Home > Oz Politics > Lib/LNP leadership schadenfreude thread

Lib/LNP leadership schadenfreude thread

February 3rd, 2015

When I posted on the Liberal leadership, I assumed that the right wing of the Liberal party was organized enough to persuade Abbott to go quietly and to install Bishop rather than Turnbull to replace him. Neither assumption looks safe now, and my overestimation of LNP organizational capacities has been shown up by the fiasco in Queensland. So, I’ll sit back and enjoy the fun, leaving you to offer whatever thoughts you have on the topic, or on related issues.

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  1. David Allen
    February 3rd, 2015 at 10:13 | #1

    If Abbott goes then the fun will only just have begun. He’ll white-ant and make Rudd look like a team player.

  2. mandas
    February 3rd, 2015 at 10:26 | #2

    Well, Sir Possitory of Wisdom is a dead man walking. And while he hangs on to the leadership, there is zero possibility of the government implementing any of its legislative agenda.
    Many people – mostly Labor supporters – want Abbott to stay on because it would guarantee that they win the next election. I don’t want that – I want Labor to win the election because they deserve it, not because the current government is so damn awful. Too often we vote out governments without giving an nanosecond’s thought to what the alternative is – look what happened last time we did that!
    The only way we will have a decent political process in this country is if both parties are well led, and they present credible policies for the electorate to consider. Shorten hasn’t done that – because he sees no need. Therefore, Abbott has to go and the government needs to install someone as leader who will change the direction of the party and put forward policies which are fair and credible. And while I think Bishop might make a good leader, she wouldn’t change the party the way it needs to change – only Turnbull would do that.
    Abbott is gone – sooner or later the challenge will come. I hope it is sooner rather than later.

  3. February 3rd, 2015 at 10:30 | #3

    John, watching the fun will be instructive. This is what happens to authoritarian leadership, it attracts delusional narcissists like Rudd and Abbott and in Abbott’s case, he looks set to tear his party to shreds in order to cling on to power.

    Pheeew! And someone asked me the other day why the Greens don’t seem to have a leader, just a lot of capable people all the way up to the Parliamentary leader. The Greens would be well advised to steer clear of Presidential campaigning, especially because both major parties demonstrate just how fragile that model of leadership is.

    I decided that I could unilaterally dish out awards, so Tony Abbott is now the temporary Emperor of Australia – and I hope that is only for a day or so, after which he will leave public life and seek psych treatment.

  4. David Allen
    February 3rd, 2015 at 10:31 | #4

    Turnbull has spent the last 12 months betraying the country by f8cking the NBN. He has no credibility.

  5. Uncle Milton
    February 3rd, 2015 at 10:32 | #5

    install Bishop

    Surely you mean Morrison.

  6. Tim Niven
    February 3rd, 2015 at 10:32 | #6

    I’m very open to being proven wrong, but I have a genuine question.

    A lot of people seem to be painting Turnbull as some kind of progressive. This is not at all the impression I have of him. Take away the fact that he supports gay marriage and isn’t a foaming at the mouth climate change denier. Just take his economic ideology. I can’t point to quotes, but my memory of him over the years is of a neoliberal – perhaps just a smarter, more cunning one.

    Open to hearing thoughts, and particularly from anyone who can do what I can’t and link some evidence.

  7. O6
    February 3rd, 2015 at 10:36 | #7

    It’s actually rather boring, episode 311 of ‘Leadership spill’, except to lay psychologists. Those who find the spectacle of the LNP mustering the courage, swallowing bitter pills etc. to re-elect Mr Turnbull are sadists. Those who think Ms Bishop has anything to offer are fetishists. Those who think Mr Morrison has anything to offer are anally retentive. Those who are counting the votes are obsessional compulsive. Those who enjoy the whole spectacle are masochists. Those who worry about the future of Australia are desperately anxious or seriously depressed.

  8. O6
    February 3rd, 2015 at 10:37 | #8

    Should be ‘enjoyable’ between ‘find’ and ‘spectacle’. Sorry.

  9. Donald Oats
    February 3rd, 2015 at 10:46 | #9

    If they replace Tony Abbott, it will be a bloody shambles, and they won’t have the capacity to ditch a whole lot of nonsensical policy notions—because the theo-neocons believe it is all justified.

    The only contenders the media have thought of are the ones who cannot realistically fill the role: Malcolm Turnbull is far too left leaning for the theo-neos to tolerate; Scott Morrison would cause a blood bath; Julie Bishop is doing a job she seems well suited for (I guess she has that business background to draw from, an exception among LNP, ironically) and doesn’t need the extra aggro of a PM’s job; Scott Morrison would cause utter carnage, the streets littered with bodies, designated as “DO NOT LOOK: OPERATIONAL MATTER”; I can’t see Kevin Andrews, Mal Brough, etc in the role. If the job is genuinely up for grabs, I wonder if Eric Abetz, or George Brandis are toying with the idea…God forbid.

    All up though, if they have any sense at all, they’ll leave Tony where he is, and demand that he cede the decision making to the cabinet. Leave him there like a caretaker.
    So tired…zzz.

  10. Peter Chapman
    February 3rd, 2015 at 10:54 | #10

    I for one certainly overestimated the extent to which the Queensland LNP was prepared for the consequences of the election in this state; the choice was to consider them “knaves” or “fools”, I chose “knaves”, when it seems “fools” was the appropriate label. And judgement. At the moment it appears they could not organise a children’s party, let alone a state political party. As someone once wrote of the home-grown Nazis in Australia, “Everyone wants to be Fuhrer”. The surprise for me was Seeney’s willingness to go; he was the attack-dog for the party under Springborg and others, but always had ambitions of his own. As for the Federal coalition, I agree with Tim Niven’s comment about Turnbull; he has compromised, back-flipped and fudged incessantly under Abbott. What will change? Julie Bishop: will not be able to translate her persona on the international stage into a lasting electoral appeal in domestic politics. Prove me wrong. Mal Brough: so compromised on so many issues, any challenge from him could only be as a joke, or as stalking-horse. Who else is waiting in the wings? Morrison: Mr Rigid, Mr Focus, Mr Task-oriented… seriously? But turn attention to the ALP and Bill Shorten, who is coasting (strangely like Miliband in Britain), but can anyone name his “signature policy”? What does he stand for? What is he articulating as leader of the alternative government? As a starter, have a look at this piece by Judith Ireland: – and ask why Shorten is not raising these issues in reply to Abbott.

