Labor’s just a bit rich moment

It appears Labor's election ad cycle has hit a snag with the interesting revelation that its key advertisement attacking Tony Abbott and the Coaltion is driven by an actress who apparently refused to pay $15 dollars to a family operated small business for delivery of expensive hand made spanish tiles.

It has been confirmed that Labor used actors for their most recent ad. However it would be useful if the goverments small business minister would explain whether he endorses the position of the actress in this ad, who refused to pay $15 delivery for expensive hand made spanish tiles.

In a time when small business is expected to tighten their belts under the odious regulation and increased taxation imposed on them by this government, it seems a bit rich that an eastern suburbs housewife would be considered by "ALP Strategists" as representative of the broader Australian community.

Perhaps Labor instead of trying to run teflon coated television campaigns whose actors don't truly reflect real Australia, should do a bit of their own 'renovating' in relation to their communications strategy.

Apparently all that keeps the 'actress' going is the thought that

"Somewhere in a factory in Sydney is a dishwasher with my name on it. A stylish stainless steel dishwasher that only makes 42 decibels of noise".

Just a bit rich Labor, Just a bit rich!



Andrew Bolt's blog has more:

New Face of the Working Class

Timothy W. Humphries is Assistant Managing Editor of Menzies House

Horse Riders of the Political Apocalypse – A Poem

The horse riders of political death echo,
Misty canyons of time cannot repel.
This democratic death machine,
As it rattles on.

South to north,
All through the land.
The obvious is seen,
Screaming and sobbing.
Hell fire on roller skates!

Blithering stupidity on a mass scale,
Milton could never do it justice.

Nor I on this misty winters night,
Could have imagined the horse riders,
Of the Political Apocalypse.

Their pink batts, school halls,
That bespectacled grin.

Whose fame and fortune,
Was paid for in part,
By neo-liberal sin.

Grant me reprieve Oh Lord,
The agnostic christian.
The spiritual pagan,
Cannot conceive.
The appalling strangeness,
Of the Horse Riders,
Of the Political Apocalypse. 

Timothy W. Humphries is a poet and Assistant Managing Editor 
at Menzies House

A Cat at a Dog Show

Certain gay rights advocates are calling for what they call ‘marriage equality’, or same-sex marriage, writes Justin de Vere 

National governments in New Zealand and France, as well as certain other countries and states, have recently passed laws legalising this. In doing so, the governments of these places now consider a marriage of a man and a woman to be the equivalent of a similar ceremony ‘marrying’ two men or two women.

The desire for marriage equality, while superficially a call for justice and an idea whose time has come, is actually a hurtful, destructive, selfish desire which speciously defies logic, abuses ordinary people’s sense of justice, and will cause damage to an ancient social custom that predates government and civilisation and has nothing to do with homosexuality. The politicians who would effect this change would do so not in the best interests of the country they serve, but in the short-term interests of the party they serve.

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Centenary of the 1913 Federal Election

A couple of weeks ago on 31 May 2013 was the centenary of the 1913 federal election, which went unnoticed.  It was one of the most critical elections in Australian history and its story needs to be retold, writes John Ruddick 

Between 1901 and 1910 Australia had eight Prime Ministerships with no party having a majority in either the House or the Senate.  The backdrop to this period of political flux was the seemingly inexorable rise of Labor. 

In 1901 Labor had just 14 seats in the House (out of 75) making it the smallest of the three parliamentary parties.  In 1903 the Labor tally almost doubled to 23 and then strengthened in 1906 with 26 seats.  The election of 1910 saw Labor not only win a clear majority in the House (42) but almost two thirds of the Senate.  It was a historic victory – Labor was the first openly socialistic party to win a national election in the world.

At the following election in 1913 Labor lost office to the Commonwealth Liberal Party by a single seat.  Australia was in its formative years and the election of 1913 is arguable one of our most consequential – it embedded free enterprise but only just. 

Chris Watson served as the first Labor leader from 1901 to 1907.  During Waton’s leadership Labor held the balance of power between the two pro-business parties – the Protectionists and the Free Traders.  Watson was a Labor moderate who aimed to advance the Labor cause through trading the two other parties off against the other. 

Watson was PM for an inconsequential four months in 1904 (as a result of a parliamentary realignment, not an election) but when the two other parties patched things up he resigned.  Watson remained as Labor leader but his compromises were increasingly resented by the Labor caucus.

