Webdiary - Independent, Ethical, Accountable and Transparent
header_02 home about login header_06
sidebar-top content-top

Death wish

About a hundred years ago (well, 1978, to be more or less precise) I joined the Liberal Party. For me, that was a big step: I am not a joiner. I distrust organizations and (perhaps because I am an only child) have a preference for acting from reasons of integrity – probably a basis for loose alliances at best, rather than blind adherence to a predigested platform.

Nevertheless, I joined – despite having voted for the ALP in 1974 and 1975 (and I would have voted similarly in 1969 and 1972 had I been old enough). I joined for four main reasons: first, I was fed up with the thuggish behaviour of the union movement after Fraser’s second electoral victory (because that first victory is discountable for reasons that should be obvious to anyone with any knowledge of Oz political history); secondly, I was impressed by Fraser’s approach to the boat people (oh, what a contrast….); thirdly, I liked Fraser’s environmental stance – think Fraser Island, whaling, the Ranger inquiry; and finally, I appreciated Fraser’s lack of hubris despite having control of the Senate.

I remained a member well into the 1980s – and (probably because of where I was working) even scored an invite to – and attended – the H.R Nicholls Society’s first annual dinner (yes, I do remember Mr Howard’s belated appearance there). Then, for a whole host of reasons – but largely because of disillusionment with the internecine warfare between Howard and Peacock (was he Australia’s first two-dimensional pollie, or am I really naïve?) – I didn’t renew. Indeed, I switched my vote back to the ALP, and kept voting for them in the House, while voting Democrat in the Senate, until 1996.

1996 – that watershed (Watership Down?) year. Like many others, I switched to the Coalition. Like many others, I find it difficult now to understand how stupid I was; how gullible to think that John Winston Howard had truly changed his spots.

Never again. Despite applauding his stance on gun control (now, why couldn’t he have imparted some of that fervour to Dubya?), I found myself totally unable to support the Lib/Nat coalition.

For me, the Liberal Party under Howard was divisive – a party for the haves who wanted more, rather than Menzies’ party for the forgotten people.

And it seems to me that many so-called Liberal members of federal parliament haven’t yet understood the divisive and ultimately destructive nature of the party to which they adhere.

Since the 2007 election, there has been a great deal of soul-searching among the ranks of the federal Liberal party. Some of it has made its way into print – and here I am being selective: I haven’t saved every piece by every writer. Nevertheless, here is Glenn Milne – admittedly not an admirer of Howard, but certainly not of the “left”, and from a rather different perspective, here’s Annabel Crabb.

What’s more important, however, is what the Party members – and possible members – say of themselves. This is Marise Payne’s take on the situation, recently retired Federal MP Bruce Baird’s suggestions, and an interesting comment from a potential young member of the Party.

And what’s even more important is what the Party is actually doing. What about the fiasco regarding Federal MP Scott Morrison’s membership of his local branch? Not to mention the challenge that my own MP Petro Georgiou is facing? But then, self-interest should always – under current Liberal philosophy – outweigh Party interest any time...

Not happy, Brendan.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

With friends like these

What on earth is happening within the Liberal Party? First we get the Western Australian wanker, the delectable Mr Buswell snapping bras and sniffing seats, but still holding on as leader of the Opposition in Western Australia. (No wonder that Sue Walker, who had been the Opposition's shadow Attorney-General, has resigned from the Party and has announced that she will run as an independent.) To add to the yuck factor Brendan Nelson backed Buswell to keep his position. And, as for Julie Bishop's comparing the "antics" to Mr Rudd's visit to the Scores strip club - words fail me.

Then this morning Victoria joined in the fun, with revelations about boys behaving badly, and a girl behaving even worse. At least the boys have been sacked, and the girl has apologised and resigned. For those Webdiarists who don't get much news from the south, it seems that a couple of Liberal staffers set up an anti Ted Baillieu (the Victorian Opposition leader) blog that contained vicious attacks on Mr Baillieu and anyone deemed to be associated with him. One of the sacked lads then released an email in which Susan Chandler, a senior state campaign manager, made anti-Semitic remarks about a Party candidate. Ms Chandler has now resigned.

As for the Federal Opposition, I hardly know where to start. Hmmm, maybe Brendan Nelson's speech to the Brisbane Club agreeing with Malcolm Turnbull's (sorry, I mean TOM's) position that there is no inflation crisis and that the Government shouldn't make expenditure cuts in tomorrow's budget, but should "hold the line" on public spending.

