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Kevin Rudd on Q & A

Just back from the ABC  Q & A program audience.

As a background piece: before Howard won the election which made him Prime Minister, I attended a meeting at Double Bay which Alan Jones was chairing, and John Stone was the featured speaker (which was why I went).  Two local candidates were  there, and if you were a parent you would consider yourself unfortunate, as you would never be able to let them out alone.   Howard arrived late.  This was a hall full of people who had paid $10 to be  there.  I was never enamoured of Howard, and the impression he left at that meeting was ‘arrogant and politically stupid’.

Tonight Kevin Rudd, physically bigger and considerably more personable than he appears to on screen, improved my impression of him by about ten points.

The format is the questions put are selected from questions submitted by the audience, and the ‘guest’ has no prior knowledge of the questions to be asked.  On two occasions he fell back on explaining Party policy while formulating a reply, on one occasion to my mind for too long, but for the rest he answered with compelling/convincing arguments.  He also displayed a self-depreciating sense of humour which is missing from his public persona.  He has very well developed speaking skills, in contrast to Howard who has no speaking skill at all.

To put that in context, long years ago I used to compete in public speaking competitions, up to North Island B team status vs South Island — New Zealand.

The controlled environment of this program is much, much easier to cope with than, for example, the incredibly difficult Speakers Corner or the Domain here in Sydney, but it may be that Rudd would cope even in that forum. 


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Good sermon, Eliot

A smelly little 19th Century orthodoxy such as Historical Materialism could never have been the key to human 'progress' (however defined).

That a moralistic tubthumper like Karl Marx could inspire the murderous amorality of the last century, stretching into the present, underscores both the poverty of the doctrine, and the potential for doctrinaire high priests to co-opt ordinary people's hopes for a more 'authentic' (however defined) human life.

Such potential is latent in just about any religious or quasi-religious worldview, really. You name it — communism, national socialism of whatever hue, 'radical' Islam, a new American century...

The catastrophe of this first decade of the new century has, of course, been underwritten by a good old-fashioned, pre-Marxist brand of socialism, the one where you pay your taxes to be spent at our high priests' whim on, say, yet another war to make us safe and prosperous.

Prosperity is just around the corner but you'll have to get in line behind Cheney, KBR, and the rest of the MIC.

Harold Wilson as the subtext to Fawlty Towers...

Paul Walter: "Western Euro social democracy  worked well, before the monetarists, neolibs and Thacherites got at it."

Kinda makes you wonder why Thatcher got elected at all.

Oh, that's right. The three day work week, the endless strikes, the ceasless power cuts, and all the other running gags about Harold Wilson that survive now only in episodes of Fawlty Towers...

Tsk! Monetarism!

Wilson's treasurer Denis Healey brought all that in, didn't he?

"The following year Healey controversially began imposing tight monetary controls. This included deep cuts in public spending on education and health. Critics claimed that this laid the foundations of what became known as monetarism. In 1978 these public spending cuts led to a wave of strikes (winter of discontent) and the Labour Party was easily defeated in the 1979 General Election. "

Yeah. Thought so.

Historical materialism as the key to history

John Pratt: "The problem with communism is that it has never been really tried. What we have seen is totalitarianism – not quite the same."

Actually, it's been tried lots of times. And when it fails, the very folk who were so enthusiastic about it initially say: "Oh, that wasn't really communism. That was 'state capitalism' or 'totalitarianism' or some such.

Or else they tell you how the revolution has been 'betrayed' but would have otherwise been just a perfect success.

So, the ardent Marxist Leninists who spent the last 50 years burbling on about what a terrific experiment in socialism Cuba has been, and how they'd lay down their lives to defend the revolution there, or how great a communist leader Fidel castro has been, are now backing off as that creaking, bankrupt dictatorship totters towards its end.

Now, he's a "dictator" and "Gosh, they've never thought of Cuba as 'socialist'. Gee, no."

By and large, these are the same sorts of people who spent the '60s and '70s singing the parises of Mao Tse Tung to the high heavens.

Or bet their reputations on the success of East Germany as the 'Communist Showcase of Europe' defending its incomparable achievements behind the 'Anti-Fascist Wall'.

Or else never stopped banging on about Marshall Tito's Yugoslavia as the very hallmark of socialist multicultural diversity and the flag ship of the 'Non Aligned Movement'.

