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Peak euphemism? #Ozfail

December 1st, 2013

We’ve been used to imagining the global supply of euphemisms as limitless, but if Dennis Shanahan keeps at it, the world will be running short by the time the Abbott government leaves office. In a single column (Google it) he manages to refer to “accusations of broken promises”, “the shift on the Gonski education promise”, “the repudiation of Labor’s Gonski education promises”, “The management of the Gonski “unity ticket” on education funding”, ” accusations of broken promises” (again), “The readjustment of expectations on Gonski” “the painful Gonski process” and “a cusp of credibility”. Given his leader’s penchant for three word slogans, perhaps a three-letter word starting with “L” might be what Shanahan is reaching for here.

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  1. Catching up
    December 1st, 2013 at 09:01 | #1

    Why not just stick with the man is lying.

  2. BilB
    December 1st, 2013 at 09:45 | #2

    Perhaps Shannahan sees his role as being one of suppressing reality until the Liberals have completed the task of rewriting history by eliminating forgettable speeches from their party records.

    No doubt there is a think huddle going on somewhere right now considering how to expunge all of Abbott’s election (finally blatantly obvious to a dumbfounded press gallery) lies from the National Library as well.

    How could Australians have been so stupid as to elect this lot of losers to government?

  3. Fran Barlow
    December 1st, 2013 at 10:00 | #3

    Oh there are a few more still in the toolbox …

    Facing the painful realities of government; the hangover after the party the night before; conflicting imperatives; difficult choices; hard decisions are what responsible government is all about; lowering expectations; clarifying the grey areas in previous commitments; the need to shift the conversation away from the business of opposition and transition to government …

    I should say that at the time the Opposition made its “unity ticket” remarks (and similar) there was no doubt at all what they intended people to believe about their policy, nor has anything that might not have been foreseeable arisen to render the promise inviable, so this move now strongly implies bad faith at the time — making it a form of lying. This also distinguishes it from the “carbon tax” disavowal of Gillard on August 16 2010, because in that case, there was no suggestion by anyone at the time that she had proposed abandoning carbon pricing — which was still ALP policy. Gillard assumed that if she won, she’d be able to have her “deep consensus” established by the “climate assembly” and didn’t rule out legislating “a market price on carbon” in the next parliament.

    As it turned out, she came to lead a minority regime — something not anticipated at the time — and so the climate assembly was dumped. One can’t infer even bad faith on this matter for her, though as I’ve said in the past, she was either stupid to mention it at all, and one suspects she was doing a bit of dogwhistling at the soft deniers in an attempt to guard her right flank, inviting them to imagine that in practice, there’d be no carbon price at all for some time — in essence duplicating Rudd’s position in practice.

    But Abbott here has definitely misrepresented LNP policy in an attempt to neutralise a policy difference between the parties that could harm his campaign so that the vote could be seen as a straight vote on the ALP as managers. He used the “unity ticket” formulation for NDIS and “aged care” as well — in the latter case during the debate at Rooty Hill. In short, this was no throwaway line late in the campaign, but one of those “carefully scripted statements”.

    In short, he clearly was lying on this. I note also the LNP’s claim that they had “200 policies ready to go” (presumably including Gonski) and yet now they aren’t sure what policy funding model should be adopted. That must also be counted a lie in the strongest sense unless those 200 didn’t include one on funding education. Their cover was the unity ticket claim.

    I’d say “sleazy” was an apt term here.

  4. MikeH
  5. BilB
    December 1st, 2013 at 10:28 | #5

    Now the ultimate National shame, Abbott is taking this intelligence “u” turn to the G20 in Australia’s name. And Campbell Newman is right there beside him.

    It seems Newman’s price to be an Abbott education toady is just $130 million.

  6. BilB
    December 1st, 2013 at 10:34 | #6

    That is just downright sickening, MikeH.

    Zero impartiality of the press there………full stop!

    Clearly the Australian is nothing more than a party political rag,…… that people pay for?

  7. Fran Barlow
    December 1st, 2013 at 10:42 | #7

    This just on ABC News from Abbott:

    We’ll deliver the education promises we made, not the education promises the public thought we made.

