06 September 2013

For crying out loud

The editorial in The Sydney Morning Herald today embodies everything that's wrong with the Abbott campaign, as well as every reason why it seems to be working. It suffers from a logical fallacy called 'begging the question', where it accepts the premises of an Abbott government and then flaps about trying to justify such a beast, using those same assumptions.
Australia is crying out for a stable government that can be trusted to deliver what it promises. The Herald believes only the Coalition can achieve that within the limited mandate Tony Abbott will carry into office should he prevail on Saturday.
There's two begged questions right there.

No party platform in Australia's history has been fulfilled so comprehensively as the agreement signed between Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott with the Gillard government in 2010. Had the last election returned a simple majority of Labor MPs, it would have set aside key pledges and seen internal brawls. If Tony Abbott had become Prime Minister then, by contrast, his government would have set aside key pledges and seen internal brawls.

There is no such thing as a 'limited mandate'. You either win government or you don't. The first Howard government and the first Rudd government achieved relatively little of what they were elected to do. The second Howard government (1998-2001) and the first term of the Bush Administration in the US (2001-05) had what this editorialist would call a 'limited mandate', whatever that is, but they pretty much did what they liked.

The Sydney Morning Herald predates our federal political system and the parties that seek election to it. The editorialist, speaking in his masthead's name, trashes its history by such gullibility and ignorance.
Abbott does not so much deserve the chance to do what Labor could not do in the past six years. Nor has he earned the right to govern with a clear, articulated vision, as the Herald has sought from him during the campaign.
Tony Abbott has been leader of the Liberal Party for more than three years. For very little of that time has it been seriously attempting to pin Abbott down about what he might do in government. Negligently, its coverage has mainly taken two forms: first, gushing at his effective media strategy of saying nothing of substance, and secondly quoting his words verbatim as though no further verification might be required. Again, the Herald has no excuse for indulging any politician to that extent.

During the campaign, the Herald has accepted Abbott's shortcomings rather than challenged them in the exertion of the power of the Prime Ministership. Its political editor even asserted that we cannot handle the truth, reinforcing him and the editorialist - as well as Abbott - in their belief that facile reporting is all we deserve, and all that ought be expected of them. Their chairman has over many years demonstrated his commitment to this sort of feeble, reader-repelling content too.

The feeble plea at the end of that last quote that the Herald has done all that could be expected of it is only true if you underestimate what journalism is, and how little thorough journalism there is in federal politics, particularly coming from the Herald.
But the party he leads is untainted by scandal and infighting, and therefore has the best chance to unite a tired and despondent electorate.
That is sheer bullshit. The opposite of that is true.

Scandals surrounding Mal Brough, Christopher Pyne, and even potentially Joe Hockey arising from Justice Rares' judgment on a sexual harassment case are yet to be played out. Arthur Sinodinos' links to the Obeid family are yet to be clarified, let alone explained. There has been plenty of Liberal infighting, but the Herald has chosen to ignore it and treat outbursts as isolated incidents: only today, the confusion about whether or not our internet will be slowed further by a filter imposed upon us bodes ill for calm and measured government. The fact that the Herald has chosen to cover those matters in a cursory fashion does not mean that the assertion of its editorialist can be sustained.
Labor will not be able to do this until it is stripped of corrupt rules that have rewarded those who value power more than the public interest.
The Coalition is not exactly short of "those who value power more than the public interest". Putting out facile statements while asserting that they are detailed, costed policy is the work of those who really do value power more than the public interest. Its internal matters are a matter for its members, and for those who feel loyal to the party by voting for it. It's a mistake to assume that the Liberal Party that brought forth Jaymes Diaz, Fiona Scott and Matthias Cormann can be regarded as "unblemished" or free of "those who value power more than the public interest".
Abbott needs to be true to his word. As he says, "No surprises, no excuses … No more, no less."
And if he's not? Seriously, what sort of idiot takes Abbott at his word?
The Coalition has put to the people some aspirations of which the Herald approves if applied fairly: value for taxpayers' money, greater workplace flexibility and ending the age of entitlement. It has aped good Labor policies and banked sensible savings.
If applied fairly.