  11. February 3rd, 2015 at 11:03 | #11

    Look, I know this is silly, but is there any chance the Libs could choose a leader who would sit down with the ALP and the Greens and work out some genuinely good policies for Australia? It would mean ditching the tribal thing. It would almost certainly mean losing the next election.

    But it would rehabilitate politicians in the eyes of the public, and it would be good for the country. I’m not going to pump Turnbull up, but his effort on climate change when he was opposition leader was the last time I remember anything like cooperation between the parties. Please don’t tell me that all the major parties are too feral to work together.

  12. Newtownian
    February 3rd, 2015 at 11:07 | #12

    David Allen :
    Turnbull has spent the last 12 months betraying the country by f8cking the NBN. He has no credibility.

    Seconded.

    What I would like to see is now Abbott being the lame duck of all time but still hanging in there enough so his ex mates continue to explain and try and justify their neoliberal policies. And metaphorically shoot them and the whole system in the head IPA Murdoch Andrew Bolt Gina and all.

    The road to sanity wont be easy but such shock treatment may be the only road forward.

    With a bit of luck the stench from the neoliberalism cesspit and its rotten managerial/economic mantras will get so great that both Labor and the Greens also ‘get wisdom’ and themselves move a way from the dead hands of Friedman Rand Keating and Rudd to some better place that has yet but needs to be invented.

  13. Megan
    February 3rd, 2015 at 11:12 | #13

    @John Brookes

    Please don’t tell me that all the major parties are too feral to work together.

    Not at all.

    They work together perfectly – e.g. inhumane treatment of refugees, inaction on climate change, support for US wars of aggression, total support for Israel, deepening the surveillance state and removing rights such as ‘habeas corpus’, adopting neo-con/neo-lib policies, etc…

    In the Senate, they vote together more often than not to defeat objections to these things and more from the greens and other cross-benchers.

  14. Newtownian
    February 3rd, 2015 at 11:16 | #14

    @Tim Niven
    Re Turnbull I think you are right. I’ve heard him speak and heard about actions in the 2000s which were very promising…e.g. taking advice from experts on the drought and the mess it caused reflecting mismanagement of the land and its water.

    But Turnbull has now been in the belly of the beast since 2009 (Is it really that long since Abbot rose to power in the Liberals and stamped the Murdoch’s Tea Party model on its entrails?). It appears as a result he has utterly destroyed/sacrificed his good previous aspects in the name of power and opportunism.

    Perhaps he may change over the medium future as he contemplates the hell government he is and integral part of. But its hard to see. Its that old question of whether people get more conservative or radical as they age. And he aint getting younger.

  15. February 3rd, 2015 at 11:27 | #15

    @Megan
    Sigh…

  16. Dave Lisle
    February 3rd, 2015 at 11:32 | #16

    @ Megan
    Agreed. A good example of the duopoly working together was last year when they sank Senator Whish-Wilson’s private members bill (the Trade and Foreign Investment (Protecting the Public Interest) Bill 2014) which aimed to outlaw the signing of trade agreements involving investor state dispute settlement (ISDS). Labor went on and on about how bad ISDS was…….. before saying that, of course they would oppose any legislation to take substantive action against ISDS. Rhetorical action was enough.

  17. totaram
    February 3rd, 2015 at 12:01 | #17

    @Megan
    Agree completely. If only labor could be a bit more feral on those issues. The coalition is of course now engaged in a “Drang nach Osten fuer Lebensraum” and will take no prisoners, Geneva Conventions be damned. Fortunately they seem to have hit Stalingrad.

  18. zoot
    February 3rd, 2015 at 12:28 | #18

    Purely for the schadenfreude I would like to see Tone Deaf Tony lead his party into a double dissolution election. I doubt it would benefit Australia at all.

  19. Ben
    February 3rd, 2015 at 12:48 | #19

    @mandas
    Turnbull could create a headache for the ALP, given that he is possibly to the left of the ALP on some issues. If he shifts the Libs to the left, the ALP will have to go with them.

  20. rog
    February 3rd, 2015 at 12:51 | #20

    Agree on Turnbull – I used to think he had what it takes but no longer – he is so sure of his ability he is dangerous.

  21. Duncan
    February 3rd, 2015 at 12:53 | #21

    @mandas

    I do agree that we need governments with ideas and policy, however I don’t think Shorten and the rest of the ALP are proposing any ideas, because, it is plainly obvious that the current government have none! The “achievements” have all been either rolling back legislation or cuts to current programs. The few dud ideas which have been proposed are all languishing before the senate wacks them back down.

  22. Doug
    February 3rd, 2015 at 13:04 | #22

    It is perhaps worth contemplating goings on in the Northern Territory which put leadership plotting on to a whole new level. Everyone in the government it appears is going to have a turn at being leader. The lunatics have well and truly taken over the asylum. Chris Graham at New Matilda has an entertaining account of the shenanigans.

  23. Ikonoclast
    February 3rd, 2015 at 13:07 | #23

    Didn’t Murdoch and his minions like Bolt tell the Australian people what a good PM Captain Catastrophe would be? Now, they don’t like him and they think he has lost the plot. What does that say about their judgement? Clearly, it illustrates that Captain Catastrophe supporters were and still are blithering idiots.

  24. Ken_L
    February 3rd, 2015 at 13:40 | #24

    Sadly, we are now coming up to 5 years when the burning political question in Canberra has been what the prime minister of the day can do to stave off a looming leadership challenge. While it does make for some mildly enjoyable entertainment at times, it continues to undermine public respect for our parliamentary democracy.

    And does anyone believe Bill Shorten has done enough to enjoy the loyal support of his Labor colleagues? Somehow I doubt it, just as I suspect the 35+ new ALP MPs in Brisbane will regard Annastacia Palaszczuk as a caretaker leader who will no longer be required come 2016.

  25. February 3rd, 2015 at 13:49 | #25

    Surely if the Coalition was really serious when they spoke about the damage that Labor’s leadership struggles had done to the country, their first initiative should have been to reduce the Prime Minister’s pay down to that of a backbencher to remove one incentive to struggle for leadership?

  26. Ivor
    February 3rd, 2015 at 14:06 | #26

    Jackie Lambie had it right on Q&A

    Bill Shorten is probably hoping Abbott stays there.

    He is such a rightwing cartoon character that the ALP will receive a better boost next election if Abbott commits more arrogant or crazy stunts.

    We do not want a Liberal party with level headed leadership.

    The electorate needs hard evidence that the Liberals are just a bunch of loonies, and Abbott exemplifies this better than any other. Only Abetz is worse.