    Of course, if one puts that line, it’s an admission that one’s “mandate” is for what others thought they meant. Thus, whatever they said, if people thought they meant they were implementing the “Better Schools” program or “NDIS” or FTTN by 2016 at a third the cost or their unity ticket on Aged Care policy then that’s what they have to do to keep faith.

    Someone should explore each of these things with them and invote them to say what they thought most folk who voted for them thought they meant. That would be instructive.

  8. Fran Barlow
    December 1st, 2013 at 10:42 | #8

    oops invite

  9. BilB
    December 1st, 2013 at 10:43 | #9

    Watching Abbott speaking in Brisbane, watching not hearing, there is no point in having the sound on…if Abbott’s lips are moving he is saying nothing that he won’t do the opposite of or renege on next week or sooner, that the ground work is being laid for an election again in February next year.

  10. Donald Oats
    December 1st, 2013 at 10:44 | #10

    Dennis is a hopeless unalloyed supporter of the Lib’s conservative arm: I gave up on his opinion pieces long ago—peak opinion piece veracity, perhaps?

    As for members of this government, we all know the three letter word which applies to their many flatly contradictory statements from day to day; we all know the four letter word, the noun identifying the individual purveyor of the three letter word; however, if we dare say it, the threat of a law suit is there. I’ll risk it: Christopher Pyne is a liar and the evidence is unequivocal: Fran Kelly nailed it on Insiders this morning. If he doesn’t believe it himself, he can take it up with her. Perhaps cut the ABC to the bone just to teach them a lesson, like the Gonski state government signatories feel they are being dealt…

    As for Tony Abbott, as I’ve said before, he is a political weathervane: he says what he feels the mood of the day dictates, but chucks in a little gifter for his most loyal of the voting constituency, before baldly reversing his direction a few days or weeks later. In opposition he was an awesome depiction of a wildly swinging weathervane, climate-related statements being a perfect demonstration of this marvellous talent.

  11. BilB
    December 1st, 2013 at 10:48 | #11

    No surprises there, Fran, but that is a detail I missed (not having the sound on). It just beggars belief. My daughter doing her master of education in Melbourne is livid with at Abbott’s total lack of integrity, and barefaced scamming of Australian’s.

  12. cam_l
    December 1st, 2013 at 10:59 | #12

    @Fran Barlow
    ..and more to the point, if people only voted for them on the basis of a unity ticket which they do not intend to implement, surely the honorable thing to do is to go back to the electorate?

  13. David Allen
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:01 | #13

    I look to any government to first of all govern on my behalf. I never expect to get a pony, (I’m doing ok) but I demand that everyone’s children, the sick, the less fortunate, indigenous Australians, asylum seekers, foreigners in general get treated kindly and their needs met where practicable. I can forgive any number of mistakes by a governments as long it holds to this aim.

    What I can’t abide are the kind of self-serving shivs and extremists who want to shove their dogma down everyone’s throat while feathering their own nests. Abbott’s record so far is looking very poor (asylum seekers, education, NBN, climate change, foreign policy, ….) and all this in less than 3 months. I don’t even personally know anyone who would benefit from this regime but I guess religious extremists, the rich and powerful, the stupid and the fearful are out there in great enough numbers to vote them in. What I get is a minimum of 3 years of shame, 3 years of wondering why Australia can’t actually be a great country rather than a third rate pretender run by imbeciles.

    Dennis Shanahan is just broken in the head. I wouldn’t ask him the time of day.

  14. Fran Barlow
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:06 | #14

    David Allen

    What I get is a minimum of 3 years of shame, 3 years of wondering why Australia can’t actually be a great country rather than a third rate pretender run by imbeciles.

    I’m thinking more like 18 months at this stage. They don’t look coherent enough to get through an entire term without falling apart.

  15. rsp
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:08 | #15

    It’s straight out of the Yes Prime Minister scripts, which talk of “political promises” in such a way as to indicate that these are promises that the maker does not not expect to keep and does not expect to be held to, even by a credulous electorate.

