Posts Tagged ‘Joe Hockey’

Bishop is gone.

I am led to believe that upon standing down as Shadow Treasurer, Julie made some remarks that she had prepared earlier. Some excerpts:


I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interests of the nation must always come before any personal considerations. From the discussions I have had with Congressional and other leaders I have concluded that because of the Watergate matter I might not have the support of the Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of the nation will require. 

I have never been a quitter. 

I have fought for what I believe in. I have tried, to the best of my ability, to discharge those duties and meet those responsibilities that were entrusted to me. Sometimes I have succeeded. And sometimes I have failed. But always I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt said about the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and with the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease only for them to find, the moment the first balls are bowled, that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain.

Well may we say ‘God Save the Queen’; because nothing with save the Governor-General.

Joe Hockey takes over as Shadow Treasurer. This should be interesting. Question time will be like one big Sunrise family.

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Big Gun vs Red Julia

The IR czars are holding their National Press Club debate today – 12:30pm EDST on ABC (no indication in my TV guide of Nine/worm coverage). I’ll be in a cave, during that time, so I’ll have to catch up on it later.

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The good news: Joe Hockey and Julia Gillard are having a debate.

The bad news: It’s on Sunrise this morning. Based on last week’s Turnbull vs Garrett match-up, it won’t exactly break new ground or provide real debate, but it’s (hopefully) better than nothing.

UPDATE: Joe promised to resign as a Minister if there are any substantial changes to WorkChoices. I guess it’s easier to make a promise like that if you don’t think you’ll end up in Government and you’re busy enough trying to hold onto your seat, but he’s putting a lot of faith in his Captain.

UPDATE #2: Sunrise has a page up about the debate now, although no sign of a transcript yet. Elsewhere, Tim Dunlop points out that, according to Joe himself, the fairness test was not a change to the fundamentals of WorkChoices, which tells us how much today’s promise is worth.

UPDATE #3: The above Sunrise link now has the transcript.

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Kerry and Brissenden suggest that the Liberals’ continued hammering of the union message suggests they are getting evidence it is working.

Howard and Hockey: Unions are allowed to exist, they are just not allowed to have a function.

Chaser > you and “me too”

Polling talk:

  • Labor vote is soft – economic management data is an issue (Note to bald dude – read Possum)
  • It’s the economy, stupid!
  • Disagreement over whether the polls need to move soon or whether it comes down to people making the decision in the final weeks (I’ve already said that if it doesn’t shift soon, the narrative gets ugly for Team Howard)

Clark & Dawe – funny, but no “Eulogy Song”.

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Now that the mid-year economic review data has been released, Labor has an up-to-date price tag of the taxpayer-funded propaganda campaigns. Julia Gillard has jumped on the WorkChoices advertising figures ($121 million in total; $66 million since the fairness test):

“$4 million a week each week of this financial year to try and convince Australians who know WorkChoices is bad that it’s good for them,” she said.

“Well they’re not going to be convinced and they’ll be thinking to themselves, what difference could that money have made to my local hospital or my local school?”

Naturally, Big Gun Joe has trotted out the standard talking points in response:

“Kevin Rudd and the union bosses who control over 70 per cent of his frontbench have spent millions of dollars on a massive scare campaign designed to confuse and misinform working families,” he said.

“Therefore we make no apologies for properly informing working Australians about the protections that exist under the workplace relations system.”

I thought Kevin Rudd only spent millions of dollars on beach-houses? Joe not only fails to distinguish between unions funding advertising as opposed to Labor funding it, but he also fails to recognise that he has been spending taxpayers’ money to achieve his political ends. Furthermore, it was that “scare campaign” that prompted the Government to introduce the fairness test – because the facts of the original system were so scary that they had to try to make it seem more palatable. Why, the Big Gun himself admitted that the original system was wrong. So, even if we accept for the moment that the fairness test has fixed things, doesn’t the responsibility for the $66 million of follow-up advertising lie with the Government who got the laws wrong in the first place?

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I don’t need to say much here because several learned bloggers have done the job for me, but I want to give voice to my disgust at Joe Hockey and Peter Costello for their appalling attempt to defame academics who have done research that points out some inconvenient truths about AWAs.

