Sydney Morning Herald columnist Elizabeth Farelly has a very restricted circle of friends:
But of course. Farrelly is the kind of Fairfax columnist for whom the choice is between the main parties - Labor or the Greens:
I’m generally chary of the L-word, especially as applied to politicians. Penny Wong and Bob Brown are my lot so far, with a touch of the Johns, Hatton and Button.
That should make Farrelly suspicious of the breadth of her survey and the conclusions she can make from it. But no:
The Liberal Party insists on seeing Turnbull’s popularity with the non-Liberal masses as a threat. Had they half a brain between them they would seize the opportunity, make Turnbull leader tomorrow and sweep into power the first consensus government for decades.
This scenario depends, of course, on Farrelly’s survey sample voting Liberal. But there is already a warning sign when Farrelly describes her focus group and its not-surprising political leaning:
This is especially weird since my sample, though broad and random - greens and Christians, professionals and hobos, poets, Buddhists, anarchists, atheists, engineers and random reprobates – takes in few Liberal voters, if any.
Hmm. So what would persuade such people to stop voting Labor and back a Turnbull Liberal Party instead?
Well, in fact, yes – if Malcolm stood for prime minister, they would vote for him in a flash. It’s love… Turnbull is one of the few I’d trust to have a go. Climate change, bike lanes, gay marriage, anti-censorship...
So there we have it. To win the votes of the Farrelly and her Labor-voting friends, the Liberals must change not just their leader but their policies - even their philosophy. They must follow the anti-science and anti-capitalist faith of global warming. They must revolt against the car, that symbol of industrialisation. They must abandon the defence of traditional marriage. They must have an anarchistic view of censorship, and be blind to the effect on the defenceless of, say, unregulated porn.
Would Liberal voters vote for such a party? Would any Liberal MP want to serve in such a party?
What Farrelly would get, should her wishes be granted, is a party tearing itself apart - a party suddenly wrenched to the Left of even Labor. Not even her friends would vote for such a mule.
But this passes for political analysis in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Happens to anyone, and nothing significant of itself. Yet the footage is guaranteed to run on all the evening news services, and will invite a symbolic reading - by the audience if not also the reporters.
Reader MJ says it for many in comments below:
I think it raises the question about the role that Tony Abbott played in yet another fall by the PM.
In a few hours, the debate that could settle this election - if Obama fails again....
His last one was a disaster, as the latest Gallup poll (above) confirms:
While Romney’s four-percentage-point advantage is not statistically significant, he has consistently edged ahead of Obama each of the past several days in Gallup’s seven-day rolling averages conducted entirely after the Oct. 3 presidential debate. Prior to that debate—regarded as a decisive Romney win by political experts and Americans who watched it—Romney averaged less than a one-point lead over Obama among likely voters.
Neera Tanden, a former aide to both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, had this to say about the relationship of the two presidents:
Clinton, being Clinton, had plenty of advice in mind and was desperate to impart it. But for the first two years of Obama’s term, the phone calls Clinton kept expecting rarely came. “People say the reason Obama wouldn’t call Clinton is because he doesn’t like him,” observes Tanden. “The truth is, Obama doesn’t call anyone, and he’s not close to almost anyone. It’s stunning that he’s in politics, because he really doesn’t like people...”
Not news, says Glenn Reynolds.
Obama may not be able to walk away from the question in the debate:
REUTERS: How are you feeling about tonight?
OBAMA (smiling): I feel fabulous. Look at this beautiful day.
NBC: Are you aware Michelle voted for you yesterday?
OBAMA (turning to yell back): Thank goodness!POLITICO: Is Hillary to blame for Benghazi?
OBAMA: (Silence. Kept walking.)
Battle won by Obama, war lost.
Barack Obama was much more aggressive in this brawl of a debate, un-presidentially so. At times he seemed even to unsettle Romney with it. This will cheer his side, but I doubt it will much impress anyone else.
Mitt Romney once again seemed likeable, capable and purposeful. This will confirm the impression he gave in the first debate, where to many voters he would have introduced himself for the first time. This will cement that good image.
In pure debating technique, Obama probably won. But the overall impression will not help him, because Romney was strong in pointing out the President’s real weakness - a lack of performance over four years. He was very strong in his central pitch - “we don’t have to live like this”.
