Citizen Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘Tony Abbott’

A day in the life of Our House under siege

In Brandis Remember This Freedom, Democracy, Margo Kingston on May 8, 2013 at 9:57 PM
Bush and Howard during visit to Australia. Credit. ABC

Bush and Howard during visit to Australia. Credit. ABC

By Margo Kingston
May 8, 2013

Margo: In this chapter from my book, I detail the unprecedented mauling of press, parliamentary and citizen’s freedom in Parliament by Howard when George Bush came to Canberra in 2003. Brandis was in the thick of it, and made no protest. My contemporaneous report of the events is Parliament meets Bush: A day in the life of our faltering democracy

Political systems have much more frequently been overthrown by their own corruption and decay than by external forces
Robert Menzies, ‘The Sickness of Democracy’, from The Forgotten People radio broadcasts, 1942

The anti-democratic hustle

On 8 October 2003 John Howard’s government lied to the Australian people to obtain their Parliament’s consent to hold a special joint sitting for President George W. Bush. Manager of business Tony Abbott told the people’s House:

‘The government has decided to deal with the visit of President Bush in precisely the same way that the Keating Government dealt with the visit of President Bush Senior on 2 January 1992. As well as the formal Parliamentary proceedings, there will obviously be an opportunity for all members of this Parliament to mix with President Bush, and very possibly to meet him.’

Senior ministers would hold talks with the President, Abbott said, adding, ‘Of course, there will be similar opportunities for the Leader of the Opposition and senior shadow ministers. This Parliament spends a lot of time dealing with what might be described as politics as usual, but it is important to put politics as usual aside for this day.’

The 1992 speech by Bush Senior was the first time any foreign head of state had addressed our Parliament. There is nothing in the Constitution to allow it and no precise rules in place. But his visit had gone well. Australians had generally supported our participation in the UN-endorsed coalition to drive Iraq from Kuwait, and the man who’d masterminded it arrived as a largely uncontroversial figure. ‘Politics as usual’ was put aside by making Bush Senior’s stay a state visit. He was welcomed at Kingsford Smith Air- port on his arrival in Australia by the Governor-General, Bill Hayden, with Prime Minister Keating in attendance; there was a state dinner hosted by the Governor-General at Government House, a non-partisan parliamentary dinner hosted by Keating, and meetings with government, Opposition and even farm lobby leaders. The President mixed equally with all our representatives after his speech to show his respect for the honour we, their electors, had extended to him; and he treated our media congenially and with even- handedness throughout.

Australian Prime Minister: Thank you for coming. And just before I invite the President to say a few words, just to outline, first of all, the structure of the press conference so we can operate smoothly . . . I hope we’ll be able to take a roughly even amount from both the Australian and visiting press . . .

American President: My [opening] remarks, Mr Prime Minister, will be very brief. And I simply want to, once again, thank you, thank all of our official hosts, and thank the people of Australia for the warmth of the reception on this visit . . . And I’ll be glad to take my share of the questions.

At that joint press conference Australian journalists asked Bush Senior about half of the twenty-two questions he fielded. Presumably when Abbott told Parliament that this next Bush visit would proceed in ‘precisely the same way’ both our press gallery and elected representatives felt reassured.

The anti-democratic sting

Contrary to Abbott’s pledge, the government already knew that, unlike the visit by his dad, the visit by Bush Junior would NOT be a state visit, but a partisan ‘working’ one, as a guest NOT of the governor-general, our head of state, but of John Howard. The President would NOT ‘very possibly . . . meet’ our parliamentarians, or even ‘obviously . . . mix’ with them. He would NOT ‘of course’ meet senior shadow ministers. He would NOT hold a press conference.

The government knew all this weeks before Abbott misled Parliament to obtain our consent. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is the world ready for PM Tony ‘what he meant to say’ Abbott?

In Federal Election, Misogyny, Noely Neate, Paid Parental LEave on May 8, 2013 at 6:48 PM
#WomenWithCalibre

#WomenWithCalibre

By Noely Neate

May 8, 2013

I was not going to go here, because all manner of Feminists, accredited and self-proclaimed, have had a say.  Some I agree with, some I think are getting hung up on exactly what many of us on Twitter are always complaining about, that is, focussing on a ‘gotcha’ instead of the actual merits of a policy.

