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Ted hands Denis the poisoned chalice

Iain has asked me to write a post on the ‘surprise’ events of last night in Victoria that saw Ted Baillieu walk away from the job he never wanted and never carried out, only to be replaced with the forgotten man of the Liberal Party, Denis Napthine. So here it is, reproduced from my home blog Alpine Opinion

Meet Denis - from failed Opposition leader circa 2000 - 2002 to unelected Premier 2013 .... how does that work?

Meet Denis – from failed Opposition leader circa 2000 – 2002 to unelected Premier 2013 …. how does that work?

The only thing that surprises me about last night’s events in the Victorian Liberal party is that anyone would be surprised that Ted Baillieu would crack at the first sign of a challenge to his leadership and throw in the towel.

The media asks the question, “Why did he resign?, but the obvious answer is this: Because he could.

You see, Ted never expected to win the 2010 election and, consequently, was ill-prepared for the job that he never really wanted in the first place.

He then failed to deliver on his promises and lurched along aimlessly, losing public support quite simply because he was like a fish out of water.

Poor little rich Ted just didn’t need the hassle and couldn’t cope with it either.

The elevation of failed former leader Denis Napthine is just a joke and surely he’s just a stop-gap Premier put in as a temporary measure while the Liberals sort out what to do with rogue (and disgraced) MP Geoff Shaw from Frankston, whose resignation from the party yesterday morning sparked the leadership change.

The Liberal government is now effectively dependant on the continued support of Shaw from the cross benches to hold onto office, which is a seriously untenable position.

How long before we go to an early election?

I’d suggest that Napthine is nothing more than a ‘night watchman’ put in until controversial Planning Minister Matthew Guy can cross from the upper house to the lower house and assume the leadership … and don’t be surprised if the seat he runs for is the one presently held by none other than Ted Baillieu.

After all, what’s the point of Ted staying in Parliament, if there ever was one?

And Guy is certainly going to need a safe seat in an area like Hawthorn if he wants to take the risk of going to a by-election.

And if that’s the plan and if we do go to an election later this year, it’s quite conceivable Victoria could face the prospect of having 4 different Premiers in the one year – Baillieu, Napthine, Guy and …. Daniel Andrews – because surely, after the debacle of the past two years, the Liberals will not be returned.

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79 Comments

  1. Iain Hall says:

    Well thanks for doing that Ray and I will agree with you that Ted has been floundering some what while in office, frankly I think that it just shows the enormity of the task that any conservative faces when they come to power after the Labor wrecking team have been in office at any level of government. It also shows that the curse of minority government can be visited upon any side of politics.

    Thankfully if the Polls are to be believed the last thing an incoming coalition government will have to worry about is a razor thin majority.

  2. Ray Dixon says:

    I think that it just shows the enormity of the task that any conservative faces when they come to power after the Labor wrecking team have been in office

    No, you’re completely wrong on that, Iain. The one thing you cannot criticise the former Bracks/Brumby governments for is their economic management. They were super efficient and even managed surpluses while still investing strongly. Unfortunately they ignored some of the outer suburbs and that’s how come they were surprisingly defeated in 2010 but no one could (or would) accuse them of any mismanagement. Brumby in particular was an efficient ‘bastard’.

    You need to understand that in Victoria the ALP is actually more conservative than the Liberals … who are all about doing favours for their property developer mates.

    The current Victorian Liberal govt are in dire financial straits due to their own ineptness. This ain’t Queensland mate and Labor will be returned to office here in a landslide at the next election.

  3. Brian says:

    I don’t share this positive view of the Bracks and Brumby governments, whose performance was fairly mixed. They spent nothing on education and not much more on health, while castrating the police force and the public service. The only thing that differentiated Bracks and Brumby from conservative governments was their willingness to spend on major projects. Unfortunately the white elephant desal plant was one of them, however their other efforts were more successful.

    Half-Term Ted got into government by doing what Tony Abbott is doing now, i.e. saying and doing nothing. And that’s precisely what he delivered once in office. His government was/is a bunch of bland, untalented nobodies with no vision. The backbenchers were even worse, look at Geoff Shaw, who was bashing motorists when he wasn’t bashing his Bible. Unfortunately the only thing good you can say about the Victorian ALP is that they are not the Victorian Liberal Party.

    Like I said, a despairing absence of leadership, talent and vision.

  4. Ray Dixon says:

    Agreed, but my point was to call them a ‘wrecking ball’, as Iain did, was well off the mark.

    And the desal plant may yet prove warranted but the North-Soth pipeline was their biggest folly – nearly $1 billion for what? It was poorly conceived.

    The fact remains though, they were able to fund those projects without getting into a financial mess and they at least deserve credit as good fiscal managers.

  5. Iain Hall says:

    You make a good point about the Desal plant Brian we are burdened with a similar pale pachyderm up here in Queensland and look how much rain we have had lately!
    The impact on the state budgets from these monstrosities is huge and ongoing and a far from shining Labor legacy in either the south or the north.

