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My State, our future

Illos by Martin Davies, Webdiary's artist for years, through thick and thin.

Hello. Queensland swung hardest. My State. A long time ago I lived in Dawson, next door to the National Party MP, Mr Ray Braithwaite. I rode my horse on journeys with Ray's son. It's gone Labor, with an incredible swing of more than 13 percent!

Queenslanders believe in a fair go. Yep, my much maligned state said no to Howard, and yes to something fairer.

Kerry Tucker got 22% of the vote in the ACT. My town, the town I refugeed to from Queensland. She got the highest vote ever for a Greens Senate candidate. She didn't win the seat, but she won, big time. One of the special people I've met in my life. An honour to know you, Kerrie.

I've been off the air for a while - went to bed at 5am on Sunday morning with the roar of Howard's loss and Maxine's win in my ears (culture war won) and woke up this morning - gee I must have been tired. A new Australia. What to do, where to be, now?

I've been chatting to friends for hours, talking that through.

Webdiarists, thanks to you all for great election coverage - different, exciting, challenging, real. Special thanks to David Roffey, Fiona Reynolds, Richard Tonkin, PF Journey, David Davis, Craig Rowley, my wonderful brother Hamish, and many many more. I'm so glad I came back. Life is strange, and good. Australia is gonna help the world get through. Because we can. Because we must.

 I love Australia. Always have, always will.

What next? Who knows. It's up to us.

Thank you, Webdiarists. Love ya.

[Illustrations by Martin Davies] 


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Bob Brown should be sacked

Bob Brown should be sacked for an extremely poor performance.  In the House of Representatives the Greens vote is stagnant from one election to the next.  They got 7.8% which means of course 92.2% of Austrailans chose to vote for other parties.  This woeful result of 7.8% is a miserly zero point six of one percent higer than what they got last time.

Then look at context.  Australia is 54th in the world on the Climate Change Performance Index.  We all know that Climate Change and the environment were high in voters minds.  In this context, one would have expected a significant swing to the Greens in the House of Representatives.  What happened though?  The swing was barely measurable.

Oh and let's not forget the collapse of the Democrats. If you take that into account, you could argue that the Greens are going backwards.

I find the complacency surrounding the Greens extraordinary. We live in times when the Greens should be absolutely soaring but they are flat lining. They are flat lining under the pathetic leadership of Bob Brown.

It's like the Movementarians.  You have been deluded by a single leader because he is all you have ever known and you think he's tops.

He should be dumped and a leader that can gain more votes should be put into place.  You would have got the same voter response to the election this time around if you had had a cocker spaniel or a resus monkey leading the party.  Get a real leader and you might get results that match context.

No swing of note at all in the lower house and you're all patting each other on the back.  All that and Bob Brown is smiling as well.  It's a sad joke.  Climate Change is burning up the world and the Greens in Australia can't get any extra votes.  Think about it.  Hardly any extra votes when people care about the issue and Australia is number 54, at the bottom of the Climate Change Performance Index.

Talk about treading water.  Extraordinary when one considers the context.  Absolutely extraordinary.

Kick Brown out and get a new generation who will be popular.

Now I'm a fairminded laddie

For once I agree with Mr Davis. I was looking at the results (to date) the other day and comparing them with Bob Brown's preening - two different animals. The Greens still don't have an outright quota in SA although it does look like they will win a seat from the Liberals (how did that happen? -strange place SA - one would have thought if the Liberals were going to lose they would lose to the ALP). At the same time, they lost a seat in NSW to the ALP - very strange.

The Greens performance, especially against the backgorund of all this "climate change" guff in the press, was dismal. That may reflect something more profound about the Greens. It is not really a Green Party. Rather it is a loose collation of leftie ratbags with quite radical agendas well outside the environment.

Interestingly, the other proponents of climate change reform didn't do well either. In Wentworth, their performance was nothing short of pathetic. Perhaps "climate change" resonates more with the media than with the public?


Any suggestions for a new leader for the Greens, David?  I'd be interested to see who you'd choose.

John Howard Was Sacked

DD, Labor and the Greens were the only two parties to increase their vote this election. But this election wasn't really about the Greens, or climate change, as Rudd was happy to commit to that particular challenge. This election was about voting John Howard out – and Australians did that in spades! If Rudd falters on climate change, watch the Greens vote go up at the next election...

Bob Brown's summary

This is late - still catching up on emails.

Tuesday 27 November 2007

 Greens pass million milestone

The Greens' vote in the Senate has exceeded one million. The final count will near 1,080,000 compared with 917,000 in 2004.

