Fitzgibbon Resigns… Now what?

Not Happy Jan... er, Joel

Not Happy Jan... er, Joel

Well, looks like he pushed his luck one too many times. Joel Fitzgibbon has resigned from his position as Defense Minister over the fact he failed to declare yet another gift in the register. True to form (and really – what else could we expect), the Liberal Party is trying to capitalise on this by bringing allegations against Rudd in regards to favours he may or may not have done for a Queensland car dealer in return for a free car. Rudd is waxing indignant and has decided to rhyme his counter-accusations on the Liberals “Fear Campaign” turning into a “Smear Campaign”. As much as I might agree with him, I am curious to see what other rhymes they come up with. I’m hoping we can get enough to set next year’s federal election ads to the soundtrack of Grease.

Funnily enough, now that he is quitting, the Australia Defence Association has stated they think he is one of the best ministers they have had in decades (and given Brendan Nelson’s woeful performance in just about everything, I don’t think too many people are going to argue with them!).

Now that Joel has quit though, who is Rudd going to get to replace him? The Defense portfolio is not an easy one to master and relies on having the respect (grudging or otherwise) of the bureaucrats & military personnel making up the department. I personally cannot think of anyone, not already in a cabinet position, that can take over this role. Although we are pulling out of Iraq by the end of July, we are still committed in Afghanistan and there are many expecting Obama to request a stronger commitment there. We also only have enough trained personnel to man one of our Collins class submarines , a fact representative of our military’s unmet requirements for skilled personnel across the board (including medical personnel, engineers, & linguist shortages).

That’s about all I have to say on the matter. I’ll now turn this over to the rest of you guys for the crowing on the Right, teeth gnashing on the Left, and salsa dancing for us in the middle 🙂


Well, well – looks like the Liberals aren’t satisfied with Fitzgibbon’s resignation. Having watched Julie “Crazy Eyes” Bishop on Lateline last night it is obvious that two things have occurred:

  • Someone in Fitzgibbon’s office or department leaked the details of the issue to the Liberal party &/or the press. Julie Bishop avoided ruling that out she had been tipped off by a so-called “Judas” despite being asked directly several times. Doesn’t get Fitzgibbon off the hook at all, but it lends credence to his “someone is out to get me” tale
  • The Liberal Party wanted to make alot more out of this issue before Fitzgibbon resigned. I assume they were hoping to hound him out of office (making the story last at least a week) and instead he got the drop on them and pulled out before they could get started.

Minor Correction:

We only have the one Collins class submarine active due to personnel shortages and the fact the others are out for full dock maintenance. Given the afore mentioned shortage of engineers and maintenance personnel in the military – this leaves me wondering how well that $10 billion of taxpayer funds is being used. Could be worse, of course, we could be buying out-of-date jet fighters from a foriegn country for $6.5 billion in tax-payer funds… what do you mean we’re already doing that?

Final Update:

Well as a final update to the story – John Faulkner has been named new Defence Minister (thanks shaneinqld for the tip). A good choice I think, he has both the experience and the attention to detail needed to reform the monolith that is Australia’s Defence portfolio. Also, some more details emerge supporting my contention that the Liberals were hoping to hound him out of office (rather than him resigning immediately) – they claim to have more dirt on Fitzgibbon and plan(ned?) on revealing it little by little into the Senate.

While they’ll get some traction out of this (Joel has obviously done stuff he shouldn’t), the narrative they were trying for (Labour are all crooks) is going to be a hard sell. Fitzgibbon has quit, there is the impression (if not the reality) that Rudd pushed him, and the whole free utility truck “scandal” relied on Rudd keeping Fitzgibbon around to smear one story with the other.


81 Responses

  1. Joel should’ve known better.

    But I guess it’s just symptomatic of the way in which many people in positions of power and influence just abuse the privilege for their own material benefit.

    Joel just happened to get caught out. So he paid the price and well he should.

  2. Reb: Auntie Min your English teacher here. Defense is the adjective, defence is the noun.

  3. Well, he had to go if Rudd wasn’t going to weasle out on ministerial responsibility like Howard did.

    If I was a member of NIB I would be asking why Fitzgibbon’s brother was using NIB, now a private company after demutualising (shades of the NRMA! 😡 ), money to pay for a politician’s accomodation.