  27. derrida derider
    February 3rd, 2015 at 15:22 | #27

    All great fun, but I reckon there is approximately zero chance of them replacing Abbott. Apart from powerful memories of what happened to the deposers after the last time a sitting PM was deposed, the Batshit Crazy Xtian Far Right is the kingmaking faction of the Libs now and Abbott is their man. They’d sooner lose government anyway than have Turnbull or Bishop as their boss.

    And after all this is still only mid-term; the period when governments are usually least popular. My money is still on Abbott to get re-elected – helped by a surprise pre-election Budget that announces tax cuts and a surplus (the “budget emergency” both Swan and Hockey faced was always a product of some very short term factors which are passing).

  28. hc
    February 3rd, 2015 at 15:37 | #28

    Malcolm Turnbull will eventually get the nod – the conservative parties don’t like him but he offers the best chance of Liberals hanging onto seats. It will eventually sink in.

  29. Dave WA
    February 3rd, 2015 at 16:59 | #29

    @Willy Bach
    I watched Milne and Shorten respond to the press club speech. Shorten was wooden in his prepared bit, but much better in the Q&A – more lively than I have seen him before. I was put off by Milne’s primary school teacher lecture mode – did not work with me when I was 10 and it is no better now when I am pushing 60.
    I understand your plea to avoid a presidential campaign, but the leaders do set the tone and I can’t see that Ms Milne communication style is anything but a negative.
    I have not looked since Saturday, but the Green vote in QLd seemed flat with the swing being from LNP to Lab. I was surprised given the mayhem in Qld that the Greens did not not do better.

  30. John Chapman
    February 3rd, 2015 at 18:03 | #30

    @O6

    Sounds like we need a bigger n better MediCare system if you are to be believed 🙂

  31. Megan
    February 3rd, 2015 at 18:35 | #31

    @Dave WA

    I was surprised given the mayhem in Qld that the Greens did not not do better.

    They ran dead.

    Their two main points were “Daylight Savings” and “Vote for the ALP”.

    In my opinion they are, rightly, perceived as being just a vote-scooper for the ALP and not a genuine third party at the state level in Queensland.

  32. Donald Oats
    February 3rd, 2015 at 18:35 | #32

    @Tim Niven
    He is progressive only by comparison to the theo-neo-cons and neo-cons, and the fact that he will think something through helps continue the illusion.
    I entirely agree with other comments about the shambles Turnbull is residing over with respect to the NBN; mind you, if you work as an LNP member, then you are always gonna root up the data services for Australians. Don’t see why that should be the case but it just is. For all their carping over budget emergencies, first world data comms services is surely the kind of infrastructure businesses (and their customers) need these days. Grrrr.

  33. Donald Oats
    February 3rd, 2015 at 18:38 | #33

    Oh, and I hope the Queen’s consort appreciates his Australian knighthood, for it may have come at great cost 🙂

  34. February 3rd, 2015 at 18:48 | #34

    Donald, I have little doubt that in the days to come, Sir Prince Phillip’s knighthood will be seen as Tony Abbott’s greatest positive achievement while in office.

  35. February 3rd, 2015 at 19:30 | #35

    Pr Q mused:

    When I posted on the Liberal leadership, I assumed that the right wing of the Liberal party was organized enough to persuade Abbott to go quietly and to install Bishop rather than Turnbull to replace him. Neither assumption looks safe now,

    The Right-wing of the L/NP is not all-powerful or all-knowing. Indeed, when it comes to getting a handle on contemporary AUS politics it seems that William Goldman’s rule for Hollywood’s hits applies: “no one knows anything”.

    Back in late 2014 I came to the conclusion, reinforced by an accountable Sportsbet.com wager, that Abbott was toast and that Turnbull was the most likely next L/NP leader:

    08/12/14 Will Abbott face a leadership ballot? Yes @ 2.50 $100.00
    30/11/14 Next Liberal Leader Malcolm Turnbull @ 2.85 $100.00

    My reasoning for predicting Turnbull over Bishop were threefold. One, Turnbull represents a break from “Abbottism” in that he is a climate change realist and therefore gives the voters a worthy reason for changing their vote, over and above puerile personal ambition. Two, Turnbull has a well-earned reputation as a competent executive who can get on top of a brief. Three, Turnbull is not deputy leader and therefore does not become vulnerable to the charge of back-stabbing. I think that one regicidal female deputy leader per decade is more than enough for the AUS electorate. So I ruled out Bishop.

    I’d like to claim the mantle of science for this prediction – which has not yet gone through the formality of actually occurring – but my underlying model was pretty threadbare. Leadership prediction is not science, it is more like insider gossip. There are just too many intangible individual variables in play.

    But some general factor is at work and not just in the L/NP. The evidence for poll-driven leadership churn in both parties and across both levels of government is overwhelming. Sheehan reports that in the past 10 years there have been 10 leadership changes in the major parties:

    Rudd’s own conduct was a key element in seven leadership changes in seven years: Beazley (2006), Howard (2007), Nelson (2008), Turnbull (2009), himself (2010), Gillard (2013) and himself again (2013).

    Compare this to the 1996-2007 Howard-L/NP, a period which in retrospect looks like a Golden Age of political stability, when there were precisely zero changes in the top three jobs: Howard as PM, Costello as Treasurer and Downer as FM. Going back further think how long Menzies, Fraser, Hawke, Keating lasted in the top jobs. Something has changed.

    There has to be some reason for the increased volatility in the electorate. Sometime between “Minchin’s Martyrdom Operation” in mid-2010 and the obliteration of Rudd-ALP in the 2013 election I came to the conclusion that AUS electorate had become incorrigibly “cranky”. And that traditional rules of psephology, let alone leadership succession, were being thrown out the window.

    Some “theory”, huh?

    My sense is that there are deeper underlying causes at work in the cranky AUS electoral psyche, but I can’t put my finger on them. Post-GFC economic blues? Poll-driven politics as a leadership beauty contest? Public disgust with party politics-as-usual? The collapse of public confidence in the post-modern liberal elite consensus? Take your pick.

    Whatever the reason the old rules for predicting partisan alignment and party machinations are very much up in the air. Psephologists, its back to the drawing board.

  36. jungney
    February 3rd, 2015 at 19:32 | #36

    @Ivor
    I think you are correct in saying:

    The electorate needs hard evidence that the Liberals are just a bunch of loonies, and Abbott exemplifies this better than any other.

    However, I would go further. I look at my fellow citizens with a hard stare these days and I see people who need to have information repeatedly punched into them by reality before they are prepared to awake, usually briefly, from their mundane lives level of utter, narcissistic indifference to anything that doesn’t directly affect them.

