The Dog’s Bollocks

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

How to defeat Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer will speak at the Sydney Writers Festival tonight. Here’s a handy tip for those reactionary commentators, bloggers and letter-writers: anything she has to say about Australia is automatically dismissible and lacking in all credibility because she doesn’t actually live here. QED.

Oh, and she also likes younger men! Take that Germaine!

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Filed under: Australian values, History, Humour, Media, Politics

Malcolm in a muddle IV – Budget Edition

trufflesLeader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull had an opportunity to score some political points on the Rudd Government’s 2009 Budget but decided to do a Nelson instead by announcing a tobaco tax policy stunt without consulting the Party room. Consequently, the media attention has been shifted from the Government to the Opposition, but not in a good way.

Bronwyn Bishop immediately declares that the tobacco tax is not a good idea. And it wasn’t a good idea, for it raised the contradiction in Turnbull’s stance of blocking the alcopop tax – a revenue-raising strategy that also discourages teenage binge drinking while reducing the cost on public health in the long term. Turnbull is offering a tax on the poor (the majority of tobacco users) to subsidise private health insurance for the wealthy. He then spent the day after his Budget Reply defending his tobacco tax, fending off questions about increasing tax on all alcohol products and his commitment to maintaining Medicare after suggesting that every Australian should have private health insurance! Way to put pressure on the Government Budget Big Spending!

On the other hand, maybe the whole thing was an elaborate strategy to enable Turnbull to back-flip on the alcopops tax and thus reduce the risk of a double dissolution, which no doubt has many back benchers gravely concerned for their parliamentary future. Brilliant! But it leaves the Opposition looking weak, divided, hypocritical and the electorate still confused about what they actually stand for.

Enter the cavalry! The only Liberal giving any idea what the Opposition stands for is former PM John Howard – Work Choices, a payroll tax holiday, more money to the States and less to individuals (well at least the non-wealthy ones). Well that’s cleared that up, then.

This is what happens when a party is internally divided and can’t come up with a policy platform – and ‘we would be tougher’ is not a policy – it’s an attitude that many interpret as screwing the less well off.

Well done Malcolm on a great week, and good luck with winning government in 2010!

The Force may not be with you.

Filed under: Economics, Howardians, Humour, Politics,

Malcolm – strong at the beginning but now gone soft

Fresh from her nomination to the list of Howardian Dead Wood, Bronwyn Bishop, has lashed out at her leader, Malcolm Turnbull. “Malcolm seems to have been strong at the beginning but now he has gone soft.”

Exposing the division within the Coalition over how confrontational the Opposition should be, she said that “quite clearly, people aren’t seeing us as sufficiently strong”.

Um… just saying ‘NO!’ all the time is not a sign of strength.

“I would normally not respond at all to anonymous nonsense but a lot of people have been saying that they are not sure what the Liberals stand for – that we have backed off on policies we believed in before,” Mrs Bishop said.

I think she’s on to something here. Other than a persistent belief that they were born-to-rule, what do the Liberals believe in? Where are the alternative policies? Could it be that they are so hopelessly internally divided that they don’t actually know what to believe in – being too busy maneuvering against each other to have time for policy development?

Once touted as a future Australian Margaret Thatcher, Bronwyn wants to bring back the old policies. Small problem with that – they got them soundly thrown out of office.

Now where’s that chainsaw?

Filed under: Howardians, Politics, ,

Malcolm in a muddle III

trufflesThe pressure on Malcolm Turnbuill to come to the table on the carbon emissions trading scheme begins in earnest.

The head of gas and petrol producer Shell Australia has called on the Opposition to support the Government’s revised emissions trading scheme.

Shell urges Turnbull to pass climate scheme – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

OK, we all understand that Malcolm is not happy with it, so maybe it’s about time he told us exactly what he is not happy with and what his alternative is. The trouble is, I don’t think the Liberals actually know what their policy is. They’ve milked it for all the politics they can get, but the ball is back in their court. If The Liberals don’t come up with something soon, they’ll continue to look like a pathetically disorganised and opportunistic rabble. I doubt Turnbull has the balls for a double dissolution, so he needs to do something, and fast.

So how about it Malcolm?

Filed under: Politics, ,

Malcolm in a muddle II

trufflesThe trouble Turnbull is having over asylum seekers is further evidence that the Libs are still in denial about losing power and still unable to cut away the shackles of the Howardian ideology. Trying to preserve Howard’s legacy, out of some deluded belief that the electorate will realise they made a mistake and return them to office, is NOT a winning strategy. Costello will face the same challenge, and he’s part of the problem, not the solution.

Ten years, I tells ya.

