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Our political public image

you never listen to a word that I said, you only seen me for the clothes that I wear, or did the interest go so much deeper it must have been the colour of my hair…

The image that we each choose as our avatar is our public image in the internet  and its one of the first things that I think about when interacting with people both here and elsewhere. So when someone chooses a particular avatar image I can’t help but wonder why.  I think about the conscious  reasons a particular image may have been chosen and I also think about how said image may have a deeper meaning . For instance consider what using this image may say about someone:

mushroom

It could have been chosen for entirely innocuous reason like the user having a fondness for mushrooms (which I admit are delicious when sautéed in a little butter and garlic) It could be that they just liked the nice curved shape of the thing  or even just the subtlety of its colouring. However if that user turns out to be a teller of many lies it should be entirely unsurprising that a recipient of their many  falsehoods might find such an image a source of much merriment because it invoke the old  aphorism about mushrooms  “being kept in the dark and fed bullshit” and seems oh so apt for a purveyor of bovine excrement.

Now that all switched on politicians have a presence on the social media those of us who are interested in their use of the medium can’t help but notice the sort of images that they choose lets look at a few, from both the left and the right and consider just what  they may say about the people who use them:

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 3011313f0c625d911dc1ef5862b2a6cd Tanya-Housing-Summit-low

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  And opposition members as well:

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Of course they are all trying to present themselves in the best possible light so each of them is presenting an image of themselves  with a smile and in a way that says ” I’m an OK person”.  Some like Scott Morrison go for informality and a candid  shot  which shows him involved in a charitable event.   Craig Emerson likewise goes for the candid and informal  and he is clearly alluding to our egalitarian  traditions and our belief that every pollie  is of the people. Wayne Swan on the other hand seems to be in search of gravitas with his very formal head-shot, Joe Hockey  is likewise trying to suggest  that he is both  competent and business like Julie Bishop gives us a rather conventional formal portrait shot that exudes both warmth and professionalism to be frank I would describe the picture  of Tony Abbott the same way. Which brings us to our current PM Julia Gillard. Readers will note that hers is the only picture here  that includes  another person, in the form of a little girl. Now knowing as we do that Gillard is both  unmarried and deliberately childless I find this image  choice rather contrived and I can’t help thinking that this is a deliberate attempt to suggest that her own lack of progeny does not make her unsympathetic to  the issues of parenthood.  Its not an unreasonable thing to suggest when it comes down to it but I can’t help feeling though that its laying the message on rather thick to use such an image  as a twitter avatar.

Oh and finally a small disclaimer  to explain that a few days ago I tweeted to our beloved leader asking about her choice of avatar image and sadly she, and her minders, have not answered my question.

Cheers Comrades

My ownavatar is a self portrait painted a few years ago

My own avatar is a self portrait painted a few years ago

Dead department walking

We live in a secular age and in this country we expect that there should be a well defined separation between church and state, however when the government of the day “gets religion” which encourages them to set up a huge edifice to promote the tenets of their faith who would be surprised that the shear cost of the instrumentality and its lack of any immediate benefit for the billions it is costing should lead them to consider shutting it  all down to help a budget bottom line that is in a  rather perilous state for a plan due to be delivered just prior to the  next federal election:

click for source

click for source

The thing that I find amusing about this is that it actually a wise move politically for the government to contemplate this sort of departmental pruning on  a number of different levels.

Firstly the staff in this department will not be missed by the public because the work they do is pointless anyway

Secondly you can bet that as a recently  created instrumentality that the majority of the staff are employed on short term contracts which would make them easier to sack/dispense with

Thirdly those public servants have been on notice since the rise of Tony Abbott that they are going to be gone as soon as he gets the lodge  so being sacked by Labor won’t be much different to what they were expecting anyway.

Fourthly  Most work in Canberra which is a solidly Labor town so their votes would still be mostly delivered to the government anyway because you can bet that most who work in the department are likely to be Greens supporters.

Fifthly it will save lots of money on the expenditure side of the Ledger  which is desperately needed to try to balance the budget to recover Wayne Swan’s  economic credibility.

Then on the other hand the Coalition must be delighted at the prospect of the Gillard government wearing all of the political pain  for doing that which they will be planning as one of their first items of business after September 15. They will be able to achieve the abolition of this monument to leftist hubris with out being blamed or daemonised for doing so during the election campaign. The beauty of it all just sends a shiver down my spine , further it lends  a fair bit of weight to my prediction that in a post Gillard parliament a very much chastened ALP will not oppose any bill to dismantle the Carbon Tax et al because they will be so despairing about the issue that they will just want to get it behind them and move on .

As for the Greens, well I expect that they will be rather like that Shakespearean storm, all sound and fury signifying nothing.

Cheers Comrades

Trust Me

How Julia Gillard is going to be a sure-fire winner*

scrum

The more traditional game for the politically involved is Chess but as a cipher for modern democratic politics it is not really the best fit, the game is after all analogous to conflicting monarchies. Democracies have a very different dynamic. All of this is a rambling way of getting around to my view of politics as a game. Now I can just imagine that the howls of objection will begin and suggest that to see politics as a game is to not take it seriously, however as any committed sports fan will tell you there is nothing more serious than sport.