In other outcomes the Greens:

* Supplanted the National Party as Australia's third largest political party - by a country mile;

* Rescued the Senate's balance of power through winning a seat in South Australia (Sarah Hanson-Young) as well as Nick Xenophon;

* Busted the Senate quota barrier (14.2%) for the first  time - In Tasmania, with 17.74%;

* Scored a new record high percentage national Senate vote (9.02%);

* Scored a new record high percentage Senate vote in any electorate (ACT - 22%);

* Gave Labor the preference flow to win 21 seats, including Bass, Braddon, Bennelong and Bowman;

* May well pass the Liberals in Melbourne to score over 22% (with candidate Adam Bandt) and will peg Labor's Lindsay Tanner to closer than 55-45 in two party preferred;

* Will go into the next Senate with between 5-7 seats (1998 - 1 seat; 2001-2 seats; 2004 - 4 seats) and hold or share the balance of power;

* Increased the Greens Northern Territory vote to 9% from 7.7% after opposing the Howard government's intervention laws which Rudd Labor supported.

"In the Howard-Rudd context, this has been another electoral advance for the Greens, who do best when Labor, rather than the Coalition, is in office," Greens leader Bob Brown said today. 

Kerrie's final statement

MEDIA RELEASE Kerrie Tucker Greens Senate candidate for the ACT

7 Dec 2007

Canberra - the greenest city in Australia

Kerrie Tucker, Greens Senate candidate for the ACT, has thanked the people of Canberra for their support at the 2007 Federal Election.

"I congratulate Senator Humphries for retaining his seat, but regret that he chose to mislead the Canberra community about Greens policy in the process," Ms Tucker said today. (See Libs smear Greens in ACT, 'cause the times they are a changing.)

"This was an extremely close result, with a swing against the Liberal Party leaving it just over the Senate quota. For the Greens to receive almost 22% of the vote represents an increase of a third in our vote and evidence that the party is a serious and established political force in Canberra."

"The people of Canberra can look forward to a more balanced result at the next ACT election where the voting system supports a greater diversity."

"I personally found this campaign extremely rewarding and I am proud of the way the campaign team and all our hundreds of supporters brought such a positive and committed approach to the work."

"Through the campaign we had the opportunity to raise awareness of the issues of climate change and the abuse of our parliamentary system by the Coalition. It also gave us the chance to highlight the many positive opportunities that exist for making our world a better place.   A wide range of people responded very positively to our campaign on that basis."

"While clearly Kevin Rudd¹s Labor is an improvement on John Howard¹s Government, we wait to see whether it brings back truth in government and responds responsibly to the crisis of climate change. The Greens in the Senate will be critical in holding it to account," Ms Tucker said.

Professor Doktor Herr

Professor Doktor Herr Woodforde OAM presumes to comment, “SOME NEFARIOUS SHITBAGGERY, BRYAN?  Sounds a bit desperate, sport.”

P’raps M’Lud, P’raps a little of the Shitbaggery. After All ‘Tis the Season, or the Seasoning as KRudd himself has bespoke many times. The SEASON, man. I'm entitled.

But I takes exception at the desperation bit. Nothing desperate about it. ‘Tis fun, fun, fun and rare sport at the Kruddy one’s expense. Highly recommended and, I estimate, a majority taste by this time next year. He won't mind, and if he does we can poke 'im with sticks.

Jacob Stam has got it right sir! A mild guilty frisson at hating against the way of the Lord. It should not be this way. Yet it tastes sooooo sweeeet. Hmmmm, God loves me, and must want me to feel this way. Therefore revise the Bible. “Dump One Another as We have Dumped oo John”.

I feel a reformation coming on.


Alan, I would be far more concerned about the female Talent!


I'd like to hear Sam Watson interviewed on the subject of KRudd!


EH? I'd like to hear Sam Watson interviewed on the subject of KRudd!

Perhaps he's in the book. Why not ring him up and just do it. Ask questions, really proper, dinky-di X-Xaminging questions, write down the answers, and notch it all up, old EH. Do ya good.

Dr Woodforde, OAM, late of Wecker, under Tungipin, Juvenal of the telephone

Bryan (on finding the Way), Ian (on canniness)

Bryan Law: "Yes, I’m a Howard hater..."

Full marks for your candour, Bryan; however, I'm wondering how you'd reconcile such statements with the life and word of the Lord, who (among much else) enjoined us to love our enemies.

Is it one of the things you have earmarked for atonement at a later date? (Not trying to be offensive here, I have many myself.)

Lots of people, including some atheists and agnostics I know, believe that hating your enemies means they've won. Does that concern you?

