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102 responses to “44/28 Watch: nastiness and incompetence edition”

  1. Terry

    The big question coming out of this week in Parliament is where the relationship between the Coalition and the Greens will be going over the next six months.

  2. paul burns

    The other big question is whether a combination of more antics from Chrissy Pyne and the PMO’s micromanagement will persist to the point of massive dissatisfaction with Abbott. I suspect so. Hopefully it will bring his overthrow.

  3. jungney

    Rather than note the twisting, serpentine politics of this administration, might it not be better to ask ‘has it done anything good or decent?’. So far, no good at all.

  4. Terry2

    Who do you think is the most appalling federal politician – either side of politics of course – the field is vast. My nomination is:

    Sen. Michaelia Cash

  5. Linda

    Paul Burns @2 “Chrissy Pyne” and Terry2 @ 4

    Have either of you considered just why you might be trying to “feminise” the issues with the current government?

  6. Salient Green

    I took “Chrissy” as an infantalising nickname which suits him to a tee.

  7. Brian

    Terry 2 @ 4, they don’t come much worse than Cory Bernardi (see the linked article).

  8. Linda

    Salient Green @ 6 “I took “Chrissy” as an infantalising nickname which suits him to a tee”

    Well yeah that was kinda my point…

  9. Salient Green

    Linda, if you think that infantalising is ‘kinda’ the same as ‘feminising’ in my mind, you are wrong. To me the ‘mincing poodle’ was not fitting for Pyne but juvenile he certainly is. He struts and postures like an adolescent male on ‘roids. He has way too much power for someone so lacking in the wisdom of experience.

  10. Val

    Salient Green @ 9
    I think men being able to recognise the issues with adolescent males is a fair point (just as women may recognise issues with adolescent females) – I once heard a beautiful discussion by a man on how economic rationalism is like adolescent boys trying to take the scary emotional stuff out of life – but I think you’ve missed Linda’s point. “Chrissy” is not a descriptor for an adolescent boy – it’s baby and “girly”.

  11. zorronsky

    With thanks to Mike from Stawell who nails Pyne.

    You probably know of the mighty Huon Pine, but how about the less majestic Hubris Pyne? Uniquely, while completely barefaced it still has shameless bark with little timbre. It has juvenile needles, nothing up top and a lean so far to the right it eventually falls from the weight of its own self-imposed magnificence. Often found surrounded by Abbott droppings. Likelihood of extinction? Gonski.

  12. Graham Bell

    (1). The Re-Colonialization of Australia continues apace.

    (2). Why pick on Cory Bernadi over his attack on “Menzies’ Mouthpiece”?
    He was just being a good boy thanking his master – for ensuring his faction/party got elected.
    Wonder which bits of the ABC King Rupert will acquire and which bits will be sold off.

  13. Salient Green

    Val, baby yes, girly not necessarily. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrissy
    Linda took it to mean one and I took it to mean another. The point is you can’t assume it was meant a certain way and make an issue of it without knowing for sure.

  14. paul burns

    Linda @ 5,
    Like Julia Gillard was when she called him a poodle? Your suggestion is ridiculous. The guy is an immature prat. No gender politics intended or meant, consciously or unconsciously. Now can we get back to discussing how nasty and incompetent this government is?
    Like their fasc*st like attempt to silence a senior critic of past very dodgy diplomatic policies of a former Coalition government due to testify at the Hague by taking away his passport.

  15. Paul Norton

    Just when a certain kind of person with a certain kind of political affiliation is saying the Greens are very wicked for voting with the government to lift the debt ceiling, Labor’s secular god says the debt ceiling should be done away with entirely.

  16. Val

    Salient Green @ 12
    Did you happen to notice that at least 23 (and possibly 25*) of the 27 Chrissies that your link went to were female? And one was an American fashion doll?

    I think you have just undone your own argument there.

    And Paul Burns @ 13
    We have been through this so many times before and I am not going to lose my temper (*sighs wearily*) because i know what happens when I do. (*says the voice from the dungeon*).

    But it is just wrong, wrong, wrong on every level to dismiss comments about sexism by saying “now can we get back to discussing [whatever issue is more important than sexism]”. You are better than that male chauvinist b-s, and I wish you wouldn’t do it.

    *couldn’t find any info on two Chrissies

  17. Helen

    “Chrissy” an infantilising nickname? The ghost of the wonderful, the awesome, the mega-talented and colossal Chrissy Amphlett is rising up awefully behind you, while Chrissy Hynde is on her way to whack you over the head with a Fender Telecaster.

  18. Ambigulous

    rhymes with ‘hissy’ and ‘missy’

  19. Helen

    In fact, they are going to give you a bonus whack on the head each for associating their name with that excuse for an education minister! He should consider being called “Chrissy” an honour!