Is it fair, or even sensible, to assume that such measures might be 'applied fairly' by such people? If it is, to whom is the 'fairness' to be directed? The Herald has catalogued political promises made and broken for over one hundred and eighty years. Why Tony Abbott of all people is the shining, sea-green incorruptible exception to such a history is both inexplicable and amazing.
Notably, Abbott has also signalled policies the Herald considers unfair and a threat to national progress: slower broadband, his paid parental leave scheme, turn back the boats, and education inequity. And we will, as many Coalition figures privately do, continue to rail against these populist and frivolous indulgences.
So that's the purpose of the Herald: to rail, like a blogger. I guess all those 'Coalition figures', unnamed but railing, put the lie to the idea that infighting is unknown in Coalition ranks.
A Coalition government will be entitled to pursue any elements of its agenda that have been detailed to the public.
A Coalition government will feel entitled to pursue any elements of any agenda it bloody well feels like pursuing. And the Herald will do little more than praise such a beast for its political shrewdness, apart from the odd bit of railing maybe.
Then voters can judge Abbott on delivery in three years or, should he prove unable to manage a democratic parliament, much sooner.
See, this is where I'm confused. The incumbent government succeeded in managing a democratic parliament and yet it is considered unfit to continue governing (which of our parliaments might be considered non-democratic?). What if Abbott is removed by his own party (without, of course, any infighting at all; a phenomenon unknown in the history of conservative politics)?
Abbott will be free to conduct his commission of audit on government spending and implement recommendations within his pledge of no cuts to education, health or frontline services.
What if he has his audit and cuts those services anyway? Will the editorialist faint from sheer surprise?

Imagine Tony Abbott breaking a pledge. Journalists may pride themselves on lacking such imagination, transcribing what is said to pad out word-count rather than examine how we are and would be governed.
He should conduct the promised reviews into workplace relations, industry assistance, regulation, legislation, competition law and tax.
He should have done those already.

The whole idea of election policies is not to provide checklists for journalists (or even party activists, within one party or within its opponents) to tick off. The idea of election policies is to show the extent of your thinking over the past three years - who you've spoken to, who has impressed you, and what sources you use for your anecdotes, data and ad content. The quality of that thinking informs what is done in government far more than what may or may not appear on a fucking brochure, for crying out loud. Politically homeless knows this, and The Sydney Morning Herald doesn't. Ponder that, ye perishing few who still believe the future of Australian media is strong.

Why hasn't the Coalition been having those debates from Opposition? Surely the Best Opposition Leader Ever would, like Whitlam, prosecute his case with whatever meagre resources are available to oppositions so that his capacity for government appears all the more formidable. And here we find ourselves at the very event horizon of the black hole at the heart of not only this Herald editorial, but the very idea of an Abbott government:
That will help him develop the sort of detailed policy reform agenda he has failed to flesh out in the past three years for fear of a political backlash. Australia needs to debate new ideas and better ways to ensure the economy is flexible enough to survive the end of the resources boom.
One person's "backlash" is another person's "debate", I suppose. The Coalition can't pursue ideas from any forum other than from government. They can and do even disconnect the very idea of debate from what is actually done, rubbishing painstaking research and expertise with the sheer force of executive decision-making. It's surprising, and more than a little sad, that the Herald can't see that and doesn't think it's a problem.