  4. So, who will take over the portfolio?

    My pick would be Graham Perrett but I’m biased.

    Graham’s bag is mining but he has a good head for logistics and he has a talent for garnering cooperation.

  5. I’ll be straight – I think the guy needs to go if the current government wants to claim any improvement of ministerial honesty / accountability over Howard’s cabinet.

    I don’t think any of the individual instances were saking offences per se; but together they definitely are. It is one thing to forget one or two things that should be declared, but if a pattern emerges – the credibility of “honest mistake” flies out the window.

    At the very least, we are not yet as bad as the UK MP’s in this regard. I’m pretty damn sure an MP charging their gardening expenses and a chandelier to the taxpayer would be lynched without trial!

  6. Well either there’s more to the story than is reported or this is ministerial responsibility gone mad………..or his position remained untenable after the earlier stuff.

    Can someone tell me why a PM needs a free car from a dealer? I mean he has the travel and all that and it would seem a pretty trivial gift to accept. Not alleging corruption, think Turnbull is off base on this, but you see stuff like this and just ask WTF??

  7. I’d say his position was untenable given previous “lapses in judgement” on the same issue. As I said, I don’t think this by itself was a sacking offense, but it came on top of other similar offences in to small a time period.

  8. James of North Melbourne, on June 4th, 2009 at 7:11 pm Said:

    Can someone tell me why a PM needs a free car from a dealer?

    Well it’s not actually a car, more like a rusty ‘ute’ which Rudd uses as his ‘mobile office’. As is right and proper it’s on his declaration and has been for two years. (A rusty clapped out ute is an attempt to show he is ‘of the people’ and is a tactic used by any number of politicians over the years).

    Graham Perrett as the next Defence Minister is simply not on for a whole range of reasons. For a start, Rudd doesn’t like ex education union organisers as Arch Bevis will attest. Second, there would be any number of Ministers both senior and junior who are already in the line. For Perrett’s background. See here.

    The front runners will have to be ‘seniors’ because Rudd will want to maintain the view that he is strong on Defence (as the Australians spell it , as both the noun and adjective in the British tradition) or Defense (as the Americans spell it).

  9. Oh I see, he’s had it for years. Move on, Turnbull.

  10. “We also only have enough trained personnel to man one of our Collins class submarines ,”

    Haha congratulations on your in depth knowledge of this subject !

    Boy oh boy didn’t little Kev squirm in the 730 report when asked if he had any part in the resignation!

  11. James of North Melbourne, on June 4th, 2009 at 8:21 pm Said:

    Why? Surely it’s a legitimate political tactic to take the gloss of Rudd who is still at stratospheric levels in the polls? Of course the danger is that one can destroy one’s own credibility in the process.

    But desperate times require desperate measures as Turnbull demonstrates.

    The downside of this affair is that the Department of Defence whose fiscal wastage is legendary will now have more breathing space. Probably the best person for the task would be John Faulkner but whether Rudd will release him from the ‘overview role’ is problematic.

  12. davo, on June 4th, 2009 at 8:34 pm Said:

    Sorry davo, but you must have watched a different 7:30 Report because I didn’t see Rudd squirm at all. He was calm, lucid and put forth his case without emotion or squirming.

    So just what were you watching?

  13. Adrian, you must remember: Davo lives on a different planet.

  14. Mobius Ecko, on June 4th, 2009 at 8:49 pm Said:

    He was calm, lucid and put forth his case without emotion or squirming.

    That’s the meaning I gave it as well.

    As for Rudd, he didn’t demand Joel’s resignation, rather his emissaries convinced Joel that a resignation was the best course of action for all concerned and Joel saw the logic of their arguments. QED.

  15. Greg Combet is the obvious choice for Defence.

  16. The thing i found strange was that his brother is head of NIB. I didn’t think ALP people believed in the concept of private health insurance.

  17. Mark, on June 4th, 2009 at 9:29 pm Said:

    Greg Combet is the obvious choice for Defence.

    While I don’t doubt his ability as a consensus ‘expert’, I don’t think that’s the skill set required for reform of this Department. The task requires a ‘dictator’. Besides Combet is required to ’round-up’ support for the ETS which seems beyond Penny Wong whose undoubtedly ability might be better suited to Defence.

