Comments for en-gb 30 Fri 11 Jul 2014 18:36:56 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at Rex Mundi Classic! I just had a completely factual comment removed that I'd posted in August. Yay free speech! Mon 13 Dec 2010 14:21:24 GMT+1 Juxtaposed There’s been a lot of commentary about how the Green Vote was due to Voter’s concerns over Climate Change; What a load of rubbish. Most thinking people don't give a (relative) stuff about Climate change; it’s not tangible! What IS real is the financial pain many are feeling, due to the fact we have the most commodified Real Estate in the World, and the resulting fact that the Middle Class have become indentured slaves of the Banking/Finance cartel; a parasitic sector that is now much more about Real-Estate speculation than channelling capital to business that actually make things; The UK used to have a manufacturing base too remember?There is also the dread that comes from the realisation that our media & political system is infested with insular, illiterate, fools. These idiots are totally unrepresentative of 2010 Australia and haven't anything approaching a Vision for this fractured, directionless country. There is almost no participation from the vast majority of the Post-War Migrant block; who remain cynical and detached.i.e. Abbott's comment that he'd ditch the Monarchy over his dead body. Yeah, great, why not just revert to the bloody Union Jack, and become a UK colony again (I have absolutely no doubt that at least 1/3 of the population would cheer).I, and a few million others would like to tell you something Tony Abbott; I'll pick up a gun & fight for this Country when it’s a country we feel we ALL belong to; when it pulls its head out of the UK's rear-end and decides to stand on its own two feet; culturally and economically. That means a representative media and politic, and a diversified economy with a strong Manufacturing / Technological base, not the rentier-state we’ve become. (Sounds like a nice idea; if only your puppet-masters in the City Of London would allow it hey?)Knowing the bloodlines of ½ this country I’m not holding my breath however; Churchill was right; they were just bad stock from the start. I'm past caring anyway; in less than 50 years this place will be nothing more than an economic vassal-state of China. . . .and nothing & no-one I saw in this election gives me any reason to doubt that. PS: Can anyone get me a German passport? I’d like to move to a Country where things are still made, and thinking people aren’t shot on sight. . . Wed 25 Aug 2010 13:11:22 GMT+1 Clint D murph73v2 @44 - can you possibly explain what Ms Gillard's relationship status and/or history has to do with her ability to be PM? Mon 23 Aug 2010 10:18:54 GMT+1 dcarmichael Oh how i have despaired at this mangled, parochial, stupid election too! I feel both Liberal and Labor are just treading water, waiting to become elected so they can pull a rabbit out of the hat, wave their wands and say "TA DA! I don't really hate asylym seekers, spending money, taxing miners, back-stabbing as much as you think, i was just trying to get those who haven't bothered forming a critical opinon of politics for the other 364 days of the year to get down to a booth and vote for me". And that would be the best cast scenario. Take the malarky over the "economic stimulus". It's rather incredible that the Liberal party who bang on about being the tried and tested economic saviours of the country use the schools building program and insulation debacle as a campaigning platform when the whole point WAS to waste the money. Australia is a democracy but we are also a capitalist society, the Labor party believed if profligate and unecessary spending was curbed the economy would have come to a grinding halt like the rest of the western world. The whole point of the stimulus package was to throw out fast, easy money to builders and the like to pump up spending and keep unemployment low. It kind of worked but it was also totally unecessary. The Liberal party may or may not have implemented a similar policy but the result would have been the same, that is Australia would have still survived the economic downturn because our bread and butter comes from expensive stuff we dig out of the ground and sell to China and other countries. The UK have their men in suits, we have our men in hard hats. The sad truth is that the voracious appetites of the mining companies to increase profits (as is their duty) will ensure that Australia will be the last country on earth to implement a meaningful carbon reduction scheme. That both the Labor and Liberal parties will not pause for breath between their mindless sound bite diatribes to actually explain the situation and form meaningful policies regarding this is to treat Australians with utter contempt. Lastly, as an Australian woman who has never had the fortune to visit the UK i will nontheless pay tribute to the UK with a quote from an esteemible English man Billy Bragg who sings, "Our polititians have all become careerists". How dismally true Billy, how true. Sun 22 Aug 2010 05:23:30 GMT+1 cbb100 Greg Warner wrote of Ms Gillard's 'compassion'. A volunteer at a refugee support centre told me how Ms Gillard just wasn't interested, when she visited the centre months before the election. A refugee activist friend said Ms Gillard 'doesn't have an asylum-seeker friendly bone in her body'.Ms Gillard and the Labor Right view refugees as a weakness, a soft spot where the Liberals can attack. She lacks vision, as Nick Bryant points out. If she had vision, she would have seen the 2000 refugees arriving by boat each year (compared to the 50,000 'illegals' arriving by plane), as an opportunity to enlighten and lead Australians who fear this small 'problem'. She could have pointed out how Australians could be courageous and big-hearted, rather than scared, and so differentiated herself and the ALP from the small-mindedness of Mr Abbott.The same people who disapprove of poker machines when asked about them in a survey, yet go and spend a bit more money on them than they should on a Friday night, would have been shown their better side, and supported Ms Gillard for doing so.This would have displayed moral leadership, and the qualities of being a statesperson.She didn't do this, because that's not in her 'skill-set'. Sat 21 Aug 2010 21:37:10 GMT+1 Nick In your article above you talk of "illegal" boat people - this is completely wrong. The fiction is it is illegal to arrive by boat. This is rubbish - refugee's are LEGALLY