Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Does This Sound Familiar?

Have we heard any of this recently from some conservatives in another country?

Just asking ;-)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Told You So

I hate to say that I told you so but "I told you so".

If the Liberals had a leader with genuine cross party appeal - and who is honest, compassionate, competent and knowledgeable then they would have romped it in - and would now be in Government with their leader as Prime Minister.

They actually had one of those but decided to trash him and install the current one.

The current one appeals to the ultra right wing conservatives that are scattered across the Australian corporate landscape but more importantly he is the one that was anointed by Uncle Rupert. Because if he ever gets his hands on the levers then he is the one who is most likely to do Rupert's bidding.

Just goes to show how the "Liberals" go about things these days.

They had a leader who would have easily won the contest - but they replaced him with someone else who has all the appeal of a snotty little B grade bully - because well they were told to by their masters.

But they didn't count on the Australian people seeing through their cunning little plan.

And see through it we did - I have already mentioned what young people think about the current Liberal leader. And today I heard from some of the regional rusted-ons who were hoping for a Coalition victory. The antics of the Liberal leader over the past week have caused many of them - the smart ones at least - to think he is a fool. That leaves the older folk who might still be barracking for him because well they probably haven't noticed that Harold Holt is no longer in charge.

The smartest thing the Liberals could do is flick the Monk and install Malcolm in the top job - then they might have a chance to re-gain Government.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hanging Chads

Remember the "Hanging Chads" issue way back in the US Presidential Election of 2000 when Al Gore actually won the election but George W Bush stole it through a variety of means - some legal and some not quite so legal.

Well that was the template that the ultra conservatives have used to perfect their election winning strategies ever since.

And they will be doing their version of the "Hanging Chads" outcome here in 2010. Because they were "Born to Rule" and well Jesus wouldn't let them lose would he? Besides someone has got to help Rupert make it through the next 3 years ;-)

Before you shrug this off as a political impossibility - take a moment to reflect on the 8 years of George W Bush that resulted from the extraordinary election outcome in 2000.

And then take another moment to reflect on whether you want something similar in Australia for the next 3 years?

PS - My colleagues and I have some ideas about how the Monk is going to engineer this confected outcome - but I will leave that for another post.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Liberal Costings

It is fairly easy to see what is going on with the Liberals - with their refusal to submit their *policies* to Treasury for costing. You don't have to be Einstein to work out the Monk's antics.

What concerns me more is the superficial way in which our media are treating this whole thing. We know what News Ltd are up to - they are trying to condition us so we will roll-over and accept a new election - cause the last one wasn't good enough. And they will keep trying that on until they get the result that Rupert wants.

But the rest of the media? Dunno - maybe they are just not very bright. Perhaps they do just follow along in Rupert's footsteps? Perhaps Mark Scott can ask Andrew Bolt to do a real analysis ;-)

Anyway, back to the Monk's antics. He knows that his policies and their costings won't stand up to scrutiny and so he is doing his best to keep them away from any real analysis - and in particular - away from Treasury who would show them up for what they are. Which is “an innumerate juvenile’s” sloppy attempt at adding up?

I suspect that he will duck and weave for as long as it takes - all the time hoping that he can cobble together a coalition of opportunists to form a Government - so he doesn't have to expose his policies and their associated *costings* for what they are. Which is BS.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Independent MP's

Very impressed to see the way the Independent MP's are handling themselves - and what they are looking and asking for in order to prepare themselves for the negotiations about who will govern and how they will do it.

These guys seem to be appropriate negotiators for and on behalf of the Nation. From what I have seen so far, I am quite happy for them to proceed on my behalf.

And Julia has taken a clever approach - she is doing her best to demonstrate quality and competence on the Labor side and is creating an image and persona that she and her team are worthy candidates to govern.

Her opposite number seems to be going a bit ratty on them though - he wasn't counting on having to "be nice" or on "negotiating with Independents" or having to "cost his promises". If his rusted on's are paying any attention then they will be a little worried - about now.

