Tony Abbott the tough guy on boat people: Tow them back!

AbbottBathFixKEOGH1000x667 Link to related article from The Sydney Morning Herald 6 May 2014:

Tony Abbott’s policy a failure as boats keep coming, says Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa

The turn-back of two groups of asylum seekers on Monday has put further strain on the Australia-Indonesia relationship after Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa launched another stinging criticism of the Abbott government’s boats policy. 

Sir Mitchell Johnson? Be warned, knighthoods may come back!

In case you are wondering, the ball has been redesigned to incorporate the Medal of British Knighthood
In case you are wondering, the ball has been redesigned to incorporate the Medal of British Knighthood

 

Boxing Day 2013

Dear Mr Abbott,

I was watching ABC TV’s News Breakfast this morning when presenters Beverley O’Connor and Paul Kennedy suggested that Mitchell Johnson should be knighted. I thought,
“ This idea has great possibilities. I should tell Tony. He’ll love it. He needs someone like me to get back on track.”

I’ve heard you are a royalist and a populist – I think that means you like to be popular – so you will find this idea irresistible. I know you are very good at telling Australians how they should think, but now it’s my turn to give you a dose of your own medicine. Believe me, it’s for your own good. I’ve also heard that you got to be PM by being a populist – guess you really like to be popular!

Seems you are not doing too well in the polls at the moment. Some dare to say you lack fresh ideas. Well, the moment has arrived for you to turn this around. You will be more popular than even I am.

Bring knighthoods back!

Australians, such as myself , want to be recognised with royalty-like status as true-blue, dinky-di, fair-dinkum Australians – not hoity-toity, intellectual, do-gooders. Leave AC’s to those twits – they can just be Companions – not Sirs and Dames.

Do you get it? Sirs and Dames can only be real Aussie icons – past, present and future – even posthumourously – I mean if they are dead.

Australians will love it!

The Queen or King, whoever she or he might be, would be delighted to come over to do the ceremonial honours. I reckon it should be done in the middle of the MCG just before the toss on Boxing Day.

And even better for you – thanks for my brainwave – it would kill off any chance of us ever becoming a republic. Imagine a future Sir Mitchell Johnson having to suffer the indignity of being a mere Mitchell Johnson AC. No future government would be game to drop these knighthoods, or its allegiance – that’s a big word isn’t it! I learnt it yesterday – to Her or His Majesty. Australia would be revolting!

I’ve even got some great suggestions on who should get the nod and why:

SPORT

Sir Shane Warne for services to cricket

Sir Michael Clarke for services to sledging

Sir David Boon for services to beer

Sir Mark Waugh for services to bookmakers

Sir Merv Hughes for services to moustaches

Sir Bill Lawry for services to pigeons … and beaks

Sir Dennis Lillee for services to kickboxing (with Javed Miandad)

Sir Trevor Chappell for services to underarm bowling (and Australia-New Zealand relations)

Sir Kevin Sheedy for services to jacket waving

Sir Mick Malthouse for services to niceness

Sir James Hird for services to the Essendon Football Club

Sir Stephen Bradbury for services to “doing a Bradbury”

Sir Greg Norman for services to the American accent

Sir Lleyton Hewitt for services to “come on!”

Sir Mark “Frosty” Winterbottom for services to nicknames

Sir Ted Whitten for services to ‘sticking it up ‘em”

ENTERTAINMENT & MEDIA

Sir Richie Benaud for services to the number “two”

Sir Kerry O’Keefe for services to giggling

Sir Bert Newton for services to the hair loss industry

Sir Peter Garrett for services to hair loss

Sir Molly Meldrum for services to hats

Sir Eddy McGuire for services to the racism debate (and King Kong)

Sir John Elliott for services to pigs’ arses

Sir Kyle Sandilands for services to sexism

Sir Andrew Bolt for services to freedom of speech

Sir Alan Jones for services to the chaff bag industry

Sir Tom Waterhouse for services to overexposure

Sir Sam Newman for services to women’s liberation

Sir Bruce McAvaney for services to “gee!”

