08 February 2015

What went wrong?

We passed upon the stair, we spoke of was and when
Although I wasn't there, he said I was his friend
Which came as some surprise I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone, a long long time ago

- David Bowie The man who sold the world
The press gallery should have foreseen that a government led by Tony Abbott, comprised of jetsam from the fag end of the Howard government, would scarcely be better than the government they replaced. Why did they get this so wrong?

On election nights - federal or state, including those for states I don't live in - you can find me watching the vote count coverage pretty closely. I've tried watching it with non-wonks but it just isn't the same.

My favourite point in election night coverage comes after the result is clear, and usually after winners have promised to govern for all and losers conceded gracefully. The representative of the winning party has usually buggered off to the official knees-up, while the loser-party representative sticks around for some home truths.

The need for message discipline has passed, but the individuals have enough self-composure not to lapse into furniture-tossing rage on camera. They lament the death of hopes of the party faithful. They hope that staffers and defeated MPs, people they have known and worked closely with, will find new jobs. They dread the trudge across the often harsh and barren ground of opposition. You see the flickering of ideas about recriminations and other own post-election plans, but they stop short of admitting them to the gently probing journalist. Stephen Smith played this role at the last federal election, and Mary Wooldridge at the Victorian.

It's a human moment in an often vast and impersonal process: good local members lose office defending decisions they had railed against in private, while smug clowns in safe seats stroll on and learn nothing. Statistical blather and played-strong-done-fine quotes fade to the background.

This is the point the press gallery has come to with the (impending) demise of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. They really believed that Abbott had changed from the crass brawler who spent 20 years buzzing around the press gallery like a blowfly in a toilet. They believed it, and they insisted that every hairnet-wearing, truck-driving stunt was a great statesman itching to get on with the job.

They ignored Labor claims that Abbott would want to cut health and education and the ABC, because hey look here's a quote where he denies it! Take that, partisans! And that's all the analysis you need to do when you've pumped up a politician and his party, where the popular mood matches that of the press gallery - and just for a moment, the public seems to hang off your every word. Just like the old days.

This piece also delves back into the 'good old days', and it's a real pity it hadn't come out before now. I suspect there'll be a few more of these. We could have stopped him, we should have; and all the press gallery had to do was tell us the truth.

The fantasy was never real

Oh no, not me
I never lost control
You're face to face
With The Man Who Sold The World
David Marr said it best: Abbott could only ever be what he was, the crass brawler. The idea that he transcended it somehow was always rubbish. Everyone who believed otherwise was kidding themselves - and implicitly, those who pretended otherwise in the face of years of experience were engaged in a monstrous act of deception, of themselves and of their audience.

Even Marr could no longer pretend this simple political killing-machine was a more complex character than he appeared. In Political Animal Marr asserted that Abbott "abhor[red] racism". On 19 December, when the Lindt Cafe siege was underway in Sydney's Martin Place, Abbott honourably deflected calls to tie the event into wider themes of militant Islam. But hours after the siege had ended, and as recently as last Monday's National Press Club speech, there he was dogwhistling again: as though speaking in nuanced terms about cross-border Islamic politics is tantamount to violence.

Tony Abbott was never PM material. I thought he was so bad the press gallery would find him out, but they pretty much gave him a free pass. They all look like jerks now, Abbott hasn't vindicated them with some stellar statesmanlike performance. Even Liberals, who also knew what he was like, have stopped covering for him.

That's why he's finished. There's no-one left to cover for him: no phalanx of petty crime lawyers, no ranting Father Emmet Costello, no Packer or Howard; even Credlin, even Rupert Murdoch himself couldn't puff him up any more. The limited talents of Hockey, Dutton, or either Bishop just can't carry him.

Tony Abbott will be 58 years old this November: too old for rowdy-adolescent swaddling, but yet not ready for boards or consultancies or other roles occupied by adults. Do you reckon the next PM will make Abbott the last Australian knight? Me neither.

