03 February 2013

But enough about you, let's talk about Tony

Tony Abbott's brochure and speech show one thing clearly: he's had quite enough of talking about you. He wants to talk about himself. He wants you to think well of him, and hope this will be the same thing as thinking that he can adjust policy settings to get whatever you want (it isn't, but still). So long as he talks about what you want, Abbott gets what he wants, and everyone's happy: that, in a nutshell, is pretty much the Coalition strategy for government of this country.

The brochure has the word "plan" on the cover. Its purpose is for Liberals to say that Tony Abbott has a plan and that Julia Gillard doesn't. A plan contains a detailed proposal for a course of action: Real Solutions is no more a 'plan' than it is a 'sausage', or a 'grenade'. It's a statement of aspirations, not a plan, in the same way that buying a lottery ticket is not an investment strategy.

Unlike many public speakers Abbott didn't, of course, start with a "welcome to country" (an acknowledgement of Aboriginal custodianship of the particular part of the country the speaker is in): nobody would expect him to. He began with an acknowledgement that the country can be randomly terrifying and destructive and can take from you all that you have.

He started with a bit of disaster porn in an attempt to give his speech a gravity and a topicality that it turned out not to have. I had expected him to talk about his experiences with those communities, but he didn't have any. To turn up to a picfac and then go again doesn't make for a lot of human contact, nor any scope to shift a pre-defined agenda. Instead, he followed with a homily that is hard to hear, coming from him:
Here in Canberra, we must never forget that our task is to serve the Australian people.

The political battles we have to fight are but a means to that end.
It's the voters who decide what service they want and who best is able to provide it. Why anyone would decide, as Abbott and Pyne have, that hooting like apes through Question Time constitutes service to the Australian people was not made clear by Abbott. So, what do voters want?
It’s clear to us what you, our fellow Australians, want:
  • you want less pressure on your cost of living;
  • you want more job security;
  • you want our borders under control;
  • you want stability and certainty returned to decision-making; and
  • you want leaders you can trust.
Our plans for a better Australia are our response to you.

The carbon tax will be gone – so power prices will fall.

The mining tax will be gone – so investment and jobs will increase.

The boats will be stopped – because what’s been done before can be done again.

And the budget will be back in the black – so government has the resources to deliver the services that are really needed.

Our vision for Australia is about you.
That focus-group excreta is the policy core of the speech - so many begged questions, a journalist could spend every day between now and September exploring them. You want more job security, but are you going to get it under an Abbott government? Does the mining tax depress jobs and investment? Do you think any journalist asked any questions about those matters at all?

The begged questions are also present in the brochure. Just because the budget is in deficit during a recession, it does not mean that it is "out of control". You'd have to write off John Howard's entire time as Treasurer if you believed that.
As Australians, each of you has a right to elected leaders who are straight with you and who don’t waste your money ... So my pledge to you is that I won’t say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards because fibbing your way into office is what’s brought our public life into disrepute.
You would probably get thrown out of the National Press Club for laughing at that. For all its self-importance as an institution, the National Press Club would be poorer for such a policy; but then it allows Steve Lewis to walk in through the front door and chair its big events, so obviously this is the kind of club where you wouldn't want to be a member.
The Coalition understands that every dollar that government spends is a dollar taken from you in taxes today or two dollars taken from our children in a few years’ time when the debt has to be repaid.
This is as clear an example as you can get that the Coalition is living down to Oscar Wilde's definition of a cynic: who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. If you can spend a dollar today that yields you and your family five dollars down the track, you'd spend the money - but Abbott won't. That much-needed infrastructure and the shimmering promise of education he talks about is the much-needed infrastructure Howard didn't build.

The defeat of the Howard government showed that people don't necessarily want the buck back or are grateful to those who do so. On day one of the 2007 election campaign the Coalition promised $34b worth of tax cuts, but (especially when you consider their claim that they left Labor a $20b budget surplus) so what?
The Coalition’s last eleven budgets delivered ten surpluses.

This year’s deficit will be Labor’s eleventh in a row.
Why does he get away with refusing to link Australia's economic position to that of the global economy? Why hasn't the smart-alec Catch-22 of the budgetary position (surplus = sucking money out of the economy and driving up unemployment, deficit = broken promise and uncertainty) been quashed? There are two basic reasons why the Australian media give Abbott such an easy ride on big issues and tough questions, both of which benefit the Coalition.