  6. Brian says:

    Oh I agree that Bracks, Brumby, Thwaites and co. were good economic managers. There is no doubt about that. But it’s a shame that they’ll be remembered for the last major thing they did, which is the desalination plant (and the north-south pipeline). It’s not that the desal plant is unnecessary and won’t eventually be used, but more a case of how it was handled. Exorbitant wage contracts, cost blow-outs, overpricing, etc. They were willing to pay any price to get the thing moving quickly, and unfortunately it has turned out to be a dud.

    Still, at least they made a move. What would Typhoon Ted have done in response to the drought? Stuck his fingers in his ears and pretend it wasn’t happening, I guess.

  7. Iain Hall says:

    Built a Dam maybe or encouraged people to get by on less water per day as we did up here in Queensland.

  8. Ray Dixon says:

    Ted would have said “let’s build a dam” …. in a drought! And then he wouldn’t have done it.

    Iain, you overstate it – look at both Victoria & Sth australia, pretty much ALP strongholds for most of the past 20 years. They’re not exactly basket cases.

  9. Ray Dixon says:

    Btw, Iain, the Bracks & Brumby govts certainly did encourage people to get by on less water during the drought and achieved it. Melbourne’s average went down to 155 litres per household per day. They also encouraged other water saving methods like tanks & grey water. People are still doing it, thanks to their initiatives.

    Ted, on other hand, never had to face a water shortage issue and was stupid enough not to top up Melbourne’s supplies when he could have with a one off flow down the pipeline when northern & central Victoria was flooded in his first 12 – 18 months. That was because the Nats had made him promise not to use it – ever. It was opportunity missed.

  10. Iain Hall says:

    Ray I have lived on tank water for the better part of the last thirty years and during this long sojourn the subject of dams and when to build them is not an infrequent topic, the thing is when you want to build then a time of drought is ideal and then when the drought finally breaks you will be able to watch them fill.

  11. Ray Dixon says:

    Yes, Iain, but the point is neither Ted Baillieu or his successor would/will ever build one. The Liberals don’t “build” things, especially in Victoria. They just sell off public assets like schools, hospitals and docklands to their developer mates and get them to build high rise apartments. That’s about the extent of their ‘investment’ in the State.

  12. Iain Hall says:

    Well Ray better to build nothing than to build expensive things like the Desal plant that is of no value now and will be a burden on the state for the foreseeable future.

  13. Ray Dixon says:

    We could always bottle the water from the desal and sell it overseas, Iain. I suggest we call it ‘Brackish’.

  14. Richard Ryan says:

    The Pope quits, and Ted quits to his requirements, where will it all end?

  15. Richard Ryan says:

    Denis the menace—-the sorry saga has only started.

  16. Ray Dixon says:

    I prefer ‘Denis the Vet’. He likes horses.

  17. GD says:

    The one thing you cannot criticise the former Bracks/Brumby governments for is their economic management. They were super efficient and even managed surpluses while still investing strongly.

    Funny that you should laud Bracks/Brumby for their surpluses while excusing the Gillard government for incurring the nation’s largest deficit, all the while botching any supposed initiatives and borrowing far into the future.

    Grasping at straws are you?

    Perhaps if Ballieu had acted as positively as Campbell Newman in Queensland did, he’d still have a job.

  18. Ray Dixon says:

    The Bracks/Brumby government did not have to cope with a little thing called the Global Financial Crisis, GD. Any govt that did not go into deficit to put liquidity into the economy post 2008 would have failed and sent their nation into recession, as many did. You might recall that we didn’t go into recession and in fact we emerged as the strongest economy in the western world. We still are. You should be more grateful, GD, otherwise (if we’d had a Liberal govt) you’d be busking on the streets for a few gold coins, instead you’re still enjoying paid gigs.

    PS: At least you didn’t put up the cartoon of Gillard with a strap-on this time. All class, mate.

  19. Iain Hall says:

    Ray look at what Gillard has slung over her shoulder in the picture… 😉

  20. Ray Dixon says:

    Oh – how tasteful. GD does it again. Where’s Abbott’s (small) dick?

  21. Iain Hall says:

    He does have an escaped Budgie on his shoe Ray 😉

  22. Ray Dixon says:

    The more GD uses Pickering cartoons in his comments the less I respect him, quite frankly. They’re not funny and they’re offensive. Reproducing the drawings of a sick, slimebag like Pickering is hardly original and smacks of someone who has no imagination or wit of their own. I suggest you get out of the gutter, GD – you can be better than that.

  23. Brian says:

    Here here Ray.

