67 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. @Donald Oats

    Re: Peta Credlin.

    I usually get the feeling, when hearing the PM blurt away with one of those pre-packaged and strictly managed phrases which appear to be pitched at an audience with the comprehension ability of a twelve-year-old (ie: the Murdoch demographic), that “Credlin told him to say that”.

    Things like the 3 word slogans and “debt and deficit disaster”.

    When I heard the “P-E-T-E-R not P-E-T-A” soundgrab today I thought exactly the same thing: “Credlin told him to say that”.

  2. @Troy Prideaux

    That story doesn’t surprise me. Capitalism has a default setting now where rich corporations make wealth by doing virtually nothing except churning pre-set processes on captured and trapped customers. Any customer who doesn’t fit the churn frame or wants to change something has not a hope in heck.

    Bank keep current business and capture new business by default-sharing because so-called “competition” which is really cartel cooperation has seen them all dead-heat in the race to the bottom. They give zero customer service beyond the automated processes that tick their profit line over.

    You literally have to work hard to become their customer. In the same way you have to work to pump gas, inflate your tires and clean your windscreen at the filling stattion. Or work to fill your shopping trolley and work to check it out at the self-checkout. Corporations now make customers work for them. It’s all very clever when you think about it.

  3. @Megan
    Could be. If so, it displays a misjudgement as to how the media will treat it: every time PM Tony Abbott fronts up for the ol’ doorstep interview now, some bright spark is going to ask him to be more expansive on who he was referring to when he said there were some people who need to take a long hard look at themselves.

    Personally, I think Peta Credlin has fallen foul of being both highly visible for someone in the role she plays, and keeping a tight leash on communications between ministers and media. The media don’t like that, and ministers—some of whom are of suffering D-K effect—believe they should be the ones announcing stuff and feeding the chooks, as it were. They leak what is essentially their frustration with PM Tony Abbott, for it is his PMO—i.e. the PMO operate under the discretion of the PM—but they are too timid to take their frustrations directly to the PM, by letter or by physically catching up with him.

    The same error of judgement was made in the case of the execution of PM Kevin Rudd: at what stage did the frustrated ministers and senators get together in a meeting with Rudd, and properly explain their frustrations, perhaps even taking several meetings, and a plan to work it out together? As far as I’m aware, if there were any meetings at all, it was as a conclusion looking for an excuse to harden their opposition to Rudd, rather than a meeting to sort through issues and to solve them together over time. The LNP members leaking to the press are committing the same mistake: surely they haven’t already decided to discard a current PM? Surely they observed the ALP’s implosion with a professional eye, rather than missing the lessons to be learned, perhaps too preoccupied with their blizzard of tweets to send while sitting around in a boring Question Time session after a pound of blue steak and a bottle of the finest red?

  4. @Donald Oats

    I don’t agree with some of that.

    …ministers—some of whom are of suffering D-K effect—believe they should be the ones announcing stuff…

    I despise the LNP, and the ALP for that matter, as I have made clear frequently. But I have a great respect for the skeleton of our democratic system as it is supposed to function. I reckon we have a problem if a “Minister of The Crown” duly sworn blah blah blah should, for whatever reason, not “believe they should be the ones announcing stuff”.

    The Puppeteers (of our ALP/LNP duopoly) need to understand and accept that.

    As far as taking “frustrations directly to the PM” – seriously?

    Remember way back in 2006/2007 when every sentient being was aware that Howard was doomed and the LNP inner-circle elite tried to give him the nudge and get him to hand over to Costello? Howard sent Downer back to the plotters with a challenge none of them could stomach.

    Notice how all the terribly unhappy LNP MPs are too gutless to either go on the record or publicly quit the party and become independents.

    Whatever it is they claim Credlin is preventing them from doing, they can’t be serious about it because if they were they would do something more dramatic than whinge in a “backgrounder” to an establishment media hack.

    Same applies to the ALP under Rudd/Gillard. Either sort it out in private or make it totally public and stand on your “principles”.

  5. @Megan
    I stand corrected on the ministers and announcements concerning their portfolios.

    My comment about taking their specific frustrations to the PM I think is reasonable: if the PM rejects a minister’s complaints out of hand, or gives them the I’m listening but not going to act on it behaviour, then as a minister, they should accept that they no longer have the confidence of the PM, and offer their resignation on that basis. The thing is, they won’t do that, they’ll try and hold on to their power instead. Still, it is their call. I agree with you on this too.

  6. PS- This isn’t just an “Abbott” thing. It is a neo-con phenomenon all across the US empire.

    A year or so ago I was at an event and the Queensland AG was there. That morning some legislative/regulatory changes had been announced to do with abolishing ‘Transit Lanes’ on the M1.

    When asked about it he replied: “Yes, I just heard about that in the car on the way here on B105” – (B105 is a local ‘rock’ fm station). He was genuinely surprised at the news.

    This is where our “democracy” has gone while we were all fighting pointless ALP v LNP battles.

    They have all abdicated to the 1%. And it’s a lucrative business.

    We need to get our democracy back.