Or who cheered Robert Mugabe as he 'liberated' Zimbabwe.

Then there was Nicaragua under the Sandanistas and the very remarkable experiments in agragrian communism being put to into practice by Comrade Pol Pot in the recently liberated People's Republic of Kampuchea.

Not to mention the endless triumphs of Marxist social theory put into practice in Poland, Hungary, Albania, Rumania, Bulgaria, North Korea and the like.

All these were at one time or another widely and eagerly promoted by Communist Party noongs ranging from Wilfred Burchett to Jean Paul Sartre to Edgar Snow to Simone de Beauvoir and countless other faithful Party hacks, dupes and foot-soldiers.

Then the facts would start coming in.

And the faithful Party hacks, dupes and foot-soldiers would make every imaginable excuse, try every conceivable dodge, use every possible means to deny the reports of the food riots, mass executions, purges, ecological catastrophes, ecomomic breakdown, cross border raids, starving orphans, sweat shops, civil wars and worker riots that were pretty well a part of day to day life in all the Wokers' Paradises, sooner or later.

And when it all became so overwhelming, so utterly impossible to deny it all any more, they'd say: "Oh, that? Noooooo, that actually wasn't really communism. Communism's not been tried anywhere yet."

John Pilger, Richard Neville, Noam Chomsky, etc, etc, etc, etc.

Then they'd move on to the next moronic, crack-brained Marxist charlatan who managed to wrest a coup here or there and start all over again.

That's why so very, very many old, ex commies are so freaking angry and grumpy all the time.

Christopher Hitchens, Martin Amis, Somerset Maugham, etc, etc, etc


Socialism comes to Peruvian natives Chinese style

While we are talking about Kevin Rudd and China, here's an insight into how the Communist state's Chinalco ore smelting corporation goes about business with its clients.

They've just purchased an entire mountian of copper ore in Peru:

"It could become the most productive copper mine anywhere on earth. Now it belongs, in effect, to China.

When open-cast mining begins, in three or four years, a Chinese mining company, Chinalco, will send the copper back home to be turned into electrical wire.

The plan is to use it to carry out the electrification of the whole of China.

The Peruvian government is happy with the $3bn (£1.53bn) that Chinalco will invest in the Toromocho mines.

The Chinese will be even happier. They have got themselves a bargain.
The copper Chinalco extracts from Toromocho will cost something like US$410 (£210) per ton. Today, the price for copper on the London Metal Exchange was $8,255 (£4,220) - 20 times more.

Chinalco stands to make a 2,000% profit on its investment."

 And what do the local indigenous people get out of it?

"Two thousand dollars plus the promise of a small house or apartment is a powerful inducement if you live in a shanty with an open fire."

Chinalco has been eyeing off Australia's iron-ore deposits.

Fiona: So, what is your advice to the Australian Government, Eliot?

Capitalism at its best

Eliot, I thought you would be really happy with this purchase, a good example of capitalism at its best. I am sure that you believe that the wealth will eventually trickle down to the peasants.

The problem with communism is that it has never been really tried. What we have seen is totalitarianism – not quite the same.

Democratic communism – now, that might be worth a try.

living in the real world

Marvellous post, John Pratt; finally someone gets to the nub of it.

Western Euro social democracy  worked well, before the monetarists, neolibs and Thacherites got at it.

What chaotic, straightened Russia got with Stalln was a prolonged form of White terror passed off as socialism.

Rudd has confirmed he will attend the Beijing Olympics

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has confirmed he will attend the Beijing Olympics.

At a farewell gathering for Australian Institute of Sport athletes heading to Beijing, Mr Rudd told them he would be there to cheer them on.

"I will be in Beijing at the invitation of the Chinese government for the opening of the Games," he said.

Rudd knows nothing about Indonesia. What about radical Islam?

Radical Islam in Indonesia is on the march, and the religious pluralism enshrined in the doctrine of Pancasila is coming under direct attack. Last week the Indonesian government has issued a joint ministerial decree telling the heretical Muslim Ahmadiyya movement to 'stop spreading interpretations and activities' which deviate from orthodox Islam. That decree has implications for other minorities as well, including liberal and reformist Muslims, and the moderate Wahid Institute (named for former president Abdurrahman Wahid) says the country is on the brink of becoming an Islamic state.

There was an interesting discussion on the rise of radical Islam in Indonesia on Radio National’s Religion Report this morning.

