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A fair go

Find below a piece by Mishka Góra reproduced here under the terms of its creative commons licence  it was originally published here


Tony Abbott from his Facebook page

Most of you will already be aware that I am not a fan of Tony Abbott. If you raise the topic of Paid Parental Leave with me, for example, you may wish to brace yourself for a diatribe about the “calibre” of the women our Prime Minister privileges above other hard-working women who stay at home without any pay at all for years rather than months. I will probably also make liberal use of the words integrity and backbone in a less than flattering manner.

Nevertheless, I am disgusted by the plethora of groundless attacks on Tony Abbott that have increased in recent days instead of abating. In particular, a photo of Mr Abbott in his fire-fighting gear seems to have drawn a ridiculous amount of ire. I must say, as a photographer, that it’s a great portrait. No matter how his term as Prime Minister turns out, it’s a photo that he and his family should be proud of and treasure. It is no surprise that his official Facebook page has it as his profile picture.

Many, however, have used this photograph as any opportunity to attack Mr Abbott. It seems he can do no right.

If he didn’t fight fires he’d be accused of being out of touch with the ordinary Australians threatened by the bushfires. When he does, he’s accused of using it as a photo opportunity (even though he’s done this for over a decade).

When some photos turn out to be from previous fires he’s attended, thus proving it wasn’t just a photo op’, he draws criticism for allowing old photos to be circulated.

It’s symptomatic of the sort of people – more than 170,000 of them – who’ve liked the defamatory Facebook page Tony Abbott – Worst PM in Australian History.

Not bad for someone who’s only been in office for less than two months.

And there are others, of course, such as Abbott ‘the Maggot’, the content of which is too obscene for me to repeat.

My point is that, whatever his faults, of which I am sure there are many as he’s an imperfect human being like the rest of us, very few people are giving Tony Abbott a fair go.

Even those who consider his volunteer fire fighting “laudable” have criticised him for not getting his priorities right, suggesting he should be in his office on the end of the telephone at a time of a major fire emergency. I beg to differ.

At a time of unparalleled wireless communications, there is no need for our Prime Minister to be sitting in an office on the end of a landline. A good leader knows how to delegate responsibility to those with the expertise and resources to deal with the situation. I’m glad we don’t have a micro-managing control freak in charge of our nation.

Tony Abbott, in the past few days, has demonstrated we have an Aussie battler and hero as Prime Minister. I may not be an expert on bushfires, but I do know what it’s like to hear the pagers of two work colleagues go off simultaneously and see them scamper off with hardly a backward glance… then hear my own go off sixty seconds later summoning me to the ambulance for a trip into the fire-ravaged bush.

I remember all-too-clearly the overwhelming fatigue after hours standing on burnt-out ground in unimaginable heat surrounded by smoke and ashes. Merely donning fire-fighting gear in such conditions is an accomplishment – the actual work that follows is a feat most of us will thankfully never truly comprehend.

And that’s what makes volunteer fire fighters like Tony Abbott heroes. They risk their lives in the worst of conditions to protect us.

They don’t get paid, and they drop everything they’re doing because it’s an emergency. When Tony Abbott answered his callout with his local brigade, he set an example to all of us to buckle down and get on with the job. It’s about time we did the same and gave him a fair go.

“Performance was marred by a lack of caution and political cunning.” or “not fit to rule” take two


RETIRING senator Bob Carr has attacked Labor’s ill-fated media reforms as “badly wrong-headed”, criticised its approach to carbon pricing and warned it not to lurch to the left on asylum-seeker policy.

As Bob Carr resigns from the Senate I doubt that anyone is really surprised, nor should they be surprised by his criticism of the largely unlamented Labor administration that parachuted him into the cushy Foreign Minister’s job as a result of Rudd’s tilt at the leadership 18 months ago.

Senator Carr, who will submit his resignation to the president of the Senate tomorrow, said he planned to “reinvent” himself as an expert on Asia in posts with Sydney University and the University of New South Wales.

Reflecting on Labor’s past six years in office, he said the party did “many very, very good things”, but its performance was marred by a lack of caution and political cunning.

“Just reflecting my background, growing up with Neville Wran as premier, and trying to learn from him, I’m struck by a lack of canniness in the (former) government,” he said.

“A lack of caution, cunning – canniness is probably the best word.”

Senator Carr said the Wran playbook would have ruled out picking a fight with the media before an election, as Labor did with its proposed media reforms.

Labor should have been “friends with everyone” a year out from the poll, “cooling” controversy, not creating it.