The fantasy is confusing

I laughed and shook his hand, and made my way back home
I searched for form and land, for years and years I roamed
This blog's pet bunny Mark Kenny had pulled over and popped the bonnet to find steam pouring out of it on Friday. "How did it come to this?", he asked, not helping his quest with silly imagery:
There's an oil and water quality to the competing narratives in Canberra at present. On the one side, we see an executive which claims to be sublimely competent, united, purposeful, and uniquely suited to progressing the national interest.
There is no side; no oil, no water. Just because Abbott declared himself competent, the press gallery was not obliged to take him at his word.

No politician is ever entitled to be taken at their word. And yes, it is possible to stick by that principle without being snide or cynical.
Of course, the seeds of that discontent reach much further back than handing royal titles back to the very palace which hands them out.

Indeed, the malaise at the heart of Abbott's now beleaguered prime ministership is a function of the deliberately created culture of conflict and strategic supremacy his office projected from the start. That supremacy is now its most central embarrassment ... Rather than providing co-ordination and leadership, Abbott's office styled itself from day one as a gratuitous conflict machine. Its operation has been characterised by sidelining MPs, lecturing ministers, vetoing trusted adviser selections and the claim that it was uniquely placed to make sound political judgments.
Firstly, the maturity of explaining the position on titles stands in contrast to Julia Baird's wacky effort, which shows no subtlety to Australian politics and thereby patronises her New York audience. Maybe this is what you need to do to get published in the US's atrophying press, but it's no less sad for that. Give Kenny some credit for that, and see more on Baird further down.

Kenny should have explained the Prime Minister's office in greater detail, given that an earlier version of it had already unmade one occupant (Rudd). Someone with Kenny's experience should have seen the same signs emitting from that office and warned us all - but no, only once the show is over do we get this kind of story - the very sort of thing that explains the link between Canberra shenanigans and how you and I are governed.

Instead, Kenny told us how great Abbott was, how he'd really changed, how he was super-duper in every way over that double-act from before. It doesn't make you a partisan to call out bullshit journalism. It makes you a citizen and a consumer, refusing to put up with the kind of sloppy shit that is Mark Kenny's standard fare.

The fantasy is someone else's fault

I gazed a gazely stare at all the millions here
We must have died alone, a long long time ago
When Laura Tingle is focussed on policy and judging politicians against it, there is no better journalist in the press gallery.

When not focused on policy, she comes out with this sort of thing, pretty much what everyone else says or does, hey it's the narrative what can you do.
For voters, it turned out that they really, really didn't know what he stood for – whether that was budget measures that they weren't expecting, or just how out of touch Abbott turned out to be on issues like knighthoods, changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, or funding for marriage counselling.

Voters had heard the slogans repeatedly endlessly: stop the debt, stop the taxes, stop the boats. But whether there was any underlying philosophy in among the slogans was unclear.
What Tingle is describing there is professional failure, on her part and by the rest of the clowns she calls her press gallery colleagues.

"Spin" is just a consistent message with which you disagree. Scientific research into diseases, treatments and preventative measures is "spin" to anti-vaxxers. Labor policy is "spin to Liberal supporters, and vice versa. Abbott was always spinning. It's just that you chose to believe him on the way up, and not believe him now that he's on the way out. Don't think you're being 'unbiased' or 'playing the game' when you're sometimes taken in by spin and sometimes not. Just describe what's going on.

Tony Abbott is entitled to talk his own book, as are the Coalition. It's the press gallery's job to do the analysis, to measure the big talk against other sources of information. Tingle is wrong to blame Abbott for spinning a web in which the press gallery found itself trapped, from which it is trying to extricate itself with varying degrees of success.