In 1907 Labor elected Andrew Fisher as leader.  Like many of early British Labour leaders Fisher was a devout Christian and a teetotaller and unlike today’s ‘Labor’ leaders had spent two decades actually labouring at the bottom of mines. 

Fisher’s colleagues, political opponents, the press and the public would soon admire Fisher as a man of integrity and conviction.  A contemporary noted Fisher: 

has a kind of Olympian dignity, an unruffled and quite impenetrable calm. 

Fisher was an avowed radical socialist who did not think of hiding it.  When campaigning for the leadership he told Caucus: 

it would be cowardly for the man who believes that nationalisation is a proper principle not to express his views in the House.  We have too long shrunk from maintaining propositions which we clearly believe in.

Fisher had absolute confidence that by boldly declaring socialism a majority of the public would soon agree.  He told the Labor Party conference in 1908: 

In the church, the Parliament, in the streets and newspapers all over the civilized world there are no more sneers and scorn for socialism.  Everyone has this one great question to consider: we are all socialists now and indeed the only qualification you hear from anybody is that he is ‘not an extreme socialist.

In late 1908 Labor under Fisher withdrew its support of Protectionist PM Alfred Deakin.  Such were the hostilities between the Protectionists and the Free Traders that Deakin gave his votes in parliament to support Fisher as PM. 

In this first of his three non-consecutive terms as PM, Fisher knew passing socialist legislation was impossible without a majority … so from 1908 to 1909 Fisher principally used the office of PM, not to legislate, but to travel the nation, give speeches and campaign for socialism at the upcoming 1910 election. 

He spoke of: 

soon having a sufficient number in Parliament to express our views in legislation,” and of “Australia being able to lead the world with Socialistic legislation in such a way that it would be helpful to those great countries of the world with congested populations.

Talk like this soon made the two pro-business parties put aside their differences.  The free-traders had lost the debate over tariffs and with socialism a far greater threat the two merged into the Commonwealth Liberal Party. 

It was now obvious Fisher would be removed as PM as soon as Parliament resumed so Fisher mischievously delayed recalling Parliament for as long as he could.  He extended his tour of the nation and his enthusiastic crowds grew. 

After a six month recess Parliament finally returned and Fisher was voted down as PM immediately.  Fisher asked the Governor General for an election but was denied and Deakin returned as PM.  Deakin however was by now tired and probably suffering the onset of dementia while Labor under Fisher had the momentum.

Prior to the formation of the Commonwealth Liberal Party the Protectionists had cut into the working class vote.  The new political environment of two parties (not three) played into Fisher’s hand.  The electorate had a clear choice – the workers versus the capitalists – and Labor’s primary vote leapt from 36.6% 1906 to 49.9% in 1910 making it easily Labor’s biggest ever swing. 

Fisher was Australia’s first powerful PM and he set about using that power.  An unprecedented 113 pieces of legislation passed easily – almost more than all previous governments combined.  Welfare programs and payments boomed. 

Government money was thrown at the arts and sport.  Taxes were hiked as were the number of public servants … but the power Fisher most wanted was to nationalise monopolies and start government owned businesses to compete with the private sector. 

Fisher feared the High Court would declare such laws unconstitutional … so within a year of winning office Fisher put forth two amendments to the Constitution via referendum.  They sought to take the power over commerce and industrial relations away from the states and give it to the federal government.

The referenda lost 61-39%.  Most politicians would back away from such a rebuff but Fisher had often said he would rather return to labouring in the mines than back down on principle.  Fisher immediately announced he would put the questions again to the electorate … and he raised the stakes.  He added six more socialist referenda and timed the vote to be on the same day as the next federal election in 1913.  Fisher reasoned his personal popularity (which was high) would this time get the referenda passed.

In 1913 Fisher’s opponent was the long term anti-socialist campaigner Joseph Cook.  During the campaign Cook focussed not on attacking Fisher but his eight referenda declaring “Labor wants to get in a position of socialistic supremacy over the whole Commonwealth”.

A hundred years ago Cook defeated Fisher by one seat despite Fisher narrowly winning the popular vote.  All eight referenda were defeated just as narrowly.

Fisher did return as PM for a year at the outset of World War One but the war consumed his agenda and he resigned in mid-1915.  He then lived out his days in London depressed at failing to bring about his socialist utopia in the Antipodes. 

One hundred years ago living standards in Argentina were higher than they were in Australia but today the OECD says Australia is the happiest nation on Earth.  Had Fisher’s Labor Party won one more seat in 1913 that may not have been the case.

