Posts Tagged ‘George Megalogenis’

Big Bad Wolf

MegaGeorge digs into the results of the most recent Australian Election Survey and reports that more than half of the respondents:

  • are concerned that there will be a major terrorist attack in Australia in the near future; and
  • support Australia’s involvement in the war on terrorism; but
  • think Australia’s involvement in Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism at home; and
  • do not approve of John Howard’s handling of the war in Iraq; however, they
  • do not believe freedom of speech should apply to terrorist sympathisers; and
  • think that police should be able to search such people’s homes without a court order.

In other words, the majority of respondents appear to be worried about terrorism reaching Australian shores and want the government to do something about it. They draw the line at invading another country, but are comfortable with compromising civil liberties at home.

Of course, the questions about freedom of speech and search without a warrant are based on the premise that “groups that are sympathetic to terrorists” are readily identifiable, just like we knew that Haneef guy was a bad apple. I suspect that people would be a lot less happy if made aware that having their own door kicked in was a possibility.

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This morning’s Insiders, hosted by Jim Middleton, showed me some things:

  • As much as I (and others) have lamented the level of debate in the media (including this show) since the Rudd era began, Barrie Cassidy has some talents. These include the ability to move around a TV set while appearing  natural, to find his spot without looking at the floor, and to minimise interruptions while ensuring everyone gets to say their piece in a coherent discussion. Hopefully he will have learned to pronounce “Barack” properly by the time the US show broadcasts next week.
  • George Megalogenis continues to impress me as being as close to objective in interpreting politics as anyone can be – his interactions with Bolt were interesting to say the least, and he hinted at some impending polling data that might have an impact on the rising level of stupid.
  • Andrew Bolt can bring the stupid in a very special way. Attempting to engage him in legitimate debate, as MegaGeorge did, will prompt him to lash out by repeating the same line over and over again.
  • Annabel Crabb appears to have adopted the “sketch writer” role in her TV appearances as well. Every time she approached the point of making an intelligent contribution, she seemed to spoil it by trying to be funny. She’s sexier when she concentrates on being clever and insightful.
  • Political cartoonists should be read and not heard.
  • Chris Uhlmann just plain shits me – I don’t find him interesting or informative.
  • Middleton isn’t an on-camera kind of journalist. He also lowered himself to trying too hard for “gotcha” response (“Is this party policy or not?” ad nauseam).
  • Warren Truss trod dangerously close to advocating a quadrupling of the stupid.

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A bumper week for Dennis. The sky is quite obviously falling for Kevin Rudd.

As always, Dennis’s commentary is extensively and painstakingly thorough in establishing the credibility of his claims by attributing all of the details to reliable sources:

In addition to frustration within the bureaucracy over delays caused by funnelling too many decisions through the PM’s office, there is concern that good policy is being sacrificed to solve publicity problems.

There is also is increasing uncertainty about internal power and personnel assessments when powerful new senators arrive after July 1. There is a growing feeling the Rudd Government remains ill-defined except for symbolism and stunts.

There are Labor figures who are concerned that micro-management and media manipulation are no substitute for having a leader who is providing broader direction on policy and substance.

Methinks Dennis can feel it in his loins.

A more rational examination of Rudd’s performance is given by MegaGeorge, although his focus on the politics neglects the role of the media in controlling the “national story”. Over at Larvatus Prodeo, Kim has some of those issues covered.

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Some brilliance from a commenting Bolthead:

On the Right we have – Andrew Bolt, Gerard Henderson, Janet Albrechtsen & Piers Ackerman


On the Left we have – David Marr, John Faine, Kerry O’Brian, Tony Jones, Philip Coorey, Brian Toohey, Peter Hartcher, Misha Schubert, Jason Koutsoukis, George Megalogenis, Glen Milne(depending on who’s in Government), Philip Addams, Richard Carlton, Dennis Shanahan, Michael Costello, Annabel Crabb, Laurie Oakes, Michael Brisenden, Lenore Taylor, Michelle Gratten, Gerard McManus, Michael Harvey and any other that you may want to add to the list.

That’s right – the GG’s finest, the Poison Dwarf and ace pollster Dennis Shanahan, have been outed as lefties. And they’ve been concealing it so well. Not to mention the decidedly even-handed Megageorge.