We'll decide what's spin and what isn't. When we threw out the Rudd-Gillard governments we threw out both baby and bathwater, because the press gallery talked up Abbott. The press gallery knew him better than anyone, so if he was the answer to the 'chaos' then the people took the gallery's word. Now with the departure of Abbott, there's much less baby and more bathwater than Tingle - and her press gallery colleagues - had led us to believe. People are angry at that, and the anger is partly but not wholly directed at the politicians.

I was awake to the fantasy all along, but neglected to tell you

Who knows? Not me
We never lost control
You're face to face
With the Man who Sold the World
This is Katharine Murphy's line:
Tony Abbott disappeared for me sometime in the middle of 2013. That’s not a hard deadline, but June is the last time I remember glimpsing the person I had watched and dealt with over years of political reporting.
Oh dear.

When you go back to Murphy's reporting around that time, you should see her expressing some puzzlement about The Real Tony versus The Tony I See Before Me - but, no.

Murphy has been known to keen about the imaginary 24-hour news cycle and yearn to get her teeth into some policy analysis - but like most of the press gallery she didn't go after the prospective Abbott government for its policies or lack thereof, and was quite content to pass off his blandishments as a more serious critique of government than anything she could muster.
Team Abbott could fool themselves that they had actually conquered chaos.
They could, but only with the connivance of people like Katharine Murphy. She's wise after the event of the Abbott government. She would deserve the credit that her readers and current employers give her had she been awake to Abbott at or during this time. It's all a bit late to take Abbott at face value and then decide in retrospect there was a facade that someone should have investigated.
The intoxicating power of that illusion cannot be underestimated in modern politics. Politicians crave control and certainty, because the old orthodoxies and rituals are busted. Disruption is now the only certainty. Modern politicians have become obsessed with fixes, with road maps, with gurus – not realising they are being led by false prophets, and sustained by false comforts.
If only there had been journalists to smoke out the false prophets and comforts.
The take-no-prisoners culture imposed inside the government created the bizarre cult of Peta Credlin, which was both vexed reality and collective mythology. The “witch in the office” began to loom larger than ministers, and project as a proxy for the prime minister rather than a conduit. The prime minister was rendered a sock puppet, and consented to his diminution.

Politics has a high tolerance for bastardry as long as the strategy is working. But the edifice began crumbling very slowly right from the start. The whole enterprise felt strangely vacant and unconvincing.
You should have told us so at the time. You were negligent not to. That "witch in the office" was actually the difference between Abbott being some crass brawler and the apparition of a thoughtful, sensitive man who could have made a very good Prime Minister. She was (no domestic connotations intended) the woman behind the curtain.
Abbott has always been a contrary figure, a complex person, and his stock in trade, aggressive simplicity, could only resonate when it was delivered in broad brushstrokes. The devil was always going to be in the detail.
That is nowhere near good enough as a piece of analysis. It isn't only the devil that's in the detail. Thousands of good people live and work in the detail of government policy - they're not devils, and it's stupid to report their lives and work in that manner. That detail is the stuff of journalism, not drifting from press conference to picfac wondering if a person you've known for years isn't morphing into someone else before your eyes.
Tony Abbott is trapped inside his own feedback loop ... his fortress ... his bunker ...
When someone mixes their metaphors like that, they no longer care whether or not what they are saying makes sense. Murphy could have warned us ahead of time what an Abbott government might have been like, an what we might have done to avoid it - but hey, no point killing yourself for a deadline, eh?

The proper use of anonymous sources

We are entitled to be told how we are governed.

Anonymous-source journalism was a big feature of the last government. It crowded out well-researched policy to which people were happy to put their names. It was sneaky and dishonest and made it look as though government was about something else than governing the country in its own best interests. Baird is great at research and explaining complex ideas, as her thesis-cum-book on women in political media shows.