For myself, I maintain that I don't hate Mr Howard, but I hate what he has done. At worst, I reason, this resolves as a deep ambivalence on my part about the man. Am I fooling myself? Or is even 'deep ambivalence' a form of hate, and therefore at variance with the Way?

Ditto with your apparent deep ambivalence with regard to Mr Rudd, which I have to admit to sharing. Will this harden into a fine old hate?

Finally, as far as I'm concerned your relationship with Mr Blair is something between you and the Lord, so no comment.

Ian, 25%!!!???  Is it a Scottish thing? Your idea is quite canny, but probably requires more than a little refinement.


MK: A long time ago I lived in Dawson, next door to the National Party MP, Mr Ray Braithwaite.

Dawson has more than a touch of the old irrigation magic, folks, no thanks to the election campaign's back of the envelope multi-million dollar "National Water Plan."

The irrigation and water supply in Banana Shire, especially Biloela and Theodore, predates the Snowy and was one of the many footholds of Queensland's entrenched agrarian socialism - itself a foothold of Bjelke-Petersenism.

And the latter a considerable burr under the saddle of Howard's 1987 run for the Prime Ministership.

How the worm turns, how the market forces seep and rot and degenerate and wax and flood.

Dr Sid Woodforde, OAM, of All Hallows' Commercial School, Fortitude Valley

Presentation & talent

There seems to be an anti Julia Gillard sentiment amongst the liberal supporters. She comes across as smart and competent. In the course of the campaign somebody got her a decent hair stylest, and the improvement was dramatic. If she were to engage a good voice teacher her presentation would be improved.

Before everybody jumps upon me! I guess you all noticed that Kevin had some real work done on his bottom teeth – and perhaps his top teeth – during the campaign, and the improvement was dramatic.

No, such things ought not matter, but the fact is impressions and presentation do count.

If I were Kevin I would take a long look around the first time that they all get together, and remind myself that there are a good many present who could take over should I slip up. Ought to be a really sobering thought!


Peter Hindrup"I guess you all noticed that Kevin had some real work done on his bottom teeth – and perhaps his top teeth".

Everybody will have new teeth under Labor's Dental Plan, but Lib voters will have it done without any injections. 

"If I were Kevin I would take a long look around the first time that they all get together."

Yes he is only there till Burrows thinks it's time for somebody else (Combet, Shorten).


PH: If she were to engage a good voice teacher her presentation would be improved.

Wasn't it the late unlamented Baroness Thatcher who said, over and over, "Enough is enough .... enuff is enUFF!"

Or maybe it was just "Crocquet.com ... CROC.quet DOT com!" etc.

Dr Sid Woodforde, OAM, of the Goondiwindi Crocquet Klubbe

I want Tim Blair's lovechild!

You all go easy on Tim now. He’s going to have a real hard time with relevance deprivation over the next decade or so. Here he’s got a well developed goon squad to deploy, and goon central’s gone missing. Who do we attack? What for? Poor Boy.

I also feel like we don’t give the Tim and his pirates enough credit for being the architects of their own demise. Tim’s children have given me a rich lexicon over the years. HoWARd. JoHo. The Fake Turkey (Fake but Real). Faux outrage with a straight face. Everything they gibber on about has a connection with pockets of values in our society – and it can be turned against them.

I live in Leichhardt in Queensland’s Deep North, and we got the biggest swing in the country against John HoWARd (15%). So I’ve got bragging rights. I did my bit with a placard I built straight out of the Blair site, and it worked real well. Vote HoWARd OUT! On election day itself I sat at the Balaclava booth, displaying the sign to voters walking in, and I developed a line of patter about how today is our big/last chance to make John Howard cry.

Yes, I’m a Howard hater. It’s not a moral goal. It’s just for the personal satisfaction, and gee it feels good. On Saturday more than half the voters gave up a chuckle at the idea of making Johnny cry. Even Liberal voters could see the justice in it. It could be that more than half of the votes given to Jim Turnour came from HoWARd Haters (as distinct from KRudd supporters). The Australian voter is a big meanie.

Leichhardt is also home to Noel Pearson who called KRudd a snake last Friday and warned that Aborigines could not trust KRudd to follow through on promises to indigenous peoples. Noel cites his direct experience of KRudd in 1990/91 when the Goss Queensland government drafted the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Land Acts. I remember a press photo from that time when a group of Murris in company with Noel broke down the gates to the Queensland Parliament. Rad.

I have my own memories of Kevin as Cabinet Secretary in a regime far more top-down and autocratic than ever was Joh Bjelke-Petersen. KRudd IS a snake, and if you want to lie awake in fear most nights, just think about what would happen with Julia Gillard as Attorney-general in charge of the secret police. Death squads within two years I bet.

