The Dog’s Bollocks

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

You’ve got no shame: Howard to Rudd

Former prime minister John Howard has accused his successor and his government of having no shame, and no theme.

If anyone knows about having no shame and no theme, Howard is undoubtedly an expert. However, Rudd has one thing that Howard doesn’t – government.

Get over it, John.

You’ve got no shame: Howard to Rudd | theage.com.au

Filed under: Federal Election 2007, ,

The Culture War is over. Peace in our time?

DysonThe defeat of the Howard Government marks the end of the insidious Culture War, or at least a temporary cessation of hostilities. The Culture War was waged on Howard’s behalf by a compliant media to foster division and fear within Australian society for naked political advantage – divide and conquer.

Howard came to power when the public had grown tired of Keating’s vision thing and the moral high ground of political correctness. Shock Jocks and rednecks were unhappy with the slow creep of legislation outlawing discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender and disability. With the aid of Pauline Hanson and a number of dog-whistles, Howard set out discredit Keating’s political correctness and restore ignorance and bigotry to its rightful place in the heartland of Australia. The Culture War became a new conservative political correctness waged against indigenous Australians, immigrants, Muslims, Greenies, teachers, universities, the media, the ABC, the leftist-luvvie latte elites, and even sought to recreate our own history. The Culture War was an unscrupulous tool of political manipulation, wielded without regard for the damage to social cohesion, and used as a smoke screen for a radical rightwing economic agenda.

The Culture Warriors are an aging generation of 60s and 70s Young Labor and Young Liberal student unionists. The substance and style has changed little since the heady days of Leftist ascendancy as the Right were forced to into moral retreat on Vietnam, gender politics, history and multiculturalism. It is as though the Right under Howard have been reliving the battles of their youth. For the rest of the population it has been as relevant as flared trousers and body shirts.

Howard’s Culture War has corroded our values, our public institutions, and eaten away at the very heart of Westminster democratic tradition. It has undermined the cohesiveness of family and community and respect for the primacy of law in matters of race, religion and liberty. It has eroded mateship and the ‘fair go’ – values professed to be held dearly by John Howard.

The Culture War has poisoned intelligent public debate by demonising genuine intellectual dissent as the mere delusional notions of evil and envious greenies and leftists. Political discourse has been reduced to a 2-bit black and white polemic with no rational regard for the 256 shades of grey of contemporary society. Political discourse must be lifted from the cesspit of the Culture War if we are to respond intelligently to the pressing problems of developing an environmentally sustainable economy sufficient for a civil and prosperous society

My hope for Kevin Rudd is that he is driven by principle rather than ideology. That he will approach public administration rationally rather than ideologically. Fashions in economics change with the ages. It is insufficient to merely assert that economic rationalism is unquestionably good or that public investment by government agency is unquestionably bad. Effective and efficient public administration must be built on the principles of rationality, evidence-based practice, negotiation and pragmatic compromise.

Democracy is our best protection from those whose particular ideology, socio-economic status or beliefs predispose them to believe they better know the national interest than the rest of us. The swinging voters, formally known as Howard’s battlers, are courted and exploited by political parties even though they are secretly reviled for their lack of conviction by the political classes. Yet they are the great Australian Democratic Bullshit Detector. They protect us from the excesses of extremists. If a government becomes out of touch with common sentiment they are unceremoniously dumped from office by a sceptical and suspicious electorate. Then the other side get a go for a while.

Wild ideological oscillations among the factions of Australia’s political elite are as undesirable as the boom and bust cycles in the economy. Australia is fundamentally a centrist society. Our political discourse needs to be redirected to negotiating solutions for our problems, not waging rhetorical flame wars over irrelevant ideologies from the great class struggles of last century.

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

Memo to Liberal Party leadership aspirants

julie-bishop-050412.jpgLose WorkChoices. It is probably the main reason why you were emphatically rejected by the Australian electorate. It is not a great idea that the people failed to understand simply because of a clever union campaign. They just don’t like it.

Continuing to advocate for WorkChoices makes you look like a petulant government in exile. You aren’t going to be returned to office on the basis of WorkChoices or your opposition to the government’s changes to IR.

But then again, you never listened before so I don’t expect you will now.

Good luck with that.

Filed under: Federal Election 2007, Politics

The Poisoned Chalice

Declaring his opposition leadership aspirations Tony Abbott declared “It’s going to be very important to hold the Government accountable. I think it’s very important that we’re fair dinkum with the Australian people. I think in the months and years ahead, people are going to want substance, not spin from their political leaders.”

Oh Dear! Apart from leadership trials and tribulations, the challenge of any long-term government political party assuming the mantle of opposition is a lack of credibility as espousing attitudes and beliefs which they did not manifest in government.

During the first term of the Bracks government, for example, the liberal opposition began calling for more teachers after having dispatched around 8,000 to early retirement while in government. It just doesn’t wash. We have the unedifying spectacle of Liberal leadership aspirants promising to ditch policies which they were warning were so critical to the future of Australia until three days ago.

Despite warning that the sky would fall in, it now seems that peak business bodies are actually more than supportive of their new union masters, and have secretly been less than impressed with many aspects of Howard and Costello’s microeconomic policies for quite some time. Heather Riddout was praising the depth of economic talent in Rudd’s cabinet. You gotta laugh.

Turnbull should have kept his powder dry and stood aside. Leading the opposition is a poisoned chalice. Much better to have a transitional leader to oversee the inevitable blood letting and set about renewing the party structure from the ground up. History shows us that born-to-rule parties removed from government invariably go through the following stages:

First Term

Government in Exile. The people have made a grave mistake. Just wait until they realise how stupid they were – they’ll be begging to have us back. Lose election. Junior Woodchuck Chris Pyne is promising Labor a hard fight to ‘take the Rudd government out’ in 2011.

Second Term

We need a new leader. Continue fighting the last war. Lose election.

Third Term

Maybe we need some new policies. Further leadership destabilisation. Lose election.

Fourth Term

We need a new leader and new policies, especially now that the government is perceived as tired and out of touch. Maybe win election. Unless of course the incumbent government has had a successful leadership and policy renewal while in office. Lose election.

But if there is one thing that history teaches us it is that we never learn from history.

Filed under: Federal Election 2007, Politics

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

Changeless change vs changeful change

Gus's ViewIn a statement of the bleeding obvious John Howard has warned voters that if they elect a Rudd Labor government it will not be a Howard Coalition government and things will be different so you need to be careful who you vote for if you don’t want things to change. Apparently you can’t have a changeless change. If you want change, vote for Team Howard because Peter Costello is different from John Howard and therefore when he takes over as  Prime Minister (yeah right) things will change, but in a good way.

Well I’m glad that’s cleared up. Mkay? Any questions?

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Federal Election 2007, Nonsense, 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

Kevin Rudd to end Resources Boom! – Boom Boom!

Team Howard’s Minister in Charge of Desperate Campaign Scare Tactics Nick Minchin claims The Resources Boom will end if Kevin is elected to government. Has anyone told the mining sector? The sky may also fall and chooks will stop laying, so you’ve been warned. This is predicated on Rudd daring to talk about what happens to our economy in the future, beyond the resources boom.

It is a sign of the desperation of the Coalition that they are promising a final five days of fear campaigning despite the fact that negative campaigning has not worked so far – indeed there is evidence that it works against them in favour of Kevin07.

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Federal Election 2007, Nonsense, 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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