The Dog’s Bollocks

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

Voting with the Blue Bloods of Lorne

Polling Day in LorneUp around the corner from the Lorne Polling Booth (in Corangamite) this morning about 20 cars (every second one European) were parked along the yellow lined No Standing at Anytime shoulder of the only walkable uphill road in Lorne. Lorne, not being in a marginal seat, only has foot paths on the main street and near the school. Inside the Senior Citizens building a queue of older boomer voters, with weekend shirts neatly tucked inside comfortable blue jeans or slacks hauled by a belt to the upper waist, waited patiently clutching their one and only Liberal How To Vote Card as if their lives depended on it.

A perfect illustration of life in Lorne, where things like road safety rules or planning regulations are only for other people.

As I left I smiled at the Kevin07 girls and remarked “You’ve got your work cut out here!”

“That’s for sure!” They smiled back.

While taking the above photo, two out of town bogan couples in their late teens staggered past. One bloke, with left arm around his girlfriend (for support more than affection) and VB can in the other, informed his companions, “Well I’m not voting for The Greens! Fuck that!”  I guess he’ll vote for The Economy, nit understanding that the people he votes for couldn’t give a rats about him and will happily screw over his working conditions for good measure.

Pure gold!

Filed under: Australian values, Federal Election 2007

The Economy or integrity and a fair go

Leunig - The AgeAfter six weeks of mind-numbing pork-barrelling appeals to self-interest, Australians will decide today the future of our nation – do we continue down the road of economic servitude or do we reaffirm our commitment to the land of the Fair Go?

Hopefully sufficient of my fellow Australians are informed enough to understand that the health of our deregulated economy has precious little to do with the running of the affairs of state whereas our sense of national identity has everything to do with the aspirations and vision of our political leaders. How do we use our national prosperity? Do we use it wisely, humanely and equitably or do we choose to further entrench self-interested economic advantage at the expense of others and indeed the long term prosperity and well-being of the nation.

“According to economic analysts and forecasters IbisWorld, the top 20% of Australian households have an average annual income of $225,000 while the bottom 20% average just $22,000.

We now have about 1 million “working poor” in Australia: that is, people who have some work, but not enough income to sustain a way of life we’d regard as normal for this society.” Hugh MacKay

“This is the clash between the values of ‘ordinary people’ and the values of the prosperous, professional ‘elites'” Robert Manne

This election is a choice between a future which values social justice, respect for due process of law and parliament, investment in social infrastructure, ethical and independent foreign policy or more of the same small-minded, backward-looking, mean-spirited, jingoistic, divisive, fear-mongering bastardry on behalf of the wealthy elite. It is a choice between a party which will try to govern for the interest of ordinary people or a party which unashamedly governs for the interests of Big Business.

I hope Australia doesn’t fuck it up again. There are too many urgent issues facing us as a nation crying out for forward thinking and creative action, not tokenistic piecemeal political reaction for those seeking to maintain their individual and elite privilege.

Filed under: Australian values, Big Picture, Federal Election 2007, Politics

God may be a Liberal but Jesus votes Labor

SpoonerSpeaking in a Korean Christian church in his seat of Bennalong, John Howard proclaimed to the congregation that God is neither Liberal nor Labor, but quipped that He would have reason to be pleased with the Liberals policies.

On Sunday night, ABC’s Compass interviewed an Anglican priest, a Catholic priest, a Muslim Imam and a Christian Lobbyist about what they see as issues that voters should consider when casting their votes. The key issues identified included concern for losing our Australian identity as a generous nation of The Fair Go as family and community life are transformed into consumerism and maintenance of The Economy. The village Church has been replaced with the Shopping Mall.

The subtext was clearly an appeal to values more closely aligned with Labor’s essential value of social justice. Care and concern for others is at the core of Christian and Muslim values. The Lobbyist was more concerned with ‘moral’ issues – no pooftahs and no abortions. I can’t recall Jesus having much to say about either of those, yet he had plenty to say about caring for the sick, the frail and the oppressed and not hoarding wealth. He didn’t seem too keen on banks and lending money for profit either.

While Kevin)7 is scaring us with Costello and Team Howard are scaring with economic destructions by the hands of extremists, it is refreshing see Bob Brown in a TV ad for The Greens taking a an unambiguous moral stand on the Iraq War, climate change, sustainable economic development, and returning the Senate to its proper function keeping the government honest.Family First are saying vote for them because they are not the others and they are actually quite normal, like the rest of us.