  16. Hal9000
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:09 | #16

    @Fran Barlow
    I said to my partner when I heard that gem: ‘This is Tony Abbott’s Humpty Dumpty moment.’ This is an expression of open cynicism and it is astonishing in its candid contempt for the electorate. To paraphrase Howard: we decide what the words we say mean and the circumstances in which they are interpreted.

  17. Catching up
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:19 | #17

    I suspect that the Queensland Premier is the only one willing to stand beside Abbott today.

    It appears, with this government, it is our fault, if it is seen as breaking promises. Not Mr. Abbott’s fault if we do not comprehend what he said.

    Accordion to Abbott. as I see it, he is saying, we should not listen to the words, as we should know what he means.

    Must say, clever than what Howard came up with. That of core and non core promises.
    By the way, does anyone have any idea, of what Abbott did promise, when it came to education.

  18. John Quiggin
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:32 | #18

    @Fran Barlow

    Is that an actual quote? If so, it really is his “Humpty Dumpty” moment.

  19. David C.
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:35 | #19

    Come on guys. This was obviously a non-core promise™ (Liberal Party).

  20. Catching up
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:36 | #20

    Maybe this government should print a guide to Abbott speak.

    Maybe we will then be able to decipher what he really means.

    Could be a problem, that it is so outrageous, that he cannot let us in on the secret.

  21. Catching up
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:37 | #21

    No, not non core. The fault is ours, for not reading hidden meanings into his words. One could call it Abbott speak.

  22. Catching up
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:38 | #22

    Yes, Fran that is what he said on Bolt, then in Brisbane.

    New weasel word for today.

  23. Fran Barlow
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:42 | #23

    PrQ

    [Is that an actual quote? If so, it really is his “Humpty Dumpty” moment.]

    Yes and yes. It was on Bolt this morning with a transcript from Peter Martin on twitter.

  24. Fran Barlow
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:45 | #24

    By the way HAL9000, I liked your rendering of this back into the Howard doctrine that I posted it elsewhere and on twitter. I gave you credit in the first location but I had to amend it to fit it intelligibly into twitter so I didn’t give you the credit there that you deserved.

    I hop you’ll forgive me, but in any event, I’m doing early disclosure so that I can say that I didn’t intend plagiarism.

  25. Fran Barlow
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:47 | #25

    oops:

    I liked your rendering of this back into the Howard doctrine so much that I posted it elsewhere and on twitter {…} I hope you’ll forgive me …

  26. Dan
    December 1st, 2013 at 12:05 | #26

    I just don’t understand what else people were expecting?

  27. Dan
    December 1st, 2013 at 12:09 | #27

    They were a completely vapid, negative and unimaginative opposition, and are now a completely vapid, negative and unimaginative government. Quelle surprise.

    Leaving aside the dishonesty about the ‘budget emergency’, which seemed to have a surprising amount of resonance in the electorate… more rightwingers should read The Economist, heh.

  28. Catching up
    December 1st, 2013 at 12:15 | #28

    Dan, it is exactly what I was expecting. Have been annoying many writing about what I expected for a year or more.

    Even I, did not expect every thing I said or predicted to come to be the reality we are in today.

    There must be many on the right, that do not like or believe in what this man and his cronies are doing.

  29. Fran Barlow
    December 1st, 2013 at 12:17 | #29

    @Dan

    They were a completely vapid, negative and unimaginative opposition, and are now a completely vapid, negative and unimaginative government. Quelle surprise.

    Very much so. Their “Real Solutions for Australians” booklet was a tour de force in these respects.

  30. Dan
    December 1st, 2013 at 12:19 | #30

    Well, the approval ratings have dropped like a fleet of DC10s.

  31. David C
    December 1st, 2013 at 12:28 | #31

    It is to be expected because the media didn’t hold Abbott accountable during the election campaign. Apparently whenever he gets a difficult question during a press conference he just walks away.

    As others have stated the media percieve that their role is to bring down an existing governement, but not to prevent a bad one from taking office.

  32. Catching up
    December 1st, 2013 at 12:29 | #32

    We still have not seen what they have in store for health. What is coming down the IR pipe.

    Cutting those regulations, green, black and red tape, I fear will not be to the liking of many.

    We also have also those investigations, into Gillard, and allegations from 20 years ago. HIP, and HSU.

