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Sydney’s west: Labor’s black hole

Julia Gillard will be based in Rooty Hill, New South Wales next week AAP/Lukas Coch

Next week the backroom boys from NSW Labor’s embattled Sussex Street HQ – or at least those dealing with the federal election – will relocate to Parramatta in Sydney’s west.

The timing of the exit – pitched as a political message from the discredited NSW ALP about a fresh start – will coincide with Julia Gillard’s high profile week of campaigning in an area that has become toxic for Labor. Her visit includes staying at a Rooty Hill hotel, presumably to show she empathises, although the reaction to this gesture has been predictable.

“Make no mistake – the election will be won or lost in western Sydney”, NSW secretary Sam Dastyari told The Conversation yesterday. Many would say that Labor’s effort to hold back the tide there is futile. Labor has nine seats under 10% in western Sydney and six under 7%. The parties' research indicates the battlers have shifted to the Coalition. The wider stench in NSW, coming from the corruption inquiry, will hurt both federal and state Labor for a long time.

But Gillard will do everything and then some, however black the outlook seems. The recent industry statement was directed at manufacturing workers from areas like this. But it disappeared with little trace, overshadowed by the bad poll before last.

The PM plans to campaign in six or seven seats from Sunday to Thursday: Fowler, Parramatta, Lindsay, Greenway, Banks, Macarthur (held by the Coalition), and possibly Werriwa. One seat not on the itinerary is Reid. John Murphy, a known Rudd supporter, said yesterday that if it were possible he’d like a visit. “I would welcome her with open arms”. Last year Rudd did a Sudanese function in Reid; he was greeted like a rock star.p

It’s ironic that western Sydney is set to give Tony Abbott a leg up to power. In 2010, arguably the under-performance of the NSW Liberal party cost Abbott the election. Big swings were obtained in the state but they did not translate into wins – except in the high visibility contest in Bennelong.

Both Abbott and Gillard are “foreigners” to Sydney’s west. As one Labor man quips, in this area, “being from the north shore is as bad as being from Melbourne”.

The Conversation

Labor’s “western” strategy has been in the making for a while. Apart from the state office move and the Gillard visit, in January, after a shooting, the PM announced she had asked Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare to prepare for cabinet options to address violence in Western Sydney. Law and order is a preoccupation there. Other issues include transport, given the long distances many workers have to travel; employment; boats; health and education. Cost of living is a general gripe.

Gillard’s engagements will include higher education and jobs events; there will be some local media blogging, and she’ll see the ethnic media. Cabinet will meet on Monday so ministers will be out and about in the area.

There is risk for Gillard in taking to the hustings in this high profile exercise – which the Liberals point out is at odds with her claim that announcing the September 14 election date was not to start the campaign. What if some MPs draw negative comparisons with having Rudd on the stump? With feelings running strongly against Gillard and the government, there can always be bad scenes, which don’t look good on television. But there is also a school of thought that it is not such a bad thing to let people “vent” and that just possibly – a long-shot hope - Gillard might get some marks for guts if she is seen among critics.

Even if it all does no good, as the Labor man quoted above puts it: “You’ve got to go through western Sydney to an election. You can’t go around it”.

Join the conversation

63 Comments sorted by

  1. Peter Kington

    Raconteur, ideas man and food whore at Self Employed

    "The recent industry statement was directed at manufacturing workers from areas like this. But it disappeared with little trace, overshadowed by the bad poll before last."

    And why was that, Michelle?

    Because Fairfax preferred to use their diminishing resources to commission a push-poll, the responses were all but guaranteed, so it had something it could report on which it knew would sell papers. The trickle down, through other media organisations, was inevitable and it and subsequent 'polls' have dominated our news ever since.

    So, how about some policy analysis from The Conversation's newest star recruit - now a Professorial Fellow, no less - rather than this twaddle that any rookie journalist could write.

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    1. Hardy Gosch
      Hardy Gosch is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Kington

      Agree.
      The greatest threat to our democracy in my mind is for extremism in its various forms to take hold. We have to recognise it and guard against it. Ignorance and complacency are unacceptable.

      When one has a problem with mice sending in the rats is not a solution.

