Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Two wasted years

Tumultuous week in federal politics, with the totally useless Abbott replaced by the man he earlier replaced as leader, Malcolm Turnbull.

Then the announcement of a new Cabinet  and some, not all, of the under-performing idiots Abbott appointed being dumped.

There's been an immediate jump in the polls for the coalition, as predicted, with the LNP just in front of Labor for the first time  since I can't remember when.

We mustn't forget that Abbott's LNP didn't win the last election, the useless self-centred leaders and factions of Labor lost it. Abbot has always been hugely unpopular and very few voters wanted him as Prime Minister, but the electorate was desperate to remove Labor so we got him.

And what a disaster the last two years have been.

It started with the first budget, almost universally outed as totally unfair and containing many broken election promises.

The broken promises piled up rapidly - cuts to pensions, cuts to the ABC and SBS, threats to increase GST included.

Fortunately the Senate refused to pass the more draconian budget proposals - and that's why we almost never vote for the governing party to have a majority in the Upper House.

Abbott used scare tactics, absolutely predictable, warning that Da'esh was coming to get us all, that the economy was about to collapse, that boat people were 'illegal' and would swamp us...it just went on and on.

He scrapped sensible ideas like the carbon price, which is a good example of his negative outlook. It was all in three word slogans, like stop the boats, axe the tax but there were no positive plans, it was all about stopping and scrapping.

So we floundered along for two years, with budgets not approved, no new policies, no plans for the future.

Turnbull was beaten by Abbott by one vote for the leadership and he won it back by ten, 54 to 44.

I really believe he needs to grasp the nettle, face off the right wing loons and get the party back to centre-right. Unfortunately I think he'll pander to the right, trying to keep them onside to avert another challenge. And that will be a huge mistake.

All parties, reflecting society, have lunatic fringes, left and right. The far left of the Labor party are just as mad and dangerous as the far right of the Liberal party, but they're in the minority, just as they are in society.

They can be faced down, treated as the (vocal) minority they are in reality.

Just like the raving shock-jocks, who have a faithful but small following, they're given much more credence than their numbers suggest.

In what I assume is a gesture to the far right, Turnbull has retained Greg Hunt and the breathtakingly stupid Peter Dutton, who have demonstrated the jobs are way beyond their capabilities. He's also kept Mathias Cormann as Finance Minister, a man who assisted failed Treasurer Hockey with his extreme policies and only spouted party slogans in answer to any questions.

So while I'm hugely relieved that the dangerous, idea-less idealogue Abbott has gone, my judgement of Turnbull will depend on how well he stands up to the fanatics on the far right.

So far, admittedly very early days, he seems to be wobbling, suggesting no changes to the Abbott party agenda.

But he's also talking about cabinet decisions rather than captain's picks, so I'm hoping he wants the move back towards the centre - which he's so often promoted in the past on so many issues - to be a cabinet decision. If that's the case it would obviously strengthen his hand and head off a challenge to his position.

All we can do is watch this space.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Community expectations.

Seems that two good things may have resulted from Bronwyn Bishop's resignation as Speaker.

One of course is that it's got rid of the worst Speaker our Parliament has ever had.

Resigning in disgrace is just the first step though. The AFP has to investigate (what she's already admitted) and legal action needs to be taken against her.

The second good thing is that it's highlighted just how entitled our politicians think they are, taking our money to pay for their private expenses - weddings, theatres, limos, charter aircraft, family (business class) travel and all the rest of the rorts.

The Bishop saga has forced PM Abbott to order a review of the whole system (yet another one) so that poor old pollies aren't confused any more about what constitutes reasonable expenses.

There's a disconnect, the idiot Abbott has discovered, between what the pollies think they're entitled to and what the community thinks is reasonable. But he's already confirmed that he doesn't give a damn for community expectations, by saying that we the taxpayers should pay for pollies to attend party fundraisers.

Not a good start.

But while they're looking at how they can behave to meet community expectations, there are plenty of other areas that need looking at.

Acting like adults is one, instead of the infantile schoolyard antics we've been getting in Parliament ever since Abbott squeaked into the Liberal leadership.

Acting in the national interest is another, instead of acting in their own personal, political or financial interests at the expense of the national interest, as they do now.

For the LNP specifically and topically, appointing what we are supposed to have, an independent Speaker is a community expectation.  Bishop brought the position into disrepute, as did Abbott by appointing her and he must now make amends.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Stupidly low interest rates

We have ridiculously low interest rates as the catalyst for the financial problems we've been, and still are, living through and all the financial wizards can think of is to lower them even more while the ramifications are ignored.

Just take Australia, which is not untypical of many other countries.

Interest rates are at historic lows, have been for years, and still there's talk of lowering them even more.

At the same time there's hysterical talk about what they say is the biggest challenge of our times - an aging population. We're told the future is dire with fewer and fewer workers paying taxes to keep ever more pensioners. And something has to be done about it, we're told.