So I encourage Tim and his merry band. Develop the language for KRudd Dumpers, and keep a very close eye on him. Noel Pearson can help you with that.


BJL Leichhardt is also home to Noel Pearson who called KRudd a snake last Friday

Isn't there also a very vacuous commercial TV program called Who wants to be a millioniare?. Now all the Rudd-haters seem to be clawing aboard. They haven't the energy and the wit to work out what Goss might have been up to during the time Kevin Rudd steered cabinet. Maybe we should all have spent a bit more time in the Brisbane Watchhouse working out the does and don'ts of it all. Or falling/scrambling/scampering down the steep slope from Wickham Terrace to the back of Trades Hall, away from Bjelke's Schutztstaffl. Or perhaps standing off from the regime's corrupt police attack on, and arson at Cedar Bay.

Dr Woodforde, OAM, McCoombe Street, no k'n fun at all


BJ@Law.com: Noel Pearson can help you with that *

We need some explanation of the Noel Pearson vote at Hopevale on the weekend, Bryan.

Despite Noel P's virulent campaigning against Kevin Rudd (every decent anarchist's bete noir) wasn't his hometown vote along the lines of 75% ALP, 25% Noel's upper crust/informal, etc ?

Those poor benighted blackfellers, they only ever vote Labor for the sit down money to spend on grog - ask that poor decent Captain Brough – the natives have no sense of decency or what is RIGHT!!!!

* SOME NEFARIOUS SHITBAGGERY, BRYAN?  Sounds a bit desperate, sport.  And are we being quite honest there, old Cairns Post foe?

Dr Woodforde, OAM, late of Cook and Leichhardt

KRudd's History

Good to see some of his history coming out at last, Bryan Law.

The media have been remarkably slow to scrutinise it.

Especially glad his history of involvement in Goss's betrayal of the Murries is coming out. Let's hope he realises he has to change on this or be regarded as big a racist as the recently ejected rodent.

Cautiously hopeful for a step forward on indigenous issues.

Give Tim a Break, Ian?

OK. Arm, or leg?

That asset bubble of his is not the one he needs to angst about. He needs to see someone about that bubble in his brain.


Good to hear that it was SerfChoices that did the Rodent in, not anything else such as water.

It will be interesting to see how things are interpreted by both sides in the coming days. We are already hearing that excuse for dictatorship - 'mandate' - being thrown around.


EH: We are already hearing that excuse for dictatorship - 'mandate' - being thrown around.

One would have thought that "mandate" was a term used expressly for a Senate majority rubber stamp, m'boy.

Dr Sid Woodforde, OAM, of Barnaby's Parish

Make the call

Hey, Margo, did you see Blair recently reprised that old gag about the 'bold tags'? Such desperation!... like our old friend John.

Being true to oneself (i.e., personal integrity) doesn't guarantee success in all things. As a risk-taker, Margo, you know this.

But love will catch up with you, as did the zeitgeist. And yet it's still all around you, though not as you'd wish.


Margo, angsting is best treated as an occasional hobby.

Unfortunately insomnia gives too much leeway. So, a hot milk toddy, slip in and tune out. (Easy to say, I know I know I know...)

Anyway, you caught the zeitgeist, Margo, with your Still Not Happy,...

Or it caught up with you?

Onya. Sweet dreams...

Margo: Jacob, I've tried so hard to prove to the person I love that I've finally made the grade, to find that I've done it a vacumn. And then I realise that I've been true to myself. So I'm free. Weird feeling, of course, but a pretty damn good feeling, in the end...

Hornet analogy: reprise

Yes, Ian, Mr Blair must be extraordinarily proud of the intellectual prowess exhibited by many of his commenters. Kind of puts Webdiary to shame, really.

It's been a while since I've ventured into the deep intellectual waters — and I mean deep, as an abyssal trench is deep — of Blair's comments threads; so best refer to my notes, quite a while ago now, on the brief-but-brilliant treatise of one particular genius. I think all will agree that it surpasses any contribution on Webdiary for the intellectual boldness and daring exhibited.


A commenter on Tim Blair’s thread dealing with Shankar Vedantam’s ‘hindsight bias’ piece has devised a really neat analogy with which to frame the Iraq debacle:

I like to think of the terrorism in Iraq like this:

Iraq was a hornet’s nest. America and her allies came and poked the nest with a stick.