    The last time “GD” posted one of these ridiculous cartoons, Iain rather limply suggested the dildo had some political or metaphorical meaning. Well I’d be curious to know what meaning symbolic meaning Iain thinks it has in this image. It’s there because Pickering is obsessed with penises and thinks that any female leader he dislikes should be sporting a fake one. Smutty, misogynistic and (in the context of Pickering’s life’s work) done to death.

  24. Iain Hall says:

    Brian
    I believe that the implication is that Gillard is “fucking ” up the nation, and now Pickering is using the strap on to remind us of that notion. Likewise he uses a budgie in reference to Abbott, in the picture above.

    I whole heartedly agree that the images are rather lacking in subtly but much humour is rather base anyway. The funny thing is that jokes that are politically incorrect like Pickering’s efforts often get the biggest laughs, especially when people think that no one is watching their enjoyment of them.

    But then I am a very old school “nothing offends me” liberal when it comes to humour, satire or dark sarcasm so obviously I just think “Ho hum” about such things.

  25. GD says:

    Brian

    Iain rather limply suggested the dildo had some political or metaphorical meaning

    I tend to think that Iain got it right. Gillard, and Labor, are ‘fucking up the nation’. That’s exactly what the cartoonist meant. And until I hear otherwise, cartoons are not illegal in Australia.

  26. GD says:

    Ray, it’s strange that you are offended by a cartoon that, until Iain pointed out the obvious, was rather innocuous. I’d suggest you were offended by a cartoonist mocking the failure of Labor to conduct a workable government, rather than any other offence.

    Once Iain pointed out the obvious, ie the glimpse of the dildo, you went on the attack. Pathetic, really. As for Brian talking about ‘penises’, well Pickering’s cartoon doesn’t show any, and I don’t mention any.

    Perhaps, guys, you are are suffering withdrawal from the success of the Pickering calendar in past years and you yearn to see some penises.

    I posted that cartoon to show that, as Pickering illustrates, when a Liberal leader is proven inept in the job, he quits his job, even at state level. Yet we are enduring the ongoing damage that the equally inept Gillard is inflicting on the nation, when in all good honour she should take us to an election now or quit.

    It’s obvious that she doesn’t have ‘good honour’.

  27. Ray Dixon says:

    What’s “strange”, GD, is your constant use of cartoons depicting the female Prime Minister wearing a strap-on dildo. It’s like a sick fetish, mate, and brings you down. My comment was hardly influenced by any political views, it is simply my opinion that those cartoons are the ultimate in bad taste. You can defend the use of them any way you like but the more you do, the more “pathetic” and irrelevant you sound. If you want a decent debate on real issues, I’d suggest you drop the crap, otherwise no one will bother responding to you and you’ll be left alone in the corner (to masturbate over Pickering’s drawings, maybe?).

  28. Iain Hall says:

    To be honest Ray I suspect that Gillard would be more upset by Pickering depicting her body shape than the strap on references.
    After all no woman like to be reminded that she has a fat arse and cankles

  29. Ray Dixon says:

    I don’t think Gillard would be upset about it at all – she has a very thick hide. That’s not the point, Iain. The Pickering cartoons of our PM as a dildo-wearing lesbian are the approximate equivalent of a cartoon that depicts Barak Obama as a tree-swinging monkey. Get it? It’s sexist and discriminatory. Poor form.

  30. Richard Ryan says:

    To All Ye Gillard haters out there, at least Julia had the courage to open a Royal Commission on the sexual abuse of children, going on for fifty years or more—-as for Pickering, what he needs is a whack of baseball between the nuts.

  31. Richard Ryan says:

    Pickering and GD, in a blue movie—— GD squealing like a stuck pig, oink-oink-oink,too horrible to imagine.

  32. Brian says:

    As for Brian talking about ‘penises’, well Pickering’s cartoon doesn’t show any, and I don’t mention any. Perhaps, guys, you are are suffering withdrawal from the success of the Pickering calendar in past years and you yearn to see some penises.

    “Past years”? Pickering’s calendars haven’t sold in any number since the late 1980s. Even then they were something you put behind the toilet door or in the smoko room at the factory. If they were such hot sellers then Pickering would have been rich, and he wouldn’t have had to initiate all his fraudulent get-rich-quick schemes, like horse racing and lotto software, to dupe honest Australians out of their money.

    Pickering is a one-trick (one-dick?) pony who had a flash of success in the 1980s and has done nothing since, “GD”. Your thin attempt to portray him as some kind of cultural icon is ridiculous.

    And until I hear otherwise, cartoons are not illegal in Australia.

    Neither is stupidity, which is just as well for lovers of Larry Pickering and his, umm, art.

    I am a very old school “nothing offends me” liberal when it comes to humour, satire or dark sarcasm so obviously I just think “Ho hum” about such things.

    OK Iain, were you equally as “ho hum” about the cartoon showing John Howard and Alexander Downer as copulating dogs?

  33. Iain Hall says:

    Brian
    I am unfamiliar with that cartoon to be honest but my attitude would not be different to such an image.