But the low interest rates are adding enormously to the problem, making it much worse than it needs to be.

People self-funding their retirement solves the problem.  So that's the objective, to get as many people as possible to fund their own retirement.

But with the interest rates we have, self-funded retirees are only getting two or three percent return on their savings. You need more than two million in the bank to earn enough to live on, and not many have managed that.

Self-funded retirees have done the right thing, saved to fund their retirement only to find that the interest rate setters have killed that possibility off.

So inevitably they're going to have to look at a government funded pension as a top-up - except that our current apology for a government has introduced a means test to try to head that off. "Can't afford it" they say.

Well, if interest rates were at a sensible level, a neutral rate of around six to seven percent, they wouldn't have to go elsewhere for income, their savings would be producing it.

A neutral rate would mean that both borrowers and savers would be fairly treated, with a reasonable amount being payed or earned.

The justification for the low rates is that it will boost the economy because companies will borrow the cheap money, invest it, expand, hire more staff and push the economy along.

Wrong. It simply isn't happening. It doesn't work any more but the rate setters haven't realised it yet.

Getting companies to invest, expand, hire is far more complex than offering them cheap money.

Government policy, confidence, stability, costs of operating are all more important than the cost of money.

It's way past time that interest rates were put back to a neutral level and governments started to do their job properly.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Transparent Abbott

Our increasingly strident, hysterical Prime Minister has toned it down for his two days in Singapore.

One thing does occur to me though, having read in the Straits Times that yet another drug runner is to be executed.

We recently endured much political posturing from the PM over the executions of two Australians in Indonesia, claiming an abhorrence of capital punishment.  Has he raised the issue of capital punishment with the Singaporean government?

Monday, May 04, 2015

Left behind again?

I'm reading all sorts of stories about 3D printing, amazing stuff.

Jet engine parts by Rolls Royce, guitars, motor cycles, even houses, built by 3D printing. The story a few days ago from the US about young kids lives saved by 3D printed body inserts. The police have shown us guns produced by 3D printing, and so it goes on.

It's obviously the way of the future that'll have at least as much impact as the internet.

Whole manufacturing industries will be replaced by 3D production lines, for example

The question is whether Australia is in on the action.

It's something we need to be pursuing very, very seriously. We need to be aiming to be world leaders in the new technology so that even if we don't reach that goal at least we'll be somewhere near the top of the ladder.

Sadly predictable is the fact that I don't see much written about Australia's efforts in it.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Look what you made me do

The flood of comment in mainstream media and online over the Indonesian executions has predictably included plenty from the 'serves them right' brigade.

Typical of the comments is a letter in today's Sydney Morning Herald, which begins: "How many bleeding hearts will be lamenting at graveside vigils for young drug addicts whose lives are destroyed by profiteering drug smugglers."

It's all the fault of the drug suppliers you see. Users have no say in the matter, no choice, no responsibility. It's not their decision to take drugs, it's a decision forced on them by the suppliers.

I can't even begin to understand why they've ignored me and just about everyone I know. It's  surely in the suppliers' best interests to have us all buying their product, so why haven't they made us take their drugs?

Or could it be that in fact it's the users who've created the market? That the users actually make their own decision to take drugs and then go to find some?

Extrapolating the 'it's all the dealers' fault' claim, chemists  must be responsible for some people becoming addicted to prescription drugs. Bars must be responsible for some people being alcoholics. Fast food outlets must be responsible for some people becoming obese.

If there was no market there would be no supply.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A ministry of incompetents

Incompetent. Lightweight. Clueless. Inept.

I was cynical about the ability of our federal ministers from the beginning but they're even worse than I expected them to be.

On ABC radio within an hour we had Scott Morrison, Minister for Social Services, considered one of the best-performing ministers, and Greg Hunt, Environment Minister, serving this up:

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Okay. I mean, you've got to find some money, it's not just a spending problem that you've got at the moment though is it?

SCOTT MORRISON: No, I'd largely disagree with you. I mean it's the expenditure blow-outs that has been the problem over the past six years. I mean you don't chase revenue short-falls down a hole.

What you do is make sure you get your spending under control because that's what you can control. That's what governments can control..."

A man recently touted as the next Treasurer believes governments can only control spending, not revenue.

Greg Hunt offered what appeared to be a Monty Python sketch when he was interviewed by Linda Mottram.  That's here.

I should remind you that this is a federal minister, not a ten year old in a school debate

Tony Abbott's come up with plenty of examples of his own, stuff like 'climate change is crap', but my favourite is probably: "As Minister For Women, what have you done for women?" 
TONY ABBOTT: I removed the Carbon Tax".

Then there's Smokin' Joe, so out of touch and out of his depth that only someone like Tony Abbott would even think of keeping him as Treasurer.

Abbott said there were no women in coalition ranks capable of  being ministers, except for one, Julie Bishop. Ironic isn't it that she's the only minister I'd exclude from the list of total incompetents.