On one side of the field we have team Gillard who should have the home ground advantage except that they have done a really good job of upsetting their own fans and of course they have had to make up for the lack of a full team by bringing in some blow-ins who have their own ideas about how the team should play and its those blow-ins who have been the beginning  of Team Gillard’s   woes and led to them beginning their first quarter with a  very spectacular own goal that has haunted them ever since. Now even if you believe in climate change this betrayal of a  undertaking made just prior to the 2010 poll was very bad politics and evidence of a contempt for the voters.  It was bad politics because it destroyed what little good will Gillard had left after Knifing Rudd to become team Capitan. It was also bad politics because it showed just how desperate Gillard was to get a team together.  A better negotiator  would have walked away when the asking price was too high. That Gillard did not do so speaks volumes about her deal making ability and none of it is good.

Impulsiveness is often cited as one of Tony Abbott‘s failings  there is many a critic from the left who will insist that he is prone to “brain-farts” but there can be no better examples of flatulent thinking than the coniptions that has passed for the Gillard’s ever changing pattern of denial about the folly of changing the asylum seeker regime after winning the 2007 election. Really I don’t know if we should  classify this as one own Goal or many.  In the first instance there was an unbelievable denial that there was even a problem, the fans did not buy it for a minute,  then there was the Timor solution that not even the Timorese knew about even though it had been announced by Gillard, then came the “Malaysian solution” which failed at the first legal  hurdle, finally after some furious instance that she would not have overseas processing  that is what she has created. By my count that has to be about half a dozen own goals on that issue alone.

In the more recent period of play we have seen even more own goals. The spirited defence of Craig Thompson has not been her finest hour and had she not been in such a precarious position on the numbers in the parliament  Thompson would have long since been forced to resign form the house and the Government would have been truly distanced  from the stench of corruption. However if Thompson is the “try” then appointing appointing Peter Slipper as Speaker of the house would have to qualify as a “conversion”  because the whole point was to shore up her numbers on the field and it has turned out to be a disaster from start  to finish. Firstly to make a place for Slipper in the speaker’s chair she had to give the well respected incumbent, Harry Jenkins the old heave ho and then Slipper invited derision and disdain for that high office with his instance upon reviving old out dated and pretentious ceremonial processions. Add to that the simple fact that he was dodgy on his attitude to his expense accounts and the sexual harassment claims against him and the whole business easily earns Gillard six demerit points.

But Gillard is not the only member of her team who is prone to making “Own goalsWayne Swan has scored more than his fair share it starts with the simple fact that not one of his five budgets have ever  turned out even close  to his predictions , well I suspect that has been the case for many treasurers but few have been made to look as much a fool as Wayne Swan has over his instance that the promised surplus would be delivered even though this claim was widely denounced by our most knowledgeable financial commentators. When it could not be denied any longer Swan did finally admit the obvious but by this time he was well over his own goal line and the touchdown was just a formality.

Of course there is no better example of Swan’s ability to score against Labor than the MRRT which has been so unreasonably celebrated  since its inception as away of clawing back a bigger  return to the Australian people for the mineral riches that fuels our economy. Quite a laudable aim in many ways but the own goal lays in the design of the tax and the way that it has been spent many times over before even one cent was collected. The revelations in Fairfax press about how Swan “negotiated” the deal should stand forever as an example of the way not to get the best outcome fro the Australian people .

Its not just been the front row of team Labor who have   been scoring goals for the other team the NBN has been a political disaster for Labor as well. Now as much as we all want a bigger brighter broadband network  the fact that the business case for such a grand scheme can possibly be excused in the name of nation building but the cost blow-outs and endless delays are far less forgivable,  likewise the minister Stephen Conroy has been less than scintillating in convincing the Australian people that the project will be worth the billions this is costing us to build it. Maybe not a own goal touchdown but it does move the ball very much into the scoring contention against their own interests .

But the biggest own goal score maker has to be the ever present Kevin  Rudd, this ghost of Christmas past has been haunting Team Labor since he was so ingloriously dispatched in the 2010 Coup. He is definitely not a team Gillard player even though he wears the team jersey. He clearly wants the Captaincy again but but like Marley’s Ghost he is burdened by the chains of his past sins and they may well be to heavy a burden for him to rise cream like to the top of the Labor pail. Then again if Labor is in losing big time they may just try to use him as a final all in bet.

On the other side of the field  Team Abbott have played a far more disciplined game , managing to largely stay on message and focused on the prize of ultimate victory when the final whistle blows . There have been a few stumbles but overall they have managed to maintain the momentum of play in their favour. Of course many of those who are dyed in the wool Labor Fans have been trying to get the game commentary onto the topic of next season’s  plays but Abbott is faced with a team who keep scoring goals for him rather than against him  so he does not have to work very hard to get that winning score. Sports fans  get easily bored by a  game which is too one sided  and they start to drift off to the beer tent well before the final whistle. They are drifting ale-wards  now and unless something truly extraordinary happens between now and September 14 we can expect Team Abbott to be crowned as champions on September 15.