The first is that the Murdoch media openly, unabashedly back the Coalition. Their presence in the Australian media and the virulence of their fervour is such that it skews any question of balance. Strangely, it is proud of its EXCLUSIVEs but occasionally it will upbraid other media outlets for not taking its EXCLUSIVEs as seriously as they do - and worse, the other outlets quail before this and run warmed-over imitations of Murdoch pieces.

Second, the non-Murdoch outlets want a contest, even though there is no contest of ideas. The government has policies and the opposition has modifications. Same asylum-seeker policy, but TPVs. Same defence policy, but - um, any change would involve new money, so let's leave that. The non-Murdoch media did this with last year's US election, framing it as a close contest when in fact President Obama won resoundingly.

Regardless of the agendas of their proprietors, for press gallery journos, it's personal. Gillard is right to disdain the press gallery given that her speech was given over to her glasses and the election date, and the fact that the press gallery like Abbott and they're going to give him an easy ride and there's nothing you can do about it.

It was about this point that Abbott began reading his speech in the same tone that one uses when reading to children, not the way one talks to adults about the problems and opportunity facing the nation. The audience before him were journalists and Coalition MPs, but to the unseen audience far beyond it looked like he was patronising us.
Let’s be clear.

The coming election will be a referendum on the carbon tax.
After all the evidence that this scare campaign hasn't worked, he is still plugging away at it. If you were an experienced journalist you would wonder if this obtuse quality would have any bearing on the sort of Prime Minister he'd be, but if you're a press gallery dill you'd just accept that is Tony being Tony.
Here at the Press Club 12 months ago, I outlined the Coalition’s plan for a stronger and more prosperous economy, and a safe and secure Australia.
No you didn't. There is a reason why that blogpost is the second-most viewed post on this blog, and that is because no journalist examined that speech as closely as I did.
So far, the Coalition has made literally dozens of big policy commitments:
No it hasn't. It's done a bit of trimming. It doesn't really have a fundamental problem with the Gillard government but it wants to look like it's offering a real alternative, so it offers desultory efforts like these:
We’ll abolish the carbon tax – because it’s the quickest way to reduce power prices.
After years of underinvestment in power generation, and misinvestment in the wrong technologies, "quickest" is not what we're after here.
We’ll abolish the mining tax – because it’s the quickest way to boost investment and jobs.
Think of all the investment and jobs that could be created if all the $0 that has been paid in mining tax was redirected. They think we're mugs, don't they.
And we’ll cut red tape costs by at least $1 billion a year – to give small business a much-needed break.
No you won't.
By restoring the jobs growth of the Howard government, there’ll be two million more jobs over a decade.
To achieve that, we'd need a global economy to be overheating as it very much isn't now. I guess you're just not made for these times.
There’ll be border protection policies that have been proven to stop the boats.
Got those already, and they are not proving much at all.
There’ll be a swift start on Melbourne’s East-West link, on Sydney’s WestConnex and on Brisbane’s Gateway motorway upgrade.

And the Pacific Highway will finally be duplicated well within this decade.
No there won't.
We’ll reduce emissions by planting more trees ...
... which will burn down or get washed away by increasing extreme weather events. Not good enough.
There’ll be a one-stop-shop for faster environmental approvals.
No, there'll be an eight-stop-shop because you're going to shunt environmental assessments back to the states and territories, remember?
There’ll be the same penalties for union officials and company officers who commit the same offence.
What, none? When David Coe died the death of a reckless fool last month at a high-end US ski resort, the MSM business pages were full of clowns recounting what a great guy he was. Mind you, Abbott has nothing but good to say about Kathy Jackson.
There’ll be schools and hospitals run by community leaders, not by distant bureaucrats, so they’re more responsive to the parents and patients they serve.
This is not a recipe for improving schools or fundamentally changing in response to needs of the 21st century. Community leaders in areas where schools underperform are looking for guidance, and you're admitting that guidance won't be forthcoming. Hospital boards add nothing to governance and Abbott will stack them with busybodies seeking to frustrate abortions and euthanasia by measures beyond the law.

The brochure claims that bureaucrats are "unaccountable", which demonstrates such a lack of understanding of how government works that it may as well have been written by one of those fringe parties that never comes close to getting any of its members up. You can imagine the "school boards" Abbott would set up, teaching creationism and wasting government-funded medical research by claiming Gardasil is a poison.