Filed under: Howardians, Politics,

Malcolm in a muddle

No, we’re not going to politicise this tragic event. What…? Apparently we are. It’s clearly resulted from Rudd being soft on illegal immigrants. He lured those poor souls to their tragic deaths by making them think Australia is a soft touch.

So what would you instead?

Well… we’d be tougher. Bring back Temporary Protection Visas! What…? Or maybe not. We should look at it rationally and look carefully to see what works and what doesn’t. But it’s definitely Rudd’s fault.

Filed under: Howardians, Humour, Politics

Teh Evil People Smugglers!

Prat.

Prat.

PRIME MINISTER Kevin Rudd has said people smugglers are the “vilest form of humanity” and that they should all “rot in hell”. Mr Rudd also called people smugglers “the scum of the earth”. I guess the Liberal Party would agree with him on that one.

Why do they continue to insult our intelligence so? “Ooohh.. this really complex issue is all the fault of Teh Evil People Smugglers!”
Give us a break.

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Politics

We fight for Afghans, but God help them if they turn up here illegally!

Logisitical nightmare: The Navy is assisting in the transfer of casualities.

'Logisitical nightmare': The Navy is assisting in the transfer of casualities.

One of my favourite conservative bloggers is arguing that “Illegal migration demands surge with Rudd Government policy failure.” The Howardian approach to asylum seekers – ‘the boat people’ – was to subvert the claim to asylum by determining that arrival here without proper authority is a criminal act. Additional deterrence was offered through prolonged incarceration and the odd dubious repatriation. It is not illegal, however, to seek asylum.

Whether or not the Afghans are seeking permanent resident status, as Harry claims, they are first and foremost exercising their human right to seek political asylum. Are conservatives saying that breaking an immigration law cancels out any legitimate claim to asylum? That to seek asylum in Australia is illegal unless the proper paperwork is done first?

What would Harry do with these people? Suggest they form an orderly queue at the Australian Embassy in Kabul and submit paperwork seeking asylum?? Lock them up for five years once they get here for breaking our immigration laws and then pay the cost of mental illness and social dysfunction resulting therefrom?

We have a tough immigration regime, as Harry is tacitly acknowledging, so where is the evidence for a softening, such as it will encourage asylum seekers? People on whose behalf we are fighting a war risk everything – property, family, imprisonment – to get to Australia, undertaking a tortuous and clandestine journey across Asia to finally sail in a leaky boat to Ashmore reef. I’d suggest we have to seriously consider that they are in fact refugees seeking political asylum! Hell, people with such grit and determination should at least be given a chance to put their case. And if their cause is genuine, then let them add to our common wealth. I’m sure they’ll do well, just like the rest of us immigrants have.

Tell us Harry. How would you make it tougher? How would you deal with the current wave of asylum seekers? How would you turn all this around? Or how would Malcolm Turnbull, for that matter. The ‘get tough’ message might have worked a treat for Howard, but these are different times. I suspect the masses recognise the moral hypocrisy of fighting and dying in a war for Iraqis/Afghans and then branding as criminals of suspect character those Iraqi/Afghan refugees who have the temerity to risk everything, including life itself, to turn up on our doorstep seeking shelter and compassion.

Filed under: Australian values, Howardians, Iraq, Law, Politics

Keating & Costello, compare and contrast

Paul Keating is talking more economic sense than any of our current crop of pollies. He gets better with age.

Former prime minister and treasurer Paul Keating says fiscal stimulus is reaching its limits and even advanced nations are at risk of debt default if they continue to amass huge budget deficits and borrowings to rescue their economies.”There is a limit to what fiscal policy can do simply because there is a limit to fiscal policy,” Mr Keating told a Lowy Institute gathering in Sydney on Thursday.

ABC News – Top Stories – Breaking news from Australia and the world
Well worth a read and some great comments. From ArgusTufft:

Interesting the comment about Keating being a “neo-liberal” for in the true meaning of liberal this is the philosophy of the current Labor Govt and certainly was of Keating’s Govt.

The real problem is that our Aust Liberal Party has been not following “liberal” policies and philosophy for many decades, especially under Howard & Costello (& most certainly Abbott). They should really be named “The Tory Party” or “Conservatives” or “Imperialist Party” – something along those lines. But …

There is some hope under both Turnbull and to give him his due, the previous leader Brendan Nelson, that the Liberals could live up to their “Liberal” name further down the track. No hope for Joe Hockey however or Julie Bishop, they are tarred in indellible “Tory” paint.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the planet, poor old Pete is still fighting the last war, back when he was the World’s Greatest Treasurer and Australia was the best little whorehouse in Texas.

Filed under: Big Picture, Economics, Politics, , ,

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

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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