tip off

BludgerTrack: 51.6-48.4 to Labor

Another placid week for the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, suggesting a new equilibrium has been struck between the government’s budget disaster and MH17 recovery.

The only national poll this week was the regular weekly Essential Research, which is joined in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate by Galaxy’s result from Queensland. That adds up to no change whatsoever on two-party preferred, but the Greens are up on the primary vote at Labor’s expense. There’s some shifting of the deckchairs on the seat projection, with Labor down one in New South Wales and Victoria and up one in Queensland and Western Australia, but it cancels out on the total score. Nothing new this week for leadership ratings, which serves as a sad reminder that in the past we would have expected Nielsen to come due this week.

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  • 1
    nappin
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    William, I’d suggest a hiatus rather than an equilibrium.

  • 2
    ruawake
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Be very worried about this crap.

    Private health insurance customers are being given preferential treatment at certain GP clinics in a trial that poses a threat to univeral healthcare, a Senate inquiry has heard.
    Medibank is piloting a scheme in Queensland that gives its customers same-day appointments, after hours service and free consultations at 26 general practices run by the Independent Practitioner Network, with plans to roll it out nationally by November.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/medibank-scheme-may-lead-to-usstyle-disaster-warns-australian-medical-association-20140820-1068xr.html#ixzz3AxmnvPWb

  • 3
    Socrates
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Morning all. I wonder if Joe Hockey will support this proven effective, internationally practiced approach to improving worker productivity? Somehow I doubt it, preferring dominance based policy to evidence based.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/19/nap-club-home-focused-efficient-workers

    Maybe Peter Slipper was the most productive member of the last federal parliament?

  • 4
    Socrates
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Ruawake

    I must agree on the dangers of that trend. It is the US model to the core. Clinics become answerable to insurers for their financial survival. The insurers then start dictating the level of care for patients, not just priority. When clinics are busy, priority means some people in need without priority will miss out.

  • 5
    BK
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    They are copping it from all directions regarding health policy. USA here we come! Shame!
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/medibank-scheme-may-lead-to-usstyle-disaster-warns-australian-medical-association-20140820-1068xr.html
    And signs of serious back pedalling emerge.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-signals-compromise-on-7-copayment-as-crossbench-takes-treasurer-to-task-20140820-3e0zj.html
    Michelle Grattan says the budget is “on track” give or take $25b or so..
    https://theconversation.com/worried-about-nervous-animal-spirits-government-plays-cool-dude-on-the-budget-30739
    Stephen Koukoulas on Glen Stevens’ parliamentary appearance yesterday.
    http://thekouk.com/blog/high-unemployment-ok-the-rba-thinks-so.html#.U_UVA_mSya8
    Psychiatrists come out strongly against the effects of pension changes on people with mental illness.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/psychiatrists-reject-plan-for-mental-health-curbs-on-disability-support-pension-20140820-3e0zk.html
    And welfare groups decry the harsh changes.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/20/harsh-welfare-changes-are-the-most-significant-in-20-years-inquiry-told
    This government has a blinkered view of what productivity is.
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/casual-call-centre-workers-face-government-axe-20140820-10646u.html
    The Race Discrimination Commissioner asks what doe Team Australia mean?
    https://theconversation.com/what-does-team-australia-mean-race-discrimination-commissioner-asks-30718
    Corruption in Queensland? All perfectly normal it would seem.
    http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/qld-lnps-donations-for-deals-move-on-nothing-to-see-here,6794
    An Aussie in Ferguson, Missouri – the mess that is the USA.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/ferguson-a-symptom-of-a-wider-malaise-in-america-20140820-1065os.html

  • 6
    BK
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Section 2 . . .

    Elizabeth Farrelly – corruption fatigue.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/icac-resignations-not-enough-to-clean-up-nsw-corruption-20140820-10635i.html
    Is the EuroZone a cot case?
    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/8/21/european-crisis/theres-only-one-cure-eurozones-terminal-disease
    Paul Sheehan has a big spit on financial shonks based on personal experience.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/financial-planners-milk-trillions-of-our-dollars-20140820-1069tp.html
    Time for a standard test for financial planners?
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/time-for-a-standard-test-for-financial-planners-20140820-1067ik.html
    We wouldn’t need whistleblowers if Morrison did his job properly.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/20/we-wouldnt-need-whistleblowers-bravery-if-morrison-did-his-job-properly
    Here’s what Morrison did yesterday.
    http://www.ellistabletalk.com/2014/08/21/the-three-worst-things-the-liberals-did-yesterday-37/
    Is the ACCC finally on to something on petrol pricing?
    http://www.theage.com.au/business/accc-takes-action-on-petrol-pricing-20140820-106dpz.html
    An interesting slant on Clive Palmer by Andrew Dyson.
    http://images.smh.com.au/2014/08/21/5693703/ac-dyson-defcon-20140821062010400649-620×0.jpg

  • 7
    BK
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Section 3 . . .