      We simply can not afford another term of regressive extreme conservatism. This transcends party politics. Who wants the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Gina Rinehart and Mark Scott just to name a few calling the shots? Well, that is what’s happening right now. It makes me shudder when I imagine the totally discredited sycophantic remnants of the failed Howard regime in charge again. Are we doomed to make the same mistakes again?
      There are signs that even moderate fence-sitting journalists like Ben Eltham (New Matilda), Bernard Keane (Crikey) and now Michelle Grattan (Conversation) are missing the vital signs.
      Wake up people before it’s too late!

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    2. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Hardy Gosch

      Hardy, what we cant afford is another term of incompetent semi-socialists. Having a labor gov seems to be a once (or twice) in a generation thing - they sound great until you put them in power and then you get burnt so bad that you consign them (and the left) to the doldrums for a decade or so. Kind of like a rotten tooth - you get it cause the sweet stuff sounds good - rots the tooth - then you gotta go to the dentist ( the conservatives in this little metaphor) even though you know you're going to be in some initial pain in order to fix the mess that your tooth has become. Mate, someone has to actually PAY for all the nice, caring programs that the leftie ideologues dream up.

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    3. Peter Kington

      Raconteur, ideas man and food whore at Self Employed

      In reply to John Phillip

      John - speaking of how governments pay for things, I'm looking forward to seeing how Abbott and Hockey go at paying for all those 'sweet' things promised by Labor (which they've said they won't remove) without the funding model Labor put into place to pay for them (MRRT, carbon pricing etc).

      Your argument is ideological clap-trap from a by-gone era. From about 2001 onwards, Howard's coalition government was one of the biggest spending governments in the history of the federation; they undermined…

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    4. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Hardy Gosch

      Hi

      I think the writing on the wall is writ large for Labor.

      Its a bit like ignoring climate change, Labor cannot do anything to right the ship of state in their favour. Clive Palmer may have resurrected the Titianic, but the Labor iceberg looms ahead.

      Politics is cyclical, so we get the Libs in for a while - get over it. Quite frankly, I dont care who gets in, they both seem to muddle through modern day politics like dinosaurs awaiting the ice age.

      Surely someone can do a decent job of running the country - Labor has introduced the mining tax, education reforms, health reforms etc..... but all seem to be controversial, leaving any hope of progress for AUSTRALIA up in the air.

      With the election six months away, it is going to be unbearable watching (and listening to) the pathetic march of politicians from all sides across the country.

      We will not get good governance, because all efforts will be driven by the election and no-one will be in the driver's seat.

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    5. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Peter Kington

      Peter, I have to agree. Normally I have some respect for Michelle Grattan for he long career in journalism. But sadly all we are getting from Michelle along with too many other journalists is a lot of media navel gazing. And it is no wonder labor is unable to get a message across or an actual debate on policy for the future of this country. Now I would have thought that important, but fool me it seems.

      I just looked at an interview by journalists with Julia Gillard and Swan on the ABC in Queensland…

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    6. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Peter , I could not agree more with this reasonable critique of the quality of journalism we are currently provided. The incapacity of those journalists who attend press conferences to raise questions about serious policy matters is I think a broad reflection of the dumbing down of the Press in general. In his race tot he Right and the bottom (both possible at one time just see the old NOTW!) Rupert has shown to the English-speaking world what Berlusconi has shown the Italian TV audiences that bread and circuses, sensation and pap will beat hard news coverage every time. Thank God for these columns; they hold out some small hope for the future despite many limitations already referred to be your good self amongst others.

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    7. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Hear hear. I did notice that The Age actually published an article with detail on the Gonski /govt approach to school education funding and contrasted it with Baillieu's effort. So the Age can do it - why can't The Conversation ?

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    8. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to Peter Kington

      I agree Peter. In fact I am now ready to join some kind of reader Intifada to have another (if less prestigious) journalist kick off these conversations. Ms Grattan's banner is to provide "Analysis and commentary on Australian Politics". The list beneath this heading suggests a much more narrow focus best described as "sticking the knife into Julia by lambasting anything the Prime Minister chooses to do. Moreover, she never deigns as some other commentators do, to get down in the trenches and some of the harsh comments about her contribution. Clearly her contract with this journal does not require that and she treats her readership much sa she did with the Age and SMH as mere cannon fodder incapable of taking sa different view to hers and as not worthy of her respect much less response. What does the word Conversation mean in such a context I wonder.

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    9. helen stream

      teacher

      In reply to Peter Kington

      Peter Kington...

      The Howard government returned some of the fruits of the boom to taxpayers via tax cuts, in order to foster productivity in a sustainable way---to empower small business and aspirational Australians--- rather than using forever-bigger government.

