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.
The Coalition will rely on the clubs and gaming industry to develop support and counselling services for problem gamblers if it wins government. ”This is Dracula in charge of the blood bank,” Tim Costello said.
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
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.”
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
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 columnby Marilyn Lake who is Professor in History at the University of Melbourne researching the international history of Australian democracy.
Let’s get this legislation through before the end of the year. A great way to end 2012, with me taking the high moral ground on education. Imagine that – me – moral! Suits me, don’t you think?
No-one would possibly disagree with Gonski’s proposal that federal and state governments should collaborate to fund schools according to their needs – not even Abbott or Pyne. They wouldn’t dare. Everyone would agree that education reform, with better and more equitable funding, is worthwhile. The states can’t disagree – it’s the Gonski way or no way. They know that.
It’s a gimme! We’ll call it the ‘3 G’s of Education’ – Gillard, Gonski and Garrett. But who thought of the whole thing in the first place? Me!
Sure! This bill has glaring shortcomings – it’s wafer thin, has no substance and is legislation that doesn’t legislate. There are no funds allocated, no new agency, no new requirements or regulations.
But we’re going to get away with it!
We’re even going to take another audacious step and call it “the most important bill of 2012″. What genius thought of that? Me!
I don’t even know how it will be funded, if it ever will be. We’ll just say that it will depend on negotiations with the states as they proceed. That’s our tactic to avoid the nitty gritty – not that there is any nitty gritty.
This is political perfection. Big promises, no-strings-attached-funding and huge electoral appeal.
Thanks to Tony Abbott, God bless his soul, his ‘Dr No’ image has played right into our hands. If the Coalition-led states try to block Gonski, they are seen to be negative naysayers, just like him. He has already tainted his and other coalitions, and they are in damage-control mode.
And even better – if they agree – they are seen as disowning him. Tony hates it when anyone agrees with us.
It’s win-win for us, lose-lose for them.
Now Peter, take this copy home and study it. It won’t take long. Get out there tomorrow strut your stuff.