They're not only an embarrassment, the're doing untold harm to the country.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Power out(r)age

There's been a lot of weather about for the past week, including a cyclone which resulted in us having no power for 36 hours: no internet, no phones, no communications, no heating.

We were hit on Monday night by a Category 2 cyclone (which we strangely don't call cyclones this far south, we call them East Coast Lows) with wind gusts up to 135kph and regularly around 80-90kph.

It caused predictable chaos, mainly due to the refusal of the power companies to put the bloody power lines under ground.

Up north the cyclones tend to blast through quickly. This one lasted about 36 hours, seemingly endless gale force winds bringing down trees and fences, tearing off roofs.

That was followed by a day of sunshine then, out of nowhere, a hailstorm for about ten minutes, followed by thunder and lightning all night long.

The cyclone was a real disaster. Eight people lost their lives and the state suffered hundreds of millions of dollars of damage. A quarter of a million people were without power for days, and even now there are some who haven't been reconnected.

The cause of that is that the power lines are still nineteenth century style, overground and strung between wooden poles.

Gum trees drop big branches all year round and in wet windy weather they fall over completely. So the trees fall on the wires, and some of the wooden poles themselves are brought down, resulting in live wires coming down.  In summer that causes catastrophic bush fires. No fires in winter, but any time of year, every year, it results in massive costs to the economy.

And every year the power companies parrot on about the cost of putting the cables underground being too high.

Yet year after year, damage of hundreds of millions of dollars is caused to the economy.

It's long overdue that they should be told to cut the crap and put the bloody cables where they belong and where they don't pose a threat. Underground.

The pics show just some of the power lines down along the road between us and the local shopping mall.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Slap on wrist for murderer.

Michael Aller. A long history of violent acts against women. Including:

In 2008, breaching an AVO, sent intimidating & sexually degrading phone messages to a former partner. Followed by abusing her in the street and throwing a brick through her window.

2011, breached another AVO, punching another girl in the face in an RSL club.

2012, repeatedly stabbed partially paralysed Amy Alton in "a sustained and ferocious" attack, killing her.

The kind of homicidal maniac Blind Freddy could see we need off the streets.

Justice Peter Hidden has other ideas though. He said the thug has "a propensity for domestic abuse when drinking", and he's a serial offender. Then gave him a sentence of eleven and a half years for manslaughter.

Surely there has to be an appeal.

It was murder after a long history of violent acts which led up to it. Only a matter of time springs to mind. He should be in jail or a mental institution for life.

He was found not guilty of murder on the basis of 'substantial impairment'. What bullshit. It was murder. Nothing else.

If they want to take his mental state into account when sentencing, that's another thing entirely. But murder is murder. And it should carry an appropriate sentence.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Paranoid panic sets in

Paranoia and panic set in amongst a certain group during the lead-in to Easter and culminated in the oddly named Reclaim Australia demos on Easter Saturday.

The main cause of their panic seems to be that sharia law is about to be introduced.

(They also don't like food to be labelled as halal, although how that affects them I don't know, any more than food labelled kosher or unlabelled food does).

I've lived in a Muslim country, the UAE, and spent time in other Gulf states and other Muslim countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. I've lived in Christian countries such as Austalia and the UK and in predominently Buddhist Singapore, which also has large Hindu, Muslim and Christian minorities.

The people in all of them act in very much the same way in relation to their religion.

Just the same as the people you know, if you think about it.

Most don't give a toss.

In all the places I know some follow the faith to the letter, pray or go to the place of worship as often as required.

Many more go to the place of worship once a week or once in a while, or only on special days.

The vast majority don't do any of that.  While nominally of the religion, they don't go to the church/mosque/temple and have no formal contact with the religion.

For example, Christians only go to a church for weddings and funerals. So it is with Muslims.

In the UAE you hear the call to prayer but you don't see everyone rushing to the mosque any more than you see people here in Oz rushing to the church on Sundays. They simply carry on doing whatever it is they're doing.

With all religions only a small minority are passionate, fanatical about it.

That fact makes nonsense of the paranoia that sharia law is about to be forced on Australians.

We have around half a million people who say they're Muslim. If even an unlikely quarter of them wanted to live under sharia law, that's 125,000 people.

How do the Reclaim Australia mob work out that 125,000 people can impose sharia law on the other 25 million of us?

Here are some of them:

If that lot claim Australia I'm outa here.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

The paranoids are out

The rain brought the loonies out today. Nothing much else to do on a typically rainy Easter weekend I guess.

The current banner they're gathering under is Reclaim Australia.

Apparently, if you're paranoid enough, all 2% of Muslims in Australia want Sharia law and are going to exert their will over the 98% majority to have it introduced for all of us.

Twitter, Facebook etc are full of stories and photos - most of them are along the lines of mobs of red faced macho men screaming abuse and jostling women who disagree with their bigotry, of red faced macho women screaming insults like 'I bet you went to university' at women who disagree with their bigotry.