    A lesbian Defence Minister? Now that would be interesting.

  18. Proves how wrong you are Neil and how little you really know about the Party you love to attack.

    They believe in lots of private stuff, like health and education, it was after all Labor that started subsidising private education (a huge mistake for mine).

    Isn’t it telling Neil that the opposition screamed blue murder when Rudd made changes to the private health system. They were saying that it was the end of good health provision in this country, the collapse of private health and tens of thousands rushing into public health.

    A few days later figures showed take up of private health increased under Rudd’s changes.

    What Labor believes Neil is a balanced system, what the conservatives believe and Howard proved is a stacked system favouring one class above all others.

  19. Just hit me Neil, what has the brother to with it and Labor, after all Peter Costello’s brother is Tim, and you are not going to tell me Tim believes in the Liberal party?

  20. Neil of Sydney, on June 4th, 2009 at 9:34 pm Said

    Neil are you aware that John Howard’s brother Bob was a member of the ALP?

  21. Mobius Ecko, on June 4th, 2009 at 9:44 pm Said:

    it was after all Labor that started subsidising private education

    Arguable. Menzies through Section 96 really started the ball rolling with funding for Science Blocks in 1963. But others would argue that Menzies started earlier than that through action such as tax deductions for private school fees and then later through federal assistance for church loans and allowed taxation deductions for gifts to schools for building purposes to be similarly claimed.

    But yes Labor accepts the poitical reality and Rudd is an enthusiastic supporter.

  22. It seems Mr Fitzgibbon is not admitting any wrongdoing – in fact he has said, “I’ve done nothing wrong” – and is in fact blaming several ‘Judases’ for his predicament.

  23. Tony, on June 4th, 2009 at 10:30 pm Said:

    Mr Fitzgibbon is not admitting any wrongdoing

    True, but par for the course. Reith, Downer et al. adopted that defence as well and were successful in so doing. How times have changed. LOL. As for:

    several ‘Judases’ for his predicament.

    Also probably true. As any experienced politician will attest, one’s real enemies aren’t the Opposition but members of your own party.

  24. How many months before the 1st Rudd cabinet resignation?

    How many had occurred in the same period with Howard?

    And I should disclose the Joel is a friend of my brother.

  25. Back to reality…Combet seems to be the logical choice but is the portfolio a career killer?

    I’m concerned about the Judas factor and if there is an entrenched element that creates destabilisation then the people concerned should be removed!

  26. scaper

    I was just thinking about that too – Tanner?

  27. I see Tanner as a future Treasurer…Faulkner?

  28. Well, I would have to accept Fitzgibbon’s claim of “Judases” in his department after watching Julie Crazy Eyes Bishop on Lateline last night.

    She was repeatedly asked to rule out the fact she was tipped off by someone in his office / defence department. She ducked, weaved, and refused to answer the question.

    That there are issues to bring up is his fault (and to some extent, his brother’s). That he had to resign due to it’s public exposure, I’m pretty sure is the result of people in his office / department leaking it to the Liberals / press.

  29. Oh, and for the record – what your brother believes in has next to no reflection on your own personal beliefs. My brother & I hardly get along at times we are so opposite one another!

  30. Ben

    I know – I was just making sure that my register of interests was up to date 😉 I did not want to have to make a statement apologising to the blogocrat members at a later date.

  31. Having been in Defence for 20 odd years and worked with Defence for another 15 often going to Russell, I can tell you that the portfolio is a poisoned chalice.

    At the time I was highly critical of Howard’s two first attempts at Defence reform, and now in hindsight I shouldn’t have been so critical, he was attempting to move a mountain whilst being stymied at every step.

    You have to give it to Howard that on his third attempt (after blowing a few billion on the first two) he achieved some good with his reforms and actually had Defence heading in the right direction (and achieving measurable improvement), a reform that Rudd is trying to build on and rightly take further.

    Defence bureaucracy will resist this every step of the way as they see it as a threat to their cosy well remunerated, mostly out of sight existence. Seems to me Joel as the harbinger of further reform and Defence accountability was a target, but it’s his own fault that he had hidden ammunition to give to those wanting him out, and for that he cannot blame anyone but himself. He must also be lauded for the few good changes he did achieve in his short time in office.