      It provided the Private Health Care Rebate---not as 'middle-class welfare',as your own ideological claptrap describes it---but as an incentive to those who can afford it to insure themselves instead of millionaires relying on Medicare…

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    10. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Speaking of navel-gazing...

      The thing that's of relevance to Australians is the up-coming election. The G20 meeting is of little concern, especially considering the lame duck nature of the Gillard government. She and Swan can have no influence, since they don't represent the people of the country. At best they can hope to make some contacts for their inevitable life after politics following the next election, although Gillard herself might have bigger problems to face once the Victorian and WA Police decide their evidenciary base is sufficiently watertight to charge her over the AWU-WRA fraud.

      All the wishful "progressive" (pseudo-Leftist elitist) thinking in the world won't change the simple fact that our Government is a failure on every measure that matters and most people simply want them gone like a bad smell.

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    11. Simon Black

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Hardy Gosch

      I have a theory that Julia Gillard is on Gina Reinhart's payroll, being paid to destroy the Labor party. Nothing else seems to make sense.

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    12. Brian Boss

      Architect

      In reply to helen stream

      "Howard government returned some of the fruits of the boom to taxpayers via tax cuts, in order to foster productivity in a sustainable way-"

      huh? sounds like a Tory Platitude to me. So did productivity actually rise under Howard as opposed to Rudd/Gillard? Did it magically rise after Workchoices. the Answer is NO.
      some reading for you: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3887922.html

      "insure themselves instead of millionaires relying on Medicare, which can't survive without significant numbers…

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    13. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Craig Minns

      Craig, this labor government is a failure on every measure. Well I can see what side of the political fence you sit. But it would have to be one of the most one eyed blinked assessment of a government I have ever heard. Where did you get it, from the Abbott song-sheet?

      You must have a very blinked view of the world, because that is not the opinion of the leaders or the Treasurers/Finance Ministers of the G20 countries. Maybe you can not comprehend how well Australia has done under Labor in…

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    14. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to John Phillip

      John, we already know your prejudices, shame you can't acknowledge the downsides of the Coalition.

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    15. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Hence why who owns the media is such an important debate. We know who the Murdoch Media Empire is gunning for.

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    16. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Chris Reynolds

      far far easier to lob a grenade from a distance than to have your views questions up close. The side effect being that the more Journalists display partisan objectives, the less relevant they become as peole will end up just switching off.

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    17. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to helen stream

      In your praise of the Howard era, perhaps you have forgotten the international reports citing Howard as the biggest spending and biggest taxing government in Australia, EVER, the mass selling off of public assets to balance his books, the neglected infrastructure investment, the diversion of funds away from public to private school systems, the involvement of Australia in the Afghanistan Conflict, the mass youth un-employment and demonising the unemployed that occured in the 90's, the TAMPA children overboard scandal, Work Choices, the obscene pork barrelling that went on to maintain power etc etc ad infinitum ad nauseum.

      Take of your blinkered glasses and look again.

      And if you think that the NBN is a bad idea, you are really living in a foregone era.

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    18. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Craig Minns

      Craig, what are you smoking?

      2 things:

      1) Don't represent the people of the country - how the hell do you come up with that one, despite what your personal feelings are, enough people supported the Gillard Government to enable them to form Government ( more votes than either the liberals or the nationals individually) and even the MRRT and Carbon Tax were implemented in the interests of the population as opposed to the corporations, I would probably piss myself laughing if you came out and…

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    19. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      What is the average return on investment for hosting a G20 conference? I suspect it is significantly negative. Prove me wrong.

      Gillard is the subject of investigation by both Victorian and WA police Major Fraud Squads. In the course of that investigation it has been discovered that some large number of boxes of files pertaining to the matter have gone missing from the Federal Court archives. The Victorian Police have sworn out a search warrant to be served on the Federal Court if those files are not produced.

      This is not a minor scandal 20 years ago, it goes to the integrity of the Court itself.

      Gillard appointed Bernard Murphy, who was her former boss at Slater and Gordon during the AWU-WRA fraud period and who was sacked at the same time she was, to the Federal Court. She did not disclose her association with Mr Murphy to the selection committee.

      I suggest you educate yourself a little before you go cheerleading again.

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  2. Jack Arnold

    Director

    What a pleasant surprise, a table of data showing the election margins obtained by sitting MPs in Western Sydney at the 2010 election that Tony Abbott LOST.