While our media is pre occupied with the price of petrol, alcopops, porno photos, and the antics of politicians the real world is forgotten, including the fact that nearly 300 million people just to the north of Australia may be about move towards an Islamic state.

Kevin Rudd was caught out on his recent trip to Indonesia when he failed to answer a question.

But Mr Rudd's understanding of faith in Indonesia was sorely tested when he was asked about the biggest religious issue Indonesia has been focused on this year - the future of the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam, which has had its activities restricted by a government decree because it recognises a prophet other than Mohammed.

Instead of focusing on trivia, it is about time our media and our political leaders focused on the real challenges Australia is confronting.

Our ignorance is unacceptable.

Australia without immigration - just too horrible to think

John Pratt: "So Eliot, is immigration such a good thing?"

It is a virtue transcending all others. It is the same as cultural diversity.

Without immigration, we'd have to eat boring food. We'd have no cultural activities. Indeed, not even the capacity to produce culture. Or proper food.

If it wasn't for immigration, Australia would be stuck in the 1950s. Or 1970s, depending on how old you are.

Or 1980s, if you're really, really young.

We'd have no economy. We'd have to drive FJ Holdens and XL Falcons and S Series Chrysler Valiants. To Forster. And stay in a caravan park.

Without immigration, Adelaide would a really dull city. Even duller than it is now. Even duller than Canberra.

Well, maybe not that dull.

Without immigration, there'd be no SBS. And the entire 2 per cent of the population using SBS would be forced to watch the ABC.

Our commercial networks would be dominated by American sitcoms, medical dramas and cops shows - like Leave It To Beaver, Dr Kildare and The Naked City.

Instead of Malcolm in the Middle, Grey's Anatomy and CSI-New York.

Without immigration, Kylie Minogue would be living in Europe, instead of Melbourne. I mean, she would have lived there before coming here. And she'd have stayed there. Before going back.

She'd be Welsh. Instead of French.

She'd say 'Je fait..' instead of 'Oy dooo..'

She'd be called Blodwyn or perhaps have changed her name to Edith or Suzette. Anyway, she wouldn't be called Kylie, that's for sure.

If it wasn't for immigration, Sydney would just be a deep, complex evaginated sunken harbour and waterways-complex surrounded by extensive bushlands and high sandstone cliffs. There'd be no Sydney Harbour Bridge. Or Luna Park.

Tasmania would be isolated from the mainland. Barrenjoey would be the most populated place in Australia. Instead of Bondi.

Without immigration, my Uncle Lazlo would not pronounce Tip Top Bread as Tippa Toppa Bredda, making him far less interesting to the kids minding our corner shop for their parents while they're at mass.

Uncle Lazlo would live in Warsaw. Not Granville. And eat Dobrogea Grup bread. And pronounce it Dobrogea Grup...Bread.

There'd be no Victa Lawn Mowers, or they'd be owned by a foreign company.

Without immigration, Fairfield would be on the outskirts of Sydney, instead of at its centre.

Would you want that?

I didn't think so.

Without immigration, our actors, opera singers, writers, scientists and ballet stars would have to go overseas to get just, due recognition for their talents. And foreign artists would have to come over here.

From over there.

Without immigration, most of our manufactured goods would be imported from England. Instead of Hunan.

We'd not have Vince Sorrenti. Although he was born in Punchbowl.

Anyway, you get the idea, I'm sure.

Don't question it.

Bipartisan approach to refugees turns up trumps

"The suicide of a man who was forcibly returned to China by Australian immigration authorities has prompted calls by refugee advocates for better treatment of people seeking protection visas...."

"Refugee advocate Frances Milne worked on Mr Zhang's case and kept in touch with him after he was deported.

"To find that he has now committed suicide to avoid further persecution and torture is very, very disappointing and upsetting," Ms Milne said.

She says numerous letters sent on Mr Zhang's behalf to both the present Immigration Minister, Senator Chris Evans, and his predecessor, Kevin Andrews, seem to have been ignored..."

Maybe Kevin will take a strong stand with Beijing on this matter?

And here's another issue that won't go away...

"A leading economic forecaster says escalating rents and easing credit conditions will help drive a recovery in house prices in most capital cities over the next three years."

"The report says record migration is underpinning what is already very strong demand for housing, and further population growth of 1.5 per cent is expected in the next year."

Oh, goody.

Where is the debate on immigration?