The problem isn’t that the nest was poked. The problem is that the nest was full of hornets.

posted by scooper on 2006 10 03 at 01:58 AM

I think I’m getting this: Terrorists are like hornets. As such, they tend to collect in hornets’ nest-like places such as Iraq. Therefore, it behooves tough little yobs with big sticks to poke said sticks into said nests, and...

Where does crap like that come from? It’s too tempting to see that kind of thinking as an atavism of someone who sadly spent a large slice of their childhood performing wanton and arbitrary acts of violence, like poking hornet’s nests with sticks.

More broadly, this kind of thing demonstrates a more general principle: That expressions of clueless desperation, such as Vedantam’s piece, inexorably elicit further expressions of clueless desperation, in ever descending blurts of stupidity and irrelevance.

Apology: I take this opportunity to express my regret at having wasted my time and yours, dear reader, by giving all this more than a moment’s consideration.

Margo: Jacob, thank god someone else is still up thinking, angsting. For me, it's about waiting for the call that will never come. Personal... And when I go to bed, tomorrow I'll feel free. Know the feeling?

A hornet of a thought for Jacob

Jacob: To re-quote the already quoted:

I like to think of the terrorism in Iraq like this:

Iraq was a hornet’s nest. America and her allies came and poked the nest with a stick.

The problem isn’t that the nest was poked. The problem is that the nest was full of hornets.

posted by scooper on 2006 10 03 at 01:58 AM

Going by the time of the post, I'd say scooper had a long day. Either that, or was sleepwalking, and the post came out of a dream (nightmare?) and a childhood that was not exactly disaster free. Whatever else may be said for or against them, hornets are memorable. I speak from experience.

I'm sure you must have more like that in your collection, which gives me a thought. Why not put them all on a CD ROM with an assortment of background photos, and flog the lot for computer wallpaper? You could still get it out in time for Christmas. By the time Tim got to hear about it, you could be in the Bahamas, or Minorca, doing a Skase with the cream of his blog, and the proceeds therefrom.

My commission for the suggestion, by the way, is 25%. Very reasonable, I'm sure you will agree.


Mark Bahnisch over at Unleashed on the ABC election website points out that the big swings in Queensland and SA are the states where water is really an issue.

Does this sound likely to those who know those states?

Margo: Nope. Qld gets the Murray Darling water first. and exhausts it before it gets to NSW. South Australia gets nothing. I reckon they're the states which understand best the fair go, cause we've always been silenced.

SA, the truly civilised state, in its own way. Qld, the pioneer state, whose people have not only done it hard, but have been demeaned by the Southern States. You know, the ones who've carried on  about our corruption, which we had a big go at fixing by enacting the Fitzgerald Royal Commission's recommendations, and refused to hold their own! I mean, serious allegations of Cops tipping off Melbourne's mafia to kill am informer?!! And no Royal Commission????

SA and Qld want a bit of honest, fair government. One that puts the bucks where the biggest needs are. SA and Qld formed a very interesting alliance on November 24, in  my opinion. 


MK: the Southern States ...  the ones who've carried on  about our corruption, which we had a big go at fixing by enacting the Fitzgerald Royal Commission's recommendations

We mayn't ever forget that Fitzgerald was assembled by National a/Premier Bill Gunn, an honest farmer, who enraged many of his party mates by the act.  It brought down the Nationals and put even Bjelke in court.

Bjelke's crooked police commissioner and two of his ministers, Liberals turned Nationals, all did bulk jug.

Whatever Gunn's other faults may have been, he deserves our considerable thanks.

Dr Sid Woodforde, OAM, of two of the PeeWee Creeks under Tungipin, via Traveston and Goondiwindi

This is what happened in Queensland

Evan, as someone who lives in a Southeast Queensland seat that saw an 11% swing against the sitting Liberal member, I can tell you it had bugger all to do with water or any other such nonsense. The people who threw out the government on Saturday were the ones who had kept it in power for the last four elections - 'Howard's Battlers'. For them, Workchoices represented the end of the 'fair-go', so they voted out the architect of the end of the fair-go.

This article by Dennis Atkins in the Courier-Mail is right on the money:

In the end they were the silent assassins. No baseball bats - just a cold, long-held determination.

... Booth workers from both sides of politics told the same story. Just about any male in the age group 18 to 40 behaved the same on Saturday, especially if they got out of a twin cab or Hilux.

They walked into the polling booth, shunning how-to-vote cards from all-comers, and often their heads were bowed. The arrived early and were willing to stand in queues for up to an hour.

They were on a mission. Many, if not most, had this mission in mind for months – probably since sometime last year.

... These silent assassins were angry about WorkChoices – not just for themselves, but many did not escape it. Many were from the now-lost Howard battlers who deserted Labor in big numbers 11½ years ago. They stuck with Howard through 2001 and 2004 but the 1998 GST election saw them lodge a One Nation protest.