    Then the article deteriorates into the style of 'yellow journalism' that has been the hallmark of Ms Grattan's multi-media comments throughout the life of the Gillard Labor government.

    Note the lack of disclaimer again. So, there appears to be a ring of truth about the assertion that Ms Grattan is a paid up unelected party hack for the Liberal Party you have when you don't want policies or costings.

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    1. Vincent Restuccia

      retired senior technical officer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Come on Jack. So what if Ms Grattan is a paid up member of the Liberal party which by the way is none of your business. She has given Tony Abbott a good belting on more then one occasion and in fact has often mentioned his lack of policies. You can blame Ms Grattan for giving the PM are harder time it's her Government that's in a complete mess. Tony Abbott and his mates are yet to get a chance to make a mess which I am sure they will do after September.

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    2. Matt Dawson

      Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Hi Jack,

      Just so you are aware no columnists have disclaimers, you will notice the disclaimers are filled out on Michelle's analysis pieces though.

      Thanks.

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    3. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to Vincent Restuccia

      It would be nice to avoid them making a worse mess than Gillard has (in your terms), don't you think. For that reason the absence of policies and answers to questions and the general low profile approach adopted by the Opposition is not only deplorable it seems to me to disqualify them from aspiring to the Government benches.

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    4. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Matt Dawson

      Shades of 1972 when Australian academics used personal research results to regularly contradict the propaganda put out by various Ministers of the MacMahon Liberal Notional Coalition government.

      Uhm Matt ... well then, a skpetical conspiracy theorist could then reasonably conclude that this present unfortunate appointment by The Conversation could be attributed to a repeat "back to the future" episode to neutralise the influence of academics sympathetic to a Labor government.

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    5. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Matt Dawson

      i have an issue with Michelles pieces being called analysis though, that would require a balanced approach.

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  3. Chris Reynolds

    Education Consultant

    Risk maybe, but nothing ventured nothing gained. with the media at fever pitch and baying for her blood Gillard is doing what eery courageous leader does and eyeballing her bosses on their own turf. It seems to me she does actually believe and exemplify the notion that politicians are there to serve the people. That is it, seems to m,e a rare thing in a political leader as we very often observe.

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    1. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Chris Reynolds

      at the very least, Gillard doesn't do the death stare at journalists that ask unscripted questions.

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  4. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    So the "Mob", as Howard tellingly described his "battlers", must be won over by a PM whose home is in the equivalent suburbs of Melbourne.
    It may be hard to estimate how many of the "we hate Gillard" brigade are concentrated in the West as Howard debt orgy era "Mortgageers".
    They would need two houses to match the alternative PM's mortgage.
    And how much of the snap shot misogyny is driven by the under-reported backlash against The Royal Commission into Child Abuse?
    Aren't they down on this sort…

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    1. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to James Hill

      All that elitist codswallop doesn't change the fact that each of those people has one vote, just like you.

      I realise that doesn't sit well with so-called progressives who think they are special. Perhaps you should start your own party and see how many people really support that sort of politics?

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  5. Alan Kesby

    Retired

    I see only one major political issue which has transformed Labor heartland to the Liberals. It is the changing nature of the suburbs, a cultural change, a racial change. It is this change, of which Abbot and the shock jocks have so effectively taken advantage. Alan Jones in particular has linked the change to boats.

    We all know that the change is not due to boats, but to legal, goverment sponsored migration. We also know that the change in ethnic make up and increased numbers of immigrants comes…

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  6. Edward Cannella
    Edward Cannella is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Zoologist

    It is interesting that the 1950's cold war us'n'them ideas still linger in this society. The issue with conservatism and socialism, right and left is still considered by some to have bearing in a world that has moved on. Conservatism is a state of mind. At its extreme it defines a spectrum of political ideology from the left and from the right. To be conservative means you decry change, or, if there has to be change, to ensure that the change minimises further change. The current government is conservative…

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Edward Cannella

      Well said Edward

      again I quote from what should be the world's anthem - "ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee"

      There really is no us and them - it is all "we".

      We become polarised in so many ways, everyone is guilty.

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    2. Desmond Carroll

      Retired journalist (chief sub-editor)

      In reply to Edward Cannella

      “The undemocratic two party party political system does not provide a choice between ideology, just the level of conservatism we wish to be lumbered with. It is a reflection of the society we live in.”

