The gift that keeps on giving

EXCLUSIVE:

 by Perkin-Warbeck

With the Shorten – Albanese road show over, the ALP had exhausted its rather limited appreciation of the virtue of appearing nice and it set about in the time-honoured way of having the factions decide who should be on the front bench.

And, predictably, it was a bloodbath and a public relations disaster. There was a vicious non-holds-barred fight for the spoils of defeat. 

PM Abbott probably can’t believe his luck that the Labor factions have recycled those who were such notable failures during the six years of Rudd – Gillard – Rudd. Every time they appear on TV or anywhere for that matter, Australians will be reminded just why they sent them to the wilderness. For Abbott, the ALP is the gift that keeps on giving.

The Opposition now is looking more like a disgruntled government-in-exile just waiting for voters to realise what a silly mistake they made tossing them out. With this attitude, they will be as relevant to Australia’s future as the Crown Council of Ethiopa is to that that country. Based in Washington, this sad little self-deluded bunch is hoping the monarchy, driven out in 1975, will be restored.

 There were some demonstrably bizarre and plainly ludicrous outcomes.

Don Farrell, who lost his seat and will leave the Senate on 30 June next, is on the front bench while Jacinta Collins who, in the last Rudd Government was Deputy Leader in the Senate and fourth-ranking Minister, has been dumped to the backbench.

Stephen Conroy’s decision to take for himself via factional deals the job of Senate Deputy Leader showed an arrogance and selfishness in the true Rudd tradition although he loathes Rudd and always did. When Rudd returned for his last hurrah, Conroy spat the dummy and went to the backbench in a huff.

Outgoing Speaker Anna Burke was excluded from getting anything at all and made no secret of her bitterness saying, “Our new leader, Bill Shorten,  may hope for no rancour in the caucus, but the current outcomes of the shadow ministry reflects an immediate reversion to the faceless men being firmly in control.” 

 She said “no meritocracy” exists in Shorten’s regime. No doubt the Government has already got a bulky folder of quotes from Labor about Labor to taunt the Opposition when Parliament resumes.

Two former Ministers from Albanese’s Left faction – Kate Lundy and Warren Snowden – were dumped by their own faction because they had voted for Shorten who outflanked Alabanese by recruiting star left-winger Tanya Plibersek as his deputy. The only other ex-Minister not recycled was Bob Carr who is on the way out anyway.

Veteran left-winger Laurie Ferguson spoke up for Lundy describing her demotion as “sad collateral payback.”

 The real tragedy for Labor is that talented backbenchers who are not tainted with the mistakes of the past have been locked out. They could have helped present a new fresh face to the Opposition and made serious contributions to policy formulation – Julie Owens, the only caucus member to have been the CEO of a small business organisation and Clare O’Neil who studied at Harvard and worked for leading consultancy McKinsey and Company are two who come to mind.

The most devastating expose of Labor’s six disastrous years came via retired Attorney-General Nicola Roxon who didn’t hold back in a recent speech.

She set the tone by describing Rudd as a “bastard” who, for the sake of the Labor Party, Australia and very probably the known and unknown universe, should quit Parliament and then, we can reasonably deduce, sink into a well-earned obscurity.

“Although I was frustrated beyond belief by his disorganisation and lack of strategy, I was never personally a victim of his viscous tongue or temper. I did, however, see how terribly he treated some brilliant staff and public servants. Good people were burnt like wildfire…,” she said.

There was more.

Ms Roxon said while caucus had made the right decision to dump Rudd as leader in 2010, “We were clumsy and short-sighted in the way we did it. We didn’t talk about his rudeness, or contempt for staff and disrespect for public servants. Removing Kevin was an act of political bastardry, for sure, but this act of political bastardry was made possible only because Kevin had been a bastard himself to too many people already.”

 In retrospect, Abbott and his team made only one mistake – being far too polite in their criticisms of the Labor shambles.

Rudd, in response, had his spokesman say that he had no comment adding, “He is focussed on politics for Australia’s future rather than the internal politics of the Labor Party.” It’s the sort of lofty response we can expect from Rudd who is in a tightly loyal faction of one. Perhaps he could become a strategist and adviser for The Crown Council of Ethopia.

