Anthony Albanese on the road to the September 7 election

Anthony Albanese

5 August 2013

Anthony Norman Albanese (born 2 March 1963) is an Australian politician who is the current Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and the Deputy Leader of the Labor Party. He is also the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and the Leader of the House of Representatives. He has represented Grayndler in the Australian House of Representatives since 1996.

Albanese has been described as “Labor’s Parliamentary go-to man, a bloke with willingness and enthusiasm for fronting up – whether at the Dispatch Box, to protesters or even in backing a losing leadership candidate” ……

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Bill Shorten on the road to the September 7 election

Bill Shorten

5 August 2013

William Richard “Bill” Shorten (born 12 May 1967) is an Australian politician who is currently the Minister for Education and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. He was first elected to the Australian House of Representatives representing the Division of Maribyrnong in 2007. He was previously the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation and the Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union. He is regarded as a leader of the right-wing Labor Unity faction ……

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Tony Burke on the road to the September 7 election

Tony Burke

5 August 2013

Anthony Stephen ‘Tony’ Burke (born 4 November 1969) is an Australian politician representing the Labor Party, and the current Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, the Minister for the Arts, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council in the Second Rudd Ministry. Burke first entered public office in 2003 as a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council. In October 2004 Burke moved from state to federal parliament on being elected to the federal seat of Watson, New South Wales ……

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Bob Carr on the road to the September 7 election

Bob Carr

5 August 2013

Robert John “Bob” Carr (born 28 September 1947) is an Australian Senator who has served in the government of Australia as Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2012 following the resignation of Kevin Rudd. Carr, a Senator for New South Wales, is a member of the Labor Party and previously served as Premier of New South Wales from 4 April 1995 to 3 August 2005. He holds the record for the longest continuous service as Premier of NSW. Only Sir Henry Parkes served longer, although Parkes held the office on five separate occasions ……

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Bob McCarr-McDonald and the McRefugees

Bob McCarr-McDonald, imposter as Immigration Minister, has  weighed into the delicate asylum seeker debate with the claim that Australia is being duped by imposters – McRefugees
Bob McCarr-McDonald, imposter as Immigration Minister and you know who, has weighed into the delicate asylum seeker debate with the claim that Australia is being duped by imposters – McRefugees.

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11 July 2013

The Mc prefix has crept into modern vernacular to mean an imitation of the real thing. Australia’s pseudo ever-so-erudite Foreign Minister, Bob Carr alias Bob McCarr-McDonald, imposter as Immigration Minister and you know who, has weighed into the delicate asylum seeker debate with the claim that Australia is being duped by imposters – McRefugees – claiming that recent arrivals were not fleeing persecution at all but, rather, were economic migrants.

Fancy that! Refugees duping Australia. Fancy that! Our Foreign Minister duping Australia with hostility-breeding political opportunism based on McBigotry, which is electorally popular in McOz.

Ironic isn’t it? The ultimate McSymbol, Ronald McDonald more than any other single figure epitomises western culture – a clown with no heart … or brain!

Aptly dressed in his Ronald McDonald suit, Bob McCarr-McDonald appeared on Sydney’s 2GB for some McClarification. ”Just to clarify what I said,” he told Sydney radio, ”I said that, in recent boat arrivals, 100 per cent appeared to be economic refugees.”

2GB’s Chris Smith alluded to one of the problems with Carr’s argument: the fact that none of the 22,600 asylum seekers who have arrived since the government announced its ”no advantage” principle last August have been processed. Would it not be an idea to test his claims by actually processing these people, Smith suggested.

Carr had no answer.

* This piece was partly sourced from a recent column by Michael Gordon, The Age 6 July 2013: No advantage in allowing Carr to fan asylum flames

Predictably, the backlash has been severe from many quarters. Refugee advocate Julian Burnside told Fairfax Media that he thought ”Senator Carr is talking through his hat”. The Age heads this article by Jonathon Swan:

Foreign Minister ‘being a bigot’ over asylum seekers

Foreign Minister Bob Carr has been described as behaving like a ”bigot” by a leading human rights lawyer for portraying asylum seekers as economic opportunists.

Refugee advocate Julian Burnside told Fairfax Media on Wednesday that he thought ”Senator Carr is talking through his hat”.

”I think he’s just being a bigot . . . It sounds very much like dog whistle politics in order to make community attitudes harden against people who risk their lives to get here,” he said.

Mr Burnside pointed out that for the past 15 years, 90 per cent of asylum seekers who arrived by boat had turned out to be genuine refugees, and that since August last year no asylum claims had been processed. He said Senator Carr’s claims of a flood of economic migrants, therefore, had no statistical foundation.

”It’s disgraceful that the Minister of the Crown should let fly with ideas like that when he has absolutely no facts at all to support his view,” Mr Burnside said.

