Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ross Daniels, Labor candidate for Ryan, happened to be campaigning outside Toowong Village shopping centre when we went there a couple of hours ago. He happily posed for a photo, which one of the ladies with him took using our camera (making sure to get the shopping centre tower in so people could tell where we were!).

We wished him luck -and boy do we ever, even though we'll probably both vote Green- but he'll need more than that to overturn Michael Johnson's massive margin and grab the seat. Too many wealthy Howard-lovers here... in fact, whenever a bitchy, expensively-dressed housewife tries to run us over with a shopping trolley in Coles, Gam and I often look at each other and say "Liberal voter!".

Roxon Abbott Debate

No worm. Boo!

Mr Abbott was due to arrive for a 12.30pm debate with Ms Roxon, but arrived at 1.05pm, about 20 minutes after the debate commenced.

The minister was travelling to the national capital from Melbourne, where he made a major health announcement with Prime Minister John Howard.

The event went ahead anyway and Ms Roxon, given the right to speak first, was visibly angry.

Roxon: (not 'visibly angry' at all- in fact looking rather pleased about this golden opportunity to put the boot into Abbott) Makes cracks about having to debate herself. Lays into abbot for not turning up. Whack whack whack. [Let's hope tony is delivering a baby on a freeway somewhere rather than expecting the debate to wait for him while he makes pompous 'policy' announcements in Melbourne.] We have big challenges to face blah blah, blame game. Relates state-fed health situation to a bad marriage. Mentions aboriginal children, next generation etc. Mentions preventive health and cracks about picking a hospital in a marginal electorate... We're gonna take responsibility, and invest heavily, [maybe there might be a pay rise for speech pathologists... what? what? the fuck you lookin' at?], talks about nursing etc blah blah. Talks about her and Rudd revealing a plan to have hospital report cards later today. Says Abbott has always been against health reform (unless it's taking us back to the 14th century and forced childbirth). Talks about the piecemeal political quick-fix tactics under Abbott. Talks about how Abbott attacked Bernie Banton (nice one, Tony). Mentions how the Federal government are underfunding the states. (Roxon takes her time, not having anyone to debate... rousing applause at the end).

[There's still no one to debate. Roxon takes questions].

Danielle Cronin Canberra Times: Is labor going to run out of money to pay for hospitals?

Roxon: The $2 billion plan is a long term commitment and we'll invest more. Will prioritise health negotiations and have actually put up money to fund them, unlike the government.

Abbott: (still hasn't bothered to show up)

Mark something, smh: (Noting his question was intended for Tony Abbott, but Roxon may as well have a go at it anyway) Talks about how the Medicare safety net tends to benefit rich people.

Roxon: Good crack about being able to do an impersonation of Tony Abbott to answer the question- it's quite good apparently. Talks up private sector, looks like she's committed to propping up the parasitic private sector with taxpayer money. Talks about improving bulk billing etc and making Medicare better available.

Laura Tingle, Financial Review: Go through how the healthcare agreement negotiations will proceed given how you're gonna work with the states but reserve the right to act like the government if they don't play ball?

Roxon: Talks about targets and how the commission will help determine targets. Will start talking to the state health ministers the day after the election. Points out how Abbott couldn't be bothered to do the same in a timely fashion.

Jane Bunts (AAP?): The govt. has spent more than you, what are you giving voters?

Roxon: It's not all about money, no point pouring billions into stupid, pointless schemes. Points out how they've spent millions on unspendable, non working dental intervention schemes in the Northern Territory, under which not a single person aged under 25 has received treatment.

Announcer: (appoints Roxon acting health minister).

Hedley Thomas, The Australian: We had promises to cut waiting lists from the State government in Queensland. That caused the Bundaberg hospital scandal. How will you avoid this happening again?

roxon: we can do more than one thing at once we're increasing pay for nurses, incentives and investing properly. thus i'm not worried about elective surgery. we're working with
?: you've talked about ending the blame game. the nsw govt. has fucked up health etc. you haven't put back all the funding the govt. took out. why should we risk “wall to wall labor”?

Roxon: We've promised to increase the Federal contribution to the health system. It's a country-wide problem and it's the government not taking an active role in health. We have a plan to take over hospitals if they don't work, so don't worry.

(Abbott waltzes in. People clap for some odd reason.)

Abbott makes his opening statement, 20 minutes into the 'debate'.

Abbot: (Feigns contrition) Thanks for being so patient. I didn't mean to make a grand entrance. Blah blah, i'm honoured to have been health minister [let's hope it stays past-tense]. We have made the health system teh awesome. We've made the PBS fantastic (except for Bernie Banton, who can get fucked). Bashes the states. says they need better management not more money. But they will provide more money anyway, he promises. States will be compelled to add another layer of bureaucracy to collect yet more data about what they're doing. Also the old chestnut about health boards, with yet more bureaucrats. (Carefully avoids saying what's gonna happen once the new boards have 'uncovered' problems at the hospital- presumably blame the states). Starts to sound hoarse. Only the government has a credible plan, Labor are addicted to breaucracy (despite having just been trumpeting plans to create 2 new breaucracies). Blames states again. Booga booga. blathers on, someone claps but aborts (haha).

Qn, The Age: (To Nicola Roxon) You've backed away from banning junk food advertising to kids etc. How much control do you really have?

Roxon: I'm a mum, I know the effect advertising can have on kids. We're waiting for the ACMA review on advertising. Extends further than just TV advertising. Says they'll look at things in a responsible way and they'll follow ACMA reviews. talks about how they're going to support teaching kids about food etc. Says she and Rudd have a good working relationship on the issue.

Abbott: Roxon has been overruled by Rudd (attacks Labor for backing down on the ban, then proceeds to reaffirm his own opposition to a ban). It's the parents' responsibility to protect their kids from multi-billion dollar advertising campaigns.

Rhianna King, the West Australian: You backflipped on letting all hospitals be run by local boards and used evasive language to say which hospitals would actually get them.

Abbott: The buck won't stop with Kevin Rudd. The buck should stop with someone. Just not us. So we'll have local boards and blame them instead.

Roxon: Abbott has no clear plan for local boards. We spent a lot of time talking about the Mersey hospital fuck up. The Howard government has been struggling with AWAs etc. in the Mersey.

Clinton Porteus, Courier Mail: You're late, you've blundered again. Why couldn't you turn up on time?

Abbott: My campaign launch was more important.

Roxon: The government is out of touch and arrogant. Abbot wouldn't even bother planning on being places on time.

Michelle Grattan: You supported the Federal government taking over the health system. Now you no longer believe in it. Could you take us through your thought processes in your backflip?

Abbott: I always thought that the local village idiot should be running local hospitals. We're not retreating, we're attacking in a different direction.

Roxon: it's just going to be another level of bureaucracy.

Mark Merrill, SMH: John Howard said we should be proud Medicare is fair. It really isn't- it's better for rich people because of your policies. You lie?

Abbott: No, I'm not. The Safety Net is good. We've done enough. It's all the states fault. They can like our deal or lump it.

