“John Howard Never Ran Away From Public Scrutiny”

The Liberal party seems determined to gain some mileage over the supposed leak surrounding the “G20 Gate” conversation between Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and soon-to-be former President George W Bush.

News Limited reports that Opposition frontbencher Tony Abbott has branded Prime Minister Kevin Rudd “a coward” over his refusal to answer questions about the leaking of details of a phone call with US President George W Bush.

The Opposition has accused Mr Rudd of leaking details of the conversation with Mr Bush to The Australian newspaper.

The paper reported that Mr Bush had to ask what the G20 was, a claim since denied by the White House and Mr Rudd.

In Parliament yesterday Mr Rudd refused to say who had leaked the details of the call to the newspaper and did not speak when the Opposition tried to move a motion to censure him.

Mr Abbott says the Prime Minister lacks the courage of his predecessor John Howard.

“He simply refused to stand up and answer legitimate questions on the record in the Parliament and I don’t think Australians want a coward for a Prime Minister,” he said.

“John Howard never ran away from parliamentary scrutiny.”

Turning our attention to the alleged leaking of the telephone conversation for a moment, the Opposition has been ranting on about this for a week now, with Julie Bishop declaring it some kind of national security emergency and joining the frenzied chorus of Joe Hockey, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull demanding some police investigation; albeit without presenting a shred of evidence to back up the claims that were published in The Australian.

This is just getting ridiculous. I think the general public couldn’t care less whether George Bush let rip with some gaffe during a phone conversation with Kevin Rudd. Nor do I believe that the Liberal party’s obsession with this “issue” is doing them any favours. Frankly who cares?

But laugh of the week has to go to Tony Abbott for declaring with a straight face that:

“John Howard never ran away from parliamentary scrutiny.”

Not only does this statement reinforce that Tony Abbott and his ilk still worship their former leader, it demonstrates that Tony Abbott has little respect for current Leaderer of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull.

Until such time as the Liberals come to terms with the fact that Howard was not held in the same high regard by the general public, and that he, and everything he stood for, was unanimously rejected by Australians at the last election, then the Liberal party will remain languishing in the corridors of irrelevance.

Posted by: Stuntreb


131 Responses

  1. Actually, I think Tony Abbott may be onto something.

    John Howard never ran away from public scrutiny

    – largely because he was never present in the first place!!!

  2. […] “John Howard Never Ran Away From Public Scrutiny” I think the general public couldn’t care less whether George Bush let rip with some gaffe during a phone conversation with Kevin Rudd. Nor do I believe that the Liberal party’s obsession with this “issue” is doing them any favours. … […]

  3. Watching Turnbull put on a ham Shakespearian act yesterday in parliament over this was mind boggling. As other blogs are pointing out there are other far more important matters that a decent opposition should be holding the Rudd government to account for.

    The other stupid thing about this is that the opposition are only now making a song and dance about it weeks after the event because Insiders on the ABC noted the OO piece and made comment of why the opposition hadn’t taken it up as a cause. Guess who was on the panel that Sunday, initials AB.

    The other thing I cannot understand is why the opposition are not taking heed of the polls which show the more they do this type of thing the more they go backwards in the opinion of the public. After an initial very short bounce, Turnbull has now taken the Coalition to a position worse than when Nelson was ousted, and at that time Nelson had the Coalition steadily if not slowly climbing in the opinion polls even though his personal popularity was very low. Since then Turnbull has both the Coalition and his personal popularity going backwards yet all commentators like Shananhan can say is that at least Turnbull’s rating is higher than Nelson’s was. Wow 23 vs16 percent.

  4. There was a fair bit of talk on Blogocracy about the protections afforded the previous government by their Speaker in the house. Most commentors seem strangely silent on the issue now. Whatever you think of Bush, he has erroneously been mocked in public. The information leading to the mocking came from either Kevin Rudd or someone close to him, and it was false. There is a fair degree of evidence that the PM of Australia at the very least misrepresented the POTUS in order to bignote himself. That’s pretty bad. The PM of Aus will not answer questions in Parliament relating to this, and other, quite major issues. That’s also pretty bad. I know it’s kinda fun and nostalgic to keep up the old Howard Hatred mantra, but it’s a year now, is anyone ever going to hold this bloke to account?

  5. James,

    It was Tony Abbott who dragged Howard’s name into it….

  6. What fair degree of evidence James?

    It’s a beat up plain and simple, even the Whitehouse has stated there is nothing in it, yet if you believe the opposition the whole world now views the Australian government with suspicion and offence. This is the greatest diplomatic disaster any government in our history has ever perpetrated, what a load of rot.

    This is nothing more than a very bereft opposition (and their ideological supporters) trying to pin anything at all onto Keve\in Rudd. That this is failing to win the slightest bit of interest with the public after having been out there for a few weeks now, and in fact those pushing it are losing public opinion, which illustrates just how unimportant it is.

    As to the Speaker of the House, this one so far has been streets ahead of the previous government speaker(s) in fairness and control of the house.

  7. I wonder if the “leak” was just an offhand comment taken out of context by the editor (?) of ex-Government Gazette. Maybe Rudd came back into the dinner and said something like “and then Bush went – what is the G20!” and then there was laughter all around.

    And so – the implication that this is a big thing and has damaged Australia is just so bogus.

    Also, these sort of stories make it impossible for whoever the story is made against – as any answer is wrong. Like the old “Have you stopped hitting your wife?” question, where both a yes and no answer makes you look bad.

    Maybe we should ask Turnbull the question “Have you stopped dragging the Liberal party down in the polls yet?”.

  8. groan … Far far far too much column and blog space has been wasted on this non-issue.

    I agree that had Bush said that, there might have been some diplomacy issues BUT – Rudd is on record in Parliament House saying that the comment is false in this regard (it would be a massive issue if Rudd has mislead the parliament on this and the Libs aren’t pushing that issue). Bush has also denied it. End of diplomatic incident.

    To say that the rest of the conversation has been leaked is just stupid. There is no rule saying that conversations about stuff that the public has a right to know about should remain secret. If Bush and Rudd had a telephone call about the G20 – that is reportable. If Rudd asked that it should be extended to the G20 that too can be reported – it shows that Rudd is standing up for Australia’s right to be heard in resolving the economic crisis which has also affected us. If bush agreed, that too can, and should be reported. Accordingly, is a deliberate provision of this information, which is hardly secret (ii had been foreshadowed by the PM before the phone call), a leek, or simply a genuine provision of information of legitimate interest to be reported. Exactly where is the diplomatic incident in this?

    Put simply – if you take away the alleged Bush gaff, why is the reporting of the telephone conversation a problem – leaked or deliberate.