  20. Val

    Helen @ 17
    No disrespect intended to the fabulous Chrissies by me I assure you Helen. The disrespect is in the minds of those who apply the name to Pyne, thinking to insult him thereby.

    “ie” or “y” endings (in Australia anyway) are often used as a term of endearment to children or special friends (of both sexes) but I think probably more often used for girls’ names. This fits with some of the research I’ve been looking at recently which suggests that women are often seen as more likeable than men ( though unfortunately also seen as less competent and less suitable as leaders).

    In applying it to Pyne, I don’t think people mean he’s their special friend 🙂
    I think they’re using it as an insult in the way people call footballers “girls” .

  21. Val

    Anyway must go, have more important things to do 🙂

  22. Tim Macknay

    @Paul Norton

    Labor’s secular god

    The Titan Whitlam has been dethroned by the Olympian Keating?

  23. Alex

    Just quickly;

    Chris = Chrissy
    John = Johnny
    Michael = Mickey
    Rod = Roddy
    David = Davie
    Thomas = Tommie
    Paul = Paulie
    Tim = Timmy

    To me, it’s clear what Paul meant.

  24. Tim Macknay

    The trouble is Alex, of those nicknames, “Chrissy” is the only one that’s usually applied to women and girls.

    Obviously Paul didn’t intending to be sexist in using the nickname “Chrissy”. It’s pretty clear that it can be read that way though.

    It’s not the only example either – It’s not uncommon for people to refer to Eric Abetz as “Erica Betz”. These names have a touch of the schoolyard about them. I think Val is on the money with her analogy to calling footballers “girls”.

    Personally I hate the habit of using derogatory nicknames for politicians we dislike, even without sexist overtones (unintentional or otherwise). It diminishes the user of the nickname more than the politician, IMHO. Mind you, I understand and sympathise with the desire to call Pyne names.

  25. Chris

    Personally I hate the habit of using derogatory nicknames for politicians we dislike, even without sexist overtones (unintentional or otherwise). It diminishes the user of the nickname more than the politician, IMHO

    In general I’d agree. There are some cases where nicknames can be quite clever in associating them with some political topic of the day. There was one I read the other day about Pyne (unfortunately can’t remember it) that was linked to education that I thought was pretty clever. And although I disagree with the LNP policy, electricity Bill Shorten is a pretty good effort.

    I do think that politicians should be a lot more respectful of each other both within parliament without trying to score cheap political points – you can have robust discussion without using silly names. And fundamentally the derogatory name calling whether it have sexual, racial etc overtones or not is an attempt to personally demean the target. If you allow an environment where derogatory names are acceptable its pretty much inevitable that you’ll end up with sexually or racist ones being used too.

  26. Ambigulous

    Well, let’s bring in a Gallipoli reference (at a tangent).

    After the Minister’s complete isolation, abandoned and bagged by Premiers and State Education Ministers, then forced into a public backflip by the PM …….

    “the lone Pyne”

  27. Ambigulous

    Paul Burns @14

    I think the full description byJulia Gillard was “mincing poodle”, and quite likely she wasn’t indicating that he came from a family of retail butchers.

  28. Fran Barlow


    I do think that politicians should be a lot more respectful of each other both within parliament without trying to score cheap political points – you can have robust discussion without using silly names.

    I agree, though I see much of this as theatre (though not of the quality kind). The problem is not (for mine anyway) about the ostensible “respect” politicians show each other in this low grade pantomime, but the disrespect their whole paradigm does to political inclusion and the integrity of public discourse. That would be so even if they were entirely genteel in their outward dealings.

    {Rant} I hate the phrase “I do think”. It sounds so Michelle Grattan. Maybe that’s why it offends me, because she uses it so often and one suspects she thinks much less often than she claims and is merely affecting gravitas. {/Rant}

  29. jungney

    Richard Ackland’s take (Brisbane Times) of the ASIO raid against East Timor’s Australian lawyer, and of another raid in which the prime witness at the Timor L’Este case against Australia at The Hague had his passport seized thus preventing him from giving evidence, is compelling. Welcome back to the dirty Libs who have ever been lawless when it comes to the uses of the Australian security services.

  30. Terry2

    The ABC have suggested that General Motors may retreat from Australia by 2016 : the Productivity Commission on auto industry support is due to report back in March next year.
    Our beloved leader came out today and said that, no matter the outcome of the Productivity Commission enquiry, there will be no more support from the Abbott government.

    So, what is the purpose of continuing with the PC enquiry ?