    I decided tonight that Pyne looks like he has his head steam cleaned every morning. I also noticed that Abbott’s left ear appears to me to be a bit cauliflowered. It certainly does look like he might have taken too many hits.

  37. Ernestine Gross
    February 3rd, 2015 at 20:02 | #37

    @Jack Strocchi

    “Some “theory”, huh?”

    Since Keating, successive governments have forced the ‘dog eat dog’ version of liberal democracy on people in work places. This modus operandi reached the legislators, too.

  38. February 3rd, 2015 at 20:14 | #38

    Sorry, wrong link to election bet above. Correct link here.

  39. February 3rd, 2015 at 20:16 | #39

    @Megan

    Actually, I can’t quite accept that. The problem is that some parts of the electorate are as thick as two short planks, and some time ago the Libs and Labor decided to try and appeal to these dimwits. That is where a lot of dumb policy comes from.

    If the Libs, ALP and the Greens could get together and decide what stupid issues should no longer be used to gain votes, then there is some chance of improvement. Boat people is one such issue – it should not be taken to the electorate, as it brings out the worst in people. The death penalty is an example of where pollies won’t go – because they know the public can be whipped into a frothy indignation and support the death penalty – despite it being a very stupid policy.

    I guess part of the problem is that most of the government mp’s don’t feel like part of the government, because they aren’t listened to, and that goes double for the ALP and Greens. We really need a more inclusive government, where members interact with their constituents, and bring their views to the legislative process.

    You know, some sort of democracy…

  40. February 3rd, 2015 at 20:18 | #40

    From the little I’ve seen, the Murdoch press appears to very much have gone all in for the LNP during the election and clearly failed. And maybe the “little I’ve seen” part is key. Back in the distant past when Rupert had shallower wrinkles and a little more hair, he appeared a lot more impartial. Both sides of politics would court him and he would play the role of kingmaker. So maybe it’s not Rupert that has changed but the times. It’s very easy to go without consuming traditional media these days. Personally I don’t watch TV, listen to radio, or read newspapers. While I am probably an exceptional example, the traditional media has clearly lost a lot of its grip and the more they tighten their grip the more minds slip through their fingers. And there is a big age differential between the minds they lose and the minds they keep. As a result Rupert’s media empire is simply less valuable to the major party with younger demographics than it is to the Coalition with its older voting base. And so Labor did not need to court it as badly as the Coalition. Now it might seem like a bad play to go all in with one end of the political spectrum, why not keep to the old position of power in the apparent center? Well, because that’s only apparent power, which doesn’t translate directly into money. But if most of the people who purchase your products are old and trending conservative, then having your media push conservative issues a lot of the time can help sell papers and raise ratings, and so it may not be a bad business choice. So rather than Rupert having undergone some big change in his personality as he aged, I think he might well still be what he always was, a business man who is currently trying to make the most profit possible out of a sunset industry in deep decline. To the detriment of the planet and us all.

    NOTE: I should mention that people don’t get more conservative as they get older, on average get more progressive. It’s just that society as a whole progresses further than they do. (I firmly hope that, when I reach a ripe old age, I will be regarded as a monster.)

  41. February 3rd, 2015 at 20:25 | #41

    @Donald Oats
    I am pretty sure that 93 year old Phil doesn’t give a toss of a horse’s head about Tony’s knighthoods. As far as I know it has not been bestowed as yet. Protocol aside, I would like to see the enactment. Phil is probably a bit unsteady on his knees, with a tendency perhaps to fall forward, and Liz’s sword handling might not be what it once was.

    There is clearly an OH&S issue here with potential dire consequences. It is all Tony’s doing. As with all else he will not take responsibility and blame Rudd and Gillard.

    I have just appreciated why Government spokespeople are so keen on the Gish Gallop. They envisage themselves as knights of the realm. The warming then, as they imagine now, is the best thing that has happened.

  42. Trevor
    February 3rd, 2015 at 20:36 | #42

    I am afraid that I am cloaking myself in the guilty pleasure of schadenfreude. It is a bit like when walking my dog and he disapears for a few minutes the re appears stinking to high heaven, having found something disgusting to roll in. I know I should tear myself away from the news and blogs reporting the downfall of Mr Rabbit but I cannot. So much like my dog I have a guilty but pleased look with myself having wallowed in this muck.

  43. rog
    February 3rd, 2015 at 20:42 | #43

    @Jack Strocchi

    My sense is that there are deeper underlying causes at work in the cranky AUS electoral psyche, but I can’t put my finger on them.

    Tom Colebatch writes that over the last decade or two employment is down as is job security and wage buying power. Compare that to the stock and property markets. No wonder wage earners are getting cranky with the big end of town.

  44. Fran Barlow
    February 3rd, 2015 at 20:57 | #44

    I’m not inclined to take issue with much in this article. It’s pretty damned good in my opinion.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/03/the-rightwing-reaction-to-queensland-shows-they-want-to-rule-not-govern

  45. sunshine
    February 3rd, 2015 at 21:02 | #45

    They stuffed it by going for too much all at once .Neo-lib overreach ,hubris ,out of touch .If they had moved slower I think they may have got there eventually. Howard slowly moved us a long way to the right. Only a big national security incident can save Abbotts hide, pathetically he is even now trying to talk fear alot. His National Press Club address just sounded like an election pitch from 2 or 3 years ago ;- talk about Labor ,debt ,fear and no detailed vision for future beyond 3 word platitudes .He is lost . Its funny watching them try to do something to Australia without being able to say what it is as it is unpalatable to everyone but their well-to-do mates. The policy that dare not speak its name !

    Feeling optimistic I hope that ;-
    — They have irrevocably blown their cover and that the average Joe/Jane now sees this (rightly) as an attempt to remove the fair go from Australia .
    — Legacy media is on the way out (goodbye Rupe)and new media is playing a bigger role than most yet realise .
    — People arent voting parties in, they are just voting incumbents out, because neither mob realises people dont want lives totally ruled by random markets.
    — Neo-lib ‘free’ market extremism is beginning to unravel.

  46. Megan
    February 3rd, 2015 at 21:43 | #46

    Fran:

    Excellent column. Wilson nails it. Abusing us for voting “wrong” could only seem like a sensible way to respond to the neo-lib’s massive electoral failures to a true ideologue.

    Attempting to blackmail Qld electorates so soon after the failure of the same strategy in the Vic elections demonstrates that these people are so absolutely right in their own minds that they don’t need to learn. I’ve been using the term ‘fascist’ perhaps a bit loosely in recent years but I’m thinking now that it applies quite accurately.