  9. My Minister simply said, “Shouldn’t they be running the country?”

    I agree – FFS GET ON WITH IT!

  10. Sure he did, Reb, and I haven’t bothered to read his piece because I don’t think it’s relevant. Rudd is PM. There is evidence that Rudd was responsible for the leak. Mitchell was there that night and and I doubt that the story was a complete fabrication. I don’t get why none of you think this is an issue, beyond another excuse to belt the Opposition. Contrary to Adrian’s statement, the Opposition had raised the issue prior to it appearing on The Insiders. http://liberal.org.au/news.php?Id=1983.
    Why would the Opposition wait before making it a central issue? I dunno, maybe there was something else going on in the world at the time which would dwarf the issue in terms of media coverage, like, say, a US Election?

  11. “There is evidence that Rudd was responsible for the leak. ”

    Where James? What ‘evidence?’

  12. Oh, here we go, Adrian and Reb, on a Blog, want evidence in the form of photos, videos, DNA etc, that Rudd was responsible for the leak. The evidence is circumstantial. The report in the Australian, which incidentally was one in praise of Rudd, was quite specific in its detail. ” Rudd was dumbfounded”, “Bush asked, ‘what’s the G20?'”, Rudd did not allow himself to be pushed around” etc etc. This stuff was not made up. It had a source. Editor in Chief of the Australian was at Kirribillee that night. 1+1=2.

    All Rudd has to do is stand up in Parliament and say “I did not and have never disclosed details of any kind of confidential conversations I have had with leaders of any nations to anyone connected with the media. Specifically, I did not disclose any details of the phone call I had with President Bush on 10 October 2008. I do not know where The Australian got its information. It’s not true. They must have made it up”. But, of course, lying in Parliament has its consequences, does it not?

  13. “The evidence is circumstantial.”

    Howard and Bush have both denied it. What else do you want?

    It was The Australian that published it. If anyone has a case to answer it is The Australian not Rudd.

    And actually it was Turnbull that remarked that it had Rudd’s “DNA all over it”

    But seriously what mileage are the liberals gettingout of pursuing this non-issue? Unless of course you’re of the opinion that it amounts to a national security crisis of catastrophic proportions??


  14. Evidence, schmevidence. As I said – I reckon it is just something that the editor of the ex-GG has taken out of context.

    Was Rudd careless – probably.

    Is this a big issue? No

    Is something like going to war over fabricated evidence a bigger issue, and attempts to discredit those who expose those lies a bigger issue?

    So let’s get this into some sort of perspective.

  15. Was Rudd careless – probably, with the truth to bignote himself at the expense of a world leader.

    I guess what is at issue is this. About a year ago, almost all on Blogocracy vowed that they would be holding the new government to the same account as the previous. There were those of us who expressed doubt about that, and it apparently caused great offence.

    Let’s look at this blog. Have a look up and to the right. We’ve managed to go Abbott, Turnbull, Bishop, Howard, Coonan, and some dumb Republican voter (as if he were representative of Republicans as a whole) yet there is nothing on the current government.

    Looking more broadly, Dunlop’s given it away, as has his sidekick Lovell. Is it money, or just finding that belting an Opposition is nowhere near as much fun as belting a government had been, because deity knows, the only recent government belting had been done with a wet tram ticket.

    I mean, what right do the Opposition have to behave like an Opposition in any case? Adrian’s right, they should shut up until they are ready to get with it and join the new “left” world order, and hang the 49% odd that voted for them. They are irrelevant.

    Deity, Swan obviously doesn’t know his subject, Rudd is running around spending the nation’s money with no apparent strategic direction, Gillard’s head will come off if she keeps nodding in Parliament the way she does (she should try out as a guitarist for AC/DC) but I still haven’t heard how all those computers are going, a kid I know got “made redundant” yesterday for “operational reasons”, no severance pay. There’s plenty to talk about. Or at least be honest about being little more than an ALP propaganda distribution centre.

  16. There is circumstantial evidence that James could be a… mmmm …

    James, use the word circumstantial, would, could, might, maybe and you are in the realm of speculation.

    In a civil court you would have to prove – “on the balance of probabilities” – and the denial by the Bush Administration and the Rudd Government would be enough to quash any case…AND the author would have to relinquish his/her source to substantiate the claim.

    In our community innocent until proven… means no substantiated evidence = no evidence – circulation fodder, pure and simple…

    …and for the record Insiders is not acredible source for anything except a good belly laugh or a piece of toast at a (cheap) TV…no, no, not the Bravia!

  17. This is one of those ridiculous back-and-forth, back-and-forth useless loops of so-called “argument” that appear to exist solely for the benefit of the political players and the media commentators. It’s this type of thing that, I believe, is one reason why an increasing number of people just disengage from politics altogether.

    Why would any sane individual join a major political party, no matter what side of politics, if they felt that this type of crap was what they’d be expected to spend so much of their time on?

    Is it any wonder that membership of the major parties continues to decline? Is it any wonder that people such as myself find themselves reaching for the “mute” button and flipping the page of the newspapers more often than ever?

    And it’s these same twits who are forever rattling on about the crises that face our country, our planet, the younger generation (they’re all fat, they’re all stupid, they’re all on drugs, they’re all riding each other’s bones like bunny rabbits from the age of 13; they’re all hauling their fat, drunken little selves up and down the streets of the nation at nights looking to bash us all to death in our beds, that is, when they’re not being pursued by the seven hundred gazillion paedophiles who ooze out of the sewer grates every night), and this craptaculor load of fuzzy bollocks is the best our “leaders” and alternate “leaders” can come up with as a topic of import to blather on about?

    That’s it?

    What a bunch of silly twats.

    When it comes to witless immaturity, stupidity, childishness and infantilism writ large, Australian politicians from both sides of the coin take the chocolate cake for mind-boggling mediocrity hands-down every single time. You only have to take a gander at NSW state politics on any day to realise that … or go back over pretty much anything Alexander Downer’s had to say on any subject for the last 12 months.

    No matter who’s in charge, Labor or Liberal, at a state or a federal level, if this is the best our so-called “representatives” can come up with, then the only response I can have to any of it is to suggest they all take a swivel on the sharp end of a chainsaw and fling bloody chunks of themselves to the four corners of the globe.

    I went to high school with people who were more grounded in reality at the age of 12 than any of these two-legged, dickless puddles of smelly discharge.

    And it was a public high school at that.

    For f**k’s sake. Don’t the tedious little tools realise we have lives?