I don't know what the Liberals are ingesting or inhaling, but whatever it is seems to be doing serious damage to their synapses.

Troy the boy

Troy Buswell a "wanker", Fiona?

Come now. The  man has obviously been sniffing more than a chair or two! Give the poor f**kwit a break, eh? 

 Troy the boy has upset  my local MLA Katie Hodson-Thomas too. He made comments of an innappropriate (sexual) nature to her.

The blockheads (libs) should give that  bastard the boot, and make it snappy too!

Fiona: Recently, Kathy (in the context, I vaguely remember, of some footballer or other behaving badly - odd about that), a sensible (older) male referred to the mother/grandmother test: - is the behaviour in question something you'd do to your mother or grandmother (or her chair, in this instance)? If the offending lad would, then the subsequent treatment is - in my opinion - obvious (if perhaps drastic, from the male perspective).

The merry go round

“Our two-sided political system is self-correcting; the Coalition will get back into office."

Sadly it's true and the worst evil aspect of our political system. We don't have two party system, but a two factional single elitist party which, if you look just below the surface, you will find no difference to their policy directions, approaches and outcomes. Sadly the controlling elite spend their time living on a merry go round which you access via a revolving door, which only allows elitists in, so they can enjoy the ride at taxpayers' expense and the country's future.

The need to grow up

Shaun Carney's piece in today's Age is interesting. Here's an extract:

[A] year ago a solid majority of voters decided they could no longer support the Coalition. By the time the November 24 election came and they actually had to go into the little booth and put the pencil on the voting slip, some of them found they couldn't bring themselves to ditch Howard, so the gap between the major parties tightened to 52.7 Labor, 47.3 Coalition. Now that the election's out of the way, the government's changed hands, and the sky hasn't (so far) fallen in, public opinion's simply gone back to where it was.

And yet, the way some of the bravehearts in the Liberal Party room are going on, you'd think this was all down to Nelson. It's not. Did Nelson's "listening tour", designed to counter Rudd's long overseas trip, get a lot of bad press and diminish him in the eyes of many in the media and some of his colleagues? Yes. Is there any solid evidence in the Newspoll that it had the same effect on voters? No. And did Nelson's clumsy tightrope walk through the 2020 Summit hurt the Liberals in the latest poll? Again, no. Suggestions being floated — again anonymously — that urgent action needs to be taken because Nelson is doing potentially permanent damage to the Liberal "brand" are not to be taken seriously. Our two-sided political system is self-correcting; the Coalition will get back into office.

Right now, changing leaders won't hasten that eventuality. Liberal frontbenchers should ask themselves why they were happy to let Howard lead them over the cliff last year when the polling was just as bad as it is now. The answer is because during their final term of office they stopped thinking for themselves. What they need to do now is to forget about Rudd, forget about the polls, forget about the leadership and to start thinking again, producing new policy ideas. If they do that, the rest, which could well include installing Malcolm Turnbull later in this term, will fall into place. It's not easy. In Philip Roth's latest novel, Exit Ghost, the central character, Nathan Zuckerman, describes his experience as a Democratic supporter who too often was on the losing side at election time. Eventually, Zuckerman abandons his interest in politics because he can no longer stand being overtaken by "the emotions of a child and the pain of an adult". The Liberals can't opt out, so they'll have to grow up. [emphasis added]

Says it all, really.

Brendan Nelson and his party a joke.

What is it with Brendan Nelson? Does he stand for anything? Does he mean anything he says? Does he realise he risks becoming a joke?

Take his comments on Kevin Rudd's visit to China. The Opposition Leader spent weeks implying that Rudd was too close to the Chinese.

He and his foreign affairs spokesman Andrew Robb challenged the PM to take a strong line on Tibet and human rights when he got to Beijing.

Rudd must be as tough with the Chinese on Tibet as he has been with the Japanese over whaling, they thundered. Rudd, of course, did take up the issue, and not only in his private talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

He also went public with concerns about human rights abuses in Tibet in a speech to Beijing University students. And what did Nelson do? He criticised Rudd for going too far.

It was fine for the PM to make his views clear to the Chinese leadership behind closed doors, the Opposition leader said, but added: "I don't know whether it's wise to have broadcast it as publicly as he seems to be doing."

Talk about pathetic. Most Australians will be pleased their Prime Minister showed some guts. They will approve of his straight talking.

Says Laurie Oakes in the Courier Mail today.

Obviously Brendan's days are numbered. Will Malcolm Turnbull do any better?