John Ruddick is a Sydney based mortgage broker

On Gillard’s Misogyny Furore

When Julia Gillard called Tony Abbott a misogynist in federal parliament
in October last year, it did a severe disservice to women everywhere, writes Jack Baker.

Attempting to bring Abbott to the lowest of the low for a political
stunt downplayed and minimised the seriousness of men who are actual

A misogynist is by definition a “person who hates women”. Gillard
has been read this definition several times in interviews. She has
had the opportunity to clarify her remarks and explain that she
didn’t actually believe Abbott hates women. Yet she has repeatedly
said that she stands by her claims. As a former lawyer, Gillard knows
that words are powerful. Yet she has shown a constant willingness to
mislead for attempted political advantage.

Men who perpetrate violence, hatred and sexual violence against women and
girls are the real misogynists. Abbott is clearly not one of them.
The fact that this needs to be said shows how out-of-touch Gillard’s
speech was.

Abbott has been married for over thirty years. His wife Margie runs a
community-based childcare centre, a demanding job as any childcare
worker knows. The couple have three daughters who unabashedly adore
their father, and whom he clearly loves and respects. Abbott’s
sister, who publicly disagrees with him on a number of political
issues, as happens within many families, describes how supportive and
respectful her brother is to her and her lifestyle choices.

Professionally, Abbott surrounds himself with highly competent and influential women,
whose opinions he values, and who respect him in turn. For the past
fifteen years, he has always had a female in charge of his office.
His current chief of staff is Peta Credlin, who has spoken about
Abbott’s compassionate support for her fertility treatments. His
deputy leader is the devastatingly effective Julie Bishop.

Naval Lieutenant Commander and Barrister Sophie York has known Abbott since
1999. She describes him as “a very genuine, kind, and refreshingly
forthright person. He pays you the compliment of fully jousting
political issues and doesn’t pull back because you are a woman,
which would simply be insulting”. She further notes that “he is a
remarkable listener and not ego driven”.

Now contrast these attributes and the way Abbott treats the plethora of
women in his life with the men who oppress women and girls around the
world and in Australia. Women and girls contend with a litany of
abuses every day. Offences include domestic violence, rape, honour
killings, and the abhorrent crime of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Placing Abbott on the same level as the men who perpetrate these
crimes downplays them in a horribly cavalier way. Calling him a
misogynist lowers the common denominator of what this term actually
entails, resulting in the above crimes seeming less important in

The fact that Abbott has recently been polled as having higher approval
ratings among both women and men then Gillard shows that the
Australian population didn’t buy it. Nor should they! As
Julie Bishop said, it was a “vile charge” and “an utter and
absolute lie and the prime minister knows it”.
Let’s look at examples of actual misogyny.

Misogyny is when girls have Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) performed on them, which involves the barbaric practise of cutting away part of or the entire clitoris. 

The pain and subsequent medical conditions this
practise results in are horrific. Any backing down in relation to
this abhorrent practice and supporting a ‘ritual nick’ so that
this is done under controlled conditions, is tolerating and
encouraging those who practise this form of misogyny. It should be
opposed vigorously everywhere, in all forms.

is also where women are forced to completely cover their faces, concealing
their identities. This is what feminist Mona Eltahawy calls “the
erasure of women” and depriving “a woman of identity”.

Misogyny is when women and girls face physical abuse from intimate partners.
Misogyny is also evident in the rapes committed against thousands of
females in Australia every year.

Putting Tony Abbott or any other good, decent man on the same level as
the perpetrators of these crimes, is appalling. It is completely
false, and does a disservice to women and girls who are abused by
men. The Prime Minister should be ashamed of so brazenly misusing
such language.

Abbott is in fact an excellent example of how men should treat women and
girls. Australia would do well to have more men like him.

Jack Baker is a pseudonym

The one’s who flew over the cuckoo’s nest

I truly am amazed by the zany school yard stupidity displayed by the ALP

389063_10150942895539401_218324264_nI truly am amazed by the zany school yard stupidity displayed by the ALP, writes Assistant Managing Editor Tim Humphries

It seems appropriate with the events of the past week to reflect on a classic Jack Nicholson film. The one who flew over the cuckoo's nest perfectly describes the Australian Labor Party.

With the Nielsen polling showing the LNP is unchanged on 56-44, one has to question the semblance of sanity that may or may not exist within the Labor Party at the current time. 