    Alan Moir with more on Team Australia.
    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/alan-moir-20090907-fdxk.html
    David Pope continues to do excellent work!
    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/david-pope-20120214-1t3j0.html
    Ron Tandberg gives us a new political party.
    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/ron-tandberg-20090910-fixc.html
    David Rowe has Cormann at the Sydney Institute.
    http://www.afr.com/p/national/cartoon_gallery_david_rowe_1g8WHy9urgOIQrWQ0IrkdO

  • 8
    Adam Fisher
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Good morning all. My first time commenting. I agree, a hiatus. Abbot has had weeks of hitching his cart to world events, avoiding domestic problems. Labor to appear bipartisan has had to fall into line so there has been little to disagree on and ample opportunities for Abbot to take a leadership role. Given those circumstances it must be a cause for concern that they are still behind. I suspect this may be a high water mark. The budget has burned so much political capital for so little result. I think the poll figures flatter the coalition. Too many key groups – pensioners, low income families, the unemployed, are being irredeemably put off side. I see a double dissolution ending this parliament – surely the only way for the govt to demonstrate its mandate.

  • 9
    poroti
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Abbott’s new security scare measures were introduced even though he has admitted the threat level is no higher than since 9/11 and now we get this. Is Abbott really serious about “extremism” or is it all bullshit for the plebs? Or perhaps just another sign of a demented obsession with erasing anything JG did ?

    Countering Violent Extremism program funding not renewed in budget

    Intention of the program was to reduce violent extremism in Australia with a focus on ‘high-risk hotspot areas’

    ....projects which allowed community groups to engage with alienated Muslims did not have its funding renewed in the June 2014 budget, it has emerged.

    In 2010 the previous Labor government announced a $9.7m, four-year program

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/20/countering-violent-extremism-program-funding-not-renewed-in-budget

  • 10
    Socrates
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Thanks BK. Elizabeth Farrelly’s article on corruption in NSW politics being a bipartisan process is sadly too true. this quote sums it up well, and is consistent with my experience on some Sydney projects I worked on.

    This is not politics. It’s not conservatism. As Ted Mack said recently, political parties are “like two mafia families seeking control of the public purse for distribution to themselves, supporters, the special interests who fund them”. And while they squabble over filthy coal it’s our clean future – carbon farming, public transit, urban agriculture, solar farms – that dies.

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/icac-resignations-not-enough-to-clean-up-nsw-corruption-20140820-10635i.html#ixzz3AyLZrmdB

    This is also why I am so suspicious of both Liberal and Labor in Victoria over the EW Link road. It is a lousy project, but big financiers like Macquarie Bank stand to make hundreds of millions in fees out of it. They donate money to both sides, so neither side is game to back out of the project, even though it is widely unpopular. The same goes for why old inefficient highly polluting power stations in Victoria never get shut down. In light of Farrelly’s logic, you have to wonder how bent Victorian politics is, on both sides?

    With Campbell Newman at the helm, there is no need to even ask if Qld politics is reverting to its ugly past. As Tony Fitzgerald proved, the only way to stop they guys (and they are invariably middle aged blokey males) is the threat and occasional use of jail.

  • 11
    Socrates
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Poroti

    Abbott’s security scare is also a joke because he has not even got the existing system working. Several home grown terrorists have successfully reached Iraq in ways that should have been stopped by our standard passport system, but were not. Now they are killing people.

  • 12
    Socrates
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Interesting to see two stories on Financial Planners and the need to regulate them. The solution is invariably designed to favor the incumbent shonks.

    A far cheaper and more sensible approach would be to abolish their monopoly and require normal financial qualifications, like a degree in accounting or tax law, and membership of a proper professional body, say CPA, rather than a new status of Convicted Financial Planner. We have thousands of qualified lawyers and accountants looking for work. The FPA is a joke, and the ability to give advice should not be restricted to the existing shysters. By any real definition of a profession, the FPA is not.