entitled to arrive in Australia any way they choose and ask for help - whether that is by boat, plane or carrier pigeon is irrelevant. There is no law against arriving in Australia and the various conventions signed by Australia mean help must be given. Howard gave oxygen to the rednecks stirred up by Pauline Hanson. Like the rabid republican right in the US, once these idiots have been validated they are very hard to send back to the irrelvance they deserve in a civilised country.The tragedy for Australians is BOTH parties are chasing the redneck vote at the expense of the other 95% of the country. A pox on both their houses. Sat 21 Aug 2010 08:26:23 GMT+1 ronnieboy1 18.755 Sat 21 Aug 2010 07:37:04 GMT+1 11pete11 The difference between polls and bets is one has more meaning as is involves money. Maybe the punters are the ones to watch in the future, not the polls: Sat 21 Aug 2010 02:59:51 GMT+1 bjoh The media is largely to blame, although with the falsely paranoid secrecy about where the pollies are going each day and the exhorbitant amount of frequent flyer points they are racking up, all the experienced journos are in the studio. The lack of follow-up questioning and calling out of bold-faced lies is equally astounding and shameful. Both parties are guilty of this trying to scrape the votes of the less educated or politically disinterested. Harping on that "Work Choices" would return on Monday should the coalition be elected is one example. Whilst I have been stating all week that this would be an impossibility as it must pass through cabinet and two houses, this fact was not raised in the media until last night and only then on a programme with I imagine quite low viewer-ship. Sat 21 Aug 2010 02:13:54 GMT+1 Ture Sjolander It looks like everybody are waiting for, Godot! Sat 21 Aug 2010 01:30:00 GMT+1 Ture Sjolander "I'm Australia and not only Australian citizen" I said since I change the law in Australia 1993 proposing the new citizen pledge/oath "Towards the Australian people". (Nothing else than the people constitute a nation)Our admired Anton at SBS Television News reminded Tony Abbott yesterday that 45 % of the Australian's are born overseas, although very few "Australian inbred" watch S B S.Now at the very day of the Australian Election I have decided to renounce my Australian citizen ship, and the application fee is $ 280.00. I shall join the other over one million Australian's who never wanted to be Australian citizens during their lifetime. As I have dual citizen ships I will not be stateless like Nietzsche.Being still a Swedish citizen I'm a full member of E.U. and also a full member (still) of the British Commonwealth. However, it seems like one do not have a voice in this latter obsolete Westminster system being of Royal Swedish origin.This current 2010 Australian Election is the utmost ugly election I have ever experienced in my long lifetime. Do this election reflect or mirror the Real Australian's or is it still showing us how this nation is run by a minority gangland of thugs?I'm sorry guys but I can't cast my vote today for neither of this 3 main political Australian parties who is dancing like tiny lapdogs to the tunes of the corrupted Australian News Media!Today is a black day for this inflatable nation ofAustralia, Right Place, Wrong People.This blog space is not big enough to express my deep concern about the future of Australia. My renounced citizen ship may be vacant and can be used or recycled for some new serfs or asylum seekers. "Speak English or die" "Get your self a English name or I'll kill you""You are not born in our country, so go to hell" all of this is a common attitude of insular mentality among Australia's "inbred". Or could it be the result of a Democratic Fascistic Monarchy? Sat 21 Aug 2010 01:16:45 GMT+1 archaeobee # 23 & 24 - I disagree. Lots of Poms - including many who haven't been to Oz - do care about what goes on there. Whether you (or they) like it we are ridiculously similar - so similar that in other countries we (yup - I'm a Brit) get easily confused with each other.And there is a major constitutional ramification of the election - if Gillard is (re!)elected then there will be a referendum on keeping the Queen as a head of state. While I have no probs with Australia cutting constitutional ties with Britain (however ephemeral) this does have some import in both our histories.........unless of course she's just playing to the republicans out there.......... Fri 20 Aug 2010 22:44:51 GMT+1 Andy T 41. "Re the building programme rorts. The Auditor Report found 6% of the 16b programme was wasted."There you go again, lose with the facts.The Auditor General reported NO SUCH THING.The AG reported 3% "complaints (of all varieties)". There was NO "6% wastage" reported, other than in some-one's fertile imagination or the Liberal Party's website of talking points.The BER budget was 12 billion not 16 billion as you claim. You've inflated the actual budget figure by 33.3%, for whatever reason.If you care to do the maths (even on your concocted figures) 6% of 16 billion does not compute to "BILLIONS" as you've posted previously but to 960 MILLION. Fri 20 Aug 2010 22:41:10 GMT+1 Treaclebeak @23 bigotboy,@24 campantman,Maaates! I'm just devastated, what a revelation,you mean to tell us that foreigners are not interested in the Federal Election. Here in Oz,of course, we're all fascinated by the domestic politics of other nations. Fri 20 Aug 2010 21:47:25 GMT+1 Treaclebeak chepherd @41,The significant figure to consider re the school building program is the 6% wastage not the absolute amount.What was the percentage of taxpayers funds wasted during the golden years of the Howard government on middle class welfare?And for the umpteenth time Rudd was not the 'elected PM',no Australian PM has ever been elected to office. Fri 20 Aug 2010 21:34:38 GMT+1 Simon21 32. At 10:54am on 20 Aug 2010, Chris wrote:Rudd was the one that delegated the ceiling insulation program to the minister with absolutely no business experience - 4 people died, the program got shut down.Rudd called the Chinese Rat F***ers - Cameron might be prone to gaffs but I think even he would be bemused with an outburst like this.----------------------------------------------------------------------Maybe but it would have done Rudd no harm at all in Australian politics, which is why he said it. Fri 20 Aug 2010 21:16:21 GMT+1 Simon21 I am sorry to have to burst your bubble Nick but Australain elections have always been notorious for their insularity and personal atttacksAnd neither Kevin Rudd or John Howard were exactly known for their amazing statesman like visions.Australian politics are not like that, they are consensual and blokey. Being as colourless as possible is an advantage to getting ahead. Fri 20 Aug 2010 21:13:48 GMT+1 Oz Dave in London The one prediction I am confident of making is that many Australians will be delighted to see the back of this scrappy campaign.I completely agree with that call Nick, I voted @ Australia House in London last week as an overseas voter and I actually enjoyed the whole experience of turning up @ our High Commission and voting rather than my local community centre, that for me is my 2010 election highlight. I keep track via the papers and websites on their policies and debates from London and you've nailed it on the head with the lack of vision, the lack of choice, its a choice between a far-left unionite and a far-right mad monk, what we are missing is the centrist Mr Rudd & Mr Turnbull. Fri 20 Aug 2010 21:07:35 GMT+1 Clint D This post has been Removed Fri 20 Aug 2010 15:12:14 GMT+1 Joseph Postin This post has been Removed Fri 20 Aug 2010 13:56:36 GMT+1 Rex Mundi People (the media, in particular) keep saying that there is nothing between the two. Let's look at them:Abbott:- Competent ministerial experience- Rhodes scholar- Family man. Married with three daughters- Degrees in economics and law- Oxford blue boxer- Bush fire fighter- Surf life saver- Athlete- Straight talker- Sticks to his beliefs and principlesGillard:- Incompetent minister (BER for example)- Student unionist. Member of hard left Socialist Action union faction.- No children.- Relationships with union organisers Michael O'Connor and Bruce Wilson and MP Craig Emerson (who left his wife for her). Now in a relationship with real estate agent/hairdresser- Law degree- Hard Left union (BLF) affiliated industrial relations lawyer- Career politician- Spin merchant- Has no public beliefs other than what will get her a voteThe choice is fairly stark.One, Gillard, is a selfish career leftist who thinks that everything can be solved through government power and whose only achievements have come via manipulative politics and government force.The other, Abbott, is a pragmatist about the role of government who backs up his beliefs with a string of personal achievements. Fri 20 Aug 2010 12:52:38 GMT+1 Judas Well Nick, if we really are the economic "Wonder from Down Under", then we are seriously being 'short-changed' when it comes to candidates. A marvel like that does deserve better...The fact that Tony Abbott had no capacity to elevate the debate and Julia Gillard chose to dive down to meet him is truly daunting and I don't really care to contemplate what that says about an electorate that allows this or the disdain that our politicians regard us. Where is an eloquent statesman like Malcolm Turnbull when you need him?The media should also be queried about the direction of this campaign, as they are complicit in this farcical event. They have concentrated on personal issues, trivialities, party politics and the banalities of "daily life on the Campaign Trail". But that does not get the leaders or the candidates talking about issues and more importantly answering the questions that should have been asked but weren't. No one was held to account about anything that mattered.What we had was a beauty pageant, complete with bad speeches, bad hair and even the swimwear. So, who gets the tiara? Fri 20 Aug 2010 12:01:52 GMT+1 Clint D Lauie Oakes "that great sage of the Canberra press gallery"? Geez, I really hope that was meant to be ironic. Fri 20 Aug 2010 11:52:12 GMT+1 chepherd Re the building programme rorts. The Auditor Report found 6% of the 16b programme was wasted. That's over a billion dollars wasted and it's probably much more since you don't get too many complaints when you send out cheques as wildly as this government. Gillard was responsible for this programme and showed her unfitness to be PM. Fri 20 Aug 2010 11:44:27 GMT+1 Jon Re 13. Treaclebeak wrote: "... The other reason for the low standard of debate is of course, compulsory voting,our politicians have to influence the apathetic and ignorant,who in most other democracies,don't go near the ballot box. ..."What an excellent point. Hadn't occurred to me before but I think that's very significant. Fri 20 Aug 2010 11:44:06 GMT+1 Chris The School Buildings Program was a $12B program rolled out very rapidly as part of the stimulus and a tiny 3% of schools complained about excessive costs. The East-Timor refugee facility is still very possible and Gillard has not ruled out using Narau if they sign-up to the UN refugee convention. I agree she should have mentioned the idea to Indonesia before announcing it, but this small overlook definitely doesn't amount to incompetence.Blind loyalty is for K9's. Standing up and taking the lead when the country is desperate for you to do so is completely admirable. Fri 20 Aug 2010 11:23:08 GMT+1 Andy T 34. "where over a billion dollars was rorted"Don't let the facts get in the way of a good sounding fairytale.Not true.The Auditor General's report on the BER exposes this deliberate Opposition lie. Fri 20 Aug 2010 11:17:07 GMT+1 Joseph Postin Been here 5 years. Have our citizenship ceremony next month after which we will have to vote. Were we required to now, I would have to be doing as Mark Latham has suggested (God forbid I should actually feel compelled to do anything the most bitter and twisted man in Australia advises) and spoiling my ballot. Neither deserves consideration. The main contenders are fighting over issues at the margins of importance almost as if they are the most important thing in the World. The main alternative to these is the Greens who were so grown up they actually voted down the ETS legislation because it wasn't the ETS they wanted. How truly childish. The ALP doesn't deserve re-electing. They let the States waste a billion dollars without pulling them to order. They also allowed general shysters to employ kids to instal insulation accepting all the risks of profit but none of the risks of responsibility. As has been mentioned, 4 young men were sacrificed for profit. OK, not the ALP's fault, but, they ducked and hide. They refused to recognise the problem when it was brought to their attention and acted only when the could hide and avoid no more. Not good management in any capacity.Tony Abbott is supposed to be the best the coalition can come up with. That being the case, it only serves to demonstrate how the coalition ranks is a very shallow talent pool. He believes in the Christian/Catholic faith and yet demonstrates none of the compassion associated with such faith.I believe you described the current offering at this election as "political pygmies" (c/o Laurie Oakes). I believe this is truly complimentary to the Canberra class of 2010. Who ever wins will walk the World as an international Statesman/woman and drive the nation into international irrelevance. Fri 20 Aug 2010 11:13:29 GMT+1 Maccafrommossy Sadly, I think the last paragraph sums up the problem. Gillard and Abbott are playing populist politics directly to the selfishness and xenophobia that dominates the electorate. This is not to suggest we are all like this, however John Howard proved that if you can generate enough fear and loathing of 'the other' and demonstrate your opposition to it, you are well on the way to power. You need only look at the resonance that 'boat people' continue to hold with the media and the electorate to see the truth of the matter. Fri 20 Aug 2010 11:04:20 GMT+1 Andy T @26. At 09:07am on 20 Aug 2010, chepherd You can't be serious!Abbott's the absolute opposite to your spin of him. In reality he's a bigot, misogynist, cynic and hypocrite. Just what a country needs for a "leader", NOT.It's always been absolutely about him and what he wants.We all know what he's against ...... everything. What we also know what he's for ...... nothing.He'll say anything (eg I'll stop the boats, order the navy via telephone to turn them back and Aussies can consider I've failed if I let more than 3 through) no matter how improbable, incredible and crass with such barefaced facility.AUS will get the government it deserves, and god help us all if it's Abbott and his gang. Fri 20 Aug 2010 10:33:02 GMT+1 chepherd I'm basing Gillard's incompetence on her administration of the School Buildings programme where over a billion dollars was rorted. I'm basing her incompetence on her first act as PM, nominating East Timor as a refugee facility, without checking with Timor. Gillard is incompetent and disloyal, having backstabbed Kevin Rudd, the elected Prime Minister. Fri 20 Aug 2010 10:07:32 GMT+1 Rex Mundi This post has been Removed Fri 20 Aug 2010 10:01:01 GMT+1 Chris Rudd was the one that delegated the ceiling insulation program to the minister with absolutely no business experience - 4 people died, the program got shut down.Rudd called the Chinese Rat F***ers - Cameron might be prone to gaffs but I think even he would be bemused with an outburst like this.Rudd's office was such a mess that it was generally accepted that things only got done when Rudd was overseas and Gillard was acting-PM.Rudd often didn't sit in on security briefings that he was supposed to chair.Rudd is one of these people who have great ideas but are hopeless at instigating them, so much so that I feel he was not fit to hold the office of PM. The left were fed-up with Rudd, the right loathed him and the dis-engaged swinging voters would have undoubtably jumped on the bandwagon when it came time to vote. Fri 20 Aug 2010 09:54:11 GMT+1 nick01 I don't think we deserved Rudd and the rest of the amateurs that came with the alp. Seems change for the sake of change was the downfall of the Australian electorate. Who knows if we will get who we deserve this time around, looks like a close one. I'm thinking about moving back to Australia next month but I might wait until Sunday before making a definitive decision. labor rookies or not, a good aussie summer might just be what I need. Fri 20 Aug 2010 09:44:31 GMT+1 John Hudson You are right that Labor is clearly not making the most of the 'wonder from down under' but to be honest the credit for that can at least be shared between the two major parties. Yes, Labor's policies of economic stimulus seem to have worked very well. But they did go into the crisis with a healthy surplus inherited from the Liberals. Unlike the UK, the US and Japan (to name a few), who were already hundreds of billions in the red before the crisis hit.But whilst the Liberals could have focused on taking the credit for their own qualities (which would have been entirely justified), they have gone for a scare campaign about Labor's budget deficit that is, in the grand scheme of things, pretty modest. But of course these things work. And other scare tactics work as well. 'Stop the Boats' sounds great if you are concerned about immigration, even though of course 99% of immigrants arrive by plane.But despite of all this Labor could probably hang on to power just on Julia Gillard’s popularity, if it weren’t for all those little distractions in the Labor camp. Elections are won and lost on these kind of issues, and this time round it seems to be Labor that has the most of them. The ‘spirit of Kevin Rudd’, the rather stupid encounter with former Labor leader turned journalist Mark Latham, a cabinet leak claiming that Gillard was privately against some of the policies she publicly supported. None of these issues make Labor a better or worse party to lead the country, but they distract from getting the real message across to the voter. If Labor loses the election it will be on these parochial non-issues, not on the economy or immigration.But then, name me a country without parochial politics. Name me a truly visionary politician. Is David Cameron or whoever will lead the UK Labour Party more visionary than Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott? Is Obama really visionary (or is he rather not as bad as his predecessor)? Are elections in many European countries not dominated by the issue of head scarfs, rather than the economy stupid? Fri 20 Aug 2010 09:42:47 GMT+1 Mick Yes it is an insular campaign, but even the local issues are dealt with in a mediocre, superficial and patronising fashion. On health, for example, there has been almost no serious discussion by either of the main parties. Nicola Roxon has used Super Clinics as an electoral bribe for marginals, while the Coalition's health spokesman Peter Dutton has said almost nothing coherent about the Liberal's policies for health. Laurie Oakes is right. Both major parties are utterly mediocre. Fri 20 Aug 2010 09:17:20 GMT+1 Joshua James ahh Nick, it's just so awful. That was such an accurate summary of our state of affairs. I am still on Rudd's side... I might stay in London for the next 3 years. Fri 20 Aug 2010 08:56:48 GMT+1 Chris 26. Incompetent... is that the best you've got chepher? What are you basing that on? She's highly respected by both sides of parliament, has been outstanding in the past three weeks of the campaign and has overseen many huge policy initiatives.The right struggles desperately for a negative to hang on Gillard, but they simply can't find one. It will be a great shame for Australia if we miss out on seeing just how impressively our first female PM can lead this nation. Fri 20 Aug 2010 08:56:04 GMT+1 chepherd It's a testimony to Abbott's political skill that this election is so close. A Rhodes Scholar, an athlete and a spiritual family man of great decency, he is understimated by the media. Certainly he deserves to replace an incompetent and manufactured Prime Minister. Fri 20 Aug 2010 08:07:43 GMT+1 Michael Tew Of course you get the government you (the public) deserve. Whilst I would agree that this campaign has had a primarily negative theme, I would strongly disagree that the Coalition has been solely responsible for this. From her opening words following a visit to the Governor-General, PM Gillard spoke about 'moving forward' - a slogan designed to support the line that the Labor Party had tried (unsuccessfully) to mount against Abbott - 'moving back'. If you were to listen to Gillard just today at any press conference or speech she's given, the word 'risk' comes up more than any other. Don't 'risk' Tony Abbott, don't 'risk' Work Choices. As to the discussions on costings, the Coalition have submitted their policies for costings with private modelling firms. The differences between theirs and the governments costings of the same policies come about because the Labor Party has changed the assumptions made about those policies before the modelling occurred. They've avoided submitting them to Treasury and Finance because they've lost faith in department from which previous costings have been leaked (which in fact is a criminal act). I should add that Wayne Swan is refusing to comment on the leak, yet appears to be in no hurry to refer the matter to the federal police. There's plenty of comments here highlighting the inadaquecies of the Coalition and their campaign, but I'm tired of the apparent ignorance people demonstrate when dealing with Labor Party - as if having a vision they can't afford and policies that people want to hear (as opposed to what they need to hear) means that they should be above scrutiny. Both sides have in fact submitted many laudible policies which, if you're prepared to look hard enough, you can find. All are listed on the respective candidates' websites. Among some of the highlights for me is a mental health policy from the Coalition, the management of unauthorised boat entries in offshore processing facilities, a rail link from Redcliffe in QLD, and the paid parental leave scheme. So to finish it appears to me that we not so much get the government we deserve, more that we get the government and politicians as we choose to perceive them. Perhaps instead, we should continue to question, doubt and judge them and their parties equally and with unrelenting vigour, to ensure that they're aware that whatever their actions, we will know their underlying motives. Fri 20 Aug 2010 08:06:05 GMT+1 campantman I have to agree with #23.The rest of the world, by and large, doesn't give a second glance to Australian affairs. Fri 20 Aug 2010 07:57:22 GMT+1 bigotboy A lot of the comrades here are very concerned about what foreigners are thinking about Australia. Well I have good news for you....they aren't. Fri 20 Aug 2010 07:26:45 GMT+1 bjoh @Campantman. You have got to be kidding me! Do you have any idea of the number of innovations a country of 20 million has introduced to the world in medicine, science or engineering. I am at times disillusioned by the undoubted parochialism of our politicians (no more so than at present) but to lump this criticism on all Australians offends me although I sometimes lament the views some Australians express and an often overinflated view many have about our position in the world. I thank goodness that for the most part the personal beliefs of the leaders have scarcely been mentioned as John Tinkler points out (Oz is a place in a book not the world, by the way), however unfortunately it has taken on some ugly tones such as an over stated attention on the leaders and not the potential cabinet members (treasurers aside perhaps). Policies have to be supported first by the cabinet, then by the House of Reps, then the Senate; the Prime Minister is not the supreme power by any stretch of the imagination. Fri 20 Aug 2010 07:20:48 GMT+1 exiled We Australians should stop thinking in terms of which party will deliver an extra $20 to our back pockets and start thinking about who can best manage the 'business'. Because running a country is just that - a huge business. Vote for the party who knows how to manage money. Labor = spending, debt, massive taxes for our children for decades to come. Liberal = strong business, surplus, strength. Don't worry, if the country is strong, this will filter down to your self-interested back pocket. You simply cannot manage a country by continually spending money that isn't there! This government spent its first two years blaming John Howard for everything (insulting considering he was so very popular for so long; it equated to calling those of us who voted Liberal stupid); commissioning reports and doing nothing. When they finally got into action in the 3rd year, they bungled ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING they touched! What do we have to show for all this waste? Why is the incumbent even campaigning - haven't they just had 3 years to show us what they can do? They don't deserve another chance, let's admit our mistakes and think what we can do for our country, not what it can do for us. Fri 20 Aug 2010 07:18:09 GMT+1 Michael Samuel I am sure I am not the only Australian who cringed while listening to Nick's report this morning on BBC Radio 4. That standard of debate in Australian federal politics is at a nadir. Yes, I'm hoping this is a cyclical phenomenon. The way in which both major parties have sought to inflate minor issues like asylum seekers and the budget deficit into major problems and diminished important issues like action on climate change into mere footnotes in order to appeal to the ignorant and the xenophobic is truly shameful. Fri 20 Aug 2010 06:53:14 GMT+1 Chris Many will not vote for Gillard because:- She doesn’t believe in god- She is childless- She isn’t married- Of what happened to Rudd- Of the leaksTherefore, there are presumably only a small number of voters who are actually voting FOR Tony Abbott. It’s a sad state in politics when a leader might be voted out for reasons that have no effect on her ability to be PM.The predictions of a Labor bloodbath in NSW and QLD have also little to do with voting FOR Tony Abbott. The reason for the Labor bloodbath there are because voters are:- Tying in the two separate entities of state Labor and federal Labor- Anger at what happened to RuddSo, large parts of Australia are about to vote very un-intelligently because they will be voting on reasons that won’t affect the running of the country. It’s time for ‘Get-Up’ or a similar institution to start begging the Australian people to vote on policy and party leadership so we as a nation can finally start being good judges of character and strong evaluators of policy. Fri 20 Aug 2010 06:51:33 GMT+1 Chazza What is astonishing about this election is Gillard's unwillingness or inability to raise the game to address the big issues. So even when Abbot's belief that the world is cooling not warming (in the face of the overwhelming accumulation of scientific evidence to the contrary), Gillard fails to strike the fatal blow, caught by her commitment to convening a 'citizen's assembly' before doing anything, and then committing to a market based emission reduction scheme to reduce emissions by between 5-15 per cent, but not before 2012. Too little, way too late, but still better than the nothing that Abbot is offering.And even as Abbot demonstrates that mean-spiritedness comes down to simple meanness, the coalition promises to cut the financial support schemes that enable kids from poorer families to go on to higher education and encourage universities to take them. This is reactionary even by the standards of the 1960s Liberal-Country Party governments, which first introduced such schemes. Educationists are appalled, but if Gillard has said anything, it hasn't been reported. Maybe she's stunned speechless...I have friends so disenchanted by this election that they propose to refuse to vote at all. But, pathetic and compromised as Gillard and Labour are, on the issues that count they are greatly preferable to Abbott and the coalition. So, vote Green to demand better, but give your second preference to Labour. Fri 20 Aug 2010 06:09:40 GMT+1 PeterD Another good article Nick. Following the same themes, some important points need to be made. Australia, along with Canada and New Zealand, are countries where much of the rest of the world’s population would be overjoyed to move to. Within the Anglo-sphere, they enjoy generally benign international reputations since they are unencumbered by the baggage of past and current imperial powers like the UK and USA. In RELATIVE TERMS, they have no external threats, democratic governance is well entrenched, economies are strong, unemployment levels are low, poverty levels tend to be low and localized, public services (education, healthcare, policing, etc.) are comprehensive and free of corruption, there is no institutionalized social discrimination, individual freedoms are taken for granted, and there is a vibrant and free media. Viewed from the outside, particularly after an extended absence, these features are very evident. However, return to these countries and one soon notices the media is full of problems and crises, some significant but most not so, again in RELATIVE TERMS. The media is very aware that good news is generally considered dull news, and most people seem naturally more inclined to dwell on their problems rather than their good fortunes which are easily taken for granted. It should not be surprising, therefore, that elections in such countries tend to focus on small issues, exaggerate problems and parties strive to differentiate themselves when, in reality, the differences are usually quite modest. In this social context, it’s very difficult to generate big visions about issues that will really impact the overall wellbeing of the populace. As far as Australia is concerned, the only issue that would probably qualify is climate change because that is a significant global concern. Small wonder then that political campaigns tend to pettiness and trivialization, with the main parties knowing too well that, after gaining power and compared to their rivals, there would be few differences in their policies and governance. Fri 20 Aug 2010 05:49:53 GMT+1 Tom_in_Exeter As another Pom enjoying the tremendous hospitality of Australia, I have to say this is the most boring election campaign I've ever seen. Both main parties devote all their attention to key marginals, taking their vote elsewhere for granted. Both are extremely negative and appear willing to promise anything to get elected, no matter how absurd the promises will turn out to be. They appear to have an arrogant and patronising contempt for the electorate who, if they were allowed, would probably return the compliment by abstaining by the million. Only the Greens seem to have a clue what policy is, and appear to have a social conscience as well as a healthy respect for the electorate. My natural sympathies are with Labour, but their campaign has been hysterical, right-wing - verging on racist, and horribly parochial. How Labour supporters must be longing for the measured intelligence and vision of Kevin Rudd. However flawed, it is immeasurably better than this third-rate circus. The apparatchiks responsible for his demise should be contemplating their swords. And, don't get me started on the tragedy of losing the estimable and entertaining Lyndsay Tanner - a politician with character and integrity who, unlike most, was actually in command of his brief - priceless! Fri 20 Aug 2010 05:43:03 GMT+1 Sean J Dear all down under in favor of real action and real government in moving Australia forward in a more sustainable future: vote with both your head and heart but don't be fooled by either!Vote for??? (Confusion, Frustration, lack of choice) Fri 20 Aug 2010 05:39:29 GMT+1 westyeagle I think Daisy Duke's prediction is correct. Labor will win, but then someone, Turnbull perhaps, will take the Libs to a big victory in 2013. Labor are inherently populist and so will do some silly spending (like we saw in Gillard's good-idea-but-poorly-supervised Education Revolution) and our debt will get too large. What's more, people will get sick of her accent and she'll get the flick. (I'm only half joking about that last bit - some people really are that shallow!)However, what if Abbott gets close enough to stay in the job? Yikes. Maybe our best hope is that Labor improve with a second term. That would force the libs to put up a more credible candidate and we might get some real choice next time around. Fri 20 Aug 2010 05:34:47 GMT+1 Treaclebeak Nick,Unfortunately,not much has changed in the 'Lucky Country' since Donald Horne wrote the book 50 years ago,that's the problem. There's still the same sense of splendid isolation and the notion that the agenda is set somewhere else,so that's one reason why we are faced with Gillard and Abbott.The other reason for the low standard of debate is of course, compulsory voting,our politicians have to influence the apathetic and ignorant,who in most other democracies,don't go near the ballot box. As to countries getting the politicians and politics they deserve,perhaps that's partially true,however a monumental mistake was made by the framers of our Constitution-3 year Federal terms(rather than 4 or 5)was a remarkably harebrained idea. Fri 20 Aug 2010 05:25:57 GMT+1 11pete11 Okay Nick, I found that the company was Horwath, but the pronunciation sounded like Howard on the program I heard. The Coalition's costings done by this company is a complete fudge. The company has very strong links to the Liberal Party, and in no way could their assessment of the Coalition's costings be considered a fair and impartial A full read of the article is warranted, and this story should be screaming out on every TV and radio news bulletin all across Australia. Why isn't it? This is a exert from: "By contrast the costings released by the Coalition yesterday contain none of that detail - they are simply a list of figures, one for each policy, with no explanations as to how the figures were derived.Instead the document is covered by a one-page note from the Perth accountancy firm WHK Horwath, which says it ''is satisfied that based on the assumptions provided, costed commitments and savings have been accurately prepared in all material respects''.Which is encouraging, up to a point. That point is that the Coalition has not seen fit to air those costings - as it would have had to if it submitted them to Treasury and Finance in accordance with the Charter of Budget Honesty - and that Horwath has not done so either.We are asked to take both Horwath and the Coalition on trust. Then known as Hendry, Rae and Court, Horwath's founding partner in 1938 was Charles Court, later Sir Charles, the long-serving Liberal premier of Western Australia and father of Richard Court, the Liberal premier from 1993 to 2001.The Horwath principal Geoff Kidd told the Herald last night that Sir Charles kept an office in the firm after he retired from politics and maintained an active interest in its work.Horwath costed the policies of the West Australian Liberal Party during its successful run for office in 2008 and the firm also did work for the South Australian Liberals in their unsuccessful tilt at government in March this year. It began work on the federal Coalition's costings in mid-June, well before its leader, Tony Abbott, announced last week he was abandoning Treasury and Finance and would instead have his policies costed by ''a respected, reputable, well-known accounting firm''.Horwath says it charged market rates and did not so much cost the Coalition's policies as satisfy itself that given ''the assumptions provided'' the Coalition's costings made sense.The limited information made available by the Coalition indicates that it used different assumptions from those that would have been used by Treasury.For instance, its one-line estimate of the saving in interest payments from not building the national broadband network adds up to $2.4 billion.The leaked Treasury document that apparently convinced the Coalition last week to abandon the process put the figure at $1.6 billion - that is, $800 million less. The Coalition has gone ahead with the bigger savings figure without explanation. And some of the assumptions defy credulity." Fri 20 Aug 2010 05:18:25 GMT+1 11pete11 A question for you Nick Bryant, who costed the Coalition's policies and promises? We know its not the Treasury and we know that they have pretty much sailed under the radar, but who checked to see that the Coalition can fully fund what they say they can fund?Is it true that it was done by John Howard's brother's company?If so, why isn't the media jumping all over this as being a conflict of interest?I have tried all sorts of searches in Google but nothing is showing. I wonder why? Fri 20 Aug 2010 04:49:34 GMT+1 Omegasaurus I'm one of the many Australians you refer to who are disappointed with this election; for me the entire campaign has swung from boring at best to frankly embarrassing at worst. I long for a campaign not driven by the rednecks in Rooty Hill and not shaped by the shameless editorialising of The Australian, but I'm certainly not holding my breath for it to happen anytime soon. The only saving grace for me is the prospect of seeing a sronger Greens presence in the Senate come out of it. Fri 20 Aug 2010 04:45:40 GMT+1 campantman Isn't Australia parochial and insular in general though? I mean, are Australians of any persuasion, politician or civilian, much inclined towards thinking much further than their own backyard? Parochial is one of the first words that comes to mind when I think of Australia. Fri 20 Aug 2010 04:43:08 GMT+1 westyeagle Hey Camo, I'm from Rooty Hill! But I do know what you are talking about - I would hate it if 'real Australia' is defined purely by who lives around me. Having said that, we are no more or less 'real' than the inhabitants of Fremantle or Toorak...The quality of Australian politics (especially in NSW) is lower than low, and one day our luck will run out. My hope is that the pathetic nature of this election will inspire a number of talented and articulate civic minded citizens to put climbing the corporate ladder on hold and stand for public office. We need them!I am thankful that we get to vote every three years for our federal government, because this next government (whoever it turns out to be) is not looking crash hot. Fri 20 Aug 2010 04:39:35 GMT+1 John Tinkler As a dual Oz-US citizen, I have to say that I sometimes disagree with the BBC's commentary on US politics. But I think this assessment of the Oz election is spot on. The campaign is astoundingly trivial in its issues and debate. But having said that, let's do a quick comparison. Imagine a US Presidential election in which one of the contenders was a woman, a declared non-believer, childless, AND living with a man to whom she was not married. Of