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Grattan on Friday: Roxon’s “household tips” for Labor have some messages for Abbott too

Tony Abbott is no doubt enjoying former minister Nicola Roxon’s blast against her old political boss Kevin Rudd. It has brought the attention back to Labor in an uncomfortable way for the opposition. Abbott…

Tony Abbott faces challenges adjusting to a prime ministerial style. AAP/Alan Porritt

Tony Abbott is no doubt enjoying former minister Nicola Roxon’s blast against her old political boss Kevin Rudd. It has brought the attention back to Labor in an uncomfortable way for the opposition.

Abbott knows Roxon well. They went head to head when he was health minister and she was Labor’s spokeswoman. Nicola can be sharp. In the 2007 campaign she ticked Tony off for being late for a debate, to which he said “bullshit”. He was the loser in that exchange. She’s one of those “don’t mess with me” kind of people.

In Wednesday’s John Button Memorial Lecture Roxon (who did not contest the election) took an axe to Rudd, accusing him of being a “bastard”, treacherous, and a hopeless manager of prime ministerial business; she said he should leave parliament ASAP.

Her account of Rudd could have been titled “A study in how not to be a PM”. She cast it as providing “housekeeping tips”. Her advice (directed to a future Labor government but also good for this government and PM) includes: don’t do too many things at once; keep your focus high level, on the things that really matter; delegate; welcome debate, rather than fearing it; be polite and be persuasive; have the diary tidy; and “accept you are not always right, and cannot always fix everything”.

Prime ministerships always start in hope and almost always end in tears. Consider those in recent memory (and put aside Gough Whitlam – to be sacked by the governor-general is beyond disaster). Malcolm Fraser, Paul Keating and John Howard lost at the polls; Bob Hawke and Julia Gillard were toppled by their parties; Rudd had the distinction of being rejected by both party and voters. We have to go back to Robert Menzies in 1966 to find a benign ending – and he’d had a miserable first one in 1941.

If you are PM, the challenge is not so much the way you will end, because that will almost certainly be badly, but in delaying that end and doing as much as possible before it comes. Hawke and Howard both look back with equanimity because they and others feel they achieved a lot.

Abbott understands that what’s needed in power is different from what’s required in opposition, where, as he’s put it, one is “the leader of a tribe”. But knowing and doing are different. Bashing the other side is easy and addictive. A PM still has to don the warpaint periodically, but a government that is preoccupied with scoring political points against the opposition years out from the next election risks annoying voters, particularly now, when they are sick of all that shouting.

Abbott should concentrate on just governing. The election is over. Keep the attack dogs (Christopher Pyne, Scott Morrison) in the kennels more. Send out some of the milder mannered ministers. When parliament starts, remember which side of the chamber you are now sitting on; turn down the volume. Voters know you think Labor was doing a poor job – they thought so too and that’s why they threw it out.

It’s a similar story with discipline and control. Arguably the more the better in opposition. In government a balance needs to be struck. Abbott has said he wants ministers to run their own races, with him intervening when circumstances demand. (This comes partly from his own experience; when a junior minister he demanded his senior minister, Peter Reith, give him space.)

But the PM has ultimate responsibility, so walking the line is always tricky. Fraser wanted to be into everything; Howard understood the balance pretty well, as did Hawke.

Abbott needs to be careful that his office (run by his formidable chief of staff Peta Credlin) accepts that in an “adult” government, as this one likes to style itself, you get further by treating the colleagues and their staffs like grown ups too.

In managing cabinet, Abbott has had the advantage of seeing a good chairman (Howard) in operation, so he starts ahead.

Everyone in cabinet needs to be given a genuine say; ministers should be encouraged to speak up when they disagree and the PM should listen carefully to them (WorkChoices mightn’t have been so politically lethal if Howard had taken greater heed of Abbott’s reservations, expressed in cabinet, but industrial relations was a Howard blind spot).

There are salutary stories of Rudd both failing to bring important matters to cabinet and drowning it in unnecessary detail. Fraser’s practice of exhausting ministers with endless cabinet meetings is also to be avoided. It’s the same with the staff and public servants. Roxon’s account of Rudd demanding work before Christmas is a reminder that in normal times it is best to let these people follow ordinary routines. Their complaints will get you a bad name.

Kitchen cabinets, except in emergencies, are dangerous, as Rudd discovered: they may be an answer to “leaks” (though not always) but they narrow the advisory stream and create jealousies. A PM is managing senior colleagues who have in common big egos but often, also, surprising insecurities. Sensitive to the vagaries of politics, if they feel left out they can become unsettled or resentful.

Two of the most difficult areas for a PM are enforcing propriety and dealing with the backbench.

Howard started by imposing strict standards on frontbenchers but when they started falling like ninepins, he abandoned those standards and held onto people at all costs. In the current controversy about MPs' entitlements (where he was among those ensnared) Abbott has resisted toughening the system. More positively, he has banned members of party executives from being lobbyists. Whether he will be Howard Mark 1 or Mark 2 on propriety remains to be seen.

Managing the party room will be a test for Abbott. There are a few obvious stratagems, which he adopted to an extent in opposition, such as keeping the up-and-comers busy – committee work and the like - and feeling involved.

And it’s crucial to tune in to what the backbenchers have to say. It’s better that they let off steam, even if it leads to a few embarrassing media stories, than bottle up grievances. Rudd had the most quiescent caucus one could imagine. Unfortunately for him, it was equally quiescent when asked to go along with an extraordinary coup.

Fraser, Hawke, and Howard all had some difficulties with backbenchers over policy, and Abbott could well encounter the same thing. For a Liberal PM even the occasional floor crossing is not so serious. Coping with a degree of dissent needs to be part of a prime ministerial skill set.

It goes without saying that so does managing their own behaviour. In retrospect, given all we now know about Rudd’s conduct, it’s hilarious that when his then backbencher Belinda Neal had a hissy fit in a restaurant, he told her to get anger management counselling. Abbott mostly has a good temperament but there has been the odd incident in the past (such as the Roxon moment).

All PMs are prone to an impatient outburst but these carry far more political risk than a couple of generations ago, because of today’s intense media cycle. It’s the trivia that’s remembered and repeated – such as when Rudd had a tantrum over the food, or lack of it, in a VIP plane.

The trials of being PM are endless. Abbott is said to have been frustrated when, after appearing for his rural fire brigade duties last Sunday, he sat in the truck for the day, rather than being called out. Reportedly, he was complaining in the VIP on the way back to Canberra.

Abbott is trying to keep himself grounded by doing what he did when he wasn’t PM. That might be as tough a challenge as any of the others. There are whole industries – from spinners to security details – that attempt to cosset a prime minister. Good luck to Abbott if he can sometimes break away from them. It will make him better at his day job.