The brochure claims:
We will establish a bi-partisan parliamentary committee jointly chaired by both sides of the Parliament, with Members and Senators with a strong personal interest in making the NDIS happen.
Bullshit. This will be political trench warfare, blocking and obfuscating with no regard for disabled people and their carers, a gravy-train for NGOs that have little involvement with disabled people currently and a tough time for smaller organisations strong enough in expertise to call the Coalition out.
We will restore transparency, certainty and confidence to the process by which medicines are listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) – ensuring medicines are listed on the basis of advice from the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, not on the whim of
the government.
Remember Abbott on RU486? I do. That's why this is bullshit.
We will support our veterans by properly indexing the Defence Force Retirement Benefits and Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefit military superannuation pensions and we will deliver this in our first Budget.
That's all very well if you assume that veterans are mainly elderly people past retirement age, as was the case under Howard and previous governments. Increased military commitments over the past decade meant that there are more veterans - including those with longterm care needs - who are of working age. This means a whole new way of thinking about veterans' affairs, including greater expenditure. No sign of that kind of thinking here - the reference to veterans was stuck under "Older Australians".
There’ll be a new Colombo Plan that’s a two way street between Australia and our region sending our best and brightest to study in the region and bringing their best here.
Stop referring to it as 'Colombo Plan'. This will require more and better diplomacy than the Coalition has shown themselves to be capable of. Reminds me of a Politically Homeless proposal of long ago, actually.
There’ll be a comprehensive review of childcare so it’s more responsive to the 24/7 needs of today’s working families.
That's it? You're going to hit the ground reviewing? Is Margie Abbott the only Liberal with any expertise in this area?
There will be no unexpected changes that are detrimental to people’s superannuation.
Unexpected by whom? You're already cutting assistance to low-income earners.
There will be no further reductions in defence spending – that’s already fallen to the lowest level, as a percentage of GDP, since 1938.
Where's the money coming from? More importantly - where's it going to (in terms of new defence initiatives) and where's the bloat?
And we will protect spending on medical research where Australia’s talented scientists give us such a comparative advantage.
Unless it's research into reproduction or stem-cells, of course. Besides, don't we want a government that will increase spending on medical research? Maybe it's just me.
Between now and polling day, we will be constantly developing our policy commitments so that you know exactly what will happen should the government change.
That's the point at which any self-respecting journalist should have gotten up and left. The same old same-old.
Our fibre-to-the-node plan will deliver superfast broadband for a fraction of the price and in a fraction of the time required to deliver fibre to the front door.

And Malcolm Turnbull is the right person to give Australians a 21st Century network because he is one of Australia’s internet pioneers.
Turnbull's scrappy policy has been hammered by the tech press to the point where he is no longer able to defend it; Abbott will have Buckley's. ICT is one area (health is another) where people defer to experts; the Coalition has learned nothing from their debacle at the last election.
And when this government claims that it’s attacking “middle class welfare”, it’s just attacking the middle class – because the family tax benefit and the private health insurance rebate are tax justice for families, not handouts.
Really? Surely "tax justice" means cutting expenditure overall and lowering taxes, rather than handouts - right Joe? This split between paternalism and small government is a fundamental one within the Liberals and one would hope it had been better worked out by now. Once you start loading policies on top of it the cracks will open up, and no amount of stunt-work can save it.
Along the way, though, I’ve been a concrete plant manager as well as a Rhodes Scholar; a footy coach as well as a journalist; a nipper parent as well as a political adviser.
This guy has been a dilettante. As soon as things have gotten hard, he's flitted away and left problems for others to clean up.
I cherish my time on patrol with the Queenscliff surf club and with the local brigade – not just for the community service – but because working with people without a political agenda helps to keep politicians grounded in the real world.
This man does nothing to foster voluntary community organisations. This man has spent his career sneering at "do-gooders", the very people who hold those organisations - indeed, the very country - together. If experience as a journalist means anything, it should mean calling Abbott out on this crap. Abbott regards "people without a political agenda" as mugs, and treats them accordingly.
It’s why I’ve tried to be useful in remote communities as a teacher’s aide and builder’s assistant rather than just a glorified tourist from Canberra.
So hammering in some nails for the camera makes you a poser "builder's assistant"? There are people who do those jobs for a living and you have no insight into how or why or what they need to do their jobs better. We're expected to vote for a man in his fifties to do work experience (while unemployed people of that age can't even - oh, what's the use)?

And that's what we're meant to buy here: the Tony Abbott Action Figure, with accessories sold separately. Sluggos Tony, Firey Tony (about whom, more later), Handyman Tony, Bicycle Tony; a man trying to match it not with Julia Gillard, but with Barbie. No wonder it was such an insubstantial speech, from such an insubstantial man.
I’m ready for the election.