But if Obama won, it was because Romney failed to seize his big chance on the Benghazi scandal. First, he didn’t point out Obama’s failure to answer a blunt question from the audience: who in the Administration turned down the request from State officials in Libya for more security before the September 11 attack and why? Even worse, Romney did not pick up on an Obama fudge - a fudge outrageously endorsed by the CNN host:
When Romney responded by pointing out that it took many days for Obama to even call the events in Benghazi an act of terror, Obama responded that he did call it an act of terror in the Rose Garden on 9/12. Candy Crowley jumped in, interrupting Romney to support Obama’s statement. Obama did, ONCE, refer to a generic “act of terror” on 9/12, at the end of his remarks in which he repeatedly referred to the attack being a response to the Mohammed YouTube video. Specifically, Obama said, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”
Crowley’s intervention to support Obama, in my opinion, was inappropriate, unfair, and lop-sided. She acted like a cheerleader, and as a result of her unprofessional conduct, she provoked pro-Obama folks in the audience to clap…
Crowley later tried to undo the damage she did before a live audience of tens of millions by later telling the little-watched CNN Romney was actually “right in the main”:
But Romney has only himself to blame for not knowing exactly what Obama had said that morning after the Benghazi attack, and for not today asking Obama: well, if you really did say the morning after the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens it was an act of terror, why this:
But four days later, Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., went on five networks’ Sunday shows and cast the attack as hardly a coordinated strike by terrorists…
“The information, the best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video. People gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent and those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons, which unfortunately are quite common in post-revolutionary Libya and that then spun out of control.
Why did you later say this, Mr President?:
Even so, Obama taped an interview on ABC’s “The View” on Sept. 24, nearly two weeks after the attack, in which he declined to label the attack terrorismwhen asked. Instead, he would only go as far as to say the attack “wasn’t just a mob action.”
That said, this will keep the debate going and hurt the president.
But in the end, I suspect voters will focus more on the economy, their bills, their jobs and the crumbling of so many of Obama’s promises of four years ago. And they will vote for hope - which this time isn’t Obama. Not the Obama they saw today.
Too small a win for Obama:
President Obama edged Mitt Romney for a win in the second presidential debate Tuesday night, 37 percent of uncommitted voters said in a CBS News instant poll.
Moments following the debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., 37 percent of voters polled said the president won, 30 percent awarded the victory to Romney, and 33 percent called it a tie.
Same kind of result from CNN:
The CNN/ORC International survey indicates 46% of debate watches say Obama won the debate, while 39% say Romney fared better. The seven-point margin falls within the poll’s sampling error.
Are you poorer under Labor?
MORE than 35 per cent of homebuyers who purchased the properties after 2008 are facing the prospect of being in negative equity.
And analysts warn that those homeowners with negative equity - their house being worth less than they owe on it - are likely to stay in that scenario for up to six years as property values remain “soggy” for some time to come.
Like the former Attorney-General, I do not believe one of Julia Gillard’s junior staffers would have acted alone in inciting a mini race riot against Tony Abbott at a function attended by the Prime Minister:
DUMPED Labor minister Robert McClelland finds it hard to believe that only a junior member of Julia Gillard’s office helped spark a chain of events that led to this year’s violent Australia Day protest...
[Media adviser Tony] Hodges was forced to resign after it emerged he had told protesters that Tony Abbott had said the Aboriginal tent embassy in Canberra should be dismantled. This led to an angry confrontation in which Ms Gillard and the Opposition Leader had to be shielded from the protesters by police.
“I personally don’t think a relatively junior member of a media staff would have phoned up . . . without higher authority,” [McClelland] told the annual conference of the Police Association of South Australia in Adelaide yesterday“I’m not saying it went to the highest level, but I think from higher in the office.
“I think a much more detailed inquiry should have occurred, both on whether there was any authorisation and whether there was a culture—even if authorisation hadn’t occurred, which I doubt—such that a relatively junior officer thought that sort of conduct was appropriate.”
(Thanks to reader Ken.)
What a shame. How unlucky:
A FILE detailing Julia Gillard’s role in helping set up a union slush fund from which her former boyfriend stole hundreds of thousands of dollars has disappeared.