... Howard had been there too long, out-staying what appears a 10-year use-by date for leaders. And he'd become a bit out-of-touch and arrogant, something typified by his statement that Australian families had never been better off. It was a slap in the face for many.

... Out of all this came Saturday's heads-down determination. It's no surprise it hit hardest in Queensland.

In his last minute pitch, Howard singled out the small business and aspirational ethos in Queensland. But these aspirational people also believe in the Australian fair go.

WorkChoices was the betrayal of that and it opened people's minds to other breaches and perceived unfairness – whether it was the treatment of David Hicks or Dr Mohamed Haneef. Climate change was there, too.

Still plenty to do

Guy Rundle makes an important point in today's Crikey concerning the shift in the parameters of political debate we can now expect in Australia. To paraphrase one point, we will no longer need to exhaust ourselves just endlessly trying to point out that xenophobia is not a reasonable position. It's an irony of Howard's crusade for political incorrectness that it ended in such a completely postmodern and radically democratic position - the most unreasonable prejudice had to be accorded equality of respect with the most well argued and substantiated reasoning. Especially on the ABC and especially if it came from the right. 

Now, as Rundle points out, we can start from at least a position that assumes liberal democratic norms hold true in Australia. We don't have to keep going through guided tours of the 18th C just to establish inclusion and tolerance as worthwhile.

Rundle claims a special need for the Labor left to go further and hold Rudd to the principles of Labor. I agree but would say this also goes for  re-establishing and consolidating a number of basic liberal democratic principles concerning rights and accountability. A revived liberalism, from the liberal democrats, as well as social democrats, who thrive on this blog, also can have role to play. From ministerial accountability, to fighting the carbon lobby, to ending the concentration camps, there is work to be done - pushing the government and speaking truth to power. 

Quote from Crikey 26 Nov 2007
Guy Rundle "New life for the struggle for values"

The great thing about Saturday's result, no matter how far to the left one is of Rudd, is that the total dominance of Labor at both levels of government for a whiles to come, gives the opportunity to reshape the context of Australian politics, and the sort of values that are to be placed at the centre of life.

Rudd and the right may resist that at every turn, and win a lot of it, but they'll be fighting on a terrain of values common to the left and not the right, in so far as the latter has any, any more. The Liberals will be irrelevant for quite a while, just maybe for ever - preaching to the converted and reminding the people who switched (back) to Labor that it was always a marriage of convenience.

The press will have to change its tone - noticeable already in News's post-propter endorsement of Rudd, the equivalent of the old 50s scam whereby a race call would be phoned in late to a rural TAB, reversing the order of bet and result. Continuing the old cultural warrior-dom is just going to look crankish and irrelevant. In one of his famous essays, George Orwell noted that the moment he shot an elephant, 'it appeared to age instantly'. That's what Andrew Bolt's work suddenly looked like on Saturday night. [well, this may be a bit optimistic, Mitchell is still running the Australian and it was reported that Tim Blair has been op-ed editor at the Tele - TP]

Given the context, it simply means that a struggle for progressive values moves onto a different kind of terrain and becomes a different struggle - one in which Rudd has to be held up to his own values when he falls short (border protection for example), rather than having to establish the basic principle that cruel xenophobia is wrong.

That demands above all a revitalisation and re-organisation of the Labor left, not merely as a distinct group, but as a group which is based on a set of common and distinct principles."

One thing making me happy

Just by winning the election and saying that signing the Kyoto Protocol is his top priority he's setting a great example and making a difference. News articles around the world today carry the message that Australia has at last a real chance to demonstrate international leadership on climate change.


A slogan to encapsulate optimism and cautious realism: We want to be happy, Kevin.

You failed Margo?

Margo, I always have a chuckle to myself when you say you failed. You never failed - you were just ahead of the pack. And ha - remember ethics never pays - when you are being ethical you mostly cop it in the neck. You were working too close to the coal face and got crushed a little - you were down but never out, girl.



Special thanks

Thanks for your special thanks, Margo. 

You ask: What next? 

For me, it's taking something from what you've just said to Lorraine and trying to make sure that much more often from here on in I'm participating in a mutual transfer of positive energy.

I'll start here now by saying this:

Margo, I'm sorry.

The energy I've directed your way since May hasn't always been positive. 

Some of the negative energy was generated out of feelings of frustration, feelings of hurt, a sense of injustice and so forth, but that doesn't excuse my decision to direct some of it your way. 

I should have been wiser and mindful that a positive energy approach will almost always bring about preferable results.