    All costly, but one can hope, they turn out, as the one that revealed the bottom of the harbour schemes , when they went after the Victorian Painters and Dockers.

    Even with the scandals involving Obeid, there are many more business men, than politicians.

  33. David Allen
    December 1st, 2013 at 12:52 | #33

    Not that there’s any connection between Abbott’s substantially catholic cabinet and his Gonski lies but it’s worth noting. (Abbott, Brandis(?), Hockey, Joyce, Pyne, Andrews, Turnbull, Robb, Cormann) 8 out of 19. Throw in a couple of Anglicans and a couple of fringe mobs. Would there be a leaning to ensure high funding of non-government schools perhaps? Not exactly a body of lived experience of the public system.

    Is this mix really representative of the Australian population?

  34. Ikonoclast
    December 1st, 2013 at 12:55 | #34

    I just wonder when the electorate will reach Peak Gullibility and start disbelieving these LNP snake oil merchants.

  35. Hal9000
    December 1st, 2013 at 13:25 | #35

    @Fran Barlow
    That’s quite all right, Fran. I’m flattered to think it may become part of common wisdom.

  36. Catching up
    December 1st, 2013 at 13:37 | #36

    I suspect the public system is not broken enough for this government.

    They will not be happy until they see the public system, dead buried and cremated,.

  37. Phil
    December 1st, 2013 at 13:57 | #37

    Australia, a great county led by 3rd rate (I am being gererous here) spivs

  38. Catching up
    December 1st, 2013 at 14:25 | #38

    There is one thing, I do not understand about Abbott. Is his professed admiration, and onbe could say love for the GG. He thinks she is a wonderful woman.

    On Bolt this morning, he was strident in his defence of her.

    Even Bolt was a little taken back.

    The question is why?. Unless I am mistaken, this woman has spent her life working for woman’s rights. Not a right wing hero in any way.

  39. rog
    December 1st, 2013 at 15:14 | #39

    Now deleted but recorded in the wayback machine is Abbotts “pledge” August 2013

    If elected, the Coalition will:
     
    – ensure Commonwealth schools funding committed by Labor for school year 2014 will flow to all states and territories irrespective of whether they have signed a deal with the Gillard or Rudd Government;
    – amend the Australian Education Act to ensure the states, territories and non-government sectors keep authority for their schools; and
    – match the Commonwealth funding for schools committed by Labor over the forward estimates.
     
    This will provide schools and parents with the funding certainty they deserve. It means that the Coalition will match Labor dollar-for-dollar over the next four years.

  40. rog
    December 1st, 2013 at 15:18 | #40

    My mistake it’s still up on the Lib site

  41. December 1st, 2013 at 15:39 | #41

    @rog

    Your problem is you aren’t reading their policy creatively enough. When they say, “It means that the Coalition will match Labor dollar-for-dollar over the next four years”, you would be thinking that they mean Australian dollar-for-Australian dollar. But what they meant was “East Carribean dollar-for-Australian dollar”.

    I can’t see how you missed that!

  42. rog
    December 1st, 2013 at 15:46 | #42

    I think that in 12 months this will be a non issue – unlike the ALP Abbott is not scared of public opinion (or appears not).

  43. Catching up
    December 1st, 2013 at 15:50 | #43

    rog, do you really believe all those,,,, from across all sectors of society are going to roll over and die on this one.

    The trouble for Abbott. is that the SES model is indeed broken, unfair and waste of money, that is allowing education in this country to go backwards.

    Same goes for carbon emissions. Neither are not going away.

  44. Donald Oats
    December 1st, 2013 at 16:34 | #44

    @John Quiggin
    Assuming that The Guardian story is reliably quoting the rabbits, then it tells the tale as Fran has said it.

  45. Jim Rose
    December 1st, 2013 at 16:37 | #45

    @Fran Barlow whomever they defeated must be worse.

  46. Martin A
    December 1st, 2013 at 19:30 | #46

    Catching up :
    There is one thing, I do not understand about Abbott. Is his professed admiration, and onbe could say love for the GG. He thinks she is a wonderful woman.
    On Bolt this morning, he was strident in his defence of her.
    Even Bolt was a little taken back.
    The question is why?. Unless I am mistaken, this woman has spent her life working for woman’s rights. Not a right wing hero in any way.

