rudd) is my current pin-up... well my only fridge-magnet anyway.  Hey, it worked for Christopher Pyne before he got his portfolio, so good luck to her.  She speaks well at public functions.

Pitney, Paul, has no sense of humour.  The aforementioned Redgum rewrote Liberty Valance into Liberal Values (.. the man who's got Liberal Values, he is the safest of them all) and asked Pitney for recording permission.  No deal.

Okay, thanks to Eliot we have Peter Costello as a fruit bat.  Downer would make a fair wombat, and I suppose Gillard could morph into a cockatoo.  Rudd, thanks to Latham and Beasley (rottweiller and St Bernard respectively) will always be a rabbit. The PM we need not discuss.

And Our Kate, well I'm sure she's more than just a show-pony. 

".....benefits that our customers enjoy." Yeeeesh....

Solomon Wakeling asks:

I wonder what "dirt" they could find on Julia at all.

Oh, God only knows. As if wearing the same brown-grey, polyester cotton mix pants suit every bloody day wasn't dirt enough.

Still, if it wasn't for that I'd keep getting her mixed up with the lady spokesperson who does the NRMA television commercials. There's exactly the same utterly mechanical speech pattern completely un-hindered by spontaneity or human emotion, but relentless nonetheless.

That's why I'm voting for the cutie who does the HCF commercials instead.

Fiona: There are a few male politicians whose voices grate, albeit in different ways. Personally, I can't stand Mr Howard's quack (and yes, yes, I know that it's probably attributable to his hearing deficit). But heaven help us all if you, Eliot, as an apparently intelligent individual, are basing your voting decision on style ahead of substance.  On an entirely different matter, by the way, how's that Halle Berry lunchbox going?

Oh dear Eliot

Gillard is actually very charismatic when she is in a room giving a talk about something. She tries always to answer questions and who the hell cares how she speaks because when she does she has the ability to slice and dice clowns like Ruddock in glorious style.

And I don't even personally like the woman, but I do speak from personal knowledge rather than your ugly and superficial rant.

As for Kevin Rudd, he has more intelligence in his little fingernail than Howard and Costello and the whole pack of clowns put together which is why he scares them to death.

Beaconsfield Grunge

There is a new Foo Fighters album out and after spending a day with it I think it is the best in years. It contains an instrumental "Ballad for the Beaconsfield miners", in response of course to one of the trapped miners requesting their music whilst waiting to be rescued. It is an interesting case study in benevolent celebrity, in contrast to the malicious approach taken to the subject which Miranda Devine criticised, suggesting that celebrity worship has evolved into contempt for the object of worship.

Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters frontman, is a kind of survivor himself. He survived the drug-addled grunge movement, which was anti-fashion, anti-celebrity and in its own way anti-music. After Kurt Cobain shot himself in the head in '94, Grohl, the drummer of Nirvana, pulled himself together and became a different kind of role-model. He maintained his sense of humour, professionalism and love of music, without losing his ability to express genuine emotion. Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic went in to musical obscurity but has developed an interest in politics and has published books about it.

In '97 Grohl released a song called "My Hero" which he said was inspired by Cobain - a hopelessly talented but self-destructive indvidual, of whom William S Burroughs said, "There is something wrong with that boy. He frowns for no good reason." - but which subtly and without preaching undermined the notion of Kurt as hero by making the film clip about a man racing in to a fire to rescue trapped people. Grohl's work is a quiet, ethical argument against the attitude that brought down his friend. The Beaconsfield episode is simply a continuation of his charitable instincts and good conscience. Cobain himself once described Grohl as the most "well-rounded" person he had ever met and this is apt.

Politically these are important figures in a minor sense. MTV ran a platform called "Rock the vote" to try and get Clinton elected. The popularity of MTV was heavily boosted by the success of Nirvana's '91 hit "Smells like teen spirit" which contained a video clip (which the band hated) about teenagers destroying their school. It was anti-pop anthem with the grunge poetry of lines like, "I feel stupid and contagious. Here we are now entertain us." Cobain had no party-affiliation and the song had nothing to do with the election (though he did express, retrospectively, a preference for Clinton over Reagan) and was a piece of social criticism. He hated the spectacle his popularity caused and thought he had "sold out", so much so that his suicide note betrayed an anxiety about breaching the "ethics" of "punk rock".

