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112 responses to “Julia Gillard fights back against Downer and the Liberal chattering classes”

  1. Pavlov's Cat

    Oh, if only she would do that all the time.

  2. Steve of Ferny Hills

    Looks like her previous ‘explanation’, “I can’t comment. Cabinet in confidence, you understand” wasn’t working. According to her earlier statement, Gillard has now breached Cabinet confidentiality.

  3. Pavlov's Cat

    Wasn’t it Julie Bishop who was originally harping on about this, or was it Downer who originally started it? I heard Bishop on the radio this morning answering the ‘Contents of meetings on national security are classified information, der’ argument by saying they didn’t want the contents, they just wanted the attendance record. Almost as though there wasn’t a country to be run, really.

  4. Jacques de Molay

    That’s what they need to start doing more of, take it up to them.

  5. David Irving (no relation)

    At last.

  6. sg

    I would have frozen like a deer in the headlights, confounded by the choice of attacks – should I go the “policeman with 21 years’ experience” approach, or should I spend 30 seconds pointing out that Downer’s idea of “good for national security” is funneling $300m to Saddam Hussein just before going to war against him.

    Go JG!

  7. gregh

    This could bring the press more onside as now she is giving them some entertainment.

  8. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    Now that’s more like it.

  9. CMMC

    Good that she’s starting to talk up the NBN, in response to that nitwit journo who claimed she hadn’t raised any “economic” issues.

    The Coalition is very cagey on this subject, notice how they dismiss the insulation and BER schemes as “Pink Batt fiasco” and “School Hall rorts” but shy away from deriding the NBN?

    People know the NBN will an economic and cutural miracle. That is, people who aren’t old farts who read The Australian.

  10. Anthony

    Mark @ 9, he even ended up with Tony Parkinson as his media guy. Say No More.

  11. Steve of Ferny Hills

    @12 – If the NBN is going to be an economic triumph why doesn’t Conroy release the business case? Gillard is desperate for good news.

  12. Lefty E

    Watch the media now “JG back in town, comes out shootin'”

    You gotta chuck em a bone sometimes.

  13. Jen

    It is apparent our policitians live in a sheltered workshop. I am so disillusioned with the current crop I am seriously considering surrending my vote.
    I don’t really care who stabbed Kevin – but I do know why (Labor thought they were going to lose under him …..because their polling told them so!)- and it was a shameless act. Kevin had the right ideas, but incompetent people all around him …. including Julia.

    These people couldn’t run a chook pen!

  14. terriblefabulous

    Except… if this is a GillardWin, then basically she’s trying to position herself in opposition to the ‘chattering classes’… which, correct me if I’m wrong, used to refer to the sort of people who read this blog, eh? this is divisive, dangerous rhetoric – I thought so when Howard was using it, I don’t think any differently about it when Gillard employs this stuff against the Coalition.

  15. tigtog

    basically she’s trying to position herself in opposition to the ‘chattering classes’… which, correct me if I’m wrong, used to refer to the sort of people who read this blog, eh?

    Has the term been used dismissively when referring to tertiary-educated politically engaged people of all sorts? Yes.

    Does it more accurately refer to expensively-educated upper-middle-class trust-fund types such as mostly belong to the LibNats? Yes.

    Conclusion: I don’t have a problem with Gillard re-purposing the term to refer to those to whom it more accurately belongs.

  16. paul walter

    Yep, that’s more like it… not ‘visceral’, crisp!

  17. adrian

    Re-purposing myself moving forward on the roundtable.

    Goodnight and goodbye!

  18. Cuppa

    That part about them spending their lives in an office typing press releases rings oh, so true. For the past few years, every time I’ve tuned into an ABC Radio news bulletin, there have been the Liberal press releases. Without fail. With the appearance of being read verbatim, usually uncritically, often accompanied by a voice grab of the spinner concerned.

    Without doubt the Liberals are the party of spin, propaganda, smear, filth, slogans and dumbed-down catch-phrases. We might expect ‘our’ media to conduct themselves with more discernment, self-respect and respect for their audiences – but no. They seem to be roped into partnering with the Liberals as some sort of defacto propaganda arm.

    It’s a ghastly situation for the country to be in, and actively toxic for our democracy.

  19. Katz

    Julie Bishop’s support for Israeli forgery of Australian government documents is a glaring example of Liberal Party treason.

  20. Ken Lovell

    Ummm Katz @ 23 Paul Howes wrote in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ that we ought to be proud Australia played an accidental part in killing a terrorist. So I guess if there’s any treason it’s bipartisan, although I’m blowed if I can see it.

  21. Katz

    There is a huge difference between approving of the outcome of an illegal and treasonable act and conniving in the commission of that illegal and treasonable act.