I would love to be like some who try to be ‘above it all’, like the so-called ‘Legendary feminist Eva Cox’ (Mia Freedman’s words), though unfortunately, Ms Cox’s defence of Mr Abbott with “what Tony Abbott was trying to say in a somewhat clumsy way...” does not hold a hell of a lot of weight with me.

Ms Freedman chose a rather provocative title for her piece when she came out to bat for Mr Abbott, “I’m defending Tony Abbott. Let’s go.“, again translating what Mr Abbott ‘meant’ for us poor dumb punters as “He was simply making the point – albeit a little clunkily…”

Yet other articles have used various excuses for Mr Abbott such as “off-the-cuff”, “un-intended”. Even Paul Kelly on Sky a few weeks ago had to always interject with “So I think what you are saying…”

The fact is they are probably right, he really probably did not mean for it to come across as it did.

Tony Abbott would be an absolute moron to offend such a large proportion of the population intentionally, so to a certain degree I am sure that the example he used as to why this policy, The Coalition’s Paid Parental Leave scheme is so important, was basically just a brain fart.

Before I go further down the Mr Abbott’s all-time Bloopers road, let’s be above the petty gotcha’s and look at THE PPL policy.  To me it’s not very pretty…

Considering the Liberals are best mates of big business, it seems pretty stupid to be annoying them by smacking them with a Levy – (note the Libs are allowed to use the word ‘levy’ unlike the ALP or Greens levies, which are always ‘taxes’) – let alone telling them to fund this super duper ‘ladies’ special for him. “Australian Industry Group” has already publicly let everyone know they are not happy campers.

Now add in the fact that for the first time in forever there is dissent in the ranks. The Liberals for the past few years have been ‘tighter than (fill in the blanks)’ yet we now have three MPs and counting, and more muttering that they are not happy little vegemites, going against what they call “sound Liberal policy”.  So, close to an election that is not a good look.

I am not sure why Mr Abbott is staunchly defending his policy. There does not seem to be any good reason, as we have a Maternity Leave policy in place that is adequate and most women I know are more interested in ensuring actually they have a job to go back to AND have affordable and accessible childcare when they do. So to put so many offside when the only ones who will really benefit are a few highly paid female executives seems pretty dumb.

For people who keep saying ‘business is paying for it, not taxpayers’, you are delusional.  There is no way in hell a Liberal Government is going to put a tax on their best mates, the 3000 big earning companies in this country, without them getting a concession at a later date in some way, shape or form.  If they don’t publicly fight this policy then you know that the nudge-nudge, wink-wink deal has already been done.  When big companies get any sort of business concession that means less revenue for the Government and we taxpayers fill in the shortfall. Not to mention they will also double-dip (as banks tend to do) and pass on the so-called extra levy to the consumers of their products.  So in fact, you, the taxpayer, will probably pay for Mr Abbott’s gilt-edged PPL twice.

So why does Tony persist with his PPL? Chatting over a glass of wine, all we can come up with as a reason is that Margie suffered when she had to leave her job to have Tony’s daughters and he has promised her that his expensively educated daughters of calibre will never have to suffer the deprivations she did. Who would know? Read the rest of this entry »

How Sales dropped the ball on Abbott

In ABC, Federal Election, Journalism, Peter Clarke on April 25, 2013 at 3:53 PM

By Peter Clarke,

April 25, 2013

Late last year, Leigh Sales interviewed Tony Abbott live on the 730 Report. Sales was sharp and persistent, Abbott poorly prepared and struggling. Sales beat claims of bias and won a coveted Walkley Award for TV interviewing.

Naturally viewers were relishing the prospect of a return bout, and Sales and the program promoted the interview on social media. It now seems that if Abbott agrees to be interviewed on an ABC current affairs program it is a ‘get’. Because of the history and the ongoing tensions between the office of the opposition leader and the ABC, there is an additional expectation from the audience.