  31. philip travers

    h is missing.Could of walked off the pitch,singing you blooooooooddddddy Beauuuuuuuuuuteeee.The joys of being a Troll rhymes with Dukes Quartet and Mo-ell.

  32. Graham Bell

    jungney @ 29:
    Aaaah. You noticed, did you? That will go on your file ….

  33. tigtog

    re disrespectful names for politicians – I think those using them should just be less lazy and make them more specific. Much as I disagree with the spin surrounding the coining, “Electricity Bill” Shorten is precisely pointed rhetoric that avoids any descent into the splash-damage territory of stereotypical slurs. That’s why I prefer “Pyne-ochio” to all the other nicknames for Christopher Pyne too – it zeroes in on the rhetorical point without splashing the vitriol on anybody else.

  34. Chris

    Fran @ 28 – I agree often it is just a bit of theatre in parliament. But a lot of the times politics is a team sport and the “supporters” take the cues from what they see in parliament and then amplify it. And thats when it really gets out of control. And I do think I’ll reconsider my use of “I do think” 🙂

    tigtog @ 33 – I think you describe it well. Sometimes I suspect in the heat of the moment they just go a bit far, and sometimes it is purely accidentally. But terms like “Electricity Bill Shorten” or “Pyne-ochio” are a lot less likely to be personally damaging to politician’s mental state (and their family’s) which is something we should all be mindful of, regardless of whether we like their political ideology or not.

    It kind of saddens me how question time is about winning, rather than a venue for finding out what is going on. It’s a lot more partisan than I think it should be.

  35. Brian

    “Electricity Bill” almost certainly came from a focus group or at least Abbott’s minders.

    Whether “Chrissy” is affectionate or derogatory depends critically on tone, IMO. It was clear that pb was not being complimentary.

  36. Paul Norton

    If Eva Cox’s views on paid parental leave make her “the leading pro-Tony Abbott feminist”, do Paul Keating’s views on the debt ceiling make him “the leading pro-Christine Milne Labor person”?

  37. Linda

    Helen @ 17 I hate to go all 101 here but some women do go along with a culture that infantilises us as one of the ways of oppressing us. It is still sexist to apply girlie names to powerful men as a way of insulting them, even if some talented women are/were also called that name. And can I also just say, as one of The Divinyls first followers, quite literally, I eventually came to the realisation that dressing in a school tunic and pouting at blokes, in no way leads to actual meaningful power in society.

  38. paul burns

    Yes. Pyne-ochio wins. I only came across it late yesterday on Facebook.

  39. Moz of Yarramulla

    I’m still sad that no-one quoted Hockey back to himself on the Greens deal. I’m sure there were apposite quotes available.

    While I’m thinking of it, every time he supports climate change surely he should be called “hockey stick”?

  40. Brian of Buderim

    My poodle, who normally reads this blog over my shoulder, is a bit put out by being compared to the Honourable Christopher Pyne. She asks that we pick another animal as the current comparison is unfair to poodles. She suggests either a Doberman puppy with a Peter Pan complex or a Chihuahua with Weimariner syndrome.

  41. Brian of Buderim

    My dog has just corrected my spelling – she says it should be “Weimaraner”. Uppity poodle!

  42. Graham Bell

    Chris @ 34:
    Years ago, I would go out of my way to listen to broadcasts of Question Time. It was partisan yet informative. Nowadays, you couldn’t get me to listen to it if you paid me.

    Question Time has degenerated into a kiddies’ tantrum session bunged on by a bunch of failed lawyers and former political staffers. Why bother listening to it? There’s nothing informative going on there.

  43. paul burns

    Brian of Buderim,
    The ghosts of my 3 chihuahuas have just contacted me via automatic writing. They are all mightily incensed at being compared to Chistopher Pyne. In fact, the one with weimariner syndrome is livid. All three of them think he should be compared to a very nasty, very small domestic cat.

  44. David Irving (no relation)

    Hence his nickname “Kitty”, pb. (Although that’s kind of unfair to cats … )

  45. Helen

    Linda I’m quite well aware that “insulting” someone by giving them a girl’s or woman’s name is textbook misogyny, as (as an aside to those who might be in need of 101) that can only be effective if you see femininity as inferior or less-than. I didn’t cover this aspect because, well, this is a blog and it is the comments section and I don’t cover everything in every comment, nor should I be expected to.
    I called Christian Kerr on his continual use of “Erica Betz” for that reason, many yonks ago.

    I won’t die in a ditch for Chrissie Amphlett either, but Hynde is a very different pancake.*

    *This is a Flann O’Brien expression equivalent to “different kettle of fish” and not a gendered slur.