Listen to Clare O'Neil and Angus Taylor on the Politics with Michelle Grattan podcast, available below, by rss and on iTunes.

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135 Comments sorted by

  1. Henry Verberne

    Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

    A great article Michelle. I think Roxon was right to "tell it like it is/was" rather than holding back. I hope Rudd takes notice of Roxon's suggestion and pursues other career options as he is clearly no longer wanted and his departure will enable Labor to start the process of looking at itself and ultimately preparing for a further term in government.

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  2. Greg d'Arville

    logged in via Facebook

    Interesting to read about Abbott's "formidable chief of staff Peter Credlin". He sounds like a tough bloke, any relation to Peta?
    (the typo was irresistible despite the strength of the article)

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  3. Ronald Ostrowski

    logged in via Facebook

    Michelle makes an important point. Abbott seems to find it difficult to transition for his habitual attack Labor mode to PM in charge mode. Butr so do some of the media. It seems the ABC 24 chuckleheads cannot get their heads around Adam Bandt using the NSW bushfires to expose Abbott in dismantling the little we have in addressing climate change. So, according to these journalists, it is poor timing to discuss the politics of Abbott's dual role in fighting fires whilst at the same time dismantling a price on carbon. But, apparently, it is okay for Abbott to swagger over to a microphone and demand Labor to repent as these fires rage. It seems that we still have an Opposition L:eader in charge, and many in the media seem comfortable with that concept.

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    1. Lynne Newington

      Researcher

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      Yes, he's using the "repent" word a lot lately, isn't he, when I first heard it I imagined him standing on a podium waiving a bible in his hand.
      Maybe getting confused with his vocations.

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  4. Terry Morrison

    retired educator/instructor

    One interesting point about the conversation on Global Warming is that most people now refer to the issue as "climate change" Bandt used the more correct description "Global Warming" in his interview. Framing is now mainstream thinking and the way we use words is very important. As some may know the words climate change were coined by a Bush spin doctor -a most entertaining interview with this 'merchant' (Luntz) on Lateline with Tony Jones. TJ got the spin merchant to do a mea culpa and admit that he had been wrong to down play the science -in fact he said that he was now a "believer". Not as dramatic a comment as T A's crap statement but far more interesting. Maybe if we reverted to the original intent of the words a more serious discussion might happen -but that would require all the shock jocks and Murdoch to also do a mea culpa.

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    1. Craig Miller

      Environmental Consultant

      In reply to Terry Morrison

      The globe is warming, i.e. heat energy is being retained within the earth system longer now than previously, and this is resulting in changed weather patterns, which in aggregate is a changed climate.

      Global warming is about the energy budget, and climate change is the outcome.

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    2. Paul Felix

      Builder

      In reply to Craig Miller

      You are correct but the term as generally used was as a result of climate change being less scary that global warming. Terry is correct in the genesis.
      NLP has so much to answer for.

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    3. Allan Gardiner

      Dr

      In reply to Craig Miller

      Perhaps the earth's atmosphere needs to warm up a bit to compensate for its core cooling down commensurately, and if the core's temperature hasn't cooled markedly then its energy reserve must be diminishing nonetheless. Nature does so abhor a vacuum. It's always better to put a jumper on well before one starts feeling cold than to tough-it-out until you start to shiver, because the onset of severe hypothermia may then prevent you from donning some warm clobber.

      Until we've seen some credible figures showing exactly what the core's temperature is at present and, say, exactly what it was 1,000 years ago, then it's difficult to prove that any slight global warming/cooling can only ever be to mankind's detriment.

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    4. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Allan Gardiner

      " Perhaps the earth's atmosphere needs to warm up a bit to compensate for its core cooling down commensurately, "
      That's an interesting perspective Allan and I have raised myself on TC at times the cycle of nature and to get the predictable howling of those presumably knowing better.
      From an engineering perspective, I have thought of the earth as a tennis ball of sorts, the skin of a tennis ball akin to the earths solid outer and then considered the thermodynamics of contraction and expansion…

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  5. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    One would have thought the ALP would be grateful to Rudd for saving them more than 10 seats, thus saving them from near-oblivion ...

    Perhaps they should offer his the position of shadow foreign minister, a field in which his knowledge surpasses that of any other MP.

    Instead the personal vendetta appears to continue ...

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    1. Edwina Laginestra
      Edwina Laginestra is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Jack of all trades

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      Andrew - isn't it fascinating that we all have different interpretations of events! My reading was that they may have been annoyed that Rudd started the destabilisation with all that leaking and behind the scenes stuff, but he was more popular with sections of the electorate (possibly as some kept their tongue about his antics knowing that complaining is electorate poison). Seems a little like a saving the furniture when he started the fire.

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      That Rudd saved them ten seats is all theorising Andrew, something that can never really be proven.
      From my perspective, I can imagine many people being far from happy with how Rudd acted in the past three years and despite an unhappiness with how he was removed, there could have been far more unhappiness with his behaviour and refusal to call an election earlier than it was called.
      We had his I am king approach to governing for a couple of months without any parliament sitting and then his massive…

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  6. Denis Goodwin

    Retired

    So Roxon is one of those “don’t mess with me” kind of people, is she? As she’s retired from Parliament I would have thought it a pretty simple matter to not “mess” with her. Simply ignore her. That should not be too difficult.

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    1. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Denis Goodwin

      Yes, I usually like MG's contributions, but that little piece of hubristic attribution seems too much like attempted gender power play than anything else.

      Would we describe any male politician thus? Perhaps, but not anyone we would wish to remember. (Maybe that's a good thing.)

      Hey, perhaps we could nickname her 'Ironbar'? Oh, sorry Wilson. Maybe 'Iron Lady'? Taken, but may be available. 'Iron Maiden'? Definitely not. (Too good a band.)

      Okay, I've got it: 'Ironpants Roxon' has a certain 'je ne sais quoi' . . . does it not?

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    1. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Gavin Moodie

      Gavin are we nit picking ?
      Perhaps we should concentrate on substance a bit more.

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    2. Allan Gardiner

      Dr

      In reply to Gavin Moodie

      Gavin, let me put things write..err..right. Your quibble's easily quashed because Michelle DID especially write it, *and* she certainly didn't say it...sez I.

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  7. Dennis Alexander

    logged in via LinkedIn

    At last some analysis. I think some more on Abbott's extra-curricular activities is warranted. I tend to agree that they do keep him grounded, albeit at the taxpayers' expense, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Keeping hold of a routine outside of the day-to-day of politics that is personal and valued by the incumbent seems to have worked for Menzies, Hawke and Howard. And, to be honest, if I were the RFS fire chief with the PM on volunteer duty, I'd keep them in the truck as well - even if I am way left of any of their particular brand of politics.

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  8. Comment removed by moderator.

  9. Rene Oldenburger

    Haven't got one

    I would say all household tips any former ALP politician has for Abbott or the LNP is going in the folder "recipe for disaster".