Unlike Sales’ interviews with Prime Minister Gillard, there is no history between Sales and Abbott around key policy areas or even how they engage in these set-piece, contested, political interviews. Rather, each interview appears to be built from the ground up, as if it was the first one. Their rarity causes a fundamental problem in the continuity of enquiry.

I first reviewed Sales’ performance in a piece about her interview with Gillard after she stared down Rudd to retain her leadership, in which I was quite critical of both participants. I have long been an admirer of Sales, and cite her as one of the best we have.

Or I used to.

Something happened in that Gillard interview which diminished the natural and hard-won interviewing skills Sales had clearly demonstrated. She gleaned very little useful insight or information for citizens. Last night’s interview with Abbott was calmer and smoother than the Gillard one or Sales’ last interview with Abbott, but, again, very little content of real value emerged. 

In fact, the most troubling aspect of the interview last night was that Sales did not appear to be listening acutely enough to Abbott’s answers. Alongside all the integrated skills and techniques in a top interviewer’s toolkit, LISTENING remains the key attribute. Without it, the ‘hollow dance’ becomes even more superficial.

This Abbott interview was roughly the same duration as the Gillard one – just over thirteen minutes. It was (as was the Gillard interview) pre-recorded. And Abbott was not in the studio with Sales. Here is a brief analysis of the interview transcript. 

In her set-up, Sales frames the interview as an enquiry into the Coalition’s economic plan, stating that “your vote will boil down” to your judgement on how well the Labor government handled the Global Financial Crisis and associated spending. Her opening remarks to Abbott followed that line until she ask the gift (for Abbott) question: Are you asking the public to elect you on blind faith?

In my article on Sales’ Gillard interview, I suggested that the interview never recovered from asking a broad diffuse and opinionated first question. Sales’ opening gambit with Gillard:

After recent events, aren’t Australians well within their rights to conclude that the Gillard Government is a dysfunctional mess that deserves to be consigned to opposition as soon as possible?

Notice the similarity in form and approach? Gillard walked through the giant gap. So did Abbott.

Sales could have chosen, as her set-up promised, a specific, targeted first question around economic policy to stop Abbott being able to rely on the generalised, abstract discourse politicians favour to avoid the question and stay on message. But Sales went for the flourish again, and it let her down, again. Read the rest of this entry »

Abbott-v-truth on ‘illegals’

In Federal Election, Refugees on April 24, 2013 at 8:14 AM

tumblr_mlpd5go9n31sp2ogdo1_1280

By Tony Yegles

April 24, 2013

Leigh Sales won a Walkley Award for her interview with Mr Abbott on the 730 Report in August 2012. Part of this interview dealt with the issue of using the term “illegal” when referring to asylum seekers. Below is a quick reminder.

LEIGH SALES: Why have you referred repeatedly to illegal asylum boats coming to Australia? Do you accept that that’s illegal and that seeking asylum by any means is legal?

TONY ABBOTT: Most of the people who are coming to Australia by boat have passed through several countries on the way and if they simply wanted asylum they could have claimed that in any of the countries through which they’d passed.

LEIGH SALES: But I don’t believe that it’s actually illegal to pass through countries on your way to somewhere where you want to have asylum.

TONY ABBOTT: You try turning up in America without documents, without a visa, without a passport; you’ll be treated as very, very much illegal, Leigh. The other point I make, from recollection at least, is that the very term that the Government has officially used to describe these vessels is “suspected illegal entry vessel”.

LEIGH SALES: Do you – I’m asking you though, not about the Government. I’m asking: do you accept that it’s legal to come to Australia to seek asylum by any means – boat, plane – that it is actually legal to seek asylum?

TONY ABBOTT: I think that people should come to Australia through the front door, not through the back door. If people want a migration outcome, they should go through the migration channels.

LEIGH SALES: That’s an answer to the question if I asked you: how do you think people should seek asylum?, it’s not an answer to the question: is it legal to seek asylum?

Jon Faine also took Mr Abbott on about illegals in August last year, when the alternative PM conceded the point, but stuck to his script anyway.

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:

All people have a fundamental human right to seek asylum from persecution.