"One man that I met told me his son has got, or a relative I should say, has got to wait four months to get his kidney cancer removed. You ask yourself why that happens in modern Australia."

You do indeed. And Nelson, whose party was in government until four months ago, did not offer an answer.

Throughout the tour he had no clear message, no consistent theme. And not much authority, either.

No sooner had he said Rudd should attend the Olympic Games opening ceremony despite human rights abuses in Tibet, then two senior Liberals demanded a prime ministerial boycott.

The listening tour might have been more successful if Nelson had stuck to listening and kept his mouth shut.

As it was, all that came out of the exercise was another poor opinion poll and renewed talk by Liberals about replacing him with Malcolm Turnbull.

The problem with the Liberal Party is that their main motivation and the only thing that binds them together is a fierce hatred of the Labor Party.

If ever they want to gain government they will have to come up with some innovative policies that differentiate them from the Labor Party. Very hard to do when Labor is dominating the centre ground. As I have said before, they should accept defeat, join the Labor Party and let the Greens be the real opposition.

Parents' Vote

Interesting comments F.Kendall, as I once asked my father – a very conservative banker type (but not as conservative as I thought!) who he voted for, never expecting a reply. He said "whoever's not in power at the time".

In contrast my mother who came from a very working class family of unionists was a fierce Labor Party supporter.

Neither ever told me how to vote though and it's strange how these things turn out – my two older brothers are Liberal Party campaigners who were constantly berated by my mother over the last PM (right to the end while she was alive). If I'm correct, John Howard also has a brother we hear little of who is a Labor Party man.

All this aside, it would be nice to see off the NSW Labor government next time around.

How to vote

Fiona, I admire your electoral history, in that you voted with thought.  I don't think that that was usual at the time. People tended to inherit their party allegiances, like a religion or a devotion to a football club.  "Workers" voted Labor, the socially "refined" voted Liberal.

When I first voted, in the 60's, I asked my father how to do it.  "First decide which  party you want to vote for,"  he said.    I actually voted with a friend and her father:  "Vote Liberal!" her father  insisted repeatedly, (it was the first time he had met me).  "Take the Liberal how-to-vote card, and follow that."  This in Bradfield, where the vote is 99.9% Liberal ... (ok, maybe not that much, just close to that). If I had voted for Rufus the rat, it would have made absolutely no difference.

This memory has stuck with me because of the two different expressed views: and only one of those views, to my mind, supports democracy.  Since then, I've come across  parents who have said that they teach their children three things: honesty, hard work, and to vote for the Liberal party.  I am sure that there is, or was,  as much brain-washing on the other side.

These days I sense and hope that more of the young are following your pattern: appraise the programs and the people, then choose.  I consider this to be a cause for hope and optimism.

Fiona: Thank you for the compliment, F Kendall, which should be directed to my parents. They were and still are remarkable for their broad-mindedness and their belief that children should be encouraged to be aware of differences (in politics and religion particularly) and to analyse those differences dispassionately. They always wanted me to research questions thoroughly, to be aware of history, to think carefully, and to realise that no "side" had all the answers, let alone all the virtue. I know that I was very lucky.

Are You A Property Developer ?

If so Alan Curran you would be most welcome in the NSW Labor party to attend any function whatsoever and certainly have the ear of any minister.

Even better, become a tabloid newspaper owner and print a raft of sensational stories and beat-ups and while the state government runs down family welfare services they will come up with wacky schemes to jail the parents of truanting kids (that will teach 'em a lesson but how it will help the kids is a mystery - but think of the potential blackmail charter those kids will have to get the new gameboy).

And you will have the Attorney General thundering on about Laura Norder and his scheme to nobble the independent DPP and completely ignore his responsibility to remind the same tabloids about their duty to cease printing sensational stories, as they continue to do about a young athlete now charged by the police.

It's the same in Woolongong - does that answer your question? If not, I have a new tunnel and train network you may be interested in investing in.


Russell, accepted! I am having similar problems on an engineers site!

The 'toyota' story was simply an example of how in the first round 'shooters' it back effectively.


I went to a gathering that was part of the Labor Listens thing.  It was a barbecue at a Labor member's house.  We had four speakers that addressed the gathering.

That's right Labor Listens meant Labor politicians speaking.  I hope Nelson's effort is better - but I doubt it somehow.

Feel For Brendan

Brendan Nelson has a difficult task ahead of him John Pratt. It's the most sensible thing to be doing and it's what Simon Crean did in the same role even though he was never going to make PM.