course, no such person could seriously be in contention in the US, but supposing she were, do you think an American campaign would be about anything else? So is this Australian campaign really more trivial, or more mean-minded, than an American one would be? Think about another recent headline on the BBC and other websites about the percentage of Americans who think that Obama is Muslim, and then tell me that this Oz election is more trivial than politics in the most powerful country on earth. Fri 20 Aug 2010 04:37:01 GMT+1 11pete11 5 Greg Warner: So very true Greg.My reflection on Nick's question; will we get the politics and politicians we deserve is no, we will get the one that the media has encouraged us to either vote for, or the one we will vote for to spite what the media tells us.For example, we are being told in most of the press media that Julia and Labor are playing the dirtier game than Abbott and the Coalition. Not so according to this news story:"During the five-week campaign, the Government aired 24 free-to-air television advertisements in Australia's capital cities, buying airtime worth $14 million in the process.Of the 24 advertisements, 19 attacked Tony Abbott or the Coalition.The Coalition, on the other hand, aired ads to the value of $12.7 million. Of 30 advertisements, 29 conveyed a negative message about the Government." Fri 20 Aug 2010 04:36:20 GMT+1 Greg Warner Nick, your "enormous affection for this country" is well noted...and appreciated.In the blog you wrote when Tony Abbott became leader of the Coalition I said we would see a tough and dirty election...street fighting tactics.Of course, at the time Kevin Rudd was still PM, but the tactics weren't going to change even with a new labor PM.It was Abbott's "Climate change is crap" that defined how the 2010 Election would be your face opposition...bare knuckled confrontation...bring on the brawl.I believe what have seen this election is the Coalition defining the nature of the combat...and Labor being forced to fight the same kind of fight.That for me is Niall Ferguson's "Glasgow politics"...this has been a brawl right from the start...that is the nature of Tony Abbott's "pit bull tactics".Labor could not fight this election with the "big visions" you have asked about in your recent blogs, and many of us have commented upon.You can not be envisioning a lofty ideal over the horizon when you are being attacked around the have to bring your head out of the clouds to focus on making sure your feet are not cut from under you.The popular saying "How can I fly like an eagle when I am surrounded by turkeys?" almost sums up what I am trying to say.Yet, I believe in Julia Gillard we see a potentially great Prime Minister with the kind of compassion for and understanding of her fellow citizens that is somehow lacking in Tony Abbott.Gillard and Labor have a vision of the future, while Abbott and the Coalition's campaign, in the style I mention above, is all about attack on Labor's past three years.What sums it up for me is the Coalition's attack on the Mining Tax.The $10.5 billion which will come from that tax will provide a great deal of needed infrastructure, play a part in reducing Company Tax and funding more equitable superannuation...but because the Coalition is "welded" to the "attack/oppose/confront" position it must oppose the Mining Tax even though I would suggest the majority of Australians support it and see it as being right and wise.In answer to your "countries get the politics and politicians they deserve"?...I don't believe so in the case of this election.I believe we got the Election campaign the Coalition strategists wanted.I believe Labor had no other option than to fight the same kind of fight...down, dirty, small vision, pork barreling, marginal seat focused.It's why Labor quietly moved Climate Change off the's why Julia Gillard gave the "safe" answer on the's why Afghanistan is a non-issue, so very different to "Vietnam" in 1972.Do we get the politicians we deserve?I believe we do NOT deserve Abbott and the Coalition.I believe Julia Gillard deserves to be Prime Minister.She brings an amazing array of skills to the position...and she deserves a chance to "shine"...I say give Gillard a go. Fri 20 Aug 2010 04:06:53 GMT+1 Adrian I reckon a lot of Aussies (myself included) are pretty apathetic about politics. I'm certainly cynical enough about it that I wouldn't be voting if it wasn't mandatory. I'd really prefer to scrape the pollies off my shoe than have to keep smelling their output. Fri 20 Aug 2010 02:55:02 GMT+1 wombatdolphin One clear point of differential between the parties in this election is affecting 55,000 families that use Family Day Care for their childcare in NSW. Since not enough debate is on policy I thought it important to point out the following.Family Day Care Policies for Election 2010Liberal Party- Complete review of the cost and impact of ratio change on families and carers if change from 1 carer to 5 children ratio is changedLabour Party- Change ratio to 4 children per carer each day(loss of 5500 daycare places everyday in NSW) and potentially increase childcare costs by 25% for the remaining 4 familiesGreen Party- Change ratio from 1 carer to 4 children per day 2-5 yr olds and potentially increase childcare costs by 25% for the remaining 4 families OR(ratio of 1 carer to 3 children for under 2 year olds) (potentially increase childcare costs by 66% for the remaining 3 families)(loss of more than 5500 daycare places everyday in NSW)Can parents and carers afford this change ?: Fri 20 Aug 2010 02:39:48 GMT+1 DaisyDuke1 All true, good blog. The problem is that the Westminster system is outdated, and needs to be updated with a proportional representation system. Then the politicians won't have to pork barrel to the marginals and we will actually be able to address the national issues of importance. How is it fair that 10% of the population votes for the Greens yet they have no representation in the HOR?My prediction: Labor by a nose or perhaps a hung parliament, thus they will have trouble getting legislation through. Turnbull to return as opposition leader in a year or so and the Libs to win with a crushing majority in 2013. Fri 20 Aug 2010 02:04:56 GMT+1 Camo Here's an idea: excise NSW from the commonwealth. Only sure way of ridding ourselves of the termagant NSW right - on both sides. As you said before, if it plays in rooty hill, its what the rest of us get.And if it plays in rooty hill, I'm pretty sure I dont want it. Fri 20 Aug 2010 01:58:36 GMT+1