Leigh Sales not only won a Walkley Award but she was also cleared of bias in that interview by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Yet Mr Abbott keep using the term, and in Perth on April 24 he joined his custom’s spokesman Michael Keenan to put it on a billboard Read the rest of this entry »

The legal saga against One Nation, and legal possibilities against Abbott

In The Hanson Affair on April 18, 2013 at 2:15 PM

TonyAbbottPineapples

Margo Kingston: For people interested in the details of the One Nation court saga, the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission published a report in 2004. Here we publish its findings on Abbott’s involvement, then my 2003 Webdiary piece  on the possibilities for legal action by Hanson and Ettridge and an explanation of champerty and maintenance.


CMC Report into the prosecution of Mr Ettridge and Ms Hanson

Source: CMC Report
First publisheed January 2004

Turning to Mr Abbott’s involvement, the Commission wrote to Mr Abbott and asked for
a submission. Having initially informed us that his part in the Hanson litigation was on
the public record, Mr Abbott replied by a letter dated 25 November 2003, which
attached published material relating to his connection with the matter. The
Commission has proceeded on the assumption that the material, in so far it attributes
statements or actions to Mr Abbott, is believed by him to be substantially correct. It
follows that Mr Abbott appears to accept that he established a trust to deal with One
Nation, with funds donated by a number of people whom he named, as well as a
number whom he did not name.

Mr Abbott indicated he would not provide details of the others who made donations
to the trust without an instruction from the Australian Electoral Commission, in
accordance with a provision of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. The CMC has
no authority to pursue this aspect further.

On 3 September 1998 the Australian newspaper published that the trust had about
$100,000 in funds. Mr Abbott has said, in effect, that the trust was not a Liberal Party
organisation and that his purpose was to expose One Nation as a fraud. He also
explained to the media that he had, with the funds raised, supported two separate
legal attempts to shut down One Nation, one being an application made by a Ms
Barbara Hazelton and the other proceedings brought by Mr Sharples. Mr Abbott
appears to have admitted, on one occasion, that he had given a misleading answer to
an interviewer in relation to the matter, to the effect that he had not promised Mr
Sharples money at the outset, to be paid into a solicitor’s trust account; Mr Abbott later
explained that he had taken the interviewer’s question to relate solely to Liberal Party
funds. Mr Abbott said that he had once told Mr Sharples that he had organised pro
bono lawyers that he had organised pro bono lawyers for him and that he had
‘someone’ to cover the costs should they be awarded against him.

As to the criminal proceedings, Mr Abbott denies that he had any connection
whatsoever with them.

Mr Abbott’s activities gave financial support to Mr Sharples’s successful attempt to
establish that the registration of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation was procured by fraud.
The Commission has not been supplied with any evidence to contradict the substance
of Mr Abbott’s account of these events.

It seems clear that eventually Messrs Abbott and Sharples fell out, but the Commission
does not think it necessary to discuss the details of that disagreement. Nor is any
opinion here expressed as to whether, as has been suggested, what Mr Abbott did by
promoting litigation against Ms Hanson amounted to one or both of the two civil
wrongs called maintenance and champerty. That assertion, whether or not it is legally
correct, has no connection with the question whether Ms Hanson was accorded due
process — that depends on the nature of the court proceedings in which she was
involved and whether they were instituted and conducted fairly and with due regard
to her rights. Clearly, Mr Abbott’s conduct could not amount to misconduct within the
meaning of the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001. Read the rest of this entry »

My people’s petition for Abbott to reveal his other IPA policies

In Federal Election, Ideology, IPA, Liberal Party, Tom Cummings on April 15, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Petition   Tony Abbott  Leader of the Opposition  Clarify which of the IPA s 75 policies the Coalition plans to implement.   Change.org

By Tom Cummings (@cyenne40)
April 15, 2013

The Australian Labor Party is often accused of being at the beck and call of the unions. Of course there is a decent element of truth in this, in so far as they both tend to focus on workers rather than corporations, and the historical links between Australia’s unions and the ALP are many. However, in recent years those links have weakened (although never broken) and the dynamic of today is different than it was 20 or 30 years ago.

But what about the Liberal Party? What of their affiliations, their preferences? They have always come across as friends of industry and big business rather than the workers; their focus on ‘getting what you pay for’ is well in keeping with their conservative ideology and reputation.

