26 February 2012

Gillard and the Labor leadership

I've had this post under development for days, mainly because I have wanted to stay out of internal Labor politics. On one level the Gillard-Rudd contest is an extension of all of those "W(h)ither Labor?" treatises you can find elsewhere on the Web, and off it, by people who've committed to the Labor cause sufficiently to have the right to speak on this. I don't have that right, and (probably because I'm not Labor-through-and-through) it bores me. This post shows why Gillard is the better option Australia has for Prime Minister.

Gillard has an agenda that opens more possibilities than it closes and she has the skill to carry it off. The whole idea that she can't sell anything is vanishing before our eyes as the feisty, no-nonsense do-er and fighter comes out from behind the front of that droning lawyer.

Gillard always had a shifty persona so long as everything she said was always about what she was going to do, rather than concrete examples of what she was doing or had done. With the uncertainties of a hung parliament, differences (vast gulfs?) opened up between what she said she was gunna do and what actually happened. Nobody likes a gunna. The topics she has campaigned on - carbon pricing in particular - has been remote from people.

Aside from individuals within caucus who have personal grudges against her, the whole anti-Gillard push on within the ALP now assumes that the pattern of the past year must continue into the next. This idea assumes that she's the first Prime Minister to ever suffer such abysmal polling (ignoring the fact that Howard and Keating had similar satisfaction levels at about the same point in their terms that Gillard is experiencing now). This is unforgivable for experienced members of the press gallery, all the more so the louder they trumpet their nous, and their insider contacts and experience.

Examples of this include Peter Hartcher, and the one-man press-gallery tribute act you have when Graham Young is unavailable, Malcolm Farnsworth. Hartcher-Farnsworth have basically written the same article. By citing polling data about the past year and even digging up the odd historical flourish from 1939, they assume a historical gravitas they don't have and assert a right to impose that lagging-indicator data forward onto a very different year, which is not supported by the different challenges of the year ahead. From that, they gravely intone that Gillard is finished and the sooner Labor turns back to Rudd the better for them.

Rudd's performance Friday morning, trying to whip up the sort of storm that blew away Malcolm Turnbull from the Liberal leadership in 2009, revealed for the first time what all those Labor insiders say about him being unhinged. No amount of bagging by Crean, Swan or anyone else so damned Rudd as his own words. If what happened in 2010 was a 'coup', his family wouldn't have been standing with him: they'd be dead or imprisoned, because that's what happens in coups. Anyone who'd told Therese Rein that they liked/trusted Kevin, even if they were just making polite conversation, would be in a similar position. If Rudd has said something like that in the heat of the moment in June 2010 it would have been forgivable, but having been involved in the events of Libya and Syria and being aware of other events of that nature - after all that, to still insist that he was the victim of a coup shows he lacks the perspective necessary to hold high office.

Rudd came roaring back with a doozy Friday afternoon though, but the sort of performance that blew your socks off in 2006 is foreseeable six years later. You can appreciate it on a whole different level once you realise that Rudd's fits of ability to combine competence and passion, where he not only states a case and can see it through, are as rare and delicate and doomed like some striking butterfly.

Nobody likes a gunna, but 2012 is the year when there will be more, not less, of this persona: education as both the coping mechanism for economic change for adults, and as the embodiment of faith in and care for children. This is why Rudd wants to be PM now, why he can't and won't wait for the dish to be served cold later in the year or even next. The backroom negotiations have been done - yes, by Gillard - and she has set a pattern whereby legislated outcomes bear a strong resemblance to what she stated up front was going to happen. It is entirely possible that the carbon price compensation will be received with the same degree of appreciation that Rudd's $900 was a few years ago - and Rudd would rather he was there handing out the cheques, rather than Gillard.

If people get some appreciation that it's Gillard who came through with what Rudd promised, it would be unfair to dump her in favour of a showboating man who talked and talked and didn't deliver because he thought it was all about him. If that realisation takes hold, Rudd is finished. If Labor dumped Gillard in favour of Rudd at some future stage, and Rudd turned out to be less than the saviour he promised, that romanticised image of Australia's first woman Prime Minister would take hold. Women who can't bear Tony Abbott would reconsider voting Coalition if the ALP turns out to be as bad or worse, which they would be if they dumped Gillard at the very time when the hard work was done and the benefits started flowing.