    Having said that the Judas’s (and it turns out Judas wasn’t a traitor anyway) must be found out as they are a threat to any minister attempting to do their job, no matter who is in government, as they will seek to undermine them at every turn if the minister is making decisions that threaten to hold them accountable for the billions spent by them.

  32. Sorry you are right N5, I read quite a bit on the history of it a while back. Still wasn’t it a Labor government that formalised the private school funding formula, the one Howard twisted to ensure wealthy private schools got a greater lion’s share, even to the detriment of poorer private schools?

  33. God damn – this is a day that’ll live in infamy! Adrian praised Howard! 😀

    Seriously though, it is obvious that any person taking on this department has to either be in with the Defence Dept heads (i.e. are not going to change anything drastic) or so squeaky clean he shines.

    And yes, I did say he because I don’t believe a woman in the role (regardless of how talented she might be) would get traction as minister. Defence is a sexist department, let’s face it, and there is a snowball’s chance in hell they’d let a woman tell them what to do.

  34. It seems that Faulkner is the best person for the job according to the link.,25197,25590375-12377,00.html

    If he does get the gig he has to clean out the rot or at least, isolate them.

  35. At the very least, we are not yet as bad as the UK MP’s in this regard.

    B.Tolputt, on June 4th, 2009 at 7:10 pm Said

    Only Miglo could support this sort of thing……………

  36. Poor old, Joel…

    Seems like a nice bloke… and a competent minister … pity he’s not up to the politics of government AND big business … any middle manager will tell you that there is always someone disgruntled and gunning for you if you attempt any reforms …

    … the trick is not to provide them with any ammunition, I’m afraid Fitgibbon provided magazine boxes full of it …

    … Rudd handled the situation well and explained it rationally on 7:30 Report (of course logic tells you that the option of resigning was inevitable and Fitzgibbon would have had little choice, resignation always looks better than sacking) …

    … as for Julie Bishop on Lateline last night – all I can say is what a nasty piece of work she is, I do hope she slips in her own slime soon …

    … and finally, Neil, and free enterprise. Some of us actually own(ed) businesses and support the ALP for its approach to society (bit disappointed at the moment but compared to JH & TPSB …?)…

    … Neil, I might draw your attention to the hue and cry in Queensland at the moment becuse the ALP government wants to privatise 90% of the people’s assets …

    Bugger, I promised not to reply to Neil, but I reckon he’s a Young Driblal plant 😀

  37. Mobius Ecko, on June 5th, 2009 at 8:46 am Said:

    Still wasn’t it a Labor government that formalised the private school funding formula

    Yes in the sense that they commissioned Peter Karmel to do a review and then increased Commonwealth Funding significantly which was distributed on an SES basis. Howard certainly bastardised the funding process through the use of SES averages for Census Districts but the process had a number of prior revisions.

    Rudd had (and still has) the opportunity to clean the whole mess up but gave a promise to leave things as they are until his second term. Rudd knows, from his QLD experience, that the Catholic and Independent School lobby is extremely powerful and I believe he will be unwilling to go to the wall on this.

    As for Faulkner, while I believe he would do an excellent job, I understand that either Evans or McClelland will be selected.

  38. TB Queensland, on June 5th, 2009 at 9:17 am Said:

    will tell you that there is always someone disgruntled and gunning for you if you attempt any reforms

    Indeed. As Machiavelli observed long ago.

    It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.

    For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favour; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it.

    Thus it arises that on every opportunity for attacking the reformer, his opponents do so with the zeal of partisans, the others only defend him half-heartedly, so that between them he runs great danger.”

  39. Why doesn’t Rudd just invite Bomber Kim back as a consultant to carpet bomb and reorganise the joint whilst the Minister does what Ministers do………….?

    The Judases wont know where to turn.

    And at least Kim knows how the joint works !

  40. Bloody good idea IATW.

  41. N5

    Have to agree … but then most politicians I have met leave a lot to be desired with regard to actual “competence” (especially Ministers) – particularly in political science (I suspect you’d get a few blank stares if you mentioned The Prince …)

    Now Kevin Rudd just might be eligible to be considered as Machiavellian of the Year …

    … I’m not a big fan of Penny Wong (too cold and calculating for me – and she occasionally shoots from the hip …) but she seems to hold a tight rein on a difficult portfolio …

    Defence is a difficult portfolio – you’ve got military trained people trying to be managers – bit like health with doctors thinking they understand management …

    … people often forget management is a profession … yet everyone wants to “play” at it …

  42. Faulkner would be a good choice and I also believe Wong’s certainly got the moxie for it.

    Let’s face it, Defence sees itself as a law unto itself and whoever gets the job has gotta run the place like Gengis Khan ran The Horde. They’ve gotta kick ass and take names.