The difference between the ALP and the Liberal Party in this respect is that, while the former is vilified for their union associations, the latter is largely forgiven for their industry bias. This may well be because the corporations they support are largely responsible for helping to shape and drive the public perception of such things, although that is a situation that is rapidly changing as non-traditional news outlets gain popularity and credibility.

But the Liberal Party of today has stronger, more visible links to the conservative side of town through its leader. Tony Abbott makes no secret of his relationships and associations with certain individuals within the Catholic church, the media and big business; and his fondness for sound-bites ahead of policy has left a vacuum that his friends seem only too happy to fill.

Nowhere was this more obvious than at the recent 70th anniversary dinner of the Institute of Public Affairs. The IPA is not well known to the majority of the public, yet this ‘independent libertarian think tank’ had News Ltd boss and IPA member Rupert Murdoch as their guest of honour. Right-wing commentator Andrew Bolt was the MC. Cardinal George Pell and mining magnate Gina Rinehart were in attendance. And Tony Abbott himself gave the speech welcoming Murdoch to the occasion (Murdoch’s ‘class war’ speech is published here).

One of the most frightening things about that night is that Abbott joked about a list of 75 policies that the IPA had published and encouraged him and his party to adopt. He listed which policies his Coalition had already taken on board: abolishing the carbon tax and the mining tax, privatising Medibank and slashing the public service were just a few.

“So, ladies and gentlemen, that is a big ‘yes’ to many of the 75 specific policies you urged upon me in that particular issue of the magazine….but Gough Whitlam I will never be!”

 – Tony Abbott

The question here is this: where will Tony Abbott stop? How many more of the IPA’s radical policy suggestions entitled ‘Be like Gough’ will he adopt as party policy, before or after the election? We all saw last week what happens when Abbott tries to be creative with policy; the alternative NBN announcement with Malcolm Turnbull was an unmitigated disaster. How likely then that he will resist any further policy announcements for as long as possible, only to cherry-pick from the list the IPA has so kindly put together for him?

Because that list, and the 25 additional policies that the IPA subsequently released to make it an even 100, make for truly terrifying reading. It is a libertarian vision for the future, one without safety nets, one without protections, and one without regard for the individual.

That’s why I started a petition, calling on Tony Abbott to clarify which of the IPA’s 75 policies the Coalition plans to implement. Of course I have no illusions that this petition will ever reach Abbott, or that even if it did, that it would make an iota of difference to his actions. A friend of mine called it their “favourite useless waste of time” petition, and I can honestly see why!

But some people are reading it.  Some people are seeing the list of 75 IPA policies, are seeing that Tony Abbott is already committed to implementing a number of these policies, and are concerned. Already the petition has attracted more than a thousand signatures… far more than I thought it ever would.

Because the common wisdom is that Tony Abbott will be prime minister before the end of the year. We need to think about that, and scrutinise what it will mean. It’s not good enough for him to hold all his cards close to his chest and promise that life will be better under his government. We deserve better than that; we deserve to be told.


Sign the petition now:

@NoFibs NBN policy articles curated by citizen journo @pascalg15

In NBN, Pascale Grosvenor, Telecommunications on April 11, 2013 at 4:44 PM
Credit: Malcolm Turnbull Facebook - Spoof by The Geek

Credit: Malcolm Turnbull Facebook – Spoof by The Geek

By Pascal Grosvenor
April 11, 2013

With all the claims and counter claims going back and forth via Twitter or Facebook I’ve been getting frustrated,because there’s lots of incorrect facts and sometimes outright lies being perpetrated. People on both sides of the political debate have been guilty of this.

My goal is to collate the articles I’ve read about the NBN Co’s FTTH or the LNP’s FTTN alternative in one place. I’ll regularly update this list.

FTTH is Fibre to the Home (sometimes referred to as FTTP or Fibre to the Premise)

FTTN is Fibre to the Node (the Telstra junction box at the end of the street)

I hope people find this useful.  I include articles from both sides of the debate – please post comments or suggestions for extra articles to include.  I won’t accept anything from the ALP or Liberal party websites or from politicians for obvious reasons.

