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(by Ray Dixon, your o-so-deep and meaningful blog contributor)
Yes, I know … this makes it two ‘caption time’ posts in a row but, givemeabreak, how was I supposed to ignore this little gem from yesterday’s sitting of Federal Parliament?
The look on Christopher Pyne’s face says it all, as he sits mesmerised and fixated on the sight before him … being Julie Bishop in full and feisty flight. Pyne looks like he’s about to leap out of his seat and do the ‘manly thing’ – either that or he his about to, um, blow his load? Where are your hands, Chris?
According to the caption under the photo, Julie is saying something about going all the way with the U S of A in outer space, but I think we can do better than that.
What could Julie be saying?
And what is Pyne thinking?
Let’s try both:
Bishop: “I am so the hottest root in the House – just ask the drooling fool behind me.”
Pyne’s thoughts: “That arse is mine!”
Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has floated the idea of collecting student debts from the dead as a way of boosting the budget bottom line.
Mr Pyne told Fairfax Media on Wednesday he had no “ideological opposition” to collecting debts from the estates of former students who died owing money to the government.
Hang on a minute this is merely a suggestion its not any kind of settled policy Heck it hasn’t even been discussed by the coalition parties yet the usual suspects are going on as if its done and dusted policy.
Personally I think that it would be an extremely unpopular thing to do that would cost a motza to administrate and would in all likelihood raise far less revenue than many are suggesting here.
In other words all of those panic merchants who are frothing at the mouth here should just take a chill pill and save their rancor until this idea is more than just a thought bubble. After all we are not talking about the party that gave us the laughable mining tax we are talking about the coalition who take a much more considered view to any changes to the tax regime.
Hands up who watched the young minions of the left making utter fools of themselves last night on QandA? It really was a less than encouraging display of utter stupidity and it was certainly of no advantage to anyone who supports the former government this is how the Guardian described the event:
Monday night’s broadcast was forced off-air for several minutes when protesters unfurled a banner and started chanting about potential deregulation of universities.
Australia‘s education minister, Christopher Pyne, had already been asked two questions by people hostile to the changes to university funding, such as deregulation and an increase in how much students pay, when demonstrators started chanting from the balcony of the studio.
The protesters had been chanting “No cuts, no fees, no corporate universities” under a banner that read: “More brains not war planes. Fund Education. May 21 Rally and UTS. 2.30pm”
The live broadcast cut to footage of singer Katie Noonan from a previous programme while the protesters were ejected. Pyne had said it reminded him of Question Time as they moved on to their next chant, “Christopher Pyne get out, we know what you’re all about. Cuts”.
When the cameras cut back to the show, the protesters had been escorted out and the audience cheered and applauded.
Host Tony Jones said: “That was not what democracy is all about.” Pyne then resumed his answers to the questions about deregulating universities.
The minister had been repeatedly interrupted by shouting in the lead-up to the protest and Jones had reprimanded those yelling, saying the microphones would stay away from them.
When Pyne resumed his answer he said the Hecs scheme, in which university students pay back their loans with inflation added when they reach a certain income threshold, was part of the “egalitarian society” and the government would not be changing that.
“The thing about the Australian education system is that there is nobody who can’t go to university in Australia because of fees, because every single dollar can be borrowed and paid back in later life,” he said.
“That is one of the great things about the higher education system in Australia. It’s not the case that people from low socioeconomic status background are shut out of university because of fees. It is quite a misnomer and a myth to say so because every single student is capable of getting a loan from the taxpayer.”
Any one who follows me on twitter (all 65 of you ) would have noticed the complementary things I posted about Christopher Pyne who remained utterly unfazed and who went on to prove just what a fine performer he is under pressure remaining calm cool and collected. The protesters were ejected from the venue while we the audience were shown a pre-recorded musical interlude.
If the idiots form “Socialist Alliance” think that they did any favours for their cause by this display of bad manners and crass behaviour they are sadly mistaken all they did was prove that a university education is utterly wasted on them. Civil society has to be predicated upon civil behaviour and they were the exact opposite of civility. Worse still what they were protesting about was not even an element of ACTUAL government policy it was something suggested in a report TO the government. Clearly higher education has been wasted on this minions of the far left and maybe it would be better for the nation and the polity if they were expelled and perhaps made to spend some time in the real world where they had to, you know, like get a job and take a few lessons in”the university of life”. Sadly I expect that they would fail that course just as badly as they clearly failed Civility 101.