    One thing is for sure, the gender debate will once again become one of the ALP's hissy fits, they won't be able to help themselves

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    1. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Michelle,
      "a study on how not to be a PM"
      "House keeping tips"
      Mr. TA must not have taken much notice !
      From AM today it seems he is determined to turn his "adult government " into a kindergarten class.

      As I have stated in previous posts ;
      in a family it is the cone of silence around problems that allow problems to fester..
      and they are starting to... very early in the piece.
      The MP's must have taken notice of the lessons because they won't be treated like kindy children.
      * work of MP's has to vetted ...like homework?
      *appointment of electorate staff has to be vetted ?

      So much for allowing adults to make adult decisions!

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    2. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Perhaps the ALP should have done a bit more of vetting everyone, they're gone for good reasons

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    3. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Rene,
      you could be right about vetting,
      however let us never forget that the LNP had powerful friends ;
      like the business community
      like the media to get into power;
      how long they will survive depends on how well they will "pay the piper'
      and whether the voters are prepared to cop it sweet.

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    4. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Perhaps you have to ask the question as of to why the ALP alienated so many people, including business and media.

      You can't just cut an entire society in half based on the delusional beliefs of women like Gillard who think everything is about women and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on it.

      Simply go to the Hawke Research Institute and you know what I mean. It's just utterly ridiculous.

      Even in South Australia there was the Thinker Program, where on it's website was claimed that SA has the reputation of one of the worlds most progressive states.

      Nothing has ever come out of SA that could be regarded as SA earning the world wide reputation as "one of the most progressive states in the world"

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    5. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Rene, SORRY BUT

      I don't remember saying any ting about the topic you are discussing... but I respect your right to your opinion.
      Just as I have the right to ask what did vested interests including the media have to gain by helping the Labor gov self destruct.
      EG
      Getting rid of mining resource tax
      getting rid of carbon tax
      getting rid of NBN
      big incentives I think!

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    6. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Well you talked about vested interests and vetting. Chris Kenny in an article in The Australian mentioned the 3 billion dollar fund Gillard created for her vested interest and that was purely to be used for women issues.

      And mining resource tax, doesn't actually do anything, it just creates more red tape and it cost jobs. These people add to the unemployment list, which are paid for by other tax payers

      Carbon Tax, same thing

      NBN, highly over rated necessity to have something like that in every household in the country and extremely expensive, for which you have to pay

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    7. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Rene
      "mining tax does not do anything"
      How wrong you are... Why do you think on the day the MRT passed through parliament
      WA and QLd increased the royalties payable to them by mining companies?
      So that the MRT could be seen as a failure because money going to the Federal Gov was diverted to the states.
      Why do you think WA is crying poor in relation to GST distribution ? Because the the Labor government gave WA the chance not to be so greedy in relation to the MRT and when they refused the Federal gov cut its GST entitlement.
      Look it up I think WA increased royalties by the total of 17% Qld by 16%
      We are talking big bikies here and the sad thing is that this money was earmarked for very worthwhile and historic social reforms.

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    8. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Worthwhile and historical social reforms? This country has gone backwards on social reforms.

      And mining companies pay more than enough in taxes already. The ALP was a Government that went from billions in surplus to hundred millions in debt within a few years.

      Reason given was GFC, there are other countries around the world who also got out of the GFC same as Ozland and they are countries who haven't got these mineral resources.

      Mining companies are just a cash cow to pay of debt

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    9. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Rene,
      The secret to taxation is to pluck the fat goose without causing too much squawking.
      I suppose you could try taxing the poor (an anti-Goose Squawking Tax?) or you could try taxing the rich. Which squarks the loudest? Which wins? Even when the rich are foreigners.

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    10. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, I also think what is important of how you sell taxation, not much credibility spending hundreds of billions of dollars because there is a GFC going on and give yourself a massive pay rise at the same time

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    11. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Rene..... Mining companies are just a cash cow to pay off debt

      Is that why the Liberal states increased mining royalties payable to them the very day that he MRT went through parliament?
      The mining companies are friends of the LNP as Julie Bishop from WA.

      "the country has gone backwards on social reforms"
      so you don't think the NDIS is a worthwhile social reform?

      Please can you name one real social reform introduced by the Howard government?

      Lastly whom do you suggest should pay more tax and in what area?

      Sorry Rene , with due respect for your opinion...and your right to hold it ...I cant agree with you.

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    12. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Just increase the GST, very simple actually.

      NDIS has nothing to do with social reform

      And Howard had a very good social reform, he stopped funding feminism.

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    13. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Ella Miller

      And of course Howard introduced Shared Care Parenting which of course was cancelled by the ALP.

      You can't be a bigger anti social than cancelling shared cared parenting

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    14. Mark Amey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Well, Ella they couldn't be trusted to submit their travel claims, so perhaps they need some vetting!

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  10. Chris Saunders

    retired

    Here's another tip for Abbott. Never forget half the population are women. Half the voters are women. What strikes me is that Rudd’s initial team of his own choosing (2007) and in passing an attempted blow at the power of factions contained 7 women. His 2013 ministry was to have 13. I wonder that no-one appears to grant Rudd any recognition for his openness to having women in his cabinet. Or, is such a situation assumed normal in the modern Labor party and not a personal quality of Rudd’s…

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    1. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris,
      It could also be viewed that KR thought of himself as a charmer and thought women might be easier to handle than his male members.
      HOW WRONG HE WAS.
      As are many in this place who under estimate us.

      PUPPY POWER I call it.

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    2. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Well, I’m not into Rudd’s mind or anyone else’s for that matter, but his actions say, he promoted women or at the very least did not obstruct their promotion. How many women would love to have a boss like that? As to puppy power well sorry but I am more cynical than that. You can’t make someone promote you unless you have outstanding merit or something very strong to offer like a Julie Bishop who it has been reported has the west Australian miners on side: which makes for one powerful inducement…

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    3. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris... your reply was a good read... but I think I did not explain my concept of puppy power.

      think little puppy perception sweet... but not much power.

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    4. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Ella Miller

      But that's where we all start Ella, male or female. It's what we build from there that counts. But of course the majority of us are not motivated by power; like a heady smelling spice a pinch is enough for most of us; our motivations and desires lie elsewhere. That is not to say we don't care who holds the power. That after all is what politics and our individual vote is about. It will be a see saw process with the pollies pulling their collective way and some pollies pulling their individual way, but the public is one big powerful mass and our influence is vital to them, thank goodness.

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  11. john tons

    retired redundant

    No doubt this is, for most of message, but I am rather pleased that he had dummy spit about his firefighting experiences. I am sure the sentiments he expressed were no different than those expressed by the rest of us - volunteer fire fighters are critical to keeping our communities safe but far too often we are called out only to find that we were not needed after all. In most of these instances there is no journalist around to document our frustrations at our time being wasted. Tony happens to be the PM so people are watching his every move so with luck the penny will drop and people will acknowledge that we need t do a lot more work to ensure that the way volunteers are deployed is consistent with international best practice standards.