On 7.5 the other night, Joe Hockey danced around and managed to back himself into a corner. He made it clear that his intention was to impugn the credibility of the researchers by linking them to union bias. He could not articulate a substantive criticism of the methodology, and he couldn’t counter Red Kerry’s evidence about other reports and about the rigorous assessment procedure Australian Research Council grant applications go through. Earlier in the day, however, Costello was even more blunt in his defamation of the researchers:

Once you see Unions New South Wales putting up money for a report, you know it is contaminated.

The academics involved have taken the attack on the integrity of their work seriously, and rightly so. The principles of free and objective inquiry are central to their work, and two Government Ministers have publicly stated that they have not performed their job competently or ethically. Others have captured the abhorrent nature of Hockey and Costello’s behaviour, including Ken Lovell at Road to Surfdom, as well as Tim Dunlop at Blogocracy, who highlights the flaws in the Government’s counter-argument (e.g., pointing to ABS data that shows wages are up across the entire population, which says nothing about the impact of AWAs). The NTEU has publicly criticised the Government for attempting to interfere with the integrity of academic inquiry, but of course, as Hockey might tell us, you’d expect that – after all, they’re run by “union bosses”.

Naturally, the Government’s reaction has been entirely predictable – they couldn’t give a toss. They will continue to step in front of cameras and microphones and attack anyone they can, blame anyone they can, and undermine anyone they can, if it gives them a way to shift the focus from their failings. Whatever the situation, they are happy to denigrate an appropriate target, whether it is union-affiliated academics as in this case, or people with dark skin, or state governments, or people with dark skin, or union-affiliated academics, etc. It’s sleazy, it causes unjustified damage to the reputations of real people, and it’s playing on the small segment of Australia that is narrow-minded enough to buy into the Government’s caricatures of these groups.

Apart from the sheer wrongness of the Government’s strategy, am I wrong in thinking that it simply cannot work? They are attempting to make “union bosses” carry the same negative value as “communist” might have had in earlier decades. Even if union membership is in decline, does that indicate that people actually view unions negatively and fear their influence? Is there some widespread undercurrent of union hatred that I am not aware of, or is this an attempt to reach a more narrow segment of the population, such as small business owners and operators?

Apparently the researchers have been advised that they do have a defamation case against Tip and Shrek. We’ll see whether they follow through with action – I would hope that the University of Sydney would be willing to devote legal and financial resources to defending the academic reputation of its staff. If they don’t, then I suspect this story will fade quickly and the Government will move on to slandering its next target.

Wait a minute – they already have.

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Shrek not think good

Joe Hockey doesn’t like the results of a new study on WorkChoices. His criticisms?

But Federal Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey says the data was compiled before the introduction of the fairness test in May.

He has also questioned the credibility of the study:

“This is the 12th academic report commissioned by State Labor Governments,” he said.

“In this case, [a report] commissioned from an ex-union official who happens to be an academic, that claims on the basis of flawed data that somehow, overwhelmingly, all Australians are worse off.”

Hey, at least these researchers can find results that fit with their alleged biases – as opposed to internal Liberal Party polling. And I like the way the data is flawed because it was based on flawed legislation. Fortunately, the fairness test has saved the universe – or at least, has meant that new data won’t be available in time to analyse before the election.

Joe has also been up to his old tricks regarding Julia Gillard. And he scored some brown-nose points with the boss by comparing Howard to Bradman. Bravo.

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John Howard is going to decide whether gay couples get equal rights, because Cabinet put it in the too-hard basket. Still, at least they had a vigorous debate that got to the important equity issues relating to same-sex couples. Why, look at how tuned into the issues these people are:

Ministers were also concerned at the expense of reforms, which would cost taxpayers millions of dollars in extra social security payments.

Mr Turnbull and Mr Hockey are understood to have argued that with high numbers of gay voters in their electorates, reform could not be put off.

Health Minister Tony Abbott and Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews both argued against the reforms, saying they were not a political priority for the Government ahead of the election.

Discrimination is wrong and needs to be abolished. That should not be a politically debatable point. But in a government that has just suspended anti-discrimination laws for Aboriginal communities and has discovered an extra $3.7 billion to add to its budgeted $13.6 billion budget surplus, I suppose the critical issues are how many million dollars it will cost and how it will play in the marginal seats.

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Good Lord

Joe Hockey is the Messiah.

Big problem, Dennis – while you might have thought Joe rocked the House, nobody else was watching. It’s the ongoing series of cock-ups that are getting all of the attention. And even if Joe showed surprising skill, the other side of the chamber came back with plenty of their own (e.g., Nicola Roxon’s use of some ancient statements to bring Nelson into the hospital debacle).

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