I picked out some of my favourite photos:

Difficult word to spell, halal.  Or maybe he doesn't like someone called Hala...while she seems to want Russian dolls banned.

I'm not sure about this mob - are they anti-Roman/Italian? Or are they Italians seeking asylum?  I'm as confused as they seem to be.

And it goes without saying that tatts are on display:

I really loved this comment from Adelaide, although I'm sure it would have been beyond the understanding of the Reclaim Mob:

Then , as usual, a cartoon said it all in a few strokes of the pen and a few words:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Media's tax misrepresentation scare

I really get annoyed at the way the media so often misrepresents income tax, running scary headlines and going on to suggest we're inevitably going to be worse off.

Example today in Sydney Morning Herald, tellingly by-lined by Political Reporter, not economics reporter.

The heading is Average earners to pay more.

The scares continue: The average Australian worker will find themselves bumped into the second-highest income tax bracket in just over a year's time.

The nasty news is set out in the 200-page tax discussion paper, Re:think, released by the Abbott government on Monday. And it is, in large part, thanks to "bracket creep" - where wage earners inadvertently pay higher tax due to wage inflation.

With average annual wages hovering at $75,000 as of 2013/14, the average Australian worker currently sits within the third-highest tax bracket...But according to the paper, by 2016/17, the average full-time employee will find themselves bumped into the second-highest tax bracket, earning about $80,000 and having to pay the tax office $17,547 plus 37 cents for every dollar over $80,000.

Bumped up, nasty news, bracket creep, it's all in there. Disguise the facts so they don't get in the way of a good scare story.

Fortunately later in the story some common sense creeps in: Australia Institute senior economist Matt Grudnoff says it would be "silly" to assume that they would be no change in tax arrangements over the coming decade. 

"There would be no time ever in our history where [the government] hasn't shifted the tax brackets for ten years," he said.

"It's not based in any kind of reality."

Mr Grudnoff said the Treasury report's finding appeared designed to scare people, "rather than make any sort of informed, interesting point". 

There's the deliberately misleading...wage earners inadvertently pay higher tax due to wage inflation. Wage inflation is jargon for higher wages. If it was honest it would say that as people earn more money they will pay more tax. No scare story there though. 

At the end of the scare nonsense is a chart of actual tax rates, which shows what we all should know. As we move through the various thresholds, we pay a higher rate of tax on money above that threshold, not on all the money.

So taking the para about average wage moving up from $75,000 to $80,000pa, the worker will earn a gross $5,000 more, pay $1,025 more tax and end up $3,375 better off.

And, as Mr Grudnoff pointed out, the brackets are sure to be moved up anyway.

The problem is all too often not the way things are, it's the way they're misleadingly reported.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The family home myth

We have an obsession with property.

Constant chatter and media stories about the high cost of our housing, its unaffordability - especially for first home buyers.  The xenophobic and inaccurate complaint that it's all the fault of foreign, usually Chinese, investors. The probability of a bursting housing bubble. And 'the family home'.

With stupidly low interest rates combined with tax concessions for property investors there's bound to be high pricing.

But added to the mix is the fact that 'the family home' is in fact an increasingly rare thing, almost to the point of extinction now.

We actually treat 'the family home' as nothing more than a commodity to buy and sell to make a profit.

Example again this weekend. In addition to the properties for sale by private treaty, in Sydney there were 1,128 auctioned. Something approaching a thousand is a perfectly normal weekend.

Australia wide there are around 11 million residential dwellings, and about 600,000 are transferred every year. So the equivalent of the entire continent's housing stock changes hands every seventeen years. That's extraordinary turnover of 'then family home'.

Unless that changes - which it won't - even sensible interest rates won't have the effect we need. So we've brought the problems upon ourselves.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Killer tree

I love gum trees...if they're not in the wrong place. And the wrong place, as I've said on several occassions, is looming threateningly over our houses.

Bits fall out of gum trees throughout the year. Whole branches die off and without warning crash to the ground.

If they're over a house, a road, power lines, people, there's a disaster waiting to happen.

We had a near miss last night. A huge old gum tree two houses along the road decided to shed a huge branch.  It brought down the power line and crashed into the road, fortunately it was 2am and there was no traffic.

SES came out and cut it up, the electricity company brought a crane and re-connected the power lines and it was all tidied up in a few hours.

But, boy, with the amount of wood that came down it could have been a whole lot worse.

Murphy's Law

Good management is not only making sure the right thing is done but is just as importantly about stopping wrong things from happening.

In fact in my experience it's more about stoppinjg the wrong things from happening, human nature being what it is.

Surely we're all aware of Murphy's Law - if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. You have to anticipate that and put measures in place to prevent or mitigate it.

Airline management, and regulators, have, amazingly failed all travellers as witnessed by the catastrophe with Germanwings.

There are now reports of the mental illness of the co-pilot who murdered 149 people as he killed himself.  Inevitably there's plenty of comment about mental health issues, screening of people in responsible positions, psychological testing.