Ms Roxon, a pal of Julia Gillard, even had some mild criticism of her but it was all in sorrow rather than anger. 

“Julia also took on too much – as the new leader, the promised ‘fixes’ were all attached to her, she wore every mistake and every setback,” she said. Really, it was all a terrible shame.

It seems that nobody in the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Governments ever had a decent, kind or worthy thought or achieved anything meaningful except, understandably, Ms Roxon herself.

New leader Bill Shorten has pledged to defend the legacies of the past six years, irrespective of how damaging that will be in the public eye. With the front bench the factions have handed him, he will have no other option.

 

 

The ALP leadership campaign

EXCLUSIVE:

Perkin-Warbeck

Labor’s two leadership aspirants, Antony Albanese and Bill Shorten are, allegedly, in a life and struggle for the hearts and minds of the ALP membership – and wherever they go with their so-called “debates”, they stir up apathy to an almost unprecedented extent.

Presenting as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the two have agreed that the legacies of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Governments are holy writ and triumphs of compassion, commitment and decency, that – yes – there may have been one or two minor and regrettable lapses of common sense during those six years but that the ALP will sweep to power in 2016 especially under their leadership.

It seems they have also agreed that they are both intellectually brilliant, have superb leadership skills, are possessed of a reforming and campaigning zeal and are inclusive, noble, sophisticated, dedicated, handsome, kind to animals and all-round wonderfully nice. Both would be happy, delighted, honoured and grateful to serve under the other even if it means making the tea.

So, the challenge for each is to try and find some small space which would allow a sliver of light to penetrate and show some sort of individuality.

Shorten was first out of the barrier with his declaration that he would introduce as Leader a quota for gay and lesbian parliamentary candidates to allow a greater “diversity” – an announcement immediately welcomed by Rainbow Labor, the gay equality crowd inside the ALP.

Rainbow Labor features very prominently on the official ALP website and proudly boasts, “The Australian Labor Party now supports marriage equality” which is both true and simultaneously misleading. Yes, it is official policy but it also accommodates a conscience vote by Caucus members – the “get out of jail free” card and more than a few have used it.

I’m reminded for some reason of the pharmacy chain which emblazons its shops with the sign “AUSTRALIA’S CHEAPEST CHEMIST” – you can hardly read, in much smaller letters the two word preface, “Is this”. It’s their “get out of jail free” card vis-à-vis the meddling ACCC crowd.

That it should have been Shorten, who is the Right candidate, who came up with this brilliant idea and not Albanese from the Left is somewhat surprising given that the Right is considerably against things like gay marriage. Gillard’s once best friend and Right faction powerbroker Joe De Bruyn of the shoppies union has railed against the gay agenda.

Given the track record of the leadership “debates”, we can reasonably expect Albanese to play catch-up and make sympathetic noises about the quota idea.

Now this thought bubble masquerading as policy is fraught with possibly unforseen difficulties. Well, in other words, it is a complete crock. Incidentally, Shorten didn’t include bisexual and transgender people in his quota idea and they might feel a bit peeved.

The trouble with sexuality is that for many people it is an evolving characteristic. Of course, there are folks of both sexes who were born gay and will die gay but some switch sides.

Just ask Christine Forster, the lesbian sister of PM Abbott, who five years ago was a married woman with children living a comfortable life on Sydney’s north shore. She met another woman, fell in love, and her world changed.

She is now also a Liberal Councillor on the Sydney City Council and got there without any sort of quota rubbish.

I wonder if Shorten has considered the potential difficulties. Under ALP policies, 40% of safe seats are supposed to go to women so perhaps the lesbian quota would be a slice of that. Or perhaps not. If gay men deserve a quota all of their own, then lesbians do also, one presumes.

It would be interesting to see if an allegedly straight male Labor MP was under serious pre-selection threat suddenly announced that he was gay and had to stay to meet the quota arrangements. It might not do a lot for his home life but it could save his career. And if two women were contesting a preselection, possibly one would be automatically picked if she announced she was a lesbian.

Why not quotas for all sorts of other people I wonder – a quota, for example, for obese straight male Trade Union hacks. Oh, no need for that really – there is already quite sufficient, thank you.