It seriously shares the Coalition's belief that you put them in government first, and then hold them to account to, um, what little extent they discussed it beforehand. 'Limited mandate' my arse, you stupid bloody people.
But the Herald will scrutinise a first-term Abbott government with the same independent eye that has exposed Labor graft and attacked Coalition policies.
i.e. none at all.
Too often Abbott has asked voters to buy his plan sight unseen; to believe his numbers even though they have emerged at the eleventh hour.
Given the complicity of the journalists in all this, at the Herald and elsewhere, Abbott cannot be blamed for trying it on. Voters are the ultimate decision-makers here. The quality of the information they receive, from the Herald and others presenting the low farce of campaigning as though it was all that politics is about, is inadequate. The Herald should not escape culpability for the poor quality of information about politics that is leading to a deeply inadequate choice at an election where not only adequate, but capable government is called for.
Then there is a surprise reduction in foreign aid and water buybacks as well as an extra efficiency demand on the public service.
Which bog-ignorant political ninny is in any way surprised by Coalition proposals to cut foreign aid, or impose an imaginary 'efficiency dividend' and punish public servants for failing to nail it down? Here the sheer inadequacy of the contemporary Herald is in full view, its perfectly justified lack of confidence in its own self, its history and its future. Those of us who disdain people surprised by easily foreseeable events have a point, don't we.
Abbott's mandate will be weakened as a result of this opacity.
No more than Howard's was with his light-bright-and-trite campaign in 1996.
Abbott has hidden much and, as such, much must be taken on trust, just as Gillard Labor had to be taken on trust at the 2010 election.
Bullshit. NBN, DisabilityCare, education funding, tobacco packaging - hiding in plain sight the whole time.
Labor then was a party that had corrupted the NSW government and allowed faceless men to unseat an elected prime minister.
If you had the resources of The Sydney Morning Herald at your disposal, you'd know that the corrupt Askin government in NSW played little role in the Coalition losing the 1972 and 1974 elections, and was little impediment to the re-election of an unelected Prime Minister the following year. It's funny how things turn out, isn't it.
After that election produced a hung parliament, the Herald recommended Abbott be prime minister because "stability is more likely".
Rarely does a slow-media outlet own up to getting it so wrong. Gillard provided more stability than the Herald gave her credit. Abbott would have gone to a double dissolution election, and it's a real pity that the Herald's political reporting resources fail to point this out. And as for this:
But Gillard retained power by, it emerged later, breaking her promise of ''no carbon tax under a government I lead'' in a deal with the Greens. Labor betrayed the voters.
That's a Coalition talking-point rather than a historical fact, as an examination of the Herald's own archives will attest.
While the Gillard government achieved important national reforms in trying circumstances and kept the economy strong, it squibbed tax reform, skewed taxes, overspent on optimistic revenue forecasts and did nothing to remedy Labor's fatal flaws.
The Howard government did little of the former and much of the latter, and Abbott promises less and worse on all fronts.
All the while, Rudd remained a destabilising force; a reminder of betrayal - and an even bigger one when he retook the leadership just over two months ago.
Really? I thought the instability in the Gillard government was all her fault, not Rudd's. The Political Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald said that Rudd was "a happy little vegemite" on the backbench and that the instability was simply due to 'umble Labor loyalists concerned about the polls. The Chief Political Correspondent of The Sydney Morning Herald said that the Gillard government's problems were caused by one of her former lovers decades before. Now, all of a sudden, this instability is Rudd's fault? Imagine my surprise.
Rudd Mark II has presented some laudable policy reforms on boat people and emissions trading.
Really? I thought they were cop-outs myself.

Which part of asylum-seeker policy is in any way 'laudable'?
He talks of Labor's big ideas so Australia can rise beyond our station. But reformers must take the people with them - and reformers must be trusted to deliver.
The amount of trust placed in Abbott is unbelievable, and unsustainable.
Rudd has struggled to outline how Labor would strengthen the economy, beyond relying on its worthy record during the global financial crisis. Faced with shrinking budget revenues, Labor did well to outline a plan for a return to surplus, yet lost the moral high ground over Coalition costings.
There is no Coalition high ground on budget costings. The government has provided evidence of sound economic management that the Herald, at the cost of its own credibility, has chosen to ignore. Be that on its own head, not Abbott's or Hockey's.
It wasn't until his official launch that Rudd pushed Labor values based on a fair go for all.
All parties, at every election, base their pitch upon a fair go for all. Even Abbott did that. Again, if you had access to the archives of The Sydney Morning Herald you'd see that it's true, but hey.
The Herald believes Australian democracy needs Labor to modernise and prove it respects the privilege of power. It cannot be supported for abusing that privilege.
There is nothing, nothing 'modern' about the Liberal Party - still less about any of the other parties in the Coalition. It has not proven that it respects the privilege of power. Tony Abbott certainly has not proven that, Jaymes Diaz and Malcolm Turnbull and Peta Credlin and Christopher Pyne haven't, and neither has any other member of his team. This too is sheer bullshit, useless to support the Herald in making such a case.
Voters should not reward Labor before redemption ...
The Coalition is unredeemed from 2007. It does not know why it lost that election and will govern as though the past six years were an interregnum rather than a legitimate government. Again, the Herald is in breach of the What's Sauce For The Goose Is Sauce For The Gander Act in its partisan defence of its position.
... nor reward those who owe their influence to factions and betrayals of trust that have marked the past six years.
Abbott became leader of his party because of a betrayal of trust. His ascent is inexplicable unless you examine factional manoeuvring within the Liberal Party. Another silly and ignorant assertion that undermines not only the case they are making, but the very idea of the Herald as repository and provider of political information.
Labor under Kevin Rudd in 2013 is not offering a stable, trustworthy government on which Australians can depend. The Coalition under Tony Abbott deserves the opportunity to return trust to politics.
Matthew 7:3-5, motherfuckers.