Of course that has to be done, but more importantly the blindingly obvious should have been done by all airlines and all regulators. NEVER should there be less than two people in an aircraft cockpit.

So blindingly obvious and so very simple to do.

I had always assumed it happened as a matter of course. I hadn't thought of a rogue pilot (although I seem to remember a Japanese pilot doing much the same thing some years ago) but simply because of illness. A pilot could faint, have a heart attack, an asthma attack or whatever.

That airlines around the world, and regulators, have not had this simple procedure in place since cockpit doors were barricaded beggars belief.

No-one, of course, will be called to account.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Total stupidity prevails again

The Germanwings air crash has shown once again that common sense isn't common at all.

I assumed that there always had to be a minimum of two people in the cockpit, especially after the introduction of locked cockpit doors following 9/11.

It's so bloody obvious that it's necessary. Not only to avoid a maniac pilot deliberately crashing the plane but in case of ill health - a heart attack for example.

If there are only two flight crew and one of them needs to leave the cockpit, a senior cabin crew member should obviously go into the cockpit.

The airlines need to answer the question of why this isn't standard procedure. And they need to fix the problem immediately.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Biased Bronwyn Bishop.

Her blatant contempt for the impartiality required of the role of Speaker is breathtaking.

Her behaviour is bringing even more disrepute to our parliament than the current crop of politicians have contributed.

It's not just the so obvious bias in favour of her own party, with five government members dismissed to, so far, 319 opposition members. It's the fact that opposition members are dismissed while government members are not, for exactly the same 'offence'.

It's the fact she has declared perfectly valid and legitimate questions to be out of order so that ministers don't have to answer them.

It's the even worse fact that she interrupts to answer questions put to ministers. That is not the Speaker's role and she has absolutely no right to do it.

She's an absolute disgrace, has brought the position into disrepute and does it all with a satisfied smirk on her face.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

You scratch my back...

Two more stories today that add to the evidence that politicians and big business look after each other at our expense.

The greyhound live baiting abomination is one because it's given extra, and much needed, publicity to  the bill West Australian Liberal Senator Chris Back introduced into Federal Parliament a few days ago.

It's designed to protect business by making it illegal to do what the animal welfare groups and Four Corners did with the greyhound business - expose what's going on. 

As Siobhan O’Sullivan said in the Sydney Morning Herald, the new law would: "..make it illegal to distribute or broadcast images that have not been surrendered to the police; and create a crime of seeking employment with the aim of exposing animal suffering."    The animal welfare groups used: "...undercover investigators to infiltrate the industry and a range of other critically important investigative techniques; all of which would become heavily penalised under the Coalition's proposed legislation." 

Shoot the whistle blower to protect their mates in big business.

The other is the ongoing saga of the backroom deals being done in relation to the Newcastle revitalisation plan. This includes digging up the rail tracks and replacing parts of it with a tram system.

Confidential Cabinet documents were found in the office of  disgraced former local Liberal MP Tim Owen. (He had to resign from parliament after lying about taking $10,000 cash before the 2011 election from developer and then Newcastle Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy).

The papers reveal that the NSW government rejected advice from Transport for NSW and went for the option preferred by developers. This could cost up to $100 million extra, be less effective but gives more opportunities to property developers.

From Sydney to the Hunter the MPs had to all stand aside after revelations of what they'd been up to.

It's all about what's best for them and their bank accounts.

You can read the full stories here.



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Asleep at the wheel

Yet again another example of organisations not carrying out their basic responsibilities.

ABC's Four Corners programme, using film taken by animal welfare campaigners, has exposed the use of live baiting in greyhound training. Animals such as piglets, rabbits, possums were shown being used as live bait.

The usual excuses were parroted by the state greyhound racing bodies. You know the form - a handful of rogue trainers, a few bad apples, not systemic blah blah blah.

They have either turned a blind eye or they simply haven't been administering their industry.

And the police, the RSPCA, government agencies?

They obviously haven't been doing their job either.

There's already a state parliamentary enquiry going on into the industry. After the Four Corners programme the NSW Premier said "We will get to the bottom of this and we will ensure there is absolutely zero tolerance."

The enquiry needs to look not only at the perpetrators but also at who should have been monitoring what was going on, why they didn't and what penalties should be imposed on them.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A good captain's pick for once

Good to see that Philip Ruddock has been sacked as Chief Whip, so hopefully he's on his way out completely.

So many politicians are on my dislike list but Ruddock tops them all by a long way. A truly awful man.

But his removal is yet another example of Abbott not meaning a word he says. All the bullshit about consulting, listening, no more captain's picks is again shown for what it is. The man is incapable of changing.

Dress codes

I'm pleased to see that Qantas are going to enforce the dress code for their lounges at airports.

Far too many people - men in particular - don't dress appropriately these days. Singlets and football shorts is underwear in my opinion and its not appropriate in a restaurant or on a plane. Unfortunately, an increasing number of men think it is.