Christopher Pyne was suggesting that the Gillard saga was beginning to look like “downfall” and here we have some wag making it so.
Hat tip tip to Bolta on this one
Having children is probably the easiest when human beings are first capable of conceiving, however that also tends to coincide with a time when the ambitious are focused upon their careers. Personally I find it no real surprise that in our society there is a a large cohort of women who find themselves in the unenviable position of seeking to conceive when they are well past the peak of their fertility, its just the legacy of feminist ideology that has told our women and girls that their careers are more important than having children.
Interestingly there are two stories in today’s media offerings from Murdoch and Fairfax respectively that made me think about this matter today.
Firstly there is the story about the way that Tony Abbott supported Christopher Pyne and his wife through their battle to conceive their children through IVF:
Secondly there is the piece in Fairfax which is a great example of that which so many of my friends from the left constantly complain about when they see stories which begin with “the leader of the opposition says” but on this occasion its a case of “a government minister says”
The Labor party of course hate the idea that Tony Abbott could possibly be anything other than a absolute and abject slave to his Catholic faith, the idea that he could be a man who applies personal discretion to the way that he considers the teachings of the church on matters like IVF is something that the government wants to hide from the people. It serves the purposes of this desperate government far better that Abbott can be portrayed as an unthinking peon of Rome rather than a modern man who makes his own choices on issues of fertility and sexual morality.
The ALP feminista girls club does not do so well once its myths and legends are exposed to the cold hard light of truth but who is surprised? They are fighting a desperate rear guard defence of a party that not only faces defeat but near obliteration at the next federal election so clearly they are trying their darnedest to ensure that they make truth the first casualty of the battle to retain the Lodge but the truth is not as easy to kill as they had hoped.
- Abbott has long-held views on IVF, says Australian Attorney-General Roxon (craighill.net)
- Abbott will be judged on abortion, IVF (news.com.au)
- TurnLeft agrees ‘Abbott progressive on women’s issues’: here is proof (turnleft2013.wordpress.com)
- Feminist fertility blogs? (bluemilk.wordpress.com)
- Female foeticide, gender equality to be part of school curriculum (thehindu.com)
personmanship in the political process, or a good reason not to whine about sarcasm in debate
If anyone were to take the time to peruse the pages of Hansard or even the media’s public record you would soon be struck by one very obvious fact and that is the tendency for our MPs and senators to use cheeky sarcasm towards their political opposites. After all our politics is a combative and competitive sport of the tongue and the clever retort or put down is the stock in trade of any skilled politician. Even in a senate committee the Chair exists to act as umpire and if any comment is actually going too far in its content or taste then it may be withdrawn or apologised for. That is entirely reasonable.
Frankly I have watched the vision of this little spat several times and I would really like to see more of the meeting that preceded Wong spitting the dummy here because I suspect that it would contain a fair bit of the usual tendency of government minister trying to avoid providing real answers to reasonable requests. That said the conflated outrage about one off the cuff “Meow” is ridiculous and to some extent hypocritical. Personally I think that there is a real and admirable beauty to the clever use of sarcasm (think of Oscar Wilde) and those who would ban it must be terribly dull and dreary people. However as the piece in today’s OZ points out the Labor party are being particularly hypocritical over “Meowgate” because even Gillard has played the same sort of game herself:
But yesterday, Liberals Sophie Mirabella and Kelly O’Dwyer questioned Labor’s sincerity.
Ms Mirabella, who in 2008 was told by Labor MP Belinda Neal that evil thoughts could turn her unborn baby into a demon, told The Australian yesterday that none of the Labor women had complained when former Labor leader Mark Latham described a female journalist as “a skanky ho”.
“It was just hypocrisy for a Labor woman to raise this when the silence has been deafening when conservative women — politicians or journalists — have been attacked in the past,” Ms Mirabella said.
Ms O’Dwyer said Senator Bushby’s comment had been injudicious but he had apologised to Senator Wong.
“The Labor Party is absolutely hypocritical,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
“On one hand they get righteously indignant on this, where an apology was made right away. But you have other examples where there hasn’t been the same level of intensity.”
Senator Wong told ABC radio she also objected to the Opposition Leader’s recent comment that he wanted to “make an honest woman” of the Prime Minister when discussing Ms Gillard’s breach of her pre-election promise not to impose a carbon tax.