Roxon: If Howard gets back in it'll be take it or leave it instead of negotiation with the states. No partnership, no reform.

Laura Tingle: Health care agreements- are you just going to hand over money to the states? Cherry pick hospitals? Will you have extra conditions etc?

Abbott: We want to deliver the best healthcare. We're so not interested about putting hospital workers on AWAs. (Flounders desperately on the detail of his hospital board policy).

Roxon: Tony lies. He issued a public service determination to say the Mersey hospital workers wouldn't be on AWAs. Why won't he reassure workers now?

(closing statements)

Abbott: Judge this government by its record and its promises. Judge our sincerity etc. We are awesome. Good managers. We've made everything better now than it was 11 years ago when Keating had just thought it up. We'll end the blame game by starting a new one.

Roxon: You have a choice. An old government with a dodgy record, 65% of the country in workforce shortage, 1/3 of people avoid healthcare because they can't afford it [like me- I need to get my wisdom teeth out and can't afford it]. They only have a plan to force nurses on AWAs and a crappy record. We have a clear vision for the future etc. The future. Mums and dads. The buck stops with us. A real plan, not an election plan. We'll invest etc.


Xenophobia alive and well...

Immigration, refugees and multiculturalism are issues that no-one in the centre left parties likes to talk about during election campaigns. The spectre, not to mention the reality, of Pauline Hanson is ever present not just on All Soul's Day.

Xenophobia seems to be well and truly alive in Australia if you go by some of the comments in response to my article Australia’s multicultural society works! in ONLINE Opinion. It has always disturbed me that the easiest thing to teach our children is hate.

If you missed last night's SBS Insight program catch the repeat on Friday afternoon. It looks at the African immigration issue from the perspective of local Noble Park people.

Original post at: Labor View from Broome

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Newspoll: 54-46

Published by William Bowe at 10:39 pm under Federal Election 2007

Lateline has announced a Newspoll result that gives some element of hope for the Coalition, with Labor’s lead narrowing to 54-46 from an implausible 58-42 last week. More to follow.

Full post at The Poll Bludger

Swan Costello Slapfight

Almost forgot this was on... the joys of being a student

Missed the first half hour- didn't miss much.

Long rambling question from some Government Gazette git. Karen Middleton is half asleep, don't blame her. Basically it's: what are you gonna do re: work choices?

Swan: Our system doesn't rape you up the ass... as hard.

Wormy: (doesn't really care).

Swan: blah blah productivity etc.

Costello: we've struck the right balance with WorkChoices!

(audible clunk as wormy hits the floor).

Costello: Booga booga unions, booga booga inflation. (Wormy's interest is at record lows). Back to banging on about unions, booga booga etc.

Middleton: Eden Monaro voters want spending on health etc, not tax cuts. Will you reconsider your tax cuts because a bunch of lying greedy hypocrites claim they don't want tax cuts?

Swan: No. We can have our cake and eat it too. We're endin the blame game, education revolution etc.

Wormy: Oh Wayne!

Costello: Economic future, build capacity, we will deliver it (Captain Smirk isn't doing it for wormy). Bangs on about the 1993 election and how Labor took back tax cuts 13 years ago.

Wormy: 13 years ago? I was barely legal then!

Qn (?): blah blah, debt truck, what happened with that whole debt thing? It's a bit big no?

Costello: (insert lame joke- wormy doesn't get it). We have no responsibility for the national debt (!) it's the states' fault, except for when it's good.

Wormy: jesus, I don't care.

Costello: Ok, well things are going so well we need to be in massive debt!

Wormy: Ecomanomics I know it!

Swan: Our debt is terrible, the mining boom is saving our asses.

Wormy: Oooh you make current account deficits sound sexy, Wayne!

Swan: We should be doing better and making our exports better! Blah blah, long term, the future etc. (wormy likes).

Levy, Telecrap: Leadership speculation. Tell voters what the 3 main differences will be between your govt. and a Howard govt.

Costello: Lame joke, massive smirk.

Wormy: (looks around for a paper bag).

Costello: We are a team, we make Australia strong like bull!

Wormy: (puts bag on costello's head, draws bushy eyebrows on it).

Costello: We've had our differences and we want to continue to do it. I will be exactly like john howard. Kevin Rudd me too etc. You won't have us to kick around!

Swan: Costello will rape you with uber WorkChoices, it'll be only minimum wage left!

Wormy: you sound like Kevin... I like him! They live in the past!

Coorey, smh: Why won't you fund the states? They have to resort to gambling and hookers!

Swan: We're not changing anything but the government has starved the states and played a blame game and haven't spent on infrastructure! End the blame game!

Worm: yeah, don't play games with my heart, Johnny!

Costello: We work very hard, the states have it so good!

Wormy: meh.

Costello: Labor will change the allocations! Blah blah econo-speak

Wormy: That sounded clever!

Costello: (passes the buck to the states).

Wormy: meh.

Costello: Booga booga wall to wall Labor!

Wright, The West Australian: your tax cuts are increasing inflationay pressure!! Look at NZ example. What are you doing about it?

Costello: NZ is a different country, except for being just like us.

Wormy: ???

Costello: (starts spruiking tax plan, complete with rudd-esque rhetorical questions).

Wormy: I like money!

Costello: (blathers on about how awesome he is).

Swan: Our tax cuts are staged. we need to account for the aging of the population and give people more money to vote for us! wormy: I like money!

Chick from Dow Jones: How will you make the Reserve Bank board independent?

Swan: We won't have any fundraisers on the board

Costello: (smirks) The ACTU give you money.

Qn: Do you believe the polls where lying liars say they want spending on hospitals?

Swan: No.

Costello: No. (smirks)

Wormy: They really understand my depth and value as a human being!

Clinton Porteus, Courier Mail: No one thinks you'll make a good treasurer, Swannie. Costello, you lied about interest rates. Why should we trust you?

Swan: Silly question. I have experience- I'll have more than Costello did when he started. I've talked to real people instead of smirking at pythons.

Wormy: I like him, he gets me!

Costello: Booga booga- I'm safe, he isn't. There could be danger, danger!!! Around the corner!! Bbooga booga!

Wormy: you're scary....

Andrew Green, ch 7: Has the treasury advised you if Aussie families have never been better off? And what will be different about your government, Swan?

Costello: (Dodges the question- basically admits that 'you've never been better off' came out of his ass).

Wormy: you bastard!

Swan: Rate rises, we'll start a war- no, a jihad on inflation! Costello doesn't even think there's a housing crisis!

Wormy: I'm doing it tough yo!

Swan: We look out for you, the little guy and we'll make sure that kitten prices are kept within the reach of the average allowance for a 9 year old girl!

Wormy: oooh!

Michelle Grattan: (rambling question about promises).

Costello: we always keep our promises...

Wormy: hmmm....

Costello: I'm passionate! Like rudd, see? Passion! Passionate passionate passionate!

Wormy: Ew, put your passion away.

Swan: Haha they r liars!

Wormy: lolz.