Cheers Comrades

origin 2

*for team Abbott ;)

The dog is innocent, Labor homework just wrong, rather than eaten

I was going to write about the failure of the Labor government to come anywhere near its expectations for the MRRT  but instead I post a  Joe Hockey news conference where he   is right on the money .

Cheers Comrades

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No pavlovas for Wayne and Julia, or the abject failure of the MRRT

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The old aphorism about the number of chickens from their precursor eggs that should have served as a source of wisdom for Wayne Swan and his peons in treasury. The fact that he had already planned a virtual feast of omelettes, sweet custards and ostentatious pavlovas from the proceeds of his mining tax demonstrates that both he and his mistress in the lodge really haven’t got a clue about the difference between their wild imaginings and the reality of the economic environment.

click top search result for source document

click top search result for source document

Only The ALP under the leadership of Julia Gillard can create a tax with such fanfare and then have it collect no revenue at all. Frankly there is one simple upside to this and that is the abolition of this badly designed tax will actually improve the government balance sheet because the commonwealth will save on the administrative costs that it has created and there will be no revenue losses to be made up elsewhere because this tax collects no revenue.

At every possible level its a very big Labor fail

Cheers Comrades

Chook

The next leader of the opposition, or could Brother Number One rise again from the ashes of a Labor defeat?

Well this comrade has awoken in 2013 in good spirits having had a reasonably (for me) good night’s sleep and as no alcohol passed my lips last night I probably feel a bit better than most hangover sodden creatures this morning. As is my usual  practice in the morning I was checking out the mumbling in the Fairfax press when I cam across yet another piece that was off their usual pro Labor  message. I know its the silly season but if they keep this sort of thing up they might even be on the road to the sort of situation that sends shivers down the spine of every latte sipper. They might even achieve some more balanced reporting in their opinion pages .

click for source

click for source

Yes I know that normal transmission will resume shortly but allow me the indulgence of enjoying what is being presented now and the the further indulgence of wondering just who will lead a dispirited, dishevelled and much diminished Labor opposition. I won’t be Gillard or Swan because if either retain their seats they will try to hide from the world on the back bench until they can quietly resign their seats and leave politics. Frankly I think that Combet has all of the charm of a depressive undertaker and Bill Shorten is just a bit too smarmy to be viable. That just leaves that long time favourite of this blog Brother Number One (Rudd). You see I think that he has a big enough ego that he would want to be remembered as the man who twice saved Labor from the electoral wilderness and I also think that he would be up for the challenge because unlike the other contenders he is already on the reserve benches and therefore being leader of the opposition will be a step up rather than down for him.

My Good friend Ray, being a confirmed Ruddite  will be delighted, OK maybe not delighted that Labor will have been defeated, but at least hopeful that under the risen Brother Number One Labor will be at least  able to see the edge of the wilderness and  the path to resurrection. It won’t be much comfort  but a small comfort is far better than total despair that will be the lot of so many Labor supporters after the next election.

Cheers Comrades

Could the emissiins trading scheme be Brothor Number One 's "Workchoices"?

Can he rise again?

Pulling teeth

The Gillard government has announced a new dental scheme and of course they just had to make sure that I knew all about it :

I’m not sure if I’m proud of this announcement at all to be honest, I am concerned that what seems like a worthwhile benefit to the community is unfunded and not due to start until after the next election. So this thing falls very much into the election promises arena and it would be very remiss of me to remind readers of another election promise from Labor…

So the question is can we believe this one?

On their record I think not.

Cheers Comrades

Dancing In The Dark

Singing, dancing politicians are an embarrassment, no matter which side of the political spectrum you are on.

Mary Jo Fisher, a Liberal senator from SA, recently showed she was far from up to the job with her performance in Question Time of ‘Time Warp’ from the Rocky Horror Show. After being arrested for a number of shoplifting offences she resigned her singing and dancing gig in Parliament and has since sought treatment.

Scarily, Trade Minister Craig Emerson has since staged his own horror movie. Dancing and singing to a cheap backing track of the Skyhooks’ hit, ‘Horror Movie’, Craig’s horror movie was right there on our TV screens, and it was on the ‘six o’clock news’. Remember, this is the man who represents us overseas in matters of trade.

Unfortunately it was right there on overseas TV screens too. Way to go, Trade Minister.

But don’t let the music stop there, especially as our ‘world’s best treasurer’ likes to rock’n’roll. Wayne Swan, better known to most of the population as ‘the goose’, has revealed that he takes inspiration from multi-millionaire rock singer Bruce Springsteen. While genuflecting to millionaire Bruce he takes umbrage at the fact that mining bosses in Australia make similar money.

Sadly the goose doesn’t realise that our mining moguls pay a huge amount of tax, and the thousands of people they employ also pay tax.

And it is this tax that props up the government. Instead, the goose wants to kill the mining industry and redistribute the existing wealth.

Given that the goose and the government have already run up Australia’s largest ever deficit, isn’t it time to say ‘stop the music, I want to get off’?

 

 

 

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