I am looking forward to this and the opportunities that this process will present. Good luck people.

Climate Sceptics

Many of you will have noticed a new party on the Senate ticket this time - and might be wondering why they didn't get a few Senators elected.

Because as we all know "Climate Change" is crap and "Climate Science" is a left wing plot designed to de-industrialise the West. And other blah, blah, blah.

Or at least that is what Tony Abbott, Nick Minchin and the usual collection of rabid right wing *wingnuts* have been saying now for a couple of years. And Barney Rubble has spent much of the campaign running about and railing against the "big new tax" that will likely be imposed - to fight that imaginary problem of "Climate Change".

So given that these views are *fact* then there must be many hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of Australians who were waiting to vote against that confected problem called "Climate Change". I expected to see at least half a dozen new "Climate Sceptic" Senators emerge on Sunday morning.

Er actually no - the Climate Sceptics managed to get something close to SFA - or 19,031 actual votes - Nineteen thousand actual votes Virginia!

Pretty significant really when you consider that there were over 10 million votes cast in the Senate ;-)

And Rudd was so scared of them that he wouldn't take the opportunity to go to a Double Dissolution election on this issue.

Gutless politicians - dear reader are one of the reasons why we now have a *hung* parliament.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Twitterati

I was really fascinated to observe the enormous volume of Tweets flying around last Saturday. Every 18 to 24 year old on their way to and from a polling booth or an election party used Twitter to express themselves - and let the world know how they felt.

It was just incredible and as I sat there and watched the huge volume of tweets I realised something. None of them were expressing any support for the Liberals. All of these young people were barracking for Labor or the Greens.

As I said at the time - "The planet is warming our boys are dying the right wing commentariat are lying but the Twitterati are still tweeting". Or something similar.

It was only the following day when I revisited the stream that I found one person who was tweeting for the Monk. Everyone else was against him - and often in a most disparaging way.

It seemed certain that he couldn't get anywhere near the Lodge with the number of voters who were against him.

So much for that then. There must have been a huge number of seriously disappointed young people when they saw the news on Sunday.

Andrew Wilkie

It looks like Andrew Wilkie is going to pick up Denison in Tasmania - and that will be a great outcome for Tasmania and for the Nation.

Andrew is a smart person and will be a capable and valuable member of the Parliament.

The interesting thing is that he was one of the first to expose the Howard Government's lies about going to war in Iraq - and it turned out that he was right. Remember when little Johnny used to be known as Honest John - not after this debacle he wasn't. The Liberal's hated that - they were used to getting away with deceiving the people and they tried very hard to silence him. It's unlikely he will have forgotten that.

But the even more interesting thing is that Labor has just lost Denison - to Andrew. While they were off chasing the Bogan vote in NSW and QLD and WA and ducking and weaving around boat people - the thinking voters of Denison had second thoughts. Hilarious.

There is a serious message to all politicians in this - and it simply is:

"If you want to go down market and play populist politics then you had better get a lot smarter about shoring up the thinking voters - or they will give you the flick".

And it looks like they did. Double Hilarious.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Our Media

It's not only the political parties that need to rethink their approach after Saturday.

Our media has become a serious impediment to our democracy. And of course it has become fashionable to point our fingers at the Murdoch and Fairfax newspapers and commercial television and to highlight their inadequacies - which I think are both large and serious.

But let’s not ignore the ABC in all of this. I was *very* unimpressed by the quality of their coverage of the actual count on Saturday and the fact that they insist on deferring to people like Nick Minchin. Minchin is a cultural warrior hell bent on pushing a conservative and right wing agenda. He believes that Climate Change is a plot to de-industrialise the West! What on earth is the ABC doing by giving him a platform?

And similarly tonight we find the usual suspects on the Q&A panel. It's almost as if Mark Scott lives in awe of the Liberal party and News Limited staffers? Insiders and Q&A are usually full of these people. If these are the folks that he worships then perhaps he should consider a change of employer?