Julia Baird cannot claim that she's protecting her job in the press gallery by keeping anonymous sources anonymous. She's based in Sydney, and comperes a game show where contestants talk past each other, add nothing to public debate, and win no prizes. She's playing the game but has forgotten, if she ever knew, what it's all about. That last tweet is a killer ("One MP is a Turnbull supporter, the other has a name starting with D; one MP cries in sad movies, the other is a passionate Tigers supporter" - you could go on and on like that, couldn't you). No wonder her articles on this country for foreigners are so wacky!

My local member is Liberal MP John Alexander. In all this hoo-ha you can bet a press gallery journo has heard from Alexander, and should be in a position to tell me and my neighbours how he is voting tomorrow. We should be able to lobby him, as we would for any other matter of public importance. The idea that Baird and others are protecting him in some way is silly and wrong. What great journalism ever came from petty confidences such as these?

It would probably be a waste of time. Alexander's media is full of his getting out and about and being consultative, etc. The fact is he turns up late to local events, gets his pic taken, talks briefly to the two or three people who run the event, and high-tails it out of there. He grimaces or winces at people rather than smiles: I just don't think he likes people and resents that great-unwashed aspect of his job. Why Baird feels the need to protect him, or any other incumbent, is unclear. Anonymous sources should only be for the big stories.

That said, I have read Baird's other pieces on anonymity and loss of control by the sorts of people who mentored her career, and how everyone on social media whom she has not already met is some batshit-crazy freak. From that I have reverse-engineered this cut-out-and-keep guide for all of you social media denizens who want to do things to Julia Baird's satisfaction:

Acceptable Use of Anonymity in the Media

Anonymous sources commenting on matters concerning the life and death of governments and policies
Anonymous focus groups and poll responses, and the anonymous figures who leak those findings anonymously
Anonymous social media comment
Unacceptable. The end of civilisation as we know it
Social media comment that isn’t anonymous, by people who don’t mix in politico-media circles
How is that different? I’m confused

The task of the press gallery

The press gallery failed in its role to properly scrutinise Abbott, just as it had with Rudd.

The ALP and Liberal Party respectively also failed, but that's another story; it's too easy to let the media off the hook when it comes to systematic failure. Indeed, letting it off the hook only lets it blame internet or whatever, and excuses its gaping and ongoing failures. The audience, the readership, the citizenry are mostly content to slip away from the failure of political reporting, and too few of the press gallery really miss them/us when they/we have gone, assuming they are vindicated by their employment and those (fools) who maintain them in that employment.

The press gallery can't all be like Niki Savva, who wouldn't hear a word of criticism about Abbott until her employers told her to Make Glorious Propaganda Against Running-Dog Abbott, whereupon she pivoted and the guy can't do anything right. She's not a journalist. Niki Savva can fuck off, and so can everyone who thinks "that's a bit harsh".

The task of the press gallery is to match what politicians say/do against objective, or at least respected, sources of truth. That's the job. The above do that to varying degrees but not nearly enough. They do not work harder than we outside the gallery work. They deserve no more excuses or allowances than the rest of us get in our jobs. If developing an ability to analyse policy, and assess politicians' words against that, will save your job - then why not do that? What else would you do? You can't seriously imagine the same old crap will be good enough ad infinitum.

When you grizzle about how hard you work, and cringe before the phantom that is the "24-hour news cycle", consider that Tony Abbott did his best - and his best wasn't early good enough, not even close. This should have been more obvious to the press gallery long before this.

*Grabs the press gallery by the lapels and shakes* You should have told us. You could have forwarned us. This, our country, did not have to be in this predicament.

Feeling sorry for Tony Abbott

Yes, seriously. I thought he was a dickhead when I met him in the '90s. But then, look at who he has to work with.

Abbott kept Arthur Sinodinos' job open for him for over a year (hell, the Liberal Party only gave Harold Holt a month). Abbott copped a lot of stick for that. To see Sinodinos turn on Abbott was pretty low - had he held his water and stood by the leader, he would have demonstrated the integrity his supporters insist is the essence of the man. I wouldn't give him any job after this.