So Eliot, is immigration such a good thing?

Immigration is supplying labour to meet the needs of the mining industry and in turn keeping inflation high. It is also contributing to our green house gas emissions. It is putting pressure on the cost of housing through rental increases, house prices and an increase in interest rates. Why don't we put a moratorium on coal exports, reduce our need for more immigration put the displaced workers into the construction industry to build more houses, bike paths and public transport infrastructure. As Australia runs out of water has anyone any idea how we are going to feed the ever increasing population?

Immigration makes about as much sense as paying a baby bonus.

How the 'Apology' is going...

This on the impending report on John Howard's Intervention into Northern Territory Indigenous communities on ABC's 'AM' programme this morning.. including comments from its oveerseer, Aboriginal magistrate Sue Gordon...

"After a year in the job Sue Gordon is about to step aside but not before she delivers her assessment of the intervention. Last night she told the Sydney Institute that progress has been made, but more work needs to be done.

SUE GORDON: It's not simply a case of just appointing more child protection officers putting a few coppers here and there. It's about improving housing, ensuring kids attend school, banning alcohol to give people a respite, drugs, pornography, managing income for the vulnerable people.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Magistrate says the intervention is yielding results. On the issue of law and order, she says there are now 51 extra police in remote communities and women are reporting that they feel safer.

Magistrate Gordon also points to the success of issuing licenses for community stores, saying it's reduced the cost of many essential items. She also says the controversial practice of income management has made life better for many, especially women.

SUE GORDON: Income management means that part of Centrelink payment is managed by Centrelink to help pay for items necessary for the well being of the family, and the woman are now saying they’re very happy, they want to keep income management in place, because it gives them a breathing space.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: On the key issue of Indigenous health, Sue Gordon is also optimistic. She says medical teams have performed health checks on children at almost all of the communities.

These checks have been a lightning rod for criticism and Magistrate Gordon says the critics need to look how the dire the situation was before they were introduced.

SUE GORDON: I would actually argue that while there are many commentators saying that mandatory health checks are a breach of human rights, I haven't actually heard many commentators point out that for decades before the emergency response, the human rights of Aboriginal people in the 73 prescribed communities and town camps were being regularly breached."


I guess Kevin Rudd will be overseas on a fact finding mission when the report comes out, won't he?

Vision for an Asia-Pacific community.

Kevin Rudd wants to create a Europe-style union in Asia, to pursue trade agreements and boost co-operation on terrorism and resource security.

Rudd, 50, said global power and influence was shifting towards Asia and that Australia must drive the creation of a new union including India and members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

''We need to have a vision for an Asia-Pacific community,'' Rudd told the Asia Society Australia Center in a speech last night in Sydney. ``The danger of not acting is that we run the risk of succumbing to the perception that future conflict in our region may somehow be inevitable.''

The success of the European Union is obvious.

Over half a century, it has brought political stability and economic prosperity to its citizens. It has created a frontier-free single market and a single currency, the euro. It has reunited a fractured continent. The European Union is a major economic and commercial power and the world’s biggest donor of development aid to poorer countries. Its membership has grown from six to 27 nations, bringing the EU’s population to nearly half a billion.

The creation of the EU has not been easy and many thought it impossible. Australia's future will depend on our relationships with China, India, Indonesia and the members of APEC. The future of the planet depends on the good relationships of all nations, the EU has paved the way. Australia should support Kevin Rudd's bold initiative. Ultimately all nations may form a union similar to the EU.

Alan ...

When the Gazans broke down the walls into Egypt they didn't kill anyone.

The economic nonsense of this year

Paul Walter: "That money is revenue required for serious transport, social infrastructure etc, not money to be handed back to lazy yuppies to burn into the atmosphere."

The most misunderstand part of economics is that good economics changes with the situation. The Australian Government presently enjoys a massive surplus without any debt. Banking away ever more and more money will soon become a problem (actually it's already becoming a problem).

The problem with the creation of more and more funds is that eventually government money will begin to compete with private money for limited assets. This is not a healthy situation for any nation to find itself - it certainly will not in the long run deal with inflation (it'll make it worse).

The taxes Australia currently pays are overly high. Taxes such as a broad based consumption tax are naturally indexed to inflation (working on a percentage of price). The taxes on gasoline are presently acting as part of an inflation push - which is hurting medium-income and low-income Australia. Sometimes to gain more one needs to take less (penny wise pound foolish) - this applies equally with governments as it does to individuals.