It just becomes very tiresome to keep finding the collection of right wing *numbnuts* from Rupert's stable making commentary on behalf of my ABC. Actually, it's more than tiresome and it's wrong.

If I wanted to hear these ratbag opinions then I would tune into Fox News and read The Australian. I have made a conscious decision not to go there and I don't want my news feeds polluted by these turkeys.

Is anyone at the ABC actually doing any listening to its audience?

PS - Don't want to be rude but "Ratings" and "Listening to your audience" are two completely different things.

State of the Nation

And while I am on about the state of the nation - here is the official tally - straight from the Australian Electoral Commission at 6:00pm today.


Party Number Votes Percent % Swing %
Labor 5,061,767 50.65 -2.05
Coalition 4,930,964 49.35 +2.05


Party Total
Labor 72
Liberal 41
LNP (QLD) 21
Greens 1
Nationals 7
CLP (NT) 1
Independent 2
Doubtful 5
Total 150
Counted % 75.24

Use this to make your own mind up about which party has the most support.

Nit Picking

Now I don't want to nit pick but where does the Monk's statement that the "Coalition got half a million more votes than Labor" come from?

Clearly he is trying to talk up the legitimacy of a future Coalition Government - or perhaps he has forgotten that the election is over and he can stop telling lies.

Because a lie it is. And the proof is here - which clearly shows Labor with the majority of votes. Perhaps he is using some convoluted measuring stick that exists only in his dreams.

Anyway my thinking is that he should leave the "invention" of these stories to News Limited - clearly they do it much better.

And while we are on the subject its worth having a bit of a gander at the state of the various parties across the Nation. How many separate parties comprise the "Coalition" - and why would anyone imagine that in a volatile environment like we now have - that they will all be united?

My feeling is that the "Coalition" is going to become *bunfight central* very quickly.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Day After

Today is the day after the *big election* - the day that "The Monk" and/or "Julia" thought they were going to be basking in the glory of victory.

Instead neither of them is able to claim it - just yet. The good news is that most of the anti-government swing went to the Greens. In counting so far the Blues got a measly 1.8% of it.

So much for the authentic qualities of the Monk - and the persuasive powers of Rupert's newspapers. Australia has spoken and expressed its distaste for both the major political parties.

The real winners are the people - but it will take another 3 years or so for that to become apparent.

My fervent hope is that Labor does not try to form a new Government. Julia needs to be strong enough to walk away. Take a holiday girl and go explore the world - you will be a better person for it.

And my expectation is that the Liberals will go for it and do deals with the Independents in order to "execute their mandate". Clearly they were "born to rule" - let them go do it.

Because "execute" it will be. Australia's next Government will have at least two impediments. Firstly it will be seriously constrained both in the House of Reps and the Senate - and secondly it will become "pork paradise" while they are trying to keep the Independents on side. Good if you happen to live in one of the Independent's electorates - and bad if you don't.

All of which means that the majority of "voters" will be even more pissed off at the next election. And the blues are not endowed with a lot of front bench quality are they?

So Julia, please pass the baton. Let the Monk have it and let’s all sit back and watch them try to cope. It will be hilarious.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Election Day

Thank goodness it's Election Day today - because after tomorrow I will be able to get back to a normal life.

Fortunately, I have been overseas for the past week or so and that has spared me from some of the worst of the local campaigning - Australian politics and our elections barely rate a mention in Asia. Wonder why?

Which is a good thing? Australian politics should barely rate a mention here but real news is in short supply.

I could write pages on this woeful, deceptive and ignorant campaign - but won't. To tell the truth, I am completely over it. This is the first time in history that I don't care about the outcome.

I don't care because it is obvious to me that we don't have a real democracy anymore.

We have a pretend democracy that is being decided today by how our people vote - based on the BS they have been force fed by our version of "the media".

Today is payback time for the *dumf_ks*.

We lost any pretence at democracy when it became obvious that big business and big media are able to influence the outcome of our elections - at will.