    Ronald:

    I disagree with the bit about “selling papers”. Murdoch is a billionaire ideologue who for forty years has run the Oz at a huge financial loss. He craves power much more than he craves money and his monopoly stranglehold on our media gives him that power, even as we “real” people ignore his outpourings in droves.

    Listen to parliament any day of the week and you will hear politicians citing something from the Murdoch press as justification for whatever evil they are up to that day.

    John Brookes:

    I still disagree. I think you may be contradicting yourself with your two examples, refugees and capital punishment. The dumb policies are what the pollies want but the electorate are against, they play to the fabricated clamour of the “media” to get away with what they think they can (inhumane treatment of refugees), and go silent on what they know they can’t (death penalty – despite Murdoch foamy-mouthed inciting as a constant noise in the background).

  47. Kel Y
    February 3rd, 2015 at 21:45 | #47

    @sunshine
    I love the way Morrison and Dutton fell into lockstep with their Fuehrer; he’s heard the message but their are saboteurs about and he’ll keep us safe and secure.

    The Tory press is also despairing after their best efforts at having their governments reelected in Vic and Qld fell apart. Apparently democracy is broken now that the prols won’t accept a bullet to safeguard the the shoveling of public cash to their betters.

    Didn’t Hawke say Tony was as mad as a cut snake and Keating thought if Abbott doesn’t get what he wants he’ll wreck the place?

    Interesting times.

  48. Megan
    February 3rd, 2015 at 22:09 | #48

    Hundreds of non-violent hunger striking refugees on Manus were brutally repressed over the last month in circumstances of absolute secrecy. Over 50 have been disappeared without charge into PNG jails.

    After 18 months almost no claims have been properly assessed.

    Dutton was in PNG yesterday, apparently working on a final solution for dealing with these refugees because their very existence offends the ALP/LNP duopoly’s desire for this “problem” to go away.

    In those circumstances, having Dutton on a prime time current affairs show would be the best imaginable time to ask him some questions such as:

    -The Senate inquiry recommended full access be given to the UNHCR, lawyers and media – when will you do that?
    -What has happened to the people removed from Manus RPC?
    -What is their state of wellbeing?
    -The PNG government says that Australia must meet all costs of caring for refugees released on PNG, how will we ensure that happens?

    But Leigh Sales didn’t mention refugees once in her interview tonight. It was all the political/media establishment’s self-indulgent leadership circus.

    No wonder nobody is listening to them.

  49. Donald Oats
    February 3rd, 2015 at 22:43 | #49

    @Megan
    The MSM squeal about how we don’t get the kind of interviews they used to do with politicians, and then they pepper us with such limp lettuce leaf questions, only complete dunce would muck up at being interviewed by them. Budget cuts certainly don’t help the MSM (and I’m including ABC 21 in that), but honestly, a few minutes with google or the like, and you have enough facts to make an interview deadly serious for the politician in the hot seat. Interviewing politicians about matters specific to their portfolio (at least 95% of the time) is one way to tease out what a politician actually believes the policies should be, and perhaps we even find out why so.

    While the whole leadership thing is a laff, I cannot see it making a jot of difference to the LNP’s overall policy prescriptions, whoever is in the hot seat. It might as well be PM Tony Abbott, and thus avoid a cabinet reshuffle so soon after a cabinet reshuffle. More stability there gives the public servants at least a fighting chance of acting on what the current minister’s demands are; reshuffling means change and often having to start all over again, which is a waste of time and money. Keep TA as PM, where he can do the least damage to Australia, apart from the odd imaginary shirtfront with a random foreign leader, of course.

  50. plaasmatron
    February 3rd, 2015 at 23:16 | #50

    @Ernestine Gross
    Leadership does not mean “getting to the top” as so many, in such varied employment, seem to believe these days. In fact leadership is as much about “taking one for the team”, which sadly is not considered a quality worth teaching anymore. Unfortunately modern politics works on a one strike rule, so taking a hit means the end of your career. That leaves only the lily-livered scum to run the joint…

    But I agree with Jack Strochi that there is something more at play here. Late stage capitalism? Post GFC-blues? 22 years with out a recession, with politicians and bankers taking the credit for it at every turn, when really, Australia is just the Lucky Country run by…

  51. plaasmatron
    February 3rd, 2015 at 23:21 | #51

    And if we are going to milk the German vocabulary and Nazi analogies then this takes the cake.

    remove the brackets from (www)

    (www).youtube.com/watch?v=6MwHmbuwTjM&feature=share&app=desktop

  52. rog
    February 4th, 2015 at 07:26 | #52

    Slightly off topic but, Tony Abbott hitched his wagon to King Coal in a vain hope that trickle down would make us all rich. Citibank have taken a long term view of coal and it’s not good.

  53. Ivor
    February 4th, 2015 at 08:26 | #53

    I hope that Abbott emerges wounded from the next Liberal Party room meeting – Tuesday.

    We need a good 6 months of slow-cooking the Coalition. This will shift swinging voters away from Abbott to the ALP, Greens and Independents. We need 6 months of media speculation and questioning senior Liberals every time they make a door-stop, or other appearance. This will block their message.

    If Abbott is turfed out soon, the whole episode will be more of a media storm, that will have passed from the memories of swinging voters by polling day.

    Poor ‘ol Malcom, if he challenges, he will be blocked by Julie Bishop who has said she reserves the right to move if someone else challenges. Abbott’s party-room votes will, presumably go to her.

    Possibly there will only be a first flanking attack on Abbott on Tuesday. Andrew Laming is moving a motion opposing knighthoods. The numbers on this motion, the split within 102 MP’s, will indicate the current balance of forces.

    Abbott is now doing the rounds of redneck radio – Ray Hadley (2GB) etc.

  54. Nevil Kingston-Brown
    February 4th, 2015 at 08:56 | #54

    AFAICT, AFR demonstrated complete economic ignorance in its editorial today when it complained about the RBA cutting rates that “ultra-cheap money would distort the allocation of scarce capital”. If capital was scarce, money wouldn’t be ultra-cheap.

  55. Ivor
    February 4th, 2015 at 09:21 | #55

    @Nevil Kingston-Brown

    Read Marx.

    Interest rates are based on expected profitablity. As capitalist accumulation, (NB) accumulates out of proportion to wages, profitability must fall – ceteris paribus.

    The key symptom of a Marxist crisis, is too much capital, no profitable opportunities – interest rate collapse.

    Pure Marxism.

  56. Megan
    February 4th, 2015 at 09:27 | #56

    The Senate Inquiry into the Newman Government continues today, sitting in Brisbane.