The Bush administration appropriated one of Grohl's later songs to use in their commercials, without permission, and it led Grohl to support John Kerry in the next election, when otherwise he would probably have tactfully remained apolitical. The Foo Fighters website, at one point, nevertheless contained some rather bizarre and left field information criticising the link between HIV and Aids, which is the only example of celebrity weirdness I can find in relation to the band. The argument may be legitimate (I don't know) but why this and nothing else?

The "Rock the vote" platform has persisted with "Rock against Bush" albums and concerts in America and "Rock against Howard" enterprises in Australia, with the support of a lot of significant Australian pop-rock bands like Something for Kate, Frenzhal Rhomb and the Whitlams. I also recall some only-in-America weirdness called "Fuck the vote" of which the less said the better.

The normalisation of celebrity politics is probably what inspired the rebellion in Team America. My ethics in regard to celebrity go back deep in to the past in to the writings of F. Scott Fitzgrald, who developed a pro-Hollywood stance in his later work. I don't by definition think celebrities are stupid, though, I prefer them to make their political points in the exercise of their craft. Matt and Trey could have broadended their attack on to targets like Bruce Springsteen, who tried to use his "working class" credibility to attack Bush. I recall Albrechtsen criticising Sheryl Crow for having an opinion on climate change, whilst praising Peter Garrett for bowing to political pragmatism and as such "facing reality".


The two cases of sexism that most stick out to me in Australian history are the debate about the GST on tampons and whether viagra should be on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme. Both instances illustrate to me what Fitzgerald called the "Alpine crevass between the sexes".


Speaking of media tarts, the other day I caught Miranda Devine in the telegraph declaring that we live in a "Post-Warholian era", displaying some comprehension of who Andy Warhol was and what he stood for. I take this as an absolute, personal victory over the right-wing commentariat's bastardisation of Warhol over his Mao Tse-Tung portraits (including the charmless Keith Windschuttle). I recall lobbying her on this specific point as well as anyone else I could find. Hurrah to her for consistently being the best-informed critic in the gallery and for declining to insult her audience (even if she defines who this is within certain narrow limits).

Nicola Roxon is far prettier than Julia Gillard. In fact Jules darling is starting to lose any claim to prettiness at all: she looks tired, like Kevin Rudd has woken her up at 4am in the morning every morning to discuss industrial relations, which he probably has. Substance is so rare in politics that if we don't take joy in the superficial, then it would be unbearable.

I wonder what "dirt" they could find on Julia at all. I expect she is a perfectly ordinary woman with a perfectly ordinary private life, distasteful only to those without a life and a discomfort with human experience - for example, Bill Heffernan, who is a national disgrace. As much as I would hope that Julia is privately a lesbian dominatrix who visits "lesbian bathouses" and sexually harasses her female colleagues, her male partner seemed typically gruff and masculine and ordinary, based on the glimpses we saw of him on television.

The women's media dolled up and glamourised Pauline Hanson, which was the ethically and aesthetically correct thing to do. It was in fact reminiscent of Warhol, who took ordinary people off the streets and gave them a celebrity treatment. We rarely give men such compassion about their looks. Think of poor Paul Keating and his zegna suits, Kim Beazley with his instincts to dress-down, or John Howard and his notorious eye-brows. You are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

When it comes to dead pan, and when it comes to bland...

Actually, I've been giving this a lot of thought. And I think Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister with Julia Gillard as deputy could be really, really funny.

Not as funny had Mark Latham won, of course. But funny, still.

Julia, whose distinctive diction carries so much potential for caricature, is going to be a delight. Her tinny, staccato, whining, mechanical speech pattern is so close to actual nagging in tone I'll be surprised if she isn't forever portrayed by cartoonists leaning over a back-fence with curlers in her hair. Probably with barbecue tongs at the ready.

And Kevin gives dimensions to the phrases 'dead -pan' and 'bland' unthought of even by the great Buster Keaton.

He's like a totally lifeless version of Benny Hill.

Emile Mercier would have shown him doubtless with a dead parrot hanging around his neck bearing the likeness of Peter Garret.

And then there's Peter himself. My God. Every video clip he ever did is going to be endlessly re-edited and spliced in with every press statement and every public appearance between now and when he's given a job at the UN or made Governor of Tasmania.