      The Australian Electoral Commission at present has 35 political parties on its register, which “… lists those parties which are eligible to have their party affiliation next to their endorsed candidates printed on ballot papers”.

      If you are going to comment, at least check your premises before so doing.

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    3. Edward Cannella
      Edward Cannella is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Zoologist

      In reply to Desmond Carroll

      We have had other parties which have attempted to make a difference (democrats, greens) but they are nothing more than a side show. The ability for independents to hold the balance of power causes ructions that neither of the major parties can effectively deal with because the system is based on one party in government and the other party in opposition. It does not matter how many parties get listed on the ballot paper. For the most part they are the fringe festival of politics. The reality is that it will always be a choice between the ALP and the LNP until such time as a third (and fourth and fifth) political force can actually provide a viable alternative to the incumbents.

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    4. Edward Cannella
      Edward Cannella is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Zoologist

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      Not quite sure where you got the idea I am regurgitating someone else's particular agenda. I will state my political leanings just for you. I don't care for ANY political party. I have no confidence in the skills, abilities or ethical standing of ANY politician in Australia at the time. I am not of the Left or the Right. Neither am I a fence sitter. I consider the ridiculous argument "if you don't support one you automatically are a supporter of the other" with the utter disdain and contempt it deserves…

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    5. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Edward Cannella

      if both major parties actually discharged their duties faithfully, the minor parties and independents would largely be irrelevent.

      What this means is put aside your party political games and actually negotiate in good faith for better outcomes for the Australian People. If they actually put the same amount of time and effort towards better outcomes as they do undermining and sabotaging each other, we'd end up with a phenomenally better country and society.

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  7. Peter Evans

    Retired

    Not sure what the point of the article is. The Labor party can hardly approach this election without taking risks. the Coalition is certainly trying to avoid risks and mistakes but Labor can't take that approach. Anyway not going would also be pilloried. So may as well be hung trying rather than hiding.

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  8. Christine Smith

    In house graphics

    Love how the writer distances herself and the media who provide the information about events from decisions made to promote or bury 'news' about what the government is or isn't doing.

    Obviously personalties play a role in public politics, but I'd really like to see some analysis of government policies, not just the usual round robin of Opposition spokespeople and self-important talking heads (mostly journalists) expressing their opinions. Opinions which are not always factually correct and which…

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  9. helen stream

    teacher

    Hardy Gosch...

    Labor---now GreenLabor---puts Australia down the gurgler every time it's in power---and every time we have to endure them in power, their toxic legacy to us is lasting and irreversible damage.

    Your claims about the conservative side is just ludicrous, and demonstrably 'on-the-record'---- untrue.

    What you're doing is just parroting the politics-of-envy propaganda from that other desperate old bird, Wayne Swan.

    He is a parody of a leader , and any thinking Australian can…

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    1. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to helen stream

      Dear Helen

      So much to take in after standing under this stream of opinion and undigested assertion. Focusing on one aspect however. The underspending by the Howard Government on education (check OECD figures to see where Australia ranks on this), the largesse to those at the upper end of Wealth Indices (think super concessions and high income tax breaks) and the laissez-faire approach to the Murray-Darling and other fundamental environmental issues, gives the lie I fear to much of what you assert…

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to wilma western

      Experience suggests that it's some kind of psychosis - best to let doga that yelp in their dreams to sleep...

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    3. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to helen stream

      Hi Helen ... these comments do not bear close scrutiny and appear to be an unsubstantiated attack by that could reasonably be described as unthinking Liberal Notional Coalition political propaganda.

      Howard's "Great Leap Forward" diverted $1 billion research funding from Australian universities to ten US corporations who then commissioned considerably less research from those same universities, putting most of the largesse directly towards their bottom line profits.

      Howard led Australia into…

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    4. helen stream

      teacher

      In reply to Chris Reynolds

      Chris Reynolds...

      If you know about education over the last four decades, you will know---without any shadow of a doubt that the blame for the failure in the education of Australian children lies squarely with the Left.

      There's no greater sabotage from within than to sabotage education---and no greater sabotage in education than to eliminate the teaching of grammar, because it underpins all other education---for all of our lives.

      So what did the Left do in their use of schools as 'sites…

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    5. helen stream

      teacher

      In reply to Chris Reynolds

      Chris....

      John Howard initiated the scheme for the Murray-Darling that Labor is trying to implement now.