    As Harry Truman said in one of his last interviews apropos of Macarthur and the Pentagon :

    “I didn’t sack him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, which he was. It’s not against the law for Generals to be dumb. If it was, half the Pentagon would be behind bars, right now. No, I sacked him for one reason and one reason only: Because he wouldn’t follow orders.”

  43. Mobius..well you know it don’t you. Even simple things are made difficult in the department, a lot to do with ongoing outsourcing IMO.

    Of the current mentioned candidates or is that sacrificial lambs ;-):

    McClelland: A strong performer, but then there would be the need to find a new Attorney General
    Evans: Has some very good background and is a Western Australian
    Combet: A good choice and his background in engineering and economics is very dealing with a large complex organisation the ACTU.
    Faulkner: An organised no-bs sort of person, and his high level of professionalism is just what is needed. However, whether Faulkner would be prepared to accept the portfolio is something yet to be seen.

    There is currently some speculation about Mark Arbib however I think that he might be currently best utilized in his current position as a go-fer.

  44. Reb, I will stand corrected but I believe that we have enough crew to man 3 submarines..however the crews are very stretched. On the patrol boats personnel have been quitting for quite some time and are being hired back as contractors..better pay and conditions.

  45. He has resigned and so he should have.

    I dislike politicians of any persuasion who seem to push the boundaries of decency. There is a register to declare any gifts received.

    Forgetting to lodge an advice of a gift is not an excuse.

    Any other politician should also resign if they have not declared any gifts.

    If they are given a gift I have no doubt the first thing that would enter their mind is that it should be noted on the register. They also have assistants, so those assistants should make a note and remind the member of parliament as soon as any formalities conclude to update the register.

    No excuses.

  46. John Faulkner named new defence minister

  47. Excellent choice I think shane. Me thinks that some in the defence department will be umm, (excuse the description) piddling in their pants.

  48. Min

    I agree an excellent choice.

  49. Faulker is a stupid choice. Crean would ahve been very good.

    Bowen possibly.

  50. Pity of Faulkner being picked (and it is a good choice) is he has to give up an important pet project of his.

    Senator Faulkner was previously a junior defence minister and veterans’ affairs minister in the Keating Government.

    There is also the point that it was slated that John might retire at the next election.

  51. I was thinking that too Mobius. However, I do think that if Faulkner can’t sort out the department then nobody can.

  52. I bet John Faulkner has declared any “gifts”!

    I wish him well in one of the toughest portfolios … (I suspect he continues a relationship with “B”B and will seek advice if needed) … I just hope he gets behind Metalstorm …

    … as someone mentioned this morning NIB shareholders would not be happy with Mark Fitzgibbon’s use of his company Goldcard – I can assure you this one aint!

  53. … and finally, Neil, and free enterprise.
    TB Queensland, on June 5th, 2009 at 9:17 am

    I made the assumption that his brother would be a Labor party voter. But I could be wrong. But it fits with my belief that most Labor politicians are hypocrites.

    One big difference between Libs and Labor is that Labor people say they believe in Public schools and Public health. But his brother is head of NIB.

    It would be interesting to see how many Labor pollies send their kids to private schools and have private heath insurance.

  54. And yet again Neil what has that to do with anything and how are they hypocrites?

    Labor does not and hasn’t since the mid 1900’s believed that private is bad and shouldn’t be a choice. Labor, unlike the Liberals who starve the public systems to subsidise the private, believe in a balance and that people should have a choice. The hypocrites who are the Liberals are the ones who state there should be choice but often take away choice and only leave limited take it or leave it options.

    You forget it was Hawke and Keating who began most of the greatest privatisations in this country, and there has been no Labor government who has stopped subsidising private entities, though they have had the chance to do so many times.

    You really have this abstraction of what Labor is and what it represents, so blinded are you by your ideology.