Sir Michael Caton for services to Bonnie Doon

Sir Barry Humphries for services to transvestites

Sir John Farnham for services to premature retirement

Sir Derryn Hinch for (prior) services to the wine industry

Sir Paul Hogan for services to the Australian Taxation Office

Sir Reg Grundy for services to underpants

Sir Peter Harvey for services to “Cannbbbeeerrrraaa”

Sir Errol Flynn for services to the unmentionable

Due to your ‘women problem’ I have not included any Dames. I didn’t want to turn you off my idea. But I would like to suggest Dame Cathy Freeman for services to running really fast – which is a big advantage for women in Australia today.

You will notice that I have not included any politicians. They are not Aussie icons in the minds of most Australians. Except for your good self who I would suggest becomes Sir Anthony Abbott for services to the sexism debate.

Yours sincerely,

Shane Warne

 

 

The spectre of a cunning, disappearing Prime Minister

“Avoid loud and aggressive persons” – it’s the new Tony
Going placidly amidst the noise and haste – it’s the new Tony up there in the ether

 

4 November 2013

The intriguing case of the vanishing Prime Minister

Noise and haste was Tony Abbott’s trademark in opposition. Now as a faceless PM, he goes placidly as if a mere ghost of his former self. Why? To deaden the contrived fear, panic and crisis-driven rhetorical frenzy that cleverly got him into the top job. Now he has to deal with the reality of government and the truth could be politically dangerous. Breathtakingly cynical towards the Australian public, but he knows his God will bless them with a good dose of amnesia

This a man who hypocritically espouses Christian values. In contrast, the true universal values beautifully penned in Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, beg a take on what Abbott’s version might be in his new persona:

Desiderafter 7 September 2013

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what deception there may be in silence,
[after the clamour I created before the election]
As far as possible, without surrender,
Be as invisible as possible to all persons in the media.

Speak your message quietly and clearly, and pretend listen to others,
Especially the dull and the ignorant electorate; they believe my story.

Avoid loud and aggressive door-stops; they are vexatious
the spiritless. If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter, for always
there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
[But in my case, there will rarely be greater persons than myself]

Enjoy your achievements as well as your scams.
Keep obsessed with your own power, whatever it takes;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of politics.

Exercise contempt in your political affairs, for the world is full of apathy.
But let this not blind you to what virtue is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of moral crusaders.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection to women.
Neither be cynical about ego, power and manipulation, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment;
it is as perennial as the grassy political landscape.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
surrendering the things of youth.
[Which I strongly deny]

Nurture withdrawal from public life to shield you in sudden misfortune of media scrutiny.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of being exposed as a backtracker.

Beyond a wholesome journalistic discipline, be gentle with yourself when you can’t find me or get answers.
You journos are children of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here, as long as you don’t challenge me.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe – my government – is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
[But I can assure you he is a Catholic Liberal Prime Minister in budgie smugglers]

And whatever your Labor aspirations
in the noisy confusion of defeat, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it – the ALP – is still a beautiful mess. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy in opposition.

FOR THE RECORD, HERE IS THE ORIGINAL POEM:

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious
to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter, for
always ?there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment;
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labours and aspirations
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

 

How do you define a woman of calibre, Mr Abbott?

It was the calibre word that brought him undone with women – again!
It was the ‘calibre’ word that brought him undone with many women – again!

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Illustration:
Molly Pitcher (1754-1832) a nickname given to a woman said to have fought in the American Battle of Monmouth, who is generally believed to have been Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley.
Looks like a feisty lady whose modern-day contemporary would gladly give Tony Abbott a ramrod between the eyes.

21 August 2013

“We do not educate women to higher degree level to deny them a career. If we want women of that calibre to have families, and we should, well we have to give them a fair dinkum chance to do so. That is what this scheme of paid parental leave is all about.” So uttered Tony Abbott back in May. It was the ‘calibre’ word that made him look like the random offering of a loose cannon. Great balls of fire?