The Consevative Party talking about lower taxes is a good thing. Lower taxes are always a good thing. The claim that Australia cannot afford to cut 2 billion from the tax take (I'd go much higher myself) is nonsense.

Beds are burning

Marilyn Shepherd: "Kevin Rudd has been PM for 6 months. He has not had time to destroy anyone."

Apart from Peter Garrett, that is.


Eliot, Garrett never really got started. He was a flop from the start along with Macklin, Roxon, Conroy, Wong and Plibersek.

Alan and the Palestinians

So Alan, you know all of the Palestinians in the world do you?   Tell me how you would handle being in a vast open prison crammed with 1.4 million others while the neighbours control everything that goes in and out, keep you on a "diet" of 61% of human sustinence standards for years on end, bomb you every day, bulldoze your homes and destroy every single business they can.

Even a good number of Israelis and other jews are disgusted with the sort of stuff you come out with.


Marilyn, the reason they are locked in is because to open the borders will allow these idiots to run rampant with their AKs and bomb vests. You might be able to live with that sort of threat, but the Israelis are not prepared to do that.

Sorry to burst the inflation bubble

Paul Walter: "That money is revenue required for serious transport, social infrastructure etc, not money to be handed back to lazy yuppies to burn into the atmosphere."

The money you write of is being eroded by inflation. It (money) buys a lot less now then it did last year. The taxes rather than helping are in effect hurting (they're helping create inflation). Gasoline prices, by the way, affect a lot more than car travel. Food is one major that comes to mind, housing another.

Let people learn to adjust for once and let's have money used constructively, instead.

Wealthy people don't have to learn to do anything - the beauty of being wealthy, I'm sorry to say. The current problems in Australia aren't hurting wealthy Australians, and the evidence will begin to come through in the coming years. Far from it: the current problems will mean the wealth disparity will be growing. Wealthy Australians (invested correctly) should (and will) be having the mother of all parties.

Mr Rudd is not behaving as the helper of middle Australia, he's behaving as their destroyer.

Paul Morrella that is nonsense

Kevin Rudd has been PM for 6 months. He has not had time to destroy anyone.

Homelessness - the Green Paper

From ABC Rural's summary of the 2008 budget:

New funding for social inclusion and community centres

The homeless, unemployed and otherwise disadvantaged will the be the focus of a new Social Inclusion Board, created as part of the budgetary measures to advance the Social Inclusion Agenda.

Among the initiatives are $520 million for universal access to preschool prior to the first year of formal school, $3.7 billion for reformed employment services, and $150 million for 600 new homes across the country for the homeless.

Sounds like money in the budget to me, Jenny. Not a lot, but something is better than nothing. 

More to the point, Mr Rudd launched the Commonwealth government’s Green Paper Which Way Home? at the 5th national Homelessness Conference in Adelaide on 23 May 2008. According to the Advertiser:

The green paper Which Way Home?, which will form the backbone of the Government's long-term strategy, was hailed by the sector - but it is also keen to see the Government put more money on the table.

The Federal Government has committed $150 million over five years to build 600 houses across Australia for the homeless. Mr Rudd denied that this was insufficient, saying these were "modest first steps".

He commended South Australia's target of halving the number of rough sleepers by 2010, but declined to immediately commit to more than reducing the national rate of homelessness by 2020, saying the Government wanted to consult with the sector.

"Let's wait for the conclusion of the white paper. The green paper clearly states we've got to establish some targets...by the time we get to the white paper, it will have our definition of those targets - we want to be consultative about how we get there in the meantime."

And from Crikey:

Kevin Rudd has released the Government’s first Green Paper, on a subject close to his heart – homelessness.

There’s no doubt Rudd has a passion for the issue. He has repeatedly visited homeless shelters, usually without media, and asked Labor MPs to do the same. He is convinced that Australia has failed on the issue. Rudd’s adoption of the issue is the sort of thing that makes you think that maybe, just maybe, he can be one of our great Prime Ministers, if he drops the spin and stunts.

The Which Way Home Green Paper, launched today by Rudd and Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek, starts from the perspective that the main program for addressing homelessness, the joint Commonwealth-State-funded Supported Accommodation Assistance Program, isn’t working. It proposed three options – effectively splitting SAAP into separate youth, criminal justice, health and ageing, and housing streams to more effectively target assistance; overhauling and strengthening SAAP itself; or strengthening mainstream services and confining SAAP to emergency situations only.