  46. David Irving (no relation)

    Helen, I’ve always preferred Aidsand to Erica, partly for the same reason. (Also because it’s funnier, and sums the little weasel up.)

  47. Graham Bell

    Helen @ 45:
    Aw. Please try to be nice to Hilary Bray. 🙂

  48. Helen

    That’s a good one, David!

  49. Bernard J.

    As a part of his ‘small target’ strategy to avoid public scrutiny of his incompetence as a leader, the Black Abbott is now giving camera ‘interviews’ in a courtyard empty of journalists. Thus it was he announced his magnanimity in allowing Bill Shorten to accompany him to Nelson Mandela’s funeral, whilst also spreading the illogical nonsense that the Senate should ‘do its job’ and repeal the price on carbon.

    How many more of his cunning plans can Australia survive?

  50. Sceptic

    So much attention has been given to factional power play within the ALP and so little to the internal divisions of the Liberal Party.

    I would welcome a spotlight being turned on the latter. The division between the hard-line free marketeers and the pragmatists are going to influence important decisions about the fate of the car industry and Qantas in the immediate future.

    I sometimes wonder if the control which appears to be exercised by the PMO is directed at silencing competing voices to give the appearance of unity.

    What a strange lot they have proved to be. So angry. So charmless. So cold.

    I watched Abbott’s latest video address to the nation and it chilled me. Not because of anything he said which was the usual blah blah blah but the contrived nature of the appearance.

    As others have pointed out Abbott was placed in a courtyard as if he were addressing journalists at a press conference. Except it was just the PM alone talking to a cameraman.

    The sterility of a video made for social media is such a long way from the cosy fireside chat. So Big Brother.

    I wonder if the speedos will be out over Christmas?

  51. Ronson Dalby


    That video was downright painful and embarrassing to watch. If Credlin is the control freak as claimed, it’s a surprise she allowed it to be out there.

    From Twitter:

    GhostWhoVotes [email protected] 28s
    #Newspoll 2 Party Preferred: L/NP 48 (-4) ALP 52 (+4) #auspol

    Newspoll is now ALP ahead 😮

    GhostWhoVotes [email protected] 26s
    #Newspoll Primary Votes: L/NP 40 (-3) ALP 38 (+3) #auspol

    which seem to back up Morgan and Essential.

  52. Sceptic

    Thanks [email protected]

    It certainly seems that some people are starting to ask questions. The slogan plasters are peeling off.

  53. John D

    The latest Newspoll says Tony has lost his mandate in record time.
    You wonder how long Abbott will last. Unlike Rudd he hasn’t got a popular following. People voted Labor out, not Abbott in.
    They certainly didn’t want the country run by our tea party.

  54. David Irving (no relation)

    Sceptic, Andrew Elder provides a lot of insight into the Liberal factions.

  55. Bernard J.

    Oh, for pity’s sake…

    Liberal senator Ian MacDonald says that human-caused climate change is like the Y2K problem, and in so doing demonstrates that he understands nothing about either subject:


    In the corporate sphere this sort of ignorance would surely be an example of criminal negligence, and probably criminal recklessness.

  56. Bernard J.

    On the subject of Coalition idiocy, perhaps it might be an entertaining game to postulate what the trajectory of electoral support will be for the LNP over the coming months and years:


    It’s difficult to see how such an incompetent bunch, guided by vested interest and partisan ideology, could improve their standing – and yet they are starting from what is probably one of the poorest first 100 day performances of any federal government. I don’t think that a leadership change will much brighten their prospects either.

    I suspect that a double dissolution is the last thing that Coalition would dream of pursuing. Next year Labor and the Greens should press Abbott on his threat to call one – the Coalition will run a mile. It’s looking more and more like the Three-word-slogan One-trick-pony will end up being One*-term-Tony.

    [*Where “term” ? 1]

  57. Bernard J.

    And now the Coalition wants to reverse the previous government’s intention to give (those obviously grossly-overpaid) child care workers a pay rise.


  58. BigBob


    It is even more insulting than that – they want to turn the agreement away from increasing wages to providing “professional development”.

    So, get paid less for getting better qualified. Gee, I can see people flocking to that career.

    One assumes that the “professional development” monies will flow to the employers and not the employees…

  59. Bernard J.



  60. Chris

    And now the Coalition wants to reverse the previous government’s intention to give (those obviously grossly-overpaid) child care workers a pay rise.

    I think the ALP have to take some of the blame for it being possible to reverse in the first place – from what I’ve seen the way the payrises were implemented was very unusual. For starters they didn’t actually allocate sufficient money to fund payrises for all childcare workers or even say childworkers with certain qualifications. They also only allocated enough money for 2 years – what was meant to happen after that? It was allocated on a first come first serve basis to childcare centres who signed up to a specific enterprise bargaining agreement.