So good luck people - you are going to need it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What we have here is a lack of imagination

One of the biggest problems with this election campaign is the complete lack of any imagination by the Conservatives. They demonstrated that again today with their inadequate broadband announcement.

They seem to want to regress back to the 1950's or thereabouts. Let’s not spend any money because well we are the party that doesn't spend money. Our only vision at all is to turn back the boats - and even that one is seriously out of focus.

Let’s not invest in the nation and its capability or in technology to help our people - hell no we wouldn't want to give anybody the tools that they will need to compete in the 21st Century.

But the really stupid thing is they clearly don't understand the importance of fast broadband and how it will enhance and empower the regions and reduce the population pressures in the cities. And help us to develop into a smarter nation when the minerals have all run out.

If regional conservative politicians could see past their noses then they would be all over fast broadband like a rash. And pigs might fly.

But no they think they will weasel their way back into Government by treating the rest of us as though we are as thick as they are.

If they kill fast broadband then they will have sent a message to thinking Australian's that we aren't required here. And the really smart ones amongst us will move elsewhere.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

SBS Insight

Just been watching Insight on SBS and it's amazing to see and hear the views of the many small business *experts* who are complaining merrily about how tough things are out there in the real economy. Where did they get these people? Ok it is Melbourne ;-)

Not one of these *experts* actually have a blue clue about what is going on elsewhere in the world. If they were to go and live in Europe or the USA they would see the real and very nasty effects of the GFC - when less competent Government than ours was pulling the levers.

How does 10% unemployment grab ya folks? Or house values falling 40%?

The single comment that demonstrated to me that these people collectively have a shallow view of the world was this.

"When Howard was running the country - things were better". Duh.

Yes Virginia and life was simpler back in 1947. The real problem is that the world has become a complex place recently but these suburban Australian's don't seem to have caught up with that - and they yearn for the relatively safe and secure days of Uncle Johnny.

This political problem is a direct result of our people being insulated from the worst effects of the GFC and now that things are a little harder they want to retreat to the comfort of the past. And it looks like they will embrace Cousin Tony.

That is why I keep rabbiting on about educating them - so they can tell the difference between a quality Government and one that is comprised of charlatans and snake oil salesmen.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I am not at all impressed by the antics of the major parties in this campaign. And let’s not mention the media - with few exceptions (e.g. Crikey) our media is a disgrace. ABC News 24 is as bad as I had expected - for the first time Rupert has a serious rival. It's trying to become *Fox News* Australian style - the only thing missing is the slogan. Ugh.

Both Labor and the Liberals are seemingly in a death spiral to show us who is the dumbest. But it is clear to me who takes that prize.

Amongst his other conservative and far right announcements - the monk is determined to be the champion of austerity. Apparently when he becomes PM he is going to cut waste and reign in the nation's debt and reduce tax and do everything he can - to cut Government spending.

It's lucky for him that his supporters are innumerate because otherwise they would cotton onto that old equation: "cutting spending equals cutting services". He hasn't yet announced which services he will cut because he wants to win the election first ;-)

There is no doubt that the main reason why this campaign is so bad is because the actual voters are not informed or concerned enough about the big issues. There is just not enough thinking going into candidate and party selection and issue analysis. And aside from the efforts of a lightweight media this is mainly an education thing - and it won't improve until we get a much better educated society.

Under the Liberals that will never happen - at least Labor has an education plan and a track record.

This election should be a battle between the big ideas. The key and important issues ought to be front and centre and be debated by the leaders. Unfortunately the big ideas are all "Missing in Action".

Regardless of what the leaders say or do today or tomorrow or next week - Climate Change is still the major issue bearing down on us. And it will surely run us over unless we start to deal with its challenges. But apparently that isn't to be mentioned during this election. Dumbocracy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Monk's Manifesto

According to the television ads that the *blues* are running, the monks' manifesto contains these four items.

* End Wasteful Spending.
* Pay Back Labor's Debt.
* Stop Labor's New Taxes.
* Stop the Boats.