In an interview on ABC television on Tuesday night, Senator Carr repeated his argument that an overwhelming number of boat people, mainly from Iran, were faking their claims and coming to Australia to seek economic advantage.

”I think people who burn their passports and repeat what very often is a well-rehearsed story, really ought to be put on the defensive,” Senator Carr said.

”If you’ve got an argument for persecution, there’s no case for burning your passport. There’s no case for being rehearsed in a story of persecution so that everyone on a vessel tells the same story word for word.”

These new boat migrants, overwhelmingly from Iran, were coming to Australia to seek economic advantage, Senator Carr said. It was an ”assault on Australia’s territory”.

But Mr Burnside said he had seen no evidence that this trend was happening.

”Most of the people who come from Iran . . . have been unable to get papers,” he said. ”They’re not allowed to leave Iran and they leave illegally because they are enemies, typically, of the theocracy that runs the place. Those people leave Iran at great risk.”

”They can’t get papers because what happens in repressive states – and maybe Senator Carr hasn’t noticed this – is that the state does not allow its enemy to have papers.”

Mr Burnside said Australians should be reminded of the ”reality . . . that people risk their lives trying to get here”.

When asylum seekers arrive by boat without papers they should be detained as a precaution for health and security checks, Mr Burnside conceded. But if he was in charge of the system he would cap that detention at one month.

After that the government should release the asylum seekers into the community, let them work, and give them access to Centrelink and Medicare benefits.

Then, Mr Burnside argued, until their claims are processed the government should require that the asylum seekers live in specified rural and regional towns, taking their Centrelink money into these towns and be spent on rent, food and clothing.

Their money would be injected into these communities and create jobs, he said.

Mr Carr has been contacted for comment.

The proverbial Joe Hockey

Let’s sing along: Roll out the barrel, ?We'll have a barrel of twaddle
Let’s sing along: Roll out the barrel, We’ll have a barrel of twaddle

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Thursday 4 July 2013

He is big, he is loud and he has a lot to say, but the substance of what Joe Hockey says has a deafeningly empty resonance. ‘Empty barrels make the most noise’ as the old proverb goes.

At 7.10 on Tuesday evening , knowing that Joe Hockey was going to be interviewed on 7.30, I grabbed a stiff whisky. At 7.20 I decided I needed another one. At 7.30, I felt fortified enough to face 7.30.

And I was not disappointed – well I was disappointed and I expected to be disappointed, so I was not disappointed. It was painful.

I often wish canned laughter could be inserted into these inane interviews where questions are dodged, answers are non-answers, alternative policies are not espoused and twaddle rules with negativity, rhetoric, spin, slogans and gross exaggeration – no substance – just denigration of the other side – rarely backed up rational argument, let alone facts. And that becomes irresponsible, particularly when talking about the economy, which is ultra-sensitive to pessimism.

The question is not whether Joe should become Australia’s next Treasurer, it is whether to laugh, cry or get angry.

If you are brave enough, click here for the ABC 7.30 post (2 July 2013) headed: Joe Hockey says way to help ‘most vulnerable’ is budget surplus

Frustration has got the better of me, so I will take to the 7.30 transcript with RED CAPITALS.

Pass me the Black Douglas will you please?

Deep breath! Here I go …

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Since Kevin Rudd was restored to the Prime Ministership he spent most of the past six days behind closed doors with his colleagues planning how he will run the country and fight the coming election.

The economy will be front and centre of the campaign as both parties wrestle with how to play for multibillion dollar plans, how to restore the budget to surplus and how to dump or rework the carbon tax without plunging the Budget deeper into the red. Today the Reserve Bank kept interest rates on hold in response to volatility in the stock market and lower levels of mining investment.

The Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey, is the man in the hot seat for the Coalition, and he joined me tonight from Canberra.

Mr Hockey, the new Treasurer Chris Bowen, today called out the Opposition for its use of the term ‘fiscal emergency’ to describe Australia’s economic position. And he pointed out that Australia has low interest rates, low inflation and unemployment, solid economic growth and a triple A credit rating. Do you agree that overstating your argument undermines it?

JOE HOCKEY, SHADOW TREASURER: Not at all, Leigh. If everything was going so swimmingly why isn’t Labor delivering a much promised surplus? It is because they don’t know how to live within their means. And that means that we are facing greater challenges in a weakened position. A weakened position because Labor is leaving a legacy of deficits, ongoing deficits and over $340 billion of debt. JOE, YOU “SAID NOT AT ALL” THEN EFFECTIVELY AGREED WITH THE PREMISE OF THE QUESTION BY IRRESPONSIBLY UNDERMINING THE ECONOMY AGAIN. BESIDES, LEADING ECONOMISTS AGREE THAT A BUDGET SURPLUS IS NOT THE BE ALL AND END ALL.