First, The Sydney Morning Herald decided to support the Coalition and then it decided to build a case upon all of its readers accepting that assumption. You'll note in the above that it is possible to point out the logical flaw in the Herald's reasoning without resorting to Labor (or Green or Liberal) talking points. Nonetheless, those who defend this worthless piece will claim that any and all criticism can only be partisan.

That failure of perception, real (in this editorial) and reasonably anticipated (in the defence by whoever the editor is this week), underscores why those who trust in the future of The Sydney Morning Herald, and who blame only others for its demise, are kidding themselves and avoiding the real ailments of a withered organ they mistake as vital.


It almost goes without saying that I'm beyond pissed off at this elaborate practical joke unfolding around me.
... Yeah, my blood's so mad feels like coagulatin'
I'm sitting here just contemplatin'
I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation
Handful of senators don't pass legislation
And marches alone can't bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin'
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin'

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
How you don't believe
We're on the eve of destruction ...

- P F Sloan Eve of destruction
All week I've been dreading the very prospect of an Abbott government, but last night I saw someone who dreads it more: Joe Hockey, sweat-beaded and gasping like a landed fish, having laboured so hard for so long and all for so little.

Hockey's much-awaited economic statement was worse than Richard Nixon in 1960 because Nixon hadn't crammed it all in the last minute, with an easy and lazy cut to foreign aid. So much for all those costed policies, ready to go last year or the year before.

All week, one in every eight to ten Australians are yet to make up their minds about who to vote for, making a mockery of 50-50 or 52-48 or whatever. There is a veneer of complacency in the assurances that Abbott will become Prime Minister no matter what, and underneath it is a shrillness that underlines a failure of persuasion; a government that has supposedly failed so comprehensively should be made of less stern stuff. It should not be so hard to knock over as it is clearly proving to be.

The experiments for our future in telecommunications, education, and disability care may well be abandoned. The dimmer journalists and Liberal shills will claim those as failures, not as spoils but as trash. Another series of experiments is being set up and may well be given a chance that those big-ticket items are yet to have. These experiments were gingerly begun under Howard, ideas to which he dared not give full rein if they endangered his tenure of Kirribilli House.

The enfeebled union movement could have been finished off by workplace legislation deft enough to outflank them; hell, they may have willingly embraced such legislation, as strategic geniuses like Martin Ferguson and Doug 'mind mah tea' Cameron had under Keating and Kelty. Instead, the union movement was emboldened by the inept WorkChoices. An Abbott government workplace relations policy (both the do-nothing one from two months ago that was abandoned, and the frenzied but gutless hints of Abetz and Alexander) assumes most people have secure salaried jobs. Let's have it, then, and see how we go. That 2m jobs thing is starting to look sick already, especially when you consider than one hour's paid work a week is a 'job' in Coalition terms.

There are few proven facts in economics, but one is that if you tax high-income earners highly then they move to low-tax countries. Something similar happens with researchers: when you cut research funds, and refuse to do anything clever with tax breaks for research, researchers leave or dumb down their output. The cuts to NICTA and to ARC grants, and coming to the CSIRO and NHMRC, show that the potential for economic growth and welfare through innovation is being squandered. I don't mind people trying and failing - hell, the fact that the Australian media hasn't shut up shop can be traced to the same attitude - but people who won't try at all are contemptible. We face a government that would hold us back, and yet want credit for having a go; fuck that, and them.

Those cuts to innovation from the Beechworth bandit Sophie Mirabella look like her final act of spite in public life (unless, perhaps, she bites someone outside a booth on Saturday). My generation of researchers, people whose careers were just getting going when Howard was elected, have achieved less than they might have because his government came too late to realising the value of publicly-funded research. Hockey promised to preserve research funding but was clearly overruled, assuming he opposed it at all. Along with the basket-case economies of Europe, we'll be proving-grounds for what happens when you bugger research; and that worst of all, those you hope might be grateful for eviscerating the boffins never are.