Please post your comments or suggestions for extra articles to include.New links added 18/4/13 – they’re highlighted in yellow.

Disclaimer : I’m personally in favour of the ALP’s NBN. I think it’s the best option.

Note re Comments : Any comments with swearing or personal abuse of me (or anyone else) will not be approved. Play the ball not the person …

Technical/ IT based blog posts :

Credibility And The Alternate NBN (by @mwyres)
http://michaelwyres.com/2013/04/credibility-and-the-alternate-nbn/

Not All Technology Is Equal (by @sortius) http://sortius-is-a-geek.com/?p=2883

Coalitions NBN plan to stop consumers taking control of media (by @sortius)

Why not FTTN ? NBN Myths (comparing FTTN speeds) http://nbnmyths.wordpress.com/why-not-fttn/

Coalition’s NBN plan: where’s the cost of the copper? http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/14/coalition_broadband_plan/

@sortius on how and why the Coalition’s NBN policy is designed to fail (australiansforhonestpolitics.wordpress.com)

Comments by ex Telstra linesman http://fibreorcopper.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/broadband-user-experiences/#comment-2

Articles in favor of FTTN :

Why the Coalition’s NBN plan makes sense http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/government-it/why-the-coalitions-nbn-plan-makes-sense-20130410-2hkx2.html

Broadband utopia is a pipedream: analyst
http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/government-it/broadband-utopia-is-a-pipedream-analyst-20130411-2hnl8.html#

Turnbull has saved the NBN http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/4/10/infrastructure/turnbull-has-saved-nbn

The case against /problems with FTTN – told by photos :

Worst of the worst: Photos of Australia’s copper network http://delimiter.com.au/2012/05/01/worst-of-the-worst-photos-of-australias-copper-network/

Some more articles :

#Fraudband is an #NBN fail, even for punters By Stephen Neate

A tale of two NBNs: the Coalition’s broadband policy explained http://theconversation.com/a-tale-of-two-nbns-the-coalitions-broadband-policy-explained-13304

News articles & opinion pieces from mainstream media :

The Coalition’s NBN policy is a triumph of short-termism over long-term vision (pcauthority.com.au)

NBN $17b cheaper, but slower (smh.com.au)

Coalition NBN Policy: Six Things To Think About (gizmodo.com.au)

Coalition’s NBN alternative bad for regional Australia : says telco expert http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/coalitions-nbn-alternative-bad-regional-aus/1823370/ …

NBN debate full of ‘erroneous’ information http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/government-it/nbn-debate-full-of-erroneous-information-20130404-2h8m9.html

Telstra will decide Coalition’s NBN: Hackett http://www.zdnet.com/au/telstra-will-decide-coalitions-nbn-hackett-7000013724/

Personal accounts of people now using the NBN :
(or who want to be on the NBN asap)

Imagining an amazing innovative future with Labor’s NBN
https://australiansforhonestpolitics.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/imagining-an-amazing-innovative-future-with-labors-nbn

Jack McCaw’s NBN story
https://australiansforhonestpolitics.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/jack-mccaws-nbn-story/

We are now connected to the NBN. Here’s a run-down on the install. And the speed!
http://alankerlin.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/we-are-now-connected-to-nbn-heres-run.html

Pass or fail? Kiama mum grades the NBN
http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/1356891/pass-or-fail-kiama-mum-grades-the-nbn/?cs=12

Why Jake’s impatient for the NBN
https://australiansforhonestpolitics.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/why-jakes-impatient-for-the-nbn/

Examples of other countries deploying FTTH :

Benefits of Ultra-Fast Broadband http://ufb.org.nz/benefits/

Japan launches world’s fastest home internet 2Gbps : http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/japan-launches-worlds-fastest-home-internet-20130416-2hxge.html

Taking on Provo, Utah failure proves Google is serious about FTTH http://www.tellusventure.com/blog/taking-on-provo-failure-proves-google-is-serious-about-ftth/

France Telecom strikes FTTH network pact with Bouygues Telecom http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/france-telecom-strikes-ftth-network-pact-bouygues-telecom/2012-01-17#ixzz2QnW70ZIF

Tony Abbott’s questions of character

In Federal Election, The Finnigans on April 1, 2013 at 10:01 PM

AbbottCharacterTest

By @Thefinnigans
April 1, 2013

MARGO: @TheFinnigans is a friend from Webdiary days, and he’s been a serious supporter of my return to journalism for a while. He says he compiled this list of  what he feels are some of Tony Abbott’s character questions in honour of my first venture back unto political writing for many years, A question of character. Thanks, Finnie, for everything. His first list for @NoFibs, published in She’s still standing but the media is blind, is our most popular post.