LEIGH SALES: Prime Minister Rudd has invited the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to debate him at the National Press Club on debt and deficit. Why are you scared to do that?

JOE HOCKEY: We’re not scared.

LEIGH SALES: Why don’t you do it?

JOE HOCKEY: This is the same old Kevin. This is the same old Kevin Rudd. A leopard doesn’t change his spots, he won’t tell us what the debt is, he won’t tell us what the deficit is. BUT …

LEIGH SALES: You’ve seen the Budget papers.

JOE HOCKEY: And last Thursday in Parliament, Leigh, Kevin Rudd wouldn’t stand by the Budget. BUT HANG ON …

LEIGH SALES: Well today Chris Bowen, the new Treasurer, has said, “I stand by the Budget predictions that were put out in May, that is the Government’s Budget and all the forecasts in there are the forecasts that we stand by.” ISN’T THAT ENOUGH PROOF FOR YOU, JOE?

JOE HOCKEY: That’s right, it’s taken seven days for them to stand by the Budget. SO WHAT IF IT TOOK SEVEN DAYS? QUICK GET-OUT-OF- GAOL THERE, JOE! But even so Kevin Rudd has not done it himself. BUT YOU SAID “THEM” WHICH WOULD, BY DEFINITION, INCLUDE RUDD. Yet he wants to have a debate about deficit and debt. Well bring it on. He is the master of deficit and debt. CHEAP SHOT. SOUNDS LIKE JOE IS SCARED OF A DEBATE ON DEFICIT AND DEBT – KEVIN MIGHT TAKE THE WIND OUT OF THE OPPOSITION’S BUDGET DEFICIT SCARE CAMPAIGN.

LEIGH SALES: But he has brought it on, so why don’t you go and meet him? If you’re on such strong ground as you say, you must be loving the opportunity to debate him.

JOE HOCKEY: We look forward to it.

LEIGH SALES: In the National Press Club you accept that invitation?

JOE HOCKEY: I’m happy to debate anyone, any time.

LEIGH SALES: Is Tony Abbott happy to lead this debate? So yes that debate’s going to happen?

JOE HOCKEY: Yeah it will happen, HOWEVER, TODAY IT WAS REPORTED THAT TONY ABBOTT HAS REJECTED CALLS FROM LABOR TO HOLD A DEBATE NEXT WEEK AT THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB, CLAIMING KEVIN RUDD WAS INDULGING IN A STUNT BECAUSE HE HAD NO POLICY PLATFORM. BLACK KETTLES ABOUND! but they’ve got to call the election. They’ve got to call the election. COP OUT! HOWEVER, KEVIN RUDD IN HIS INTERVIEW WITH AFR WEEKEND SAID THAT HE WAS NOT AVERSE TO DEBATING HIM [ABBOTT] MORE THAN ONCE WHEN THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN PROPER BEGAN. Labor is creating uncertainty by not giving Australia an election date. We had one a week ago, apparently now we do not have an election date and as the head of the Business Council, Tony Shepherd said today, this uncertainty is destabilising business. It’s undermining business and consumer confidence and I say to Kevin Rudd “if you care for Australia more than you care for yourself call an election now.” AND JUST WHO IS UNDERMINING BUSINESS WITH THE RECKLESS GROSS EXAGGERATION OF ‘FISCAL EMERGENCY”?

Then Leigh Sales went on to “explore some of your policies.”

And the excruciation continued, per se the 7.30 post heading, Joe Hockey says way to help ‘most vulnerable’ is budget surplus, which highlights Joe’s furphy that, “You can only do it by having a surplus and having excess capacity to help those most vulnerable in the community.”

Furphy! That superbly appropriate term was used by Alan Austin in an Independent Australia article back in May, in which Austin lamented that, “it is hoped he who would be Treasurer would display some grasp of economics”.

Click here for Alan Austin’s piece titled: Sloppy Joe Hockey’s 15 biggest Press Club furphies

Written by Bruce Keogh

Dear Kevin Rudd, Revenge for redemption’s sake is doomed. PS Enjoy your hollow victory!

“Whoever emerges ... as the leader of the Labor Party and the Prime Minister will not lead a united party. That's no longer possible.”
“Whoever emerges … as the leader of the Labor Party and the Prime Minister will not lead a united party. That’s no longer possible.”

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27 June 2013

Now that Kevin Rudd has got his old job back, let’s hark back to Monday’s Q&A program (24 June 2013) where Graeme Richardson had plenty to say about the dysfunction of the ALP.

Referring to Gillard and Rudd, he said, “The hatred for both of them in the caucus is now so great that you can’t imagine either of them in any way, shape or form being able to unify the party, which is an awfully sad thing for me to say but I have never seen division like this.”

Makes Kevin Rudd’s victory seem rather hollow, doesn’t it?