It can be a tragedy when good, hardworking MPs lose their seats when a duff leader stuffs up the campaign. One of those who sponsored the spill motion tomorrow, Luke Simpkins MP, is a climate denier who wants to ban burqas. A more moderate approach to government will save his job; while a leader in line with Simpkins' values would see him lose his job. Politics is pretty funny, isn't it.

A final thought on Turnbull

Imagine if Turnbull had quit the Coalition front bench on any number of issues - climate change, gay marriage, the NBN or the ABC. Imagine he had spent the last 17 months on the backbenches. How would things be different? He wouldn't have missed the extra ministerial income. He would have shown that sucking up to Rupert doesn't make a lick of difference; when you're gone, you're gone. Someone like Peter Dutton could have achieved everything that Turnbull has done as Communications Minister. Turnbull would still be a contender for the leadership, just as Bishop would have piked it as she always does.

All those compromises, those heartfelt declarations of fealty to Abbott and his agenda, the one that can't be sold. What was it all for?


  1. Thank you, Andrew. This is some of your best work.

  2. Simply elegant.

    I am sure the coming days will deliver plenty for your comments and analysis.

    As always, I look forward to reading it. Sorry if I sound like a sycophantic slag but I figure an expression of sincere appreciation trumps silence.

    - Melena Santorum

  3. Lachlan Ridge9/2/15 1:45 am


    And as someone who has worked in the belly of the beast, Andrew's line should be a rallying cry: "We are entitled to be told how we are governed. "

    For we very seldom are. How many people do you know who could, off their own bat, organise to get their local park mowed, or a piece of public street furniture repaired?

    This stuff belongs to all of us, but we don't know how it works! No wonder people can steal your mineral wealth of you and your children and get away with it. We have learnt to be hopeless in the face of real power, such as an employer, a church, a council, an electricity or phone company. Companies that our parents used to own. Companies whose goodwill was built up by our parent's and grandparent's taxes. Did we get a fair return? We are now paying for something we used to own. Qui Bono: Who benefits?

    Anyway. El Gibbs, whom some of you may know as Blunt Shovels on the Twittergram, wrote an award winning piece about my hometown. It slices and dices received wisdom on domain,co, sorry....housing. This piece shows that writing about policy can be gripping and sexy. Didn't The Wire teach us that?

    So what do we do? Follow the Student Politicians into a western Sydney approximation of contemporary Baltimore? Better call Saul.

    You wanna read some real write? Up there like Elder? Check this out: http://insidestory.org.au/a-place-to-call-home.

    I particularly liked this quote from a Commonwealth government report from 1945: "...a dwelling of good standard and equipment is not only the need but the right of every citizen – whether the dwelling is to be rented or purchased, no tenant or purchaser should be exploited for excessive profit.”

    Radical, huh?

    1. Another good comment on another excellent piece. I dream of the day the Lachlan & Andrew combine in another place that we can all access.

  4. As usual an incisive well reasoned argument and indictment of the msm, which, with a very few exceptions, rolled over and played dead from 2009 until now, and they'd still be doing so if the government they endorsed so blithely hadn't exposed itself so quickly and so completely with the budget.

    I don't believe that they had no idea what an Abbott government would do, or try to do. After all they knew Liesalot reported to NewsCorpse every week to get his orders from the wizened foreigner; they probably ran into him on THEIR way to get their orders. They had to know, because we all knew.

    I also don't believe Murphy's sloppy sentimental pap. Her version of Abbott has never existed; he's always been a pugnacious Tea party warrior, who believes that the rich should be rewarded from public funds and the poor, disadvantaged and disabled have brought it on themselves and should be punished accordingly.

    And now he's finished Howard's job of removing moderates and anyone with talent and a heart and the Liberal Party is stocked with people like the repulsive 'scum and serial rorters like Abbott himself.