  34. GD says:

    “Past years”? Pickering’s calendars haven’t sold in any number since the late 1980s.

    Brian are you really that pedantic, ie boring, or do you not realise that the term ‘past years’ doesn’t refer to any particular year or decade. Way to go at finding fault with my comment.

    Yes, Pickering’s calendars were sold in the 80s, and yes, they were displayed on dunny doors and in smoko rooms. In fact they were a huge hit with the public and almost all dunny doors and staff rooms displayed his larrikin take on the politicians of the day. Most pollies laughed along with the rest of us. Bjelke was one of the few who took offence, although he backed down from taking legal action.

    Now it seems we are infected with a ‘new puritanism’. Ray, once the author of the audacious ‘Sockpuppet’ posts has apparently seen the light and decided that the ‘pisstake’ is no longer proper.

    I guess you guys are bemoaning the failure of Roxon’s proposal for offence based legislation.

    Trouble is, the rest of Australia doesn’t see it that way and as long as Australia is Australia we will be able to take the piss out of stuffed shirts like you.

    I leave with a quote from H. L. Mencken* regarding puritanism.

    “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

    *Yes, Brian, I am aware of who H. L. Mencken is, yet given the time in which he wrote, this quote is right on the money.

  35. Richard Ryan says:

    AND as for Ray Hadley, he is a piece of Dog Shit.

  36. Ray Dixon says:

    Pickering’s cartoons are not just a “pisstake” or a parody and comparing them to anything SP wrote is quite offensive. Quite simply, GD, they’re out of date, or haven’t you noticed that the world has moved on since the days of dirty calendars on the back of toilet doors? You might say it’s moved on for the worse, but we know you’re stuck in the past.

  37. Brian says:

    I guess you guys are bemoaning the failure of Roxon’s proposal for offence based legislation.

    Tell me where I have said Pickering’s cartoons should be made illegal? I know complexity sometimes eludes you, but don’t confuse calling something out as cheap, smutty bullshit with calling for it to be banned.

    Trouble is, the rest of Australia doesn’t see it that way and as long as Australia is Australia we will be able to take the piss out of stuffed shirts like you.

    What incredible arrogance you have to claim to speak for “the rest of Australia”.

  38. GD says:

    Brian

    Displaying more front than a rat with a gold tooth you, (and Ray), claim your new puritanism is the accepted norm today. Maybe by your chardonnay swilling, chattering mob, or Ray’s rusted on, ‘it’s in the DNA’ Laborites, but in reality the majority of the nation doesn’t feel that way. Am I speaking for them, no, I am merely reading the writing on the wall.

    The past five years of this leftist transformation of Australian society is failing badly. Witness the backlash against failed Attourney-General Roxon’s over the top ‘offence’ legislative proposals. Oddly, there wasn’t a whimper from your mob. Yet this new puritanism hasn’t come in by general acceptance, it’s been force fed to us by a leftist media and government telling us what we can and can’t express.

    Every interaction or statement is now potentially sexist, racist or otherwise offensive to someone else. Apparently only government intervention can guide society in the correct direction. Forget about cartoons, they are a minefield of openly expressed opinions which threaten the new puritanism.

    Comrade Conroy, of the Crying Conroys, is no stranger to proposing totalitarian control. His on-going campaign to censor the internet and the media runs hand in hand with Roxon’s proposed ‘free speech’ laws. Will newly-installed Attourny-General Mark Dreyfus follow suit? All indications are that he will.

    What is it with Labor that it seeks to perpetuate failed socialist ideologies from the 20th Century?

  39. Ray Dixon says:

    After taking a flogging over his defence of the indefendable tacky & tasteless Pickering dildo cartoons, GD finally crawls out from under the rock where he’s been hiding to serve us up another load of hysteria. Here’s a hint GD: Roxon’s proposal didn’t get up and nor will Conroy’s. Both ministers will be out-the-door soon one way or the other, either by Rudd’s return or by Gillard losing the election, so that’s why this issue is not an issue at all, because it’ll never happen.

  40. Brian says:

    Comrade Conroy, of the Crying Conroys, is no stranger to proposing totalitarian control. His on-going campaign to censor the internet and the media runs hand in hand with Roxon’s proposed ‘free speech’ laws.

    I have given Conroy’s proposed reforms some close scrutiny. If they pass the parliament (uncertain at this stage) all they will do is two allow more rigorous self-regulation through the formation of an ACMA-style for print publications. In other words, a Press Council with a bit more bite.

    And “GD’s” assessment of this is that they impose “totalitarian control”, which strangely mirrors this, arguably the most ludicrous and offensive newspaper front page in recent Australian history:

    Most of your posts at this blog are boring, repetitive auditions for a position as a Liberal Party speechwriter. It seems like you’re now auditioning for a job with News Limited too. Given your lack of factual research, perspective and credibility, I reckon you’d probably fit right in there. Let me know if you need a reference.