Then there could be quotas for ethnic minorities – an “Asian” quota for example although I suspect that a Thai man might not think that a Japanese man could adequately represent him and his special needs, that a Mandarin speaking Chinese might have issue with a Cantonese speaker as his quota representative and so on. 

Clearly under any enhanced quota rules inside the ALP, it would be tremendously advantageous to tick as many boxes as possible – an ideal candidate would be a black disabled lesbian. 

But it would mean one great big happy ALP family, reaching out to suburban mums and dads with a new slogan, “Land Rights For Gay Disabled Whales.” That should wrap it all up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toby’s Sunday light

TobyParliament House Canberra. The sale yards of the nation where there is no auctioneer, just political animals buying and selling each other for the polling booth slaughterhouse.

The atmosphere is electric as the final dice will be rolled this week and those who know what’s going on won’t say and those that don’t know what’s happening are eager to predict. Jockeying for position, betraying faiths, embracing moral bankruptcy, it's par for the course in this political barnyard of revulsion.

Our man Toby Jug is well connected in Canberra and given the confusion and fear about political careers, most of which dangle on fractured limbs like “rock-a-bye-baby-in-the-treetops” waiting for that fabled bough to break, Toby decided to use his connections.

Disguising himself as a zombie he passed unnoticed among the members of the Labor Caucus.

Carrying a hi-resolution spy camera disguised as a bunch of flowers, borrowed from a terrorist organization based in Australia, Toby declared himself as the official parliamentary, Labor appointed photographer for a sort of, end-of-school-year photo. Like they do with kindergarten.

Government spin doctor John McTernan approved Toby’s plan to snap random shots of MPs making vital decisions and steering the country toward prosperity. The masterpiece would be a panorama of Labor ministers in a mournful setting emulating the atmosphere of suspicion reminiscent of The Last Supper.

While the camera in floral disguise of a Banksia had limitations, Toby captured a shot in a way no one else has managed. It was the dead-pan smug superior look of a two-time loser concealing his bitter raging, while catching the frustrated look of a winner who knows that history has judged and pronounced her just a two-timer.

Gilard-and-muppet21Photo courtesy Toby Jug on his pin-hole Daguerrotype glass plate camera using a magnesium flash pod

Always looking for that perfect shot Toby now disguised as a French Sommelier went to the dining room hoping for a candid shot of Peter Slipper pouring anchovy oil into a snifter of Napoleon Cognac but found someone quite different entirely. Still wearing a blue tie.

Howard1Photo courtesy Toby Jug taken on his LPG powered polaroid relic.

While waiting for the main event, ministers dressed in togas sporting sharp knives in their waistbands, somebody spat the dummy and the shoot was cancelled. Apparently, Bob Carr's sandal thongs were too long for his skinny legs. However, an insider said that Bill Shorten, son-in-law of the governor general insisted his place at the table must be as the son-of-god at the right hand of Julia. The Louvre in Paris will have to wait, perhaps until Clive Palmer takes the "pilot" seat.

The following day, back at Menzies House photographic studios under the National Gallery of Australia, technicians discovered a most unusual photograph on Toby's Kodak Box Brownie. Our photo editor believes the the film was defective as the use-by-date was March 21, 1927 and might well have been an old trick of a double exposure.

Gillrudd1Photo courtesy Toby Jug, taken on his Great Grandfather's KodaK Box Brownie.

APOLOGY.

After receiving an acid message from the Prime Minister’s Private Secretary and author of “Ridiculous Taxes and How to Sell Them to the Public.” Dennis Diopter, our photo editor ascertained that the above photo is actually a double exposure of perhaps two people. Therefore, the identity of either person is unsure.

UPDATE: Toby has been detained in Canberra by authorities and is now in his 12th day of a hunger and alcohol strike.

GC.Ed.@L.

Labor is blue – through and through

By Perkin-Warbeck

Come September when we spring into Spring, we will all be able to give due honour, respect and love for somebody very important in our lives.

Naturally I refer to Father’s Day, the very first Sunday in September. After all, there’s no other event in September requiring us to show deference to, or respect for, any other sort of so-called authority figure.