Senator Wong said: “We all know what that generally refers to, and that’s making sure the woman’s married. So, I think, Tanya’s quite right to name what she perceives is happening.”
Special Minister of State Gary Gray said Senator Bushby had apologised for his “inappropriate, dumb observations” and he hoped politicians would learn from the incident and accept that parliament was “not the place for reverting to type”.
Earlier, when Ms Gillard was challenged about her description of Mr Pyne, she accused journalists of misreporting her comment, urging them to check the record.
“I actually never used that terminology,” she said.
However, a copy of the parliamentary Hansard makes clear that Ms Gillard, comparing the relative merits of Mr Abbott and Mr Pyne, described the pair as a doberman and a poodle and noted that choosing between the two for a job was “a choice between macho and mincing”.
There are clear and reasonable constraints upon the way that participants in our democracy are expected to behave as they go about the business of politics and it is hardly surprising that players form all sides try to push the envelope as they sharpen and hone that most important political weapon, a clever tongue, to seek advantage in debate or any other element of the political process (like committee meetings). Now I very much prefer that such things are done with perfect sweetness and good manners but realise that when dealing with human beings perfect manners and absolute consideration of every word before it is set free upon the world would make for a very dull political process.
Politics is a tough sport and those who play at the elite level should realise that it is a game played on the basis of no quarter given and none expected in return. Which is why conflated outrage like that form Penny Wong and her supporters just reflects badly upon her and them rather than the man who made a vaguely insensitive remark in a senate committee meeting.
For someone who has been in the parliament for more than one term you would expect that Laughing boy (Oakeshott) would have a better idea of just how the system works and not try to change it so that he can have the job of speaker and take part in the debates of the day.
Mr Oakeshott says he would take the job of Speaker if it were offered to him. Mr Pyne insisted yesterday Mr Oakeshott could not both serve as Speaker and be paired with another MP when parliament voted on legislation.
Mr Oakeshott argues the agreement would allow him to convey his own position on legislation by being paired with an MP who held the opposite view to him. Then neither he nor the MP he was paired with would vote.
Mr Pyne rejected Mr Oakeshott’s analysis of the pairing arrangement. “By definition, the Speaker cannot be paired because he or she does not have a vote,” the Coalition frontbencher said. “It’s a completely different interpretation. The technical situation is that the Speaker . . . has a casting vote, not a deliberative vote.”
A deliberative vote would give the Speaker the power to vote normally with other MPs.
Mr Abbott said the existing Speaker, Labor MP Harry Jenkins, was his choice to serve as a new kind of Speaker who served at the pleasure of the parliament with no party-political role.
Constitutional law expert George Williams said there was nothing in the Constitution expressly against the pairing plan.
“It’s not casting a vote; it is merely getting value through a pairing arrangement by declining to vote,” Professor Williams said.
He warned that while it was possible for Mr Oakeshott to become Speaker, it was not realistic for him to regularly engage in the business of parliament.
Lets be realistic here if Laughing Boy were to become speaker the Labor Party would still have a one vote majority(assuming the that the Whip can get them all to vote) However the down side to this chap getting the speakership is likely to be a very turgid parliament where the speaker takes forever to bring down any decision (think of his 17 minute speech on his decision to back Gillard) The man is a verbose fool who has, by the numerical accident of the last poll gained more power and influence than he deserves so I am right be hind Christopher Pyne in resisting his attempt to change the role of speaker in the house.
This Parliament will be like a finely balanced chess game and there is no reason at all for the government to expect that the opposition should allow them to have an extra Queen on the board even before the first pawn has been advanced by a single square.
Beware the Knights Comrades !
Being a Queenslander I find the rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney rather amusing. I have spent time in both cities and it is clear to me that there is quite a difference in the tone and the mood in each. I also find that sometimes a comparison between the two Fairfax flagships and how they report the same news can be rather amusing and interesting.
The thing is which ever way that you look at it this is a far better result for the Coalition than it is for Labor and I agree with Christopher Pyne’s suggestion that there are many people are “parking” Their votes with the Greens but that when it comes to crunch time that many will give their support (either directly or as their second preference) to the party that they think can actually govern rather than to a mob of pie in the sky merchants.
Jimmy Scullen your long wait is over, Kevin will be joining you soon 😉