Both Rudd and Gillard are imperfect, but who are you going to back to change? Rudd's supporters say you'd have to be a mug not to have learned anything, but there's no real proof that he has. Rudd's going to smash the factions while deferring to them to choose his ministry - yeah, right. It's Gillard who grows on the job while Rudd only seemed to buckle.

I stand by what I said a couple of weeks ago in terms of media being players rather than just reporters, a bit like arsonists calling the fire brigade. I fully endorse this piece by Tim Dunlop and note that Lenore Taylor has borne out the conflicted role of the politico-media complex here:
The past few days in politics have been like the penultimate scene in a police drama. The main characters have finally come clean with the truth they have been withholding all this time, and the selfless reasons they did not confess it sooner.

The truth, and what a relief it is to finally hear it, is that they acted in defence of the nation. They didn't knife Kevin Rudd that winter night because his "good government had lost its way" after all - hah! we never did believe that malarky - but because they were saving us from an erratic, disdainful, dithering, egomaniac presiding over a paralysed government.
Here Taylor is claiming that she's hearing this for the first time. Let the record show that she dutifully reported what she knew to be "malarky" without letting her readers in on this. A few paragraphs later we see what we might call "the Real Lenore":
In September 2010, soon after the election, I set out to discover exactly what had gone wrong during the Rudd government, speaking to scores of ministers, advisers and senior public servants.

The picture that emerged is entirely consistent with the things ministers are saying on the record now.
I underwent a similar search at that time, but because all I had to go on was the mainstream media it left me none the wiser. Thanks for telling us, Lenore, particularly those of us who follow these events more closely than most and are the sorts of consumers your employers would most hope to attract and retain. Thanks for all those articles in 2010 and 2011 quoting all those unnamed sources as to what a continuous balls-up life was like in the Rudd Government. If the Opposition had that insight into all that wasted effort, time, and money, they probably wouldn't be the Opposition any more (and we'd be no better governed). After this past month journalists can stop pretending that they're above quoting unnamed sources, and that they have an excuse for not telling us what they knew back then: there is no reason at all why all of those stories relying on anonymous sources couldn't have been written and published in 2010. We've all been had by the press gallery - stuff the lot of them.

One man knows what mugs the press gallery are better than most: Tony Abbott. His statement on foreign affairs is not only the foreign policy you have when you don't have a foreign policy, but the policy statement you try on when there is no Minister for Foreign Affairs to shoot it down. Read it and imagine what Rudd or Stephen Smith or Gareth Evans would have done with piffle like that: "Jakarta-centred", I ask you. This is what happens when a political party assumes they're cruising into government with no serious opposition or scrutiny. How many years do you think it would take people like Lenore Taylor to look into the blank face of the alternative government and wonder what's going on behind it?

Rudd fans are wrong to assume that their man can or should reap the rewards for work he was incapable of performing when he had a majority and considerable goodwill behind him; Albanese's position is just sentimentality from a jobs-for-life age. I accept what Piping Shrike says about the meltdown of factionalism but it's Gillard who negotiates that fluid situation while anyone can just call them "fuckers" and assume the problem will go away. Gillard should win because she's done the work and should reap the rewards - and is more likely to pass on those rewards to her party, and the nation beyond. God help us all if we again become dependent on the whims of one man dumped so determinedly by those who worked most closely with him, who'll come in and reap the work of others and turn it to 'custard' - just like Gillard used to be accused of doing before she started to achieve something beyond the job itself.


  1. I simply cannot understand why Rudd has chosen to challenge now.

    If he wins, the independents have said they won't support him and Labor will lose in a landslide.

    If he loses, he has crippled Labor in the short term (perhaps long term).

    This is utter narcissism on his part and totally undermines his "I've changed, I can work with other people!" line.

    He has no thought to the consequences of this challenge. Lots of great media handling but little of actual substance.

    1. I'm developing a piece on this, but basically I think his window of opportunity is closing and that like Abbott, the sooner he gets in for the kill the better.

    2. Turnbull will need to act sooner rather than later as well.

      And more power to him if he does.

  2. Andrew. I suppose that it really depends where you want the labor party to be positioned on the political landscape. If you want it to go in a more conservative direction and cleanly detach from the greens on its left flank, then you would vote for Julia. But if you want it to have a more progressive hue, then I'm afraid Rudd is more likely to take that course. That's why left faction heavies (Carr, Albanese, Faulkner, Doogie Cameron) are siding with Rudd. I think they see this as the last stand of the Labor Left. They also know that if they lose this battle then labor is going to drift off into middle-ground irrelevance and keep leaking support to the greens. Soon it will be in much the same position as the Liberals in the UK after the Labor Party hit its stride. It will be a soulless and shrinking patronage machine.