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    1. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to john tons

      John, well said .. My husband was a volunteer fireman and captain of the brigade...he could certainly
      have told you stories as well. And no doubt would be clapping his hands at your statement.

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  12. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Well Nicola Roxon's "household tips" seemed to inspire you to do the same for Tony Abbott Michelle. So much so in fact, thought you might be pitching for a new career in a political tactics and media advisory role? You certainly have a long, wisdom imparting-career of observation and reportage by which to qualify.

    Abbott "mostly has a good temperament" you think? Aside from that swearing at 'Roxon moment' there's been multi youtube videos illustrating the contrary. The standout instance being…

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  13. Roslyn Mulcahy

    Social Worker

    Times have certainly changed - and social and community expectations of our political leaders have also moved on! No longer would the models of leadership and behaviour from former Prime Ministers be accepted or tolerated by the public.

    Nicola Roxon has provided all members of parliament with a valuable piece of advice that, if respected and objectively listened too, will benefit those willing to look more closely at themselves in the mirror.

    My message of support and appreciation of her…

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  14. Paul Felix

    Builder

    Was it in the Age and or ABC that leaks about Abbott's management has already started?
    As PM my only problem with K Rudd was not calling an election on the ETS, but after being replaced he went downhill fast in my estimation. I think Labor people should now shut up publicly and vent their anger/frustrations to fellow party members. No one wins with this stuff, much as I admire N Roxon.
    Why though is the media still obsessing about the past, we have a new government, do your jobs.

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    1. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Paul Felix

      Well calling an election on the ETS was problematic: seeing as how you had received one of those dubious mandates for an emissions trading scheme when you got voted in in the first time and anyway history has shown you don't win government after calling for a double dissolution. It was a goad and a put on by Abbott. Why would you respond to that? Roxon had not told the story before maintaining salutary silence and so felt the need when given the opportunity by the Button talks; an honour and a…

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    2. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris,
      ":I personally would have found more interest in the reasons why Rudd was re-embraced. The argument that he was to save the furniture never rang true to me and of course not having let Gillard run, we will never know."
      Exactly so. Where is any investigative journalism in why and how Rudd was returned? Where is the analysis of why people voted the way they did? The ABC's Vote Compass surely would be worth mining for its accuracy or otherwise in predicting the results. How did it match with the pre- and post-polling.
      Incidentally, I helped man the phones for the ALP before the election. It seems that people with fixed phones were NOT representative of the whole electorate - a major bias in the incessant surveys we were subjected to by the American billionaire lizard and his minions..

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    3. Paul Felix

      Builder

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      It seems that people with fixed phones were NOT representative of the whole electorate

      Can you elaborate please?

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    4. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Paul Felix

      Paul,
      I assume that you, as a builder, have a mobile phone. Lots of wealthy young mobile people have them. Lots of people (renters, for example) no longer have fixed phones.
      It is easy to buy a list of electors from the AEC (name and addresses for all electors), and a list of fixed line telephone numbers from the telcos (names and addresses of bill payers), match them by name and address, and bingo, you have a database of names to call, sorted by ABN demographics / statistical zones and electorates…

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    5. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      I suspect there were probably more than you, me and Bob Ellis who were suspicious of the News Ltd and Murdoch owned polls.

      In the end, though, I think there were sufficient alternative polls that were similar in outcome. Gillard was going to be a disaster. In Queensland, all seats were looking lost.

      What annoyed me no end, though, was the propensity for the ABC to feature Newspoll, often ignoring other polls.

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    6. Paul Felix

      Builder

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Many thanks, quite sad though, we could be a little more rational about who we are voting for

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    7. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      This article by Erik Jensen gives an amazingly accurate account of what was happening at the time. It's long but worth the effort to pursue. It certainly jells with what I remember as having been a SMH reader and having to cop Peter Hartcher's and Philip Coorey's articles and being driven to utter distraction by their negativity and continuous quoting of unnamed sources close to the government. http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2013/may/1367364737/erik-jensen/kevin-rudd-s-unrelenting-campaign-regain-power

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    8. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      The poll results were definitely following upon negative reports on the government as broadcast in the media. I thought that it was just Murdoch's minions doing this on his strategy, but Erik's article says that Gillard's supporters knew it was Rudd's supporters who were feeding the newspaper leaks and damaging the government's standing. So, have a negative report on the government (picked up by radio for the particular constituency you talk about as having fixed lines) and follow it up immediately…

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    9. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      Yuri,
      I think that ALL the telephone-based polls had the same systematic bias towards conservatism, so they were all "similar in outcome". The focus groups would have come up with somewhat different results - except that (I think) they probably suffered from "group think".
      What annoyed me no end was the propensity for ALL channels to show the High-Visibility-Man with his nightly stunt getting 5 to 10 minutes free advertising with no attempt to ask ANY question about his policies.
      At least the taxpayer was not being ripped off for them - so far as we know.

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    10. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert,
      and yet the public are still being told that the LNP have a fair mandate, because we have free and fair elections.
      What a joke!!!

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    11. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris,
      Thanks, very interesting BUT
      "At 9.20 am, after he left Gillard’s office, Crean received a text message from Rudd. Crean hadn’t spoken to Rudd since Tuesday. The message, later forwarded to Laurie Oakes, read: “Gidday, Simon. I’m told you saw the PM last night. If that’s so and if it in any way touches the leadership, and if you are making any public comments, please give me a call beforehand. My position is as before. All the best, Kevin.”
      What sort of goose would NOT read an SMS - you…

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    12. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      For Michelle Grattan's eyes only.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Hughes
      If you really want to stir mischief, how about a comparison of Billy Hughes' and Kevin Rudd's careers. Two men, absolutely convinced they are right, full of beans - and willing to change parties to achieve their long-term visions.
      And finally, if "behind every great man there is a great woman", what about Theresa Rheine - an obviously and proven capable and decent woman who stands by her man. .

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    13. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      I differ with your thoughts expressed in your last paragraph, I'm not sure they can be called decent men when they were so willing to put their needs, or if we want to be generous, their vision, above the success of their party and their constituent's hopes in the 2010 election to the extent that they damaged the party's result. As to '(just) cause' one has to ask that if 3/4s of caucus have decided that they no longer considered Rudd was suitable to purpose and wanted Gillard in his place would this be normally reason enough? After all the leadership stands or falls on judged performance, and Rudd was considered deficient by a large majority. I am still interested in what happened to that majority.