The Coalition is ready.
Oh no you're not.

Abbott is the most vain Liberal leader since Andrew Peacock, further demonstrated by his plastic face at this appearance. This does not reinforce an image of youthful vigour; it reinforces the image of a man who will not grow up, and who will block out reality with quick fixes rather than deal responsibly with what is really happening.

Good on Lenore Taylor and Laura Tingle for asking Abbott about Ashby-Slipper. Michelle Grattan's effort is the sort of thing that homeless people mutter as they push shopping trolleys around; junior journalists with real questions to ask Abbott must have chafed at Grattan's seniority without anything to learn from it.

The most telling moment was where he promised "hand on heart" that no member of the Coalition was involved in a conspiracy to use Ashby as a catspaw against Slipper - and then he placed his hand somewhere near his pancreas. From this we can conclude his promise is hollow - and that a man who has supposedly led a full life, and who aspires to high office, is not in touch with his own heart.

The arrest of Craig Thomson saw political partisans shelter behind either of two conspiracies:
  • the PM knew Thomson's arrest was imminent, so she called the election date early to lock the ALP in behind her and draw out Abbott on policy detail; or
  • the NSW government was in cahoots with Abbott to schedule Thomson's arrest so that Abbott looked like he has a real policy win.
As David Donovan points out, police go in heavy-handed when they have genuine fear (e.g. against violent criminals like Malcolm Naden) or when they are putting on a show. It looks like the verdict on Thomson will not be clear before the election, which is a pity overall and may not represent the triumph Liberals would hope.

Abbott is wildly praised by the press gallery for his speechcraft, but up and down the country there are high school prefects who are far more confident and capable speakers. He wants the press gallery to think he's a nice guy, which is how they regarded Kim Beazley. He really has put all his eggs into the MSM basket, while the Prime Minister hasn't. Maybe there's nothing we can do about it and the press gallery just like him and so there; we've just got to eat shit badly though-out Liberal talking points until after the Gillard government is re-elected in September. Finkelstein will be the least of their worries.


  1. Just a brief point of pedantry, only a elder from the relevant traditional owners can give a "Welcome to country". The thing most speakers do is just an aknowledgement, since they lack the traditional authority to "welcome" to a country they're not the traditional owners of.

  2. An outstanding critique. Abbott is BS to the core - Posing as a leader. I hope the Action Figure Tony tag gets around and sticks. By September the sane majority will be laughing at the poser and his plastic Oh No band.

  3. The major difference between Liberal and Labor seems to be that Labor has a lesbian in cabinet and the Liberals won’t give a closet queer a place in their election brochure


  4. Yeah yeah heard it before in about '86 when we were told nobody would seriously vote for "little Johnny" as PM.

    How'd that one work out again?

    1. The first election I voted in was 1987, and I was a comically active Young Liberal at the time. Turns out Howard didn't win that one, actually. Let's work through the differences:

      * Howard was a successful lawyer before entering parliament. Abbott had done a bit of this and a bit of that but had succeeded at nothing.

      * Even people who hated Howard, like Keating, believed that he actually gave a damn about other people and represented a legitimate political interest. Abbott is only in it for himself.

      * Howard never pretended to be something he wasn't; people mocked him for it, but he stayed true and attracted respect. Abbott pretends to be something he's not every day, and he loses respect.

      * Howard led a life of responsibility so straight in his youth that he was accused of being boring. Abbott's youth was so reckless that his father spent a fortune on lawyers to keep the boy out of prison. One of those men is still disdainful of others' property, rule of law etc.; can you guess which?

      * Abbott said that he wished he was half the man Howard was. Howard never argued the reverse.

      Back in the day, did you hear that Kim Beazley and Mark Latham were each going to be PM? I did. How'd that work out again?

    2. That's right Antonymous, keep that right hand moving.

    3. Wow...inside info of posh boy Abbott as a anti,social guy....

      I really wonder what those guys really get up to at their Universities abroad

      The test of character is a valid point there with Mr Abbott

      Nice to see Ms O Dwyer at the local cafe,ready for Canberra with nice bag and printed shoes in sync for the new year!!

      She looked great and was very friendly and happy Andrew....

