The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

Method in Malcolm’s madness?

Urged to leave politics: former federal treasurer Peter Costello. (AFP: Torsten Blackwood)

Urged to leave politics: former federal treasurer Peter Costello. (AFP: Torsten Blackwood)

The Commentariat this weekend are unanimous that Malcolm Turnbull and The Libs have just had A Week from Hell and that Turnbull’s leadership is under threat.

It is just five months since Turnbull took the top job from Brendan Nelson on the promise of strong leadership. It is almost incomprehensible, then, that his leadership could already be so tenuous.

But leadership of a bitterly divided party in opposition brings a new dimension to such matters. The speculation over Costello has become emblematic of the Liberal plight. There’s no groundswell of support for the former treasurer, but there’s mounting concern about Turnbull.

However, if Turnbull indeed offered the position of Shadow Treasurer to Peter Costello in an attempt to wedge him by portraying his refusal as evidence of his willingness to continue destabilising the party, then perhaps it is paying off after all. Maybe that was the main game and The Commentariat have missed it.

The coming days and weeks will reveal whether Malcolm’s gamble has payed off. If the mounting pressure on Costello to shape up or ship out results in him finally bowing out, Turnbull’s power base will be secure through to the next election and the Libs can finally get on with throwing of the shackles of Howard’s ‘Legacy’.

Maybe the Libs can then start thinking about formulating a coherent policy stance – although that might be asking too much.

Now, if the Libs can just get rid of Tony Abbott and Nick Minchin, they can begin rebuilding themselves into an effective opposition and start looking like an alternative government.

Filed under: Howardians, Politics

It’s time to go, Hewson tells Costello

Quit call: Dr Hewson has urged former federal treasurer Peter Costello to leave politics. (AAP: Julian Smith, file photo)

Quit call: Dr Hewson has urged former federal treasurer Peter Costello to leave politics. (AAP: Julian Smith, file photo)

Thank God that John hewson has the guts to say what most people are thinking – Pete, it’s time to bugger off mate! You had your chance and you blew it. And you really were a second-rate treasurer. Oh, and your book sucked, too.

From the ABC this morning:

“After the damage that you have done, the best you can now do to help our chances is to leave,” Dr Hewson wrote in Fairfax newspapers.

“If your few remaining mates won’t tell you, I will. You’ve had a fair go. If you now won’t give others a chance and pull your weight as a member of the team, you should move on.

“It is most unlikely that you will ever be drafted as leader of the Liberal Party and even less likely that you will ever be prime minister.

“You can’t go on ignoring the facts. You have only ever had a minimal support base and that base has been further and terminally eroded by your disloyalty, antics and shenanigans of the last year or so.

Dr Hewson also doubted Mr Costello’s competence as treasurer.

“I also doubt you have the skills, experience or self-confidence to have accepted the obvious job after losing the last election, namely shadow treasurer,” he wrote.

“You’d be lost without Treasury. You may have delivered 11 budgets but ask yourself honestly how many of them were actually yours, rather than Treasury’s.

“I am told Treasury is now drawing a sharp contrast between your little interest and involvement and that of Wayne Swan.”

Dr Hewson, who lost the 1993 federal election against former prime minister Paul Keating, is also scathing of Mr Costello’s book, released last year.

“You should also recognise that your indulgent ‘memoirs’, released recently, did not provide the platform from which you had obviously hoped to be drafted,” he said.

“They were received with a yawn. They were being sold at a discount in my local bookstore in just a few days.

“But, most importantly, they fuelled yet another round of leadership speculation, again making the Opposition the focus of exhaustive and sustained media attention, leaving the Government to skate by without scrutiny.

Dr Hewson says he thinks an election is looming.

“Despite what the Government says, the risk and opportunity of an election this year are very real, especially if my worst fears of our economy tanking are confirmed,” he said.”

Filed under: Howardians, Politics

Petulant Pete – put up or push off

Illustration: Matt Davidson

Illustration: Matt Davidson

Despite former Howard henchman Sen. George Brandis’ laughable reassurance on Lateline last night that there is nothing amiss in the Liberal Party, it is clear that they are in deep trouble. Any possibility of policy coherence is lost while the party is deeply divided between the Old Guard Right and the fresh start moderates arguing over the relevance of Howard’s Legacy, and the power struggles between the NSW Right and Costello Kroger Camp in Victoria.

British editor and broadcaster Andrew Neil has been in Australia launching the Australian edition of the UK institution The Spectator magazine. Asked on Lateline how long it takes a long-term government party to rebuild after defeat he thought about 10 years. Voters have long memories, he argues, and in order to rebrand the image a party needs to remove those who keep those memories alive.