On many flights men are wearing only that, then have to wrap themselves in blankets because they get cold.

A few evenings ago we went to dinner in a local restaurant where a family included the father and three young boys wearing nothing but football shorts. The mother was appropriately dressed in a dress. They obviously have no idea of what's appropriate, the fault lies with the restaurant allowing them in

The Sydney Morning Herald story about the Qantas move has an online poll asking "Do you agree with Qantas getting tough on dress standards? Sadly, although it doesn't surprise me, currently 34% of nearly 10,000 respondents say 'no'.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A bad seventeen months

After his humiliation at the leadership spill, with over half his backbenchers voting to get rid of him, a momentarily abashed Abbott made a surprising admission.

"I have changed and the government will change with me. Good government starts today."

That's a clear admission of what the country knows only too well - that under his direction we've had half an electoral term of bad government.

An honest man, a man of integrity, would resign.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Costa Concordia Coalition

As many commentators are pointing out, Dear Leader hardly got a resounding victory.

The majority of backbenchers voted for a leadership spill, only the tradition of the ministry showing solidarity with the leader got him over the line.

He dusted off the old much-used  'I'll change, I'll listen, I won't be arrogant" script, naturally, but as he's proved time and time again, you can't trust a word the man says.

The latest polls as predicted show that 75% of us think he's doing a bad job. I'm amazed that 24% give him their approval.

He's dragging his party further and further away from winning the next election, the anonymous Beige Bill wotsisname just has to do nothing and Labor will walk it.

And still the Libs either don't get it or are simply blindly following the party script

Julie Bishop on radio this morning was still saying the problem is that they haven't been explaining their policies properly. That the policies are patently unfair and have been rejected by the electorate because of it doesn't occur to them.

Dear Leader himself announced that "good government starts today". An acknowledgement that the last seventeen months has been bad government under his direction.

With that acknowledgement but determination to stay he's demonstrating his total lack of integrity.

It's not the captain going down with his ship, it's the Costa Concordia syndrome, the captain sinking his own ship.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Do we really deserve this?

Bloody politicians just don't get it do they.

Self-serving, interested in only themselves, they lie and cheat to get into power, then treat us with contempt by trying to force through policies they said they'd never introduce. And are surprised when we get our own back by voting them out.

Having dinner with friends last evening and they all said they simply wouldn't vote for anybody in the upcoming elections.

I'm sure that's why we have compulsory voting; apart from the fanatics on both sides of politics the vast majority of us wouldn't bother.

There's such disgust in the community that it's rare now for a government to actually be voted in.

What's happening is that people are voting the current lot out, rather than giving a positive vote to the Opposition.  It's the old cliche about democracy - the advantage of it being that you can get rid of governments you don't like.

We're getting it as the standard now. Governments are being thrown out after just one term, something that was rare in the past.

We just saw that in Victoria, with the one-term Coalition thrown out. In Queensland it was even more marked - the Labor government was so unpopular that they were all but destroyed in the last election. They had 51 of the 89 seats but after the election they were left with  just 7.

But it was an anti-government vote rather than the Coalition being voted in. Once again voters realised they didn't like the government they had, so at the election just held they in turn were thrown out, Labor picking up half the available seats.

Federally it's the same. The Coalition wasn't voted in, the shambles that was Labor was voted out. Now the polls say that Abbott, always hugely unpopular with the electorate, would be voted out in a landslide if an election was held now.

A huge percentage of people said he was doing a bad job but what amazed me about the poll was that 29%  said they thought he was doing a good job.

We've just had the idiot Treasurer Smokin' Joe grinning like a fool at the rate reduction, telling us it was the sign of a strong economy - when a rate reduction under Labor was, he told us at the time, the sign of an economy in crisis.

He claimed that business would now go on an investment and hiring spree, ignoring the fact that the reason business is not doing that is lack of any confidence in the government.

The leadership thing is coming to a head, with it just announced there will be a vote on it in the Lib Party Room on Tuesday. Abbott is deperately claiming the people voted him in and only the people can vote him out.

Two problems with that - one, we did not vote him in. He was given the leadership by his own party, by just one vote, not by us. He was always unpopular and the people preferred Malcolm Turnbull as leader but we had no say in it.

Two, we can't vote him out because in spite of all his aggressive bluster that he would, he won't call an early election. The polls are showing quite clearly that we would vote his government out if he gave us the opportunity.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Going, going...

A Seven News ReachTEL poll taken on Tuesday night found only twenty per cent of respondents think Mr Abbott is doing a good job as Prime Minister while sixty per cent rated his performance as poor.

Amazingly, 18.1 per cent of respondents nominated Mr Abbott as the best person to lead the Coalition.

However, Malcolm Turnbull was the most popular choice to lead the Coalition, with more than 44.6 per cent of respondents backing him compared with 30.5 per cent for Julie Bishop.