    It is livestreamed and has just begun. It is scheduled to go until 2pm today.

    An Economist from the Australia Institute is giving evidence at the moment.

    He is talking about major projects and how Newman favoured the Coal industry with questionable cost/benefit analysis.

    At all previous hearings LNP’s McDonald has made an absolute pig of himself, arrogant and insulting and attempting to derail proceedings. So far he, and the other LNP senator, has been strangely silent.

  57. Megan
    February 4th, 2015 at 09:52 | #57

    Live audio of inquiry here:

    http://www.aph.gov.au/News_and_Events/LiveMediaPlayer?type=1&vID={287883EB-755D-4DF2-9C98-D45A17121844}

  58. Steve
    February 4th, 2015 at 12:18 | #58

    I don’t feel much schadenfreude. Lack of competence and stability in govt hurts us all. If Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop or Bill Shorten were any good, I might be more inclined.

    My expectations have fallen so low that even an LNP government that was competent would please me, at least for a while.

  59. iain
    February 4th, 2015 at 12:30 | #59

    “Sadly, we are now coming up to 5 years when the burning political question in Canberra has been what the prime minister of the day can do to stave off a looming leadership challenge. ”

    Representative democracy is well past it’s used by date. Vote 1 for senator on-line, and representative on-line, or, just put up with these things. We don’t need any of these clowns.

  60. jungney
    February 4th, 2015 at 12:55 | #60

    Either Bishop or Turnbull would be mad to challenge now when Abbott is imploding right before our eyes. Why taint your leadership with the old ‘blood on the hands’ problem when soon enough the party room will be begging one of them to step in? As to Turnbull, if he gets up, his first words to the party room need to be ‘climate change is real, deal with it’. If he doesn’t do that then it will a stinking albatross around his neck for the entirety of the term till election. He won’t do that because so many of his colleagues are stupid believers and group identifiers that they won’t cop it. Therefore Bishop in the hot seat and Credlin working in NY for Murdoch, hopefully as a pa to Brookes.

  61. Ikonoclast
    February 4th, 2015 at 14:45 | #61

    @Ivor

    Certainly, the system is heading towards a final crisis. You can tell people that but they will not believe you. What is required is for the salutary first stage of collapse to play out. This will give people the required dose of reality. This first collapse stage will arrive inevitably from the programmed logic of the current system. It will be what we do from that point on that will decide our future.

  62. Collin Street
    February 4th, 2015 at 15:08 | #62

    AFAICT, AFR demonstrated complete economic ignorance in its editorial today when it complained about the RBA cutting rates that “ultra-cheap money would distort the allocation of scarce capital”. If capital was scarce, money wouldn’t be ultra-cheap.

    Stupid rich people are a prime demographic for advertisers, and advertising-funded media can be expected to be framed to attract them.

  63. Donald Oats
    February 4th, 2015 at 15:09 | #63

    @John Brookes
    Once upon a time, they tended to do that, even when the government had an absolute majority. Abbott is not entirely to blame, but his performance as opposition leader was so relentlessly negative and utterly unreasonable, I think he set the new low bar for an opposition party’s behaviour. Pretty difficult to negotiate behind closed doors if in public you are spewing bile upon the government’s attempts at new policy direction. This take no prisoners, no quarter given, approach is a complete anathema to good democratic governance and government. Tony Abbott owns that strategy; he was the architect of it. The MSM wear the rest of the blame for not only putting up with this opposition strategy of Abbott’s, but for facilitating its undeserving success. If the MSM had stood up and said collectively that they, as journalists, weren’t going to put up with being lied to day after day, that would have forced a complete change in behaviour—and probably in opposition leader, too. The trouble is, the MSM is run by people who benefit from a particular type of government: the MSM’s owners have significant skin in the game, rather than being independent. No doubt this beef has been made ever since a “free press” sprang into existence…

  64. Donald Oats
    February 4th, 2015 at 16:01 | #64

    With regards to PM Tony Abbott’s possible demise as leader and PM, I don’t want Abbott gone just for another cut of the same cloth to take over: no, I want all of them gone. Chuck the lot of them.

    Schadenfreude would be even better if followed by blocking of supply and/or a double dissolution. A complete shake-up for all the pollies. Yeah, I’m a tad irritated by politics 🙂

  65. Collin Street
    February 4th, 2015 at 16:48 | #65

    I don’t want Abbott gone just for another cut of the same cloth to take over: no, I want all of them gone. Chuck the lot of them.

    Ah, but if replacing Abbott gets you another one of the same cloth, it becomes obvious that it’s a party-wide problem, not just a tony problem.

    Replacing Abbott gets you closer to getting rid of them all, I think.

  66. Mr Denmore
    February 4th, 2015 at 20:27 | #66

    The crisis is an international one. People are talking about the same issues (loss of faith in and exhaustion of democratic institutions) in many countries, not just here. I’ve just been reading a review on the Washington Post website about a new book ‘The End of Power’ by the former Venezuelan central banker Moises Naim, who argues political players are frustrated they can no longer impose their will as they might once have.

  67. Ikonoclast
    February 5th, 2015 at 06:11 | #67

    @Mr Denmore

    It is not democracy as such that is failing. It is one particular form of “democracy” that is failing and I will come back to that.

    Let me start with an analogy first. If one of your tyres goes flat which of the following do you hold to be true?

    (A) This particular tyre has failed.
    (B) The whole idea of tyres is a failed concept.

    Clearly, the correct answer is (A).

    Now apply this to democracy. If a form of democracy starts failing us what do we say?

    (A) This particular form of democracy has failed.
    (B) The whole idea of democracy is a failed concept.

    The correct answer is again (A).

    Our current form of democracy, namely bourgeois representative democracy is failing under a set of new challenges. These new challenges are bound up with the dynamics of late stage capitalism and oligarchic / corporate power. Power is certainly not ended. It is being transferred. Power is being transferred from poorly conceived, poorly maintained democratic institutions away to the oligarchs and corporations. The correct action is not to give up on democracy but to re-invent and re-invigorate it. The correct interpretation is not to pretend that power has leaked away to nowhere by some ineffable process but to realise is has been deliberately siphoned away by certain actors (the oligarchs) to fill a new reservoir: the oligarchs’ reservoir of power.

    The problem that democracy now suffers is that capitalism, which is wholly anti-democratic, has been given free rein to decide matters by capital ownership rather than by democratic decision making. We cannot re-invigorate democracy until we rein in the power of capital.

  68. Ivor
    February 5th, 2015 at 07:47 | #68

    @Mr Denmore

    It is a strange word – democracy.

    Central banker never use democracy to impose their will.