I am thankful that you made the first positive step in resolving the problem that got between us.

To Craig

Craig, sometimes stuff gets to ya. I know that more than most. You've been wonderful for Webdiary. I'm stoked that we worked it out just in time. No hard feelings, old friend. 

Blair's Four-Billion-Dollar Man Gets the Bird

Margo, you may recall Lib Cameron Thompson ousting Pauline Hanson in the Blair (Ipswich) electorate during the '96 election. Thompson made a big deal of this in his inaugural speech but, sadly, was a party hack who, never having had a real job or an original thought, did little other than spruik the propaganda of the Howard machine.

Thompson's single campaign issue was promoting the Goodna Bypass, a $2.3 billion, 8km stretch of road that had more to do with sticking it up the state government than solving traffic congestion problems. Including this Goodna Bypass proposal the Libs threw $4 billion in bribes at the residents of Blair in Southeast Queensland (approx $44,500 per voter).

On Saturday we (the residents of Blair) gave Thompson and his bribes the middle finger - there was a 13% swing to the ALP. As the results came in he "could not be contacted" by the media. Today I am proud to call myself a Queenslander, and even prouder to say that I am from Ipswich.

Margo: He beat Hanson in 1998.

Judi Moylan, superstar

Just spoken to my friend Judi Moylan - she's just given an interview backing Julie Bishop for Liberal leadership. Yes yes, yes. Go girls!!!

Your comment that "Australia

Your comment that "Australia is gonna help the world get through" brought back Saturday night's tears of happiness again Margo. I too love this country and it's great to have it back on the road to reach its true and meaningful potential.

Margo, it's great to have people like you who will stand up and be counted. The Tim Blairs of the world can be ignored.

Thank you again.

Heh Jonathan, re your posters...

I'm gunna frame the set, and put em up in my meditation room. And take em down to Tassie when I join thousands of other Australians to say no to the pulp mill. You are an absolute star. Thank you for your inspiration.

We love you too Margo

Margo, a big thank you.  Over the past months you have provided us with much hope that things could be better.  You have always done it with the best of intentions, aspiring to ensure the public is well informed and able to make judgements based on facts.  You were sorely missed for a while there but so glad you are back and I do hope this is the beginning a new phase in your public life.  We, the poor old public, need you to ensure young journalists coming on are inspired by your values.  Over the past few years we have lost many great trusted journalists and their passing is sorely missed for among other things their leadership and role modelling.  Whatever you decide we wish you the best and our support is with you.

Margo: Hi Lorraine. What next for me? What next for you? Let's see what happens. Relax. Be open. You know, when I thought I'd failed, I began to realise real people liked what I did. It's not the big noters who matter. Thank you, Lorraine. It's the mutual transfer of positive energy that matters, in the end.  The stuff the big media don't understand. Thank you.

From Martin Davies, WD illustrator and artist

"Kevin Rudd ran a great campaign, his team deserve this win. They've earned it.

"As for John Howard, well in the end I happen to think he lost because the nation was never going to vote for a leader who wasn't prepared to make a full commitment to another term. Industrial relations, and all the other  issues aside, why would 'we' re-elect a leader who was only prepared to make  half a commitment?

"That's is one of the major reasons he lost. The other reason of course is Labor. They ran a near flawless campaign. They put a solid argument for change to the electorate, and they kept their campaign positive and on point.

"John Howard mused often in the final weeks that he didn't sense any animosity towards him in the community. Well he was simply kidding himself.

"There was certainly a great deal of animosity towards Howard and his policies out there in the electorate. It has been building since before the last election, but found nothing in Latham's leadership to bring it together. Ironically what helped bring together the anti Howard campers was Howard's industrial relation reforms. His industrial relations policy simply helped to organise that animosity into an effective opposition which brought all those previously disenfranchised anti-Howard campers together and organized them as one. Led by the Trade Unions, they assembled to fight for their life with Labors backing.  They did just that.

"Rudd (aptly named) offered this groundswell it's Rudder, and has simply steered a clear path to victory - a sweet victory. He didn't pander to the disenfranchised Howard haters, but he implicitly supported our re-organization in a very effective manner.

"The animosity that Howard denied existed was certainly there, but with Labor ahead all year in the polls that animosity did not need to flair up in his face like a dragon for him to notice it. Those opposed to Howard simply needed to be patient and stick with Rudd, who clearly knew the game he was playing. Howard Haters everywhere finally found their champion in Rudd. A leader to place certain faith in.

"Democracy is a beautiful thing. Especially when it goes your way."