  22. paul walter

    24-25, that was a stomach churning, unhealthy piece of betrayal from those people. Howes is evidence of the brain drain in talent into the trade union movement that has gone with de industrialisation and the triumph of the right both inside and outside of the trade union movement.
    As for the other, does she beleive in anything?

  23. Jacques de Molay

    Speaking of Alexander Downer:

    Ousted prime minister Kevin Rudd leaked damaging material against his own Labor colleagues that the Liberal Party had fed him, a Howard government minister says.

    Former foreign minister Alexander Downer said that as an ambitious Labor backbencher in opposition, Mr Rudd sought to undermine the ALP’s then foreign affairs spokesman Laurie Brereton by giving information to the media.

    “I don’t use the c-word, but I do use the f-word pretty freely, and I can tell you that Kevin Rudd is a f***ing awful person,” he said.

    “He was so incredibly unprincipled.”


  24. tssk

    Alexander Downer said that? And he wasn’t immediately struck down by lightning? (Head explodes.)

  25. Andrew Reynolds

    Come on, Mark. Her first defence was that she could not discuss her attendance. She has now obviously decided that this was not good enough, so she is talking about the fact that she failed to attend and sent a junior staffer (albeit a former copper). Ergo, either she was wrong then or she is now.
    To me she was wrong then – attendance at meetings is not covered by confidentiality. She was trying that as an opening gambit in the hope that it would go away. That failed, so she has moved on.
    Just as well we are all moving forward.

    In any case, these were meetings with the heads of the defence force, police and intelligence agencies. What the heck could be more important than that? A chat with Arbib? Opening a school?

  26. Lefty E

    Id love to know what breathtaking ‘national security’ issues were on the agenda for those meetings.

    ADF urgently demanding more taxpayer handouts? 50 Helpless people in a shitty old boat? Former PM found without pants in Washington?

    Or was it something really serious, like hoons with knives?

  27. Andrew Reynolds

    Lefty E,
    How about the fact that we have a lot of troops in the field at the moment?
    I am not sure what is worse – the idea that there are national security briefings that our (then) PM and deputy PM are too important to attend or the idea that the PM would call a meeting with the heads of our defence forces, federal police and intelligence agencies to discuss “…hoons with knives”.
    Either way, to me it seems to be a terrible way to run a government.
    At the moment, I am just wishing I had put money on the Libs when the return was $4.10.
    If that is the case, then let her publish her diary for the relevant times. Let’s “move forward” with some accountability.

  28. Brian

    Andrew R, Mark and Lefty E are right. But the real point here is why the media continually focus on trivial garbage. Julia tries one way of swatting the fly – don’t answer and feed the monster. It didn’t work, so she tried another.

    Laurie Oakes says we should all be talking about economic management, whereas:

    The election is focused on other things. Cabinet leaks apparently calculated to damage the Prime Minister. Gillard’s earlobes and marital status and lack of religion. Gangs and knife crime. WorkChoices.(Emphasis added)

    We can ignore whole policy areas, apparently, but every little leak deserves the entire attention of the press gallery for at least a day and beyond.

  29. Razor

    Given that an individual’s level of security clearance is actually a piece of classified information, then the attendance at a meeting that requires a security clearance is also classified, unless that information is declassified by an appropriately authorised officer.

    I may have just breached the Offical Secrets Act.

    That said – sending minions to meetings of that level of importance is pretty poor form – I would love to know what is of greater importance than those meetings.

  30. Lefty E

    I’m sure every PM misses some meeting that others think terribly important Andrew.

    But noone leaks about it – so its like it …never happened. And therefore isn’t considered “terrible” etc.

    What if Rudd was visiting Black Saturday bushfire victims? At Copenhagen? Got a phone call from Obama? Shit like this happens to PMs constantly.

    My guess is he went to a few, and realized what a total waste of time it was: probably some rehashed ONA reports and a few self-important wankers like Barrie (who ASIS wouldnt clue up on a real threat in case he leaked it 4 ways in 10 minutes).

    As for Gillard – who really cares if the deputy PM and ed minister was there, or not?

    Exactly no one, I would suggest. Until this leak calculated for max damage.

  31. Nick

    Actually, I’m inclined to agree with Andrew Reynolds.

    If they’re not willing to pull out of Afghanistan for good, and refrain from trumping up the threat of international terrorism whenever it flits favourably on the domestic political breeze, they bloody well should have to attend every single, boring, chair-warming, appearance-keeping-up, routine minute-taking minute of that Howard established war cabinet…

  32. Nick

    ‘Cause you know, things are security issues if you say they are, we’re now perpetually at war while there’s no-one at war with us, and none of them will do anything in our ‘medium to long term strategic interest’ other than what they’re told.