In my case, it has been a good few years since my dear old dad went to his maker but I still make a point of thinking kindly thoughts about him on that special day. There was a time when I would give a lot of thought to an appropriate gift and, invariably, I would select a beautiful and tasteful tie. Quite a few were, I recall, blue.

I have profound sympathy this year for those loving children who were planning on giving their dads a nice tie. If their choice of hue is blue then it is very possible that their dads will be spat upon in the streets as vile sexist misogynists who want to make a women’s right to an abortion their plaything.

Prime Minister Gillard has made it plain that men who wear blue ties are just dreadful. I, for one, am planning to show my respect for women – especially the Women for Gillard crowd – with a ritual burning of all even faintly bluish ties. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for a chap to be politically correct nowadays but I am trying.

Once upon a time the ALP liked to think it represented blue collar workers and, presumably, they still like to think that but woe betide any aspirational blue collar worker who hungers for the day when he can wear a blue tie.

Julia did get one tiny little thing wrong in her ringing condemnation of men wearing blue ties when she asked us all to imagine a Treasurer wearing a blue tie bringing down a budget. We don’t have to imagine that – just look at the footage of Wayne Swan delivering the last budget. He was resplendent in blue.

No doubt, many male Labor Members and Senators will be ditching their blue ties now they have been awoken to the crass symbolism of them. Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten and Trade Minister Craig Emerson have always shown a fondness for blue ties but if loyalty means anything in the modern Labor Party, these offending garments will go into a charity bin.

No so, it seems, for the ever-loyal and ever-respectful K Rudd MP.

The very day after Julia alerted the world to the appallingly anti-women agenda manifested by blue ties, Kev was out and about in Sydney wearing – well, you guessed it.

He tried to do a blokey sort of performance for the TV cameras, manfully admitting that like most Australian blokes he had no fashion sense and that his good lady wife and daughter selected his ties. It might have been more convincing in Mandarin.

There was a shot across Julia’s bows when he added, somewhat mendaciously I thought, “Frankly, if I had to get rid of all of my blue ties, I’d loose about a third of them.”

Kev certainly sent a beautifully tailored, sartorially significant message to Julia when he arrived in Canberra on Monday with a bright smile and a blue tie.

Was that called for I ask you! Talk about trying to start a blue with Dear Leader.

President Barack Obama seems to like blue ties quite a lot and perhaps this was a subtle reaching out to Republicans in a wink, wink and nod, nod sort of way. But he’s been re-elected so there’s no reason to keep them. The last British Labor Prime Minister Gordon Brown was also fond of these disgraceful bits of neckwear and he went down in defeat probably because the women’s vote. They knew what it meant.

In my more nostalgic moments, I used to listen to Bobby Vinton’s 1963 album which features blue-themed tunes. I especially loved – note the past tense please – Blue on Blue and Blue Velvet.

Of course that came from an era when women were downtrodden and oppressed so in the cause of political correctness, it probably has to go as well.  But why, I wonder, do I think of Julia when I hear his refrain… “blue on blue, heartache on heartache now that we are through, .. now I find I can’t get over losing you.”

Because actually I will get over loosing her so maybe I will keep at least one blue tie – it will be nice to wear on Monday, 16 September.

As Angela Priestly, the editor of the feminist Women’s Agenda website wisely noted after Julia’s speech on the matter, “It could be a good time to get into the blue tie business.”

And I’m keeping Bobby Vinton too.

Shorten – Australia’s Maxwell Smart?

Included in a stack of released WikiLeaks cables was an account of Bill Shorten's meeting with US Consul-General Thurston. This report was made public in August 2011 in various publications including the Australian Financial Review.

It is to be wondered if Shorten's union mates know of that meeting and what was said? It looks like Bill's ambition for greatness is again being played out in his so far commitment to support Gillard. "Sorry Julia, they made me dump you." GC.Ed.@L.

Mr Shorten met with the US Consul-General in Melbourne Michael Thurston in June 2009.


In a confidential cable back to Washington, Mr Thurston notes the
“ambitious” but “rumpled in appearance” Mr Shorten had been touted as a
future prime minister.

“Shorten makes no bones about his ambitions in federal politics,” Mr Thurston wrote.