    Perhaps Abbot is already looking towards a possible constitutional crisis?

  47. Robert (not from UK)
    December 1st, 2013 at 20:51 | #47

    Re David Allen’s query, George Brandis was raised as a Catholic and, as far as I know, has never apostatized from that religion.

  48. Michael
    December 1st, 2013 at 20:59 | #48

    @Jim Rose
    No, instead of having a government that was just politically incompetent but managerially sound, Abbott’s government is the real deal and they have proven it in record time and the polls are already starting bear that out.

  49. sunshine
    December 1st, 2013 at 21:17 | #49

    I think Abbott may have said ‘promises some thought we made ‘ ,not, ‘promises the public thought we made ‘ from memory ..? But that wouldnt water down the arrogance of the statement much anyway. They have a public relations problem at the moment that I’d like to see as looking and acting overly blokey. The consequence of an easy ride into office.

  50. Fran Barlow
    December 1st, 2013 at 22:18 | #50

    @Jim Rose

    whomever they defeated must be worse.

    Not necessarily, and in the circumstances, unsupportable, but moot even if true. If the less worse side is still unfit to lead, that’s still a disaster.

  51. BilB
    December 1st, 2013 at 22:59 | #51

    Only possibly true for a properly informed electorate, Jim Rose. In this past massively vested interest media biased election, certainly false.

  52. Megan
    December 1st, 2013 at 23:20 | #52

    And what is the best that the faceless CIA protect pies running the ALP can come up with?

    “We’d be the same as Abbott (or slightly worse, if necessary)!”

    Yay! Let’s all vote ALP

  53. Megan
    December 1st, 2013 at 23:44 | #53

    By the way, today’s rally in Brisbane was particularly impressive.

    There were about 2,000 motorcycles there.

    There were about 5,000 people.

    It was bi/non/anti-partisan and was a (ha, ha) ‘roaring’ success.

    It was mostly organised by the DLP (who I have deep reservations about, politically) and really hit a ‘grass-roots’ chord with the public. Peter Simpson from the ETU gave a good speech – but he was careful to point out that both ALP & LNP supported these anti-association laws.

    Kudos to all the people who made it work while faux-lefties were sitting about whining about horrible Abbott and Newman and ignoring the fact that we would have neither of them if the ALP had not become infested with neo-cons.

    Not only was there no sign of an ‘ALP type’, but I got attacked later on Twitter by one who lectured me that these consorting laws were good and (I quote) “If you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to fear”.

    Enjoy your oblivion!

  54. December 2nd, 2013 at 08:56 | #54

    Remember, always, that (acknowledged plagiarism of someone I can’t remember and am too lazy to Google) it’s mathematically impossible for a government to be stupider than the people who elected them.

  55. J-D
    December 2nd, 2013 at 10:10 | #55

    Back in 1981, before I was old enough to vote, and so long ago that I no longer recall what the specific promises in question were, Patrick Cook, in one of his satirical pieces, attributed to the then Prime Minister the position that it was inappropriate to keep election promises if you were lying at the time.

    He also described the then Prime Minister as defending his government against accusations that it had no policies by saying that it wasn’t true, they were going to lie and cheat and break promises a lot and put the boot in wherever possible.

  56. Fran Barlow
    December 2nd, 2013 at 10:56 | #56

    @ChrisB

    it’s mathematically impossible for a government to be stupider than the people who elected them.

    I’m not sure that’s the case. I suppose one would have to agree on what stupidity entailed and how the people electing them and the government were evaluated.

    In broad terms of course, people are responsible for their choices, including their voting, but of course, if intelligent people are presented with two coalitions, both of them aproximately equally stupid (whatever that means) their choices are limited to not voting, or choosing the least stupid of the two (assuming they can discern it). Those who fancy they have discerned a positive difference in favour of one and have chosen on that basis may well have helped elect a government more stupid than they are. I suppose one might vote tactically, deliberately choosing the more stupid of the two in the hope that its arrant stupidity would soon open uop debates in public space that, at some cost, would be less likely if the less stupid government achieved power.