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    14. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Hi Chris,
      The ALP has just spent a lot of time deciding between Anthony Albanese (who always supported Rudd) and Bill Shorten (who oscillated between Gillard and Rudd). I am not an ALP member, though I assisted at the last election, and attended Albo's electorate knees-up, so I am very interested. I could not make my mind up between them.
      I think it would be a huge struggle to decide between Gillard and Rudd as to which of them could best fight against Abbott's looming victory.
      I think Rudd is a visionary leader, and Gillard was an excellent negotiator, and both are flawed. The change in Caucus was probably the result of a lot of soul searching, albeit with a touch of self-interest. I notice the nattering nabobs of the press are still trying to nut out how the factions handled it, and the selection of the shadow cabinet. Is it possible they simply thought deeply and made their best choices?

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    15. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education at Education

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      You are right Robert in that Gillard is an "excellent" negotiator. She negotiated all the way up to the top job. If only the general public knew how she "negotiated" her way up the ladder. Would be an interesting read.

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    16. Lynne Newington

      Researcher

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      That's an inuendo if ever there was one...and to my reckoning unwarranted taking into account the connotations.
      At least she made Australia a safer place for children, where others failed, and dismalley, especcially the holy Joe of a particular persuasion calling on repentance.

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    17. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      The more you read around the more interesting things become. Craig Emerson has said in early September that Rudd wanted to run again and said that Rudd had claimed to wanting to be an Andrew Fisher and become a three time labor leader. This is coming together for me now. As Albanese was ever the Rudd man, he was only going to get his vote from the rank and file. The thinking amongst the labor pollies appears to have been somewhat along the lines that while Albanese was in so was Rudd. They preferred to make it more difficult for Rudd and besides they don't really want him although on occasion they have been persuaded they needed him. While Rudd is there they believe he will undermine the leadership as he did previously with Beasley, Crean, and Gillard. They know they lost because of their party's in-fighting. Two ways to stop Rudd's in-fighting: give him the job, or make him leave the party. Fat chance. Time will tell whether Shorten can take the measure of the man.

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    18. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris,
      Follow the link I posted regarding Billy Hughes. His "great moral challenge of our time" was conscription - enforcing males to fight in the Great War on the side of the British Empire. He was responsible for a couple of referenda (rejected) to implement it. Replace "conscription" with "global warming" and let your mind rip!
      BTW - I think Albanese will continue to be a great attack dog against the Tories. The best way to handle Rudd (as Shorten hinted) is to give Rudd a role in attacking the Tories - climate change, for example.

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    19. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Climate change you say. Now that's where our golden haired boy could do his best repent. It was the backing out from the ETS when the rot set in as far as I recall.
      Backbencher: too much time to ferment and plot, foreign affairs: too big a stage on which to big note or play up, leadership contender likewise. You know I'd be thinking of lending him to Tony to get Gina R's northern cities going. But seriously, I would be using his great skills as political strategist to 'get Tony' and sweeten it with a definite promised pay off.

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    20. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      " I am still interested in what happened to that majority. "
      Quite simply, they got nervous about what was going to happen in the election and even if not acting because of outright personal concern, they believed there would be more company about with Rudd taking them to the election.
      It would have been a hard call for many.

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    21. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      " And you know? "
      Perhaps Raine like myself only have what we see to judge Gillard on and whilst for instance her dealing with independents would have had some negotiation skill inherent, a couple of those independents likely did not need too much persuasion and then of course we can ask how good a negotiator is it that renegs on written deals that comes out of negotiation.
      I also had some time for Lindsay Tanner as a very straight intelligent kind of guy as politicians go and you would probably be surprised what he has to say about Julia, he having known her for a long time from her days with Labor in Victoria.

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    22. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      I have said as much myself Chris and the other thing that may have been taken into account was Albo's comment in an interview recently where he did not deny having been one of Rudd's cardinals, all be it in a closet.
      There was also an extraodinary statement he made in a tele news beat up come comedy show just the night before or a couple nights before election day.
      It went like:
      Interviewer: You would not be here if you thought you had a chance of winning the election, right?
      Albo: With that cheeky Albo grin " That's right "
      I can imagine quite a few of his colleagues saying WTF!
      Maybe why some of the left voted for Shorten.
      It might have made things more difficult for a future Rudd Threepeat though whilst the cardinals are there including Albo, we'll never likely know until things unfold, perhaps a substantial loss next election giving Rudd the momentum and enabling him to appear to again be a saviour rather than an underminer.

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    23. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Greg North

      Raine was insinuating without any evidence whatsoever that Julia Gillard "negotiated" her way using inappropriate techniques. Not quite Rear Admiral Abbott's offer to Tony Windsor, but you get his drift, wink wink, nudge, nudge.
      Lindsay Tanner's views are a different matter, including that he opposed her getting into power. Do you have a link that discusses Tanner's / Gillard's history.
      Funnily enough, Rudd, Tanner, Gillard and Swan seemed to have worked well together in their "kitchen cabinet" - so maybe Tanner's views changed?

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    24. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Not a direct Link Robert and even in his books Linsay Tanner is careful not to add to the rubbish heap too much.
      I did see it once reported that he had been against Gillard getting pre-selection for her seat in Victoria, she apparently having failed at her first attempt.
      Meanwhile on the Gang of Four you can read between the lines some
      http://www.smh.com.au/national/life-after-the-circus-tanner-on-politics-20110429-1e0rr.html
      " OF THE Gang of Four that was criticised for running the Rudd government…

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    25. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Greg North

      "It would have been a hard call", indeed. What could they have been thinking? It does smack of simplistic binary thinking: the old either/or syndrome; yes or no, 1 or 0, he either stops agitating or he leaves. I think we have all faced this dilemma with the unwelcome guest and we usually end up working on some third alternative rather than settling for he either goes or I shove him tactic which is of course about as basic as you can get. Now his opposition has further time to think and plot maybe they will come up with a third way too. Surely to goodness someone will put a thinking cap on. Third pass at the prize indeed! They must be insane.

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    26. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education at Education

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Don't know what "innuendo" and "connotations" you are referring to. Gillard "was an excellent negotiator" according to Robert. Even blind Freddie could see that Gillard negotiated her way to form a minority government. She also negotiated her way to the top job during her student union days. She negotiated her way to the Deputy Leader position under the Rudd era. She also negotiated her way to the PM's position. And how she negotiated her way would make an interesting read.I seriously would like to know. What's "unwarranted" in that? Your conclusion baffles me.

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    27. Lynne Newington

      Researcher

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      Considering the dreadful things she's had to endure with comments about her social status and the veiled accusations made against her, I just needed clarification and you've just done that, thank you.

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  15. John C Smith

    Auditor

    Our greatest Journo from few bob Fairfux cannot leave Abbot alone. It is a lady from Labour who said Ke 007 is a Bastard, forgot the Bitch or the Bitches..