“During a June 11 meeting, Shorten told Consul-General that `he did not take this job to stand still’.”

Mr Shorten – now Assistant Treasurer – told Mr Thurston he was deeply
influenced by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr and quoted from
several of his speeches during the meeting.

Mr Thurston described Mr Shorten as a “nimble conversationalist” and “considered and thoughtful”.

“Shorten struck us as highly ambitious but willing to wait – at least for a while – for his moment in the sun.”

Your rights at work

Justin campbell

Justin Campbell puts his slant on the thorny issues of workplace relationships, the debate that just won't go away.

“Your rights at work” words that in 2007 brought down the
Howard government. The idea that an individual statutory contract could remove
pay and condition guaranteed under industrial awards and enterprise bargaining
agreements was enough to get voters to take a chance on Labor. The idea that
access to service or minimum conditions are “rights” has become so ingrained in
our society that almost no one has challenged the notion that such conditions
are rights or seriously raised the question do such rights violate peoples’
more fundamental rights.

This issue can be understood by comparing positive rights
with negative rights. From the 20th century on, the definition of
what could be considered a right has changed from negative rights, which
protect individual freedom, such as free speech, the right to a fair trial or
the right to enter a contract to positive rights, such as the right to an
education or healthcare. The problem with positive rights is that unlike
negative rights they aren’t a person’s by birth. Positive rights usually
require some restriction on another person’s freedom. For example: for me to
have the right to education; that by definition forces someone else to pay for
it. By comparison the right free speech is mine and all that right does is
protect me from someone taking that right away from me.

If one accepts individual freedom as basis for all rights,
then workers’ rights cannot be considered rights in the traditional sense. In
fact, minimum wages and awards significantly restrict individual freedom. If I
wanted to start a career working for a consulting firm but my current skill-set
doesn’t justify the minimum pay required by industrial regulation then my
freedom and the freedom of the employer would have been significantly
restricted. Most likely the outcome would be that I would remain unemployed.

A more relevant example to many disadvantaged jobseekers is
the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco Manufacturing Award 2010, which cover most jobs
in the hospitality sector. Under this award it is illegal to pay someone less
than $17.88 an hour for an adult employed in a casual capacity. While this may
seem to be a small amount to many of us, for some people entering the labour
market with insufficient education or life skills this can be a major barrier
to employment. For example: someone who has never worked before may need
constant supervision, in reality the time spent supervising this person
initially may exceed the value of their labour. Preventing such a jobseeker
from working at a price an employer is willing to employ them for is violation
of their basic right to sell their labour and to enter into contracts.

Much of the industrial relations debate has been framed in
the context of international competitiveness and profitability. These arguments
have fundamentally missed the point. Employers have no more right to cheap
labour then employees have rights to high wages. Ultimately, both parties
should be free to pursue their self-interest. The argument against restrictive industrial
relations regulations should be argued on the basis of individual freedom.

 Justin Campbell is currently studying a Master
of Economics at the University of New England and is a member of the Australian
Libertarian Society. He currently works as an employment consultant and has
over five years experience in the employment/recruitment industry. In 2008
Justin ran as an Independent in the Brisbane City Council election
and maintains an educational blog/website www.econstudent.org.

Bill Shorten Picture in need of a Caption

Photo Bill Shorten

The best caption will receive a signed copy of my first novel – Witch Doctor’s Vengeance.

Winner to be announced over the weekend.

Update:

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Bill Shorten Caption competition.

Our managing editor has selected a winner from a lot of very funny captions.

The winning caption is: Can we even afford the bullet now?

Entry 12 by Craig Buchanan.

Congratulations Craig.

We’ll do this Caption competition again. Should you happen to come across a picture in need of a caption involving a politician (Liberal, Labor, Greens and Independent), then please email me: asemple@menzieshouse.com.au

 

Andy Semple 

Follow him on twitter @Bulmkt

Short odds for Shorten

Mark-SharmaMark Sharma argues we shall be seeing Bill Shorten as Leader of the ALP rather soon: 

It is unbelievable that twelve months have passed since Julia Gillard took over as the Prime Minister of Australia. A late night knock on the door and a short secretive meeting later, Kevin Rudd, the man who defeated John Howard was knifed by his own party and thrown out in the cold.  This incident, which happened just over a year ago, is considered to be the most horrific event in the history of Australian politics. The bizarre drama, where a first term Prime Minister was dumped by his own party and replaced by a woman, who was claiming loyalty for her leader just few days before his dumping has haunted Australians till date.