  55. “There is also the point that it was slated that John might retire at the next election…”

    That idea was doing the rounds two elections ago after those mugs on the NSW Right rolled Faulkner from top spot on the Senate Ticket to shoehorn-in some seat-warming apparachik of their own.

    Faulkner shrugged it-off and kept steaming ahead. Good on him.

    He’s one of the very best operators the Party has.

    After years of turning bureaucrats into jellied road-kill in Senate Estimates, I reckon he’ll go through Russell Hill like a dose of salts.

    It’s about time someone did, and he’s just the man for the job.

    He’s got a bit of style. too. Anyone who has seen him in action in Senate Estimates knows this. He cross-examines like the most capable of silks and never lets anything go. Bureaucrats feared him (always a good sign, IMHO).

    Contrast this to the Libs recent attempts to do a number on Ken Henry of Treasury.

    Talk about neophytes. It was pathetic: Calling him a liar, then backing-off at a hundred miles an hour when he turns and bites-ya back. Real smart fellas.

    The difference between them and Faulkner is that if Faulkner ever called anyone a liar, he’d damn well be able to prove it then and there (and likely with their own words, too). He’s devastating.

    Which probably explains why the Liberal contingent around here is so critical of his appointment. Anything to ensure the failure of the Government eh fellas? And if the Country gets buggered-up in the process, that’s just good politics, I suppose.

  56. Which probably explains why the Liberal contingent around here is so critical of his appointment.
    Evan, on June 5th, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Please tell me which liberal contingent has criticised his appointment?? He is certainly better than the previous minister. We will have to wait and see before we comment on how good or bad he is.

    “And if the Country gets buggered-up in the process, that’s just good politics, I suppose.”

    Then why did you vote for the ALP in the last election?? nt

  57. Well neil, I voted for ’em to get rid of that divisive little runt and his poxy Government.

    I enjoyed it so much, I just wish I could do it again, too.

    I suppose, however, I’ll have to wait another decade or perhaps more to get the chance because it will take at least that long for the Libs (on current form) to have any chance at all of regaining the Treasury Benches.

    And of course Howard won’t be PM. Pity. It will probably be someone who’s not even in Parliament yet.

    Of course, there’s always the possibility that they’ll never get back-in (in which case I’m in for a miserable Old Age: No Demos; No Rat-Baggery; No Cheering the Demise of Another Tory Tosser).

    Given that the demographic that has consistently delivered them election victories in the past is now 65+ and beginnning to fall-off the twig, that remains a fairly reasonable possibility.

    Those in the 55-65 cohort are boomers who never got rusted-on to the Libs the way their elders did in the Blessed Days of Saint Bob (too much Stones and getting stoned and told to get a job, I guess). And anyone younger than that hates them with a vengeance and will never deliver a cohort majority.

    And as they age these different cohorts pass through the body politic like turds through a bowel. Ten years-on and they just get squeezed onto the next section of gut. But rarely, if ever, do they change sides or voting patterns. Age may bring wisdon, but it doesn’t bring Tory votes.

    But Hell, don’t take my word for it, go and check-out the Possum’s website.

    He’s done some interesting analysis on long-term voting trends in all the different age cohorts over the last 40 years or so and none of it is good news for the Tories, I’m afraid.

    They’re starting to look like the Party of Permanent Opposition, unless something drastically changes.

  58. Well neil, I voted for ‘em to get rid of that divisive little runt and his poxy Government.
    Evan, on June 5th, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Well this so-called “divisive” govt halved the unemployment rate and paid off all the govt debt created by the last ALP govt.

    “They’re starting to look like the Party of Permanent Opposition, unless something drastically changes.”

    I think you are correct about this. Even in NSW this corrupt, Mafia ridden , ALP govt of pheodphiles still gets 46% of the vote and may even win the next election.

    The ALP is a corrupt and immoral political party elected by corrupt and immoral people. The last election showed how dishonest the Australian people are.

  59. Neil, Blind Freddie could beat the NSW Government.

    Those guys are not just dead, they’re in the final stages of putrefaction.

    The Tories should have romped-it in last time, but failed. And since then the rotting has just progressed. If they can’t take ’em in 2010, they might as well just give-up.