Abbott's desperately using the Gillard-Rudd Labor implosion as a reason for his party to not replace him. But it's a very different scenario from Gillard replacing PM Rudd, because the sitting PM then was very popular with the electorate.

Abbott was hugely unpopular even before the election and he's seemed hell-bent on increasing his unpopularity ever since. He's certainly achieved that.

The bookies are now saying a leadership challenge is more likely than not.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Overheard in The Lodge

Tony Abbott: Peta, what do I say each time I stuff up and the shit hits the fan? 

Peta Credlin: You say you'd learned from the experience,  you'd now listened, you'd heard and you'd consult more in future.

TA: Look, it's worked every time I've used it before, so I'll wheel it out again over this Prince Philip thing.

And he did.

Lies upon lies from Abbott

Each time Tony Abbott makes a stupid 'captain's call' or announces a divisory policy without talking to his colleagues, he reacts to the inevitable backlash by saying that in future he'll listen, in future he'll consult.

Exactly the same old script was brought out again as a result of his ludicrous, self-indulgent, arrogant decision to give Prince Philip a knighthood.

Just like his pre-election promises - including his promises to his own party if they elected him leader - he's proved without a shadow of doubt that you can't believe a word he says.

He even told us we couldn't believe what he said, back in 2010 in a 7.30 Report programme on ABC. He said that "in the heat of discussion" he sometimes went further with a promise than he should.

I've always believed that in a democracy the most critical thing is for politicians to tell the truth.

Abbott has confirmed with absolute certainty that neither we nor even his own colleagues can believe him. Especially not when he says that he'll change, he'll listen, he'll consult.

His party has to do the right thing and replace him.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Two fingers from Abbott

Sir Duke of Edinburgh?

Sir Prince Philip?

Almost unbelievably, our idiot Prime Minister has conferred an Australian knighthood on the Queen's husband.

An Australian knighthood? It's a contradiction in terms.

What the hell he was doing introducing the ludicrous idea of knights and dames in the first place is anyone's guess. But this latest stupidity really is the last straw.

Only rabid monarchists think it's a good thing, even his own conservative party members are expressing their astonishment and opposition to it.

The story has hit the world's media, naturally, so is a huge embarrassment to the country.

It's another example of Abbott's mindset, his belligerence and arrogance. It was a 'captain's pick' he says. Or, more accurately, two fingers to the rest of us, he's going to do whatever he likes.

Unrest is growing in his own party, and especially in his coalition partners I suspect, at his erratic 'leadership' and increasing unpopularity. And remember he started from a low base anyway, he was hugely unpopular before the election.

We can only hope they put self-preservation first (politicians' default position) and dump him rapidly.

Although who they replace him with is a real worry. Malcolm Turnbull is favourite with the electorate, and I suspect that Julie Bishop would be next choice.

But given pollies' habit of doing the wrong thing I fear someone like Scott Morrison might sneak over the line, and that would be at least as bad as Abbott staying.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sickening hypocrisy

As usual, the hypocrisy is breathtaking and sickening.

Rightly condemning the ISIS executions as barbaric and totally unacceptable, world leaders  simultaneously heaped praise on the late Saudi King Abdullah and flocked to his funeral, sucking up to the new regime.

John Kerry says the leader of one of the world's most intolerant, barbaric nations was a man of wisdom and vision. Christine Lagarde says he was a champion of women's rights. British flags should be at half mast, the UK government advised. Tony Blair said he admired him greatly.

Stephen Harper praised him as an ardent defender of peace. The French said he worked for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. David Cameron praised his commitment to peace and for strengthening understanding between faiths.

Meanwhile in the real world Saudi Arabia is the world's leading financier of Sunni terror groups. They sent tanks into Bahrain to put down the Shia majority's uprising against the minority Sunni regime there. And constantly urged the US to bomb Iran, which is Shia.

ISIS is barbaric for beheading people, our leaders say, but they heap praise on the leader of the nation that kills many more that way. Others, such as anyone convicted of adultery, can be stoned to death.

Most of their public beheadings go unnoticed in the west. Only recently with blogger Raif Badawi in the news (a thousand lashes and ten years jail for suggesting free speech might be a reasonable idea) has their 'justice' system attracted some coverage.

The focus on that also drew the west's attention to the gruesome beheading of Layla bint Abdul Mutaleb Bassim, a Burmese woman married to a Saudi. One of the cops filmed it and posted it online. He's now in jail charged it's assumed with invasion of privacy.

Some media outlets have gone on to report that the Saudis executed 87 men and women last year, most beheaded, with ten people beheaded this month.

Leaves ISIS looking like amateurs in comparison, yet they're the face of evil while the Saudis are our great friends.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Idiocy guaranteed

You can absolutely guarantee that brainless morons will do the wrong thing.

I'm reminded of the cretins who were shining lasers into the eyes of commercial aircraft pilots landing at Sydney international airport - and I'm sure it happens elsewhere too - by what happened yesterday in Dubai.

