Posts Tagged ‘Malcolm Turnbull’

Malcolm says it’s time for the speculation about Peter Costello’s future to stop because the public want to hear about something else. Shouldn’t he be saying that to someone other than the public? I don’t believe we’re responsible for the stupidity of the political/media discourse.

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Civil wars aren’t what they used to be. An obsolete coward arguing for an obsolete policy against an increasingly obsolete “leader”.

And since when do “foreigners” get to declare civil war?

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My main problem with Malcolm Turnbull’s approach to leading the Opposition is not really that he sends mixed messages, nor that he opposes whatever the Government does just for the sake of opposing, nor even that he focuses on the trivial.

No, my problem is that when you look carefully at any statement Turnbull makes – when you listen to him, then read the transcript, then read the reporting – you realise that he is completely incoherent:

“The key to managing difficult times is discipline and the willingness, the guts, to take tough decisions,” he said.

“All through this year the Prime Minister has made no hard decisions.

“The Prime Minister has mismanaged our response to the global financial crisis. The Prime Minister wants a leave pass for economic laziness.”

I have seen what Kevin Rudd said today about the possibility of running a deficit on infrastructure spending. I understand his reasoning in saying that, and although I tend to agree with it I can understand that some might argue differently or be concerned about it.

But Turnbull doesn’t argue against it. He doesn’t raise concerns about it. The closest he comes to a point is to imply Rudd is a wimp. But even that doesn’t come through clearly.

Even Brendan Nelson articulated an argument better than this.

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Andrew Bolt is gunning for Krudd (if I may use the vernacular). He has been running a series of blog posts calling on the media to investigate “Rudd’s betrayal of Bush“. I have had several thoughts in reaction to this:

  • What a shame that Bolt apparently doesn’t have the skill or motivation to perform his own investigative work and has to rely on getting real journalists to take his ideas seriously.
  • Bolt flatly asserts that Rudd leaked the information. Isn’t this a terribly flawed assumption? The Bush administration has denied that Bush said what the Australian alleged. Rudd has denied that Bush said it and rubbished the notion that Bush isn’t well aware of the G20. What’s more, when asked whether the “leak” came from his office, has given an answer that approximates, “buggered if I know.” Yet Bolt still seems to be acting as though the “leak” gave information that would only be known to someone involved in, present during, or who had accurate information about, the Bush-Rudd conversation. If the information was false, then anyone could have made it up, so long as they knew the conversation took place and the general topic.
  • The phone conversation happened while there was a dinner party going on at Kirribilli house. Present at that party was one Chris Mitchell, editor of the newspaper formerly known as the Government Gazzette, currently known as the Opposition Organ, which has been using its editorial content to attack the Rudd Government’s policies and conduct. Now, this paper has published the “leaked” information. If the fact that it made Rudd look like a bigshot is enough reason for Bolt to conclude that Rudd himself was the “leak”, isn’t the fact that this made Rudd look like a blabbermouth enough of a reason to suspect Chris Mitchell?
  • If we take the idea of investigation seriously then, based on the information we currently have, someone fed the Australian false information about the Bush-Rudd conversation. Does the journalistic obligation to preserve confidential sources apply to a source who tells lies? Shouldn’t the investigation begin with the Australian revealing who gave them dud information?

Malcolm has been getting in on the act as well, and making some of the same errors of reasoning as Bolt. He says that the leaking of the conversation is embarrassing and a national security risk – which it might be, if the leak was accurate. Otherwise, it’s just bullshit spread by someone and believed by a newspaper who didn’t check the credibility of their sources well enough. But Malcolm adds in a call for the Australian Federal Police to head an investigation. Now I’ve never been shy about discussing the limitations of the AFP, but I would still contend that they are, in fact, a law enforcement body. So if Malcolm wants them to investigate something, should it perhaps be an allegation of some illegal activity? Just saying.

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look over there!

I think there was a decent amount of opportunism in Rudd’s criticism of Malcolm – it tries to create equivalence with Robert McClelland’s recent comments. I tend to agree with Tim Dunlop – McClelland’s comments were downright stupid but I am not convinced that he should lose his job over it. What gets to me the most about it is that I had hoped we might be past the time of “tough on terror” being the principal value that Attorneys-General must endorse and be judged upon. They had just been convicted – why did the Government need to say anything more to highlight that terrorists will be sought out and prosecuted?

