Sunday, July 25, 2004

Bum-puffin' Tony

I can't believe this is all over the papers today: Mark inhaled but Tony didn't. In fact, Tony assured us he doesn't even inhale 'normal' cigarettes. It wasn't clear whether this meant he was a smoker but didn't inhale or whether he was a non-smoker. But really, who cares?

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Some redirection

Not much movement on the election front, so here is a collection of links to some interesting reading (and watching) material, to tide us over.

There is an interesting analysis of the polling data released by the Herald this morning on Ambit Gambit.

And some more analysis at Crikey.

The New York Times has a really engaging narrated slide show from its Washington Bureau photographer (called 'campaign moments'). The comments are as interesting as the photos. For me, it showed up some of the more obvious distinctions in the style of Australian and US election campaigns (not least that everyone knows when the US Presidential election will be held).

Staying with the US elections, has a fantastic animation featuring Kerry and Bush singing an adaptation of ‘This Land’. It does take a while to load, but set it going, go make some coffee (or tea, Georg) and let it load. You won’t be sorry.

If you feel the need to be regularly and relentlessly informed, sign up for some fully uathorised Spam from this mob:

Prime Minister
Australian Labor Party
Australian Greens
Australian Democrats

If, like me, you are constantly amused by the Coalition’s paranoia regarding the Unions, check out this cheery document, from the Liberal Party’s ‘Labor Watch’ website.

My favourite quote would be:

“The Labor Party’s platform spells out how the current flexible arrangements of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 would be overturned and replaced with a sclerotic industrial system.”

‘Sclerotic’? And they made fun of Kim Beazley for using obscure words.

Friday, July 16, 2004

johnhowardlies is back

johnhowardlies is back online and REVAMPED.


What I'd like to see is: johnhowardliesinbedcryingonthesundaymorningafterthefederalelection

Just like Hydra's heads

Johnhowardlies may be down for a (permanent?) revamp but these other sites may fill the gap: liarsforhoward and defeathoward. Further discussion can be found in Margo Kingston's Web Diary today.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

John doesn't think johnhowardlies

Some of you may have seen a website called johnhowardlies. Apparently the federal government has called for an investigation into it. From the SMH:

"Senator Abetz said he had asked the electoral commission to investigate if the site breached a section of the Commonwealth Electoral Act which requires electoral material to be authorised."

Needless to say the site has been taken down for a 'revamp'. (So if you were planning to look at it you'll have to wait.)

Howard seems to have forgotten that the one sure-fire way to get people to visit a site is to mention it, preferably negatively, in the mainstream press.

For comment about johnhowardlies prior to this development check out Ambit Gambit here and here

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

New season's fashions! I mean, Ministers.

Well, for all those who are desperate for any clues on election timing, the PM's announcement this afternoon of changes to the Ministry might spark further speculation.

See this press release.

(My favourite part: "These changes will further invigorate the Government and demonstrate the depth of talent available to the Coalition." Sure! Because Senator Helen Coonan looks very much like the 'invigorating' type).

Not that I have any experience in appointing Ministers or deciding on the timing of an election, but I would have to say, just from a layperson's point of view, it would seem a bit odd to appoint new Ministers and then dissolve Parliament shortly after.

Looks like we might be cooling our heels for a while?

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

My head is spinning

Just who is going to elect the Australian government when the election is finally announced? I was under the, obviously mistaken, impression, that the 'Australian public' was to decide its leaders. Beazley has been added to the Labor front bench in what is obviously an effort to soften up the Americans. The US ambassador has given his approval, stating that he is looking forward to dealing with Kimmy again. Smiles all round in the Labor camp then.

On other matters, is there something about 30 troops that I am missing? Latham announces that a Labor government would send an extra 30 non-combatant troops to Iraq if elected and today the Government announced it would send an extra 30 troops to Iraq.