    So the end result would be some (and I’ve seen figures ranging from 20-40%) of the childcare workers getting a pay rise for the next 2 years, with all the others missing out. And then after the 2 years with government funding running out, either they’d end up with a pay cut or fees at those specific centres would have to rise to make up the difference.

    Its a very odd way of going about raising salaries. eg why not give a smaller payrise that applies to all childcare workers? Or if you want to give large pay rises to a few why not give them based on skill and qualifications rather than a lottery based on how fast their employer signed up with the government and could negotiate with the relevant union? And surely the funding has to be designed to be ongoing.

    The way it is structured makes it look very much like something the previous government designed to have maximum PR effect with a very limited electioneering budget. And improving childcare worker salaries was a fortunate side-effect.

    But hey given what Abbott did to the last government the ALP should definitely go on about more broken promises! Hopefully they have some good video/audio on record.

  61. Sceptic

    Thanks David @ 54. I do read Andrew Elder’s blog. I agree he is one of the few exceptions to cast insight upon the inner workings of the Lib party.

  62. Sceptic

    Robson @ 51 – I don’t know if you know this but TA made another pre recorded message billed on his website as an address to the media. He is filmed again between two flags with a Christmas tree winking in the background. Clearly there were no reporters present. This is crazy stuff.

  63. Debbieanne

    Bernard @55 sort of makes you wonder when people talk about how under-paid our pollies are compared to what they might get out of parliment. The only worth they have out there is ‘once was an insider.’

  64. David Irving (no relation)

    Debbieanne, why do you think they went into politics in the first place? As one of my cousins said the other day, it’s the only well-paid job you can get with absolutely no qualifications.

  65. Graham Bell

    Sceptic @ 50:

    The division between the hard-line free marketeers and the pragmatists are going to influence important decisions

    Hard-line free marketeers? No they’re not.

    If they were hard-line free marketeers, we would expect them to have a consistent philosophy, a consistent view of economics and of public policy. This bunch are no such thing; they’re merely front-men and stooges. Their masters say “jump this way” and they jump this way; “jump that way” and they jump that way.

  66. Graham Bell

    BigBob @ 58:

    One assumes that the “professional development” monies will flow to the employers and not the employees…

    Do you mean like what happened after the rort-riddled National Employment And Training Scheme (N.E.A.T.) was closed down by the Fraser government?

    There was never a royal commission into the participation in N.E.A.T. by the relatives and pals of senior public servants and political wallahs – so we never did get to hear how many “trainees” in it did pop up shortly afterwards as “employers” (and hence, recipients of government largess) in the “reformed(??)” training schemes.

    Some things – especially rorts – never change.

  67. Bernard J.

    Nastiness and incompetence indeed…

    The Coalition is hell-bent on shutting down discussion, and the worst speaker in modern times has no compunction in helping them:

    Parliamentary chaos as Opposition accuses Speaker Bronwyn Bishop of bias.

    (Note: the URL does not seem to reflect the title of the actual piece)

  68. Bernard J.

    And now politics trumps science – ABC reports “Government overturns ‘critically endangered’ Basin listing”:


    It beggars belief that the Coalition is unaware of the severe ecological degradation of parts of the Murray-Darling. A few recent floods don’t change the underlying human damage that exists.

    How far will this mob go to destroy the country for future generations?

  69. Graham Bell


    “Nastiness and Incomptetence edition” is well-named and today’s attack on vulnerable pensioners and impoverished self-funded retirees by the Abbott government – with the assistance of Murdoch’s manniquins and the Anti-Boagan Commission – surely qualifies for inclusion.

    The nadir of low, dirty attacks has been reached with today’s on pensioners and self-funded retirees forced to live in caravan parks on a week-to-week or fortnight-to-fortnight basis . It has been reached that nadir by today’s attack on those forced out of rental housing and who used up every cent they had to buy a flimsy donga or transportable accommodation currently located on land over which they have no tenure whatsoever (they can be kicked out on a whim or when the property changes hands).

    I’m certainly not having a go at the owners of caravan parks or properties that allow people to live in their own dongas; these owners provide an essential service where banks and governments have failed so miserably to provide alternatives.

    These decent and formerly hard-working pensionerss and retirees are said to be living in “leisure villages”. Leisure villages?? What a sick bit of spin that is. Carefully selected residents of “three-bedroom homes” have already been served up to us. Get ready for more cheap-&-nasty spin – with interviews and vision of filthy-rich residents of very carefully selected luxury “leisure villages” whinging about having to delay their European river or Caribbean cruise for a month or fretting over paying too much for their last parcel of BHP-Billiton shares.