    The msm could have scrutinised what is laughingly called the "Liberal" Party and informed the public honestly what their agenda is, but instead chose to look the other way on their path to irrelevance.

    And you're right on the money about Turnbull. He has shown that he is as shallow, insincere and lacking in principles as the creature who replaced him.

    If he does beat Abbott by some miracle, they'll hardly notice the difference.

  5. Eminence Grise9/2/15 3:04 am

    I suspect Sinodinos is at the core of the spill, doing Howard's work to save the furniture and force Morrison into the job at some point in the near future. It's all played out too well to just be some spontaneous backbench revolt.

  6. I cannot understand why anyone expected Abbott to turn out any different. It was obvious during his time as Opposition leader.

    The only surprise I got, was that is showed up so early. Not even I thought he could be so bad.

    Listening to this morning news, it appears, he is only waking up to the fact he is in dire trouble.

  7. There have extraordinary statements from Teresa Gambaro and Cory Bernardi this morning regarding dissatisfaction with Turnball and intimidating and threatening behaviour from the p.m's own office..

    Ms Credlin has handled the attack dog in a very extreme way

    Katherine Murphys piece on the neo-liberal machine was excellent...

    Your predictions were correct all along

    Hope you have that smug look on your face in the next couple of days

  8. Excellent piece Andrew.

    However how many of these hacks you so gleefully kick have any choice? Sure, they could actually do some work but where would it get them? I can't imagine any of Merde-ochs minions saying anything against the Boss' line and surviving.

    Who among them have the courage to even try? Should we blame them for being bullied?

    It seems to me that only the on-line media can be relied upon for reasonable analysis and even so, one has to be very careful where you look.

    Here is a good place.

    1. Are you sure the Eichmann Defence is any more legitimate today than it was sixty years ago.

      I am really glad Andrew put the article up. I understand thatthey are under surveillance, but I am so sick of people of the sort he describes, who are not disempowered slaves to the cycle as they would claim, but manufacturers of it, refusing to allow the public out of the hoodwink time warp they've put them in to suit their masters and their own well-heeled selves.

  9. First off, I think you are a bit soft on Savva, Baird and Murphy. More to the point, there probably needs to be some analysis of the claim that Abbott was a fantastic opposition leader. I believe there were two opposition leaders and Abbott was the recipient of all the hard work Rudd did against Gillard. Rudd and Lathams strength was they both wanted to win, only Rudd was a bit more presentable, Abbott was the same.Costello, Beazley and Crean all probably wanted to do a good job but all wanted it handed to them. Abbott and Rudd seemed to have been only focussed on getting there and therefore have no clue as to what to do once they are there. The fact that clowns like these get to the top is an indictment on the system and the voters. Thank god the voters have the opportunity to correct their mistakes.

    1. Agreed.

      Abbott was as good an opposition leader as the media reporting on him were terrible. I can't remember an opposition leader having such a dream run - and having that arch turd Rudd happily aiding and abetting.

  10. The Labor Minority govt. did their job of governing the country very well, I thought. And there are a lot of people onside about this. Thus the idea of the chaos of the previous govt. is distorted truth, much of it founded on sheer lies, that we hear over and over again. I am disappointed to be hearing it here.

    The chaos started with Abbott winning opposition leader position. Rudd went down to it, and Gillard took over to save Labor at the next election. Then it seems Rudd got drawn in to the chaos and angst too. Two blokes trashing against her is what happened, although Abbott did the most for most of the time, in case you hadn't noticed.

    Some men have a a tragic flaw in that they will irresistibly follow some guy who is doing the wrong thing. It was certainly not the fairest of circumstance for Julia even though she had good support beside her. Yet the Minority govt. did a very good job.
    In the good support beside her were many men as well as lots of women. They did not look like chaotic types to me. Windsor, Oakeshott and Brown come to mind. Thus I will continue to argue that the previous Labor govt with minority support was probably the least chaotic govt. we have ever had. The trouble was all the noise and hype from outside. In Tony Abbott's case it was "one bad ego spoils them all". This is what we are still suffering from, chaos driven by Tony Abbott, and the really dumb delusion that the Labor Minority Govt. was chaos. It was not!

