Oz Election Thread #4 - Gillard's Labor

Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 07:56 am
Kev has always been angling for the UN Secretary General's job - I think that's a fairly open secret, or maybe that was just my gut feeling? Anyway Ban Ki Moon's second term won't end until 2017.

He's also long been angling for Australia to have one of the non-permanent seats on the security council.
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 08:24 am
I used to trust Kevin07.

I'm smelling sellout, for some strange reason.

Who, other than Joolia, could be a contender?

Swanny doesn't seem to have what the average punter is looking for in a frontline swinger, for mine.
Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 02:25 pm
I can't see the ALP having a new leader until they are in opposition - unless Julia drops out of politics. I don't smell coup.
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Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 05:39 pm
I think it is about far more than who the next leader should be.
The future success of the ALP depends on it defining what principles it actually stands for these days. As opposed to the conservative alternative.
A lot of work to be done on that front, including rebuilding its disillusioned & alienated membership base.
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Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 07:36 pm
All is clear now!
Here's the sequence of events in the Australia Network saga:

November 23, 2010

Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd has announced the Federal Government is putting a 10-year contract for Australia Network, the country's international television broadcasting service, up for tender.

The network is currently provided by the ABC under a five-year contract with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Australia Network put up for tender:

...October 18, 2011

The Australian reported this week that Sky News had won the assessment panel vote on whether it or the incumbent provider, the ABC, should have the ten-year, $233 million contract.

... also Kevin Rudd (Foreign Affairs minister) is removed from responsibility and replaced by Stephen Conroy (Communications minister)

Estimates to question ministerial change over Australia Network contract:

Back to the drawing board!
With Sky News looking like winning the tender again:

November 07, 2011

After months of speculation about who will get the contract to be the voice of Australia overseas, the Communications Minister has announced the tender process has been terminated. ... the Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says the Government has received legal advice that leaks have compromised the process.

Govt terminates Ausnet contract and police called in over leaks:

Which brings us to where things stand today:

The debacle over the $223 million Australia Network contract is a product of Labor's meddling in what should have remained an independent public tender. ....

.....But leaks are merely the symptom of a flawed process. The cause was the government's decision to tear up the rule book when it looked likely Sky News would win the rights to run the network over the ABC. Media scrutiny has ensured the government didn't get away with it....

Labor's meddling turns into a bad soap opera:


A few observations & comments, after all that .....

Yep, it's certainly been a "flawed process" & a big mess, no doubt about that!

I'd argue that it was a process which should never have happened in the first place .... what on earth possessed Kevin Rudd to put "the voice of Australia" up for grabs to the highest bidder in the first place? Surely it would have been fairly obvious that a (cash-starved) ABC would have difficulty competing with privately-owned bidder like Sky News? I think there is little doubt that most Australians would much prefer the ABC to be our "voice" overseas than a foreign company. Say nothing of one which would also be subsidized by the taxpayer.

So it is no surprise that this was a hugely contentious issue within the Labor government. And (to me, anyway) it is no surprise that Rudd was removed from responsibility & replaced with the Communications minister. Whose actions have been largely to avert a foreign take-over & the privatization of an essential government service.
I never thought I would ever be supportive of Stephen Conroy after the "internet filter" fiasco, but I definitely support him (& Julia Gillard) on this one.

So yes, the Labor government definitely has quite a bit of egg on its face for this deeply flawed process, but in the circumstances, what else could it have done, given the process which Rudd had set in place?
It would be a disaster if the ABC lost the right to be "our voice to the world", which is part of its charter, after all ..... and an even bigger disaster if Rupert Murdoch (who owns 70% of our print (news) media) was also to gain control of our external media communication services.

Where this leaves the tendering process from here (after the ABC's 6 months reprieve), who knows?
Me, I hope if it's at all possible, that it can be consigned to the rubbish bin.
What a mess to unscramble!
Thanks, Kevin! Rolling Eyes

Reply Mon 7 Nov, 2011 08:08 pm
btw, in case you're wondering ....
I don't have any particular barrow to push in the Rudd vs Gillard "leadership speculation", which I see as pretty much media-driven.
But it is sounding very much like Rudd is much more interested in a UN job than taking over the reigns of the Labor government again.

As to to Liberal Party leadership...
I would like to contribute to a bit of leadership speculation on that front. Smile
Bring back Malcolm!
At least he has something between his ears & doesn't wear rude bathers!
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Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 06:30 pm
Following (& just posted to) the Drum conversation about Q&A tweets this morning.
I hadn't realized they bothered so many people. :

Dear Aunty,

Enough is enough.

It's time.

Time to dump the Twitter feed from Q&A.

It adds nothing to the show. ...

Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 07:14 pm
But the #qanda tag was ranking world wide on monday night causing confusion throughout the globe. C'mon Aussie, c'mon.
Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 07:24 pm
Really? Smile
Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 07:28 pm
So said one of the #qanda tweets while I watched....
Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 07:33 pm
But seriously, what are we going to do on Monday nights, for weeks & weeks, now?
This will be cruel & hard.
Love my regular dose of Q&A.
(apart from Peter Reith & Christopher Pyne)
Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 07:42 pm
I loved Eddie Perfect's song. I'll put up with Reith if Abetz and Pyne are banned.
Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 07:47 pm
So did I!
That was wonderful.

Heck, I'll put up with anything if Christopher Pyne is banned!
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Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 08:40 pm
What are things coming to?
How could this (Laurie Oakes) article have even been contemplated, say nothing of actually published, in the Hun?
Check out the cartoon depiction of Abbott.
Does Rupert know about this?:

Mining tax has exposed Abbott
# Laurie Oakes
# From: Herald Sun
# November 05, 2011 12:00AM

IT WAS an extraordinary complaint from Tony Abbott. "It's very difficult to have a sensible debate," he said, "when you are confronted with a feral Government".

Politicians don't come any more ferocious and brutal than Abbott. He reverted to the wild the moment he got his paws on the Liberal leadership.

His style is pure attack dog, as feral as you'd get. Everything, irrespective of merit, has to be opposed and torn to pieces.

The mining tax is a case in point. It is now glaringly obvious that the benefits of the mining boom should be shared around so that the overall economy benefits, rather than just a small and privileged section. Opposition to the tax is shrinking.

As long as the Government can deal with some last-minute peripheral worries of independents, particularly Tony Windsor, it will get through the Parliament.

But Abbott is sticking to his decision that he will abolish the tax - and all the benefits it will pay for - as soon as he becomes prime minister.

That means he will repeal tax cuts for business, big and small. He will slash proposed infrastructure spending. And he will take back superannuation increases for workers.

And why? Because he claims the mining companies exploiting Australia's mineral wealth cannot afford to pay more tax.

The risk for the Opposition Leader is that those he would deprive of benefits eventually may see that for the nonsense it is....<cont>

Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 09:06 pm
Then there was this article, published a couple of days later in the business section of the AGE (in which the author referred to the Oakes article).

The concluding argument:

Further out, there are bigger worries if the likely events come to pass and Abbott is elected prime minister and Hockey becomes his treasurer.

Hockey's apologists claim he just has to run with the policies Abbott invents, but that excuse is wearing very thin. Hockeynomics looks like a dangerous cult – a world in which Canberra increases services but cuts taxes, while building up a massive surplus. No, it does not add up

Abbott's gross failure of economic credibility:

Is it too wildly optimistic to hope for some honest & realistic assessment of the Abbott alternative economic agenda & the impact it will have on our lives prior to the next election from our "expert" political commentators? (hello, Michelle)
I hope not.
Anyway, two serious attempts in one week.
Not a bad start!

Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2011 09:27 pm
About (Abbott?) time. I've been waiting to exhale for months.
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Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2011 06:14 pm
... & another article today! Surprised
This time from the AGE's opinion section:

...... So the position now seems to be that the Coalition wants to give billions of dollars to the huge, super profitable mining companies, and take benefits away from Australian working families, except for the super guarantee boost. Clear?

What Australians now need from Mr Abbott and his gang of wreckers is an explanation of how they are going to pay for the super guarantee boost. And while they are explaining that, they should explain what programs are included in $70 billion in cuts that the Liberals are planning. Is Mr Abbott going to cut the new paid parental leave scheme? Is he going to cut Labor's increase in the child care rebate? Labor's education tax refund? Is he going to abolish the 2009 tax cuts Labor delivered to lower paid workers? Is he going to take away the extra money Labor has given pensioners?

In overruling his Finance Minister Andrew Robb, his deputy Julie Bishop and his frontbench assistant Treasury spokesman Senator Mathias Cormann, who had previously confirmed that the Coalition would abolish the superannuation increase along with the mining tax, Mr Abbott has hit a brick wall. He will be picking up the pieces from the wreckage right through to the next election, because Australians will keep asking him for two things – coherent policy proposals, and an explanation on how he will pay for them.

Of course, Mr Abbott said on national TV you can't believe anything he says, so there's every chance he won't honour his pledge to leave in place the increase in the super guarantee, which of course will mean Australian workers retiring with lower savings while hugely profitable mining companies get a tax break. That's as neat a reflection of Tony Abbott's priorities as you could get.