    And don't tell me that Julia is progressive in any way. She's not. She's been forced to hold her nose and enact some progressive legislation because she is in a minority govt. But I think that, fundamentally, she is very conservative, and so are most of those around her.

    I actually think the long-term survival of labor depends upon it returning to more progressive policies and restoring grass-roots support (primaries anyone?) etc. Will Rudd help that process? I don't know. But I'm pretty sure Julia and her team won't.

    1. The fact that Rudd talks progressive and doesn't deliver, while Gillard doesn't talk progressive but delivers, is a dilemma. It depends on whether you value action over talk. Whether someone "holds their nose" or doesn't is a matter for history and need not affect the execution of a particular policy.

    2. I think Howard always used to say: "Under promise and over deliver".

      Probably the only true thing John Howard ever said.

  3. The best article I have read on this mess. Rudd was a failure as a PM. His mismanagement of the mining tax is proof enough. He wouldn't make decisions, micromanaged to the point of absurdity and wouldn't listen to advice. His reaction to unwelcome advice, of putting that person "in the freezer", was puerile. Gillard has had to sort out the mess that Rudd left behind.

  4. Anonymous (2). The problem for Julia is that the Australian electorate doesn't buy all of these attacks on Rudd's leadership style because they know that politics is all about ambition and raw power. The Labor party factions would have a baboon as PM if it suited their agenda. Ergo, Rudd didn't suit their agenda, mainly because he had no factional support. Consequently, he was extruded. The electorate is too smart to buy the rest.

  5. Andrew, the implementation of labor's first term policies under Julia has been particularly good. But now that seam is exhausted I suspect it will be retail politics all the way (e.g. Pokies "Reform").

    1. I'd suggest a focus on education and health would be more likely.

  6. Space Kidette26/2/12 11:39 am

    The media have failed on a number of levels.

    The first was the continual beat up provided a platform which enabled Rudd to launch his leadershit challenge.

    The media became enablers in plotting the downfall of a Prime Minister and the potential bringing down of a government.

    Second, they failed to see that the story had actually gone beyond simple backgrounding, to a more sinister story.

    A story of a man who was prepared to sabotage his own party in an election, and continue to do so post election win, in difficult hung parliament. A story of a man so hell-bent on vengeance he was prepared to bring a govt down.

    It is the story Australia was owed by the Journo's. Media failed to advise the people of the real story. Still this is being canvassed as a vicious leadership battle, when it is in fact much more than that.

    Three, it is reported that KRudd did deals with some editors that they would push his spin in return for the dumping of the media enquiry.

    If true, this shows that again some elements of the media had skin in the game at a time the country deserved an independant observer. Thus instead of uncovering story it was bent on perverting and enabling a narrative for its own benefit.

    So compromised is Rudd, and the compliant media who enabled him, that when asked had he been white anting his party Rudd reminded Journalists of their ethics and that they should abide by them.

    Four, they broke the trust with their readers. Continued quoting of unknown sources every day, failing to get to the core of the real issues and substantiate it with any real facts.

    The Media owe us the truth. They owe us an independant account of events, because if you don't give us that what the hell do media stand for?

    What worries me is not ALP post revenge, parties fight,kiss and make up all the time.

    What worries me is will the media continue on in this vein, ignoring their role in events, and blaming readers for being wrong when presented with story y, when reality is x?

    Who's fault is it that the reader gets it wrong, certainly not the readers.

    My big question is will the media put their arrogance aside and do some honest assessment of their roles and do what needs to be done to see that the comprehensive media failure demonstrated in all this is not repeated.

    1. One well-known journalist only a day ago:
      "... recent events have not been brought about by journalists tub-thumping for a spill or any backgrounding of journalists ... but by Julia Gillard’s dire polling."

      "Spills are easier to cover for journalists than policy issues: you don’t have to be an expert on a particular area of policy, you don’t need to do any research of actual issues..."

      "But spills are also easier to cover because voters are more likely to tune in to politics during such moments of high drama. Most political journalists in the commercial media face a quiet ongoing battle with editors and producers to get profile and coverage for news out of Canberra, particularly when it deals with complex areas of policy that translate poorly into a 60-second story for the evening news."