Only just now are we getting the slightest mention from a few political commentators that in order for the Liberals to work out how to regain power they need to work out how they lost in the first place and that involves an examination of their total immersion in the character of John Howard.

It seems the party, their supporting voters and the mindless media were mesmerised by the fact that Howard's 11 years as PM in itself somehow meant something. People who set time goals are simply fools as they will always be broken. Howard seemed to believe that the length of time would be an achievement in itself and that the longer he was there was a licence to implement every retrograde rightwing fantasy he had harboured.

Meanwhile, as I keep saying, an adoring press pack kept the myth going of the 'great political operator" that defined his first dramatic win which was crushed within 3 years by a dramatic reversal.

The Liberals learnt nothing from that and it's unlikely they will learn anything from Nelson's tour.

Join the Labor Party

The Liberal Party is calling on the Australian public to give it advice on how to revive its electoral chances.

Party Leader Brendan Nelson is today continuing his so-called 'listening tour' of the country.

Behind the scenes, a campaign review committee is seeking public feedback, four months after last year's crushing Federal election defeat.

Brendan 07 is asking for advice on how to improve Liberal Party electoral chances. May I suggest joining the Labor Party.

Join the Labor Party

John Pratt, if I join the Labor Party will I be allowed to be part of the corruption and bribes in the Wollongong and NSW area, will I be able to get a $200,000 cushy job? Or are these perks only available to friends of Ministers?

Gun owners

Russell, I’m assuming that your letter was addressed to my observations. I grew up in a community where shooting was ‘normal’.

A good many of my friends are shooters and/or collectors. And I was more than a little involved when the first move to ban ‘guns’ was on.

I attended untold meetings in the Kempsey/Coffs Harbour area — and was unbelieving at the lack of organisation displayed! This lot were a threat?

I was involved with and constantly in touch with the Sydney situation and had contact with an academic in South Australia, a young woman, who was more than furious and organising over there.

You will get no argument from me as to the scope of those who will come under the umbrella of ‘shooters’.

My view that they are ‘so bloody righteous and straight laced they are scary. Absolutely authoritarian, jail ‘em and throw away the key types!’ stands, regardless of their political views.

You may be aware that there was an organised phone in to the advertisers who supported both the John Laws and Alan Jones’s programs.

One shooter/collector who phoned in to Toyota explained that their whole fleet was Toyota’s, had been for 20 years, and they were the last, unless a more even handed approach was adopted on Laws’s program.

It had my fingerprints all over it and Alan Jones’s producers had the police ‘wanting to talk to me’. We talked, there were a few sparks and it came to nothing.

And the reason that I got involved? I phoned Alan Jones program to speak on air, they wanted to know what I wanted to say, said that they didn’t agree with me and hung up!

Twenty four hours later they were desperate to talk with me!


Peter, I don't see how your story about the Toyota fleet illustrates anything abnormal about shooters. I think any group, under such intense attack as were shooters at that time, would fight back quite vigorously. Imagine, for example, how the gay lobby would react if John Howard had wanted to ban homosexual sex due to the dozens killed and hundreds infected every year with HIV as a result of unprotected anal sex. They would quite rightly be very upset! Isn't it funny how it's considered right and proper for gays to organise into a lobby, but wrong for shooters to do likewise?

Shooters were disorganised back then because they were new to having to defend ourselves. Now we have been doing it for ten years and are in a much better position to fend off the next wave of moral panic. Especially since the evidence against the public safety effectiveness of the measures has been accumulating.

P.S. Apologies for the confusion. I'm new here and thought if I hit "reply" under your post, my reply would appear beneath it or linked in an obvious way.


Russell, your initial surmise was correct. However, the positioning of a "reply" comment beneath the comment that it is answering only becomes obvious if you choose the "threaded list - expanded" option for viewing a particular thread. Like many Webdiarists, I tended to use the "flat list" option because it is easier to catch up on recent comments, rather than having to chase them around the thread.

The Religious Right?

Sad about Christopher Hitchens - he used to be a good reporter once.

The Socialist Revolution That Never Came

Evan Hadkins: "It will be the second or third terms (if they happen) which will show Labor's true colours."

In market terms this is known as trying to catch the falling dagger. Could any person, anywhere, think of the same thing being said of an elected right-wing government, ever? Word to the wise my man: If it's not happening from the beginning, it's never going to happen.


Actually I do think this was said of Howard and his despicable acolytes.