    Have a good day all. Off to see Phillip Glass II tonight, and it will be a long night.

  • 13
    victoria
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Morning all

    Here is Paul kelly interview on LL last night. Found it interesting that it was indeed Wayne Swan who thought it was a very bad idea to dump Rudd.

    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2014/s4071412.htm

  • 14
    victoria
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Icac today

    Morning #ICAC buffs. Among the bevy of witnesses to follow Rex Newell into the box today are disgraced ex Lib MP Andrew Cornwell & his wife

  • 15
    dave
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    *Sensitive Policing* at work -

    The footage in link of Ferguson shows a police officer pointing his gun directly at protesters and reporters while screaming "I’m going to f***ing kill you!"

    ...The clip shows a Ferguson officer with his gun raised pointing it directly at a citizen journalist who was live streaming at the time: the incident was witnessed by Infowars reporter Joe Biggs who was also filming the incident.

    "My hands are up bro, my hands are up," states the journalist before the cop responds, "I’m going to f***ing kill you, get back, get back!"

    "You’re going to kill him?” asks another individual before the journalist asks, “did he just threaten to kill me?"

    When the cop is asked for his name he responds, "go fuck yourself."

    ...The officer’s response to people asking for his name almost immediately prompted the launch of the Twitter hashtag #officergofuckyourself.

    ...police officer #officergofuckyourself, it appears he is no longer "on location."

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-20/ferguson-cop-points-gun-protesters-and-press-screams-i-will-fing-kill-you-has-been-r

  • 16
    AussieAchmed
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    http://www.perthnow.com.au/lifestyle/health/half-the-population-wont-pay-the-7-gp-fee-in-ama-deal/story-fnhlcxz9-1227031148513

  • 17
    victoria
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Paul Kelly laments the debasing of politics during the Rudd/Gillard years. Too bad he did not think to pinpoint the turning point.

    Easy to see from my pov. Utegate and when Abbott became LOTO.

  • 18
    zoomster
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Soc

    Well, I live in neither NSW or Queensland but (certainly in the case of the former) I was aware that there was corruption in both states going back decades.

    In the case of Victoria, if it exists they do a very good job of hiding it.

    Under the former Labor government, there was only one piece of possibly corrupt behaviour ever even alleged (that I can think of). The Liberals would have trawled through the actions of past Ministers with a fine tooth comb looking for evidence of misbehaviour on the part of Labor (one of the legacies of the Kennett era is that there is virtually no trust or comraderie between the two majors – I get looked at askance when I have a cuppa with someone ‘from the other side’ at Parliament House, because it Just Isn’t Done in Victoria any more).

    If there was anything majorly corrupt about the behaviour of Labor in the past (or present) the Libs would have jumped on it. As it is, they have to resort to beating up relatively minor incidents into national scandals.

    Labor refusing to commit to ripping up the contract for EW is common sense. As I have continually argued (see previous posts) they can certainly commit to getting out of them if it’s at all possible, but it is unreasonable to (a) expect them to commit to anything more than that or (b) allege corruption if they refuse to commit to anything more than that.

  • 19
    dave
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Original post is in moderation

    Reposted -

    *Sensitive Policing* at work -

    The footage in link of Ferguson shows a police officer pointing his gun directly at protesters and reporters while screaming "I’m going to f***ing kill you!"

    ...The clip shows a Ferguson officer with his gun raised pointing it directly at a citizen journalist who was live streaming at the time: the incident was witnessed by Infowars reporter Joe Biggs who was also filming the incident.

    "My hands are up bro, my hands are up," states the journalist before the cop responds, "I’m going to f***ing kill you, get back, get back!"

    "You’re going to kill him?” asks another individual before the journalist asks, “did he just threaten to kill me?"

    When the cop is asked for his name he responds, "go fcuk yourself."

    ...The officer’s response to people asking for his name almost immediately prompted the launch of the Twitter hashtag #officergofcukyourself.

    ...police officer #officergofcukyourself, it appears he is no longer "on location."

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-20/ferguson-cop-points-gun-protesters-and-press-screams-i-will-fing-kill-you-has-been-r

  • 20
    zoomster
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Soc

    as for –

    The same goes for why old inefficient highly polluting power stations in Victoria never get shut down

    Very little to do with pressure from big business. Very much to do with the power of the trade unions, and the traditional links between Labor and the seats in question.