Mr No says yes: Abbott stokes dissent :
Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2011 06:59 pm
I am beside myself with excitement! Smile
Fancy that: we are actually getting some real scrutiny of Abbott's policies!
About time.
More please!

.... & speaking of the print media in Oz & the coverage of matters political ....
News LTD now has a new boss, Kim Williams. Rupert appointed him to the CEO position while visiting Oz.
Former CEO, John Hartigan, just happened to choose this moment to "resign" from the job & Rupert gracefully accepted his resignation. Wink

So, the obvious question: what difference will this make to News Ltd's coverage of Oz politics?
It's always a worry when Rupert suddenly takes an interest in Australia again. Especially before elections.
I mean, News Ltd couldn't get any uglier could it?
Could it?

Anyway, Kim Williams first pronouncements. Hmmmmm... :

News Ltd boss tells politicians to harden up
Updated November 10, 2011 10:00:21

Incoming News Limited CEO Kim Williams says Australian politicians need to toughen up and get over their glass jaws.

Foxtel CEO Mr Williams was yesterday named to take over from John Hartigan, who is resigning as CEO after nine years at the helm and after weeks of rumours about his resignation.

Mr Williams has played down suggestions he has been brought in to repair the company's relationship with the Federal Government.

Federal ministers and the Greens have accused News Limited papers of bias and being a "threat to democracy", but Mr Williams says the papers are just being "robust".

"A free and independent media must always examine government and oppositions, and do so confidently and independently," he said.

"I think we have a kind of national glass jaw syndrome in a lot of political life at the moment, and that is to be regretted."

Mr Williams says he will look at expanding the paywall for the company's online newspapers.

"Well I certainly bring skills in managing a subscription enterprise, that is obviously a skill set I have developed over the last 10 years," he said.

Mr Hartigan has played down the timing of his resignation, which comes as the company prepares to face scrutiny from the Federal Government's media inquiry.

He told Lateline there were a number of factors in his decision to leave.

"There are always things. There is a media inquiry next week which I will be appearing at. They are all part of the rich fabric of being in this industry," he said.

"So my timing is made by a whole host of things, but most of all the fact that we have got such a solid succession plan." ....<cont>


Andrew Bolt wasted no time in writing about his new boss. (Whatta suck! Smile )
It will be interesting though, to see if there are any significant changes in the "tone" of his articles:

My news Boss
Andrew Bolt
Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 06:28am

Mr Williams would not be drawn on whether his appointment represented a cultural shift in News Ltd, but said he would not object if that was written.

‘’I’m a confessed media addict. I love journalism, I love the work of journalists. I admire their work,’’ he said


Asked how he planned to tackle government relations in view of previous exchanges between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the company, he said: “One seeks to work with both sides and participate in a way that ensures their positions are understood. I do think we have had in Australia at times what I call a glass-jaw syndrome. People in public life were sometimes overly sensitive.

“I’m a strong believer in a free and independent media.”


About that last statement by Williams ... we shall see soon enough about what he means by "a free & independent media". & how that applies to how the likes of the Hun cover Australian politics from here.
Wouldn't it be refreshing if it included some "robust" scrutiny of the opposition as well as the government?
Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2011 09:40 pm
.....We're left to speculate then that a key qualification for Williams is that he's a clean skin as far as the bulk of News Ltd's activities are concerned – he has no baggage from the newspapers' excesses, the whole rugby league saga, or the legacy aspects of print.

But even more surprising is Rupert taking on the chairman's role, as if he didn't have enough to do as executive chairman of News Corp given its various fires.
After the empty shareholder gestures at the News Corp AGM, it's a clear demonstration that Rupert continues to do whatever Rupert wants.

As for motive, I'd suggest there are two possible readings: either Murdoch doesn't quite trust his punt on Williams and wants to keep a close and direct eye on what he might do with the legacy newspapers; or that he trusts him a great deal and wants to protect him from the legacy senior executives who might well have fancied the chairman's title themselves.

The one sure thing is that Williams has interesting times ahead of him, being of a different cultural and political hue than his new direct reports. The words “poison” and “chalice” come to mind.

Rupert's memory back in control:
Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2011 09:57 pm
Breaking news:


The opposition's so-called "Nauru solution" for asylum seekers is in tatters with the sudden resignation today of Nauru's president Marcus Stephen and foreign minister Keiren Keke.

The two men were pivotal in supporting the Coalition's policy to reopen an asylum seeker processing centre on Nauru for boat arrivals, and had met Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison on their tour of Nauru in June.

Mr Keke, in particular, had travelled to Australia during the 2010 election campaign to meet Mr Abbott and promote his slogan to "stop the boats" and "pick up the phone to Nauru". ....

'Nauru solution' in tatters as leader quits:
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