So amidst the increasingly bizarre and desperate theatrics of the final week of the campaign, followers of politics are on tenterhooks waiting on the verdict of the 5.5% of swinging voters who have yet to make up their minds. Are they balancing the electoral bribes to decide on the basis of what’s in for them? Probably. Will they get Howard across the line? It would be a miracle like we haven’t seen since Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Praise The Lord and pass The Whiskey!

add to kwoff

Filed under: Australian values, Big Picture, Economics, Environment, Federal Election 2007, Politics, Religion

Oh! The compassion!

CrikeyThat nice Christian man Kevin Andrews gives us another shining example of compassion that even Jesus would be proud of.

The Avendano family from Sydney’s west who have been in Australia for 23 years, with both their 19-year-old son Rainiel and nine-year-old daughter born here, are facing deportation to the Philipines next month.

Oh goody, just in time for a Christmas family reunion.

Andrews is yet to comment publicly – perhaps he’s too busy covering has arse against legal action back at the department?

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Australian values, Federal Election 2007, Politics, Religion

Howard’s vision of The Future (now with welfare for the wealthy)

SpoonerAt his Campaign launch, Howard remarked to the effect that an $800 tax rebate for school fees to millionaires was a break through in public policy – the transformation from a Welfare Economy to an Opportunity Economy is complete. WTF? Middle class welfare is now available to the ultra rich!

Howard’s education policy announced yesterday provides $6 billion in the name of education, yet not one cent of it will go directly to schools, let alone public schools. All it is doing is adding another inflationary cash injection into the consumer economy as reimbursements for money already spent. But based on past form, it would be naive to have expected anything else from Howard, who has doggedly pursued privatisation of education through a combination of funding policies which facilitate the flow from of cash from the public sector to the private sector and a sustained culture war on the teaching profession, portraying them as Maoist ideologues who brainwash our children with an elitist, left-wing, politically correct post-modern view of the world and our history.

Head Girl, Julie Bishop, trumpets the policy as one of giving choice to parents, for they are the best people to decide how best to spend the education dollar. The full manifestation of Howard’s vision would create a three-tiered education system. At the top will be the sandstone colleges – always the exclusive preserve of the wealthy and well-connected. In the middle will be McPrivate Schools, probably built and run in Public Private partnerships with the likes of ABC Learning Corporation, catering for the aspirational middle class who can’t afford the real thing. And the rest? Well we’ll train them to be grease in the wheels of commerce. A proper education can only be obtained in the private school system, and only by those who can afford it. The rest of the population can have a safety net education and access to ‘proper’ technical schools.

Add into that mix yet another underclass – migrant guest workers. Then we can do what France and Britain have done – exploit migrant guest workers for more than a generation and yet not grant them rights of citizenship, creating the conditions for unrest and alienation from the second generation Australian born. I guess it will be good for sustaining The War on Terror. Oops, don’t mention The War!

Chuck in 25 foreign-owned nuclear rectors around the coastline adjacent to Australian cities as a climate change solution, put the Adelaide-Darwin railway to the use intended by its owner, Halliburton – the people who gave us the Iraq War – and ship in US nuclear waste and ship out yellowcake to all comers.

Yep, sounds like a vision for the future all right.

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Australian values, Education, Federal Election 2007, Ideology, Politics

Kevin07 is just Howard 2.0


Eddie Perfect of Keating, the Musical fame performed this incisively satirical piece on The Sideshow last Saturday night. Eddie expresses that niggling discomfort many of us have about Rudd and the ALP, and cleverly captures what might be the typical Gen X attitude – if you have to elect a nerdy looking guy with a round face and glasses, you may as well vote for the one with hair. Howard is so last-season. And a not-insignificant reason to vote for Kevin07 is to see the look on Howard’s face when the mother-f*cker loses.

The idea in the chorus is that the Kevin07 update is just John Howard 2.0 – it’s still the same old shit. As a Rudd supporter (people thought I was mad when I said that Rudd will be the next Prime Minister, six months before he was elected leader of the ALP), Eddie’s song is close to the mark.

But let’s face it, if you already have Howard 1.5 why wouldn’t you want to upgrade to Howard 2.0? It will have more features (even if you never use them all), be more user-friendly, easier to use, less liable to crashes, more visually attractive, and it will network more compatibly with the rest of world.

Of course we’re stuck with the same monopolistic corporate proprietary operating system. Personally I think we’d all be better off running open-source.