    I first put up a ‘get rid of coal’ policy paper at policy committee level in around 2001. I was told point blank that it wouldn’t even be discussed – by a committee which usually was prepared to discuss anything – unless I removed the words ‘brown coal’ every time they occurred.

    “We can either roll you now, or we can roll you when it gets to the floor of Conference” was the statement.

  • 21
    Darren Laver
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Paul Kelly lost any insight or credibility years ago.

    Like the equally discredited Grattan though, he remains something of a protected species within the press corps — “journalistic solidarity” and all that I suppose.

    ABC Lateline soiled itself further last night with that display.

  • 22
    victoria
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    dave

    What can one say

  • 23
    zoomster
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    From the Lateline transcript –

    Paul Kelly, editor-at-large for The Australian newspaper, has written of a malaise that's making it near impossible for governments to do their jobs properly and implement effective reform.

    Well, the Gillard government did OK…

  • 24
    confessions
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The head of WA's peak medical group has lambasted parents who do not immunise their children as guilty of child abuse.

    Australian Medical Association WA president Michael Gannon said it was time to stop mincing words about parents who did not vaccinate their children through choice or complacency.

    Too right. We are currently experiencing a measles outbreak in our town. Measles! And all because there are parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Totally agree with the AMA on this.

  • 25
    victoria
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Darren Laver

    Paul Kelly made the obvious observations, but omitted the most important point as I mentioned above. It was the coalition who debased politics during the Rudd/Gillard years

  • 26
    zoomster
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Oh, goodie. At least we now know who in the room leaked the details of the leadership coup. Of the three people present, only one is prepared to speak about what happened; the other two are preserving confidentiality, as they pledged to do that night.

    One of the rare cases where the loser gets to write history, because he’s prepared to break a promise and they’re not.

  • 27
    dave
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    victoria
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    dave

    What can one say

    Vic – God Bless America ?

    Poor Buggers – they’ll need it.

  • 28
    victoria
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    dave

    Indeed

  • 29
    lizzie
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    victoria

    Thanks for the transcript link.
    I agree, there was nothing very earthshaking in Kelly’s interview, except his omissions.

  • 30
    victoria
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Goodness me. Abbott is doing a media blitz on the terrorism threat. He will be interviewed shortly on ABC radio Melbourne

  • 31
    victoria
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    lizzie

    As i mentioned earlier, I was surprised to learn that Wayne Swan was vehemently against dumping Rudd as PM, and he warned the caucus of same

  • 32
    confessions
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    It was the coalition who debased politics during the Rudd/Gillard years

    And they’re still doing it even though they’re in govt.

  • 33
    Darren Laver
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Darren Laver
    Paul Kelly made the obvious observations, but omitted the most important point as I mentioned above. It was the coalition who debased politics during the Rudd/Gillard years

    Bushfire Bill and others here warned the gallery that Abbott’s crazed anti-government attacks (blocking things they otherwise would normally support, cf Malaysian approach), if left unchecked, would result in an attack on governance itself and make it hard for an eventual Abbott Government to implement its own agenda.

    He was right, while Kelly et al still have their heads in the sand earning on average $174,000 per year.

  • 34
    victoria
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Tony Jones of course also failed to ask Kelly anything about the coalition’s hand in the debasing of the politics

  • 35
    lizzie
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Kelly does name Rudd as
    “you get Rudd turning into an insurgence committed to revenge”.

    This is what his fans will not accept. His vengefulness and his leaking against the government through such acolytes as Hartcher.

  • 36
    Darren Laver
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Tony Jones of course also failed to ask Kelly anything about the coalition’s hand in the debasing of the politics

    Quelle surprise !

  • 37
    mikehilliard
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    poroti

    Or perhaps just another sign of a demented obsession with erasing anything JG did ?

    For some time now I have believed that is the only logical reason for Abbott’s behaviour.

  • 38
    zoomster
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Look at the competitive situation of the country, the fact that we've got all sorts of problems now with productivity, we face a coming crunch in living standards.

    Cough. I think, Paul Kelly, you’ll find that both productivity and living standards were doing quite well under the Labor government. I wonder what happened?