Law firm Slater & Gordon yesterday said it could find no documents relating to the work done by Ms Gillard — a former salaried partner of the firm — in establishing the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association in 1992…Ms Gillard did ... keep an unofficial file detailing the work which was found in a cabinet in her office after she initially claimed to have sent it to an undisclosed third party.During a  meeting with then senior partner Peter Gordon and general manager Geoff Shaw, Ms Gillard was shown and acknowledged the file, described in a transcript released two months ago as being ‘‘exactly right in front of’’ her…Registration documents prepared with her advice declared that the association was formed for the purpose of ‘‘development of changes to work to achieve safe workplaces’’.But Ms Gillard confirmed at a media conference in August that she had told Mr Gordon and Mr Shaw that the association was a ‘‘slush fund’’ for union election campaigning…
A copy of a letter she wrote to answer objections raised by the WA Corporate Affairs Commission about the association’s union connections is believed to have been contained in the missing file.
Gillard in 1995 told her partners the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association she helped her lover set up was actually a “slush fund” for his union election campaign.
Michael Smith, a former policeman, reports an alleged offence to Victoria’s chief commissioner of police. (Julia Gillard has denied doing anything wrong, but has failed to answer specific questions about a power of attorney donated to her boyfriend which she said she witnessed.)
Macquarie Dictionary’s editors change the meaning of a word to suit Julia Gillard:
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s celebrated and deplored speech against Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has prompted the national dictionary to redefine the word misogyny from meaning solely hatred of women to include a deep prejudice as well.
Ms Gillard branded Mr Abbott a hypocritical misogynist last week ...
So the Macquarie Dictionary’s five core authors decided on Tuesday the word needed two definitions, seeing as the continuing political debate on “misogyny and sexism” had catapulted it into the vernacular…“Misogyny was strict hatred of women and it probably does need a second definition to cover entrenched prejudices of women, as opposed to an out and out fundamental horror at women,” dictionary editor Sue Butler told The Australian Financial Review…The widening will bring Macquarie closer to definitions from Oxford and dictionary.com while re-energising Ms Gillard’s backers.
But it will put Macquarie at odds with at least six other major dictionaries which define misogyny as purely a hatred of women.
If Gillard’s misuse of language inspires Macquarie to redefine words, here’s a few more changes it should make
Carbon - now to also mean carbon dioxide.Carns - alternative pronunciation of Cannes.Dungeon - the new pronunciation of “dudgeon”.Hyperbole - now to be pronounced “hyper-bowl”.Intercept - to now mean to act as a taxi. Alternative meaning: to welcome.Promise - now to mean what you say you’ll do until it suits you to do the opposite.Taliband - alternative noun for Taliban.Tenant - now to also mean “tenet”.
More to come:
NSW police have said for the first time that they will lay criminal charges, possibly before Christmas, over allegations of systemic corruption in the Health Services Union’s NSW branch.
They have also confirmed that independent MP Craig Thomson remains a subject of inquiries.
A most intriguing suggestion:
The Australian has learned that [Fair Work Australia] may issue subpoenas to determine the identity of a mystery individual on the NSW central coast whom Mr Thomson rang on some of the nights he allegedly spent with prostitutes.
FWA’s statement of claim submitted to the Federal Court on Monday seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and compensation from Mr Thomson lists three occasions when, in the evening, he rang the number from hotels when he is also alleged to have rung escort services.
According to FWA’s allegations, on or around April 11 or 12, 2006, Mr Thomson took a total of $800 in cash out on the card in two withdrawals, and on the 12th he ... “made a telephone call from Room 1010 at approximately 9.55pm to the phone number . . . on the central coast of NSW"… Then at 10.02pm he rang The Boardroom of Melbourne, it says, purchased escort services, and paid out of the cash withdrawals.
According to FWA Mr Thomson rang the central coast number again from another Melbourne hotel room about a week later, on the same night he rang the escort agencies Young Blondes and Confidential Model Escorts.
And on a night in June that year, according to the allegations, again staying at the Pacific International Suites in Melbourne, he rang the central coast number at 7.37pm and 9.20pm.
Thomson denies using prostitutes or misappropriating union money.
Reuters and Fairfax newspapers reported the scare without the slightest scepticism - and without searching for any dissenting opinion:
More than 100 million people will die and the global economy will miss out on as much as 3.2 per cent of its potential output annually by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change, a report commissioned by 20 governments said on Wednesday.