    What was the reason the Coalition gave for them to have to attend? Barely needed one, did they.

  33. jane

    Alexander Downer, the paper cut king. Has one PJK been tutoring Ms Gillard? One can only hope so.

    Andrew Reynolds, apparently the Rodent didn’t attend all security briefings, but sent a staffer. I never noticed the press or people like you getting your knickers in a knot about it.

    Perhaps you can explain why it’s such an outrage if Labour PMs are not at present at all meetings, but not Liberal PMs?

  34. Gospel Truth

    I trust that Tony Abbott will now promise, as PM, to attend ALL national security committee meetings, and that he will give a signed pledge to this effect to a radio announcer so that we can, like, you know, believe him.

  35. James Wakefield

    Fantastic! She just tore Downer a new arsehole! Who ever initially leaked this petty little piece of irrelevance hopefully spends a long time in a federal prison. The confirmation by Gillard was clearly in the national interest and I’d say essential to stabilise the publics concerns of National Security. If her actions are construed as a breach, which I seriously doubt, it was done ethically as she had tried to avoid doing so until she had to.

  36. Fran Barlow

    [email protected] asked:

    But the real point here is why the media continually focus on trivial garbage.

    I blame the ALP, mainly.

    They chose a strategy of repeatedly trashing their won brand (or smiling while others did) while the Libs kept the faith in their own brand of misanthropic and ignorant angst. The ALP tried to make this an election about nothing but who do you trust — Howard — Latham in 2004 with colours reversed. They starved the media scrum of serious big picture policy and left them to pick up scraps that would fit into bold headlines and existing narratives. There was always a 50-50 chance that that would backfire.

    If Loughnane had been running ALP strategy, he could not have done a better job of providing the complement to Abbot’s strengths. That this policy came directly out of the ALP’s own desire to serve and protect the interests of the boss class before all else — concretised in the slogan whatever it takes — just makes this episode all the more historically instructive.

  37. Fran Barlow

    oops mods … please close blockquote after Brian’s remark ending “garbage”

  38. Nickws

    Anyone who believes Downer’s claims about Rudd being a Howard government ‘agent of influence’ in the then Labor Opposition is a bloody fool.

    All the old plummy-voiced tory is doing is turning around his very own party’s anxiety/paranoia about the public service being too pro-Labor.

    If there’s any truth to the allegation that Rudd white-anted Laurie Brereton using insider knowledge from his own/Labor’s contacts at DFAT then this is almost certainly a case of public servants helping the Opposition of the day get its act in order to beat the government of the day. I bet Downer knows this, and is just projecting his impotent rage onto the one man who still drives him mad.

    We all know that if Downer had ever made allegations about a Rudd/DFAT relationship when in office it would have been to say that Rudd was undermining the elected government of the day with the help of unprofessional, biased cronies at foreign affairs. (I’m sure there must be some old reports from pre-’07 about Downer whinging about ‘the enemy within’ at his ministry.)

  39. Nickws

    Speak of the devil!

    I switch on my TV to see the Monk is telling the King Of Leak Journalism that Downer is denying the story!

    Hmmm, it couldn’t be that not only was the ex-minister telling a porky, but that in general this is old territory that really, really pains the Liberal Party?

    AWB wounded them more than we realise, methinks.

  40. Katz

    That said – sending minions to meetings of that level of importance is pretty poor form – I would love to know what is of greater importance than those meetings.

    The Paper Cut (Prevention of) Sub-Committee of the DFAT OHS Steering Committee?

  41. Brian

    Nick @ 36 and Andrew R, journalists in the main have never themselves organised anything more complex than a booze-up in a brewery, and tend to think that whatever interests them any should, at any given time, have been the total and undivided concern of a politician.

    Gillard had two large portfolios (always a mistake) as well as being Deputy PM. Of course there would be times that she couldn’t be everywhere there was something relevant to her responsibilities going on.

    The structure of this little effort on the part of someone systematically trying to sink her campaign is that Gillard is held to be guilty unless she can prove her innocence. She’ll never be able to do that with people inclined to believe such garbage, no matter what she does.

    The media are tools in the destabilisation process. At the very least there is an opportunity cost. It’s their responsibility to flesh out and ask questions about such policies as NBN and the disabilities initiative. They forgo this to our detriment. (See Grog’s Gamut.)

    For Oakes to complain that we are talking about this garbage rather than our bright shining economic management record is surely the height of hypocrisy.

  42. tigtog

    ABC Online: Downer denies Rudd double agent report

    But Mr Downer has released a statement this morning saying the interpretation placed on the comments he made are “wrong”.

    “The interpretation placed on my comments to the Sunday Telegraph is wrong,” he said.