Margo: Martin, you're a star. You've seen me through the awful times. And you're here now - I've asked David Roffey to add your latest abstract to my post election piece. Go, you good thing.

Matt Price and MK future

We have lost a decent person in Matt Price! The void needs to be filled and can think of no one better than Margo - a return to journalism? Please?

Margo:  Matt, what a terrible loss. An independent man, and a man who saw the humanity in all of those who try to influence the political direction of our nation, on both sides.

The mouse that roared

Queenslanders are a firery lot aren't they Margo?  I suspect much will be written up in Queensland regarding the geographical shift in the power base of Australia.  It had to happen eventually.  I go to Brisbane quite a bit and note that on the aiport road there is a population counter.  It is now more than 4.1 million.  Queensland is no longer a mouse. It  is on its  way to overtaking Victoria.

It's not just Rudd and Swann from Brisbane.  It is also Maxine.  She's a good old All Hallows girl - a sister school to my old Brisbane school.  We used to dance with those girls.  I saw Maxine dancing in Bennelong and it was the highlight of the campaign for me.  Those All Hallows girls still know how to dance.  No doubt what remaining nuns there would be at that school would be very proud of Maxine.

People said it was going to be a big night for Queensland but I had my doubts.  I was wrong of course!

A new day has dawned.

Margo: and it had to be Queensland, didn't it, David. we know stuff, don't we.  


How much of the swing do you attribute to southerners moving there?

Margo: none. It's the north and central that's done it. The true blues. Gold Coast? Forget it.

To Tim Blair

Hi Tim. You've been having a go at me for a long time now. Here's your latest. Thanks, you cynical, 'who gives a shit provided I stick the boot into anyone who gives a shit'  bastard:

Friday, November 23, 2007

Crazy in print, even crazier on television, Margo Kingston attempts to define “the mood of the times”:

To my mind, the Zeitgeist, the mood of the times, changed in September last year when Sir Nicholas Stern made the connection inexorably between the economy and the environment and warned that if we didn’t adjust quickly that we’d head for depression, that we had to factor in the environment and the costs that we were exacting on it in the way our economy worked. That’s when I felt that all of a sudden things were up for grabs. Now only a month before that John Howard had declared himself a climate change denialist on ‘Four Corners’.

Here’s John Howard on Four Corners in August 2006 - the program Margo is presumably talking about:

 I accept that climate change is a challenge. I accept the broad theory about global warming.

As much as I’d love to include Howard in our denialist club, those sort of comments don’t really go down so well when we’re gathered around the old CO2 generator. Margo continues:

The Labor plan of having special savings accounts is more responsible than the Liberal plan, but basically both plans are about subsidising people to buy existing homes, which just adds to the cost of those homes. It’s not addressing the real issue which is the asset bubble. Obviously it’s very difficult to address the asset bubble, which means that even though interest rates are lower than under Hawke-Keating, people are spending a higher proportion of their income on them. If you start addressing the asset bubble then you’ve got a whole group of people in marginal seats who see their only wealth-producing asset go downhill. So it’s a terrible problem. The way to do it, of course, is to put more funding into public housing. Government expenditure on public housing has gone down by 30% under this government, rents are out of control. Obviously we need - this is where climate change - I’m just so disappointed with both parties in climate change. Climate change is across all policy now. It has to be integrated. You’ve got to have the Treasurer and the Environment Minister in the same room in the expenditure review committee. We’ve got to have ...

That’s Margo Kingston - the woman who blew $44,000 in 108 days running a blog - advising major parties on fiscal policy.

Margo, Fair go on poor old Tim!!!

Margo: "Hi Tim. You've been having a go at me for a long time now. Here's your latest. Thanks, you cynical, 'who gives a shit provided I stick the boot into anyone who gives a shit'  bastard..."

Margo, let me say this as delicately as I can: I don't think you should say that sort of thing or get so carried away. For a start, before thanking Tim that way, did you check your facts with him? Is it really true that his mother and father weren't married? Or are you just getting it second-hand? This is important.

Did you also check first with Tim if he is cynical? I mean, did you ask him that in a straightforward manner. As in "Tim, are you cynical?" Or "Tim, how would you rate youself on a cynicismometer scale of 0-10?"

Remember Ockham's Razor. Simplest explanation always the best. A visit to Tim's delightful website, a selection at random of any thread, and a scroll down the comments and a random read of any one of them, shows that it is not Tim who is the cynic. Clearly, he is just flat out trying to keep up with the demands placed on him by his loyal readers.

All intellectual giants, the lot of them. Well with so few exceptions, the generalisation still holds. Must be a hell of a life for poor old Tim. Give him a break, will you?

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