    We see the Labor Party, who were completely unpersuasive in government, couldn't carry any particular debate whatsoever in opposition, they suddenly look effective running negative campaigns, because the negative is always easier to get up than the positive. Meanwhile, Tony Abbott, who looked tremendously effective in opposition running negative campaigns; now as Prime Minister, attempting to run on a series of positives, having to put forward his own reform agenda and policy agenda, is in a considerable degree of difficulty. Well, the lesson is clear.

    Yeah, the media sets the agenda and choses the meme. And, as they’re incapable of analysing policy or the nuances of politics (how many major events did they fail to predict?) they focus on rumours, gaffes and regurgitating themes from social media.

    ...the sort of tough budget which Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey felt was necessary. So, they brought down a tough budget to solve a problem that they could see, but the country wasn't aware of it..

    Yeah, in the same way the country remains mysteriously unaware of the existence of pink unicorns and woodland elves.

    As for Abbott’s woes, Kelly doesn’t think it has anything to do with the general pathethetic nature of this government, their failure to do policy work in Opposition, or the media’s failure to hold them to account – instead –

    Again, this goes back to my fundamental argument about the difficulties involved in the political system now in both governing and reforming.

    I don’t see any difficulties in the political system which get in the way of this. I see a failure in the media to do their job properly. They’re not called ‘the Fourth Estate’ for nothing – all ‘Four Estates’ must perform their proper function for the system to work.

  • 39
    confessions
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    This is what his fans will not accept. His vengefulness and his leaking against the government through such acolytes as Hartcher.

    Yes, it’s a genuine delusion on the part of his fans. The same kind of willful ignorance you see with people who get taken in by cults.

  • 40
    lizzie
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Wayne Swan might have been against the dumping of Rudd before the election, but in his book he details how difficult ministers found working with Rudd, and that many had gone directly to Rudd and complained. Swan says that not admitting that publicly after the “coup” was a mistake. I think Kelly’s assessment is a bit off the mark.

  • 41
    victoria
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    zoomster

    Even JGillard commented on the very real challenges of governing within the 24/7 media cycle.

  • 42
    confessions
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    ...the sort of tough budget which Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey felt was necessary. So, they brought down a tough budget to solve a problem that they could see

    Funny how they stopped seeing that problem about a week after the budget was announced. When was the last time we heard one of them utter those words “budget emergency”?

  • 43
    lizzie
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    zoomster

    The myth of the “wise old owl Kelly” overrides such intelligent analysis.

  • 44
    zoomster
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    lizzie

    people seem to forget that there was a considerable period of time – several months – after the coup where no one in the Labor party would speak in denigration of Rudd or why they had deposed him.

    This was obviously an attempt to protect the man and his dignity (they did a similar thing when Latham had his breakdown – the usual comment being wtte of ‘I hope he gets well soon’), but it worked against the party because it meant that people couldn’t understand why Rudd had been deposed.

    It was only when Rudd challenged again (when he clearly didn’t have anywhere near the numbers) that the criticisms began.

  • 45
    victoria
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    After the 9 am news, Abbott will be interviewed by Jon Faine. For those interested

    http://www.abc.net.au/melbourne/programs/listenlive.htm

  • 46
    poroti
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Paul Kelly laments the debasing of politics

    His ‘eminence’ Paul Kelly should instead have written an article about a subject he has much inside first hand knowledge of “The Debasement of Australian Journalism”. Special chapter “How Debased Journalism Contribution to the Debasement of Politics”.

  • 47
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Re. James Foley.

    I went to bed last night and didn’t see the replies to my late post saying he knew the risks.

    Let me make it clear… there is no way to justify the way he died. It was horrible.

    Having said that, it’s not like crossing the street and being run over by a drunk driver as one person said. First the situations are so different in degree as to be different in kind. Second, there are rules against drunk driving and we have a right to cross the road. Combine the two and you have one person doing something lawful and ordinary, taking care that someone doing neither won’t run you down. Third, there are sanctions against drunk driving.

    Foley, on the other hand, went into a war zone in the full knowledge of the grave risks, as all frontline journalists do. Many have been killed. Foley himself came to some notoriety because of an interview he gave after surviving Gaddafi’s goons in Libya. The colleague, standing next to him, didn’t. The man was shot, dead in an instant from a random bullet. Foley took that experience in his stride. And then he went back, to another war.

    In war, especially a war involving insane ideologues or religious nutters, there are no such rules, or more accurately, the rules are different.