    “Kevin Rudd was not used by me or other members of the Liberal Party as a so-called ‘double agent’ to leak material against other members of the Labor Party.”

    Mr Downer says the journalist who wrote the story has “created a more controversial story than my comments warranted”.

    Through a spokesman Mr Rudd has also denied the substance of the report.

    He says the allegations are completely and utterly false and he is seeking legal advice.

  43. tssk

    Nickws…it’s job done though. Most of my mates are expressing amazement that Rudd leaked to Downer. Rudd could hold a defamation cakewalk through the Supreme Court now…it doesn’t matter.

    Two of my mates who loathe Downer are switching their vote to punish Rudd and the ALP for such dishonourable behavior. I told them that it’s a crap story but they won’t believe me.

  44. tssk

    Also even the Insiders this morning talked about it as fact with a compilation of clips of Graham Richardson, Latham, Joe and Tony all talking about Rudd leaking and the mess that is the ALP.

    “If they can’t govern themselves they can’t govern the country.”

  45. Ken Lovell

    Why Is Downer constantly commenting on Australian domestic politics? Isn’t he supposed to be healing centuries of sectarian conflict in Cyprus?

    Downer has always struck me as the archetypical word-he-does-not-use. I assume he could not have got his present sinecure without Rudd’s approval, but his behaviour since has been totally graceless and boorish. Still it’s all one can expect I guess from a clown who boasted about relaxing at the end of a hard day over a few Scotches and the thoughts of his fave commentator, Mark ‘THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING!!!’ Steyn.

  46. Tyro Rex

    Barry Cassidy intervewing Swanny on the TV. Every single question is about Kevin Rudd, leaks, factions, internal machinations … basically it’s all a celebrity gossip toss-off for ugly people.

    That comes just after he disgracefully allowed Akerman to continue to comment about the relevance of grubby attacks on Tim Matheson and Gillard’s personal life.

  47. Tyro Rex

    ooops that was meant to be in the roundtable thread, sorry

  48. Nickws

    Nickws…it’s job done though. Most of my mates are expressing amazement that Rudd leaked to Downer. Rudd could hold a defamation cakewalk through the Supreme Court now…it doesn’t matter.

    Two of my mates who loathe Downer are switching their vote to punish Rudd and the ALP for such dishonourable behavior. I told them that it’s a crap story but they won’t believe me.

    Really, your friends are this adament about Downer-before-he-issued-his-correction being a superior source to Downer-after-he-issued-his-correction?

    This sounds a little too low-info for my tastes…

  49. MIKE

    Love how every time labor starts talking about the prospect of Tone becoming PM or actually quoting some of the guff he’s pumped out over the years, Andrew Robb pops up in the media and accuses Labor of engaging in a smear campaign. This morning he was at it again. Actually, Andrew, Labor isn’t smearing Tone, because Tone has already been there and done that himself.

  50. Lefty E

    Surely the only point worth mentioning about the entire NSC issue is that someone with clearance is leaking from it.

    If this is such an important high-level committee – isnt this a grave breach of national security?

    Shouldnt the Federal police be hunting down the leaker in case they leak other info from it?

    I think we can safely rule Rudd and GIllard out. So who’s the mole compromising national security?

    I think they should probably be arrested, leading to potential charges. Maybe they leak other material from the committee.

    Or …isnt this committee that important after all?

  51. tigtog

    Also, I really, really want to see the attendance record of Howard.

  52. John D

    Brian @33: Laurie Oakes for hippocrit of the election. He was the one who raised the question of Kevin’s demise at a press concference where Julie outlined the governments economic policy!! And the rest of the media sheep concentrated their reporting on Laurie and his obsession with trivial pursuits.

  53. Helen

    [Finally gets around to watching vid after busy Saturday]


    Yup – one new arsehole torn for Mr Downer.

  54. tigtog

    Plus: isn’t the entire justification for every high-level committee that they actually are there for senior bureaucrats and advisers to discuss the details and produce possible plans of action that form the basis of recommendations to our leaders? That their role is to take the load of delving into reams of detail off the shoulders of government leaders? Surely they don’t require the oversight of our leaders for every single moment of the deliberations they undergo before arriving at their recommendations?

  55. Brian

    Lefty E, for me the finger points more and more to Alister Jordan or someone senior in the Rudd’s PMO.

    What I’d like to know id whether Jordan used to attend cabinet and kitchen cabinet meetings, sitting in the second row along the wall. I’m betting he did.

    I’ll try to give reasons tonight.

  56. Fine

    Go Jules. Find your inner mongrel and run with it.

  57. Sam

    What Downer said is defamatory, pure and simple, if it is not true. Rudd should sue. Often, the risk and cost of litigation is a deterrent to taking action, but this consideration does not apply in this case. Rudd can afford a battalion of the best defamation QCs in the land.