And lastly, to be filed in the "do you think our memories are as short as yours?" file: federal cabinet has agreed to overhaul the asylum seeker rules. As Bob Brown rightly pointed out, this is nothing more than going to where the votes are, or are perceived to be.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Still no election but plenty of fightin' talk

Still no election called but we could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. This will he/won't he thing is becoming as tedious as Freddy Fittler's endless Origin comebacks.

John Howard today promised a "fair and decent society" should he be re-elected. (As some wag at work said: what, he'll only commit to that if he is re-elected, he doesn't want it now?) Howard went for the touchy-feely things today, 'fairness', 'decency', the environment, water. He seemed to be doing his best to emulate the Greens but it sounded rather strained. His examples of David Hookes' death and the sexual abuse claims on footballers as being indicative of a "coarsening of the culture" I found rather strange. So, in the past no one had died because they got drunk and got into a fight and footballers have never been accused of sexual abuse. Perhaps he meant that the fact these things became public had coarsened the culture.

It is the PM's idea of 'decency' that bothers me though. As some of us will recognise, decency is indeed relative. I think it's decent that I live in a stable relationship, that I love my child and hope to do the best by him. I think Johnny may have other ideas about the 'decency' of this set-up however.

Monday, July 05, 2004

The Sunday fallout

The revelations have been made, Latham has emotionally responded and the Labor Party has lashed out at what they term is a smear campaign that is taking orders from the very top. And what effect has all this had on the public perception of Latham as leader, and possible PM? To be honest, I don't know if it has made much difference. If any, it may have cemented Latham's position as the antithesis of John Howard, which is what previous leaders of Labor have not been doing. As a woman vox-popped by the SMH said: "It's not the kind of behaviour we're used to from politicians but at least he's got balls." He admitted, when questioned, to John Laws he had an active sex life before marriage. (A rather bizarre question, yes?) There are allegations that he may have enjoyed a buck's night. A far cry from the picture of the current PM, who left home at 30 something. Those who backed Latham in the past will no doubt be only more fervent in their support and those who think he's a violent boofhead will no doubt feel their beliefs have been confirmed.

Will it make a difference at the polls? The election hasn't been called yet so it may be a long time before we get to cast a vote. In that time almost anything could happen (a couple of children could go overboard, a couple of gay people might want to get married). This will blow over. Latham has done himself no damage in showing his human side today. The deeper question is: if these attacks are backed by the Coalition, what kind of position are they in to feel that their only recourse is to attack Latham personally?

Friday, July 02, 2004

Has Littlejohn bought longjohns for a winter campaign?

Well, Alan Ramsey says Littlejohn's not a good chance in a winter election. I don't think Antony Green would think much of Alan's science (2 elections in winter, both won by the ALP), but it's enough for me. Bring it on!

John Howard's hot date

Just to note that in an interview with Neil Mitchell this morning, the PM noted that he was flying back to Canberra on Sunday evening, for some meeting or another.

Interestingly, Mitchell noted that this Sunday would be the last possible day on which Howard could nip down to Yarralumla to call an election for August 7 - the date many people have been throwing around as a cert. See this crikey article, which mentions "the Church of the August7th Day Adventists".

I've heard some rumours and speculation (I couldn't possibly know anything or disclose anything) that public service rumours and speculation are flying thick and fast in the icey Canberra air about Ministers seeking lists of things which must be finalised in the next few months, decisions which much be made before Parliament dissolves and senior public servants traipsing off to refresher courses on caretaker government requirements, etc, etc.

Not that any of this can be confirmed as anything other than speculation...

How green is his valley?

Further to Georg's previous post...

Here’s a story setting out the ‘explosive allegations’ against Latham – “an earlier incident of physical violence in Mr Latham's past”.

This must be a dream come true for the Coalition. Their strategy of relentlessly attacking Latham’s character will roll-on.

You can’t trust a violent yob, they’ll say. I say, what about the ‘violent yobs’ in the Coalition who physically restrained Bob Brown in the House of Reps just after George W had finished his address.

Who do they think they are?

Any ideas about the 'explosive revelations'

Anybody got any ideas about the apparently 'explosive revelations' about Mark Latham to be made public on Sunday this weekend?