Whilst I welcome the fact that Tony Abbott will be the next Prime Minister of Australia, I'm left troubled by the distinct possibility that the Federal Political result due in September may well mirror the routing that occured in Queensland.

Don't get me wrong dear reader, I love the idea of removing every last vestige of Labor politics from the Australian parliament. However the question remains who will step into the breach left by the blowing tumble weeds of the ALPs departure?

I spoke to a Labor supporter I went to school with a few days ago and admitted at human level I do feel incredibly sorry for honest hard-working Labor supporters who have been shafted by a sociopathic parliamentary party. A party that seems to think that it can fool everyone in the same way the 'Chief' successfully did so in the movie.


As the Poll Bludger succintly states:

Julia Gillard is down two on approval to 38% and up two on disapproval to 58%, while Tony Abbott edges towards respectability with approval up a point to 43% and disapproval down two to 53%. Toe-to-toe questions on the Labor leadership have Gillard leading Bob Carr 50-41, Bill Shorten 52-38 and Greg Combet 53-35. Among Labor voters, Rudd leads Gillard 51-48. Joe Hockey leads Wayne Swan as preferred Treasurer 48-40, which compares with 44-44 the last time the question was asked.

What's peculiar about the current political cycle is the high levels of disapproval for both leaders. However what amuses me most is the distinct disregard ALP strategists have in relation to Kevin Rudd. Secret polling revealed this week demonstrates Kevin Rudd's position could have rebounded had he not been knee-capped by the drones in the smoke filled rooms.  

Then you have the inevitable circus of a leadership spill that was but wasn't. Then Simon Crean jumping off the ship and politically detonating himself on the way down. This is the sort of stuff you'd see in a satirical piece of the 'Thick of It' variety.

I truly am amazed by the zany school yard stupidity displayed by the ALP! Who are these people running our country? Do we need Dr. Phil to run a counselling session for Carcas? Not thats not a spelling error! I'm no longer going to refer to Caucus as Caucus, from now on it's Carcas to me!

We are picking dear reader over the carcas of a once great political party that lost touch with reality at every level. It behooves us to remember despite their utter contempt for the Australian people, Judgement Day is coming and they will not be spared!

Timothy W. Humphries is Assistant Managing Editor of Menzies House

Sockpuppet Diaries

Impressions of elections past and present are a mixed bag

Impressions of elections past and present are a mixed bag, writes Tim Humphries.

Labor people remember fondly the 'It's Time' election and Liberal voters fondly remember the 'Dismissal'. I'm tempted to think Mark Latham was correct in reflecting on the 2007 election as the Seinfeld Election 

An interesting aside in this Cirque du Soleil game of politics is the trotting out of 'Infrastructure' as a vote winner. New connection roads and highspeed rail remain the ethereal non-core electoral drug of choice.  

Weirdly enough that particular project is actually progressing! Truth be told I won't believe it until I ride the train from my old digs right into the Brisbane, CBD and see pigs fly out of cannons at the opening ceremony.

To think people talked about that project right back when the horse and cart was still an acceptable mode of transportation. The truth remains there is a disconnect that exists between political meta-narrative and practical reality.

Any current politicians reading this should take careful note of what I'm about to say. The Australian people love the idea of big vision and big ideas for the long term. However they also like seeing a thing called 'deliverables' that communicates how it impacts them.

Deliverables need to be achieved through a budget that is atleast somewhat stable in its composition. Fitting within this is the neat process of politicians standing to a podium, delivering the orthodoxy of a message and then actually delivering through orthopraxy. Julia Gillard has failed on both fronts.

Bill Clinton said 'campaign in poetry, govern in prose'. The future of Australia will depend on the ability of leaders who can campaign on orthodoxy and deliver through orthopraxy.

What this country needs isn't mealy-mouthed promises and childish game playing around revealing all just before the election. This country needs throaty pronouncements, chest beating, soap box ranting and more importantly a vision that is easily accessible for those making the decision. 

The sort of word picture stuff you see in historical film archives. A time and place when curly Air Force style moustaches were all the rage.

The problem with modern politics is the microcosmic compressed reality of polling data, followed by panic, followed by polling data, followed by unceremonious removal of a leader. If we're honest with ourselves the horse race mentality isn't sustainable.

Hopefully election 2013 instead of delivering sockpuppet tomfoolery will instead deliver serious reform that can be communicated not just as possible, but deliverable. 

Timothy W. Humphries is Assistant Managing Editor of Menzies House. Tim is currently working on developing a television comedy.