    Look at how another one is popping up in QLD. Must be good. LOL

    1. Totally agree with you re the 43rd Parliament, the Minority Government. Windsor and Oakeshott have both, in the time since then, discussed how hard working and organised it was.

      The idea that it was CHAOS was an MSM invention spooned fed by that psychopath Rudd and his small band of whiteants, with Abbott and his henchman fanning the flames happily.

      And how the media loved it...it fed their bloodlust, their inflated sense of self importance and their misogyny all in one hit! We saw story after story from the MSM hacks, opining loftily on "leadership". Of course few of them had ever run so much as a chook raffle in a pub themselves, which made them look even more ridiculous.

    2. Let's face it Anon, Julia Gillard was almost totally responsible for that "governing (of) the country very well.

      Such a pity the media didn't discover that. And they still won't acknowledge their mistake.

  11. yeah, bloody hell, it is simply nauseating (the media). I have had an absolute gutful of reading the crap of Kenny and the rest of them. While Murphy has improved at the Guardian she lost me when she wrote, with great gravitas and pretence, at the SMH:

    "Tony Abbott knows how to intuit the morality of symbolism".

    Need a bucket? I did.

    Read a great piece today which noted that:

    "A leadership crisis makes for good copy and it allows the all-news TV channels to flood the airwaves with blue-tie talking heads from dusk till dawn and then from dawn till dusk – (rinse and repeat).

    They really only have one thing to say, but it has to be said again and again by as many people as possible with spin (rinse and repeat) and with varying inflections.

    Then the tea leaves, the coffee grounds, the chicken entrails, the pigeon droppings and the contents of the ministerial chamberpots are pored over, poked at, sniffed, taste-tested, licked, chewed, sucked and spat out like so much cheap plonk at a Dan Murphy’s wine-tasting.

    But the audience (AKA, the punters, the voting public, the great unwashed) ends up being none the wiser.

    The men (and the few women) who get to pontificate, pronounce, denounce and define the terms of political debate are hunted down like so many fowl on the opening day of duck season.

    Reporters can be seen scrambling over the corpses to get the “exclusive”; they fondle their phones like they are talismans of truthiness and they can’t wait to tell us about their secret sauces who are telling them (and them alone, rinse and repeat) how it will all go down behind closed doors.

    Unfortunately, most of them are intellectual pygmies with more ambition than brains.

    For them it is the chase and the story, not the substance that matters..."

    HOW APTLY PUT! Tbh, I can't stomach one more word of it, so am doing an MSM free zone for a few days. Not that that will be long enough, this stuff is guaranteed to go on well into the future. Polls every 5 minutes highjacking process, media and politicians hanging off every nuance.

    One aspect that I have been thinking about a lot recently(may have commented on it in one of your earlier blogs, not sure). And that is the fact that the Libs made the same mistake with Abbott as the ALP did with Rudd: they elected a leader who was able to win an election, but simply does NOT have the character or capacity to make it as a PM. The modus operandi for winning the election may have been different that that of Rudd, but some of the behaviours in office have been quite similar (espec failure to consult, announcing unilaterally decided policy on the run etc etc)

    Tony Abbott SHOULD never be PM, that is for sure.

    1. "Secret sauces?" Was that intentional?

    2. haha. Not my words, but damned funny!