Fiona: With respect to your analysis of Ms Gillard, Eliot, have you read Julia Baird’s Media Tarts? If not, I commend it to your attention.

Alpine Crevass? Who's On Howard?

The thought of a saxophone-accompanied chase scene in which, Hockey, Downer (in fishnets of course), Howard and Abott and Costello (Who's On First?) chase each other around a tree, Rudd and Gillard sitting on a branch above, has an appeal.

I remember the members of the band Redgum saying  how finding song material was much harder when the Libs lost.  What Eliot considers as lack of characterisations might be due to the fact that Labor pollies don't carry on like pork chops.  The Libs, by their actions, are begging to be "sent up."

For example, Downer's propensity to sing "My Way" at international karaoke events.  Just asking for it!!

Fishnets, I've had a few
(you should see my whole collection)
High heels, how good it feels
A g-string for re-direction
I'm into stars and stripes
and may I say, not in a shy way,
that though the clothes are Condi's
I wear them my way.

There's a good reason you can 't find this sort of material in the shadow cabinet, Eliot.  Mind you, Chaser's "Stairway to Kevin" wasn't a bad attempt.

Sorry, the flu tablets have kicked in.. back to bed.

The "Man of Steel" even Begs for Power.

When we revisit our pictures of the massive arrogance in Howard's demeanor during his last three tenures in the highest Office in the land, it is embarrassing to observe his begging of the voters to give him another chance because he has more to do! Struth.

Even the fact that he will stoop to that device clearly indicates what he is prepared to do to maintain the power he has so dishonestly achieved.

While Kevin Rudd's reported back flip on the safety net had his typical and justifiable concern for the public who have factored in that nevertheless paltry assistance, he must have known that he was giving the depraved "New Order" another chance to ridicule him?

But, he had the courage to do it and explain it.

Howard made a deal with the Costello camp to once again avoid a fight (vote) and made the core or non-core promise that he will stay the course on the back-bench should he be re-elected. He said he would not do what Peter Beattie and Steve Bracks had done!!!

Now, according to the Fairfax press, he is begging some half a dozen of his retiring robots to remain until after the election. Fair dinkum.

Doesn't that, like most everything he does, fly in the face of his criticism of being elected and then retiring?

But he wouldn't do that to his electorate. Pigs.

If everyone could only accept that this person, virtually from the first time he entered parliament, has undermined, manipulated and bad-mouthed his colleagues, especially his leaders, to sleaze his way to the top, then only the extremely wealthy would vote for him.

Money is power and he must have known as a spoilt child that if he wanted power he had to foster money.

Like all dictators, he has maintained a distinct and servile attitude to the US and all corporations foreign or not.

Currently, he is backflipping on a number of his unpopular issues; even those that he stated were ridiculous like climate change.

Does anyone really believe that Howard has changed his spots?

Or that the proposal that he and Costello (deputy Liberal leader not deputy PM) are now a team like Rudd and Gillard. Fair dinkum.

And where is the Deputy Prime Minister National's Mark Vaile? Will he deliver his 12 seats to the Howard regime, or does he only care for his own seat?

In 1998, Howard was saved by the Nationals who won, I believe, 15 seats. However, due to his naturally untrustworthy character, Howard has repeatedly threatened to further subjugate the Nationals, claiming that the Liberals could win in their own right.

So much for loyalty.

Bring on the election.


Howard will Do Anything and Say Anything - Beware.

IMHO at the height of the massive public distrust of the Howard "New Order", the media, especially the Murdoch bunch, were very close to giving the Australian Labor party a fair go.

I just wonder if that was, at least in part, due to Kevin Rudd's meeting with Rupert some time ago.

However, being greatly interested in Federal politics, I notice a perceptible move in political coverage leaning more and more to the "New Order" Liberals. Perhaps Howard's IOU's being callled?

Strangely, this doesn't seem to include the Nationalists of that partnership, who hold something like 12 of the massive 89 seats in the Coalition government. Where are they? Are they another Howard deception?

Outside of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, the Shadow Ministers of the Australian Labor Party are only shadows indeed. Interviews on the most favoured TV shows clearly discriminate against the proposed Ministers who are alternatives to the current mob of trained monkeys.

If there are any current or past detectives in this forum, what do they think when every single witness to a crime not only testifies to the same observation of the crime, but uses the exact same words and in constant repetitive fashion? Like Howard’s front bench robots?