As global average temperatures rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, the effects on the planet, such as melting ice caps, extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels, will threaten populations and livelihoods, said the report conducted by humanitarian organisation DARA.
The 331-page study… was carried out by the DARA group, a non-governmental organisation based in Europe, and the Climate Vulnerable Forum… Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of Bangladesh, said… Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s climate chief, warned… Michael Zammit Cutajar, former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said…
Professor Bjorn Lomborg now fact-checks:
The vast majority of deaths discussed in the report did not actually result from global warming. Outdoor air pollution caused by fossil-fuel combustion, not by global warming, contributed to 30 per cent of all deaths cited in the study. And 60 per cent of the total deaths reflect the burning of biomass (such as animal dung and crop residues) for cooking and heating, which has no relation to fossil fuels or global warming.
In total, the study exaggerated more than twelvefold the number of deaths that could possibly be attributed to climate change, and it more than quadrupled the potential economic costs, simply to grab attention.
... indoor air pollution will be overcome only when people can use kerosene, propane and grid-based electricity.If the Climate Vulnerability Monitor’s recommendation to cut back on fossil fuels were taken seriously, the result would be slower economic growth and continued reliance on dung, cardboard and other low-grade fuels, thereby prolonging the suffering that results from indoor air pollution.
NICOLA Roxon moved to “strike out” James Ashby’s claims of sexual harassment against the former Speaker Peter Slipper ... after being briefed on the lurid sex texts and seeking to use them to sack the government employee.
The Attorney-General has previously denied the government sought to strike out Mr Ashby’s claims against Mr Slipper and the commonwealth to keep the lurid exchanges confidential, and told parliament it had only used the secret court evidence in its defence against the staffer’s claims of sexual harassment. On June 15 Ms Roxon said at a press conference: “We aren’t bringing a strikeout application; Mr Slipper is."…
Estimates hearings last night revealed Ms Roxon was briefed as Attorney-General on the contents of the lurid texts ... as early as June 9 and four days before the commonwealth asked the Federal Court to judge Mr Ashby’s case as an “abuse of process”, to have it struck out and to be able to break the confidentiality agreement of the court documents to act on Mr Ashby’s “employment”.
If true, Julia Gillard owes Tony Abbott another apology:
TONY Abbott raised the Coalition’s border-protection policies in his face-to-face talks with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, including the interception of people-smuggler boats.
The controversial Coalition policy of turning back boats to Indonesian waters was discussed in detail at lower-level talks after the leaders’ meeting.
Julia Gillard and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen yesterday accused the Opposition Leader of lacking “the guts” to talk to Dr Yudhoyono in person about his signature policy of turning back asylum-seeker boats in Indonesian waters.The Australian understands that during the meeting between Mr Abbott and Dr Yudhoyono in the Indonesian presidential palace on Monday, it was agreed the full range of options for dealing with people-smuggler boats would be discussed in depth at a ministerial level.
Greg Sheridan is rightly scathing:
THE Gillard government wants the Abbott opposition to conduct foreign policy with as much incompetence as it does.
All day yesterday ministers, who have never had a private meeting with an Indonesian president in their lives, were demanding that Tony Abbott pick a fight with Jakarta over asylum-seeker policy.
This culminated in Julia Gillard preposterously lashing the Opposition Leader for not directly raising his boats turnaround policy with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and for then not talking about it publicly. In fact, protocol demands Abbott not disclose the detail of his talks.The government is impersonating an irresponsible opposition here, demanding Abbott breach protocol and speak more bluntly to the Indonesians.
The Australian’s story, suggesting Abbott did mention turn-arounds to Indonesia’s president, is in conflict with the account of the Indonesian Foreign Minister:
MARTY NATALEGAWA, INDONESIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: There was recognition of the need to strengthen the Bali process, but there was no specific identification of the need to so-called, um - what was the term? - to ...
JOURNALIST: Turn around.
MARTY NATALEGAWA: Yes, to turn around the boats.
Peter Craven is a cultural critic. Having read his latest playing-with-words in The Age, I wonder what culture he surrounds himself with - and which men:
Last week’s world-shattering debate about poor Peter Slipper’s receding speakership saw Tony Abbott shrieking denunciations of sexism at text messages of Slipper’s that were in their sorry way as familiar to every man (and woman) in the country as the old school song…
Take Slipper, the tainted sacrificial victim. His private SMS about vaginas and shell-less mussels is so intimately familiar to everyone that the wonder is not that it was uttered, or even texted, but that anyone could be blown out of the water by such a commonplace of sexist jerkery.