  41. Ray Dixon says:

    I fixed the image for you, Brian. That has to rank as one of the most ridiculous front pages of all time.

  42. Brian says:

    Thanks Ray; I couldn’t be bothered with the html.

    Anytime you see people comparing an Australian politician to the likes of Stalin or Mao, you know they’re either taking the piss or losing the plot.

  43. Iain Hall says:

    Brian

    Most of your posts at this blog are boring, repetitive auditions for a position as a Liberal Party speechwriter. It seems like you’re now auditioning for a job with News Limited too. Given your lack of factual research, perspective and credibility, I reckon you’d probably fit right in there. Let me know if you need a reference.

    While a speech writing gig for the Libs might well be quite lucrative and consistent with my political beliefs I am not seeking such a position at all. Further this is a blog, which by definition is not a scholarly enterprise, its an episodic personal opinion piece and like most bloggers I concede that I don’t do a great deal of research but do you do research before chatting down the pub about the politics of the day?, Does anyone? To my mind a blog like mine is like a chat in the front bar or in a leafy beer garden…something rather laid back and informal can you appreciate where I’m coming form ?

  44. GD says:

    Iain, bombastic Brian is referring to my posts. He wouldn’t dare attack you so vehemently.

  45. Brian says:

    Iain, for once, “GD” is right. I was responding to his stupidity. There’s plenty of it too.

  46. GD says:

    I have given Conroy’s proposed reforms some close scrutiny. If they pass the parliament (uncertain at this stage) all they will do is two (sic) allow more rigorous self-regulation through the formation of an ACMA-style for print publications. In other words, a Press Council with a bit more bite.

    Well Brian, I’m glad you have given this proposed, dangerous legislation ‘some close scrutiny’. However it seems to me that you are the one who needs to do a bit more research.

    Conroy’s proposed ‘Public Interest Media Advocate’ has far more reaching powers than ‘increased self regulation’. It gives the government much more control than that.

    Some bullet points from a document I’ll link to at the end of this comment.

    • The PIMA will have the power to ‘declare’ ‘news media self-regulation bodies’

    In other words, such ‘self-regulatory bodies’ will be appointed by the government.

    • Only news outlets that sign up to a declared body, such as the Australian Press Council, will gain crucial exemptions for journalists under the Privacy Act.

    This means that journalists who refuse to toe the government’s line, will be penalised in ways that affects their ability to report the news as they see it, or even report at all.

    • A declared body can lose its accreditation, and protection for its members under the Privacy Act, if there ‘has been a change in relevant circumstances’ or a ‘change in relevant community standards’.

    So if the government regulator decides that there has been ‘a change in relevant circumstances’ or a ‘change in relevant community standards’, that media outlet is effectively censored.

    This is extremely worrying legislation.

    To top it off there’s this bizarre proclamation:

    • Parties can make submissions to PIMA but the facts or merits of its decisions cannot be appealed.

    Goodbye democracy, hello totalitarianism.

    http://resources.news.com.au/files/2013/03/14/1226597/669787-130315-pima.pdf

  47. GD says:

    After taking a flogging over his defence of the indefendable tacky & tasteless Pickering dildo cartoons, GD finally crawls out from under the rock where he’s been hiding to serve us up another load of hysteria.

    Oh really Ray? I took a flogging? No, I decided to be the one to move on from our pointless and ridiculous argument over who considers a cartoon funny or not. You, with your totalitarian hat on, tried to shut me up.

    Here’s a hint GD: Roxon’s proposal didn’t get up and nor will Conroy’s.

    How odd is it that you vote for a party which proposes legislation that is anathema to the general population, then you distance yourself from such legislation saying ‘it didn’t get up anyway’.

    Have you no backbone to admit in the first place that these proposals go against the general public’s expectations of a free press and free speech?

  48. Brian says:

    Well Brian, I’m glad you have given this proposed, dangerous legislation ‘some close scrutiny’. However it seems to me that you are the one who needs to do a bit more research.

    My research is fine; it is yours that is lacking. Perhaps if you extracted your head from your backside and/or News Limited papers (probably the same thing anyway) then you might actually learn something about what is being proposed. Conroy’s plan is ultimately pretty limp and amounts to nothing more than self-regulation backed by legislation. It is hardly any different from what is being proposed by Leveson in the UK. It will censor nobody.

    All you’ve given us is the comment above is a regurgitation of what has appeared in the Daily Telegraph and the Australian. The “document” you cite is a News Limited graphic. Why don’t you educate yourself by reading some commentary outside that produced by Murdoch’s henchmen? I’ve seen a half dozen editorials and blogs from expert figures, all of which suggest that Conroy’s plan is benign and that the News Ltd reaction is so hysterical as to be almost insane.

    If you seriously think that Conroy is Stalin and this law is totalitarianism, then you have no understanding of history whatsoever.