  18. I’m with you joni. This is a non-story the opposition and the OO (Opposition Oracle formally the Government Gazette) are attempting to blow out of all proportions to its importance. Bush diplomatically stuffed that many times everyone’s lost count, but according to the opposition apparently it’s perfectly OK for the leader of the free world and the most powerful person on the planet but a world wide catastrophe when Rudd does it.

    Since Abbott bought up Howard, it was also perfectly OK for Howard to big note himself with Bush, even completely usurping our parliament and handing our democracy over to Bush’s agents when he visited here. Also there is the fact that Howard said that a victory for Obama as president is a victory for al-Qaeda, but where was all the outrage from the right at the time he made that statement. The Labor opposition certainly protested about it only to be shouted down by the GG and other right wing commentators along with the government as making a storm out of a teacup. Shoe’s on the other foot Malcolm and OO.

    Also if the opposition want a full enquiry into this, and if the AFP are bought in as Downer wants, how about we then open up all the stacked enquiries Howard held to full and open scrutiny, including a full investigation into AWB asking why some senior management walked away with huge bonuses and payouts after the AWB enquiry whilst saying basically nothing about the government’s involvement.

  19. You are funny James, to suggest that Swan doesn’t know his subject is just an example of the mud-slining that you accuse everyone else of.

    “yet there is nothing on the current government.”

    Actually you’ll find that a number of posters have been commenting on the current government with a number quite critical of the Communications Minister in particular.

    And of course you’re welcome to voice your criticisms here also, although it would add weight to your argument than to simply say “it was published in The Australian therefore it must be true”


  20. Firstly Abbott’s line “John Howard never ran away from parliamentary scrutiny” is quite a joke. There were numerous instances where he ducked from proper scrutiny. Discusses all the fact and figures in relation to WorkChoices immediately comes to mind. Anyhow, I won’t go into Howard any more now because he is yesterday’s history.

    I think the opposition is right to ask questions about the alleged G20 gaffe leak. I think the public should have confidence that our PM can have confidential conversations with other world leaders without embarrassing details being leaked to the media. Surely no one here would dispute that, right?

  21. TB, your argument would be fine had the accusation been that Rudd leaked what the President DID say. Then the denials as have been made would be fine. The issue is that Rudd (or someone close) MADE SOMETHING UP then leaked it, either to make Bush look bad, or Rudd look godd (probably both).

  22. …and James dummy spits with a meaningless ideological rant.

    …and Ross dummy spits whilst making a lot of sense.

  23. Does anyone seriously think that Rudd wasn’t big noting himself?

    It isn’t a particularly important issue, but the action itself and the subsequent obfuscation is an indicator of behaviour.

    Of course any opposition is going to play this for all it is worth.

  24. Thank you Ross. I enjoyed reading this immensely. And seee I’m not the only person left alive who still uses the word ‘twat’.

  25. James, has it occurred to you that a journo at The Australian simply made it up?

    I know it’s a long shot to suggest that a journalist might just beef up a bit of a story for the sake of a good headline, but in this case. It. Might. Just. Have. Happened.

    Why are you so convinced that Rudd has something to do with it when both He and Bush have denied it?

  26. That may be true Alistair but that line was shut off cold dead when Bush stated he didn’t say it and the US administration said there’s nothing in it. There is now nothing to be diplomatically embarrassed about.

    Again I bring up the previous government and Howard because that’s the most recent comparison. Howard often boasted about his phone conversations with Bush in attempting to big note himself, but I guess as these were always sycophantically and sickly glowing of Bush it made them alright?

  27. oh and welcome back Min…


  28. Further to my last. Wouldn’t it now be diplomatically embarrassing for the Bush administration having said there was nothing in it and Bush stating he didn’t say it, it then turns out he did.

  29. “Discusses all the fact and figures in relation to WorkChoices immediately comes to mind.”

    That is the refusal to do so.

  30. Oh thank you so much reb. After all the unpacking and finding that nuffin’ fits nowhere, I thought that I’d have some Min-time.

  31. Was not Chris Mitchell having dinner with the PM the night this conversation allegedly took place???

  32. Adrian, the story might be completely false but…

    “Bush stated he didn’t say it and the US administration said there’s nothing in it.”

    That doesn’t make the allegations false. Of course Bush and his administration would deny such an embarrasing allegation.

    “Howard often boasted about his phone conversations with Bush in attempting to big note himself, but I guess as these were always sycophantically and sickly glowing of Bush it made them alright?”

    I think you’ve missed the point. The allegation is that Rudd or his staffers leaked embarrassing information to the media. As far as I’m aware, Howard never did any such thing.

  33. Wasn’t Brian Burke there too??

  34. Not according to my info.

  35. that was a joke scaper…

  36. Adrian, I have told you this before. My only ideology, in my actions in life, in what I write, and in what I support, is one which gives all individuals and communities a fair opportunity to have a decent life without the impositions placed on them either by corporations or centralised governments. Providing their actions have the effect of helping rather than restricting others there ought to be a complete freedom. It would take a book to put in all of the detail, but any intelligent person should get what I mean.

    To that end, I have been critical of both sides of government, on this blog more so the ALP than the Libs. Why? Because the ALP hold themselves out as the representatives of the little guy. They hold themselves out as the defenders of individual and community rights. They, in this, are entirely false. At least the effect of the Coalition’s policies was that more people could eat, hold employment, and, you know, buy stuff.

    You, Adrian, have never genuinely been critical of your side of politics, except perhaps in areas where you can hold the Coalition as having a more extreme position against your criticism. So here’s my dummy spit…….take your “meaningless ideological rant” and shove it where you already have your ideological head!!

  37. Reb @ 25. As I said earlier, if Rudd got up and denied ever leaking the story (made up as it is) to any form of the media, then I’d start looking at the journo and asking questions. To this point, Rudd has avoided that denial. Why?

  38. Yes scaper and the whole thrust of the accusation is that Rudd was boasting at the table and Chris Mitchell leaked it.

    Two things strike me.

    One that Rudd would make this boast in front of a journalist.

    Two that the journalist hasn’t come out and confirmed it.

  39. it’s a cover up!!!

  40. Back on topic:

    “John Howard never ran away from parliamentary scrutiny.”


  41. Good one Alistair. The refusal to release information under FOI about the impact of Work Choices.

    However, a personal favorite is The Pacific Solution, taking a leaf out the Guantamano book re off shore ‘processing’ aka denying people access to democracy while espousing the same thing ‘democracy’.

    Ruddock is always worth a quote or several: Sham refugees no threat to security, says Ruddock – Pakistani nationals entering Australia as Afghan asylum seekers from Quetta – where popular support for Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda (remember that golden-oldie..the refugees weren’t really Afghani’s, they were Pakistanis!)…estimated 200 Pakistanis posing as Afghans.