I think Rudd is a centrist.  He is a very long way from left wing in my view.  While liking intervention by government (as with Howard) he is in favour of the market - and won't intervene to ensure even that people are decently housed (the same as Howard).  [Subsidising developers isn't terribly left-wing either.]  He has not repealed even the expansion of the sedition laws - yet, if only he would! - introduced by Howard and his jack-booted supporters.  He has retained many elements of serf-choices.  That anyone with this kind of agenda could be seen as left-wing says much about how the meaning of the term has shifted. 

The press saw to it

Evan, the left died with the Whitlam government over thirty years ago.

Richard: .. and this is an April Fool's Day thing?

I wasn't aware of the date

Richard, it must be apparent that I'm an old unreconstructed lefty; what I meant was "as a political force".

Richard: I stand corrected.

Agreed Scott

Or at least Labor as left wing died with Whitlam (and he was regarded as a centrist by many in the party at the time.)

Richard:  Et tu, Brutus?  Maybe I move in the "wrong" circles, but there are plenty of "the left" still around.  You have to be quiet when you're hiding under beds.  What happens if the Liberals as a party aim leftwards?  A resurgence of the Labor left?

Venom and its cure

I was somewhat startled on Saturday, as I saw the venom of political comment in the Opinion page of the Melbourne Age. I guess it is unsurprising, as the frustration of our political system is caused by the lack of a real connection between the way we think and feel and the decision-making process in our parliaments. The frustration and anger is visible in all the forums around town, as the passion of the people beats the air which isolates us from our so-called representatives. Who is listening? Certainly not party politicians. If only they realised how constructively intelligent their constituents are!

While we may not know all the answers, there are many who do, and it would be great to observe them in local meetings in vital dialogue with their attentively-listening-independent representative! And seeing and listening would be politically stimulating for us all for, as we listen, we would all soon become able to participate usefully and responsibly.

Why not?

That is precisely the change we need in our democracy, and which some of us have advocated for some time – the secret ballot in parliament for all decisions, including the election of the ministers, making parliament the important place of no-nonsense, honest debate, and prompt, sensible decisions. We need a new system of politics which can earn our respect and which we can boast among the nations, which need the leadership that we, perhaps more than any other nation, are uniquely suited to give.

We need to urgently achieve this genuine style of democracy, to release our parliaments from the straitjacket of party politics to the liberty of objective, progressive debate and the power of a participating, connected public. With that anything is possible.

Jawaharlal Nehru, speaking at the granting of Indian independence in August 1947, concluded with these words: ‘This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill-will or blaming others. We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell.’

We could do well to take those sentiments on board, as we press forward to make our democracy fit for the severe challenges ahead and, in so doing, inspire other nations to reach forward to a more just, more peaceful, future.

Interesting link

An interesting juxtaposition between Evan Hadkin's link demonstrating the crucial support given to Kevin Rudd by "pentecostals and evangelicals" in Queensland, leading to Christopher Hitchen's claim that Kevin Rudd is now owned by the religious right; and Ian McDougall's statement re Liberals, that "that party is reportedly being moved in on by jackals and hyenas of the religious right".

A lot of these terms need redefining.

A Soccer Analogy Is Correct

Spot on Alan Curran, and far more astute than most of the navel gazing that passes for the collective thinking of the majority of political writers in this country.

You are correct - a few goals in the right direction and Howard would have been done years ago as Australians, obviously in sheer horror realised what that had done by electing him in '96, attempted to correct that dreadful mistake in the most extraordinary swing back to Labor unprecedented in history.

And that is the reason Keating, quite rightly, whether you loathe or love him, railed against the un-Godly power of a handful of media barons and their minions in this country and why Howard courted them shamelessly and ultimately handed them everything they wanted via the Senator Coonan debacle - even more concentrated power.

As I said, the recovery from his transgressions and the toadying media commentators that continued building the myth of this "brilliant political operator" in the minds of the public in the most perfect of Goebbels style propaganda remains as a stain the history of reporting in this country.

And where are these self appointed brilliant minds now - examining in depth the career of John Howard who as, as self appointed - and the media anointed Liberal hero has left a party completely in tatters - odd for such a great man ( surely the opposite should be his legacy ?) - no off  bleating about Kevin Rudd's decision not to visit Japan, a discovery not of their own but brought up by a Japanese reporter.

As a prime example I give you the long experienced Australian's Denis Shanahan who headlined only last week that Kevin Rudd's reputation was now "in tatters" over the first great non-story of the year, the carer's bonus. And these people are paid big bucks for this rubbish.