(closing statements)

Costello: I've learned life lessons handing out tax cuts. Booga booga, we're a safe pair of hands! (waves hands) Technical colleges, blah blah etc. The economy is the only important thing in the world! I can cure cancer with my economy [I shit you not he actually said words to that effect].

Wormy: wha? Still, I like you better than Howard.

Costello: (steals rudd's 'passion', coins hokey “large ambitions for a large country”).

Swan: The economy is the most important thing in the universe! It will edumacate the kids and fix the hospitals. Howard government is asleep at the wheel. (Mentions helping poor people!) The government doesn't understand you. They want to buy your vote. They suddenly care about education. Education is a core Labor value.

Wormy: mmm education...

Swan: The future, I'll invite myself to your dinners to listen to your problems and I'll end the blame game. I will build the eonomy!!!

Cut to Ray Martin ("I'm Ray Martin!). Audience wakes up and sleepily rubs eyes. Ray Martin plugs phone poll (for stupid people with lots of money, always goes Liberal).

Interest rates and lessons not yet learnt

From today's Crikey email:

Kilgour: Dumb, dumber, downright stupid and Downer
Adam Kilgour writes:

John Howard suggested last night on The 7.30 Report that Australian interest rates are rising in Australia because of the US subprime mortgage markets. So why are interest rates falling at a rate of knots in the US?

He also points to other events out of his control that impact the economy. Yet he still maintains on the eve of the 6th interest rate rise this term that he will keep interest rates down better than a Labor Government. Dumb.

At least Wayne Swan was honest about the situation in the last 24 hours saying that you couldn't make promises on interest rates. I'm tipping voters will believe Swannie over Howard on this one.

So how would Peter Costello, the economic wonder boy, keep rates low if re-elected? By making billions of dollars of spending promises? Dumber. If a financial tsunami is rolling in like Peter warns, why is he blowing the surplus like a 1999 burning cash? And if all that cash is really going to flow in all its abundance, why are we waiting until 2013 for the $34 billion tax cuts?

One thing's for sure. The winner of this election will spend the first year junking a big bunch of spending promises if they are responsible. Howard figures he's not going out with one penny in the kitty. Labor feels they have to follow. The Pork Barrel meters the daily press love so much are blown out already, less than halfway through the campaign.

Mark Vaile is still not convinced Climate Change is being impacted by human activity. That's downright stupid. Visit any farmer or regional centre and ask them what they think about that absurd statement.

Drought and water shortages. Bushfires and twisters. Mark must have seen some of these on the famed Wombat Trail. I thought the Nats' campaign was about being young, funky and relevant.

And where is Alexander Downer in the campaign? Back in Adelaide making sure the jailer doesn't fall asleep and let David Hicks escape from his cell until after polling day?

If he succeeds, he's a sure bet for South Australian state Liberal leader, his new dream job.

Australian Christian Lobby

From today's Crikey email:

Greens turn their back on a moralising Christ. Greens win

David MacCormack writes:

Another week, another bout of common sense from the Greens. This is becoming disturbing. The influential Australian Christian Lobby sent a list of 25 questions to political parties demanding to know their stance on various issues, and today garnered some publicity for the responses.

The ACL is committed to seeing "Christian principles and ethics accepted and influencing the way we are governed". When Muslims talk like that, of course, there are dark mutterings about "Sharia Law". All the major, and a few minor, parties replied to the ACL survey. But the Greens told them to get stuffed.

On environmental issues, the ACL and the Greens are actually not that far apart. "What policies and /or targets will you put in place to reduce Australia's greenhouse pollution and make the switch to clean energy?" ACL asked, focussing not merely on the environmental impact of climate change, but the effect on the world's poor.

But a quick check of the rest of the survey shows why the Greens were right to have nothing to do with it. What is the big issue of the 2007 election campaign? The economy? Industrial relations? Tax reform? Education? The worm?

Wrong. For the ACL, it's s-x. Eleven of the ACL's 25 questions are about s-x or reproduction, including the usual religious fixations with controlling women's bodies, homos-xuality and p-rnography. No wonder ACL likes the Family First Party, which in recent days has taken its obsession with p-rn to new, erm, lengths.

The survey actively pushes the concept that only "unreasonable discrimination" against gays should be addressed (although, credit where it's due, even this places the ACL in a more reasonable position than the Howard Government). The survey also proposes that single women should be discriminated against in IVF, adoption and surrogacy.

Actual real world issues are not totally absent, but ACL offers its own devout take on them. Industrial relations is confined to the issue of whether WorkChoices affects Sunday as a "day of rest". The survey asks candidates whether they support a specific refugee program for Christians, and how to stop foreign aid being used for abortions. As for declining Parliamentary oversight of government – well, the ACL is focussed on the only oversight that matters: they want the Lord's Prayer retained before each day's Parliamentary sittings.

The Greens could have taken the approach of the rugged individualists at the Liberty and Democracy Party, who used the survey to fire back a pithy libertarian response stating that religious faith was irrelevant. Instead, correctly, they refused.

The ACL survey isn't some neutral list of political positions to help those with monotheistic delusions to make up their minds how to vote.

Instead, it pushes a nasty agenda focussed on s-x and discrimination.

The Greens are the only party to see it for what it is - or to have the moral courage to act accordingly.

Picking Winners #3: 1998 Reflections

1998 saw a national swing of 4.61% to the ALP, giving it 50.98% of the two-party-preferred vote. It only won 67 of the 148 seats or 45.27%. A depressing reflection for Labor voters. With a uniform swing in every electorate, the ALP would have won 17 of the 18 seats which it did capture, plus 11 more.

This graph of seats which changed hands includes Hume which switched from National to Liberal, Curtin and Moore won by the Libs from independents and Kalgoorlie won by the Libs from the former ALP member and then independent. These swings are not towards the ALP.

Most of the large swings against the government were in safe ALP or Coalition seats. A lot of "wasted" votes. With only 0.93% more in 8 marginals Kim Beazley would have saved us 9 years of Mr. Sneaky.

Kevin Rudd will be hoping that this pattern does not repeat itself in 2007 or that the national swing is enough to overcome this.

Original post at: Labor View from Broome

Monday, October 29, 2007

National Farmers Federation hates Australian workers

Gam and I just saw this pro-WorkChoices ad by the National Farmers Federation on SBS.

The gist? Australia workers should bend over and take it up the arse from the Howard government because Australian farmers need 'flexibility'. The whole of the population should be subjected to AWAs that strip away their rights at work because farmers want to use AWAs.

And if you disagree, you must hate farmers. Think of the farmers!


Picking Winners #2: Seats changing hands

There was quite a spread in 2004 as the national, seat by seat, swings show. An earlier post shows the top 20 of these.

In 2004, 70 seats had a swing less than the 1.79% average towards the government and 79 had a swing greater than the average. Yet so few seats changed hands. Those that did were all over the place. All the Coalition wins were with swings greater than the average except one. Reasons varied. Four weeks before the campaign the impact on Tasmanian seats of forest policy could not have been anticipated quite the way it panned out.