  12. Final thought on Turnball, if Abbott is currently committed to Murdoch, then equally, wasn't Turnball just Packers' drone back in the day? Different days and horses, but what's the difference, two guys in shiny suits facilitating media moguls reach into your wallet

  13. Whilst I agree with your assessment of press gallery, these hacks are responsible for giving Abbott a free ride, the likes of Grattan spent fully two tears enthralled and encouraging Rudd's leaking and attacking of Gillard, all the while wilfully and negligently ignoring Abbott's small target policy approach. Rupert's braying cheerleaders need not even be mentioned. Indeed even now the press gallery won't just openly call out Abbotts' policies as nonsense and contrary: axing two top end taxes in an alleged budget crisis?, replacing the lost revenue with an inequitable low end austerity that can't possible make up the deficit?, ignoring vast swathes of Howard era corporate welfare drains? and on and on. It's contradictory and malevolent, the result of too many mixed promises to the various backers over at the IPA. However whilst the media is still negligent on calling out the contradictory debacle of Abbott's policy - you know, some analysis from a defined position, ideological or economic - I found this article refreshingly frank, it's well worth a read:


    Keep up the blogs, as when this all looks a bit too bleak I need an update hit.

    1. The article by Verrender is a good read, Anon.

  14. I've always suspected with most journos it's all about just doing the job and not the passion for it. I think they wanted Abbott in because he would be dangerous and unpredictable and therefore an easy source for the days copy. I mean look at disasters, earthquakes, tidal waves etc. it's all easy stuff, laid on, not much stress to do the days job.Same with Tony, Gillard was boring, after all she just got on with policy and boring stuff like running the country, hard for a journo to write about for the work of the day. Tony is much easier so they thought, so for their own selfish laziness to make their job easy, they made sure Abbott was elected.

  15. Anon...if that's the case then our media are a bunch of real wankers..

    It's going to be very interesting when Ms Huffington opens her office here in Australia.

    Hope she fills a void that has already been lost in our m.s.m

    Nice job as always

  16. Was the MSM splashing in the shallows yesterday with its coverage of the spill motion?

    It seems to me that there are murkier waters to explore.

    Abbott's personal failings aside, I suspect the result reflects the ideological rift within the Liberal party. The spill motion result was not so much about Abbott's leadership but an expression of unease about his replacement, whomever he or she may be.

    Did Malcolm fail to put himself forward as a leadership candidate because it could have opened the door for Scott Morrison?

    I have convinced myself that SM will oust TA. Two climate sceptics from WA bringing on spill motion to trigger a Turnbull Prime Ministership? Sounds far-fetched to me. Bishop? Doesn't fit either. Morrison? Well that is something to ponder. Malcolm must doubt his numbers not to have gone yesterday.

    Meanwhile today is the first day of good Abbott government, or words to that effect. Sounds a bit Rool Juliah to me.

    I hope we are all encouraged.

  17. Ms Janet Albrechesten and company can all go and f....ck off as well for being a little nastier than Nikki Savva and playing such a stupid shallow game..

    Is she still writing to pay those private school fees as well until she manages to marry money bags Kroger??

    Seems like it Andrew!!

  18. On Monday Abbott fronted 7.30 on ABC - lots of usual bluster, but nearly fell off chair when this bit of gold came out of Abbott's mouth, "We will address the big issues in a different way. We will socialise decisions before we finalise them, and that way we’re more likely to take the people with us.” Now years ago I studied modern European history & recall quite clearly a quote from old Adolf Himself along lines of, we need not socialise the factories as we will socialise the people themselves and bring them into our program. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not going all hyperbole and calling Abbott a national socialist by any means, and there is such thing as bad coincidence, but damn, the language was astounding in historical context, but sadly, it will slip by unnoticed in broader media despite being an, almost Phillipesque, gaffe.

  19. I'm a progressive liberal from Victoria and these federal conservatives sicken me to the core.

    They're emulating the selfishness of the upper classes in Greece sadly.

    Not comparing the economy with Greece just to clarify my point

    They're in it for themselves and a media that's full of selfish careerist journalists who comply with the whole political game..

    It's quite disturbing what disgusting role models these people are to a younger generation of liberals

    It's so sad...we need change swiftly.