    It’s about time Mr Abbott and his chums – as well as their obsequious journalists – spent some time living in real “leisure villages”.

  70. Sceptic

    Graham @ 50 – Our politicians seem to be very keen on free markets. I agree though about the puppet masters just off stage.

  71. Bernard J.

    So Holden (and inevitably Toyota) are ceasing production of cars in Australia.

    I’ve never been one for endless subsidies for large manufacturing industries, but the Australian vehicle industry may well have followed a different and more sustainable trajectory if there had been encouragement for high efficiency and renewable powering.

    The other thing that Australians haven’t learned is that saving a few bucks to buy overseas from cheap Third World Labour inevitably exports jobs overseas.

    If Abbott somehow gets a second term he will be presiding over a huge crash in the Australian economy as many secondary manufacturing industries collapse without the motor industries, and then whole communities dissolve…

    This could have been handled with a better attitude and greater skill.

    Ha, and now Ian MacFarlane is blaming the carbon tax… How clueless is this mob? “Nasty and incompetent” doesn’t begin to describe these people.

  72. Bernard J.

    As a supplement to my previous post, now more than ever is the time to be hanging on to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Not only is it essential to give us any hope of making a positive contribution to making the future climate less horrendous than it is otherwise going to be, but it is one of the areas where Australia might still have some hope of gaining some advantage.

    This is not to say though that we will ever be world leaders in this area, not now. We gave up any real hope of that during the Howard era, even though there was much advice that this was the future. I have always wondered if the Labor governments under Rudd and then Gillard would have been eleventh hour supporters of a credible, nascent renewable industry of national significance had Abbott not knifed Turnbull in the back and rendered environmental care and sustainability damnatio memoriae.

    History will look back at the decades either side of the turn of the millennium in Australia and wonder at the insanity of most of our state and federal politicians.

  73. Chris

    The other thing that Australians haven’t learned is that saving a few bucks to buy overseas from cheap Third World Labour inevitably exports jobs overseas.

    So if I remember correctly the Australian Holden GM said it cost around $4-5k per car more to produce a car in Australia than it did overseas. I don’t know how much this is due to a difference in labour costs though. So its not a trivial price difference. Also if first world countries refuse to buy products from Third World countries how much longer is it going to take them to develop their economies?

    Ha, and now Ian MacFarlane is blaming the carbon tax… How clueless is this mob? “Nasty and incompetent” doesn’t begin to describe these people.

    The number I saw was around $200/per car due to the carbon tax. So yea, it doesn’t appear to have been a factor.

    I do think this was inevitable. Toyota won’t be far behind. At least the governments and workers have a lot of warning (3-4 years) so there is time to get retraining programs in place.

  74. Bernard J.

    I don’t know how much this is due to a difference in labour costs though.

    On RN drive this evening an industry interviewee quoted a range of 12(?)-16% of final cost as labour cost. As he pointed out, even if the workforce took a pay cut of 10% and even if the upper end of the range was assumed, this would result in only a 1.6% decrease in the price of a vehicle.

  75. Brian

    Chris @ 73, the number I heard was $45 per car due to the carbon tax.

  76. Patrickb

    AG Brandis appears to want a crusade back to the 50s:


    By the look of it the brief is so wide that the ALRC won’t report until dear George is safely dispatched to a retirement home. That’s the problem being an angry white man these days, you just can’t put your finger on what’s wrong but there damn well is!

  77. Graham Bell

    General Motors have fallen back on the usual excuses in their spin:

    High Australian Dollar? Really? So given the high value of the Yen, the Euro and the U.S. Dollar, all their car factories should have closed down years ago and their motor industry workers should be prowling the streets with their begging bowls, shouldn’t they. Yeah?

    High Australian wages? Don’t know which universe the G.M. spin-makers live in – but our universe here has automotive workers in Sweden, France, Germany and Japan and none of them look too poverty-stricken.
    Aah. I know what it is. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, water goes down the plug-hole the wrong way around so that accounts for Australian wages being to blame when car sales fail to meet expectations. Of course, that’s it; it’s obvious ….

    General Motors: here’s your hat and coat; what’s your hurry?

  78. Nickws

    Chris @ 73

    So if I remember correctly the Australian Holden GM said it cost around $4-5k per car more to produce a car in Australia than it did overseas.

    Whatever the exact cost (and they’ve never stopped exporting units, no matter how relatively bad it is), they were certainly managing to quietly live with that impost before the Oz dollar got too high; and if Kim Carr is to be believed, GM were still willing to carry that price if only the Abbott govt had acted like every other govt in the world.