    Some people (not I) think one is bound to vote even if one cannot see one of the alternatives as the lesser harm. These people aren’t stupid in my opinion but if one accepts their claim — typically from civic duty — then intellgent people may end up voting for utter fools.

    One might add that being stupid and being indolent or distracted or disengaged, though often co-extensive, are not necessarily so. If one pays too little attention to make good judgements, then one to the extent of the shortfall, may be regarded as objectively reckless, but as our system is configured to encourage passivity and disengagement one can see this as a minor intellectual deficit and quite different from those who, because they are standing for public office, are obliged to be paying attention. Some of the candidates — I’m looking at you Jaymes Diaz and that egregious woman from Lindsay — clearly weren’t paying attention and so their cognitive deficits were far more serious than those of the cash-register operator at my local supermarket or the chap who put up my colorbond fence.

    The system is configured to ensure that in government, stupidity is decisive, mediocrity a commonplace and insight an anomalous and annoying rarity. With these settings, and the design of the electortal system around continutiy, it’s virtually certain that the government will be more stupid than the population that elected it, depending on how one defines stupidity and its causes.

  57. Catching up
    December 2nd, 2013 at 13:17 | #57

    Hockey. Rating agencies raising concerns. Will someone tell him, it is he, not Labor that is in government.

  58. Uncle Milton
    December 2nd, 2013 at 13:52 | #58

    It would appear that Mr Abbott has changed his mind for the nth time, and is going fund Gonski after all. (At least that is what the headlines say.).So Shanahan might have to multiply his euphemisms by minus one if he is to maintain his apologia. Or he could sit tight until Abbott changes his mind for the n+1’th time. Then he won’t have to do anything.

  59. ratee
    December 2nd, 2013 at 14:08 | #59

    @Dan
    You saved me posting. This is exactly what his base expected to happen and they applaud.

  60. ratee
    December 2nd, 2013 at 14:22 | #60

    From the ABC 15 mins ago – funding restores but not the Gonski funding program…

    “I suspect that New South Wales and Victoria will be happy to lose the Canberra command and control elements of those deals but certainly the financial arrangements for the next four years will be absolutely adhered to,” he said.

    The Coalition Government wants to “dismantle” the regulations and red tape associated with Labor’s deal, saying it does not want to “run public schools out of Canberra”.

    It will shelve Labor’s ideas of imposing management plans for states’ schools systems, setting up Canberra-based inspectors and gathering extra data in Canberra.

    Now makes the arguements harder for the public to understand.

  61. may
    December 2nd, 2013 at 17:51 | #61

    ho ho heeeee

    funniest from today.

    some one (i assume it is a human and not not a euphobot)

    in the “worst australian”(still spitting chips stoksie)

    opinion column called the fin a ——

    “left leaning newspaper”

    chortle.

    bet?
    ChrisB :Remember, always, that (acknowledged plagiarism of someone I can’t remember and am too lazy to Google) it’s mathematically impossible for a government to be stupider than the people who elected them.

  62. Fran Barlow
    December 2nd, 2013 at 18:20 | #62

    Now that Abbott seems to be saying that Gonski is back on (well the funding but not “the command and control” elements ugh!) we must conclude that Abbott is now claiming to be delivering either

    a) the policy some people thought he promised

    OR

    b) the policy some people hoped he promised

    If it’s a) one wonders why it took him so long to conclude that this policy (rather than the one he thought he’d actually promised) to work out that this was preferable. How long did it take him to work out that these weren’t the same thing and that what he’d thought he promised was inferior?

    If it’s b) why has he been swayed by the the mere hopes of some people? Again, when did he realise that their hopes were so different? Did he get through both the election and even the period since September 7 with nobody tapping him on the shoulder and beginning a conversation on his ostensible commitment with “You do realise Tony …

    Did nobody point out to him that speaking of “unity tickets” handed definition of his promise to those who authored Gonski?

    It really is astonishing.

    At the very least, given that if we accept his explanation, he has some trouble communicating his ideas even to Liberal Premiers, let alone the public more widely, it seems that each of his claims will need to be parsed forensically, so as to ensure a true meeting of the minds has taken place, so that we can be absolutely certain he is saying what people think he is saying and he is understanding what people understand of his words.