  5. well said, glad you raised the education boards. Such a non-policy begging for the merest hint of scrutiny at which point it'd collapse entirely. I'm no expert in the field but several questions immediately leapt to my mind

    1)Who appoints the boards
    2)Who appoints the principal, is the principal subordinated to the board
    3)Who draws up the budget
    4)How do the boards interact with state bureacracies
    5)If there are problems with a board how are they removed
    6)How would a group of 'community figures' run a school more effectively than a trained, experienced principal

    Glad to see the press gallery is across the issues ;)

    Did you notice the reference to spending 'research funding' efficiently in their brochure. I'll bet this recent medical research promise is just a cover to their intention to cut research funding overall/slow the growth of research funding overall

  6. David Perth3/2/13 10:21 pm

    Another excellent article,thank you.

    I wonder about his juvenile framing statement that "you want stability and certainty returned to decision-making" That's where the assembled press should have walked out.

  7. The Press Gallery would earn back some respect if they stood up to Abbott more - challenged him on his Spin and ridiculous assertions - but it looks like that's beyond them.

    What plodders and Yes (Wo)Men.

    If someone of Abbott's pretty mediocre caliber can pull the wool over their eyes with seemingly zero effort, it doesn't say much for the sharpness of the Press Gallery. Journalists generally will continue to slide in the public's esteem (can they descend much further?), torching what little respectability remains of their shitty loss-making organs and publications.

    They remind me of those Laughing Clowns of the fairground. In a row they wait, mouths obligingly open. The player, Abbott, comes along and puts his balls (words) into their mouth.

    Then they file their stories with the balls spat out unchewed, untested. Plastic automatons.

  8. Brilliant article. I hope you're correct about the election because right now I'm seeing it as a glass half empty and that thought leaves me cold. Abbott as PM? A bloody disaster for this country if that eventuates and heaven help the poor. And the ethics of the NSW government's treatment in the arrest of Craig Thomson proves that the Liberals are certainly not to trusted with anyone's well being. A once seemingly honourable party now residing in the gutter.

  9. How can he not be called on his walking away from questions he doesn't like? He basically said that the questions are stupid and he walks away. Well no, the questions he walks away from are ones he can't answer without looking like a dud or punching the journalist asking them.

    1. The press just shrug their shoulders and say "oh, that's our Tony for you! What are you gunna do?"

  10. "The Coalition understands that every dollar that government spends is a dollar taken from you in taxes today or two dollars taken from our children in a few years’ time when the debt has to be repaid."

    They deserve to lose the election based on that paragraph alone. I guess Infrastructure Australia would be the first to go under an Abbott government.

    It's perfectly clear that Abbott is not Prime Minister material and that the Coalition is not ready to govern. Yet the media is determined to make this happen. Surely as individuals they must understand the damage they're causing?

    I was just reading a collection of Roberth Hughes's articles. One on the American artist Julian Schnabel, who Hughes suggests used hype to cover up his lack of talent, talks about the role the critics played in creating that hype and contains the line: 'too much is at stake to entertain the thought that a hero might be a buffoon'.

    I suspect something similar is happening with the Canberra press pack and Tony Abbott.

  11. Tautology Alert: new defence initiatives

    unless of course it is a new defence we are talking about?

    1. Initiatives in defence other than those executed under the current government, and to those under previous governments.

  12. I keep waiting for Abbott to be called on this stuff, but it never seems to happen...

    I hope you're right Andrew about him not winning but I fear that he will be PM. My only consolation (and it's a bleak one) will be laughing at those who voted for him as they realise they've been had.

  13. Does the brochure brag about interest rates always being lower under a Coalition government?

  14. PB, Barrie Cassidy in his article "Certainty makes a rare and fleeting appearance" (linked here by Andrew) is careful to point out that "It's fair to say that is already the view of much of the gallery. They like him, no doubt."

    Not all of the gallery is charmed by Abbott. Laura Tingle has been describing him as "hollow" for some time now. Her question to him recently at the NPC re his inability to answer questions was encouraging. As was Lenore Taylor's line of inquiry when she asked him about his support for Mal Brough.

  15. How can Thomson even be charged with credit card fraud when it was his card legally issued for his own use during union business and travel, it was always paid without question, he was not taking anyone else's money illegally, he was audited every year he was secretary but Kathy Jackson stopped those pesky details.

    There were no set rules for the use of the card, how can there be fraud.

    FWA made a bogus $4 million report that essentially said he bought x, there were no rules against buying x, he broke them.