Tony Abbott, 29/11/2012 – on PM Gillard: ‘She had been a dodgy and unethical lawyer. The criticism was not about gender; she had failed the character test’.

Susan Mitchell – Tony Abbott is a bully who hates women, and his outdated social views are a threat to national cohesion and plurality, according to a polemical new book. In Tony Abbott: A Man’s Man, academic and writer Susan Mitchell attempts to deconstruct the Opposition Leader’s beliefs and character so that Australians ‘think again’ about the man who came within a whisker of forming government after last year’s general election.

David Marr – Oct 10, 2012 – David Marr talks to The Global Mail’s Mike Seccombe about his Quarterly Essay Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott. Tony Abbott’s values are old fashion rock solid 1950s Catholicism, that essentially it. He is essentially an old fashioned Catholic.

Laurie Oakes: Tony Abbott has a credibility issue – LET’s not beat about the bush. Tony Abbott tells lies. So what? Is there anything surprising about that? After all, he’s a politician. But it needs to be pointed out because the central message from Abbott supporters is that the Prime Minister is the liar – Ju-liar, in fact, according to the likes of Alan Jones. The Opposition Leader is portrayed – and portrays himself – as the epitome of honesty. A man whose word can always be trusted.

Tony Abbott’s Character:

00/00/1976 – Tony Abbott kicked in a glass panel door after a narrow defeat in the University Senate elections in 1976.

00/00/1977 – He came up to within an inch of my nose and punched the wall on either side of my head … It was done to intimidate (Barbara Ramjan)

00/00/1977 – Abbott’s famous flying squad of goons crashed down the stairs, threw me against the wall, kicked in the doors of the SRC, and started creating havoc

00/00/1977 – Confess to calling Barbara Ramjan a “chairthing” rather than chairperson

00/00/1977 – Lawyer David Patch: ‘Tony used to stand outside the women’s room with his right-wing mates and loudly tell sexist and homophobic jokes’.

00/00/1978 – Abbott allegedly throwing a punch and hitting Peter Woof at Sydney University

00/00/1978 – Was allegedly caught doing unethical or perhaps illegal things like changing the locks on the student union offices and other things

00/01/1978 – Charged with indecent assault of Helen Elizabeth Wilson

00/00/1979 – Lindsay Foyle: He decided the quickest way to settle our differences was to take me downstairs and demonstrate how I was wrong by punching my head in

16/10/1995 – Euthanasia is not about the right to die; it is about the right to kill

00/00/1997 – Father Nestor (convicted pedophile) – He was . . a beacon of humanity at the seminary

00/00/1998 – If it’s true … that men have more power, generally speaking, than women, is that a bad thing?

00/00/1998 – But what if men by philosophy or temperament are more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command?” Read the rest of this entry »

Tony Abbott on why he left the priesthood

In Federal Election on March 28, 2013 at 11:40 PM

rebel

Thanks to Laurie Cousins (@sydneysiderblue)  for giving @NoFibs the hard copy of this piece.

By Tony Abbott
August 18. 1987
Source: The Bulletin

I  WAS AGHAST to realise that something within me, long sickening, had quietly died and felt as a husband might feel who, in the fourth year of his  marriage, suddenly  knew that he no longer had any de sire, or tenderness, or esteem for a once  beloved  wife; no pleasure in her company; no wish  to please; no curiosity about anything she might ever do or say or think; no hope of setting things right, no self­ reproach for the disaster… I had played  every scene in the domestic  tragedy, had found the early tiffs become more fre­quent, the tears less affecting, the reconciliations less sweet, till they engendered a mood of aloofness and cool criticism and the  growing conviction it was the loved one who was at fault.  Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

As the newly ordained priests left the chapel of St Patrick’s seminary, the congregation burst into spontaneous applause. The previous evening, at rugby training at Sydney University oval, my announcement that I was quitting priestly training drew an equally enthusiastic (if more ribald) response. Three years’ grinding struggle to meet the Church’s standard was over. But a dream had died, as well – the dream that I could join that splendored company founded by Christ which has angered, amazed and enthralled the world ever since.