The tenor of the paper is that the solution lies somewhere in strengthening mainstream services to deal with homelessness, and more effectively targeting SAAP so that it deals not just with immediate emergencies, but provides a longer-term pathway out of homelessness.

The Green Paper consultation process will be relatively short – a White Paper outlining a policy proposal is due in September.

Thanks Fiona

Thanks Fiona. It is a start. I have not kept up with all this for the reason you know. Let us hope it is delivered.

Mind you, not all homeless want to be housed. At least one I know left the accomodation my late sister arranged for her and went back onto the road. I think she is back sleeping under the bridge where we first found her.

Fiona: I remember that story, Jenny. By the way, the Crikey article is worth reading in full - it has some useful commentary about the Green Paper White Paper process, and I certainly agree with the author that it's good to see it happening again. 

Help for the homeless

A great splash was made by Kevin Rudd after his election about the homeless. Remember all those visits he ordered to be made to a homeless shelter in his first week.

Now can anyone tell me if there was any money in the budget for the homeless? I may have missed it but I did not hear any mention of the homeless in the budget. Has Rudd taken any steps at all to alleviate the plight of those camped on the street, under bridges and in bus shelters and parks this very night?

Now Howard and Co did nothing, but they did not say that they would either.

There is nothing worse than offering hope to the needy, and then not delivering. Better not to offer it at all.

Help for the homeless

Jenny, I wonder how many homeless people could be given a warm place to sleep for the night, using the $180 million being spent on the Catholic Youth Week. I wrote to Cardinal Pell, but have not heard back from him.

Fiona: You seem surprised, Alan.


Marilyn Shepherd: "Israel will not give back one grain of sand to Syria."

Perhaps if Syria's close political ally Iran stopped lying about it's bomb development programme?

"Iran may be withholding information needed to establish whether it tried to make nuclear arms, the International Atomic Energy Agency has said in an unusually strongly worded report."

Or if Syria dropped its support for the fascist Hezbolla terrorist organisation? Who knows what might happen then?

Fool watch

Paul Walter, hello. We haven't even begun to see just how big a bullshit artist Kevin Rudd is yet. Just ask Martin Ferguson.

There should be a tax on economic dead heads

Fiona, he could take taxes off oil, and most definitely not add to those taxes. I recently read one economic commentator (laughingly that's what he was called) writing that "dropping" taxes wouldn't matter (the only thing that dropped was my jaw). Of course reducing taxes would matter!

If five or ten cents is reduced from a tax; no matter the price of oil, it'll be five or ten cents less than it otherwise would've been. Which begs the question: Who do these people sleep with to get hired?

Money for lazy yuppies

No Paul M, he should not drop taxes on petroleum.

That money is revenue required for serious transport, social infrastructure etc, not money to be handed back to lazy yuppies to burn into the atmosphere. They have  known that oil is getting dearer for years, but not made the slightest effort to adjust to reality by buying more efficient cars.

Let people learn to adjust for once and let's have money used constructively, instead.

Richard:  A fair argument could be made, Paul, that a tax drop might provide relief for lower socio-economic groups from the fuel hikes.  Then again, by the time oil reaches $200 a barrel...

This may well be the beginning of the end

Alan Curran: "Fiona, if as Labor says, it was Howard's fault that Interest rates rose when he was in charge why is it not Rudd's fault that we have interest rises on his watch? Didn't Rudd and Swan promise to "keep downward pressure"on inflation during the election, what happened? More meaningless talk. Likewise with petrol prices under Howard, now we have petrol at $1-60 a ltr. but you are squealing that it is not Rudd's fault. How can you deskill someone?"

They should elect you as conservative leader. The secret of the demise of Mr Rudd is so easily transparent it's laughable. One should never, as Mr Rudd so foolishly did, create a situation that one cannot control (prices) - these types of things have a habit of becoming self fulfilling doom.

If the conservatives do not attack the suicidal carbon credit tax (as well as current taxes), the politicians involved should find another career. If people think prices are bad now, wait until this stuff comes to town!

Mr Rudd has absolutely nowhere to hide. If the oil price falls it means China, and India have slowed - creating a whole set of other problems for Australia (which could well be a lot worse). Unfortunately for Mr Rudd life in Australia isn't going to be better then pre 2007 no matter which way one looks at it. Unfortunately for Mr Rudd he's "given impressions" that life would be getting better.