“I thought a certain political direction had been cast out that window at that moment,” Senator Carr said.

“In the end I was just thinking about the viability of Australia’s social democratic party.

“If people in Queensland and NSW get accustomed to voting Labor at a rate of 25 per cent, in a state election and a federal election, how do you recover? That was the thought uppermost in my mind.”

He said the government’s lack of “canniness” was also evident in Labor’s approach to tackling climate change, where it should have proceeded with more caution.

He said Labor should have replicated, in its first years of the government, a scheme he introduced as premier in NSW, which only applied to the power sector. The scheme could have been ramped up down the track, he said.

“It would have been a canny approach,” Senator Carr said.

Labor took the same imprudent approach in dismantling John Howard’s Pacific Solution, “without weighing – carefully, cannily – what effect that might have on people-smuggling”.

He said Labor must retain its support for processing on Manus Island and Nauru, despite internal tensions on the policy.

“It is the right policy and it is a policy the Australian people will accept,” Senator Carr said.

“There may be a temptation from time to time to criticise the Abbott government from what might be described as the Left, on this issue. It is a temptation best resisted.”


Isn’t it interesting that yet another leading light (but not light weight 😉  ) of the Labor party is now so willing to pour a bucket upon the Gillard and Rudd leaderships .  dare I suggest that, having one person disillusioned with the party may possibly be some problem with them but once you get a chorus of dismay from several then it is indicative of a party in serious political trouble.  Sadly although the party dearly needs thinkers like Bob Carr , men and women who not only have their heads around the policy ideas that the party believes in but also just a touch of street smarts to enable them to calculate the best way of making such things both happen and more importantly be accepted by the people.

So now we have two former cabinet ministers   being brutally honest about Labor’s last stint in government so I can’t help but wonder if  such criticism will continue to be valid under the Shorten leadership and surely if it does then how can the Australian Labor party ever be fit to rule again?

Cheers Comrades


Update :

the headline piece in today’s Age is worthy of note because it makes me wonder if we got value for the more than four grand a day that Bob Carr cost the  taxpayers during his time as foreign minister:

click for source

click for source

So was he really worth more than a grand extra a day over Stephen Smith or Kevin Rudd?

Cheers again Comrades


Horses for courses

If an social institution is corrupt should a government not make every effort to expunge the vile puss that pervades its very core? If you are an ordinary person concerned about, for instance, clerical child abuse, you punch your fist in the air and say “Damn straight its about time!”  and in doing so you earn the admiration of every catholic hating minion of the left, however if the corruption being targeted is within the union movement….

ACTU boss Ged Kearney today rallied union members for a pre-emptive strike against the federal opposition to be launched next week.

In a candid address to a NSW Teacher’s Federation conference in Sydney, Ms Kearney indicated the ACTU was bracing for a coalition win on September 14 and a royal commission into union corruption.

“They are going to come for us,” she told the room of union members.

She said any coalition anti-union push would be “smarter than having dogs and men in balaclavas on the docks”, a reference to the 1998 waterfront dispute.

“The royal commission is coming – because of the HSU, because of the whole slush fund stuff, they will come at us with lawyers and barristers and queen’s counsels and they will try to send us broke,” she said.

The former nurse told the crowd the ACTU would launch a major campaign next week to warn Australians of a move towards Thatcher-style rhetoric and conservative UK “big society” policy under a Tony Abbott-led government.


What I find so sadly amusing is the difference between the Church  response to its problems , namely it seeks to fix the corrupt practices of some of its clergy whereas the Union movement both denies that there is a problem and calls its members to the barricades…

I understand that some people will not like the parallel that I draw here but as I see it both entail a gross betrayal of trust of their respective congregations and a rather pernicious dedication to protecting their respective miscreants for the sake of the reputation of their organisation.Which leaves me to wonder if Unionists invoke the blessed Karl when they confess their sins and seek absolution or if they just thank Mammon for their ill gotten gains.

Cheers Comrades

The Blank Check

The serious stuff dance off

Well the latest polling holds no real joy for Gillard fans because while Labor have improved their numbers slightly it has been at the expense of the Greens which means it is a zero sum game and Gillard is still leading Labor into political oblivion and a very long sojourn in the wilderness.

In the past three months, Coalition support has slipped in NSW and Western Australia, dropping below its primary vote support at the 2010 election.