If you think sound economic management (or even effective politics) involves traipsing around the country acting like the Job Fairy, sprinkling ten jobs here loading boxes onto trucks or whatever, then you won't miss innovative jobs and the potential they offer until it's too late. Whether it's building infrastructure, or providing aged care to baby boomers who won't put up with the conditions that today's mustn't-grumble generation of seniors cops with good grace, the future workers of this country are almost certainly immigrants. They want to join us here and, even if you can set aside the cruelty to them, what 'cries out' to me is the lack of imagination involved in putting them to work.

There are only two choices with the 2m jobs thing: either they will come through, in which case the electorate won't thank them; or they won't, and all that "we'll keep our promises" stuff will be seen for hollow bullshit. The editorialist of The Sydney Morning Herald cannot imagine Abbott and bullshit to be anything but inimical to one another, which may explain why the demise of one may well also see the demise of the other.

One of the most cogent Coalition criticisms of the NBN was that most data travels over wireless, and that this is likely to increase. This doesn't explain the army of dumb boxes coming to our streets, where future posts and other dis-content will be coming at you via copper wire. Have you noticed that Coalition policy does not address actual problems that face this country? I have, because I'm not a press gallery journalist or a slow-media editorialist.

I've seen governments come and go, this ain't my first rodeo. I still think more babies than bathwater will be tossed out with the incumbents, and pity those who believe that the Coalition's own bathwater can be confused with the elixir this country needs.

I still think polls (as published in the newspaper) are bullshit. I'm sure there are some great polls, in the same way that there are nutritious hamburgers, but the diet of newspaper polls that temporarily sustains the slow media and some of the dimmer bloggers is no good for anyone. Not even the most ardent stats nerd can defend their use as determining the outcome to the extent we have seen at this election. It's monstrously disrespectful to say that the ballot is over before it's started, like the elections in North Korea or Turkmenistan are.

This blog will continue into the Abbott government, and beyond it: fuck it, every other bastard is breaking their pre-election promises. If The Sydney Morning Herald can assert that they are 'Independent' of anything other than sensible business and editorial practise, or that The Australian might be the heart of anything, this blog reserves the right to tinker with its subheading as may be required from time to time - and the rest of you can get used to it with as much good grace as you are capable.


  1. *standing ovation*

  2. All that remains is for Clive Palmer to buy Fairfax to complete the punch line.

  3. Dear Andrew

    I have enjoyed your passionate and, in my opinion highly intelligent commentary over the past year. Your highlighting the effect of an Abbott Guvmint (sic) on NICTA, CSIRO, the ARC and also the universities is appreciated and the media has been so pathetic in commenting on the obvious outcomes in the science/research/innovation area. If the LibNats win it will likely take a generation to heal the damage...if it's at all possible.

    Thank you for running such a rational and well argued blog. I will be buying a bottle of Macallan tomorrow to empty; after starting with some Coldstream Ciders then very fine Killikanoon wines and hope to wake up in three years time [sigh].



  4. Stick around mate I have a feeling you may be needed, a lone [[nearly] sane and ethical voice amidst the babble.


  5. Andrew, bloody hell. This piece is spectacular.

  6. My specialist was depressed about the upcoming election and he works at a private hospital...

    Goodness ,what does that say about the bourgeoise then??

    It's that bad eh??

    God help the working class and poor that are voting for a government that will screw them!!

    F...en idiots!!

  7. Andrew, I have read your writing for a while now - as above, please stick around no matter what happens. We need voices like yours in the middle of all this

  8. Bushfire Bill7/9/13 1:52 am

    Well said Andrew.

    I find it amusing that a newspaper which is part of a crumbling empire, shedding jobs, circulation, revenue, credibility and share value, can lecture *anyone* on how to run a country.

    As to polls, they have become a Frankenstein's monster that's taken over politics...certainly one that has taken over its supposed "master", the newspapers themselves.

    They own the polls, they seed them with infantile commentary, then they use their results as ersatz, laundered metrics to sustain another round of bullshit.

    The farce we have now - mobile-only polls, robotic pols, on-line polls, marginal seat polls, and the plethora of leadership polls have become a national scandal.