Now these four things might appeal to those folks who are rusted on to the *blues* or those who don't do a lot of analysis or thinking. But most other people will be repulsed by the monk's manifesto - which is misleading in the extreme.

Because it’s the spending of the Labor Government in reaction to the Global Financial Crisis that saved literally tens of thousands of Australian jobs. Does anyone else consider that to be wasteful?

As a result the Federal Government debt is a bit larger - but still insignificant by comparison with Australia's real debt problem - private mortgages. Again all serious commentators support the view that our Government debt is small and actually likely to be a good thing. I wonder if the monk is also proposing to help the *battlers* with their mortgage debt? Now that would win him the election ;-)

I know the monk has said that he is going to remove the new mining tax. And the inference is that he will welcome the raping and pillaging of the nation by the large mining companies and their CEO's. All serious commentators actually support a resources rent tax and most are supportive of the one that was proposed by Ken Henry. But apparently not the *blues*.

And the monk will stop the boats - by turning them back he says. I can't even begin to express my distaste at his asylum seeker policy - but I do know that it won't work.

So the four key items that the monk is relying on to get him and his motley crew back onto the Treasury benches are all dishonest and misleading.

Does he think Australian's are stupid? And if he succeeds then it will just prove that we are.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Free Textbooks

There can't be many things that are more useful than Scott McNealy's new startup Curriki. Here is what he said.

"We are spending $8 billion to $15 billion per year on textbooks (in the United States). It seems to me we could put that all online for free".

They are doing it in California - via Wikibooks. It is just so logical and obvious and useful - why aren't we doing it here?

Oh I forgot the vested interests have gotten in the way - again.

This Labor Campaign is BS

Every time the monk gets his face in front of a camera he talks about Government "Debt" and "Waste" and "Bad Management" and other confected pap - all designed to sow a seed with Joe the voter that Labor can't manage the economy.

And what does Julia say about that - Nothing, Nada, SFA, Nil, Bugger all! Just plain dumb.

Hello - is anyone home and awake at Labor Campaign HQ? This is killing you. If you are unable to develop and articulate a cohesive story around how Labor managed the nation through the Global Financial Crisis then you deserve to lose this election.

And it looks like that is what is going to happen.

I just can't believe how incompetent this Labor campaign is. Now it might be difficult with the miners, the Murdoch press and every other half arsed multi-millionaire against you but you have done some good things - how about talking about them and giving Joe and Co. a reason to vote for you?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

National Broadband Network

I have just been listening to a story about the National Broadband Network on ABC Radio. A lightweight story - the "reporter" Di Martin clearly has limited knowledge of how the world works and even less about how technology works. A big focus on fibre optics and small focus on business and application. It's not helped by Steven Conroy's confused wandering through the vocabulary. Mike Quigley is competent and articulate - and lots of vested interests get to have their say.

Now I am hoping that the NBN gets rolled out faster than planned - because it will make a HUGE difference to my working arrangements and those of many of my friends and colleagues. This is now - not next year or next political cycle.

It's simple really, aside from all the pie in the sky applications that ABC journalists might imagine - the real *killer app* is it's ability to bring regional Australia into the mainstream and to allow people like me to move to the regions for lifestyle reasons while retaining their higher paying city based jobs. Even some of the smarter ABC employees might want to take advantage of this ;-)

In the short term the main benefit of the NBN will be to improve the lot of regional Australia. And yet regional Australia largely votes conservative - who want to stop the rollout. Not much analysis happening there then - this might be a clue about why the regions have stagnated.

The NBN will help to reduce a range of pressures that are already impacting in the cities - including with population and infrastructure issues.

But the real long term opportunity is with as yet unknown applications. The NBN will deliver on a similar vision to that which was apparent to the planners and builders of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Who could have imagined in 1930 that it would still be providing great social and economic benefit in 2010?

The NBN is an infrastructure investment - and one that requires vision and leadership to complete. Large visionary projects always have to deal with the wowsers, the conservatives and the risk averse, that’s how life is - just get on with it.