No wonder Rudd banished the rabble to their own plane.

And no wonder Keating, like so many of us, said when Howard was finally kicked out that he didn't feel like rejoicing, just an enormous feeling of relief that some dreadful time had finally passed.

Time Is Nigh; To Change The World

Evan Hadkins: "The idea that it is about revival of the party seems unlikely.  The base of the parties is shrinking drastically and rapidly."

Seriously, who cares? What's in a name anyway?

The fact is Mr Rudd has made a free trade agreement with China; priority number one. Any true liberal (neo or otherwise) in Australia, and elsewhere, would be cheering (if only quietly, there are a lot more of us in the world than people think). Elections are nothing more than the illusion of finding the (idiot) middle. The serious (and important legislation) is taken up by things that most people never bother (or don't have the capability) of finding out about.

Most are better served, in the next ten years - arguing about who is best placed to make gas, produce, and housing prices cheaper. At least then, real and lasting changes can be achieved.

Only the very old . . .


Voted for John Howard?!

Well, I suppose that being something over one hundred years old has to gain you some latitude!   

Tis certain that I will have to rethink that dinner invitation — :-))))

The gun laws: as stupid a move as any that they made.

The gun club type are so bloody righteous and  straight laced they are scary.  Absolutely authoritarian, jail ‘em and throw away the key types!   

A considerable percentage of them are collectors. Many of the weapons they hold they have never fired.

Because they are collectors, some of them have, or had, the odd fine piece that wasn’t strictly legal.  From time to time they were contacted with offers of pieces that they might be interested in.

Those old enough to remember the days when those who smoked dope never drank, and never mixed with those who did ‘hard’ drugs will have noticed that people have a penchant for seeing what they do that is illegal ‘is really okay’, but those others!

Well, the same thing held to the collectors of the ‘illegal’ specials.  Some things were not to be collected!   So when they were offered weapons that crossed the line, they promptly informed the police.

They have of course ceased to do so.

The combination of the gun laws and Howard’s appearance at an outdoor meeting in a flack jacket changed all that.  The jacket, the height of stupidity that illustrated just hopelessly ill informed were Howard and his advisers, was the last straw.

A great deal of worthless trash was ‘handed in’ as people ‘sold’ the unsaleable.  Meanwhile, a great deal of the quality stuff went underground.

Subsequently there have been more shootings — that is people  in Sydney  running around firing guns since the laws came in than there ever was before.

The Howard years were disastrous.  Rudd has done better than I expected, but then I never expected much. We are after all dealing with politicians.

As for change, I read recently that the sale of 4WD’s was the highest it had ever been, or that proportionately it was higher than it had ever been. Never underestimate the stupidity of people!  

Perhaps, just perhaps if we get a storm that rips the coast from Sydney to Brisbane apart, or a sea storm that wipes out coastal dwellings for the length of the coast, people might consider changing. Otherwise it will be a matter of, like the grossly overweight at the doctors; ‘I won’t diet, or cut out the grog, or exercise, but if you can do anything else . . . !


And the source of all this wisdom is .... ???

If you look at actual data in the area, your opinion is not vindicated. The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia have done surveys in order to accurately characterise the demographic of shooters. This served a number of purposes, one of which was to guide their approach to federal and state elections in terms of how-to-vote recommendations. They found that no generalisations could be made. This fits with my own observations. Shooters come from all walks of life. Last time I was at the shooting range, to my left was a Sikh man teaching his teenage daughter and son to shoot an old WWI/WWII vintage rifle, part of Australia and India's common heritage. To my right was a woman dressed in traditional muslim style, and her wife. There was no racial tension at the range, in fact the Sikh man was chatting all day to interested shooters.

Personally I know left-wing and right-wing shooters, male and female, I have shot with tyrefitters who never finished high school, and people with law degrees and PhDs in various fields. About the only generalisation you can make is that statistically, holders of a firearms licence are less likely to commit a crime. Perhaps this is where your "straight-laced" description comes from. As for righteous, well wouldn't you be?

Think of one of your own favourite recreational activity. Imagine that some mentally retarded psychopath illegally obtained some of the equipment used for that activity, and used it to commit mass murder. Imagine that the Prime Minister, new to office and looking for something with which to establish his leadership credentials, decided to scapegoat all participants in your chosen recreation. He contacted his political opponents who provided him with ready-drafted legisation designed to bury your activity through the imposition of onerous compliance burden. 95% of public intellectuals, being authoritarian leftists, jumped in behind him because their pet cause of civil liberties only applied to "people like them", and no-one they knew was a shooter, or at least, they weren't prepared to admit it. 60% of the general public also got behind the witch-hunt. Half a billion dollars were spent demonising participants in your recreation, and tens of millions more each year spent keeping the red tape in place, despite there being no sign of any improvement in public safety.