  49. Iain Hall says:

    Probably time for the fans of this silly bit of parliamentary theatre to take a very cold shower as this report suggests the bill is unlikely to get through the house anyway:

    Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is struggling to gain the numbers to legislate his proposals and needs the Greens and four independents to be sure of victory, but lost the support of former Labor MP Craig Thomson yesterday.

    Companies to be regulated by the new regime said the process had become a “joke”, with no clarity over the government’s promise to set up a parliamentary committee to scrutinise the proposals. Plans for an inquiry today were shelved last night and parliament will now hold public hearings next Monday and Tuesday to rule on the changes on Wednesday and force a vote on Thursday.

    Senator Conroy has vowed to drop the reforms if he cannot get them through parliament next week, but the Coalition and the Greens challenged that plan by setting a June 17 deadline for a Senate committee to look into the changes.

    Coalition sources said last night the Senate move could make Senator Conroy’s timetable impossible, but there were also doubts about whether Labor could find ways around it. The Ten Network labelled the process a “complete shambles” while Seven West Media accused the government of setting up a “farce” given the complexity of the changes and the huge impact on the industry.

    The industry warnings about the changes contrasted with arguments from independent MPs who suggested the reforms would fail because the changes did not go far enough and the deadline was unrealistic.

    Regional NSW MP Tony Windsor said the reforms would “struggle” unless the deadline was changed. He expressed no criticism of the press standards bill and said he was more worried by the implications for regional TV services.

    “I’m not with the Kim Williams of this world in saying this is the greatest attack on democracy that we’ve ever seen since humans have evolved,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of concerns there.”

    Those wanting a privacy tort as a check on the media include Mr Thomson, Mr Windsor, fellow independent Rob Oakeshott and Labor whip Joel Fitzgibbon.

    Mr Thomson said the changes did not address his concerns about the media’s intrusion into family life and that stronger protections were needed in privacy law.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/labor-loses-ground-on-media-laws/story-fn59niix-1226597711545

    Getting your knickers in a knot over the details is probably a very big waste of time and energy the bill will fail and just make Labor look even more silly. It has however provided a nice smoke screen to cover leadership tensions with in the party for a few days, which is, I suspect, the point anyway.

  50. Ray Dixon says:

    Have you no backbone to admit in the first place that these proposals go against the general public’s expectations of a free press and free speech?

    You don’t speak for “the general public”, GD. Are you suggesting that anyone who doesn’t agree with YOUR opinion has no backbone? That’s a rather strange contention coming from someone who, unlike the general public, has no backbone for sport.

  51. Brian says:

    Iain, I agree the bill is unlikely to pass. I said that in the first instance. The whole thing is only remarkable for the incredibly silly response from News Limited. The bill has got nothing to do with leadership tensions in the ALP because it’s been in the pipeline for more than two years.

  52. Ray Dixon says:

    It has however provided a nice smoke screen to cover leadership tensions with in the party for a few days

    I think it’s done the opposite, Iain. Gillard taking on the media (and failing to get the bill through) in the lead up to the election is bound to create further dissatisfaction in Caucus with her leadership.

  53. Iain Hall says:

    It may have done the opposite of what I suggest was their intention but don’t forget that this is Gillard we are talking about here and her record for making the right call on anything is well to be generous “piss poor”.

  54. Ray Dixon says:

    She’s got less than a week left in the job, I reckon.

  55. Iain Hall says:

    Well Bolta was saying that the scuttle butt was that the tap on the shoulder was expected yesterday. I don’t know though Ray. There is such deep divisions and animosities in the Labor party and those who will decide the matter, the caucus must be all having kittens at present. If they stay with Gillard they are stuffed and there is only a very slim chance that they won’t be just as stuffed by switching to Rudd who is truly hated by the Gillard Camp. Further if they do switch how can Labor counter the inevitable comparison with NSW state revolving leaders? This government has been a disaster for both the country and the ALP.

  56. Ray Dixon says:

    The opinion polls have consistenly told us (for 2 years now) that a return to Rudd would be a game changer, Iain. There’s no comparison to NSW because it’s simply “righting the wrong” that was largely caused by NSW Labor in the first place. Come on, even in Western Sydney they want Rudd back.

    And the ALP government has not been a “disaster” for the country – by what measures do you make that claim? The economy? The jobs market? Interest rates? Come on, Iain, the only “disaster” to speak of has been the leadership (or lack of) by Julia Gillard. Quite simply, she has lost all credibility with the electorate and that causes them (and the media) to cast everything they do in a negative light. But with Rudd back …. well, we both know that you, Abbott and every other rusted-on coalition supporter see that as their worst nightmare.