Since school days I had wrestled with the idea of becoming a priest. Casually suggested by a Jesuit mentor the appalling thought was not to be de­nied, despite degrees in Economics and Law from Sydney University, tumultuous involvement in student politics and a Rhodes  scholarship  which  encompassed studies in politics and philosophy, playing for Oxford against the 1981 Wallabies and two blues as  a heavyweight boxer. I shared fully in the ordinary  foibles of  youth.  But why should personal ambivalence, parental misgivings and peer incomprehension hinder God ‘s plan?

“St Patrick ‘s is not the place for you,” a senior priest told me. “What are we going to do with you?” asked another after consulting my educational background. “You are about to experience the worst years of your life,” said a recently ordained acquaintance. What on Earth was I letting myself in for?

St Patrick's seminary: has produced good priests but inspires little affection.

St Patrick’s seminary: has produced good priests but inspires little affection.

St Patrick’s is Australia’s oldest and largest seminary. It has trained most of NSW’s and many of Australia’s parochial clergy since 1889. These priests have generally lacked heroic asceticism, great scholarship or reforming zeal. But their human warmth, quirky administration and dogged devotion to an  exhausting and often lonely ministry has justly earned the love of their people. For their many qualities, St Patrick’s must take credit. Yet the seminary, un­like its graduates, has never excited much warm feeling. Read the rest of this entry »

I want to vote Labor – give me a reason!

In Federal Election, Noely Neate on March 25, 2013 at 3:39 PM
My grandfather "Chum", bit of a dapper bloke in his day :)

My grandfather “Chum”, bit of a dapper bloke in his day 🙂

By Noely Neate
March 25, 2013

Every  man and his dog has given up Labor as a dead loss for the election in September.  I am not so sure.

John Howard was pretty much in that position at one stage. and it was only the intervention of  Tampa and Twin Towers Towers that saved his butt.  The fact is that when people are scared they stay with the ‘devil they know’.  Now, I don’t wish the likes of a Twin Towers to save the Labor Party, though a bit more focus on Tony Abbott’s policies may help level the playing field so that people could get past personalities to actually look at what each side will do for this country.

Having said that, I don’t hold out much hope for the ALP unless they can get back to grass roots.  Basically we have a two horse race. There’s the Liberal/National coalition, which equals Money.  Now everyone can relate to money, everyone has aspirations, so that is a no brainer for them to attract people. Labor has traditionally been Labor, equals unions.

For people like me – I am 45 in a few weeks – I understand that we owe the unions a lot.  Without unions there would be no minimum wage and no safety requirements in the workplace and kids would be working working for two bucks an hour.  Unfortunately, with so much small business now and the fact that the unions did such a bloody good job that the Government has taken over in some respects when it comes to fair pay and conditions, younger generations don’t ‘get’ or appreciate unions.

But they do see the news and unions scare them, Unions stopped them getting on that flight with Qantas to go to the mates 21st, Union ‘stuff’ meant they could not get that part-time job on the work site (that they were not qualified for but we won’t worry about that…). Unions have a bad rap.

Unfortunately for the unions they are not a large percentage of our population anymore. Also, like our politicians, too many union leaders are career managers, not actually from the site or factory floor, so it is even hard for old time blue collar workers to support them.

Worse, the Labor Party being so closely aligned with unions and the massive voting block they have that is not proportionate with the population actually makes the Liberals case for them.  If you are not in an area that has a big union presence, like mine, unions mean nothing to you.

The funny thing is that Labor was not always like that. They had more members and more support, and it was not just because we had more blue collar jobs in this country.  It was also because often the Labor party, just like the Lions or Rotary, were part of the community. Read the rest of this entry »