If the swing had only been the average 1.79% in the seats picked up by the government, 6 of the 8 would still have been changed hands. Had the swing been uniform then the ALP would have won 59 seats compared with the 60 they did win.

The spread seemed to even out in the end across the nation. But if you're trying to pick a particular seat to have a punt, good luck!

Original post at: Labor View form Broome

Younger people still under represented on electoral roll

From today's Crikey email:

Rolls close, young voters still under represented

Simon Jackman and Peter Brent writes:

Late on Friday afternoon, the Australian Electoral Commission published the total numbers on the electoral roll for the upcoming election.

The rolls had closed, for new enrolments and re-enrolments, on the evening of Wednesday 17 October - nine days previous – and for address changes on Tuesday 23 October.

Three Saturday papers looked at the data, all concentrating on the youth component. George Megalogenis in the Weekend Australian was upbeat, noting that “the number of 18-year-olds eligible to vote jumped by 10.3 per cent when compared with the previous election” Sarah Smiles in The Age was also positive, describing the “nearly 100,000 more Australians in the 18-29 age bracket on the electoral roll than at the last election.”

But Paul Bibby at the Sydney Morning Herald was less happy, claiming that “the proportion of 18- to 24-year-olds who are eligible to vote has not increased since 2004, remaining at 80 per cent, compared to 95 per cent for the rest of the adult population.”

So who was right? This is a tricky area, requiring assumptions and estimates, and we don’t have all the data available.

For a start, we ignore the million or so Australians living overseas. This is a huge number, but a story within itself.

The good news is that the national electoral roll, as a proportion of the number of Australians eligible to vote, is about the same as it was as of the close-of-rolls in 2004. In fact, our best estimate has it .1 percent higher.

That number is around 93 percent of the age-eligible citizenry. This is “good” because earlier in the year this looked to be a heroic task. But not going backwards is qualified praise, and that still leaves 7 percent of people off the roll.

Megalogenis’s numbers on 18-year-olds are correct, but in proportional terms the increase is less stark. In 2004, 18-year-olds comprised 1.43 percent of the electoral roll, now they account for 1.51 percent.

But the 18-24 subset has marginally shrunk: in 2004 it accounted for 11.27 percent of the roll, and this year 11.26 percent. At the same time, it appears that the size of this age cohort has actually slightly increased in the population (see the March 2007 release of Australian Demographic Statistics from the ABS), and so rates of enrolment of this group may actually be going backwards.

Smiles’ number is also only part of the story. The proportion the roll accounted for by 18-29-year-olds is actually a little smaller in 2007 than in 2004: 19.13 compared to 19.28 percent.

Bibby’s 80% should read “in the low 80s” but his 95% is about right, as is his general thrust: young people are significantly under-represented on the electoral roll.

And one final point. Last year’s changes to the electoral law, to close the rolls when the writs are issued, instead of seven days later, were justified by the government on the grounds that the last minute flurry of enrolments placed an intolerable burden on the AEC. This flurry – numbering 156,000 in 2004 – has traditionally come about because the AEC finally had a cut-off they could advertise: “if you don’t enrol by such and such a date, you miss out”.

In ending this practice, the government claimed the AEC could get the roll up to date in advance. And the evidence suggests that the AEC did, through “RockEnrol” and general advertising, gather significant numbers before the election was called.

But in the end what happened in 2007? By postponing the issue of the writs, the government left the rolls open after all – for three working days, rather than the old five - after calling the election.

During this time 77,000 new enrolments were processed. Why the government did this we don’t know, and we don’t know how much the AEC suffered under the burden, but we do know that without those 77,000, total roll numbers this year would look very unimpressive

Deal between Greens and Dems good for Queensland

I was glad to hear that the Democrats in Queensland, represented by Senator Andrew Bartlett, and the Greens, have done a preference deal for the senate at the upcoming federal election. Queensland is a traditionally backward state, electing more than their fair share of redneck 'conservative' senators. Which is why it's been such rich pickings for Pauline Hanson.

Even though the Liberals and Nationals are running on a joint ticket (with the Liberals first on the ticket, of course), Nationals leader Mark Vaile denies that this will put current National Party fatcat senator Ron Boswell at risk of losing his seat. Knowing Queensland, Vaile is right, but we can dream...

Kyoto: Howard hoist on his own...

Howard's rejection of Kyoto has always been symbolic not practical. A tough no nonsense approach, inline with his mate Geroge W.

It worked for a while but the tide has turned and now the government has dropped its standard or being hoisted on its own petard. Malcolm Turnbull cannot enjoy being the standard bearer. (Love mixing metaphors. It's fitting that petard comes from the word for "fart"). Something to do with wind power?

Rudd is certainly on a winner with Al Gore rather than the neo-cons.

Original post at: Labor View from Broome

Sunday, October 28, 2007

GetUp! Campaign - The Senate

About 20 minutes ago I got the following email from GetUp!:

Dear friends,

For the first time in Australian history, three competing parties have come together in one political ad - under the GetUp banner - with an urgent plea to all Australians: Vote to end the Coalition's rubber stamp in the Senate!

Since the Coalition took absolute Senate control, they've made it a mere rubber stamp for their own policy. And if they retain control, they will have veto power over legislation on the issues that matter - from climate change to IR to Indigenous affairs.

Our recent polling shows that control of the Senate rests on a knife's edge - and with up to 2 million Australians yet to make up their mind how they will vote in the Senate, this ad can tip the balance. Can you donate $100, $50, or just $25 to get this ad on the air in the states where the balance of power will be decided?

This is not about GetUp taking sides, it's about a functioning house of review where no one party - whether Liberal or Labor - holds all the cards.

What's brought these leaders from the Greens, Labor and the Democrats together? Two years of frustration. Frustration that the Coalition has rejected 98% of other parties' amendments while passing literally 100% of their own. Frustration that ill-conceived legislation was passed on their watch without even the pretence of cross-party compromise.

The good news is that the Coalition holds its majority by just one seat. We're already running an intensive grassroots campaign in Canberra, South Australia and Victoria, where our efforts can tip the balance of power in the Senate - now we need your help to broadcast this ad and campaign all the way to the election to ensure that no matter who wins, we get democracy back. Click here now to watch the ad:

One of the good things about not being a political party is you can break the rules and bring people together across party lines in really exciting ways - like creating an election ad starring three major parties.

They've never done this before because never before in Australia have 200,000 people come together across party lines as an independent political force for change. You've astounded the establishment before - most recently when over 4,000 of you donated over $250,000 for our Climate Cleverer ad. Let's get this ad on the air where it really matters.

Thanks for making it happen,

The GetUp team

PS - Join our blog discussion here.

PPS - The Senate holds the key to action on the most pressing issues of our time. For instance, as the Senate stands now, the Coalition will have total veto power over any and all climate change legislation for the next three years. And what about "ripping up WorkChoices"? Sorry, but even if Kevin Rudd wins, a Coalition-controlled Senate could veto that too. So donate now to ensure we get the balance back. One party control of the Senate - whether Liberal or Labor - is bad for democracy. And remember, this election it's pretty much impossible for Labor to win majority control in the Senate.

While I'm not saying donate money to GetUp!, I am wanting you to consider what your Senate vote can do.

Political smear campaigns

Yesterday, Joe Hockey was busted admitting that the Libs are running a smear campaign, "based" on fact. (See Mikey's post on this - very funny.)

Hockey is also effectively accusing the ALP of running a scare campaign by proxy - because of the ads that the unions are running.

"I don't think the Labor Party is in any position to judge us on the credentials of our advertising campaign, when they've been the beneficiaries of the greatest fear campaign ever run by the union movement in Australia," he said.

A couple of months ago, I received a pdf of a page that had clearly been ripped out of some kind of magazine, outlining the "frightening" details of the union involvement of Rudd's team. I've saved it as a pic and you can take a look below (click to enlarge).

While I don't know the actual document from which the page was ripped, given the choice of colours, and the colours used in the ads being run by the Liberal Party, I can hazard a guess.

(And poor old Peter Garrett. Lumped in with all the "union officials". Because apparently having a life before entering the political fray is enough to incur the wrath of some. Abbott was in a seminary and worked as a journo before joining the Liberal ranks - and let's not forget his early union membership - does that mean that he gets to be lumped in with all the lawyers?)

The point of all this is: there will continue to be either poor or excellent attempts at swaying people's votes, purely based on the fear of what will happen. But the future is never set in stone.

Given that Australians trusted the ALP for so many years before switching to the Libs (and that was because they successfully managed to convince that they were for "battlers"), and they provided the platform for the coalition's economic growth, means that there should be no fear in voting the ALP back into power.

As for the make up of the cabinet? Things are never perfectly proportioned in the real world. Take a look at your friends - are they perfectly representative of the diversity of Australia? Unlikely. So you cannot realistically expect your government to be. You vote for the people you think will do the job best for you. How do you know who will do what is best? You do not base it some information that is presented to you by a biased source, you go and find out the information for yourself. If you want to live in a democracy, you have to be willing to put in a little effort.

Picking Winners #1: Top 20 Swings 2004

Picking winners which won't follow the uniform swings used in the plethora of pendulums and meters is a hard job for psephologists. This table shows the 10 seats from the last election with highest swing away from the Howard government and the 10 with the highest swing to them.

The difference between Gilmore (-4.55%) and Canning (9.16%) is a huge 13.71%. If you take into account the 1.79% national swing to the coalition, the swing in Gilmore was 6.34%, to the ALP and 7.37% to the Liberals in Canning. Interestingly, neither seat changed hands. It may all even out in the wash, but it makes the punters' job harder than ever when it comes to picking winners in individual seats. Form is not always a good indicator.

Original post at: Labor View from Broome

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's Like TeeVee On The Internets

We'll be doing weekly lazy YouTube posts each weekend when people selfishly stop visiting and go live their lives. Here's a few good ones.

Search For A Scapegoat: Gay Marriage Edition

Targeting young single voters

Keating Goodness

What Happened Last Week?

Does My Ass Look Short In This?

Interest Rates

Everyone has an opinion on interest rates and inflation. Of course 90%+ of these people have no clue what these constructs are, what they do or what affects them. Usually the less one knows about these topics the louder they tend to bleat the govt's line on the economy. The following is a comment from jamesm who commented on Mikey's blog and is a handy, simple guide.

Less money in the hand means less to spend. ie. I had $100 disposable per week yesterday, now I have $90, so I buy less. Let's call that 'demand'.

But to understand how interest rates cause/curb inflation you have to understand the other side of the equation:- supply (also known as 'capacity' which is what the ALP is going on about).

I explained this concept successfully to a friend a couple of days ago with the following story.

Let's say a baker has an oven capable of making 100 loafs per day, which he does and which he sells at $1 per loaf (sorry, I know that's ridiculously cheap, I'm just making the maths simple enough to follow without a calculator.)

Let's also say we have a government cutting taxes so that people have $110 to spend at the bakers. The baker can't make 110 loaves as his oven isn't big enough - he's "capacity constrained", so instead he puts up the price by 10c. He now gets paid $110 for his hundred loaves, much quicker and easier than investing in a new oven.

He isn't producing anything extra, but what he produces costs more. His customers are spending more, but for the same result. ie. we have inflation.

(Note he could build a new oven, but a.) that will take time, b.) if he builds it just for 110 loaves it will either be swamped pretty shortly or demand may fall back to 100 loaves and c.) it'd take him a while to make back his investment. You could argue he should build for 200 loaves but that would be a risk as the larger oven would be more expensive to run, take longer to pay back and his market may never grow to 200 loaves/day so he'd be forced to run it under capacity. It's easier to just put the price up.)

At this point the RBA notices that 'demand' has gone up and puts up interest rates so there's only $100 ($100 start + $10 tax cut - $10 extra interest) to spend on bread. Suddenly the baker is back to selling only 100 loaves at the old price.

Everybody's sweet, but the economy can't grow.

At this point - in an ideal world - the government's role is to step in and encourage the baker to build the larger oven, perhaps by giving him some investment incentives or kickbacks. You know, the sort of thing the last ALP government did with those "R&D tax breaks" that Costello abolished; or the infrastructure ("ovens") that the states are building; or the education that would allow the baker to hire a smart assistant to squeeze more bread out of his oven.

Please let that sink in for a couple of moments.

The last point to understand is that this argument is _only_ valid when the economy is running at full capacity (like now). ie. extra income in peoples hands only causes inflation if the baker can't bake more loaves more or less at will (which the economy tragics would call "low marginal cost").

For example, if the same baker were only making and selling 70 loaves a day in his 100 loave oven he would have plenty of capacity to ramp up to 80 *without* raising his prices. That's why the government absolutely must be held responsible for its duty to increase the capacity of the economy so that there is room for growth.

Costello and Howard haven't done that. If anything they've spent 11 years nickle and diming us while they stash away phony short term surpluses for handouts at election time.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Interest rates - why, oh, why?

Maybe if I smile they'll forget I'm an arrogant disingenuous arsehole

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has backed away from a Liberal advertisement in the 2004 election campaign promising low interest rates, saying they were pulled from air after only two days.


Now maybe this is correct, maybe they did run for only two days, but I gotta tell you, they are the thing I remember most about the last election campaign.

I still remember where I was when I heard the first one on the radio. I still remember my immediate thoughts ("How the hell do they think they can get away with making that claim?"). But make that claim they did. I saw the ad repeatedly on the tele too. You cannot claim to keep interest rates low (or lower than a Labor government in this case) when you don't set the interest rates!

I suppose after 5 interest rate rises in 3 years, and another one seemingly imminent, they have to face up to the fact that for however long those ads ran, they did their job a little too well - they are still burned into the psyche of everyone who took even vague notice of the last election. They are evidence that the government will say anything they can to scare you into voting for them.

A very basic economics lesson for everyone. The RB increases interest rates because they want to reduce spending. Spending is high precisely because the economy is strong. By increasing the interest rates, they are reducing the speed of the growth of the economy. Why? Because if the economy grows too quickly, it will cause inflation. By increasing interest rates and therefore reducing the demand for money (and spending), they are reducing the chance of inflation.

It's a fine line, which is why there is always a concern when governments cut taxation rates - will there be upward pressure on the interest rates?

But run for your lives! There's a "financial tsunami" on the way!

An interest rate rise before poll day is viewed as a near-certainty by market economists, but Mr Costello said inflationary pressures in the economy would abate next year.

He said inflation remained within the target band, and much lower than previous episodes in Australian history when it had peaked above 16 per cent.

The Government's re-election pitch is "go for growth", and Mr Costello said Australians seemed to have forgotten that recessions every decade or so were the "normal" state of affairs.


So, Captain Smirk. That would be a "recession we [have] to have", wouldn't it then? Jesus Christ, even their choice of words are intended to provoke fear in people. Tsunami = mass devastation.

"It is almost as if people have become so used to growth that they think a recession can't happen in this country. I don't believe that the business cycle is defeated. At some point the business cycle will turn down, no doubt about it.

"We don't want people to think that recessions have been abolished in this country."

On the subject of rising consumer prices, Mr Costello said it was normal for people to complain. "Nobody's ever going to feel entirely happy with everything," he said. Life in the real world would always be "this side of heaven".

"People don't like price rises. The important thing is to keep price rises to a minimum."

But he dismissed the idea that cost of living pressures would be a vote changer. "I think people will say, well, we understand why that is happening. I don't think that is a vote-change issue because it's not a government decision."

No it isn't. Shame you weren't willing to admit that in the last election campaign, hmmmm?

UPDATE: jamesm has a very good explanation about interest rates over on Mikey's blog.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Charles Perkins Oration 2007

Thanks to Will Owen who provided the following link to Marion Scrymgour's speech "Whose national emergency? Caboolture and Kirribili? or Milikapati and Mutijulu?": Labor minister lashes party over intervention (SMH 24 October 2007).

PDF files of the full speech are available in this article.

Original post: Labor View form Broome

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Two Strong Voices

We have had the very special experience of having two indigenous women as our local members of parliament. Carol Martin, whose video interview for Broome Voices is featured below, was the first aboriginal women elected to any parliament in Australia. She is the State Member for Kimberley in Western Australia.

Marion Scrymgour, who is a Minister in the Northern Territory government, was our local member during the four years we lived in Maningrida. Yesterday she took on Mal Brough and his invasion of NT aboriginal communities. It was time that someone of Marion's authority spoke up so strongly:

Aboriginal Territorians are being herded back to primitivism of assimilation and the days of native welfare. It has been a deliberate, savage attack on the sanctity of Aboriginal family life.
Brough wants NT Minister to resign over intervention criticism (ABC News 24 October 2007)

Download the audio podcast from the ABC news site.

If anyone knows of a complete copy of her speech, please let me know.

Original post at: Labor View from Broome

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Killerspudly strikes again!

Search for a Scapegoat 4 - African edition

For my views see Australia's multicultural society works and posts in the indigenous topic on the blog.

Original post at: Labor View from Broome

Now what?

The debate looks as though it could be the circuit breaker - for Rudd. It is not so much that his performance last night was exceptional, rather that Howard threw all he had and nothing much happened. It is a sign how the government has been living in a one-sided debate bubble that Howard thought the first question he could ask was about Rudd not bringing up climate change with George Bush!

Full post at The Piping Shrike

Newspoll: 58-42

Published by William Bowe at 9:27 pm under Federal Election 2007

Tasmanian reader Econocrat tells of a stunning Newspoll result foreshadowed on tonight’s Lateline: 58-42 to Labor. More to follow …

UPDATE: Kevin Rudd’s lead as preferred prime minister has increased to 50 per cent to 37 per cent. Like the two-party figure, this is a 2 per cent change in either direction from last week. Preliminary reports at Sky News and The Australian.

Full post at The Poll Bludger

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Worm slays snake

"New skin, same snake, same venom" as an elder described Howard's recent conversion on reconciliation. The collective worm got him just right in the debate tonight. They didn't like his team, they remembered his lies, and they knew that his relationship with George W had not helped the wars on terrorism and global warming.

As a retired chalkie, I was saddened by Howard's last gasp in the debate which he spent on education reform: back to basics, trade schools and history curriculum. The reality has been 11 years without real funding for literacy and numeracy, no strategy for skills shortages and empty rhetoric on national curriculum. He had so little to say it was embarrassing.

PS. Good to hear that he has our military in Iraq negotiating a major policy change for use of our troops. Hardly an appropriate action for a caretaker PM.

My venom is better viewed in "John Howard: not, not.. responsible" a video on my plog 'Labor View from Broome'

Debate stuff

Note: I'll update this as I find more posts on the debate - be sure to check in periodically. My summary can be found here.

The Editor did some liveblogging over at Grods. Way better than mine. Check it out.

Gam did great stuff (see below) too. Sarah has summed the debate up nicely.

Ah, Mikey. Can expect good stuff there. Also has comment on the worm.

typingisnotactivism on Howard's fuck you to the aboriginal community.

UPDATE (these are ones I found this morning before work, only got a chance to put them up now):

Duckpond debate post. Top stuff

Club Troppo's brief summary and analysis

Peter Martin's blunt comments on Howard's economics

2007 Debate Live Blog


Howard killed the feed because 9 had the worm. He'll be monstered in the press tomorrow. I can't clean this mess up. My hands are about to drop off. Sarah will fix it. This is a draft. God...

Rudd speaks first, worm in paroxsyms of orgiastic pleasure, reaching for the skies. Only drops when he starts in with the Peter Costello crap.

Howard's turn. Worm hits rock bottom and starts to dig. He also takes too long talking.

Question time.

Howard says he's awesome and keeps banging on about it's not all about the economic boom

Rudd responds. Why haven't we invested our wealth wisely? Wormy like. Oh wormy like. Who's your daddy Mr worm?

Qn: Rudd, you copy Howard, why should we throw him out?

Rudd: I'm an economic conservative.

Worm: I don't give a fuck, get back down there and keep hitting that spot. Oh yeah, that's it. More future. Wormy like. Oh, say climate change again.

Howard replies: You're not an economic conservative, you need to believe it!

Wormy: Meh.

Howard. Let me hit you with some Hansard... blah blah tax, blah blah voting.

Worm: meh.

Howard: Tarrifs?

Worm: nah.

Howard: OK. how about tax policy! Peter Costello.

Wormy: Do Not Want!

Qn: Howard leadership succession:

Howard: Peter will succeed me well into my next term. Here's some group love- Wormy, Me and Peter together. Alexander Downer!

(Worm throws up a little in its mouth. Still not breaking half way. Worm drops with every mention of Costello).

Rudd: Don't worry about the economy, I'm just like Howard. It's OK. Now, check this shit. Muthafuckin Howard as treasurer.

Wormy: Oh god! (Wormy goes weak at the knees).

Qn: Unions, Rudd, booga booga!

Rudd: Deflection. Howard has lawyers. Wormy hates lawyers. Also your team hates you. My team is diverse. James Hardie. Justice. Booya!

Howard: Lawyers are diverse. Union officials = teh bad. Wormy still hates lawyers. Especially short balding ones. Rudd smiles and takes some notes, winking at Wormy. Booga booga, wall to wall Labor governments.

Wormy: meh.

Qn, Alison: Economy's hot but how will you ease the squeeze? (Deja vu, anyone?)

Howard: I feel your pain.

Wormy: the fuck you do. OK, tax reform, Rudd copied.

Wormy:... tell me more...

Howard: Tax relief, here's some cash.

Wormy: I ain't no ho! Well maybe... keep talking. I feel flirty. Child care, education. etc.

Rudd: Tax, baby. I'm gonna take from the rich and be your sugar daddy.

Wormy: oh yeah!

Rudd: Tax rebates, school etc, tax rebates, costs of childcare etc.

Worm: Don't stop big Kev, don't stop!

Qn, Alison: Interest rates are coming, won't you make more interest rates hikes more likely?

Rudd: Don't you worry about that, baby. Education. Wormy: what did i ask you? Doesn't matter.

Qn: Will you say there will be no interest rate rises under a Rudd government?

Rudd: Howard was irresponsible to promise to keep interest rates at record lows. Wormy: hello sailor!

Howard: Monetary policy, debated surplus, help the reserve bank. Paul Keating.

Wormy: Who?

Howard: Reserve bank, independence. My interest rates are much better than Keating's.

Wormy: what does my ex have to do with it?

Qn: Apologise to home owners for interest rates.

Howard: Blah blah, no. Would I lie to you? Wormy: yes. Keating blah blah.

Qn, Paul Kelly: Interest rates, your $34 billion in tax cuts will increase them, Howard. Are you responsible for hiking rates? (this man works for gov. gazette?)

Howard: Interest rates, higher inflation. Surplus keeps interest rates low. Strong economy blah blah. I want to keep wages low.

Wormy: Wha? too much talking granddad.

Howard: (sweats).

Paul Kelly: scent of a wounded stag in his nostrils.

Howard's voice cracks. Wormy, why do you no wanna pay for me no mo?

Rudd: Hey baby, Let my hit you with more Howard as treasurer- You fucked up mate. I'm honest. Labor made mistakes in the past, I cop to them. You don't. I'm so honest, I'll only love you baby.

Wormy: Ruddy, don't stop talking lover. Rudd: Plan, education revolution.

Qn: Govt. gazette: You copy govt. you copy, tax revolution not education.

Rudd: We have a plan, for trades in secondary schools, kids education, numeracy. Kid's education, revolution.

Wormy: I still happy.

Rudd: Howard is going in the wrong direction, I take from the rich and give to the hospitals. Wormy like.

Howard: (losing it) HECS! OECD! Yells at Rudd and waves a finger. Wormy: settle down!

Qn, Laurie Oakes: The unions support you, won't you owe them and feed voters' kids to the ACTU?

Rudd: Don't worry about that baby, I'm flexible. I can do you any way you like. Don't worry, I'll bash the unions too. And baby, don't be sacred of the unions, they were there when good things happened with Hawke Keating. They cleaned up after granddad. (Libs in the audience are getting antsy and have to be told to shut up by the mediator). Howard's being slaugtered.

Howard: Booga booga, unions, no one is in a union so 70% is ridiculous. Internal labor politics. Former trade union officials.

Wormy: Meh.

Qn, Oakes: You have more IR plans in store don't you Howard? How do I know you won't rape me?

Howard: Don't worry, would I fuck you in the ass?

Wormy: (backs up against the wall and refuses to move).

Howard: come on baby, it's for the economy, I'll use lube.

Wormy: No!

Howard: It'll stop strikes!

Wormy: I don't know...

Howard: Workchoices is good for you! (Howard blathers on and on as he has for every question. Wormy falls asleep).

Qn, Oakes: You're lying aren't you? You hid IR legislation going into the last election and lied to voters, saying you had no plans for a uniform national IR system! Why would we believe you going into this election?

Howard: It was for your own good!

Wormy: You bastard! (dives down).

Howard: You'll get paid well if you take it up the ass!

Wormy: Really? I mean, No!!!

Howard: blathers on (and on and on) again.

Rudd: Good to get a word in! Howard's a liar! Interest rates, broken promises. He lied about Workchoices till you grabbed the the senate and tried to fuck wormy. Peter Costello will screw you too! And I won't fuck you in the ass. Look how many other people he's screwed? You can't trust him.

Wormy: mmmm... I like you.

Qn: Peter Hartcher. You want to cut greenhouse gases. How will you have progress markers?

Rudd: I'm good on climate change baby, my pad has aircon, Howard's got a sweaty tin shack. Targets, blah bah benchmarks. MY aircon's been installed by real experts!

Wormy:... nice...

Rudd: Howard and co. didn't want aircon, come to my place.

Qn: what would you actually reduce?

Rudd: Kyoto, blah blah. Wormy:... talk to me about the future some more honey... Rudd: The future. Worm: Ahhhh.

Qn: Paul Kelly: Targets, you need them.

Rudd, we already got them. The future. Wormy: that's the spot.

Howard: I believe in global warming blah blah, no targets though. We have a plan to upgrade the tin shack baby! Come back!

Wormy: Meh.

Howard: Blather blather. Cleaner coal. (cleaner coal?!)

Qn, Hartcher: Your fake Kyoto is a fake, Bush won't be bound by any targets.

Howard: I can tell Bush to join! Bush always does what I tell him!

Worm: I don't want to party with him!

Howard: It's ok baby i can control him.

Wormy: OK.... tell me more...

Rudd: China is critical. They won't act internationally because we won't sign Kyoto, I have morals and I'm thinking about babies, with you honey.

Wormy: Oh Kruddy!

Rudd: clean coal (wtf)? hybrids, renewable energy etc. Howard isn't comitted to climate change. He just wants to get in your pants. To put in his nuke reactor.

Wormy: OMG!

QN: Hartcher, Howard can you control Bush?

Howard: I can control Bush.

Wormy: the fuck you can. *plummets*

Howard: Baby I was a statesman at APEC.

Wormy: I still don't want to play with him!!

QN, Chris Ulman: Has terrorism gone up since Iraq?

Howard: No.

Wormy: I don't believe you. Oh wait, I do, I remember why I let you fuck me now...

Qn: Iraq is a terrorist training camp.

Howard: Al Qaeda is in retreat, I won't answer your question.

Rudd: Howard won't answer the question. British intelligence told us we'd be more at risk. Howard didn't listen baby. Iraq is a fuck up, worse than 'nam. More terrorists baby, he a bad man! Mick Keelty got monstered for telling the truth. I'm a tough man, string up the Tangos. But I also have a soft side, pay people to stop blowing shit up.

Qn: Will you withdraw all troops?

Rudd. All combat troops out. Staged withdrawal, baby. Everyone else will probably stay.

Howard: (knocks over his mike) I won't withdraw. Rudd has to withdraw all or nothing. I might withdraw them, they'll be doing training, don't worry.

Wormy: You're not Rudd!

Howard: I'll ask the yanks to let us leave.

Qn: Rudd, you do lots of 'me too'. What do you stand on?

Rudd: I'm strong on Iraq. I make pragmatic choices. I only protect Aussies from the death penalty. I don't intervene on the terrorists' side. I believe in the future.

Wormy: Don't stop Kruddy! Don't stop!

Rudd: the future, passion, core elements.

Qn: Reconciliation. Why won't you say sorry?

Howard: I'm sorry people were badly treated in the past. I have nothing to apologise for.

Wormy: I don't really like abos...

Howard: I'm your man, me and Mal Brough. And Downer.

Wormy: don't like Downer.

Howard: I'm going to send in more troops. I won't make a symbolic apology. Blathers on too long.

Rudd: We want to protect the little kids, it was terrible so we backed Howard, for the kids. (Wormy like). (Rudd Faces howard. Talks about respect and building bridges) . I like babies.

Wormy: Ooh Kruddy, build my bridge!

Rudd asks: IR, redundancies. Is it possible that you can lose redundancy pay?

Howard: No, you need fair compensation.

Worm: I could lose what??

Howard asks: If you believe in climate change why didn't you spend longer talking to Bush.

Rudd: He said don't talk about it. Bush wouldn't change his mind so I ditched him. I'm the man for the future, you slept for 11 years. *Bashes bush) You didn't talk to him at all. (Wormy orgasms).

Rudd qn: Iraq: Why should we believe you when you say you wouldn't send in more troops? It's like interest rates and Workchoices. You said before the last election that you had no plans to send in troops, then immediately after the election you doubled the number of Australian troops in Iraq,

Howard: You believe me right?

Wormy: no.

Howard: (waves the flag accuses Rudd of politicising the armed forces- haha) We'll beg the allies to let us leave. I'm good at begging.

Wormy. You smell like old man.

Howard: (blathers some more) What about making Bush look good?

Wormy: Fuck him.

Howard: You've talked about pricing and interest rates. Can you guarantee things like I do?

Rudd: We said we can do things to help, not say you've never had it so good.

Wormy: likes.

Rudd: Taxes, rebates etc. (Worm likes even more).

Rudd: I'm gonna investigate the petrol prices with our commissioner!

Wormy: Mmmmm petrol.

Rudd closing: I'm a kid from QLD. A kid with a plan, baby, it's gotta mean something. Feelings, and the future, baby, and passion and revolutions and broadband. And I'm all about the bush!

Wormy (creams its pants).

Howard: (Sounds tired, almost asleep) Beware of the promises, I have money. Big piles of money. I've been around a long time. A patchy plan on education, other than restarting the culture wars. We are heroic and lets be proud of ourselves (steals education revolution idea).

P.S. Annabel Crabb is a bobblehead.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Axis of Awesome

Westpoll: Liberals lead in Perth marginals

Published by William Bowe at 2:16 pm under Federal Election 2007

A very encouraging result for the government from Westpoll in today’s West Australian, which has the Liberals holding firm in their Perth marginals of Stirling and Hasluck and set to win Cowan from Labor with a 5 per cent swing. The poll was conducted

Full post at The Poll Bludger

e-Too! on Tax

Published by Possum Comitatus @ 3:09 pm

The ALP tax response is a simple one; Me Too for those earning up to 180K using the Coalition tax plan as the base, remove the top tax rate and flatten the system over the coming years as the reform sizzle, and offer 50% tax rebates through FTB Part A for $750 and $1500 for education expenditure on primary and highschool children respectively with a big focus on net connections, computers and software.

It’s an e-Too on tax ;-)

Full post at Possums Pollytics

Cool Stuff

Hill & Knowlton Election Predictor

I don't know how it works but it sure is fun cranking the swing percentages up really high.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Greens Queensland Campaign Launch

Gam and I made a bit of a mad scramble to get to the Greens' Queensland campaign launch today. Gam had clinic, so he caught the train to Ipswich at 7:30am and returned early at around 12pm so we could ride to Ahimsa House at West End for the launch. We'd originally planned on catching the City Cat there, but upon finding we'd have to wait half an hour, Gam said it would be faster to ride there over the William Jolly bridge. And so it would have been if the route from the Coronation St riverside bike path over the bridge and to Ahimsa House hadn't been a veritable obstacle course filled with death traps and what seemed like a total lack of pedestrian crossings and traffic lights. It must have been the least pedestrian and cyclist-friendly part of Brisbane we've ever been to.

Consequently, we were late.

We arrived about 5 minutes before Bob Brown finished his speech and crept around trying to find good spots to take photos from without trampling on or blocking the views of the roughly 50 or so people who attended. The light inside was pretty terrible and after the speech Bob Brown headed outside for a chat to the media.

On his way out he was accosted by several people including Gam, who asked him to pose for a photo with me- Gam said we were nobodies and would he mind having his photo taken with me, and of course Bob Brown said that wasn't at all true and happily posed for a photo. Classic photo position with his hand behind my back, which I realised was all sweaty and gross because we'd ridden there and I had been wearing a backpack. Sorry about that, Bob! He had the good grace not to look disgusted :)

I later told Gam he should have introduced himself as 'the inventor of lolhowards'. Which isn't strictly true given that one blogger did one back in May and Gam's first one was in July, but it still would have sounded good!

Gam snapped about a million pictures while Bob Brown did his speech outside- the idea is that you've got a better chance of getting a good one if you snap loads, and I suppose it's true to some extent. He also tried hard to get a nice photo of the Greens' Queensland senate candidate Larissa Waters- we think she looks a tad manic and scary in her campaign photos and we figured we could do better:

Gam also snapped a nice picture or two of the media:

We also caught up with the Greens' candidate for the federal seat of Brisbane, Elizabeth Guthrie, who we first met by chance at Southbank a couple of weeks ago. In the same vein as the Facebook group 'I wish I lived in Bennelong so I could vote for Maxine' I almost wish we lived in the seat of Brisbane so I could vote for Elizabeth. She seems lovely. Guess I'll have to settle for Dr Evan Jones, our local Greens candidate (Ryan).

All in all an interesting experience. Not particularly exciting (unless you count the near death experiences trying to cross the roads where there were no pedestrian crossings for miles... and we were near a primary school and a park!). There was a nice moment when a bunch of kids doing what looked like a gym class in the school hall across the road started cheering and waving at Bob Brown. Gam wondered if they even knew who he was, but then some of them started yelling 'go the Greens!', so I suppose they did. It was terribly cute and would have been a great photo opportunity if there hadn't been the stupid business of having to have the kids' parents sign release forms before any photographs could be used, so no photos were taken. You can bet your arse John Howard or Kevin Rudd would have sprinted across the road to take advantage of an opportunity like that, traffic not withstanding.