Here is the pertinent transcript:

GRAHAM CRAIG: My question is to the panel as a whole. Would it not be the height of ruthless self survival and arrogant disdain of the public’s choice if the Labor Party now went to Kevin Rudd, who they declared as a failed PM incapable of getting things done and then going back to their replacement, who we did not vote for, for no other reason than self-survival and therefore hence, yet again, denying the Australian people the opportunity and their democratic right to appraise a PM’s full term at the ballot box?

TONY JONES: Graham Richardson?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Well, thank you very much. Look, this arrogant disdain for the will of the Australian people, it seems to me that the Australian people’s will is clear: they want to get rid of Julia Gillard and they are desperate to. And they got pretty angry with Labor for getting rid of Rudd when they wanted to get rid of Rudd themselves. So I’d look upon it as giving them an opportunity to get rid of Rudd again, the one they missed out on three years ago. I think that, at the moment, I have never seen, never witnessed a hatred for a Prime Minister like I am seeing, even among Labor voters. It’s appalling and I think something has got to be done about it. I may be in a minority on that but that’s my view and I’m not even sure if the Labor Party will do it this week. I just hope so. I have never seen a situation like it. If they don’t get rid of Julia Gillard this week then I fear that the future of the Labor Party itself may well be danger.

TONY JONES: Let me quickly go back to our questioner. Are you saying this because you want the chance to vote Julia Gillard out of office?

GRAHAM CRAIG: I haven’t really decided yet on that.

TONY JONES: Okay.

GRAHAM CRAIG: If you’d like me to answer questions, I will swap with someone on the panel if you like.

TONY JONES: No. No.

GRAHAM CRAIG: But I just feel…

TONY JONES: I was just interested where your question was coming from, that’s all.

GRAHAM CRAIG: But this will be the second time that the Labor Party has not given the Australian people the opportunity to give their opinion at the ballot box on a PM’s full term.

TONY JONES: Yeah, Richo, just address this issue: the big problem with going back to Kevin Rudd is the intense hatred of him in some quarters of the ALP and I’m wondering is that unique to the Labor Party?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Look, all I know is whoever emerges on Thursday night as the leader of the Labor Party and the Prime Minister will not lead a united party. That’s no longer possible.

TONY JONES: Why not Thursday night? Why not Friday morning?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Well, it could be Friday morning. But I suspect it will be Thursday night. That’s a suspicion only because no-one knows what’s going to happen. So I think it’s impossible now to see unity under any circumstance. The hatred for both of them in the caucus is now so great that you can’t imagine either of them in any way, shape or form being able to unify the party, which is an awfully sad thing for me to say but I have never seen division like this. You know, when Hawke and Keating were having their times and troubles, everyone was still talking to each other. It was still a relatively pleasant place to be. There is nothing pleasant about it now.

Click here for this Q&A program with full transcripts, tweets and video.

 

 

 

 

Julia Gillard – trial by gender. Verdict – exile!

It is as if the metaphorical media lens is a microscope, 1000 times more scrutinising of women.

It is as if the metaphorical media lens is a microscope, 1,000 times more scrutinising of women — indeed, less critical of men. If Julia Gillard had bat ears, it is unlikely she would have made it to the prime ministership in the first place.

A word of caution: If you happen to be a highly intelligent woman with deep philosophical convictions and passion for the future of Australia, and have aspirations to become prime minister, go for it. But only if you do not have any physical imperfections that make you lesser in appearance to Elle McPherson. But then again, if you are blond, the media will destroy you anyway.

As if looking back on the demise of Julia Gillard, Marilyn Lake wrote a piece for The Age, just one day before Australia’s first female prime minister was ousted by the Labor caucus, in favour of a … you guessed it … a male … who will, odds on, not be sexualised by Australia’s media and wider culture. By Bruce Keogh

An excerpt from Marilyn Lake’s article 25 June 2013:

How could we have foreseen what would befall her? The relentless persecution by senior male journalists, the vilification, the sexist mockery, the personal abuse and the contempt with which she would be treated. Between 2010 and 2013, the full force of Australia’s masculinist political culture would be brought to bear on this path-breaking woman.

It is now a truism that history will prove more sympathetic to Gillard’s prime ministership – and the policies she introduced – than contemporary commentators have been.

What will mostly attract historians’ attention, however, will be how she was treated, the rabid misogyny, the hysteria of men who could not abide the spectacle of a woman in power, who labelled her a bitch, a witch, a liar, a usurper, an illegitimate claimant who refused to bow down before her male rivals.

She has been sexualised in a way no previous prime minister has been sexualised.

In the past three years, obscenity has become a favourite mode of prime ministerial denigration.

Full column by Marilyn Lake who is Professor in History at the University of Melbourne researching the international history of Australian democracy.