  58. Lefty E

    I think we can rule out Jordan for the leak against Rudd, Brian!

    So unless there’s two separate leaks from same committee (which is possible, but seems to me unlikely), Mark is probably right in looking elsewhere.

  59. Fine

    I don’t see why someone would have to be at the NSC meeting to leak this. The leaks are about who attended, not what was discussed. Anyone could know that sometimes Rudd and Gillard sent other people. But certainly there seems to be at least two people leaking.

  60. Fine

    Agree Mark.

  61. Lefty E

    Ever get the feeling some ’senior labor figures’ dont have the party’s best interests at heart?


  62. Andrew Reynolds

    Can you blame the meeja for focussing on “triviality” given the major policy differences evident in this campaign? For example – do we hold a large focus group on climate change or just do a few little practical things – or perhaps both? [yawn]

  63. Lefty E

    Agree, Andrew R. As I said earlier, its little wonder they’re spitballing in class.

    That said, agree with that Grog guy Mark linked to: they could *at least* report policy detail. Some of us actually want to know what’s proposed!

  64. Paul Burns

    Lerfty E @ 69,
    well, they are a capitalist party who believe in free enterprise.

  65. sg

    lefty E, that article’s a really good example of how the media have their knives out for labor. Halfway down there’s a throwaway “the coalition are also doing it” line, but the whole tone of the article makes it sound as if it’s only labor. It’s a nasty beat-up.

  66. Nick

    I was being a mite facetious, Brian!

    “We can ignore whole policy areas, apparently, but every little leak deserves the entire attention of the press gallery for at least a day and beyond.”

    There’s someone leaking, and there’s nothing you can do about it (which people get), but the reality is none of the leaks are particularly damning. So just embrace them. Every leak is an opportunity to educate and inform the public and the press about the policies it most closely relates to.

    Don’t shirk the stupid questions. Since you’ve got their undivided attention, give a mind-blowing speech for ten minutes in response every time. Tell the public something they didn’t already know. Fill them in on the truth a bit. The worst that can happen is it gets downplayed in the media. The best is that a 3-5 second sound bite becomes a 10-20 second sound bite, the public begin to realise you’re actually talking to them, rather than the press gallery, and just possibly the leaks dry up.

  67. Andrew Reynolds

    Let’s be realistic on IR. Even if you do not trust Abbott on it the Libs will have to get it through the Senate. Even the most optimistic projections of the likely voting patterns do not give them the control of the Senate again – i.e. any IR changes will need either the Greens or the ALP’s consent.
    On the others – NBN is really just a question of how to pay for it (both agree it will happen), the Super changes are not really that important, tax – is there really a difference now other than a really trimmed down mining tax and the “repay the debt” mantra is coming from both of them – they only really differ on exactly how fast it should go.
    So – other than some lingering mistrust on IR, some small changes to Superannuation and a small mining tax all we have is a difference in style.

  68. Don Wigan

    Every leak is an opportunity to educate and inform the public and the press about the policies it most closely relates to.

    Don’t shirk the stupid questions. Since you’ve got their undivided attention, give a mind-blowing speech for ten minutes in response every time. Tell the public something they didn’t already know. Fill them in on the truth a bit. The worst that can happen is it gets downplayed in the media.

    That’s an excellent idea, Nick.

    It would certainly be something like Gough would have handled it (one of many methods). Even Ratty acknowledged that Gough was the greatest Opposition Leader ever. Whenever he ridiculed a coalition failure, he’d finish off by adding, “…under a Labor Government, however, this, this and this would occur…” – a neat way of plugging the alternative, which those point-scoring opposition leaders at state level never seem to have learned. (and Abbott has not either.)

  69. Rebekka

    @Andrew Reynolds: “NBN is really just a question of how to pay for it (both agree it will happen)”

    From the Liberal Party website:

    “The Coalition does not support Labor’s reckless NBN. We would not proceed with this arrangement if elected.”

    And as for this: ” the Super changes are not really that important”

    MySuper and SuperStream are going to save the average worker 40% in fees, and add $40,000 to their retirement savings. That might be “not really that important” to you, but that’s an important difference for a lot of workers.

    The coalition seems more concerned about the big for-profit super funds than about ordinary Australians’ retirement incomes, choosing instead to echo the concerns of the big funds, who are going to miss out on fees.

    And what Mark said about the IR stuff.

  70. MIKE

    REBEKKA – You are totally right, although I wonder if the libs would pull out of the NBN if elected.

    On Super though, it’s pretty obvious that the libs want to keep handing a motzah of the punters’ money to their shark mates at the big end of town. This is definitely one of the Rudd?)reforms I’m most proud of – truly generational.