      "In that context, you can’t blame the media for trying to milk that for all it’s worth, knowing that the big policy story next week, or the budget in May, will likely fail to interest most voters. Yes, they should devote more effort to covering policy, and producers and editors should support that, and media executives should fund it better, but if audiences won’t consume it, it’s problematic."

      IOW good in-depth analysis and intelligent, interesting reporting is too hard and anyway the punters are too stupid to understand it.

      Guess who the journo who wrote this claptrap works for - Limited News? No. Failfax? Nope. Their ABC? Nup.

      Crikey's Bernard Keane

      I give up.


  7. I imagine they're lining up to give Rudd a weekly column of vitriol after Monday, the narrative must continue.

  8. Just following your point about Rudd's description of his ousting as a coup, Andrew - his use of the term "faceless men" should be enough to alienate ALP people - that loaded term has been the touchstone of the coalition and conservative press since 1967 and should never be used by ALP people, I would have thought.

    1. 1963, but yes I suppose so.

    2. Yes and to that add the use of the word 'trust'. I wanted to puke when he spoke those words. Devious, ratfink Rudd. As tricky as Latham. Very good article here. Congratulations. You should have sent it to the Insiders and they should have read it as today's program was a waste of time.

  9. First anonymous - I agree with you to a certain extent that Gillard is more conservative than Rudd in some ways, but Rudd's religiosity makes him more conservative in others. Then again, talking conservative and progressive in the context of our major political parties is a nonsense, as both has eschewed ideology for rank populism. Labor stands for big business more than the little guy or the environment, and the Lib's claim to fiscal conservatism is mocked by their baby bonuses, FHOG, health insurance subsidies, maternity leave policy funded by an increase to company tax.

    I also agree with Space Kidette that the media has betrayed us. The fact that Rudd didn't deny being the leaker and in fact reminded them of their 'professional' responsibilities (which is essentially admitting to it) - he should have been called on it. This man was so intent on revenge he wanted to damage his own party - that is unforgiveable and particularly in Labor terms. Why isn't the same scorn that is being heaped on Slipper being poured on Rudd?

    And this business of journalist being a profession, please! Professions have rules and consequences for breaking those rules: doctors and lawyers can be banned from their profession for life for transgressing their rules. Journalists suffer no such sanction. They have no ethics, only commercial objectives.

    Rudd is a sociopath - I've worked for one and I know how immensely destructive it is. They can be attractive, charming, witty, successful in their public face, manipulative, cruel, controlling, belittling and spiteful in private. Gillard mightn't be popular, but she's a good negotiator and understands the art of compromise. Even if Rudd were to win, what sort of third rate ministry would he have? All the top performers are with Gillard, the losers like Carr and McClelland are with Rudd.

  10. The fact that Rudd's attack is entirely poll- and media-driven shows the extent to which the man is revelling in self-delusion. He is ignoring the fact that it's not the Greater Australian Public who are deciding whether he is PM, but his colleagues. We know what they agreed to do in 2010, and to call them 'faceless men' is not just a loaded and unpleasant term but it trashes Rudd's colleagues and their decision.
    I couldn't work out why he decided to challenge now but I think you're right, Andrew: Gillard's reforms are beginning to bite and he needs to get in while he can take credit. I'm rather hoping that, with this application of the blowtorch to the belly (as Neville Wran used to say), Gillard will come out stronger, more authoritative, and more determined than ever. There are encouraging signs, are there not?

  11. Right you are, Andrew - 1963 it was.
    "The term "faceless men" then became a permanent part of Australia's political lexicon, nearly always used in a sense hostile to the Labor Party." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faceless_men#cite_note-mediareport-1

  12. Good analysis. There should be more discussion about the role of Journalists in all this.

  13. Thanks to The Kidney of the Nation for giving us the explanatory power of:

    "...what we serve up is good enough for the likes of you..."

    "...what we might call the 'real [insert stakeholder name]'..."

  14. Agree with just about everything in post and also with commenter that this is a showdown between the progressive (Keatingite types) and the pragmatic Hawkite wing.