    Leadership polls especially purported to "prove" that Rudd would ace Abbott upon his return. Well, look at that scenario now. Yet I haven't seen any commentary admitting that polls supposedly demonstrating Rudd was a Messiah were dead wrong.

    We were assured Rudd would single-handedly turn politics on its arse and hand Abbott his own rear end on a platter. That's what the pundits told us the polls were telling us. It was written up as a prophecy of almost Delphic certainty.

    Either the polls claiming, three months ago, that a Rudd triumph tomorrow were wrong or, in the case of a Labor victory, the polls today saying Abbott is an easy winner are wrong. Both can't be true.

    Yet we have been assured both ARE true.

    Therein lies the essential fallacy at the core of the polling fetish, a monster that has broken out of its chains and now stalks the land, looking for victims.

    So much for the reliability of polls.

  9. Translation : waaaaaahhhhhhh ! Poor Andrew might have to look at making some changes to the title of his blog after the election hehehe. Sux to be you !

  10. Hi Andrew
    Keep writing your insight and truth-telling are needed.
    Perhaps Abbott's reign will lull many out of complacency although I'm not sure it even is complacency but rather time-poor people trying to raise families in an unstructured unforgiving free market economy. Anyway fuck the bullshit free press what a load of bollocks, fuck Rudd and the likes of Richardson and Obeid and yep fuck those unGodly neocons may they go straight to hell. Go kindness, goodness, peace and the Great Barrier Reef.

  11. Glad to read you will continue on even if Abbott becomes,.... well you know. I actually thought PMJG was a PM even though so many opinion writers told me otherwise. Same goes for the last parliament which I believed fulfilled more than any majority party government. So with the polls, the newspapers opinion generating column fillers, suggesting otherwise I'm hoping for some electoral sense and another hung parliament. The fun of that is neither Rudd or Abbott has the temperament to cope in that situation let alone Hartcher, Kenny, Kelly etc etc etc

  12. Dear, dear Andrew please stay with us. I am on the knees.

    Your words have a shining clarity and often five voice to all the fears, suspicions and confusions which dart about like hobgoblins in my head.

    This day I am going to print out your column and keep it close for it truly expresses what I will feel this evening when the carapace of contrived cynicism cracks.

    I had not read the SMH editorial. What an astonishing work of contortion and distortion!

    I wonder what this Abbott govt will deliver? I cannot see peace and harmony on the horizon. He is a bare-knuckle man. He has to have something to battle, to crush. Will he turn his sights to Malcolm? I can't see Tony doing the plodding work of guiding policy formulation.

    I have a theory. Rather than his Catholicism being a disadvantage, I think it has helped create the myth of Abbott as deep thinker, compassionate Christian and tortured soul who has wrestled personal demons.

    I think he is just a political opportunist who fights to the death for Tony.

  13. They supported cruel, inhuman, degrading and lawless treatment of refugees by both parties, the Herald decided that trashing the Tarkine and the Murray are fine and dandy because they are not in fucking western Sydney.
    If I hear the words Western Sydney one more fucking time I will explode.

    And for the re-write of history to blame Rudd for every disgusting thing Gillard did shows how dumb they are.

    Of course Gina will do well which might mean for money for Fairfax.

    1. Lachlan Ridge7/9/13 2:32 pm

      Western Sydney.

      There, Marilyn Shepherd, the only advocate I have ever seen that has turned pro-asylum seeker's against refugees, has now exploded.

      I believe Marilyn is genuinely ignorant of how much harm she does to her cause, and how obvious this issue is about Marilyn's grandstanding rather than what is happening to any poor huddled masses. The loss of Marilyn Shepherd and Kevin Rudd from public life would be a welcome outcome for progressive thought in this country, especially those who wish to see Australia meet it's obligations to asylum seekers!

      To put it politely, shut the fuck up Marilyn. just shut the fuck up and piss off. You're not helping anyone, not even yourself. Just fuck off! Your pusillanimous bile has not shifted one person's opinion in this country and as such you have aborted any efficacy to your cause. What's worse is you genuinely have got people offside with your bloody minded high functioning autism.

      You want to advocate for asylum seekers Marilyn? Genuinely want to make a difference in this "debate"? Then shut the fuck up and piss the fuck off!