    But, on the other hand, I’ve got my money in an industry fund, well protected from the sharks (I hope). So if the punters are stupid enough to vote for Tone and keep their money in retail funds I won’t have any sympathy for them.

  71. MIKE

    Just saw Julia on Downer. Oh, she is authentic when she’s pissed off. More please julia. She keeps talking like that she will get robotic compliance from the whole male population.

    My only regret, as I watched it, was that she is not using her tongue to rip into the mining industry. Too bad labor sacrificed that target-rich environment.

  72. Rebekka

    Mike, I reckon there are a lot of people who don’t realise they’re being gouged for fees, or who find the whole process of changing funds too hard (it requires a certified copy of either your passport or drivers’ license, for a start) – that doesn’t make them stupid. Voting for Tony might, though.

  73. PeterTB

    she cannot get her message out

    You’re right Mark – and it might be terminal for Labor. However, you should also acknowledge that the Libs had the same problem at least for two years after losing to Rudd. Poor Brendan Nelson simply got no traction at all for his efforts – and he was a decent man.

  74. Nick

    With respect, Mark, and I have been following your arguments, I don’t agree that it’s been nearly good enough. The parental leave and pension increase was the closest Gillard has got as far as I’ve seen, and generated the most favourable response from the media. This from yesterday Friday is not what I am talking about:

    Gillard pressed on Labor leaks

    “I am not going to be diverted by political chatter, politicians and former politicians talking about politicians […]”

    She went on to speak for another minute or so about the NBN, but it was that opening line that made the news, and nothing else.

    So why even include that opening line? Why respond in that manner? It’s not about asserting yourself (me strong, won’t take crap). If people don’t already believe that about you (and I’m sure a lot of people thought they did), and you’re still doing it 2-3 weeks into an election campaign…

    She continued:

    “[…] former politicians talking about politicians. My focus now and for the 21st of August, my focus as Prime Minister will be on delivering a strong economy with jobs for Australians and jobs for the future. And that’s what we’re here doing today. And the National Broadband Network is a choice about whether or not we […]

    Is so much unnecessary waffle before finally getting to the point.

    “My focus today is the National Broadband Network, and the very clear choice Australians have between…

    Would have been much better. My point is don’t leave out policy from any sentence – and especially not your opener (which, since it directly follows the question, can’t be skipped without some very bodgy-looking editing on the part of the news program), and the press have a choice to either take it or leave it…

    Her “whack your opponents” defence was only marginally better. It sure beats the lacklustre “cabinet discussions are confidential”, and the “if elected, I’ll sack any cabinet leakers I find”, which surely went without saying, and imho was a complete waste of airtime (and note that last one did get a decent run).

    But none of those lines that make the news are talking to voters…they’re just not.

    Stop making it so easy for them.

  75. Nick

    (Friday, not yesterday)

  76. Lefty E

    On Downer’s lame intervention: extraordinary that he sat on these revelations through the 2007 campaign, and earlier, while Rudd systematically demolished his cred and reputation over AWB, isnt it?

    I guess he must have forgotten all about it straight after it happened… just like those reports on his desk about AWB funds to Saddam.

  77. nasking

    I reckon Labor’s leaks have been SEXED UP. 🙂



  78. Andrew E

    Downer setting up Rudd: greatest political own-goal in 90 years, as I’ve said elsewhere.

  79. Ken Lovell

    Rebekka @ 80 ‘MySuper and SuperStream are going to save the average worker 40% in fees, and add $40,000 to their retirement savings.’

    I find this claim unbelievable. Do you have a link to the data that justifies it, or even a reputable source that endorses it? Many (most?) workers are in industry schemes where the fees are already very low. Saving 40% seems to me like a figure plucked out of the air.

  80. Andrew Reynolds

    If you imagine that WorkChoices could be re-introduced by regulation then either you or I need to learn a little bit more about regulation. Sure – some things can be done, but any Minister is bound by the terms of the underlying legislation. In addition, many regulations have been disallowed in the past and will be so in the future.
    Additionally, as happened with Howard, if they tried to do it then it would only take until 2013 to get rid of them and I doubt they would be trusted by the voters ever again.
    Perhaps, then, if you truly believe they would be stupid enough to do it you should vote Liberal – it would mean the ALP would be the party of government for a long time afterwards.
    If that is the case then the workers should be doing it voluntarily now – as they can – rather than waiting for the government to force them to do it later. Can you provide a link to a site that shows that? I might like to up my own super if that is the case.
    On the NBN – the Lib policy is clear (and, incidentally, I would agree) that the taxpayer should not be funding it. Nowhere do that say we should not have faster broadband.

  81. Rebekka

    @Ken Lovell, those are the numbers from the Cooper Review. Feel free to google it.

