Turnbull government a dead parrot as power-crazed Trump cuts loose

Excellent satirical commentary on recent political events by Urban Wronski. Well observed, with more than just a few chuckle-worthy phrases, e.g.:
As the Chinese Year of the Rooster dawns, Malcolm Turnbull and his government are already feather dusters.

It’s been a shocker of a holiday for a Turnbull government which slunk off to lick its wounds after being routed by its own ludicrous 2016 energy policy debacle – only to be rocked by M…

Source: Turnbull government a dead parrot as power-crazed Trump cuts loose

Sussan Ley, Centrelink and Alcoa: Turnbull government in deep trouble

The latest from blogger Urban Wronski – highlights recent pratfalls of the Turnbull government.

It’s been a bad week for Turnbull government. Even for a mob with a gift for self-inflicted crisis and a record for monumental mismanagement and sheer ineptitude, it’s been a shocker. H…

Source: Sussan Ley, Centrelink and Alcoa: Turnbull government in deep trouble

Politics, policy makers, and religion.

No Place For Sheep

Religion vs politics. Ruth Clotworthy Religion vs politics. Ruth Clotworthy

Last time Sheep ventured into this territory I was threatened with defamation action, however, undeterred, we’re going there again.

If you argue that a politician’s religious beliefs don’t affect his or her attitudes to policy, firstly consider this exchange between Catholic Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Qanda’s Tony Jones on refugees and immigration, back in the days when Abbott was LOTO and not too lily-livered to front up to an unpredictable live audience.

Note: It’s a measure of a leader’s failure that he becomes less available to unpredictable audiences, not more. In case you need another example of his failure but you probably don’t 

TONY ABBOTT: …Jesus didn’t say yes to everyone. I mean Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it is not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.

TONY JONES: It’s quite an interesting analogy because, as you know…

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ABC The Drum Online Poll on Abbott’s First Year as PM: An Attempt to ‘Fix’ Results Thwarted


The results of an online poll run by the ABC’s The Drum was corrected this week due to an almost successful attempt to manipulate the results by means of multiple voting. The question that was asked was: How do you rate Tony Abbott’s first year as Prime Minister?

The final result shows a resounding “Overall bad”, see below:


But this wasn’t the result that was initially published. It was this:


I found the first results puzzling because when I voted, less than 24 hours before deadline, the percentage was at 93% “Overall bad”. Another matter that I found odd was the unusually high number of votes in the poll. I guessed (rightly, as it turned out) that there must have been some devious manipulation of the results.

Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one to suspect something irregular in the results, and Tweeter @johndory49 was one of those who acted quickly .


I give credit to the ABC Drum Team for their timely response to complaints made on this issue by investigating the problem and correcting the results. What was discovered? Well, this is almost unbelievable:


So, What we have here is a clear attempt by some people – and I think we may presume they were from the LNP side of the fence – to slant the results in favour of PM Abbott. I think it could even be justifiably called cheating (did I hear someone murmur “So, what’s new?”).

What have we learned from this episode? Well, for one thing: not to underestimate the capacity of the Abbott Government, its apparatchiks and supporters, to distort the truth by whatever means they have at their disposal. But the most important reminder is that we, the people who really care about truth and transparency in government, should be vigilant, and use all means within the law and within our rights, to expose misrepresentation and lies in government.

[See: http://www.abc.net.au/news/thedrum/polls/]

Honestly, Labor-bashers, Face the Facts!

This reader’s letter to the Canberra Times really got my goat. OK, so I’m a Laborite and so my hackles rise whenever I read criticisms of my party. But what really gets me is the blatant misrepresentation of facts and figures to suit the LNP’s political agenda. And what really, really gets my back up are the LIES, LIES AND MORE LIES peddled by the Abbott Government, its lackeys and supporters among the MSMs. This one is typical — given pride of headline space by the Canberra Times in its Comments section, despite it being clearly just parroting LNP spin. So I fired off a riposte. As it may or may not see the light of day in the CT, here it is in my own blog (three cheers for the coming of the  Internet Age).

Dear Letters Editor,

I feel I must respond to N. Bailey (Letters, June 2), in which he/she lays full blame on Labor and former Treasurer Wayne Swan for ‘wastage of taxpayers’ money’ that led to the ‘chaotic budget state inherited by the Abbott government’. Bailey’s letter is simply echoing the Coalition government’s ‘budget crisis’ spin which contains a lot of misrepresentation of facts and false assumptions.

I point out these facts: (1) the figure of $600bn is a a figure based on Treasury projections spanning the years to 2023/24, and the Coalition’s own pessimistic assumptions and recent spending decisions (e.g. PPL, new jet fighters). It is not as if Labor had left that amount as actual debt (incidentally, if Treasurer Joe Hockey was so perturbed by the debt level, why did he seek to increase the debt ceiling to $500bn?). (2) $600bn (the exact figure is $667bn) does not represent just gross national debt, but also debts incurred by state and local governments (which comes to roughly $282bn). (3) Half of the $667bn are in the form of Commonwealth Government Securities – treasury bonds bought by foreign investors – which provides the cash flow for big spending such as future superannuation payments for public servants and defence personnel, and for infrastructure programmes (NBN, for example) — note that these extend over a long term. (4) Actual net national debt is only a tenth of the $600+ billion. Labor left with a deficit of $30.1bn — if it is now much more, it is the Coalition government’s doing.

While it is true that Labor under Rudd/Gillard increased spending, this was chiefly to provide the needed stimulus through cash grants for low-income groups and infrastructure projects that saved the Australian economy from the GFC. Labor spending reached a peak of $54bn during 2008-09, but by end of its term of office, the deficit had gone down to $18.8bn, or 1.2% of GDP (the average for OECD countries was 4.9%). In terms of wasteful spending, the only years that an International Monetary Fund study found to be the most profligate (IMF Working Paper 13/5, January 2013) were during the Howard years. All that surplus from sale of public assets gone, giving out middle-class benefits and other non-productive goodies in the months leading to the 2007 election. If Howard had left the surplus intact, the incoming Rudd government would not have needed to spend quite so heavily to soften the impact of the GFC on the economy .

As the Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz remarked: “For an American, there is a certain amusement in Australian worries about the deficit and debt: their deficit as a percentage of GDP is less than half that of the US; their gross national debt is less than a third” (http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-crisis-down-under#4gzrISdmXj3TScB9.99). Add to that the fact that Australia under Wayne Swan’s fiscal stewardship became one of only 10 nations in the world to get a AAA rating from three major global credit agencies, and Wayne Swan himself named Best Finance Minister of the Year by the esteemed financial magazine Euromoney for successfully steering the country through the GFC, The only other Australian Treasurer to have that distinction is —wait for it, N. Bailey — Paul Keating (need I say, also under Labor government?).


We would all benefit to heed the counsel on this Banksy graffito – no matter what side of politics we stick to: