typing is not activism….

environ mentalism, fresh articles, interviews & checkitouts from Sydney.

Archive for November 2007

Updated: Rudd’s new frontbench, and Perm beats Helmet

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Just to explain that last part – Brendan Nelson has beaten Malcolm Turnbull 45 – 42, gaining the right to be the next Liberal leader to be deposed.

On to much more important things – news is just coming out of Canberra regarding the new ministerial appointments selected by PM Kevin Rudd.

According to the rolling report being updated throughout the afternoon at The Age:

He is believed to have dropped Laurie Ferguson, Kate Lundy, Jan McLucas, Kerry O’Brien, Arch Bevis and Bob McMullan, sources confirmed.

In their place, he has appointed ALP national president John Faulkner, former NSW minister Bob Debus, Kate Ellis, Justine Elliot, Warren Snowdon and Brendan O’Connor, Labor sources say.

Kerry O’Brien – the Tasmanian boofhead, not the awesome journalist – is out! This is great news as it means one less militant voice in the senior ranks screaming for the deforestation, pulping and burning of Tasmania. Good start! Apparently the environment portfolio has been split in two – probably environment and climate change – and Peter Garrett has likely remained part of that, with the latest news suggesting that the climate change portfolio will be held by Penny Wong.

Simon Crean looks set to be Trade Minister. Stephen Smith likely to take the crucial portfolio of Foreign Affairs. Maxine McKew, Greg Combet, and Bill Shorten all to pick up important postings as Parliamentary Secretaries – a significant position for newcomers, teaching them the ropes and giving them intensive experience to prepare them for the prospect of ministries down the road. Read the rest of this entry »

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November 29, 2007 at 12:14 pm

Goodbye John Howard! Hello unexpected but long-overdue ‘Sorry’!!

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Silver-tongued Bob Ellis has freshly penned a perfect post mortem for the election we never need have again and for the departure of that little weasel who we’ll never have to vote out again. It starts like this:

And so it goes; and went.

And what did we learn?

Maxine, Mike Kelly, Bob Debus, Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Windsor showed good candidates help, whatever the swing. Mike Bailey, Rodney Cox, Peter Tinley showed good candidates don’t always win if the swing they need is too large. Mal Brough showed even vast talent goes down to defeat when a huge swing is on. Nicole Cornes, George Newhouse, Karen Chijoff, John Howard showed really bad, dead-cat candidates lose, whatever the swing.

And it just gets better from there – definitely worth a read, especially for anyone who feels the glow from Saturday may be fading, and for anyone unsure as to what there is to be pleased about.

On the other side of the world, Tasmania’s proudest export, novelist Richard Flanagan (of Geoffrey Cousins-influencing fame – the environmental activist millionaire, not the snorting hero) has just had a fresh piece published in the highly respected UK Guardian newspaper. Flanagan’s deft bluntness with language, his passion for forest ecosystems, and his disdain for malignant governance are a deadly team and well worth seeing in action. He translates Australian politics for the rest of the planet in the first tree-free piece he has written in some time:

At the end of his concession speech, Howard claimed to have left Australia prouder, stronger and more prosperous. But it didn’t feel that way. It felt like it had been a lost decade. It felt like the country was frightened, unsure of what it now is, unready for the great changes it must make, and ill-fitted for the robust debates it must have.

There was a strange sense that Australia, which had seemed so often to sleepwalk, mesmerised, through the past 11 years, had suddenly woken up. But where it might go and what it might do and be, no one any longer knew.

This week, the new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has also promised a full and substantial apology to Aboriginal Australians and particularly the Stolen Generations. He has foreshadowed a period of thorough and broad consultation with indigenous leaders and communities to ensure that the message – which he has affirmed will categorically contain the word ‘Sorry’ – be properly expressed. This is truly fantastic news and promises a radically sounder foundation for future development of Australian culture than the one that has been laid over the last 11 years.

I personally hope that from the era of ‘Sorry’ it will be a natural progression to an era of ‘Thankyou’. As much as Australia is this richly diverse melting pot, there is a core of what it is to be Australian that wouldn’t be there if this land actually had been vacant when James Cook declared it to be such. Where’d your nasal twang come from, eh?
And without meaning to harp on the negatives or be hateful to the elevated oil stain now wiped from our windscreens, Phillip Adams at The Australian has written a farewell which stands out from almost all others thanks to the unique perspective of an anecdote starring Nelson Mandela, Malcolm Fraser, and – you guessed it – John ‘Oil Stain’ Howard.

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November 29, 2007 at 3:15 am

New climate of opportunity for Australia behind PM Rudd

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From the first Monday of December – nine days after his victory – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will be attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali. 11 days, 198 countries, and 10,000 delegates; thanks to 3,000 journalists in attendance, the whole world actually will be watching.

Forecasting change from a third of a world away the UK’s Guardian newspaper last week ran two lengthy feature stories – one aptly titled ‘It’s the environment, John’, the other characterizing “the world’s first climate change election”.

Most Australians are keenly aware of pressured environments and impacts of climate change. Yet for many who wonder what they can do to actively help, answers such as ‘buy a Prius’ or ‘use a washing line’ have offered little real incentive. Their collective vote, however, must surely be one of the single biggest acts of grassroots environmentalism in Australian history.

Thanks perhaps to a distracted or tentative media, many Australians don’t yet realize what a dramatic climate change U-turn this country has just taken. But it puts the country on course to joining Kyoto and, more immediately, the far-from-ordinary climate conference in Bali.

It is expected that our representatives will deposit a letter with the peak body, signed by Rudd and committing to fully ratify Kyoto. Australia will be joining a global community in crisis, rather than complaining from the sidelines and, perhaps more significantly, America will be left as the sole developed nation opposed to ratification – an outright pariah at last. Read the rest of this entry »

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November 27, 2007 at 2:58 pm

US media: John Howard, Bush’s “veritable bootlicker”

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O my lord – how good are the opinion pieces at Harpers? Scott Horton has written a great piece, “The Bush Touch: turning friends into enemies“. Here’s an excerpt tracking the increasing sway held over foreign politicians by the charismatic visionary.

One by one the leaders on the world stage who put their faith in Bush and thoughtlessly did his bidding have fallen in disgrace, usually rejected by their own voters. The first to go were Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi and Spain’s José María Aznar. Then Britain’s Tony Blair was forced to surrender 10 Downing Street to his Chancellor of the Exchequer, to give Labour a fighting chance to hold a majority in the next election. In the last week, Jarosław Kaczyński, a conservative ally in Poland fell, and over the weekend, Bush’s most faithful follower in the entire pack, the veritable boot-licker John Howard of Australia. In each case, the association with George W. Bush was electoral cyanide to voters back home.

Horton has written extensively about the politics and human rights abuses of the Iraq invasion and is one of a number of journalistic voices warning against an attack on Iran, which will be dressed up under the justification ‘preemptive’. He is a lawyer, specializing (I believe) in human rights. He may also be a Jedi.

And although it sort of raises the cartoon bar foreverl out of reach, I had to repost this one by Mr. Fish because it’s just bogglingly good on so many levels.

Stigmata and a machine gun. Swoon. Something else I just realized – since Howard officially lost his seat today, he can now be officially compared to the only other Australian Prime Minister to suffer such ignominy: Stanley Bruce in 1928. 29? Whatever.

Point is, analysts have drawn the parallel that Bruce also pushed for unpopular industrial conditions for workers, with the difference being that his economy was in a shambles, while Howard’s going out with the numbers looking healthy. But check this out – I don’t think that there has ever been an Australian Prime Minister with two first names who hasn’t ended up getting their face stomped by the Australian people.

Stanley. Bruce. John. Howard. Sacked. Bye. Think about it.

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November 27, 2007 at 3:10 am

PM Rudd’s first domestic courtesy of the Greens

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By any objective measure, the vote in most of Australia was heavily influenced by Green preferences and should be seen as a call to the Rudd Government to consider a more environmentally friendly way to deal with this issue of the pulp mill.

– Dr Warwick Raverty, 26th November, 2007

It is certain that under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (*aahhh*) Australia will be an international citizen like never before. A veritable treasure trove of global possibilities now lie across the sea. Ironically, so shall his first major domestic challenge.

Barely had the Rudd victory been declared on Saturday than Greens Senator Bob Brown, surrounded by cheering supporters and green ‘no pulp mill’ triangles, declared the result a vote against the proposed Gunns pulp mill.

“From Bass to Bennelong to Bowman, this pulp mill has had an influence,” Senator Brown said. “And the pulp mill was the single most defining environmental issue which has made this huge swing against the government to the Greens.”

The eviction of the Coalition government was partially rejection of a government that approved the pulp mill. The difficulty is that a vote – primary or preferential – for Federal Labor was still a vote for a party that supported the pulp mill. Read the rest of this entry »

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November 26, 2007 at 9:53 pm

Maxine McKew claims Bennelong!! More VICTORY!!! LOL!!!!

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It’s official. Maxine McKew (rhymes with ‘truck shoe’ in case you’re wondering) has ousted John Howard from the North Shore seat of Bennelong, which he has held for 33 years.

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He could always challenge for the Victorian seat of Higgins. Should be up for grabs as soon as Goldman Sachs makes Peter Costello an offer.

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November 26, 2007 at 6:39 pm

Gunns pulp mill finds vocal support in Tasmania

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thanks Kim & Mr. Missile for helping me, um, take a broader view of the situation. LOL.

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November 26, 2007 at 6:37 pm

Drunken thugs brutalize whale

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Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd has just posted this horrific recounting of a recent tortuous death inflicted by wannabe customary warriors:

(excerpt) The unsuspecting whale had no reason to fear the approach of the boat. After all, the whale had been in these waters for years without threat. People and boats were harmless. So when Parker drove the first harpoon into the whale’s back, the whale screamed in pained surprise and jerked on the line causing Wayne Johnson to drop the .50 caliber gun into the sea. In desperation the shocked amateur whalers sank three more harpoons into the whale and then they opened fire with a .460 Magnum rifle shooting 16 bullets into the whale’s body and failing to hit a vital organ.

It’s a tale that’s as disgusting and disturbing as it is aggravating and clarifying, but definitely worth taking the time to read.

The New Yorker, the prestigious journal known best to some through the fim Capote recently did a deeply dug profile on Watson & Sea Shepherd which you can check out here.

The Shepherds are in Australia at the moment preparing for this summer’s Operation Migaloo. Named after a white humpback whale (Migaloo is one tribe’s word for “white fella”) who seasonally travels the east coast of Australia, this Sea Shepherd operation has particular significance.

Under authority from… well…. from themselves, Japan have not only approved the slaughter of 950 minke and fin whales, but have added for the first time since their hunting was stopped 50 humpbacks. Still an endangered species, humpbacks have perhaps a greater emotional attachment and significance for mainstream Australians than any other whale. Furthermore, Migaloo follows on from last summer’s operation which saw Sea Shepherd prevent the deaths of around 500 whales by the Japanese, but also saw Greenpeace deliberately withold information about the whaling fleet from Sea Shepherd.

The Japanese whaling fleet was inconvenienced by fire and one human death aboard its all-important factory ship, the Nisshin Maru. More importantly, however, the pristine Antarctic ecosystem was threatened by the possibility of a massive industrial toxic spill.

This time around, Greenpeace are tracking the Japanese whalers with updates posted constantly – removing the p.r. need for them to block Sea Shepherd. Furthermore, before election the new Australian government made a commitment to use air and naval vessels to, at best, stop the slaughter. At lamest, they will monitor it.

Here’s hoping for a complete shutdown of the Maru crew this Summer. May their boats rust and their captains, owners and government minister f%&$ing starve.

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November 26, 2007 at 1:03 am

Malcolm Turnbull grabs shovel before Peter Costello’s body is even cold.

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Peter Costello has finally demonstrated the kind of leadership that the Liberal Party has sorely needed, by abandoning them to go to a BBQ… with high odds that he’ll be working for a major investment house within the next 12 months I’ll bet. Still, it’s only fair that somebody profit from the suffering he causes.

With Costello’s furrowed brow also goes the anointment spat from on-high by Long Gone John. No matter, humourless ass-hat Malcolm “I’m gonna take your balls and go straight home” Turnbull has thrown his hat in the ring, according to this article. Question is, when an ass-hat throws his hat in the ring, who gets to pull it back out? My bet is that he’s going to come out as deputy, but who to?

And who cares? They’re all skanks. Point is that the next leader of the Liberal Party will be someone who actually understands that they’ll never be Prime Minister (or President) of Australia. They’re just the ice-breaker who’ll get disembowelled by their own support-base after they lose the next election (if they’re allowed to stick around that long).

Hang on…. Why am I even writing about this? Let’s face it – Australia won, they’re screwed, schadenfreude now comes in community-sized buckets, and HA HA!!

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November 25, 2007 at 5:08 pm

US reading of Kevin Rudd’s victory

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GettelongThe New York Times has gone with an epitaph for George Bush’s best white English-as-a-first-language li’l buddy. They more or less say Bye John, Hi Kev. Apparently the main difference between the two is that Rudd wants to pull Aussie combat troops out of Iraq. And of course

Mr. Rudd, 18 years younger than Mr. Howard, has a reputation as a cerebral student of policy, as opposed to the Liberal leader’s image of a hardened and aggressive political animal.

Mr. Rudd’s rather dry image was if anything enhanced by the revelation which emerged shortly before the beginning of the campaign that he had got drunk and visited a strip club when he was on a visit to Scores New York in 2003. Read the rest of this entry »

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November 25, 2007 at 4:11 am

Updated election update #4: John Howard’s behind in Bennelong; it is getting kicked. Osama Bin Laden crashes Liberal notveryfunction.

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Updates:

great story here – Chas Bin Laden of the Chaser crashed the Liberal Party’s Big Night Out, dressed as a unionist and terrifying party-goners by yelling “I’m coming back!”. Security followed an earlier lead from voters by vigorously throwing him out.

The View from Qatar – Al Jazeera writes of a change in eras in Australia

The View from the U.K. – The Guardian profiles Kevin Rudd

DING FRIKKIN DONG – the witch is dead!! Not Helen Coonan (unfortunately) but Howard!! His seat of Bennelong supposedly to go down to postal votes, but at this point there’s about 72 000 votes counted in Bennelong. Maxine McKew is in front of Howard by 600 votes. Likely to be ahead by about 800 by the time the remaining 25 000 are counted. Although postals are likely to break toward the incumbent Howard, it still probably won’t put him past 50% and McKew can count on the majority of preferences from roughly 5 000 votes going to the Green candidate.

John Howard may be fondly remembered by some but I think for most he will always be remembered as the very best reason not to trust anybody with ‘Winston’ for a middle name.

Thankyou Bennelong voters!! from all Australia!! Not only have you sacked Howard, you’ve stuck an investigative journalist in Parliament. A far better way of keeping the bastards honest than the Democrats and almost as good as the Greens.

Unfortunately, former Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull hung on to his seat of Wentworth, gaining the upper hand as the one apparently most willing to benefit from dirty mudslinging over the technical eligibility of the Labor candidate. Of course, had George Newhouse been more on his game, rather than more or less disappearing from view during the particularly crucial moments of his campaign, there might have been a more punishing outcome for the man who approved the most ill-advised and surely doomed environmental time bomb ever to be endorsed by both major political parties in Australia.

Speaking of which – did you catch Bob Brown’s celebration speech on the declaration that Kevin Rudd had won?

Immediately stated that the vote is a mandate against the pulp mill and that ALP under Kevin Rudd have a responsibility to make sure it never happens to the Tamar or Tassie’s forests. Also on basis of a record primary vote for Greens in Tasmania, nearing 25% and surpassing the Liberal candidates in some seats. Not even day 1 & it’s go time. SIIIIIICK!!!!

Official running national tally here. Much more interesting here, and also check out GetUp in the tally room….

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November 24, 2007 at 11:28 pm

Schadenfreude & fresh air!!! John Howard deposed!! Goodbye racists, hello Kyoto!!!

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What else to say!!!??? Check the previous posts for links to the numbers but with 12 seats still to be counted the Australian Labor Party under Kevin Rudd & Julia Gillard has taken 80 seats with Howard’s Liberal/National Party COALition on 56 and 2 seats to minor parties.

 

 

IT’S OVER!!!! AND THERE’S HOPE FOR THIS COUNTRY AGAIN!!!!! 

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November 24, 2007 at 8:29 pm

Election update #3: Big charge up the middle – ALP 58: COALition 37 !!!!!!!

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John Howard’s Coalition seem to be in the poop.

For the House of Representatives (our equivalent of Congress, for US readers… both of you) who ever plans to take Government needs to win 76 seats as there are potentially 150.

With 13% of votes counted, Antony Green has 58 seats to the ALP, 37 seats to Howard’s COALition, and 1 to a candidate for neither party. Some of these seats are marginal and with counting still in progress there will be swings. Also, in about 2 hours from now the Howard Government will begin to pick up as the numbers come in from the West.

Nevertheless, that leaves 54 seats up for prediction with the ALP needing to pick up 39, or roughly 75% of remaining seats, to hold Government. Labor (ALP) need to pick up 22, or less than 35%.

 

Get your comprehensive national coverage here or sort through these helpfully gathered links.

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November 24, 2007 at 6:37 pm

Australian Election – East coast booths close, exit polls tip Howard defeat

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Exit polls are tipping a 53-47 two-party-preferred vote favouring the opposition Labor Party, although the sample size and distribution isn’t made clear. Exit polling also tipping Howard to lose his own seat of Bennelong, although that was qualified as being based on a small sample (3? 300?).

In the ongoing grudge match between media, voters and politicians, media are down 2 nil. Apparently a disgruntled voter attacked an Age journalist with her car. Even though she was apparently aiming for Liberal Party campaigners this leaves the media lagging, with the earlier score coming off an Overington own goal. Voters and politicians are now neck and neck, with an outcome hopefully to be determined in the next 5 hours.

And play has been disrupted in Queensland where heavy rain stopped voting earlier than expected, possibly preventing media from staging a comeback by successfully attacking voters and politicians in the manner that they have for the last 6 weeks.

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November 24, 2007 at 5:18 pm

Aussie election day – media roundup… (update 2)

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Update: Great freshly posted articles in the U.K. press here and here about John Howard’s climate change and pulp mill legacy and its significance in today’s election. (thanks Mr. M!!)

 

This won’t be totally comprehensive, but going into the day (just turned noon on the east coast) these are some of the stand-out pieces of coverage and opinion so far:

If you’d rather do the sane thing and skip earnestly fact-checked media, check out the videos and transcripts at the Clarke & Dawe page, especially their excoriation of Howard over the politics of fear. This farewell to Howard is brutal and amazing – one of the funniest things they’ve ever done with their 3-minutes.

And happy to see that another of my sometime-favourites, Mike Carlton, has thrown his hat in the ring with the perfectly titled White tracksuit bottoms flutter over the bunker.

The first group left before dawn, silent figures picking their way through the smoking rubble, casting long shadows in the light of the heaped documents burning in the courtyard.

They would take the northern escape route. Most had only the few possessions they had frantically scraped together as the enormity of the disaster emerged. A bundle of lovingly polished pejoratives, perhaps: chardonnay-sipping, elitist, latte left, Howard haters.

Others clutched an old Quadrant magazine, an invitation to drinks at Kirribilli, a treasured newspaper editorial written long ago in praise of Donald Rumsfeld. These keepsakes from happier days would bring comfort in the grim years ahead.

Away from the seriously hilarious to the hilariously serious. Was I wrong about Alan Ramsey? I think so; here’s a vigorously waved middle finger to the departing Magoo of a Prime Minister.

Yet Howard’s true political “genius”, if you like, is forever talking to what he sees as his base constituency as if they are no more than sheep. In this he might well be right.

It’s a great bit of venom which also points out that 300 recycling bins have just arrived at Parliament House, as if out of nowhere… Somebody might be preparing for a shred-a-thon.

This piece, Desperate Tactics, by Shaun Carney clearly points out the obvious reason why the racism/dirty tactics scandal which burned up about 48 hours of Howard’s oxygen this week probably seemed like a good idea at the time:

In 2001, John Howard, aided by Philip Ruddock, showed that it was good business. Howard’s vital sentence, uttered for the first time during that campaign during the Liberals’ formal launch at the Sydney Recital Hall, was: “We decide who comes into this country and the circumstances in which they come.” I was there and there were two moments during that event when the roof of that beautiful space just about lifted off due to the rapturous applause from Liberal supporters: when Howard made that statement and when Ruddock, the hero of the push against boat people, was introduced to the crowd.

Tracee Hutchison sprays on a bit of drama but with a lyrical flair and 11 years of pent-up anger prays that the past week will indeed be Johnny’s epitaph:

Somehow the word comeuppance came to mind as the 11th-hour race implosion in the federal seat of Lindsay derailed Howard’s re-election momentum. And it screamed poetic justice.

Election analyst Antony Green gets his outlook in here, while Chris Uhlmann disembowels the last 6 weeks of election campaigning here.

So their slogan was “Go for Growth”, and all of a sudden people could think, “Well, that could mean that interest rates might rise, so that’s a bit of a problem.” So then we saw another banner appear which was red and said, “Don’t risk our economy with Labor.”

And in the last week really, the Prime Minister has borrowed a line from Morris Iemma, which is if we’re heading in the right direction, there’s no need to change. So, there’s been a dog’s breakfast of themes throughout this.

Peter Hartcher has written a comprehensive comparison piece, Taste The Difference, which needs a cup of coffee and some breathing space – but is well worth it. Hartcher’s been almost as outstanding reading as Michelle Grattan, and while it’s a shame that she hasn’t written anything in the last 24 hours it’s a sure bet she’ll write something dazzling within the next 24.

They do converge on a great deal – in the words of the online satirist Hugh Atkin, Rudd proceeds according to the “clever principle of similar difference”.

We could also take a visit to the News Limited stable, but nah. Half of the editors there have decided in the last week that their best marketing outcome lies in supporting the ALP for 4 days, rather than continuing their line of “Howard’s amazing, why is he so misunderstood?”

Instead, there’s the lucky-dip mix at Election Tracker, which I believe is a loose collective of journalism students taking a crack at broadly composed online coverage. My guess is that it will be bereft of jaded cynicism and bitter bias, but that is just a guess.

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November 24, 2007 at 3:30 pm

HOLY CRAP!!! Journo attacks candidate, but in the flesh for a change + yet another COALition flyer scam.

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Oh Lordy!!! This is too good. This post is kind of an update – check this earlier post for background. Rupert Murdoch’s red-cordial-nightmare Caroline Overington screamed abuse at Labor Party candidate for Wentworth, George Newhouse just over an hour ago.

With her skill for making a clumsy scene, she made sure to not only do this in front of a lot of people, but at a polling location..

“At first we thought who was this woman yelling at Newhouse, then she slapped him and we realised it was Caroline Overington,” the witness said.

She was obviously just following the Electoral Commission’s guidance – mark one box above the line, all the boxes below the line, or attack the candidate in person just to make sure that everyone knows how highly News Limited prizes quality journalism.

Actually, perhaps it is a News Limited ploy. Let’s face it – that last minute poll they ran which put the Liberals closer to winning than in any other poll this year probably wouldn’t have hurt their sales. And now they can run the Sunday headline “Bugger the election results – read today’s Slappy Bitch Psycho column!! Exclusive!!”

just in –> Not wanting to miss out on the last minute negative publicity, Queensland Liberals have made sure to get caught up in another deceptive how-to-vote flyer scam. Nationally, that’s the third reported for the Liberals this week, proving that they are indeed the party of private enterprise.

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November 24, 2007 at 2:53 pm

Turnbull goes down screaming

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nagyon-depis-life-sucks.jpgMore like a 5-year old than a banshee – Malcolm ‘animal lover’ Turnbull has picked election day to prove that Geffrey Cousins isn’t the only millionaire who can place a full-page ad. The Liberal Party, according to this article, have placed a full-page ad telling the voters of Wentworth (Bondi, Kings Cross, Darlinghurst, Double Bay, etc.) that if they don’t make sure that Turnbull wins, his legal advice is that he can force a by-election.

Sounds like he gets his campaign advice from the same place as News Limited’s Caroline Overington.

Wait a minute… Of course he does. The husband of her good buddy and Oz-colleague, Janet Albrechtsen – John Howard’s culture-Scud on the ABC board – is his media advisor.

Wow. What a small world.

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November 24, 2007 at 4:12 am

Turnbull and Downer caught fighting over future prospects…

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while Howard courts the fruit and gangsta vote.

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o yeah, you know that’s how he’s rollin.

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November 24, 2007 at 2:53 am

Aussie Election soundtrack & music video thread….

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Just breathe, it’s all gunna be foine.

The ever-on-to-it PossCom has had a great idea – an Open Edition Election Thread of Angst & Therapy.

*using Holden-driving FM radio announcer voice* “Whether it’s a before- or after-party, this’ll keep your virtual loungeroom kicking on. Because what’s a virtual lounge room without a soundtrack? A virtual loungeroom…without a soundtrack.”

But I digress. What’s on your playlist as Earmunch stares down Hatepig?

Some of these are obvious, some maybe not. All should be more fun with coffee than Laurie Oakes. What I’ve got in mind so far is: Read the rest of this entry »

full text of John Howard’s final pre-election address to National Press Club

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November 23, 2007 at 4:18 am

Best Australian online Election coverage.

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Whether you’re local or global, these links will hopefully be both useful and entertaining. If however you don’t understand the Australian sense of humour available at some of these sites, that’s not my fault – you must be some kind of dickhead.

First up is Possum Comitatus – more than just a cute picture, razor-gang wit and an atypical formula fetish, Possum is a natural commentator. Criticism of media, politicians, analytical techniques, and prescient timing flow effortlessly into one another. Possum puts the ‘arts’ in ‘charts’. Disclosure: my blog officially has a crush on his/her blog – politics, maths and anger: awesome!!!!

Pollbludger is a proven performer with the archives to prove it. Ideal for the reader comfortable with longer paragraphs. Of course, if that’s too daunting and you’re voting for Pauline Hanson because she’s going to bring the average reading age of Australia down to 8 years old, you can fuck off now.

For malicious grins, countrywide coverage backed up by masses of well-utilised resources it has to be Antony Green’s election guide at the ABC site. Certain to be one of the leading edge sources of info and news as it breaks on Saturday night.

Experienced journalists looking this happy about John Howard’s chances is such a good thing

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Independent webzine New Matilda has a hot little election zone – the aptly titled Polliegraph, featuring a variety of voices and angles, guest writers of juicy goodness, and plenty of good bits to pick through.

The big question, obviously, is not whether John Howard will get lost in a Bible warehouse in Epping but whether The Election Chaser – brought to you by the boys who put APEC and Australia on the world map – will be going live online. Of course, that would be a stupid question. “John Howard’s getting kicked out, think I’ll spend the night blogging”. ??.

Balls to that! Watch Channel 7 if you want to see Joe Hockey cry. Watch Channel 9 if you can stand Ray Martin because at least Charles Firth will be on there and they’re broadcasting without ads. Watch ABC if you’re actually interested in what’s going on and hate tv stations that run racist sexist fucking ignant programming. SBS might be good but despite having Karen Middleton, they also have Stan Grant. He messed with Mary Kostakidis so he can go unwatched and unloved.

Are you feeling it Stan? Are you feeling it?

And now I’m going to use this picture one more time because I think it’s choice.

If you know of particularly excellently worthwhile coverage that hasn’t been mentioned here please let me know (srsly) and I’ll link it. Unless it sucks.

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November 23, 2007 at 12:44 am

Plain and simple, this weekend in Australia means…

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Like a forest lost for the trees, the constant stream of media, advertising, news, conversations, and emails is almost enough to blur the significance of this election as it looms large just hours from here.

Apart from everything that can be said and has been said, there is one fact of which amazingly little has been made. Three years ago, global warming was barely a blip on the political radar. This election, many voters are ranking it as one of their top four priorities.

Despite the tireless work of The Greens over many years, it is fair to say that more than any other issue in recent memory this is a dazzling example of bottom-up grassroots campaigning gaining an issue broader mainstream awareness. Tim Flannery, Clive Hamilton, Wendy Frew and Al Gore fit somewhere in there too.

And could the timing be any more dramatic? Barely a week after the election, the incredibly massive Bali climate change conference will be working out the future of the global response to the increasingly obvious.

Excuse me for sounding like a credit card ad, but we’re talking 11 days, 198 countries, 3,000 journalists, and 10,000 delegates. Being a part of that? Priceless!!

More immediate than the economy, IR reform, hospital innovations, skills training, education and the mining boom, this is as clear as the consequences of this weekend for all us Aussies can get.

On December 2nd, Australia will once again be the laughing stock of a major global meeting, probably disparaging India and China, and again being locked out of high level talks that will determine the future use and constraints of natural resources, species, industry, border security, and precious natural environments. Oh yes, and trillions of dollars in future earnings and damage abatement.

OR, our representatives will be attending to deposit a letter committing to fully ratify Kyoto and signed by the Prime Minister. For the first time in years, Australia will be embraced by the global community as it faces this massive challenge and America shall finally be without an ally in ‘but they were doing it too’.

For all Australians, what happens in 2 days time is a very big deal. Thanks in part to media bloviation, it is also becoming somewhat abstract.

It is increasingly a din that drowns the senses and numbs the mind. Exciting. Anxious. Huge. Frustrating. Hopeful. Cracker night with pencils.

But for something tangible, consider this: the U.N. reports on climate change have been conservative for the last decade to diminish accusations of exaggeration. But the latest, most thoroughly researched and comprehensively certain observation is this – the Inconvenient Truth ‘ten years to act’ scenario is gone.

We are in the end zone. The global community must initiate decisive action within the next 3 years for any chance that future generations might live as part of a world as rich in natural treasures as ours has been.

On that first weekend in December, a week after this election, the die shall be cast. We, as a nation, shall be either pariah, or prodigal.

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Howard & Costello in dramatic last minute recruitment drive.

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which naturally lends itself to

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Written by typingisnotactivism

November 21, 2007 at 7:29 pm

Art of Mental Warfare – cranky political video mash with fat beetz

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The sounds are from Trent Reznor, the plumber-come-angst-ridden industrial overlord of darkness, aka that guy from Nine Inch Nails.

File under ‘anthemz for world war’.

Enjoy the clip played nice and loud, and check out The Art of Mental Warfare – a new book release which this is all in support of.

Written by typingisnotactivism

November 21, 2007 at 5:08 pm

John Howard dissolved by 7:30 Report

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Thanks so much David Obendorf for pointing this out!!

Kerry O’Brien, one of Australia’s most credible and respected television interviewers, conducted this 30-minute long interview with Prime Minister John Howard last night (transcript & streaming video available).

Forget gold! Absolute platinum!!

Howard is no longer content to revise Australia’s cultural history – his version is, of course, that the Aborigines happily handed the entire country to Donald Bradman before catching an unfortunate cold and dying out through no fault of the White Australia Policy.

His new position is that the only economic reforms that have helped the Australian economy have been made by – guess who – John Howard. Deapite common wisdom, he has somehow determined that the economic reforms made under 14 years of Hawke and Keating actually have nothing to do with the health of the Australian economy….. !!

JOHN HOWARD: The reason productivity was rising when we came into office was we were coming off the back of a recession.

KERRY O’BRIEN: But the recession had ended five years before.

JOHN HOWARD: Hang on, the impact on employment of the recession was still there when we came into office. Unemployment was 8.2 per cent and you always get, when you’re coming out of a recession, you always get some lift in productivity because you’re coming off a very high level of unemployment. As unemployment begins to fall you get boosts in productivity – I mean that is actually a mattock. It had nothing to do…

KERRY O’BRIEN: Nothing to do with Labor’s reforms?

JOHN HOWARD: No it didn’t because if you go back to that period you will find the number of non-union agreements that were allowed when negotiated was minuscule and if you have a truly free system you will allow non-union agreements and you will allow individual agreements. We don’t object to union agreements, we’re in favour of them, but we also believe that people should have the choice, if they so desire, to go into individual agreements and to go into non-union collective agreements and you didn’t have many of those in the Keating/Brereton reforms which I remember extremely well. I think it is one of the great furphies of this industrial relations debate that enterprise bargaining was introduced by Mr Keating.

KERRY O’BRIEN: You’re serious about that?

JOHN HOWARD: I am serious about that, yes.

Howard finally got grilled about The Australian’s media bias – but check how he basically ignores the observation.

KERRY O’BRIEN: We’ll move on. The Australian’s political editor Dennis Shanahan has been one of your most consistent supporters within the press gallery for years. Even he today wrote about your campaign “It’s an old fashioned scare campaign and it’s about the only shot in the locker for the Coalition but it’s worked before and that’s what gives them hope.” He’s one of your big fans in the gallery and it does sound rather desperate, doesn’t it?

JOHN HOWARD: I don’t agree with that. Let me say this about the campaign. Let me say this, I think there are some people, and there would be some people watching this program, who have this frame of mind at the moment. They’re saying to themselves, Howard hasn’t done a bad job, don’t agree with everything he’s done but the economy is in very good shape and he’s looked after national security but gee, he’s been there a while and maybe it’s time for a change. I think there are a number of people in that frame of mind and can I just say to them that there’s no such thing as a changeless change of government, if I can explain that. There’s no such thing as changing the government without changing the circumstances of the country. And this idea that you may be able to change just for the sake of change but everything go on exactly the same is not right. There is a risk involved and I would say to people who think that we may have done a good job and their only reason for changing is to sort of experiment with change believe me there is a risk, there is a risk in Mr Rudd, there is a risk in having for the first time in Australia’s history Labor governments at every level. That’s not a scare campaign, that’s a statement of fact. There is cross checking

KERRY O’BRIEN: You do put the scare on it though, don’t you? You put it at its worst possible connotation.

JOHN HOWARD: Well, I’m stating the fact. We’ve never before had that and you do have checks and balances within a federation if you have a different complexion at the national level and we won’t have that.

KERRY O’BRIEN: And you will also have a Senate in which Labor cannot and will not have control.

JOHN HOWARD: Well, if we lose the House, we won’t control the Senate.

KERRY O’BRIEN: No, but there will be a balance. Do you acknowledge that Labor can’t win control of the Senate?

JOHN HOWARD: They don’t need it because they’ve got the Greens. Well I mean look at what happened in the New South Wales upper house, the Greens and Labor combined to suppress the full story as to whether George Newhouse is eligible to run against Malcolm Turnbull.

Nuclear power, government secrecy, government lies, industrial relations and the risk of further reforms, climate change, education, government spending – HUGE interview. This is very much one of the most diligent current affairs hosts in the country taking a sustained last crack at a Prime Minister he thinks will be gone in 4 days. Massive.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Very briefly, the latest figures from your department about how much your Government has spent on advertising over the years of your Government, $1.55 billion, nearly $500 million in the last two financial years, $500 million in two years of advertising, a staggering amount of money. I know you say it’s for things like defence recruiting but it was also for controversial policies like Work Choices – an estimated $120 million at least there. Are you really suggesting none of that was designed to make the Government look good at the taxpayer’s expense?

JOHN HOWARD: But Kerry, you are entitled when you bring in a new policy like taxation, superannuation reform where everybody over the age of 60 no longer pays tax on their superannuation and all sorts of other intended benefits. Surely we are entitled as a government to explain.

KERRY O’BRIEN: $500 million in two years, no precedent for that.

JOHN HOWARD: Well Kerry, we have been in office for a period of 11 and a half years and we’ve also introduced some major reforms. If we had been a lazy reform-less Government then maybe we would have spent less on advertising but the economy wouldn’t be growing at more than 4 per cent and you wouldn’t have a 33 year low in unemployment. I mean judge us by the central things that you judge a government by. I mean the greatest…

KERRY O’BRIEN: One of the things you would judge a government by would ethics, I would have thought.

Pretty much an essential half hour for anybody interested in Australian politics, the nature of the decline in Australian democracy over the last few years, investigative journalism, or verbal sparring. Thankyou Kerry!! My friend suggests that if the current government is returned, the first bill they put through shall be to privatise the ABC. I’m sure I’m not alone in dreading such an outcome.