  82. Kim

    @92 – I’d suggest checking the Cooper Report, Ken, because that’s where the policy recommendation comes from.

  83. Kim

    Great minds, Rebekka!

  84. Rebekka

    @Andrew Reynolds, MySuper and the restrictions on fees recommended by the Cooper Review haven’t been introduced yet, so there’s nothing to do at the moment, and if Abbott gets elected, there won’t be.

  85. Rebekka

    @Kim, indeed 🙂

  86. Nickws

    I would bet my left leg Rudd’s DFAT sources are Broinowski-style ALP fellow travellers who wanted him to do well purely so he and his party could replace Downer. This is why Lexxy has talked back the whole thing about this being a Howard government engineered political strategy. He realises he’s strayed into “What do you mean `we’, Kemo Sabe?” territory in front of the people whose approval he most craves, the international diplomatic corp.

    Andrew Reynolds @ 76: So – other than some lingering mistrust on IR, some small changes to Superannuation and a small mining tax all we have is a difference in style.

    If Abbott were to win this thing then he’s going to face a whole lotta heat not to be the moderate fellow on policy he threatens to be. That’s a sure fire route to a bad case of the Andrew Robbs.

    My guess is his government would announce royal commissions into everything, and look to defund select areas of the public service in order to provoke chaos that can then be exploited. They can do that while still investing in corporate friendly infrastructure like mining ports, etc (Stuchbury of the Oz is calling for new spending in that area).

    Abbott’s weakness with the economic Right creates all sorts of problems for him that can only be addressed by implementing a certain amount of creative destruction. Obviously the commentariat won’t see such a thing coming, they think ‘end the waste’ is all about school hall funding, but it does worry me that the dissident media is unable to figure this out—that the worst thing about a PM Abbott is that as far as his side is concerned he just doesn’t have the Howard/Costello mythos to fall back on, of being creator of all the wealth we plebs see around us today. Leftwingers are too obsessed by the idea he’s the second coming of Howard to see he isn’t actually considered as such by the Howardians.

    The weird thing is you might have got your constructive do-nothing government under Costello.

  87. jane

    But Gospel Truth @39, it might be a non-core written undertaking.

    There’s another character assassination of Rudd by Claire Harvey in today’s Sunday Mail entitled “Rudd His Darker Side”, rehashing The Paper Cut King’s bullsh!t.

    I couldn’t bring myself to read the lot, but the Parrot, the lying toerag, claims that Rudd wouldn’t stop following him around at functions, much to the Parrot’s embarrassment. Ding, ding, ding! Lie detector going mad!

    Mark @87 are they getting their message out on Facebook and other networks and is that an effective way of circumventing the media and communicating directly to voters?

  88. Kim

    @99 –

    If Abbott were to win this thing then he’s going to face a whole lotta heat not to be the moderate fellow on policy he threatens to be. That’s a sure fire route to a bad case of the Andrew Robbs.

    Why bother with Royal Commissions when you can just do the “ZOMG! They Left The Treasury Empty!” stunt ala Costello, and more recently, David Cameron. “It’s much worse than we thought! Our promises now need rethinking. Look, workplace flexibility!”…

  89. Brian

    On the IR stuff, I think the unions say that there are 98 ways that changes can be made without changing the law as such.

    Mark, on leaks, it is important, I think, as to whether Rudd is involved. Other than that the behaviour of the press is more important than who is the source of the leaking.

    I wanted to share something Laura Tingle said in her Friday column:

    Real leaks rarely happen the way people think, More often than journalists like to admit, they are accidental. Sometimes they are malicious. Sometimes they can flow from an outburst made during a bleak moment in the life of a politician which is selectively doled out later by journalist keeping themselves in the news.

    She’s got to be talking about Laurie Oakes here, and the possibility that he caught someone like Rudd or perhaps Tanner at a fragile moment.

    She then goes on to say that the leaks against Gillard have created an intense fear in Labor and “lets face it, they all think it was Kevin Rudd”.

    She not saying she knows and that they are right. But then she goes on to say that beyond the leaks Labor’s campaign has been a disaster because it has not found a way of advocating its record.

    The leaks by Oates, firstly about the “Kirribilli” agreement broken on the night of the putsch, and the leaks last week about Gillard’s attitude to the aged pension increases and the paid parental leave, were the most damaging. The first dudded he National Press Club conference and established the meme of Labor in disarray. Possum’s analysis suggests that the second may have moved the elderly and women against Gillard. (Moving the young was all her own work with the dopey climate change manouvre.)

    Mark, I think you and Kim have said there is a pattern in the leaks. This suggests a mind or minds that are politically savvy, media savvy, know something of what went on and have a motive.