      We're all sick of you! Even those of us who agree with you, and your incessant babble is what makes it so easy for the Scott Morrison's and Tony Abbott's (even your beloved Julia Gillard) to demonise the very people you allegedly advocate for! (No, not your own dysfunctional ego, people fleeing persecution). You are part of the problem Marilyn. You Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott all work hand in glove to make asylum seekers the inhuman helpless pathetic source of derision they have become in the eyes of so many Australians. The sad part is you don't even get the damage you do! Your didactic harangues are Tony Abbott's greatest resource.

      So, just to reiterate in case it hasn't sunk in yet Marilyn:


  14. Never stop, Andrew!

  15. This ius one of the BEST blogs. And even if Abbott gets into The Lodge, he will never be a real Prime Minister. He will be a stain on the toilet-bowl that Australia will become.

  16. Thank you so much Andrew - I have read your blog over the last three years and loved your incisive analysis. I look forward to reading you from this shameful day forward.

    My profession takes me into schools all around Australia and overseas and I often get to write/film the stories and achievements of wonderful teachers and students. My greatest regret is this incompetent Abbott government will wilfully deliver the Better Schools money to the states and say 'do with it what you will' - and we all know what that means. There is no genuine desire for a fairer education system because they cannot envisage education as an investment in the future. I am so deeply saddened that Gillard's vision for systemic reform will be decimated.

    As George Monbiot wrote this week, we are a 21st century country turning to a 19th century economy. It's more than that, it is a 19th century paradigm -

  17. Thank you Andrew. Thank you.

  18. Magnificent finale piece to this election, Andrew. As another great blogger, Victoria Rollison has said, it seems as if the turkeys are voting in favour of Christmas.

    Beyond all that, oh how the media have failed their country and their ethical duties to report on responsible government.They have set the mood. We have an nation of discontents when basically we ought ot have a nation of people proud and happy that they have mostly prospered in comparison with the rest of the world.

    The 43rd parliament, as you have correctly called, will ultimately be remembered in history as one of our greatest, thanks to the ethical commitments of Windsor, Oakeshott and Gillard. There is a vey real risk that good governance and planning for the nation's future will be trashed by an incoming Abbott government with no vision or plans.

    You have done all you reasonably could. The failures which are leading to this public travesty are elsewhere.

  19. "This blog will continue into the Abbott government, and beyond it"
    Woo hoo!


  20. Agree Anon @ 6.23. If I hear the words Western Sydney again I will implode
    What sort of people must live there? Surely they are not all mean-spirited, xenophobic, happy-clapping, racist bigots who live in huge houses they can't afford and who are jealous of those who live more humbly in the inner suburbs? If they are then I am going to use the central locking system in the car and put my foot flat to the floor until I reach the safe environs of my leafy stronghold where latte-sippers abound. Will Australia become a giant Greenaway under the Libs? When is the next boat leaving for Indonesia?

    1. I live in Greenway, believe me we are not all like that.

      Greenway itself is actually a very diverse electorate, however it comes under the 'Western Sydney' moniker as it is much easier to generalise than actually find out how things really are.

      When you tell people you are from the west, you can see a shift in their eyes and attitudes immediately, usually followed by a "uh-huh". We know that reaction. We are constantly judged and honestly, feel like we are second-class citizens due to the historical low levels of care in infrastructure, transport, education and health.

      My area is well established, no McMansions and not many 'aspirationals', with a balance of white-collar and flouro-shirted workers. There are many young families so demand for related services, especially child care and quality schooling, is always high.

      All we wish is to have the same level of care as seen in other areas of Sydney. For that we need quality representation. To this end we have "Mr Invisible" Jaymes Diaz tipped to win. It's fucking depressing.

    2. http://sievx.com/

      Here is a cataglogue of what the Herald supports, as do most of our racist pollies.

      Remember only Andrew Wilkie, the Greens, Melissa Parke and Judi Moylan had the guts to vote against this filth.

  21. ***rousing applause***

  22. Bravo Andrew, insightful and as always a forensic dissection of the MSM.
    Thanks for commiting to continuing .......

  23. Andrew,
    Thanks for all your comments over the past.
    I have the same sense of dread as you do regarding a TA government.

    The subtitle still applies as far as I am concerned, TA will never be PM of Australia because he is so far short of any PM's vision, credibility. and integrity.