    And a personal ‘favorite’. More than 70 out of almost 300 hunger striking asylum seekers in an Australian detention Centre have sewn their lips to protest against a slow process (aka years in detention: my comment) that decides their refugee status in Australia….The spokeswoman said three youths, aged 12 to 15, needed treatment at a nearby hospital overnight where they had stitches removed from their lips, were given food and fluid then sent back to the camp. A fourth child needed medical treatment at the camp…

    A great year 2002 and so resplendant with forthright honesty.

  42. What about Children Overboard?

    Howard went into media overdive over that, but when it was proven to be unfounded he claimed he wasn’t told etc…

    “John Howard never ran away from parliamentary scrutiny”

  43. Off topic here but – Bugger – Fuel Watch Bill defeated in Parliament. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/11/12/2417467.htm

    Every time I drive to work past cheapish fuel and say to myself that I’ll fill up on the way home only to see it 10-15c dearer, I thought to myself – Fuel Watch would avoid this happening and allow me to plan better. Now when I do the same, I’ll simply curse Xenephon and the Libs.

    Xenephon reasons for opposing it are that it would do nothing to help motorists. I say BS, because even if it only smoothed out fuel prices over the week, it would help me and I’m sure other people are in the same boat (and no filling up on’ cheap Tuesday’ is always an option for me and I think probably a lot of other people).

  44. Back on topic – how about debate on Workchoices the Bill which was gagged after only a very short debate.

  45. Can someone PLEASE get Rudd to stop using the phrase “war on [insert topical issue]”. It’s now a war on unemployement – FFS – it’s not a war – it called Governing.

  46. 32. Alistair

    How many links and sources do you want me to post of Howard leaks to the media?

    Howard denies leaking WMD report

    What about a Top Secret Austeo document leaked to Andrew Bolt?

    If we are going to have an investigation by the AFP into Rudd’s leak as demanded by Alexander Downer why not also have a thorough investigation into how a TS-Austeo document leaked from high up in Alexander’s department?

    Children Overboard was a leak of a Navy action, but worse it was a leak deliberately doctored to make it appear to be something totally different.

    In all of Howard’s favourable “leaks” not a single one was properly investigated or investigated at all.

    My point in this is that some double standards are being practiced at the moment, and if there is an investigation into this then how about we bring in a law that all leaks from government be investigated and ministers responsible for deliberately leaking be sacked, but those who doctor information so it favours their stance or leak classified information for the same reason face jail terms, and lets make that retrospective for a decade.

  47. To preempt reb: perhaps a war on people going off topic 😳

  48. That I can agree on Dave55, this is really irking me about Rudd at the moment (and anyone who uses “war on ….” to inflame a policy or stance.

  49. Ok Adrian fair point. I can tell you I’m not really interested in Howard anymore. Howard is yesterday’s man. Rudd is now our Prime Minister. If Howard leaked information that he shouldn’t have that doesn’t make it okay if Rudd does the same.

    I don’t believe that we have received any conclusive information that either proves nor disproves the allegation. James is correct that Rudd stopped short of denying he (or his staffers) leaked the information in the report to the media. He said the newspaper report was false. They could have leaked false information or he could be lying that the report is false. It could also be that the journalists made it up and that Rudd was very careless in the way he answered questions on this matter. I find it hard to believe that Rudd was careless and clumsy with his language.

    Dave55, I completely agree.

  50. “Dave55, I completely agree” That is about the war on everything. And I am very sick of his obssessive use of cliches.

  51. So again we have the excuse of probable poor ethics on the basis that they are not as bad as the previous government.

    Ethics defined in relative terms. This and other examples of politically motivated behavior should be recognized as such, and condemned.

    People should be tired of ethics that are only relatively better.

  52. And Rudd has just been asked again in Question Tim whether he and any of his staffers were responsible for a leak that led to the report of the alleged G20 gaffe in the Australian. He refused to answer the question. Draw your own conclusions.

  53. But Alistair, The Government is on record of saying that the comment about Bush not knowing what the G20 is was false. The rest of what was reported is hardly something that needed to remain confidential; accordingly, who gives a F**k whether it was Rudd or anyone else who said they can report on the conversation.

    The origin of the comment about Bush is mysterious I agree; but given the denials from the two people in on the conversation, Bush and Rudd, the diplomatic issue really drops away. Therefore – who cares whether it was Rudd or a staffer who released information that Rudd spoke to Bush and the substance of that conversation – the substance of the conversation is hardly a confidential matter.

  54. “The Government is on record of saying that the comment about Bush not knowing what the G20 is was false”

    I am aware of that. If it is true it doesn’t mean that they were not responisble for leaking the ‘information’ to the Australian. If they weren’t why doesn’t Rudd simply say that neither he nor his staffers were responsible for leaking any of the reported information with regards to the Bush’s alleged G20 remarks?

  55. And i would just say this. Rudd and Bush and their respective camps have denied those alleged comments by Bush took place. That does not mean that they did not take place. It would be highly embarrassing for both camps for the public of either country to be told that such comments took place.

  56. Alastair @ 52

    Did you hear the second part of Turnbull’s (sorry – the Honourable Leader of the Opposition of Her Majesty’s Parliament of Australia) first question? Something about concerns that China thought that the GFC was symbolic of the failures of capitalism and the merits of a regulated economy. Where is he going with this? Does he honestly believe that people out there think that the Labor Party is socialist?

    Second question was the first (unanswered) question rephrased. What a waste of a question.

  57. It is however something he ought to do and save the rest of us from the bizarre spectacle of our federal parliament obsessing on this moment of extraordinary pettiness while the rest of us face down the substantial issues of the day. Which, last time we checked, were slightly on the serious side. Certainly almost as weighty as the PM’s sense of self worth. Almost.

    That statement from Crikey probably best sums it up.

    Just fess up Kev, Malcolm and the opposition have already been made to look petty and desperate, you will get a some negative press from the OO (which noone will give a shit about except the wingnuts) and the whole thing will blow over in a month.

    In the meantime in a few years time there will be jokes going around how the idiot Bush said to our PM of the time “What’s a G20?”

  58. No I didn’t hear that question. It does sound bizarre, I agree. I actually turned it on just as Turnbull was asking Rudd about the alleged G20 gaffe.

  59. Third question the same again, but this time, Rudd drew out the Wilkie Report that was leaked to AB … Now there is real evidence about that one.

  60. James of North Melbourne | November 12, 2008 at 1:03 pm
    Was Rudd careless – probably..

    The trouble is that the story is so believable. It is highly likely going from past experiences of the last number of years that indeed Bush would have made this sort of statement.

    Rudd might have mentioned this story which was subsequently leaked by an unnamed person (probably a staffer). And so agreed, this was careless. However the US government has denied it (just maybe because this is indeed exactly what Bush said) and so this is a going-nowhere story and the Opposition should accept this fact.

    That is, if the Opposition do not have the support of the US government then the Opposition are wasting everyone’s time especially their own.

  61. Min that’s a fair post. As I’d said before I think it was in the public interest for the opposition to pursue the matter of the alleged G20 gaffe. I’m glad they did. Rudd has been given a chance to answer specific questions on the matter, he has answered some but not all of the questions. People will draw their own conclusions. Unless any other information comes to light, I’d agree it would appear that the topic has been dealt with.

  62. Have you though Alistair now that the US government has denied it and Bush has stated he didn’t say it Rudd cannot fess up.

    Would Rudd now saying Bush did say that in a phone conversation and it was leaked from him or one of his staff be a worse diplomatic incident with the US as it would be openly calling them liars.

    This would explain the way Rudd is refusing to answer one way or another and remains tight lipped.

  63. #62 Adrian,

    I think that is definitely a possible explanation.

  64. Min (with a comma) it’s that the story was so clearly BS from the start that gave it the legs. Conservative journos were immediately able to point to quotes from Bush in the preceding days to show he knew exactly not only who the G20 were, but that he’d organised meetings IN ADVANCE of any cajoling from Rudd, forgetting for a moment the reference to China. Therein lies the question. Did Rudd make it up (at the expense of a major world leader) or did a journo? Rudd only has to deny making it up and the attention will turn to the journo. Problem is that if that happens the journo may well produce his source, which may well be Rudd. There is dishonesty (I did not have sexual relations with that woman) and there is dishonesty (can you believe that chimp in the White House doesn’t even know what the G20 is?). One I can forgive for self preservation, the other I despise for its self-aggrandisement at the false expense of another. And that goes to character, as did the story of being thrown out onto the streets as a child.

  65. What happened to the Wednesday thread???

  66. Just on the “war on…” stuff… I want to be the first in the blogosphere to coin the term “Obamagate”!

    And I have been in a meeting for a few hours and the blogocrats go crazy! so many comments to try and digest.

  67. Hello James of NM. I just don’t understand where the claim of self-aggrandisement clicks in. At best effort, it was dumb joke which may or may not have been made by Rudd and which may or may not have been interpreted accurately which was then maybe passed onto the press who then may or may not have reported it accurately. That is, if the event ever happened in the first place.

    And back to self-aggrandisement. Everyone is grander than Bush ;-)).

  68. Guess what?

    I’m sick of his cliches too!

    Why? Because I am…

    Oh f**k it, it’s contagious……!!

  69. Scaper (and evryine), I’m a bit flat chat at the mo,

    but will try to get the midweek thread up soon.

  70. scaper…

    I watched the Henry speech and that headline is incredibly misleading: “Treasury chief Ken Henry refuses to endorse $6bn car industry bailout”. The headline attempts to put a political spin on his comments which were deliberately apolitical.

    What he actually said was: “I am not going to comment publicly on the merits or otherwise of government decisions. Were I to do that I would quickly have to find another job and I quite like this job,” ie – I’m not going to endorse it or criticise it.

    Treasury was consulted on the policy – he confirmed that.

    He did say that the assistance was generous but he identified that all tariff reductions have come with assistance packages.

  71. 17. Ross Sharp | November 12, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you Mr Sharp, I agree wholeheartedly with your rant, er, comments.

    Ive just read through all the posts (since my last comment) and vote yours the best…

    … congratulations…

    … your prize is on its way…

    two days in Canberra with a special four day pass to Parliament during the Christmas Break – so that you can listen to some sensible comments – yer own! 😆

  72. One thing I find very very strange in this Bush-G20-storm-in-a-tea-cup is that New Corp publications are not running with the story.

    Now – I would have thought – that if they had juicy information on the so called “leak” then they would be shouting it from the tree tops to get mileage for their publications. But they seem to be very coy and quiet about it all.

    Odd eh?

  73. Dave, It’s what he didn’t say that interests me…from what I have read, the parent companies will find it hard to exist without being propped up by the US government.

    The way I see it is that there is too much rip rag and panic out there and we need cool heads to get us through this correction.

  74. scaper …

    I wasn’t commenting on the package and really have no idea about whether or not it will work.

    The US car Industry is in a bad way – they need to be completely retooled in the US to make smaller fuel efficient cars rather than their ‘truck’s (aka big utes). Australia is in much the same boat and will require cash from the parent companies to do this. I understand the bailout package is contingent on the investment from the car companies so if that doesn’t come through, the package might not be spent in full. If the industry dies, it won’t be Rudd’s fault but rather the fault of the US operations. What happens probably depends on the bail-out package the American operations get more than anything we do.

    We still have Toyota I guess and maybe one of the other Japanese or Korean companies will re-enter the market and take advantage of the packages and lower $A. Cheaper steel prices might also make things more profitable (although I’m not sure how many cars have steel in them these days 😉

  75. On the Henry thing though – he couldn’t say anything really – it was a loaded question and he played it with a pretty straight bat. The only thing you could take from his comments was the word -‘generous’ when describing the package; this might suggest that he thought it was bigger than necessary but then again it may not. My comment earlier was more a complaint about Sam Maiden’s article (or at least the headline which may not be her fault) suggesting that Henry had been critical of the package which he wasn’t.

    The thing Henry did stress a couple of times was that confidence was a critical factor. Following on from this (my words, not Henry’s) If the Government had let the car industry die, this would be bad from a confidence perspective – but by investing in the industry over 12 years, the Government has shown confidence in it and is helping it to retool for a greener future.

  76. Dave, it will be interesting to see how Obama handles this.

    They might just have to produce those electric cars to qualify for assistance…that would be a wise move in my opinion.

  77. Dave, it will be interesting to see how Obama handles this.

    They might just have to produce those electric cars to qualify for assistance…that would be a wise move in my opinion.

    Hemp steel.

  78. joni @74, I agree wholeheartedly. If there was the least grain of truth in these Chinese whispers, it would be splashed all over the meeja.
    The White House stated categorically on 25 October that the reported conversation was a load of tosh and so have Rudd and Bush. The denial has been made by all the parties involved.
    How many times and in how many ways do they have to say it?
    There was obviously no “leak” and the conversation as reported didn’t happen and quite frankly if it had, I can’t see Rudd breathlessly reporting it to some OO journalist. Does anyone really think he’d be that stupid?
    Puffbull is trying to make political mileage out of very flimsy material which hasn’t been backed up by the tiniest fragment of evidence.
    It’s got as much traction as the Haneef affair. The only truthful portion of the alleged conversation is that Rudd spoke to Bush. But hey, why let the truth get in the way of a fairy story?