A thousand red-blooded straight men, devoted to their wives and daughters, propping up a bar, have said as much.The imagery of physical revulsion does seem to be intrinsic to language and if that is sexist so are we all… Slipper was destroyed by the straightest kind of blokey mouthing-off.
I’m not sure how many “red-blooded straight men, devoted to their wives and daughters” Craven knows, but I have yet to hear from one who has expressed the loathing of female genitalia implicit in Slipper’s text:
No, Mr Craven, this is not “the straightest kind of blokey mouthing-off”. No, this is not a “commonplace”. No, we are not all Peter Slippers.
Charles Lane of the Washington Post breaks free from the Left’s unquestioning acceptance of green schemes which force the poor to subsidise the warm fuzzies of the rich:
Al Gore is about 50 times richer than he was when he left the vice presidency in 2001.... Gore accumulated a Romneyesque $100?million partly through investing in alternative-energy firms subsidized by the Obama administration.
Two days after that story ran, Mitt Romney proclaimed at a rally in Ohio’s Appalachian coal country: “We have a lot of coal; we are going to use it. We are going to keep those jobs.” Thousands cheered.
The juxtaposition speaks volumes about the Democratic Party, and about modern liberalism generally. As the Democrats become more committed to, and defined by, a green agenda, and as they become dependent on money from high-tech venture capitalists and their lobbyists, it becomes harder to describe them as a party for the little guy — or liberalism as a philosophy of distributive justice…Green energy is not cost-competitive with traditional energy and won’t be for years. So it can’t work without either taxpayer subsidies, much of which accrue to “entrepreneurs” such as Gore, or higher prices for fossil energy — the brunt of which is borne by people of modest means…
For a sense of where this may lead, look at Germany, whose crash program to replace nuclear power with wind and solar is boosting electricity rates. Der Spiegel reports that 200,000 long-term unemployed lost power in 2011 because they couldn’t pay their electric bills.
That’s your money they’re spending, folks:
THE Australian government solicitor threw 17 lawyers at its defence of sexual harassment claims brought by James Ashby against former speaker Peter Slipper...
It also emerged that Julian Burnside QC was paid $4800 a day to represent the Commonwealth with the huge team devoted to defending the case partly explaining how the Commonwealth legal bill topped $700,000 in a case settled last month for just $50,000.
And now: CNN walks back false “act of terror” fact check
From Larry Pickering .. THOMSON A TINY POINTER TO CULTURE OF CRIME
The FWA Statement of Claim submitted to the Federal Court is 198 pages of disappointment for lowly paid HSU workers. It is over-time at 4 years late and over-priced at $1.3 million butan introspective view of how unions operate.
Craig Thomson shows a touch of nonchalance, a strange mix of arrogance and self-denial. After reading all 196 pages, I now understand why... this sort of stuff is the norm.
It’s normal to use hundreds of thousands of your union members’ funds for entertainment. It’s quite normal to use union funds for your own election to Parliament. It never occurred to Thomson that some of the union members may not vote Labor.
It’s quite in order to issue credit cards to all your personal campaign employees. It’s normal that the accounts for those credit cards to be sent to the HSU for payment.
It’s also quite normal for the union to give your wife a credit card to go on interstate shopping sprees.
It’s quite normal, on countless and apparently pointless interstate trips, to stay in the best of hotels and pay for the most expensive hookers.
Now I understand why the union dominated FWA took four years! It took three of those years staring at the evidence thinking WTF is wrong with this. And those four years took any successful charges outside a threat to the PM’s tenure.
But the most thought provoking of all was not the $600,000 Thomson spent of union members’ funds, it was the same union’s ALP President and HSU boss, Williamson, who managed to get through more than $20 million of members’ funds. That’s what’s frightening.
But now I understand why unionists spend such incredible amounts getting themselves elected to top union positions. Once elected, unlimited rivers of members’ money are available for practically anything desired.
Thomson’s eerie confidence at beating these charges is sort of justified. I mean if you spend enough on tickets to win the lottery, why should anyone complain if you spend it.
But this is just one of many unions and Julia Gillard displays the same confident “I did nothing wrong” attitude in regard to the AWU.