    Pity help us with Barnaby as Deputy PM, no effort to reel in our carbon footprint, loss of NBN etc, etc, etc (such a long list of good things likely to be lost)

  24. Andrew – congratulations on a spectacular piece.

    My head was spinning trying to get around the grotesque assertion piled on assertion in the SMH editorial yesterday – I should have known you'd be angry enough to take the time to take it to pieces.

    Thanks for your work these past few years; this blog has been the best source of accurate political reporting and analysis that I have found. If nothing else good comes out of today – and I also have doubts it's all over – then your commitment that you will continue blogging is great news.
    Again, thanks for making the effort.

  25. Just, bravo Andrew. And thanks.

  26. Lachlan Ridge7/9/13 2:38 pm

    Andrew, an outstanding piece. the best writing of my generation.

    Our enemy is not Abbott. He is but a cypher. Our enemy is the media who enabled him.

    If Abbott didn't exist the media would have invented him.

  27. Thanks for providing a glimmer of hope in the lead-up to this election. I am deeply sorry that today looks set to extinguish it, reinforcing my long-held conviction that one cannot underestimate the stupidity of the voting public.
    I'm glad you'll be sticking around.

  28. Thank you, Andrew, your blog has been a lighthouse - keep that torch burning for us stranded craft on the troubled political media seas of Australia
    Kind regards,
    Sue (no-relation-to-tony) Abbott

  29. Thanks Andrew. I've always enjoyed your writing and thoughts on these matters. Good to hear you'll be carrying on. Looking forward to your future writings and musings!

  30. Anon @ 5.02
    I am not watching the election coverage so I do not know if you are to be blessed with Diaz. Good luck. I found your post very interesting and I appreciate the frustrations of living in outer areas without appropriate infrastructure. I cannot understand why the two major parties have not been more attentive to your needs. They certainly swarm around you at election time. I'll bet Western Sydneysiders and your counterparts are sick of it. You certainly need a strong voices to advocate for you.

  31. I cannot believe that this man, who once declared on national television that you could not trust a word that he said unless it was written down (and then proved even that to be untrustworthy), is going to be our next Prime Minister.

    Hang your heads in shame Australia. You fell for the whole lot, hook line and sinker.

  32. Tony Abbott will never be a worthy Prime Minister of Australia.

    This is a blog about politics and the Liberal-Leaflet commentary/coverage that encrusts it.

  33. Sucked in elder you sure look like a twat now. Guess the polls were right after all :-) I'm glad someone with your dodgy judgement and level of denial ain't running the country !

    1. Lachlan Ridge8/9/13 2:52 am

      It's funny. I worked on the '75, '77 and '96 campaigns, and they were all big losses for the ALP. I worked on the 2004 election and that saw this bizarre cancelling out swing where Liberals shifted to the ALP and ALP voters shifted to the Liberals and it was a stalemate and Howard remained default PM.

      the funny thing this time is that the Liberal vote is just getting across the line in a lot of seats. They are not winning marginals by thumping margins like '75 and '96. The informal vote is greater than the margin of victory in a lot of seats and all three established parties have gone backwards. Palmer is a winner. What do you think this tells us?

      Australians are moving away from the mainstream parties, who look like having their smallest proportion of the total vote in my living memory. Informal did very well. there are structural problems in the Liberal vote that will make life interesting for Abbott. It's just a relief that global neoliberalism and the Washington Consensus has rendered the Federal parliament largely irrelevant to a lot of aspects of daily life.

      Name calling in this context makes the poster appear, well, unhelpful. Not sure they really get what's happened here. Elder certainly has.

      Anyway, life goes on. This shall be an entertaining three years. Let's raise a glass and toast Col Allen's health.

  34. Anon @ 9.21 - you left out the 't' in sinker

  35. Well said Andrew; columns such as yours will be needed now that the turkeys have voted for an early Christmas. Two things: (i) I endorse your comments about Hockey's performance. Sweating profusely, and looking alarmingly like the lead character in "Percy Pig's big day out", he gave a woeful display; indeed, I actually wondered whether he had had a few steadiers beforehand. (ii) I was disappointed that in his victory speech Abbott didn't say "Thank you Rupert for all your help". I understand from Labor's pollsters that Rupert's intervention was worth about 5-6%; it is indeed churlish of Tony not to acknowledge this.

  36. Posts like this are why I am glad you're going to carry on Mr Elder.

    Bravo, keep it up.