  79. I am amazed that the Libs consider this more damaging to Australia’s international reputation than taking part in an illegal, immoral and now discredited invasion of Iraq.

    The last time the Libs got all excited about something due to faulty info in the Oz, it backfired on them spectacularly.

    They really are still in the woods if they think the general public (or anyone else in the world) is concerned about an alleged comment made at Bush’s expense.

    But as you say, they are still in thrall with John Howard, and I guess this extends to his buddy Bush.

  80. I think the more shrill that opposition get over this supposed G20 conversation, the more it just reminds people why they didn’t vote for them.

    I wonder when (if?) the penny will ever drop?

  81. There was obviously no “leak” and the conversation as reported didn’t happen and quite frankly if it had, I can’t see Rudd breathlessly reporting it to some OO journalist. Does anyone really think he’d be that stupid?

    Small correction.

    There is a couple of stories, innuendos, fabrications, fairytales, whatever going around.

    Either Rudd bragged to a staffer and the staffer told Mitchell, or Rudd bragged to a staffer and Mitchell overheard and variations thereof.

    Why is Mitchell so quiet in all this?

  82. Turnbull and the opposition are getting there info and support by reading the Bolt and Piers’ blogs. They read the comments and think WOW all Aussies think there is something in the ‘phone thing’ and continue to attack Rudd and believe that it is working.

  83. “Turnbull and the opposition are getting there info and support by reading the Bolt and Piers’ blogs.
    84. MickM | November 12, 2008 at 9:06 pm”

    Is that so. Well i got this from Crikey

    “Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane writes:

    It’s not clear what’s worse — that Kevin Rudd refuses to answer questions about the leaking of the G20 phone call, or his utter shamelessness in doing so.

    Not that he’s the only one leaking on President Bush. Now Barack Obama has done it too. Perhaps the Prime Minister suggested it to the President-elect during their phone chat last week.

    Yesterday the Opposition asked the Prime Minister four times about who leaked the call. The number doesn’t matter so much as Rudd’s attitude in response. Each time he recited the same non-answer, although once he pretended that the question was actually about the approach he would be adopting toward the summit this weekend and gave a lecture on the importance of the G20.

    Rudd didn’t even care when the Opposition moved a censure motion. He had Stephen Smith respond. He sat there silent. What sort of leader hides behind his Foreign Minister? What sort of leader hides behind Stephen Smith?”

    and so on.

  84. Jane – why doesn’t Rudd just say – “they made the story up”, if there is no basis.

  85. So, Tom, when Rudd says:

    That was the explicit purpose of the call and the President did not make the remarks that have been attributed to him in the article in question.

    That is not enough? Maybe Piers will link it to the Henier Affair that is always “just around the corner”.

    Then again – politicians cannot be trusted. One former member of the Australian Federal government once said:

    What I said – and as sure as I stand here at the dispatch box, I know it to be true – was that interest rates under the coalition will always be lower than they are under a Labor government

    But of course, a story that has been denied by both sides, and where the primary source (The Australian) is very, very quiet on the matter is much more important. I have tried to find any mention of this story on the current The Australian website and cannot find any mention of this story.

    Funny old world, eh?

  86. # 85. Neil of Sydney | November 12, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    and so on.

    You miss the point. The opposition have been going on about this well before the Bernard Keane’s Crikey article, so if anything Bernard followed the opposition who followed Piers and Andrew, and Andrew started making something of it when Barry Cassidy said in an opening statement on Insiders a while back he’s surprised noone has taken this up in any big way. Right on cue Andrew, who was on that show, runs with it and the opposition who only mentioned it previously as one part of an interview ramp up as well.

    Love your ….and so on. Why don’t you link to the article and let everyone read what the “…and so on” is about, which is about Turnbull’s huge ego and failings, and how this attack could backfire.

  87. So Joni, the quetion really isn’t whether Bush made the statement. It is whether Rudd or an advisor made teh statement.

    This means that the story was either made on the basis of a private briefing, or it was simply maed up.

    I think this is a fair question of a politician of any persuasion.

  88. Tom,

    The third option is that it was made up by the Journo …

  89. Dave55 – That’s what I mean. If it was made up by a journalist then Rudd should say this.

  90. Let’s try that again:

  91. Tom, he has said that those remarks were never made. Joni has quoted him @87, if you care to read it. So how many times does he have to say it? Just the once or every time Puffbull opens his mouth?
    And why hasn’t Mitchell had anything to say? If Rudd or a staffer had leaked, why is there a deathly silence from the journo who is supposed to be dripping wet?
    In any case, why would someone as disciplined as Rudd is supposed to be feed a journalist stuff about a supposed gaffe made by the POTUS? It would be far too damaging to Australia’s relationship with the most powerful nation on earth.
    IMO, this is more evidence that the opposition Puffbull is about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike and more interested in self-aggrandisement than keeping the government honest.
    Chuckle, adrian @95.

  92. Jane, please, we all know it never happened. That is kind of the point. Why did a journalist write a particularly detailed piece suggesting that it had. The underlying truth is that the PM fed the editor of the Oz a story, the editor gave it to the journo, the journo wrote it, and within a day or so, it was proven to be BS. So why did the journo write the story? Because our PM was showing off to his mate, and it’s backfired. It’s not a storm in a teacup, it’s serious. To falsely sully the image of someone else in order to enhance your own is a disgrace at any level. From a former diplomat, a national leader to dishonestly do it to the leader of an important ally is an abomination. And…..he……still……hasn’t……..denied…….it!!!!!!!

  93. To falsely sully the image of someone else in order to enhance your own is a disgrace at any level

    That is exactly what the Liberals did with those absurd “70% union bosses” election ads.

  94. Caney? What was false about them? And what do you think of Rudd’s effort?

  95. Speaking of falsities (and no, I don’t mean TB’s teeth), what about the Lib’s campaign that “interest rates will always be lower under a Liberal government” – what say you to that, James??

    It a bit more pertinent that did he or didn’t he say ‘such n such’ in my (not so humble) opinion..

    n’est pas?

  96. oh, and how many consecutive interest rake hikes did we have under the geniuses Howard & Costello – I lost track at six…

    “Keeping interest rates at record lows”

    My baddass!

  97. James in response to my 98, at number 99 asked:

    Caney? What was false about them?