    On why Rudd moved now - I would say he was forced into it by the pragmatics led by Crean. Rudd was stupid enough to spell out his 2 stage hit strategy to the 4 selected journos. He was not intending to move so early - after Qld election actually - but then Barrie Cassidy (another pragmatic) blew the whistle on the 2 hit strategy last Friday week. On Sunday night the video mysteriously appeared. Monday morning Crean launched the attack; Rudd jumped like scalded cat, resigned before he could be sacked and shock and awe followed.

    On Abbott's foreign policy - I think you will find the new Foreign Minister will also be re-orientating to Djakarta and region after Rudd's European grandstanding poking his nose into others affairs. Abbott was just being ahead of the game, as he so often is.

  15. One of the least forgivable acts on Rudd's part (in the past week) is his failure to consult with Gillard before his dramatic resignation as Foreign Minister.

    IMO, Gillard's handling of minority government is a textbook lesson in realpolitik, and I am confident that her handling of the next 21 months will be as superb.

  16. Very on the money article! I particularly like 'media being players rather than just reporters, a bit like arsonists calling the fire brigade'. Very apt.
    Andrew, as you point out the MSM definitely knew about the problems:
    Its a link I found on another blog to an article in The Australian on June 21, 2008 which details the chaos in the early days.
    Also another later but related article:
    Rudd revenge on ALP agenda

  17. "Abbott was just being ahead of the game, as he so often is"!!!! That was a good one, please, tell us another just as absurd.

  18. I have to agree with most of this piece, and in the end, there is no way the ALP will go back to Rudd

    But, it must be said, the speech he gave when announcing that he will in fact stand on Monday for the leadership was compelling stuff. In 5 minutes Rudd managed to eviscerate Abbott more completely than anyone else in the ALP (certainly than Gillard) has in 2 years. Remember the health debate where Rudd shredded Abbott? They'll never go back to him, his colleagues fundamentally hate him, but the truth is, Rudd could well be the weapon Labor needs to put the attack dog Abbott down once and for all. It's a fascinating study in collective political psychology.

    1. Abbott won't be felled by a single blow, he'll be worn down gradually.

    2. Andrew - but by who? Labor don't have a Keating at their disposal. The fact that Abbott has survived this long and MT is still trying to flog the NBN dead horse is a reflection of how bad Aust politics is.

    3. Too many people want the thrill of the quick kill of Abbott. Assuming that Gillard is playing the long game (which I firmly believe she is), it's far better to do as Andrew says, and wear him down, one inconsistent brain fart after another.

      It's certainly in the ALP's interest to have Abbott as Opposition Leader for as long as possible, preferably up to the next election. His approval ratings are appalling and as the Opposition Leader, he has no real way to increase them - especially when you are as negative a person as Abbott.

      At the next poll, there should be a stark delineation between Gillard and Abbott. Gillard will have a firm record to campaign on (she will also lose the Monkey on her back today, with a thumping win over Rudd) and Abbott will still be Mr No - with everything he prophesised having ended up being the opposite.

  19. The argument within Labor at the moment seems to be between those that argue that the leader should be the one most likely to win the next election vs the one best able to lead the Government. There always needs to be some mix of the two skills, but at the end of the day the primary role of the Prime Minister is to lead the Government. Indeed, I would argue that if the PM can't effectively lead the Government they're not going to win too many elections. Picking leaders that can win elections is a luxury for oppositions. It should never be the criteria for choosing a Prime Minister.

    Lastly, is the party run by "faceless men" the one where the caucus chooses its leader, or the one where the leader is chosen by those outside caucus?

  20. I think there are a number of positives to come out of this whole leadership challenge malarky. I for one don't buy the line that the ALP is "in a death roll with itself". As Peter Slipper notes, this is democracy at work. This is giving the public a view behind the caucus curtain.

    The first positive in all of this is that it has sucked the oxygen away from the Abbott camp. I havent seen a promo with him wearing a hard hat for almost ten days.

    The second positive is all the positive things being said about Gillard by her own team and the media. It seems they are making up for lost time and reminding the public of her success in the difficult situation of a hung parliament: getting reformist legislation through where others could not.

    Lastly, and somewhat related to the above, it seems the media may have realised their culpability in the Rudd challenge. Seeing the overwhelming positive Gillard media reports seems there is a fair bit of mea culpa and retrospect from the media of what they almost completely fucked: a good governement. Particularly, in the context of the above article where the media were aware of Rudd's paralysis but thought it not newsworthy.

    One can only hope that the major positive outcome is that the mea culpa transfers to decent analysis of what is being said by Tony Abbott and Co.