Frankly, end game for Mr Rudd should be by the end of this year - that is of course if the conservative party is at best semi-competent.

PS the recent budget will have no bearing on continued inflation (rising interest rates) whatsoever.


Read this about the oil and suspend all belief about Israel and Syria. Israel will not give back one grain of sand to Syria.

While you were out

Marilyn Shepherd said;

"I am back"

Welcome back, Marilyn. While you were away, this happened;

"Violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level in more than four years, figures released by the US military showed on Saturday, but officials said progress was still fragile and reversible."

And worse, Israel and Syria are having peace taks.

That wasn't very nice, Eliot! (re Marilyn)!

Eliot, the peace talks the Syrian and Israelis are having are going to be at the expense of the Palestinians. All we will end up with is a new Mubarak of some sort or another in Syria and less done than ever to relieve the plight of millions of suffering innocent Palestinians.

On the subject of Rudd, Coorey (I think) was writing something along those lines in the SMH.

And, regardless of how big a bullshit artist Rudd is, he can't go any lower than Brendan Nelson- the only human being in creation whose eyes are located in the bottom half of his face instead the top.


I am back.   Richard: ... and across the abuse guidelines in the  second sentence.  Hi Marilyn!  ...and Alan, Howard is gone dear.   He won't be back.

I have been to a talk when Rudd was a mere unknown and was talking about invading Iraq and how wrong it was.    He was very, very against that invasion but very aware of legal obligations under the Geneva conventions that had to be fulfilled by the occupying countries.

Alan and Eliot, perhaps you might remember many of the banners all over the world about oil and invasion - something Greenspan and many others have simply conceded since the invasion.

Oil was $27 a barrel, speculators on Wall Street have now driven it up to over $130 per barrel after taking a bath on stupid sub-prime mortgage loans.

I think Eliot and Alan it is time for a cold shower for you lads.

Cold shower

Marilyn, for your information the Palestinians are the most pathetic and lazy people on earth. Their leaders have done nothing for their people for years. How about this:

The Iranian aid to Hamas, which has been blessed by the ayatollahs, will stand at $150 million for the second half of 2008. The movement leaders received a promise that Tehran will provide all their needs – weapons, training and funds – under the condition that the organization rejects all attempts to hold a direct or indirect dialogue with Israel.

Is it any wonder the Israelis act the way the do? Then there is this little bit:

"Iran promised to send the Palestinian organization weapons, funds and "moral aid" in case of a peace agreement between Damascus and Jerusalem".

With talk like this the Palestinians deserve everything they get. As I have said before, it suits the Arabs to keep the Palestinians in the state they are.

Kevin Rudd - so 2007

Paul Walter: "We observe that the fresh-faced and cherubic Rudd has displayed naked precocity in joining Miranda the Vain as self appointed morality police and final resort arts arbiter, re the manufactured Henson nonsense."

Rudd's suddenly looking sooooooo very '07, don't you think?

Deskilling and outsourcing

Packing supermarket shelves, waitressing, hairdressing and many trades jobs, are among those which simply can't be outsourced.  A great advantage. 

HECs etc deskilled the population.  I assume that this was a deliberate policy. If China and India can produce highly trained scientists, engineers, doctors, why should we spend the money training our own?

The assumption, which is now being gradually proven incorrect, was based upon some kind of hubristic belief that they would prefer to work and live in Australia (or US), rather than be at home.

A true conservative

That’s how I'm viewing Kevin Rudd – not a bad thing at this stage since the last ten years we have a had a rabid self-serving reactionary right-winger whose sole aim has been to get himself re-elected and then, at the end, left his own party in a complete shambles in every state and federally.

But I'm becoming daily surprised at what a smooth operator Rudd really is – totally unfazed by hard questions (if that's what they were). I doubt we will see the fire we saw in Hawkie but you are correct, Paul Walker – he is the Hawke of the era. That will be his strength but I reckon Rudd will be smart enough not to overstay his welcome. The more interesting time will be around 2015 when Julia Gillard becomes the first woman PM.