  7. This story about the extent and the cost of the cuts to CSIRO is worth a gander—it was on the (now national) Friday 7:30, ABC 21. Ian MacFarlane’s comments about the overall science budget going up were, in my opinion at least, disingenuous—see budget totals for 2013/2014 financial year cf 2014/2015 fy (Table 1, last row). The 13/14 total budget is $9577.5m, while the estimate for 14/15 is $9191.5m; unless I’m misunderstanding the table, unless I missed some generous announcement, that is a decline in funding, not an increase. To quote the minister’s own words from the 7:30 story:

    CONOR DUFFY: Today in Hobart, Ian Macfarlane and CSIRO executives were celebrating the launch of a new $120 million research ship called The Investigator. The minister described the cuts as minimal.

    IAN MACFARLANE, INDUSTRY MINISTER: Well CSIRO actually had a very small cut relative to its overall budget and if you look at the overall science budget in Australia of over $9.3 billion.

    CONOR DUFFY: Ian Macfarlane says the Government will establish five new centres to partner science and industry.

    IAN MACFARLANE: Well we’re not slashing funding to science. As I’ve just said, the science budget in my portfolio went up in the last budget. That’s a fact.

    Sigh 😦 What can you do.

  8. Joe Hockey has made reference to the “bloated” Australian Public Service inherited from Labor; there is only one problem: the APS has been significantly larger, even when serving a much smaller Australian population. In 1968 the APS had 211652 staff in total; in 2013, it had 167257. I’ve picked on 1968 because that is the year of the highest staff count since the APS’s inception. Anyway, my arithmetic says that the 2013 total is only 79% of the 1968 total. If you want bloated, look no further than the Liberals, for in 1968 Australia was under Liberal rule, as it had been for a considerable time before then.

    Instead of carrying on like a pork chop in the hot noon day sun, Treasurer Joe Hockey could spend his time more profitably, perhaps learning a little about the APS and its functions. Perhaps he could figure out appropriate budgets for effectively fulfilling the role, and not just hack and slash some arbitrary number of jobs written down on the back of a napkin one night before the election. Or whatever.

    Unfortunately, with the terms of trade in the diabolicals (see why we shouldn’t be just a shovel and saw economy, Joe), there is little doubt a new napkin will soon be ready…

  9. Yet another reason why Direct Action will probably never happen will be the lack of competent public servants to administer it. A large number of firms (200?) will need to have their ‘baselines’ assessed then monitored then tax funded lollies issued for good behaviour. I don’t see how it can possibly happen which could be why Greg Hunt wasn’t sent to Lima to explain it.

  10. That is not exactly a fair comparison, DonaldO. First up I agree with your thinking generally, but in this case you are comparing a public service pre large scale computer automation to a public service highly computer automated. So the population has gone up hugely and the public service has gone down slightly. Primary differences? Computers, software, time and population. Too many variables for a fair kick in the arse.

    I am totally bemused by Hockey’s today claim that while unemployment is skyrocketting, “it would have been worse under Labour!!!!” This lot just can’t be honest no matter what.

    I predicted a recession before the last election if Abbott was elected, I think that they are right on track for a recession just before the next election if it is held on schedule. Therefore there just might be an early election to hide the impending doom.

  11. Donald Oats Dont forget privatisation. The likes of Telstra,airports etc are now in public (Shareholders) hands

  12. Last Thursday I was at Rottnest, and bought a newspaper with a decidedly leftist, or rather just plain weird, leaning. I can’t remember its name, but it was the third edition. It had a revue of Russell Brand’s book, a piece defending Russia, a piece about how the Rothschilds still run the world.

    Does anyone know about this newspaper, and who funds it?

  13. The Sydney hostage incident and its aftermath, is a potential teaching moment. So far we have seen encouraging sentiments towards the “other” in our society – as the chauvinist “Team Australia” theme is promoted by Abbott, this incident is the opportunity for dissenters to push back. Radical ideas are not yet a crime, despite the implications from our PM. taking full opportunity to ingratiate himself to the nation with his anodyne comments.

    Nicholas Cowderoy, the former NSW DPP, was interviewed on 7.30 TV tonight, and made some relevant comments in response to the anticipated objection of bail conditions being granted to the hostage-taker and his response included that the perpetrator was not convicted of anything. It could also have been noted that the perpetrator made statements about his weapons being a pen and words, and that Australia (he carried an Australian flag not an ISIS flag) should not be suborned to America. Hmm, a lot of people here could identify with those sentiments.

    Malcolm Turnbull’s media interview was also broadcast, he talked about being on a train this morning and his perception of how people felt, the fear but also the love, and how to interpret this. He didn’t acknowledge it, but using public transport is where Turnbull (whose electorate is the 3rd highest income group in Australia – 2 ahead of Abbott, and 1 behind Hockey) is forced – in a small way – to experience the life of ordinary people in its unavoidable mixing of different classes and tribes. Where else would he get such authenticity?

    Because the media is searching for relevance, the opportunities from this event for introspective chatter which enhances our knowledge of ourselves is good. We can contemplate on:

    1. the quality of our political leadership, and our functional (security) leadership
    2. how we expect our justice system to work, when under stress
    3. is our military adventurism in the middle east related to what happens here
    4. the democratising role of joint services like public transport and by extension, public education and public health, in fusing the leaders and plebs towards a common understanding and goals
    5. how our media performs, as information brokers and messengers between leaders and led.

  14. Compare the 24/7 (literally) media coverage and outpouring of grief over what looks like a botched militarized police over-reaction to a hostage siege resulting in 3 deaths on Monday with the bland coverage of the massacre of 8 black children in Cairns today.

    We are a very sick country.

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