Back on the economic issues, Keri has a good post about the current crisis in the US and why Australia is not likely to see the same sort of problem.

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That should put an end to the destabilisation, eh?

ELSEWHERE: If you can’t find other blog posts on this yourself, you’re probably beyond help. Okay, here’s a hint: Pick any of the non-crap links from my blogroll and you ought to find something.

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Brendan’s not taking any of your shit any more, right?

Federal Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson has called a leadership vote for tomorrow morning.

Late this afternoon he called his Liberal colleagues to an unscheduled meeting.

It is understood Dr Nelson is trying to settle the leadership by calling on a vote.

I suspect he’s actually aiming to demonstrate that he has some leadership capacity by calling a meeting and having people turn up.

The uncertainty surrounding this spill is a nice change. There are lots of things to wonder about:

  • One source has apparently suggested Turnbull has the numbers, but what if anyone else throws their hat in the ring?
  • Did Julie protect Brendan from Belinda Neal so she could strike the death blow herself?
  • Will Wilson bring the iron bar?
  • Will Brendan be tallying the votes by whiteboard?
  • Will Tip be signing copies of his book?

ELSEWHERE: Press release at Pollytics; Talk at Larvatus Prodeo and The Poll Bludger;  Breakfast, lunch and dinner at GrodsCorp.

UPDATE: Malcolm’s getting in the game.

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Obviously, she was only joking.

UPDATE: Overington denies slapping Newhouse. Apparently, it was “pushing him away with an open hand” – semantics.

Also interesting is this note about Malcolm Turnbull:

Today Mr Turnbull placed an advertisement in a Sydney newspaper claiming Mr Newhouse was an invalid candidate.

Mr Turnbull believes Mr Newhouse didn’t allocate enough time between quitting his NSW state government job and becoming the ALP candidate.

Here’s more information on Turnbull’s ad. Now those are some last-ditch dirty tactics.

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After 11 years of social divisiveness and conservatism, Team Howard now wants us to believe that they will work to create an equitable and tolerant society – in their fifth term of government.

First, it was John Howard’s semi-hemi-demi-backflip on reconciliation – announcing a constitutional referendum to acknowledge a self-evident fact in our Constitution.

Now, to try to win over the voters in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs that Malcolm Turnbull needs to retain Wentworth, Team Howard is showing signs of movement on rights to public sector superannuation for gay couples.

The obviousness of the Liberal Party’s ploys to win over socially liberal voters can’t be disputed. Howard is trying out announcements that stand diametrically opposed to his decades-old record of being a stodgy old conservative with a very narrow set of social values. He is trying to convince us that his failure to act, or even to appreciate the need to act, on these issues during the past four terms should be forgotten, because in the next three years, it’s all going to change.

It’s too late. And it’s too little:

While the Coalition will not grant gay couples de facto status, or adopt any of the other 58 recommendations outlined in a human rights report in June, it will allow, if re-elected, interdependent gay couples to share each other’s public pensions and super benefits – as heterosexual couples do.

They don’t want to go too far in actually doing these things – they just want to give the impression that they will. But if we have seen how equitable our society is under John Howard, how can we believe that Howard Mk V will be so different?

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If Peter Garrett acknowledged that what an opposition party says during a campaign might not match what it does in office, he is in the running for Most Honest Man in Politics.

If Malcolm Turnbull told a professional gardener that he has the shits about the Gunns pulp mill, then fair enough – it’s caused him no end of grief, and I can’t see a way he could have got out of that situation unscathed. I’d be stressed about it too, and he’s in competition with Garrett for the aforementioned title.

Unless the media is going to make sure every politician gives an open and honest answer all the time, especially when the camera is rolling or the tape is recording, then shut the hell up about what so-and-so said to you in some conversation that nobody else can verify. Stop playing by a set of rules where it’s okay if they equivocate during interviews, doortops and debates, but if they are frank with you when they’re not being recorded then you splash it all over the news.

Hold them to a standard of integrity and honesty, or don’t. Cut out this crap where the only time it matters what a politician says is when it becomes an exclusive that advances your own profile.

We care about the election. We care about the future of Australia. We don’t care about what scoop you’ve got, what inside information you were given, unless you care about making sure that we get the whole truth, all the time.

Just knock it off.

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