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  16. Raine S Ferdinands

    Education at Education

    Roxon and her "bastard" speech reminded me why I moved away from the ALP. After all the treachery, street brawling, name calling, and the subsequent humiliating defeat (would have been worse without Rudd) the current ALP mob has not learned any lesson. ALP reminds me of our "Bikie Gangs." Shame! Disgusting!! Now the ALP has a double-treacherous man as their leader. Perhaps a comedy!!

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      More a tragedy than a comedy I'd reckon Raine for Labor do have some good people, people who have been reasonably competent ministers, good communicators and likely committed to serving the country.
      Those kind of people are always going to have a struggle to see the party and the country prosper through good hard work and broader based thinking when there are always too many others thinking collectively more of themselves within power blocs and the resultant disunity within the parliamentary team that develops, it still there simmering re the left and right main factions.
      Th LNP is not immune from the same sort of thing and when they were last in government, their final years were not so good because of some dissatifaction because JH remained and did so because he had the numbers in parliament if not in even his own electorate, that a huge message for all players and perhaps should top any love letter to politicians.

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    2. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education at Education

      In reply to Greg North

      "Labor do have some good people, people who have been reasonably competent ministers, good communicators and likely committed to serving the country".
      Can't disagree with that, Greg. ALP did produced some spectacular and bold policies that, to a large extent, continue to define our social and national character. The balance between wealth creation and fairer re-distribution has stood us way above Britain, the USA and a number of nations in the developed world. Tanner is a politician I sooooo admired…

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  17. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    " The trials of being PM are endless. Abbott is said to have been frustrated when, after appearing for his rural fire brigade duties last Sunday, he sat in the truck for the day, rather than being called out. Reportedly, he was complaining in the VIP on the way back to Canberra. "
    I can imagine anyone who likes to serve to their maximum ability being disappointed though this as a comparison to Rudd style outbursts we have become aware of is also disappointing Michelle.
    Anyway, on the ten points…

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    1. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Greg North

      " The trials of being PM are endless. Abbott is said to have been frustrated when, after appearing for his rural fire brigade duties last Sunday, he sat in the truck for the day, rather than being called out. Reportedly, he was complaining in the VIP on the way back to Canberra. "
      Rear Admiral Abbott needs to decide whether he is still in Opposition with his daily HI-VIS stunt, or the Prime Minister.
      Fire fighting is like a battle - you attack the fire with some resources, and keep some resources in reserve. Tactics that literally came from experience in WW II. Imagine if he had been injured while playing Action Man.
      He would have been better employed thinking about what he will do as Climate Warming starts to make major bushfires more frequent and even more damaging. Perhaps he could modify the VIP aircraft to carry and dump large volumes of water?

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      " Fire fighting is like a battle - you attack the fire with some resources, and keep some resources in reserve. "
      That is quite right Robert and the calling up of additional units will always be occurring through the HQ planning people, especially with the high tech monitoring and fire spread predictions they do these days.
      All the same, Tony Abbott as PM is still committed to doing his community services and that is a great endeavour even if PM duties and being PM are likely to make his efforts more restrictive.

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    3. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg,
      My point is that generals do not fight on the front line.
      Presumably Hi-Vis Man now knows enough about what goes on in the real world to be able to focus his mind on strategic issues.
      For example:
      cycling - what about urban transport?
      swimming - how to turn back rising sea levels?
      boxing - how to improve Parliamentary debate?

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    4. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      " My point is that generals do not fight on the front line. "
      Tony does not see himself as a general within the fire fighters and rightly so for the FF generals have to spend a lot more time at it, even as a volunteer if not being in FF career, Tony's careers obviously having been elsewhere.
      Ditto your examples, pastimes and I doubt boxing can be related to improving parliamentary debate which I would not be surprised if he supported.
      From your earlier comment:
      " Imagine if he had been injured while playing Action Man. "
      His plane could go down too, he not being irreplacable, one reason we have deputies and then in die course a new leader election and an electorate by-election.
      Remember when Harold Holt disappeared?
      Despite he never having been sighted in Russia and the Kiwis having a joke at the time of asking for Holt and chips, our lives continued and so it would be if anything happened to Tony.

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    5. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg,
      I think you are being obtuse.
      Rear Admiral Abbott does seem to get a gleam in his eye when mixing with the military, and he has expressed regret at not having had the chance to serve his country while risking life and limb. Remarkable really, given the keenness with which his party has involved us in the Yanks' various wars across the world. One would have thought he could have signed on somewhere, sometime.
      "His plane could go down too, he not being irreplacable, one reason we have deputies and then in die course a new leader election and an electorate by-election."
      I assume you meant "implacable", and "die course" was a Freudian slip. We live in hope?

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    6. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      " ïrreplaceable ( meaning he an be replaced )and due course "Robert.
      That gleam in the eye is possibly something of the boxer in him, getting inside the ropes much as white line fever is talked about for footy players crossing the white boundary line to enter the field of battle.
      Not that it is necessarily a pitched battle but if you have played any of the more physical codes you'll know what I mean.

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    7. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Greg North

      Hockey for me.
      MAD where everyone has a lethal weapon. The wonderful accidental crack across the opponent's ankles!

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    8. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Yes, always a bit of a worry to me too that Hockey Robert for those hooks on the sticks look as though they could do some real damage, even worse than Ice Hockey which though often more violent has the sticks usually on the Ice.

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  18. Thomas Liszt

    Systems analyst

    Murdoch made voters believe Labor was doing a poor job – Grattan and her gossip columnist mates thought so too and that’s why they actively assisted in making sure they were "thrown out" (sic).
    Once reality sinks in and the stark truth is revealed (the myth of debt and deficit for one?) will these media gossip columnists finally focus on the rnational interests for a change? I am not holding my breath.
    Do they actually grasp the significance and the real and present danger that this puppet government has commenced the process of handing over absolute power to the big end of town?
    The "Australia is for sale to the highest bidder" signs are up. Guess who the winners and losers are going to be?
    Does the OZ media care? Do they get it? I don't think so!

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Thomas Liszt

      Thomas, the reality is that the electorates in total had had enough of Labor being in government and the media reported on that, be its people perceiving Labor as being a loor government or lacking in cohesive leadership.
      That is the stark truth, you need to get.

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    2. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Greg North

      THOMAS ;
      There is real danger..... the reason we are not hearing about it is because
      the vested interests , in combination with the Murdoch press own this government.
      So why would they talk about issues like "let the market decide"
      The market did not do well ...did it?
      It gave us the GFC.
      Whilst the LNP pay the piper for their win....
      we can sing for our supper.