Once again, Tony got himself into hot water with women’s groups and got the inevitable spray from his female Labor opponents.

womensagenda.com.au posted a piece entitled Tony Abbott: How do you define a woman of calibre? targeting his poor choice of words.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek asked how exactly a ‘woman of calibre’ is defined. “Who exactly does Mr Abbott think are women of calibre? What does he think about women who are child care workers, nurses and community sector workers?” she asked. “Are they of lower calibre than women who are law firm partners?”

This week, Tony Abbott unveiled his proposed paid parental leave scheme, interestingly in the well-to-do Melbourne suburb of Malvern which forms part of the ultra-safe Liberal seat of Higgins.

On Tuesday, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald simultaneously ran an editorial piece, Coalition’s mating call to ‘women of calibre’ rubbing in the ‘c’ word and questioning how much should be paid and by whom. It declared that the scheme is far too generous particularly for high income earners, and concluded by saying, “for the Coalition to introduce this scheme now, when it rages about the government’s budgetary position being in a ‘national emergency’, is bizarre.”

In today’s Fairfax press, an article headed Hostility rising: Abbott could be left holding the baby, points out that the paid parental leave scheme is regarded as poisonous amongst economists, business, country people and – yes – members of the Coalition: “Nationals MPs are quietly furious, viewing the scheme as unnecessarily generous to city women and particularly to those who need it least …… One federal Liberal said it was the worst bit of public policy since the carbon tax. It seems many of Mr Abbott’s own frontbench are biting their lips, aware their leader has committed himself fully.”

Abbott’s rare zeal for gender equality, albeit amongst his beloved ‘women of calibre’, may even prompt our balls-of-fire man to dedicate this Jerry Lee Lewis anthem to professional women everywhere ~
Great balls of fire on YouTube

Hockey: Abbott says I’m a sexy guy just like George Clooney

Hey Joe, by George there is a certain similarity. But don’t give up your day job!
Hey Joe, by George there is a certain similarity. But don’t give up your day job and please take that smug smirk of your face!

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14 August 2013

On Tuesday, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey laughed off Tony Abbott’s comments, praising the sex appeal Lindsay candidate Fiona Scott, noting that the Opposition Leader had previously compared him with movie star George Clooney.

“Tony says it to me often that I’m a sexy guy. We’ve got a special kind of love going,” he told Channel 10’s The Project.

“In front of my colleagues he said that I look like the parliamentary George Clooney.”

Mr Hockey added that: “As long as it’s not offensive, I think we shouldn’t be afraid to say what we think.”

When a presenter noted it was up to women to decide if the comments were offensive, Mr Hockey replied: “And they will.”

Full coverage from The Age

Young, feisty, sex appeal – great credentials according to ‘exuberant’ Tony

Damned if you, damned if you don’t – poor Tony!
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t – poor Tony!

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14 August 2013 – from The Sydney Morning Herald:

‘Young, feisty and with sex appeal’: Abbott talks up candidate

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has described one of his female candidates as “young, feisty” and having “sex appeal”.

While campaigning in Sydney’s west on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Abbott was asked what Lindsay candidate Fiona Scott had in common with former Coalition MP for Lindsay, Jackie Kelly.

The comments come as the Coalition has worked hard to combat perceptions that Mr Abbott has a “woman problem”. On Tuesday afternoon, the hashtag “sex appeal” was trending on Twitter.

Questions about Mr Abbott’s appeal to women have died down significantly since former prime minister Julia Gillard lost office in July.

Labor frontbencher David Bradbury currently holds the seat on a margin of just 1.1 per cent.

Mr Abbott was at Penrith Stadium with Ms Scott and his daughter Frances on Tuesday to announce $12 million in funding for a community sports centre.

Asked later on Tuesday night whether he regretted the comments, he said ”I was a bit exuberant today”.

SMH article in full with video

 

 

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

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.