    Does the book intend that democracy is the problem?

  69. Steve
    February 5th, 2015 at 08:44 | #69

    @Mr Denmore
    Thanks for book recommendation, gonna give that a crack. Had been wondering lately whether it isn’t politicians that have got worse, but that governing has become more complex. Maybe this book will say something similar?

  70. derrida derider
    February 5th, 2015 at 10:52 | #70

    @Nevil Kingston-Brown
    Spot on. In fact the RBA is cutting precisely because there is a distortion in the allocation of capital in the form of people wanting to allocate all their capital into government bonds.

    I personally think the RBA should have been cutting earlier than this, BTW – in fact it is getting to the stage that they ought to be quietly reminding people that they possess nukes and aren’t afraid to use them. Have the Minutes say something like “Some members stated that further fiscal contraction and deterioration in conditions could require a future resort to unconventional monetary policy”. That is, threaten QE if the bloody governments and markets won’t behave.

  71. Donald Oats
    February 5th, 2015 at 14:15 | #71

    Although my personal wish is for the LNP to shift more to the middle, perhaps even giving rational thought a consideration, putting a little more trust in scientific and expert opinion, etc, I know I’m not going to see that any time soon.

    From the perspective of the LNP, they really should stick with PM Tony Abbott, at least for another twelve months (give or take). If they chuck the leader now, they have to have another reshuffle of the portfolios, and the new leader will need a bloody good narrative as to why Tony had to go. The ALP demonstrated how fraught with risk that path can be; therefore, they have very little option but to stick with the Abbott. What they can do is to enforce some cabinet democracy, giving the PM but one vote on policy; if they did that, they could shift the emphasis of their current policies, and they could rein in the PM, done without the public witnessing political bloodshed. The PM would remain a talking head, but on the cabinet’s terms, not the PM’s.

    As far as I can see, any other strategy poses much greater risk of making the LNP a one term government.

    One possible alternative strategy, a bit riskier but might work, is to keep Tony on until just before an election is called, then spill him for someone more liberal, less theo-neo, less conservative, and run on a platform of more middle of the road policies. That would require keeping Tony in the dark, letting him think he is going to lead them in the next election campaign. Ditching Tony just before the election campaign and altering the policies to be more liberal (socially minded) would give them the narrative used by a lot of companies when they switch CEOs, namely they are making some structural change and it requires a CEO with specialist talents suiting the transformational strategy. In other words, PM Tony suited the austerity strategy, now someone else better suits the post-austerity strategy.

    I wouldn’t buy it, but the public at large just might.

  72. Fran Barlow
    February 5th, 2015 at 15:36 | #72

    @Ikonoclast

    Staying with your analogy with tyres, one might conclude that your tyres were inadequately designed or engineered and that you need better designed and engineered tyres, because sooner or later, the others will also fail.

    Although it’s common to describe what we have now as ‘democracy’ I regard the term as either a misleading description of our current governance or else democracy itself is not fit for the bona fide purposes that warrant sovereignty of one person at the expense of another (governance).

    Our system was a step forward by comparison with autocracy because a space has opened up between the rulers and the ruled. The ruled need not attest fealty to the rulers, and may even challenge them within limits, relying on divisions of interest amongst the rulers to create space for autonomy.

    This is a kind of liberal pluralist society based on the defence of capitalist property characterised by voting behaviour and its usages as a first pass filter for the right to participate directly in governance. In practice, the usages preclude almost everyone from participating directly in governing privileging those with property, those who are male, those who are of European descent, and those who are older than 45.

    Certainly this system fails the ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’ test, unless ‘the people’ can be described by the categories above. As an egalitarian, I would say not.

    So when describing what I’d like to see, I speak of inclusive governance. The aim is to empower the entire citizenry to participate in their governance, by resort to processes that educate them, making participation meaningful, and then select them regardless of their property, gender, ethnicity or age.

    Would this be democratic? I’d say so, but it would be radically at odds with what is done now.

  73. captain moonlight
    February 5th, 2015 at 15:56 | #73

    To address the above bloviation:

    “Capitalism … is wholly anti-democratic”

    Compare the pair:

    East Germany socialist + totalitarian

    West Germany capitalist + democratic

    North Korea socialist + totalitarian

    South Korea capitalist + democratic

    Natural experiments in living tell it like it is.6

  74. Megan
    February 5th, 2015 at 16:33 | #74

    That’s as useful as concluding that countries prefaced by “West” or “South” are democratic but those prefaced by “East” or “North” are not.

    Capitalism is not, in and of itself, democratic.

  75. captain moonlight
    February 5th, 2015 at 17:34 | #75

    I’m stunned by the lack of basic English language comprehension skills of some commenters. I never said or inferred that capitalism is democratic, l merely rebutted the visibly false claim that it is wholly anti-democratic. China is now unarguably capitalist and whilst it is no longer as brutally totalitarian as it was when socialist, it obviously is not democratic.

  76. Megan
    February 5th, 2015 at 18:05 | #76

    The two (democracy and capitalism) can quite obviously co-exist.

    That does not have any bearing on the truth or otherwise of the statement that capitalism is wholly anti-democratic, or wholly pro-democratic or any other claim in between for that matter. Some people are less proficient in comprehension than they are at sneering insults it seems.

  77. jungney
    February 5th, 2015 at 18:20 | #77

    @Megan
    Human suffering under totalitarian rule = system failure.

    Human suffering in a capitalist economy = individual failure.

    And your point is, Cpt M?

  78. Felix Alexander
    February 5th, 2015 at 18:33 | #78

    I’m stunned at the lack of basic English language production skills of some of the commenters here who are stunned by the lack of basic English language comprehension skills of some of the commenters here. “Inferred” has one meaning, and “implied” another. It’s clear what was meant, but statements that are ridiculous deserve ridicule.

  79. captain moonlight
    February 5th, 2015 at 18:47 | #79

    Jungney says human suffering in a capitalist economy equals individual failure. What an odd thing to say. Certainly i wouldn’t take seriously anyone capable of such verbal flatus.

    Megan, i think we take it that iko thinks our democracy is a sham, hence the undergraduate reference to bourgeois democracy.

    Personally i would agree that a vast inequality in wealth power and status means democracy is limited. Some capitalist countries have dealt with this better than others.

    Felix, im typing on an iPhone and proof reading everything i write and auto correct is sometimes a nuisance.

  80. Megan
    February 5th, 2015 at 18:52 | #80

    That reminds me of a passage from a satirical british novel the name of which escapes me.