  57. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    Your loyalty to Rudd is admirable in one sense but in another you rose coloured glasses are very dark indeed if you you think that Labor will do that much better under a Ruddestaion. a few sticks of furniture saved at best I reckon. It won;t solve the party’s biggest problem of what in stands for in our post industrial age. The neither the party or the people know any more and Gillard pandering to what is left of the Union movement just demonstrates the obsolescence of their ideological base to the general public.

  58. Brian says:

    This government has been a disaster for both the country and the ALP.

    It might have been a disaster for the ALP, Iain, but the country? I think not. We’re still one of the strongest economies in the OECD. Unemployment is lower than in the US, UK and most of Europe. Spending and debt has increased markedly to keep the economy stimulated, yet we still have one of the lowest debt-to-GDP ration in the world.

    Don’t confuse any of that evidence for admiration of Gillard and her mob. I think they’ve made a right pig’s ear of what was a great opportunity. They’re mediocre at best. But to suggest the country has suffered disastrously is just News Limited spin. How many people do you know who have lost jobs as a direct result of a government policy or inaction? How many people do you know who have suffered as a direct result of this government? Most of the people I know who whinge endlessly about the Federal government are no better or worse off than they were ten years ago.

    Rudd may make a return but I doubt it. If I was in his shoes I’d be letting Gillard crash in September, then take the reins again and wait for Abbott to embarrass himself (and he will). Better to have three years in opposition to another mediocre government than to take over this one for its last few weeks in power.

  59. Iain Hall says:

    Brian

    Rudd may make a return but I doubt it. If I was in his shoes I’d be letting Gillard crash in September, then take the reins again and wait for Abbott to embarrass himself (and he will). Better to have three years in opposition to another mediocre government than to take over this one for its last few weeks in power.

    You scenario actually makes a lot of sense to me because Rudd has both the ego and relative youth to be playing a longer game than just trying to get the transient pleasure of deposing the usurper Gillard, which a desperate Labor party might accept. After the sort of defeat that Labor is facing the survivors will be quite amenable to some root and branch reform and substantial reinvention of the party. Lessening the influence of the unions would be a good start, followed with the internet to replace the tedious branches and their mind numbing dull meetings. Rudd may not even be trying to be PM again seeing his legacy to be made in party reform instead.

  60. Ray Dixon says:

    The problem with that scenario, Iain & Brian, is that if Labor goes to the election with Gillard as PM they will be belted so hard that whoever inherits the leadership will have no hope of ever being PM … because they’ll have so few MPs that it’ll be two terms at least before they’re any kind of chance again.

    So the options for Rudd are non-existent. It’s a no-brainer …. it’s now or never.

  61. Brian says:

    Maybe Ray. But in my opinion I think Gillard will lose big, however Labor won’t be wiped out completely. There’s too much residual distrust of Abbott and his lot for them to win that comprehensively. I predict a Coalition margin of 12-15 seats. I also think every independent in the lower house, along with Adam Bandt, will lose their seat to one of the major parties. Rudd could conceivably come back from a 15-seat gap, he’s popular and respected enough in the public eye. What I don’t think he can do is heal the broken ALP; both him and Gillard would have to go for that to happen.

    Enjoy the weekend gentlemen.

  62. Ray Dixon says:

    Under Gillard, I predict an Abbott win with a margin of 40 seats.

  63. Iain Hall says:

    I agree with you about the independents, except for Katter, who I think will survive
    likewise I wish you a good Weekend Brian.
    Up here we are looking at the first fine weekend in about a month which will make a very nice change!

  64. Brian says:

    No way on Earth it’ll be 40 seats. The electorate has never swung that far before and it won’t this time. Even Loopy Latham only had a deficit of about 25. Iain is right about Katter though (I forgot about him).

    Some nice mild days ahead in Victoria after a week of stinkers, Iain, so it’s off fishing for me. Hopefully it’s dry enough for you to mow the lawn / weeds this weekend?

  65. Ray Dixon says:

    It only requires 20+ seats to fall for the coalition to gain a 40 seat majority and (under Gillard) that’s well & truly on the cards.

    Iain, you’ve got another cyclone on the way, I believe.

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  67. Iain Hall says:

    Brian
    Managed the lawn myself yesterday and I’m feeling it today! It had to be done as the weeds were nearly a metre high in places because it has just been too wet to mow. the upside of that is that most days our temp has been in the mid twenties most of the last month.
    On the possible majority I’m with Ray because I see a lot of similarities between Anna Bligh and Julia Gillard and it has me expecting a similar result.

  68. GD says:

    Brian blustered:

    My research is fine; it is yours that is lacking. Perhaps if you extracted your head from your backside and/or News Limited papers (probably the same thing anyway) then you might actually learn something about what is being proposed.

    Brian may I suggest you ‘get your head out of your arse’ and the ABC commentary you slaver over, because then you may have a broader sense of the reality of Australian media.

    First you said:

    I have given Conroy’s proposed reforms some close scrutiny.

    That’s laughable.