    If it was Labor who’d just been just been elected from Opposition, GMH would’ve been locked in until after 2020, with conditions; and I like to think Bowen & Stevens would have realised those conditions entailed doing something about the high exchange rate; and only then if it became obvious down the track that the dollar couldn’t be eased down, and Holden weren’t prepared to start value-adding themselves out of the hole, that’s when Labor would have dropped the K. Carr position, and The Great Inevitability of No More Car Making would’ve been declared.

    Also if first world countries refuse to buy products from Third World countries how much longer is it going to take them to develop their economies?

    That’s some unadulterated oldschool `soft’ neoliberalism there, Chris. Very pre-GFC, pre-Occupy. As a response to Bernard J.’s comment, it doesn’t even sound much like fairtrade-over-freetrade.

    I get that the Coalition dries are keen to do a Thatcherite deindustrialisation with the car industry here, but IMO it doesn’t behove progressives to jump on that bandwagon, ala Bernard Keane. Or no doubt like Robert Merkel, with his Green Peter Walsh act.

    The Great Inevitability Of No More Car Making is not an honest revelation we can trust to this post-post-post-Gonski govt, with their vicious little dry/wet turf wars over Grain Corp and Qantas, their exaggerations about the carbon tax, their dries’ paranoia about Abbott being the new Malcolm Fraser or even Santamaria.

    Eh, at least this kneejerk anti-industry-policy stuff isn’t their path back to reviving their dead honeymoon polling…

  79. Brian

    I’ve now put up a separate post on the GMH demise.

  80. Bernard J.

    Also if first world countries refuse to buy products from Third World countries how much longer is it going to take them to develop their economies?

    It’s important to note that I didn’t specify that we shouldn’t buy from “Third World” countries.

    There are many foreign vehicles made in the ‘First World’, and that help to drain the demand for a product that sustains the Australian economy.

    My points though were that Australians tend to buy ‘cheap’ rather than ‘smart’ (and in the long run the latter doesn’t exclude the former…), and that our industrial policy is not sufficiently predicated on the potentially high-value industries of the future in which we have or could reasonably lever an edge.

  81. Ronson Dalby

    Brandis succeeds in High Court challenge to ACT’s same sex marriage law (I wonder why he didn’t seek an injunction last week?):


  82. paul burns

    I’m not so concerned about the failure of the ACT same-marriage act. Its a tenth order issue, and we will have same-sex marriage in Oz eventually.
    Far more disturbing to me is the news that gay refugees at Manus Island caught engaging in gay sex will be subject to PNG law on homosexuality, viz: 14 years imprisonment.
    And far far more disturbing than that is the news (both these come from Amnesty) that some gay refugees have been sent back to their country of origin, presumably somewhere like Iran or Afghanistan where the anti-gay laws perhaps mean the death penalty, when one can probably rightly assume that said refugees came here because they were fleeing persecution because of their sexuality.
    Very worrying indeed. One wonders if those sent back are still free or alive.

  83. Ronson Dalby

    Tony, Corey etc will love this:

    “Parliament may change marriage laws to allow same-sex couples to wed: Malcolm Turnbull”


  84. Chris

    Ronson @ 83 – #spill!

  85. paul burns

    Chris @ 84,
    Probably, but it will take a few months to get organised. Abbott needs to make a few more missteps and mispeaks and plunge lower in the polls. If a spill is going to happen at all it will have to be in the April-June next year.
    Holden, gay marriage, Gonski, East Timor, Indonesia, attacking childcare and aged care workers, the Great Barrier Reef, refugees, – the list just keeps on getting longer and longer and I’ve probably left stuff out. Abbott just keeps looking worser and worser.

  86. Graham Bell

    I forecast that Abbott will have served his purpose by mid-2014. Heck, at his current rate of brilliant successes, he might be hard pressed to make it past January or February.

  87. Bernard J.
  88. jungney

    Correct Bernard J, as predicted, the Libs are leading an onslaught on our national estate that is at least as ideologically driven as it is the consequence of traditional liberalism’s attitude towards nature. Locke’s foundational thinking happened in step with the exploration and seizure of North America and all of his fantasies, and those of all manner of liberals in his wake, are built on a misapprehension of unbounded nature, rich and inexhaustible, that was North America.

    Worse will follow. They can’t help but instrumentalize nature in the coarsest of ways; they’ll leave nothing but waste.

  89. Patrickb

    The execrable Morrison has introduced a code of conduct for asylum seekers in the community. It stipulates that they must adhere to health and hygiene standards. One wonders how large the portrait of Himmler is that hangs over Morrison’s mantelpiece and how much farther before we have to go before Australians realise they are at rock bottom?