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    3. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Ella Miller

      I've been following the SMH and they have been really keen for Abbott to fix up the entitlements mess in the interests of maintaining trust with the public. They are hanging in there every day revealing more and more details. Last weekend Peter Hartcher laid out a plan for Abbott when he got back last Monday that he should make some statement. As far as I know he didn't. The editorial this weekend is still on the case. Mark Kenny this weekend is advising labor to give in on the carbon tax because…

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    4. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Thank you Chris,

      I wonder if going along with the carbon tax has more to do with...and I read it somewhere , that Mr. Hockey is relying on the tax not passing and so the TOXIC TAX... however toxic is not so toxic for his bottom line and his manufactured budget crisis.

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    5. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Yes, I think you are right Ella, Hockey certainly does not want to pay compensation for the carbon tax as Palmer and others are asking for with the mining tax. A tax or excise or price on pollution raises money and as I think you said earlier the carbon price is working, so, as treasurer, Hockey would have to see it with a treasurer's eye.

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    6. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      A lot of dots you're joining there Chris and I'd be wary of starting with Kenny for he is something of a floater, always hanging around near a fence to sit on.
      If for example you go back to the Gillard years, he would be very pro Gillard until it looked as though Kevin was making another run for it and he is actually very typical of that portion of the media who many people claim supported distabilisation and I'd not mind betting he had some sources with vested interests within Labor.

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    7. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg,

      I must admit, most of the professional press gallery and political correspondent mob nauseate me. I gave up watching Insiders ages ago because I couldn't stand the self-satisfied, sanctimonious preaching by some (most?) of the regulars at least - Cassidy, Marr, Atkins, Kenny, Crabb for example.

      Now I know that Insiders is often criticised for being pro-Labor, but in the end, I don't care and the whole bunch of grandstanders need to go away and do something useful. It's not about them!

      I like Kelly, Tingle, Sales, Alberici, Uhlmann and a few others, including Grattan (yes, ye complainers!). Don't ask me why most are women.

      Oh, and dear Phillip Adams of course!

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    8. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      Yep Yuri, I suppose it as is with all walks of life they say, a mixture of good and bad ones.
      You do mention a few commentators or interviewers I do not mind too much and I'd chuck Annabell in there for her Kitchen Cabinets at least.
      Insiders I only started having a look at in recent times, more to just see latest commentary on topical points and it is easy enough to ignore too slanted a view and some entertainment when there are those with ideological differences.
      The cartoons segment can always be good for a laugh.

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    9. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Greg North

      I'm looking forward to reading Scott Morrison's weekly report on asylum seeking boat arrivals, Greg.

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  19. Denis Goodwin

    Retired

    In reply to a Greg North comment:
    "White line fever" surely originated as an American term for truckies’ highway hypnosis. The sporting sense here is unknown to me.
    Speaking more generally of Amercanisms, can we please ditch the infatuation with the Beltway as an insiders’ metaphor?
    As a Washington DC transport boundary it is meaningless to the great bulk of Australians?
    The Parliamentary Triangle might make more sense in the Canberra context, but not much

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Denis Goodwin

      I have indeed heard of the truckies context Denis and I would describe that as a totally different context to the reference to a sporting field boundary even if pyschologically there could be similarities.
      I certainly have no infatuation with any beltway and so do not need to ditch it, especially seeing as I did not raise it.

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    2. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Greg North

      Chris..
      did you see Mr. Morrison... trying to white wash the latest problems in PNG.

      He tried to weasel his way out of it by shifting the blame to the PNG authorities.
      The places to hide are getting fewer... if you cant hide then invent ...

      Did you also hear the latest on "New Speak".... my oh my... Mr. Morrison the next thing you will do is tell staff what to eat for breakfast.
      So much for an "Adult Government" full of adults but being taught "New Speak" 1984 is here with a vengence.

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    3. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Ella Miller

      I thought he was the way he was because he represents "The Shire" (eg Cronulla riots), but just yesterday there was a massive swing back to labor in the Miranda (lying in the centre of Scott Morrisons's Cook) state by-election. And I would not have thought O"Farrel' NSW government was doing that bad a job.

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    4. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Ella,
      Scott Morrison is in Australia and not at the Manus Island facility which is under the authority of PNG despite Australians being present.
      He does rely on information being relayed, the very reason briefings will be held weekly so as full correct information is available and it can be determined what should be released and what should not.
      There has been comment in the media such as
      " He ( Morrison ) said that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and its service providers…

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Ella Miller

      " Chris... I can't wait for the resumption of Parliament "
      It should be a Bobby Dazzler and Shorty might even get asked whether his liking for small businesses extends to pie shops and all the electricity that can get consumed.

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    6. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, if Scott Morrison is not on top of it, he needs to be and should be. I don’t believe Ella’s comments are meant to make Australia fail, but are out of concern that a young, ill-experienced guy who could even make a hash of such an easy gig as our international tourist campaign is in charge of a very important government activity. He has sworn it to secrecy (what has happened to openness in government?) and has introduced gobbley-gook speak. It does not matter where you stand on this issue, secrecy and demonizing is not constructive. What Australians are demanding is a clear open policy on this issue that works in the best interests of asylum seekers and Australia.

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    7. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg electricity prices went up because of the utilities price gouged and the expenditure on unnecessary infrastructure.

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  20. Lee Emmett

    Guest House Manager

    It's a truism that prime ministerships will end, the question being, how soon?

    Tony Abbott's efforts so far have been truly pathetic: telling one story while in Indonesia, which differs to the one he used to fool the Australian people into voting for him. The LNP's asylum seeking policy is a disaster: the boats have not stopped, but full and fair reporting of events has stopped. Meanwhile the PM hides behind the 3-star general while Scott Morrison delivers contradictory reports about events on…

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    1. Denis Goodwin

      Retired

      In reply to Lee Emmett

      Tony Abbott "at the wheel of a big truck, resembling the Pope-mobile. It's a very strange image".
      No, Lee, it's not a strange image.
      What is strange is your description of what it resembles.
      Your feverishly concocted papal connection is simply weird.

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    2. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Denis Goodwin

      Denis,
      Was it not Mr. Abbott who used the word "repent"... hence papal connection.
      His dear mother, also believed that he would either become a Pope or PM.
      How well mother's know their sons.

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    3. Denis Goodwin

      Retired

      In reply to Ella Miller

      The context was the PM in a fire truck, not a Pope-mobile.
      That connection was absurd and so is yours.
      Repentance is not a peculiarity of Abbotts, abbots, popes, Catholics, any other Christians, Jews of Muslims, or any serious-minded human beings.
      Get real, Ella.

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    4. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Denis Goodwin

      Denis,
      Abbott used the word "repent" about the "Carbon Tax" - probably as a bit of word-play with his fellow Catholics Shorten and Albanese. A common understanding is:

      3. To make a change for the better as a result of remorse or contrition for one's sins.

      That is, he was implying that the Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme was sinful. Whether it was just a bit of smartarse wordplay, or he does believe that any limit to our pollution of the Earth is sinful, God only knows.