Since Kevin Rudd was unable to quote a tax threshold figure, the media has made a great fuss about it. Yet Howard has done it on several occasions and so have Costello and Downer. So why the difference?

For a country once noted throughout the world as sport lovers and believers in a fair go, the media fall short of their responsibility to report the news without fear or favour.

All of the sports enthusiasts in this forum would likely agree that at some time, no matter how dedicated they may be to their chosen competitor, they have said or demanded a fair go from the referee or umpire?

Surely it is better to have an umpire who, even if mistaken in the interpretation of a particular rule, applies the same principle to all contestants in every like circumstance?

I hope it isn't that the media are engaging in their past practices of convincing the voters that there is really no obvious alternative to the one man band that we currently have.

Australians should note that Howard, Costello, Abbott, and Downer (and their conga-line) have succeeded in past elections mainly by crucifying the leaders of the Australian Labor Party - and with the support of the media.

Over the weekend on Insiders, Abbott replied to every question by denigrating Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard while, at the same time, indignantly claiming that accusations of just another dirty and negative campaign was the furthest thing from their minds.

Even though, on Insiders, the trio included two of the most extreme right wing journalists in Australia - Gerard Henderson and Malcolm Farr, I thought that, even while critical of Kevin Rudd, Annabel Crabb was constructive and as such, one shouldn't ask for more.

Let's keep our eyes on the ball for the repetition of grubby dirt that will be the main political weapon of the Howard "New Order".

They have no real policies at all, just tinkering at the edges while throwing our money around without worthwhile objectives and indulging their normal US style negative politics.

Bring on the election - the public votes, the public elects and the public are entitled to know when that democratic opportunity is to be theirs!


Tit for tat.

Round and round the ideologists go, on their merry-go-round to nowhere. I wonder if the people of Aus will wake up and become mature enough to realise there's no difference between lib/lab or for that matter any party? What amazes me is most politicians holding power are lawyers from the religious right and all sides meet regularly for prayers at parliament house. Considering the verifiable veracity of them all, it's no surprise to see them undertaking scaremongering and accusations. This just takes the gullible fools or our society away from the direction both factions are heading: totalitarianism, nuclear and coal powered energy, privatisation of every commodity, service and asset, allowing corporate control over all aspects of our lives. Hasn't the religious Rudd just dropped adopted policy designed to support the rich, whilst depriving the majority of good medical care by supporting the Medicare rich safety net?

Just watch, by the time the election is held, there will be virtually no difference between the lib and the lab faction, if there is any now, which I doubt, in reality. For anyone to ever believe anything said by a politician, or academic bureaucrat, surely shows a deep non-understanding of the reality that surrounds us. Maybe that's makes them cowards alongside Rudd, Howard and Co. But I'm as sure, as their mythical god, being real and its adherents being credible, I'll be proved wrong. I won't hold my breath waiting, I'd laugh at this primitive infantile society’s demise, if I wasn't involved and can see the reality of the catastrophe ahead for most of us.

L Ferguson

Yeah, yeah, 46% prefer Rudd/Gillard and 49% just don't trust Howard.

If you want to throw around dirt about anyone I have three letters for you.

AWB - $300 million to Saddam Hussein. The union thing looks like a perfectly legitimate 1% for training that has always existed.

You need to stop grasping at these silly little straws.

Perhaps someday the AWB people can spend time in the same cells as those nice chappies like Alan Bond, Ray Williams and Rene Rivkin.

Sexual Harassment

Since when is sexual harassment not a matter for concern and investigation? Just because the victims are men does not make the behaviour okay. Whilst I have no interest in the private lives of Liberal MP's, if it crosses the line into harassment then it becomes a question of character and ought to be exposed in the public interest. Howard's disinterest in Oakes/Milne's revelations are symptomatic of moral obliviousness.

Rumours of gay bathhouses are, in my opinion, illegitimate territory to attack a minister, as this falls within their private life, but sexual harassment is a very different kind of behaviour. I have no particular reason to believe the allegations are true, but it is worth looking into, at least behind the scenes. Howard's response has been mystifying, he seems unable to form any coherent response except denial. He is hanging desperately onto Labor's faux pas of the other day but has absolutely no idea what to do about the wholly new situation brought about by Oakes/Milne.

I long for a few empty words, as we might have heard in the past, for him to bother to pretend he cares.

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