There are many people who have not forgotten the way Kevin Rudd was politically assassinated. It includes many disappointed Labor voters, the federal opposition, sections of the media and Kevin Rudd himself.

I believe Kevin Rudd has never forgiven Gillard or the union bosses who backstabbed him. How do we know this? Well, for starters he has not given up on any opportunity to derail Julia Gillard’s leadership. From the leaks that painted Gillard as a “pensioner hater” to the innumerable interviews that Kevin Rudd has given to “accept his mistakes on the subject of climate change”, all point to same thing.

Rudd has not taken a break from damaging Gillard. Just few days ago we learnt through media that most Labor caucus members are fed up with Rudd’s antics and want him gagged or thrown out of the cabinet. Unfortunately for them, we are living in the “new paradigm” of minority governments where any member on the Labor side including Rudd can bring the whole government down.  But nonetheless, cracks in Labor are for all to see.

While Gillard-Rudd drama has hogged all the limelight, opinion polls have been going bad to worse for ALP. Whether it is Galaxy, Newspoll, Nielson or Essential Media; poll after poll Labor’s numbers are dropping. Many people are speculating whether the “faceless men” are going to use their knives again, this time on Julia Gillard?

It seems the consensus is that Gillard will be spared for now as going back to Rudd is not acceptable to majority Labor MP’s. This therefore brings us to the question of “who will succeed Julia Gillard?” Eminent columnist and now TV host Andrew Bolt asked the same question to the panelists on his show The Bolt Report. As expected, we did not get any answer from Labor ranks.

 

While all this drama has unfolded in front of our eyes in the last year or so, one prominent politician has somehow sailed under the radar without much scrutiny. If we look at the present Labor government, almost all Labor ministers had to bear the brunt of some form of community anger. Greg Combet is under fire for Carbon Tax, Chris Bowen for Refugee crisis, Wayne Swan for the economy, Tony Burke for his handling of water, Stephen Conroy for NBN fiasco, Joe Ludwig for live cattle exports and Nicola Roxon for her fight with plain packaging. Multiple community groups, Businesses and radio presenters are using everything they can to bring down the government.

But there is one man who is virtually absent from our TV screens and mostly ends up with good press whenever he is mentioned. He is also very powerful in the sense that he was instrumental in getting rid of Kevin Rudd. Furthermore, out of all the current Labor stalwarts, he is best at lying with a straight face – an essential quality for anyone who desires to become the Prime Minister of Australia.

Yes, I’m referring to the smooth talking Bill Shorten aka numbers man. I still can’t forget the visuals that were screened on the night Kevin Rudd was dumped. Bill Shorten standing in the corner of an up market restaurant in Canberra with his mobile phone glued to ear, possibly organizing numbers to take down Rudd. Since that night, Bill Shorten has vanished from anything remotely controversial and backs every government decision like he truly believes in it. You rarely hear anyone criticize him these days. The strange thing is that Julia Gillard was leading a similar life before she came out as surprise replacement for Kevin Rudd. She too was calm and non controversial. In fact, Julia Gillard had impressed many conservative voters and commentators with her “School league tables” that all the negative coverage was on Kevin Rudd.

Today all the focus is on Julia Gillard and Bill Shorten is quietly building his chances as the “Mr. Nice Guy” in the background.  The fact of the matter is that changing leaders can have a positive effect in polls. A new, non controversial person generally gets good reception from both sides. Labor has done this before and it has worked to an extent. With Julia Gillard’s approval heading south, Labor has no other option but to give Bill Shorten a go. Bill Shorten might not have the longest resumes in the current Parliament but no doubt he has the shortest odds for the top job. Just don’t tell this to Julia Gillard!

Mark Sharma is a Conservative Independent and takes active part in both Federal and State Politics. He occasionally writes for Indian Australian Newspaper IndianLink Follow him on @marksharma