Filed under: Australian values, Federal Election 2007, Music, Politics, YouTube

I don’t hate Howard – I despise his values

“What is noticeably missing from the debate about how Rudd might be different from Howard can be quite simply stated – Rudd couldn’t possibly be such a small-minded, backward-looking, mean-spirited, jingoistic, divisive, fear-mongering bastard as Howard is. Anything has got be better than that.”

I’ve always been something of a fan of Harry Clarke’s posts on economics, but lately Harry’s been wearing his Howard supporter’s heart somewhat on his sleeve. Like many of his colleagues, he is clearly going through the early stages of grief over Howard’s fall from ascendancy, most notably denial. Harry wrote yesterday about Kevin Rudd’s ‘me-tooism’ and attacked what he sees as ‘irrational’ Howard-haters, joining a chorus of Paul Kelly and John Roskam in suggesting that there is so little difference between Rudd and Howard that we may as well re-elect Howard. Harry’s post inspired me to comment, distilling some thoughts I had been musing over in recent days, but not having found the energy to put them together in a coherent fashion – sufficient to repeat in a post here at The Dog’s Bollocks:

Robert Manne put it best last week on Lateline when he said that the Right so thoroughly dominate the political polemic at the moment that it is pointless for Rudd to make a stand on any number of hot-button issues – he would be crucified – and that it will be three or four years before we really know what Rudd will do and how he will do it.

This is perfectly illustrated today by the MSM going off like a frog in a sock over Rudd’s reprimand of McClelland’s speech against capital punishment, with hysterical claims that Labor is in disarray and that Rudd is an insincere hypocrite when it is Howard’s moral ambivalence that is the more important question. He is accused of being morally compromised because he has the same policy as Howard and therefore he is morally weak. WTF??

This from a government and cheer squad that wouldn’t know a moral stance if it stood on them. Think SEIV X, the AFP sacrifice of the Bali 9, a $300 million donation to a ‘terrorist’ regime, an illegal war in Iraq while simultaneously working to disallow Iraqi refugees, the neutering of Native Title – the list goes on, but these will do for a start. These are all issues with significant moral and ethical resonance for many people. Howard’s dealings in these areas I personally find morally repugnant. So no, I don’t hate Howard, and even if I did, I wouldn’t regard it as being irrational. I despise him and his many offensive policies and values.

Howard apologists such as Paul Kelly, John Roskam and your good self are taking great pains to demonstrate how remarkably similar Rudd and Howard are (the ‘me-tooism’) – presumably, therefore we should all vote for Howard again. Nice try. But what is noticeably missing from the debate about how Rudd might be different from Howard can be quite simply stated – Rudd couldn’t possibly be such a small-minded, backward-looking, mean-spirited, jingoistic, divisive, fear-mongering bastard as Howard is. Anything has got be better than that. Howard has lost the favour of the Australian people. Signs are there that they want a more principled and effective leadership in a whole range of policy areas such as education, health, community infrastructure, foreign affairs, climate change, IR, etc.

After more than 11 years team Howard are out of ideas and looking and sounding tired. His supporters are in denial if they think he can come back from this.

Personally I’d rather a leader whose values are informed by the Jesuit intellectual traditions of social justice than disciples of dead Austrian economists and the Jesus Wants Me to Be Rich and Not Gay crowd.

The first stage is denial. Anger follows. It must be hard to swallow after a decade of political superiority, but it’s going to happen and life will not be the same again, for better or worse. Hopefully it will be for the better because it can only get worse under the current mob.

Postscript:

To my way of thinking, Australia in the 90s was finally emerging from the culturally cringing mediocrity of the 50s, confident in the world as an independent, tolerant, and forward-thinking nation, punching well above its weight. Howard’s non-economic legacy has been to return Australia to the fearful, divisive mindset of those bad old days while uncritically embracing the radical neo-conservative policies of the Bush administration and has impoverished the Australian spirit and our standing in the world. Even Howard’s economic legacy is not that wonderful as we reap the consequences in years to come. There is more to good economic management than easy-profit coupon-clipping and public penny-pinching.

If this is the price that Harry and others are willing to pay for economic ‘progress’ and material wealth, then I would happily settle for less prosperity to live in nation respected for its moral, ethical, generous and tolerant character.

Filed under: Australian values, Federal Election 2007, Ideology, Media, Politics

Vic restaurant raids prove system works: Hockey

Avuncular JoeHey boss, polling is showing that people aren’t swallowing those Work Choices ads we got the business council to cough up for. They’re saying that even if half of what we’re telling them is true they’ll never be able to police it. What are we going to do?