    This is a new iteration of his problem communicating with Indonesia, in which he found (and still finds) himself unaware that he has offended them and painted their current leader into a political corner and is still speaking of the relationship as strong even as it is deteriorating.

    If we take him at his own word (oh dear, did I really say that?), he is a walking instance of his maxim that “sh|t happens”. He has acknowledged that he is inclined to get caught up in the excitement of campaigns and to say things that are not “gospel truth” or “carefully scripted statements” so his latest claims on Gonski now need to be carefully parsed just to be sure some other wrinkle or inexactitude has not slipped in.

  63. Donald Oats
    December 2nd, 2013 at 22:06 | #63

    After so much of this behaviour, the prudent course is to treat the latest Abbottisms as merely something he felt like saying today. Tomorrow is another day. I suggest people save themselves some wasted effort by not bothering to take the government’s current word at face value. Who knows what they really want or don’t want to do, or will do or won’t do. Streuth!

  64. December 2nd, 2013 at 22:21 | #64

    @Donald Oats

    So maybe Scott Morrison is doing us a favour by having weekly briefings – we’ll only have to change our mind once a week?

  65. Tyler
    December 3rd, 2013 at 00:12 | #65

    God help us when one of Christopher Pyne’s thought bubbles manages to survive more than a week

  66. December 3rd, 2013 at 04:43 | #66

    Please check out my fun new libertarian blog here: http://smallgovernmentnow.wordpress.com/ it has lots of cats!! =]

  67. J-D
    December 3rd, 2013 at 07:24 | #67

    @Fran Barlow
    The maxim ‘sh^t happens’ is not, of course, original to Tony Abbott, but I think this may be an appropriate time to cite also the rejoinder ‘sh*t doesn’t just happen, it comes from ar^eholes’.

  68. sunshine
    December 3rd, 2013 at 09:35 | #68

    Looks like I have been blocked from commenting on ‘ Australias leading Libertarian and centre right blog’ (The Cat) without warning or explanation (unless there is some other tech problem- I guess ).Im not sure if that is how they normally go about it . I have been commenting there regularly for more than 6 months –not once have I been rude to anyone ,despite a constant barrage of insults directed my way (you can imagine it). I think it happened now because of the bad situation the Coalition is suddenly in .Serious signs of dissent are spreading on that blog now -it started when the Coalition wanted to raise the debt ceiling.

    Maybe the turning point on the Gonski triple backflip was Abbotts Bolt Report interview on Sun morn where Bolt told him he was wrong to drop Gonski because of the political cost, and that he (Bolt) would have taken on more debt to avoid doing it. In opposition Abbotts team mastered the art of walking both sides of the street on many issues . This skill is less use when in govt. Every decision disappoints someone.

  69. Fran Barlow
    December 3rd, 2013 at 09:45 | #69

    @sunshine

    Looks like I have been blocked from commenting on ‘ Australias leading Libertarian and centre right blog’

    If so, you’re ahead on the deal. Sense recoils in horror from that place.

  70. may
    December 3rd, 2013 at 12:31 | #70

    finally .

    we get a look at through the policy window.

    “demand and unrol”

    “rort denial”

    “miraculously disappearing emergencies”

    “ditto boats”

    nah, i can’t be bothered going on with this,did you see the report on west oz ABC where the eagle nicked the camera?

    it’s going to be a long three years.

  71. may
    December 3rd, 2013 at 12:33 | #71

    PS

    watch yer back tones.

    joe blow does jesuit too.

  72. may
    December 3rd, 2013 at 12:46 | #72

    and in the opinion column of todays (wahaha)

    “leftwing fin”

    a suggestion to sell to the banks that profitable “green industries thingo” that was set up because it dealt with businesses that the banks wouldn’t touch with a bargepole.

  73. Will
    December 3rd, 2013 at 15:11 | #73

    Jim Rose :
    @Fran Barlow whomever they defeated must be worse.

    ….or promised more handouts to their exceptionally gullible voters, amirite?