Clearly that’s going to take some time in the case of our Libs. Petulant Peter – I could have been a contender – Costello is the main problem here. He should make the challenge for the leadership or announce his intentions to retire from his seat. Unfortunately, it seems as though he will accept the leadership only if the party comes begging and offers it to him in a bloodless coup. In which case the Libs need to make that choice, sooner than later. Otherwise we will see a succession of reasonable performers like Turnbull and Hockey chewed up and spat out. The Libs cannot afford to have Costello linger around like a bad smell constantly reminding us that that Libs are in a deeply divided shamble.

For Pete’s sake, bring on Costello and put us all out of our misery. I doubt he will be any more successful than Nelson or Turnbull. Perhaps he is waiting around for a crack at the leadership after the Libs lose the next election? But that will just ensure the Libs will remain divided and irrelevant as an effective opposition, let alone as an alternative government.

The Libs are still in denial about the 2007 end of the Howardian Ear, and will remain so until they lose next year’s election, at the very earliest. Unfortunately for the conservative side of politics I doubt the next Liberal Prime Minister of Australia is even in the parliament yet.

Filed under: Howardians, Politics

Facebook to revisit terms of use abuse

Good news that Facebook have responded quickly and wisely to withdraw new provisions claiming intellectual proprietorship over all who link there. Did you know that if Facebook was a country it would be the sixth most populous in the world? If you want input onto the new terms of use, get on over to Facebook Blog to find out how.

Filed under: Internet, Technology

They have the internet on computers now II?

The Interweb Machine from The Technium

The Interweb Machine from The Technium

A reminder of the willful neglect of the ICT industry throughout the Howardian era. Whatever understanding they had of the sector they sold out to the interests of Packer, Murdoch and the like. A truly neglected area of government policy. To date, the Rudd Government has shown little initiative to make amends. Indeed, Stephen Conroy’s hamfisted attempt to throttle data communications through a Giant Kiddie Porn Filter is technological lunacy. Sad thing is, he probably knows that it is and is acting out Rudd’s debt to the religious right vote. I think we can safely put that one to bed. They’re not so politically influential these days, what with the end of neo-liberalism and the GFC?

God, Australia can be stupid

Australia seems determined to maintain its minnow status in the global IT environment.

How many Australian companies do you think are exhibiting at this year’s CeBIT computer fair in Hanover, Germany? It’s the biggest computer event going, where companies from around the world display their wares and make the contacts they need in a globalised economy.

You would think we’d have a decent contingent, wouldn’t you? There are usually a dozen or so Aussies there, though last year numbers were down to five (compared with 14 exhibitors from that hotbed of IT, New Zealand).

So, how many Aussie IT companies will be at the world’s biggest computer show this year? None. Not a one. Zero. The show will open its gates to its usual half-million visitors and five thousand-plus exhibitors, but Australia will be unrepresented.

Read more

Filed under: Politics

The Blame Flame

Torsten Blackwood)

Lives destroyed...at least 181 people have been killed and entire towns razed. (AFP: Torsten Blackwood)

Peter Costello said it best: “To link the death and suffering of bushfire victims to other political events is appalling, heartless and wrong”. In times of national tragedy it is only respectful and decent to wait until it’s over before launching into half-witted attacks to lay the blame at the feet of your enemies.

So who are the first to break ranks? Danny Nalliah, a self-appointed messianic figure who dreams messages from God, well you hardly expect anything less from someone so deluded. But Chris Mitchell’s effort in The Australian to blame the Greens and Environemntal Activists is surely a new low in editorialising from Rupert’s flagship. Well let’s arrest them and charge them with mass murder shall we?

I’ve seen enough forensic TV drama to know that the living owe the dead the truth. Let the authorities do their work and gather whatever information is relevant. Then we might be able to make sense of what happened. How did government respond to the accurate CFA warning about places like Maryville and Kinglake? How well is our volunteer CFA and SES resourced? How effective are shire planning and building regulations? What is the proper balance between individual freedom to live where they want and the expectation that government and community can protect you?

Let’s think about these things in the fullness of time before apportioning blame to our favourite boogey men.

Filed under: Politics, , , ,

The Dog’s Bollocks

What they say

The Dog's Bollocks: "Bollocks" is one of my favourite words, and this is now one of my favourite blogs and I've only been reading it for five minutes. – John Surname

This is the person who tried to analyse Hayek. This is actually a person who needs a shrink. – JC

Shut up slim. You’re an idiot.
Just you stay honest and keep that thinking cap on. – GMB

Insightful perspectives on politics and discussion of matters epistemological? I’m sold! - Bruce

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