  21. Another excellent post Andrew.

    I'm with you that Gillard is a far better option as PM. I used to give Rudd the benefit of the doubt with all the storeis that were floated around, but that ended after his press conference on firday.
    For someone who claimed to be doing this for the good of the country/Government, he quit without notice while overseas...how is that good for anyone? His speeches have been all about him...no mention of Government at all except to play the victim card.
    And then to get confirmation of the leaking and undermining was the final straw...no way should he ever be in a position of power in the ALP again.
    And then there is the constant repetition of "Rudd is the only one who can beat Abbott"...the election is not tomorrow it' sin 18 months. Who the hell cares what the polls say right now? This is EXACTLY why he got turfed in the first place...totally poll driven.
    I'm glad Gillard has destroyed him in the ballot...now they can get on with governing.
    Unfortunaely the scumbag media will be death-riding this beat-up for all it's worth as long as they can...the ultimate dead horse flogging.

  22. Well, now that it's over, and Rudd has been relegated to the backbench, can we please get on with some discussion by the MSM of *policies* ? The Coalition has none.


  23. Gillard wins in a landslide 71-31. It would have been 72-31 (one MP couldn't make it as she is pregnant).

    All this media hogwash that Kevin Rudd was within X votes of beating Julia Gillard turned out outright bullshit.

    Unbelievably, Mark Latham, provided in 15 minutes, more interesting and insightful commentary than the entire press gallery has for the last week.

    1. I know, I read that article by Latham too, I was shocked that he could write something so reasonable and felt dirty agreeing with him wholeheartedly.

  24. I leave this quote as reminder of the accuracy of political reporting in Australia.

    "Rudd only nine votes short of top job: opposition" - Michelle Grattan (23/09/11)

  25. Well let's just hope we've seen - and heard - the last of Norma Desmond and his 31 votes.

    Bobalot: I thought Grattan was a comedy writer?

  26. @ Anonymous Feb 27, 2012 03:15 PM

    Grattan would have to be actually attempting to be humorous to be called a comedian.

    She is a laughingstock through her sheer hopelessness as a journalist.

  27. An article that fails to acknowledge that the Independents will turf out this government without election if the Libs choose someone other than Abbott who is willing to accept and act on the threat of climate change.

    If Gillard stays in, Abbott will beat her and action on climate change will grind to a halt.

    And someone posted that the Independents will turf out the government if they change leaders. There is that possibility, but they stopped short of assuring the ALP that this would be the case if Kev was put back in. I think the first party to change leaders will gain government without election.

    1. 1. I doubt the Libs will choose someone other than Abbott. The Coalition can't believe Howard lost in 2007, they don't want to confront the reasons why and nor do they want to do the hard work of developing policies that imagine a future for this country different to that put forward by Howard. Switching away from Abbott to anyone else would require a mental switch they are not yet ready to make.

      2. I disagree with your second paragraph. The polls might not be wrong but they aren't fixed.

      3. There is nothing in it for the independents to switch away from Gillard. No other leader, not Rudd or Abbott or anyone else, offers them the same breadth of scope that Gillard does.

  28. I'm given to understand that one of the major reasons that the independents supported the ALP was their commitment to the NBN. While the increasingly shambolic Coalition continue to oppose it purely for the sake of opposition and without regard for the facts, I'd say that the independents are going nowhere before the next election.

    Interesting talk about party room tensions with the Noalition this week. I don't read the Murdoch press, did they pick it up or was the ABC left to carry the torch again?

    1. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/coalition-in-a-froth-over-milk-20120228-1u13a.html

      Is this what you are referring to Michael?
      Where one Lib fella called another a "f---wit" and Sophie told him to "pop your Alzheimer's pills"?
      2 separate issues causing disunity in the ranks.
      All this after Abbott had praised their party unity?

      Strangely enough Ltd News only ran a sanitized version, no mention of the nasty brawl.

      I messed the ABC commenting. Got a link, please?


  29. In the end Gillard did win as widely expected but her issue remains that everything she has achieved has been done behind the scenes and not in front of the public which goes to the oft mentioned concern of her legitimacy.

  30. Hey Andrew, completely OT but what are your thoughts on the Fink's media report? Specifically, the compnent regarding blogs and wesites? In the unlikely scenario that this was implemented as is, would it affect your site or cause you to alter your posting strategy?