    It is noteworthy to remember that the right wing is exceptionally contemptuous of democracy “blah blah wolves and sheep” , “voting themselves money abloobloo”, “mob rule”, etc, right up until they assume government.

  74. Fran Barlow
    December 3rd, 2013 at 19:53 | #74

    @J-D

    ‘sh*t doesn’t just happen, it comes from ar^eholes’.

    True that, and in Abbott’s case it’s especially nasty as his diet is poor.

  75. Fran Barlow
    December 4th, 2013 at 08:24 | #75

    At the time PMKR (v1.0) uttered the phrase “detailed programmatic specificity” people laughed at the verbosity and pretentiousness. For my part, I thought the word “detail” would have served equally well and without offering grist for parody.

    At the moment however, I daresay we could use a bit of “detailed programmatic specificity” out of Canberra. Maybe Rudd was onto something.

    😉

    It seems to me that we need a new term to describe the excuses and evasions of the new(ish) regime — bafflegab — which as I now define it describes syntactically complex and contrived verbiage aimed at mystifying the provenance of a problem in circumstances when the utterer of the verbiage seeks to avoid responsibility.

    Footnote: I know the term, bafflegab already exists — describing semi-opaque jargon, but I’m repurposing it. I do like the coiner of the term’s definition (apparently Milton A Smith) though:

    multiloquence characterized by consummate interfusion of circumlocution or periphrasis, inscrutability, and other familiar manifestations of abstruse expatiation commonly utilized for promulgations implementing Procrustean determinations by governmental bodies.

    I wish I’d thought to write something like that!

  76. may
    December 4th, 2013 at 12:23 | #76

    bafflegab?

    oh my.

    since i couldn’t find agnotology in my Oxford (drat,i really liked that word),

    bafflegab will do nicely.

    ta.

  77. December 4th, 2013 at 12:37 | #77

    In case someone missed this:

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/gonskis-gone-school-funding-review-struck-from-record-20131202-2yljm.html

    “Gonski has been expunged from the official record.

    Search for the name of the report on the Commonwealth Education Department website and you’ll get a reply asking whether you meant “lenskyi”.

    Search for it by its official title – Review of Funding for Schooling – and you’ll be told your search “returned no results”.

    But they are not there any more. Visits to http://www.schoolfunding.gov.au are redirected to the departmental website of minister Christopher Pyne, where there’s no mention of the word “Gonski” at all, let alone a copy of the report or its 7000 submissions.

    A departmental spokesman has confirmed that the report is missing. He told Fairfax Media all material on the website was removed when the machinery of government changes came into effect. The department was “in the process of updating its website after the machinery of government changes”.”

  78. December 4th, 2013 at 12:40 | #78

    Last post stuck in moderation because of two links, feel free to delete my last post Professor Quiggin.

    In case someone missed this:

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/gonskis-gone-school-funding-review-struck-from-record-20131202-2yljm.html

    “Gonski has been expunged from the official record.

    Search for the name of the report on the Commonwealth Education Department website and you’ll get a reply asking whether you meant “lenskyi”.

    Search for it by its official title – Review of Funding for Schooling – and you’ll be told your search “returned no results”.

    A departmental spokesman has confirmed that the report is missing. He told Fairfax Media all material on the website was removed when the machinery of government changes came into effect. The department was “in the process of updating its website after the machinery of government changes”.”

  79. Fran Barlow
    December 4th, 2013 at 13:53 | #79

    since i couldn’t find agnotology in my Oxford (drat,i really liked that word),

    bafflegab will do nicely.

    Agnotology means something different. It’s a kind of “anti-knowledge” — a form of incipient epistemic nihilism which in practice adopts the usages we’ve seen amongst HIV, smoking, holocaust and anthropogenic climate change denialists — characterised by the systematic circulation of disinformation aimed at subversion of knowledge.

    I brought the term to this place, though I’m not its author — I saw it in Oreskes’s work. These days, I think agnosophism might be better, as one could probably use “agnotology” to describe someone — like Oreskes — who examines the phenomenon of movements arising around the desire to debauch evidence-based public discourse.

    But bafflegab is a nice term for the kind of dissembling seen in the pronouncements of this regime.

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