  90. Bernard J.

    Nothing much new under the sun, but it’s an example of the fact that the radical conservatives in the Coalition are not going to get a free ticket for the shafting they wish to deliver to the intelligent and aware section of Australian society:


    And it’s nice to see the the Fairfax media is waking from their pre-election slumber:


    The comments section of this page is full of head-shakingly stupid guff from the Denialati. One LesM says:

    I’m all for reducing pollution, but this infinitesimally small reduction achieves absolutely nothing when you consider that when Mount Pinatubo, in the Phillipines [sic], erupted in 1991, it added MORE CARBON DIOXIDE TO THE ATMOSPHERE THAN ALL EMISSIONS GENERATED BY MANKIND IN THE HISTORY OF THE EARTH!

    This nicely sums up the sheer ignorance and general intellectual ineptness of the anti-scientific brigade. If Les had bothered to do a ten-second search to substantiate his claim, he would have found this:

    <a href="http://www.skepticalscience.com/volcanoes-and-global-warming-intermediate.htm

    It’s the last paragraph that mercilessly exposes LesM for the ignorant that he is.

  91. jungney

    It may be so that LesM is as determinedly wrong as you say but I don’t want to go there.

    Patrick B: yes, national hygiene, a well known source of medical metaphors with which to persecute the unhygienic who are so easily observed to be unclean because of their grubby skin colour.

  92. Graham Bell

    Thanks for the link, Bernard J @ 90.

    In due course, Abbott will instigate an ”inquiry” into the ABC, with a suitable stooge to run it and the result predetermined.

    Why not? It worked with the Evatt Royal Commission and several others, didn’t it?

    What nobody seems to have noticed is that, in addition to repaying Master Rupert for getting them “elected(??)”, the so-called Liberals are using their attacks on the ABC to weaken whatever is left of Nationals influence inside what used to be a coalition.

    The ABC is a vital part of life in rural and remote Australia – even though some (certainly a minority) of the primary producers do complain at times of socialist and greenie bias on the ABC.

    By attacking the ABC, the Liberals extremists inside what used to be a coalition are trying very hard to recruit those potentially dissatisfied Nationals supporters – and their money – to their own faction. It is a smarter way of getting inconvenient Nationals members replaced and getting their own stooges preselected and elected than running three-cornered contests in an election.

    Poor Warren Truss. If he sides with the Liberals’ anti-ABC clique he will be hastening his own downfall; if he opposes them he will be giving that clique ammunition to use against him and his fellow Nationals. Whichever line he takes, he can’t win. As Churchill once said to a young parliamentarian, “No, no, my boy. Those on the benches opposite are The Opposition; it’s the ones behind us who are The Enemy”.

  93. Patrickb

    The IPA’s Tim Wilson is appointed to the Human Rights Commission. Brandis is a busy boy.

  94. Tim Macknay

    Is “busy” the right word? I’m thinking “virulent” is a better fit. Like a melanoma.

  95. Bernard J.

    The IPA’s Tim Wilson is appointed to the Human Rights Commission. Brandis is a busy boy.

    My first instinct was to check the calendar to see if it was 1 April.

    My second was to despair for the path of reason in this country. ‘Human rights’ is apparently now the need for the poor, ‘suppressed’ hacks like Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt to have an advocate for their right to spew forth invective and untruth without challenge.

  96. paul burns

    Maybe his new Commission colleagues will mellow him. THough he can be pretty rabid.

  97. Bernard J.

    More on the assault on the ABC, this time not from the government but from their News Corpse enablers:


    As a father of kids in that age group I am very familiar with the program, and I can safely say that Piers is seeing reds under the bed – and in the cistern, and behind the fridge, and…

  98. Patrickb

    Just heard the new Freedom Commissioner on RN. He’s as mad as a balloon which means he’ll probably not make much of an impact. Real change is made be patient, steady progress not whiny, petulant passive aggression. I imagine that legislative drafts-people within the AG’s dept are turning paler with each new missive from the minister.

  99. Bernard J.
  100. Tim Macknay
  101. Bernard J.

    Tim Wilson for Human Rights Commissioner?


  102. jules

    Tim @ 100 – Abbott clearly doesn’t believe in climate change. he should be challenged on this consistently and with language along the lines of “are you happy to be known to history as the PM that destroyed the barrier reef and contributed to 6 billion climate related deaths”.

    That would force him to articulate a position and that position would be denialist.

    Its clear from their actions that the coalition doesn’t give a rats about climate change or the environment in general. or the population of Australia – the EDO actually supports people against the power of the mining industry because there is no one else who will.

    BJ – Tim Wilson clearly subscribes to the Andrew Bolt definition of free speech.