Ever since that time, your recreation is subject to continual ignorant tirades from people who would rather see you stripped of the freedom to engage in the activity of your choice, and you are forced to be constantly on guard so as to fend off attempts to ban it completely. Would that make you righteous? I bet it would!

A Good Thread

I 'll watch this to see how it develops but a few points:

 As to Keating being so "hated", his demise was one of the worst excesses of a media driven campaign in this country and should go down as an historic event as to when a handful of media barons really did change the government for their own reasons. The words "so arrogant"  was virtually repeated by every political commentator  ad hoc for at least 18 months prior to the election until it was mantra said by every man and woman in the street. When pinned down as to what they meant - they couldn't actually give a reason.

Howard's win on that occasion truly was a drover's dog win. Every win since was pure luck due to exceptional circumstances and little to do with the utter garbage repeated by those same commentators of the "brilliance" of this so-called superb political operator.

He was anything but - merely an opportunist who could exploit tragedies like 9/11 etc seamlessly. Australians seem to forget - certainly the media do - that Howard's wins were only by a hair's breadth and Beazley would have been PM by the third election if the numbers were right in just a few seats, having won back a massive swag of seats from the Keating loss - unprecedented in election history.

Far from being right for the times, Howard, like Bush - whose path (or someone like him)  had been planned by right-wingers intent on revenge since Nixon's forced resignation - and the election of Tony Blair who seem to be the dream Labour PM but instead was a Thatcherite clone on steroids, these three turned back history into ten years of retrograde policies that will take decades to recover from.

To draw any conclusions on Kevin Rudd's performance to date is sheer lunacy. After three years maybe; three months is a mere blip in time. And yes, Brendan Nelson is probably the most humane face of the Liberal Party at the moment which is why he most likely won't last, whilst Turnbull surely the smartest but the public just doesn't seem to like him.

Howard's legacy to the Liberals is a destroyed party which says everything about the man. It was all about him. Just as he said at his speech to the bunch of failed neocons in Washington where he took credit for making Aussies feel comfortable with themselves. Not only was he extraordinarily selfish in his ambition, prepared to take down the party with him, he was just reaching the point of total power and complete corruption. Thank God he was tipped out.


Michael de Angelos, you say "Howard's wins were only by a hair's breadth and Beazley would have been PM by the third election if the numbers were right in just a few seats".

That's like saying if the Socceroos had scored two more goals they would have won the World Cup.

Duplicate link

Fiona, your last two links both lead to the same story: Petro Georgiou is absent.

Fiona: My apologies and thanks - now fixed.

Staying off the grass

Do you think any of our MPs will be attracted to events like this?

"Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Saturday led an inter-faith prayer meeting in New Delhi in remembrance of Tibetans who lost their lives and were injured during the recent protests in China."

There's an undercurrent of rapid change. Keep your feet, Fiona.

Lab/lib, a death wish come true for Aus

It still amazes me how after the amount of evidence showing how absolutely useless, corrupt, deceitful and lying the lib/lab coalition is, people still talk about voting for them. Does the human race ever learn from their previous mistakes, or are 99% of humans just programmed clones which swing from one ideological disaster to another?

Choice at elections, how stupid and infantile to think your ideological fantasies will come true against the repetitive evidence proving they are false and useless, except to feather the nests of the elite. Just look at the coming summit put together by Rudd the dud, he is off on Ruddaway airlines boosting his ego and trying to avoid the fact he is useless. His summit consists of the elite and most are behind the cause of our problems, add to that nothing will begin to be done for at least 3-5 years as we already have the answers. Then we have the Murray Darling agreement, which again means nothing will happen other than to waste more public money on more elitist failures.

The current interest rate hike only helps the elite, it does nothing for the people and will not alleviate the situation of inevitable collapse because of economical, social and infrastructure collapse.

Politicians of n dimensions

Fiona, problems arise when you start talking dimensions. If Peacock was two-dimensional, then Howard was deep space. Solution: reduce the former by one dimension.