    As for what I said about Federal voting patterns, that remains undeniably correct. The Federal Libs have maybe two more elections in which they can count on the Old Reliables voting for them. After that, they’ll all be dead and their dyed-in-the-wool conservative rusted-on support base will be Kaput too.

    So, if they’re gonna have any kind of a show (without totally re-building their Party and its ideology from the ground-up), it’s gotta happen within the next five years.

    After that they’re in real strife. They’ll have a message and an ideology that is as out-of-date and irrelevant as the Free-Trade Party of the early days of Federation.

  60. If they can’t take ‘em in 2010, they might as well just give-up.
    Evan, on June 5th, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    I tend to agree with this. Federally they were running budget surpluses. Say what you want but this is not an easy thing to do, good times or bad times. But they still lost.

    “They’ll have a message and an ideology that is as out-of-date and irrelevant as the Free-Trade Party of the early days of Federation.”

    Getting out of debt is never out of date. However you are correct, the ALP has the hearts and minds of the Australian people. i have no problem with this. Its just when they get in they go close to destroying the country. The Libs then somehow get in and are given the job of cleaning up the mess. Kennett was handed the highest state debt in history and Howard was handed the highest Federal govt debt in history

    Also what does the ALP believe in?? Global warming-what has it done?? Education revolution- where is it??

    How does such a corrupt, immoral do nothing govt continue to get elected??

    It can only mean that Australians are a corrupt, immoral, do nothing people.

  61. Debt is just a tool, neil. As is a surplus.

    At the end of the day, neither matters much as it’s the state of the country and community in which they live that motivates and enlivens people’s votes. They’re not accountants and they don’t vote for balance sheets.

    They vote for what they think will deliver a reasonable life for themselves and their kids or against someone that they think will threaten that well-being.

    I reckon its as simple as that.

  62. They vote for what they think will deliver a reasonable life for themselves and their kids or against someone that they think will threaten that well-being
    Evan, on June 6th, 2009 at 12:22 am

    O.K. I will go with that. So the Australian people thought that a re-elected Howard govt was a threat. i guess this is true.

    However when govt debt hits $300B and home loan interest rates go up perhaps they may have a different opinion.

  63. The biggest problem for the liberals (oh sorry Tories-forgot we live in the UK) is countering the effects of lefty idiot school teachers that are indoctrinating school kids instead of just educating them like they are supposed to ! Permanent opposition haha losing grip there Evan – you must be having some sort of rent-a-crowd withdrawl !

  64. Perhaps they will, neil.

    But if they do, it won’t be because of the debt itself, but because of the difficulties it is causing them and their families.

    I reckon the days of pinch-lipped Economic Puritanism of the Reagan/Thatcher model are over.

    People don’t give a toss about surpluses for their own sake, merely what can be done with them ( like building stuff they need, want or will use). Likewise they don’t care too much about debt, as long as it isn’t crushing them.

    I don’t even think tax cuts matter much any more.

    People would rather have a hospital system that works or a decent train system to get them to and from work, or schools where their kids actually learn to read and write, rather than dodge bullies in the playground.

    They’ve finally figured-out that that’s the stuff that matters, not whether they get a tax cut of a few lousy bucks a week.

    It took a while to get there, but thank f*ck we’ve arrived.

    Anyhow, I’ve gotta kip. Cheers

  65. People don’t give a toss about surpluses for their own sake, merely what can be done with them ( like building stuff they need, want or will use)
    Evan, on June 6th, 2009 at 1:45 am

    Exactly. Thats what you leftoids are all about. Its all about ME, ME, ME and furthermore ME and the country can go to hell. I think it is one of the reasons Kennett lost in Victoria. He was running large budget surpluses and the people didn’t want to pay off debt. They wanted kennett to spend the money on them.

    The last Federal election showed what happens to a political party that runs budget surpluses.

  66. Exactly. Thats what you leftoids are all about. Its all about ME, ME, ME and furthermore ME and the country can go to hell.

    Funnily enough, the Liberals are the so called party for the individual. But hey, don’t let me interrupt your rant about “leftoids” (you know, once you start the ad hominem attacks – it’s already a lost argument).

  67. And Neil is still ignoring the fact that the deficit has very little to do with the governments spending and is mostly due to the collapse in revenue (because of falling company tax, capital gains tax etc).