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    5. Denis Goodwin

      Retired

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, whatever God knows I will happily exit this nonsense now, and leave you to struggle with whether you should or should not repent your "polluting" carbon dioxide exhalations.

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    6. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Denis Goodwin

      Denis,
      Assuming you are still there:
      See http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/why-does-the-church-care-about-global-climate-change.cfm
      I assume that Catholics might be concerned at "polluting" carbon dioxide. Ultimately the call to reduce carbon dioxide pollution might be seen to be following a "Limit to Growth" agenda.
      See http://www.donellameadows.org/archives/forty-years-later-the-reception-of-the-limits-to-growth-in-italy-1971-1974/ which includes discussion of the Catholic Church's position.
      So - Abbott's words might imply he sees a religious aspect, but that he rejects some part of the Pope(s) position(s). The stress between scientific and religious views might explain why some climate change deniers are so damned sure of themselves.

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    7. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Denis Goodwin

      Dennis

      "Abbott used the word repent as a bit of a word-play with his fellow Catholics"

      So are you suggesting that it is ok for Mr. Abbott to use word-play with as you put it his fellow Catholics.... BUT we in the Conversation do not have the same right accorded to us as fellow participants????

      Get Real Denis !!!

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    8. Lynne Newington

      Researcher

      In reply to Ella Miller

      I think Mr abbott is on unsure ground at the moment, like the ordinary Catholic in the street, having a new pope sending mixed messages about almost everything, someone will get something right eventually.

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    9. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Ella,
      It was me that suggested ""Abbott used the word repent as a bit of a word-play with his fellow Catholics".
      But the more I think about it, the more it looks like a Freudian slip.

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    10. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Sorry Robert, sorry Denis.
      I think it was a comment made without the usual careful choice by Mr. Abbott ...but..it reflects his inner views.

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    11. Lynne Newington

      Researcher

      In reply to Ella Miller

      More than that Ella, when Saul [from the Scripures] said something without thinking, the reference in part states:There is no escape for anyman, as long as reason continues from the naked truth about himself.
      The ever present conscienceness, habitually hidden flashes forth, surprised into saying what they didn't mean.
      The difference between the two of them being, Saul recognised he had played the fool.

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    12. Denis Goodwin

      Retired

      In reply to Ella Miller

      You say a comment by Mr Abbott “reflects his inner views".
      Really, Ella?
      The only “inner views” anyone MIGHT possibly be sure of are their own.
      Lord preserve us from mortals who believe they can read minds.
      This is the last I will have to say here on this matter.

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    13. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Denis Goodwin

      Denis,
      You seem to have a need to say "this is the last I will have to say here on this matter" or similar. For example, your last post included "Robert, whatever God knows I will happily exit this nonsense now..."
      Why is this?

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    14. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Denis Goodwin

      Let’s look at the word repent, why would the labor party want to repent the imposition of a tax which has had negligible impact on the population despite treasury original projections which the LNP have clung to regardless of actual implementation results? It has cost Australians little, has made some money for the treasury, has reduced pollution and yet Abbott wants to cut it, pay compensation and impose a costly tree planting exercise in its place when the country folk are saying where are you going to plant these tees? How are you going to tend them? How are they going to survive? If the fruit of Abbott's green army is employment of our unemployed 15-19 year olds who unfairly bear the brunt of our unemployment burden, there are other ways.

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    15. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Ella Miller

      I think to many of us it is becoming increasingly obvious that Abbott spends little time in reflection. I guess this makes it possible to be a modern Catholic, I don’t really know. But for most of us there would be quite a dissonance stirred if we attempted to hold onto the faiths and attitudes of our childhood and from that base make profound and worthy decisions for the well being of all Australians. This impulsive action to run off and sit (hide?) in a fire truck instead of letting Australians know that they will not be entitled to any government support if they are cut off from their home for twenty-four hours as they were previous to his government is not an act of leadership, but an act of the want to be hero or the hiding of the coward. Sorry, it’s so hard to condemn. But who would expect the fire commissioner to fight a fire? So, why would we our PM?

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    16. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris,
      I assume you do not live in NSW.
      Massive bushfires have razed the bush around Sydney. Abbot could deploy all the unemployed in Australia to replant the lost trees.
      Unfortunately this single event makes a mockery of ANY tree-planting or carbon-in-soil schemes to combat carbon pollution.

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    17. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris,
      If you heard Senator Marise Payne on morning radio NOT explaining what she was doing regarding "government support if they are cut off from their home for twenty-four hours" - and the rest - you would despair. Not a clue, not two brain cells to rub together.

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    18. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, yes I am in NSW and in a bush fire prone area which has experienced an uncontrolled fire outbreak at this time and I agree wholeheartedly as to the questioning of the wisdom of planting yet more trees. I did on my own property in the 80/90s thinking I was improving air quality and returning to original Eco system, but now I have second thoughts. Such temperature in October leave little question that things have changed even in a bush fire prone country such as Australia where the black Thursdays etc were traditionally in February after a long dry summer,not as now in October after a warmish dry winter.

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    19. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris,
      to sit in a fire truck
      I am of two minds as to why.
      I remember Mr. Rudd running around helping in the QLD floods
      Now Mr Abbott is fighting fires

      Similarity?

      I don't want to be unfair it could be that they wanted to show they cared?
      It could be for publicity.....so we could all say " What a caring PM we have?

      Who knows but I am sceptical about it all... i guess I doubt motivation.

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    20. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Ella if you are referring to the 2011 floods, Rudd was at that time foreign minister not PM and if you are skeptical which we all are at the moment, Rudd was wanting, longing, needing to be PM. Abbott is it. He needs to act it. The problem with the hero is its dark side and that is the coward. We are everyone of us but human. Sometimes we fail. The rest of us need to know when the PM fails and when he wins,but mostly we just want him to do the right thing by us all not just the top end of town.

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    21. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      I agree we are all human
      ... but we are not in power, and with power comes responsibility to the electorate not the Party.

      And when a leader fails ...as did Rudd the rest of us carry the burden of that failure.

      Mr. Rudd may have been foreign minister... in my head I have a memory of him walking through the flood carrying i think a suit case.

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    22. Lynne Newington

      Researcher

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Rudd was wanting, longing, needing to be PM.
      I can recall when Tony Abbott made no secret wanting to be PM so much, he was prepared to do anything ......apart from, but no mention of not sleeping with the devil.
      He got it alright.

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    23. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Yes Lyn and I detected a huge difference in attitude namely that Abbott firmly believed he should have been PM and that he had been badly done by and misunderstood when he missed out; that some lesser devil perhaps had tricked things up. This date with destiny I saw as far more frightening an aspect than Rudd's belief that he was the best thing that could happen to Australia since Vegemite. In point of fact he may very well have been. If the LNP had gotten in at the time of the GFC, Australia's…

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