    The terrorists’ norms are not ours. There is no “freedom of speech” in their constitution. “Punishments” are harsh. There’s no point judging them by Western standards. The West is what they hate. In their eyes the West is apostate.

    The overwhelming reports I have seen, especially from war photographers, is that such people suffer from a kind of addiction to witnessing misery. Many have recounted the awful thrill of dancing with death and coming out alive. Many have spoken and written about their feelings of detatchment as they photograph terrible suffering. It’s often the first question that is asked of them… “Why do you do it?”. You couldn’t do the job if you you had a weak stomach for the vicissitudes of others.

    In short, they know the risks. They can wear flak jackets with “TV” or “PRESS” printed on them, but they know in the end that there may be a madman who sees that as an invitation. Or there may just be a random bullet.

    What do we, their readership, get from their work? Do we really need to see, in graphic detail, what’s going on? What’s the value of another photo of a mother crying over her dead baby, or a pile of rubble that used to be a school?

    The world is full of crazies. If you voluntarily walk into that world, accepting the risk that they may not respect your “rights” and your “freedoms”, and instead may see you as a useful lever to use against your enemy, then you must be assumed to have been aware of the risks, and to have taken them willingly. Pointing that out is not psychopathic. If Foley had heeded the warning of his friend’s death he wouldn’t be on the front pages now.

    I haven’t watched the video. Have you? Nor have I glanced at the front pages offered to me via links and (so I hear, this morning) now available in the Sydney newspapers.

    The terrorists want me to react in a certain way – to hate Americans and be fearful of their jihad.

    The Daily Telegraph wants me to react in another way – to hate Muslims, to be part of their latest campaign, seeking to divide our society while Tony Abbott mutters platitudes about his ridiculous “Team Australia” to their community leaders. It’s classic Abbott technique: get others to do your nasties for you, while claiming falsely to be an honest broker. While Abbott pours on the snake oil, the Murdoch press ramps up the pressure on whomever he is trying to “convince”.

    In any case, I’m happy to ignore both invitations.

    All Abbott has done while in power is run campaigns, usually in the Murdoch press, against parts of our society that give him trouble, be they pensioners, the unemployed, his political opponents or, lately, Muslims. It’s a disgrace the way he tries to run Australia, pitting one sub-group against another, hoping to gain advantage, or get his way.

    Our country has turned into a nastier place than I can ever remember it being, with the Thug In Chief at its head. The Coalition government is running a sophisticated protection racket with Australia as its target: “Nice little {country|religion|disability|political belief|career|business} you got here. Such a shame if something bad was to happen to it…”

    None of that excuses what happened to James Foley, but in choosing not to react to it in the way that manipulative and malignant forces on both sides of the equation want me to, I hope I’ve at least explained my attitude to it.

  • 48
    zoomster
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    While we’re linking to transcripts, here’s an interesting one from Glenn Stevens on ABC radio’s PM show last night —

    http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2014/s4071178.htm

    Among other things, he says –

    ...the messages from Glenn Stevens today were clear: growth is slowing to a rate below the long-term average, unemployment is likely to remain high for some time, but interest rates at 50-year lows are helping stimulate the economy.

    GLENN STEVENS: But the thing that's most needed now is something that monetary policy can't directly cause, and what I mean is we need more of the sort of animal spirit, so-called, or confidence if you like, that's needed to support not just a re-pricing of the existing stock of assets but an investment that adds to that stock.

    Maintaining ‘confidence’ was, of course, exactly the goal of the GFC package.

    So all the levers are in place for a thriving economy, but for some reason ‘confidence’ is plunging…

    Stevens says we need -

    ..a strategy that recognises that medium-term imperative, that recognises we don't actually need draconian fiscal tightening right now - the economy doesn't really warrant that - so you have to get from that point to this medium-term point. How do you do that? Well, you try to design some measures that will build up over time and address that medium term issue.

  • 49
    Boerwar
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    poroti

    Kelly is catching up with Keating’s ‘Gimme the job or I’ll wreck the joint’ but is in denial about Abbott’s role and his own role as well. None so blind…

  • 50
    victoria
    Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    BB

    Your position is fair enough. Some might have felt you were being callous. I too have deliberately not watched the video or linked to any articles about it.
    What happened to this young journalist was horrendous, and sadly he may not be the only one to meet this fate.
    Abbott together with the help of Murdoch is playing a very dangerous game and it shits me to no end

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