Gulf News is reporting:  Air traffic in Dubai was halted for nearly an hour on Friday due to public misuse of recreational drones near the flight path of commercial airlines.

Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ahli, Director General of the Dubai Civil Aviation, (said) that air traffic in Dubai came to a standstill from 3:00 to 3:55 on Friday as a result of malpractices of some members of the public  who flew unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) -- or "drones" -- in the air navigation passages meant for commercial planes.

He said such recreational drones pose a serious risk to the safety of air navigation as well as passengers, he said.

The paper went on to say that:  In the US, aviation authorities are receiving reports almost on a daily basis about drones flying near airplanes and helicopters or close to airports without permission.

Far too many dangerous morons about folks, we need a cull.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

More chaos from the Abbott government

It's just been announced that the government has scrapped plans to cut the payment to GPs, only 24 hours after PM Abbott aggressively defended it.

Astonishingly, they're more chaotic than the last Labor governments, and that takes some doing.

Random isolated ideas pop up out of nowhere, designed to do nothing but bolster the budget. No thought, no discussion, no strategy. Thoughts scribbled on a beer mat are suddenly announced as policy.

They're announced as something that must be done, defended aggressively, then dropped.

We've heard it before - 'I've listened, I've heard'  said the new Health Minister, repeating what was said about the $7 'co-payment' backflip.

Why don't the idiots consult with people before gung-ho announcements of what they're going to do?

Even better, why can't we have a government that actually produces a strategy for the economy and the budget.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sydney siege inquest

An inquest into the Martin Place Siege deaths will be held at the end of the month, and I'm pleased to see it will be wide-ranging.

The NSW Coroner's Court said the aim of the inquest will be to determine how the deaths occurred, the factors that contributed to them and whether they could have been prevented.

The several minutes between criminal lunatic Monis firing his first shot and police storming the cafe are expected to come under scrutiny as well as the police's decision to not act on their 'direct action' plan but let the siege drag on.

Good. It needs investigating thoroughly.

Instead of using their direct action plan to storm the cafe at a time of their own choosing, a 'management' decision was made to hold off. Which meant they had to go in at a time dictated by the criminal, after an innocent hostage was killed.

Pre-inquest reports are saying that Tori Johnson was murdered by the gunman while Katrina Dawson was killed by police bullets. Seeing the police storm the cafe on television I was amazed that any of the hostages came out alive.

I sincerely hope there's scrutiny on the manner of the attack. Reports are saying police fired 25 rounds. From what I saw it was a hell of a lot more than that. Far too many police went charging in over a period, all firing madly. My immediate reaction was too much testosterone, too much adrenalin, too little training, very poor management.

And of course, as I said in my post during the siege, snipers should have shot the gunman on one of the several times he appeared at a window. Two innocent people would be alive if they'd done that. I hope that's investigated by the inquiry too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Why were they there?

With the millions of 'Je suis Charlee' signs and pens & pencils, the crowd at France's rallies were there to show their commitment to free speech.

Many of the countries which sent their leaders or representatives were presumably there for some other reason.

Or maybe they support free speech in countries other than their own.

Egypt for example, where many journalists, the Al Jazeera group for example, are in Al Slammer.

Saudi Arabia, which is in the process of delivering a thousand lashes to a blogger, plus ten years jail, for "insulting Islam".

And Russia, Turkey, Algeria and so many other states not allowing anything like free speech.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Deranged retards

Sections of the media are linking the Lindt Cafe siege here in Sydney with the massacre in Paris, but there's really no similarity.

Martin Place was the work of a deranged individual, a well-known criminal who happened to be a Muslim. The siege wasn't politically motivated nor carried out in the name of a religion.

The attack on Charlie Hebdo on the other hand was carried out in the name of religion.

The retards responsible for it took offence at their religion being satirised.

Moir in the Sydney Morning Herald said it all with a few strokes of the pen:

He so eloquently summed up the level of retard we have to deal with.

I've always had a problem with people saying that something offends them. John Howard used to use it to avoid answering perfectly legitimate questions. He'd say 'I find that question offensive' and walk away.

I agree with Stephen Fry, who some years ago in an interview said: “It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what."

The Charlie Hebdo perpetrators have now been killed by French security forces, exactly the right outcome. Such people have no place in our societies. Arresting and jailing them isn't the answer.
One of them had already served time for assisting terrorists and that did nothing to keep society safe from his demented actions.

Tony Abbott's been speaking about it again, with the usual platitudes.  We must not change the way we live. The safety of the community is the government's number one priority.

He then went on to tell us how our safety is obviously not the number one prioroty. At least seventy Australians are known to be in Syria and Iraq with extremist groups and dozens more have been there and have been allowed to return to Australia.

And there are others who've had their passport cancelled to stop them leaving to fight with the extremists. So they're sitting amongst us simmering with hate.

If the government truly had the community's safety at heart they'd allow anyone who wanted to join the extremists to go, then cancel their passports and never let them back into Australia. They want that way of life, they don't like ours, so let them stay there.