    They used their election advertising to sully Labor candidates on account of nothing more than their alleged past connection with trade unions. They had nothing to show misdeeds or anything of the kind of their targets, just a trumped up percentage of people who did no more than exercise a right to free association with legal organisations in a democracy.

    Costello was caught out fibbing about the percentages


  98. So they weren’t false then. For some voters, not me, but plenty of others, union representation indicates an ideology that would cause them to direct their votes elsewhere. It’s politics, but it’s not dishonest.

  99. And ultimately the interest rates thing cost them the next election, along with other issues. But as I said at the start of this, we are not talking about the previous govt. We are talking about the current one. No one here seems, despite all of the hand on heart assurances a year ago, to want to hold Rudd to account. It took Howard a decade to show the Parliament and the public the contempt Rudd is showing them after one year.

    And Reb, no amount of French speaking is gonna do it, I am straight and that ain’t gonna change!

    EDITOR REB: Oh sure, a six pack of VB and we’ll see….mon amie..!!

  100. 97. James of North Melbourne | November 13, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    The underlying truth is that the PM fed the editor of the Oz a story, the editor gave it to the journo, the journo wrote it, and within a day or so, it was proven to be BS.

    What underlying truth James, your underlying truth?

    The PM was showing off to a mate.

    So now you were there and know exactly what happened?

    “It’s serious, really really serious, world shattering, Australia has been sullied and noone will talk to us anymore.” Except maybe Condaleeza Rice who had a long conversation with Kevin Rudd this afternoon and apparently there is no diplomatic incident and the relationship between the two governments and with Kevin Rudd is the same as it always has been.

    James, just for you yet again, as it backfired for Turnbull this afternoon because of the Condaleeza phone call: http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u216/ecko93/forumvids/beating_a_dead_horse.jpg

  101. I can see you pulling that image out quite a bit Adrian

  102. Yeah it doesn’t matter how much James whacks it that horse ain’t gunna get up.

    It’s dead, deceased, no longer of this world and as alive as it was it no longer is.

  103. “No one here seems, despite all of the hand on heart assurances a year ago, to want to hold Rudd to account”

    Because there isn’t really anything to hold him to account for. If they had the goods on Rudd leaking we’d know all about it by now. The OO would be loudly condemning him and demanding he resign as PM.

    Sorry, but as far as I am concerned (and a whole lot of other people if the response to the opposition attacks is any indicator), the whole thing is a big yawn and the only ones interested are die hard Liberals looking for anything to attack Rudd with.

  104. A lot has been said about the alleged G20 gaffe topic.

    One fact that sticks out to me is this: Rudd has refused to directly answer whether he or his staff were responsible for the leak of the alleged remarks “what’s the G20?” That is an indisputable fact. He has had multiple chances to answer the question and he has never answered it. Why hasn’t he answered it? It would have got everyone off his back had he answered the question. Something does not seem right there.

    Is this a very important issue? Probably not. However, please people don’t start dismissing things on the basis that he’s not as bad as Howard (or Turnbull) and the Liberals. I don’t believe that is a decent reason.

  105. We’re not dismissing it for that reason Alastair. It is dead and buried because first and most importantly the US administration doesn’t want to do anything about it and obviously doesn’t put any importance to it or wants to down play it to be a nothing.

    Next it is not the earth shattering terrible international incident the opposition have been attempting to make out it is. For stuff’s sake saying that no diplomats or leaders of any other country will ever trust us or will talk to us again until Rudd is kicked out? If there is fault to be laid at why this is not going to go anywhere, and now never will, it is because of the very inept way the opposition attacked it, and they only did that well after the event when it was put to them by a right wing OO journo as to why they weren’t making a song and dance about it. So even the opposition initially thought there was nothing of great importance in it only mentioning it in passing as one small part of an interview.

    Next it was never that important, really. Especially when the whole world views Bush as an idiot and have no problem believing he would say something like that. That and the fact Bush has made far worse idiotic gaffes and statements showing real ignorance on the world stage over the terms of his leadership.

    Now to show just how unimportant this is in the scheme of world wide events it turns out not only did Rudd talk to Condeleeza Rice but also to Gordon Brown and Stephen Harper recently, and guess what, apparently telling the world that Bush said “What’s a G20” didn’t come up in conversation anywhere.

  106. Adrian, I do agree that the opposition have overplayed its significance and that has only drawn attention away from the issue to their hysterics. However, I do believe the public deserves answers to some of the unknows surrounding this issue. We may not get them. I agree it’s not up there with the important issues of today.

  107. Last sentence should have said: I agree it’s not up there with the most important issues of today.

  108. The Liberals are finding how difficult it is in Opposition not to become the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

  109. Some egg on face guys but a lesson was learnt…a good thing.

  110. You might think the public deserves answers but the public doesn’t think so. Apart from some died in the wool wingnuts who want anything at all to discredit Rudd and a handful of good citizens such as yourself, the public has no real interest in this. It is only getting traction outside of the opposition in the ABC and the wingnut media.

    As much as James likes to tell everyone he knows exactly what went on at that event only three or four at most do. The fact that those who were there and the one who broke the story by relaying it to another party, so it’s second hand, won’t speak out and for some reason is being as quiet as Rudd says a lot about this.

  111. “You might think the public deserves answers but the public doesn’t think so. ” I don’t find that a persuasive argument. There are many issues which a majority of the public don’t care much about. That does not mean that people do not deserve answers on those matters if they wish to know.

    By the way, from the non politically-aligned people I’ve spoken to about this, I’ve detected some definite interest in this matter.

    “It is only getting traction outside of the opposition in the ABC and the wingnut media.”

    Well what constitutes “wingnut media”?

    The Age?



    Canberra Times?


  112. Be careful with the quotes, Adrian. You should know better than that.

  113. James at 103 tried to make out:

    So they weren’t false then. … It’s politics, but it’s not dishonest.

    Did you watch the youtube video I posted? The 70% figure was a fabrication that Costello, when put on the spot, could not substantiate. It’s Liberal dishonesty, same as the “record lows” promise of their previous election campaign.

  114. Joni @87. – I’ve only just got back to this one.

    I don’t see anywhere that Rudd says “I didn’t tell this story to Chris Mitchell, a journalist must have made it up”

    He repeats that Bush never made the comment, not that he didn’t have a discussion with the editor along these lines. Political issues like this go to political credibility.

    It is of course no Watergate, but Nixon was the only president to resign – because he was a liar, not because he was a burglar.