Coalition primary vote support was steady in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia and the Coalition has a clear two-party-preferred lead, based on preference flows at the last election, in every state except Victoria, where Labor leads 54 per cent to 46 per cent, and South Australia, where the major parties are level.

The key states in next year’s federal election at this stage are still Queensland and NSW, where the most seats are likely to change hands.

In Queensland, Labor’s primary vote rose from 30 per cent in the July-September quarter to 32 per cent to this month, after being just 22 per cent in the middle of the year.

While Labor’s support has risen 10 points in six months, the Coalition’s support has fallen from 42 per cent to 40 per cent, and the Greens’ support fell from 11 per cent in June to just 7 per cent in the December quarter.

Queensland is also the state with the highest level of primary vote support for “others” at 14 per cent.

Compared with the 2010 primary vote in Queensland, Labor is just below — 32 per cent now and 33.6 per cent then — while the Coalition is steady on 47 per cent and the Greens’ support is well down from 10.9 per cent at the election to 7 per cent.

Based on preference flows at the last election the Coalition still has a commanding two-party preferred lead in Queensland of 58 to Labor’s 42 per cent — the opposition’s highest in any state and up three points since the election.

Labor’s improved primary vote has not helped it lift its two-party-preferred vote because a fall in Greens’ support offsets Labor’s preferences and the high “others” helps keep up the Coalition’s second-preference vote.


Of course this should not bee seen as an excuse for complacency because Gillard is as cunning as a shit-house rat as the way that she was able to neutralise the Rudd revival threat earlier in the year demonstrates, even I have to admit that was a strategic mistress-stroke that left her rival whimpering in his gimp mask and politically neutered.
But what does this mean for politics coming into the new year?
Frankly I think that we will see a season of very ruthless politicking from both sides, Labor are desperate in “cornered rat” mode when it comes down to it, and The coalition can smell the scent of those treasury benches which is electoral Viagra to an opposition so it will be a tough fight but my money is still on Abbott to win convincingly.

Cheers Comrades


Julia Gillard’s golden prospects in semantic gymnastics

yep I’m on a first name basis with our PM

In another place I have been discussing the level of respect afforded to our current PM and I have been making the argument that ours is a rather informal society and that our leaders themselves promote that informality. No one in the United States would dare address a sitting or former President by their first name unless they were specifically invited to do so because they have a long tradition of revering the office of president itself. Here in this country it is entirely alien to genuflect to our leaders in any way at all. Frankly I think that it makes our leaders much more grounded that the ordinary people wont stand for the sort of obsequious deference that is common elsewhere.

But I will draw readers attention to the deliberate lie at the end of Julia’s missive> where she tells me that the 9% rise in  electricity prices is “fully compensated” maybe for those individuals who are under a certain threshold there is “compensation” but there are many Australians who don’t qualify for this largess who will be paying that extra 9% without a single cent of “compensation” So I ask you dear readers how can our PM be believed when she claims that the rise Is “fully compensated”?

Oh yeah that’s right we can believe her because she did give us that sincere promise before the last election “there will be no Carbon Tax under a government that I lead”  Yeah well its obvious that she is just continuing in the same vein in all of her other political pronouncements and that we can expect the most convoluted semantic gymnastics from Julia and her barrackers . Now if only  semantic gymnastics were an Olympic event  then this country would have wall to wall Gold thanks entirely to Julia Gillard.

Cheers Comrades

 Gold in Semantic Gymnastics!!!!





I am very far from being any sort of sports nut, usually the idea of sitting down and watching any kind of game on the TV is just too painful to contemplate and yet my daughter has had me watching the State of Origin series this year and boy did I enjoy the match last night!

Clearly the best team won, but what would you expect? After all they are all QUEENSLANDERS!!!!

One thing that did blow me away last night was just how well my daughter understands the rules of the game which was something I was not really expecting given how uninterested in sport we are here at Chez Hall.
I look forward to this time next year when the mighty Maroons stand a better than even chance of making it eight in a row.

Very loud Cheers indeed Comrades

How our flag /should/ be.

What do you do when your 12 year old comes up and announces that she wants to watch the State of Origin game?

What do you do , as a long time supporter  of the Anti football league, when your 12  year old daughter comes up and announces that she wants to watch the State of Origin game?

Well I did the only thing that a good father can do and I immediately suggested that we watch the game together and you know what comrades I enjoyed the experience, It helped a great deal that QUEENSLAND thrashed the Blues but I have to admit that I am warming  (slightly )  to the idea that watching sport can be pleasurable:

click for source

TRY!!!! Comrades

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