In my view, Nelson is the best leader the Liberal Party has had for a long time, and he is slowly gaining popularity in the polls. Far better than Costello or Plonker. The trouble is that while in the wilderness, the party is reportedly being moved in on by jackals and hyaenas of the Christian fundamentalist right. In a few years time, even Nelson may be out of it, and back in the ALP.

Which would not be good. The nation needs a genuine choice at elections.

Howard talked the talk

It is strange to read this argument that Howard's Liberal Party stood for nothing at all apart from bolstering the position of the privileged. The Howard Government did in fact embody both the classical liberal and conservative aspects of Liberal Party philosophy in its rhetoric, this much must be recognised. After all, it is this fact that prompts most of the complaints from the Left!

The Howard Government failed to live up to this rhetoric in many ways that ought to have pleased the Left, but went largely unnoticed. The exception to this lack of recognition is Howard's gun laws. Apart from being an ineffective, expensive, kneejerk reaction made for tawdry political gain, the use of legislation to take away civil liberties from a sizeable group of people engaged in an activity that has been commonplace in this country since between British settlement cuts deeply against the supposed cornerstones of Liberal Party philosophy: individual freedom and responsibility, and conservatism. Naturally, for all of these reasons, people on the Left loved the new laws, and comments, like yours, in the vein of "I hate everything Howard did except the gun laws" have been almost universal in the months of gloating in the soft-left press since the 2007 election. (Do these people not realise that Rudd is the patron of the Queensland Pistol Association?) The National Party wasn't so happy, as it decimated support for the party and "brought on One Nation in big numbers". The Liberals didn't seem so perturbed. Obviously their constituents weren't so attached to liberal philosophy as the Nats were to conservatism.

But there were other examples like this that escaped the adoration of the Left. In direct contradiction to his rhetoric, Howard left us with record levels of real taxation, real government spending, and immigration. The rates of growth in these areas exceeded those in the Keating years. What more could a Leftist possibly ask for?

You don't like Howard's talk, but he didn't walk the talk anyway!

Fiona: Welcome to Webdiary, Russell.


"Strong leaders" - opinionated and stubborn - leave diminished parties.  This was true of the Libs post-Menzies and Labor post Hawke-Keating.

I don't think Howard needed to do anything to win his first (and even maybe his second) election.  Keating was so loathed he just had to stay breathing.  The idea that he was a political genius was never true.  That the evidence for this was his ability to pull off electoral stunts based on racism (and this was regarded as admirable) says much. 

As John Howard said: the times suited him.  Which meant that he wasn't changing, didn't need to think, would be tossed out when the times changed. 

The idea of a party being based on a philosophy is just laughable.  We have two mainstream parties.  The small minded viciousness of Howard was remarkable but Labor pledged to keep most of the policies.  It will be the second or third terms (if they happen) which will show Labor's true colours.

What should the Libs do?  It depends on your analysis.  My guess is that the up-coming voters are largely green (in a very broad sense) in their concerns.  It also seems that it was an evangelical-left vote (yes, Sylvia, it does exist) that helped Labor win.  There was a quite good discussion of this I thought on RN's Religion Report.

My guess is that this is a change in the electorate.  Politics will be re-framed around the economics of survival and ecology.  My guess is the Libs could promote the line of 'trusting local initiatives' rather than the top-down bureaucratic approach of Labor.

The idea that it is about revival of the party seems unlikely.  The base of the parties is shrinking drastically and rapidly.  They are increasingly vote-winning companies.  The only alternative model is the Greens.  If they would maintain this once they have real power remains to be seen.

It may be that the Greens become the second party in Australia.  But if the Libs had embraced Malcolm Turnbull's suggestions (junk Serf Choices, apologies to the Aborigines, acknowledge global warming) they would have been back in the game in a minute.  I think there future really depends on whether they are willing to do these things (providing Labor doesn't make any monumental stuff ups - always a possibility).

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
© 2005-2011, Webdiary Pty Ltd
Disclaimer: This site is home to many debates, and the views expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the site editors.
Contributors submit comments on their own responsibility: if you believe that a comment is incorrect or offensive in any way,
please submit a comment to that effect and we will make corrections or deletions as necessary.
Margo Kingston Photo © Elaine Campaner

Recent Comments

David Roffey: {whimper} in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Jenny Hume: So long mate in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 10 hours ago
Fiona Reynolds: Reds (under beds?) in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Justin Obodie: Why not, with a bang? in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Dear Albatross in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Michael Talbot-Wilson: Good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Goodnight and good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 3 days ago
Margo Kingston: bye, babe in Not with a bang ... 14 weeks 11 hours ago