  68. Running up deficits shouldn’t be a problem unless the pawnbroker decides that what you are offering him is not worth as much as you thought it was, or that the cupboard back home is starting to look a little bare.

  69. joni, on June 6th, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Yeah, yeah yeah Joni. I have got it. Unemployment fell from 8% to 4% under Howard, however this was due to dumb luck and the reforms of Keating. All the Federal govt debt was paid off but this was due to China.

    And now we have Labors first budget with a deficit of $35B followed by their next budget of $58B in debt and this is all due to the GFC.

    You people are all MAD!!!!

  70. Yeah, yeah yeah Joni. I have got it.

    Which is why you completely ignored what she said… the lion’s share of the deficit is due to a drop in income & corporate taxes. You went on about unemployment & government debt.

    There are none so blind (or ignorant) than those that refuse to acknowledge something right in front of them.

  71. There are none so blind (or ignorant) than those that refuse to acknowledge something right in front of them.
    B.Tolputt, on June 6th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Ain’t that the truth!!!!!!

  72. *laughing* Yup. And sometimes you just crack me up Neil!

  73. Test from laptop.

  74. Well Neil for all the great things you state Howard did because he kept racking up record surpluses, and whilst having relatively low unemployment he reigned over relatively high labour underutilisation, which can be a more important factor in measuring employment effectiveness, what does Howard have to show for his 11½ years in power.

    Where are all the great infrastructure projects?
    Where is the improved health and education?
    Where is the improved aged care?
    Where is the improved social position?
    Where is the decline in homelessness?
    Where is the decline in personal bankruptcies?
    Where is the increase in personal savings, a sign of a society’s prosperity?

    After 11½ years just what of long term value has Howard left to future generations? Everything he did was in the now and mostly based on election cycles with an eye to winning the next election.

    And just how was Howard going to continue having surpluses under the current economic climate, cut all welfare payouts, including his much loved middle class welfare, cancel the tax cuts and increase taxes, because that’s the only way it can be done?

  75. Adrian, of that list, perhaps you’d like to identify which are areas of federal responsibility and which are state responsibilities.

    State governments ought to be equally held to account for their shocking negligence.

  76. Mobius Ecko, on June 6th, 2009 at 5:28 pm Said:
    “and whilst having relatively low unemployment he reigned over relatively high labour underutilisation, which can be a more important factor in measuring employment effectiveness,”

    Is Australia ever going to be able to increase effective labour utilisation without a lot of pain? If at all?

    As for infrastructure projects, in private enterprise it makes sense to defer such work from times of high activity to be done in times of lower activity as long as the funds are put aside for them, and I think they were. Why not the same for governments?

  77. Found this on Andrew Bolt. Someone gave a link to this on a blog called Margo’s Maid

    “Usefulness lost
    Dear Paramount Leader Hu Jintao,

    As you are probably aware, Informant F has been sacked as Defence Minister of country A.

    F has served the People’s Republic of China greatly by providing information about the defence plans of country A and of course, anything we wanted to know about country USA.

    Now that this idiot is no longer useful, may I have your permission to stop sending him suits, airline tickets and Christmas cards? Also, what am I going to do with the Canberra rental property?

    Fuck me, this guy is so dumb it makes my brain hurt. Please advise of the next course of action.

    Yours etc…

  78. Of all the foreign powers that have had their finger in our political pie post WW2, the one of most concern would had to have been the USA, particularly during the McCarthy era and right through the likes of Vietnam, East Timor and beyond.
    The early days of ASIS had it’s share of undue influence, often more than the politicians of the day even knew about, being used to do some of the dirty work for the CIA, eg Chile. Whitlam in opposition only learned of it’s very existence from the Malaysian Defence Minister of the time and found it difficult to bring under control when he became PM.

  79. Just wondering if there is also going to be a reshuffle by Turnbull..the bloke up against the formidable Faulkner is who???

  80. Min, on June 7th, 2009 at 6:19 pm Said

    is also going to be a reshuffle by Turnbull

    A good question. While it provides a seemingly perfect opportunity to demonstrate his authority, it might also reveal, yet again, his political impotence, in the shadow of Minchin et al.?

    As for David Johnston, I wonder how many know his name and his prior experience as Minister for Justice and Customs from 9.3.07 to 3.12.07?

    But I am sure Ian Campbell does.

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