      It was Steve Bracks who scuttled it ---insisting on Victoria getting allocations that would have left South Australia severely deprived---and thereby stopping the whole thing in its tracks.

      The large debt we have now---$ 147 billion, and growing by the minute is government debt---built up over only five years from zero, and with a $22billion surplus left to them to start with.

      The…

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    6. helen stream

      teacher

      In reply to wilma western

      No Wilma---it's just a sick joke. Go back to sleep.

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    7. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to helen stream

      I suppose what is most disturbing about this critical review - if I can so describe your words, Helen, is the underlying assumption that there is destructive malice aforethought on the part of those you stigmatise (but rarely name) as responsible for all the ills of education and elsewhere in your contributions in many other areas of socio-economic history as well experience it. For my part I am old-fashioned and subscribe to the view that in a choice between a conspiracy and a stuff-up, go for the…

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    8. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to helen stream

      Helen, Wow, can you direct me to the coalition spin sheet that you got all of this off. There is so much coalition spin and misinformation here that it is hard to know where to start. But I suppose we could do with some basic economics as well as facts I suppose.

      You remember the thing called the Global Financial Crises that hit the world in 2008, just after labor got into government. I realise the coalition and their supporters like to deny that it actually happened, or that its impacts are…

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    9. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to helen stream

      the gap between rich and poor decreased.. OMG, I was a young adult during the Howard reign, i tell you if you were young during that time, you had to save up for 6 months just to buy socks.

      CO2 crippling the economy.. OMG again, the Carbon Tax has had practically no impact on the Economy.

      Teach creationism too? OMG

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    10. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to helen stream

      oops, sorry, switched off now, tell me, do your students fall asleep when you talk too?

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  10. Riddley Walker

    .

    Abbott dons his hi-vis vest and slums around workplaes looking for phot ops - this is called "listening to the people".

    Gillard walks the streets of Western Sydeny talking to people and this is called " a desperate media stunt".

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    1. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      Good point Riddley. But there is a predestination ideology about in the commentariat. Michelle and her many mentees are dedicated to being on the winning side just as they are determined not to be out-scooped should there be some kind of leadership challenge even to the point of "manufacturing" one if it needs a push! It's associated with the relentless and frequent polling conducted by hte News organisation and other bodies. Leaves bno or little scope for daring policy making and every incentive for the low policy profile or thought bubble strategies of the Abbott Opposition.

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  11. Kate Swanton

    retired cleaner

    Michelle regurgitates her articles on RN Breakfast three times a week at Fran Kelly's urging. Her obsession with criticising Gillard's every move always predominates. This morning on radio the Coalition backflip over carbon price compo was skated over, as was Sinodinos' attempt to build a firewall between him and Obeid.

    I always assumed she was under starters orders at Fairfax, with their recentish turn to the right. Now she is at The Conversation I realise it is her own political bent and/or personal dislike of Gillard that motivates her.

    Not terribly professional is it?

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    1. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Kate Swanton

      Any one else watch the insiders on ABC? Anyone else notice the way that Gerard and Michelle seem to be a spokesperson for the Coalition and when anything arises that reflects poorly on the Coalition, it is neatly sequed into a confusing what the? Just like George Brandis on Q&A.. What the? are they actually in the same conversation?

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  12. Simon Black

    logged in via Twitter

    Shouldn't someone tell Gillard that her presence will hurt more than help in western Sydney? Seriously, they need to do some bridge building with Kevin Rudd and get him out there more. He is their only electoral asset.

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    1. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Simon Black

      Rudd's playing a long game, I suspect. He won't want the leadership pre-election, he's having too much fun causing strife to those who backstabbed him.

      After the election the power of the Ludwigs and the self-serving careerist lawyers he and a couple of others control will be very diluted and Rudd will present himself as the obvious leader to rebuild the Party in the image he prefers.

      It's no surprise that Howes and Ludwig are so strongly behind Gillard: apart from the strong likelihood that she could sink them all with what she has stashed away over the AWU-WRA fraud and subsequent cover-up, the only chance they have of maintaining any influence at all is to keep Rudd out of the hotseat.

      It's not going to work.

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    2. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Craig Minns

      Paul Howes and the whole NSW political system (Labour, Liberal and NAtional) is rancid, i don't live in NSW but i could fully understand the electorates desire to line them all up and slap them all hard.

      Unfortunately, Gillard has to deal with them, just like Malcolm Turnbull has to deal with Tony Abbott.

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