Let’s show the people that we’re serious. Find some out of the way tourist place in a safe seat, do a sweep of the small-time cafes, take-aways and restaurants and rattle their cages. Bust a few bosses for underpaying their staff and abusing the immigrant workers. That’ll get the punters on side.

I got it, boss! Warrnambool! Lots of tourists and lots of Sudanese workers. I’ll get onto it.

Oh, before I forget, we need to up the intake of 457s with the skills shortage blowing out the way it is.

Unbelieveable. They’re virtually admitting to setting up today’s raid as Warrnambool’s hospitality industry was gearing up for a busy Friday night, doing exactly what’s going on under WorkChoices in small businesses all over the country. Make an example of them for the six o’clock TV news.

They eat their own, these people.

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Australian values, Economics, Federal Election 2007, Law, Politics

Yellowcake, Pig Iron and Strippers

Yellowcake JohnnieMy earliest political memory was my father railing against Prime Minister Menzies. He often referred to him as Pig Iron Bob in honour of him providing Imperial Japan with iron and steel, even while knowing they were bent on military expansion. And now we have our very own Yellowcake Johnnie planning to sell uranium to nuclear rogue states. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

My father gave me the impression that the Liberal Party’s fundamental principle is looking after your business mates – everything else is secondary. Howard and Downer supported the invasion of Iraq on the merest suggestion that Hussein was planning to make nuclear weapons, and yet here they are planning to sell uranium to India and Russia, who both have form, under circumstances which make it likely that Aussie yellowcake will one day end in the hands of Rogue States and The Axis of Evil. But hey, no problem, we’re making a buck out of it in the finest of Menziean traditions. Or maybe it’s just Howard’s way of ensuring that we’ll always have terrorists to fight, say in ten years time when the Liberals are back in power. Nothing like long-term planning and forward thinking.

So what better timing in the news cycle to distract the punters’ concern for the latest of Howard’s shonky deals than the news that four years ago a journalist dined and wined Kevvy and lured him to a New York strip club. You gotta give it to the Liberal media machine – it’s a class act.

Sub-prime lending pyramidMeanwhile the world’s greatest Treasurer Peter Costello threatens that if the States can’t regulate the shonky practices of sub-prime lending he will take over. And do what, exactly? Sub-prime lending is a result of global private equity looking for a quick and easy buck. Since when has it been the business of a free-market Treasurer to propose regulating the affairs of bankers? As if he could anyway. Just like he can control interest rates, I suppose. Since when has Liberal Party had any interest in getting in the way of hucksters and their constitutional right to never give a sucker an even break? I would have thought sub-prime lending was the kind of entrepreneurial spirit much admired by the Liberals.

Fraudulent, morally corrupt shysters the lot of ’em. Election now, please.

Filed under: Australian values, History, Politics

Howard’s final act of indigenous bastardry

ABCThe Federal government, in a farcical traversty of parliamentary process today passed a shonky piece of legislation which closes the circle on Howard’s decade long determination to legally extinguish native title. Although mentioning children but a few times, the 500 page legislation enacted in the name of saving indigenous children paves the way for one of Howard’s other long cherished dreams – an unfettered expansion of the uranium industry, from mining to waste storage.

Denounced widely by indigenous leaders (where is Noel Pearson these days) and dismissed by those who have been working in indigenous affairs as containing no provisions for actually improving the quality of life in our indigenous communities, the legislation grants the Federal government the right to determine any future usage of their land, including the granting of mining leases.

The head of Reconciliation Australia and former Fraser government Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Fred Chaney says the Commonwealth’s Emergency Response Bill for Northern Territory Aboriginal communities tramples on Indigenous property rights. He says that he is shocked by the legislation rushed through the House of Representatives in the last week – it could see successful communities and families returned to dependence.

“[It] is contemptuous of Aboriginal property rights, is contemptuous of the principle of non-discrimination,” he said.

“[It] is authorising an absurd and unattainable level of micromanagement of Aboriginal lives, which is far beyond the capacity of the federal bureaucracy to deliver.”

Mal Brough either knows he is committing the biggest scam on indigenous people since colonisation or he is just plain stupid. Both, likely.

Hopefully Rudd’s bi-partisan support for this audacious act of heartless bastardry will be his first non-core undertaking. The situation will only worsen under the new legislation and will not improve until a consultative and collaborative approach to indigenous affairs is developed.

Filed under: Australian values, Indigenous, Law, Politics

The Dog’s Bollocks

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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

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