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The Truth Virus spreads

Following Abbott, it’s Mark Vaile’s turn to tell it like it is:

“There are certain conventions that the political side of government must comply with during caretaker period and maybe whoever forms the next government in Australia should have a look at some of the conventions that should be implemented for compliance by departments,” Vaile said. “To have an unelected individual who is a statutory office-holder making a decision on the release of a report like this with timing like that—maybe that’s something that needs to be looked at.”

MegaGeorge digs out a quote from Vaile back in 1996, when Team Howard was young and naive:

“I suppose what we have been trying to achieve in this report is encapsulated in a comment that the now Prime Minister, the then leader of the Opposition, made in June 1995 when he said: ‘We will establish a completely independent Auditor-General so that a fearless and authoritative surveillance of government departments can occur without intimidation from the executive’.”

This is a Government that was never big on accountability, but it has moved from paying lip service to the notion that politicians’ actions should be scrutinised and that they should be held responsible for transgressions, through a period of attempting to appear accountable while shifting blame onto any appropriate scapegoat, to a point where they are now willing to explicitly argue that accountability mechanisms should be suspended while they are trying to be re-elected. They have not become more unethical – they have just become more brazen and arrogant in how they go about being unethical.

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How does someone as rational as this manage to exist in the environment of the GG?

The Labor leader can end the auction today by announcing no new bribes, and focusing, instead, on public spending.

Neither leader can be sure when voters will awaken from their apparent slumber and notice the politician making one announcement too many. It could be Rudd today if he goes too far.

Here’s a reform to think about: all future elections should set a time limit on spending – a bribes blackout period, so to speak.

Policies should be announced by, say, the end of week three of the campaign. This would leave the run home to the ballot box for persuasion only.

It would make more sense to hold the leaders’ debate after all the promises are on the table. Pollsters tell us that a significant portion of voters make up their minds only in the final fortnight. Surely this is the zone when politicians should be made to earn their living without the crutch of a handout.

It is, of course, tempting to throw all election policies into the one pile to come up with an even larger number. Tempting, but misleading because a global total would include both handouts to voters and public expenditure on their behalf.

In the present economic climate, the Reserve Bank is more interested in the cash that is going straight into people’s pockets because, on present trends, that money is almost certain to be spent. Public expenditure, by contrast, rarely materialises on time, making it less likely to trouble monetary policy.

This is Rudd’s dilemma. If he produces another handout today, he risks the unwanted title of briber-in-chief.

There’s nothing more that needs to be said, really – I hope Kevin Rudd is listening.

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Doom and gloom

A butterfly in South America can cause storm clouds on the horizon in Australia which can cause a financial tsunami – MegaGeorge suggests that the catastrophising of Tip and JWH is actually playing to Labor’s strengths.

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MegaGeorge points out that the Libs’ advertising appears to be looking further down the road than 24th November. Here is the latest ad he is talking about:

Megalogenis notes that:

What it neglects to mention is the year when this hole is supposed to appear in Labor’s tax scales. It’s five years from now, in 2012-13, according to the material Peter Costello supplied this week.

The message, then, is don’t vote Labor a second time.

Does that mean the Libs think this one is lost and are laying groundwork for the rebuilding process? The alternative is that they think a very abstract scare campaign is going to work – that the electorate will be both willing and able to contemplate how we will stand in relation to tax scales, employment levels, and wage-driven inflation several years down the road. There doesn’t seem to be much sign that it is working, and I can’t imagine it will – the threat is much less direct and the credibility of the Liberal Party less strong than in the 2004 fear-mongering about interest rate rises.

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Megageorge on child care

Mr Megalogenis contrasts Labor’s policy with both the current Costello model and the internal debate among the Coalition.

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Team Howard’s approach of targeting the union links in Labor’s ranks are starting to get the attention they deserve. Jeremy Sear warns us of the impending threat from percussionists (watch out for castanets under the bed); Rex Ringschott at Club Troppo turns the mirror onto Team Howard.

Meanwhile, MegaGeorge runs the numbers and finds that the self-employed barely outnumber the trade union members and questions the wisdom of demonising a sizable minority in the electorate.

All of this discussion makes me wonder about a couple of things:

  1. Why is the Liberal Party so keen to make this a key theme of their campaign?
  2. Why doesn’t the Labor Party hit back by pointing out the links to the top end of town among the Libs?

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