    If they pass the parliament (uncertain at this stage) all they will do is to allow more rigorous self-regulation through the formation of an ACMA-style for print publications. In other words, a Press Council with a bit more bite.

    Then after I posted the information from a News Limited article, which you derided simply because it’s a News Limited article, you changed your tune.

    Conroy’s plan is ultimately pretty limp and amounts to nothing more than self-regulation backed by legislation.

    I’ve also read many editorials, come to think of it, only the ABC is supporting this totalitarian proposal, what are the other five that you’ve purportedly read?

    It’s not only News Ltd who are against this. Fairfax is equally adamant about this infringement on a free press.

    The top dog in Conroy’s proposed legislation is the government appointed, Orwellian named, Public Interest Media Advocate. According to the draft legislation

    “A person is not eligible for appointment as the PIMA unless the Minister is satisfied that the person has: (a) substantial experience or knowledge; and (b) significant standing; in at least one of the following fields: (c) the media industry; (d) law; (e) business or financial management; (f) public administration; (g) economics.

    This is well and fine for Labor now. Ex-justice Kirby has been touted as a possible candidate. However, what happens when Labor forces through this draconian legislation and is then booted out in September?

    The Libs could just as easily appoint Gerard Henderson Ph.D. Given the terms of reference Andrew Bolt could be a contender. Has Labor thought this through?

  69. GD says:

    Brian, once again an example of you walking away when you have been shown to be in error.

  70. Brian says:

    No, it’s an example of me going fishing rather than spending the weekend huddled over the computer having to do battle with fuming madmen. Just because I had better things to do doesn’t mean you won the argument.

    Then after I posted the information from a News Limited article, which you derided simply because it’s a News Limited article

    Unlike you, I’m not silly enough to think for one second that a privately owned corporation like News Limited does not act in its own self interest. The same goes for Fairfax. Of course these media corporations are opposed to tighter forms of regulation. For them to actively support Conroy’s proposal would be like dogs voting for collars.

    Unlike you, I don’t get weak kneed and petrified just because a few journalists and media proprietors scream censorship and claim that freedom of the press is doomed. I heard these same nonsensical arguments back in the late 1970s when the Press Council was formed, a body that has now been shown to be almost utterly impotent with it comes to addressing media misconduct

    And unlike you, I don’t fall to my knees whenever the Murdoch empire starts telling me what to think or why I should be afraid. This is the same mob who in the past few years have disgraced themselves by hacking into the telephones of victims of crime, families of dead soldiers and a murdered schoolgirl. The same mob who were paying corrupt police and underworld figures left, right and centre for stories.

    I do not trust any media outlet to be begin with, but I trust News even less than the others. Their hysterical anti-Conroy front pages and diatribes, Stalin etc., just show how idiotic and juvenile their brand of reporting actually is. And the fact that you buy their junk and believe what they peddle says volumes for your abject lack of critical thought.

  71. Brian says:

    Sorry, “addressing media misconduct” and “murdered schoolgirl”. One of the joys of trying to type on an iPad.

  72. Iain Hall says:

    Fixed it for you Brian 😉

  73. Iain Hall says:

    Its really all a moot point though Brian, if the bill falls at the first hurdle as I expect it to.

  74. GD says:

    No, it’s an example of me going fishing rather than spending the weekend huddled over the computer having to do battle with fuming madmen.

    I’ll have to pay that one. 🙂

  75. Brian says:

    It was never going to get up, given the current state of the parliament. What I find more interesting is the stupendous over-reaction from News Ltd and its slavish followers.

    My preferred reforms would be an overhaul of the Press Council. In particular it should have the power to order media outlets to run corrections and apologies prominently, rather than burying them on page 34 next to Dagwood cartoons.

  76. Iain Hall says:

    The trouble these days will always be the shortness of the news cycle, and the length of ANY complaints/redress mechanism because it makes hardly any difference where an apology or retraction is placed in a newspaper when the people have long forgotten what the apology/retraction pertains to. In any event issues of placement are going to become moot once we see the final gasp of the tree media and the dominance of digital online sources.

  77. Brian says:

    Yes, that’s fair enough Iain. However the difficulty in regulating the media without going over the top doesn’t mean we should abandon the idea of regulation altogether.

    Look at the story on Media Watch last night, where a reporter secretly recorded someone without their permission, put to air comments they actually hadn’t made, then campaigned to get the guy’s band dumped from a gig. It is reprehensible conduct by anyone’s measure that has the potential to destroy lives and livelihoods, so there needs to be a mechanism to ensure that media outlets are held responsible for these acts of bastardy. Whether that’s done through corrections and apologies, fines for reporters/companies or other legal redresses is a matter for some debate, I think.

  78. Iain Hall says:

    I missed Media watch Brian and I have to go out shortly so I won’t be able to check it out til this afternoon. That said your scenario sounds awful and a real abuse of the medium.

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