    How could any rational person think that was even reasonable? FWA then spent $400,000 to find out their report was utterly worthless but the Vic. police are now relying on a worthless report that says over and over there were no rules he broke them.

    If one lazy journalist had read beyond the prejudice they have they would have gone to the reasonings given by FWA and laughed and thrown the report in the bin or used it for dunny paper.

    How many more millions are going to be wasted over one person legally using a legally dispensed credit card?

  16. Good analysis of a vacuous speech. TVM

  17. I think that the Obeid's may have fatally slimed the ALP in NSW and let's face it that state is a must have for most parties if they want to end up winning govt. Yes, yes I know 'marginals' and all that but, it's no bloody good winning here and there if the biggest state in the country decides it mad as hell and it's not going to take this any more ... again.

    1. I still say Vic & Qld (which weren't polled in the latest Newspoll, I hear - not that I follow these things) will save this govt. NSW will be volatile but nobody in 2011 was as suspicious of O'Farrell as they/we are of Abbott today.

    2. Andrew, I read William Bowe saying that parts of Vic and Qld weren't polled in the latest Newspoll. He still thinks it may have been an outlier, though.

      By the way, would love to hear if you have any knowledge of why the ABC isn't touching the Pyne / Brough / Ashby story. Apparently a load of questions were sent to Q and A for last night but Pyne wasn't asked one question about it.

    3. Andrew, where do you hear that the latest Newspoll ignored the second and third largest states? You'd think a reputable outfit wouldn't even put its name on a poll that unrepresentative.

    4. Is the Obeid thing likely to change voting that much by itself? Who didn't already know, or at least suspect, what was going with the NSW ALP?

    5. honestly if Campbell Newman turns out to be the turd in the punchbowl that prevents Abbott from winning in September, you will hear my shrieks of laughter from Mars.

  18. Roger colclough4/2/13 8:15 pm

    I wish moderate Liberals would stand up to Abbott. Bob Menzies would have frog marched him out the door

    1. Moderate liberals left or were so hollowed out during the late 1990s that they have no force, within the party or beyond it.

    2. Sadly, that's my understanding. Abbott is being put forward as the nice face of the Liberal Party - yes, I know! - while behind the scences Cory Bernardi has been importing vile Tea Party tactics and using them here.

      For example, the large number of websites / Facebook pages / emails etc attacking Gillard with the sort of violent language we're becoming accustomed to is a direct Tea Party import. It's also a sign of the type of people in charge of the Liberal Party at this point in time.

      At the risk of being a bit OTT, for the sake of our country I really hope these tactics don't work. If they do, god help us.

  19. Grattan has left The Age...............

    You must be happy now Andrew.

  20. An excellent analysis of a lot of noise from an empty vessel. Your comment that Vic and Qld weren't polled in the latest Newspoll turned on a little light bulb in my head. Is your source credible? I've been wondering if they were cooking the books for the sake of generating headlines and destabilizing Gillard. This certainly fits with that suspicion.

  21. How can Abbott believe that he will heal the fracturous relationships in parliament by becoming Prime Minister? There are no longer any friendships or even much in the way of niceties between either side of Parliament since the last election and the major reason for that is Abbott himself and his front bench. It will take a generation change in the Parliament for this to happen.

  22. As if Labor would role over and forget the on going negativity and vitriolic attacks it has received hour in hour out for the last three years. It will not become a helpful lap dog to any whim of Abbott's. It will turn on it self for a year or 2 and then rally to attack Abbott towards the end of his first term, probably lose the subsequent election and then if everyone are lucky will be in striking distance by the end of the decade.

  23. Great post as usual, Andrew. I watched an interview with Craig Thomson today in which he said that the 150 charges included such ludicrous rubbish as him watching a movie in his hotel room when he was out of town on Union business.

    Apparently, the charges also include buying himself the odd icecream.

    It looks as though the wallopers have been given their orders to make Thomson look like some sort of Mafia figure.

    Hopefully, the more people find out about the sheer petty lunacy of the charges, the more they'll know what utter bs the whole thing is.

    Unfortunately, the msm in this country has also been given their starters orders by the wizened foreigner, and with a very few principled exceptions are following them to the letter.

    Instead of calling Liealot and the Liars Party on the Ashby/Slipper conspiracy, we have a frenzy of speculation about why the PM is wearing glasses. Poor eyesight, anyone? And who cares?

    But liealot comes up with a speech so shallow even an electron wouldn't get its hair wet if it dove in head first and the msm looks away while trying to put a new spin on Gillard's glasses.