    So barring a lucky accident whereby Oakes caught Rudd or perhaps Tanner at a fragile moment, I’m suggesting that Jordan or someone senior in Rudd’s office ticks the boxes, especially if the leaks are malicious at source.

    The national security leaks seem to be different in character.

    I suspect we have the beginnings of a new pattern now where journalists are digging around to see what else they can throw up. So we have the Downer stuff and today Cassidy suggested to Swan on Insiders that he, Swan, was the stumbling block in Rudd cutting a deal with the miners. Actually I think I’ve heard that one before.

    Swan got a barrage about leaks (and Rudd) from Cassidy, and mostly he did as Nick @ 85 said and just said, “I think the people of Australia want to hear about…”

    But it will not go far in the news cycle because he’s not giving them what they want to hear.

    That’s all I want to say about leaks.

  90. Chris

    Ken @ 92 – its not just a difference between for profit and non profit industry funds but also the economies of scale. Apparently there will be a lot of mergers of smaller super funds to get a few larger ones instead which can have lower fees. And the $40,000 while a big number is only about 7% difference over 35 years so seems quite believable.

  91. Kim

    Brian, you might be interested in this. Julia Gillard is saying she’s going on the front foot, and will do so by introducing “principal power” in schools: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/special-reports/julia-gillard-vows-to-take-control-of-her-election-campaign/story-fn5ko0pw-1225899749875

  92. Brian

    Kim, it’s interesting that she is going to “just go for it” but I kinda wish she wouldn’t on schools. My understanding is that principals here already have considerable power. You may have heard me raving about Buranda Primary School which I though was one of the best evah. The Principal eschewed the full autonomy available to her because she wanted to spend her time on teaching and the curriculum rather than administration.

    I understand that with the BER principals were entitled to give QBuild a swerve and arrange their own tenders. It’s just that QBuild would not then guarantee the work done.

    But I’m a bit out of it now, so I’m not confident I’ve got that all right.

    With Abbott I suspect we’ll get performance pay for teachers according to how well the kids do on national tests.

  93. Ken Lovell

    Rebekka and Kim I infer from your comments that you have not actually read the Cooper Report. The relevant section states (my emphasis):

    ‘Treasury estimates that AN AVERAGE WAGE EARNER paying average MySuper fees COULD benefit from around a 40 per cent fee cut, lifting their final superannuation balance by around $40,000 or 7 per cent.

    Given the uncertainties involved, these estimates should be seen as BROADLY INDICATIVE ONLY. Details of the Treasury assumptions underpinning these projections are set out in appendix C.’

    If a journalist paraphrased this as ‘MySuper and SuperStream are going to save the average worker 40% in fees, and add $40,000 to their retirement savings’ s/he would be savaged for grossly misrepresenting the Report, and rightly so.

    If you care to look at Appendix C of the Report, it states that ‘Several submissions estimate that SuperStream reforms would reduce operating costs in the current system by up to $1B per year and Treasury has used this estimate in its assumptions …

    ‘Treasury has not independently verified these cost reduction estimates.’

    Forgive me if I don’t get excited about my extra $40,000 just yet.

  94. Andrew Reynolds

    …and if the government could simply wave their magic wand and decree a huge reduction in fees, perhaps they can do it for the cost of goods in supermarkets as well – and housing and cars and …
    Let’s all just live in a place where the government can regulate prices by decree.
    Fairies at the bottom of the garden, anyone?

  95. Chris

    Kim @ 104 – that’s another policy that the libs would be proud of.

    [email protected] 105 – isn’t that sort of role what you’d expect the senior teachers to be doing rather than the principal?

  96. Brian

    Chris, when the principal took over she had 48 pupils. The deal was that when the first enrolment return went in (second week – eighth day?) she had to have 50 or she’d be down from three teachers to two. So she put an advertisement in the supermarket window about the exciting educational program and then went home to decide what the exciting program would be.

    A few years later they had to cap the enrolment at 175 because of the constricted site (we don’t have zoning), but it was still a small school with the principal part-time teaching.

  97. jane

    On leaks, I wonder if there may be another Godwin Grech in the PS who is responsible for this stuff? It has the cold, unscrupulous stench of the Smuggles Set all over it.

    I wonder if Gillard could do a quick witch hunt and provide her very own electoral “bombshell”? What fun it would be!

  98. Chris

    Brian @ 109 – I understand now. You’d hope that the education department would have very different expectations for what a principal of a school of 50 students who also has part time teaching duties has to do compared to one looking after a school of 500 or 1000.

  99. Brian

    Chris, we lack detail on what all this means. A newspaper report this morning said it involved 1000 schools. If true, that would indicate larger schools, which already have significant internal administrative support structures better able to cope, which was clearly what you had in mind.