Fiona: Given that he was – in my book, Michael – a neo-radicon rather than a “self-serving reactionary right-winger” maybe we should change your first adjective to “rabbity”…

Rudd Honeymoon

Michael de Angelos, as with all honeymoons somebody is going to get screwed, but this time it is working families and pensioners. At least Howard was not lying when he said: "Under Labor, Interest rates will be higher Inflation will be higher and Unemployment will be higher". He forgot to mention petrol and food.

Fiona: Alan, could you please explain to me in the simplest terms possible (I'm a bear of very little brane) how it is that Rudd is responsible for (1) the subprime debacle and subsequent financial meltdown, (2) the seemingly inexorable rise in the price of oil, (3) the behaviour of the hedgehogs ... Oh, not to mention deskillling (or at least refusing to upskill) large segments of the Australian population so that we have a shortage of health professionals, teachers, tradies ...

Rose coloured glasses

Fiona, if as Labor says, it was Howard's fault that Interest rates rose when he was in charge why is it not Rudd's fault that we have interest rises on his watch? Didn't Rudd and Swan promise to "keep downward pressure"on inflation during the election, what happened? More meaningless talk. Likewise with petrol prices under Howard, now we have petrol at $1-60 a ltr. but you are squealing that it is not Rudd's fault.How can you deskill someone? Only if they are brainless, lazy and prefer to do jobs like packing supermarket shelves or working as waitresses. What about Rudd being responsible for the loss of jobs at CSIRO? I suppose that does not count because the unions have not screamed their heads off. As for the hedgehogs, I don't think I would trust him with those pure creatures. However don't you worry yourself as the economy goes into a downward spiral, and Rudd and Co. can spend nearly $1mill on a weekend jaunt to Bali.

When did the operation take place?

Fiona: "given that he was a neo- radicon rather than a self serving reactionary...".

On the basis of this statement, we are thus to conclude that the lobotomy took place before rather than after the fact?

We observe that the fresh-faced and cherubic Rudd has displayed naked precocity in joining Miranda the Vain as self appointed morality police and final resort arts arbiter, re the manufactured Henson nonsense.

Or is he actually snuffing De Vine by ageeing with her - after all, "never argue with a woman (columnist)"?

Let's remember that everything anything La  Mirandola does is, at the default , cold-blooded agitprop designed to supply the Tories with emotional oxygen for the creation of a sense of wronged-ness in the punters, as the now-desperate Right employs the culture wars as a stalking horse for retreival of power.

Fiona: As to Mr Rudd's possible activities, Paul, I couldn't possibly comment, though I'd like to know whether he has actually seen the photographs in question. As to Ms Dahvine, no argument. A slight edit, btw - the person to whom I thought Michael was referring was Mr Howard, not El Presidente. While on this subject, however, would you (or another Webdiarist) like to write a short piece on our sudden return to the 1950s?

Hmm, don't recall the bit

Hmm, don't recall the bit about Henson, but there was a fairly long exchange about gay marriage.

As for petrol prices, people have had way, way over long enough to get aware of an impending petrol crisis and plan accordingly.

You must have been out of town when Nelson and Turncow had the blue about dropping the excise by 5 percent, as populist politics.

Look for movement on that closer to the next election, when juice is much dearer than it is now, a la Howard just prior to the 2001 election, also with timely sweeties for the pensioners. It’s the symbolism that's important.

Devine in the SMH amused me with her flapping over Henson, given the exploitative sleazy muck the newspaper chains and teev networks run incessantly on their on line editions and sh*t like TT / ACA.

The 'Vision' thing

Paul Walker:  "He was on top of his material as to "vision" etc, but occasionally lacked detail as to the more esoteric stuff involving things like civil liberties, ecology or economics - after all, he is not Christ, for heavens sake. "

Was this the session where Rudd said he couldn't do anything about rising petrol prices, comparing it to a "seven headed hydra"?

And then got stuck into Bill Henson, more or less regurgitating Hetty Johnston's inane rubbish about him being a "pornographer"?

Rudd was entertaining

Rudd was entertaining and far too sharp for the audience. He was on top of his material as to "vision" etc, but occasionally lacked detail as to the more esoteric stuff involving things like civil liberties, ecology or economics - after all, he is not Christ, for heavens sake.

He is the Bob Hawke of his generation; for both good and bad.

Jones was unobtrusive but his interventions were well-timed and pertinent. These ocurred when either some audience member or other was off on a personal hobby horse for too long, or when Rudd was trying to waffle his way out out of less comfortable situations and slipping into self-presentation mode at the expense of the issues.

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