    The hero is in trouble with the police and makes some faintly disguised remark about the ‘bobby’ he is dealing with. The Bobby says: “Are you inferring that I’m stupid?” to which he replies: “Not at all. I implied it, you inferred it.”

  81. jungney
    February 5th, 2015 at 18:59 | #81

    @captain moonlight
    No, I didn’t say what you allege. I reflected back to you my perceptions of a particular ideological interpretation of history in which human suffering under totalitarianism is regarded as a form of system failure while human suffering under capitalism is, hey presto, not attributable to systemic faults but rather to individual inadequacy. I mocked what you wrote by, like you, using numerical symbols in order to reduce what I wrote to something barely comprehensible and therefore unarguable. Just like you.

    This:

    East Germany socialist + totalitarian

    West Germany capitalist + democratic

    North Korea socialist + totalitarian

    South Korea capitalist + democratic

    …is the intellectual equivalent of sh*t smearing in a psyche unit. It’s symptomatic.

  82. captain moonlight
    February 5th, 2015 at 19:23 | #82

    Not at all, jungney. Iko said capitalism is wholly anti-democratic, a statement that can’t be true because in our two best natural like-with-like experiments, capitalism and democracy have proved congenial companions while socialism has only been able to flourish in the presence of totalitarianism.

    And it is charming to see you make fun of the disabled. You r a classy guy

  83. zoot
    February 5th, 2015 at 19:38 | #83

    @captain moonlight

    And it is charming to see you make fun of the disabled.

    No, he was making fun of you.
    Is English your second language?

  84. jungney
    February 5th, 2015 at 19:54 | #84

    According to you then S. Korea is wholly democratic, is it? Despite long periods of oppressive rule and rule by proxy of the military?

  85. Nitch34
    February 5th, 2015 at 20:26 | #85

    @captain moonlight

    Most sentient beings will not base themselves on strange twists of logic like this. Surely, looking back, I read:

    I never said or inferred that capitalism is democratic, l merely rebutted the visibly false claim that it is wholly anti-democratic.

    The necessary test for being undemocratic is not being democratic.

    The necessary test for being democratic is not being undemocratic.

    By rebutting false anti-democratic, you have just tied yourself up in a juvenile knot.

    Maybe you do not even understand the intent behind what others are saying?

  86. Ikonoclast
    February 6th, 2015 at 06:32 | #86

    @Nitch34

    Sorry folks. I unintentionally got captain moonlight started. It’s hard for persons who conflate democracy and capitalism to understand that these are different phenomena entirely. To use a chemistry analogy, democracy and capitalism are miscible in all proportions, for example like water and alcohol. The next step is to understand that when you have a high percentage of one you have a low percentage of the other.

  87. Collin Street
    February 6th, 2015 at 07:09 | #87

    > Is English your second language?

    I think there’s a more-likely explanation of problems with implicature and a tendency towards black-and-white thinking, you know.

  88. Julie Thomas
    February 6th, 2015 at 08:30 | #88

    @Nitch34

    “Maybe you do not even understand the intent behind what others are saying?”

    I think this is the problem, CM does not understand intent, his own or others.

  89. Rob
    February 6th, 2015 at 08:41 | #89

    Ikonoclast is a classic Marxist troll, whining about capitalism, eating its fruits then dabbing a chubby finger at the keyboard.

  90. nawagadj
    February 6th, 2015 at 10:00 | #90

    Wonderful natterings from the various reptiles over the Abott-alypse.

    Abbott came in to save the Coalition from Turnbull, and now the only thing that can save the Coalition from Toxic Tony is Turnbull….who will tear the Coalition asunder.

    Salad days.

  91. jungney
    February 6th, 2015 at 10:33 | #91

    Just for a bit of cultural variety here is Mother Jones take on Half Term Tony.

  92. Hal9000
    February 6th, 2015 at 11:17 | #92

    @nawagadj
    +1 Replacing a loose cannon with a loose cannon. The other contenders are Bishop and Morrison, either of whom will be revealed to be completely out of their depth within weeks. My own secret hope is that Pyne will emerge as a compromise candidate. At any event, the LNP will be out of office for a decade. The Juliar meme is revealed to the electorate as trivial distraction, whereas the depth of LNP mendacity is near bottomless.

  93. Sancho
    February 6th, 2015 at 11:18 | #93

    It’s interesting to see just how baffled Tony is by his unpopularity. When he was health minister, the party did whatever it wanted, the PM said “terrorism” a few times, and everything was fine.

    Now the magic words aren’t working and he doesn’t have anything else.

  94. Fran Barlow
    February 6th, 2015 at 11:42 | #94

    Rob

    Ikonoclast is a classic Marxist troll

    I didn’t know there was a classic version. 😉 Are there non-classic Marxist trolls or are you doing pleonasm?

    That aside, Ikono isn’t a troll and I doubt he can fairly be called a Marxist. It’s possible to oppose capitalism from a communitarian perspective without being a Marxist. Last I heard, Ikono was favouring a steady state economy as the key tool with which to delay/prevent social collapse. That’s clearly not a Marxist position.

    I’d say he was some sort of radical communiarian populist democrat, were I forced to characterise his politics.

    As to him being ‘a troll’ … that’s simply unfair. He states his ideas firmly but follows forum rules, and doesn’t seek to provoke the kinds of negative interactions typical of trolls.

  95. Fran Barlow
    February 6th, 2015 at 11:42 | #95

    oops \\

    { radical communitarian populist democrat}

  96. Sancho
    February 6th, 2015 at 11:58 | #96

    No, no, Fran. Marxism always and only means “what Stalin did”.

    On the right, anyway.

  97. John Quiggin
    February 6th, 2015 at 12:21 | #97

    OK, nothing more on topics other than LNP leadership please.

    Captain Moonlight, you’re banned. I haven’t got the time to rein you in or check whether you are a returning sockpuppet, but you are not adding anything to the discussion, and seem unlikely to improve.

  98. Tim Macknay
    February 6th, 2015 at 15:34 | #98

    @Hal9000

    At any event, the LNP will be out of office for a decade.

    A courageous prediction, as Sir Humphrey might say, given the current volatility in politics.

  99. Tim Macknay
    February 6th, 2015 at 15:38 | #99

    @Sancho
    Yes, there is the sense that the Abbott Government thought they were following a tried-and-true programme first established in 1996, and can’t understand why it isn’t working.

  100. David Irving (no relation)
    February 6th, 2015 at 16:21 | #100

    @Hal9000
    I wish I could agree that they’ll be out of office for a decade. I was fairly confidently making that prediction on Rudd’s election, and we all saw how that worked out 🙁

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