  115. Tom, why does he have to say any such thing? He’s already said Bush didn’t say what’s been reported. So I think the inference is quite plain.
    The deafening silence coming from the OO is very significant as well. If Rudd had indeed told Mitchell what was reported do you honestly think for one nanosecond that it wouldn’t have been shouted from the rooftops?
    Malvolio Puffbull is the one who’s trying to make political capital out of this non-issue. He’s the one who has desperately leaped onto the leak bandwagon and has been vainly trying to beat the story up as hard as he can lick, but he’s wasting his time.There aren’t any doctored photos here, nobody’s bunged $300m in a brown paper bag and all the lying rodent’s have left the building. It’ a dead parrot!

  116. #117. James of North Melbourne | November 13, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Be careful with the quotes, Adrian. You should know better than that.

    Care to elaborate?

    116. Alastair | November 13, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    No they are not OO media outlets but neither did they jump onto this when it first broke. In fact for the first week or so of this it was nothing more than a byline in one report and a side mention in an interview. And surprising the one outlet that is making the least of this and more or less leaving it alone is the platform of the person who first relayed the story to another journalist, that is The Australian and Mitchell.

    So why is Mitchell being so quiet about this, that is very unlike him?

    It never really became a big deal, even by the opposition, until Barry Cassidy said on Insiders he’s surprised the report of this incident by Mitchell is being made more of.

    Anyway as other commentators (aside from rabid right) are saying around the blogosphere, the opposition should be having a go at much bigger fish than this distraction, which is giving the government a free reign as they are more than happy to let the media and Malcolm put all their energy into it.

  117. Is this “more or less leaving it alone”?


    The point I’m making is, despite what you say, this matter has been all over the media of all persuasions. You don’t think it is an important matter. That’s fine. Each person will make their own judgement about this.

  118. Is this “more or less leaving it alone” ?


    Despite what you say, this story has been all over the media (of all leanings and persuasions). You think that it is not an important matter. That’s fine. I believe that it is important enough that the public deserve answers.


    “why does he have to say any such thing? He’s already said Bush didn’t say what’s been reported. So I think the inference is quite plain.”

    Because his denial that Bush made those remarks does not mean that he or his office didn’t tell the media that Bush did make those remarks.

  119. Jane at 120, nice post!

    I say let Malvolio Puffball keep bashing his oversized head against a brick wall on this non-issue.

    Sooner or later he will knock himself politically comatose. The Liberals will have to drag him under a tree and frogmarch someone else in to take his place.

    Tony Abbott maybe? He’s certainly got the people skills!

  120. I still see that there are only 2 options on this story.

    1. The newspaper just made it up with no basis.
    2. Rudd or his office made it up and told someone in the newspaper.

    Either way it reflects a lack of transparency and when this occurs in politics, oppositions will go after it.

    My speculation is that there was some alcohol fuelled big noting going on at a dinner party hosted by the PM.

    It is very, very poor form.

  121. Funny isn’t it, the defence case here. From Adrian…..It’s not important because everyone reckons Bush is a fool anyway and would have no problem believing it had happened. Sorry, Adrian, but that makes it worse.

    From Caney (and others)……..but the Libs did it too, they exagerrated about Union membership and interest rates. Newsflash, guys, they ain’t in government anymore. Your forgiveness of this so easily makes a mockery of everything you claimed to have despised so much about the previous government. Deity, how many times have I seen Howard called a “lying rodent”?

    Well, chaps and ladies, the apparent deceit of one Kevin Rudd is showing a pattern, and if his supporters had any integrity, you’d think they would be starting to get a little uncomfortable.

    Kevin Rudd couldn’t really recall if Brian Burke had been at some ALP fundraiser he was at. Truth? Kevin Rudd was the guest of honour at an ALP function organised by Brian Burke.
    Kevin Rudd recalls being thrown out on the street at age 11 immediately after his father died and had to live in the back of a car. Truth? Kevin Rudd’s family continued to occupy the farmhouse for a good 6 months until another farmer had to come in and work the land. And of course he didn’t see so much as a stray boob when he visited Scores in the US. Come on!

    I’m a realist. I understand that there is a bit of bulls1t goes on in politics from all sides. But as I pointed out before, when you take down the character of another, falsely, in order to promote your own, then that is about the worst kind of deceit.

  122. James, I agree:

    when you take down the character of another, falsely, in order to promote your own, then that is about the worst kind of deceit

    Howard did this on:

    – boat people
    – iraqis
    – anti-war protestors
    – WMD

    You see, if Rudd did big note himself then what harm has it really done… not what it is imagined to have done.

    But with the deceits by Howard, real lives were affected. Maybe that is the difference.

  123. Joni,

    and who could forget the millions of $$$ spent on the “be alert but not alarmed” campaign, purely designed to strike fear into the hearts of every Australian and positioning Howard as the fearless autocrat.

  124. Joni and Reb, my first comment on this said that we have a new government, not so new anymore, and they are the ones up for judgement. It is no defence to dredge up the previous government’s record. Those issues have been done to death, and whether they were lies or not, and there is argument that they were not, they were thrown out of government at least in part because of them. If you want to start a retrospective debate about all that, I’ll happily participate, but the issue here is Rudd, not Howard. You all wanted change. Have you got it? I’m away from this arvo but I’ve got a heap to say in the topic about “What does the ALP represent”. You could just as easily start a similar post on the Libs, because at present neither party represents anything other than a desire to be the ones in government stuffing it up.

    It’s not the harm that has been done, Joni, it’s the harm that will be done if Rudd continues to head down this path of creative story telling. It’s a pretty slippery slope and you only need to look at state politics at the moment to see the outcome.

  125. Joni, I agree that Rudd’s alleged actions here don’t even come close to comparing with Howard’s decitful actions on any of those issues you mentioned. However, that does not excuse any inappropriate behaviour that may have occurred from Rudd.

    James “You could just as easily start a similar post on the Libs, because at present neither party represents anything other than a desire to be the ones in government stuffing it up.”

    LOL. I don’t think that is all that far from the truth. Having said that, I think both major parties do get plenty of things right as well. In essence it seems to me that both Labor and Liberal mainly stand for gaining and maintaining power.

  126. Newsflash, guys, they ain’t in government anymore.

    That ain’t a point, as far as I’m concerned, and I’d be interested to know what was the point of your saying that. Do you suggest that their being no longer in government somehow lets them off the hook?

    We are talking about a party that used dishonest and misleading advertising practices the last two elections running.

    Say anything, promise anything, do anything, to cling to power.

    If they were a business running false and misleading advertising, they’d be in breach of the Trade Practices Act. But this is apparently different. They’re only a despicable right-wing political party desperate to get (keep) a position of control over the whole bloomin country.

    The slate of the Liberal Party (a misnomer if ever there was one) doesn’t conveniently become wiped clean just because they’ve been turfed out of office.

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